Friday, November 19, 2010


I believe most of you know these two handsome devils. Dr. Dror Paley on the left and Ms. Caroline Eaton on the right rocking Tredwell brand "superhip" shirts. When the man who makes miracles and the woman who helps the man make miracles are wearing your shirts, your fundraiser is a success.
Thanks for all you do! Keep up the good work!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Don't call it a comeback!

Ordinarily, this is where I'd slowly slink into the room, head down, tail between the legs, mumbling some pathetic excuse of an apology for the longest blog hiatus in the history of The Gray Area. But not this time. Oh, no campers...I'm done apologizing. I'm a man. Not much of one, but a man, nonetheless. A man with things to do. What things? Don't ask me questions like that! Sarah Palin taught me that direct questions are a violation of my first amendment rights. Shame on you! And so close to Veteran's Day, too...
Obviously, my absence has had no effect on my grasp of a ridiculously bizarre and completely unrelated rant. What can I say? I stay true to myself. But in all honesty, it's been a combination of things that's kept me post-free since September 23rd. First off, I've been keeping up with my man Carter who is ahead of Emily on this journey. He's a tough, good-looking kid and his mom does such a fabulous job with him and her family and her blog that, and I'm not ashamed to admit this, I was a little hesitant to get back to posting. Seriously, how can a rapidly-aging, barely-literate, middle school gym teacher hope to compete? Then, to send me further down my self-imposed shame spiral, I discovered this little slice of brilliance and, well, my literary insecurities ran wild.
But it wasn't all bad. I also managed to rope the wife into joining me for some real workouts a few days a week which, naturally, turned into a whole family event. The family that sweats together stays together! But then Daddy had to get all old and soft and tear his left pectoral muscle. Deep down, I think Kate is happy...not that I'm hurt...just that I won't be nagging her to come work out with me.
Ok. So...we're gonna just go ahead and put the brakes on the Tim Tredwell Pity Party and move on to the good stuff. Like, ya know...why we're here...that cool, kid Emily. Last time I checked, we were flashing pictures of that bionic hip and shoving her out into the wild to test it out. Let's see...cast off on a Thursday, taking tentative steps Saturday, wandering around Ikea unassisted by Monday. Seriously. People continually ask "how's Emily?" My response each and every time..."Bulletproof."
And it's not even about the mobility or the fact that a scar down her leg seems to be the only evidence anything was ever done to her. She's just such a nice kid. She's cute and smart and fun and talks all the time (not always a positive.) Wednesday night while Kate was out to dinner with friends, Ems and I were snuggled on the couch watching Lilo and Stitch. She looks at me and says excitedly, "Wanna make popcorn?" I know she's just past 27 months old now and it's not like she explained how to solve for X or anything...but it was just so darn cute. You could say I'm a fan.
Kate, Emily and Gram will be shuttling down to West Palm Beach in early December for a check-up with The Man. I will not be traveling this time as I prepare my other girls for their season. I'm sure the Tredwell Women will be taking Superhip Week by storm. Probably best for me to just stay out of the way.
I promise to be in touch before then. In the meantime, some pictures of the cutest girl we know.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cast Away!!!

That, my friends, is the tiny piece of hardware placed in Emily's right femur and hip during her Superhip procedure six weeks ago. That x-ray was taken yesterday. Last night at about 10:50 PM, Dr. Paley e-mailed us the ok to remove her cast for good and begin weight-bearing and physical therapy. And there was much rejoicing. If I had more time, I would go into great detail about our plans for a nice retirement ceremony for this stupid, clam-shell, urine-stanked brace (think a large open field, safety goggles and three sticks of dynamite) but I don't. So, instead just think about our kid roaming free yet again. And smile a lot. Because we are.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's go time!

To say the response has been tremendous would be a drastic understatement. Kate and I originally thought we'd order 50 shirts, try and sell them and maybe cover the cost of a cheap rental car while we're in West Palm Beach for Emily's three-month follow up. Wrong. People have been coming out of the woodwork wanting to help in anyway possible. This has been a most humbling experience.
But now it's time to go to work. For all of us. So many of you have come forward saying you want to get in on the latest "superhip" t-shirt trend. Can do. Here's what needs to happen next.
-E-mail me ( exactly how many shirts you want and their sizes. We'll have anything from youth XS to adult XXL. Some of you have already done this. Others have simply said "we're in" or "I'll buy a bunch." Encouraging, indeed...but we need hard numbers now. Even if you've already done so, please humor me and do it again. It's pretty easy to get swamped. Remember, I'm just a simple gym teacher.
-Please send a check, made out to Emily, Kate or Tim Tredwell (whichever one of us you like best.) Emily will have her first bank account starting with the receipt of the first payment. Even more incentive to get your order in soon!
If you're local (in Connecticut...or you're planning on being nearby at some point in the near future) it will be $10 per shirt. If you're in the continental U.S., please include an extra $5 for shipping. Checks can be mailed to:
49 Black Walnut Dr.
Middletown, CT. 06457.
I'd like to order the shirts by next week. The sooner payments come in, the sooner we can get you the shirts and the sooner everyone will know just how superhip you are.
I will never be able to thank you all enough. But I'll try.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Gray Area!

