Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Raining, Pouring

I can only pray we are done with infirmities for awhile. Ava was just released from the hospital.
After two days on the flu meds it became obvious that her stomach problem was not related to the flu. She still had the same pain in the same place, becoming more and more debilitating. By that time it was Friday before the long week-end, and the pediatrician's office decided to take an extra day off. So, I knew there was no hope of seeing someone before Tuesday unless we had an emergency situation. She got thru the next four days but she was in quite a bit of pain. It was not constant, but it was consistent. I finally got her in for a Tuesday afternoon appointment. I was hoping against hope that he would give her prescription for an intestinal virus and that would be the end of it, but after testing her physical reactions, he feared the strong possibility of appendicitis and sent us to the hospital. She immediately started to cry at this news, but we got her calmed down. I realized that her concept of a hospital must be a pretty scary thing. She also freaked out later when she had to go for her CT scan, but inserting the IV and drawing all the blood did not phase her. Fortunately her CT showed negative for an inflamed appendix, but unfortunately, it showed she had a huge intestinal blockage. This was baffling to me as she'd had fairly regular bowel movements over the week-end. But they gave her something in hopes of moving it and we had to stay until something happened. Or until they made something happen. Fortunately for Ava, 24 hours later, she moved it and they released us. After the freakout about the CT scan and her growing irritation with the IV hook up I was not enjoying the thought of her enduring an enema. I will forever have the image of her in her much-too-baggy hospital gown that came down to her ankles, in her stocking feet, walking up and down the corridor with her IV with beads in her hair and halfway down her back, click-clacking away. The good thing is the IV solution took away the pain.

I had to make a quick and unconventional decision concerning Elle. I asked my X and his wife to take her, realizing that our hospital stay was going to be more than observation. They were gracious and accommodating. I figured she was already familiar with them, she loves playing with their girls, and Lucas would be there too. But I knew internally it was going to freak her out. I told her I would come and get her as soon as possible but she was going to have to spend the night there and she could sleep in Lucas' room if she wanted to. I made her promise not to cry, which she agreed to. Then I said a quick prayer, crossed my fingers, and let her go. I talked to her on the phone a couple of times, but I was anxious. She did great, and she did not cry the whole time. But as soon as we got in the car she started melting down. I figured that would happen. I asked her "why are you crying now that I am here? You did not cry the whole time you were gone!" to which she retorted "because you told me not too!"

The real answer to the question is "because she can". She held it together while she had to, but obviously it was not that easy.

Then began the battle for Mom's attention. Big one because she'd had it exclusively for over 24 hours, and Little one because she had not had it at all. I won't lie and say things got back to normal after we got home last night. This whole thing threw everyone off kilter, and the two weeks of constant health problems has exhausted me. It's early morning and I can only hope it somewhat normalizes today. I'm going to work. I should be able to make it a whole day. That should please my boss.
It was not all gloom and doom over the week-end. Ava had her moments that were pain-free, and at those times she returned to her happy self. They discovered this old swing (which is minus the actual swing) hidden away in my back yard.

Not to get overly philosophical, but I heard it said recently that it's the moments in life that make up our life. So I'm having to really learn to take the good with the bad. Not to let the bad color my day or even color my life. I've had a thousand bonding moments with these girls that I never have time to record here. Some unbelievable conversations. It's easy to get discouraged by the hard stuff but it's important to remember the value of perseverance and to cherish those 1000 moments. And look forward to the ones that will come.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Will You Buy Me A Daddy?"

Hello single parents. At some point all of us are going to hear some version of this question, and the fact is, there is not any easy answer to it!

I honestly never contemplated the (sometimes controversial) issues of single parenthood until I decided to become one. Even tho I am divorced my X and I have still raised the boys "together" and that worked out pretty well. Sometimes I wonder if I am shortchanging my girls because they do not have a daddy. There are plenty of people in the world that believe that it is wrong to raise a child without two parents, but the fact is, it happens. Parents get divorced, parents become widowed, and their are plenty of needy orphans around the globe that are---shall we say---extremely disadvantaged. Whose parents died in a war, or from a disease that they could not get treatment for, whose extended family cannot or will not take care of them. Kids who are starving, who may be ill, or even enslaved. It's all out there, a whole lot closer than we think, outside our 1st world bubble.

