Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lot's of Noise!

Tics are back in abundance. Elijah has been making noises now for two days and chewing on his shirts again. He is now wearing his chewlery(pictured left, he uses the larger necklace one), so he doesn't chew a hole through this shirt. The noises aren't too bad, but I have had to remove myself from the living room a few times. There are a lot of loud raspberry types of sounds and loud sighs. It will stop for a bit and then start back up again. I don't know how it doesn't drive him crazy.

He is also letting the coil on his left ear processor dangle a lot. He goes through phases where he does this. If I ask him if he wants to take off his left "ear" he says no, so not sure why he lets it dangle. He can't hear without the coil on his head.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Update on Jacob's Job

Jacob has been working at Albertson's for a month now. Some people might not be aware, but Albertson's is a grocery store chain. He is a courtesy clerk and his duties include bagging groceries, helping customers to their car with their groceries, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping the store, doing put backs, and getting carts in from outside. I am sure there are a few other duties, but those are the ones he has mentioned to me. He even gets to drive those electric carts in, if a customer leaves it outside. He actually enjoys doing that.

He has really enjoyed having a paycheck each Friday. The first Friday he was paid, he didn't want to make a trip up to get it. He waited until he worked the next day to pick it up. Since then, he has gone up each Friday to get his check. His hours have increased a bit and he likes seeing the increase in his paycheck. He pays me $30 a week towards his car insurance and another $10 to put in his savings account. I put it all in his savings account, then pay his insurance when it is due. He is also paying for his gas, which isn't a whole lot right now. He only drives back and forth to work. He drives to a few other places to SPEND what money he keeps, but even that is not far.

This week he will be working fourteen hours. I am hoping once he gets a bit more money in savings, that we will go to the bank and open a checking account for him. This way he can have a debit card. I can transfer him money when he needs it. He could also learn HOW to manage a debit card/checking account. I told him we will set it up, that if the money is not there then the card is refused. If he truly wants to go to Waco to attend a technical school next Fall, then he needs to know how to handle a checking account.

We are going to visit the technical school on July 22nd! I'll let y'all know how that goes!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elijah's Deaf?

This is a picture of my nephew Trent and Elijah out at a restaurant this past weekend. Elijah and I went to the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin for a Weekend Retreat and then drove in to see my sister who lives near San Antonio.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and later that night we had to decide on sleeping arrangements. The boys quickly agreed that they would both sleep in Trent's full size bed. I let Elijah stay up a little later than his usual 9:00 bed time and so he was very tired when I finally got him to bed. It was around 10:00 that night and we had done a LOT of walking and working in the days before our arrival. Elijah got into bed before Trent and quickly fell asleep. I went into the guest room to get ready for bed and when I came out Trent was in bed and Elijah was asleep.

I went in and talked to Trent who was whispering, because Elijah was asleep. I whispered an answer to a question he posed to me and then said in a regular voice, "Hey, I don't have to whisper, Elijah can't her me." Trent whispered back, "He can't hear you?" I said, "No, he can't, he is deaf without his implants on." Trent had this surprised look on his face. Now, I know I have talked to him about Elijah not being able to hear without his processors, but I guess kids have a hard time comprehending NOT hearing anything. Trent continued to whisper and said, "He's deaf." I said "YES" and then yelled right into Elijah's ear. Of course, Elijah slept right through it. Trent sat there dumbfounded and started talking in a regular voice.

My sister came into the room to see what all the yelling as about and I told her the story. Later, I heard her talking to Trent and asking him if he wanted some music to help him fall asleep. I heard him answer with, "Yea, that would be nice and it won't bother Elijah." Too cute!

We had a great visit and both boys got along very well. They both loved swimming and I signed with Elijah while he swam with no processors on. Trent learned a few signs too as did my sister!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Locked Doors

My sister, nephew, Elijah and I are staying at a hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. We let the boys swim last night for a bit. Elijah and I headed up to the room first. He went in the bathroom to take a shower and locked the door. He didn't have his "ears" on so there was no way to communicate with him. He is notorious for taking long showers and getting water everywhere. I was not happy the door was locked. I grabbed the do not disturb sign and slid part of it under the door and waved it back and forth. He finally sees it and yells "what". I waved it some more and he opened the door. I sign to him to NOT lock the door. He nodded and got in the shower. Oh the fun of traveling with a deaf child.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What a Weekend!

