Thursday, March 31, 2011

All About Explosions...

"Hooray!" you say. "Another entry with science!"

"Absolutely!" I reply. "More especially -- explosions."

"Wow!" you return. "Petrochemical? Nuclear? Oh the suspense!"

"Haha!" I laugh. "Nothing so mundane. We're talking *poop* explosions. Fascinating stuff."

"Neat!" you say. "I can hardly wait."

"Very neat!" I reply. "I mean... ah... not so much 'neat' as... well. Forget it."


I'm not about to post any photos of the explosions that actually occur in this house, but I did search "poop" in Google images and found a few gems.

(May I suggest you refrain from doing the same.)

Since poop might be a taboo topic in many homes across the world, here are two of my favorite finds, just to loosen you up:

Poop Buttons


And,

I'm Not Really Sure -- But... uh... Cool!



So.

Now that you're broken in, back to the topic at hand.

__________________________________________________________

Over the last three days, we have moved into a new (or perhaps returned to a former) era of massive poop explosions a few times a day.

In discussing the topic with a friend last night, he asked, "Why doesn't the diaper contain it?"


There are several viable answers:

A) If she has already soaked the diaper with urine, there's not much more the diaper can absorb when the poop exits her body.

Keep in mind that healthy kids with TCHD almost always have poop with a wet consistency -- picture anything from eggnog to toothpaste -- dependent partly on diet, length of bowel remaining, and a whole host of other factors.

Mmm... makes you want to brush your teeth, doesn't it?

B) With the force of ejection, there's simply no time for the diaper to absorb the poop before it is squirted out both leg holes, up the front, and up the back of the diaper. (Kind of like this... why can't you put a giant diaper on a volcano? You know, discounting incineration and all.)

C) The volume of poop is simply too much for one diaper to handle, no matter how good Huggies makes 'em.

D) Chances are good that the best explosions are some combination of the above.

__________________________________________________________

Okay, and now a follow-up on the positive ramifications of this elimination change:


1st: Well, I'll take explosions over what we've *been* dealing with ANY day!

2nd: Explosions neither prevent nor preclude the "leaking" we've been experiencing for the last month (two months if you count her preceding illness), but they do seem to slow the flow, meaning fewer diaper changes.

3rd: Fewer diaper changes = less physically and emotionally draining days / nights for both me and Bridgette.

4th: Fewer diaper changes also = bum rash that is healing... finally! It's still there, it's still ugly, and it still fluctuates dependent on the day, but overall she is in a lot less pain.

We hope that less pain will mean less psychosomatic trauma which might, in turn, help speed a return to potty training which should, subsequently, mean even less pain.


5th: If we have the option to wait around the house in the morning, we can time outings *after* the primary explosion and get away with only one or two "minor" changes in public.

6th: That makes everything much, much, much easier. And WAY more fun. Bridgette is almost back to her excitable, adorable, cooperative self. She's more active. She's more interactive. She's also able to concentrate for longer periods of time which means another developmental burst.

(Um, but lest you think otherwise, she still doesn't like to be touched. So, DON'T PRESS YOUR LUCK.)

__________________________________________________________

There are two major drawbacks to these explosions:


1st: Baby gets covered in poop from head to toe.

She is old enough that this really bothers her. Imagine if *you* were covered in poop... in your hair, on your face, on your arms and hands and back and chest... in your pants, of course, but also dripping down your legs. Poop soaking through your shirt, your dress, into your socks, on the bottom of your shoes.

It's desperately sad when she walks towards me, crying real tears, lifting her arms away from her body and saying, "Mommmmmy... no mommmmmy... poooooooop."

2nd: When she walks towards me, the poop drops out onto the floor with giant plop, plop, plops. I spend a lot of time on my knees using Clorox wipes. And I bought a handheld steam cleaner for the carpet.

__________________________________________________________

So far, we have yet to deal with one of these explosions away from home. And while I have regularly been pooped on, she has not had a true explosion while sitting on my lap. Knock on wood. I'd like to keep that record.

