It’s a constant fight…

So…I really wanted to write a happy post today, but I’m a little frustrated. Instead, I’m going to vent.

There’s a reason so many families with special needs children end up divorced or in therapy or both. Marriage is hard enough, but add in a child who needs extra attention and loads of medical and therapeutic intervention and the challenge multiplies. It’s not just the obvious stuff.

Sure, some of it is. The husband feels financial pressures from being the bread winner because sometimes the mother can’t work outside the home. Kenna came home from the hospital on oxygen, a heart monitor, and a feeding pump. She wasn’t going to any day care. She didn’t need a babysitter or a nanny. She needed a nurse.

Luckily, I was able to supplement our income as an author. Then I saved money by learning to market my books, and other authors started hiring me to help them too. It worked enough. Over time, with the fluctuations in the market, my income has increased and decreased, but it’s getting better again. I’ve found my groove. I think. I hope.

Even now, I couldn’t go back to work if I wanted to. There’s no way I could make enough for it to be worthwhile, for one. And what employer would offer me the flexibility I need, for the other. This is one of the many things Sam doesn’t consider. Three days a week she has school and I have to drop her off at 7:15am and pick her up at 2:30pm. There’s no busing for her. She couldn’t handle it with her sensory issues. I carry her into the building every day. She gets freaked out and refuses to walk. Then there are all the doctor appointments. Sooooo manyyyyy appointmentssss! Now we’re adding in therapy with OT and PT on Mondays and we’re not sure which other days, plural, for speech. Suffice to say, on Mondays, I’ll leave the house at 9:30 and probably not return until close to 12:30 or 1pm. There’s half a day right there.

Smiling, happy Kenna. <3

Ah, but aside from the money arguments and your basic who does more and works harder argument, for which he doesn’t have a leg to stand on because if he goes to work and comes home and I do everything else…it’s me, there’s also the rearing of the child. See, raising a special needs child is different. Discipline is different. Expectations must be adjusted. One of us isn’t so good with that and teeters between frustration and over-indulgence. *raises hand* Not it. Yeah, I spend a lot of time trying to teach him how to parent. It’s a good thing I get roughly four hours sleep a night.

Most of all…there’s that. Kenna’s meds have stopped working. We had a glorious three month run. Sam, whose sleep is not impacted at all from her being up from 3:30am on, argues with me on a daily basis. I’m tired of hearing about it.

Sam: You need to go back to the sleep doctor.

me: We already have an appointment.

Sam: Well, it’s probably not even the right diagnosis.

me: We had a sleep study. It’s the right diagnosis.

Sam: The meds aren’t working.

me: Obviously. We’re going to have to increase her dose.

Sam: No. They need to give her something different.

My blood is boiling by now. I go to all the appointments. I meet with all the therapists and doctors. That he doesn’t understand isn’t because I don’t share with him, but because he mostly doesn’t want to be bothered with things he believes I’m handling. So…let me handle it. I don’t need to be micromanaged. It irks me. And I say this because I’m normally too polite to say it pisses me the fuck off. Only now, with little sleep…I’m starting to slip. My normally refined and controlled demeanor is cracking and my edit button is on the fritz. Because this is how the rest of the conversation went down the first night of the argument.

me: Do you have any idea how many meds there are to treat her?

Sam: No, but they need to try something else.

me: Two. There are two meds.

Sam: There has to be something more. They can just give her something more.

me: We’ll be changing the dosage.

At this point he began talking over me and continually repeating himself while I was trying to get Kenna to sleep. It just kinda slipped out…and yet I meant it completely.

me: Shut the fuck up, Sam.

See, I added a curse word, his name, and the phrase I never use and raised my kids to believe was horribly mean. I’m going to hell. Oh, but he stopped talking. I think it was the shock. I think he realized how strongly I felt about the situation. And the shock and silence lasted for all of one night. Because the next few nights we’ve had the same argument and I don’t even respond because I’m not only tired of listening to him spew the same non-sensical, uninformed crap on a nightly basis, I’m tired of trying to counter it with reason, logic, and information. What do I know? Um, pretty much everything when it comes to caring for Kenna in every way, shape, and form. I’m in the trenches.

Luckily, I think the fight finally came to a head this morning before he left for work. He started the same argument again when I mentioned I’d been up since 3:30am. It’s not all bad. You have no idea how much I can accomplish once she falls back to sleep around 5:30am. I managed to get in a workout (three days in a row), and do some of my social media sharing. I invoiced authors. I picked graphics for projects. And now, I’m writing a blog post. I’m an animal.

Sam: She needs a different medicine.

me: There’s only one other medicine.

Sam: Well, she needs to be on that then. They need to try something else.

me: Stop. Enough. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Sam: Will you just listen to me?

me: Sure. Then will you listen to me?

Sam: Fine. So…they need to try different meds. Maybe Lunesta, or Ambien, or Clonidine.

At this point he’s naming off all the meds he’s ever been on to treat his undiagnosed sleep disorder. Very helpful.

me: Are you done?

Sam: Yes.

me: Good. She can’t be on Clonidine. It’s meant to lower blood pressure and she has a heart condition. They need to be careful of drug interactions. The other two are meant for adults. They don’t give kids all the same meds as adults.

Sam: They can try a small amount. Just cut a bit off a pill and try it.

me: Really? *sighs loudly* The FDA has to approve meds for use.

We went through this with Kenna in the NICU. The doctors had to get FDA approval before they could give Kenna some medicine that escapes me. And I remember thinking how strange it was that the FDA would have to decide if my baby could have what she needed to live. Scary stuff. Yet at the same time, necessary. I get it.

Thus, I’m frustrated. He doesn’t understand the system. It feels like he doesn’t understand Kenna. And often, I wonder if he’s not questioning my ability to handle the situation. Still, I’m not backing down. I’ve got this. Sleep doctor on April 15th. We’ll get Kenna’s sleep figured out. Maybe I’ll get back to holding my tongue. It could happen. As for Sam, he’s gonna have to figure it out. I can’t do it for him. I’m being as patient as my sleep deprived, overwhelmed self can be.

So what’s my blessing? It has and always will be Kenna. She’s worth the sleeplessness, the stress, the fights, the appointments which force me to wear something other than yoga pants, and all the rest. Kenna.

Have you ever noticed how it’s everything at once?

So this. And pretty much more of this.

Once again I have failed to maintain frequent posting habits. I’m waving my white flag because I’m seriously surrendering to my life.

