Sunday, July 20, 2014

2 months on...

As I write, Chelsea is in hospital - her fourth hospital stay since the end of April.  Fortunately she is improving rapidly and the difference in her being since Thursday when we took her in is great.

Thank goodness.

On Thursday Chelsea was incredibly weak.  Her paleness was telling.  She had been violently sick over and over for a few days and suffered with dizziness whenever sitting up or standing.  With symptoms getting progressively worse, it was clear that anemia was playing a part again, but we knew the Ulcerative Colitis (diagnosis is currently under review and it may be put down as Crohn's Disease) was the culprit.  A quick check over at the Doctors surgery and straight to hospital we went.  We were expecting it.  The hospital bag was already packed.  I knew things were really bad when Chelsea agreed to me getting a wheelchair for her as she struggled to walk the few yards to the hospital entrance.  Her heart rate was 140 (rising to 190 at one point) at rest, her blood pressure was low, her weight had plummeted to 42kg and her bloods were showing at 81.  Just two weeks previous she had been taken in with bloods at 61 and given a 4 unit transfusion where they had then increased to 118.  Things shouldn't have gotten so bad in such a short period of time.  It didn't take a genius to know that it was down to unseen internal bleeding.

Another 4 unit transfusion, more intravenous steroids, constant fluids for dehydration, and a very expensive 'wonder drug' later and she is transformed into her bright sparkly eyed self again.  I have just returned from visiting her and my heart is being allowed to sing once more.  She is ok.  She has an endoscopy and a colonoscopy booked for tomorrow afternoon and depending on the results of those procedures she may be allowed home afterwards.  I can't wait to have our family unit complete at home once more.

I can't believe it's been over 2 months since my last posting.  Life has been hectic - not always good but also with blessings that must be counted.   We have been trundling along as best we can, often remaining close to home because of Chelsea's health worries, but we have managed a couple of home-ed group meets, including a forest walk and a beach trip.   Sport fever took over the house with Wimbledon and the World Cup being watched daily when available, Callum (who turned 9 at the end of June) in particular totally adored the football and followed it passionately.  He engrossed himself in everything from the team tactics, country flags, and geographic locations.  Hours were spent pouring over atlas maps and flag books.  He talked about them, drew them, and told 3 year old Taisia all about them.  It was great to watch such enthusiasm take hold and the football passion has progressed onto wanting to play - he practices his 'skills' daily, often badgering one or more of his siblings to join in.

With all that has been going on, it has been almost easy to forget we also have animals to look after and a smallholding to run.  Lee (husband) has been keeping himself busy with managing the land somewhat.  We now have a field that actually resembles a field!


The field is where we keep our three gorgeous goats and is also part of the land that the chickens are able to free range.  We hope to section it off so the goats graze a large piece (that will be rotated for rest) and part will be for growing a bit of veg again - we have been very lazy in that department this year, best intentions and all that.  Our animal count currently stands at 8 chickens (one disappeared, fate unknown *sad face*), 5 runner ducks, 2 goslings (biggggg goslings now!), 2 cats (Jasper has completely vanished.  No sign of him anywhere *sob* ), 3 goats, 2 guinea pigs, 1 rabbit, 1 dog, and 3 little fish.  Once Chelsea's health has improved for some time we shall look into the possibility of renting a bit of land and hope to get a pony or two (yes, still have that longing!) and maybe a couple of alpacas as I have a real soft spot for them.  We are still loving our countryside dream and although at times it hasn't been quite as envisaged, we wouldn't swap our lives for anything.

Taisia is enjoying being able to roam around the field without risking nettle stings...



It doesn't stop her being a cheeky monkey though...


Amara is now 9 months old and gorgeous of course.



She is finding life far more fun now that she can sit unaided and crawl around.  There are many adventures to be had you know!  Oh how she runs me ragged!   She is now at the 'attempt to stand using any surface to pull up' stage which is, erm, interesting for the rest of us.

