Friday, July 10, 2015

Hodgepodge Post

Please pardon the unusually long blogging absence. This blog has collected quite some dust since my last post I'm afraid. With summer in full swing, there have been some special activities and outings going on. Just typical summer bucket list stuff. The kids also go to bed later than usual, for which they make up by getting up earlier than normal. As a result, my quite alone time, especially on the computer, has pretty much ceased to exist. I have taken to going on early morning walks by myself at the park every day for that little link to sanity. The weather at that hour is cool and mild - some mornings, I have even enjoyed a bit of rain showers.

Most days, Boaz cooperates, and goes back to sleep after I nurse him whenever I wake up, typically around 5 a.m. Other days, he won't go back to sleep, but is too tired and crabby to actually enjoy being up. For these times, I just purchased a new soft-structured carrier that I really love, and want to recommend: the Lillebaby. Putting him on my back or front in it is a snap, and I can bring him along on my morning walk, which sends him back to dreamland where he is supposed to be at that early hour. Very comfortable even for extended walks!

That look! :)

Anyhow, the long days and extra activities have left me with virtually no computer time, but it's summer, so it's all good.


There was a gastrointestinal virus that made its way pretty much through the entire state, and also brushed us. None of us got seriously ill, but because no two of us were sick at the same time, it really, really dragged this thing out over the course of almost two weeks. Just as one person would get over it, the next person would start. Fun, fun!

In a little more serious of a medical incident, I took little Stephen to the pediatrician after having a somewhat severe reaction to a bee sting on his hand (red, hot, considerably swelled, and a rash over his body). Since all his symptoms involved only one system (the skin), this was not considered an anaphylactic reaction. But clearly, he must be allergic to some extent, and his reaction this time was quite a bit more severe than that after his first sting last year.

 It doesn't look so big, until you put it in relation with my hand under his.

The pediatrician was concerned the severe swelling on the hand would cut off circulation to the fingers, especially since the swelling had not yet reached its peak. So on we went to the children's ER, where Stephen was subsequently admitted to the hospital after several hours of observation, when IV steroids had failed to reduce the swelling significantly.

He took it all in stride. When they moved him up to his own room, I told him it was like staying at a hotel on vacation. So for the rest of his stay, he kept telling everyone he was on vacation in California :) He never cried once, not even when they laid the IV, but when I went home that night and he stayed behind with Dad, we wailed and really wanted me to stay instead. Since Bo still nurses, and I didn't want to keep him overnight at the hospital, me staying there was not really an option. 

 Watching the helipad and the arriving ambulances.

To my local readers, I just want to give a huge shout-out to Cardon Children's Hospital. This has been our second experience with them, and both stays have been excellent in service and care. (By comparison, every experience I have had with Phoenix Children's has been awful.) The nurses and doctors at Cardon are very friendly, respect their patients and their parents, and generally go out of their way to make everything as pleasant as possible. Some examples: Stephen was showered with new, in the box, age-appropriate toys and activities in the ER, while they fed me fresh deli sandwiches that are kept on hand just for parents. The inpatient rooms offer comfortable, spacious rooms, and made-to-order meals, hotel room service style (minus the price tag, since it's all included). There are tons of play rooms, therapy dogs, interactive displays etc. that make this hospital a beautiful and fun place to be for patients as well as siblings that are visiting. A few days after we were back home, Stephen received a card that had been hand-signed by all his doctors and nurses. Last but not least, because we do not carry medical insurance, the hospital automatically deducted about 2/3 off our price as a cash discount, making this stay cost only about what most people pay for their health insurance premiums in a couple of months. 

On that note, another huge shout-out to Samaritan Ministries, a Christian medi-share program that allows members to help each other bear such unexpected medical bills by sharing funds. We joined them last year, after a short and disappointing stint with "real" health insurance (which made as little financial sense then as it did ten years ago when we first cancelled it). Until this incident, I had enjoyed reading Samaritan's monthly newsletter, being able to put a real name along with my share each month and send it directly to whoever needed it, along with a Get Well card, but the way they have handled this need is truly just a testimony to how wonderful it is to join together with other believers in such an undertaking. We wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone as a fabulous alternative to medical insurance. This medi-share program is acceptable under the new mandatory health care laws, so between not paying the fines on taxes and the inevitable maternity and child-related needs being covered, this is a great fit for us.

Stephen now has to carry an Epi-pen (well, I do), but otherwise has no lasting harm. We have a lot of bees around here, so much so that I suspect a backyard urban hobby beekeeper must live close by. People always think of scorpions or rattlesnakes being the deadly animals here in Arizona, but they kill less than 1 person per year in the US. By comparison, bees are the deadliest animals, killing more humans in the US every year than any other animal (approx. 55/year).

