Sunday, January 31, 2010

Philadelphia Chickens

All of this eating is making me exhausted.

One of the many great things about Philadelphia is the scattered food trucks that are parked along every street curb.  You can get Chinese food, Korean food, sandwiches, those trademarked Philly pretzels, cheesesteaks, etc.   Back when I was a poor college student, these food trucks along with mac'n'cheese and ramen noodles kept the brain juices flowing.  I never thought much about food trucks or the food poisoning that sometimes followed until Megan pointed out something to me.  There. Is. No. Cupcake. Food Truck.  Oh how did we survive without cupcakes?!?!?!

Never fear food truck lovers.  There is a cupcake food truck in Austin.  Hey Cupcake!  Michelle, you must appreciate this.  Hey Cupcake!  http://www.heycupcake.com has 5 convenient locations throughout the Austin area.  Most of them are in a food truck.  Snowcap.  The Standard.  The Double Dose.  Oh sigh I need a cupcake now!

Enough about chocolate.  I could go on all day and night about the wonders of chocolate and how I searched high and low for the bag of M&Ms that Andrew hid from me, but I will not.  Instead, I will tell you that yesterday, January 30, was the first "Auntie Megan Day".  My dear friend Megan is visiting from Philadelphia.  We have known each other since 1998 when we met via nursing school.  When you are in nursing school the best dummy to practice on is sometimes your lab partner.  Megan and I have been through a lot together such as palpating the inguinal pulse and breaking into the dining hall at Midnight.  Nonetheless she is here and we are having a fabulous time.
Ellie with "Auntie" Megan


Ellie Bear loves her Auntie Megan.  Yesterday she hung out with Megan so that Andrew and I could go on a date.  Andrew and I had a wonderful time napping.  Yes, a date nap.  It was glorious.  Ellie is a talker.  She babbles on and on to me, Andrew, her toys, her Grandmother, and the waiter at Kim Phung.  She will not speak to anyone else because they are strangers and are therefore scary.  Do not ask about the waiter at Kim Phung.  Apparently little Bear knows Vietnamese.  Oh yes, Megan.  Ellie enjoys having full on conversations with Auntie Megan while she is drinking her bottle.  I have told her numerous times that it is not polite to talk with your mouth full, but clearly this little tyke has a mind of her own.  Not only does Ellie love Megan, the Sophie Princess of the Puppy Paws loves her too.  She wants to sit all the time for Megan.  Sophie brings her toys to Megan.  She follows her into the bathroom.  If only I could have such power.
Kreuz.  No forks.  No sauce.  Just good food.


Auntie Megan Day was celebrated by having Kreuz BBQ for lunch and then Mexican food for dinner.  Hum, wait!  This sounds more like an Andrew day.

blog post:  Philadelphia Chickens book by Sandra Boynton

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Otorhinolaryngologist



I am so excited!  I am getting ready to roll over :-)

When I first started nursing school, I did not know how to pronounce otorhinolaryngology.  Never did I think I would actually specialize in it for a time.  I definitely didn't think I would ever take my daughter to a doctor who specializes in something is so hard to say/pronounce.  Otorhinolaryngology.  Sounds big and scary, right?  I assume that many people before my time thought the same thing and now Otorhinolaryngologists are better known as ENT or ear, nose, and throat practitioners.

Today Little Bear had an appt. with ENT.  Children with DS tend to have narrow ear canals and narrow passageways.  They tend to have hearing problems.  Additionally, due to abnormal palates, mouth cavity and tongues as well as enlarged tonsils and adenoids, they can go on to develop obstructive sleep apnea-- a condition where they periodically stop breathing while sleeping.  (Everyone who shares a room with a snorer beware! Listen for gasp of interruption of the loud snores with silence).



So here is the low down:

Mouth: normal

Nose: slightly narrow passageways but patent

Ears:  right ear very narrow with decreased ability to fully view the ear drum.  Left ear severely narrow with no visualization of the ear drum.

Hearing: Passed Newborn Hearing Screen in hospital.  Assumed to be normal due to response to sounds and my voice.  For instance, Awa Grandma may be feeding the Chunky Chicken and I walk into the room.  If I so much as say one word, Ellie Bellie recognizes my voice and stops eating to look around for me.  See, good hearing :-)

We are scheduled to see ENT again in 3 months to recheck the ears.  As Ellie grows, so do the ear canals.  Now if she were to get an ear infection. . . I wouldn't know.  Seeing as none of us can see the ear drum.

