Monday, March 31, 2008
In other news my first day of class went well and I wish that my life was uneventful enough to write a post solely about how proud I was that I raised my hand and correctly answered several question in M&A. And that the ratio of men to women in that class is about 10:1. I had thoughts about that. But I'm exhausted, and Landon's having surgery tomorrow, so here's the email:
I've spoken with the pediatrician and had a few hours to do some google research, so here's what we know now and what the next steps will be.
His glucose levels are definitely high, and there is definitely something wrong with the way his body is processing glucose (or in his case, not processing it). The first thing his pediatrician stressed is that while the levels are high, and something is wrong, they are not at a "treatable level" at this point. So while we will pursue this, it is not classic diabetes, and does not require insulin, right now. She said that for a child of his age you'd be looking at levels in the high 100's before you'd put him or her on insulin injections (his result was 124). She will be referring us to a pediatric endocrinologist for further evaluation and testing.
The next test they would do is the glycated hemoglobin test or A1C. This test gives doctors a look at his glucose levels over the past 3 months, so it is frequently ordered for diabetics to see how their insulin/glucose management has been over a long range of time (the glucose test just looks at levels at that moment). She wants to wait to order it until she talks with the endocrinologist and sees what other tests s/he might want before our appointment because she doesn't want to have to stick Landon more than necessary (which is good, because like his mom, his veins are very hard to find and draw blood from). She did say that I could ask the surgeon tomorrow to do the blood draw while Landon is under general anesthesia for the ear tubes, so we might be able to get that test underway sooner.
One thing that was clear from our conversation is that she was not conveying a sense of urgency about the results. She said we do need to follow-up, but she actually suggested we wait until we get to Austin so that he doesn't have to change doctors in the middle of things. I asked for the referral now just because I know we won't stop thinking about it and we may luck out and get an appointment sooner than she thinks.
She also said that she really believes there is some underlying connection between all of his seemingly random medical issues - the broken ribs, the dermoid cyst, the reflux, the stomach issues, and now these high glucose levels and improperly functioning pancreas. She's going to run a few more medline searches and talk to other doctors while we wait to talk to the endocrinologist. We should hear from her by the end of the week about the other tests and the referral.
So that's that. We still don't really know what's going on, so we're still waiting to react to it. I asked if we should change or monitor his diet in any way and she said no. She did mention that if we see a glucose monitor on sale we could pick one up and start testing his glucose levels every other day or so, just to start making a chart to give to the endocrinologist when we see him. But that is not necessary- I think she just knew I was grasping for something to do NOW.
I will keep you posted about future news on this front and on how the surgery goes tomorrow for his ear tubes. Hopefully the tubes will end the nearly constant parade of ear infections and sleepless nights, and he won't be too furious when he is denied the bottle yet again. Sometime soon I hope to report significantly more boring parenting news. Luckily Landon is totally oblivious to the drama - he's plump and smiley and has recently learned to make big (BIG!) splashes in the tub and laughs in response to your laugh. Someone listening in on our apartment would probably think we're insane because [JP] and I will just start laughing in order to see Landon laugh, and then we all laugh together, about absolutely nothing, and Landon thinks it is SO fun. Other recent developments: talking more to himself, lunging for the kitty when she walks by, getting up in crawling position and trying really hard to move forward but always ending up going backwards, and standing when you prop him up against a piece of furniture. He may be a medical mystery, but he's a darn cute one, and he may have introduced immeasurable stress into our life, but he's added more than enough joy to make up for it.
I don't know what to think right now. I just know that contrary to our hopes, the results this morning did not ease our minds or allow us to move on from this particular worry. My hands were shaking when I took Landon back out to the car. I didn't really think anything would come of this - in fact, we almost canceled the fasting test because he's been drinking normally and since we moved him up to the next size diaper he hasn't soaked through once. He just happened to seem thirsty, and just happened to be in small diapers, for the few days before his check-up, so I mentioned it to the pediatrician and she ordered the test since his finger was being pricked for the 9-month anemia and lead tests anyway. If the check-up had been this week I wouldn't have thought to say anything. And while I know it's wrong, and I know it's best to know something if it's there, part of me wishes I hadn't brought it up. Ignorance sounds nice right now.
Now I have to go sit through two hours of class without internet access when all I want to do is google "juvenile diabetes" and wait for my cell phone to ring.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I have, however, reorganized and re-labeled all our files. I have filled in Landon's baby book. I have done four loads of laundry. I have discovered new dinner recipes and created a grocery list. I have purchased gifts for any and all weddings taking place in 2008. I have researched appliances and furniture for our new home. I have played and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed my time with Landon.
Unfortunately most of those things were not on my to-do list and are not going to make this upcoming quarter, with its four classes, two unfinished papers, and myriad of non-school related tasks any easier.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
When I was scrutinizing my reflection at the store, I was trying to decide how skewed the image I saw in the mirror was. Based solely on the numbers, I know it can't be accurate. My weight is the lowest it's been since I was fifteen, 10 pounds less than the day I found out I was pregnant, before I gained 42 pounds in 36 weeks (yeah, can you imagine if he'd been full term?), and 5 pounds under the ideal for my height (though still within the healthy range). The number on my driver's license is now accurate, I never thought that would happen. And it's not just the numbers- my clothes are loose, my dressy jeans are not snug where they're supposed to be snug, and my wedding rings slide around my finger. So, based on the facts, I shouldn't be overly critical of what I see in the mirror, bikini-clad or no.
