Saturday, August 30, 2008

Home again, home again

It's all done! The surgery went well, and Dr. Zacher removed Dan's gallbladder (which was inflamed to about twice the size of a normal gallbladder) and an almost golf-ball sized gallstone. He ended up staying overnight because of all the delays (he was originally scheduled for 2:45, then when we checked in they said 3:30, but they didn't take him back till 5:00!) where he discovered, to his delight, that jello is allowed on a clear liquid diet and that the hospital has a never ending supply available 24 hours a day! I felt so bad for him because the highlights of his day Thursday were that he got half a cup of water and some ice half an hour before surgery, and that he could have jello. Just to kind of reference what kind of day Thursday was. One bummer was that since Dan was in a semi-private room and he had a roommate, I wasn't allowed to stay overnight with him. The nurse told me that she could set up one of those hospital chairs that pull out to make a cot for me in the lobby area, or I could stay till midnight. Normally I would have been there, but Nate was not a happy camper that day. I don't know if he was concerned for Daddy, or if he was upset that he wasn't getting the attention or if he had no motivation what-so-ever and it was just a hard day. So, I headed home, avoiding the detours that the storm had caused (2 flooded streets and no less than 4 traffic lights out) and passed out in my own bed.
When I got back yesterday morning, Dan had progressed to a full liquid diet and was about to order his breakfast-cream of wheat, a fruit smoothie, hot chocolate, jello, Italian ice, strawberry mouse and orange juice. Not exactly what I would call "well-balanced" but it was much better than the lunch fiasco. Apparently we were overly ambitious in getting him started on a soft diet. The mashed potatoes were too much for him to handle, and after he got sick, he got the hiccups. Normally that wouldn't be an issue, but when you've just had an abdominal surgery and you have 4 fresh incisions, each hiccup generates enough pain to almost make a grown man cry. Trust me, I've seen it first hand. And he started asking for more pain meds after about an hour and a half (for most people the dose he was getting would have been good for about 3) so we weren't sure if we were in for another overnighter. Luckily, he started feeling better. He got up and we went on a couple short walks (the nurse said that would help more than meds), his hiccups cleared up, he got some more jello, and he was ready to go.
And man, when he was ready, he was ready! He asked for his clothes, had me round up all of our stuff in the room, put on his shoes and called the nurse to let her know he was leaving. She called for a wheelchair to bring him around to the front of the hospital, and he took another walk (pacing is more like it). I guess it took too long because next thing I know, we're standing in the hallway waiting for the wheelchair, then I'm heading down to get the car so that it's right out front as soon as Dan gets downstairs.
Our time at home has been mostly the same as our time in the hospital, except that now he has a much better mattress to lay in while he eats jello, listens to his iPod, and dozes. And I actually caught up on some of my sleep too. Not so much on the housework....but at this point I'd rather have rest than a freshly vacuumed floor!

P.S. for anyone who remembers that I was supposed to have a 3 hour glucose test (since my first was a little high) I got the results back and everything came back normal, so yay! no diabetes!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Late Saturday night, and into the wee hours of Sunday morning, Dan and I were in the ER finding out that he had a gallstone that was the cause of the intense, agonizing pain he was feeling. So bright and early Monday morning, I called a surgeon that Sara said was the best-trusting her vast ER nurse knowledge-and set up an appointment for this afternoon. We found out that Dan's gallstone is 1.8 cm long which, apparently is pretty big, and the surgeon wanted to take care of it right away. He said that they were lucky to even see it in the ER because a CT scan is better for finding kidney stones, and ultrasound is the best for gallstones. He also said that Dan has some inflammation around the gallbladder area that makes him think that the stone is blocking the passage for the bile in the gallbladder to get out. Apparently the gallbladder produces bile to help break down fats and whatnot for our bodies to process. And in some people the bile solidifies into stones. Now lots of people can have small stones that they don't even know about and that don't do any damage. But in some cases the stones get big, or they block the passage out-so the bile just builds up and the gallbladder gets inflamed and hurts. Also, gallstones that are 2cm or bigger can either cause or contribute to (don't remember quite which one it is) gallbladder cancer.
Anyway, the surgeon today very calmly and nonchalantly said that it needs to come out and what were we doing tomorrow. He actually would have taken it today, but we needed to preauthorize it with the insurance company. It's a good thing we got at least a day's notice because we had a heck of a time finding a worthy priesthood holder to give Dan a blessing tonight. Both our Home Teacher, and my cousin Frank are involved with the scouts so they were busy tonight; and the Bishop was with the young men-he was teaching tonight-and the rest of the Bishopric were super busy with interviews tonight, but it was taken care of. It was weird to me because I kind of take for granted that anytime I need a blessing, Dan is right there. But for Dan we actually had to leave the house. I am grateful though that it was just a matter of finding a few minutes in the midst of busy schedules. I can't even begin to imagine how it would be if we lived in an area where the problem was finding a worthy priesthood holder. Or how it would have been to have lived when the Priesthood wasn't on the Earth.
So, having prepared spiritually, physically, financially, and scholastically (Dan got to call his professors after having taken the pain meds-probably not the best planning) I have good feelings about this surgery. I just want for Danny to stop hurting; I hate to see him wince in pain and try to hide it so I don't worry about him. And he's looking forward to being off pain meds and not being loopy anymore!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Home again, home again

