Monday, 16 February 2015

Kawasaki Disease

Today I am veering away from the entertaining crazy days posts to talk about something serious.

Yesterday, published an article about Kawasaki Disease. It's titled, "The mystery of Kawasaki Disease and the quest for a cure." Please, read the article. Kawasaki Disease Canada describes Kawasaki Disease as, "an acute illness that causes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels throughout the body, including the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart."

Why am I focusing on this? Because during the 18 months I was not blogging, Kiddlet went a round with Kawasaki's.

If you were following me in 2013, you may recall my post about Kiddlet's bout with Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP). That was early spring; she was released from the hospital the beginning of April. It took awhile for Kiddlet to recover from that, but she progressed nicely. By the time school started in the fall, Kiddlet had been released from the care of her gastroenterologist and was being monitored by a nephrologist for kidney damage, of which there were no indications. Then in November, she got sick again.

Kiddlet, sick with HSP,  and Husband

This time, her symptoms weren't nearly as alarming as the persistent vomiting we dealt with in the spring. She had a headache and a persistent high fever. Our first sign that something was wrong was when she came home from school Friday complaining of a bad headache; this was Day 1. The headache and fever persisted through Saturday and into Sunday. At this point, my gut was screaming at me that something was really wrong, so we hauled her into the emergency room to get checked out. I didn't want to wait because if it was as bad as I felt it may be, we needed to know before Husband left town for work the next morning. At the ER, we were told it was a bladder infection, were given a script for antibiotics and sent home. Now, where we live, everything closes early on Sunday, including our pharmacy, so it was Monday morning before I was able to get the script filled. The pharmacist told me not to give Kiddlet her first dose of medication until evening because it must be given every 12 hours. No problem; I'll wait. By 4pm Monday, Day 4, Kiddlet's fever wouldn't come down and she had developed a rash on her shoulders and neck. Everything in me was screaming that she needed medical attention NOW, so I piled the kids into the van, dropped Strong-Willed One and Little Guy with my in-laws and told them that if ER tried to send me home again, I was driving Kiddlet to the next closest hospital.

We got to the hospital and, due to the very high fever, Kiddlet was seen quickly. The doctor told me that the rash was most likely a reaction to the antibiotics that had been prescribed. He seemed rather put out when I told him that she had not yet had her first dose because the pharmacist had instructed me to wait. I was thankful that she hadn't been given the medication yet because it meant that Kiddlet's rash couldn't be brushed to the side so quickly. Anyway, our pediatrician was on call at another hospital that night, so the ER doctor was able to contact her and ask what she would like done. She instructed us to go immediately to the hospital where she was; do not stop for food, get there as soon as you can. I found myself vacillating between relief that someone was taking me seriously and fear because they were very clear that I needed to get there asap.

We arrived at the hospital and were shown to a trauma room where we wait for our pediatrician. The nurses were wonderful getting Kiddlet settled and comfortable. The doctor arrived, examined Kiddlet and then we started talking. Now, when Kiddlet was hospitalized in the spring, I got in the habit of writing down everything, her vitals, making sure I got copies of the lab work, etc.. Before we had left the last hospital, I had obtained all the lab work results that had been done the day before when we first took her to the emergency room. Because I had all of this with me, the doctor was able to come to her diagnosis quickly. She led me out to the nurses station, had me sit down, and told me that Kiddlet has Kawasaki Disease. She pulled up a web page explaining Kawasaki Disease, what is, the complications and treatment, and walked me through all of this. The doctor explained to me that early treatment, within the first 10 days of the disease, is key to a complete recovery and since we're still in the first days of the illness, she should be fine. All I hear is, "her heart is at risk." Her heart! It's now midnight, Husband is hours away on the road for work and I'm alone with my very very sick kid.

You know, I don't think you ever stop needing your parents. It was the middle of the night, I was scared I was going to lose my child, so I called my mom. I woke her out of a dead sleep, explained what was going on and told her I needed her. My amazing mother left to join me just a few hours later.

