Saturday, November 28, 2009

Keeping Things Clean...

...is the bane of my existence.  I feel like I'm just not good at it...or I'm just lazy.  But, it seems like everything I clean gets dirty again in a matter of minutes (sometimes seconds), and I'm just fighting a losing battle.  With Bean's immunosuppression, I have been really good about keeping the kitchen clean.  I got antibacterial cleanser that I use on the counter tops constantly.  But, now, Bean is starting to get to the stage of crawling and this really terrifies me.
I just don't see a world where I can keep up with keeping the floors clean.  We have a dog who goes in and out from the backyard and she brings in dirt, etc.  And the carpets in our rental weren't that clean to begin with.  I have a Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, but its still a carpet and I don't vacuum EVERY day...although, I will probably need to.  I have some area rugs I was thinking about using because they have a lower pile and will be easier to clean, but I don't know if that will really solve the problem or not.  I swept and mopped the kitchen and dining room floor today and they were disgustingly dirty.  But, I haven't swept or mopped for a couple of weeks.  I just need to stay more on top of things than I do.
I also let things pile up too much.  I am really trying to clear things out in the living areas so we don't have to deal with moving things constantly, etc.  But, I haven't finished unpacking yet and we have so much stuff its hard to find a place for everything.  But, that is truly the secret - a place for everything and everything in its place.  Its just easier said than done...
We were used to the hand-washing and antibacterial hand gel because Bean was a preemie and came home during flu season.  So, we have antibacterial soap and antibacterial hand gel at every sink.  We also have a roll of paper towels at every sink because germs can live in towels.  It seems a little less green to use the paper towels, but it definitely makes me feel safer.  And keeping her room clean at this point is relatively easy.  She doesn't do much in her room and I am good about putting her dirty clothes out in the laundry and cleaning up whatever medical debris is left after her daily medications and heparin in the Broviac.  I would like to get her a rug (ladybug if possible, as that is the theme in her room) so if she does play up there she has something other than the carpet to lay on as I don't think the carpet was totally clean to start with.
But, the living room is an issue.  She has the bulk of her toys, swing, bouncy chair, and bassinet in addition to the usual living room clutter - pictures, dvds, cds, etc.  And the bar between the living room and kitchen is the catch-all area for stuff coming in from the outside.  Again, much of this would be solved by a place for everything and everything in its place, but it sometimes is a bit overwhelming.
So, I plan to try to stick to a weekly chore schedule where the floors get cleaned at least once a week - then I can do spot cleaning on other days, but it won't be as overwhelming as things won't build up.  With the daily schedule of medications, we already have a built-in daily routine, but we definitely don't use this to our advantage in other areas.  I also will have to finish unpacking and really work at finding a place for everything, then forcing myself and my hubby to put everything back in its place.  Again, easier said than done, but something we can work towards.
I have one more day off in my Thankgiving "vacation".  I put that in quotation marks because I was working in North Carolina until Tuesday, flew back straight to San Francisco so I could go to the hospital, where Bean was due to some loss of weight and throwing up last Sunday and Monday, got discharged on Wednesday, went to my sister's in Davis where we stayed on Wednesday night and had Thanksgiving on Thursday with her, her husband and my parents and returned here on Thursday night.  So, I really only had three days of vacation at home.  And I really needed the whole week. I am behind in grading, need to finish unpacking the garage, need to clean up the house, and need to organize the walk-in closet of hell in the guest room, where I have literally piled every office, scrapbooking and random item as I have unpacked.  It isn't pretty!  Tomorrow, I will focus on cleaning and grading.  I think I will use the Crisis Cleaning system from Flylady, but instead of just cleaning, I'll include 15 minutes of grading in every hour's cycle.  We'll see how that works...
I did a search online for "cleaning for immunosuppressed child" and didn't find anything much that was helpful. If any of you who are reading this have suggestions, please put them in the comments to help parents who come looking for ideas to make their new regimens a little easier in any way possible!

Heart Healthy Giveaway

Just wanted to give any  readers who happen to land on my blog today a chance at some free heart healthy items for them or their kids - $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge, a great money-saving blog, is giving away a giftbox of Campbell's low sodium kids soups and V-8 Fusion drinks.  Check it out here.  You can tell her I sent you!  :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Year of Thanksgiving...and Soul Searching


Some refer to today as Black Friday, but since my days as a retail clerk, I refuse to participate in the shopping extravaganza.  So, to me, today is the day after Thanksgiving - or leftovers day!  I am choosing today to start this blog because I have a lot to be thankful this year - and I feel like I could spend a whole year saying thanks.  So, this starts my year of Thanksgiving...
My daughter is just over nine months old, and four and a half months ago, she received the greatest gift that she will receive in her life - a new heart.  She was suffering with Dilated Cardiomyopathy and she was in cardiogenic shock, ventilated and barely awake (to keep her from pulling out the ventilator and to let her heart rest).  We spent almost three months in a Ronald McDonald house before getting to come home a little over a month ago.  Needless to say, our lives have been turned upside down.  We have to give Bean medications three times a day.  We have to flush a broviac line (something like a semi-permanent IV) each day.  She has a lot of doctors appointments that are about three and a half hours away from our home.  We also have to take precautions not to expose her to germs - she is immune-suppressed and the Swine Flu has added a whole new layer to that worry.  My husband (pictured with Bean) has had to give up one of his two jobs, meaning we are extremely low on money. Although our lives are changed forever, we are incredibly thankful - for Bean's new heart, for the wonderful care she received from the Doctors and Nurses at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, for the availability of a room at the Ronald McDonald House Stanford for only $10/night during our stay, for the incredible generosity and love of friends and family during our time at the hospital...the list goes on and on.
But, even as we are thankful, we also have to realize that there will be serious challenges.  We will need to figure out additional forms of income.  We will have to get our lives more organized in order to get done what we need to get done while still dealing with additional medical responsibilities for Bean.  We will need to deal with insurance debacles that are threatening to put accounts into collections.  We will need to become aware of medical issues that come with Bean's medications and treatments.  And because of the experience we have had during this, we will need to find a way to give back - to make sure that others going through this or similar things will have resources they need available to them.  Whether that be through charity fund-raising, sharing information on this blog, or doing speaking for the causes close to our hearts, I haven't figured out yet.  But, I do know that I HAVE to find a way to give back.
So, welcome to A Second Heart.  I hope you will find something that is helpful to you!