Elijah and I left on Friday around lunch time to drive to Austin to participate in the Family Weekend Retreat at the Texas School for the Deaf(TSD). Jacob had to work over the weekend so he stayed with my partner, who also had to work! We arrived around 4:00 and got checked in. We went to our dorm room and settled in. Dinner was at 5:30, so we left a little early to walk down to the cafeteria. I have learned from past experience, it is good to get to the cafeteria early when attending something like this!

We had about ten minutes to wait and there was another family there waiting also. Elijah and their daughter played and ran around a bit. The mother and grandmother chatted with me. I then hear a scream and someone crying.  I look over and Elijah is getting up and holding his nose. He had fallen while running up the stairs. He comes running to me and when he moves his hand all I see is BLOOD. The other mom handed me tissues and when I wiped away the blood, I saw this huge gash! It was deep. I knew it needed stitches.

He and I started our walk back to the check in area, because our car was there and I needed to find out where the closest hospital was. I was a nervous wreck. This would be my second trip to an ER in two weeks and this was in another town! The nurse looked at Elijah's nose and agreed it needed stitches. Someone offered to drive us, because by this time I was in tears and my hands were shaking. Elijah was crying and all I wanted to do was take care of him.

We arrived at the ER and they got us back pretty quick. The woman who took us waited in the waiting area. She was the first of many angels that night. They took X-Rays and he had also broken his nose. He got five stitches. Elijah was not very happy about stitches and threw a fit. I told him they would have to give him medicine to calm him and he would get sleepy. There would be no ice cream social at TSD if he was sleepy. He calmed down and after two huge shots he got his five stitches. We then got his prescription for antibiotics and left. It was now around 7:45. We found a CVS and arrived right around 8:00. The pharmacist then tells me they closed at 8:00. I explained the situation and she filled the prescription. Our second angel of the night.

We arrived back at TSD and they had saved us dinner. TSD is a huge campus. It reminds me of a small junior college and there are lots of stairs! Another staff member then drove us over to the ice cream social in a golf cart, because the walk was SO long. This was Elijah's favorite part!!! We ate our dinner, had our ice cream and Elijah got to play with other kids. He was a real trooper!

The rest of the weekend was awesome. I went to workshops on Saturday and Elijah went to a day care where he got to play with other kids. He swam, but did not submerge his head due to the stitches. He had an awesome time and he behaved! I arrived back and we hung at the dorm until our group got to eat dinner. We then went and watched them shoot off rockets at the football field and then hung out with some other families. Let's just say we crashed hard that night and were in bed by 9:30.

Sunday morning was our last to be there. Elijah went to day care after breakfast and I went to two more presentations. We left around 11:15 and met my sister and nephew for lunch. We are now at their house!

Once we get home, I will post some pictures that I took. I really enjoy connecting with other families at this retreat. This is also a time when Elijah gets to be around other deaf kids his age. There was a good mix of families there with kids who signed, talked or did both! If you live in Texas, I encourage you to take your family if you have a deaf child. It is only $75 for the weekend. You stay in the dorms and they feed you while you are there! You can't beat this deal. Just be careful on those stairs, or you will spend some time in the ER. OH and I am ever so glad to have that accident insurance, WHO knew I would need it again so soon!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accident Insurance

While we were sitting at the ER with Jacob's broken finger, I remember that I had accident insurance on me and the boys. I called them the Monday morning after he broke it and got them to send me the claim forms I needed. I faxed it to them on that Monday and then faxed them the bill from the orthopedic visit after that visit. Quick update on that...the doctor said he could remove the splint after a week and he didn't need a follow up visit. There was no joint or tendon involvement.

I called the accident insurance company yesterday and they said they had just sent me a check for $250. This will cover the $150 copay for the ER visit and the $30 copay for the orthopedic doctor. The extra amount is because he broke a bone. I will take it and probably put it towards his car insurance.

I am very glad to have this insurance. The only other time we have used it was when my then husband was in a car wreck several years ago. Accidents are unplanned and usually expensive. I am glad that this money will cover his co-pays. I hope we don't need to use it again for any of us!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ordering Cochlear Implant Supplies

I like to use rechargeable batteries in Elijah's Freedom CI processors in the summer. First of all, it saves him from using disposable batteries and he needs the rechargeable Lithium batteries to swim with his processor. We put his processor in an aLoksak bag and he wears a swim cap. The disposable batteries won't work because the need air to work and the bag seals them off from that.

