Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trip to the doctor...

Remember how I said my cold just sounded worse than it really felt? That was Saturday. Monday morning, I got a slightly tight chest, a headache and the croupy cough. Uh oh, time to keep an eye on things, because those are the early warning signs for that dreaded bane of my existence.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and the chest was tighter still, with the addition of nasal mucous that could be used to put up wallpaper. Lovely neon color, too. This time, I got the bonus symptom of an overactive conjunctiva (this is a new one for me).

I spent most of the day feeling blah, and once we left the house to run errands, I picked up the phone and called the doctor. If a scalding hot shower doesn't loosen things up and make me feel better, then medical intervention is neccessary.

Apparently, the nurse practitioner had a bunch of people with the same ailment this morning. Mine wasn't as advanced as theirs, though. However, because of my history, I went to ZPack and codeine cough syrup faster than you can type the words. She laughed at my tale of being happy to discover a full bottle of prescription cough syrup yesterday, only to find it was the requisite 'let's just see if it will work but it won't' bottle that I end up with from EVERY new doctor I ever have seen.

I like this practice. When we moved to Florida, we opted to use a family practice for all of us. So this is only my third visit, but they are familiar with me. The nurse taking vitals was very thorough and asked how I was on my scripts of inhalers and Imitrex. I explained that I ditched all the inhalers because they weren't working and that I need a new allergy workup. I'm down to my last three injections of Imitrex, which will probably get me through the year-but they wrote a script 'just in case.' She reviewed the allergies, and asked about the new ones since last seeing them.

For the first time ever, no saline or nasal sprays. I apparently inflicted enough trauma to the nose with that sign holder that she feels they're a bad idea.

Back in a month for a full physical and a reassessment of allergy/asthma meds. They even do allergy shots. Good news, as I'm probably headed in that direction for the mold allergy.

I think they'll be shocked at work that I'll be walking in the door with bronchitis and ready to work. Kathi probably would do the same thing, that's the way we were raised!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 26, 1977

As I sit here watching a movie for what may be the thousandth time, memories come back to the FIRST time I saw the movie...

I was sitting in my fifth grade classroom (Mrs. Pressman, not her team teacher, Mrs. Kerner) when the intercom buzzes. "Please send Suzie (yep, I was Suzie back then) down to the office, her dad is her to pick her up for her dentist appointment." I'd been "brace faced" the month before, but I was confused. I didn't have an appointment that I could recall, it wasn't for another week-after school.

Down to the main office (Mr. Goldstein) and I find my dad AND Kathi there. So she's got a dentist appointment, too? We get out dad's car, his gray 1968 Skylark and head north on Merrick Avenue, away from the dentist and orthodontist's office. "Dad? The dentist is in the other direction." "I know" was his reply, with a smile. This was back when dad had a normal speakng voice. Unfortunately, I don't remember what it sounded like. This was two years before cancer claimed his thyroid and four years before cancer returned to steal almost all of his voice box.

He drives us up to Hicksville*, land of the huge Sears and the mall with the Gertz that we never went to (Mid Island Plaza). Mom was a big fan of Sears, so we made the occasional trip up there. In front of Mid Island Plaza was a Nathan's, and we drove into the parking lot and inside we went for lunch. Hot dogs, crinkle fries and sodas. We got a couple of quarters and played a few games until dad said it was time to go. We still did not know the purpose of the trip-he had been tight lipped on the 20 minute ride there....

Back in the car. We thought that maybe it was just a lunch date out, not that he'd ever done that before. School was always very important to Dad, to be taken out had to be a big reason. He'd NEVER taken us out for anything. Why today? Across the parking lot we drove to one of the few movie theatres in Nassau County that we'd not set foot in.

