Mellykat's Blog!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Was a Dark and Sunny Morning

Yeah that doesn't make any sense. But last Saturday I had just risen from bed...I was yawning and stretching and trying to come alive (à la Dolly 9-5). It was a gorgeous bright morning and I had just updated my Facebook status to say I wondered what the boys and I would do for the day. That's the moment I got a call from Chris's Grandpa (Papa). He sounded very winded and mentioned something about his blood sugar and asked me to get him an ambulance. I told him I'd take care of it right away. I managed to keep my head on straight, though in hindsight, I'd have kept him on the phone and called 911 on my cell.

While I was calling 911 I used my tense mommy voice and told the boys we had an emergency and to get their boots on. They did. I sure wish I could have heard my own voice so I could replicate that tone to get them to listen to me sometimes. Things seemed to be in slow motion as I contacted 911. It took me three tries to get ahold of Chris at work too. Then we left and arrived at Papa's house at the same time as the ambulance did; the police were already there. I told the boys to stand aside on the deck outside and that I was going in the house. Papa looked pretty rough but was able to speak.

Chris arrived somewhere in these moments too. I think he took the boys to the hospital so I could run ahead with the ambulance and get Papa checked in. There was a great resident in the ER who responded well and communicated effectively to determine Papa's medical status. He was a bit confused about the timing of his first ill feelings, but he just thought that he was feeling side effects from a medication he had started three days earlier. The meds were only to last another day or so, so up until this point he was just hanging in there despite lack of sleep, vomiting and diarrhea. I guess it finally got to be too much by the time he called me.

Papa gave me his house keys to go get his glasses, teeth(!) among other items so he'd be able to eat lunch. I packed an overnight bag with everything I could find, gave his teeth a good scrub and went back to the hospital. After a bunch of tests, they determined he was having a heart attack. A doozy, which took a few days to peak. He also had pneumonia and congestive heart failure. His kidneys were not functioning either. Things were pretty scary, though he was in good spirits in spite of his breathlessness and pain. He was able to communicate the whole time. His condition wasn't improving as the day wore on and the ER doctor was trying to get him flown out for treatment elsewhere since they were unable to treat him further. This was a long process but the doctor found him a spot in Thunder Bay with a doctor who agreed to treat him there. There were apparently treatments and equipment they had that of course surpassed whatever he could have done for him here.

Around lunchtime I got the idea to call Kelly to see if she could watch Cooper. He didn't want to go near Papa though he did at least say hi. Carter was right up there with me holding Papa's hand. Kelly fortunately had no plans and agreed wholeheartedly to watch the boys for us so Chris went there to drop them off. (Carter didn't want to miss out on the fun.) The afternoon was pretty rough for Papa. It was getting to the point where his breathing was so laboured that they were going to need to put in a breathing tube. He was able to make the conscious decision to have it (He was lucid and talking all day and told the doctor to just give him the tube and he'd put it in himself!)

The rest of the wait was for the Ornge (not a typo) team to arrive to fly him out. What an amazing team, paired with our local paramedics and the doctors and nurses that prepared him. Once they needed to sedate him and intubate him, we were out of the room for awhile and after that he wasn't able to talk to us anymore but that didn't stop me from trying to tell him what was going on and that we would meet him in Thunder Bay.

After ten hours at the hospital and many calls and texts to relatives, Papa was on his way. The doctor was very sternly and earnestly telling us she thought he was dying, (Quote: "I think he's dying.") but never faltered in her or anyone's attempts to help him. She was quite certain he might not survive the trip. We left the hospital and ran home to pack our things. We picked up the boys and headed for Thunder Bay. Mom and Dad tried to convince us to leave the boys with them but we were already going through the motions to leave town. We arrived around midnight and met up with Chris's brother Jason and his girlfriend Claire. We got to go in and see Papa and he had changed so much.