Photo: Courtesy of hearingaidscentral.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Team Up for Down Syndrome













I have been told that children with Down Syndrome are often delayed and that they will do every thing on their own time table.  Some of that is correct.  Bear-Bear does have her own time-table.  It is called "I want it now!". 


Ellie Bear is rolling over!  Can you believe it?!  Ellie wants to roll all. the. time.  Rolling on the changing table, rolling in the play-yard, rolling on the floor.  Her crib is apparently a gymnasium.  She also thinks that she can roll during feedings and while in the bouncy chair.  


Little Bear may be hanging out as calm as can be and then "WAH!".  Apparently we are supposed to be mind readers.  She wants her bottle and she wanted it 5 minutes ago.  As we put the bib on her she calms and becomes excited.  Big happy face!  She pants and reaches out for the bottle.  If the bottle is not there we get another "WAH!".  Oh and the burping.  We must not unplug the bottle from Ellie or we get another "WAH!".  


Oh yes, things are most definitely on her own little time table.

The Creed of Babies with Down Syndrome

My face may be different
But my feelings are the same



I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains



I was sent here among you
To teach you to love



As God in the heavens
Looks down from above



To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds



It's those here among you
In cities and towns



That judge me by standards
That man has imparted



But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started



For I'm one of the children
So special and few



That came here to learn
The same lessons as you



That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart



We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start



The lord gave me life
To live and embrace


And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace



The poem above is courtesy of Team Up for Down Syndrome at
http://www.teamupfordownsyndrome.org

Sunday, January 24, 2010

E-Trading with the Comp U Baby


The American Academy of Pediatrics has a series of position statements that are used to help us health care providers educate our patients and their parents.  One such statement focuses on the use a of media.  It is recommended by the AAP that children under 2 years of age should not be exposed to TV, but rather waking hours should be geared towards parental interaction such as singing, reading stories, etc., thus maximizing child development.  There are of course more statements for older kids and media with regards to obesity and violence and whatnot.  However, I cannot find anything about computers and infants.  I am pretty sure that a child under 2 years of age should not be on the internet.



This is a 4 month-old infant learning how to type.  She is using the CAPS lock button on the blog.  She also enlarged the picture of Amelie and Sophie in the cardboard box from one of the earlier posts.  I like to refer to this as "Occupational Therapy" with a focus on "Fine Motor Skill Development".





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Please note the parent-baby interaction in the photo above.  Here is the father "educating" his infant by reading an internet blog post.  She is also learning a foreign language from her father--C/C++.  I like to refer to this as "Bonding" and "Language Therapy".

Friday, January 22, 2010

Putting the Sway into the Back

There is something known among my family as "The Bruns Butt Gene".   It reminds me of the song Baby Got Back.  My butt sticks out.  So what?  It looks good in some jeans.  Fabulous, huh?  It makes me wonder if the prominent buttocks among some of my fellow family members is the result of Lordosis aka Sway Back.

Why am I going on about this?  Well, it is the bane of my existence.  It is my arch nemesis.  It is the cause of my chronic back pain.



The image on the left is sway back.  The image on the right portrays a normal spine.

How do you know if you have lordosis?   Lie down on your back.  If there is a gap between your lower back and the floor, then you may have sway back.


Did you know that the average active person bends over ~ 400 times a day for basic things like picking up dog toys, looking into the fridge, loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, and opening the oven.  Add in a baby then you are bending over the crib, bending to pick her up, bending over the carrier, loading the stoller, etc.  That is a lot of bending.  Even the squat-bend, which is the proper way to lift objects causes strain on the lower back.   Thank you nursing school for teaching us to lift patients and objects properly.






For many there are no symptoms and for others there is chronic back pain, numbness, &/or tingling.  I typically do not have symptoms on a daily basis, but rather acute flare-ups of pain.  The pain often happens when I do something mundane such as picking up a pair of pants off the floor or just waking up with it.  When this happens, I cannot walk and I cannot sit without assistance. Using the bathroom without a handicap bar near by can be problematic.  Sometimes vacuuming aggravates it.

Even with proper body mechanics I can still easily throw out my back.  This last episode has been especially bad.  Many of you have asked to see how I am doing and I appreciate your concern.  I am significantly better.  I still have pain all the time, but it is bearable and I am able to perform most of my activities of daily living.  Andrew still helps me with the laundry, loading Ellie into the car, and cleaning parts of the house.  The house is clean from waist level on up :o)  We have modified areas of the house so that I do not need to bend over--yes, I know the bouncy chair is not supposed to be on the kitchen table and the playmate on the bed.  She is supervised, you know.

