Sunday, August 11, 2013

We are home!

So this post is a little late, but as the saying goes, better late than never. We landed in New Orleans yesterday afternoon, and boy does it feel good to be home. The whole time we were there, Jason kept saying he was ready to get home. The instant that we hit the runway, it hit me too. I was homesick. I missed my dogs, my bed, my porch, my bathtub. 

The flights went so smooth this go round. It's safe to say that Parker loves flying. Every time the plane accelerates to take off or slams the breaks at landing, he bounces up and down, laughing and clapping. Everyone around us thought it was hysterical. 

The first leg of the trip from Philadelphia to Tampa was mighty quiet. Jason and I actually got to watch a whole movie, because Parker slept almost the whole way. The night before he didn't sleep well. He has been fighting what we call the "snooky nose". His nose is constantly leaking, which leads to gagging and coughing. We try to elevate him in his crib at night, but he squirms so much that he usually ends up in the opposite direction. It got to the point that night that I put him in bed with me, and Jason got kicked to the floor. Around 5:45 in the morning he woke up choking on snot and threw up everywhere. That was it, he was up for good now. This is why he was so eager to get to sleep at 11:30 a.m. when the plane took off. Jason was holding him while he slept and poor things hand was numb after about 45 minutes. 

When we landed in Tampa, we didn't have to switch planes. That proved to be extremely convenient. We didn't have to unload all of our carry-ons, wait for them to offload the stroller, and trek across the airport to another terminal. We just sat on the plane and waited for new passengers to board. That is definitely the way to go. Parker, however, disagreed. He did not like sitting there, with no movement, in his cramped little space. 

The flight from Tampa to New Orleans was super short at only an hour and ten minutes. Jason loved it, though. We came in to New Orleans from the Gulf of Mexico, so he got to see all the old places that he traveled on the tug boat, from up above. I got a mini lesson on where everything is, and so did the passengers around us. 

When we got to the airport, our good friend, and taxi driver for the day, Erin, was there waiting for us at baggage claims. Good thing, too. Once again, I don't know how we would have gotten everything to the car by ourselves. We were lucky that morning at PHL, because the Hertz rental manager dropped us off right at curbside and they checked our bags there. 

When we got home, the first place Parker went was to his toy room. We had limited space in the bags for toys, so he was a little deprived this week. I'm pretty sure he missed all of his toys. 

Today, my husband was determined to do something outdoors. He spends a good deal of time on the patio normally, and being cooped up in the apartment most of the week took a toll on him. So at 8:00 this morning, they were outside cooking spaghetti. He was a happy man. 

So, I've gotten the question, "what's next". I mentioned it in other posts, but just to clarify, I'll explain again. Parker will only be receiving a kidney transplant at this time. He may or may not need a liver transplant down the road. It is unknown at this time. The kidney transplant and immunosuppressants could cause the liver to deteriorate more rapidly, but they will make adjustments in an attempt to prevent this. Right now, the team in Philadelphia is reviewing Parker's file and CT scans once more, and waiting on Tulane to fax over Patty's records. Once they receive Patty's records at the Hospital of the University of Penn (the adult hospital connected to CHOP), they will schedule Patty to go up there for any further testing and evaluations needed. Once her evaluations are complete, they will meet as a team and hopefully approve our case and Patty as a donor. Once everything is approved, not only by them, but also by insurance,they will schedule surgery. I have also been told that surgery should be within the next 6 weeks to 3 months. They do not tend to do transplants after the month of October due to cold/flu/RSV season. 

I was also asked why we had to go to Philadelphia in the first place. Well, typically surgeons and insurances will not allow a surgery to take place when they have not physically seen a patient. We met with every doctor and specialist that is part of the transplant team there and also repeated blood work. 

As of right now, this is all of the information that we have. I will leave you with this, my favorite picture of the day. 

Yes my husband has been annoyed with my camera in his face. I'm trying to let him get the hint that he should do it, too. :) 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A little cardio never hurt anybody..

Two nights ago we watched the weather here in Philly, and it was looking pretty grim for our last few days here. Doppler radar showed this massive "warm front" (that's weird to say) coming through. They were calling for flooding rains today, which is why we waited to book our flights until Saturday. We woke up this morning and it was beautiful, so we decided to take advantage of it. 

We started out looking for Dave and Busters. Jason's been talking about going to one for as long as I can remember. He has even been caught saying that if he won the lottery he would open his own franchise. Now, I've never been to this place, so I can't judge, but I'm thinking I have a big kid on my hands.  We walked in the general direction that we needed to go, and ended up at Penn's Landing.

These things are so cool! We saw them for the first time while we were walking to meet Lindsey and Stephen. It was on a trailer on the side the road picking up tourists. I didn't think it actually went in the water, though. Apparently so. 

This is the view of New Jersey, while standing in Pennsylvania. 

This is the Irish Memorial in Penn's Landing.

So back to Dave and Buster's. The problem with getting there was that there was a huge freeway in our way. No worries, now we know where we went wrong. We can get there next time. So we decided to start walking back towards the apartment to find something else to eat. 

