CindyFrench-stranger than fiction stories

about facing life with hope and confidence, no matter the diagnosis

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Some Major Obstacles

Posted by Cindy H French on 10/24/2009

One of our challenges in our first house in Atlanta was a small deck and lot’s of pine trees. My husband was such a great handy man-do it yourselfer-before the HGTV stuff!

We had a big back yard and wanted a puppy for the kids and so he rented an auger-a posthole digger and proceeded to put a fence in. It was very physically taxing. I could only help with offers of water or food or occasionally moving stuff, but he did all the work. Then he proceeded to take down “extra” pine trees. He had a pulley with a chain, along with his other tools and he took down a bunch. One day while he was working outside, my daughter came rushing up and and told me to come to Dennis right away.  The pulley had broken and the cable had snapped back on his leg and torn it. He had a towel wrapped around it and was very calm, telling me I needed to take him to the ER. That was Dennis-still is-very calm when emergencies are happening! We went to the ER down the street and they cleaned him, stitched him up and gave him antibiotics. He was doing well, I thought, when a few mornings later, I saw red streaks running down his leg and I knew that meant blood poisoning. Back we went to the ER and got more meds. Again, Dennis was a lot calmer and less concerned than I was but he healed and was good to go! The next thing I knew, he was building onto our existing deck and expanding it all across the back of our house. It and he were amazing! We celebrated Laurel’s sixth birthday with all her friends on that deck. It was a lovely party because of him.

One of the hardest things we dealt with as parents was Laurel’s difficulties in school. She simply couldn’t stay in her seat! Yet she read National Geographic magazines-in the first grade! She also had a bladder problem. Her teacher suggested we take her to the pediatrician and find out what was going on. And so began our odessey to take care of Laurel…

We were referred to two doctors. The first was a pediatric neurologist. She did some testing with Laurel. After the first session, she called us and said that although there was more to do and she’d also give a written report, Laurel needed immediate help and she didn’t want to wait to give it. She ordered Ritalin for ADHD and also suggested we see a pediatric urologist. This was long before all the ADHD diagnosis’ or the use of Ritalin, but it did make an immediate impact on Laurel’s behavior and her ability to concentrate. The Ritalin also helped a bit with her bladder problems. Her brain and her body didn’t get the signals right that she had a need to go to the bathroom. With the urologist, we found out that she had a bladder the size of a pea. He operated, stretching out the bladder, which also helped, but didn’t eliminate the problem, especially at night. I must admit, this was not my finest moment as a mother! I should have found other solutions for her other than our daily unhappy, change the sheets sessions. Still with the medicine, Laurel improved greatly in school-she was/is quite intelligent and soon was bored with her studies. They put her in higher level learning classes and the education was great, but she was much too young and immature for her classmates. She was not a happy little girl…unless she was reading. She loved to read and read everything she could get her hands on! Then she’d tell you about whatever she had learned. We were always being amazed. Our only other issue with Laurel was her singing! The first time she sang, we all came running, thinking she was hurt or something. Of course, that wasn’t funny to her, but we admonished her after the 3rd or 4th time that she had to come tell us when she was going to sing. And she would! Wherever we were, whatever we were doing, she’d come and say “I’m going to sing now” and off she would go. Laurel still loves to sing!

Finally that last year in Atlanta, I changed my office hours to be home with the girls in the afternoon. I hoped that my being there would help with Laurel’s happiness and behavior. I have to admit, I was still too consumed with my responsibilities with work and spent a great deal of time on the phone instead of them…one of those things I’d definitely do over.


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