A little history here:my dad was a big time movie buff. Voriacious reader, too, with 4 or 5 books going at all times. When he and mom split, Kathi and I got to share in this passion. For a couple of years, I kept track: we saw fifty movies per year in those days(and Dad, probably another 30 to 50 that we didn't). Had anyone played movie trivia with dad, they would have been creamed. We had a tradition of seeing movies on Christmas Eve, then opening presents (the Right Stuff was the only movie to ruin the opening of presents on Christmas Eve part, as it was 3.5 hours long!). Movies were 'our thing'.

Back to the day. It was May 26, 1977. It's 2 in the afternoon, a Wednesday, and we were NOT in school. We were in the lobby of the Mid Island North and we were going to see some movie called "Star Wars". No clue what this was about, hadn't heard of it and I knew we weren't seeing the other movie because 1. It started at 3:15 and 2. It was R rated and there was no way he was taking his 10 year old and 7 year old daughters to THAT.

Popcorn, sodas and the requisite Junior Mints in hand, we find seats in the theatre. Dad always had to have an aisle seat, but he wasn't extremely picky about his seats, as long as this criteria was met. This time, he was a little more concerned about where we sat, but this was a 500 seat theatre and maybe 50-60 people were there. It would not be a problem. I remember the huge speakers at the back of the theatre, and we sat pretty close to them. Later, I recalled seeing the "Dolby" designation in the ads for the movie, indicating which screens had this feature. Mid Island North was one of those, our local theatre, the Merrick, was not. Star Wars would be the movie to put "Dolby" on the theatrical map. At that time, less than a dozen Long Island theatres carried the "Dolby" designation.

We still didn't know what the deal was about "Star Wars" that Dad would allow us to miss school to see. The lights dimmed and the screen started crawling with text. I was able to keep up, in fact, found it a little slow-I can't answer for Kathi on this one. The only thing strange was "Episode IV". Guess 1 through 3 were before my time(little did I know). I still wasn't sure why we were here.

Then, the movie REALLY started. For two hours, we were in a galaxy far, far away and thought Luke was very brave, Obi Wan was very wise, Han was very bossy, Leia was very pretty and Darth was very mean. It was exciting, it was engaging and it was over far too quick. Star Wars was one of those movies that you walk out of the theatre and need a few minutes to 'get back' into the real world. The movie was so well made that you believed that you were there.

May 26, 1977. Dad had just seen this movie for the SECOND time, having been to opening night at the very same theatre. The advantage to having a dad who was a voracious reader and a movie buff-he'd known it was coming and seen all of Lucas's other movies. He knew odds were great that he'd like this one, too, so off to opening night he went. He saw and knew odds were great that both daughters would love it, too.

You know what? I have no clue what lessons we were doing in school that day or that month. I can give you a vague idea of the year's lessons (I won the 5 grade spelling bee and went camping with the Girl Scouts), but exactly what we were doing that day? Not a chance.

Thanks, Dad. I hope someday my two boys will remember something we did out of the norm thirty years later and have a great story and smile remembering a day that was different from all the others.



*Hicksville. Town on Long Island that is the origin for the word "Hick". If you got off the Long Island Railroad when this was the terminal stop on the line, and had to travel to points further east on LI, you were termed a "Hick". The term now means any country bumpkin.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Owies

I finally figured out how to describe the pain of the ulcers when they're not encased in an Unna boot or kept moist.

Have you ever had a tooth extracted and experienced 'dry socket'? That pain that doesn't go away, even after you've taken a vicodin or two (and contemplate a third?) Well, that's what it feels like when I allow the ulcers to dry and scab over. It's not pleasant.

Let's just say that I can't find the tube of neosporin plus and I'm experiencing this now. Both vicodins should have kicked in, however, the pain shows no indication that meds have been taken. This is on top of the stabbing pains in my ankle all day. Love the RSD, folks.

