Jul 31, 2011

About Blooming Where We Are Planted

We waste so much time and energy whining about the things that we do not have that we miss out on the opportunities that present them selves in our daily lives. The older i get the more acutely aware of this fact I become.

We want a better job. More money. A bigger house. A husband. A wife. To be single. To live somewhere else other than where we are currently planted.

I am attracted to bloggers who make the most of what they have in life like this lady who lives on a fixed income in a trailer park with not-so-nice neighbors. She gardens out of pots and plastic bins since she has no land. Her accomplishments are nothing short of miraculous to me.

And this lady who has a lot of acreage and makes the most out of every square inch of it. Toiling daily in the soil to provide healthy food for her large family. Utilizing recycled, re-purposed materials rather than buying new.

I gave up my dream of country life a long time ago although I still get wistful about it on occasion. As much as humanly possible and as much as time allows (of which I have little) I am attempting to farm in my back yard and practice contentment in my current situation.

When I see documentaries like the one below I become inspired anew.

And I have renewed hope regarding blooming where I am currently planted.

Jul 28, 2011

What A Differnce 32 Years Makes

Haggie Maggie tagged some photos of The Artist and The Genius on Facebook yesterday. I looked at them and found the above photo mixed in with the baby pictures and I wondered.

Who is this girl and why did Haggie Maggie put her in with my girls?

A few hours later I went back to look at something different and realized with a start the "girl" was me circa 79'

What a difference 32 years makes.

I'm speechless.

Jul 26, 2011

Seems Like Life Is Best Lived Lately When You Can't Feel It

Seriously I don't know where to begin.

Perhaps I should begin years ago when I went to get my children their flu shots at the local Health Department because their was a shortage of flu vaccine and our pediatrician was advising we do this just in case he did not get the vaccine in a timely manner. When the Health Department went to verify The Teenagers address it was not correct. I informed the clerk I had no idea who's address it was that they had in their computer.

Apparently, the owner of the incorrect address was getting services using The Teenagers name and social security number.

That's how I discovered that the birth mother (BM) had been defrauding us. A social worker friend of mine helped me navigate through the huge mess. She handled Medicaid while I handled credit agencies and Social Security. I did not call the police as she advised me to.

Big mistake.

I spent 3 hours in the Social Security office demanding a new social security number for The Teenager.

"We don't do that" the clerk stated.

I informed him that yes, you do in cases of adoption. He called his supervisor over who called her supervisor over and they conferred behind a portable partition. I could hear every word they said including the tidbit about the fact that the birth mother had been in the Social Security office two weeks earlier and had been give a copy of The Teenagers social security card because she "lost it." My adoption had been final for years. She had absolutely no rights whatsoever.

"Why do you want a new social security number?" I was asked.

"Because I have been defrauded by the birth mother and I do not want her obtaining any social security cards or records on my child," I answered.

"We would never do that!" the man swears.

"I just heard you tell your supervisors that she was in here and given a card two weeks ago."

"You weren't supposed to hear that." he replies.

I was granted permission for her to have a new social security number and 6 weeks later the new card came in the mail.

With the old social security number still on it.

Then the phone call comes in a few years later.

"May I speak to the Teenager?" the pleasant lady inquires.

"Who is this."

"Is the Teenager home?" she asks


"This is the Department of Children and Families and we are calling to speak to the Teenager. Does she still live there?" she asks.

"Of course she lives here. She is 14 years old and sitting next to me on the sofa. Why wouldn't she still live here?"

"Well, sometimes adoptions fall through,' she replies.

"WHAT DO YOU WANT?" I shriek.

"Well....someone has applied for benefits for her and we were wondering..."

"Would that someone be B.M.?" I asked?

Loooooooong pause followed by, "Yes."

Apparently, she was at it again.

Then comes the poo syrup on the sundae of life when i file my income tax return in 2010.

Someone has already filed for The Teenager.

Oh. My. God.

Around this time the BM has the audacity to call me to see how The Teenager was. I confront her regarding the multiple episodes of lying, cheating and fraud.

"I would never do that." she replies. " That's why my momma is in prison."


We hung up after I told her I was notifying the police if she kept it up and then every day for months I started getting phone hang ups to the point where I finally had to change the home number I've had since 1980.

It broke my heart.

And my new number? Apparently the biggest deadbeat in the world used to have my new number so I am getting collection agencies 5 times a day now. Ironically, the dead beat has the exact same first name as The Boy so I am getting calls daily asking if they can speak to The Boy.

