Wednesday, 18 May 2016

My squint surgery journey. Getting my eye back on the straight and narrow and finally showing my face in front of the camera!

My squint surgery journey

One week ago I was just getting to the end of a two hour stint in the operating theatre having squint surgery.

Having been to my doctor almost a year ago I was finally getting what I had always wanted, a 'new' eye! I hadn't told many people about my surgery, just a few family members and a few close friends. I wanted it to be a surprise but was also panicking over the possibility that there would be no change in the way I looked at all.

After a year of tests, seeing my consultant, more tests, rearranged appointments and one cancelled op date I was sat in day surgery awaiting my turn. I was excited and also hadn't really fully thought about the whole healing process!

Before and after surgery. After was about Day 4 post op.

Having shared my story on my blog previously, read my story here; My, Myself and My (lazy) eye! and also talking to a lovely lady online about her surgery I felt motivated to go and ask my GP about the possibility of operating to correct my squint.

I had first had squint surgery when I was around four years of age, my consultant told me this was to correct an inward pull on both eyes. Over recent years my right eye has deviated outwards and I hated it. I didn't want photographs taken of me, I hid away or at least made sure that I looked from a certain angle that made my eye look bearable in a photo but that required effort and so there were never many photos of me on show. Selfies were a definite no no but didn't stop people from asking every now and again but they never worked out!

So I decided surgery was the way to go. I was worried I would turn up and they would say there was nothing they could do. Or we would get to surgery day and I would wake up and it was still the same. As surgery day approached I felt nervous but excited too. The day has arrived and I was getting my 'new' eye.  

Day 1 and Day 3 post op. 

Surgery took around 2 hours and I was lucky to be one of the first down to theatre. A fete they had performed the initial lot of surgery I was woken up and taken back into theatre where they took to adjusting the sutures in my eye to make sure they had straightened my eye as much as they could. These were then tied off. Not the greatest experience I have had seeing a surgeon coming at your eye with some surgical tools to tie off sutures! Only a couple of friends have asked about the actual procedure and I delighted in telling them all about being awake whilst they sutured my eye, however I wasn't feeling quite so brave on the day and during the recovery process from it all!! 

Feeling not so glam, pre surgery. Slightly concerned that they had to mark my right eye to make sure they got the correct one, there was no mistaking which one was wonky!!

As I left the hospital, apart from feeling rather groggy from the general anaesthetic, my eye was feeling ok. It didn't look ok but it was open and functioning. I got home and took myself up to bed but took a picture to show a friend. However, about an hour later the numbing drops wore off and after that I was a complete mess! I was in pain, my eye hurt, my head hurt and I had my sunglasses on and the curtains closed. Feeling sorry for myself and crying on my besties shoulder that evening I hoped that the next day would be better.

I spent the next 4 days wearing my sunglasses indoors and outdoors, having a cold cloth on my forehead for most of the time and dosed up on painkillers. However, it was worth it, just about!

My eye looks amazing, although still swollen and red. I've been taking pictures of the healing process and can't wait to take some pictures once it's fully healed. I've bored everyone with pictures of it every day since surgery and will continue to bore people with hundreds of photos of me in front of the camera rather than behind it from now on.

I loved sharing my before and after picture online with friends and family as not many people knew that I was going for surgery. 

Day 4 and Day 6 post op, day 6 I was just waiting on a check up at the hospital which all went well. Just need it to heal properly now.

A big thank you to Nanny and Pappy Staying Sane for helping with the Things on surgery day, thank you to the OH for trying to be a half decent nurse and making himself official eye drop applicator and thank you to the bestie for visiting on surgery day with flowers and then watching me blub like a baby!

I will update with fully healed pictures as soon as I can. Someone grab that camera, Mum of Five is ready!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Regaining control of a bedtime routine for the younger children, how our first week has gone. Mummy 1 - Children 0!

It's been a long time coming but this week I decided it was time to take back control at bedtime. 

