Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Busiest time of the year

October is always my busiest time of year.  Isabelle is turning 5 this weekend (how could that really be happening already?!), followed by her birthday at school the next day, then Paul's birthday the next day, and then Halloween.  All this a week before we leave for Maui to *finally* take that trip we were supposed to take before school started!

We were able to squeeze in some Fall fun as we enjoyed Apple festival at Isabelle's school, visited a pumpkin patch as a family, and had a school field trip to Jubilee Farms as well.  This year we tried Trinity Farms close to Isabelle's preschool, which we enjoyed as it was much less crazy busy and was pretty up there as they're up on a hill.

Here are a few pics to tide you over until I get back to posting about her birthday, and the rest of the crazy festivities this week!

From a hike on Cougar Mountain- trying out my new camera

At Apple Festival:

Trinity Farms pumpkin patch:

Isabelle and her friend Hayden- such "true" love between them.  We are so deeply saddened that she is moving away to Georgia in a few weeks!  Hoping their friendship can continue despite the distance.

At Jubilee Farms field trip:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Groundhog day anyone?

We were just starting to pack for our trip to Maui, when Isabelle tried to do a "cartwheel" while we cleaned up breakfast, and instantly rebroke both bones in her poor arm.  We rushed her to the ER again, but this time it felt even scarier as she stopped screaming in the car and was white as a ghost- I was worried she would pass out.  The xrays were seriously shocking as her bones were broken so much more severely than her previous break.  The doctors were clear she needed to have "reduction" surgery where they manually manipulate the bones back into alignment, and rushed us over to Seattle Children's hospital for that immediately. 

Words cannot truly describe how emotional it was to see Isabelle hooked up to an IV, surrounded by doctors and nurses as they gave her anesthesia.  They told us it was a "horse tranquilizer" that causes "amnesia," can cause them to sleep with their eyes open, and to awaken with scary visual hallucinations, like "floating eyeballs."  The orthopedic doctor who performed the surgery admitted that it was a difficult reduction to perform, as her bones were still a bit curved from her previous break, making alignment quite difficult to achieve.  We spent a scary hour waiting to hear about her surgery, and were finally allowed back into her room where it took her another couple of hours to wake up fully, and even longer to begin speaking.    Luckily, she didn't experience any scary hallucinations, and seemed to remember most of what happened to her that day.  We had a very long day that started at breakfast with her break, finally getting back home at bedtime.  Isabelle was amazingly brave throughout this ordeal (more so than I for sure).
Waiting for her to wake up

After waking up from anesthesia and happy to see her animals  

Stories to distract her

New pink cast version 2
Isabelle's arm recovery though, has continued to be difficult.  This time around, it was much harder on her emotionally to cope with all the restrictions, after having just spent a whole summer restricted.  And the swelling and pain her arm was much more severe-so they didn't tighten up her cast for a whole week after the break.  Unfortunately, when we went in 6 days after casting for recheck, her cast had gotten too loose again and her alignment they achieved from the surgery was partially lost.  Dr. Steinman (her current orthopedic doctor) immediately removed her cast and put a new one on really tight- by pushing hard on poor Isabelle's arm before it hardened.  This was pretty painful again for her.  Unfortunately, as the bones had already begun to heal, she could not have another reduction surgery to align them.  We've been told that over time her bones will remodel as she grows and straighten back out.  But the last xray still showed them both looking very bent.  So it's hard not to worry about how this will affect her dominant arm as she grows.  The doctor predicted a year for her bones to remodel and the restriction in her motion to diminish.

Isabelle posing with all her "broken arm" stuffed animals- you'll notice several of them have broken arms too
All the stuffed animals she's received from the hospitals

We've been told she will have a more substantial brace with a hinge going over her elbow to protect her arm better when the cast is removed.  And that she is restricted from active activities where she could fall (i.e. gymnastics, skiing, biking, etc) for 3 full months.    We go back in 10/9 to see if her cast is ready to come off.

After the shock of her break, we scrambled to reschedule our trip to Maui and amazingly were able to find friends to rent our condo from us, and submitted letters everywhere else for refunds.  That week was so stressful as our cat Uintah was also rapidly declining in health, and I feared we'd need to put him down any day.   Luckily, he's doing much better now with twice-weekly fluids to keep his kidneys working and has begun to regain some weight.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family Visits


We have enjoyed the last several weeks of family visiting us.  First my mom and dad drove up after touring through the Tetons and Glacier on their way here.  It makes me so happy to see how quickly Isabelle warms to them and how excited she is to be with them.  She even got my mom to color with her when she babysit her while I went to a tennis class!  We had a great time with them-  took them to the Woodland Park Zoo, on a hike to Franklin Falls near Snoqualmie Pass, and for a few nice dinners out including to Montalcino with Isabelle (she is always so excited to get to come with us to a fancy restaurant)!  One day Paul took my dad kayaking while my mom, Isabelle, and I enjoyed a visit to the Issaquah farmer's market where we bought tons of fruit and veggies, flowers, and had a nice picnic lunch followed by Molly Moon's ice cream while listening to the music play!  It was lovely. And my dad seemed to really enjoy the kayak ride up at Rattlesnake Lake.  We met Michael and Angela for dinner one night and they took my parents on a hike to Mt. Rainier.

