Puppies, Paint, Ping Pong & Pain Meds…and pretzels

Elaine Dalton is a marathon runner.  She tells of a time that she was training with her husband and they were running up a hill.  He was quite ahead of her and she knew she couldn’t keep his pace, so she called out to him that she was going to go back down –he stopped, came back to her, and reminded her that she must never make decisions while she is going uphill.
Of course this is true because your judgement is impaired by the difficulty and exertion put forth.
As a family currently on an uphill course… here are a few decisions we have made lately…
Puppies:  Yes, there is a new puppy at our house.  We have been thinking of this for over a year, particularly the children.  We told them we would have to wait until summer because they needed to be home…. it just happens that we found a “good fit” on the same week that we had a couple of brain surgeries.  My sweet friend was here yesterday and just laughed because their family is also up to their eyeballs in serious medical situations – and yet they just got a puppy also.  “What are they thinking?” we both asked ourselves about the other family… together we determined that it is sometimes important to bring a little spark of joy/change to the home.  Something fresh to occupy our minds and our time (without dressing up and being in public).  Anyway, our little addition is named Shelby after Natalie’s favorite PICU nurse.  (Should we tell her???)

… craving homemade pretzels

Paint:  I finally just went and bought a gallon of paint yesterday.  Natalie was stir crazy in the house and so I took her for a ride.  We went to a small paint store so that she could go inside and just like that I finally made a decision for my new family room wall color.  I have been looking at swatches for over a year and recently there have been smatterings of paint samples on different walls.  It is strange for me to take so long – I have a variety of colors all over my house and I can usually get the idea, find the paint and have it done in a short time… This has gone on and on – but something about having our minds emptied by being in the hospital must suddenly leave enough room for difficult decisions to be resolved.  Now I just need to find the energy to get it on the walls (or the charm to have Mark get it on the walls).
Ping Pong:  Another surprising decision.  Natalie has been sleeping up to 17 hours at night.  When she comes down she is more alert everyday, but we are still taking it easy.  Though we usually don’t have to whisper anymore –  household noises such as crumpling paper, unloading the dishwasher, walking across the room… still bother her off and on.  Yesterday, after our excursion to the paint store, she determined that she wanted to play a game.  I found a quiet game for us to play which bored her after about thirty seconds.  She decided that she wanted to play ping pong… yeah, right.  That will be a nice, quiet thing to do.  Well, we did it – with that little ball ricocheting about the room – the noise didn’t bother her at all and it was therapeutic for mom also.  While we were playing she said, “Mom, blog about this and call it puppies, ping pong and pain meds!”  She was excited to be up and about.  I threw in the part about paint.

… anxious to be
back to normal…

Pain Meds:  What about pain meds?  We are not seeing too many of those lately.  Natalie has taken only Tylenol for a couple days now, and only once in awhile.  They also had her on a tapering-off of steroids so she is done with those today.  I thought that we would have a little pain-med-emergency last night… Natalie and I were sitting on the couch together and it was time for family prayer.  I slipped off the couch and down onto my knees.  After prayer, I slipped back onto the couch, fully unaware that Natalie had laid down and her head was now on my seat!  Yes, small nightmare, I sat on my daughter-recovering-from-brain-surgery’s head!  Luckily I was just sliding back onto the couch… but I don’t think I have ever sat on anyone’s head before… strange time to begin.  She hurt and I think I hurt worse… until she started giggling at the absurdity of it.  I still held her for a long time.
Tylenol has also been sufficient pain medicine for my Jackie.  She is recovering from her wisdom teeth extraction.  She took it easy on Friday but was up and alert at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday to go to an early morning temple trip followed by regional choir practice.  My kids are so strong!
Natalie has been hoping for a couple days to be able to go to church today.  We all think that there would be too much commotion for her, but she talked us into letting her go to her Young Women meeting.  She was awake for several hours last night – so I thought she might sleep through church.  The rest of the family left and there she was out of bed.  She said she didn’t sleep in the night because her brain woke up and wanted to stay awake.   She played with Shelby and showered on her own.  We are seeing great progress – it may be tough to keep her calm for six weeks.
Natalie asked me how it feels to not be growing tumors all the time.  I told her that a mom grows them along with her kids (and husband)… this puts me ahead of all of them.  She wasn’t convinced, but all moms would know what I am talking about!

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