It has been totes cray cray on all fronts. Whoa. People don’t even say that anymore. This is how out of touch I am. Forgive me? See, I have big real stuff going on.

The boy moved back in and while I love having him, it’s a change. He comes and goes. He forgets to flush. He eats and I shop more. He hasn’t embraced our laundry schedule so…there’s more of that too. Still, he gives me hugs and snuggles with me and Kenna on the couch during the day while Sam works. His little sister lights up at the sight of him. It all balances out.

Then there’s the ongoing saga of our switch to Verizon. If you’re considering it…don’t. I mean it. Walk away now. Hell, run! Remember the adage about if something seeming to be too good to be true, it usually is. That. All of that and then some.

We started our switch on January 31st because Sam needed to add a work line and we were supposed to get this discount because his company is a preferred partner or some jazz and it would be cheaper. Check your calendars, people. The drama from this has lasted longer than some of my relationships. There’s a fun fact for you. We started it at 5:45 on a Sunday evening, thinking we’d have plenty of time since the store closed at 7pm and we’d have time for family dinner at a restaurant. It went badly…like we didn’t leave the store for the final time until 9:15pm. I even left and took Kenna to eat around the corner after this little exchange with the woman working with us.

me: Are we close to being done? It’s 7:30 and I need to feed her before bed.

woman: What time did you get here?

(Please note, I didn’t get an actual response to the question.)

Sam: Quarter of.

woman: Oh, you’ve only been here forty-five minutes. That’s not bad.

me: Quarter of six. We’ve been here an hour and forty-five minutes.

woman: Oh.

Then I picked up Kenna and left. Sam was supposed to meet us. He did. Long enough to order a drink and realize the new phones weren’t working. Then he left. We ate. And when we caught up with him again and finally left, 9:15. No working phones.

I could give you the long version of what has since transpired, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  So, the condensed version involves me making roughly a dozen phone calls to various numbers provided online and in their paperwork over the next six weeks with breaks while I waited for them to process various items and get back in touch. Their entire phone system is designed to hang up on you if you don’t use one of their options. If you do use their options, chances of speaking to an actual person is about the same as winning a Powerball Lottery Jackpot. In fact, when you do get a human, it feels much like winning, until you realize you actually know more about the trade-in/switch process than the person employed by Verizon.  Suffice to say, it has been a complete nightmare. No one who works for them knows how to do ANYTHING. The trade in department helped me to complete the trade in online…incorrectly. They have one job! The number I called to remedy that told me I’d called the wrong department and proceeded to give me the same number I had dialed to speak with them. I can’t make this stuff up. Oh, and I had to email the final bill AGAIN and they never responded. I had to call five days later to make sure they had received it. This brings us to last night.

guy: What email did you send it to?

me: The longest email in the history of emails.

guy: Well, then you sent it to the right one.

While we were talking, Kenna dumped her new bubble mower on the couch. Bubble juice…everywhere.

me: Oh my word!  Kenna!

guy: (chuckles)

me: Trust me, this is only funny because you don’t have to clean it up. Now can we check to see if this is fixed before I lose it? Trying to switch to Verizon has become an actual job for me.

So this may be fixed. Finally. We just have to mail in our old phones. To say I’m skerd is a gross understatement. There are so many ways this can go wrong, as Verizon has effectively proven.

Mostly, I don’t have time for this because Kenna has roughly three to five therapies a week on top of preschool three times a week. I’m now spending all my time driving her everywhere. I hate driving. I’m bordering on anti-social. Hell, half the time I no longer care if I leave the house. This is what three years of holing up every winter to keep her healthy has done to me. The anti-social comes from raising a special needs child. People have no idea. They don’t understand. And they are quick to judge what they know nothing about.

Her future’s so bright, she has to wear shades.

Take yesterday. Leaving preschool. Kenna managed to walk out of the classroom with a Peppa Pig book that belonged to the school. The teacher took it from her before she left the building. Now picture it. Kenna’s literally the first child to leave out of five preschool classes with roughly ten to fifteen kids per class. Lots of kids. Lots of parents. For a child with sensory issues, this can be challenging to begin with. Add in the confusion of why she couldn’t have the book along with her inability to communicate it, and we have a code red volatile situation on our hands.

I’m picking her up and walking away while she first whimpers, then cries, then explodes into a full blown tantrum in my arms while people are watching and I’m trying to keep her from hurtling herself out of my arms onto the gravely tarmac. Good times. Getting her board stiff self into a car seat, even better.

me: Kenna, the book belongs to the school. It has to stay there so all the kids can read it. You have lots of books at home. You can read the book again tomorrow.

Oh, and when that didn’t work.

me: Pull it together, girl, or no french fries.

Yes, this is her after school treat. We pass a McDonald’s on the way home. For fries, she’ll do almost anything. In this case, she dried her tears, and offered a half smile.

Kenna: French fries.

All was well with her world. And when she’s well, everything is so much better with mine. We’ll get through this. Soon this Verizon crap will be a distant memory while I count down the days until we can go back to AT&T. Soon Kenna will be all caught up and we’ll forget how hard we worked to get her there. I look forward to this and cling to this imagined future because right now, reality is kicking my butt. (Don’t worry, we all need a good butt kicking now and then. It keeps us alive and focused and reminds us what matters.)

Most of all, I feel guilty for complaining at all. Our reality is a million times better than what could’ve been. Kenna is worth it. I’d rather be running her all over the city than visiting a grave and staring across the hall to an empty bedroom. I’ll take my crowded bed with her cold feet at 5 every morning with no Sundays or holidays off. I wouldn’t know what to do with all that extra space on the couch. I treasure my life, even if it is equal parts crazy and overwhelming because all of that is overshadowed by the love.

I’m going to take a breath and get back to work. May your days be filled with enough crazy for you to appreciate the peace and enough love and friendship to take the pain away.

Take time to appreciate the wonder in your life.

This post brought to you by the letter ‘T’ and fear and loathing

Sam’s convinced we’re about to live Idiocracy. It’s a comedy…or a cautionary tale.

We watch a lot of preschool programming in our house. Still, every night, we turn off the kid shows in time to watch the news. Sam’s a huge fan of ABC World News Tonight. For years, I avoided the news and we’d argue about it.

Sam: Don’t you want to know what’s going on in the world?

me: No. It’s mostly depressing and ugly. I don’t want to be sad.

The argument would continue, with him completely confounded as to how someone with my education and intelligence could want to live such an insular life. This is an election year and I wish I’d held strong and maintained my original stance. The coverage is mostly comprised of Donald Trump rallies. In turn, I’m mostly depressed and sad.

