Monday, August 20, 2012

New family members, or: OMG PUPPY!

My delightful sister-in-law and dear friend has a new (ish, she's had her a few months now!) puppy.  A puppy of awesomeness.  A puppy whose cute-osity knows no satiety.  Lou-Lou!!

Giant fluff ball...and puppy
My DSIL (delightful sister-in-law) has never known so frequent a visitor as young Lolly, since obtaining this puppy paragon.  Lolly barely gets a week before demanding to see "her puppy Lou-Lou."
ZOMG the cute
I mean, seriously.  'tis not a dog, 'tis a fur-ball of cute!

Alarming similarities?

Two happy puppies.

Lou-Lou and DSIL, we loves you!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Are you ready for too many photos of the Ekka?

I hope so, because here they are!  If not, look away...NOW

The day before the Snail got back home, I took Lolly to the Ekka (for our overseas guests, a big country fair kind of dealio held for a few days every year at these inner-city showgrounds).  We've been every year since she was 2!  Okay, so that's only 3 times, but still.

The best part for a Lolly is the giant baby animal feeding/poop centre.  We seriously spend ages in there. 

OMG tiny animal!

Feeding goats.
 From there, it's a straight route over to the horses.

 Dogs and cats are next.
More shots of Lolly patting things.
We hit the kiddie ride section pretty hard this year, it was the first year she really wanted to go on anything.
Excuse the finger over the lens, but check out that face!!  On the Ferris wheel with Nanna.

Riding the tea cups with Pop!

Pony ride with Nanna!

Overpriced and ever-shrinking strawberry icecream!
I'm sure (if you've read this far) that you get the gist of the Ekka from these shots.  It's a kid's paradise, basically.  This year she was quite interested in the show bags, too, and we chose the "pretty pony" bag, with an over-abundance of over-priced ponies.  Awesome!!  She's already counting down the time to next year when we get to go again. 

Can I just give a bit THANK YOU to Nanna and Pop.  And my lovely friend, Vanessa, who made that gorgeous top, which mean Lolly was the cutest identifiable kid at the Show :D

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Home again.

Snail is back with us!  She's here for three weeks, then, if she's up to it, we'll be back to week about.  Transfers are a little hard to say the least at the moment!

We're nearly 4 weeks out from her surgery now, and we're getting there...slowly!  Snail still has a fair bit of pain, and isn't eating well.  Given that most of her meds are oral (don't ask about the others!) this is a fun time for all.  Still, she is getting better every day, which frankly is odd. 

Not that she would get better from surgery, of course she would.  Her health is basically good, and her immune system works a treat.  It's more the weirdness of her having something awful happen that will GET BETTER.  We're more used to "oh, that's the suckfullness that is her/our lives now, and we just have to wear it."  The CP, the intellectual disability, seizures that just get worse and worse and don't respond to meds well, then the hips, which have been gradually deteriorating for at least a year now (in the acute phase, longer really in terms of decreasing mobility and increasing pain).  So yeah, we don't really get things that GET BETTER.

This will, you know, get better.  She'll feel gradually better every day.  She'll get MORE movement and ability back instead of less.  She'll get LESS pain instead of more.  When it's all said and done, she'll be better off in a few months than she has been in years.  We might even get some mobility back, it's been ages since she could use her walker, or walk supported.  So, it's kind of awesome.  Though I'm not quite feeling it yet.  Cautiously awesome. 

We've got another nearly four weeks of splints and the foam wedge that holds her legs and hips in position, then hopefully after her follow-up appointment and x-ray we'll get more of a repreive and can move to just using them at night.  Then an intensive couple of weeks of physio at the hospital to get her used to moving again.  Then, back to school and regular physio.  Can't wait!!

So, that's my mildly coherent update.  And here are some shots of our various contraptions, which are numerous!  The recliner for relaxed telly watching that we borrowed from her Mum...

