Six Months

Six months ago yesterday, Maximus Xavier was born. I can not believe that he is already half a year old! He has grown so much since then. He weighed seven and a half pounds when he was born. He is now over eighteen pounds in weight. He is also quite tall. His feet hang over the end of his infant car seat.

Maximus is usually in a great mood, smiling most of the time. We took him to get his pictures taken yesterday, and he did a fantastic job. He did much better than Emma did when she got her pictures taken when she was six months old. Emma was not very cooperative, but Maximus was. The only problem he gave us was that after falling over once, he didn't seem too keen on sitting up on his own. Of course, Maximus is still pretty new at sitting up. He can't get himself into a sitting position, but if someone else sits him up, he can usually maintain the position for a couple of minutes.

Besides sitting, Maximus has begun rolling over from his tummy to his back. In the past month, until last night, he had rolled himself over three times on his own. However, this was not a feat that he would repeat. Last night, this all changed. I placed Maximus on his tummy, and after a little bit of whining, he rolled over onto his back. I put him back on his tummy, and he immediately rolled back over again. He did this a few times in a row, so I got the camera out to make a video of this. At first I thought he wasn't going to do it again, but then he did.

Surgery and Recovery

On Thursday I had my gallbladder removed. And as I was not going to be able to eat from between midnight prior to my surgery until after the procedure was completed, I decided that I wanted to have a large dinner Wednesday. So Mel, Emma, Maximus, my mother, including my mother, who came to visit to watch Maximus, my sister, and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I thought that was a good place to go since their portions are notoriously large. However, I ordered an item off of their specials menu. Those entrées are not as large. Nevertheless, I still had plenty to eat. Around nine o'clock that night, I had my last food prior to my surgery, half of the cheesecake that I had brought home from the restaurant.

Thursday morning, after taking Emma to daycare, and doing some shopping at the grocery store and Target, Mel and I headed to the surgery center. I was a little nervous. Prior to this surgery, the only surgery I had had was having my wisdom teeth removed. However, the fact that this surgery was routine did help to ease my nerves a bit. I figured that the chances of something going wrong were very remote.

Upon arriving at the surgery center, the nurse prepped me for surgery, putting an IV in my hand. I really hate needles, so I wasn't looking forward to that, but it wasn't too bad. The anesthesiologist came in to ask me a few questions, and then the surgeon stopped by to tell me that he had another laparoscopic cholecystectomy to perform before mine, so he would be in good practice when it came to mine. After waiting for an hour or so, I was wheeled into the surgery room. I seem to remember them saying something about the operating table not being long enough, but that is the last thing I recall before waking up in the recovery room. When I came to, I apparently was trying to sit up, because I seem to remember the nurses yelling at me to not sit up. After being observed for an hour and a half or so, Mel and I went back home.

I actually felt pretty good initially after my surgery, although I did take some generic Vicodin upon returning home to ensure I continued to feel all right. I also had some crackers and Jell-O to eat once I got home since I was so hungry, but didn't think a full meal would be advisable. I didn't have much pain at all until I laid down to go to bed. That hurt quite a bit, but taking ibuprofen and more Vicodin helped. I ended up going to sleep fairly quickly.

Yesterday I felt fairly good and ended up eating a good lunch and dinner. Staying medicated helped to keep pain away, although my right shoulder felt stiff most of the day. In fact, I felt well enough out that Mel, Maximus, and I even went out for a little bit. I didn't feel much pain at all yesterday until I tried to feed Max and ended up stretching in an uncomfortable way. The next real pain I had last night was when a joke on truTV's World's Dumbest made me laugh. It was very painful when I laughed, but I couldn't stop! I had to get up and leave the room, because just watching the clip on the show kept me wanting to laugh.

I seem to be recovering just fine from my surgery. Later this morning I will be able to remove the dressings from the four incision sites. Then I will get my first look at where the surgeon inserted his tools.


A Date with a Surgeon

Perhaps I should have written this blog entry before the previous one, but yesterday I went to see a surgeon about my gallbladder issues. Even though I haven't had any pain from it in over two weeks, the fact that I had two occurrences of pain that week, the other being two days before, the surgeon recommended that I have my gallbladder removed before it causes any more issues. So next Thursday, a week from today, I will be having a cholecystectomy done. This week has been, and next week will be busy weeks in the medical area for the Mathman family.

The Craniofacial Clinic

Back in June I blogged about how Maximus has torticollis, a condition which causes him to tilt his head to the left and look to the right. He has been going to physical therapy since then to work on that. We have also been doing exercises with him at home to stretch out his neck muscles to prevent this. However, despite this intervention, he still prefers to turn his head to the right when he is lying down, and as a result of this, he has developed plagiocephaly, or a flat spot on his head.

The hope was that his physical therapy would help in rounding his head out, but this has not happened. So today we went to the craniofacial clinic at a local hospital to have him evaluated. After taking some measurements, the nurse practicioner and orthotists decided that a helmet would help to correct Maximus's plagiocephaly. Maximus was fitted for a helmet. To do this, the orthotist put a cap on his head that contained reflective dots. She then scanned around his head with a laser which took information from the position of the dots. A computer then created a three-dimensional image of Maximus's head from the data it received. Maximus also needed to have a CT scan done to make sure that two of the bones of his skull had not yet fused. He actually did very well for that, especially considering how bundled up he was. Maximus hates being bundled up.

This afternoon, after we got home, we got a call from the nurse practitioner letting us know that the CT scan showed that everything was normal, and that we can proceed to order Maximus's helmet. I will call the orthotist tomorrow to set that up. She was supposed to email us a file showing the different color and pattern options, but she apparently did not get around to that yet. Hopefully she can do that when I call tomorrow so they can get to work on Maximus's helmet.


