Happy V-Day!!!

This may be a post to file under “too much information”, but seeing as we’ve posted 400 times in the last year it’s probably way too late for that.  We had another medical procedure in our family today, but this time it wasn’t Rudy.  While some of the folks in my office thought I was taking advantage of a 3-day weekend, my day started off with a 30 minute procedure on this table.Dr. Table

 Very quick and efficient as far as doctor’s appointments go…yet permanently life-altering.  Not sure if we’ve mentioned here before that a heart condition was arguably only the second biggest surprise surrounding Rudy.   His penchant for beating the odds was there from the beginning given his deft maneuvering past countermeasures deemed 98% effective.  But 2% probability is still probability.  Shortly after Livy was born we had discussed taking more permanent steps, but that fell in a crack somewhere on “the list” between going to the dentist, updating the will and cleaning out the rain gutters.  But trust me.  We’re done.

Perhaps our family’s immersion in the medical world this past year has us in a place where such a procedure is discussed with surprising candor.  A generation ago I suspect Daddy would have just been feeling under the weather for a day, but I learned that Trish felt differently when the kids greeted me in the driveway a couple days ago with giggles and all kinds of curious questions.  Amazing how brutal things can sound when medical terminology is replaced with the lunch-table vernacular of elementary school boys and a conception of surgical precision has seemingly not progressed much past that of a Civil War field hospital.

In the consultation prior to my procedure protocol demanded that the doctor explain the finality of what one is about to undertake and assess whether the patient truly feels he is done procreating.  In my case, his quick glance at the medical history alleviated any need for further questions (“Let’s see you’re 42, kids aged 12, 10, 7 and……..9 months!  Sign here!”)   

In one of the brochures they gave me to read, I was advised to take stock of my current offspring and determine whether my life would feel incomplete without any more.  I don’t think it was to be read as a joke book, but I did find it funny.  I was urged to take some time and take stock of the situation and my hopes and dreams.  I have to confess, I didn’t do much of it then but this weekend of reclining and recuperating also affords some time for reflection.  Final score:  3 boys, 1 girl.  In terms of the Geyling family, amidst siblings who appear marginal in their ability to produce male progeny, I have done my part in producing three capable of carrying on the name.  In terms of the species, I have done my part to propagate exceptional traits in my offspring—one of intelligence, creativity and rhythm; one of athleticism, charm and humor; one of grace, beauty and artistry, and one with matchless tenacity and perseverance.

You’re welcome! 

 

PS.  Note to any dinner guests in the near future—you might want to decline the peas.

Making His Way Toward The Chart!

Playtime!
Playtime!

Rudy had another appointment with his pediatrician yesterday and weighed in at 16lbs 7oz to which the doctor exclaimed “Rudy is getting closer to being on the growth chart!”.  Woo – Hoo!  In regards to “normal” baby stuff, things checked out fine…he got three immunization shots and Olivia got his lollipop.  I have been delinquent in setting up appointments with the Immunologist and Endocrinologist in town and yesterday’s appointment reminded me of the pending authorizations so I came right home and got those appointments on the calendar.  I don’t think there are specific concerns but because of Rudy’s history with immune deficiences and low thyroid function, it’s good to have follow-ups with these specialists…I have to admit, though, I grow weary of introducing Rudy and his medical history to so many new doctors…it feels like we’re spinning our wheels a bit filling out the same forms over and over and repeating the same information over and over for each new doctor’s records but I guess that’s part of “establishing a team”.  Over time the doctors here in Santa Barbara will grow to know Rudy well and there will be security in that but for now, almost THREE months post-discharge, I still feel a little lost and scattered in the menagerie of Rudy’s care-management.

Rudy doesn’t seem any worse for the wear, though.  He has been feeding well, smiling more and reaching for objects held out in front of him more and more.   Our lazy days at home may be a little boring for me and the older kids, but Rudy sure loves ’em. 

Handsome 013

Handsome!!!

