Thursday, November 29, 2007

When it rains... pours.

Matt woke me up at 4:30 yesterday morning in so much pain he was shaking like a leaf. his mom came over to get the girls to school/daycare and we headed for the ER. Sure enough, he has a kidney stone. After several hours in the ER, we headed to the urologist, where we sat for 2 hours waiting our turn to be worked in. For now, he has good drugs ad we're giving it a week to see if it passes.

Because we have good health insurance, I am actually kind of looking forward to the bills coming in and seeing what the month of November would have cost us medically if we didn't have it...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

There's no place like home!

We're home! For good this time, hopefully. Our son's surgery seems to have been successful. He hasn't spit up once since surgery. We had to stay an extra day, but it seems that things are going well. We do have at least two doc appointments this week alone and he does have to be fed every 3 hours 'round the clock for a while, but we're home!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

God is so very good!

Our little guy's surgery was this morning. They started an hour later than planned, mostly because he's so very tiny and they had a hard time getting an IV started, etc. The anesthesiologist said that right before they put him out, he looked at each of them and smiled.

Our surgeon said that it went exceptionally well. He was able to complete the surgery laproscopically, which he had told us he'd try but wasn't hopeful about. Apparently, about 8lbs is the smallest you can do surgery like that, and he is just about 8.5lbs. The surgeon said he wasn't going to lie to us, it wasn't easy just because everything they were working with was so small, but that he was very pleased. It went so well that he didn't even put a G-tube in because he didn't think it was necessary.

With all of that, it looks like we'll be able to go home on Friday instead of sometime over the weekend.

We believe that God could easily have chosen to heal him instantly if He wanted, but we also believe that He sends people into our lives to use as His instruments of healing and that's what He chose to do in this case. He gave us a surgeon and the rest of the medical team who know what they're doing and who He gave wisdom to do what needs done.

We do have a road ahead of us - there will still be feedings every three hours for the next few weeks, but hopefully, by Christmas, he'll be eating normally, without having to do the supplemental feedings and so on.

God is so good. Literally.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. They are much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our Son's Surgery

Surgery is scheduled for 8am, tomorrow Wed., Nov. 21.

Prayers are coveted.

More to come...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I wish I had more of a financial blog to post, but I just don't.

Things around here have been beyond crazy.

Two kids have sinus infections - one of them also has a touch of bronchitis and an ear infection. I've got a horrid sinus infection - went to Urgent Care at Walnut Lawn [if you're in Springfield - go to a different one - if you really want to know why, email me, otherwise just take my word for it :)] on Wednesday. Told me it was viral and nothing they could do really. Gave me a couple of prescriptions to help me feel better but not cure me, but neither were working. We came home from the hospital last night [more in a minute on that] and I spent quite a bit of the night throwing up and then again this afternoon. Went to Urgent Care in Republic [LOVE THEM!] and got some different medicine that has helped more in the last 6 hours than the other ones did in 3 days.

I'm also beyond behind on my schoolwork - got a little bit done Thursday and tonight, but the mental capacity needed to grade essays just hasn't been there... Not with the splitting headache [so bad I couldn't see straight] off and on and nausea...

We were in the hospital for 8 days. In those 8 days, our 3.5 month old son had an EKG, echocardiogram, barium test [drink the stuff, watch it go down - he did not cooperate!], ultraounds of bladder and kidneys, Ph probe test [the one we were really waiting on], several blood and urine tests and after the Ph probe, some test where he drank a radioactive isotope and they took pictures to see if his stomach empties right [it does].

The results from the Ph probe were that he has reflux [big shock there] but also told them about the severity etc. The other tests ruled out the possible causes for the reflux, besides that little valve between the stomach and esophagus not working right. He also ran a fever for most of Tuesday and didn't eat for 9 hours, then not again for another 7 or so. He ended up with an IV for that, but only for a few hours.

All of the usual 'fixes' for reflux don't work. Sitting him up for 30 minutes after eating, sleeping/everything else on an incline, etc. - none works. He's spit up at least 3xs in his bouncy seat while I'm working on this post.

In 8 days at the hospital, with everything being strictly measured in and out and beefed up [added calories to the milk/formula], he only gained a total of 4oz. He was also up and down some.

So what now? Tuesday he's having surgery. *sigh* Not our first choice, but the next least invasive option. Hopefully, the surgery will be done laproscopically - that's the plan, but the doc said there's always a chance he'll have to do it the 'old fashioned way'. He's have a Nissen Fundoplication done. Basically, the doctor will wrap the top part of his stomach around the bottom of his esophagus, tightening it so that valve works more the way it's supposed to - things go down and not up. He's hoping he'll be able to do it without having to also put a G-tube in, but that is a possibility. If they don't have to do the G-tube, we'll be in the hospital another 48 hours, if they do have to do one, probably 72.

Surely, with all that medical stuff, we're worried about finances, right? No, not really. We have good insurance through Matt's employer and we've already paid all of our out of pocket expenses for the year, so, in theory, we won't have to pay for any of the last week or for the surgery. We did, with everything else going on, bounce a transaction. We used our debit card MUCH more than normal [over $80 in Rx alone this week - probably closer to $100] and it just got away from me. Two packages shipped to one of our best friends is what did it - I forgot to enter it. The bank did reverse the charge though - that was a huge relief. I knew there was reason I hadn't ordered the wireless network adapters for the TIVOs... Sure enough, good thing I didn't. Payday was yesterday so it wasn't like we were weeks out or anything.

There are many more blessings - some obviously monetary, most not. Our wonderful church hospitality lady has given us food several times over the last week and a half. She's promised us a turkey for Thanksgiving - we'll likely still be in the hospital for part of it, but that's okay- turkey sandwiches are good too! Another friend braved our three [sick] girls for about 8 hours one day so Matt could teach and spend a couple hours with me at at the hospital. Another couple friends came over this morning and took care of the kids while Matt taught and I slept.