This is the same hospital we first admitted to when Kiddlet was sick in the spring. When we got up to the pediatric floor and were shown to our room, we had the same nurses that we'd had before, which was actually quite comforting. After dealing with all the admission paperwork and getting Kiddlet's iv started, we were finally able to get some rest.

Finally settled and left alone.

It's been long enough now that I don't remember the exact progression of events at this point. I know that Very Dear Friend, who took Strong-Willed One and Little Guy last time Kiddlet was hospitalized, was already on her way to pick them up from my sister-in-law and take them for as long as we needed, and my mom arrived sometime midday. At this point Kiddlet's rash was rapidly spreading and she was showing other symptoms of Kawasaki Disease; I completed more paperwork consenting to a treatment of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG), the recommended treatment. Despite how very sick Kiddlet was, as long as her fever was controlled by medication, she felt fine. We were in isolation because of the rash, so were confined to our room; we couldn't even walk the hallways. Thankfully, my mom was there and was a source of comfort for both Kiddlet and I.

One of the symptoms of Kawasaki Disease is a rash. In our case, it didn't last for more than a few days, but was heartbreaking to see.

The rash covered her whole body, but she maintained a sense of humor through it all.

The rash disappeared by day 7, but the fever was still an issue. Kiddlet ended up needing two rounds of IVIG. At this point, poor Kiddlet had been confined to her room for 4 days and boredom was becoming an issue. Reading helped to pass the time, as did arranging and rearranging the items on the side table.

Kiddlet ready to leave the room

By day 8, all of her symptoms had vanished and she was aching to be allowed to leave her room. Because she had progressed so well, the doctor lifted the isolation order. That same day, there was a craft show going on in the main lobby of the hospital; Kiddlet was thrilled to be allowed to go.

Craft show

Finally, on Day 9, Kiddlet was released from the hospital and we were able to go home.

I wish I could say that that was the end of it, but with Kawasaki Disease, it's not. Kawasaki Disease can cause coronary artery complications, including blood clots and aneurysms. Kiddlet was put on low dose aspirin for months and came under the care of a pediatric cardiologist. Fortunately for us, Kiddlet was cleared by her cardiologist a year ago this month. She has no signs of coronary damage from her bout with Kawasaki Disease.

We did have one more serious illness, pneumonia, but she did not require hospitalization for that, and I'm very happy to be able to say that Kiddlet is in great health today. She is a happy and active kid. Kiddlet even joined the cross country team at her school, along with Strong-Willed One, and finished in 12th place.

Kiddlet and Strong-Willed one at the cross country meet.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

"You Can't Make This Up!"

The other day, while having coffee with a friend, I was telling her the things that have happened over the past few weeks. As I finished talking, she began laughing and told me, "You can't make this stuff up! You should write a book." Which reminded me that I have been wanting to start blogging again.

There are a number of reasons why I haven't been blogging, but we'll shorten all of that into a few simple words: real life. It's hard to believe that a year and a half has gone by since my last post. I will share a couple of highlights of the 18 or so months in a future post, but this post is about the stuff my friend claimed I couldn't make up.

It started two weeks ago, on laundry day. My washing machine will hold an extra large load of laundry, but my drier could only handle half of that amount of laundry at a time. I started with an extra large load of darks. Half of the load has been through the drier, folded, and dealt with. The other half of the load is in the drier and I decide to lay down for just a bit. So, here I am, laying on the couch starting to drift off and all of a sudden my body tenses. Now, I lay there listening, trying to figure out what has changed; why do I feel like something is wrong? The furnace is on, but that sounds like it always does and there are no strange odors. The drier sounds like it always does. None of the smoke alarms are going off and the cats are calmly laying with me, looking at me with puzzled expressions. (Yes, cats can look puzzled.) After trying to convince myself that nothing is wrong for 10 minutes, I finally get up and head to the basement. The furnace seems fine, so I stop the drier and open the door. My laundry is all twisted into one big knot, suspended in the middle of the drum, literally hanging there. A drawstring from a pair of pants had gotten caught on something and the laundry had all twisted up on these pants. So, I get this semi-dry laundry untangled, out of the drier, and start looking. The drum had completely detached from the back of the drier; I could put my hand through the opening.