And yet, all I see is squishiness. I see at least 5 more pounds I'd love to lose. I picture a past version of me as looking better- even though I know that same me was just as dissatisfied, if not more so. Every time I've set a fitness and weight goal, and achieved it, I find myself looking at my reflection thinking, "how could I have thought this would it?" I was heavier in high school, I weigh about 25 pounds less now. If you had told the high school me what size jeans I'd be wearing now at 25, I would have been certain that future me would be so happy with herself. She'd be feel beautiful and confident and look for excuses to walk around in a two-piece. High school me would fail to realize that changing the numbers has almost nothing to do with changing the image you see in the mirror.
It's amazing how powerful the mind's image can be. I've watched close friends and family members battle eating disorders and they're something I'm wary of with my type-A personality and relentless search for personal flaws. I currently have a healthy relationship with food and most of the time I'm at peace with the mirror. Rationally, I know I must have looked okay in that bikini, and I'll probably keep it- especially after I show it to JP, a far more generous critic than I. But even with his affirmation, it's hard to look past the reflection I see in the mirror.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Landon had his "9 month" check-up this morning. He's really only 8.5 months, but his pediatrician is starting up a new clinic far away and we wanted him to be able to see her. His weight (20 lb. 12 oz.), height (29.5"), and head circumference (45 cm) are all good, and the needle pricking went well. He passed the anemia and lead blood tests and took his polio vaccine like a champ- he was too busy give sideways smiles to the nurse to even notice the prick.
The pediatrician was happy to see his rapidly healing surgical scar and happy to hear about the future ear tubes. Then I mentioned that Landon has seemed much more thirsty than usual and has been soaking through his diapers and clothes each night. She seemed concerned and ordered a glucose test. Which he failed. The nurses asked if he'd eaten in the last hour and he hadn't (it had been about 2.5 hours), so now they want to do a fasting glucose test on Monday at 8am. He's supposed to go 8 hours without eating- I'm sure that's going to go over really well.
I do not understand how one cute little package could have so many medical issues, all of which are ostensibly unrelated. Most of them haven't been that big of a deal (at least not in the long run) - the undescended testicle decided to join his friend on the right, the acid reflux was hell but we finally got medicine that helped and it resolved itself by 6 months like it was supposed to, the dermoid cyst was odd but was removed without complication, the ear infectionss have also been hell but aren't uncommon and the tubes should help-- but Type 1 diabetes? That's entirely different. It's permanent, chronic, and serious. It's not just another medical condition on the laundry list of things about Landon's first year that JP and I will never forget but which Landon, with his goldfish-like memory, will soon be blissfully unaware.
I'm not panicking yet, I'm just tired. Tired because he was up again at 4 AM. Tired because I'm pretty sure we could have another baby in two years who will sleep through the night while he still doesn't. Tired because I'm not even sure I want another baby, ever. Tired of doctors. Tired of Landon being in the small or rare group for everything. Tired and a bit overwhelmed with all I need to get done before I can graduate (like writing a 35 page substantial paper). Tired of not having the "easy baby" everyone else seems to have. Just tired and seriously thinking about crying in the law school green lounge.
Sigh... he sure is cute though.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The doctor only operates on Tuesdays, and it normally takes a month to get on her surgical schedule, but she's going to try to fit him in this upcoming Tuesday. I wanted to hug her. Landon gave her a big smile. Of course this means he'll have to undergo general anesthesia and near starvation again, but hopefully the ear infections will come to an end. And given his pitiful little face looking up at me at 4:00 this morning when he was so tired but cried when I tried to lay him down, I think he'd agree it's worth a try. And after seeing a pediatric urologist, gastroenterologist, orthopedist, geneticist, plastic surgeon, and ENT, hopefully this will be the end of the parade of specialists.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I have read articles about six-year waiting lists for Manhattan preschools, heard tales of children being interviewed and tested for toddler classes, the Wall Street Journal itself had a front page article revealing the dirty world of bribery and corruption lying behind the pristine facades of New York City preparatory preschools. I have rolled my eyes at all of them. "They're kids!" I say, "Practically babies, they need to play, eat sand, sing songs, and learn a few numbers and letters for Kindergarten. My siblings and I went to local church programs, ate play-dough and dirt on the weekends, and we turned out just fine. I'd never get wrapped up in an elite name or price point!"
And then I kind of did.
Infant and toddler care is a crazy world. Landon has been on the wait lists for two Austin day cares since August of 2007 - yes, back when he was 1 month old and wouldn't be starting anywhere in Austin for another 13 months. We put him on the UT childcare wait list the day after JP was accepted and were told the wait would be at least 18 months (and JP's program is only 24 months long). Our new neighborhood has its own child care center but we couldn't get on that list until we bought a house there; and once we did, we found out that he's 5th on the list for a full 12-kid class. Six toddlers would have to leave during the year for him to get a spot. And lastly, since we knew UT and the neighborhood centers were out for the immediate future, I found another center to tour which had a new toddler class in the Fall with one spot available. So, if you're keeping track, we have our names on 5 lists. We have spots available at 2. We don't know about 1. And we know we won't get into 2 for a while.
On our tours of the centers I was trying to soak everything in while thinking of marginally intelligent questions to ask. I have read articles on day care interviews but didn't find their lists helpful. What matters to me is that Landon is loved, is made to feel secure, and has fun - if he learns differential equations by age 2, that's just a bonus. At the centers the directors are talking about child psychology and teaching philosophies, and I didn't ask (either because I forgot or felt silly) what I really wanted to know: "will he get to play with play-dough? will he get to find out that the little orange centers of acorns don't taste nearly as good as they look? will he get to have a pet rollie pollie bug? will he get to play forts and pirate ship and restaurant and house? all at once? and most importantly, will you think he's one of the cutest kids in the world and love him and make sure the other kids are nice to him?" I know that student-teacher ratios, what food groups the snacks are in, and accreditation certificates are all very important, but on those issues all our potential day cares were about the same. And sure, I asked about outdoor time, games, snacks, and cost, but by the end of our whirlwind tours I could barely remember which place was which and I just didn't have a "feeling" about any of them.
