Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two Weeks

Wow, it has been two weeks since I last posted and that doesn't feel good to me. So much has happened, so here we go with yet ANOTHER catch-up post.

Okay, this is sad, but honestly, I can't remember exactly what was happening prior to the weekend before last (so roughly the 15/16 or so. I had that weekend off from work and we had been working on projects around the house. JoNo was starting to have symptoms of a cold, which wasn't good. He has mild intermittent asthma which generally does not bother him AT ALL but when he gets a cold, it flares up in a severe case which often leaves us in an urgent/emergency situation. Not fun at all!

I don't recall for sure but I believe we sent him to school on Monday. He is in a special reading class that requires great attendance and after his fall sickness, I think he had only three days available to miss before he would be dropped from the program. (They can have a total of 8 missed days and then the next time, they get dropped)  His teacher is aware of this, but she isn't the one who sets the guidelines for the program - some university in another state sets them. But she has tried to work with us, by having him often be the first child she meets with that day so that if he does get sent home, he won't get dropped from the program. We also had some other arrangements made with her, but her supervising teacher said no, that it would not work out, so she just has him scheduled as the first kid as much as she can.

Anyhow, JoNo was doing okay when I left for work on Monday night. Hubby was also not feeling well, but sometimes, as a parent, you just have to push through and try to make it work. I wanted to stay home, but I knew that really was not a possibility as I had just gotten a poor review from my boss at work the previous Friday (okay, so I guess I do remember parts of that previous week as well - oh well, I will just fill in with other things as needed). So, anyhow, I got to work and I was going to be working on the floor and going into our secured Alzheimer's unit for last rounds until the end of the shift (so roughly 4a-6a). But then one of my co-workers and one of the residents on our Alzheimer's unit started having issues with each other. It has been happening frequently and I often end up going back there and the co-worker coming out to the floor because I have the easiest time settling this resident down. Anyhow, I was back there and the decision was made to just have me stay back there the whole night. No biggie.

Around 2:30 or so, Hubby texts me to tell me that JoNo is doing very poorly and needs to go into the emergency room. I tell him to call and talk to my charge nurse because I think the chances of me being able to go home are greater if he calls and talks to her. (Which is the case I am sure.) So he calls and talks to my charge nurse and she eventually comes back and talks to me. Apparently, our boss had said that I could not go home to help with it and that Hubby needed to figure it out on his own. I was not pleased with this AT ALL. I let Hubby know what the boss said and he started getting all of the kids up and ready to go so that he could get JoNo to the hospital. Meanwhile, my charge nurse decides that the boss is being unreasonable and has me call around to see if I can find someone to come in early to cover the rest of my shift. (Nothing I like better than calling people around 3am to see if they want to come in to work early!) Ugh!

Eventually, even though I didn't find anyone who was able to come in, the nurse told me to go ahead and go on home. It's an hour and fifteen minute drive. I made it in just under an hour (maybe 50 minutes?) I didn't intend to go faster, but I was worried about my sweet JoNo.

So, I get to the hospital where he is being seen and after a bit we find out that he has bronchitis and a double ear infection. They put him on an antibiotic for both and send us home. Later that day, I call his pediatrician to see what he wants to do and when we should bring JoNo in to see him. He says that he wants to see JoNo the next day (Wednesday). I ask him about work for me (for various reasons which I didn't have to explain to our pedi because he knows us well enough) and he tells me that I need to stay home from work for that night because of JoNo being sick and that Hubby needed me to be home as well, since he'd be up all day with the well kids and then have to try and be up all night with JoNo for his round-the-clock breathing treatments and the fact that breathing issues tend to flare up more severely at night, etc. etc. Plus, Hubby was starting to feel ill as well and he was likely to get really run-down and get very ill as well if he didn't have a chance to take it easier. He offered a note to substantiate it as well, if needed. I took him up on the offer.

So I called work and let them know. They said that I needed to try to find my own replacement. So I called everyone on the list. No one could work for me. We have three aides at night, but fairly often we are scheduled short with only two aides, so the fact that I wouldn't be able to be there wasn't a huge issue (in my opinion).

