Answers

We recently took our oldest in for a full neuropsychological evaluation to make sure we are helping her the right way and the best we can. I honestly went in expecting them to question her Asperger’s diagnosis and give us some psychiatric condition that we would now have to figure out and deal with treating.

I tried not thinking about it for the two and a half weeks between testing and results. In case you don’t know me, I suck at that! As the doctor went over the results he touched on the different test he had given her and how she did on them and what that said about her. Part way through he said that looking at the test so far it appears as she is a smart child who should do exceptionally well at school. I held my breath as I knew the bad news was coming next. 

He spoke of different test and how she was able to complete them but she obviously struggles and more so than most children her age. Then he did something that blew my mind. He fully explained each test and where she struggled and exactly how that relates to her struggles in life. He explained her difficulty with school, her difficulties with keeping organized, and her struggles with social interaction. He explained why we have difficulty with outbursts from her and why she has difficulty when we are trying to interact with her. 

It was a light bulb that was finally fully illuminated. Everything that has been a huge weight and struggle suddenly had a reason. Better yet, he was going to be giving us ways to help! He spoke of things the school needs to be doing to help her and things we could do to help her as well. 

Finally, he spoke of the diagnosis of Asperger’s that she was previously given by her neurologist. “This is a good explanation for these things we see.” It was a mixture of relief that we hadn’t been just imagining this whole autism diagnosis and sadness. It may sound wrong but I can’t imagine anyone that wants their child to struggle with autism for the rest of their lives. As he continued to talk about this he gave me hope that through working with school and continuing things we already have in place, she can do anything she wants. That’s all a mom could ask for!

I went looking for answers I wasn’t sure I wanted. I came out with not only answers, but a hope for her future and a plan to get us there. 

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An Unexpected Light

The last two months have been super difficult.  Between regular therapy appointments and work we are usually busy.  After a bit of a scare with our oldest, she started intensive outpatient therapy. Five days a week of hours of therapy at a time.  Lots of stuff brought up that is really tough to handle.  There were times that I questioned what the point in all this was and how I was going to survive the mood swings and attitude.  They weren’t kidding when they said things may get worse before they get better.  Suddenly, they were backing her down to three days a week. Then it seemed, almost immediately talking discharge.  I definitely wasn’t sure about her being ready for this to happen.  They assured me that she was ready.  Last night she graduated her program.  This doesn’t mean the work is over but that she is in a safe place now with how she is feeling.  Part of the graduation is everyone going around a circle telling her a hope for her or something they have gained from her.  So many of these people who barely know her see something that I hope she believes and sees herself.  Person after person talked about her confidence in herself to be just her.  Many also spoke of what a light she was during the sessions and how they enjoyed her and she made them comfortable.  I couldn’t ask for a better reflection of who she is inside.  I pray that she doesn’t lose sight of that confident, happy, light that shines for all to see.  I know we still have a lot to handle, but I’m so thankful we had her go through this program.

No other choice

You here about people that feel out of options and want to kill themselves. I see people at work all the time who are at the end of their rope. I’ve never had that feeling myself though. 

I’ve dealt with depression myself. I’ve never gotten to the point where I wanted to not live. I’ve always had something or someone to live for. I’m thankful to have made it to a place in my life where I don’t deal with that in a personal way. 

I have dealt with depression and cutting and thoughts of suicide with my daughter. We’ve been to countless doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. The past four to five years have been a struggle both physically and emotionally. We’ve gone through ups and downs. Lots of meds and none. We’ve even gotten lots of diagnosis’ over the years. 

In my line of work, I feel like I’m a pretty good judge of whether someone is really teetering on that line of actually following through or not. I’ve never thought my daughter was at that point. We’ve come close before but never to that point….until tonight. 

Tonight, when she calmly told me her plan of how she wanted to kill herself I knew we had reached that point. She had already shown me the cuts on her arms from the past two days and told me how she thinks the world would be better without her here. My heart broke. I never wanted to have to put her somewhere like that. I know what those places are like. Unfortunately, she’s made it to where we have no other choice. 

Tomorrow we will see what type of help we need to do for her and whether it is day or full admission. I know that I have done all I can do at this point and now I need to put it in the hands of the doctors and God. 

I need to make sure she knows that she always has another choice. 

Just wait

After spending the first half of the day juggling kids and cleaning I ventured out to complete my list of things to do.  It started with traffic and conversations that didn’t seem to start off right.  The next thing should have clued me in to the type of day I had ahead of me.

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My daughter’s therapist ended up actually causing a meltdown and a pissed off momma. She knew she messed up but not before causing Bug to melt and me to go in to over-protective-momma mode.  Those who know me know that I don’t hide it well when I get mad.

Next stop, crazy busy with people followed by searching the shelter for the puppy that is to become our service dog.  All this to find out it was picked up by a rescue earlier.  Now we’ve gone from over-protective-momma to pissed-off-momma.  Left there so mad I was almost in tears.

Couple more stops without any problems and then to go pick up the next thing on my list.  Well…..can you guess how that went?  You got it! Super-pissed-off-momma mode when it took an hour to try to pick up my new phone that was ordered.  First, to wait on my turn, then the normal activation process, go to log into the phone just to realize that they ordered me the wrong thing!  Then another wait to reverse it all and order the right thing!!!  Left that store wishing I could stop and grab a bottle of wine.  Too bad I was in a work shirt and couldn’t.

