Monday, 24 February 2014

Not much to report

As the title suggests, there is not much going on here....

Oliver's ear is healing.  He is not in as much pain.  He cannot be persuaded to sleep in the day, consequently he is sleeping till gone 7 every morning.  A bit of a brucey seeing as we don't need to leave the house till 8.10.  He is supposed to be going back to school on Thursday, but I am going to keep him off for the week.  I am concerned as he still has  wading behind his ear, and I don't want I to be knocked.  Plus he can't move his neck completely yet.  Oh, and it's his spring break next week, so they won't be doing much work anyway....  By the end of next week I may be ready to kill him but we will have a better idea how his ear is healing as his follow up appointment is next Tuesday.  

I managed to escape out of the house on Friday night to attend my first ever Zumba masterclass.  It was awesome.  It was hosted by a Zumba education specialist called Loretta Bates.  There must have been about 200 people, I reckon about 80% were instructors and most had trained under Loretta.  It was high tempo, fast paced, with lots of new routines.  It was really good, and I hope to be able to attend another soon.  Thanks Daniella for sorting out my ticket!

Photo of myself with Loretta.  This was a before shot, you would not want to see an after.....

Other than that it was a quite weekend, obviously, to help Oliver heal.  Paul is working on a project for the boys, but more of that in a few posts time.  

Isaac and Seb were at school today, both went in ok.  Seb cried after we left, but not for long.  His teachers sent me a few photos

When I picked him up, they said he had been fine, apart from when they tidied up to go out side.  The boy does not like change....  I also had a call from his speech therapy to say the insurance company had turned down our request, so would not be paying for it.  Just one of those things, I think he will talk in his own time any way.  Just wait till they get Oliver's bill (thank goodness for pre-approval!)

I have Isaac's conference tomorrow, so we will see what his teacher has to say.  Luckily I have Anna coming round to keep an eye on Oliver and Seb for me.

Lets see how the rest of the week goes….

Friday, 21 February 2014

Oliver op part 2

****this post may contain yucky photos****

Oliver eventually came out of surgery at 7.30, a whole 6 hours after he went in.

The doctor talked to me for about 20 minutes about how it had gone.  I tried to take it all in, but please forgive me if I get things wrong or I get confused.  Oliver underwent a right tympanomastoidectomy.    The doctor said it was much worse than he expected, hence why it took so long.  He is fairly confident he got all the cholesteatoma out, but only time will tell.  The growth had managed to get very big behind his ear drum in his middle ear.  It has destroyed a lot of the oscilles (bones) in his middle ear.  Luckily it has not reached his cochlea.  This means his hearing nerve is intact, hopefully.  He has put a layer of clear film over the cochlea, packed it, them put another layer of film, then packed his ear canal with dissolvable wadding.  He thinks that this is a congenital cholesteatoma, meaning it has probably been there for a while.  Here are some delightful photos he took while operating

This one shows the mastoid bone behind the ear canal.  This is usually honeycombed in appereance.  The white intestine like looking stuff is the cholesteatoma.  

The white mass in this photo on the left is the front of the masteoid bone, before the previous photo.  The area to the right is the ear canal.  The white bits you can see down the ear canal is the cholesteatoma.  

Yuck, right....  This is only a small amount of what was on his ear.  Oliver came up to recovery about 7.30pm.  He really struggled to come round.  Didn't help they were still giving him morphine, as when he came round he was complaining of pain....

When the anesthetist came back and started talking about admitting him for the night, I knew we had to get him moving.  The recovery nurses were awesome, and gave him some sprite and ice chips to get him going,   We eventually managed to get him dressed.  I had loads of forms to sign and they have me a prescription for antibiotics and super strong pain killers.  We were the last people in the out patients department, and the whole building.  The security guard even helped us out.  

The nurse had warned me that he may be sick on the way home, and later in the evening, due to the anesthetic and morphine.  Low and behold, he was sick 200 meters from home in the car.  He got about 10% of it in the sick bag, the rest all over my front seat.....

We got home about 9.30pm, and got Oliver in to the house and on the sofa.  Paul went out to get the prescription, and just made it to CVS to get his prescription.  

We set Oliver's mattress up on the floor in our bedroom.  We carried him to bed about 10.30.  We went to bed shortly after.  It was a very hard day for all of us, mentally and physically.  I really feel for those who have children who need regular hospital treatment.  It is so draining.

Oliver was sick in the night, and had quite a disturbed nights sleep, regularly asking if it was time to get up yet.

