Life is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle. Here I attempt to put them all together.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Story of the Big Fall

I want to say a big thank you to all my online friends who have been so supportive and during this time. I feel so blessed to know so many wonderful people.

We came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. He has had some headaches but not really bad ones. And his head doesn't hurt all the time. Sometimes he seems a little hesitant when he talks and can be a little slow about answering questions, but that has gotten better throughout today.

His left side still bothers him quite a bit, he had tears in his eyes from the pain when we got to the truck after leaving the hospital. But that too has been getting better throughout the day, although he does hold himself very awkwardly when he walks. I keep thinking of that nursery rhyme "There was a crooked man" when I see him walk. But most of the time he has a smile on his face now when he walks  instead of tears in his eyes.

There really were not very many answers provided by the time we left the hospital. We know that he had  a subdural hematoma. It was a small one and it stopped fairly quickly.

My questions are more about why he fell. I know kids fall and hurt themselves. Austin has done it himself many times - tripping and hitting his head on the bookcase and needing stitches, flipping over the handle bars of his bike and badly bruising his ribs, breaking his little toe, etc. But this particular fall doesn't make sense to me.

I'll give a little background before I describe how he fell. We've noticed some things going on with him recently which have concerned us.

One incident was on a Sunday morning. I had noticed all morning that he seemed to be acting a little strange - more easily distracted than usual, standing in my space staring at me, and wandering off in the opposite direction from us with an absent look on his face in church. Then as we were standing in church singing he kept swaying oddly back and forth. I looked at him and he seemed okay so I asked him to stop. A few minutes later out of the corner of my eye I saw him doing it again but this time when I looked at him I realized something was wrong. His eyes were closed, he was pale and broken out in a sweat, he looked like he was trying to sit but couldn't be sure where the seat was so was half crouched swaying back and forth. I immediately got him seated and when he was able to open his eyes and talk again we went outside for some fresh air. He perked up but we decided to go on home. He went up to his room and rested for about 15 minutes and then he seemed back to normal.

A few mornings later I found him sleeping downstairs on the couch and when I asked him why he decided to sleep downstairs he had no idea how he had gotten there.

He has also started complaining of getting dizzy when he runs and of tingling in his legs.

A few times he has complained of just feeling weird and couldn't explain exactly how he  felt weird. One day he said "I have something on my mind and I don't know what it is."

We had an appointment set up with his pediatrician for a physical and too talk about these things, and were hoping to get a referral to a neurologist. He has seen a neurologist in the past and when he was eight was put on Depakote for migraines and absence seizures. However since he had significant trouble with learning in some areas already and Depakote is thought to sometimes cause trouble with cognitive skills we decided after about two years to try taking him off of it and see how he did. He seemed to do okay. The staring spells did not come back and if we immediately gave him ibuprofen when his head started to hurt we could nearly always avoid a full blown migraine. His wonderful neurologist who Austin loved and I trusted completely has since passed away so now we will need to find another neurologist.

The evening Austin fell he was at his grandparents house. He had been riding bikes with some other kids and then they had decided to climb the walnut tree behind the house. Austin had just bought a new pair of binoculars and wanted to see what he could see from the tree. The child (Jonathan age 8) he was climbing with said he stopped on a lower branch and Austin went on up a little higher to get a better view. As Jonathan watched from below Austin found a place he wanted to look from, started to raise the binoculars to look through them, than put them back down and shut his eyes. He started to lean back and Jonathan said he was about to tell him he didn't think he should lean back like that when Austin fell. Jonathan said he yelled "Timber" to let anyone below know to move out of the way (I love the way this child thinks).  Austin hit the ground sitting and then fell over. He had climbed 8 -10 feet. He laid on the ground and moaned. One of the other boys went to get an adult but by the time he got there he was coming around. Austin was crying but he got up and went in the house. He didn't want to go home (I was at home). He ate dinner and played with the other children there. Toward the end of the evening they watched a movie and during the movie Austin started dozing which is unusual for him. Then when he got up after the movie was over to get ready to come home he started complaining of pain in his side. By the time he got to the van to be brought home he was crying and when he came in the door at home he was almost hysterical. He sat down on the couch and refused to get up again to let me check his side. I got Doug (he's an EMT) to come check him over, while we were discussing what to do we noticed he gone from hysterical to dozing again so we decided to call the rescue squad and have him taken to the ER. There did x-rays and a CAT scan and found the hematoma (bleed).

Now he's restricted from lifting anything over 10 pounds for the next eight weeks, no running, climbing, biking, etc for the next eight weeks and no schoolwork for two weeks. We have an appointment with pediatrician Feb 9, and an appointment with the neurosurgeon in eight weeks to recheck the area that bled and decide what to do from there. We are also supposed to make an appointment with a pediatric neurologist for about the same time to discuss whether or not to continue with the seizure medication. He's on Dilantin now.