For me, I took the view that it was better for these kids to be adopted into a single parent home than to continue to struggle, not only to live, but to have some sort of a future. I also had wanted to expand my family for a long time, but the men I was with did not share my view. I decided to do something about it all before I got any older. I do believe, from my own experiences, that it's better to raise kids in a two parent environment and I am completely open to it, but right now that is just not the reality for me or the girls. I am grateful everyday for their first parents who provided them love and structure, even when it became impossible to provide food, health care and education. I am also grateful to my X (and I never thought I would say this!) for being there for the boys, and also, for providing a type of male role model/anchor for these girls. They adore him.

That said, here's the deal-io. We were watching "Hannah Montana the Movie" for about the 60th time the other day while I was doing Elle's hair. (BTW this movie also deals with single parenthood as one of it's themes) My favorite part of the movie came on, and as usual, I said, "this is my favorite part of the movie!"

What can I say? The man (still) has IT!

Elle looked up at me and said in all seriousness "Can you buy me a daddy?"
I did not mean to laugh but it was hard to help myself. I said "honey, I can't buy a daddy"

Ava said "You have to get married!"

Elle said "Well, I want you to get married, I want a daddy! He could help you!"

Ava "I don't want you to get married!" This is the second time she has expressed this, so I asked her,

"Why? Are you afraid he would take attention away from you?"

She nodded her head. She admitted it. I said "yeah, but you'd have a daddy!'

She shook her head. No, nada, negative.

Not to worry big girl. There is no daddy on the horizon right now. I'm sorry little girl, for now.

Then THEIR favorite part of the movie came on. Dance!

H1N1---Don't Panic

Being the anti-hypochondriac that I am, I refused to believe that this would affect us. (Yes, sometimes I have a problem with denial!) But I am also dismayed at the hype that the media has given this issue. It strikes fear in the hearts of the vulnerable, which is just diabolical in my opinion. Yes, some people have died from it, and that is very bad but the media rarely report that people die of influenza EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

The fact is that this strain of flu is rampant right now, but at least in our region, it's not very severe. At all. Ava complained of a tummy ache the other night, and she did not want any Pepto. If you are adopting from Haiti you should probably be aware that your children may have more gastro-intestinal issues than other kids. Ava has them but they tend to be mild. Elle only has them when she eats too much. Their systems just aren't used to that much food.

I digress. Ava's belly hurt, but it was not crippling and she went to sleep. She complained about it in the morning again yesterday, on her right side, but I sent her to school anyway because it was not debilitating and hard to discern if it was serious. I was thinking---appendix?---but I knew the pain was in the wrong place. I got the phone call after I'd been at work about an hour. The school nurse had Ava in the clinic and she could not go back to class. By the time I got there, the pediatrician had closed for lunch so we just hung out at home. She was in good spirits and the pain pretty much was gone or was low grade, but I called the doctor's office anyway and they said to bring her right in. She also had a low-grade sore throat.

The good news is she has gained 4 pounds in less than 2 months. About 7 since she has been home. She is a very picky eater and is fully capable of going on an involuntary hunger strike when she gets upset, so I was happy about this. The bad news is he diagnosed her with H1N1.

He told me it was rampant right now but not severe, just give her the treatment and she would be fine. In all, she was/is not acting very sick. It seems to come and go. I'm keeping her home today to give her 24 hours on the antibiotics, and so she will not be contagious, but otherwise she is in good shape. It did take some work to find the Tamiflu. It was hard to find a pharmacy that had it in stock.

I realize that one of the concerns is that this flu will return during the winter with a vengeance, a stronger strain. At least, according to the media. Sure, that is a concern. Even if your kid does not seem that sick, have them looked at and get it taken care of now. Use your common sense to keep them as healthy as possible. I read somewhere that it was recommended that they stay isolated 7-10 days. The doctors are NOT recommending this because that would be ridiculous. Be wary of the hype. And above all, don't panic.

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