Saturday, January 9, 2010

Simple Faith And A Sponge Bob Shirt

Just a reminder to go over to Sarah's site today to read one more excerpt from her treatment as we count down to her seventh anniversary of her transplant tomorrow.

The post is called, "Simple Faith And A Sponge Bob Shirt."

The Light Headed College Dude

Yesterday, I accompanied Nathan to the doctor. Before we left the house, I asked him if he'd eaten anything yet. (Unlike his mother who is loathe to miss even one meal, Nathan sometimes "forgets" to eat.)

As it turns out, in the the traditional manner of An Official College Student On An Official College Break, he had slept in late and not eaten a thing. I quickly foisted a bowl of vanilla yogurt on him and we took off out the door.

Everything went along pretty fine and dandy till they had to draw blood to check his thyroid levels. After just a moment or two he said in a shaky voice, "I feel sort of light headed." (I guess that will teach him to eat a decent meal before having blood drawn!)

That nurse had him flat on his back in a matter of seconds, which wasn't overly surprising. However, what was a bit surprising was to be pressed into active nursing duty myself. My medical mission was to stand at the end of the bed and place each of his big ol' feet on each of my not-so-big shoulders. And then hold them that way. For about fifteen minutes.

I must say, it was a unique experience. But hey, I'm a mom. It's all in my line of work.

The nurse put cool cloths on his neck and forehead, took his pulse several times (it was weak and thready) took his blood pressure (it was 80 over 40), called the doctor back in, hovered over him, asked me if my shoulders were getting tired, and in general was an efficient and caring person to have in the room with my non-eating, near-fainting College Dude.

With Nathan's permission, here are a couple of photos from his happy doctor visit.

Laid flat out. (The nurse had finally given me permission to lower his legs.)

Sitting up after a while, to see how he felt.

As he regaled the family with his whole dramatic medical story at the dinner table, Sarah (our intrepid cancer survivor and medical procedure veteran) listened to him with the greatest of interest. When he was finally done, she fixed him with a sisterly gaze and said, "You just couldn't stand the heat, huh?"

We ALL got a good laugh out of that one. Score for Sarah!

His blood work will be back Wednesday; they'll compare this thyroid panel with the one done six weeks ago and make a decision where to go from there as far as medication or treatment. Of course, since he'll be back in Florida by then, we'll have to engage in some interstate medical maneuverings, but that's nothing we can't handle.

Today one of the things on the Smith Family Schedule is to take down the Christmas tree and get all the seasonal stuff packed away. And on that subject, I really think we need to start a new tradition of having sugar cookies and egg nog when we take tree down as WELL as when we put it up.

It only seems right. I mean after all, Nathan has to recover his strength from his medical trauma. And I have to recover my strength from being his official leg lifter.

Yup. The votes are in. There are cookies in my future.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Picture Hook Towel Hanging Decorating

(Note: January 10 is Sarah's 7-year anniversary of her bone marrow transplant. Every day until then, I will be posting various excerpts from her treatment blog over at Sarah's Spot.)

Steve and Nathan got home late yesterday afternoon from two days of skiing in Wintergreen, VA. It was their annual father/son ski outing, which they both look forward to with the greatest of anticipation.

Now why anyone would enjoy paying good money to freeze their behiney off on a cold mountain is beyond MY realm of understanding but hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

Sarah and I stayed at home and “suffered” with heated mattress pads, hot chocolate, a snuggly doggy and a house temperature of 71 cozy degrees. And we got to do it for free! Hurray!

While the guys were gone, I worked some more on getting settled into our new home. After being in here close to a month, I am happy to report that it is truly beginning to feel like home. I rarely think about our old house anymore (except to pray that it sells—quickly!) and am thoroughly enjoying our new digs.

I know I’ve posted a few pictures along the way, like this . . .


And this . . .


However, I have hesitated about posting certain other pictures because I know how it is to look at photographs of another person’s home and be overcome with jealousy. I just haven’t wanted to create those kinds of negative feelings for you and cause you to be dissatisfied with your own home.

But I have to say that the time has finally come. I’m not going to hold off any longer. I’m going to throw the doors of our beautiful home wide open and invite you into the most amazing room of all, the downstairs bathroom, the spot with the loveliest of accoutrements. I’m afraid you’re just going to have to DEAL with any feelings of envy that might arise from viewing it.

