Wednesday, July 31, 2013


An old friend, Amy Morik, has a cool event going on with Mommybites Bergen coming up so I thought I'd pass on!


Mommybites (formerly known as babybites) is the go-to community for quality parenting resources, support and education. The country’s top parenting experts have helped us create incredible events, tele-classes, webinars, radio shows, videos and blogs all updated regularly. We also support, guide and connect moms via our facilitated on-line support groups as well as our face to face groups run in various cities. In addition to providing a ton of support, we also like to have fun! We run contests, give away cool products, host various events around the country, let you know about deals of the day, part-time work for moms and even casting calls for you and your baby!


Nutrition for Mommy – Eat Well / Feel Well
Many moms with babies and young children are struggling with a little extra baby weight and not knowing how to feed themselves with their (now busier) lifestyle.
Nutritionist, *Audra Bursae, ND/ CHC, will provide insight into:
· Surprise foods that are GOOD FOR YOU
· Healthy ON THE GO snacks
· Portions – how much and when
· Quick to prepare feel good meals

*An alumnus of Sarah Lawrence College, Audra Bursae received her doctorate in Naturopathy and Holistic Nutrition. She received her Health Counseling Certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City, the only nutrition school that integrates all of the different dietary theories- combining knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid, the glycemic index, the Zone, and raw foods. She is also authentically trained and certified as a Pilates instructor through True Pilates NYC, and has worked extensively with Joseph Pilates’ protege, Romana Kyrzanowska. She is an advanced RYT-500 yoga teacher through Yoga Synthesis under the highly respected and knowledgeable teacher, Raji Thron and teaches yoga privately and to small groups.

Babies are welcome. Feel free to feed and change your babies at the venue. Worried about your baby crying? Don't be! That's what we expect babies to do!

Rosa Mexicano - Shops at Riverside 390 Hackensack Avenue #60 Hackensack, NJ 07601
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM (EDT)

$30 - Mom and Baby
*Includes Rosa Mexicano lunch, Nutritionist lecture, 1 raffle ticket for SURPRISE prize to be raffled off LIVE at workshop, and - of course - workshop give-away goodies. Registering for any Mommybites event will include you in our weekly newsletter/email mailing list. The newsletter will keep you up to date on new events, blogs, support groups, webinars, teleclasses, nannies, deals, etc. You may opt-out by emailing us:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jocelyn Nissenbaum's Breast Cancer Fund

For those who have asked and anyone who is interested, this is where you should send money if you want to get involved:

Jocelyn Nissenbaum's family and friends are uniting to raise money to help with her battle against breast cancer. Every dollar helps.

Jocelyn has been battling stage 4 metastatic breast cancer for the past year and is now fighting leptomeningeal disease as well. Jocelyn needs the best medical care available and may possibly have travel to new medical facilities. All funds collected will be to ensure the well-being of Jocelyn and her family during this difficult time. Jocelyn is married and has a four-year old son.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

For the Love of the Cave

I get why my husband and his friend call me Kramer & Lucy (as in "I Love") and say I always have a "Wack Pack". I do go out of my way to do things a little different and that includes how I make friends, how I find friends, and how I manage these friendships.

I was on message boards before people even knew what message boards were. I've probably discussed this, at least somewhat, because my message board friendships that developed have always been important to me. I'm still friends with some people I "met" on the first board I was on in like 1995 or 1996. They helped me get through a gut wrenching break up and they were there for me, all over the country, at any time- day or night. That's where my love affair with internet friends began but certainly didn't end.

I found a group on another site, in 2005. People came and left, left and came back. We merged boards, moved around a site like nomads looking for a home. A core group of us who can't seem to quit internet friends became close enough to move off the site to another internet place and now that's where we've stuck. We pretty much talk all day, every day. Some days the group moves faster than others, sometimes it's a crazy drama-filled debate/discussion/love/call out fest. Some days I don't have time to really contribute & I just catch up late night. But being that everyone is from all over the USA and Canada there is almost always someone around to chat with.

