Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Howdy from Home!

Our first full day home in over two weeks.


Feels good.

Despite the fact that I really haven't stopped moving all day, and yesterday as well, it is sure good to be home.

Our 2+ week at Kingston General was almost like staying at the Hilton! (How I would know this, I haven't got a clue... I've never stayed at the Hilton.... but you get my drift...) We were unbelievably well pampered by hospital staff, and I must say that it almost felt like a bit of a retreat for me.... excluding the "concerned-about-Blake's-health" part.

But once I got home, and saw JUST how much this family REALLY NEEDS ME...... my body kicked into high gear and I've been non-stop since.

The look of the house wasn't quite as bad as it was when I returned home from a previous hospital stay back in May. It truly was a disaster zone then! But this time, it was a smidget tidier. Jon worked very hard this week on cutting lawns and trimming arounds trees, etc. He laboured quite a few hours on Jake's pick up. They even actually DID do laundry this time, although it was quite caught up before Blake's admission to hospital.

I did find it extremely gross to open my dishwasher and find cups and utensils with mold on them.


That's right.

I said mold.

How is that possible, one would wonder??

Well, we have the world's most absolute poorest working dishwasher in the world. You can NEVER put anything in the dishwasher that has any bit of food on it. Even toast crumbs! They're the worst!

So I don't think some boys rinsed their milk-stained cups and egg-yolk-covered forks and coffee-with-flavoured-Coffeemate-creamer mugs before placing them inside the dishwasher. Now imagine them sitting there for over a week in a closed air-tight dishwasher before someone receives the phone call that we're coming home that day from the hospital and then they rush to start the dishwasher.

I couldn't even stand the thoughts of running them through the dishwasher again, so I re-washed them by hand.


Gag me.

So I found the counter top...... Yup! Sure enough, it was right there where I had left it! Then I found the design on the kitchen floor after I swept up some dog hair and pieces of grass and some other stuff that I really have no idea what it was.

And the toilet??? Well, Mr. Toity was another story. He basically partnered up with Mr. Dishwasher and made me gag. I mean, you must remember..... we were at the hospital for two weeks. And out of those fourteen days, our hospital toilet was cleaned almost every single day.... sometimes twice a day! So, Mr. Toity here at home got a well-needed bath yesterday!

And the rest of the mess of the house is pretty much the dis-organized mess I left it in.

I changed all the bedding today on ALL the beds. Usually when I do that, one of the kids ends up getting the stomach flu and barfing all over their sheets. So for about ten years now, I usually only wash one bed at a time. Pretty sure it's one of the things on the Murphy's Law List.

Tonight we were extremely spoiled with a fully prepared hot supper, compliments of a dear sweet woman, Norma Smith. I have known her since I was eight years old. She attends the same church I do, and I believe she has prayed for me since I was a little girl. She is the woman who led me to the Lord many years ago at J.M.S. (Junior Missionary Society). She's definitely a prayer warrior! Anyways, we had roasted potatoes and meatloaf and baked beans, and there's a chocolate cake on the counter just waiting for us to inhale it! We're saving the cake for just a little while longer this evening while we watch a movie.

Thankfully, Mrs. Smith could stay and have supper with us before she headed to the church for Prayer Meeting. She is such an encouragement and a wonderful example of a Godly woman. I love her to pieces. I hope we're neighbours in heaven someday!

Thank you for supper, Mrs. Smith!!!! We love you.

One more thing before I update you on Blake. I cannot believe how much things can change in just two weeks. My flowers have exploded! The hollyhocks are coming out beautifully. (Above picture is not my hollyhocks. It's an internet photo.) And I have other flowers around my house that I have not got a clue what they're called, but they're so pretty. Nice yellow ones and pink ones. Some of the hostas are flowering already, and they always smell so nice and perfumy (is that a word?). My grapevine that I am growing up the side of my deck has simply exploded and is bursting forth with life. I need to train the straggly ends to wrap around the beams and go up on top of the overhang, which will provide shade in the hot summer sun, since we have no trees around our home.

The only flower not taking off this year is my yellow-bell vines. I think it's because there were some weeds choking them out, so today I pulled those picky ol' weeds (some that were as tall as I am! How did THAT happen!?) and hopefully the yellow bells will now have a chance to grow. The ones around the stairs are fine, but the ones around the chimney and side of the deck are struggling. They originally came from my Grandma Steenburgh's home, so I want to ensure they keep on growing for many years to come.

OK. Enough about me and my dirty house and my pretty (or struggling) flowers. You want to hear about Blake because....... "it's ALL about Blake!". (Again, family joke! Don't worry.)

Blake is doing WONDERFULLY. He feels really good. His body is still a bit weak, but that's expected. His colour continues to get better and the best part is that there is no pain. Now, I did just realize that I haven't checked his arm all day regarding the cellulitis, so if you can just hold on one second..........



OK. I'm back. The arm looks pretty good. The redness is hardly there. That's a good thing. He's taking Cephalex (I think that's the proper drug name... I'm too tired to go check the bottle) and obviously it is doing it's job.

He was playing XBox 360 and Guitar Hero with Jared this afternoon and it sounded so wonderful to hear him laughing and playing once again. Jared must have slaughtered Blake in the game because I could hear this holler from the rec room, "NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo........!!!".

