Saturday, November 17, 2012

It Fills My Mind

At this time of year, my mind is filled with thoughts of getting to this point, being Mom to this wonderful guy. I actually don't think at all of the years of waiting, but I do think of the week prior to leaving,and the flights to Kazakhstan. I think of my arrival in Kazakhstan and the spending a wonderful (not) 12 hours hanging out in the airport in Almaty, (unfortunately it wasn't the only time I would spend a night in that airport waiting on the benches outside the security check for my flight to Uralsk). And I think of those first 2 days in Uralsk waiting to get to the baby house. But most of all I think of meeting Denis.

March 2011 Celebrating a belated Christmas
April 2011 Driving his favourite vehicle after I finally put it together.

August 2011 Planning to tell Mommy and Uncle John where to go (something he does all the time).
June 2012 Making faces at Kazapalooza.
July 2012 More faces for the camera

Sept 2012 Driving a car at the CNE.
2 years ago today I met this little guy, crying his eyes out in the director's office in Kazakhstan. I got to spend and hour with him. I have very fond memories of that day, I started to fall in love that day, then spent another week trying to 'be logical'.
Today I got to spend the entire 24 hours with him, and I'm sure in days, weeks to come, I won't have any memories of today, but every moment is enjoyed and a gift.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Polar Opposites

Wednesday will be my sister's birthday, today we went out to celebrate. We went to our local Pioneer Village to enjoy the fall colours and then we planned to go for an early dinner. We have had a membership to the village for almost 30 years and usually visit a few times a year. Both Denis and my sister love the village and are very comfortable there. I love it as I don't have to worry about either of them while we walk around (no traffic and a lovely fence, tree and brush separation from the actual roads).
A hat to mark the LACK of a hockey season (as if I care about hockey)
 This is the first time my sister has been well enough to walk around on an outing since Denis came home 19 months ago, my brother and I discovered how they are such absolutely opposite.

 The only times we were all together was entering and exiting the village.

This is the typical view that I had of Denis while we were in the village.

And this is how I saw my sister.

 Oh, you don't see her, let me use the zoom on the camera for you.

There she is, standing still, quietly waiting and wondering where Denis and I were.

See, Denis didn't walk around the village, he RAN. And Kathryn would take a step and wait about a minute before she took another step. My brother and I had to divide to conquer with these two.

We didn't go into any of the houses. We've done that before. We just walked around and visited all the animals.

I did get Denis to stand still for a photo. It was a challenge.
I love the village. And it did look so beautiful in its fall splendour. We had a great time crunching through the leaves. But it was nippy for a fall afternoon and rain was on its way. So it was sad to see the preparations for the evening OUTDOOR wedding on the green and in the pavilion. I hope the guests realized exactly what they were getting into. I know the village had those tall standing heaters, but we were wearing winter jackets and hats, and it was daylight.

I love this photo. It isn't easy to get a good photo of my sister. 

We ended up just taking my sister to Tim Hortons for a donut as Denis fell asleep shortly after we got into the car. Geez, wonder why he was so tired. We took my sister back to her group home where she promptly put her head down for a nap. At least on that level they are at the same speed.

As we were leaving the village, while waiting for my brother to bring the car from the parking lot, I had to promise to take Denis back to the village without either of my siblings. He complained that they were no fun and too slow. Too funny.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I No Wash My Hands

Denis keeps trying to talk his way out of having to wash his hands. He is always arguing that his hands aren't dirty, or that he washed them at day care (even on Saturday he'll use that excuse).

Tonight he was in the washroom with me and I told him to wash his hands and he started to argue that he couldn't wash his hands. I was just about to start my lecture when he said to me, "I'm a doggy, doggies don't have hands, they have paws. I have to wash my paws."

Can't argue with that.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Today we finally had Denis' baptism. I say finally because we have had a date multiple times, and then something has come up, or someone has come down with something and we've had to postpone and rebook. But finally everything was in place and all the essential players were hale and healthy.
It was a frantic morning for me though. I had to get Denis and myself and my brother out of the house and over to my sister's group home where I then had to get my sister dressed and out. And this had to be done so we could get to the church prior to 2 in the afternoon. I was so frantic, I just feared we'd be late for my son's baptism. We actually arrived at the church at 1:30, the final mass of the day hadn't finished when we pulled into the church parking lot.