A lot of them are closer to each other than I am with any of them. They can get together at other times of the year. Quite a few of them coincidentally live in a little cluster that makes it easier to see each other more often. Some are divorced, dating, married, remarried, engaged, working, not working, which also can help or hinder getting together. Some get to meet up because they travel for work and some just have a better financial position. Some just have more in common, have dealt with difficult life situations at the same time, or just found an Internet soulmate-friend.

It's my own fault for sort of being "at arms length" most of the time, but that's my general modus operandi. I do that with people "in real life" too. That's why I'm always on the periphery of any clique I might hang out in- I'm always the "here and there"- never the constant. Yet- I'd say the people in my Internet group know me better or just plain more about my daily life, minutiae, etc than anyone. I AM always "there"- I don't talk to anyone as much as I talk to them. I just don't tend to take it off-line. I can't make it to more than one get-together a year really, I don't talk on the phone, and I don't know what g-chat is, how to use it, or why I would even need it. I also can be an acquired taste. Sometimes, in real life and on-line I just say whatever I'm thinking and sometimes it can be misconstrued or just be a head-scratcher. I don't even need alcohol to say something odd, strongly opinionated, oversharing, or just out of left field. But I love this group-  I love being a part of it, and I just stay in there, hope I'm not annoying to anyone, and try to add something to the community- in whatever form that happens to be.

So they obviously know what has been going on with my friend Jocelyn and her shitty cancer. We post a lot of random things and last Friday someone asked about everyone's weekend plans. I mentioned that I had Joce's benefit that night. Our lone guy in the group asked how much the tickets were and asked for my PayPal info. I was a little confused because none of these friends live here so I didn't get why he would buy a ticket. I gave the info and almost immediately, he and someone else sent money. I was surprised, not because I don't think they are the kind of people who would donate to a "good cause" but they don't know Jocelyn, it's not like they're all independently wealthy, and honestly- there are a lot of good causes out there to give donations. I was really moved. But, I was at work, it was busy, and I couldn't keep checking into the group or anything else online. I didn't have time to think about it.

WELL. People left, I went back to my computer, refreshed, and every time I did, there was more money. It was like a telethon without me being on tv, and no kids or Jerry Lewis. I was yelling out numbers in my store, to B, like a lunatic. He was just like WTF, what is going on, and you're making more money today than the store. I was giddy. It just kept coming. I couldn't even give it to her at the benefit because I exceeded the amount of money I could transfer to my bank from PayPal and I had to wait until it cleared in the bank because I couldn't cover it myself. I was able to get the limit lifted, and money just kept coming in all weekend. By Sunday or Monday- I don't remember, with a small amount of money given to me at the benefit from selling roses plus around twenty-five of my Internet friends donating different increments, I was able to write Joce a check for over a thousand dollars.

I spent all day at work on Monday making a card with all my friends faces in it so Joce could actually see all the people rooting for her all over the country- AND Canada. I couldn't wait to give it to her & I couldn't sit on this secret any longer. I went there midday on Tuesday and awkwardly handed it over. She seemed overwhelmed as I told her the whole story, how it came about and just snowballed. She just quietly asked- How do I thank all these people?

Hopefully the best thanks of all would be to somehow harness all the positive energy everyone is sending and get better. Other than that- we don't know what the future will hold. Everything is just one day at a time. If nothing else, the money is just something that can make one thing a little bit easier, maybe take one bill or worry off the table. And that's all anyone wants. Cancer sucks and everyone feels powerless. Helpless to do anything. We say the wrong things, feel we don't do enough, so on and so forth. But if the kindness of friends and strangers can inspire a little more fight, a little more help, and/or a little more hope, then it's all good.

I would just like to thank my friends, again, for their selfless donations and you've given me renewed faith in humanity.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bust of the Boom

I don't know when Boom Burger opened. Maybe a year and a half ago? Two years? I don't know. Time flies but I checked Yelp and it seems their reviews go back to around February of 2012. So I'm going with that. There were so many burger places that opened- BUCU, Bobby's Burger Palace, Smashburger, Vinburger, East Coast Burger and who knows what else. I am in that area- where Boom Burger is, a decent amount. It's right by Loehmanns and the back of Garden State Plaza. But we just never made it there.

