Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I don't even know where to begin.

This past year has had more than it's share of rough spots, and I've written about many of them here, but there was I never quite knew how to approach. I started writing the following post last August. I decided to finish it up today. I'm hoping that by posting it, I let go of the emotions involved a little better, since they still creep in from time to time.

From August 11, 2011, (a full month before Scooter's head to toe rash from the antibiotic overload):

Obviously, I've had a lot on my mind this summer with our nephew's wedding we went to the end of May/beginning of June to Hopper's broken leg, emergency surgery, hospitalization, and heart stoppage the end of June/beginning of July to her convalescence at home since then, to Bugster and Bubster's wedding mid-July, and the in-laws' visit and the stress that ensued. Not to mention the mounds of paperwork I need to go through to find birth certificates and social security cards, so we can get guardianship of the girls, (which is another post entirely!). 

So I've pushed a few things to the back of my mind to recall at a later date when I can deal with them with my whole mind in the race.

A couple of things I'd totally forgotten about were the girls' IEP staffings. School staff set the dates and times back in May when we were on vacation, and I'm sure we got some sort of a notice mailed to us, but I have no clue where they might be. Any mention of said meetings was promptly forgotten with the stress that has been our summer.

So I was a bit taken aback when I recently received a reminder call for Hopper's staffing I'd totally forgotten about it. That simple reminder call triggered something I'd shelved in my mind all summer. Something concerning Scooter and how she'd been mistreated at school by both her teacher and a classroom aide. The situation has not been far from my mind since it resurfaced with the call...

We pulled the girls out of school a couple of days early last May, so we could make it to the wedding. With it being the end of the school year, there were several phone calls with different people working with the girls in those last couple of days they were in attendance. There was just a lot going on, but one phone call in particular stood out from the rest.

An employee of the school confided in me that they witnessed Scooter being mistreated. They insisted that what they were telling me was strictly confidential, but that there were other witnesses to the behavior, and they would deny having told me anything, if they were asked. The person didn't want to lose their job, and I can completely understand that. I didn't want them to lose their job, either. So their name, their sex, and their position as an employee will not be mentioned either on the blog or in the meeting we have tomorrow to deal with this situation.

But let me back up a minute....
I've mentioned before that Scooter couldn't sit up until she was 4, and that she only weighed 21 pounds at the time. She was a tiny, very sickly little girl. She was hospitalized repeatedly with asthma and pneumonia that was a direct result of constant vomiting. A few months before her 4th birthday, we found out she was missing her esophageal sphincter, which meant there was no way to hold down anything she took in. Everything came back up.

As a result of the discovery, Scooter was scheduled for surgery. The surgeon had to detach her stomach from the surrounding tissue it was attached to, wrap it around her esophagus, and staple it in place to make a substitute sphincter, so she could eat and actually keep things down. The surgery reduced the opening of her esophagus from the diameter of a quarter to the diameter of a pencil. The most beneficial result of the surgery, is that she is not able to throw up more than a teaspoon or tablespoonful of anything, and she finally started to thrive. 

The major drawback to the surgery is that she can't burp. And everyone has gas. And gas has to come out one way or the other. In Scooter's case it always comes out 'the other'. We give her simethicone tablets every morning and evening to help make the gas less painful and make it easier to pass. If we don't, when she lets loose, let's just say she really lets loose. 

It's something that can't be helped. She has no more control over it, than you or I have over the color of our skin. We've tried the enzymes for gas that you take before you eat, so you'll have no gas, but they don't help. Simethicone is the only thing that helps, and even then there are days it can't keep up with the amount of gas her little body produces. 

And there is really nothing we can do about the smell of said emissions. And yes. It can be gross and take your breath away. Literally. But it also can't be helped. We can always tell she's had a particularly malodorous day, when I get a note home about how horribly gassy she was and isn't there anything we can do about it? Did we perhaps forget her simethicone tablets that morning?

It gets old, no doubt about it.

But you would think that people who work in a classroom with children of different developmental ages would understand that bodily functions are not something that can be helped. 

I found out otherwise with the phone call back in May.

The school district employee, (I'll call them, Pat), told me that they had witnessed both the teacher and one of the aides making a huge production over Scooter's gas issues. Not only would they fan themselves in an exaggerated fashion, but they would exclaim loudly (so the entire class could hear) how horrible Scooter smelled.

Unfortunately, the aide didn't stop there. She would apparently get the industrial aerosol disinfectant/cleaner or air freshener (it depended on what they had on hand at the moment) and spray toward the floor all around Scooter's chair. And although she had the spray aimed at the ground, there was a large hole in the back of Scooter's chair, so it would fall on her back and on her legs. Once she was done doing that, she would spray a huge cloud above Scooter's head. The droplets of aerosol spray would drift down and cover Scooter from above, landing on her back and chest. 