I had only invited a few people for the day. Prior to meeting Denis, I'd dreamt of a very large baptism. But once I had Denis home I began to realize that life isn't so much about me and more about Denis and his needs. And then there is the reality that both my son and sister just need me, and I can't be there for both of them and host a huge celebration.

Denis was excited about the baptism, and excited meant running around. And I mean a ton of running around. Father came out to say we would be beginning in 2 minutes and suddenly Denis runs behind a large group of people coming into the church and he is gone. I was in a panic. The church vestibule was empty. He wasn't in the church. I motion to my brother to ask if Denis had run back to the pew where we were sitting, but no. Finally I heard him in the basement of the church. He had gone down the stairs and was waiting for the elevator to bring him upstairs.

During the baptism, Denis was loud. Screaming, talking, squirming and kicking the pew. With Denis there were 6 other children being baptised. 3 were wee tiny babies and three were older girls, but all of them were QUIET. It was overwhelming for Denis. We were also sitting in the front pew instead of our usual back pew, which totally confused Denis. But when it came to the important parts of the ceremony he was perfect. He was still and quiet for the annoiting and he truly enjoyed the actual baptising.

I had four favourite moments from the day. Denis asked me to dance at one point and insisted that we do a little waltz (at that point I'd do anything to keep him calm and quiet at that point). During a quiet moment, when Father was anointing all the children, Denis started screaming at his uncle that he couldn't hear what Uncle John was saying and could he speak louder. Just as I lifted Denis back up at the font from the baptism, my sister announced that it was time to go out and eat. And finally, at the end of the ceremony I was given the baptismal certificate, and Denis wanted to see what it said and I had to read it to him while he sat on his uncle's shoulder.

After the baptism we went to Montana's restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner. It was Denis' first experience in a sit down restaurant. It was a wonderful experience. Denis had gifts to open and people to visit with. My sister enjoyed having lunch out at one of her favourite restaurants with sone of her favourite people. And my friends and family had a great time.

He was as good as gold for this, and this font is one of Denis' favourite things at our church.
Denis and his Godparents: my best friend Anna and my brother John
Myself, my sister Kathryn, Godmother Anna, Godfather Uncle John and Denis.
The most emotional point of the day was hearing Denis being baptised with both the names I'd chosen and the name his birth mother had chosen. At the beginning of the ceremony, we were asked what name we have chosen. Most parents mentioned one name. I said all three of his names, as it was so important to me to honour and remember his birth mother at this so very important occasion.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Summer Pictures

Celebrating Canada Day

Waiting for the fireworks with Uncle John

On his way to Dance Camp for Pirate day.

A super day at Canada's Wonderland with Alex. We arrived just before a thunderstorm and when the rides reopened the boys got on about 17 rides in just over an hour. 

First time on a beach. At Long Point Provincial Park
Playing in Lake Erie
Having a blast
Just a little sandy
First time flying a kite

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ask a Busy Person

You know that old adage that if you want something done, then ask a busy person. I'm guessing that it means you shouldn't ask me to do anything during the summer as I'm not busy enough. As proof positive, I offer this blog, 3 posts this week and prior to that June 27th, the last day I had students in class.

Driving, driving and driving away he will go.

At the CNE - money ripoff as I now call it.

First boat ride ever  in Muskoka at my cousin's cottage.

Trying to touch the water as we sped across the lake.
So what did I do for my summer vacation? Mostly I attended 20 different appointments, mostly medical for Denis, my sister and myself. A lot it turns out, here are some photos. I'll post more when I find the other camera disk.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hansel and Gretel

A friend of my brother's cleaned out her cottage and sent all her children's books to Denis. Among those books is a copy of Hansel and Gretel.

I've read that book many times. I've never been bothered by the story, that was until I brought Denis home. I read it now and I cringe as I read about the stepmother insisting that the children be abandoned in the forest. I keep trying to hide the book, but Denis seems to have a sixth sense about it and keeps finding the book.

Tonight, Denis 'found' the book again and had his uncle read the story to him. As my brother read, Denis pointed to the stepmother and asked who she was. When my brother explained who she was, Denis responded, "She not a mommy."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Thought On Waking

Denis usually falls asleep in his own bed. But every night at some time during the night he wakes, calls out to find me, and then comes into my bed. Usually when he comes he talks about a nightmare or a dream that woke him up. He definitely comes for comfort, and then, once reassured, he goes back to sleep.

This morning, he woke with 3 questions.

