Saturday, December 6, 2008

I need to stop typing these up in Word; it’s too easy to go long. But there’s a lot to be said, so settle in.

I realize I haven't been posting here very faithfully over the last few weeks. There's a reason for that. We've been busy. Two birthdays (Asher turned 2 on Tuesday; Bram turned 4 on Friday), Christmas shopping, eating by mouth, fighting CCAC, doctor's appointments, mystery vomiting for, and um... no, I think that's it. Gosh, it felt so much busier than that. Maybe I just have poor time management. (LOL. And arg. This will make sense in a bit, don't worry.)

Let's start with the birthdays and Christmas. Those are fun.

So, it turns out that my 2-year-old boy who loves Thomas and Elmo is the hardest person in the world to shop for. You wouldn't think so, but it's true. Apparently, the only Elmo thing available this year is that stupid Elmo Live thing, which I hate (hence the "stupid" comment). But, we managed. He had a blast and was, predictably, spoiled rotten with gifts. If you haven't seen the pics from his birthday, check them out. I posted the link to this Facebook album in his birthday post, but I'll post it here again:
and yes, he had cake. More on that in a moment.

As for the Christmas shopping, well, I have the same dilemma there for Asher. Again, stupid Elmo Live. That's pretty much it. Why is Elmo not cool anymore?! Next to Super Grover (who ranks up there with Batman and Wolverine, as far as I'm concerned, albeit for very different reasons! LOL), Elmo's the coolest Muppet ever! I don't get it! arg. You can't imagine my frustration. And then there's the clothes situation! That's even worse!

I wanted to get the kids Christmas outfits. I found a gorgeous dress for blithe, and an adorable little outfit for Bram (beige, brown and orange, with a sweater vest and a tie – too cute! And not nearly as nerdy as it sounds, so don't laugh). But Asher, he's tricky. I know what you're thinking: "but heather, he's that gorgeous blue-eyed blond with rosy cheeks and a spunky personality! You could put him in almost anything! He'd be great to shop for!" haha, you'd think so, but you'd be wrong, my friend! Spunky personalities are easy to dress. And blond-haired, blue-eyed beauties are easy to dress. But... here's the problem, as I see it:

The "in" colours this season for little boys: blue, grey, white. And so almost everything I've seen for boys this season is blue, grey and white.

I have seen Asher each one of those colours in the recent past.

And put those colours on him, and they will do nothing but accentuate his blue undertones. And when you think that the trendy accent colour for boys this season is black, well, that will just scream "hi, I have half a heart and really low oxygen levels." So, no.

Ok, so the blues, greys, whites and blacks are all out. So, you'd think think red, right? Yeah, good idea. Let's put his "goal" colour right by his face. That'll work. Um, let me think... no. That will simply draw your attention to the fact that he is not anything close to this colour. Sure, there's a pinkish hue to his cheeks, but there's an actual blue to his forehead, nose and mouth. So red's out.

Purple, then. Oh, I'm sorry; I forgot to include that on the list of colours I've seen him turn. So no.

Orange. Yeah. The complementary colour to blue. That won't accentuate his cyanosis. *rolls eyes*

Yellow? No one should wear yellow. Ever. But that's just my opinion. (so not a yellow fan.)

That leaves us with green. At Christmas. Easy, you'd say. Ah, my friend, you have never gone out looking specifically for something green for a blue 2-year-old, now, have you? No. I have. Not so simple. Because apparently, green is not the trendy colour this Christmas. The one year I need it is the one year it's nowhere. Nice.

