Posts tagged ‘miracle survival’

The Apple Tree Message

Just so we don’t take life too casually and forget that Angel has dissociative identity disorder, every now and then something happens to snap us back into the realization that Angel has many “parts”, especially an “angry” part and at least 2 other parts that took all of the abuse as an infant and toddler .  The other parts do not know these parts, but they are aware the exist.  Every now and then the angry one does something to remind them, lest they forget the great sacrifice he made so they could generally lead a happy, successful life.  Last night was such a time.  Angel had brought home an artwork on a large poster board.  He had painstakingly drawn a huge apple tree, and cut out apples.  He had a beautiful happy sun in the corner of the picture, and apples representing Marie, Stephen, Francis, Dinora, me and my husband, his dog, and 9 apples to represent himself.  It was a happy picture of our family.  Proud of his artwork, he had it hanging on the wall in his bedroom.  This morning when he woke up, the sun and most of the apples had been “blacked out” with black charcoal, (where did he get THAT?)  The only thing left untouched were 3 of his, representing the 3 parts of which he is not generally aware!  If it weren’t true, it would be unbelievable.

To read more about Angel’s story, and the story of the rest of our amazing family, please purchase The Apple Tree:  Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane from I-Books.  Thanks for the support!

Dinora’s First Miracle

We adopted Dinora from Guatemala at the age of 6 weeks, and I was so thrilled to have a daughter!!!  She came with a variety of diseases common in s 3rd World Country, scabies, intestinal parasites and malnutrition.  But we loved her and fed her and she blossomed into an adorable baby with big black eyes and shiny black hair.

At the age of six months, it became apparent that Dinora was deaf.  She had not yet started to babble like other babies her age, but she also did not turn to her name, or looked at the dog when she barked, or seem to notice the footsteps of me coming into her bedroom.  She would be laying there awake when I walked in, (and, believe me, I am not light on my fight.)  When she finally would see me, she would startle.  She had not heard me.  The day I knew it for sure was a day she was sitting next to me on the floor while I was doing the dishes.  I accidentally dropped a huge lobster pot I was cleaning and it made a horrendous clang on the floor.  Dinora happily sat there playing, her back to the pan.  She did not startle.  She did not cry.  She did not hear it.

We then made the rounds of the doctors.  She flunked regular hearing tests, and had a brain stem evoked response test.  Her brain did not respond up to 90 decibels.  The doctor informed me that she was severely hearing impaired and that we would try hearing aids to maximize her hearing, although they would not be strong enough for her to hear normally.  They took the impressions for her ear molds.

That evening, our family went for a pre-Christmas visit to a shrine beautifully decorated with Christmas lights.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  I had a two year old son who was legally blind, and now I had an infant daughter who was deaf.

There was a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes surrounded by prayer water and many large candles.  There was also a large display of crutches and wheelchairs of people who had been healed by her.  I helped my son, Francis, who was 2 1/2 years old, light a candle. Because it was almost Christmas, and the only candles he had seen were on a birthday cake, he merrily sang “Happy Birthday Dear Jesus”.  I remember saying a non-de-script prayer, still upset that Dinora was deaf.  I still thanked God,  but was not quite as enthusiastic as usual.

The next morning, the dog barked and Dinora woke up!  I thought it was a coincidence until I started to walk into her room and she turned to smile at me. She had heard my footsteps!  I started talking to her and she started babbling back.  Only a day earlier she had been fitted with ear molds for hearing aids!  I excitedly called the doctor, who agreed to see her that day.  Her hearing was tested and it was normal!  Neither I nor the doctor could believe it.  He said in his 29 years as an ear doctor he had never seen anything like it.  He told me that it had to be an “Christmas miracle from Above”.  The visit the night before to the shrine came to mind.  A miracle HAD occurred, and I was  embarrassed because I had not thanked God more enthusiastically the night before. He had granted me a miracle even though I did not ask for one.

Dinora is now 25 years old and has had perfect hearing ever since that day!

Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder

My 15 year old son, Angel, was diagnosed with ADHD, (inability to pay attention in class, his mind “wandered”, he couldn’t keep on the topic,) Reactive Attachment Disorder, (inability to bond with parents,) OCD (obsessed with certain rituals and items,) Conduct Disorder (uncontrollable behavior at times,) severe Depression, (where he would curl up in a ball in his bed and be unable to do anything,) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (violent reactions to certain memories or thoughts.)  These disorders, and a severe memory impairment, all turned out to be symptoms of another, more insidious disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder.)  All of his diagnosed symptoms were manifestations of different “parts” of his psyche, all developed in early childhood to allow him to survive horrific child abuse.  Angel considers himself a combination of his “parts”, a “we”.  It is normal for him, and we have lived with it every day since he has lived with us at the age of four.  He has received incredible special education services which enable him to spend most days in a regular 10th grade classroom, but also allow him to spend time in a resource room if he feels the need.  All assignments are written down for him and all homework is done before he leaves school.  (This solves the memory problem.) 