All of this to say, today sucked!  It did until it didn’t anymore.  Shopping completed and found stuff I needed to find. Kids home and picking up after themselves.  Cooked a quick dinner that everyone loved.  Even Bug had seconds and thirds.  Kids down easy and time to myself to take care of some research.  Phone call from the shelter to say they are doing everything in their power to make sure that this puppy ends up in our hands sooner rather than later and I will have another update before noon tomorrow.

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So, off to bed for me.  No wine but a relaxing night of me time for sure.  Praying tomorrow will continue the positive trend.

Beginning to Understand

Our oldest has now been a teenager for a month.  She hit puberty a couple of years ago.  She has had her fair share of struggles with losing her best friend, my mom, and dealing with a lot of emotional stuff.  When she was younger we battled a lot of behavioral issues and even came close to having a diagnosis of ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) but through time we had worked past that, or so we thought. We would still see signs here and there of that old behavior. Most of it could be avoided with prompt discipline but we could still  never understand why it seemed so hard.  She also has always had difficulty making friends. She would find a friend and they were her new “best friend”.  She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was younger and has been on medication to help with her focus.  Even with her medication, trying to follow a multiple step process has always been a struggle.  She dealt with bullying last year that was so severe she contemplated suicide.  She is a beautiful and brilliant girl who I’ve never quite understood.  As I’ve done research and read up on Autism regarding one of our younger girls, I’ve come to notice something interesting.  My oldest girl is likely on the spectrum too.  Looking back at behaviors and now current obsessions it is almost crystal clear, I have another child on the spectrum.  I have been lucky to have wonderful doctors so far.  I brought this concern up to her pediatrician and showed him some of what I was referring to and he was quick to say she likely has Asperger’s.  While we wait on a visit with a neurologist I can only hope that she doesn’t see this as me trying to label her but as me trying to help her learn how to cope with a world that doesn’t see things the same way that she does.

Happiness in the Struggle

We have a new little guy around the house who came a couple of months too early at the end of last year.  We have now added more therapy to our already therapeutic house.  He’s progressing but definitely adds to the appointments and specialty doctors to see.  Even though there is a lot of extra work there is a constant joy.  He is the happiest baby I have seen and loves to smile.  We may still have some sleepless nights but they are full of snuggles.

A Bug’s View

Last year one of my girls, now 4.5, was diagnosed with Autism.  This wasn’t something we anticipated and opened a whole new world.  We started seeing things in a whole new light.  We had never picked up on a lot of things until she had regressed prompting us to get more testing done.  She wasn’t just doing normal thing as a baby by playing with her yogurt when she was done eating.  She was sensory seeking and craved the way it felt on her skin.  I may never know how everything is for this sweet little girl.  I can only imagine that the world looks a little different from her perspective than mine.  When she loves, she loves deeply.  Even if it is just a leaf she found outside or a piece of plastic we want her to throw away.

 

Sometimes you just don’t know

EMS is one of those interesting fields where you’re not really supposed to diagnose but yet you need to diagnose in order to treat the problem. 

A lot of times there are major indicators of what is going on with someone. It may not be textbook but if you’re a decent medic, which I think I am, you can put pieces together and formulate a pretty good idea of what is going on with the person you are treating. 

There are those times where the EKG just doesn’t look right. It’s not a STEMI but it’s not right either. There are times when the blood pressure is normal but you know it shouldn’t be. Let’s be honest, there are times when you scratch your head and say “huh?”

Remember to keep treating your patient and that a good assessment can give you a lot of information. Form your differential diagnosis and rule out those that you can. 

Those hoof beats you hear may very well be a horse…but don’t forget about the zebra. 

Why do you care??

“Don’t bs me. Don’t act like you care. You know you’ll go home and forget about me. Why do you care?”

Those four little words made me do a lot of thinking. Why do I care? This isn’t my friend. This isn’t my family. In all honesty, this person is nothing to me. This is my job. 

I love my job. I love helping people. From the first time I first stepped into that truck, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I’ve been doing it now for almost 9 years. I know there are people who get burnt out and stop caring. That’s not me. 

On a week where our profession is appreciated, I want to say thank you. We do a thankless job and often get overlooked. Just remember, there will be that patient that will never forget you. 

Three Years

Tomorrow will be the second Mother’s Day I have spent without my mother but it feels like the third. Three years today, we decided that it was time for my mother to go on hospice care. She had been battling for three months and the time to fight was done. I don’t question for a minute that it was the right decision. She passed away a few days later, the day after Mother’s Day. I spent that last Mother’s Day at work. I knew that her time was close and j debated staying home. By that point, though, she didn’t know what day it was. She didn’t know it was Mother’s Day. I came home the next morning and within a few hours she passed away as I sat there next to her bed. I’ll never forget that time. 

Now, I just wish I could have had more time. I wish she could see how the twins have grown. I wish she were here for my oldest and I sometimes wonder if she’d be doing better if grandma was still here. I wish I could hear her take on Ashy and all the complications. I wish she could have seen my sweet boy and finally gotten to see a grandson. 

I know that God answered her prayer but that doesn’t make me miss her less. She was a godly woman who acted more like a kid. She used to say that you are only as old as you act and so she was still a kid at heart. Her heart was so giving and loving. I never met a person who had a bad thing to say about her. She was my rock. 

Though I miss her, I will spend tomorrow letting my kids focus on me as I strive to be like my mother was.