Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My sweet boy

Even if I'm having a rough day, this precious face always manages to make me smile:

And he just loves to act goofy!

It was too wet and dreary to play outside today; even the pets was grumpy. So we made the most of it indoors, even if it was just chasing each other around the sofa, and playing 'tickle monster'. Fun times!

I still have a hard time when I realize that in just a few months we'll be registering Bilal for kindergarten. When did he grow up so much??!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We'll miss you, Steve!

It is with much sorrow and heartache that I am sharing the news of the death of our CHD friend and advocate, Steve Catoe. He was the author of the very informative and always entertaining Adventures of a Funky Heart blog. I first corresponded with Steve a little over a year ago, right around the time I first came across his Funky Heart blog. We learned that we had something in common; Bilal had his open heart surgery for repair of Tetralogy of Fallot at The University of Alabama in 2006. Steve underwent two of his heart surgeries at the same hospital, first in 1977, and then in 1988, although his surgeon was Dr. Pacifico, who retired a year or so before Bilal had his surgery. He was always gracious, with many encouraging words especially for the parents of young children with congenital heart defects. I would like to share a brief excerpt of an email he wrote to me:

There is LOTS of hope for your son... things are moving so fast in Congenital Cardiac medicine and surgery. The Blalock-Taussig Shunt is recognized as the first Congenital Heart surgery, and it was first done on November 29, 1944. A child born on that day isn't quite to retirement age yet, and look at how much as been done since then!
What better words than these for a mom seeking reassurance and hope for her young child who was born with a broken heart?!

Steve spent a lot of time researching all of his facts before he shared them, often clearing up some misconceptions on the way. For example, I found this post very enlightening, when it comes to educating the general population about congenital heart defects, and this one which clarifies the actual statistics regarding the incidence of congenital heart defects. He also used his blog to spread the word about others in the heart community who were undergoing procedures and needed some encouragement or prayers.

Steve was an active member of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and spoke avidly at events to promote the awareness of Congenital Heart Defects. I wish I'd had the chance to listen to him speak in person. I have heard from may about what a great gentleman he was even when you met him in person, and it is sad that I will never have the opportunity to meet him.

Funky Heart also has a facebook page that is dedicated to all things health related, not only pertaining to congenital heart defects. Each topic is an amazing conversation starter!

Steve, you will be sorely missed, but you remain an inspiration to us all!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Ours was full of fun and extremely busy, hence the lack of posts until now. On Thursday I cooked for fifty, yes, fifty people whom we had invited over for Thanksgiving dinner. Am I crazy? Well, maybe a little bit, but it really was fun. Zakir gets credit for two delicious fried turkeys and a leg of lamb, while I made pounds and pounds of green bean casserole, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, roast potatoes, gravy, and spinach salad with mandarin oranges and cranberries. I cheated and bought ready to bake dinner rolls and cranberry sauce straight out of a can. Heck, I'm not brave enough to try and make bread from scratch! Surprisingly there was very little food left over after the party. I love it when people bring their appetites!

I am also on call this weekend. Zakir made rounds for me on Thursday so that I could cook, and I went to the hospital yesterday and today, and will have to go tomorrow morning also. That's the not-so-fun part of the weekend. But then I have no more weekend calls for the rest of the year. In fact if things work out next year it might be my last weekend of call ever. Woohoo! It has also been great to have our nephews here, although we haven't really done a lot with them. Yesterday we decided to brave the crowds and went to the new outlet mall not far from our house. I had to bring the kids back after only a couple of stores because Bilal got so tired that he started dragging and constantly begged to be held. Today we went to the mall for a while and the same thing happened. I think it's talking him a while to fully get over his recent respiratory illness. In the mornings he's bouncing around like a maniac, but by the afternoon he gets worn out and doesn't have the energy to do much. I'm guessing he just needs a bit more time. Hopefully he'll be back to his usual perpetually energetic self by the time we head to Disney World, although we do plan to take his stroller with us also.

