Jack is on the CCHMC Blog!

Check out my first post on the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Blog! It’s about Jack overcoming CDH and how we are becoming a “normal” family. Enjoy!


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Taking Life By The Short Hairs

I am currently reading a book titled What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam. I first picked up the book looking for a little pep talk about getting up earlier in the morning before work and allowing myself to be more prepared and less rushed before my morning commute. What I am receiving however, is a book full of small changes that I can make in my life to get more value out of my time.

One suggestion is to take the weekends as a time to live life rather than a time to recover from the long and busy work week. Sure, recovering is great, but you are missing a small piece of your life which is set aside for living and recharging.

The author breaks the book into sections of the week; before breakfast, on the weekends and at work. In the section entitled, “What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: All There Is” She recalls a story idea about “Simplifying Christmas” in which the narrative shares that you don’t have to bake, throw parties and curl ribbon during the holidays. You can simplify this festive time to allow for relaxation. And though she agrees that there is no reason to fill this time with tasks that won’t bring joy or buying expensive gifts that nobody really wants, there is a value to all the holiday hoopla.

“But if you’ve got young kids, it doesn’t take long to realize that there won’t be many Christmas seasons when the little ones will race downstairs in the morning to see what Santa brought. They won’t always be eager to bake with you, spilling flour on the counter in their excitement. Eventually they won’t care if you don’t put up a giant tree or go caroling or make hot chocolate. They’ll allow you to beg off making a snowman because you’re tired. But there are only a few winters – and only a few days each winter when it’s snowy and you all are home together – that you children will ask to make snowmen with you. Someday, perhaps you will be staring at the snow from a too-simple hospital or nursing home, dreaming of the days when making snowmen with your children was an option. This realization leads to a different question than that suggested by all these tips on simplifying the holidays. Namely, what are you saving your energy for? This is all there is. Anything could happen and you are not guaranteed another snowman. So make a fuss. Make a show. Spend your energy now.”

Matt and I are making great progress on the house and are spending most if not all of our weekends to make head-way. I feel like Jack is growing up and I’m only watching it in the photos I look back on during the week while I am trying to stay focused at work.

We need to find at least one activity a weekend which we can spend together, having fun, relaxing and growing together. Even if it’s just a relaxing movie on a Saturday night, or a Friday evening in the park watching Jack act like a baseball prodigy. We will still get the backyard cleaned up and then we will be able to relax in our safe backyard oasis in the evenings – even during the week when a little time spent sitting and just talking is the most beneficial.

“You can make more money, but the mightiest among us is granted no more than 168 hours per week, and it is physically impossible to work for all of them.” Laura Vanderkam, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Swimming Jack


A Jack Update

A little update on the happenings in the Roettgers house.

Jack has been healing nicely since his three-day stay in Children’s in late March/early April. It turned out he had a bronchial virus and just needed a couple of days to rest. A lot of sleep and some oxygen supplementation did the trick. We have only have one other time where his oxygen saturation dropped but it was only for an hour and he was back up and running with no other symptoms.

In May, I started traveling a lot for work. I like it for the most part so it’s okay. I hate the part where I’m away from my family, but I guess you can’t have one without the other. I would use that as an excuse for my lack of posting, but we all know that’s not my issue… We also took a family trip to Orlando for a week. Jack had a blast running around the condo pool, we took a one day trip to Clearwater Beach, took a winery tour (which really made the food scientist in me happy), and spent one day at Sea World. Jack was beside himself at Sea World; exploring all the new and amazing animals and walking in the masses of kids on their family vacations.

On June 10th, Jack had a three-part surgery at Cincinnati Children’s. He had the screws in his left hip removed, had an inguinal hernia repaired and a routine ML&B. He did so well, Jack was released from the hospital later that day. All three of us were so happy that we didn’t have to spend another night in the hospital. Cincinnati Children’s, you do amazing work in saving children but your furniture could be an effective form of torture. Your seats in the same day surgery waiting room are no better. I feel that we have clocked enough hours for a Temperpedic.

July has brought a bunch of parties which Jack was more than willing to attend. Jack is coming into his own as a lover of his child peers and is even showing an interest in sharing, as long as that means the other kids want to share in a game that requires a ball.

Since Jack’s hip screw removal (about 6 weeks), Jack has becoming a great walker. He has taken a great interest in golf and baseball and is improving both swings.

Until next time, here is a little video of Jack perfecting his gold swing with his deluxe plastic golf set from Wal-Mart.

