Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blind Trust

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Without question having a child with significant special needs forever alters your life.  It completely changes the person you were before.  Patience, perspective and priorities become clear.   You suddenly realize all the years you spent getting upset about trivial things like a wrong coffee order, or someone taking a parking spot you were waiting on means nothing.  Other aspects of your life also change, how you go about doing things, how you plan, and where you go.  And the part that many don't openly discuss - how you handle relationships whether it's friendships, casual contacts or even family significantly changes.  Your faith in humanity is altered, you see more good than bad.  You want to believe with your entire heart that the world is well-intentioned, pure and just as innocent as that disabled child that lays before you.

After Noah I found myself with each passing year growing more dependent on others.  The independent, self-providing person I was disappeared.  I quickly realized I could not accomplish everything that needed to be done and also care for Noah full time.  It started off as little things like not being able to shovel your snow timely according to city regulations, then to repairs like the sink leaking, a toilet not working... to even yard work, I lacked the ability to even water or go pick a garden I put so much love into.  Because Noah took every ounce of my time.   I learned quickly that giving hearts without expectations of something in return were rare.   I learned if you needed help that we'd likely have to find a way to pay for it, as often times love, kindness, and help are not free.  

We recently needed a door replaced.  So off to Lowe's we went.  We purchased a door had it measured by their installation team and installed.  Something that should have really been a no big deal kind of thing.   A young guy, at 24 years old came who was contracted to help his dad.  I didn't think much of it, figured he must know what he is doing if Lowe's hired him as a contractor.  The door went in, but immediately was off center, you could see daylight on all sides and it was allowing heavy rain to come into the home.  He also said he couldn't re-hang the storm door that was already there in front of the door we needed replaced and said we'd have to go purchase a new one at the store and he'd be back to install it the following week, which meant more money for us with an anticipated door that likely didn't need to be replaced at all - just because he said he couldn't rehang it. I called Lowe's who sent him out again to fix it, was told he'd be out to fix the door.  Upon his arrival he said our new balance to fix the door and install the new door that he said we needed because it would no longer fit the new frame was $180.  He demanded a check payable to him, indicating it would get back to Lowe's.   I trusted and wrote the check - we needed the door fixed.  The door continued to have problems, the trim and wood and insulation continued to show through on the interior and exterior and it dragged on the flooring so badly you couldn't even hardly open it.  Once again we called for repair, once again he came out, lifted up the frame and added little pieces of plastic in the corners of the door to offset the fact we were seeing daylight and it was still not installed properly.   Upon his last visit he said he could help us order an interior door that we needed and quoted us $400, said he'd get it done and the door ordered for us through Lowe's.  This time he asked for cash as he'd get a better discount with Lowe's for ordering the door with cash.  We gave him cash, knowing this door would really help Noah be protected from a bathroom light at night, something that Noah struggles with.   He called the next day, demanding an additional $300 saying he under-estimated the cost of the door as it would need to be a custom size, we declined as we have no more money and had to acquire debt to even pay him the $400, he asked if I'd pay him off over a period of time, again we declined indicating we had no more money - even down the line.  He called back saying he could indeed order the door after all since Lowe's gave him a significant discount on the price of the door, but requested to come back to take measurements one last time. 

Noah has been sick with a sinus infection and has been vomiting.  In true little brother sharing-germ-style both kids have passed a bug.  I've been so occupied with blow out diapers, vomit and keeping everyone as healthy as possible and running to the doctors that I've been a busier than "typical day" special needs mom.  I asked him to come by when the children were well that now wasn't a good time, but he rang my doorbell anyway a 1/2 hour later.  I opened the door thinking it was my mother on her way to rescue me with an extra set of hands for two very ill children.  Noah threw up upon his arrival, so I tended to cleaning him up while he went about measuring a door in another part of our home.   He shook my hand and was quick to disappear.   As annoyed as I was that he stopped by when I specifically asked him not to, it left my mind quickly as I continued to feverishly get the boys ready for a doctor's appointment. 

