Valley Fever Strikes

Yet another ugly beast of the desert has reared its head.  As if scorpions, rattlesnakes, javelinas and haboobs were not enough, Valley Fever decided to take over Max.  Oh no, its nothing like Spring Fever, or Saturday Night Fever, or even Cabin Fever.  Valley Fever might sound like a sitcom or something fun but it made Max sicker than I have ever seen him.
 Valley Fever is found in the Sonoran dessert region and is a fungal infection that can cause fever, chest pain, coughing, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, night sweats and a rash.  Little spores in the desert soil get stirred into the air and take up residence in your lungs.  Most people don't even know they have it, but 40% will have severe symptoms and some of them will develop pneumonia and then ever fewer (5%) develop disseminated disease.
(All the white on the far right side of his lung is the infection from the spores.  It should be all black like the left side.)

About 3 weeks ago Max decided to clean up the side yard where there had been a pile of debris.  He had commented to me at the time how awful it smelled and how moldy it was.  Then a week later he started to come down with flu like symptoms.  But so did Karlie.  We figured they got the typical winter bug.  However, after 2 days Karlie got better and went back to school.  I thought Max was just being a wimp.  Oops!  By Wed he had missed so much work that he needed a Doctor's note.  So he went in and tested negative for the Flu.  His female doctor also sort of gave him the man up attitude as she said she had the same thing last week but continued to see patients on her feet each day.  So he tried to toughen up and go back to work on Thursday.  He came home completely exhausted each day between 2 and 3.  On Friday as I was driving my parents back from the airport and we were discussing how sick he was and it donned on me that he had the symptoms of Valley Fever.  He decided to wait through the weekend and see how he felt.  
This is the sweat stain I discovered when changing the sheets. :(  I guess a new mattress is in our future. 

He felt miserable.  He would sweat so much at night that he would have to get up and change his clothes in the middle of the night because they were soaking wet.  He would be shivering so much it would wake me up.  One night he was so hot he left white hot heat marks on our wooden chair.  Finally on Monday he asked one of his pulmonary docs about it and he ordered all the test.  When the doctor saw Max's chest X-ray, he told him to go home!  He had severe pneumonia and the next day the blood work would show it was Valley Fever.  Max has been on the anti fungal medication since Tuesday.  He worked a half day Thursday and today is the first day in 2 weeks he has been able to work the whole day!

The fever has burned up any body fat Max had (which was practically none).  He is rail thin and looks like a frail and ill patient.  Nurse Katie is on the job!  I am feeding him as much hardy food as I can pack in him and he is not resisting me!  He knows not to mess with me when I go into nurse mode. :)  We love him so much and are so grateful that he is starting to bounce back.  The good news is he has lifelong immunity and can never get it again!  Another major blessing is that Hank was not helping Max.  Typically if  Max is doing yard work Hank is almost always by his side, yet this one time Hank stayed inside with me.  With Hank's asthma I hate to think about what could have happened if he breathed in as many spores as Max did.  Hopefully we are done learning about all the awful parts of the desert and can start enjoying the good parts, like 70s in November.

Grammy's 60th Celebration

Last Weekend Grammy and Grandpu came to visit us for the weekend.  We were so disappointed to not be able to celebrate Grammy's 60th birthday with her in October that we decided we needed to have a belated celebration.
 The ladies took Grammy to The Lion King Broadway's musical!
 It was a spectacular show.  However, I wish we were able to see the matinee.  It ran until 10:15 pm and we were all a little sleepy.  Poor Kaitlin tried so hard to hang with the big girls, but fell asleep shortly after curtain call and slept through it all.
 Saturday was a day of feasting and hanging out watching college football, a few of my Mom's favorite things. :)