It's always been a weird spot. I used to go there A LOT when it was Circa. I used to take my Jdates there, I loved the food, and I even knew the staff from being a regular. But Circa closed, like every restaurant that was before and past- until Boom Burger. I guess people in the area have a thing for burgers. But the place is huge. It's more bar than food. They didn't really change anything in there except adding like twenty TV's to make it more of a "sports bar" feel. Maybe that is the draw?

We finally went there last week. And I wasn't impressed. I'm not a meat aficionado. I don't know an awesome burger from a crappy one. I haven't eaten fast food in probably over seven years but I can't say I didn't like a #2 (two cheeseburger meal) from McDonalds back in the day. So obviously I'm not that picky.

My issue is that it still looks more "upscale" but it's a burger joint. By definition, even if the bar is it's moneymaker, a burger place should be way kid-friendly. For the adults these day, I feel it needs to have something that can pass for sort of healthy. Yes, it's burgers, but in this day and age of so much talk of health, obesity, better choices, AND smart finances, there has to be some differentiation between this kind of higher end, more expensive burger and just going through a drive-thru.

We were with E when we tried it. First things first- they don't even have a kids menu. What?? How is that even possible? And WHY NOT?? My weird child pulls up to any restaurant and the first thing out of his mouth is- "I'm not hungry. I want nothing. I'm not eating. Ever." Well, we can't have that or he's screaming he's hungry at 3a when I am not giving him dinner. Even if I do happen to be awake at that hour usually. So why can't you have a small slider meal for kids? Why do I need to purchase a full size burger for my child who might eat a quarter of it. Or half. But oddly, they had milk, and in kid cups. So you can go half-assed for the kids? It can't be that difficult to add a few kid related items to the menu just to make life easier. Sliders, hot dog, grilled cheese, apple slices, applesauce, grapes, carrots and dip. Some choices that mix typical burger fare paired with a healthier side.

I get that it's a burger place. And I like a burger. But if I'm going to eat that I want to feel like I can balance it out with some lighter stuff too. I think if they expanded their menu a little I'd check it out. But it wasn't anything special, the burger was ok, the fries were good. Just nothing in particular that would make me want to come back. E didn't especially like it- there weren't crayons/paper placemat to draw on or anything for him. He wasn't impressed either.

I give it credit for surviving- that spot is as bad luck as the Mall at 4 for keeping business. And I'm not sure why because it IS in a hotel. So if they have people in the hotel, I'd assume they want to eat/drink there. But then again, the mall is right across the street so I don't know if that's what kills business there. I wish them well- I just won't be back. When it was Circa, it was awesome. Just had to throw that in there. I ate REALLY well on my dates.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bed Hopping

E never minded being in his crib. In fact, he liked it. He tried to climb out once, I think he was around two years old. He was wearing a sleep sack and must have done a flip out like he was on the uneven bars doing a dismount. I was downstairs, heard a thud and crying and I came flying up the stairs like a bat out of hell. He waddled toward me in the sack all pathetic-like, hysterical crying. I didn't think he'd attempt it again but I couldn't take that chance. My friend Natalie, who had two boys asked me if one side of my crib was higher than the other. Yes, by golly it was taller. The side up against the wall was taller because it was one of those lifetime convertible cribs and that side would be the headboard later on. She told me to turn the bed around, high side out, and then he couldn't ever get out. So that's what I did. We had to catapult him over the short ends standing on a step stool but our climbing problems were over and he decided to just love the crib.

