Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Kilgore Spring Break Curse

Ahhhhh - the replenishment Spring Break was going to provide us with was keeping a smile on my face for weeks prior to the actual holiday even though we didn't have big plans. (Not true: Any holiday away from writing stinkin' lesson plans ROCKS!) Our Spring Break was going to take place in Granbury for a few reasons: 1. I wanted to attend Marijon and Baby Drew's shower in Arlington 2. This is STILL Kerry's busy season and he was sure not going anywhere 3. We couldn't go to the lake house since Kerry's parents are in Japan visiting Uncle Kory and Aunt Kelly, and last but not least: 4. I didn't want to spend ANOTHER week at my house - alone- with two kids.

As it turns out, staying home alone with two kids was probably my best option as it seems that we have really ticked off the Spring Break gods. "The Kilgore Spring Break Curse" has been tapping on our shoulders the past three years - this year included. I was hoping to escape it this year, so I planned way ahead in the hopes of keeping The Curse at bay.

The first time The Curse struck was during Spring Break 2007. This time the misfortune fell upon Grant and our pocketbook. L-O-N-G story short, it involved two E.R. visits (one to Granbury's hospital and the other to Cook Children's) and an ambulance ride in between all due to Grant's asthma. I've become quite the asthma pro since then (it really is an art), so I packed every inhaler, vial, the breathing machine, both allergy meds AND Grant's steroids (oral and inhaled) because I was determined that NO ONE was going to the hospital this year.

I failed.

Spring Break 2009 has proven to be worse than Spring Break 2007 by a LONG shot. This time the misfortune fell on ALL of us, but especially Rhett... Rhett was admitted into Cook Children's Hospital Monday for two reasons: #1. Dehydration from a stomach virus (HOW do kids get dehydrated so quickly??? The kid ate dinner the night before for goodness sakes, and he kept it down, and then he wrestled with Uncle Garrett!! He was feeling GREAT!) and #2. Low blood sugar and tremors. I happened to mention to the doc (gotta love Dr. Steinman - he's always there for us when we're in town) that for almost a year now Rhett shakes first thing in the morning and immediately leads me to the kitchen whereupon he usually demands a fruit bar and some milk. After about five minutes, he snaps out of his "eating fixation", the tremors stop and he's the Rhett we all know and love. I honestly thought NOTHING of this as I do this all the time. I am hypoglycemic, and tremors and NEEDING sugar is just part of my life - has been for about 23 years. My sugars can get so low I shake like a leaf and have to focus with all my might in order to open a DrPepper or even hold the DrPepper for that matter. I can get so bad that I can't walk, I can barely talk, I become depressed and perhaps the scariest thing of all is there is NO way I could drive. NO way! But the good news is that after five minutes of having a snack, I am FINE. Just ask Kerry, my family and Marijon. They'll tell you how truly unbelievable it is. With help from a nutritionist though, I have been able to keep it under much better control the last 6 years. Life is soooooo much easier now since every day is not controlled by low sugar levels. So what I am trying to say is that low blood sugar is a big part of ME, and shaking is just an every day thing around our house which is why when Rhett shakes I think nothing of it; especially since he is fine after he eats. But when I mentioned this to the doc on Monday, he grew concerned and immediately did a blood sugar test. Rhett's level came back EXTREMELY low - frightfully low - 34 to be exact!!! (It should've been around 100.) His blood sugar was so low that he could've seized! This certainly explained the tremors he was having at the moment. We were immediately sent to Cook Children's (why we did not go by ambulance remains a mystery) where they did two things: Replenished his liquids and electrolytes and began running tests to determine the exact cause for the tremors and low blood sugar. Sure, the low sugar number could have been related to the illness, but that did not explain the long history of tremors, the need for immediate food, and the relief the food brought. Cooks wanted to do a fasting glucose test on Rhett once he was well, but I talked them into letting us do it once we got back home since it would require an even longer hospital stay and poor Rhett had been poked and prodded so many times already. The doc agreed under one condition: An endocrinology nurse came up to Rhett's room to teach me how to test his blood sugars at home like diabetics do so I can keep a close eye on his levels between now and when we get back to Sugar Land. The main goal is to prevent levels below 70 (I'm learning more and more how scary that 34 reading was!!) I know how to poke his skin with the "poker", how to reload the "poker", how to test the strips to see if they are reading correctly, where to poke and how to poke and when to poke (it is a VERY thin needle, so you can barely feel it - I know - I had to do it to myself!), and what to do if Rhett gets a reading below 70. Basically I have to test Rhett's sugar levels every morning since that's when the tremors and need for food are the most extreme, and I am supposed to test any other time he shakes or shows an immediate need for food.

