Friday, February 7, 2014

Another Kidney Surgery

Our three-and-a-half-year-old son had Deflux surgery in October, which corrected the urine reflux from his bladder back up to his kidney. The urologist was hopeful that the procedure would help reduce the swelling in the lower pole of his left duplex kidney, but that was not the case. The swelling remained, and even increased. The urologist said that it might happen, mostly because the Deflux makes the ureter's opening into the bladder a little tight. But we were hoping anyway, even though it was not the case.

The urologist's hunch was that there was also a "ureteropelvic junction obstruction." In layman's terms, something was blocking the ureter so urine couldn't drain from the kidney. The "meat" of that kidney was shrinking, so the fear was that my son was losing kidney function. Fixing it, however, required more extensive surgery.

On Wednesday (February 5), my son went in for more surgery. The urologist is sooooo great. After my son was under general anesthesia, he did more tests to see what exactly was going on so he could know how to fix it. His hunch was correct--a weird blood vessel was located at the top of the ureter, blocking the urine from exiting that kidney.

If you're squeamish, you might not want to read the rest of this post: Just be warned, it'll get graphic...

It was a four hour surgery! Oh, the waiting was torture! Thankfully the O.R. team called often to tell me how things were progressing. But those four hours d--r--a--g--g--e--d by. But God was in that O.R. with my littlest guy, and He certainly guided the surgical team's hands!

The urologist detached my son's ureter, flipped it around so it wasn't in the way of that blood vessel, then reattached the ureter back together. He put in a stent that runs all the way from his kidney to his bladder to support everything while it heals.

I just can't say enough good things about my son's urologist. He came in to talk to us before the surgery, he even said to my older son, "I promise to take good care of your little brother." He came back to see us while my son was in the recovery room to explain how things went, what all he did to fix it (he even drew pictures to help us visualize the process he used), then he went back to my son in the recovery room to keep an eye on him. He was able to fix it all robotically, but part of using robotics is that air is pushed into my son's insides to keep everything in place while the work is being done. My son had an air bubble in his abdomen after the surgery that needed to be massaged around, and the urologist was careful to make sure it was done correctly.

After we were settled into the room where we'd stay overnight, the urologist came back to us AGAIN to check on us and make sure my son was stable.

A side effect the anesthesia is that it's hard work to breathe well. That, and the pain in the belly from all that surgery makes it generally painful to take more than a shallow breath. My son's oxygen levels went low, so a respiratory therapist came in to give supplemental oxygen for a while.

Everyone at this Children's Hospital is really great. The nurses were all very quick to give my son pain meds (alternating Toradol and morphine), they checked his incision sites often (he's got three incisions on his belly area), and just generally treated him like royalty. Even the housekeeping people would tell him how cute he is (no argument from this Mama!), and make sure we were taken care of and as comfortable as possible.

He stayed in the bed pretty much asleep the whole night. He'd wake up and fuss occasionally, and the nurses would give him meds to make him more comfortable. I was allowed to stay with him all night--I didn't sleep much, though. Every little moan and groan coming from my son would wake me up!

He didn't move much during the night, so his face was swollen in the morning. It just hurt too much for him to move, and the Foley catheter had him tethered down so he couldn't really move much anyway. Once the catheter was removed and he was a bit more alert, we had him get up into a vertical position and get that facial swelling down. He drank apple juice and water, but didn't want to eat anything.

At first we were told he would be released to go home once he used the toilet. But once the doctor found out he hadn't eaten anything, we had to stay. The staff needed to see that he was holding down food before we'd be able to go home. So we ended up staying about three more hours until he'd eaten a bit of lunch (half a piece of pizza and a cookie was all he could manage).

We had a two-hour drive back home. I got his pain medication (Lortab) from a nearby pharmacy so we could give some to him before we drove. He seemed comfortable enough, and even slept most of the way.

Recovery is going to be slow. He is not allowed to do much for the next three days. He's not supposed to straddle anything, so carrying him is kind of difficult. He's walking v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y. when he does walk, but mostly he's hanging out on the sofa, watching Mickey Mouse. He can't bathe for three days, and even then he's not allowed to soak in the tub. Graphic alert: we are to expect blood and tissue in his urine off and on for the next two to three weeks. And even though I am expecting it, seeing it actually makes me scared and nauseous. Yeah, let's just say that's not a pretty sight, and it pretty much scares the snot out of me when it happens. He's not allowed any "strenuous play" for two weeks. Yeah right...easier said than done, but we're going to do our best!

