Saturday, September 4, 2010

Help! I need somebody...

Help! Not just anybody.
Help - you know I need someone - help
-The Beatles, Help

So many people have asked (and continue to ask!) "What can I do to help?" It's the most natural thing in the world when someone is going through a tough time ... and the truth is it's a really hard question to answer. Our physical needs are taken care of right now - we have food here at Ronald McDonald House, shelter (me and Luke's grandmother-of-the-week at RMH, Saint Derek still doing nighttime hospital duty), the basics. We've found support from other families here at CHOP and lots of great practical advice from nurses. We've got the basics covered, and being here has really reminded us of how little stuff we really need. (Of course, the pile of stuff in our RMH room might indicate otherwise ... but you know what I mean.)

Here's how you can help - and have already been helping, The emotional side of this journey is still very, very hard. We've been here more than a month now. We're all starting to get more than a little tired of being away from home, of not getting enough sleep, of being surrounded with medical talk. Keep those cheery words of encouragement coming! I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to know that you're praying for us and still cheering us on from a distance. But do you know what's almost as good as praying for us? Any 30 second distraction from this world that we're so sick of living in. Tell me about the adorable thing your kid did at school today. Share your grandma's secret ingredient for a delicious meatloaf. Describe the awesome bridesmaids' dresses at your cousin's wedding last weekend. Give us the inside scoop on the UNC football scandal. (Sorry to the 3 among my blog-reading audience who are Carolina fans. We gotta get our scoop where we can.) Tell me what you're reading in book club this month. Whatever! It is so important for us to leave the hospital, mentally or physically, for a few moments every day. And it is so daggum hard to do.

We're entering the slow rehab phase where the issues Jay is having are not heart issues but living after heart surgery/heart attack issues. Re-learning how to do everything - EVERYTHING. Over the weekend, I ran into one of the ECMO nurses that we had a few days, and he said "That's so great that Jay moved to step down!" I replied, "Yes, we're thrilled. Now if we can just get him walking, talking, eating, sleeping, and pooping again, we'll have our old kid back!" And it wasn't until that moment that I really thought about how far he still has to go to get back to where he was. We can't take him home until he's able to live a semi-normal life ... and we're not there yet. We're getting hints that we may be soon, but not quite yet.

That's not to say that he isn't making huge leaps of progress. He is walking, with assistance. Each day he walks further and more confidently. He is able to do a lot more independent movement - sit up in bed on his own, climb a couple of steps with help, eat with a spoon by himself, talk in complete sentences. They are continuing to wean down his meds, and are trying to get him to take them by mouth like he will when we do get out of here. When I remind myself that a month ago we were just praying for his heart to start beating on its own, I am truly amazed. And I am at the same time impatient and ready to take home the same ol' kid that I brought here. So, keep reminding us that while the light at the end of the tunnel is visible, we've still got the Jay Foster fan club cheering us through the dark days. And share that meatloaf recipe.


Anonymous said...

Ok well I don't eat meatloaf but I did find an amazing yellow squash muffin recipe the other day that I can send you. I was getting really tired of squash casserole and squash and onions, and that plant is seriously OUT OF CONTROL! I think it finally stopped producing squash yesterday, so we are now on to tomatoes... salsa and tomato sauce here we come!
That's about all I've got for distraction, but I hope it helped a little. And we are still sending as much love as we can from out here. Every yoga class I take, I dedicate it to Jay. And the whole state of CO (or at least everyone I know) is praying for you.
Talk to you soon!

Ann Lawrance said...

