Sunday, February 28, 2010

POST 550!

Monday Miles will be getting the test done on his bladder called VCUG. You know, the Voiding Cystourethrogram. This test will tell us how enlarged Miles’ bladder is, if it’s agitated and how he pees. This test should give us some answers to why he only pees every 12 hours (or in worse cases, not at all.) Here’s a medical explanation of the test:

Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)—In a VCUG, a catheter inserted in the urethra is used to fill the bladder with the contrast medium. The x-ray machine then captures a video of the contrast medium during urination. This procedure allows the doctor to see things such as whether urine is backing up into the ureters when it should be traveling the other way, down through the urethra, or whether urine outflow through the urethra is blocked. VCUG is often used with children who have recurrent infections to determine whether a defect in the urinary tract is causing the infections.

VCUG is most often used to evaluate urinary problems in children. The doctor or nurse cleans the area around the urethra, inserts the tip of the catheter, and gently slides it up into the bladder. The child’s bladder is first emptied. Contrast medium is slowly dripped into the bladder, by means of gravity, until the bladder is full. X-ray films are then made as the child urinates.

The test is scheduled for the morning. Hopefully by Monday evening we’ll have some answers, plans and an idea of when we get to go home. Today makes for a week we’ve been here. I did get out for a couple of hours with Randy and it felt so good. I’m feeling more human. I’m choosing not to be fearful about that test even though I’ve been told some of the things that this test could mean. I’m not there yet so I’m choosing to have a positive attitude and take one day at a time like usual.

Thank you everyone that’s been praying, providing meals, checking up on us and helping us with our kids! You make us feel so loved. We know we’re not alone in all this.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Few of my Favorite Pictures

This is a rare photo of just Joey & I. He's usually busy doing his own thing so I don't always catch him when a cameras around.

I can't think of a cuter kid than this boy! Sometimes I think that red hair is a special gift just for me. There's hardly a week that goes by that I don't just snuggle Spencer right up because I fall in love with that Red Head again!

This is Joey's friends Jonathan and Thomas. I like this picture because it makes me happy that God has given my children such neat friends over the years.

I like this picture now but I know in a few years it will be even more a treasure to me because all of our kids are growing up so quickly!

For Christmas we all got bikes and we got a thing to go on the back of Randy's bike for Miles to ride around in. He really likes riding and he looks absolutely adorable on it. I love how sweet Randy looks in this picture. This was taken on Christmas Eve.

Best Costume EVER! Miles looked so adorable in his PacMan costume! People went nuts over it. It fit so perfectly over his wheelchair. I love the we made it!

He Loved It!

This is one of my very favorite pictures! We were at a house in the country that Randy was adding on to. There wasn't a bathroom available and the girls needed to pee. They were sure they couldn't hold it so I let them pee outside. I told them to take off their skirts though because I didn't want them to pee on their clothes. They got the biggest kick out of the whole thing! They look so adorable here!

This picture was taken just last week when Jocie & Spencer decided to build a bird nest together. They got a roll and took out the middle of it so a bird could lay an egg in it. :) The filled it with grass and hung it in the tree. I love when they stop fighting long enough to do a project together.

Friday, February 26, 2010


We're still in the hospital. It's strange being here for something other than pneumonia. (Although he does still have pneumonia.)

We're here because Miles is having trouble with his bladder. He's actually been having trouble with his bladder, but I just haven't been noticing. There's so many other issues to notice that this one has been going under my radar.

Last week he was in a lot of pain and his stomach was rock hard and bloated. I thought it was his usual constipation issue, but it wasn't. The poor kid hadn't peed in almost a week! Can you believe it? I was so focused on him not pooping that I didn't notice he wasn't peeing. The thing is that his diapers were wet sometimes, but it was just the liquid from ALL the enemas. (I'll try to spare some of the gory details.)

So, we've been here since Tuesday and we still don't know specific answers yet. We're waiting to be able to do a scan on his bladder. They want to put in a catheter, shoot dye through it and watch a live feed of the inside of his bladder to check how large the bladder is, if it's agitated and hopefully see how he urinates. The CT scan of his bladder shows an enlarged bladder. This could be that for a period of time he's not been emptying his bladder completely and has stretched it out.

We can't do the scan yet because the x-ray shows that he still has the 30 ounces of dye they pumped into him on Tuesday. The old dye has to be gone so they can use the new dye to highlight other things. His body takes a long time to get rid of things, which is why we're here in the fist place, so it's taking longer than usual to be able to get the test done.

After the testing and results it's probable that we will have to start seeing a Pediatric Urologist.