I first took a moment to be thankful that there was no fire. Then, I looked at the pile of semi-dry jeans and things and considered the second load of laundry sitting wet in the washing machine. Crap. I have no drying rack or anything like it and I only have so many chairs to drape the laundry over. I called a friend to ask if she thought my laundry would dry if I were to hang it outside. Now, it was -11C outside. (That's 12F for all you stateside readers.) Her response was something along the lines of, the Mennonites do it, so maybe? I figure I might as well try it, at least with the clothes in the washing machine. This was a load of colors, a small load of lighter fabrics, lighter than denim, anyway. By the time I got to the bottom of the laundry basket, the clothes were crunching. I look down the length of the clothesline. I do not see clothes fluttering nicely in the wind. No, what I see is clothing that has frozen enough that is moves like a piece of cardboard. Oh well, if Ma Ingalls dried her laundry outside during a deep freeze, I might as well leave them, right? I head back inside for a cup of coffee (I needed to thaw my frozen fingers) and to consider what to do with the rest of the wet clothes.

I remembered Husband had come home at some point with a length of clothesline, so I went on a hunt. I found the clothesline, grabbed a clamp from his workbench and headed to the front of the house. We have two rooms that run the length of the house, with a set of double doors that separate them; we keep these doors open. My plan was to wrap one end of the clothesline around a hinge pin and clamp the other end to a shelf at the end of the room. This worked wonderfully, except it wasn't nearly long enough. I had to figure out a way to run the line the length of both rooms. I first tried attaching the rope to the shelf that we keep our dvds on, but it was too unstable. I considered putting a nail in the wall and clamping the clothesline to that, but our walls are plaster so it's not as simple as using a hammer and a nail. I head back down to Husband's work bench for a drill and a screw. There are 3 drills in our house, all battery powered. I found two drills, but no battery packs; not one. Plan C: find the large nail that I want and hammer it into the wooden window frame. Except I couldn't find a nail that looked like it would work. Have you ever seen those little things that you can nail along baseboards to keep wires where you want them? They consist of a little piece of plastic with a little nail that goes through each end of the plastic. I used that. And it actually worked! I clamped that clothesline to the plastic thingy, twisted it around the hinge pin for support in the middle and clamped the other end to the shelf. Voila! I now had a place to hang the wet things to dry.

A few hours later, I was able to fold and put away the jeans and things. I headed outside to retrieve my frozen clothing. Amazingly, once they thawed, I found that they were considerably drier than when I first hung them. It was mostly the seams the cuffs that were still wet, so I hung them up inside to finish drying.

Because my laundry issues weren't enough to contend with, I was having company for dinner this same night. Thankfully, I'd made the sauce and cooked the pasta for the baked pasta the day before, so all I needed to do was throw that together and bake the dinner rolls. This I was able to do while I was waiting for all that laundry to dry and it's a good thing, too. The kids came home from school in some kind of funk, so it was a rough afternoon. Kiddlet started her homework 30 minutes before the company was suppose to arrive and had a meltdown because she didn't know what or where the Canadian Shield is. I wasn't much help because I didn't know there was a Canadian Shield, let alone where it might be located. We looked it up on-line and found conflicting maps depicting where the Canadian Shield is. As helpful as that was, it didn't seem to matter that much because the maps weren't all the clear on a 6 inch tablet screen. Why a tablet instead of the desktop computer? Our computer has become extremely temperamental and wasn't working.

Anyhow, we set aside the homework for later and got the table set for dinner; our guests arrived just as everything was ready. Our guests were incredibly gracious. They paused in the doorway to the dining room, took in the sight of all the laundry, and said nothing as they took their seats. We had a wonderful evening. Our company laughed along with us as I related my day and they helped Kiddlet with her homework.

