Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lizard!!!!

This is a quick post to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my BFF Lizard. I hope you had a fantastic day, and we're all sending you lots of birthday hugs! I am so glad to have you as my friend!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Belated Half-birthday Post!

Jambuca's 18-month happened while I was out of town, so I accidentally missed his doctor's appointment. It was rescheduled for today.

The big deal: last shots until Kindergarten!!!!

He took his shots very well, and seemed more angry about the being held down part than about the actual injections part. He cheered right up once he was able to sit up again. By the time we left, he was guffawing and running down the hallway. I asked him whether he wanted a Nutri-grain bar, and he said "HARHARHA!" I don't know what is in those things that makes them like crack for little kids, but it makes bribery a snap.

He's still tracking along at 50% on length and weight, and he's doing fine on all his skills. Further ahead on gross motor than anything else, as I discovered myself when I came into the kitchen only to find him climbing on the counter. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is safe in our house unless it's under lock and key. It won't be long until he figures those out as well. He can already open the outside doors of the house if they aren't locked.

His language skills are coming along. He still has a LOT more comprehensive vocabulary than expressive. He can point out all sorts of animals and other things in books, follow instructions without me having to point, he knows some body parts and animal sounds. He says lots and lots of stuff, but it mostly sounds like babble. He says giraffe as "jah," milk as "muh," and car as "caaaaaah" (real slow-like). But he does love to try to talk. Thank goodness for sign language, because he can't say goldfish or cookie. But he can sure as heck sign them! Loud and clear! The doc says his language developent is right on median track.

His personality is showing more and more. He's persistent at doing tasks, and enjoys playing with things that involve using his hands. He's open to new people. He likes to play loud games. He likes ACTION! and EXCITEMENT! I can't wait to see what more comes of that personality.

E-baby has a birthday coming up fairly soon. She'll be getting a new bike. Jambuca will be inheriting her walk-bike. I know it will be the highlight of his year.

Boring post, I know, but I have to get these things down for posterity.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Formerly Late SpiderStan

My last post was a sad one about the death of a man I greatly admired, and who will be sorely missed by many, many people.
This post is also about a man I greatly admire- a man who met death, had a coffee and beignets with death- but who thought better of it and came back to life. Or perhaps death decided they didn't have the right chemistry together. Either way, this is not a sad post.
I wrote most of this post from a hospital waiting room more than a week ago.
On Tuesday two weeks ago, my dad collapsed on a bike ride. His heart had completely and suddenly stopped. He had been riding with two others, one of whom broke his fall (Bail onto a friend! SAVE THE CERVELO!). The other waved down a driver. Within seconds, the driver was doing CPR. Another rider arrived and called 911. The passerby did CPR for a good 10 minutes. If you've ever done CPR training, you know that's hard work. EMS arrived. They shocked SpiderStan multiple times before loading him into an ambulance and one of dad's long-time dearest friends rode along with them. EMS told the friend that SpiderStan is dead. They promised to keep trying, but don't get your hopes up.

At last, his heart started again. It had taken somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.

In the hospital, he started moving. He moved his arms and legs. He tried to remove the IVs. This was a good sign: he had not been paralyzed. Then he was out again. At one time, he had 12 IV bags going in, along with a breathing tube, a draining tube from his stomach, a heart pump, catheter, and probably some other unpleasantness he's glad to forget.

To save his brain, the doctors induced a coma, and cooled his body temperature to 89.6 degrees. He would stay this way 24-48 hours. All we could do was sit and wait.

Meanwhile, I was at the office. The office! Who gives a CRAP about the OFFICE? This is my DAD! The INVINCIBLE guy! I was at work. Eating my own hands. At last, Mom gave me the green light to come to town after she was assured that he would not die while I was in transit. Jambuca and I arrived around 10:30pmTuesday.

My brother picked us up from the hospital. My brother, who was mom's rock all day long, and she was his. He warned me that it would be shocking to see dad like this. I was afraid of what I'd feel, looking at my dad in such as state. He is invincible. I couldn't compute SpiderStan = Comatose. We got to the hospital around midnight and mom sent me up to see him. I walked in. He was a mess of tubes and wires, dried blood here and there, lots of mechanical noises, and a smell I've never smelled before, and that I will never forget. A horrible, sterile, chemical smell. He was wrapped hed to foot in cooling blankets. And there was my dad's arm. I put my hand on his arm. And I knew that he was going to live. He had no intention of leaving so soon. I told him I was here. I described the trip. I said that I love him and that hundreds of people are praying for him. I knew he could hear me.

The next day, the hospital waiting area was full of the worried faces of people like us, hoping for the best for their family members, fearing the worst. We paced, not knowing whether he would remember us when he woke up. Would he walk again? Speak again? Pick up a baby again?

My mom slept less than anyone, but you'd never know to see her. She was fresh, energetic, keeping all the rest of the family and friends from singing in a minor key.

Wednesday night, she slept in the ICU. That night, he woke up.  For the first few hours, he didn't know what had happened to him, why he was in the hospital, why he couldn't sit up, why he had these damned tubed and wires all over him. He knew mom, and later in the morning, he knew my brother, he knew me. He remembered everything up to the day of the ride. That would come later as well. Nothing had been lost. He was all there 100%, but with a serious wake up call.

* can fix anything.
* always knows the best way out of a sticky situation.
* loves to ride a bike
* loves the sound of his grandchildren's laughter
* thinks romantic thoughts about my mom, all the time, and thinks we don't notice
* is my hero

Dad had open-heart surgery last week, and he's recovering remarkably well. I think I'll go to Texas in September, around the time he gets back on his bike, so I can keep up with him. By December, he'll be faster than ever. Then I'll have to make him pull the kids in the trailer (again).

I'm sorry it has taken so long to get this post up Every time I read it, it's not quite what I want to say. It still isn't but eventually you just have to put it out there and call it eough.

Dad, I'm so glad you are OK. I love you!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Everything I Really Need To Know I Learned From Dr B.

* If someone with road rage tries to get you outof your car for a fight, even if you did nothing to cause it, say "I'm so sorry" in the most sympathetic way you can muster (through the window). Whatever's making your opponent so angry, there's nothing you can say to make it better. A sincere apology goes a long way to soothe blind fury.
* Too much structure is oppressive, but kids need some kind of structure. Schools with no rules produce kids with no direction.
* If you don't teach your kid the meaning of inappropriate self disclosure, their friends will.
* Every opportunity that comes your way, give it serious consideration. You won't take every opportunity, but give everything a chance. You can't get to the next station if you don't jump on the train.
* Never lose your sense of humor. If your name rhymes with a brand of beer, let people make knock-off t-shirts to honor you.
* Always be kind. Smile easily.
* Know more about math than you strictly need to. Sometimes it comes in handy in conversation.
* Trust others to be their best.

Every time I go back to Dallas, I tell myself that I need to pay a visit to my old university and visit Dr. B. I worked in his research lab 94-95 and was the lab manager from 95-96, and he was instrumental in my making the choices I made for graduate school. But I never managed to stop by and say hello. I received tragic news this evening. He and his wife were excellent climbers. Mt Ranier was practically his playground as a young man, and his stories about being a professional mountain climber were fuel for the adventurous imagination. My heart goes out to their 2 sons. I can't imagine how hard this is for them.

Sorry this post is depressing. I wanted to get something out in words to keep a memory alive. Happier posts coming later, I promise. If you pray, please send up a nice word for a couple who should have been around to see grandchildren, to enjoy retirement, to have another vacation, to mentor another student, to care for another toddler. I hope they're hiking heavenly cloud mountains.