Friday, September 21, 2007

Bad News Today

Jerry and Thomas this summer while doing the Mentos/Coke thing

About two weeks ago my doggie quit eating. He just stared and glared at his food. I bought a different brand of food. He ate a little. Then he was fine for a day or two. He quit eating again. This time I bought canned gravy food. He ate.

This week he started vomiting and didn't want to eat unless it was gravy food. So I made an appointment to get him checked out.

Well, we spent the entire morning at the vet's office. Apparently Jerry has an object in his stomach. Looked like a tennis ball. That was strange because Jerry is not a ball dog at all. He plays with a great big ball, but not with small balls. And this object in his stomach isn't small, it's just a tad bit smaller than a tennis ball.

However, that's not his problem.

His liver test was through the roof, off the charts, ten times what it should be. The x-rays reveal that his liver is enlarged.

So, what to do. Vet gave us options: Exploratory surgery, medications and a special diet or nothing. If we opt for nothing, he'll be gone within a few weeks.

Surgery will be at least $500. The good thing is that whatever is in Jerry's tummy will be removed, they'll be able to see his liver and tell if it's tumors or else do a biopsy. We don't know what the liver issue is, so it may be incurable, which means the $500 tummy surgery would be a waste.

After talking this over with me quite a bit, I asked the vet what he would do if it were his dog. He said he'd try the dog on the meds and special diet to see if the liver test goes down. If it does, there's hope for the liver. Which means we could proceed with the surgery. If Jerry's health deteriorates before we get him retested, we'll know the answer.

Oh, he also mentioned that during surgery if he found the liver to be full of tumors, that he'd put him to sleep on the table.

I am distraught, to say the least. Thomas spent the afternoon bawling. We got home and all snuggled up on my bed. I told Jerry to fight because we loved him. I told Thomas we would not make him suffer, to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Watching my son cry was hard. The painful lessons of life.

We bought the meds and special food. Our bill today was $250. We made our decision. If Jerry's liver enzymes go down, which means there's hope, we'll opt for surgery. If not, we'll make him as comfortable as possible, continue to love him, and when it's time, we'll give him a death with dignity.

Give him a death. That just sounds so cold. I do not want him to suffer, though. He deserves more.

My dad adopted Jerry about five years ago. Jerry was too big for him and we adopted him. He is such a good dog, even-tempered, loves kids, gentle. I can't imagine our lives without him. I can't imagine him in pain, either. I called my dad and talked this over with him. I asked him what he would do, how he felt, etc. I finally asked him if we decided to put him down, would he mind. No, he would understand completely. He supports us in whatever decision we make.

So right now Jerry is at my feet, as he always is. He's my constant companion. He's fine, not in pain. The special food has stayed with him. He took his medication fine. He's just Jerry, just a little less energetic than normal.

I hope (and yes, pray) that he bounces back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kid Nation

I know there's been lots of controversy about the show Kid Nation. Thomas and I decided to watch it anyway. I personally love some reality TV (Okay, I love Survivor) and this one really piqued my interest.

Well, we loved it.

My favorite line: "I'm a beauty queen, I don't do dishes."

Didn't like the older kid shoving the council member at all.

I read on the Well Trained Mind boards that one of the moms posts there and her son or daughter was on the show. All I know (or remember reading) is that the mom is from Illinois. Anyone know who the homeschooled kiddo is on the show?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I personally find Andrew Meyer obnoxious, arrogant and abrasive. But: So what?

I am shocked at the events that transpired in this video. He was asking Senator Kerry why he conceded the election and the police did not like it. Senator Kerry stated, "Let me answer his question."

This video contains REAL violence and foul language. I did not let Thomas watch it. So make sure there are no kids watching over your shoulders if you watch it just in case you don't want them to see it. However, it would be a very good learning opportunity--albeit harsh.

It made me ILL. I actually shook as I watched it. He was basically a jerk, but what he got was not appropriate, in my humble opinion. I thought we had free speech in America.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Evening

What a day. We both overslept and didn't get school started until 9:30. We finished at 4:30.

Everything went smoothly until we got to Wordly Wise. Last year Thomas loved Wordly Wise. This year he hates it. We're finishing last year's book, so it's not like it's a more difficult level yet. This is an area that I'm struggling. We could easily pass on WW because he learns lots of vocab in other areas. I'm just such a stickler for him learning a good vocab because I don't have one.

So I got a little moaning and whining. Then I brought out our writing book for the year, Write! Write! Write!. I may blog someday why I chose that, but not now. He whined at the size of the book. "I hate writing, mom." Well, it shows. He really needs to learn to write this year.

Luckily, he was happy when we opened the book. The first several pages are fill in the blanks, similar to Mad Libs, and he had a ball. He even finished the story in a spiral notebook. Okay, this wouldn't fly in public school, but there were mentions of Beavis and Butthead in his story. (His dad allows him to watch that, not me. And his dad allows him to watch it because his dad loves Beavis and Butthead.) There were also mentions of poop, vomit, and farts.

I'm okay with that. For now. He's writing. I told him that he will gain class as time goes on because I will expect it. But for now he's writing.

He's still loving logic. And his favorite workbook is Nonfiction Reading Grade 6.

Then we came to math. We're using Lial's this year. I still have reservations, and we're only on day 8 here. He wants it, doesn't want to go back to Rod and Staff. So I'll plug away. The thing is, we kind of hit a brick wall this morning when he had to divide 55,897 by 32 -- or whatever the numbers were. So we practiced several problems together. I taught him to take small bits, break it down and make it easier. It was a struggle and took a long time. At this point he lost all concentration. This has happened with math every single year of our homeschool experience.

Why is it that a kid can score the same as an 11th grader on a standardized test in math concepts, above grade-level on computation, but struggles so with day-to-day math. I don't get it. However, this afternoon I thought back to when we started fractions. We had started Lial's in 4th grade and we got off track. I bought Painless Fractions and we just went at our own pace learning fractions. I made worksheets from the internet. And it worked. He knows fractions amazingly well. So I'm going to go off on a tangent yet again.

I just printed a bunch of worksheets off a generator site. Tomorrow he's going to do 10 really-hard-to-him problems, and 10 double and triple digit multiplication problems. We'll probably do this until it becomes easier for him. I'll know when the whining and frustration stops.

I get caught up in the school mindset: Forge ahead, we have to finish the book, we have to stay on schedule. I really have to scream NO--we have to learn and learn well.

So hopefully tomorrow will be smooth sailing. I'll work one or two problems with him and sit by him as he works the rest. We'll also do this first thing in the morning so he's fresh.

Wish us luck!

In other areas I'm still tweaking--which is my style. We're still enjoying United Streaming VERY, VERY much. Science is going great. World history is fantastic. He's learning, he's remembering, and he's using his new-found knowledge in conversations with his father. What more could we want?

So hoping tomorrow is better without a meltdown.