The children's bedtime routine was a nightmare and it was our own fault. The two youngest would go up to bed around 7-7.30pm but would take the iPad/iPod with them and lay in bed playing games or watching something. 

I knew it was wrong but I didn't care at the time, I was outnumbered 5 to 1 and if it kept them in bed and quiet they could keep them. For a while it did, they stayed in bed and then when it got late I would go in and take them away and they were asleep within a few minutes. 

However, they did strop when I took them away and by the time I did remove all devices from them it was nearly 10pm, no wonder they were tired and cranky. In more recent weeks they didn't stay in bed anyway. They would be up and down asking for a drink, going to the toilet or just coming downstairs and then staying down and they would start to mess around. 

Evenings aren't easy anyway as the OH is out on a Monday evening, I'm out on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening plus I have work every evening for a couple of hours. This week I have made sure that bedtime has been my priority and I haven't let it slip and become too late or rely on the devices to keep them quiet, everything else has had to wait whilst I do bedtime first.

Last Monday I sat them down and prepared them for their new bedtime routine. I had had enough and wanted to regain some 'quiet' time without running up and down the stairs all evening to see to them whilst still having to listen to the older ones too. 

I explained that they could still use the iPad/iPod after school but after dinner they weren't to have them and they wouldn't be taking them to bed. The reaction I got shows how dependant they had become on them! I said we would have story time, they had to make sure they go to the toilet once before bed and they could take a drink up with them if they really needed one. 

 So Monday night was the first night. I took Thing 5 up at 7pm and had everything ready. I started reading the book as he sat on his bed crying out for the iPad. I ignored him and persevered and once he realised I wasn't listening his cries died down and he listened to the story. By 7.30pm he was asleep. Yay! 

Victory number 1!

Thing 4 was a 7.30pm bedtime although probably nearer 7.45 by the time I got round to taking him up. Again we had a minor protest but all in all it worked. I made sure he visited the bathroom and he had one drink to take up with him and that was it. We didn't hear from him again, I know it took him a little longer to settle but he stayed in bed as he was told to which is good. 

Thing 3 was an 8pm bedtime but could read until 8.30pm. I haven't had any protests from her at all, a slightly moan at me when I tell her to go up but nothing major, although it still hasn't stopped her from being a nightmare to wake up in the mornings! 

Thing 2, don't get me started! However, I am celebrating the fact that I've regained control of bedtime with the 3 younger ones so we will gloss over that part for now!!! 

Victory number 2! 

It's been five nights and each night has got a bit easier. They don't even ask for the iPad/iPod at bedtime now and Thing 5 hasn't really been fussed with using it after school either so he hasn't really used it all week. Story time seems to be creeping up to four books a night but that is fine with me, I love reading to him and he is learning lots of new stories and tries to read the books to me too. 

A small victory in what is a very tough time at home at the moment. Evenings are slightly calmer now the younger 3 are back into a normal bedtime routine, now to sort out the older 2!! 

I'm off to crack open the champagne! 

Friday, 6 May 2016

ADHD and Autism; A family in crisis and trying to get Thing 1 back into a positive and good routine

So here I am, about to lay bare everything that we are going through at the moment. 

Whilst out on the school run and meeting friends I put on my 'happy' head! If people ask how we are I respond with 'Yes, we are all fine thank you' but the truth is, we are not. 

We haven't been for a long time but we've just carried on getting through every day, every hour, every evening of chaos and upset for everybody in the house. 

As well as the younger ones completely having lost track of any semblance of a bedtime routine, Thing 1 has completely lost any normality of a day/night routine. 

A rare family day out on a happier day

He left his job around 2-3 months ago. First of all he was reprimanded over the trousers he was wearing. He is very fussy about trousers, throughout school he would always wear his trousers tucked into his socks and since then has always chosen skinny chinos rather than a more looser fit trouser. However, skinny chinos weren't good enough and he had to wear a smarter work trouser, he conformed although always changed as soon as work was over. Then once that issue was sorted they told him to cut his hair. He didn't want to, it wasn't excessively long or over styled and he refused. So he left and never went back. 