That's quite a change from the last three weeks when there were times that he would have hardly enough energy to even whisper a word or two to me.

We are thanking God that the Remicade seems to be effective and working to heal Blake's intestines. We are praying that the paperwork will move speedily across the desk of the government officials (with a big of stamp of "APPROVAL") and that everything will fall into place next week for Blake's next dose.

Dr. Hookey (whose name I have been mispelling for two weeks now.... sorry Dr. Hookey!) seemed very confident that Blake will have his next dose in a timely fashion, and we are thankful for his kindness and helpfulness in this area.

Blake heads to the Gastroenterology Clinic on Friday afternoon for a quick check up. I'm assuming we'll see Dr. Depew, but it could also be one of the other two doctors in that office. On Monday, we are to call Dr. Hookey's office and he'll tell us what the next step is, as far as getting the next dose.

I'm just so pleased that Blake is feeling well and responding to the Remicade. Thank You, Lord!

Jake left for the Big City again this morning. He received his Grade 12 Graduation Diploma last night from PECI. Perhaps you'll recall from an earlier post, I wrote how we had rang the cowbell and did some "hootin' & hollerin'" when Blake received his diploma in 2008. Of course, the Principal had announced for everyone to hold their applause until all graduates received their diplomas, but... come on now..... we're hillbillies, for goodness sake!

So, in keeping with a new tradition, once Ms. Moon announced the name "Jacob.Jonathon.Dane.Found", you could hear hand clappers and a loud clanging cowbell, and a pretty darn proud family of parents, brothers, grandparents, a cousin, and some aunts cheering and hollering and shouting "WAHOOOO, JACOB!!!!!". We certainly had the attention of the many hundreds of folks who were in attendance. But for those who knew us, they weren't surprised..... we're The Fraser's, of course. Naturally we celebrate for all to hear! As Principal MacKenzie-Coates handed Jake his diploma and shook his hand, she looked at him with an expression that said, "I am SO not surprised to hear that!". haha

Jaybo, we love you. We are very proud of you "toughing it out" and getting your high school diploma. You're a tough nut to crack. One day you'll grow up and understand where your Dad and I are coming from with many of the things we talk to you about. Sometimes, you're so much like your Dad and me, it's frightening! You have both of our tempers and stubborness, which is NOT a good cocktail by any means whatsoever; but you do have a very caring heart, more sentimental than I realized when you were younger; and you're not the least bit afraid of hard physical labour. I'm glad you inherited those two traits from us for sure. Get rid of our bad traits and genes; keep the good ones, making them stronger and stronger. We love you with all our hearts, more than you'll ever ever know. ("Dat's our story and we're (s)tickin' to it".) We miss you when you're not here; but praying that God is watching over you every minute. Visit often so your Momma Daddy doesn't cry. Love you. XOXO

And on that note, folks, before the tears start rolling, I hear some Chocolate-Cake-a-la-Norma calling my name. Have a nice evening, and we'll chat again soon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Plan G...? Wait! I Forget What Letter We're On

Plan A turns to Plan B, which turns to Plan C..... and so on.

I've lost track of what letter we're on. haha.

Today's plan, no matter WHICH letter we're on, is that we are going home!

Blake's health continues to improve, gaining a smidget of strength each day, abdominal pains at bay, gaining a pound here and there. He's up to 107 today! On Sunday he was 104. Must mean the Remicade is doing it's job and his intestines are able to keep some nutrients in his body. Thank You, Lord.

He's just shaving a few little whiskers off his face now and brushing his teeth. Then I'm gonna steal the bathroom and have a shower; then once the Doc comes in for a final evaluation, we'll toss him in the shower, have lunch, then head home to Metropolitan Cherry Valley/Milford area.

We will come back to the clinic on Friday and hopefully have some good news from our Giovani-suited government official as far as paperwork is concerned. We need these future doses of Remicade, and pray that the circus acts of jumping through hoops to please them is finally over.

It will be hard to say goodbye to the great team of nurses here on Davies 3 at KGH. They might specialize in Cardiology, but they sure have looked after us just as wonderfully as the Gastroenterology team. We have been blessed by their care.

I am so glad my new friend Romney is working today. She was not assigned to us today, but she is working on the floor, and I'm glad we'll be able to give a personal goodbye to her and to thank her for all her information that she shared about her own experiences with Crohn's Disease. I appreciate it when the Lord brings people into our lives that lift us up in our struggles. I am looking forward to an on-going relationship with her.

OK, it's after 10am already and I must get in gear. I am hoping the next post will be from home! And tonight is Jake's Grade 12 Graduation. We are so proud of him. I must remember to take the cowbell and any other noise-maker I can find.

When Blake graduated in 2008, the Principal announced, "Please hold your applause until the last of the diplomas are handed out".

"YAH, RIGHT!", I thought.

So when they announced Blake's name, we all screamed and shouted and rang that ol' cowbell. Even the students cheered for Blake. It was great.

So, it's only fair that I totally embarrass Jacob in the same manner. I'm sure he'll be expecting it. He knows his Momma does it because she loves him. (hahah... I embarrass him because I love him.... that's make a lot o' sense, eh?) And his Momma thinks he's one of the greatest three boys in the whole wide world.

