Saturday, January 31, 2009

Technology BITES!

I have had a more than frustrating few days with the technology in my home...

Yesterday morning I went to turn on my phone and couldn't. After much thumping and pushing of the reset button, I found that only the touch screen of my phone worked, that I had lost all use of the keys. I borrowed Brian's phone to call AT&T and spent an hour troubleshooting the problem with them. I was finally transferred to warranty, just to do it all again. They decided something was wrong with my phone (Duh!) and they needed to send me a new one. However, since they had replaced this model 3 times, did I want to try another model.. I decided it was for the best.

I had sent my laptop off to be repaired, but since CC decided to close their doors, it was sent back un-repaired. After 3 days of trying the 1-800 number they gave us, Brian got smart and found an online operator for us to talk to. So after getting off the phone with AT&T, I sat at the desktop computer with the dysfunctional laptop at my left for over an hour while someone on the other end performed the tests that CC had already done to find the problem I told them about in the beginning. :) Really, I loved it.

After a morning of dealing with this, Brian thought it best if I didn't touch anything electronical for a while... I thought it was best too. I was able to spend the rest of the day reading, something I hadn't done in a LONG time and was much overdue for. I also made cookie dough that I have yet to bake, but it is sooo yummy. For Christmas this year, since Brian had spent so much time in the hospital, we decided to "finish" our shopping with peoples favorite kinds of cookies. For John, I made Ginger Snaps... it was fun and soooooo worth the time, they were YUM!!

Ginger Snaps
1 C. Sugar (have another 1/4 c. set aside)
3/4 c. butter- softened
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 c. flour
2t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg

Combine 1 c. sugar, butter, molasses and egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves and nutmeg - mixing well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrig. 1 hour. Heat oven to 350. Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll in the 1/4 c. sugar and place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I love my stoneware for this!) Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes or until set. (Cookies will puff up, then flatten and the tops will crackle. Let cool 1 minute before removing from the cookie sheet.

You can't go wrong with these little bites of joy! I am trying the next time with Splenda for the diabetics in the family, I will let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crab Rangoon

Sorry, but I think the cashew chicken needs it famous side kick.. These are SOOO simple and don't come with the additives that some like (such as chives). Feel free to add if you must, but don't over do-it. The simplicity of these is great!

Crab Rangoon
8oz cream cheese
3oz drained flaked crab meat - from a 6oz can
beaten egg

Mix the cream cheese and crab. Fill the wonton wrappers (about 1 tsp). Apply the beaten egg to the sides of the wrapper and gather at the top to seal. Deep fry in oil in your wok and ENJOY!!!

I am enjoying these postings.. I may have to post more yummy recipes soon.. Leave me a comment as to what you would like to see!

A busy week AND a recipe

Sorry it has been so long since I posted, but much has happened. Brian hasn't had his shots in over a week and only one blood draw! The Lord is sooo good, I think he is really on the mend.

I was able to finish all of my classes last week except for my Children's Lit paper, which I finished over the weekend and submitted on Monday. What a blessing to be done, but I find myself wondering, not knowing what to do with my time. I have "officially" finished with one A and one C, but the other two grades have yet to be entered. I am okay with not having a 4.0 this semester, it is simply a testament that I was focused on what I needed to be.

With all of my free time I have started scrapbooking again, hoping to make some LARGE strides in the mound of pictures I have...

I have also been searching the Internet more for websites and blogs about my true love language, organization. One of the things that I am finding in menu planning. I am fascinated by this and I think I might even try my hand at it. Brian and I are really trying to live by the "Financial Peace" rules, but with the accident our emergency account has been emptied and we are looking for where to cut back. The Lord knows our needs though, because we received a very unexpected reimbursement that came at just the right time! I can almost make this months bills! almost....

Anyway, recipes are something that I have been finding, so I thought I would start sharing a few of my favorites. My mom taught cooking classes when I was growing up and our next door neighbor was from Taiwan and had her own restaurant: This is one of my FAVORTIES of my moms: Springfield Cashew Chicken

Thaw chicken breasts (# depends on how many you are serving) and cut into bite size pieces. Put into a bowl with flour and lightly coat and set aside for 15 minutes. Mix 1/4 C. milk per egg and 1 egg per pound of chicken breast plus salt and pepper to taste. Have a bowl of flour set aside. Put all the chicken in the egg mixture and let stand for another 10 minutes. heat oil in a wok - once hot, dip chicken piece by piece in flour and into the oil. The chicken is done when it is light brown. Keep warm in a low oven while you prepare the sauce.

Sauce: 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water.
1 T cornstarch
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t oyster sauce - you can find MSG free, but you have to look at the bottles carefully.

Top with cashew nuts and ENJOY!! Warning: this is a messy time, but a good time!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keys of Fire

I have been hard at work on my homework assignments. I finished 5 assignments yesterday, today I took my English final and wrote my music paper in less than two hours. Other than taking my test, I simply have my 5 page English paper to write. I pray it goes as smoothly as my music one did, although I think this one may prove a little more difficult.

Tomorrow we go for Brian's blood work. I am THRILLED that he hasn't had any pain or fluttering in his chest since we stopped the shots. I just hope he is telling me the truth when he says he feels fine.

I am off to read articles so that I can write tomorrow. Sleep well world, my computer needs a break.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Standing Still in Traffic

Sometimes that is what my life feels like... that I am standing still in traffic. Goliath has been throwing up all weekend and has had the runs, so this morning after my chiro appointment, off to the vet we went. Oddly enough, Goliath isn't sick. I found out that my poor puppy has a nerve issue, his are shot. With us being in the hospital for so long and running to and fro between doctors, Goliath is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Poor thing, now he knows how his mommy feels. Which is bad, because he feeds off my emotions, so I am doing my best to keep it together for him right now. We got some nausea meds and brought him home, determined to spend the day pampering him and trying to calm him down. I am sure the boxes to pack the Christmas decorations laying around aren't helping because to him, he sees change.

Brian's doctor called today and we were told to stop his shots and wait until Wednesday for another blood draw. I am hoping this is a good sign. Last time we did this Brian was having chest pain within 24 hours because his blood got too thick, so I am going to be very vigilant about watching his pain levels. I know he feels better knowing that he gets a two day vacation from any and all needles, which his body really needs right now.

I have been working today on trying to finish up my homework from my fall classes. I was able to complete 4 music assignments and started my last one just a little while ago. So in total I have:
Chemistry: 1 unit test, chapter homework to turn in and my final
Music: 3 page paper and final
Math: FINISHED!! :) (I got a C though.. :( )
Children's Lit: 5 page paper and final

I have to have it all finished by Friday, but I think with a lot of prayer and some late nights, I will be able to get it accomplished.

Prayer Requests:
Brian: That his blood will stay thin and they can manage it through pills alone
Jenn: To finish the above work quickly and accurately
D: personal issues, finances
B: finances and coping with life changes
P: finances

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Wild Weekend

What a weekend. We had a WONDERFUL group from Sight and Sound come and help us install an attic ladder so i can now get into the attic while Brian is injured. They retrieved all the Christmas boxes for me and I have everything packed away but the trees themselves and ready to return up there. I know I can do it now because I have a safe way! Thank-You Thank-You Thank-You!!!

Friday Brian went to see the doctor about his TSLO brace and got really good news. They are hoping at next months appt that he will be at the 60% point in his healing and can come out of the brace. Right now, he is doing well enough that if he needs to get up in the middle of the night for the restroom or when he takes a shower, he doesn't have to put the brace on. I think this news is doing a lot towards helping with Brian's depression. Now if I could just get a hug without it on, I would be happy!!

Medicine and Brian's workman's comp has been a nightmare, so I finally ended up paying for the RX's and hopefully we will get it worked out with them. I was just happy the doctor finally decided to call them in.

Mom ended up in the ER last night with a blister in her ear ... it finally ruptured about 6am, but since she had driven herself there and they had to give her morphine to try and help with the pain, Grandma and Grandpa Jim had to go and get her. God bless family...

