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26 Jan 2005
Deep Thoughts, by Maxwell:
"Da ha cow milk. Ma ha cow milk. I ha steak. Cow just gi me steak. Steak good."
Maxwell and Zara have a new favorite game. While they both think that it's the funniest thing ever, Daddy and Mommy do not approve. The game, you see, is run across the room and jump over Zara. Very dangerous and very hilarious for the girl being jumped over - even when your pacy gets kicked out in the process. We're trying to discourage it, but it's really hard not to laugh too!
Today we received this year's pittance of snow. Yesterday we had large thunderstorms which left puddles of water in most places where the snow might have stuck. It was enough, however, for the girls to make snowballs. Snowballs that they then poured muddy water on to make slushy mudballs. It was with this arsenal that they attacked me when I brought Maxwell out to play. Unfortunately they neglected to remove all of the standing water which they had used to make their slushy mudballs. And while their aim with wet mudballs is not so great, my aim with a squirt gun is impeccable. Yet after they had escaped indoors the girls were plotting ways to get me next time. When they went indoors I was finally able to make a miniature snowman for Maxwell from the snow left on the kid table . When I was finished he picked it up and threw it at me. I am going to be in serious trouble in a few years.
Zara enjoying the taste of her first snowball.
Today Alora & Brittan got haircuts. Alora got her hair cut up to chinlength, but Brittan's is still below her shoulders. After being home for about an hour Brittan decided that she hadn't gotten enough taken off. For some crazy reason Cara just wouldn't take Brittan immediately back out to get another haircut. Imagine that!
Today while out replenishing our cupboards we stopped for a repast at McDonald's. Right now they've got Narnia toys in their Happy Meals, so since Maxwell enjoyed the movie so much we decided to get him one. He got Peter, the oldest boy of the Peavensey clan. After eating Maxwell started playing with his new toy, however, Narnia was not as memorable to him as a cartoon about another boy with a sword: He-Man. Despite our attempts to convince him otherwise, Maxwell sat in the back of the car playing with "He-Man". Apparently He-Man's sword also goes you-you like a jedi's light saber. I got power, woo-hoo!
Since the DOE is funding my trip to Palo Alto next year, I had to present an outline of my current and future research today.
8:10 AM CST - Today is Brittan's big day. Just to review, there are four chambers in mammalian hearts, two ventricles (on the bottom) and two atria (on the top). The separate chambers keep the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood separate and allow mammals to be homeothermic. Brittan has a small hole between the two ventricles commonly referred to as a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Her hole is at the top near the aortic valve. Today Dr. Moore will be measuring blood flow through the hole to see if it requires surgical repair. Earlier in the week it looked like she might miss a snowfall in K-town, but the forecast has since changed to merely flurries in Knoxville as well as Nashville (the real snow is supposed to fall in western North Carolina). Brittan and Zara are watching cartoons while Cara and I get ready to go to the hospital.
10:44 AM CST - We're in a "holding room"; apparently our 9:30 appointment at the hospital was just for check in. Brittan's heart catheterization is scheduled for noon. We just met the anesthesialogist.
Noon CST - We just got word that the catheterization has started. We left a rather annoyed Brittan a little under an hour ago to eat lunch. The anesthesialogist had given her some "silly medicine" to get her ready. To do the procedure they're just giving her gas rather than a general anesthetic. This will hopefully allow us to go home tonight, and Brittan will have an easier time waking up. Oh, and leaving the hotel this morning Brittan did get to see flurries!
1:30 PM CST - Brittan is in a recovery room where Cara is waiting for her to wake up. We just talked to Dr. Moore about the details and looked at some neat x-ray videos they took of Brittan's heart (at 20 MB a piece I decided not to put them up on the website). Brittan actually has more than a hole, but instead what they very technically call a "windsock". Basically, there's a 6-8 mm diameter hole from her left ventricle that fills a pouch in her right ventricle which has smaller holes in it. This mitigates the negative effect of the VSD and allows her blood to have a normal oxygen saturation level. The pressure in the heart also remains in a normal range, so the lungs are unaffected. Because of the hole's proximity to the aorta, there is, however, a bit of backflow through the aortic valve. The upshot of all this is that she probably won't need surgery, but the Vanderbilt doctors like to discuss such decisions at their weekly conferences, so we won't know for sure until after next Thursday. The main worry is that the backflow through the aortic value could cause long term damage to the aorta. Although the backflow looks to be insignificant from the video, a more detailed calculation with the data collected today is necessary to be sure.
4:20 PM CST - Poor Brittan an exciting afternoon. After waking up a bit and starting to feel normal, Brit had some Sprite. It didn't take long for her stomach to decide that it was not yet ready for such intrusions. Leaning forward to puke Brittan's catheter wound on her thigh reopened and started bleeding. This hurt alot, and so did the pressure applied to stop the bleeding. Brittan took a short nap after this ordeal. It also pushed back our departure time a couple hours further into the evening. She's still kind of a space cadet from the anesthesia, but enjoying watching Shirley Temple nonetheless.