Isaac was up his usual early time this morning, and straight in to check on Oliver.  Isaac was not keen to go to school again today, but the thought of daddy taking him and picking him helped entice him.  Oliver ate a hearty large breakfast, and has mostly lazed on the sofa today.  

With the help of his little brothers.  He hasn't slept though, which I wish he had.  He is now sitting here watching the NASCAR, though bed is coming soon.....

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Oliver's Op - Part 1

The day dawned lovely and warm.  I packed the younger two off to school.

Typically, Isaac refused to get out of the car.  He had to be physically carried out of the car.  Sebastian went in like a star , and only started crying once I left the room.  I popped to the supermarket to pick up some bits.  

We left for the hospital at 10.15, as he had to be here for 10.45.  We were checked in quickly downstairs. We headed up to the day surgery waiting area.  Again, we were called in quickly.  A nurse took Oliver's vitals, and gave him a gown.  

At this point, I had to leave Oliver and paul while I went to get the other 2 from school.  

The other 2 were fine in school.  Seb had a few tears, but no way as bad as Monday.  Isaac had a good day, learnt a new lesson and generally did good, despite the rocky start.

I had been texting with paul throughout the afternoon.  Dr Alexander was running an hour and 45 minutes late on his surgery list, so Oliver didn't go in till 1.30.  He hadn't eaten since 8.15 the previous night.

We had already arranged that I would come up mid way through the op and swap. I got to the hospital at 3.30.  We had a quick chat, and he took the boys back home.  At least we have shared the time at hospital fairly equally.....

It is now 6.45pm, and he is still not out of surgery.  I am currently sitting in a room in the recovery area watching HGTV.  They gave me a status update.  They have just finished on the bad ear, so just yet adenoids to remove and the other ear to check.....

Snow again

So it snowed a lot last week.  It began on the Tuesday morning.  The boys were already declared off school, yet Seb was still in.  I kept him off though, it was coming down pretty hard.  It eventually stopped about 4 pm.  We had a good covering in the garden, though it wasn't sticking to the road.  Paul was home by then, and despite a good snow ball fight, there was still plenty to make a snow man.

Wednesday they declared a state of emergency, with a civil notice put out, warning those in South Carolina not to travel unless absolutely necessary. It did continue snowing through most of Wednesday and Thursday, and everyone was off school and work.  It was entertaining seeing the traffic reports on local news as there was just no traffic on the roads.  Due to the ice risk over night on the Thursday, Paul's work was delayed on the Friday, and the kids were off again.  Luckily the temperature began to climb and melted a lot of the snow on Friday. 

The earth moved on Valentines Day..... There was an earthquake in Edgefield, SC, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale.  We didn't feel it, or the after shocks.....

After being cooped up for 4 days, we had to get the boys out at the weekend.  We headed in to Greenvillefor some lunch.  We choose Carolina Ale House, as it is usually ok.  But the place has been going down hill.  The hostess didn't acknowledge us when we asked for a table, just started gathering menus,  all we need is a 'yeah sure' (a bug bear of Paul's, it has happened a lot recently....).  The food was mundane, service ok, but not great.  Don't think we will be back for a while.  At least we got to go for a nice walk around Falls Park afterwards.... The kids were fairly well behaved....

Yesterday was Presidents' Day, and Oliver and Isaac were supposed to be off. Sebs school is actually daycare, so it takes a major holiday (like Christmas or thanksgiving) for him to be off.  Friday night I received an email from Oliver school, saying they had decided to start making up the snow days by using Presidents' Day, and the half day before Good Friday would now be a full day.  Hurrah for common sense!  We dropped Oliver at school and headed to Sebs school.  As soon as we got out of the car, he started whimpering....he whimpered all the way to his classroom, where I said good bye.....then whimpered for the next 3 hours!  Bless. His teachers are doing a really good job.  I get a report each day, with photos and generic spiel as to what the class have been up to in the day.  It is very nice.

While Seb was in school, it was mummy and Isaac time, so we got some donuts

And headed home.  All Isaac wanted to do was play computer.  So I let him, but we did watch some of Finding Nemo together before going to get Seb.  Yesterday afternoon was spent at Anna's house, with Rachel, raiding her DVD collection.  Thank you ladies for a lovely afternoon.  Oliver came home from school with his valentines goodies.  I swear he was the only child in his class who did not give candy/stickers/tattoos stuck to his card.  His valentines is very commercialized.  They are certainly breeding the next generation of Hallmark shoppers.  They will be the people who feel the need to spend a stupid amount of money they don't have on gifts.  At least Isaac's school requests no gifts/candy.... His party is Thursday..

