Tag Archives: family

The Stories Iโ€™m Told

I met a gentleman today. Like many elderly before him, he saw me walking around in hyvee with Felix in his carrier, and said that it wouldโ€™ve been nice to have when he had been raising kids. He then went on to tell me his life story.

His wife passed away when they were both 35 years old. They had a son and a daughter, and the daughter was still a baby at that time. So he raised his kids alone. He never remarried.

He had polio as a teenager and beat it. He joined the Army when he was young and was in the Korean War. He enjoyed the Army, and worked with explosives. Not explosives like we have nowadays he said, but the ones with glycerin, that can go off for any little reason. He enjoyed traveling and all that he was able to learn and do.

Then he jumped ahead to talking about his wife passing away, and raising and taking care of his son and daughter. He said his son passed away at age 51 to MS, and his daughter passed away at age 46 (I donโ€™t remember why). He said he took care of them as long as he could, until he could no longer. He then helped raise his grandchildren, and they all look out for him when he has medical procedures. He also helps with his great grandchildren now.

This gentleman was proud to tell me he is a born again Christian, and when he was diagnosed with cancer he certainly was not afraid. They told him he had it everywhere, including his lymph nodes and many organs in his body. He had 10 surgeries and watched every one of them he was awake for. He said the nurses and doctors got a kick out of it, but he said itโ€™s his body and he wants to make sure theyโ€™re doing it right. Plus he was fascinated to watch them work. He listed off all the organs affected, which included his pancreas, liver, and intestines (plus several others). Many surgeries, many ICU stays, and even life support. Doctors told him he would never survive it all, but years later he stands there in hyvee telling me about it, cancer-free. He told me about the surgery sites not healing properly and needing to care for it at home. And then he told me about being diabetic and needing to change his diet in order to have a final surgery to repair the open wounds. He changed his diet so much that he no longer needed insulin.

He claimed to never have drank soda, coffee or alcohol other than tastes earlier in life. He said thatโ€™s why he believes he does not have dementia. He currently visits folks at 3 different nursing homes here in town.

He said he drives a pickup truck now because itโ€™s easier to get into. But until recently he had a Mustang. He said just once he got it up to 140 mph. He said heโ€™s heard youโ€™re supposed to die with grace, but he wants to go out with a bang. He wants to enjoy life, every moment of it, and live to be 120! He said the hardest part about being as old as he is, is watching all of his loved ones pass away or lose their memories. But heโ€™s happy to still be alive at AGE 91!!!, against all odds.

I couldโ€™ve listened to him talk all day long. Iโ€™m absolutely fascinated with his stories. And I didnโ€™t even catch his name. Just a photo of him as he left.

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Felix is 8 Months Old!

Felix is 8 months old today! In the last month he has really blossomed. Whatever funk he was in for the first 6 months of his life has definitely passed.

Things he does now:

โ€ข Looks at faces, makes eye contact, smiles, and has stranger anxiety.

โ€ข Rolls front to back, back to front.

โ€ข Reaches up and out with his hands to grabs objects.

โ€ข Sits for a few moments at a time, with improvement every day.

โ€ข Stays on hands and knees for a few moments with help.

โ€ข Squeals, babbles, and razzes all the time.

โ€ข Enjoys bath time (and swimming at the Y).

โ€ข Likes playing games and singing, like โ€œPat-A-Cakeโ€ and โ€œItsy Bitsy Spider.โ€

โ€ข Actively and happily participates in physical therapy at appointments and at home.

โ€ข Drinks breastmilk on demand, and eats purรฉed baby food twice a day.

โ€ข Sleeps in his crib (no longer his bassinet) for longer stretches of time at night. But still doesnโ€™t nap well.

โ€ข Still prefers the outdoors.

Iโ€™m sure there are a few things Iโ€™m missing. But these are all big changes that came all at once. He also got his 6 month shots today since he was on a delayed schedule due to his previous CMV infection. At his appointment he weighed 18 lbs 1 oz, and was 27 inches tall.

Now if I could just get him to smile for a picture, it would be really helpful for these monthly updates. Haha!

Cars, Kids and the Concert

I just wanted to follow up my previous posts with some updates. First of all, it turns out we were fully insured. Insurance deemed the car a total loss and paid us out. We were able to find a minivan at a reasonable price and are getting some repairs done Friday to make it last us a while. Felix continues to do amazing at physical therapy except for the last couple days, when he just wants to be held all the time. I’m sure a big part of that is the fact that he’s teething. He’s gotten one tooth and the second one isn’t far behind.But anyway, Felix can roll front to back and back to front now, and when he does the exercise when he’s on his tummy on his boppy, he’s getting strong enough to push himself off and over it. He’s also really been studying faces lately. I’m so proud of his progress.

