Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The 3 little kittens they lost their mittens and they began to cry....

That song keeps going through my head because.... as you know, it's NEVER boring at our house... there is always something going on. The latest: we have 3 little kittens who's mother (who is also just a kitten and a farrel we've been feeding but can't catch) is running out of milk and the neighbor is threatening to kill them if they get into his yard again. So we have to cage them up in an old rabbit cage that my hubby build quite a few years ago (but the bunnies have since died of old age). The cage is large enough for the kittens to run a little and climb around but we get them out and let them play in our house and back yard and spend time with their mother. She is still trying to nurse them once a day and I imagine it's good for her and the kittens. edited to add: we had to stop allowing them to spend time with their mother because she tried to hide them and we were afraid they would end up getting run over.  We ended up taking two into our home - the orange one who we named Hanz and the short-faced one who ended up being a girl and we named her Bella. We feed them the wet cat food and they really dive into it. They are so stinkin' cute! But of course they get the food all over themselves and end up very dirty. I've had to wash the stinkers. They do have two little litter boxes and they are learning to use them quite nicely.

I am trying to teach them to drink from a bowl and it is so funny! One tries to bite the milk (special formula from Wal-Mart) and the other two are afraid they will get too wet and don't understand that they need to lick it. The kittens chewed off the nipples of the special kitten bottles so I have to feed them with an oral syringe. Of course we have plenty of those around. lol

Here is the orange one exploring water shortly after we watered the orange tree.
He is very curious but cautious. We've learned that he doesn't like being alone... he wants to be near one of his siblings.

Isn't he she cute? SHE has kind of a flat face and is quite cuddly... well, sometimes she is.

We named this one Scampers and when he was old enough we gave him to one of Jessica's home health aides.

These two look a lot alike but in real life you can see the color differences and of course the one in the back has a flatter face. The one in front we call scampers because he loves to scamper around and get into trouble. He is the one who led his sibblings into the neighbor's yard. Fortunately the neighbor's neice we there visiting and helped us get started feeding these little guys. Unfortunately she was called away and isn't around anymore. She does want to keep Scampers but she was called to duty in Irak... I don't know how for how long she will be gone. I'm sad she had to leave, too. She is a true hero. Not only is she a soldier, ex-police officer but a cancer survivor too. She gave me her address and phone # and I hope we can keep in touch. She is a reall trooper! (every pun inteded) lol

What a cute little kitten! We don't have a name for him yet. Any suggestions? We named him Hanz and call him Hanzie.  He is still such a lovable cat.

Scamper has the most adorable eyes!

Brandon with Scampers.

Brandon is such a natural with these kittens. He is also very protective of them.

Jessica also loves the kittens. She has helped me feed them too.

We are going to keep the one with the short face... at least that is the plan for now. We don't have any takers for the orange one and as far as we can tell, they are all boys... but they are still very small and we aren't 100% sure about any of them. The plan is to capture their mother and have her "fixed" and then fix the one we are going to keep. There is one cat that has been eating at our house for awhile and we think he is the dad. He isn't coming around much since Taz has had the kittens. (I named her Taz after the Tazmanian devil because I caught her once and all I saw was fur and nails as she ripped my hands apart trying to get away! LOL) So Taz has chased White Toes away for the most part but I think he may come back more often once Taz has stopped nursing her babies and has been fixed. BTW, the kittens showed up on Jessica's 21st birthday! They were barely able to walk a little and Taz was dragging one kitten towards the food we had left out for her. I went around the corner of the house and found two more kittens! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JESSICA! :-) She was so sick that she only got to hold one kitten and then had to go back to bed with her major migraine and vomitting. (My poor baby!) You can read more about that post if you scroll down my blog page. I'm too tired and lazy to post a link right now. I had better get to bed since it's 5:30am now! yikes!

Good night and thanks for visiting! By the way... these cute kitten were discovered on Jessica's 21st birthday!  What a blessing they have been and continue to be.  

