We had a tough week: Pneumonia

Two weeks ago, everyone got sick that was home.


I called home and Holly said they were all sick: Holly, Mark, Luke, and John. Well, everyone but Meg and me got sick. They were all coughing and hacking, having trouble sleeping, blowing their noses. The usual, I figured. Just in the summer instead of the winter.


When I went home for the weekend after fishing, I did like I  usually do and pretend I never get sick. We ate at the same table, drank out of the same cups, lolled around in the bed sleeping in until 6:45 Am or so.


So I went out fishing again, expecting everyone to be better by the time I returned again on Thursday or so. Then Holly took Mark to the clinic on Monday because he did not seem to be getting better.


When I called from the fishing grounds on Monday night, Holly said she’d taken him to the clinic and the diagnosis was not good at all from Dr. Nobel Anderson: pneumonia!. But, that he’d probably be better by Wednesday if the antibiotics worked. So I didn’t think too much of it again, but I could here him coughing in the background. But no one wants pneumonia!


We got home at night and I went in to the room and listened to him. He sounded awful: very short breaths, very rapid, interrupted by extreme coughing and hacking, followed by more restless sleep. Also, he was on the floor instead of in his bunk (well, all three boys were on the floor). When I talked to Holly, she said he did not have the strength to get into his top bunk.


She said he seemed slightly better on Wednesday, so she hadn’t taken him to the clinic. We decided to give it another day. I tried to get him to drink some fluids as he lay in his perch on the couch all day, but he would only take a weak sip from time to time, and ate no food. Holly said he’d lost five pounds by Wednesday. He hadn’t been to the bathroom except a couple times a day, with almost no urine splashing off the walls. That was a joke. I meant no urine production.


Thursday night was a tough night. Long coughing spells, night terrors, and small rapid, shallow breaths. I decided to take him to the clinic first thing on Friday Morning. They checked his O2 saturation right away and put him on Oxygen, as he was down below 90%, and then took a good look at him and decided to start hydrating him with a saline drip that would allow a quick dose of new antibiotics as well. Adam was Mark’s nurse and did a great job, especially in the X-Ray room where Mark almost collapsed from fatigue just trying to stand up in front of the big red X.


Holly, John, and I took turns reading to him throughout the day and by 2 PM on Friday it was obvious he was doing better, but his 02 SAT was still too low. while on 2L/min O2, his O2 SAT was at 96-99%, but whenever we took him off the O2 and let him breathe just room air, his O2 SAT would tank, dropping down to 89-91% within a few minutes. The clinic said he had to go to Juneau. They just did not have the 24 hour care needed to make sure he was okay. Ron Horn came by to see if we needed anything before we left.


They said, that in kids they don’t worry too much about cardiac arrest, it’s respiratory arrest that gets them. Well, I didn’t have anything to argue about, there. I asked if we could take an O2 bottle and an O2 Saturation tester to take home, but they said no, it wasn’t worth the risk, plus it wasn’t policy. Mark had a fun time trying to keep his saturation level up above 96%. In the photo above, you can see his Saturation level is at 97%.


Plus there was a pediatrician in Juneau who was good with this type of thing. The clinic called up the medivac team and we went to Juneau. First we were in the ER for about four hours because they were backed up with patients. The nurse in the ER saw his excellent O2 Sat numbers and immediately took him off the O2. It took about 45 minutes for his O2 SAT to drop, but it did: right back down to 88 at one point.


At about that time, the pediatrician showed up and looked at things and decided to keep him for the night at 2 LPM O2, and changed his antibiotics to two other drugs, and move him upstairs where he’d be monitored. They put us in a negative pressure room that kept all the germs in. And boy did they keep the germs in. I got sicker than a dog in that room—I’ve never been that sick in my life: vomiting, diarrhea, back pain, and I won’t even go into what happened to my prostate! I was so sick I checked myself in the ER and signed up for some meds. Thankfully, I ran into Penny Fossman, and I was able to borrow a vehicle to run some errands (get some meds). Thanks Penny!

The worst moment, for me personally, was in Wal-Mart, when I had to sprint to the bathroom to avoid vomiting on the good folks at the pharmacy.


