Thursday, August 30, 2007


I must have exceeded my normal parenting skills when I taught the boys their lesson on sharing. Carson started it all off by kindly sharing his head cold with accompanying croupy cough with Eli last Saturday. Then after a LONG week of caring for two whiny, sick, steroid filled boys, Carson and Eli decided to show mommy just how awesome a teacher I am.

That's right. Yesterday it started with a terrible sore throat and has progressed to a lovely combination of stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, coughing, crappiness that I wish the boys would have fought over themselves. Of course they are both on the upswing of this delightful little bug after another round of our good friend Mr. Steroid. Eli even won a four day vacation with his other special friend, Mr. Antibiotic.

At least mommy can be comforted by the fact that her all time favorite season of the year started tonight and she now can celebrate the start of College Football!! Bring on the games because I've been deprived since January from the best damn sport in the land. Of course as a loyal and true Ohioan, I will be cheering on The Ohio State Buckeyes. Don't worry....we already have our jerseys and scarlet and grey all set for Saturday! Go Bucks!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Officially an RN

Sorry for the delay on the post everybody. I was out celebrating a close friend's wedding who graduating nursing school with me Saturday night. Congratulations to Steve and Jady by the way! Now for the big news......

I passed! I'm officially a Registered Nurse! This is a time to celebrate for me but also a time to sweat a bit too. Now everything is on me. I'm no longer a nursing student who is learning the skills of nursing without a license. I am a professional with a license and everything that goes along with it. It is liberating and frightening all at once.

Two weeks from today I begin orientation at Children's Hospital. My dream of becoming a NICU nurse has come true after years of hard work. Now that August is ending it seems odd to not be meticulously organizing my notebook for next quarter and staining pages of $300 textbooks with bright yellow highlighters. The next step is here and I can't wait to jump in feet first.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

172,800 seconds is such a L-O-N-G time

It is done.
In the history books.

The computer shut off at 75 questions. After a surprisingly quick 50-ish minutes.

All of the studying, years of school, clinicals, student loans, hands-on experience, blood, sweat, and tears was over before I knew it. My NCLEX was not the end of the world. I didn't spontaneously combust. My hands didn't turn into pools of liquid jelly. My heart stayed within the confines of my ribcage. And my brain didn't decide to completely blank out at the most inconvenient of times.

What did happen you ask?

Time stopped. The second that computer screen went blank and my knowledge on how to safely and effectively care for a variety of patients at the level of a registered nurse was over, the clock seemed to stop completely. In Ohio the NCSBN says it should take approximately 48 hours to post the results of the NCLEX-RN. 2,880 minutes. 172,800 seconds. Approximately, of course!

So, even though my confidence in my performance was through the roof during the exam and I breezed through the questions, my post-exam anxiety will exponentially grow the closer and closer it gets to Saturday morning. I may spontaneously combust, turn to liquid jelly, or forget everything I know. Or just painfully review each and every question and answer from those 50 minutes this morning. And my BAC may remain elevated through the next 48-72 hours as well ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Simple Question

Stacy from The Preemie Experiment poses an important question in the post How Much Do You Tell? for parents of preemies. We have all been in those situations where someone asks "How old are they?" or "Why do they need that?" in reference to various medical equipment. Then there are the harder questions like, "Why can't they focus?" or "Oh, will they ever be normal?".

As a parent of a micropreemie who is doing well for a 25 weeker and a 30 weeker with ADHD and sensory issues, I often am caught trying to find the *right* answer. Often it depends on the person asking, as many of Stacy's commenters will write. Doctors and therapists get the whole, fought-my-butt-off-to-be-here truth. Caregivers get all the important information. Friends somewhere in between. And strangers, a wide variety. I find that my medication background and nursing degree sometimes hurt me in this area because I am much more likely to give the TMI or Too Much Information reply. My brain is wired to medical knowledge.......I forget that not everyone else is set to that mode. This doesn't dismiss the fact that these questions do get asked and will continue to need answered for many years to come for both Carson and Elias. The goal is to get the answers down to a science.

One of the commenters, Chris wrote: "When a parent faces off with this question, s/he may learn that they are still quite traumatized by their child's disabilities. I think this is often evident in the need to spill one's guts, to retell the story, giving colorful detail. To me this means that we aren't over it. And I think some listeners say "Whoa!" meaning TMI (too much information)."

