Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Orthodontist Visit

Three weeks out, Aleks was able to get his wire put back on his braces. He'd immediately lost a tooth upon having the wire out initially (by immediately, I mean in the parking lot of the orthodontist while still eating the free ice cream they pass out), which had a bracket on it. A couple of days after that, one of his brackets came off on its own. He was thus down to two teeth with brackets, which is not enough to hold anything in, especially when they're on the same side of his mouth.

New brackets entail a bit of a longer appointment. Aleks played video games for awhile after his new x-rays and photos were taken. The doctor tried to show me in the old x-ray versus the new x-ray where there was the new bone that they'd grafted in, but it all looks fuzzy and whitish to me. I suppose it looked slightly more whitish and slightly more fuzzy in the new x-rays. It's hard to be sure. I always think this whole process looks like Aleks is being probed by aliens, so I like to capture it. He chose red and black rubber bands this time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Sebastian did not want to get his haircut. We convinced him somehow that it was necessary because he was growing a mullet and couldn't see.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Movie

Aleks and I have wanted to make a stop-animation video for quite some time, so it seemed like a good reason was to make it as a gift for the grandfathers. They're not Harry Potter nerds, but we are. I did most of the work, but it was instructional for Aleks to learn how to do it. This took 120 photographs for 30 seconds of footage. We could have sped it up even more to make it smoother, but I think we would have needed to shoot a slower progression to still be able to register what is happening.

The music is Harry and the Potters' The Radio from their disc, "The Enchanted Ceiling."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bastian's Turn

Bastian immediately harassed me into getting his stepping stone concrete ready. He had plans for making it an underground jungle (some reference to Terraria, a video game the boys and their father play that I don't understand or get the appeal of, as per my usual. We had some trouble with pushing the beads in too far, but then got it worked out and I helped him finish up nicely.
Some beads went on the dining room floor, of course, and there was concrete mix on fingers, but all in all, a job well done.It's outside drying now. I need more concrete to do something with all these broken bits of ceramic, I think. Hrm...

Drying in the sun:

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Bike

Bastian's 6th Birthday Bike made it's inaugural trip all the way to The Big Park, where we went to meet up with friends and turn in Aleks' summer reading tracksheet.

Aleks' New Nose

What he looks like now, as the nose begins to heal after the removal of the stint. Not sure if this is final or not.

Mosaic Stepping Stones

For father's day, I figured we'd finally get around to using the stepping stone concrete mix I've had for the last year. First, Bastian and I broke stuff. He yelled out, "Destruction!"
Then I made the goop for Aleks, who laid out his pattern.
Bastian got interested. And mad that I only have one form so he has to wait til Aleks' dries to do his, tomorrow.
I'm not sure how this is going to work out. I've never done this before.

Summer Reading

Aleks has had this for about a week. It's probably an under-estimation, if anything. Each picture crossed out is 15 minutes. He read the three remaining books in the Nathaniel Fludd: Beastologist series after having read the second book while we visited the grandparents. He started the Theodora series by the same author last night.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Squeezy Hugs While Making Dinner

Aleks has been attacking me with super tight hugs lately. It's nice. Until I can't breathe.

Aleks Day Thirteen

Aleks got his stint out. The surgeon said we'll keep it out a week to let his nostril come down a bit, then we'll come back down here AGAIN to get a new stint that he'll have to wear for twelve hours a day.

Mr. HotShot Magic Hands' method of determining all this is rather confusing. He looks at Aleks for a total if maybe three seconds while simultaneously walking into the room and then makes a pronouncement about what he wants to do. He doesn't read charts or look at x-rays. He just looks, sees, then declares. It's rather odd. Oh well. Maybe it means he's good at this.

Aleks is happy to have the stint out at any rate.

Postcards from Our Motorcycle Grandma

Grandma Barb is traveling the country on motorcycle with her husband, Star. She's been sending postcards to the boys every couple of days. I need to get a map so we can pin where she's at - perhaps after Aleks' appointment with the surgeon today.

Bastian was especially fascinated by the postcards of Redwoods, one with a car driving through a tree. Grandma and Star drove through it on the 9th. Bastian and I agree that we want to go there sometime too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Special Dessert

We made strawberry shortcake for dessert, comprised of pre-made everything, but delicious and delightful for a pre-bath, post-babysitter wind-down. Yum.

Bastian Teaches Me How to Wash Dishes

While my mother was visiting while Jon and I were in the hospital with Aleks, she appealed to Bastian's industrious side and had him doing all sorts of chores. I hadn't had him attempt doing dishes in lord knows how long, but she got him pretty excited about them. He even volunteered to wash them this morning. I saw no reason to stand in his way. We're making banana bread this afternoon as well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day Ten

Aleks and Oscar are tired.

Also, it's the first day Aleks didn't ask for pain meds.

Even better, I posted this from my phone. Success!

Day Eight - Post-Surgery

Aleks, back to his normal ways. Now with added shopping spree-induced nerf gun.