I almost wrote a post a few days ago titled, "Mommy Is Tired of Being Pooped On." And frankly, the title would have been sufficient without an entry.

But I have to say, in the last three days I've also managed (mostly) to avoid being doused in excrement. A happy modification! Possible exceptions include a small spray of fecal matter during one change and the simple act of cleaning poop off of Bridgette, floors, furniture, walls, blankets, and clothes.

(We do plenty of laundry, and our shower is well-loved.)

Life has a way of forcing out phobias...

__________________________________________________________

And lest you think we have an irrational preoccupation with poop (who us?), I'd like to end this post with one of Bridgette's new favorite videos.

***Triple Warning to You Sensitive Types!***

*This is weird.
**Definitely depicts poop.
***And shows a cartoon bum.

Bridgette laughs and laughs and shouts, "Pooop! TWO poops!" She also puts her finger to her cheek and says, "Huh?"

I'm sure you will too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

*A Developmental Update*

I almost forgot!

Bridgette's developmental team came over yesterday morning for her semi-annual evaluation. They tested all the normal stuff: mobility, cognition, language, etc.

We already know she is behind on language, but everything else tested at or almost at normal age levels!

For example, in mobility, she is still not going up and down stairs without holding on, and she almost always leads with the same foot. She also has a hard time standing on one foot without holding on (think putting on your pants), but when asked to do so, she goes to the couch and lifts one leg above her head... so that's pretty cute.

Everything else in mobility is caught up.

In cognition, she seemed to have trouble choosing which object was "bigger" than its neighbors, so she got marked low on that one. But, I'm not convinced she didn't know. I think she was choosing to do things her own way... like usual.

Besides that, cognition was caught up.

In fact, she recognized a lot of vocabulary words in photos that really surprised her testers. They'd put multiple photos down and ask her to do matching or pointing, and she got everything right plus some.

So that just leaves speaking.

I've talked to other HD moms in Australia and the U.K. and found out that some of their kids are also "tongue-tied" as they put it. But is it an increase over the general population in direct correlation to HD? I don't know.

Bridgette still rarely says more than one syllable at a time.

For example, in the car the other day she was adamantly saying ... something. And she really, really wanted me to understand.


It sounded like, "Dahs! Dahs!"

"OK, Honey, let me think..."

My 10 second stream of consciousness:

...what does she see? is "dahs" outside the window somewhere? is she pointing? no. probably something in the car. maybe she's hurting. what body part does "dahs" sounds like. is she hurting? well, her face looks strained but she's not holding anything. "dahs" ... is that her seatbelt? well, it doesn't sound like it. ok. what else is in the car? juice. but she can say that. ball. she can say that too. maybe it's not an object. maybe it's an idea. oh wait! sounds. she likes sounds. anything outside that sounds like "dahs?" maybe she heard a loud "dah"... car? "cah." but i don't remember hearing a loud car. she knows plane. ok breathe. "dahs." oh... stars! she can't see any, unless she was talking about the texaco sign sooo... we have john williams in the cd player. i bet she wants to listen to music.

"Dahs!"

"Do you want Star Wars?"

"Yeah!!!"

So on came the Star Wars theme song that previously lay dormant and quiet, out of sight and out of one of our minds.

It can get very confusing though.

While I was writing this she came in asking me for a diaper change. She was on her changing pad upstairs, grabbing her feet and saying, "Dahs!"

"Yeah!" I said, "Socks!"

"No, mama. Dahs."

Hm?

Oh... right.

"Dots. You have 'dots' on the bottom of your socks, don't you?"

"Yeah!!!"


We're always really excited when we see progress -- pleased for her and happy for what it means for her life. It's hard to see progress from day to day as development has been slow on so many fronts since she was born. These subsequent 6 month sum-it-all-up evaluations are good for me.

She's been dealt a frustrating hand, but she's working through it a little at a time doing the best she can.

Way to go, baby!

Friday, March 25, 2011

For the Love of Dogs

We really love our dogs.

They hang out with us outside.


They hang out with us inside.


They clean our lasagna dishes after dinner (don't worry... we threw them away!)



Sometimes they roll on dead mice and require a bath.