He had barely opened his eyes when he asked, "Mommy, do you love me?" I thought it a cute question and
I assured him that yes I did love him.

Then he asked if I was happy. I told him that yes I was happy. Finally, he asked if I was not angry. I was very bemused at this point and assured him that I was very happy and not at all angry.

He then said to me, "I wet your bed."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I've often thought that Denis has a great memory, tonight he proved it. Tonight we went out to my friend's daughter's birthday party. Last year, Julia's birthday party was held at a trampoline place. There were 8 large sized trampolines set up four on a side.

Denis was too young to bounce on his own, but the young man running the birthday party would hold Denis in his arms and bounce. Denis loved it.

So, tonight I said we were going to Julia's birthday party. After a few moments he asked if we were going to go bounce. I looked at him and asked for more information, so he described all the trampolines. Amazing!

This year's party was at an indoor beach volleyball center. I wonder what he'll say next year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kazapalooza Fun

Look who made it to Kazapalooza. 

We had a wonderful weekend. Denis loved the water slides, the pools, the arcade, the parties and the bathtubs in the hotel rooms. He didn't, however, like sleeping away from home, as he asked to go home at night, when he tired and especially when things didn't go his way.

I have wanted to attend Kazapalooza since I heard of the very first one, and it far surpassed any expectations I had of the event.  It was amazing to be a part of such a wonderful and large group of families. But it was funny how I seemed to spend a large amount of time with my friends from home. We of course spent lots of time with Loretta and Alex, and Denis' favourite person Alex's grandmother Aline.

Here's Denis' picture of Loretta, Alex and I.

Denis is getting quite good at taking pictures. Here are some of his best from the weekend.

And for some reason he loves taking pictures like this one.

Can you say like mother like son? The black shoes are mine, I took it years ago, one of my favourite photos.
I saw so many of the children I know from their adoption blogs. I would be in the pool with Denis and look over and say to myself, 'oh look there's Major', or 'that's Hannah'. But I have this problem, I have no idea what their parents look like, or for that matter what the parents' names might be. I seem to have focused on the children.  So I couldn't look over and say hello.

During the Friday and Saturday events, families wore name tags, and I wanted to go up and say hello to so many of the families that I've come to know on-line. But these were the big and overwhelming events that required me to try and keep up with Denis. And then during the calmer times, well, families weren't wearing name tags. 

I also learned that a family I know from their blog were there and I'd love to have met up with them, opportunity missed.

The next Kazapalooza will be in Texas, also the 3rd week of June, one week before the end of the school term, not a great time for me. Dang! I would love to attend. I'll keep it on my wish list, but I don't think I'll be making it. So, I will instead start saving for the 7th Kazapalooza.

Thanks to all the organizers and their families for organizing such an amazing weekend.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Today was a remarkable day. I brought Denis to day care this morning. We had our usual race to the doors of school, he won as usual (wink, wink). We got to his cubby and put his hat and knapsack away. And then the remarkable thing happened. After 10 months of day care, he finally kissed me, said 'see you later', walked into day care and closed the door on me. No tears, no pulling me into day care, no arguments, no drama.

What a morning to remember! So, is it wrong that I sort of miss the drama? Don't get me wrong, I LOVED leaving quickly and getting on my way to work, but it sort of felt empty as I walked away.

He's growing up, growing up really really fast.

P. S. He sat on the couch yesterday doing attendance (who knew we had so many people living in the house), when he turned to me and said, "That's not acceptable!" What! I wonder if that came from day care, or from me. Too scary!

P.P.S. Why do these programs not like the word cubby, I've been using that word for YEARS as a kindergarten teacher. Come on on-line world, cubby is a word.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Love My Job

Friday was the last day prior to the May long weekend, what we call the Victoria Day Weekend, when we celebrate the Queen's birthday. I'm not a monarchist, but I just had to get back into the swing of things with the kids. So many of my students are new immigrants and their families don't know that Monday is a holiday, nor why, so I got totally into it.

For Share and Tell this week I had the children explain what they would do on their birthday if they were a king or queen (I really got a kick out of these little guys explaining what they would do and what their servants would do) Then I had the children decorate a triangle we'd cut out of white construction paper to be strung on yarn to create a decorative swag. Then as a culmination of the week, we had a tea party after lunch.