The older boys had a school function that evening. It was a free all-school skate for the students and their families. We generally cannot afford activities like that and the next day was Natty's 10th birthday and he really wanted to go to the skating party but wasn't hopeful about it at all because he knew that JoNo's health often preempts all else when he is sick. But JoNo was resting peacefully, Hubby was doing okay at that point and Boo was just watching cartoons so I decided to take Natty and Punky to the skating party.

They had a blast! Natty is not a skilled skater by any means and neither is Punky, but they both did okay and most importantly, had a lot of fun! Plus, it was totally free, which I liked a lot. At one point, my boss calls me and he hears the background din and gets mad that I wasn't home with JoNo. Well, the whole skating party was a grand total of two hours, we didn't get there right when it started, as I didn't want to be away from JoNo and Hubby for three hours (the amount of time we would have been away had we been there for the whole thing) but I also didn't feel that Natty and Punky should have to miss out on the party either, so I took them.

My boss was asking me about why I had to leave work the previous night/morning and why Hubby couldn't handle it himself, etc. etc. and why I had to miss work that night as well, and I did my best to explain that Hubby was sick as well the night before and we have three other kids that also need to be cared for and that JoNo's lung disease makes any sickness a real health issue. He tells me to call everyone on the list a second time. We leave the rink about 30 minutes later (had to round up my kiddos) and as soon as I get home, I call everyone a second time, which seems pointless to me. Not to mention the fact that according to policy at work, we only need to call and find our own replacement for weekend shifts UNLESS we have a doctor's note. I had a doctor's note AND it wasn't a weekend, which meant that, according to policy, I wasn't required to call anyone to find a replacement, much less, call everyone TWICE. But, whatever, I tried anyhow, and texted him to let him know that I still was not able to find anyone to cover.

So, Tuesday night, Mike ends up going into the emergency room because he is having breathing issues and chest pressure, etc. They tested him and as it turns out, he has influenza. So, I had been up all night Monday night/ Tuesday morning, all day on Tuesday, most of Tuesday night, so when I was finally able to get some sleep on Wednesday morning (after kids left for school and just before JoNo's doctor's appointment) I crashed. Hubby, even though he was sick, took JoNo to the appointment and ended up writing another note for my work stating that due to Hubby's illness I needed to be home to care for JoNo. My inlaws didn't want the kids or Hubby over at their house because my father-in-law was about to go on a business trip and didn't want to get sick from the kids or Hubby. My mom, well, she isn't real attentive to the kiddos, so we try not to have her watch the kids much. So we really didn't have any outside resources. Plus, considering the fact that I am gone for work 11 hours per day in good weather and would need another 8 hours or so to sleep, I would end up needing 19 hours of childcare if I were able to find someone to watch the kids. 19 hours, most of it during the night. Not likely to happen.

So, I get the note from Hubby and I take it to the inlaw's house to fax it in to work. The note says that I am not to return to work until JoNo's illness had improved. Which I thought was pretty plain to mean that I would let them know when he was better and when I would be able to return to work.

Wednesday night was my scheduled night off. I was up with kids and taking care of JoNo and Hubby and trying to catch up on housework that Hubby had fallen behind on. Thursday, kids went to school, JoNo and I slept much of the day as we were able to and then Thursday night, I was home with the family. Friday afternoon, I get an inbox message on Facebook from my boss telling me that I was a no call/no show for the previous night. We discuss this off and on throughout the afternoon via Facebook's email system. I disagree that it was a no call/no show, but it's not really up to me to say what it was, so I leave it alone. I let him know that due to JoNo's illness, I will not likely be back to work until Monday night (which actually is my next scheduled night off - so really Tuesday night).

On Monday, JoNo is back to school. On Tuesday, everyone else's sickness catches up to me, so I miss work for my own illness. On Monday night, Hubby goes back into the emergency room for tooth pain caused by a broken tooth and what likely is an infection caused by it. They give him an antibiotic. Tuesday evening, the nurse line tells him to go back in because he has severe swelling and pain that isn't being helped by the current medications. So he goes back in. They change his antibiotic and his pain medicine. He goes home. Then he gets even worse. His face is so swollen on one side that he can't even see out of his eye. The nurse line says that he needs to go back in again. So back in he went. They ended up admitting him.

