Archive for August 2012

Humanity?

August 30, 2012

OK, I’m going to take two separate but somewhat related ideas and bring ’em together. Stay with me.

I watch a lot of Animal Planet and National Geographic. I love animals and am fascinated by non-human creatures. One of the shows I often watch is Animal Cops… a show that pretty much creates disdain for many humans and makes me want to adopt or foster every abused and neglected animal in the Western Hemisphere.

Sometimes the animals in the show are so far gone that it is determined they would be better off and it would be more humane to put them down then try to treat them. On the show they always say that the animal needs to be “Humanely euthanized”. It’s something I’ve lived through personally 3 times before with my own pets, and while it was something that still haunts and tortures me, I know it was the right thing to do.

Let’s look at the word Humane, which is defined as:

1. Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion: a humane judge.

2. Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns.

OK, so when an animal is suffering, assisting in their death is considered humane… KIND, COMPASSIONATE, a direct reflection of our values as humans.

Why is it, then, that assisting a human in their own death is not considered humane, it is criminal?! This is something that has bothered and bewildered me for quite some time.

When my grandpa was dying, it was especially difficult for my dad to watch. My grandpa was suffering… truly painfully wasting away, in a state of constant pain unless he was unconscious. Some life, right? At one point my dad said if it wouldn’t send him to jail, he would smother his father with a pillow while he was in a drug induced coma to put him out of his misery. It may sound harsh to you, but I know that it was said out of complete love and, well, humanity. My dad then tried to make me promise to do the same for him.

On a personal level, I have always felt like quality of ANY life was far more important that quantity. I have a living will and advanced directives that let my family and doctors know when I want life saving treatments to continue, to stop, and when to essentially “pull the plug”. What I’m saying is that my whole quality vs. quantity isn’t just talk,  I’m walking the walk. I’m also one of those people that realize death is just a part of life, and it will come to everyone. The when and how are the only variables. For me I can’t see any benefit from prolonging my life for a day, week, or month, if there is not a chance of recovery. Having blood pump through my veins and air go into my lungs is not what defines “living”, at least for me. However, if someone wants to fight to the end, I think that is wonderful and incredibly brave!

Ultimately, I believe it all comes down to choice. I believe that each person should have a say in what happens to themselves. It should be a personal choice when it comes to fighting for your own life, or being able to let go. I’m not saying that if someone is terminally ill, we just go in and kill them. What I am saying is that if someone wants to fight, it should be their choice. And if a person decides that they are ready to meet their maker, that too should be that individuals choice.

At what point did we as humans let the fear of death and medical advances that keep people alive regardless of a persons wishes put personal freedom, respect, and true humanity on the back burner?

I’d love for you to weigh in. Because I find it absolutely insane that we think of ending the life of a suffering animal compassionate and humane, but we cannot do that for our fellow-men.

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Making Our Own

August 29, 2012

When I was a little girl, the 10th birthday was a rite of passage. It meant we were old enough to enjoy (and behave) at one of the best restaurants around. It meant that my dad would take his daughters for a one-on-one date to La Caille.

If you’re not familiar with La Caille, might I suggest clicking on the above link to check it out. But in short, it’s fancy, expensive, and on amazingly beautiful grounds.

After some discussion, Greg and I decided to create a similar tradition. The difference is that we’re taking each kid (boys included) when they turn 12. We came up with this idea a little after Ian turned 12, and it only took us 5 months to actually see it through :). And about 3 weeks ago, we finally came through on our promise.

We looked over the menu and decided that Ian would most likely prefer the brunch menu. Plus, I wanted it to be earlier in the day with plenty of light so that we could check out the beautiful sights.

We wanted it to be a big deal for the kids, because it kind of is. So we all dressed up (at least more than we normally do), and picked Ian up from his dad’s one Sunday morning/afternoon. Ian had never experienced valet parking, and it was kind of funny to watch him wonder what he was supposed to do.

I had requested a table outside because I remember so fondly what happens when you eat outside. There is abundant wild life here, and my favorite are the peacocks walking around and they come right up to your table. I’m not sure what we spent more time doing… eating or feeding them. SO CUTE!

Greg and I ordered Eggs Benedict with a Petite Fillet Mignon, and Ian decided on Creme Brulee French Toast. SOOOO good! They also served caramel croissants, crepes with a grape/raisin compote, and finished the meal with a chocolate mousse. None of us could finish all of our food, but we made sure to save room so that we could taste everything.

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After our delicious meal, we walked around the expansive grounds. There are a number of little trails, streams, and we even saw a cute little bunny hopping around. I had such a fun afternoon with 2 of my boys, and I know it was something that Ian will never forget.

I can’t wait until our “triplets” turn 12 and we can share this experience with them.

1st For The 8th Time

August 27, 2012

We’ve been through the 1st day of school many times. Even so, it’s still exciting, nerve wracking, and a pretty big day at our house.

Luckily the kids all seemed happy that school was starting up again. Last night they got ready by showering, setting all of their new clothes out, and acting kind of like they took a hit of meth.

It was a pretty smooth morning (although some tears from the twins from throat pain happened), and it all went off as expected.

I can’t believe Ian is in Jr. High… how did that happen!?! Alex will be following suit next year, which seems crazy to me. Emma & Cooper are now starting 4th, and both got the teacher they wanted, which will hopefully ensure a great year. And Riley starts her first day of “real” all-day school tomorrow.

