Saturday, March 21, 2015


It felt like we waited forever to hear there was a nurse interested in taking care of Anna, but in reality it was only about a week and a half.  We set up a meeting so that we could interview the nurse and she could interview us.  Our prayer was that either she would be a perfect fit and that if she wasn't that we would not settle for less than Anna or our family deserves just out of desperation.  The meeting day came and I was more nervous about what to ask her than what she was going to be like.  I have to believe this sense of calm came from the fact that we have been covered in prayer.  In walked Loretta and before she even spoke I felt nothing but peace.  She looked to be probably in her 60s.  She was kind and gentle.  We talked about her expectations and ours.  I asked about previous assignments.  The last one she had was a girl who had the same diagnoses and mostly the same meds as Anna but was much more severe.  Loretta cared for the girl for 7.5 years until the little girl passed away.  7.5 years tells me a few things, the 2 most important of which are that she shows up and she is committed.  She has grown children which she homeschooled so she gets that about us also.  She has a very strong faith and I like to think she had prayed for the right family as much as we had prayed for the right nurse.  She basically had one request, that she could come a little later on nights when she has church.  Uh yeah, we encourage that and can totally do that.  Our cat Samantha who usually runs from people couldn't stop loving on Loretta.  That too was a sure sign.  It is going to be a huge adjustment to have someone in our house but we are ready to adjust.  We need the help.  God continues to be faithful in each and every situation we encounter.  I will be taking Carly to Austin for a couple of days next week for 4H day at the capital.  It will be a far better lesson on government than any I could provide.  I actually feel some peace knowing Loretta will be here because Kenneth just flat out doesn't hear Anna at night.  That would mean 1 of 2 things: either I would have to take Anna to ensure she is heard at night or we would have to skip her feeds while I was gone. Neither option is very desirable.  I know Anna wants to go on the trip but just as much as she desperately wants to go Carly desperately needs some alone time with me.  She's in the tween years and I see how fast she is growing up.  I want to remain close to her and keep the open communication we have.  When she doesn't get enough attention or time with me she begins to close off and become resentful of Anna and that is something I never want.  None of this is Anna's fault, but it's not Carly's either.  It's such a struggle to continue to find the balance but I will never give up on trying.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rough Seas

The nursing agency came out yesterday and assessed our current situation.  They asked a million and one questions.  The RN that came out was, I swear, hand picked from above for us.  She is a foster mom to children with special needs.   I think she has 3 or 4 at any given time.  She has had to bury 2 of them, one of which she had for 12 years.  It was so easy to talk to her because she gets the fatigue I am talking about and living with.  At the end of the assessment she determined that we qualify for 87.5 hours of nursing per week.  We did not need that much so we settled on 70 hrs/week.  Over the next week we will be meeting with different nurses to find the ones that are a good fit for Anna and for our family.  Please pray with us and for us and we try to pick the best fit and as we transition into this new chapter of our lives.  Today has been emotionally hard again.  Yesterday was better but today it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I have a kid who needs a nurse.  For 87.5 hrs/week.  In my home. She's such a typical kid in so many ways but then on days like today the differences are stinging much more than they usually do .  I've said it before and it hasn't changed.  Grief is such a weird thing.  It's so much like the ocean.  It's more vast than you can imagine.  It has tides.  Sometimes it is calm and sometimes it is so rough it almost takes you under.  Then sometimes the sun shines and the waves calmly splash upon the beautiful beach and the vastness of the ocean cannot be outdone by its beauty.  I hope tomorrow is a day of beauty because the rough seas are all consuming.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Private Duty

