Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Giraffe Kissing = Major Trust

Wannett has always been the "tough" sister.

Don't mess with her.... EVER.

I, personally, have always been known as the bossy sister (oldest... of course we're bossy!).

Danielle's been, what we call, the spoiled sister (youngest is always considered spoiled, right?).

And Wannett is.... "THE MIDDLE CHILD".

She's rough.

She's tough.

Don't mess with her.

But even as tough as Wannettie actually is, I never dreamed in my life that she'd be daring enough, or even have the wants, to travel to Africa.

And never in my WILDEST dreams did I EVER imagine Wannett locking tongues with A GIRAFFE!!!!!

Wannett smoochin' with Mr. Giraffe - Kenya 2009

OK, OK, so they weren't "kissing" really.....

Apparently she put some food between her lips and then the giraffe took it out. Now, I do this ALL THE TIME with our youngest retriever, Duke; and everyone is really grossed out over it. (I think it's a rather special act that I taught him, thankyouveryMUCH!).

Doing this with Duke took time and a bit of trust.... hoping that he wouldn't nip me while taking food from me. (By the way, Duke has NEVER nipped at me, not even once, while taking food... he's SO gentle! It's SO cute!)

Wannett feeding Mr. Giraffe - Kenya 2009

HOWEVER, a big honkin' ol' GIRAFFE..... well now..... THAT's a whole other story! Her HEAD would've fit nicely inside his MOUTH!!! Any of you pastors out there lookin' for a sermon about trust, well, there's a picture for ya!

I still can't believe she did that!

And I'm just glad she got a picture of it, or I never ever would've believed her story.

Giraffes have always been my most favourite wild animal, along with lions and leopards. I have to wonder if I would've been brave enough to do that.

Next time I feed Duke that way, I'm gonna pretend he's a giraffe.

Wannett, you're one tough ol' adopted kid for sure! hahaha

(Inside joke, folks! She's NOT adopted......)

.... or IS she?..... Hmmmmm..............

Wannett in Africa

Wannett is officially "Out of Africa"; she returned home on Saturday.

However, a piece of my sister's heart is still "Back In Africa".

Wannett in Kenya, Africa, with Damaris (right) and sister Eunice. Sept 2009

Wannett was fortunate enough to meet her sponsor child, Damaris (right), as well as the rest of Damaris' family. Joining them in this photo is Damaris' younger sister, Eunice.

This photo was featured on the cover of a newsletter entitled, "Tuesday's Child" for International Child Care Ministries. Check it out by clicking here!

Wannett had a wonderful trip. I still haven't finished looking at all the photos. I can't WAIT to show you the photo of her with a giraffe! Wannett mustered up a lot of trust to get that photo taken and I can't wait 'til she emails it to me.

Wannett.... hint, hint.....

She brought us back gifts (yippeee) and, as I said above, lots of photos. She had an absolute wonderful time and is planning on returning again in five years, if not before. She already has our sister Danielle and son Blake all pumped up to go with her.

I will post the giraffe photo once she emails it to me.

Wannett.... hint, hint.....

Feel free to check out Canada's International Child Care Ministries website and consider sponsoring a child for basically $1/day. (If you're in the U.S., click on the U.S. link at the bottom of their website.)

Now Wannett.... about that giraffe picture...........

Monday, September 28, 2009

Could Someone Plug In The Defibrillator?

Well, I MUST say that today I got QUITE the shocker.

Let's just step back in time a bit....

I had gone to the dentist a while back because I had a filling that was coming loose or had shifted or SOMETHING (you could see a big space between the filling and my actual tooth, and it was causing me some pain).

So my dentist, Doctor B, (who is a VERY funny man, always joking, a real hoot!), decides that we will refill the tooth with what's called a 'medicated filling' for a period of time, and if the pain disappears, then we know that there isn't any nerve damage (or SOMETHING like that), and we will set up an appointment to put a proper filling in it's place. Perfect. So that's what we do.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago. A different filling in one of my back teeth just completely pops out. It's not causing me pain; however, it's a little sensitive when I'm brushing my teeth.

Fast forward to today. I have an appointment to replace the medicated filling. I asked the dentist if we could just leave the medicated filling for now and work on the tooth at the back that now has no filling.

(Oh yes, I should add in here that it is not Doctor B anymore..... Doctor B recently decided to take an early retirement (Doctor B.... I miss you....) and we now have Doctor S).

OK, so Doctor S, who seems like a very nice gentleman, takes a look at my mouth due to my request of fixing the other tooth.

He wants to know if I'm a boxer. hahahahhaa. You see, I have about five or six teeth right now that need repairs. Many of my teeth have obviously become brittle in spots over the last few years, and some small pieces of my teeth have just simply broken off. They're not causing me problems, other than being a bit sharp for a while, and also sometimes they're a teeny-weeny bit sensitive.

Doctor S gets an x-ray of the back tooth that I would like repaired. Then he comes in and proceeds to tell me that he would like to do a full examination of ALL my teeth because he believes there are some pretty serious repairs to be done here. After looking closely at my x-ray of the back tooth, he then proceeds to tell me what he thinks about repairing it.

"Well, we have to do a lot of work on that tooth if we're gonna save it. We need to do a root canal.... and then we need to do gum surgery because your gums have grown up over the edges of that broken tooth.... and then we need to build up the sides of that tooth.... and then we need to put a crown on the top. Now I don't know how you stand financially, but we're looking at anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000."

He stops talking.

