Friday, May 22, 2009

A LONG story of a knocked-out tooth

I know...this is a REALLY bad picture! But I was trying to get a shot of Taiger's tooth. Check out the tooth on the left. See how it looks longer? It is knocked half way out! The root pulled out, so it is hanging longer! YIKES!

So, Taiger went with my Mom (NaiNai) to Idaho to visit Grandpa and the rest of the family. He was having a wonderful time! On Tuesday, I called to check on him (for the thousandth time, really) and NaiNai greeted me with a, "Perfect timing" (that what Mom's are great at, huh?!). She told me Taiger had just knocked his tooth halfway out. I talked to him and he was absolutely hysterical. He could hardly breath, and talked between sobs. Poor boy! I was beside myself. Later, I found out that he and NaiNai had been playing a game where he would run up behind her and grab her. She would pretend to be startled. He would laugh, and then do it again. They were playing in the kitchen. Well, NaiNai heard Taiger's little feet running, and then he never hit her. Instead (and this is where no one really knows what happens), he "missed" her and ran into the cupboard! NaiNai turned to see little Taiger sprawled on the kitchen floor! He had hit the cupboard so hard it had knocked him on his back! (We think he must have been running and turned to look behind him, turning back only in time to smack the cupboard). Later on, he showed NaiNai where he had hit: the porcailan handle of the cupboard.

Well, I got off the phone with NaiNai and my screaming son and called the dentist. I got Taiger an appointment for the next day. NaiNai and Taiger hurried home. All the way to Utah, Taiger slept. When he stirred, he didn't look around confused as a normal child waking from a nap, but rather looked completely dazed when he did stir. I called to check on him and asked my Mom if he could have a concusion. She said she didn't think so, since it was the front of his face, not the back of his head.

Remember how Taiger got his two front teeth filled in right at the top of the tooth at the gum line? That yellow is the filling in stuff. The yellow line on the left tooth is where his tooth USED to be at the gum! The white about the yellow? THAT IS THE ROOT!!!!!!!!!!! OUCH!

When they arrived him, I saw that Taiger's tooth was knocked half way out, so the front exposed the root and hung at an unsightly angle back. The back must have still been attached to the gums. After hugs and snuggles, he wanted to go out on his swing. NaiNai took him outside and I came and pushed him softly on his swing. He then came in the house and vomited.

I thought the throwing up was due to taking tylonal on an empty stomach (I learned he had been so busy playing, he had hardly eaten dinner the night before and had had only some dry cereal that morning, just before the accident). So, I made him some broth and put chunks of bread in it so they were soft enough not to have to chew. Taiger ate that up, but still acted strangely.

Even though he had slept the enture way to Utah, he still fell asleep early. I chalked it up to the trauma he had been through, the PAIN, and all of the crying. He slept through the night...except when he woke with pain, or to attempt to throw up (but was actually, and painfully, dry heaving). He didn't wake once from lack of sleepiness. The next morning, he ate litterally two tiny bites of oatmeal and threw up again.

He was so fussy all morning. He was weak and seemed like a child with a very high fever. His mouth was quite swollen still and he was in a ton of pain. He kept asking again and again if we could PLEASE go to the dentist. It was heartbreaking.

I know...he has a troll/ogre face here. But he was in a TON of pain, and Mommy just kept making him take pictures! What a good little trouper! Not to mention his mouth was TOTALLY swollen. :(

Because he was so beside himself about getting to the dentist, we left TONS early. Good thing we did, because he vomited again on the way there, and we had to turn around to change and get cleaned up. I took him in the house. He was like a zombie walking in and could not get himself up the steps to the door. He was walking so slowly. Once inside, I hurried to his room to find him some clothes. He followed me. I asked if he wanted to sit down for a minuet. He said, "I just want to lay down here". He lay down on the hardwood floor of the hallway outside his room and fell asleep abruptly. And that is when I REALLY began to worry. I cleaned him up and changed his pants, but I didn't attempt the shirt. I didn't want to hurt his tooth, and he was in no state to hold his head up while I put it on him carefully. I carried him and his shirt (and an extra shirt, just in case) to the car. Taiger slept all the way to his dentist (about 20 mins away). When he did wake up, it seemed he was asleep when his eyes were open, because of his slack jaw and dazed eyes. His body was limp. When his eyes were closed, I didn't know if he was asleep because nothing about his body position changed. He was as relaxed in being awake as he was asleep. It was disconserting.

