Thursday, May 28, 2009

life-- as normal as it can be

I have been home for a few weeks now and things are slowly returning to normal. Soccer games, Cub Scouts, homework for me and Broderick, field trips, doctors appointments, cleaning, grocery shopping, and lots and lots and LOTS of laundry...yes life has officially returned to normal!

My dad is making great gains and is getting stronger every day. He is starting to make sense of some of the things that happened to him while he was in the hospital and I am proud to say that he has remained sober since being out. No drinking and no smoking! I hate that it took a heart attack and then intense alcohol withdrawal, but I guess that is just what God has to do sometimes.

John's dad is doing well and awaiting surgery on his heart. He will have valve replacement surgery in the next few months as well as a bypass (or two or three) and pacemaker wiring put in. We will probably be back in Indiana for his surgery-hopefully it is after the middle of June (Broderick's last day of school is the 17th and John's is the 18th). John's mom's lumpectomy was last week and she found out this week that they didn't get all the cancer. She is now supposed to have a mastectomy. Right now it is still unsure whether or not she will have to have chemo and radiation, but she meets with an oncologist in the next few weeks and we should have more answers. Please keep both of them in your prayers during this very difficult chapter in their life. God never said it would be easy, but He did let us know He would never leave our sides. Hold fast to your faith!!!!

Adalynn had an appointment with an audiologist at the hospital early last week. She has conductive hearing loss in one of her ears. . She did fantastic with the testing and did not have to have the BAER test. They were able to use speech recognition tests as well as the "look at the monkey" test (not the official name of the test, but I think you know what I mean). We also found out that both of her tubes are either out or just not working. We go back to her regular ENT tomorrow for some more answers and to see where we go from here.

Classes are going well for me and I am officially over a quarter of the way finished with my master's. It was tough trying to keep up with my work while I was in Indiana and at the hospital with my dad, but thanks to WiFi at the hospital and my mom's laptop, I did what I could. I finally caught up over the weekend and I am back on track.

We are excited that our best friends Heather and Jesse are coming to visit next week. I am even more excited that the guys got together and got Heather and me gift certificates to the spa. YEA!!!! I think I deserve a little bit of relaxation. Jesse just got back from Camp Liberty in Iraq after spending the last year as a fire fighter over there. I know he is going to be shocked at how big the kids have gotten in the past year, but I also know that I have two little boys that have been praying every night for Jesse's safe return and who are going to be SUPER excited to see him (and Heather too).

We are finishing up the school year and trying to decide if we are going to renew our lease and live in this house another year or try to find somewhere cheaper. Housing prices here are so ridiculously crazy compared to what we were used to in Indiana and in Georgia. Please keep us in your prayers as we make decisions about where we are going to live. We most likely will be staying in the same area so Broderick can have another year at the same school. He has already been in 3 different school systems....we really don't want to go for a fourth. Camden starts kindergarten in the fall and is all set on going to the kindergarten center, so we really don't want to make a lot of changes.

And here are some photos taken over the past month or so....

john is more than enjoying our view of storms coming in and dreaming about really storm chasing again...(yes, he took this photo from our deck) Pretty cool, eh?

The kids have enjoyed playing in our yard and the warmer weather....

Broderick with his teacher, Ms. Gossai. She's the best and has come to several of the boys' soccer games.

The kids with Jaden and Bailey. Our friends, the Tadda's (from GA) came to visit the week before I left for Indiana. Jaden is just a little younger than Broderick and Bailey is finishing 3rd grade. We had so much fun with them!

Broderick graduated from Tiger Scouts last Friday night and is now a Wolf. He really enjoyed Cub Scouts this year. Doesn't he look so grown up in his uniform? He had a pretty cool graduation ceremony with Indian face painting, songs, and a huge campfire!!

Camden loved finding wiggly worms at Camp Serranova, where Broderick's Cub Scout graduation was. It was such a beautiful evening!

Daddy with Adalynn and Camden. I am so greatly blessed!!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

22 Days Later....7 lbs. Lighter....

So here's the thing---my dad had a heart attack. Seems simple enough...longtime smoker, beer drinker, and not always the healthiest eater (take for example: he LOVES raw hamburger). YUCK!! Needless to say, his heart attack was well earned. I guess he had some pain awhile ago and even joked around to some of the guys at work that if he didn't know better, then he would have thought he was having heart attack....well, I guess he didn't know better. He WAS in fact having a heart attack. About a week later, when his chest was still bothering him, he decided to schedule a routine doctor's appointment. Well, low and behold, the doctor sent him to the ER and then the ER transported him via ambulance to the nearest heart center. Adalynn and I flew in the next day and plan to stay until Tuesday (a short 4 day trip).

