Monthly Archives: September 2013

Two Weeks…

Grandparents Day Cropped

Two weeks ago my Mom went to Robert’s school for Grandparent’s Day.  He was so proud and happy to have his Grandma there.  It was a noon release day so afterward she took him to lunch and then brought him home.

Two days later our lives changed dramatically. 

Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning my Mom fell while holding a crystal decanter.  We still don’t know if she tripped and passed out when she hit her head or if she passed out and that’s what caused the fall.  She cut her thumb severely and laid on the floor bleeding for ten hours.  We still don’t know what made her wake up.  But she did come to and drag herself across the kitchen floor to the phone to call my nephew to come home.  He had spent the night at his mother’s house across town. 

She told him to get her to the couch, get her a towel for his hand and not to call me or 9-1-1.  Luckily he didn’t listen.  He called me.  We were in church and I was digging for treats for Robert when I saw the message on my phone.  “I need you. “ 

I called the house and tried to convince her to go to the hospital.  I still wasn’t fathoming how bad it was.  She wouldn’t go… told me she was covered in blood and looked awful just to get to the house as quick as I could (it’s a 45 minute drive).  When I go to the house I still didn’t think we were dealing with anything critical.  Until I tried to stand her up and she almost fainted.  That’s when we called the ambulance.  Then I looked in the kitchen where she had been.  Her blood pressure was 60/40 and she was still complaining that we were having her taken to the hospital.

At hospital number one we found out the cuts on her hand were the least of our worries.  She also had three fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a compression fracture in her T-9 vertebrae.  That led to transfer to hospital number two after a quick stitch job on her hand and getting her BP stable enough to transport.

The next nine days were a blur of doctors, specialists, oxygen and discharge planning.  She would not be able to come home when she was released.  I had to tell her she would be going to a skilled nursing facility for a bit.  We had to have her somewhere that she could build up her strength and that could accommodate her high flow oxygen system.  She was pretty resistant at first.  There were tears from both of us.  Finally, she conceded.  The day before she was released she was on 13 liters of high flow oxygen.  By her release she was down to 2 liters of regular oxygen. 

Her first day in rehab she wound up back at the hospital because they thought her EKG looked funny.  Cardiologist thought it was fine and sent her back.  She had a few very valid complaints about the care she was getting (it is a very good facility) and some that were pretty minor.  I met with the admissions director to address them.

Today was her first real full day there.  In her PT evaluation she scored 49/56.  She also rocked it out at OT.  She was off oxygen for 45 minutes because that’s how long it took me to notice we hadn’t put it back on after a restroom break.  She was tired tonight but I think mentally she was feeling better.  She is realizing this isn’t permanent. 

I met with her care team today to go over a few issues I had and to discuss “the care and feeding of Maribeth” (we’ve been having trouble getting her meals).  It was a good meeting and I was able to fill in some blanks that they didn’t know about.  The PT in the meeting said she really thought if Mom continued to progress as she was we will be discharging to home next week with the help of a visiting nurse.  My nephew was with her all day today and learned what they do in therapy so he can help at home.

Tonight it looks like the nightmare will be over soon.  It has been a hell of a ride.  My Mom isn’t an easy person to deal with sometimes.  She has high expectations and standards.  I also know that she was scared to death, on high doses of steroids to keep her lungs strong and Vicodin for the pain so she isn’t always tracking.  Her manner can be gruff but she’s generally right.

I’ve been splitting my time between my house, mom’s house, the hospital/care facility and work.  Luckily I had today and Monday off… bummer that I was supposed to be in Vegas but good that I’ve been able to be there with Mom as we make this transition.  I miss Jim and especially Robert but he’s doing OK.  He was thrilled the other day because there was a cupcake in his lunch that Grandma sent to him.

Tomorrow the boys are coming to meet me in Independence so we can spend a few hours together.  I’ll go home later and then come back to Mom’s house Sunday night after I finish with her at the care facility.  Most days I feel like I’m spending all the time on the road.

She’s the toughest person I know.  Even though she doesn’t believe me when I say that.  I hope I’m half as tough as her if I ever have to be.


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Kindergarten May Kill Me

Where did the time go???  How is my baby a kindergartener?  He was so ready.  The week before school started he told Ms. Judy (his most favorite teacher ever, and the feeling is WAY mutual).  He was being Lenox (the lion from Chima… long story, he’ll become a character and just go with it… today it was Lenox).  Lenox told Ms. Judy, “Susanne (his characters call me by my first name) told him that Robert will be OK going to a new school and he’ll meet and make new friends so don’t worry about Robert, he’ll be fine.”  Then he gave her a hug.  And she is fabulous enough she texted me the story because she knew I’d melt.