When we arrived at the dentist, he stayed asleep while I carried him in, checked in and gave them our insurence card, and waited in the waiting room. He didn't wake once. He woke only when I lay him in the dentist chair. Then, it was in the same state as before...vacant, completely relaxed (and not in a good, healthy, ready for bed way! More like an almost passed out state). He didn't move while they worked on him. They took x-rays, but Taiger was hardly lucid. When we went into the room where the dds performed procedures, I asked Taiger if it was okay if she pulled his tooth. He said it was. They extracted the tooth without a peep from Taiger (although he did flinch twice).

After we left, we went to the Chinese restaurant and ordered tofu to go. My Mom had met us there and waited in the car while I paid. I sat in the car with Taiger until the food was ready. (Anyway, that IS important later...even though it seems I only put it in there to show what a bad Mom I am...making my son wait in pain while I order FOOD! JERK!)

When we returned home, the numbing was wearing off, and the pain was setting in full force. Taiger cried and cried, begging to go back to the dentist for more "paper towel" (gauze the dentist put in his mouth. I offered to go buy some, or even "get some from the dentist" aka store, but he would have none of it! He only wanted the one at the dentist...I assume because now his teeth hurt and the gauze had felt good, so it must have been a "special" kind).

Anyway, so in the end...Taiger calmed down and was able to drink something our neighbor had brought over. It was a meal replacement drink, like a Slim Fast. It was chocolate flavoured, and Taiger LOVED it! (At the Chinese restaurant, I had stollen him a straw with which to drink the meal replacement). After he drank that, I baked him muffins, and he ate two! Then, he ate almost ALL of one box of tofu I had picked up, some rice, a piece of bananna, AND he wanted macaroni and cheese! He also drank a ton of water.

Well, that was the end of it! He perked RIGHT up, was okay the rest of the night and GREAT today! What an ordeal!

Luckily, he looks TOTALLY cute missing one of his front teeth! OH! AND one of the FIRST things he did after it happened was attempt a whistle...and succeed. He has been whistling the entire day!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Small Stones, a carnival, and Taiger sees someone who looks like him!

I haven't posted on here in SO long! That is mainly due to the fact that I have been posting more on my other blog, sixteensmallstones.blogspot.com. I am really, really excited about the things happening with Sixteen Small Stones! If you want to hear more, hop on over to that blog! If you want to be involved with SSS, just let me know! We have a WAY fun fundraiser we are organizing, and we have some projects in the works, too! I can't wait to get things started, but I am also really curious to see who we bring on board with SSS. If you want to be involved in any way, let me know! Even if just ONE time. I am looking for board members, but just as much, we are looking for people who would be interested in reading news letters about what we are doing, or donating money or items as a one-time thing, or helping with our fundraising projects (that are going to be FUN, not tedious or involving just asking random people for money, or something!) or helping me keep things organized, helping to get our NGO status...there is a LOT to be done, and ANYONE who wants to can (PLEASE) help (I REALLY NEED IT!).

Aside from Small Stones, things are going well for Taiger and me. I hope to have more time to post and to post some pictures. I have taken TONS, but it always takes time to upload them, so I haven't been getting around to it. I promise I will soon, though.

We went to the Sugarhouse carnival last week. Boy, was that ever fun! We got there at the end, but were still able to participate in all of the things Taiger wanted to do! The BEST part was the 25 cent cotton candy! YES! Only 25 cents!!!!! Needless to say, we stocked up! Also needless to say, the line was a MILE long! Jeremy was so nice and stood in line for us while I took Taiger to do the other activities. By the time we got to the front of the cotton candy line, most of the booths were down and they were cleaning up! Thank Heaven for Jeremy! If Taiger and I had had to stay in line the entire time, Taiger would have missed the entire carnival!

The other day while I was at work, a little boy who was African/African American...(can I just say he was BLACK or is that considered a no-no?) walked by our house with his parents. Taiger came running in the house shouting for Bryttan to come see! As Bryttan rushed outside wondering what was causing all of the excitement, Taiger exclaimed excitedly, "See that boy? He is black like me! His lips are like mine, and his hair is like mine, too!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MANY MIRACLES are taking place in Ghana, THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!!!!

WOW! What a miracle! My heart was softened with humility as I read the post on Becky's blog. I didn't know what to expect from Becky's post on her blog. I didn't know if things would go well for William and the other children she has cared for. I didn't know. But I didn't need to. No one needed to know. We just all needed FAITH. Trust in God and Faith that He would care for His children.

I copied Becky's post from her blog because she can tell her experience much better than I could (obviously, since all I know came from her post!)

