Our 3rd day there, pretty much everyone was over their various causes of pukiness (I had a small wave of cold sweat and sensation of nausea and thought, “Oh crap, it’s my turn now,” but it went away in about 15 minutes and didn’t return, thank goodness), so things were looking up. With a happy playful kid who was eating and sleeping well again, vacation became blissful.

After several failed attempts to take Allie on a kayak ride at our lake (she was too young to sit by herself in a kayak seat and I was not allowed to place her in my lap; another time or two we didn’t know kayak rentals closed early for the season), we were finally successful in making it happen. It just took thousands of dollars to get us to the right location for her first time.

She enjoyed kayaking so much that the next day at the beach, she wanted to go back in the “little boat.”
Me: We can’t go in the kayak.
Allie: Why can’t we go in the little boat? I wanna go in the little boat.
Me: It costs money.
Allie: Do you want to give them money?
Me: I don’t have any money.
*brief pause*
Allie: Daddy wants to give them money. *spotting Mr. W sunbathing in a lounge chair about 20 yards away* *running toward him yelling* Daddyyyyy! Do you have money? I need money!
And she’s not even a teenager.

Our active kid took advantage of the fact that my hands were full and climbed up here by herself. So of course I had to drop all the stuff so I could get a photo of how proud she was of herself.

Around this same time, Allie speech seemed to have suddenly broke into a whole new level. Although she was using plenty of words and full sentences before, speech became less of a communication tool and more of a skill with which she was weaving pictures conversing with ease. Now I wonder if she wasn’t just sick, but was having a Wonder Weeks moment (crying, fussing, clingyness, regression, poor sleep) before a brain leap. Example: We’d walked across the street from the resort to eat at Monkeypod restaurant, and Allie and I stayed to pay while Mr. W headed off to the ABC Store around the corner to grab some essentials. We were supposed to meet Mr. W there, but I couldn’t find it. Turning around, I started walking back to the restaurant, carrying Allie in my arms.
Allie asked, “Are you going to ask somebody where the store is, mommy?” (We’re mommy/mom and daddy/dad now, suddenly and out of nowhere.)
I said, “Yeah. I can’t find it.” Allie studying my face interrupted my feeling stupid.
She said, pointing at a store on the other side of me, “You found Hello Kitty, though!” I looked and sure enough, an entire Sanrio display in the window. Her consolation did make me feel better.
Here’s us at Monkeypod before I “found Hello Kitty.”

Second example: Allie started using regular drinking cups (instead of straws and sippys) while on this trip, and although she does fine when she sips carefully, sometimes she’ll swing her hand and knock the cup over. One such occasion caused Mr. W and I to literally fight over her spilt milk. When she thought her dad wasn’t paying attention to us, she said to me confidentially in a low voice, putting her little hand on my wrist, “Are you okay? Are you sad? Daddy scares me sometimes, too.” That’s my little ally.

One of the cool things about this place is that even if we don’t have the calendar of events to see where the photo ops are scheduled, we still do run into the characters just roaming the grounds. And they are GREAT about stopping to give unexpected attention to their little fans.

Mr. W paid $20 for access to the resort’s private lagoon for the duration of our stay ($15/day or $20/length of consecutive stay at the resort), which includes equipment rental. So Allie got to see a Dadafish. She was looking in the window of the lagoon and pointing at fish when he appeared.
Allie: Ooh, look! That one’s cute! It has a yellow face! Awww!
Me: Look, there’s Daddy!
Allie: *staring, then yelling into the glass* Daddy! Are you coming out soon?
Me: Is daddy a cute fish?
Allie: *studying Mr. W as he swam by waving at her* …no…Daddy’s a scary fish.

I got the latter part of the above exchange on video. Mr. W caught it on video, too, but from his side of the glass, all you see is Allie’s mouth moving. No idea as to the cleverness going on the dry side.

Another weird thing we discovered about Allie on this trip…she’s developed a pretty intense fear of water. Screaming. Even in the bathtub after refusing to get in. I noted this to ask Rebecca about later. She’d tolerate water up to the bottom of her ankles, but is terrified of going in farther than that. In the below photo, we took half an hour urging, pressuring, bribing, reasoning, until we got her to sit her butt on the first step. As soon as she got in so that we could take this photo, she went right back to sitting on the dry ledge with just her feet on the first step.

There were some great kid sections with water splashing and spraying, but she would have nothing to do with it and when we carried her in our arms and walked through these water playgrounds with her, she’d panic and cry for a towel to wipe her face. Thankfully, there were plenty of things to do while dry, too.