At least the cold I have sounds far worse than it feels. The store manager at our other location across town called today to do a stock check. He said "did we hire another Suzanne?" , as he did not believe it was me on the phone. I had to say a few things to prove it WAS really me he was talking to. Then he tells me that I sound like Rachael Ray when I'm losing my voice. Interesting.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ahhh, the loves of a 7 year old

So, younger son is here next to me, regaling me with a list of his favorite things. They are:

He loves:
Seafood
Crab Cakes
Mezzaluna
Shrimp
Crab Dip
Squid
Pizza
Calzones
Ice Cream
Strawberry Heaven (his special cake)


That's it. goodnight!

Yep, the mind of a seven year old is all about food. Is it a wonder that this child wants to be a chef?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Disgusted

We are no longer part of the Cub Scout pack we participated in this year. I decided to leave, as it appeared others were unhappy with me. Last night's meeting and cold shoulder from many clinched it. I went to say my goodbye to the Committee Chair (who is moving), but she asked me to stick around for ten minutes. She told me that we were going to have a brief leader's meeting. They had called the commissioner (our former cubmaster) to speak to the group. Apparently, because they act like Jerry Springer panelists, they thought I would cause a scene.

To whit: they stayed in a group at one side of the parking lot to watch the events unfold. Friggin juvenile behavior, and it really bothers me. Am I that unapproachable? Do you realize how STUPID you look to have somebody come in and mediate, when you haven't spoken to the person you have an issue with?

The commissioner suggested a couple of packs who need my organiziational skills-and he readily admitted that this pack is extremely disorganized. Hmmm, that's the complaint I had that was taken so poorly. The cubmaster didn't even know about this meeting, he'd also went to say his goodbyes and was told he needed to be there. Prior to us being sprung with this 'meeting', I'd told him I was through and would be going elsewhere-he told me to let him know where, because he'd probably join me.

The committee chair who is now moving away did all the work in this pack and made it look easy. These morons who forced me out think that it's a piece of cake. I suspect that the pack will fold in a few months of their leadership. Several things factor into this, but over the past year, the pack went from 40 boys to 17 (sorry, 15-forgot mine) . I'm pretty sure it is due to the behavior of the leaders that are now in charge.

We went out to dinner afterwards, numb. The cubmaster and his son were eating at the same restaurant, and we ended up talking the whole time. He was pissed. He's upset that solid, reliable people that show up every week and want to participate were treated in this manner.

It gets worse. We went to the elementary school this morning to see oldest son's awards ceremony. He was on the honor roll all year. One of the other scouting parents took some pictures of him for us. Afterwards, we thanked her for taking the pictures. We told her we wouldn't see her next year. She knew and apologized. Then she says "I work with special needs, and kids with asperger's and I know you have to make accommodations. As a parent, you do what you can". This makes it appear that we were forced out, not because of issues with me, but because my son has a neurological impairment that he has no control over. The leaders who had issue went to everyone BUT the cubmaster to garner support for having us leave. This parent didn't agree, but she didn't stand up for us or our son, either.

To say I am livid would be an understatement. As soon as we got home, I emailed the cubmaster. We honestly could sue for discrimination, but neither Ed nor I are up for that sort of thing-and it's not our style. Rather, I would like some conclusive evidence that this was why we were forced to quit. If so, I WILL complain to council. How can you have leaders who are supposed to teach children about respecting others when they don't?

Kinda ironic, when two of the ringleaders of this are a LESBIAN couple. Correct me if I'm wrong, BSA frowns on homosexuality. I don't, nor does Ed. They've probably dealt with a lot of intolerance in their lives, yet they're going to be intolerant of a child who did not make a choice to be the way he is. Much like them.

When I first got this news, I wanted to email all of them a fact sheet about Asperger's syndrome. The more I think about it, I won't say a word. Let them hang themselves when the investigation starts.

Angry at cub scouting

Right now, I am livid and disgusted with cub scouting, specifically the rednecks in the pack that we were in.

That's right, WERE in. Last night, we had our last pack meeting of the year. I had a headache and Ed was late arriving home from Lakeland because he was getting Jane from the hospital. So we were about 5 minutes late.

