iPod Confessions

Graduating from high school in the 80's had to leave a mark on anyone's musical taste. I have to admit, there are a few songs from my impressionable youth on the iPod. So here's a little quiz for the readership. Which of these cheezy 80's songs made my playlist?

Twilight Zone - Golden Earring

Tainted Love - Soft Cell

Hey Mickey - Toni Basil

If you're really into the cheese, click on the song name and you'll be treated to the video. I'll post the answer only if someone guesses.


Rare Sighting

I think it's been nearly 2 decades, but it came out to see the light of day today. Check it out. Nobody has said anyting yet. I don't think they noticed. In fact, I think this is the first time Deanna has ever seen the upper lip. Still, she said nothing. Is that good or bad?

More evidence that Alondra is getting back to normal.


Cover Your Cough

Alondra's doctor appointment went well. The doctor said she's fine and as long as she doesn't get sick he expects she'll have no problems. If she does get sick, he recommends we use the nebulizer and he's confident we know the signs and will get her the help she might need.

So the plan is to have another bronchial exam the last week of June. That'll give Alondra's airway time to heal from last week and he'll get a good look at exactly how narrow it is. He suspects he'll discover that her airway is too narrow and will recommend corrective surgery sooner as opposed to later. But he admits he's been wrong before and she may not need the procedure. But if she does, it would mean a 4 to 6 week stay in the hospital. After that, she should have no further issues.

Then we had the opportunity to have her hearing tested. We knew Alondra was able to hear again. And the test confirmed it. She passed with flying colors in her left ear, but the right only passed some of the tests. The technician suspects the trouble with the right ear had more to do with how hard it is to test an infant than Alondra's hearing. So she recommended we try again in a few months and see if she does better. Nothing to be alarmed about.

So if you plan on holding Alondra, you will be washing your hands first. And please cover your coughs.

What Can I Say?

Alondra is doing very well. Still acting a little on the spoiled side, but we're still too afraid to let her cry herself to sleep so we're not helping her solve that issue. She's got her strength back and is rolling over with ease again. We have a followup appointment with the ENT doc this morning. I'll let you know what he has to say.


Back to Normal?

Alondra is back to her happy go lucky self. She spent the day rolling around the floor and hanging out with mom. Breathing is back to normal and the messy diapers have tailed off. We're still keeping the appointment with her pediatricion this evening.

Now the question is how long will it take Alondra's mom and dad to get back to normal? First step was to put away the car seat and let her sleep in a crib. Not the one in her room just yet - I moved the portacrib upstairs into our room for tonight. I know we can't live in fear of something happening, but we're not ready for her to move back into her own room just yet.


Zoned Out

We were very surprised when the docs decided to let us take Alondra home yesterday. They thought she had been off the respirator for 24 hours and was doing fine. So the risk of catching something at the hospital should be avoided if possible.

Aondra was zoned out all day. Withdrawls from the meds. She got a little fussy last night. She had some awful diapers. She wouldn't lay on her back so we called and the doc suggested having her sleep in her car seat. We did that and she did sleep through the night. At times her breaths were a little more labored than others, but nothing too alarming.

This morning we woke up and we can see our daughter's personality is back. That's a wonderful feeling. But she's still not feeling well. She was fussy enough and breathing hard enough that at about 7 Deanna and I decided we would shower and then take her back to Children's and have them look at her.

While Deanna was in the shower, I just walked around with her and she seemed to be doing a lot better. Deanna gave her a dose of Tylenol and she's just hanging out now. Certainly not her usual bouncy self, but she seems OK. For a little girl who just spent several days on a vent and has a bug of some sort. Hopefully she's back to normal soon.


A Great Day

When I got to the hospital this morning I was greeted by that familiar smile that I hadn't seen since Monday. Alondra was awake and quite ready to get those tubes out of her nose. We visited for a while, just looking at each other. Though Alondra had already figured out that she needed to watch every move anyone in blue made. So Camille got more attention than I did.

About 7 Alondra fell back asleep at took a nice 2 hour nap. She woke back up just as everyone was preparing for the extubation. That was accomplished about 9:45 and Alondra has done wonderfully since. The nurses and doctors are all very impressed with her airflow given her small airway. She had a couple blow by doses of oxygen in that first hour. Then some nebs since (which she hates). She's a little disoriented and not quite able to balance sitting up yet. But that's expected after several days of meds.

