Friday, November 30, 2012

The Water of Life

Today is the last day of National Adoption Month. I hope my posts this month have been helpful and informative, but more importantly, I hope they may have led someone to consider adoption.

I want to close the month with my all-time favorite quote about adoption. It is from the Jewish Talmud:

"A mother is likened unto a mountain spring that nourishes the tree at its root;
But one who mothers another’s child is likened unto a water that rises into a cloud and goes a long distance to nourish a lone tree in the desert."

Will you consider providing nourishment for that lone tree????

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stacey's Story

As National Adoption Month draws to a close, I want to devote one post to a very difficult subject - disruption. Disruption is the word used to describe an adoption failure. Actually, I don't like the word failure, but it usually goes hand in hand with disruption.

I truly don't believe anyone goes into an adoption thinking that if things don't work out, the child can be given back. It's like a marriage. Ask the bride as she is walking down the aisle to meet her groom if she ever thinks she will divorce her beloved, and the answer will be a resounding NO. The same is true for adoption. But sometimes, things just don't work. Fortunately in adoptions, unlike marriages, the not working out is very rare.

Having never lived through or even considered adoption disruption, it's very difficult for me to describe what I think the adoptive parents may feel. But, I know someone who can describe those feelings, and describe them in heartbreaking detail.

Stacey is one of the bravest and smartest people I know. She is completely devoted to her family, and she shares her stories of that devotion as an artist shares her craft. Read this post, and I believe you will understand completely the effect adoption disruption has on everyone involved.

Thank you, Stacey, for having the strength to share your story.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Special Exposure Wednesday

What? This isn't how you use your computer?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Still a Lot of Firsts

I wrote yesterday that prospective adoptive parents don't have to give up on the 'firsts' of their child's life when adopting a teenager. While they may not be there for the first words, first steps or the first day of kindergarten, adopting a teen provides just as many 'firsts'! Here are some pictures to illustrate my point!

Ronnie's first go-cart!

And his first shave!

And his first girlfriend!

And his first time participating on a sports team!

And yes, even his first steps!

I urge you all to consider sharing the 'firsts' with a teenager in need of a forever family!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What Happens Next?

So far this month, this month I have dedicated to the subject of adoption, I have written primarily about special needs adoption. I know many families are reluctant to consider the adoption of an older child, and specifically teenagers. That’s why there are so many teenagers that wait, and so many that eventually ‘age out’ of the foster care system.

There was a wonderful article in our local newspaper a while back that addressed that very point. The article was tough to read. There were statistics like:

  • Once children in foster care reach age 9, they are less likely to be adopted. Research shows that many of them will face significant obstacles in the future, including homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, depression, substance abuse, and the lack of educational attainment. These outcomes impact all of society, which bears the costs at the local, state, and national level.
  • While their circumstances and backgrounds vary, the demographics of foster care children awaiting adoption have been changing. As of September, 27.8 percent of the children in foster care were between the ages of 16 and 18. Another 16.8 percent were between the ages of 13 and15. Forty percent are African-American, and more than half are male.
  • Every day that a waiting child remains in foster care, his or her chances of being adopted grow dimmer.

These are the facts that break my heart. I imagine a young man, say 17 years old, who has been working really hard to improve himself. He has the support of a group home and probably several organizations to help him along that path to improvement. But he knows his time is running out. Where will he go on his 18th birthday? Will he have to call the streets his home? Who will help keep him safe?

And my mother’s heart has even more questions. Who will tell him Happy Birthday? Who will ask him what he wants for Christmas? How can he look forward to holidays when in his life, holidays are just the same as all the other days?

Parenting a teenager is not for the weak of heart. But parenting a teenager from the foster care system can make your heart grow stronger. Often I hear parents say, “But if I adopt a teenager, I will have missed all the ‘firsts’ in their life – first steps, first words, first day of school.” Check back with me tomorrow and we will talk about ‘firsts’, and how you can still celebrate them with your adopted teenager.

(The young man pictured above is 17 years old and is available for adoption. If you are interested in finding out more about him (his name is Gidd), contact your local social service agency.)

Friday, November 23, 2012


Leftovers – lots of leftovers – turkey, gravy, yams, stuffing, green beans, rolls. One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is having leftovers for the next few days. One of my favorites is a hot turkey sandwich – leftover turkey piled high on leftover yeast rolls and then covered in leftover gravy. After a few days, we are driven to get creative with the leftovers, but to me, they are still just as good.

Did you know that a lot of the children in foster care, children waiting for a family to call their own, feel like leftovers? They have watched their friends and sometimes their family members get adopted, but they still wait. The feel like the leftovers that everyone has grown tired of.

But just as we get creative with our Thanksgiving leftovers, we can get creative with the children who wait for a forever family. It’s certainly not going to be easy to bring a teenager into your family, a teenager who has been rejected so many times that he will try to reject you. It’s not easy to bring the group of three siblings home to your quiet, clean house, but trust me, they won’t have much to bring with them to mess up your house. Or the child with significant disabilities that is spending her life in an institutional setting – all she wants, even if she can’t verbalize it, is to wake each morning with the knowledge that she is loved and wanted.

As National Adoption Awareness Month draws to a close, I implore you to examine your lives closely and see if there is any way possible that you can bring home a child who believes he is a leftover that no one wants.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Gift

My gift to you all this Thanksgiving is the following short film.

At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus discovers a man without limbs being exploited at a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.

It is family friendly, and a story of belief, hope and inclusion. I hope you all enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Special Exposure Wednesday

I am thankful this Thanksgiving Eve that our friendly hawk is back in the neighborhood. Besides being beautiful to observe, he does a very, very good job of culling the squirrel hood. Squirrels are one of my least favorite animals - they eat my spring bulbs, they chew on my fall pumpkins, the sharpen their teeth on my chain link fence, and they even chew the coating off electrical wires. Anything Mr. Hawk can do to lessen the squirrel population is ok by me!

(Thanks to Chip for the beautiful pictures!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gift Quandry

One of the more difficult things for me during the holidays, and apparently for other families I have heard from who have children with significant disabilities, is deciding on gifts for those children. The yearly debate seems to focus on whether gifts should be chronologically age appropriate or developmentally age appropriate. I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a good answer and debate this issue constantly myself.

Here’s a scenario presented by one family – the family has a 21year old son, I’ll call him Michael, who has Down Syndrome. Michael lives at home with his family, is in his last year of high school, and doesn’t have much of a social life outside his family members and their friends. Michael adores Mickey Mouse cartoons. His family knows he would be very happy to receive Mickey Mouse DVDs as a Christmas gift, but they are reluctant to buy him something that is so chronologically age inappropriate. In past years, they have bought him clothes, DVDs the whole family enjoys, and music CDs to which the whole family would listen. Michael is happy to receive those things, but it wasn’t really what he wanted.

I have the same dilemma with my oldest daughter. Jessica is 21 years old, but cognitively and developmentally is more like 6-7 years old. She loves baby dolls and Barbie dolls. She also likes getting girly clothes as gifts, and she would also like Disney DVD’s. Like Michael’s family, I don’t want to stigmatize her with things her friends and peers would ridicule, but I also would feel bad not giving her a gift that she truly wants.

How have other families handled this issue? What recommendations would you have for families like mine and Michael’s?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reactive Attachment Disorder

In celebration of National Adoption Month, I will write many things about the joys of adopting, especially adopting from the foster care system. However, adoption from the system does not come without its share of problems. Today I want to address one of the more common problems - Reactive Attachment Disorder.

The Mayo Clinic describes Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)as:

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.

A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused, or moved multiple times from one caregiver to another. Because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met, he or she never establishes loving and caring attachments with others. This may permanently alter the child's growing brain and hurt their ability to establish future relationships.

Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition, but with treatment children can develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others. Safe and proven treatments for reactive attachment disorder include psychological counseling and parent or caregiver education.

Here is a link to a post I wrote in 2007 about how RAD had personally affected my family.

I know when reading about RAD, many people would ask, "Why in the world would I want to adopt a child like that?" And my answer would be "Because these are the children that most need a loving, secure family in which to heal."

As the Mayo Clinic notes indicate, there is hope for healing for a child with RAD. I know it can happen - I have witnessed it first hand.

Just read my post from May of 2010, and you will understand.

And please, if you are considering adoption of an older child from the foster care system, don't shy away from the children who need you the most. There are resources to help you all become a healthy, loving family, and who doesn't want that?!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Butterfly Heaven

What do you think heaven looks like? My Catholic school upbringing had me believing it was a wondrous place beyond the clouds, its entrance blocked by shiny, huge white gates, a place of wonder and peace, a place I definitely wanted to one day go.

To Dr. Eben Alexander, a Harvard trained neurosurgeon who practices in my area, Heaven is a place filled with beautiful butterflies and a river of colors more vivid than a rainbow. Dr. Alexander reports visiting heaven and remarkably, he has the science to back up that claim.

Check out this link and video, and then let me know your thoughts on what the doctor has to say about Heaven:

Neurosurgeon Claims to have Visited Heaven

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Teacher Who Inspires

In 1988, Mrs. and Mrs. Bunzl of Richmond, Virginia established the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. The awards are designed to recognize public school teachers who have distinguished themselves by their inspiring classroom performance. The program has been developed by The Community Foundation and is funded by the R.E.B. Foundation.

The R.E.B. Foundation believes that a child's educational experience at the elementary, middle, and high school levels should develop basic skills and form positive life-long habits towards learning and discipline. The R.E.B. Foundation is committed to improving public education so as to benefit a broad segment of the community.

The awards are designed to identify, recognize, and support teaching excellence in the metropolitan Richmond public school systems. Grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 are given to approximately fifteen teachers to support professional development activities. Recipients are required to share educational ideas and experiences with fellow teachers.

I could think of no better person to receive an award than Ashley's teacher. And the great news - Ashley's teacher, Mrs. Marsh won an award! But, awards or not, Ashley and I are very blessed to have the remarkable Mrs. Marsh in our lives!

Part of the nomination I submitted for her is listed below. And don't forget to check out the link at the bottom of the page to a newspaper story about the awards. That story shows some of the exciting things the winning teachers plan to do with their grants!

"Many people, including some teachers and other school staff, see my daughter, Ashley and assume because of her severe disabilities that she cannot learn. Mrs. Selene Marsh has seen through the disabilities and found a bright, enthusiastic learner, and isn't that what being a great teacher is all about?

Ashley is deafblind, and she doesn't learn like other students. She must experience the world around her with her other senses, and then learn to process those experiences. She must be taught with innovative, think-outside-the-box techniques, and still her learning can be a slow process. Mrs. Marsh understands that and has been the first educator to truly help Ashley reach her full learning potential.

When Ashley moved from middle school to high school and was slated for Mrs. Marsh's class, Mrs. Marsh immediately began her studies into deafblindness to determine the best way to teach and support Ashley. She sought assistance from the Virgnia Deafblind Project, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, and from the one person who knew Ashley better than anyone else - her mother! Mrs. Marsh organized her classroom into a safe environment for a student with deafblindness, and began to accumulate the materials she would need to educate Ashley. And that process continues today even after Ashley has been in her classroom for three years.

But Mrs. Marsh's commitment to teaching excellence didn't stop with learning a few new skills and making her classroom accommodating. She took that commitment even farther by completing a two year program offered by Utah State University titled, "Professional Training Program in Deafblindness." She completed all the classes in that program and demonstrated all of the competencies during her coaching sessions. She also participated in two, full-day trainings with Linda Alsop, the director of Ski*Hi institute, that were follow-ups to the Utah State University coursework. And, because when Selene Marsh commits to something, she REALLY commits to it, she also attended a two-day workshop titled, "Assessment, Communication, & Routines: Building Blocks for Calendar Systems for Children w/ Deaf-Blindness and Multiple Disabilities led by Robbie Blaha from the Texas School for the Blind.

Selene Marsh's greatest asset is that she believes ALL children can learn. She never gives up and she inspires that spirit of fortitude in each and every one of her students. She is the type of teacher that students remember fondly for the rest of their lives, knowing that their successes were fueled in large part by a teacher who cares, who believes and who never, ever gives up. There truly is nothing greater in a student's life than a teacher who inspires, and that teacher is Mrs. Marsh."

16 Teachers Win REB Awards for Excellence - from the Richmond Times Dispatch

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Special Exposure Wednesday

Someone is really enjoying the cooler weather!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Naturally Speaking

Aretha Franklin sang “You make me feel like a natural woman…”. Robert Redford revealed his baseball talents in the movie The Natural in 1984. The word natural conjures a picture of innate, special abilities – something that arises easily or spontaneously. One definition in the dictionary states that natural means having or showing feelings, as affection, gratitude, or kindness, considered part of basic human nature. The word natural is a warm, fuzzy word, a word most people would never believe could be harmful or hold hurtful memories. But it can.

In September, at the start of every school year, I must fill out information forms for each of my children. I’ve never understood why the information can’t be stored in a database somewhere and just printed out for verification each year – but that’s a topic for another blog. The thing I find most offensive about the information forms I fill out is the way I must designate my relationship to my children.

After entering my name, I must choose my relationship. The choices are ‘natural mother’, ‘foster mother’, ‘legal guardian’, or other. What happened to just ‘mother’. What I normally do is check ‘natural mother’ for all my children, whether they are birth children or children who joined my family through adoption, and then put a little asterisk that points the reader to the bottom of the page for another note. In that other note at the bottom of the page, I write “Yes, I am a natural mother – knew from the time I was a child myself that I would be a natural mother”.

So, since this is National Adoption Month, and since I really, really don’t like some of the terms I hear used in reference to adoption, today I am sharing positive adoption language. Please take a moment to consider how just a simple change in language can have a major positive effect on a child. Words not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings. When a TV movie talks about a "custody battle" between "real parents" and "other parents," society gets the wrong impression that only birthparents are real parents and that adoptive parents aren’t real parents. Members of society may also wrongly conclude that all adoptions are "battles."

Positive adoption language can stop the spread of misconceptions such as these. By using positive adoption language, we educate others about adoption. We choose emotionally "correct" words over emotionally-laden words. We should speak and write in positive adoption language with the hopes of impacting others so that this language will someday become the norm.

Positive Language (Negative Language):

Birthparent (Real Parent)
Biological Parent (Natural Parent)
Birth child (Own child)
My child (Adopted child)
Born to unmarried parents (Illegitimate)
Terminate parental rights (Give up)
Make an adoption plan (Give away)
To parent (To keep)
Waiting child (Adoptable child; available child)
Biological or birthfather (Real father)
Making contact with (Reunion)
Parent (Adoptive parent)
Intercountry adoption (Foreign adoption)
Adoption triad (Adoption triangle)
Permission to sign a release (Disclosure)
Search (Track down parents)
Child placed for adoption (An unwanted child)
Court termination (Child taken away)
Child with special needs (Handicapped child)
Child from abroad (Foreign child)
Was adopted (Is adopted)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Well, What Do You Know??

I'm sure most parents with children in public schools are familiar with the PTA Reflections contest. The Reflections program encourages students to explore the arts and express themselves by giving positive recognition for their artistic efforts. Since it was founded in 1969 by Mary Lou Anderson, millions of students have benefited from this program.

Up until this year, students with disabilities were required to compete at grade level with their non-disabled peers. So for instance, a child with a significant disability who was listed with the school at a grade level of 9 but who functionally was not at the same level as non-disabled 9th graders, still would have his/her work compared to and graded against those non-disabled peers. Not suprisingly, seldom did a student with disabilities receive the highest recognition. But this year is different.

This year the National PTA has established another artist category call the Special Artist. So, if a student qualifies for special education, that student may enter the Reflections contest with his non-disabled peers or under the Special Artist division. I believe this will open the Reflections contest to a lot more students.

Ashley is one of those students! This year's Reflections theme is "The Magic of a Moment." Ashley entered in the literary category with a poem about her first trip to the beach. It was a very simple poem and included on the page a picture of her experiencing the beach for the first time. Here's that picture which was taken by my brother, Carl of Hampton Roads Photography and what she wrote for her submission:


No See

No Hear

Feel Wind

Feel Water

Taste Salt


Lo and behold, she won the award at her school for Outstanding Interpretation! Her work is now forwarded on to the county level for additional judging, and then to the state, and so on, until she hopefully reaches the National Level.

Regardless of where her art journey ends, I am so very proud of her!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Still Swollen

About two and a half weeks ago, I noticed Ashley's right ankle and foot were very swollen. There was no bruising that might indicate an injury, and she didn't seem bothered by it.

Then on November 1st, I told you about our adventures during Hurricane Sandy - our visits to the doctor and ultimately, an ultrasound of Ashley's leg and foot under anesthesia. During that visit, the doctor had also ordered some blood work that would also indicate if any blood clots were present. The blood work was negative.

So, the good news is that we haven't discovered any potentially life-threatening blood clots. The bad news is her ankle and foot are still very swollen.

After discussions again this week with the doctor, Ashley is now going to have an MRI under anesthesia to see if anything else looks strange on her leg. I sort of feel like everyone is just grasping at straws and doesn't really have any good ideas as to what is causing the swelling. Perhaps the testing is the prudent course, but I am worried that it is something sinister and something that needs to be dealt with asap. Of course, that is more than likely my normal mother-worrying.

We don't have a date for the MRI yet. I am still waiting to hear from the hospital, but hopefully it won't take too long.

Have any of you experienced any similar swelling? If so, what was the cause? I am avoiding Dr. Google completely because I am afraid I will read something that scares me even more than I already am.

(The picture above is not Ashley's foot, but her foot looks just like that.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jenny Hatch

I am not posting a Special Exposure Wednesday shot today because there is a very important issue that I want to tell you about. But since I don't feel I can do it justice, I would like you to visit this post by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg.

What you read should frighten you as much as it does me, especially if you have a family member like Jenny. This is happening in my state, with organizations I also deal with. The power that some people have scares me more than I can put into words.

After you read the story, please consider signing the petition referenced in the post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You Don't Have To Be Perfect

As I mentioned last week, November is National Adoption Month. One of the things I hear from a lot of people is that they don't think they have what it takes to be an adoptive parent. I always say, "Trust me, you do not have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!"

I got that response from the following videos. Please take a moment to look at them. They are very short and very funny!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Any News?

For a week now, I have been watching how Hurricane Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey. In some areas, a lot of areas actually, the scenes look right out of a war zone. People's lives are have been changed forever. They've lost everything - homes, personal belongings, and in one mother's case, her two young sons.

I wish I could completely understand the depth of their pain, but I know I can't. We've faced some weather disasters here also, but nothing to even compare to what happened in the Northeast.

But I have had another thought, one for which I have heard no news reports, no newspaper stories, nothing. What about the people with disabilities?

Surely in the large area that was severely impacted by the storm there would be people with disabilities, some even with severe disabilities, living there. What has happened to them?

Were they all prepared? Did they get out of town before the storm hit? If not, how are they coping with no electricity, no food, no gas, no heat? And why hasn't anyone asked these questions publicly?

What about the parents of children with Autism? Or the parents of a child or children in wheelchairs, dependent on feeding tubes and/or trachs? How are they surviving if they are stranded in the worst hit areas? How are they explaining to their children what is happening?

All these thoughts have reinforced in my mind the need to be prepared. But I want to know what happened to the people with disabilities in New York and New Jersey. Has anyone heard anything?

Friday, November 2, 2012

National Adoption Month

"A mother is likened unto a mountain spring that nourishes the tree at its root. But one who mothers another's child is likened unto a water that rises into a cloud and goes a long distance to nourish a lone tree in the desert."
The Talmud

Any of you who have been long time readers of this blog know beyond a shadow of a doubt how wonderfully adoption has touched my life. Although in my early twenties I had absolutely no vision of a house full of children, now I can't imagine my life without them, and maybe more.

November is National Adoption Month, and many of my posts this month will explore that subject. I'll take a look at the good, the not so good, the easy and the difficult. I'll explore the many facets of adoption, and I will share some amazing stories.

Even if you are not starting this month with any thought that adoption will one day touch your life, I ask that you still read my posts. Perhaps if not you, a family member, a co-worker or a close friend will consider adoption, and you will be able to understand and maybe even help them as they progress through their journey of finding a new addition to their family.

18 years ago, I was led down a path about which I had no understanding. I just knew that I needed to follow that leading. Again this month I feel led to dedicate this month to adoption. The first leading changed my life in glorious ways. Maybe, just maybe my posts this month will reveal a leading and a glorious change for your life!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wind and Rain but No Blood Clot

Although the warnings about Hurricane Sandy were dire for Virginia, we dodged a bullet. We had rain and wind, but nothing more than you would expect out of a good, old-fashioned storm. This one just lasted a while longer.

Monday had been forecast to be the worst of the storm days, and of course, that would be the day that Ashley and I had to do the most traveling around in it.

For a week now, Ashley's right ankle and foot have been very swollen. There's no bruising, and it doesn't appear to bother her, so I don't think it is an injury. But because I didn't know what it was, we visited her pediatrician Monday morning. He was a little baffled also, but suspected it could be a blood clot. If that were the case, it would instantly be an emergency situation. He sent us to the imaging facility next to his office with a script to get a venous ultrasound done.

So, we moved out into the storm and walked across the parking lot as my umbrella decided to flip itself inside out. The winds were just too high for an umbrella, but I didn't want either Ash or myself to get totally drenched. Too late...

We registered at the imaging facility and had just shaken the water off our coats when the receptionist walked over to tell me that they could not do the procedure - it had to be done at the hospital. She kindly gave me the number to the hospital and showed me to a phone I could use. Because everyone involved was assuming this was an emergency, we were told to drive immediately to the hospital cardiovascular lab.

So we left the imaging facility with a broken umbrella and clothes that were still damp, and headed out into the pouring rain again. I walked briskly across the parking lot as I pushed Ashley in her wheelchair. I got her into the car, and then wrestled her wheelchair into the trunk. Now we were more than damp.

We drove to the hospital, unloaded the wheelchair, and dashed into the hospital and headed to registration. At this point, I was feeling bad for the person who might sit in the chair that I had used because it was now soaking wet.

We headed back to the cardiovascular lab, and instantly I knew things were not going to go smoothly. One thing to keep in mind is that this was one of the few hospitals in our area that we had NEVER been to.

Ashley looked into the room where the ultrasound would be done, immediately locked her legs, dug her heels into the floor, and stiffened in her chair. She was NOT going into that room. The tech, an attractive young man, seemed to not notice her behavior, and told me to bring her in, get her on the stretcher and remove her pants. I laughed - perhaps just a bit hysterically.

I went through my whole speech - the speech I would not have had to give had we been at the hospital we normally frequent. I could tell he just wasn't grasping the situation because he kept talking on the phone to someone and saying, "Her mother won't do it."

Finally, I think I began to make him understand when I told him that for all other procedures in a hospital, they were done under anesthesia. If he required a child to be still, not fight, and not require at least three burly men to hold her down, we were going to have to do the test under anesthesia. Somehow, he and person to whom he was talking on the phone, decided they could probably make that happen. I was to go to the OR and see the anesthesia doctor.

But, here's where we had another little problem. Ashley was already an hour past the time of her noon seizure med dose, and she had eaten breakfast that morning.

So we moved to plan B. We were to go home, take the seizure med, and not have anything else to eat or drink until 3pm at which time we were to come back for the procedure under anesthesia.

It was out into the storm again. I drove home, administered Ash's seizure meds, and tried to keep her occupied and not asking for lunch.

We left home at 2:30 - back into the wind and rain - and arrived at the hospital at 3pm. They were ready for us. We went through the whole fill out the necessary forms thing again, all the while trying to keep Ashley calm because WE WERE IN THE OPERATING ROOM. It was a battle I was losing.

Fortunately, the staff and the doctor listened to me, and with the help of two large men and three small nurses, the anesthesioligist placed the mask over Ashley's face while she was still in her wheelchair, and she drifted off to sleep. Then they moved her to the stretcher and started her IV.

The test was over in about 20 minutes. They moved her back to her chair while she was still asleep, and slowly helped her wake up. All in all, I think a great deal of fighting was reduced by that maneuver.

Ashley woke up soon after with no issues, and we left to go back into the rain and wind, but this time to go home and stay home.

The pediatrician called a couple of hours later to tell me that the test did not show a clot. He was going to have to research and call me back. I haven't heard back from him yet.

Ash's ankle and foot are still swollen. She still doesn't seem bothered by it, and our clothes from Monday are almost dry.