Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The End of the School Year Turned Out to Be More Memorable Than I Would Have Thought

June 14, 2010

I had every intention of posting throughout the week last week, but it was such an eventful week that there was no time at all until today (my birthday!) to sit and catch my breath. So what have we been up to?

It all started last Sunday, when Brianna started feeling under the weather. Poor timing for her, as last week was finals week and she still had some studying to get done, as well as a couple of projects. By the end of the evening, after having worked an eight hour shift, she was barely able to stand. Her fever was enough to make her dad want to keep her home and take her to the doctor on Monday. The verdict? A blister on her foot, having gotten infected, made her leg balloon up and caused her system to go into overdrive to fight it. They put her on antibiotics, and she was on the road to recovery.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty mellow during the daytime. Even though I was at work, my senior classes were completely empty; all the seniors were out at graduation practice. That left me to packing up my room and organizing my files to wrap up the school year. Tuesday night we had the end of the year Parent-Teacher Club meeting (I'm a member of the Board), and that turned out to be one of the most feisty and interactive meetings of the year. Wednesday night was our high school's graduation, and even that was not without its controversy. We managed to have a few young men decide to they didn't want to follow the rules, and they got themselves escorted from the stadium. One of them dug his heels in and had to exit in handcuffs. Happy graduation!
Graduation was not the most dramatic event of the evening, though, believe it or not. When I picked the kids up from their dad's house after graduation, I realized that Danielle had gotten a severe sunburn on her choir's field trip to Wild Water Adventure Park earlier in the day. Like most kids, she was not diligent about re-applying sunscreen throughout the day, nor was she careful about drinking enough water as she was roasting on the water slides. She was completely wiped out and wanted to fall directly into bed, but she was so burned that I wanted to put aloe vera on to sooth her first. We stood in the bathroom and I gently rubbed some onto her shoulders. Suddenly she pulled forward a bit, then slumped to the floor and started convulsing, eyes rolling back in her head. Let me tell you, watching your child have a seizure is frightening, even when it only lasts a couple of seconds. She actually had a seizure about a year ago, and at the time her doctor said not to worry unless it happened again. So yes, this time, the second time, it was hard not to jump right to panic mode. She seemed to recover pretty quickly though, so I decided I'd let her go to bed after getting some water in her, and I'd call the doctor first thing in the morning. I didn't sleep all night, checking in every little bit to make sure she was okay.

I asked her the next morning if she wanted to stay home, but she was insistent on going, since she was supposed to be accepting awards at the assembly--High Honor Roll and (irony here) Perfect Attendance. She didn't want to miss. I emailed her teacher and a good friend to help keep an eye on her during the day, and went to work. As soon as the doctor's office was open, I put in a call to her for advice. She decided since this was the second seizure incident, she wanted to see Danielle that afternoon. I figured I'd have enough time to get to Danielle's awards ceremony, get back to campus to give my freshmen their final, and then get back to Danielle's school to pick her up for the appointment. Just as I got off the phone with the doctor, a call came into my classroom from the Junior High campus. I picked up the phone and heard, "Hi, this is the nurse at Alta Sierra. I've got Nicholas, and I need you to come pick him up. He's cut himself, and I think he's going to need stitches." I mumbled that I'd be there as soon as possible, and I went to the office to get coverage for my freshman class final. Everyone in the office was ready to bend over backwards to help me out. You know how when you're emotional and people either offer sympathy or help, it can break the facade of one who is trying to pretend to be calm and in control? Well, on no sleep and trauma overload, I completely lost it for a couple of minutes. And by the way, I can't stand it when people see me cry--it's not pretty. I ran to the bathroom, pulled myself together, and yelled my thanks without making eye contact again as I headed off down the hallway and out the door to gather up my injured children.

I got to Nicholas and he was temporarily bandaged and thankfully wasn't in much pain. The bleachers that had ripped open a couple of inches down his back had only won a minor battle. He and I went to the elementary school to watch Danielle get her awards, and then headed off to the Urgent Care clinic to begin our two and a half hour wait. Nicholas was pretty nervous about the idea of stitches, but fortunately the nurse practitioner decided steri-strips could do the job nicely. It didn't occur to me that Nicholas didn't know what that meant, so her proclamation didn't relieve him nearly as much as it did me. When the nurse walked in with gauze, the strips, and scissors, Nicholas looked as if he was about the hyperventilate. When I asked him what was wrong, his eyes got big and round, and he whispered to me, "What are those SCISSORS for??" Poor kid thought she was going to cut HIM! The nurse looked at him all indignant and said, "I have to cut the gauze with SOMETHING!" She got him all patched up, and we headed to his dad's house to drop him off before I picked up Danielle from school for her appointment.
For those of you who are keeping track, Danielle's visit made the third kid and the third doctor visit of the week. Because she had an appointment, the wait time was much shorter. We got in and the doctor (a new one for Danielle) began to take down all of her history and all of my concerns. As a mom, it's nice to have your concerns taken seriously--there's nothing more frustrating than a doctor ignoring your mother's intuition with a dismissive, "Have her drink some water and get some sleep. She'll be fine." Danielle's doctor, though not alarmist at all, wanted to run a whole series of tests to see if anything abnormal turned up that would make her susceptible to these seizures, and to see if they might be able to predict the likelihood of a reoccurence. She was also fantastic with Danielle, talking to her and not just about her, and explaining everything she was doing without talking down to her. She checked Danielle's blood pressure, vision, and reflexes. She checked her throat and her ears. She inquired about eating habits and sleeping habits. She ordered tests to check her sodium, potassium, electrolytes, and white cell counts. She also ordered appointments to be set up for an EEG and an MRI. Although it was likely that Danielle simply had an adverse reaction to dehydration and heat exhaustion, her doctor wanted to rule out any other possibilites. We are currently awaiting results of the blood tests and will go in for the EEG and MRI as soon as Valley Children's Hospital calls to verify an appointment time. In the meantime, she's recovering well and no longer looks like she's about to drop to the floor at any moment.

The next day, the last day of school, I notified my children that no one was allowed to get hurt--we had reached our quota. Thankfully, they all obliged me. Despite all the chaos of the week, I managed to get my room packed away, finalized and posted my grades, and said goodbye to the few children who deigned to show up on the last day of school. Bring on the summer vacation! Except that the first day of summer vacation, Saturday, my car broke down. I don't know if it's pouting because my kids got so much extra attention this week, but it has decided it's got to go into the shop (its own version of the doctor, I suppose). My best guess is it'll be a $500 fix, if we're lucky. No matter, though--I'm on vacation, and I don't really have any obligation to be anywhere for awhile. We'll manage, I thought. And then Sunday arrived. Doug and I were running around (in his car, naturally), shopping to put some final touches on our back yard before the heavy swim traffic hits it for the summer. And wouldn't you know, HIS car died on us! We were left stranded, waiting for a tow truck to get us home.

So today, on my birthday, I spent the day trying to make arrangements for both of our cars to get the attention they need while Doug was in a rental car at work. The good news is we have a couple of good buddies who took care of towing the cars where they needed to go, and Doug's car ended up being a much more minor problem than it could have been. My car is still in the shop, and I'm hoping it, too, will be a relatively painless repair. I ended the day with a birthday dinner with Doug and the kids and some very thoughtful, carefully chosen gifts. And chaos and mishaps and accidents and all of the unexpected happening all at once can't change the fact that I feel completely blessed by everyone I have in my life--all of those people I love--which is the best kind of birthday wish to have come true. Truth be told, though, I am also wishing, as a special little birthday wish, that this week would be a little less interesting than last week. Even a little boring. That would be okay with me.

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