We have had a dear friend that is going through some very hard personal things right now, and this weekend they all came to a head. My heart cries out because I know there is nothing I can do to ease the pain, which I soooo want to do, so my prayer list must continue as this:
for the Lord to provide the money to live on day by day, to take care of a MAJOR financial obstacle, for propane for the winter and for peace and understanding.

Other Prayer Requests:
Brian: Pray for minimal depression and praise for the wonderful news about his brace!
Jenn: The dedication to finish up this last week of school and the ability to retain everything to get through my tests.
P2: Financial situation and work situation
D: Personal life

Thank you for being a prayer warrior. Feel free to leave us your prayer requests and rest assured they will be prayed over!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Insurance Companies

I am not sure who they are for... The doctors claim they don't benefit them, but after yesterday, I know they don't want to benefit us. Yesterday just seemed to be a bad day all around. It was 9 degrees, so just a little cold, and I lost my hat. I think somewhere at Target, but who knows. All I know is that it is gone. Plus, everything just seemed to take forever yesterday. Finally we went to pick up Brian's prescriptions and none of them were ready. The doctor has been out for 3 weeks and his associates didn't want to call two of them in due to the fact that they didn't feel "comfortable" with it. I don't feel comfortable with my husband being taken off his seizure medication suddenly because of their negligence. Then we couldn't get his coumadin refilled because the insurance company said it was too soon. When he is taking 2.5 pills a day, I don't know how long they think 30 pills will last him?!?! Anyway, they finally called 10 minutes before the pharmacy closed last night that the insurance company finally approved the coumadin. I still have no idea what I am to do about the other two. I keep calling the offices. I am sure they are tired of hearing from me. Perhaps that means it is time to call again.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Feelings of a Pin Cushion...

Brian is feeling more and more like a pin cushion every day. He went for a blood draw again today and even though it was at the hospital, they had to stick him twice. I know he is growing frustrated and I wish there was something I could do to take it all away. The doctors called this afternoon and apparently didn't find what they wanted because they are increasing his coumadin again today. He keeps asking me if he is doing something wrong, that there is something he can change... I have no answers. I monitor what he eats, give him his shots and make sure he takes his meds... beyond that I feel so helpless as well. Tonight I made myself physically ill just worrying over it.

I borrowed my moms laptop today so that I can work on my homework. I have to have it finished by next Friday, I guess no rest for the weary. There is so much pressure, but I refuse to give in to it. I will prevail.

I am very excited that this weekend Brian's co-workers are coming to help us take down our Christmas decorations! I can't wait since I am the type of person that usually has them down the day after Christmas. Having this up this time has been a little weird.

Prayer Requests:
Brian: Healing, for his blood to thin, for them to be able to draw his blood easily, minimal depression.
Jenn: The dedication and drive to finish school - remember what I have learned. Finances.
P: Emotional and Physical direction. Anger issues
D: Peace of mind about life issues, financial issues
P2: Financial Issues

Thank you everyone for keeping up with us and your prayers!! It means the world to us!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A busy day

Today started on a not so good note and kinda went from there. We started at 8 with Brian's shot and then headed to get Brian's blood draw at the dr.'s office. After 4 tries Brian had had enough. They weren't finding anything so he opted to go to the hospital and have them draw his blood. It was going to have to wait until after his therapy appointment though. They were running behind and hadn't gotten him in until 9:30, so we were a little late getting to speech therapy.

Speech therapy went very well and in fact Brian was released!! His therapist has been very happy with his progress and feels like he has progressed back to the point he was at before the accident or even surpassed it! This was by far the highpoint of our day!

As soon as we left therapy, we were headed to Cox South for Brian's blood draw. After an hour of registering and waiting, they finally took Brian back. The tech took a long time looking for a vein since Brian has been stuck so many times. Once he finally decided on one we still wern't sure it was going to work. He "fished" in the vein for a good 2 minutes (being very gentle, albeit) and was just about to pull out the butterfly needle when he was able to get some blood. Finally!