I've never been in a hurry for him to do anything. I didn't push for him to crawl or walk. Very "Rita" of me- "Who needs their kid mobile?", I imagine she'd say. She also did actually say- "Once they talk you can't blame anything on them anymore..." So there you have it. I just didn't need him to have the freedom of a bed. We live in a center hall colonial with a million stairs. I didn't need him roaming around the house in the middle of the night or worse, feeling eyes on me in my sleep only to open them, seeing his face like Poltergeist right there. We are not a bed-sharing kind of family, unless B and I were into some kind of sadomasochism kind of thing where we would both wake up with black eyes from E's violent sleeping. No thanks. Lastly, E was always a very mature kid. I'm not saying that in a "my kid is a genius and he's perfect" kind of way. Just in a matter of fact, he is a mature kid kind of way. He isn't babyish. So I didn't need to move him to a bed to try to convince him he's a "big boy". If anything, by his attitude and brand of humor proves he is four thinking he is really fourteen.

In March we did convert his crib into a toddler bed on the suggestion of his new pediatrician. He thought maybe having more room might help him sleep better. E is rather tall for his age so maybe he was cramped. I don't know. We were willing to try anything. But having done that, B found that he and I could actually fit in there with E if we wanted to lay with him (one at a time). Well. I got in there and let me tell you- toddler mattresses- the most uncomfortable things to sleep on next to concrete. At least with concrete, you would know what you're getting! I couldn't even get out of the bed. I was laying there so he'd sleep, he fell asleep and I was trapped in there. That was the end of that. We scheduled E's surgery and I thought that he would need a lot of bed down time. I felt he should have a comfortable bed to recover in.

I found a new mattress and box spring on craigslist that was inexpensive. B had to rent a U Haul because no mattress is going in either Mini Cooper. But it was still less money than buying a mattress from a store. And B was going to convert the crib fully. I was at work. I get a text that when he started converting the "bed was a full". I was about to scream at him- "WTF- how do you not know the difference between a full and twin mattress?!". I thought he meant he took the wrong mattress. No no. The lifetime convertible turns into a FULL BED. Yeah, we didn't want that or have room for it. I quickly bought a bed rail and we put the mattress and box spring on the floor and used the bed rail with that. But I wanted a real bed. So I went to research online. I needed it to be cherry wood or at least chocolate or dark. I also needed it not to break the bank. I went to Amazon. I had almost $100 credit there from two gift cards from B to me from an anniversary and Mother's Day.

I found it. The coolest bed ever. It is called the Canwood Alpine II Twin over Twin Bunk Bed with Angled Ladder and Guard Rail. In cherry! I will say- it's not really a bunk bed. It's a junior loft. Meaning it is not nearly as high as a traditional bunk bed and if you were to make it bunk, the other mattress would just be on the floor or on a box spring. There is no actual bed underneath. I got it because the underneath could be like a fort. It also was the perfect height for the lingerie chest I have in there for his socks, underwear, hats, etc to be used as a nightstand for his clock and other things he likes up there. Otherwise I would've had to move that, take it out, or I don't know what. And it doesn't have an angled ladder. I don't know why it says that. It goes straight up and down. But I put a step stool at the bottom so that alleviated any difficulty in getting up or down. He navigated it fine the first night he was in it, even not totally himself from surgery. It only took maybe two hours to put together. It was fairly easy, the directions were fine, and B said he felt like it was good quality as he was putting it together. I think the best part about it is that it was only $189.99 and I bought the extra 5 year warranty for like $20. It holds up to 165 lbs.

E loves it. He thinks it's the most fun and at some point I'm going to get the thing that hangs over the bottom that makes it into a fort or house or whatever. It is the perfect bed that can grow with him. When he's done using the bottom to play under, he could use if for storage. It just allows us some options a regular bed would prohibit.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

E's Story

I wanted to wait to write this story until it had an "ending". And by ending, I mean, not just a diagnosis or a plan. An end to me meant or means a coughing cease-fire. It's been over FOUR years. FOUR. That's a long time to have a kid sound like he smokes two packs a day and regularly get the side-eye from passerbys who commented that it was nice to take my kid out with a cough like that. Thanks assholes. He has Ebola. You might want to move to the next aisle to buy your groceries. That was my standard answer.

I thought it started at ten months old in November of 2009. That was his first real cold that kept us all up for days of congestion and restlessness. But B says he had it when my mom was still alive and that was prior to him being seven months old. So somewhere between birth and ten months he developed this cough.

