May 27, 2011

Trampoline Thursday On A Friday

It has been a weird week. Tonight I was suppose to go out with friends and celebrate my birthday but instead I ended up with a 101.6 temp.

Iris/Virus came and got the kids watered, medicated, fertilized, fed and in bed while I swilled down Tylenol and lay in bed moaning. As I'm burping and expelling all sorts of noxious gasses I hear her tell The Boy, "I think your mother is going to explode."

When I told her a friend of mine had similar symptoms with uncontrollable explosive diarrhea this week she reminded me, "I don't do seniors."


So I'm stable on 1,000 mg of Tylenol at the moment and I'm making brownies because I have the most horrendous appetite with this fever. I swilled down the chicken that Iris brought with mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, and mac n' cheese and now I need something chocolate. What kind of a virus is this anyway? My only symptoms being high fever and aching. Specifically my left thumb, right big toe, right hip, and knees.

Before this came on full force when I was simply feeling tired and heavy like I was carrying an elephant on my shoulders The Teenager and I did her weigh-in this morning.

134 lbs.

Neither gained nor lost. Considering how much we cheated this week while celebrating special occasions that encouraged the swilling down of junk food I am very pleased with this weight.
Because you know we certainly embraced the swilling part without hesitation.

Time for Walnut Brownies.

If I'm going to explode I might as well explode in style.

May 26, 2011

We Are Finalists!

So I'm skimming through my emails after a brutal day yesterday and I see one regarding "the photo you submitted." I almost deleted it thinking it was spam but when I read it I was shocked.

It seems so long ago my dear friend Java NICU Nurse sent me a link about a photo contest called Mommy and Me for an adoptive family web sight. I looked at it as I do all of her interesting links and saw some of the photos and thought well why not? We aren't your typical pristine-matching-white-button-down-shirt-in-front-of-the-surf-and-sea-oats type family. I can't get my kids to sit still long enough for a photo that fancy. The Boy would be chasing sea birds, The Teenager would be wading to Mexico singing to herself and The Baby would be melting down because she doesn't like the feel of sand on her feet. Remember how The Baby feels about nature of any kind?

So I attempted to submit the fountain photo which is a typical family photo of us that was taken on our St. Augustine vacation. I told The Artist all I wanted out of the vacation was time with her and a "decent photo for our Christmas card." The Artist who is an accomplished photographer did her best but in all honesty one photo session with our family and photographers usually begin re-thinking their career choice.

We ended up with the above photo. No one was hitting anyone. No one was head first in the fountain and no one was spitting water. What more could this family ask for?

When I attempted to submit it, however, I had problems. I was surprised when Java NICU Nurse emailed me and told me it eventually went through as she saw it on the web sight.

That's the last time I thought about the contest.

Until the e-mail yesterday. It seems we are one of the "judges finalists." I e-mailed a higher resolution photo to NYC at their request and will fax the photo release to them today.

What a hoot!

People keep asking me what the prize is.

I have no idea.

For me the prize is is being recognized for what families should be about. Wiggles. Goofiness. Happiness. Togetherness. Fun. Who cares if we have on matching clothes? I'm just thankful we were all dressed.

mean The Lord knows I tried to capture some semblance of order in front of this fountain for our Christmas card but "perfection" is simply unattainable in this family.

I'm just happy I didn't drown the little monsters no one fell in.

May 18, 2011

Trampoline Thursday

So the Teenager is jumping last night and starts screeching.

"I can feel my heartbeat!"

"Excellent! That means you are alive!"

"You know hundreds of people have heart attacks every week."

"Yes I know that. Keep jumping. You are not having a heart attack."

"I'm sweating! I'm sweating!" Said in the same tone of voice one would say, "I'm bleeding! I'm bleeding!"

"Good! That means that you are having a good workout."

'ACK! ACK! ITCH! I always start itching when I jump."

"Really? I don't think there is any documentation to substantiate that exercising causes itching but if you like I will Google it for you. After you are done jumping."

Beginning weight: 5 weeks ago: 138 1/2 lbs.

Last Thursdays weight: 136 lbs

Today's weight: 134 lbs

Total weight loss in 35 days: 4 1/2 lbs

Woot! Woot, Teenager!

