Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Coming Together -Again!

April -in case you didn't already now it -is also Autism Awareness Month. And every time I post during this month, I'm going to try to include a little emblem of some kind either at the beginning or end (or in between or maybe all three areas who knows) as a little reminder to everyone about the importance of learning as much as you can about this disorder -the one that affects one child out of every 150 children.

And, if you don't know anyone with autism, then welcome to my place and let me introduce you to two of my grandchildren -Maya, age five and Kurtis, who will be three on April 13th. They are my younger daughter's two children and yes, both of them are autistic.

My goal with respect to posting stories about them, maybe even giving a little other data when I can about the disorder itself, is to show people how much alike my grandchildren are to other children in the same age ranges and yet, to also show areas in which they are very different too.

You may think upon hearing me say both these children are autistic and how terrible that must be and I don't want you to think or believe that -not for a single, solitary, New York minute!

Why? Because I want you to see the other side -look beyond the problems that do exist (and yes, there are problems, certainly -same as with trying to raise any child) and realize, understand, the beauty and joy that comes from these two of God's children that I am blessed with, love unequivocally and am proud as punch to lay claim to them as my GRANDCHILDREN!

Today's post is also -as many (or perhaps almost all) of my posts could be termed, a bit of a ramble and is not all about my grandkids today either.

I'll begin with last night and why Mandy and I ended up spending over three hours in the local emergency room with Kurtis -the three-year-old grandson.

We were just finishing up supper -sliced polish sausage with sauerkraut, for those interested in knowing that and maybe doing what I often do which is look for a possible entree to cook and serve the family.

Maya had already left the table. My son was eating the last few bites on his plate, Mandy and I were done and just sitting back, relaxing a little. Kurtis was seated in his booster chair that is strapped to one of the chairs around the table.

Now, when Kurtis finishes eating (this does not necessarily mean he has actually eaten everything on his plate but rather, when he has decided he doesn't want to be bothered by the items on his plate any longer), he usually will put his hands on the table and try to push himself somewhat away from the table while telling us "All done. All done."

Lately though, he has discovered that if he puts his feet up, with the booster chair, this is an easy task for me as he can lift his legs and put his feet against the table and push himself away and in doing that, he generates enough oomph, power, whatever you care to call it, that it moves him a good distance then from the table.

That was his aim last night -to push himself well away from the table and his plate as he said "All done" and gave a mighty shove.

However, what he didn't count on -of course -what three-year-old does calculate the dangers of any move -was that in pushing that hard, the chair went back and back and back in a down-to-the-floor landing! And as that happened, the top of his head banged on the leg or footrest of a barstool we have by the kitchen counter.

Mandy saw and realized what was happening as the chair began to tip backwards but there was no way she could move fast enough to stop its fall. She, my son and I all jumped at about the same time, to hurry to see if Kurtis was okay or not and Mandy and Clate both uprighted the chair together. In doing that, Mandy also realized that Kurtis had a cut someplace -but where -as she screamed "Oh My God! He's bleeding!"

Drops of blood already on the floor and she was trying to look over his body to see where the bleeding was coming from, all the while also trying to soothe and comfort a very, very terrified little boy. Finally, she saw the blood was coming from the top of his head -a bit hard to see because of the mop of curly hair this little guy has too, ya know!

Here's a picture of the top of his head and the hair -and you can see where the cut is by the bloody portion of hair, kind of sticking together around the cut.

A lot of pandemonium ensued as my son and I were both reaching for paper towels and tee towels and ice packs from the freezer and well, anything else we could think of to give Mandy to use to try to keep from getting blood all over everything, kind of calm him even a tiny bit in the process and also, maybe even give us a better glimpse too of how large, or deep or serious a cut this might be there. Maya even got into the act too when she picked up on the word "blood" and went and got some kleenex tissues with which to wipe up the blood off the dining room floor! Surprisingly enough, she never panicked over this whole event.

Within the next ten minutes, it was decided that for safety's sake, it would be best to take Kurtis to the emergency room so Mandy and I were the ones who took him there. He was very good in the car during the ride (about 22 miles) to the hospital and behaved very nicely while Mandy gave his insurance information to the clerk and such. We were told to have a seat in the waiting room and in there, he was very busy -refusing to be held and restrained and instead, he was zipping all over the place, exploring and enjoying checking out some new surroundings.

All that fun and games came to an end though as soon as we were called back to the preliminary check-in with the nurse. A strange face and seeing some equipment sitting around which you know, at this age he is associating with the dreaded "doctor's office" thing and he started to fuss. Getting his weight, his blood pressure and any other little tests too -like pulling hens' teeth! All while being in dire need of gigantic ear plugs to keep the ear-piercing screams and shrieks from penetrating clear through one's head!

