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Monday, September 27, 2010

A Week Post Op

Before I start aren't these a couple of the cutest "grands" you ever seen!

Good job Jen

So, they cut on the same incision again and it looks pretty much like it did last year.

Tom took the blanket that the kids had made for him for his 50th birthday with pictures of all the Grands. It was a big hit.

Ella was the only Grand that came to the hospital because she knew what was going on. It really bothered her though that he was sick. She keeps asking me when he'll be all better. Doesn't she look like an old Hungarian woman!

The other Maryland three came to visit when he got home.

and this is what they left behind

Then we celebrated out 34th first date anniversary with Chef Boyardee pizza which is what we had on our first date when a mutual friend invited us both over to her house and made us one.

I just had to add these pictures of Sami & Lily, they just love each other!

I took Tom back to the doctor on Friday and he took the staples out. They weren't quite ready to come out and the incision is bleeding some but the doctor assured us nothing would fall out. Now the healing begins.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sitting Around the Hospital

The Grandkids came by to say Good Luck to PaPa

This is all becoming old hat to me, sitting around the hospital. First with my mom and then my dad and for the fifth time with Tom since we moved to Maryland nine years ago. Of course there are those happy times with the birth of five grandchildren but still all having their scary moments including two emergency c-sections.
Yesterday sitting around the waiting room was too much like dejavu. Been there done that. Thank God for our children, two of who were able to wait it out with me. Tom said it made him more relaxed to know they were there with me. They took him back into the operating room early and the procedure was suppose to take 3-4 hours. Five hours later we were worried and at five and a half hours the doctor came out to talk to us. He didn't want to talk to us in the waiting room though, he called us back into a conference room just like the one we all went into with a doctor when they told us our mother had coded and wouldn't make it. Scary stuff but this doctor just wanted to explain why the surgery took longer than expected. They ended up cutting on the same scar as before and repairing farther up on his spine than planned. They found large screw holes in his vertebra without screws (probably because the holes were too big for any screws) that had to have a metal plate put over them. They took out the L3 through S1 disks and replaced them with metal blocks and then put plates over the vertebrae and sealed all that with bone chips from his hip with the hope that those bone chips will stimulate bone growth. The L2 &L1's fusion looks good from the last surgery. He had a lot of nerve involvement which made it harder and is where his pain comes from.
Last night I slept on a tiny little couch with machines beeping around me being woken up every hour as they flipped the lights on to check his vitals. All in all things are going smoothly, we're used to the routine. Tom seems calmer this time even though he says it hurts worse. He has two drains in and is getting a pint of blood as I type this (his own that they had him donate just in case last week). He's eating "real" food (from what hospitals now fondly call Room Service),PT and OT were here getting him out of bed and sitting in the chair for a couple of hours. They expect him to be here for another three days or so and I'll be here right along with him.
Tom in his room today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

False Start

He used the extra couple of days to finish up some projects like trimming the bushes

Last week we got a letter from the insurance company denying the use of a product the doctor wanted to use to replace and stimulate growth in Tom's bones. The letter brought on a flashback of worry and anxiety because it took almost a year of fighting the insurance company to get Tom's first surgery approved. After contacting the doctor he said no worry that he could just use some of Tom's own bone which he would remove from his hip.
When we arrived at the hospital to check in this morning there was a message to call the doctor's office. Oh no here we go, was all we could think. It seems that since the harvesting of Tom's bone was not a regular thing that the doctor did he didn't have correct instrument available to use today.
Are you kidding me, really? You just realized that this morning, two hours before surgery! They said they had tried to call his cell phone earlier but he had it off. Yes, he turned it off when we went to mass and then went to vote this morning but that still isn't enough notice. Family has taken time off work and re organized their schedules for this and he just has his office assistant call to reschedule, "hopefully" for Friday she said. Tom was as close to tears as I have ever seen him. It takes so much to prepare yourself to know you are going to be in intense pain and completely dependent on someone else to take care of you. He just wants it over and to start recovering. Soon Sweetie, soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting Ready for Surgery