Well, I shouldn't say "nowhere." I did manage to find a gorgeous sweater at The Children's Place last week in green stripes. And I mean GORGEOUS!!! (they also had a blue one like it, and I was tempted to buy it, but only to use for trips to emerg and such, as a colour reference: "so, he was this colour this morning, and now he's this colour down here, and last night he turned the exact shade of this stripe on the sleeve." Handy, but I think I'll wait till it goes on sale, thank-you very much.) But he needs pants and a shirt to go with it. Perfect. Not a problem. There should be loads in his size (2T), right? Yeah. Maybe. But not in this hemisphere, I'm afraid. They had the perfect cords. So cute. And available in every size but his. And they had the perfect little white dress shirt. Adorable! Also available in every size but his. I can't tell you how much I love shopping for this kid. Ugh. So, there you have the saga of the Christmas outfit, up to today. But we do have a bit of a time element here. You see, my AMAZING friends Geoff and Staci know how obsessed I am with the photography of a friend of theirs (really, it can't be healthy, but seriously, folks, he's incredible!). So what did Geoff and Staci surprise me with the other day? A PHOTO SHOOT WITH CLINT ON THE 14TH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a week away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, the older 2 are taken care of as far as their clothes are concerned. But Asher! Eep! I need to go shopping again!

Ok, on to eating by mouth... and this will be quick, because by now you've gone to his birthday pics and seen for yourselves: HE CAN EAT BY MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He ate birthday cake the other night, and he had pizza for supper. And when I say "eating," I mean he's swallowing, actually swallowing, and not aspirating! Nothing is going into his lungs! He can actually swallow!!!!! You have no idea how amazing this actually is! Just a few weeks ago I was getting so discouraged, thinking that he would always be entirely tube-dependent and never able to eat like the rest of us do. Sure, he had be putting food in his mouth for a while now, but he was leaving it in there for hours and we'd be pulling supper out of his mouth before bedtime (which is much more disgusting than it sounds, believe me). He also had pizza tonight, which by now you've read about below. And his new favourite food in the entire world... can you guess? CHEERIOS! How normal is that?! And how thrilled am I?! J You can't even imagine! Growing up, I hated normalcy. Now, I crave it like a toddler craves cheerios. Like Asher craves Cheerios! From the moment he comes downstairs in the morning until the moment he goes to bed at night, he's asking for cheerios: "chee-ose. Kees?" (Side note, here: for his birthday, I managed to find a cloth Elmo book, but I also got him one of those cheerios cup/bowl things they have at the Superstore, and his very own box of Cheerios. And all he wanted was the cheerios! Yay!!! J) and Thursday was his 2-year check-up (also delightfully normal, and mostly all good), and when I told dr b about the cheerios, she said, "oh, ok." (No swallow study yet, mind, but whatever, she said, "oh, ok" so I'm going with that. LOL).

Moving on... what's next?... ah, yes, fighting CCAC. Did you know that Asher doesn't need daytime nursing? That what will really help him to, say, survive and me to get a good night's sleep, is to have stranger sitting up awake in our bedroom (he sleeps in my room for now) all night? That's right. CCAC tried to cut our daytime nursing, which means no more monitoring of his health, and only give us night nursing. Well, actually, she tried for a PSW, who, you'll note, cannot give meds or anything. You can imagine how I reacted. During our hour-long phone conversation the other day, I made it quite clear to her that her plan (which she continued to refer to as our plan regardless of my feelings on the subject) was crap and I would not tolerate it. she argued with me, saying that what I need is sleep, and that if I had better time management I'd be able to get all my living (that is to say, errands, doctor's appointments, picking the kids up from school, rest, breaks from a medically fragile child, etc etc etc etc) on the days he's at Ed's, and that I should be fine to do all of Asher's care by myself with no support the rest of the time. If I had night nursing for Asher, apparently, I would be refreshed in the morning every day. At that comment, I laughed and said, "You don't have a special needs child, do you?" "Well, no," said she, "but I can imagine it's about a hundred times more stressful than parenting a healthy child." "Oh, you think?" I said, ever so politely and not at all bitingly or rolling my eyes. "When was the last time you woke up refreshed?" she asked. "Um, how about, before I had kids." "Well," she replied, "welcome to parenthood." I'm not kidding. That's what she said. So, apparently, what I need is a stranger sitting awake in my bedroom overnight and a more realistic grasp of parenthood, and then I'll be able to handle all of Asher's care by myself. And, throughout our conversation, she kept saying "we're client-directed care" but then in the next sentence it was all about "government mandates" and "responsible use of human resources." Which means, "screw you, mom, I've got a piece of paper from a politician that says you don't need help keeping your child alive."

