Sunday, November 23

Learning To Flush

Jasmine has had trouble remembering to flush the toilet for 3 years now. This was not high on our priority list of problems in our family. We have tried techniques to tackle this in the last 3 years, but so far none have worked. We made a sign in the bathroom, we made up a little rhyme, we made an accronym that we said everytime she went to the bathroom, we rewarded the flushing and I'm sure there were others but I can't think of them. Well, we have decided to tackle this again - this time if she doesn't flush she must clean the toilet when I find it unflushed. Yesterday was the first day of our new attempt. She had to go to the bathroom last night, so before she went in and after she made her announcement - I reminded her of our deal. She said she remembered and went in all gung-ho to flush. Of course, she came out and didn't flush. I waited 5 minutes hoping that she would think about it and go back to flush. Nope--so I went into the bathroom and said, "looks like you forgot something - get out the cleaning supplies". She did it and didn't complain much.

Today, when we were at church in between Sunday school and service both girls went to the bathroom - she remembered to flush!!! You can imagine my excitement! I know it seems silly to be be excited over a 10 year old remembering to flush, but it is true!! I was so proud, I hope it continues.

Sunday, November 16

I am going to blog about my recent experience and I really don't want everyone to point out the mistakes unless you have a solution.

A friend of mine texted me that she was not feeling well and did not want to drive to PrimaCare alone. She is Deaf. I went with her and interpreted between the dr and her. They treated her for acute gastridus and sent her home. The next day, I tried calling her, texting her but she was not answering. Finally, 4pm she answered me that she just woke up and was still not feeling well. We went back to PrimaCare and she was severly dehydrated. We were sent to the emergency room. PrimaCare called ahead of time to inform them that she was Deaf and that I could interpret until a certified interpreter arrived. They got her right in, this was about 6:30 or 7pm. NOW - I am not a certified interpreter and I have only been signing since last October. I am doing pretty well, but would definately not call me fluent.

The choice for me was do I leave, do I interpret, or what do I do. I did request an interpret and they kept telling me that they were looking for someone. She was REALLY dehydrated and they thought it was her appendix or gallblatter. Her appendix was removed back in the 70s, so we were left with gallblatter. They ran a series of tests and decided she would need to stay overnight until the surgeon came in the morning. Her sister arrived and we finally got a room at about 5 in the morning. I stayed with her all that time. Her sister is relearning sign language, they were apart for many years and she just recently moved close to her sister 2 years ago. They only see each other once, maybe twice a week- so she is learning slow and I can sign better than she can.

I stayed until we got the room and they finished the initial testing. I went home, told her sister to call me in the morning when the surgeon came - I work right across the street and can come if an interpreter has still not arrived. I get home about 5:30, I need to wake up at 7 to get my daughter up for school. I get home in time for Rebecca to leave, say bye to her and go to bed. I wake up and get my other daughter ready for bed. I call my friends room and did not get an answer. I thought maybe they were asleep or out for more testing. I tried again about 8:15, still no answer. I tried again about 8:30, still no answer. I called the hospital after the 3rd time and asked if anyone was in my friends room with her - NO, NO ONE WAS IN THE ROOM WITH HER. I am a person that always wants someone with me in the hospital because nurses can make mistakes - and then add to that, my friend who was drugged up if she was asleep would not know what they were giving her.

I left my work and went straight to the hospital, the surgeon was already there, but wanted to wait for an interpreter to arrive before going over everything with my friend. When I arrived, the nurse told me that they were still not able to find an interpreter. She called the surgeon and told me that someone was there who could interpret for my friend. I told her I was not a certified interpreter. She did not seem to care. My friends sister finally arrived and then the surgeon came. I interpreted the operation choices and the risks involved with each one. Her gallblatter was going to need to be removed. My friends sister asked if an interpreter would be able to go into the operating room with her sister and the surgeon said that he would take care of that and got on the phone - I never stopped interpreting what everyone was saying. The surgeon said (on the phone), "Is there anyway that we can have a family member come in and interpret for _____?" My face fell, but I continued interpreting. I reminded the surgeon that I was not certified, but again I don't think he cared. They said that she would have surgery the next day at 7:45am. I informed my work that unless an interpreter came, I would need to stay with my friend for another day. I had my laptop so in between nurses coming in when my friend was asleep, I was working.

I will not go into all the things that the nurses did that I felt were wrong, but I had a set several nurses straight and educate them on how to work with the Deaf, for example - talk looking at her - NOT ME!! She is a person and deserves that respect. Anyway, I called some of the interpreters from church and together we took shifts. Both of them work in the school system, so could only come at night. They releaved me for about 4 hours, so I could come home and get a couple hours of sleep, say goodnight to my girls and take a shower. In 3 days, I got about 6-7 hours of sleep. Surgery day, her surgery was delayed until 1pm. Can you imagine if no one was there to tell her how worried she would have been??!!

Anyway, the whole thing was very frustrating, but I was happy that I could offer my hands to help. I went into the operating room with her until she was totally out and then I ran to the cafeteria to get something to sleep really quick. I could also only eat if someone brought me food or like this instance when she was in surgery or when a friend releaved me at night. The nurses were very nice and happy that I was there to help facilitate communication. They were never ugly to me and always asked me if I needed anything - I wanted to SHOUT - YEAH, a certified interpreter would be nice. My friend never asked for another interpreter. She was fine with me interpreting and was familiar with my hands - but I still felt that it was just wrong - she deserved better than my hands. God definately spoke through my hands the entire 4 days that I was there and I learned a lot. An interpreter from church brought me an ASL medical dictionary and I studied that at night and especially right before the surgery.

NOW - here is what I wish, and I would like your opinion or advise on this: can the hospital have a video relay phone where they could reach a certified interpreter when they needed one? I know that this is not a replacement for a live interpreter in the room. But I keep thinking what happens when someone is just traveling through our town and has a car accident. What would happen to that Deaf person - none of their family is here. There has to be a solution. I was happy to help my friend. I realize there was a HUGE risk involved with me interpreting, but I really did not see another way. They could have written notes back and forth, but that just seemed wrong too. Her sister wanted me to interpret and I feel like I did a great job. It was scary but also a great learning experience. Makes me want to get my certification and volunteer at the hospital. I heard that they reason that no interperters ever came is because several were never paid by that hospital. I am writing a letter to patient relations of the church and I am also going to make a flyer for the hosptial on how to better work with Deaf or hard of hearing patients.

My friend is doing great and is staying with her sister for the time being and my family is very happy that I am home. Please do not "bash" me for my decision. I felt and still feel like I did the right thing. I would like solutions however for future hearing impaired patients.

Sunday, November 9

My personal marathon

I AM SO TIRED!!! I feel like I am running a never-ending marathon. I am sure a lot of moms feel this way, but for me this is a first. I feel like I have been running a year marathon for a year now! We do not have anyone that will take both girls for more than 30-45 minutes at one time. I don't want to seem ungrateful, but by the time I drop off the girls and go back home or wherever, it is time to pick them up again and my race has continued! We spend time with each of the girls alone each week and one girl is definately easier, but I still feel like I have only slowed to a jog. Will it ever stop? or will I just collapse??

I find myself being short-tempered and have a lot less patience than I want. Then I feel guilty and have even less stamina for the next round. How can I return to normal again? or has normal gone away??? Will I ever be the mom that I was again??