That's right, bubba. Two years ago today, a blog was born. We've shared a lot in that time. Together, we've experienced the highs, the lows, the laughs, the tears, the clever wit and the inability to formulate a coherent thought. We've done it all! If you listen closely, somewhere, a Hamden High School english teacher is weeping quietly to herself...
And after more than 100 posts and almost 9,500 hits from visitors stationed at every corner of the globe, I feel like we're just getting started. We've got at least another decade of this, so if you know any good fart jokes, it would really help us out if you could pass them along.
In the meantime, we've gotten a massive response to our fundraising query. While we've always been keenly aware that we're surrounded by some of the best people, sometimes it doesn't really take hold until three hours after a mass e-mail has been sent out and I've had requests for more than 60 t-shirts, offers of donations, tickets to auction (really, REALLY good tickets too) and so on. And that was just last night! Well, today the requests kept coming. To say we were overwhelmed would be painfully understated. You guys are phenomenal.
As a side note, many of you requested a t-shirt because you're generous, heaven-bound people who just wanted to help out. There was a part of me that thought, "that's awesome, but they DO get a pretty sweet shirt." It was then pointed out to me that, apparently, the funky, old school font I had hunted for, e-mailed to friends, posted on the blog and facebook was only showing up on MY computer. Everyone else was taking a gander at whatever standard "times new roman" default font their personal computer went with. Goody.
But thanks to Cousin Sarah, errors were corrected, images were salvaged and our shirt design has gone public...for real, this time. We're still taking requests, and should come up with a solid plan in the next couple days.
Thanks to everyone who's been there for us and continues to be.

Monday, September 6, 2010

More info!

Can you feel the excitement? Because it's in the air!
Ok, maybe there's no actual excitement in the air, but I feel like there could be. This morning, Kate and I were discussing the financial details of having a child with PFFD, and started to steer the conversation in the direction of fundraising. We are fortunate enough to have good jobs, insurance and supportive people in our circle. But even with that, frequent flights and extended stays in West Palm Beach will begin to take a toll. While we are truly blessed to be in such a position, I would feel dirty just trying to set up a fund for Emily without people getting something in return (we could auction off time to just hang out with her but that doesn't seem right...especially these days. GOD is she two.)
So this is what we're thinking....t-shirts! Everybody loves 'em. Everybody wears 'em. So let's sell some! The design would be a simple, white, short-sleeve tee with a light blue "superhip" (as seen below) printed across the chest.
For those of you who have been playing along this whole time, you know that "superhip" is the name of the surgery Emily just went through this past August. For the rest of you, it's just another good way to advertise to the rest of the world how groovy you really are. Everyone's a winner!
I'm thinking $10 a shirt. If we have to send it to you, we'll need to tack on a little extra to cover shipping, but we can cross that bridge when we get to it. I'm sorry for the jump in price, but shipping's expensive. Take it up with the Post Office.
Right now, we're just trying to gauge interest. If you like this idea, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail at that says how many you want and the sizes. If enough people are on board, we'll make it happen.
That's all for now. Hope to hear from you really soon!

Stay tuned...more info to follow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

All home. Together. Finally.

I think the standard intro here is "what a long, strange trip it's been." But, frankly, that quote is overused by high school yearbooks and dirty hippies and I'm too tired for this nonsense.
The simple fact is we're all back home and I could not be happier.
It was a difficult and emotional two weeks capped off by Dad's 16+ hour drive through mostly monsoon-like conditions. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I dropped Kate and Emily off at the airport Friday night. Rightfully nervous, Kate took control of our precious cargo while I aimed the car north. Emily was merciful and slept the entire flight, landing in Hartford around 9:30 PM. I believe I was in northern Florida at that point.
Just being home seemed to lift Emily's spirits. She had her grandparents, her toys, a full fridge...and really, what else do you need?
Meanwhile, I took a slightly longer route. A brief stop in Columbia, SC allowed me to spend time with our friends Matthew and Melissa (and FINALLY meet their precious daughter, Olivia.) This allowed me to recharge a bit before the home stretch on Sunday.
But no matter how long it took, or what traffic I hit, or how hard it rained, or what detours I had to take (are you getting the picture or am I painting with too broad of a stroke? The drive sucked) NOTHING made it better than walking in the door and hearing Ems say "wanna go see Daddy?" I'm easy. I know.
And things have improved. Drastically. She is happier. More mobile. More like the kid we've always known. She is still capable of getting plain surly, but show me a two-year old in a lower body cast who DOESN'T act out periodically.
It's been about 26 hours since I walked in the door and I'm starting to feel almost normal. And if things are back to normal, that means I'll probably go on a month-long blog hiatus. If so, I apologize in advance. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures. And thank you all for helping us get this far.
That's the happy girl we know.
Piper taking care of her favorite patient.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"There is nothing fragile about that hip."