Franklin Falls hike
Isabelle making silly faces for Mimi

with Michael at Flying Fish
Woodland Park Zoo with Mimi

Less than a week later, we were thrilled to have Paul's mom, Madonna, and Winn visit us for several days.  They hadn't visited since Isabelle was 2 weeks old so a lot had changed around our house! ;)  Isabelle really enjoyed spending time with them, showing off all her princess dress-up, and also got "Gramadonna" to color with her.  Isabelle has been sick for the past week with a cold that just hasn't gotten too much better, but was still happy to see them.  Paul took them on a few adventures without us while Isabelle rested- kayaking and to Newcastle golf club to hit the driving range.  Madonna seemed to love the kayak ride and said it was her first time ever kayaking!  We made a fresh halibut dinner for them one night and enjoyed eating out on the deck as the weather was record heat during their visit.  Their last day, Paul and I really enjoyed taking them out golfing with us to Elk Run.  Although Paul's the only happy with how he hit, it was a real treat to get to golf with them again as we did many years ago.

Madonna warming up!

Now we've got just a bit over a week before we head to Maui!  And then preschool starts immediately.  My how fast this summer has gone by. We've got a lot more to squeeze into this last week.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bad News in 3s

After a very busy Spring filled with school activities and more,  we had a pretty tough few weeks in May. 

First Wally, our sweet little black girl kitty, became suddenly severely anemic overnight and by the time we rushed her to the vet in the morning, she couldn't even lift her head.  After two blood transfusions at the hospital, she seemed to be recovering while they tested for the underlying cause.  Just as quickly, her kidneys began to fail due to the severity of her anemia, and when they pushed fluids in her to help her kidneys recover, her heart began to fail.  We got a call early in the morning 4 days after she got sick and I had to put my first pet to sleep.  It was heartbreaking beyond words.  It's hard to believe how much we had all come to love this sweet black furry girl- full of love and understanding.  Paul brought Isabelle to say goodbye to Wally, and poor Isabelle admitted being scared to kiss her goodbye in case she "caught what Wally had and died too."  Amazingly while Paul, Isabelle, and I visited her together, Wally purred the entire time.  The moment they left, she never purred again.  Right before the doctor came back to check if I was ready, Wally gave me some last kisses.  This picture was at the hospital a day before her death.

We continue to grieve Wally's loss.  I cried daily for quite a while, finding reminders of her everywhere.  Part of the grief comes from how short our time really was with her- only 2 years of her short life, as well as how young she was and how much life she had ahead of her.  We learned a week later that she had a parasite that may have caused the anemia, but her vet also believed she may have also had another underlying cause. 

A week after Wally's death, Isabelle fell in our living room  (tripped on a toy and landed on a Little People house) and broke both bones in her arm (the radius and ulna).  This was pretty traumatic for all as Isabelle was in a huge amount of pain but kept trying to talk us out of taking her to the hospital, as she had just seen Wally die in a hospital.  :(  We rushed her to the new Swedish ER where she did not stop screaming in pain until the moment they put her arm in a splint and immobilized it.  Poor thing. :(  They were amazing there and even gave her a little pink "baby unicorn" as Isabelle calls her to cheer her up.

Isabelle bravely faced 6+ weeks in a long-arm cast from her hand up to her shoulder on her right arm.  We faced a scary period where one of the bones popped out of place inside the cast (due to swelling going down) as the doctors debated if she needed surgery.  There is still some small risk she won't have normal motion in her hand but her doctors were optimistic she'll recover well.  She continues to wear a removable brace to support her arm when she's active, as the risk of refracture is 3 months.

Amazingly Isabelle began to write, draw, color,
feed herself, etc. with her left hand as well if not better than she'd been doing with her right hand!  We wondered if she truly is a lefty- or simply ambidextrous.  Time will tell on this one I suppose, but we were sure proud of her bravery and good spirits this summer while she had to miss out on so much typical summer fun (no playgrounds, no bikes, no swimming or beaches).

A few weeks after Wally's death we took Uintah in to see if he might have the same parasite as Wally.  Poor Uintah at 16 now has officially been labeled a "special needs kitty" by his vet.  He is now completely blind due to neurological issues that continue to progress (a likely brain tumor is suspected).  He has high blood pressure that is being managed with medication.  But the scariest news is that he now has kidney disease and will face the inevitable decline into kidney failure.  We know that he's lived a long healthy life, but it is so hard to see him struggling in so many ways and it is excruciating to face losing both our pets in such a short time.  Luckily he continues to seem happy as he purrs like crazy whenever we pet or brush him or even just come sit with him.

We are ready for our bad news to end!  Good news coming up next.... :)  We just booked a trip to Maui for the end of August/ early September and are busy ironing out all the plans.