Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mom of a Kid with Profound Disabilties

Ok this is hard. It's the second week of Program/School and with my eternal optimism, I filled it with appointments for ME thinking I would surely be free to do things without my sidekick. Last week he only made it to program one day because his sleeping patterns are way off and he had too much fluid in his lungs.

Rosa, the aid in his room, is a very nice woman who is convinced I'm over protective since he is always healthy and cheerful on the days I take him. She always says, "See? He is FINE here. He LIKES it here. He ate really good and he laughed all day long." So I wonder if she's right. Maybe I should make him go more often. Plus, they only get paid on the days he goes and they are really hurting for money in this crummy state, so I feel bad about that.

Yesterday was all about me. I took him to Esperanza and went to have my hair done. It was awesome. I really love my new hairdresser and going to her is the ultimate luxury in my life. When I went to pick him up, he smiled dimly at me and put his head down and went to sleep. Rosa told me all about what a great day he had, but all I could see was his blue fingernails.

But I had an appointment at Costco to get my new hearing aids. So I took him to Starbucks, which he loves, and bought him some caffeine. That sometimes perks up his lungs a little until we can get him home and hook him up to the oxygen. Then we went to get my hearing aids. (Which are going to take some getting used to, but I'm really excited about. They match my pretty hair!) Then I thought we'd pick up a few things since we were there. He was NOT happy about this. He grumbled and complained all the way around the store. He also stopped to sample snacks at every station throughout the store. So I thought he was just hungry. We bought a minimum of stuff and came straight home. By this time he was making the very loud, distressed honking noise he makes when something is really wrong. But he wouldn't eat and he wouldn't settle down.

His oxygen was not that low but he did have a junky cough. What are they feeding him at school? Is he aspirating? Rosa says that he drinks a lot of tea. Is he aspirating it?
Are they feeding him carefully when he eats so much? He doesn't really care how much he aspirates or how much food goes up his nose. You have to watch him. And he is already having trouble with his lungs lately. (Allergies? It does seem to be worse in early fall and late winter) Or is his "laughing all day long" actually that manic laughter that is really a desperate plea for help? He gets this weird out of control laugh when he is upset about something or really worried about something. Do they know that?

Bath, chest vibrator vest, nasal spray, nebulizer, chest PT, dinner, more chest PT. Nothing helps. 10PM I rip the hearing aids out. The honking is really getting on my nerves and I certainly don't want to hear it as loud as the hearing aids make it. 11PM still honking. Oxygen getting lower. I hook him up to the oxygen machine and keep checking. I put soft music on the IPod and hook him up to that, too. Still honking. 12:30 AM we're both exhausted. I notice he is rubbing his feet together as if they hurt him. Could it be Athlete's Foot? He gets that a lot. I put cream on his feet and he sighs deeply and changes his tune to his (also loud and annoying) going to sleep hymn. 1:30 AM still singing but much softer. I give up and go to bed.

So it's almost 8 AM now. I have to decide what to do today. I have a dentist's appointment. I broke a tooth almost a YEAR ago and I really need to get it fixed. I can't take him with me to the dentist appointment. He really freaks out when we go somewhere and I am the patient. He doesn't like knowing I'm vulnerable. Well, you can imagine why. He knows he'd be in really big trouble if anything happened to me! (There's another blog topic - what happens when something happens to mom?)

So obviously he was in major crisis of some kind yesterday. Was it a lung crisis or an Athlete's Foot crisis or both? He's sound asleep with his head hanging over the edge of the bed now which usually means he's having trouble with his sinuses. Do I get him dressed in his sleep, grab an Ensure, drive through McDonald's and take him to Esperanza? He will probably sleep most of the time. Or should I just let him sleep here and give him extra machine treatments at home? And reschedule the dentist - again.

AM I over reacting? Or am I UNDER reacting because I'm selfish enough to want a new, expensive crown in my head. (Hair cut, hearing aids and now I want a crown. And I don't even have a job! Next I'll be eating bon bons and watching soap operas) Magic thinking: am I somehow causing his distress because I feel guilty about being so selfish?

Well, writing all this out helps. The problem is that last night is a fairly common sort of night around here. So I get to taking them for granted. I think of them as practically "normal". But when you look at it objectively, what mother in her right mind would send a kid to school after a night like that? It really doesn't matter what Rosa thinks of me, I'm in charge and I'm supposed to be the expert on Sam. Sam is my job. The buck stops here.

I am so grateful for my dentist and his wonderful receptionist. I know I can reschedule and they will be understanding. I need to give Sam some extra treatments today and watch him to see if I can figure out what is going on. The crown can wait. Again.

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