There's complete silence.

After they resuscitated me with the defibrillator.......

(Do they even HAVE Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders for dental offices?)


..... I looked at him

..... I smiled

..... I said.....

"We'll be pulling it, thank you."

Can you beee-lieeeeeeeve that?

Uhhhhhh...., let's see now.... HOW many mortgage payments is that?

So he says, "Well, let's set up a time to get a full examination of your mouth so that we can see what teeth can be saved."

I stagger walk to the counter to set up an appointment with the receptionist. I am told that today's fee (which was a total of, maybe, TEN minutes in the chair and one x-ray of, basically what's left of, one tooth!) is $70.00.

I am told that for Doctor S to LOOK at my teeth, it will likely be around $200.00. AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN USED ANY INSTRUMENTS YET!!!!



[pause for me to have a breakdown....]

Ten minutes in a dental chair = $70

Full mouth examination = $200

Root canal - gum surgery - crown = $4,000

Lookin' like I'm truly from the Southern end of Th' Coun'y = Priceless

For everything else, there's MasterCard.

The only upside I see to this whole scenario is this:

When I perform as Ma Critter, I won't have to use my eyebrow pencil to blacken out my teeth because I WON'T HAVE ANY TEETH LEFT TO BLACKEN OUT!!!!

Ma Critter with Linda - Springarama 2009

I think it's moments like today that we all need our own personal little portable defibrillator.

You never know when you might need it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beautifully Imperfect

There are some videos that make you stop and think.

This is one of them.

Please just take three minutes and listen to it. I guarantee it will affect you.

(Thank you for the link, Victoria)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/23

Blake has had a really good few days here at home.

He is still a little weak, but he's eating like a horse! I can't fill him up!

It's good to hear him laugh when he's playing X-Box360 with his best friend Billy-Bob (Hi William), and also when he's laughing while talking on Skype with Anelyse in Brazil (Hi Any) and also with his buddies Travis & Jack (Hi guys!).

He even managed to make it to the rec-room tonight to watch some Criminal Minds with the rest of the family. He ate a whole bag of popcorn himself! I don't think he's EVER done that!

He has taken a bit of Tylenol Extra Strength for pain, along with his other meds, but the pain is very minimal. Thank you, Lord.

It's good to see him mending. We have a long road ahead of us, but thankfully this disease is manageable. All he seems concerned about is getting to school in New Brunswick in January.

I'll also give you updates on Jake and Jared. Both boys are currently in highschool, of course; and they are on the Sr. & Jr. school soccer teams. They played Monday night and again tonight. Both boys won their games Monday night as well as tonight (Wednesday). Both of Jared's games were shut outs (tonight's game was 13-0!!!), and Jake's games were both shut outs until the last few minutes of play on tonight's game, with the other team scoring one. Can't remember what Jake's team scored, but it was a ridiculous lead.... much like Jared's team's score.

I am very proud of these two athletes. I am very proud of ALL my boys (you too, Jon... you take a lickin' and keep on tickin'!!! Someday you'll show 'em!).

OK, I'm off to bed.

And just so you know.... as the day progressed, I got a couple of "jigsaw puzzle pieces" put into place. One day at a time (right Tammie?)


Jake, Jared, Blake - October 2008

Jigsaw Puzzles

Ever try to explain something and the words or thoughts just seem to be all jumbled together?

That's how I feel today.

There's something floating around in this beany brain of mine, but it's all mixed up; it seems that it's a mass of thoughts rolling around in there but the result seems to be confusion... like a jigsaw puzzle. All those pieces laying in a pile... some laying flat, some on their ends, some upside down. Each piece is important, yet it seems confusing.

But you know that once all those pieces get into alignment, get snapped together with it's matching pieces, the picture begins to form. Keep going, keep aligning and snapping together, and you'll have a picture, a clear picture.... the whole thing comes together with beautiful clear results.

Today, I have puzzle pieces laying in a mess. But each piece, I know, is important and significant, and as I keep picking up one piece at a time and fitting it to it's proper place, a picture will unfold. Sometimes it's a puzzle of 100 pieces, and sometimes, like today, it seems as though the puzzle is the largest jigsaw puzzle I've ever tried to sort through.

I wanted to blog about something today, but I just couldn't get my mind wrapped around it.... how to convey it in words..... how to make it understandable.... I knew it had something to do with prayer, and also there's some stuff about 'trust' rolling around in there, but it just wasn't 'coming together'.

Then I read today's post from A Holy Experience. It touched on some of the things that are going through my head. Here are two excerpts from Ann's post:

It is not that we need to stop living and then pray. We must come to pray… so we can start living. There is no real life apart from prayer. Isn’t relationship the only reality? Thus prayer, relationship with God, is the ultimate reality. Anything without prayer, anything apart from God, is the false life. I have thought it hard to stop the flow of my life at fixed times during the day, to pray. But it’s not about stopping. It’s about coming. Coming to God is only hard if we'd rather to come to our own idols.......

Prayer is not formality but soul conversation. A conversation we come to…. and never want to end, the nakedly frank conversation that lets the hurt and the frustrations and the love hang all out, the talk without ceasing that we have with God while we hang out the laundry, stir the soup, cut the lawn, drive for errands. The conversation with tears, with heart, with eyes, with pen, with ears.

[To read Ann's entire post, please click here: A Holy Experience .]

Once my puzzle pieces start coming together, it will be good for me to 'show' you my puzzle, my picture.