I called Blue Cross Blue Shield and was told I needed a pre-determination letter. Ok, I can do that. I called his audiologist's insurance department and spoke to someone there. She got back to me and they no longer order supplies for patients, and told me to call Cochlear and they will handle it. She said if Cochlear needs the letter they will contact the audiologist for one. I then call Cochlear and they tell me they will only order if Elijah has Medicaid, which he doesn't. He suggests I call BCBS back and see the best way to handle it. He said I could order the batteries and then file it on my insurance. I then call BCBS back and they NEED that letter to authorize payment. If they approve it they will send a letter to the audiologist and one to me. She said I can still order the batteries and then file a claim. I then called the audiologist and spoke to the same woman in the insurance department there and she said they could do the letter. I had her email, so I emailed her what I needed.

MY OH MY, what an ordeal. Thankfully, we have over 300 disposable batteries, so I won't need to order those. I can just see BCBS telling me later that they won't pay for disposable batteries, because they just paid for the Lithium rechargeable batteries. ARGH. I am considering letting Elijah wear them to school IF insurance does pay for two new ones.

I am very thankful to have good insurance, but it can be a real beat down sometimes trying to figure out HOW to get things paid for.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Day of School!

Today was the last day of school for both boys. My last day is Saturday, and yes you read that correctly....SATURDAY. I will survive, I am sure. I now have a SENIOR and a SEVENTH GRADER in the house! Jacob will be in his fourth year of ROTC and taking a college class each semester in Computer Maintenance. Elijah will be moving up to Junior High! Where has the time gone!

I took Jacob into the orthopedist today, just to check out his finger. He really did break the very tip of it. There were no tendon or joint involvement which is great. He needs to wear the splint for another week and then he can go without it. The orthopedist said it takes about three weeks to heal. The ER doctor had told him to wear the splint for six weeks! He was happy to hear he could take it off in another week. He also got a note stating he could work. He goes into work tonight, as a matter of fact!

Elijah and I are leaving for the state school for the deaf for a family weekend retreat in about a week. Jacob will be staying home with my honey so he can work. Other than that, we have a quiet summer planned!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jacob Broke his Finger

We arrived home from the grocery store yesterday and as Jacob was getting out of the car, he managed to slam his finger in the door. He reacted as would be expected and we managed to get in the house to take a look at it. His index finger on his left hand was pretty banged up. We bandaged it up and put ice on it. After about two hours, the bleeding would not stop. I left Elijah home with my honey and took Jacob to the local ER. This was my first time to take Jacob to the ER for something that had happened to him. Elijah has been MANY time!

An x-ray revealed that he had broken the tip of his finger. He also had a hematoma under his fingernail. The doctor numbed his finger and then relieved the pressure by putting a hole in his fingernail. He sure did squeeze my hand pretty tight, when she did that. The nurse then put a splint on it and we came home.

He did fine at school today and slept good after having some pain meds last night. I called the pediatrician and got the name of an orthopedist. I am taking him on Thursday to see that doctor. I need to stop and pick up his x-ray from the hospital before we go! I also called the Accident Insurance people and I do have a policy on Jacob! That will help with some of the co-pays! I am glad to have good health insurance but copays add up quickly!

We took the bandage of and cleaned his finger this evening. It looked a lot better, but still pretty bruised. It is still pretty sensitive. He will be in the splint for at least six weeks. I am curious to see what the orthopedist says on Thursday. I'll keep y'all posted!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

State Testing and Summer is Coming

Here in Texas we have the TAKS and STAAR testing for our state testing. Such fun acronyms. Jacob took the TAKS test this year and his Junior class is the last group to take the TAKS. He passes his English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Math tests. He got commended on the English/Language Arts and the Social Studies test and even got a perfect score on the Social Studies test.

A few years ago the state decided to change the TAKS to the STAAR test and make it even more rigorous. Elijah took the STAAR Modified test, since he is in resource classes. The modified test is on grade level, but has fewer answer choices and the reading passages are broken into smaller passages. Elijah passed his math test and almost passed his reading test. I think he has the skills needed to pass the reading test, but he rushes and doesn't put much effort into the test.

With all of that being said, Elijah has many more years of STAAR testing and Jacob is thankfully all done. He is on track for graduation next year!

We don't have too much going on this summer. Elijah and I are going to Austin in two weeks for a Family Weekend Retreat at the Texas School for the Deaf. We will then go and see my sister for a few days. Jacob is staying home, because he is no employed at a grocery store and will hopefully be working while I am gone. My partner is staying in town too, so he won't be home alone. Jacob and I will make a trip to Waxahachie in July to the Texas State Technical Institute to see what they have to offer. He wants to go to school there after graduation. We will be swimming and going to movies this summer too. There are a few doctor's appointments each month, but nothing too horrible! I will also be doing my mystery shopping to make some extra money. I am blocking out two days a week though, so I make sure to spend time with the boys and RELAX!