Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Surgery Time-Only in a Large Family

Well, tomorrow is the dreaded day I have my surgery. It was funny this AM listening to my husband and my eldest daughter, Wendy, discussing how we were going to get ME to the hospital at 5:45 AM and get her to our house for child care (well none of the 9 at home are really children, but still need supervision.)

She's a DJ and will probably be up until like 4 AM so she'd be coming here with no sleep. So the discussion involved how to have someone here for the kids who has actually had some sleep, while getting me to the hospital while Dad was here to get Jay up and bathed and dressed (he has spina bifida) and then how to get Dad to the hospital so that we don't have two cars sitting there which would require complicated means to get both cars home.

We were talking about how Jon could get up early and drive me there, which we nixed, Or I could drive there myself and Dad could come down after Wendy got there, after getting some shuteye. Or since Justin has the day off, having Justin come over early to watch the kids until Wendy got there...

So complicated. Wendy said "I think we need an event planner." And I thought, only in a large adoptive family...

My computer is leaving today with my son Justin for a fix at Office Depot where Justin is assistant manager. They have a system where they have expert geeks at corporate plug into your computer and fix everything that's wrong with it, and there is a LOT that must be wrong with this thing. I"m a geek myself and I haven't been able to fix it. It takes literally 30 minutes to reboot and at least that long to open programs. Can't run a business that way.

I just figured I wasn't going to be up to using the thing for at least a few days so this was the perfect time to do it.

I know a couple of you have my phone number, so give a call tomorrow afternoon for an update. Wish me well, and say a little prayer for me. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Childhood Obesity Child Abuse?

This article today really got me angry. Not at the mom,so much as at child protective services.

14 year old boy weighs 555 pounds. Yeah, not healthy. So CPS comes in and takes the boy away from his mother and puts him into foster care and charges her with FELONY CHILD NEGLECT.

So on top of an eating problem, the child now has been ripped away from his mother who loves him and whom he loves, and placed with strangers who may or may not treat him right, might even physically or sexually abuse him.

He will be subjected to case workers who are probably almost as young as he is and are not even married, and if so, might have no children or one perfect child at home.

Now the boy has psychological problems as well as obesity. And the citizens of his state have to pay for a bazillion bucks in court drama, hearings and casewook, and probably psychiatric care.

If CPS was a reasonable entity, they would instead have provided services to the family, Kept the tie with his mother and left him at home. They might have provided hospitalization for him, perhaps had a home health nurse come in and shop for food for the boy and cook meals for him.

Wouldn't that have been cheaper monetarily, less harmful to the child, and less costly to the state? Someone who could teach the mom how to make fat free menus and plan menus, how not to give in to the boy. Provide someone to stay with the boy at night when she works so he doesn't eat out of boredom.

They could have sent the mom to a nutritionist, hired a personal shopper. WHATEVER. But no, they take the route of arresting the mom for felony child abuse and take the boy away from everyone he loves and trusts.

CPS has only one mode of helping. Rip the child away and prosecute.

Read the whole article HERE

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dodged a Bullet

I seriously dodged a bullet this week. For about a month and a half I've had serious pain and numbness in my right arm. So I went to my GP who sent me to a neurologist who sent me for an MRI, and then sent me to a neurosurgeon.

The neurosurgeon didn't like the MRI and sent me for another set at a different hospital. Now so far, this has cost me $100 in doctor copays and $200 in MRI costs...

Neurosurgeon says I need between 4 and 6 disks removed and bone taken from my hip and stuck in the space left by the disks, and metal things driven into my vertebrae to stabilize it all. (They go in from the front of the neck, and push the trachea and esophagus aside to get back to the spine. YUCK.)

But before he would operate I needed clearances from my cardiologist. So another $20 later I'm sitting in the Cardio office and he wants a stress test. Luckily he does it right away. (I already have three stents) So he brings me back into the room and shows me how no blood is getting to the lower part of my heart. He says I probably need a bypass, unless we can handle it medically.

BYPASS??? My two brothers have both had bypass surgery, so it's always been a fear lurking in the back of my mind. But wait a minute. First I needed cervical spine surgery, and now a BYPASS before I can get that???

So he sets me up for another cardiac catheterization. Now I'm a frequent flyer when it comes to catheterization, but the idea that he might send me right away for a bypass afterwards freaks me out.

Luckily, the cath shows that blood IS getting to the lower part of my heart. I'll have to ask him on Tuesday how that can be. But I'm certainly not gonna argue with the man. So he's signing the release. Of course, if past charges are the same as before I'll be stuck with about $1600 in cath copay bills. I just got done paying off the last one.

So I'm on for the neck surgery, but I have to go back to my GP for a clearance from her ten days from the surgery date. That's another $20. I can't wait to see my part of the bill for the actual 3-4 hour surgery coming up.

I'd do anything to get rid of this pain and numbness, and to regain the strength I've lost in tht arm. My only other choice is to spend the rest of my life on narcotics, which I'm not exactly wanting to do.

So I"ll be stuck in a hard shell neck collar for 6-8 weeks. But right now I'm saying PHEEWWW, I dodged a bullet. The cervical spine surgery looks easy compared to a bypass.

Life is GOOD.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Parents of Large Adoptive Family Killed


Our Worst Nightmare...