Day Seven - Post-Surgery

Aleks Day 7. Visit to the pediatrician due to second occurrence of fleeting heart pain, described as a stomachache in the heart. Doc & I think it's probably nothing. More walking, less pain, less swelling, more looking like Aleks.Bastian requests a daily update as well. Doctor looked in his ear to see that it is quite full of wax, but not infected at all. Not that we thought it might have been.

Day Six - Post-Surgery

On Day Six, Aleks' swelling had gone down tons and he looked way more like Aleks. I called the surgeon's office on Day Three about coming in for our post-operative check-in and asked about the stint coming out in relation to when we should schedule. Of course, the person on the phone insisted on scheduling us for six days post-op and told me that he'd probably take the stint out then, so there was no need to wait longer. I got a little bit excited about taking that last step toward seeing what Aleks is going to look like now. I sort of knew that it was a stupid expectation to have and that telling Aleks was probably dangerous. I don't usually try to tell him that something like that is going to happen if I'm not sure if it will or not. But, the woman had assured me. Naturally, she was wrong.

So the stint is coming out next Monday when I have to, frantic and probably (but not proudly) yelling, get us clean and dressed and fed and in the car on time to drive five minutes down the hill to Cleveland Clinic to spend fifteen minutes parking in the garage and walk real slow with my limping son to the giant ziggurat that is the Crile building to deal with Mr. HotShot (roll eyes) all over again.

When we got home, the neighbors had found another injured animal, this time a baby woodpecker. Our suspicion is that their cats injure these animals, which is why they're always finding them. Poor thing was supposed to go to the nature center the next morning, but died in the night.

Day Five - Post-Surgery

Day 5, Aleks has finally consented to a bath, so the glue from the electrode adhesive pads finally got removed. His hair should smell better too. I don't think the sponge bath really did the trick before. The bath also helped warm up his muscles a bit, so when he got out, he was far less stiff than he'd been. He still moves like an old man. He only requests pain medication when he wakes up and when he goes to bed. He's not quite sick of his diet yet, but I have a feeling that's coming. He managed macaroni and cheese, so there may be a lot of pasta in our future. I think maybe he doesn't eat enough anyway. He's so skinny...
In the late afternoon, Aleks and his dad went out for a "shopping spree" as his great aunt and great grandmother had sent large sums of money with the instruction to spend it. He also picked me out a new bath mat while he was out. Kid done good.

Day Four - Post-Surgery

Swelling improves more, movement is about the same as yesterday, sitting seems easier, pain improved. Not yet sick of broth, ice cream, applesauce, yogurt, and juice-only diet. By now, he was down to only taking his pain meds at bed and upon waking due to stiffness. Here you see his smile getting bigger...
Aleks and his dad share a snuggle.
The outpouring of love and support for Aleks included all of these cards, drawings, and letters. The painting up top is a wolf that Aleks painted. Natalie says, "I like how that bear is a wolf."

Day Three - Post-Surgery

Day Three Post-Surgery, Aleks was able to smile. We also got his nose cleaned up a bit more. He has a stint in the right nostril to hold the shape after his nose revision. His old nose is gone. Aleks wanted me to share this photo with the online friends all rooting for him. He says, "hi." It was taken just before we had the following conversation:
Me: Don't punch your brother. It will take too much out of you.
Aleks: Yeah. You're right. I'll punch him later.
Me: You can punch him tomorrow.

In the evening, our friend Heather came over for her birthday to drink some wine with me and to help us build the Lego Hogwarts Castle Aleks had gotten in honor of being chopped up and sewn back together. It had 3 instruction booklets and 10 bags of pieces and was the largest Lego set we'd ever had. We originally started working on it altogether, but when Heather arrived and Jon joined in, we split into teams because there were too many of us. Aleks worked on the first booklet alone. Heather and I took the 3rd booklet. Jon and Bastian were in charge of the 2nd booklet. Split like this, the work went quite rapidly. The finished product is very cool too. The boys have been using it like a doll house.

Day Two - Post-Surgery

My mother was staying with us to help with Bastian while we were in the hospital. She normally lives four hours away. The morning after we got home, she called out, "Who wants pancakes?" Aleks replied, "I do!" Then he ate a pancake. Cut up in very small pieces. With a plastic spoon. Still.

Aleks got to play a lot of video games with lots of pillows under him in the chair without even having to share with his brother. He said he couldn't smile. This was his attempt. At this point, he was still on Tylenol with Coedine pretty much every four hours, though by day three, it started to space out a little bit later in the day. The swelling was still apparent in his face, so he didn't quite look like him yet either.Bastian was very upset that Aleks got to do everything and eat all the special food (smoothies, Odwalla juices, organic Spaghetti-o's (something we've never bought)). We sat outside on the stoop discussing what precisely happened to Aleks and why he was getting to do everything. Bastian later teased Aleks for being slow and unable to eat chips. It was not precisely what I had in mind with this discussion, but there you are.
I was also forced into a piggy-back ride. He just climbed on top of me.
Aleks also had raspberries. Still very slow, not much really happened on Day Two. My mother went home to Dayton though, because we seemed to have it all under control.

