The Roy Family

Once upon a time I had this friend.  She had hemorrhoids.  Yeah.  She’s gross.

Okay, okay, let’s get real, folks.  The majority of American’s suffer (usually in silence – and with OTC temporary-relief products) from internal and/or external hemorrhoids.  We live in a society that lives on their hineys, eats garbage, and frankly, doesn’t take care of themselves as well as they should.  Those slobs aside, some of us are living the life of health & finesse *cough, cough*.  But still have hemorrhoids.  So let’s just delve into the ridiculously embarrassing world of talking about it.  Let’s put aside our prude (err, pride) and deal with things that need to be dealt with.  Unlike I did for years.

So actually, I really did have a friend that had really bad hemorrhoids.  So bad that she found a doctor who would be willing to take care of them all in one fell swoop.  I was excited at the potential of her leaving the struggles behind, but also nervous for her, as my great-aunt had gone through the surgery and after months of recovery, swore she would never do it again if she would have known how brutal it would be.  That it was the worst experience of her life.  Well, it ended up the same for this friend of mine.  She ended up in the ER numerous times over the several weeks following the procedure.  It was horrifically painful to the point of unbearable.  She maxed out what doc would give her in narcotics, and still could not function as a Mama and person in her daily life from the pain for – literally – months.  No thanks!

So naturally, I never felt inclined to talk about them, much less do anything about it.

Until recently. Continue Reading »

Baby Blessings

This pregnancy has been so different than others.  It just continues to remind me why I laugh – and find it hard to believe when other Mom’s say things about how they do pregnancy/birth, as if it’s the same every time.  Well, not for this gal!  Two of our babies were born “on time,” two were born over two weeks late (according to LMP).  I’ve gained anywhere between 11 to 23 pounds per pregnancy; not gender or starting-size specific.  This time I started a little heavier than with the first two, tho’ trimmed down and now feel like my belly is cuter and more “basketbally” (smaller, rounder) than other pregnancies.  This is the first time I haven’t had a lot of discomfort with numbness in my front rib area, no dark belly button line, not a lot of ‘peach fuzz’ or extra hair everywhere, or wobbling (yet) because of particularly loose hips.  I have all kinds of theories* as to why, but who really knows.  Trust me, the whack hormones have been abundant.  This pregnancy has flown by.  I want it to be over (to meet the little one!), but I want it to last (I love being pregnant).  We’ve been very simple in our preparations – there’s been no urge to buy a bunch of stuff.

With every pregnancy I’ve taken a different angle on what we “need” vs. what we have.  This time, just like last, we’re taking it easy on buying things.  In fact, we have very little.  I only recently went through our bins in the basement to inventory where we are on clothing.  And I wasn’t even disheartened to learn that we literally have three pieces of brand-new-person clothing.  We still haven’t bought any to add.  Here’s the thing, though: we are blessed with a village.  A Mama who dresses her now 4 month old in adorable gear is hand-me-downing a full wardrobe.  If we find any gaps, we can fill them in later.  We have a carseat, cloth diapers, a Mai Tai wrap and a co-sleeper, 2 binky’s if we go that route, and a box of nursing pads.  We have what we need.  Just like last time we were jonesing for [a very few] extra’s that we are accumulating, I’ll share what’s on the “wish list” this time if it’s helpful for your own baby planning:

Homemade things  We did find a brand new package of long sleeved white onesies that we’re having fun painting and sewing on for custom gear for this little one.  You’ll remember Flynn’s handprint turkey… This time we’re doing more rainbow gear, since this is our second rainbow baby that God has so generously blessed us with.  I see a few fun things surfacing as what will soon turn to overcast weather inspires indoor creativity.  Today’s task: sew a mattress pad for the co-sleeper.  And perhaps some cute co-sleeper sheets and moby wrap with the fabric we picked up at a yard sale last weekend.

