Monday, April 27, 2009

Phoebe's Surgery-We HEART Shriners Hospital!

Phoebe had to have surgery on her foot last Thursday, earlier than planned by the way;o), and we were blessed to be able to have it done at the Shriners Hospital of Greenville, SC! Yes, there was no cost to us, but what I was most impressed with was the wonderful way we were treated and the friendliness of EVERYONE, from the greeters to the surgeons to the occupational therapists to the cafeteria workers to the nurses to the anesthesiologist--we felt like family from the first moment we walked in! We had decided to take Abby with us the first day, one because we wanted her to be with us as much as possible and two, because there were so many fun things there at the hospital for her to do! Almost as soon as we arrived, and after getting her height weight and BP, we were taken to a room to drop off our stuff and went straight to get her cast cut off. She screamed like a banshee, poor thing, just like every other time she's had a cast cut off, but the nurses were very gentle and she calmed down pretty quickly. I do think she could sense that something was different this time, but was a trooper as usual...

We went back to our temporary room to sign some paperwork and were surprised to hear music down the hall. We opened the door and were pleased to see that barber shop quartet was serenading us! It was neat to see all the children and their parents standing in the open doorways, peeking out to catcha glimpse! It was four sweet older men and they all had crinkly smiles and fun personalities as well!

Abby climbed up on the hospital bed with her sister and informed us that she wanted to have a surgery like Phoebe and so did her bear!

We were amazed at the difference the casting has made in her foot, but it still was pointing downward, thus the surgery...

Abby loved the play area, which took up almost half of the second floor of the hospital. Here she is on a loveseat, covered with HUGE dolls, which she LOVED!

Toddler bikes and trikes galore and lots of space to ride like the wind!Herb took us to the rooftop playground where Abby was on the swings for quite a while...

...And then we were joined by Phoebe...

...and Poppy, who had shown up a bit earlier...

...and Daddy too...(Josh says he and his dad were testing the weight limit in this one (It passed, by the way! Didn't move and inch!))

...while Mommy took a rest on the gorgeous green grass...didn't sleep a wink the night before!

It looks like Phoebe was resting too, but it was really the sun in her eyes! She only laid there for a minute before letting us know that this was NOT what she wanted to be doing!

So we had previously decided that Josh would be the one to stay overnight at the hospital, which I guess was not the norm, because the nurses talked directly to me all day whenever they talked about anything that would happen overnight! But he wanted to do it and I certainly didn't mind having a greater possibility of a comfortable night's sleep! I stayed at Josh's parents' house after a difficult time leaving Abby at Heidi and Aarron's-she wouldn't have it and it made me sad to leave her too. (Thanks Heidi for your patience with her and for being so sweet to her at such a crazy time for all of us!) I returned to the hospital at 6 am after SOME sleep and Josh was already up, talking to the dad of Phoebe's cute roommate, Eric, Jr., who was to have foot surgery immediately after her. The nurse came in and handed us her little yellow hospital gown, which fit her personality perfectly, but I must say I was a little flustered to see such a tiny hospital gown!

They came to get us a little before 7 am and took her up to pre-op, where they promptly laid her on a bed with Strawberry Shortcake sheets (Abby would have LOVED it!), walked in with the largest wagon I have ever seen, filled to overflowing with toys and let us pick one for her. Then the nurse gave her tylenol mixed with some "forgetfulness" medicine that starts with an "m" and within 10 minutes, her eyes and head started to droop. It was sad to have to see her that way, but kind of funny too. Josh picked her up and held her and she just stared up at both of us as if to say "Who are you and where am I?" She could barely move her mouth and kept saying her normal "Guh...Guh", but veeerrrryyy sloooooowly....

The nurses kep telling me that there were tissues nearby, but I was surprisingly okay, as long as I didn't think too much...then her doctor came in, made sure he had the right leg by initialing it and we kissed her just before the anesthesiologist whisked her away. It was kind of torturous, but we knew all would be well...

They told us to wait to hear from the doctor and then it would be about 20 more minutes, so we headed to the cafeteria with Josh's dad to get some breakfast while we waited. We no sooner sat down to take the first bite and there was Dr. Westberry, telling us that all had gone perfectly and her foot was in its last cast! The procedure had taken all of 5 minutes! By the time we finished breakfast, walked back to the room and sat for about 10 minutes, we heard the uncharacteristic cries of sweet Phoebe coming down the hall towards us. She was MAD! She had been unable to eat anything after midnight and had slept through the clear liquids allowance time, so she was HUNGRY, and they had given her only 2 oz of Pedialyte in the recovery room--When they took that bottle out of her mouth, she was not about to take it lying down! I've NEVER heard her scream like that!