And maybe our puzzles never get completely finished until we see Jesus face to face. Maybe our lives are just one big puzzle that keeps coming together as we press on, as we keep adding just one more piece.

But isn't that the key to completing a jigsaw puzzle? Doesn't happen all at once... it's piece by piece, little by little, bit by bit.....

....and it all comes together,

...and it's then that we'll see the whole picture.
I'll be truly glad when my 'picture' comes together.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/21


We arrived home a bit before 3pm. It was going on 2pm before we were discharged from the hospital. I dropped off the prescriptions at the pharmacy, I went to Sobey's to pick up some stuff for supper, we stopped to say Hi to my Dad & Mom (Blake insisted), then arrived home.

My "adopted son" Billy is here and Mitchell should be arriving soon. They are planning to play X-Box360 with Blake. I am trying to tell Blake that he needs to not push it! Rest is required! But I'm happy that he's able to hang with Billy-Bob, his best friend. Nice to hear them laughing out loud downstairs in the rec-room and not have to worry about a nurse coming in to shush them so as not to bother other patients.

Again, I cannot tell you how wonderful the nurses and doctors and staff at the hospital are. I LOVE THEM. I am telling you, people, we are in theeeee beesssst area for health care. I consider Doctor C to be one of the top General Practitioners in our area. I will likely do a post on these folks later, but now that Billy is here to sit with Blake, and Jon just walked in the door too, I'm heading off to watch Jake & Jared play their first school soccer games of the season. Jared plays at 3:30 and Jake plays at 5.... that makes a late supper. Guess I'd better get something for Blake to eat now. It's already 3:20!

Thank you all for your prayers. More updates coming, but gotta run now!

God bless.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/20

My Blakey's comin' home.

Doctor C will pay him a visit in his hospital room sometime around noon-ish tomorrow (Monday), and then he'll be heading home.

Today, all meds were administered orally. No Saline has been given since last night (Saturday). He only had painkillers twice today (once in the morning and once before bed) and the ones this morning were just Extra Strength Tylenol! That's good! Not sure if they gave him Extra Strength or #3's before bed, but I have a feeling it was just Extra Strength.

I found out a few things today. Some things are making sense, some aren't.

The two antibiotics that he has been taking (Cipro and Flagyl) are not being administered to fight an infection; apparently they are assisting to heal the ulcered intestines. I guess these drugs have been proven to help with the healing. That's good! That is under the "making sense" category.

Hemoglobin levels (red blood counts) are working their way back up to normal. (Makes sense).

White cell count has apparently been a little higher than normal this week (this was news to ME!), but Doctor C indicated that it's normal for that to happen while on Prednizone. (Makes sense).

Blake will remain on Flagyl & Cipro for another week to ten days. (Makes sense).

And here's what confusing me:

Uhhhh, let me start by saying....
-that it's very confusing to me,
-that I'm not going to give ALL the details yet
-that I don't understand a lot about this and therefore cannot express it properly to you.

We will be seeing another specialist in the near future... a rheumatologist. I touched on this lightly in one of the earlier posts, I think. Doctor C found something in Blake's bloodwork in the early-on stages of Blake's illness regarding rheumatoid. She thought it best to refer us to a specialist (whom we have not seen yet).

Tonight during our conversation, Doctor C indicated to me that she didn't want to say a lot to me about it because she does not want to give me any inaccurate information. What she HAS indicated to me is that it is very rare to be diagnosed with two chronic diseases at the same time. She wants to be sure that symptoms from one disease are not diagnosed in error when they actually could be tied in with ANOTHER disease. I'm sorry if that sentence is confusing.... I'm not sure how else to explain it.

We DO know that Doctor B (colonoscopy doctor) did some analyzing of some ulcers that he found in Blake's intestines. He confirmed that at least one ulcer is Crohn's. However...

[pausing here for a second while I try and get my tired head wrapped around this....] appears to me that something else could possibly be going on. Doctor C has asked that we be patient with them as they really look into Blake's situation. They want to ensure that they are diagnosing him properly so that he can be treated properly. She is hesitant in saying too much to me until we can see the rheumatologist, Doctor T, who will be more familiar with what is actually going on.

It's all confusing to me right now because
(a) I'm very tired
(b) I'm not understanding all these medical terms and conditions
(c) I'm very tired
(d) We've been a relatively healthy family, so all this is so new and mind-boggling
(e) I'm very tired.

I need to go online and check out this rheumatoid stuff and I need to ensure that my husband doesn't flip his lid. He was a basket-case until we found out it was Crohn's; so... Jon, if you're reading this, just CHILL! Don't spaz out on me. Let the doctors do their job! Don't borrow trouble. God is still on the throne!

Things may turn out that it ends up being Crohn's and nothing else, but I just want y'all to be aware that something else is possibly being mixed into the brew here.

We ask for your prayers to give the doctors and specialists wisdom as they work to fine-tune their diagnosis.

Blake doesn't seem too alarmed.... he is only concerned with the fact that he's able to get to New Brunswick for the January semester.

Today he had a really good day. Of course he's tired, but he really felt good and had an amazing appetite. I'd say this has been his best day in the last four months or so.

And me? I'd say this day has been my most tiring day. I'm really zonked. And I'm going to sign off now and hit the hay, but I just wanted you all to be aware of what's happening. The only scheduled appointments are October 9th with Doctor B (colonsoscopy doctor). Doctor C is around this week and then she's off for two weeks; however, she'll be leaving me her cell phone and home number to call her anytime! Can you believe that???? I told her, "You don't have to give me your personal numbers!" And she quickly replied that she didn't mind at all. That just amazes me, folks. God love 'er. And hopefully Doctor T, the rheumatologist, will have an appointment for us soon.