My feeling is that something happened before he fell that caused him to fall but the doctors don't seem to be interested in hearing that.Whether it was a seizure, or some other type of incident I believe something happened. It frustrates me not to be heard. The next time we have an appointment I will be prepared with a written account of what happened, the symptoms he's had leading up to this, and any other information that It think would be useful and they will listen. I hope. They also need to know that we have a family history of brain anuerysms.

Oh, and one side note. Amanda is sure I should have called my first blog post about Austin's fall "Big Boy Goes Splat!" She's been complaining ever since that I didn't. How's that for sisterly love!

Note - Austin does not remember climbing past Jonathan and starting to look through his binoculars, or why he stopped and closed his eyes. He says he does remember starting to fall and grabbing for the tree. It's another reason I believe there was an altered state of consciousness before he fell.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I feel much better now that I am here at the hospital with Austin. Doug does a great job with him but I was feeling the need to see for myself exactly what was going on. I needed to look into his eyes and hear his voice. So here I am.

The second CAT scan showed that the bleeding had stopped. Since then they've done a third CAT scan but I haven't heard the results from that yet. They also did an EEG but I haven't been told the results of that yet either.

They have started giving him Dilantin to help prevent any seizure activity. Based on what the other kids who saw him fall and his own recall (or lack of recall) of what happened the doctors are seriously wondering if he a seizure. He does have a history of absense seizures although we haven't been seeing those recently. In fact we took him off his medication for those several years ago.

He is eating and drinking well - enjoying pizza and spaghetti and sprite and milk. And now he's eating pudding.

When the Occupational Therapist came in too see him he did get confused trying to answer some of her questions and then he got upset. She also had him get up and walk a little which made him dizzy and made his head hurt. And that upset him even more.

 He is complaining as well of his left side hurting quite a bit when he moves around very much. There is nothing visible on the outside and the x-rays didn't show any damage to his ribs. Austin says it doesn't hurt when we touch it, it's deep inside. The nurses are aware of this and are monitoring it. He was just given some Tylenol and they are going to check on him again soon to see if that helps.

In the meantime, Doug and Amanda are holding down the fort at home. With three little boys - ages 3, 2, and 1- to take care of I'm sure they're having lots of fun.

Small Brain Bleed

We could really use everyone's prayers right now.

Earlier today my 13 year old fell while climbing a tree at his grandparents house. After the initial pain he seemed to be okay, ate dinner,and played with other kids. Several hours later after watching a movie he seemed to be dozing off which was unusual. Then when he went to get ready to come home he started complaining more of pain in his back and side. He also said his face felt funny. We couldn't see any bruises, or deformities but he kept complaining of the pain. Then he calmed down and seemed to be falling asleep again when we weren't talking to him. We decided to call the rescue squad and have him taken to the hospital and checked out.

At the hospital they did X-rays and a CAT scan. The X-rays of his ribs came back fine but the CAT scan showed a very small bleed in his brain. The Dr. said it will probably heal on it's own but just in case they want him nearer specialized equipment. So he was transferred to a larger hospital about 40 miles from us.

I really don't have any details about where in his brain the bleed is because Doug (and Amanda) went with him to the hospital while I stayed to keep things together here.

I will update when I know more.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

All the melting snow plus torrents of rain yesterday and last night have caused flooding in the area today. Schools are closed because some to the roads are flooded and rescue crews are being called out to help some stranded people.

While this is minor compared to some other places near here, this is what it looks like outside our house today. There isn't supposed to be any water where this small pond is now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sold Out - A Passion For His Presence

My sister bought me this set of CDs for Christmas and I have really enjoyed them. It is a collection of six sermons by Jentezen Franklin.
The six sermons are titled
  • The Three Crosses
  • Worthy is the Lamb
  • Unlawful Hunger
  • The Folded Napkin
  • After His Passion
  • The Mysteries of the Cross
In these sermons Jentezen Franklin speaks of the incredible passion Christ has for us and the length to which He went for each of us. This is a set of CDs I am sure I will listen to many times. 

SLeep Well, Kiddo

It's nothing unusual for Austin to get an idea in his head and not let it go for a long time. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised this morning to find out that he had stayed up all night. It seems to be his . . . read more

Friday, January 22, 2010

Aspergers VS. Nonverbal Learning Disorder

When my son received his diagnosis of Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) he also scored as "high likely" for Asperger's Syndrome (AS). I found this very confusing for a long time and sometimes felt like the correct diagnosis should have been AS. Other times I felt that NLD was in fact the correct diagnosis. Still other times I . . . read more

Monday, January 18, 2010

What an Interesting Day

The morning started out with The Coffee Klatch. If you don't know what the The Coffee Klatch is and you are the parent of a special needs child or work with a special needs child you really want to check it out. The Coffee Klatch can be found on twitter @TheCoffeeKlatch and describes itself like this -
This morning was the first morning and it was wonderful. It's encouraging to "meet" others who are walking the same road and truly "get" the issues involved as well as the joys in raising or working with children with special needs. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's session.

I missed the last ten minutes or so of The Coffee Klatch because I was meeting with a grandmother to discuss providing childcare for her granddaughter. It was a good meeting and I'm sure the little girl will soon be joining our group of kids.