“Sweet Relief” – This is not actually new to this pregnancy, but a good one to share.  It’s a mix of herbs that I give to new Mama’s and use for postpartum healing.  It includes calendula, comfrey leaf, plantain leaf, rosemary leaf, yarrow leaf & flower, myrrh gum powder, self heal, st. johns wort, gota kola, and marshmallow root.  Infuse it into water: 1/4 cup herbs to a quart of boiling water.  Cover.  Sit overnight.  Strain.  Keep in fridge for three days before making new, or when needed.  Soak a thick feminine pad about halfway with some (or flannel or ?), and wear it on top of a winged feminine pad (or big one) while nursing or sitting or any other time — 15 minute bouts every couple of hours is soothing, cleanser and healing.  It will soothe and aid in healing inflamed or torn tissue, and relieve hemorrhoids that may have found a new place in your life.  A must-have for postpartum recovery.  If you need would like some, check out my Etsy shop or pop me a request.  Or find a recipe online and blend your own!

Bengkung belly wrap – Realizing the benefits of treating Mama’s body well pre-pregnancy, early in pregnancy (stability and support), and for postpartum healing with age-old belly binding, I can’t believe I haven’t used one of these before.  And I think they’re beautiful.  Thanks Etsy seller!

Affirmation during labor – I’ve put together a song list for delivery.  Our first two babes were born to Enya.  The second two I don’t remember being specific with music.  This one has an entire playlist of it’s own.  I used india permanent ink, a stick, and water colors to make a few one-liners to focus on during labor (“birth is normal.” “God answered our prayers.” “do not fear.”).  I also took a wonderful book of handmade scripture that the ladies of our church had made for me during Scott’s hospital stay and have strung them as verses for this as well.  They are so very applicable.  And the fact that women worked together to make them for me then, only to re-focus on now – during a time of blessing after that trial – is profoundly beautiful to me.

Henna or belly preserving – I don’t have plans of belly painting this time like we did with Flynn, but have been jonesing for henna.  We were going to do it ourselves, but have had little luck with the right mixture.  So, tho’ I’ve argued against it profusely (where do you store such a silly thing?!), I just got what we need for a belly cast instead.  They’re fun.  They’re beautiful.  And they’re entertaining.  Whatever.

capturing these moments.

capturing these moments.

That’s really it.  And I have to laugh a bit.  I look over the list and think: what a hippy.  But it is what it is.  And I love it.

As far as nesting goes, I’m in a purging mode again.  And the itch to make a little corner of cuteness exists.  I’m really loving the hanging bassinets, and may make a little cove for this babe to call their own.

*I think pertussis really strengthened my core unlike before, even tho’ I was doing ballet all 9 months of Adyn’s pregnancy.  Weirdness, but I can still flex my abs, which are usually loooong gone by now.  It (pertussis) made eating a real challenge, so I was careful to make sure that the little I did put in packed a punch.  Or because we were so sick, being 9 months pregnant is a breeze… I also think that perhaps this baby will hang tight a little longer, so some of these “ailments” are yet to come… But we’ll see!  Braxton Hick’s contractions have gotten stronger and oftener since last week, so my body’s definitely getting ready!

Energy Packing

Such a beautiful rainy day today!  The family’s all together again.  Scott has been working extra long hours for an extra long time, and spent the last weekend away in Nebraska with family and for Aunt Joyce’s funeral.  No airline would let me travel this close to Delivery Day, despite my trying to convince them I’d be juuuust fine birthing in the plane (I kid, I kid).  He had a wonderful, bonding time, but we sure missed him!  We have sweet loves for friends who kept us busy (distracted) at home and helped us with projects while Scott was gone.  But today: it’s all of us again.  Love.

We slept in ridiculously late.  Adyn made comfort foods for brunch.  The boys are all baking cookies and playing card games.  Kendra and I finished up the “birth kit,” and are just now focusing on a snack list for the big day:  Cheese.  Meats.  Nuts.  Fruits.  Nutrient-dense beverages.

This led to a tangent of “energy balls.”  We’ve never made them until today, but they seem a perfect addition to a laboring Mama (and crowd!):

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 peanut butter
  • 1/2 ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll into 1″ balls.  Store in air-tight container in fridge.