That's the quote of the day. Who said it? Who else? Dr. Dror Paley...the only guy whose opinion really matters in this case.
And it really could not have come at a better time. We are fried. All three of us. Emily is ready to get up and go (that's frowned upon at this point) and like any good two-year old, she's giving us the business by just screaming that she wants to get down, wants to get down, wants to get down, wants to get get the idea. Of course, we're mortal human beings...there's only so much Kate and I can take, especially when that's happening in the wee hours of the morning.
Got up today, dragged around the room for a bit before getting ourselves together and heading over to the hospital for our one-week follow up. This, of course, means we have to take another x-ray. Want to guess if she was a fan of the idea? (Here's a hint...she wasn't.) Then wait for Paley to come see us.
While waiting for Paley, Caroline Eaton came in the room and looked genuinely afraid as Ems just let it go for a long, long time. "I've never seen a reaction like this!" Super.
It should be noted that we are REALLY spoiled by this kid. She was the happiest, most mellow kid on the planet for the first 20+ months of her life. That ended last Thursday. Now, we can all understand why she's so upset (although if anyone told us we had to lay on the couch and watch TV for six weeks, a lot of us would probably be ok with it) but it doesn't make it any more fun to deal with.
So there we were, walking her up and down the hallway in the stroller, hoping and praying she'll decide to calm down, just for the sanity of everyone on this wing of the hospital.
Tony, the ortho guy, came in, removed her hard cast and replaced it with a soft cast...essentially a clamshell brace which can be fastened with velcro. Emily did not share our enthusiasm. Eventually she would wear herself out and take a nap on the exam table. The next 25 minutes were the most peaceful, most wonderful minutes since they began keeping track of time. I wish I were exaggerating.
When Paley came in, amazingly, Emily did not stir ("I have that effect on kids" he said with a grin.) He looked at her leg, her incision, her x-rays...and used words like "beautiful," "great," and "fantastic."
"That is a perfect Superhip," he said. Which is pretty funny...cuz, ya know...he did it.
(Hey, I've said it long as he gets results, he can high-five himself, call me names, punch me in the junk...whatever he wants.) He also dropped the quote featured in today's headline which was pretty comforting, considering it led to a conversation about what was now considered taking Ems swimming, giving her an actual bath...just no weight-bearing activities for another five weeks. At that point, take a new set of x-rays and, barring anything unusual, she should be free to ditch the brace and wreak havoc on Camp Sweatpants like Godzilla in Japan.
Now we're back in the timeshare...for one more night. We've already been to the pool, had a nap and started to pack. 24 hours from now, the ladies will be in the air and I'll be bearing down on the Florida/Georgia state line.
Things are looking up!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Remember all those good feelings this morning?

Yeah, they're a distant memory.
Emily has been a monster today. Not that I can blame her, but at the same time, there's really not a lot we can do (ever try and explain that to a two-year old? I see you out there'd it work out for ya? Uh-huh...poorly is correct.) What does she want? She wants to be outside...playing...on the beach...without a cast on. How much of that can we make happen? Um...none.
For now, she sleeps. But it's only a matter of time before mighty Kong awakens from her slumber.
45 more hours...

Getting her appetite back?

I don't know what happened last night, but by 11 AM, Emily has eaten half a peanut butter sandwich, cheerios, a generous helping of raspberries, popcorn and washed it down with plenty of milk. I know she had a rough night and Kate had a difficult time calming her down...but whatever she did gave her the munchies. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An almost normal day?

We're getting closer to normal. Not close enough, but closer.
I got up this morning and went for a run (painful, to say the least.) By the time I got back to the room, both the ladies were awake and ready to rumble. Today's adventure? The mall! We strapped Ems into the stroller and got to it. I think we were in the Gap for about seven minutes before Emily started flipping out. We learned. No stopping. Shop on the fly. Missed that outfit the first time? Too bad, sucker! Keep it moving!
The fun part was Kate projecting her desire to get a little lunch at the mall on Emily as we walked by a Ruby Tuesday.
"Emily said 'eat'!"
And she did. However, I put the timing of the statement and the location of the restaurant as pure coincidence. Nevertheless, lunch out was a welcome break. Emily even forked some salad to her own mouth. Clearly, a little independence made her feel better. She probably had more to eat today than she's had in the last five days. I'm no expert, but believe that's a step in the right direction.
An afternoon nap for the child allowed Kate some much-needed time at the beach. I'd like to believe it allowed her to re-charge the batteries, but I think it might have made her more anxious to speed through the next five and a half weeks. Right now, she's dozing off next to Emily on the pull-out couch...and Ems is kicking her saying, "Mommy! Wake up!" You can almost see Kate's tolerance-o-meter move into the red zone. I'm thinking one more viewing of The Incredibles might end with her sending furniture through the window like a drunk rock star.
Nevertheless, we push forward. I can't BELIEVE tomorrow is only Wednesday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sorry, Aunt Sue.

