Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Good Week

Gracie has had a good week.  Each day at school gets a little bit better.  On Wednesday she had a great day and was very interactive, cooperative, and even was verbal.  The end of her school day didn't go as well.  She has such a hard time with transitions and when it was time to go to her locker, she didn't want to cooperate.  Her teacher waited her out and when she saw me as I was picking her up, she fell to the floor and stayed there for a while.  We've decided to hold off on her start date for adding in two days at a local nursery school to her school curriculum.  We want her to be comfortable at school first, then will add the other in mid to late April. 

We received Gracie's environmental allergy tests back, seems she is allergic to two different molds (that seem to be very prevalent right now) and she is allergic to dogs.  Her eyes are red and itchy and she doesn't seem to get much relief.  We are putting drops in two times per day and giving her a 24-hour Claritin every day as recommended by her allergist.  We postponed her skin test for a possible penicillin allergy as she has to be off antihistamines for 5 days and that isn't going to happen right now.

Gracie is very much enjoying her time at daycare and has many friends there.  We also find that most of the parents (even of kids not in her class) seem to know her.  She has an abundant supply of hugs for everyone.  She loves to play outdoors, so has been enjoying the weather quite a bit. 

I am happy to report it has been a pretty uneventful week...we needed one of those!

Hope you're having a good week too!

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just Busy

Gracie has had a much better week this week.  The weather was so nice last weekend that we spent pretty much every waking hour outdoors.  If she was outdoors, she was happy.  Actually all weekend she was happy no matter where she was.  We had no tantrums, we had a very happy girl.  Both Jeff and I commented that it was probably the best weekend she has ever had in regard to happiness and being cooperative.  It was just plain fun to hear her singing and giggling.  It was music to both of our ears.

Gracie started in her new preschool class this week on Monday and Wednesday.  There were alot of tears, but we expected that might be the case as she has been out of school for almost a month with being sick.  Wednesday was better than Monday and I'm optimistic that it will get better each time she goes.  I LOVE her new teacher.  I love her approach, I love that she commands respect, and I love that she really understands kids and has such a positve way with them. 

On Tuesday afternoon, I took Gracie to meet with her allergist.  He made time on his already full calendar to meet with us.  His first comment upon looking at her was that she had some major seasonal allergies going on.  Her eyes have been red and itchy.  So he gave me advice on how to deal with that (eye drops which she hates and some other antihistamines) and we did a blood test to see if we could pinpoint what environmental things were giving her a problem.  Then we began talking about her tree nut allergy and her anaphylaxis emergency last week.  Seems our sweetie's tree nut allergy is much worse than we thought and we thought it was bad in the first place.  Gracie can react not only by ingestion, but also by contact with an we may not even know is there.  If someone eats nuts and has nut dust on their hands and touches her she could go into a reaction, if someone kisses her after they've eaten nuts she could go into anaphylaxis.  We have to have the school bus staff wipe down all surfaces of the bus with soap and water prior to her riding.  She will now have a car seat that she alone can use.  When she is not in it, it will be put away in a sealed container.  We'll have to make sure her environment is truly nut free.  We know our house is, but we were strongly advised about the houses of relatives and friends, as well as just being out and about.  Soap and water is our friend...antibacterial wipes don't do it!  We'll have to be more restrictive about the places we visit. 

When it was time to do the blood draw, Gracie was so brave, she hopped up into the chair herself and pretty much let them stick her.  I held one hand.  She didn't even fuss when they poked her.  She didn't like her arm being restrained, but she has never liked any type of restraint.  Afterward she did keep telling me "ow" and that she had an owie. 

Gracie has been having a good week at daycare.  She's been more tired this week, but so have I.  I think the recent time change and getting used to the milder weather might be to blame. 

Yesterday morning at 2:00 a.m., Gracie woke up and here is our conversation.  She can be such a little comedian.

GRACIE: "Mommy, Whatcha Doing?"

ME: "Sleeping! What are YOU Doing?"

