Thursday, February 27, 2014

Silver Teeth

William had his dental procedure at Dayton Children's Hospital this past Monday.

Everything went well, thankfully.

We were all checked in, paperwork in place, met with the dentist and anesthesiologist, and Will was playing it cool and relaxed.
They took him back to the operating room and within about 10 minutes the dentist called me. William took to the  anesthesia wonderfully. They had done x-rays and found a couple more small cavities... would I like them to take care of those also?

Yes yes! He is out and you have him there, it's not like cavities will get smaller.

I hung out in Will's room waiting for his return and passed the time trolling through the humor category on Pinterest. I am sure people on the floor were a bit weirded out by a woman cracking up laughing while sitting alone in a hospital room with no bed.

Eventually a nurse came in and told me they were all done and Will was in recovery while they waited for him to wake up.

The dentist returned and showed me the X-rays and talked about what they did. The one cavity Will was there for originally was pretty deep... the dentist could see the nerve. He told me he did some pulp therapy to help the tooth and gums then put on the crown. He did 2 more crowns on the other teeth with cavities as well as sealed Will's other molars to prevent more cavities.

Will returned to his room in a grumpy mood. Everything in his world was awful, apparently. The nurses offered him juice, which he angrily declined. Then a minute later he was in indignant tears asking where his juice was. When the nurses asked him if he hurt anywhere so they could gauge his pain and discomfort level to administer meds if needed he cried, "no!" And turned over, pulling the blanket over his head.
They said his attitude would probably continue for a few hours until the drugs were out of his system.

So... Will did not attend school. He missed picture day. He was cranky at home with me. Later on he did get back to his regular self.

He was annoyed by the change in his teeth and even tried to take the crowns off, to no avail.


Now, a few days later Will is fine. He willingly shows off his "new teeth" and he gladly comes running to get his teeth brushed in the morning so the dentist won't have to give him more silver teeth.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Center of a Tornado

And I again return to the blog.

I really don't know what my problem is. I enjoy writing, I really do! There are many things I still want to blog about too (ummm... hello, Christmas! Snow! Ryan's Birthday! Valentine's Day!).

But every time I open up this little window I feel like such a heavy weight comes over my mind and it is exhausting to think of how to explain what's happening... or even what has already happened.

Life is moving fast.

Like, crazy, busy fast.

But at the same time I feel like I'm at a standstill.

I wonder if this is what it feels like to be in the center of a tornado.

Let's take a step back.

I posted before about Lana's doctor appointment. After the blood test we were called with the results: they found she is not absorbing carbohydrates properly. There might have been more information but Ryan took the call so I'm not certain what else was said. We have a referral to Dayton Children's to see gastroenterology in a week or two. I'm looking forward to figuring out what's going on with her little body and hoping it is a minor food allergy or some virus thing that can be cleared up quickly and easily.

A few weeks ago I took the kids to the dentist. It was required for EFMP paperwork (which I'll get into momentarily). Lana looked good. Doc said she has a small mouth and already has crowding issues so it is very likely she will require braces and possibly more extensive dental care as a young teen. Will also looked good, but they found a cavity and we scheduled an appointment to take care of it.

The cavity appointment did not go well at all. They gave Will nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help him relax so he would be more compliant during the procedure. Well, it relaxed him but he was still stubborn and unhappy and the dentist was unable to safely put on the crown and had to pull the plug. He told me that people on nitrous oxide kind of respond like a drunk person. Some people become very easy going and you tell them to do something and they happily do it... then you have others that become ornery and aggravated and you tell them to do something and they balk or fight back. It happens.

So in order to take care of Will's cavity they want to put him under sedation. Now we had to work quickly because our dental insurance only covers sedation until age 6. Will turns 6 in about 2 weeks. Thankfully there were availabilities in the schedule to accommodate him and since we had to see Will's doc in the upcoming week we could get the health paperwork filled out easily. Whew. In a couple days Will is scheduled for the procedure and while they have him knocked out they will take full x-rays and address any additional cavities they may find

Okay, that's part of what's going on. Bear with me now while I go into wild, inner-connecting pieces of our life.

Ryan has 'finished' his thesis and is preparing to defend this week. That's really great in the fact that he is "done". But he isn't really done. My poor guy has been putting in long hours, weekends, given up all outside life to focus on what he has to do. After his defense he has to go back over all his material and add in or correct whatever his panel wanted addressed. Besides his thesis, he's still taking 2 classes and all the homework and tests involved there.

