Monday, April 6, 2009

And Last Week...

Wow! What an eventful week, give or take a couple of days! We jumped in with everything we had and are just trying to keep up.

FIRST, the furniture arrived Friday morning the 27th. Yay! Real live beds! Real live chairs and a table to eat on! Real live dishes! True to the Mover's Code of Really Abysmal Packing (CRAP, for short), none of the boxes' labels really accurately describe the contents -- so it's like Christmas morning every time I open a box. I never know what I'll find, other than a guarantee of copious amounts of paper. (One box, marked simply as "handbags", contained 2 purses; some toys from K's room; part of an upright oscillating fan; a few VHS tapes; a stuffed frog pillow; a couple of baskets; a dog toy; and a small, pink, flip-top garbage can -- mine from my office.) I worked like a mad woman to get the kitchen at least unpacked (but not completely put away) Friday night.

Adding to the mix, Z's dad finished his week-long training in San Antonio and also arrived last Friday evening, to visit with his wife and the rest of us. I love having family come visit, so it was happy chaos with A and K scrambling to see who could wedge themselves deeper into his lap, and shrieking with laughter. I also had to figure out how, in unfamiliar territory and in the dark, to get to the local Ryan's restaurant, which was separated from the road I knew by a large moat. I figured it out, but not without a few wrong turns and narrowly missing a Cadillac.

Dad and Mom (Z's) drove all the way to the airport to pick up Z on Saturday morning, 1) so that he and mom could have some "alone" time together to talk and catch up after being separated for a week, and 2) so Z's parents could actually visit with Z somewhat on the 3+ hour return trip. Z's dad had to leave for conference in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon, so it was visit with Z then or never.

While they were gone, I kicked into "High Nesting Mode" (it shares some symptoms with mad cow disease) and got the living room, kids' rooms, and the bathrooms unpacked on Saturday morning before Z arrived home. I think my military pedigree, first as a "brat" and secondly as a wife, has served me well. This is a day to remember, for sure. I'm calling this memorable event the "Unpacking Melee of March '09". I could take a day each year at the end of March and celebrate it in memoriam by throwing paper, tape, and cardboard everywhere and dumping the entire contents of the house into the living room, but I think that my memory and the accompanying involuntary twitches will serve just fine.

Z got back to our house around 3 in the afternoon, we went to set up the chairs and such for the next morning's church at 7 p.m. (we are currently meeting in an elementary school until we can get our own building), and got home after 9 p.m. -- and then Z and I had to run to Wallyworld to scrounge a cable for the preacher's new mike. The one we had was too short.

Got home, slept, got up and went to church, left Mom and Dad at church with the kids and zipped immediately following service to drive the 3 hours back to the airport to drop Z off, then drove home (which took over 4 hours thanks to construction and idiots who tried to drive up the emergency lane to cut in front of the already slow-moving traffic merging into one lane), went to a church business meeting since Z wasn't there, and got home around 8 p.m. Z was actually on Texas ground for 26 hours before he had to fly back to D.C., and most of that time was either in the car, sleeping, or at church.

The next day I continued the "let's enroll in school" circus for A. The first school I had gone to on Thursday the 26th (the one we are zoned for) is actually an accelerated learning school that is bilingual, pre-k through fifth. Oddly, the second language is French; I figured it would be Spanish in these parts. The office receptionist was a little snooty and coolly asked where my son was, because he had to start on the day he was registered. I'd left A at home with Z's mom to get the paperwork portion finished, because A does not do well in strange places -- especially when he gets bored. Boredom just encourages playing with his God given toys, if you catch my drift, and that's not exactly the best first impression his new school needs.

When I explained that my son has some special needs and that I would go home and get him after the paperwork portion was completed, she got a distasteful look on her face and directed me to the special needs coordinator for the district, who had just happened to walk into the office at that very moment. Mrs. S was very nice and tactfully suggested that A attend another elementary school very close by that had the resources he would need (occupational and speech therapies). But she couldn't be there until Monday the following week, so I was to await her phone call on March 29th and meet her over there to finish enrolling A in the district. (The paperwork I received at I. Elementary is the same stuff that M. Elementary needed, so I had that portion finished already).

So I waited on Monday morning....and waited....and, no phone call. I finally called the school, and they explained that she had to take care of an emergency at another school but they had all of A's information. I headed up to the second school, which is about 3 minutes away, and was pleasantly surprised and felt pretty sure that this would actually be a much better fit for A. For starters, there's no school uniform required -- he can wear whatever he wants to. And the receptionists were very nice and very helpful. His teacher is awesome and totally used to accomodating special needs kids. She actually took time to come down and meet me in the office, took me down the hall to show me the classroom, and listened to what I was telling her about A.

Shazaam! A was registered, and could start.

Well, not so would seem that Texas has an additional vaccination that is required to be in school, one that Maryland does not require: Hepatitis A. A couldn't start school until he had his first shot in the series.

