Archive for September, 2009

Risk your child’s safety, for the sake of their sanity – Part 3 Let’s talk about sex (offender registry)

September 30, 2009

People who commit sexual offences against children are probably the most hated people around.  And they should be.  To take the trust of a child and abuse that trust in such a way to create emotional damage from which a child will likely never recover takes a certain kind of evil.  To look at a child’s innocence and want to gain power over them in a perverse way is such a serious crime the the public needs to be informed when a person has in the past been convicted of such a crime. The sex offender’s registry is a good tool for a parent to use to keep their children safe, right?

Not necessarily.  If the registry were designed to include only those who are a threat to children it would be a good tool.  However, the way it is designed now, a child of 14 can end up on the registration for life for having sex with his 13 year old girlfriend.  The 14 year will be labelled as the most dangerous of sex offenders due to the nature of their “crime”.  Please read the following links.  They explain the failings of the sex offender’s registry better than I can.

Classically liberal writes about children labelled as offenders and in another post clarifies and backs up her statements.
Read about Ricky who was labelled a sex offender at age 16 for having sex with a girl who told him she was 16.  He will be on the registry for life.
Read about AJ and List Dameree who were at risk of being put on the sex offender’s registry for taking bath time pictures of their three daughters.
And then read about the residency restrictions these “offenders” will have  – even the “offenders” who are not convicted may end up on the list.

Add to the above the fact that the registry only includes those who have been caught and most abusers will have hurt a dozen children before they are caught, and we have to ask ourselves just how effective such a registry really is.

Proponents say it’s worth it if one child is saved from abuse. I say if we are willing to let innocent people suffer for crimes they did not commit then we don’t deserve to call ourselves a free society.

Negligent  mother example #3

The risk: Not knowing if someone convicted of a sex offence involing children lives near me or has contact with my kids.

I have never looked at a sex offender registration and so I have no clue if the man down the street that my kids talk to from time to time is a convicted sex offender.  I have never taught my kids to stay out of strangers houses if they are invited in for a cookie.

The precautions: Instilling a healthy respect for their bodies and talking to them about what to do if they feel uncomfortable in any situation.

I know that my children are most likely to be abused by someone they know and so have taken the route of telling them to put up a fight and run away from anyone who is doing anything to them that they feel uncomfortable with.  I have not put a fear of strangers into them, nor have I instilled a fear that everyone is out there to get them.  I have taught them to respect their bodies and that no one has a right to touch them anywhere if they don’t want them to.  They identify their genitals and man’s genitals using proper terms.  Cute names like “pee pee” and “tinkle box” give children a view of their body the is unrealistic cute. We have an open attitude about sexuality in this house.  If I make it taboo, then how likely are my kids going to come to me to tell me if anything does happen?

The reaction from other parents: None because I don’t talk about it with them

I will admit to keeping silent on my beliefs that the sex offender’s registry is more harmful right now than it is helpful.  Many parents are supportive of the sex offender’s registry and it’s not an argument I want to have while sitting chatting over a cup of coffee.

Why it’s worth the risk:  Fearful kids will grow up to be fearful adults

I have no stats to back me up on any of this, but Helene Guldberg, Ph.D. in psychology and the author of Reclaiming Childhood: freedom and play in an age of fear, has written an article on the consequences of teaching children to fear all strangers.  Here are a few excerpts from that article:

Inculcating children with a fear of all strangers is counterproductive. The message this imparts to parents and children is to be suspicious of any adult who wants to work with children.

The sad consequence of all this regulation is that, one way or another, children will pick up signals about stranger danger, the problem of photography, the implications of vetting – and the only message it is possible to draw from this is that it should not be taken for granted that you can trust adults.

Another side effect of today’s culture of fear – and in particular of the paedophile panic – is that adults no longer feel confident to step in to help children in trouble.

 Want to take a risk?:   Don’t look at the sex offender’s registry

There is nothing I can say or do that will convince someone to let go of their fear of paedophiles.  All I can do is to say that there is a certain freedom in trusting people.  Not only for my kids, but for me too.  I am free not to worry about the dangers lurking behind the closed doors of a neighbours house.  As Helene Guldberg says at the end of her article:

If we can harness a more positive outlook about our fellow human beings and challenge institutionalized suspicion and state-authorized scaremongering, then we really might free up our children’s lives and allow them both to enjoy themselves and to learn through living.

Part 4 Turning parents into criminals – coming sometime this century

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The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2

September 29, 2009
When last we left our heroes, one was inside the hospital on a stretcher and the other was having a total melt down in the parking lot.  Will Kevin be leaving the hospital today?  Will Sara pull it together and actually go in the hospital?  Let’s find out in The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2.

I asked my mom if she would come inside the hospital with me, just so I didn’t have to come back out and let them know that Kevin was indeed there and was not moved to another hospital or anything.  So, Paul stood by the van to keep an eye on the kids and mom and I went in.  The place was absolutely empty.  I got to the desk and the administration nurse asked me if I was here for the man brought in by ambulance.  I said yes I was and asked if he was there.  After she said that he was there, mom left to get the kids back to her house and I was taken back to where he was.  He had been there for about 30 or 40 minutes at that time.  They didn’t have the sirens going on the ambulance because there was no traffic at that time of night, but they did have the lights going so they got there fast.