JP and I went to lunch and tried to sort the places out. We both loved the FPD (fancy private daycare), but hesitated at the hefty price tag (it was $250 more per month, with extra fees, and was the only one that didn't provide lunch). JP asked if it was okay to talk about how expensive the center was, I mean it is our CHILD'S FUTURE we were discussing here, but I was pretty sure it was okay. Our child's future needs to involve a house and food and a savings account for his future mysterious medical ailments, so money seemed to be a valid factor. We both felt that the cheaper place (TCP) with new class seemed great too- very bright, lots of windows, big play ground, and video cameras so we can watch the little guy do whatever it is he does all day. But it was the cheapest and I didn't know any attorneys who used it - they all send their kids to the FPD. I started to worry I couldn't even tell them we chose the cheaper one, especially since most of them knew we had a spot at FPD. And we did think FPD was great, but we thought TCP was great too. And further complicating the decision were the different start dates at each, which meant different start dates for my job and pay checks, the fact that once we picked one we lost our spots at the others so we couldn't just change our minds if we didn't like it, worries about the 1 nap v. 2 nap schedule, and just not knowing what Landon would be like in 5 months and what classroom style would best fit him. And then my food came and head felt like it was going to explode (this was pre-cortisone shot, so it really did).
We went back and forth for days, requesting registration extensions from both centers (we rejected the center that wasn't sure about our wait list status as too dark and windowless). I kept changing my mind only to immediately make it up again. JP kept saying "okay" to anything I told him, which made me mad because I decided he wasn't taking it seriously. To which he replied, "both places are fine, you're taking it too seriously." To which I replied, "This is about our CHILD'S FUTURE, it is serious!". And then I realized I was being ridiculous and if I hadn't known that all the attorneys used the FPD I would have already confidently chosen TCP and been done with it. The kids seemed happy, the play ground was awesome, and the rooms were spacious and bright. The only thing holding me back was a feeling that we should be giving him THE BEST and the best suddenly meant the most expensive. And I have always known that is not true (and secretly mocked those who do not).
So Landon now has a daycare. It's near our house, it's reasonable ($950 a month, for those of you wondering what reasonable came to mean in all this), and while it's an important decision, it's not a permanent one. The people at FPD were nice enough to keep us on the waiting list so that if we change our minds, we're up for the next available spot. They also have a wonderful preschool that we may switch him over to at that time. We're also still waiting on UT and our neighborhood center (which was gorgeous). I feel really good about it. And I feel a little ridiculous for taking four hours to choose and bid on a house - our first house, the house we hope to spent 10+ years living in, the house that is taking all the money we spent three years carefully and painfully saving, but taking eight days to be okay with selecting a lovely, but less expensive daycare over the fancy, pricey one. This is the first time I nearly fell into the trap of choosing something just because it was the most expensive option, and I'm glad I didn't. Besides, I don't think the extra $250 makes the crayons taste any more delicious.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This morning I woke up at 7 AM to completely silence. I was about to roll over and go back to sleep when I realized that we hadn't heard a peep from Landon in 11.5 hours. Complete terror gripped me- I was certain that he was laying lifeless in his crib. It took me a few minutes to get up the courage to walk in his room but the second I opened the door, I heard his little sleeping sounds and felt the relief and joy wash over me. I nearly screamed in happiness- at 8.5 months old, Landon has FINALLY given himself and his exhausted parents a full night of restful sleep. I immediately woke up JP to inform him of the good news, and a few minutes later, at 7:30, we heard Landon happily babbling to his mobile. It may have been one of the best mornings of my life.
Monday, March 24, 2008
We have returned home to a snow dusted Chicago. It's a bit surreal to unpack swim suits and remember that just two days ago JP was out on a jet ski and Landon and I were in shorts and short-sleeves, feeling the grass beneath our barefoot toes. He finally got to wear some of the clothes I got back in May at his baby shower- including this fabulous UT jersey onesie. I believe "Hook 'Em" will be among his first words.
Overall the trip was very productive and great fun. One of the many reasons I am not completely depressed about leaving Chicago is how much I enjoy my family and how happy I am to soon be within driving distance of them. I can't wait to be able to throw a few bags in the back of the car and drive three hours for a weekend visit - much better than baby airplane logistics and the packing and re-packing of clothes, accessories, shopping trip purchases, and the gifts Landon accumulates wherever he goes. No matter how much space I try to leave in the suitcases, they are always stuffed to the point of bursting when we head home.
My family hadn't seen Landon since Thanksgiving, and the approximately one million photos I take each month just aren't a proper substitute for seeing the little man in person. He's changed so much! He didn't notice Molly, our loyal yellow lab, on the last trip, but this time he found the "big kitty" fascinating. Molly, being the wonderful dog that she is, endured his affections as best she could. But after about 15 minutes of his squealing, "petting," and trying to use her leg as a teether, she did look over at me like, "Excuse me, I'm about 110 in doggie years, and I've given you all the best of them. Can you please remove this mini human so that I can take my nap in peace? Thanks."