GRACIE: "Just Hanging Around."

While being sick, Gracie lost 3-1/2 lbs.  I think she might be gaining it back.  She's been a very hungry girl lately.  Yesterday at daycare she ate 5 little coffee cakes for breakfast.  All her little buddies said "Gracie must be hungry!" 

Also I'm told a little boy at daycare named Tommy was overheard telling our little girl "Gracie, you are so beautiful!"  I'm with Tommy -- she is a beautiful girl inside and out.

She is continually talking more and more and the kisses and "I love you's" are free flowing.  Life is good.

Have a great weekend.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, March 16, 2012

An Ambulance Ride

This week has been a blur.  Gracie enjoyed spending Monday and Tuesday at daycare.  Wednesday was the start of our craziness.

On Wednesday morning Gracie got up and was just fine.  She went to daycare, got on the school bus just fine and it was the start of a normal day.  As she was riding to school on the bus, the bus driver looked back at her and saw that she was in distress, he called to the para-professional that rides the bus with her and she came to check on Gracie.  She was going into anaphylaxis - she couldn't swallow, was having trouble breathing, and hives were beginning to develop on her body.  The bus was very close to the local high school, the very high school where the school nurse who trains staff on Gracie's emergency plans was present.  They pulled in, the nurse took over and called me immediately.  She administered one of the epi pens we keep in Gracie's back pack, they called 911 for an ambulance and I headed to the E.R. to meet her there.  The epi injector didn't resolve the issue.  Epi pen #2 was administered.  Gracie was starting to stabilize by the time the ambulance crew arrived.  The school nurse (bless her heart) rode in the ambulance with Gracie and called me to let me know she was crying (a very good sign) and was quite upset (another good sign) and that they were 4 minutes from the ER.  I was close to the ER and arrived 4 minutes before the ambulance did so I could answer alot of their questions about her before she arrived.  Jeff arrived just as they were rolling Gracie into the E.R.  She was crying loudly and holding tightly to a bright purplish-pink teddy bear given to her by the ambulance crew.  Gracie and the bear that she has named "teddy" have become fast friends. 

In the E.R., they gave her some steroids, Benadryl, and Zantac and that is where we hung out for the next 7 hours as they observed her to make sure there was no ricochet reaction after the epinephrine wore off.  Do you know how creative you have to be to keep a 4 year old occupied in a small ER room for 7 hours???  We sang, we danced, we bounced, we watched Mickey Mouse, and thankfully she slept for a while too.  Gracie is doing well, although she is on a high dose of Benadryl every six hours for 48 hours, so she is exhibiting some traits of two of the seven dwarfs:  Sleepy and Grumpy.  We'll take it. 

We know Gracie has a tree nut allergy, but all food consumed has checked out fine.  We're pretty sure the allergen was on the bus and we may never know what it was.  Someone could have had a nut oil in their sunscreen, shampoo, or lotion, or it could be a new allergy altogether.  Her allergist (whose calendar is booked until the end of May) made a slot to see her on Tuesday afternoon, so we'll connect with him then. 

I stayed home with Gracie yesterday and Jeff is home with her today.  She did make a trip into the clinic to have one of her eyes checked.  I was concerned that is was scratched or that she was having issues with it due to her seizure meds (that can be a nasty side effect), but both checked out fine and we think it is just a continuation of the virus she had a week or so ago.  

Gracie's new teacher and speech pathologist are going to come to our house this afternoon to visit with Gracie.  I think that will be well received.

I think we are all a little exhausted and are looking forward to a nice sunny and relaxing weekend. 

We are feeling very blessed that Gracie was in the care of those who knew her emergency plan and acted on it perfectly.  I have many thank you notes to write!

Have a great weekend.