*disclaimer- I did not spellcheck or proofread this, read at your own risk*
My heart is heavy tonight.  I will preface this by saying that I know we are blessed to have things as good as we do but sometimes reality just plain stinks.  There are many dealing with much worse but right now this is what we are dealing with and it makes me sad.  For the past 2 or 3 years I have slept in the living room with Anna at night and Kenneth has slept in our bedroom.  This was, of course, not an ideal situation for anyone but 1.  Kenneth snored really loud  2.  My back felt better sleeping in a recliner (old ICU injury) 3.  Being in the same room with Anna gave us all some sense of safety for her and it allowed me to be near if her feeding pump had issues or if she needed to get up for something or if she got choked or had a seizure of whatever scenario you want to choose.  It was a weird arrangement but it was what we had to do at the time to get through.  Fast forward to about 6-8 weeks ago.  Kenneth and I embarked on a journey to better health.  We started a Beachbody program called The 21 Day Fix.  We both were feeling so much better on the program and somehow Kenneth stopped snoring.  This was something even sinus surgery had not been able to accomplish.  Then my back stopped hurting.  Suddenly it looked as if us sleeping in the same room again might become a possibility.  I waited a couple of weeks to make sure the changes would stick and they did.  We made the decision at that time to move Anna to her room at night and move me back into the bedroom.  Kenneth and I desperately want to be more husband and wife and less of just roommates.  There is a startling statistic about the divorce rate in marriages when there is a special needs child in the home.  We do not want to ever be this statistic.  We put Anna in the bedroom closest to us which meant also moving Gabe into a different room.  It was a pain but we thought it was well worth the work.  We bought a baby monitor and explained to Anna that it was a "big girl monitor" and that if she needed anything in the night all she had to do was talk to me on the monitor.  She has been doing great about telling me when she needs to get up to go to the bathroom or just needs me for whatever.  She cannot roll the pole with her feeds with her without tipping it over, this is why she needs my help.  She is fed continuously via her Gtube overnight.  Anyway, this arrangement seemed like a great idea.  It is except for one thing, I'm not sleeping.  I'm up on average of 6 times per night because she needs me or because I hear her and have to get up to check on her.  Yes, Kenneth would get up but he doesn't hear her.  He sleeps, well, like a man.  Heavily.  I could wake him up but I'm already up and I don't see the point in us both being up.  I cannot turn the monitor off.  Anna has no other way to get me if she needs me.  So here I am, stuck, feeling like I need to chose between my child and my husband.  Either I sleep in the bed with him and get no rest or I sleep with her and neglect him.  Neither option is appealing.  My lack of sleep is weighing on everyone.  I've become someone I don't like.  I have lost my patience more times than I care to admit over the most trivial things.  I've lost it with Kenneth and with Carly and neither deserved it.  Then I end up feeling even worse.  My work is suffering.  I'm not doing much good in very many places right now.  So after years of doing this on our own we are having to ask for help.  We are on the path to getting a private duty nurse to sit with Anna every night (at least during the week).  The nurse will allow me to turn off the baby monitor and sleep without the worry of what Anna needs at night.  So why is my heart so heavy about this?  The rational part of me knows this is best.  It knows that as things stand right now I am not any good to anyone.  The other part of me is heartbroken that I can't take care of my own child.  That part of me feels selfish that I am choosing sleep over caring for her.  To get the nursing process started I have to take Anna to see our pediatrician tomorrow.  There has to be a visit within the past 30 days for nursing to begin.  So I told Anna I am taking her to see Dr Goff tomorrow.  She of course asked why.  I thought about skirting the issue but decided she would be there tomorrow at the appointment and would clearly see a nurse at our house so I needed to just be honest with her.  I explained to her why we needed a nurse.  I explained that as much as I want to be able to do everything for her I can't and I am tired.  I explained that the nurse would help mommy to get some sleep so that mommy wouldn't be so crabby all of the time.  Her response was that she just wants mommy to do it.  It broke my heart.  I don't ever want her to think I don't love her enough to take care of her.  I don't want her to think she wasn't important enough for me to care for.  I don't want her to feel that I chose sleep over her. In her 7 year old mind though I can't imagine that she doesn't feel this way and that breaks my heart.  And so my heart is heavy but I am going to carry on because I have to do what is right for all of us, not just Anna, and my family deserves all of me, not just the tiny pieces they have been getting.