Pics with the next post, I promise!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I was browsing through some old blog posts and I realized that I didn't share any Baby Brother pictures when I posted about Mobeen's birthday party . So here, for your viewing pleasure, is little Mohsin:

Isn't he such a chunky monkey?

And already climbing on to objects and cruising; he's not even 8 months old in these photos! (Of course, Big Brother Mobeen was walking like a pro by the time he turned 9 months old).


And Mobeen and Mohsin will be spending Thankgiving break with us. Nearly four days of nothing but baby loving. So much fun!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Is the bike too little, or is Safa too big?

Is the four year old boy little,

or is the dog humongous?

It's all about perspective!

Saturday felt more like Spring than Fall, with clear blue skies and mid-70s. We spent a lot of time outdoors while Zakir planted some bulbs. Atlas of course, just soaked up all the attention he got!

Apparently too much loving also wears the puppy out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is this hint subtle enough?

Do you think my hubby will realize what I want for my birthday?


Friday, November 19, 2010


With Bilal and Safa now on the mend, Zakir has had to start antibiotics for a sinus infection. I too, have had a sore throat and felt crummy for a few days, but nothing like the kids were, and I am already starting to feel better with just a few doses of Tylenol and some sore throat lozenges. So with all the sickness making its rounds through our home does it mean that life has come to a standstill? Heck no! This is the Khan Household of course, there's always something going on. Last Friday I chaperoned Hamza's field trip to Atlanta, to the zoo and the CNN Center. The trip photos will follow soon, I promise. And on the weekend we tackled Safa's room. We painted her room a different shade of blue a couple of weeks ago, and this weekend was our first ever experience hanging wallpaper. I have done wallpaper borders before, like in Bilal's room:

This is of course, from before he moved into his 'big boy' bed.

So in Safa's room we went from this cute setup which we did a couple of years after moving to this house:

To a much more mature this:

Hanging wallpaper wasn't too hard once we got the hang of it, but I'm glad Safa only wanted to do a single accent wall. She has picked up a lot of picture frames to make a photo collage on the other wall and she should have time this weekend to work on that. I can't wait to see the end result!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can you hear that?

What is it? It's something I haven't heard in this house for the past 2 weeks. It's silence. An actual pause between coughs. The first sign that my kiddos are getting better. Well actually, Safa's at school so it's only me and Bilal at home, but it is so blissful to not hear a constant cough. And Bilal hasn't run a fever this morning, for the first time in 8 days. He actually asked for breakfast this morning. Granted, he didn't eat much, but considering Zakir had to threaten to take him to the hospital for an IV last night, that's a huge improvement. Yesterday I virtually had to force feed him ice cream at breakfast time. Don't judge me! I know ice cream's not good at breakfast time, but I was desperate, and he really needed to take his medicine, but not on an empty stomach. Today he had half an apple and a few sips of milk for lunch, that's better. He still sounds terribly nasal, and is very hoarse from all the coughing, but he really seems to be getting better.

Today is Eid ul Adha, but Zakir wasn't able to take off to go to for prayers. So we're having a less eventful day than our last Eid. Tonight we have a pot luck dinner to go to, so that should be fun. Eid Mubarak to my friends and family!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You know you're a mom when.......

...... you can touch your child's forehead and know their body temperature, with eerie accuracy!

Poor little guy is still sick, continuously running a low grade fever that responds to Tylenol, but then goes back up as soon as it wears off. And he has been coughing so hard and so constantly that he has almost lost his voice. I took him to the urgent care clinic today because I thought he might need a chest x-ray, although my gut feeling has still been that he has RSV. He had blood drawn, which showed a normal white count, and he tested negative for Mycoplasma (one type of 'walking pneumonia'). Chest x-ray did not show signs of a bacterial pneumonia, rather a pneumonitis/ bronchiolitis type pattern. This is usually viral. I am just ready for him to start feeling better. He will hardly eat, and then often coughs so hard that he throws up what he has just eaten. You can tell that he's lost some weight within the past week.

