Kids and Couches

Last week, my sister texted me this photo:

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Apparently, the older girls “couldn’t find any paper” and chose the leather chair in the living room as the next best medium to express their artistry. I have to admit, I had a pretty good laugh over this. And then, the very next day, I got served a big ol’ steaming plate of karma when Mark walked into our living room and discovered this on our microfibre couch:

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Suddenly, kids drawing on living room furniture was no longer quite as amusing. Sigh. Charlotte was very contrite when confronted about her “artwork” though she couldn’t offer an explanation as to why she did it, other than “I just wanted to.”

Thankfully, a quick Google search told me how to remove the offending marks- gently apply rubbing alcohol to the stains. It worked, though it took quite a bit of time and rubbing alcohol to get rid of it. What on earth did people do before Google? Look through back issues of Good Housekeeping at the library until you found a relevant article on stain removal? My god, I would rather buy a new couch than do that.

Anyhow, as Pa would say, “Alls well that end well.” The marker and ink stains are gone from the couch and I’m pretty sure Charlotte won’t be drawing on anything other than paper for the forseeable future.

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Goal: Met

Breathe in. Breathe out. Put one foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward. Don’t give up. These are the phrases I repeated to myself often over this past month (it’s been a tough one). They also came in handy on Sunday, when I decided to test my endurance before my run, which is now less than two weeks away. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a worrier, and I had to get a 10km run under my belt before the day of the race, or else my fear that I wouldn’t be able to complete the course would have gotten the best of me.

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And so, armed with a playlist on my iPhone and a water bottle, I set out to see what I could do. The first 5km were a breeze- I ran that in about 30 minutes, and if I hadn’t been trying to conserve my energy for the final 5km, I could have done it even faster. Kilometres 5-8 were harder, and my pace slowed a bit at that point. The thoughts of “Why the hell am I doing this? What kind of sicko finds this activity enjoyable?” started to creep into my mind. The final two kilometres were the toughest. My breathing was laboured and my legs were tired. I really just wanted a hot shower and my bed. I was determined to finish, though. I thought about everything that my little Penelope has been through- everything she has endured and every obstacle she has overcome. All the testing and therapies and the surgery and this latest hospital stay– she has made it through all of that with a smile on her face. If she can do that, well, then, I can run a measly ten kilometres. Those last two kilometres, I had her face in my mind with every step. And I did it. I ran ten kilometres, and it felt amazing.

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Now that I know that I can actually run 10km, I can rest easy heading into race day. And I have a feeling that running with a bunch of people, with a crowd cheering on the sidelines- it will feel easier than it did on Sunday. I am very close to reaching my fundraising goal for this run- thanks to everyone who has donated! And if you haven’t yet donated and are inclined to do so, you can find my fundraising page here.

I have to admit that I am pretty proud of the progress I have made with my fitness. A year ago, if you had asked me to run ten kilometres, I would have laughed and laughed, and then probably passed out from the exertion of laughing. I just didn’t think it was something I would ever be able to do. In my mind, I was too old, too fat, and too scared to really test myself like that. If that sounds familiar to you, well, listen up: I am proof positive that ANYONE can improve their fitness. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can- a year ago, I was a sedentary couch potato who regularly gorged on ice cream and cookies. And now I can officially add this to the list of my life’s accomplishments: ran ten kilometres. I may even put that on my tombstone- “Devoted Wife. Loving Mother. Caring Nurse. Ran 10km.” It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Home

We are home. Penelope was discharged from Sick Kids on Saturday, and we are all so happy to have her well again. She has been smiling and playing and is healthy and happy, and it’s fantastic. She has been laughing with her sister and catching up with Daddy. As difficult as last week was, it is worth it to see her doing well now.

As far as how I’m doing- well, I’m somewhat worse for wear. I poured all of myself into getting her better, and I am physically and emotionally drained. I barely slept all week, I wasn’t eating properly, and certainly didn’t get to the gym. And despite having gone to the doctor and being on antibiotics for nearly five days now, my ear infection is only marginally less painful, and I’m still coughing and congested; not to mention completely exhausted. I think it’s going to take some time for me to get back on my feet, too.