I left the recipe pretty loose so you could play with the ingredients a little.  I used dark chocolate and raw honey.  We also used an all natural Sesame Cranberry Peanut Butter that was gifted us from Wild Friends.  I’d totally recommended – yummo!

Oh my heavens… Perusing recipes for energy balls online… There are so many flavors and scrumptious sounding options of tasty blends!  We’ve decided to make several other kinds with the excuse that the boys could use them while they’re out and about every day.  Next up will have pumpkin seeds and dried blueberries, I’m certain.  Might play with herbs and spices, too.

Yeah… there’s a strong possibility this batch will not last ’til the big day after all.

At long last, we’ve had a productive week!

We’ve gone 3 nights now with no one gasping for breath.  This is huge.  Coughing is sounding drier and milder, tho’ still frequent.  It’s incredible to me how long this is dragging out, but I can’t complain.  We knew it would last.  We all feel great again.  My ribs have healed up nicely.  Things are looking up!

A semi-positive side effect of this whooping cough has been feeling muscles I didn’t realize I still had (abs), and where eating has been reduced because it causes coughing, I’ve been more careful about what goes in – to maximize what I’m actually retaining.  It’s since left me feeling incredibly healthy and less flabby.  So much that I told our midwives it’s hard to believe we’re this close to the finish line.  By now, I’d usually be quite put out by the numb-annoying feeling in the center bottom of my rib cage.  My hip joints would be loose enough you’d hear me fussing.  I’d be hobbling.  My toes would be swollen.  And yet… Here we are.  And I feel energetic!  It’s really giving me a lot of encouragement for labor.  Where I had built it up (again) in my head, these days I’m almost [dare I say] looking forward to it.

All of this to say that I’m incredibly grateful for all of the sickness (now that it’s over).  I can look back and really reap the benefits of how far we’ve come since we were in the midst of it.  And I am so much more grateful for the little things.  Like deep breaths.  And slouching/stretching without sharp, unbearable pain.  Laughing.  Sleeping, even with late-pregnancy insomnia.  Even just getting my hiney up and at ’em to do stuff.  We sure roughed it.


These guys make it easy to eat right. I’m loving being a CSA subscriber!   – photo courtesy Storytree Farm

So the last couple of days we’ve been filling jars.  We have a small orchard of european (prune) plums.  Last year we dried mounds and mounds, eating even more fresh.  This year, we found some fantastic recipes that we’ve added to our plum preserving plan and pantry:

Plum Preserves, no pectin recipe (slight variations from the original)

  • 4lbs plums, pitted… some halved, most quartered
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 6 T. lemon juice
  • lemon zest if you have it

Mix together and let sit overnight (or don’t).  Boil gently until dime-size bubbles form, stirring little to let sugars gel properly.  Ladle into jars and process 10 minutes in water bath. Yield: 7+ half pints.  Beautiful rich, bright red color.  Not the dull brown you’d expect.

Plum Leather – no need for an official recipe.  I just filled my gallon blender with pitted plums, 1/2 cup sugar, and a dash of quality lemon (I used Frontier’s).  Zipped it ’til smooth, and spread out 5 full sheets on the Excalibur.  It only took a couple of hours to be the perfect dryness, and we’ve since rolled it in wrap and tucked it in an air tight container.  Good way to use LOTS at once with minimal labor. What’s the best way to store this – anybody?

We also were gifted a couple of boxes of asian pears.  In the past, I tried making (and it was out of this world delicious) pear butter with them, but because they’re mostly water and little fiber, there was little to actually put into jars.  So this time I juiced a bunch, and then also canned some as wedges.  I didn’t even peel them.  I just blanched them for 5 minutes in simmering water, added a syrup (6 cups water to 1 cup sugar), and 2 T. lemon juice per quart jar, water-bathing for 25 minutes.  They held up beautifully, and taste fantastic.  Why haven’t we done it this way, or is it not a common practice?