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A good day

We finally had a really good day today! Jessica was finally feeling up to going to our local support group, Tu Nidito. They were having a picnic and we had hamburgers & hot dogs grilled by chef Randy! (one of our awesome volunteers who's wife takes Jess and I to lunch every so often). We visited with another family who have 3 girls, one of which is battling leukemia for the 2ND time. :*( They are so cool tho and Jess had fun sitting with them and talking with them. Austin even came! It's been several years since either Brandon or Austin went with Jess and I so it was a real treat for him to come. Everyone made him feel so welcome that he thinks he will try coming back in September after our Summer break. ; They have made some huge changes at the Tu Nidito house (it used to be a home and then was turned into offices and then used for our support group. They received a grant and another awesome building with 4 classrooms and an office in the back, a lot more parking (including handicapped) and a new playground with REAL GRASS! And not that sparse grass where you see a blade or two every once in a while, but real thick grass. Most of you are probably laughing at my obsession with grass but not if you've lived in Southern AZ. Water is expensive and the sun burns grass up. So most people don't have lawns and the public parks usually have the 1/2 dead grass. My CHD friends think I'm nuts when I've gone to KS and CT to visit them and "oooo" and "ahhh" over how green everything is. {that was back in 2001 and 2003 - I used to have somewhat of a life. :-P}

OK, back to Tu Nidito... behind the house is a patio area which has been also been refurbished. It has a small grassy area and nice waterfall with a small pond. I never had a chance to go to the back to see it all during the construction since Jess insists on NOT taking her wheelchair and she can't walk all the way back there. Little did I know that they had opened up the back wall so we could see from the patio a lot of what had been done.

I took a couple of pictures... unfortunately I didn't get the landscaping before it got dark. I'll have to post some later since it's almost 5 am and I need to get some sleep if I'm going to take Jess to her appointment (and I dare not miss this one!)

Thank you for the many uplifting comments and emails I've received here and on facebook lately. My mom called me after reading my last post and my sister has been very worried about me and Jess... yes, things are quite tough around here a lot and I really need the support, but there are still many reasons to smile and many reasons to laugh - and I believe there are still many more to come.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Jessica turned 21!!! But is sick yet again!

First of all, I want to thank those of you who sent emails, e-cards and snail-mail birthday cards to Jessica. She has been so happy to receive them and asks a lot of questions about who it was that sent them to her: how old are their children, where to they live, do they have heart problems too? etc. There are several emails and e-cards that she hasn't seen yet because she has become quite ill - AGAIN.

Jessica's party on Saturday was a hit and she really enjoyed having people over... but she was quite blue and tired. The party was quite fast since I knew her stamina was very low. When it was time to open her gifts, Grandma Jensen sat beside her to help her since she seemed so blue and tired. I talked to my MIL later who told me that Jess was even shaking a little. But she had huge smiles for everyone and was so happy with not only the gifts but of course everyone who came.

Jess was quite tired and more weak the next few days and I rescheduled an appointment that she was supposed to go to on Monday because of it. The young women from our church came over Tuesday night and celebrated her birthday then. (Tues is their usual activity night). Jess was having a hard time being perky and happy even with cupcakes and pudding cake being served. Several times she leaned over on a pile of pillows on the couch and lay there. I gave her some morphine and got my camera out. She then remembered that she has a camera on her new DSi that she got for her birthday so she had a good time taking pictures of everyone. One of the leaders brought her 8 month-old baby, Malia, who Jessica just loved! The ladies and girls left after about an hour and Jess was in a lot of pain. She said her head and stomach hurt. I wasn't able to get her to bed until around 4:00am due to her pain and when she woke up the next day (1:30pm) she had such a bad migraine. I gave her tylenol and morphine, turned out the lights in her room, turned off her tv and made her have a nap. After sleeping a couple of hours, that usually does the trick. Not this time. By 4:00pm her tummy was hurting even worse and she threw up - a lot. Poor thing can't even sit up by herself during this horrible process so I have to try to sit by her and hold her up. I gave her a pill for nausea, more tylenol and morphine. After awhile she was able to go back to sleep and slept until close to 8:00pm. I didn't know what I should do so I woke her up and tried to get her to take in some fluids. She had to go potty and it was diarrhea. She was able to keep more fluids down, she perked up and ate some soup too. As I was getting her into bed at about 3:00am, her stomach started growling and I had to fix her more soup and crackers. She finally got to bed at about 4:30am. I was beat! I hadn't slept much during the day from worry and also taking care of her. I was hoping that she would be all better by the next day. - wrong!

