Monday, June 14, 2010

What does a finger tell you?

It is amazing what a finger can tell you. There is the thumbs- up, the thumbs-down. You can point, scold, type, speak, and yes, you can even curse with just one finger (or at least I've been told this -:) . It is amazing. However, a few weeks ago Sam's finger told us some new and crazy things. They told us he wasn't getting as much oxygen as he is supposed to be getting. Let me back up and start from the beginning.

Sam has had on again, off again struggles with hearing for as long as I can remember. He will get ear infections on a regular basis, but tubes didn't seem to be the answer. It began as frustrating but quickly turned a corner and became heartbreaking as Sam would scream in frustration, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Keep in mind that he wasn't being sassy when he said this, he was genuinely frustrated when he would turn his head to hear, we would say something, and he realized he just couldn't figure out what was being said. We ran through this cycle many times a year - and they lasted for quite some time. However, every hearing test came back within normal limits - barely, but within normal limits enough that hearing aides weren't the answer either.

We felt like we were chasing our tails and getting nowhere.

As an added bonus, earlier this year Sam began having trouble catching his breath. He would come into our room in the middle of the night and tell us he couldn't get enough air. He would be taking deep breaths to try and catch his breath. We saw the doctor with such frequency that I was certain they were going to designate a parking stall just for us. The entire staff knows us by name, sight, and I'm just sure we are going to be invited to the Christmas party. :)

Anyhoo....we saw the doctor, but still had no answers. Was it asthma? No. Was it allergies? Didn't seem to be. Was he allergic to his bedding? Nope. Were his lungs working? Yep. Were we frustrated? Yes. I even began to wonder if Sam was just doing the weird breathing thing out of habit. (By the way, this happened during the day, too. He would breathe normally about three or four times and then compensate with a huge intake of breath. He got so adept at this that he speaks through it, prays through it, and we generally ignore it now). I began to feel like I was making a mountain out of a mole hill, but then other parents were noticing too. The school nurse was noticing it. It felt oddly reassuring to know that it wasn't just good old mom and dad worrying about him.

When we finally saw the ENT which took FOREVER because they are booked out so far, I was certain that I knew what we would find - nothing. First was the hearing test - and of course it came back within normal limits - low normal, but normal. Then came the doctor's evaluation. Yep, lungs are clear - no problems getting air in and out of the lungs. But then he saw his tonsils and was amazed at how large they are. Sam has never had strep, never had a problem with sore throats, and aside from hearing issues is a very healthy kid. However, the doctor decided to do an oxygen saturation test to see how he was breathing at night.

Sam was hooked up with one finger to a little monitor that would record his oxygen levels through the night. For it to be considered a significant problem his oxygen saturation level would need to drop 4% or more. As it turns out his oxygen saturation level began at 99% which is excellent. During the night it dropped to 89%. The doctor assured me that it didn't do this with enough frequency to alarm me - he was still getting oxygen, but he did merit further intervention. In addition, if his adenoids are at all comparable in size to his tonsils then they need to be removed as well. As it turns out, his adenoids being so large (if, in fact they are - we can't see them so we don't know for sure, but it is likely) is likely impacting his hearing. The ENT informed us that if they are proportionate in size to his tonsils then they are likely compressing his eustachian tubes affecting his hearing and also affecting the draining of his ears which then in turn leads to ear infections which leads to increased hearing difficulty, etc., etc.

So what do we do? A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Of course I am nervous about having any of my children have surgery of any sort, but this is by all accounts a VERY simple surgery. In fact, it is SO simple and routine that we find ourselves wondering why we didn't come to this result faster. And we have every reason to hope that this will solve his breathing problems, and we are crossing our fingers that his hearing issues are resolved as well. I cannot tell you how exciting this is - for everyone, although Sam's excitement stems less from the fact that we have a probable solution to the problem. Rather, his excitement is due to the fact that he gets lots of ice cream and smoothies after his surgery - and I don't blame him.
So, that's what Sam's finger told us. It told us why he was struggling to breathe, particularly at night, and it inadvertenly may have lead us to the solution to his hearing issues. It's amazing what one finger can tell you - and man am I grateful.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lyle Pearson 200

Ted and four friends trained like crazy for the Lyle Pearson 200 - a race from Boise to Sun Valley. We all planned with happy anticipation a short vacation in Sun Valley after the race! Did I mention it has been raining like crazy here? Well, it has. As a result the race started out as normal, but when they had gotten about 2/3 of the way to Sun Valley they were detoured back to Boise. As it turns out Mother Nature isn't through working her wonders around here. A mud slide had covered the highway and nothing was getting through - not that way anyway.

Are they disappointed? A little. Did they have fun? Tons. Did they do great? Fantastic! Will they do it again next year? You bet. Will we start praying for dry weather a little sooner? No question.

Now, as much as I would like to think that I am not a paranoid person, I do think things happen in threes. As a result I have already asked that Ted take a weed whacker to the shrubs on the bluff behind our house, at least directly behind our fence line. As a matter of fact we have been encouraged to do this. After all, fire season is just around the corner, and with all of the rain lately (did I mention I'm sick of rain??), Mother Nature has made some soon-to-be-nice-kindling on the bluff behind us. I'm sure everything will be fine, but then again I didn't think Boise had tornadoes, so we're not taking any chances. :)

Summer comes in with a bang - literally!

School got out at about 1:15 on Friday - which means summer has begun. And it began with a bang! It has been raining like crazy for the last several weeks (we are a little sick of the rain, can you tell??) Then the winds picked up to where it was blowing REALLY hard. However, it wasn't until I drove out of my circle that I realized what had been going on in our subdivision.

At about 3:30 a funnel cloud formed and came through our subdivision ripping trees from the ground, tearing shingles from rooftops, ripping pergolas away from houses, crushing fences, and contorting trampolines. However, despite the trees being destroyed, there was relatively minimal damage, and luckily nobody was hurt. This is in no way a small miracle because early release is not a usual thing, and the usual thing is for kids to be dropped off of the bus at about 3:30 right where this happened.

I guess this summer looks to be anything but boring, eh???

Tessa and Sam are enjoying the new climbing apparatus.

Surprise Way - you can see it has been twisted right off.

A view of Emma's school.

Yeah - that's why the flights were delayed...

Another view from Emma's school.

Happy Summer!