Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Better Late Than Never (Christmas 2021)

 Merry Christm    as 2021

    What a year! 2021 has proven to be quite the year. We are grateful for the challenges and blessings that seemed to abound this year! It has been another one for the books and has given us numerous opportunities to reflect on our Savior and our Father in Heaven and the matchless love they have for each of us. We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with friends and share how our 2021 went. Here’s a look at the year for the Burkinshaws.

Emerson (2) continues to be as busy as ever. He loves walks and runs to the park. Emerson is very talkative and has an opinion about almost everything! He knows exactly how to get what he wants with his sweet voice and coy grin. His older sisters love to assist him. And, Ewan is his best buddy even at odd hours of the night when Emerson wakes him up. At the beginning of the summer he was a little hesitant with swimming pools, but he has quickly warmed up to the pool and is the first to get his swimsuit on when at Grandma and Grandpa’s. It’s a good thing he can’t reach the deadbolt for the backyard. Emerson loves nursery! He has “best friends” and talks about them throughout the week. He loves Mickey Mouse and cannot get enough of Roadster Racers. He’s the first one up in the morning, and is full of energy! We love our Emerson!

Isobel (3) is so much fun! She is still our busy, busy kid. Child Proof door knobs, locks on gates, and high shelves are the only things stopping her from a world of adventure, we’re sure! She’s still all about dresses and fancy things. Isobel gives compliments and hugs to all the ladies she meets. Her favorite phrases are, “You are lovely!” and “Your toes are so colorful!” She’d probably find a new family if we let her, but we’ll keep her as ours! Isobel took a break with naps, but her body (and maybe Molly more so) realized that she needs rest to be happy, and oh how our home is much better when Isobel is happy! She takes a nap along with Emerson everyday for 2-3 hours. It makes 5pm less stressful for everyone! Isobel is still an independent player. She can spend hours and hours coloring a picture or building towers as long as no one bothers her. We love her so!

Adelaide (6) is all about 1st grade. She loves Mrs. Cardenas! She is a great little reader and always takes the part of Piggy for bedtime stories. She played soccer in the Spring and Fall seasons. She scored two goals and is starting to figure out that she doesn’t have to run next to the opposing team, she can take the ball away and it’s not being mean. Molly got to assist in coaching her team and loved watching Adelaide interact with the other girls on the team. There are a lot of hugs, cartwheels, and bows. Adelaide loved being a Shooting Star! Adelaide has started piano lessons with Grandma Stacey via Zoom. She is the first to practice when she gets home from school. She has a good ear and loves to sing the songs and clap the rhythms. Adelaide is full of sunshine and loves everyone! She runs the neighborhood with her friends, and now has a watch so she knows when to be home for dinner. We love our Lady Bug!

Esme (7) is just as hilarious as ever! She loves to tell jokes and make people laugh. Esme has also discovered cute boys...Molly has been finding little notes all over the house declaring Esme’s affection. It’s cute, but also a little worrisome. We’re not so sure we're ready! Esme also played soccer Spring and Fall. Her team is fast! They’re probably the most petite team in their age group, but they sure know how to move that ball down the field. They had a winning season, losing 2 games to the two older teams in their division. Their last game got a little physical, with Esme taking the brunt of some shoving. She ended up scoring two goals back-to-back with her team winning 7-1. She loves reading and writing and math. Her teacher, Mrs. Gee has only the sweetest comments for Esi. Esme also discovered she’s double-jointed in her shoulders, which she enjoys showing everyone, multiple times a day...She’s just so much fun!

Elin (10) has truly bloomed this year! She has been making friends all over the place and really coming out of her shell! She begs almost daily to do something with somebody. The 5th graders in our district attend a three day camp. Molly was one of the chaperones for 150+ 5th graders from our elementary school. Elin loved every minute of it! They had a lot of fun learning more Texas History, walking around the woods, doing the zipline, staying up way too late, and eating plenty of child-friendly fare. Elin also played soccer Spring and Fall this year. She was a little hesitant, but she loves it! Coach Jamie is amazing and Elin gets better and better every game and every practice. Elin has also discovered a love for running. She spent many summer mornings running with her friend, Maggie. Elin is pretty fast and got 5th female in a local 5k. She did so well! We are so grateful for Elin! 