Haha! Tell me Chewy doesn't look mad...



And today they were kind enough to stand out in the snow for a few seconds, just so I could take pictures of how fast it was coming down.


What GOOD dogs.

Dinosaurs Versus Fairies

In our house, the dinosaurs and the fairies ride around in the same metal lunch box and come out to play together.


Sometimes they give each other kisses. Sometimes they eat each other. (Fairies *love* dinosaur meat...)

This morning, Bridgette chose her lunch box over all other toys. She began by making the fairies fly and the dinosaurs burp. Seemed fitting.

But it wasn't long before the fairies got in a brutal fight over who got to eat a soda cracker. There was a lot of "Mine! No, mine!" before they started to brawl. Ever seen a two inch fairy throw a punch? It's fearsome.

I took these photos of Bridgette this morning while she was playing...



Eventually the fairies gave up, and a dinosaur snuck in to finish the job...


And here is Bridgette the Fairy running around the house, dinosaur and soda cracker in hand.


So really, we don't have much to say but thought we'd give you an overview of our week -- just to catch up.

Uncle Jon left last Saturday. Chewy really misses him.


Jeff has been working harder than ever on our business. He and his twin have been putting some finishing touches on a new site that they hope to release soon.

Here's Jeff taking an unusual break from work. It took three tries to find a real smile...




Bridgette has been wearing dresses and skirts because shorts and pants get soiled in a matter of minutes.

She almost always picks out her own outfits (occasionally I intervene, but that's atypical). Lately, she has wanted to wear this dress a lot. I thought Gramma Hoose would like to know since she's the one who made it for Bridgette.


We had about two days of sunshine before returning to our luscious spring snow. Bridgette made the most of it.


And before I end with the photos from Cousin Sienna's first birthday, here's an update on Bridgette and her health.

She's about the same.

Health-wise she's eating and drinking and playing. Diaper-wise, I think we may have seen a slight slow-down in the last two days.

Slight means I changed 8 diapers between 9AM and 2PM today.

The prescription diaper creams didn't work, but I've created my own (new) diaper cream that seems to be more successful than anything else. It's got all the necessary ingredients to fight bacteria and fungus and soak up moisture, but it's really thick, maintains its stickiness, and has a topical analgesic for pain. If you coat her with a deep enough layer, it even stays in place over her bloody skin for 4 or 5 minutes.

Make that 9 diapers.

With the slow down I ventured to a grocery store with Bridgette in tow yesterday -- the first time I've tried that in over a month. She did pretty well. We hurried and managed to finish the actual shopping before any diapering necessities. Not surprisingly, the trouble started during check-out when I was trapped between shoppers, conveying groceries, and paying. There was a near meltdown (both of us), but we got it done.

Note: My hands continue to be dry, chapped, raw, and bloody from how often I have to wash my hands post-diaper change. But I've purchased some lovely new lotions (a particular weakness of mine anyway) and now they smell like lemon meringue pie. Mmm...

We're all severely lacking in sleep. Babs has had a hard time napping (sometimes going without... which just about kills me) and also not sleeping through the night. Two nights ago she slept well. Last night, not so much. It comes and goes.

Jeff and I have gotten in the habit of staying up most of the night, with the understanding that we'd be up anyway so we might as well try to accomplish something. I was exhausted and went to bed *really* early yesterday (11PM). Jeff went to bed around normal time (1:30AM). We've been known to stay up until 4AM... 6AM... it just depends how things are going with Bridgette.

So, to end this little entry, here are some fun photos from her cousin's 1st birthday party.

Bridgette loves Ellie and Sienna...

And Bridgette and Ellie loved Sienna's cake...



Only, Bridgette was non-plussed when Sienna shared the cake by putting it on her head. I thought it was hilarious.


Oh, how CUTE!


But this one is my favorite because it shows so much natural character.


And thanks to Auntie Brenda for snapping this super cute photo... with which, I make an end of writing.


Addendum: Make that 10 diapers.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

OK, This is Cool

I've been meaning to write "The Good Interweb, Part II," but this is too good to wait for me to compile all my favorites. OK Go posted a year ago, but for some reason, I'm just now catching up.

