Challenging Week

It’s been a challenging week. Events included having composed an entire 878 word blog post on Wednesday only to  delete the whole thing accidentally before publishing it. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! There’s a reason Munch’s “Scream” painting goes for so much money.

On Monday, our van went into the shop for an investigation of the “service engine soon” message on the dash. It could have been worse. Any time I think the words “engine” and “auto shop” in the same sentence, I brace myself for $1,000 or more on the next credit card bill. But we got away with $330 this time.

Tuesday, I took leave from work to accompany my mom to an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Her primary care physician comes to the nursing home, but this appointment required transportation. As I’ve written before, I can’t take my mom on my own without help. Fortunately enough, the nursing home provides van transport for doctor’s appointments, and allows a family member to ride along. Highlights of Tuesday included a nurse forgetting my mom was about to leave and putting a laxative in her morning juice, the van driver taking us to the wrong clinic and leaving us there, requiring frantic phone calls and resulting in us showing up late at the correct place, filling out an intake form that was the equivalent of writing a 400-page biography, and (harking back to the laxative) three different visits to the clinic bathroom – an approximately ten-minute ordeal each time. I arrived at the nursing home at 8:20 a.m., and by the time I got back home after everything, it was right around 1:00. Here’s the lesson I took away from it. If you’re accompanying an elderly relative to a doctor’s appointment, clear your calendar for the entire day.

On Wednesday I was informed I did not receive the adjustment in my work hours I had requested. I had misinterpreted something my supervisor said to mean that it was likely to happen, so this was a disappointment. It’s not a huge tragedy, but the change would have made my life a little easier. Still, I’m glad to have a job.

On Thursday, I discovered my son is on the verge of flunking one of his classes, after the teacher finally posted weeks’ worth of scores, including many assignments that were never handed in. Six of his seven teachers are pretty organized and communicate in a timely manner. This one? Not so much. My kid has an auditory processing disorder, which means he spends his days trying to figure out how much of the conversation he missed. He can learn all of the material, no problem. But he often misses instructions, so doesn’t know what the assignment was. He also can’t listen and do something else at the same time – e.g. take notes. Plus, the inability to filter sounds is highly distracting, the practical effect being that he’s interrupted in his work about 10 times as often as I would be. He learns quickly, but works slowly.  He has a 504 plan in place to address these issues, but I suspect this particular teacher is one who forgets to follow it. I check his grades on-line frequently, and in most classes I can pretty well help him catch up because I’ll know if he missed an assignment. But when nothing is posted forever, then suddenly 20 assignments, there’s no sorting it out.

Yesterday featured many emails and phone calls with the school, after I started out asking for a time he could meet with the teacher to make a plan for catching up. I offered to bring him in early, have him stay late, have him come to her class during his Study Hall time, whatever time would work for her. I know it’s dangerous to try to judge someone’s tone in email communication, but there was no mistaking the absolute anger in her response, which boiled down to her telling me he’s had all the time he needed and she didn’t have extra to spend on him. This is the part that’s hardest for me as a mom – seeing adults who become furious with my kid, convinced he’s being difficult on purpose, when he’s just really struggling. It strikes to the center of my heart and sends my mind to dark places of worry about his future. How will his bosses see him? Will his heart be broken by some girl who can’t understand? Yet, I have to do my best to maintain my composure and try to defuse the teacher bomb. In the end, I involved the counselor who is my son’s 504 case manager. Thank goodness for her. My kid’s going to stay late two days next week, making up work.

Meanwhile, I had the epiphany that this same teacher is the one he would have for the architecture class he requested next year, and maybe it wouldn’t be a good thing. He loves architecture, but…Today is the last day to change course requests for next school year. So add in a search through other course options and a long discussion with my son – who is now set to take “Introduction to Business” – and associated request change paperwork.

Six of his seven teachers this year have been okay, and that’s a good ratio. A couple I would even rate as stellar. One in particular seems to have a very good relationship with my son. I tell myself to remember this, it keeps my mind wide of the dark places.

And we have ants. But I’m dealing.

Breathing. Breathing. Breathing. Tomorrow’s another day. I’ve met this week’s challenges. I can meet next week’s. Ohm.

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4 responses »

  1. Aren’t you glad you didn’t run into someone who wondered idly, “What do you *do* with your days?” All that running around and managing the issues of multiple generations made me so tired when I was in your shoes. Hope you’re sleeping well!

  2. my little girl has auditory processing disorder. she will be 5 soon and is repeating pre-k4 at an amazing school for special needs children but it ends after pre-k4. your post gives me hope since there i know there’s got to be a life out there for her beyond this school. it sounds like your son has had some good teachers who are willing to work with him. shame on the one who isn’t.

    • A good teacher makes all the difference. Since you already know your daughter has apd, you can have a plan in place when she starts school, which will help a lot. Look for her strengths and keep reminding yourself, her and her teachers what they are.

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