Sunday, March 30, 2008

My friend L sent me this link to a very interesting podcast from NPR about changes in the genetic code in people with schizophrenia. I thought it was fascinating... Thanks L!

Friday, March 28, 2008

According to this test, I type 360 characters per minute, or 64 words a minute. Once I even did it with no errors. Another time I scored 69 words per minute (but had errors). Ha! So much for all those typing classes I flunked out of in high school. I just needed the right motivation...like blogging... to learn how to type. 

Unfortunately, although I type reasonably fast my brain seems to either be going faster than my fingers, or has checked out entirely. So sometimes I type "the" for "and" (no they are not interchangeable... I don't know why I do that!) or, as in my last post type "we" for "he". 

 Sigh.... I'm really not stupid (at least I don't think so!) I'm just sleep deprived. Months can go by without my getting a full (7-8 hours) nights sleep. Both M and R have sleep problems, but honestly... it's not just them. Even on the rare nights that they both sleep through, I'm so used to them waking me up that I wake up anyway! 

 I'm not complaining... really. I'm just explaining my sometimes strange use of words. (Yes, I know that "hear" refers to hearing sound, and "here" is where I am...that's another mistake I found not long ago while rereading one of my posts!) 

 Anyway, I just thought I'd better clear that up while I'm thinking about it... 

 Busy day yesterday... We toured one of the local TV stations with our homeschool group. It was a very cool field trip! I think I enjoyed the tour more than the kids did (and they did seem to really like it). They wouldn't let us take pictures during most of the tour, but they did let us take some in the main studio. M already thought he was a movie star because he was on the news after the basketball workshop with the Denver Nuggets. Now he's SURE he's a star!

 

 No pictures of R, I'm afraid... my only pictures of her at Channel 4 have other people's kids in them, so I can't post them. 

 Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to take R back into the pediatrician... She's started having headaches and dizzy spells again. At first I thought she was just dehydrated, she really doesn't drink enough water. But she's never been a kid to drink a lot of water, and she hasn't had problems with headaches and dizziness before... She's pretty stressed out about it. Not because of the headaches, but because she's afraid the doctor will say she needs to wait longer to ride Blaze. Luckily Blaze isn't ready to be ridden yet anyway. He's looking better though, he seems to be putting on weight and she keeps him brushed out and glossy. I noticed this morning that his backbone isn't sticking out as much as it used to, and he seems to have a little more padding on his hips. It's good to see him looking better... 

 I've been talking to the pdoc off and on for the past week or so. It appears that one of M's meds... one he's taken in the past with no problem... is now activating him. Things were difficult enough last week that I told the pdoc I'd agree to day treatment. I said we'd need a shortened day (due to the distance to the hospital, and the difficulties in driving through rush hour traffic with M) but she seemed open to that. I also told her I was going to start "undoing" the med changes we've been making. I've started increasing the haldol again and decreasing the seroquel. I expected her to disagree... maybe even threaten to quit over it. (She has been extremely concerned about the tardive dyskinesia and at one point said that the med changes HAD to happen.) But she agreed, which is kind of good news/bad news. It's good news because it's always nice to be agreed with, and have my opinion validated by someone who really knows what they are doing. It's bad news because that leaves us with the TD, and a definite lack of options. The pdoc leaves today for a week or so out of town, but we're going to talk more about treating/managing the TD, and about day treatment, when she gets back.

 Thankfully, M seems to be settling down just with the couple of med adjustments I've already made, so it may not be too long before we get him back to a place of relative stability... (which would be wonderful!!) 

 It's a cold blustery day here... a good day to make a nice pot of soup and stay home!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We had a lovely Easter. 

 Well... except for M getting up at 4 a.m. because he was so excited about getting his Easter basket. And except for having to follow M around constantly at Grandma and Grandpa's because there was so much food sitting out. All in all though, it was a nice day. Two of our older girls were home and it was fun to go to J's folk's house and visit with all his siblings, spouses, cousins, etc. 

 Holidays are hard though, even the nice ones. M tends to be a wildcard... Will he make it through the day without major problems? Even when he does, it's impossible to relax and enjoy the day... not knowing when something is going to set him off. I sat down this morning and figured out that it's almost 8 months exactly until Thanksgiving, the next major holiday (Fourth of July doesn't count). Even if you count Halloween as a major holiday, that still leaves me more than 7 holiday free months. 