If you've never seen it, I suggest you full-screen this puppy...


Fan!
Like!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Welcome back, Jon!

My brother recently returned from South Korea (Inch'on), where he spent the last year teaching kindergarten.

He showed me a picture of his class today, and I know he misses them a lot.

But we're happy to have him back!


I'm glad he could come stay with us this week, and we continue to wish him well in his travels and future endeavors.

Jon's Students
February 2010 to February 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Random Good News

We've changed 20-50 diapers per day for at least a month now, and last night, I changed my first diaper in all that time that had NO POOP! It was just a plain old wet diaper.

(Here is a stack of 25 diapers, the better to understand the low-end of our daily diapering saga.)

We're back to "normal" today (9 before nap), but perhaps we caught a glimpse of what's to come?

Trying out two new prescription diaper creams soon -- "Butt Paste" (not to be confused with the over-the-counter Boudreaux's Butt Paste which does not have Rx antifungal Nystatin) and "Pink Swizzle" (which uses Clotrimazole, another topical antifungal we're already using).

Butt Paste and Pink Swizzle.

The first sounds stout and hardy and the second like a celebratory champagne.

Cheers!

Friday, March 11, 2011

On Bridgette's Recovery

Here's my Tiny Pumpkin. I really like her.


If you're interested in the cool new hospital art, I wrote two entries previous to this one about art & music at Primary Children's Medical Center. Feel free to check them out.

And now...

We continue to see gradual improvement in Bridgette's health. At this point she is eating, drinking, and sleeping well. She is mostly happy.

1) Eating

Bridgette has eaten approximately 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) of peanut butter since the day we came home. That's a total of 3 1/2 jars in 10 days.

That doesn't count everything else she has eaten -- like two packages of raspberries, gobs of guacamole, tater tots, soup, scrambled eggs every morning, Greek yogurt, and one outing to Mimi's where she ate a little of her dinner but mostly wanted salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus... because that's what was on *my* plate.

2) Drinking

Well, I admit. Since we've come home, I'm not tracking her fluid intake as well as I did in the hospital.

But based on how many Pedialyte bottles are missing in our previously fully-loaded food storage space, I would estimate she has drunk more than two cases of grape Pedialyte, or, about 18 quarts. She takes occasional stabs at water or orange juice but those barely count.

3) Sleeping

Except when she's in too much pain, she's sleeping really well. Her nights are a bit shorter than we've previously experienced, but her naps are a bit longer. If I had to pick, I'd take the longer naps anyway.

Now getting her to *go* to bed has become mighty tricky. Our pre-hospital bedtime routine worked like magic, but now she fights it. And when she fights, she poops a lot by accident, so then we have to start the whole process over again.

If you look at the photo above, you'll see various toys in her crib. We were never opposed to her having toys at bedtime, but now she seems to require them... and a "new" toy at that... as incentive. One benefit of toys in her crib is that we know exactly when she falls asleep and exactly when she wakes up... because she especially likes noisy toys. :)

Then again, all she needed to go to sleep today was a "fort." (Defined: a blanket above her bed). I didn't even have to read any books or sing any songs before nap time because she was so excited to get in her "fort." I hope it works again at bedtime.

4) On Being Mostly Happy

This is the trickiest of the categories because her mood still fluctuates a lot. Overall, I see progress towards more happiness/contentedness.

Bridgette seems to be happy when she is playing, not in fear, and not in pain.

Sounds normal, right?

Too bad she is in pain and fear a lot.

The unpleasant experiences/emotions still revolve around her intestines and her hospital stay.

For example, she can't stop pooping.

This may be in part because she's eating a lot, but let's face it, most of us can still control our bowel movements, whether we've just gorged on Thanksgiving dinner or not.

We're uncertain why this is happening. Here are the various factors for which we can't control.