I am so relieved that she is forgiving and moves on quickly from the unpleasantness of jumping. This morning she was happy indeed and informed me, "the moon visited me last night!" I inquired about the statement and she told me that she woke up to "the beautiful full moon shining through in my bedroom."

I am glad that I have someone like The Teenager to remind me of things I constantly ignore like the wonder of a full moon.

May 17, 2011

It Started When I Woke Up

I should have gone back to bed and pulled the covers over my head.

Poor Iris/Virus arrived this morning in a tizzy. You know things are not going to go well in your state when the new governor begins his budget cuts with the disabled. The Teenager is no exception. She receives very little assistance because she lives at home since a few years back disabled children and adults who lived at home had their assistance hacked to death. It was almost as if parents were being punished for
not institutionalizing their children while institutions received much more generous funding per client. Like the group home who's delayed men live in unsafe conditions and who are encouraged by the staff to have sex with one another during their "quiet time" even if the sex was not consensual which, by the way, I believe is called rape.

I know. I know. I've harped on this "quiet time" crap before and will do so again and again. I cannot get over the fact that there are places like this collecting $100,000.00 per client per year when the disabled at home are allotted $14,000 per year. Adult diapers for the disabled at home can run $5,000 per year alone.

It's too confusing to go into and I don't have the mental energy to rehash it but basically Iris must complete paper work by the 31st of this month or I lose the few hours of personal care assistance I have for The Teenager. Forever.

Ever dealt with a bureaucracy? Need I say more? At every turn Iris's submissions have been rejected. She is told to do something one way, submits it, only to have it rejected. She is then instructed to do the same thing completely different.

This has been going on for over one year. I've been told by The Teenagers "support coordinator" that hardly anyone has been able to pull off the paper work and kids are losing their aids by the hundreds.

Then I go to the orthopedic surgeon after I finish up my first client of the day. My appointment is at 9:40 He comes in to see me at 11:30. He shakes my hand. He seems a little somber to me.

"You've been having this problem for a while now haven't you?"

Hmm. I did not like the way that sounded.

"So... I assume I have a legitimate reason for the pain, neck spasms and numbness in my left arm?"

"I'll say."

Uh Oh.

He ponders my MRI and the dozens of x-rays taken this morning on the view box.

"C3. "Beautiful."

"C4. "Beautiful"

:C5-C6. "Not good"

Severe arthritis. Herniated disc. Bad Spurs. Inflamed, pinched spinal cord.

"What have you done to alter your lifestyle and activities with this condition?'

Crickets chirp in the exam room as the group of 3 wait for my answer.

I look around at this sports MD's office. Signed jerseys line his wall. Baseball. Football. Soccer. There are champion surfers. Boxers. Autographed photos of Olympians, para-Olympians, marathon runners, kick boxers. A huge poster of bad boy Jose Conseco thanking him for his surgery in bold magic marker stating how "good he feels" after the operation.

I decided then and there that when I have surgery I am donating an 11 x 14 photo of me with my family smeared with chocolate pudding and peanut butter. Throw in a couple of lizards, some dog hair and a few turds.

I'll autograph our photo in big, bold, black marker like the rest of the sports heroes with: "This uncoordinated, slightly over weight, non-athletic mother of five thanks you for my surgery. I feel soooo good after my operation! Keep those Vicodin prescriptions coming! Love, Yo Yo Mama"

He can hang the photo next to my autographed "jersey."

After drifting off I remember the original question.
"What have you done to alter your lifestyle and activities with this condition?'

Well...nothing seeing as illness or physical impairment is a luxury in my household.

I leave his office. I can't quite shake the mental image of him cutting into the front of my neck to do bone grafts on my cervical vertebrae.


I drive to The Baby's school where i make it just in time for her annual IEP. Yes. All this and an IEP, too. Seriously people could it get any better than this day?

There are 7 tiny little pre-school chairs in a semi circle. I lower myself into one wondering what the weight limit is while clutching my neck. All of the baby's therapists parade in give their speeches and make excuses to leave early. The IEP ends. The services The Baby receives are exemplary. Who would have ever thought that in 18 years of hideous IEP's that an IEP meeting could be such a pleasure?
I feel like I am in a dream world and I haven't even filled my Vicodin prescription yet.

Or was my perception impaired by my compressed spinal cord? Just a thought.