On Wednesday, he has emergency oral surgery. They remove 3 teeth and insert a drain. The tooth that was causing him pain was broken and had started an infection in his face. Then it became necrotic and the infection worsened and in the end, he had the three teeth removed, the drain inserted through his gumline,up into the cheek area, approaching his cheekbone, to drain any excess fluid/pus/infection. The gross part for me is that it drains into his mouth. Yuck! That has to be nasty for him. Thankfully, they have also kept him pretty well drugged up.

I got 3 (maybe) hours of sleep on Wednesday morning, from around 9am to 12p when Hubby called to let me know that they were going to be taking him in for the surgery. He asked that I come back to the hospital. Oh, and MIL had decided that she was going to take the kids overnight on Tuesday night since they were all well b/c of how much pain Hubby was in. Forgot to mention that part.

So I come back in on Wednesday afternoon, and it all happens so fast that I actually meet him on his way down to surgery. Thank goodness that I didn't catch an extra red light or anything! And then I spend the next three hours in the waiting room. Two of those hours with MIL, who also came to be here with Hubby. I wait to talk to the surgeon and then realize after he was gone that I had neglected to find out the post-op plans. So I didn't know if Hubby was going to go home afterwards, if he was going to stay in the hospital for a bit, or whatever.

So, then I wait for him to come out of recovery. I decide to call up to the nurse's station for his room and they tell me that he isn't up there yet and that I can wait in his room for him to come back. So up to the room MIL and I go. It wasn't long before Hubby was brought back up from recovery. He was still mostly sedated but I stayed for about another hour or so then headed on home to make dinner and try to get some sleep before work.

By the time I got home though, I knew that work would not be a good idea. I was so tired and so sleep-deprived that I felt it would be really risky to try to commute. I called work and let the charge nurse know, then I made a few phone calls to see if I could find anyone to cover and I couldn't so I called her back to let her know who I had tried to call so that she could pick up where I left off. I made spaghetti for supper and then Hubby texted me to let me know that his mom had just left. And then I slept for the next three hours until Hubby texted me again, asking me to bring up his pillows and blanket.

My mom had been staying at our house since Tuesday night and she came up to the hospital with me as well, so we stayed for a little bit but he was mostly sleeping and groggy so we left to go back home and try to get some more work done around the house. Not too long after arriving home, Hubby texts me again and asks me to bring up his toiletries. I gather them up and try to get a few things done, but I can tell from the tone of his messages that he is really anxious about being in the hospital, so I head back in, leaving my mom to finish up the kids' bedroom level of the house. I am not making much headway on the chores I had been trying to accomplish, but one can only do so much while also trying to manage everything else.

I am grateful that my mom is over to help out with the cleaning and getting the house back into shape. I am also grateful that the kids are better and that my mother-in-law is willing to keep them (probably until this weekend from the sound of it), I am grateful that Hubby has the care he needs and everything right now. But I feel like I am being stretched so thin at the same time.

There are a few things that I didn't mention yet in here. Last Friday (in addition to everything else) I had a meeting at Boo's school. They have four regular meetings per year in addition to this IEP/IFSP meetings. But we decided to cut his schooling back to three days a week from the five that he had been going, because it is throwing his sleep schedule off so much. He has days where he is rested and alert and ready to learn and cooperate and then he has days where he's tired and cranky and has a "ain't no one gonna get me to do nothin'" kind of attitude. And I knew it was likely to happen, because he is a child who still very much needs his naps. Often times, he falls asleep on the bus ride home and then he sleeps until about 5pm and then goes to bed last among the kids. Yes, my 3 year old has a later bedtime than my 10 year old. It's just the way life works at our house. But then there are other days where he doesn't fall asleep on the bus and he gets off and comes inside and will lay down and look at books quietly for awhile and then he will get up and be active again. These are the nights that he crashes around 7:30 but he doesn't sleep through the night. He will sleep until about 10 or 11 and then he's awake and wired for the next three or four hours. Then he will go back to sleep.

