Update on Richie

I am thrilled to report that Richie is doing great so far. He was moved out of the ICU on Saturday and he’s been up and walking around ever since. I worry that he’s moving too fast, but the doctors are extremely pleased. The whole experience has been surreal thus far, and we know there will inevitably be bumps along the road, but I can only hope that he continues to improve at the current pace. Thank you all so much for the amazing support and words of encouragement!

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has had a happy Halloween! I took these pics a few weeks ago and wish I could’ve gotten them up sooner…better late than never though, right?

Levi loved his spider costume…

Whereas Ruby refused to cooperate (as ususal)…

We got the call

It’s actually happening, Richie is currently in surgery to receive his new lungs. It’s going to be a long 12 hours…please keep us in your thoughts and prayers to see him safely through.

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My life for the past 3 months

Ah, it feels good to be back in my cozy little corner of the interwebs, even if it’s only for a fleeting moment. I don’t know if I have any blog followers left after 3 months of MIA, but for those that have hung around, I feel like I should let you know what’s going on in my life right now.

My husband has Cystic Fibrosis. Looking back on my posts of 2011, there are a lot of little comments about how things weren’t going so well for us or that my hubs was sick a lot, and yet somehow his declining health managed to sneak up on both of us. CF patients have to undergo regular IV antibiotic treatments (for Richie this meant usually 1-2 per year) as a sort of “tune-up,” but starting in February of this year, he was needing IV treatments on an almost monthly basis. He was very ill in May and we were concerned that he wouldn’t be well enough to travel to Costa Rica, but he managed to get healthy for 2 weeks (long enough for travel) and that was probably the only time he’s actually been healthy in the past 8 months.

Things took a turn for the worst in August when he was hospitalized and diagnosed with “end stage Cystic Fibrosis” at the age of 30. Basically this means that he only has one option of treatment left, which is a double lung transplant. After he was released from the hospital, he went through a gruelling 2 week evaluation process to determine if he was eligible to be listed for new lungs. He managed to survive the bombardment of stressful and invasive tests to learn that he then had to have his wisdom teeth removed before being listed. We then went through that surgery (and the subsequent challenges) to learn of even more obstacles that would prohibit him from being listed.

Long story short, he was officially listed last Monday, but his kidney function started to decline on Wednesday and he is now back in the hospital. No word yet on whether or not this will impact his status on the waiting list. Needless to say, things have been crazy, hectic, frustrating, stressful, SAD, and generally overwhelming, especially since I am still working full-time in addition to my role as his primary caretaker.

I am tossing around the idea of starting a blog about his experiences. It would be both a way to keep family and friends updated as well as a resource or connection for those who may be in a similar situation. (There is a thriving community of CF bloggers that we discovered after getting the transplant diagnosis. We learned so much that the doctors didn’t tell us and I also like the idea of being able to help others in the future.) On the other hand, I obviously haven’t had time (or the mental capacity) to maintain this blog, so I find the prospect of a second one somewhat daunting. I don’t have a smart phone, so blogging on the go is not really an option right now. I will let you know if it pans out.

I am not abandoning Blue Moon Magnolia, I love it dearly and hope to find some time in the very near future to post again. I planned to come back at the start of the month and revive my “Month of the Pumpkin Challenge,” since Richie and I started it together last year and took great pleasure in it, but alas, life has not been so generous as to allow me the time.

Blogging has taught me that the internet has a remarkable way of bringing together people with seemingly random interests or rare shared experiences. If by cosmic coincidence, any of you have CF, have a loved one with CF, or have had experience with double lung transplants, I would love to hear any advice or words of wisdom. If you feel like sharing, please send me an e-mail (bluemoonmagnolia@gmail.com) or just leave a comment.

Thanks for listening.