He'd had a cardiac arrest upon arrival and they had to shock him to revive him. He had swollen up like a medicine ball since all the fluids they were giving him weren't leaving his system due to his failing kidneys. We were terrified. We stayed a few hours losing another hour to daylight savings in addition to the time zone change during the trip. Chris's cousin Samantha drove in with her family too and there was more family on the way from as far as Calgary (Chris's Auntie Wendy) We stayed with Jason & Claire which was a Godsend. Up until this point we were unable to reach Chris's Dad who was out of town at the time to tell him his father-in-law was so ill and had to be flown out. We caught up with him Sunday morning. Chris's Auntie Bev in Hamilton was beside herself that she was unable to be there. She'd have hopped on the first plane she could have but she's on oxygen and it's a big ordeal to (1) fly and (2) make special arrangements with the oxygen equipment. I sure wish we could have seen her. In the event that things take a downward turn she'll likely have to travel by train. I'm surprised she didn't hail a taxi!

The next few days were spent with family taking turns to go in and spend time with Papa who was not conscious the whole time. Two of his daughters and all of his grandchildren and a few of his great-grandchildren were there to see him. He had a few improvements though while we were there. By Wednesday we decided to head home. It was hard on the boys to have to sit in the ICU waiting room the whole time we spent at the hospital. Kids under twelve aren't allowed in the ICU. We did take them for a few fun activities during our stay though including a wild rumpus at Wiggles and Giggles (Kind of like a big McDonald's Play Place, which we also went to while we were there.)

We got back home in time to drop off Chris to shower and change, drop off Chris's Dad (who had taken the bus the day before), pick up milk, bring the boys to Mom and Dad's, race back to the bank and home to pick up Chris for our surprise date I'd planned a couple months earlier. I really didn't expect we'd still be able to go. We met up with Kelly and two of her sisters and brother-in-law at the restaurant. We waited quite awhile for our food but managed to eat and run to make it to see Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Café. I had gone with Kelly and her crew a couple years ago when she gave me her hubby's ticket when he couldn't attend, otherwise I wouldn't have been familiar with the show. I thought Chris might enjoy it. It was a nice way to unwind after the stressful trip.

Since we got back we've been getting updates from Chris brother. I'm thankful Papa was sent there so he has someone with him since most of the family left. Auntie Donna is still there too, which is a blessing. Papa was so swollen when we left that his skin was starting to split and ooze fluid. Eventually they stopped sedating him but he wasn't waking. Once they started dialysis, he regained consciousness and started opening his eyes and moving around a little but he still had the breathing tube. They will be taking it out and replacing it with a tracheotomy (or -ostomy, I don't know the correct word.) Either way it will be good to get that tube out of his throat. He can communicate with head nods now and we so wish we could still just pop in and check on him all the time now that he's had such great progress. Looks like he still has a long road ahead but we're still praying he comes through this. I'm so glad he called me that morning. Why is it that men are so stubborn about getting help when they're sick.

Another case in point is Dad's uncle in California, who apparently has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. He's in his eighties too, and Dad's arranging to head there for a visit next week once he has his ten-day chemo break. I wish Mom was going too but hey, men are stubborn, right?

This past weekend was Chris's annual fishing cabin trip. The weather was amazing while we were in Thunder Bay. St. Patrick's Day was a record breaker for Thunder Bay, shattering the high temperature record from 1968! The weekend weather was considerably cooler. I'm glad for the timing of the fishing trip; Chris has been an emotional bundle of nerves and needed to unwind.

I keep praying for things to improve and feel blessed with all the prayers people have been sending our way; I really believe it's made a difference.

Speaking of blessings, during our stay there, I managed to check email eventually and had an email from Angie saying Beth needed our prayers and was to have surgery (in the very same hospital we were practically living at!) to repair her liver that had been damaged from the insertion of a feeding tube in her tummy. Beth has undergone chemo for a tumor in her throat and in preparation of the addition of radiation therapy they inserted the feeding tube in her belly in anticipation that with all the treatments she may have a hard time swallowing. Turns out her liver (supposedly) wasn't damaged but she did have major problems and pain and was going to have to have the tube removed and redone. The next day I asked at the patient directory people if I could find her and they just wrote her room number on a paper and handed it to me. I thought I'd have to be family or something. Turns out we'd been walking past her ward the whole time we were there to get to the ICU. (Also turns out that the ICU waiting room is directly across from the ward Dad was in in September so it was very easy for me to navigate around to find things.)