Easter is a big holiday in my family. We always attend both Good Friday and Easter Sunday services; it bookends a weekend that could be overshadowed by a giant bunny, and it's fitting to mourn the death before you celebrate the resurrection. Both services this year were beautiful. Landon spent all of Good Friday service in the cry room with my sister - he wasn't fussy, but he's recently discovered a range of very loud squeaking noises that just didn't seem appropriate for the solemn occasion. On Sunday, we all slept in (except for Landon and JP) and ended up going to the 11:00 service, which meant that for the first time ever we didn't do Easter baskets before church. When did we get so grown up that we didn't automatically wake up at the crack of down on a day that promised presents?
My dad (excuse me, the Easter Bunny) hides our baskets somewhere downstairs, and even though we've lived in the same house for 19 years, and he only uses three rooms, and the baskets are kind of big, it actually takes us a while to find them. This year he was distressed that I didn't have a basket, as Landon had "inherited" mine, but I assured him I was okay with the transition. And he needn't have worried, Mrs. Easter Bunny snuck in a few items for JP and I.
Landon was very dapper in his outfit and hat. Everyone is always amazed at his hat-wearing skills. I didn't know they were unique, but if you stick a hat on his head, he won't touch it. I think he knows how handsome it makes him look, and he enjoys the attention from the ladies.
The afternoon went by quickly with all toy playing, donut eating, and suitcase cramming. At the airport we were pleasantly surprised to find that the plane was less than half full (when is that last time that happened? 8 years ago?), so we got the entire bulkhead row to ourselves. As you can see, Landon was thrilled to have his own seat:
And it's a good thing he did because I have never seen him so active or chatty. We went through all our toys, bottles, and spare clothes (he spit up on JP and pooped through his diaper), but we made it okay. He slept near the end and my sinus pressure wasn't nearly as bad as the first flight. We got home around 10 PM and now that I've written a small novel, I suppose it's time to get to the unpacking, grocery shopping, cleaning, and other to-do list items that come with returning from a nine day vacation. Not to mention all the home-buying and daycare-picking related phone calls. And that small 35 page paper I have to research and write before May 19th so that I can graduate and pay for the house we are purchasing.
Happy late Easter to you all!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I did get to a doctor last night - a lovely little clinic near our new house. The doctor was wonderful and very thorough. He had some blood drawn for a CBC to see if what we were dealing with was even bacterial (since I wasn't responding to the antibiotics AT ALL), and it turns out it's viral. He asked if I'd had a flu shot (yes) and said that he had seen several people with terrible sinus-seeming-infections that were actually viral and possibly some odd variation of the flu. He gave me a shot of cortisone to help with the swelling that was threatening to split my head open, and I'm happy to report that it's working! I woke up this morning and my first thought was: "I don't have a headache!!!". It has since returned, but nothing like what it was before. My jaw no longer hurts to open and close and my eyes don't hurt when my eyelids close over them. I believe I will be able to get on the plane and return to Chicago, which is good, because while I'm excited about Austin, I still love my Windy City.
The home inspection is tomorrow, our lender has almost all our documents, I don't want to bore a hole in my head, and I'm watching Enchanted with my mom while Landon sleeps upstairs. Things are pretty fantastic.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I do adore this house. The exterior and interior are perfect. It's in a wonderful family-friendly neighborhood, very near the elementary school, grocery store, community pool, and huge park.
That's the family room, entry, study on the left, formal dining on the right, master suite through the arch off the family room.
View from the entry of the family room, breakfast area, and kitchen (with walk-in pantry!).
And here's the kitchen- the door in the center is for the utility room which connects to the garage. In the back is a beautiful deck and play area for Landon. There are four bedrooms and a big game room upstairs. I really can't believe I'm going to own this house...
In other news I'm getting sicker by the minute. I did try a Neti pot (thanks for the suggestions!) and that cleared out my nose, but the stuffiness is really located deeper in my head. It hurts to open and close my jaw, touch my eyes, etc. We may drive home tonight so I can go back to the clinic tomorrow morning. I really won't get on the plane when I'm already about to cry from the pressure in my head. Besides, there's no point to prolonging our wild-and-crazy weekend in Austin when I can't drink, have no appetite, and can't taste my food. We'll just have to leave Landon with my parents for a weekend once we move down here so we live it up properly!
The weather is gorgeous and so much fun could be had if my head didn't feel like it was going to explode. But there's a pretty house on a block in Austin that I can (almost) call mine. Life is good.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I am still quite sick. The sinus pressure has gotten so bad that it hurts to wash my face. To lightly press on my closed eye is intensely painful - it makes me feel like I'm back on the airplane again. I can't bend over or move my head much at all, and I continue to have the same splitting headache. I'm on antibiotics and a prescription decongestant that I think have helped, but I'm worried they won't help enough to make the return flight home bearable. The antibiotics seem to have turned my snot orange, which, other than being repulsive, seems quite fitting given my current location.
Tomorrow we tour three daycares while waiting to find out the status of our bid. We left the Houston at 7 AM - it's been a very long day. I talked to my mom and Landon is doing well in their care, of course. He watched my dad and brother play basketball on the driveway and was thoroughly entertained for over an hour. He's really enjoying the outdoors. The house we bid on has a playscape already in the yard that I know he will love - I can picture him swinging on it, tilting his head back and laughing.