Maybe this will make you smile--42 years ago today your mom was my matron of honor--at 2:30(just prior to my 3:00 wedding) we were sitting in the floor puttting final stitches in my attendants' headpieces--one super uptight attendant was having a conniption fit-if I knew how to attach picture I would.
I love you all. Hug the boys for me.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the traffic jam coming tomorrow morning and afternoon to the RBC Center? Seriously, did you hear about it? Tell Derek it is one morning commute he's going to wish he had to make. Motivational speakers coming to the RBC. I hope they can motivate their audience into their parking spaces early. Cause I've got to get Z to school and from school. Yep you guessed it. The thing starts at 8am and stops at 5pm. Want to take a wild guess at when I need to be running through there tomorrow? Sorry I don't have time to cook right now. Too busy playing taxi cab driver. Did you hear about the traffic around the RBC tomorrow? They've got it on the radio, tv, billboards, road signs, and paper. I know you couldn't have missed that. Love you guys.

Anonymous said...

Austin came home from school today and said that his middle name "Christopher" is too long to spell and that he wanted to change his middle name to "boy who is the fastest at everything in the world". Now I pointed out that Austin Boy Who is the Fastest at Everything in the World Mullins would take forever to write out. He said "No its not, I am the fastest boy in the whole world, remember?" Can't imagine what monogramming would cost!!!

Crystal, mom to ABWITFAEITWM ( see, ridiculous!)

Amy said...

Okay, I was going to comment and at least say that I put shredded carrot in my meatloaf, but I think you knew that. Then I read the comments and started wishing that I could get some of those tomatoes from CO for some pie. Then I worried that I may have to leave early for work tomorrow because Ginger tipped me off about traffic... (I had completely missed all those signs that she has seen -- what can I say? Oblivious? You knew that, too.) And now I can't see through the laughing tears trying to imagine how long Austin's handkerchief would have to be to hold such a monogram. (That kid got his sense of humor honestly, didn't he?) And I'm still not in bed because my husband isn't home to send me there... so I may not sleep again until Thursday night. Love you! Amy G.

Sush said...

I have to be honest here and tell you if you want a fantastic and fabulous meatloaf recipe go to always the best source for what's a girl to do...your Mother! The best meatloaf I've ever eaten is when I could whine enough to get your Mom to cook her meatloaf and bring me whatever small portion was leftover for us to share at lunch. I love meatloaf sandwiches more than freshly baked meatloaf and your Mother's the best of all. And if I can manage to get her to make it just imagine how much meatloaf you may have waiting for you when you get home! I'll bet you won't even have to whine!
Saw some great pictures of Jay, recent ones your Mom and Dad had and he is looking great. I loved their stories of how he likes to joke, just like Popper! Happy news all around and looking forward to the very happy news of you all coming home. I hear Luke is the super star at RMH..., but of course he would be!
Hugs and kisses to all!

Anonymous said...

David is going in to work late today because SAS has warned its employees about the traffic around the RBC arena. The newspapers and Internet are saying to avoid West Raleigh altogether, to the extent of taking 540 to get around that part of town.

Jane had to sing a solo in her chorus class at school and decided at the last minute to sing "Defying Gravity" from Wicked -- a cappella. Although she says she is shy about singing anything in public, she really belts out songs at home -- even while she is doing homework! Apparently she did quite well and came home feeling good about her performance. She does not get her singing talent from me. When she was in the third grade, her church choir director asked for everyone's favorite song. Most children responded with the name of a pop song. Jane said, "'Rock Steady' by Aretha Franklin!" She also likes songs from ABBA and movie/stage musicals.

We keep all of you in our prayers every day and look forward to seeing you. Jen, I may send Anna to you with any college application questions when you get back to church. :)

Anonymous said...

OK, I forgot to sign the "Anonymous" comment above so you would know who the parent of the young performer is.

Lynn Marshbanks

Anonymous said...

I read where Jay likes to look for cars out his window, then riding in to work yesterday I heard about the nude bicycle ride in Phily. Hope their route wasn't by CHOP! Things here at OSFA are calming down after the crazy start up to a new semester. Interviews have started for AC position.... Best news I have is football season is back!! We keep you in our prayers for strength and endurance as you run this race.

Anonymous said...

I will bring you some meat loaf and the recipe when you get back home! SOON, I hope!

