Friday, March 4, 2011

Joshua's Palate Surgery

What a trooper! Joshua’s palate surgery went well, and he responded to everything so much better than I expected!

The day before surgery we spent some time walking the halls, playing in the hospital playroom, watching movies, looking at books in the library, playing video games, and just hanging out. And while I thought it was crazy to have a 3 year old required to spend the entire day in the hospital the day BEFORE surgery I think that it really did him some good. It made him comfortable with his surroundings and all the medical stuff in the rooms without being threatened by it all. So, while it was uneventful and a little boring, I think it was helpful...and it gave me the opportunity to connect with my friend (and former coach) Kristi, who now lives in the Houston area! It was such a blessing to get to spend the evening with her!

The morning of surgery Josh was a bit grumpy. The boy does not like to be woken up! But it wasn’t long before they came in with the silly juice and it did the trick. Poor boy kept trying to play a game on my phone, but it was just not working out for him! When we went back into the holding room the nurse asked him if he was ready to go and he said NO! I was a little shocked that he had the wherewithal to even know what was going on. But a few minutes later they were able to distract him and he willingly went to the nurse who carried him back to the OR. I must say the nurses were AMAZING! When surgery was finally done and they paged me he was not fully awake. They said that normally they would have gotten him cleaned up a little better and waited for him to wake up more before calling him back, but that they knew I had been through this before and they knew I was anxious to see him. They said he had been a stinker coming out of anastasia, and that they were going to be moving us to a room right across from the nurses station (which was really just two rooms over from where we were originally!) So I hurried back to get all of our stuff packed up and moved while they prepared to roll him to the room. Once he was in the room, and a little more awake, he got very agitated. He was still hooked up to everything but he wanted out and he wanted in his mama’s arms. I’m so thankful that I took one last trip to the bathroom before they brought him in because the boy would not leave my arms for the rest of the night! He woke up here and there, was restless and groggy, but mostly he slept. Around 3 the nurses realized that I had not made it out of the room for lunch so they brought me a sandwich, some yogurt and chips from the nurses station. I was so thankful! The biggest obstacle was getting regular Tylenol prescribed for him because he would have NOTHING to do with the oral pain meds originally prescribed...and I mean nothing! The boy would start freaking out if you tried to get the medicine cup anywhere near him! A doctor had to call it in, but ours had already left for the evening and because the other pain meds were already in the system it would not clear him for the Tylenol. After a few hours they got it worked out and he joyfully downed the Tylenol. What a difference that made!

The next morning I had the opportunity to connect with a old high school friend of mine that I had not seen in years! It was a real treat to hang out with Kristin for a few hours! By that time we were discharged with a strict soft food diet order. Poor Josh was asking for chicken nuggets not an hour into the ride home! He was not impressed by the mashed potatoes I handed him instead! :) Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TWU Tradition...and a walk down memory lane

Legacy. Tradition. Pride. Friendship. Family. When I think back about my time spent at Texas Woman’s University, particularly my time spent on the gymnastics team at TWU, I think about these things. The legacy of TWU gymnastics is built upon many years of tradition and pride. The girls I competed with are some of my dearest friends...we are family. Many of them I do not see often, if at all anymore. We rarely talk on the phone, although many of us do keep up on facebook. But get us back in a room together and it’s like no time has passed at all.

I had an opportunity to get away and spend some time with these dear women this past weekend, and let me tell was so refreshing! ...And a bit sad and surreal, as we witnessed the end of an era. Our coach, Frank Kuklac is retiring at the end of this season. He started the program 33 years ago has poured his heart and soul into making it what it is today...a USAG Powerhouse, with 9 USAG Collegiate National Championship Titles, two conference championships, numerous all American titles, and a slew of other accolades. Coach Kudlac did not just teach his team about gymnastics, he taught us principles for life. Hard work, perseverance, unity, belief in a system - in your teammates - and in yourself, the pursuit of excellence, poise, integrity...

I am so thankful that in 1995 Coach Kudlac saw potential in me, an inconsistent and inexperienced barely level 10 gymnast, and offered me a spot on the team. I am so so thankful. At that point I had only been competing for 3 years. Most of my experience had been in cheer-leading and tumbling with a year or so taking gymnastics when I was little. I had always loved it. It really was what I was passionate about. I wanted to be Mary Lou. I still remember turning cartwheels down the hallway of a hotel after watching the Olympics and telling my mom THAT is what I want to do!!! But with the cost of classes, our moving to a small town, and my love for school sports, gymnastics was not a realistic option. I spent 7th-9th grade fully immersed in as many school sports as I could possibly be involved in. Volleyball, basketball, track, cross-country, one season of softball, cheer-leading...I loved every minute of it. But my freshmen year, while taking a tumbling class, my heart was drawn back into my love for all-around gymnastics. I was willing to give up everything else and pursue gymnastics full time. When I told my school coaches that I would not be returning to the team my sophomore year they told me I was crazy....”to be good at gymnastics you have to start when you’re little bitty” they would say. “What do you plan to do with gymnastics? And why would you give up a chance at a college scholarship running track for this?” I couldn’t explain it. They were right. It was crazy. I had loved my time playing those sports, but gymnastics was IN me and always had been. I just had to take the chance. I just had to.

Looking back now, I realize just how crazy it was. I had no guarantees I’d be any good, and even if I was decent, there were no guarantees I’d get into college doing gymnastics. I was 15 and couldn’t do a kip on I scratched bars nearly my entire first season because I couldn’t do the skills necessary in the routine...and once I could do enough of them to compete it was...let’s just say....entertaining! Beam was another tough one. I was so inconsistent (at least that’s the way it felt!). Because I was learning skills so quickly to “catch up” with my age group I didn’t have the time to perfect them like you need to do to be a solid beam worker. But I had floor and vault, and that was enough to keep me going. I was a 16 year old level 6 gymnasts competing with a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds. I meddled a lot that year, simply because there were not many girls competing in my age group! My teammates in high school were great too. There were two other girls that were just a year or two younger than me, and then a slew of little girls that I loved! They were all so supportive and encouraging. My coaches Mary Jane Ousley and Kristi Walters were great too. They kept pushing me ahead towards my goal, expecting great things from me, but helped me be realistic when my experience level didn’t measure up to my expectations. They really laid a quick, solid foundation for my collegiate years.

Okay, I’m not sure how I ended up hijacking this post with my walk down memory lane, but let me just say, that I am so thankful for my years in gymnastics. The friendships, the memories, the life lessons, the character’s all priceless! So THANK YOU to all of you out there who were a part of my gymnastics journey. What amazing memories I have of that time in my life! And thank you Lord for giving me the talent, the desire and passion, and the courage to take the risk!

And now, here are a few shots from my weekend with the girls! And just for grins...a video of a video of my vault and floor routine from Nationals my senior year! (still makes my heart race and my palms sweaty to watch).