Well, we finally made it to six months with Anah. Time has flown, but at the same time, it has also seemed like forever. This past month, we finally got our dental work done. After trying to find a pediatric dentist who will accept Down Syndrome children, we had to wait for an appointment. After our initial appointment, which was inconclusive as to how much dental care she will need (because she was screaming and wouldn't allow them to take x-rays), we scheduled another appointment for an extended visit. The dentist knew that she needed a lot of work, but without the x-rays, she couldn't tell how much. Then came the haggling with the insurance again over the general anesthesia she will need in order to complete the treatment. Even up to the day of her appointment, we didn't know if it would cover her $3400 bill.
But God is so faithful. We counted several blessings:
- our dentist was excellent. With big appointments like this, the office only schedules one child at a time, so Anah had the undivided attention she needed.
- the anesthesiologist was very gentle with her. This was a concern for me, as she can get quite agitated and not everyone has the patience or experience to deal with her.
- the procedure only took about 2.5 hours, not 3-4 hours as we were anticipating.
- most of the cavities and treatment were done on baby teeth, not permanent teeth. We have another chance to work on that dental care!
- though she was under general anesthetic and very sleepy for most of the day, she bounced back quickly and was her happy self. Though she was uncomfortable when she tried to eat that first night (and she was really hungry after not eating all day), a little pain reliever was all it took, and she slept well the rest of the evening.
- insurance coverage for her treatment was granted, even though it was after the appointment.
The final count: 8 teeth with multiple cavities, one root canal, and one extraction. She has a spacer in place for the molar that they had to extract and a nice shiny crown to boot! This has helped with the teeth brushing tremendously as there is less discomfort.
In other areas, things have been progressing as usual. I have been so thankful for the offers of help that I've received from others. Lately, I have been putting together a school program for Anah, which will focus primarily on language and vocabulary, building basic concepts, and self-help skills, all utilizing as much music as I can. We will need some extra help for physical therapy and speech therapy, which are beyond me.
I don't know if it is a result of being in an institution or being left on her own for long periods, but I have noticed that if left on her own, she will quickly spiral downward to unproductive behaviors. Not destructive, just a little...odd. She really does best with someone who will sit with her and guide her all day. Of course, this is not practical or even possible for me, and even with the help of my other children (who have all pitched in to help), there are times when I know I could use someone to work with her, even if it is simply playing with her.
So, if you are in the area and have Monday or Thursday mornings (preferably) available, please let me know using my blog email: email@example.com. I will provide orientation, lesson plans, and support (and if you come in the mornings, lunch too!). Another option: if you'd like to help put together some of her lessons, I am working on that too. It will require a little shopping, cutting, coloring, etc.--think preschool--that would help as well. Again, let me know. Every little bit helps.
As for me, the Lord is showing me how much I will need to lean on the help of others. This really goes against my grain, however, and I am fighting it. I keep trying to do it on my own, and it is taking its toll. When I look back on the past six months, I know that it is only by the grace of God that I am still moving forward, that there are meals on the table and clean clothes in the drawers.
For the past few months, I have been going through the Gospel of Matthew, and I am reminded over and over that in order to live, I must die. And that dying process has been a long, drawn out one because I don't want to die to myself. I keep telling myself that it would be a lot easier if I didn't try to fight it. But to surrender seems to imply failure or giving up. This past month, the Lord has used my struggle to highlight the woundedness that has been hidden, the things that I would much rather not have to deal with. And yet this woundedness is keeping me trapped in a cycle that leaves me tired and discouraged.
It has been hard to find the time to get away to process all these things. I am trusting that the Lord will make some time for me so that I can start working through these things so that I can serve my family and others out of wholeness and not woundedness. By His grace, He has given me His strength and love day by day. His mercies are truly new every morning. But I also know that I will need some extended time to get to those deeper heart issues.
Thank you for your prayers. Through them, God has empowered us to make it through another month. In another month, Anah will have hit her 8th birthday. We can't do this without you!