The world is but a canvas to the imagination...
Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Modern technology, latter day miracles

This last year has been a difficult one in part because of our two oldest son's health problems. Joey has had severe asthma since he was a toddler, resulting in over 20 hospital stays, some of which have included numerous days in ICU. Thank goodness we live in a time where we are able to have many of the machines used for treatment in our home. Alex's health troubles are a year old. He has ulcerative colitis, a very painful condition that results in brutal bleeding ulcers in his entire digestive tract. He is one of the small section of people that get it when they go into puberty and the body starts to grow and change. Every time he has a growth spurt, it sets it off. He gets horrible cramps, throws up and when it is severe he bleeds internally. He can't eat many foods and has lost a great deal of weight. Our goal is to get him through the next several years of growth. When he gets out of puberty, things should level out and he can lead a more normal life.

As a result of all of this, both boys miss school. I have been able to tutor them thus far, and they have great attitudes, but they are both getting to the age where I can't help with their math. Joey will have missed a month of school, both due to being sick (with reactive airway disease, he can get pneumonia in about 36 hours from a bug that will cause us a minor chest cold) and the fact that they decided to paint his ENTIRE school in February, yes February in Montana....hmmm....who thought that was a good idea? Needless to go into detail, but he reacts very badly to the fumes and can not be around them. Alex has been too weak and ill to be able to cope in a regular school setting. We also run into the problem that two of the medicines used to control his disease, compromise his immune system. Due to his illness, we have had to pull him from school for the entire spring semester. So, all in all, things in that aspect are kind of sucky. It makes me angry that I can't make things easier for my kids. I know that I can't get depressed about it, they mirror my attitude when it comes to their illnesses. Sooooooo........

I decided to try and look for silver linings and found a huge one. Alex works with tutors everyday. The Skyview high school set it up. Two teachers work with him, the goal is to keep him caught up so that when he is well enough he will be able to stay in the same grade as all of his friends. Strangely enough, his tutors are men that were a teacher and the vice-principal when Shon was up at Skyview 20 years ago. Small world! Here is Alex with one of them.

Joey's school set up UVOO. I don't know what it stands for, maybe hallelujah I don't have to teach math!! Well, maybe those initials don't add up. :-) It is a web cam that links Joey to his classroom. I still teach his other classes, but twice a day he logs in, and can interact with his class and teachers.

The right side of the screen is what Joey's friends see, and the kids on the left are some of the one in his group. There is no lag time and they can adjust the volume or tilt the screen for ease. Wow! Miracles come in every shape and size!