Update 16: May 16, 2007

Scorecard: (as of this update): 390 days; 32639 miles (Car: 14314, RV: 18325); 37 states; 41 National Parks; 17041 photos.

Phoenix, A Year Later April 7-24, 2007 (Location 18 on the Map)

Jeff:

As a constant worrier (at least prior to this trip), and as someone who more often than not second guesses his decisions, I've been struggling throughout the trip with whether we should have started this journey to begin with. We have no specific destination in mind for when we end the trip next month; just some ideas of where we'd like to settle down. We don't have jobs lined up. We don't know what kind of medical help will be nearby for Zane. But driving back into Phoenix after a year away put my fears at rest. We had definitely made the right decision to leave. The congestion, pollution, and over-development hadn't miraculously reversed themselves while we were away; they were worse. It seemed to take forever to drive the shortest distances to visit friends and family or even to go grocery shopping. Susan and I agreed that after being reminded of what we left, we're glad we no longer live in Phoenix.

Which is not to say that Phoenix is without its virtues. We have a lot of friends there, many of whom we saw at a get-together at our friend Sally's house. There's the easy-access hiking trails of Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak, which we took advantage of numerous times. And there's a lot of climbing relatively close. I got in four days of climbing; Susan got in one day; Justin even tied in for a short route before deciding he'd had enough. Still, those things aren't enough to make up for what we consider to be the area's other problems.

Part of our return to Phoenix was for doctor's visits. We took the boys to Justin's pediatrician, where both of them protested the shots they received. We took Zane to a neurologist to make sure the seizure activity we had witnessed back in March (but was now under control), was not something that needed special attention. We determined from that visit that we don't need to be doing anything special for Zane's seizures. There is no need to be testing, medicating, and monitoring him unless things get much worse. We also determined during that visit that the neurologist was a moron. We explained that Zane's bottle feeding has all but ceased, and we were wondering if the seizures were partly to blame. She responded by relating a conversation with her colleague in which they determined that feeding problems such as Zane's were just nature's way of keeping the population under control. She did an excellent job of demonstrating that eight years of medical school and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition don't guarantee that you'll turn out to be any more intelligent than the rest of us.

Zane is doing well. With his chubby cheeks, double chin, and fat little legs, along with his increased periods of cooing and smiling, he finally seems at almost five months old to be like a "normal" one-or two-month-old. He clearly is not the same as other kids his age or even kids younger than him, but he continues to hit his own milestones, and he amazes us at how well he's doing. We don't lose sight of the statistics associated with Trisomy 18 kids, but Susan and I and hundreds of others continue to pray for Zane, and it seems to be working. Susan continues to update Zane's website several times per week, and will continue to do so when she has internet access. To see Zane's journal and photos, and stay updated on how he's doing, please visit: www.caringbridge.org/visit/zanemichaelhatfield. (Opens in a new window).

Justin is doing well, as always. He's still rambunctious, talkative, energetic, and at times exasperating. He likes to be outside, as he always has. He continues to be a great source of entertainment. He's taken to putting himself in time out when he does something wrong. One of his newer sayings is "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Daddy", if Susan answers a question he directs at me (or vice-versa). And he's really gotten into rhyming. He'll pick rhyming pairs of words out of the air and announce that they rhyme. Sometimes, especially on hikes, rhyming becomes a good way to keep him occupied.

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