Is she pooping this much because her intestines are in recovery mode from inflammation and simply haven't normalized? (We've seen that before.) Or, is she pooping so much because her diet has changed? (Um... 3 jars of peanut butter.) Or, is she pooping so much because her medication has changed? Or, is she pooping so much because of the anal sphincter Botox injections? Or, is she pooping so much because she's emotionally compromised? Or, is she pooping so much because she has a yeast overgrowth? Or, is it some *combination* of any of those variables?

Yech. You can see the trouble.

Because she's pooping all the time, her bum rash is horrid.

So... that would be the pain.

Her diapers are all maroon now, loose stool mixed with lots of blood. In fact, I went to change a diaper on Wednesday, and instead of seeing poop running down her legs, it was rivulets of blood pouring down to the floor.

With her raw skin being constantly slick with blood and her poop coming out in a mostly constant stream, it is next to impossible to dry her off for long enough to place a good paste. And even when we do... well, when we do the best we can... between the blood inside and the poop outside, the paste just slips off.

This is really frustrating because we have a paste that *works!* It's taken us years to develop and is a mix of several products. In those few hours now and again where she stays mostly poop free, we see a *lot* of improvement. But it doesn't last.

So then comes the fear. She's scared to poop because pooping hurts. I try to explain that if she can push out as much as possible, she won't poop as often, and that would help her to heal.

But just like trying to force a child to potty train, it doesn't really work. When you ask her if she needs to poop, she screams, "NOOOOOOO!" and tries to push you away. If you ask her if she needs her diaper changed, she immediately places her hands over her bum and says, "Nope."

And I have to be really careful what I say and how I say it, so she doesn't fight it harder and try to keep it *in* because that could cause bacterial build-up.

She's also scared of being changed because it hurts her so badly.

And we change diapers--
All.
Day.
Long.

Want an example?

I had to go to BYU today to pick up my students' midterms, and from the moment we stepped into the garage to actually getting her buckled into her car seat, I had to change Bridgette 3 times. I carry chucks with me, and I changed her right there on the floor of the garage, over and over and over.

That is why I find it difficult to accomplish as much as usual these days...

Bridgette also hates taking her medicine. Sometimes it works to reward her, but sometimes we still have to force her which feels very much like abuse. Both with diaper changes and medication, she gets very angry at me and tries to fight, and we have to pin her down and tell her not to hit us. She must see it as very unfair.

When medicine time and diaper changes are over, she doesn't stay angry at me, but sometimes she seems to be angry in general.

I'm planning to talk to a child psychologist to learn about signs that could indicate the development of any serious psychological problems associated with abuse.

If you think about it, she has undergone serious physical pain, often associated with being forced to participate in actions she doesn't want to undergo, for all of her life.

Fortunately we're finished for the time-being with irrigations. Those are the worst.

When she turns three, I'm thinking of enrolling her in martial arts.

Non-sequitor as that may seem, she needs a physical outlet for her emotions as well as an ability to control her frustrations. I hope it will be useful for her to be able to hit and kick as hard as she wants and then learn how to stop hitting and kicking within the context of self-control.

In other news...

We went to Bridgette's follow up with Dr. Harnsberger yesterday at her office in Murray. She mildly chastised me for being 5 minutes late. I said nothing.

Later, as she was watching Bridgette ooze and bleed on the table, I told her I was late because I had been changing diapers on the way to her office. I (again) had changed 3 in the garage before we could get in the car. I changed 2 in the parking lot, after we arrived but before we could get into the building. While we were in the exam room, I changed 4 diapers. I'm pretty sure Dr. Harnsberger got the picture.

So, I'm fairly convinced that at least *part* of the problem is yeast, and explained as much to Dr. Harnsberger. We have dealt with chronic yeast overgrowths since Bridgette's pull-thru, and her rash has all the markings of a bad yeast infection.

We've been using a topical antifungal cream -- the same one that has worked for us in the past -- but as mentioned, we can't get creams to stick long enough to make any difference.

If you've never seen a horrible yeasty diaper rash, be grateful. It's absolutely disgusting. It looks like her bloody skin is being eaten by a voracious fungus... which is what I think is happening.