And just before I close, no word from Wannett in Africa, so all must be well. Please pray for one of her children who had a fever yesterday. Also, Don, who is suffering from Jakob's Disease, continues to reach the end of his life here on earth. Today they needed to suction his lungs (he is getting full of fluid). Pray for Helen, that she leans on the Lord for the strength she'll need during this trial.

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Pass me not, O gentle Saviour,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
Saviour, Saviour,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/19 (#2)

I am home a little earlier tonight than usual. Blake was really tired tonight, as was I.

He's been tired today, but generally feeling a bit better. He's still hooked up to the I.V. to receive Saline; still taking Cipro antibiotic orally. He has not had any hydromorphone today (morphine), but rather has been taking Tylenol #3's. He actually hasn't even had a lot of those! His pain has not been too bad today. Just before I left tonight, though, he took some more Tylenol #3's. Then he seemed to be in more pain. He said he had a bad pain in his back again. I waited a few more minutes and the pain started to subside. I told him if it got worse that he should buzz the nurse and ask for morphine, as Doctor C had suggested earlier.

He also received his last dose of Flagyl (antibiotic) via I.V. today. Sunday he will start taking it orally. He started taking the Prednizone orally today as well. Apparently the nurse said that the I.V. will come out tomorrow. (I had been told that this was all supposed to start occuring today (Saturday), but apparently plans changed somewhere along the way.)

Doctor C says Blake MIGHT go home tomorrow (Sunday) or maybe even Monday. I would feel better if he had one more day in the hospital and came home Monday or even Tuesday! He's still quite weak. He didn't have as high of an energy level today, but I'm assuming that's because of no morphine today.

He also was passing some blood again today and yesterday. Doctor C is not surprised; she says this won't be a problem once the ulcers in the intestines heal.

Doctor C is such a great lady. I am very thankful that she is our family doctor.... well, she is my doctor and the boys' doctor; Jon has Doctor F, who he really likes. It's wonderful when you have confidence in your doctor and really appreciate them. Not everyone can say that. I'm glad that we CAN!

Cousin Helen's husband, Don, who is across the hall from Blake, is still hangin' in there. Two of his four children arrived today at the hospital. That will be a big support for Helen, I'm sure. The other girl arrives tomorrow and their son arrives Monday. Helen needs someone here with her. She popped by to see Blake yesterday for a bit, and as we talked I noticed her begin to tear up. I just hugged her for a while and she let some of the stress go. Then just as quick as that, she pulled herself together and bid us adieu with a big smile. She's definitely got Fraser blood in her. I am not allowed to be in Don's isolated room and then return to Blake's room, so I can't go and sit with Helen; however, once Blake is home, I am hoping to go and sit with Helen for a bit. I don't want to intrude on the family, but I know it's comforting to have the support of loved ones when going through such a rough valley as this.

Today Helen said that, although Don didn't say any words, he followed her and the girls with his eyes. And he also let out a few moans.... not moans of pain, but rather moans like he was trying to say something. She said she could see the look in his eyes that he had something to say but just couldn't get it out. The fact that he can't talk is frustrating, but to know that he was more alert today was a wonderful thing. However, he will not be around much longer. Helen said he's losing weight now. To put him on an I.V. drip would be cruel, Helen said. It would just be prolonging the pain of what's to come. There is no cure for this terrible disease. Oh what a day that will be when we're free from all pain. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Got an email tonight from my sister, Wannett, who is in Africa. She's having a wonderful time. Says she is looking forward to some potato chips and some chocolate, and she doesn't want to see any chicken or rice when she walks in her house next weekend. hahaha. I'm looking forward to hearing her stories. She likely will not be able to send us any more emails; but I'm thankful that we heard from her today and that she is safe.

Well, my brain has just about gone into neutral, so I think I'd better sign off. Thank you for your prayers for Blake. I appreciate your prayers for Don & Helen, as well as for Wannett. I am currently reading a book on the importance of prayer. I know I, personally, don't pray near enough.... we should pray without ceasing and we should pray before we fret and worry and try to figure things out on our own. We try to fix the problems and when all else fails, THEN we think "well I guess I'd better pray about it". Nope. Not the way we should be doing it. It should be Prayer First. The author made a comment about how people are upset that prayer is being taken out of our schools. He says that we SHOULD be concerned over the fact that there's hardly any prayers any more even in our own CHURCHES! Guess we could carry that on to say "in our HOMES" as well! Prayer works, so why, then, don't we use it?

Good thought to focus on, eh?

'Til next time...... cheer-i-o.

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/19

Technically the date is September 19th, but I haven't gone to bed yet (it's about 12:45am) so it still feels like September 18th.

message = quick
me = tired
eyelids = shutting
head = hurting
Blake = the same
Cousin Don = still alive
African Wannett = no news
Sarah & Kevin = wedding day
And that's our top news headlines of the day, folks. For further updates, please tune in again tomorrow. Have a great evening.
(Didn't know it was possible for me to do a short post! ha)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/17

I can't believe it's already Thursday. By the time you all will be reading this, it will be Friday (currently ten seconds until midnight!). Where did the week go? Seems like yesterday that I was rushing Blake to the emergency department!

