Wednesday, March 24, 2010

random stuff and a meltdown

We’ve had a busy couple of days, trying to get stuff done before The Husband has to go back in for round 3.
Sunday we just hung out at home, doing home improvement type jobs and playing with the kiddos. Monday we took The Girl back to the hospital for her follow up visit, we still don’t know what caused her rash, but she’s loads better now. We have to go back tomorrow for some blood tests for allergies so hopefully we’ll know more soon. The chief of peds authorized us not to get any more vaccinations until we figure out what caused this so we’re thankfully off the hook for now. It seems that it can’t be the vaccines that caused the rash  cause it started 6 days after she had them, and it does seem that nowadays we are really quick to jump to the conclusion that whatever happens is the vaccine’s fault, but I don’t want to take any risks while The Husband is in the hospital. It’s not like we’re going to be travelling anywhere anyway, so it really won’t make a difference right now whether she’s vaccinated or not. Tuesday it was The Husband’s turn to go back to the hospital for tests, and in the afternoon we took our first walk around Cuneo. We actually got out our double stroller which hadn’t been used since the beginning of December (due to the subarctic temperatures – it’s not like you can take a toddler and a newborn  out for a leisurely stroll when it’s -10°C!). We ran into our friends Crazy Connecticut Lady and her son Devil Boy and we even got an ice cream at Bar Corso, so The Husband was extra happy! Today we started out the day with a family wide adjustment. Our friend and chiropractor C came over and adjusted everyone, The Boy particularly  liked sticking his face in the hole in the massage table! Then we all took off for Lurisia where we had lunch with some coworkers. The Boy was in 7th heaven cause our friend and gardener (though I should call him a plant artist) R was there. R doesn’t get to see his own grandkids too often so he’s “adopted” The Boy. Of course, The Boy became the HAPPIEST baby on the block when R took him to see the trucks loading up at the bottling plant. The Girl was very well behaved and smiled at everyone, though she really, vocally, let us know that she didn’t appreciate anyone holding her other than mom and dad…We’re thinking she has a good shot at becoming an opera singer, considering the lungs she’s got on her!!
Since the day had gone without a hitch, both kids had been complete angels and so on, we were totally due a meltdown… and we actually managed to run right into one with our own two hands…
We left Lurisia with both kids sleeping in the car, so we thought… why don’t we go and buy The Boy’s new high chair at this great store… that also sells toys… (you see where I’m going with this, right??) So we get there and The Boy wakes up, not in the best of moods, but still ok, we walk around, find the chairs and decide on one… everything is still going fine… so while The Girl and I look for a salesperson to go get us what we  need, The Boy and Daddy walk around the store. I do what I gotta do and go looking for The Boy and The Husband… I hear whining, but I’m not too worried, I find them… near the bikes… and then all hell breaks loose. The Boy wants to ride a bike, it’s not clear whether he wants us to buy it for him or if he just wants to ride it right there and then, but of course there are signs all over that say that kids need to stay the heck off the bikes. So what do we do, well, we switch kids, so I pick up The Boy and take him to pick out a car OR tool set to take home, he wants neither… and as I continue to refuse the bike and he continues to refuse the other options all of a sudden I’ve got a full blown screaming, hair pulling toddler tantrum on my hands. My first. At this point I grab the kid, switch back with The Husband and propel him and the screaming banshee out the shop door as The Girl and I “sedately” get in line to pay for our purchases. Of course the whole time The Boy is screaming ay, ay ay like he’s in pain, the volume of the screaming probably had the entire store thinking we had broken one of his limbs or something. Of course the screaming continued in the car (he managed to get out of the carseat restraints….) and almost all the way home. The Girl, of course, started crying right along with him, we don’t know if she was irritated at the noise level or it was a show of sisterly solidarity. The Husband and I started laughing a little hysterically when we realized what the next few years are going to be like.
Of course, we have no one to blame but ourselves, and we learned a valuable life lesson: Never take a tired, cranky and hungry toddler to a toy store. You’d think that two relatively intelligent adults would’ve known this, you’d think… (notice how many times I’ve repeated “of course” throughout my description of the event, it really couldn’t have ended any other way!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Apparently, we really missed the hospital

