About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Limping Disaster

Robby is in the final stage of Dengue Fever which is reminiscent of the beginning of the illness. He has a high temperature, is uncomfortable and complaining of his bones aching, and is extremely tired. My heart aches seeing him suffer; I'm so glad that this illness is coming to an end. The doctors assure us that, barring any complications, my sweet little boy should slowly start reemerging over the weekend. I can't wait until I am woken up in the morning by my smiling little guy, begging for cartoons and waffles.

It is not an exaggeration when I say that I have have only been sleeping a few hours at night. I am constantly awake, monitoring Robby's temperature and fretting about his health. For Christmas this year I only want two things: Robby to be healthy and a solid, undisturbed night's sleep. My sleepless state has been having profound effects on everything that I do throughout the day. To put it simply, I've become stupid.

Yesterday I attempted to do some laundry. I loaded the dryer with a basket full of clothes, set the temperature to high and turned on the machine. An hour later, proud that I had been at least quasi-productive, I went to retrieve the clothes. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to wash the clothes. I managed to dry my dirty laundry, thoroughly setting in all of the stains!

I broke my favorite mug by dropping it on the kitchen floor. I didn't knock it off the counter nor did I lose my balance. I heard the phone ring and rather than put my mug down on the table or carry it with me to pick up the receiver, I simply opened my hand and let gravity take over. On the plus side, I had forgotten to put the coffee into the mug, so I only spilled the creamer and sugar (which I was about to drink before I became distracted.)

I heard Robby calling for me while I was cleaning up the shards of my favorite mug. I grabbed a handful of nuts out of the bowl on my counter and went back to tend to him. It was only after I thoroughly chewed- and swallowed- did I realize that I wasn't eating nuts. I was eating cat food. My nuts were in the bowl on the floor next to the water fountain and the cat food was on the counter.

My mistake riddled day continued with my substituting tooth paste for hand cream, unloading the dishwasher only to realize that the dishes were still dirty and using four envelopes to send a simple letter because I couldn't write down the address correctly. By the time Scott came home I had waved the white surrender flag and had abandoned all hopes of housework for the day. I have evolved into a limping, sleepless disaster!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dengue Expert

Robby has officially entered stage 2 of Dengue Fever. His temperature has been hovering between 101 and 102 degrees. This is a welcome relief from the 104- 105 degree temperatures that he has been registering since Sunday. Yesterday he spent the majority of the day in our living room instead of his bed, and he even quietly played with his Legos for a little while!

It was wonderful seeing glimmers of my healthy little boy. Unfortunately, I know that this reprieve is short lived. Dengue Fever consists of three distinct stages each with predictable hallmarks. In the next day or two as we enter stage 3, his fever will inevitably rise as Dengue rages its final assault. On the positive side, when the fever of stage 3 breaks, we begin the best stage- recovery. 

I have learned so much about Dengue Fever during the past week that I have become a walking (okay, hobbling) encyclopedia on the topic. I'm fairly confident that since the weekend, Scott and I have not had any conversations that do not revolve around Robby's illness . Taking care of him and trying to absorb as much information as possible has been all-consuming. (I'm sure that my readers will be happy when Robby has recovered just so they don't have to keep reading about it!)

Yesterday I made a concerted effort to be happy and Christmas-y, and changed into my favorite holiday sweatshirt and matching Santa pants. I listened to Christmas music and even managed to bake a batch of sugar cookies while Robby was napping. I really tried, but my attempt at lifting my spirits was a failure. By 11:00 A.M. I had turned off the music, changed into fresh pajamas, eaten at least a dozen cookies and curled up to watch seemingly endless episodes of Tom and Jerry with Robby. I won't be able to be happy until I know that Robby is out of the woods.

Hopefully in a few days I'll be able to move forward with the other aspects of my life. Right now, my focus is myopic. It is all Dengue- all the time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Bad Mood Blog

Right now I am struggling with exhaustion, depression, guilt, and anger. None of these emotions are conducive to fostering the holiday spirit. Typically our house is bustling with activity and anticipation this time of year. We are now less than two weeks from Christmas and, to be quite honest, I really don't care anymore.

Nursing Robby through Dengue Fever has taken highest priority. I haven't baked any cookies, hung any decorations or wrapped a single present since we returned from the cruise. Seeing him in this weakened state is utterly heartbreaking.  While intellectually I know that there is nothing else I can do, my inability to "fix" this for him makes me feel like a maternal failure.

I continue to struggle with the pain in my legs and my impaired mobility. Each step hurts and has become a constant reminder of my fall and my limitations. Robby wants me to carry him but I can't because of the pain. I find this situation infuriating!

Thankfully, yesterday we received a glimmer of good news. Robby's blood work came back and revealed that of the four possible strains, Robby has the least detrimental. Of course I would prefer he didn't have it at all, but I'm holding onto the promise that his is the least dangerous. In a few days the critical period will be over, and he will begin the slow recovery process.

