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...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

V Day - Week of Feb. 11th

Sweet roses from Chris & Cam
Fun Valentine's Facts: Wearing your heart on your sleeve is more than just a phrase. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be.  According to Smithsonian, they would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings.
People consider pink and red the colors of love. According to the National Confectioners Association, around 65% of Americans believe that the packaging of Valentine's Day candies and chocolates should be red and pink.
Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges. In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the lozenge production process, resulting in the first candy-making machine, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. After identifying an opportunity to revolutionize the candy business, Chase shifted his focus to candy production with Necco wafers. It wasn't until 15 years after the creation of Necco wafers that Daniel Chase's brother, Oliver Chase, developed a way to press words onto the candy lozenges with a felt roller pad and vegetable food coloring. According to The Huffington Post, the conversation candies officially became heart-shaped in 1902.

At school this week, Cam enjoyed friendship celebrations.

In the classroom, buddies Ben, Brody and Gerrit are always ready to hang out.  These guys have been together since kindergarten.

Cam is using the keyboard on a small computer to type his homework and writings at school.  For his journal this week, his entry as shown: "All you need is love.  I love my mom and dad. I love to play with toys with them. I love to go out to dinner with them."

A Valentine tradition at Northern Trails 5/6 is school-wide bowling on or around Feb. 14th.  We had called ahead to be certain Cam's powerchair could make it onto the lanes.  Our 11-year-old announced upon arrival home that day, "It was so cool that my entire school was there.  They had 2 times for different classes to be there.  It was fun!"
Friday marked a half day for Cam and Oma and Opa were so sweet to drive in to spend the afternoon with their grandson while Jane worked.
Cam kept Oma busy playing Guess Who and other games during the day.
He also showed off his typing skills since Cam's school sent home a Chromebook (small pc) just like he uses in the classroom.
Oma had her hair done on Saturday.  She looked so pretty when she got back.  Cam showed off a V present from his parents: "Hangry" socks.  It is definitely one of his moods if he isn't able to eat at regular times: hungry + angry= hangry!

We didn't venture out on Sunday since the weather turned into a blustery snow globe outside.

Cam has acquired some pretty funny sayings...while giving his parents hugs.."I am squeezing all of the love out of you!" or "I am refilling your love!"

Camology Quotes:

Driving down the driveway after Chris plowed:
"My dad is the nicest dad!  He is the nicest one I've seen in years."

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ice Ice Baby - Week of Feb. 4th

"If you're skating on thin ice you might as well dance." ~Anita Shreve
"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The crazy weather continued when the temperature warmed to 50 degrees Monday morning in Michigan as Jane boarded her flight to San Diego for work.  Luckily she made it out before the next round of ice arrived on Wednesday.

With the mild conditions, everything was in a meltdown mode.  And then it rained.  When the temps dropped dramatically, it acted like a flash freeze!  All areas covered in any precipitation suddenly glistened with an icy finish.  No school again for Cam on Wednesday.  He did test out the conditions on our driveway which appeared to be an icy mirror.

Thursday morning, we headed downtown to see Cam's orthopedic specialist.  His left leg was still giving him problems.  His doc indicated he thought our growing boy was experiencing some spasms and tightness.  X-rays looked good and we left there with a leg immobilizer for Cam.
With the remainder of the week off of school due to the weather, the brace remained on his leg all day and all night.
We didn't think Cam would be able to sleep with it on, but he said it felt much better with it.
The picture looks similar to one Cam is using.

Our annual Sunday meal with the Raisch fam was 'breakfast for dinner' and we dined on homemade waffles with available toppings of syrup, homemade strawberry jam and whipped cream, bacon, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.
As Cam likes to say, "It's good to change it up!"

Camology Quotes:

With the unpredictable forecasts, the teachers and kids haven't been certain if they will see each other in school the next day.  Cam's teacher told us that when she said 'see you tomorrow' to Cam at the end of a school day, his response was:
"Chances are not looking good, Miss Konkle!"

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Record Snow Days - Week of Jan. 28th

"A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder." ~Susan Orlean

Cam's dad never experienced "snow days" in his younger years since he lived in Arizona and Washington state for most of his schooling until college.  Cam's mom recalls some days off growing up due to heavy snow.

However, this week seemed one for the history books since Cam had at home while the city tried to recover due to inclement weather.  And fortunately for Cam (and Jane!), Miss Amanda also experienced school closures and was able to make it over to hang out with her buddy every day while Jane worked.  Our cat, Stella, seemed to go into hibernation mode for the duration.
The blustery mornings were a combination of heavy snow and frigid temperatures.  A couple afternoons held reprieve allowing Cam to assist with shoveling while Chris tackled the heaviest white stuff in the converted riding mower/snow plow for the winter months.
With negative temps one morning, Chris and Cam tried a little science experiment.  After getting one of Chris' t-shirts wet, ringing it out and putting it on a hanger, they hung it outside on the front porch.  It only took a few minutes for the garment to flash freeze into an icy hardened shirt that nearly "stood up" by itself.

