Just another Manic Monday

School starts here tomorrow. And as bad as I feel for saying it…I can’t wait. I need some routine, some down time, some “regular” stuff. You know?

Just when I thought a week of plane crashes, hospital stays and sick little boys was looking up, fate stepped in. Big Bro was bit by a dog at the local park. Said dog had no vaccinations. It all adds up to Big Bro having to be on a round of antibiotics for the sore, and the dog being quarantined for 10 days to watch for signs of rabies. Even indoor pets need vaccinations. (Let’s not even get to why an “indoor” pet was at the park.)

For those that don’t know…let me explain to you what rabies all entails.

  • Rabies attacks the brain and spinal cord. If it is not prevented, it WILL cause death.
  • This year, more than 55,000 people will die from rabies. That’s one person every 10 minutes.
  • Rabies is 100% preventable. There are vaccinations for animals and treatment for humans that are in contact with infected animals.
  • It can only be passed through saliva, not blood.
  • More than 40% of the people bitten and affected are children under the age of 15.
  • Dogs are the source of 99% of human rabies death.
  • There are no tests available to diagnose rabies infection in human prior to the onset of clinical disease.

Well, enough of that, I think you get the point. Rabies is serious, rabies is deadly, and it’s simple to prevent. This is all a situation that didn’t need to occur. So please, have your pets properly vaccinated and cared for by veterinarians. If you can’t afford to do that, then do your animal a favor, and find them a new home.

I will know within 10 days if we have to go through the rabies series with Big Bro. Sooner if the animal dies between now and then. Is it likely that the dog has rabies? No, but even “indoor” pets can have contact with disease-carrying animals. Is it likely that the animal will get sick? No, but with a 100% fatality record, it’s not worth the risk.

What a way to start the week…and the school year!

Monday morning update

Well, I’d love to say that we are at home, enjoying a great morning…but that’s not quite the case. Sunday morning at 11:30, I noticed that George’s thumb was purple. Ipushed the nurse call button, and we quickly discovered that his IV had quit working, pushing all the fluid into his hand.

Apparently, your hand isn't supposed to look like this. That silly George, always trying to be trendy.


Once the nurse had his IV pulled out, we were on a time crunch. George needed to start drinking on his own, stat…or else they would have to start another IV. And with his history with IV starts, he didn’t have a whole lot of places left to poke.

Well, long story short, the determination and bull-headedness of a 2-year-old won out. At 8 or so last night we started another IV…this time in the crook of his elbow. This means that his arm is immobilized with armboards and taped. Oh my, the fun we are having.

While all this was going on, I learned last evening that a little boy from our town was flown to another hospital with bacterial meningitis. So, as you are saying a little prayer for George to start drinking, can you life Brayton and his family in prayer as well? Thank you, so very much.

Here’s hoping my next post is from the comfort of home!

Home Away from Home

Well, George has had a bad week. Yesterday (Friday) we came in for IV fluids. Unfortunately, George was making his Mama nervous. He kept falling asleep. By noon, he had taken three naps, and by the time we were in Aberdeen getting fluids, he was on nap number seven.

Now, I know that after the week he’s had (tonsils and adenoids out, tubes in ears, staying in the hospital for three days, etc.), he deserved some rest…but for a 2-year-old, well, we were dwelling in a dangerous area.

George’s OTC has “episodes,” which are periods of seizures, brain swelling, high ammonia levels, etc. These are medical emergencies and need to be treated with IV therapy ASAP. In fact, I carry a letter from Mayo and a letter from his pediatrician, instructing any ER we may end up visiting that if George comes in with fever, lethargy, or other unexplainable symptoms, he needs to be treated immediately. No waiting for triage, no waiting for doctors orders, blood draw and IV first, questions second.

So, my question when we came in Friday afternoon was, “Is his lethargy caused from regular post-op blahs? Or are we dealing with something else?” Doc couldn’t answer that, so we drew some blood. And quickly received our answer. George was dehydrated.

Now, I received a thorough grilling from our pediatrician. You see, he was behind in information. He knew that George had surgery on Tuesday, but he didn’t realize that he wasn’t taking anything orally and had only been released the night before with the saline-lock in his hand, with orders to come back each day for fluids until he was drinking 20-30 ounces per day. So we had gone a little over 12 hours without fluid, and George’s stats weren’t good.

The doc explained it to me like this: George’s body thought it was starving. So, it started the process of breaking down it’s own tissue to get enough protein, etc. that it needed. He called it acidosis.