Anyhow, if you think of it, please pray that Stephen does not get stung again anytime soon, and that if he does, his reaction will not be severe.

One last shout-out for my local readers to a place we discovered a couple of weeks ago: Shakes and Cones in old-town Scottsdale.

An all-organic soft serve ice cream place. Think Dairy Queen, minus the weird aftertaste and questionable ingredients. So, SO good!!! Price-wise, very reasonable, especially since the portions are humongous. Service is outstanding. What's not to love?  That they are not closer to my house. Or maybe that's a good thing.

Hope you are all enjoying summer with your loved ones!

(No affiliate links in this post, I really just like everything I have recommended above.)


  1. Zsuzsana,

    I am so grateful that your Stephen is alright after his bee sting! My father is allergic to bees and has been to the hospital a number of times over it. I was hoping to share with you a small part of his experience with bees that might be helpful to you if you ever find the person you suspect is keeping bees in your neighborhood. When I was a child, a neighbor decided to keep some bees and despite an entire five acre parcel where he could have located them, just happened to place them against the fence this neighbor shared with my father. From what I understand, the neighbor was not interested in getting rid of his bees, despite the fact that they could easily have killed my father, so finally, reluctantly, my father called the health department. When my father was able to substantiate his various hospital stays involving bee stings, a representative from the health department removed the offending hazards promptly. Granted, this was in a different state than where you reside, so I don't know if it would work the same. I do pray that Stephen will remain safe!

    In Christ,

  2. I'm so thankful to hear that little Stephen is feeling better!!

    And I'm so glad to hear that you had a good experience at Cardon's. We will remember that. We still have one of our little guy's specialists at Phoenix Children's, but I've been scared to death to go there ever since hearing of PCH's involvement in a recent medical kidnapping incident (incidents?). When our specialist retires, we won't be going back to PCH.

    And thank you for the mention of the ice cream place - we'll have to try that sometime!

    I so admire your dedication to getting up early. Lately I've just been so tired that I can't manage earlier than 6:30 a.m. Something to work on, for sure.

    Off to do chores! Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to hear about the family's summer adventures and your curriculum plans for next year. :)


  3. Poor little guy!! I'm allergic to bees as well and when my youngest daughter was stung, her hand swelled up pretty severely. The doctor said that he didn't think it was a "real" allergy (whatever!), but I'm definitely going to be more aware now that I've read your story.

    Try and stay cool! I grew up in Flagstaff, but lived in Phoenix and Lake Havasu City for years. I definitely don't miss those scorching summer months!

    Take care,

  4. So glad he is doing well. Recently, my child had to have emergency surgery for his appendix. He is seven. His medical emergency only was compounded because several staff members were clearly homosexual. I was afraid of AIDS or them even touching my son, in such a vulnerable state, sedated and in the operating room. Why is it not okay to ask that he be taken care of by other staff members. I really don't know what to do? Any suggestions. In non-emergancy situations, it may be a bit easier.


    1. Really Jamie,
      You were really worried gays having AIDS or doing something to your kid? Unbelievable! They are not pedophiles or any more prone to having AIDS than you are. Then based on your ignorance, your son wouldn't get AIDS unless he were gay. They are wrong, and will suffer in the end for eternity.

    2. No, she has a right to be concerned. Pedophilia amongst homosexual males is quite high. Take into consideration that 1 out of 20 men molest and that in ages past, ancient Greek societies were predominately man-boy homosexual unions. Do you think it has really changed much today?? Then, take into consideration the chance of HIV rates in homosexuals. One in my extended family was homosexual and died from AIDS.

  5. Glad the little Stephen is better!

  6. I'm so glad Stephen is better! Make sure to practice on the training epi-pen, just in case.

    Curious - since the law requires insurance now or pay a fine, wouldn't it be cheaper to have insurance in the long run? I haven't really researched the fines since we have insurance.

  7. Did you ever read the blog A Perfect Lily? They are a Christian family- conservative (homeschooling, no TV, etc) but not quite as conservative as yours (ex: they are not dresses only). She just announced her pregnancy with baby #12. (She is 47 years old). Baby number 10 has Down Syndrome. Her husband is a Pastor, Baptist, I believe. Anyway, I thought you might be interested since you seem to have so much in common. You don't have to post this if you don't want to, it was just FYI.
    Here is the Link to her About Me Page

    Glad Steven is OK. I had an issue with a bee sting that my foot swelled up and by the end of the evening it was actually dragging! I took Benedryl and it worked, but I would not want to get stung by multiple bees if one caused that reaction!

    Enjoy your summer!


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