Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Warning: Excessive Posting Occurring In this Jurisdiction

Yes, I admit it: two posts in a day is a tad excessive. Especially since I went, um, nine months between my first and second posts. But I'm enjoying this! (Hard to tell, right?)

Still haven't figured out the picture downloading stuff, and I don't dare try without supervision of technical wonderboy, B. It drives him nuts that I can't remember how to do this stuff after he shows me once. Good thing I'm around to keep him humble.

Anyway, after my two paragraph non-introduction to this post, let me tell you what I was going to tell you. (Drumroll please.....) I had my first call from the school nurse this year. About S.

Perhaps more explanation is necessary for anyone reading this who doesn't know us well. S's heart functions because of a prosthetic mitral valve that was implanted when she was a baby. (Actually, she's on her second prosthetic valve, the first was replaced last December.) The prosthetic valve functions because S takes a blood thinning medication, coumadin, that prevents blood clots from forming around it. Our blood is designed to clot around foreign objects, but in the case of a heart valve, you don't want a clot to form. So coumadin helps make S's blood extra thin. It also makes our lives very interesting.

Coumadin is notoriously hard to regulate. Many, many factors can change the way it works in the body. So we do regular blood work--usually at home, with our own machine--and I've learned to do the dosing depending on her numbers. S's numbers are all over, mainly because coumadin wasn't designed for children. But it is our only option, so we deal.

Coumadin can also be dangerous. When your blood isn't supposed to clot around an artificial heart valve, it doesn't do such a good job of clotting anyplace else, either. People who take coumadin are at an increased risk for bruising, bleeding, and (worst case) hemorrhage. This means that small injuries could have really, really bad outcomes if we are not completely on the ball. A bump to the head, for instance, could result in brain hemorrhage. Bloody noses can last, literally, for hours. Routine outpatient surgeries turn into multiple week hospitalizations. And minor accidents can cause bruising like this:

That is a picture of S, a week after she pulled a chair over that bumped her in--obviously--the eye. You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you that this occurred in the month of January, and in April of that same year my sis-in-law had to do some creative photoshopping to the SAME bruise so it wouldn't join us in the family portrait.

Above bruise was particularly nasty. We have been very, very blessed that our very active and fearless S has not had many other accidents like that one.

So, back to the school nurse. Imagine what it was like to face sending S to kindergarten this fall. I had been dreading the start of public school for well over two years. I was a little freaked about preschool, last year, but I had lots of confidence in the preschool I picked. The teachers were absolutely wonderful, and she only had eight children in her class. But kindergarten was a different story. Also a longer story. For the sake of brevity, let me just provide you with the barest details: principal resigned shortly before school started, school board thought they might save money by not hiring a replacement, decided to cut a kindergarten class, S was going to be in a class of 27 originally, board rethought previous decisions under pressure and hired a new principal and additional kindergarten teacher two days before school started!!!!!

Hey, I just looked at the clock. It is time to shut down the computer and have some Quality Time with my favorite (and only!) husband. This entry will be continued.......

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