Like lounge around on (or between!) these chairs.

What’s Hawaii without their native Disney resident?

Kind of an expensive hotel to be overrun by rodents, though…

I love how “regular” stores commonplace to me carry special merchandise only available at that particular location. Check out this cute Hawaii-themed Hello Kitty shirt I found on sale at an Oahu Target:

Allie loved this shirt and would chant to herself, “Pedal then paddle. Pedal then paddle.”

Across the street was a great little ice cream shop, where Allie got her own ice cream for the first time. She picked strawberry. She ate it all and couldn’t understand why it was not acceptable just to go back into the shop “and ask them for more.” She talked about ice cream for days after.
Allie: I want ice cream.
Me: You can’t have ice cream now.
Allie: But I LIKE it.
Me: I know, but if you eat ice cream now, you won’t be hungry enough to eat dinner.
Allie: But I WANT it. I NEED it.
Me: *changing the subject* I love you! Do you love me?
Allie: Uh-huh! And I love ice cream, too!
Me: *sigh*

The housekeeping service was amazing at the Aulani, too. Our room was at the end of the hallway, and the housekeeper doing our floor would usually hit our room right at Allie’s naptime. After the 2nd time of this happening, she started going to our room first, so she’d be done and out of there before we got back for her nap. This on top of keeping our room beautiful, our supplies stocked, and even doing our dishes once when we left in a hurry.

Yeah, I think we’d totally come back.

More days of photos to come.

The resort was amazing. First class. You definitely get what you pay for. Plus the weather was perfect every day, in the 80s with no rain, just a lot of wind in the late afternoon to evening.

We had rented a car from the airport upon our arrival, which we then drove to Costco and then Target, which we pass on our way from the airport to the Aulani resort. We had reserved a 1-bedroom villa, which is basically a condo. At Costco, we stocked up on Chobani Greek yogurt, luncheon meat, bread, a giant bottle of vodka for Mr. W, Mama Chia packets, sliced cheese variety pack, stuff that we could basically make an easy breakfast or lunch with. Then we had to buy a replacement baby monitor at Target cuz the travel one we had suddenly wouldn’t turn on its infrared, as we discovered at the LAX hotel. Good thing we didn’t discover this our first night at Aulani, because after driving to the resort, the valet service unpacked our groceries and luggage, and RETURNED THE RENTAL CAR FOR US. Uh-huh. Amazing, huh? They kept our food temperature-appropriate (refrigerated what had to be cold) in a back area while we checked in, and we learned that we were too early for rooms to be ready. We were upgraded to an ocean-view room (which is like a $200/night upgrade), but had to entertain ourselves around the grounds while we waited for it to be ready. Allie was already tired both from the time difference and from still being under the weather our first 2 nights, so she was clingy and whiney. Mr. W was exasperated, but how exasperated can you be waiting in a place like this?

After checking in and setting up our stuff that the hotel people brought to our room, we put the groceries away into the fully-stocked kitchen (which included a washer/dryer on one side) explored the beach area some more, and witnessed our first Hawaiian sunset.

Allie went to bed just fine in the living room, but unfortunately, her sickness had settled into bedtime coughing fits. She’d fall asleep, and then the post-nasal drip would wake her up coughing. She coughed so hard the first night that it triggered the gag reflex and she threw up. 🙁 After cleaning her up (thank goodness for the in-suite washer/dryer, AND the provided detergent!), she went back to bed and was fine. Mr. W, however, was up that entire night puking. We still don’t know what he had, but his stomach was sensitive for the next couple of days. I was lucky and escaped sickness, chugging 2 packets of Emergen-C a day. I think due to the humidity and warm air, however, Allie got over her coughing in 2 days. As it was she would only cough when she laid down and fell asleep.

In the middle of Day 2, she was still a bit sick, so she was antisocial, clingy on me, and her answer to every suggestion of things to do was, “Nooooo!” Mr. W was convinced she was going to spend this entire expensive vacation plastered to me, refusing to go into the water. He himself was still not well, so we had a low-key first couple of days. Suddenly, however, Allie decided to explore a kid fountain area, which she wasn’t dressed for. But it was the first time she wanted to leave my side to do something, so we let her. She got sopping wet.