 That made me pretty happy... I'm not a Scrooge (I don't think...) but getting M through holidays is just exhausting and I'm SO ready to be done for awhile. 

 Today was just a regular day and it was wonderful! R and I spent part of the morning out at the barn. Blaze is starting to really settle in... He's calming down, letting us touch him more, and is able to be let out in the pasture without running madly up and down the fence line. We had the farrier out this afternoon so Blaze's hooves are trimmed up nicely again too. Unfortunately he also needs his teeth floated... So Raul (our farrier) is coming back on Friday to do it. 

 After playing working in the barn we came back in the house and got school done. R was having a wonderful day and did an awesome job in school... even breezing through her math assessment! For some reason our school room is a popular place with the dogs when we're in there working. This is how it looked when R and I finished up school. We had to pick our way through the dogs to get out of the room!

 

 M did school next and then we headed back outside... It was just too nice to stay in! Poor Sweet Pea slept through us leaving for the front yard... When she woke up she found the door onto the deck open and wandered out looking for us.

 

 She could see us... but how to get down there?! (The deck is on the second floor... it's a long way down!)

 

 She finally found her way outside (with a little help from R)...

 

 ... where we were spending the late afternoon reading and enjoying the sunshine. 

After a quick pizza, and the after dinner entertainment of watching the farrier trim Blaze's hooves, we headed back inside for a game before bed. We love games and play at least one every night after dinner. Our newest favorite is Tangoes (based on the tangram puzzle pieces). R still uses our more simple tangram set, but M has been trying the more challenging Tangoes.

 

 So that was our day... nothing exciting, but in my opinion, that's the best kind!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

our horse tale..

We brought R's horse Blaze home Thursday night, and it took all day yesterday for me to recover! Blaze's previous owner only lives about 20 minutes away from us, but it ended up taking 6 hours to get him home... 

 The trouble started when R's old riding instructor, who was supposed to help us pick Blaze up and bring him home... forgot. And she didn't answer her phone when I tried to call to remind her... So we waited for her for over an hour, standing out in the driveway with Blaze on a lead rope, and M getting more antsy by the second. I finally gave up waiting, we put Blaze back into his stall and left to find H (riding instructor). Since she wasn't answering her phone we had to drive to her house (a 45 minute drive) only to find that she'd forgotten, couldn't move him right away (had to leave to run an errand), but could do it in about an hour. So we went home and grabbed a quick dinner, thinking we'd bring Blaze home as soon as we were done eating... 

 One hour later, I called H to ask where she was, and she was home and had the time to move Blaze... but couldn't get the lights on the horse trailer to work. She worked on the trailer for an hour (while R fell apart, and M just got edgier and more unsettled) but couldn't get it fixed. Finally I drove down the road to a kind neighbor and asked if she could help us... She was just getting home from work when I got there, but she pulled on a pair of jeans, threw some hay to her horses, and started hooking up her trailer. What a fantastic neighbor!! 

 By the time we got to where Blaze was, the sun was down so we had to load him in the dark. He walked into the trailer just fine, but then panicked and shot backwards out of the trailer (while my neighbor was screaming at everyone to get out of the way, and we were scattering... there's nothing like 1200 lbs of horse shooting backwards at you!!). 

He did that twice before she finally got him in and secured. We finally got him home around 9 p.m. We put him in with the goats, threw him some hay and collapsed into bed... 

 R spent most of yesterday outside with Blaze, and he seems to be settling in well... He likes the goats, is eating well, and seems less stressed today then he was yesterday. He's still pretty jumpy, but he let R groom him a little and he's not pacing and calling out as much.

 

 He's so thin for a couple of reasons... His previous owner just got back from being out of town for 6 weeks (her mother passed away) and the neighbor she'd hired to feed her horses wasn't feeding them regularly. It's also been a while since she wormed him. 

 Thanks for the suggestions about feed, etc. Here's what I'm doing (feel free to offer suggestions!). I'm feeding him just grass hay (feeding 3x a day right now), and starting to slowly supplement with a senior grain. Yesterday I just gave him a little grain in the morning, today I'll give a little both morning and evening, tomorrow I'll start increasing how much he gets. 

I bought a good dewormer and he'll get that today. (I pretty sure he's FULL of worms!) I'll have the farrier here in the next week or so, and have the vet come by soon for spring shots and a quick check up. Once Blaze is at a good weight I'll stop the grain and just keep him on hay... 