As I would never truly want to make hot tea for 6 and 7 year olds, and they'd wouldn't really want to drink it, I purchased Ice Tea and some cookies clearly labeled 'peanut free'. I found animal crackers and rice crispy squares and then I found maple flavoured cookies, perfect.

I decided this was a perfect time to teach some etiquette to the children around taking food at a party. I put the cookies onto trays and I explained how they take the cookie closest to them and the first one they touch (at any other party this year we've had out the treats to the children ourselves), and most importantly we wait until everyone has been served. It is amazing how quickly they got into the act and reminded each other of how to help themselves.

As soon as everyone had treats we all stood to sing 'God Save the Queen', okay, I sang and they repeated the line, and then we all sang 'O'Canada'. It was a wonderful time, over 40 children so well behaved sitting and talking and enjoying tea and cookies.

The best part of the day was at home time listening to the children telling their parents all about Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and why we have the holiday. Lessons should be fun, interesting and memorable.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Welcome to Kindergarten

Denis starts Junior Kindergarten in September, so this evening the school he'll attend held their Welcome to Kindergarten program. The program was from 6:30 to about 8. The idea is to introduce the children to the school and tell the parents what they need to do to get the children ready for school. I was at my school's event last week with the almost identical program (only it ran from 5 to 6:30, a much better time if you ask me, but no one did).  Needless to say I didn't need to 'hear' the information, and pedagogically I totally disagree with some of the information I was told this evening, but I was there for Denis to help him get the idea that soon he'll be starting school.

What was so strange was the feeling I had walking into the school this evening. I was so upset with the idea of him going to school, but at the same time so excited for him. The weird thing is Denis is already attending the school, he daycare is in one of the rooms of the school. And as I walked through the door I use to take Denis to and from daycare I realized he has only been home for 15 months. Wow, is that all, it feels so natural and as if he's been here forever. But I'm not ready for him to go to school yet, he's just my baby.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dreams/ Nightmares

When Denis first came home he had a couple of nightmares which suddenly escalated into months of night terrors. Early March was the last time he's had a terror, but he still has a nightmare once or twice a week. Now that he is able to tell stories he is telling me about his nightmares. A lot are about losing me, and not being able to find me.

This the most recent nightmare he told me about.
He told me that a lady was throwing rocks at the house and she broke the house and the snow came in.

Previous nightmares were about the house being hit by a car and falling down.That nightmare happened just after we saw a house around the corner from ours where a drunk parked his car in a strangers' living room. It makes sense to believe the nightmare was triggered by seeing the actual house. So now I'm wondering what, if anything trigger this nightmare. I understand that nightmares don't have to have anything to do with reality, but then again...

On a totally different wave length, during the early months of Denis being home, I was regularly startled by Denis sticking his face into mine in the middle of the night. Talk about totally scared and shocked in the middle of the night. I remember thinking that I finally found out where those absolutely terrifying SciFi monsters came from, the writers and prop guys were suddenly awaken in the middle of the night by their toddler.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday meant PARK to Denis (that's exactly what he said to me when he woke up). As I'm recovering from stomach flu that was about all I could accomplish today.

We found it so warm in the park this morning that Denis wanted to take off his shoes to play in the sand.

And so cool this evening that he has 4 layers on, his hoodie under his helmet and he asked for mittens.

The bike ride went a little too far for Denis, he got off his bike and wanted to walk home about 7 blocks from home. He was so tired walking that I got to hold his hand for most of the 7 blocks. I really enjoyed holding his hand walking, something I rarely get to do, but I really didn't like having to carry the trike home.

He lay on the couch when he came home and didn't argue about going to bed.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Beneficiary Finally

I had an appointment today, so I had to take the day off work. Taking advantage of the time, I decided that I would FINALLY get Denis onto my benefits at work.

When I was home last year between trips, I went to the Benefits Department at work to add him to my benefits. I had my coordinator in Uralsk send me a PDF of the birth certificate and translation.The gentleman responsible for my file told me that he required the original birth certificate (as if he could read it anyway). I told him that I was returning to Kazakhstan to get my son and I would have the original and I would bring in at that time.

The first business day after Denis was home, I returned to the office, with the original of Denis 'new' birth certificate with the translation. However, at that time I was told I couldn't change from Individual level to Family while on parental leave. Great, now you tell me, let's ignore the fact I had tried the week before when I wasn't on leave (and he wasn't in my care, but was mine....yah, let's not go there). The upshot was I had to wait until I was back to work to add him to my coverage. But before I left the office that day, I made sure that copies of the documents they needed were photocopied and placed into my file, and I filled out the proper forms, so that as soon as I returned to work Denis would go onto my benefits.