So we hope that by changing his schooling to three days a week, it will allow him to be alert and ready to participate in school on the days that he is there, since he will (hopefully) be getting adequate naps on his days off from school. We will be meeting again in another month to see how it is working and if we can bump him back up to five days. They also are going to recommend that he be in morning classes next year.

But apart from the scheduling dilemma and changes, they had lots of good praise about his accomplishments at school and how well he is doing. They reported to me that he is a very pleasant, friendly child who is eager to learn and to please people (when he is rested) and that he is very social and doing well in that aspect as well. He knows all of his letters by sight as well as numbers up to 20 and can rote count up to 20 (at home, it's 29 but still...) It was a very good meeting and I was pleased with his progress.

Let's see...what else... Oh, on Monday, I had a job interview at another facility. It is also out of town but it's closer and they are in the process of building a location in the city where we live, and just a few miles away too. It is scheduled to open in November and if I were to be hired on to this facility out of town, I would be able to transfer to the facility here in town once it opens. I have my fingers crossed for his job because it would solve a lot of issues. Plus, it's on a stretch of highway that doesn't get hit nearly as hard with our winter weather and overall, I think it just would be a better situation.

Hubby also wanted me to call another facility that I have worked in as a home health aide that is literally five minutes from home with both stoplights between here and there being red. That would have some serious time advantages to it and that particular facility is an Alzheimer's one so it is right up my alley too. Plus I know the staff there and have known many of them for years. My first assignment as a home health aide there was back in 2008. So the staff and I - we have history together. A good one too. Unfortunately, the only thing that they have available there right now is part-time evenings. Part-time would not work and evenings are my last choice for a shift. Preference would be days and then nights and then evenings. I will keep tabs on what is available over there though.

We also have a house inspection coming up next Monday. We had applied for government housing assistance and our name came to the top of the list last June. In September, we got our voucher. In December, we got an extension on our voucher, and now we are finally getting the house inspected to make sure it passes their guidelines. (It should.) But I have been trying to get it ultra-cleaned in the meantime because it also makes me nervous. I feel like they are going to be coming in and judging me personally, even though I am not the one home to maintain the house on a regular basis. In actuality, they are coming in to make sure that the house is safe and meets their safety criteria and so on and so forth. But this program will reduce our monthly rent expense by nearly half, which will go a long way towards us being able to take care of debt and such.

And in other news, I finally got my last W-2 today in the mail. Well, one W-2 and one 1099 really. But I got them and so as soon as I find the one that Hubby had "put up" so it wouldn't "get lost" we can call up our tax preparer and get everything filed. We are going to be getting a decent return this year as well, which is awesome because we really need it to help us catch up on our month-to-month expenses as well as to make some repairs to the house that our darling little children have caused and to catch up on past debt too. I have this goal that by this time next year, we will be debt-free with the exception of my student loans. And with any luck, those will be in deferment (because I will hopefully be back in school) and therefore will be able to pay them down quickly while making payments on them when they aren't due for payments to be made.

Wow. This was a long post. And I think it will hit every tag that I have - or nearly every tag anyhow. If you made it the end of this post, kudos to you! You are a brave, brave soul! Also, instead of trying to catch up on all of the activities and old postings that I had missed during my unscheduled bloggy break, I will just be jumping back in. But with a little less pressure this time. I am going to do what I can as I can. Because when life happens, it won't feel like yet another way that I'm falling behind in my obligations. Does that make sense?


  1. Welcome back! Lots of hugs for you and the gang!

  2. Thanks Katie! It's been rough, but it will be getting better. Have so much to look forward to and have been laying the groundwork so that everything can fall neatly into place. My house is almost all done! I am still dealing with the laundry issue. I have tons and tons of clothes to sort through and to get rid of, then to fold/hang and put away the rest of them. That will be a project for much of tomorrow and maybe the weekend, depending on Hubby's discharge date and orders.