 Any other suggestions?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

horse shopping

Be sending good horsey thoughts our direction this morning please.... We're going to go look at another horse. 

 Unless his owner totally lied to me about him, I'm going to buy him. 

 I've been doing serious horse shopping for the past couple of weeks... Checking the ads on Craiglist twice a day, telling friends and neighbors that we are looking and asking them to keep their eyes open for us, I even contacted some local horse rescue organizations about adopting one of their horses. (Unfortunately most are not rideable... although I wish it would have worked out, I would love to give a good home to a horse who really needed it!) 

 Anyway, I found an "awesome" 12 year old quarterhorse gelding on craigslist and we are going to go look at him this morning. I'm a little stressed because I'm making the decision whether or not to buy him on my own... and I know virtually nothing about buying horses. So I called around asking for advice. R's old riding instructor told me to make sure he doesn't limp... *rolling eyes*... obviously she thinks I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed! My friend L said to look for "soft eyes". Hmmm... that's kind of a subjective thing but I'll try. 

Meg sent me this very helpful list of horse shopping terms: 

 Horse Classifieds GLOSSARY OF TERMS
 * Event Prospect: Big, fast horse
 * Dressage Prospect: Big, slow horse 
* Pleasure Prospect: Pretty color 
* Sporting Prospect: Short, fast horse
 * Barrel Prospect: Fast horse, which can turn 
* Endurance Prospect: Fast horse which will turn sometimes 
* Flashy: White sock 
* 15'2" hh: 14'3" hh 
* 16'2" hh: 15'3" hh 
* Big trot: Can't canter within a two-mile straightaway
 * Nicely Started: Longes, but we don't have enough insurance to ride him yet 
 * Bold: Runaway 
* Good Mover: Runaway 
* Athletic: Runaway 
* Quiet: Lame in both front legs
 * Dead Quiet: Lame in all four legs
 * Good in Traffic (Bombproof): Lame all around, deaf, and blind 
* Pony type: Small and hairy 
* Arab Type: Looks startled 
* Thoroughbred Type: Looks terrified 
* Quarter Horse Type: Fat 
* Easy to catch: Dead 
* Elegant: Thin 
* Black: Brown and/or dirty 
* Well-Mannered: Hasn't stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked anyone for a week
 * Professionally Trained: Hasn't stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked anyone for a month 
 * Clips, Hauls, Loads: Clippity Clippity is the sound his hooves make as he hauls butt across the parking lot when you try to load him. 
 * Should Mature 16 hands : Currently 14 hands, dam is 14'2, sire is 14'3, every horse in his pedigree back 18 generations is under 15 hands, but this horse will defy his DNA and grow. 
 * To Loving Home Only: Expensive 
* To Show Home Only: Very Expensive 
* To Good Home Only : Not really for sale unless you can 1) Pay twice what he is worth 2) are willing to sign a 10 page legal document allowing current owner to tuck in beddy-bye every night 
 * For Sale Due to lack of Time: Rider cannot afford to spend any more time in the hospital 
 * Any Vet Check Welcome: Please pay for us to find out what the !@#$ is wrong with him! 
 * Recently Vetted: Someone else found something really wrong with this horse. 
 * Must Sell: Spouse has left home and taken kids
 * All Offers Considered: I am in traction for 6 months
 Anybody else have advice for me?!

His name is Blaze

.....and R is in heaven, she has a horse of her own again! 

 He's a registered quarterhorse (which should make Granny happy!), and he's 12 years old. He's a little hard to catch, but once he's caught he's well mannered and even knows some "tricks" that Grant didn't know. (If you touch his leg and say "foot" he'll lift his hoof for cleaning, if you say "stretch" and tap behind his hoof with your foot he stretches his front legs out to lower himself so it's easier to get on!) R rode him and Blaze's owner was impressed by what a confident rider she is. R told me later she was pretty anxious, but just told herself she had to be brave! 

 I took a quick picture of him in the barn before we left...

 

 Yeah, he's thin... but it shouldn't be hard to get him back up to a good weight. The brand-inspector will be over there (at the seller's) tomorrow afternoon, as soon as he's done switching ownership over we can bring Blaze home. 

 Here's R on the way home from meeting Blaze...

 

 She kept asking me to pinch her so she'd know she wasn't dreaming...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

rant

Ok... I'm angry. There is nothing I can do with this anger except vent it out here, so I guess that's what I'll do. 

 Warning: This is another "therapeutic post" read and comment at your own risk. 

