Friday, October 24, 2014

Follow Up to the Kidney Stones

Just thought I would do a quick follow up to let everyone know that Kai is doing great. Tuesday he slept until about 8:30 Sam said and was pretty happy. They gave him a dose of morphine at 8:15 and then just waited to see if the pain would start to flair up as the morphine wore off. Thankfully it didn't. He never officially passed the stone that anyone could find, but being that his pain wore off, we were discharged. I was pretty nervous that we would get home and he would be in pain like that again. Experiencing that once in my lifetime is enough thank you very much! Thankfully everything was fine. I still need to call to Iowa City and see what they have to say. I know the pediatrician from Covenant had been in touch with them, but I never got to talk to her and I am interested to see what they think.

My older kids had ridden the bus to Thad and Liz's (Thanks Liz-you're a lifesaver! :)) until my mom got off work. She sent me this pic~

I love this…all lined up like little stair steps. They make me happy.

After we were officially discharged, Kai called Grandma to tell her that we were on our way home and she asked if we wanted to come for pancakes and sausage. Yep, I sure did! I don't know why, but when things are just seemingly overwhelming and crazy, my mom's food just tastes SO good. It's always good-she's a good cook but there is something about mom's cooking that is just so comforting. Thanks for supper Mom. :) 

The kids got to go for a ride in the back of Grandpa's pickup to go look for Lucky (Grandma and Grandpa's dog :)) since no one had seen him in a while. They drove around for a while with no luck only to find him in the machine shed where he had gotten in and couldn't get out. They thought it was hilarious. It was a good way to end a crazy couple of days. 

Then home with my CRANKY tired boy. He was pretty pale, and still kind of hoarse from screaming so much :( but just couldn't seem to settle. He was scared to go to sleep, even in our bed which is kind of unusual especially as tired as he was. Looking back, it was very possible he was playing us :) but at the same time I do wonder a bit if he was kind of scared to go to sleep because before when he was so tired he would drop off just for a second and then wake up screaming in pain. Either way, Daddy let him stay up to watch the World Series. It was cute. He was just snuggled in between us on the couch, asking Sam a million questions about baseball which Sam so patiently answered. When we went to bed, he was pretty sure that there was room for him right in the middle of me and Daddy in our bed, but Momma put the kibosh on that right away being that that little body is quite the mover at night and I desperately needed some sleep! :) I told him he could sleep on the floor beside me, so he did. When he woke up the next morning, he still didn't have much of an appetite, and was pretty snuggly which was completely ok with me. I didn't end up having to go to work that day so that worked out well. We wrapped up in a blanket in the rocker and watched cartoons. :) That afternoon, you would have never known there was anything wrong with him at all! Him and Claire were playing outside and he was completely normal. A little more thirsty than normal, but they say fluids are good with this sort of thing so we just kept his little cup he got from the hospital full of cold water and he was good! 

He's still doing antibiotics for the bladder infection and we have a follow up appointment this afternoon with our doctor, but other than that, he is good as gold! 

I still have to shake my head-my kids and their weird illnesses. My mom even asked around at work and people had never heard of a kid getting kidney stones. Like I said-we like to keep things from being too boring around our house I guess! I told someone the other day though. It's kind of like Claire's seizure. The first time was absolutely terrifying. After that, they are still incredibly scary, but I know what to look for, I know what to do, etc. I have done my research and familiarized myself with it a bit. All that being said, if he never has another one, that's fine too. :)

Again, a big thank you to everyone for all the prayers, texts, encouragement and love. Offers to help and Papa Murphy's pizza :). Short texts or messages letting us know you were praying. They all mean so incredibly much. Each time something crazy like this happens, you all step up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. One time is incredible, but as many times as we've needed it??? Humbling. We will never be able to fully express our appreciation so I guess we'll just have to leave it at this. Thanks guys. We are so blessed that each of you are in our lives.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Heaven Forbid Life Gets Too Boring in our Household!!

Seriously, why do my kids never have normal illnesses? ***SIGH*** I'm going to rename this blog the Medical Craziness of Brandt Family or something like that. Guess I better start at the beginning.

