Today was good. I started off with a walk by the river with Kathy. When I got home, I got a job offer from the school I interviewed at last week, and it was a good offer. Jes went to the store for me and brought home some fresh fruit and some half 'n half for my decaf coffee. I spent all evening doing math with Squirt. He finished Chapter 1, section 1 and did all the even problems from 1-64 at the end of the section. Now for Chaper 1 section 2!

Oh, one more thing. This is my prayer board. I added a couple people today!


Jes took this photo of her kitty, Maya, on her perch at the top of the stairs. I did not have a good day today. I became very afraid due to discovering a lump on Squirt's surgical scar and spent most of the day comparing photos and obsessing over it.


Tonight I made fried green tomatoes. After living in the South for 43 of my 44 years, can you believe this is the first time I've actually fried green tomatoes? They were goooood! I went to church today. It was a good day.


I'm thinking of painting my office purple. Light purple. "Dried Lavender" perhaps. You can see one cluttered wall in one photo, and another wall with paint samples taped to the wall in the other. Aza and I picked up the paint samples from Lowe's today after we had dinner at the Riverside Cafe (sans Jes) and dropped Kels off at a friend's house.


Today I went by the high school and picked up all the books Squirt will be using this year. He needs an extra copy of all the books at home since he won't be able to carry anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least 6 months. Each of these books probably weighs that much!

This evening, Squirt came home from Kels' house around 11pm and said, "Mom! Come here!" and I rushed upstairs to see what was wrong. He said, "You have to see this toad outside." I saw the toad, went to get my camera, and well... now you see the toad too.


Ian came over for lunch today, bringing Sticks kebobs for me and Dan. He gave me this postcard and marzipan from Germany.

Then Jes when out and bought some new hiking boots for her backpacking trip next month. Here she is with one shoe on and one shoe off. This should be a nice hint for the question posed on 7-21-07!


Today I had a job interview at this middle school in the county. They have an opening for a sixth grade science teacher for only one class. I would have my own classroom and be able to teach my own style as long as I follow a pacing guide. One class! Every day for 90 minutes. I'd have time to go in early and set up, and time afterwards to clean up. What fun! I hope it works out, and helps me with my dissertation research.

I saw this butterfly on the mint in my garden and had my camera ready to take a photo. I have to figure out what kind it is.

Squirt and Kels actually went and played Putt Putt today! I couldn't believe it. He didn't want me to take another cheesy photo of him recovering, so I snapped a photo of the elephant instead. I got another migraine today, and had to take a Maxalt in the evening so I could do some chemistry tutoring.


I got a migraine today, the second one of the month. This photo of the sky symbolizes the feeling of the pain coming in from all sides and taking over.


I messed with this video all day, trying different formats and had trouble uploading it. Finally, this evening, it worked on YouTube and I posted it here too. Every time I heard this song, I'd always think of my son and how badly I wanted to just reach into his back and fix him, and the song would make me cry. So, it's a perfect song to accompany his actual healing process! It's called Scoliosis Survival. You can watch it directly here also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_9w9sXt6EM , just click to leave my blog for YouTube. To play it here, click on the big button in the center of the picture if you can see it, then click on the little play button beneath the picture.


Today I picked three cups of blackberries from the side of the road and made this cobbler for dessert. I do this every July. Dino was over for dinner and he had never eaten a single bite of blackberry cobbler in his life, so I just had to do it.


One of my daughters has my feet. Is it blonde Aza, leaning on Jacob, doped up on Percocet the day after having her wisdom teeth cut out, or it is brunette Jes, wearing Aza's ice packs on her aching head, with her silver paddle necklace and my old barn coat?

These photos taken after a lovely meal provided by friends Frank and Thessa and sitting outside in the cool evening, watching a Hawiian slide show after peach and blueberry cobbler for dessert.


8:30 am, Aza's wisdom teeth came out.
Small candy corn...
Percocet, ice packs, bloody gauze.
Cleaned her bathroom.
Sitting on that bathroom floor with her: nausea, the beast.

Washed, dried and folded laundry
and every dish
around the house... in bedrooms, dens, and of course,
the kitchen.
Messy kids. Messy grown kids.

Tended to Squirt
Fixed meals: pudding, muffins...
Ran up and down the stairs all day. All day. Ran.

Headache started around 2:30 pm
3 Alleve
In denial until 5:30 when Dan came home and took over.

Jes ordered Pizza. Kels and Jacob came over.
I went to bed.
And stayed there the rest of the night with heat packs on my neck
Eye mask to block out light
Lavender bath, Phenergan, Tylenol, more Alleve, Elavil, Klonopin... to drive it away
everything but Maxalt, the proverbial kitchen sink.

No picture this day to capture this hell.


Today I ran errands. I mailed copies of the wedding DVD to people, returned stuff to the engineering school, and picked up my three complimentary copies of the new book I co-authored with my advisor. His name is on the cover, but I worked on it with him for three years. I illustrated it, took photos for it, wrote sections in almost every chapter, and even wrote the first draft of four chapters on my own.


I spent all day on this musical slideshow project. It took five separate pieces of software to get the thing produced. I made nine copies and put eight of them in envelopes (I'm keeping one). It's a 300 picture slide show lasting 25 minutes depicting my sister and her new husband growing up in neighboring little towns in south Alabama. They met in Los Angeles... it's really sweet and I hope they love it.


Poor Frisbee has been neglected of late. He can't sleep with his big brother right now because it just wouldn't be safe. No one seems to have time to take him for long walks or romps in the field anymore. With Squirt on physical restrictions and the girls both working long hours, and my husband trying to catch up on lost work hours, poor Frizz is sad. He mopes. Then chases the cats.