Along the way, we happened to stumble upon my favorite part of the day. HISTORY! So, I am proud to say that I stood in the very spot that the First Continental Congress met. I know, I know, it's so exciting! 

Here is Carpenter's Hall, the building where they met.

Then we got to see the Second Bank of the United States. Look at how big it is! 

Next, we headed over to Washington Square to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Don't worry, my historical adventure in Philadelphia is not over. I still have plenty left to see! 

After all of this, my husband decides that we need to redeem ourselves in the cheesesteak world. By all means, he was not leaving Philadelphia thinking that the cheesesteak was terrible. So it was decided to head down to what I like to call "cheesesteak corner". The place where two of Philadelphia's biggest rivals sit on either corner of the street. Yes, we gave in to the "tourist trap", and headed to Pat's and Geno's. Jason decided that we were going to Pat's King of Steaks. In his words, "No wonder why my sandwich sucked. I got the prince and not the king". (Note: Remember that we are at Steve's Prince of Steaks yesterday) This all sounded like a good idea in theory, but we never realized how far they actually were. We had to go through Little Italy and Little Mexico just to get there. I really liked Little Italy, though. I plan to return for some authentic Italian cuisine and some gelato, too.  By the time we got to "cheesesteak corner", I realized that we had left cushy central city and ended up in South Philly, or in Jason's words, the "hood". No, seriously, it wasn't that bad. 

This was my view while eating at Pat's. They are seriously that close. 

Sorry, I don't have a picture of the sandwich. As you can see from the picture above, I was forced to eat one handed today. The good news is that we were successful in our redemption. We have found the secret to all cheesesteaks, and it is something I never thought I would say. Cheez whiz! Yep, you read that right. Cheez whiz! Today's sandwich was pretty darn good. Jason is already planning to recreate it at home. 

In total we walked 5 and a half miles today. I honestly didn't even know that I was capable of that. If it wouldn't be for the 2,000+ calories a day that I have been eating, I would have lost at least ten pounds this week. The food was well worth it, though. 

So, when we got home it was nap time for all. Well shower time and then nap time. We were all a little funky after our excursion. Parker usually sleeps for about three hours, so by the time I actually got to lay down I thought for sure I would get a good rest. Nope. I woke up not long after to the sound of "MAAAA!" This is what I saw when I rolled over. 

I can't blame him. He got to ride in the stroller all day. Of course he isn't pooped. 

Note to self, get myself a stroller. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A little bit of Philly..

Today was our first "down day" in the city. I was super excited to get out and explore some more. I didn't quite get to see everything I wanted, but hopefully we will have more time for that. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be nasty, but I'm hoping it passes around us. Wishful thinking, right?

So we started out the day with Jason's must-do list. A Philly cheesesteak. I mean, it's a classic staple. Who comes to Philly and doesn't get a cheesesteak? I spent most of last night researching where to go. He's been talking about this since before we left, so I wanted it to be a great experience for him. All of the blogs and websites said that Pat's and Geno's, the two classics, were tourist traps. Well, who wants that? No, we want what the locals eat. So after much research, we decided on Steve's Prince of Steaks.

It came highly recommended, and talked about the quality ribeye used to make the sandwich. It had to be good, right? WRONG! Of course we are from South Louisiana, so we are used to things with immense flavor. This was the blandest sandwich, ever. My husband may very well be scarred by this sandwich. In his words, "subway can do better". 

After lunch, we walked around to see this sights. Every day on the way to the hospital I see this building, and every day it leaves me in awe. I have been trying to find out what this building was for. It's obviously pretty old and the architecture was meant to catch your eye. Finally, we got to see it up close and personal today. It is actually City Hall. I don't think that the pictures I have will do it justice, but its truly remarkable. It's my favorite place in Philly so far. The only thing I cannot figure out is why they have so many ugly window units hanging out of it! I'm sure it pre-dates central air conditioning, but there are other options! 

After City Hall we headed to Reading Terminal Market. The largest farmer's market around. There are over 80 vendors located inside.

These shrimp were the biggest things I've seen, and my family does that for a living. I don't think the picture shows the size accurately, but we were both pretty amazed. 

Next on the agenda was China Town! 

This was absolutely the dirtiest part of town we have seen. We discussed going to dinner there tonight, but after what we saw and smelled there today, we changed our minds. 

We decided to get out of there as quick as possible and get some A/C for a while. There is a shopping mall a block of so away, so we headed there. Parker's socks and shoes were pretty tight this morning, so we hoped to find some new ones. We were in luck. Kids Foot Locker had just what we needed! 

All of this walking had both my guys pretty tired, so around 2:00 we headed back to the apartment. It seems that they both needed a nap.

Once everyone woke up, we headed to dinner. On the menu tonight was Hard Rock Cafe.

We got back from dinner pretty early, so I thought that I could enjoy a hot bath. Nope! Parker had other plans. 

Of course we saw some pretty cool things along our way today. So here is just a few of them. 

Fancy McDonald's