Yesterday afternoon, I took Kai and my nephew Charlie out to ride in the combine and tractors with the awesome guys from DeGroote Farms. They were in little boy heaven to say the least. When the big kids got off the bus at Thad and Liz's, I took the little boys back to Liz to play for a bit while I took the older kids for their turn. We hadn't been going long when I got a call from Liz that Kai was complaining of severe stomach pain. I could hear him sobbing over the phone. I was pretty sure that he was just tired since it had been a pretty big day for him and we hadn't had supper or anything yet. But as soon as I could I went to go pick him up. He was sitting on Liz's lap just sobbing. Got the other yahoos and their stuff and we headed for home. Meanwhile he is literally thrashing around in pain. He was doubled over and just kept wailing "Mommy! My tummy hurts, my tummy hurts. My tummy just hurts so bad". Just before we got home, he threw up, which I assumed would help his tummy, but it didn't. Got home and called my resident dr (aka my Mom :)) and decided that we should take him in since he was still doubled over and wailing. Sam took Kai to Sartori while I stayed home to manage homework, showers, supper, etc. Thank goodness for texting. They did a bunch of tests- blood work, urine tests, x-rays and found out he had a bladder infection. He's had a bladder infection before and it wasn't as severe or as sudden of pain so I wasn't convinced that a uti was the cause. In the meantime, they had started him on morphine because his pain was so bad. They did an ultrasound and a ct scan, where they finally discovered that my poor sweet boy has a kidney stone. A kidney stone?!?!?! Seriously? I have never heard of a kid with a kidney stone. I'm sure it happens, but I have never heard of it. Why couldn't it just be a normal thing like an appendix or something like that? Guess we like to keep things from being too dull at the Brandt house.
I was just finally crawling into bed at around 11 when Sam called that they had found a stone and were transporting him via ambulance to Covenant. Of course I kind of freaked when I heard ambulance, but it was just because of the morphine. However, that was about the max my mommy heart could take, so I called my parents. Bless their hearts, they crawled out of their warm beds and came over to be with my other kiddos so I could head to the hospital. I brought some clothes and supper for Sam who hadn't eaten yet. Got there about 12:15 just as the ambulance was pulling up. Finally got up to the right floor and I could hear him crying. Other mommas know what I'm talking about-it was like mom radar right to the sound of that crying. The morphine had worn off on the ride, so he was in quite a bit of pain again. Poor kid was so exhausted that he kept trying to fall asleep but all of a sudden would just start thrashing around and screaming his tummy hurt. It was horrible to watch. I finally just crawled in bed with him and snuggled. I started humming "Amazing Grace" which is what I sing/hum when I rock them if they don't feel good or whatever. I kept humming and scratching his back and head and he seemed to settle for short periods of time, but would always wake up crying. FINALLY, they got all the t's crossed and i's dotted so they could give him his morphine and once that kicked in, he was out. That poor baby was absolutely exhausted. Once he settled, I headed for home since I was working this morning. I have been running the scale for DeGroote Farms during harvest. It's so fun-I love it. It's not like I'm unreplaceable by any means, but it's also not like there is an abundance of people just sitting on their haunches there waiting for something to do. Rick was very sweet this morning and told me to go, but Sam and I agreed last night that if Kai had a good night, we both didn't need to be there. We have been keeping in touch (SO thankful for cell phones!!!!) and I even talked to Kai for a bit this morning. He was drinking some juice watching cartoons and said he felt good. Sam said he doesn't seem to be in any pain, but they aren't sure if the stone has passed or if it's just the morphine doing it's thing. They were going to do a cath later this morning (because he can't pass urine on his own-that would be just too simple. We have to throw in curves like neurogenic bladders to keep life from being boring!!) and see what they could see. So now, it's a waiting game to determine the next step!
This momma is running on coffee and prayer this morning. My adrenaline was still going when I got home about 2:30 so I got my laundry sorted :). I think I finally crashed about 3:15-3:30. I slept until about 6:30 and then off and on until a little after 7, so it was a pretty short night. Soon as I'm done with work, I'm going to go snuggle in an oh-so-comfortable hospital bed and nap with my baby in my arms! I know he's not a baby, but I tell my kids even when they are 100 they will still be my babies!! :)
SOOOO in the seemingly never ending saga of medical craziness, we would again appreciate your prayers. Please pray that Sam and I make the right choices for him and for my sweet little boy that all this passes quick and his pain stays under control. We appreciate them so much!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saying Good-Bye To Granny