I went back to sit with Kevin.  He looked OK and was no longer confused.  He knew he had a seizure and knew that the hospital was the place he needed to be so they could get to the bottom of it all.  The nurses there were absolutely incredible and kind.  We were asked all of the same questions that the paramedics asked – job, how many kids, any history of seizures, what were you doing when it happened etc.- and then came the questions that Kevin and I were to get very familiar with over the next few days.  “Do you know what day it is” (he got that one wrong but the nurse gave him a pass anyway as it was the wee hours of Friday morning and he said it was Thrusday), “What city are you in” “Do you know where you are” and the nurse left us alone for a while.  I can’t really remember what we talked about in that time, but I do remember we were laughing and joking around with each other. It is just our nature to make light and laugh when we want to cry.  The nurse assigned to Kevin came in after about 25 mintues and had some funny conversation with us for a bit… but she came with an IV for Kevin.  So with her pleasure came some pain.

Now, Kevin had never had an IV before.  Never.  He had to have one so they would be able to get some drugs in him if he started seizing again. Kevin did not like the IV experience.  Not. At. All.  They put it in his arm, not in his hand, and got it in on the first try, but it was not a pleasant experience for him.  The nurse told us that Kevin would be getting a CT soon and asked us if we needed any thing or had any questions.  I asked her how they would keep Kevin from having a seizure if he started to have one again.  She told me they would put anti-seizure medication in his IV and it just kind of shuts down the brain.  I remember us having a conversation with the nurse about seizure medications and seizures in general, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was said.  After we were done our conversation, she left us alone to do some nurse-y type stuff.

Kevin kept on pointing to his IV and saying “OW!” These were my exact words to him “Priorities, there Kev. You just had a seizure.  Let’s not focus on the IV. Mmm’kay?”  To which he would reply “Ow!” and point to the IV. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you know I love ya! Mwah! But, um you’re a bit of a wimp.  Yeah… I think you know that, right?  You’ve had many IVs since then and it’s still always the same.)

Someone came and to get Kevin to bring him to CT after a bit.  I followed along and sat outside the waiting room while Kevin got his CT.  I was tired.  I was in bed at 1:00 and up at 4:00 with all of this. Sitting in the waiting room at CT was the first time I relaxed.  I was just leafing through a magazine and trying to keep awake.  The CT didn’t take long, however, so I didn’t get a chance to relax for long.  The orderly walked really, really fast.  She was such a nice lady and talked to us the whole way back to emerg, but she was one fast walker!  And I remember being freezing.  They kept piling Kevin up with blankets from the warmer but I was so, so cold.  And then when we were whizzing down the halls, I just started shivering.  Why are hospitals so cold?

We got back to emerg, and Kevin and I stated talking again. We were thinkging that the CT was going to come back normal and Kevin would be able to go home and would have to see a specialist or something.  We were our usual joking selves but by that time, the laughter was really hard to stop.  We were both so tired, physically and emotionally and we could not stop laughing.  We were right across from the nurses’ station and the two nurses were laughing at us.  We knew that, but didn’t care.  It was all in good fun.  Then, the resident in the emergency department came in to talk to us about the results of the CT.  She told us that there was a mass found in Kevin’s brain but could not say what it was.  We were told that University Hospital has a neurology unit and Kevin would be transfered there as soon as possible. She said that the mass could be anything from a virus to a tumour and they would be able to tell us more there.

We stopped laughing.  The nurse came over to check on us and we were both crying.  She brought us a box of tissue and I can remember her exact words she said to us and the compassion on her face.  “Not the news you wanted to hear.” A bit of an understatement, but I was so grateful for her for saying anything at all.  It made it all OK that we were falling apart.  She didn’t expect us to be cheerful through that news, and that was what I was really grateful for.

Kevin kept on saying “What if it’s cancer?” and I kept on telling him “Let’s wait to find out.”  Then he said “It’s coffee and muffin day today” very quietly.  At the company he worked for at that time, they buy a bunch of muffins and brew a huge pot of coffee when a new person starts working there.  They put all of this in the new guy’s office and people come in to get a muffin and cup of coffee and greet the new guy.  That day was to be Kevin’s coffee and muffin day.  He had bought a plastic table cloth and put an extra table in his office the day before in preparation.  The funniest things are important to you when your world is turned upside down.

The nurse came back in and told us Kevin would be transfered in about 20 minutes.  I asked her if I could use a phone to call my mom so she wouldn’t try calling there for an update or to get a hold of me. I got to the patient phone and dialled my mom’s number and got her machine. It was after 6:00 at this point and I figured that they were sleeping.  I was surprised that mom didn’t answer the phone to get an update but figured that she was just that tired (I sure was). So, I left a really tearful, incoherent message telling her that they found a mass in Kevin’s brain and he was being transfered to University and I would update her when I knew more.  I hung up and went back to Kevin’s bed.

When I got back to his bed, the nurses were arranging with some paramedics to get Kevin over to University hospital.  Because he had an IV, a nurse had to go with them.  While they were discussing all of this, Kevin said to me very quietly “It’s starting again”.  I ran over to the nurse and told her Kevin said he was starting to have another seizure.  If you want to see nurses move fast, telling them someone is having a seizure is the way to do it!  They grabbed the syringe, injected his IV and asked him what he felt now.  He said that he was still having his pre-seizure aura (a word the nurse taught us earlier) and so they put more in.  When he still felt it, they put in a really big dose. The nurse told me he would not be able to stay conscious with that much in him, but they could not risk him having a seizure during transfer.  His eyes started to get heavy, but he was fighting it.  I said to him “Don’t fight it, Kev. Just go to sleep.  It’s OK.”  He still continued to fight it and told me he didn’t want to sleep and leave me alone.  I told him not to worry about me, just stop fighting it and he would see me when he woke up.  He drifted off to sleep at that point and the nurse told me that they would be moving him really soon.  I asked her how I was to get to the hospital and she gave me a taxi voucher and told me there was a direct line phone to the cab company by the doors to emerg.  They pushed Kevin’s stretcher through some doors I was not allowed to go through and I went to the phones and called my cab.

