Sunday, February 27, 2011


School breaks are always sad because we never end up having the same weeks as my kid's cousins.  We do the best we can and usually spend the weekend in between vacations together.  My girls had a blast hanging with cousins all weekend which included a trip to the mall...something that is unfamiliar to them up here in the north pole.  A trip to the mall always warrants fun 'photo booth' pictures.  The ones they brought home were interesting to say the least.  The youngest male cousin was having 'photo booth picture' envy (because he wasn't old enough to wander the mall unsupervised) and so I promised him the next best thing.  Before we left, we stuck all remaining cousins in the nearest closet for a quick photo shoot.  
Maybe it's not as authentic as a photo booth, but it's just as squishy. :)
I thought it came out pretty darn cute and little Mr. Dub seemed quite pleased.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Our adopted family that we LOVE came up to visit us for Stevie's birthday and surprised her by treating her (and us) to dinner at Friendly's!
(it was YUM!)

Friday, February 25, 2011


Birthday's with cousins are FUN!
 Her favorite gift?  A sock monkey from Abbey!
(can you tell?)
The traditional "Hutchins' Bite" turned into a shove from her brother...
look at the love emanating from her face. :)  
Stevie's birthday was filled with lots of 'firsts' and special moments.
We are grateful and feel so lucky to have her as a part of our family.


You make our world go ROUND!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This post is not for the faint of HEART...get it?  HEART?
I feel as if I have overdone the topic of heart these last couple of days that I decided it would be best to move onto another body part.  How about my knee?  Over a month ago I was playing basketball with some guys and fell really hard on my left knee.  I've never, ever in all my year of playing, landed on my knee the way I did that day.  I knew it was only bruised, but I bruised it about as hard as I could.  I fell on the outside of my knee but the pain was all around.  To this day I still can't kneel on it...too painful.  As a result I have fluid around my knee.  My girls think it's WAY cool, Kaleb starts to gag.  I barely touch the skin and it ripples.  I'm almost wishing I had a video because I know you'd LOVE to see it.  So the other night we were playing with it and Steve gave me the idea to use a syringe to take some of the fluid out.  (no worries, everything was sterile and clean)  As of tonight I have done it three times now, each time getting about 3mls of fluid.  I figure it's good practice for when I become a nurse.  Enjoy and you're welcome.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Last night I returned to the ICU due to increased episodes.  My heart was very irregular and the skipped beats were 1-3 seconds apart.  My potassium was low and the headache from Haiti returned.  I had the poor cardiologist scratching his head this morning.  He called a doctor from the New England Heart Institute that specializes in electrical issues with the heart and talked to him about me.  He told this doctor what a beautiful and delightful young woman I was (WHAT?!?  He's a HEART doctor...they know how to melt hearts) but that I was like a bad penny and kept turning up.  I laughed.  (I won't tell you the conversation he and my mom had the first go around...sheesh)  He's curious as to why my potassium keeps dropping.  He's curious as to why the headaches seem to correlate with the heart issue.  We talked some more and then by noon I was paroled.  Hopefully sometime this week I'll be making the trip down south to see this good doctor.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you my EGK strips.  (see previous post on my condition)
If you notice above the numbers written below the p wave (the small bump) you'll see that the first one is .19 seconds long.  Anything under .20 is normal.  The next one says .24 and the next .35.  They get longer and then you'll notice the qrs complex (the big spike) completely disappears.  That's the 2nd degree AV block type 1 that I have.  If you look below at the other two EKG readings (taken at different times throughout my stay) you'll see more of the 2nd degree block.
 Questions? :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Some people keep asking me what "2nd degree heart block" is.  Here (below) is a good explanation.

2nd degree heart block type I 
This rhythm is also called Mobitz I.  It is also called Wenckebach.  It consists of the PRI getting longer with each electric beat until eventually a P wave occurs but the QRS never shows (essentially skipping a beat).  The process is then repeated.  This is like showing up for work Monday an hour late, on Tuesday two hours late, and so on until Friday comes around and you don't even show up at all.  The following Monday, you start the same cycle again.  You could call this behavior "pulling a Wenckebach" but nobody would get it and people would just think you're weird.