I stopped at the nursing station in Beth's ward to ask if I could visit her. No questions asked I walked down the hall to her room to find all her beautiful posse of girls there. Beth saw me and though the nurse was tending to her, she wanted me to stay. Her daughter Jenni came right over to me and gave me the biggest, squeeziest hug! I needed to get back to Papa's room since there was going to be a meeting with the doctor, so I promised I'd be back. I got to have three lovely visits with Beth in the next day or so. I look forward to her getting all better and having Angie come up for a visit...

Here are a couple snapshots of our trip:

McDonald's Play Place...a huge hit :)

Four Groves Men

Wiggles & Giggles...note the SHEER JOY in their little faces!

Goofing around at Uncle J's place.

Cooper practically glued himself to his Uncle/Godfather :)

Stuart McLean Concert with the lovely trio, ''The Good Lovelies''

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Soggy Socks

Wow things are really melting around here; I didn't realize how much grass was actually showing until I came home from work today. The weather has been very springy. I'm fully expecting to see some more snow this month, but in the meantime I'm enjoying the bare streets and glimpses of grass.

Yesterday when I picked the kids up from school, Carter couldn't possibly wear his boots. Right there in the hallway of the school I picked up his boot and POURED water out of it. His socks were bunched up in a soggy little wad on top of the coat rack shelf. I actually carried him out to the Jeep. Cooper's were pretty wet too but he was able to wear them home. When we got home I went on a great quest in the basement for rubber boots. I found some for Carter but Cooper has outgrown his last pair. I had planned on picking him up some new ones this weekend.

I skipped my walk yesterday since Chris was going fishing after work at the ice shack. Carter wanted oatmeal for supper. I also made chicken noodle soup that Cooper was seemingly enthused about. I don't think he even touched it; he ended up having sandwiches. Chris was home early. We attempted to watch a movie, Old Dogs, but we both fell asleep. I woke up a few times throughout the night courtesy of Cooper. This morning I managed to screw up my alarm somehow and slept in just late enough to not have enough time to shower and wash my hair. Thankfully I salvaged it for one more day. I had plenty of time to get the boys washed up and ready and got them off to school.

After work I was going to walk right away but I got a call from Chris's Dad. He wanted to get together for dinner. I picked him up and Chris picked up the kids. Carter came in and the rest of the Groves males stayed outside while I cooked. I had found a package of boneless chicken breasts and thighs and baked them with seasoned bread crumbs. I cooked asparagus with hollandaise sauce, long grain and wild rice, and made coleslaw with ranch dressing. Then I left for my walk with Cindy. My iPod wasn't charged up so I plugged my headphones into my cell phone and that worked just fine, though I missed using the stopwatch on the iPod to track my laps and time.

I came home and Chris's Dad wanted to buy Cooper some rubber boots so I went to get some. I found a pair very similar to Carter's for only nine bucks, and picked up some liners for Carter's boots too. I was pleased to find that after at least FOUR MONTHS, Wal-Mart finally had Cooper's vanilla soy milk back in stock. I check for it every single time I go there (at least once or twice a week) and they haven't had it since late summer I'm pretty sure. It's definitely been a few months. I picked up a couple cartons just because they had it.

I came home and Chris took his Dad home. I finally ate a bit of supper and started working on a calendar for a coworker. Both boys fell asleep fairly early. It's nearly one now and Cooper is asleep on the other couch. He just talked in his sleep a second ago and said, ''I just got a fish.'' Must be dreaming about his first catch from last weekend! Carter is zonked on the carpet. Now I need to go tuck them into their beds and go to bed too. No new pictures since my last post; hopefully some fun outdoor activities this weekend...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Fever and Family Fishing Fun

Wow. There went another weekend. Carter still wasn't feeling well on Friday so I stayed home with him. It was ''crazy hair day'' at school so I did Cooper's hair in a coloured ''fauxhawk'' and took him to school. Carter had a fever clear through to Saturday. Saturday afternoon I had a lunch date with Leeanne. We had our usual East Indian buffet date (we looooooooooove the masala!)