I have had to put my painting exploits on hold for a while as finding time for sketching, planning, painting numerous layers (allowing each to dry where appropriate), washing all of the tools and sourcing materials just far too time consuming.  Chelsea and Joseph used to take it in turns to watch Amara and Taisia for me for a couple of hours in the afternoon or evening allowing me to get on and paint, but Chelsea hasn't been well enough for baby watching for a long while.   Instead for my creative sanity I've turned to sewing.  I find it a lot easier to fit around little ones.   I don't have to worry about teeny fingers wanting to play with glue and paint, brushes being ruined due to lack of cleaning care when littlies wake up needing their mama, or continuously finding I've ran out of a paint colour due to over zealous small people squeezing the bottles and tubes too hard.  Instead I can design or cut out pattern pieces when tiny ones are sleeping at night time and return to sewing them throughout the day as and when I get the opportunity.  Much easier, and the bonus is that I can make useful stuff!  

Here are a few of my makes...


Our Father's Day gift for Lee.  A handprint from each child.


A skirt for Taisia...


She loves it because it's so 'twirly' when she spins :)


and a dress for Amara...


I am thoroughly enjoying building up my sewing skills and have soooo many clothing items I want to make for the children (and eventually for me!).

In the next few weeks we shall be attempting to structure our days loosely to ensure everyone has their needs met with ease.  So much has fallen by the wayside as we try to fit in hospital appointments and doctors visits that I really think we need a plan.  Having had a sit down and natter with the children they seem to agree and so we will be seeing how we can get time to work better for us so we are able to do all that is desired within a week.






Sunday, May 04, 2014

Getting there...

This week certainly feels as if we are getting back to normality - whatever normality looks like in any home-educating family, let alone this one!

Chelsea has been doing ok at home.  She has had an appointment at the Doctors where blood tests were taken for further analysis.  A little weight has been gained and on the whole all was good.   We think that mushrooms may be the first trigger that we have come across thus far as Chelsea had incredible stomach pains after eating some.  The poor love was in a lot of pain.  She has also been experiences sensory hallucinations - one where she thought she was actually swimming and another when she believed she was in a bubble - side effects of the medication unfortunately.  We have a hospital appointment with the consultant booked for the 15th and an appointment with the dietitian booked also.

Callum has been spending a great deal of time looking through our Atlas collection and learning where various countries are placed in relation to one another.  He has also been fascinated by the flags and can identify far more than I can.  He asked if I could print out a flag outline for him to copy some of the designs as he wants to hang them up.


Those beautiful flowers were sent by a lovely lady and are now fully in bloom.  They make me smile every time I pass them.

We have planted more seeds and reluctantly purchased more after our first ones perished due to the shelf collapsing in the awful storms.  Our runner beans are the first to sprout, the children are so very excited - I do love their enthusiasm for all things outdoors.

Speaking of outdoors - Lee has made a start on building a small treehouse in the back field.  It was going to be just a platform with a rail at the edges to prevent topsy turvy downfalls, but Taisia has other ideas that we discovered when she started planning the curtains and colour of the door.  It seems that Lee has a much bigger job on his hands than he first envisaged!


It has been a good project for Joseph to be involved with and he has been helping out with the measurements, wood sawing, and hammering! 


A certain little lady was very excited...



Here she is testing it out for the first time....oooh, I'm high up aren't I?!


We have a few new additions to share with you in the form of two gorgeous ducklings...


and two goslings...


All four are incredibly people friendly but the goslings are just adorable, always seeking out human companionship for chatter and cuddles...


They are under heat at the moment as they are such littlies, but we very much look forward to watching them grow.

In other news I have been working on some resources , including a selection of topic 'springboard' boxes.  Each box will contain a variety of items including printed matter and relevant display items.  I have had an idea of doing this for a long while and now the imposed home time due to Chelsea's recovery has given me a kick up the bum to put the idea into action.  I'm really enjoying the process although putting something together for mixed ages can be a bit of a battle.  I'm currently putting together a "Weather" box and one about "Butterflies" and my children are enjoying looking at what is being created.  I'll explain more about the boxes with photos at a later date, hopefully very soon!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Whirlwind coming through...

Yesterday was certainly interesting.

Taisia was in whirlwind mode and quite seriously we have never ever seen anything quite like it.

