Saturday, January 9, 2010

In Which We Contemplate A Companion For Connor

Our apnea monitor is picking up messages from space.

No, not literally, like this family's monitor, but we do seem to be getting some interesting interference. I think one of the families in our apartment complex has a monitor that runs on similar channels. Ours still picks up Connor very well, but in the background every once in a while we'll hear something that sounds remarkably like the grown-ups in Charlie Brown-- you know, "Mwa mwa mwa mwa mwa" in conversational tones. Sometimes there will be a higher pitched "mwwaaaaaa mwaaaaaaaaa" which is probably the baby crying.

What's really weird is that if you turn off Connor's apnea monitor at his bedside but leave the remote monitor on, the voices suddenly become much, much clearer. Sometimes you can even pick out phrases. It's very strange, though I guess if I were a voyeur I'd be pretty excited about it. It sort of makes me wonder if someone picks up what happens on our monitor. They probably think we're beating Connor or something. The kid likes to scream and yell a lot when he goes down for nap time. Not because he's sad or anything; just because he likes to scream. Since CPS hasn't shown up at our door yet I'm guessing no one's listening very hard.

We'll be doing a little bit of surveillance of our own pretty soon. Once we get to the new house and Connor is back in his own room instead of sleeping in ours, we'll be getting a video monitor so that we can make sure he's not having a seizure while he's back in his bedroom. We'll have a huge TV in new living room mounted on the fireplace, and we can probably hook up the video monitor receiver to it and have a GIANT picture of Connor. We could probably see his nose hairs and everything; I think those TVs get pretty good definition these days. It'll work for now, but we may have to figure out something else once we adopt if the kids share a room or as Connor gets older. It seems kind of like Big Brother parenting, if you know what I mean. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

One of the solutions we might end up with as an alternative to video monitoring when Connor is older is to get a seizure response skilled companion dog. The difference between a skilled companion dog and a service dog, for those of you who don't know, is that a service dog is bonded and mainly cared for by the person who requires the dog's services, and a skilled companion dog provides those services with the help of a facilitator (ie me) who takes care of the dog. It would be very, very helpful to have a dog that was trained to stay with Connor at night and alert us if he was having a seizure. I always have the fear in the back of my mind right now that I might be in the shower or in a far part of the house and not hear the monitor alarm going off. Having a dog that could come find me or Jer and alert us to the fact that Connor is having a seizure would really alleviate a lot of the stress there. Of course, on the other hand, then we'd have a dog. Which means more responsibility, more expenses, and more poop. And we all know how fond I am of poop around here.

Still, Jer and I really think a skilled companion dog for Connor would be really, really beneficial for him, and with the new house we would finally be in a position to own a dog. I may have to start doing some homework!



Niksmom said...

I have read many accounts of people with comapnion dogs and the profound difference they make in the lives of the entire family. I think it's an AWESOME idea. Of course, I don't have to feed it, walk it, clean up the poop! lol

On the monitor issue, you should be able to change the channel on the room monitor so you don't get the interference. We had that issue in one house we lived in many years ago. Unfortunately, what we were able to pick up was our neighbor's cordless phone. They were in the middle of a very ugly separation/divorce with allegations of infidelity. To say we got an earful would be an understatement!

Anonymous said...

Here's a site to explore:

Julia O'C said...

I take care of a one special needs child, one neurotypical child, one husband and one dog. The easiest of the three to care for? Hands down, it's the DOG! He's not a therapy or seizure dog, but he's MY therapy! Even dealing with the poop isn't so bad once they're house-trained.

While Seamus has had no special training, he still seems to know that he can't play rough with Emmett and Violet. He's very protective of both children as well. And seizure dogs are amazing! They can detect that a seizure is coming and alert you to that. I think dog could be wonderful companion/friend for Connor, aside from helping you detect his seizures.

Can you tell that I'm very excited that you might get a dog?!

xraevision said...

Ah, what's a little more chaos (and poop)? Our family and friends thought we were nuts when we announced that we adopted our dog, but he's turned out to be a good companion and very protective of X, considering he was a stray from the shelter with no special training. We've been introducing him to our cats through "forced love" sessions, but besides this, he really doesn't add much work to our daily routine. In fact, he's part Husky and likes to pull X's sled! I vote a big YES for you getting a dog!

Katy said...

I love that idea. Our dog always comes and tells us that Charlie is awake after a nap.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I think this is a fantastic idea! I bet the cats would love having a dog around, too. : )

Herding Grasshoppers said...

(Since I don't have to clean up the poop...)

I think a seizure dog is a great idea. Just about anything that allows parents to get a peaceful night's sleep is a great idea :0)

Even with "regular" kids, I never slept well with a monitor on.

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