Uno The Guinea Pig Has Her Babies

Well, so much for wondering if Uno the guinea pig is pregnant…

Every time I walked by her house, I thought I might see some new additions to the family, but was really hoping we’d get to see her actually have the babies. What a joy – we did!! This evening, as I walked by I saw her squat in a way that was different from any other time she would squat. I quickly ran to tell the boys and we all gathered around (quietly, yeah, yeah – don’t worry) to watch.

First one
first guinea pig being born

Second one
second guinea pig being born

guinea pigs being born

The first one was born rather quick, maybe two minutes after she started pushing. The second one came within five minutes. More time passed, and we wondered if that could possibly be it. But it really (really, really) looked like she had one more in there.

guinea pigs birth

She cleaned them up between each birth. They were pretty active within minutes, little legs scratching behind ears, looking around.

guinea pigs birth

guinea pigs birth

But… one more?
guinea pigs birth

Sal said he saw a leg come out a couple times and I started to grow concerned that something was wrong.

And then out came number three.
third guinea pig being born

I was excited that he was brown. Franny called him “chocolate filling” – he insists on the honor of naming, since, technically, it is his piggy who is the mother.

guinea pigs birth

guinea pigs birth

guinea pigs birth

guinea pigs birth

The piggies gathered around to nurse on the momma, and she chowed down on some lettuce. Franny wanted to hold one of the baby piggies, but I think we’ll wait until tomorrow. I’ve read that it is good to start picking them up the next day to get them acclimated to being handled. I think we’re also going to need to get a little bigger crate for them.

Ruptured Appendix

Last week Thursday Lootie was complaining about belly pain. It was before practice, so we figured he was just trying to weasel around having to go (which is pretty much the norm for him, 80% of the time). He went to practice, had a good time, but on the ride home, his belly was still hurting. He felt nauseous and threw up on the sidewalk outside of our house. “Everytime I eat hotdogs,” he said. He threw up a couple more times, which isn’t completely abnormal for him. When he gets a fever, he’s spacey; when he’s queasy, he pukes. Totally Lootie. But strangely, he wanted to sleep on the couch because of his belly pain, instead of his bed.

At 1am I woke up to Frank, fully clothed, telling me he was taking Lootie to the ER. “It just seems like appendicitis, he said.” Frank is a Correctional Officer. Not a nurse, and totally not interested in medicine. I thought he was completely over-analyzing, but I didn’t stop them from going, or put up too much of a fight, like I normally would have. I think my adrenaline kicked in, despite me riding him a bit for being so silly. I got chilly and couldn’t bring myself back to bed, opting to sit up on the couch instead.

We kept in phone contact, texting and calling. Around 4pm Lootie was distinctively worse, and the nurses gave him some morphine. They weren’t calling it appendix yet, but wanted to get a CT scan to confirm or rule out. At 8am I got all the kids on the bus. Still nothing. Lootie was worse; fevery. My mom came over to sit with Franny (whose tutor was here) while I went up to either relieve or support Frank in the ER.

At 11am, the Resident had Lootie pee in a cup to check him for a urinary tract infection. Just as she was exiting, the General Surgeon, who we became acquainted with when Franny was in the hospital, came by, but his hands on Lootie’s abdomen and said, “Oh yeah. Appendix. Let’s get him up to the OR.” He told us there was one possible person ahead of us, and it might be quick to get him up there, and might be 2 hours. Frank went home quickly to check on things with Franny, while I waited with Lootie. Thankfully, things went faster than planned, and he was in the OR by 1pm.

I waited, anxiously, but somewhat relieved that he was in good hands, and not still waiting for a diagnosis. After an hour and a half, the surgeon came back in to talk to me. He asked me if my book was good, and then he told me that Lootie’s appendix had ruptured. “So, it’s not going to be the 1-day, go-home-tomorrow deal we were hoping for,” he explained. “It could be 4 days, it could be a week. We just don’t know. I was still able to do everything laparoscopically, but depending on how things swing, we might have to put a drain in there, or do longer-term antibiotics.” I started to cry. Frustrated, scared, relieved, sad. He found me some tissues. “He’s going to be OK. Okay? He’ll be fine.”

Strangely, he ended up in the same room Franny was in one month ago. The first three days were very hard. Lootie was in a lot of pain, his temperature was up, and all symptoms were pointing to an abscess. Frank stayed at night, while I stayed during the day. Because of his slow progress by the 4th day, and the intolerance to the sensation of the heavy-duty antibiotics through the IV, the surgical staff thought a PICC line was appropriate. Though it was another scary unknown, it was necessary. It took about and hour and a half to have it done (they had a special PICC Nurse), but most of that was prep; the entire procedure was done bedside. Lootie did very well with it, better than I did.

Within a day he was doing better. The doctor took one look at him and said, “Carlito. You’re going home tomorrow.” Of coarse Lootie was thrilled. Whatever leftover infection that may be/was brewing was under control, or non-existent. Since he can have a home health nurse come to administer the meds via the PICC at home, and he was doing well, he was cleared to leave the hospital. I was still nervous, apprehensive. I mean, I don’t like the hospital either, but it felt safer there. Home with a PICC is kind of scary and totally out of the norm for most people. First pin care on an external fixator, and now PICC line maintenance? I told them I didn’t want to learn it or touch it. As much as I’ve thought about being a nurse, I’ve had enough nursing for a while, now thankyouverymuch.

