Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The eyes of children

One day last week I went downtown with the boys to have lunch with my sister.  She had made a comment after one of the kids noticed something and she said how fun it is to be around children because they picked up on things we just don't notice anymore as adults.  I thought about it and how true that is.  We are so busy running from here to here that it is easy to ignore lots of what is around us. 

I've also thought a few times this winter about the snow on my front yard.  I remember pre-children when Brandt and I were both working our guts off and were not home too much (because if you can go catch a movie last second, you do, or go to dinner cause you don't want to cook, you do, etc).  I noticed how pretty our lawn looked with no lumpy snow or pathways through it.  Lame, now that I think about it, but it was obvious our home was not a home with little children.

Go forward a few years and our lawn is "extra lumpy."  Pathways carved through the snow.  Footprints abounding.  Mysterious items left out to be stolen or covered in snow.  And that is my life.  And it is spectacular.  Today the kids came home from school and ate lunch while they did homework.  Charlie and Oliver went downstairs to play while Dylan did himself up in his snow clothes.  He went out and shoveled our driveway a little bit and then when I looked out the front window he had laid down in the front lawn, the shovel resting to the side of him.  His arms were sprawled out and he was just there.  Then he got up and was sitting with his back to me and was attempting to cover his legs with snow.  I thought how awesome Dylan is.  I thought how if I was 5, I would want to be his friend.  He is so fun.  He always wants to play.  He is so considerate and will trade something of his with someone else to make them happy.  He is just a good little boy.  Always ready for a hug.  Always ready to tell you a story about whatever is running through his mind.  He sometimes is not very understandable because his words all blend together cause he's trying to get it all out as fast as he can.  He is just a treasure.

There ya go, deep thoughts by drea....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Swimming Lessons

Dylan and Charlie have been begging for more swimming lessons and I have been putting it off and off because they're expensive!  But when Dylan offered to pay for them with his own money I felt bad and decided we'd scrounge up the money and put the 3 boys in classes for a session.  So they were all excited to go, even Oliver.  Then we got there and Oliver realized that he was in a different class than the twins and it all broke loose from there.  He is the MOST stubborn child and has been terrible at the pool.  The coaches and the supervisor have been amazing with him but I'm so frustrated.  I think this next week I will throw him in the pool and go sit in the hallway so that Oliver might stop crying the entire hour.  They're in the evening and when I am through giving them a shower and getting home at 7:15 or so I am done.  Kids...


We had our ward Christmas party way back before Thanksgiving (do not even get me started on that one) but we meandered over and enjoyed a yummy breakfast, fun games, and of course, SANTA!  The primary was incharge of the making sure Jolly Ol' St. Nick was in attendance so I had an inside source and timed it so we were first to go visit him.  All 3 boys were excited to see him and willingly sat on his lap!  It's a Christmas miracle!  Charlie wants a sword.  Oliver wants a race car, and Dylan wants drums.

Halloween festivities

I adore the fall.  I hate how it is gone before you know it and here we are approaching Christmas.  This year the boys went to Boo at the Zoo with Aunt Heidi, Truman, Granna, and me.  It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed getting to wear their costume before the big day (and bring home a haul of candy, too).
On Halloween the boys had the parade at school and after that they had a program.  The program was way long and they sung a ton of songs.  We were impressed they had learned so many Halloween songs.  Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Rob, Oliver, Mimi, Papa, and Granna all came to see the boys shine.
Then the boys went trick or treating with daddy on the actual night.  I stayed home and handed out treats to the 4 people that came by (ok, there was more than that, just not that many this year).  From what I was told, Dylan was an animal and would have gone all night long.  Oliver didn't last too long and came back home and stayed home with me when they had a bathroom break.  Charlie complained a little but stuck it out as long as Dylan did.  They're getting so big!!

Continuing on...

So Oliver had his little soft cast on for a week and a half and then we went to see the doctor.  It was not a fun visit.  Because all the blood had dried on the gauze and it was stuck to the wound it was not fun to remove.  The nurse/assistant person tried to get it all off and Oliver screamed bloody murder.  Finally she gave up and when the doctor came in she soaked it in some saline.  Hello...why that assistant didn't do that is beyond me.  So once it was all off the doc looked at the sore and said it looked good.  She showed me how to bandage it back up and said I could change it every time he takes a bath or shower or whatever.  I was a good girl and did that every other day.  Each time I knew it was bath time I cringed.  I had a gut ache because I hated to see the wound.  Brandt wouldn't do it so it was my job to wash it up and re-apply the dressing.

