Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Matthew's Surgery


We went to Scottish Rite today where Matthew had surgery to clean out his ears and also to get the cavities in his teeth taken care. I learned a lot, which I'll share, as well as Matthew's reactions. Before the surgery I consulted with the dentist and he offered to "bond" Matthew's front teeth to make them look more "normal". I readily agreed as Matthew has made several comments about not liking how his teeth are shaped. As you can see from the photo they look great! Matthew told me that he had "Sponge Bob Teeth". I was confused but sure enough when we got home Sponge Bob was on TV and he has teeth with a big space in between--just like Matthew's!!

Some of the things I found out from the dentist:

*Matthew's four front teeth are baby teeth but his molars are his permanent teeth.
*The adult teeth in front probably will not come in for at least a year.
*No other dental work will be attempted until his adult teeth come in.
*The bone for the graft Matthew will most likely need for his bottom jaw will come from his rib.
*Matthew has a couple of teeth that are under his bone in his upper jaw. They will most likely leave them there because if they are removed the chances are very high that he will lose bone also.

Things I learned from the ENT:
*Matthew's ears had LOTS and LOTS of built up "stuff" that was successfully removed.
*The left ear looks good and clean
*The right ear shows signs of previous infections that were uncared for.
*The right ear drum has a hole in it as well as a "cyst".
*The ENT is hoping that the cyst is not a cholesteatoma
*A cholesteatoma is a serious condition.
*The ear drum will not be repaired for several years.
*Matthew more than likely has permanent hearing loss in his right ear.
*In four weeks we will have a follow up with the ENT and she will be able to determine better what the cyst is.

Other things I learned:
*Matthew saw the IV pole and whimpered, "I don't want that".
*Matthew had IVs in China when he was "sick".
*Matthew became very giggly and funny when first given the "goofy" (versaid) medicine, he then started to cry and ask for his sister Sarah.
*Matthew was SO excited to see his teeth for the first time. He couldn't wait to go home and show everyone!
*Matthew tolerated the procedure exceptionally well!

Grace's Tap Costume--Isn't she beautiful??!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gold, Ginger and Priceless

Sarah's dance company won THREE gold medals for their performance on Saturday!!!!

Our newest baby, Ginger!

Matthew's turn at reading!

What a week it has been! The kid's finished up with their CRCT testing (good ole' "no child left behind). Even Matthew had to take the Math portion of the test. He did a wonderful job, I'm told, being quiet, listening to the teacher and filling in all of the circles with perfectly round bubbles! At first I was so disgusted that Matthew was going to have to take the test but after it was all over I was glad. Why? Because Matthew felt left out on the two days that he did not have to test. After taking the Math portion he was so proud of himself! Who knows, maybe he'll "meet standards" and show how "valid" the CRCT really is!
Matthew has made such leaps in the past few weeks. His speech, vocabulary and desire to show what he has learned really exploded. He is spelling everything, sounding out words as best as he can and wanting to read. Analiese brought a project home last week that asked us to read aloud as many books as we could. I involved all of the kids and had them choose books to read to each other. Matthew chose his ABC book and not only identified all of the letters but most all of the pictures--even the obscure ones!
Matthew, Analiese and Gracie are taking swimming lessons. Grace is a good swimmer but asked to take a class when I signed the other two up. I suspect she felt left out and learning some stroke refinement can only help her. I haven't been to see a lesson but Dave tells me that Matthew is doing very well, Analiese cries because Daddy isn't watching her (but is learning quickly) and Grace is flourishing!
Gracie is really coming into her own these days. She is excelling in her tumbling class so much that her coaches tell me she needs to be at a gym that can give her the gymnastics instruction she needs. I've also been told that she is a "natural" and could go very far if Grace chooses to! I couldn't be prouder of my girl!
Then there is Sarah, my gifted dancer! This weekend she participated with her dance company in a national dance competition. They performed two dances and won a gold medal for both! For one of the dances they won another gold for "best all around performance". I wish I could say she gets her talent from me but I cannot. I dance like I have two left feet! Now if she was playing basketball, football or softball.....
And now for the last bit of news from this past week. We have a new kitten! The girls named her Ginger because of her color. I know, I know that makes 3 cats for us. I can't say why this little one tugged at my heart so much. I can say that we saved her from the pound. One of our PTA moms was on her way to the pound with 7 little babies (her sister's cats each had a litter two days apart from each other). The PTA was having a plant sale for a school fund raiser and I went to pick up my plants and saw the sweetest little face looking up at me. What else could I do??? Our sweetie, Clarence, LOVES Ginger. He thinks we brought home a live toy for him to play with. We have to keep the two of them separated during the day because Clarence is a tad too rough. Duchess, once she realized that her position wasn't threatened, is tolerating the baby.
Our house is full of energy, love and craziness---just the way we like it!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm mad as H*LL!