Close monitoring over the next few days revealed elevated enzyme levels which seemed to indicate that he had most likely had several smaller heart attacks. On Monday, April 27 he was to undergo a routine heart cath where they would shoot some dye into his veins and see if they could see blockage and either clean it out (angioplasty) or place a stint in it to clear it. They found 90-95% blockage in the right coronary artery and were able to place 2 stints to clear it out. The surgery was a success and all went well.

The problems began as he was coming out of the anesthesia (which was just what they consider 'conscience sedation'-not even full anesthesia). At this time he began exhibiting signs of alcohol withdrawal. He began having Delirium Tremens (DTs). The main symptoms are confusion, disorientation and agitation as well as other signs of instability (especially with the cardiac and respiratory systems). They began administering medicines to sedate him but it was not working. 6 nurses, 2 security guards, physical restraints, and finally after some serious doses of Ativan he was sedated. Because of all of this his body went into respiratory failure and he was placed on a ventilator....all because he drank beer. I finally admitted that my dad was an alcoholic. It was hard to say and even harder to see the ramifications of it....but it was true. My siblings were furious at me for saying it, but it was true. My dad was/is an alcoholic!

Seeing my dad on a ventilator was very overwhelming. Adalynn and I spent day after day at the hospital. She was a trooper during the whole situation, but it began to wear on both of us. We weren't eating on a regular schedule and we were eating lots of junk. I was surprised that I actually lost weight, I figured I would have gained based on what I was eating. John drove in with the boys the following Sunday. They were a welcome distraction and boy was I glad to see them. My 4 day trip had already been extended. Thank goodness this all took place during finals week for John and then his two week break between spring and summer session. John and the boys stayed for a few days, but since my dad was still not showing any signs of waking up, he decided it would be best to head home with the kids. Yes, John drove from central IN to Eastern PA with 3 kids and a dog. They all did great. I was so sad when they left, but knew it would be easier to be at the hospital without Adalynn (although it was nice to have her there and she definitely kept me occupied). I am so blessed to have an amazing husband that was willing to let me be with my dad for such an extended time. The house was even somewhat clean once I made it home.

Well, 17 days after he went to the hospital and 15 days after he was sedated and placed on a ventilator one of the nurses decided to stop his sedation and see what would happen. They continued to keep him on pain meds. After a few hours he still was showing signs of Delirium Tremens and was agitated and not responding. My brother and I began to research the pain medicine he was on and found that it can cause similar symptoms. After speaking to the nurse about it, he completely stopped the medicine. Within a few hours my dad responded to my voice by blinking and winking at me and a few hours after that he was shaking his head yes and no. By the next morning he was taken off the ventilator and a day after that he was moved out of critical care. By the next afternoon they had him up out of bed and eating.

It was a long three weeks. Several times they thought they could wean the sedation and possibly take him off the vent. At one point they just risked it and took him off. Within 24 hours he was back on. I am forever grateful for the nurse that decided to take a chance and listen to us. What a blessing that we were able to find that information and that we had a nurse who was willing to listen. Dad stayed a few more days at the hospital and then was transferred to a rehabilitation center/nursing home. Less than a week later he finally made it home.

It was a very crazy few weeks. While all of this was going on, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my best friend's husband lost his job, and my little buddy Ryan was given some pretty crappy news. I know God never gives you more than you can handle, but sometimes I really think he pushes you to the limit. I definitely felt pushed during this time.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers during this crazy time. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. It has been beautiful here, so hopefully we'll get some great pictures of the kids enjoying the sunshine.

God Bless you all!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's better than Mother's Day?

THE DAY AFTER (at least it is this year for Shannon)!!!

Shannon's dad is now off all sedation and pain meds as of 1 pm this afternoon. He is slowly starting to become more aware of his surroundings. Shannon called about 30 minutes ago in tears and rejoicing that he winked at her on command 4 times in a row. He is still intubated but breathing on his own as well. The doctor's want him to build up his strength until tomorrow before they remove the tube. Continue to pray that all remains well.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day from 600 miles away

Just wanted to wish Shannon a Happy Mother's Day from 600 miles away. We all miss you so much and wish you could be here. Have a good day and know there is a nice relaxing time at the spa (as well as us) waiting back in PA for you. Love you lots, ABC and J Frye.

Just to update everyone...Shannon is still in Indiana and the kids and I are back in PA. Shannon's dad is still in an induced coma but did show some positive signs the last couple of days; no neurological damage, no meningitis and a little eye movement/tracking. It will be two weeks on Monday that he has been in the induced coma and we hope and pray that these signs mean he is on the track to have the doctors bring him out of the induced coma. Please also keep my parents in your thoughts and prayers after my mom has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and my dad will be undergoing open heart surgery in the next two months to repair a leaky valve. Finally, keep our friends Missy and Ryan in your prayers two as they continue to battle cancer.

On a closing note HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the moms out there; may you have a day of pampering by your kids and spouses!