Showing posts with label Reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reflections. Show all posts

Monday, January 22, 2018

How To Make Your Bedroom A Beautiful Haven of Rest...

Here's our bedroom before we started decluttering.... I never thought of us as being packrats or having a cluttered home until we started going through our house room by room and getting rid of stuff....



Here's some ideas to help you unclutter your bedroom and make it a beautiful, relaxing space.

Closets - clean them out! Get rid of all the clothes, shoes, purses, and anything else you don't use reguarly or items that you have more than enough.

Get rid of all the fake plants, they only collect dust.

Wall decor - less is more! For example: In our room we have four wall decor items. One is a picure fame with a wedding photo, an old window frame from my Grandpa that I decorated, an old windmill blade and my jewelry holder which I made. We do have a mirror hanging on the back of the of the bedroom door.


Decor items, shelves, display cabinets - get rid of at least 75% of the stuff in your room. If you get rid of the extra and just keep a few items you love, those few items will be much more meaningful to you. I love finding antique items to use in my decor.... this oil can came from my dad's shop when I was a kid.


Fresh flowers are a great way to add to your decor... And I got this little type 3/type 2 elephant at a yard sale a few years ago.... I love this little elephant because it reminds me of myself.... all crazy, unpredictable, adventurous, and unique!


Paint the walls, the doors, and the trim. Get new hardware for the doors. Painting is the cheapest way to update a room. Find a color that you like or that looks good in your home. For example: I'm not really a huge fan of purple but this purple hue goes perfectly with our interior gray walls throughout our house, and I find it cool and calming in our bedroom - especially compared to the previous pink coral/salmon colored walls.

Hubby painting.... 

Dressers - get rid of any extra dressers you have. You only need one dresser for two people.


Dresser before... the attached mirror makes it look dated and the items make it look cluttered.


Below is the same exact dresser with the same decor plus one extra piece.... notice how much cleaner and clutter free it looks?

Ps. My husband and I share this one dresser.

This is the true actual color of the walls in our bedroom.


Curtains - open them up! Take down the ugly, old, dusty ones and clean them or buy new, clean, fresh curtains. Place curtain rods 1/2 way between the ceiling and the window trim (usually 6-8" above the window) - it makes your room look more open and your windows larger.


Make sure you have a nice comfy place to sit, talk, and relax. (Chair from Ikea). 

While on the subject keep your room clean and your bed made. We keep our bedroom as a getaway for the hubby and I.


Get rid of all the stuffy pillows, dated bed skirts, and old blankets. I used to have 7 throw pillows in my bedroom - while I will always love throw pillows, 2 or 3 is now my max.

Under your bed is not for storage.... if you have storage under your bed - you have too much stuff!

It amazes me just how much junk we used to stuff into our bedroom. We had collectible cars, tractors, magazines, sewing stuff, old picture frames, too big clothes, too small clothes, childhood toys, old cell phones, fake plants, gift wrap, suitcases, etc.

Never again! I love having a calm, clean, relaxing bedroom!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hospital Folks


I have spent alot of time in a children's hospital since my son had emergency brain surgery. We have went through lots of tests and lots of waiting....

While I'm waiting, I often watch the people.

 There is the poor family that looks like they don't have a clue of what's going on..... walking around in pajama pants - wishing they could be home drinking the pain away.

There's the rich folks in their $500 shoes, typing on their fancy electronic gadget's looking like maybe the can work the pain away and wondering "how in the world could this happen to my child?"

There's the family that has kids at home and kids in the hospital - trying to juggle being a parent, visiting the sick kids, keeping up with the house and working a full time job.

There's the grandparents with the look of sadness in their eyes, as they ponder the seriousness of the situation.

There's the young parents who look like kids themselvese unsure of what's going to happen - not sure where to look to for help.

There's the tired parents that have been living in the hospital or driving back and forth for months... trying to keep it all together...

Then there's the kids - the brothers and sisters who are worried about their sibling. Or the kid in the hospital - always worried, sometimes in pain - wondering what tests will be next and when they can go home.

There's alot of sadness and dispaire in a Children's hospital.... but if you look around, you see alot of joy too.

You see nurses painting a little girls nails or singing frozen to a lonely child.

Doctors taking time to answer all your questions and put the kids mind at ease.

A stranger bring balloons and teddy bears room to room.

A church group making lunch for you and taking prayer requests.

Friends coming to visit.

Child life specialists bringing legos and toys to help pass the time.

Therapist playing music or playing games - helping to get the kids mind off their pain.

So although a kids hospital is a sobering place to be, don't forget, that you can make it a more happy place for those that are there.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year Resolutions

Stop trying to be something your not!


This could be considered useful advise for just about anything.... but, today I'm talking about exercising.

