Saturday, April 22, 2017

Who's my birth mom?

As most of you know we have adopted children.  Four to be exact.  We also have two homegrown children (biological) for a grand total of six.  Yesterday we were driving along to go do some summer clothes shopping and this very enlightening conversation ensued . . .

Marriela has been processing being adopted for some time now.  She is angry at her birth mother because she insists she gave her a disability by doing bad drugs.  (she is aware her mom used bad 'medicines' but learned about drugs in school in health class and now uses that terminology).  But at no time have we ever associated her mother in a negative way or implied she has 'caused' any issues for Marriela.  So anyway. . .

Driving along and Marriela starts yelling about how she wants her birth mom (typical when I've told her "no" to something she wanted, and in this case, it was to eat lunch at 10:30 am).  She then announces "Tray wants his too!"  Which we have not heard and clearly surprised Tray, as he was now being dragged into the conversation/argument.  As per normal protocol, we put on music and try to change the subject.  Marriela goes on to tell us that she bets she is an only child.  Tray suddenly throws out there "I have a brother."  I throw him a total look of surprise and ask how he knows!??  He states "You told me."

Now it's entirely possible I did tell him that, and he does have a half brother in Georgia.  But I didn't recall actually sharing that with him, but now, we have information out there Marriela is going to throw back at me!  So now I sit there and contemplate how she's going to ambush me with Tray's new knowledge he's shared and how will I respond.  Joshua, my homegrown son, is sitting next to me in the passenger seat.

Joshua turns to me and says "Who's my birth mom? The whole van lost it!  Through my fit of laughter I said, "I am silly!!"  He responds with.  "Oh then do I know who my birth dad is?"  I can't make this stuff up!  I replied that we saw him on the day he was born right from my stomach.  So he says "Well then, who's my birth brother?"  I asked him who he thought was his birth brother and he says "Trayvon."  I just said "Yep, he's your birth brother from another mother." and left it alone.  LOL

At that point we arrived at the store.  I dropped them off with Joshua's staff, Timmothy, and went to return a fan at the store next door.  As I drove that 1 minute trip to the parking lot next door, I realized, that many of my children do not necessarily recognize they are adopted or not adopted.  We love our children fully and unconditionally regardless of their origins and how we came to know them.  I was honored that Joshua was as content to be adopted.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter and Update

Happy Easter!!  It was an absolutely beautiful day to celebrate, relax, take in family, and eat. . . a lot. So that's what we did.  I also dealt with my first cold in a very long time, and I'm not proud to say this. . . but I am a baby.  With all that's happened with the kids, all they have been through, all I've witnessed and lived through with them. . . this cold is the pits.  But, alas, I refuse to let it ruin my vacation.

Today we went to the MOST museum.  We ran through it at the speed of light, as that's what we do, we don't go nice and slow, taking in the sights and sounds.  No, we find the bathroom, look at things quickly, run up the climbing apparatus (yes, even Joshua and his dutiful staff went up and down the fun meant for those 12 and under).  Then we hurried out of the MOST into the VR (I'll remind you what that is if you forgot, further down in the update) in the pouring rain.  Joshua was highly distressed at getting wet.  We discussed the plans for tomorrow and all agreed on the lazy river pool at the local YMCA.. .except Joshua.  His reasoning: "I don't want to take another shower."  So we rationalize that he doesn't need to 'take an actual shower, just rinse off', but that still didn't sit well. So I'm taking him to walk the track while the others enjoy the pool.

So what else has gone on the past 2 years. . . laundry.   Lots of laundry has happened in the past 2 years.  Hmm.  Oh yeah, more laundry and a new washer and dryer because we broke the old ones with the laundry.

Nettie turned 27 a few weeks ago, Sergio is almost 11 (May 2), Tray is now 18, Marriela is 14, and Cody is 11.  For her birthday,, Annette asked for tickets to; drum roll please. ddddddddd Magic Men (AKA - cheap version of Magic Mike).  She is now the proud owner of three floor level tickets for the half naked bumping and grinding of sweaty men.  Oh yeah, parents of the year here!!