There have been several times over the last 2 years that Scooter has come home from school with a rash that covered both her back and her chest, and I never even thought it might have stemmed from abusive actions by those we were entrusting her with in school. I just assumed it was hormonal or a heat rash. I never once imagined what had caused it! She would scratch it in her sleep and wake up with little spots of blood on her night shirt where she scratched it so hard she bled. I would have to give her antihistamines to calm it enough she could sleep at night. 

We saw what it did to her skin. I shudder at the thought of what it did to her lungs. She's had severe asthma since she was tiny. She's been hospitalized roughly 3 dozen times at this point, with most all of them involving asthma or pneumonia for part of the stay.

Scooter had this teacher for 1.5 of the last 2 years, but she's had the aide for the 2 full years she's been at this school. So for the last 2 years, these sick witches have bullied, ridiculed and abused our little girl over something that she can't physically help, over something nobody has any control.

I can't tell you how relieved we are to know that the teacher left in the middle of the school year last year and won't be back. She's not fit to be a teacher, if she allows this sort of stuff to happen in her classroom, (let alone participate in it!), and doesn't stand up for the most innocent and defenseless among us! 


That's as far as I got in my post. I had to step away from it, because anytime it came to mind, I'd end up having to take meds for my anxiety, so here's the update:

We took the matter before the superintendent of special education as well as the principal of the school. The school employee who told us about all that had transpired refused to come forward. They were afraid of some sort of reprisal from the school district, in spite of the fact they no longer worked for them. Unfortunately, we didn't get very far with the school district as a result.

The employee said that several other employees had witnessed this behavior over those 2 years. Unfortunately, none of them stepped forward against the aide that was still working there when the situation was investigated by the school district. However, someone did come forward with information that Scooter had been sprayed by Febreeze by the teacher on at least one occasion! Dumb b*tches.

It is so infuriating to picture. They are nothing but big bullies picking on a defenseless child. Scooter can't speak, so she couldn't tell us about it. Even if she was using her speaking device to try to let us know, she would not have been able to find the words to use. There's no pre-programmed button mixed in with the buttons she pushes to let someone know she wants a salad or a slice of pizza for lunch that says, "My teacher is picking on me!" or "I had gas at school today, and my teacher and the aide ridiculed me for having gas." or "I HATE when my teacher sprays me with Febreeze! I can't BREATHE when she does it!" "HELP ME!"

I think of how utterly alone and defenseless she must have felt. It's no wonder she would tell us she was tired and did't want to go to school or would pull the covers up and roll over to pretend she was still asleep when we came in to get her ready for school. 

And it's not like she could just get up quickly and get away from the spray. She moves like a turtle in molasses most days. With her spine having been fused, she is severely limited in her mobility. She can walk, but even with the lift  on her shoe, she has a limp. She was a captive but unwilling participant. 

While we don't believe the aide had any disciplinary action taken against her as a result of the investigation, (they told us they could not substantiate our claims), we insisted she not be allowed to ever work with Scooter again. She is now working in the other special needs classroom. And while it is not ideal that she is still working with children who have no defense against this sort of abuse, she has at least been put on notice. I have no doubt that every single person who works with her now is keeping her on her toes.

For now things are going well, but I still think the system is broken. I'll go into that more in a different post, but suffice it to say that Hubster and I would like to see things change.

I just don't know, if I'm the right dog for the fight.


  1. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (((hugs)))to you all, Pat

  2. This makes me just as angry today as it did when you told me about it. What I really want to do is retaliate physically. I am so, so sorry that someone hurt your sweet little girl and I will never forgive them.

    I can't even imagine how you feel.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I have to admit I've had a fantasy or two about strapping both of them into chairs and spraying all sorts of stuff on them and around them until it was literally raining chemicals onto them like they did to Scooter.

  3. Makes me so mad. :(

    Reminds me of the Book "Finding Jesse" By Marianne Leone (Cooper) and her efforts in mainstreaming her son Jesse into our public school system. And they had the money, AND the resources...

    The system is so flawed.


    1. I haven't heard of the book before, but I'm intrigued. I have put it on my reading list.

      And you're right. The system is so incredibly flawed it's not funny.

      Thanks, Juli.

  4. This made me cry! What is wrong with people?!?! Why be in the Special Needs field if you have no compassion?

    I'm glad Scooter is having a better school year so far. And, I do hope that aide is being watched very carefully.

    1. Mrs, It made us cry, too. We've asked ourselves that question many times! The vast majority of teachers and aides the girls have had over the years have been amazing. There have been a few that have just blown our minds, though, and it was a constant struggle having to deal with them. Thankfully, most of them have really been amazing.

      And thank you. I wrote that a year ago initially, so we're going on her second year without that aide and without the teacher. She has been happier with school than she has in years, and we are so incredibly thankful!

  5. Oh my!! your poor sweet girl! I have no words for the woman/women who did this!

  6. I am so angry after reading this. Thank God for the person who called you.

  7. Same here, Anita. We can't help but being angry every time we think of it. And I do thank God for getting the information. Just wish it would have happened sooner! :(


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