On Saturday evening we went to Cindy and Bob's to celebrate his birthday. Cindy ordered a cake from Cheryl, the ARTIST I got Cooper's birthday cake from. The cake was an incredible replica of a walleye complete with seriously realistic fins, teeth and scales. Quite simply amazing. To make her cakes even more incredible, every detail is always edible. I'll have to get some pictures of it to post here. We had a great visit and brought the boys home. They were both sleeping by the time we got home. It was supposed to be girls' night but I didn't figure I was going to go since we had the family gathering.

I went over to say hi to the girls and ended up staying a few hours. As usual we had a blast. Chris had planned to go fishing on Sunday with his Dad so I didn't stay too late; had to make sure I felt like getting up with the boys in the morning!

I woke up a few times before Chris left but didn't fully awaken until Cooper got me up at twenty after eight. Not realizing the time, I asked Cooper if he wanted to go to church. He said yes. Then I looked at the clock and told him I didn't think we'd make it. He was so sad he wasn't going to get to go see Grandma and Grandpa at church that I leapt to my feet and got us all ready, including waffles for breakfast for both boys.

We made it to church on time, much to the surprise of (1) the priest and (2,3) my parents. The boys were pretty good there though of course they start to get fidgety toward the end. After church we met up with the aunts and uncles for breakfast. The boys ate breakfast again(!) and we had a good visit. Mom and Dad treated us to a lovely breakfast.

It was such an AMAZINGLY beautiful day that I asked the boys if they wanted to go visit Daddy at the ice shack. They didn't want to at first but I showed them on Google that we could take a special route to get there. We drove to a place where friends of my parents live and parked the Jeep. We were close enough to the ice shack to see it easily and walk to it without dying. I pulled the boys in the sleigh. They loved sliding down the bank. Eventually as we walked out to the shack one of the guys saw us and Chris walked to meet us, pleasantly surprised to see us. :)

I was ROASTING hot by the time I pulled the boys that far and had to peel off a few layers until I was just in my ski pants and t-shirt! We were just planning to have a short visit when I texted Serena to see what she and her gang were up to. She lives not far from where Chris parks his truck to drive the four-wheeler out to the shack. She and her hubby and boys all came over to the shack. I had also texted Dad and he came out with Uncle Cliff and they fished for awhile too. It was an amazing afternoon. There were many highlights including Cooper catching his first fish all by himself. Below is a slideshow with a few shots of our afternoon, including a really close fly-by from a helicopter.

When Dad arrived I had called Mom to tell her he arrived and she invited us for supper. Once we packed it all in, I drove home to get the boys some dry clothes. Their snow suits and boots were positively soaked. We headed for Mom and Dad's and Chris arrived shortly after. We had an awesome steak dinner. The boys were going ape by this time, presumably overtired from all the sunshine, fresh air and activity. We brought the little monkeys home and they finally wound down.

So far this week is a busy one. We finally have all the stuff we need to file our taxes so we'll be doing that this week. I'm happy to see the snow has been melting, even though it's leaving such an ugly mess all over the streets. I'm really looking forward to summer. Last night I rented Where the Wild Things Are. We didn't get very far into it before we ALL fell asleep. I managed to wake up but didn't continue watching it since I had missed at least a half an hour of it. I did a couple print projects and went to bed.

I went walking after work today again. I did my 5K in 36 minutes and felt really good after. I came home and cooked up some ''sachettini''. I thought it was tortellini when I bought it but it was little ''satchets'' of pasta with chicken and bacon inside. I made an alfredo sauce for it and had picked up my favourite salad kit too; it's called Pacifica and has an awesome mix of greens with a packet of soy nuts and sunflower seeds and a poppyseed vinaigrette dressing. Yum. We managed to watch the movie tonight then the boys zonked out. Now I can't believe it's already midnight. Here's that slideshow; enjoy! :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Tooth Fairy!

Wow it still blows my mind how a week can get away from me. Thursday evening I walked with Cindy and spent time working on projects and watching Olympics. I was looking forward to the figure skating and it was great.