For all of you who have sway back there is treatment.  With a compressed disk, the watery fluid is gone. You will never get that fluid back.  That being said, you can get your spine realigned and then strengthen and stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the lower back and coccyx area to stabilize the spine in a more normal position.   There are stretches/PT exercises for that.  Yoga and pilates are also great because it strengthens and stretches those core muscles.  However, avoid ones that cause you to bend back such as the Camel or Back Bend as they can worsen the condition or even cause lordosis.  You may be surprised what muscles you will be stretching--it isn't just the back, but also the abdominal muscles, the hip flexors, hamstrings and muscles in the buttocks.

Temporary relief: muscle relaxers and pain killers.  This does not FIX the problem.  It just gets you through the flare up.

Sitting:
You must sit properly.  For all of you who use a computer I am talking to you.  Use a chair with good lumbar support.  Have both feet firmly planted on the floor.  Have your computer positioned straight ahead, but close enough that you can still  reach out and touch the monitor. The top of the computer screen should be just below eye level.  Use a pad to support your wrists.

Standing:
When standing for long periods, have one foot planted on a step ~4-8 inches high and alternate feet.

Lying:
I also recently learned that sleeping on your stomach and shorten the muscles that support your lower back.  It also caused the neck to be on one side or another.  Therefore it is recommended that you sleep on your back with a neck role or on your side.  Andrew, please sleep on your side to minimize snoring and I shall try to do the same :-)

Cute Baby Pic:



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh Brother



"Why am I sitting in this stupid pink thing?"





"This looks like a potty chair.  I still prefer diapers, mom!"





"Sorry if I look a little drunk.  I had to drink tons of formula to get over the fact Mommy didn't at least get the Bumbo with a tray."


I want to thank everyone for their support and understanding these past few months. Many of you have asked how I am doing and I am doing quite a bit better.  It is still a roller coaster though and there seems to be trigger points that send me into an anxious state or some melancholy. I am more interested in getting out of the house and playing with Ellie.  Andrew and I even went on a date last week!  Love you Drew-Drew Baby Drew-Drew Honey Bunny.  (feel free to gag at my term(s) of endearment to my little Toaster Pastry)

For the most part it seems that the addition of nortriptyline has done wonders in such a short period of time.  It has some rather entertaining side effects.  I have never had dry mouth like this before.  It is like a desert is taking over my mouth.  I drink so much water that I have to well, you know, every 30 minutes.  Still dry. . .it is causing my gums to bleed with brushing.  It has also turned me into Cookie Monster.  When they say increased appetite, esp for sweets, they were not kidding.  I could eat a whole thing of Oreos  or M&Ms or that cake from Kerbey Lane.  Andrew resorted to hiding the M&Ms from me.  I told him that I was going to get fat from this constant hunger.  Andrew's response was "yes, but you will be fat and happy".  Happy?! If I get fat I might get high blood pressure and heart disease and die.  Or I might get sad because I look pregnant and I am not.  Nonetheless, I am definitely less depressed since I have on the evil medication.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy 4 Months Ellie

Yes, I know that she hit the 4 month mark on Saturday, but I am just now getting around to blogging about it :-)  I hope that this posting makes sense because I have been up for a while now.   Babycakes woke up really early and kept us up due to her loud "talking".  We could hear her over the humidifier and from down the hallway.  Goodness, she may have Andrew's good looks, but she definitely has my talking gene.


Do you see that reddish hair?  Andrew says she looks like a comic book villain.




Dancing an Irish Jig 

Today Bear-Bear had her 4 month well-child check with Dr. Nichols.  As I have mentioned before, Ellie's pediatrician looks like Dr. Lisa Cuddy from House.  It just kills me that she has popped out a few bambinos of her own and she is still smokin' hot.  I on-the-other-hand look to be about 5 months pregnant.

Okay, back to Ellie Bear's visit.

Weight:   12 lb 8 oz  
Length:    23 inches
Head Circ: 38 cm

Our little chunky chicken is doing marvelously!  She was very enthralled with Dr. Nichols' black & white dress.  So much so that she "talked" to the dress through half of the appointment.  Then Baby Bear tried to grab the doctor's stethoscope which really impressed the doctor.  Yep, our little girl is reaching for objects :-)  Pretty soon she will try to steal my coffee. I am sure of it!