He hasn't been smiling a lot lately, this sickness is really getting him down, but those infrequent smiles are just as adorable and goofy as ever!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yuckies, please go away!

Sickness is making the rounds in our house. Safa has had a crazy hacking cough for about ten days and now Bilal has decided to follow suit. Saturday he had that bizarre twelve hour sickness, but did fairly well until yesterday morning when he started to cough. And his cough sounds quite like Safa's. He paid us a visit in our room at 3am last night, coughing so much that he nearly threw up. He felt hot so I checked his temperature, and he had a low grade fever. So I gave him some Tylenol and some cough medicine, which really helped. He lay with us for a couple of hours until he announced that he wanted to go back to his room; when he proceeded to gather up his blankie and Fuzzy (his little stuffed elephant) and went upstairs to his room all by himself.

He seemed to be better when he woke up this morning, but by mid-morning he started to get puny again, and he actually took a nap. When he woke up from his nap he was running a fever again, this time 102. Another dose of Tylenol perked him up, but he hardly ate anything at breakfast, lunch or dinner today. And by bedtime his fever was back. I am hoping that he gets better soon. And that Safa's cough gets better. And that Hamza doesn't get sick again (I think he started it). And that the caregivers don't get sick!

When Bilal is tired or not feeling well he finds so much comfort in snuggling up with his big sister. I love that little relationship they have. So sweet!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


As we are preparing for our trip to Disney in December I have been spending some time browsing websites and looking for books that might help us get the most out of the trip. We have two kids, of course, who are closer in age so you'd expect them to enjoy the same kinds of attractions, rides, etc. But Hamza is more of a thrill seeker, and Safa prefers to stay more grounded. She really doesn't care for roller coasters and fast rides. And then we also have to take into account we will be traveling with a four year old who will not be able to go on certain rides due to height restrictions, and probably wouldn't be interested in going on fast rides anyway. So we have to find something for everyone to enjoy. With some good planning that shouldn't be too hard.

What didn't even cross my mind was another type of restriction, which has nothing to do with his height. Until today. This morning I saw someone's status on facebook mention that their child could not go on certain rides because of their heart. There is a vast number of different heart defects, and some are associated with higher risks of arrythmias that others, so it is conceivable that certain children may be limited from activities that might increase the chance of such an event. We have not thought of limiting Bilal from any sort of activity; he has lived as any heart healthy child since his open heart surgery four years ago. But the teeniest doubt did cross my mind today as I read that status update. So I picked up the phone and called our PC's office. I got a call back from one of the nurses within a couple of hours and was given the assurance that Bilal truly has NO restrictions at this time in his life. Of course I knew this already, but it bothered me that it even crossed my mind. Can't I tell how well my child is doing? That energy, those rosy cheeks. A sign that things are going great. Heck, you can barely even see the scar on his chest! It's kind of like when you schedule your child's follow up appointment and start to get anxious as the appointment date approaches. There's really no logic behind that stress, but it's there. Maybe it's just part of being a heart parent. Maybe it will always be a part of me. Perhaps some day that extra vigilance will pay off!

Today's temperature peaked at a warm 75 degrees, not bad! Bilal and I started the morning off with jackets on, as we ran through our usual Tuesday errands, and then were in short sleeves by about 10:30. We spent a lot of time in the back yard today, swinging, sliding, and running around with the puppy.

Even though it was as high as 75 degrees today we have had our first couple of days of frost in the mornings, which means our confederate rose is no longer going to bloom for the rest of the year. Instead, it's just going to wither away and die. This year we didn't see the first bloom until the last week of October, which is very late, but in the past couple of weeks the plant has become covered with buds, so I was hoping that the first frost might hold off for a little while. We've only seen a handful of flowers.

Looks pretty sad, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The twelve hour bug??

