Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas card 2015

I finally got all our Christmas cards mailed yesterday.  The printer wasn't working so I just mailed them without a letter! For our own records we like to have a Christmas letter every year as a summary of the most memorable events of the year .  So Here it is:

Merry Christmas!
As always, this time of year reminds us of family and friends. We love to hear from you all and hope all is well in your homes!
Our family is growing and changing faster than ever. Dallin and Landon are seniors this year and are hoping to leave on missions early next summer. Austin will graduate and leave before they get home so it may be quite a few years before we have our whole family together for Christmas after this year!

Jackson is definitely the sweetheart of the family right now.  We hope we don’t ruin him! He adores Dallin and Landon and is forever climbing on them but only gets their names right about half of the time.

Jenna and Benson have been home for school again this year. We are enjoying our time to learn at home knowing it won’t last forever.  Benson is easy-going and plays equally well with everyone. He and Austin are the glue of our family--they can hang out with anyone. Ben reads to Jackson at night and he teases him during the day. Ben still loves all sports and managed to break his collarbone for the third time (ouch!) during this football season.

Jenna joined the curly hair club this year, which is so fun! She is growing into a kind, gentle young lady. She reads every second she gets and plays the violin and has memorized the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. She is a huge help around the house.

All three big boys played football together this year. They won the district championship and made it through the entire season without any serious injuries!! It is a joy for us to watch them play together! Dallin and Landon were both voted first team for our conference and Dallin was also awarded defensive player of the year for the conference. Dallin placed second at state in wrestling last season and is hoping to win that elusive state champion title this season.

Landon worked really hard to recover from injuries and beat the odds to be able to play football for his senior year. He wasn’t able to play middle linebacker but did awesome on O-line and D-line and got through the entire season! Landon re-injured his left shoulder in wrestling last year and has been struggling with random shoulder dislocations.  Ouch.  He needs a bone graft to fix the shoulder socket and to reattach the bicep tendon--we will fit that surgery in just after Christmas.

Austin found his place on the football D-line alongside Landon and Dallin and loved playing with his brothers.  He is officially taller than Dallin and just about even with Landon. Austin turns 16 at the end of December and he already has a date all set (with his brothers)!
The three boys sing in Jive together and drive to and from school in their trusty old truck every day. They put in 12-13 hour days almost every day of the week and work hard to manage priorities.
We love watching them grow.

I have had multiple opportunities to use my nursing degree this year with our family.  In addition to the various injuries of the boys, at the beginning of November Rustin had emergency gall bladder surgery that resulted in some complications that earned him ten very sick days in the hospital. His work and church partners all stepped up and filled in for him for three+ weeks without question. Such a tender mercy! The experience left us profoundly grateful for our dear friends and family and for the
little things we forget to enjoy:
Chatting with the boys after late nights; Jackson sneaking in to snuggle in the morning; Jenna’s hilarious, ridiculous stories that make her brothers giggle for hours; running out of a giant sized can of hot chocolate every week--these are a few of the things we truly love!
This season we are grateful for the Savior and the gospel in our lives above all else. We think that celebrating the life of the Savior is the perfect way to end the year!
May you all have peace and joy going forward in 2016!

Rustin, Kim, Dallin (18) Landon (18) Austin (15 11/12) Jenna (12) Benson (11) Jackson (4)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Football 2015

This was such a unique year for football.  Dallin, Landon and Austin all played together on varsity for Twin Falls High School. It was so much fun for Rustin and I to be able to watch all of the boys at the same time! It was also awesome to only have to keep track of one game schedule!

Dallin played Middle linebacker on defense and he played right guard on offense.  He was also on some of the kickoff return teams so he played all game every game.  He came out a few times but not many and he loved it! 
Landon worked really hard over the last two years to be able to play football at all.  He wore a special shoulder brace that kept his left shoulder from dislocation.  He has some subluxations that hurt but he didn't have any full dislocations during football which is kind of a miracle.  He started every game on offense and went in as a defense lineman quite a bit at the end of the season.  