Andrea, a dear friend of ours, Nana fell over the weekend and was awaiting a hip surgery while in traction at Cox. So while we were there we headed up to see her. She is so sweet and Nana looked like an angel even while she was in a tremendous amount of pain. We left the hospital to get some lunch about 1:00. As we were headed back to Ozark for my chiro appointment, Andrea called and they were going to take Nana to surgery at 3:00.

We headed home to let the dogs out and grab the mail on the way to the doctor. As soon as we got to the chiropractor, Brian's doctor from that morning called with bad news. His blood is not thinning at all. They are upping his coumadin again and he will start another round of shots. They also want him to return to the hospital tomorrow for another blood draw. I am not sure what the plan of action is tomorrow if the blood is not any thinner, because as I understand it, he is on the highest dose of coumadin that he can be. As soon as I was done with my appointment, I checked with the pharmacy to make sure we could get his shots in and we headed back to the hospital to sit with Andrea while Nana was in surgery. She did well and should be back in her room by the time I am writing this.

Today has been very busy and it is very draining... both emotionally and physically for both of us. I pray that we don't have many more days like this, for I know how the wear on Brian.

Prayer requests:
Brian: blood clots, strength, continued healing, minimal depression
E: Healing, life choices
P: Life choices, spiritual strength
D: Depression, anger, financial and the strength to pray through it all

Thank You!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Weekend in a Nutshell

Considering what the weekends of late have entailed, this one was fairly uneventful. I have come down with a head cold, which is quite un-fun. Brian is feeling pretty good, but battling depression due to the fact that he feels he won't be able to return to work when he wants t0.

The spring semester starts tomorrow and it is a little surreal that I won't be attending. I will still be tutoring two days a week, but not being in classes feels a little strange.

My head hurts from not enough cold medicine.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

And the shots begin again...

Well that didn't last long. Brian began another round of shots today. This will make the third round of shots, but at least this time they are also increasing his coumadin. We will be taking him for a PV/INR tomorrow and another one on Monday to find out where his blood levels are. Hopefully we will start seeing better results.

The ENT doctor gave us good news this week. The hole in Brian's ear looks like it has a film growing over it, which is a sign of healing. They will test him again in two months to find out how his hearing is coming along and weather he will recover the ability to hear the high tones that he lost with the injury. As for the facial paralysis, it can take up to another year to heal. They told us it takes on average one month per centimeter for the nerve that was damaged to heal. He has 8in. of fracture and it is un-determined how much of that crossed over the nerve. Even when the healing is done, it is unlikely that Brian will have 100% of his facial usage back.

I spent today in training for the Spring tutoring session at OTC. I will be tutoring writing, speech and CIT. Yesterday I received the news that the college will be able to suspend my scholarships due to the circumstances, so I will be canceling my classes for this Spring. It is unfortunate, but I look at the time off as more time to spend with Brian and a chance to rebuild our emergency fund with some extra work once he goes back to work.

Please continue to pray for finances for not only us, but many of our Branson friends who have been impacted by the furlow time. In addition, we have some very close friends who need some prayer in a family situation. Please pray for E and guidence in some life decisions. Brian is a prime example that prayer works, so I know that this will be an excellent place to ask for extra prayer where needed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

No More Shots! (For now..)

Brian has finished his second round of Lovonox shots as of this evening. Hopefully he won't have to go back on them, but that is only if they can keep his blood thick enough. In my opinion, they may need to up his blood thinning pills instead of making his wife give him injections all the time!! But what do I know.

We took the laptop into be repaired yesterday. While Brian was still on the Neuro floor, a cup of water was knocked onto the laptop by a backboard and it has been acting funny ever since. I guess when it rains, it really pours. In addition, I have had a monster migraine all day. I made it to get my medicine and to my moms, where I proceeded to sleep all day and she "took care" of Brian. There really isn't anything to take care of, but if he falls or starts having chest pain it is always good to have someone there who can think logically.

Since this post doesn't seem to be very logical, I think I am going to leave it at that for today. I have an all day training session tomorrow for English tutoring that I need to get ready for, anyway.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And the Year continues...

