Wednesday, November 7, 2012

3 months...almost!

Some of you may be wondering how I am liking my new job...  Well, I am here to tell you that I love it!  Sure, there are days when you just want to crawl back into bed and not face the world, but I had those when I was not working at all!  It has nothing to do with middle school or middle school kids!  LOL  I am really enjoying the atmosphere of middle school...  The kids are still hormonal teens with attitudes, and they still give you grief.  But, it is a much younger and still somewhat respectful grief...  The attitude you see is just kids being kids, as opposed to the high school attitude that often stems from their incorrect belief that they are "an adult" despite the way they act and that teachers disrespect them merely by expecting them to work!  LOL

After teaching social studies for years, it is funny to find myself in a mostly MATH classroom every day!  I always said I wasn't a math person, but I find it is not bad...not bad at all!  If I posted this on Facebook, Joy from LHS would "like" it!  The only bad part is trying to make these kids, who struggle daily with math that is far below their grade level, understand that they CAN do it if they patiently try and work to build their skills.  So many of them are frustrated to a point of what seems like no return...  There are times when you sit working one on one with a student in my room and when the bell rings to note that your time is up you just want to give them a hug and tell them to keep will be fine...  I've got a couple who I know may never get it...may never pass that danged standardized test.  But, they plod ahead day after day with the thought that maybe...just maybe, it will happen.  Some of my kids try soooooo hard but seem to fall flat each time a new skill is introduced.  It was great this week to see a couple of them get to new skills that, when explained better, were concepts that they "got" and could be successful at.  It is awesome to see them smile and say "ohhhhhh, NOW I get it!"

Also on the school front, Matt is loving preK.  He's come so far in this 3 months!  His speech is better.  He is progressing past the not-sharing, getting in arguments at school stage and becoming an easier going kid.  After suffering for so long with the separation anxiety due to being taken from his parent (mommy OR daddy) every 8 weeks for years, his potty training is finally progressing to the point that he can wear undies most of the day.  

Check out his first "school pic" below!

 And the whole class shot!

And, did I mention that I'm the new President for our local GFWC LaBelle Community Woman's Club??? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The start of a new stage of my life...

3 months does that happen?  LOL

What does that mean--starting a new stage of my life, you may wonder...  Well, after more than 10 years of adult education and advocacy in special education, and 3 years teaching high school history, this year I am switching things up again!  Last Monday, I began the "middle school" phase of my life again!  And, it is at the same middle school I attended as a teen and the same middle school where I did my student teaching all those years ago....well, sort of--the same school but in a newer building at a new site all the way across town!

SO, what is this new middle school phase?  After all those years in advocating for the rights of children with disabilities, I am now a full-time ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher for 7th and 8th grade here in LaBelle.  That means that I am the "special ed" teacher for all of our LaBelle Middle School students who have a 504 or IEP (Individualized Education Plan)--whether in an ESE class or not.  I am the one who helps keep up with/monitor their IEPs.  I am the resource room teacher and the one who does the consults on the kiddos who don't spend any time in an ESE classroom, but have special needs.  We had our first round of IEP meetings this week and everything went great!  The Staffing Specialist for our side of the county (the ESE person from the Board of Education) is an old friend and teacher of mine.  She was a science teacher when I was in Middle School.  She was a CHADD member when I founded the first CHADD Chapter of my CHADD career (anybody remember the "duck tape" story?), and she's a great friend and parent of 2 pretty ADHD kiddos...well, young adults!  We've worked together over the last 3 years while I was the "regular education" teacher for lots of children with special needs at the high school.  Now, we'll be working together a bit more and with a new focus--for me at least!

On other fronts, I need to get my butt moving--literally...  I spent too much time on the road and eating out this summer.  I need to lose about 20 pounds to feel the way I used to feel...  I know HOW to do it and I know I have the tools to do it.  What I am lacking is motivation.  Snugly fitting clothes is about to do it though!  I refuse to buy new clothes instead of taking the weight off!  The bike tires are pumped up...I just need to get them rolling!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nothing new...just an update!

