Author Archive

The Bounceback Kid

So…Tuesday was The Day.

And now, two days into what could be a multi-year process of scoliosis casting and bracing, I can report: “So far, so good.” Specifically, Eliana has bounced back from the casting experience way better than we could have reasonably expected. Plenty of time for various other things to go haywire, mind you, but her continued resiliency is just this side of crazy.

And I’ll prove it.

We arrived at the hospital right on time at 6 a.m., which certainly had ME grumpy. Upstairs to the waiting room, then to the post-op beds to get ready for surgery (too many kiddos had to stay overnight in the pre-op rooms so there was no space over there). Headed off to the OR around 7:45, and was back in recovery by about 9:15. Now here’s where it gets weird.

This is Eliana at 9:27.  Recovery

Barely conscious, eyes half-open, without a thought in her mind other than “take it off!” – referring to the I.V. that is still taped down on her left hand. Note the new turtle (from Moana, if you’re keeping track).

Then this is her at 11:05.


No joke. We left the hospital at about 10:15, and about 15 minutes later the last of the anesthesia must have worn off and she said “I want to go to McDonald’s and have nuggets for lunch.” Of course we couldn’t say no, and she ate all 4 nuggets along with the order of fries. No fuss, no muss.

Keep in mind, now, this was 90 minutes after waking up in recovery, AND with a couple pounds of plaster wrapped around her torso for the first time ever. Walked right in, took a seat and ate her lunch.


And much to my surprise, she also took a solid nap and slept through the night without a single comfort-based complaint about the cast. Lots of “I want to take it off now,” but nothing about it hurting or anything like that, so score one for the doctor there, I guess.

Of course things weren’t entirely rainbows and unicorns on Day 1, but we got that on Day 2. One of the tips they give you for the cast is that it can be decorated with duct tape. Didn’t fully understand why that was a thing until we saw the actual cast, which is “petaled” with moleskin flaps all around the edges, then held down with tape for security. So this morning she and I went shopping for some pretty tape and came home with pink unicorn tape. So if you’re wondering what a scoliosis cast looks like, and if it would look better with pink unicorn tape, today’s your lucky day!

More to come as we figure things out, but so far so good.





June 13, 2018 at 10:10 PM 1 comment


It’s been almost exactly two months since our last post. Sorry. But it’s been a whirlwind summer, with things changing left and right. Here’s a rundown of  the highlights over the past few months, with Eliana’s comments, and a nice “what I did on my summer vacation” collage at the end:

(1) We took trips!

We braved two day trips to amusement parks. Sesame Place early in the summer, then Knoebel’s in August. Two looooooong days, but fun. Eliana is now particularly fond of carousels, and in case you’re wondering, most of the rides are easily described as “up down” or “round and round.” But really…do you need to know much more about the kiddie rides?  There was also a trip to the annual Fisher Family Frolic in Vineland. The world will never forget that ‘cow lick Ana’s arm!’ and ‘Ana pat bunny!’

(2) Swimming is totally a thing now

Shira’s been a waterbug for years, and there was no slowing her down this year. Eliana went from a reluctant floater in June to an “I did it! Kick!” independent kicker in August. I smell a wintertime rehab possibility…

(3) The NICU reunion

Every 3 years, the Hershey Medical Center NICU hosts a “reunion” for families. We first attended in 2013 while Eliana was still in the hospital (we called it a “pre-union” at the time), so this was the first time Eliana could attend. The weather was kind of miserable – 90+ degrees and humid in September – but it was still awesome to be there. Weirdest thing was looking around at all the families with really young kids and remembering what it must be like to be fresh off the experience.

Plus…they had pony rides! “Ana ride horse!”

(4) School daze

Of course there’s the elephant in the (class)room – school has started. Shira is a (gasp!) middle school student this year. Among other big changes, it means her bus stop is 85 minutes earlier (hello 6:55 am!), and two blocks further. ugh. Daddy no like.

And Eliana is in school too. Now that she’s three years old she has transitioned into the Intermediate Unit for her services, and she is attending preschool in a three-day-a-week IU classroom in Hershey. That’s about 30 minutes away – not far from the medical center, ironically enough – so HER ‘bus’ (ok…its a van, but that’s not what she calls it) picks her up at about 7:30 to whisk her off to school. They’re apparently working on the days of the week, so “Ana go school Monday” is the refrain, every day of the week.

(click on the photos for a slideshow)




September 18, 2016 at 9:23 AM Leave a comment

All you really needed to know about Eliana’s third birthday and didn’t have a chance to ask

Date:  Saturday, July 16; 2016

Time: 7:30 am

Setting: Lerner household; Master bedroom; Daddy’s side of bed

Eliana <cheerfully and with excitement>: “Daddy! Out of bed Daddy!”

Daddy: <who had heard her coming and had a chance to clear his throat in order to sing>:

“Happy Birthday to youuuu!

Happy Birthday to youuuu!

Happy Birthday Eliaaaaaaannnnnnaaaa!

Happy Birthday to youuuu!”

Eliana <smiling broadly and holding up several fingers>: “Fhee!” (See here for alternate pronounciation)

<short pause>



Eliana's third birthday. Later in the day, with ice cream cake.

Eliana’s third birthday. Later in the day, with ice cream cake.

July 17, 2016 at 2:04 PM 1 comment

On the Subject of Father’s Day

Little-known Father’s Day fact:  in order to be a father, you first need to have kids.