We go back to the urologist for a follow-up office visit and ultrasound in a month. Then we have to schedule ANOTHER surgery to have the stent removed. So he'll have had three general anesthesia surgeries in 6 months. My poor little baby!! But the urologist is hopeful that this will fix everything for good. The next risk is that scar tissue will develop, blocking the ureter again. So we'll still be making regular visits to have that monitored.

Here's a photo of my littlest guy sleeping off the anesthesia with his extra oxygen. He's holding Mickey Mouse, who goes with him e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. (He has to wait in the van while we're at Wal-Mart, but he gets held the very minute we get back in the van!) Children's Hospital here is so great about letting the kids take their "loveys" even into the O.R. with them. Mickey's been into two surgeries with my guy, he's been a good friend.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dairy Free, MSG Free Ranch Dip

For all my vegan, dairy/egg allergy friends, here is my own (mashup) recipe for a Ranch dip that will fool anyone:

Dairy Free, MSG Free (and Possibly Egg Free) Ranch Dip:

1 Recipe Non-Dairy Sour Cream Base (recipe below)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (if you use a vegan mayo such as Vegenaise, this will also be egg free)
1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (I prefer Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
1/2 Tbsp.  original Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning blend
1/2 Tbsp. dried onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients until very smooth. Chill to let the flavors blend before serving.

Non-Dairy Sour Cream Base:

1 14-oz. container firm tofu (not silken because it's too soft, and not extra firm because it turns out too thick)
Juice of 1 lemon (You can use 3 or 4 Tbsp. rice vinegar if you don't have a lemon, but lemon juice gives it a fresher flavor.)
1 to 3 Tbsp. water.

Place drained and crumbled tofu in a blender and puree with lemon juice until very smooth, adding minimal water as necessary. You'll need a spatula to scrape the sides back down and keep everything moving around the blender blades.

Yum! This dip is thick, perfect for a vegetable tray. If you thin it out a little with unsweetened almond milk, it is great as a salad dressing. (You might need to add a tsp. or so of vinegar to get the right amount of tanginess once you thin it out; just play around until you get the consistency you like.)

Once reason why I like this recipe is that it contains only real food. If you are concerned about GMOs, use organic tofu and the Bragg's Liquid Aminos. Both are non-GMO certified. If you use Vegenaise, it will also be free of high fructose corn syrup. (Some mayonnaises and salad dressings like Miracle Whip use processed sweeteners, so be sure to read the labels first.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

News from around here

Been away from the blog for a while, but I wanted to get caught up with the goings-on around our neck of the woods.

First, our daughter was rear-ended last month. When she called, she knew I'd panic, so she very gently said, "Mama, NO ONE WAS HURT!!" Then she said, "I was rear ended, IT WAS NOT MY FAULT!" She couldn't have worded it any better, she's so good. As long as no one was hurt and it wasn't her fault, all would be well.

But it is an ongoing headache. The guy who hit her didn't want to call the cops, but I told my daughter that she had to call the cops asap, don't let the guy leave the accident scene before she got his info and called the police. So the police did come, and the guy who hit my daughter's car was given a citation. Our daughter's car (a year 2000 Mazda 626) was barely damaged--it had a broken tail light and a cracked bumper, but the other guy's Nissan Titan (a full-sized pick up truck that resembles a military tank!) had a pretty crumpled front grill. I suppose those trucks are made more for looks than actual safety?? So to anyone who might be looking for a reliable, safe used car for their young driver, I can attest to the safety of the Mazda 626 (as well as reliability--the car has more than 120,000 miles on it. Besides the usual maintenance of an older car, it seems to still run okay. --Knock on wood!)

But this guy has been dragging his feet getting his business taken care of ever since the accident. He never called his insurance company. We called our insurance company the next day, but they told us that we'd have to take care of our deductible for repairs until the guy called his company. way am I shelling out a deductible on the hopes that we MIGHT see it again if/when the guy actually calls to report the accident. Even though we faxed a copy of the police report showing the guy was at-fault and ticketed for following too closely.

So our daughter drove around with a busted tail light and cracked bumper for more than a week before OUR agent actually called the guy to say, "We know about the accident, care to tell us about it??" Only then did he 'fess up.

The guy still hasn't paid his citation either, and his court date is tomorrow. Honey is planning to go with our daughter, who's under summons to appear against this guy. If allowed to speak, Honey plans to tell the judge just how much it angers him that this guy would seemingly try to take advantage of a young girl's naiveté. (The guy who hit her is in his late 40s, he should know better!)