Ok, so the days are blending together a bit and I believe my lack of posts today can be directly attributed to that. Although it might be laziness. Or forgetfulness. Or a blatant disregard for what my fans want. I don't know...choose one. Seriously, whatever gets your motor started.
Not a lot to report today. Ems is growing more polite, which I believe is a sign she's feeling better. She even had some popcorn and a handful of craisins (that's not a typo, they're dried up cranberries. She loves them) to go along with her milk which, while disgusting to folks like you and me, is a start to getting her back on the food train. We're getting there! Of course, if she kept up her previous dietary habits with her current activity level (lying supine on the pull-out couch, propped up on pillows, watching DVDs) we'd all end up on the Maury Povich show talking about how we ended up with a 300 lb. two-year old. And, really, no one wants that.
Meanwhile, Kate and I are chomping at the bit to get home. Getting up today, feeling almost refreshed and doing a quick count to realize we've got another five days here was NOT the way to start the day. Nevertheless, we're scouring all the brochures in the lobby to see if there's anything we can do that will allow Emily to get outside without getting too hot, sweaty or crazy. Even if we can put her in the stroller and roll through the mall, it's something.
Our post-op visit is scheduled for Thursday at 1:00. Sadly, this is the most exciting thing we have going right now. Unless, of course, we get to go to the butterfly museum tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed!!
For those of you who are still following along (and haven't passed out from all the excitement) Kate's sister-in-law Laurie had surgery of her own today. Diagnosed with breast cancer in May, she is currently at Dana Farber in Boston. The way I see it, a whole lot of you have included Emily in your prayer circles. While we have God's ear, please include one for Laurie.
That's all for now. More tomorrow, I promise.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Before and after.

I don't have a good caption. I'll just say I'd rather never do this again.

Home, kinda.

We're free!
We got discharged from the hospital this morning shortly after 9:00. I would talk about how excited everyone is, but,'s impossible to tell because nobody has any energy. Emily is obviously limited by her spica cast so she's still annoyed with the universe. Kate dropped us off at the timeshare before running off to pick up supplies for our remaining time here in Florida. I really don't know how she has the capacity to keep going. This is the longest she's been out of the hospital since we walked in there Thursday morning (she's been gone 90 minutes as of right now) and that's really saying something. Hopefully she'll be back soon and can get some sleep in an actual bed. Or at least a shower.
Perhaps an update on the kid, then? After getting her epidural removed yesterday, her temperature dropped almost immediately. She now sits at a comfortable 98.1 degrees (she apparently runs cool.) Although not everything went so well. During the night, her IV blew which caused her arm to swell and some obvious discomfort for our girl. However, I think getting in the stroller and saying goodbye to the hospital and multiple daily visits from the nurses eases most of that pain.
For now, she is sleeping propped up in a chair with her blanky and puppy, still wearing her hospital gown.
Getting closer all the time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I think it's Saturday...

During the summer of 2001, I was lifeguarding at a local country club. I was 26 years old, in grad school and about to become a teacher. In other words, experienced enough to know what I was doing but old enough to know better. Hang out by the pool all day, out just about every night. It was one of the most fun summers I've ever had.
One night, we wandered into our local hangout and noticed the lack of customers. I turned to the bouncer and said, "kinda dead in here for a Friday."
The bouncer looked at me sideways.
"'s Tuesday."
Take away the good times and sweet tan and that's pretty much how I'm feeling right now. Rarely without a coffee in hand, sore from sleeping on that damn recliner and just looking for excuses to get up and wander the hospital.
Kate, on the other hand, continues to play Atlas. She is unflappable. Helping every nurse without overstepping, never more than an arm's length from Emily...I am amazed by her more and more. I keep trying to push her out of the room...but she just...stays.
While she's keeping everyone on the same page, I worry about when she's finally going to let go. I have a feeling it will all come out at the most bizarre time. Three weeks from now, I'll put a spatula in the wrong drawer and she'll choke me into submission. And really...what jury would convict her?
Ems is slowly coming around. The fever finally got below 101 today. Kim, the AP on call this weekend, came through to check on the incision (looking good) and to take out the catheter and epidural. Everything appears to be ok which is obviously good. Now, if we can just get her to start eating. Looks like Emily will be dropping some of that baby fat she's been talking about. A little late for beach season, sweetness!
But she is being such a trooper. She flips out anytime a nurse enters the room, knowing they're going to be poking or prodding or basically making her a little more uncomfortable, even for just a few seconds. Thank god she doesn't have daddy's vocabulary. It would get SO inappropriate in that room...
Hopefully getting out of here tomorrow. Will continue to keep you posted with anything new.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day two.

