Archive for January, 2016

Goodbye 2015; Hello 2016

2015 was a really crummy year. Some good things happened, too. But overall, the year left a bad taste in my mouth.

It started off by Elena, who had just turned 2, breaking her foot. She had to wear a boot for 4 weeks, which she took surprisingly well!

A few weeks later, I totaled our van when someone slammed into me, pushing me into another car. A van which we had only owned a few months. This happened on my way to work one morning, to a job I had only started about a couple weeks earlier, right after Elena broke her foot. Thankfully, insurance took care of everything and we ended up replacing our van with another one without having to take on an automobile loan, which was nice. The van wasn’t quite as nice as the one we’d had, but no payment seemed to be a fair enough tradeoff.

Two months after the accident, I went to Chicago for a work trip. Right before I left for that trip, Quentin got sick. In fact, he had sick for a while off and on. The doctors had suspected RSV. He seemed to be mostly recovering from it, just not completely. After a brief period of “mostly better”, he took a turn for the worst. He had all the usual cold-type symptoms, but he also seemed to be so much more lethargic than made me comfortable.

I left for my trip feeling uneasy, but Nathan took him to the pediatrician the day before, and it seemed we were doing all we could do. When I arrived in Chicago, I was so worried, I called the pediatrician again and really stressed how poorly he was feeling and how not himself he was. They said we could take him to the ER at Children’s, but after talking to Nathan and a few other people, we decided to play it by ear, we had already taken him in, and so there probably wasn’t more they or we could do at that point.

When I got home a few days later, his fever had dropped, but he was still quite lethargic, so I took him to the pediatrician again. After checking his pulse/oxygen, something that had been doing many time before on my children without excitement, the doctor came back in and calmly told me he had called an ambulance, and Quentin would need to go to the hospital. I was surprised, but also not surprised in a way. I was angry at myself for not following my instincts earlier in the week, but sometimes it is hard do differentiate anxiety from my instincts.

We spent some time in the ER with him on oxygen, but weren’t sure how long he would need to stay. A blood draw while there revealed he had human metapneumovirus, which is quite similar to RSV. To complicate matters, while we sat there in the ER, we saw his heart rate drop to a very scary level. It came back up, but while he was in the hospital, we noticed a pattern of his heart rate dropping in that way.

Between the virus and his heart rate drops, it was decided that the PICU would be the best place for him. He stayed there for 5 days. Several EKGs and an echocardiogram later, we learned he had no structural issues with his heart, and his heart was behaving in that way as a result of the virus. However, it was while he was in the hospital that we also learned about other issues he was facing.

It was a week or two earlier that Quentin had his 6-month checkup. His pediatrician noticed muscular weaknesses – he was not lifting his head as well as he should have been by then. We had discussed plans to have him assessed, but since he was in the hospital with nowhere to go, he was seen by neurology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and developmental therapy (in addition to the cardiologists). It was a very eventful stay.

Quentin was diagnosed with muscular hypotonia, which is a muscular weakness disorder. We still do not know what caused it. We may never know. We don’t know how it will affect him long-term. He’s had an MRI, a spinal x-ray, and more blood tests than I can count. So far, nothing has come back showing anything significant. For now, he is being followed by neurology and will see a geneticist this year. He is occupational, physical, and developmental therapy. He’s a busy little guy! He’s made so much progress since all of this came to light in May. But at 14 (almost 15) months, he is still only army crawling, does not stand independently, and still struggles a bit with eating solids, though he’s doing much better at that, too. I’m thankful he is doing better, but of course, I worry about him, too.

July-August were also very trying months for us. I cannot share those details yet, but I will one of these days.

We had planned to take a vacation to Mexico, when our a/c went out in our house. So that ate up our vacation fund. We made it to Eureka Springs for a short getaway instead, but it was not quite the tropical paradise we had wanted with our plans to go to Mexico. I’m thankful we were able to get away at all, as many are not. But it was still a disappointment that came in 2015.

Our Prius gave us nothing but trouble. We had to replace the hybrid battery. Then the transmission went out. And the replacement transmission went out. And after 2 more replacement transmissions, it finally seems to be ok. Thankfully none of this cost us money due to warranties, but it did cause us frustration.

I went to Brazil for work in November, and while I was there, my grandpa died.  And then just days before Christmas, Nathan’s 23-year-old cousin was killed in a car accident.

The St. Louis area (including close to where we live in IL) had major flooding, resulting in many roads, including major interstates, being closed do to water covering them. I have acquaintances who had to leave their homes.

So no. 2015 was not a good year. Though I am thankful for my new job as well as how well my photography business is doing. I did 84 sessions somehow – I probably should not try to do that again in 2016! It took me away from home more than I liked.

I’m hoping 2016 is better, but so far, it has been disappointing. I hope it gets better. Elena has strep throat. I had a horrible first day back to work. Getting there was impossible, and everything that could go wrong did. I went back home to work from home, and am stuck outside working in my car, as I do not have a key. Nathan is bringing Elena back home and also letting me in the house. But still, I’ve sat out here over an our now, and will continue sitting here for a bit longer. Minor things in the big picture of life, but frustrations nonetheless.

Or maybe years get falsely blamed for luck, good and bad. Perhaps there are no good years and bad years, but simply good times in life and bad. Sometimes it’s even raining and sunny at the same time – wonderful things can happen concurrently with some very challenging things. It’s the nature of life. I know this. But I do hope we get a break from those challenges soon. We need it!



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