We're updating our two bathrooms and the kitchen, as well as fixing a few things that are less than optimal, such as the almost non-existent stair railing that Joshua fell through during a seizure.  I thought I'd love the process, yeah, not so much.  I like the 2"x2" paint swatch on the beautiful paint brochure, and so that's what I picked.  I like the 2'x2' pic of counter top on the website, so that's what we picked.  I liked the sink, faucet, hardware, floor, etc on the website, so that's what we went for. We tried doing the store thing, and both Peter and I were beyond overwhelmed by it all!!  Too much to look at, no idea what went together, so we're piecing our entire kitchen together by 2"x2" thumb size pics on a screen or in a brochure and will either love it or hate it, but it HAS got to be better than the disaster we currently call a kitchen.  So I figure, it's a win/win.  At least for the bathroom the guy came with samples and let us touch them at the dining room table, still have no idea how it'll look, but hey, we had samples!!!  The current tub has a dangling safety rail after Joshua had a seizure and pulled it part way out and then Trayvon slipped in the tub, grabbed the railing and finished off the wall with one good pull.  So I figure our pretty new marble shower surround and white tub will be an upgrade from the peach beauty we currently call a tub with the gaping hole in the wall!  I already bought a new shower curtain and will decidedly use it to gauge the new wall color, I saw a pretty one in my brochure.

Ok, last little update. . . and it's been on my mind for a while.  Some may relate, others may not.  But for me, the struggle is real.  Underwear.

We never have enough in the house, the drawers, or the laundry.  Someone ALWAYS needs underwear.  Joshua needs two pairs a day.  As a mother a part of me wants to scream "WHY?!"  The other part says; "Shhhh, you probably don't want to open that Pandora's box."  But, Marriela, then Cody, and then Trayvon. . . I put Peter out of his underwear deficiency misery by buying him three packs of 6 (with a free extra pair in each pack) for a grand total of 21 pairs of underwear.  But do I really need to do that for EVERYONE in the house?  I'm stubborn and I stand by the fact that every child and adult in this house has a minimum of 8 pairs of underwear with most having far more than that, How does one go through that many pairs in a few days time??  This vacation is wearing me thin on this issue though, and I feel as though there will be an Amazon order going in.  Then my Facebook feed will be all lit up with all different types and styles of underwear for the next three months!

Well, my cold is officially driving me to bed with some Vick's vapor rub and tea.  I missed you all and look forward to updating you more on some of our daily antics more often.

Love, Renee

P.S. VR is our 12 passenger van that looks a lot like a 'creeper' van with it's tinted windows.  Peter once referred to it as the VR when I insisted he take it out with his friends one night.  It stands affectionately for "Vagina Repellent".

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A wee update

It's been a long time since I last posted.  Almost 2 years.  As it really isn't possible to update you on two years of life in the Curkendall household, I'll go with the easy things.

1.  We have been hospital free for a very long time!!  Sergio is now consistently treated at home with IV antibiotics and all of the other 'stuff' that gets him better in the hospital, right at home.  It's been a game changer.  Unless he is getting progressively worse after several rounds of antibiotics, we don't so much as step foot in the hospital.  He's been there 3 times in the last 23 months, all outpatient for new lines and g-tube changes.  It's been awesome and the reason I'm now a fully employed woman!

2.  Everyone is healthy!  From a relative standpoint, this is HUGE!  We have survived the past 2 years with minimal major illness or even lots of little stuff.  A cold here and there, but that's about it. Tray did have an abscess that was easily and quickly treated with a round or oral antibiotics and there was a quick round of what we 'think' may have been a mild flu.  All in all, cruising along well.

3.  Schooling is over for both Peter and I and we are fully employed, contributing members of society again!  Peter is working at Vera House, a not-for-profit that works with men, women, and children who are the victims of trauma, especially when it's a result of domestic or sexual abuse.  I am working as a third grade special education teacher at an elementary school in Syracuse, New York.  I love my job, but I work at an extended day school and don't get home until 5:00 each night.  That's not my idea of a 'school day' but it could be worse, I could be unemployed with my 3 degrees.  So I'm not complaining. . . well, maybe a little.