Best wishes to all the Graduates of PECI 2010!

(Dr. Hooky just came in.... we're outta here in an hour!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Change of Plans

Just a slight change of plans.

We're heading home sometime tomorrow (Tuesday), likely late morning we will leave hospital.

Dr. Hooky came in with Dr. Melicharkova and Med Students John & Dan. I think they're still concerned over why Blake is still nauseated by times. He'd like to keep Blake overnight and look at things in the morning, likely sending us home at that time. Said we might meet with Dr. Depew on Friday at the clinic. He also said he wants to check with Kim, Dr. D's secretary, and see what the status is on the paperwork for the second dose of Remicade, which we hopefully will receive next week.

The redness in Blake's arm is going away again, so I think they're gonna hold off on the antibiotics for cellulitis and check things again in the morning. At least I'm familiar with cellulitis, so I know what to keep an eye out for.

So, one more night in Hotel KGH. And we're OK with that.

Going Home...... (?)

As of right now, it looks as though we may possibly be going home late this afternoon or supper hour.

Medical Student Dan came in this morning and checked Blake, and he discussed the possibility of Blake going home. A bit later, he and the resident doctor, Dr. Melicharkova, returned. She looked at Blake's arm and said they will be starting him on antibiotics for his arm, treating it as cellulitis. She wants to ensure it doesn't get any worse and start spreading up the arm.

She also confirmed that we can't leave until we see Dr. Hooky, who is on duty this week, and we likely won't be leaving until at least 5pm. She wants to make sure all i's are dotted and t's are crossed regarding Blake's next infusion of Remicade. I'm hoping they'll just "re-admit" him, but that's a really big "hope" and if I were a bettin' woman, I'd bet it won't happen. We were fortunate to get this first dose in hospital. Getting the second infusion in hospital is quite unlikely. However, God is still on the throne and likes to perform miracles every day.... 'cause He's just that kind o' God.

Blake is still feeling slight bouts of nausea. Not sure why that's happening. Hopefully it will pass as he gets stronger. They weighed him again this morning, and he was 106 lbs. How in tarnations did he gain 2 lbs in one day??? Seems odd considering the fact that he has eaten quite lightly the last couple of days.

So, that's the plan folks, to come home today if Dr. Hooky gives his approval. If he says, "Let's wait one more day", I have no problem with that at all. I'd rather stay one more day rather than rush things and end up being back at Picton's Emergency.

It DOES look like we will be able to go to Jake's Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony. I was going to go back to Picton for the ceremony and then come back to Kingston afterwards, but maybe now we can all go. We will wheel Blake into the Community Centre in a wheelchair, right alongside my Dad in HIS wheelchair. Maybe they'll race. hahha.

Well, that's it for now, gang. I'm gonna watch the last few minutes of the Netherlands vs. Slovakia soccer game. I can't believe how much I'm enjoying the games!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blake's Health Update 2010/06/27

Hi folks!

We're still comin' at ya from here in Kingston General Hospital. It's getting late and I'm just ready to crawl into my bed my cot, but wanted to give you a brief update.

(hahaha.... have I EVER been brief? Not likely!)

As I type, I am listening to some music that's been downloaded on Blake's computer. I'm soooo enjoying Bill Gaither's "Gospel Bluegrass Homecoming".

Love Love Love bluegrass music. Ralph Stanley & friends just finished singing "Gloryland" acapella (LOVE IT!), and now Rhonda Vincent is serenading me with "When The Angels Sing", which just happens to be an amazing song, and I know one of my friends, Amy R., will attest to that!

So here's what's up with "it's-all-about-me" Blake. (Just kidding folks... private family joke.)

He's certainly improved over the last couple of days. No I.V.'s or Sub-Q sets in his arms. No morphine (for pain). No Flagyl (one of the antibiotics). No Stemetil or Ondansetron (for nausea) today, although he did just get a Gravol a little while ago. He has led me to believe that his nausea comes and goes; however, he told me tonight that it's a constant slight nausea. (Oh for goodness sake, child! Make up your mind!)

He's still getting the Vancomycin antibiotic (re C-Diff infection) and Heparin (so he doesn't get a blood clot because of being bed-ridden for so long). He's also getting 30mg of Prednisone daily along with a dose of Pantaloc, which helps with stomach acid and acid reflux.

Bowels are improving (meaning less frequent and less diahrea, more firm). He is supposed to be up and walking around a bit more, but so far only makes it back and forth to the bathroom. And since he's not allowed to leave the isolated room, his walking distance is limited anyways. But he just feels a bit too weak to stand too long.

His arm was sore the other day where his I.V. site was, and so he asked if they could remove it from his arm, which they did. We noticed it was red and swollen and a bit hard. The nurse brought an ice pack and said she'd have a doctor take a look at it. Last night a resident doctor popped in to see it and mentioned that it could be just irritated by the I.V. needle, or that it could be cellulitis. Oh brother! I know EXACTLY what cellulitis is!

Jon has battled cellulitis many many times and it really knocks that man out! Literally! He is down for the count! Basically immobilized for a few days until the meds that they pump into him start to take effect, then a good two weeks before feeling completely normal. And Jon ALWAYS picks the worst time to get it. First time was when we were at Fiddle Camp in Orangeville. Another time we were at his nephew's wedding in California. Another time he was in his transport in the Northern U.S. States.... ALONE!!!!

