children, family, health, kids, motherhood, parenting


At the beginning of summer it was determined that T.Puzzle’s oversized tonsils needed to be removed.  I certainly dreaded the impending surgery and almost completely lost my mind the night before it.  This was nicely countered by Mad Dog’s calm optimism.  Calm and optimistic were two emotions I found very difficult to conjure when my baby was about to go under the knife.  What made the whole situation worse was T.Puzzle’s joy leading up to his procedure.  He glowed in the attention we lavished on him.  He was giddy because he was getting special gifts, his favorite foods and he got to sleep in a tent in our bedroom.  He was so joyful on the day of surgery he leapt from his tent and exclaimed, “Yay! I can’t wait to see the doctor.  This is going to be so cool!”   Clearly he associates doctor visits with special time with one or both parents usually followed by lunch involving happy and a meal.  The more exuberant he became, the more nauseous I felt.  It was like looking at an innocent puppy knowing you are hours away from placing him in a den of ravenous lions.

T.Puzzle’s joy continued as we allowed unlimited iPad game time as we waited in the ambulatory holding area.  He didn’t even flinch that it was well past noon and he was not allowed food or drink.  He became immersed in his games and was only annoyed when the blood pressure cuff interfered with his gaming strategies.  He was a trooper as they took him away for the procedure and gave us a carefree wave goodbye.  All I kept thinking was ‘farewell, my sweet little puppy!’

When it was over, we heard him well before we could see him.  To say he was angry is an understatement.  When he was wheeled back to us, he was a screaming ball of fury.  Limbs were flying, tears were flowing and he yelled repeatedly “I WANT TO GO HOME!”  He was an innocent no longer.  With each quiet murmur of comfort I offered  him, he answered with a louder, angrier cry.  This is the point when my head really began to hurt.

Mad Dog swooped in and said to T.Puzzle, “If you stop crying, you can play games on the iPad again.”

Instant serenity.

He calmed, he sighed and he gamed on.

Yes, I have to come to terms with the fact that I have been rendered obsolete by technology.

As long as I got my patient home in peace, I’ll take it.  And, somehow, I don’t imagine an iPad will be able to administer round the clock pain meds with a loving touch for the next few days.  Then again, there might be an app for that.

T.Puzzle happily waiting for surgery
T.Puzzle post-op. Hard to tell the difference, isn’t it?
children, eyesight, humor, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood, parenting, surgery

The Guru of Calm

This is T.Puzzle the morning after his second eye surgery playing calmly with his brother:

As you can tell, it’s a super easy to keep him calm and collected as his eyes are healing.  And Full Speed really does his part to keep T.Puzzle calm, too.

If you ever need tips on how to quiet down the chaos in your life, clearly I am your guru on such matters.

You’re welcome.

children, eyesight, gratitude, health, mommyhood, parenting, surgery

Smooth Sailing

T.Puzzle came through his second surgery and all looks well with both his eyes.  The doc checked the first eye while he was under and it appears his prescription improved a couple diopters (yay!).  She also said that as he grows his prescription may improve even more.  Imagine that!  More good news about my child and/or children and their vision.  We’ve come along way from ‘legally blind‘ and ‘your baby’s vision is worse than his brother’s’ type of information sharing with medical professionals.  Hooray!

This is what 'happy juice' looks like.

The overall surgery experience was much like I expected.  He was absolutely miserable during the eye drop portion (as was I) and he woke up madder than a hornet’s nest from anesthesia.   Nothing a solid nap (for Mommy, too!) and Cheerios couldn’t solve.

He is so brave.

Love you, T.Puzzle!

T.Puzzle checks out his awesome surgical cap situation.
children, eyesight, gratitude, health, mommyhood, parenting, surgery

Eye Will

This week is still not so good.  I think it has less to do with my daily circumstances and more to do with the dark cloud of eye surgery hanging over T.Puzzle’s head.  I know the surgery is technically minor.  I know that his physical pain will be minimal, his psychic pain to be great, that holding him down for 12 eye drops in one eye to be my own personal nightmare and that T.Puzzle coming out of anesthesia can be likened to an angry bear awoken too soon from hibernation.  Aside from all that there is an expectation of hopefully improved vision for T.Puzzle, gratitude that there is someone in the world like Mad Dog to hold my hand through it all, and the life experience to know that whatever comes my way I will handle it.

Seriously, if I gave birth to two rambunctious dudes like Full Speed and T.Puzzle, I have to have at least a small percentage of tenacity in me, right?  Even if I only have a fraction of theirs, I’m going to be just fine (and so will they).

You can count on it.


T.Puzzle checks out the model train in the Children's Clinic lobby.


eyesight, health, loss of parent, mommyhood, surgery

The ‘Game Face’

We are home after the surgery and we are thankful to be so. As evening approaches I make some popcorn and we head up to our family loft area to watch ‘The Fox and the Hound’. It feels good to be all snuggled together.

It was nice to sort of let the events of the day fade into the background. It’s exhausting constantly to have your ‘game face’ on for your children.

There was a moment when Full Speed was done with the surgery and Mad Dog and I were with him that I almost completely lost it. I was standing next to his metal crib watching him. He was still and peaceful. He was hooked up to an I.V. and all the other contraptions to monitor his vital signs and the tears started to pour down my cheeks.

I couldn’t fathom all this year has put us through. I thought back to when my Mom was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and the dreadfulness that ensued. I remembered going through some of my own medical procedures and testing this summer (all relatively minor with positive results) and how physically and emotionally demanding that had all been on the heels of my Mom’s medical disaster. I thought of the countless trips to downtown Jacksonville to the Children’s Clinic as I tried to get Full Speed the best vision possible, failing miserably with contacts and Mad Dog and I making the scary decision to move forward with his last-ditch eye surgeries. I also tried to process some of the strangeness of my family dynamics with my Mom missing from its core.

Feeling overwhelmed, I wanted to curl up in a tiny ball and cry. Instead, Full Speed woke up and he was awfully cantankerous shaking off the anesthesia and I had to get my ‘game face’ back on.

When do Mommies get their moments to lose it? I’ll let you know when I finally have mine.