Friday evening Cindy and family came over for a visit. I told Carter to show his loose tooth to his Uncle Bob, thinking Bob would talk him into just pulling it out. As soon as Carter even went to show him, he pulled it out! Uncle Bob gave Carter five bucks. Of course the tooth fairy came that night and gave him another five bucks. I told him all this won't be repeated every time he loses a tooth. (He has another loose one.) I promised we could go buy something with his tooth fairy money.
Saturday afternoon I headed out with the boys to Wal-Mart. First we had lunch in McDonald's. Carter was really tired by the time we went but both boys were so sweet and polite I thought we took a detour through the Twilight Zone. I mean, my kids have really good manners. I've drilled it into them. But the way they treat each other at home is atrocious. I was expecting their bickering to continue when we went out. But it didn't. They were delightful. After lunch we headed for the toy department. There was a massive bin of massive stuffed animals right at the beginning of the department. Cooper instantly wanted one and they were only ten bucks. (I remember wanting a big stuffed mouse when I was little and it was bloody expensive!) We took a turn down the Lego-ish aisle and Carter wanted a Ben-10 robot thing. Both boys had their toys chosen in under a minute. I had a couple other things to pick up then we were outta there. Sweet.

Sunday I had a Bingo date with Kelly and a couple girls from her office. The big pot was just over $52,000. Unfortunately we left it there. It still hasn't gone and is now projected to be about $55,000 by Sunday. Even though we didn't win it I half wished someone did by now so I'm not so tempted to keep going after it! When I got home Cooper was up and not feeling well. He had an awful cough and was very congested.

Monday morning Cooper still wasn't feeling well so Chris took Carter to school and I stayed home with Cooper. He had me up a few times in the night so I was tired too. I figured it would be a good, restful day. WRONG. Wow Cooper is fairly demanding on a regular basis but he was downright high maintenance. Oh and grouchy too. It was a rough day.

Tuesday was fine. A regular day. I felt kind of rough and never ended up going walking. Yesterday all of us went to the dentist for check-ups. The boys were amazing. The hygienists called in the boys first. If we were thinking we'd have gone one grown-up with one kid and take turns. We lucked out since the kids were soooooooooo good there. The first one asked who wanted to go first and Carter volunteered. Cooper was called in next. We were asking who should go in with him when I told him to just go. He went in all by himself (the hygienists are both cute, by the way). I peeked in just to watch for a second and they both did great. Carter needs to keep working on that wiggly tooth, since his two bottom front adult teeth are already well on their way in. They also told us he has molars erupting. Both boys are much more enthusiastic about tooth brushing now. After Chris and I had our turns (the boys were so patient and well-behaved in the waiting room...still loving that) I took the boys to school and headed for work. Kelly and I had lunch (Chinese Buffet...yum) with her friend Gwen. After work I came home to change and went for a walk right away. Chris picked up the boys. I came home and went to pick up Chris's Dad for dinner. We had a roasted chicken (no, I wasn't the roaster of said chicken) with baby potatoes and peaches'n'cream corn and salad.

Today was going well; it was nearly lunchtime already when I got a call from the school saying Carter wasn't feeling well and was having a bit of a meltdown because he couldn't blow his nose. Both kids can't stand being stuffed up. Last night I fell asleep early and woke up to find Carter was up. I thought it was five o'clock in the morning, thinking Carter was just up really early. Turns out I had left the microwave timer on set for five minutes to time a time-out for Cooper last night and never used it. I was so sleepy I had kept drifting off but when I looked at the clock again it was three-thirty. I'm not sure if Carter slept after that. When Chris got up this morning, there was Carter up and playing on the computer.

I picked him up at school and brought him home for the afternoon. I bundled him up with a nice fluffy duvet on the couch and we had salmon salad sandwiches for lunch. I told him he had to get some rest. We started watching Chicken Little and he fell asleep partway into it. I decided to attempt a nap too. That was awesome until the phone rang. I ignored it the first time but when it rang again I of course jumped to the conclusion that it could be an emergency so I dragged my sleepy head out of bed and was already getting a text. It was Chris. He was planning to go fishing after work.

I got him to pick up Cooper before he left for fishing, so I wouldn't have to take Carter out anywhere. Cooper wanted waffles for supper and Carter enjoyed his chicken noodle soup. I told him it would help with his sinuses and he was amazed and said it helped ''melt'' everything in his nose. Chris came home and both boys are still up but doing well. I hope everyone is feeling well enough to go to school tomorrow.