Being brand spankin' new, without a family doctor, and no longer able to use the military clinics, we had to go downtown to the health department. Which only does immunizations on Tuesday mornings, thank you very much. So, early on Tuesday I drag A with me to the local health department so he can get his shot. Z's mom was still with us, so I left K with her. Thank goodness!

I have never seen so many large graphic photographs of STDs in my life. All just boldly hanging there on the walls and displayed on little easels throughout the health department's waiting area. I was just waiting for A to realize that Hey! he's got one of those penis things too -- and then wonder where his red and black spots were. Yikes. It is actually a blessing that A doesn't talk much and that K wasn't there...I'm not sure how I would have handled his little sister loudly and repeatedly asking what each picture was.

I have also never seen so many scared-looking teenaged girls, pregnant teenage girls, or teenage girls with babies gathered in one place, either. It was actually pretty sad.

But -- we eventually got the shot (an hour and a half after arriving), and after a screaming fit (A's, not mine) made it to school for A to start on Tuesday morning. He has school full day here. He has to be at school at 7:00 a.m., when the bus arrives, and leaves at 2:45. For pre-school. Granted, breakfast is at 7 a.m., and school doesn't start until 7:25, but I'm not going to let him ride the bus and then just sit there and wait while all the other kids are eating. Plus, it really does simplify things from our end at home: wake him up, change his clothes, and put him on the bus at 6:30 -- they'll take care of breakfast and lunch. Today (Monday, April 6th) is his first day on the bus, so we'll see how it goes; I've been taking him to and from school last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

BUT. Here's where things got interesting:

The school nurse called me at 11 a.m. on Thursday because A was screaming in pain. He would calm down, and then start up again and double over at the waist. I stayed with him at school until about noon, and then took him home. His lower abdomen was distended and very hard, and tender to the touch at this point, so we wound up in the emergency room (trip numero dos) and stayed there until well after 8 p.m. The doctors kept hemming and hawing over whether they were going to admit A or not, and finally decided not to -- but he had to come in the next day for more tests and examinations. A sedative, a cat scan (after the sedative), and three doses of morphine later, it was finally determined that the problem was not his appendix (Thank God) but he actually had a severe monstrous blockage of his lower intestine.

Think constipation, but on a much larger scale. A's digestive system, for whatever reason, has always been a bit slow, and he's had some difficulties toileting at times (which has made potty training doubly difficult). We don't know if this is a feature of his autism and subsequent digestive issues, or if that's just the way he would be even without the autism. A had been providing us with small B.M.s every day, but nothing overly much since just before we moved (just over two weeks ago). A was put on an antibiotic for an ear infection at that time, and that's what the doctors think started the whole process (those antibiotics can stop you up like nobody's business). That, combined with the move and sitting for three days straight in the car, the stress of having his entire routine changed (yup, stress can "gitcha" too), and then eating a primarily fast food diet for a couple of weeks all added up to one large problem. And A, because of his communication challenges, had no way to tell us he was not feeling well or uncomfortable until it got bad enough for him to scream and cry.

To prevent having to do surgery (because the obstruction was so severe) the doctors were actually giving A adult doses of laxatives, both orally and in the other end to try to move things along. We had a "blessed event" about an hour after we got home, but nothing at the hospital, and nothing else after.

Friday, A was still screaming occasionally with pain, and the doctors gave us yet another prescription for another type of laxative, along with a myriad of rear end treatments and some pain meds. (I purchased some vinyl gloves on my own, just because of what we're dealing with here. I can always use them to cook broccoli if I don't use the whole box dealing with A. Oh, yeah, I'm allergic to broccoli by the way, can't even touch it without breaking out in hives. I suppose that would have been a weird statement without that knowledge).

We left straight from the doctor's office to take Z's mom to where the airport is. She had to be at the airport at 4:45 a.m. Saturday, and we didn't want to leave our house at 1:30 a.m. to make the trek over there, so we stayed the night Friday at a hotel near the airport and took her over the next morning. Meanwhile, A was still dealing with his issues, so that was fun. I had the singularly nasty experience of giving my son a suppository, which I pray won't ever be necessary again, and even that didn't do a thing! It took until Sunday after church to get everything else "taken care of", but I think we're finally sufficiently recovered. A has been acting his typical self since about 2:00 yesterday afternoon.

A rode the bus this morning for the first time, so I'll see him again at 3 or so this afternoon -- provided I don't get yet another phone call from the school requesting my presence. So -- today I'm catching up on housework and other things. I neglected to get to the dining room and my bedroom in the Unpacking Melee of March '09, so I look forward to getting out of the Picasso stage very soon. (OH, you know. When you move, everything in the house is a study in "cubism". Is it a chair? Is it a table? It's both! It must all be from his "brown" period, though...)


Melody said...

oh the joys of motherhood. You are one awesome woman. I don't think I could handle everything you've handled the past few months. I can totally picture you in the superwoman outfit. Hope A had a good day a t school. Miss you too much to really say.

J H said...

As long as you're not picturing me in the "Wonder Woman" thighs are WAY to big for that one. : ) ~ J

deb mills said...

your life is certainly never boring, is it? :)