Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Old and New

At his latest parent-teacher conference, I was told that Little A's Shadow Teacher, after a year of working with our son and his teachers, has not been achieving results as quickly or effectively as we would have liked.

I agreed with them on this as I had been feeling the same way, and took immediate action. There is no doubt that she is intelligent and capable and clearly loves my son, but at this point, I had to do what was best for his development, which still lags far behind his peers'.

Big A and I had also been looking into giving up his Monday Speech Therapy, which he'd been attending for a year with little results. Most forums suggest abandoning a course or therapy after a couple of months if it doesn't seem to be working, but like all parents who grasp at straws, we didn't want to give up one class if there wasn't a replacement. We'd finally gotten another Monday class - Communication Therapy this time - and were willing to make a switch.

There was a Shadow Teacher I consulted when we first needed one for Little A. At the time he was working with another child, but last summer he emailed me to let me know he was available. At the time we wanted to stick with the one we had, and had trained from Day One to work with Little A, but time enough had passed to indicate she wasn't effective enough.

So we engaged the New Shadow (who came with a companion as he wasn't available on all the days of the week we needed one) and began the transition, which was interrupted by The Great Fall. Now we're into the Christmas break, so I expect another adjustment come January. We're readying ourselves for what the New Year will bring. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Great Fall

I thought it would be a regular Tuesday. Put in a load of laundry first thing in the morning, got some paperwork done over breakfast, made sure everything was ready for the dinner party Big A and I planned to attend that evening, and paid a visit to the bank while Little A was in therapy.

After talking with his therapist at the end of the class, I took Little A to school and headed off to the shop for a couple of hours. As I waited for the lift in the mall's carpark, my mobile rang. It was Little A's school, and this was the first time they had ever called me during class hours. My heart skipped a beat before I answered.

Little A has had an accident, his teacher said, as I heard him screaming in the background. He's bleeding from his ear. The headmistress is already on the phone to your pediatrician. Please could you come back now? Quickly as I could, I rushed back to school.

In the classroom, Little A lay on the floor whimpering. When I came in, he curled up against my chest, his hand cupping his right ear. I was told a car was on its way to take us to the doctor's office. The headmistress accompanied us there.

From what I gathered, his new shadow teacher (the current one leaves in a couple of weeks, so today was the second day of the transition from old to new) was playing with him, and when he picked up Little A, my boy threw his head backwards and pushed with his feet against the teacher's chest. He does this with Big A, to flip over. The New Shadow did not expect this, and dropped Little A, falling to the floor himself.

My son must have hit the ground so hard, though they could find no bumps on his skull, because his ear did not stop dripping blood for hours. Our pediatrician took us in immediately but couldn't get a good look because Little A was screaming and wiggling so much, so she sent us to an ENT. We went off to another hospital, with my mum this time, who'd rushed over herself as soon as she got the news. We left our car at home for Big A, who was also speeding back from work, breaking every traffic law in the book.

The ENT found torn skin in the ear canal, and ordered a CT scan to check if there were skull fractures. He warned us that if there was a fracture, he'd want to keep Little A overnight for observation. Big A, having once been little and no stranger to hospital emergency rooms himself, had anticipated this, and arrived armed with the Au Pair and extra clothes, books and toys for our boy.

We had to wait a few hours because Little A had had cornflakes in the car, and he needed to be sedated for the scan as there was no way he would lie on that cold hard metal bed voluntarily, even for a 2 minute procedure. Instead of waiting in the Trauma ward, we got a room and let him have a much-needed nap while I finally got to eat some lunch. This was at 5pm, and he had fallen just after noon.

At 730, we all walked down to the Radiology unit. The sedation team came, and I held my son as they injected him with a tranquilizer. He tried to fight the insertion of the IV and the tubes and wires, but quickly went under. Blinking back tears, I laid my son on the machine's hard table. The scan was over, as promised, in two minutes. I accompanied Little A to the recovery room while Big A stayed with our SuperDoc to hear the findings. The Au Pair cried as she watched our little boy being wheeled out on a full-size hospital bed.

In recovery, Little A was still half sedated as he removed off his oxygen tube, his pulse monitor and made every attempt to rip out his IV. SuperDoc's voice and mine calmed him down, but in the end the tubes had to come out because he refused to keep them in there. Groggy and nauseated, he climbed off the bed and would have made for the door if his legs hadn't given out. I sat him in my lap while he threw up in a basin, and we waited to be sent back to our room, watching the anxious faces of our family through the glass panels in the swing doors.

Back in the hospital room, Little A made up for the 12 hours since his breakfast, gobbling down a bowlful of food but then vomiting it back up again because the sedative was still wearing off. He stood under a hot shower and then played until bedtime. We made every effort to keep him quiet and still because it turned out he had two fractures, in the temporal bone and the occipitoparietal (?) one. The bleeding finally stopped and I put in the antibiotic ear drops as he slept.

We've got a struggle ahead of us keeping him from running, jumping and rough play for up to a month. But so far Little A is cooperating, walking slowly and climbing carefully. He is learning how to be less than a human dynamo at all times, which will certainly be wonderful if he manages to keep it up. As for me, I'm just taking it one day at a time. Just call me Humpty's mother.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Last week, my laptop's hard drive conked out. Once upon a time that would have been earth-shattering, but with everything I'm dealing with at the moment - work, life, family - it was just a minor blip on the radar.

What did make me mad was discovering that the Internet Cloud site I was supposedly storing my files in as backup, the one that claimed to "automatically update files as you update them on your computer," was a total crock. Some of the files were 6 weeks out of date, and others never updated at all. I'd stopped emailing them to myself simply because I believed the stupid Cloud site's claims. (Okay, maybe I didn't read every single word of the fine print. Still. I have false advertising.)

So the only "real" data I had was what I'd either written in my trusty notebook (never without one, thankfully!) or I'd printed out. Thankfully, I'd just printed out a recent batch of Little A's photos since I still keep proper photo albums, otherwise all of this year's snapshots would have been completely lost.

Today I was told by the technicians that the files in said dead hard drive are unrecoverable. So now begins the task of rewriting 6 weeks' worth of daily sales reports and other things I really don't have time for since I can barely get the laundry and groceries done and my son to and from school on time, let alone find, buy and wrap Christmas gifts for my entire family (thank goodness friends and teachers have theirs already). So it's goodbye, sleep, for the rest of 2011. Now, where's that frozen margarita?