Tomorrow morning we will be going back to the hospital. This will be the fourth time trying to fix his back. Screws will be replaced and metal plates will be added. With each subsequent surgery our expectations are lowered and fear and anxiety is increased. The best we can hope for is for a back that won't bend at the waist so that some of his pain from his nerves will be relived and that is the BEST we can hope for. The girls came over to say get well to PaPa. Ella remembers last time and will miss us being gone for a few days and PaPa coming back home not quite himself. Sami just knew she got a few extra minutes with PaPa.
Tom has been working on finishing projects that he knows he won't be up for for awhile. Ella was a help. :) We have been talking about making a headboard for our bed since we upgraded to our Sleep Number a few years ago. He just decided on Saturday that it was time. It came out really nice and Natalie came over to help us get it set up tonight.
Notice the clothes on the bed. I stay with Tom in the hospital and I couldn't decide what to pack to take with me. Seriously! I tried to justify it to Thomas when he stopped over and just stopped mid sentence. I guess it's just my way of dealing with the stress, that and playing games on Facebook. LOL
Time for bed. Up at six to go to 6:30 mass, vote and then pre op.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We Survived Sesame Street Live for the 4th Year in a Row

Without even realizing it we have made going to Opening Day at Sesame Street Live a yearly tradition, adding grandkids as we go. The first two years we only had Ella and this year we had three. We had a ticket for Wyatt just in case Charlie could get off but sadly his seat went empty. Well not quite empty, I used it for our variety of snacks and treasures. Three T-shirts & 2 pair of binoculars was $72, Geez what a racket. Then there were the snacks. Oh well, the memories are priceless.

. . .and I thought she ate the whole funnel cake herselfOn the way to Baltimore Sami spilled her entire cup of water down the front of her. She had to be uncomfortable along with Tom since he held her all evening but she was an angel.Ella wasn't thrilled that the only Abby Caddabby pink shirt was in Sami's size but she warmed up to her black one and had it on by the end of the show.He knew what these were right away and had to have them so of course Ella got a pair.He didn't eat all the cotton candy at once and he didn't like his hands being sticky. I used bottled water to get them clean enough for him (he came back and finished it after intermission).Cookie Monster happened to be on stage when he was eating his chips so he had to eat them like Cookie and lost half of them (look at those tired eyes, he was so excited he couldn't nap before the show & layed on the floor to nap at intermission)Look at how enthralled they ALL are! From 14 months to six years. Amazing!We have a picture just like this from last year of Jack and I wanted to post it with this one but somehow all my old pictures are missing from my external drive, hmmm. Project for another day.Ella was the only one that really got the story line(hygiene). I thought it was a little complicated but I guess that's how they keep such a wide age span entertained. . . . and this is what they saw.
It was only nine o'clock but we were all tired. The kids talked and sang all the way home.
I hope this a tradition we keep for a long time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Sleepover, Yard Work & a Kindergartener

Another great week with the grandkids which included some cooking, yard work and a sleepover with Jack. Then Ella started Kindergarten!Ella's new favorite channel is the Food Network. especially Cake Challenge. This is her Floam cake after she moved it to the Judges Table LOL.We made Rice Crispy treats (with three kinds of cereal) and shaped them to look like cupcakes for the Cupcake Challenge.Then she "plated" them.Jen & Shawn were cleaning out their storage areas and Jack was no help so he came and spent the day and night with us. Great time to pull the tent back out.
Ella was a great help?There was a lot of playing going on in the tent but he wanted to come in once it got dark. Can't say we were too disappointed The next day the "men" removed the mulch from under the steps because Brutus has been using it as a bathroom. Jack worked so hard shoveling right along with PaPa but not quite getting the mulch into the wheelbarrow. They put some nice stones down instead and Jack LOVES that.

Sami & Jack (Wyatt too) love the boat shaped sandbox that Tom and Thomas made.
I should have more pictures of Jack's visit but I misplaced my camera for a couple of days. Believe me we don't need pictures to know we had a great time.

She has her own bed, I don't know why they have to sleep together but it is pretty cute.

Oh ya, when Jen and Shawn brought over the stuff they took out of their storage rooms to put in our attic Jennifer stepped though the ceiling. Not quite sure who is or how to fix it just yet. She's fine by the way.

Ella could have gone to Kindergarten last year but since she has a late birthday, she is physically small, she was going to pre-school and this would put her and Sami closer together in school it was decided to wait until this year. I still can't believe she is old enough to go to school.

So sweet! She came over to say good bye. She gave me a hug and said she would miss me but I think she was just trying to make ME feel better.

Ella and her Daddy aka Mr. Dennison. Although she is going to the same school as he teaches in she is in Ms. Barnaba's class. It's great that they can be in the same building. I loved working in the same school as my kids.