The first time this happened I nearly had a stroke.

Today as we leave our neurology clinic appointment I run smack into...you guessed it...the BM.

The teenager has gone ahead of me to play a game in the lobby so I scurry out to the lobby and shuffle her in to the bathroom. I see BM peeking around the corner waiting for us to come out so I send Iris on ahead as lookout. Eventually, after cussing out a vending machine BM leaves.

Why was she there?

Because she is the appointed guardian of a small, special needs child.


The woman who had her own child removed by the system. The woman who has a severe, diagnosed mental health issue complete with delusions and hallucinations. The woman who is so developmentally delayed she nearly starved The Teenager to death because she could not be taught how to feed a baby. The woman who continues to commit fraud but has never been convicted.

This woman is a child's guardian. My guess is that she has probably been appointed by the very system who took her own child away.

What's that? Is someone in blog land mumbling that everyone deserves a second chance?

Perhaps you would like to donate your income tax return to BM as well?

There was a time I would seek "justice" but lately
I've decided there is no justice in this world. We all know that if you or I had participated in even one of the fraudulent activities that BM had over the years that we'd probably be sitting in a cell now, munching a high carb diet in an orange jumpsuit and sharing a generic menthol with home-girl.

Martha Stout, PHD states in The Sociopath Next Door that 1 out of 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty.

I've met my share of BM's with no conscience. And of workers who are supposed to be protecting children not crucifying them.

It's a bitter pill to swallow.

And we wonder why antidepressant usage has doubled in the last decade?

Jul 23, 2011

Yesterday We Went To The Beach

The Gulf of Mexico was crystal clear to the point where we could easily see silly, sideways walking crabs and tiny white fish. I always think of my favorite poem since childhood on days like this.

When I was down beside the sea

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore

My holes were empty like a cup

In every hole the sea came up

Till it could come no more

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)

Jul 21, 2011


The above photo is what a Prone Stander should look like.

Below is what we have.

Yes Baby this is a funny antique

This sucker is so vintage that it has a name etched on it of one of the previous owners. I happen to know this name as I was her nurse at hippotherapy camp years ago. She is now a sophomore in college.

With the exception of a wheelchair, there is no other piece of assistive technology that is more beneficial to children and adults with special needs than a standing device yet most insurance companies won't pay for one

The Baby is supposed to be on the Medicaid Waiver program that ALL children with cerebral palsy qualify for the day they turn three years old but for the past 10 years that program has gone to hell with an approximate 7 year wait list and over 10,000 disabled children in the state of Florida waiting. This means (just in case you didn't do the math) that they are 10 years old before they get services they qualified for at three years of age.

When The Teenager turned 3 she became eligible on her birthday and is still on the program.

My how things have deteriorated in 14 years.

I am not ungrateful for the antique we have been using and you all know how I adore vintage everything but The Baby is outgrowing it rapidly. My only hope of obtaining a new prone stander is by forking out between $1,400 to $2,000 dollars and buying one out of pocket.

But wait a minute. There seems to be a hole in my pocket...

Wheel chairs are another dilemma.

Over a year ago we ordered a wheel chair for The Baby. It arrived fairly quickly, that is within 4 months. Or maybe it was six months. I really should pull my "wheelchair" file so I can be completely accurate but it's like pulling your "divorce" file out. Who wants to re-hash those details?

It became immediately apparent upon the arrival of the purple wheelchair that we had underestimated The Baby's ability to self propel. She sat in the chair, took off, and began going in circles because of her left sided hemiparesis.

One would get dizzy just watching her.

At this point our beloved Occupational Therapist suggested a "one armed drive." In my many years of experience I had never dealt with a one sided paralysis and so this was a brilliant new revelation for me. I called the wheel chair company immediately and requested a one armed drive be attached to her chair.

I called.

And called.

And called.

Months went by and I was finally informed I needed a "justification" letter from OT. I got the letter immediately.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally last week when I was cranky and sick I called and told them I was cranky and sick and I wanted an answer and was not hanging up. Thirty minutes later I got an apology. They had...and I quote..."let the ball drop"... regarding the Baby's one armed drive.

Yes! They actually admitted they had screwed up.

They promised to call me back by Thursday.

You guessed it.
No call.

On Monday I left a message on their voice mail. I will not go in to detail but i believe they understood that we were no longer best friends forever.