All in all, the day ended on a good note. I learned that clothes will dry even if they are frozen, that I can improvise and find a way to make things work, and I learned that the Canadian Shield refers to the exposed portion of the continental crust underlying North America.

The craziness continued the next weekend, but I'll save that for my next post.

If you would like to learn about the Canadian Shield, visit the Historic Canada gives a wonderful overview.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Time Goes By

I cannot believe how time is flying by. I looked at the calendar last night while we were having dinner and actually asked, "Why is the calendar on July?" I got some very strange looks from the rest of the family. So here we are, July 6. The girls finished the school year last Thursday and started day camp this past Monday. We've roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire and we went to see fireworks this week.

Roasting Hot Dogs


He refused to roast it, but insisted on eating it off the stick.

More marshmallows

The majority of my garden is in, but I still have some pepper plants and some ground cherries to get into the ground.
(Left to right) Beets, carrots, lettuce & kale, peas & cucumber, tomatoes.

You can see where I am working on making space for the remaining plants. I was hoping to leave that row of the garden empty because the close line runs overhead there, but I need the space for plants. The weeds are well rooted and difficult to get up so it's taking me awhile to get it cleared so I can put the plants in. I also have a zucchini and a yellow squash plant to the left of the garden. I didn't have enough space, so I dug a whole in the grass, put a piece of cardboard on top to hopefully kill the grass and planted the squash there. The garden has a whole needs to be weeded, but it's a time thing, especially since Little Guy is often reluctant to stay in the back yard. It'll get done eventually.

(Left to right) Sweet peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and weeds.

I tried a new bread recipe last week from my friend over at This Self Sufficient Life. This is by far the best everyday slicing bread I've ever made. The family all loves it, it doesn't crumble when I slice it and after sitting on the shelf for 4 days was only a bit stale around the crust. Even Husband, who specifically asks for store bought bread for his lunches, is now using this bread for his sandwiches. This makes me happy.

What else is going on? Husband has been working locally pretty much all year. As nice as it is to have him home, the overtime he typically gets April-November isn't happening. The overtime pay is what we put aside to prepare for the winter, it funds our summer activities and also was supposed to pay for a dumpster so we could empty the basement and set up shelving so I have a place for more preserved food. Doesn't it figure that the year we actually had a financial plan on paper (as opposed to making it up as we go) is the year that Husband works winter hours through the summer.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the fireworks. Strong-Willed-One had tried to blow on her sparklers after it went out to make the end glow, but instead burned just under her lip. It's healing nicely considering that she keeps picking at it.

Waiting for the fireworks to start.

Add caption

Monday, 10 June 2013

Is there enough time in your day?

You know that frustration you feel when there just aren't enough hours in the day? That's where I reside.

I make as much of our food from scratch as I can. This is partly because it's healthier and partly because it's cheaper. This means a lot of time in the kitchen, not just for cooking but clean up too. You can go through a lot of dishes cooking from scratch!

This year I'm expanding the garden I started last year in order to provide us with healthy, tasty, inexpensive food. Planting, weeding, harvesting. Time.

I make a point of being available to the girls after school for at least an hour, whether it's for homework help, talking or even just a snuggle.

I spend much of the day interacting with Little Guy. He has no playmate other than me while the girls are in school. He is able to entertain himself much of the time, but if I leave him to do that for too long he inevitably ends up doing something he shouldn't.

There's the banking and bill paying, menus and grocery shopping.

Then there is the housework. I readily admit that I am not a good housekeeper. I struggle with keeping the clutter under control and usually lose. Cleaning around clutter is time consuming and a pain in the you-know-what. When I feel like I'm winning the battle against clutter and dust, I begin to notice the things it never occurs to me to clean like the door jams, picture frames, and ceiling fan blades.

Do you have any idea how quickly kids grow? I swear that as soon as I finish going through their clothes and pulling out the items that are too small, it needs to be done again.