I went back to work in November and was swamped. I started on Halloween into a class where some of the children had been switched into my class just 4 weeks earlier, and none of the students were told that their teacher was only a temporary replacement. Talk about stress for the kids and the parents, and the stress came to school in the form of very angry letters and phone calls. And then 2 days later it was Denis' 3rd birthday, his first with us (and by the sound of it, his first birthday celebration ever). In other words, I was happy to be just getting up and out in the morning and I forgot to call the Benefits Department. Eventually the gentleman responsible for my file called me, but he had none of the paperwork and I would have to go into the school board office and redo all the paperwork (isn't this something we know well as an adoptive parent)s?).

And that brings me to today. I had planned to go after work one day, but on the days I remembered to bring Denis' paperwork something would stop me from leaving school until the point I wouldn't be there when that gentleman left work at 5 pm. It is a good thing as it took him a good 90 minutes to go through the paperwork. (I have to say I did not think it was that complicated). He read EVER line of the translation of the birth certificate, and I had to keep explaining how it worked, what each part meant. At one point he asked why it said I was the mother as I wasn't his mother. I corrected him saying I was most definitely his mother and pointed out that the date of the certificate was 15 days after the judge said 'yes', not at the time of his birth. 

Unfortunately, Denis won't really be on my benefits until the 1st of May, as they only add people once a month, that means exactly 6 months after I return to work he is finally on my plan.

Now, while I was there I decided to start Denis' Registered Education Savings Plan. That involved a lot more paperwork, by someone who has never done the paperwork before and it only took 10 minutes (and we are involved with the government with this paperwork).

Not sure what this means in the broader field, but wow was it ever annoying. Happily it is done. What's next on the list of annoying things to do? Oh, ya, taxes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

When Work Is Too Much Like Home

3 year olds are not the easiest people in the world. They want your constant attention. When you can't give them constant attention, they work on getting your attention again, be it touching you (gentleness is NOT a priority) or doing something 'naughty' that is guaranteed to get your attention.They also practice reverse physiology all day long, they always want to be, do, wear and eat the exact opposite of what is suppose to be, done, worn or eaten. And then there are the CONSTANT temper tantrums. Anything and everything can set off a temper tantrum. And as temper tantrums go they are loud and usually involve throwing things.

Denis is truly a 3 year old. And he is a joy, as long as he gets his way, gets what he wants when he wants, and is completely understood, or just after he wakes up. Otherwise, it is temper tantrums, hold me and holding me.

I knew this was coming and for the most part I can deal with it. But it is getting harder and harder by the day. I find myself losing my temper faster and faster with the poking, screaming and throwing. And it isn't Denis' fault for my inability to deal with him. I have to blame one of my students.

I'm teaching a split grade 1/ Senior Kindergarten class. One of my little SK's is going through a really rough patch for some reason (started a month after I went back to work). Her behaviour is completely 3 year old-ish, even though she is 6. All day long I get the constant demand for attention, the constant poking, pulling, and my least favourite of all, hands going into my clothes (ARGH). If I don't give her immediate attention she starts this high pitched whine. Then there are the temper tantrums, running out of the room, slamming of the door, ripping up stuff, etc. etc.

This is the first year of all day learning for our kindergarten students, so I have this little one ALL DAY LONG, 7 really long hours. Oh, I should also mention I do have 18 other students. 10 first graders and 8 other SK's. One little boy is just new to the country and learning English, and another child has a communication disorder recently diagnosed. Somewhere during day I actually suppose to TEACH these little guys. Thank goodness a fluke gave me the gift of another adult in my room in an ECE, but said child wants MY attention. By the time the bell rings at the end of the day I'm beat, both emotionally and physically.

That's when I go and pick up Denis who really is 3, and does the same things as I've had to cope with all day long, some days it is just too much.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Those Dreaded Words

"I don't like you no more!"

Yup, I heard those dreaded words yesterday. I wondered how I would deal with Denis actually saying this or 'I hate you'. I never thought I'd break out into laughter.

Last night at bed time Denis was playing with my brother and not at all happy with me making him go to bed. As I carried him to bed he shout, "I don't like you no more!" and as I said I started laughing, and I began to tickle him saying "You don't like me, huh". He quickly started laughing with me. Crisis averted.

