Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chapter 20: Kayda’s Summer

In the meantime, Kayda was healthy and very happy and loving life, and summer was coming. In May 2 of my brothers came for a visit. They lived some distance away so I didn’t see them often. My youngest brother was catching a plane home to Ottawa late on the Monday after the May long weekend. The Wednesday before, we drove to the interior to see my Grandmother. That was an interesting trip to say the least. We learned that you really should not try to drive the whole distance on one tank of gas. It was a 5 hour trip, much of it through and over mountain passes. Therefore gas stations were rare. When we got to the town where we could have filled up, the tank looked ok so we decided to keep going. The highway was basically a long uphill (about 40 kilometers) and then a long downhill the same length more or less. By the time we got to the top of the hill, the gas tank was on empty. I’m somewhat of a worrier and couldn’t keep my eyes off the gage and couldn’t figure out what we’d do if we ran out of gas. My brother drove so I could sit in the back with Miss Kayda who didn’t like sitting in her wheelchair during long drives. She preferred to sit on the seat with Mom next to her. I worried away. I don’t know how that changed things but, that’s just the way I am. Well, we made it but decided to go straight into town to get gas rather than going straight to my Grandmothers. When I phoned and told her we would be a late getting there, it turned out that she’d forgotten entirely that we were arriving that day. We were able to pick up some groceries for her any ways. Despite the rocky beginnings we did have a nice visit. Visits with my grandmother always involved shopping trips into nearby towns as she didn’t have a vehicle so didn’t get out that often. As I’m a “shopaholic” that was fine with me. However, Kayda hated shopping. She was ok if we kept moving but would holler very loudly whenever we stopped. Our plan had been to leave Sunday morning so that we’d be back at our place with a whole day to spare before my brother Sam had to catch his plane late Monday night. But, we didn’t talk to Kayda about our plans. Saturday evening as we were preparing for my dad and stepmother to come for a visit, Kayda started throwing up and throwing up and throwing up. It went on for hours. When I checked her temperature it was 38.6 (normal is 37). Finally I decided that she had to go to the hospital. They checked her out there. They used an ear thermometer and it said her temperature was fine so they sent us home. When we got back to my grandmothers’ she still felt warm so I checked her temp again (I did it rectally). It was still 38.6. She vomited a few more times during the night but then settled. In the morning I just debated and debated over the wisdom of making that 5 hour trip. She was still vomiting a bit, her temperature was still up and her breathing didn’t sound very good. I was afraid that she had aspirated. By about 10 I decided we couldn’t make the trip and that she really did need to be seen by the Doctor again. When we got to the Emergency Room, the Doctor who examined her said that she didn’t feel like she had a normal temperature as indicated by the ear one they used. Sure enough it was still 38.6. Kayda was also becoming very dehydrated. The decision was made to admit her overnight. Yikes!!!!! She did fairly well overnight and we were told she could be discharged as soon as the pediatrician had seen her. But, no one could tell me when she was expected to arrive. I phoned my brothers and asked them to pack up our stuff (have you ever had 2 bachelors pack for you?) and then come and get us at the hospital. The town where the hospital was was a half hour drive from my grandmothers. All day I waited and waited for the Doctor to arrive. I got tenser and tenser by the minute knowing how close we were getting to when my brothers’ plane would leave. Finally around 2 the pediatrician arrived and Kayda was discharged. What a drive home that was!!!! She still had a very high temperature and couldn’t tolerate formula. It was also very hot outside and we had no air conditioning. Apart from one stop for a meal (and to get gas before the next leg of the trip-we’d learned our lesson), we roared home. I believe we got home about 20 minutes before Stephen had to leave for the airport to catch his plane. This sort of event was quite typical of Miss Kayda. She liked to keep us all hopping. But, after that experience, I was no longer as scared about what I’d do if she got sick when we were away. I knew that other Doctors and emergency rooms could manage with her just fine. After that time, I made sure that Kayda’s temperature was always taken rectally as no other way was accurate. As Kayda was so healthy and aware at that time, I worked hard to make sure she had a happy busy summer. It was a very warm summer so we spent part of every day out in the little pool I had bought for her. She loved being in the water and splashing. She was able to float on her own in a life jacket that supported her head. She also went to a 4 day long day camp program in the town. Her aide from school went to camp with her. That was an ok experience but not great. The program was based in the curling rink and there wasn’t even any running water in the building. That’s no good for cleanliness purposes when you’re both changing diapers and tube feeding a child. The activities themselves too, just weren’t very adaptable for a child with Kayda’s limitations. But, she had fun most of the time. I did get called on the 2nd day saying she wasn’t seeming right. I got there, and as soon as she heard my voice she smiled and was very happy at home the rest of the day. The little imp!!!!! Remember, this is a child that was supposed to be totally unaware of her surroundings, never mind having separation anxiety or being manipulative. I was quite annoyed, as those 4 days of day camp were my only concentrated time to pack for our move. Packing seemed to take the whole summer with brief breaks for fun. We even managed to take Kayda to the local country fair and she went for a ride on the ferris wheel with Dave. The pictures I have of that show her “talking” away the whole ride. She was very vocal that day. The one difficulty of the summer was her sore hip. As time went on, she was uncomfortable sitting in her wheelchair for very long, so the only way I could feed her, was to sit her on my lap on the couch. She was a big girl so this wasn’t easy. I was having trouble at that time with sore shoulders and holding her and trying to keep her head from arching back for hours every day didn’t help. She didn’t mind the extra cuddle time at all though.

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