She rushed from room to room, garden to house and back again, causing as much disruption and chaos as she could possibly manage.

Cupboards were climbed upon or emptied, CDs were found and strewn, board game and puzzle boxes were tipped upside and pieces thrown, toys were scattered, clothing misplaced, foods hidden, plug sockets attempted to be played with, the rabbit was let out his run, the chicken food mixed with water, dialling out on the phone,  oh the list goes on and on.

Taisia is usually a fiercely independent three year old, of that there is no doubt.  She is feisty, strong-willed and energetic, and we love her for that.  But she is usually safe and trustworthy, knowing right from wrong and most definitely aware that dangerous exploits are a no no.  I can normally trust her implicitly, and although of course she is under a watchful eye as any 3 year old should be, she is allowed a great deal of freedom.   She would never normally touch the animals housing or their food without having someone with her to help, it's just how she is and how things have always been done.   Yesterday though she was just off the scale.  In 18 years of parenting I can quite honestly say that I have never witnessed anything quite like it.

Numerous times throughout the day she attempted to cook.  The first time she wished to make egg surprise (?) and cracked a couple of eggs into a bowl (shell and all), mixed in various sauces and seasoning and popped it in the oven.  I promised her that when I had settled Amara after her feed we would bake some cakes and biscuits.

Taisia went out to the garden to join Callum and I could hear her playing happy role-play games with him so was reassured all was okay.  A short while later I heard the rustling of wrappers and I went into the kitchen to see what was going on, carrying a very tired and wanting to sleep bubba with me as she hadn't quite settled.

Apparently she was making a cake...


There were more eggs on the kitchen surfaces.  She had mixed brown sugar, flour, icing gels and eggs into the most scrumptiously sticky gloopy mess.

She thought it was hilarious!


Bless her.

We are not the kind of parents who get angry at such antics, probably because they are such a very rare occurrence!  We may give a sigh at the extra cleaning up that needs to be done, but we know it is a valuable part of childhood experimentation, learning, and play.  I watched as she rubbed and squeezed her hands in the gloopy mixture and allowed it to run through her fingers.  She liked the texture, she liked the feel of it, she described the roughness of the sugar and the softness of the egg.

That said, I do hope she doesn't make it a habit that is repeated too often though!

We sat and thought if there could be a trigger for the whirlwind that had been unleashed within our four walls.  We discussed things like boredom, lack of exercise, sleep issues, and food.  We thought about what she had eaten recently that was unusual for her and the one thing that stood out as something Taisia had never had before - a Chupa Chup lollipop!  After a little internet peeking, it appears that if that was the trigger for Taisia, she isn't alone.  There are many people speaking of more hyper than usual children after having such a treat.  Actually today, we went to the supermarket and overheard two children asking their mama for a Chupa lolly.  Her response (to the boy) was "Can you remember the last time you had one of those?  You were bouncing off the walls!"

It sounded mightily familiar.

I am very happy to report that normal service has been resumed here in the Pollard household.  Taisia is back to her calmer more approachable self, which was just as well as she had her first Ballet class at a new dance school this morning.  

After the disaster that was Tuesday's experience (for me, not for Taisia, she enjoyed herself muchly), we heard from a very lovely lady about a Saturday morning dance school in the town.  I figured that one may suit us better.  For one, people would be coming from a variety of local areas as they didn't have to worry about being on time to a class straight after school.  I hoped this would mean it didn't feel so cliquey.  I also thought that the parents would be less 'school' orientated at that time as they wouldn't be sat their with children in school uniform going through homework diaries and spelling test lists.

I was right.

Immediately it felt better.  It felt more organised, professional and comfortable.

There was a huge room with tables and chairs to sit at, no pressure to sit in a small enclosed space with few chairs.  I actually spoke to a few of the parents and didn't feel out of my comfort zone at all. It all felt a lot calmer, and the children seemed calmer.  I wondered if it was because on Tuesday most of the pupils had come straight from being at school and they wanted to let off a bit of steam - it got a bit noisy and frantic at times, particularly in the waiting area.

