Monday, July 9, 2012

Wow. I'm Really Glad THAT is Over.

It's been QUITE the wild ride here since I last reported in on Li'l Empress’ trial with the bone-conduction hearing aide. Here's some of the highlights (ahem, low-lights?) of the experiences we faced - the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Huge, erratic, illogical, and consuming emotional melt-downs multiple times a day – reminiscent of this post
  • Hyper-focus almost to the point of obsession on minute issues that normally are easy-peasy for our girl 
  • Grossly out of proportion, anguish-type crying and sadness over issues that she normally handles with just a bit of guidance or re-directing (and that's even taking into account that she is pretty sensitive by nature)
  • And thankfully, on a positive note, long, healing and refreshing naps and overnight sleeping, without which I am certain we would have ALL melted down right with her
Here's the "thing." Or, rather, the several things:
  • We were in the middle of a 9 or ten day heat wave.
  • We are in the middle of a brand-new hearing aide trial.
  • We haven't had a "regular" daily schedule since the kids' last day of school. Remember, The Boss has been out of work since March, so all 7 of us have been home with a very irregular "Saturday" kind of feel to the household particularly since June 13th.
  • And last week, after I wrote Day 5's summary, company came for two days.
Taken separately, none of those things were enough to warrant Li'l Empress’s extreme reactions. But. Then. One more thing. The icing on the already sliding and melting multi-layered cake o’ drama.

Early Tuesday morning Li'l Empress took a tumble off of the diving board onto the concrete. Normally, that's not that big a deal. I mean, she has a long and dramatic history of being overly traumatized by any.little.teensy.tiny. boo-boo. And a serious love/hate relationship with band-aids. But this?! OH. MY. WORD. This set off an ENTIRE day of literally unbelievable drama (NO exxaggeration on my part, you can ask ANY of The Gang OR our lovely, patient, and oh!SO!tolerant houseguests. REALLY). Trauma. Shreiking. Yelling and trying to hit me. CRAZY child out of control behavior. So NOT our sweet, bubbly, funny girl.

As I've said before, I'm rather slow on the uptake and I foolishly didn't connect all the "things" together as a major overload for our girl and I am totally embarrassed to say that I lost my cool a couple times AND still tried my darndest to keep some sort of consistency with the hearing aide trial. Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking. Except that I was so completely dumbfounded by it all. I’m STILL not sure just exactly how it all got to those levels of insanity....

Seriously. I've never, in my almost 18 years of parenting, seen anything like it. Except for that one time that Dr. D broke his leg and cried all day long while in Grandma and Grandpa's care. He wouldn't walk, he couldn't talk, and he wouldn't be put down. At all. Which got me remembering.

And then I was seriously nervous and concerned all through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The whole time, she wouldn't let us near her boo-boos, couldn't let us straighten her legs to check for bruising or swelling, wouldn't walk upright, and pitifully hobbled in a crouched-over, old lady-with-osteoporosis type of shuffle/hop thing. (THAT lasted from Tuesday till Thursday afternoon. Seriously, ya'll it was pit.i. full.)

I am so incredibly grateful for my awesome visiting friend. True to her very wise and compassionate nature, she totally affirmed that what we were experiencing did NOT appear to be tantrums or manipulation or mean-spirited behavior. Rather, she observed that there was definitely some pretty serious fear and anxiety being expressed. So we started asking the kids more questions and trying to figure out exactly what happened.

Turns out, she actually somehow cracked her chin in the fall, too. And of course, by then we realized that the fall off the board was obviously terribly jarring to her whole body. Her poor joints and muscles must have been in agony, given the extent of her reactions. This was confirmed when bruising appeared on her knees, the tops of her feet, and her chin (oh, so sad, I know!) by Wednesday lunch time.

Through Wednesday and Thursday, we tried to just love on her, relax with her, and reassure her that she was safe and secure. On her terms and when she could let us. The real struggle on Wednesday and Thursday was holding the line with her with regards to speaking respectfully and kindly even when she was sad or angry. I think that was a pretty good instinct, as she seemed to take comfort in the consistency of Mommy's insistence on manners and kind speaking words. Even if it did frustrate her in the middle of a crying fest.

From the little commentary that's been leaking out ever since, we figured out what else must have happened. It sounds as if she actually fell close enough to the edge of the pool that she thought she might fall in. She had her swimmies on and jumps in regularly off the board but FALLING in with no control is very scary, for sure! I kept hearing about the very hard ground and the ouchy on her chin and saw the trembling fear at the thought of getting anywhere near the deep end of the pool. Poor girl was totally shaken.. It was enough to make me just curl up on the couch with her and cry for her. When I finally "got it" and connected with what all must have been going on in her heart and mind and body, I was sad for my girl.

So, on Thursday afternoon, I made the decision to unplug for all of Friday. And I am so glad I did. Come back tomorrow and I'll share the rest of the story with you then.


Aus said...

Well I'm looking forward to the rest! We've had that same kind of 'out of the blue from nowhere' meltdown ordeal with a couple of our adopteds - and chalked it up to the kind of angst that only abandoned kids can know - with triggers that maybe someday they'll be able to explain but for right now you just have to hold it (and them) together as best you can (said in all one breath!!)

hugs, prayers - and good call 'unplugging'!!

aus and co.

Reena said...

If the BAHA is overstimulating her and adding stress, maybe you could have her wear it for periods of time during the day and not wear it at other times. Give her a break here and there so her brain can rest from hearing more than it is use to. Over time, she will, hopefully, become more use to it and it will not cause her to stress. Wish I had something for the heat!