Each time I return to Austin I'm reminded of how much I love it. Our family is going to grow here; our careers are going to begin here; and we're going to be happy here. I am going to miss Chicago a lot, and I'm going to miss the friends I love there even more, but I'm getting so excited about our future here. It's yet another beginning in our family's story, and beginnings are my favorite part.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
We're here. The two days before we left were quite awful - Landon cried all night, I wanted to cry all night, JP worked late, and I kept getting sicker. Then everything went wrong the morning we were supposed to go to the airport. After waiting nearly 45 minutes for a cab that never came (it was the St. Patrick's Day celebration and every drunk person in Chicago needed one), we threw all our stuff in my car and took off in search of cheap off-site airport parking. We ended up arriving at the back of the security line 5 minutes after our plane started boarding. We raced to our gate with a backpack, diaper bag, car seat, and Landon flying behind us. Luckily, we made it to our bulkhead seats, and Landon was perfect (silent) for the entire flight. I, however, wanted to die. I was still very congested and the pressure in the cabin made my head feel like it was going to split open. I believe I actually moaned at one point. Tomorrow I'm off to my hometown medical clinic tomorrow for some antibiotics for what I'm sure is a bad sinus infection.
We spent today up at my parent's lake house. The weather was gorgeous - JP was out on the jet ski and Landon and I were wearing shorts and short sleeves. Chicago seemed a very long way away. Landon also got to try his very first tortilla - it was a big hit.
JP is determined to make Landon as Texan as possible, as quickly as possible. I imagine he'll be in boots and a mini cowboy hat before we leave. He has been absolutely delightful, and no one believes he is ever anything but perfect for us. I hope he stays this good while my parents babysit this week.
We're off to Austin Tuesday to see friends, drink margaritas, pick a daycare, and buy a house. I think 2.5 days should be enough time, don't you?
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I keep getting sicker- my nose is raw and pink from the constant blowing. I've actually been walking around school with a box of deluxe triple-ply kleenex in one hand and a bag to throw my used tissues in the other. It's as pathetic as it sounds. Last night was a real low point. I had another splitting headache, fever, coughing, runny nose, etc. Landon was fussy, refusing food and the bottle, and topped off the good times by throwing up all over me. JP was working late, so I was on my own all night. It sucked. There's something about being sick that just makes you feel selfish. Maybe it's a survival mechanism, but all I wanted to do last night was curl up on the couch with some tea and a chick flick. Landon was having none of that sitting on the couch business, so we walked around the apartment, took a long bath, and swayed in the dark in his room. He finally went to sleep at 9, just in time for Top Chef Chicago (I cannot tell you how excited I am about this season of the show - it's in my city!).
Yes, I was supposed to be studying for the final I had today, but all of the above-mentioned crappiness got in the way. And sure, I could have read outlines after Landon went to bed, but I felt I deserved some kind of indulgence and Top Chef was my bon bon of choice. I tried to study during the commercials, but I was brain dead and enveloped in a fog of cold medicine. JP got home around 10:30 and we had a big, stupid argument about nothing because we felt sorry for ourselves, and it really never works out well when you both think you deserve pity at the same time.
So, the con law final. It's done. It wasn't great, but I'm sure I passed. Of the three questions, one was entirely about a section I never read in the book or got to in any of the outlines, so that was unfortunate. I was certain there were lots of cases on point, but I couldn't think of them; and I knew there was deep analytical things to be said, but I couldn't think of any of those either, so I made stuff up. It was supposed to be a mock Supreme Court opinion and I think that's what the justices sometimes do anyway. Anytime you see, "It is settled law that ______" without a citation, that's a hint that they're completely winging it. My exam answers should at least entertain the professor with my grand statements about law that are totally without precedent. Any way, winter quarter is over and that means there's only one left between me and graduation! (Well, there's that substantial paper I still have to write, but we'll ignore that for now).
Landon was up again most of last night crying, so JP took off work this morning despite the mountain of projects on his desk to take him to the pediatrician. He has another ear infection - that makes five in two months. We have an appointment with the ENT on the 31st. She said it looked like the infection was declining, so hopefully with two days of antibiotics the plane ride won't be the horrific experience I'm imagining. The poor kid. I'm pretty sure we're looking at PE tubes, and right now I feel like we can't get them in soon enough.
So this week has pretty much stunk, but we were (barely) surviving. Then I got this email from the lender of my student loans, with the title "IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED":
As you may know there have been unprecedented disruptions in the capital markets that have significantly affected the ability for lenders to issue student loans. As a result, we are unable to fulfill your pending loan disbursements. Therefore you must contact your financial aid office as soon as possible to take the necessary steps to secure replacement funding for the disbursements that we are canceling.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, but by contacting your financial aid office immediately you will be able to secure funds from another lender.
[your lender who just lost a lot of money in the stock market]
Aaaaaaaaaah. I hate student loans. They confuse me and somehow I always apply for them wrong. Now I have to do it again, in the middle of the year. Don't they know I'm applying for a mortgage and this increases the amount of paperwork I have to pull together in two days? It's really just been one of those weeks.
But the weather outside is gorgeous, and Landon and I are going to get pizza with a good friend of mine who's in town from San Francisco. Things are going to start looking up. And even if they don't, Landon will be in the loving arms of his grandparents while JP and I spend three whole days in Austin house hunting, daycare visiting, and eating all the Tex-Mex we can handle. I'm pretty sure copious amounts of tequila will also be involved. Just two more days...
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Yesterday was pure misery. I had an 8-hour take home exam in Sexual Orientation and the Law. I began studying for the final after picking it up 10 minutes late from the registrar's office. I spent the first two hours checking email, reading news stories, and outlining the questions. During the next six hours I wrote 3,920 words over 14 pages while going through a box of kleenex, 8 cups of tea, and sneezing every 20 minutes. I'm certain everyone in the library hated me. I emailed in the exam 30 minutes early because I just couldn't think of anything else to say. I think I did fine, nothing great, but I had good notes from the class, and I was able to turn them into thorough, even if far from brilliant, essays. I'm just glad it's done.