I do feel sickened and saddened for the public school system in our state, however. It seemed after the governor went after the disabled he began on our public school teachers and employees.This month in our state teachers and school therapists (PT, OT, Speech) are losing their jobs and benefits by the thousands.

A friend who is was a school therapist got her walking papers last week but was consoled by the fact that she qualified for COBRA so she could continue with her families health insurance policy.

For $1,800.00 a month.

What? You can't afford that after you've been laid off? But why? Good luck to you and your children and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Middle class America is quickly becoming the new indigent.

After the mornings frivolity I run to get my prescriptions filled. I have been warned I am not to allow myself to go into spasm and pain like I did in April. Take the Vicodin you never got filled. Take the Mobic! Take the Soma!

What about my kids? I can't even imagine what they would do to me if I was unconscious.

At this point I cancel my evening clients. I'm tired. Besides they have ringworm and I really don't need pain and a fungal infection.

Even I have my limits.

May 12, 2011

Trampoline Thursday

A lot of people have asked me about our weekly weigh in process.

We don't have one.

We go to the same Publix scale every Thursday but that's as far as it goes. No, we don't wear the same clothes so the clothing weight varies. No, we don't take shoes off so the shoe weights vary. No, we don't go at the same time of day so the time of day varies. No, I could never be accused of being anal.

Today we stuffed our faces at Carmelita's and then 5 minutes later weighed in in heavy jeans, Nike's and a big baggy tie died t-shirt.

Drum roll please.....

Beginning weight: 4 weeks ago: 138 1/2 lbs.

Last Thursdays weight: 136 1/2 lbs

Today's weight: 136 lbs

Total weight loss in 28 days: 2 1/2 lbs

According to the hospital pediatric nutritionist weight loss should be approximately 1 lb a month. I think about this statement a lot as we go through this process which is time consuming and requires some intense supervision as The
Ogre Teenager jumps. Complains. Jumps. Complains. Jumps. Yawn. Complains. Complains. Complains. Complains.

Most people in this quick fix society would not be happy with 2 1/2 lbs in a month especially when it actually required the person to do some intense consistent exercising and adhere to healthy dietary changes.

Good thing we're not most people. Which I think is sort of obvious....

May 5, 2011

Trampoline Thursday

Beginning weight: 3 weeks ago: 138 1/2 lbs.

Last Thursdays weight: 136 1/2 lbs

Today's weight: 136 1/2 lbs

Total weight loss in 21 days: 2 lbs

This week The Teenager 's weight remained the same which in my mind is a tremendous victory considering we went through a week of fluid retention, cramps and sassy attitude if you get my drift.

Today we start anew right after cranky's nap.

Having a goal of reducing her HGB A-1c to more acceptable levels and not ending up on insulin are motivation enough for me. And even though The Teenager is not in total agreement and I can feel her sticking her tongue out at me while complaining about her bouncing liver we will press onward to the next Trampoline Thursday.

May 4, 2011

"I May Be Short But I'm Family"

Google images photo
I feel like a mother pig with a dozen piglets crawling all over me, fighting for my attention and sucking the life out of me. It's 9:30 PM and I have to sit down to hours of computer work doing my billing and mileage for April. Am I doing this? No, I'm sitting here complaining instead.

The only reason I'm even awake is that I'm flying high on steroids for the "neck inflammation."

Steroids. The most wonderful invention. The most horrible invention. I pray I can finish the dose pack. The hot flashes, and sleep sweats are annoying but I have been there done that before. I can do this. Especially knowing this flashing will only last about 7 days and not 7 years. It's the fact that I am overcome with physical exhaustion but unable to rest that is making me mental.

In the midst of the insanity of a way too complicated life, hot flashes, messy house, and palmetto bugs in the garage the size of otters there are also glimpses of mirages. I grew up in the west seeing plenty of mirages. I was impressed as a child when my father explained their mysteries. Promise. Beauty. Momentary happiness. Distraction from hot, sweaty misery.

Ok. So you are still surrounded by barren wasteland but for a moment it wasn't too bad when your eyes were focused on something else.

Google images photo
We encounter mirages every day. It's just hard to see them at times. Sometimes they are a fleeting glimpse before they vanish on the horizon. But they are there. Every day.

