Stick Figure Family

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

He earned it!

Biggest Boy squished his new car a week and a half after bringing it home. So sad. There went his entire boot camp bonus. He got a job at Target during the holidays and tried to earn enough to have it fixed. But, that only paid for his insurance premiums and his cell phone. Months went by and he just couldn't afford to fix it up. He was so frustrated.

Years ago, I'd listened to a great speaker tell how to motivate a child. You simply make it worth his while. Hmmm..... The wheels upstairs started turning... we'd have him earn the parts to his car. And, what would make it "worth it" for us and still valuable to him? Completing his college classes.

Ahhhh. Go to school every day (church on Sunday) and earn points. Clean up after yourself and earn points. Do your chores completely without being reminded and earn points.....

And, with a few prompts, he began to earn points. Missed a few here and there, but basically earned enough points in two weeks to get a tire for his car. Yea! We were both happy. (I didn't realize that tires cost $150, but oh, well. Now he's got wheels!)

His car was driveable! He was a free man. Happy as could be. Well. For less than 24 hours, when he was pulled over for speeding. Clocked at nine miles over the speed limit. Well, now, I'd say he earned it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Miracles never cease!

This morning, just as the kids arrived to school, one of the Life Skills kids rocked back in the recliner and hit the fire alarm cover. That didn't set off the alarm, but when the teacher tried to put everything right, it did go off.... sending the entire school out on the field in freezing February weather!

That included us - we were in the cafeteria and hadn't yet fed our boys their breakfast. We heard on the security radio that the alarm was tripped by someone in our classroom, but we had to go out anyway. We carried the boys' gear out and fed them along the way. Bob was howling and unsteady on his feet from his medications; Stevie was cooperative for a change.

We met up with the teacher and a substitute shepherding the kids to their assigned area. Actually, two of our aides were out today and another one wasn't scheduled to arrive until second hour. Thankfully, Mikey hadn't arrived yet and Smiley didn't make it in at all. Getting his wheelchair out on the field might have made things awfully difficult for the teacher with the other eight kids in tow.

Mikey is autistic. Sounds - ordinary noises like the dishwasher, microwave beeps, ringing phones or static on the intercom - throw him for a loop. He bangs his head and screams because it hurts his sensitive ears. So, imagine what an unexpected fire alarm would do to him. We were justifiably worried when his care provider pulled up in the drop-off area. Luckily they waited in the car until it was over.

We returned to class to find two firemen and a security guard inside the room resetting the alarm. In order to do that, they made all kinds of racket including setting off the alarm again. And Mikey? He was calmly scanning the Sunday ads I had brought - apparently a favorite distraction for him... Miracles never cease! (Was it a coincidence that I had thought to pray for him that morning? "Please bless Mikey to be calm and help Bob and Stevie to have a good day." You just never know what to expect when you work in Life Skills. But, God knows and cares for his children - each and every one!)

In the meantime, I'm going to have words with those other aides... sick days shouldn't be allowed if the fire alarm is going to be tripped.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Oh, my aching ....cholesterol?"

Had a chuckle today. Our teenage son just started taking Accutane. We're hoping that it will help his acne. The treatment lasts six months. If..... you agree to sign your life away!

We did. He and I signed our initials every couple of lines agreeing that we had been told about the side effects. The agreement went on for pages. We were told in every way possible that there might be side effects to Accutane. Some of these include depression. Dry skin. Dry lips. Sunburn. Aches & joint pain. But, of course, since he's a guy he won't have the obvious side effect of birth defects to an unborn child.

They will be checking his blood cholesterol levels each month, too. They can get quite high. Which isn't really a problem since it's such a short treatment regime. But, they will put you on cholesterol-lowering drugs in certain situations. Was all this clear? Did we understand? We were registered with the manufacturers and given a bright yellow card which allows us to get this prescription. Whew! I'm not sure if a military background check is as intense!

But, we were excited. And Bud agreed to go for it, too. The nurse shared with us her own personal experience with Accutane: first month her acne was worse, she had dry lips, aches & pain for which she took ibuprofen, and she even had the high cholesterol. He heard that part loud and clear. He was worried, but we talked about it and discussed his worries over the next few days while we waited for the prescription registration to be finished. We prayed. Dad gave him a father's blessing.

After two doses, he loved that his acne was going down. Yea! But there was this lingering concern brewing..... Sunday, he told us he wasn't well. Things weren't right with him. What was up? "This medicine is making me sick. My cholesterol is going up."

"Yes, your cholesterol might go up. But it's only for a short while and that's okay. It will go back to normal when you stop the medicine."

"But the nurse's went up to 330! Mine could be really high. I'm not feeling very well."

Good grief.

"People die from it."

Who says information is good? This twisted tidbit was plain toxic!

"Listen, Bud, you can't feel high cholesterol. I promise you. You would never know if your cholesterol was high or low and yours was way low when they checked it."


"Bud, cholesterol is fat in the bloodstream. It coats your blood vessels. After years and years - fifty years maybe - your vessels start closing off. You might have a heart attack, then you might die. Honest. You don't feel cholesterol. Really."

It took some doing, but we finally convinced him. Oh, his aching cholesterol.......