As promised here is my experience last week when I took Matthew to Scottish Rite for his appointment at the Craniofacial clinic. Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love the doctors there and they do a fabulous job. They are professional, down-to-earth and very caring about my children. However---keeping to a schedule? Horrible! I don't know if it is the schedulers or what. But, every time, yes EVERY time I go to the clinic (where you see all of the doctors) I wait and wait and wait some more. It is so frustrating. This last Friday we had an appointment for Matthew to see the dentist and the surgeon. We knew that the majority of Matthew's work is dental but we just weren't sure who would be doing all of the work. We wanted to see everyone in one day to talk about a plan of care.
Well I admit I was 15 minutes late for the 2:00 appointment. By 3:15 we still had not been seen and I went up to the nurse at the desk and asked how much longer it was going to be. She informed me that there were 3 (yes 3) others ahead of me. I was shocked! The nurse then went on with the stock response, "there was emergencies". Do I look stupid???? This is the craniofacial clinic for goodness sake! What kind of emergency are we talking about?
I proceeded to voice my displeasure that waiting was the norm every time I brought the children into the clinic. I wanted to know if the problem was because of over scheduling or what. The nurse was dumbfounded. She just looked at me. However, a wonderful young lady came over with snacks and responded so appropriately. She acknowledged that I DO wait each and every time I am at the clinic, she agreed that the problem was theirs and that they were working on it and she apologized. I cannot tell you how much respect I had for her.
Well, we FINALLY got called to one of the rooms. Oh, it felt like I had won the lottery! Yes, we will now see the doctors. The first doctor in was Dr. Williams, the plastic surgeon. He greeted me (he is wonderful!) and asked about Matthew and his adjustment. He then looked in Matthew's mouth and declared that his services were not needed at this time. Dr. Williams said that Matthew's immediate care would require the dentist, the ENT, the dermatologist and the speech therapist. He spoke to me about future cosmetic care that we may want when Matthew was older. We then spoke about the bone graft procedure and Dr. Williams chuckled and hugged me. He told me that he remembered when we first met and discussed Analiese's care and how I cried. He called me an "old pro". With that he left.
And in came in Dr. Thomas' (the dentist) assistant. She informed me that Dr. Thomas was in surgery and was not working in the clinic that day. I was speechless. I finally sputtered that I waited 2 hours to get a 10 minute visit with the surgeon but the most important person was not available and NO ONE CALLED ME to give me an opportunity to reschedule????? The assistant made some excuses and told me that she would have Dr. Thomas call me on Monday (he did not).
On my way out, the people at the desk smiled and were just about to ask me a question when I vented to them. I explained how we waited so long to see the DENTIST and he wasn't even working that day. Once again, the wonderful young lady (I wish I had gotten her name) responded so appropriately. She wrote down our names and agreed that we had every right to be angry. This didn't calm me down but it certainly prevented a major meltdown.
For those who know me know my expectations. I expect professionalism and respect. My time is just as important as the doctors. I expect to be seen within a reasonable amount of time. I know that when I go to Dr. Williams private office we are seen within 5 minutes of our scheduled time. I realize that the clinic is harder to schedule as more people are involved but waiting 75 minutes???? Ridiculous!
I'm not a sheep and will not sit quietly waiting I will be vocal and demand respect. Hopefully I will see some results!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Mommy, It hurts"

