Tuesday, May 15, 2012

There and Back Again

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately.  Wow, life has been busy around here.  Nothing amazing or life shatteringly different, just busy in a way that makes blogging always get pushed aside. I love blogging so I don't imagine I will ever peter out completely, but I can see scaling it back a bit.  Well, I guess I kind of already have without consciously choosing it.  I'm going to cut back on my online commitments, and focus my efforts a little more when I am online.  As it is, I'm constantly feeling guilty for not doing enough with my online work, and also not feeling like I ever (ever) have enough hours in a day to get my real life stuff done (what parent ever does?).

But the thing is I have lots of thoughts!  About everything!  And I want to write about all of it.  It has to come out somewhere, and this has been my spot for years.  Years, can you believe it?!  Crazy how time flies.  It is funny because you lovely few people keep reading, and we keep connecting, even through lots of life change and some wild discussions.  And some philosophical differences.  And religious ones.  And it's all good.  And I LOVE all your blogs and thoughts and discussions...

I wish there were forty eight point seven hours in every day.  I wish I could live nine lives.  I wish life could go on for six hundred years for each of us.  Give or take.  I wish I could give birth a million times.  I wish I were skinny.  I wish my feet didn't hurt all the time.  While I'm wishing I may as well throw in some good stuff.  Oh yes, and I wish we would win the lottery.  Woot!

I wish I could say I always follow my own philosophies in life.  I wish I never made any mistakes as a parent.  I wish I was not so socially awkward.  I wish I lived in Maui.  I wish we could just live and not have to work at jobs.  Wouldn't that be lovely?  I wish my kids would stay young forever.  I also wish they were grown so I could finish a sentence without interruptions, spend some solitary time with their dad, savor a meal, or read a book during the day.  I wish I had more time to paint, every single day, every single week, every single year.

My life has had some things happen which I have not had time to blog about!  They are medium to large in importance so I will try to cover some of them in short form to get them down on 'paper,' and hopefully expand on them later.

So this winter I mentioned I started snowboarding again.  It. Is. Awesome.  I have not snowboarded since I was nineteen because it's so freaking expensive, but my BF (whose name is Rowenna~Ro for short) started going to free ladies' nite night skiing at one of our local mountains and was like get your damn board and get in the freaking car and board with me, dammit.  So I did.  And it was breathtaking.  The mountain we board at is the lamest mountain I've ever carved, and the first night we went it rained on us.  The snow was so heavy it was like mashed potatoes and my legs only lasted three runs, but it was AWESOME!!!  We went again the following week and it was indescribably beautiful that night; cold, clear, and gorgeous.  We could see the entire city of Vancouver laid out at the foot of the mountain.  It was spectacular.

And yes, Ro wears a helmet and I do not.  This is a matter of finances and not lack of common sense.  Although I grew up skiing and boarding with no helmet so it takes some effort to remember this might be a good idea (same with riding horses).

Anyways, we got NINE runs in, and we were in an awesome groove, going really fast and having tons of fun.  On our final run I caught an edge and was going super fast, fell forward, and smashed my knee into some very (very) hard ice.  The snow had been slush and rain mixed, then frozen solid, with only a very small skiff of powder on top; some of the iciest conditions I've ever skied or boarded.  I was going SO fast.  And I hit SO hard, oh my gosh.  It was one of those situations you read about in books, where people hear some yelling and then realize it is coming out of their own mouth?  Yeah.  Sorry grandma, some F bombs may have been uttered.  =)
All I could think of was
I am NOT going down this hill in a fucking basket.
You know those first aid baskets that get pulled by a snowmobile with injured skiers in them, and a dorky siren to alert everyone to the fact that some dumbass couldn't handle the snow?  Yup.  I was determined to stay out of that basket.

So after a few minutes of pain so deep it made my eyes cross, I got up, hopped a few times, very feebly, to test my knee, and very slowly rode the rest of the way down the mountain.  I couldn't bend it.  I could hardly weight bear.  I was in so much pain it kept taking my breath away.  Ro was all, put some snow on it! and I'm so sorry!  (because she really likes to apologize for things that are not her fault and I'm forever smacking her for it.  Mentally.  Out loud.  Is that confusing?  I'm sorry).  And I was like
DRIVE ME HOME.  No snow.  I don't know why.  DRIVE ME HOME.
Anyways, it took weeks for me to be able to function without massive pain.  I ate advil like candy and iced it all the time.  I tend to avoid going to the doctor so I avoided it.  Two weeks later the swelling went down enough so that I could see my kneecap again.  The pain was still incredible but I got my range of motion back to about 90 %.