It was kind of weird to have everyone wearing masks around us. But what could we say? “We really did just brush our teeth!” No. I couldn’t really blame them. In the picture above you can se the ante room where both doors have to be closed before one can be opened again. On the other hand, he did have a cool bed with lots of controls for the middle and each end, plus a handy lit-up button that would reach the nurse without-fail via an intercom. I’m still not quite sure if we just happened to get this negative pressure room, or if it was necessary, but by the second day, the masks weren’t really in use any longer.


Right before the second night started, at around 7 PM, they took him off O2 and let him breathe room air for a while. His O2 SAT dropped from 99% to 95% and leveled off. cool. She said we’d be able to leave in the morning if that kept up through the night.


Holly, Meg, and Holly’s brother John, took the ferry down that night and stayed in this room at the Bartlett House across the street from Bartlett Hospital. In the morning I went there to rest, as I was still sick and my back started to ache whenever I wasn’t lying down. At around noon Mark was discharged from Bartlett and he and Holly went on a Costco run for an hour, then they came back and we all crashed.

We took the Ferry home the next morning. but I was still sick, nausea and weariness.

Thank God Mark is better now. He is not back to his old self yet. He still lies on the couch some of the time, but he’s taking his meds, drinking his fluids, and resting like he’s supposed to. I’m not sure what the next step is. Presumably, he’ll have a full recovery and be sprinting up and down the court dribbling at full speed again someday. Well, that’s the hope.


As soon as Mark’s aunt Dorothy Beeman (Margaret’s sister) heard that Mark was sick, she put together a care package for him with a new shirt, a new hoodie and two boxes of honey-nut cheerios! They were in the mail when we got home and greatly cheered him up! Bless Dorothy for her kind heart!

Thanks to Bonnie Shanrbroich for the bread & jam, Lucinda Boyce for the Geos (they were a great success), and to Serena Badgley for taking care of the younger two boys so Mark could rest. Thanks also to Bob and Margaret who ‘camped’ with the younger two boys for two nights while we were in Juneau.

Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers—Matt, Holly, Mark, Luke, John Caleb, and Meg.

Baptisms in the Lynn Canal

Mark and Naomi were baptized in the Lynn Canal today.

First they answered some questions from Pastor Ron in front of the Church.


And also the congregation answered some questions.


Then we went down to the river to pray… (actually the Lynn Canal). Holly led the singing and people actually sang as they went down to the water right near the large cruise ship dock at the main beach in town that has sand, where we usually have our baptisms.


Naomi was baptized first.


It didn’t seem too cold.


Then it was Mark’s turn.





The Green Family:


The Davis family with Bob and Margaret:


Afterwards, we had a wiener roast on the beach with chips and other fixings.

The gift of a day!

Rene Martin called at 6:15 AM and told us that school was cancelled for the day. I naïvely thought of all the many things I could get done with the extra time. I ordered another classes photos, I’d already started the fire in the Blaze King. Then I called K.C. Thomsen—next door—and he said he’d just finished snow-blowing his drive and I might already be too late to use the snow blower. You have to stay ahead of it he said.


As you can see from this picture The snow is almost exactly as deep as the top of the auger-housing.

Immediately, at 9:30 AM,  I suited up and headed out to snow blow the drive and the sidewalk.


The driveway is not small, but not huge either. Our old driveway is much smaller, but there was no place to put a snow-blower or the car.


In this picture, you can see that the snow is about four inches deeper than the input on the auger. You can see that the snow doesn’t cling to my snow-pants, which have a tight nylon weave unlike my Carhartt Jacket and gloves which get permeated with snow.


I’m definitely going to get out there before the snow gets that high again. It took me about 2.5 hours to run the snow blower. So far the gift of a day has not arrived, but on the bright side, we’re still ahead of the snow, as far as the driveway is concerned.