So we fed her some more Pedialyte and a little formula, pulled her around in a pillow-filled wagon and gave her some gas medicine and she finally fell asleep! We thought the sign in the hall was appropriate!
"Quiet, please. Healing in progress."

She finally did get that blood pressure monitor cord off of her finger! (They would just plug it in instead of having to use the one that "gave her leg a hug")

After a long nap, we hung out in the waiting area and...waited! The doctors and nurses all came to us there and checked on her.

And by noon, we were out of there! Now-cast for 3 more weeks, fitting for special shoes connected by a bracing bar, worn 23 hours a day for 3 months, then worn nights and naps for about 2 years...that's what's in store for Miss Phoebe..and us as well!) We'll try to be troopers and little rays of sunshine just like she is, but I can't make any promises!
All in all, I was very pleased with our experience at the Shriner's Hospital! Thank heaven they are there! Such a blessing to so many children and families!
Thank everyone for all your love, prayers and support!
***Shameless Plug: Many of you know that they may be closing that hospital if the board votes to do so in July! Please help us keep Shriner's Greenville open by donating or writing letters! Find out how at !***
Make sure if you donate that you designate that you want the money to go to Shriner's Hospital GREENVILLE!

Monday, April 13, 2009

What a crazy fun easter we had!

We had a great Easter weekend, filled with family, friends, fun, easter eggs, Cadbury mini-eggs, hand and foot, reminiscing, tornadoes, hail and blue skies! Interesting combination, you might say! We started the weekend on Thursday night with a trip up to Greenville, carrying two extra passengers-our 12-year-old niece Ta'lor (who had spent her Spring Break here in Florence) and our 7-year-old nephew, Kendal, who was dying to see his cousins! The whole trip up was actually pretty funny! They, along with Abby and Josh, sang "Sing, Sweet Nightingale" from Cinderella and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as high as they could possibly go and made tooting noises on their arms-I heard more than I'd ever need to hear in my life on that one car ride!

We stayed in TR with Josh's parents and were joined by Alison and Ryan and their boys. They had been waiting all week for the call that their new baby girl had been born, so they could drive to the midwest and pick her up --their birth mother was due April 6--and they were all stir crazy, so they drove the few hours to hang out with the fam! (They ended up getting a call at 11:00 the next night that she was in labor, so they left at 6 am on Saturday morning to drive the long trip to Arkansas!) Emma Jane is beautiful by the way...I'll post a pic soon..Congrats, guys! We can't wait til you get home, so we can meet her!

Anyway, Friday morning, we trekked to the Shriner's Hospital in G'ville for Phoebe to get Shriner's cast #4 of 6! Hopefully only 2 more and then she'll be able to get her heel cord surgery and we can get movin' on getting this club foot totally on the mend! It's going to be a long road, but Phoebe's a trooper and I'm learning to be;0)

We then headed to Pendleton to stay with Scott (my brother) and Cristy and the fam! We had a fabulous dinner of almost all starches--Cristy just decided to pick all her faves;0)--muffins, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob--oh, and chicken on the grill! It was all delicious and then we taught Scott how to play Hand and Foot--our card game of choice--and he and Josh proceeded to KILL Cristy and me 3 games in a row! Through all this, there were tornado warnings all around us, crazy, windy weather and even some nickel-sized hail! It was a BLAST!

The next morning, we went to Pendleton Town Square for their Easter Parade, small but very cute and we took some fun pics! Town Square is where Josh and I sat the first night we met and talked until 3 in the morning-we even had our special bench there, so we took our picture there with the girls! It was fun to think about how much our lives have changed and our family has grown in almost 9 years!
The park was next, and then we hunted for Easter eggs with Scott's family... AND then we hunted for Easter eggs again and ate with Kevin and Susan (Josh's cousin and our very close friends)'s family before driving home that night to be home in time for Easter Sunday!

Sunday was so fun! I bought the girls matching Easter dresses and even bought myself a new dress as well. We took pictures after church and all was going well until we asked Abby to sit on
the grass and hold her sister, so we could take pictures of the two of them! Talk about meltdown! And the meltdown was just about as cute as a perfectly calm picture! Take a look!

And Easter dinner was at our house, with my grandparents, parents, sister, and Ben and Marleina with their two youngest! Another Easter egg hunt as well! Fun was had by all! And I'm glad for a little REST today...

But let me just say that it was wonderful to be so busy and with so many people we love on this special holiday! I am so grateful for my Savior and all that he has done for me! What a beautiful day Easter Sunday was...and even in the scary weather Friday night, it was actually wonderful to know that our Father in Heaven really is in charge! Life is great!