Hospital Adventure

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on June 19, 2013.

Last week the six-year-old came down with another stomach virus – his third this year.  When my poor child suffers as much as he does with these wicked viruses, I wish it would be me instead of him. For some reason, he’s the only one in the family who gets it in the stomach. My youngest and I suffered only from the common cold.

Our doctor is the best. He lets us call him, and he’ll talk us through it, or call in a prescription, which we did on the first day, but this time the medicine for nausea didn’t help, so the next morning before any of us were prepared to start the day, we went down to his office, and my husband carried in the six-year-old.

We were spared our usual long wait. When you have a child who can’t walk and can barely talk, it’s an urgent case, and from the doctor’s office, we were sent to the hospital’s outpatient services.

Our three-year-old was with us all day too, and he was the best child in the world. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking, but he knew his brother was very sick. Later, when I told him his brother was getting better, he bounced up and down, and exclaimed, “Yay!”

At the hospital, I felt surprisingly calm. I knew we were in the right place, and I knew the nurses and staff would do everything they needed to do to help my son. The IV would keep him hydrated, which was so difficult and stressful to do at home since he couldn’t keep anything down.

Our doctor requested an X-rayed of his stomach and did some blood work to rule out anything more serious since my son keeps catching these nasty bugs. I felt extremely grateful that they found nothing, and once again I’m humbled to think that there are so many parents who aren’t so lucky.

We didn’t expect to have to spend the night, but our son wasn’t well enough when our doctor came to visit him after his office hours.  So my son and I camped out at the hospital together. Luckily he was feeling a little better by the early evening, and from then on, we called it our “hospital adventure.” The bonus was getting to watch “The Lion King” alone with mommy.

My praise and gratitude go to all the health professionals that we encountered during our brief stay.  It’s not the first time I’ve slept at a hospital, and every experience has yielded the same thoughts: hospital staff, especially the nurses, are the most incredible people. They are truly the caretakers of the world.

One of our daytime nurses, Matt, was kind, funny and talkative, and though my six-year-old could barely respond to him when Matt put the IV in his arm, I know his humor helped put my son at ease. It put me at ease!

Our night nurse was the best. Elizabeth was warm and just like a mother. She didn’t even seem tired at the end of her shift.  When she wheeled the cot into the room for me to sleep in, I tried to help her make it up, but she shooed me away. “That’s my job! You rest, Mama.” She politely scolded me.

Even in the hallways, my son was greeted with smiles and sympathy, and I know perhaps the staff is coached to be friendly, but that doesn’t mean they all will be. People who go into the health profession do so because they are suited for the work. (I know I couldn’t do it.)

In the morning when Elizabeth came to tell me they were doing a shift change, and she would be going home, I told her she had been a wonderful nurse. She wagged her finger at me.

“No, no…I’m paid to do that,” she said.  Of course, I know that. But while I believe you can pay someone to do a good job, you can’t pay them to exude warmth and a genuine concern for other people. Some people are just more talented and kind.

Luckily for me, every time I’ve left a hospital, I’ve left with my health and the health of those around me. I know life may not always yield this blessing, but for now I will breath in a sigh of relief and say, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Wishing you all good health.

Worthy Reads

First of all, congratulations to the Barrow Journal for winning the Georgia Press Association’s 2013 General Excellence Award for the second year in a row. 


Four Reasons to Quit School and Become a Teenage Homeschooler – Huffington Post

Homeschooling Hiccups: Challenges Outside the Box – – It’s nice to read a homeschooling article from the other side of the world and know that their houses look like tornados too! 😉

At-home classrooms filling up – World Magazine

Homeschool enrollment explodes – American Thinker

Homeschooled Kids Aren’t Freaks or Deprived, and Stereotypes Against Them Need to Go – policymic – This article doesn’t say anything new to homeschoolers (like most of them), but it’s a very good article if you need evidence for the skeptics in your life.

The Unintended Consequences of Granting Homeschooling Family Asylum – The American Spectator – I thought it was interesting to finally see an article by a very conservative paper arguing against granting asylum  to the Romeikes. 


