Liam’s First Road Trip

It has been brought to my attention that I need to post more, and its true.  I do.  I will.  But I’ve been doing so much reading.  ( He said with a whine.) It’s not really a good excuse.

Olsons on the move Volume I

Anyway, after not posting in so long I have lots to report.   We achieved a nice little milestone last weekend with our first overnight trip as a family.  Karin, Liam and I packed up the gear and headed down to New Jersey to visit Liam’s Grammy and Opa for the weekend.  Liam hadn’t met so much of his family on his Mom’s side so we hit the road to put that to an end on Sunday.  The main event was an open house at Karin’s parents house where he met so many of the friends and family that have been praying for him his whole life.  It was great fun.

4 Generations.

Travelling across state lines for the first time in two years was a thrill for Karin and I.  Karin hasn’t visited her parent’s home in far too long and it was time for us to learn if we could handle the trip.  We knew that we could but that doesn’t mean the planning and execution of it all wasn’t a little stressful.  Liam didn’t mind the ride down at all, and upon arrival at Grammy and Opa’s house had no problem getting comfy enough for a nap on their couch.

Oxygen tanks were delivered the day before our arrival and Karin was incredibly organized making sure that we had anything we may need.  Two of everything in fact.  We were ready for anything, which is good considering if we hadn’t been we probably would have needed something.  Aside from an unscheduled trach change the trip was medically speaking uneventful.  The trach change itself went without a hitch and was more of a preventative measure than a reaction to something serious anyway.

We did learn a  whole lot about what we should do differently the next time.  Logistically speaking we should have planned for much more time to relax between different activities.  Generally speaking we try not to schedule two doctor’s appointments in the same day, as well as trying not to have PT or OT in back to back days. Liam gets wiped out pretty good sometimes.  Why did we think that visiting friends would be something Liam could handle only a few hours after a 4 hours car ride?  Foolish.  He finished the night cranky and irritable and unable to sleep.  Our fault.  Next time we know to go easy on him after a day containing such a long travel time.

Visiting family was of course the only objective of the trip though and we did that in spades.  Liam had so many relatives that still hadn’t yet met him and many were surprised to see such a  big boy instead of a little baby.  19 months can kind of sneak up on a person.  I don’t think anyone would be offended when I say that the most important “meet” of all was Liam meeting his great-grandmother.  Great-Grandma Klingen was incredibly taken with Liam and enjoyed being able to hold him.  She was surprised of course, at how heavy he is.  I am often shocked at how long Liam has gotten and this picture particularly shows that off.  Kid’s getting too big too quick I tell ya.

I will admit that Liam did go into ‘shut-down mode’ during the open house.  He is very talented when it comes to sleeping through overstimulation.  Honestly he should teach a clinic in the PICU or NICU, when this kid senses too much activity around him he just shuts it out and rides out the noise.  He was extremely well-behaved through all his meetings if only because he snored through most of them.

Karin and I though were barely able to get in a nap.  I kid.  We had fun working the room and bragging about our boy.  We were able to show all our old NICU stuff again and explain all that the early days entailed.  As difficult as a time in the hospital is, when it’s over it can be fulfilling to talk about the journey.  We are so proud of our son and family that I could tell Nicu tales for hours if someone asked enough questions.

Sometimes friends drift apart for no real reason.  Especially when those friends move in opposite directions for college.  Karin was able to reunite with her closest high school friend on this trip as well.  There was never any falling out or anything between them so getting together again after 15 years was an emotional but joyous time.  Spouses and children were introduced.  A delicious dinner was had.  Fun, Fun, Fun. Thank you Diane and Ed for a great evening and I look forward to a repeat.

The less said about the ride home the better.  Suffice it to say that at one point it took over an hour to move 4 miles.  I hate the Connecticut Turnpike with a red-hot burning passion and will from now on drive north to the Mass Pike and west from there to NY in order to avoid the Nutmeg State altogether.  I may even stop putting nutmeg in my french toast recipe just to hit ’em where it hurts.  By hour 6 of the hellish ride home Liam had had enough of being strapped into his chair and was about ready to blow his top.  We got home just before 3am monday morning and since I have had to work every day since, no one in the family has had much time to rebound from all the activity.

Anticipating this big milestone of Liam’s First Roadtrip I had planned on taking loads of pictures during the entire adventure.  Car ride photos, sleeping in a big boy bed (pinned down by a large barrier of pillows) photos and maybe even local landmark photos.  Yeah, pipe dream.  That was never going to happen.  Travelling outside of our little comfort zone, all thoughts were on watching for the unexpected.  Thrown from our routine I think we were all just a bit unsettled and underneath it all was a constant worry.  I’m pretty sure that that is one of them “normal kid” problems that any new parent would feel their first time away from home.  I was too busy worrying about things that weren’t going to happen to think about slinging around the camera.  Besides, shoulder strap for the oxygen tank, shoulder strap for the ventilator, Go Bag shoulder strap and pulse oximeter, where the hell does the camera hang?  Oh and which hand should I pick up the boy with?  Anyway, I managed to make sure the camera was around for the good parts.

Never one to want attention Karin will hate me for posting this but oh well.  Its worth sharing.

Someone told me I need to post more.  They’re right.  I will.  But I don’t usually have anything so enjoyable to write about.

5 comments

  1. I am so happy that your first trip to N.J. went reasonably well. I.m sure the next trip will be even better. Thanks for the pictures. Hope you all have re-adjusted to your regular routine.
    Liam is a beautiful boy with great parents!!!!!
    Love you all, grandmama

  2. Really great to see pictures and hear “first hand” from you…I heard all about Annika holding Liam and the Klingen cousins thought it was a great day…even with the rain. You and Karin are All-Star parents and I remember a Sunday afternoon ride through Connecticut that I WOULD NEVER want to repeat and it was before kids…thanks again for sharing!

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