 So... seven month ago the pdoc notices that M has tardive dyskinesia. This is after being too busy to see him much for the past year or so. I'm upset that she didn't find it sooner, but realize that there is nothing to be done about it now. After screwing around for several months (too busy, again, to see M or make any decision about what to do) she (we) decide to cross taper the haldol (which is likely to be causing the TD) with seroquel. This comes only after I've tried unsuccessfully to taper the haldol without something else to take it's place, and only after discussion and a consult with another pdoc. Our pdoc didn't think we could safely add seroquel to what he's already taking, but Dr G (the consulting pdoc) said it should be fine. 

 We start the change by lowering the haldol .25 mg and increasing the seroquel 25 mg every week or so. I ask several times for a schedule to follow for the med changes but the pdoc doesn't give me one, saying I won't be doing the changes on my own, that she'll be following closely enough to walk me through each change. Although she never says, from past experience I'm guessing she's working towards a seroquel dose of 800 mg or so, which would make sense given the down .25 /up 25 mg schedule we've started. 

 True to form, the pdoc drops of out sight again... too busy to answer emails or, after the first panic of finding the TD, see M for appointments. But I keep adjusting the meds, inching down the haldol as I bring up the seroquel. I still haven't gotten a med schedule, but I think I know what we're doing... I keep her informed about every med adjustment, she knows exactly what I'm doing. When things get too rocky in terms of symptoms, she suggests inpatient stays (first, last and only option). 

Two months ago things got so tough that I asked if she was still confident that we could switch out the haldol for seroquel given the level of instability I was seeing, and explaining that I didn't want to put M through months of the kind of pain instability and disconnects bring, if there is little likelihood of being able to finish the changes. She doesn't answer except to suggest an inpatient stay. 

 I finally stop complaining or asking questions. 

 We're four months into this now. M is taking TOO many antipsychotic meds, his blood pressure is off, he can't think, and he's unstable... but we're almost halfway there. The seroquel's at 425 (target dose 800) the haldol at 5 mg (target dose 0). 

 The pdoc has been promising to email for three weeks, to finish our discussion about day treatment and set a time to see the kids. I finally emailed her asking if the blog I created as a way for her to keep track of M's symptoms, side effects, vital signs, etc. was helpful to her. She replied by saying there is one afternoon, two weeks from now, when she could see the kids. Oh... and we need to talk about the medication changes. Apparently she found an article that says that clozaril (M's main medication) increases seroquel levels, so our target dose for the seroquel is really only 450 mg! A dose we'll reach next week! Leaving another 5 months of haldol tapering with nothing to offset the decrease. She says she's hopeful that we can continue to lower the haldol until it's gone. 

 Is she crazy?! 

I think M is more connected then she is right now! I have no doubt but that she found that article, and the information about adding seroquel to clozaril, back when we first started these changes... but probably knew I'd be unlikely to agree to trying it knowing there was so little chance of success. So she just didn't tell me or answer my questions... She waited until we were so deep into this that there is no easy turning back, then dropped the news on me. 

 I am so sick of this whole thing... I thought I could trust her. We don't always agree, but I never thought she'd withhold information from me... So here I am, halfway through med changes that have turned our home and our family upside down, forced me to cancel a trip I'd looked forward to for months (probably costing me $600. because it's unlikely M will be stable enough to rebook within the allowed time period)... not to mention the effect on M of taking so many meds. 

 I'm angry and feeling manipulated, but can't get so angry with the pdoc that I burn my bridges, ending up with a child taking TOO MANY medications but having no one to follow him or write the next script. This is wrong... ... but there is nothing I can do about it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

picture post...

I've been posting a bunch of pictures lately, but none of the kids... I think it's time to rectify that! :) 

 We went on a field trip to Cici's pizza the other day, the kids got to tour the restaurant and make their own pizzas... It was a great field trip, although both kids were having some attitude issues! R started the morning pretty cranky...

 

 Check out that look.... not a happy girl!

 

 She eventually perked up. Nothing like a little pizza in the morning to make a person happy...

 

 We've also been working hard on our insect unit study. In addition to our Antworks ant farm, I bought a few crickets and some mealworms to observe and to use in our lessons. We've done several cool experiments from Janice Van Cleave's "Insects and Spiders" book... 

 We spend some time yesterday learning how insects make noise. Here's M demonstrating how expelling air can make sound....

 

 ... and R demonstrating stridulation.