Sam: Why don’t you say something? Why don’t you do something?

Ah, yes, because everything falls on me. Now I’m supposed to somehow fix the world’s problems. He has such faith in me, like my little blog is going to change the world and everyone’s opinions as they read. I’m pretty confident The Donald is blissfully unaware of my existence. I’m equally certain that if we knew each other, we wouldn’t be friends. I’m not one of these people who is easy swayed by celebrity or money. I like my people with substance, intelligence, and common sense. In lieu of intelligence, I’ll take a good heart. I gravitate towards those who do good.

All of this should explain why The Donald isn’t getting my vote. At the same time, I wonder why anyone would give him their vote. Seriously, why?

Forget for a moment that he behaves like a school yard bully, insulting everyone who opposes him. Hell, if he knew me he’d be telling me to go home to my mommy right now in his most condescending voice and mannerisms. I’m okay with that. Visiting my mom, not an insult. She’s awesome. She’s loving and caring and is always there for me. If it weren’t a sixteen hour drive, I’d see her more often.  Me, I’ve never liked bullies. I’ve always told up to them, toe to toe, and refused to back down. I don’t scare easily. In this, Trump and I are alike. We can both make people cry by using our words. Only my words aren’t insults. I don’t resort to name calling. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence doesn’t have to. What does that say about Trump? Now, I’m not calling him an idiot, but I’m certainly insinuating that the next POTUS should be able to carry on a conversation that most closely resembles one heard in halls of congress, than one from an elementary school yard.

Ugh. Trump is pathetic. PS. Danny has a new fan.

As I’m subjected to the news coverage, I grow increasingly frustrated that anyone would consider electing this man without a plan. Yes, Trump is a man without a plan. I saw a meme the other day. It was this quote from a Trump interview where he basically circled around the topic, blathered on for a moment, and then deflected to talk about some guy’s hat. He never answered the question, never said anything. He was the quintessential kid who didn’t prepare for the debate or do his homework, faking it and ending with words to excite the crowd. Seriously? One on one. Let me talk to him. Let’s discuss how you think you’re going to get Mexico to pay for the wall, Mr. Trump. You remind me of those parents who get all made and make these outrageous edicts like, ‘You’re grounded until you graduate’ even though graduation is three years away.  Oh, hey, or my personal favorite: you’re in big trouble!  Really?  Tell me more about this trouble of which you speak. So when Mexico refuses to pay for the wall you insist we build, what happens then? Is that whole country in big trouble? Are you going to go punch someone in the face? This seems to be the whole of your strategy when met with anyone who goes against you.

You talk a big game, but I watched you cower behind the podium, Mr. Trump, when it was rushed the other night. Then you stood tall and claimed you were all ready to take care of business. I’m gonna call bullshit because you looked more ready to mess your pants and go home to your mommy. What happens when a day comes where the police and secret service can’t protect you from the ramifications of your loose lips? Seriously, the only reason you get away with saying what you say is because of this country you live in. You spout lies and call them truths, constantly. You refuse to back down even when you’re wrong. You have no diplomacy skills whatsoever. How long before you have every other country ready to blow us off the map?

I watch these rallies and see how you have divided a nation. Just imagine what you could do to the world? As I recall, there is at least one Saudi Prince gunning for you if you become president.   Will America be forced into never-ending conflicts because of you running off at the mouth and insulting people? Do you think theses countries aren’t watching as you encourage violence while you parade your ego across the stage?

What does it say about my fellow Americans, that so many of us aren’t able to wade through your bullshit to realize you have said nothing? ISIS is bad. ISIS must be stopped. Sure, we all agree with that. How do you propose we do this? It’s not like the military, FBI, and CIA haven’t been trying for years. How is your plan so much better?

Oh, but you don’t have a plan, do you? How are you going to balance our budget when you can’t even keep all your business afloat? Those bankruptcies have contributed to our national debt. Don’t you feel even the least bit guilty thinking you are good enough, smart enough, forward thinking enough to run this nation? Because I don’t think you are.

These are educated objections to you candidacy. Now, let me address a more personal area. I don’t like you. There. I said it. I mean it too. I don’t like you, Mr. Trump. (And the ‘mister’ is far more respect than you deserve.) I’ve watched you insult immigrants, while you married two. I’ve watched you make fun of people with disabilities, which makes you the lowest kind of person to walk the planet. I’ve seen your racist behavior while you claim to not understand why the Ku Klux Klan would endorse you. (Duh. You’re their kind of people, which is why you could never be mine. Sorry not sorry.)  When you quoted Mussolini and were called out, you decided to bastardize a Gandhi quote instead. (I’m certain Gandhi wouldn’t have liked you. In this campaign alone, you’ve pretty much committed all of his seven social sins. Quite the feat. You must be so proud!)

Suffice to say, I don’t respect Trump. I don’t endorse him, support him, or like him. I wish more people felt the same way.

The balance was completely off.

Let me begin by telling you about this uncanny ability I discovered while I was pregnant for my first child some twenty-two years ago. Or more. I remember watching Rescue 911 with my mother. For those of you who aren’t a million years old, it was this television show where they would re-enact 911 calls. Now, I was pregnant. I had no business watching it to begin with. All the emotions.  So many tears. Eventually, I wised up and stopped, but not before I discovered I could see what was going to happen.

It was an episode where the mom was mopping the floor. The phone rang, she left the bucket on the floor while she went to answer it. Her crawling baby was playing in another room. I remember looking over at my mom.

me: That baby is gonna drown in the bucket.

mom: We don’t know that. Did you see a preview?

me: No, but we know something bad happens and I’m telling you, it’s a baby in a bucket of mop water.

Sure enough, minutes later, the mom is freaking out because she turned to discover her baby drowning in the mop bucket. It was terrible. Really really painful to watch. After my own babies were born, this ability was only heightened. Through the years, it has prevented many injuries while frustrating both my husbands. (Not at the same time. This is marriage number two, remember?)

Fast forward to yesterday.

Sam came home from work early, showing up around four in the afternoon with DD’s. For those of you not from Charlotte, these are the best chicken wings in the whole wide world, even if I do question the reasoning behind tucking celery under the wings to cook before I can get to it in their styrofoam containers. Let’s focus on the positive: he brought home dinner! I didn’t have to cook! No dishes!

We ate an early dinner and I cleaned up while Sam and Kenna played. Soon enough, she had dragged him to her shoes.

