icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: August 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009


I've homeschooled the kids for 10 years now, since Nick was starting 2nd grade. The only exception was that Alyssa wanted to go to kindergarten, and she did. I won't say it has always been easy, but I wouldn't do it any other way. I can't imagine my kids away from me all day for most of their childhood. We've gone through many different curriculum changes, with most of our years of homeschooling being an eclectic mix of different curriculums. Then, once Nicholas started High School, I realized it was important to us that the kids get a diploma. So, we signed Nick up for Abeka Academy, which was an accredited distance high school. He did that program for a year, and it was really hard on both of us. Then, we heard that Utah was starting their own online program you could get a diploma from, using the K12 curriculum. We started that program last year, and have been pleased. My only complaint would be that it is secular, and I would have preferred something with a religious/Christian theme to it.

This year Nick is in 12th grade. Assuming he finishes his six credits for the year, that put him two credits short. So, he is also doing two credits through Electronic High School online. So, he has a full plate. Alyssa is in her first year of High School through UTVA. She did it last year as well, but the High school program is quite different than the K-8 program. In the High School program, they have a different teacher for each subject, and classes they attend online weekly.

Here is my problem. Chad is in 1st grade and I sent him to public school. This has been eating away at me. We have multiple reasons for Chad being in public school (he also went to Kindergarten, but for some reason that 2 1/2 hours a day did not bother me as much). We have always said that we would evaluate each child and each school year individually and meet those needs, even if it meant public school. First, Chad is so much younger than his siblings, he has no one in the family to play with-Nick and Alyssa had each other. Secondly, my health is not as good as it was with Nick and Alyssa at that age. When they were Chad's age and I was homeschooling them, I was very active in the local homeschool groups and we did co-ops, field trips, outside classes, etc. I don't think I could do half as much with Chad. Thirdly, homeschooling Nick (even with it being an independent program and officially I'm not the teacher) is a big undertaking. He is very off-task, distracted, will not do his assignments, and is very argumentative. Much of this has to do with his medical conditions, and of course some is just being a teenage boy. BUT Chad is a VERY active boy, and with Nick needing to get more than the normal six credits done this year, I feel I need to focus on getting Nick graduated before I can really focus on schooling Chad. Even then, I wonder if homeschooling will be right for him.

In the meantime, I feel awful with Chad gone all day. It just does not feel right, and it bothers me so much. But then there are days when I get so much done while he is gone, that feels great too. Also, when I am having a bad health day or flare-up, it is so much better on my body to be able to take my medicine and go back to bed in the morning after getting Chad off to school. This week was the first week of High School, and I realize it would have been much more stressful with Chad at home. I guess what it comes down to is that I have homeschooled for so long, and have always had my kids home with me, it feels not right for one of my kids to be in public school, almost as if he is not as 'important' to me as the older two, and with him being the adopted one as well, I don't ever want him to think that way. We are doing what we feel is best for him, and he absolutely adores school and his teacher. These early elementary years I really don't worry about the things that bother me about public school-those things mostly happen in later elementary and middle school, when other kids are mean and self-esteem can be so low. Unless my health is really poor by then, I hope to homeschool him in the next few years, but I will try to be true to doing what is best for each child, each year. I must say I am already looking forward to his month of being off-track in October!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sleep study part 2

My last sleep study post I was waiting to go back for the follow-up night at the lab to find the right setting, so I could get my machine. I thought it would be simple. Turns out it wasn't-not a surprise in my life with this body of mine!! The second night at the lab was awful-the tech. had trouble getting my leads attached to my skull, and I did not do well with the apnea airflow being pushed into my nose. It is the strangest sensation-a force of air going in your nose, and if you open your mouth the air rushes out. It's hard to talk too. At first when I felt the sensation of the mouth air, I started laughing and couldn't stop. That didn't go over too well with the tech. Geez, get a sense of humor.

So, after getting my giggling under control, I had the worst time sleeping. It was awful, and I thought there was no way I'd be able to do this night after night at home. About a week later, the doctor called to tell me that something interesting happened during that second night. Surprise, surprise. Anyone who knows my health history is NOT surprised. So, originally they said I have the most common type of apnea, obstructive. This is most likely due to the fact that my windpipe and esophagus were damaged during one of my surgeries, and they don't seal right or something (don't know the technical term). So, all you should have to do is force the air in the airway. Well, when they used the cpap machine on me that night, I still had times that I stopped breathing (which shouldn't have happened on the machine), but after those episodes I would over-compensate and go into a central apnea episode. Central apnea is a less common, more serious condition where your brain is sending the signal to not breathe. So. What next? The doctor ordered a smart bipap machine, which monitors your breathing and adjusts the airflow to what you need. This would hopefully stop the central apnea episodes and help with the obstructive apnea. It also has a computer card so after it has been a month, the doctor can download it and see if I had any apnea episodes and what airflow levels I was on.

So, I got my machine. It's pretty cool-it even has a humidifier so my nose doesn't get dried out from all that air. A rep came out and set it all up for me, fitted my mask, and showed me what to do. I was amazed at how quiet the machine is-you honestly do not hear a thing, at all. The first night was rough getting to sleep, but I woke up so wide awake and refreshed! It felt like a miracle, and I was so excited that this would be the rest of my life-I would have energy! Well, it has been almost a month now and I think it has helped my energy, but not as much as that first night. I've had some immune system flares so that hasn't helped much. All in all, I'm happy with it. I don't always last all night with it on-generally my max is until about 5 a.m when the dog needs out. I'm anxious to hear what the doctor has to say about if I've had any apnea episodes. I need to call and find out what I need to do to get the info. downloaded to him. I did get a great book from the library that I would recommend to anyone investigating sleep apnea. It is 'Snoring and Sleep Apnea' by Ralph Pascualy, MD. I'm going to buy my own copy even, it has lots of great resources. I've also been pleased with the company that supplied the cpap machine-they have called to check on how it is going,encouraged me to hang in there, and even sent me a smaller mask when I mentioned the fit of mine. It's always great(and rare these days) to get good customer service.

Swine Flu part 2 (originally H1N1 fun)

So, our H1N1 saga did continue. Alyssa completely recovered from her H1N1 and subsequent infection, though it took a lot out of her. A couple weeks after she recovered, Chad got it!! Of course this was at the start of swim lessons, and he was having allergy issues anyway, but the chlorine seems to make him cough the first few days he is in the pool. So I didn't take him to the Dr. right away, thinking it was allergy/asthma related. Once I took him in (about 4-5 days after onset), it was too late for Tamiflu. So he was on his regular nebulizer regimen, which helped but didn't get rid of it, and we ended up back at the doctor's the next week to get a steroid prescription. That finally got rid of it. He had a few high fevers that got us really nervous, but he did really well while he was sick and confined to the house. I got on Tamiflu AGAIN. So, after school ended it was one child after another, and by the time all three kids were through this *crap*, it was just a few weeks until Chad started 1st grade (year-round here). So, no camping trips or quick trips to nearby fun spots. Oh well. Maybe in October when Chad is on track break. Since the high school kids are homeschooled we can do things like that (if it isn't too cold then!)

So, that is (hopefully) the end of our Swine Flu saga. I'm hoping the kids have an immunity to it if it breaks out again in the Fall!