Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Mom

I need to write a letter to my mother. We haven't spoken in something like ten years. Yeah yeah, technically that's a long time, but whatever. I'm not in any hurry to open any lines of anything with her. Every time I tried to talk to her in the past, it backfired. She doesn't listen and doesn't HEAR me, so I'm only afraid that any attempt will result in the same frustrations. But I know it's something I need to do. I need to tell her the problems I have with 'reconciling' and the fallout we've all experienced from her decision to leave over twelve years ago. I NEED to get it all out there. I want to say I've forgiven her, but every time I think through that, I get angry and so I'm not sure that I truly have forgiven her. I guess I don't know exactly what that means really. Do I have to not be angry about any of it anymore? Do I have to talk to her as though everything is like it was twelve years ago? Do we have to be friends? Can I forgive her and still get her not to talk to me? For now, I procrastinate. In an effort to procrastinate more, I'll probably elaborate via blog and dwell on all these questions instead.

Monday, March 7, 2011

So grateful.

I never want to go through this again, putting an IV in a toddler is the worst thing I can imagine right now.

Last week, Lexi was sick. It started with vomiting on Sunday, which faded by Monday afternoon. Late Tuesday, diarrhea started. Sorry, this might be TMI for some. So all told it worked out to around five days of either vomit or poop, which seemed bad. So I made an appointment for her at the walk in clinic on Thursday because she threw up her breakfast. But then she seemed to perk up and had lunch and did well on Thursday afternoon, so I cancelled the appointment. But the diarrhea was lingering still, and she just wasn't herself. So Friday I made an appointment with the pediatrician. While we were checking in, she threw up at the counter. They noticed her lips were dry and her tongue was dry and so they pricked her finger to run a test or two. Her glucose was low so they decided it would be best to admit her for IV fluids. ADMIT her. To the HOSPITAL.

Cue parental failure brigade. Didn't notice your own child fading with dehydration right in front of you. FAIL. Didn't notice her super chapped lips and dry mouth. FAIL. Failed to know that so much vomit and poop would mean she was dehydrated. FAIL.

Getting that IV was the worst thing I've had to witness so far, no question. It took three nurses and FOUR attempts to get a usable vein. She was screaming so much Brian could hear her down the hall. Without a doubt the worst thing I've ever had to witness and participate in as a parent or in any capacity. I had to hold her down, and I'm pretty sure the EMT guy they brought in was also to hold her down because she was a very strong wiggler. Who could blame her. Friday she filled up on IV fluids, also drinking several juice boxes of grape juice. For dinner she had two cookies, more juice box and a bite or two of chicken nugget. Friday night was difficult, she slept pretty well, but they woke her at least twice to check vitals and look at her IV spot to make sure all was well. Saturday morning we were up around eight because the doctor was coming around. So she slept ok, but not as long as usual, nor as long as most toddlers require.

Saturday the doctor came in and said we would take the IV out and see how she did. If she could keep fluids down, and maybe some food, she could go home and we could take it from there. Ten minutes after he left, she threw up all the grape juice from the night before. So, she kept her IV. They gave her a nausea drug to help calm her tummy, and the rest of the day she drank more juice, ate some small lunch and read books. Just before dinner we talked with the next doctor on call and decided if she could keep the liquids down the rest of the day and maybe eat a little dinner, she could go home.  She had a little dinner, drank her juice, and the nausea medication wasn't a factor since it wore off after four hours. So...

It was such a difficult decision. Do we keep her there overnight, really load her up with the IV, get another night charged for the hospital and insurance, etc. Will we be sorry if we take her home and she can't maintain it on her own? Will we have to come back and get another IV and go through it again? It was so difficult, we didn't want to make the wrong decision. In the end, we brought her home. She was so tired from all of it, and from the interrupted sleep, we got home, cuddled for a bit and went to bed.

Sunday morning she was a new girl. Chipper in the morning, playing the 'i'm sick' card to bring her pacifier down with her. She has a free pass for the next couple weeks - whatever she wants as long as she drinks all the juice and pedialyte that I bought. Seriously, I think I cleaned out the Target shelves of all juicy juice juiceboxes. She was playing with her toys, using her imagination, calling people on her cell phone. She hadn't played like that in over a week. Holy moly the relief. Today, she's even better. Playing and drinking, and she's back to her happy go lucky self. I am so relieved I find myself on the verge of tears when I look at her and think about the last few days. Thank you God for taking care of my baby girl.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our beloved puppy

We met Jill in a local, reputable pet store in August of 1998. She was born in May 1998. We were looking for a puppy with spunk and none of the puppies in this store seemed to have any. So we pet them all and played with them, and took them out and tested them out. Then we came to Jill. She was sleepy in the cage, not playing much, not doing much. Then we took her out. She tore across the store, zooming around and running like crazy. And we were hooked. We took her home with us.

She was potty trained within a month and rarely peed in the house unless we left her too long. Which was obviously our fault and not hers. She was cute and fluffy and playful and such fun. She also learned to beg. For food, for petting, for attention, for pretty much everything. She could balance on those back legs for at least thirty minutes, if not longer. It was quite a skill, and it usually earned her a reward.

She grew over time, just as we grew. We moved to a new house, which she promptly inspected and approved and learned to love the new yard and new space we had to expand. And then came the children. She was great with them, considering they weren't that great with her. At one point, I know that Sophie took a plastic kitchen spoon and smacked her directly on the head with it. Whap! Worst sound ever and I came down on Sophie so fast, she thought I was insane. Jill was my real first child. I made sure she didn't even think of doing that ever again! And then Lexi came along. She's only three now, so she won't remember Jill, but she loved her most right at the end, when she would lay down and rub her back and pet her head. Jill had given up on trying to avoid the girls altogether, and sometimes she could get crumbs and food from them if she just waited around long enough. It was a good trade off. They coexisted well enough.

Lately she'd been having some trouble. Trouble with peeing in the house, trouble with seeing where she was going. She had extensive dental surgery to repair her broken jaw and pull some rotten teeth. She taught us a lesson about doggie dental care - it's not just a crazy idea to get more money. If we'd spent it on her during her lifetime, she'd have had more teeth now. Her heart murmur was becoming more noticeable and she wasn't nearly as playful as she used to be. She still came running when the bread bag was open, or when chips were in play, but she wasn't as quick as she used to be.

Last week she started having trouble even standing up and walking. She was wobbling and tipping over some of the time. She started peeing in the house often. So often we knew something terrible was wrong. We took her to a vet who didn't try hard enough to find an answer, so we brought her home and hoped it would work itself out. It didn't. After several days of watching her struggle, of seeing her stop eating and really stop doing much, we took her to a new vet. Immediately they knew what might be wrong and ran some tests to confirm it. She was bleeding into her abdomen, we don't know exactly why or how, it could be a tumor or an infection, or just something old age had given to her. She was anemic and very close to needing a transfusion. So it was time to make a ridiculously difficult decision. She wasn't in pain necessarily, but she was unable to eat, unable to pee outside properly, unable to jump up on the couch, and unable to be the dog we knew her as.  So we made the most difficult decision we've had to make in a very very long time. We had to put our beloved puppy to sleep yesterday. It was quite possibly the worst day I can remember in a very long time. The girls are ok, because they weren't quite as attached, but the husband and I are broken with the loss. We miss her terribly, the routine, the noises, the fluff. But she's not hurting anymore, and we don't want her to hurt.