And I thought I was tapped yesterday.
Nothing quite like a good night's sleep on a reclining hospital chair to really take the edge off. Although I can honestly say after yesterday's activities, I probably could have slept on hot coals and just would have dreamed blissfully about barbecue. Kate snuggled up next to Ems in bed and managed a little sleep, but she's still in nurse mode so that's no easy task. I still haven't seen her break down, although I'm sure it's coming. Nobody's that good. Not even the Fonz! Wait, what?
Anyway, we made a step towards normalcy today. I managed to get out of the hospital and shoot back to the timeshare for a shower, some fresh clothes and a deep breath of non-hospital air. Kate even stepped out for an hour to go to Target which I'm sure was oddly refreshing for her.
Emily continues to be pretty mellow. She's had a constant fever of about 101 and her hemoglobin count was low which required a blood transfusion, but nobody seems too thrown off by this so that works for me. The company line is this is very standard stuff for second day after surgery. Basically, whenever the nurses come in and start saying anything medical, I just gauge Kate's reaction. If she visibly tenses up, I know to be concerned. So far, so good.
It's been helpful to have such a great nursing staff with us the last two days. All three nurses we've had have been friendly and professional. Granted, I could be easily fooled (if they're nice to Emily, I figure they're doing the job...I know, way to set the bar high) but Kate has said repeatedly how good they are. As always, if she's happy, everyone's happy.
Except maybe Emily. It wasn't until about 2:00 that we started to see flashes of the kid we know. Before then, she would wake up briefly, cry, try and push the cast off and just repeatedly say she wanted to get down. Since then, she's pointed to the TV (Sesame Street DVDs) quietly naming the characters and generally started to look a little more together. Kate had said she should get a charge of energy after the blood transfusion. Great. Here come the accusations of doping and the eventual attempt to take away her Tour De France wins. Who are we talking about again?
Our friends the Estrins stopped by briefly (Mariel had her superhip just last week) and everybody looked great. Mariel handled her surgery like a champ and was apparently really giving it to every staff member who came in the room ("I don't like her! I don't want you here!") which is even funnier when you know how nice her parents are and what a cutie she is. Turn up the heat, kid!
So that's where we are. A dramatic improvement from 24 hours ago. As I understand it, things should continue to improve each day. Let's hope so.
Again, thanks to everyone for the continued support. It has been literally non-stop. I'd probably be completely overwhelmed if I wasn't so freakin' tired. If I ever seem unappreciative, feel free to remind me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All systems go. UPDATED - 7:25

We arrived at the hospital shortly after 6 AM and were taken into pre-op at about 6:30. I was able to hang on to her for a good amount of time while our nurse did all the pre-game testing/paperwork. Afterwards we put her on a bed and all sat to watch the latest Wallace and Gromit selection while we waited for the call.
Around 8:00, Emily gowned up and we attempted to slip her some pre-anesthesia sleep juice (really? You expect me to remember the name of the drug right now? Shame on you.) She wore more than she drank but she got just enough to get good and loopy. Still, she was getting antsy after another 15 minutes and clearly wanted to be anywhere else. A coloring book saved the day and she was still on her belly coloring away when they wheeled her to the OR. Kate got to put on her own biohazard outfit as well and went back with her while I was sent back to the waiting room (after taking a few minutes to attempt to compose myself in the hallway, I trudged back into the lobby to get some coffee...within SECONDS of walking through the door, I hear a "hey, wow, play basketball?" Seriously? Right now? I'm thinking on a day like today, I should be legally allowed to choke this person. I'm writing my congressman.)
Kate came out a few minutes later and looked great. She was very proud of her little girl. Apparently, everyone agreed she did really well...right up until it was time to put the mask on her. She fought it for the whole two seconds it took to put her out.
Thanks again to all the staff who were professional and courteous in the time leading up to surgery. Especially my man Servando, the physician's assistant who not only colored with Emily on the operating table, he offered his cell phone number to be used 24 hours a day if we needed anything. Either he's really good at his job, is trying to win that Team Paley bet we discussed last night or I am making this cargo shorts/hooded sweatshirt ensemble WORK.

UPDATE - 9:18 - Dr. Paley just came out and gave us a wave saying they're going to start in about five minutes. Buckle up, kids.

UPDATE - 10:37 - Servando just stopped by to check on us. He is not in the OR with Emily (he's working on another case) but is in contact with the team and "through signs and body language" things are going well. Caroline should be coming out to talk to us soon.

UPDATE - 11:09 - Caroline checked in and said the word from The Man is that things are going "great." No surprises, for good or ill and he should be finished in about 90 minutes. We still won't be able to see her for about three hours, but we're making headway.

UPDATE - 12:28 - Found out our final post-op appointment with Paley will be on Thursday, not Friday. The thought of hanging out until Kate's Saturday evening flight got even less attractive, so we called the airline and attempted to make a switch. The customer service rep initially balked, saying it would cost an additional $180 per ticket. However, after talking about WHY we're down here, she knocked it down to $60 total. Done and done. Thanks, Delta!

UPDATE - 1:06 - Nothing new to report. It's brutal watching the "staff only" door open only to have it be no one we're interested in seeing. Starting to numb up a bit.

UPDATE - 1:26 - Paley just came out and talked to us. Everything looks "beautiful." He said the only part that was a bit abnormal was the need to shave some bone where the femoral head connects to the pelvis to promote a more natural range of motion. She's being closed up right now after which she'll be casted, they'll take more x-rays and moved to recovery.
Getting closer!!

UPDATE - 3:10 - We were just moved to a different waiting room. Should be able to see her anytime now.

UPDATE - 3:17 - Kim, another top notch physician's assistant, just came out to tell us "the epidural must be working" because Emily is awake, looking around and just smiling. That's our girl!

