Monday, June 27, 2011

Congratulations! It's a...

... rock!

Nick gave birth last night to a 4mm kidney stone. Actually, the tiny little sharp piece of hell made its way out of his kidneys last night, tumbled into his bladder this morning, and was delivered this afternoon. 

At about 11pm the first stab of pain told him exactly what his kidneys had planned for the night. By 1:30am, I was checking him into the ER while he vomited into the bushes outside. The staff took care of him immediately and I left him there, shaking, pale and groaning, because I had to get back home to three girls who were still fast asleep (one with a growling stomach, I'll bet!). 

See what happens when you joke about needing to get all your illnesses out of the way while your deductible is still met?? The good news is the CAT-Scan showed there was no more gravel lying in wait.

My sister Diane officially welcomed Nick to The Stone Club; having passed four ginormous rocks, she's a Platinum Member. I think I'll skip this one. The initiation is too brutal!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dry Raisin Bran for Dinner

Every now and again it's good to have the girls' friends over to remind me that at least when it comes to eating, we have it pretty easy. Here's a conversation I had with a friend of Cayenne's this evening:

"What's for dinner?"

"Salade Nicoise."

"What's that?"

"A big salad with mixed greens, potatoes, tomatoes, boiled eggs, French string beans, tuna and a bunch of other yummy things." Figured I shouldn't mention the black olives.

"But what are you making for the main dish?"

"The salad is so loaded, it's a meal."

"Well I don't like tuna."

"Okay, I'll take out your portion before adding the tuna, then."

"I don't like the other stuff in it either."

"I was going to make pasta with arugula pesto, but chose this because you're gluten intolerant."

"What's arugula pesto?"

I explained and she said she'd rather have that. I looked at my almost finished salad and for a brief second, thought about putting it away for tomorrow and making the pasta, until my brain kicked back in and I realised she wasn't going to like the pasta either.

Nick and Acacia were still on their long (eight hours in the end!) mountain bike ride so we went ahead and ate. Cayenne and I had the Nicoise, and her friend had leftover macaroni with tomato sauce. Well, she looked at it anyway. Ate one bite ("I don't like tomato sauce."). So glad I didn't make the pasta!

"How about a smoothie?"
"Already had one today."

"How about cheese and crackers, or yogurt with fruit on the bottom?"
"I'm lactose intolerant; can't eat dairy."
"You sure you're not just intolerant??" Just kidding. I didn't really say that. Not out loud.

"How about watermelon?"
"I love watermelon. Can you cut out different shapes like at the grocery store so there's no rind?"
"No." (This I did say.)
She ate a total of one bite of watermelon.

A little while later...

"What are you eating?"

(Dang! Totally got caught with my spoon in a pint of Cookie Dough ice cream.)

"Is that Ben & Jerry's? I can eat Ben & Jerry's."
"But I thought you were lactose intolerant?"
"I am but Ben & Jerry's is okay."

"Is it bedtime yet??"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disaster-Free Fun Times!

The look on Ilona's face when she walked in the door and was greeted by sixteen voices yelling, "Surprise!" told me that we had indeed managed to keep her 70th birthday party a secret. Well done, kids (and kids-at-heart!).

Ilona thought she was just coming over for a mimosa brunch, but really we hijacked her whole day (whole week, actually!). After lunch in the garden under the cobalt sky, we went for a light walk by Junction Creek, then met for cocktails at Ilona and Michel's new home on our way to the Bar-D Chuckwagon, a slop-it-on-your-tin-plate dining experience.

The entertainment included a musically talented string quartet squeezed into their Wrangler jeans, singing away under their 10 gallon Stetsons. Actually I have no idea if they were Stetsons or how many gallons they were - whatever that means. (Okay, so I just Googled it and the gallonage does not refer to the amount of liquid a cowboy could pour into his hat - which is what some people actually think. You know how much space ten gallons takes up?? You wouldn't be able to get into the cab of your pick-up truck with that on.)

Actually, according to "Galón is the Spanish word for braid. Some vaqueros wore as many as ten braided hatbands on their sombreros, and those were called ten galón hats." So there you go. A little trivia. (Did you know Mr. Stetson was from New Jersey? Who knew?)

Anywho, I digress. We chose the Bar-D because it's something every local has to do at least once, and we thought it'd be fun to share Michel and Ilona's Durango Initiation.

After this I was re-initiated into the world of two and a half year olds and naps and 24/7 care when my sister-in-law Sophie's kiddos stayed on after the party for four days, while she celebrated her upcoming 40th with some friends at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Gemma (5) and Sam (2) are great kids and were no trouble, but it made me realise how far we've come! Nick and I are in the easy years now: The girls are independent but still think their parents are the bee's knees. This is a temporary phase and we're enjoying it!

The eight of us - grandparents, parents, daughters, niece and nephew - spent Friday night and Saturday in Ouray, where Cayenne and Acacia competed in a swim meet, surrounded by walls of mountains. The setting was stunning, the girls did very well and the adobe hotel was gorgeous.

Acacia finishing her 100 IM - Whoever was in 2nd place was eating her bubbles! (An IM is an Individual Medley, so she swam one length each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.)

Cayenne competed against older kids (9-13) and finished this heat in 3rd. Go Cay!

On Father's Day, Nick, our friend Jeanette, the four kids and I went on a hike to Spud Lake, an easy walk to a wonderful spot. 

Unfortunately, it took us longer than we'd planned - not used to the pace of younguns anymore! - and our return trip was later and hotter than expected. This took a toll on Satcho who, despite his earnest, desperate tries, couldn't quite make it back. 

We fashioned a sling out of a towel and carried his back half while he walked on his "hands" to the car. Bless him. Getting old (with three legs) sucks!