 

 We used a sandwich bag (with air holes) to touch and observe one of our crickets...

 

 It was a very cool way to observe and "touch" the insect without having to really touch it (or chase it when it jumped away!).

 

 We learned about compound eyes and made our own compound eyes to look through..

.  

 Then we got out the mealworms (shudder, shudder) and talked about their life cycle and metamorphosis (something the kids are very familiar with because of all the butterflies we've raised). Things were going well until I almost dropped a mealworm on myself and jumped and screamed (just a little). It took R all of 2 seconds to leap out of her chair (which was next to mine) and end up here:

 

 After we stopped laughing, we tried to pick up where we'd left off... I was finally able to get one of the mealworms out of the container and out where we could observe, and even touch him!

 

 Yeah, R got brave and touched it too....

 

 I've got a few more experiments for next week, and we'll put our lapbooks together then too... 

 It's been a fun unit study, but I'm ready to move on... I'm getting tired of all the insects living on my kitchen counter

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yawn.... it's 6:15 a.m., but it feels like 5:15 and I'm tired and would like to go back to bed. It's taking me a long time to get used to the time change. I wish they would leave the clocks alone. 

 Things have continued to be up in the air in terms of M. The pdoc is still saying she's not comfortable with him being home, and thinks he should "at least" be in day treatment... but since she keeps dropping out of sight for days at a time it's hard for me to feel as though there is any urgency to the matter. 

 It's hard though when things are so uncertain... I woke up yesterday feeling very unsettled about the whole thing... I was angry at the pdoc and thinking about firing her, I was snapping at the kids (poor things... it wasn't their fault!) and just generally feeling angry and unhappy. Luckily for me the back yard was full of a whole winter's worth of dry leaves, pine needles and dog poop. (I say "luckily" only from the vantage point of today, yesterday it was just something else that was pushing my buttons!) M was resting and R was off playing somewhere, so I decided to go out and rake just the portion of the yard that I could see from the dining room window... the part that was really bugging me. (Yes, I am that lazy!) 

But as I raked I felt a lot better. I couldn't help but be distracted by the riot of birdsong all around me... the trees seemed overflowing with birds. Just day before yesterday we saw the first robin of the year, a sure sign that spring is near! I stopped raking to listen to the tap-tap-tapping of a woodpecker, then scanned the treetops until I found him... high up on the telephone pole, tapping out his love song to his mate. (I can appreciate woodpeckers again now that I live in a stucco house with stone chimneys and they are no longer trying to nest in the log walls!) 

I found a pretty piece of petrified wood that worked it's way to the top of the soil over the winter... and stuck it in my pocket.

 

 I noticed that my cilantro and chives are both starting to green up, and mentally planned my this year's kitchen garden and the hedgerow I'm going to plant along the east side of the yard.

 

 I was happy to see that my lilac is full of buds...

 

 I watched the horses next door playing... The feisty two year old nipping the older horses on the rump until they'd turn and play with him. Sometimes they would rear up playfully at each other, other times they would chase each other running full out across the pasture. I love the powerful sound of their hooves pounding the dirt as they run... and I wondered how amazing it would be to hear the pounding of hundreds of horse's hooves. 

 Before I knew it I'd raked half the back yard and completely filled one of our big dumpsters. I also felt a lot better... I went out again after school and raked the other half of the yard. There are still some snowy spots where I couldn't rake, but overall it looks great! (Well... as great as a yard that has never been landscaped, and is mostly prairie grass and weeds, can look!)  

 I don't know what's going to happen with M, but I'm feeling better... more settled about the situation. (No longer making plans to fire the pdoc!) 

The thought that kept coming to me as I raked was "just do the next thing". I guess that means to stop trying to see into the future or plan everything out, but to just do the next thing (hmmm... like raking the back yard?) and trust that things will work themselves out.

 **edited to add** This is too perfect... I'm signed up to get a short verse delivered into my inbox each day. This morning I was in a hurry and almost didn't take the time to open the message. I'm glad I did though.... Here's today's verse: Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I'm starting to feel as though I'm getting my feet back under me after the past week of stress and uncertainty. 

It feels good... 

 I still haven't heard from the pdoc, but enough time has gone by that, if she tries to insist on day treatment or an inpatient stay, I should be able to argue that if she thought things were bad enough to warrant more intensive treatment, it's a little strange that she waited a week to do anything about it. 