Ewan (12) is finally a Deacon! We can’t believe how much he has grown over the last year. He’s even a middle-schooler now! Eeek! Ewan enjoys middle school and getting to take Engineering, GT Math, Science and English, and Simfonia Orchestra. It keeps him busy, which is a good thing. He spent a lot of his summer running around the neighborhood with friends, reading every book he could get his hands on, and playing on the Switch. He really enjoyed having time with The Uncles when they drove home with Molly from Utah. The Uncles know how to have a good time! He may have also discovered girls, but we’re not supposed to talk about that... Ewan has had a few opportunities to go to the Temple and has enjoyed looking up family names to take and learning more about family history. He loves hearing stories about his ancestors. He’s becoming such a good young man!  

Aislee (13) is thriving, and we are so grateful! She loves reading and researching. Aislee has been doing well in choir where she participated in a Solo Festival in the district. Although she was pretty nervous, she scored top marks in her division! She’s now a teenager, and enjoys some of the freedoms that come from old age, like babysitting! She is a great babysitter! Aislee ran at every meet for cross-country this year and got better with each one. She’s learning that running can be hard, but that she can do hard things. Aislee has always had a very determined personality. She will go far! She’s still trying to convince Mom and Dad that she needs a phone. We’re thinking about it, but thinking is different than actually doing..! She’s also starting piano back up with Grandma Stacey. Zoom is amazing! Aislee likes to make cookies for her friends. We’re glad she’s also good at cleaning the kitchen after she makes the cookies! She is very organized and neat which helps with so many! Aislee is just a joy to have around!

Olivia (13) is also a teenager. Yay! She finished out 7th grade ready for bigger and better things. She loves 8th grade and having more school activities and opportunities. She plays in the Chamber Orchestra, runs cross-country, and reads. She reads a lot! She’s also been babysitting. She’s learning a lot of great life skills so Molly won’t worry too much when she’s on her own. Olivia will know how to make a mean bowl of macaroni and most breakfast foods. She enjoyed going to Utah this summer. Her favorites were boating with Grandpa Tim and hiking at Zion National Park. It was probably the hottest hike we’ve ever done! But, the snowcones from the Tiki Shak afterwards may have been worth it! Olivia has noticed the boys she notices notice her, which is so fun…Oh, middle school. Maybe we’ll keep the braces on for a few more years! ;) She really is growing into a wonderful young lady, and we are so grateful for her! 

Molly spent much of 2021 running, chasing, driving, and biking kids around. With 4 doing soccer, most of our Spring and Fall Saturdays were spent biking and walking to the park for games. This house was chosen for just that reason! We are grateful to live in an area with many opportunities and activities. We have had recitals, concerts, games, meets and many other activities that have kept Molly busy, and she is so grateful for healthy kids who continue to grow and do. After a few weeks in Cedar City welcoming her youngest brother, Kett home from his mission, Molly drove with her 3 youngest brothers and eight children home to Texas. Paul flew home a week ahead of them. The Brothers stayed for a week and Molly enjoyed morning runs, afternoon pool buddies, and late night movies with them. Molly also got to assist on Adelaide’s soccer team. It was a lot of fun! She’s also put together a children’s running club with her neighbor for the middle schools in the area. It has been good motivation for her to keep up her miles so she can keep up with them! There are a lot more years of running, chasing, driving, and biking for her to do!    

Paul spent much of his 2021 doing a lot of running, chasing, driving and biking. He is the rock and support that keeps us all together. He’s still working from the bedroom. He’s been a good sport about the whole situation.  Paul had a bitter-sweet reunion with aunts, uncles and cousins in Wyoming when he was able to attend his sweet Grandma Kay’s funeral. We are grateful for her good example of love and sacrifice, and grateful for her reunion with her sweetheart, Grandpa Gary just days before their anniversary. What a marvelous moment that must have been! Paul has spent a lot of time with Molly’s “honey-do” list as we figure out projects for the house and yard. Paul also got to spend some time hiking with his brother, John in El Paso. They’ll have to do more of those trips in the future! Work is beginning to require more travel as things open up. Although Paul doesn’t necessarily like to travel, we’re sure he enjoys getting out of the bedroom/office! 