Event Changes – Third Annual CDH Awareness Blood Drive

Many of you may be wondering why there hasn’t been any information circulating about the Third Annual CDH Awareness Blood Drive. After all, the Holy Trinity Festival is on August 1-3, 2014. Well, unfortunately Hoxworth Blood Centers has changed their criteria for blood drives scheduled on the weekends and the CDH Awareness Blood Drive no longer meets their criteria for units collected. I do want to add that though I am saddened with their decisions, I will continue to donate blood and encourage you all who are willing and capable to do the same. What this means, however is that Matt, Jack and I will be at the Holy Trinity Festival for pure recreation. We wouldn’t miss it and are looking forward to seeing your smiling faces there.

I apologize for the late notice, I was trying to negotiate with my donor coordinator to no avail. Team Jack will take a break this summer to regroup and find other ways to raise awareness for this deadly defect while helping to give back to our community in medical need.

I am thinking a re-do of sorts on Matt and Kaytee’s wedding. Complete with a reggae band and cook out… or another beer Olympics; all to raise money for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Thoughts, Suggestions, Volunteers?

Back in the Clink Again

We have found ourselves back at Children’s Hospital again.

Jack has been fighting a little of a cold since this past Thursday and had been moving a little slow. Last night, he was laying on my lap on the couch and taking one of his many short cat naps when Matt and I noticed that he was working really hard to breathe. We plugged him into the pulse-ox to measure his blood oxygen concentration and received the low number 88% (100% is ideal). That was enough of a concern since pneumonia could really hinder this little guys progress. So it was off the ED for us.

Once we arrived at Children’s, we were taken back to the trauma department; they don’t mess around with a little guy who is not getting all his needed oxygen. We was hooked up to oxygen and the tests started. They tested him for the flu, RSV and a handful of there bacterial infections. They also took two x-rays to determine if there was pneumonia.

We spent the ceremonial 3 hours waiting in a small, glass room; watching mediocre cop shows.

About 3am we were finally put into our room which we are still hanging out in. Jack’s oxygen was just turned off and he has to be without supplemental oxygen for 8 hours before we can go home. After two hours now, he is showing some promise but is still de-satting from time to time.

So now we wait. I am watching the Reds unfortunately losing (barely) to the Cardinals while Jack is taking another one of his short but often naps. I stayed with Jack today while Matt went to work to get some deadlines met. Hopefully I can go to work tomorrow.
Opening Day 2014

Cast Free Is The Way To Be

We are finishing up our fourth day of being cast free and I have to say I love it. Jack is so happy to be free from that cast and he is showing it in his attitude. He is so much fun to be around and its a lot of entertaining to see him discover the mobile world again.

The actual un-casting process was a horrible experience for him. The saw was loud and had to come up to his shoulders to remove the bar around his chest under his arm pits. He was absolutely petrified and screamed during the whole process; bursting capillaries in his eyelids and cheeks as he struggled. Once the cast was fully removed, we were able to give him a quick cleaning before a couple x-rays. The x-rays showed that his hip is still in the socket and all is good.

Next we picked up his brace from Hanger Orthopedic. Jack isn’t a fan, but it will help him adjust to life on the go without straining a recovery hip. He will wear the brace for 23 hours a day for 3 months.

All in all, Jack is bouncing back quickly. He is already doing an army crawl while wearing the brace, and he allowed us to bear weight on his legs tonight for a short time. He’ll be up and moving in no time.

And there is a bonus; since Jack was so used to the cast, he is a little insecure without that plaster armour, so Matt and I are really getting in some little boy cuddle time. We are enjoying it to the fullest since we know it won’t last too long.


Jack giving his ‘stink face’ as we waited in the office before the de-casting. This is the last time you will see this cast…well, the last time you will see it on Jack’s body.





ABM_1393213942 This screen was brought up on while we were waiting for get the cast off. It is a list of all the images that have been taken of Jack at Children’s. The red arrow is a list of the actual images. The blue arrow is of how many images were taken at the time.




ABM_1393214035This is on the same screen as the imaging list. Notice how small the scroll bar is on the left side. I wish I could have had a nickel for all the images that Children’s has for Jack. I would take a small hiatus from work!




ABM_1392916846 After the cast removal, the cast was just tossed into a trash can in the room. It really did look like we threw Jack away.





IMG_20140223_224527Jack quickly began to relax once we got home. After a good nap, he immediately went to his play room which had been neglected during the cast period. What a ham bone.





IMG_20140223_225015We took serious advantage of our spring-like weather on Saturday. Jack was finally able to ride on this tricycle that he got for Christmas. We took a walk down to UDF, loaded up on chocolate malts (and Funyons for Jack) and headed back home so we could show him off to the neighbors.