Eventually, he was seen by the on-call physician assistant and he determined that yes, he would need a couple of staples. We told him to make sure there were adequate other personnel on hand to help hold him down because one thing Kurtis is for sure, is a fighter!

In the end, it took me holding him by the ankles, Mandy leaning into him holding his upper legs, one nurse -of a very generous size, shall we say -who leaned across his torso, trying to pin both arms down and hold his hands, another nurse to lean in and try to steady his neck and head in position while the attending physician assistant leaned over and popped two staples into the poor little guy's scalp! THe entire procedure, once we got him pinned down, took less than five minutes but it probably took us a good ten minutes for each person to get their specific limbs, body area, restrained!

As we were leaving the E.R., Mandy turned to the physician (who we know because he and his wife belong to our church) and told him that seeing as Kurtis was now smiling, waving, saying "See ya" to everyone around the area, that "As long as you don't come to church wearing scrubs, I think he will forgive and forget that part of you!"

We got home close to 10 p.m. and immediately, Maya wanted to see the "boo-boo" on Kurt's head. Of course, with her that also means she didn't want to just look but she also wanted to touch it too. A move that Kurtis wanted absolutely no parts of! Then she wanted to -absolutely had to -show him the pictures she had done for him -sheets of my good printer paper of course, with a stick figure carefully drawn on the top of each paper, each all colored in too, and a name across the top as well indicating who each paper would go to. One was for one of the little girls in her class, one for Kurtis and one for herself. Below each picture and name, she had then printed Kurt's name, under that, she had "Bo-Bo" -okay, she can't spell everything ya know -and then, at the bottom of each paper though she had printed there "Blood!" Well she got that spelling correct because as she was doing these papers, she asked her dad, "How do you spell blood?" (Fortunately, it was a word Bill does know how to spell!)

But anyway, the upshot of all this that we now have to return to the hospital or a doctor next Tuesday and go through the whole procedure of finding enough people to hold the boy down again so they can then remove the staples. Not something I am looking forward to doing, as you can imagine!

And today, he's fine! Bouncing around like nothing ever happened!

Now, the other part of my post today -yeah, you're lucky -this is only gonna be a two-parter -is that today was the other lunch meeting with my school friends -most who were at the lunch last Friday but with three additions today. The lady who was supposed to be at the lunch on Friday whose flight from Florida had been cancelled last Thursday, finally made it up to PA yesterday and was able to attend then today. And also, two of her cousins -one of whom was also part of our graduating class -also came over to the lunch today.

An added but very unexpected bonus too was that at the table adjacent to ours there just happened to be three other ladies who most everyone knew -one is a sister to one of our classmates who didn't make it today but was at the Friday lunch (she also graduated two years ahead of us), another was from that class but at the other school in our district back then and the third lady is a friend of theirs from their church -a tad younger than all of us! And yes, I got photos of everyone too!

Starting with this picture:
Here's the three diners we saw and had a chance to chat with too. From left to right -Karen Nelson Modzel, Jean Potts Reitz and Millie Folmar Moriarity. Jean -the lady in the middle is no longer Jean Reitz, as she is remarried but I don't know her married name. I hadn't seen her in many years and learned today that she now resides in New Mexico, so that explains completely I think why I haven't seen her in ages!) Millie's sister, Carol Folmar Nadzom, is one of the regulars in our lunch group and was up on Friday for that get-together but wasn't able to make it today.

Here we have sister, Connie Rolley Hines and Sharon Rolley. Sharon was part of our class through our Junior year but moved to Bellefonte the summer before we graduated. Her sister Connie though graduated from the same school building (Cooper Township High School) as the rest of us in our group did -just about 9 years ahead of us though!

Here we have Cheryl Schnars Shank and Rose Little Wick. Now Rose was at the Friday lunch and is one of the regulars at our monthly lunch. Cheryl was supposed to be here Friday but as luck had it, it was her and her mother whose flight from FLorida to Harrisburg got canceled completely last Thursday and she couldn't get a flight up then until yesterday!

Cheryl and the sisters in the photo above them are first cousins. Sharon and Connie's Dad and Cheryl's Mom were brother and sister. Cheryl's Mom, by the way, is a very spry 92-years-old and stays in their family home from spring through fall and then, goes to Florida for the winter months where she lives with her son and Cheryl's brother, Don. And, on another note, my friend Cheryl is also a cancer survivor -not just once but twice! Amazing lady and still looks -and acts -very much as she did back in the early 60s when we were classmates!