Blake has had another fairly good day. He made it through the night on his own without Momma Hen hovering over him. I got to the hospital about mid morning and then the nurse came to take him to the shower. She came back to his room and we changed his bedding, then she went to retrieve him. She came back without him and said that he wasn't finished yet. I laughed. I said, "Oh, I'm SURE he'll be a while longer! You'll have to tell him to hurry it up!". She said, "Well, I told him FIVE more minutes!" I thought to myself, "Yaaaahhh... good luck with THAT!"

It wasn't too much longer and along came Blake, definitely ready to crawl back into bed. Something as simple as taking a shower can really drain what little energy you have. Later in the afternoon, we went for a walk down the hall. I said, "Let's take the maternity hall! Maybe someone's had a baby!" There was a young gentleman and lady, but she hadn't had the baby yet..... I so badly wanted to spot a little newborn.

Blake is still on the hydromorphone for pain relief. He is still on the two antibiotics (Cipro and Flagyl) to fight any bacterial infection and also on the Solumedrol (Cortisone/Prednisone) which is attempting to settle down those ulcers in his intestines. Looks like he'll continue on these meds through the I.V. (Cipro is oral) until Saturday. Then they'll switch him to oral meds. I believe at this point he'll be in the hospital over the weekend, but that's always subject to change. Pretty sure he'll be there until Saturday at least.

He's really a big fan of the hydromorphone (the synthetic morphine). He's trying not to abuse it. He'll say to the nurse, "Can I have a half dose of painkiller? I'm starting to get some pain,"; to which they reply, "Are you sure you only want half a dose? Don't lay there in pain if you need more...."; to which BLAKE replies, "WELL, OK! IF YOU'RE OFFERING!" hahahahahha. Yah, that's my kid.

I am home tonight in my own bed again. I'll head back to the hospital in the morning. There's NO WAY to get internet there because they've got the connection secured. Our church is down the road a few hundred feet, just far enough that I can't pick up the internet signal. Otherwise, I'd be driving y'all crazy with posts!

Today I got the photos out of Blake's hospital file that Doctor B took during the colonoscopy so that I could show my Mom and another visitor. The nurses are telling me there is no coloured scanner or photocopier available. So I took pics with my camera! Not sure that they'll copy well; and I'm not sure that you'll want to see them anyways. But for those of you who graduated from The School of Grossology, I'll be happy to post them for you to check out, along with a warning for those of you with weak stomachs. hahaha.

Sounds like this Crohn's Disease is gonna be tough to figure out. Doctors and nurses differ on their opinions as to whether foods affect you or not once things are healed up. Some feel you'll always have to watch what you eat; some feel you'll lead a pretty normal life by eating as you always have; some feel we'll be journalling to keep track of foods that cause pain or diahrea; some feel that won't be an issue...... sounds like it's different for each person.

Well, I wish I had something interesting and witty to say type, but I am so drained. I just finished two loads of laundry and I want to go to bed.

But before I go off to la-la-land, I want to say a BIG HUGE THANK YOU to my friend Gudrun who is "la chef perfecto". (I made that up for anyone who plans to critique my French, or Italian, or whatever it is.) Last night she delivered a yummy breakfast lasagna, and tonight she brought supper consisting of a delicious pork roast topped with spices and bacon; roasted potatoes with onions and carrots; and a tomato salad with croutons. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Everyone came to the conclusion that Blake should remain in the hospital a while longer so that Gudrun could continue the fabulous meals. hahha. I said to Jared, "NO WONDER you like going to Matthew's house.... Mrs. G is a FABULOUS cook!!!"

So, thank you Gudrun. I appreciate your kindness.

Please continue to pray for Don, who is slowly dying from Jakob's Disease (see yesterday's post). Also remember Wannett in your prayers; she should have arrived in Africa by now.

Thank you to everyone for their comments on the blogs, phone calls, visits, cards, messages, food, etc. We are so unconditionally loved by so many. Please know that it is so much appreciated.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/16

Ohhh I hope I can stay awake to do a post! I'm very sleepy tonight. I am looking forward to a good night's sleep in my very own bed.

Tonight Blake is on his own at the hospital. He was bugging me about not sleeping with him tonight because of a sore arm, and he didn't want me to hit it. (They put a line in his arm to administer the morphine so they didn't have to jab his arm so much). He told me to sleep in the empty bed next to him. I explained that I couldn't do that because if someone else was admitted through the night, they would need that bed. And I told him I was NOT sleeping in the chair again, like I did on Sunday night!

It's funny how he kept commenting on how I could go home; however, once he needed something, it was, "Oh Mom, could you do this? could you get me that?". I laughed and said, "How are you gonna do all that if I go home?". So after some more razzin', I thought maybe I might come home tonight and let him experience things on his own. THAT way, he MIGHT be a LITTLE more appreciative of his Momma and what she does for him! hahahhaa. It'll probably backfire on me, but... oh well. At least I'll get a good night's sleep out of it.

OK, you didn't sign in here to read my silliness.... you wanna hear about Blake's condition today.

Well, basically, in a nutshell, he's higher than a kite!

He is taking Dilaudid for pain, which is a synthetic morphine. They call it hydromorphone, and apparently Dilaudid is one of the manufacturer's names. They gave him Tylenol #3's yesterday, but they weren't quite powerful enough for the pain that he's in. The hydromorphone is giving him quite a 'buzz' and he wants to somehow have it readily available for when he comes home as well. hahhaha. He's truly my son! (When I was having trouble with kidney stones a number of years ago and needed surgery, Demerol was my very very best friend. And that made me ROBERT's best friend, because I had a few Demerol pills in my purse! hahaha He thought family should share!)