Ok, if you've met me (or read my blogs, or if you heard me on the phone with her last week), you will know two things: I told her that clearly her priority is not, in fact, Asher's health or survival but rather her precious paperwork. (Yes, I'm just that blunt. Those are my actual words.) And you will know that in the end, I won. She almost cried at one point (never piss me off when it comes to Asher. I'm his momma and I'm gonna do everything I can to keep him alive, and if that means I complain to high-up hospital administrators or make a grown woman cry, I'll do what I have to do). In the end, she said, "well, I'll take what you've said to my manager and I'll call you back in a few minutes." Half an hour later, she called me back. They're leaving Asher's care the way it is right now. She's gone till March now, and at that time, we'll sit down and have a big meeting with herself, her manager, nursing, dietary, and me and we'll all discuss Asher's care and see what he actually needs. But the story's not done.

That afternoon, Asher had an appointment with paeds (he wasn't doing so well that day). I mentioned the CCAC situation to doc, and she, of course, got ticked. For those of you who don't know Asher's paeds, she's a lot like me, only feisty and with a tendency to fight for Asher's wellbeing. I like her. J She wanted all the details: what care we have now, what they wanted to give us, the case manager's name, everything. She said, "I'll give her a call today, because this is not acceptable. And then I'm going to call Steve Peters and tell him that he can either reign in CCAC or come here right now and show me the plans for the respite home they're going to build in St Thomas for these special needs kids and their families. And then I'm going to call the province's child advocate and tell him what CCAC's trying to do." See why I like her? Feisty. I have a lot of respect for that woman. Apparently I was the third parent to come in to her office that week (!) and tell her that CCAC was trying to cut their services. Stupid government mandates that take priority over people's health and lives. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (If you're interested in getting a little political here, feel free to call your MPP and/or the child advocate about this situation, and feel free to mention Asher specifically. Direct him/her to this blog, if you want. I don't mind. Wink wink) and a funny little end-bit here to the CCAC episode: the case manager called me again on Friday morning last week, and said, "So, dr b called me this morning and we had a very, um,... interesting conversation." I said, "Yeah, I bet you did!" (Oh no, I'm not still ticked). She said, "So, we will be leaving Asher's care the way it is for the next few months, and then in March when we have our conference, she will be joining us to provide us with her perspective. Is that ok with you?" I said, "Absolutely, that's perfect. The only person who knows Asher better than her is me, so I'm quite happy she'll be there." "Good," said the CM, "but now I will need to make one change to Asher's care-" (did you catch that? "We're keeping things the way they are" and then "I have to make one change." Hmmm....) "-and change his services to RPNs instead of RNs." I replied, "We already get RPNs. They share with the RNs." "Well," said she, "I have to change it to only RPNs." Now, again, you've met me, right? And you're aware that I am stubborn and determined, right? And that I will do anything for my boy? Yeah. I said, "No. We're going to have one RN a week. And I want V---." "Um, ok. I can arrange that." Hence my status line last week on Facebook: "Heather is shouting from the rooftops: "VICTORY IS MINE!!!" so, yeah, CCAC sucks, entirely political, not caring about people's health. Esp medically fragile children's health. And in the end, I win. She had no idea who she was dealing with when she called me and tried to cut our services.

Doctor's appointments and mystery vomiting: this will be quick. Asher was vomiting for some reason. For almost 2 weeks. Don't know why. No one could figure it out. I even took him to emerg for it. it started a few days after he was discharged last month and lasted WAY too long for anyone's liking. But, long story short, he didn't drown, didn't even aspirate, and we have all learned a valuable lesson: when you mix pedialyte with pediasure (formula), it curdles. Seriously. Yuck. So don't try to do that. Makes kids barf. And makes moms unhappy. So don't try it.