And the best was saved for last... at least if you're Sam it was. The very full week ended with a visit downtown to Thomas the Tank who was in Durango for his annual visit (which we would have missed if Cayenne hadn't read about it in the Herald). 

Ilona and Michel took all four kids for a ride on the train and around the Thomas-related events at the station, and it was a highlight for sure.

Happy Birthday, Ilona!

And to my father John, Nick's father Michel, Michel's father Sam Sr., my Nick, and all the other wonderful Dads out there:
Happy Fathers' Day!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keeping the Hospitals in Business

I heard her scream, but the intensity of it made it sound completely unlike one of my own children, and I automatically thought it was one of the numerous other kids waiting for breakfast at my hockey team's annual camp-out. I rushed to the cry and found Cayenne, who'd tripped on the flagstone stairs.

Her silky sweats weren't even torn so I was expecting a rising goose-egg or small cut, but when I lifted her pant leg it was clear we were heading for Urgent Care. The edges of the nearly 2-inch gash were rolled back like a dog bearing its teeth, revealing some kneecap. Here we go again!

The kind doctor at Urgent Care let Acacia and me watch as the wound was irrigated and brushed (while Cayenne read a cooking magazine), saying she likes to peak young kids' interest in the medical arena, but Acacia's reaction was a whispered, "That's gross," and I could see chills occasionally make their way down her spine. It may or may not have had the desired effect, but I was thankful that at least she'd have a better appreciation for her sister's plight, for which she'd had very little to that point. "Can't believe this happened before breakfast. They were making pina colada smoothies, you know."

The doc explored the hole carefully and found Cayenne's tendon lacerated. We were heading to the hospital. Another severed Cofman tendon? Nick already performed that trick a few summers ago when he wrecked some in a finger. At this rate we'll reach our annual family insurance deductible soon and the rest of us will have to make sure we get hurt this year instead of next! (Bad karma. Shouldn't even utter the words...)

The ER doctor at Mercy Hospital took a good long look at Cayenne's knee. He dug and dug and finally determined that the tendon was fine. It is deeper than the cut and seems to have been spared. PHEW! Two layers of stitches and we were good to go. 

At least good to go for the next five hours, that is. Half an hour ago the ER doc called. He just read the report from Urgent Care - huh? just now? - and it stated that the lacerated tendon could only really been seen when her knee is quite bent. He wanted to see her again.

So Cayenne and Nick are on their way back to the hospital to have the sutures removed (poor kid!), her knee manhandled, and if all goes well, restitched and sent home. If it doesn't go well... actually, I don't even want to go there yet. At the moment I'm thinking of my little girl, and am thankful her Daddy is holding her hand.



Nick just called. Two bullets dodged in one day; makes me wonder what's going to happen tomorrow. Her tendon is indeed fine, she's resewn and famished. Cayenne never misses an opportunity to eat and is bummed by the breakfast- and dinner-timing of these ER visits.

At least she has her priorities straight!

   I bet ours is not the first hockey party to end in the ER. :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I've Got My Eye on You

"So you're from Durango. What brings you to Albuquerque?" the hotel receptionist asked Nick.

"Here to get an eyeball, actually."


"Well I've always loved Durango. It's a lovely place."

He didn't laugh until we were in the glass elevator - Cayenne's eyes wide as we sprang away from the ground and flew up eight stories - but he giggled every time he thought of it during our yummy Thai meal that evening.

After Nick suggested he get a blue eye to go with his golden brown one, friends' ideas came flying in: What about purple? No wait! How about words painted in a spiral on the iris saying,  "I've got my eye on you," or "Here's looking at you, kid," or "What are you looking at?" Or an aquarium with a fish that swims back and forth. Or an eye that boings by itself like a bobblehead?

But as Friday morning gave way to afternoon, stroke upon tiny stroke of browns, yellows, blacks and blue paint blended into a carbon copy not only of Nick's right eye, but also, it just so happened, of Cayenne's eyes - pretty wild! I had high hopes that this was going to be one of the easy steps in this whole palava, but nothing is going to be easy methinks. Once the iris was painted onto the custom-molded prosthetic alongside delicate red silk threads that look like blood vessels, it was covered in an acrylic-like coating, cured, polished, and inserted under Nick's eyelid.

Around this time the girls and I were getting charged by a Sichuan Tagin at the zoo. I think she wanted Acacia's snowcone because those animals looked hot! We were checking out a lion when Nick phoned to say he was right behind us on the Cat Walk. Perfect timing as we'd already been through Africa, Australia, Asia - sounds like my 20s! - and the sea lion exhibit, and the zoo was about to close. We met him by the stunning snow leopards. He took off his sunglasses and my heart sank just a hair because I knew we'd be coming back to ABQ. I realised then how much I'd been hoping this would be a one-step deal. That said, he'll need this eye polished annually, and a new eye every 5-10 years, so really this is a never-ending deal.

The ocularist has been making eyes for 31 years - ever since he lost his own left one in a car accident - so he knows what he's doing and I trust his experience when he says he made the eye a bit big on purpose. He says Nick's socket may sink a little and it'll fit better. We're to go back in July to fix it if necessary, but either way Nick will be seeing the surgeon eye doc there because the eye doesn't quite move right. I think he needs a peg in it. Not all do, but it's disconcerting when Nick looks down (as you tend to do when you're 6'4") and one eye looks over my head.

I've been gazing into ocular nothingness for months without a second thought, but now that we're trying to make it look better, we want it to look better, you know? It's cosmetic and Nick doesn't really care about looking normal, but when he decides to do something he doesn't go halfway (especially when insurance doesn't even pay halfway; they pay only a third of this part actually).

So... more waiting. It'll be fine in not a lot of time, but I was hoping for at least one "quick" fix. Sure was easier to break all these things than repair them, but at least most of it is reparable!