Which leads me to laundry. For the most part, I manage to stay on top of the laundry. Yet it still takes time. Time to sort and stain treat, time to hang it out to dry, time to fold and time to put it away.

And sleep! I seem to be one of those people who require at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Want to guess how often that happens? Come visit me sometime in the land of perpetual fog.

So how do I do it all? Most of the time I don't. The first thing to fall by the wayside is the housework. We have to eat which means I have to cook and clean up the kitchen. The kids need focused time; they are too important to push aside. And we need clean clothes to wear. The housework is left to accumulate and sleep is cut short.

A couple of years ago I finally came to place where I'm okay with this most of the time. I'm an imperfect person doing the best I can. My family is well fed and know that they are a priority. If people come over to visit and the housework isn't done I've stopped making excuses; people who come into my house have come to see me (or the family), not judge the state of my house.

So when you have those days where there just isn't enough time, know you aren't alone. There are others who will admit to being imperfect people and that they too are doing the best they can.

Friday, 31 May 2013

The Start of Gardening Season

Husband and I spent the other weekend working outside.  Saturday morning found me in the front of the house actually putting flowers in the raised bed instead of pretending the weeds look pretty.

Front flower bed before flowers.

Front flower bed after flowers.

Husband was out back running the rototiller. He was turning over last year's garden and breaking ground on a new section for this year. The afternoon found us pulling clumps of sod out of the newly turned over garden.

This year's garden, freshly tilled.

I find it funny that when we started last year's garden I thought it was so big. The whole thing was a learning experience for me. I learned things like:
  • Don't plant your peppers between your tomatoes and broccoli, especially if your rows are only 8 inches apart. My poor pepper plants only got to about 8 inches tall and the three peppers that I got were only about 2 inches big.
  • I now know that when growing cauliflower you cover the flower head with the leaves in order to keep it white. 
  • I know what cauliflower and broccoli look like just before and after they flower. 
  • The rabbits in our area like the beets I grow but not the carrots. However, they like my neighbor's carrots but not her beets.
  • It is nearly impossible to kill swiss chard and the leaves can get huge.
  • Slugs like lettuce and swiss chard.
  • A single zucchini plant will cover nearly 1/4 of last year's garden.

Last year's garden.

This year I'm going bigger. The pictures aren't really a fair comparison. Last year's garden was about 10'x10'. This year it's 24'x18'. I wanted it bigger but I'll make do. I'm also going to set up two pallet gardens for the lettuce, chard and kale, so that should help. I'll be growing sweet peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, carrots, peas, cucumber, yellow summer squash, zuchinni, tomatoes, swiss chard, 2 types of lettuce and kale. I also have planters containing oregano, thyme and cilantro.
Strong-Willed One watering flowers.

While I was clearing the sod from the garden, Strong-Willed One watered the new flowers and Kiddlet kept Little Guy entertained.

Kiddlet and Little Guy.
This all happened about 2 weeks ago. Our internet connection has been spotty due to the weather we've been having. I'm hoping to post some more recent pictures of the gardens soon.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sneaking in Healthy Food and Money Saving Tips

We all have little tricks we use to make things go further in order to save money (or because we're going to run out of an item) or slip healthy food to our kids.

While I was making and canning applesauce this fall, I saved and canned the water the apples were cooked in and called it apple juice. It does taste like apple juice and I figured why not. The thing is, not everyone likes it. So here I am now with my jars of homemade "apple juice" that not everyone will drink and I need juice. I have found that if I mix one can of store bought juice and one jar of my "apple juice" no one know the difference. This stretches my store bought juice and ensures that my homemade stuff is used and not wasted.

I also made banana muffins today. Except that I only pulled two bananas out of the freezer and they did not make 1 cup of mashed banana. Out comes the jar of peach sauce (like applesauce) that no one likes. I added that to the mashed banana to equal one cup. The result? Yummy. The peach sauce cut the sweetness of the overripe bananas a bit and made the muffins feel more silky in my mouth. How does silky feel in your mouth? I have no idea how to explain it, but it's a good thing. Even better, the kids have no idea.