Ellie's tone is really good for a baby with DS, but she still has some low tone in the shoulders and in the trunk.  Continuing tummy time should help with some of that.  Fortunately, she loves being on her tummy.  Right now I am working on getting her to grab for toys while on her stomach.

Our little Tuna of the Sea has also been referred to an ENT due to the narrowed nasal passageways and narrow ear canal.  I just laughed because I AM (okay, I was. . . big sigh) ENT.  Dr. Nichols recommended Dr. Connelly which is sort of funny because I met him at a conference back in 2005.  I seriously doubt he would be able to recall meeting me.

Cross your fingers that Ellie doesn't get too fussy with these vaccines.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Where there is a box

. . .there is sure to be a cat.




but no one ever mentioned anything about a dog.

Animal behaviors never cease to amaze me.  Actually, my own furbabies are so ridiculous that you cannot help but laugh at their antics.  For instance, Tama stole the brisket off of my father's plate once.  Sophie mimics Ame by trying to climb trees.  Amelie turns on the bouncy chair. Of course, many times I am moved to tears--like when Sophie takes a walking poop throughout the house or when Amelie figured out how to open the can of formula. Or when Tama acts like she wants pets and then metamorphs into a vampire kitty.




The above picture is the result of Andrew's antics.  See the thing is, that box is the same box that held the glorious Pik-n-Stik.  Still waiting for the call button, honey!

Occasionally my father will amaze me.  As you guys know, I kidnapped my mother for the past week and a half.  My mom has two "babies"--Sparkler and Smokie who are maine-coon kitties.  (I am just dying to use Sparkler's tail to clean my fan blades).  Anyway, my dad knew that mom missed her furbabies (and him of course) so he did a kitty photo shoot and sent an email to her from "the cats".  Clever huh?  Disgustingly romantic?  Yep.




This is proof that it does get cold down here (except it got up to 60 today).  Now granted, it had not been this cold since 1962.  That record was 19 degrees and it was 17 degrees in this pic.  It looks like the anti-freeze is not so anti.



Your cute baby Bear-Bear picture of the day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Greetings from the Nursing Home


Here you go honey, this old ball-&-chain has something for ya.  Thanks for the pik-&-Stik.  Ooh, I know what I can do with this "stik". . .where are my elastic denims & denture cream?  Honey, I need help with my Depends.


Note: this style of clothing for picture only.  I do NOT dress like this everyday people!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There Is A Light




This morning I work up and I found little stinky-butt at the head of the bed playing.  She was trying to roll over from back to tummy :o)  I guess her crazy acrobatics caused her to migrate to the head of the bed.  Of course being a paranoid mother, I worry that my Circ De Soleil baby will get her head trapped between the mattress and crib railing.

As many of you know I have been suffering from PPD (Post-Partum Depression).  After multiple crying episodes and feelings of failure, I finally got back in to see my psychiatrist.  On Thursday of last week we added on nortriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant that works on norepinephrine, in addition to my increased dose of Lexapro.

Have you ever read the side effects of these medications that mess around with brain chemistry?  Involuntary muscle movements, twitching of the face & tongue, hallucinations, erratic heart rates, etc.  Then it goes on to say that some of these reactions may be permanent.  As in forever!   Yep, really makes you want to take the medication.  Well, so far I am not twitching and I am hopefully not hallucinating or having delusions.  I mean, how do you know if you have hallucinations--you believe that they are there unless someone tells you otherwise.  Seriously, I doubt Ellie could tell me that I am hallucinating.  Anyway, I think that all is good.

The past 2 days I have been doing better.  Yesterday I actually left the house willingly for something that had nothing to do with a doctor's appointment.  My mother (who is helping out do to my bum back), Bear Bear and I went to a British Coffee & Tea shop.

www.friartuckspantry.com

They have scones!  Brownies!  Digestive biscuits!  (if you do not know what those are--ask Matt Abbott)  They have French Press Coffee!  Lots of coffee!  We had coffee from Yemen.   I didn't even know they exported coffee. Mom and I ordered this amazing brie & bacon sandwich with raspberry chipotle spread.  Yum :-)  Of course Little Ellie Bear slept through the whole thing.



Andrew and his 2nd wife

Guess what Andrew did?  He ordered me one of those poles that picks up objects from the floor.  Oh goody.  Nothing like making me feel decrepit and old.  Maybe he should have also ordered me a "Help, I've Fallen & I Can't Get Up" button.  Seriously?!?!  Okay, I know that it is actually practical, but still.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Down Syndrome Clinic




Hum. Maybe I do like bath time!





Check out my mow-hawk.  I am a punk rock baby!