I apologize for not being more optimistic and upbeat, but right now I'm miserable. My legs hurt and my little boy is extremely ill with a weird tropical disease. I'm worried about him, feel guilty that he is sick, sleep deprived  and frustrated that the ramifications from a fall two weeks ago continue to haunt me.  It is no fun being an amputee mommy at the moment!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dengue Fever

If all feelings of relaxation and rejuvenation were squelched during our travel debacle on Saturday, yesterday they were absolutely obliterated. I am now more fatigued, more stressed and more anxious than I was before the cruise. I suspect I've aged at least a decade in the past 48 hours.

We thought Robby was fighting a double ear infection. Of course it was painful and he was ill, but we were confident that after some antibiotics, Christmas shaped macaroni and cheese, and a lot of TLC he would return to his normal and active self. Despite the medication, he continued to decline.

By the time the sun rose yesterday, I knew that something was dreadfully wrong. Robby was limp, pale and disoriented. His fever was spiking so high he had febrile seizures. He was so light sensitive that he begged me to turn off the Christmas tree because it was "burning his eyes." He was coughing, shaking and becoming weaker by the moment.

His pediatrician did a lot of research and consulted with experts in Tropical Diseases at Children's Hospital in Washington DC. She discovered that Haiti, the island that we visited just a few days ago, has been experiencing an outbreak of Dengue Fever. To our dismay, the timeline and all of the symptoms mirror this illness.  We were on Haiti for a mere six hours, yet it was apparently long enough for an infected mosquito to bite Robby on the ankle and give him this horrible disease. He received the official diagnosis of Dengue Fever, in addition to a double ear infection, yesterday evening. 

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to treat Robby's affliction. We have to try to keep him comfortable (not easy when his fever rises to nearly 105 degrees) and hydrated. If he has difficulty drinking or if the febrile seizures increase in frequency, he will be hospitalized. The illness lasts for approximately a week and consists of various stages, none of them pleasant.

I feel helpless seeing him so ill and not being able to fix him. He has never been this weak, and I'm scared. I'm terrified to leave his side, even to use the bathroom for fear of his falling, seizing or needing me for any reason. It has been a long 36 hours!

I also find myself feeling extraordinarily angry that he became ill during what was supposed to be a wonderful family adventure. I know that it is completely illogical and will have no benefit, but I want to shake my fists at the universe and scream, "This isn't fair!" One little mosquito bite on his ankle has created a tidal wave of frustration, fear and heartache.

There is nobody to blame so, typical to a mom mentality, I am blaming myself. If I hadn't insisted that we do something educational during our time on the island, we never would have toured the fishing village where the mosquitoes were lurking. I should have just let the boys play on the beach all day! My brain knows that I shouldn't beat myself up, but my heart can't stop assuming the blame. 

Today will be spent curled up in bed with Robby trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. I can do so little to help him right now and it is tearing me apart. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make him all better. Since that isn't going to happen, I'll continue to stay next to him and try to reduce the symptoms. It's hard to accept, but there is nothing else I can do right now.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Homeward Bound

There is nothing like an airport fiasco to seemingly erase all of the rest and rejuvenation that was gained while on vacation. We had a wonderful time on the cruise, but the trip home was wrought with snafus. What should have been a simple flight resulted in over 10 hours sitting in an airport terminal, on the floor, unsure if we were going to make it home at all. All of the stress that had slowly evaporated in the warm sun resurfaced through the experience.

Hobbling into the airport terminal on crutches and in considerable pain, I was eager simply to sit down and to wait for our plane to be called. Unfortunately the terminal was crowded, and all of the seats were taken. This is not the first time I have been in this situation, yet every time it happens I am shocked and disheartened. Despite my obvious mobility impairment, not one able bodied individual stood to offer me his seat! Perhaps most surprising were the children who remained seated next to their parents. Without doubt, I know that it would only take one look and a slight nudge for Robby to stand up and forfeit his seat.

Desperate to get off of my feet, I ended up sitting on the floor, under the charging station. I didn't realize that I would take up residency in this spot for the next ten hours. Between flight delays and mechanical malfunctions, we didn't leave Florida until nearly midnight. Coupled with the long drive from the airport, we didn't arrive home until nearly 4:00 Sunday morning.

Robby never complained about the painfully long wait in the airport.  He simply sat under the table with me, watching videos and playing his DS. I was delighted and surprised by how accepting he was about the situation. I had anticipated hours of endless whining and destructive boredom that never came. The only whining that was heard originated from Scott who does not embrace travel delays gracefully!

I was proud of Robby for remaining so well-behaved during the long travel day. However, it turns out that his quiet and accepting demeanor may not have been the result of good parenting but rather a symptom of another issue. He woke up Sunday morning with a high fever, a cough and complaining of a headache. In retrospect, he was probably not feeling well enough at the airport to be active and bored. 

** On a side note, I have uploaded our cruise pictures.  Visit www.dropshots.com/schenoweth  to check them out.  Feel free to leave comments... **