IIIIIII’mmmmm baaaaaaaack, after over a week. The Girl and I have been in the hospital all week. Ironic isn’t it, The Husband finally gets home, he finally gets over the nausea, it finally stops snowing and the sun comes out, so instead of the family finally getting to hang out together we decided we missed the Cuneo hospital too much and needed to spent more time there. Sarcasm aside, the poor Girl got a terrible rash, which appears to be an allergic reaction to something mysterious. She looked like I had forgotten her in the midday sun in august in the Caribbean. It started around her mouth and nose and it spread to her face then her whole body, the only part of her that didn’t turn bright red were her legs and feet. It was really horrible, she screamed every time we touched her… at first I thought she had dislocated a shoulder or something (I’ve heard of that happening) so I took her to her doc on Thursday and she found an ear infection. She couldn’t explain the rash, but said that the pain was probably due to her ears…ha! We went home, dutifully started taken an antibiotic, but the next morning she was still in pain so I went back and was promptly sent to the hospital. There we started a whole other ball game. Watching a doctor and two nurses hold down a teeny little screaming baby while another doctor took blood from, I’m not kidding, both arms and both hands was the worst, most excruciatingly horrible moment of my life. The Husband had to leave the room. Anyway, they told us she had something called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, it’s a reaction to possibly bacteria, a virus or some medication. They don’t really know what causes it, just probable causes. (so informative!) Of course, The Girl hadn’t taken any medication when this happened, I hadn’t either (she’s still nursing, so that’s a factor), she had an ear infection but they excluded that this could be a reaction to whatever bacteria or virus caused that. The only other thing that could be a possible cause (and it’s definitely where I’m leaning) are the vaccines she had exactly one week prior to her symptoms starting… coincidence? Obviously, the doctors exclude that the vaccines could have caused this, but on the Mayo Clinic website it says that two of the illnesses that cause this syndrome are diphtheria and hepatitis, shockingly those were two of the six illnesses she was vaccinated for. Coincidence?
Ok, I’m done being a smart ass. (for now!) They kept us there for a week, though they couldn’t give her anything other than Tylenol and an antihistamine, and the hooked her up to a saline solution IV to keep her extra hydrated. The Girl was a total star, she didn’t complain about having an IV permanently stuck to her foot, she started smiling at all the nurses as soon as she started feeling a little better. Unfortunately, now she’s peeling like crazy, and that makes her very uncomfortable and itchy.
We staged a prison break on Thursday, they weren’t 100% comfortable letting us go, but we’re so close to the hospital that we felt ok going home. Everybody was thrilled with the plan, The Boy was happy to have us home, The Husband was thrilled at not having to go back and forth from the hospital, The Girl was happy there was nobody to poke and prod at her all day, and I’m ecstatic at sleeping in my lovely bed again.
Of course, the weather turned crap on us, but we think we may just have a couple of sunny days this week, so we can do outdoors type stuff before The Husband goes back in for his third and final round.
Tomorrow our friends The Brazilians are coming to visit so I’ll have something interesting to relate!
Today, The Husband and The Boy started on a series of home improvement projects The Husband has to cover before going back in. The Boy was thrilled to go to the hardware store, and to watch Daddy make holes in the wall with the noisy and dirt creating drill! Ok, over and out for now. Hopefully next time I’ll be more inspired and my writing style will have improved!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Will the snow ever stop and why the heck is everyone sick?

Everybody is getting sick. The Boy has bronchitis and an infection in his gums, he had to take antibiotics, which made us none too happy, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, and when the doc asked me how many times he’d taken them this winter and I told him he’d only taken them once when he was three months old for a UTI and never again I felt a little better about his having to take them now. (I know I’m a little paranoid, but I hate giving him meds, and I’m especially crazy about antibiotics!) And now The Girl’s got a cough and she’s all red and blotchy with what looks like some sort of allergic reaction so we’re off to the doc again. I’ve been fighting off a sore throat for a few days now, and am starting to worry that I’m going to OD on vitamin C and Echinacea and various homeopathic remedies. Ironically, The Husband is the only really healthy one here… 
It snowed here for two days straight, and I really mean two days straight, we’ve had about 3 feet of snow, which I’m totally thrilled about cause I really missed shoveling snow for the whole entire week we’ve managed to be snow-free, and of course I so didn’t want to have to put away my furry snow boots in favor of flats since technically spring is almost here, but hey when does the weather ever consult the calendar to find out how it should behave?!?!
I almost forgot, my brother G and sister in law M came to visit Saturday and Sunday. The Boy wasn’t in top form but The Girl made up for it by smiling all around (see they’re already helping each other out!). They arrived from Rome laden with pizza bianca (this bread-like pizza , or pizza-like bread, that they only make in Rome and that we use to make sandwiches– it’s divine and The Husband has been hankering after one for months) and fresh buffalo mozzarella. We were all very happy to see them and we spend a nice albeit brief two half-days with them. 
Unfortunately, Nana is leaving tomorrow, she has lots to do in Rome and I bet she’s pretty sick of the weather here (she also has to take advantage of the brief respite from all the snow to get on a plane and get the hell out of dodge, or she may be stuck here for another two weeks).
As far as The Husband is concerned, he’s doing okay, he’s pretty nauseous all the time and he’s been having to go into the hospital pretty often for tests and stuff to get him ready for the transplant. I won’t get into the whole transplant bit now, but it’s freaking us out some.
Argh, I’m not done with what I wanted to write, but unfortunately my free time is up, must take The Girl to the doc. Updates coming soon, I hope!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Food, food, food and a surprise at the end