The way things work for AFIT people is that they graduate and within a week have their homes packed up and they and their families sent to the next station. There is no rest. No recuperation. No integration. It's a wham-bam-thank you ma'am mentality. Spouses in our year group are already stressing... and I don't blame them. 'Cause to be honest, so am I.

After our change a couple weeks ago, we're headed to Texas. I had a mourning period for losing New Mexico but now I'm getting excited about our new home. Thing is, we still aren't ready. And I don't want to go until after the end of the kids' school year (I'll get to that in a minute).

Since William is enrolled in the EFMP we have a special meeting we needed to go to for clearance before Ryan is given official orders. There's a bunch of paperwork that has to be done and submitted. We did our part. Something was lost on their part and we re-submitted it. Then something we turned into the hospital was neglected and EFMP didn't have it. After Ryan called them they got right on it and FINALLY everything was submitted.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited to be informed when our meeting was.

We met last week. I'm happy to say things went well. Moving to Lackland makes for a much smoother transition logistically for them and instead of having to wait possibly 3 weeks to receive our orders we should hopefully have them in about a week. Then again, that could just be my wishful thinking.

While at our EFMP meeting I asked about having us stay in Ohio until June. They told us our options and Ryan could put in for an EFMP deferment, but from what they said, mission comes first and if Lackland wants Ryan in April, he goes in April.

That's not so great for us because Will has a pretty extensive IEP and several services through the school. Coming to a new school at the end of the school year could mean Will is pushed aside, therapists are over their allotted amount and can't properly work with him, cut it too close to the 30-day limit for an IEP and do not get something to adequately address Will's needs. I could go on... but I'm sure you get the idea. It's better to move in the summer and start fresh at a new school in the fall where we can all start on the same page and they will be prepared for him.

So we are still staring down the barrel of me staying in Ohio for a few months while Ryan heads to our next station. There are still a few things that could happen that will keep him here with us, but at this point I can't hold my breath.

This past week we also had a meeting with Will's developmental pediatrician. He was very happy with the change to our orders and said he knows the 2 developmental pediatricians at our incoming base fairly well and spoke highly of them. Our doctor is VERY pleased with Will's progress. He also was glad that Will has an activity he seems to excel in (swimming). When we spoke to him of our concerns about having to move before the end of the school year he sympathized. He said he would write a letter for us explaining why it is better for William to finish the school year before PCSing, but he reiterated what we heard at the EFMP meeting. Mission comes first, and if Ryan's incoming base wants him in April he has to leave us then.

Shall I add in another thing? Maybe I will.

Ryan, like many, many other military members, is now facing the reduction in force our politicians and president are bringing to us. There are a lot of disgruntled families I have come across. There is no such thing as job security in the military anymore. Our members sacrifice so much all to be just tossed aside and treated as expendable. I can get on my soap box and keep going, but it's not worth it. I know I'm married to a hard working, dedicated, ambitious, and intelligent man and if the Air Force can't see that when the time comes... it is their loss.

To follow along with all the other delays our government does, they pushed back the dates for the RIF boards. Instead of finding out in July... we will find out sometime in the fall if my husband will have a job after the beginning of next year.

............... I guess that pretty much covers it. There's a lot of stuff going on but at the same time I'm just having to do all my normal day-to-day things. I can't really do anything more than I'm doing. In about a week I will be finished with my position on the AFIT Spouses board. Things that I am involved in are finishing up. Friends are preparing to PCS. Appointments of various kinds are in place. Will and Lana's birthdays and me and Ryan's anniversary are fast approaching. It has been way too freezing lately to go on any adventures around here. And I escape to Netflix or books or planning dream vacations I may never take just to give me some sort of feeling of control. Don't worry, we're all good over here. I just look forward to the summer and our new beginnings in San Antonio.


==========================
Acronym List (for those not accustomed to the lingo)

AFIT - Air Force Institute of Technology
EFMP - Exceptional Family Member Program
IEP - Individualized Education Plan
PCS - Permanent Change of Station
RIF - Reduction in Force

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Yes to Texas

We've been thrown for a loop.

In October we learned we were slotted to move back to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Overall we were happy and excited. For the past several months we've been discussing plans on what we were going to do, being with friends, returning to our church, and other such things military families discuss when they actually know where they are going. We had the added bonus of going back to a place we already knew!

Well, that all changed within a 24 hour period.

After a busy morning and afternoon the kids and I returned home. Shortly thereafter Ryan gave me a call. He was contacted that day and asked if he'd be willing to take on a completely different job, working in a totally different department of the Air Force... oh, and it's at Lackland in San Antonio, Texas. Let's top it off even more -- he had to give his reply the next morning.