Just look at this hospital bill! YIKES! Thankfully we have good health insurance, but I'm going to need to see an itemized version of this bill. Medical supplies? What medical supplies cost over 90,000?


Today, since Squirt is feeling so much better, I gave myself permission to feel better too. I decided to get some chores done, one of which was to hang this painting in my bedroom. Jes helped me and I think it looks nice here.


Me: Squirt, how do you feel?
Him: I feel great!
Me: NO, seriously. How do you feel?
Him: Seriously! I feel great!
Me: Well, then I'm going to get the camera. We have to document this!

Then he got in the car for his first real outing- an evening at his girlfriend's house.

I think we've turned the corner.


The videoconference was at Lambeth House today. I took a picture of the projection of me on the wall before I connected with the Polycom at UM. It was really cool teaching a bunch of students a thousand miles away. The image was a bit fuzzy, and there was some lag in audio transmission, but it was remarkably awesome.

Squirt is feeling better. He and I went for a long walk this evening after Pablo came over for a visit, bringing cookies and old movies. Around 11pm we watched one of them, staying up way too late.


This is a body pillow. I bought it for Squirt today to help him get comfortable while he sleeps. He finds it both amusing and comforting.

Today I spent a few hours out of the house at school preparing for a videoconference I'm doing tomorrow with some students at the University of Minnesota.


Today I called the doctor because we just couldn't seem to get this pain under control. When the nurse called me back, she said it sounded like Squirt was having muscle spasms, and she had a medicine for that. I picked it up from the pharmacy, and the rest of the afternoon was much better. Every four hours he gets a little pink pill and it has helped so much. I hope he sleeps tonight.


This is a flowering plant that Frank brought my son in the hospital. Today was filled with pain as I watched my son suffer with only Vicodin and words of encouragement to offer him.


Before & After


Squirt gave me permission to post this today after saying "woah!" about a dozen times.
One week ago today he had 11 vertebra in his back broken, then fused with bone grafts, titanium rods, and screws. The pain is still great, but today he walked up to the clubhouse, and down the hill to the bottom of the cul de sac and back home.

Getting stronger every day.


Sometimes it's crazy having three grown kids, their friends, and three animals in the house. But it sure can be entertaining, and there's always something going on. I love the activity and the full feeling of family. Today Aza left for a week at the beach and my mother-in-law leaves tomorrow. Jes will be working, Dan will start working again, and I'll be watching over my son. We'll have some quiet time. But the animals- the animals, they always keep us busy. Here's Maya doing some stretching while watching Mittens.


Back at home. Jes washed and dried her tent, air mattress, and tarp from the West Virginia experience. I rearranged some flowers. We had dinner together, and Squirt even got in a pillow fight with his girlfriend. We were all exhausted.


Today, the surgeon discharged us early in the morning, but something happened with the discharge papers, and we couldn't leave the hospital until 2:30pm. It was tough waiting it out. We were so glad to get out of there.


Today he climbed stairs. He got his IV taken out, and one drainage tube. He lost his button to push for narcotic pain, and started Percocet. This morning has been strained though. I came home for an hour or two while Dan sits by him... and took a look at what his grandmother has done to his room. It will never look this clean again, so I thought it was worthy of the picture of the day. I think tomorrow my boy will come home. He saw his X-rays this morning and was very very pleased. He thanked the surgeon. He really couldn't believe the straight back he saw on those films. We think he's about an inch taller.

Jes turned 21 today and she returned from DC, visited the hospital, worked a shift at the restaurant, and went out with her sister. Here's a photo documenting her day.


This morning, at 6am, Squirt woke me and said, "Mom. Look at my hand". It was like a blown up rubber glove. Infiltration, they called it. He was in intense pain, as all the overnight pain meds had gone into his hand. It was a frantic few hours as the nurses and docs tried to bring his pain under control and his hand from popping. New IV line started in the other hand... blood drawn... and a new pain medicines. Over the course of the day everything improved so much. He walked. He ate. He raided the 7th floor kitchen and brought back all the icecream, popsicles and juices he could find. He ate dinner then begged for cheese pizza, which he called a "plice of pees cheeza", and we all laughed. Pain meds working well, my boy was coming out of the worst of things.


A room with a view.
Today was hard. They all warned us that the second day is harder than the first. Squirt couldn't keep anything in his stomach, and although he sat on the side of the bed and stood briefly, it was a very difficult day. Tubes hooked up to everywhere, monitors beeping in the middle of the night, nurses invading constantly, more doctors than I realized were on his case checking in every hour. "Can you wiggle your toes?" It was a scary day and I just prayed that it would all get better with time like the nurses kept saying.


We arrived here at 6:30am this morning: me and Dan and Jes and Squirt and Kels. The rest of the waiting gang arrived mid-morning, and we had visits from friends in the waiting room while we waited. Waited for phone updates. Finally, after four hours of surgery time, the surgeon called us with the great news that the surgery was a complete success. Dan and I spent three hours with our son in the recovery room and then everyone joined him in his new room on the 7th floor. He was well medicated and comfortable. We were so very thankful. So. Very. Thankful.


Today we celebrated. We celebrated Jes's 21st birthday week, we celebrated a belated Father's Day, we celebrated Squirt's last day with a crooked back. We had two cakes and cookies, a bountiful dinner, and frisbee golf in the backyard. All my kids were home. It's as if I have five now. They all spent the night in anticipation of the following day.