This time of year you hear of people making New Year Resolutions and the top one for many people is to lose weight. Now I'm not saying weight loss or exercising is bad. What I'm saying is if you have to be something that's not true to who you are to achieve it.... it's simple not worth it!

I'm all for losing weight (You can see my getting healthy story here), exercising, eating healthy, becoming fit, being happy,and changing into the person who you want to be... just don't go about it the wrong way!

Let me explain what I mean....

I have always been short (5ft.). As a kid, I hated walking with my mom and sister, because they could walk circles around me... (short legs don't go fast). When I was 12, I was ran over with a produce wagon and have had many leg problems since. I have struggled with being overweight my whole life. I have owned and tried weight machines, treadmill, elliptical, swimming, and everything else. My doctor told me I should never do any exercising other than in water, as it is just too hard on my bad leg....

But here's the thing. I always let people talk me into trying to work out - outside of water, and it causes me to become something I'm not. I do NOT want to be a fitness guru.... working out makes me become angry, sore, tired, and an all around bad person to be with....

Now, if you genually enjoy having a workout routine and get a high from the burn, by all means go ahead and do so. Now through Jan 31, 2018 save $50 with a Shaklee 180 Starter Kit... it will put you on the fast track to becoming fit and healthy!

But for me - I get my high and enjoyment from taking walks, going on bike rides, and exploring with my family... that's how I'm getting in my exercise, and enjoying being me, and staying true to myself at the same time.

Here's to a happy, healthy, New Year and to having good new year resolutions!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Snack Basket Blessing

Be A Blessing....

Often when someone is in the hospital we want to help, but rarely do we know what to do.... may I suggest a snack basket.

Ideas for a snack basket:
 Fresh fruit with a pairing knife
Plastic silverware, napkins, and paper plates
 sweets - candy, cupcakes, trail mix
salty - nuts, chips, crackers, popcorn, combos
meal/snack bars
 cheese sticks 
fruit snacks or died fruit
bottles of water or other drinks 
pudding cups, jello
 bread, miracle whip (packets), lunch meat, cheese and chips to make sandwiches

 My mom and my mother in law, both brought us in snacks and it made such a difference. Another thing is offer to stop and pick up a meal or a burger and fries, or shake. A pizza tastes better than hospital food any day.

We also appreciated an extra $10 or $20 that was gifted to use to use for food or things we needed while we were at the hospital.

 I was lucky that there was a hospital across the road that had a nice salad buffet, and I appreciated it when people offered to stay with our son, so that I could walk to the hospital across the street to make me a salad. I would usually go over once or twice a week and get a nice big salad to bring back to the room and have for two or three meals.

We were in the hospital for over 34 days, and I am so grateful for those who brought us snacks, food, gave money and came to visit.

If you want to bless someone who is going to be hospital bound for awhile, I strongly encourage a basket of snacks.... it really blessed us.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Kindred's

2017 Year In Review:

January - Jekyll Island, Georgia vacation

February - finished painting interior trim and doors throughout the house.

March - Rhoda 1st. surgery

May - Faith high school graduation
         -wyatt surgery in hospital stay

June - Wyatt 2nd. surgery/ hospital stay

July - Wyatt home from the hospital and infusions at home for 3 weeks

August - Rhoda 2nd. surgery and 3rd. emergency surgery

September - visited College of the Ozarks and the St Louis Arch in Missouri

October - Hocking Hills Ohio trip

December - Blessed with a new Church family and friends.


Stephen - still working at the glass plant and stays busy keeping things looking good around our little farm.

Rhoda - busy with our Shaklee business, homeschooling, and being wife, and Mama.

~ Married 12.2 years ~
More in love now than ever! Rented a cabin in Hocking Hills, Ohio for our anniversary and enjoyed hiking the rim and gorge trails. We enjoyed the hot tub and the alone time was much needed after the year that we had. 



Faith - 16.6 years - graduated high school. Got tp dance at her 1st Civil War Ball. Filling out college applications. Started a new job at a Christian daycare center. Fills pur house with music/Plays the guitar, ukulele, piano, and paints, draws, and writes.


Wyatt - 10.9 years - got saved! Still struggles with learning difficulties. Had brain surgery and is recovering well - it was a scary year for him. He loves riding his bike and creating things with Legos. He is learning to play the ukulele.


Adilayia - 7.9 years - seemed to grow up fast this year. She loves animals and crafts, and is in 1st grade. She loves to sing and is always happy. Layia is learning to play the piano.

We are Thankful for God's protection for our family this year and for the gift of life. 

 - With love the Kindred's 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Finding a Church


I am a christian.... but I haven't been to church regularly for over five years... and it's been over twelve years since I've had a church where I felt loved, needed, and a part of.