After turning in the exam, I picked up Landon and found out he had thrown up all over Maya and his clothes earlier in the day. I adore her because she didn't even call me, she just cleaned him up and put him to bed. He was still asleep when I got there and very upset at being bothered. He was fussy, feverish, and clingy all evening. I had one of the worst headaches I've had in years (and that's saying a lot), a 102 degree fever of my own, and just wanted to cry. Landon wanted to cry too, so we sat on our recliner, watched re-runs of America's Next Top Model, and cried together. JP got home in time to give Landon his bath while I curled up in a ball and moaned along with the pulsing in my head. Landon was up from 3 to 5 AM, but JP dealt with it and thanks to a dense fog of nighttime cold medicine, I slept through everything.
This morning Landon woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed, so maybe his cold was just taking one final stand last night. He had been feeling (and sleeping!) much better the past few days, so I was surprised when he seemed worse yesterday. I still feel awful, but at least I was able to take Landon to daycare this morning. My Con Law II final is tomorrow morning, and I'm still missing giant sections in my outline (like freedom of the press, only a small part of the 1st Amendment), but I just want it over with. Then I can focus on fun things like creating a beautiful excel spreadsheet with our potential Austin home information on it, coloring in a map of the neighborhood we're looking in, and creating a schedule of daycares we're going to visit while there. I opened up excel this morning, but forced myself to close it because I should at least read through some con law outlines before the exam. I mean seriously, I must have some kind of academic standards left in me. This makes me worry about the Fall- I wonder how hard it will be to rediscover my work ethic. I know I used to have one...
Monday, March 10, 2008
In health news, I am sick with a bad cold. I'm sure those sitting near me in the library are hating me for the constant sneezing and nose-blowing. My head is filled with snot and other yuckiness and there is no room left for con law. Landon had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon this morning and everything looks great! The stitches look good and there's very little swelling - this might be one medical story that is completely drama-free (other than the near starvation he suffered Thursday morning). The surgeon said that for all his complaining in the pre-op room, he was totally quiet and happy down in the OR. He looked around, smiled at everyone, didn't put up any resistance to the IV (which they got on the first try, yay!), and then just closed his eyes. That was nice to hear. He really has turned into such a happy little fellow. Maybe he always was, there was just so much drama and crap and pain covering it up. This weekend while I was "studying" and he was sitting in my lap, banging on the desk and trying to pull off my nose, I realized how much we enjoy him now. While there were some great times and we loved him to death, I can't say his first several months with us were particularly enjoyable overall. But now, he's just so fun. His personality is coming through and JP and I spend hours just talking, playing, and laughing (and laughing more) with him. Babies can be a blast - who knew?
Saturday, March 8, 2008
I am sitting in an under-heated undergraduate library, wearing my puffy down coat, and striving to create a con law outline without actually having read con law. Snow is pouring down from the heavens. I am freezing. I am tired. I am without belugas.
Yes, today was supposed to be the day I lived my own version of the famed Raffi song, but I had to reschedule it due to a baby being home from daycare for the millionth time this quarter, JP's work suddenly demanding his presence on nights and weekends, and my shocking lack of preparedness for finals. April 5th is now the big day- I'm sure the belugas are looking forward to it as much as I am.
Our little patient continues to do well. We went to Target yesterday and I let him pick out a toy and variety of band-aid. I lined up three options on a shelf and after much careful consideration, reading of the labels, and weighing of the costs and benefits, Landon selected the Baby's First Blocks and Spider-Man band-aids (and by "selected" I mean lunged his body towards and tried to cram in his mouth). We also purchased a small plastic watering can after I let my cart get too close to a shelf and looked away for half a second. When I looked back, he had a water can sticking out of his mouth. Luckily it was only $1.99, and I figure it will be fun to play with in the tub.
As you can see Landon is already working on the "learning objectives" displayed on the toy's box: "Filling the bucket with blocks, dumping them out, and starting over is great for eye-hand coordination and other early skills. Then baby can move on to sorting and stacking, learning about identifying and matching shapes while having fun!"
Oh, wait - sucking on the sorting tray, without even noticing the brightly colored blocks within isn't an objective? At least he's easily entertained. I don't think every toy needs an educational purpose anyway - have you noticed the Fisher-Price "Laugh and Learn" series? A lot of the stuff looks cute, but I find it funny that they try to pack the word "learn" into the descriptions as many times as possible. Like the "Laugh and Learn Learning Toolbench". I mean really? It couldn't just be a fun bench that baby can hit with a hammer?
Anyway, Landon still has a terrible cough- he sounds like a 60-year-old smoker hacking up a lung. Every time I think about getting worried about it, I just remind myself that three doctors and two nurses examined him and listened to his lungs on Thursday and if they didn't mention anything except a cold, then that's probably all it is. Plus he's seeing two doctors next week for various follow-ups, so knowing those are in our future makes me less apprehensive. Other than the hacking, he is doing great. He doesn't seem to have any pain, is very playful, and is drinking well. He still hasn't eaten much baby food, I think it's because he's wary of his beloved bottle being taken away again. He demanded a few sucks every twenty minutes Thursday and Friday. I'm pretty sure he was testing me, and as he sucked, he'd eye me with deep suspicion.