Okay. Are you ready?

First, let me draw your attention to Exhibit A. Now to you, this may look like just a simple, small picture hook. Nothing too get too excited (or envious) about. Right? But wait. There’s more!


Since we are such a high class family when it comes to our decorating talents, we decided that a picture hook would be the perfect thing to hang a hand towel on!

Are you overcome with jealousy yet? Does viewing the graceful folds of the cloth as it hangs in gracious grandeur on the hook cause you to want to run out and buy your OWN picture hook? Trust me. I understand. I know this must be very difficult for you.


And now, if you want the full effect of our Martha Stewart-esque Splendor, here is the towel and the picture hook in the context of the rest of the decor. (The mirror, by the way, came from the thrift store right up the road.) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a whole wave of Picture Hook Towel Hanging Decorating swept across the country simply because of the impressive influence of our creative classiness. Hey, not everyone can be like us!


Hmmm. I’m not quite sure who this fella is or how he was allowed to wander into the splendor of our downstairs bath. Maybe if we ignore him, he’ll just go away?


Yup. It worked. He’s gone.


From the Comments Section

Q. I've been wondering if Nathan ever got any results back from the heart monitor
he had to wear a while back? Hopefully all turned out fine! --Melissa

A. Melissa, thanks for inquiring about him! We just recently got his results back; there was a bit of a delay because of our phone number being changed.

Thankfully, the results showed that everything is fine, heart-wise. Their basic consensus is that he has a "regular irregular" heart beat. In other words, it doesn't beat like other peoples' hearts, but for him, it seems to be okay.

I have an appointment booked for him tomorrow to see a doctor in Manteo who will look further into his thyroid issues. (We didn’t even know he had thyroid issues until they started poking around and looking into his irregular heart beat.) Although we don’t know what all the thyroid treatment will consist of, Nathan is just happy to be going back to school Monday with a little paper from his cardiologist saying that he is cleared to donate plasma. Hey, a College Dude has to get money from somewhere!

Q. Becky, I am SO interested in learning to sign worship songs. I would probably never do it in front of a group of people (too shy and klutzy), but I'd LOVE to be able to do it as part of my own private worship. Can you ask Meagan how she learned it? I don't see how you could learn it from a book. I've tried to find something online, but haven't had much luck. Anyway, I'd appreciate any help she could give me. --- Jenny in Idaho

Here is Meagan’s reply:
I learned sign language for a Fine Arts competition when I was a teen. A lady in   the church I was attending at the time taught me. I would go to her house for a  face-to-face lesson and then she would video herself performing the song. I  would take the video home and finish learning the song on my own. After I had  memorized the entire song, I would go back to her house again for a final lesson  to polish up anything I may have missed or did not quite understand. 

Q. What is the tradition of your family wearing red on Christmas? --Nancy

A. Actually, we usually wear whatever color I find on sale at Salvation Army! Yes, we do normally wear red (only since it's a popular Christmas color) but last year, we all wore pink because I happened to find a pink Christmas sweater for $3.

This year, I found the red and white sweater at a thrift store so we wore red.

The rest of the family doesn't really care what we wear, so I have the happy job of finding something for a bargain and then coordinating Smith Outfits from there.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hearty Beef and Potato Loaf

4 C potatoes, thinly sliced (can peel or not, depending on how lazy you might feel)
1 T onion chopped
1 t. salt (I use Lawrys)
1/8 t. pepper
1 tsp parsley, flakes or chopped fresh (optional)
1 lb. hamburger (lean) or turkey
3/4 C evaporated milk
1/2 C cracker crumbs or rolled oats (old fashioned)
1/4 C ketchup
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 C onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1. Arrange potatoes, 1 T onion, salt, and parsley in a greased (or sprayed) 2-qt. baking dish.
2. Combine rest of ingredients and spread evenly over potatoes. (Spread on more ketchup, if desired.)
3. Bake 1 hour or until potatoes are fork tender.

Cozy dish for a winter's night.

Simple Splendor

Sarah and I dropped off a meal last night to a recently bereaved church family. This is the view that welcomed us when we arrived.

Winter over the water. Simple splendor.

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