Rest of Today

snowVisibilities often below 1/4 of a mile in blowing and drifting snow. Snow heavy at times with a new snow accumulation 3 to 4 inches. Highs around 28. North wind 15 to 25 mph with gusts increasing to 35 mph. Near the border…north wind 40 mph.


nt_snowVisibilities often below 1/4 of a mile in blowing and drifting snow through early this evening. Snow heavy at times with a new snow accumulation 2 to 3 inches before tapering off this evening. Lows around 20…ranging to around 8 above near the border. Northwest wind 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph.


chancesnowPartly cloudy. Windy. Slight chance of snow in the morning. Highs around 20. North wind 15 to 30 mph with gusts to around 40 mph.

Thursday Night

nt_partlycloudyPartly cloudy. Colder. Lows zero to 8 above zero. North wind 15 to 25 mph. Wind chill to 20 below.


partlycloudyPartly cloudy. Highs 11 to 17. Northeast wind 10 to 20 mph. Wind chill to 20 below.

Friday Night through Saturday Night

Partly cloudy. Lows 3 to 10. Highs 13 to 17.


Cloudy. Chance of snow. Highs around 25.

Lighting of the Fort!

We attended the lighting of the fort again this year. Holly has arranged the live nativity scene for the past five years or so. This year the weather was the worst in memory. Awful. Jim Green said it’s the fifth one he’s been to since they moved here.


It has been snowing and raining, cold and windy all day, but it was not cancelled. With five minutes to go, there was no one around, but after the canon fired off at 5 pm, about 30 people climbed out of their cars and trudged over to the back of Tresham’s shop to sing and spectate.


The Haines Women’s Acapella Chorus sang a special number, along with a number of songs that Holly led. Luke was a ram with curly horn. Hunter was Joseph, Sasha was Mary, Jesus was a doll, and a bunch of others were sheep, shepherds, and wise-men.


Bob and Margaret braved the freezing rain/snow and ankle deep water under 18 inches of snow.

IMG_3856After the nativity scene, the fort put on a wiener roast with hot cider, chilli, chips, cookies, salad, cold cider, and two warm fires.

It was pretty cute to see John Caleb’s interest in the fire, he saw everyone heading over to the fire with hot-dogs on sticks and he grabbed a stick with his thick mittens on headed straight for the fire himself, not really realizing that he did not have a hot dog on it  yet.

It was so wet out that I had to resort to a zip-lock bag over the flash, camera combo, IMG_3924

Christmas Letter 2009

Here’s a link to our Christmas Letter (pdf) this year, which is actually pretty cool, if I may say so.  We had it done, printed, folded, stamped and put into envelopes (but not licked) before Thanksgiving Day.

Merry Christmas

Windows Live Skydrive: CLICK HERE

Google Docs: Christmas letter 2009

If you want a printable size document to hang on the fridge, that’s too bad, because this one is only large enough to view on the screen.

Actually, send me an email, and I’ll pop you one, if I know you, duh.  Then put us on your list and send us one too.  BAM

This was the first time I used Publisher to produce a document and did not use a template.  I recommend a book to you: The non-designer’s Design book by Robin Williams CLICK HERE!!

Luke Michael starts Preschool

The other day, Luke started preschool at the Chilkat Valley Preschool.  When he came home he was very excited and had obviously had a wonderful day.  He said to Holly, “Mama, there was a new boy in school today.”

Holly said, “Oh, really?” Holly was very surprised to hear that there was a new boy, because she knows all the younger kids in town and things like this rarely get past her. “Who was it?”

Luke smiled, “The new boy was me!”

The next week, we were sitting ‘round the dinner table relaying our daily stories and I asked Luke, “Luke, what did you learn in school today?”

He frowned and looked at me, “What?” he said.

I took the more direct route, “Luke, what are the first three letters?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “L-U-K!” and smiled really big.

I was surprised and about to correct him, as everyone knows the first three letters are A-B-C, when Holly interjected quickly with her normal demeanor, “That’s exactly right, Luke, those are the first three letters of your name.

Kids are cute.


Mark’s Birthday

I suppose birthdays are important.  When you’re young, they are huge.


This year, Holly wanted to invite all of Mark’s 1st & 2nd grade IMG_2907combined class (with Ms. Kitayama) to a bit “Choice” time at our house.  Choice time is what they call it at school when kids can choose whatever they want to do out of a range of selections the teacher has made.

