Archive for January, 2011

One so young shouldn’t have to go through this

It is not something that you can easily dismiss

I see the pain in your eyes

Relief from this would be a prize

If only I could take it away

No more of these jerks and shouts on display

I see you asking for help to make it stop

If only from you to me we could swap

I want you to be happy with your childhood

I wish the people with stares only understood

Standing with you I will always be

Till there comes a day that you will be free.

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If you have been following my blog, I am telling you a little bit about myself, my husband, my marriage and my son.  I have had an interesting life and I thought I would share a slice of it.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . 

 Having our business fall apart was really hard on my husband and I.  He was in West Africa, still trying to create a miracle for the business, when I received the consulting job offer.  He got back home about a two days before we needed to depart for Ohio.  Our clothing and the baby things were packed in the car, our apartment was locked up, and we were off to Ohio. 

We arrived in Ohio and not much had changed from when we were there before.  The only difference was we were there with a nine month old baby.  Our apartment was on the other side of the city but was basically the same type of accommodations.  We settled in pretty quickly.  Our initial plan was that I would begin work and my husband would stay home with the baby.  We could make different arrangements when necessary.

We unpacked and we had three days before I had to start work.  The next day after we arrived my husband was not feeling good and as time went by he was having an excruciating headache.  The headache got so severe that we went to emergency.  As I was in the waiting room, a nurse approached me and informed me that they were concerned about my husband’s symptoms.  To confirm the doctor’s suspicion, the doctor was going to do a spinal tap.  My response was, “What?”  I thought to myself what possibly could be wrong with my husband that would need a spinal tap for a diagnosis.  The nurse suggested that we should remain in the waiting from until they had more information.

 After about two hours with a crying baby, the doctor came to talk to me.  He said they were admitting my husband to the hospital because my husband had bacterial meningitis.  He indicated that it was very serious and contagious.  He said my husband would put into quarantine and treated.  He instructed me to take my son home and to not come in contact with people.  Basically we were in quarantine also.  He said if either myself or the baby started to have symptoms, we needed to come back to emergency.  At this point they would not even let me see my husband.

Who would have dreamed this was happening.  I found out that bacterial meningitis is rare and is pretty serious.  In advanced cases it can cause long-term complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, paralysis or seizures.  Meningitis is an  inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. This inflammation is caused from an infection that spreads through the blood and into the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.  Bacterial meningitis is also difficult to differentiate from viral meningitis.  In order to determine the type, a spinal tap needs to be done.

It took several days to get results from the spinal fluid culture. They ran several tests on the spinal fluid to determine the organism that caused the infection.  While my husband was in the hospital they did a MRI to determine if the brain tissue was swollen and to see if there was any brain damage.  While all these tests were being done they started treating my him with antibiotics. 

This whole situation put us in a slight predicament.  First of all we didn’t have insurance, which meant big bills.  There really wasn’t anything I could do about it.  Life, death. Not too hard to make that decision. I was just thankful the hospital was willing to treat my husband.  The other issue was that I was supposed to start work on Monday, but I could only do this if my husband could take care of my son and we were no longer in quarantine.  So, once again I contacted the VP who hired me and explained what was going on.  She was very understanding and we postponed my start date by one week. 

For the next week my son and I stayed at home.  We talked to my husband over the phone.  I was very grateful that he was getting better.  After about five days he was allowed to have visitors.  A day after that they discharged him.

Well that was a dramatic opening act for our relocation to Ohio.  I wonder what it would be like to have a life without chaos.  Sometimes I wonder is this how everyone’s life is or is my situation unique.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  It is my life, and I learned long ago that I am a survivor, regardless of what challenges are thrown at me.  And if life was too simple, I think I would be bored.  Little did I know that those survival instincts would come in handy in the future.

Related topics:

Swallow my pride and move on . . . 
Worst fears were coming true . . . 
A new business can be rough . . .
It’s a different world . . .
Change in career, another move, and starting something new . . .
Good-bye Chicago, Hello Columbus . . .
Chicago and a time of crisis . . .
A place of prosperity . . .
There are good people in the world . . .
Hard times: a need to relocate . . .
And another story begins .