His place of work didn't know about his disabilities and I am unsure that if they did how understanding they would have been. I think Thing 1 would rather not have told them however that means they didn't understand him as much as they could have done had they known. 

Anyway, he's not worked in a while. Hasn't looked for another job and doesn't go out at all. So he's in the house ALL the time. His sleep pattern is completely all over the place. There are nights where he is up all night and into the next day, he sleeps all day although not all the time. Sometimes he's awake for 24 hours or more before he crashes. 

He doesn't eat properly. There is no breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. It's snacking all the time. Last nights menu consisted of 14 Time Out bars, 6 packs of chocolate shortcake biscuits and some wafer biscuits. He has full access to the kitchen but cooking anything is only permitted at proper mealtimes. He once put some fish fingers in the oven in the middle of the night and then fell asleep. Luckily I woke up and found them just in time, although they were already very burnt. 

Then there is the bad language when he is playing on the PlayStation. It's not just shouting and swearing but abusive, offensive words too. I can't repeat what they are. I was going to but I couldn't even bring myself to repeat any of it. We have to listen to this all of the time he is awake. We tell him to stop, we tell him to leave the PlayStation for a while to calm down, we tell him to go out for run or just to get some fresh air and he ignores it all. 

If we take it away completely, which I am sure most of you are thinking that is what we should do, if we do that he then annoys the other children. He thinks we had more children to entertain him and he gets cross when they don't do what he wants them to do. 

He refuses to take his medication as he is fixated on joining the Army although we have been told that he can't unless he has been off of his medication for 3 years. This meaning that he no longer needs to be on his medication rather than him just refusing to take it like he is thinking that will class as being off his medication. 

So all in all, life is falling apart. Thing 1 is ruining our lives. There I said it. Every day is ruined by his shouting and screaming. His winding up of his younger siblings. His lack of sleep, his moods and the constant arguments between us and him over what he should and shouldn't be doing with his life. 

All the children together

Just as I am about to wave my youngest off to school in September and regain a bit more of my time I still have the oldest at home all day and sometimes it feels like he's more hard work to look after than all of the younger ones put together. 

I am completely at a loss as to what to do next. Having taken on too much with the OH working during the day, myself taking on an evening job, a school governor position at the local school as well as other commitments on some evenings too it just gets all too much and I just want to give up and hide away. 

So when you next see me, my 'happy' head is hiding all of this that we have to deal with every day. It's tough going, I don't want sympathy but just some understanding of how tough some days can be. 

Most people think that because one of our children is now grown up that life must be getting easier for us, you couldn't be more wrong! 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Lego Disney minifigures have arrived in the shops. The newest Lego collection with 18 minifigures to collect.

Lego Disney minifigures collection

We have waited a long time for this collection to arrive. We are big minifigure fans and are always watching out for the new collections to come out. The Lego Disney collection combines two of our favourite things! 

Having only just arrived in the shops, we have eight so far. Thing 5 eagerly opened 3 Lego minifigure packets earlier today and we got Aladdin, Buzz Lightyear and Ursula from The Little Mermaid. 

I am keen to know what other minifigures they have but the rest are for Thing 4 to open after school. He will be so pleased that I have found them in the shops already.

My find in the shops today, I was tempted to buy the whole box! 

The 18 minifigures available to collect

Buzz Lightyear arrived with us today, he is fab

Ursula minifigure, Thing 5 was playing with them as soon as they arrived. (Excuse his mucky 'garden play' hands!)

Each minifigure costs £2.50 each and are in 'blind bags' so be prepared for duplicates before you complete your set. I hope it doesn't take long for you to complete your collection.

Which Lego Disney minifigure is your favourite?