Today begins the process of officially saying good bye to one of my most favorite people in the whole world. It's not going to be easy to say the least.
When I first met Granny, to be honest, I was a little afraid. I guess back in the day, she was pretty blunt, so I think I must of kind of tried to avoid her just to avoid feeling awkward if she did happen to say anything. Sam and I had just started dating and since he was my first boyfriend, I was a little insecure how this whole "meeting the family" thing worked. Plus, in the spirit of being honest like I like to do on this blog :) I thought the name "Granny" was weird. What's wrong with Grandma? Why Granny? And what was I supposed to call her? She wasn't my Granny! Oh how that has all changed. I don't even know where to start. Guess you'll have to forgive my ramblings.
Granny was just Granny. She was Granny to everyone, not just those related by blood to her. Someone commented that they didn't even know her real name until a while after they met her. She was just "Granny"to everyone. That's how she liked it, and it just seem to fit. 
There are so many things I am going to miss about Granny. My world will take a while to readjust to be "normal" without her in it. Looking back, of course, I wish I would have made more of an effort to see her and be with her and just soak up her goodness but that is my own feeling, not anything she made me feel. She would always tell me something to the effect of "I'm so glad you are here and of course I love our visits, but I know you are a busy momma, so don't you worry about this old granny." We would walk around and she would show me her gazillions of flowers. Several years ago, I got a mandevilla flower and planted it in my big pot out front. I just thought it looked neat and didn't think too much of it. Granny, however, had never heard of it (shockingly!!) and loved it too. The next summer she told me she had bought one too and had planted it by her mailbox and let it trail up the post. She was pretty excited this last summer because she had kept it over the winter and planted it again and it was beautiful. Then there's me-I kill plants by looking at them I swear, let alone keep them alive over the winter and expect them to bloom in the summer! I would tease her about her green thumb compared to my black one, and she would say, "it's not a green thumb, it's just LOTS of years of experience". Several weeks ago, shortly after her diagnosis, we were in Garny for a birthday party and my heart just wasn't in the party. There were lots of people there, so I snuck out and went for some quiet time with Granny. After I finished sobbing all over her (several times), and calmed down a bit, we were chatting and she told me that she wanted me to have her mandevilla. Our conversation went something like this:
 "Granny! I can't take that! What if I kill it?!?!?! You know me and plants! My heart couldn't handle it if I killed your mandevilla!"
"You aren't going to kill it!"
"But what if I do?!"
You know how when you are having a conversation with someone and they say something that makes you kind of stop suddenly and think…did they really just say that? I had one of those moments at that point because Granny looked at me, smiled and "If you do, I'm not going to know and I'm not going to care!" I just had to laugh. Oh Granny. Still makes me smile when I think about it.
I haven't been around a whole lot of people who are close to dying, but the peace that Granny had was surreal almost. She knew she had this tumor and she was adamant that she did not want another surgery. Therefore, she knew she was going to die. And yet, she was the one comforting me! Anyone that was ever around Granny knew of her love for her Lord. She knew that death for her meant finally meeting The One that she spent so much of her life serving, The One who gave His all when he died for us. I knew there was a verse in the Bible about letting your light shine, but I couldn't remember the whole thing. When I found it, I found that it sums up Granny's life perfectly. 
      Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16
Granny's life was definitely a light shining forth. It wasn't because of her good works, or the fact that she was a good person, or that she had decided to love Jesus. No, it was because Granny came to the saving knowledge that she was a sinner and as such, she needed that salvation that only the Lord Jesus Christ could offer. She would tell you it wasn't anything she had done, but all what He had done for her. That light she offered was so that others would see it and want what she had-the perfect knowledge that her sins were gone and she was going to Heaven when she died. And what a light she had. I had to try really hard to think of a time when she was even the slightest bit cross, and even then I don't think it was cross so much as it was a little frustrated. She was always smiling, especially when she was around people. She was such a people person. She loved to encourage others with just a small word and seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear. There were times where she would tell me stories about raising her kids that sounded just like my kids.  It was usually a way to encourage me-as in I've been there, done that, I know exactly how you feel. She would be honest in that sometimes she didn't handle things right, etc, but I always felt better after having talked to her. That's not to say she wasn't slightly biased. She would always tease me that her precious little darlings would NEVER do anything to make a mommy frustrated. She liked to say how cute and precious they were. I would tease her that she just *might* be a slight bit biased to which she would reply "It's not biased! It's the truth!" :) She just loved them so much. The feelings were very much reciprocated. Kai would learn his verse for sunday school and then say "I gotta tell Gwanny my vurse, K Mom?"and she loved hearing him say it just as much as he loved telling her. Of course, that made him the brilliant as well as adorable in her eyes. :) My Darren boy adored Granny. He's taken her death hardest of any of my kids. Darren is the kind of kid that if he loves you, he REALLY loves you, and if not, well….he isn't going to give you hugs or anything like that, so you might as well not try. He loved going to visit Granny. The seemingly never-ending supply of oreos in her cupboard helped :) but he always loved to find her at meeting and stuff and say hi and give her a hug. When I told him that Granny was sick and going to die, he of course cried. "It's not fair Mommy! I don't want her to die! I want her here!" When I told him that she was ready and that she had lived a long time and was happy, he asked how old she was. I told him she was 87 to which his response was more tears and "Mommy! That's not old! She's not even close to 100!" Made me smile, even thru the tears.
Sam's cousin Allison said something on Facebook that made me smile too. She made mention of the "I don't care how old you are, come over here so I can give you a kiss" kiss. Summed it up perfect Allison!
Granny and I loved going to Thoma's (the little restaurant in Garnavillo) for shrimp. Seriously, they have AWESOME shrimp there. We would go and get shrimp and milkshakes. She told me once that she wasn't sure if we could be friends if I didn't like coffee milkshakes but she guessed she could overlook that slight flaw of mine. 
I think of the things that we are ALL going to miss about Granny is her prayers. I know for a fact that this person was a prayer WARRIOR. My friend Becky summed it up well in her blog post about Granny (click here to read the whole post) when she said