Whew, it has been insane trying to get home from Illinois. First off, we were supposed to leave Wednesday, but the airline lied to me. I had called three times to verify the pet policy and I thought I was good to go. But when we got there and were trying to check in, they said it was going to be an extra $200 and we needed pet reservations. So, we rescheduled our flight for Saturday and I called a therapist I talked to right after the accident. Long story short, my kittens are officially "emotional support animals" and as service animals, they fly free!
Saturday night we got into Phoenix to find out that Suzanne had to work, so we didn't have a ride anymore. But all's well that ends well, right? Luckily we were only waiting about 45 min before we got it all worked out. The real fun came later!
When Suzanne finally got off work and dropped off our car, Dan and I headed to the ER. He had been having pain in the right side of his abdomen that got worse and worse as the day went on. Four hours and two doses of morphine later, the final verdict is Gallstones. Dan thinks that we're cursed because whenever we come home from Illinois, he comes back broken. The last time, it was his back..this time he gets to have surgery! Yay! Just kidding, he's actually not that excited about it. He's actually pretty nervous about it. And the really fun part is that as he was doubled over in pain, all of a sudden I contracted so we were both holding hands crying. Apparently Nate is a sucker for attention, or just very sympathetic. Because when Daddy's hurting, Mommy gets to too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Woo hoo, we finally made it. Dan and I drove his dad's truck out all the way to Illinois last week, and what an adventure that was! We broke down outside Gallup, NM and spent the night in front of a Chevron gas station, then when we got up in the morning, the truck started right up and made it all the way to the mechanic. With a diagnosis of loose battery connections, we were on our merry way again. But it kept happening, until finally in Oklahoma we replaced the battery terminal and kept chugging along. We did have to go back to a mechanic in Oklahoma City though because the problem was not totally fixed, and the check engine light came on. But the auto parts store guy was really nice and recommended a local mechanic who was not only very nice and helpful (he listed a couple of ways to get the truck to 'limp home' so we could deal with it later, and he offered to talk with our mechanic back home to prove he wasn't trying to screw us over) he also stayed an hour past closing time to finish replacing the fuel pump so that we could get back on our way! So, if you're ever in need of a mechanic in Oklahoma City, I reccomend AJ's right behind the rt. 66 used car lot. After that, the truck ran like a champ and we made it into town Wednesday afternoon.
So far we've been super busy, we saw Fiddler on the Roof at an outside city theatre, and we've been to the zoo, and we've played board games, and tonight I made my first attempt at a homemade pie whose filling does not come from a can! We're also going to tour the university campus in case we decide to move out here, and Dan's going to try to get in touch with some people at Boeing who can help him get into a program next year. And we have a really pushy realator that I accidentally contacted when I was browsing around because I've been looking at houses in both Mesa and Illinois since we're not sure yet where we'll end up. He's sent me pages and pages of property information and I think we're going to look at houses next week even though Dan and I both told him that we're not even sure that we're moving out here, and if we do it won't be untion next year. So all in all, it's been really busy and fun and insane! And it will only get more so because Ryan is leaving tomorrow afternoon and he'll be out here by Friday, so our visits will overlap until we leave on Wednesday! The only part I'm sad about is that I'm going to miss the LemonAID festivites in Arizona, and my in-laws house is very, very secluded and out of the way, so I can't set one up out here :(

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm an adult...=(

I realized yeasterday that I no longer fit into the 'kid' category on outings. You know what I mean, when you go out as a family, or large group to a fun place, like maybe Sunsplash and all the kids are all full of energy, running around, getting to be the first one in line for the coolest slides...and the adults are lagging way behind, walking at a leisurely pace, content to watch the kids go down the same slide five times in a row, and decided that for them, once or twice is enough. Yesterday Dan and I took PJ(his 15 year old brother) and Spencer (my 15 year old brother) to Sunsplash, and that is exactly what happened. Granted I am pregnant, and not supposed to go on most of the slides anyway, but I never thought I would be the one sitting on the side of the kiddy pool with my feet in the water, waving as everyone else rode down the slides. And getting pizza while the guys waited in line for crazy rides, thinking that even if I wasn't pregnant there's no way I would go down that thing. And searching for PJ to remind him that it's time to reapply the sunscreen (he burns if someone draws a picture of a sun and puts it near him). It made me kind of sad, to be perfectly honest. I was actually hanging out in the kiddy part of the park at one point thinking about how much fun a small child would have, and trying to decide at what age Nate would be able to come and play.
Even with all of that, it was an awesome fun day. I had never been down "The Cauldron" aka, the toilet bowl slide. And all three of the guys went on the big v-shaped slide where you basically sit on an inner tube and slide down a steep incline, then up the other side, and back and forth until you run out of momentum. It's the big white and red thing that you can see from the freeway. Dan freaked out and screamed Holy ____!!!!!, and PJ forgot to keep his bottom up, so he bumped it and said ow, very loudly. Spencer says that everyone still in line was laughing at him. And Spencer was shaking so bad and looking so terrified that the slide attendant asked him 2 or 3 times if he was sure he wanted to go. The other really funny thing was the lilly pads in the kid area. There's 6 or 7 floating green pads that are tethered to the pool bottom in a straight line. Spencer and PJ had a competition to see who could get the furthest without using the ropes above for balance. Spencer won the first time, but the second time, PJ made it all the way across, then slipped on the landing and went across the foam pad like a slip 'n slide. When he stood up, he said 7 triumphantly, so at least he wasn't hurt. Dan was so funny. You see, the bigger the person, the more difficult it is to make it across and to keep your balance. And Dan is significantly bigger than the average small child. But he's also significantly more determined than the average small child, so he did make it across....much to the amusement of everyone around the pool. About half the adults were shouting encouragement, and the rest were laughing their heads off. One guy was literally holding his sides laughing!
As I said, it was a fun day. The only down side is that I didn't bring a camera to capture all the fun.