Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

I am going to say it early - 3 days early - Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Since St. Patty's day this year is on a Thursday, we celebrated this past Saturday the 12th of March in the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Gateway in Salt Lake City, Utah. For some pictures follow this link.

We walked with the Utah Food Allergy Network (UFAN). Kabaju is of course our juggler, everybody loved him. I and another UFAN member got to hold the sign. We had a blast! It was a long parade and our first time going. Seems we end up in the parades lately rather than being spectators.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



I am doing this separate post since it is a separate topic, and the other post was already long enough.

After living with knowing what my real food allergies are for 3 years, I have finally owned up to a big fear of mine.

I now own EpiPens (with a training device). That's right... I suffer from Needlephobia.

I have had this phobia for as long as I can remember. Added to that, no matter how well I can focus on something, anything else, even talking to the other people in the room (myself & the nurse/phlebotimist or my husband) I can still feel everything from them rubbing the cool alcohol swab, to them poking at my veins (which still tends to cause minor anxiety), to putting the "butterfly" around my arm to the final moment of the "prick" of the needle, and all the while, feeling the vein that is losing blood, to the blood flowing out into the little tube - to the final removal and relief of having the needle removed. Then the aftermath minor pain, the minor bruising of where they stuck me. I have learned to tell them that my veins roll, otherwise, they tend to miss, which causes me to escalate from anxiety to panic mode - not to mention the physical pain. At this point, hopefully I have not seen the needle... because I don't need that on top of cold shock. Yes, I have gone into cold shock when people have missed and have had to try again. Yes, I have had veins collapse - that really hurts and guarantees cold shock.

The typical blood drawing for testing, I have been able to do alone, because I have been able to teach myself how to try to focus on other things, before and during. Another very simple, but very important point I have learned is to tell them NOT to let me see the needle, not even a glimpse - otherwise forget it. What has been the worst for me is when I have had to get an IV. My experience with IV's have been bad, really bad, and thankfully, I have only had 3. Two (2) out of the 3 were an absolute nightmare! All of those, I have had Kabaju with me. I told him from the beginning about my worst phobia, needlephobia, but he didn't understand the extent until I got my first IV - I was sicker than sick and I still went from anxiety to panic mode, all while trying not to throw up and bury my head in his upper torso, to keep me from seeing anything and try to focus on him. He then agreed after that experience, that I was not joking.

*Shiver* Just writing this, I can still feel the aftermath ache of where they just recently stuck me. Before I picked up my EpiPens, just the thought of actually and finally getting them to carry everywhere I go, has given me the heeby-jeebies (makes me shutter, shiver, urg). Now that, I have practiced with the training device, it's not so hard to use - easy really - but I just hope if we ever have to use the EpiPen(s), that I won't feel those nerves on the side of my thigh that hurt when I used the training device. I also actually don't have the heeby-jeebies now that I have the EpiPens - but I will avoid touching their box as much as possible until I am forced to use them. The training device does not have needle so it will be used often to train family and friends - children will not be allowed to play with it - it is to train for emergency, not for fun.

For more information about EpiPens go to the EpiPen website. EpiPens are only given by a prescribing physician and a pharmacy. There are no over-the-counter alternatives. If you, or a loved one, or someone you know has an allergic reaction, but does not carry an EpiPen call 911 and tell the operator that they need Epinephrine or an EpiPen. Or, if they do carry one, learn how to use it and then make sure they get further medical attention. Do not practice with the actual EpiPen. Again for further information go to the EpiPen website, or talk with a medical professional. I am not a medical professional.

This website does not constitute medical and/or legal advise and should not be relied upon as such. All information and suggestions offered are based on my own personal experiences and individual research. My goal is discussion, feedback and further education. As an active member of this blog, you accept personal responsibility for any actions you take with the information shared. Your qualified personal physician is your most important resource for individual allergy needs.

Life Goes On

People have asked me if we're going to get another placement when Princess Frog leaves. I proceed to tell them, "No. We'll take a break first." They look at me like I'm nuts or something...

So, my analogy is this:

No sensible person that just had a hard miscarriage or gave birth would immediately turn around and get pregnant again - like the day or week or month after.

So why, would Foster Parents do the same by going through a very difficult placement turn around and take another one right away? That's just insane.

Well, we are taking a break.

Later next week will mark 1 month that Princess Frog has been gone out of our lives. She left the day she came home to us - a total of 7 months. We were her second (2nd) home - she had already been in Foster Care for 1 month.

Court was rather nuts and interesting all rolled into one and took a while. In the end, judge's ultimatum was to extend services provided by DCFS so that bio mom was given yet again, another chance - 3 more months. By law bio mom only originally had 8 months to get Princess Frog back. We happened to get the nicest judge in the courthouse that likes to give second chances despite contradicting judge's self.

So after more things going on, the GAL (guardian ad litem) [Princess Frog's attorney] and her caseworker decided to just move her in with bio mom and see whether they would sink or swim. Word is: They are swimming. I am glad that Princess Frog is doing well with her bio mom, but I also sorely miss my baby girl. She has certainly left a hole in our lives, but we are learning to move on.

We were told numerous times by the GAL and caseworker (who have been doing this for years) that Princess Frog's case is the strangest, weirdest, hardest, most crazy case they have ever had and seen. [Just my "luck".] Usually cases are a lot more smooth, because they tend to know what will happen at some early point - this case, the entirety of it, no one knew what would happen - for 8 months no one knew where or what would happen with Princess Frog and her bio mom in the end. We are beyond the end, know we finally know.... unless something else happens - which if Princess Frog for some unseen reason ends up leaving her bio mom again, she will come home to us and stay.

People have commented about why we didn't fight for her more. I'll tell you why: Foster Parents do not have the rights that Biological Parents have to their biological child(ren). Foster Parents are the child(ren)s advocate and a resource (a safe family to live with), but we really don't have much say. I have been told we do have say, but I sure don't feel like it; but maybe I just didn't know what to say or how to say it. If Princess Frog had not immediately moved in (2 days after court), we would have just repeated what we had already repeated multiple times and drug everything out longer... it was better for Princess Frog to just move and see what happened to help reduce further confusion, anger, and traumatization for her. I feel more sorry for what she has had to go through, than what I have had to go through.

Our lives have changed about every six months for the past few years - so we are used to it, and we even embrace change. Change is hard, absolutely. Change is the only true constant in life, and I accept that constant. (Yes, that is also an oxymoron.)

For those following this blog, don't be afraid to be a foster parent to someone. Fostering is well worth all the human emotions and paperwork it entails. The children are worth it! If you are interesting in Fostering or providing Respite please visit the Utah Foster Care Foundation website for contact information.