I stood outside the doors waiting for the taxi to come pick me up.  The sun was up, the sky was beautifully blue with not a cloud and there was a wonderful breeze blowing.  People were driving past the hospital on their way to work.  I couldn’t believe just how normal the day was.  All of this normal activity was going on, all of these people were doing normal things and here I was, wondering if my husband was dying.  It was a very surreal experience.

While I was waiting for my cab, I saw the nurse and paramedics put Kevin’s stretcher in the back of an ambulance and drive off.  That was hard.  Once the ambulance was out of the parking lot, the lights and sirens were turned on and Kevin was on his way to University Hospital while I was left standing there waiting for my cab.

The cab came to pick me up and off we went, across the city to University Hospital.  Being that it was rush hour, the ride took a lot longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to scream at all of the people in the morning traffic. Didn’t they know that my life was changing! How could they act so normal!  I probably should have used the time to sleep.  I was dropped off at the emergency room entrance and made my way to the administration desk.  The nurse got an orderly to take me to Kevin and he was still unconscious. It was shortly after 7:00 by this time and he would remain mainly unconscious through blood being taken on two occasions and numerous pupil tests until 12:00.  (And here is a measure of my love for Kevin.  He had a huge zit on the bridge of his nose that was begging to be squeezed but I didn’t touch it.  Even though he wouldn’t have woken up.)

I decided to call my mom again to tell her that we got to University Hospital OK and that I don’t know any more than when I called before.  She answered the phone on the first ring and told me she had been waiting for me to call. I told her that they found something in Kevin’s brain and she just said “What!”  I filled her in on all I knew and  I told her I called earlier and left a message and she said she didn’t hear the phone ring and there was no message.  So, it was a bit of a mystery.  We thought maybe the phone just went screwy or something. I saw someone going into Kevin’s bed area in emerg and told my mom I had to go.  We hung up and I went to talk to the neuro resident for the first time.

Kevin was still sleeping and she wanted to do some tests but said it could wait until he woke up.  She told me that they gave him four times the regualar dose of medication and so he’ll be out of it for a while longer.  She asked me a lot of questions about what exactly happened when he had his seizure.  Was it his whole body? What part was affected first? How long before he lost consciousness? How long did the whole thing last? What is the family history? And on and on and on.  Boy was she thorough!  She did some reflex tests, had blood drawn then looked at Kevin’s pupils.  After all of the questions and poking and prodding, she told me that she looked at the results of the CT scans.  She said it looks like a cerebral arteriovenous malformation or something else I don’t remember but it is not a cancerous growth as far as they can tell.  She said to know for sure the will do and MRI but she was 98% positive that it was not a tumour.

I waited until 9:00 to call Kevin’s parents.  I told them Kevin had three seizures in a twelve hour period and was in University Hospital and they found something in his brain.  I told them that they were pretty sure it was not a tumour.  I told them to call whoever they thought would need to or like to know and I would continue to update them as I knew more.  Then I asked him (I was talking to Kevin’s dad) to not come to the hospital.  That may seem insensitive to some, after all, it was his son who we were talking about.  But, there was only one person who was allowed back in the emergency area and everyone else had to wait in the waiting room.  I didn’t want to worry about having to “entertain” someone in the waiting room and as it was, I could see Kevin from where I was calling.  If I had to go to the waiting room to update someone, I would have to leave Kevin and I didn’t want to do that.  I got off the phone with Kevin’s dad and called my mom and told her we knew that it was most likely not cancer and that’s all we knew for sure right now.  I then asked her to call Kevin’s work and let them know what was going on.  I felt badly about askng her to to that, but I didn’t have the number and Kevin was sill sleeping .  Plus it was long distance so I didn’t want to make that call from the hospital.  I then called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in that night and that I would be in to talk to HR on Monday about when I would be back.  I had started that job in mid-July and I was worried about being fired for missing a lot of days before my three month probation was up.

After all of the phone calls were done, I went and sat with Kevin.  And I sat.  And I sat.  And I sat.  Then I walked a bit.  Then I sat some more.  The nurses in emerg came over to me and told me to go get something to eat.  They were filled in on what went on and knew that I had been at this since 4:00am.  It was about 9:00 at that point.  So they pointed me in the direction of Tim Horton’s and I bought myself something to eat and a hot chocolate and brought it back to Kevin’s bed.  Then I ate and sat and sat and sat.

At 10:00, the neuro resident came back to examine Kevin.  Seeing that he was still asleep, she told me that she was had to wake him to do some tests.  She drew more blood before waking him up and then woke him up.  It took a very long time to wake him up.  She did reflex tests, picked him lightly with a pin and asked if he could feel it, asked him to push on her hands etc. etc. etc.  He stayed awake for all of that and after she left promptly fell back to sleep.

Part three in which Kevin finally wakes up – coming soon

The Adventures of Lilly and Madeleine – at the ripe old age of seven and nine*

September 28, 2009

While looking up stats and information for my Risk Your Child’s Safety For the Sake of Their Sanity series** , I came across Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids blog.  One read and I was hooked and now make it a daily visit.  Today, Lenore posted a story about a mom, Lynn, who let her seven year old go get the mail for the first time.  The mailbox is down the street and around the corner, putting her child out of her sight for a number of minutes.  I highly recommend you visit Lenore’s blog to read about it.  Lynn’s take on her situation is such a cute read!