Rudy may be behind in many ways developmentally but no one can argue his stellar performance in the hair-growing department.  After Dr. Rick accused us of blow-drying Rudy’s mane to get that frothy trademark look of his, I decided it was time to give the boy a real haircut.  Wilson and Max didn’t have their first “big boy” haircuts until they were nearly 2 yrs. old…Rudy was way overdo at 9 months!!!  So, with Rolf’s help holding the poor boy upright and still, the curls fell fast with every snip of my scissors.  What emerged is a handsome boy looking well beyond his years (or months?).  In addition, now that the rest of his hair is shorter, his bald spot in the back doesn’t look quite as obvious!

Rudy was pretty happy with his old look!
Rudy was pretty happy with his old look!
He's a little suspicious!
He's a little suspicious!
NOT liking the experience!
NOT liking the experience!
The many faces of Rudy…
TAH-DAH!
TAH-DAH!

Handsome 007

Handsome 009

Handsome 012

Happy to be done with the whole thing!
Happy to be done with the whole thing!

 

Another precious milestone under his belt!

Is There A Doctor In The House?…

Actually, there were TWO!!! 

Dr. Rick and Dr. Susan

Lucky for us, Dr. Rick and his wife Dr. Susan were in town early this week and had time to stop by for dinner Monday evening.  What fun it was to see them both and catch up while enjoying a summer BBQ rather than seeing Dr. Rick in the context of discussing Rudy’s medical condition bedside in the ICU.   We tried hard not to pepper him with questions about work and the goings on at UCLA but it sounds like all are well.  Although Rudy slept for a good bit of their visit, he did wake up long enough to study Dr. Rick’s face trying very hard to place him, I think.  We were encouraged to hear Rick say that he thought Rudy had good color and appeared to be thriving at home.  It’s SO FUN to have confirmation from someone who knows him so well!!!  Rolf and I highly respect the professional relationship we have with Rudy’s medical team but we are also so very grateful for the emerging friendships within those professional boundaries…it sure helps to make the serious steps ahead in Rudy’s journey alot less intimidating!

 

Earlier on Monday,  Rudy had therapy with Gwen and OT Chris.  After the session, they assessed Rudy’s developmental level as that of a 4-month old.  He’s definitely improving but we need to be prepared for the process to be a slow one.  I found the information helpful…specifics to direct my prayer for Rudy in these weeks before the Glenn.   The more he can master now the better but we also don’t want to overwork him…as always, a fine balance.

A Tale of Two Weekends

Our family had two eventful weekends in one.  First, Trish and Olivia got to go out to Kansas for a mini family reunion with the Wilsons.  The highlight was joining Grandpa and “Team Wilson” for a 5k run/walk.  Rudy joined along in spirit as G’pa Dick competed with a pair of Rudy’s “running socks” pinned to his number.  Team Wilson dominated the course with Wilsons in the front of the pack, holding steady in the middle and bringing up the rear throughout the race and EVERYONE finished with a smile on his/her face.  G’pa won bragging rights as the #1 male walker of the day with his good friend Bob coming in a close second!  Olivia was determined to walk too and finished despite the heat and humidity…not quite sure what she thought of humidity (ha).  She also experienced her first Midwest thunderstorm AND the thrill of catching never-before-seen lightning bugs!

Livy stretches out with Grandpa and cousins Rachel and Emma before the race
Livy stretches with Grandpa and cousins Rachel and Emma before the race

 

Thumbs up at the finish line!!!
Thumbs up at the finish line!!!
Another win for G'pa Dick!
Another win for G'pa Dick!
Team Wilson
Team Wilson
A rare "sibs pic" with big bros Rick and Steve :-)
A rare "sibs pic" with big bros Rick and Steve 🙂

Back here in Goleta we had a full weekend of our own.  Before I get into the details I have to mention the Rescue Mission graduation on Saturday night.  We celebrated the achievements of a dozen heroes who completed their twelve months in the recovery program.  Thanks Heather, Jessica, Kelly, Nanci, Rachel, Andrew, Ben, Cal, Edward, Jay, Morris, and Sergio for being examples of how intimidating struggles are best approached by leaning on the people God has placed around you and by taking things one day at a time.  I love what I do in that it gets me a front row seat to watch lives transformed. 