Mirage #1

Mrs. M called me yesterday having just received the note regarding the medieval festivities scheduled for school. The note went home a week ago but Mrs. M's teenage daughter does not deem these notes of much importance. What thrift store could she go to quickly to whip up a Renaissance costume for her note-losing child?

Uh Oh. I received the note from The Boy last week but I forgot all about it. After hanging up with Mrs. M I quickly called my neighbor Brasilia.

"Do you have a Renaissance costume I can borrow for The Boy?"

"I believe I do."

Why was I surprised? Brasilia has every thing.

We ended up with two velvet dresses, a ladies hat with flowing scarves attached, a horn that made farting noises much to The Boy's delight and a very interesting gold belt. I explained to The Boy that even though it was a girls dress if we put his black school belt on, pulled the dress up and over the belt it would give the dress a masculine blousy effect. He could wear my black knee highs which would give the appearance of Renaissance tights. Since the gold belt was too big we could drape it across the shoulder and hook it at his waste adding a little pizazz to his tunic. Obviously I watch too much Project Runway.

What? NO! You can't wear that hat. It's a girls hat. It's too feminine with the long flowing scarves on either side! And if you blow that horn in my face one more time I'm going to wrap it around your neck!

"But I like the hat." he says twirling, leaping and spinning past me. Add parenting of farting cross dresser to my list of challenges.

Google images photo
Eventually, and much to my relief, he accidentally ripped one of the scarves off so it was easy for me to accidentally rip off the other one creating a fairly masculine and symmetrical "bishops hat."

And then...Mirage #2

My third client of the day cancels. I can ALWAYS count on my clients to cancel or not be home. It's the nature of the job. But this very young mom never cancels and is always faithful in keeping her appointments. I was a little blue knowing I wouldn't be able to attend the festivities at school.

When the mom called me to cancel I told her I could hug her and raced to the school.

Mirage #3

Getting to spend time with Mrs. M always inspires me.

She dressed in wench garb for the festival explaining that she had a navy blue tank over her white peasant blouse because her white bras were still stuck in the camper that broke down on the side of the highway over the weekend. She had spent 6 hours in the camper with a puppy who behaved and two special needs children who did not. The note forgetting teen suggested they should be on the tv show I Survived but Mrs. M explained patiently that being stranded in an air-conditioned camper with a refrigerator full of snacks and cold drinks would not qualify the family.

In addition to her peasant blouse, Mrs M wore a floor length skirt which she "gardens in" and demonstrated its efficiency by hoisting up the front hem to wipe her brow. I was impressed.

Since there were very few parents at the fair Mrs. M and I were forced into servitude volunteered to serve food and supervise games.

I had fun with the "lance toss"' (pool noodles through hula hoops) but Mrs. M got stuck in the baking sun supervising the shooting of dragons with ping pong balls and making sure none of the children missed the shot taking out someone's eye instead. Occasionally I glanced over at her feeling quiet guilty that i was in the shade under a roofed area. She was hoisting her skirt and mopping a lot.

"How come you got the shade game?"
she snarled at me.

As always I was impressed by this extraordinary school that The Boy attends and his teacher Mrs. Needs-To-Be-Canonized. I mentioned to him at dinner tonight that I wanted him to be very kind to Mrs. Needs-To-Be Canonized because she was a very special person.

"She gets mad sometimes," he says.

Mad? Child puh-leeeeze. After 5 minutes with your class shooting Styrofoam noodles at my head in the desert heat while you blew the fart horn in my face and put headless grasshoppers down my back I was ready to hang myself from the hula hoop attached to the rafters.

Mirage # 4

Tonight The Teenager got The Baby's bed ready, fluffing pillows, laying out pj's, bath towel and clean diaper. A chore she had taken on herself with great delight lately. I told her I would get the towel down as she was short and the rack was too high for her to reach.

"Well, I may be short but I am family," she smiles.

Melt my heart.

So now it's off to the paperwork...
Google images photo

Lily Tomlin said, "the trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."

I agree completely but that shouldn't stop us from enjoying a few nibbles of cheese along the way. Sometimes we just need to put a little effort into searching for them.

May 2, 2011

Funnier Than The Funniest Movie Ever

People ask why I haven't been blogging as much. The question should be how did I ever have the time or energy to blog at all?