The Milestones That Matter Most – Huff Post Parents

Why Alone Time Is So Important for Boys and Girls – Huff Post Parents – I love this so much I think I’ll have to write an article about it. via Camp Creek.

Events for Kids & News for Homeschoolers

{Winder, Georgia} {Athens, Georgia} {Georgia homeschooling law changes 2013}

Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on June 5, 2013.

Here are a few odds and ends for parents and homeschoolers as you begin your summer vacation:

Georgia House Bill 283 was amended so that homeschoolers no longer have to submit attendance forms to the Georgia Department of Education. Last year the bill was amended so that homeschoolers no longer needed to submit their forms to local school districts. Now we report directly to the Georgia Department of Education, and with this new change, all we are required to submit to the state is a Declaration of Intent to homeschool.

Recently I spoke with Patrick Blenke, Program Manager of Curriculum and Instruction, and he confirmed that this law will take effect July 1, 2013.  Any homeschooler whose school year ends after July 1st as stated on your Declaration of Intent does not need to submit attendance forms. He did make it clear that homeschoolers still need to track attendance and must have 180 days of instruction.

Home study programs must include instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science, but may include more. We are also required to administer a standardized test every three years starting in the third grade, and write an annual progress report, but these items don’t have to be submitted to the state either. If a child is homeschooled and then enrolled in a public school, these records may prove useful.

For the complete law on homeschooling go to the Georgia Department of Education’s website:

  • Whether you homeschool or not, you may be interested in checking out the new Atlanta Homeschool magazine. It’s full of great travel information and activities to do with kids, and of course, it’s full of advice for homeschoolers as well!  You can subscribe to receive a print edition, or you can read it online for free:

Here are a couple of items you can find on the web that you might enjoy too:

  • If you are a space buff, you probably already know about Commander Chris Hadfield, who wowed the world recently with his rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the International Space Station (ISS). Commander Hadfield posted several educational videos and photographs during his recent five-month mission on the ISS. My six-year-old especially loved the video he did of wringing out a washcloth in zero gravity, and your children probably will too. You can see all of Commander Hadfield’s videos and photos on his Twitter feed at
  • If your kid is a nature lover like mine, you’ll be interested to know that we are raising a second generation of butterflies (I wrote a column about our first generation a few weeks ago), and they are almost ready to turn into butterflies! You can see photos of the whole life cycle on my Facebook page, if you’re interested. It’s a public page, so you don’t have to join Facebook to see the photos: Of course, I’ll write about our adventure with the butterflies when we’re finished.

Please add any other event information or online resources for kids in the comments section below.

I Need Your Help Creating a Resource Guide on Storytelling for Parents.

The Boyhood of Raleigh 1870 by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896
The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais (click image for info)

I am a storytelling advocate, and I consider it my job to convince parents to make up stories and use the oral tradition as part of their parenting repertoire. 

This year I’ve been working on a resource for parents to help them do this. It will include at least the following:

  • Why Should Parents Tell Their Children Stories
  • The Benefits of Storytelling
  • Examples of Stories
  • Interviews with Storytellers
  • An Easy Guide On How To Tell Stories

As I’ve been brainstorming for my resource, it has occurred to me that parents will be most convinced of the power of storytelling if they hear stories from adults who are remembering the storytellers of their childhoods.  This is where you come in.

  • Did someone tell you stories when you were a child? How do you remember that person? Do you remember the stories, or do you remember how they made you feel?  Please tell me about it.
  • In addition to this, I’d like to hear from parents who are telling stories to their children now. How do you come up with your stories? When do you tell them? How do your children receive them?  Please share your experiences with me.

You can leave a comment below, or you can e-mail me at shellipabis at gmail dot com. I also would appreciate it if you shared this page with your friends, especially those people that you know loves stories!

Anyone who is quoted in my book/resource will be acknowledged, and I’ll be happy to include your blog URL, if you have one.

What I can’t promise is a speedy delivery of this resource. This is my long-term project, and it’s happening in slow moving spurts as I homeschool and care for my family full-time as well as write a weekly column. If you’d like to see what I’ve already written about storytelling, you can go to my Storytelling Page.

Thank you! Together we can make the world a better place by advocating storytelling.