I think I have to learn every foster parenting lesson the hard way.
Yesterday, after strange sickness behavior from Pumpkin for several days, I determined that she needed to be evaluated immediately to rule out sickness vs. seizure activity. To make a long story short, she threw up (out of the blue) on Saturday afternoon. She vomited again in the middle of the night.
Side note: I'm so glad I got my triggers under control doing behavior mod on myself with dirty diapers. Because a child sitting in their own vomit not trying to alert anyone to their condition is even more disgusting than a diaper blow-out.
On Sunday, Pumpkin seemed "out of it". Kinda sleepy. She took a long nap that afternoon. There was no purposeful language - only gibberish. She didn't eat anything all day. However, I continued to chalk things up to just being a sick kid.
After sleeping fine all night, I decided it would be OK for me to take Pumpkin to school yesterday. I let her teachers know all that had happened. They said they would monitor her for me. At 11:30 I got a text from her teacher letting me know that Pumpkin had been asleep for about an hour. Since I was on my way to pick Pumpkin up for an appointment, I was able to talk to the aides right away.
Pumpkin was still asleep when I got to school. Her aide told me that she had been "zoning out" and almost falling asleep at the table. This didn't seem right to me at all. Pumpkin shouldn't have been that tired. So, I took her home, packed a bag for the hospital and took off. On the way there I called the entire army of people that have to know any time something like this happens with a foster kid.
Fast forward to 4:00PM. I hadn't heard back from CPS yet. Pumpkin's visit was supposed to start at 4:30. Trying to do the right thing, I lost all sense of reality and sent a text to Pumpkin's mom asking if CPS had contacted her yet. (Mistake. BIG mistake!) I was trying to be nice. I just wanted to keep her mom from showing up at CPS for their family visit. We weren't going to be there and I wanted to save her the hassle.
Pumpkin's mom told me no, CPS hadn't contacted her yet. I said we were at the ER because of possible seizure activity. She sent me a text in all caps wanting to know where I was at because she wanted to come too. (Duh! I should have known this would happen.) I said she couldn't come unless a CPS staff supervisor was with her because she's not allowed unsupervised visits. Mom freaked out and tried to call me. I didn't pick up. Mom then grabbed a phone that belonged to someone else (so I wouldn't recognize the number) and called me again. This time I picked up because I thought maybe it was CPS finally calling me back. But noooooo....it was Mom. Totally freaking out.
"Why can't I be there?! I'm her mom! I should get to be there."
(Duh! What was I thinking?!)
As I was trying to talk to Pumpkin's mom, CPS did call me back (finally). I hung up on Mom and talked to my worker. Thankfully we've got a great social worker who said she would try to calm Mom down. She was going to have to check with her supervisor though. They may have to let Mom come visit us at the ER. I reiterated that a supervisor would have to come along. I just wasn't up to doing this alone. (Pumpkin's mom and I handle medical issues totally differently. I knew she would get Pumpkin all worked up and I didn't think it would be good for Pumpkin.) I also apologized about a million times that I was sorry for breaking the chain of command. She apologized for not checking her voice mail sooner and told me it's OK if I have to call one hundred times with stuff like this. I am to contact her first - not the mom.
I got lucky I guess. My worker was able to calm Pumpkin's mom down. They didn't send her to the hospital with us. My day got to stay reasonably drama free. (Though there was a man on the other side of the ER with cocaine in his system that required restraints. It made for an interesting soap-opera type event to watch.)
The doctors ruled out any kind of infection. All they did was up Pumpkin's dosage of anti-seizure medicine. I'm to follow up with her neurologist today.
I have to constantly remind myself that this is not a normal thing I'm doing. I doubt any mother would get a text about their kid being in the hospital and respond well. But it's not my job to make her life easier. She's the one that screwed up. And unfortunately, there are lots of natural consequences as a result of her screw up. My focus has to stay on Pumpkin. It was a mistake I won't make twice!