It always starts in Jon's feet and spreads up his legs, heading to the groin. It is extremely important to get a handle on cellulitis before it reaches the lymph nodes. It is something that people have died from if left untreated. In fact, it is RELATED to the flesh-eating disease, which is what our friend Kevin battled a few years ago.





Things are getting back to me that "well someone said [this] and someone heard [that]"...... information that has NOT come from this blog, Facebook, my own mouth, nor my husband, children, parents, or sisters.

This is why I LIKE the blog and Facebook, so that you can all have accurate information, straight from the horse's mouth, if you will. [neigh.....] For those who like to "fill in the blanks with their own sugar-coated stories", PLEASE STOP.


Sorry. But it's frustrating when you hear things from people that you never said in the first place!

Anyways, this red mark on his arm..... I outlined it with a ball point pen, which is what they do with Jon on his leg when he gets cellulitis. I said to Blake, "If the red has passed the ink mark tomorrow, then it's spreading and is likely cellulitis. If it has not passed the line, or has shrunk back, then it's likely OK".

This morning and all day, there was no red at all. All the skin was the same colour, even inside the ink mark. I was pleased.

Now this evening, the redness has returned and is worse... spreading over part of his forearm. Nurse Suzette (she's the sweet Philipino lady, who I think secretly lives here because she's constantly on duty! haha) drew another line around the redness, and tomorrow we'll see if it has expanded across that line.

We'll get a doctor to take a look at it tomorrow. He's already on Vancomycin, which they said should assist in getting rid of the cellulitis; however I know in Jon's case, it took a lot of drugs to conquer it.

One of the good changes I've noticed over the past week is that his little face is as pink as a baby's bottom! haha. He's not as pale. And his complexion is better as well. I've been noticing that if he's experiencing a Crohn's flare-up, his acne is really bad. Now, the antibiotics that he's on currently are certainly contributing to a beautiful complexion, but I'll know now to keep an eye on the acne and then see if a flare-up follows soon after.

Also, they weighed him again today. Now, understand that all scales are different and likely "out" a few pounds.

Almost two weeks ago, he was weighed at Picton Hospital and was approx. 108 lbs. He was weighed here in Kingston a few days after we arrived and was 112.5 lbs on their scales. Today he was weighed and was only 104 lbs. Grrrrr. I'm not surprised though. Carley, my niece, was in today for a visit and said her weight is anywhere from 100 to 102 lbs. So I got a picture of Blake & Carley standing beside each other, since they basically weigh the same right now.

Wannett, my sister, & her tribe (Margaret Carley, Bruce, Fraser, & Beulah Celia) came to visit us tonight and bring a few more clean clothes (and a French Vanilla from Tim Horton's.... Oh thank you!!!!). When I walked down to the lobby with them as they were leaving, Bruce mentioned that he is 59 lbs. I said I should've got a picture of Carley & Bruce together beside Blake because if you add Carley & Bruce's weight together, you'll get what Blake SHOULD be! (160+ lbs.)

We'll fatten him up, don't worry.

Today, after Blake finished reading a book he borrowed from his "brother" Billy (Billy: finally!), we played some Mah-Jong and some Chess on the computer. Blake thought he'd whoop my butt because I don't have a clue on how to play Chess. But I did pretty darn good! I think I even shocked Blake! Yes, Blake beat me; but I sure gave him a run for his money.

Oh yah, one more thing I thought of that is good news. Dr. Paterson said the bloodwork from the other day showed that the inflammation levels have gone down! Wahooo! That is great news. Mr. Remicade is doing his job, I'd say. We'll know more as time passes. Please pray that our dear Ontario Government approves this batch of paperwork that has been sent off. They should approve it with no problems, but we never know what monkey wrench can be thrown into things. Gotta get things rolling for this second dose, and it all depends on which Giovani-suited-government representative's desk his file passes by. Please pray for a big ol APPROVED stamp!

In the meantime, we'll just take things day by day. (One day at a time, Tammie!)

Until then, keep your stick on the ice! :o)

What's that sound? It's my cot beckoning me. Good night, all!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Psalm 8 - How Majestic!

Psalm 8

(New International Version)
A psalm of David.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:

all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(all photos from Google Images)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blake's Health Update 2010/06/25

Today hasn't started off so great for Blake.

His diahrea has returned and he's physically drained and weak.

After speaking with Medical Student Dan this morning, and after he consulted with Dr. Paterson, it is their feeling that perhaps the diahrea has returned because the lower dosage of morphine.

Dr. Paterson feels at this point that the Remicade is still being effective because of the fact that Blake is not experiencing any abdominal pain right now, and he hasn't had any morphine since Thursday morning. So this is a good thing.

Blake has, although, been experiencing some bouts of nausea, and Stemetil seems to be helping in that area; his stomach seems to settle after receiving a dose.

So because of the return of diahrea and Blake's weakness & nausea, we are going to remain here another day or two. It is soooo hard to get back into hospital, so I am sure not going to rush him outta here. Doctors are not rushing us either.... don't let me give you the wrong idea. It's their feeling he should stick around a while longer as well.
OK, so as soon as I get all that typed, in walks Dr. Paterson and Dr. Melicharkova and Medical Students Dan & John.