All 3 headed out the door to school today, hurrah!  The older 2 were all dropped off fine.  Sebastian waited till he got to the door of his classroom to burst into tears.  but he went in, and went off with the teacher and played.  When I came to pick him up, the rest of his class were lining up in pairs to go to the gym, and he was sitting there ever so nicely on the floor.  He was very happy to see me.  His teacher said he had a much better day.  He used the computer and did some art. Everyday I get a generic report of what his class have been up to, but it is personalized with photos of what Sebastian has done.  

I think he is going to settle really well.  Isaac had a bit of a bumpy day, but I think we may be in for a bumpy time over the next few weeks with him anyway, given what is happening tomorrow….

So tomorrow is Oliver's operation.  Bless his teacher, he came out today laden down with books and worksheets of things he will miss in the next 1-2 weeks.  He has already started some of it.  I think I will go through it with him tomorrow and work out some sort of a timetable… He has to be at the hospital for 10.45am.  This is a little later than we had hoped, but what can you do?  He will be in surgery at least 2 hours, probably more.  Then at least an hour in recovery room.  I am expecting him to be home around 4, and he will probably be going straight to bed.  I have found a good site for anyone interested in what Oliver is going through tomorrow….

Will post photos tomorrow…..

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Something new, and Seb starts school

Did you notice my new badge???

I put it right at the top of my side bar.

About 2 weeks ago, I was contacted by Blog Expat, asking if I would be interested in doing an Expat interview.  Typically, I jumped at the chance.  These things never take me long to write, once I have had a long hard think about what I want to say.

I hope you like it.

Here's the link

Today was Sebastian's first day at school 

I dropped the older 2 as usual, then headed on to Sebs school.  Luckily it is only 10 minute drive from Isaacs, even in traffic.  We were greater by the owner, who walked us down to his room.  We went in, introduced him to his teacher, then found his peg/cubby for his stuff.  I told him I was leaving, he gave me a kiss, and off he went.  Such a big boy…..

I picked him up at 11.30.  He was rather teary…. His teacher said he had not liked it when he had to tidy up (surprise, surprise) or when he had to come in from playing outside.  When I arrived, he was with one of his teacher, looking at photos and taking photos on her tablet. I was chatting to his other teacher, and it took him a few minutes, and to be told that I was there!  He let out a big 'yeah' when he saw me, and was still pretty teary all the way to the car.  

I think he did really well at being left, and from what his teachers said, he did enjoy it.  I hope he will be okay going in tomorrow, as long as the weather holds ok….

My birthday shenanigans


So we are on another winter weather watch, tomorrow morning till Thursday.  Anything between 1-8 inches of snow, depending where you read it.  I think school will be on tomorrow, but possibly not Wednesday.  There is a big fear of cold weather here, a bit weird, coming from the UK....

It was my birthday last Wednesday.  I started the day opening my presents which consisted of beer, chocolates, work out tops and more Pandora charms.  Isaac was off last week, so we went to Gravatopia to meet up with some friends.  This place is awesome, loads of trampolines, and pits full of foam you can jump into.  Here is a photo of Isaac about to jump in to the big pit. 

 It took him a while to work up the courage, and would only do it holding my hand.  Gravatopia is reasonably priced, they do a session 9-10am where kids are usual price, and adults jump for free.  This  is a place I am sure we will be back to.  I spent the rest of the day relaxing and letting the boys play too much computers......  I cooked a lovely meal for Paul and I, and enjoyed my first beer in a month (followed by a few more)

Thursday I went to Rachel's.  It was nice for Isaac to get the chance to lay with Riley.  They get on so well.  Anna was also there.  All these guys were just getting over sickness bugs....

Friday we took Isaac to get his haircut.  Seb was supposed to get his done too, but he point blank refused, and I was not going to force the issue.  I was supposed to be going to the Free Zumba and the Kroc centre in Greenville in the evening, but got a last minute text from Anna asking if I wanted to go to the cinema instead, as a late birthday treat.

So off we trundled, Anna, myself, Rachel and Clare.  We saw American Hustle.  An alright film.  I won't be going out of my way to see it again though.... As this was not a stupidly long film like the one previously, we decided to go for a few drinks after.  We ended up at Sherby's in Simpsonville.  This was the first time any of us have experienced the bar scene here, and I think we all rather enjoyed it, given the time we got home.... Thanks ladies for an excellent night out.  Looking forward to the next one.

