Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Little Closer to Normal

The past two days have been absolutely wonderful! Steve was discharged from the hospital Friday afternoon and is recovering well, Amaya has been her sweet self with very few temper tantrums, and I've had the chance to do a little reading, cross-stitching, and baking!

Today almost feels "normal". We did our usual Sunday morning grocery shopping (we typically go to church on Saturday night). Steve was able to come with and do a little clothes shopping for himself. We had lunch while watching the Vikings. Amaya helped me make some pumpkin bars to bring to work tomorrow. It's a good day! There's nothing like having Steve home with football in the background, the smell of pumpkin warming the house, and watching a little girl sneak frosting out of the bowl. I take that back... it's a GREAT day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Overwhelming Week

Monday: my last day on Dermatology - filled with lots of tears and lots of laughs. Once my manager gets approval from HR, I hope to stay supplemental to pick up extra hours if I'm needed. Already, I miss some of the patients, but I can't say I really miss the smell of tar.

Tuesday: I had an ENT follow up appointment since my benign tumor was removed from my parotid gland. Everything looks good and my "smile nerve" is almost back to normal. They still want me to follow up in 6 months to make sure that no new tumors have developed.

Steve had blood work scheduled that same morning, and Steve's dad graciously got him to the appointment and I caught up with them later. Since my last post, Steve's health rapidly deteriorated due to severe dehydration. He was so weak that he could hardly get up our stairs and needed to be escorted in a wheelchair. The nausea and vomiting was pretty bad too, so much that he was really only able to keep his medications down. We met with his GI doctor that afternoon and were directed to report to the ER to be evaluated. His potassium was dangerously elevated and sodium level was so low that he needed to be on a heart monitored bed. We were relieved that Steve was being admitted because we really didn't know what more we could do at home.

Wednesday: FIRST DAY IN THE ALLERGY DEPARTMENT!! Initally, I thought starting a new job in the midst of Steve's health problems may not have been the best or wisest decision, but God knew better! He knew I needed this job! I had probably one of the best days ever at work. The staff is amazingly supportive, encouraging, and friendly. I can't remember a time where I've felt so welcome and appreciated! The work is fascinating to me... did you know that there are over 18 different molds that we test a patient to? The patients are phenomenal... my manager is awesome and completely understands the challenges of taking care of an ill spouse and having a two year old at home. AND... I get a half an hour break in the morning AND an hour lunch break!!! (on my old floor, it was rare for me to get a full 30 minute lunch). During orientation, I'll primarily start working 4 hour days and after a couple months transition to 8 hour days part time.

After work, I picked up Amaya and we went to visit Steve in the hospital. (It's a little unnerving that Amaya knows her way around St. Mary's better than most people.) Steve looked absolutely awesome and was even able to take two short walks while we were there. He was feeling pretty good and tolerating solids. They did an endoscopy which we were relieved to find that it was normal.

Thursday: Half day on Allergy - My first day was primarily observation and today my preceptor asked if I wanted to observe more or dive into my first skin test. Of course - I wanted to dive right on in! The first skin test they want me to master is called the Basic Northern. We test patients to 7 different animals (cats, cattle, dogs, cockroaches, two different dust mites, and horses), 18 different molds, 11 different trees, 4 different grasses and 3 different weeds. It's absolutely fascinating to see the amount of allergens that they can test to! The day FLEW by and can't wait to go back on Monday!

After work, I picked up Amaya and visited Steve. He continues to improve and tolerate more foods, although he had quite a bit of gas pain last evening. Looks like the doctors will probably release him from the hospital either tomorrow or Saturday. They aren't in any rush to discharge him as they want to make sure he won't get dehydrated again.

TOMORROW! Amaya has preschool in the morning! When I get around to it, I'll post her first day of preschool pictures and schedule. She must really like her teacher, because every so often, I'll hear her talking about Mrs. Parker. Grandma and Grandpa Gustafson are going with us so they know how to drop Amaya off and pick her up on the days that I work. Eventually, once my schedule settles down and once her teacher wants volunteers, I'll probably help out when I can.

Upcoming week.... Steve hopes to return to his internship Monday - Friday ... I work Monday - Friday 8am-noon... Amaya starts swimming class on Monday night... I have a work party on Wednesday evening... Bible Study resumes on Thursday - I signed up for the evening session instead of the morning like I've done the past 3 years... it just wasn't going to work with my schedule at work... and preschool again for Amaya on Friday.

Thank you once again for all of the prayers and e-mails of encouragement. And a huge thank you to my parents and Steve's parents for playing with Amaya so much. We couldn't have made it through this week with the love and support of our friends and family and without God's strength!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pressing On...

Steve was released from the hospital on Monday morning and both Amaya and I are thrilled to have him back home. While it's good to have him back home, things aren't back to normal and probably won't be until his next surgery in 6 months or so. We're still adjusting, trying to find a routine, trying not to be angry or frustrated, but today I was angry and frustrated. Angry that Steve has a chronic illness. Angry that he's gone through four hospitalizations and 2 surgeries in the past 8 months and he's still not healed. Angry that this whole ostomy thing was supposed to be "easy to manage." It took the two of us over a half an hour to "easily manage" it this morning and I've been TRAINED to take care of these. Angry that Steve has worked tirelessly through 5 years of school and is so close to the end, but because of his health, he may not be able to graduate in May with his classmates.

But... the positive: Steve is home. My parents and Steve's parents continue to be an incredible blessing and help us out with Amaya or the yardwork. Steve is home. Amaya has had less time-outs with Grandma Horning here. Steve is home. Grandma and Grandpa Horning watched Amaya and I bounce, flop, and go down slides at House of Bounce. Steve is home. Amaya has her very first day of preschool tomorrow! Steve is home. God is good and faithful... even when I'm angry and frustrated...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Update on Steve

The last few days have been an absolute blur, but the only thing that matters is that Steve is recovering very well. The doctors are looking at discharging him Monday or Tuesday and Amaya and I can't wait to have him home. He's gaining his strength gradually and feels stronger than when he last had surgery. The nurses want him walking and sitting up in the chair at least six times, but his goal is to walk and sit up in the chair NINE times. Can you say, overachiever? Sitting up from a lying position is the most painful for him, but otherwise he's not having a lot of pain that can't be managed by Tylenol or Ibuprofen. He's tolerating a full liquid diet for now, but will most likely be advanced to a soft diet today - eggs, toast, mashed potatoes, etc. Once he can tolerate a soft diet, he can go home. YAY!

After today, I have the next five days off of work, so I'll be home and able to help Steve when he's home from the hospital. Between working and visiting Steve (he's just a floor below where I work), I probably could've just slept overnight in his room. Let's just say, I'll be excited not to have to make the trek back and forth here for a few days.

Amaya's been doing great at Grandpa and Grandma Gustafson's house during this time. She loves all the attention and extra spoiling! After I picked her up yesterday, we spent the entire evening painting, coloring, cutting, and glueing special art projects for Grandma and Grandpa and Steve. She wants to be a doctor, but maybe we have an artist on our hands... I've missed her so much this week, so it was nice being able to spend some quality one on one time with her. We'll plan on doing some special things this next week... she wants to go to House of Bounce and to ABC/Toy Zone to pick out her special prize for reading this summer.

Hopefully, by the time I post an update again, Steve will be home!!!