Kenna: Shoes on!

Sam: You want your shoes on?

Kenna: Uh huh.

Sam: You want to go outside.

Kenna: Uh huh. Uh huh!

me: She’s only going to want to wear her fancy black ones. The sneakers represent school for her.

I don’t know if he didn’t believe me, or he simply wanted to see for himself, but he held up the two pairs of shoes and let her pick. Naturally, she went with her fancy black shoes. Who knew? They disappeared outside and I took advantage of the quiet to feed and water the kitties, clean the litter box. A few minutes later, I walked outside to throw away the bag of poo only to find Kenna on the swing in the front yard.

Instantly, I froze. See, I’ve played on this swing with Kenna. I keep two hands on her ALWAYS because she has this tendency to forget what she’s doing and let go. Sam…only had a hand on her back.

Sam: Look! She’s doing great.

me: She might let go…

Sam: I’ve got her.

It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t avert my eyes. I could already see it happening in my head, the way she’d slide off the swing and slip out of his grasp. In my mind, she even lost consciousness. In real life, she only made a loud thud as she hit the ground. He had her…sort of. He caught her back and butt with his one hand, but her head and neck caught the brunt of the fall.

I know it’s hard being a dad, tempering the thrill of rough housing with caution. Trust me when I say it’s even harder to be a mom and watch it, anticipate the worst and balance the need for caution with the desire to not annoy the crap out of the husband and thereby earn the killjoy label. Normally, we’re in complete agreement about Kenna. Raising a child is a constant balancing act of holding on and letting go. It hurts when our balance is off.

Neither of us spoke at first as he scooped her up off the ground. Kenna’s eyes were wide in shock in fear. She seemed afraid to move in his arms.

me: I’ll meet you in the house.

He rushed inside while I threw out the bag and quickly followed. By the time I made it inside, there were tears, but not much crying. Kenna reached for me because…I’m mom. We cuddled a moment while Sam and I checked her out. It took a moment to pick all the dirt and twigs from her hair. We laid her on the couch to finish the examination.

Sam: I mostly caught her.

me: Listen, it could happen to anyone. It was an accident. I’m not blaming you. I just want to know she’s okay. She landed hard on her head and neck.

Sam: I know. I want to make sure she’s okay too.

He didn’t need me to make him feel badly. This was his baby girl. He already did. Minutes later, we had concluded she seemed fine. Slowly, she started moving and walked over to the television for Team Umi Zoomi. We watched her and as time passed felt better. She had a shower, where we finished getting the dirt out of her hair. Then we read books, did some puzzles, and snuggled.

Around 6:30pm, she started screaming out of the blue. We gave her Tylenol and tried to comfort her unsuccessfully. While I held her, I pulled up WebMd on the phone.

me: I think we need to go to the urgicare.

Sam: I think it’s just a bump on the head.

me: Well, it could be a concussion. She’s not acting right. This isn’t normal.

He agreed. So we rushed off to the urgicare. I had hoped to avoid the ER, thinking the urgicare would be a quicker option. Sam parked and rushed inside to check us in while I hauled Kenna out of the vehicle. When I walked inside, he was having some difficulty explaining things to the woman at the desk.

me: Listen, she’s essentially non-verbal, so we can’t tell if she’s slurring her speech. She has a nissen, so she can’t throw up. She has hypotonic cerebral palsy, so her balance is always a little off. She landed on her head and neck so she needs to be seen.

Yeah. I put my foot down, completely undeterred by the predicted two hour wait. Less than five minutes later, a nurse had pulled us back to talk to us. Head injuries trump everything else going on there. The doctor saw us and directed us to the ER.

doctor: We don’t want to play around with a head injury. She needs to be seen.

So we hopped in the car and drove to Kenna’s hospital.

Sam: We should’ve gone there to begin with.

me: I thought the urgicare would be faster. *grinning* In my defense, we did get out of there in record time.

Stickers. Kenna’s version of a Bandaid. They make everything better.

The ER was packed. I was frustrated by the lack of urgency I saw. We went through triage and were sent back out to the waiting room…where we waited and waited.

Sam: She has a head injury. I’m about to say something.

me: You saw me at the restaurant the other day. I’ve got this.

Kenna was restless. I stood with her on my hip.

Sam: Sit.

me: Nope. If the next room isn’t hers, I’m going up there. They triage for a reason. This isn’t a deli. It’s not first come, first served. This is the children’s emergency room. Do you see anyone holding their chest, having difficulty breathing? No? Then what’s more important than a head injury? The problem here is everyone is treating this place like a damn doctor’s office instead of an emergency department.

After looking around, he nodded. And…we were given the next room. I posted a picture of Kenna and Sam snuggling. Friends reached out to ask how she was. I think this response says it all.

convo

We left without ever seeing a doctor. Guess it’s time to send the boy to med school. Finally, a PA came in and we decided against a CT scan. No ibuprofen. Only Tylenol. Watch her for 24 hours. She should be completely better in 5-7 days. Me? It may take a bit longer. My heart was in my throat. Even now, I find I’m swallowing my worry, watching her like a hawk.

Today, her speech is normal. Her balance is better. So is ours.

This is why I’m tired…

The boy and Kenna. These two. So much love.

While I hoped to be super awesome at posting this year, it hasn’t turned out that way. The reason, in all honesty, is because I’m putting what energy I have into my money making ventures like publishing and promotions. Ah, but the bulk of my energy has and always will go to my family. There are big changes afoot in our home.

For one, by the end of the month, the boy will be living with us again. I’m thrilled. He’s a senior, has a vehicle, and will be able to drive himself to school and work. Still, having a new mouth to feed, another person in residence…is a change. As he moves, a box here and a box there, I get more excited. He’s easy to be around and he adores his little sister. He’s months from Marine boot camp. The boy makes me proud every day.

Then there are other changes, bigger ones, that have me crushed under the weight of them. It’s all about Kenna. Ten days ago, we had the latest hearing test which suggested she might have a mild hearing loss. Since we couldn’t get a definitive answer, the next course of action was to schedule an ABR, which apparently translates to a hearing test under anesthesia where electrodes are stuck to her head to determine the results we can’t achieve given her short attention span and propensity to frustrate and shut down. That same Friday afternoon, I missed a call. Since we recently switched phone carriers, which is a long story in and of itself, I hadn’t set up my voicemail yet. I called back too late, but learned it was for a rehabilitation center and assumed Kenna would finally be set up for her services. We’d only been waiting six months.