Alright, study break over - I need to at least read through an entire con law outline if I'm not going to read the book. It's a good thing there's only five exams left in my law school career, I keep doing less and less to prepare for them.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Greetings Dear Readers,
I am pleased to report that Landon is home and doing well. I am drinking an enormous diet coke which I am counting on fueling me through the next hundred hours of catch-up reading and exam studying. But before I open my con law book for the first time in weeks, I thought I'd share our surgical adventure today.
It all began when Landon had to stop eating at midnight, stop drinking formula at 6 AM, and stop drinking clear liquids at 10 AM. As you can see from the following picture, he is PISSED about this.
By the time we were in pre-op at 12:15, he was in the midst of a total meltdown. After his pleas for food were cruelly rebuffed by JP and I, he regarded us with hurt betrayal and turned to others for help. He would quiet down whenever someone new walked in the room, look up hopefully with wide eyes, and when a bottle was not immediately produced, begin to wail again. It was so sad. He was certain his big belly was wasting away and couldn't understand why everyone was ignoring his cries of hunger. Until...
He was momentarily distracted by a mirror and surgical hat produced by our angel of a surgical nurse. Sadly, this did not last long. Immediately after this picture was taken he tried to eat the surgical hat, but quickly rejected it as unpalatable and began to wail again.
While all the wailing was going on, almost certainly scaring all the other kids waiting to go in for their surgeries, doctors came in and out of the room to yell details about the upcoming procedure. The chief attending anesthesiologist was on Landon's case and he quickly decided that there was only one thing that was going to make Landon happy and that was, "General Anesthesia". He scooped Landon up, cuddled him against his chest, and carried him off to the OR. Landon looked hopeful again as they walked out of the room together. A nurse followed behind with his bed.
JP and I went down to the cafeteria, ate the worst piece of pizza I've ever had, and quickly returned to the OR waiting room. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, the surgeon came in to talk to us, saying that everything went well. He showed us a picture of the cyst, which was removed in entirety and bigger than anyone had expected. It was shaped like an open clam shell which big and small halves. The smaller half was actually lodged into the muscle above his eye, so the surgeon rebuilt the muscle and said it should heal up just fine. Landon's left eye may open and close a little slower than the right for a couple weeks while the muscles build up to fill in the area previously taken up by the cyst, but he wasn't even sure we'd notice the difference. The anesthesiologist was a little concerned about Landon's coughing, but thought we could just run a vaporizer tonight by his bed. We will follow up with the surgeon on Monday.
After another thirty minutes we were able to join our trooper back in recovery. He tried to look pathetic:
but gave his daddy smiles whenever the nurse wasn't looking. He didn't cry and was very happy to have a bottle back in his life, even if it was just filled with pedialyte.
As the anesthesiologist foretold, Landon fell asleep in the middle of kicking off his blanket and telling us all about his adventures. He woke back up 5 minutes later and looked confused. He enjoyed petting the cast covering his IV because it made a funny noise and was absolutely determined to pull off the pulse-ox wrapped around his toe. He succeeded after about ten minutes causing multiple alarms to go off. He looked very pleased with all the attention.
We headed home a little after 4 PM. Right now he's sleeping in his swing, sporting his very macho band-aid, and moving his lips like he's drinking a bottle. I almost hate to type it this early, but it looks like this was one medical procedure he didn't make more complicated than necessary. My first final is on Monday and JP has several big work assignments due, so we'll be nursing in shifts while the other works. I'd like to write "hopefully Landon will cooperate", but I think he's holding a grudge about the bottle fast we put him on this morning.
He sure looks peaceful right now though, doesn't he?
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Landon had two bloody stools yesterday. We called the pediatrician last night and she is very concerned about Clostridium difficile, a bad bacteria in the colon which is able to thrive because all the good bacteria in the gut has been eradicated by repeated antibiotic treatment (which Landon most certainly has had). JP is staying home from work again today to take him to the doctor's office for a stool culture. He has been such an enormous help over the past few days with Landon being sick (he's also developed a horrible cough and is tugging on his non-infected ear) and my finals looming ever closer. I'll keep you posted about the results.
Update, 3:45 PM: Landon is fine. The red poop is, well... red poop. Landon likes to keep us all guessing- including his pediatrician who had theories, but no certainties about what's causing it. Despite the mysterious poo, his newly developed 65-year-old-smoker-like cough, and the recent fever and ear infections, his surgery is still on for tomorrow at 1 PM. He is not to have any food after midnight, no formula after 6 AM, and no clear liquids after 11 AM. Yeah, it'll be fun trying to explain that to him tomorrow. He'll probably rub some bacteria in his ear to create another ear infection the night before my con law final as his revenge. The good news is that his baby modeling career can take off soon - maybe he can pay us back for his medical bills! (Just kidding about the modeling, though JP is convinced that Landon is the best looking baby ever and we could make millions if we sent his picture into Gerber. I'm just happy to have that bump off his eyebrow. It was getting really big and moved so easily it was starting to freak me out. And I'm sure the lady babies at daycare will appreciate his bump-free visage.)
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I really need to go to bed. It's possible that Landon is having a rare, but serious complication with his antibiotic (just got off the phone with the pediatrician), so we'll be in the doctor's office first thing in the morning. You know, because I really needed more to do this week, with both my finals a week away, his surgery and overnight hospital stay on Thursday, and my Aquarium adventure on Saturday. Hopefully it's nothing, but with Landon that's so rarely the case, I should be resting up for the drama that will probably unfold tomorrow morning.