            Angel finds it helpful to write his feelings down sometimes, and I wanted to share with you 2 separate essays he wrote:

 

            “”Wah! Wah! Wah”went the baby as he cried.  People walked by and ignored him.  “Wah! Wah! Wah!” he cried some more.  All he could hear were big, angry footsteps coming closer and closer.  A woman poked her head in the crib.  “SHUT THE HELL UP!”  she screamed at the top of her lungs.  This scared the baby more and he cried more.  The woman started hitting the baby all over.  The crying baby woke up the man who was sleeping nearby.  “Shut that kid up!” he screamed.  The man got up and started to beat the baby.  The baby left consciousness and a stranger took over his brain.  The baby did not remember anything after that.”

 

 

            “Angel is a fifteen year old boy who has a rare disability.  His disability is called Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID for short.  A lot of times, he does things and does not remember doing them.  Most of the time he has no knowledge of what a certain part did or said.  It is basically like having octuplets  in your head.  People ask the wrong octuplet a question and he doesn’t know the answer, so he has to ask inside to see who knows the answer or who remembers.  This effects him in a lot of ways.  The most important way is with academics.  Most of his parts are smart in different subjects, but the right one has to go to the right class.  If a part goes who doesn’t know the answers, then Angel will flunk the whole test even though one part knows the answers good.  This is the most frustrating thing about living with parts!  Other than that, it is most of the time good because Angel is never lonely in his brain.  He has some funny parts that keep him laughing.  He has a baby part that they all give a lot of love to because he wasn’t loved when he was a baby. He also has an angry part that they don’t know.  This part scares them, so they try to pretend he doesn’t exist.”

             This may seem extraordinary, but it is just an ordinary part of Angel’s life.  No big deal…

Bunny Comes and Bunny Goes

I bought Marie a bunny for her birthday.  She always wanted a small furry creature to call her own.  She’s had several hamsters, but they always managed to escape from her.  I thought a bunny would be slower in hopping away.

Marie’s bunny was a “pigmy” bunny.  It certainly looked like a pigmy bunny when we bought it.  It was a great orange color and she named it “Pumpkin”.  Pumpkin ate and ate.  Pumpkin grew to be a VERY large pigmy bunny.  Marie enjoyed giving it “treats” to eat.

One late afternoon, Marie came to me screaming and crying hysterically.  Pumpkin was choking!  I tried my best Heimlich Maneuvers on it to no avail.  Marie dragged me to the car with my car keys to drive it to the nearest vet.  By this time, Pumpkin had gone limp and no longer appeared to be breathing, but Marie’s hysterical tears told me I had to  take it to the vet so they could tell her they tried everything but it was dead.

When we got to the Vet’s, they were closing and leaving in their cars.  Marie jumps out of my car when it is still running, and she runs as fast as her feet can take her over to the vet who just happened to be lucky enough to be driving a Volkswagon “bug” convertible with the top down.  Marie jumps up on the side step of her car and shoves the bunny in the car right in the vets face.  The vet and another staff person screech to a halt in their cars, grab the limp, obviously dead bunny, and rush into the office.  All the while, Marie is screaming at the top of her lungs.  They rush the bunny into an examining room, and I see them doing CPR on it, and then they shut the door.  5 minutes they come out gloriously happy.  Pumpkin is ALIVE!  She had been eating a fruit mixture, (obviously given to her by Marie) and she choked on a banana chip. They had quickly performed surgery on Pumpkin and removed the offending banana chip.  We ALL start crying with relief.  They said so many times people come into the vets with their animals near death and they can’t save them and it is very discouraging to the vet.  This was the first time someone brought them a dead animal and they were able to save it!  Marie being deaf and so darn cute, had tugged at their heartstrings, and they were excited that they could bring back her precious pet.  They sent us on our way home and a happy Marie gripped the bunny so hard I had to tell her to lighten up or she would kill it for sure!  I was instructed to make an appointment for the next day to bring her back for an exam.

Once the bunny got home, it looked no worse for the wear, except it moved very slowly and listed to one side.  We thought the excitement had gotten to it and it was too scared to move!  However, the next day, when the vet examined it, she took me aside and very apologetically, said she had some very bad news.  I started to laugh because I knew what she was going to say…the bunny was brain damaged from the lack of oxygen.  It didn’t matter, I told her.  All Marie expected was for Pumpkin to be a companion for her.  If it listed when it semi-hopped, never regained its previous enthusiasm for life, and had a vacant look in its eyes, it didn’t matter to Marie.  She had her pet back to love.  As we were leaving the vets, she gave everyone a hug and a kiss and she signed “thank you” to them.  I went to pay and they said they provided her treatment free of charge!  2 wonderful outcomes, a live bunny and several hundred dollars stayed in my pocket.  Life was good!

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