It made me decide to tell the story of Lilly and Madeleine’s first trip to the Dollar Rama by themselves.  Now, we are a walking family.  I deliberately live in a neighbourhood that has everything I would possibly need within a half hour walk. So, me and my kids walk everywhere.  Let me preface this by saying I would never suggest allowing anything like what I allowed for a child who is not familiar with his or her surroundings, but I would suggest people familiarize their kids with their surroundings so they can do something like this. I’m afraid that this needs a map to fully understand what exactly went down.  I needed a map to fully understand it when they were explaining it to me!  So, here’s the map (let’s call the street running vertically Main St. and let’s call the street running horizontally First Ave):

Photobucket

Lilly and Madeleine wanted to go to the dollar store themselves, sans growups.  It is marked on the map with the $$$.  The green dots represent streetlights and the red circle is a really busy intersection that I didn’t want them to cross alone, with or without lights. In order to avoid the busy intersection (because people there can be really aggressive drivers), I had to give them directions different than the ones we normally take.  They had been to Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up milk for me before, but never had I let them cross the busy street alone before this experience.

The directions I gave them were to take the path that leads to the back of the Shopper’s Drug Mart and then to cross the parking lot and end up at the T intersection with the lights, which is another parking lot entrance and First Ave.  I wanted them to cross the street at those lights, walk to the corner of First and Main, turn left then walk down to the plaza with the $$$.  I thought it would be easy for them to follow as we had been to the $$$ numerous times (cheap snack crackers FTW!) by a more direct route but have crossed the street at that T-intersection many times for other reasons.

They ended up getting to First Ave with no problem but they didn’t really cross it.  Through some sort of weird directional mix up, they ended up walking toward the fire station!  They got to the fire station and said “Hmmm, this isn’t right!” and turned around.  They ended up at the corner of First and Main – the intersection I didn’t want them crossing – and crossed the street… the wrong way.  They ended up walking toward Archie’s.  Once they reached Archie’s, they said “Well, this isn’t right!” and turned around and went back to the corner of First and Main again and ended up crossing it again.  They were now headed toward the library.  They reached the library (where we go once a week) and said “this isn’t right either!”.  But they know that $$$ was right across the street and we have walked to $$$ after the library a few times.  So, they continued heading in the same direction down Main, go to the other set of lights, cross the street, end up on the right side of the street (finally!) and headed to $$$, which is how we go when we get there after our library trips. 

Being completely confused as to how they got there, they decided to just go down Main St, crossing the insane intersection yet again, continuing down Main until they reach the street leading to our subdivision.  From there, they made it home.  Crazy kids!

So, what did I do during this whole ordeal?  I did start wondering after they were gone for an hour and a half.  My mom was over and so she walked to route to $$$ that I gave the girls and called me on her cell when she didn’t see them on her way or at the store.  I started feeling a little anxious at that time.  I was picturing them walking around some subdivision off of Main St., trying to find their way home.  I went outside and took a peek down my street in both directions, only to see Lilly and Madeleine round the corner.  I gave my mom a call and told her all was well.

When they came home, I couldn’t help but laugh at their misadventure.  They were so scared that I wasn’t going to allow them to go on their own again because they crossed at the intersection I wanted them to avoid.  Had they deliberately disobeyed that request, I would have been angry and would have banned them from solo trips to the store for a while.  But, there was nothing malicious in their intent – they were just lost and confused. 

I was so proud of them for keeping a cool head and being aware of their surroundings.  I toyed with the idea of giving them my cell to call me if they got lost but it wasn’t charged so it stayed home with me (my cell is never charged, which I suppose defeats the purpose of having a cell).  In the end, I’m glad I didn’t.  They learnt something that day, a lesson I could never teach them.  And they gained a giant leap toward independance.

Prologue:  They have since made the trip to Dollar Rama two more times.  Madeleine now wants to go it alone without Lilly, and when the opportunity presents itself, I think I’ll let her.

_____________________________________________________

*Well, Lilly is nine and Madeleine is seven, but the title wouldn’t have rhymed that way.

**Part three is coming soon, really it is. Kevin’s seizures and those pesky demanding kids are keeping me from writing it up.  I mean, they like, want food and stuff.  And they’re so dirty so I have to, like, clean their clothes and sheets.  I know.  It’s so unreasonable!

"Meet the teacher" night is so overrated.

September 25, 2009

I don’t know how constructive this will be or if it will be more of a rant. Let me start by saying that I was in the ER with Kevin (again) the night before and was just exhausted. The kids were all hyper, I had to go to “Meet the Teacher” night with all four of them as the solo parent. The school is always overcrowded and I was just not in the right frame of mind to deal with all of that. So, perhaps I’m just being a crank.

Let me get the main point out of the way, and then go on with my pity party.  I really don’t like meet the teacher night.  It’s supposedly for parents to see the class and just spend two or so minutes with the teacher and then leave.  But that’s not how it goes.  You get a room full of lingering parents who think that their child is just the best child to ever grace the face of the planet, and don’t you think so teacher?  And oooooooh look!  Isn’t that the most beautiful picture you have ever seen?  Can you believe that their child did such a good drawing?  I know!  It’s just unbelievable how talented their precious little dew drop is! 

Maybe it’s just a problem at the school my kids attend that a lot of parents talk loud enough to be overheard so you can pay attention to how wonderful their child is.  It’s been my experience since Lilly’s been in Kindergarten, though, and I hate it.  My approach is “Hi, how are you, I’m Sara, Lilly/Madeline/Victoria’s mom.  How’s the year going so far.  Any issues?  No, good.  Well, I’ll see you later!” And then I say “OK, Lilly/Madeleine/Victoria, show me what you want me to see”.  I get a kid guided tour where I oooh and aaahh privately over what they show me and then we go home.  It just sucks the energy out of me to listen to all of the praises a lot of the parents heap on to their kids.  But, let’s face it, the yellow, red and orange finger paintings all of Madeleine’s class did all looked pretty much the same.  Really, I do care about your kids artistic ability, but only in the same way that you care about my kid’s artistic ability.  So, just keep it to yourself, mmmkay?  (Yes, I am a bitch.)