And finally, here's the other two at our lunch today -Kate Nelson Eyerly and Helen Walker Kovalick. Well, there was one other former classmate present too -Linda Wertz Payne (who was at last Friday's lunch) but Linda had to leave a bit early as she had her Book Club Group meeting this afternoon too. I'm thinking her timing was set so as to get out the door before I turned the camera on those at our table too!

Needless to say, we all had a very enjoyable afternoon visit. It had been over 10 years since I'd last seen Cheryl, and for Rose, Kate and Sharon, probably about 17-18 years since they'd seen each other. Linda and Cheryl hadn't been together since our graduation and Helen probably hadn't seen Cheryl either in about that smae length of time either! So it was nice, really, really nice to be able to come together once again with good friends, good company and some good food too!

Now, I wonder what other classmate might decide to make a trip back home sometime this year and if they would let me know in time, I set up another of these mini-reunion dinners for that person -or those, in the case of more than one maybe -if it is at all possible. Anyone reading this from my class -1962, Cooper Center, West Branch Area High School in Lanse, PA -who hasn't seen other classmates in some time and would like to do a lunch -let me know and I'll be more than happy to set something up!

And that, my dear readers, is it for today! Time to return to my embroidery, my reading, tv shows and then, hopefully, some sleep after that!


Sandee said...

Yikes on the fall. I hope he tries to get away from the table a bit differently in the future. He's a lucky young man not to have hurt himself any worse than he did.

Cool on the class of '62. What a fun thing to do. This year is my 40th reunion, but we aren't going. Too many yacht club functions to do.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

Hammer said...

I'm glad the little fella is ok.
It's very scary when that happens.

Mine had staples when he was 3 and it took a bunch to hold him too.

... Paige said...

I sure he is ok.

One of my daughers had to have stiches in her head when she was little. What a big job those few little stiches were.

with 3 of us laying on top of her 4 year old self, she still managed to kick a poor nurse in the belly.

Amazing how strong kids can be when they don't know they are not supposed to be that strong

sheng said...

The little fellah must be really a fighter... I hope he gets well soon...

RuneE said...

I'm pressed by where you find the time to write all these descriptions of your daily Life? I would be exhausted just living it. Or maybe writing about it is the best therapy for copy with it.

HalfCrazy said...

It's great to know it is also Autism Awareness Month. My brother actually suffers from semi-autism; maybe because he was born when my Mother was nearing 40. I don't know, maybe I'm just being ignorant, not knowing where it actually comes from.

That is such a horrible accident! Banging his head on the counter? that's just.. OUCH! I can see the blood and I'm feeling a little uneasy right now!

Shrinky said...

Wow, that must have been quite a scary event at the time. I remember when Sam cut his head open - so MUCH blood for such a tiny wound! I am glad all is well again. Jenni, you sure do lead a very busy, full life - I am glad to see you take the fullest of enjoyment from it.

Casdok said...

Am also glad all is well :)

SnoopMurph said...

Quite a day for young Kurtis-glad all is well, but must have been quite a scary experience.

Thanks for posting on autism-I know you always post the realities of autism with lots of love and laughs too. I look forward to reading more this month!

Suldog said...

Poor Kurtis. I had an accident like that (maybe we all did) when I was a kid. Mine came from jumping on the bed, but still. Stitches in the forehead (I can still see the scar, but most folks can't, as it has blended in with the wrinkles.)

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'm glad Kurtis is okay. I have a blogging friend and her daughter has Rett Syndrome. I'm actually visiting her in a couple of weeks and meeting her precious daughter for the first time. Here is a link to her blog.

Smalltown RN said...

I am sorry Kurtis had to go through all that...but reading your story reminded me of when my middle daughter collided with a moving bicycle and he cut her eye on the bummper of the bike. She had to get 10 stitches right next to her eye...she would have been Kurtis's took 5 of us...3 males and two females to hold her down...oh my god what a performance....she has a nasty scar to this day....we did offer her the option of plastic surgery but she said's her badge of honour she calls it....

As for you goodness what a good historian you are...all this work you done...I know many people will be thankful of all that you do....

Hugs to you my friend

Morgan Mandel said...

I never had children, but from what I can tell they can be fun, loving and a handful. Also, can get into danger easily.

Sounds like your angels are no different.

Morgan Mandel

terri said...

What an ordeal poor Kurtis has been through. I'm happy to hear that it was a relatively minor injury and that he is feeling better.

The lunch sounds like a good time and you got some really great pictures of everyone!