I thought I was ready too.  I’ve loved every moment of his life and couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome this next phase was going to be.  A part of me was still a bit sad that he isn’t a baby anymore… it went too fast.  But I just knew he was going to be awesome and totally rock Kindergarten.

He was super excited on back to school night.  I love Robert’s teacher.  She is totally there for the kids.  She is going to inspire him to learn.  I seriously could not be happier that this is how is is starting his formal educational.  On top of our parent package’s were a custom business card she had made that had her cell number and phone number on it.  I was so excited when we got home.  I entered the entire calendar into my outlook and signed up for PTA.

First day of school he was up and ready on time.  We now have to do breakfast at home so that means getting up earlier but he was ready 30 minutes before it was time to leave.  Which of course, means there are time for pictures!


The first week went well.  It was only three days and it was sort of getting into a routine.

The second week the fun began.  On Tuesday I picked up Robert from afterschool and he was telling me that he spent some time with the principal instead of going out to recess.  I couldn’t get the whole story straight so we went back in to talk to the teacher a bit.  First off, they are animate that he was not “sent to the principal’s office”.  He just went there to finish a worksheet that he didn’t do during class time.  I also found out Robert does not do thing the first time he is told (or the second, or third, or fourth sometimes).  He apparently also told the teacher that she is not the Spinjitzu Master Commander so he does not have to listen to her.  Aye yay yay.  So, we’ve had long talks about how he has to do things the first time he is told and also he has to listen to the teacher.

Wednesday went better.

Thursday he woke up complaining about pain in his leg and he was limping pretty severely.  He is not one to complain about physical pain so  I was concerned.  I took him to school but decided to call the doctor when I got to work.  This led to a fun filled day of tests and having the daylights scared out of me.  We got in with one of the docs in our group, not our primary but still one we really like.  After an x-ray he diagnosed Robert with toxic synovitis.  Apparently he had a virus previously and it settled in his hip.  We would need an ultrasound to confirm and to make sure he wasn’t septic.  We got into the children’s clinic for the ultrasound and I could tell the tech was concerned but wouldn’t tell us what was going on.  Just said to wait for the doctor to call.  Luckily the doctor’s office called quickly.  They couldn’t rule out sepsis with the ultrasound.  Definitely fluid on the hip.  We needed blood work.  Luckily since we were still at the clinic they were able to fax over the lab request.  I had to run back to the office for a bit.  Jim was there so there was really nothing to do but wait for the results.  Basically the result of the call from the doctor would be A) give him motrin and wait out the pain (a week or two) or B) take him to the children’s hospital immediately and start IV meds.  There was no in between.  Three hours later we got the call… Motrin.  But it was a worrisome three hours.  He still isn’t 100% and has a bit of a limp some days but for the most part he feels fine.

Last week was a fun one.  On Wednesday he came home with three papers in his folder of work he had not completed and was graded down on.  And it was simple stuff that I knew he could do.  So, when we got home instead of playing he had to finish his work and we had to talk about consequences.  He breezed through it at home.  I told him the instructions then left the room and told him it had to be complete when  I got back.  I was so frustrated. 

When I get frustrated with something Robert related  I think of my aunt.  What would she tell me?  I actually said out loud, “You know Ann, you were supposed to be here to help me with this.”  Thirty seconds later my phone buzzed with an email from Robert’s teacher telling me how much she appreciates that I come into class every morning and tell her if anything is going on with him and how we support her at home.  I emailed a few questions I had for her… what is he doing when he’s not doing the work?  Does he behave?  Is he making friends?

Turns out he just tunes out during work time.  He isn’t disruptive.  Doesn’t leave his seat, doesn’t talk to the other kids.  Just sits (checks out as she put it).  He is very well behaved and does have friends.

So, more talks with Robert on doing his work when he is told and not thinking about anything else.  Thursday and Friday were a lot better.  Only happy faces and stars in the folder.  I had decided Friday afternoon that if he had a good day we would go play laser tag as a surprise.  Luckily he had a good day.  I told him that he would never know when there was a surprise day so he always needed to do his best.  Ever the pragmatic he asked, “Couldn’t you just tell me in the morning if it is a surprise day?”  LOL.. nice try kiddo.

Through everything I am thrilled that he still loves school and his teacher.  He is getting it, slowly but surely.  He just takes his own time.

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