Today I get a call stating that Vick would be at my house within an hour with the loaner chair and the one armed drive because you see it's not enough to have a "justification " letter from an occupational therapist and diagnoses from a pediatrician they also have to video tape the child proving that they can actually navigate the one armed drive system.

But not on the wheel chair they are already accustomed to. On a completely different loaner char that will be "comparable" in size.

As it turns out the loaner chair tire's are 4 sizes bigger than The Baby's and the one armed drive is...whoopsie daisy...tee hee hee...installed on the wrong side.

No, people I do not make this crap up.

Vick man had never changed a one armed drive from one side to the other but attempted it and completed it successfully in my living room while the Baby applauded him and "uh-oh'd" him every time a nut or bolt went rolling across the tile floor.

The Baby has no lip closure due to the cerebral palsy so she kept referring to him as "Tick."

"Yay, Tick!"

Vick told me he'd be back in 3 weeks when The Baby got used to the one armed drive to video tape her so he could submit the tape to Medicaid for approval.

That is until he saw The Baby peel out in the loaner chair, bang a u-turn and streak off towards the narrow hall way.

"I think you should tape her now," I suggested.

"Maybe I'll video tape her now" he replied.

And he did.

So now we wait for the one armed drive. Again.

In the meantime I'm calculating how much lemonade we'll have to sell so we can afford a new prone stander.

Jul 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby!

The Baby is four years old this weekend.

I remember getting the phone call asking if I would take this baby with the horrific birth history. Anticipating a vegetative state with feeding tubes, seizures and massive brain damage from over 10 minutes of cerebral anoxia I said no thanks. I was already extremely busy with 3 medically complex kids at home.

For some reason...divine intervention perhaps...I asked what her name was. I never asked about names when i got those calls especially if I refused the placement.

The name turned out to be a family name. My middle name. The Genius's middle name. The Artist's middle name. The Teenager's middle name.

Lord have mercy.

I went to the hospital NICU and saw this tiny 4 lb baby in yellow with a mop of straight black hair and a nasty hospital diaper rash. I was amazed that she was tracking visually and bottle fed able to coordinate sucking and swallowing. I never anticipated that with the devastating brain damage.

From day one she had attitude.

I like attitude.

The kids loved her immediately.

And frequently decorated her in a manner fit for a princess.

You've come a long way Baby.

Happy Birthday and thank you for gracing us with your presence.

Jul 13, 2011

Proud To Be Winners!

In hundreds of entries we were one of 4 winners in Adoptive Families Magazine's "Mommy and Me" contest. I hadn't heard from the magazine in NYC since their initial e-mail to me and was surprised to go to the mailbox last week to find two issues of the magazine with our photo on page 6!

One of the primary reasons i entered this contest was because after scanning the website and on line magazine I was unsettled regarding the number of foreign adoptions represented. There are over 1/2 million foster children in the USA. Many are waiting for forever homes and will not find them. For those who age out of the foster system without permanency a majority will end up in the penal system and/or become single moms perpetuating the cycle.

I understand only too well that one of the reasons people don't adopt within our country is because of the often hostile system that they must navigate.

But that's a topic for discussion later.

Much later!

Jul 12, 2011

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Just finished watching this documentary and LOVED it. I loved the way the maker of this film reached out to a man he met on the road and was true to his word that if the man ever needed help to "call him."

He did call and the film becomes their amazing, combined journeys. Truly inspirational and a must see if your are interested in healthier living.

Considering the finding of the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which shows that 63.1% of adults in the US were either overweight or obese in 2009
this is documentary we should all digest.

Got Netflix? Do yourself a favor and watch!

Jul 9, 2011

"How Do You Feel Today?"

It's been an uphill battle.

For nine days well wishers have been calling and e-mailing me asking, "how do you feel today?" Why? Because I sound as horrible as I feel. When I opened an email from Big Daddy Dr. Weeds this morning I thought the attached photos summed up my current condition much better than any words I would choose.

My head feels better. I haven't taken 20 Motrin in at least 24 hours.

As long as I remain perfectly still the asthma is under control.

The house is a little messy but the kids have been helping with the housework..

I can't wait to go back to work in two days. It will be so much fun.

Everything is under control.

Jul 6, 2011

Eye Yi Yi

The Baby

I can feel myself starting to get cranky. It's been exactly 7 days since I woke up with the sore throat and life has not treated me well since. I don't recall being this sick for this long but then again I can never find my
van in the Wal-Mart parking lot or remember my last pap smear either so this probably isn't relevant.

