Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This week has flown by! Tim and I have really enjoyed being home but now that all the hype is starting to wear off and we are getting back into the grind of things...we are finding ourselves swamped and exhausted! As we try to catch up on all the things we have missed with the girls schooling, Tim's classes, and all of Ethan's time consuming dressing changes, we are starting to wear thin. Ethan's head and arms are starting to tear in places and we are wondering if we should be making a trip up to Calgary early to have it looked at! Its hard to know if something looks normal or if it needs to be taken care of with certain bandages they gave us or just plain old poly-sporin. I worry so much that he will get an infection or tear badly in some places and we will be back to square one.

We have been so busy with Ethan and all the care that he requires that we almost forgot it was Tim's birthday. Tim has never been one to want much or anything for that matter and so he was happy to just spend a little time being with the kids and read all of their cute homemade cards. He is such an amazing father and husband and I am so blessed to have him in my life.

I figured I would post a picture of Ethan's head from about a week ago when everything looked pretty good. It still looks good but does have several tears all around the head. The outer layer you see will scab and peel and the physiotherapist will remove that part in Calgary...we just clean it!

one week ago!
Say cheese!! Ava loves the new camera she got from the Children's Hospital.
Auntie Lindsay came by for a visit and Ethan just adored her.
I don't know what got into him but he was just being so silly. He sure loved all of the attention!

Happy 32nd Birthday Tim!!!!
Tim couldn't even get up the stairs as the kids were so excited to have him home and see their decorations!
So much to see!!!
Today was nice and quiet as the kids just enjoyed painting and colouring (as long as Ethan didn't touch Hallie's picture).

Hallie loves to draw rainbows lately....each one is different and unique!
While Hallie and Ethan crafted, Ava was fast asleep in her bed having a much needed nap.
Now that Ethan is home there is nothing stoping him! It scares me though because I worry he will fall and hurt his head, so I follow him everywhere.
Ethan was trying hard to help me make dinner but was only making things a lot harder.
He didn't like it too much when I told him he couldn't help me anymore. But he did eventually get over it. Since the accident I have found I have a lot more patience with the kids, I try to enjoy every minute I have with them...even if its while they are throwing a tantrum!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our nurses and last day in the hospital!

It has been nice to be home and have our family complete. On Friday morning Tim and I drove to Calgary for Ethan's first out-patient appointment. Ethan did well and sat patiently as we debrided (scrubbed off any scabs and loose skin) his head and arms. His arms and legs are healing well and so is the top portion of his head. The back part of his head (which was not grafted) is still draining and will take some time to catch up to the other grafted areas. On Friday night we gave Ethan his first official bath in 5 weeks. He enjoyed just sitting in the water and particularly didn't like getting his head rinsed. We have noticed the last few weeks if something spills close to Ethan, it scares him pretty badly. When we rinsed his head he got really upset and it took awhile to calm him down. We ended up taking a few pictures of his grafts during the bath for the first time and are trying to decide whether to post them or not. They may be slightly graphic in nature to some people so let us know what you think. All in all its been a great couple of days being home together again.
Amber was another one of our favorites. She was great to have around and provided us with some good laughs!
The last couple weeks we were in the hospital Ethan enjoyed spending time with the nurses. He was particularly fond of Amber this day.
Ester who was on the maintenance crew, cleaned our room almost everyday we were there. Ethan enjoyed her visits and singing.
Jackie, another great nurse, had to take care of Ethan those first few nights that were pretty rough. She was great and won Ethan's approval in the end as one of his favorites. Jackie coined the phrase "stink-eye" which referred to the look Ethan would give the nurses when he didn't want them around!
A small portion of our wonderful nurses during our stay in unit 3. Left to Right- Lindsey, was fun to have around and was very easygoing. Mary, in the red coat, had Ethan most nights and was an angel. She knew exactly what to do and did her best to let us rest. Dr. Rob Harrop, in the back middle, was Ethan's Plastic Surgeon and was amazing. We couldn't have asked for a better doctor. Claire, crouched down in front, was with us in the evenings when Ethan was on isolation. Kelsey, behind Ethan, was the first person to get a smile out of him. Jackie, holding Ethan, was great as mentioned above. Next to Jackie in the black was one of the nurses who helped re-bandage Ethan's foot and legs. Unfortunately I cannot remember her name, but she was still great! Last is Anna! Anna was with us through the intense first week and helped out a lot. Although this is just a handful of our nurses, we grew to love and appreciate each of them as they showed compassion and love to our sweet boy!
Kaylee was our nurse on the last day when we were being discharged. She was wonderful to have around and I was disappointed I didn't get to see more of her.
Home at last! Ethan is finally wearing clothes again! I was starting to think he would never get out of those cute little hospital pajamas.