Want to know how to make healthy chocolate muffins that taste sinfully rich? Add pureed carrots and pureed avocado. Not only do the carrots and avocado add nutrition, but the avocado provides the richness. See my Healthy Eating post for the recipe. Plan ahead by cooking and pureeing your carrots ahead of time and freeze them in 1/2 cup portions; same thing for the avocado except you don't cook it.

As far as money saving goes, there are a myriad of things that can be done. I'll do a more extensive post on this later, but for now here are just a few ideas.
  • Pour half a bottle of fabric softener into another container; add water to both. You'll never notice the difference.
  • Make your own laundry detergent. (More on that next time.)
  • Hang your laundry out to line dry. The fresh smell is amazing.
  • Make your own baby wipes/handy wipes using a good roll of paper towels, water, baby shampoo and oil.
  • Find out how many of the tv shows you watch can be streamed on-line; you may be able to cancel your satellite/cable and not miss it. 
Most everyone I know has dipped into their creative side when in a pinch. I would love to hear your little tricks!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fresh Start in a New Month

Have you ever been really glad to see a month end and a new one begin? This year May felt like a new start. The month of April and the end of March were not the most pleasant of times for us this year. April brought layoffs at the company Husband works for. For the first time in 8 years, he was laid off.

Sleeping while the nurses got things sorted out.
March ended with Kiddlet in the hospital; April began the same way. She's okay now, but boy did she give us a scare. Kiddlet had been complaining about a stomach ache for 3 days; on day 4 she had a slight fever and was really tired. Day 6 she started vomiting every 3 hours; more often if she tried to drink something. Most frightening was the small blood clots in her vomit the first time. I hauled her to the emergency room where they collected blood and urine samples and did chest and abdominal x-rays. We were told everything looked normal, prescribed an antacid and sent home. The vomiting continued right on schedule and by the evening of day 7 it was clear that she was becoming dehydrated.

Strong-Willed One wanted to see Kiddlet's iv.

The next morning (day 8) I took her to the pediatrician. Now, I like our kids' doctor, I really do, but that particular morning she wasn't really hearing me. She gave me directions on what to feed Kiddlet and how often and said to come back in a few days if things didn't get better. I looked at her and explained again that Kiddlet could not keep water down, that it had been 2 days since she could keep water down for more than a few minutes. The doctor looked at me and said, almost as if testing to see how serious I was, "than I'll have to admit her." My response? "Thank you," with a sigh of relief.

She would fall asleep in the oddest positions.

I honestly believed that once Kiddlet was rehydrated she would perk right up and come home. Nope. A few hours after the iv was started, the diarreah began. A few hours after that it turned bloody. Kiddlet was lethargic and slept most of the time. They gave her Gravol for the nausea and she threw up anyway. Day 8 an ultrasound was done; I was told it looked normal.

Waiting for the ultrasound.

Day 8 was also the day Husband was able to come up to the hospital. We happen to be a one vehicle family and I had our van. A former co-worker that Husband is still in touch with heard what was going on and offered to make the one hour drive and bring Husband to see us and retrieve the van. (Huge thank you to Husband's friend and my friend who took Strong-Willed One and Little Guy so this could happen!) The day Kiddlet was admitted to the hospital, a belated birthday package came in the mail. This timely arrival meant a surprise gift for Kiddlet.

Opening presents.
Coloring with Dad.

Day 9 she finally seemed to be doing better. Fluids were staying down, she was allowed soft foods and she was sitting up and talking. That lasted until the middle of the afternoon. I was so disappointed. We really thought she'd be going home the next day.