But, since she was finally having fun, I was happy…until a little toddler walked over to the fountain nozzle she was standing by and stepped on it, forcing the water to focus in one fire-hose stream right in Allie’s face. She ran over to me crying. She soon got over it and went back to the fountain. She would revisit and play in this fountain for the next several days.
When she toweled off, she got her first taste of a Hawaiian staple: shave ice. Complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle. She claimed to like it, and I was happy to keep her hydrated, but she was soon over the sweetness and said she didn’t like it anymore. I was fine with her having less syrup, too.

Here’s a collage of some photos from the first 2 days when she was sick.

We’re back from Hawaii! What we ended up doing was booking a hotel room at Embassy Suites next to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) the day before we left, so we didn’t have to haul her out of bed at 4 in the morning for an 8:30 a.m. flight. We took our time getting to the hotel on Monday afternoon, checked into our suite, Allie was all excited and running around, slept well in the living room of the suite. Then in the morning, we caught the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to the airport, leaving our car in the hotel’s guarded underground parking for the week (at like $16/day). Then when we returned on our 9pm flight, we took the shuttle back to the hotel, where we spent another night, then took our time driving back home the next morning. It worked out well, albeit expensive. I’d do it that way again if we have to fly out of LAX, since the drive itself is almost 2 hours and more if hit rush hour traffic.

The plane ride was 5.5 hours there and 4.5 hours back.

Allie had her own headphones to watch her own in-flight TV in her seat, and the airline movie options were well stocked with Disney movies. She entertained herself and watched TV, dozed off and napped for an hour and a half (waking up precisely every half hour to cry for a bit, whimpering, “Mommy!” but then falling back to sleep within minutes).

After her nap, Allie pigged out on expensive cheese, nuts, crackers and fruit (domestic airlines no longer provide meals), and was just fine when we got to Hawaii. When we landed, she said excitedly, “I’m in HAWAII!”
The kid did better with cabin fever than I thought, although she was definitely eager to get out after we landed. I had to almost chase her down.

I had thought Allie’s unusual crying spells every half an hour was due to her still being under the weather the first couple of days of our vacation, but she did the exact same thing on the flight back. Fell asleep, woke up every half hour crying for me for a few minutes, then went back down, for 3 cycles, or 90 minutes. It may just be disorientation every REM cycle. Other than that, she was great on the flight. Less kicky than she was on the flight to Dallas. This is Allie after we arrived back at LAX. Happy to be back in California!

Allie got her first haircut last weekend (aside from the one bang trim her Dada did). $20 for snipping baby hair seems a bit steep to me, but it was a nice experience. Allie was very cooperative, and did look cute afterwards. The straggly bottom now looks more uniform.

College roommie Diana, along with her hubby Eric and their daughter Alexis came to town in the past week. Diana attended some work-related functions and seminars while Eric and Alexis went to Disneyland. Allie and I joined the three of them at Disneyland one morning. Allie got to meet Buzz Lightyear, something she’d never done before, because we’d never looked into where he makes his appearances. Since Alexis is a fan, Allie went along for the ride, so to speak.

I didn’t even realize we didn’t have a photo with Diana until I came home and reviewed the photos. =/
Allie was rather quiet there, not her usual adventurous spritely self, but I figured it may have been because she and I were by ourselves and she wasn’t overly familiar with Diana & family. Also unusual, though, on our drive home, she fell asleep. She didn’t sleep well or long, but it’s not like her to be so exhausted that she actually completely falls asleep in the car. Normally she holds out for her crib.

Unfortunately, the nap ended with two waterfalls of vomit. 🙁 She ate her scrambled eggs and waffle fairly well for breakfast because I told her we weren’t leaving for Disneyland until she was done, but had little appetite for her lunch, which was mainly fingerfoods she ate as we sat in the shade of a tree near the Disney gate. What came out was everything she had for lunch, and a lot of the egg she had for breakfast. She didn’t digest much of anything the entire morning. And then Allie cried because “I got it all over everything. I got it on my pretty dress. It’s everywhere.” She was definitely sitting in a vomit lake. We were blocks from home, fortunately, so I was able to get her in, cleaned up, and while she napped, I took the carseat apart and washed everything. That night she had a fever of 102, as well as the entire weekend.
Over the weekend, she vomited another time after complaining “my tummy hurt, rub it, rub it!” and when her fever rose to 103, we took her in to Kaiser. I was mainly worried because that entire day she hadn’t peed much and I wasn’t successful in getting much nutrition or fluids into her.

