Saturday, December 19, 2009

What a week. Please tell me I will never have another one like this. Or at least not for a little while?

This rotten week was a combination of all things stressful. On Saturday, my mare Lucy was having a lot more trouble standing up from lying down to rest, and I finally realized that the time had come to put her out of her discomfort. There was no chance of her improving, and I wanted to let her go before we got to the point of the old lady lying in freezing mud, unable to get back up. Unfortunately, my former vet refused to euthanize this mare last time her saw her, saying he would not euthanize a healthy horse. She was far from healthy, but he wanted me to send her up to Raleigh and have a spinal tap done to check for EPM, and also ultrasound her leg. We're talking about a 20 year old mare who spent most of her life being worked hard and treated terribly. Someone in her past yanked on the reins so hard that they nearly severed her tongue in several places. She was starved when she came to be, and pregnant. This mare survived so much. She had such a happy, spoiled, loving nine months with me, and she gained back all the weight. She was bright eyed and shiny, and she knew that she would never want for a meal or love ever again. My old vet suggested sending her to auction to get a few bucks out of her and to be rid of her, rather than putting her down. Lucy deserved so much better than that, and she got it. I spent all day Monday making calls, and finally found a vet who discussed the situation at length with me, and agreed that it was time to give the sweet old girl the final kindness of a painless, quick death. I took Sierra outside Tuesday morning to sit on Lucy's back once more, pet her neck, and say goodbye. Of course, she's three and didn't understand, but she had loved that old mare and I thought it would be good to say goodbye.

Later on Tuesday, my wonderful friend Dianne picked Lucy up in her trailer to haul her out to the vet's office in Lexington. When Lucy saw the trailer, she actually started jogging around the pasture with excitement. It made me start doubting my decision, until we tried to get her in the trailer, and saw that she could barely use her hind legs. She made in it with the front legs, and slammed both hind legs on the trailer before managing to scramble inside. When we got there, Lucy was covered in sweat and her entire hind end was trembling violently. She's always enjoyed trailer rides, so I knew this wasn't trailering stress. She was in a lot of pain, and I cannot imagine the effort it would have taken to remain standing and bracing herself on the ride there. We are lucky she didn't go down and hurt herself. She came off the trailer badly, having to back out. Her hind end fell off the trailer, she just didn't know where her back feet where, but she did manage not to fall.

We brought her into the vet's barn, and Dianne and I fed her bananas, apples, and carrots. She ate a few, but didn't eat them all- not like her. She had also refused her last few meals at home. Eating was this mare's one great joy in life, and her refusing a meal told me she was done. I gave her a hug and kissed her nose, and waited with her until it was done. I figured she deserved to have me with her at this final moment.

Dr. McDonald (I hope I spelled that right) of Lexington Large Animal was incredibly kind to Lucy, and very respectful of myself and the horse throughout the process. She went down hard, and took quite a while to stop breathing, but I don't think she felt any pain in the process. The vet was very discreet about any of the aspects of things that might upset me, covering up any blood with a towel and treating Lucy's body very respectfully. He removed her halter and was even willing to get his farrier tools and remove one of her shoes for me to keep.

Dianne was wonderful and cried with me. We stayed with Lucy for awhile, just talking about her and rubbing her nose. She barely looked like the same horse, all the fire had gone out of her. But I think that's the most peaceful I'd ever seen this mare. Poor Lucy had a life full of suffering before I got her, and she was always on the alert for anything that might happen. She grew to love being spoiled and loved on, but she always had some level of vigilance in case things went sour for her again.

As much as it hurt, it was the right thing to do. My beautiful girl went out the right way: Fat, sleek, and shiny. Well fed, well loved, and wearing pink. As Dianne said to me, we should all be so lucky as to die fat and happy, dressed in our favorite color, surrounded by people who love us.

Tuesday night Jaymes had therapy, and I was feeling pretty sick from the stress of the day, but we went anyway. Jaymes did pretty well, except for this new spitting habit he has going on. It's almost obsessive, it started as a way to relieve his chapped face and nose, but it irritated the area so much that it really only made it worse. Finally got the face cleared by by keeping diaper cream on it at night and vaseline during the day, but it seems the habit of spitting into his hand and wiping it across his face has become something he cannot control. He's always slimy now, and if you stop him from doing it, he bites, or scratches. On Thursday he drew blood, which wasn't a lot of fun.

Wednesday, I had an IEP meeting at Jaymes' school to discuss the hearing related stuff and to try and figure out what Jaymes regular ed kindergarten teacher (the one who has him 30 mins a day) could do to help encourage Jaymes to participate in her class. I'm concerned that it seems like everyone just tolerates his presence in that classroom, and that there is no effort to communicate with him- I think they leave it to his classroom aide to deal with him. It's defeating the purpose of sending him out of the classroom. I tried to get some real answers on what woud be changed, but nothing of it ended up in the IEP and other members of the IEP team repeatedly changed the subject. So at this point, I don't know if anything different will be done.

In addition, I was horrendously nauseous during the meeting, still feeling the stress from Tuesday I guess, so I really did not talk much, or get half of what I wanted dealt with out on the table. It was the shortest meeting, by far, and one of the least productive. Also, due to being ill, I honestly cannot remember most of what was discussed. One thing I found really concerning was the subject of recess. Last IEP meeting, we had put into the IEP that Jaymes' class would be changing their time and going to recess with Ms. McGee's regular ed Kindergarten class. But on Wednesday, I was told that they are going out with Mr. Largent's class- another AU class. That is NOT what we had discussed, and I'm not happy about it at all. I can't help wondering if it hasn't always been that way, or if they really ever did go out with the regular ed class. If I'd been feeling better, I would have jumped on that, but I wasn't and I feel kind of like I really wasted the opportunity, not sure if I can do anything about it right now. It would be ridiculous to ask for another IEP meeting just because I was too sick to function during the last one, I should have cancelled.

