31 December 2008

Happy New Year's Eve

My parents are coming in from Racine, WI today to celebrate the New Year and see Isaiah before the holidays are completely over. I found a great Polish sausage place about a half hour from our house and picked up some fresh (unsmoked) Polish Kielbasa and Cherry filled Pierogi (polish dumplings) which has been my family's traditional Christmas breakfast for as long as I can remember. Since my parents weren't here for Christmas we're going to do it for New Years Day breakfast! Anyways I've got to run and pick them up from the airport.

27 December 2008

Christmas: The Aftermath

Wow, Isaiah made off with a pretty good haul on Christmas and I got to take on the task of putting everything together. You'd think that infant and toddler things wouldn't have too many small pieces, but there are a good number of things to do yet. Our living room floor is covered even more now in toys so Rachel and I are going to take him to his first trip to IKEA to see if there's some sort of good storage bench we can get to put all his toys in the living room into. My ultimate goal in the next 6 months or so is to partially finish off a portion of the basement and make that a playroom for him and an eventual media theater for us as he grows up. That way we can get a bunch of the toys out of the everyday path of things and have a good place for him to spread out. Our basement has relatively low ceilings at +/- 7 feet when most ceilings are at a minimum of 8' in a typical house so I'm trying to think up a creative way to make it all work without feeling super short.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

24 December 2008

Christmas Eve


Well tonight Rachel and I cooked a good dinner for ourselves. In my family we traditionally celebrated with the extended family on Christmas Eve at my Grandma's. We'd always have a nice dinner (prime rib I think) and open presents afterwards. I usually barely ate anything since I was always so excited to open presents. We'd then have our personal family Christmas at home.

Here we're kind of flipping things somewhat. Its just me, Rachel and Izzy. I made some nice bacon wrapped tenderloin steaks and Rachel made some awesome mashed potatoes, green beans and pudding. What we weren't expecting was Isaiah's little 'dessert' for us which was a nice big poop! I swear this kid has the best timing. He might be the next Robin Williams or something.

Our plan was to give him a little bottle and open up some presents here tonight before heading over to Rachel's parents tomorrow, unfortunately with the bottle came a nice big drowsy baby. Rachel and I are still deciding if we want to open a few of our gifts tonight, or just wait until tomorrow morning at her parents. I don't especially want to lug everything over there on top of all of Isaiah's baby stuff, but we'll probably bring a good number of them.

Merry Christmas everyone!

21 December 2008

Church 2.0

So we tried taking Isaiah to church again today. This time we went to Northpoint with Rachel's parents and brother. We swear every time we try to go to church this little guy does something to throw a little bit of a monkey wrench into things. This morning was no exception. Essentially right after Rachel gave him a bath he decided it was a good time to poop up his back. Running thin on time I had the bright idea of rinsing him off in the kitchen sink with the sprayer, rather than setting up an entire new bath for him. So here I am holding a naked baby over the kitchen sink while Rachel sprays the poop off of him and cleans him up. He, of course, hates the sprayer and decides to add a little spray of his own and pees all over me. (Luckily I wasn't dressed for church yet) We did manage to get him dressed and clean ourselves up and get on our way to church. That was the first half of today.

The second half was while we were at church. Northpoint, if you don't know, is a contemporary church pastored by Andy Stanley and has a fairly loud pop/rock like worship band. Isaiah was fine sitting in the seat waiting for church to start and the first song of worship was fine for him (slow and quiet) then for the transition to the second song there was a big loud bass note, hit of the kick drum and a big flash of lights. Isaiah reacted like he was just electrocuted. He was sitting on Rachel's lap and his arms went straight out to his sides and he flinched backwards into mommy. He then took about 20-30 seconds to realize he really didn't like this and decided to 'sing' along with his trademark wail. Needless to say we spent the rest of service taking turns with him our in the hallway, with Rachel and her Mom taking on the brunt of it. I think it was too loud for him and he's probably been a bit overstimulated and is cranky from all his travelling this week. (Rachel and Isaiah went up to Lima, OH with Grandpa Hanthorn to see his Great Grandma and Grandpa and a bunch of Rachel's extended family. Rachel promises to write her first post soon recapping the events!) He's been cranky pretty much the rest of the day and hopefully he'll sleep well tonight.

11 December 2008

Hands up if you hate insurance companies

Well good news and bad news regarding Isaiah's hands. We could possibly be having his first surgery as soon as 12/24, bad news is our specialist will no longer be with our insurance after the new year which poses a pretty big issue since our insurance currently has a 70/30 $20,000 deductible for our of network providers and that only covers the 'usual and customary' rate so anything Coventry deems above the UCR is our responsibility 100%. We're trying to see if Coventry will allow our speicialist to be considered in network for him due to the fact there aren't any other doctors locally that can handle this type of surgery, but that could take a few weeks. We do have a possibility of getting into the Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia (their hand center) and the doctor that would be doing the surgery is the one that trained our specialist here so we know he is a good doctor. We're still early on and ultimately trying to keep it local if possible, but we do have other options. We probably won't go through with the surgery on the 24th if we can't use our surgeon here since its best to keep the same surgeon for all of the subsequent surgeries. We can do all our follow up appointments here with our specialist since he can negotiate some of their costs in their office somewhat, but he has no control over what the hospital charges him to do the surgeries there, which is what would really hurt us financially.

As for the appointment on Tuesday it went well. He had another set of Xrays done and the the phases of surgeries were planned out (before all the insurance fun).

The first phase is to fully separate the thumb and pinky fingers on his right hand and to separate only the bones that are fused at the tip in the other 3 fingers so that his hand can grow a bit flatter. The left hand they would only be separating the fused bone tips at first since there is no evident thumb to separate out right now. With separating the fused bones the fingers will still be fused over with skin for the time being, but it will allow the bones underneath to grow straighter and help prevent more problems down the road and allow for the next phases of surgery to happen.

Phase two (which would occur approximately 3 months after phase one) they will fully separate out one of the fingers on his right hand, (either the ring or pointer) and separate the pinky and thumb or pointer of the left hand.

Phase three (again 3 months after phase two) they would look into seeing if its feasible to separate the last two fingers on the right hand and separate out at least one more on the left.

All of the further phases depend on where his blood vessels are and a number of other items do have an effect as well. basically if he's only got one blood vessel serving two fingers you can't seperate them since there will be no blood flow to one of the fingers.

His hands in general will always be a bit stiff and not like yours or mine and the ultimate goal is to get him a minimum of three fingers and a thumb on each hand. Sometimes trying to get that fourth finger can be done, but if its not functional, its really not worth it.

Plus who knows, they way things are working in the medical industry now he may be able to get a full hand transplant when he's fully grown.

All I care about right now is that he eventually have the opportunity to grasp things on his own and be able to feed and clothe himself in some manner, rudimentary or not. If we have to travel to Philadelphia, so be it. Are we angry about the insurance coverage here, most definitely! All I care is my son's hands get taken care of.

06 December 2008

Happy St Nick's Day

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

My family's tradition when I was growing up was to celebrate St Nick's day by putting out our shoes the night before and waking up to an ornament and candy filled shoes if we've been good. It's a German tradition that not everybody celebrates, but its a fun little thing my family did that I'd like to keep doing. Rachel and I have done this for each other the last few years and this year we got little Izzy involved too! We have a little video of this morning for your enjoyment.