After six weeks of advil, ice, and random shrieking when the kids would bump into the inside of my knee, I figured it was well enough to board on again.  I could weight bear, turn, jump, twist, and everything without pain, it was when I  bumped the wrong spot that I hit the roof (still).  The swelling was gone and the bruise was light green.  Almost gone.  So I went again.  (Don't hit me).
I didn't fall.  I went super slow.  I was so cautious it was barely fun.  Except that it was totally awesomely fun.  =)  But the next day my knee hurt so bad and it was swollen like a mothereffer again, so I finally caved and went to the doctor.
Thorough exam.  X-ray.  Medial meniscus injury, ligament sprain, peripheral nerve damage and bone contusion x 2 (mostly on the head of my tibia, on the inside of my knee, but the second contusion~another name for bruise~was on my kneecap)

See the label that says "Medial Condyle?"  My injury is right where that label is pointing to.
I had physiotherapy.  I loved my physiotherapist.  He rocked my socks.  He was young, like early twenties?  And hence he showed his age and inexperience with life.  You know, like when he asked me what line of work I'm in and I said I used to be a paramedic but I retired after I had my fourth child, and he was like, So why did you retire?
No seriously.  He couldn't see how the fourth child could logically conclude in me quitting.  And when I explained it in more detail he asked me So what do you do to keep busy?
No seriously.

Fortunately I am forgiving, particularly when it comes to innocent young kids acting like professionals and pretending they can hold up their end of a conversation.

And he really did know his way around a knee injury, and discharged me from physio as soon as possible which I TOTALLY respect.  You know how some medical professions can keep you dragging back for more treatment long after it is necessary?  Not this dude.  In fact I think he sent me on my merry way one treatment too soon.  But that's okay!

I still have trouble if I walk long distances.  I can't run.  I definitely can't snowboard, but ski season is over anyways so that's okay.  I fell off the fitness bandwagon shortly after I got on it last fall, but lately I have been itching to run again but there's just no way.  My physio kid said bone contusions take a long time to heal but that I will be fine (I concur).  The nerve damage is just from being crushed during the fall, and only resulted in a numb patch of skin above my injury.  Which is weird but doesn't interfere with my body's ability to function in any way except detecting mosquitoes.  Nerves take 6 to 12 months to heal so I'm looking at numb knees for awhile.  Well, numb knee.


But it could have been SO MUCH WORSE!  I didn't break any bones, need any surgery, tear any ligaments or tendons, or even damage the part of the meniscus that is involved in joint function.  My lack of range of motion is due to swelling, not damage, since the injury is to the inner part of my knee and the end of the long bone.  One inch to my left and I would have shattered my kneecap, which is more fragile and prone to injury.  Whew.

In other news, Matthew has been successful in being kind and inclusive with his peers lately, which is a huge step forward.  He continues to struggle academically but make significant improvements, particularly now that he's been identified and given an adjusted educational plan.  Now he only needs to compare to himself and improve at the pace that suits his learning style and capabilities and maturity level the best.

I have been sharing my omega 3 fish oils with him, since I heard it can help ADHD (which we still don't have confirmed he has but we're pretty sure).  I'm wrestling with the idea of a gluten free diet for him, although it is just so daunting it is hard to actually start.  The key here is his weight.  He is SO tiny.  He averages about 38 pounds; sometimes tipping 40, sometimes dipping down to 36.  He is the shortest kid in his class by far, and is literally off the growth chart on the bottom.  He always has been, and he is growing, developing, energetic, his eyes are bright, his hair is black, and he's not obviously malnourished or displaying signs of any health problems that might be related to small size or difficulty with weight gain.  HOWEVER.  The main side effect of ADHD medication (which we are not against whatsoever in any way shape or form) is weight loss due to decreased appetite.  As you can see, Matthew has no room for even a two pound weight loss.  The more we can help his ADHD with natural methods, the lower the dose he will need to take, and the more we can mitigate the side effects.  But OMG.  Gluten free.  Just: OMG.  Sigh.