So I left a message, went about my business, and was pleasantly surprised to have a return phone call on Monday morning. By the time the call ended, Kenna had evaluations set up for Wednesday and Thursday of the same week, which was last week, with her final evaluation for speech being set up on St. Patrick’s Day. I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, all the fighting, the phone calls, the follow ups, the arguments with her pediatrician…had paid off.

Waiting for OT. It was pajama day at school. Don’t judge.

Wednesday afternoon, I picked her up after school, armed with her meds and a snack, then we drove to uptown Charlotte for her appointment. The occupational therapist was lovely. She and Kenna meshed well. We went over her history. Apparently, the audiology referral from six months ago was supposed to go through them, but I had pushed and started the process with her EENT. (Pushing. This is what I do.)  Now pay attention…

OT: So I’m not sure if she’s not following the directions because of her hearing or listening.

me: We often wonder this ourselves.

OT: Well, let me connect you with our guy for scheduling. We’ll get that hearing referral taken care of.

me: She has already had four tests in the last two months. We’re supposed to do an ABR now. I’m waiting on the call back.

OT: I’m still going to set you up with our guy. He may be able to help.

She brought us to the waiting room, disappeared, and then returned with this man who listened to me give the recent hearing test history. Suddenly, a light dawned on his face.

the guy: Come with me.

Kenna and I follow him to his office where I shut the door behind us because she is quiet and stealthy like a preschool ninja, also prone to disappearing and I needed to concentrate. He opens his cupboard and pulls out a referral. It’s for Kenna. They were supposed to schedule the ABR. That was the call I had missed.

Let me spell it out.

If I hadn’t pushed for Kenna to get the hearing test with the EENT, not knowing I was supposed to be waiting for the rehabilitation center to call, we’d still be waiting on EVERYTHING.  I accidentally scheduled services, which no one will take away from us. It was a series of misunderstandings, a comedy of errors, which has resulted in Kenna finally getting the help she needs…all because I fight for her…and didn’t set up my voicemail.

Riding the tricycle during PT. PS. See? She does own clothes.

So there will be drives uptown many times a week as we see the PT, OT, and Speech therapist for multiple sessions. There will be one last chance at a hearing test on March 15th. After spending four hours dealing with glasses yesterday…more if we count drive time…Kenna has an updated prescription. Speaking of prescriptions…on Saturday she was diagnosed with yet another ear infection at the local children’s urgicare. (More stories, but I only have time today for this one.)

Taking care of her, meeting her needs, advocating for her, adjusting my parenting skills for her special needs, and constantly adapting life for her…is mentally exhausting. At the same time, I wouldn’t change our life for anything. Sure, there are times and ways I wish it were easier, but the reality is...maybe we appreciate more because of… Click To Tweet Maybe we find joy in small victories others would fail to appreciate. Maybe we are blessed with a life full of silver linings. We face a life flooded with rain sometimes, but we’re learning to dance in it. Plus, when the rain ends…there are rainbows, like this one from this morning.

Kenna: Good morning!

me: Morning, Kenna. Ready to have your medicine and get dressed?

Kenna: Okay!

It may not seem like much to you, but we’re starting to have conversations. She’s speaking. It’s not something to be taken for granted. Four years ago we weren’t sure if she would be able to even breathe on her own. There was talk of a tracheotomy and oxygen dependency, but now she walks, talks, runs, falls, eats, speaks, and breathes. Kenna is amazing. It simply takes her a little while  to catch up. Life is a journey. Apparently, we're off-roading. Click To Tweet

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how next week goes. I can’t seem to help myself.

Proceed with caution: the potty training post

potty chair

Kenna’s throne. It’s empty in every sense.

I love my husband. It’s a good thing I love him because most of the time I’m convinced no one else would. It take a special kind of temperament to deal with someone who truly believes he is king of the castle and lords over our life. He likes to think he’s in charge, but really Kenna runs the house.

Sunday morning, Kenna climbed into bed with us at six in the morning. I asked if he could keep her, since I was planning on grocery shopping at seven.  It’s Super Doubles at Harris Teeter, which is my version of the Olympics…if the Olympics only lasted three days and was all about shopping and saving massive amounts of money. Still, there is a skill level involved, a great deal of planning, preparation, and training. A comparison can be made. Oh, but no. Sam grunted. He had only had a meager eleven hours of sleep. How could he possibly function and be expected to care for an exuberant toddler? So, I packed her up and took her with me to not one, but two grocery stores since I couldn’t find everything I needed at the first.

Good times. Oh, and they only became better because during the first stop, I picked up Dora Pull Ups. They were originally $11.99, but with a sale and coupons, I picked them up for $4.99. Yes, Kenna is four and still not potty trained. It has become a battle of wills no one is winning. Oh, maybe Sam. He’s at work. Ah, but don’t worry. He still manages to run our lives. After all, I’ve only potty trained two kids to his none. What do I know about potty training? Hell, I even managed to potty train one boy and one girl so you’d think that would give me extra cred, but apparently it doesn’t.

Not quite two years ago we began the slow descent into hell with the potty chair purchase. It’s a super special potty, with sensors…and sings when/if she tinkles. She has used it in the past, but that was closing in on two years ago while we were getting her off the feeding tube. I had trouble managing eating and potty training at the same time. I can only have so many fights in the day.  I’m sure plenty of women would feel the same way. At no point in time did I look at the choice to get her to eat by mouth before potty training her as a failing. Now, however, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have powered through. Water under the bridge…and pee all over the floor. At least that’s how this morning began.

Oh, but I’m jumping ahead. In the past year, we’ve tried the three day potty training method which mostly had her in tears. I declared the misery not worth it. Wouldn’t want to damage her psyche while trying to potty train her. Then we tried to build in a reward system. Stickers. Kit Kats. Nothing worked. Built in a punishment system. No television until she goes on the potty. (This is why she’s lying on the couch face down right now kicking her feet. After all, how could I expect her to play with her room full of toys and books when there’s no ambient television sound?)

A month ago, at Sam’s urging, I sat Kenna on the potty one morning and waited for her to make magic on the potty for TWO HOURS while he went off to work. There were videos on my phone and books and then I started to get hungry and she wanted to get up. She can hold it because the minute I put the diaper back on…she peed. Clearly, this is a choice. We’ve tried lots of different things. Oh, and by we, I mean me. At that point, I had a very grown up discussion with him where I pointed out she wasn’t ready yet, we couldn’t simply do this on a whim, it took planning and preparation and…time.  My suggestion was that we wait for summer when she was home with me seven days a week instead of having our potty training broken up by preschool. At the time he agreed, but I suppose I can’t expect him to remember this discussion forever, or even four weeks. And I suppose it is partly my fault because I try to keep him happy. I’m an idiot. A miserable freaking idiot.