Ethan trying to snuggle the girls. Hallie told me to go get the camera to take a picture and put it on the blog. By the time I came back they couldn't stop giggling and so they pretended they were asleep. Hallie had to hide her face because she just couldn't stop smiling.
An amazing friend of mine, Megan, brought over 'dinner and a movie' on Thursday evening. We have a tradition as a family to do movie night on Friday night so it came in perfect timing. It was so nice to get back to doing some normal things and as you can see we were all glued to the T.V.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Were Home!!

Hey everybody, we thought we would just let you know that WERE HOME!! (sort of) The dressing change went well, Ethan was awesome and sat still for the whole hour. There were a few areas on his head, and right arm that were torn and are a little tender.
Those areas will need to be watched carefully to be sure no infection will begin, but all the other areas showed good signs of healing. We rewrapped his wounds and after several minutes of contemplating what would be best for Ethan, we decided that coming back and forth from Lethbridge was the best option as there are no specialists for burns in Lethbridge. We will be going back up on Friday and again a couple times a week for the next few weeks. We are excited to be home and it felt wonderful to climb into my own cozy bed for the first time in almost 5 weeks! We are on our way to finding our new normal....life will be very different for the next few months as Ethan begins to heal. The girls will need to adjust as well, not only with being home again, but with all of the new rules and routine with Ethan. His arms are still sore and so are his legs and head. The new bandage on his head has only a little padding so he needs to be watched and followed 24/7 to be sure he doesn't bump or rub his head. He is still very wobbly because of the bandage on his grafted right foot. Things will definitely be different around here, but we are up for the challenge. We are excited to get back into some sort of routine and see our family and friends. Please don't hesitate to say hello and ask any questions you may have with Ethan..we would be happy to answer them. Tim and I have learned a lot about burns and the healing process this past month, things we had no idea about before the accident, and so we understand that people will be curious. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers throughout this journey.

Love The Anderson's

P.S. We will still continue to update the blog for those who were wondering. Ethan still requires lots of care.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pictures from the weekend!

Shermene, one of the many nurses whom we love.....we will miss them all!

I was so excited to see my friend Jillian again...it's been a long time and it was fun to catch up. Ethan and I were spoiled rotten by her and couldn't be more grateful.

Ethan's favorite part of the day is when they bring his snack bags....it was always fun to see what new things were inside.

Ethan is always peeking out the window trying to catch the attention of the nurses at the front desk.

Ethan being a stud!

Lisa, another one of our nurses. We have had Lisa since the start and Ethan really likes her. Lisa calls him boyfriend and she is the only one to receive a kiss.

Ethan giving Lisa a kiss

My three little munchkins!

Nothing has changed between these two...they are still best buddies!

Playing in the playroom at the hospital. This is one of the many playrooms there that the kids loved.

Ethan loved to push all the buttons and hear the sounds of the animals.

Ethan playing with his buddy Ezryn!

Kim, Devin and Ezryn were great company on Sunday. They are such a good looking family!

Ezryn and his sweet bear suit. He looked so cute you just wanted to squeeze him.

My sweet little Hallie Bean!

Ethans first car ride in over a month...he loved it and got very excited!

No more tubes....this was a very happy day!

Ethan's a free man!

I have been trying to log onto the network all morning and it just wouldn't let me. Now that I have finally logged in, it won't let me upload any pictures so I will try again later. Before I update you I just want to give a shout out to my wonderful friends and family who ran in the moonlight run yesterday...I was thinking about you all night wishing I was running with you and hoping you did great! Next year will be my year!