Any other mommies with school aged kids out there experience this?  Am I being a big crank?  Let me have it, I can take it!

So, on with the pity party.  We set out last night at 6:30. Living right behind the school, it took us less than a minute to get there, but by the time we got there I was ready to inflict great amounts of harm on the kids. I told Lilly and Madeleine I would meet them in their classrooms and they took off.  But Victoria and Rosemary took off with them.  No, that was not the plan!  So I yelled for them to come back and told them that they will stay with me or I would chose a family at random and they would go home with that family.  (OK, no I didn’t tell them that, but I was tempted. They were bouncing off the walls since about 4:30 that day and I was at the end of my rope already.)

We get to Victoria’s class and… no teacher.  OK then.  We wait around a bit and… no teacher.  I decided to go out front to buy them the one cookie each I said they could have and there is Victoria’s teacher at the bake stand selling goodies.  OK, then, let’s go see Madeleine’s teacher.

We get to Madeleine’s class and I say hello to Mme. Grouette and took the time to tell her about Kevin’s condition.  It’s usually something I tell the teacher’s during the first week of school, but I forgot this year.  So, we said hi and I told her that from time to time there will be a note saying there was an emergency and it’s always having to do with Kevin’s brain, but I that I like to keep the teacher’s informed of things like surgery etc. when life is a little more hectic for us.

Then on to Lilly’s class.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  But for both of those visits, all four of my kids were out of control.  So, we get outside of Lilly’s portable and I send the kids away to play for a bit, hoping it would burn off some energy.  I chatted with some parents I knew for about 10 minutes and then gathered Victoria and Rosemary to go to Victoria’s class.  I told Lilly and Madeleine to stay out of the classrooms and just go home when their friends did.

We get to Victoria’s class and there’s still no teacher.  So I have Victoria show me stuff around her class, show me some stuff she did, grab her shoes that she’s supposed to bring home every day and then we head on home causing Victoria and Rosemary to dissolve into a fit of tears because they want to play with Lilly and Madeleine.  But, it’s 7:15 by this point and they have to get to bed.  So, I go home and tuck them in to bed and go to collect Lilly and Madeleine so they can have a shower before bed. 

I send those two home and go for a walk to hopefully ease my frame of mind.  I walk around the park for about 20 minutes, and head on home.  On the way home, I see a plastic fireman’s hat that I pick up to give to the school, thinking they could use it.  When I get back to the school, I see them tearing down the baked goods stand and ask if they want some help.  And in turn for that I get attitude.  Big attitude.  This is from the teacher whose class Victoria was supposed to be in but ended up needing to be switched.  Thank. God.  She is a royal bitch.  I was met with resistance from everything I talked to her about the one day Victoria was in her class.  A friend of mine had an awful experience with her.  And then she bitched at me when I asked if she wanted my help?  So, I just held my hands up and said “fine” and walked away.  (She was pissy that there were a bunch of unlabelled containers that people didn’t pick up and when I asked if she wanted help she said in a snotty tone “Well, unless all of these are yours, there’s nothing you can do.”  So I jokingly said “You know, I live right over there (pointing to my yard) and I can easily take them off your hands!”  M. Baugley laughed, she glowered.  “What, are you going to go get a container?  I don’t have time for this.”  So, that is when I walked away.)

I went to see the principal to ask her a couple of questions and to give her the hat I found, which she said could be put to good use in one of the Kindergarten classes.  And then she complimented me on my jacket (for all of you visiting from The Parent Path, yeah, that jacket. The upholstery one.  See, Joann and I are not the only ones who think it rocks!)  I then left and went home.

So, along with my usual “Meet the Teacher” issues, I had the extra bonus of super hyper kids, being overly tired from the ER visit the night before, having to solo the visit and a snotty teacher.  I am going to add another level to my own personal hells.  There is buffet hell, and now there is “Meet the Teacher” hell.  But, on a plus side, I really like all of the kids’ teachers!

Zombies and cats together. How perfect is my day?

September 25, 2009

I love kitties and have a strange obsessions with zombies.  So, imagine my delight when icanhascheezeburger has this today.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

How cool is that?

He’s such a fun guy

September 23, 2009

Hi!  I like your garden!  Do you mind if I just hang out here for a bit?  I won’t be much trouble, I promise!
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Sure, that’s what he tells you, but then you’re woken up at 3:00am when all of his friends are drunk and refuse to leave. Don’t fall for it people!

Sigh…

September 22, 2009

It’s articles like this that make me want to give up on society.  Yep folks, we had a good run at it but I’m sorry to break the news to you, we failed.

Health and safety ban coffee morning pensioners at public library – because they could spill hot drinks on children

A group of pensioners have been banned from holding a coffee morning at a public library for health and safety reasons – in case they spill hot drinks on children.

The seven members of the Over 50s coffee morning have been meeting every Tuesday for the past four years without incident at the Eye Library in Eye, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

But council officials have now axed the meetings claiming that toddlers from a nearby nursery who use the library at the same time could be injured if hot coffee spilt on them.