I may have paid a price to get my sweet girl well, but when I see that smile on her face, I know I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

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Enjoying the sunshine with Barbara

Enjoying the sunshine with Barbara

Looks like I have to do something about the fridge magnets

Looks like I have to do something about the fridge magnets

Catching up on some Daddy-daughter time

Catching up on some Daddy-daughter time

Enthralled with her wooden spatula

Enthralled with her wooden spatula

So happy to reunited with her sister

So happy to be reunited with her sister

Turning the Corner

Well, it’s been quite a week. The time period between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon was a tough one. Penelope seemed to be having a lot of abdominal pain anytime anything went through the G tube and was still pooping up a storm. I felt very discouraged and frustrated- it felt like we would never get home. And to top it all off, the cough and cold I have been dealing with all week morphed into a painful ear infection. 

But then yesterday afternoon, it all started to turn around. Penelope started tolerating small amounts of formula. The stools started to taper off. Our nanny came to the hospital to stay with Penelope and I was able to get my ear checked and some antibiotics and had dinner at home with Mark and Charlotte. And this morning, there is a sparkle back in Penelope’s eyes that I haven’t seen all week. 

  

So if this trend continues (PLEASE let it continue), she could get discharged Saturday or Sunday. And life could get back to normal again. 

Penelope’s Law

Penelope’s pneumonia is slowly getting better. By yesterday evening, she didn’t need any oxygen while she was awake, which is great. We had to turn it back on once she fell asleep, but she needed less than she did the previous night. If the aspiration pneumonia was her only problem, we would probably be able to go home soon. But I have learned about Penelope’s Law: if something can be complicated, it will be. 

It turns out that Penelope also has a gastrointestinal infection- C. difficile. Sometimes kids with G tubes are more prone to this infection because their intestinal flora may be different. It causes abdominal pain and watery stools, both of which Penelope is experiencing. She couldn’t tolerate anything through the G tube yesterday, and she can’t go home until she has resumed her regular formula feeds through the tube. I don’t know when that will happen. I am trying to stay positive, and hope that maybe today she will be able to tolerate some Pedialyte through the tube and maybe we can have the formula feeds worked up by the end of the week. 

At any rate, she is being well cared for, and is certainly better than she was a couple days ago. Thanks to everyone who is sending messages of positivity and support. We are lucky to have such supportive and wonderful family and friends. 

Definitely in better spirits!

Update

Just wanted to share an update on Penelope with everyone. She was admitted to Sick Kids yesterday with what appears to be an aspiration pneumonia- something many of you know I have been worried about happening ever since we got the swallowing problem diagnosed. She had been sick with a cough and cold with a bit of vomiting thrown in there last week, but was doing very well until she aspirated some vomit over the weekend. She went downhill a little while after that, and I brought her to the ER yesterday. She was seen and treated by a doctor very quickly, and we have been receiving wonderful and attentive care. She is getting oxygen and IV fluids and antibiotics, and hopefully we won’t have to stay here too long. 

  

So my Easter weekend wasn’t the greatest, though we did have fun with the Easter egg hunt for Charlotte on Sunday morning and the nice weather on Saturday morning. 

   

 

Things

Ugghhhh. I hate keeping track of THINGS. Random items that are not needed on a regular basis. Items that will be at my fingertips whenever I don’t need them, but that will disappear when they are required. Like Charlotte’s splash pants. All winter long, they have been loitering in our front hall. Charlotte BEGGED me to wear them pretty much every day in February, but when the temperature is minus 20C, it is most definitely snow pants weather. And now that we are in prime splash pants weather (slightly warmer, snow melted, lots of mud everywhere), they are nowhere to be found. I almost had a rage aneurysm the other morning when I couldn’t find them in those chaotic moments as we were trying to get out the door to get to school. I still haven’t found them. I’m sure that when the weather turns to summer and splash pants are once again useless to me (and she has grown out of them), Charlotte will pull them out of some dark corner of the house and plead to wear them, while I frantically search for a pair of sandals that fit her and a sun hat.

IMG_7705I have tried to be a more organized person, but with our busy family life and work, it just never seems to stick. I think I need a fairy godmother to come to my house and just organize everything for me. Anyone up for that task? Anyone at all? No? Sigh. I sense more rage aneurysms may be in my future.