As I said earlier my son was put on an IEP in first grade with objectives to help with reading, attention/organization and writing. In second grade at the end of the year his teacher suggested that I pursue getting him help also with math.

By the time my son started third grade they had not added any math support. Third grade was year of whirlwind chaos. With everything going on I could not have predicted what was yet to come.

In the fall of third grade, around the beginning of October, I noticed my son was sniffing his nose quite a bit. At the time I really didn’t pay much attention to it. We live in a colder climate and October is when it starts to get chilly. I suspected he was getting the sniffles.  This sniffing went on for about two weeks or so and I finally took note that he had been doing this for quite some time. It was highly unlikely for a cold to hang on for that long.

One night he was having a hard time falling asleep, which was not a new thing. So I laid down beside him to read a story and hoped he would drift off to sleep. As I was reading I noticed that the sniffing was never-ending. Every breath he took was with this sniffing sound. Soon he fell asleep and the sniffing stopped.  The next morning when he woke up I noticed the sniffing was happening again. At that time I still did not make the connection of what was going on.

Meanwhile at school in third grade they were learning addition and subtraction facts. A big part of the teacher’s lesson plan was to learn math facts so that they would become second nature. In order to do this they used a program called rocket math. To begin with they calculated a student’s writing speed, which created the goal for the rocket math. For example, my son’s goal was to get twenty-six math facts done in one minute. Then the students would practice on a worksheet that covered a specific set of math facts. After they practiced a few times they would then take the actual speed test. If you didn’t reach your goal you could not move on to the next set. The overall goal was to accomplish one set per week or more, and by the end of the year, if everything went perfect, the student would complete the whole rocket math program for addition and subtraction.  It sounds pretty straight forward. The worksheets started out with the simpler math facts and progressively got harder as the students worked their way through the sets.

Meanwhile, due to his tremors, my son still could not write legibly. You can probably predict what happens when you mix dysgraphia with a timed math test. Unfortunately for my son passing a set of math facts also meant the teacher needed to be able to read what he wrote for his answers. Everyone at school was aware of my son’s writing issues, and there were objectives in his IEP that were directly related to the writing issues.  Unfortunately they chose to ignore these for these timed tests and said the writing speed accounted for this.  It was obvious they didn’t really understand the needs of my son.  As you can see there was a lot of pressure on him, but at the time he seemed to be keeping up with the class.  This didn’t happen easily.  He did a lot of work with mom at home practicing rocket math to accomplish this.

Meanwhile, I noticed the nose sniffing continued. This may sound crazy, but it got to the point I thought my son had forgotten how to breathe normally. There were a few nights when I would try to coach him to breathe correctly. We started by trying to do deep breathing exercises. I would join him while I said, “Let’s take a deep breathe, in through the nose, and out through the mouth.” I was pretty amazed that he really could not do this no matter how hard he tried. I finally decided that we would just ignore it and perhaps it would go away.  I known that sounds odd, but I didn’t know what else to do.  It didn’t seem to be interfering in his life.  Not yet, anyway.  No complaints from school.  And a doctor would think I was crazy if I told him my son has forgotten how to breathe.

After about a month, the nose sniffing disappeared, which I was very grateful for. But instead of sniffing, my son started to quietly hum. The humming was like little bursts of short, muffled hums that had a nasal resonance to them. It was like, “Hmm, pause, hmm, pause, hmm, pause.” It was a little like an alarm clock but at a quieter volume.  There were occasions when it stopped, but that did not happen very frequently. He tried hard to stop but he said he couldn’t help it.

Now here is where the guilt begins for me.  The humming became a real annoyance.  I could handle it at home, except at night when he was trying to fall asleep.  It was a little bit more difficult in public or when we were trying to do homework.  Let me be honest, which I am a little ashamed of, especially now with hindsight.  I was beginning to think he was doing it on purpose.  I started to doubt that he couldn’t control it.  I was frustrated.