I was welcome to watch the class (unlike on Tuesday) and did so, although Taisia didn't need me to stay with her.  I wanted to see how the teacher interacted with the children, what sort of things they did and if I thought it was suitable for Taisia.

It was and she loved it.  So much so that we have ordered the 'kit' and will be paying for a term next week.

The ladies at the desk were lovely and very helpful when at the end I wanted to order the dance uniform.  We are now the proud owners of a leotard with fitted skirt and are awaiting an order of cardigan, ballet shoes, and tights.  A bonus is that the 'uniform' for this school is bought from a cheaper place than the other class, we were able to get the cross-over cardigan included for the same price as it would have been without.

I'm so so glad that the utterly lovely JC told me about the Saturday classes and that I had enough courage to give it a go again.  I'm also mightily happy that Taisia wanted to try it too.  At first she was rather adamant that she liked the first class and didn't need to try another.  It was really touch and go right until this morning but she said she wanted to go dancing when she woke.   Taisia is the first of my girls to show an interest in learning how to dance outside of our home.  It so reminds me of my old dancing days.  I started at around 3 years of age too and gradually took on more classes.  I studied tap, ballet, modern, gymnastics, and jazz.  I enjoyed it a lot, and got on quite well with the other girls so it was a nice social time too, particularly whilst waiting in-between lessons.   I gave it all up when we moved down to Devon and I wanted to devote my time to horses - dancing went out of the window and every spare minute was spent at the stables.  I loved that too but am sometimes tinged with a little sadness that I didn't carry on with the dancing exploits.  I'm left with albums filled with exam certifications and competition medals and of course nice memories (I can still remember many of my old routines!)

Hmm, not a much else to report really.

The rest of today was spent buying animal feed, nipping to the supermarket, and attempting to rescue the trays of planted seeds after the shelving collapsed - we failed and need to purchase more seeds to plant again.  Frustrating both time and money wise.

I sat and did a bit of a 'work' with Taisia at her request after dinner.  We had spotted a couple of early learning books from the supermarket and this evening she enjoyed sitting with me and doing a few pages.   She was very proud that she was doing 'work' and made sure each of us knew about it.   We looked at the first 5 letters of the alphabet, identifying them, looking for differences in shape and their sounds.  We talked about the differences between the letters d and b and suggested words that began with each.  We searched around the room for items that began with those letters and Taisia attempted to draw them.  We could only finish the session when I agreed we would do more tomorrow - Taisia wanted to continue but it was getting late and I confess I was struggling.

Chelsea has been sleeping a lot which isn't a bad thing.  She has also been eating a lot which definitely isn't a bad thing.  Her appetite is certainly a healthy one and she is often heard to be saying that she is hungry.  She has been well and truly spoilt with a range of gifts from gorgeously fabulous friends, most of which we have never met in person.

We all feel incredibly grateful and blessed.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making a start...

I can't begin to tell you how good it was to know that Chelsea was safely tucked up in her own bed here at home last night.  Once again our family was back together again and the house lost that something missing feeling.

Bliss.

My morning started with Taisia waking and getting into bed with me (her bed is right next to mine).  We chattered about the sunshine and the blue skies, watched the birds fly past the attic windows and discussed our plans for today.  Our talk went something like this...

Me: "Oooh, what shall we do today? Maybe we could plant some seeds? Or we could bake some cakes? Or we could read some stories together?"

Taisia: "Well, erm, yes. You can do all of those mama. And I can just do my own things!"

It made me think about what she would be like in a school environment, being told where to be and what to do throughout the day.  It would take a lot for me to exchange her current lifestyle into a school attending one.

I just love the fact that she knows she can do her own thing and is confident enough to say as much.  I was never like that as a child.

Of course the morning chores were the first on the to-do list.  Everyone needed to be let out, checked over, fed, and watered.  It is all the more pleasant soaking up the fresh air when the sun is shining, even the animals seem in a happier place.

After breakfast Taisia decided he wanted to make a start on a few puzzles.  First there was the alphabet one...


Followed quickly by the Gruffalo and a shopping one.  The shopping puzzle was a Poundshop bargain; you put the pieces together and then have characters to use for a role play type game.