4.  Joshua graduated from high school.  Tray is a Jr. and graduates next year.  Marriela is moving to the high school next year as well.  Cody is going to be a middle schooler and Sergio. . . well, due to nursing complications, is no longer attending school.  He's now on homebound and is doing wonderful!  Annette has moved into her own apartment in a large development in the next town over and LOVES her independence.

Well,, there are new things that need to be updated, but for now, with little more than just the facts, I'm going to head to bed.  It's Easter Eve and I'm sure the festivities tomorrow will give me much more incentive to write!

Love to all.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Messy Miracles in the Making. . .: Mother's Day

Messy Miracles in the Making. . .: Mother's Day: Though a bit outdated, it is one of my absolute favorites. This was an amazing day! Happy Mother's Day!  This day has meaning to ...

Mother's Day

Though a bit outdated, it is one of my absolute favorites. This was an amazing day!

Happy Mother's Day!  This day has meaning to me that many don't and can't understand.  But that's fine.  I am mother to seven amazing children, six of whom are growing stronger and older by the day.  I am forever grateful for my opportunity to be a mother.  I owe that opportunity to five other mothers, as well as my own mother.

Yep, me as a wee one before my life
My mother.  My inspiration.
Without my mom, well. . . I wouldn't be here!!  She set the wheels in motion for my life to unfold, and though maybe not always in the way I think she wanted; it was in the way I wanted.  However, because of my mom (and dad) I knew I would live a unique, wonderful, interesting and loving life.  

Beautiful Ethel.  

Five of my children arrived in this world without me having any idea of their amazing grand entrances.  For those not aware of some of the amazing starts to life my children have had, head back into the past posts.  But over time, each was presented to me in a different way, in a different place and through different means, but each was meant from the day they were born, to be my child.  I thank each and every one of those moms for having the honor of raising their children, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their lives.  Even the mother who was ultimately responsible for my daughter's passing. . . I was blessed to have her as my daughter and I loved her like a mother and I knew it was time to let her go. .. like a mother.  I had an incredibly short, albeit, intense, relationship with my daughter, Ethel.  She was beautiful, chunky and loved.  She had a father, brothers and sisters (one of whom talks of her to this day).  I held her with all the love of a mother as I offered her over to the doctors to take away the seizures, knowing the treatment would take her away as well.  I was her mom until the end. I am still her mom.  

My other incredible children are here, happy, healthy (in a very relative term) and create my need to breath each and every day.  Their mothers, some of whom I KNOW think of them and love their son's still, are human.  I know they want to know they made the right choice and I only hope they know and feel in their hearts the peace that they did.  The others, I don't know.  I don't know if they remember their children through the haze of drugs and street life.  One we are fairly confident has been deceased for a long time.  But, I am still thankful for them.  I am thankful for the wonderful creations bestowed upon them and ultimately me.  I am a mom because they became moms.  That's wonderfully cool, regardless of the narrative before our stories began.  

Not one of our best, but got tired of looking when I should be
doing my final exam.  LOL
I was also incredibly blessed to have two homegrown children as well.  Both, HUGE surprises (thus all the adoptions heehehe).  Joshua's life was complicated by so many things.  I am often asked "Did you know about so and so's medical issues before hand?  I don't think I could do that if I knew."  Well, biology does not protect you from malady.  I was young, healthy, and did all the right things and my homegrown, fully biological son had a brain tumor that almost killed him.  There are no guarantees in life we will get perfection.  As far as I'm concerned both of my awesome homegrown children are perfect and all of my adopted children are perfect, just sit and talk with them for a few moments and you'll see just how deep their souls, their zest for life and their love for our family is.  

We love our selfies!
So, as I celebrate my 25 year as a mother, I am reminded of all those who are mothers in so many capacities.  Grieving mothers, mothers who gave children up for adoption, mothers who adopted, step-mothers, mother-in-laws, and mothers of mothers.  What a big wonderful world created and maintained by the love of mothers.  Hugs to each and every mother far and wide.  May you feel love and peace today.  