Yes, it’s true.  The children could have hot beverages spilt on them.  So, instead of having the toddlers in one area and the Over 50s coffee meeting at a table in another area, we’ll just ban the coffee.  After all, one of those little cherubs could get away from the group and could run over to the table and could bump into the table and could have a hot beverage spilt on them.  And then we’ll take all of the books off the shelves because one of the little tykes could climb the shelves and could pull a bunch of books down on top of another munchkin.  And then we’ll be sure to remove all doors from the facility because one of those sweeties could get their fingers caught.

I’m going to take heart in the fact that this happened in the UK and pretend like Canada is immune to this kind of thing.  I’m going to go steep me a pot of tea, sit back and read in the family room with blatant disregard to my kids’ health and safety as they roughhouse right next to the table with my cupa tea.

For my friend Angel who shares a love of all things fuzzy and purring with me

September 21, 2009

This is my cat Bobby.  He’s 30+ pounds.  Isn’t he sexy?
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This is how that sexy beast eats.  We should all be so lucky!
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And so my other kitty doesn’t lie on my face and suffocate me in a fit of rage tonight, I must include a picture of him.  This is Scully.  He likes to walk around with trolls in his mouth and yowl.  I have yet to get a picture of him with one in his mouth, but here he is looking all evil troll killer, right after letting one go.
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And, here is dearly departed Mulder.  Yes, I had two cats names Mulder and Scully.  Mulder, sadly, suffered acute kidney failure in May of 2007 and had to be put to sleep.  *sniff*  I miss him. He was the softest, cuddliest cat ever. He he is on his last day of life (because the rest of my pictures are on the external hard drive in a box somewhere) laying beside his water dish, being all sick and dying. 😦
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A slight name change for this blog

September 21, 2009

I made a slight change to the name of my blog.  Well, OK, it’s not slight at all, it’s a completely different title.

When I first made this blog, I was not in a creative mood at all.  I wanted a space to write some thoughts and articles on parenting, my life, depression, narcolepsy, God and anything else that effects my day to day life.  While the old title “Living my life… one catastrophe at a time” is certainly apropos to my life*, I didn’t ever really like it.  I was just not in a creative frame of mind and even considered call this blog “Not Very Creative”, but I just stuck with the original title.  I had thought of “Out of the frying pan and into the fire”, but turned that one down too.

One of my all time favourite books is Watership Down by Richard Adams.  It is a story of optimism, triumph, nature and the natural order of things and what happens when an outside force interferes with it.  When I am in a funk, I like to read bits and pieces of it.  I read it in its entirety at least once a year.  Hazel’s optimism and determination is contagious.  Add that to his all-too-human ability to make a large error in judgment and his none-too-human ability to learn from those lapses.  Then add Bigwig’s simplistic nature and his willingness to do what it takes to keep the warren from extinction.  Throw into the mix each rabbit’s ability to recognize their own weaknesses and strengths and their reliance on each other without the jealousy that certainly occurs too often in our human culture and I feel very uplifted when I read this story.

I got the new title from Watership Down:

Human beings say, ‘It never rains but it pours.’ This is not very apt, for it frequently does rain without pouring. The rabbit’s proverb is better expressed. They say, ‘One cloud feels lonely’: and indeed it is true that the appearance of a single cloud often means that the sky will soon be overcast.

 The clouds in my life are always in good company.  The blue skies between are the times when we are waiting for the next storm, but aren’t the blue skies just beautiful?

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* I feel like I should explain why I feel this way about my life.

My life has been a difficult one, but a happy one.  I have been hit with life experiences that most people have not.  Some have been my doing and some are completely random.  It has been the case that when one situation ends, another is just around the corner.  When things are going well for me, something is sure to go wrong.  Always.  I don’t mean this in a negative way, but I am just stating a fact.  I can roll with these punches and adapt to almost anything thrown at me.

I have yet to reach my breaking point and my faith in God has not wavered through anything.  I have not “turned it over to God” as those who live lives that are uncomplicated suggest we do.  I am forever grateful for what I do have and am forever thankful that I have persevered through everything.  I thank God for that, but in no way to I believe that God has “pulled me through” situations.  And in the same way, in no way do I believe that God is responsible for giving me a life that has been filled with more downs than ups. I don’t believe God micromanages His creation that way.  I believe that miracles do happen, and I give God 100% credit for those!  But if I give Him credit for making all of the good stuff happen, does that not also imply that He is responsible for all of the bad stuff as well?

What God does in my life is comforts me.  When I ask for comfort, I am given it.  When I ask for peace of mind, God gives it to me.  When I ask God to let me know that everything will be fine, I can almost feel His presence physically.  I don’t ever ask God to let me know what I should do, because then I will be left unfulfilled.I believe that my happiness is a choice.  I could easily despair.  When I feel myself going down that path, that is when I need the comfort and peace of mind. God is not here to micromanage our lives and will not tell us what to do and will not make us happy.  But when we “turn to Him” (as my evangelical brothers and sisters like to call it), He is there to help us.  And so, I can’t give God all the credit for my life, but neither can I give him the blame. 

Many don’t agree with me, and that’s fine.  We can’t all live in a world where each person thinks the same way.

The story of the beginning of Kevin’s special brain powers – Part 2

September 21, 2009

When last we left our heroes, one was inside the hospital on a stretcher and the other was having a total melt down in the parking lot.  Will Kevin be leaving the hospital today?  Will Sara pull it together and actually go in the hospital?  Let’s find out in The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2.