 M is still pretty unsettled... He's connected, but seems to have lost more ground cognitively. During school he's not able to do things he was able to do a few weeks ago, and overall he's just not doing as well as he was before we started the med changes. 

 The whole situation with M has been weighing on me pretty heavily... but it helps to keep busy. Our new school schedule is still working remarkably well, and we'll be starting a new unit study next week. The topic is insects. I bought one of the very cool Antworks ant farms and decided to build a unit study around it. 

 The Antworks came as just the plexiglas habitat filled with blue gel stuff (which is the food and water source), we dumped in the ants and look what they made...

Isn't it cool?!

 

 This latest crisis with M seems to have left me seeing things with new eyes... I think it must be a little like having a cancer scare, or other "near miss", and afterwards the world just looks so beautiful... The colors seem brighter and each minute seems like a gift. You remember to appreciate all the little things that usually get overlooked in the day to day bustle and busy-ness of life. 

 That's how I've been feeling lately, I've been appreciating the little things a lot and have been taking tons of pictures of things I probably wouldn't normally pay much attention to... 

 For example, I loved the way the last little dusting of snow highlighted the deer trail through the front pasture.

 

 ... and the way the mud boots look, lined up... only slightly snowy... on the front porch, patiently waiting for the snow to melt and the kids to slip them on, then head out in search of a nice sloppy mud puddle.

 

 I've been taking pictures of Quin, of course...



.... since he's always underfoot.

 I think he's got cabin fever, he's just been an intense little bundle of energy lately. LOL, maybe I need to buy him some sheep... to give him something to do! (Although, since he was a puppy mill dog, I'm guessing his herding instincts are probably buried under generations of poor breeding)

 

 He's still very cute though.... 

 I even took a picture of Sweet Pea watching me suspiciously... probably wondering if I was making plans to take back the ham bone I'd just given her.

 

 I don't think she trusts me... 

 Well.. enough goofy pictures. It's a beautiful day, clear but cool. It looks like a good day to get some outside work done.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

rambly post

Yesterday was a long day, I'm hoping today is a better one... 

 Yesterday started with me getting up and slogging through the snow to the barn at 1:30 in the morning with this horse:

 

 No... he's not even my horse. But he thinks he is.

 

 And if I don't want him eating my front yard down to the dirt and leaving me nice big stinky presents, or being hit by a car (probably killing someone in the process), then I have to do something with him when he's here. Chance has been escaping his pasture and visiting us for a long time... 

 Here he is two years ago in my front yard.  

 I really wish the neighbors would upgrade their fencing... 

 Yesterday ended with R and I walking Chance home, then M and I working out in the cold wind closing off the entrance to our big pasture. We blocked the opening into it with an extra cattle panel I had, wiring it between the garden and little pasture fences. It's not beautiful, but it should work. 

I can't keep Chance from getting out of his pasture, but I can keep him from eating mine. I'm afraid if he keeps going out there, he'll eat it down to the dirt.... and I'll have no wildflowers this spring! 

 Between taking care of Chance we got school done, and ran some errands in town. We met E and her kids for lunch, and M managed fairly well with the grandkids. He looked terrible though... zoned out, drooling, and it was almost impossible to understand him when he talked. 

It's hard to see him this way... I also spent a little time yesterday stalking deer...

 There's been a small herd of 12-15 mule deer hanging around the past few days... It's been wonderful to see them back. The blizzards of last winter were hard on the deer, and many of them didn't survive. They seem to be starting to come back though... 

 Here are a few pics from yesterday.  

 Isn't the blue of that sky just incredible? 

 It's snowing again today...

 

 ... we only have a couple of inches right now, but it looks like a good day to stay inside.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I'm still waiting....

.... to hear from the pdoc. 

 Sigh.... I hate being on pins and needles for so long. I'm not going to contact her though, I'm still hoping that if we are very, very, quiet she'll forget last week's threat and we can just keep going as we have been. 

 I did have a wonderful idea, one that might have helped smooth things over with her. I've started another blog as a way to keep her more in the loop of what's going on here. On my new blog, I've got M's vital signs (which I'm supposed to do every other day or so), a current medication schedule, daily schedule, and brief notes about each day (including blood draws and medication changes). It's actually pretty cool... if I do say so myself. 

 I thought it might reassure her to basically have access to my records whenever she would like, and might also give her a more accurate view of how things are going. Now that I've put the blog together though, I think I'd probably keep going with it even if she wasn't interested in keeping in touch that way, it's a good way for me to keep a little more organized with some of the medical stuff... 