Only 12 more years to go 😉

Goodbye Forever

August 23, 2012

Last Friday we said goodbye to Emma & Cooper’s tonsils for forever. I can’t say that I will miss them, but if you were to ask the twins today if they regret getting them out, I’m pretty sure the answer would be a definite “YES!”. Maybe it’s the “this is the worst week of my life” that Cooper was able to squeak out this morning. Or it could be the too often tears that trickle down Emma’s cheeks because she’s in pain. But I’m pretty sure they aren’t quite seeing the silver lining yet.

There are some stories about surgery day that I was going to share, but honestly, I just don’t wanna because it’ll take to long. It was a really long day at the hospital, suffice it to say the kids made it through the surgery OK and are home where they belong.

There is one story I WILL share. Emma was the first to head into surgery. After she woke up and I was with her in post-op, she started asking about Cooper. Over and over again. She asked if he was out. She asked if he was OK. It was pretty dang cute and a little heart wrenching. Note… at Primary Children’s Hospital, they have two post-op rooms. One is a “right after surgery” room, where the child is waking up and they have 1-on-1 care from a nurse. They stay there for a little while and make sure their breathing and heart-rate are normal, as well as their pain under control. Anyway, while Emma was in the 2nd Post-Op room, I was told that Cooper was out of surgery and I could go see him. I left Emma with her Dad to go be with Cooper.

He was much more out of it than Emma was. He was totally out. But when he finally did wake up, he was in horrible pain. I guess I expected his experience to be like Emma’s… discomfort but not too much pain. But it took 2 doses of I.V. meds (something like morphine but safer for kids) before he was able to be moved next to her. Even through his pain, he was also asking about Emma. Was her surgery over? Was she OK?

I was so grateful they made the accommodations so they could be next to each other. As the nurse wheeled Cooper’s bed over to where Emma was laying, something I found incredibly sweet happened. Both of them were facing the other way, but anyone saying anything, it’s like they could feel each other. They turned to face each other, and both reached their hands through the bars of the their beds to touch each other.

I’m kicking myself for not having my camera ready, but it did happen again and I caught a part of it on video. Unfortunately I can’t upload the video, but it was very tender and very sweet.

Both kids are still struggling with pain management and spend most of their day miserable because they hurt, frustrated because they can’t eat what they want, and sleeping. And yesterday we had some bleeding issues. Ugh. I’m hoping that we will see some really good improvement and less pain in the days to come, and they that are healed and ready to start school next Monday.

I’ll leave you with these photos from the last 4 days. FUN TIMES!

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Fun Week Ahead. NOT.

August 15, 2012

About a week before the twins b-day, I took Emma in to the dr. because of a fever and sore throat. The rapid strep test came back negative, so I thought we were in the clear. But the next day I got the call from the nurse that let me know Emma DID have strep. Again. So a course of anti-biotics should have cleared it up, right?

The day before the twins b-day, Cooper got sick. Since I had their 10-year old well child check-up scheduled for the day after their b-day, I held off taking him in. Maybe it was a mistake, seeing as he had strep as well. And to top it off, Emma STILL had strep. Dr. Ring, my most favorite pediatrician in all of the world, said it was time to get those suckers out. She gave me the name of her most trusted ENT, and yesterday we had our first visit.

Before we went in, I looked at my schedule for the next 4 months to try to figure out when the best time to schedule a surgery would be. A time when the kids wouldn’t miss tons of school. I was thinking it would be Labor Day or maybe UEA. I thought about how it would have been ideal to have planned it over the summer, but it was not meant to be, right?

The ENT looked down the throats of both kids and said that they both had “Cryptic Tonsils”. It all sounded pretty cryptic to me, until I Googled it. Yep, sounds like my kids. That with the 6+ strep throat diagnosis’s that we’ve had this year is what, I believe, led the ENT to state that he wanted those tonsils out ASAP.

And by ASAP, I mean it’s happening on Friday. Typically I’ve been given time to prepare me and my family before a surgery (usually my own), both physically and mentally, but this is fast! Luckily my parents rock and have let me know that they will be at my disposal for the entire day. I just need to stock up on ice cream, yogurt, eggs, Popsicles, and get ready to play nurse for the next week.

I had my tonsils out when I was 17, and it was horrible… a fact that I’m not completely revealing to my kids. They are younger than I was when I got mine out, and supposedly it’s more painful the older you are. I’m hoping that they’ll get through it all without too much pain.

I keep telling myself that they will be fine and that this is a simple surgery. However, I’m still feeling uneasy about it. Because I’m pretty much a dr. without any formal education (I watch a lot of Discovery Health), I know there are risks anytime a person goes under anesthesia or has any invasive surgery. And because I am their mother and I love them more than anything else in this whole damn world, I’m nervous. But deep down I believe they’ll be OK, and that this will finally end our many trips to the doctor.

Keep your fingers crossed for Emma & Cooper that they’ll have a successful surgery and a quick recovery. What a way to end a summer vacation!

Evoking A Smile

August 14, 2012

If this doesn’t make you smile at some point, then you know you’re dead inside.

Holy 10!

August 9, 2012

Turning 10 is an epidemic in our house these days. Today is Alex’s 10th b-day, and I think I’ve almost recovered from back-to-back birthday parties. It’s hard work putting these things on, but it’s so worth it. The kids love seeing their family and feeling the love and support of everyone. And then of course there are the gifts.

Alex really struck gold this b-day. Lots of cute clothes, accessories, her first “real” make-up, a huge Justin Bieber cut-out (don’t ask, but she loves it), $ and more. I think she was really happy with all of her gifts.

I feel very lucky to have Alex as a daughter. She can seem quiet or shy, but at home she can talk talk talk. I enjoy the days/nights when she comes into my room and tells me all about what’s going on with her, her dreams, her fears, her likes and her frustrations. Our family wouldn’t be the same without this chica!

Happy Birthday Alex!