UPDATE - 7:25 - Well, I'M tapped.
We finally got called into the recovery room at about 4:20 and Ems looked pretty beat up. She was a little swollen and pale and would wake up only briefly. When she did, it was like she was trying to cry but it took too much effort, so she just went back to sleep. We sat next to her for about an hour (the LONGEST hour all day...and that's saying something) before they got her ready to move up to her room. When it was time to roll, we gave her blanky and puppy...but it was the binky that finally got a smile. Once that binky was in her mouth, she lit up, looked at us and said, "Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy!" Like crack, that binky.
We got situated in her room and just kinda sat. The room is a little bare and we're on the sunny side, but I was more than happy to get out of that recovery room. Too many wires, too many people, too many bells and whistles...just too hospital-y. It's a little calmer now.
Paley stopped by a little before 7:00, gave her a once over and a thumbs up before moving on to examine more of his craftsmanship. Jennifer, the PA who closed Emily up after surgery also stopped by and gushed about how great our girl was going into the OR. When she left, Kate turned to me and simply said, "I like her." Agreed.
Since getting to her room, Emily has been out for the most part. The epidural is humming and pain meds are at the ready. Kate and I were catching up on texts/phone calls before I figured I should put a wrap on this for the day. Unfortunately, that meant leaving the room for the wi-fi connection in the 24-hour coffee shop they have here. The most unfortunate part? Now having to navigate my way back. I hope to see the ladies again before Ems is discharged on Sunday.
I'm just so thankful for the support today. A lot of people checked in by text, phone call, e-mail, blog comments...and that's on top of the people who were physically here for us today. Most importantly, thank God I married Kate. She so easily switched back and forth from mom to nurse that I don't think I ever saw her where she didn't appear to be in complete control. I, on the other hand, was a puddle most of the day. Not my manliest performance. Uh...I don't have a redeeming joke here. Shut it.
So that's it for today. I'll be sure to keep you in the loop in the coming days. Thanks for keeping up with us. We all did it together!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The clock is ticking...

Again, I don't have a ton of jokes or quote-worthy material to post tonight. It's been a long, exhausting day. Emily showed her two-year-old-ness like a champ during her pre-op, absolutely refusing to let the nurse take her blood pressure, maintaining a zen-like calm while they drew blood from her arm and then requiring three adults to hold her down while they took x-rays. If her head fully spins around, I'm out. Dr. Paley's on his own.
Team Paley once again showed why people travel from all over the globe to see them. The staff could not have been any nicer or more helpful. We were in the hospital from 11 AM until about 2 PM, took a brief break for lunch (Sonic!!) and then back for more meetings, pictures and Paley-ness until about 5:30. While it was a difficult day mentally, it obviously could have been far, far worse. Some brief notes from today's activities...
-Kate and I get to decide which one of us wants to go into the operating room with Emily and anesthetize her. Oh, and it's helpful if she starts crying, because she breathes harder and falls asleep faster. How's YOUR day going to start tomorrow? Got a tough day at the office? F--k off.
-We're looking at close to seven hours worth of surgery and surgery-related goodness tomorrow. 90 minutes for prep, three hours for the procedure, an hour to cast and another hour for her to come out of her haze.
-Met a pair of moms (one from Michigan, one from Utah) who are here with their sons for lengthenings. Both were extraordinarily friendly and talked about the community that exists around the hospital making things so much easier as everybody has somebody to lean on. Comforting, to say the least.
-At one point, one of the moms talked about Paley's ability to remember each child and even their specific interests. Caroline Eaton, who was in on the conversation, chimes in, "the really amazing thing is that he can look at x-rays and recognize the kids by their femurs!" I am NOT making that up.
-Caroline led off one of our meetings today warning me to not post any photos of Ems in her spica cast. Apparently, after a few conversations with the FBI, she found out there's some pervs out there who are into that sort of thing...ifyaknowwhatImean. I WISH I were making that up.
-In the final, self-serving note of the evening, Caroline mentioned Paley's weekly meeting with his team where he presents upcoming cases. In front of about 40 people, he read directly from The Gray Area while discussing Emily. Allegedly, there are now bets being placed as to which staff member will be mentioned in future posts. And if you think I'm not immature enough to somehow use this to our advantage...well, then you clearly have not been paying attention. Having said that, nothing makes sleeping in a reclining hospital chair easier than a nice fleece blanket. Ahem.
Anyway, the last supper is finished. Emily is watching Kung-Fu Panda (I know...I'm shocked too) blissfully unaware of what awaits her. Kate and I hope to get SOME sleep before walking through the hospital doors at 6 AM. But I wouldn't bet on that.
I'll have the laptop with me tomorrow and will try and give some updates throughout the day. If you know anybody upstairs with any pull, put in a good word for us. We'll take all the help we can get.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The waiting game.

