Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 2006

One of the traditions in our family is baking cookies for Christmas. I remember spending many happy moments in the kitchen with my Mom and with my grandmother and great-grandmother (in mid 1950's in Germany) baking cookies for Christmas. My great-grandmother had a stove/oven heated by wood to get the temperature "just right". There wasn't a dial to get the oven to 350 degrees, but the cookies seemed to always come out just right. When Mack was about Lauren's age, I got him started in helping me bake cookies too, and he enjoyed it. Each year he looked forward to helping me bake the Christmas cookies until he left home to be on his own. As he got older, he looked forward to eating the cookies more than baking them. This year, Mom and I passed that tradition of baking cookies on to Lauren, my granddaughter, Mom's great-granddaughter. Mom made Lauren her own special little apron to wear for the occasion. As you can see, Lauren was getting a lesson from her "Uri" in how to handle the cookies prior to baking. This year she mostly did the decorating with sprinkles. After we finished baking the sugar cookies and started on the second batch of chocolate chip cookies she said "Oma, I'm tired, this is hard work", so I had to finish baking the chocolate chips cookies. The finalle was when Lauren and Mom used the last bit of sugar cookie dough to bake a special cookie that "looked" like Lauren.

The day after Thanksgiving Mom had to have surgery done on her heart to slow the heart rate down. Her heart was racing all the time as if she were running, which could have caused her to have a stroke. The procedure was done on Friday, after Thanksgiving, at Chippenham Hospital and she spent the night there for observation. The next night, she stayed with me so that I could keep an eye on her, and the following day (Sunday) I took her to her house. That evening she started having complications and went to JRH -ER and was transported back to Chippenham the next morning where she spent 3 more days in the hospital having tests done and getting stable again. Needless to say, it's been quite an ordeal having Mom with complicatons in one hospital and Mack having surgery in the other.

We noticed on Thanksgiving that Mack's upper left jaw
was swollen and he was drooling again. I remembered that he used to have tooth aches weeks before the accident. The nurse on duty checked in his mouth to see if he could detect any problems and he determined that one or two teeth had cavaties. The doctor was notified and x-rays were done to find out what the problem was. The x-rays showed that Mack had an impacted wisdom tooth which was causing the biggest problem and the doctor scheduled him for surgery to have it removed. They removed the impacted wisdom tooth and two other teeth that were causing problems and couldn't be saved. This happened on the same day that Mom was in Chippenham to have her surgery done, so I stayed with Mom and Richard stayed with Mack for each of their surgeries. Mack did fine throughout the surgery and is healing well. Mack has started moving his left leg as much as he has been moving his right leg. We've been waiting for that to happen. He also started moving his left arm slightly last night when Richard was there.

Mack had a headache last Sunday afternoon. While we were there visiting, he started rubbing his eyes and head as if he had something bothering him and rolled over to his left side and tried to hide in the pillow. I've seen this behavior with him before the accident and realized that he must have a severe headache to act like that. Mack has always had a high tollerance for pain and would never complain until something was really painful. We got the nurse to give him Motrin and about 15 minutes later, Mack calmed down and seemed to be okay.

As I've mentioned before, I think Mack is hungry and thirsty and is trying to tell us so. He puts everything he can into his mouth. On Thanksgiving we gave him some crushed ice to see what he would do with it and he chewed and swallowed it without complications. We have to watch him closely to make sure that he does swallow it and that he doesn't inhale and aspirate it into his lungs. That could cause him to have pneumonia again. Richard checked with Mack's Speech Pathologist about giving him crushed ice and "liquid-type" food. He said that it would be okay, but that there is a risk that Mack could inhale it into his lungs and that we would have to be very careful with it and watch him swallow it. With that in mind, we've also been giving Mack a little applesauce and pudding and he's done just fine with it so far. Last night when Richard was feeding him crushed ice, Mack grabbed Richard's arm when he saw the spoon coming and shoved the spoon into his mouth with a vengance several times. He chewed the ice and swallowed it without any problem. If Mack doesn't swallow what's in his mouth within a short time, we aspirate it back out just to be safe.

Seems that Mack has two Christmas trees in his room now. One from us with red and white bells and one with gold decorations. We also got him a Grinch that sings to him. He loved the Jim Carry movie version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". I think Mack's favorite holiday is Christmas, because of all the activities surrounding it and family getting together. He also looks forward to opening the gifts at Christmas. I saw a Santa outfit for dogs at Wal-Mart recently and I think it may fit Alex, his dog. We plan on getting Alex dressed up in the Santa outfit and taking him back up to visit Mack real soon. I'll try to remember to take my camera and take pictures of it to post later.

David and Crystal (Mack's oldest sister) are getting married this coming Sunday, and I'm sorry to say that Mack will miss yet another wedding in his family. We will have to share pictures and videos of it with him later on when he can comprehend what's going on again. Richard and I wish David and Crystal much happiness, peace, and love as they go through life as husband and wife. I couldn't be happier seeing the two of them get together. They're both wonderful people and actually found each other through the daughter of a mutual friend of my best friend and sister-in-law, Sue Farmer. With David's two sons and Crystal's two daughters, they'll have a wonderful, happy family together.

Thanks for all the prayers for Mack and the family. Please remember to visit the elderly, the sick and shut-ins over the winter and help them with things that they can't do themselves. If you have a neighbor or friend that lives alone, please call and check on them frequently to make sure they are okay, as they don't come out of the house much in the winter.

Our love to all,
Ruth & Richard


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