Monthly Archives: September 2013

Quick Update

We are all doing well, though we’re a little more worn out than usual. Levi seems to be experiencing a little discomfort, but not any real pain. He went to preschool this morning, where I’m sure he fully enjoyed the celebrity status a cast can bring. His teacher said he did well but looked a little peaked at the end of the morning.

The boys are having a little trouble readjusting to The Way Things Are. It turns out that having a broken arm doesn’t afford as many opportunities for ignoring the rules as Levi had hoped, and having a brother with a broken arm hardly gets you any special treatment at all.

Yesterday, Paul and I went for a bike ride so I could take in a little fresh air after being cooped up, and my sister watched the boys. Levi was up to something, wouldn’t listen, and she banished him to the time out chair.

“But I have a broken arm, remember?” he said.
“But my arm is …”

It’s a mad, mad world.

Elias, for his part, told me last night that he couldn’t possibly go to sleep without an ice cream cone. I laughed, and assured him that he could indeed. I was right.

Those poor children.


For those of you following here but not on Facebook … we are headed home. The surgery went well yesterday, and he’s got two pins holding his elbow together, a soft splint (to allow for any swelling), and a sling. We’ll see the doctor in about a week, when the pins will come out and he’ll get a harder cast.

So all is well. I can’t wait to have a shower and a real cup of coffee.

Not on the Schedule

Well. I’m writing this in the half-dawn light from the comfort of the parent cot in a room at Children’s. When I say “comfort,” I mean that I didn’t have to sleep on the floor, for which I am deeply grateful.

Levi jumped? fell? onto a friend’s deck last night and broke his arm. I wasn’t really alarmed until I turned him over and saw one of the bones of his elbow sticking up like a finger poking up in the skin (skin not broken). While I never studied anatomy, I was pretty sure THAT wasn’t supposed to happen.

Poor Elias got left behind without so much as a hug and kiss. I know it’s no comfort to him now, but I’d walk away from his brother just as fast if it were Elias that were broken. My sister reminded me last night that someone asked my maternal grandma – mother to 10 – if she had a favorite child. She said, “The one that’s gone until he’s home, and the one that’s sick until he’s well.”

And little brother was in good hands. We were with several couples. As I walked through the living room carrying Levi and said, “Can someone please watch Elias for a bit?” there was a chorus of YES!!!! behind me. We have good friends.

Our friends gave us a towel to wrap his arm to his body, and an ice pack wrapped in a hand towel. I still have the ice pack and the hand towel, guys, but I lost the other towel along the way. I’ll get you a replacement.

Our pint-sized hero had a couple of x-rays and got poked by a bunch of different people before getting a splint. He did really well with pain, even though that situation was a little complicated by his CF. He’s on high-dose ibuprofen – no one knows exactly why, but taking ibuprofen regularly as a little kid and up through young adulthood reduces lung damage in CF patients – and we can’t give him anything with ibuprofen in it without consulting the CF doctors. The people in the ER, of course, don’t know his whole history, so I repeated “no ibuprofen” to every person that opened the door of our little exam room. No one openly called me a pain in the tuches, which demonstrates great restraint.


And here he is with his splint, and shortly after finally getting a little morphine. I’d say that explains the goofy grin, but you all know he’s like that anyway.

Our nurse last night was great. In addition to sneaking in and out super-quietly and never once waking Levi, she was pretty knowledgable about CF and very helpful. She was expecting a kid with a broken arm, not a kid with 10+ meds, medical equipment, and infection control protocols, but she adjusted immediately and found out everything she could. And assumed that I knew what I was talking about. Bonus!!

The orthopedic surgeon has yet to come through this morning, but Levi is on the schedule for surgery around 11:00 AM. I don’t love the idea of anesthesia, since it poses more risk for a person with CF. And also because I’ve always had kind of rotten experiences with anesthesia. I know that doesn’t really mean anything for Levi, since we’re not biologically related, but thinking about it just makes me feel a little ill.

At least we’re in the right place. I know it’s not 100% true for everyone, but we’ve always had really good experiences at Children’s, and I am confident they will take good care of him. And I believe we are all in God’s hands. We’ll deal with whatever comes.

Right now, that means telling Levi he can’t have anything to eat or drink. Please continue to send good thoughts and prayers, for both of us, and for the people taking care of him.

Hand Stacks

We all – my mom, too – piled in the car and met my sister for lunch today. Very fancy – Wendy’s. The boys had a great time. With Auntie and Gigi there as both audience and entertainment, what’s not to love?

The kids get done very quickly. It’s not like they have excessively long attention spans anyway. So it tends to get a little harried at the end, but Auntie is excellent at keeping them amused. Today they stacked hands as fast as they could.


Oh, how they love Auntie!

52 Weeks

This is kind of an anniversary for me. Fifty-two weeks ago, I started on a mostly internal journey. A few weeks later, I started a spreadsheet to keep track of it (shocking, I know). I began tracking some of the choices that I make and the habits that I have, and I made a few changes. After a little while, I wanted to know how long I’d been doing particular things, so I started keeping track of the weeks.

Yesterday was the last day of week 52. I’ve tried a few things and discarded them – I discovered that a super-low-carb diet is not for me. (I was, at one point, so exhausted that I thought about going to the doctor to see what was wrong with me. It finally occurred to me that it might be what I was – or wasn’t – eating, so I had a banana. Ten minutes later I felt like the Energizer bunny. Some carbs good. Noted.)