So, we are back in the hospital. We have learned a valuable lesson. George can’t go very long without fluids. He dehydrates in RECORD time…and I mean fast! And although he was producing tears, had a runny nose, moist mouth (all signs that he’s hydrated enough), the blood work showed a way different story.

And now we know.

It is Sunday…and I will give thanks to God for allowing us to have the technology and the means to be able to figure these things out, and correct the deficiencies that are there. I will thank Him for the wisdom of the doctors, the compassion of the nurses and the love and care of all our friends and family. I will thank Him for mother’s intuition.

But most of all, I will thank Him for George.

A WINNING Farmer Friday

Before I get to a farm update (need one of those!), I need to announce the winners of the two “Levi’s Lost Calf” books by Amanda Radke, illustrated by Michelle Weber. And drum roll please…

Congratulations to…

Renae G. and Robyn!!! Woohoo!

You will both receive a copy of Amanda’s book, complete with autograph from the wonderful author…lucky ducks! Thank you to all who entered!

And now, a farm update:

Last night, as we were finally rolling home for a bit, Boss Man suddenly looked at the south-bound lane of Hwy. 281 and said, “Hey, there goes my hay!” (Yeah, he’s poetic like that.)

The story goes something like this…a friend of Mark’s in LaMoure had a contact in Oklahoma that was in need of hay. As you’ve read in the news (or perhaps even experienced first hand), some areas in the south are going through catastrophic droughts right now. And this particular ranch was also hit.

In our area, the reverse has been true. Continuous badly-timed rains has made haying season difficult. Hay that is continuously rained on has a lower feed value (less nutrition to it) than hay that is put up with the right amount of wind, sun and magic pixie dust. (Just kidding on the pixie thing, no pixie’s are harmed in the production of our hay crop…at least, not that I know of.) Our hay this year is not of the quality that we usually strive for, but we have no control over that.

But good hay (instead of great hay), is better than no hay at all. And livestock need something to eat. Even if you live in Oklahoma and have to truck it from North Dakota.

You see, cattlemen are a lot like parents. It’s inconvenient and costly to travel that far for feed, just the same as its inconvenient and costly to drive a couple hours each day for medical care. But we both do it without batting an eye. It’s our responsibility and we will do what needs to be done, at whatever cost to ensure the health and well-being of those that we care for…even if they’re bovine.

Thankful Thursday: Nurses

Today I have a special message of thankfulness to give, and this one is to our nurses.

With our frequent flier miles at the hospital, we get a chance to meet and test out most of the nurses here on the pediatric ward. I know a majority of them…mostly by first name.

But today, this blog post is about them. I am thankful for them everyday…especially this week.

I am thankful for:

  • Not making me feel like a bad mother for wanting to not be in the room when medicine is given. When a little kid’s throat is sore, taking medicine is a form of medieval torture, no matter how necessary it is. I can be the bad guy when I have to be, but appreciate the breaks occasionally.
  • Talking to me like a mother, not a child or a doctor. When the doctor says, “We’ll talk about going home once he starts drinking.” And the nurse letting me know that with 2-year-olds, we could be here a bit.
  • Letting me know what’s normal. The above mentioned issue of not drinking? Guess what? Completely normal.
  • Taking care of one of my most prized possessions. That includes: reading his history, understanding my concerns prior to coming in the room and going above and beyond to do what is right for George.

No matter how you look at it, all of the nurses here are pretty much amazing. And one day, when George is big and strong and a no longer eligible for the pediatric ward, I hope to come back and personally thank each one of you, for your crucial part in our journey.

But for now, a simple “Thank you” will have to do.

What gets George through a hospital stay? His puppy, his blankie and his tractor magazines!


Wordless Wednesday – Siding project

Quick hospital update: George’s surgery went smoothly. Tonsils and adenoids were definitely a problem. But so was waking up. Things didn’t go as smoothly as planned, with one seizure-like episode, but nurses were SUPERB and right on top of things. The evening went better, and we’ll see where the day takes us.

The doctor is extremely helpful, and is in no hurry for George to leave. He said it’s most important that he’s taking fluids and that I feel comfortable with him at home. I love it when doctors get that!

Anyway…on to my Wordless Wednesday, cool pics of our siding project!

Saturday's project step: front porch.


The rain on Sunday delayed us...once the window was out. Not exactly ideal.


Notice the finished front porch? And the window is in!

We were three sheets of siding short of finishing before George’s surgery and my parents’ quick vacation to Wisconsin. We’ll finish next week…just in time for more pics and a post! 🙂

Where’s My Relaxing Summer???