Beth said...

Here's the scoop on the UNC football scandal:

Take a long look into the poopy diapers of either of your sons.

Now you've got the picture.

And this is from the most diehard Heels fan you know.

Love, Gabby

Anonymous said...

I'll add my two cents to the "Mentally get away from the hospital" fodder:

I'm training for a marathon. Or should I say ATTEMPTING to train for a marathon. My left knee is objecting violently to the training, so I don't know if I'll be able to make it all the way through or not. But that's not the point of this story. The point is, I spend a lot of time running laps around Lake Johnson, Lake Lynn and other paved greenway areas. During each run, I usually take home a funny tidbit of conversations from people I pass. Here are a few excerpts:

1) Disappointed look on little boy's face. Father of boy explaining: "Son, dogs don't understand it when you wave to them..." (clearly the little boy had waved at a passing dog and the dog didn't wave back)

2) Woman talking to her walking friend: "People don't understand that when the sign says "No Glass in the Pool", it's for a reason." (umm...that just sounds like a bad situation)

3) Another father/son combo: "Daddy, why is she running?" (the "she" was me. This happened late into one of my longer runs and at that moment I was thinking "That's a very, very good question, little boy.")

Who needs to run with an ipod when there are entertaining conversations going on all around!

-Betty Anne

Steve Washburn said...

Hello Derek, Jen, Jay, and Luke; I trust that progress continues. This past weekend Connie made jelly from kudzu blossoms that I harvested from Centennial Campus (don't tell). I am sure that kudzu jelly is a delicacy likely not available in Philadelphia. I will have a jar waiting for you upon your return to NC.

Anonymous said...

So as parents of a little boy, I'm hoping one of you can give me hope that the tractor OBSESSION that Alex (my 16 month old) has developed will one day end. In the morning we have to say, "Morning tractor," in the evening we say "Nigh-nigh tractor," and pretty much every other moment that we are at home we are saying "Hewwo tractor". Please tell me this is just a phase!

Warm wishes from Katie, Chris and Alex Sheats
(and our tractor, which is really just a riding lawn mower)

Amy said...

Meatloaf is a funny topic in our household.... I gave up trying to make it and buy the readymade ones by Tyson that you pop in the oven for 30 minutes. My first attemp after we got married- I was concerned about the bread to tomato product conversion.... So I added a quirt of ketcup. That was fun- one more quirt, then another... When it came out of the oven it was a red pile of mush. Mark at it- still don't know how he did it, it was gross. My #2 attempt, I drastically cut back the tomato product and added an extra piece or two of bread... I think you can guess how this one ended.... I didn't even let Mark try that one. I made one a few years ago with bbq sause. It had cheese in it and bacon wrapped over the top. I LOVED IT!!! Mark wasn't impressed... His idea of meatloaf is: old fashion like Mom makes... Yucky! So, now I buy the tyson ones. $6 and 30 minutes later, life is good for both of us. Tomorrow, I'll tell you about my favorite recipe: BBQ Cupcakes!!

Anonymous said...

Well it is very entertaining reading the comments that your last blog inspired! I do have several cards here that the kids at day camp made for Jay. Every day I would pull up your blog and show them the picture of your family and point out "Little Jay". So, of course, the cards are written to "Little Jay". Need to get those cards to you! Still praying and so thankful for progress.
Chris B

Anonymous said...

Meatloaf is a funny topic. I am sure if your mother's meatloaf is as good as her bananna pudding it is excellent! I took a poll here in the office and found that the older ladies really are fond of meatloaf. The younger group really does not like it at all. Some actually find it to be repulsive! The name "meatloaf", a loaf of meat, does not sound appetizing. I seem to have consistent luck with the old recipe for meatloaf that is on the Quaker Oats cylinder. It has never been bad, always great! Maybe the person above a few posts should give it a try.

Maybe some of the kudzu jelly from Steve and Connie would be tasty with the meatloaf! (We go to the same church!)