We juiced up about 15# of our grapes as well.  We’re having fun with our new (old) steam juicer.  Two years ago we tried juicing our crop of grapes several different ways, but this is easy peasy.  We are thankful for a very abundant harvest of grapes this year.  I think last year they were mad at our pruning job.

I feel like we just actually may make some headway on not only using up our homestead harvest and not wasting, but also putting up plenty to take us through the ‘dry’ months.  I had to give up that goal when we were sick, knowing we just couldn’t commit, but I’m realizing it just may work after all.  I suspect tomatoes and cukes, apples and pears will be filling the kitchen before long.  This kitchen.  Dreamy for harvest time.  I’m in love.


Written May 28th, 2015

Tonight we studied something we have many times before: forgiveness.

It’s funny how the “same old” thing can be taught, but with different receptors (on my part), they connect in different ways.  Well, tonight I grasped some important bits that struck to the heart, all summed up in this guest post by (then) Jasmine Bauchman on my sweet friends blog:

And here’s a truth that floored me the other day: I don’t need anyone to apologize to me, I don’t need to be vindicated in a temporal sense, I don’t need to be acknowledge as the victim, the wronged party, in order to experience closure. Because Christ either nailed the sins committed against me to the Cross, or he will exact judgment for them on that last day. Either way, it is finished. I am not bound to sorrow or bitterness until the chapter closes satisfactorily. Because it’s already done. And I’m free from it just like I’m free from the fetters of my own sin.

Free. Isn’t that an overwhelmingly beautiful thought: freedom in Christ? Free not to be offended or wounded or prideful! Free to bask in who he says I am! Free to prize reconciliation, because it’s a beautiful thing, but to realize that, even if it never comes, we are reconciled to the God of the universe through the sacrifice of Christ.

You see, I’ve been worming my way through an abusive (for lack of better word*) situation in my past, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do to “make it right” with someone/s who has hurt me deeply and I’ve tried to reconcile with, now with a rather large rift – no, canyon – between us.  Then it hit me: it’s not up to me to make right.  Christ already did.

And I have to let Him.

Let that sink in.

(I’m talking to myself now)

Like another friend Dorothy said this evening: forgiveness is a journey.  We will never be complete of our own accord, but through Him we can be free from the burdens of anger, bitterness, fear, or vengeance.  No writing anonymous blogs or “fiction” story-telling.  No secrets or passive aggressive manipulation.  But also no hiding.  We instead can turn it into praising God and love toward others!

If I am to love my God with all my heart, and others as myself (Matt. 12:31), I really don’t have a choice in forgiveness.  Following Him means trusting Him.  It means leaving my self behind (over and over again as reminders are graciously given), including my pride and sense of justice.

I still live with the scars of the offenses that I’ve carried.  They still rear their ugly head in unexpected moments.  I perpetually remind myself that it is not truth, and that God commands us instead to think on things that are noble… just… kind…. (Philippians 4).  That He honors us when we truly give our lives to Him.  That tho’ consequences remain, it is not my burden to carry.

No holding back.

Lord I believe.  Please help my unbelief.  (Matthew 9:24)

Help me not cling to anything but you, Lord, and remove all distractions.  Cleanse my heart and mind with renewed YOU.

*random fact: use of the word “abuse” has escalated in the past generation.  Might I even say, the word itself is, well, abused.

One thing that was really important to us is to be completely open about our newfound friend Pertussis.  We’ve noticed in the past that people are afraid of sharing that they have some ‘awful disease,’ in turn infecting others and not allowing others to proactively treat against it (or step away from potential exposure).  Since we had noticed the cough before Idaho at church, we let folks there know, and have since walked several families through who seem to have symptoms and/or the infection.  This can start so mildly it’s easy to ignore.  But once you know you’ve been exposed, it’s easier to get help.

Several have asked us: Who do you think gave it to you?

My answer: Who cares?