Meanwhile Joseph and I discussed what's going on in the news.  We talked about the Russia / Ukraine situation and the awful ferry tragedy.  We spoke about the Madeleine McCann latest and decided we don't believe anything that the newspapers report regarding that case any more.  Joe is really interested in what's going on around the world.  He is really clued up on things, researching every story and is my go to when I need to know about in more detail.  Callum overheard us and went over to the globe to search for Russia and Ukraine, we then talked about Crimea and the recent situation over there.  This led to laws and who makes them, our politicians and political stances and the up and coming local elections.

As the sun was shining we headed out of doors.  Chelsea managed to join us for a little while, dressed in pyjamas and dressing gown bless her.


She has spent quite a bit of her time today feeling really tired.  Fortunately at home she can fall asleep and not get awoken by nurses asking a question or needing to carry out some sort of check.  In hospital she had cannula changes in the early hours, weight checks at 3am or 4am and random questions about her eating and toilet habits before dawn broke.  At home she can just sleep and get as much as she and her body needs.

Meanwhile the rest of us toiled until we ached!

We planted seeds...


Radishes, tomatoes, runner beans and carrots today.

We also upgraded our fruit bushes to larger pots...


Redcurrants, Gooseberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries so far.

and we chatted as we dug out the weeds and nettles (I'm annoyed at myself for leaving it to get so overgrown again!)


Callum ensured we were all kept safe and that dragons were kept at bay (thanks to the recent St George and the Dragon stories)...


whilst clearly little miss flowerpot in the background was doing the same!

We also fed treats to rabbits and guinea pigs...


looked beautiful as we pondered...


and I felt a rush of anticipation as I stood back to see what will become the start of this years growth...


Normality.

Blissful normality.

I embrace you with all my might. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's a smiley one today!

I'm happy to report that today was a much better day.  I took the pressure right off myself and just pottered around doing necessary bits and pieces - laundry, tidying, child cuddling and lots of question answering!

After breakfast we sat down to watch "The Wonder of Bees" on IPlayer.  It was on yesterday, on BBC4 but is now available to watch on demand.  It was a really interesting programme and I think I may well watch it again without the little people as they asked a lot of questions throughout - great for their learning and our home-education of course, not so great for mama who likes to concentrate.  Bee keeping is something we have thought about doing ourselves but we have so much to learn first.

Once that programmed had finished we watched one called  Deadliest Volcanoes.  I had recorded it the other night as I knew Callum and Tiegan would be interested in viewing it.  I think it has encouraged Callum to do a project on Volcanoes and their effects throughout history so we shall be looking at things in more detail.

Once the TV viewings were over, all of the children headed off to do their own thing.  Callum and Taisia played outside for a while - they are absolutely loving their time in the fresh air and sunshine.  They both checked on the plants in our little greenhouse, and played numerous role playing games.  I believe one involved Taisia getting married, bless her.

Tiegan was researching various things online, and Joseph was looking at World War 1 history.

After lunch we did a bit of tidying and I did the laundry.  I had reached the bottom of the washing basket and had that self satisfying smug feeling - for all of five minutes until it was half filled again by little people.

During our clean up Amara slept and Taisia played with our new counting frame...



I ordered it from Zulily while ago and had forgotten about it to be honest.  I love their prices but have to be patient as their delivery times can be quite long.

Then we lost her.

We looked outside and in, upstairs and down, checked cupboards and under tables.  Then we found her...


I sometimes forget how young she is, bless her.

Later on she sat with her baby sister and read her a book (by making up her own story using the pictures as a guide).  I missed taking a picture of the reading part, but this one made me smile....


The best part of the day came when I collected my daughter from hospital and drove her HOME.

Yes, Chelsea is back home with us for the foreseeable future as long as her health allows.  She has a check up with the hospital consultant in two weeks time, and she has to go to see her own GP in the next week.  He will take more samples for testing.