Continually thankful for Jay's progress! Hoping you all will be home in Raleigh soon! Still praying!


Popper said...

This is not the famous McLean receipe for meat loaf, but one from the Coram cookbook that is credited to Matt McLean when he was about 10 years old. It is for Elephant Stew.

1 medium size elephant
2 rabbits
salt and pepper

First, cut the elephant into bite-sized pieces. This will probably take about 2 weeks. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over wood fire at 475 degrees for 8 days. This will serve 1,360 people. If more guests are expected, add 2 rabbits.

Do this only if necessary, as most people don't like to find hare in their stew.

I just hope that Jay has inherited his Uncle Matt's sense of humor!



Terry said...

UNC Football Part II of II:

Then it got really bad.

A rogue online music class was discovered. Cheating had been going on for years, and the number of athletes involved almost tripled. A third assistant AD resigned. The director of the school's student-athlete academic support staff was let go. The football team suspended more than 20 players for the 2007 Music City Bowl, a 35-28 loss to Kentucky.

That's the road map for North Carolina. That's the future. The present? The present is nauseating. We have to turn on the television and watch a team that has been cheating its ass off, coached by a man who let it happen.

Butch Davis has to be fired, even if he did nothing wrong, even if he didn't know that anything was going wrong. He has to be fired because he failed to promote, in NCAA-speak, an atmosphere of compliance. That's not up for debate -- North Carolina's atmosphere of compliance has been violated more than our ozone layer. Thirteen players, including five starters on defense, were suspended for the opener against LSU because they are suspected to have cheated academically.

And Davis' best player, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, has been connected to multiple trips that have been tied to agents, one of those agents being Gary Wichard. Wichard's agency once employed John Blake. Butch Davis hired Blake anyway, and blew a raspberry at common sense by putting him in charge of recruiting. Blake's best defensive tackle at UNC, Kentwan Balmer, signed with Wichard after turning pro in 2008. Blake resigned Sunday night.

Lot of dots to connect there -- pock marks, really. Davis is gone. Maybe he doesn't know it yet, but sometimes people like that are the last to know. He's in the moment. He's not thinking of his future. Hey, I'll think of it for him, and what I think is this: He's gone. He's gone, and he'll finish his career as an NFL assistant.

But we're stuck with Davis for another 11 games, probably another 12, just like we're stuck with the 2010 UNC football team -- a team that didn't give a damn about playing by the rules, academic or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

As far as my book club recent reads - last month "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (I definitely recommend). This month, "The Great Gatsby" and the real thing as opposed to the Cliff's notes that most of us read in high school. New book to come on Monday... Oh, and if you have never read "Dorothy's rules for a successful book club" on the library's website, I definitely recommend that. It sounds like your book club is similar to mine and therefore the "rules" may invoke some laughs.

Jen, if you took "The Glass Castle" with you, that's an interesting read.

Otherwise, I will definitely let you know any more interesting stories or recipes to come...


Anonymous said...


Did you ask us to talk about ourselves? What are you thinking …that is like my favorite topic!
When I was a about 5 years old I made my first meatloaf. My mom didn’t cook so I liked to cook for my family of six at a young age. On the positive side mom let me do just about anything, and I was in charge of keeping the kitchen clean so she didn’t really care. I did a lot of experimenting and decided that a quarter cup of A1 steak sauce with a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and a quarter cup of onions is what I like. I tried Amy’s grated carrots, and that does lighten things up and is probably a lot healthier. I just don’t have Amy’s magic carrot grater and hate grating them on my own.
Corinne misses Luke at church. She is crawling (well more like a desperate Army crawl) and she wants to show off to someone her own age. She just started sitting on her own.

Okay I first heard about the UNC football scandal when reading a blog about the Duke genomics scandal. So from that perspective all I heard is UNC has been transparent and is giving interviews while Duke is circling wagons around doctors who tout false credentials and have results that no one else can reproduce. So I don’t think that is the Tar Heel perspective that you were looking for, but it is my perspective.