So yesterday afternoon…around five…practically evening, he decided it was time to potty train again. He laid down this edict from his throne. It looks remarkable like the couch, but whatevs. There would be no more more diapers. (Good thing we picked up an entire box from Sam’s Club last weekend and have used roughly one quarter of it.) Pull Ups only. She would sit on the potty every twenty minutes. I was in charge of timing it, of course. I couldn’t expect him to follow through since it was his big dumb idea at almost dinner time, right?

PS. I was already sour because after I went to two grocery stores, picked up a movie, unloaded the car, put everything away, showered, did Love Kissed Book Bargains, ran to Sam’s Club as a family, fed Kenna lunch, clipped coupons, researched my posts for Monday, managed to get her down for a nap, and ran to Walmart with him, he had the nerve to carry in three bags of his purchases and unlock the door while proclaiming himself ‘Daddy Do It All.” In my mind, I may have altered it slightly. Daddy Do Nothing had a nice ring to it as did Daddy Know it All. There may have even been one or two more colorful nicknames, but just one or two.

By dinner, which he made (chicken wings in the fryer), Kenna had peed in her Dora Pull Up and brought us a diaper. Then she had pooped in her new Pull Up and taken it off. Sam discovered her and the mess in our bedroom. I was at the table working when the screaming began.

Sam: Nickiiiiiiiiiii! Niiiiiiick! There’s poop everywhere!

Yeah. That’ll motivate me to come rushing to his aid. Sure, part of me thought King Do It All should just…you know, handle it. Then the sensible side remembered he had no idea what doing it all entailed and clearly wasn’t cut out for it anyway. So, I calmly swooped in and had Kenna cleaning up her own mess in no time.

By bedtime, I mostly liked him again. Kenna slept in a diaper. It was dry this morning. We popped her on the potty. She refused to sit, or use it. And an hour later, after researching what methods to use on ‘potty training stubborn girls’ (This is an actual search in Google. it’s not just me!) I was pretty pissy and then…pissed on as Kenna wet all over the floor while standing next to me and spraying me in the process.

I don’t have time for this now. I’m sure one could argue if I have time to write a grumpy fourteen hundred word post, I have time to potty train, but honestly, when I’m this aggravated…the words flow, dripping in snark. Obviously. Whereas the pee…may flow on my floor, but not in the potty. Today, the blog tour for my new release begins. And I have more groceries to buy. Don’t judge. It’s stock up on a dime time. And Kenna just filled her Pull Up.

Summer. This is a job for summer when my work slows down and I’m less stressed, when school’s out and I don’t have a crazy schedule, when she can run around half naked outside and pee in the grass and I’m not left to wash every square inch of the floor every twenty minutes on my hands and knees. This summer…potty training will happen. Mommy has spoken. My foot is down. Thus endeth his reign…and my rant. You’re welcome.

 

How I coupon. (And you can too!)

How I coupon.I’ve had so many people asking how I manage to do so well couponing that I just have to keep sharing my tips. It’s true there’s a little bit of strategy involved, but mostly it’s all about organization and having a plan. Here’s how I handle my grocery shopping for the week.

  • Wednesday through Tuesday is the grocery week. On Wednesdays, my favorite grocery store, Harris Teeter, sends me an email with some of the specials. This is when I start my list and often go on Coupons.com to print out free coupons. I also check out my favorite apps: Ibotta, SavingStar, and Checkout51. Usually, I discover some amazing savings this way. I’m trying to hold onto all these rebates until the end of the year for Christmas shopping. (So far, I have $12.80 on Ibotta, $32.02 on SavingStar, and $5.25 on Checkout51: $52.07 already in February!)
  • On Fridays, I get an email of e-vic specials chosen just for me based on my buying habits. I look forward to this email more than you can imagine. Usually there are some deeper discounts on Saturday and Sunday items as an enticement for braving the store when the masses are shopping too. Based in part on this email, I decide when to shop. I might go Friday if I’m afraid of missing out. This is also the day, usually, where I go through my existing coupons and see what I can pick up at a bargain price. Each week, I set a budget and try to buy food for the week and stockpile items. If you saw my house, you’d know I had been managing this pretty well.
  • Saturdays, all the coupons from Klip2Save are up and shipping. If I order on Saturday morning, they usually arrive by Tuesday, so I can get anything I needed their coupons for before the weekly specials change. If there are rumors of Super Doubles, I tend to stock up on coupons that are of higher face value, ranging from $1-$2 so I can have them on hand to use.
  • I don’t always buy from Klip2Save. Lots of times, I’m plenty happy with the coupons in the Sunday paper. I usually buy two or three. My reasoning? Well, if there are shampoo/conditioner coupons, I like to be able to buy pairs. (It’s my OCD kicking in.) Plus, with my store, they only accept three like coupons per trip, so unless it’s Super Doubles, where they double coupons worth up to $2, I don’t bother making multiple trips in a week.

Special tips:

  • If you’re getting the Sunday paper, clip EVERYTHING. You may not have a dog or cat, but if you see an opportunity to get a bunch of free items, you can donate them to shelters. You may not normally use a particular item or brand, but you’d be surprised what you discover and are willing to try when it’s 50 cents or less!
  • Use Klip2Save to help you stock up on particular items without having to buy loads of papers. My preschooler loves pickles. Sure, I picked up four jars of pickles using my Sunday coupons, but do you have any idea how fast she went through them? Yeah, I ordered many more from Klip2Save because who knows when they’ll be in the paper again and I’ve heard pickles have a great shelf life, although with Kenna around, I may never find out.
  • Coupons.com is a fantastic free resource. This week, for example, New York Bakery croutons are on sale for BOGO, plus I have two coupons from the Sunday paper, which means I can get two bags for $.98. Then I saw the same coupon online. I printed it because 3 bags for $1.47 is even better when I’m stocking up. Remember: three like coupons can be used.
  • Know your store’s coupon policy. I shop at the most expensive grocery store in our area and spend less money than I would at the cheapest store because of their policy of doubling coupons to 99 pennies every day. Paired with sales, this is awesome. (For example, this week, I’m getting four bags of Oreo minis for $5. They are normally $2.99 each. I’m saving $6.96!)
  • Sign up for your store’s emails and link your loyalty card. This one act saved me over $2000 last year. They keep a running tally to remind me and it really adds up. This isn’t even my coupon savings, which averages about three times as much as my weekly store savings. So, let’s guess that I saved a total of $8000 last year. How much better could you live with another $8000 in your pocket? Or…how much better could you live with $8000 worth of products you received for FREE?
  • Apps are awesome. Download them on your phone. Use them on your computer. Save more money. (For example, this week, I’m getting two St. Ives facial scrubs for $1. Here’s how: I waited for them to go on sale. This week, 2/$7. I have a coupon for $3 off the purchase of 2, which makes them $4. Then I have a SavingStar deal I claimed for $3 off the purchase of 2, which means after rebate, I only spent $1. The $3 will automatically go into my app, which I will redeem to my PayPal in December when I’m ready to start shopping.)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for rainchecks when your store is out of sale items. The raincheck don’t expire and you can redeem them any time and pair them with coupons.