We can point fingers, but why?  And really, because contagiousness has such a large window of time – and we’re not hermits by any means – and pertussis is on the rise and more common than ever – there’s just no way of knowing necessarily.  And again, it doesn’t matter.  Sure, I get that the Department of Health would like to track it, mostly to find out if it came from in-county/state or out.  But it’s rather petty otherwise, in my opinion.  We can make a few educated guesses who had it before us, but in reality, I don’t think only one family had it before us.  I just don’t think others realized they had it when they did/do.  Pointing fingers doesn’t help create an atmosphere of transparency.  And had the initial family we knew of not shared with Scott that they had it out of fear, we may have become much worse off before we realized our situation.  I’m thankful for their honesty, no matter where the bacteria came from.

During our time away from civilization (because now, apparently, we are hermits!), we had such a relaxing time at home.  Scott took days off work while being treated.  We couldn’t really go anywhere so as not to expose anyone, but had a wonderful time on our little compound with my Dad, Mom Chris & Elianna.  Flynn adores Elianna – those two were inseparable.  We made memories we could never have another way.

Somehow when we got home from Idaho, our food stock was like the story of the fishes and loaves.  Our food continued to multiply instead of decrease.  We ate like kings and queens.  Some wonderful loves brought us flowers and desserts and food on several occasions.  We were well loved.

We came home to a jungle of a garden.  Us ladies went to weeding and picking.  We’ve gathered about 6 gallons of green and beautiful purple beans.  Since we were still pretty exhausted and not up for lots of canning, we cooked and froze the ones we didn’t eat right up.  Now that we’re definitely on the mend, we’ll pickle a bunch up, for starters.  We also need to work on last years berries in the freezer, so will put up a bunch of jam in the next week, I imagine.  Our purchased pig needs to make it’s way into the freezer this week, and two turkeys shortly after – and it’s still bursting at the seams from other randomness.  Uh oh!  And the biggest bounty we’ve had yet of plums & grapes is just a few days away from harvest here!  Oh.  And all the figs and blackberries.  The big, huge, juicy, sweet blackberries… We just adore this place.  So abundant and works for itself without a lot on our part.

Papa and Adyn worked on several projects (it’s what they do).  They tinkered with and finished up the hot tub that we picked up for free locally, complete with a “hot house.”  Soaking became our daily (or twice or thrice daily…) ‘treatment’ plan.  As I stated in the last post, I’m not convinced that hot steam is helpful at all, so at one point we limited the ones coughing the worst to before noon, making nighttime no worse than otherwise.  We’re still learning how to use the tub, as it’s a lot fancier than we would have expected.  We’re still dabbling with how to treat the water as naturally as possible.  It’s been a fun project and a wonderful addition.


relaxing next to our homesteads 60+ year old lilac bush; listening to birds sing and sheep baa

Our favorite mechanics took a peek at our Suburban while we were in Idaho and let us know that the problem was smaller than we expected (yay!): a loose radiator hose clamp and some o2 sensors.  That, and some shoddy hoses that they replaced under warranty.  So thankful for a decently inexpensive, reasonable fix!  The cost combined with the rental car to Idaho actually ended up staying within our “Idaho budget”.  Bonus!  That said, our traveling hosts took the brunt of the gas/auto financials for us to head home, even if planned.  For that, and for their flexibility and adventuresome spirits, we are always thankful.

Two nights ago, after everyone was tucked in to bed, I wrapped in a blanket and sat outside to watch the meteor showers.  With scented geraniums at my feet, soft solar string lights dangling from the deck, the sounds of night, a clear sky over me… I was just blown away by how peaceful this place is.  Not just this physical place, but this place in our lives.  This season.  And then I realized I’ve been saying that – just as surely – for over two years now.  It just hasn’t gotten old or “normal”.  I realized that perhaps it’s not the season itself, but the heart of it all.  That we have continued to have a changed mind about our life; giving it all to the God above who has a much bigger plan than ours always.  Committing fully to be adaptable to whatever He desires along the way.  Come what may.

Scary, freeing words…  Come what may.

Who Gives a Whoop

Several weeks ago we left the land of living for a long season.  Disclaimer: In no way is this post advice or what I’d recommend.  It’s simply what we’re going through.  This is not an anti- or pro- vaccine post, fyi.