The reclining wheelchair, complete with bonus world's fattest cat and our new turtle tank :D

Snail and DinnerDad are camping out in the lounge because we can't get the enormous chair down our tiny hallway.  At least it's bright and sunny out there!

There's a hoist too, but apparently I haven't uploaded a pic.  Next time.  We haven't had to use it yet as the 2-person lift is working fine. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lolly the Artist - age 4 and nearly half

Lolly is 4 and a half (nearly) and loves art.  A day doesn't go by that she isn't drawing, painting, or doing some kind of gluing masterpiece.  And I'm here to make sure the internet viewing public sees them all!!

Here are some of her latest work, I've been so interested to see how much detail she does in her drawing lately!  Eyes will have circles and pupils, even little holes in the ears, fingers and toes, and hair, of course. 


Snails having a race!

Here, she's done her current fave - people with puppies.  You can see where she's written her name up the top.  Love the backwards "L" and will be sad to see it go.

Eyes with pupils!  Ears with little holes "to hear out of"!
All her pictures have elaborate and awesome stories attached to them.  Like this one, which is "a turtle in a tank with some feeder fish, some bubbles, and bees and a caterpillar for company."
Turtle in a tank :D
I am a total slacker and mostly make her do watercolours for painting, which is an inside job on a plastic table cloth.  I liked this one, which is water over a texter drawing of a dinosaur.

But lately she's been very into going outside with "proper" paints, which necessitates several baths a day.
Easel of mess :D
Products of easel of mess.

She also loves gluing and construction of all kinds.  Here is a puppy she made with a wooden peg and some fancy yarn my sister sent her for her birthday in March.

Finally, after an epic post of kid art (Yay, you all say, if you got this far!) - we have playdough ponds with creatures in them, her playdough fave thing to make lately.

Fish pond with eels, a horse and some lavender "trees"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recent doings - July

After horrid lurgys, and being at home with Snail pre-surgery, then having the surgery - Lolly and I have found ourselves with time to go out!  It's very strange.  But Snail is at her mother's, so weirdly after all the *emergency* of our past few weeks, we had basically 2 weeks off, with no Snail, no lurgys, and lovely fine winter weather.  She's back Friday.

Once I'd had a couple of days at home reeling around and feeling anxious, depressed, and weird, we've been off doing stuff.

We visited an awesome friend at her new home (yay!  Much closer to us!), and Lolly had her face painted.

Lolly - Face painting by her little friend, B.

We've been to the shops!  Lolly's lunch of choice when out is what we call "McSushi" - fries, a raw salmon sushi roll, all dipped in oodles of soy sauce.  
 One night last week Lolly decided she was going to sleep in the toy basket.
The cute!!
 And when we can, we go visit Snail at her mother's.  Here we are, all buckled up ;)
Click, clack, front and back!
We've also been to playgroup, had Nanna and Pop over, and generally been enjoying a strange island of peace and quiet as much as we can.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hospital time

So, this is what we've been doing the past few months...

As most of you know, Snail has cerebral palsy, and uses a wheelchair.  A lot of CP kids develop hip problems, mostly due to their lack of weight bearing in early development.  Your hips and femurs need walking and weight bearing to finish forming properly.  So a lot of kids with issues walking, and issues with muscle tone, end up with hip malformations which eventually leads to dislocations.

Which is just what happened to our Snail.

Over the past year, since an x-ray last August, we've known that Snail would need surgery.  Last August, her right hip was 40% subluxed (sitting incorrectly in the socket), early this year it was 80%.  A few weeks ago, we had a bad incident with her pain and when they did an x-ray at Emergency, her right hip was completely dislocated.

So, after living with that for several weeks, she had surgery 2 weeks ago.

Here is a simple link to what she had done.  She had a femoral varus derotation osteotomy on both sides (re-angling of the femoral head), and an acetabuloplasty on the hip socket (re-shaping the hip socket) on the right side.  Basically - it was an operation on both femurs, to reposition the head of the socket correctly, and to make sure her legs came out the same length after surgery (which is why they do the both sides at the same time).  She also had her right hip socket reconstructed into a more normal shape. 