The next day, Thurs, she woke up again with horrible tummy ache and head ache at 1:30pm. Again she had a nap after meds but this time I got her up at about 4:00pm. She was feeling better, and even smiled and laughed some. Karl was out of town most of the week but got home in the late afternoon and Jess was so happy to see him! Unfortunately twice tonight I sat with her in the bathroom while she tried to go poop - practically doubled over in pain and extremely blue and short of breath just trying to push. I thought she was constipated but no... it was runny and a strange color. She could be having another Ischemia attack or a bowel obstruction. Each time I help her in the bathroom (which is every time she goes) I look for blood. A very bad sign for her. The throwing up and diarrhea are both signs of Ischemia. I'm blaming it on the migraine she had but I can't be certain. She was just sick a few weeks ago with this same thing except it was worse last time. (Although I just don't know how she is going to feel tomorrow). Yesterday she was so sick that I started to have an anxiety attack. I just kept praying that she wouldn't die while Karl was out of town. Things are pretty tough over here a lot of the time.

Jess actually laughed and smiled a bit tonight and was able to eat some soup... but then she had the bowel thing after that. She was crying and asking "why me?" I got her calmed down and told her she needed to not cry but to save her energy to push when she needs to. I don't know why her. Sometimes I feel she has been through far more than anybody ever should and it keeps going and going.

The most amazing thing to me is how she keeps trying to be happy. She tries to keep herself busy to keep her mind off her pain. She amazes me. We talk a lot about death, what it is like, what her cousin, Marcus is doing... she dreams of Marcus every night and they go to Disneyland together. In the last few weeks she has told me that before going to Disney they sit on Marcus's bed and talk. Then they go and check on his parents and his brothers. Once they know everyone in Marcus's family is ok, they leave to go to Disneyland. Jessica told me the other day that when she is in heaven she will check on me every night before going to Disneyland with Marcus. I give her a hug to give to Marcus every night and every day she gives me a hug from him. She is no longer terrified of dying like she was 5 years ago when she had the lung bleeds. Of course I dare the bravest person to NOT be panicky when they are coughing up blood - choking and trying to catch their breath but can't. It is a horrible experience. So we are extremely grateful that she no longer deals with that. We are amazed that she stopped having lung bleeds. (Kudos to Hospice for helping us start the morphine therapy!) Jess has come a long way since then - we all have.

A dear, sweet online friend of mine just recently found out that her husband has cancer. This amazing friend has a lot of cancer in her family and watched her sister fight it many times throughout her life before passing away.... and she also cared for her mother while she died from cancer quite a few years ago. My friend is feeling deflated and kind of like God hates her. Well, who can blame her? I started looking for something that might help her (and myself!) and came upon this talk given by one of our LDS leaders. It's called: "God Loves and Helps All of His Children" Here are some passages from the talk:

"An... essential way to receive God's help is through prayer. We are commanded to pray to God, our Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. The admonition is, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened." ( Matthew 7:7-8) Heavenly Father answers all sincere prayers.

As the Lord's prophet, President Monson counsels: "At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end-no dawn to break the night's darkness. . We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face."

I remember standing over Jessica's hospital bed when she was 3 years old and wondering if she would survive the day... watching her little body in a coma, having seizures, hemorrhaging and fighting a blood infection. We were told by several specialists that she was in BAD shape and most likely would not survive the day. The only person Karl and I could turn to was God. He was in complete control. The doctors didn't know how to help her. Jessica didn't even seem to be inside her body at that time. She didn't look like herself in a coma. We had seen the tubes and wires everywhere when she had her first surgery (at the age of 5 months old) and we knew what she would look like post-surgery... but this was 4 days post surgery and all these complications were making us face the fact that she was indeed dying. It was completely up to the Lord. Our bishop met us at the hospital and counseled us, prayed with us and even cried with us. Finally when both Karl and I could completely and with all our hearts say "Thy will be done"... she started to turn around. The doctors were doing blood tests every 15 minutes and had an OR waiting for Jessica. The cardio-thoracic surgeon told us that they wouldn't take her to the OR until absolutely necessary. He was certain that if he opened her up to find the bleeder then it would cause all her scar tissue to start bleeding again and she would not survive the surgery. (During Jessica's heart surgery 4 days prior, her shunt which takes blood to the lungs was accidentally cut and she bled out for 8 minutes while they finished opening and placed her on the bypass machine. After that all her scar tissue (which was excessive) and other tissue hemorrhaged for quite some time and even after closing they had to reopen to stop some bleeders.) Jessica had been in critical condition and was finally improving when she started hemorrhaging again, having seizures (which was later found out was caused by a massive stroke affecting 5 areas of her brain) and they found the blood infection. Any one of those things could be life-threatening but all of them together.... certainly she would die. You can see the surgeon's hesitancy to perform another surgery! He kept telling us that the numbers didn't match. Jess had lost 1/3 of her blood volume in 4 hours and yet her blood pressure was becoming more stable and her blood count was ok. After about 4 - 5 hours the surgeon told us that he was not going to have to do surgery. He said, "A power far greater than ours saved your daughter today. We did nothing but stand here and watch a miracle."