To the ENT docs surprise, the trach is looking less likely by the minute. The plan is to have Alondra spend 1 more night in the PICU. If she continues to do well, tomorrow she'll be moved to another unit for more observation. Then we'll see what comes after that.

I picked Matt and Lauren up after school and they were eager to see their baby sister now that she's doing so much better. So we made the trip down there for a short visit. Deanna, Matt, Lauren and I had dinner together in the cafeteria and then I took the older kids home.

Just as I walked in the door the phone rang and it was our lawyer with news of our court date to finalize Alondra's adoption. That's going to happen June 9 at 2:30. So I called Deanna at the hospital with the news. She mentioned Alondra had just finished up her first bottle. Sucked the whole thing down in 10 minutes. So she's doing great. It's been a great day.



Alondra is still stable and doing well. I spoke with our ENT specialist this morning. He is discouraged that Alondra's undersized ventilator nasal tube hasn't begun to leak yet. She has a 3 and normally we would expect a 9 month old to use a 4 or 5. Air leakage would be an indication that the swelling in Alondra's wind pipe was subsiding and may mean that her natural airway would be large enough that she could go home with no further medical procedures. But since she's been on meds to reduce the swelling for nearly 3 days, and still no air leak, that indicates she may need a tracheotomy.

The plan now is to wean her from the anesthetic today. Then tomorrow morning, extubate (remove her from the ventilator). Then we'll see how she does. If all goes well and she has no trouble breathing on her own for several days, perhaps she can come home. If she has trouble, it's likely she'll be placed back on the vent and we'll get a tracheotomy scheduled.

The doctor believes the floppy airway issue is one that will correct itself over the next couple of years. The narrowing up higher in the airway however, he thinks will need to be corrected surgically. He indicated the best time for an airway reconstruction procedure is usually when a child is about 2 years old. But even if Alondra does need a trach now, she probably won't need one after her narrow airway is reconstructed.

So we're playing the waiting game today. Tomorrow we should know more.


The Ploy Works

If you are confused by the title, read the Scary Night post - all the way to the end. So Alondra has her ear tubes. Once they let her wake up, she should be able to hear again. She's still on the ventilator but stable.

The tests have revealed the source of Alondra's breathing problems are likely her bronchial tubes. Rather than being nice open airways, they are floppy and one is nearly closed. The likely cause is either an irregular blood vessel constricting them, or that the cartilage that helps keep the tubes open isn't strong enough to do so. Preliminary results from this morning's CT scan indicate that the vascular ring (first problem) is not likely. That's not official, as we haven't heard from the ENT doc yet, but the staff we got to know in the PICU when Luke was there couldn't wait. Several had a look at the test results and offered their opinions.

There's still significant swelling and first order of business is to take care of that. The plan is also to ease up a bit on the meds and let Alondra be a little more awake. She's been totally out since Monday night.

If the vascular ring is ruled out, the hope would be that the bronchial tube blockage is due to the swelling in her airway. So after the swelling has subsided, the ENT doc will have another look to re-evaluate. If there's still blockage, a tracheostomy would be a possibility. Many kids outgrow this sort of problem, so if a trach is needed it would likely be temporary. If the integrity of the bronchial tubes remains a problem once she's older, surgery may be needed to correct it then.

Still, everything we're hearing is all very treatable. Hopefully the scary night was the worst of it and soon we'll have our happy daughter back at home. For now, Alondra is doing well and resting comfortably. So well in fact, that Matt and Lauren are planning a visit after school today.


Scary Night

I woke up to Alondra wheezing last night. I picked her up and immediately began patting her back. Last time we were in the doctors had told us that sometimes junk can get stuck in her lungs and the patting will help loosen it. As soon as Deanna turned on the light I thought something more serious was up. Alondra's face showed how hard she was working to catch her breath. There were tears in her eyes, but no cries. She couldn't cry because she was working so hard to breath. Immediately Deanna called 911 and within minutes the police arrived closely followed by the ambulance. I was still patting her back and she was struggling a bit less as the paramedics walked in. Deanna and I were getting worried that we had cried wolf.

The first thing the medic did was attach one of those oxygen level monitors to Alondra's finger. A second later, just as the machine registered a number, the medic took Alondra from my arms and said who's coming, let's go. Deanna rushed out the front door and into the ambulance.

