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Archive for July, 2008

3rd Time’s a Charm

Sarah finally had her surgery last Thursday (7/17/2008). Obviously, it took a while to get done, but it is now done and she is home recovering. She is in a lot of pain, and she looks like she’s been beat up pretty good, but we are all hoping this is the beginning of nothing but good things for her. It seems like there has been one health issue after the other over the past few years which has made her pretty miserable at times. I just want her to be happy and healthy. I want my wife back and the girls want their Mommy back.

When all was said and done, we were pretty happy with the way it all turned out. Her surgery was scheduled for 2:30 pm so we needed to check in at the hospital by 1:00 pm. We got there at about 12:45 pm and started waiting and waiting. Apparently, the surgery before Sarah’s started about 45 minutes late and they ran into a few problems during that surgery so they didn’t even take Sarah back to the OR until 5:00 pm. They estimated it would take the entire surgery approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. Since there was so much she was getting done (the hernias, the ovarian cyst and the gallbladder) and since she was having 2 doctors perform the surgeries, I doubted that very much.

Dr. Sharp did the cystectomy first and said that everything went very smoothly and he was able to get the cyst out of her ovary without any problem. He had prepared us for a possible oophorectomy if things didn’t go according to plan, but Sarah still has both ovaries and Dr. Sharp said that the cyst looked benign to him but would still send it to pathology to be properly assessed. But he was pleased with how things went.

Dr. Langell then went to work on the gallbladder and the hernias. From what he told me, the gallbladder came out without a problem. There was one stone that had left the gallbladder and had started going into the bile duct (I think) but they were able to flush that out quite easily. There were 2 existing hernias when Dr. Langell started the surgery but they created one so there were 3 hernia repairs to do total. Dr. Langell had told us of his concern for infection by using mesh. He was worried about leakage from the gallbladder removal getting on the mesh and causing an infection. Luckily, there was no leakage from the gallbladder, but he said there was some discharge from the ovary that he wasn’t convinced did not contain bacteria so he just sutured the hernias. The surgery was finished and he came and spoke with me a little after 8:00 pm. I was relieved it was finally over. Sarah finally got to her room around 9:00 pm.

They had told us that she would “possibly” stay over night for the surgery. With the late start time, we knew she would be there over night. Unfortunately, she had to share a room with another woman who was stuck in the hospital. It was not always pleasant for Sarah. She has had some interesting roommates in the past, but this one took the cake. Maybe she’ll tell you about it later. On Friday, here Case Manager came to talk to her and asked her “So, are they letting you go home tomorrow or Sunday?” When Sarah told me that, I was surprised. They told us “possibly” one night, now we were looking at 2 or 3 nights. She ended up staying 2 nights and coming home late Saturday afternoon.

We were very unimpressed by the level of care she received the first night she was there. After I left, her IV came undone and blood was squirting all over her and her bed. It took about 45 minutes for someone to even come in to help her. I had to come back to make sure she was getting the things she needed. While I was there, her nurse told her they didn’t allow overnight visitors on the floor. I told Sarah, “Tell her I’m not spending the night, I got here at 12:30 am and would only be staying for the morning.”

We were so excited to get her home and have her around. I wish she would have come home sooner so we could get settled into a routine and figure out where Sarah needed help the most. Granny came on Sunday morning and is staying until the morning of the 27th when she will fly back to Vegas. I like to have things a little bit more figured out than learning on the fly with someone there. However, we will take whatever we can get. Granny was so sweet to come out when she did, and for a whole week! We know she is just as busy as the rest of us, we were just glad to know we could call her and she was willing to come and help take care of Sarah and the girls.

We are so grateful for my mom and dad and all their help. My mom took Tori at about 11:30 am and she kept her all day long. Then she and my dad took care of her during the evening, brought her up to the hospital to see Sarah around 9:00 pm, let her stay the night at their house, then my mom dropped her off at our house in the morning on her way to work the following morning. Then they took her again on Friday night and had her sleep over that night and took her all day long on Saturday until they dropped her off at our house at about 9:00 pm that night. They called a few times during the surgery to see how it was going and offered to do whatever they could to help us. It has meant a lot to me and Sarah and the girls to know they are there for us no matter what.