Two days ago Andrew, Awa Grandma, Ellie Bear and I spent four, yes, I repeat four as in 4, cuatro, quatreτέσσερα, vier, quatro繁體中文版 hours at Dell Children's for DS Clinic.  There is a multi-disciplinary approach to Ellie Bear-Bear's care.  She saw an occupational therapist, a dietitian, a social worker, and a developemental nurse and Developmentalist.  


At the time of the visit, Little Bear was/is 3.5 months old.  


You know how they say to "never ask a woman about her weight"?  Well, I know that you (well the Grandparents) are dying to know.  So here are her stats:


Weight:  12 lb. 1 oz  (Birth Weight 6 lb 10oz)----90% on DS chart
Length:   22 3/8 inches  ---70-90%
Head Circ: 38 cm (yeah, I know it is in metric and the others are not.  I still have baby brain so simple addition confounds me let alone metric conversions)


Sweet Cheeks "performed" nicely for everyone. 



  • She consumed a 6 ounce bottle complete with a loud belch that would impress Uncle Matt in front of the OT.  
  • She then held her head up at 90 degrees while on tummy.  
  • She batted at stethoscopes while on her back.
  • She pulled a "babies gone wild" and lifted her shirt up to her face and sucked on it while kicking her legs up in the air like a cheerleader.
  • She rolled from tummy to back.  Then in front of the Developmentalist Dr. Del Angel, Ellie Bellie tried to roll onto her belly  (that one shocked me.  Bear-Bear is trying to roll the other way?!?!).
  • Plus, and I think she got this from me, she "talked" up a storm with everyone say "aah", "I" and then. . .are you ready. . . a 2 syllable coo shocking everyone.



Everyone says to have high expectations with children who have special needs.  However,  with DS, the high expectations were for her to be at a 1-2 month-old level, ie only lifting the head at 45 degrees while prone and starting to show interest in things.  Hello!  Expectations!  Ellie is at a 4 month-old level across the board.  


Now granted, many babies with DS are off to a bad start.  They have heart surgery and feeding problems.  All of their energy went to staying alive and then growing so these babies will be at a 1-2 month old level.  


We are so happy and impressed with Ellie's health and progress.  We could not ask for more.  We will continue to work with her while recognizing that Ellie will follow her own schedule. Something tells me that we have both a shaker-&-mover as well as a talker on our hands. . .I wonder where she got that from?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Theurer New Year


(Mark, Josel, Papa Charles, Mama Dunja, Megan, Andrew, Anna, Ellie)

New Year's Day according to the Bear-Bear:

My parents put me in the car with the doggy.  She was hyper and barked at the people at the gas station. I was very tired though so I slept through most of her antics.  Mommy's back really hurt so we kept stopping but I do not remember any of that.


We got to Plano and I saw Grandma Dunja and Papa Charles.  They are so funny and gave me toys to play with.  I liked to bat at them with my hands, but sometimes I miss.  I will be a ball player when I am older.


I met my Uncle Mark and Aunt Josel the first night along with cousins Megan and Alexander and their Grandmother.  We had so much fun.   Uncle Mark held me and then he made all of this food--goulash with potato dumpling-like things that I wanted to eat so bad.  As usual, I got formula.  I always get formula, but now they add some apple juice to it and it is yummy.



The next day we went to Mi Cocina for lunch.  I am a good baby.  I like to eat with the family so I wait until the food arrives for everyone else and then cry for my formula.  See, I drink my bottle while everyone else is eating too.  Except for mommy. . .

That night Grandma Dunja made a pork roast that smelled delicious.  Again, I got formula.


Just before getting into the car I met my Uncle Tom, Aunt Michele and cousin Haleigh.  Aunt Michele held me and talked to me.  Haleigh touched my head.  Haleigh wondered why I stole her crib.  I tried to tell her I was just borrowing it.  Haleigh likes fun hats too :-)

Bye bye for now--Ellie Bear

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

01.05.10 David "Chubbs" Stillman-'Special' is the right word

" 'Special' is the right word for Kirkwood High student" --St. Louis Today article 1/5/10

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/columnists.nsf/bryanburwell/story/85971FDCA335EF3C862576A20018DAB0?OpenDocument

This is a very touching story brought to my attention by Cathy, my mother. It reinforces that children can show respect for and engage in true friendships with people of special needs.  I only hope that Ellie can be treated with the same respect and honor by her friends.  That her talents are encouraged by her friends and that her successes are celebrated like "Chubbs".