The doctor’s visit was horrific for me and Mr. W. After not being able to get into her regular nearby Kaiser, we took an available appointment at a farther office in Anaheim and was seen by, coincidentally, the head of pediatrics from our hospital who was there for the day at that hospital. He was not happy to learn that we could not be seen at the regular hospital and wanted names and exact wording told to us, etc. I wasn’t of any mind to file a complaint, I was just glad she was getting seen. Anyway, he felt her abdomen and ruled out bowel obstruction, but wanted to run some tests on her. They involved drawing a lot of blood. (He also wanted a urine sample, but Allie had no pee, altho she’d sucked up 2.5 glasses of her favorite grape-flavored Pedialyte by then that Mr. W picked up in the hospital lobby.) So I told Allie as we sat down at the phlebotomist that she was going to put out her arm, and the nurse was going to put a little needle in, and she’ll feel a little prick, and she needs to stay still. Allie was SO GOOD. The nurse had a hard time finding a vein and felt around inside both of Allie’s elbows. I thought, “Oh, no.” Then she tied up one arm, instructed Allie to pump her hand on a cardboard tube (which Allie did), then they went in…and not a drop came out. The nurse wiggled the needle around inside Allie’s arm and I of course could not watch and tried to distract Allie as she sat unmoving in my lap. And then she tried it again on Allie’s left arm. Fruitless. Allie was still cooperative and really, really good. Another nurse came by an offered to try, and did the same thing on Allie’s right arm again, wiggling and pushing the needle. Finally, Allie whimpered, staying still, “It hurts, it hurts.” Then little tears rolled out. We stopped that attempt immediately. The lab called the doctor for the update and we returned. As soon as Allie was safely in the privacy of the small doctor’s office, she let go and sobbed. It was so sad. The doctor reluctantly let us take her home with instructions to bring her back if the vomiting continues (she’d only vomited once since the 2 times in the car) or if her fever goes higher. She didn’t vomit again and her behavior wasn’t too different that weekend, although her fever made me very nervous as it hovered near 103. But she was drinking a lot, peeing, and eating in bits and pieces, so we just monitored her. Mr. W just wanted her well before we left for Hawaii the following Tuesday.
This is Allie the next morning after the doctor’s visit, sipping on more Pedialyte while she hung out on our bed.

We were concerned that this experience would now traumatize her from her happy doctor visits, but Allie still says she likes the doctor and would like to go back. She did get a slew of Hello Kitty stickers from the traumatic visit. Allie’s fever broke after the 3rd day, much to our relief, altho other little symptoms set in. A phlegmy cough, a runny nose after coughing fits. Nothing that slowed her down, though.

In January this year, Allie had started making very deliberate efforts to do things she didn’t want to do, in order to be “nice.” She still does much of her thinking aloud, so this decision would sound something like: When an older girl grabs a publicly accessible toy or playground equipment that Allie was on, Allie would say “I wait. I be nice.” When I tell her to put something down that she really want to hold there is a visible struggle on her face and then it suddenly resolves and she does what she’s told, announcing, “I be nice.” I’d like to think that the “nice” part wins out more often than the resistant part of her. She does volunteer encouragement, such as when I successfully complete a move on one of her learning apps on her iPad, she’d say, “Good job, mama!” And I enjoy the arbitrary compliments of “Mama’s putty” (pretty) and “Dada’s handy” (handsome). As a matter of fact, every female is “putty” and every male is “handy.”

In February and now March, she’s a little more into testing her will. She’ll refuse something not because she dislikes it or truly doesn’t want it, but just to see if she’ll get her way. She may want to go to the park, but she’ll say, “No, I wanna stay home,” just because she wants to be contrary. Unfortunately, she commits to the decision that she’s made without much true opinion behind the commitment. It still works if we just lets her have her protest and then tell her when she’s done, she can let us know, and she’ll get over it in a minute and tell us, “I’m ready now.” Sometimes distraction works. Sometimes reasoning works. But we generally stand firm on not letting her have her way simply because she’s insisting on it. “I’m sorry, Allie, you can’t have more than 2 vitamins a day. You already had two vitamins today. You can have more tomorrow.” “NOOOO, not TOMORROW, want another vitamin NOW!” Meh, it could be worse. She could be insisting on chocolate, which she actually quite dislikes, along with pizza, salty foods, cakes.