Some things I’m still trying out, or working on, but there’s one thing that has stuck for the entire year. I decided that I wanted to exercise for at least 15 minutes, five days a week. Fifteen minutes isn’t much, but it’s really just a mind game I play with myself. It’s easy. No matter how rotten I feel, I can do 15 minutes. I hardly ever do just 15. I start, and I feel pretty good, and I keep going. And on the rare occasion that I don’t? Well, I’ve done the 15 minutes. And kept the habit, which means a lot more than any one workout. In one year, I’ve missed my goal only twice, and back to back – it was the two weeks we were in Florida.

This doesn’t sound very exciting as I’m sitting here typing it, but it represents a pretty significant sea change in my life. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m having success at this when I’ve failed so many times before. Some of the reasons are still opaque, but here are a few that I think I’ve figured out:

  • It’s a grand experiment.
    Historically, I’ve always wanted to know what someone else was doing, and then tried to copy it exactly, expecting the exact same results. There is a minor flaw in this plan: I’m not anybody else. (It only took me 38 years to realize this. I’m so proud.) But seriously – what works for someone else is not necessarily going to work for me. It’s worth trying what someone else is doing. But mostly it’s going to need some tweaking, and experimenting, and trying again. I have a great opportunity here for an n=1 experiment, and the rest of my life to figure out what works. This means I don’t have to be perfect, and if I go off plan for a day (or a week, or heck, a month) it’s not the End of All Good Things.
  • It’s about behaviors, not results.
    I heard someone else say this and I feel like I should have figured it out a long time ago, but better late than never, I suppose. I don’t actually have that much control over some of the results from what I’m doing – or the results would be happening a lot more quickly, believe me – but I do have control over what I decide to do. I’m going to keep working out because I made a decision to do it. Whether or not the scale ever moves down, or I ever see any muscle definition in my arms. (I say that, but seriously, how many push-ups do I have to do to get a bicep already? Obviously the answer is “more than I have.”)
  • It’s about what I can do, not how I look.
    This is a hard one for me, and I don’t think I’m alone. However. More and more over the past year, I’ve been able to do things that I either didn’t think I could do or never thought I’d have any desire to do (see also: Warrior Dash). That’s pretty cool. I am not skinny, and I never will be. I did one of those body fat estimator things, and if I’m even close, just my lean body mass (so, 0% body fat) weighs more than all of my friend Jenn. Skinny is not in my future. You know what I am, though? I am competent. I am disciplined. I am strong. It kind of freaks me out to write that last bit, but you know what? I actually think it’s true.

So I’m flipping over a new year today, and I’m not going to focus as much on exercise. Not because I don’t think I need to keep doing it, but because I think it’s really a habit now. I feel good when I do it. I want to do it. I think I can keep it up without devoting so much of my headspace to it. I’d like to try using some of that mental energy to change something else. Maybe I’ll work more on food choices. Maybe I’ll finally learn Spanish. I’m not sure yet.

But stay tuned. I don’t think I’m done with me yet.

On Falling Down

Paul and I did the Cycle for Life today, to raise money towards CF research. (Those are our friends Rich and Heather with us.)


The course was mostly on the towpath. Now, the only other time I’ve ever come to the towpath to ride, I fell off my bike and down the side of a hill. I was not injured in this fall (it was lovely soft ground, and I fell slowly enough that I had time to think, “This is ridiculous”), so it turned out to be pretty funny, not least because my bike fell over in such a way that it was also out of sight. So my friend Tricia, who was just a bit ahead of me right then, looked over her shoulder, and I was … just gone. Apparently, she found this startling.

So not a bad fall. Still, I was keenly aware that it could happen again. Especially since we were riding in rain the entire time, and as a consequence, through quite a bit of mud.


Don’t I look lovely? The front view was much the same, but with more of a spatter all over than a streak down the middle.

But anyway.

I jumped over some tracks on my way to the bathroom before the ride started, and I thought, “It’s wet. That wasn’t very smart.” But I didn’t fall down.

I took a corner at the beginning of the race way too short and skidded a bit, but caught myself on the fence by the side of the trail, and didn’t fall down.

I stopped at a road crossing and caught my jacket on my seat as I was getting back up on the bike, necessitating some maneuvers to stay upright. I’m sure the drivers at the stoplight were amused, but I didn’t fall down.

I rode into a lot of pretty big puddles and more than a few big ruts and wobbled and recovered and didn’t fall down. I finished, and I was feeling pretty good about my balance.

So we ate lunch at the Winking Lizard (after-party by the CF Foundation) and went to my brother’s house to pick up the boys. THEN I fell down.

On the concrete in his garage, as I was coming off the step. I think it was probably inevitable and I should have just ditched out earlier in the day on some grass and gotten it over with. Lesson learned.

I landed on my right side, and mostly I can’t tell (though I have a sinking feeling about tomorrow morning), but my little toe is all swollen up and turning purple.

Oh, well. I needed to redo my toenails anyway. I think I’ll paint them to match.

Happy Saturday! And stay vertical.


Snapped on my way out the lane this evening.

Sorry that it’s not a better picture, but he didn’t really want to be photographed. Yes, that is a peacock chillin’ in my backyard.

I love my neighborhood.

And just to blow your mind, this is actually the second time in my life that I’ve lived next door to a pea-herd. Pea-flock? I don’t know. There has to be a good collective noun for a bunch of peacocks, right? Hang on …

There are three, apparently. I’m cherry-picking the one that’s most fun.

I live next to an ostentation of peacocks. Excellent.