A couple of months ago Scott and I were sitting in church and noted a lot of coughing throughout the sanctuary that sounded the same as one of our kidlets’ – that ended up lasting a long time.  Our pediatrician dubbed it allergies, since there were no other symptoms attached.  We went to work with herbal remedies.  The old trusties just weren’t working.  Odd.  We talked with another family whose little one had the same perpetual cough who also had no luck clearing it with herbs.  But it’s allergy season, after all.  No big.  Right?  Still, we took precautions and excluded him from a lot of activity.

Fast forward to late July.  We’d been readying ourselves for our annual family reunion camping trip to Idaho.  The Suburban had made it’s way in for a once-over to the shop.  We fine-tuned every single last detail of it, including shampooing and treating the interior.  Heck, Adyn even cleaned out the windshield wiper sprayers so they’d fan perfectly.  Ooo!  And we had a beefy grill guard installed just to fit in with the locals – and perhaps protect the rig a wee bit in the event of meeting a deer along the way.

We had finished everything we needed to do, and planned to spend all day Saturday playing with Daddy, who was staying behind.  We’d be leaving Sunday morning in the wee hours, caravaning with our friends who would be joining us.

Our wee little family decided to run to town for some play, when the “Check Engine” light came on in our driveway.  Talk about a blessing from God on His impeccable, protective timing!  We poked around under the hood and noted both water and radiator reservoirs were empty.  Just days after the mechanic had topped everything off.  Our oil pressure gauge was all over the place as well.  Uh oh.  That’s not a good sign.  The reassurance that the engine had been replaced some 20k miles ago, we knew this would all work out.  But we also knew it meant our travel plans were going to have to change significantly because it’s the weekend, and there was no telling how soon we’d get a diagnosis on the Suburban, or even when it could be repaired.

A dozen calls later, we found the one Big Box car rental place that would give us a one-day, one-way trip to Idaho Falls.  Our caravaning friends, Tim & Amy, were super flexible and offered to pull our trailer with all of our camping gear so we could pack light in the rental.  All was back on track.

We left early.  The drive was beautiful.  We listened to audio books and played car games.  We had an event-free drive over.  Other than the cough that I now had started.  It was out of nowhere.  I chalked it up to pregnancy.  You know, weird things happen when you’re pregnant.  My nose has been a perpetual faucet, for one.  So a persistent, wet, rather mild cough didn’t seem to out of the ordinary.  A cough that left my eyes teary and my head thumping a little by the end of the day.  Huh.  Weird.  No sore throat.  No fever.  Nothing else.  By now, two of the others had started up as well.  But again, really nothing to think twice about.  Just a little coughing.  Whoop-de-do.

We got to Idaho Falls and picked up some last-minute groceries and fishing licenses.  We dropped off the rental car and met up with Papa & Chris & Elianna, who so sweetly (and timely, again!) met us and took us in for the rest of the trip.  We made it to camp by 11pm, and bunked in their trailer that night and from then on – other than when cousins camped out together or tented it outdoors.

This cough, though.  It just kept getting worse.  The two middle kidlets started hacking pretty good during the day, especially when eating or exerting themselves.  The wee’est had all but stopped except at night.  When he did, he’d wake up gasping for breath more than cough.  Then the other two started doing this.  During the days, we forgot anyone was potentially sick and had a great vacation.  Because, again, doc said not to worry unless associated with fever or other symptoms, I struggled to decide it if it was worth getting all Mama-hen-like.  I thought maybe it was the altitude (we’d traveled uphill 7000+/- feet from home).  Then nighttime became a nightmare.  I was wide-eyed and worried I’d have one less babe by morning.  Ugh, nights.  When rationality is out the window.  I prayed a lot.

Then it happened.