I picked my pediatrician because he was not old school- he was new school. Holistic. People that go to him drink the Kool-Aid from an endless vat. I hear you can't even get in there as a new patient these days. I had worked in the autism community prior to what I do now. I had so many cases where "old school" doctors poo-poo'd autism markers, saying the markers were nothing and to wait to do anything. By the time it was decided the children were on the spectrum, it was really late to get as much help as they needed. I just wanted to know the pediatrician would take any concerns in that area seriously. I was told this was the doc to go to. Plus, I knew it wasn't an alarmist/conservative kind of practice. But maybe the alarmist approach would've gotten us to a diagnosis sooner. I don't know.

What I do know is that it was NEVER mentioned to us that E had large or larger than normal tonsils. He never suggested I see an ENT. E also didn't get the traditional illnesses associated with needing an ENT doctor but it could've been suggested as a next step at some point. E ONLY had the cough though most of the time. He didn't have ear infections. Maybe once. He didn't have sore throats or strep. And both ran rampant around his two year class at school. He did have a runny nose here and there but I kept it under control with stuff from Whole Foods and Benadryl. But he was never the kid with green snot all over his face and he never really seemed sick in the traditional cold-sick kind of way. Or he'd get a small cold and it would go away in a few days. The cough though- it would linger for WEEKS after he had no other symptoms.

I'd gone to the pediatrician numerous times. I never seemed to be able to see the doctor I wanted. That is NOT how it was supposed to go. The other original doctor in the practice, who was amazing, left shortly after we started there. Over time, there were two news ones brought on who were as useful to me as feral cats with attitudes to match. The holistic Whole Foods remedies weren't working. I started to get fed up with that. So, he was put on antibiotics a lot. Nothing would really get rid of that cough. He was also put on a steroid, Ora-Pred a few times and it seemed, coupled with antibiotics, that it would knock the cough out. Then it would come back a few weeks or six weeks later. Sometimes with other minor symptoms, sometimes not. Sometimes it would be winter and cold but he also had it in the spring & summer. Sometimes he'd cough from running, sometimes he'd cough from standing still. Sometimes it would be from being outside and sometimes it would be from being inside. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. In September 2011, he seemed to be having some kind of weird allergic reaction and tic, ALONG with the cough. He was ripping at his eyes and nose to the point where he made a hole in the skin on top. It happened again the following September 2012 as well, just with no hole in the nose. But he was scrunching up his nose and scratching in his hair. I think honestly, he just couldn't breathe and it caused him other problems. He was just very uncomfortable in general.

At some point, the pediatrician said to go to a pulmonolgist. So we did. Worst experience. Besides not being the warmest of doctors for a two year old, my son was barely looked at and immediately put on inhalers. I was told it was asthma. I had no experience with asthma- Neither my husband nor I have it and it doesn't run in either family. But we followed directions and were giving him Qvar and Albuterol. The albuterol made him crazy so I wasn't that thrilled with it. I thought maybe he really had allergies so I took him to an allergy doctor. He was skin tested for allergies. Came up with nothing. But it was told to me that sometimes allergies don't show up in the test at that age. They told me to take him off the inhalers, they didn't think it was asthma, and I was given Singulair. I'd heard of Singulair because my eleven year old (at the time) mother's helper had taken it and thought it was a wonder drug.

I was not warned of the possible side effects that can come from children taking Singulair. Yes, I'm aware as a mother, I should be reading up on any drug I give my kid, and this was a lesson well learned. His behavior got so bad that I didn't think I could stay home with him anymore. I gave it to him for 30 days. Thirty days of complete torture.  I was miserable. He was miserable. I had no idea it was the drug- I thought it as just the "Terrible 2's" kicking in. It was awful. I actually rear-ended someone in Ridgewood because he was screaming like a lunatic in the back seat, which was SO not his normal personality. Later that night I looked up Singulair and it SAYS that aggressive and/or irritable behavior is a possible side effect. A-HA! I stopped the pill and literally in 24 hours he was back to my normal, happy, sweet, boy. But the cough came back.