Austin was surprised and thrilled to play varsity with his brothers.  He played nose guard on defensive line.  He did really well and have a few sacks and a bunch of great tackles.  He has really improved dramatically over the last  year or so.  When Landon played defense we had all three boys playing at the same time which was really awesome for Rustin and I to watch. 

 Dallin disagrees with the 'tries' lable in this picture as he was able to get this tackle.  

 Dallin and Landon are seniors this year so they each got to choose a 'most influential teacher' to walk out onto the field with us for senior night. Dallin chose Mrs. Graham from second grade (twice!).  If Dallin hadn't picked her Landon would have! She is truly an example of a gifted teacher who loves to teach.  She travels all over the country teaching teachers new techniques.  It was really fun to see her. 

The Bruins ended up with an undefeated record for in conference games which made us the conference champions!  Awesome!
 Rustin was sick in the hospital with gall bladder surgery during the boys football banquet.  Austin received a pin for playing varsity.  Landon received a senior football and he was also voted first team all conference offensive lineman.  All the conference coaches get together and nominate and vote on players from the teams in the  conference.  Dallin was awarded first team for defensive linebacker and he was also awarded Defensive Player of the Year for the conference.  Such an honor! He was also awarded the Paul Ostyn award for the team with is a big honor.  Dallin also received varsity warrior status for the second time.  Varsity warrior  is awarded to players who meet a set of defensive criteria.  Dallin was thrilled.  

 Rustin and I were thrilled to have the year end on a great note.  The team was beat out in the second round of the state playoffs.  We lost to Century for the second year in a row.  Maybe Austin will have a chance to turn that record around next year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

One more trip to the hospital...

I love Fall but this one has been rough! We had a rough couple of weeks just before Thanksgiving.  Rustin had emergency surgery to remove a badly diseased gall bladder on November 14, 2015.  HE had been having attacks for about six weeks  He would wake up at night with excruciating abdominal pain.  HE would be up for hours vomiting and writhing until the pain passed.  Her assumed it was a partial bowel obstruction like he had in Tennessee.  (Due to adhesions from an appendectomy.) It never occurred to him or me that the problem was his gall bladder! On Friday night the pain got so bad that we went to the Emergency Room out of shear desperation.  An ultrasound diagnosed the problem and off to surgery he went.

When they got to the gall bladder there were so many stones and 'sludge' that some of it squished into the common bile duct as it was being removed.  The CBD drains the enzymes from both the gall bladder and liver.  They could see the stone in the duct so during the gall bladder surgery they called in a GI specialist to do an ERCP.  Basically they put a scope with a balloon down the throat through the stomach and into the small intestine where the CBD empties.  Then they insert the balloon up into the duct, inflate it and pull it down through the duct removing the stones and sludge with it.  The doctors said there was a bunch of sludge and a giant stone that they removed.

The trouble came for us with the pancreas.  The pancreas duct empties into the small intestine right next to the CBD so, the ERCP procedure irritated the pancreas duct and caused a massive case of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis HURTS.  It was just about as painful as the gall bladder which was complete agony. 10/10 on the pain scale.  Rustin's lab work went crazy.  His liver stopped working efficiently and he turned an eerie shade of yellow.  His pancreas enzymes went up through the roof and His WBC count was elevated.
Yellow eyes.  This picture doesn't do them justice!

The pain was definitely the worst part for Rustin.  HE received IV phentanyl every two hours.  After about three days they also started oral percocet. To make matters even worse his digestive system also shut down causing an ileus.  He had now bowel sounds at all for about four days.  His belly swelled up so much it was double his normal size. His bladder also refused to empty and the swelling and pressure there was just one more thing to deal with.   There was so much fluid and swelling that this lungs were squished and he couldn't breathe.  He had to have six liters of oxygen to keep his blood saturation about 90%.  Without oxygen he dropped down to the low 70%'s or the high 60's.  Rustin was one sick man. 