We also want to thank all of those who called or emailed the day of the surgery and while Sarah was in the hospital. Mom and Dad, Auntie Jess, Amber, Granny, Grandma Poulsen, Stacey, Savanna, Ty and Aubrie, Christine, Tammy, Emily, and Cynthia: Thank you so much for your concern and care, it means so much to us to know that you are mindful of us even when we know you are busy. A quick email or call was a real pick me up for Sarah and she could have used as many visitors, whether in person or by phone, as she could get.

I think that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll remember some additional details a little bit later. Feel free to leave a comment. We love them.

Oh, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our favorite Savanna in the whole entire world: Savanna Green. Today is her birthday (she’s finally 13 everyone!) and we wanted her to know just how much all 4 of us love her and appreciate her and her friendship. She is an amazing person, friend and family member. We love you (and Billy too!) so much. I am grateful to have gotten to know you over the last couple years. (Just a little FYI for everyone who doesn’t know when I’m joking around, Savanna is 21 today. Hooray!)

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Ah, well most of you may see the title and think “baby drool” not so!  I’ve been *mildly* obsessed with trying new things in the kitchen (see previous posts).  In the past month I’ve done red velvet cupcakes(dave’s sup at work), easy chocolate peanut butter cookies, almond joy cake(for dinner at the in laws, but mostly cause my father in law likes the combo of nuts+chocolate+ coconut), butterhorns (aka pastry that we brought to the 4th of July breakfast at Rose and Dale’s) and while Dave and I wrack our brains, we cant think of anything else… So, tonight was no different. 

all this hoopla with my health has sent me running for the hills in search of some stress relief.  Dave has lately said, “I can tell when you’re stressed out or down, cause you bake like crazy.”  Yes, yes I do.  Its some sort of a soothing indulgence for me, especially when I can try recipes that are new, as well as challenge my ability.  This is made even better when I can do it with little distraction- like two little girls!  My sister has a food blog and has got me addicted to the world of food blogging… some of my favorites are Joy The Baker, Smitten Kitchen, and Baking Bites.  I regularly check all of these and tonight’s recipe came from Smitten Kitchen.  I’m debating on starting my own food blog attached to this, but with all that’s happened as of late, its a little insane and not quite the right time.  Check back later and we’ll see…  For now, here’s tonights happenings.

Miniature Soft Pretzels!

And btw, in case everyone hasnt already figured it out, I’m a baker, NOT a photographer!

Salted….

Unsalted…

Dave, in his genius-ness(ok really just the 8 inches in height he has on me) found the kosher salt leftover from our turkey brine last Thanksgiving, so they had that classic dusting of salt, except in a much lighter way,  because this was not the “Super Pretzel” salt you find in those nasty frozen packages.

In any case- these were FANTASTIC.  While I finished the first batch I was on the phone with my friend Stacey, in Okla. and kept saying “I am not a good multi-tasker Stace”, but alas, we continued to talk and Dave from the other room shouted, “OH NO! THEY’RE GOOD!!!!!”  Which to me, is enough confirmation, I’ve hit gold again.  And I managed to do every last one of them, AND not burn one single one… a few were soggy due to the over-poaching, but the still tasted good according to Dave.  Poor guy, I do not eat anything undercooked, burnt, raw, soggy, and the list goes on…picky little brat I am, I suppose.

Yep, I’d say this one is a keeper- a little laborous- but none the less, a KEEPER!!!!  YAY!

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Hmmm a little dèja vu it would seem?  YESSSSS!!!!!!  Thats right, it is. 

Yesterday was the reschedule for the surgery that was supposed to take place June 20th.  Again we made all the arrangements and I was getting ready when the phone rang.  It was Dave so I thought surely, he’s just calling to remind me to bring something… eh…. not so. 

Dave:  “Babe, whats going on?”

( I was agitated and stressed trying to get everything done) 

Me: “Nothing, I’m just trying to get everything ready to go and I’m behind where I need to be.”

