June 27, 2010

Another Country Heard From

Again, I've been lax in updating this darn blog. I'm actually scaling back on my internet usage, so this has fallen by the wayside a bit. Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster but, of course, that's nothing new. Let's see what's been happening, shall we?

  • Jeff's medication has been adjusted and things are going well. The leg pain, while still chronic, isn't as fierce. The GP signed some paperwork giving him a handicapped placard for 6 months to see if it would help the inflammation, which it has.
  • Jeff is working from home for the next few weeks. Money has been tight and his shoulder has been acting up from the cane, so he got the okay to work from home until things steady out a bit.
  • The kids are visiting their father, which is a nice break for all of us. The kids really like the time with their extended family right now and Jeff and I use the time to get all of our checkups and medication adjustments done.
  • Their father and his wife split, which means that he's living with his mother. This is great for the kids because it means less transitions for Theron and less back and forth to lose things. Plus, they get to sleep in and spend more time with their extended family.
  • T's medication was increased again but that's to be expected. He's now on 1mg of Risperdal and things are going along pretty smoothly, from what I'm told.
  • E's report card and Scantron results arrived. She got straight A's all year and gained 190 points in Reading (putting her at a 12th grade level) and gained 307 points in Math (putting her at an 8th/9th grade level). Woohoooo!
  • T's MAP test scores came back. Most things were as expected but his Math level was off the charts, even for an "average" student. He beat the district average for his grade level, which is phenomenal! Next year we'll be focusing on academics now that we know he can really process them. Obviously we'll still work on social skills and such but those will be done via group activities and 1:1 therapy instead of the main class focus.
  • My doctor has switched around my medications a bit. He increased my Neurontin and added Cymbalta, which has worked wonders to alleviate the majority of the nerve pain. He suggested Lyrica but we quickly realized that even the max dosage wouldn't give us the pain relief we've been working towards. The Cymbalta gives us some wiggle room and the side effects have been mild, which is a definite bonus. I'm glad that it's got a secondary classification for pain relief because my insurance hates to pay for it (it's primary classification is as an anti-depressant and my insurance forces people to try two alternatives before covering it under that classification).
  • I'm VERY slowly losing weight. We're cutting out a lot of processed foods and switching to lower fat and caloric content snacks. Now that summer is here we can pick up a few pieces of fresh fruit every few days (mmm, peaches!) and seedless cucumbers have become a staple. That's not to say that we don't splurge but it's much fewer and far between. Also, I'm drinking a bit more coffee, if you consider those General Foods International powder mixes and Folgers coffee bags to be coffee, which acts as a diuretic and counters the somnolence that comes from my medications. I'm still only ~1 cup per day, so that's definitely within safe limits.
  • Jeff is working on some translation projects, essentially working him like a second job. It'll all be great for his resume and the eventual payoff will allow us to do some things we've really wanted to do but it's a big adjustment for both of us. He's set up an office in T's room and it's helping to keep him focused and it allows me to go in and lay on the bed if I want to spend some time with him (we're both good at enjoying togetherness without having to heavily interact). Of course, there's a deadline, which really helps us to know that things won't always be this way.
  • We've taken on a new hobby: Aquariums! We have a 55 gallon community tank in the livingroom which is moderately planted and has various species of tetras and catfish as well as some snails, shrimp and one betta. It's wonderfully serene, which is great, and the upkeep is pretty reasonable. We have a goldfish tank in T's room and a Figure-8 puffer tank in E's room, which rounds out the collection. Those are both easy to care for and the white noise really helps the kids sleep a bit deeper. We're hoping to get another large tank as a semi-aggressive tank since the pretty fish (ciclids, angelfish, knifefish, gouramis and sharks) need to be grouped together (they'll eat all of the small fish in the community tank). It's something for later in the fall and we're going to take our time stocking it so that we can enjoy setting it up as a family project.
  • We're debating adding a hermit crab setup. We won a large terrarium at the latest reptile convention and it's now housing our crested gecko, which means that our smaller terrarium is available for them. The upkeep is easy and we have most of the stuff already. We'd really only need sand, food and the crabs. Since E wants to be a vet, this is just another thing for her to learn from, which is never a bad thing. Plus, they'd make great "classroom" pets!

So, that's everything, in a rather large nutshell. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for bigger and better things for all of us as the year progresses, and I'll do my best to keep you all updated. Until then, play your little hearts out, my friends! It's a lovely summer!

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