At the meeting, people were kind of aloof, but hey, the people involved are not the most inclusive types. We were not holding the meeting in our normal location, so we dismissed early and the boys were running around outside. I'd made two cakes for the occasion and of course, the one older son couldn't consume is the one he was given. Even after it's been said all year that he cannot have dyes.

I go stand in line outside the church kitchen with him and the woman who is handing out the cake slices says rudely "He already got cake", pointing to son.. I answer back "yeah, he's allergic to dye and you gave him the red cake and hawaiian punch." Three of the other ladies in the kitchen also know of the allergies and no one made an effort to give him appropriate food. Interesting.

As I said, the kids are running around. There is one child who is hell bent on causing trouble with older son (and anyone he can, honestly). All year, we've yelled at son to stay away from him. Last night, I direct my son to stay away from him several times and the child makes comments about the fact that I only discipline my child. Huh?

At this point, I'd decided I had had enough of the drama and say my good byes to the outgoing committee chair. She tells me I should stick around for 10 more minutes. Not sure why, but I notice that the bitchy contingent is all hanging out at one side of the parking lot, when the district commissioner shows up.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Progress

We had a meeting at the elementary school today. It was an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting to review older son's progress and our plans for his imminent move to Middle School. In his seven years in elementary school, he's spent the most time in his current elementary school (2 years), and 1.5 years with his current teacher. To contrast, younger son's entire school career has been in this one school.

Saying that he's made progress would be like saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground. Progess is such a small word for so much change. He has a very long way to go, but he's definitely improved, baby step after baby step. His tests indicate so much of what we see: he's a bright and articulate boy. His classroom performance mirrors home, in that he exerts as little effort as he can possibly get away with!

Today's meeting was a closure of sorts. We rehashed how much he's achieved with his current teacher. We also stressed what he will need to be successful in the middle school arena. Five people in one room, all focused on this one child's ability to succeed. Pretty neat when we're all on the same wavelength-and that's what today's meeting was, all of us striving to make him into the best he can be.

Now the question is: Middle school? How can he succeed? Ey yi yi, transitions galore. Even with being in a contained class for the majority of the day, he'll be dealing with many more transitions that his Aspie brain is willing to tolerate. It seems a herculean task for him to get through so many changes every day and maintain composure. The IEP liason for this part of the county is an excellent facilitator-it's all in that IEP, everything he'll need to stay on track.

No, he's not ready for mainstream, nor do I think he ever really will make that jump. But he will make progress and learn, and that's what it's all about. We'll take it as it comes. College level spelling words and all.

Congrats to our graduate. Some days, we really wondered if you were up to the pressure and work placed in front of you. Then we hit a milestone moment and are blown away at what you do in spite of your difficulities. Kiddo, you make us proud!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ahhh, Sweet Scarlett

Last year, I picked up two bottles of wine from the local wine megastore. They were of a varietal Ed and I had not tried from a Long Island Vintner, Pindar. We are HUGE fans of their blush wines, so anything Pindar showing up in a store this far south was cause for celebrating and purchasing. Heck, the price this megastore charged wasn't that far off from what we would have paid at any liquor store on LI. It was the proverbial needle in a haystack find. They've got 500 acres of vineyards, large by LI standards, but miniscule by other vintners size.

That first bottle was judged to be 'okay' last May. We both thought it to be too dry for our liking. At that time, we still were relatively new to drinking red wines and we thought we were led astray by the moniker 'Sweet Scarlett'. I think we both had about half a glass and the rest made its way into one of Ed's primo pot roasts (the man is the master of pot roast.) I will say it made for an excellent addition.

Today, in my travels, I picked up two bottles of sangria mix from Williams Sonoma, one for white (Blanca) and one for red (Rojo). I didn't stop for wine on the way home, assuming that there might be an under $10 bottle of wine in our wine stores to utilize on either front. The only one fitting that bill was the other bottle of Pindar's Sweet Scarlett.