We are grateful for another year of learning and loving.  We are grateful for the knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ, for his birth and life and the example He has set for us. As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said, “As we emulate His perfect example, our hands become His hands, our eyes His eyes, our heart His heart.” May we find opportunities to be more like Him, and that this new year finds us just a little more loving.

Much Love, 

The Burkinshaws

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Summer of 2022

(This may get graphic) This summer is one for the books. I'm writing about before the normal Christmas letter so I don't forget things. Our summer started the wednesday before Memorial Day. We went to Paul's parent's house in Owasso, Oklahoma for the weekend. We had a wonderful time spending time with grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We got a lot of sun and had a lot of fun! The Wednesday after, the twins left for girls camp. I also had a half-marathon in Utah that weekend. It was a lot fun! We had a good time running down Provo Canyon. We stayed up way too late talking. We got up way too early to run, but we had a good time! I got home Sunday night. Paul hopped on a plane Monday morning for Tucson for meetings. He got home Thursday morning, and within a few hours of landed, drove to Broken Bow, Oklahoma for Ewan's Deacon's Quorum camp. And, that my friends was the real beginning to our summer. Friday mid-morning I got a phone call from one of the dad's on the trip letting me that there had been an accident. Paul was talking, but they were in an ambulance, on their way to a helicopter pad to fly him to a hospital. They suspected that he broke his leg. They didn't know if they were going to send him to Dallas, Oklahoma City, or somewhere else. I said a few prayers, got a couple bags packed, called Paul's parents who were in Oklahoma City at the Temple there, called our ministering family, and waited to know where to go next. The phone call came, and they were flying him to Paris, Texas because there was an orthopedic surgeon who could perform the surgery on his leg. I jumped in the car, and drove over 2 hours to the hospital. I was on and off the phone with my parents, Paul's parents, our ministering family, and the men that were on the trip with Paul. Ewan stayed on the trip which turned out to be a good thing. I got to the hospital and found Paul in his bed with foam slips over his legs. He was still in his wet swimsuit and shirt, shoes and was shivering. After a few hours waiting for some answers, Paul had to use the restroom. There was blood. A lot of blood. I went and told a nurse. They said that he probably had some internal bleeding. They were waiting results of a CT scan and the X-Ray. Turns out, he broke his left femur around the greater trochanter, and had a hematoma on his right kidney. How you ask? Don't worry, there is a video. I won't post it, but don't worry, there's a video. They were going off a rope swing into the river they were kayaking down. Paul went a little higher up from his initial jumps. The rope had a little too much slack in it and flipped him funny into the water. There were some roots sticking up, which he landed on. The doctors moved him to an ICU room to await surgery the next morning. They got him in a gown and warmed up. We waited for doctors to come in. They scheduled the surgery for the next morning. Paul didn't have much of an appetite. The nurses and doctors tried to keep him comfortable with pain medication. I slept on the chair in the room that night. Not that great, or comfortable. The surgery was about an hour and a half. We met with the surgeon the next morning. Dr. Elliott was really nice. He's from Mesa, AZ. We got to chat for a few minutes. After surgery, Paul slept a lot. The pain in his leg wasn't as serious as the pain in his kidney. Apparently, as they were wheeling him into the surgery, the urologist got the CT film and determined that he had a fourth degree laceration of his right kidney. It was pretty bad. Although Paris has some amazing surgeons, they do not have the facilities or staff to treat a laceration like Paul's. So, they started doing the work to transfer him to Dallas. But, there were very few beds available at a Trauma I or II hospital. We waited for 4 hours on Sunday before they found him a bed at a Trauma II hospital in Ft. Worth, over an hour away from our house in Prosper. Meanwhile, I'm texting and calling Paul's Uncle Ryan who is a doctor, and a urologist on our Stake trying to cypher the labs and scans so I can understand what everyone is talking about. Soon a nurse came in and told us that Paul's body was so healthy that it was overcompensating for how sick he was. The urine and blood that was leaking around his kidney was making him septic