I remember when I was a girl (hey now, don’t laugh, it wasn’t THAT long ago!), summer break from school was a relaxing time. We played, slept in, stayed up late, whatever we wanted to do. We went fishing, took drives to check fields and worked in the garden.

Where is that summer now?

Yesterday started off as a Tuesday, and ended as a Monday. We have 20 days until school starts, and so many things to pack into our “summer” that I almost wish school would start now! (Almost, I said almost.)

In the last few weeks, George has battled yet again another case of strep. We were referred to an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist, who promptly decided on Monday that he needed to have his tonsils, adenoids removed and tubes in his ears…and the sooner, the better. Which means Tuesday. So then we need to have a pre-op history and physical done. Which could only be scheduled yesterday.

With George’s OTC, illnesses are taken very seriously. Two of his strep infections have landed him a stay in the hospital. Both times he had seizures, both times he ended up on high doses of antibiotics, both times I had the bejeebers scared out of me. According to the ENT, removing George’s tonsils and adenoids will improve his snoring/lack of sleeping habit and will greatly decrease his chance of getting strep. Yay! He also failed the tympanogram. Meaning there is fluid in his ears and his ear drum is not moving much. So we will also be getting tubes.

Tubes/tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy…sounds like a fun day, eh? Oh well, as long as it makes things better in the long run, I’m all for it.

But to get back to yesterday.

After George’s pre-op appointment, we needed to get Big Bro’s new glasses. On our way to that appointment, Scooter started crying that his ear hurt so bad that he couldn’t move his head. Thankfully, there’s a FastCare clinic next to the eye doctor. We stopped in and found out the Scooter has swimmer’s ear. Figures. There’s only four days left of the pool being open.

So…after some running around, three doctor’s appointments, we met with Grandma B. at “Donald’s” for supper. We don’t eat out very often, so I wasn’t used to ordering for George off the Golden Arches menu. What do you get a child who can’t eat most of the menu?

I asked the manager (who happened to be the one waiting on me) if I could order a hamburger Happy Meal, minus the meat. I explained to him the situation, and he promptly went to the kitchen and made sure it was made right. Bun, check; ketchup, check; pickles, onions, mustard; check, check, check. The manager also threw in extra apple dippers, just to be nice. As I brought his meal to him, George was the happiest little boy around. He had the same thing as his brothers…and enjoyed every bite! I actually tear up, just thinking about it.

Sometimes, it’s just the little things in life that make your day.

Wordless Wednesday – Outside!

 We finally have the cows out to pasture yesterday. It was so nice out, that I had the boys do their homework outside! Here’s a few snapshots I took:

George loves his "lawn mower."


This is one of EJ's favorites!


It's time for the cows to head to pasture!


EJ knows that anytime you deal with cows, you need to have your "rubby" boots on.


Junior may be our "foster" dog, but he's the best!


And he's terribly patient as well.


Big Bro is working hard on his homework!


Figuring, figuring, figuring...


Good thing he has all 10!


Excuse me, but do you have a license for this thing?


Notice the red tab in the window? Dad made sure they were driving legally! Ha!


How NOT to spend a birthday

As I mentioned yesterday, George spent the night in the hospital. Now, with his OTC, that’s not that unusual, but his method of gaining a bed was a tad unorthodox, to say the least.

You see, Tuesday was my birthday, and as I pointed out earlier, it always rains on my birthday. Well, that tradition is safe for another year, because yet again, it rained on Tuesday. And since rain makes everyone sleepy, I didn’t think much of George wanted to climb in my lap a little before 11 and falling asleep. I had second thoughts when he woke up shortly after lunch, screaming bloody murder.

As I tried to settle him down, I realized he was feeling warm. So I took his temp, and low and behold, it was 103.2. I know we need to be careful, so I did a tylenol suppository (he’s at the age that he refuses to take medicine, as in spitting it back in my face).  A little bit later, his temp was down to 101.5, but he was very lethargic and not acting quite right, so I called the pediatrician. Although his office is an hour drive from here, they said they would see us as soon as we could get there, so I got everyone ready and headed out.

I suspected we were dealing with an ear infection, or something along those lines, so I didn’t think much of it. I figured we would be back home shortly after the boys got home from school, so I made sure Boss Man didn’t plan to leave the yard. I dropped EJ off at Grandma’s house and we were off to the clinic.

We got to the clinic, the nurse weighed George and took his temp (101.4) and we sat down in one of those cozy little rooms. And then it hit.