Holly invited a number of the parents of kids in the class to volunteer to man the various stations.  I got put in charge of the sword fighting & wrestling room which was also the sock war room.  Steven tries to fend off Wesley, early on in the competition.


There were only a few kids that broke out into tears.  In the kitchen in the dining area, the crown station was headed up by Lilly Boron and Rochelle Galinski.  Holly was careful to include activities that both genders would like.


Courtney ran the foot painting station. 


In Mark’s room, on the top bunk of the triple bunk bed was the bionicle station where the boys built and played with the Lego Bionicles.  It was mostly the boys that were into this station.


Out in the utility room was the rock band station with a keyboard, a pretend guitar and some drums.  I think it was actually the glasses that made it so fun.


Right before the cake and present time, Holly did a magic show and passed out the party favors: Books.IMG_3027

Once again, Margaret out did herself and made healthy meals for all the kids to eat before they ate the cake.  Each plate was individually wrapped.



Then we had the happy birthday song, and the unwrapping of the presents.


The present opening time was fun for Mark too (duh).  Courtney helped out a lot writing down the gifts and who they were from.IMG_3069

One interesting thing about the whole party was Luke’s reaction. 

After the party, he was stricken with grief and jealousy.

“Why did Mark get SO MANY PRESENTS?!  I didn’t get that many presents at MY birthday.” IMG_3054

His party was a couple months earlier and we invited three families, each of which have a few kids.

This was true. “But Luke, Mark got so many presents because he invited so many people to his party.  His whole class came to the party.”

IMG_2919Luke: “But I had a lot of people at my Party too!  We had Izak, and Aric, and Irene, the Chapells, and the Palmeries!  And I only got a few presents.  Hardly any.  And Mark got WAY many presents.

Is this what Adam and Eve should have dealt with when Cain and Able had parties?  I better deal with this in a good way.

IMG_2949 “But Luke, it’s like this,” I said, “Usually what happens at a birthday, each family brings a present.  And at Mark’s party, almost all the kids were from different families, so Mark got about 16 presents from his class.  Each family at your party brought a present, but each person at the party didn’t bring their own present because that would be too expensive for the mommies and daddies.”

“Well, that’s not FAIR.  I want a big party too.”

“So when you get in school,” I said, “do you want to invite your whole class too?”


I’m not sure if I did the best job there with the birthdays.  It seems like I could have steered a little further away from the whole consumerism thing.

At least it was a fun party and ALMOST everyone had a good time.

Look at us JUMP!

Here’s a fun video of the boys jumping off the steps at church.



One of the reasons I like the little point and shoots, is that they often have a video feature.  I just don’t think this moment would be the same without the motion and the audio.  Tell me what you think.

Moose nuggets, Beautiful snow on the trees.

IMG_3420 Today when we went out of the house, we were surprised to find that a moose had gone down our driveway and left a deposit in our driveway right where the passenger door behind the driver.

In Alaska, we call them moose nuggets, because they are nugget shaped and come from a moose.  As you can see in the picture, there was only about three feet of space next to the car where the moose walked, and as they are tall, huge animals, there was probably not much room on either side of the moose. 

The most popular vehicle in our hilly town are Subaru’s since they are All-Wheel-Drive and quite economical to both purchase and drive.  Bob and Margaret have one that is just beyond Mark in the photo.


Our walk to school is quite beautiful on days when there is Sunlight. Right after I took this picture, a moose crossed the street right by the crosswalk sign on the right.  You can just see it in the next photo when we reached that street.


We had a big snow on Saturday!

IMG_3411Holly and I had to dig for about 1/2 an hour to get the car out of the drive for church on Sunday.  We did call a snow removal service, but they didn’t make it over to the house in time–so we just used the shovels.

I’d say we got about 20 inches from Saturday 11AM until Sunday Morning.  The top snow was light and fluffy (thankfully), but the bottom 8 inches were really soggy and slushy.  The neighbor has a snowblower and did his drive six times on Saturday.