This past week has been exciting and busy. On Friday before Tim and the girls showed up, our nurse Shermene, who we just loved, tried to flush Ethan's PIC line and it started to leak water all over. Dr. Harrop came in and looked at it and decided to take it out because it wasn't working properly. One tube down and only one more to go! Now that Ethan doesn't have the PIC line in ( it acts like an IV except it isn't superficial to the skin but rather is inserted just above the elbow and goes straight into the superior vena cava near the neck)he will not be able to take any anesthetic during his next dressing change, so he will only be allowed some oral morphine. This will be the test to see how he does...dr. Harrop wants Ethan to be able to eventually sit on my lap and have his dressings changed without any pain meds. While we removed the PIC Dr. Harrop suggested we go on a day pass and spend some time as a family, so when Tim and the girls showed up we all went out to spend some time together. First stop on our agenda was to the chiropractor. On Wednesday I started to get a sharp pain in my left hip to the point where I couldn't walk without a limp. From there it spread to my lower back and shoulders and I was having a hard time standing up and walking. Tims uncle referred us to his chiropractor and he was great. He helped a lot and now I can walk! We then walked the mall for an hour, doctors orders, then went and picked up some KFC and headed to our hotel to eat. It was a nice relaxed evening and it felt wonderful to be out of the hospital. Ethan loved being with his sisters and fell asleep as soon as we would get in the car. Saturday we checked in at the hospital at noon as planned and we were told that if everything went well and Ethan was eating good we could have another day pass. Dr. Harrop told our nurse to remove the NG Tube and we could be on our way. Finally, after four weeks we got rid of every tube! I never thought this day would come soon enough and it came at perfect timing. It felt wonderful to not worry about him pulling out any tubes while we were out. The girls had a blast hanging out at Tim's aunt and uncles house playing with their dog and jumping on the mini trampoline. Ethan enjoyed that too. We ate mcdonalds as requested by the girls and ethan rediscovered his appetite, eating 4 1/2 chicken nuggets, a big handful of fries and drank a whole Gatorade. It was like he hadn't eaten in weeks! Sunday we came back to the hospital and enjoyed a fun visit from our friends Devin and Kim and their sweet little boy Ezryn. It was nice to see them again and let the boys play together. Tim and the girls left later on and it was very hard to say goodbye. Ava had a hard time leaving and begged us to stay. Hopefully that is our last goodbye for a long time! Now it's just a waiting game to see how Tuesday goes. If all goes well with his dressing change then we might go home as soon as wednesday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Its a miracle!!

Great News!

I apologize if this is scattered but I have Ethan with me and he isn't going to sit much longer. We had the dressing changes on wednesday (yesterday) and everything looked great. I was able to stay in the Induction Room and watch everything. I have gotten used to seeing him in all of his head dressings and so when they took everything off, his head looked so tiny. All the grafts took, and are healing "remarkably fast" according to Dr. Harrop. The donor sight on the back of his head has already healed, along with his right leg donor sight. The left leg should be all healed by next week and the arms the following week. His head also looked great and will be another week after the arms. Also the piece on the crown of his head that they didn't graft is starting to heal and should be ok on its own. Dr. Harrop then gave us more good news and said if the next dressing change goes well and we can get to the point where we can do them without anesthetic, Ethan can go home next weekend! He will still have dressings on for another 3 weeks probably and would have to come up every couple of days to get them changed....but going home is within our reach. Ethan recovered very quickly this time in the OR and had his appetite back very quickly. He was taken off of all of the pain medications yesturday and still did great after the dressing change. He is much more alert and active now and is walking everywhere. At first he was a little weak but by today he was practically walking unassisted, his socks are just a little slippery. Now that he is off all pain medications and is doing better they unhooked all of his lines, the IV and everything and he is a free man, no cords stopping him. He still has his NG Tube but they hope to get that out in a few days as well. Overall he is recovering very well and we are seeing so many little miricles happening everyday due to all the prayers on his behalf. I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned from this experience, it has been very humbling and has taught me much patience, among so many other things. I have gotten comfortable around here and as odd as this sounds, it feels like home! I am gaining so many wonderful friendships with the nursing staff and all the other doctors, and its a little depressing to think I have to say goodbye soon. They practically live in our room and feel like family! I also worry about the stress of being home and the constant stares and questions. Here everyone accepts him as they see him and I don't get asked a thousand questions. I have now had almost four weeks to think about this whole situation and sort out my feelings. I am content with Ethan not having hair on most of his head, and I'm ok with his grafts on his body. That is who he is now and will always be a part of him. I know he will have many struggles along the way but I also have complete confidence that he will make it through each and every trial that comes his way. I know that Tim and I will be judged as well by those around us and I have come to realize that what they think just doesn't matter. I also have realized to not take offence to every person that stares at Ethan as we pass....they are mostly curious and I would be too! I know that I would not be emotionaly or spiritually where I am today without the help of the Lord....he has given me the strength I need each day to get through this and become a stronger person all together. I constantly find myself asking him for strength, faith and courage to get through this, and I know I will. My parents have been so amazing with our girls and its so nice to never worry about them as I know they are in great hands. We have also witnessed miricles with Tim and his schooling. He has missed several days and went back to school only to have one day to study for his two midterms. He just got the results back from one exam and he got 87% which is great considering our circumstances. I am so proud of him and all the hard work he has put into school and helping me out with Ethan and the girls. I am the luckiest girl around to have such a wonderful husband and family. Now I get to look forward to tomorrow and seeing my two beautiful girls whom I have missed so much. Ethan might get a day pass to leave the hospital as well so I can't wait!