Here's the cruddy possibilities that I'm hoping will never come to pass:

1. (several people have mentioned this today) We might just have to catheterize Miles every 4 hours so he will empty his bladder. REALLY? I mean REALLY? Can you imagine? Then I heard that most people that have to catheterized routinely develop an allergic reaction to latex. It would be such a pain for Miles to be allergic to latex. Plus you have to be so careful that you don't spread infect this way. As our pediatrician put it today, "It's easy to get infections because you're constantly putting something in an area that's not suppose to have something in it."

2. You know what? I typed out the number 2 possibility and I hated it so much that I deleted it all. I don't want number 2.

3. I'm not totally against this one: There is a medication that the Dr. took Miles off of today that he thought could be causing some of the trouble. Do you remember the snot picture from the other day?
Yeah that picture. The medicine that's been dropped is the one that usually prevents other pictures like this. It really does work great. I know that the picture makes it look like the medicine doesn't work, but the thing is that a year ago he looked like that a lot! Now that he's on the medicine it only happens rarely. Without the medicine I'm not sure how the snot factory will be controlled.

Anyway, that's what's going on in room 3213.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

He's getting bigger...

The wheelchair that I never thought would be is now too small.

Today Rody from Freedom2Go is going to come and measure Miles for a new seating system. He's outgrown his wheelchair seat. When Miles first got his wheelchair he was so tiny! He was tiny but getting very hard to carry everywhere. I was so devastated when his wheelchair was delivered. I knew that I knew that I knew that he would be healed before he ever had to use a wheelchair. I would have bet anything I owned on that truth. I believed that God had told me something that he apparently never told me because it didn't happen and he's not a liar.

So, we've now had the wheelchair for over 3 years, and honestly it's been a huge blessing! Miles is so comfortable in it and it allows him to go where ever we go. The everyday use of it is a blessing. What is represents is what's more devastating. One only has a wheelchair if they need it. Miles definitely needs it.

Here's a picture of him when he was measured for his first wheelchair. He looks so tiny.

Here's a picture of him today getting measured.

I'm not depressed or mad about the situation. It's just that certain days like today feels heavier than usual. I never thought Miles would need a wheelchair. He does. Most days I'm thankful that he has a wheelchair. Today isn't necessarily one of those days.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


O Happy Day!!!!

Man, what I’m excited about may not excite you, but I can’t explain what kind of weight was lifted off my shoulders today!

I took Miles to a GREAT DENTIST today! Yes, I’m excited about dentistry.

Here’s the thing. I brush Miles’ teeth daily, but because of his muscle tone and some other issues it’s hard to brush his teeth perfect. He clinches his jaw most of the time so it’s hard to get to the back of his teeth and behind his teeth. I noticed some build up behind his teeth, but sometimes it’s impossible to get. I can’t force his jaws open. Plus, he’s like a snapping turtle. If he clamps down he doesn’t know that he needs to let go.

I’ve taken him for a couple of check ups before, but the dentist just never seemed to care enough to really do anything for Miles. She moved his lips, looked at his front teeth, said “Good Job Mom” and sent us on our way. (Does anyone remember my horror story about Spencer’s 2 bottom teeth and the dentist?) Same dentist. Don’t ask me to repeat the story. I’ve tried to block it out. :)

Anyway, about 2 weeks ago I called our pediatrician and the neurologist in Ft. Worth for a special needs dentist recommendation. I didn’t get any advice from them at all.

Well, in the mail I got a postcard from Abilene Pediatric Dental.

I called them and talked to a wonderful woman on the phone. I explained to the receptionist my concerns about Miles and she assured me that Dr. Hamilton would know just what to do with him. She said that he’s the only Pediatric Dentist in Abilene. SHE GOT ME IN THE NEXT WEEK! For a check-up! I was impressed by that!

Today was the appointment and the place looks amazing! It’ really nice in there! When the child lays on the chair they have a big screen tv on the ceiling where the kids can watch cartoons! Miles didn’t watch the cartoons, but other kids would love that! The nurses were great!

Most important…Dr. Hamilton was so good with Miles! He cleaned his teeth. He talked to Miles. He answered all my questions. He listened to me! He’s also ordering me an appliance that will help me clean Miles’ teeth…FOR NO CHARGE!!! He said that he’s going to order me this sponge stick that I can put in Miles’ mouth to hold it open so I can get to his back teeth…and so he can’t bite me! I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

Also, um, well, the doctor happens to look like McSteamy on Grey’s Anatomy!