6:40 PM CST - Dinner time at the hospital. Brittan managed to keep down two grape popsicles, so they're letting her eat some real food. Cara and I got some more fast food from the cafeteria. Brittan, unfortunately, is feeling better. I say unfortunately because of the movie she chose to watch from the hospital's DVD collection - a Mary Kate & Ashley movie. In about an hour Brit gets to try and walk. If she succeeds we go home; if she bleeds we spend the night.
7:45 PM CST - Success! Brittan got up and hurried to the bathroom - no bleeding, but lots of peeing. Brittan really did not want to have to use the bedpan again. Now we get to go home. Zara has been giggling non-stop for the past hour.
Midnight EST - Back home in K-town, we tucked sleeping Brittan into bed. It will be quite a task to keep that respunkified girl from running around like a lunatic tomorrow.
|This afternoon Brittan had her preadmit appointment at Vanderbilt, so we left for Nashville this morning. Her appointment went fine - Brittan even survived having blood drawn! For a special treat in honor of her procedure tomorrow, we took Brittan out to a Japanese steak house for dinner. Brittan enjoyed the meal and the company, talking to the boy who sat next to her for most of the evening. She's really missing Alora. Zara, however, slept through dinner and ended up eating back at the hotel. Brit's watching TV right now and seems to have no apprehension about tomorrow. Nerves of steel on that one . . . and we've explained what's happening to her like 4 bazillion times.||
Brittan looks over the Vanderbilt campus from the Holiday Inn
It's nice to be back in K-town, even if it's only for 48 hours. We weren't home more than an hour yesterday and the girls were already playing with their friends. Alora proudly rode her new bike around the court. We live in such a great neighborhood! We managed to unpack and put away about half our stuph yesterday, and we've got to do the rest today to make room for Ray and Bev who are coming tonight. They're going to stay with Alora and Maxwell while Cara and I take Brittan to Nashville for her diagnostic heart cathederization to take blood flow measurements. In another 5-10 years ultrasound technology will have probably advanced to a level of precision that makes such invasive diagnostics obsolete, but this is the age we live in so we make do.
Hobos 'n Hikers
|Our last few days in Alpharetta were a whirlwind of activity as all of our days there. New Year's Day we returned to Vickery Creek to hike just outside of downtown Roswell. It turns out that they've augmented the national park trails with ones through the town. The trails outside the park are rather disorganized and poorly marked though. It was also sad to see the Vickery Creek, which has never been the cleanest of streams, has taken on a yellow-greenish hue and the distinct odor of sewage. Roswell really ought to take better care of it's water before further growth renders the park to gross to use.|
On Monday we went to the new Georgia Aquarium with Ray, Bev, and several thousand people who were attending the Sugar Bowl that evening. It was packed! The aquarium lived up to it's boasts of bigness, with a tank as large as a football field holding a baby whale shark viewable through a tunnel underneath it or a window bigger than a house on one side of it. Bigger isn't always better though, and the aquarium was clearly designed as spectacle rather than a place to learn something about marine life. The walls where noticably lacking information one is used to reading in aquariums and we were left wondering the names of many inhabitants of the tanks while a few projected signs spouted random facts like "sting rays can do somersaults out of the water". This was also reflected in the gift shop, which had no books but plenty of stuffed animals (especially the very Nemo-looking "Deepo" that somehow Disney has not sued over - I've never seen such clear copyright infringement!). It is a rare day that combines such amazement and disappointment.
|We also took the time while downtown that day to visit our old stomping grounds on the campuses of Georgia Tech and Georgia State. Maxwell loved the hotdogs at the Varsity where we lunched and the girls & I enjoyed the frosted oranges. Cara still thinks that it's all too greasy. It was fun to see our old home again, but sad that the girls, who once screamed "our city!" upon sighting the Atlanta skyline, have no memory of the place. Nevertheless, we got them some GA Tech paraphenalia at the bookstore and had a "Colorado Cowboy" at Rocky Mountain Pizza for dinner. The girls, however, instead of wolfing down this specialty pizza as they once did, had a slice of plain cheese, and our milk-allergic Maxwell could eat only fries. Zara did enjoy gnawing on a saucy pizza crust I gave her though...||
Zara awaits her pizza.
This year I'm splitting the familial blog into monthly pages to facilitate navigation. You'll notice that our family's webpages have also moved here to Wogsland.org rather than continuing to inhabit my parents' webspace. We probably should have done it sooner, but Mom & Dad are switching service providers so now we have to.
Previous Years' Blogs: 2004 2005