By the time Friday rolled around, cabin fever had set in.  Fortunately, we were honored to be invited to a dinner celebration for Miss Amanda and Nick's engagement.  It was hosted by Nick's family at a local restaurant, Brann's.  We had quite a crew assembled: Miss Amanda's family including Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim as well as Nick's family and our family.  Cam was sporting his new hat "Boverhof Builders" a gift from Uncle Jim and Aunt Carol depicting their business name.  They certainly did a nice job keeping our son occupied as we waited for food to arrive.
Nick's sister, Brooke, has been to Cam's baseball games as well as the Halloween parades.  We think Cam may have a little crush on her :)

The next morning, we had a big day planned.  A few months ago, Mary Free Bed offered a sign up for Adaptive Skiing at our local ski area, Cannonsburg.  The event description- An invigorating schuss down the slopes provides both a good physical workout and social networking opportunities. Downhill skiing is available to individuals with various types of disabilities. Professional volunteers are provided by the Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association, a chapter of Disabled Sports/USA.

An instructor is paired with the adaptive skier and they're able to hit the slopes for an entire two hours.  We arrived at 9:30a ready for 10 o'clock start time.  Cam was assigned to Rick, his instructor and Rick's son, Ben, who acted as the 'blocker' making certain others don't ski too close.  As an added bonus, Chris brought his snowboard and was offered a discounted lift ticket to join in the fun.  Since he was able to board alongside, he captured some great video of Cam in action!  Although Cam wasn't sure at first, after his first run down, he declared "This is awesome!"  Over and over again, up the chairlift and down the slopes they went.

Afterwards, we were able to warm up in the lodge and have lunch before getting ready to go.  In the meantime, one of our local news crews had arrived.  Mary Free Bed asked if we would chat with them to talk about our experience.

Here's the link to the Wood TV8 story:
Cannonsburg! Click here

From Wood Radio: A partnership between Cannonsburg Ski Area and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital allowed a group of kids with special abilities to hit the slopes on Saturday. Specialized equipment like downhill ski sleds and arm riggers helped to ensure that children of all abilities shredded down the slopes. Jane Weatherford is no stranger to the challenges her son, Cam, faces. While he is typically bound to his power chair, on Saturday, he was free. “Having that freedom. Like anyone else, skiing,” Weatherford said. “Having that freedom of sitting and being able to go down the hill like everybody else on skis, it's incredible." No mogul too sick, no bump too gangly. “What’s important for us, too, is that community at large sees the inclusiveness and the inclusion of people who normally don't have the ability to do things like this,” Weatherford said. Things any kid would enjoy like something just as simple as freedom – and going fast.

On Sunday, we hosted a small SuperBowl viewing with our neighbors and friends, while feasting on wings, homemade french fries and a various assortment of other 'not so healthy' items to munch on.
The football game wasn't too exciting for Cam, and lucky for him, his buddy Emma decided to join in for quite a few rounds of the board game "Guess Who?" which has become his favorite.

Before the end of the evening, Cam made certain Jane had sent out an email about adaptive skiing, ensuring we knew when signup would take place for the next season.  Our son may be excited about hitting the slopes next year, but his parents are even more giddy about the possibility for our family to participate in a sport available to us all.

Camology Quotes:

On Saturday, when we arrived at Cannonsburg, it was still below freezing, but by the time were ready to leave a little after 12p, the parking lot had turned into a slushy mess.  As we waited in line to drive up the hill to exit, we realized we would be waiting quite some time as we watched one vehicle after another become stuck.
Cam, in his infinite wisdom, announced:
"This is not my idea of fun."  
"Someone needs to call the police."

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Spectacular Sledding - Week of Jan. 21st

Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

Technology keeps us connected.
Cam's teacher uses an application called "Seesaw" where she will post pictures of Cam on Jane's private profile for easy viewing and download.  Our curious son has definitely taken a liking to science and it continues to be one of his favorite subjects.  Playing some indoor soccer with classmates is a bonus as well.
Cam and Ms. Jo working on science

On Saturday, our good friends Greg & Jill, with their kids Lucas and Leila made the trek from Fruitport to try some backyard sledding!
Chris and Greg met in college, Jane and Jill became fast friends after being introduced and now all of the kids get to play together.
The crisp air was chilly, but there was no wind in the early afternoon, which allowed us all to enjoy multiple rides down the hill.  With Cam's cool toboggan sled, allowing for an extra tag-along on the back, Jane and Chris were able to take turns providing a two-for-one special.
The snow tube was a big hit with everyone.  It picked up speed at the bottom of the hill each time.  Lucas and Leila and their parents managed to all pile on together, but bailed out when the tube started going sideways.
Since they had gone first, one might assume others were paying attention.

As Chris and Cam took their turn, the snow tube headed a bit off the path to the right which would lead one careening into the woods.
As they veered in that direction, Jane and Greg ran to intervene.  While Cam was laughing, with his head facing downhill, Chris asked Jane "why didn't you take a picture?"  Hmmm, why indeed? :)

Camology Quotes:
Our musical son has taken to singing along with popular songs.  Since he's been learning the words, he apparently decided to take his own turn at composition. 

"♪♫My mom is nice...  My dad is nice... Yeah Yeah ..You Know It!"
And there are many variations, apparently...
"♪♫I love my mom..  My dad is funny... Yeah Yeah ..You Know It!"