So in honor of Father’s Day this year I want to talk a bit about Shira, who first got me into this whole fatherhood thing 11 years ago. She keeps growing up – as kids tend to do – but for some reason things seem to have sped up these last few weeks.

It all started for me at a Daddy/Daughter dinner in McDonald’s a few weeks ago (don’t judge – my first “date” with Amy included dinner at Wendy’s). Maybe it was when she ordered the 6 nugget kid’s meal, or how she confidently told me where we were going to sit instead of letting me pick. But whatever it was, instead of eating with my kid it somehow felt like I was eating with an actual person who just happened to be my kid.

Shira on a crayon

(Not actually at her gym show, but still cool.)

Fast forward to her gymnastics show. This year she decided to move to “urban gymnastics” – climbing walls, jumping over stuff, and all that. Think a very light version of American Ninja Warrior. It’s a “coed” class…by which I mean it’s a half-dozen boys plus Shira, and sometimes that wasn’t easy. But during the classes and then at the show you could tell that she was really focused on doing well and enjoying herself. Y’know – actually listening to the instructor and trying to improve instead of just throwing herself at a wall. Quietly, and without making a big deal of it, she kicked those boys’ butts on most of the exercises. Think the crowd may have noticed, too.

Then her recent piano recital, where she showed such poise in her awesome performance. The last two years with her prior teacher the recital was done on a small upright in a church basement. This year she played a baby grand raised up in the center of a large sanctuary, complete with lights and microphones. Others might have been nervous, but she totally crushed it.

The artist after work.

The artist after work.

Yeah she did.

Watching her practice and then play the recital pieces you could see all the details coming through – adjusting hand positions, working the pedals, powering through any little mistakes. Somewhere in there she transitioned from “I take piano lessons” to “I play the piano.”

Then in just the last week or so it feels like she’s grown so much as a big sister to Eliana (I had to mention her once, OK?). No doubt that’s been hard with the way things have been for the past 3 years, but evidence suggests she’s got it down pat. Riding the rides with her at Sesame Place, exploring Hershey Gardens, helping her float in Grandpa John’s pool – even just picking up the slack when Amy and I want to wring Eliana’s cute little neck – she’s definitely hitting her stride there too.

Water party with Eliana

Water party with Eliana

So with all that let me just say “Happy Father’s Day, Shira.  I couldn’t have done it without you.”

June 19, 2016 at 7:00 AM 3 comments


You might be wondering how things are going recently.  Here’s a taste of my past few days:

Had a horrible cold since Friday (Amy had it last week).

30+ inches of snow. Technically not more than they forecast, but only because they kept changing the forecast as the snow got deeper.

Snowblower worked Saturday..but not Sunday. Lots of Tylenol in play.

Dropped my tablet, breaking the screen and on/off switch.

No nurses the last two nights (see snowfall, above).

When we went out in the snow Eliana fought the sidewalk, and by the look of her upper lip, the sidewalk won. (Here’s one of the happier pictures from the afternoon)

In the snow

But in the midst of all that Eliana had some time teach us a lesson about what “childproof” does…and doesn’t…mean.  Guess we don’t have to worry about her mental acuity and whatnot. Checkout the video.

January 24, 2016 at 8:38 PM 2 comments

Addition by Subtraction

Of course every other blogger is writing their “what I’m thankful for” post this week, but…yeah…a little too obvious here so we’ll just let that be understood, k?

After Eliana’s transplant, the expectation was that she’d come home complicated and get easier over time. It’s now been about 6 months and we got to cross a couple more things off The List this week.


At her 6 month appointment on Monday we eliminated one more medication (good timing, since SOMEBODY who is a male parent left it out of the refrigerator overnight on Sunday), and dialed another back to once a day.  That takes us down to 8 per day – 6 prescriptions and 2 OTC supplements. A cakewalk, I tell ya’.

Even more exciting – fanfare please – the bloodwork that MUST BE DRAWN AT 8AM MONDAYS AND THURSDAYS NO MATTER WHAT AND YOU’D BETTER NOT BE LATE!!! is now going to be either once a week or once every two week (there’s a little confusion about that one.) And for a little icing on the cake, her regular clinic visits are moving from monthly to quarterly.

Plenty of other progress too – lots of walkering, the occasional accidental swallow, and a serious case of the feisties, but they don’t fit the theme so they’re for some other time.  There’s one more subtraction moment you’ll want to hear about, but I’m gonna’ leave that one to Amy as an incentive to get her back to the keyboard.

November 28, 2015 at 10:05 PM 1 comment

Go, Go Gadget!

Q: What do (certain) old people and (certain) young people have in common?

A: A surprising number of mobility devices.

For weeks, Eliana has been just on the cusp of getting her walk on, but she just hasn’t quite been able to figure it out.  She’s standing up like a champ, and even cruising a few awkward steps at a time, but that was about it.  Today one of her therapists brought her this go go gadget walker (also sometimes known as a gait trainer) that looks suspiciously like one recently used by…um…a close relative of mine.


Did it work for her?  Oh yeah.  Here are a couple of videos from just a few hours later – one coming towards you, and one walking off into the metaphorical sunset (also known as bedtime).

Enjoy – and I suspect there might be more than one of you giving her a”go go go” while you watch.



November 19, 2015 at 10:32 PM 9 comments

Older Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 39 other followers