I took his levels this morning for the first time out of the hospital. He got a reading of 80. That's a bit too close to 70 to me, and I would really like for his levels to be around 100 - but since it was above 70, I will try to relax. He was not shaking much, and by the time I did test him, he had had a few bites of a cinnamon roll. I am assuming that could affect the test, but I'm not sure. Oddly enough, and as horrible as it sounds, I'm hoping he'll wake up tomorrow morning with significant tremors and I can test him BEFORE anything touches his lips so I can get a more accurate reading. I have all of the supplies laid out and ready to go.

Long term plan: If the fasting glucose test that we will have done in Houston (has to be one overnight in the hospital) shows that his blood sugars are fine after all, we will then go to Plan B to determine the cause behind the tremors.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Rhett has spread his stomach virus to EVERYONE at Mimi and Pops' house. This includes Mimi, Pops, Aunt Jessica, Uncle Garrett and myself. The only person not yet affected is Grant - and that's just a matter of time. We're sitting here in a house of germs, waiting out stomach cramps and other symptoms you'd rather not know about while breathing in the scent of Lysol and sipping Gatorade. Good times.

I am sad because poor baby Rhett was so ill and was not only given an IV, but he was also poked every four hours his ENTIRE stay in the hospital to test his sugar levels. I am sad because he had to endure so much, and he was sooooo very tired. I am sad that Garrett and Jessica had big Spring Break plans and we totally ruined them. I am sad that I had big adventures planned for Grant, Rhett and myself including a trip to the zoo, the museum, fishing, and more. Obviously none of those have happened. I'm sad because my dad rearranged is patients so he could spend more time with the boys, but instead HE got sick! I'm sad that I made St. Patrick's Day shirts for the boys and myself, and we didn't get to wear them since we spent St. P's Day in the hospital. I am sad that before she got ill, Jessica had to take care of Grant for me while I was at the hospital with Rhett. Undoubtedly that was a FAR cry from her original plans. (I am so lucky to have Jessica though. Grant loves her, and the hospital experience would've been much more dramatic had it not been for her.) I'm sad that my mom needed to clone herself in order to not only take care of us at the hospital, but she had to take care of those at home getting ill, the house, errands, laundry, and herself. Hopefully she could add another clone to the mix and that one could have some fun during her long deserved break. And for that matter, I'm sad because instead of getting to refresh our mind, body and spirits during Spring Break, we endured a stomach virus and a hospital stay, and there's NOTHING refreshing about either of those. I am sad that I wore the SAME horridly gross clothes for the 36 hours we were in the hospital. These clothes were spotted and stained with Rhett vomit, Rhett diarrhea, Rhett blood, Rhett pee, and last but not least, he spilled Gatorade in my shoes for cryin' out loud!! (Pretty sure I deserve the Mother of the Year award.) I could not wait to get home and disinfect! And if you know germ freak me (I'm the gal that carries Bleach with me to hotels. I'm the gal that cleans the toilet and shower every day.), you can only imagine how hard being in that hospital was for me. I lathered and scrubbed, and lathered and scrubbed some more. I still don't feel clean. I am sad, maybe "afraid" is a better word, that Grant has not been on the receiving end of the virus and his time is coming...

I'm really ticked (can't think of a more appropriate word as it truly is quite fitting) that this is my SECOND Spring Break that I've spent in Cook Children's Hospital. When Rhett was released, I half jokingly said to the nurse, "See you same time same place next year!"

But since then I've decided that we are NOT going to Granbury for Spring Break 2010. Maybe, just maybe, that will break the Kilgore Spring Break Curse. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure we'd be allowed to come back here next year. They might change the locks so we can't get in and bring yet another FAB Spring Break to those we love.

I hope everyone else out there is getting their relaxation buckets filled during the break. I hope everyone is enjoying family time, fun adventures, this PERFECT weather, I hope you are partying like it's 1999, and last but not least, I hope you are all pigging out and NOT throwing it back up.

PS. Garrett just back from the ER here in Granbury. He was doing some water sport (wake boarding maybe...) and the board flew up and hit him right above the eye. He had to get stitches. Not sure on the number, but at this point, does it really matter???? Bless his heart: He finally started to feel better, and now he's got stitches. I think we are ALL ready for this Spring Break to end. I sure am - I am D.O.N.E. with it! As far as I'm concerned, Spring Break can be completely wiped off the calendar from now on for all I care!