At Mercy Hospital they did everything right we were told by the staff at Children's. They quickly intubated her and when her heart rate dropped below 40 beats per minute applied chest compressions. That only lasted about 30 seconds as Alondra rebounded quickly. The staff at Mercy was already consulting with the staff at Childrens and the decision was made to transfer her right away.

Since Alondra arrived at Childrens things have been pretty uneventful. She's resting peacefully on a ventilator and stable. We've learned that children with Down Syndrome are more likely to have small or obstructed wind pipes. This afternoon Alondra is scheduled for some tests to help identify the problem and figure out next steps. We're told that these sorts of problems are most often correctable with surgery. And our many friends in the PICU (the ones we got to know when Luke was there) have assured us this is far less serious than Luke's heart problem.

Michelle was there to greet Deanna when she and Alondra arrived. And Jocelyn is taking care of Alondra this morning. We spoke with the ENT specialist this morning and after going through the more serious issues, I asked about the aborted ear tube procedure. He asked some more questions and checked Alondra's ears. Then he indicated that as long as he was going to have her in the operating room for this afternoon's test, he would see what he could do about that. So Jocelyn's joke of the day is that this is all a ploy by Alondra to get those tubes. She's tired of not being able to hear and didn't want to wait for next week's appointment.


Lost Weekend

The weather here hasn't been anything like this lately. This is from a hike in the Tetons a few summers back. There's some good in the bad weather. The deck is still only three quarters sealed. Well, that part isn't good. The good part is that I didn't have to spend the weekend on that ladder in the backyard.

Instead, Mom and the 2 older kids took in a flick while Dad and Alondra hung out at home. They saw Hoot. Matt and Lauren both had read the book and were eager to see it.

Then the rest of the weekend the kids and I spent slaying colossi like that one. I think that's the plural, isn't it? We've got 10 down and 6 to go. The last 6 will have to wait for another weekend.

Oh yeah - we also have a TV star in the house. Deanna was flipping the channels after her breakfast in bed and noticed the Saturday evening Mass was on. Lauren had one of the lead roles - alter server.



Well it's official - Matt's had 2 perfect seasons in a row. Undefeated last year, to winless this year. Our 2nd baseman didn't show Wednesday, so I pulled Matt in from the outfield. He ended up with 4 put outs. Guess this old coach isn't the best judge of where the kids should be playing. Think that has something to do with the record?

We still get to play in the tournament. We go up against another winless team, Heritage Academy, in the consolation bracket on Tuesday. Then once we win that one we take on the cross town rivals - Epiphany on Thursday. I've got a work thing Thursday and can't make it to the game. A couple other Dad's are going to cover for me. So it sounds to me like we'll end the season with a winning streak.

Also found out I'm a professional baseball coach. The AD left a message that he had my check ready - who knew? My guess is it'll be enough to buy a DQ for the boys after we get the team picture taken.

Now we're looking forward to softball. Lauren's team won Wednesday. Almost forgot what that was like...


Let's Play 2

Though it had been threatening rain all day, and by 8pm it was pouring, we somehow managed to get 2 games in yesterday. It started off with the St Stephens JV team at St Al's. It seems St Al's has quite the baseball minded 8th grade class. They filled the varsity team with 8th graders and still had boys left over, so they tried out and made the JV team. Our 5th and 6th graders were up against a team of 7th and 8th graders. We got it started off right with 2 runs in the top of the first and held that lead through 2. We ended up giving up 6 in the bottom of the 3rd and ultimately losing 15-4. Most of the runs we gave up were unearned. A direct result of needlessly throwing the ball around the infield. Looks like this coach needs to devote next week's practice to fielding drills again. We obviously forgot about that grueling practice I held a couple weeks ago.

Then to top the evening off, Lauren's softball team's season opener started at 7pm. This is the first year the girls pitch and Lauren has been practicing. She's getting pretty good at it too. She's still a little shy though and has decided she would like to wait until next season to pitch in a game. Though she did get in a little work from the mound before the game started. And I noticed the coach taking note. Hopefully she can muster enough courage to ask coach for a shot. Good pitching is like gold in 5th grade softball.

The thunderstorm soon started rolling in, but we had time for a few quick innings. Lauren made a nice play on a sharp grounder to short, and got a base on balls. Then luckily, blue called the game and gave us just enough time to get to the car before the downpour started.


Weekend Chores

I'm out of the stuff to seal the deck. Too bad, I was just hitting my groove. Here's what it looked like before I started.