and he could lose his kidney. I kind of freaked out, inside. So, we got all gathered up and headed back to Dallas. He got in the ambulance and I checked out of the hotel. Sidenote: Do not stay in the La Quinta in Paris, Texas. That is all I will say about that. I was a few minutes behind the ambulance, and Paul told me to go home and sleep. They weren't going to do anything that night. So, I went home. The next morning, I woke up early, drove the hour to the hospital, got there right as visiting hours opened, and then spent the day waiting. A trauma PA told us that he would have a procedure some time that day. So, Paul couldn't eat. I was so afraid of leaving the room. I worried that I would go get something to eat and then they would come and take him for the procedure. So, we waited. We waited for ten hours. At 5:30pm, they came and got him for a scan. It took maybe 15 minutes. When he came back, they told him that he could eat. Our sweet Relief Society President ordered us Panera soup. It was greatly appreciated. At 10:00pm, the urologist came in to tell us how bad his kidney was and that he was debating with the Interventional Radiologist on how to approach this case. I may have gotten a little sassy with him. I was really tired and frustrated. And, no one had addressed the sepsis issue or talked to us about the treatment plan. I was frustrated because I felt like this was an emergency, and no one seemed to be treating it like one. I asked what time they would do the procedure the next morning because I didn't want Paul to not get treated for ten hours the next day, again. We were told that we were 3rd, maybe 5th on the list, but could be bumped if an emergency came in. Wasn't this an emergency? So, Paul sent me home to rest. I cried and talked to my parents the whole hour. I woke up, showered and left before 6am the next morning. When I got to the room, he wasn't there. The Physical Therapist had come and taken him for a walk up and down the hall. I will admit that I rehearsed a really good speech on my drive to the hospital. Watching Paul's frail body walk gingerly up the hall only aggravated me more. After we got him settled back in bed, the trauma PA came in with some nurses doing the rounds, and I had it. I am really non-confrontational. I don't normally say anything. I just let things go and really try to be a peacemaker. But, I could tell that Paul had lost weight. He was in pain. And there was very little being done to treat whatever was going on inside of him. So, I asked if I needed to get him to a hospital that would actually treat him. I told them that I had a walker in the car and that I would drive him myself if they wouldn't treat him or wouldn't release him. I expressed my frustration on the waiting time and how I was told that he had sepsis. Do you know how many people die of sepsis? Yeah, I told them, I looked it up. I told the PA that if I didn't take him home, or if he lost his kidney, my eight children would be going to the best universities in the world, and that the hospital would be named The Paul Burkinshaw Memorial Hospital because I would sue and I would win. I was not going to let him be just another case number, especially when they told me that he was a priority. I asked her if she knew the definition of the word `priority’ and then I told her that it meant ONE, you don't have prioritIES, you have prioritY, and he needed to be first on that list to have the procedure done. She said that she understood my frustration and that if I wanted to speak to a patient advocate, I was welcome to. And then she left with the nurses who all looked terrified of this little 5'2 lady. A few minutes later, the trauma doctor came in and I gave him a less heated speech, but with the same message. He apologized several times. Told me that they should have come in and talked to us the day before about the plan. Paul was not going to lose his kidney and he did not have sepsis. He said that they were fully equipped to do the job, and that they would do what needed to be done. They were letting his body rest and letting his kidney rest. Twenty minutes later, they were wheeling Paul down for pre-op. And then we sat in pre-op for three hours. The nurse that checked us in left for lunch. Paul's IV started leaking all over his bed and gown. I had to go around the corner several times asking what was going on, and it seemed like no one knew and no one knew where our nurse went. So, they cleaned him, changed his gown, called the operating room, and then things started to move. I think I frightened more than a few nurses and hospital staff with my "no nonsense" look. After a kiss goodbye, they wheeled him in for a stent placement. The surgical liaison took me upstairs, and I'm pretty sure the doctor warned her to tread lightly. She gave me a bunch of food vouchers commenting that it looked