Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some sunshine after the rain. . .

Sorry to leave everyone hanging! Needless to say, it has been a busy few weeks!

Evan was discharged from the hospital last Thursday and is now being seen by a nurse at home three times per week. He was sent home on wound vac therapy which involves being attached to a machine 24-7 and he is not a huge fan of that, but he is tolerating it fairly well. I never cease to be amazed by the resiliency of children! I think it is fairly safe to say that he has actually held up better than I have through all of this. The first few days at home were a bit stressful. Less than 24 hours after being discharged from the hospital, Evan's wound vac machine stopped working (we later learned that it was because the tubing was clogged which caused the machine to burn out). I am generally a pretty laid back person, but last week's chain of events had me a little stressed out and this did not help! Thankfully we were able to get it replaced quickly and in conjunction with the nurses visit and all was right in the world again! On Sunday night, as I was getting ready to hop into bed (at 1 am) I heard the machine's alarm sounding. The tubing was clogged again and the machine had shut itself off. Although, in the back of my mind, I already knew that I needed to do, I called the on-call nurse just to be sure and she instructed me to remove the dressing and do a wet-to-dry (this involves placing a piece of gauze with a saline solution into the wound and then covering it with a dry piece of gauze, hence wet-to-dry). Normally the thought of getting my hands on a grotesque, gaping wound would excite me (gross, I know. . . my degree is in recreation administration, but, once the kids are in school, I would LOVE to go back to school and get my Nursing degree), but it is different when it is your child and you know that you will be causing them excruciating pain (thank goodness for liquid morphine. . .definitely takes the edge off of those dressing changes. . . for Evan of course!). With Richard's help, I got the dressing changed and put Evan back to bed, unattached for the first time in a week. When I went to get him up the next morning he was laying on his stomach in a state of absolute bliss (he is a tummy sleeper and has not been able to sleep on his stomach for almost a month now). The home care nurse came on Monday morning to reapply his wound vac dressing and get him hooked back up to the machine, but we made sure to take advantage of his "freedom" while we could and he spent a good half hour swinging in the back yard. . .his favorite activity of the moment!

His foot is actually healing quite nicely. We saw the orthopedist again today and he was pleased with the progress of the wound. Evan will likely continue the wound vac therapy for another 2-3 weeks (and his right foot will remain casted) at which point the doctor will close the deepest part of the incision (remove the cast on the right leg) and fit him for AFO's (ankle-foot orthoses) which will support his feet/ankles and hold them in the correct position (they are kind of like "retainers" for your feet!). These will be a part of his life for a very long time! Because he does not have a cast on his left foot, I have obviously been able to see his foot and am very impressed with how straight the doctors we able to get it. I will not be posting pictures until his incision has healed as it is pretty gruesome and is not for the faint of heart, but I am excited for the day when I can share the final "product" with everyone who has been cheering us on!

As always, I am amazed with how well Evan is handling all of this. We certainly have our good and bad days and he is definitely not a fan of doctors and nurses, but when he is not being poked and prodded, he is generally a happy and content little guy! I certainly admire his strength, courage and resiliency through all of this and am so proud of him for being such a trooper! After the events of the past month, there is really no doubt in my mind that he will do anything and everything he puts his mind to!

The other kids are doing great as well! Richard was able to take Jacob and Lukas "camping" on Friday night (it ended up raining, so they rented a small cabin at one of the local campgrounds. . .not exactly "roughing it" but they had a blast) and I took Maren out to dinner. With 5 young kids, we try our best to make sure everyone gets one-on-0ne time as much as possible. The kids look forward to their mommy/daddy "dates" and so do Richard and I! Joshua's mysterious fevers seem to have subsided for the time being. Now that he is seemingly healthy again, we are going to run a few more blood tests to make sure that all is well and that nothing serious has been overlooked, but it seems as though we are out of the woods for now.

For the time being, it looks as though the storms have subsided and the sun is shining through. Although the past few weeks and months have not been easy, I have seen the hand of the Lord in everything and there is such a peace that comes with knowing that He is guiding our lives. Even in the most stressful moments, I can't help but feel incredibly loved, blessed and privileged!


Jill said...

You're such a brave mom! :o)

Jennifer said...

So glad things are getting a bit better, Valerie! Although, you still seem to have your hands quite full (understatement of the year?)! Your kids just look so happy and loved, it is a blessing to watch them thrive in your family! Hope things just continue to get better and better!

Meredith said...

It's great to hear from you. I'm so glad everyone's slowly getting better and Evan is tolerating the wound vac ok. I bet he was in bliss without it! You have surely had more than your fair share of adventure these past months. I bet you can't wait to find out what "normal" for your family really is-- after all this initial medical stuff is taken care of anyway :)

HUGS!! Hollar if you ever need an ear to listen!

Meredith, RR