Before that, however, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU! to everyone...EVERY ONE who supported William, Patience and the other children. You cannot guess the blessing you have been to them. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!

Feet have been healed. A child that I worried would never walk again doesn’t need me any more. Mission accomplished. God DID NOT forget. Three pounds each have been added to two children who DESPERATELY needed weight. I don’t show faces, because their struggles are theirs alone to share. But, trust me, these brothers pull at my heart like NO one ever has before (and I have four, soon to be five children). Something about the way they have survived makes me love them in a different way than I have ever experienced. They will not be my children, but they are truly special. God DID NOT forget. Three days after I got here a boy appeared that I recognized vaguely. I realized that I had his picture, but that he was now markedly skinnier. He is 12 and weighed in at 73 lbs. He told me he had “Malaria”, which is the diagnosis for any fever here. Water with re-hydration salts, a portable fan and Tylenol helped. He was up and walking around with the other boys a day later. He went to church this morning and chased the other boys around the yard afterwards. God DID NOT forget. I have bandaged 4-5 wounds per day. Wounds like I have NEVER seen on our tender little American children. A boo-boo half the size would send our children to the ER for a tetanus shot and stitches. Here, they come to me with dirty cloth bandages. I have watched wounds close that I thought would for sure mean my introduction to a Ghanaian hospital. I prayed, and got up every two hours overnight to change bandages and rub them with antibiotic ointment. In the light of day, it looked better already. God DID NOT forget. I have listened to lungs for signs of heart failure, and prayed that the sounds would be normal. What would I do if they weren’t? I have no clue. So far, following the child all day with water, reminding her to stay in the shade and fanning her during the heat of the day worked. A lot of hugs and praying has worked well. And, when it got the better of us, we cried together, and then sent it up to God, because He WILL NOT forget her. I have been blessed enough to have brought everything Lucky Hill will need for their infirmary. It will be stored here in plastic until the building that is currently being constructed for it is completed. I have promised to come back then, and stock it appropriately. I have, and will continue, to work with the staff in a culturally sensitive way to discuss first aid. God WILL NOT forget the children who have yet to come here and will need the medicine that I was lucky enough to have donated to me. God didn’t forget me either. He sent me here. I needed to be reminded that there are miracles every day, all over the world, miracles that I don’t see in my disillusioned middle class, American, subdivision. Miracles that I struggled to find until I got to Ghana and looked into the faces of these children. They are all miracles. Every.single.one has a story that will bring tears to your eyes. They aren’t wasting away in a corner crying. They were all just under the giant shade tree with me, chasing bubbles that you sent them. The biggest miracle of all occurred when I handed out granola bars today and the sassiest child of all turned around to come back to me and said “THANK YOU!” Thank you, for the important respect to my culture. God is good. He is VERY good.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Baby Bird, China and Small Stones

(For anyone who may not know, Sixteen Small Stones is the NGO I am starting. It's purpose will be to help the poor, orphaned, homeless and less fortunate of the world, with a major focus on China. To read more about Small Stones, please refer to my other blog, sixteensmallstones.blogspot.com. Be sure and read the very first entry, which explains more about Small Stones.)

We went to Idaho this weekend...I will write more about that trip later.

As were were getting ready to leave, my nephew came to say good bye. The sky was dark and threatened rain. The wind was sharp and cold. I realized my nephew had something in his hand. When I looked in, I saw he was holding a tiny, baby bird. I was shocked! It was so small! He held his hands open, and I knew the tiny animal must be very, very cold, for it was completely naked, save a few small feathers. I asked him to come in the house to ask what should be done with the bird.

When I was young, we found a nest in a bush in our front yard. For weeks we watched the nest. We tenderly pulled back the branches to see the nest, first empty, then with small eggs, and finally, tiny baby birds, all grey and fluffy. One day, we went to look in on "our" birds only to find the nest upset, the baby birds gone. Surely a neighborhood cat had found them. I was so sad. Still to this day, I think of those tiny birds. I wished at that time that I had seen the cat, that I had heard something and had come outside and had been able to save the birds and their soft nest. I wondered if the mother bird had died or if she was somewhere, mourning the loss of her babies.

Standing in Idaho, looking at the bird my nephew had found, it looked to me that the bird was not supposed to have hatched yet...perhaps a cat or other animal had disturbed the nest and the animal had been prematurely taken from it's protecting shell. Truly, it looked to still be a fetus to me. But I know NOTHING of fowl.