It looks better now - even though it's only tree quarters done. Only took 2 trips to the hardware store. I think that might be my all time low.

Since I'm pulling stuff off the digital camera for the first time in several months, here are the good looking members of the family.

Time for a nap.



Several reasons to be hopeful today:

1) The peace treaty signed by the rebel leaders in Darfur and the Sudanese government.
2) Lauren's softball team is gearing up for the season opener Monday night.
3) Matt's team held the lead for the first time this season in yesterday's game.
4) It's a nice sunny spring morning - and it's Saturday!

So what am I doing typing on this silly blog? Well, I'm supposed to re-seal the deck today and this sounds like more fun at the moment.

Matt's game was another close one. We only had 8 players and the rules state that we are hit with an automatic out every time the 9th batter would be up. In spite of that, we played with them. Final score was 7-6. We were tied at 6 going into the bottom of the 6th. The leadoff batter got a base hit and eventually scored the game winner.

One last thing - if you are a Minnesota resident, contact your state representative and tell them you support the twins ballpark bill. The one with no referendum attached. I did. It kept me off that ladder in the back yard for another 15 minutes.


A Heartbreaker

Down by 2 runs in the bottom of the 6th ( we only play 6). Andy gets us started with a sharp base hit to left. Matt quickly follows with another base hit, 2 runners on, nobody out. Evan hits a ground ball to 2nd, Matt is out at 2nd on a fielders choice and Andy scores. We're down by 1, only 1 out. Evan steals second, but is caught on a close play going for 3rd. Ian walks bringing Joey to the plate. As Joey and the pitcher dual it out, Ian makes his way to 3rd. No small feat - Ian isn't our fastest kid. Joey hits a dribbler in front of the plate and makes a mad dash for first. He knows if he can beat the throw Ian will score and at worst we're into extra innings. As Ian crosses the plate, the catcher makes the throw to first and Joey is out by inches.

We lost 5-4. All this without our star player - the academic ineligibility thing. At least it isn't spanish this time.


Outpatient Recovery Room Etiquette

So there we are, Deanna and I, waiting for Alondra to come back and join us in the recovery room. She was in to have tubes placed in her ear drums to allow the fluid that's gathered behind them to drain. Usually a simple procedure, but in our case not so. More on that later. Anyway, the room is crowded. There are a couple dozen beds in there, all but a few are full. And most have their full allotment of visitors. Add the nurses and assorted equipment and you have a pretty crowded room.

Suddenly, we hear a loud cry from the next room. That's where the patients stay to wake up from the anesthetic. Only nurses, patients, and doctors allowed in there. Deanna and I look at each other trying to recognize the cry. One of the nurses looks up from her desk. Is that your daughter, she asks. We both nod, yeah - we think that's Alondra.

A few minutes later, in walks a nurse with our daughter. If it was quiet in this room before, there's no doubt, it's not now. The screaming went on for a good 10 minutes. It seemed a lot longer because it was loud. Did I say that already? Well it was.

We're pretty sure it was an upset stomach from the anesthetic. She had a couple big burps and that seemed to make her feel better. But she was not a happy camper. We're home now and she's all smiles.

Regarding the tubes - that didn't work out today. Alondra's ear canals are so small, the hospital didn't have small enough instruments to get the job done. The doctor cleaned out all the impacted wax she could. She got the left ear pretty well - even saw her ear drum. That's the first time it's been observed. This only confirmed there is fluid buildup behind the ear drum and tubes will be required. Now to find a hospital with small enough instruments. Sounds like another visit to Children's is in our future.


Memories of Mookie

I remember where I was in '86 when the ball rolled through Bill Buckner's legs. I remember the sting of my team, the California Angels, being 1 strike away from the series. These were the California Angels, not the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or anything silly like that. I was less than a year removed from fry cook at the Fryin' Pan in Fargo. I had spent over $1,000 on World Series tickets just the week before. An amount a fry cook could never dream of spending on baseball tickets. I didn't attend a game of that World Series. Dave Henderson, or Gene Mauch depending on your point of view, made sure of that.

Anyway, a fellow database geek with some spare time on his hands remembered it as well. He made this video. He's no longer a database geek, but that's beside the point. I don't know the guy, but he's got a more popular blog than Ranger Paul. Just happened across a story about him and his video in the Wall Street Journal. And since I didn't have anything else important to say, I thought I'd share. Actually, I guess I did have something important to say. What's more important than all of our lives and our memories?