Lisa, Jeff, and our precious Gracie

Friday, March 9, 2012

Back at Daycare

Gracie is back at daycare today for the first time in a week and a half.  Her virus lasted way too long, as did her all over bodies hives, add to that a second ear infection (opposite ear) and a new antibiotic that we think she might also be allergic too.  She still has a cough and a bit of a runny nose, but all in all she is finally feeling good and is starting to eat and drink again.  Over the last couple of weeks she has lost 3-1/2 lbs., yet every time I put an item of clothing on her, she seems to have outgrown it.  Hmmmm. 

Gracie was almost giddy with excitement to be back among her friend.  She still tires a little more easily, so I'm hoping all goes well today.  Everyone at daycare was happy to see her.  Teachers from many different classes stopped to welcome her back and tell her how much she was missed. 

On a fun note, Gracie had an appointment with her Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician earlier this week.  We see her every 6 months and love her.  She was so impressed with all of Gracie's skills.  She told me how proud I must be as this is not the same little girl she saw 6 months ago.  Her attention span has increased, her skills have increased.  She was able to accomplish ALL of the 2 year old skills and was doing quite a few 3 year old skills as well.  She even commented on how her speech is so much clearer than it had been just 6 months ago.  Gracie was a little Rock Star at that appointment!!! 

Gracie is just cracking me up lately.  She is constantly asking me "Momma, what ya doing?"  And if I ask her what she is doing, she gets a big smile on her face and says "Just Hanging Around!" 

We are thrilled to welcome a new baby second cousin to our family for Grace to play with -- and she LOVES babies.  Gracie saw a picture of Nora Elizabeth and is very anxious to see her in person.  Congratulations Crystal and Will.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sick Again and Daddy Too!

On Tuesday afternoon, just as Jeff and I arrived at Gracie's preschool, we received a call from Gracie's daycare.  Gracie had hives all over her body and was itchy.  Jeff went to get her, while I met with a number of individuals from school.  Gracie has struggled this year at school, just isn't as happy there as she was last year.  Her room seems a bit more chaotic, add to that her teacher has been out on a leave of absence and there wasn't a consistent sub until recently.  Gracie just didn't do well with this scenario.  She spent much of her time crying, refusing to participate, and laying on the floor refusing to move.  The team I am working with at school has been fantastic in brainstorming ideas that will work with Gracie and alternate programs.  On Monday, Gracie will begin a new program.  Two days a week will be in a small group setting with all children who have special needs and at the same school she currently is at, but with a new teacher.  A teacher both Jeff and I think will be fantastic with her.  The other two days a week she will attend a nursery school across town, but will have her school teacher and two para-professionals there for support in this setting.  This will give her the mainstreaming and socialization element to her learning.  Both Jeff and I are excited for this transition and I think it will be great for Gracie as well. 

When I got home on Tuesday night, Gracie's torso was covered in hives, but she seemed fine otherwise.  Well that night she started running a temp and the hives exploded all over her body.  She has hives from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.  And they are itchy.  Her nose is running big time and she has a cough.  So we definitely know a virus has hit, but her pediatrician thinks the hives could be from the virus, but we can't rule out that she is allergic to penicillin.  We just finished a course for her ear infection.  Gracie has had hives previously with viruses, but never quite this bad. 

Gracie continues to be sick.  She's not eating much and she really doesn't want to drink much either, so we've been creative in trying to get fluids in her.  Her fever tends to be very low grade during the day, but it kicks in with a vengeance in the night.  I spend most of the night holding her, rocking her, and bouncing her.  Jeff also has been running a 103 degree F fever and feeling miseable.  I stayed home from work yesterday (Thursday) to take care of both of them.  Today Jeff's fever is low grade so he is at home taking care of our sweet little girl.  I'm trying very hard to stay healthy as Jeff has to work all weekend and I'm hoping we can get Gracie healthy too! 

Her hives aren't as firey red today, but they are still itchy and the Benadryl and Claritin are probably helping, but it's hard to see her miserable.  The higher the fever, the more she itches. 

So my mission for the weekend is to get my family healthy.  I love Clorox Wipes...I think we'll scrub down the house with them this weekend.  :)

Stay healthy.

Lisa, Jeff, and Gracie