I called home and Scott – oh so casually – mentions that a dear family we know has whooping cough.  Yeah, pertussis.  You know, The One sickness I just can’t rationalize not vaccinating for, but one of the two vaccines that are associated with the most adverse reactions so as making it impossible to do as well…  The disease (and vaccine) that infants notoriously die from (dramatized) – leaving a no win decision?  Yeah, that one.  Once again, like when Scott was in the hospital, I was grateful not to have Google at my disposal.  Instead, I made several phone calls (all of our doc’s, nurse friends, and a few families that I know have gone through it), and then talked to G’ma Chris about what this means for our wee family.  For one, we needed to head home.  Yet have no car.  And all of the guys are out on a wheeler trip until “dinnertime,” so we couldn’t make a solid plan until their return.  Our options looked like this: 1) Papa & Chris take us to Idaho Falls and we rent a car to head back, or 2) Papa & Chris leave Idaho a couple of days early with us and take us home.  They were coming to Washington afterwards for a visit anyway.  And where I didn’t want to stunt their trip, it seemed the option Chris was most comfortable with.  She didn’t seem to want to leave us to fend on our own, tho’ I assured her we were okay.

We all realized the need to leave the mountain (elevation & contagiousness) as soon as possible.  So we started packing up our stuff.  I wasn’t sure if Tim & Amy would want to head home with us.  They had their own vehicle, and we didn’t need our trailer – so they could stay if they wanted and bring our stuff back with them in a few days.

Well, it was after 9 o’ clock when all of the wheelers got back to camp, all pumped because the lake they found was chalk full of HUGE trout.  They had a smashing day.  Then I had to bear the bad news, and ask Papa if he’d be down for delivering us a few hours away to a rental car company, or head out toward home tonight.  He opted for the latter, no problem.


Just going to go pause here. This is the second time Papa has been to Idaho during our family reunion for some 30 years.  His kids and grandkids are here.  It’s one of his favorite places to be, and holds some of his dearest memories.  It was a real joy and excitement that he was able to come this year.  So imagine the disappointment of leaving.  But nope.  He didn’t mention it – there wasn’t even a hesitation.  He just reassured us that he wanted to be with family, and had no problem with this decision.

We had packed most everything up, but had a few more things to wrap up.  We loaded the wheelers.  Tim & Amy decided to adventure home with us instead of stay at camp.  By 11pm, we were on the road.  The long, dusty, rocky road.  Just when we hit the pavement (about an hour from camp at the speed we were going), Colby threw up.  No fever.  Not associated with coughing.  Had been sleeping.  Over the next 12 hours, he threw up every 45-60 minutes.  He couldn’t keep anything down.  I thought he may be dehydrated until Kendra started up, too.  Then, not long later, reports of a few others at camp were doing the same thing.  I was glad it was just an unassociated 12-hour (ish) bug that we could get through and move on from.

We found a nice pull off near Salmon, Idaho, already significantly lower in elevation than our camping spot, and much nearer to an [albeit tiny] hospital, in the event that we needed anything urgent.  We set up camp and rested.  In the morning we got gas, and loaded up on vitamin C & electrolytes (later at an apothecary, more herbs and probiotics, etc).  We stopped by an old tradition of ours, Bertram’s Brewery, and filled some jugs of their delicious homemade soda to bring home for Scott.  Then we hit the road.

Other than still having a couple of sickies (the vomit bug), the drive was uneventful and fun.  We love road trips and traveling.  And with Papa & Chris & Elianna – and Tim & Amy – we got to point out and share all of our favorite spots, or stories from things that happened along the way.  Remember, we’ve been making this drive for decades, so have accumulated some real keepers.

We settled into a nice campground in the mountains near Coeur d’Alene, and by dinnertime – and after a cool swim in their pool – everyone was very on the mend from the vomit bug.  The cough was definitely still alive and well.  Mine had gotten pretty impressive by now, too.  In fact, by the next day, my back and abs were pretty out of sorts (cool!  I still have ab muscles!), and I’d have to hold on to the upper handle in the car during a fit to deal with the pain.  That evening, at a gas station in the Tri Cities, I coughed and felt/heard a POP!  It turned out that I dislocated and bruised a rib or two.