Basically he reconfirmed everything I typed above. Blake is currently on Vancomycin and Flagyl for the C-Diff infection, and has been on this since last Wednesday. They are going to continue with Vancomycin for a few more days, but they are going to stop the Flagyl, as it is known to cause nausea. Dr. Paterson thought they might do another C-Diff test; however, being on these meds will only mask the results of the test anyways.

He confirmed what I stated above about the morphine affecting the stools. So when Blake was on morphine, his stools were in better 'condition'. Now that he's not, things are loosening up. (Sorry to be so graphic, but you never know... this might help YOU down the road!)

We will be remaining here over the weekend into next week. Jacob graduates on Tuesday, so I am praying Blake will be well enough to come home for that. If not, I'll head home to celebrate with "my baby bird" as he receives his graduating diploma, then return here with Blake.

This morning our Pastor stopped in for a visit. I think it's just what Blake needed. He felt very discouraged this morning, and I believe the Pastor's words of encouragement helped Blake to perk up a bit. Thanks Pastor Griffin. (And thanks for the TV rental.... we are so well looked after in the TV department between you and Cuz'n Brenda!)

Blake did have some soup and potato salad and peaches for lunch, so hopefully things will continue to improve throughout the day.

Thank you for your prayers. I'll update as changes occur. Hoping to see Jon & Jared walk through the door for a visit anytime now. :o)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baby Birds

Tonight I received a phone call from Jon.

He said, "Well.... I think I know now how you feel when you lose your baby."

My first thought was that he was referring to our loss of our two babies who are now in Heaven.

My second thought was..... Oh no. Jon's "baby" is his truck! He's lost his baby. He's had a bad accident and has totalled his "baby".

My stomach did this flip-flop thing and I slowly eased myself into a chair for fear of fainting! I could hear him talking on the other end of the phone, but couldn't make out what he was saying. I interrupted him and said, "JON! ARE YOU OK????"

He replied that he was alright, and I asked if he had been in an accident with the truck.

He confirmed he was NOT, in fact, talking about his truck, but that he was missing his little Jacob.

His voice spoke volumes to me as he tried to hold it together. He was disappointed and upset that he'd be returning home this evening in just a few hours without his "Jake", my "Jaybo", there to welcome him home.

For eighteen years, Jake has always been the one asking:

"Does Dad come home tonight?"
"Where is Dad travelling today?"
"What time will Dad be home?"
"Is Dad working on the truck today?"
"How long is Dad home for?"
"Can I go with Dad on the next trip?"

Jake was always the one at the door to greet his Daddy (well, right behind the dogs!).

And tonight, it hit Jon that it won't be happening that way any more.

Jake headed to the big city on Tuesday afternoon to start a new job.... a new life... a new place to live....

.....without his Daddy.

And someone is having a hard time with that.

Isn't it supposed to be ME? Is Momma not the one that has the big cry because her middle child, her third babe to come from her womb, her great big 6'1" tanned muscle-toned baby has left the nest?.... has flown the coop?.... has gone to spread his wings?

But instead, it's Daddy that's broken hearted.

It's Daddy that's lost.

It's Daddy who's feeling the empty-nest syndrome.

And it's Daddy who just couldn't hold it together any longer.

So the two of us blatted away together.... all the while with me reassuring him that Jake is only a few hours drive away, and that he's living with Jon's best friend from high school, and that Jake will be OK.

And that JON will be OK.

And that likely I, Jake's Mommy, will be OK.

Jake at soccer finals with his "Playoffs-Mullet"

Jake accepting a Mini-Pumpkin-Tarts dare

Jake-in-the-box..... his second home!

My little rough and tough all-mouth hockey player

Jake's "cowtail" ponytail

Soccer pro Jake with "farm-brother" Scott

Jake and his cousin Beulah Celia

Jake, Jared, & Blake relaxing in the leaves - Oct 2008

Blake, Jared, & Jacob - August 2004

Photo by Peggy DeWitt
Jared, Blake, & Jacob - August 2004

Blake, Jacob, & Jared after Blake's highschool graduation
June 2008




Our baby bird is all grown up....





But don't cry, Daddy......




.....he'll always be your baby bird.

Blake's Health Update 2010/06/24

I cannot believe that I just typed 'June 24th' in the title.


JUNE 24th??????

June has flown right by.

Well, just as I started to type this post, Blake decided to throw up. Not sure what's up with that.

He had a headache last night before bed, yet had a restful night. I can't remember if he said that Nurse Janice brought him some Tylenol for his headache through the night or not. When I, myself, woke up with a headache this morning, I thought maybe we were just dealing with some barometric pressure issues. (This affects me every year in drastic weather changes, continuing through the summer months.)

Then at breakfast he was really sleepy. When he finally sat up, ready to greet the day, he didn't have much of an appetite and only ate half of a small muffin. I couldn't encourage him to tackle a bowl of cereal. About an hour or so passed, and then he hollered for a bucket and threw up.

Nurse Amy gave him some Stemetil, which helps with upset stomach, and he's been resting soundly.