Wow this is long. Did I mention that I like to talk about myself?

Tommy said...

Hi Jen,
I don't have a meatloaf recipe for you. But, I do remember a meatloaf story in which you were involved. Several years ago on your "training" week in the mountains of NC. You ordered meatloaf at a mom & pop restaurant near Marshall High School. When the meatloaf arrived it was giant. In fact, it was an entire meatloaf. Big enough to feed a large family. If I remember correctly, a stomachache followed. We should have thought twice about eating there in the first place. The restaurant shared space in the building with the local funeral parlor. By the way - this is a true story.

Archie Gupton said...

Granny's Watermellon rind pickles.
Just made some last Thursday...ummmmm good.
1.Now you cut up the watermellon rind, into 1" or 2" squares free of peel and ripe mellon.(I know you have done this to get ready for compost, as I do, and this is half the work):size depends on mouth diameter of canning jars...the bigger for the wide mouth...jar that is.
2. soak the rind in a salted water overnight: the more rind, the more water to cover, and salt.
3. cook to a simmer until rinds are soft, after removing the salt water, replace with fresh water, sugar and apple cider vinegar.
4. In the same or seperate pot, had spices, in a bag or not: whole cloves, broken cinamon stick, lemon slices, thin or thick, and 5 cheeries, optional.
5. simmer rind and spices until the kitchen in summer is hotter than comfortable.
6. You should have known to get new lids for canning, big for wide mouth, narrow for narrow mouth.
7. Boil in a canning porclain pot, with rack, or without if you like boiling water on your hands all the jars, pints, quarts or what ever you have.
8. Start back at step 2 and add the vinegar, apple cider type, a bunch of it to match the amount of rind, if you don't like the taste. Same for sugar....granulated or brown if you got it.
9.In the canner or better in a seperate sauce pan, boil water for the rings for the jars, and the lids, large for wide mouth, small for small mouth.
10. Get that good old pickle into the hot jars using a large mouth funnel...same size for wide mouth, and small mouth.
11. place lids on jars, large for wide mouth, small for small mouth, you 'heeear'?
12. place in rack of boiling water until you just are so hot the windows steam up.
13. remove jars, wide mouth and small, place on dish towel, smooth on a counter to cool, but not in a breeze.
14. Listen for lids to 'pop'...if 10 jars, 10 pops...especially loud for quarts.
15. If you planned it just so, you will have a half pint left to sample. If not, start over.

Why are these Granny's pickles you ask? It is her canning stuff, of course. Use at least once a decade, or mo' if you like watermellon.

Similar for Bass....wide mouth cook more than small with pickles above, if you are lucky enought to get both together, hence the lemons.
p.s spelling right is is a fork.

Jen Foster said...

@Tommy - How could I have forgotten that? I am laughing out loud at the memory. All of the fresh meat admissions reps ( Uh, I mean, "recent grads". That's what y'all called us. Recent grads. But I digress...) had gone somewhere "cool" and I ended up with you and all the old men at this hole-in-the-wall funeral parlor restaurant. And yes, it was an entire meatloaf on my plate. The Director from Guilford College called me "Meatloaf" for the rest of the travel season.
Ahhh, memories.

Anonymous said...

I dont have a meatloaf recipe to share (wish I did!) but I can tell you all about little Izzy and her obession with Billy the Exterminator! Every night, she asks to watch Vex Con, which is the name of his business. Now this show is not on TV currently (starts again Sept 28 on A&E) so she watches it on my computer. But better yet, she only wants to watch one episode and it wold be the one where he relocates an armadillo. She is just fasicnated by said armidillo and talks about it constantly. Maybe a future exterminator on our hands? I guess I take the blame for the show though cause we watches a marathon reruns one night until 3 am when Colin was gone. I dont sleep when he is gone so therefore, neither does she.