Scottish Cookery, Harry Potter, and Peppermint Humbugs

I have been super busy with a lot of unfun crap for the past month and a half that is really cutting into my reading time. I’ve been bummed that I haven’t had time to read or cook or sew or craft or enjoy the summer weather (as much as one can enjoy 99 degree temperatures…) or basically do anything that I used to do for pleasure. Thus, I attempted to get my weekend off to a good start by taking an early morning trip to the library to just wander around. I do this occasionally and I have stumbled upon some fantastic books this way, plus, I just think it’s fun (huge nerd, I know). On this particular trip, I discovered the cookbooks. I came home with 3, including The Home Book of Scottish Cookery by Aileen King and Fiona Dunnett. It’s from 1967 and says funny things like “The fashion for afternoon tea, introduced during the fifteenth century, spurred on the Scottish housewife to develop her skills with the girdle and oven,”  but I was intrigued by some of the recipes, and of course, one can never tire of Scottish references ;)  

Now, fast forward to Saturday night when I was exhausted from a day of intensely hot yard work (that included being simultaneously swarmed by mosquitos and chased by a cicada killer wasp while mowing the yard…) and I just wanted a light, quick, fun book to read before bed. I went through the old TBR stack and found nothing to satisfy me, so hubs suggested Harry Potter. (On the long drive home from Jessica’s wedding, we had a conversation about how I haven’t read any of his favorite novels, even though he’s read many of mine [excluding Outlander, however, which he still vows never to touch]. His list includes The Lord of the Rings series, The Game of Thrones series, and the Harry Potter series.)

I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. There was a particular description in Chapter 5 that caught my eye…“Hagrid’s coat seemed to be made of nothing but pockets – bunches of keys, slug pellets, balls of string, peppermint humbugs, teabags… ” PEPPERMINT HUMBUGS! I had just seen that recipe in The Home Book of Scottish Cookery! I took this as a sign that I had to make Humbugs that weekend.

My extreme enthusiasm did not last, however. Silly me thought that I could whip these puppies up in the hour I had between supper and “True Blood.” Long story short, they took FOREVER to make and they ultimately made me miss more than half of TB. (This is actually a really big deal because Eric has amnesia…I’ve been waiting over 3 long years to see amnesiac Eric…plus, he was drunk and naked in the lake…). They didn’t turn out as pretty as I would’ve liked, since I was running back and forth between rooms to catch as many Eric parts as I could, but they are pretty tasty and could be a very cool treat for a Harry Potter fan if you have the time to make them properly. Since we’re in the midst of HP mania again, I figured someone out there would enjoy the recipe…

Humbugs

  • 1 lb. demerara sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) butter
  • 1 dsp. syrup (dsp. stands for “dessert spoon” and is equivalent to 2 tsp.)
  • 1 dsp. treacle
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 pint water (16 oz.)
  • 3 drops oil of peppermint

Put the water and sugar into a pan and dissolve slowly. Add the cream of tartar, syrup, and treacle and the butter in wafer-like slices. Stir till boiling and remove spoon. Brush down sides if necessary. Boil to the crack stage (i.e. 290 degrees). Remove from heat and allow bubbles to subside and a thin skin to form. Oil a marble slab or strong enamel tray thoroughly and pour the mixture onto it. Add oil of peppermint. Oil the hands well and when cool enough to handle, pull the toffee until smooth and light in color and beginning to stiffen. Pull to a long strip and cut in 1/2 inch pieces with oiled scissors. Store in jar with tight-fitting lid.

It takes a surprisingly long time for it to come up to 290 degrees.

Terrible picture, but rather tasty little treats :)

Jessica and Jason got hitched!

I travelled east this past weekend to attend the wedding of my dear friends, Jessica and Jason. I spent a good portion of last week prepping and sewing for this event, since I was assigned the paramount role of garter-maker. The weather was sweltering and the humidity was borderline oppressive (as is customary for any southern wedding, I suppose), but everything was absolutely beautiful and a good time was had by all!

The strung-out 1980’s bride on the Nash-vegas strip (circa last month’s bachelorette party)…

(Just for the record, she's not really strung out.)

Morphed into a gorgeous bride…

The garters…

The mother of the bride…

The lovely flowers, courtesy of Brittany…

Brother and sister of the bride…

I didn’t get any great shots of the actual ceremony, but all the personal and hand-made touches around the grounds were really fantastic…

 

Two of my favorite people…

The bustle was a major pain in the arse, but the process made for some very pretty pictures…

And then came the dancing…

Yep, that's her brother...probably one of the funniest moments of the night :)

While those crazy kids were dancing the night away, I was cuddling baby Liam…

And then came the 15 seconds of fame for my garters…

I never tire of a bouquet toss photo and the aggressive, preparatory stances of the ladies in waiting…

The winners…

They had the most vulgar vehicle decorations I’ve ever seen! No innocent balloons or beer cans for these two…

And then they were off to the Ritz in Hawaii…

Congratulations, Jessica and Jason!!!