...Matthew informed me at dinner. The pain in his abdomen hit so suddenly. After a trip to the bathroom, the pain continued and Matthew was unable to stand upright. We got Matthew to couch, had him lay down and I gently poked and pushed to see where the pain was centered. It was on the right side and boy was it tender. Matthew moaned and yelled and crawled on the floor to the office where I was on the phone with the nurse from Children's Healthcare. The nurse told me to take Matthew to the ER as she was concerned about possible appendicitis. So, off we went.
We got to Kennestone pediatric ER within 20 minutes and was it PACKED! There were kids with stomach flu, broken ankles, dog bites, diaper rash and obnoxious, overbearing parents. Matthew felt better laying down and that's what he did while watching TV. At one point a very, very horrible smell (and green cloud) seemed to seep from Matthew. I asked if he needed to go potty and he said yes. Into the bathroom we went. Normally I would give him privacy but I wanted to know what he did so I could tell the doctor. Confused, Matthew asked, "why are you watching me?"
Well after the potty visit Matthew's pain went away. Hmm, maybe not appendicitis after all! After about an hour and half wait we got in to see the doctor. After a review of his symptoms and listen to his belly the "tentative" diagnosis was made---constipation! We were sent for an x-ray just to be sure.
Matthew was funny when the x-ray tech took him into the room. He was frightened and yelled. He did NOT want to get on the table. We finally got him up there. His fears vanished when the tech adjusted the table and Matthew went for a ride--he giggled!
The x-ray confirmed the doctor's diagnosis. We were told to eat lots of fruits, veggies and drink lots of water. I told the doctor Matthew's diet is full of those items. She asked if Matthew drank lots of milk (he does, he loves it!). She told me to cut out the dairy for awhile. She said that Matthew's system wasn't used to the milk or the amount of food that he is now eating.
So, we've cut out the yogurt, milk and cheese starting today and loaded up with raisins, watermelon and veggies. We also gave him some Milk of Magnesia. Poor sweet Matthew showed me his belly today and said, "I have a baby"--he definitely has a distended tummy.
We're glad that he didn't have appendicitis and have learned that we must monitor Matthew much more closely. I never thought I'd have to ask him, like I used to when the girls were younger, "did you make a poopy today"??!!
On a side note, at the hospital, once we were put into a room, the doctor saw us quickly, the x-ray techs were quick and professional but the nurses were AWFUL! When the doctor informed us that we could go home as soon as our paperwork was finished, we waited 25 more minutes AND then were moved out of the room into the hallway to allow another patient to be seen. I asked a tech how much longer we had to wait and he indicated that "one nurse had to sign the paperwork, please give us 5 more minutes". Well five minutes later I gathered our stuff and told the tech and the nurses that we were leaving. Surprised, they said, "your paperwork is right here, it just needs to be signed." On my way out I told them I wasn't waiting for a signature, that I had waited long enough. I intend to contact the ER supervisor this coming week. I am SO tired of being treated as if my time is not important. I have a story, in the same vein, about our visit to the craniofacial clinic at Scottish RIte that I'll save for next week. Like Jack Lemon screamed, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fun with the Wii

We love, love, love playing the Wii! Neither Dave nor I are big video game players. We've bought several game systems for the boys and have had an Xbox for years. We've never considered it something the family could do together. Until we bought a Wii! This game system has given us hours and hours of fun. We especially love bowling. Sweet Analiese is a PRO! As you can see from the scores posted, Analiese bowled a 203, Grace a 162, Matthew a 129 and Sarah a 117 (which is one of her lowest games ever)! Notice the "people" (Miis) that Sarah created; they look ALOT like the kids. Dave's Mii looks so much like him it is eerie!
Unfortunately our "home" bowling pro got a little too enthusiastic the other night and when she sent her ball down the alley she actually threw the remote, and hit the (new) TV! Yes, the remote broke but the TV didn't. So for that we were thankful. It was an expensive lesson for all to learn to ensure that we take the time to put the band securely on our wrist. Poor Analiese was so sad that when Dave came home she told him, "Daddy, I broke the Wii" and then immediately ran into my arms and began to sob.
The Wii system is expensive but so worth the money. We spend lots of time together not only playing but explaining the games. It is great watching the kids develop strategy. Matthew isn't at that level yet but I'm sure he soon will be. The games are also a wonderful behavior incentive. I've stopped many an argument with, "I hope it's worth your Wii time"...
I'd be lying if I said that Dave and I only play with the kids. I've never wanted to golf with Dave and now I'll attempt to do 9 holes. I have always been competitive (thanks to my older sister Margie, "I win, you lose") and now hold the record for the highest bowling score at 206. Analiese ALMOST broke that tonight but couldn't dethrone me--YES!
If you haven't had the opportunity to experience the Wii I highly recommend that you do. And if you are considering buying a system but hate the cost---splurge, you won't regret it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

And I thought we bypassed this stage!

Once again I'm surprised. Surprised that Matthew has entered a toddler phase. Surprised that after four months of no sleeping issues our son says his room is "squarey" and he wants to sleep with Mom and Dad. Actually it hit out of nowhere when, putting Matthew to bed after his brothers left, he cried that he had to sleep alone. He asked for James (who sleeps in his room when he is here) and then asked to sleep with me. Then I REALLY wasn't expecting the next night when Matthew got out of bed at 3:45 AM (!!!) to get into bed with me because his room was "squarey". After my initial confusion, I quickly decided that I had to deal with this situation in the same way I did with Grace and Analiese---take him back to bed and reassure him that all was fine! After many tears, three or four times back to my room, I finally got him to stay in his room!
The next day we had a talk and he admitted that his room isn't really "squarey" he wants to sleep with Mom and Dad! That didn't prevent him, last night, from crying and telling me how "squarey" he was and hiding under the covers! At least he didn't get up in the night!
Dave and I discussed this new event and agree that Matthew is going through a phase normally found at the toddler age. I really should have expected this, as both girls went through early stages that they missed. I just thought, at almost 7 years old, we wouldn't go so far back. So, what we are now doing is making sure Matthew gets lots of attention and reassurances through the day in hopes this will help him feel more secure at night. Hopefully we will get through this quickly. So, if any of you were thinking how lucky Dave and I were that we missed the "not sleeping through the night phase", we aren't!