Sept 22, 2013: The Plague

Well, it’s official: I have contracted the Plague. Okay, not really, but I’m sick. In fact, the last time I was this sick was 1996. I remember this because it was not too long before my Dad passed away. (I don’t actually keep a log of my illnesses. It just so happens that I remember my Dad being alive when I had an abscess on my tonsil and was so sick that I happily pulled down my pants and stuck out my rear end so the doctor could give me a shot of antibiotics—a striking contrast to my usual modest self. I was miserable.)

The truth is, I never get sick. I get minor sniffles now and then, but I never run fevers (and I’ve only vomited once in 25 years—a fact that Chris says I’m ridiculously proud of…and he’s probably right). I once had a kidney infection, and a usual sign of that is high fever—I had no fever. In fact, the doctor at the ER chided me for not coming in when it was a simple urinary tract infection, but I hadn’t even known I had a UTI! I didn’t know I was sick until I woke up completely immobile from the worst back pain I’d ever felt. I’ve had one ear infection in my life, and I think I had strep maybe twice. I’m just very lucky in the health department—aside from my ongoing GI problems, I’m healthy as a horse! But not this week…

It started on Thursday—my throat was a bit scratchy, and I figured it was either allergies or I had picked up the very minor cold that Sam had the previous week (which was incredibly minor and lasted all of two days). On Friday morning I felt fairly bad and decided I was definitely sick—but probably just the cold Sam had. I went ahead and went to my three-hour dentist appointment (ugh!) to get a crown replaced and a filling done. I didn’t feel well, but I didn’t feel that bad. Until halfway through the appointment, when the aching got worse, and I got the chills so bad that I was visibly shaking in the chair. (The very kind dentist brought me a blanket—I felt like such a weenie! But I had to stick it out, because he had already removed the crown from my molar, and I had a big, gaping hole in that tooth. I couldn’t exactly leave without the replacement.) My fingers on one hand went numb, too. It was weird.

When I got home, I climbed into the bathtub to try to warm up. When I got out and took my temperature, it was 103.4. Yikes! My normal body temp is 97.6, so that was quite a jump for me—especially given that I never get fevers! My head was pounding, my throat and ears were hurting, and I had the chills, so I just climbed into bed and didn’t move while Chris handled the boys. I took some Motrin, which brought my fever down to 100 or so, and I began to feel a bit more human. Took some NyQuil before bed, which made it very hard to get up and nurse Sam—especially when he woke up four times in 30 minutes. Argh…

Naturally, our weekend plans were scrapped. Chris was supposed to go to a guys’ game day at our friend Mike’s house while I kept the boys all afternoon. Then he was going to keep the boys in the evening while I went out to dinner and maybe a movie with Roxann’s book club. I was so excited to go out with grown-ups! And earlier in the day, I was going to take the boys to see Auntie Jeanette and Justin. And Sunday, we had planned to go to Elk Grove to see Grandma Diane for her birthday, which Theo was very much looking forward to.

Alas, all those plans were scrapped. I woke up Saturday with a fever of only 100…but still a fever. And my throat and ears still hurt, and I was achy and tired. So instead, we went to tour a house (more on that later—it was only two streets away, so it wasn’t a major undertaking for me to haul my sick self there), then we took Theo to soccer, and I waited in the car with Sam while Chris took Theo out to the field. But we got our first rain of the season, and Theo’s soccer was rained out after five minutes! So then we headed to Kaiser for me to get the strep test the doctor suggested I have. (As it turns out, I do not have strep—this must be the flu.) And then we went home and I rested and slept while Chris handled all the parenting. (He is my hero!)

By Sunday morning my fever had mostly broken (about 99 degrees) and I wasn’t aching anymore, but my ears and throat still hurt. Still, I felt okay otherwise, so we attempted to go to Kohl’s (I needed some fall shirts) and the bookstore. Big mistake. I made it through Kohl’s okay, but we stopped to get some lunch, and I quickly realized I had overdone it. So Chris took me home to rest (and work, unfortunately—I have a huge project that I need to finish by tomorrow…and it won’t wait for the flu), and he took the boys back out to the bookstore and Costco so I could rest and work in a quiet house. And now, Sunday night, my fever is still just under 99, but my ears and throat are hurting worse than ever! And my abdominal muscles are killing me, I think from shaking so badly on Friday—they’ve been hurting ever since. I don’t know what this crud is, but it’s evil. I have to cancel my volunteering in Theo’s class tomorrow, and I’m just hoping I’m well enough to chaperone his field trip on Thursday!

Meanwhile, I’m praying that Sam doesn’t get this. I thought he gave it to me, but he was barely sick, so I don’t think this is what he had. And I’m terrified of him catching it, because regular illnesses can be really nasty in kids with DS. I’m not even letting my mind drift to the little guy I talked about last week, who passed away essentially from complications from a cold. I just can’t even think about it. And it will do me no good to think about it. So let’s move on…and I will continue to try not to breathe on the baby.

Speaking of Sam, I fired his speech therapist this week. And I feel a little bad about that, as I’m not the firing type. But really, it had to be done. Here’s the story, in a nutshell. He finally qualified for speech therapy at 18 months, and we started right away. Speech is by far his biggest area of delay, so it’s very important to us that he get quality speech therapy. And I really liked the first ST they sent out—she really clicked with Sam and with me, and he responded very positively to her. And I could see that what she was doing was designed to work toward speech—she used signs, exaggerated mouth positions and sounds and made sure Sam was watching her, held his little hand up to her mouth so he could feel the sounds she was making, read him books while signing, etc. Alas, after three weeks she transferred to a position with a school. So we were assigned another ST who supposedly also had feeding therapy experience. Great! Feeding is a big problem for us, so I was very excited. I had met her once and didn’t find her particularly likable, but whatever—I didn’t have to like her, as long as she was a good therapist and clicked with Sam.