Stacy responded with this, "After reading what Chris had written, I started to think about the times when I've given strangers the full version of Paige's birth story. I've come to the conclusion that Chris is correct. There have been times when I have told the story because I was truly not over it. There are days when that is still true.

The other side of the coin is I feel the need to tell people about Paige's prematurity in hopes they will understand (and sympathize) why Paige is so socially different. When she acts inappropriately, I feel the need to make people understand the reason behind it. I think it's especially hard because Paige appears normal because of her large vocabulary. So, when she acts odd compared to her peers, I am brought back to reality."

Stacy echos my thoughts so closely when trying to determine how to respond to questions about Carson's behavior. I think the behavior aspects of long-term prematurity impact are often times judged more and questioned verbally less than the more visually obvious physical impairments. This often causes parents of preemies with social and behavioral disabilities to jump the gun a bit explaining their child's actions. I find myself doing it in public with Carson and then looking back and questioning why I felt the need to tell the lady at the park why. His amazing vocabulary and advanced speech in addition to being the height of a six-year-old make people think Carson is much older than his four years.

So, what is the correct answer? Stacy's reply fits how I often feel, but is that the best for all involved? I can't answer that right now but it was comforting to find another parent with the same emotions and thought process involved. Thanks Stacy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Bear

A conversation between my friend Mandy and Carson this afternoon.....

Mandy: "I've decided when I get married, you are going to be the ring bearer in my wedding Carson."

Carson: "Mandy, I am not a bear. I am a kid. Does it look like I have four legs all in a row and one head?"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

No.1 vs. No.2

What happens when your overzealous 4-year-old with an empty glass root beer bottle decides that his 2-year-old little brother has taken his movie watching seat?

On the way to the ER

Pre-stitches Medication

All better after 3 Stitches!

Eli was such a brave little boy in the ER. He never cried or squirmed or fussed. The suture tech was quite impressed at how calm he stayed throughout the stitches. The whole time Eli was chatting him up with info about his favorite trucks along with the noises they each make. I thought Eli was going to give him a giant hug when the suture tech told Eli that his other job was driving giant firetrucks! That made our night and from that point on Eli only talked about the "nice boy who drives firetrucks". The sutures will dissolve in 5-7 days. Too bad we can't get his hair or head wet AT ALL until then and Eli has to go around looking like a cute little girl with curly hair and a barrette. They want us to keep his hair clipped back until his head lac is closed in 5 days so we are now the proud parents of Elietta.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oxygen Free and Home!

We are finally home after a long four day stay at Children's Hospital. Eli is feeling much better and is overjoyed to not have his nasal cannula on anymore. He came home on Orapred, a new dose of Flovent (3 times the amount he was on previously), and a new dose of Prevacid. We have to go back for a broncoscopy, lung wash, 24 hour pH probe, and ENT consult. He also has follow-up with pulmonary next Wednesday to discuss his BPD and aspiration along with the status of his "public" tolerance. It sucks that a tiny cold and a little croupy cough can land Eli in the hospital on oxygen 2 years after his birth.

Yesterday he had two tests done to look for abnormalities in his airway structure (video airway fluoroscopy) and aspiration (video swallow study). The airway fluoro was GREAT and showed no abnormalities. This means that Eli's raspy voice and horseness is most likely not from tracheomalacia, laryngomalacia, or a stenosis. Casron has mild tracheal stenosis so we were hoping Eli didn't. Unfortunately the swallow study didn't go as well. First of all, any of you that have a two year old know that getting them to do what you want, when you want it is nearly impossible. Eli was being a typical toddler and his own stubborn onry self. We did get him to drink about 6 swallows of strawberry flavored barium out of a straw cup and 2-3 out of and open cup....the sippy cup was unsuccessful. While Eli did not show massive aspiration in any of these swallows, he did have a ton of pentatration and micro-aspiration on every one. This means that he is still aspirating at least at a micro level ALL the time, and most likely at a larger level in the evening when we witness his coughing/wheezing symptoms. We are now back to thickening on everything which is going to be so much for for Eli.

They also want Eli to have another 24 hour pH probe. pH probe you say? are thinking correctly when your mind goes straight to GERD/reflux and then to the fact that Eli had a Nissen fundoplication done in May of 2006. He isn't supposed to be refluxing and aspirating the reflux AT ALL. GGRRRRRR. They think that some of Eli's symptoms could also be the GERD coming back and him aspirating at night causing the raspy voice and further lung damage! I could just cry. We almost lost Eli after his fundo surgery last summer and I will be devastated if he is having the same problems again. So, for now we are back on a large dose of Prevacid until the pH probe is scheduled.

Eli will also be having a bronch to see how extensive his BPD damage is and how much of his damage is being caused by his aspiration. They will also do a lung wash during the bronch to look for positive signs of aspiration. The pulmo said he can clearly hear the thickening of Eli's lungs and inflammation so he wants to get in there and check it out. Flovent up to 2 puffs of 110mcg BID. Fun times. end this post, Eli is still the smiling, happy, flirting, curly-headed boy who we took to the ER on Saturday evening. He charmed the pants off the medical staff. They were amazed at his developmental progress. One doctor even asked if she had the right room when she met Eli because from the outside he looks so darn good for a 25-weeker. We were proud parents bragging about his abilities to count to 14, know all of his animal sounds, speak in sentences, etc. It was great to have them acknoledge all of our (and Eli's) hard work to get him to the place he is now. We are truly blessed to have our little man doing so well :) Check out the pictures in the next post to see his hospital stay.....

Hospital Pics

These were taken with my camera phone.....

Eli with Mommy in the ER

"I don't like my oxygen."

Breathing is hard work

Day #2....Not Looking so Hot

Watching TV w/ Daddy

Day #3

Brushing my Teeth

Oxygen Free on Day #4!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hospitalization # ?

Eli has been in the hospital since Saturday due to low sats and needing oxygen. He has been weaned from 1.5 liters down to 0.5 liters during awake times and 1 liter during sleep. He is scheduled for a bronch and a video swallow study tomorrow and hopefully we will be out in a few days if O2 weaning is successful. I'll try to update with pictures and more news tomorrow or Wednesday.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Our city hosts a wonderful event every August called "Touch-A-Truck" Day where children can come and see, touch, get inside, explore, and even honk horns and turn on lights and sirens of all kinds of trucks. They bring out firetrucks, ambulances, car carriers, 18-wheelers, city buses, senior citizen buses, police cars, school buses, utility trucks, bucket trucks, animal rescue trucks, diggers, zoo trucks, race cars, and more. Carson and Eli were in heaven and didn't even know where to start! They were able to blow the air horn on an 18-wheeler, explore a giant firetruck, and meet real policemen, firemen, and EMTs! We could have stayed all day long but after about an hour of endless fun Eli's breathing started acting up (it's 90+ degrees and humid here) so we headed for the car to give his lungs a break. No doubt we will be back to Touch-A-Truck day next year. It was the best free entertainment Al and I could have gotten for the boys and they haven't stopped talking about it all day long. Enjoy the video (I just couldn't narrow down which pics to choose!). Click twice on the play button to get the video to play :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Mommy, I'm Stuck!"

Yesterday Eli decided he would have a battle with the strawberry jelly container. Unfortunately the jelly lid turned out to be somewhat of a trap. A confused little Eli came walking into the living room with the entire squeezable jelly container hanging off of his right index finger. His raspy voice managed a calm, "Mommy, I'm stuck" that invoked my heart to jump right out of my chest. After unscrewing the jelly portion from the attached lid I went to work. Many attempts later with soap, pam cooking spray, butter, and lotion, the stubborn finger was just too swollen to slide back out of the lid. By this time he was loosing color and temperature in his finger and so we were off to the ER.

Too bad my keys were in Al's car with him at work!

Thankfully my parents came to the rescue and were at my door in five minutes. Traffic was a nightmare due to a concert and so my dad decided to take Eli back to his house and try to cut it off. An exacto knife and two pairs of pliars along with a talented BobPop (that is what Eli calls my dad) finally broke through the plastic lid and freed Eli's finger. Our little guy was so calm and quiet through the whole thing. He never cried once and was perfectly still. When my dad was all done Eli just looked at him and said, "Thank you BobPop, I'm all better." Color and temp started to return to his finger and it was almost back to normal in twenty minutes.