I've been way too busy caring for the Munchkins. On the day after I posted this The Teenager's left eye began to swell alarmingly fast in the afternoon. I started her on the antibiotic eye drops that The Baby was already on having found another bottle from days gone by but not "expired."

The Teenager

Meanwhile I am becoming increasingly more impaired physically. Cough. Wheeze. Temperature. Trouble sleeping at night. Pure exhaustion from having no rest.

People ask well couldn't you get a sitter to help you?

Number one: I have missed yet another week of work and no work means no moola thus no sitter.

Number two: Can you name one person who would walk in to a house whose occupants greet them with swollen, purulent, dripping eyes and green goober snot-rockets flying across the living room?

People. Mother Theresa and Gandhi are gone. OK?

The cherry on the doodie cake was when The Baby pulled one of her all nighters' on Sunday waking up at 10:22 PM and playing until 7:00 AM.

"Mommy! Mommy!" Poke. Poke. Poke

"Mommy! Mommy! Tee hee hee hee." Poke. Poke. Poke.

"One. Two. Threeeee. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Niiiiiiiiine. Ten. Mommy! Mommy?"

Poke. Poke. Poke.

On the Fourth Of July I was struggling to get my billing complete and in to my boss via email. I noticed I was having a hard time seeing out of my left eye.

Oh. My. God. Noooooooooooooooooo....

I started my self on the antibiotic eye drops.

Yesterday, Iris arrived fresh form her vacation. Well not exactly fresh after spending her days off with her husband, The Beard, who was also sick. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire.

I peeled out of the drive when Iris arrived and headed to the clinic where my beloved ARNP was not available. I got a super nice older doctor who wasn't as swift as my beloved ARNP. I was relating the exam details to Curly T later in the day telling her you could hear me wheezing two exam rooms away but he told me my lungs sounded "good." I pointed to my back where he listened to my lungs, informing her that he never even listened to the front of my chest.

"Did you tell him those were your kidneys he was listening to?" Curly T inquired.

He then suggested a pill that to my knowledge hasn't been used since the early 80's. To his defense, however, not in pediatrics anyway. I'm not crystal clear on adult usage. At this point I'm not crystal clear on anything.

He ends up giving me a big dose of antibiotic that even sends the pharmacists' radar blip blipety blipping. After assuring her I was not allergic to Penicillin I popped two in the parking lot and hoped for the best.

In the STD clinic we used to have a crash cart for times like this but I have to say that at this stage in my illness experience anaphylaxis would be a mercy killing.

And in all honesty I had to go easy on the doctor. You don't meet that many cute guys older than me who are still gainfully employed.

Last night....yes it goes on and on and on....The Teenager complained of bilateral earaches and The Baby had a rough night coughing up snot. This morning I loaded up the three mucouskateers and Iris into the mom mobile and met our pediatrician in her office who was in the throes of a severe lumbar strain. She hears me cough and slams on a face mask.

The Boy

"No offense but if I catch what you guys have with this back and start coughing..."

I hear you. I really do.

Jul 1, 2011

Let's Heap On The Guilt Cookie Style

Whatever this eye goop is, it is highly contagious as The Teenager has it this morning. She is also on warm saline compresses and antibiotic eye drops. The Baby is now on an every four hour schedule and The Teenager is now on an every two hour schedule. You'd think this would be easy but I had to make out a written schedule because it kinda threw me over the memory recall edge.

After all. It's not like this is the only medication I dispense in our family. I started to list them all but I don't have the mental or physical strength to do so. Rough night. Lets just leave it at over 20 medications on a good day. Can't. Count. Bad. Days. Right. Now. (and the addition of at least 10 more doses of whatever.)

It's funny how you get your pay check and tell yourself you will save save save and not indulge on luxuries like eating out. How you know your cholesterol is too high but eat 2 slices of birthday cake anyway.

Sickness always interferes with your best intentions. When I feel crummy I like Chinese food. Specifically, Won Ton soup. To me it's in the "medication" category right up there with Ciprofloxacin 0.3% and Phenobarbital.

Around 2 PM fueled by more Motrin and finally able to bathe and dress, I piled the kids in the mom mobile and drove to Wok Deli.

After slurping down a bowl of Won Ton soup as best I could with this throat I eagerly opened my fortune cookie. I've loved these since childhood.

Punctuated exactly as it is written:

"Here we go. Low fat, whole wheat green tea."

Give me a break. I opened the next fortune cookie.


I think someone is trying to tell me something.

I'm off now to go gag down some green tea.