Anyways, Blake is having some distorted dreams, things are spinning when he shuts his eyes, he's in a rather happy mood most of the time, although his Aunt Danielle and I got in trouble last night because he thought we were eavesdropping on his phone conversation with his sweetie-pie in Brazil. Little did he realize we were in our own little completely disturbed world and only teased him a few times during our conversation of the children's show "Arthur". We were laughing at the name Binky Barnes; we were chanting A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K; and we were singing "Hey! It's a wonderful kind of day... HEY!" Sometimes, Blake, it's NOT all about YOU! :O)

I really have not much more NEW stuff to report to you other than Blake is very much appreciating the fact that the painkillers are keeping him from the terrible pain he's been experiencing for months. He is still weak, but happy. And I MUST tell you (because this is MY blog and I can say whatever I want!)... Blake went to the potty yesterday all by himself once; and he did that again tonight. I'm so proud! Just like the toddler years all over again. haha.

He has been receiving a few visitors as well as phone calls. He gets pretty tired after things settle down, but he doesn't like the dizzy feeling when he shuts his eyes to rest.

He is QUITE sure that he will be ready for school in January. I have firmly, yet politely, reminded him that we will see how his health improves. I probably shouldn't have told him that Doctor B thought things would probably be ok for him to start in January. Every Crohn's patient seems to be different, so we'll see what happens. I appreciate the calls from people giving me names of authors of books regarding Crohn's Disease. I also am looking forward to having chats with the people I know who suffer from this disease to see how they cope. Thank you also to strangers who are offering advice. Stacey, you are one that I am referring to here. I appreciate the comments you are forwarding. Unfortunately, I am not able to respond to you because every time I leave you a comment on your food blog, it gets deleted. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong, or if the blog just doesn't like Canadian Comments. haha. I will check out that book that you referenced.

Sorry I don't have pictures downloaded for y'all to see. We got a good one of Blake drooling tonight on a bib. hahaha. Yes, he was clowning around. My batteries in the camera are dying, but I really am too tired to download anyways.

So it looks like Crohn's could be a battle for us for a while. Apparently he is advised to keep a journal and record what foods bother him, etc. As for now, he is advised to not eat any dairy until his intestines are a little more healed from all the ulcers. I have lots of research to do on this, but the more I say Crohn's, the more I hear of people I know of who live with it daily.

Folks, it's late. I'm tired. I have a load of laundry to throw in the dryer and I want to go to bed and sleep the night away.

Could you do me a favour while I have your attention? Across the hall from Blake's room at the hospital lies a family member who is dying. My Dad's cousin, Helen, is literally watching her husband slip from this world. His health suddenly started to go downhill six short weeks ago and more rapidly this past week. He has been diagnosed with Jakob's Disease. Please pray for Helen as she goes through this battle. She has children flying in this week from Germany, Las Vegas, Vancouver, and one child driving in from Brampton. She's being very strong, but it's hard to watch your 'never-sick-a-day-in-his-life' husband slip away so quickly with such a terrible disease. He might not make it through the weekend. Please lift Helen (and Don!) up in prayer. There is no known cause nor cure for Jakob's Disease. I don't know if Don knows the Lord. I will check on this with Helen; but in the meantime, please pray for that family. Thank you.

And thanks from Blake (& me, Jon, Jake, & Jared) for all your support and prayers. He is blessed to have so many people care.

God bless.

(OK, beddy-bye, heeeere I cooooome!!!!!!)

Oh sorry.... one last thing: Please pray for my sister Wannett who is now, as I type, flying to Africa on a missions trip. She is so excited!!!!! And I am excited for her. Pray God uses her in a mighty way (and also that he keeps my little sis safe!!!!) Thanks. That's it. No more. I'm signing off. G'night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/15

This is supposed to be a major quick, short update because I've been home too long and want to get back to "m'baby" at the hospital. But y'all know me.... it'll be too long!

Jon is with Blake now and said that my Mom & Dad just popped in for a visit. I'm thrilled with this, because Dad, due to poor health, doesn't get out too often anymore. Blake will appreciate their visit.

I have the names of the meds at the hospital, so I'll just quickly tell you he's on Prednisone (a.k.a. Cortisone) and on two antibiotics. Prednisone is a VERY intense med and Blake will be weaned off of it over a period of months. Then he'll take a milder drug once the intestines have a chance to heal from the Prednisone.

Richard stopped in to visit him last night. Blake had a coherent conversation with him. Then this morning he says, "Was RICHARD here last night???" hahahhahaa. He was obviously stilled looped from the painkillers he'd had, along with the demerol from the colonoscopy.

So last night I spent the night with him... and, since there's hardly any meat on that kid, we were able to share the bed! (although I was quite crowded! but that's ok... it sure beats the wheelchair I 'slept' on Sunday night!).

Anyways, as I was dozing off, he said, "Why is the bed moving?" I said, "It isn't." He was SURE that it was moving back and forth a bit. Then I realized the problem. I said, "Blake, you're high on morphine.... the bed's not moving... go to sleep!" hahahaha. He has no recollection of it this morning.

His spirits are better (well who WOULDN'T be happier on morphine and demerol!). Today it's a Tylenol #3 day. Hopefully that will keep the pain at bay.