To say I was surprised is an understatement.

I asked if this is a better job or something he's wanting to do. You know, something he'd enjoy more.

It is.

This job is something that wasn't even listed. Not even on our radar. Not something that was even possible before. It has just randomly appeared.

Ryan asked me to look into the base, the schools, the medical available, housing, and the local area. Find out as much as I could to help with this decision.

I immediately informed him that friends of ours from college are stationed there. I contacted them first and talked for almost an hour about life down there. The pros and cons. Things to do in the area.

I also took to Facebook and asked for info from my military circles.

Additionally, we asked for prayers from friends and family for wisdom and guidance.

What we found out is that the schools are much better than what we would get in Albuquerque. The services Will needs are there and are of good quality. How readily available they are I'm still not sure about. There are large military medical facilities with mostly positive reports from people. We still don't know as much as we want about housing, but at least know the areas we would be looking in. There's some very good things close by and many things to see and do to keep us busy.

The main drawback everybody mentioned was the weather. We'll be trading our beautiful, dry, high desert weather for incredibly HOT and HUMID. That makes me sad. But at least it will still get us out of Ohio.

We agree to say yes to Texas.

There's still a chance Albuquerque will say NO since they were expecting my husband there and now they have to fill that slot with somebody else. It is unlikely we will be denied. There's also the EFMP to overcome, but from what we've heard, Lackland takes almost everybody since they have so much of the medical stuff already there.

So how do I feel about all of this?

I'm torn.

I'm excited about the prospect of a new place and the adventure that awaits. I look forward to seeing our old friends. I also have a good friend here who is PCSing to Lackland too (she'll be my new running buddy!). Sea World is there. Six Flags is there. We're only about 3 hours from a beach. I've never been to Texas... and it's a VERY big state with a lot to explore. I'm so happy to know William will be able to receive good therapies and be at a good school which was our biggest concern about ABQ.

But I'm also disappointed and sad. I was looking forward to returning to the Land of Enchantment. I was going to be with my Best Friend again! That's the hardest part for me... I won't be with Tegan - my travelling buddy, my soul sister. We were already planning things to do and places to go once I returned. *pause now for a little pity party* New Mexico is beautiful and I have heard San Antonio is lacking in nature's beauty. There's no Balloon Fiesta. No Sandia Peak. No Santa Fe. Also, I was planning on beginning work in the legal field part-time and even had contacts lined up who were interested in me... now I have to start from scratch.

It's okay. My reasons for wanting New Mexico are mostly selfish. At this time Texas seems to be the better place for our family to re-locate. And who knows... it's not such a big Air Force. We may end up in ABQ again in the future... or maybe Tegan and I will someday be at the same base again.

I'm going to leave on this: Months before we knew we were going to Kirtland - even before the list of available bases and jobs were released, I had a feeling and was even telling people that I thought we'd be sent to Lackland. I just sensed we were going to Texas. When the list was released, there was nothing in Texas for Ryan. I shrugged and said, "I guess I was wrong." Turns out I wasn't.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Superbowl

For those who know Ryan and I in person, it is no surprise to learn that we aren't really all that into professional sports. We will occasionally turn on a game if we're interested in the team and only watch bits and pieces.

This goes for pretty much all sports: baseball, football, soccer, basketball.

Except the Olympics. Man, when those are on that's all my tv is tuned into.

When people ask what team we root for my reply has always been that we are default Seattle fans. That's where we're from, that's who we support. I remember the Mariners from the mid-nineties... those were the good days. And I have been trying ever so hard to get to a Sounders game! Even had tickets once, but then the horrible eye incident happened. We won't talk about the Sonics... *ahem*. The difference is with college teams; we choose Oregon.

So of course we cheer for the Seahawks.

We watched the last Superbowl the Hawks were in while living in Japan. They were cheated out of that win!

Whatever season of athletics the year is in we do sort of keep tabs on how our home teams are doing. We've been very happy for our Seahawks and proud of them. Not that we're jumping on a band wagon because we aren't even on it. They are our team and we cheer for them. That's about it.

It was surprising when we went home for Christmas to see all the crazy 12th Man stuff going on. I actually had to look up what it meant! I don't ever remember there being this much support for the Seahawks in the past. In fact, when the Kingdome was going to be torn down to build 2 (TWO!) stadiums I remember the grumbling of people saying the Seahawks didn't deserve a stadium for how badly they had been playing.

But I get it now. Seattle is proud of their team.

I know who we will be cheering for when the game comes on! Go get 'em Hawks! Play a good game!