I asked my mom if she would come inside the hospital with me, just so I didn’t have to come back out and let them know that Kevin was indeed there and was not moved to another hospital or anything.  So, Paul stood by the van to keep an eye on the kids and mom and I went in.  The place was absolutely empty.  I got to the desk and the administration nurse asked me if I was here for the man brought in by ambulance.  I said yes I was and asked if he was there.  After she said that he was there, mom left to get the kids back to her house and I was taken back to where he was.  He had been there for about 30 or 40 minutes at that time.  They didn’t have the sirens going on the ambulance because there was no traffic at that time of night, but they did have the lights going so they got there fast.

I went back to sit with Kevin.  He looked OK and was no longer confused.  He knew he had a seizure and knew that the hospital was the place he needed to be so they could get to the bottom of it all.  The nurses there were absolutely incredible and kind.  We were asked all of the same questions that the paramedics asked – job, how many kids, any history of seizures, what were you doing when it happened etc.- and then came the questions that Kevin and I were to get very familiar with over the next few days.  “Do you know what day it is” (he got that one wrong but the nurse gave him a pass anyway as it was the wee hours of Friday morning and he said it was Thrusday), “What city are you in” “Do you know where you are” and the nurse left us alone for a while.  I can’t really remember what we talked about in that time, but I do remember we were laughing and joking around with each other. It is just our nature to make light and laugh when we want to cry.  The nurse assigned to Kevin came in after about 25 mintues and had some funny conversation with us for a bit… but she came with an IV for Kevin.  So with her pleasure came some pain.

Now, Kevin had never had an IV before.  Never.  He had to have one so they would be able to get some drugs in him if he started seizing again. Kevin did not like the IV experience.  Not. At. All.  They put it in his arm, not in his hand, and got it in on the first try, but it was not a pleasant experience for him.  The nurse told us that Kevin would be getting a CT soon and asked us if we needed any thing or had any questions.  I asked her how they would keep Kevin from having a seizure if he started to have one again.  She told me they would put anti-seizure medication in his IV and it just kind of shuts down the brain.  I remember us having a conversation with the nurse about seizure medications and seizures in general, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was said.  After we were done our conversation, she left us alone to do some nurse-y type stuff.

Kevin kept on pointing to his IV and saying “OW!” These were my exact words to him “Priorities, there Kev. You just had a seizure.  Let’s not focus on the IV. Mmm’kay?”  To which he would reply “Ow!” and point to the IV. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you know I love ya! Mwah! But, um you’re a bit of a wimp.  Yeah… I think you know that, right?  You’ve had many IVs since then and it’s still always the same.)

Someone came and to get Kevin to bring him to CT after a bit.  I followed along and sat outside the waiting room while Kevin got his CT.  I was tired.  I was in bed at 1:00 and up at 4:00 with all of this. Sitting in the waiting room at CT was the first time I relaxed.  I was just leafing through a magazine and trying to keep awake.  The CT didn’t take long, however, so I didn’t get a chance to relax for long.  The orderly walked really, really fast.  She was such a nice lady and talked to us the whole way back to emerg, but she was one fast walker!  And I remember being freezing.  They kept piling Kevin up with blankets from the warmer but I was so, so cold.  And then when we were whizzing down the halls, I just started shivering.  Why are hospitals so cold?

We got back to emerg, and Kevin and I stated talking again. We were thinkging that the CT was going to come back normal and Kevin would be able to go home and would have to see a specialist or something.  We were our usual joking selves but by that time, the laughter was really hard to stop.  We were both so tired, physically and emotionally and we could not stop laughing.  We were right across from the nurses’ station and the two nurses were laughing at us.  We knew that, but didn’t care.  It was all in good fun.  Then, the resident in the emergency department came in to talk to us about the results of the CT.  She told us that there was a mass found in Kevin’s brain but could not say what it was.  We were told that University Hospital has a neurology unit and Kevin would be transfered there as soon as possible. She said that the mass could be anything from a virus to a tumour and they would be able to tell us more there.

We stopped laughing.  The nurse came over to check on us and we were both crying.  She brought us a box of tissue and I can remember her exact words she said to us and the compassion on her face.  “Not the news you wanted to hear.” A bit of an understatement, but I was so grateful for her for saying anything at all.  It made it all OK that we were falling apart.  She didn’t expect us to be cheerful through that news, and that was what I was really grateful for.

Kevin kept on saying “What if it’s cancer?” and I kept on telling him “Let’s wait to find out.”  Then he said “It’s coffee and muffin day today” very quietly.  At the company he worked for at that time, they buy a bunch of muffins and brew a huge pot of coffee when a new person starts working there.  They put all of this in the new guy’s office and people come in to get a muffin and cup of coffee and greet the new guy.  That day was to be Kevin’s coffee and muffin day.  He had bought a plastic table cloth and put an extra table in his office the day before in preparation.  The funniest things are important to you when your world is turned upside down.

The nurse came back in and told us Kevin would be transfered in about 20 minutes.  I asked her if I could use a phone to call my mom so she wouldn’t try calling there for an update or to get a hold of me. I got to the patient phone and dialled my mom’s number and got her machine. It was after 6:00 at this point and I figured that they were sleeping.  I was surprised that mom didn’t answer the phone to get an update but figured that she was just that tired (I sure was). So, I left a really tearful, incoherent message telling her that they found a mass in Kevin’s brain and he was being transfered to University and I would update her when I knew more.  I hung up and went back to Kevin’s bed.