Her blood count is still low at 79 (but a big improvement on the 35!) and her weight still sits at 6 stone. She has been prescribed build-up shakes and has to take 10 tablets a day plus a sachet of powder.  She remains officially anaemic and is very pale in colouration, but the passing of blood has ceased and two doctors gave the ok for her to recuperate at home.  They know that she has her mama here to be at her absolute beck and call.  Apparently Chelsea had had a really bad night and we almost got a phone call at 3am from the nurses due to them being worried about her.  She was extremely tearful due to insomnia (a side-effect of the medication) and I think it all just got too much for her to deal with.  She feels so tired, so weak, and very frustrated.

But she is now home.  We can start the road of recuperation.  We need to take it one day at a time.  Medication needs to be finalised and dosage calculated, a diet diary needs to be kept in case of any obvious triggers, weight needs to be regained, and stamina needs to be increased.

It is certainly a long and uncertain road ahead, but we will face whatever comes our way.

Hopefully this time she will be home for good and we won't have any more unexpected stay-ins.  I also hope we can get back into a routine, as we have become so up in the air of late.  I am craving a little more structure to our days.  I am also hoping that things will calm down for me - 2 periods in 3 weeks a happy mama does not make.  I'm guessing it is stress-related.  I also need to start taking my migraine medication again, I have learnt that I just can't cope without it.  Would love to find something natural and not costly instead.

I apologise that this blog appears to be taken over by hospital chat and medical hoo-ha.  For those tuning in to read about home-education you may well be disappointed.  Rest assured I have lots of plans for our home-education throughout the coming year and beyond and will be sharing all right here.

Meanwhile, I'd better nip off and feed this little one before there is no little one left to feed....


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not the easiest...

Today has been a tough one, I'm not going to lie.

I want to share everything on this blog; the good, the bad and the ugly so to speak.  Life isn't all wonderful and rosy all of the time, and as hard as I try, I can't be upbeat and positive every minute of the day.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm drowning in life if that makes any sense.   I'm getting lost in all that needs to be done and all that I feel I need to get done.  I'm trying to be kind myself, to cut myself some slack, but I have minutes throughout the day when I feel as if I am struggling to keep my head above water.

Today I had a loose plan of which direction I wanted to be headed in.  I don't do anything set in stone and am always up for a bit of shufflement, but I really wanted to clean, tidy and rearrange the kitchen.  Don't ask my why it felt important, I don't know.  I just yearned to do it - maybe to add a bit of back down to earth normality perhaps?  Things have really been allowed to let slide here and I don't like it.

Amara however wanted cuddles.  She was tired, niggly, and fluctuated between smiles and tears at 5 second intervals.  My heart was there for cuddles.  My heart was saying it's ok, the kitchen can wait. Baby needs are more important.  But my head was screaming "you need to clean!!  You haven't done a good clean recently and it needs to be done!!"

Bizarre really as I would be the first to tell anyone that children come before a clean home!

A compromise was met when I managed to clean and rearrange half of the kitchen in the time I had whilst Amara finally slept.

Taisia was due to take her first ever Ballet dance class this afternoon.   She was sooooo excited.  Ever since she watched Angelina Ballerina for the first time a year or so ago she has been hooked on dancing.  She twirls, she sings, she skips and jumps, she puts her legs in the air at all sorts of strange angles thinking she resembles some sort of graceful prima ballerina.  She reminds me so much of myself when I was her age.

We arrived at the leisure centre and walked in, having to ask directions to the class as I've never stepped foot in the centre before.  It has a pool.  I think we need to re-visit.

As we stood awkwardly at the side of the room used for changing, I felt so uncomfortable.

For once I wished I didn't have bright pink hair so I could just blend in a little with the blondes and brunettes.

I also wished that we were a typical school-going family.

I felt so out of my comfort zone.  It was horrid.

All of the children knew one another.  All the mums knew one another.  Even the first time attendees knew people there from toddler groups and the school gates.  As they happily chattered, Taisia and I stood and squirmed.  My body screamed turn and run, turn and run, but my daughter wants to learn to dance, I have to facilitate that.

We stayed put and breathed deep.

Whilst Taisia went into the class, I sat in the next room and hoped she was ok.  She had been happy for me to leave her (I was secretly hoping she would ask me to stay).

Again I was like a fish out of water.