I ended up going to the head of the practice at the Asthma & Allergy doc. He was really great- he immediately ordered a CT scan and got us in for one that day. We went, E was somewhat cooperative. I have to give a shout out to Joe at Radiology Associates in Waldwick. I've used them a handful of times- mammograms for me and two CT's for E. Joe made E feel as comfortable as a two year old could feel getting one done. It was quick and painless. Turned out that seemed E's sinus area was pretty full. So it seemed to the doctor that he was getting chronic sinus infections. He also did not think asthma. We ended up going there for about ten months. After many different antibiotics, steroids and unconventional medications, the doctor finally said that he thought we needed to go another route.

I arbitrarily picked "Infectious Disease". Why? I'd given up on the pediatrician. I wasn't dealing with that moron of a new doctor who told me that I should've made my son throw up when we thought he swallowed a piece of an Excedrin. Then called me back to tell me I didn't have to do that because she googled it. Anyway, I just went rogue and decided I'd find answers with whomever wanted to give them to me. As bad as "Infectious Disease" doctor sounds, it's basically a doctor for when no one else can figure out what is going on. I picked one out of our insurance and made an appointment. He gave E a full battery of bloodwork. He checked him out. He came back to me with....drumroll....NOTHING. His bloodwork said NOTHING. I was glad there was nothing seriously wrong but I was back to square one and so frustrated. I had been mentioning this whole thing all along to my own doctor who casually threw out that it could be Cystic Fibrosis. What the WHAT, now? That's definitely not what I wanted to hear or something I felt should be just put out there in a casual way. The only CF I knew of was from a TV movie of the week back in the 80's where an 8 year old had it, they would turn her upside down and pound on her chest to get the mucus out and she DIED at the end. And the girls who have it on America's Got Talent a couple of summers ago who had two other sisters who also have it, one of which who has also passed away. Apparently, I have more recently found out that there are like a hundred strains of CF and they are not all fatal. But it was still a lot to digest. Lo and behold, sweat testing done and he did not have CF. But WHAT THEN???

I also decided around February of 2013 that I was also changing pediatricians. When I started with mine I loved him. And his partner was great too. But they went through too many changes, the partner left, it would take months to see E's "main" doctor, and, the office staff lacked....pretty much everything. Anytime it was an emergency for us, which honestly, was VERY rare- maybe 3x in four years, I'd get the doctor I didn't trust or respect the opinion of whatsoever, no matter what. Every experience with her was a nightmare. Not just unpleasant, but a nightmare. I decided with all E's unknowns and problems, I couldn't have a pediatrician I didn't trust and strongly disliked. I didn't need to take that. I took a Facebook poll and decided to go where it seemed everyone else from his school was going. Tenafly Pediatrics in Paramus. I made an appointment for his well visit with a popular doctor. But, before I could get there for that, the cough came back with a vengeance. After listening to it for so many years, I know a doctor visit worthy sound vs a let-it-go sound. Off to Tenafly for a "sick" visit.

We got Dr Smith. And boy were we in luck. For the first time, SOMEONE seemed genuinely fixated on finding out what the fucking fuck was wrong with E. I don't know if it was ego, being super-caring, or what- but Dr Smith was IN. And I believed him. Except, now, for the first time I was told that E had wheezing. So the doctor wanted him to be back on the inhalers. Except instead of the dreaded Albuterol, he gave me Xopenex. I was ok with it. The inhalers seemed to help a little but not totally. The wheezing went away but he still had the cough. More antibiotics and more steroids.

Then I had his well visit with a different doctor. We then heard something else for the first time. In all the docs we'd gone to, this was the first time we heard that Ethan had large tonsils. Not abnormally large but large. This made sense because this is also a boy who hates to eat except for puree pouches and kefir, which is like drinkable yogurt. Well, a kid with large tonsils might find it uncomfortable or annoying to eat real food. Swallowing might be a little more on the difficult side. Interesting.

Dr. Smith had advised me to see another pulmonologist and an ENT. The asthma & allergy doctor had told me that basically an ENT is the same as him but would recommend surgery. The thought of surgery was just not something I wanted to do and I thought it was more of a choice than a necessity. I picked the new pulmonologist. I went there and she said he doesn't have asthma. Imagine how frustrating this has become at this point- he does, he doesn't, he does, he doesn't. Inhaler, no inhaler, so on and so forth. This doctor told me to stop with the inhalers. I was so confused at this point. I did eenie meenie miney moe from the list Dr Smith gave me and got a group. They gave me an appointment with Dr Lesserson. His name actually was NOT specified on the list but I took it. I was second guessing myself for doing that all the way up through sitting in his waiting room. I realized though that he was part of ENT & Allergy that is a huge practice with offices pretty much everywhere. I was kind of relieved because I felt like this was the place to be. Plus it was in Hackensack, if there would be surgery it would be at Hackesack Hospital and I am comfortable with that hospital.

Dr Lesserson was nice and he seemed like he was no joke. I've met some doctors who seem more nutty professor than focused, serious doctor. And I've come to realize in all these visits, not just for E, but for me, for B, for my mom, for my friends- just because someone is an MD doesn't make them good at what they do. I think you get an initial gut feeling and my feeling was that Dr L knew what he was doing. He did his little exam on E, stuck something down his nose and throat, turned to us and said- Oh yeah he's 90% blocked. He's going to need surgery. I'd like him to get another CT to check out his sinuses and see if he needs some other (I forget what) procedure along with the tonsil and adenoid removal. Let's schedule a date.

I was a little taken aback because surgery was the last thing I wanted. But at that point, I knew it was necessary. B and I also felt bad because all this time our poor kid was running on 90% blockage! Honestly, we couldn't believe he was as active as he was with so much blockage. This kid is always running in circles. Running anywhere and everywhere. We had taken to calling him Forest Gump. We scheduled the surgery for June 17th.

We had to be at the hospital at 6:30a. From there it was like a blur. He was the first surgery of the morning. They allow one parent into the ER with the child. I went. As only my kid would do- he hops up on the OR table, asks if this round spongy thing was a pillow, laid down on his back with his hands behind his head like he was going to be fanned and fed grapes. The OR staff- the anesthesiologist, the nurses- all surprised and cracking up. He closed his eyes and off he went. Surgery took about forty-five minutes, Dr L came back to us and said it went really well and there was almost no bleeding. Apparently that is unusual.

Then, nothing went as I was told. I was told by everyone- parents of kids who had this surgery, the doctor, random people, that he would be down for the count, bedridden, and wanting to rest. No, no. Not E. The day of the surgery, we got home, and all he wanted to do was go out and play. What? Crying. It was like he was on crack. He just wanted to jump and run and play. Not good. We were told by the doctor he wanted him basically to be "King of the Couch". In the house, resting and not riled up, for TEN DAYS. TEN DAYS. No play dates, no running around, no chaos. Trying to keep E restful was probably the hardest job ever. After one day, I gave this job to B and I went to work. It took six hours of tedium but they built the Hogwarts castle of Legos. Jenn brought by a building game thing for him. Our friend Melissa and her daughters Brooke & Lauryn brought him many movies from the Fair Lawn library and other cool stuff to play with. But all he wanted was OUT. Finally after a few days I took him to the mall. He's used to shopping with me, no friends around there to rile him up and he could skip (our compromise instead of running). We stuck to the rules as best we could because he was starting "real" camp on July 1 and we didn't want any mishaps prior to camp starting. I say "real" because this camp means a bus and a really long day- from door to door is around 8a-4:30p. That's longer than some people's workday. So we obviously wanted to make sure he was fully healed being that he wasn't a just a few streets away if we had to run there.

As far as food, that was a nightmare too. He barely ate before. All anyone told me was that he'd eat tons of ice cream, pudding, and ice pops. The doctor wanted everything to be cold. So even if he ate food like mac & cheese, it also had to be cold. Ok. I had previously bought a ton of puree pouches. Except that one of the rules was no sucking motion allowed. No sucking on the pouches and no straws. Well, he only really drinks out of a straw cup and eats pouches. I squeezed a pouch into a bowl and gave him a spoon. No way for this creature of habit and very visual kid. Not the same seeing it in a bowl so it was a no-go. Same with the kefir. No straw, no-go. Then, I stocked up on Pediasure, pudding, ice cream, ice pops, frozen kefir pops, etc. He wanted no part of anything. He said his kefir tasted like "carrot dip" (ranch dressing). The only "hit" was the grossest Turkey Hill Chocolate Marshmallow Frozen Yogurt. Whatever. Whatever works. Eventually he just wanted mac & cheese and pancakes. So that's what he ate. I was dying that I bought all this kefir and now was he going to shun it forever. Was this his new taste??

We had been giving him the Tylenol and Motrin alternating pain relieving schedule. Every 3 hours alternating. His days were pretty fine- I have to say. But nighttime was a real bitch. He'd go to bed fine around 8-8:30p. But like clockwork, from nights 3-6, he'd wake up between 10-10:30p almost in a trance of pain, holding his ears and screeching like an animal. E has never given us any trouble taking any meds- even the grossest of antibiotics. But at this wake-up, every time, he's be crying and screeching and refusing the Motrin. It was SO weird. Because when we'd finally get him to take it after about twenty-five minutes of carrying-on, he'd be sleeping in maybe 2-5 minutes. Then he'd sleep till like 4-5a and we'd give him more meds and he'd go back to sleep for a little while and be up at 7a. Finally around days 8-9 that stopped happening and he was going from 8p till 6-7a. I was afraid that was going to be his new wake up time forever instead of his old 7a-8a but at least I wasn't up in the middle of the night with him like I had been his entire life.

He also didn't seem to be grinding his teeth which was the biggest bane of my existence in all this. He had ground some of his teeth down to tiny nubs! I had asked the dentist about it but he shrugged it off like it was no big deal. To me it has been though because it looks terrible. His crazy sleeping had all been a huge issue for me. We were really looking for this surgery to stop the cough but also to calm his sleeping down. Prior to surgery he would be all over the place, grinding his teeth, yelling out, waking up at all hours, and just never seeming to get into a deep enough, really restful sleep. As the days went on his sleep seemed to really calm. He wasn't snoring or grinding, he wasn't tossing and turning, and oddly, he went from sleeping on his belly to his back.

At the ten days I went with E for his post-op. Told Dr L that E just never crashed or needed any down time. He called E "Iron Man" so that made E happy. He said he looked good and he was allowing straws and most food. Just nothing really crispy. Off we went to go home and eat pouches and drink anything with a straw. I gave him a pouch and kefir back in his cup and down the hatch it went. YES!

By days 11-14, he seemed "normal". He stopped saying his ears hurt, he was sleeping fine and even getting up later. Just as he was going to need to start waking earlier for camp. Of course. Now- at day 18, you wouldn't even know he had surgery. His eating still sucks but that just must be his personality- he eats to live, not lives to eat. He just doesn't care much about food. He started camp and we've been told he's been choosing to eat bagels and cream cheese for lunch- his old standby from before surgery.

Some mom I met who happens to go to my old pediatrician jumped into a story another mom was telling me about her son's surgery. She basically was saying she cured her daughter without surgery, with some holistic method. I'm happy for her that her daughter didn't need it. But E needed it. There is a huge difference just in his sleeping alone. We've heard him cough here and there just a few times post-surgery but that could've been because he had scabs in his throat. And it didn't have the same intensity or sound of the old cough. Only time will tell. Dr Smith did feel like he had something else that was causing the wheezing that this surgery quite possibly wasn't going to fix. But again, with that, only time will tell. All in all, I thank Dr Smith for really caring and pushing me to go the ENT and Dr Lesserson for doing a fabulous surgical job and giving E a chance at not walking around like you expect a stogie to be hanging out of his mouth. Thirteen doctors. Thirteen. By George, I think we got it!