First time finger exposed.
October 10th (big picture), October 13th (top right), October 15th (bottom right)
Finally on October 22, at this appointment, he was given the ok that we didn't need to keep it wrapped anymore.  The stitches had healed enough so that it didn't need protection.  That was nice, but then we got to actually SEE the finger.  It has been amazing to watch how quickly it has healed. 
October 22th
We went to the doctor and physical therapist yesterday morning and he has graduated from visits unless there is a problem.  Oliver likes to hold the pinkie out away from the rest of the fingers and is hesitant to use it.  If I notice him not using it I will remind him to use his pinkie but it is not natural for him.  The PT thinks that it is because the sensation is different in that finger so he is nervous to use it.  Doesn't feel natural.  He went so long with it held out that it is hard for it to retrain to be part of the hand.  She is confident though that if we do some sensory activities regularly (bucket of beans, bucket of noodles, shaving cream, play doh, etc.) he will get sensation back and it will feel natural.  The finger is also bending.  I didn't think that tendon would heal.  Because his finger is so tiny it's not like they could find the tendon and stitch it back together so it has had to do this on its own.  So both the tendons and nerves had to heal back together on their own.  And his finger moves!!  Absolutely incredible.  I do stretches with him and practice bending the finger and rub/massage it to get the scar tissue to go away and help the finger to be straight.  I've also used oils on him, too.  I'm not a huge advocate of essential oils but I think there is something to it.  Every night he asks for his "o-yuls."  Love how he says it.  Whatever it is, it's working, whether it is the amazing docs (which he has), his incredible and amazing body (which he has), prayers (which we have felt), or the oils, the combo of it all has healed my baby.

I am hopeful that Oliver will lay low and stop getting hurt but this kid is giving us a run for our money to say the least.  It's a good thing he came to us so darn cute cause otherwise I don't know that I could handle all our adventures we have already had with him.  We sure do love him - and his little finger.

As a side funny story, right after he had the injury we took him to church but he came to primary with me because I didn't want him to risk it getting bumped or hurt by the kids in nursery.  We were in the back of the primary room and Brandt was there and said "Stumps, come here."  Another guy in there looked at Brandt and was like, "isn't that a little too soon to be calling him that?!?"  We laughed and laughed.  Brandt has called Oliver Stumps since the beginning because he has stumpy legs.  The kid is all torso.  So when it was implied that we were referring to his chopped off finger I had to laugh.

Friday, December 6, 2013


So I'm finally going to do it.  I've put off blogging the last few months because I've needed to do this post and I just have not wanted to.  Here goes, though:

On September 27th Brandt and I needed to go into the garage to do some wood projects that he was working on.  So we went out into the garage where his shop was set up and told the boys to go in the backyard and play.  We proceeded to cut some boards down on the table saw and then we needed to plane them down.  There were probably 6-9 boards (been too long, don't remember) and Brandt takes his spot leading the wood in and it is my job to lead it out and pull it back til it is all planed down.  Brandt has a large industrial sized dust collector.  It is like a big vacuum that sucks the extra dust into the machine.  So that is going on, too, a little behind me.  Throughout our working the boys keep wandering in and we're yelling, "OUT!  GO PLAY!"  We are approaching 6pm and I need to go in and make dinner and we're on the very last board.  Where I am it is loud since there is the whir of both the planer and the dust collector.  A few seconds prior Oliver had wandered into the garage and I saw him back by the garage door and he was near the dust collector and the thought went through my brain, "Oh, if he touches the box that holds the engine it will just be a little warm - he'll move his hand." And because I had 1/2 a board to pull through I knew we'd be done in a minute at most.  Next thing I know, Oliver is crying, and Brandt starts SCREAMING.  I turn around and there is blood everywhere on Oliver's hand and I don't know what to do.  In the motor case there is a small vent that no adult finger would be able to go through but Oliver stuck his pinkie through it and the fan that was behind sliced the tip of his finger almost completely off.  Brandt grabs him and we run inside with him to get a towel.  Brandt is saying he has cut his finger off.  I'm asking if it is completely off and we're trying to figure it out.  Oliver is freaking.  So we wrap a towel around his little finger and are yelling for the twins to go to Debbie's house.  Because of the commotion Debbie and Keith have started to wander across the street and they grabbed the twins and took them over to their home while we got in the truck.  I called 911 and asked them if I should go to Primary Childrens or if I should go to the hospital that is closer to us.  They just said probably the nearest hospital.  I knew better as we have not had the most pleasant experiences at Lakeview, but I thought maybe there was a time frame that if we got there sooner there would be a chance of saving his little finger.  So I drove to Lakeview.