Lately, especially in the last couple of weeks, Allie seems very concerned with her affect on others emotionally. She’ll eat something simply to make me happy (which I admit I use to my advantage), so although she may initially refuse a food, she’ll suddenly change her mind and then after she eats it, she’ll announce, “I eat this and make Mama happy!” Or sometimes she’ll simply ask earnestly, “Mama, are you happy? I finished it!” Just within the past week, she has taken to asking on occasion, “Dada, are you happy?” “Mama, are you happy?” She will tilt her head and look us right in the eyes and evaluate our expressions as we answer this question. I’ve decided this is best answered “Yes, I’m very happy,” especially when she’s happy and well-behaved, so that she responds, “I’m happy, too!”, instead of treating it like an existential question. The other day I caught her watching “Mrs. Spider’s Tea Party” on her iPad, a story about a misunderstood spider that all the other insects avoided because they didn’t realize she’s a vegetarian spider until the end of the story, and Allie was repeating parts of the story and saying mournfully, “Awww, she’s sad! Come back, come back! [to the insects running away from the spider] Awww, she’s sad, she’s sad!” and hugging the iPad to comfort the lonely Mrs. Spider.
A bailiff I’m social-networking friends with said about Allie’s displays of empathy, “Well, you know she’s not a psychopath. Or autistic or have Aspberger’s.” Hmm. Never thought of it that way. Mostly I just think about how Rebecca had told me prior to Allie’s birth that she’s “a wonderful person” and she “loves people” and “wants to help.”

Daylight Savings begins a month earlier this year. Did you know that? So that means this Sunday, we are to turn our clocks 1 hour forward. Losing an hour sucks for us, because what’s 7am is now 8am, so we need to leave the house an hour earlier to get to work “on time.” What sucks more, is that we have to make this adjustment a week and a half before we leave to go to Hawaii for a week. Hawaii, which does not observe Daylight Savings adjustments because it’s so close to the equator that daylight doesn’t change much for them seasonally to bother with clock shifts. Which means we have to adjust Allie 1 hour ahead for 1.5 weeks only to adjust her back THREE HOURS in Hawaii for a week before we have to move her 3 hours ahead again when we come home. My fear is that she’ll be crabby and overtired in the evenings and then have a hard time falling asleep at 7pm (10p at home), then she’ll wake up at her usual time of 7am, which would be 4am in Hawaii. And then she’ll miss her nap entirely because it’s at a total wrong time for her body.

On a related and yet unrelated note, online travel booking company CheapAir analyzed over 4 million flights in 2013 and came up with Magic Booking Windows for the cheapest flights. You know how people argue about when’s the best time to get the lowest plane fares, and someone always argues it’s 2-3 days before departure, and others say it’s 2 weeks before departure, etc? Here’s actual statistical results:

On average, domestic flights are THE MOST EXPENSIVE 1 day before departure; 2nd most expensive 2 days before departure, 3rd most expensive 3 days before departure, and so on until the relation plateaus at 13 days before departure. So basically, DO NOT wait until 2 weeks before to book your flight. But you’ve always done that believing it’s cheapest? Well, so do 36% of travelers who book through CheapAir.com.
Okay, fine, so when SHOULD I book? Is there, like, a magical number? YES! It’s 54. Book FIFTY-FOUR days before your planned departure for the cheapest that flight will ever be. But I have an appointment to get head-to-toe laser hair removal done that day followed by liposuction to look good for my trip, and I won’t have internet access! When else should I book to get decent prices? Second-best choice for prices that are within $10 of the lowest it could ever be, book between 29 days to 104 days before your trip. That’s a pretty big window, so if you blow it, maybe you can save the difference by not checking any baggage. Can you believe baggage fees these days?! Great, I’ll book now for Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale! No wait, hold on. Popular destinations like that do not follow this rule, because the demand for flights there will be so strong that airlines won’t have to lower prices to sell out. So for high-demand destinations like Florida, Cancun, and something we’d run into issues with, little airports in little cities with limited flights (so there’s little airline competition), book early.

Here’s a summary of typical magic booking windows:
Domestic flights: 54 days prior
European destination: 151 days prior
Asian destination: 129 days prior
Caribbean destination: 101 days prior
Mexican destination: 89 days prior
Latin American destination: 80 days prior

Start planning, and stop waiting for that 2-week window.