The second drama going on right now is our youngest boy's kidney. The deflux procedure has resolved his urine reflux, but his bad kidney is still swollen and draining wayyyyyyy too slow. The urologist suspects he has a kinked ureter. We had two different tests up at Children's Hospital (120 miles away), and the urologist is going to call to discuss the results. The repair procedure for a kinked ureter is more complicated than a deflux injection, so we are praying for wisdom and guidance. The nuclear medicine guy who almost always does our son's tests explained the two popular ways to fix a kinked ureter are either by putting in a stent, or detaching then reattaching the ureter to the bladder. I don't know which repair method our urologist prefers, and I know I'm getting ahead of myself with all of it. We'll know more when we know more! But this Mama is worried...obviously.

We were planning a big road trip across the country during this Christmas break. But that got canceled at the last minute when my daughter got her court summons and my littlest guy had to have his bladder and renal scans. So we did a road trip, but it was only in-state to Childrens Hospital, LOL.

Merry Christmas, remember the true reason for the season is that the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came down as a babe to experience humanity, die for our sins, and offer us true and eternal salvation. This is the greatest gift ever--better than video games, big-screen TVs, name brand clothing, jewelry, electronics, anything!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Things I've Said to My Kids (Part 6)

Things I've Said to My Kids Part 6:

We are not going to paint Stella.

Did you just lick my knee?

Don't throw pumpkins in the house!

Good flute players practice in the backyard--far, far away from the house.

I don't think your sister wants a fur cake for her birthday.

Really? You think pot pie tastes like pot? do you know?

I don't know how to exercise my hair.

Get off my beans!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Up EARLY this morning

The ending of Daylight Savings Time aside, Honey was up at at 'em at 4:30 this morning. He has an early flight out of state for a job interview tomorrow.

Please pray for save travels and a successful interview. This job would get us "back home" closer to family, and it would be Honey's dream job.

Thanks for the prayers, I'll post back with updates.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Son's "Deflux" Surgery

The littlest member of our family had his surgery on Friday. He did great! Of course I cried terribly when the nurse wheeled him away, but all the staff at the hospital are sooooo good.

One thing I love about our Children's Hospital is that they are always thinking of the kids first. They gave my son a mild sedative, aka "goofy juice" that eased his separation anxiety before they wheeled him away. Only when he was asleep with the full anesthesia via breathing mask did they even start the IV and breathing tube. Only when he was fully asleep did they give him his catheter and get him positioned for surgery. So my son won't remember any of those things, which makes future visits a whole less stressful. We've been to this hospital so many times, my son now knows the neighborhood before we arrive there, and he starts freaking out! Before we even get there!

My son had "deflux" injections put into all three of his ureters. His left kidney is a duplex kidney with two ureters entering the bladder. The lower ureter is malformed, so the urologist injected deflux into the wall of his bladder where the ureter enters. When his bladder fills, the deflux makes a bump that forms an artificial valve to stop urine from refluxing back into his kidney.

The urologist was able to do all of this through a catheter in his urethra, so there are no incision marks. He is red as fire "down there", and it is really painful to pee. And when he needs to go, it's an urgent matter for him! The doctor said that might be the case for a week or so.

It took him a while to wake up from his anesthesia. After an hour of letting him sleep it off, the nurse came in and tried to get him to drink some apple juice. He was just so groggy, he only took a few sips and went back to sleep. After a while longer, two clowns came in and started blowing bubbles for him. THAT'S what woke him up and make him alert!

We got to go home the same day, once he was able to hold down his apple juice. He seemed almost bipolar on the way home, laughing at silly things his mind concocted such as "coffee guns", then crying almost uncontrollably because he wanted Burger King. It was, uhm...weird to see his moods change so fast.

The doctor gave him a narcotic pain reliever. We gave him one dose, and it made him super loopy and hyper. He really needed to be resting, but he was literally jumping off the sofa! I did NOT like it one bit.We won't give him any other doses, he seems to be okay with just Tylenol.

I noticed a small bit of blood in his urine the first night, but none after. The urologist said it might happen, so I was prepared and didn't freak.

Before the surgery, when the "goofy juice" was kicking in. He was a real flirt to all the nurses!:

After the surgery, which lasted an hour. He slept like this for about another hour post-surgery:

With Daddy, trying to drink a juice box.

We go back in a month to see how well the surgery worked. Please pray the swelling in his kidney has gone down.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things I've Said to My Kids Part 5

Who put the green beans in the dryer?

 Yes, you may spend some time with your superhero suit.

 Who put my shoe on the doorknob?

 Take the hose back outside!

 Daddy doesn't have spaghetti sauce up his nose.

 No thank you, we don't need any monkey cookies.

 You're big enough to blow your own food.

 You won't die from lack of bun.

 I don't think chocolate chips and tomatoes make a very balanced dinner.

 I don't think Daddy wants me to have purple hair.

 Or green hair, either.

 Don't jump off the counters with your umbrella. You're not Mary Poppins.