Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School

The first day of school for Neavey is like any other day of school. It goes a bit like this:
Neavey usually wakes up briefly between 6:30 and 7:30 am. I have been up for about an hour getting meds and breakfast and lunches prepared and or packed.
Keith gives Neavey her morning medication with a drink while I go back to the kitchen to finish packing his and her lunch kits.

After I've gotten myself partially together, Neavey gets her hair done and her teeth brushed.

Around 8:15 it's time to get in the wheelchair. If Keith is still home he does the lift and the placement in chair.Getting out the door , in the van and on our way...

On a good day we have arrived at school between 8:20 and 8:40am. Neavey and other kids in her class enter the school near her classroom where there is wheelchair access. The school has an intercom set up (much like a doorbell) for parents to buzz the office and then gain entry into the building via one of the classroom aides or the teacher. After Neavey is settled, and I've communicated any necessary info to the teacher, I'm off to the gym.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Neavey's Summer Boot Camp

8:00 am: After morning meds, Neavey watches some PBS

9:00 am: Time to get dressed, do some stretches and put on AFO's.

10:00 am: Neavey spends 30 minutes in her stander. She's watching Monsters Inc.

10: 50 am: Neavey holds office hours. Actually she sits in her tumble form chair with tray for 25 minutes and activates a variety of toys, while mama practices guitar.

These are just snapshots from a typical day at Mama Boot Camp. Boot Camp lasts from early July as summer school ends and goes well into August before school starts. There is a schedule and we stick to it! It's a challenge to keep Neavey alert, motivated and changing positions. Therapists encourage us to change her positioning every 30 minutes or so to keep her from developing ulcerations (bed sores). We work in 15 minute drink breaks, meals in a different chair, tooth brushing, floor time in which I assist her in sitting up on the floor and reaching for toys, wheelchair time around the house as I put away dishes or laundry, etc... Sometimes we plan a 20 minute field trip to Target, Kroger or some other nearby destination. Mostly this is to get out of the house briefly and into another air conditioned dwelling since it's so freakin' hot!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Playin' with Auntie Catlin

Catlin is one of Neavey's biggest fans.
I met Catlin in 2004 when I went back to classroom teaching
after a few years of training teachers. Catlin and I quickly realized our teaching styles
and philosophies complimented each other well and we started working very closely with our lesson planning, teaching etc... We quickly became good friends, not just because of all the "teacher" stuff, but because she really "got" Neavey. Lucky me, lucky Neavey! Catlin's history of working with cognitively and physically impaired kids through the YMCA system (Spokane, Washington) certainly provided her the background knowledge for being around Neavey. However, some people just "got the Neavey knack"...
And Auntie Catlin is KNACKED OUT!

Like Keith and I , Catlin doesn't have family in town. I think after she evacuated from Houston to Austin ( normally less than a three hour drive that took us 16 hours that day) with us during Hurricane Rita in 2005, Catlin truly became family. Although she is committed to spending time with the 4 of us as a family, she has a connection with Neavey independent of her relationship
with Keith and me. More times than I can count, Catlin has dropped everything in her personal and/or professional life when we have needed her help during a crisis with Neavey.

So, in May of 2007 when I was about to leave teaching again to be more available for Neavey, imagine my surprise (and utter dismay) to find out Catlin was planning to return to Washington to pursue her Master's degree. Fortunately, colleagues at Keith's work recognized Catlin's talent and strength in education and made her a job offer she could not refuse. Although I miss the days of our dynamic duo teaching at Scroggins Elementary, at least she's still a very regular presence in our life.
PS- Check out Catlin's blog "Pie of the Day"