Star Wars: In Concert

This afternoon Mel, my sister, and I went to go see Star Wars: In Concert at the Xcel Energy Center. Having a sister with connections it really nice, as our seats were in one of the suites, complete with complimentary cookies, brownies, and soft drinks.

Before the show, I really did not know what the show would be like. All I knew was that there would be an orchestra playing music along with Star Wars movies being shown on the screen. The show began with the orchestra playing the 20th Century Fox fanfare, followed by the theme song to Star Wars. While they played this, scenes from the various Star Wars movies were shown behind the orchestra. Also shown on the screen was views of the orchestra playing.

Then, Anthony Daniels, the actor who played C-3PO in all six Star Wars movies, came out and introduced different musical numbers, many of which focused on different characters in the saga, telling the story of Star Wars as the show progressed. Through talking about each of the characters, and some of the events of the movies, Daniels told the story of the whole Star Trek saga.

This was a great show. I really wish we could have brought Emma along as she is somewhat interested in Star Wars. Not only would she have been able to see clips from Star Wars, leaving out some of the parts that maybe wouldn't be appropriate for someone who is her age, but it would also have been a good introduction to seeing a symphony orchestra perform. However, the show was probably a little to loud for Emma; she hates loud noises. Also, I do not know if she would have been content to sit and watch the performance for the entire hour the show lasted before the intermission. If Star Wars: In Concert were to return in a couple of years, I think she could handle it.


Courtesy Calls from Discover Card

Black Telephone
Originally uploaded by Ollie-G
Discover Card has begun calling our house again to ask to speak with my wife. When I ask what the calls are in regards to, they simply tell me it is a courtesy call. If I tell them she is not here, they just say they will call back later. I have told them that she is not interested in receiving their call, but they continue to call back. I know that they do not have to abide by the federal Do Not Call registry since she is a customer of theirs, but she really isn't interested in signing up for their credit protection plan or whatever they are offering her to get her to use her card more. I have tried being polite with them, and I have also been more stern with telling them that she doesn't want to talk to them. With the two most recent calls from Discover Card, I have changed my tactic for dealing with them. I told the caller that Mel was here and that I would get her. I then just went about doing whatever it is I had been working on, letting the caller wait. The first time I did this, it the caller waited one minute, forty-five seconds before hanging up. The second time, the caller hung up after just one minute, twenty-five seconds. Oh, I suppose I could just ignore the calls and not answer them, but I really want them to STOP!


The Fourth of July

Our Fourth of July holiday began with us taking Maximus to the urgent care clinic to be checked out. That morning, when he woke up at 3:00, he was very warm. Taking his temperature, we learned that he had a fever of 101.4°F. That, along with the rash he had on his chect and back, prompted me to call the hospital to speak with a triage nurse to see if we needed to take him to the emergency room right away. After hearing all of Maximus's symptoms, the nurse said that we chould take him to be seen by a doctor some time within the next twenty-four hours. At the urgent care clinic, we discovered that Maximus has an inner ear infection.

While we spent most of our morning at the urgent care clinic and running a few other errands, we ended our day by going to Woodbury to see fireworks. Mel considered staying at home with Maximus since he had not been feeling well, but we ultimately decided that we would all go to the show. We were not sure how Maximus would deal with the loud noises, but he did great! He loved watching them and only cried a little bit toward the end. Emma, on the other hand, reall hates loud noises, so I was anticipating that she might not like the fireworks. She did cover her ears the whole time, and asked several times if we could go home or if she could sit in the car, but she did fine otherwise. After the fireworks were over, she said that she enjoyed them but that she closed her ears because they were loud. As we were in line to leave the parking lot, Emma kept counting the number of cars there were. She counted from one to eight before declaring that there were one hundred cars there. She ended up falling asleep before we got out of the parking lot. Unfortunately, she woke up this morning at the time she usually does, so I am afraid that she may end up being a little crabby this afternoon.


Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day everyone. Below Superman is a patriotic video, but please use caution as it contains explicit lyrics.


Another Zoo Trip

Today we made out fifth trip to a local zoo for the year. This time it was to the Minnesota Zoo. In fact, only one out of our five zoo trips this year hasn't been to the Minnesota Zoo. Anyway, we had two things we wanted to be sure to do at the zoo today. We wanted to give Emma a chance to play in the splash pad there, and we wanted to see the baby camel which Mel recently heard about. Emma did get to play in the water, and she had a great time. Unfortunately, we failed to see any baby camels. All of the big camels were all sitting down close to each other and we couldn't tell if there was a baby among them. Oh well. We can always see it later. We didn't spend too much time at the zoo though as Max seemed to be a bit overheated. One other thing that we did end up seeing at the zoo today though was the prairie dogs playing.


Happy Pre-Independence Day

It was 234 years ago today that the Second Continental Congress voted to declare the United States to be an independent country from Great Britain. And in honor of that, I am presenting here Stars and Stripes Forever being performed by the Muppets.

Getting Back on Track

I did a pretty good job at losing weight once I started back on WeightWatchers on May 5. However, since the beginning of June I have struggled a bit at continuing to lose weight, as shown in the graph below. While I am not looking forward to the prospect of having a cholecystectomy, the fact that I have been having issues with my gallbladder has made me reevaluate what I have been eating lately. This has provided the extra motivation to eat well, as I do not want another gallbladder attack. Hopefully my gallbladder issues will be resolved soon after I see a surgeon in a couple of weeks. And while I would enjoy going back to care-free eating, I think I really need to focus on eating right!