Leave it to Eli to find another reason to go to the hospital. I think he just missed the place because we haven't been there for an emergency since the middle of May (thank God!).

I need to thank my parents along with my trusty beverage of choice for getting me through another "boys will be boys" moment in Kellie history!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"Honk, honk!"

Carson and Eli have been enamored with trucks of all kinds for basically their whole lives. Carson's recent trip to Missouri with his Grandparents only strengthened that love. We all know how life-saving portable DVD players are on long road trips for our sanity and my in-laws picked up a truck movie for Carson to watch during the twelve hour drive. On top of this addicting 18-wheeler movie, Uncle Ivan's house was smack dab in front of a common route for grain and farm animal trucks. Carson could sit on the big front porch and signal to the truckers to honk at him (while shouting "honk, honk" of course) all day long.

When Carson arrived home after a week of vacation he decided to share his new found trick with Eli. Now I have two toe-headed little boys constantly yelling, "Honk, honk!" everywhere we go. They have toy 18-wheelers and insist on watching the truck DVD at least twice a week. Tonight for my viewing pleasure, the truck movie was the show of choice eagerly shouted accross the room when I asked what movie they would like to watch before bedtime. Instead of soaking up all of the quality songs and valuable facts about 18-wheelers and CB radio language, I decided to snap some pics of my two truck-obsessed kiddos indulging their pleasure.


" Thanks Mom, You're the BEST!"

Moment of intense concentration


Saturday, August 04, 2007

My Beach Boys

We are home from a well deserved, relaxing vacation at the beach where we rented a villa in a campground and my parents camped in their 5th wheel. This was our first vacation since Carson's first birthday and it was so much fun. The boys loved the beach and swimming in the ocean. Carson was a wild man running straight down the sand and jumping full force into the waves over and over again. He found it necessary to go up to almost every kid on the beach within a 5 year age range of himself and make them his friends. It was amazing to watch his social skills take the lead for one of the first times in his life. He hammed it up and made many, many girlfriends (making his daddy so proud). Eli was a bit more timid the first couple of days but by the end of the week he was asking for "more water, more ocean, more splashing" all the time. The weather was perfect and no one got sunburned a single time! We topped off a wonderful beach week with four days in Tennessee visiting Granny and Papaw, Uncle Aaron, Great Aunt Janet, and Great-Granny and Papaw.

Carson and Eli were ready to come back to home after nine days of vacation but Carson is already talking about the next time that we go to the beach. It went too fast but being able to see my two boys enjoy themselves to the fullest and get to be normal kids without having to worry about PT/OT/Speech and countless doctors appointments was such a blessing. The only person at the beach who said anything about Eli's MIC-key button was a six year old little girl who wanted to know what it was. I can't wait for our trip to the beach next year so I can see how much they have grown.

See the next post for beach pics!!!

Vacation Pictures!

Yummy Watermelon

Muscle Man Carson

Bucket Head Eli

Mom and Dad

We're "So BIG!"

Where are my sunglasses Mom?

Eat up Little Man

Looking at the ants eating Watermelon juice

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Jessica to post 8 random facts about myself.

I have to post these rules before I give you the facts:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write in their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

Okay, here goes....

1.) I am a terrible procrastinator (if you have been *reading* my blog the past few months you already know this). In college I would wait until hours before a large paper was due to start writing it, then stay up all night working and still get an A. It is my downfall.

2.) During the fall I am an avid college football fan. I watch SportsCenter religiously and every game I can fit into my schedule. The best team in the country is always the OHIO STATE BUCKEYES no matter where they fall in the rankings. Don't argue.

3.) I am glad I have two boys. As a tomboy at heart, raising girls would have been a bit tricky.

4.) My inseam is 36". Try finding inexpensive jeans or dress pants with legs that long!

5.) I am adopted.

6.) Since the age of five I have been plagued by migraines.

7.) Ice cream is my weakness.....any flavor, any time :)

8.) Life would be perfect for me if mommies had nap time too. I love a good nap and on most days with the boys, I could use one!

Okay....almost everyone has done this meme since I was on vacation when Jessica tagged me so I am going to leave it up in the air until I find someone who hasn't done it yet (I know...more procrastination).