The fish oils seem to possibly be working somewhat.  A few days in, I noticed we had a really nice afternoon together, me and the kids; it was calm and peaceful, everyone interacted well with everyone else, and it reminded me of times when Matthew's not around.  But he was there!  And I enjoyed it so much!  I enjoyed HIM so much!  It was lovely.  The next day was back to business as usual but that one day of reprive was noteworthy.
And then today I had an IEP meeting with his teachers and principal and his teacher said today I tested his reading of high frequency words (as she does periodically) and he BLEW ME AWAY.  He was so focused, and he read 150 of them.  ALL of the grade one words, ALL of the grade two words, and some of the grade three words.  I thought you had drugged him.  I seriously thought you had gone to the pediatrician already and started him on medication and forgot to tell me.  It was amazing.
Can I thank the fish oils?  I have no idea.  But we won't be stopping the fish oil at any rate, since it might be making a noticeable difference in his ability to focus, control impulses, and relate to others.

It is hard to describe how fully ADHD impacts a child's primary relationships in a way that people can fully understand.  We are positive people, intentional parents, thoughtful parents, and we try hard to be gentle and positive and responsive when we parent.  And yet still the amount of time we spend correcting and redirecting and implementing consequences for his behavior is astronomical.  It is absolutely the majority of our interactions with him.  And this has a negative impact.  We have strong, secure bonds with him and are well attached, and he knows we love him.  He exhibits all signs of a well loved child.  But any child gets worn down by a constant negative nagging, you know what I mean?  He frustrates the shit out of us daily, and he knows it.  Part of him thinks this is funny, part of him thinks it is simply the way the world works because he's never known anything different, and part of him gets a tiny bit bummed out by all the nagging.  We LOVE him and want to simply enjoy his exuberant and unique personality, but we have to spend so much time teaching basic social skills, enforcing safety (he has the same level of awareness of traffic as a two year old.  ie, NONE), and reigning in his impulses to grab, punch, kick, bite, scream, poke fun at, irritate, and push the emotional buttons of his siblings (and us), that we rarely have a moment to breathe, let alone enjoy his personality.  If medication can bring that kind of relational peace to us in even a small way, I will be eternally grateful.  Period.

It is hard to write about him accurately without sounding all grouchy and negative.  We think he's awesome, and we love him fiercly!  And he has TONS of positive interactions with us and knows he is loved, down to the core of his soul.
His teacher said to me today after the IEP meeting, Matthew always writes in his journal and his creative writing stories about his family.  You can really see he knows he has a solid place in this world, and that his world really is his family.  It is so good to see.

His whole world is his family.  And he knows he is loved.   Above all, this is what I want for my child.  To have a solid foundation, a safe nest, a warm place to lay himself open and be himself, and to grow from there.  To one day step out and build his own nest, his own world, his own dreams and vision and life, and to feel loved.

After his psych assessment for learning disabilities, the next step is a pediatrician appointment to get a diagnosis and treatment for his specific issues.  So I took him to my doctor (the one who said, he doesn't have ADD because he sat still like an angel and didn't say boo the entire appointment; totally out of character and ridiculously poor timing) and she referred him and the pediatrician's office phoned back with an appointment for OCTOBER.  Fucking Canada.  SIX MONTHS.  I about shit myself.  I seriously considered driving forty five minutes to the U.S. and paying someone out of pocket for an immediate appointment and diagnosis.  This would not be practical however, since he would need ongoing care.  But I went back to my doctor and she interrupted my request for her advocacy with an offer to advocate.  She said absolutely no way could he wait six months and that she would get her receptionist to work on getting him in sooner.  I forgave her for thinking he doesn't have ADD in that moment, because she knew.  She got it.
Also the principal of our school, when I phoned and told him the appointment was in October, asked for the pedi's phone number and name and called her office.  And asked to speak to her directly.  And advocated for Matthew to be seen "Today if you can, although if you cannot see him until tomorrow, we understand!"  He was joking of course, but in a way that showed her a sense of the urgency of Matthew's particular case.  How awesome is our principal?  Like, HOW AWESOME?  I wish it were socially appropriate to kiss him.  Because I totally would.