I used to help on buses, be a nursery worker, do bulletin boards, decorate the church, help with Ladies meetings and loved singing special music.

The reason is NOT for a lack of wanting or trying to find a good church.

On the contrary... we have visited a lot of churches over the years always hoping we'd find what we were looking for, but always coming up short.

My biggest issue with finding a church after what it believes and preaches, is that there are people there that want the same as me in life.

Some of my needs in no particular order:
(This may be a good time to point out I am conservative and like things rather old fashion.) 
  • Independent, Fundamental, KJV Baptist Church 
  • Home-schoolers - wanting to raise their kids for the Lord 
  • People dress up for church - dressing their best for the Lord 
  • Singing that glorifies God and everyone happy to participate in it. 
  • Sound bible preaching 
  • Youth and kids groups 
  • People using their bibles and living out Gods word in their daily life. 
  • A welcoming spirit 
  • An old fashion culture 
Ok, so - I know there's not a thing as a perfect church, but hubby met a guy a few weeks ago who seemed so genuine and real in everyday life that when he invited us to visit his church, we couldn't stop thinking about it.

We put it off for a couple Sundays... not sure about the thirty-five minute drive and dreading trying yet again another church that "probably" would be just like all the rest....

But, two weeks ago on a Sunday evening, we got up the courage to go and was very pleasantly surprised...

We got there 15 min. early, but the parking lot was full of cars. People greeted us nonstop. When the choir started singing - hubby and I both said "that's what a choir should sound like..." Everyone had their bibles open, taking notes and giving their undivided attention to the preaching.... Kids sitting quietly listening - no noise, toys, or candy wrappers. No one on their cell phone or tablets. No one eating or drinking in the auditorium. Good gospel music and everyone singing with gusto. Brothers and sisters lifting each other up - happy to be in God's house together - each working towards a common goal of seeing people saved and living a joyful life for the Lord....

It felt so good to be with good people worshiping a great God!

We went back again last sunday for both the morning and evening service and loved it! We were invited out for lunch with two families and really feel God's spirit living in the people.

I'm not sure if this is the church for us, but we will definitely be going back and praying that God will show us if this is where he wants us to serve and grow in Him.

And I'm looking forward to the Christmas Eve candlelight service, getting to know more people, and being involved with activities.

Good, Bible Believing, Conservative, Fundamental, KJV Churches still exist.... sometimes it takes a complete stranger sharing God's love to find it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Old Friends....

"Spending time with old friends is good for the soul."

Old best friends are like magic. You may not see them for months or even years, yet when you meet, it seems like yesterday that you were having a good chat and drinking tea! 

Old friends remind you of parts of yourself that you might have forgotten about. Even if you have changed a lot since that time, you will be reminded of the path that it took to get you where you are. Those memories are treasures.

Old friends allow you to skip the small talk and go deep. There’s nothing like picking up right where you left off; that’s the beauty of connecting with an old friend. You can cover so much ground in such a short time because the foundation has been laid.

Old friends make you feel loved and secure. There is a depth of connection between old friends that wraps around you like a warm blanket. You feel known, and safe. Few words are needed, because they understand you– your heart, and how you process things. 

Old friends refresh you - not stress you! They are the ones you can be yourself with, and if your house is a mess or your food flops, they don't mind at all. Old friends are the ones you invite back again and genuinely enjoy it went they come! 

If you’ve ever had a really good friend (and if you have you are blessed) then you know what I’m talking about. True friendship is unique, and enduring.

So to all of you — call that old friend! Send her a text, write an email, book a flight, or plan a trip. Don’t put off connecting with your old friends! You need it more than you even realize!


My friend Suzie and I at my wedding in 2005 -it was taken at the end of a long day and the picture isn't the best, but it's the only photo I have of us together.
Thank you Suzie for being my friend. I love our talks and spending time together!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Three Ideas to Minimize

Today, I'd like to give you three Ideas to minimize stuff you don't need. Many people often think that getting rid of clutter is a long, hard process, but in fact it is simple.

1. Look around your home and see what items you would take with you in the event of a hurricane, flood, tornado etc... I bet there's not a super large amount that would make the cut.... I did this a few months ago and realized there's not a lot of stuff that means a lot to me. So, now you know what items you treasure.... 

2. Next add in the items that you need. For example sheets, towels, dishes, toilet brush, lawn mower, broom, toilet paper, clothes.... these are the items I'm talking about. Everyone knows you need these items, but most of us own way too many. For example two towels for each person and 2 sheet sets per bed are plenty. 

Dishes.... do you really need and use all that you have? For years I have collected a Chutney Corelle dish set, which I still use and love, but many items in my set I did not use - I only had them because they matched.... needless to say I got rid of some of my prized dishes and don't miss them at all.