AnyWHo! I don’t care what he looks like! He was awesome to Miles and I today! He wants to see Miles every 3 months to keep up with his dental care. Kids with cerebral palsy have a lot of dental issues. Miles’ doesn’t ever use his teeth so they don’t grow the same way ours does. His back teeth are in, but they barely come above the gum because he doesn’t use them. Also, with all his medications that can effect his teeth.

In a few months (when his lungs are healthier) we’re going to put him under anesthesia to get full dental x-rays to check on his teeth growth and give him a good cleaning while his mouth can be opened and relaxed. Right now he doesn’t have any cavities, which I’m so thankful for!

The whole experience this morning felt like a gift from the Lord! I literally felt like crying for joy when I left there. I’ve seen kids and teenagers with cerebral palsy who have terrible teeth! It’s so sad! I feel like I’ve found the perfect dentist for Miles that will do the very best for him! The Lord has been so faithful to us over and over to make sure we have the best care for Miles. God’s faithfulness is overwhelming to my heart!

Randy Hamilton lll, DMD
Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry
4741 Buffalo Gap Rd.
Abilene, TX 79606

Did I mention he looked like McSteamy?

Monday, February 15, 2010

5 Days Post Hospital

Here we are 5 Days Post Hospital Stay and the million dollar question is, "How's Miles' feeling?"


He's still feeling sick.

This is how he looked this morning when I went to get him out of bed this morning.

Since leaving the hospital he's on 2 antibiotics and a steroid. 1 antibiotic he takes 2 times a day. 1 antibiotic he takes 3 times a day. The steroid he takes 2 times a day. He's also on 3 different breathing machine medicines every 4 hours, plus The Vest...A.K.A "The Snot Shaker" on top of all the other regular medicines that he's taking.

And still he looks like this!!!

Personally I think he sounds as bad or worse then when we were admitted in the hospital. This is the frustrating part. I'm doing what I can to make him better, but he's still sick. Will this blow over and soon he will be better or will we be in the hospital again next week because the snot factory won't stop?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My SEVENTEEN magazine is selling today on Ebay. It's from June 1947. Can you believe that? Anyway, I just LOVE this magazine. It's so neat to see all the ads from that time. The whole thing is glamours. I have to say goodbye to it today so I wanted to post a few of the pictures on here so I can come back and look at the pictures. The pictures don't really do it justice but you can get the picture. So far I've got a bid on it for $25 plus $7 shipping. Considering that it only cost 15 cents way back in the day I'm pleased with the sale.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rough Day

My chest feels like I just can't seem to breathe enough air.

Miles is so sick.

I've got a couple of hours to shower, mail some ebay stuff at the post office, grab some groceries and then...take Miles back to the doctor. I'm not expecting to come back home. I'm pretty sure he will be admitted. I took him to the doctor last Monday and he narrowly escaped being put in the hospital. Today he's worse and blood is coming out of his nose and mouth, and I don't mean a little. I'm pretty calm when it comes to this stuff and last night I felt light headed because all of the blood Randy suctioned out of his nose and mouth. It was so freaky. Then because of all the stress to his body Miles ended up having several seizures. I just had to hold my bloody boy with his shaking body and tell him that I was there with him and that I love him.

I'm trying to run all my errands so I can be free to do what I need to with Miles.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Remember our friend from high school opened up the restaurant called Papa Roosters? Well, that place didn't work out and they quickly shut it down. Randy had helped the owner remodel that ugly whole in the wall into a nice looking place. I'm sad for our friend that it didn't work, but he was trying to manage while still living in Austin and that turned out to be harder than he thought.
ANYWAY, a new restaurant is in the same building and the strangest thing happened...Randy was working on the new owner's home when he was just thinking about opening the new restaurant. He told Randy that he wanted to open up a Middle East restaurant and he was wondering if Randy would come check out the prospective location and let him know if a wall could be taken down or not. When Randy went to check it out he was shocked that it was the old Papa Rooster's location. The wall that Sabah wanted taken down was a wall that Randy had just built for the previous owner. We thought that was so funny. He didn't end up doing the work. The wall ended up staying.
The reason I bring all this up is because...although Randy didn't end up doing the work for Sabah, Randy did get to hear his amazing story about how he came to live in Abilene all the way from Iraq. I wanted to share his story with you, but I wasn't sure if it was too personal so I asked Randy if he thought Sabah would mind if I wrote about it. Come to find out there was an article written about him recently and it had been sent to Randy to read. So, now I don't have to write the article. I just posted it on here.
Sabah and his family are so interesting! I can't imagine all the changes they've been going through during these last few months. Read the article about his family.
Also, Sabah invited Randy to his restaurant and Randy really liked to food. It's not like anything we have here or anything like I cook at home. It's a total different experience. Go check it ou

(All photos by Thomas Metthe)

Through the fire: Restaurateur from Iraq has new life in Abilene
By: Jaime Adame

Sabah Hammoodi keeps a folder with the certificates and photos that document his last few years in Iraq.