like I hadn't eaten in days, and a bunch of parking validation stickers. I just asked her if there was a room with a couch so I could lie down for a little while. Forty-five minutes later, the procedure was done. The trauma surgeon and the urologist came and told me that it was the best case scenario. He was in post-op and needed to rest. So, Paul slept. They kept us overnight to monitor fluids and pain. Paul's brother-in-law is from Ft. Worth, and his good parents offered to let me stay at their house while I was going back and forth and didn't know how long Paul would be recovering in the hospital. It was 20 minutes away and wonderful. His mother is an amazing cook! The best scones I have ever had! And, she is the sweetest lady ever! The next morning, I came back to the hospital and he was gone, again. The bed was gone. They had taken him for another scan and to see if they needed to put a drain in his back. They gave him some funky pain stuff that left him hallucinating, not being able to focus, and having a hard time resting. But, they didn't need to put the drain in and things were starting to look better. The urologist was a rotating doctor, so he was already gone. The trauma doctor came in, apologizing again for all the stuff we had been through. I apologized for the emotional outburst to which he said he completely understood and the hospital should have handled things differently. Paul's sister, Jenny was in town and stopped by the hospital for a few hours to visit and check on him. It was good to see her. Again, we just waited. He was doing better, but the pain was getting worse. I went and slept , but came back the next morning to him not having a very good night. He was in a lot of pain and the nurses and doctor were trying to manage it. They were trying to get him off the IV stuff, and move to oral pain meds that would go home with us. So, they kept him another night. The next morning, the doctor wouldn't release him until we had a urologist to follow up with. They also put a catheter in. Not fun. They were really struggling to find a urologist that would answer calls and could see him in a few days at the latest. I had been in contact with the urologist in our stake and he said that he would take the case. However, when the nurses at the hospital tried to call his office to get an appointment, they couldn't get him in until August. The urologist was in surgeries that day, so I sent a text to his wife, and he called Paul in between surgeries and got him in on Tuesday. Paul could finally get discharged! YAY! We got home, but the pharmacy and insurance company wouldn't approve any more pain meds for him. We had to get the trauma doctor to call the insurance company and the pharmacy so we could get everything filled. It was a bit of a mess, and Paul was in a lot of pain. But, we did it. We were able to get all the doctors' appointments scheduled, and pain meds managed. We are so grateful for the many prayers, calls, texts, and outpouring of love we received. We truly experienced many miracles and are so grateful for priesthood blessings. It has been very different being on the receiving end of such an outpouring of service. Our ward was amazing! Our Relief Society President contacted the Elder's Quorum President in Paris. He and a member of the bishopric up there came to the hospital and gave Paul a blessing before his surgery. They offered their home to me so I could shower. We left in such a hurry, I was unable to. Our ward took care of the kids until Paul's parents could get down to Prosper. They took the kids to church, and then took them to Owasso as Paul and I navigated all the medical stuff. The ward provided crutches, a shower chair, wedge pillows, almost three weeks of meals, and much needed prayers, love and support. Our ministering brother is in the Stake Presidency, and brought the other counselor to the hospital in Ft. Worth to give Paul a blessing. They also checked in with texts and phone calls. It has truly been humbling to experience such love and service. We've also learned that one can get a UTI from prolonged catheterization. That was not a fun couple of days. Paul's parents were amazing. They took the kids for two weeks. The kids had a better summer than we had planned swimming, parking, exploring, having cousin time, and enjoying grandma and grandpa. It was such a blessing. Paul is on the mend. His kidney looks good. It's not perfect, but after many scans, it appears to be draining and functioning. His leg is healing. He's no longer on crutches. He has a little limp, but he is working on muscle strength and mobility to regain his range of motion and endurance. He rides his bike, walks around the neighborhood, and is looking forward to running a half-marathon with me in a year or so (hahaha, maybe that's just my plan!) But, he is doing well, and we are so grateful.