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FEBRUARY 2008
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)


Friday, February 1, 2008

Woohoo!  Everybody's back in school!  I'm not sure who's more relieved, me or Mom.  LOL


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Our next-door neighbor brought us a bunch of grapefruit and nectarines from his tree, and Patrick's favorite citrus-season activity (like that one?) is making juice.

Alex is still pretty tired and definitely not 100%.  I don't know what's taking him so long to bounce back from this one.  :-(

He's a professional


Monday, February 4, 2008

Mark is in Naples this week, so I made arrangements for Alex to go to Justin's and Patrick to ride his bike to John's house after school today.  I left Patrick a tote bag to put his homework in to carry it on his bike.  When I got home, Patrick was gone, but his bike wasn't.  I swallowed my panic and called John's mom.  Poor Patch - he didn't realize that he didn't need to bring his text books to John's house (they're in the same class).  When he'd loaded up the tote bag, it was too heavy for him to manage on his bike, so he hauled the very heavy tote bag and walked all the way to John's house, which is about a mile away.  He didn't think to put the books back in his rolling backpack and roll it to his house, or to call John's mom or me.  I've got to give him credit for handling it as well as he did.  All he had to say about it was, "that really sucked."  Again - horrible GUILT at leaving my babies alone!


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Patrick had his gymnastics class tonight, but we got a shock when we got there - he has a new coach.  Not only is it a new coach for the class, but he's completely new to the gym.  Remember I mentioned how Patrick had finally come to trust John?  Well, John moved on to another gym, and the new coach is Sean.  Patrick completely refused to go to the class, and had just about fallen apart crying.  I finally reprimanded him into pulling it together and participating, which he did pretty well despite himself.  It turns out that Sean isn't a monster, and Patrick had a pretty good lesson.  Sean really is terrific and has won the kids over already.  He also told Patrick he had a surprise for him at the next lesson.  Patrick can't wait!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I could have never managed today without Mom.  I left work at 4:00, Alex had football practice at 5:00, Patrick had his gymnastics lesson at 6:30, and I had an HOA meeting at 7:00.  Oh, and Mark is still in Naples.    Between the two of us, we got it covered.  Whew!  However, Alex is going down hill again.  I just don't know what to make of this!


Friday, February 8, 2008

Alex was home again from school yesterday, and he's got a horrible cough now, so I took him to the doctor this morning.  He said he sounded very "bronchial" and told me to start nebbing him.  Once I got him home and nebbed, Mom came to stay with him while I rushed back to work.  Argh!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Alex is still miserable and he started complaining that his ear hurt yesterday, so Mark took him back to the doctor this morning.  Sure enough, he has an ear infection.  By this afternoon, he was complaining about his stomach bothering him.  WHAT NEXT?


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I called the nurse about Alex today, and she called in a new antibiotic, since his stomach problems are apparently from the first one.  His cough also seems to have had a jump start and is absolutely horrible.  I'd give anything to make him better!  It's also killing me to not be able to stay home and take care of him. 

Patch had his gymnastics class tonight, and Sean came through.  Sean was a UCF cheerleader, and he showed Patrick some tricks.  Patch has always hated that he's the smallest (and youngest by several years) kid in his class, but it paid off today! Check it out!

So much for being the shortest kid in the class!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My poor Alex - he is coughing so badly he can barely catch his breath in between.  The nurse and I spoke again today and she called him in some Prednisone and another cough medicine.  She and I have spoken so much that we were joking that it was just like the days when Patrick was little - she and I spoke at least once a week while we were getting his asthma and reflux under control.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

We have a new nephew!  John and Laurie had Matthew John Finster today, and all are well!  Emma is a doting big sister, and Mary Ellen is in heaven!

He's got his daddy's hairline.  :-) Emma and her baby brother - too sweet! Isn't this precious?


Friday, February 15, 2008

Alex hasn't improved a bit, so I took the morning off and took him to the doctor AGAIN.  This time I insisted on seeing our usual doctor who knows the kids so well.  I absolutely can't believe the diagnosis:  whooping cough!  I thought that was eradicated!  She said there is a new outbreak in the area, and they are now recommending a booster vaccine at age 12 (Alex is 11).  So apparently his vaccine wore off early AND he's been exposed.  She said he's almost certainly past the contagious stage (which is typically before the cough even starts), but 24 hours on the antibiotic will ensure it.  She gave him a different antibiotic and cough medicine, and he actually seems a little better tonight.  My plan was to drop him off at my mom's after the appointment, but the doctor scared the hell out of me saying that it would be very bad if my mom catches this.  Alex is pretty upset, so I ended up taking the entire day off to be with him.  It's the first day since he's been sick that I felt like I was doing the right thing.  We got on the internet together and looked up whooping cough and learned that it's not really a scary illness at all - just a major nuisance.  The Chinese call it the 100-day cough.  After Mom and I had a chance to discuss it, she's not at risk after all, since she already had it as a child and you can't catch it again.  Thank God - I've been worrying all day that she's already been exposed.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Alex was doing so much better this morning that he played in his football game.  It tuckered him out, but the cough is MUCH better.  :-)  Maybe he's finally on the mend!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

