Sunday, March 29, 2009

Whoop! Whoop!

I forgot to mention that due to some crazy mixed blessing, Ben was able to be home with us for a very long, luxurious extended weekend. (Which, due to the blizzard, was another blessing in and of itself. I'm glad that I didn't have to worry about him commuting home from work in near white-out conditions, going at a snail's pace and arriving home 5 hours after leaving the office.) On the afternoon of March 25th, Ben got a lovely email from the higher-ups at his job downtown that a co-worker had tested positive for whooping cough. When I first heard, I wasn't all that alarmed since it's a big bank, lots of floors, lots of people. But when Ben came home and told me that he had worked on this lady's computer and noticed that she was "hacking up a storm" and that he suggested that she go home, I knew we were in for some potential trouble. Not to mention that Ben wasn't feeling all that well and was starting to cough--not good signs. He immediately called our D.O. and got an appointment for the following afternoon. Our faithful doctor noticed that Ben was presenting classic whooping cough symptoms and decided to be proactive, not waiting for the test results--which can take up to a week--and started Ben on a antibiotic regime as well as giving him the Dtap vaccine. Of course, being that he was probably contagious, Ben was told not to report to work until Monday. Thankfully, other than a few bouts of coughing and a low-grade fever, Ben has been his normal self and has been able to enjoy having this lazy weekend with the family. It's been a long time since we've had him home for this long of a stretch and it's been really nice. I'm sure that he has appreciated the 8 hours of sleep a night too, a drastic improvement from the *maybe* 3 1/2 hours that he tries to survive on (Did I mention that my husband is my hero?). We spent lots of quality time together, doing nothing specific, just enjoying each other. I can't put it into words, how nice it was. We felt like a normal family for a few, rare & VERY special days.
That all ends tonight as Ben prepares to start his work-week again and we return to the normal routine around here albeit no school for Caitlin due to Spring Break. I am always bittersweet come Sunday nights, but today, I am even more so. I'm going to really miss my husband. Okay, I think I'd better go grab some tissues and cop a hug from the big guy.

**Edited to add: The girls & I are symptom free so far. I'm praying that we're good to go!**

Blizzard? I'll just call it a storm.

**That is a 12" ruler stuck in the snow. I could've pushed it down more but didn't want to get wet feet as I just went out in shoes, not boots.**

**This is the wind whipping up a mini tornado on the roof. At times, we had wind gusts of over 40 MPH!**

We got hit with a pretty powerful spring storm on Thursday. In 24 hours we went from 50+ degrees and sunny to high temperatures in the teens and some wicked wind. Much of the Front Range (and in Wyoming & the Dakotas) was under a blizzard warning as visibility slipped to less than a mile. Pile-ups were a common occurrence on both interstates and surface streets alike while the Department of Transportation set up shelters and closed roads. We had snow days (a rarity here, we had school when the HIGH temperature was -35!) Thursdays & Friday and didn't step from the house except to take out the trash and dig out Ben's car from a drift. After all was said and done, we had over a foot of snow! The girls braved the wind, briefly, to go out and play--throwing snow balls and making angels. Otherwise, we stay inside, snuggled under blankets, played board games, watched movies and just enjoyed being a family.

Spatula Baseball--didn't you know it's all the rage?!

Today, the remnants of this storm are few...dirty piles moved by snow plows, fresh snow sheltered from the sun under trees or in the shade, and the river formerly known as our parking lot. Our high today, a typical 64 degrees.
What can I say except that, that's Colorado for you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Anchor Center Evaluation

Today was Cara's much-anticipated vision evaluation by a therapist from the Anchor Center. The assessment included engaging Cara in some close-range visual activities, a quick vision test and then asking me some questions. Cathy, the therapist, wanted to do an acuteness test on Cara but because Cara's matching and recognition skills are not refined, this would not be possible, at least not in the home setting.

Cathy concluded based upon observation (there were specific things that she was watching for) that Cara most likely will qualify for the services offered at the Anchor Center. Cara has (ny)stagmus, a neurological condition in which her vision is impaired--this could have been caused by Cara's hydrocephalus when pressure in her brain was compressing the optic nerves. The therapist used a great analogy to explain this condition to me--imagine that your eye is like an old-school 35mm camera, where you have to adjust the focus for every picture. Every time a subject moves, you have to readjust the focus and everything. This is what Cara's eye is doing. One of the things that Cathy observed in Cara is that she seems to favor her left eye, the eye without the (ny)stagmus. Cara will place toys on her left side or she will tilt her head which slows the (ny)stagmus. Because of the existence of this condition, her left eye has to work very hard to focus, leading to the strabismus, which we've known about for awhile, and also explains why Cara goes cross-eyed a lot.

Cathy also said that sometimes, children with these conditions tend to have eyes that tire easily from all of the strain. This explains why Cara takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes after she's been playing intensely. To say the least, this visit was very informative.

Since Cathy believes that Cara qualifies for vision services, she recommended that we come to the Anchor Center in April to try out their toddler group therapy. The group meets twice a week for a little over an hour. Various teachers are on hand to work with the children. They have circle time, a snack and fun activities like an obstacle course--all designed to help children with various vision issues. I am so excited to take Cara and see if this is something she could benefit from. Being in a group setting will also allow the therapists to get a better idea of her vision impairment since she will be in unfamiliar surroundings and will not be able to anticipate or predict things like she can here at home.

Cathy is also recommending that a vision teacher be present at Cara's IEP evaluation with the school district in April. If the vision teacher also agrees that Cara has an impairment, she will qualify for continuing vision therapy as part of her IEP. If that is the case, Anchor Center has a preschool program that may be an option for Cara. We will have to wait and see what the outcome of this IEP evaluation is. As you can guess, this is going to be a very big day for Cara!

For right now, I am just excited to try out the toddler program. I'm hoping that Cara will love it and also benefit from it. It sounds like a great program!


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