I was sat in a room with parents of school-going children all chatting about various classes, teachers, subject matter, and lunch boxes.  One parent was talking about undergoing teacher training.  I really felt uncomfortable and was counting down the minutes until the class ended.  I thought about going to sit in the car to wait, but couldn't bear the thought of Taisia feeling abandoned if they couldn't find me in case of need.

It was quite possibly the longest 25 minutes of my life.

It was certainly the most uncomfortable 25 minutes of my life.

In 11 years of home-educating, I don't think I've ever really felt that way.  When Joseph went to Cubs, I felt totally at ease with the parents as we waited to collect our children.  I guess it wasn't so pressured as we all waited outside, we didn't have four walls enclosing us.

Here parents sat with older children and did spelling test practice and looked through homework diaries.  Children were quizzed on their knowledge of this and that and instructions were given on what they were to do when they got home.  I couldn't help but think that if I had been in a 'place of learning,' following instructions and doing as I was told for much of my day, followed by going to a dance class to 'learn,' following instructions and doing as I was told, the absolute last thing I would want to do when I got home is more 'learning' and following instructions and doing as I was told.

It baffles me.  I guess it is so far away from what I think 'learning' is all about that I can't quite get my head around all of the instructions and must do's.

I wish I had taken my knitting.

Taisia came out of the class and exclaimed that she had enjoyed it so I guess that is my Tuesday afternoons sorted from now on.  Better suck it up.

Maybe I'll take Amara next time.  Nothing quite as good a distraction as a young baby.

Once dancing had finished we headed over to the hospital to see Chelsea.  Later than usual as she had been told at around noon that she would probably be able to come home today.  She was so excited, she just want out of that place.

We arrived at the hospital bang on patient meal time so we went for a cuppa in the cafe not wanting to disturb.  At 5.30 we headed down to Chelsea's ward and instead of being greeted by the usual smiling happy face, we were witness to teary eyes.  I knew what that meant, it meant no home today.  My poor girl.

Apparently the blood test results had come back and shown slight abnormalities.  Her heart rate had also gone back up to 140 at rest, although at times it appears at 108.  They wanted her to stay in for another day and receive another bout of intravenous medication.

For the first time in this whole chapter I watched Chelsea crumble.  The tears flowed.  She looked so tired.  One medication is causing insomnia and another is causing mood swings, the combination means an almost unrecognisable daughter.  We hugged.  We hugged.  We hugged.

We both know that she needs to be there, Chelsea herself acknowledged she is in the right place to sort out the internal stuff, but after the dangling carrot of home calling all day, she found it difficult to hold it together when it was pulled away.  She snapped replies at my words and turned away.  Angry, confused, and sad.  Just so so sad.

After a while she apologised.  I said no apology was necessary.  I understood.

We hugged some more.

Walking away that evening and leaving her in that bed was the most heart-wrenching thing I have ever had the displeasure to do.

As Taisia and I made the walk back to the main entrance I thought what I could do to make this 'one more night' a little easier.  I hunted down a TV rental card machine (the one in the main entrance wasn't working so we had to traipse around corridors and wards we had yet had the pleasure to tread), and bought a one day ticket.  We took the card to Chelsea and set it up for her.  Her face when she saw she had over 50 films to choose from was a picture.  On the first screen was The Hobbit - her night was sorted!

I left feeling a little better that the purchase had made a difference.  I had thought the prices were high and hadn't wanted to support such a scheme, but whatever makes Chelsea's stay that little bit better.

We are hopeful that she will be able to come home tomorrow.  Then it will be outpatient visits - the first at two weeks I think.  It will be a long road to recovery.  Weight needs to be regained, energy and stamina levels need to increase, medication needs to be sorted and dosage played around with.  But she will be home.  Home where she can eat to her hearts content, ask for any food she wants instead of choosing one from a list, and sleep in her own bed.

And cuddle cats, she can cuddle cats...


Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Meanderings...

It's been a beautifully sunny day here in Devon.  It started off a little dull and I was unsure as to what the weather would develop into, but by the afternoon the skies were blue and the warm stuff was basking our faces once more.