Dave: “Well you’re not going to be very happy with me when I tell you that we’ve had a bomb threat and the whole hospital is in lockdown, no one is coming in or going out.”

Me: “ARE YOU SERIOUS!?  YOU’VE GOT TO BE JOKING- A BOMB THREAT????!!!!!!!!” (laced with a few other colorful words…)

Dave: “Yes, I’m serious and no, I’m not joking.  They are probably not going to be able to do the surgery now.  I’d call the office”

So thats about how it went.  I immediately got off the phone and called Dave’s wonderful mom, who had AGAIN, taken off work.  At this point there was no reason to call the surgeons office- they’d been rude the day before and I knew the girl wouldnt know anything… So Rose and I talked.  Poor woman, she’s going to have to tell her boss that again, it didnt happen!  She (hysterically) said, “At least this one will be on the news!”  Her boss must think this is some joke that I just keep not having it!  But like she said, at least this one would be on the news so there was a legitimate reason for it to be cancelled.  Not that I’m some weirdo who likes to tell everyone she’s having surgery and then cancel, twice.

Once again, this is turning out to be a good thing.  Its hard to see that initially when I hear, “there is a bomb threat”.  There’s all the preparation and getting things in order, not to mention the mental and emotional stress.  But, those are all so minute in light of a human life and the way things are supposed to work out.  We have people watching out for us and we know it… Here’s a brief synopsis of the great reasons it didnt happen yesterday.

So, if you’ve read previous posts, I have H. pylori.  I’ve now finished the meds that are supposed to get rid of it and will hopefully be able to take the test to see if its gone before I have surgery.  Obviously if I’d had surgery yesterday this would have not happened.  The test will be a lot easier to take before surgery.  I’ll spare details, but lets just say, either way it wont be pleasant, but if it was after surgery, it would be miserable.

If you have not heard, I had a CT scan and they found 2 other hernias as well as a cyst on my right ovary.  I had an ultrasound done Tuesday on the cyst and will hopefully have the results back by Monday.  If this needs to be removed, they should be able to just get it while they’re in there doing everything else, instead of having to go in and do another procedure later.  They should also be able to hopefully get the hernias. Hallelujah to one surgery/procedure-i.e. twelve birds with one stone.   If we had surgery done yesterday, chances are my surgeon would not have even glanced at the CT scan and done anything about any of the other problems.

 I also will get another two weeks of nursing Charli exclusively.  Her and me.  No bottle.  No formula.  No one else.  One of my favorite things about having a baby is breastfeeding.   Sounds a little whack(or crunchy 😉   ), but its the greatest bonding.  Its a comfort to her, and to me, cause I know NO one else can do what I can.  All this, and its a DANG good excuse to sit and do nothing for a half hour, four or five times a day!  🙂

Probably the best thing about postponing:  I’ve been having a hard time figuring out if all this is the right thing to do.  Its very confusing and very frustrating.  There’ve been naysayers all around and people putting their opinions in without knowing everything.  Its just been really hard.  And not just on me.  Dave and I talk about it all the time, running through every scenario and its REALLY stressful.   I don’t want to put anyone out by needing all this help, I dont want to exhaust my sweet mother in law, who continues to take off work, plan meals for us, and take care of Tori and Charli if we want/need. Nor does my amazing husband need to be exhausted either. (I guess too late on that one!)  Its hard on me.  Its hard on the kids and its not fun or a picnic going through recovery.  After the last cancellation I felt really good like we were doing the right thing, then as the date neared, I just kept getting a nagging feeling it wasnt.  When I finally got the appointment time of the surgery I really felt confused.  I prayed and immediately had insane pain, throbbing in my stomach.  So I knew I still needed to have it done.  But still there was something not right.  Then when Dave called yesterday it was just another confirmation, in a very big way.  Dave said, “Well apparently we’re REALLY not listening cause God has warned us and given you these feelings of confusion and everything else and now he says, ‘Ok, you’re not listening, I’m going to send someone to threaten to blow up the building.  Is that big enough!?’  ”  So yes, it was big enough for me this time. 

