Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Like Mother ... Like Son

I stuck a raisin up my nose when I was five. Just because. Just to see what would happen. After Mom and Dad couldn't get it out, we took a trip to the ER. Simple tweezers did the trick, and all was good as new. I guess my curiosity was satisfied, since I never tried that experiment again.

Fast forward 20 years....

[Context: We were down in South Carolina visiting my family a couple weeks ago. It was Saturday, and the plan was for my sisters and me to have a nice breakfast out with my mom, browse through the farmers' market, and meet up with the guys for an afternoon at the beach.]

I was sitting in bed feeding Matthew, when my brother brought Miles into the room with an "I hate to tell you this, Lauren, but...." I had already guessed what happened: Miles' tears, and his fat little finger far up his nose told the story.

"They were eating raisins," my brother told me.

After peering into his nose with the help of a flashlight, and not finding anything, I called Little Tait (now just a few months away from 3 years old).

"Taiter, did Miles stick a raisin up his nose?
"Yep," was the humorous, matter-of-fact reply.

Then, another thought struck me.
"Taiter, did you stick a raisin up your nose?"
Again, the matter-of-fact reply. "Yep."

We groaned.

Thankfully, Little Tait's raisin was within reach, and came out easily with tweezers. One down, one to go.

We had no idea how complicated that "one to go" was going to be....

Since Miles' raisin was way back there, out of sight, we set off for the Doctor's Care facility up the road. After the doctor poked and prodded for awhile, Miles "lost it" and we had to give the papoose board a try. That even didn't keep him still enough, and the doctor was afraid he would end up puncturing something way back in there if he kept trying.

Since the Doctor's Care place wasn't equipped to sedate him, and no alternative solutions presented themselves, we set out for the ER.

It was a slow Saturday morning at the ER, and we got right into a little private room. The doctors couldn't see anything up Miles' nose either. The thought that there wasn't actually anything up there, and that we and poor Miles were going through all of this for nothing, crossed my mind more than once. But I pushed it aside. All the evidence pointed to the fact that there was something up his nose. Except that we couldn't actually see anything. But Little Tait said that Miles stuck something up there, and Miles had been crying with his finger up his nose.

And Little Tait had a raisin up his nose, which is just about proof positive that Miles had one up there too.

Miles suffered through quite a bit of poking and prodding yet again. It wasn't until they brought out a little blower and tried to blow in the left nostril to bring the raisin out of the right side, that Miles lost it again. Still no success.

They'd have to call in the ENT, they said. But the ENT was in surgery and wouldn't be out for a few hours. So Tait and I ran to the cafeteria with Matthew to grab breakfast, leaving my sister with Miles, who thought the little train set the hospital lent him was just about the greatest thing.

Two hours later, the ENT came by. Again, Miles suffered good-naturedly through more poking and prodding. He even laughingly commented that the camera scope "tickled" as it was stuck way, way up his nose.

Then, they brought out the suction/air blower thingy again. I guess he had bad memories from that before, poor little guy. Again, he lost it, and again they couldn't get him to stay completely still (any surprise?).

Through the camera scope, the ENT was able to see ... something. He wasn't sure what it was, but whatever it was was way back in there, and he was unable to get it out. He seemed pretty sure that there was nothing else in there, and we were all almost convinced that the raisin had worked its way back and Miles had swallowed it. But, because he couldn't fully see that one area, the ENT thought it would be wise to sedate him and get a clearer look.

So, we waited another hour or two for Miles' breakfast to settle before they sedated him.

I had to hold him still in my lap while they inserted the IV. They ended up needing to dig around and do it twice, since the first poke didn't work right. Miles was not happy.

Waiting on Daddy's lap for the sedation to take effect

Seeing Miles sedated was the most difficult mothering experience since Little Tait spent his first 3 months in the NICU almost 3 years ago. Something about seeing my child lying there, mostly unresponsive, with his eyes open and eerily glassed over ... it just sent chills up my spine, and I had to suppress the feelings of panic that threatened to overwhelm me.

He was very resistant to the sedation, and kept squirming slightly. He cried quietly almost non-stop the entire time. They kept having to give him more and more sedation to keep him still. They gave him all they dared, but even then he wasn't as still as they would have liked.

The first thing to come out of his nose was the unidentified object that the ENT had seen through the scope. After examining the tiny, paper-thin object, I identified it pretty confidently as an almond skin. The next two small, hard particles that came out also looked like almond pieces. Hmmm ... maybe he didn't have a raisin up his nose after all! Finally, from way back in his nose, out came ... a large piece of almond. Praise the Lord! It was out!

Poor Miles had a rough time coming out of the sedation initially. But he soon felt better, and it was hilarious to hear him talk good-naturedly in slow motion. He had been watching "Thomas the Tank Engine" at different points to distract him, and as he was "waking up," he pointed to the ceiling, waved his hand around, and slurred "Thomas up there!" :D

Snuggling with Daddy, just after waking up
They put a diaper on his arm over the IV 
to keep him from seeing and playing with it.

Thanks in part to these little guys, our "vacation" could not exactly qualify as "relaxing"; but you know? It's all worth it! And if I have to spend my intended beach day in the ER instead ... I will, as my husband constantly reminds me, "rejoice always," and see the humor in these crazy events that I'm sure we'll be laughing at in the years to come!

And experiences like these just help me identify with my parents, nearly 20 years ago, when their 5-year-old stuck a raisin up her nose. :D

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Friday, September 16, 2011

An Alaskan Girl

While enjoying a picnic in a beautiful garden under a huge live oak tree on an ancient plantation by a breezy river, I began to wonder if I was homesick for Charleston ... if I would rather live in this beautiful historic town where I was born and raised, than in my current home state of Alaska. The warmth, the beauty of ancient history, the wafting breeze, the intricate wrought iron fence, the winding river, the majestic trees....

As I sat there, my mind wandered back to our picnics in Alaska - the empty tundra, the breathtaking mountains, the quiet creek, the familiar chill in the air, the wild outdoorsy feel that saturates every Alaskan adventure ... and a sudden, indescribable feeling of homesickness came over me. Homesickness for Alaska, for my tiny unfinished house, for that one little wild acre we have surrounded by nothing but moose and trees....

I realized that, as much as I love my birthplace of Charleston, as much as I miss the architecture, the history, the tidiness of everything down South ... Alaska is my home. It's where my heart is. And as much as I love visiting the friendly South, I'll always be happy to go home to Alaska, to resume my life among the mountains and hunting and snow and rivers. Because, no matter how far I travel, no matter how many beautiful places I see ... there truly is no place like home. My own home. In Alaska.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Driving Through the Historic Southern Countryside

Old Sheldon Church ruins
Built in 1750, burned by the British in 1779, rebuilt in 1826, and burned again by Northern troops in 1865

Pon Pon Chapel ruins
Constructed in 1754 on a spot where John Wesley preached in 1735, well-known landmark during the Revolution, survived the nearby fighting at Parker's Ferry, but was destroyed by fire in 1801

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