His sweetheart in Brazil is terribly worried about him, but I just talked to Blake on the phone and he said she had called him around lunch time. Anelyse, do not worry! He's doing very well now. I'm sorry I couldn't answer your emails... no access from the hospital. Keep corresponding with Danielle. She is copying your messages and giving them to Blake, so keep them coming.

OK, folks, I will update a.s.a.p. We have been fortunate to have wonderful doctors. I saw Doctor J this morning in the hall at the hospital. He was the doctor who initially saw Blake Sunday night at emerg. I thanked him very much for putting Blake on the I.V. and not just shuffling us home. I told him I really appreciated him doing that. I think the doctors need encouragement because they get razzed quite a bit from folks. I'm not saying some of them don't need the odd tongue-lashing, but I will tell you that our experience with Doctor C, Doctor B, Doctor J, Doctor R, as well as the countless nurses, has been WONDERFUL. We have been blessed by their care.

Thank your doctor lately? Go do it.

Will update soon. My "secretary" Wannett (who is apparently my 'favourite sister'?) is leaving for Kenya Wednesday. Please pray for safe travels as well as a wonderful missions trip. She hasn't even left yet and ALREADY doesn't want to come home! hahhaa. Have fun, Wannettie!

And last post should've read "few days", not "view days". Secretary Wannett: your cheque is NOT in the mail! You're fired. You might as well leave the country!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/14

Hello faithful followers and prayer warriors.
I am dictating this post by phone from the hospital to Wannett (my favourite sister) who will ensure there are no spelling mistakes (ha ha).
Colonoscopy was today.
And the diagnosis is...
(Wannett, drum roll please....)
Crohn's Disease.
Crohn's Disease is a form of Colitis which is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Blake is currently hospitalized at our local hospital and treatments and medicines are already being administered.
(Thank you, Lord, for painkillers, and for my favourite sister, Wannett, who brought me a French Vanilla Capp this morning!)
Doctor B got some great photos of the inflamed intestines. I'd love to share them with you but they don't have a coloured scanner here at the hospital. Sorry :O)
Please continue to keep Blake in your prayers and thank you to the wonderful doctors and nurses, especially today to Doctor J and Doctor R.
Blake will remain in the hospital for a view days.
More details to follow once I get access to a computer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/13

Update as of 6:23pm
Running Blake to emergency to have them check him out. Very very weak, lots of pain, vomiting.
No access to computer from hospital; will update when I can. Hopefully they'll admit him!!!!!
Thanks for prayers, folks.

Sunday -4:48pm

Well, let's just say that Pico-Salax is NOT Blake's best friend! This afternoon is NOT going well at all.

Pico-Salax is an intense laxative that is sure to clean you outta stuff that you never knew was in ya!

He didn't have a lot of strength to begin with today; but this 'junk' is really giving him the once-over. The Gravol, to apparently help with nausea, is not helping at all. He's not only nauseous, he is vomiting. He is in much pain, especially in his back.

My Mom is here with us and we are sitting here with him as he "sleeps". I put that in quotation marks because Mom just said, "It's good that he's sleeping now" and then Blake waved his hand in the air, as if to say, "Helloooo... I'm awake and I can HEAR you!!!!!!!" haha... Crazy kid.

When he's in extreme pain, he keeps hollering out "Oh Father!". I think he's calling out to the Lord, not Jon! :O)

Then he'll snap quickly at me and then say, "Oh, sorry".

Poor kid.

That's OK. I can take it. But let the record stand that, once he's feeling better, I'll be whoopin' his butt for snappin' at me. hahaha.

Blake was complaining a few minutes ago of not feeling like he could breathe properly. I THINK it's just from the pain he's experiencing when he's throwing up, as he seems to be fine now; however, if it gets to be happening again, or getting worse, I'm not going to hesitate to take him on a road trip to Emerg. I keep hoping one of these trips to Emerg. will produce a doctor who will take one look at him and say, "Hokey Dinah, I know what he's got... here's an antibiotic to fix him right up!" Wouldn't that be an answer to prayer?

Anyways, I'm gonna go now. Be on the lookout for THIS stuff:

And if you see it... RUN!!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pepper Salad

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would have a recipe on this blog! NEVER!

You see, I'm a meat-and-potatoes kind of gal. I do not make fancy things. I have about four spices in the entire house and rarely use only about two of them (salt & pepper!!!) The other two spices would be Montreal Steak Spice (Mmmm!) and cinnamon (Double Mmmmm!).

When we were at Danielle's house one time, she ranted and raved about a dish called Pepper Salad.

Now we know why she raved. It's so yummy. Jake and I have taken a liking to it. The only problem is keeping Jon, Blake, and Jared out of the chips that you need to complete the salad! (Blake and Jared actually don't care for peppers.... their loss!)

Here's the pic:

VERY easy to make (or else I wouldn't be doing it) and even more easier to eat. You won't be able to stop! And no, I don't know anything about it's calorie-content. I'm an everything-in-moderation eater, although it's hard to be moderate with this salad.


Sweet Peppers (I like it colourful, so I use green, red, yellow, & orange)

Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing

Shredded Cheese (I use marble, mild, or medium... whatever's in the fridge)

Fritos Corn Chips


Slice up them peppers, whatever-sized hunks you'd like.

Stir in some yummy Catalina Dressing (NOT the whole bottle... just enough to coat the peppers, you don't want it runny)

Put some Fritos on a plate.

Add some spoonfuls of Catalina-flavoured peppers.

Top with shredded cheese.


