Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nathan's Laser Eye Procedure Part I

On Friday August 29th, I headed to the junior high to check Nathan out of school.  I had a bag with a black morphsuit, which had been last year's Halloween costume.  Unfortunately, Nate hadn't been able to put his hands on the mask--a casualty of Halloween being some 10 months ago.  So my bag-o-tricks also included Wendell's wide-brimmed trek hat.

I picked Nate up, a bit anxious about how long it took to get him down from class, and we headed to the eye doctor's office.  This appointment had been more than 6 months in coming.  In January we had received the news that the oral meds that were working on the girls really, truly weren't working on Nathan. 

In March, we did an injection in Nate's right eye, but it was as unsuccessful as Emma's had been. And so began an uncomfortable waiting game.  Fortunately, the retinal specialist's office was dogged about getting the PDT approved and one day in early August I got the letter that said that Nathan had been approved for the expensive medication necessary to make the PDT laser work.

Now the day had arrived.  We'd covered our basement windows in black plastic, pulled all the drapes, lowered all the blinds.  See, this medication--I think it's called Visodine--would make Nathan incredibly light sensitive.  Administered by IV, this medication would allow the cold laser--something that you can't feel--to zap and kill offending cells at the back of Nate's eye.  Hopefully, this would drive fluid out of his eye and restore vision.  But you have to use the medication very quickly.  We would have a mere 20 minutes from when the meds were in Nate's system until the laser procedure would have to be complete.

However, the side effect of the medication is that it makes the body incredibly light sensitive and can cause the skin to blister if you're out in the sun in the next 72 hours.  Thus the morphsuit, the hat, the black plastic and drawn drapes.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


I have two sisters and the span between the three of us is less than five years.  So when I was approaching motherhood, I didn't have some of the advantages that friends from larger families had of helping feed and change diapers of younger siblings.

I remember through my pregnancy with Emma day dreaming what it would be like when she arrived: dressing her in cute clothes, holding her while she slept, snuggling. It was going to be awesome.

When she finally arrived some 8 days past her due date, I was so delighted.  But things didn't really turn out how I pictured them.  It was easy for the yellow, liquidy, newborn poop to leak out her diaper and ruin the cute outfits.  Even after thorough burping, she would spit up later, ruining her clothes.  And after the first few weeks, she never slept.  She cat-napped throughout the day in 30 minute increments and even slept fitfully at night until I learned that it was critical to keep her warm during the wee hours.

Nursing, which I had thought would be both easy and intuitive was not and I developed a fierce case of mastitis that I thought would never end.

One day shopping while I was at the grocery store an old woman peeked in my carseat to admire Emma.  "Isn't this wonderful?" she asked me.

"This," I said, pointing to Emma, "is a lot of work."

"Oh, yes!" she agreed sagely. "But isn't it wonderful?"

In the trenches of motherhood, so shocked by what was actual, I had not stopped to think of whether or not it was wonderful.  I supposed it was.  I vaguely remember agreeing with the old woman.

Motherhood is a divine calling, a special responsibility God gives us as He entrusts us with His children.  In saying so, it is also critical to honor the bone-wearying work that motherhood is.  With my youngest now six and the challenging new-baby and chasing-toddler stages behind me, I can agree whole heartedly with the old woman--it is wonderful.  So wonderful! But I haven't forgotten that it's also darn hard.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Personal Victory

A little over a year ago my dad had had it.  His knee hurt too much and it was time to actually get better.  He had a date set in June to have knee replacement surgery, but by the end of April, he knew something else was wrong.  Through May he was in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals until he finally had surgery.

Turns out my dad had experienced multiple small heart attacks.  He ended up with three stents, instructions to follow a new heart-healthy diet and requirements for daily exercise.  Meanwhile, Dad's orthopedic surgeon took knee replacement surgery off the table for a year.  (I guess surgeon's don't like operating on people with heart problems. Something about risk-of-death and all that.)

But with my dad's knee still really needing an overhaul, how could he meet the exercise requirements? Turns out cardiologists are really creative and also know all kinds of ways to get a rigorous cardio workout regardless of what body parts aren't working.

And it made me realize something.  That not working out is an excuse and when it's a big enough priority, you fit it in.

It would be awesome to say that this stopped me in my tracks and I immediate changed and started exercising.  But that would be a complete lie.  Still, it's been percolating in the back of my mind ever since.

This year Dad got his knee replacement.  His recovery was impressively fast.  All because of a year of consistent exercise.

So when I set some goals recently, one of the goals I set was to exercise daily.  I didn't set a specific amount of time or speed or distance, just to be at the gym 6 times a week.

Week one is in the books and I did it!  Today, for some reason was so hard to talk myself into going.  I did it anyway.  I'm not sure how long it's been or if I've ever been to the gym six times in a week.  But I know this, I have two more weeks to make this a habit.

As Clayton Christensen put it, "100 percent of the time is easier than 98 percent of the time."