Carlito is still doing well, carrying around his pump (it works constantly administering a small dose to keep the line clear and a BIG dose every 6 hours) in the fanny pack. It makes me nervous when he’s sleeping (I worry about him ripping it out or something), and just in general. He’s scheduled to have a re-check on Tuesday and hopefully get rid of the PICC as well.

I’m completely ready for our house not to resemble a doctor’s office, though, and my patience is not what it was a couple weeks ago. Franny still needs assistance and care, as does Carlito. I can’t seem to keep up with all of my household necessities, but I try to do my best. My brain is fried, tired and stressed. My boss, bless her heart, has gifted me an hour massage for this Sunday. I’ve never (ever) had a massage and am both excited and nervous.  Someone brought dinner by for us last night, and that was wonderful. We haven’t had a homecooked meal in a long, long time, it feels like.

Pregnant Guinea Pig

The twins turned 10 on March 27th. They had a birthday party. It was a sleepover, with a bunch of friends from school. Two of their friends, Enrique and his little brother, came in carrying McDonald Happy Meal boxes. I found it odd, but said nothing. Ten minutes after their arrival, my oldest son came to me and said, “They have a hamster in there.”

Are you kidding me?! What kind of kid brings their pet hamster to a birthday party?

Turns out it was a gift. Not a pet. A… gift. And it was a guinea pig, not a hamster.  And Franny, who loves animals, was delighted. Trying not to panic, I remembered our old hamster cage, and hoped that there were enough accessories to use in a pinch. I had just gotten the piggy settled, when out came piggy number Two. Apparently the kind boys brought a guinea pig for each of the twins. Two was Sal’s, Uno is Franny’s. I realized then what the McDonald boxes had contained.

Shortly after that day, Franny was hit by a car and everything seemed to be upside down. Then Two died, and Uno survived. Sal was not upset, as Sal never really took to the pig, and doesn’t exactly care for animals.

Uno became progressively fatter. We thought maybe she was depressed after losing her buddy (who was also female, we were told). But in the past week, I’ve started to think that she’s not just fat, she has a distinct… look to her.

So I googled “pregnant guinea pigs” and found this, which looks strikingly similar to Uno:

I’m not positive, but I’m getting to the point where every time I look in her cage I’m expecting to see more than just her.

Cheap Gas, Cheap Lunch

Our livingroom table has turned into a classroom. Franny has a tutor (who comes once a day for two hours), being taught mostly while on his back on the couch. He was progressing to sitting up, but then had the surgery and was on above the heart leg-elevation orders again. Tomorrow he should be able to sit up more again.

school and homework materials

It has also become a place where I do my work. Although, it was that way before, too. Calculators, box of writing materials, reading books, sticky notes…

more school and homework materials

My mom came over today while the tutor was here so that I could get into work for a couple hours. I also needed to gas up our van, which I was actually excited to do, since I would get it for 90 cents off per gallon due to Fuelperks. Work was methodical and predictable, which was fine with me. I stayed a little longer than I thought I would, and by the time I was ready to leave my stomach was completely obnoxious, begging for something to fill it up. A tootsie roll from my candy dish did not suffice.

I did save a nice chunk of change, but the savings didn’t fill my tank (limit of 20 gallons, the tank is 30). But I was still a happy lady. But on the way home, I was wracked by the temptation to stop (anywhere!!!) and get something quick to gobble down, my hunger was so atrocious. I passed one, two, three fast food restraunts. I knew if I could hold out for the last one, I would be fine, with no more options. I reminded myself of the turkey and salami I bought from the deli two days before.

Make a sandwich, make a sandwich.

Willpower prevailed (this time), and I did not spend money on lunch. Instead I had my new favorite mix (Sierra Mist and cranberry pomegranete juice) and a sandwich.

cranberry and sierra mist

With hunger manning the ship, I used about double the turkey I normally do. It was still very good.

turkey and salami sandwich

If I were really smart, I’d make another one of these for myself to either take to work tomorrow or to eat right when I get home. Mmm.

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External Fixator Off, Cast On

Today Franny got the external fixator removed and a cast put on. There was actually a foot-holder with a strapped harness that hooked around the top rod, but this picture was taken while it was off. You can see him playing his brother’s handheld game. He usually played a game or watched television as I did the pin care and wrapped things up.

Franny started out very shy, not wanting to even look at the fixator. I’d have to cover it up with an ace bandage because he couldn’t stand looking at the rods and didn’t want other people to see them. For days. Weeks. And then one day he was liberated, I think, by Dante’s soccer team friends. The boys gathered around to ask questions and say “hello” and some of them would freak out at the sight of the rods. Franny would pull the covering back to show more, boldly. They told him he was a tough kid, saying words that empowered him. He’ll even bend his knee up to touch his ear with it, which makes his dad’s stomach sick.

Casts are pretty common, but the fixators you don’t see every day, and sometimes people will hold their gaze longer, or the kids (and moms especially) will be uncomfortable looking at it.  I told him, hey, smile and keep on going. And he did. Sometimes he’d even wave.

Even though going from a fixator to a cast is progress, there is some… comfort in routine. There are also pluses with the fixator, like being able to wash and massage his toes. He likes that. But he was very eager to get a cast, regardless, as casts are more “normal” in the realm of broken legs.

He wanted his hardware.

As creepy as they might be, I’m rather thankful to them for holding my son’s leg back together.

A blue cast was requested, and granted. He also got this toy. Blue was the day’s theme.

Back to elevating the leg above the heart again for a few days. We’ve got that down pat, now, though.