11 August 2012

A little fun and a little prep

This weekend is the 3rd Annual Sitka Seafood Festival. We've posted about SSF before, but it's so neat to see how this community event continues to gain momentum and support from all of SE Alaska. There was a parade this morning, followed by merchants of every variety and food ranging from fry bread to Filipino. There were event competitions, including a cake contest, a "Sitka Signature Dish" contest, fish head toss, fish head bobbing, tote races, and more. After checking out all the wonderful vendors and activities, we took a tour of the USCGC Maple, the largest buoy tender in the Coast Guard, which is stationed here in Sitka.  This year a Highland Games event was added to the festivities, so Stephen & Porter went in style. (I apologize for the poor picture quality, I didn't think to bring a better camera than my iPhone.)
Stephen says this is the first time he was out-shined at a Highland event--Porter definitely turned some heads.
Men's caber toss

The Pub was among the food vendors. Here you can see them cooking up whole fresh-off-the-boat dungeoness crab, corn on the cob, and potatoes right on the lawn for $15/meal.

Live local musicians kept the party going. (To the right, out of this shot, was the BIBCO beer tent.)

Sheaf toss

Highland dancers

City of Juneau Pipe Band (How cool is their logo)

Porter was completely enthralled with the bass drum.

Women's stone throw
All of the athletic events were held on the lawn of the former Sheldon Jackson campus (now the Sitka Fine Arts Camp), which is currently undergoing massive remodeling and restoration. This being the first year we've had Highland events in Sitka, most of the athletes were first-timers as well. The community was very supportive, though, and we expect this event to grow in future years.


In other news, Seren and I will be flying to Anchorage this week for a minor surgical procedure on her eye.

Seren, like me, was born with clogged tear ducts, a condition which doesn't affect eyesight or ability in any way, it just gets a little messy from time to time. Because of the blockage, the lacrimal sac produces more fluid in an attempt to push the blockage out and her eyes tend to look runny or mucusy most of the time. In my case, the blockages naturally cleared from both eyes when I was about 4 years old. However, Seren was not so lucky. The blockage in her left eye cleared naturally, but her right tear ducts still have a blockage somewhere between the lacrimal sac and the nasal passage.

This image borrowed from the Children's Hospital Colorado website

In the image above, you can see that you have two tear ducts, one on the upper part of the eyelid and one on the lower part of the eyelid, in the corner of each eye. These ducts run down the side of your nose, where they connect with the sinus cavity beneath the cheek bone and (eventually) the nostrils.

Seren's procedure will require full anesthesia because of the delicate work that has to be done, but it's actually a very simple and straightforward solution. First, her tear ducts will be flushed with saline. Then, a very thin tube will be placed in both tear ducts in her right eye. The middle of the tube will only barely be visible in the corner of her eye and will be completely painless. Both ends of the tube will run down the nasolacrimal duct and be stitched together with one dissolving stitch to the inside of her nostril. Even though this is considered a surgical procedure, there will be no cutting involved. The tube simply keeps the ducts open enough that they can heal properly after the blockage is removed by the fluid flush. After about a month or so, the stitch inside her nostril will dissolve and the tube can then be pulled out painlessly.

Our normal healthcare is provided by SEARHC, here in Sitka, but they do not have specialist facilities that handle this type of procedure, so we will be flown to Anchorage on August 14th, where she will be seen and treated at Alaska Native Medical Center on the 15th (pre-op), 16th (surgery), & 17th (post-op), and we will fly home on the 18th. We have housing arranged for us on the medical campus, which will make everything much easier to deal with. I am so very grateful that all of this - flights, procedure, & housing - are being paid for by the Oklahoma Cherokee tribe. Without them, we surely would not be able to afford the cost on our own.

I don't want any of you to think that we are worried about any of this at all. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Stephen & I are excited for Seren to have this cleared up and Seren is excited to be able to do all the things she loves without having to worry so much about keeping her eye dry and clean. We consider this event to be just another part of our adventures together as a family and, as such, I will be taking pictures whenever the opportunity presents throughout this trip and updating you guys from here, in the blog. So stay tuned and leave your words of encouragement and support in the comments. I know Seren will love reading them.

1 comment:

  1. love love love the porter/stephen picture!!! too bad we didn't make it to the games here this year in order to find a new kilt... guess some shopping around is in order huh?