George had another full-blown seizure. Thanks be to God that it was in the clinic, and not while I was driving down! The nurse called the doctor in immediately, the place was buzzing with action, we had suction, oxygen and plenty of support staff. It was terrifying and a relief at the same time. Terrifying because it was my son, and he was in trouble, relieving because it was at the clinic, and the doctor knew what to do.

It was seven minutes from when things started until things were “OK” again. We were admitted to the hospital for observation, mainly because George is a “special case” when it comes to these things.

You see, febrile seizures (seizures caused by a fever), are common. Very common. As common as they are, they are still scarier than all get-out. But high ammonia levels can also cause seizures. And illness can cause high ammonia levels with OTC. So which is the culprit, the ammonia or the fever? Chicken or the egg?

So we got a cool wheel-chair ride in an underground tunnel from the clinic to the hospital, had a room full of nurses starting IV’s, trying to draw blood and making sure that everything was taken care of. And then we spent the rest of my birthday, and half of his, waiting, and waiting and waiting.

He did not have any other seizures. His temperature only went up once during the night. And by morning he was well on his way to back to normal.

So what was the cause? No clue, really. His ears were clear, his lungs were clear, so the doctor went with the stand-by of “viral illness.” All that matters to me is that we are back home.

And the next time he starts to run a temp, we’ll be on high alert. I won’t necessarily have to take him in, as long as I feel comfortable and nothing to extraordinary happens. But we’ll see. I’m not sure I want to trust my judgment on what may be wrong…especially if a seizure is involved. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with this territory, we’ve been down it before with Big Bro, but this is a whole new level.

I will say, though, George knows how to kick off a new year. I may be in big trouble if this is just the warm-up to the Terrible Two’s.

Good Friday trumps Earth Day

I was all prepared to write a post today about all the things we do on the farm that celebrates the Earth, such as using our manure, using no-till whenever possible, using the water from our well to heat our home…then heat our shop…then to water our cows, etc. (That’s right, all the same water, I’ll explain it sometime.)

But as I was sitting down to type last night, I decided to check out George’s lab work that was done at Mayo. (They have a really cool set-up, where you can register to log-in and receive the lab results yourself. No more waiting for that stinkin’ doctor’s call!) Anyway, I logged-in and for the first time ever, and I truly mean EVER, all of George’s lab work came back within normal ranges! (Well, minus the Vit. D and iron levels, but those are diet/sunshine related, not illness/disorder, so they don’t really count.)

I’ll admit it, I cried a bit. For the last just-about 2 years, I’ve dealt with continuously feeling like something wasn’t right, that we weren’t on the right track, bloodwork continuously showed something off here or there, nothing fit together, etc. It was a whirlpool of nightmares. Since George was born, he has seen: three pediatricians, two pediatric geneticists, two pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric cardiologist, two pediatric endocrinologists, two pediatric neurologists, two dieticians, pediatric oncologist, pediatric neurosurgeon and several other various ER docs, nurses and staff. He has had: two colonoscopies, an upper GI series, multiple x-rays and ultrasounds, a liver biopsy, three MRI’s, an echocardiogram and two CT scans. He has given more blood for bloodwork that some people donate to the blood bank. He’ll be 2, and he’s been through so much, but is still such a wonderful little boy.

One of the things that I hear the most, when people hear about George, is that he doesn’t LOOK like anything is wrong with him. That’s always the problem. I wonder how many of those doctors blew us off because they felt he didn’t “look” sick enough. I know for sure one did, I overheard him tell the students that were following him those exact words. It went something like this, “And in this room is a 6-month-old male patient, case seems somewhat unremarkable. Mother has sought care at Mayo. Came in with fever, slight dehydration, etc. There’s no clear diagnosis, and I’m not real sure why they’re here. Their local hospital probably overreacted. We’ll keep him through tomorrow to satisfy the Mother.” (Needless to say, I requested a discharge immediately and we never returned to that set of physicians.)

We have so much to be thankful for.

This morning, Big Bro told me that they didn’t have school today because it was Earth Day. That sealed the deal for me. I’m not writing about our farm today. I’m not writing about how to recycle, or how to reduce your carbon footprint, or how to reuse your milk carton to make a mailbox. We should all know these things, and we should all be doing them. Every day. Period.

But today is Good Friday first. It’s a day that we celebrate all that has been given for us. The Blessing that was bestowed upon us so many years ago. And for me, today is a day of thankfulness.

Yes, I won’t be brushing my teeth with the water on, I’ll turn off lights where I don’t need them, our bulbs are already energy efficient. Those are things we do everyday. But today, I’ll spend extra time thanking God for those gifts that He has given. Including the ultimate sacrifice of His only Son.

Today is definitely a Good Friday.