Ethan's back....living on the wild side! (don't worry the nurse had her hands right there)

Irish dancers came to the hospital and did an hours worth of dancing. It was exciting! Ethan got right into it and started clapping with everyone else. I'm starting to think I might be bored at home, there is just so much going on around here all the time.

That is the top of Ethans head..we got front row seats!

On Tuesday we were lucky to have some friends come and visit...our home teacher and his family! Their kids were up here for check-ups themselves so they popped by for a quick visit. Ethan was a bit grumpy that day, but Anna and Nathan did their best to make him smile. He loved to share his toys with them but there was no way they were going to sit next to him...he was just too grumpy!

Ethan kept pointing to the window and saying go, so i wheeled his IV pole over as far as I could and he was able to reach. It was snowing big flakes here yesturday which kept Ethan mezmorized for several hours.

He sat up for a long time but eventually that head dressing just got too heavy and he had to lay his head down. Ethan will have the strongest neck muscles when he gets home!

I had to take a picture on the elevator since its Ethan's favorite thing to do lately. Just go up and down, up and down.

Tuesday morning a volunteer came into our room and offered to take Ethan to the tots play room on the second floor. They took him for an hour and gave me a chance to shower and clean up. I took Ethan myself yesturday and he showed me all the great toys!

Ethan found the little grocery cart and wouldn't let it go. He filled it up with all the toys he could find and away he went....out of the room and down the hallways of unit 2! Ethan hasn't walked since the accident so this was a big milestone. His legs were a little wobbly and he was a little weak but there was no stopping him. All that walking wore him out and increased his appetite too. Unfortunatly he couldn't eat or drink because he was going to the OR in a few hours, so he was very grumpy. He did cry himself to sleep and have a nice long nap though.

He was exhausted!!!!

The New and Improved Ethan!! He went for his dressing changes yesterday and did awesome. He was a little cranky but as soon as we gave him the roll of tape to play with he was fine. I might need to stash a few rolls for when I go home!

Ethan went from michelin man to smurf! Hopefully the blue color will give people a hint that he is a boy

Last night was Pet Pals Night! There were about 7 dogs that came visit, all of them were highly trained. It was great to see all the dogs and the kids having fun. This was Ethan's favorite dog and he wouldn't take his eyes off him. He was huge, taller than Ethan when he stood up. His name was Titan and he was just a big teddy bear, he didn't even mind Ethan kicking him and poking his nose and eyes! Very fun!

See..huge! We were covered in hair when we left!

The dogs were great therapy for Ethan and kept his mind off his recent dressing changes he went through just two hours earlier.