Amanda had a Dr. appointment this afternoon. It was just a well child visit. She's as healthy as a horse, as the saying goes. She did have to have a tetanus booster shot, which she did not appreciate at all. But she handled it well.

My favorite part of the day was going roller skating this evening. Every so often our church books our local skating rink for an evening. We've missed the last several skate nights but we managed this one. As a teenager I roller skated a lot. Now my skating skills are a little rusty but I still love to get out there. I managed to fall twice - the first time wasn't too bad. The second time, well, I think I may have left a dent in the floor.But, you see, they were playing the Chicken Dance and I was having fun. I was only doing the clapping part but apparently even that is too much for me. But it was worth it. I hope I still think so in the morning when I try to get out of bed and every muscle in my body screams at me.

My least favorite part of the day was what we found when we got home. We have a cat who is mostly an indoor cat but he does go outside as well. He was waiting at the door to be let in and before I realized what he had gotten into he was already in the house. There is a dairy farm behind where we live. It has been very rainy and there was a lot melting snow which has made this dairy farm very muddy. Apparently Scout (the cat) somehow managed to get into the very muddiest, smelliest place on the farm. He was covered! Amanda tried to give him a bath which he fought. Austin tried to help and Scout tried to bite him. Austin was ready to throw the cat back outside in the mud. The whole bathroom smelled like a farm. The cat was crying at the top of his lungs. We finally got the worst of the goo off of Scout. Now he's upstairs shut in a bathroom for the night. Amanda just asked me if she could take some blankets and make herself a bed in the bathtub so Scout will have company overnight. I said no. Scout still smells pretty bad and I just know he would try to curl up with her to sleep. Ick!

I never know what a day is going to bring, but around here it's certainly never boring.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stomach Bug

I haven't been doing much posting this week because Michael and I were both bitten by a stomach bug. Tired mommy and cranky  Michael were not a great combination.

Then last night and today Austin and Amanda both had their turn with it too.

Hopefully by tomorrow we'll all be feeling better and back on track.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Sad Story of Zakhquery Price

I've seen quite a lot written about this story recently and wanted to pass it on. I feel very sad for the family and for Zakh. All too often I've seen a child's needs repeatedly ignored or pushed aside because no one takes the time, effort and maybe even money to address these needs appropriately. Sometimes it's a result of a very broken system, sometimes it's ignorance, sometimes it's simply an unwillingness to put forth the effort to provide the services needed .

Please check out these articles and pass them on.

 Fifth Grade Autistic Boy Charged With a Felony .

Zakhquery Price and the Danger of Incarcerating Our Youth

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Escape From Cubicle Nation by Pam Slim - Book Review

 Escape from Cubicle Nation - From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur
Pamela Slim

I listened to this book read by Sandra Burr twice. It is recorded on ten compact discs. It is well written and well read.

Some of the topics covered are finance, health insurance, marketing, creating a business plan, and even the emotional issues involved in becoming an intrepreneur.

Pamela Slim also has a blog by the same name which can be found here - Escape From Cubicle Nation.

Say Everything by Scott Roseberg

I recently found this book at the library and brought it home to look at. I really didn't think I would read the whole book but discovered I enjoyed the author's style of writing. Scott Rosenberg has made what could be a technical, boring (at least for me) and hard to read book very readable, understandable and interesting. Basically it's a history of blogging. As I read this book I felt like I was getting an inside look into the lives and minds of some of the people who have made blogging what it is today. There is also some interesting discussion of where blogging may be going in the future.

Here are some details on the book.

Say Everything by Scott Rosenberg
Copyright 2009


Introduction: What's New

Part One - Pioneers
Chapter 1 - Putting Everything Out There
Chapter 2 - The Undedited Voice of a Person
Chapter 3 - They Shall Know You Through Your Links

Part Two - Scaling Up
Chapter 4 - The Blogger Catapult
Chapter 5 - The Rise of Political Blogging
Chapter 6 - Blogging for Bucks
Chapter 7 - The Exploding Blogosphere
Chapter 8 - The Perils of Keeping It Real

Part Three - What Have Blogs Wrought?
Chapter 9 - Journalists VS. Bloggers
Chapter 10 - When Everyone Has a Blog
Chapter 11 - Fragments for the Future

Epilogue - Twilight of the Cynics

Sunday, January 3, 2010

No Heat

Living in a one hundred year old house with all it's little cracks and crevices and little air leaks I've been known to complain about how cold it is in here. And with it's ancient heating system that heats one side of the house much better than the other I've been known to complain about how hard it is to keep everyone happy with the temperature. But I've been reminded this weekend how good I really have it.

During this cold snap ( wind chills as low as -10) there are people not far from me who have no heat at all. We have a teenager staying with us this weekend who needed a warm place to stay because her family had no heat in the house. I don't know the whole story, the why and the how, but it doesn't really matter.

What really matters is that I remember how blessed I really am and how often it's easy for me to forget that there are those close to me who are not as fortunate and need a helping hand.