It wasn't the first time he's actually said something like in that variety. The day before Denis told me that my brother was his best friend (a favourite phrase of his these days). I asked Denis who I was, and he started laughing saying I was 'bad Mommy'. The kid is such a funny guy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OMG! I Dreamt I Did It Again!

I had the most vivid, totally detailed dream about adopting again. I actually had a child in my arms in my dream. I was holding him and talking with the social worker about what the child's needs were and discussing with my brother how we would make it work.

It was so strange because in all the years waiting for Denis I never saw a child in my dreams. The closest I came was a dream where I was handed what I was told was my baby, all swaddled up, but instead of a blanket the child seemed to be in paper. And when I brought the top of the roll of paper up to look, it was just a bouquet of flowers.

Now, on sane and rational moments I know that Denis is my one and only son. BUT... there are those times when I seriously think about adopting a second child.

I total blame Lori and Dart. They are in China now finally bringing home their much loved and anticipated 6th child, Mia. I was forever checking the internet this weekend for those pictures of Lori finally getting to hold Mia in her arms. And then from Lori's blog I've read so many other blogs of families having their Forever Family days and also links to the waiting children.

I just need to win the lottery and find the time machine to make me just a wee bit younger and I'd do it again. Actually, if the process was just a little easier and not so expensive I would do it again. But hey, I can't actually do anything until I've been home with Denis for 18 months, which would be August then ... nah, just stop it there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Nauryz

The first day of spring here in Toronto feels much more like a summer day, it was definitely WARM today. I hope the temperatures return to normal, trying to teach in a hot school in MARCH is not my idea of fun. Don't get me wrong, it isn't fun in May or June either, but you sort of expect it then, just not in March.

Denis' day care is celebrating Nauryz, not that they spell it the way I do. I brought my wooden bowl and spoon that I bought in Almaty to share with the class. The bowl has the image of the horse race that is associated with Nauryz. It shows a man and woman riding with the woman using a wipe, I gather she won the race.

For dinner we had Pelmeni. I buy them frozen at a Russian grocery store not far from my sister's group home. It was so delicious. I will make it again for our Can-a-Kaz group Nauryz party on Saturday.

I'd love to post some photos but I broke my camera, keep meaning to get it fixed, probably cost me a mint.

Oh, on the table in the day care dedicated to Nauryz there is a fish bowl with 2 goldfish. When we came home Denis was telling his Uncle about the fish. Then he told us that when the fish die you have to put them in the toilet and flush them down. LOL. It is amazing the things the little one learns at day care!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Late Winter ????

The calendar says March, but the weather lately has been very spring-like. And we are not ones not to ignore such wonderful weather.

So far we have been to the local pioneer village for a couple of hours on Wednesday, to the park after day care on both Tuesday and today, and outside in the garden to play in the sand on Sunday.

It helps that this is my March Break from work and I've been able to spend more with Denis. I have been sending Denis to day care as I need him to keep in the routine, and it gave me time to spend with my sister, but also the day care has had 3 special outings this week.
  • On Tuesday he went out to see a play of the stories of Robert Munsch.
  • Today there was a drummer at the day care doing a special presentation.
  • And tomorrow he is going to a large indoor playground for an hour.

Tomorrow I'm going to spoil myself and do nothing (oh, maybe a little of housework) as it is the last day of my holiday. The weather is suppose to be sunny and warm, so I might be out in the garden for some of the day, I can't wait.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Aunt Kathryn's Slow Recovery

My sister is very slowly getting better. A cough seems to be the only thing left from the pneumonia, unfortunately she developed thrush from being on the antibiotics. Her poor mouth is very sore. There is a very effective treatment, but you have to take it for it to work and Kathryn is in so much pain that she didn't want to have anything in her mouth. The poor staff at the group home were quite beside themselves looking after her.

In the past month Kathryn has been to the hospital 3 times, the family doctor twice and had a doctor into the group home. They have been so worried about her refusal to eat or take her medicine. The hospital and the doctor say she is fine, even though she has lost over 20 lbs since the beginning of January. All her blood work came back normal, and she is drinking lots of juice and water so she isn't dehydrated.

I've had her home for the weekend, and she is beginning to eat quite well. But as the doctor said to me, I use common sense when caring for her. She's in pain, so I give her Tylenol. At the group home they only give her what is prescribed for her, they can't experiment or give her something unusual. Also, they give her everything that is prescribed (vitamins, minerals etc) when they could be held until she is quite on the mend. Her mouth is very sensitive and I think she can feel or taste the different crushed medicines.

