The New Normal

Family insights and tips on pertinent health care issues

Strength
By Amanda Butterfield, Bereaved Mother

The source of strength comes from multiple diverse places, possibly unique to those unfamiliar with farm life.  Before my husband and I started dairy farming on our own, I worked an industry job and he was a herdsman at a large dairy.  One day he called and said this tiny calf was born prematurely there.  More than likely, she would not be a very productive dairy cow and would need special care.  Since we just purchased a small farm, Molly came home with us.  At the time the only bovine at our place.  She was spoiled running around the yard with the dogs, sleeping in the bushes, sometimes sneaking into the house, and clearly not understanding that she was a cow.  Everyone around the area knew Molly and would go slow to see what she was up to.  We joked that she would be the nucleus of our dairy herd as we wanted to eventually milk cows on our own.  The day came when she indeed became a milk cow and we started a dairy farm! She was fierce and strong and was one of the best producing cows in the barn with quite the attitude! I would let her out in the yard and run around in the sprinkler with my three year old daughter Evelyn.  Molly was indeed my best friend.

So in 2012 we discovered that I was pregnant again.  It was a rocky pregnancy, a lot different than my first and had the doctors constantly do ultrasounds, pulling blood, checking my heart as I felt there was something wrong.  Read More

When You Can’t Fix It
By Fred Neal, Father and Family Needs Adviser for the organization, Reagan’s Journey

When I was a kid, I did everything I could to get out of helping my dad work on things around our home.  As a teenager, I found the most effective way to get out of helping him work was to just have horrible enough of an attitude that he’d rather do it himself than have to be around me.  If I was really on my game, I could usually get him to send me away after about 10 minutes of just being the most miserable person I could be.  As a result, I entered in to manhood not knowing how to fix many things.  I became a husband, dad and a homeowner in my early twenties and was amazed at how many things could break around me that I was responsible for fixing.  Read More

Random Thoughts on Transitioning a Medically-Fragile Child to Adulthood
By Jeanne E. McMullen

My family had a great deal of anxiety and sadness as we approached the age of transition into adulthood.  After 18 years of frequent inpatient and outpatient care, we had developed a sort of love/hate relationship with Children’s Hospital.  Though we often looked forward to the day we would never have to return, there was no denying the facility was our safety net.  We couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.  Read More

I Think My Child Needs In-Home Nursing… Now What?
By Elisabeth McNulty, Pediatric Family Support Specialist – Bayada

Having  a chronically ill child is hard. Really hard. It affects your entire family, who must adjust to their “new normal.” As a caregiver, your days are consumed with making phone calls, going to doctors’ appointments, managing therapies, giving medicine, advocating, and caring for your sweet child who can’t care for himself. Although the love you carry for your child far surpasses the chaos of your all-consuming medical life, eventually, you feel worn. Sleepless nights and ever-busy days can wear on even the strongest of human beings, leaving them feeling drained, overwhelmed, and a bit lost. But it doesn’t have to be that way; there is help.  Read more