Stepping back from the profound, Wilson and Max declared this weekend to be a “DUDE-CATION” as all the females in the family had vacated the premesis.  I was glad they took time to brief Rudy on the elaborate wild-man rites undertaken when boys find themselves separate from girls for extended periods of time (because I needed a refresher).  Turns out there’s quite a bit of freedom to be taken with bodily functions and noises–and more extensive and detailed conversations regarding them than I ever thought.

On a true dude-cation, all meals must  be eaten without utensils.  Considering there was toast and sandwiches in good supply, this was easily done, but I thought there would be an exception made when it was time for lasagna.  Turns out Max’s commitment runs deep, even when the melted cheese singed his fingers.

Max Lasagna#1

 

max lasagna #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You laugh a lot on a dude-cation, which is always welcome.  True dudes also laugh in the face of danger.  While anyone can enter the pool the conventional way, it’s much more fun to do something daring:

Wilson Roof Jump
Wilson
Max Roof Jump
Max

OK, I know.  Responsible parents wouldn’t let their kids do this, but after you let them roll your six-day-old down into the OR for heart surgery your notion of what’s dangerous gets altered.  Not to mention, it just plain ROCKS!  Rest easy, there’s no picture of Rudy engaging in the ceremonial Dude-cation roof leap…yet.  I guess you’ll be sending your kids to someone else’s house when you go out of town for the weekend.

Rudy Climbs a mountain

Even though some kids with heart defects can’t go to upper elevations, Rudy went on a high-altitude adventure (kind of).  Nurse Aliza spent the last few weeks hiking the John Muir Trail and took him along. 

 

Aliza bracelet

Aliza bracelet2

Thanks for sporting your handsome Rudy bracelet, Aliza–Rudy and Lance make good company.  If anyone else happens to take Rudy on an adventure, we’d love to hear about it.

Run, Grandpa, Run!

    Run, Grandpa, Run 002

 

 It was March of 1998 when Wilson attended his first “Grandpa Dick” road race in Santa Clara, CA sporting his “Run, Grandpa, Run” tshirt and very first pair of Nike running shoes!  (I’d like to know how many of my Dad’s races I attended over the years.)  Well, Olivia and I are headed to Kansas today for a little family reunion with my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law and some of my nieces and nephews to, you guessed it, run (or, in my case, WALK) a race with my Dad in Topeka. 

     When Dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in October (the same week Rudy was born), the plan for everyone to come home and cheer Dad on at the race was put on the calendar.  Because Rudy’s second open heart surgery was likely going to happen right about now, we didn’t think we’d be able to make it but when the Glenn was pushed back, I was suddenly freed up to go!!!  I hate that I have to leave Rolf and the boys at home but I’m grateful Olivia and I can be a part of such a special time to celebrate and embrace family.  It will be a quick trip…a total of 48 hours but we’ll be sure to pack it full of fun.

     Like Rudy, Grandpa Dick is proving himself strong in the face of a life-threatening condition.  So many of you have commited to pray for him and I thank you…I know my parents appreciate the prayerful support as well!  Recent MRIs have not detected any new cancer growth since his surgery in October and we praise God for allowing the exsisting cancer to be held a bay.

     Life’s twists and turns and the timing of it all, of late, are curious to me and yet I’m so grateful for the assurance that, ultimately, everything is going to be okay…BETTER than okay because God’s hand is guiding every twist and turn and each step, if I choose to trust and not fight to control it all,  is one closer to His best for me…His best for Rudy…His best for Gpa Dick, etc…you get the idea.  🙂    Alrighty, it’s time to go fly those friendly skies…

KU Hall of Famer and NCAA Champ :-)
KU Hall of Famer and NCAA Champ 🙂