But I can't stop watching the results roll in on CNN. If I wasn't so busy and behind, there totally would have been another Election Party tonight. This time with a Texas Two-Step theme: brisket, vermicelli salad, baked beans, corn bread, and cake. If I hadn't just dropped $150,000 on a law degree, I think I would want to be an event planner.*
*I meant for this to be a very short post about watching CNN and it turned into a longer ramble ending with a statement about brisket and event planning. Seeing your exhaustion in physical, blog-post form is a little sad, but it's giving me the strength to turn off the TV and wait until morning to see the results. Given that Landon likes to host a party at 4am, I won't have to wait too long.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Where was I? Oh yes, my 3 pm study break update. Landon is doing wonderfully. He slept from 9 pm to 5:45 am - something he doesn't usually do even when he's healthy! Everyone was feeling perkier this morning - especially Landon, who's acting like nothing ever happened. He hasn't had a fever since yesterday morning, has been eating and drinking normally, and spent an hour bouncing away in his jumperoo squealing with delight at the cat. He probably could have gone to Maya's today, but that seemed wrong, so JP is home with him while I get things done at the law school. So far I've made lots of necessary phone calls, proof-read the four papers I wrote on Saturday (I am now done with Marriage Law for the quarter- yay!), and read a long scholarly article that I now need to write a reaction paper for (well, first I need to think of a reaction. The paper was moderately interesting with nothing jumping out, begging to be critiqued for five pages). But with some sleep, my diet coke, and a brownie, the world is looking pretty bright again.
Okay, brownie gone, diet coke empty- back to work!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
When we walked into the ER Landon was on fire and so listless it was really starting to scare me. I tried to sit him up in my lap to unzip his outfit and he kept crumpling over. He hadn't drank more than a few ounces since 5 PM Saturday night and his breathing has very rapid and shallow. We were given Tylenol and Pedialyte and sent back to urgent care- where we waited almost three hours to be seen by the doctor. A few minutes before she came in we were ready to leave - Landon had cooled down and perked up, he was drinking well, and making nice wet diapers. Luckly she came in pretty soon after that, looked in Landon's ears, and started pulling lots of gunk out of the left one. Apparently it was solidified pus which had hardened in the ear canal and exerted extra pressure on his painful, bright red, raging ear infection. No wonder he cried for 13 hours. She said there was so much stuff in the ear she couldn't even see the infection until she spent 5 minutes digging it out. He's now on a new, stronger antibiotic and receiving alternating doses of Tylenol and Motrin. His temperature is normal, he's drinking much better, and he even flirted with a woman at Chipotle when JP and I grabbed lunch at 4:30. Those coy smiles were a relief to see.
Thank you all very much for your concern and well wishes. After trying to piece together the events of last night with JP it appears that I got about 75 minutes of sleep, so that's 15 more than I thought! Of course no studying took place today, but JP is taking off work to stay home with Landon tomorrow so that I can go to school. I have a reaction paper due Tuesday on a gigantic scholarly article I haven't even downloaded yet. But it'll get done and most important is the fact that Landon just saw his cat and got a giant smile on his face as he lunged out to grab as much of her fur as possible. That's our boy.
I'm not so much concerned with everything I was supposed to be getting done today (and tomorrow and the surgery we may have to reschedule again next week), I just hate walking back in a hospital with him. Send good thoughts.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
- catch up in the Marriage Law reading, write four, 5-page reaction papers on something in the reading
- read 200+ pages in Con Law, create outline, write something on the Exam
- create outline for Sexual Orientation and the Law, write something on the Exam
- write reaction paper to final Law & Politics Workshop meeting for the quarter
- talk with Austin loan officer and realtor to make schedule for home buying trip March 18-20
- go through the hundred Austin listings our realtor has sent, do research, create list of homes to see on our 3-day home buying trip
- have apartment surveyed by moving estimator to get timeline of summer move (tomorrow, 11:30)
- get Landon sleeping through the night so we can all get a little rest before his surgery and our trip to Texas send his sleep schedule back to hell
- go to hospital for Landon's surgery (March 6th), pretend like I will study while there, spend the night watching children's movies instead
- play with beluga whales
- pack and fly to Texas
I'm not very stressed out about the school stuff because my expectations are embarrassingly low. I really meant it when I said I just want something to be able to write on the exam (it's also embarrassing how much work I'm going to need to do in the next few days so that I will have something to write on the exam). Con law is my toughest class, but it's case-based rather than statute or code-based, and that's easier for me to prepare for.
No, exam stress lies on the periphery of my mind. At the forefront are the lack of sleep, Landon's surgery, and the fact that we are buying a house in two weeks. I've spent all morning at the library, supposedly writing reaction papers, but actually perusing the home listings online. I love this kind of research- looking at pictures, floor plans, virtual tours, maps, etc. and trying to picture us in each home. My stress levels surrounding the home buying have been extremely low so far. I'm completely trusting our loan officer and realtor (both highly recommended by close friends), but yesterday I was perusing amazon.com (is it any wonder I'm so behind in my reading?) and discovered hundreds of books about buying your first house. I realized that I have done no research on this - none - and other people do lots! This is so unlike me. Normally I'd have read at least three books cover-to-cover and created a detailed list of questions to ask the realtor, a color-coded map of each subdivision with the distance to the pool, park, and elementary school noted for each house, an entire excel spreadsheets with our projected costs for next year, and so much more. Right now all I've done is save a few favorite listings in a folder online. And oddly enough, I'm okay with this. Maybe it's an implicit acceptance of my limitations, with finals, the non-sleeping baby, and the beluga whales all demanding my time. Maybe my OCD is relaxing as I get older. Maybe I'm going to start FREAKING OUT about this very soon. But for now, I'm just excited to go buy a house. It's just like buying something at the mall, right?