Agenda for Saturday, November 6, 2010, The Khan Household

Mina on call (all weekend), which meant making rounds at the hospital in Oneonta in the morning
Safa to be at a debate tournament in Homewood 7am-5pm
Hamza to be driven to Decatur, AL for a math tournament 6am-4pm
Zakir scheduled for a medical conference 8am-5pm
Mina schedule for medical conference 8am-5pm
Mina and Zakir: dinner plans 5:30-8pm
Mina and Zakir: Broadway show 'Fiddler on the Roof' 8pm-11pm
The entire family: A large dinner party/CME 7pm-10:30pm (Zakir had forgotten about these plans when he bought tickets for the play).

It's obvious if this was charted out on a diagram that there would be a HUGE amount of overlap! Too much to be humanly accomplished. And to add to the mix Bilal who started running a fever about noon and looked quite puny. One dose of Tylenol and 2 hours later he still had a fever. No other symptoms. No cough, no runny nose, no earache, just a fever, and a little bit of a headache. So out came the Motrin. About an hour later he was feeling much better.

Anyway compromises were made, and we managed to maintain our sanity, (but barely). Safa opted out of her debate tournament and we didn't take the family to the APPNA dinner/CME event.

The day ended up something like this:

6am: Mina drops Hamza off with another student, so his mom can take them both to Decatur. Mina goes straight to the hospital to make rounds after that.
7:30am: Zakir wakes up Safa (who incidentally has been coughing her lungs up for the past several days and has an extremely hoarse voice), to watch Bilal, while he drives to Birmingham for the conference.
8:15am: Mina drives to Birmingham from Oneonta for the conference.
10:30am: Mina drives home after the first two lectures. Enough!
1pm: Zakir leaves the conference after lunch and decides not to attend the post-lunch sessions
3-5pm: Mina spends time stressing about leaving two sick kids at home for dinner and theater. Calls Vicki and talks to Zakir about it, who reassure her and plans stay on track. Dinner and dessert cooked for the kids.
4pm: Mina picks Hamza up from a nearby shopping center, while Zakir tackles a teaspoon of Motrin into Bilal's tummy.
5-5:30pm: Mina barely has enough time to shower and get ready.
5:30pm: Mina and Zakir leave, with Bilal feeling a bit better and excited about Vicki being there, and Safa still coughing her head off.
6-7:30pm: Mina and Zakir have a delicious dinner at McCormick and Schmick. A quick check in with the kids who are doing fine. Phew!
8-11pm: Fiddler on the Roof, an awesome production of a Broadway Musical.
11:30pm: Mina and Zakir come home to a peaceful house with the kids asleep, thanks to Vicki :)

This morning Bilal was up a little later than usual, which is great, since we had turned the clocks back, but still much too early for a weekend. The good news is, he's feeling fine. The fever seems to have gone and no other symptoms evolved. Woohoo! But what kind of virus lasts just long enough to get a mother stressed out about leaving her kids for plans that were made almost two months ago?! That is a seriously cruel joke!

Today all is well in the Khan Household (except Safa is still coughing and has a headache). Zakir is headed out to Hoover to drop the kids off at Sunday School, and I am headed to the hospital.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Somebody pinch me!

Who do those feet belong to, who is it sliding down that steep inflatable slide?

And climbing up the narrow inflatable ladder to have another turn......

Is it, could it be...........

........ Bilal??!!

My child who has always refused to even take his shoes off in Pump it Up, or any other party center.

Wow, here he goes again!

And it looks like he's having a blast!


So what convinced my child to get on one of those rides?

Of course, it had to be his brother!

Lately Bilal wants to do everything Hamza does, and in this case it even meant going on every inflatable ride in sight. Again and again! Now he admits it is fun, I have a feeling he'll be joining in birthday party festivities a lot more in the future.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My cutie :)

Pardon the fuzziness of this picture but do you see those bright red cheeks? What has Bilal been up to? Maybe we'll find out as soon as I upload the next batch of photos. But evidently it's something that was tons of fun!

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