Friday, February 18, 2011


 Yesterday I subbed for a class of first graders.  It was more than I bargained for.  Those kids were deceivingly cute!  I ended my day with a massive headache that I chalked up to a long day with difficult kids.  I went home where the headache continued.  It was so bad (and so out of the ordinary for me) that I put myself to bed at 7pm.
As I lay there I started to feel a sudden rush of pressure on my chest intermixed with a 'fluttering' feeling.  It felt like my heart was beating fast but I knew it wasn't.  So then I decided to count how fast my heart rate was.  As I was counting, I noticed my heart was skipping beats.  I would count consistently to 8 every time and then there was a big pause.  It happened over and over again.  I called Steve up to come check it out.  He was feeling the same thing so we packed up and headed to the ER.  Meanwhile my head was POUNDING!  They took us back right away and got things moving fast.  They never caught the skipped beats on the EKG though and told me they would get some meds to help with my headache.  As soon as they walked away I started alarming (being hooked up to the monitors) and Steve saw that it was saying "skipped beats".  He went and told the nurse who then printed out a copy to show the doctor.  Sure enough it was real.  That's when I could tell the doctor got serious about it.   She started looking for ICU (intensive care unit) beds because the hospital was full.  She checked Dartmouth, Concord and I said no to Franklin.  Thankfully a bed opened up and I was admitted a few hours later.  They kept a close watch and monitored my heart.  During the few hours of sleep that I got, my heart rate dropped into the 30's and my blood pressure was 70/30's.  This made the doctor's really nervous and so they administered atropine to bring my numbers up.  I remember waking up to them talking about me and hearing something about atropine, but I was too tired to care at that point.  The next morning the cardiologist came to see me and sent me for a stress test.  Not my most favorite experience.  I passed with a side of some leaky valves...which I guess are not uncommon in people.  He did diagnose me with a "Second degree Heart Block" and "Wenchebach".  He said it's not life threatening as long as I don't pass out or as long as the symptoms don't increase.  If that happens, I will be a candidate for a pace maker.  I'm planning on a second opinion at Dartmouth starting Monday.  
In the meantime...I'm on hiatus.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrate the ones you love.
(not just today, but everyday)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Stevie had her middle school B team tournament yesterday.  Her team made it to the championship game and fought a hard fight to the end.  The two teams were tied with 2 seconds left on the clock.  Gilford had the ball under their basket when one of Stevie's teammates passed her the ball for a quick baseline jumpshot.  SWISH!  And the game was over, Stevie's team won.  Not bad for one of the youngest players on the team. She started every game with 7th and 8th graders and ended up being a pivotal player on her team.  I wish I could have enjoyed it more but I was still reeling from observing a serious altercation in the stands between two parent's from the two teams.  (fighting over calls that the refs made, REALLY?!?!)  I was doing the books for Stevie's game and heard the F bomb erupt from the crowd.  I looked up and saw the two men nose to nose in the stands YELLING at each other.  Thank goodness Steve was there to break it up before it turned physical.  I sat there thinking 'how sad' that there was such behavior at a middle school girls basketball game.  Thankfully the players didn't notice what was going on in the stands.  After her game, I took Kaleb's team up to their middle school tournament in New Hampton.  I was still reeling from what happened earlier and couldn't help but think how people need a good dose of perspective on life.  Two of my players are battling cancer in their immediate family.  One has a little brother who just had brain surgery a week ago and will face radiation daily for a month and chemotherapy for a long time after that.  Another little boy on the team has a dad who was just diagnosed with a rare type of cancer found in his stomach.  They had to remove his spleen, pancreas, small intestine and colon which means that now he has a colostomy bag.  He's lost 56lbs in two months and weighs 148lbs at 6'3.  He looks like death walking and in the end this cancer will probably take him and he's only in his 30's.  But he crawled out of his bed, in much pain, just to come see his son play basketball.  Now THAT my friends is perspective.  If only those two men from Stevie's game could understand that.  Very sobering indeed.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Yesterday was 'one of those days'.  The house woke up generally cranky due to a hopeful delay that never came.  It's a total mind game that we play that is so rewarding when the weather cooperates and oh so painful when it doesn't.  I hurried everyone out the door after the cop and I parted on less than stellar terms and started on my usual morning routine.  (no worries...all is well in Zion)  At around 11am Stevie calls to ask me if I would PLEASE come eat lunch with her.  (the middle school had their annual winter carnival and all the kids were on the mountain snowboarding/skiing/tubing) I jumped in the shower and headed up.  We met and I sat (in someone's spilled applesauce, oh goody) with her while she ate.  It ended up being a good thing because she needed help getting dressed again before heading out.  I kissed her goodbye and happened to run into Kaleb before leaving.  He kind of gave me the cold shoulder, ouch.  (but not before asking if he could stay and ski after school which meant that I had to trudge to the opposite side of the resort to sign him out and trudge all the way back up to my car...anything for you Kaleb)  By the time I reached my car I was freezing and it was dead.  HMMPH!  I called my husband, not really sure why seeing as he was at work and wouldn't be much help.  Then I called my neighbor (thank goodness we're only a mile from the resort) to come rescue me.  He was busy and would be there in 15 minutes.  Normally that wouldn't be so bad but the weather was below zero with the wind chill and I had WET HAIR!  I sat in my frigid car and waited.  He finally came and for the next hour we froze trying to get it running.  Nothing.  I begged him to take me home.  I wasn't home more than 20 minutes when Stevie called to tell me that she missed the bus.  (that's another long and complicated story, the school's to blame...grrrr)  I tell her my car is dead, I have no way to pick her up and could she see if there was anyone available to give her a ride home.  10 minutes later she calls back sobbing telling me that she's half way home.  (she was walking, I was not happy)   PLEASE stop crying I tell her, she was already on the verge of hypothermia, tears weren't helping the situation.  She makes it home safely and Steve drives in shortly after.  We hop in his truck to try for a second time to get my car running.  We spent an hour accruing frostbite and unsuccessfully starting my car.  Meanwhile Kayla had left her basketball uniform and shoes in my car anticipating that I would meet her after school with them. (STRESS!)  I had to call and beg a teammates parent to come get them.  While Steve was calling for a tow truck, (can't wait to get THAT bill) I went and collected Kaleb from off the mountain and we left in his truck.  We dropped Kaleb off with the assignment to roof rake, picked up Stevie and off we went to Kayla's game.  From there Steve took Stevie to ball practice while I thumbed a ride home from her game.  Upon arriving home, we discovered that fridge door was WIDE open, (what in the?!?) the pellet stove had run out (BRRRR) and he had neglected to lock the gates all around the house which meant the pugs were free to roam everywhere.  The house was turned upside down by those three menacing dogs.  Poop piles were looming along with trash strewn ALL.OVER.THE.HOUSE!  Do you KNOW how many tiny pieces that toilet paper can be shredded into?  You don't want to know.  I was thinking homicidal thoughts.  Steve came back and picked up the older two for church and left (leaving me no way to contact him because his phone died) without telling me how Stevie was going to get home.  I had to beg and borrow a car so that she wouldn't feel abandoned for the second time that day.  At some point, we all returned home safely, read our scriptures together, said our prayers and everyone fell into bed exhausted.  As I lay there quietly, I decided to text my sister so that I could vent about my long day.  I should have known better.  Anyone with six kids will always trump my day.  This was her reply..."Wow, I'm sorry...I know that no matter how bad it gets, we generally would choose to keep our own problems.  (so true) My day was full of the same including babysitting ADD boy for 7 hours during which I raced into the shower only to discover that the guy who was in the basement all morning (creepy) did something to our furnace so that the hot water didn't work, the whole tooth thing and needing antibiotics (she found out her molar needs a root canal, ROOT CANAL!  I'd be waving my white flag...MERCY!), frostbite at Target when my van doors wouldn't stay open as the cart was being blown away with below zero windchill, leaving my 6 year old in front of the tv all afternoon and evening while teaching piano lessons at which point you called for my mad banking skillz, then had to juggle dinner, jazz band drop off for daughter 1 and basketball practice for daugther 3 because my other driver was at rehearsal.  BREATHE!"  
And so there I lay thinking about how true that statement is.
"I know no matter how bad it gets, we generally would choose to keep our own problems." 
(she had me at SEVEN hours of ADD boy and ROOT CANAL!) 
Monday my friend in Utah lost her 2nd daughter.  She has two other girls here and now two in Heaven.  That's 50%.  I still have my three children...75%.  That's a higher %.  So bad could it be?  I'm grateful for perspective and for my sister who gave me a good dose of it as I drifted off to sleep last night.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Have you played this game lately?
If should.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


We felt spoiled yesterday as we hit the slopes with almost 2 feet of new powder.  I felt like I was skiing in Utah, it was that good.  Kaleb took off on his own so Stevie and I hung together for the day.  She boarded and I was her back up skier...just in case she needed me.  Perfect way to spend a snowy day.
(took this up on the lift...)