By the middle of November I had an epiphany about the humming, and more importantly about my son.

to be continued . . .

 

This is a post that is a part of series of post. To see more on this topic check out the related posts below.

Related posts:
The beginning of an IEP . . .

The Little One

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Mind Flurries
Tags: , ,

With yearning in his eyes
The little one looked up to his dad
He longed for no more good byes
To him the distance makes him sad

With head slightly at a slant
The father looks down
Not wanting to say he can’t
And seeing the heaviness of the frown

His son was feeling pain
His youth could not see the tomorrow
Strong and driven as a father he must remain
If only his strength was for the son to borrow

He knew that soon the tears would appear
And the ache would swell in his heart
He said to the son, there is nothing to fear
It will not be long for us to be apart

To the future we must look
The work today will lead to good
One day you will remember what it took
With pride you will remember what you withstood.

With concern in his eyes
The man looked down at the son he had
Knowing that remaining strong is what is wise
In the end the little one will see the prize

If you have been following my blog, I am telling you a little bit about myself, my husband, my marriage and my son.  I have had an interesting life and I thought I would share a slice of it.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . 

Seeing our business fall apart before our eyes, my husband and I talked.  We worked hard but it was not enough to save the business.  I contacted an attorney to see what we needed to do.  Based on his recommendation, we laid off all of the employees, including my father and both of my brother-in-laws.  We locked the doors of the plant.  It was done.  And then I worked with the attorney to file for bankruptcy.  While this was happening my father and both of my brother-in-laws had found jobs, which was a big relief for me.  They took the whole situation pretty well and were fully supportive. 

While we were shutting down the processing plant and taking care of legal matters, I received a phone call from a Vice President at the company I had worked at when I was consulting.  She had a six month project and they needed someone with application testing experience and business analysis experience.  It was an all expense paid contract, including housing, food, and transportation.  Plus it was a great hourly rate.  My husband and I talked about the job and we had two issues.  First, there was a risk of the job only lasting six months, but six months was better than nothing.  We decided there was nothing to lose. 

We would have to move to another state, which brought us to the second issue.  I did not have enough money even to get us relocated.  We decided we wouldn’t close down our current apartment, which would reduce relocation costs.  The rate of pay for the contract would cover the rent charges, and since it was only a six month contract job, we had a place to come back to when the contract was done.  We also decided that we would take only what was necessary and what would fit in our car.  Even with this plan, I did not have enough money, for gas and food, to travel to Ohio.  So, I had to take a chance and I decided to contact the VP.  I told her a little bit about the circumstances and asked her if it would be possible to get a small advance so that we could relocate.  Luckily, I had been a good worker when I was working for them before.  Surprisingly, she didn’t bat an eyelash and said sure she could get me an advance.

Wow, miracles were really falling into place for us.  We were at the point of almost being destitute, and now I had a consulting job that was going to have a pretty good paycheck tied to it.  Yes, we had to move, but I think we needed to get a change in environment to rejuvenate ourselves.  It is really depressing to have a business fail and it hacks at your self-esteem.  I kept going over and over in my head trying to determine what we could have done to prevent this crisis from happening.  The only thing I could come up with is that you have to be very, very careful who you partner with, and if possible don’t even involve a partner.  Now that isn’t an easy situation to achieve.  Sometimes you need a partner to inject money into a business to get it running and obviously we didn’t have that kind of money.

Soon the advance money was sent to us.  We packed up our car with our necessities, which was mainly clothing and baby stuff.  We had a big good-bye with the family, and off we went.  We were headed for another adventure.

. . . to be continued

 

Related posts:

Worst fears were coming true . . . 
A new business can be rough . . .
It’s a different world . . .
Change in career, another move, and starting something new . . .
Good-bye Chicago, Hello Columbus . . .
Chicago and a time of crisis . . .
A place of prosperity . . .
There are good people in the world . . .
Hard times: a need to relocate . . .
And another story begins .