I'm running out of clever intros and witty banter so I'm just going to put out the nuts and bolts and let you throw in your own fart jokes where they seem appropriate.
We flew in from the Dominican (which was a BLAST) on Sunday, landing at JFK around 4:30, met up with Kate's parents in long term parking where we collected Emily and some bags and got on the road. We wanted to make it to South Carolina where we had friends waiting for us, but by 1 AM, everybody was struggling, so we shut it down just south of Richmond, Virginia.
Back on the dusty trail by 10 AM, we made it to West Palm Beach by 11 PM with ONE STOP. That, my friends, is impressive. Emily was a trooper and had about the same amount of meltdowns as Mommy and Daddy. (I figure she's allowed. Imagine how bad it could have been if she was aware she spent her second birthday in the car.) Kate took the first six hours then, after a delicious Cracker Barrel meal, hopped in the back with Emily where they watched movies on the DVD player while I finished the run. Safe to say I could have slept on a bed of nails last night and still would have hit the snooze button.
Today was a low-key, mellow day. Cloudy and rainy outside, so not a lot to do. Grocery shopping and dinner out. Right now, I'm in the lobby (with the wi-fi connection) while Kate valiantly attemps to strap Emily down after she finished a bottle of lemonade at dinner tonight (we go away for five days and now she doesn't drink milk anymore? Me and the grandparents are having words...)
Tomorrow we head to St. Mary's for an 11 AM pre-op with the hospital staff and then another appointment with Dr. Paley and his people. Then, back home for more waiting. Thursday morning is D-Day. Time is grinding to a damn halt at this point.
There is definitely some tension around the room. Everyone is trying to put on their happy game faces (except Emily who just goes with whatever mood strikes her. God, I want to be two years old.)
Don't know what else to tell you. Will have more tomorrow after the visit with Paley.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does she look worried? that the face/body language of somebody who is concerned about the major reconstructive surgery she is about to undergo in just a few weeks? I think not. Luckily, her parents are doing all the stressing for her.
And I don't even think we're doing that bad (I'm sure my blushing bride would disagree with me on that.) You know, let's just set a rule right now. I will only refer to myself and my feelings regarding any events in the coming weeks. I will not speak for my wife or make any attempt to interpret her thoughts or stress level. It's 12:30 at night and I just don't feel like getting choked. Besides, if I made an abrupt shift from the hard-driving, self-centered, narcissistic direction this blog has been taking the past 23 months, what would that say about me? And don't you even say anything about maturity...I won't stand for that kind of talk!
Ok. So, in exactly two weeks, Kate and I will hopefully be getting a few minutes of sleep before waking up in the wee hours to catch a flight to the Dominican Republic where we will party like it's 1999 as our good friends Cory and Vicki tie the knot. Shortly after the nuptials, we'll jet back to the states, land at JFK, locate Kate's parents in the airport parking lot, grab Emily, some bags, some snacks, pack the car and start the drive to West Palm Beach.
Tired yet? I am.
But I'm not nervous.
I'm not. I don't know why. It goes against everything I stand for. I am not a cool guy. I'm anxious. I'm pessimistic. I try and cover it up with humor and sarcasm, which, on occasion, I have probably taken too far. (Uh-huh...go ahead, people-who-know-me. Roll your eyes.)
Anyway, this isn't completely honest. I have some idea why I'm not nervous. I've met Dr. Paley. I've listened to past patients speak glowingly of him as if he were a mythical character...consuming his enemies with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse(come on, movie the film. I'll give you a hint...the actor is having a really bad couple of weeks.)
And I've watched my daughter grow.
That's probably where I'll run into problems.
I really do believe Dr. Paley when he looks me in the eye and tells me he'll get my daughter's legs to equal length. I trust him with everything I have. He has the knowledge, the ability, the resources and countless people behind him nodding along in agreement. That works for me.
Where I will get myself in trouble is looking at Emily as she does her various Emily things, with or without her shoe lift, having almost no issues navigating her way up, over, around whatever stands in her way...and thinking those amazing, fantasy, what-if-we-won-powerball kind of thoughts.
"Maybe her femur has been growing more than we thought...what if we don't need four surgeries?"
"Her hip and leg look great. There won't be any complications whatsoever."
"I'm sure she'll do fine in the hospital. She's a tough kid. She can handle it."
"She's two years old. Of course she can handle a drive from New York to Florida."
And so on.
Of course, most of you recognize that this is spoken as a parent who just doesn't want anything bad for his child and can therefore manage to concoct these borderline-fantasy scenarios in an attempt to drown out any negative thoughts despite the overwhelming evidence that, although this will eventually be fine, the process itself will be, at times, a complete shitstorm.
Where does that leave us? Same spot as when I started this. Sitting at the kitchen table. Finishing another beer. A couple hours closer to August 12th. But still not nervous.
Ok. That's not completely true either. I'm a little nervous. I suppose finally confronting the demons will do that. We're past the canned talking points brought out during brief conversations with fake smiles and practiced confidence. It's late July. This is no longer something way off in the future. It's not something to think about later. It's real. It's happening.
So, if you all will allow me, I'm going to need a moment with my man here...
Dr. Paley...throughout my life, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to be surrounded by people who care about me. I've been handed opportunities that a lot of people don't get. I wish I could say I've always done my best or that I've always been fair and honest and polite, but that wouldn't be accurate.
I have been blessed with the most perfect little girl. She's smart and fun and beautiful. Sure, she's becoming a feisty two-year old who throws random fits and firmly declares, "NO CUBBIES!" when I want to watch my team play. It just shows she's probably smarter than me.
This kid...she doesn't know it yet, but she needs you. I need you. We need you. We need you to do what it is you do. We need you to do what no one else can do as well as you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our people.

