Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Break and some Spring - Week of Apr. 1st

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

As spring attempts to emerge, we've still experienced some very cold nights.  Our next door neighbor's tree looked frozen in time from rain that fell the previous day.

We were so fortunate that Miss Amanda was happy to spend spring break with Cam.  Since she was house-sitting and dog-sitting, daily visits to Roxie were on the agenda.  The dog is a big fan of Cam's and loves to jump in the van and get right up close to him.
A new experience for them both was taking a walk together.  Amanda expertly attached Roxie's leash to Cam's chair and the pair strolled along the road.

We were excited to welcome Oma, Cam's cousin (Jane's niece), Steffanie and her son, James during the week.  James had an appointment in Grand Rapids and they were spending the night with us.  With the sun shining, they all ventured out for a stroll down our street as Cam led the way.
Even Cam noted how sweet his baby cousin was.
We all took a trek in the van to run some errands.  Cam kept a close eye on James for the duration.
Back at home, James, his great grandma and Cam had fun hanging out together.  And Jane found her great nephew's smile irresistible.

Amanda and Cam baked a tasty treat almost daily and the house smelled like sweet deliciousness all week long.
One might think by the time the weekend rolled around, we'd had enough chocolate, but we thought we'd sneak in one more delight.

Saturday mid-morning we began our family outing to Country Dairy, located in New Era, Michigan.  Oma and Opa met us there for lunch.  Everyone thinks the bottomless milk refills are the best, especially since they have the tastiest chocolate milk around.  The ice cream options are endless and some of us opted for the newest flavor, Peanut Udder Bliss.  It was so good, we decided to take home a half gallon.
Before heading back to Grand Rapids, we stopped at the cottage to see if there was any ice left on Lake Michigan.
The last remaining chunks appeared stranded on the sandbar.  We surprised Oma and Opa with a new refurbished laptop that Cam proudly helped set up.
Always quick to provide technology tips, he's even become an expert in troubleshooting techniques as well echoing a familiar phrase his dad uses, "Have you re-booted it yet?"

Camology Quotes:

We know Cam has a pretty good memory.  However, when he recently saw a bone specialist who talked about taking multivitamins, our son was all over it.  We spotted a bottle in the cupboard and just maybe they were a wee bit old.  Because Cam was insistent on taking them, we didn't share the date noted on the bottom of the container.  That evening, though, he took Jane off guard and asked where they were.  Without thinking things through she indicated that the bottle expired and had been thrown away.  
"I had these this morning and they were expired?!  I need to get some new ones."
Needless to say, mother and son headed to grab new multivitamins right after dinner :)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

An Answer to Pain - Week of Mar. 25th

"You do not need to know precisely what is happening or where it is all going.  What you need, is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope." ~Thomas Merton

One may wonder if Thomas Merton ever had a child in pain and felt helpless...
This week, we met with Cam's orthopedic surgeon on Thursday, the first official day of spring break.  As we reviewed his MRI results,  the doctor explained that Cam's left hip socket was slightly displaced (vs. completely dislocated as his right hip was 2 years ago) and there was fluid (white area) where the socket had moved.  The combination of the displacement and fluid, he indicated, were causing Cam's pain in his left leg.  Before leaving the office, we had surgery scheduled for April 17th knowing we would have one overnight in the hospital and 6 weeks of recovery.  A bit daunting, but knowledge is power and Cam seemed to take the information in stride and with acceptance.

The day took an upswing when Oma arrived late morning to spend time with her grandson. The two completed Cam's homework and then proceeded to pick out some games to play.  After a few rounds of Connect Four, one of the pieces had dropped and Oma and her grandson had a hilarious time trying to find it.  With the weather improving, a stroll outside was the perfect way to soak up some spring.  Even though Cam likes to roll ahead, he will still stop and wait to make certain his grandma is behind him.

As we begin our countdown to surgery, Cam can only find moderate comfort by sleeping in his powerchair at night.  Chris and Jane have tried multiple methods to keep their son's pain at bay.
Before he settles in for the night, his chair is accessorized and after a shower and clean teeth, he settles in.

It is not ideal but as we meet different challenges, we have learned to be an adaptive family.  After all, it was Albert Einstein who said, "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change."  We may all be bordering on genius level :)

Camology Quotes:

Cam typically chooses a different breakfast to eat most mornings.  He loves our homemade banana bread with chocolate chips and his dad talked him into adding peanut butter on top of a warmed piece.  The two of them experienced a belly-laugh moment when Chris thought Cam had a bruise on his was actually just a bit of p.b.!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

C'Mon Spring! - Week of Mar. 18th

"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party." ~ Robin Williams

You can hear and sense spring is in the air.  Each morning as Cam and Jane stroll down the driveway, the birds are singing and the grass is attempting to show its lush green color.
In the living room, the flowers Jane and her son found at Hobby Lobby now brighten the mantel.

