Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rebound Headache

This is the headache that you get when you use too many acute headache meds. Well, part of my headache problem is rebound headache. So, I started 2 days ago with not taking any acute medications and just taking my preventive meds. I am taking a long-acting NSAID and a long-acting benzo (short-term) along with an anti-nausea drug to help me get through it. Yesterday wasn't much fun, but today has been just awful. I've been up since 4:30 with the headache. I'll I've done is read, watch TV, and try to sleep. It's hard for me to sleep when the headache is really bad. But, it is calming down some now - why I'm able to blog - so I might try another nap.

I'm going to see another Neuro in a couple of weeks. That's why I'm dealing with the rebound headache now. I know that the first thing he'll say is to deal with the rebound headache and then come back. Well, I don't want to waste an office visit, so I'll get off the daily meds so we can see how often the migraines happen.

I was able to do schoolwork with the kids yesterday. P has them out somewhere today. They took math books, so I guess they'll get their math done. If I'm feeling OK this evening, I'll do language arts with the kids. We'll just have to see.

Well, that's what's up now. I'm off to try for another nap.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The headache saga continues

So I went to see my PCP (primary care physician) today to talk about my headaches. She was appropriately appalled about my medication use and my number of headaches. I was hoping (probably an unfounded hope) that my headaches would calm down some after we got moved and settled into our new home. Alas, that was not to be. I still have my 2-3 wicked migraines per week along with my daily headaches. So, we have decided to change my daily meds by tapering me off one seizure med and starting another - this is a long (6 week) process. In the meantime, she is trying to get me in to see a neurologist at the University - good luck! In any case, we now have a plan which always gives me security. After we make the change, I have to quit my acute headache meds, which will not be fun. I will likely have a bad week or so of headache when that happens, but we need to get my preventive meds changed before we try it. In the meantime, I still have tons of fatigue - from meds, but also from the headaches themselves. I was up at 5am with a headache. I didn't take a nap today, but I was just exhausted. I don't think it was from being up so early; I think it was from the headache itself. Even after the pain is gone, I feel so tired. I have been able to walk regularly, either to the library or grocery store or on the treadmill. The kids have been getting me out on my bike as well when I feel OK, so I've been able to get more active, which can't be a bad thing.

We do have other stuff happening. L was baptized yesterday at the church picnic and baptism. We were so excited. I grew up in churches that had baptistries, so we had baptisms on a regular basis. Not only does our church not have a baptistry, but it's so cold up here most of the year, that we can only baptize during the summer. It would be a brave soul indeed who would be willing to be baptized in the winter - and, what elder or pastor would they find to cut the hole in the ice and get in the water with them??!!

The Fair starts Wednesday. L has all of her projects finished. Tomorrow she has to place the labels on them. They are very strict about the exhibits being properly labeled and presented. L will be working the food booth during the day, and C will be helping to clean tables. I'm glad we live within walking distance. The kids will be with the rest of the 4-H group, so I can be in and out and not have to stay for the entire 6 hours that their group will be working the food booth. Now, L is trying to coordinate with her friends when they want to ride the rides. One of her friends has to pick a day when she isn't showing her animals, but the other friend has to come when her parents can bring her. The social life of a pre-teen!

Well, it's getting late, I'm tired, and I'm off to do some knitting before bed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Week 2 of school - much better!

School goes much better when I don't have persistent headaches! I had some headaches in the evening, so getting going in the morning was tough, but we did OK after that. I had a bad HA yesterday, but that was OK as far as school went because P took the kids to the Valley for a trip to the Children's Museum and the Planetarium.

We started C's new reading program this week. It is a comprehensive and multi-sensory program. We are starting with the very basics and learning all the letter sounds (again), but this time, he is reinforcing the learning the sounds with tactile sensations such as writing the letter in sand while saying the name and sound of the letter. There is a completely different set of physical activities to do for learning sight words. I'm optimistic that he will be more succesful with this type of program. We also have him set up to see a psychologist for evaluation for dyslexia or other learning problems.