I don't get it.  Alex's cough is getting worse again instead of better.  The cough medicine is helping, but we can practically set the clock by when it wears off and the cough starts back in.  If this keeps up, he'll be out of school again tomorrow. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Well, Alex is right back to square one.  I called the nurse again yesterday and she said they have nothing else to offer and referred him to a pulmonologist.  By some small miracle there was a cancellation at Nemours for today.  It usually takes months to get into Nemours!  I had already planned to take the day off to chaperone Alex's field trip to the House of Blues, which of course we skipped, but at least I had the day available to take care of him.  The pulmonologist took x-rays of his chest and said he's got a lot of asthma going on right now - he could tell from the x-rays that he's not expelling enough air which indicates inflammation and constriction.  He also said that, since his cough stops when he sleeps (thank God), that's indicative of a "psychogenic" cough, which basically means that his cough is aggravating his throat so that he keeps coughing - sort of a vicious cycle.  So his official diagnosis today is pertussis syndrome (whooping cough), asthma, and psychogenic cough.  The good news is that he's definitely no longer contagious.  He gave him a new asthma inhaler, another round of Prednisone, and some tricks to try to stop the coughing cycle.  Nobody has been able to explain why he got so much better last Saturday, and then went right downhill again.  I so desperately hope this works!  He's missed so much school and is so miserable.  When he's awake, the cough is constant - like living with a car alarm going off.  He poor kid can't catch his breath long enough to eat, and he's lost 4 pounds, and he's just exhausted from the coughing.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Today was just insane.  Alex's gifted class has been working all year on a huge project that came to fruition today.  The Florida Engineering Society sponsors an event called Project Create, for which 5th grade classes each make a futuristic city.  Despite still showing no improvement whatsoever, he and I decided to go so he could see the final product presented.  I spoke with his gifted teacher and we agreed that I would go as a chaperone, but only be responsible for Alex so we can go off to the side where his cough won't interfere.  We were to be at the school at 9:00 and board the buses by 9:15.  Well, when we got to school, Alex went to his class to get his group shirt, and I went to the office to sign him in.  I then learned that, since he had a communicable disease, he can't go back to school without a note from the doctor saying he is no longer contagious.  I'm so grateful that I know all of the people in the office at the school so well.  The nurse got on the phone with the county nurse who said a fax from the doctor would work.  So I got on the phone with the doctor's nurse and she said she'd hunt down the doctor and get a fax sent.  By now it's 9:15 and the rest of the class has boarded the bus.  Alex was back in the office with me, giving an impressive demonstration of the constant cough, and absolutely hating all of the attention.  I asked about just meeting them there, but apparently that's a big no-no.  Anyone on a school function has to ride the bus, or they won't be permitted into the function.  Lovely.  At 9:45, the teacher and I were discussing what to do, when the assistant principal and two other people came running out of the back room waving papers and saying they'd gotten the fax.  It was quite the to-do!  We boarded the bus to cheers, and Alex was mortified.  I made a small announcement that even though he sounds bad, he's not contagious, and thanks for waiting for us.  Of course, all of the other moms were asking me about him, and he was getting more and more upset.  I worked the conversation away from him, but it was too late - he was between me and the window, hunkered down and crying.  When we got there, the kids were great - acting like nothing was wrong (to them, nothing was wrong) and including him in everything.  We got our exhibit set up and then it was time to go do some of the individual projects (stuff like an egg drop and paper airplanes), and Alex was already wiped out so we offered to stay by our exhibit to answer any questions about it.  In no time he was asking if there was some way we could go home, so I called Mom and she came to the rescue.  I feel so bad for him - this was a HUGE day for him and his class and it just didn't go well for him at all.  :-(

Mom dropped me off at the school to get my car and I talked to the office secretary about our situation.   It became pretty clear today that's he's nowhere near getting back to school.  She gave me the name of the coordinator for the Home/Hospital Bound program.  The program is for students who cannot attend school for 15 or more days and provides a teacher to come to the home or hospital three days a week to teach them.  At home I called the coordinator and got the paperwork.  I then called the pulmonologist's nurse to talk to her about it, and also about the fact that he's not any better.  She called me right back and said that the doctor was "disappointed," but there is nothing else to do but ride out the course of the whooping cough, which could be several more weeks.  I faxed her the school paperwork, she had it filled out and faxed to the county, and the wheels are turning.  As frustrating as this whole thing has been, I've been amazed at the people at Nemours and how incredibly helpful they've been. 

Meanwhile, normal life is still going on.  Mark has the big annual trade show today and tomorrow, and his mom has signed up a bunch of the cousins for a fishing clinic tomorrow morning at the River.  Alex obviously is in no position to go, so we're taking Justin instead, which is perfect because he and Patrick love fishing together down at the pond.  Mom has taken over with Alex while Mark's at the trade show.

Getting set up The transportation part of the city


Saturday, February 23, 2008

We got to the River last night at about the same time as KC and Stacy.  Mary Ellen is still in North Carolina with John and Laurie, so the house was empty.  We woke up to pouring rain and knew right away there would be no fishing camp.  We had both thought to pick up milk last night, but not breakfast foods, and Stacy had promised the kids pancakes.  Well, we couldn't find pancake mix anywhere in the kitchen, so Stacy got online and found a from-scratch recipe which turned out to look about right.  They were brave enough to try their own creation first, and both of them were gagging!  LOL  So much for the home-made pancakes!  We were able to gather up the makings for french toast, though, and everybody was happy. 

Once the rain let up, the boys were outside with their fishing poles making the best of it!

Patch was goin' for the big one Patch and Justin in the paddle boat fishing


Thursday, February 28, 2008

We've got a meeting set for next week to get Alex started in the Home Bound program.  I had hoped things would go quicker, but apparently there are a lot of people involved.  This is his fifth week out of school!  The assistant principal called me today to talk about the FCAT.  He told me not to worry about it - in fifth grade it won't help him or hurt him to take it or not, so he'll just be marked as absent and won't be scored on it.  That's quite a relief! 

On another note, Mark and I have decided to go forward with the pool.  We'll never have another opportunity to get a deal like this, so we're just going to go for it!  Yikes!

This was a perfect evening for a fire, so we cooked hotdogs over the fire for dinner.

Nothing like camp hotdogs in your own back yard Grendel knows who the sucker is in the family!