As you know I was "serioulsy sick" which may seem melodramatic to you unless you have 3 children crawling all over you with no possibility of sleeping, resting, recovering or experiencing assistance of any kind except the meals my friend Mama Mia Maria provided us. Mama Mia was recuperating from back surgery during my illness, received more food than she could possibly eat so she gave us her leftovers, extras and the questionable church casseroles that Mama Mia rejected some of which contained beans I could not identity.

Now The Baby, The Teenager and I will eat anything including questionable church casseroles. I really would like to get to the point in my faith where Paul the Apostle was when he got bitten by the poisonous snake and simply flung it into the fire and continued on with his life. If you don't know the story read this:

"But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god." Acts 28

Questionable church casseroles fit into the viper category in my mind.

The Boy, if forced, will sniff the food presented and 99% of the time the food substance does not pass the whiff test and I toss him an Ensure. "Here honey, mommy is too weak to open it. Please don't use your teeth. " He then sits in the same room sipping his supplement and waiting for the rest of us to swell up from the bite of the bean vipers.

I'm not sure what we would have done without Mama Mia's hand-me-down-casseroles.

After the "seriously sick" week i went back to work which I was in no way ready to do. That Friday I woke up in excruciating neck pain which I endured until the following Tuesday when I went to see my family doctor who I've known since his residency 100 years ago. We are both the same age. Old.

When I asked how the "paperless office " was going and if he had all of his charts e-filed, he informed me no but mine was as he was tired of treating me as a new patient every 5 to 8 years when I staggered in with some malady I was unable to treat myself.

I told him I was in agony and would mug his grandmother if i had to for for a muscle relaxer. He told me I had no neck movement at all and that he was only working because he and his wife's insurance premium was $2,800.00 a month.

I left with an RX for Soma and the business card of an orthopedic surgeon "who is really good with necks." For this I pay $437.00 a month to Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Three days later The Baby gets sick. We see her pediatrician at 10 AM. Conveniently, The Boy sneezes in the office blowing a yellow snot rocket across the room so the doctor e-files 6 prescriptions for The Baby and 2 prescriptions for The Boy.

Yes, e-files all 8 rx's to the wrong pharmacy. We finally made it home at 3:30 PM. By then I could swear I was partially paralyzed from the neck down.

Today I go to work where my first "angel" covers me in drool...

...while "angel's" day care provider screams, "Don't get that drool on my furniture!" Ok that I resemble one of those erupting pods in The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers just don't get that stuff on the sofa.

I leave droolly and go the the "orthopedic surgeon who is really good with necks" where I encounter the most thorough new patient paper work I have ever seen in my life including the instructions, "when you finish putting the symbols on the body (pain, numbness, burning, etc) please draw a face on the body. " A very buff male body.


So... this is obviously a test... but of what? My reading skills? My attention deficit? If I draw a happy face will they think I'm being overly-melodramatic? If I draw a sad face will they think I am a narcotics seeker?

Oh wait... that was covered on page 20 where they asked what i hoped to gain at today's appointment. Pain medication? Pain management?

Come on people!

I x'd everything out and in bold letters wrote in, "diagnosis."

Then i drew a face with a non-committal mouth and gave my self thick, curly hair and bangs.

The physicians assistant could not have been nicer when she pointed out that i could not move my neck at all and ordered a cervical MRI. Oh, and she wanted me on steroids for the inflammation. And I am forbidden to twist, bend, lift or do anything strenuous. Bwaahahahahahah!

I laughed out loud. That speech was better than the entire Nacho Libre dvd.

I refused the steroids. We argued about the steroids until it hit me...

"If I take steroids I will clean my house!"

"NO! You are to rest!"

Bwaaahahahahahaha! Again. Rest? Now that is funny.

I left with the steroid rx in my hand filled it quickly, popped two of them (6 today! wheeeeeee!) and went to my next client where I rolled around on the floor, twisted, and lifted.

My MRI is in 5 days. I find myself pondering subjects such as cervical surgery and neck halos.

My halo would probably have drying socks hanging from it. I have visions of The Boy playing ring toss when I'm out cold.

Is that all you ask? But until the steroids kick in that's' all I have the energy to write about now. Just remind me to tell you about swallowing the love bug while singing along with the Methodist church bells in the pharmacy parking lot. Who knew Bringing In The Sheaves could be so dangerous?

As you can see my beloved camera is still broken so all illustrative photos have been lifted used courtesy of Google Images.