We have wonderful doctors and nurses working with us. I know it may not seem like a blessing, but in some ways the continued up and downs of his weight while in the hospital is. It verifies that it's nothing we were or weren't doing that was causing his lack of weight gain. It's in no way a reflection on us [which we *knew* but it's nice to *know*, you know? :)]. We have friends and family around the country who are praying for us and who have put us on more prayers lists and prayer chains than I can even imagine. Once he's recovered and chunked up a little bit, it's quite likely I'll be able to nurse again. The thought of not being able to makes me cry so I'm glad I should be able to.

I should probably have some eloquent statement to sum all of this up, but I don't. God is still good, all the time and that's really all I need to know.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Free FPU Online for Veterans

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all our Veterans!

Dave announced today that they are giving away free FPU online to all veterans through the end of business on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Please do not call about this offer but mail for more information and details on how to take advantage of this great offer!

Click HERE for more information about FPU online.
Just quick update - I should have a more substantial post later today.

We're still in the hospital and will be until at least tomorrow afternoon. So far all of the tests have come back fine and he's up FIVE ounces since Friday - three since yesterday.

The good news/bad news is that he's virtually stopped spitting up. That's good, but it also means that the doctors and nurses aren't seeing him as he usually is. We don't see anything we're doing differently [except taking him off the meds that keep him from spitting up] so we're not sure why. He's had a good day or two or even three good days in a row before. We're hoping for a normal day today so the test we're doing today will be accurate.

Thanks again for your prayers.

Friday, November 9, 2007

In the hospital...

Find a Financial Peace University class near you

Thanks to those of you who are praying for us. Our little guy has been admitted to the hospital for a few days. He only gained 1.5oz or so this week so here we are trying to figure out what's wrong with him and why he won't gain weight.

Prayers are appreciated and more will be coming soon about FPU and our debt free journey!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Welcome to Debt Free in the Ozarks!

Hey! We just finished watching ourselves on KOLR10! EEP! Always hate seeing myself!

I'd truly hoped to have a lot more on here by now, but if you read the last post, you'll see what life has been like. It looks like our son is going to be in the hospital tomorrow so putting weight on his tiny bones has been our priority this week! [3 months old... hovering around 8lbs...]

Please come back as we post more about our journey to be debt free! We'd love to hear from some of you - success stories or struggles. We hope we can help at least someone on the path to financial freedom!

Matt and Carol
KOLR 10 Spot

Saturday, November 3, 2007

God is good, all the time

God is good, all the time...

Today's post is a bit of a departure from finances, though they are mentioned...

Sometimes it's hard to see the blessings…

Yesterday we spent almost 8 hours doing doctor's appointment related stuff. I left the house with our three youngest children about 9:20 in the morning. I returned home with all 4 kids about 4:30. It was a very long day.

Our youngest is 3.5 months old. He weighs a whopping 7lbs 11oz at the moment. He was born in July – 30 days before his due date. He weighed 6lbs 6oz at birth. Over the next 12 days or so he did fine – his weight checks were good, etc. However, that next week I began to notice that it wasn't quite right and, sure enough, when we stopped at the Women's Center for a weight check, he was down to 5lbs 11oz at 19 days. Since then it has been a struggle to keep him going in the right direction.

Two weeks ago he was 8lbs 2oz. Last week, he'd lost an ounce. This week, he was down 6 more. Six weeks ago, they'd finally assigned us a home health nurse to weigh him at home instead of continually going to the doctor's office [do you know what weekly doctor's visits will do to your budget when you're not expecting them?! Or even when you are?] However, after the weight loss this week, the doc's office called and wanted us to come in yesterday, so we did.

I loaded up two girls – ages 2 and 4 – and one little boy and headed out. Matt, unexpectedly, was able to meet us there. It's a good thing he was able to.

They were running about 45 minutes late. Mid appointment, we got a call from our oldest daughter's school – she had thrown up at recess. Matt took the older two and headed to pick her up.

Before he left however, the pediatric nurse practitioner we've been seeing had told us that the other PNP and one of the doctors in the office wanted to put him in the hospital, but that she and the other doctor decided to try a few other things first. We did two heel sticks [the first one coagulated or something so it wasn't good enough to run tests on] and a urine test [he didn't pee until the bag had been on him for an hour and a half].

The good news? The blood tests came back much better than they had anticipated. No urinary tract infection. No hospital for now.

The bad news? If he hasn't gained at least 4oz by next Friday, he will be in the hospital. If he doesn't gain at least 6-7oz he may end up in the hospital.

They gave him another medicine that should help keep him from spitting up as much – that alone should help a lot.

The rest of the good news? Well, we have no more consumer debt. I called about 2 weeks ago and just paid the hospital bills from last summer [an ER visit for me, an ER visit for our 6 year old, his birth and hospital stay]. We have insurance. We've met all of our deductibles so even if he does end up in the hospital, it won't cost us anything out of pocket. I had seriously increased the food budget in light of the lack of debt and medical bills and it was no problem to pull enough out of it for a copay or two. In August, when I'd budgeted for 2 doc visits and ended up with 7-8, I couldn't have taken it out of the food budget because that budget was already so tight. We don't have the specter of debt hanging over us as well as our son's lack of weight gain.

We still don't know what's wrong with him. We don't know if it's something metabolic or if my milk just isn't rich enough anymore – four kids close together and all nursed can do that – or what it is. But we have a wonderful, supportive doctor's office, prayer warriors in our Sunday School class and among the rest of our family and friends, and a God who is good, all the time.