Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Mantises Have Arrived!

Christopher looking at his "bug kit" where the first mantis of the season is on display (later released mantises were harmed in the events described!)

A "close-up" of this summer's first praying mantis!

We are delighted to announce the birth of some baby mantises in our yard! Christopher couldn't have been happier to see the miniature version of last summers' friend! Stay tuned for further developments and pictures, I'm sure.

In other news, Phillip has been here for more than a week and we have been so glad to have him around (OK, give or take the screeching singing along with the Doodlebops or the chanting "Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart! GO PLANET!" as he watched YouTube videos of "Captain Planet!).

Tomorrow a group from church will begin construction of a ramp from our back door to the back deck, along with removing our non-functional hot tub and replacing that part of the deck. I can't wait until I have a big old deck that I can go sun on! :) Thanks to Stock Building Supply and Matt Payne for the lumber and to the group from Union Chapel "Serve" who will do the work, along with an anonymous donor who paid for the railing and other materials we need. Additionally, the group will put up a small section of chain-link fence to complete the enclosure of our back yard in preparation for our Service Dog who will come home after the two-week training in late October!

I am getting a little bit of a tan, trying to go outside every day that it is nice and not too hot. This week has been fabulous! Like California without the "sun tax"! I haven't been sleeping well. I have a lot of muscle spasms in my neck, shoulders and upper back as well as over my hip bone (greater trochanter for those who care). Between the AVAPS (vent) hose and my pain, sleep is hard to come by. I bought an older electric hospital bed at a rummage sale (thanks to my friend Angela for scoping it out and calling me!) but the two foam pads still don't make it comfortable to sleep on. I need the adjustment of the head and feet to support my head and neck so that some of the strain is taken off, but the bed just isn't the right consistency. My friend Kent has a Comfort-Pedic adjustable bed and that is really what I need. If I had a queen size I could comfortably watch our evening episode of "Emergency!" with Christopher. As it is, we squeeze into the hospital bed. It is cozy, to say the least.

I am blessed that I can watch videos like that on my laptop with Christopher. It has become our nightly ritual to watch one episode of "Emergency!" and one of "Adam-12". If you don't know what those shows are (a) you're too YOUNG and (b) you can go to and check them out. Both are spin-offs of the TV show "Dragnet" (SURELY you've heard of THAT!). Anyhow, it is a good "mommy and me" time for Christopher, plus I get to critique how much things in EMS and medicine have changed. It is a fun time for all!

I am leading an online group study of the Randy Alcorn book "Heaven" and I am so excited to be doing so. I have made so many new and wonderful "old friends" since leaving PHI. I wouldn't trade them for the world. I am BLESSED!

Hope you are blessed this June 22nd as well! Love, Claudia

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Hi all,

Just a short update on all things "Claudia" -- LOL! Of course, that includes Amy and Christopher and my dear, precious friends....

Amy is doing great. Her face is almost healed and her arm is doing better. It has been an amazing process watching her skin renew itself. God is amazing!

Christopher is doing better. We have done some adjustments to his diet, added more consistent "sensory" routines (it's a sensory-integration thing) and he seems to be coping better with life in general. Getting his service dog earlier will help so much too! On the physical side, we've encountered a little "glich". In the last couple of weeks he has suddenly sprouted about 5 permanent teeth...unfortunately, the baby teeth are not loose and are not falling out. SO, on July 2nd we have to take him for surgery at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital (general anesthetic) to have those 5 teeth removed, a phrenectomy (gumline growing down between his front teeth removed) and his 12-year molars "exposed" (cut away the gum so they can descend). Doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Prayers are appreciated!

I'm doing OK. Falling more. My balance sucks.. of course it doesn't help that I have always been a person who is mentally three steps ahead of my feet....cause my feet aren't keeping up any more. I've got a few new bruises (and a shattered tower-fan) to show for my escapades over the past 48 hours, but I say "no blood, no foul"!

I'm doing an overnight oxygen test tonight. My trouble breathing is not getting much better and there is a possibility that I may go on oxygen. That is another dilemma, since oxygen is not generally recommended in ALS (the thinking of my lung doctor is that my breathing problems are due to my asthma, not my ALS).

On the bright side... I am slowly getting my bedroom decorated, thanks to the efforts of my friends. I bought curtains and now just need to get them hung. The walls are all painted and I am slowly beginning to hang my "things" on them. I am collecting old plates/saucers, etc with pink rose patterns on them to hang on the wall. Yard sale fans...keep an eye out for those 25 cent ones for me!

I am so blessed to have you as friends. Love, Claudia

A shadowbox I did with my mother's picture, a pair of her dressy gloves, a dried rosebud and some jewelry... I love you, Mom!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


We just got word that we are going to be getting our Service Dog in OCTOBER instead of December! We couldn't be more excited! Just over 4 months to go!!!!

Christopher's website is acting up (thanks to my trusty-musty XP platform computer dying and my getting a Vista platform replacement...incompatible with the now way out-dated "FrontPage" that I used to design his site). I will try to get that all straightened out ASAP... but the bottom line is that we have one last financial hurdle to mount to get our dog....the travel and accommodations for the two-weeks in Ohio and some mandatory dog equipment.

If you'd like to help with a fundraiser please contact me. You may also send your tax-deductible donation to:

Congregation of the Covenants
c/o Malcolm Smith
6927 Thousand Oaks Lane
Indianapolis, IN 46214-3298

On the memo line, please designate for what
your gift is to be used. A receipt will be mailed to you at the end of the year.

Update on Amy

Well, it has been a challenging week. I totally spaced an appointment I had Tuesday. Life feels kinda out of control.

Anyway, here's an update on Amy's a nutshell...she HURTS :

Photos June 3rd (Tuesday):

Photos today (June 4th):

Monday, June 2, 2008

Thanks for the prayers!

Thanks to those of you who prayed! I fully expected Amy to be in bed doped-up on pain medicine for several days, and while she isn't healed yet, she looked much better and felt much better this morning. Don't stop praying! I will post some pictures so you can see the improvement already:

Last night (June 1 approx 10 PM - approx. 5 hours after incident):

23 hours later:

Don't stop praying! :)

Love, Claudia

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Prayers Please

Please pray for Amy. This afternoon she was cooking on our charcoal grill when some meat grease flared up and burned her on the right side of her face/neck and right forearm/hand. We spent a little time in the ER and she's got first and second degree burns on her face and first degree on her right forearm and hand. She's short a LOT of hair that got singed and about half of her right eyebrow is gone, but she is going to be OK. Her eyeglasses saved her eyes and she was right by the garden hose so she was able to extinguish her hair and get the burning stopped quickly! We go back to the ER for a recheck tomorrow. Please pray for total and rapid healing!

The blessing is that we had two friends over when this happened and Catherine was here, so they were able to take Phillip and Christopher with them while I went in the ambulance with Amy. The boys did GREAT everything considered! PTL!

Also, please pray for us financially as Amy has no health insurance.

Love, Claudia