Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chapter 27: The Summer in Casts

That summer I was determined to keep Kayda busy and out and about in the hopes that she’d sleep better. She never slept well but, it was always worse when she wasn’t going to school. So, I tried to take her on outings every other day; usually accompanied by her protests as she liked staying at home. We went all over the place; to various beaches, hikes in local parks, to a large Game Farm, to the Highland games and even to a concert with the Lipizzaner Stallions.

Kayda loved the Highland Games. We arrived around noon after a 45 minute drive. Remember Kayda had huge casts on both legs with a bar in between her legs; it was summer and it was hot. We wandered all over the grounds listening to the various groups playing. I noticed that every time she’d hear someone playing bagpipes she’d turn her head towards them and get this delighted look on her face. After a couple of hours there, I was concerned that Kayda needed a position change (I could change her diaper without too much trouble) and I knew I couldn’t put her on the ground and then pick her up again. So, I figured we should be heading home. Well, at that time various pipe bands were practicing to participate in the competitions. We’d listen to one band play, and then when they were finished, I’d say “ok we’re going now” and start to leave, then another band would start to play and Kayda’s face would light up and we’d have to go listen to that band. This went on for a couple of hours. This little girl who was supposed to be a “vegetable” and was in hot uncomfortable casts let me know in no uncertain way that she loved the bagpipes and wanted to hear as much as she could.

The highlight of the summer though was a trip to the interior of the province to stay in a cabin by a lake. The day of Kayda’s surgery my husband had arranged to sell his small sailboat to the family of one of Kayda’s classmates for a sum, plus a week at their cabin on this lake. I managed to find a teenager who was willing to come on our holiday with us to help with Kayda. She was the daughter of a lady I had worked with years earlier when I worked in a long term care facility for multiply challenged children and adults (where Dave currently worked).

Dave wanted to get the house painted before we left on our holidays so we agreed that Kayda, Melissa (our helper), our over active dog Pepe and myself would go up on the Saturday and then Dave would come by bus Monday night. We loaded everything into the van. As anyone with a child with special needs knows, going on a holiday with the child is no easy matter. No one suitcase per person trip at all. So, the van was VERY loaded. The trip itself wasn’t bad. It took us about 6 hours to get there. The cabin where we were staying was on a lake about 40 minutes off a main road. There were no businesses at all in the development where the cabin was. We arrived and located the cabin. I went and tried to unlock the door only to find that we had been given the wrong key!!!!!! Here we were, in the middle of nowhere, with a child in casts and multiple needs, a teenager I barely knew and our dog, and me all by ourselves. I called Dave, but he was no help really. I was picturing having to bang the door down or something. Finally Melissa found a tiny window that was open. She was small enough to crawl through it and was able to open the door. The keys for the door were sitting on the kitchen table; we had been given the keys to unlock the chain that was around the boats that were under the cabin.

We had a really good week, although Kayda objected to being away from home. She was only quiet and happy if she was inside the cabin, lying on the couch, playing with toys and listening to stories just like she did at home. Melissa and I took turns caring for her so we both got lots of sun tan and rest time. The cabin was right next to the lake which was really nice. The one time Kayda was happy outside was one night when Dave & Melissa took her and Pepe for a short ride in a row boat. It always felt good when we could do “normal” things with Kayda.

Throughout the summer, our social worker and I had been trying to contact the social worker who was Kayda’s legal guardian at the time to make sure that there was funding for physio for her after the casts came off. Not once, in all of the 3 ½ months that the casts were on, did this woman return our calls. This isn’t to say anything bad about the social worker. She was merely overwhelmed with her caseload.

We ended the summer with Kayda spending a week at Melissa’s home while Dave, my Mom who was visiting from Ottawa, and I went on a holiday. We had a good time away. The highlight of the trip for me was that Dave and I took a couple of days and went to the island where my Grandparents had had a summer home years earlier. I spent several whole summers there as a child and hadn’t been back in 30 years. It was so nice to see everything again. We even rented a row boat from the guest Farm where I had stayed as a six year old. Of course all the people I’d known were gone. We were constantly going on those 2 days as I wanted to see every single beach that I remembered going to. We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast not far from where my Grandparents had lived.

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