Allie had a fun long weekend. On Saturday, she met one of my District Attorney friends and his CSI girlfriend. Allie took to them rather quickly and now refers to them as “my friends,” as in, “Where my friends go, mama? They come back later?” But most of all, Allie bonded with the girlfriend’s miniature Shih-tzu mix, Zoe, who was brought along as a surprise for Allie. This is the quietest, sweetest 2-year-old puppy. We even snuck her to the Lake and she just hung out in her hidden bag and no one was the wiser. After the Lake (we’d planned to kayak but got there after the 4pm rental cut-off that we didn’t know about, bummer!), we had sushi at our favorite Lake sushi restaurant. The awesome sushi chef prepped stuff for Allie like a baby omakase, which Allie ate voraciously. A small bowl of plain udon; a veggie roll of asparagus, tofu, avocado in soy paper; 2 strawberries cut like roses; an orange; and the best thing, a plate of baby shrimp, maguro tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and salmon roe nigiris! She finished everything except the salmon roe, which was likely too salty for her taste. After dinner, Allie asked my friend’s girlfriend if she could have Zoe’s leash, so my two-year-old ended up walking a two-year-old puppy. Adorable! Zoe seemed to love her, too, preferring to sit with her forepaws and chin on Allie’s leg in the car.

Sunday, my parents came over in the afternoon and we all went to the Santa Ana Zoo. Allie was more interested in running around than in looking at the animals. It’s probably an age thing. On the drive back, my mom and Allie chatted about what Allie had for dinner.
Mom: And what else you have? You eat broccori, right?
Allie: No. I didn’t eat broccori.
Mom: You eat chicken and broccori for dinner.
Allie: No, it’s not broccori, I ate broccoLI!
I couldn’t control my snicker. That’s my kid, correcting mom’s Chinglish. =P

Monday was Presidents’ Day holiday. What better way to celebrate than heading over to the Americana capital of Disneyland?
It was a sad Dland day, though, as everything Allie wanted to ride was closed: Small World, Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, some other stuff, so we just rode the Golden Zephyr in CA Adventure and the Disneyland train around once and went home, promising her that next time will be better. She asked for the Peter Pan ride, but that already had a 30 minute wait (WHY does that ride always a 30+ min wait even immediately after the park opens?), and same with the Alice in Wonderland ride she’d requested. Poor kid.

Another bit of fun this weekend: Allie was digging around in the zen garden at our front yard (it’s become her sand pit) and found a snail shell. She picked it up, peered inside and observed, “Snail not in there.” Then she placed it carefully on the low wall ledge and explained to her Dada, “I put it here so the snail can come back inside later.” How nice! 😀

BTW, I love Allie’s little pronunciation quirks. Rs sound like Ws, THs sound like Ds, Vs sound like Bs. She sounds a little British sometimes.

I’ve been sick. I’m pretty sure I was exposed to coworkers’ ailments (they’re dropping like flies around work) mid-week 2 weeks ago. Then that Friday, I went for a run at 8:30p which ordinarily would’ve been fine, but it was so cold that night out that I considered turning around about a mile in. I didn’t; I pushed it the full 4.5 miles, and when I came home, instead of jumping into the shower right away, I played on the computer until I was actually cold. Bad idea. Dropped my body temperature enough for the vicious bug to take hold.
So the very next day, I had a sore left tonsil. It was a Saturday. And the day after that on Sunday, major swollen tonsils on both sides, raging fever, body aches and pains, skin pain, scalp pain, bone and joint pain, eye pain…everything hurt. But we had a belated Chinese New Year dinner planned at my parents’ and I know they were looking forward to it, and my grandma was going to be there, so after hitting Disneyland in the morning, after Allie’s nap we went to my parents’.
I was pretty useless at my parents’ and spent the evening on their living room couch incidentally watching a crappy Super Bowl game because I was too weak and in too much pain to change the channel that Mr. W turned on. I didn’t have dinner, but I did have a couple of bowls of soup. Everyone else took care of Allie so I even got a nap in. That was nice.
Here’s Allie with her po-po and gong-gong, double-fisting homemade rice cake.

And here she is with tai-po, her great-grandma.

