Friday, January 25, 2008

A Glimpse...

For those of you who wonder what "home hospital care" really means, let me give you a glimpse!

The Set Up

Mommy's little helper

The finishing touch

This has pretty much been my life the last month. I am not complaining, just informing : ) It seems I'm constantly hooked up to one tube or another. Ryan snapped this picture of Harrison and I and it really sums everything up. I am in this exact position at least four times a day. If I'm lucky, Harrison will sit and play with me but he usually tries to crawl right off the bed. Here's what's going on in this picture: I am wearing Oxygen to increase the amount of oxygen in my blood. The less oxygen in the blood, the harder the heart has to work to pump blood and the more exhausted the body becomes. I am also doing a breathing treatment which helps to open my airways and makes it easier to breath. While I do my breathing treatments, I wear my nifty vibrating vest which not only shakes loose my mucus but gives me an awesome darth vader voice! It is not enough sometimes to just open the airways and shake them up a bit... Enter the big guns. I.V.s!! I am running my I.V. antibiotics five times a day. These antibiotics will kill the bacteria growing in my lungs. The I.V.s go in through a PICC line in my arm which goes to a big vein in my chest so it will last longer than a regular I.V.. Today will be 21 days on I.V.s and I have one more week and then I will be a free woman!

There are good things about being on home hospital care. I can milk it and pretty much get Ryan to do anything I ask, including going to the store at 11:00 at night to get me some lime sherbet! Also, lots of treatments means lots of time to study the scriptures. It's kind of my rule of thumb to do my scripture study whenever I do a breathing treatment. I started that years ago because it helped make something I dreaded treatments, more enjoyable and even meaningful by pairing it with something I treasure doing. Another plus is getting Persian food! Whenever I am not feeling well Sanam always delivers delicious home-made Persian food. This time around I got Ob Gousht and it was seriously so yummy and so healing. I also got a delivery from Suedy of Gormeh Sabsi, the ultimate Persian comfort food! Thank you Sharon and Suedy and thank you Sanam for the hours you have spent preparing healing meals for me! It's almost worth getting sick when I know I'm going to get your cooking : ) Last but not least on the list of perks of being sick is visits from mom. Yesterday she brought me the most adorable shirt from Anthropology "just because!" Thank you mom for everything, the babysitting, the groceries, the goodies and the love. You have always eased these more difficult times with your love.

Most of all, anytime I get sick, I reflect on how lucky I am to be alive and the abundance of blessings in my life. I feel Lexi closer and know she strengthens me when I am fighting harder to be well. I am humbled and turn closer to my Father in Heaven for comfort and healing. At the end of a "tune-up" I always feel like I have been strengthened physically and spiritually. I guess it's not such a bad price to pay... it just takes some patience!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There's no place like Home...

There's nothing like a stay in the hospital to help one appreciate their family and the sweet comforts of home. I was hoping to avoid the hospital scene this winter but last Friday night Ryan and I found ourselves in the ER. I caught an aggressive bug and tried to convince myself I could fight it with lots of rest at home but when my lungs started bleeding...I threw in the towel.

I don't go to the ER very often. I kind of have a routine down when it's time for a "tune-up." I call the clinic and they call me when there's a bed ready for me at the hospital and I go right in, we've got it down to a science by now. However, this time there were no beds available so we were told that unless I could wait a few days, I needed to get to the ER. Unfortunately, I couldn't wait so there we were heading to the E.R. It was kind of an adventure...

As I looked around the little semi-clean ER waiting room, I thought to myself, "Ryan and I are the only normal ones here." That sounds so judgmental but have you ever been surrounded in a room and realized that you are the only normal one? Maybe in the airport, a mall, the Del Mar Fair, or at an arcade? Anyway, I'm sure I didn't look normal to the others waiting as I walked in pulling my green oxygen tank in my pajamas with a mask over my mouth. As we waited, I was fully concentrating on literally not coughing up my remaining functioning lung while I nervously tapped my foot on the floor. The intense concentrating was wearing down my nerves as was my paranoia about the germs that must be lurking in an ER waiting room. Meanwhile, waiting gave Ryan a good opportunity to play with his new iPhone but I could tell he was distracted and after a while I realized he was anticipating.

Anticipating what? Well, as "Grey's" fans, I think he was just waiting for someone to run into the ER with a pencil in their eye or a missing appendage! I couldn't help rolling my eyes as he excitedly asked my radioloy technician, "So, what's the craziest thing you've seen in here?!" He asked my nurse the same thing and both of them were like, "um... this is kind of a small hospital, we don't see a lot of crazy things here." I think the whole ordeal was a big "rain on Ryan's ER fantasies parade." Just as we were about to leave, (my paranoia was getting the better of me) we got called into the back and once back there I got the best of care. The doctors and nurses were so great and extremely efficient. In no time an R.T. (respitory therapist) was pounding on me and my I.V. was in and running.

