Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Big Update: Good, Bad, and Ugly

It has been a long while since we added entries to the blog, but this has not been an uneventful stretch.

First there was Christmas. We wished for and received a Christmas at home. Katie's health was good, and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The kids had lots of energy, and they immersed themselves in parties and play. Santa spoiled us rotten, and we had time to breathe. It was glorious.

New Year's even went off without a hitch, and the kids were happy to return to school, as were we. It is hard to believe that we are halfway through the school year. Katie continues to love school. She is always happy to get up and go. She has learned her letters. She recognizes her numbers. She can recognize (and even spell!) some words. She plays school. When her Nana asked Katie about her career ambitions the other day, she explained the full plan: She will teach at Lake Region with her parents. Then she will be President. Then she will be a surgeon. (Hmmm....Oddly enough, Joshua wants to be an engineer or an art teacher. It's hard to know whether or not to encourage the teaching madness...) Whatever the final outcome, we are thrilled that Katie takes such pleasure in doing well in school and that she has made sweet, thoughtful, energetic friends. (Joshua is also thriving at St. Paul's and has friends that we truly love.)

Katie's new project involves lots of snow and some fast skis. Joshua is a very skilled skier. He is brave, and he is fast. Katie is determined to catch up. She seems far too small to be skiing--in ski pants and a parka she is as wide as she is tall--but she got right into the J bar line at Burke with her dad, and off they went, proud mama trailing behind as Joshua went flying past. After two short sessions with her dad, she ventured off bravely on her own. Now we just need to teach her to stop (and maybe turn).

Unfortunately, we will not be skiing this weekend, as together we have managed to contract half the infectious diseases known to man in the last two weeks. Katie went to North Country hospital with ugly ear infections in both ears and with a fever that spiked through Tylenol and that continued for five days, causing her to miss an entire week of school. Before she had finished the amoxicillin, I ended up with impetigo, a skin infection that is surprisingly unpleasant and really unattractive. Joshua dragged himself through the week, tired and weepy. We thought he must be having another growth spurt. Wrong again. The lymph nodes that stuck out past his ears brought us back to our beloved pediatrician on Tuesday, where he was tested for mono. Despite all the physical indicators of mono, the test came back negative, but he is still pooped, and his swollen glands indicate that there is some kind of an infection swamping his system; because the infection remains unidentified and he cannot make it through the day without a LONG nap, he is home from school all this week. Is he contagious? Does he pose a threat to Katie? Who knows? North Country Hospital loves us, but our health insurance must have different feelings...

Katie returned to Fletcher Allen today for a lumbar puncture and her monthly chemo. She struggled with anesthesia, coughing a lot while under and producing phlegm during the procedure, so doctors had to sedate her more deeply than usual and vacuum the mucus from her airways. Gross...We are hoping that the contagion finds another family to torment and that the cough is not a sign of bad things to come. Despite the variety of germs and viruses that are likely actively attacking her body right now, her ANC is holding at 1600. Well enough to continue to live and play like any other 4-year old. Oh, well. Snow coverage is spotty after some rain last week, so we will abandon all hope of skiing and focus on getting well.