The latest, as a result, is that we're adding a very strong oral anti-fungal medication to her daily regimen. It's a five day course, and hopefully it will work and then we'll be done with it. It comes in pill form, so I crush it up and add it to -- what else? Her peanut butter.

By the way, Dr. Harnsberger was *thrilled* by Bridgette's sudden love of peanut butter. In one week, Bridgette jumped from 0% weight on the growth charts to 50%.

There's one more list of things I should add to her element of fear, a list that makes Bridgette truly unhappy.

Doctors.
Nurses.
Anyone in a doctor's office.
And sometimes other people.

Otherwise... she's really happy!

Despite the grim picture I portrayed above, we're all really enjoying our time home, and we're living a mostly normal life. I've gone back to teaching my evening class at BYU (only missed two weeks). Jeff is working a lot on our business. We're both alternating time out of the house for errands or training (disaster response -- me) or meetings or whatever.

And to show you Bridgette is still a normal little girl, here are the things she's been enjoying doing most over the last week at home:

--I like to play music in the house, and she likes to say, "Dance, Mama!" And then we dance together. She's a demanding little creature. :)
--She likes to color. She can draw "A house!" and "A door!" and "A tree!" and "A saur!"
--She likes to imagine, especially with pretend food.
--She loves to play ball. She's an expert at the double-handed throw, and she's even improving at catching. It's really cute.
--She likes "chase."
--She loves to build forts.
--She likes to watch "Backyardigans."
--She's very observant and likes to look for specific things out of windows... horses, buses, etc.
--She enjoys listening to classical music, especially the more raucous composers. THAT'S my girl!
--She likes to build "slides" out of cardboard and then send marbles or her toy fairies for a ride.
--She still likes pushing (literal) buttons, my old TI-85 being a current favorite.
--She enjoys wandering outside when it's not too cold.

And these fun things... and changing diapers... is what we do! :)

On Musical Art

You know, while I'm at it, there's one other bit of "art" I feel I should mention.


At PCMC, sometimes volunteers come in and play music in the lobbies.

Once, as I exited the Rainbow Cafe after a rushed meal, I was hurrying up the stairs two at a time to get back to Bridgette when I heard a woman playing her violin in the north entryway.

The music resonated up to the second floor where I paused to cry. She was playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (which is a sad song in a hospital setting), but it was cathartic for me none-the-less.

In the third floor north lobby, by the sanctuary, there's a black baby-grand piano. It's there for anyone to play. I even sat down and tried to remember one of my favorite pieces without my sheet music (which I could not do... so I didn't punish anyone for long).

But better yet are those volunteers who come for an hour here or there to play beautiful music. You can't hear it in the patients' rooms, but it's lovely to listen to in those passing-through moments.

Bridgette even heard someone playing Star Wars once on the way to the playroom. As this is her favorite song, she put her finger to her ear and perked up and said, "Mom! Mom! Oooh!"

The nature of hospitals being what it is, we never get the chance to stand and listen for long, but even a moment of live music from a caring person is really refreshing.

On Hospital Art


Hooray for the little (or life-sized) touches that make a hospital feel child-friendly.

Who am I kidding? ALL hospitals should have art like this...

Primary Children's is filled with framed artwork provided by local children, professional pieces, quilts, and display cases with interesting paraphernalia from local legends. At one end of the building, it even has a glassed in model amusement park with a tiny running train and working lights.

If you'll recall from my last (forever long) post, painted ceiling tiles have been placed at random around the hospital. You might not even notice them unless you were a child staring up from her bed. And since that's the general populous... I think it's a nice touch.

In addition employees decorate doors and walls with cute cut-outs, like this:


The two story hospital entryway (which rises to the second floor) has its own mural: a blue sky filled with birds and 3D blocks... bears climbing trees... some grass.


The four elevators on the south end of the hospital are papered in friendly scenes while the elevators at the north end have a glass wall that looks out into a "fish tank."

(Though, I must admit, the elevators in the middle of the hospital are considerably more stalwart and live only for duty, not enjoyment.)