I haven’t written in a really long while, so of course a LOT happened… Last Friday, finally and against all expectations, Nana arrived in Cuneo (only 8 days late). We are all really happy to have her here. Then Saturday her, wait for it…. fiancé... D arrived. Yes, Nana will be tying the knot at a date to be established to a Mr D, or should I say professor D. Of course, to keep you interested I will reveal tidbits of information on our new family member little by little in the following posts. Saturday night we went to dinner at La Chiocciola, the first Slow Food restaurant, we literally stuffed our faces and had a generally lovely time. Sunday everyone woke up late, even The Boy slept till almost ten (miracle of miracles). Nana and Mr.D visited Cuneo while I was with The Husband at the hospital and then in the evening we had a fantastic dinner at “Il Baluardo” a Michelin star restaurant in Mondovi. Monday night we took The Boy out for pizza, The Girl stayed home cause “she’s too little” (one of the most spoken sentences at our house along with “NO!”, which is the preferred answer to all questions – guess by whom!!) On Tuesday we were all set to start getting the house ready for The Husband’s homecoming on Wednesday or Thursday and then I got a wonderful phone call: “they’re kicking me out of the hospital, come get me!”. And thus started the whirlwind of activity involved in getting the house ready for The Husband’s arrival. We washed, disinfected, vacuumed and generally deep cleaned the house in record time, while The Boy hopped around in a state of high excitement occasionally yelling PAPAY (daddy) at the top of his lungs. At 11 I left to go pick him up hoping to drop off the car at the carwash next to the hospital but apparently one must make an appointment to wash the car several days in advance (kind of like going to the theatre or reserving a really chichi restaurant), so The Husband came home to a sparkling clean house in a very dirty car…
The Boy was so happy at having Daddy home that on Wednesday he ran a temperature  so he’s been home from daycare since. And Mr. D left on Wednesday morning, so it worked out quite well, cause at least The Husband got to meet him too.  Anyway, we are all VERY proud of The Husband who only had 10 white blood cells last Friday and by Tuesday he had produced 3,000! Then he over compensated and Wednesday he had 20,000 – normal is between 6,000 and 8,000 for men – but we’re happy because the bone marrow test confirmed that he’s producing HEALTHY white blood cells for now and the numbers should go back to normal in the next few days. This is great news for several reasons, first and foremost the leukemia went into remission after this round of chemo, so though he still has to have the transplant asap we’re a little more relaxed cause at least this time he responded the way he’s supposed to, also he gets to stay home for almost three weeks and he doesn’t have to worry as much about the risk of contagion from regular illnesses (basically we don’t have to freak out if The Boy gets a cold), we still need to be careful and monitor his health and the kids’ and he has to wear a mask if he goes outside and generally has to avoid very crowded places (like movie theatres) but we can see friends and go to restaurants. Of course, he still has very little energy and it’s still hard for him to adjust to the outside world, which is pretty normal considering he’s been confined to a relatively small room for the past 6 weeks.  So basically we’re taking it easy, getting used to the new routine, The Husband is getting to know The Girl a little better (he even changed a diaper last night, first one in over two and a half months!) and The Boy is getting readjusted to having his daddy home. 
Today’s reason for why we’re really lucky: The Husband came home a day early!