And it hasn't even been 3 months!  LOL  I thought I'd take a minute to let you know that I am still here and kicking!  No further medical issues other than going in for an iron infusion.  My numbers were crappy again and we decided to head it off before it bottomed out...  Thank you to my employer for providing me health insurance so that this is possible. 

Our school year is winding down...last day for the kids is June 7th.  Teachers work one more day and get out on June 8th.  No big plans for a great vacation or anything, so not much to say there!  I will be traveling to Peoria, IL for a few days to attend a program called "Congress in the Classroom."  That should be fun!  I'm currently participating in a National Writing Project workshop on Web 2.0 technologies that finishes up on June 18th with a presentation day for the summer institute portion of the National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast University.  And, I may go to FSU for a week this summer for a 4-H Legislature workshop...  That is a trip with some local 4-H  members who will be the actual participants.  And, there's the possibility of spending 2 or 3 weeks on the truck with hubby...  We'll see what actually happens! 

Note to potential home invaders--there's plenty of folks going to be home even when I'm gone!  I just can't seem to get those grown children (and now grandchild) to move on and find their own place!  Oh day!!  Maybe then we can afford that fancy vacation!  LOL

And, the world's greatest grandchild will be home tomorrow after he spends the day at "Goofy's House" again... (Disney World!)  So, things are looking better by the hour!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Just shy of the 3 month mark... UPDATE!

On Saturday, Feb 25th, I was sitting in a movie theater with my hubby when I suddenly felt pressure in my abdomen. It wasn't bad--more like the feeling you get when you need to find a bathroom soon for a BM. But, after leaving the theater and finding a restroom, it rapidly got worse. It went from a bit of pressure to feeling like food poisoning in less than 5 minutes. We'd just come from lunch at hubby's favorite fish place before the movie. We both had the same thing, so I'm starting to think that hubby may be in the same situation soon...

It rapidly went from bad to worse and I was hit with the worst pain of my life. I'm talking within 40 minutes I was having abdominal pain that trumped the pain of labor and delivery! After about 20 minutes in the restroom, I finally made it back to the theater and sat down next to hubby. He was getting anxious and would have come to find me if it weren't for all my crap I left in the seat next to him. He said he was about to walk out when I showed up... He asked me what took so long and I gave him a simple answer--I don't feel good. He asked immediately if I wanted to leave. I told him yes. He then asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and again I responded with a yes. Now he KNEW something really bad was wrong because I have a very high tolerance for pain and would never go to the hospital if it weren't serious. We were less than 5 miles from the hospital. He went to the parking lot and got the car and picked me up in front of the theater as I couldn't make it to the car. We went to the hospital and they took me back within 20 minutes, which NEVER happens at this hospital! After that, they left me in a room waiting, and waiting, and waiting and all the while the pain was intensifying. By the time I was writhing on the gurney and had tears rolling, all the while breathing like I was breathing through a contraction, hubby ran one of them down and told them that they HAD to give me something for pain. A few minutes later, they gave me a dose of Dilaudid which relieved most of the abdominal pain, but didn't touch the pain I had across my lower back.

They then did a CT scan to see what there was to see. Because I've experienced sensitivity to iodine, they did it without contrast and could only see that I supposedly had some unexplained fluid in my abdomen. Next, they did an ultrasound to see how much fluid and checked my gall bladder and assorted female parts for potential clues. Nothing to be found there, so they told me they were admitting me for observation. At this point, it had been 2 hours since the Dilaudid, so I asked if it was possible to get something for the back pain. They got me up to a room before that happened. Once in the room, I asked again and they brought me something, but didn't tell me what it was--just put it in the IV port and left. Shortly, the back pain was finally letting up. I thought they'd given me more of the same drug and that all I'd needed was a larger dose in the first place.