Once you get accustomed to couponing, you’re going to love it. It’s a great way to extend your budget, save money, and prepare for the unexpected. I know if we suddenly had inclement weather and couldn’t get out for days, or weeks even, we’d be fine. I sleep better knowing if money was so tight, we couldn’t afford to spend much on food, the stockpile I’ve created would support us while we tried to get back on our feet. Most of all, I’m looking forward to this Christmas when I’ll already have money set aside for shopping. Less stress is awesome.

Hope this helps both teach and inspire you!  Happy couponing!

Motherhood changes things.

Yeah, I know it’s a bathroom selfie. Also, I said I’d lost weight, not reached goal. #StopHating

Please note: when I say motherhood changes things, I mean me. I’m the thing.

Once upon a time, I was cool.  Okay, I was cool enough. I was accepted. People liked me and we hung out together…in public. No, I was not a secret friend. Then I had children…young. I was twenty-two when Rachel was born, twenty-five when I had Keenan. My friends changed because the cool friends weren’t hanging out with babies.

Hell, I even dressed nice before kids. Then I had a few rough years. Losing the baby weight is hard. After baby number three and at age forty-three, it’s even harder. Being self-employed, I’m mostly glued to a computer while I work. As I type, the laptop is on the counter and I feel less guilty, since I’m not on the couch where I usually sit. Let’s face it, that cushion could use a break.

Not so long ago, my mother was here for a visit. While I buy clothes for Kenna every stinking season, I may have gone roughly…twenty seasons in between buying myself clothes. Yeah.  Just snuck by…while I was hiding from mirrors and anything that wasn’t jersey knit and incredibly forgiving. She made a comment about a hole or two in my yoga pants, like she doesn’t understand what happens to inside of the legs when chicks don’t have a thigh gap.

Now that I’m eating healthier and trying to get exercise here and there (mostly there), I can fit back into the old jeans. Yeah, they’re five years old. After going shopping the other day, I’m convinced if I hold onto clothes long enough, they will come back around. I’ve seen it.

Needless to say, I’m doing that thing where I try to get back to me. It started this past fall when I went to Ulta with Rachel. She’s still a reasonably cool mom who takes care of herself. Between her and this incredibly gifted makeup artist, I was conned into purchasing $60 worth of makeup. For some of you, it may sound like a bargain. What if I told you it was only a beauty balm and a liquid eyeliner? Did you flinch yet? Because I did. The buyer’s remorse set in by the time I reached the car. Then Sam saw me at home and complimented me. So I had to keep it. And wear it. I went from applying makeup roughly never to at least once a week or so, which means I can probably avoid another major makeup purchase for a year.

For Christmas, I asked Sam for perfume. Naturally, the one we picked out together, but never purchased was discontinued. So he found one I now love. This is apparently a limited edition scent, so I may be on an annual perfume hunt for the rest of my stinking life. And seriously, who has time for this? I promise you, I don’t.

My idea of exercise is a walk on a nice day. I can do them with the little one, sort of, as long as I’m willing to tilt the stroller back every time she starts dragging her feet and ruining the toes of her shoes, which happens roughly forty-three times during a twenty minute walk. I can't seem to motivate to exercise when I'm alone because that's a stupid waste of uninterrupted work time. Click To Tweet

Over the last almost eight years, I’ve been acutely aware of the changes in my life, mostly because I have Sam, who is quick to remind me of said changes. I find myself doing things I never expected, both good and bad. Sunday, we had our first date of the year. Yeah, it was kind of a big deal, but not remotely romantic in the traditional sense. We didn’t do a meal and a movie. We didn’t even do a meal. We ran errands. Sam bought us clothes. Yes, both of us. I have pants without holes. They could stay that way if I get a gap before too long. I have shirts that I’m proud to be seen in. We drank Starbuck’s hot chocolate, the sign of a true date, and that we’re wildly cool. (Finally!) We drove the car through a car wash, bought new wiper fluid and a collar for Pepper, since she broke the last one. Nothing exciting, still wildly awesome. These are the highs, which I balance out with plenty of lows, like the cookie.

The cookie is actually the reason for the post. Yup. My behavior vexed me, so naturally I had to share it with the world because I want to believe I’m not alone. (Tell me I’m not alone!) So, after running around cleaning and tending to the preschooler’s needs all day, I’m hungry and tired. I gave her homemade chocolate chip cookies for a snack. She ran off with them before I managed to lock her into her seat. Again…too tired to chase her, confident in my ability to clean up from whatever mess she created I let her go.

A bit later, I notice she had zero cookies, no obvious signs of a mess, and only a few crumbs around her mouth. So, I handle it. I wiped the crumbs feeling pretty proud of myself. And then I walked into the kitchen. There it was: a perfectly good cookie. She had taken one bite out of it and left it on the floor. I’m not sure if it was the diet or the exhaustion, but somehow, I ended up bending over, picking it up, and blowing on it. I have no idea how long it had been there. Yet suddenly the cookie was in my mouth. It tasted too good to spit out.

This was when it hit me. Years ago, I’d have been wildly grossed out. The cookie had a bite out of it. The cookie was on the floor. Still, I ate it. Ew. Yuck. Younger me was judging the hell out of older me. Ah, but older me is practical, and mostly exhausted. Older me knew there was no wasting a perfectly good cookie. Older me even considered the squat to retrieve it exercise. Older me was really good at justifying things. It's a special kind of cool, the kind that doesn't care what others think. Hell, older me is even a little… Click To Tweet

Thus endeth my day. And the cookie. Plus pretty much any guilt or angst I felt about the situation. I've changed. Not all the changes are awesome, but I'm embracing the good ones, changing the bad ones and… Click To Tweet

Now go be awesome and leave the guilt behind. 