About a week later Jessica was able to breathe on her own and came off the ventilator. She was blind and paralyzed from the stroke. She was so weak and couldn't take comfort in my holding her. After a difficult day at the hospital I took to my knees at home and prayed to the Lord to help her be comforted. I told Him that it wasn't fair for her to have to suffer through this alone. I have taken care of her through many illnesses, surgeries, therapy, procedures and through all this Jessica at least took comfort in my holding her. That day Jess was extremely agitated and seemed to be afraid of everything. Her vision seemed to be improving a tiny bit but only enough to scare her. I could only imagine this beautiful little girl who was attached to all the wires and tubes being held by someone who sounded like Mom, felt like Mom, smelled like Mom but looked like a monster! She even seemed to be afraid of her own hand and she practically threw herself off of the bed trying to get away from it. So with all my heart to told the Lord that no matter what, I would care for this precious child. I've taken care of her through it all and I'll take care of her blind for however long she is here... just please - help her to be comforted, I prayed. A wave of warmth and calmness engulfed my body and I ended my prayer in tears. I meditated for a few minutes and then called the hospital. The nurse told me that Jessica seemed to have calmed down in the last 10 minutes or so. I had called my sister before I had prayed and she came over and sat and talked with me. I had wrenched my back trying to hold Jess and comfort her for 8 hours that day and the nurse insisted that I stay home and get some rest. Karl was new at his job and had already used any sick time he had so he was working and then had to come home and sleep. He wouldn't be able to visit Jessica at the hospital until after work the next day. So I went went to bed after calling the hospital again and they said she had not only been calm but had even eaten something! I woke up in the middle of the night and called the hospital again. They said that she was doing so well they were considering moving her out of the ICU in the morning! Several of the tubes and wires had come out since my last phone call! The next morning she was in the process of being moved out of the ICU. She was in a double occupancy room and in the 2nd "bed" (crib). I didn't say anything as I walked into her room. She immediately turned her head and cried out, "Momma!" SHE COULD SEE ME! I ran across the room, picked her up and hugged her as we both cried. I stayed the whole day with her. She was still quite sick but she could see and was comforted by me being with her! When Karl arrived at the hospital she could recognize her Daddy, too. She still had a lot of problems with her vision but it was slowly returning. When she went home - 3 weeks post surgery - she still was mostly paralyzed on her left side, her vision was still iffy, her speech was no where near it used to be and she couldn't sit or crawl - much less walk. We had a LOT of therapy and pain to go through still but she did regain most of what was lost.

I have seen miracles and sometimes wonder why I am so privileged to have seen these in my own life and in my child's life. I know that sometimes the miracle isn't in the healing - but in the relief of the pain - the return to our loving Father above.

I am trying to read more uplifting literature and help myself and my family to more readily deal with the trials in our lives. I know God doesn't hate us... He loves us and wants to help us through our trials. We are here to learn and draw near unto Him. I want to feel the comfort of the Lord and help Jessica through her difficult times as well. (who just got up out of bed yet again at 5:20am)

I'm thankful for all of you - family and friends who help us through the difficult times and celebrate with us through the good ones. Please pray that Jessica's pain leaves her body so that she can sleep (at night, lol) and enjoy spending time with her brothers while they are home for the summer break. Pray that I get some sleep and 5 minutes to myself. lol