After dinner we learned the worst thing had happened.  Noah's communication IPad had been stolen.  It's bulky, safe padded cover - one that is even difficult for an adult to remove or put on was empty and thrown under the bed.  My heart sunk.  I knew immediately what had happened.  Without question.  Without any shadow of a doubt.  He stole Noah's IPad when I left him unattended in my home, all the while I was taking care of a severely disabled child who was vomiting on the floor. 

I contacted the police department, who investigated.  The contractor later confessed to attempting to selling it at Game Stop without success, who later found strangers to sell it to for $180, and then he turned around and gave the money to his drug dealer.   The police officer doesn't have hope we'll ever recover Noah's communication IPad, which was filled with so many expensive applications that we've purchased over the years.  Something that Noah uses religiously everyday of his life.  Something he expects, something he demands to keep him happy and entertained.   I gave him opportunity after opportunity to scope out our house, to know where that IPad was generally kept, I trusted him and gave him money that I thought was going to Lowe's and wasn't.  And now we are out money that we don't have to replace.  Stupid feels like an understatement.  I feel like I have sucker written all across my forehead.    

In my trust in others, I never imagined that I would be taken advantage of with a special needs child.  Never dreamed that I would be viewed as an easy target.  But I was.  And I should have known.  I made it easy because I had my hands full and was distracted.  And it happened right underneath my nose in a matter of minutes.  In my extreme need for help because my husband and I lacked the time to work on a home project ourselves, someone seen a golden opportunity to use us.  A hard lesson I learned.  While I recognize that I still will inevitably lack the time to take care of things around the house without hiring help, I have to realize that not everyone has good intentions, not everyone will look at Noah and feel badly for him, not everyone will have it in their hearts to help a struggling family with a disabled child.   It's the first time I understood just how easy we are to take advantage of.  

Please pray for the miracle of the recovery of Noah's stolen IPad, even though the police officer feels it is unlikely.  I feel so badly that this happened to him.  I feel so responsible that I didn't properly protect something he loves so dearly.  I should have known better, but I have let my guard down so much since Noah's birth.  I want so badly to believe everyone we come in contact with cares about this little boy that they meet.  And although some changes and lessons about having a child with special needs have taught me so many important aspects about life -  this lesson was hard. 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Breaking Silence

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I have sat in silence about something very difficult in our lives since Noah was born.  And now I have made the decision to speak out and openly discuss what has been happening in our lives all this time behind the scenes.   After Noah's birth we sought the truth about the circumstances of his birth and what happened.  What we discovered was truly heartbreaking - prolonged distress on a fetal monitoring strip showed Noah was crying out for help and was not delivered timely, ultimately causing him to be born dead - not breathing and without a heartbeat.  After thirteen long minutes Noah was resuscitated but the damage had been done.  Noah suffered global brain damage.   After contacting attorneys and multiple medical experts it was determined that a medical malpractice lawsuit should be filed to hold two nurses, a doctor and the hospital responsible for what happened to Noah.  We endured nearly four years of legal proceedings before Noah's case went to trial in February of this year.  After a four week trial, in March a jury ruled in favor of the Defendants.  We remain devastated and stunned by the jury's verdict.  The Defendants sought a bill of costs against us for what they claim it took them to fight against us.  A Judge agreed and awarded costs in the amount of $173,916.76 and an amount of $166,162.41. Channel 9news, Denver, Colorado will be airing Noah's story after the Bronco's game tonight. A web link of the story will be posted when it becomes available.  I want to truly thank all of you who were praying so hard for Noah and our family, to those who continually offered me words of encouragement on my worst days, when I failed to properly explain the root of my despair and grief.  I am so sorry I was unable to tell all of you at the time what was happening all these years.  http://www.9news.com/

"A Colorado family with a disabled child is being forced to pay a hospital's $340,000 legal bill after losing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Some of the items in the bill include desserts, dinners, bar tabs and even a hotel smoking fine for the other side. Tonight, after the game, I'll show you the legal consequences of losing a lawsuit and we hear from the family stuck with the bill." - Jeremy Jojola, 9news Reporter


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.