For those who have been loyal followers of this blog, you know I started this partially out of laziness as well as a not-so-subconscious need for intense therapy. What I did not count on was literally a worldwide audience as well as the opportunity to meet and interact with so many amazing people. Thankfully, my wife and Chief Photographer is much better at corresponding (you see how often I update this thing) and has managed to maintain relationships with people who are experiencing the very same thing we are. They share stories, pictures, advice and anything else which may be even remotely helpful.
Recently, we were fortunate enough to get into contact with the Estrin family of Norwalk, Connecticut. Mary and her husband Dan are followers of The Gray Area and asked us to get in touch. We met up at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and became fast friends. The Tredwell Ladies have met up with the Estrin Ladies a couple times now to go to interactive, kid-friendly, touch-and-learn-as-you-go, germ factories or whateverthehell you call these places. If nothing else, it makes for good picture-taking.
Young Mariel is about four months older than Emily and just slightly ahead of us on the journey through Paleyland. She'll be in West Palm Beach for her Superhip just a couple weeks before we will.
Our thoughts are with you guys. We all know you're in good hands.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A little something for now.

Exactly five weeks from right now we'll be in West Palm Beach, making a feeble attempt to mentally prepare for Emily's Superhip surgery the next day. Having said that, know that I'm working on a long, incoherent, rambling post where I will try and make some sense of what's knocking around in my head. I make no promises regarding quality or amount of humor/entertainment. Just that it will be...oh, I don't know...honest? How about that? I've said it get what you pay for around here.
In the meantime, enjoy these recent pictures. I'll be back soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

One more for good measure.

I love this picture...completely ignoring the Cubs game and looking for a DVD to watch instead. She'll learn.
I promised you five posts. You got five posts. They said it couldn't be done. I did it. Still, there was more to do. More to say. So I dug down deep...and found just enough to keep going. Why? Because that's what I do. I blog. I blog for you. Like, once a month. Sometimes more. But usually it's less. Sad, right? Heartbreaking? Pathetic? Don't answer that.
But there's more. You're all well aware of what she looks like. You've seen her in color, black and white, group shots, evening wear, swimwear...but there's more to this kid than just a pretty face. It's important you know that.
I could take a few hundred words to weave a delicate literary path through the forest of her personality, twirling around and around whilst describing what makes Emily Emily...but I'm tired. You're stuck with bullet points. Suck it up, cupcake.
  • This kid is smart. Very verbal. If you're lucky enough to be the one to get her out of bed in the morning, she spends the first few minutes of each day naming things in the room. It's as if she spent the night cramming for an exam.
  • She likes baths. She will come to you any time after 8:00 with a hopeful look. "Bath? Bath?" And if she doesn't come to you first, all she has to do is hear YOU say bath, and she's running for the stairs.
  • She is obsessed with Kung Fu Panda. OBSESSED. It's on a 24-hour loop in this house. She giggles hysterically during the entire final battle between Po and Tai Lung. She usually gets to watch some of it after a bath. Suddenly, those first two bullet points take on a whole different slant, huh? (She's to like baths...knows she'll get her Kung Fu Panda fix after putting in some tub time...come on, I'm feeding you, baby birds!) Thankfully, it's a movie we don't tire of. "There is no charge for awesomeness...or attractiveness."
  • Even though Kung Fu Panda continually plays, it has not diminished her love of books. We took her to the library today and she ran to the middle of the children's section with her mouth wide open and loudly clapping. She spent the rest of the time picking out every book she could reach, handing them to whichever parent was closer and then running for more.
But it's not all fun and games around here. She is fast approaching two years old. Which means she's testing boundaries, making a mess, running wild...basically acting like a kid who's fast approaching two years old. There's really no explanation needed. Just prayer and extra strength Tylenol.
And there is that other little thing with her leg. Remember? Short femur? Multiple surgeries? Long painful rehab? Thought you might. Well, surgery number one is scheduled for August 12th. Communication between Team Paley and Team Tredwell is becoming more frequent. Plans are being confirmed. Accomodations are set. We are a go.
And yet, none of that really hammers the point home. Remember our boy Ethan from Texas? He just went through this last week. Kate has been great about keeping up with the family and his mother was good enough to keep a running journal of everything that occurred.
Would you like more evidence that this is really coming? Caroline Eaton, our go-to for everything Paley-related, recently sent this video detailing just about anything we could have wanted to know about this procedure.
I'm not nervous. Yet. Perhaps I'm just fooling myself or putting off basic reality. Or, maybe I've achieved a certain calm regarding the entire situation. I saw this movie once, where the main character thought he needed this special power to defeat a seemingly invincible foe when, in fact, he just needed to believe he could. Crap...what was it? It's a good movie. You should totally check it out.

A hint of summer.

It touched 100 degrees on Wednesday. Nothing a relaxing dip can't handle!


Emily and Kylie could NOT be any cuter together.

Pretty in pink.

Halfway there!