Some people in the family felt the bird should be placed outside, under a tree, to die. It broke my heart to think of that. However, I worried the tiny animal would be in pain being touched and handled so much, and would surely die anyway because of it's prematurity. I didn't want all of the small children to see it die...I also didn't know at all what to do with it, or what to do with it once it died! However, I felt SOMETHING could be done to save it! I just didn't know what. I said we should do what we could for it. That we could put it on a rice bag and warm it up. Someone said we should just let it die. I said, "You are taking to the girl who is starting an orphanage. Don't tell me we should let something die!" I couldn't think through what to do. I didn't want to upset anyone by saying to keep it and care for it. I knew I was outnumbered with that idea. I didn't want to cause a fight. So, I dropped it.

Because the hour was so late, we had to leave then. To be honest, I was happy for the reason to leave. To not have to watch the small bird die.

My cousin, Shannika, lives next door to us in Idaho. She has had pet birds, and other pets as well. (She recently saved a small mouse from becoming food for her school classroom's pet snake. It is now her pet.) It was decided we should ask Shannika what should be done with the bird. We left after Shannika arrived at our house and saw the bird.

Several years ago, I went to China. I lived there, and every day I saw people starving on the streets. I saw small children, hungry and cold. I saw mothers with babies, grandparents with small toddlers, their faces chapped from the cold wind, their faces drawn with hopelessness. I gave them money, blankets, a loving word, a gentile touch...I even cried for them. But in the end, I always walked away. I didn't know what to do to help them! I knew something must be done...but what? I knew nothing of caring for homeless people. One girl, I stopped and tried to speak to. It was my first month there, and I didn't know more than a few words of Chinese. I tried to ask her if she wanted to come home with me. Soon, a crowd formed around us...the beggar and the foreigner...What a sight! What would the white girl do? What was she trying to say? It was horrible. Finally, the other foreigner I was with told me I was only making things worse for the girl and we better move on before anything happened. I handed the girl the rest of the chicken on which I had been snacking, and the half drunk water bottle I held. Not wanting to cause a stir, or problems, or discomfort, I moved away. Time and time again, this same situation took place. However, sometimes it was worse. A man lay on the street, day after day, his wife at his side. His leg was broken and part of the bone showed through the swollen, red, infected skin. He was in pain and I saw him day after day. Some days his eyes showed pain. I remember one day where his eyes were staring to the sky. It was blue that day...strange for the sky over China, which was usually just grey with smog. I remember thinking the man must be close to death. He was strangely at peace, his eyes calm and thoughtful and almost smiling as he just stared up to the heavens. I cried several times because of this man. I called my parents to ask them if I should take him to the hospital. I wondered how I would pay for the hospital bill. I wondered how I would even get him TO the hospital. Where he would live once the hospital released him. It was all so overwhelming. I didn't know what to do. I was only one person, and I couldn't think through the whole process. So day after day, I hurt for this man...but still, I walked away.

As I drove on toward Utah and away from Idaho, I wondered about the small bird and what had been done with it. Bryttan was in the car with me, and said that surely they had put it outside to die. I said a silent prayer that God would either keep it alive or would let it die quickly. I prayed it would not be cold and wet in the horrible weather.

Finally, despite Bryttan's insisting that it was outside dead, I called my Mom to ask what the fate of the baby bird had been.

To my surprise and joy, she said they had kept the bird. The children had made it a nest in a shoe box, had put a lamp over it as a heating lamp. The kids had given it water from a small dropper and a worm to eat. Even my Mom admitted she had gone in to check on the tiny thing (not that this is surprising...my parents are both very compassionate!).

I thought about the bird. I thought about life, and death. I thought about Small Stones. I thought about how I almost let the bird die because I didn't want to cause problems. I thought of the people in China hadn't "saved" because I didn't want to cause a stir. I thought also about all the things I didn't know how to do. I didn't know HOW to save the baby bird. I didn't know HOW to help the people in China. However, I feel that now, after these years of learning and praying and reading and researching I have learned a lot! I thought of the children I will encounter in China, and how I will NOT let them die. I will not turn a blind eye. I will cause a stir. I will cause discomfort for others, if that needs be. I will not leave them to die. This is the mission of Small Stones. To at least TRY. People keep saying, "You can't save EVERYONE!" Well, I will say here...it is the mission of Small Stones to TRY!

I also think of all the things I still don't know...and that is why I must find board members. I don't know EVERYTHING... in fact, I don't know much at all. I NEED others to help me! I need people who know different things than what I might know so we can all work together to help as many people as possible.