How much of life is about dusting ourselves off and carrying on?

Read this. This is hope, a reason to keep trying.

That’s what I’m doing this morning.

In theory, today should be awesome.  Last night, my Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals and are now headed to the SuperBowl.  I had a reasonable amount of sleep.  Kenna spent the entire night in her bed.  Our sink is fixed.  We have water.  My latest book released today.

Oh.  There it is.  The book release.

Book releases are stressful.  It’s rough for so many reasons.  After weeks of writing a book, working with beta readers, editors, cover designers, bloggers, and putting together tour packages, teasers, selecting excerpts, creating a play list…and so much more…the book is live.

It should be an exciting time.  This one…isn’t.

My apprehension started yesterday when I received a message from a blogger who couldn’t get into the book because it was written in third person.  Um.  Okay.  Now this is how the bulk of the traditionally published write: Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele, Nicholas Sparks…the list could go on and on.  So, I had a conversation with the always lovely and wildly knowledgeable Nicole Edwards.  She’s a big deal, New York Times and USA Today best seller.  We discussed making the change because…I’m not writing for art.  I’m writing to earn a living.  And the first rule is to give the readers what they want.

So, I started rewriting the second book in the three book series.  Luckily, I’ve only written the first fourteen thousand words.  Still, it’s quite the undertaking.  And I have to do it.  The reviews are already rolling in.  (I should be thrilled.  Reviews aren’t easy to come by.)  Yet, it seems people couldn’t connect to the book as well as I’d have liked.

This is the part where I have to dust myself off.

I’m trying to be all philosophical about it.  After all, I’m blessed to have such amazing resources at my disposal.  I’ve recently found a great beta reader who is quick to make helpful suggestions  and call me out.  (I need this.  All authors need this.) I should be looking to the future and feeling wonderful because the next book will be so much better.  Ah, but instead, I worry that people won’t make it past the first book to read the next two.

Trying to shake the dark and step back into the light takes practice.

Being an author is a marathon, not a sprint.  Few of us ever become best sellers off our first or second book even.  It took me a couple of years to achieve that status.  I’m thrilled.  One day I may even aspire to New York Times best seller or USA today best seller, but for now, I’m content to make it on Amazon.  But not this time.  Not with this book.

So, I’m going to smile.  I’m going to practice smiling, forcing the smile, until the smile is real.  I’m going to work on making Second Chances and Three Wishes amazing.  I’m going to work my butt off because in so many ways, I’ve done really well so far this year.  I found an incredible cover designer I mesh with.  I have a plan.  And a calendar.  And post its.  I’ve built a huge blog list and my tours are growing, bigger and better than ever.  All this is awesome and I can’t take it lightly.  I have a book marketing and promotion company that is moving right along.

I’ve adapted nicely to working independently.  It shouldn’t surprise me.  I was the kid in school who hated having partners because I grew tired of carrying people, or getting graded on their efforts.  Of course, as we grow and mature, we learn we can’t do everything all by ourselves.  It’s true.  For those of you who have supported me in so many ways during this journey, I thank you.

For those of you who are struggling right now in your own ways, let’s shake it off.  Together. Dance party.  Right now.  Think of a happy song.  Start tapping those toes.  Get the head bob going.  You’ve got this.  Wrap yourself in sunshine and rainbows so thick that nothing can mess with your head and wreck your inner peace.  It’ll get better.  It’s better already because our focus is on being positive.  This is how it’s done.

It’s all about the ears.

Kenna during a healthier, happier time.

As I sat down to write this post, I took a deep breath.  Sometimes, I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll do my best to explain, catch you up, and work through this.  For a really long time, like well over a year, probably closer to a year and a half, I’d take Kenna to the pediatrician for various complaints and they’d check her ears.  Time and again, I’d be told she had fluid in her ears, but they weren’t infected.

Then for months, they were.  Her tonsils were huge.  And after a lengthy illness last spring, we were referred to an ENT.  The wrong one…who then referred us to the right one…a pediatric one in the same practice, different office.  He performed the tonsillectomy and adnoidectomy last July.  We had our follow up and hoped for the best.

Since then, there had been some concern.  Her speech hasn’t improved as greatly as we had hoped.  This prompted some concern from the developmental pediatrician, who suggested we have her hearing tested.  There could be damage from months of unresolved fluid in her ears.  Already…I’m upset.  See, I feel responsible.  I should’ve known this could cause hearing loss.  I don’t know why I feel this way, since I’m not a doctor, but I suppose it’s a mom thing.  I’m also pretty mad at the pediatricians who clearly don’t pay attention to their notes and have to be prompted to action at every turn.

Moving on.  So, last week we tried to get her hearing tested.  It didn’t go well.  Hence the visit yesterday.

I about killed myself trying to get us there on time…only to find out they were running late.  It was forty minutes before we were seen.  Please understand I had to keep her sitting in a crowded waiting room with NOTHING in there but people and chairs.  It was terrible.  So to say she was out of sorts and feeling less than cooperative when it was finally her turn would be a gross understatement.

Again, we couldn’t tell how well she was hearing, but the tests suggested she has retracted eardrums.  We were sent back to the waiting room, this time the kid one.  We waited there forty more minutes before we were taken to a room and had to explain how we ended up there.  I was ready to cry.  Seriously, it took an appointment with the developmental pediatrician, two phone calls to the pediatrician, a referral to the wrong office, and finally we were seen in South Park.  The results?

doctor: She has an ear infection.

me: She never even hinted she was in pain.

doctor: She’s blocking it.  She’s so used to it.

After being in the office for over two hours, we are treating the infection before we can treat the ear drum.  In three weeks we go back and talk tubes.  Then, we work on testing her hearing.

It’s exhausting and frustrating and sad.  I hate that she had an infection and showed no signs of it.  I hate that the pediatricians make everything so hard.  I hate that my concerns have all been validated and I still can’t get them to listen to me.  I hate that everything is a fight.

Still, I hold it together and I give Kenna her now four meds a night and a nose spray.  I do what I can because I love her.  I love her so much more than everything I hate about the situation.  Her laughter, her smiles, her snuggles, her loves, it makes it all worth it.  We’ll manage this, one medication, one surgery, one diagnosis, one treatment at a time.  For now, we’re loving her through it.