All was downhill from there…


Sunday night something went wrong.  I couldn’t move/breathe/cough/talk.  A trip to Urgent Care Monday turned into a whirlwind of activity.  I was in more pain than I’ve ever been in my life and was so scared.  Doc said all of the symptoms match a pulmonary embolism, and where it may not be, wanted to be safe since that was so life-threatening.  A CT scan later revealed no clots (thank God!).  Excellent meds allowed me to sleep better than I had in weeks.  An unrelated pertussis swab taken that day came back positive late Wednesday eve.  Department of Health was alerted (the wrong county at first – then later, our county… which was closed for the day – go figure).  Treatment immediately started for everyone.  Papa & their crew visit was adjusted and extended, complete with treatment as well.  We have kept ourselves under quarantine through it all for several weeks now.  We have learned a lot.  Here are some random things we gleaned through it all, in no particular order:

  • you are contagious 3 weeks before symptoms, and up to 6 weeks after coughing begins, if not treated
  • if treated with antibiotics, the CDC, Department of Health, and doc’s agree that you are not contagious after 5 day treatment – tho’ your cough will persist
  • pertussis bacteria kills the lining of your airways.  the damage is done and not reversible except with time. early detection and treatment is key.
  • early symptoms are runny nose, low-grade (unnoticeable, often) fever
  • the most dangerous part of pertussis is secondary infections, when the lining is damaged and can’t effectively ‘move’ mucous out of the lungs – causing pneumonia or other problems
  • the “whoop” of the cough does not have to come after a cough.  it can be the initial ‘gasp’ that starts a coughing spell.  usually this is associated with your airways becoming constricted because of spasming
  • there are ten of thousands diagnosed with pertussis each year (an increase to years ago), even more undiagnosed (in our family, only one was officially diagnosed, tho’ 5 had symptoms)
  • the number of deaths in the U.S. associated with pertussis is minimal, all things considered – this helped lessen (not eliminate by any stretch) my fear knowing we had it, and couldn’t do a whole lot about it
  • we should not live in fear
  • vitamin c therapy has proven to many to decrease (not stop) coughing episodes; we’ll see
  • wet steam is not helpful, even seemed to hinder;  use a vaporizer vs. a humidifier
  • this cough was very mental. if someone else coughed, it’d start a chain reaction.  i could mentally will a cough away long enough to breathe.  weirdest thing ever.  total mind games.  one of ours has had to literally train himself to stop gasping for breath at night
  • eating will initiate coughing fits.  don’t starve yourself.  stay hydrated. deep breathing will also start up a coughing fit. don’t starve yourself of oxygen.  try to just take breaths slow
  • probiotics are a must during antibiotic treatment
  • antibiotic treatment will likely have side effects.  learn about them, and proactively feed your body to balance the fight.
  • department of health was extremely helpful and non-invasive
  • pertussis is called “cough of 100 days” in other countries.  the cough will last.
  • be prepared for horrible things: peeing your pants, hemorrhoids, fractured ribs and pulled muscles, burst blood vessels from violent coughing, scary coughs that are hard to get your breath from (red/purple faces), slobbering yourself silly, vomiting from coughing, swollen eye balls that are excessively leaky, sleepless miserable nights… you’re going to be exhausted
  • natural immunity can last anywhere from 0-30 years.  stats are sketchy
  • booster vaccinations are recommended every 5-10 years for adults; and during the third trimester of every pregnancy (I would have been due for one at this weeks appt)
  • there are lab tests (ask a naturopath) to see if you have antibodies to fight pertussis (etc) – some choose to receive boosters only when needed
  • according to the manufacture, the pertussis vaccine (DTap, Tdap) does not eliminate your chance of getting the disease, but reduces the symptoms.  don’t live in false security.  if you have signs, get tested/treated/quarantined
  • home is where my heart is at. being required to lay low with my loves was the best, even if it was also filled with yuck
  • life lesson: flexibility is key.  from the get-go of this trip (ha, of this life!) is not holding any of our plans so close to us that we can’t be joyfully flexible to adapt to whatever our situation is