In the ongoing saga we've termed "Operation Sleep Deprivation" our family arrived at the Children's hospital early Friday morning for a scheduled MRI of Cam's left knee and hip.   Since the entire procedure was due to take 90 minutes, he was scheduled to be sedated during the two MRI's.
Cam awake...Dad, not so much :)
Always the trooper, Cam was in good spirits despite not being allowed to eat breakfast due to sedation.
All went well and we were home around 11am.

Over the weekend, our sleepy cat welcomed attention from Cam, who loves to give Stella pets.

Chris was very appreciate of his son's assistance with rebuilding some laptops.  Every newer Windows laptop is equipped with a voice assistant named "Cortana."  As each computer came online, Cam was able to complete the setup simply by answering questions and indicating "next" when it was time to handle another task.  Looks like Chris has found some expert "free" help!

Camology Quotes:

Cam and his dad have been working on home automation.  Cam is always eager to offer his opinion if something isn't functioning properly..  
"This switch is allowing the light to turn on where I normally turn it on but not allowing to turn it off because it trips the circuit.  It is a safety feature!"  (not certain if anyone was listening to him) 
"What did I just say?"

Sunday, March 17, 2019

When Mom's Away... Week of Mar. 11th

@School playing Guess Who
with a classmate
It seemed that our household was experiencing a bit of Murphy's Law this week. 
Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base. 
It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, (a project) designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." The contractor's project manager kept a list of "laws" and added this one, which he called Murphy's Law. Shortly afterwards, the Air Force doctor (Dr. John Paul Stapp) who rode a sled on the deceleration track to a stop, pulling 40 Gs, gave a press conference. He said that their good safety record on the project was due to a firm belief in Murphy's Law and in the necessity to try and circumvent it. Aerospace manufacturers picked it up and used it widely in their ads during the next few months, and soon it was being quoted in many news and magazine articles. Murphy's Law was born.
Jane flew out early Sunday to Dallas, TX for work.  That very day, Chris felt ill.  Cam went to school Monday, Chris stayed home and Tuesday night, Cam was sick.  He had to miss school Wednesday and Jane arrived home Wednesday evening.  Jane kept Cam home on Thursday to be certain he could keep food down and Friday, our home was finally back on track.
So, when Saturday rolled around, it was a welcome relief.  Chris headed up north for a last day of snowboarding with Greg.  Cam was Jane's expert helper. At the grocery store, Cam's mom tells her son what's on the list and he leads the way to the next set of items.  D&W is our closest grocery store and this kid knows where everything resides in the food aisles.  The next stop was Hobby Lobby for some spring home beautification items.

The next day, we gathered everyone together for Sunday dinner, including the Raisch fam and friend Biala, minus Megan who didn't feel well :(
Because Sarah and Anna and Anna's boyfriend Spencer were home from college for their spring break, it was extra special.  Costco provided our meal as we enjoyed shepherd's pie, chicken alfredo and kale salad.  Cam is a good judge of character and he has given Spencer a thumbs up.  It's a high honor considering Anna is one of his most favorites in the whole wide world.

Camology Quotes:

Cam was worried about Jane getting sick too.  They were chatting about it Friday morning before school.  Cam's mom told him, "Maybe I'll be like Wonder Woman and have a super power to not get sick."  To which her wise son responded...

"If I could have a superpower, it would be that I can eat anything I want to when I am sick!"

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Applesauce is the Best Medicine - Week of Mar. 4th

Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability. ~William Osler 

It's difficult to determine at what age a kid can start swallowing pills versus taking a liquid medicine.  In our home, it just so happens that age is 11.
When we picked up the celebrex medicine for Cam to help with his leg pain, it came in a coated tablet.  He had already succeeded in taking baclofen in pill form recently, so we weren't too concerned about another one.  Now you may wonder about the method used.  Cam's mom believes that everything tastes better with Oma's homemade applesauce and she has successfully passed along that gene to her son.

With improved sleep, we were feeling rejuvenated by Saturday.  Since our old treadmill had begun to deteriorate, we decided to use our tax return to purchase a new one.  It arrived Saturday morning and the unpacking process began downstairs.  Always the watchful supervisor and helper, Cam and his dad spent a couple of hours getting things set up.

That afternoon, we went as a family to see the Lego 2 movie at Celebration Cinema.  We all enjoyed the show and there is a very catchy song called "Everything is Awesome" from the first Lego movie and also heard in the second one.  Cam laughed the loudest when they changed the words of the original song to "Everything is Not So Awesome" near the end of the show.

We munched on popcorn and then picked up some ice cream to go from Cold Stone Creamery.  Cam declared the entire day was "awesome!"

Back at the house, Stella provided our own home entertainment as we watched her trying to let go of and then catch the helium balloons.