Clothes.... I mean do you even like or wear half of them? I have gotten rid of lots of bags of clothes and I'm finding that the ones I have now, I actually like, wear, and feel great in them. Another added bonus is that I love opening my closet and admiring the extra space.

3. What things make you happy? Keep those things. I put decorations, curtains, live plants, throw pillows, picture albums, etc. into this category. While I have never liked or had a cluttered house, I do love a well decorated cozy home..... my decor makes me happy... No, I don't have a lot, but the items I do have are on display and I love the way my home looks, and the peace I feel every time I walk in  the door.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Kids Need Love

Watching love comes softly movies. I'm amazed at how the family's heritage not only passes down though the generations, but how the family dynamic changes. How family isn't always blood, and how you can always grow to love someone, given time. I love how the grandpa tells Belinda in Love's Unending Legacy that they are not there to replace any other grandparents, but that they believe that a child can never have too many people love them.


Here's the Love comes softly family tree:


Clark Davis  
 + Marti Clarridge 
             - Son Arnie Davis
      + Aaron Clarridge
             - Son Aaron Clarridge Davis
 + Ellen Barlow Davis 

             -  Daughter Missy Davis LaHaye Tyler
                                 + Willy LaHaye 
                                        - Adopted Son Jeff Huff LaHaye
                                        - Son Mattie LaHaye  
                                        - Daughter Kathy LaHaye
                                 + Zac Tyler
                                        - Adopted Son Jacob Marshell LaHaye Tyler
                                        - Adopted Daughter Belinda Marshell LaHaye Tyler 
                                                                        Drew Simpson
                                                                             - Adopted Daughter Lilian Simpson Owens                                                                          + Lee Owens
                                                                             - Expecting Baby Owens

In four generations of the same family, there are 50 bloodlines. (To put that in perspective there are only 9 bloodlines in a 4 generation family that has no 2nd marriages or adoptions.)

Life back then was hard. Burying your loved ones young, was a way of life that left widows, widowers, and orphan children.

Today, mixed family's are caused by divorce, drugs, alcohol, abuse, random sex with no commitment, and rape. But, I believe the same principles back then apply to life today. Family doesn't always mean blood... Family is who you choose it to be.

Kids need love, and people to care for them. It shouldn't matter who that person is..... in this world of hurt that we live in. Kids need all the love they can get. It's time to put our differences behind us and put the well being of our kids first.

Why is it that a lot of divorced parents try to keep the kids from seeing the non custody side of the family? You know, I used to be one of those people..... but, I've learned a lot the last 15 yrs. 

As a previously divorced mom, I wish now, that I'd have done things differently... I took grandparents, aunts and a biological dad away from my kid because I was afraid of the unknown, and because I thought my kid was better off with me. Don't get me wrong - I know she was/is better off with me - but looking back I deprived my kid of even more love - and for that I will always feel guilty.

I had full custody of my daughter. Her birth father never asked for visitation. Once he was out of our life, he remarried, than a year later, I remarried. I wanted to keep my little girl safe. I became over protective. I never again took her to see her birth fathers side of the family. I thought I was doing the right thing. WRONG! - Kids need all the love they can get.

Now, to be clear my ex husband's side of the family smokes, drinks, and don't fit in with how I choose to live my life. However, they are not bad people. You see my daughter could have grown up knowing a wonderful caring grandpa, a step grandma, and two fun aunts who would have loved and doted on her. Instead, I kept my daughter to myself. Never once thinking that I was destroying her chances at having more love in her life.

Is her life ruined? No. I remarried when my daughter was 4 yrs old. She has a wonderful dad who adopted her when she was five. She gained a set of grandparents and 5 great grandparents, lots of great aunts and uncles and other extended family. She is thriving. She is an artist, violinist, pianist, guitarist, and a gifted writer. I know that I did the best I could for her.... I just wish I could have opened my eyes to letting more people love her.

kids just need to be loved... it shouldn't matter who does the loving....

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Taking Care of Me

Somehow life always pushes 'moms' needs into the closet..... the door gets shut, life gets busy, and then years later, mom realizes she doesn't know who she is anymore. Well, that is my story.

Looking back, I was just a baby when my first baby was born....and I became a mom. I was 17 when I got pregnant.... I had just finished high school and had not even thought about what I wanted to do with my life.... I was living on my own, in a one bedroom efficiency apartment. My goal in life was short term - pay the rent, keep gas in my car, and food in the fridge.

I never really wanted to be a mom - it just happened. And after marriage, step kids, divorce, and a second marriage, I went on to have two more kids......

Our oldest daughter had a lot of health problems requiring lots of tests, doctors appointments, lab work and children hospitals over a five year period (you can read more about it here).

