Friday, January 20, 2012

Qualified for Change

Last week I had the final of four meetings, evaluations, reports, etc. regarding transitioning Samuel from BabyNet (our state's early intervention program for kids birth-3 years) to Department of Special Needs.  Oh My Goodness, they will all be THREE next weekend!!!!!

We transitioned George as well, since he still received physical therapy, but as you can imagine, it was a much shorter conversation.  Actually, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I could summarize all four meetings about George and the specialists findings in the amount of time it took me just to tell Samuel's medical history - ha!

Long story short, Samuel qualifies for services (OT, PT, ST, etc.) and a special class... George does not... and of course Olivia wasn't in the mix because she graduated all therapies months ago, yea!  No big surprises there, the story is more about what comes next :)  Samuel's entire schedule is about to change.  AGH!  Since he came home, any time we weren't there, Samuel has been cared for almost entirely in our home by trained professionals.  For the last six months he has been attending a medical daycare twice per week.  Starting the Monday after he turns 3, Samuel will be going to a school (the special class I mentioned above) for three hours every morning five days per week, and then joining Olivia and George and their class in the afternoon.  Yes, I get teary every time I think about him being with his brother and sister!  We are so excited!

The special class I mentioned, not only is it local (no more four hours in the car twice per week!), but it is awesome.  I feel like I should write about it now, because like the school I love that we're about to leave, I've had some anxiety with the idea of change.  It's kind of ironic I have so many issues with change... me, who moved across the country hoping to find a job (I did :) ) and moved another time to a new state where I knew nobody.  Not that those qualify me as a risk-taker by any means, but I feel like they do show I'm up for new things, right?  :)  I know this anxiety about change is different because it's one of my babies, I get it.

Getting to be with George and Olivia and their class is just amazing for Samuel.  The school has been truly incredible and they really understand how great this will be, for everyone!  Samuel will have a shadow the first month, while we figure out if he needs that for the long term.  Besides that, he will be right there in the mix for lunch, nap, and afternoon play.  We have visited multiple times in the afternoon, and the other kids are so warm and welcoming of Samuel.  Hooray! 

Why the anxiety?  I've met the teams at the new schools multiple times and am completely comfortable and really like both of them.  Samuel will now never be more than 5 miles from me.  He is going into both of these new schools with full disclosure to both staffs... in other words, they know what they're getting themselves into :)  Samuel is a happy, funny, smart boy, who can hold his own.  So, why???

Truth be told, I'm sitting here trying to write down why... and either I just don't know, or I can't find the words.  Neither seem very like me, ha ha!  I'm sure part of it is that this will be the first time Samuel has been cared for outside of a medical facility or our home, I know that's part of it.  I know he is healthy enough, but it's still a very strange feeling to finally be sending him into the "real" world, a place where they don't have extra O2 sitting in the corner, and write medical notes about his every move, and gtubes aren't the norm, and know how to care for a trache... but wait, he doesn't have a trache anymore.  Maybe he IS ready  :)  I know he is!  And so do these teams of wonderful teachers and specialists.

I think another part must just be good old fashioned protective mama stuff.  I want things to go well, I want Samuel to be understood by his teachers, I want him to be encouraged to keep growing... I never want him to think he can't do something.  I want Samuel to have fun and learn and make friends... I want this to be the right decision.  That's a big one, the right decision.  I struggle a lot with knowing what the right decisions are, when truth be told, I know there is no one answer because every child is different.  That doesn't help much, ha ha!  I love my boy and I want the best. 

I know this change is good, but saying goodbye to good things is difficult.  We're not leaving our old caregivers because they weren't a good fit for Samuel, they have been amazing.  We're making changes because this is the next step in the great adventure.  The last six months have been full of growth and development, and I can't wait to see what the next six hold!

Bye Bye school!  
We won't miss the long drives to get there, but we will miss the people.  What a wonderful team of nurses, therapists, and caregivers!  Samuel will also miss his best buddy... his first friend :)  The last four days he was there, Samuel spent a little too much time walking around and saying Cabell's name!  I know they're only 3 (almost), but I hope they're friends for life.

Bye bye Sherry, see you Monday!
Well, actually...

... what do you mean you aren't here Monday?  Are you going on vacation? 

Sherry has been Samuel's home nurse since March, 2011, and we are so thankful for her!  Part of me is glad Samuel doesn't understand, because I know he would be tearing up right along with me.  Goodbye is so tough, especially when you see someone who not only takes care of your child, but really cares for them.  It's been a crazy last couple years, and we have been so blessed to find two women who were each willing and able to be full-time with Samuel... Stefanie for the first 11 months, and Sherry for the last 11.  The care for him has been seamless!  And, they have both loved my boy :)

Thankfully, the last 11 months have been less medically involved than the first 11 months Samuel was home, mostly due to no trache :)  But, nothing has slowed down... we've still caught scary sicknesses, we averaged 6-7 therapies per week, there were numerous follow up phone calls and appointments, coordination of home medical supplies, etc.  And of course DB still a full-time teacher and me working part time.  I don't know how we would have ever managed the last 11 months and provided Samuel with everything he needs without Sherry!  And beyond that, as I mentioned before, it has been so much more than just care-giving... my boy has been with someone who cares for his future and works with him on everything.  Yes, we are incredibly blessed!

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