Friday, May 1, 2015

Put Your Right Pit In. . . .

Just thought I'd share a few tid bits from this week. ..

As I was standing in the kitchen I heard Joshua in the bathroom singing "Put your right pit in, put your right pit out. . . . you know the song. . . . and shake it all about".  I looked in to see what "pit" he was referring to and found him moving his hips back and forth (yes, while peeing. . . .ewww).  I asked "Do you mean "HIPS" not "PITS"??  He was shocked it was the wrong word! I told him if he wore his hearing aids he'd hear the differences in the words!  It was a great laugh for me though.

A couple of days later, Tray states, "These jeans are really tight."  I explained that they had been dried on the clothes line so they need to be stretched out and suggested some squats to loosen them up.  He proceeds to do several full length lunges up and down the hallway.  Then he asks "Are you trying to tell me I'm getting to fat or something (he definitely isn't)?"  Totally confused now, I get up to see what the issue is.  He's standing there with what look like painted on jeans, unable to even bend his knees.  I laughed so hard. . . he had my jeans on!!  Ever see the Seinfeld episode with Kramer and his tight jeans?  Yep, it was that funny.

Marriela has planned out her entire life thus far.  The other night she reiterated that she is moving to North Carolina (because they have better hospitals according to one family vlog who lives in NC to have babies at).  She reiterated her desire to "have shots to have sextuplets", I need to thank Kate Plus Eight for that lovely learning curve.  She is NEVER going to go in a pond because she does not want a baby from the tadpoles, that little educative doozy goes out to the opening scene in Look Who's Talking Now. She then enlightened us on her occupational prospects she is considering to support these children.
Here's some quotes:

  • I'm going to college for something like swimming so I can get a gold medal.  They do pay you for a gold medal right?  (I proceeded to remind her that she has yet to successfully even float in a pool or let go of the edge and she's almost 13).  She countered with, Then I'll dance for money.   I just left that one alone.  
  • If I don't make enough for diapers then I will marry a rich white husband from  (I am truly comforted by the fact that she has a back up plan for the dancing gig.)
Well, that's all for now folks.  Just thought a little glimpse into the world of the Curkendall's would make you all feel a tad saner.  I am to help.  

Have a fantastic day on this awesome first of May!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Timeline of Septic Shock

January 20th
I receive a call, Sergio has a fever.  Off to the school I go, get him, draw labs, cultures, start antibiotics.  He gets hotter and hotter.  I give a dose of toradol and Tylenol.  He finally cools down.

January 21st
3:00 am, my phone rings.  Sergio is 103 degrees.  I come to his room and find him shaking violently as he spikes one of his very high temps.  His nurse and I prepare for him to go to the ER immediately. I give another dose of Toradol and push a bolus of IV fluids.  His heart rate is in the 190's.  I know he has a severe line infection (thanks to his usless gut).

4:00 am, arrive at the ER with Sergio, no longer shaking and a temp of 105.  I've already started everything needed for the sepsis protocol the ER uses.  So we sit and wait for a room, while he cooks and I watch the monitor.

6:00 am I can no longer look at the Blood Pressure numbers and find a doctor and insist they do something.  She orders a bolus of fluid.  We are transferred as a floor patient to the ICU because it's the only room left in the entire children's hospital.

7:00 am the PICU doctor is consulted, Sergio is looking septic.  Orders more antibiotics.

3:00 pm, Sergio is sitting in his bed playing with water, he looks much better, but clearly not well.  Cultures are positive for a gram negative bacteria called Klebsiella.  It is his arch nemesis.  It's the same bug that put him in the PICU on a ventilator for 5 days in 2013.

January 23rd.  Sergio looks wonderful.  He's running the halls, kicking his potato head, rocking his chair and climbing out of his bed.  We go home at 3:00 pm on two antibiotics.

3:30 pm I arrive home, he is shivering.  I quickly find ways to justify the shivering and try to reassure myself that he is ok.

5:00 pm Sergio has a temp of 101.5.  Take a deep breath, cry that it's all starting again just 2 hours after discharge.  Offered the option of trying one dose of Tylenol as the only intervention and seeing "what happens".