They took us right back and Oliver was surprisingly good.  He just layed on Brandt and Brandt just continued to squeeze that little finger.  Oliver just freaked out when they would look at the "owie" and when he got his pic line put in.  And the freak out wasn't much, either.  He hadn't eaten, been through trauma, and if I remember right he hadn't had a nap that day so his body was worn out.  They came in and had to take x-rays to see if there was bone damage.  I left for that so I'm not sure how it went.  They called the hand surgeon in (Friday night - I'm sure he was thrilled), and we waited.  When the surgeon finally got there he said that surprisingly the cut went right between the bones of the most distal knuckle so there was no bone damage.  However, there are two blood supplies that go up either side of the finger.  Obviously the one side was severed and the other side was so far over, it should have been gone, too.  The little mangled tip of his pinkie, though, looked to still be getting some blood to it.  The surgeon called Primary Children's because they are more familiar with vascular needs in the little hands and he wanted to discuss if he thought they could do more than him.  Because it was so far over, he said to amputate.  He said that they could sew it on and have that surgery but if it didn't take, he'd have to have another surgery to amputate at another time.  Primary Children's ER doctor said that there was only like a 1-2% chance that it'll "take."  So I lost it then.  How do you make that decision to take your child's finger off??  So we tried to call Brandt's brother Jason who is a surgeon in Iowa.  He didn't answer so then we texted him that it is an emergency, please call.  Luckily for us he was able to.  His advice without seeing the injury or anything was that as a doctor, you'd probably suggest the amputation.  BUT, as a parent, if there is that slim chance, you might want to go to the children's hospital for (1) a second opinion and (2) there is a chance, why not take the chance.  So we told Lakeview that we wanted to go to Primary's.   This all had been about an hour or so.  To get us released it took another HOUR.  I was getting so mad.  Another hour of his finger just hanging there.  Another hour of possible infection.  What is taking so long!!!  FINALLY, they tell us that we are free to go to the other hospital. 

So we drive like maniacs and get to the other ER.  Of course, they're expecting us, but right before we got there they had a rush of 6 other people so we're at the back of the line.  They took us back into a room and Brandt and Oliver layed down on the bed and they brought him in a movie to watch.  This was probably about 9pm at this point.  O just slept and I just prayed.  The ER doc said that we'd just wait for the hand doctor to even look at it so we would be bothering O more than we had to.  Throughout this whole ordeal I had come to the realization that we were just going to amputate it.  Through the wait and the drive it was becoming more and more ok.  I was grateful to be at Primary Children's because I figured even if we had to amputate the doctors here are used to little fingers and would probably do a better job.  The hand surgeon finally came in about midnight.  The movie had ended so it was a long wait.  The doc walked in and just said, "ok, we'll just sew it on."  No question about it.  She explained how resilient children are and she had all the confidence in the world that this is what we should do.  So they prepped O for surgery.  They drugged him up with Catamene and then they had to sterilize the wound.  I was sobbing.  They had a bucket and hung his little hand over it and the tip of his finger was just flapped open.  They were pouring iodine and saline over it and it was just too much for me.  Then she proceeded to stitch.  And stitch.  And stitch.  Lots and lots of stitches.  I didn't count but think about it, she had to go all the way around a finger.  They also had to keep dosing him with medicine.  He kept waking up and they couldn't risk him moving that little tiny finger while she was stitching so he got a ton of medicine.  He had nicked his middle finger, too, so she either put 2 or three stitches in that finger, too.  Once done she wrapped his hand up with a ton of gauze and then wrapped that with the stuff they use to hold the cottonball on your arm when you get your blood taken.  I don't know what it's called.  They told us not to change it unless it gets wet and we would call to schedule an appointment with another hand doctor in a week.  This was on a Friday night so I couldn't schedule until Monday, then the doctor only sees patients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so we were scheduled to have the hand looked at again on the following Tuesday.  A week and a half after the accident.

Here's some pictures - stop reading if you are squeamish. All of these are Iphone pics so not the very best.  And during the stitching I was trying to be incognito while not losing it so they're not the best.
At Lakeview
At Lakeview - break my heart

Daddy just squeezing that little hand while we wait for prognosis

Stitching mostly complete
Starting to do the bandage

Out like a light.  Drugged up, exhausted, probably around 1:30am.

Mom trying to get him to wake up so we could go home.  He was so out.  Tickling his face with my hair was what finally got him to stir.

Out of it Oliver.  So funny.

The end result of the night.

Fuzzy but good shot of the bandage.  This is a few days after I think.  The little dog stuffed animal was given to him at the hospital.  He named him Doggy Russell that night.  He's still loved.