Eat your heart out!

See? Simple, huh? It has to be simple for ME to make it.

Thanks, Dani. Jake and I wuv your salad.

Now don't be expecting any more recipes here for quite some time! I can tell you that it just ain't gonna happen! :O)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/11

Here's the latest scoop.....


.... this information was just quickly relayed to me through Doctor C's receptionist. It is not official. I am intentionally going to be VERY sketchy here so that no one misinterprets and starts giving out information that may not be accurate.

We currently have an appointment with Doctor C on September 21st to discuss the results of the abdomenal ultrasound (that has already been completed) and the colonoscopy (which will be completed this coming Monday, September 14th).

In talking with the receptionist, she confirms that:

All of Blake's organs, in the ultrasound, showed to be in good condition with the exception of his liver, which shows to be slightly enlarged. Whether this is a concern or not, I do not know, and at this point I refuse to speculate. Please do not scare me with any diagnosis for an enlarged liver! I'm sure Doctor C will do her best to explain to me what is normal, what is not, what (if anything) is done with a slightly enlarged liver.

The receptionist quickly read through a report from Doctor B (gastroscopy and colonoscopy doctor) which uses bigger words than I'm used to. What I got from it was that because of the bleeding Blake experienced, he is wondering if we are dealing with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), NOT to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)..... they are two completely different conditions. He will know more when we get the colonoscopy. He is also doing tests to rule out Celiac Disease.

You now have as much information as I do. Again, please no diagnosing until all tests are done, reports are typed, and Doctor C explains everything to me in kindergarten language.

I am hesitant in even typing the above information; however, I want to be as honest with you as possible regarding Blake's condition.

If it is Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we are, I'm guessing, looking at Crohn's or Colitis, depending on where the inflammation is happening. I am planning on googling all of these things later when I have five minutes to do so; but I wanted to get this information to all of you.

Again, NO DIAGNOSIS HAS BEEN MADE. I am simply relaying information as it was given to me BY the receptionist OVER the phone using BIG words that are OVER my head!

Continue to pray for Blake, especially on Sunday. Apparently this laxative cocktail is pretty wicked; and, it's wicked enough that they recommend taking Gravol before each dose (two doses). His colonoscopy is Monday afternoon.

We're getting closer, folks.

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands... Psalm 31:14-15

Remembering Nine-Eleven

My heart is always so full this time of year in remembering those who experienced the tragedy on September 11, 2001.

Actually, in some way, we ALL experienced it. Just like our parents all remember exactly where they were when President John F. Kennedy died, we too recall where we were and what we were doing on the day of what's been referred to as 9-11.

I remember my Mom calling to tell me a plane had hit a building in the States. So I turned on the television, thinking it was a computer problem in an airplane or perhaps an air traffic controller's error in calculations.

After watching the television for a bit, I called my husband who was trucking in Western Canada. I was telling him of the horrific scene of what I was watching. All of a sudden, I saw plane #2 smash into the second building. I remember trying to relay those visions by words to Jon as I tried to process what I was seeing on the screen.... Live! My stomach was sickened, my mind confused, my mouth struggled to find the proper words. I sat, awestruck.

And the rest of the day was truly history in the making.

We grieved and prayed for our American neighbours and our fellow Canadians as we watched many perish, many suffer, many literally run, or jump, for their lives, or in some cases, their deaths. I remember being nauseated while watching a woman, who was terrified of burning to death, leap from a window of one building. I can't imagine that she survived the hundreds-of-feet fall. It all seemed like a dream.... a terrible confusing nightmare.

And as the day unfolded, and we heard of other planes that had crashed in a field and rumours of a plane crashing into the Pentagon, the world seemed to stop. The skies were off limits for absolutely every metal 'bird'. Every airline shut down. Every plane and helicopter grounded. Every single heart heavy.

The following days turned out every emotion..... sadness and grief, pain, heartache, fear, anger, confusion, wonder. We had all been violated.

But there was also this amazing sense of love as strangers embraced one another and offered support. We saw and heard stories of an outpouring of love; we heard reports that the churches couldn't hold the number of people who were pressing in to get answers from The Almighty; we saw people putting others ahead of themselves.....

And all the while, God was still on the throne.

Some will argue that a "good" God would not allow this kind of tragedy to happen. As Christians, we know that everything that happens to us, or around us, happens for a reason. We can't understand it now, but someday we will.

And perhaps we don't HAVE to understand what happened with 9-11. Might we just need to trust that our Lord knows what HE's doing? That HE's still in control? That in the end, all will make sense?

It's hard for us to not question God, but if we can just remember that our days were all ordained for us and were written in His book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). We need to keep trusting in Him with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding...(Proverbs 3:5), because our own understanding is really SO limited.

I wanted to share these two videos. They're both the same song, by Alan Jackson. The first one is of Alan singing the song for the very first time at the Country Music Awards, just after the 9-11 tragedy; I remembering hearing it, live, that evening. I bawled through the whole thing, and I still shed tears every time I hear it.

The second video shows pictures and news reports of that day. Perhaps some of you don't care to see some very descriptive images; that's why I've posted the first video as well.

Today as you go out into the world, embrace others with the love that you felt that day for the victims and their families, for those who suffered injuries, for the emergency response folks who sacrificed their very lives for the lives of others.

And thank you to radio station UCB Canada 102.3 for your songs and words and reports this morning in memory of September 11th.

God is still on the throne. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. To Him be all glory and praise and adoration. Amen.