January 24th
12:05 am  Phone rings.  Sergio is spiking quickly and he is shaking violently again.  Throw him him in the car, shaking and all (which you should understand is profoundly painful!) and race to the ER again.

12:30 am Sepsis protocol restated.  The antibiotic stopped prior to discharge, restarted.  Cultures drawn just 4 hours earlier, are already positive for the same gram negative bug plus a new one.

3:00 am Moved to the PICU as a "step down" patient and managed by the PICU docs.  He is doing well and seems to be responding.

January 25th
7:00 pm After getting a blood transfusion due to anemia caused by the sepsis infection, Sergio develops some very strange reactions.  The attending physicians are convinced he has a clot.  We head to CT scan to look.  He looks off but nothing specific.  CT all clear, just Sergio's body doing strange stuff without explanation as usual.

January 26th
9:00 am Sergio is not himself but he is no longer "sick".  Very sleepy, but once up, plays hard and walks the halls.  Has some respiratory stuff going on.

3:00 pm - Looks much better.  Causing trouble, playing in the sink.  Going home on two antibiotics again.

January 27th - Had a good night.  Doesn't look like he feels well in the AM though.  Run some errands, to return to Sergio running a fever.

11:00 am - Back in the ER for the third time in five days.  This time, he isn't bouncing back.  Several boluses giving.  Spikes to 105.4.  Given Tylenol.  Cools down, looks a bit better.  No room in the PICU so sent to regular floor.

3:00 pm - Another fever spike, this time his profusion is severely compromised, his blood pressure is way too high, a sign it will go the other way in the near future.  He is moved to the PICU as a full PICU patient.

6:00 am - Sergio is now on maximum dopamine support to keep his pressures up.  Waiting on emergency surgery to remove his infected line and place a PICC line in his arm in the interm.  Blood transfusion, platelet transfusion, antibiotics, antifungals, fluids, dopamine all keeping him afloat for a while.  The fluid is catching up though and his lungs get "wet' and he struggles to breath.

3:00 pm - Finally go to surgery.  Line removed.  Return to room on high flow oxygen and real struggles to breath.  Chest x-ray looks worse.

January 28th - Struggles to breath continue.  Blood pressures are very, very high (170/110) due to fluid overload.  Wean off of Dopamine to help bring B/P down.  Give lasix to help pull some off.  Needs several potassium infusions to keep it up.  Give does of IVIG to help boost his immune system as it has crashed in response to this infection.

January 29th - Sergio drops six pounds of fluid in less than 18 hours, he had gained 13 pounds in just three days.  Breathing is better, but still needing O2.  Develops awful cough.  Due to ongoing headaches and needing strong pain meds, CT scan of head ordered.

January 30th - Feeling better.  Cough continues.  Cultures are negative so we stop all antibiotics. Getting more potassium.

January 31st - Fever returns to 103.4.  All antibiotics and steroids are restarted.  More potassium.

February 1st - Flu A positive.  Someone in the hospital gave him the flu.  More potassium.

February 2nd - Cultures are neg. so we stop all antibiotics and steroids again.  On Tamiflu for the flu.  No longer needing any O2. Still getting potassium infusions daily.

February 3rd - Fever returns to 103.7.  All antibiotics and steroids are restarted.  Frustration abound for everyone.  White count plummets.  More potassium.

February 4th - Sergio is looking good.  Playing, happy, more energy.  Decision is to wait one more day and discharge on all antibiotics if still good.  Increased Sergio's potassium in his hydration and TPN to maximum amounts.  One more infusion.

February 5th.  - Sergio GO'S HOME!!!

We are now over 5 days out from the completion of his antibiotics and thus far doing great.  Praying all this is behind us.

This is a boring recount of what it's like for my sweet baby.  He goes through so much just to live, be happy and play.  He doesn't care how sick he "was" as long as he feels good again, he moves on.  That's the reason I fight so hard for all of my kids.  They WANT to live.  So, I will give them every single chance in life to do so, regardless of the obstacles stacked in front of them.

More interesting posts to come soon.