What gets me is there is some one on the group home staff who is not using any common sense. They take her to the hospital because she is not eating or taking her medicine, and they want the hospital to admit her. The hospital doesn't admit her as she is not in need of acute care, so the next day the staff send Kathryn to her day program, even though the hospital visit was from 6 pm to 12:30 am and she missed 5 hours of her usual sleep (isn't sleep total vital when you are trying to recover from an illness????).

In my mind you can't have it both ways. Either she is too sick to be out of bed, or she is well enough to attend the day program. I honestly think it is all about money and the attempt not to have to pay staff to care for my sister during the day, she had already been home for 3 weeks.

I gather from the conversation with the doctor that they also wanted to know how to force my sister to have her medication and to eat. My sister is the most stubborn person in the world, and she is not going to take anything if she doesn't want it. And really, a lack of her medication is not going to kill her. And though she has lost some weight, she is well hydrated and her body is not under too much stress. She just needs time to heal. For some reason the staff or person doesn't believe this even when they hear it from 2 or 3 different doctors. I think they were trying to find a new doctor who will agree with them. Luckily the family doctor put in writing that she is never to be forced to take food or medicine and that they are to give her another week to see how she is doing. I know one of the ladies is very opinionated, and she seems to believe in miracle cures of medicine. If you are not completely well, the medicine isn't working and must be changed according to her, I can see this lady not being pleased with my sister's slow recovery.

But I have never really been too worried about my sister as she has never looked as bad as last year when Denis and I arrived home. My sister's eyes tell the truth and her eyes have told me she is just under the weather. Hopefully, with the coming of spring she will finally shake all of this and get back to good health.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Poor Aunt Kathryn

Almost 2 weeks ago, I got a call from the group home to say that my sister was having drop seizures (my sister has a seizure disorder and drop seizures were a fact of life when we were kids) and she had a high fever.
(Kathryn and I in the fall of 2009)

The group home can't give medication, including something as simple as Tylenol, without a prescription, so they had to take her to the hospital emergency room to have her seen by a doctor. The doctor said she had a virus and they got the prescription for Tylenol.

(My beautiful sister, Denis has the same stunning blue eyes)

Then last Thursday, she still had the high fever between doses of Tylenol, so the staff of the group home took her to the family doctor. Unfortunately, the family doctor is away at the moment and her fill-in diagnosed a possible bladder infection or maybe pneumonia (which put her in hospital last year the day after Denis and I returned home). So the fill-in doctor prescribed an anti-biotic which would deal with both possibilities.

Today, the staff took her back to the hospital emergency room as she is still having lots of drop seizures and is not eating. She does have pneumonia, and the doctor at the hospital was really annoyed about the antibiotic she was prescribed last week as it doesn't work well for pneumonia.

The killer is I haven't been able to see her. Denis was sick last week with a high fever and cough. And then on the weekend my back went out and I just couldn't face getting in and out of the car. I feel so bad that I can't be with her when she is so sick. This time last year I was in those first days home with Denis and I was visiting her at the hospital once or twice a day, but not being with her ALL the time was the hardest thing I had to accept.
(Thanksgiving Dinner 2010 - just before leaving to meet Denis)

Before Denis, Kathryn was like my child. I've had an active roll in her care since I was 9 years of age. At that age, she was having lots of drop seizures and couldn't feed herself. I begged to be allowed to feed her during family meals. So I would sit at the table and feed her, and then eat my meal afterwards (okay, I should mention that I really have ADHD, and sitting through a whole meal and only eating was painful when I was a child, this was SO much better).

Today I feel guilty not being there for her, but I have to face the reality that caring for her is much more than one person can do. In fact, growing up there were always 4 adults working together to look after her. When we were young, it was my parents and maternal grandparents. With my grandparents passing, my brother and I were able to step in and help. Today, there is just my brother and I, and we work full time and have Denis.

In other words, I know this is for the best and that I am doing what I can, but my heart feels like I'm letting her down. Her learning level is very similar to a 2 year old, but she seems to understand a lot. Luckily she is never mad at me, she loves the time I spend with her and accepts what I can do with her. I really should take a page from her book and enjoy the time we do spend together and let it go when I can't be with her.