In the evening, I was alone with the kids for awhile. I got Gnomeo and Juliet for us from Redbox and Aleks and I watched it together on his bed. He ate pudding. Got it all over his face as he usually does. After the movie, Aleks needed to get up from bed to go to the bathroom. It had been taking quite a lot of time to get to standing in general, so I thought to make a video of it. This particular instance took five minutes just for him to get to sitting and we ran out of memory and missed the part where he stood.

First, in real time, Aleks from laying to sitting up:

If that takes too long, check out the quadruple speed version. I find this version far more terrifying because you can see his breathing and the speed of it makes him look frantic, scared, and in great pain. It really wasn't that bad.

Day One - Post-Surgery

Jello for breakfast.

An art therapist came to offer Aleks the opportunity to have something interesting to do from bed. It turned out she already knew Aleks because she lives near our house and walks her dog on our street. Aleks knows all the dogs on our street. I don't, but he does and their owners tend to know Aleks. He worked with some clay-type stuff. Later, a volunteer who brings a dog in came by for Poodle therapy. Aleks liked that a lot.
Afterward, Playstation2 was been discovered for our room so Jon & Aleks were saying things I didn't understand like, "I love that move." "What? Mana 2?"

I wrote the following update for the interested parties on the internet:

Aleks has been very excited by the outpouring of love for him on the internet. It makes him feel good whenever he reads what people have written. He hasn't been able to read it all yet, though.

Right now he's playing Playstation2 in bed. The doc who did rounds this morning told us that he needs to eat and drink and pee and walk before we leave. Aleks does NOT want to walk though. He would prefer to leave the hospital after his pain has been controlled. I'm all, "um..." about that. But we're still here. He looks a little rough right now. His nose kept weeping through the night so he has dried blood on his face. His hair is crusty from where they washed him with iodine for the ear tubes and greasy and sweaty from sleeping besides. He had an accident in the night and woke several times besides to pee due to all the fluids he took in (mostly by IV) during the day. He'd only peed once before we went to sleep for the night. He has to pee in a jar so they can measure his output and also because he's not walking yet.

He has two heplocks in so both hands are all taped up. When he and his friend Jacob were having a video conference on my phone yesterday, Jacob thought they were lasers, so Aleks made them go "pew! pew!" at him. The nurse finally just took the pulse ox off for his awake hours. Initially, it was his nose that hurt, but now it's mostly his hip. It took him awhile to be willing to down his meds (tylenol with coedine) so his schedule on that just now got regular. I told the nurse this morning that I wanted him to have it every four hours so we could get him moving. If it wears off at all, it's going to be harder to convince him to get up because he gets more lethargic with more pain. He's pretty lethargic anyway though. He also is hot as hell, though it's not a fever. It's a low grade temperature - like 99 - but he feels warm to the touch. Whereas I am always freezing. He made me sweaty while I slept with him.

It looks so beautiful outside. I wish we could go home. We're just trying to be patient and nice though. Jon's being really awesome. I'm far more practical, I think, so I'm all, "you need your ear drops now." Not that I don't cuddle and joke, but he and Jon are buddies. He won't let me move him, for instance. He prefers Jon to do it or for him to do it himself. He doesn't trust me to be gentle enough. I dunno. I just let that one go. Jon can move him. I'll insist on pain meds.

At least Cleveland Clinic has some decent food options. We'll probably take turns going home at some point today if we can't get him up and moving around to be discharged.

In the afternoon, while Jon ran home to shower and change and get some stuff for us, an aide came by and we got Aleks to get out of bed for the first time and try to walk. The bone extraction site on the hip tends to be the most painful part of healing. It took quite awhile to get up out of bed, but once he was standing, walking wasn't so bad. He made it about halfway down the hall.
Jon brought back tons of cards and letters that I'd requested folks send to Aleks. Our friend who works for a proctologist sent office supplies and this ribbon:
Aleks at one point paged the nurses to request that the art therapist return to visit him. He painted this mask. He was pretty worn out by the end of it and took a long nap while Jon and I played Scrabble on my phone.
One of the homeschooling families in our Co-op dropped balloons and ice cream off at the house. Jon brought these too.
There was a Starbucks on the first floor of our building and I passed several Bill Watterson drawings on the way back and forth.
Hospitals are full of endless corridors, sterile and cold, running maze-like through the campus.
Since we got him walking and taking in liquids and peeing, we had the nurse try to find us a doctor to discharge us. It took hours. The only plastic surgeon available was in surgery for quite awhile. He didn't read the chart, so didn't understand why Aleks' hip hurt, but was satisfied with our argument for leaving and let us go. It was mostly stupid.

We also requested transport to leave the hospital. The woman who was supposed to push him got pretty impatient waiting on us. We had to get Aleks in clothing and out of bed though and with the sore hip, it took quite awhile. He was very very slow moving. A member of housekeeping also showed up and stood outside our room waiting for us to leave for quite awhile, getting irritated and impatient. I guess once you're discharged, you're supposed to vacate very quickly. Unfortunately, the whole reason he was hospitalized was because he can't move very quickly since they cut open his hip. We ignored them, but it was stressful nonetheless. I took over transport duties.
Once home, the first thing Aleks did was play a video game. After a bit, Jon helped him move to the couch, where he fell asleep pretty quickly while watching his favorite show, River Monsters.