To finish my post yesterday....

September I started my third semester at OTC. I knew it was going to be difficult and some of the most challenging classes yet, but I had no idea that more than school was going to be happening this fall. I was taking a Children's Lit class, my major, a world music class and then there was Chemistry and Algebra. James has been a HUGE help in my chemistry class as he is a chemist and a fantastic teacher. Could it be that he missed his calling???

October was fairly normal I think. At this point my fall all begins to run together. I think this was the month that the funerals began. It would have to be, as they ran for 6 weeks and ended the week of Thanksgiving. In those 6 weeks we lost: Uncle David's mom (, Jim Scott (my Graphic Design instructor and a close friend of dad's), Aunt Abby, Dorthy Boutwell (SGT co-founder's wife and a good friend), a scrap-booking buddy whose presence is greatly missed. I know that is only 5 but the last I didn't really know, I knew the person who found him. I have a friend who found her brother in law who had hung himself in his garage.. I was supporting her. During all of this I was taking my midterms and trying to make sure I would finish this semester with another 4.0 and bring my overall grade point average back up from my first college experience. My aunts birthday started a few family problems, but we are all adults, I thought we could talk through them, right??

November started harmlessly enough. Other than the family still not getting along and us reassuring someone that he hadn't divided the family due to actions that did/didn't happen, we were doing fairly well. We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early so some could go to a MSU Volleyball game (which they didn't), but it turned out to be a good thing. Tuesday, November 25th, at 11:15 pm, I got a phone call from Pamela, Brian's supervisor. She needed my permission to take Brian in a ambulance to the hospital. She is so sweet and was just trying to break the news to me gently that he had suffered a very severe fall at work and was going to be Life-flighted to St. John's in Springfield. They took him by ambulance to Skaggs in Branson long enough to put him on the helicopter to St. John's. Brian was working on the side stage during a dimmer check after the show was over. The theater was dark so no one really know what happens, but they know Brian fell from 10-12 feet backwards onto the concrete floor below. Brian sustained many injuries such as bruises on his brain, a spinal fluid leak out of his left ear, a cheek bone fracture, an 8in. skull fracture, a brain hemorrhage on the left side, a broken left collarbone and fractures on the T-5 through the T-10 vertebrae, with his T-10 collapsed. We spent 3 weeks in the hospital, including a 2 week stay on the rehab unit. Brian has been very blessed and even though his injuries were serious, they were all on the minor side. Mom wrote this email...

On Tuesday evening after the show, they were doing dimmer checks (all the lights in the theatre are turned off and the spots on the set are turned on one at a time and checked for angle, brightness, etc. About 11:15 PM, he stepped back to check a light and took a 10 – 12 foot fall from the 2nd level of the ark into the seating below.

When they got to him he was unconscious. 911 was called and an ambulance arrived within minutes. He was conscious but unresponsive. They took him to Skaggs hospital in Branson and life-flighted him to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. (He could not be taken to Cox because they do not have a level one trauma unit).

We beat the helicopter to the hospital and ended up waiting quite a while. He began responding to them just before they reached the hospital and was complaining of abdominal and chest pain. At first we were told to be prepared for a gash in his head because of all the blood. Once they checked him out, they said there was no gash, but there was bleeding from his ears. After CT scans and x-rays, we were allowed to see him and he recognized Jenn and told her he loved her. They told us the chest and abdominal pain was from a broken clavicle and we were told he had a ruptured ear drum. (left side) They moved him to ICU and we were allowed to see him again. After they cleaned him up in ICU they did find 2 abrasions on the back of his head, but he continued to bleed from his left ear. (They were changing the gauze every 2 hours). We were told they thought first one thing and then the other and he was taken back and forth for x-rays, etc until the next afternoon when the trauma Dr. said he had a 1.) temporal bone fracture (left side) 2.) small temporal subarachnoid hemorrhage (left side) 3.) small bilateral temporal contusions 4.) pneumocephalus (air under the skull) related to the skull fracture 5.) cerebral spinal fluid leak from left ear (related to the skull fracture) 6.) Left clavicle fracture 7.) t10 vertebrae fracture…

After more tests and consultations, they have determined to let the body see how much it will heal itself. He will be in a back brace and sling when he’s up for the spinal fracture and they will watch the bleeding in the back of the head (which is what has been draining out his ear with the spinal fluid through the cranial fracture) to make sure it seals itself.