I know from past experience if my headaches get bad enough, or are borderline migraine, it can upset my stomach. I like it that there was a good progression yesterday in a positive direction with Blake's health, because of the Remicade from Tuesday. I don't like this little red flag, but I'm not pushing a panic button. We're here in hospital in good hands, and we'll just stay put until we're sure he'll be OK. They're certainly not pushing us out the door, thankfully.

He just woke up a few minutes ago and said he keeps dreaming. That's normal with morphine. But then he was laying here awake and was "dreaming", he said. When I asked him to describe his "dreams" to me, he couldn't. He said it just feels "confusing" and he feels anxious. I think it's just the morphine affecting him, but will check with Nurse Amy when she comes in the room again.

I remember my dreams when on Demerol.... I remember 'zippers' and 'distorted faces'. It felt extremely weird.
The thing is.... Blake is on less morphine now than when he came in! Maybe it's just working it's way out of his system. Now he wants a sleeping pill to sleep so he doesn't "dream" while awake! I'm sure the nurse will know what we should do. In the meantime, he's devouring a tuna sandwich. For weeks we can barely get him to move, and now we can't keep him from climbing the walls! haha. I'm sure this is all expected and he'll be fine shortly.

So, folks, I don't know what your weather has been like, but here in Kingston today it can't make up it's mind. It was dark when we awoke. Then the sun came out. Then it downpoured. Now it has let up again. Looks like a lot of rain forecasted, though, for the coming week.

Ontario & Quebec had quite the variety of flavours in different weather conditions yesterday. Midland, Ontario experienced the wrath of a tornado with homes and trailer parks appearing like they were run through a wood chipper! Quebec was shook up with a 5.0 Richter-Scale-reading earthquake, which affected most of Southern Ontario and parts of the U.S. with tremors. Bowman, Quebec had a bridge collapse. I've not heard of any serious injuries, thank the Lord.

There were Warnings and Alerts issued for many parts of Southern Ontario last night on The Weather Network, which included tornado watches, hail, strong winds, heavy rainfall..... however, I understand that it wasn't too bad of a night. (We can't hear or see much from this hospital room, as we're surrounded by other buildings. I can only see a portion of the sky.)

I'm glad my kids weren't home alone. Jake was at his employer's house and Jared was staying with my sister, Wannett. Jon will be home tonight, though, to keep an eye on things.

Well, Mr. Sun has decided to come out, and the bit of sky that I can see looks absolutely clear. For the time being, the rains take a break.

I, unfortunately, have been taking a break on being in The Word, and somebody needs to kick my butt for that. I've had plenty of time to spend with the Lord while here with Blake at KGH, but just haven't been focussed enough, or disciplined enough, to make it a priority. I follow a couple of blogs that have provided nourishment, but I feel like I haven't had a "good meal".... if that makes any sense to you.

Even the devotionals that I receive by email are inaccessible to me right now, as my gmail doesn't work properly on Blake's computer.

But I know that God is lifting us up in this trial and is carrying us through. How do people that don't know the Lord ever make it through their trials? I simply don't know. I am thankful for His hand upon my life.... and Blake's life..... and my family's lives.

Who am I to receive such blessings!

And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:20b KJV

ps - I will let you know later if Blake's condition gets any worse; but I'm convinced it's just the morphine playing some mind games.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Earthquakes and Heart Attacks

By now I'm sure most of you have heard the "rumblings" from folks regarding today's earthquake.

It measured 5.0 on the Richter Scale. It originated in Quebec and was 18km (11 miles) DEEP!

My Mom, sister Danielle, and niece Abby were visiting Blake and me in the hospital room. Mom, who was sitting next to Blake with her arm on the bed, asked Blake if he was shaking the bed. I, too, assumed he was shaking one of his feet causing the bed to move. I was sitting at the foot of the bed and looked at him. He had a look on his face that I interpreted as, "uhhhhh, nooooooo.... why is my bed moving......". Danielle said, "My chair is shaking". Then Blake noticed his tray next to his bed was shaking. I first thought 'earthquake', then I thought maybe the construction work going on somewhere in the hospital was affecting the foundation.

I went to the door and no one else seemed worried or panicky. Blake's nurse saw me, and I said, "Did you feel that?" She replied with a 'no'... looking at me strangely.... and I explained that our room was shaking. (She likely thought I had tapped into some of Blake's morphine). We brushed it off and then Mom & Dani & Abby started collecting their things to leave. I walked them down to the lobby. Apparently in the meantime, Maintenance Staff came running to the Nurses Station, asking if everyone was alright.... that there had, in fact, been an earthquake.

Nurses were calling and texting their cell phones trying to get in touch with their children to ensure their safety, but no calls were going through. I managed to text Jake & Jared, but neither responded. I was able to contact Jon; he said he didn't feel anything in Indiana, but had read on Facebook that a friend of ours had felt it in Petawawa. Jon was just getting ready to type on Facebook that she was crazy; but he received my phone call and realized it was true.

It sounds as though everyone is OK, but it always throws a little scare into me. The hurricanes and floods and earthquakes and tornados and tsunamis....... it seems they're all occurring more often... the earth is groaning in it's labour pains.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. Mark 13:8 NIV

I warned Blake that we might get an after-affect sometime later today, through the night, or even tomorrow. I remember feeling an earthquake when I was a teenager. It was very early in the morning. Dani & I shared a bedroom and I was on the upper portion of a not-so-sturdy bunkbed set. The next morning I felt another tremor, although not as strong. Mom & Dad hadn't felt the second one, so I was glad when Dad turned on the radio and they announced that there was a second tremor. I like it when I know I'm not officially going crazy! haha (Unofficially, you should know that I'm extremely crazy!)