L is finishing up her Fair projects. She got a second place ribbon last Saturday for showing her cat. We were very proud of her. She has a number of art and craft projects to show this week. The judging for her projects is Wednesday. Several of her friends are showing animals and their judging is Wednesday through Sunday. It is going to be a busy week. Since the kids are in 4-H, I think we are going to have to work at the food stand selling refreshments at least once this week. Our house is only 1 block from the fairgrounds, so I'm not sure how much sleep any of us are going to get this week!

This week, we are going to work on only math and language arts again. Next week, though, we start back with our full schedule of work. The kids try to complain, but they'll be fine. The neighbor kids start school at the same time. It will actually be kind of hard for our kids because C is done with his schoolwork by 3 in the afternoon, when his friend gets home from school. But, I imagine that his friend will have homework and won't be able to play all afternoon and evening like they do now. We'll have to see how things go.

In the meantime, we still have a few things in the storage unit that we need to get moved back here in the next week and a half. I don't think we have any more full boxes in here. The craft room just looks like a messy room now, although I still can't use my desk. Another week or so and I'll be done.

Well, off to get some lunch. More later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What a first week of school

This was not exactly the way I wanted our first week to be. I had bad headaches every morning except Thursday. That doesn't do a lot for getting me moving in the morning! The kids got a little more difficult by the end of the week, as well. This has been the worst headache week in a really long time.

I had someone do an informal evaluation of C's reading this week. She agreed that his reading is very weak - he is at a 1.5 grade level - but she doesn't know a lot about dyslexia, and her recommendations were mostly to continue with what we have been doing. I'm still quite concerned about dyslexia, so I have scheduled an appointment with an educational psychologist in the Valley (in September). In the meantime, P and I have decided to "start over" with C's reading by using a multisensory phonics program. The program is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach which is used for dyslexics. So, whether he ends up with that diagnosis or not, I think we're using a common sense approach to getting him to learn to read.

The County Fair activities start tomorrow. L shows her cat in the morning. The cat has not been all that impressed with her harness and leash. We'll have to see what she thinks about being shown tomorrow. The kids have 1 1/2 weeks to finish the rest of their projects.

P's last day of work was today. I have a list of stuff that needs to be done around the house, so I'm not arguing. He is also starting a program through the University to become credentialled to teach high school. He will start classes on Sept. 5. He will be able to take classes full time so that next fall, he will be ready for student teaching! He should be ready to work as a teacher in January or February 2008!

Our small group has been studying the book of James. I have also been reading an individual study as well. Today's study was on the last portion of James 4. In it, James admonishes us to remember that we may make our plans, but God always has the last word. I was certainly reminded of that this week. I made plans for schoolwork each day, but the day's activities were affected by my headaches. It is good for me to plan, but I will continue to always pray over my plans. The psalmist reminds us to always give over our plans to the Lord: Ps 37:5-6 Commit your way to the LORD;trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A New School Year

Well, we started school today. The kids told me they were bored one time too many, so we started school. They weren't bored today!

Unfortunately, I woke up at 4:30am with an impressive migraine - EEK! The good news is that I hadn't scheduled a lot of stuff to do, so we were able to get it all done. I have been cataloguing all of our educational CD-ROMS, videos, and DVDs, so I can give them work to do when I have a bad headache. But, today went pretty well, and I'm encouraged. The "real" schoolbooks are actually still in boxes. I did math drill sheets and dictation from Harry Potter and stuff like that today.

We're also working out who does what jobs around the house. I'm not sure how we're going to work out who does dishes on what night. We still have to see what the dance, AWANA, worship team, and Junior High schedules look like.

P and I spent Saturday really organizing and unpacking boxes. The craft room is now just a messy room and not a major disaster site! The school room is completely organized, except for not having the bookshelves filled. We have 6 unopened boxes of books in the living room right now along with a bunch of boxes and several shelves of stuff in a storage unit. A good bit of that stuff is going to have to go right to Goodwill. There is no way we have room for it here. But, the school books are somewhere in all that!

C read for me today. I was hoping that in the couple of months that we haven't done formal reading that he might have made some developmental gains. Unfortunately, things have gotten no better. He can read simple three letter words by themselves most of the time. He can get them all the time if they are paired with pictures. But, he had real problems reading a simple story. On one page, he read the word "fall" without trouble, but he had no clue what the same word was on the next page. He could get the "f" sound, but nothing else. He read the word "into" as "in". Even when I pointed it out to him, he still could not see that he was missing half the word! His eyesight can't be that much of an issue: these words were very large on a computer screen. He asks for help when he can't differentiate a "b" from a "d". The issues he is having in reading right now are not that clearcut. The good news is that a friend who is a reading specialist is supposed to come in a week or two to help me decide what the next step is. Clearly, we need some new directions. I think I'm going to try some letter blocks tomorrow and see if that helps him at all.

P gave his 2 week notice at his job last week. He will be meeting this week with a professor of a program that gets people with bachelor's degrees in math and science the education they need to be able to teach high school. This is pretty exciting for him. He will probably not need to take any math classes, but should be able to go right to education method classes. He's hoping that he can actually be working within 1 1 /2 to 2 years. In any case, it's pretty exciting for him.

Well, I'm off to try out more of my kids' math software and figure out what works for them and what doesn't. Tomorrow we're doing school at the coffee shop!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Walking the cat

Today we took a walk with L's cat, Sophie. You're reading this and thinking, "You can't walk a cat." Well, you are right. I thought that we probably wouldn't get too far on the walk, but it wouldn't hurt to try. Besides, I believe in choosing your battles, and I was not interested in arguing with L about whether or not to take the cat on the walk. As you can imagine, the cat was not interested in actually walking. She did what she always does when L takes her outside (which is pretty often since L is getting her ready for the fair) and sniffed around then rolled around to try to get her harness off. When a car came by, she bolted for the street - thankfully, the leash was pretty short. So, it was a short walk today. Tomorrow will be a walk or bike ride to the library, so Sophie will stay at home with Silver and Sassy - inside, where they belong.

If I hear one more time "I'm bored" from my children, I think I'll scream!! How can kids who have imagination friends galore and who can go to space with pillows and K'Nex get bored? It is clearly time for school to start. The problem is that I'm not ready for school to start - the school books are still in the storage unit. I have started giving the kids chores when they tell me they're bored, so I don't have to hear them complain too often, but they're clearly ready for some more structure to their days.

So, tomorrow we are going to the library to make sure we have the library books we need for Monday. Monday morning, we will start school, whether we have "school" books or not. Both kids have 4-H projects that need work, so that will keep us busy. I have decided to have L do a good bit of dictation this year to help with her writing - handwriting, punctuation, spelling, etc. I'll start with passages from her Harry Potter books and move to her "regular" school books when we get there. L also needs to work on her division facts, so we've got math to keep her busy. C is ready to work on subtraction facts. He also needs to learn to tell time and do clock math as well as a general review of time - from seconds up to centuries. I haven't had him tested for dyslexia yet, but I am going to get going with some multisensory reading and phonics work. I've found some free stuff on the internet that includes computer stuff as well as printouts for writing practice. I think this will keep them busy for a couple hours a day for the next week or two.

I have had a couple of bad headache weeks. In the midst of this, I am learning to have some backup dinner plans ready. I don't like to buy a lot of prepared food since I know how to and like to cook. But, I have decided that keeping some frozen pasta, chicken nuggets, barbeque beef, etc. around for P to cook if I'm not having a good day is a lot cheaper and makes for a happier family than always having sandwiches or cheap pizza. I'm also finding that taking a break in the middle of the afternoon helps with being able to cook dinner.

We are still unpacking boxes. This unpacking process is painfully slow. I'm hoping that we can get a good bit done this weekend. I'm more productive when P is home because we motivate each other. So, a couple more weeks, and we should have it all done . . . I hope . . . maybe . . .