When I got back to his bed, the nurses were arranging with some paramedics to get Kevin over to University hospital.  Because he had an IV, a nurse had to go with them.  While they were discussing all of this, Kevin said to me very quietly “It’s starting again”.  I ran over to the nurse and told her Kevin said he was starting to have another seizure.  If you want to see nurses move fast, telling them someone is having a seizure is the way to do it!  They grabbed the syringe, injected his IV and asked him what he felt now.  He said that he was still having his pre-seizure aura (a word the nurse taught us earlier) and so they put more in.  When he still felt it, they put in a really big dose. The nurse told me he would not be able to stay conscious with that much in him, but they could not risk him having a seizure during transfer.  His eyes started to get heavy, but he was fighting it.  I said to him “Don’t fight it, Kev. Just go to sleep.  It’s OK.”  He still continued to fight it and told me he didn’t want to sleep and leave me alone.  I told him not to worry about me, just stop fighting it and he would see me when he woke up.  He drifted off to sleep at that point and the nurse told me that they would be moving him really soon.  I asked her how I was to get to the hospital and she gave me a taxi voucher and told me there was a direct line phone to the cab company by the doors to emerg.  They pushed Kevin’s stretcher through some doors I was not allowed to go through and I went to the phones and called my cab.

I stood outside the doors waiting for the taxi to come pick me up.  The sun was up, the sky was beautifully blue with not a cloud and there was a wonderful breeze blowing.  People were driving past the hospital on their way to work.  I couldn’t believe just how normal the day was.  All of this normal activity was going on, all of these people were doing normal things and here I was, wondering if my husband was dying.  It was a very surreal experience.

While I was waiting for my cab, I saw the nurse and paramedics put Kevin’s stretcher in the back of an ambulance and drive off.  That was hard.  Once the ambulance was out of the parking lot, the lights and sirens were turned on and Kevin was on his way to University Hospital while I was left standing there waiting for my cab.

The cab came to pick me up and off we went, across the city to University Hospital.  Being that it was rush hour, the ride took a lot longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to scream at all of the people in the morning traffic. Didn’t they know that my life was changing! How could they act so normal!  I probably should have used the time to sleep.  I was dropped off at the emergency room entrance and made my way to the administration desk.  The nurse got an orderly to take me to Kevin and he was still unconscious. It was shortly after 7:00 by this time and he would remain mainly unconscious through blood being taken on two occasions and numerous pupil tests until 12:00.  (And here is a measure of my love for Kevin.  He had a huge zit on the bridge of his nose that was begging to be squeezed but I didn’t touch it.  Even though he wouldn’t have woken up.)

I decided to call my mom again to tell her that we got to University Hospital OK and that I don’t know any more than when I called before.  She answered the phone on the first ring and told me she had been waiting for me to call. I told her that they found something in Kevin’s brain and she just said “What!”  I filled her in on all I knew and  I told her I called earlier and left a message and she said she didn’t hear the phone ring and there was no message.  So, it was a bit of a mystery.  We thought maybe the phone just went screwy or something. I saw someone going into Kevin’s bed area in emerg and told my mom I had to go.  We hung up and I went to talk to the neuro resident for the first time.

Kevin was still sleeping and she wanted to do some tests but said it could wait until he woke up.  She told me that they gave him four times the regualar dose of medication and so he’ll be out of it for a while longer.  She asked me a lot of questions about what exactly happened when he had his seizure.  Was it his whole body? What part was affected first? How long before he lost consciousness? How long did the whole thing last? What is the family history? And on and on and on.  Boy was she thorough!  She did some reflex tests, had blood drawn then looked at Kevin’s pupils.  After all of the questions and poking and prodding, she told me that she looked at the results of the CT scans.  She said it looks like a cerebral arteriovenous malformation or something else I don’t remember but it is not a cancerous growth as far as they can tell.  She said to know for sure the will do and MRI but she was 98% positive that it was not a tumour.

I waited until 9:00 to call Kevin’s parents.  I told them Kevin had three seizures in a twelve hour period and was in University Hospital and they found something in his brain.  I told them that they were pretty sure it was not a tumour.  I told them to call whoever they thought would need to or like to know and I would continue to update them as I knew more.  Then I asked him (I was talking to Kevin’s dad) to not come to the hospital.  That may seem insensitive to some, after all, it was his son who we were talking about.  But, there was only one person who was allowed back in the emergency area and everyone else had to wait in the waiting room.  I didn’t want to worry about having to “entertain” someone in the waiting room and as it was, I could see Kevin from where I was calling.  If I had to go to the waiting room to update someone, I would have to leave Kevin and I didn’t want to do that.  I got off the phone with Kevin’s dad and called my mom and told her we knew that it was most likely not cancer and that’s all we knew for sure right now.  I then asked her to call Kevin’s work and let them know what was going on.  I felt badly about askng her to to that, but I didn’t have the number and Kevin was sill sleeping .  Plus it was long distance so I didn’t want to make that call from the hospital.  I then called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in that night and that I would be in to talk to HR on Monday about when I would be back.  I had started that job in mid-July and I was worried about being fired for missing a lot of days before my three month probation was up.

After all of the phone calls were done, I went and sat with Kevin.  And I sat.  And I sat.  And I sat.  Then I walked a bit.  Then I sat some more.  The nurses in emerg came over to me and told me to go get something to eat.  They were filled in on what went on and knew that I had been at this since 4:00am.  It was about 9:00 at that point.  So they pointed me in the direction of Tim Horton’s and I bought myself something to eat and a hot chocolate and brought it back to Kevin’s bed.  Then I ate and sat and sat and sat.

At 10:00, the neuro resident came back to examine Kevin.  Seeing that he was still asleep, she told me that she was had to wake him to do some tests.  She drew more blood before waking him up and then woke him up.  It took a very long time to wake him up.  She did reflex tests, picked him lightly with a pin and asked if he could feel it, asked him to push on her hands etc. etc. etc.  He stayed awake for all of that and after she left promptly fell back to sleep.

Part three in which Kevin finally wakes up – coming soon