To say Carrollton mom Francheska Medina has a full plate is a bit of an understatement. She’s a full-time nursing student at West Coast University, wife to Matthew (a nurse at UT Southwestern Medical Center) and mother of 9-year-old Christian, who was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at age 2 ½. From dawn till late night hours, Medina is on the go.
6AM Matt has already left for work; Christian and I wake up. We still co-sleep since it’s always been difficult with Christian sleeping through the night. We cuddle and play in bed for about 15 minutes, and then we are off to start the day.
6:30AM Christian takes his morning medications and asks for screen time on his phone using his iPad’s Proloque app. (Christian is nonverbal.) I allow him to access his phone, and he runs off to wake up his grandparents and snuggle in bed with his grandma while I start on breakfast.
7AM Start breakfast for Christian. It’s his usual: three eggs scrambled, crumbled turkey sausage and gluten-free pancakes. “Breakfast is ready, Christian!” I yell, and he comes running to the breakfast table. My mom, Maria, sits with Christian while she has her morning coffee. I run off to get dressed.
7:45AM Christian gets dressed and brushes his teeth while I pack his lunch and gather his things for school.
8AM We are ready to head out! Grandma always walks Christian to the car to say bye and wish him a great day. Christian just started school for the very first time last August. He has been in full-time therapy since he was 3 years old. He absolutely loves school!
8:15AM We arrive at school, and he jumps out of the car, excitedly running to the entrance as I chase after him. He kisses me on the cheek and says, “Buh-bye”—waving me off as if saying, “Bye Mom, I’ve got this” —and walks off to class like a big boy.
8:20AM I head to school myself but first make a quick stop at Starbucks. I just started back to nursing school to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Nursing this past October. I had to take a break from school when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2017.
9AM I arrive at school and rush to my anatomy lecture.
12:30PM Finally out of lecture, I race to pick up Christian from school.
1PM Pick up Christian. Teacher says he had an amazing day! We speak about what he accomplished and mastered today and anything we need to work on at home.
1:30PM Christian has occupational therapy, and for the next 45 minutes, I catch up on emails, phone calls, scheduling doctor appointments, etc.
2:15PM Get in the car and head to speech therapy. Christian has severe apraxia, on top of autism, so it makes speaking much more difficult. He needs special therapy for this called PROMPT speech therapy, so we see a speech therapist that is trained in this type of therapy, along with a speech therapist that specializes in communication through the iPad.
3:15PM Christian is done with speech therapy, and I discuss his session with his therapist and different things I can do at home to support his speech, as well as any new programs she installed on his iPad.
3:45PM We arrive back home and have a snack. We play some games, work on his programs on his iPad and work on writing.
4PM Mrs. Tia with Cuts on the Fly arrives for Christian’s haircut. Mrs. Tia has been a huge blessing for us. She has a business where she goes to families’ homes to cut their special needs children’s hair. Lots of children on the spectrum have sensory issues, which makes things like getting their hair cut difficult, so going to a salon is almost impossible.
We have been with Mrs. Tia for about four years now. She has worked wonders for Christian! He can now go to any salon to get his haircut with no issues. I do still use Mrs. Tia out of convenience and because she has become like family to us.
4:45PM We see Mrs. Tia off and head to take a bath. Christian loves the bath and plays for a while, and I get started on dinner.
5:30PM Time for dinner. We sit down with my parents to have dinner together. Spaghetti squash is on the menu tonight.
6:15PM I clean up the kitchen, empty the dishwasher and load it. My mom gets Christian in the bath again.
6:30PM Christian takes his sleep medication and says goodnight. He heads off to his bedroom with Grandma. She is helping me out tonight by putting him to sleep so that I can have a much-needed night out.
6:45PM I take a quick shower and get dressed to head out to a TACA (The Autism Community in Action) moms night out. Matt gets home from work and heads into Christian’s room to say hi, give lots of hugs and say goodnight.
7:30PM I am having a blast with my tribe! We laugh and enjoy catching up.
10PM I arrive home. Wash my face, change into PJs and chat a bit with Matt about our day.
10:30PM Matt goes back to relaxing and watching ESPN, and I get on the computer to finalize some assignments I’d been working on.
MIDNIGHT I head to Christian’s room to go to bed. Christian feels me getting in the bed and puts one of his legs on mine. He always has to be touching me to know he’s not alone.
What she’s reading My human anatomy book
What she’s watching I DVR everything and watch when I can. I love New Amsterdam, This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy and Homeland!
Where she goes for retail therapy Target
Favorite indulgence Honey buns
Favorite date night spot Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar
Beverage of choice Coke, unless I’m at Whiskey Cake—then it’s a Guava Gimlet!
First celebrity crush Kirk Cameron. Gosh, I’m really showing my age here.
Favorite scent Thieves essential oil blend from Young Living
Best purchase ever A bidet—hahaha
No. 1 item on her bucket list To go to Paris
She’s really good at Selfies! I’m the selfie queen. On a more serious note, I am good at taking care of others.
She’s really bad at Drinking water, eating regularly and putting myself first
Habit she can’t quit Posting on social media and taking pictures of my son
Biggest pet peeve When people smack
What she does when life gets stressful Yoga, search out friends, go drinking, have a nervous breakdown, haha
Looking forward to Graduating nursing school!
Photo courtesy of Susan Crosby Photography.