Our second child is special needs and has many learning disabilities, some of which are PDD-NOS, dyslexia, dyscalculia, delayed speech and language, the inability to retain and recall info, along with multiple slow learning disabilities and disorders. He has had two surgeries when he was small, and had emergency brain surgery this year and has had lots of testing, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special ed, which has meant lots of appointments. 

Our youngest (a Shaklee Baby) has been the perfect picture of health (so far) for which we are thankful!

But, with the stress of worrying, research, and all the running around I did for my kids- somewhere, I lost myself. I no longer took the time to paint my nails, dress up nice, spend time alone, or take care of myself. Somewhere along the way, I let myself go. I put on 100+ lbs. of excess weight, and became grumpy and miserable. I was always tired, unhappy, and hated who I had become.... I felt like my old self was gone.... shut in a closet, never to be seen again.....

Until, one day I had enough.... I decided to do something about it.... This year I am taking care of me. I have had three surgeries to fix/help medical issues. I'm losing weight, dressing up for the hubby, painting my nails, having me time, and becoming a better person. - I'm opening the closet door and finding the new and improved 'old' me!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Enjoy: The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women Book Review



Enjoy: The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner

This book is from Focus on the Family. It's a good book, but I honestly felt like it is written for someone who is not yet married, or who is in a sexless or unfulfilled marriage.

Although I agree with the majority of the authors writings... it simply does not apply to me. You see, I've been happily married for 12 years to an amazing hubby who always puts me first in the bedroom. He is loving, understanding, spontaneous, adventurous, gentle and very respectful of me. 

I won the lotto, when it comes to my man!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Monday, August 7, 2017

  A Typical Day in My Post Surgery Life

Let me preface this by saying- my hubby and I are research geeks. We research a subject until there is nothing left of it.... dead. Never to rise again..... which sometimes can be a good thing, and other times, lets just say, not so much.


That's when after I had major surgery (that I had researched for over a year)..... I was completely taken by surprise. I mean, I knew that there would be pain and that I'd need someone to help me, but I honestly never expected it to be this hard, this painful, and this much fatigue.

With that said, I did have an emergency second surgery 12 hours later due to internal bleeding and I'm sure that is partly to blame for some of it. The Doctors said having the emergency surgery really set me back.

 I was supposed to come home with a pain pump, but they had to remove it during the second surgery.  Anytime, some one has as much internal bleeding as I did, it causes excruciating pain. I also lost so much blood, that I had to have multiple blood transfusions and that alone can cause severe fatigue. Lastly, having two major surgeries withing 12 hours of each other is hard on anyone and can cause extra pain along with other issues..... so while, I did the research, I was not prepared for the extra complications that came with my surgery.

So.... back to my typical day. (Please note: the following is real - if too much information grosses you out, you may not want to read the following)

*Wake up. Lay in bed, unable to move because of the pain, feeling like you need to pee.

*Wake up hubby and have him pull you up to a sitting position, while you cry from the pain.

*Sit on the side of the bed, sip on water and put on your glasses.

*Have hubby pull you to a standing position. Cry in his arms while saying 'ouch' for the hundredth time.

*Hubby helps you walk to the bathroom and sit on the toilet.  (This is not as easy as it sounds and takes a lot longer to go then normal.)

*After trying to wipe yourself for 5 min, crying from the pain and from the humiliation of having your hubby wipe and clean up your backside.

*Afterward, he pulls you to your feet, helps you wash up, and consoles you by saying that its okay and he loves you.

*He then helps you out to the kitchen where he gets you a drink, pain meds, and helps me walk. (The walking hurts, but it helps keep blood clots from forming.)

*Hubby helps me into the chair/sofa or bed... getting me a sheet, blanket, pillows, and alternating ice packs and the heating pad.
This same scene plays out over and over -12 times in the next 24 hrs.

And that my friend is what goes on in a typical day in my life right now.

Research is great in theory, but when it comes to individual pain or how each individual will react.... it's really not all its cracked up to be...

However, for all the research I did.... there was one thing that I overlooked.....


 That one thing is having an awesome, loving, and supporting hubby who will stay by your side, taking care of my every need and taking care of the kids and the house. You don't know how good of a man you have until he will wipe and clean up your backside and still love you just the same.

Having these surgeries has defiantly kicked my butt.... but with my hubby's help....I'm gonna kick right back! My health is far too important than for me to let it get to me.

Note: We have chosen NOT to discuss or to explain my surgeries with anyone, as in the past, discussing my health has caused unnecessary drama. I, Rhoda do suffer from multiple auto-immune disorders, cancer, and chronic stress. The doctor said without this surgery, I would only have a 3% chance at going on to live a healthier life style, so for me and my family's sake, this has been the right thing to do. We will not apologize for not explaining!