He was busy on a recent afternoon tending to customers at Middle East, a restaurant at 4621 S. 14th St. that he opened Jan. 15 after moving to Abilene less than five months ago.

His wife, Muazaz, and oldest daughter, Sara, may be the main cooks, with hummus, falafel and entrees like makloba and beryane on the menu, along with kabobs and gyros.

But Hammoodi, 58, also wears an apron and likes to cook himself, he said.

Between taking orders from customers, fielding phone calls, and popping into the kitchen, he shared his memories of Iraq following the launching of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Opening his folder, he took out a few photos. Mostly, he is smiling in the pictures he has kept from that time, including posed shots with American soldiers.

“She is a major,” Hammoodi said proudly.

Only weeks after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Hammoodi found his life transformed.

Before the war, he drove a taxi on the streets of Baghdad, his home since birth.

Amid the lawless chaos that followed the crumbling of the Saddam Hussein regime, he rushed to Baghdad’s civil airport after hearing a rumor it was being reopened by Americans.

He wanted a job. Hammoodi had worked there for about 15 years, becoming chief steward before economic sanctions effectively grounded passenger travel in the early 1990s.

As he drove his taxi, an old Toyota, to the airport, he stopped at a military checkpoint. There, he agreed to take as passengers two Iraqi men eager to meet with a U.S. Army official in hopes of becoming interpreters.

“They speak with him Arabic,” Hammoodi recalled, smiling broadly.

Hammoodi had learned English in school, as did many Iraqis, and found himself explaining in English what the men were trying to say.

On the spot, he was hired to be an interpreter.

“It’s coming to me from the sky,” said Hammoodi, recalling his reaction at having landed an opportunity to support his family. When told he could start tomorrow, he insisted on starting that same day.

Shifting role

At the airport, the American military maintained a strong presence. Hammoodi’s role shifted away from interpreting after only a few months.

Soon, he began supplying food made at his home to hungry soldiers. He began handling various tasks, like overseeing a coffee shop. He was issued a weapon, and took on field work like projects to install roadway security gates and spike strips.

In the “dark years” of economic sanctions before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hammoodi, a Sunni Muslim, said that for a time he toiled selling cigarettes on the street. His two oldest boys — still only children — were needed to help him as he struggled to support his wife and their seven children.

At first, he was paid about $3 a day to work with the Army. Later, he earned $350 a month, and even received a roughly $50,000 contract related to street improvements.

He also was given air conditioners and appliances, allowing his family to prosper.

Hammoodi rattled off the units he worked with from the Army, Air Force and National Guard.

Behind the counter of his restaurant hangs a large American flag, with well-wishes from American soldiers written in black marker.

At least one small flag is part of the centerpiece for each table, and Hammoodi speaks proudly of his association with American soldiers.

The work did not come without risk, however. In some photos he keeps, Hammoodi is not smiling.


Wearing a crisp white button-down shirt, Hammoodi comes across as a dapper man, with a matter-of-fact way of speaking.

“Don’t believe, you test yourself,” he told one woman, firmly but not unkindly, after she mentioned a dish that had been recommended to her.

While his English isn’t perfect, he spoke freely about his years in Iraq, even a 2005 extortion attempt that led him to fly his family to Jordan.

They stayed even as he returned to Iraq. By 2007, he was working with military contractor General Dynamics.

Violence came from different groups, and he said he was shot at occasionally while doing road work.

The constant fear, however, was to be recognized by some of the violent militia groups as working with the Americans.

Hammoodi said he took precautions from the beginning of his work with Americans. He kept his old airport identification badge in hopes that, if stopped by militia fighters, he could disavow his American employment.

When working with the military, he accepted an escort — but only in the heavily militarized areas. In civilian neighborhoods, Hammoodi said he was unwilling to risk being spotted bringing an American to his doorstep.

Much of the work he did at night, when only military vehicles were bold enough to take to the streets.

After the extortion attempt, he said he took even more precautions, dressing differently on different days, for example.

Then, one day, after leaving his sister’s home at sunset, an older car swerved in front of him and stopped. Another car did the same behind him.

There were four men in each, armed with Russian assault rifles. He was trapped.


Hammoodi spoke slowly when describing the encounter.

“The took me,” he said. He was not blindfolded, so he feared the worst. If he was able to see, he reasoned, he could identify the men — which meant they likely planned to kill him.