He is being seen by Trauma Drs., Neuro Drs, ENTs….

He was moved into a private room on Thanksgiving and sat on the side of the bed 5 minutes the first day, on the side of the bed 10 minutes and in a chair about an hour the 2nd day – and then taken off his IV and had his catheter taken out, he sat in the chair a couple of hours and walked almost to the door the 3rd day and walked 3 times and sat up a few hours today. Today he passed the test to be moved to the rehab floor tomorrow and will be working with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and neuro therapist.

Due to the fact that the cranial fracture involves the nerves to the face, there is some drooping on the left side of his face.

He is making fantastic progress daily and is very anxious to be back on his feet, so is working very hard to do anything asked of him.

December was when we were able to go home and were very excited that we would be home for Christmas. Unfortunately, God had other things in mind. On December 23, Pamela came over to watch movies and spend some time with friends. Brian was feeling too well and couldn't decide if his brace was on too tight or he was having a panic attack. We finally put him to bed with a Xanax and hoped he could sleep it off. I watched him breathe all night, but it seemed labored and uneasy.. The next morning I called Dr. Kent and took him to the ER - Christmas was not to be at home. Brian had developed multiple blood clots in each lung and needed to be hospitalized immediately. The only thing keeping him out of ICU at that point was the fact that he wasn't in respiratory distress. On many levels, this was more serious than the initial accident. He was put on two different blood thinners and we were able to go home December 28th.

New Year's Eve we didn't make plans, so we got to spend it at home. We stayed away from the hospitals and enjoyed the evening just us. We are still doing doctor appointments, therapy sessions, pills and have even had to go back on the shots because his blood won't thin like it should, but overall, I still have my husband and I am VERY glad about that. Brian is a walking miracle and is so because of the prayer he has received.

2008 has now come to a close and I can't say that I am sad about it. We started out so wonderful, but didn't end so hot. And now we begin 2009 and can only wonder what this year holds in store for us.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The events that changed 2008

We started out so wonderful in 2008. We were in Florida at Disney World on Januray 1st, how horrible of a year could we have??

January was great. We spent 4 days in Florida at the Disney parks and then went on a 4 day Disney cruise. It was fantastic! Relaxing, albeit cold, we had the best time! We came home and I started school, which is where this blog began.

February was normal. Hunter turned 1 and school and work continued as scheduled.

March began another change. Brian was restless and unhappy with his job. He had been under quite a bit of stress and I guess I didn't know how much until he brought me a job application that he wanted to fill out. It was for the new Sight and Sound Theater in Branson that was bringing in Noah- the Musical. We prayed about it, and decided to go ahead and apply and leave it up to God.

April is when Brian got the new job and started at Sight and Sound. They were due to open in May, so he started work in late April. I was also in midterms at this point, so it was a very busy month.

May went by without too much hassle. I finished my first semester back with a 4.0 and managed to make the Presidents list. Brian's show opened and is a HUGE success... it is the talk of the town! With 100 real animals and twice that many anamatronics (sp), the show has quite the WOW factor..

June was Brian's birthday and our 9 year anniversary. He had to work, but they sent him home a little early so we got to see each other for a little bit. I decided to take Summer classes, so I was back in school by this time.

July was fine. It was hot, there was plenty of homework and Brian had lots of shows. We took the end of July, first part of August and worked kids camp at Windemere in Roach, MO. We had lots of fun, but I don't think we were as prepared as years past.

August was the end of my summer term (another 4.0) and the start of the Fall semester. That is when our year became very interesting..

I will have to finish the year in the next post since this one is not only long, but Brian would like to go to bed and that now require both of us. More on that remark to come...