Anyways, I will feel better when I can get ahold of my boys. I'm sure they're fine.... I just like the reassurance. [Update: it has taken me forever to type this post because of a few interruptions; however, I have heard from my "troops" and they are fine! Whew!]

So everything is going well with Blake. The Remicade was infused late afternoon yesterday, and all seems to be OK. I would say today has been his best afternoon in many weeks. He had a shower this afternoon as well, and that always helps to perk one up a bit. If he continues to improve, I am gonna guess that we MAYBE can go home Friday, but I'm just guessing. Dr. Paterson was in today and said that Blake should be noticing a difference in his health with the Remicade within 48 - 72 hours. Right now I'd say we're already noticing a positive difference.

You know how the Lord always works things out for our good? Well, we are not on the Gastroenterology Floor. When we were admitted, they were short on beds, and because of Blake's C-Diff infection, we needed an isolated room. So we were brought to the Third Floor of the Davies Wing which is Cardiology (heart).

Well the elevators in this hospital have been receiving repairs since before we were here last October! They're STILL not finished. There is ONE elevator working for Visitors at the Kidd & Davies Wings and ONE elevator working at the Connell Wing. Even the cafeteria staff had to use the Visitor elevator the other day because the only working staff elevator had quit AGAIN.

I was going to head downstairs to the cafeteria and thought, 'I'm not waiting for that cotton-pickin' elevator.... I will be healthier if I take the stairs down to the cafeteria! Then I will cheat and take the elevator back UP!' [snicker] But after I got my food, I decided that it would be better for me if I took the stairs back up to the 3rd Floor.

With each 1/2 level, I was getting slower and slower. I kept thinking "My Shihan and Sensei will be happy that I'm taking the stairs..... My Shihan and Sensei will be happy that I'm taking the stairs.... My Shihan and Sensei will be happy......"

By the time I'd reached for the handle of the 3rd Level door, I stopped, caught my breath, and thought, "THANK GOD WE ARE ON THE CARDIOLOGY FLOOR BECAUSE I'M ALMOST POSITIVE I MUST BE HAVING A HEART ATTACK!!!!!!!" I just can't believe how out-of-shape I am lately!

So, see? God knows what He's doing!

For three days now, I have not taken the elevator.

I haven't had a heart attack yet; but it is nice to know that if I collapse here, clutching at my chest, gasping for air, I am in the exact right place.... here in Cardiology!


And just so you know, there are 59 stair-steps from the basement to the 3rd Floor..... ya' know.... just in case you decide to forego the elevator yourself!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blake's Health Update 2010/06/22

Oh I gotta be real jiffy quick here. Anelyse might be Skyping Blake at any second and I'll lose the computer!

Blake got his Remicade dose this afternoon. YIPPPPPPPEEEEEE!!!!

He was given Tylenol and Benadryl before the infusion. They started the Remicade around 3:45pm. Just after 4pm, the vein got all puffy and we had to stop the infusion. They started another I.V. site and continued with the infusion.

Blake has had a very tired day today, especially this morning. He has slept most of the day. He's been awake this evening, though. Hopefully we'll see a difference over the next few days. He is continuing with the morphine, as he still is experiencing some pain.

I don't know how many days we must remain, but they likely won't release him if he's still on the morphine. I'll know more tomorrow when we talk with the Docs.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouraging words on Facebook. We appreciate it very much.

OK, I'll have more news tomorrow. Gotta git a goin' in case Anelyse calls.


50 Famous Parental Sayings

I just became Facebook Friends with a charming woman who came into the hospital last night to visit with Blake. She's an "ol' Crohny" too (haha) and was able to share her experience of this dreaded disease over the last two decades.

When I went to her Profile today, I see she had a video called "50 Famous Parental Sayings". I clicked on it, and laughed my fool head off. It was ME with a male voice! hahahhaa

Thought y'all might get a good kick out of it. I'll bet you hear your OWN voice!!!!

50 Famous Parental Sayings

See? TOLD ya you'd get a good kick out of it.

And just a further note as to Blake's status..... Dr. Fowler just came in and said Remicade was ordered yesterday and it should be in this afternoon. As long as it arrives, Blake will get his infusion THIS AFTERNOON. There is the worry of his body resisting the medication, which we will know within mere minutes as it enters his body; however, if this unfortunately happens, we will likely just switch to another med called Humira.

So, no worries, folks! Upward and onward!

Blake's Health Update 2010/06/22

Oh I am in such major trouble with some of you folks for not updating Blake's progress for two days!!!

Honestly, I just do NOT know where the time goes in here.

Firstly, let me begin by saying HAPPY SUMMER. Isn't today the official first day of Summer? Wait, it's after midnight now, so it's really Tuesday! So, Monday was the first official day of Summer, right? (I always hate to say goodbye to the Spring).