Camology Quotes:

Miss Amanda typically stays later on Fridays to have dinner with Cam and hang out while Chris and Jane enjoy some time out themselves.  At the end of the week, there is always a decision point.  Where will Amanda and Cam pick up their dinner from?  When asked the question Friday afternoon, Cam's decision was:

"I would like some Culver's. Welcome to Delicious!"
(someone has been watching the Culver's commercials on tv)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Old School Field Trip - Week of Feb. 25th

"I've got to admit it's getting better. It's a little better all the time." ~Paul McCartney 

If you ever wondered if there was any way to determine the possibility of a snow day, besides listening to a meteorologist, it turns out there is a snow day calculator online.  One may also take note that it was spot on in its prediction!  Even the deer prancing through the back yard seem to be running away from the white stuff.

On Tuesday, Cam headed in to meet a new doc, a pediatric rheumatologist.  He had reviewed Cam's blood work and latest effusion as well as our medical histories. After examining how our son's joints were responding, he noted exactly where Cam's pain was in the left leg. Conclusion: more tests needed.  After a notation to schedule an MRI, we headed off to drop Cam at school and pick up a prescription later that day.  For the first time in many weeks, Cam (and his parents) had a much more restful night of sleep.  For starters, it was the first time Cam was able to remain in his bed the entire night (vs. couch, power chair, hammock swing) in a very long time.

The extra sleep couldn't have come at a better time.  Cam's class had a field trip to his former elementary school, Meadow Brook.  What a treat to visit the younger kids he knew and all of the teachers, aides and the Project Unify team.
The friends all played bocce ball together and shared their lunchtime.  Cam named all of the teachers, friends and aides he saw.  A big shout out to Ms. Barbara, Ms. Nancy (who Cam claimed was most excited to see him), Ms. Ginny, Ms. Erin, and Ms. Kate!  Upon arrival home that day, Cam did declare it was his "most favorite field trip ever!"
Back at home, we were spoiled by Aunt Carol, who made us a homemade meat quiche and had her son Chad deliver it to us so we could enjoy a delicious meal without the prep work.  And wow, was it so tasty.
We received an email from Cam's teacher at the end of the week noting that she'd seen a big difference in him at school since he'd been experiencing more restful sleep.
And truly, our family noted a definite upswing on the mood scale overall.  Our theme song is no longer "I'm So Tired" by the Beatles...

Camology Quotes:

Our cat, Stella, is a member of the family.  She arrived a year before Cam and became his unofficial protector when he came home from the hospital after he was born.  She follows his powerchair in the morning and loves to play with water in the sink.  Cam has many a 'conversation' with her to which she sometimes does respond with a typical 'meow.'

"Stella, I have to go to school now.  I'll be home later.  You will see me then."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Elusive Effusion - Week of Feb. 18th

"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds." ~ JoJo Jensen

Cam continues to battle joint and knee pain at bedtime.  Each night he is able to fall asleep, but then wakes up every couple of hours in pain.  Chris and Jane have explored different options, moving Cam to the couch, to the hammock swing, even his power chair, attempting to find some relief, along with a slew of doctor's appointments.

During the day, it seems Cam is amiable enough, still wanting to go to school, even with the disruptive rest.   This week, Jane traveled to North Carolina for work meetings and was fortunate enough to spend some time with 'Auntie' Leslie.

Back at home, the boys enjoyed playing xbox games in the evenings.
Jane arrived home Wednesday night.  Thursday morning, Cam was scheduled for an ultrasound of his hip and knee to determine if they could find anything.  After the non-painful procedure, we left the hospital and dropped Cam off at school.  That afternoon, Jane received a phone call indicating that the ultrasound did show an effusion (packet of fluid) located on his left hip.  The hospital told us they had an opening for 2:45p the next day, Friday.  It would be considered outpatient surgery since Cam would need to be sedated.
Always the trooper, we sat down with Cam after school to explain the next day's activities.  The biggest challenge would be not drinking any water after 10:30am and not eating anything after midnight until around 4pm the next day.  Even after a restless night, Cam didn't complain about the day ahead.  We kept him home from school since it would be difficult to concentrate without any sustenance.
As we were sitting in registration at the hospital, Jane received a text from 'Auntie' Karen with a gift card from Amazon video- perfect timing!  Cam knew right away he wanted to purchase the new Grinch movie to watch over the weekend.

It proved challenging for the nurses to find a vein for Cam's IV due to lack of nourishment and a stressful situation.  Our routine boy informed us prior to his short surgery that he would like to request "an adult-size meal and not a Cam-size meal since I am eating breakfast, lunch and an early dinner all at once!"
Friday evening brought a bit more rest, but not much.  The effusion was not the 'miracle' we were hoping for.
However, Saturday was an eventful day.  A huge edible arrangement arrived from 'Auntie' Jo and Will complete with balloons, fruit platter, and three cups of chocolate covered apples, bananas and strawberries.  Cam was notably excited and the fruit was a welcome treat!
In the late afternoon, Miss Kaylee arrived to hang out with Cam while Chris and Jane enjoyed an early evening out.
It seems no matter what we are going through at the moment, especially when we fall, our friends we call family, are always there to pick us up!

Camology Quotes:

While Jane was packing for her work trip, she excitedly placed a pair of boots on Cam's tray to show her son and husband.  Cam's single contemplative word...