Andy got his braces off today! He had them for 3.5-4 years, with a jaw surgery during that time. He said it feels weird and a little sore. But he’s happy.

Evan had court today to review his court ordered outpatient committal. The judge dismissed the case, saying Evan was no longer a threat to himself or others. But he’s gotten 2 criminal charges and has violated his probation (recently). I told him the ruling may seem like a good thing, but what it really means is that now when he decides to act a fool, he can’t hide behind mental health. He will just be treated like a criminal. He faces a judge about his second criminal charge soon.

Jarrod had a really good time at Riot Fest despite his shitty adventure on the way home. He got to see a couple bands in particular he was very excited to see: Guided By Voices and Ween. I’m glad he was able to go and enjoy himself, even if I was unable to join him. Hopefully I get so fortunate as to be able to go to a concert soon.

Left: Guided By Voices โ€” Right: Ween, photos by Jarrod

I finally saw a doctor about a few things I had been avoiding and/or putting off. Nothing too serious. I’m not going to go into any of that right now because Felix is starting to wake up from his mini nap and I don’t have time to type about it. I’ll update again soon.

Appointments and Evaluations

Since my last update Felix has had 4 more appointments: a sedated MRI, a feeding/speech evaluation, and intakes for physical therapy and occupational therapy.

The MRI was on September 5th. Jarrod and I both went with Felix that day, and we were scheduled to arrive at 8:30 AM. Felix was to be without food or milk for 4+ hours at the time of his test, which was scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM. We arrived on time, got checked in, and things went very smoothly.

Tired and hungry, just waiting for his MRI.

Once Felix was taken back to the nurses, things went pretty quick. He got examined, prepped and an IV started, just in time for the MRI to be ready. Just before they took him back, they injected the sedation med. it was weird and unsettling to see him go from active, happy baby to asleep in mere moments. But I knew he was in good hands. The test took about an hour, and when they brought him back in he was just barely starting to wake up. Jarrod and I were there talking to him as he regained consciousness. Within about 30-45 minutes he was back to being happy (once he was able to have some mommy milk). We were told it would be a couple days before we got his results, but before the business day was over we got the phone call. Everything looked normal! Big sigh of relief!

For Felixโ€™s feeding/speech evaluation, I took him and Evan came along. Jarrod was working. I took Felix in hungry, knowing they would want to see him eat. She sat him in a high chair and used the purรฉed food I brought to feed him on a spoon. He was very attentive, happy, and eager to eat. He leaned forward with his mouth open for bites, and ate very well. The therapist listened to his swallowing sounds, watched his mouth movements and body language, and told me that his feeding skills are right on track with his gross motor skills. She had no concerns, and did not recommend continued therapy at this time.

For Felixโ€™s physical and occupational therapy appointments I took him alone. I am very thorough on keeping Jarrod, who is an amazing provider, in the loop with all the details of the appointments. For his physical therapy, the therapist evaluated Felix and said his Hypotonia is mild, and really Felixโ€™s muscle tone is on the low end of average. He said it takes more work than the average person for Felix to move his body, but physical therapy will certainly help. He wants to see him weekly for now, with exercises to do 4-5x per day at home.

For his occupational therapy, the therapist played with him a little and said anything she wanted to do for Felix at this point would overlap with physical therapy. Since insurance wonโ€™t cover anything overlapping in 2 therapies, she said she didnโ€™t have a reason to continue therapy at this time. However sheโ€™s leaving it open-ended and โ€œas neededโ€ just in case he needs help with small motor skills in the future, which hopefully he wonโ€™t.

Itโ€™s only been 2 days since we started doing the physical therapy exercises at home, and already Felix is showing signs of improvement. Heโ€™s using his arms a lot more already.

Holding himself up on his arms!

Beyond the tests and therapy, Felix also has really become a lot more aware of the world, interactive, social, and communicative. I donโ€™t know exactly what has changed for him, but Jarrod and I are both extremely thankful for it. Heโ€™s so much more happy and fun, and itโ€™s amazing to watch him thrive and grow. We have a much more positive outlook for our little guy now.

Still to come: an EEG and neurology consultation, GI consultation, blood/genetic test results, ear exam and eye exam. It’s a wait to get in with all the specialists so it will be a couple more months for GI and neurology.

Felix Began Physical Therapy

This is a video update about Felix’s first day in physical therapy. I will do a more detailed update at the end of the week. Thanks for watching.