I haven't even got a clue what the weather is like outside. It is warm? cool? muggy? I asked a member of the cleaning staff what the weather was like, and she replied, "I don't know, I've been in here all day!" I said, "Oh, well what was the weather like on the weekend?" She said, "I don't know, I had to work the weekend as well!" hahaha. Sooooo, I'm just praying that the weather is beautiful when we finally get outta here.

And on THAT note, I will tell you that we don't know what day we're headed home, but with all hope, Blake will get his medicine Tuesday.

His temperature has managed to stay down and the bowel movements are less frequent, which is a good thing.

[Oh dear! I just heard a patient screaming from her room........ looks like it's gonna be a long night for someone!]

Anyways, Doctor Fowler and Doctor Weymouth (sp?) along with medical student John came in to see Blake on Monday with Dr. Paterson. The plan still remains that Blake should be receiving his dose of Remicade sometime Tuesday. I'm almost nervous about it now. I haven't been nervous at all through this whole process, but now I'm anxious to see if it's gonna work. I pray that it does! Blake so badly wants to feel good again.

We had a very nice visit Monday evening with a nurse named Romney. She came in to talk to Blake OFF DUTY!!!! How sweet is THAT??? When Nurse Don was on duty the other day, he mentioned that there was a nurse on the floor who also has suffered with Crohn's and that she has been in remission for many years. We were excited to talk with her, as she told Nurse Don that she'd pop in, but she must have got busy and didn't get in to see us. Then she called on the phone Monday and said she'd be in that night!

We spent a lot of time talking with her, and she is a sweetheart. Brent will be happy to know she's a Newfie! :o) We talked about everything from soup to nuts (literally... haha) and she told us her own experience with the dreaded bowel disease. Her story and experience is a bit different than Blake's, yet there are many similarities as well; but every piece of advice you can get from others is beneficial.

And it's always a blessing to make a new friend. This woman is like me, in that she can cry at the drop of a hat! If Romney and I had a girlfriend tea time, I think we'd definitely have a box of Kleenex at the table beside our tea and cookies (but they would be homemade cookies, Romney. Not made by me, of course, 'cause I don't do baked goods; but I'd find some homemade ones SOMEWHERE that would be edible... and not processed! haha).

We were talking about a good support system in family and friends, and Blake started talking about his bud, Billy, and how Billy has stood behind Blake so much. Poor Romney started collecting tears and we didn't even have a Kleenex in the room! She had to use the sleeve of her isolation gown!

We are so fortunate to have such caring people around us. There'd be no point in counting them all up, because I'd for sure lose count. We are definitely blessed.

Romney, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to see us. You could have been home entertaining your out-of-town England guests, or spending time with your children & hubby, or getting some well-deserved (and likely 'well-needed') sleep..... but you took the time to come back to your place of employment.... to an "infected" room, of all places!...... and spend some time with a boy and his mom that you don't even know. You were a blessing to us, and we appreciate your kindness. We look forward to getting to know you better.

Folks, I will tell you right now, the world needs more Romney's. Go be a Romney! Lend an ear. Offer some advice. Cry on your hospital isolation gown, if need be! [snicker]. Just go out and care for someone.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Down On The Farm

HaPpY FaThEr'S DaY to my Dad, Ikey Fraser!!!!!

I can't spend today with him because I am with one of my son's in a hospital as he battles a Crohn's Disease episode.

But I wanted to acknowledge my Dad on this special day. In fact, if I recall correctly, I believe I was in the hospital with Blake back on Mother's Day as well. So today's post can be for BOTH my parents.... Dwain (Ikey) & Jean Fraser.

My Dad always recited a poem called "Down On The Farm". I recall him reciting it when I was a little girl. It always amazed me that he had every word memorized. In fact, he just recited it to me about two weeks ago. He suffered some mini-strokes about a decade ago and it has affected his memory in some ways. But sure enough, he seems to remember this poem.

I have checked on the world wide web, and unfortunately almost every version I've come across is different than what my father recited.... just the odd word here and there are different. I have found one that is close, and I might change a word here or there that is what I remember my father reciting. (I do not know the original author.)

Down On The Farm

Down on the farm 'bout half past four

I slip on me pants and sneak out the door

Out to the barn I run like the dickens

To milk ten cows and feed the chickens

Clean out the barn, curry Nancy and Jiggs

Separate the cream and slop all the pigs

Work two hours then eat like a Turk

By heck I'm ready for a full day's work.

Grease the wagon and put on the rack

Throw a jug of water in the ol' grain sack

Hitch up the horses, hustle down the lane

Must get the hay in 'cause it sure looks like rain

Look over yonder, sure as I'm born

Cattle's on the rampage and cows in the corn

Start across the medder, run a mile or two

Heaving like I'm windbroke, get wet clean through

Get back to the horses, and then for recompense

Nance gets straddled in the barbwire fence

Joints all a-achin' and muscles in a jerk

I'm fit as a fiddle for a full day's work

Work all summer 'til winter is nigh

Then figure up the books and heave a big sigh

Worked all year, didn't make a thing

Got less money now than I had last spring

Now some people say there ain't no hell

But they never farmed, so how can they tell?

When spring rolls around I'll take another chance

While the fringe grows longer on me ol' gray pants

Give me s'penders a hitch, me belt another jerk

And by heck, I'm ready for a full day's work.

Have a great day, Dad & Mom!!!!

We love you!