Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

...don't know when I'll be back again.

So I'm starting this blog because my family has been uprooted to Florida. I'll start there and explain our reasons for leaving Chicago.

First off, I'm a Chicago kid, born and raised. Born in the city and rasied in the suburbs. But I've spent plenty of time in the city. Went to college downtown. Lived in Printer's Row for a while. My wife and some of my best friends graduated from University of Illinois - Chicago. We used to party in the city, go to shows, shop, chill, the Taste, ride our bikes, visit different neighborhoods, etc. Living in Illinois and Chicago was a fantastic part of my life. It was my life up until a few months ago.

Before I go any regrets.

I'm near my baby and my baby. That's what's important to me.

I'm jumping ahead.

After 7 years of marriage and trying a few times to get pregnant (the last few pregnancies were nightmarish, but I'll save for another time or maybe never) we finally did get pregnant. In August of 2008 our son Phoenix was born! He is amazing by the way. BEST. KID. EVER. Every parent thinks that of their own childern. :)

So we now have this amazing son and my wife's parents are enjoying him like crazy. We're enjoying being first time parents. It's all great. Problem is that my parents are all the way in Florida. Not able to enjoy their first and only grandson that they've been praying for because they are a 1000 miles away. They come to visit and help us organize the Baptism and stuff but they hate having to leave to go back to Florida. During Christmas and New Year's, my boss at the time was cool enough to let me take like 2.5 weeks off, WITH PAY (why I left the job... ::shakes head::)!!! We spend a long time down there and it is amazing. We love the weather, the beaches, all of that. The idea of moving down to Florida is implanted in our brains! We even check out a few homes for sale.

After our little two week tryst with Florida we head home to a wintery Chicago. Don't get me wrong. I love the Winter season but it was cold as balls then. I remember that winter vividly because it was the winter that my favorite aunt passed (RIP, save for another blog). After a few months pass and Spring has sprung, all the ideas of Florida have passed. Chicago in the Spring time is a beautiful time. We get to take Phoenix out in the warm sun, play at the park, stroll the neighbor, explore the city with him, it's an amazing time.

Phoenix's first birthday rolls around and my folk fly up to Chicago for a few weeks to help plan and prepare for their only grandchild's first birthday! My folks love birthdays. I can remember as a child always celebrating my birthday. September is a huge month for my family. My brother, mother, wife and myself all have September birthdays we celebrate. Also my wife's best friend, a few cousins and my grandmother are all September as well. Ironically Phoenix's birthday is in August.

My parents enjoy their grandson for a few weeks and again are completely crushed because they have to leave him. We even Skype a few times a week to help with the missing of the grandson. The Skype just isn't enough.

Fast forward to Christmas time. My boss is very generous once again and I get to take 17 days off around Christmas and New Years. Phoenix is a year older so he can enough it a lot more. We spend our vacation there and even go on a short Caribbean cruise. We have a blast. Florida is once again awesome to us.

Rewind a month...

Phoenix was born a very small baby, only like 5.5 pounds at full gestation. As he grew and got older he was way off the growth chart. The doctor's chucked it up to being a small kid and being of Asian descent, going to be a little small. Phoenix loses his appetite and started getting sick a lot. Our pediatrician recommended us taking him to a stomach specialist. That run some bloodtests and it turns out he has a low neutrafil count. Neutrafils (sp?) are a particular white blood cell that helps to fight off infection. He was considered neutropenic because his counts were constantly low. He was in danger of getting sick constantly and he was for a while.

We  finally bring him to a Hope Children's Hospital to see a blood specialist. He confirms the neutropenia and says if Phoenix's temp ever gets above 101.00 that we should bring him into the ER at Christ/Hope.

Back to Florida now...

Our vacation was a blast. We got to spend Christmas with all my family down there and my folks just adore the babaganoush. Who wouldn't. The kid kicks ass. But, our trip comes to an end and we have to go back to snowy Chicago. A day after we get back home Phoenix has a temp of 101.something. We freak out and rush him to Hope. It's the worst experience we've ever had, for Phoenix and for us. He has to get repeatedly stuck with needles for IVs and gets admitted for three days. He is considered high risk because of the neutropenia that we are basically in a bubble for the entire time we are at the hospital.

This actually happens two more times early this year. The second time he luckily doesn't have to get admitted at Hope and the third time my wife follows her gut instinct and we don't bother driving 45 minutes to Hope. Instead we bring him to St. Joseph's, which is only 10 minutes from our house. Lucky for us they literally just opened a new Children's ER two days before we come. It is a fantastic experience. The NP was amazing and told us that Phoenix low blood counts could just be cyclical and are low only because he is just getting over a cold. And it turns out that Phoenix had both the flu and swine flu. Damn. After that visit we get tired of hospitals but are relieved that his "condition" may not be as bad as we feared.

My wife had also finished nursing school right before we visited Florida for Christmas. When we got back and Phoenix got sick it was difficult for her to devote time to the job hunt. After three or four months of sending out resumes she gets fed up. I don't blame her. There were hiring freezes in Chicago and an over abundance of new graduate nurses. The field was competitive in Illinois. As a joke, she sent her resume to Lakeland Regional in Florida. We had always joked about moving to Florida but suddenly it became more of a reality. From this point everything moves lightning fast.

Phoenix and Sawanee spend a month in Florida while Sawanee interviews and waits to hear about the job. During this time Phoenix is just thriving. He is gaining weight, eating a lot, and just growing rapidly. It turns out he is not only back on the growth curve but well into the 50th percentile. While back home in Chicago he was barely in the 0.5 percentile. Florida seems to agree with him.

Sawanee gets the job working as a Trauma Nurse. Her first interview and she nails it. Unbeliveable. That kicked it into overdrive. A month later we are driving her down to Florida to start work. And Phoenix is with her. Meaning I'm all alone back home in Chicago working.

Again, luckily within a month we find renters for our home in Chicago and I get a job at the first place I interview with (topic for another time of course)! Two weeks later I'm a Floridian!

Later, I'll discuss what I left behind and what's ahead!

Til next time...

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