On Monday Rustin looked even more sick.  Lab work was worse than ever and he was still in agony.  They determined that the CBD was blocked so they went in and did another ERCP to open the duct.  Then they placed a stent to keep it open and to help the liver drain.  All of that required another trip to the OR with general anesthetic.  This time they put a catheter in and left it so he would have to worry about his bladder.  Before they went down to surgery Rustin was in agony.  I felt like I needed to be right by his side every minute.  HE slept a lot but would wake up distressed and disoriented.  By the time they finally took him down to pre-op and  got him sedated and I left to go find some food.  By this time I was STARVING. But the cafeteria was closed.  All I had in the room was chocolate and it was making me sick.  I found some frozen burritos in a vending machine and went back to Rustin's room to wait for him.  

When I got to his room I couldn't find a vending machine so I just determined that I would be starving for the night.  I couldn't leave during surgery in case they ran into problems and needed to talk to me.  Just then the Thompsons texted that they were coming up and did I need anything.  Such perfect timing!  They brought me dinner and I felt much better.  

Later that night I left Rustin and went home to sleep a bit and shower. I was hoping that Rustin would be sleepy and would sleep through the night.  I was wrong.  Nurses are awesome but I know what their job is like.  They just don't have the time to be there for every need!  Some nurses are awesome and some just aren't as attentive.  Unfortunately I picked a night with an inattentive nurse to leave and Rustin was miserable.  So after Monday night I stayed with him except for the two nights and Darren came up later in the week.  Darren was an awesome help!
There's just something about a dad.  

I watched just about every cheesy Christmas movie on Netflix and I drank peppermint tea every day.  

Rustin found that walking helped to relieve the pressure in his abdomen while we were waiting for his digestive system to wake up.  We walked over to the windows that overlooked the hospital Christmas lights in the evenings.  We would sit in the chairs and enjoy the quiet.  

On Sunday (9 days in the hospital) He finally started feeling better and his digestive system started to wake up.  We started with jello and broth.  Yum.  

We were hoping to go home Monday but his lab work went crazy again with WBC count higher than ever.  They found some pneumonia in his left lung. They did chest x-rays and continued antibiotics.  Finally on Tuesday they sent us home even though his WBC count was still really high.  Rustin had been off oxygen for two days and his pain was much better.  Getting all the narcotics out of his system was an ordeal that we undertook at home.  

Overall Rustin missed three full weeks of work.  Gary Walker came in and took all the patients on his schedule.  It was so kind and reassuring not to have to worry about the practice while Rustin was sick.  And we were still able to pick up our regular paycheck.  Such a blessing!

It took a good week to get rid of all the extra fluid and get off the pain medicine.  We had planned to to to Franklin for Thanksgiving but we ended up staying here in Twin with my parents and Ashlee's family.  Rustin is back to work now but still isn't feeling well.  His pancreas enzymes are elevated again and he get really dizzy and sweaty.  His abdomen hurts every day.  We are going back in regularly to check lab results and he will have to have the stent in his liver removed in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully all will go well with that and Rustin will continue to heal.  

We have been blessed a thousand times by friends and family who helped these last few weeks.  Gary and Jared at the office as well as all the office staff have been great.  The stake presidency has taken over for Rustin and have given him time to recover.  Darren and Loalee took Jenna, Benson and Jackson home with them for a few days which was really helpful.  We missed quite a bit of school but  that's the good thing about homeschool--we can make it up! My parents helped with the puppies at out house (fifteen puppies right now!) and they did a bunch of laundry.  So great.  
We have had so many people fasting and praying for us we hardly know how to say thank you! Many stopped by to say hello and wish Rustin fast healing.   The hospital staff was kind and encouraging for the most part.  We appreciate good, pain free health and we are enjoying the holidays with our family at home!