Two side notes:
1. Today is Matt Abbott's birthday.  Big shout out to you!
2. Thank you so much for everyone's support during this difficult time for me.  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.  Your support, love, and prayers have made me stronger, which in turn helps me to overcome these obstacles that life throws at all of us.  They have also made me a better wife, mother, daughter, and friend.  Thank you.  Life is a journey and not a destination someone once said.  Right now the path is pretty bumpy.


Ellie loves the new play-mat that Andrew selected for her.  She is becoming more interested in her surround environment and she is starting to reach up at objects of interest.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Child of the Inner Light


The Baptism of Ellie Marie
December 26, 2009



It has been said, according to the Roman Catholic Church, that Baptism is the greatest gift that you can give your child.  Baptism has been referred to as the "gateway" into a life with God.  Ellie Marie can learn about God's unconditional love, His forgiveness of sins, and His healing power.  Through her faith in God, she will be able to handle the many challenges that life throws her way.

As you can see, Ellie's is still sporting a mow-hawk form in spite of the Holy oil and Holy water.  She is modeling a Christening gown from 1903 (maybe even older).  The gown was my Grandfather Alphonse Bolte's.




Deacon Dan Wright is a fabulous person.  He married Andrew and me in this exact church~St. Thomas More.  Dcn Dan did a personalized Baptism for dear  Ellie.  Not only is he a Deacon, but he also works as a special education high school teacher in the Round Rock School District.  Maybe he will be Ellie's teacher one day!  Dcn Dan discussed how Ellie is a special child of God and that God has handpicked special parents for this special baby.

Bath vs. Tism:
In the photo above you can see little Bear having cold Holy water poured over her head three times.  We fully expected a full on screaming fit since Ellie screams bloody murder as I pour water over her head during bathtime.  (Andrew refers to bathtime as baby torture).  Yet Ellie surprised us and just remained silent during her Baptism.  Maybe it is the Holy water?




Godparents play a special role in the Baptism and throughout Ellie's life.  Jessica and Mike Nunnery (aka the parents of Baby Grace and Grantman) are Ellie's chosen Godparents.   Andrew and I are Grant's Godparents.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Will Get Through This

I find myself constantly repeating the mantra "this too shall pass" and I really hope it does.  With depression, the neurotransmitters are all butting heads. In my case, the serotonin and norepinephrine. There are too many receptors for some and not enough for others.  That leaves the brain's wiring all tangled and leads to irrational thought patterns.  This means that I feel doomed and that things will forever be this way.

I would like to think that the increase in Lexapro from 2 weeks ago was successful, but I would be kidding myself otherwise so it looks like Dr. S will be getting a follow-up phone call from me come Monday.  I am scared because I have maxed out my Lexapro dosage and I have already tried several other meds.  Again, the doomsday thought processing--is there any medicine left that can help me?

Poor Andrew has been so supportive and helpful, but I know that this is hard from him too.  He went from helping out with Sophie and Ellie to also helping me out--physically (back problems) and emotionally.

Simple tasks seem like mountains to climb.  For instance, I needed to pack for our trip to Plano.  It was/is a simple 2 day trip.  I cried and stressed which I know are completely unproductive so I tried some of my cognitive-behavior-therapy strategies.  I made  baby-steps of packing Ellies feeding supplies, then her diapering supplies, then clothes, then Sophie's food so forth and so on.  Only I lost it when I couldn't pack some of Sophie's toys because I couldn't bend down and get them off the floor!  I couldn't pack our travel toiletries in the traveling pack because they were in the lower cabinet!  Fortunately my very patient and very loving husband reassured me and helped me out.

I have a job and it is a big job--take care of house, Ellie, furbabies, and be a good wife/mother/daughter/friend.  I feel like I am failing in all of them.  I cannot pick up Ellie without help.  I cannot lift her carrier.  I cannot do her physical therapy on the floor anymore.  I cannot play fetch with Sophie.  I cannot use the leash on her.  Laundry is near impossible without help.  Sure, I can get them into the washer but I cannot reach down and transfer the clothes to the dryer or then get them into the dryer.   I am crying in the middle of the night with the irrational fear that Andrew will leave me because I am a burden and a kleenex sodden mess.  It is stupid and I know this.  Ellie is alive, fed, warm, and knows that her mommy loves her.  My furbabies are loved, fed, clean and know that I love them.  Andrew knows that I love him and value him.  I know that I will be better with a combination work, meds, therapy, supportive friends, and my faith in God.  So I say, this too shall pass.