The hardest part about being in the hospital this time around was of course, being away from Harrison. Ryan brought him to see me every day and he charmed all the doctors and nurses as we walked the halls. Although it was very hard to be separated from my little baby, I was so grateful to my mom and mom and dad Kaltenbach for taking such good care of him. It was such a blessing to know that he was being loved and nurtured by those who love him while his mom was getting better. It was a relief to not have to worry about whether he was happy and getting enough attention!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the hospital stay... He loved the moving bed, the remote and walks with mom in the wheelchair : )

I am now home on I.V.'s and Harrison is such a good little helper nurse. He likes to hold onto my vibrating vest and bring me my I.V. meds with daddy. He also loves to chew on my oxygen tubing! One thing for sure is that he is a great healer. Just being home with him has given me the strength I needed to turn the corner. He makes me so happy and we are constantly giggling at him. Joy, laughter and Love are the strongest medicines I know of and I am looking forward to being good as new really soon!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Yesterday, Ryan and I sat down together and recorded the highlights of our year, month by month. We then followed our reminiscing with a goal session for 2008! Major props to Ryan for enduring such a sentimental tradition...(it was like pulling teeth!)

I'm taking a photo journalistic approach to my walk down memory lane on this blog entry. Feel free to skip this entry as scrolling through my year in pictures may be a bit tedious. I indulged myself! I'm looking forward to Dax's witty comment as he likes to tease me about my blog : ) He can put it in his book titled, "One Liners."

Here it goes...

On January 21st Ryan completed the Carlsbad Marathon. It was his first and I was so proud of him. Harrison was too, I could feel him doing congratulatory somersaults in my tummy when we watched Ryan cross the finish line!

February 12th: Harrison James Kaltenbach! Seven weeks early...we were surrounded by the Love of our Heavenly Father as He orchestrated this Miracle in our lives...

The rest of February and the beginning of March was spent in the NICCU. Those were rough days but watching Harrison get stronger every day was so powerful. It was a time to heal, physically and emotionally. To say bringing him home was the one of the sweetest experiences of our lives is an understatement.

On April 9th Ryan and I celebrated our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. We enjoyed a Gondola ride in Coronado and continued the tradition of a romantic dinner at Jakes while we watched the sunset. The best three years of my life!

We spent a good part of May at Sanoviv in Rosarito, Mexico. It was amazing to experience the healing benefits of that place with Ryan and Harrison by my side.

June was our 10 year High School Reunion. Crazy... 10 years?!

July was a slow month...we just enjoyed Harrison. This is my favorite picture from July. It is in these moments when Ryan is covered in spit up or up to his elbows in a dirty diaper that I fall more and more in love with him!

August, on the other hand, was packed with big events. First was the LFO reunion in San Diego. The reunion ended on Harrison's six month Birthday and it was on this special day that Harrison was given his Blessing. He was blessed at Grandma Coco's and it was especially poignant to me to have the blessing in the same room where Lexi was blessed by most of these same men before she passed on. Ryan was honored to have the men of the family in the circle with him. On August 23rd Ethan Brent Pratt joined our anxiously awaiting family. What a blessing this little baby boy is. His birth and his health were direct answers to our fervent prayers.

In September, Harrison got to meet his little Mexican brother from another mother...Owen Erickson was born on September 25th! Harrison also attended his first Padre game in September and to our delight, he Loved it! There will be many more of those, it is one of our favorite summer activities!

October was full of adventure as we spent three weeks on the island of Kauai. We hope to make this trip a yearly tradition. Harrison was all that tropical snow cone yumminess Grandma kept sneaking him : )

November was a month we will cherish. It was spent with family. Mom generously gifted all of us another trip to Disneyland with the whole family. Three days at the Happiest Place on Earth! We finally got to meet our little Ethan and we enjoyed our first Thanksgiving as a family of three. I have never felt so overwhelmed with the magnitude of my blessings as I was on this Thanksgiving Day. To top off November, Ryan and I spoiled ourselves and saw our favorite band Travis perform at the House of Blues.

December was a magical month filled with Holiday cheer! Ryan and I got to be parents of four for ten days and then, on December 18th Sawyer Michael Ross joined our family. There was nothing like a new sweet baby to get us in the Christmas mood! Christmas 2007: A wonder filled day as we watched Harrison soak up the spirit of Christmas with all his beloved family members...

We feel an excited energy about 2008 and know we will continue to grow as a family in a cacoon of comforting love. We hope that 2008 is a prosperous and glorious year for our friends and family too!