Sunday, August 5, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Boy, this summer has not turned out the way we had planned.

It all started with a teeny tiny dot we found on Julia's leg that turned out to be infected with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), which is a type of staph bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics.

Then, a few weeks later, the outside part of Chas' ear (the Tragus, to be precise) started hurting him.  After it began swelling, he went to the doctor and they told him that a tiny cut he had on that part of the ear had become infected with MRSA.  Unfortunately it did not respond to the oral antibiotics and he had to be hospitalized for five days for IV antibiotics, steroids, and eventually, surgery to put in a drain.  He was discharged with a different oral antibiotic, but after after ten days spiked and fever and was readmitted for another five days of IV antibiotics.  The infection seems to have moved into his sinuses, and in September he will be having another surgery to fix it.

Last Friday I noticed that I had a spot on the top of my head that hurt.  It felt like a pimple, and haven't we all had pimples that have been painful before?  I didn't want to make a big deal about it, or even talk about it, because EWW, who wants to hear about a stupid pimple?  Well, it got more and more painful, so after a couple days I went to the doctor.  Guess what it was?  Yep - MRSA.  I sometimes get raw spots on the top of my head, and apparently that's how the infection got in.  Lots of warm soaks (a.k.a. hot baths with the back of my head completely immersed) and antibiotics later, I'm almost back to normal.

However, right after I got started on my road to recovery, Brendon showed us a red spot on his upper thigh.  Since I am now a self-declared expert, I was able to immediately recognize it as, you guessed it, MRSA.  Yay.  We took him to the doctor, he was started on oral antibiotics, but by the next day the cellutis had increased dramatically.  We took him to the ER and he was admitted for IV antibiotics. 

We decided that Chas would stay over with Brendon each night in the hospital, so after making sure that Brendon was settled in his hospital room (around ten at night), I drove over to my sister's to pick up the other two kids and bring them home.  Unfortunately, my sister had discovered a suspicious spot on Julia's chest.  As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was.  Aaron spent the night at my sister's; Julia went with me back to the ER.  We caught hers extremely early, but she is back on antibiotics as well.

The public response to MRSA actually reminds me of the early years of HIV.  Do you remember the story of Ryan White?  He was the first child living with HIV to try to attend school.  He was met with such opposition due to public fear and ignorance that ultimately his family had to go to court in order to allow him to attend school with his friends.  People just didn't understand how HIV was spread.  And people just don't seem to understand how MRSA is spread.

Here is what the CDC says:
The key to preventing MRSA infections is for everyone to practice good hygiene:
  1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub.
  2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
  3. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
In other words, it is okay to come into our house (which, by the way, has been cleaned/sterilized from top to bottom and I am continuing to wipe all surfaces down with bleach wipes every day until we are ALL finished our antibiotics).  It is okay to play with the kids.  And, I promise, it is even okay to give us a hug.  Just don't borrow my razor, and don't touch the wound on Brendon's leg (which is covered), and if you have a cut, clean it and cover it! 

This summer has made me a self-described expert on MRSA.  I now know that MRSA is on just about every surface.  I know that if you were to test the general population, you would discover that over half are carriers for MRSA.  And apparently, all medical professionals would test positive as well.  I have learned that everyone would test positive for staph itself.  And I have learned that the most important way for everyone to prevent getting sick is to wash their hands. 

I began this post by stating how this summer has NOT turned out the way we had planned.  But then again, what in life really ever does?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Plans

Inspiration for our summer
Well....this summer has certainly NOT been going the way any of us here at Team Thomas have planned.  Since I am teaching at three different Reading and Writing camps this summer (through the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project - incredible youth programs!), I have been able to summarize our summer so far in the form of a poem, inspired by the book, Fortunately, by Remy Charlip.  After reading my masterpiece (LOL), I'm sure you will understand why we have not been able to post too much about our summer - it has been survival mode, pure and simple, around here.
Fortunately it is summer vacation and we have lots of fun things planned.

Unfortunately Daddy got sick.

Fortunately the doctor figured out how to fix it.

Unfortunately the doctor was wrong.

Fortunately the doctors at the hospital knew how to fix it.

Unfortunately it took them almost a week to make him better.

Fortunately he was sent home.

Unfortunately he was not really better and had to go back to the hospital.

Fortunately the doctors found new medicine to make him better.

Unfortunately he had to stay in the hospital for almost a week all over again.

Fortunately he was sent home.

Unfortunately this summer has NOT gone the way we planned.

Fortunately it is still summer vacation and we
STILL have lots of fun things planned.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Summer vacation officially begins today.

What's that you say?  The kids have been out since June 15th, so why, oh why, did we wait until the beginning of JULY to begin making plans for our summer?!!

Well, since you asked, the first week the kids were out of school was taken up preparing for our ginourmous (it's a word!) yard sale we had on the 23rd.  Plus my darling husband (DH) was still working on the 18th AND the two boys I did enrichment activities with after their half-day kindergarten for half of this school year were here two days that week, too.

And last week, well, last week pretty much sucked.  DH's outer ear started bothering him on the 22nd.  The doctor said it was infected and gave him some oral antibiotics on the 23rd, but apparently, that didn't cut it.  He was in so much pain by the 24th that I took him to the ER.  He was admitted, put on IV antibiotics, and eventually had to have SURGERY to drain the MRSA infection in his ear.  He was in the hospital all week.  DH was discharged on Friday, still needing to rest a lot this past weekend.

And so I think it's pretty clear why I say that our summer vacation begins NOW.

One of the first things we did was create our family's Summer Bucket List.  Now before you started siding with my DH thinking we're being a little morbid here, a bucket list for summer makes sense!  This is all the stuff we want to do before the summer is over.  Plus I got the idea from more than one location on Pinterest, my new favorite obsession site to search for new ideas.

So thank you, Whatever . . . and A Mom With a Lesson Plan (whose list actually is written out on clothespins attached to - what else - a bucket!) and any other summer bucket list I saw and forgot to pin!  Be sure to click on those two links for their amazing summer lists.  I know our Bucket List is not that legible, but it got all of us excited about making plans for the summer.

And what about you?  Any plans for this summer that could go on your family's bucket list?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FREE Library Events

Piccirillo Sciencetellers: Stories + Cool Experiments = FUN

I love, love, LOVE the fact that the libaries offer all kinds of FREE summer programs for kids.  Every week I go to the Delaware County Library events page and select the best events for us.  Normally I have to pick and choose because there are actually more than we can attend in one day.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Check it out!  One of our summer projects is for each kid to have his or her own blog.  Aaron is the first one to create a blog.  Please check it out and leave a comment:

The Plain Crazy

Father's Day

I cannot even begin to describe how much I LOVE Pinterest.  It has been the source of all things creative in my life from the moment I discovered it.  Today the kids and I used it to figure out something really cool to make for Father's Day.  Here is the hillarious (and delicious) card we will be making:


And here is the paperweight that (as Brendon says) "really rocks":

Thanks, TipJunkie!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012