The good point to the meeting was that Jaymes' school OT, Ms. Nelson, made a bunch of new OT goals for his IEP that are really good goals. She is incredible, and I have 100% confidence in her. She's one of the very few at that school that have Jaymes' well being and education in mind over all other things. None of this childish BS that I get from others.

The assistive technology stuff is still going, and would you believe this has been over a year in the making? I'm really shocked at how long this has taken, and at how much everyone involved (except the speech therapist, she's pretty good and Jaymes seems to like her a lot) is dragging their feet. I have zero confidence in any of that part of things, but at least I tried.

The school audiologist will be testing him at some point, although Mrs. Evans- Everett (I forget her title, but she's one of the higher-ups in the school district) made it a point to explain that there is no minimum time frame (so I guess they can take as long as they like?) on anything. Not sure why this was an important point to make, but then she's the expert. The other slightly odd thing that happened was that she actually kind of scolded me for taking Jaymes to Speech at Comprehab, saying that it was highly frowned upon and that Comprehab was not a facility the school supported, and that the reason they do not have much respect for evaluations and other reports from out there is because they take lots of kids out of school for sessions... It was really weird. I just thanked her for her opinion, I'm not going to take Jaymes out of therapy there. He misses 2 hours of school per WEEK, just on Thursdays, and he learns more with Shawna than he had gotten from 3 years of being enrolled in Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools. So no, I'm not taking him out of therapy so he can attend those 2 hours. Nor will I apologize for that choice.

I'm about fed up with the school, and thinking I might be better off looking at other schools. I do not think homeschooling would be good for either of us, though other parents I know have considered doing this. Too bad I can't just send him off to one of their houses for homeschooling!

I really do like Jaymes EC teacher though. She seems to have come over to the dark side (we have cookies!), and has been extremely pleasant, helpful, and accommodating towards my little guy, and she has taught him a lot thus far. No complaints there. I'm thrilled that he is doing so well in the EC room, I just wish that the regular ed teacher shared her enthusiasm, and willingness to change things up a little to help Jaymes out. He needs to get out there and spend time with his nondisabled peers, or he will end up going from one self contained classroom to the next for the rest of his life. That isn't preparing him for life, it's preparing him for a lifetime of being segregated from the "normal" kids.

Anyway, after the IEP meeting, I had to go home, be sick on the couch for awhile, then head off to class in Winston. Lucky me had a math test. I was still feeling pretty nasty, but I got a 98 on my test, should have an A in that class. Should have A's in everything except history, and that professor really didn't actually teach anything, so I think it's amazing I managed to do as well as I did. I have not gotten my final paper back yet though, the agonizing 9 page one. Bleh.

Thursday was therapy again, and the spitting had gotten so bad that he couldn't really do anything. It was pretty awful to watch. I felt bad for the therapist too, who was being drooled on and used as a slime wiper. We had to wait around another hour after that for the van to come, and it was an interesting situation. Normally, we wait in the hall, but they were painting the hall that day. Also, in the main lobby, they had a bunch of people playing Xmas songs and stuff, so Jaymes' screaming was not very much appreciated there. We ended up sitting against a door in the hallway hoping that Jaymes voice would not carry down to the music thing in the lobby. Luckily it did not. However, sitting there holding Jaymes still was not good. He wanted to be up and kicking and punching the wall, or hitting me, so I held him in my lap and tried to calm him down. Unfortunately, all I accomplished was getting bitten several times and scratched bloody. We left eventually, me trying very hard not to duct tape Jaymes to the ceiling fan. (Kidding, all you social workers, reading this and contemplating calling DSS! LOL). Anyway, not a good day. Add to that the fact that I spent Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thurs randomly bursting into tears over the horse, which was horrendously embarrassing!

Friday was better. Quiet day, and it started to snow and I realized how good it was that poor miss Lucy did not have to be out there in the snow storm. This morning we had 10 inches of snow. Can't get the car out of the driveway. The kids had a lot of fun playing outside. I put walmart bags on over their socks so their feet wouldn't get wet, and bundled them up so much they could barely move.

Monday we are supposed to be leaving for FL to visit my grandma, who is very sick, and also to spend Christmas with Jason's family. I'm still feeling pretty down, I feel like something really bad is going to happen if we go, but that's probably just crazy anxiety. Just not looking forward to it I guess.

I got the kids gifts all wrapped, they will have a really great Christmas. That's what matters, and I will really enjoy watching their little faces when they open their presents. Jaymes will be drowning in new Play Doh and all kinds of cutting accessories. Sierra has a little doll house, a big sized plush My Little Pony that lights up and comes with a baby bottle, and some other really cool stuff. They will have a good Christmas, despite the troubles we've had this month. I'm very glad that it will be a good one for them.

Anyway, happy holidays to everyone, and may all your autistic children eat food and not bubblewrap or beanie babies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your Lucy :(

I get stressed everytime my son's IEP comes up. Now *I* have to schedule another one vbecause I'm not satisified with what he's getting.

I hope this coming week is better for you! *hugs*