Update 08/16/17: I am 2 weeks out from my surgeries and am happy to say that I am slowly getting better.  Two days ago, I took my first shower by myself (with the help of a shower stool). I still need help occasionally and still cannot do anything around the house, but I am caring for myself now which feels good. The pain has also gotten better, I still regularly take prescription and over the counter pain meds, but I am starting to space them out... hopefully I can get off of them completely in another week or two.

If you have prayed, sent a card,  gave a gift, brought food, cared for our family, or supported our family business during this time, we want to say thank you! We appreciate you!


Monday, July 31, 2017

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted? Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up—

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up? And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, spirit, soul healthy. Am I enough?

Read the entire beautiful article at  A Life in Progress.


"All I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough." - I love this quote! If you are a go-getter that is perfectly fine, but for the hubby and I, we want the simple life with 'enough'!



Read my take on finding enough here.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Emergency Brain Surgery

I knew my son, QW had not been feeling well.... he had been complaining of headaches that last week, but I didn't really think too much about them, figuring, it would pass. Then he started having a fever - not super high, but enough for me to worry. After a few days, he wasn't eating.... We knew something was wrong.


I took him to the med express center. They ran a throat culture, and tested him for the flu and strep - all came back negative, but they said that sometimes the strep test can be wrong, so they sent us home with antibiotics saying it was probably strep. 

The next two days, QW kept getting worse. I finally took him to the Emergency Room on Sunday, May 28th. They did blood tests and took a CT scan and said that he had acute sinusitis (a bad sinus infection that was deep in the air pockets of his face) and sent us home with a stronger antibiotic.

Memorial Day, May 29th, QW seemed better - he ate lunch and walked outside.... we thought he was feeling better. In the afternoon, he became non verbal for 10 min., so I had him lay down and rest, and when he got up - he seemed just fine. Later that night, I went back to his room to check on him and he was lying on his bed, his hands crossed over his chest, his eyes moving, but he was unable to respond on follow any commands. After 15 minutes of trying to get him to respond to me, I was so scared. I woke up the hubby and had him carry QW to the car, and I drove him to the emergency room.

It was a long night/morning. They ran lots of tests, blood work, and took another CT scan. Wyatt was nonverbal the entire time (for over 9 hours.) They finally discovered a spot on his brain and told us that they would transport him to the Children's Hospital in Indy for treatment.

We waited over 3 hours for the emergency ambulance to come get us for transport.

When we got to the ER at the children's hospital, there were doctors, and nurses everywhere. We knew it was much worse than what they told us back at the other hospital. They took QW back for an MRI and as soon as it was over, started prepping him for surgery. Stephen and I were in a daze. I remember the surgeon trying to explain to us the procedure, but all I remember thinking was how did my son go from a perfectly healthy boy to needing emergency brain surgery?!?! It seemed like a dream... a dream I was waiting to wake up from, but it never happened.

May 30th - They took QW back to surgery at 11:00 am. We were told it would be a 3-4 hr. surgery. It wasn't. He had two different teams of surgeons working on him. 

QW had a Subdural empyaema from bacterial or fungal infection that spread to the subdural space due to having chronic sinusitis. He had no symptoms of a sinus infection. 

The Brain Surgeon and her team had to do a Craniectomy. Which originally they were only planing on cutting out a forth of his skull, but since the brain was swollen so much (it was actually hard to the touch) and was under so much pressure, they removed almost one half of his skull. The surgeon removed as much as the infection she could and also had to repair (graph) the dura, as the swelling from the brain had ripped a hole in it. She also placed a EVD to drain off SPF and a JP drain. 

After that, a new team of doctors and surgeons did endoscopic sinus surgery.

We were told at 8 pm that surgery was over and they were moving him to ICU. The next 2 hours were pure torture for me! I kept calling to see why I couldn't go back to see my son. At 10 pm. we finally were able to see QW. 

He was on so many machines and tubes going everywhere. But I was so relieved to see him, feel him, and to know that he was alive, and that I could be with him. I didn't cry. The relief I felt was amazing! 

      

May 31st - Today's picture.... 

They tried waking QW up today, but he wasn't waking up, so they stopped all the sedation. He has a higher temp now, so they just put him on a cooling blanket, poor kid, he just shivers and shakes. I've been ok, as long as he doesn't start crying, then I start crying too. You can't hear him cry, but he shakes and tears just roll down his checks. I have never felt so helpless in my life.Stephen and I went for a walk and got a salad for lunch. It was hard leaving him, but good to get out of the room a bit. 

The breathing tube came out tonight. He is in ICU. He is fighting a fever, and having more pain, but he is following directions. He opens his eyes and follows commands alittle, but mostly is still asleep


June 1st - Things are about the same with QW. He had his first sip of water tonight. Right now, they just want to keep him resting. The surgeon said that with this surgery the mortality rate is high and most kids don't do nearly as good as he is doing, so we are very thankful for that. He is saying single words with some coaxing. His sisters came to visit today and he got a furry friend to have in bed....he looks so much better now that the breathing tube is out.... 


June 2nd. - QW had a relapse this morning and became nonverbal and unresponsive again for 4 hours. He is still in ICU and being monitored closely. The doctors say that the infection on the brain was so severe that him going backwards is to be expected.....


This morning was rough... but he's doing much better this afternoon. He got the bandage and a lot of wires off of his head today. I think he looks great! The doctors reminded us that his condition is still very serious. Tonight he's hanging out with Mom, watching a movie!


June 3rd. - Stephen went down to get supper and when he got back QW said "Dad, I miss you", (it's the only words he's said today) - so tonight he's hanging out with dad... he has had a good day today. Got a different room, still in ICU.


June 4th - QW had a good day today. He still isn't eating much, but he did really good with therapy and played thumb wrestling with his dad... I love his face in this picture!



June 8th - QW's doing ok... we have good hours and bad hours. His brain fluid is still not evening out, so not sure if he'll get a permanent drain/shunt or not.... we are kinda just playing a waiting game.... they did take him off of ICU status and put him on med-surg., but he's still in the ICU unit and still has a nurse sitting in the room with him 24/7. There hasn't been much change the last couple days....


June 10th - QW is about the same. Mornings are rough as his medications give him an upset stomach. Afternoons are usually much better when they get him up in the chair. The hospital brings Lego's and toys that he can put together and that helps. He gets physical, speech, and occupational therapy everyday, along with all his different teams of doctors making their rounds, so by evening he is tired. 

Tonight the girls and I got a hotel, while Stephen stays with Wyatt... it's my first time away from the hospital in 12 days. He still has a nurse in his room 24/7. They started raising Wyatt's EVD yesterday evening...1 centimeter every 6 hrs. The hope is maybe early next week to take head scans and send the brain fluid from the EVD to be tested and maybe take out both of his drains next week, but the one thing I've learned is that you can't plan on anything here....

PS. He was pretty excited with the candy bouquet he received today from a kind lady we've never met that works with his G'pa K.


June 12th - They put QW to sleep this afternoon for an MRI and then the neuro surgeons took out both the EVD and JP drains. They also drained more cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) off his brain. He had a rough time waking up from the anesthesia and was in a lot of pain - more than any other time since we've been here. The doctor said that the JP drain went the whole length of his incision, so it is quite painful. They put him back on morphine today along with his antibiotics, IV's, and reg pain meds. He also has a fever again tonight, so they are keeping an eye on that. 
We are still waiting to hear back from the infectious disease doctors on the MRI results and how much infection is still on the brain and when he can have the next surgery to get his left scalp (bone flap) put back in.


June 16 - This past week was a rough one. There was alot of pain, tests, and tears, but today was a great day! OT took him down to the kids zone to play air hockey. Then this evening I was allowed to put him in a wheel chair and go downstairs for supper and a stroll... today's the first time he's been out of the unit! He also got to wear his own shorts today!


June 18th - After 21 days.... I came home last night! Stephen stayed overnight with QW. There are weeds 2 ft high in my flowerbeds, but it felt great to be home for a night... even if it was short. QW has been tired the last couple days, but his pain is much better, so we are thankful for that.


June 22nd - QW has a lot of therapy through out the day, so he still gets tired easily, but he's been doing really good. His next surgery is scheduled for June 30th to put the bone flap in and if everything goes good, we hope to go home on July 3rd...... of course that all depends on the next MRI and the Infectious Disease Team signing off on the surgery and discharge. 


We were told today that he won't be able to ride his bike or ATV, or jump on the trampoline, etc., for 2-3 months after we get home, so it looks like it may be a long summer for him not being able to do much, but for now I will just be happy that hopefully in two more weeks we'll be home for the 4th of July!


June 23rd - Stephen and the girls come down to be with QW and I every Tuesday and Thursday evening and on the weekends. Playing in the Kids Zone as a family helps to pass some of the time.


June 25th - QW is worse today. He didn't go to sleep until after 5 am this morning. He has been using the incentive spirometer 10xs every hour and are having him walk more, but it seems to keep getting worse. So far, it's been alot of tears yesterday and today....

June 26th - QW has been about the same... he had a rough morning and evening with a lot of pain in his chest and side, so they did chest x-rays today. He has atelectasis which is the collapse/closure of his right lung - The RN says QW's atelectasis is just partial and it's because he's not very active or doing anything to use his lungs to their full capacity, like he would at home.


June 27th - Today is 4 weeks since we've been here at Riley Children's Hospital, but I found a place to take QW outside for a few minutes for the first time today.... shh... don't tell the nurses!!! I was a beautiful day in Indy! QW is still having a lot of pain with his collapsed lungs, but we are praying for good MRI results on Thurs., so that surgery can go as planned on Friday.



June 28th - QW's about the same. Still in pain. They started giving him more pain meds during the day, so he's been sleeping alot more. I think alot of it has to do with his attitude, as I think he's mentally just done with being in here and he doesn't even want to try anymore, that, and he's been scared about the next surgery - so we have to keep pushing him to get up, walk, and breath, which gets rather exhausting for me.


June 29th - We have been asked why QW has to go home on antibiotics after being on them for 4 weeks..... here is the short answer: The doctor says that we (not medically minded people)  really don't understand how bad his infection was and that if a drop remains attached to his brain and grows, he could have to have surgery all over again or he could die from it. She said we should be very thankful that he's doing so good and that he can go home this early, because most kids as bad off as he came in do not do as good as he's been doing. 

QW had another MRI this morning. His side is still in alot of pain. His legs have been to weak/shaky to walk yet, it took two nurses and me to get him out of bed. 

June 30th - Today is QW's second surgery. We went down to the 'green room' to help pass the time. The bean bag chairs vibrate to the sound of music. Everyone enjoyed relaxing for a bit. 


 They took QW back for surgery at 4:45 pm. The surgery took longer than they had originally told us. Wyatt just got out of surgery at 10 pm - it was a little over 5 hrs. There were a few minor complications, they had to drain extra fluid, and shave off a layer of his skull, and they are worried about his lungs and oxygen levels, but as of now the bone flap is in. 

  

He is getting breathing treatments every four hours and is still on oxygen. The Dr. said one in every ten surgeries they have to go back and take the bone flap back out due to new infection so we are hoping everything will be fine. 


   

July 1st - QW is doing good today. This afternoon he started breathing on his own. He is still getting breathing treatments and he is in a lot of pain. His left eye is almost completely swollen shut, but he's up walking with help and eating and talking good. 

We are waiting to hear from pulmonary about his lungs/chest pictures, but if they give the okay, the plan is to go home soon. He will go home with his PICC line and on antibiotic IV's, so they are suppose to come train Stephen and I how to give them, change the dressing, flush the IV's, etc. Of course all this is subject to change.... and we won't know for sure until we get the chest results from radiology and see if they can wean him off of the morphine.

    

QW got a picture with his surgeon Dr. Smith today. She is the best of the best! We are beyond blessed that she took such great care of QW. She would come by just about everyday to check on him and answer our many questions. How do you thank someone who saved your child's life?


July 2nd - Enjoying the beautiful weather.... and wearing normal clothes!


July 3rd - Today, I had to tell another little kid that I came to love on QW's unit goodbye.... but.... 

After 5 weeks at Riley - QW came home today! It feels so good to be home! Now we are just trying to adjust to a new normal that revolves around daily infusions, doctors appointments, and trips back and forth to Riley. QW came home with his PICC line and we have to administer IV's throughout the day and night. A home health nurse comes to the house weekly to do his dressing changes.


July 4th - Sitting here giving QW his 5 AM infusion..... it feels great to be home, but exhausting as well... I've gotten 3 hrs of sleep. Our life will revolve around infusions, tubing, syringes, pumps, flushes, and treatments for the next few months....


July 11th - QW is doing good! We've been home for a week now! He gets infusions every 6 hours. His G'pa F. brought him a pedal car to ride since he can't ride his bike or ATV. Wyatt loves being outside again! As great as it is to be home.... Stephen and I are exhausted and sleep deprived, but we are starting to adjust to a new normal.


July 13th - Daily (and nightly) life at our house...... 14 years ago I signed up to take CNA classes, but I didn't even make it through orientation.... nursing just wasn't my thing.... who knew years later, I'd be giving infusions every few hours, working with a PICC line and caring for my son who had brain surgery. - My hubby rigged up an IV pole by using bag clips and the lamp shade.... it's working like a charm!


July 25th - Spent all day in Indy at the hospital with QW today. His MRI came back good, so good that they took out his PICC line today (he's had it for 8 weeks.) which means we can stop doing infusions around the clock..... and he didn't have any trouble with the anesthesia this time. We are so thankful he's doing so good.... 


If you have said a prayer, sent a card, gave a gift, brought a meal, came to visit, supported our business, or blessed our life in some way over the last few months.... We want you to know that we appreciate you. Thank you!

NOTE: QW will go back for more testing in December to make sure the infection has not returned. He is currently on anti seizure medication. He is doing great and is getting back to normal!

The Best of 2016

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