I figured it out that we need to switch surgeons.  We’ve not been impressed with Dr. Vargo and he’s just the typical “I know everything, I dont have time to listen to your concerns” doctor.  He’s really bothered me a couple times and so for whatever reason, he’s not the right guy for the job.  In retrospect, it seems as though God already told us this when he made the man deathly ill the last time it was scheduled.  Anyway, Dave gave me the number of a doctor’s office and a nice girl named Joanna gave me some great references, in order of who she liked best, then who would have the most open schedule.  I called one of the offices and another girl named Andrea (who knows Dave and apparently thinks he’s great) worked us in to come in Tuesday and then hopefully (3rd times a charm) we’ll have surgery July 17th.  He gets paid 1/5 of what Dr Vargo does, so maybe that will translate into some humility.  He did his residency at Stanford and Andrea said he’s just a great person- drastic change from previously.

So, I’m excited.  Now all we have to do is get Tori to stay out of trouble.  She is such a funny kid, but man she’s faster than lightning, and I swear I need 12 hands and 20 pairs of eyeballs to keep her out of everything. 

Monday, she drank Spray ‘n’ Wash.  I called poison control, and apparently if it has enzymes(YAY, the one we have did) its not *all* that bad to drink it.  I monitered her for an hour and they called back to check and said she should be just fine if she had not vomited.  Well that same day she bit Charli.  I was on the phone with Dave letting him know about the Spray ‘n’ wash incident and turned around to Charli screaming and Tori hiding under the pillow on the bed…    

Tuesday she said a swear word- no doubt from me- and Dave sarcastically said something about washing her mouth out with soap and we laughed cause she’d already done that to herself! 

WELLLLLL…. today, I was on the phone with a friend from Oklahoma.  I probably should not have talked so long, but she’s like a mom to me and I havent spoken to her other than email, since I was 17.  So anyway, Tori came up while I was on the phone and showed me what I thought was chocolate all over her fingers… NOT SO MUCH!  IT WAS POOP!  She had pooped her pants and for some reason needed to taste it.  I thought I was going to hurl!  She herself was near throwing up.  I’m just glad I’m not a midget cause if I had not had the two extra feet above her little fingers we would have been cleaning up puke as well…  So she gagged all the way to the bathroom where we washed her hands thoroughly and her face and then had her drink some water and got the south end of things cleaned up.  It was not fun.  Thankfully poison control did not hear from us for the 2nd time in a week! I knew a girl whose little girl did the same thing and she had called poison control about what to do, and they said that as long as its her own fecal matter, its ok!  GREAT…. lets just not make this a habit.  I’m sure she was just bored.  I’m never on the phone that long and normally we have “us” time, so that was probably it.  None the less eating poop is NOT a great way to get attention.  Tonight she went to bed very early cause she didn’t take a nap and Dave said, “I feel bad, she didnt really eat dinner.”  I retorted, “Dave, she ate her own poop today, what more could she need!?”  Just kidding…

 We hope everyone’s lives are going great.  Happy 4th to everyone.  No matter the ridiculous politics in this country, its still a great place to live and a nation I’m proud to be part of.  Dave and I are especially grateful for the brave people who serve in the military so pansies like us dont have to.  Our neighbor Melissa, my high school friends in Oklahoma, and previously, Dave’s dad, as well as his grandpa, who is a WWII vet.   Amazing people that do it, so we dont have to. 

ALSO- Happy Birthday to Granny(belated) and Grandpa Ralph and both Grandma and Grandpa Payne.  Jesslyn, Aunt YaYa and Uncle Dave miss you- Happy Birthday(be nice to your mom!) 🙂    Also, Savanna, wooooooo-hoooooo you’re LEGAL NOW!  I love you!  And of course everyone else that we know that has or has had a birthday, it just seems like they’ve come up so fast and there is a slew of them between the end of June and July!

Alright, again, this is why I dont write posts- cause they’re forever long.  I’ll shut up.  Have a good day, and c’mon people… don’t forget to leave us a comment so we can see who actually reads this thing! 

Love,

The Paynes

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