Saturday I got to go shopping on my own, which was lovely.  I visited Old Navy, and could have spent so much more than I did.  I also visited Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW), and finally found some boots!  Unfortunately they didn't have my size and tried to order them for me, but alas their stockings did not have my size.  The manager did however manage to put some life into my old boots with a special lanolin cream.  They look almost like new now...  I did invest in some decent Clakes flip flops for the summer.  I then checked out TJ Maxx next door, and was so not impressed.... I took a quick trip into the mall and spent my gift card for American Eagle.

Saturday night we were lucky enough to go out.  Thank you to Anna for babysitting.  We headed into Greenville, and after trying to get into nearly every decent restaurant on Main Street, we ended up at Roost.  It was pretty good (I hope to blog about it soon).  It was a good night, but Greenville was very busy.

It has been a long time since I have been out on a Friday and Saturday night.  Thanks to my friends for taking me out, and babysitting, and thanks to my lovely husband for taking me out!

Sunday, Oliver had a birthday party at Sky Zone.  This is a lot like Gravatopia, but on a grander scale for bigger kids. This was the first birthday party Oliver has been invited to this year, and he even let me leave him this time!  I think he had a good time, and this could be a good place for him to have a birthday party.....

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Snow catch up

Oh dear, it's been a while since I posted, so this will probably be epic.  I apologise now.....

So it snowed last week.  Isaac's school finished lunchtime on the Tuesday, and everyone was off on the Wednesday.  When I say it snowed, we had about an inch tops.  The authorities did their best to deal with the roads, we even saw lorries out salting when we went out for dinner on Tuesday night.  

Isaac's school were also off on the Thursday, though Oliver was back in.  It was cold, -13 celcius at night. Yesterday, the thermometer hit 21 degrees.......

Seb has had his tetanus jab.  After getting back in touch with the doctors, they decided to give him the 3 in 1 last Monday.  Bless, he gets so excited going to the doctors.  Not sure he will anymore.  I had to hold him down, and she managed to jab him right on the muscle.  Poor mite, it obviously hurt as he was struggling to walk on it.  He was also a cantankerous little sod for a few days after too.

Isaac is off school on his winter break this week.  We went to play at McDonalds yesterday morning, and this morning we checked out Creating Artists for Tomorrow (CAT) art studios.  You may remember I bought a Living Social deal for this waaaayyyyyy back in august.  The boys had good fun making a mess.

After Oliver's CT scan last week, we had a follow up appointment with Dr Alexnder at the ENT department this morning.  Not good.  Basically Oliver has cholesteatoma in his right ear.  This is where skin cells have managed to get into his ear canal behind his ear drum.  Once there, they have started multiplying, and basically having a party in his ear.  Because of the drum there is no where for the dead cells to go, so they have built up and kept multiplying.  The doc showed me the CT scan.  On his left ear, there is lovely air (black on the image) where the bones of his middle ear can still work.  All you could see on the right ear was grey where the skin has built up.  It has overtaken his bones, hence his loss of hearing, and also worked its way into the honeycomb bones around his ear.

Left unchecked, these skin cells will keep multiplying.  They could continue to destroy the bones, and even work their way to the blood brain barrier, which would put him at a very high risk of meningitis and permenant damage.  It could also destroy some of his facial nerve.

Oliver will be having an operation in 2 weeks time.  They will make an incision behind his ear, and work their way in to his ear canal to cut out the excess skin cells.  Hopefully, they will get it all first time round.  There is a 20% chance they won't.  There is also a small chance he may lose some of his taste cells (it would only be noticeable to a wine conasiour apparently), and a chance he may lose some action of his facial nerve.  Again, only slim.

He will then have a follow up appointment 10 days later.  In 6 months time they will operate again.  Depending on what they find when they open his ear, they will either be scraping more cholesteatoma out, or will be doing reconstructive work on his bones in the middle ear, with the hope of making his hearing back to how it was. 

This is scary stuff.  I am glad they have caught it when they have, even if it does mean an operation.  I keep wondering what would have happened if we were on the UK.  Would we have been to ENT yet?  Probably not.  I am pretty rubbish at taking my kids to the doctors, unless they are on deaths door.  Would we have had a CT scan?  This problem can be diagnosed with out one, but would we even have been offered it?  Who knows?  Hopefully we will never have to find out.

And he is having his adenoids out at the same time….