As it turns out, she didn’t do very much. She’d come with her intern, who seemed nice but very tentative, and they’d play a bit with Sam, but I couldn’t tell how it was speech-related. (And maybe it was speech-related and I couldn’t tell…but usually therapists will explain what they’re doing and why so that you can practice it yourself, too. She didn’t do that.) And she always seemed vaguely annoyed. And not very interested in working on feeding.

She also cancelled two out of four appointments in September without even offering to reschedule. Normally, if a therapist has to cancel due to their schedule, they offer to reschedule. Nope—she just told me we had to cancel. I was mildly annoyed, but okay.

Last week she showed up 20 minutes late…but she did complete a full hour, so okay…whatever. And she said that this week, she would bring lots of different nipples for bottles so we could try to find one that Sam would take.

This week, she showed up 30 minutes late with no explanation. They sat down so the intern could play with Sam. I asked about the nipples, and she simply said she had forgotten. Then, after 30 minutes, she got up to leave.

“Don’t we have 60 minutes?” I asked, knowing full well that we did.

“Oh…” she said. “Well, we were late. We just couldn’t get it together to get here in time. And now we have to go see our next client.”

Um…what? Her office is literally five minutes from our house, and we’re her first appointment of the morning. So you can’t blame traffic or another appointment running late—she simply couldn’t trouble herself to make it on time!

I was so shocked that I just stared at her and then said coolly, “Okay, I guess Sam and I will just work on feeding by ourselves.”

And she left…with no apology. And I got madder and madder as I thought about it. She doesn’t even care enough about Sam’s care to make it on time and spend his full hour a week with him? Not cool! And furthermore, I was pretty sure she’d bill Regional Center for an hour of care, despite only being there for 30 minutes. And Sam’s PT, who also works for Regional Center, confirmed that when I talked to her: She said the invoicing for Regional Center doesn’t even allow for increments of hours—you can only bill in full hours.

Okay, now I was really mad! Because I am all for social programs—I vote for a lot of them. (Don’t shoot me, Republicans! Ha!) But I loathe when people abuse the system! And most times, it’s likely the recipients…but in this case, it was a provider! And I got madder and madder about this, thinking, “Wait a minute! Regional Center is cutting services all over the place because of budget problems, and you are not helping the matter if you over-bill them! You’re part of the problem, and you’re supposed to be part of the solution!”

And of course, I was also furious because she was neglecting Sam’s care, and he is my number-one priority (along with Theo—but this only relates to Sam).

So I called Regional Center, talked to my new caseworker, talked to her boss (she was great, but she’s brand-new, so I also talked to her boss), and we got a new provider assigned who will start in mid-October. And the only part I feel mildly bad about is that the Regional Center director was pretty angry to hear about her only providing half an hour of service (because yes, she undoubtedly is billing for an hour) and said he won’t be vendoring to her anymore. So I feel a bit like I ruined this woman’s business, and I feel bad about that…but on the other hand, she was being less than honest! So I suppose I shouldn’t feel bad about simply exposing what went on in our case. Still, I’m not in the habit of firing people, so I felt a bit bad….

On a happier note, I did my first day of volunteering in Theo’s class on Monday, and I’m rather bummed that I’ll have to skip tomorrow. What fun! The five- and six-year-olds are hilarious. And boy, do I have new respect for Theo’s teacher. She is just on it! The woman has eyes in the back of her head and is kind but commands respect from the kids. Plus, she has a great sense of humor. I like her. 🙂 And more importantly, Theo seems to like her. He actually seems rather bored with school, but he muddles through. He has good days and bad, but so far many more good days than bad. So I’m happy.

But I said I’d talk more about the house. As I said in a post from a couple of weeks ago, Chris and I are house-hunting…sort of. We’re just keeping our eyes open for anything in our price range (which is pretty much nothing). A house two streets up from ours came on the market this week, and we decided to look at it. Long story short, it is perfect except for one major flaw: It’s too small. It’s only 1300 square feet, and although the space is used reasonably well, we ultimately decided that we would just feel too cramped in there—especially if we end up being a family of five someday. (That’s still up in the air. It’s something we’ve been considering since Sam was about six months old, but we’ve resolved not to make any decisions until Sam is in school and we have a better idea of his long-term needs. And we see how Theo settles in…which at the moment is very well, thank goodness.)

So, although we both loved a lot of things about the house, we ultimately decided not to put an offer in. I hope we don’t regret it—it was in our neighborhood, which we love, and we loved the front and back yards and the kitchen. But ouch…the space….

The only other news to report is that my online class started this week (teaching—same one I taught in the summer), and my in-person one starts in about two weeks. Guess I should be glad the flu didn’t get me then, huh?

Anyway, I apologize for so few pictures this week, but I usually take most of them on the weekend, and I just wasn’t up to it. So you get a few iPhone snaps, but I’m afraid that’s all. However, for your viewing pleasure, I’m also going to include a video of some of the boys’ recent fun!

Stay away from the flu bug, all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *