Friday, March 30, 2012

Update on both kids

The Ninja was examined by a concussion specialist this morning. He does indeed have a mild concussion, but no major neurological damage (thank goodness). The doctor wants him to continue to refrain from physical activity, at least until Easter Monday, when we return for a re-exam. She also brought his world crashing down around him when she recommended no tv or video games or computer usage or music through earbuds, as these all provide stimulation that she feels is excessive for the healing brain. This should prove interesting.

Toots continues to have a good week. We have an on-grounds pass scheduled with her for tomorrow. That means, if the weather is nice, we can take her to the picnic area or gazebo on the property. We’ll probably bring a reasonably healthy lunch. If the weather prevents us from sitting outside, we’ll just have to stay in one of the visiting areas inside the building. If she has another good week, she might have a day pass for Easter.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Both kids seem to be feeling better

The Ninja went to school this morning, and made it through the day. He stayed late to make up work. We have an appointment tomorrow morning at the concussion specialty clinic in the area. He says his head is OK right now.

Spoke to Toots’ therapist earlier. Toots has had a good week, going to school every day, working on her art projects, being cooperative and helpful. Helpful Toots is terrific. Hope it keeps up.

Aspects of having a son

(This is actually from Monday, March 26th. I was able to re-edit and put in the paragraph breaks, but now it's showing with a March 29th date.)

Just got home from the Emergency Room with The Ninja. Don't be alarmed, he should be fine.

During his sparring event at the tournament yesterday, he was hit in the left eye by his opponent. It was accidental; Ninja has been up against this boy before and he is a fair fighter. The official stopped the match and let Ninja clear his head for a few minutes before continuing. Ninja's own sensei was there, and would not have allowed him to keep fighting if it was contraindicated. Ninja went on to take first place in the event, 14-15 y.o. black belt boys' sparring. About 10 minutes later, he began complaining of a headache. Since the tournament was ending, we left to head home.

He continued to have a headache last evening, and I gave him Tylenol. This morning, he complained that his headache was worse, and his eyes were very sensitive to light. I Googled "Teenage head injuries" and from what I found on the Centers for Disease Control website, we decided to get him looked at this morning. So off he and I went to Big University Hospital. His visual acuity and tracking were OK. No eye floaters. No nausea or vomiting. No neck or back pain. No problems with his facial bones. No numbness. The light sensitivity was better than it had been. So, they said it might be the beginning of a concussion, and sent us home with instructions for rest, no sports for two days, follow up with pediatrician, take Motrin or Tylenol, come back if he gets worse. OK.

So, just another episode with an active karate kid who gets bumps and bruises, and takes punches and kicks. Perhaps we are over-protective, as The Ninja accuses us of being, but he is very precious. I don’t know how we would survive if anything happened to him. As I can’t imagine how Trayvon Martin’s parents are surviving. I know there are details yet to be explored in that case. But the fact remains; the kid who is dead was a black teenage male walking home from a convenience store, in a hoodie, with candy, a drink, and a phone in his hand, in a predominantly white neighborhood.

Just like The Ninja.

This is the extreme aspect of transracial parenting. The knowledge that our brown-skinned son, who is tall and looks older than his age, is a good citizen, a black belt, and member of the Police Explorers, could be a target for some loon who thinks he “looks suspicious” walking down the street. It strikes terror. Ever since we brought him home at the age of four, I’ve been very conscious that he is a dark-complexioned male in a white town. His school district is 97% white. It has never been an issue, as he has lots of friends, of all races. He has been called “n----r” at school, but he says it’s in jest, it doesn’t bother him, and we shouldn’t contact the school administration about it. We haven’t yet.

We have, however, been having “the talks” with him since he was little. If you’re ever stopped by police, always be respectful and don’t talk back. Keep your hands in sight. Do just what they tell you, and don’t make any sudden moves. One of the reasons I’m happy that he’s joined Police Explorers is that, as his involvement deepens, more of our local precinct officers may get to recognize and know him. And, he’s a martial artist of eight years’ standing. He knows the code of honor, that he is not to start any trouble. He has been told repeatedly by his senseis that he can defend himself if necessary. But what defense would fast hands and feet be against a trigger-happy law enforcement wannabe?

One more thing to worry about.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Oh man, The Ninja has a concussion! He went to school yesterday, continuing to complain of a headache (#5 on the 1-to-10 scale they use at the hospital) and light sensitivity. He made it through the day, but came home and went immediately to bed for the night.

This morning, he couldn't bear any degree of light, and the headache was no better. I kept him home. We had the follow-up appointment this afternoon with his primary doctor. She diagnosed him with a mild concussion, but didn't see any other neurological or visual damage. He has to stay out of gym class, sports and karate for two weeks, and she wants him to be seen by a concussion specialty group at another area hospital.

Hanshi, the head of the karate dojo, is pretty upset. She said she can't remember anyone else getting a concussion while sparring. Ninja used to wear a helmet and face mask when sparring, but none of the older boys want to wear the face mask, and lately we've been letting him wear the helmet without the mask. I think we are going to go back to the mask, whether he likes it or not. It's always something.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Feeling down

Toots had an especially bad week at Big Hospital. Among other things, she injured another staff person. I will write a long post about what has been going on, when I have the energy. The Ninja has a karate tournament tomorrow, so at least that will be a diversion.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Not quite an update

It has been an up-and-down week with Toots. She was having a rough time at Big Children's Hospital, but things have been better for the last few days. More later. In the meantime, for your enjoyment: The Ninja is not big on eating vegetables. He will eat salad, but for a while that's been about it. Last night at dinner, he uncharacteristically put on his plate and ate sauteed broccoli rabe. Me, astounded and goggle-eyed: "What other green things do you like, honey?" The Ninja: "MONEY!" By the way, does anyone know why Blogger is refusing to put in my paragraph breaks?

Friday, March 9, 2012

More things to consider

One of yesterday's projects involved taking Toots' big plush robe, and sewing a strip of velcro down the front, to keep it closed. The robe has a separate tie, which she can't have at Big State Hospital. Or any hospital. You know why. She had another robe, same style but white with polka dots, that I am SURE she had at the residence. I asked her, "Toots, what happened to the white robe?" "Uhhhhh....I gave it to someone. I think." "Toots, that was your nice robe that I'd fixed up with velcro! Please don't give clothes away without asking!" ", I think someone stole it. That's right, J. stole it." Another day, another....whatever.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Toots was transferred yesterday to Big State Children's Hospital. She seemed OK. First thing, she saw kids and staff she knew. I had many meetings with social workers and doctors. One doctor mentioned the possibility, if she is not able to function after she turns 18, of long-term hospitalization at Big State Adult Hospital. Sigh. At least that would be closer to our house.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The things we have to consider

Lew visited with Toots yesterday afternoon. At her request, he brought her a couple of teen/fashion magazines, which she is allowed to have on the unit. The nursing supervisor took the staples out of them, before Toots could touch them. You see, she recently pried a staple out of a magazine and used it to cut herself.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Heyy, she actually called

Toots called us at home yesterday. She didn't have much to say--she rarely does--but she was glad to hear we recovered her stereo, iPod and cell phone from the residence. At least she is willing to talk to us again. It was strange packing up all her stuff into suitcases and bags. I made sure to recover the towels, bedding and curtains that I bought new for her room there. I'll be washing and putting away things for the next couple of days. Toots remains under the impression that she will be ready for Independent Living (a small adult group residence) on her 18th birthday, in seven months.