The next day, Monday, the fever was gone so I went to work. But my throat was still killing me. Tuesday, the coughing set in. Wednesday, same but worse. I would’ve called in except that we got some new-fangled type of trial (an expedited civil jury trial) that I didn’t trust a relief clerk to handle, knowing how exacting my judge is. But it was bad enough for me that I called and got an appointment with my primary care doc for the next morning.
My primary, Dr. Ta, said it was an upper respiratory infection at this point but that the virus just had to run its course, which would take about 2 weeks, and until then there’s not much we can do except symptom-control. I turned down his offer for a codeine cough syrup, saying I had to be able to drive and can’t be drowsy at work. I brought up coworkers’ recommendation of over-the-counter Mucinex. He said what’s better is Dayquil, since it already has Mucinex in it plus other good stuff. So I got the drugs, took 2 doses of it over the course of the day…and it made zero dent on my symptoms. The stuff I was blowing out of my nose was still brown-green-yellow. (Sorry for the visual.)
The next morning, my left eye appeared to have pinkeye. It was bloodshot and was draining sticky mucus. (Sorry for the visual.) It didn’t feel any different, wasn’t itchy or irritated, but pinkeye is very contagious so I figured I picked it up while I was at the doctor’s the day before and need meds for it pronto. I went back and since my regular doc wasn’t available, took an appointment with a new doc, Dr. Abarca.
Man, was that experience different. He ran a throat culture to rule out strep throat and personally ran it down to the lab, returning in about 15-20 mins with the results. Not strep throat. I’d told him my concern was the eye and I’d already seen the doctor about the illness the day before, but he rechecked me anyway. He said the eye was the same infection spreading upward. Listening to my lungs, he explained that he wasn’t x-raying me for pneumonia (I didn’t even know that was an option) because the human ear can pick up the pneumonia giveaway of the fine crackling sound of the lungs 2 days before pneumonia is severe enough to show up in a chest x-ray. That being said, he diagnosed bronchitis and said my lower lungs are clear so it wasn’t pneumonia…yet. But because I’m not getting better, and this was day 6-7 of the disease, he doesn’t want to sit around and watch to see whether I was getting better or worse, whether the infection was on its way out or on its way into the lower lungs to become pneumonia. He wrote me prescriptions for antibiotic Amoxicillin, which in the past has only given me yeast infections (sorry for the visual), for Benzonatate, which he said was like Mucinex but better, and for the Cheratussin, the codeine cough syrup. I was instructed to take the tiny Benzonatate gel caps in the day (non-drowsy), and Cheratussin at night for symptom control. He said I should be having a better weekend. He also directed me to get an eyewash from the pharmacy and rinse out both eyes with the borate/sodium-chloride solution 3x/day, which turned out not to be as freaky as I thought it was going to be, when used with the eye cup. It wasn’t until after I got home and read his typed-up after-care instructions, that I saw he had a lot more stuff that he didn’t even talk to me about (probably cuz it’s not Western medicine and some patients may have issues with it): 500 mg Cayenne capsule supplement, one daily; 10 drops oregano oil in a warm cup of water, gargle and swallow 3x/daily; zinc lozenges, one every 3 hrs; 2000mg vitamin C daily. I’m doing it all, plus extra vitamin D. So this doc’s having me hit the bugs from the outside with drugs, and from the inside with natural immunity boosters.
3 days later now, I’m still coughing, but whatever I’m spitting up is lighter, both in color and consistency (sorry for the visual). Beginning issues in the right eye has gone away, and the left eye is 80% better. Thank goodness I’d decided the day the eye thing first happened (without knowing it was happening) that Allie is now old enough to not grab my eyeglasses and I can not wear contacts for the first time in almost 2 years. I can’t tell how the other symptoms are going, because I’m perpetually drugged up. I have no problem with that for now, altho I’ll have to put the probiotics back in after the antibiotics course is done.
I’m considering switching primary care docs.

I got 3 pieces of bad news this week.

1.) Wednesday was the kid’s dental checkup. I was all happy and confident going into the pediatric dentist’s office because Allie’s broken front teeth have not seemed bother her this whole time. We still brush twice a day, floss nightly. We even have a new flossing game. After Allie selects the kid floss pick she wants to use, we examine what animal shape it is. “It’s a dolphin!” “It’s a crab!” “It’s a hippo!” She starts off flossing a few teeth, then it’s my turn. We tell the floss, “Get the food out of Allie’s teeth, dolphin! What do you think the dolphin will find in Allie’s teeth?” Allie would think back and list as many things as she could remember eating that day. “I think there’s broccoli!” “I think there’s yam!” “I think there’s rice!” Lately she’d get silly. “I think there’s pillow!” “I think there’s cars!” If I get any food bits out, I’d show it to her and she’d be delighted and open up so the animal on the floss pick can hunt some more.
So anyway, the dentist saw what appeared to be a tiny hole in the back of the front tooth that had suffered the most damage. He had her x-rayed, and saw a “shadow” in the roots of that tooth that wasn’t there in the x-ray from 6 months ago. It could be a beginning infection, but as she’s asymptomatic, it could also be nothing. Conservative dentist that he is, he put the tooth on “watch” and didn’t want to start drilling or doing a root canal or even a patching, yet. However, he warned us that if she starts getting pain or showing signs of an infection, he’d have to root canal that tooth and if the damage is severe, pull it instead so the decay doesn’t spread to the permanent tooth underneath the baby tooth’s root. 🙁 I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It just has to last until her baby tooth falls out. So, like, 4 more years. :/
On the happy side, Allie was super duper incredibly cooperative. They got to do a tooth cleaning on her. Afterwards she was happy about her “new shiny teeth.”