"And this woman is the epitome of a prayer warrior.  If she says she is praying for you, then she is.  If you know her personally then it is safe to say she has spent time bringing you before the throne of Heaven." 

There would be times when I would just feel so overwhelmed with Kai or Claire's issues or even other things, and I would send her a quick email or a message asking her to pray for me in regards to such and such and I KNOW that she would. Like Becky said, if she said she is praying for you, then she is. 
This morning, I came to work in the dark and the little office I sit in faces the sunrise. I watched it this morning thinking of Granny and wondering if they can see the sunrise in Heaven. I know it says that there is no need for the sun there and as I watched it, I just started thinking about how absolutely breathtaking the scenery is there. The beautiful sunrise here on earth is nothing compared to what she is experiencing there. Singing was always her thing. She LOVED hearing people sing, and I smile thinking about how beautiful angel songs must be. I picture here there, holding hands with her "honey" as she called him :) and singing along. 
So many things about the woman and her life and our relationship together have made me smile. I just needed to get all these memories out to remind myself mostly that it's ok to be sad and it's ok to miss her, but to not dwell on the sadness and loss. She wouldn't want that. I want to remember her smile and her laugh and all of the good times. I am going to miss you Granny, more than I can possibly imagine. Birthday parties, holidays, visits to Garnavillo just won't be the same. I will miss seeing you smile when Kai see you and waves at you in meeting. I will miss your encouragement and when you call me "my tiff". I will miss asking you all my flower questions and eating shrimp. I will miss you, just being you. I am so blessed to have been part of your life and have you be part of mine. I will see you again. Until then, I love you~