and Asher's 2-year check-up was on Thursday, which went generally well. He's hitting milestones and growing and speaking at his level and learning new skills all the time. His newest skills: doing up his jacket. I have to start the zipper, but if then he can pull it all the way up. J and when you think that Bram only recently learned how to do up his own coat, this is AMAZING! And his other new skill starts off every morning now: he stands up in his crib, unhooks the feed set from his tube, closes the cap on his tube, and throws the feed set across the room. I didn't know he could do this until the morning I heard something fall on the floor but thought it was just a toy, so I left it. but imagine my surprise when I got up to find a river of formula running across my floor (he hasn't figured out how to pause the feed yet), and his tube closed. Yeah. And by now I've actually watched him do this, and it's quite a sight! That, gentle reader, is one smart toddler! They learn what they live, I guess, and this is what he lives with, so I shouldn't be so surprised, but still! It's awesome! J

ok, I'll stop now. I think that about covers it for now. I'll try to get back to posting more often, but apparently I have to work on my time management skills (gosh, maybe I should get night nursing, and then I can blog at 3am, and stay all caught up. Grr, CCAC, grr). Ok, I'll be good. And I'll try to be better at this posting thing now. I'm sure we're all getting tired of the novels, and would much prefer little blurbs instead. I can't make any promises (you know me too well for that! LOL), but I'll see what I can do. Talk to you later! J


ChristophersHeart said...

Okay, so wow, I don't even know where to begin. First, have you considered looking on ebay for Elmo? I bet you could score some good stuff there. And if I spot anything I can grab it and mail it to you. What sort of things are you looking for, anything specific? I'll also keep my eyes open for green for you, what size is he?
And can I just tell you that my jaw hit the floor when that CCAC woman told you "welcome to parenthood?" Oh my goodness! She needs some retraining on how to be sensitive and what life is like with a child who has special needs and a life threatening condition! Good grief! And time managment would let you sleep get things done - BULL! Clearly she doesn't spend a good part of every week at an appointment or making phone calls while trying to care for other children and run a household. Good grief. I am so glad you got angry and that you are gonig to get the same care for Asher and that your doctor is advocating too and I am going to look up my MPP b/c I am so upset about this. Grrrrr.

On a happier note, I am so so so thrilled that Mr. Asher is swallowing cheerios and PIZZA with no aspiration!!!! How incredibly awesome is that? Wow, you must be beyond excited to see him join in the family meals and eat!! And actually eat!! Awesome!! I am hoping this leads to really really good things, things like gradual tube feed weaning instead of 24hrs a day!!!

(((big hugs to you)))sounds like it's been a heck of a few weeks. You are awesome and so strong and a fabulous momma to 3 beautiful, wonderful kiddos!


Tanna said...

when you shop.... got to H&M in white the back...the kids stuff...its mostly girls stuff... but you should fine cords in every color! :) LOL and shoes and dress shirts and ties... I love it there...

as for CCAC.. they do suck-a-roo... try dealing with social workers that don't do "transplant stuff" LOL... ya...not fun...its taken me a month to access they funding because Ruta's caring for her ailing mother... I swear if I just had her address book I could get so much more done :)

but this is a comment, not a one upping you... I am curious if you will come sit with us when Yale's heart comes...I think you company would be greatly appreciated... totally not an experience I'm looking forward to and at the same time an experience I'm dying to watch happen...:)

anyhoo...I know it depends on the kiddies...and this is still supposed to be a comment...LOL... so... get back to me...via facebook if you will... either way you're going to get a screaming phonecall when his heart comes!

hugs to you and your gorgeous babes...

Heather & Family said...

Hi Heather I just love your attitude and writing style. My son Drew has TOF and kidney & bowel issues. After Drew's surgery he wouldn't drink and I though he would if they removed the gtube. I just wanted them to let me try. I had to yell in a interns face "You need to listen to the mommies, we know our kids, you just know more about medicine than I do. You do not know more about this child" I wanted his gtube out and they would not remove it, He finally started drinking 10 minutes after it was out. uh huh, one for the mommies!

Your kids are lucky to have such a strong mommy! I live in Parkhill, we should try to meet sometime!