Saturday, February 11, 2006

New glasses, Retina damage, ID appt, Many thanks, Haircut & first sentence

Friday Denise got to leave the SNF to go for two appointments. She missed out on a few hours of feeding (and much-needed calories), but we did get to Costco for an eye exam and then Lens Crafters for some glasses. Yes, Lens Crafters is not the frugal way to go, but Denise hasn't been able to see for almost seven months, and we thought that a little instant gratification was in order. The glasses definitely help, but not as much as we'd hoped. The eye doctor said that the right eye seems to be OK, needing only a slightly different prescription. The left eye, however, does have some retinal damage. With her right eye covered, Denise described looking through only her left eye as having a spotlight on one part of the eye exam chart. She had to turn her head & look slightly sideways in order that more of the eye chart could be revealed. This may or may not get better. We are encouraged by her feeling that her vision has improved compared to what it was during her USC stay.
The other appointment was earlier in the day with the infectious disease doctor. Though certain lab results that he's concerned with haven't changed much, he was very encouraged to see how much better Denise looks and acts, as well as the fact that she's not experiencing some of the common side-effects associated with the fairly high dose of antifungal meds she's on (800mg/day of diflucan... 1000mg is about the max they might try if needed). Apparently many people experience dry mouth and lips, and hair loss. She said her mouth feels fine, and her hair is definitely coming back in. I told him what one of the ID doctors at USC told me about not finding anyone any other pregnant woman that's survived what Denise has been through, and asked if he knew if this was indeed true. His opinion was that it was reasonable to assume that others have survived, but it just hasn't made it into journals. I guess it follows the general flow of news, in which things going well and/or getting better don't get the attention that a crisis or negative events get. Newsworthy or not, I'm glad that Denise is still with us!
Today was a restful day for her. She was still tired after all the activity yesterday. In fact, today was utterly uneventful for her. Peace & Quiet. Rest. Feeding. No emesis. That's the way we like it.

I'm one thankful guy today. Since pointing out the link to the Williams Family Fund the other night, several people have blessed us with contributions. In the mail today, we received a Valentine's Day card with a money order for $100 from a very generous person that simply signed it "A Friend." I've been privately writing thank you notes (slowly but surely) to the people that have helped us during Denise's hospital stay. To "A Friend," here's a public "thank you" for you. I can't believe I forgot to mention two biggies last week. I posted a request to borrow a chest freezer for a while for storing pre-fab meals. The request was answered by a family from my school, who provided a freezer for us. I thought they had a used one in their garage that they'd bring by. Last Saturday a delivery truck came by with a brand new upright freezer! It's now filled with a bunch of frozen ready-to-go meals that are making my life much easier. Also last weekend, the kids got a new play house. The story behind it is really cool. At Christmas time, some parents from my school told me that each year their kids get a gift from the grandparents, and the grandparents also give the grandkids money that is to be given to whatever charities they like (I told Denise about it and we agreed that we're going to start doing that with Gracie & Jacob). The school kids wanted to donate their money toward a playhouse for Gracie & Jacob for Christmas. It arrived last weekend, giving Gracie & Jacob a big long-lasting Christmas surprise! Thanks, kids (you know who you are)! We also kept the boxes from the playhouse & freezer so the kids could play in them, too. Big thanks: Tonight when I was visiting Denise our conversation turned to how bad things were for her, as it does from time to time. I have a picture stuck on the wall from when we lost the baby, and Denise has all the tubes & needles in her. It's a tough picture to look at, but I've tacked it up everywhere she's been so that the staff at each hospital can see where she came from. Seeing it on the wall behind Denise, who was tonight sitting up, smiling, joking around with me, being animated and able to interact with me, made me about as thankful as a guy can get. The difference between where she was almost seven months ago and where she is now is astounding. As if the financial help, freezers, playhouses, housework, childcare, food, and everything else weren't already enough, thank you all for your prayers & caring. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Finally, some light stuff: I've been busy trying to play catch-up with all the paperwork that's been piling up & trying to start taxes. And I gave Jacob a haircut yesterday. He was a good-looking kid... too good-looking. Frequently when I've been out with him, people have asked if he's a boy or a girl, or even asked how old *she* is. Yesterday I had about enough of that, so I made sure to give him a haircut that only a father would inflict upon his son. I started with a Mohawk, but couldn't find the camera. Then I buzzed the rest off. The vibrating of the clippers tickled him, and he was laughing most of the time. Gracie loves Jacob's peach-fuzzy hair. Denise asked, "What did you do to his hair?" She didn't much care for what I'd done. I told her that I'd done it twice before, though maybe not quite so close, and she never said anything about it. It was brought to my attention that this is because she was in a coma. Point taken. The kids are with friends for the weekend, and they said that the only thing his new haircut does is make his long eyelashes stand out even more. So I guess my plan backfired. And I was notified tonight that Jacob reached a milestone today, stringing three words together:
"Darnit, Bob! Please?"
But he didn't say "Darnit." And he keeps repeating the phrase. At least he's polite about it, though, huh? I thought to myself, "Have I been frustrated with Bob, my right-hand man that's been staying with us, and uttering things that I ought not?" Honest, none of us know where he picked this up from. I'm blaming the friends that have him for the weekend. They're probably blaming the haircut. Either way, we can't wait for the kids to come back home tomorrow so that we can hear Jacob for ourselves. I'm told that when I was about Jake's age, one of my dad's friends picked me up in his arms and I called him a "baffard." At least Jacob can swear better than I could at his age.


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