Bliss.

Unfortunately, my day didn't start off too well.

I had been up a few times in the night with sickness and generally feeling yuck.  I developed a migraine and I'm positive I had a couple of small people drilling and hammering in my head for a while.  Oh the pain!  I tried so desperately to sleep as tiredness makes my symptoms so much worse, but it was a struggle - not aided by the youngest family member deciding to cry and cry and cry - why I don't know, she usually sleeps through the night.

She eventually settled.

I lay and closed my eyes, unable to sleep but the darkness and quiet eased my suffering.

My morning routine went out the window.  Fortunately Lee was off work so he picked up my slack.  He also repaired guttering and sorted out the bins - he's good like that.

I really really wanted to be well enough to go and visit Chelsea in hospital.  Lee offered to go alone with a couple of the children but I so wanted to see her myself.  We had promised her a walk to the hospital cafe if she was up to it and not needed by the staff.  I know it sounds such a silly thing to most, but it is a big thing for Chelsea who has not been able to leave the ward.  I wanted to see her face as she took a sip of a hot-chocolate and watch her savour whatever food she chose to feast upon.  I wanted to see her eat.  Not just eat, but to enjoy food as she always did pre-hospital adventure.

So determined to be there, I slept.

I slept until just after 11am and when I woke I felt a little better - not totally better, but improved.

We set off for the hospital, Tiegan and Taisia in tow, packed with sandwiches, fruit, and yoghurt for Chelsea to snack on at leisure.   It's also a back up plan for the times when her meals get forgotten.  Twice she has had to remind staff that she hasn't had her dinner.  Once the lady in the next bed was missed, and once the lady opposite was forgotten.  Really?  Goodness, there are only 5 people in her section of the ward.  The staff keep forgetting to weigh her daily (due to extreme weight loss), and they have even forgotten her medication - she is constantly having to ask, bother and demand!

On arrival, Chelsea was looking at a pile of books that the oh so wonderful Luisa Plaja took in to her last night.  Chelsea has known Luisa for a few years now and thinks very highly of her.  As ever, Luisa has been very kind and thoughtful, it really brightened up Chelsea's stay.

We did make it down to the cafe.  It wasn't long since lunch time for Chelsea so she wasn't too hungry but she did manage to ingest most of a toasted sandwich and all of a hot choc.  Taisia managed custard (she did have apple crumble with it but preferred just the custard), to finish off Chelsea's sandwich and eat half of my chocolate cake - I think she only goes to the hospital for the food and drink bless her, at least it is nice unlike what much is given to the patients.  It helps to have a cuppa or a cake when you are waiting around.

Chelsea's heart rate at rest is 108 - still too high, but a lot lower than it was (it was around 140-150).  They are trying to find the cause but are baffled. She had a heart scan that appeared to show nothing but as the heart was beating so fast it apparently caused blurriness so it isn't all that clear.  Her temperature is normal now so that's wonderful.  Other than that, there is nothing to report.  They haven't done any more blood tests as yet and many of the consultants have been on their Easter break.  Someone will be talking to Chelsea tomorrow and getting her up to speed with any news.

We came home and I promptly fell asleep again - as did Amara.  When I awoke I discovered that everyone else had been busy.




The gang started to build a pond.

This was a job that has been on the must do list for many many months.  We had gotten all of the necessary bits and pieces, but finding the time that coincided with decent weather and dry ground was impossible.  Finally yesterday was the day and boy oh boy were the ducks ever so grateful...



It's not fully completed yet, but it is almost filled with water so the ducks are very happy.

Up until now they have had an old water tank to splash in although they were often seen to be ducking themselves in the water bowls instead.  The tank wasn't really big enough for a good ol' swim about so they think they are in heaven now.  I'm so glad we have been able to offer the pond to them, it will really enrich their days.

In between pond building work, there was a lot of tree climbing...




Chewing...


Resting...


and bird watching...


Tomorrow I am having a cleaning morning, trying to get on top of all the jobs that have been rather neglected since the to-ing and fro-ing from hospital.  Then hospital visiting followed by a first dance class for Taisia - she is sooooo excited!