There are several reasons why October won't work.  #1 is that six months is too long for Matthew to hang in limbo and fall further and further behind academically.  #2 is that this means we wait until another school year before getting treatment and starting to focus on catching up and bending the IEP around his needs and his response to treatment.  But most importantly is #3, and that is the fact that teachers and support staff must develop an IEP for that current year for each identified child by October 31st.  If he sees a pedi for the first time on October 2nd, he may not be diagnosed by October 31st, let alone treated and re examined in a timely fashion in a way that leaves his support staff enough time to create an IEP that serves him for the following six months.  Waiting until October doesn't set us back six months (which is too long in the first place).  It sets us back a YEAR.

The pedi's office phoned back and got us in on June 24th.  Happy dance.  (May would have been happier, but at least it is before next year, and even actually before the end of this school year although a diagnosis may not be forthcoming before summer).  I also phoned and got Matthew on the cancellation list for the pedi's office so if anyone phones to cancel, we can skip the line and hop into their spot.   (Pray, people.  Pray hard).
I know he's not bleeding out his Colon or dying of cancer, but his disability is pretty critical.  It significantly impacts his relationships, his quality of life, his ability to learn, and the translation of his remarkable intelligence into a language the outside world can comprehend.

Crazy life.  A few other things that are happening around here; I got a job.  Working from home, making my own hours, and making $20 an hour.  My friend owns a business doing search engine optimization for companies, and improving their online presence, websites, social networking, etc.  I'm one of his writers.  This works amazingly well because I can scoot downstairs for two hours when Brent is awake or home on days off, and workworkwork on my own time doing something I already do a lot of.  Write.  It's not high quality writing and I'm not earning any nobel peace prizes but I am earning some money.  And working with my friend is so great.  He's so funny and creative and full of energy and ideas, it is pretty inspiring to work with him on a regular basis.  It helps a bit with the bills.  Makes us not have to stretch $60 to feed six people for two weeks, but rather add $200 here and there each two or three weeks, and voila we can eat more than rice and beans!  And we can have fresh produce midway between paycheques!  Phew.

I've also been crocheting lots, although my orders dropped off suddenly so I'm not sure what's up with that.  Want a toy for the awesome kid in your life?  A unique toy with lots of imaginative possibilities?  =)  I've got an app for that.  Or an item.  Whatever.  Check out my store!

Also, my first baby turned nine.  I have to do a post for him.  My youngest two were dedicated in church last sunday and it was very, very emotional and good for my soul.  My kids are so sweet.  I will post about that too, separately.  We had a wonderful Mother's Day (the babies were dedicated on Mother's Day; how about that for perfect?).  My good friend Louise is counting down til her baby girl is born!  Coming up on May 22nd!  WOOT!

Isn't she pretty? =) I stole this from her blog without permission

I'm super pumped for her; she has two boys and this was their final baby so I'm super glad she gets to add some pink to her house just like I got to when my final baby came along.

And yes, she's the final one.  It's official, final, and sealed with permanent surgery.  So unless God asks us to adopt again (which is not in our official, small, human plan), the Vose Six will remain six until Ayden and Matthew start having babies (please Jesus let that be when they are OLD ENOUGH to have babies, and not in high school, oh please).

That is all.  Thank you for reading this novella.  I love you all.  Goodnight ♥


melissa said...

My goodness that knee injury sounds intense! I laughed out loud when you referred to your "physio kid," though. Maybe you can watch freecycle for a helmet before next snowboarding season?

I'm so excited to hear about your job, too! It sounds like a perfect fit for this stage in your life, and I'm sure it's awesome to have some more wiggle room in the ol' bank account. Congratulations!

Also, Matthew must be a pretty extraordinary kid to have so many people eager to advocate for him, and ready to help him in whatever way they can. So glad they managed to squeeze him in earlier. I'll cross my fingers that the cancellation list comes through, though!

tamie marie said...

Ah, this was good for my soul to get caught up on your life. I feel satisfied now. Thank you. Except, I will stop feeling satisfied if you don't post again in a few days. :)


Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

I'm with Tamie on both points!