Here is our friend Jen Jensen (right) and her classmates who are all training to be nurses. She took the photo above of the blocks, and I took this photo of her in front of the elevator "fish tank." You can't tell in a still, but the fish are mechanized and enjoy "swimming" around.


***Exciting Art News Flash!***

Since the last time we were admitted, there have been big changes on the third floor!

We have always been posted to the third floor surgery unit under the stewardship of Dr. Black. This time we lived in room 3050, and directly across from our room was this wall:


And if you walk down the hall to your right, here's the same wall a few steps further on:


Um... so perhaps you're wondering why I think this is so great?

Well, here's that same wall a few days later:


Do you remember Bob Ross?

Bob Ross is one of my four heroes. He was a grand-master painter who completed a new scene on canvas from start to finish each day on his television show. He used oils and did everything in careful layers. As he talked you through the process, he calmly talked about his "happy little trees."

Well this is my new friend who paints the murals. He's really nice. He reminds me of Bob Ross... only... different. He was really excited for us when we got to go home.

If you like his work, I have his number. I'm planning to hire him to come paint murals inside my house. And if you'd like the same, let me know, and I'll pass his information along.


We were situated in the Jungle/Savannah corridor, and I'm really excited to go back and check it out once the murals are complete.

Each layer takes several days to dry properly before the next layer can be daubed on, so I felt kind of lucky that we got to watch the progress. And the chosen progress wall just happened to be outside our room, too!

If you were to walk out of our room to the left, you would find another unfinished portion of the same mural. I was surprised to see this much foreground detail since the background isn't complete.

Cool, no? Seriously, that's a fine looking lion.


In addition, the hospital is adding matching details to the floors.


This was our room -- the "alligator" room. How appropriate.



And if you think that lion was amazing, check out the Ocean corridor that is already complete.

So this is where the Jungle meets the Ocean. The two doctors conferring in mid-ground were standing at our pod, directly in front of our room. But, in case you're wondering, they're not actually our doctors.


Turn the corner and blow me down! This wasn't even here a year ago!

(Or, if it was, I *really* didn't get out of Bridgette's room enough...)


Note the flooring details above and the glass brick details below:


The pod ceilings and columns are also decorated, all by the new Bob Ross:



Note the wavy railings below. For realz! Kudos on the details, artwork planners:


This was the corridor with the floor's washer/dryer. I needed to wash Bridgette's beloved blankets several times each day, and the artwork made me SO happy as I walked to and from the laundry area.



Beyond the corridors, we're starting to see additional floor inlays too. I watched a man adding the outline piping. It's a painstaking process.

These in-line skates are only one example. We also noticed a race car and a bus in the third floor lobbies. Bridgette really liked the race car.


Room 3050 is quite near the north lobby where the non-denominational sanctuary is located. I like to hang-out there sometimes when Bridgette is sleeping. It's a great place for a little contemplation, a few tears, prayers, or silence... depending on what you need.

The sanctuary has a big stained-glass window that is pleasantly lit for your viewing pleasure. I didn't think to photograph it, but I wish I had.

It's a beautifully rendered piece, not so much for the ironwork that creates the image outlines but for the meticulous shading within each piece of glass. If you take the time to view it carefully, I think you'll be impressed.

The window was moved to the sanctuary from the private home in which Primary Children's was originally located.

Inside the sanctuary are three main pieces of art: an oil of three people walking a hilly path (presumably two parents and a child, but the entire piece is open for interpretation -- is it dusk or dawn? are they coming or going? does it represent the end or the beginning of a journey? etc.), an understated but overt Christian image of two children playing with a Nativity set before a cozy fire (and given the overwhelmingly Christian population here, I think it's an appropriate inclusion), and another stained glass piece that hangs from the ceiling completing the overall chi.

The room itself is small, darkish, and peaceful, fitted with plum colored furniture.

The furniture and paintings were all donated and dedicated to special individuals. Some were very young when they died.

At one end of the sanctuary is a table that holds a Native American "burden basket." You can write your burdens, place them in the basket, and occasionally they are ceremonially burned. I use it from time to time.

But I've always been curious whether that ceremony incorporates the nearest hospital incinerator...