Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 4: The Battle Begins

After 3 weeks the Foster Family Kayda lived with returned. They had been told that a permanent home was being sought for her as there were 2 near adult children in this foster home and the mother was older. But...only a couple of months earlier the social worker had the foster mom sign a 1 year contract for her care. So, when they came back and were told that not only had a home been found for Kayda but that we had already met her and had finished-more or less-our training to care for her, they were not happy! We had a couple of team meetings in their home. Kayda was always sitting by herself in her chair in a room. The foster mom wasn’t letting anyone take “her” girl if she didn’t think they could care for her. It was decided that Kayda would stay in the foster home one more month so that I could become more familiar with her day to day care. I resigned from my job as a preschool teacher at the end of June and looked forward to bringing Kayda home at the end of July. I went frequently to her foster home to be trained by the foster mom. That was when I learned there were many problems there. The foster mom was convinced Kayda was being taken away from her because she refused to carry a letter with her stating that Kayda was a “no code”. She didn’t realize that the way she was suctioning her was felt to be a major risk and a major factor in all of the pneumonias she’d had over the last few months. Or, the fact that with 2 other multiply handicapped children, there was no one to stay with Kayda when she was in hospital and that the intense care she needed wasn’t possible. But, the foster mom was supposed to train me. The hardest thing was the suctioning as I’d already been trained and passed on the correct method. The foster mom basically went into Kayda’s mouth and used the entire length of the suction catheter. She most likely was getting into her stomach, drawing up stomach contents, and depositing them in her lungs. I remember one day when I wasn’t going deep enough for her and she grabbed the suction catheter from my hand and shoved it down. Poor Kayda. We later learned too that she wasn’t administering Kayda’s asthma medication properly. One day when Kayda came to our house for a visit the foster mom picked her up. A few days later we were informed by Karen that we had to have an assessment done on our house as the foster mom complained that it wasn’t suitable for Kayda. We lived in a small, older house that was below sea level and therefore somewhat damp. This was the first of several such demands by the foster mom. Near the end of July it was time for Kayda to come for a weekend visit. At that time Kayda was always congested and was receiving Ventolin via a nebulizer 4-6 times a day. The foster mom had sent me three vials of Ventolin only. She was also fed via pump slowly several times a day. The feeding pump was bought as a way to prevent further aspiration. The foster mom dropped her off. After a short while, her feeding pump started beeping “low bat”. I hunted through her stuff and low and behold no battery charger! So, on a hot day in July I had to pack Kayda up in our tiny car and go to the foster home to get it. That may not sound like a big deal, however it involved going on a tiny ferry with over an hour line up each way with no air conditioning. I had to stop several times to suction Kayda. Things went ok overnight. It was so nice having her there. Mid afternoon on Saturday I used up the last Ventolin. Kayda got increasingly gurgly and wheezy. I just didn’t know what to do and without the Ventolin my hands were tied. So, in the early evening I had to phone the foster mom. She said she was coming to get her. While I waited I laid Kayda down on a mat. By the time she arrived Kayda’s breathing was much better. I commented on that to the foster mom and she said “she’s always better when lying down”. In my head I wondered why Kayda was in her chair all day? On Monday I learned that the foster mom had phoned the social worker and told her that we weren’t competent enough to care for Kayda. No one would be competent if they weren’t given adequate equipment or medications. Despite this, plans went ahead for us to bring Kayda home for good on the Friday.

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