2.) I got notification from Discover that my credit card has been compromised AGAIN. This is getting ridiculous. I’m going to see if I can figure out when it was last compromised (I think was within the past year) to see if I had used it at the same merchant. Discover Card’s fraud protection department is amazing. Whatever logarithm they use for determining what is/isn’t my charge is right on. They contacted me about unusual activity on my card the same night it happened, and locked down my card. This time someone used my card number to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff via Best Buy dot com and Microsoft dot com. Discover has already terminated this account, credited me the money, opened a new account number and the new card is on its way, but it’s just a pain to have to remember what companies have my old number store on file for frequent purchases and charges, such as Amazon and various doctor’s offices. At least this has already been resolved, aside from updating accounts with the new credit card number once I receive it.

3.) This one is a pretty painful one. On Thursday, I took Allie to her pediatric ophthalmologist follow-up appointment for the out-turn of her eyes. It’s still intermittent, and some weeks are better than other weeks, but it hasn’t gone away. As a summary, I had delayed the ophthalmologist’s treatment plan of patching each eye for 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, because I had wanted to avoid the patching altogether by taking Allie to vision therapy. Well, Allie was too young to meaningfully engage in vision therapy. We tried. But since that failed, I hadn’t done anything except to tell her to “look at mama with both eyes” when I see her eyes diverge, and when she brings the focus back in at will, she’s good until she looks far away for an extended period of time (like watches TV) or gets tired. I had sort of fallen back on the last statement the ophthalmologist threw over his shoulder at the end of the last visit, which was, “Or you can do nothing and we’ll wait and see and reassess in a few months.” Okay, so we did nothing. We reassessed. She’s worse. The out-turn has increased between 5-10 degrees (she measured at 20-25 degrees 3 months ago, now between 30-35 degrees). Her doctor basically told me that altho he’s conservative and doesn’t want to throw children into the OR if there’s something else that could be done, we also can’t stand by and just let her get worse. He reduced the alternative patching schedule to 2 hours a day instead of 4, and said if she doesn’t show an improvement by the next visit in 3 months, we’re going to glasses which would force her to work to focus in her eyes, and if that doesn’t work, then surgery.
I should’ve known better than to try to circumvent the Universe. Rebecca had already told me when Allie first started having this out-turn, that she’ll be fine and there won’t be any long-term consequences, but we’d have to patch her for a little bit. I thought I could avoid it but Rebecca’s record is sky-high. 🙁
So today is Day 1 of serious patching therapy. After her dance class, the plan was to let her pick out some stickers at a party store. Then we were going home so she could select a sticker to put on an eye patch. Then we were gonna affix the eye patch and she would wear it while watching any movie she wanted (a rarity since we try to keep her off the TV). “Yeah! That sounds good!” she told us. So that’s what we did. And she kept the patch on for 1 hour 23 minutes, altho at about the 1 hour point she’d asked to remove it “because I can’t see.” We told her if she took it off, we’d immediately turn the movie off. 10 minutes later, she asked to turn the movie off so she could watch it later, rubbing her eye patch. I asked her to keep it on for a few more minutes. We managed to push it much longer than I dreamed for her first time. But now she said, “I don’t like the eye patch.” So we’re likely looking at 10-15 minutes for the future patching. The doctor said that even that’s better than nothing, and to just do it as long as we could even if we don’t meet the 2 hours.
So this third item is a work in progress.


Posted this on the social media site earlier tonight:

Cindy was holding Allie in Allie’s bedroom, about to put Allie into her bed, when Allie looked me in the eyes, smiled sweetly and put both her little hands on my cheeks by my ears. Then she gently brought both her hands toward my nose, brushing my cheeks lovingly. She put her hands on either side of my cheeks again, stroking my cheeks lightly as she brought her palms to meet at my nose. So sweet and affectionate, I thought. After she repeated this another time, I asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m making a sand castle.”

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