After all this strain and stress and combined with the narcotic pain meds, I was getting sleepy and it was getting late. Hubby had my daughter drive over with things I would need and then they both left about 9:30. I passed out with the next dose of pain meds. When they came to give it, they asked if I wanted the Dilaudid or the morphine again. Apparently the second dose was morphine and it worked so much better than the Dilaudid had, despite the fact that I was told it was much stronger than morphine. I stuck with the morphine and passed out for about 3 hours of much needed rest.

They kept me on the morphine ever 4 or 5 hours for over 2 days. Over that time, they redid the CT scan with the contrast and yummy (ugh!) barium. Though he doesn't normally use this hospital, my bariatric surgeon showed up Sunday evening to see me. He said that the CT scan showed nothing out of the ordinary. The abdominal fluid was a very small amount and nothing to be concerned with--not the cause of my current issue. He checked my tummy and found that I do have a hernia deep below the belly button--again not the cause of this. He told me that their best guess on this was that I had a kink in my bowel. That was the cause of the great discomfort and the pain. Over the time I was in the hospital and on the morphine, it straightened out and the pain was decreasing, but not gone. This he said was due to the fact that this was a strain on the bowel and that LIKE ANY OTHER MUSCLE, when strained, it bruises and will take time to heal. Bowels as muscles...never thought of it that way! He went ahead and ordered a full round of bariatric labs ("since you're here anyway...") and told me he'd see me in the AM.

SO, the outcome--it happened, we don't know 100% why and it could happen again. Their instructions? Don't eat any meals that are too large as it could cause the bowel to strain again... Uh, hello! I had an RNY and don't eat large meals. I don't normally eat till I feel full! I hadn't eaten till full the day this all happened! I don't really know what happened. I don't really know what caused it. I don't really know how to keep it from happening again..... Double UGH!

I can honestly say though that this is the very first time I've had any sort of issue since my RNY in August 2006. I was in the hospital from Saturday evening till Monday afternoon. Thank the school district for United Healthcare! As a teacher, my health insurance doesn't cost me anything, and it sure saved me on this one financially. Preliminary billings show a bill of more than $15,000 so far. I will have to pay my deductible of $1000 and they'll take care of most of the rest.

Long story short--sudden extreme pain led to a hospital stay of 2 1/2 days and no real answer/explanation.

Other than this incident, life is good. We've had the world's greatest grandbaby home since Jan 28th. He's a handful, but so much joy. He's growing like the proverbial weed... He's currently quite obsessed with the WWE--particularly John Cena, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, and Sheamus. He finally learned how to ride a bike with coaster brakes. His first bike had pedals that would pedal frontwards and backwards alike. Now, we get a bike that only goes forward...what's up with that? LOL

We only have him till March 24th... Then he goes back to WV for 8 weeks again. The BEST part though is that he comes home on May 19th and won't have to go back to WV till Christmas! He would go back on July 14th, but school will start in August and he is to start school in a pre-K program this year. According to the divorce decree, once he starts pre-K at age 4, he is home all year. His father only gets him for a week of his Christmas break, a week of his spring break, and 8 weeks in the summer. We want him to know his father...don't get me wrong. It is just that all this back and forth every 8 weeks is a huge mental strain. He will be 4 in July and is still in pull-ups as they don't work on potty training while he's there. We get him almost trained and it is time for him to go back to WV. He comes back totally back where we started... His speech is still not where it should be. I want to cry sometimes when I am out in public and hear some kid talking to his mom or dad and their speech is SO clear. When I ask how old they are, I get answers like 2 1/2... Matt's speech starts to be clearer and more developed each time he's home. Then, while he's at his father's home, he regresses. I honestly don't think they TALK to him there! Oh how I hate this cruel situation he's been put in. He's so smart. He deserves better. Now, he'll finally get a chance to live a normal life. Granted it is the normal-for-a-child-of-divorce life, but he'll finally be fully potty trained. His speech will grow in leaps and bounds. He'll be in pre-K and socializing with others his age, not just adults.

BTW, thanks to Randy for nagging me to post!

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