PENSACOLA, Fla. (July 10) - Investigators asked the public to be on the lookout Friday for a red van they believe carried three men involved in the deaths of a Florida Panhandle couple who were shot in their rural home while eight of their children slept.
Surveillance cameras showed the van at the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings in Beulah, a rural area west of Pensacola near the Alabama border, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said. The children were unharmed.

The sheriff's office released an enhanced but still grainy photograph of a red, 15-passenger van dating to the late 1970s or early '80s.
Morgan said investigators did not know who killed the wealthy couple known for adopting children with developmental disabilities, many born to drug-addicted mothers. But they said they wanted to question the three men suspected of involvement in the crime.
"It would be pure speculation. We see many random acts of violence now. We just don't know," he said.
Investigators are also awaiting autopsy results on the couple to learn more about the killings, he added.
Morgan said eight of the children, ages 8 to 14, were in the home when the couple was killed Thursday evening. A woman who lives in an outlying building and helps care for the children called emergency dispatchers from the home.
Deputies had to wake some of the children after they arrived, authorities said.
Investigators interviewed the children, who are now staying with other family members, Morgan said.
The Billings had 16 children, 12 of them adopted. They married 18 years ago and each had two children from previous marriages. The couple then began adopting children with developmental disabilities and other problems.
The couple owned several local businesses, including a fiance company and a used car dealership.
In a 2005 story in the Pensacola News Journal, the couple said they wanted to share their wealth with children in need, but didn't imagine their family would grow so large.
"It just happened," Melanie Byrd told the newspaper. "I just wanted to give them a better life."

Please pray for these children!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Continuation Day

This is why I have no fear of anything. Neale Donald Walsch sums it up very well:


On this day of your life, Friend, I believe God wants you to know...

....that there is a family reunion awaiting you, and you will be more overjoyed than you can now begin to imagine.

On the day you leave your body -- what I like to call your Continuation Day -- you will be greeted by everyone you have ever loved in any way for any reason...and, standing in front of the group, every person who has been so very dear to you. It will be a grand and glorious reunion, with joy and laughter and pure wonderment filling every heart and soul!

This has also been experienced by everyone who has ever left here -- all those who have gone before you -- of course. So do not grieve for them. They are so very happy! I'm not sure why you were meant to hear this on this particular day...but I bet you are...

Love, Your Friend....

This life we are leading here is just temporary. No matter what life sends your way, you can handle it, knowing that the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'm Blessed

You know, I live with six children who have Down Syndrome, Matt, 24, Jen, 24, Will, 21, Emily 20, Robin 19, and Jeremy, 16. Add in my beautiful daughter Danielle who is almost 18, who is a super premie (22 weeker) coke baby,and Ross and Jay, 16 year old spina bifida kids.

I just truly feel blessed to have these people as a part of my family. Tonight I'm sitting here at my computer, and dad has gone out for milk. I've had four people come out and ask me where Dad was and when he was coming home. They miss him already.

We've never had drug problems with this group of kids. None of them has ever snuck out a window in the middle of the night to go joyriding with their buddies. None of them has ever tried to smoke or drink. They listen to reason when you explain things (mostly!)

They are so happy to be together as a family. They enjoy their own company sitting around a table than anything else. Laughing and talking together.

They tell Dad and I daily that they love us. They aren't concerned about getting into college. They talk on the phone with their friends like any other kids. They go to parties with their friends. The adults get up and go to work, like every other adult around, without griping. In fact you have major trouble getting them to stay home when they are sick.

Waking them up is often difficult, but they all LOVE to go to school and work. They are not slackers. They do their chores without argument. They don't mind hand me down or thrift shop clothing. Fashion means little to them.

They will eat anything that's put on their plates. Including veggies, like broccoli and salads. They don't demand the latest gimos, and don't have to learn to drive a car.

They are HAPPY most of the time. And when they are sad, they accept our hugs and help.

My other ( normal) children from our first parenting efforts are all successful, two are married, with a total of four beautiful grandchildren. They have grown into amazing people that I'm proud to call my children. But they took far more out of me emotionally. Normal kids are scary to raise. So many ways for them to go astray or get hurt. But they all made it.

What the heck more could I want? I have a wonderful husband of almost 41 years whom I adore. A huge home that fits us. Food on the table and medical care when we need it.

Dear Lord, I am blessed. I am blessed beyond belief.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The family caravan

Just got back from "lunch" at Max and Erma's. First time for us. As usual it took forever to get out of the house, then decided on who would go with which of the four drivers. Then the inevitable stop on the way in the police station parking lot to exchange drivers, and one particular misbehaving kid. But we all got there.

Thank God we have two handicapped stickers so it's easy to find parking. And once sitting, they were excellent, as per usual. This was only with 14 people, so not bad. and miraculously there was no need for another stop on the side of the road for kid exchange or anger management on the way home.

I do so like these real restaurant trips. The kids all behave beautifully, even wonder boy. I'm not real fond of the bill, though :)

If you get a chance to take the family to Max and Erma, they will let your big kids order from the kid menu, and the extra drinks are free. And we came away with about 12 new plastic cups!

When we were loading up in the parking lot the manager ran out and handed us a stack of free coupons for cookies or ice cream for next time. Hope he isn't holding his breath. It's not likely we'll do that again until, say, Thanksgiving...