My Grandpa came over to help us celebrate.  Cheers to Grammy!
 We made her favorite Eggs Benedict, with a California twist of tomato and avocado.
Between brunch and dinner everyone just enjoyed each other's company.
Max and Hank cleaned the guns.  You know, just normal Saturday afternoon boy stuff.
 Then it was time for the real feast!  If there is one thing my Mom loves, it is a good steak.
 The potatoes were taking a little long so everyone decided to do a little dancing.  It is a very RARE sight to see Snork dance!  Definitely a special occasion.  Like only at weddings when he was forced to dance with his daughters. :)
 Finally everything was ready!
 A feast fit for a Queen.
You can't have a proper birthday celebration without a cake.
 Hailey helped me create this beauty!
 We didn't even need to call the fire department.
 For an old lady, she has got a pretty good set of lungs on her.  LOL
I love you Mom.  I hope you know how special you are to each one of us and how we miss celebrating life with you.

Halloween Hangover

I think I am just now recovering from the Halloween Hangover.  
October was so full of festivities and fun that it has taken me a while to normalize.  We gave Halloween all we had!
It started with Kaitlin and Max making pumpkin pancakes and snakes for breakfast.
Ghostly Peeps hot coco to prime them for a day full of sugar rushes.
Pumpkin shaped turkey sandwiches.
 Karlie helped me make Jack'O Lantern cuties.
 Pumpkin muffins and pumpkin seeds from our pumpkins rounded out the little pumpkins lunches.
For dinner it was home made mac-n-cheese with pumpkin shaped pasta, fingers (asparagus) and hauntingly good ham. 
For dessert it was eggless Peeps cupcakes.  I know....why dessert on Halloween for Peeps sake!?  Well, I just can't help myself.
 I was literally at the kids' school the entire day for Halloween parties.
 It is so fun to be a kid and I am so fortunate to get to be a part of it all.
 Kaitlin's science lesson was exploding mementos in coke!  Cool. :)
 I did the slime rotation for Karlie's class.  She loved it!
 Then in Hank's class I did the dirt cups rotation.  Messy but fun!
After dinner it was time to get dressed.  I told the kids this year they could pick a different costume since I can understand not wanting to be the family theme.  Plus we were using clothes they already had, so they got $20 at Goodwill and we made a second round of costumes for three of them.
 Hailey was a dark angle.  She is just too sweet to be scary or evil. :)  We found a beautiful, black velvet prom dress for 5 bucks and added sheer sleeves, wings and a halo.  Presto!
 Kaitlin wanted to be Horton.  She is so easy going.
 When Hank saw the Ninja costume at Costco, there was no talking him out of it.  He continues to dress up in it.
Karlie had cut out an $200 Gothic princess outfit out of Chasing Fireflies that she wanted to be.  I said, lets see what you can do with $20.  We found a perfect Gothic dress and tiara for $12.  We had a black cape.  A little make up and her comes Gothic Princess Karlie.
 By far and away their favorite part was the make up and fake eye lashes!
After the kids got all dressed, it was time to go to Hailey's best friend's house for the tween Halloween party.  The girls took the neighborhood by storm.
 We are friends with her parents and decided to Trick or Treat in their neighborhood.  Some people went all out!
 It was fun to be in a neighborhood where the houses are close enough the kids can run from house to house, unlike ours where we have to drive house to house.  Hank had the hardest time remebering the order.  At first each time they opened the door, he would walk right in like a guest.  Then he would say Thank you and not Trick or Treat.  Then Trick or Treat Thanks.  I think he did it properly once or twice.  He was so excited to run from house to house.
Their buckets were full of candy after about an hour and a half and they were all dusted after a long day of fun and sugar.
We partied till we dropped!

Happy Birthday Siri!

 In the midst of all the Halloween craziness, our baby Siri turned 2!
 She got a special turkey cupcake with cottage cheese icing.
 She thought being top dog was quite cool.  Finally she got her place at the table. :)
A candy corn bone, new stuffed duck and bones made it a pretty good birthday for our devoted and loving fur baby.  She would be the perfect dog if she could just stop peeing in the house!!  Here is hoping like all my other 2 year old girls and that she gets potty trained this year! :)