 Let's see, what else is going on... We had "blizzard-like" conditions yesterday, after 70 degree weather on Saturday... We worked outside a lot on Saturday, shoveling manure, cleaning the barn, and spreading compost, and spent yesterday inside staying warm. The wind was ferocious yesterday, blowing so hard that it looked like it was snowing in the barn... The wind was pushing the snow through the tiny spaces around the screws that hold the siding of the barn to it's the framework of studs. We have a 2' drift across the trail to the barn... it's high enough that it took Quin a whole day to figure out how to jump through it so he could come with me to the barn.

 

 I didn't mind the storm though... I'd been feeling like I wasn't quite ready for winter to be over with... Spring is nice, and I'm looking forward to gardening, and being able to spend more time outside, but the snow is beautiful and I wouldn't mind a few more storms before spring finally takes over...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

roller coaster blues

If I was NOT me... not really dealing with the ups and downs of M's schizophrenia; if I was a person living "outside" his illness, I would have a hard time believing the ongoing drama his illness brings with it. 

 It's like the roller coaster of his schizophrenia never stops speeding along the track; it feels like we're on an endless ride with nothing to do but hang on during the inevitable twists and turns (and through the heart stopping hills!), while trying to quickly catch our breath during the all-too-short level stretches of track.

 

 I hate roller coasters... They make me feel sick and off balance.

 

 I hate the roller coaster of M's illness even more than I hate the real ones. But unfortunately, this ride seems to have no end... I can't look into the future and see a time when we can lift up the restraining bar and climb out of the car, then walk on shaky legs to get something cool to drink, and sit down together and laugh about how scary it all was.... before finally walking out to the car and driving through the cool of a summer evening back home to our predictable life.

 

 It would be easier if I could see the twists and turns and sudden drops of the track coming... but I can't. I guess it's a little like riding a roller coaster blindfolded.

 

 It's not a lot of fun. I'd like to get off and go home now...

 

 M is doing reasonably well right now (this minute). It's been a rough week though. We're still making med changes, and we're only about 1/3 of the way through them... and he's been unsettled. I left the kids for a couple of hours on Monday evening. It was a mistake on my part... I knew dh wasn't feeling well, but I'd had this mom's only night on the calendar for months and I so rarely leave for a few hours, I was sure things would be ok. And they were for awhile. But then M started struggling, and dh wasn't able to pull him back into reality, and M totally disconnected. Luckily M had the presence of mind to call me from his cell phone (he was too paranoid to leave his room to get the house phone) and I kept him on the phone... talking him through it... for the 30 minutes it took me to get home.

 

 It was a very long 30 minutes, listening to M cry and scream and trying to convince him that he was safe... that no one was coming to kill him. When I got home I was able to calm and reassure him, and he finally went to sleep. He was a little edgy the next day, but connected. 

 Unfortunately, now the pdoc is in a tizzy. She told me on Wednesday that she's no longer comfortable being his doc if we continue making the med changes outpatient. Yeah... that was her polite way of threatening to quit if we don't admit him. 

 

 I didn't sleep much Wednesday night... I wrote her a long letter instead, telling her that I was confused by her sudden decision to insist on hospitalization, explaining the reasons why I thought a lengthy hospitalization wouldn't be good for M, and offering a couple of compromises. Then the kids and I drove up to the Children's Hospital and dropped in on her... hand delivering the letter (and some pictures from the kids). She seemed happy to see us, and emailed later to say she'd read the letter and would respond soon. I'm still waiting for her response...

 

 You know... part of the reason I blog is to stay connected with family and friends who are far away. But part of the reason I blog is for therapy... it helps me to write things down sometimes, it's like I can let go of them a little once I've put them into words. 

 This is a "therapeutic" post. 

 Please don't comment that I should find another pdoc. I've already thought that option through and decided against it. We may be able to compromise with long term day treatment. M would be in an intensive outpatient setting all day, Mon. through Fri. but home at night and on weekends. I'd have to drive him up and back each day. I can't imagine spending the next few weeks (or months) driving to Children's hospital twice a day... Since I haven't heard back from the pdoc yet, I'm hoping that my letter, and seeing M, has calmed her down. We're laying low right now. (LOL... maybe if I'm very quiet she'll forget about us?!) I'm not sure what direction this coaster is going next, but a level stretch of track would be nice.