It was, in the words of one of the registrars, a "big day out" in surgery.  One of her surgeons commented that it's pretty much the maximum amount of surgery they can do on a person, other than in a crash or something.  It was 4 hours, and took two surgeons. 
Towards the parent lounge, during surgery.
Surgery day was everything you might expect, horrible, torturous, awful.  And can I say there's nothing quite like having to spend the entire waiting time with your husband's ex-wife.  I'm sure she would say the same!  No way round it when we're all there waiting for Snail to get the awful thing done.

She looked AWFUL in recovery.  It was a shock.  You know that's what people are going to look like after surgery, but it's still horrible to see Snail go through it.  She was white as a sheet, with heaps of cords and lines everywhere.  She ended up having two transfusions.  For which we are so grateful for Australia's safe blood supply!  We're all going to donate blood in the next couple of weeks.  You should too: there are kids out there, like MY kid, who need it.

The first couple of days were predictably horrid, DinnerDad stayed at the hospital, I went up a lot as my Mum and Dad stayed a couple of days with Lolly (THANK YOU - you both rock!!).  She looked like death and was barely moving or awake.  She had a temperature, and part of her lung collapsed.  Both her legs are in these fabric splints, and hold a foam wedge in place so her hips can't move.  She had an epidural for four days.  They put a naso-gastric tube in as hospital and pain upset her eating and drinking, and she needed her regular oral epilepsy meds. So, you know, all that fun stuff.

By day four she was starting to perk up.  Truly amazing what our bodies can recover from, and so quickly.  She was more awake and interested in us all, and watching telly.  They got her chair organised, a reclining wheelchair as she can't sit at more than 45 degrees for several weeks.  We also have a hoist to do transfers, as she can't help with transfers and can't be moved much until 6 weeks afterwards.

This is day 4, trying out the reclining wheelchair and getting some sun!

Day 5 I think!  Watching Blue's Clues on her iPad and starting to look better!

The girls watching iPad telly :D
She went home after 8 days, back to her mothers for two weeks.  We'll do our catch up after that, and will have her here for a good while.  Can't wait, we miss her.

It's very strange to have a child go through this and not be with them (even if you aren't their "real" mother).  I feel for DinnerDad, it's been very hard on him not being with her, too.  Looking forward to having her here!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Turtle tales

We can haz turtle.  In fact, we has haz turtle since we bought the house we're in!  Our place had a rather...unique wavy in-ground tank, in which our turtle, Squirtle (most common turtle name, EVAH!) resided since the people before us built this house in the early '90s.
Squirtle, and our giant goldfish (the fish has sadly gone to the pond in the sky).
Being an inherited creature, we didn't have a licence for him until very recently *gasp*.  That's right, our family was living on the edge, walking the line, practically criminal!!

Anyhoo, as part of our never ending renovations before we sell the house, we decided to knock out this paragon of eighties architecture. 

The old tank that was built in, complete with kid-proofing and kid.

Tres classy!

Cleaning it out on moving day.
Which involved re-homing Squirtle.  One 4ft tank and much hefting later, we have a temporary spot for him in our lounge room.  When the painting of the new bits of wall are done, he'll go in our doorway to greet the world.
New tank, precariously resting on a TV stand.
Catching all the feeder fish that lived in the old pond! Hours of fun...

Given how much fun he's had since we moved him into the new tank, I now feel like we'd been keeping him in some kind of turtle-torture cave for the past few years.  Still, he's out now, and loving it.

Turtle renovation: done!

Oh, extra bonus shot of our other fish tank.  You can't keep fish in with a turtle (unless they're big enough), the turtle will eat them!  As we learned to our was two fish-buying sessions and a lot of "where did those fish go!?" before we worked it out. 

So when the kid wants goldfish and guppies, you get a kids tank for them.  So we did.