Day 10, the day before Easter, was a roller coaster kind of day. Very Dear Friend came out to the hospital to stay with Kiddlet while I took her car, went to my in-laws to shower and then to my sister-in-law's for the family Easter gathering and to see Strong-Willed One and Little Guy. Just before Very Dear Friend arrived, the new on-call doctor came to see us. She was really concerned by Kiddlet's condition and some questionable spots on the ultrasound. This doctor ordered a CT scan. Very Dear Friend arrived, helped Kiddlet drink down the very vile fluid for the scan and pretty much held our hands through the insertion of a second iv line for the x-ray dye. After the scan, the nurse said it will be at least an hour before the doctor would be in with the results and I should go ahead and leave. I was able to have my shower, then, while walking to my sister-in-law's house, I got a call from the doctor explaining the CT showed a thickening of the bowel and possibly a need for her to be scoped. This meant Kiddlet was being transported to a Children's Hospital and I should get back as soon as I could. I phoned my mom and asked her to come be with us, said a quick hello to my kids and the family and left Husband to make overnight arrangements for Strong-Willed One and Little Guy so he could join us. (Huge thank you to our family who stepped up and cared for the kids!) While all of this was going on, Very Dear Friend had packed up all our stuff so I didn't have to worry about missing anything. We made arrangements for her to meet Husband with the bags (couldn't take them with me) and got Kiddlet strapped in to the transport stretcher. As we were leaving, Husband called to say he would be late; he had a flat tire.

Transported to Children's Hospital.

We arrived at the Children's Hospital around 8:30pm the same day the CT was done. Shortly after,  Husband, my mom and my step-dad arrived; we settled in for the night.

The next morning (day 11,) was Easter Sunday. We had three different groups show up with Easter gifts; we were blown away.

Dad opening her first Easter gift.

This was also the day the gastroenterologist came to see Kiddlet. He listened to the story from the beginning, did an exam and asked Kiddlet if he could take off her socks and look at her feet. No one had done this before; she'd had her feet covered from the day she was admitted to the hospital. On her feet was the beginning of a rash called purpura.

The small red dots are the beginning of purpura.
Other foot.

The doctor diagnosed Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP). That the doctor was able to make this diagnosis so quickly is very impressive. Kiddlet did not have the majority of the symptoms and to this day we have no idea why she got the HSP. Anyway, the treatment for HSP is Prednisone steroids. Within hours of the first dose, Kiddlet perked right up. She was sitting up and telling me all about the things she'd noticed during transport, how much she wanted to eat noodles and macaroni and cheese and more noodles and a strawberry jam sandwich.

Making use of one of the Easter gifts.

 The next day they stopped administering the anti-nausea medication and Kiddlet was able to go to a craft session where she got to paint a t-shirt and bring another painting craft back to her room. By day 13, Kiddlet's iv was turned off and she was given permission to go to the playroom. That evening she took her medication orally which meant the iv was no longer necessary. Day 14 she was released to come home.
Snuggling with her new bunny from the Ronald McDonald room.

The Children's Hospital had a Ronald McDonald Family Room.

This place was such a huge blessing. The volunteers were amazing, there was always coffee on, a kitchenette stocked with donated food we were able to help ourselves to, stuffed animals for patients who needed a friend, a washing machine and drier (no cost) and lounging areas.

Kiddlet came home on a Wednesday. That Friday she was feeling well enough that we let her do a half day at school. She came home and fell asleep less than 10 minutes later.

Sleeping after her first half day back at school.

Kiddlet has been home for 5 weeks now and is doing fantastically. She has had her first follow up appointments with both the gastroenterologist and the nephrologist (for her kidneys, a common complication of HSP.) Both doctors are pleased with her progress and have no concerns. She sees the gastroenterologist again at the end May and the nephrologist at the end of June.

We are blessed with amazing friends and family. We had a number of people willing to take Strong-Willed One and Little Guy the week following Easter so that Husband could return to work; thank you. I also want to thank Mom and Step-Dad for coming to be with us and everyone who sent up prayers.

After tumultuous April, May is off to a good start. Kiddlet is doing well, Husband has been called back to work and gardening season is upon us.