He was taken to a house not far from his home.

“They told me, ‘Where is your gun?’” recalled Hammoodi. He denied owning a weapon, understanding that admitting he had a gun would lead to assumptions about where and why he had one.

He identified the group as Jaish al Mahdi, a Shiite group heavily involved in the Iraq insurgency against American forces. They asked for money, but Hammoodi tried to convince them that he was just an airport worker who was not employed by Americans.

On the hardwood floor of his restaurant, Hammoodi briefly sat down, putting his hands behind his back to explain how he was bound while being held at gunpoint.

His captors blindfolded him, he said, then struck him in the face with some sort of hard metal object. There were threats involving a drill, a common torture instrument. He felt a gun pressed against his head, then inside his mouth.

At one point, he begged that, if killed, his body be shipped to his family, by this time now living in Egypt. Now, there were nine children, with the recent birth of twin girls.

The men said he needed to give them the phone number of someone who could verify his story. After one call was made to a friend who did not answer, Hammoodi offered the number of a Shiite neighbor, part of the same Muslim sect that Hammoodi said his kidnappers also belonged to.

As neighbors the two men had been friendly, Hammoodi said, though Iraq has been plagued by sectarian violence.

“He said, ‘I know him, he is good’” and not working with Americans, recalled Hammoodi. Hammoodi thinks the neighbor did know he had worked with Americans. After a flurry of phone calls made by the neighbor to people of influence in the Shiite community, Hammoodi was released that same night.

This time, there would be no coming back. Within two days, he left for Egypt, then America, where he’s been less than a year (The family moved from Denver to Abilene after the marriage of another daughter to an Iraqi who settled in Abilene.

In his folder of keepsakes are hospital photos, taken about two weeks after the beating. They show him with battered right eye and swollen left jaw, where a scar remains.

Hammoodi’s eyes grew red and he sat silently after telling of his ordeal.

“The country who wants to kill you is not your country,” he said later, when asked about returning.

Iraq is no longer Hammoodi’s home. He hopes to make it in Abilene.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pricey Polish

I was browsing a little bit on my lunch break at H-E-B. I stopped and looked at the nail polish. I found a great color by OPI. It's called Mad as a Hatter. It's from the new Alice in Wonderland collection. I even tried it on my thumb. I was sold on the item UNTIL I made a shocking discovery! The small bottle of polish was selling for $7.99 a bottle! It was a .5 ounce bottle, which is a regular size, but still! You ready for the Whopper? That makes that nail polish $15.98 an ounce. I let them keep their Mad as a Hatter.

The only problem is that I keep noticing it on my thumb and I really like it. I'll keep you updated on if I cave in and buy it.

Monday, February 01, 2010

What we're up to...

It’s 7:34 in the evening. The kids have done their home work. Dinner has been eaten. We had fish, green beans and corn. Then I made a chocolaty dessert which hasn’t been eaten yet. Well, not eaten by everyone yet. Randy and I may or may not have already had our fair share while it’s been cooling.

Here’s what we’re doing now.

The girls are in the shower. They’ve actually been in there for a long time. They’re screaming and making up songs. They left the door open so I can hear them being really silly. Randy was about to get on to them so they would hurry and get out, but we both decided that they really aren’t doing anything wrong. They’re just being silly sisters. Eventually they will come out and get their pj’s on and then badger us for their dessert.

Spencer is sick. When I picked him up from school today he was in tears by the time we got to the car. He has a temp of 100. He’s been laying down in my bed all afternoon. He hardly ever gets sick, but when he does he likes to have sympathy. Randy and I sang to him and Randy prayed over him. He’s using my pillow right now. I don’t really like sharing my pillow, but who could deny the little redhead a pillow?

Joey is in his room messing around on his computer. He’s really been into graphic design. He’s been making the coolest things. Pretty soon he’s going to have to start practicing his tuba. Bum bum Bum bum Bum bum Bum.

Randy’s working on paperwork for his business. Also, he’s got Miles sitting beside him in the crook of his arm. That’s their evening position. Miles loves sitting there. Those two are quite the pair. They’re snuggle buddies for sure.

And me…Well, besides writing this I’m checking My Ebay repeatedly. I’m selling a few high dollar items so I keep checking if anyone else is bidding on them. I’ve really enjoyed my new Ebay business. The money I make is mine. It’s my fun money. That excites me. I’ve been a regular at the post office lately. Today I mailed off five things. I mailed things to: Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Nebraska and California.

And that’s what the Wilson’s are doing right now.

This is a picture of me, Jocie & Melody from last week when it was Jocie's birthday. We were going out for a Girl's Day Out.