We cracked it, and gave a taste test before adding the Rojo mix. Either the bottle has mellowed considerably (Ed's opinion) or our palates have come a long way (my opinion), for this bottle is really a good semi sweet that holds up respectably to some of the other wines in our stores.

As we're unsure which truly is the case, I think another trip to Total Wine and More will get us a couple of bottles to do some more research. Which is it, time or palate? We will someday find out. If it is the aging, then heck, we'll need to stock up on THAT to get the sweet flavor we enjoyed today.

Oh, the second cheapest bottle of wine gave up it's contents to the cause of Sangria. The Sweet Scarlett was consumed with tonight's dinner. Pinot Franc is now a chilled wine beverage. Yum.. Ed sampled a sip of that, and this must be a new vintage from that producer. It didn't taste as much of cherries as last year's. This is the progress we've made on the wine front, we can tell the difference in our favorites from year to year.

In case you're wondering, yes, I bought bottles of sangria makings BECAUSE the most awesome sangria recipe I possess makes a gallon at a time. The ratio of ingredients don't work properly in a smaller batch. Unless Ed and I are going to have a bunch of people over, that means a two or three month supply of sangria!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

That river in Egypt

Jane is STILL in the hospital. It goes without saying that she's cranky, because she feels that they're not listening to her. Unfortunately, when doctors are not familiar with you and are taking you on as a new patient, they tend to follow treatment protocols to the letter.

A good example is my chronic bronchitis. My first family doctor was used to my annual trek to his office mid autumn. I sounded like I was about to cough up a lung. We went through various antibiotics and cough medicines for a few years until we reached an effective combination. Once that occurred, I only had to call him with the news that the bronchitis had returned and he then would make the call to the local pharmacy to prescribe my codeine based cough medicine and antibiotic du jour.

Once I ventured out on my own, I found a great family practice doctor, but I had to start from scratch. The first bout of bronchitis with this new doctor found me getting prescription strength Robitussin, even though I told him what worked best for me was the codeine based and possibly an antibiotic to stave off the sinusitis. It took two tries to get it right. This seems to be the norm with each new GP.

That's the funny thing about doctors: they have all this training and recommended protocols that they will follow UNTIL they develop a familiarity with YOU and your assorted quirks. You know what? I don't mind having to go through hoops to educate a doctor, because it means that the doctor in question is thorough.

For instance, I've said many times that if I ever have a need for further wrist surgery that I will travel to Maryland for it. I have received excellent care from an incredible doctor there. There is no need to go through my history, as he's done all but one surgery on my hands. To be honest, the first time I met this surgeon, he was a primo jerk to me-because his skill made him an expert. It took a while, but we learned from each other. It was in his care that we really learned of my 2% propensity.

My vascular surgeon also knows my history. He knows that I am a 2%-er and administers treatments accordingly. In three years, he's done two surgeries on me. I also get the front of the line pass when I suspect a clot, because I catch them quick. The benefit of acting on an issue and not adopting a wait and see approach is that he listens to what I have to say. Would I have the same situation had I first met him while I was sitting in a hospital bed? I'm thinking no.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with Dr. J. My wound (one!) is finally closing up and there is a large patch of new, healthy, and very red skin where the ulcers used to be. I've graduated to a medicated dressing and a boot similar to the unna boot, but there's no more zinc oxide dressing.

Now that we're in the home stretch, he's more comfortable addressing what *could* have happened to me. We talked about being persistent when you know something is NOT right with your health. I'm damn lucky that I didn't wait around for that other appointment and listened to my gut. There may not have been this positive outcome.

He, nurse D and I talked about Jane's situation. His speciality is one needed primarily by diabetics. His breadth of knowledge with diabetes means he can offer some educated opinions. He had some very scary, but real, scenarios that might lie ahead. For instance, she wouldn't be considered for a transplant, if this ever were needed. The selection committee would look at her medical records and consider the hospitalizations as being non compliant with her treatment protocols.

Let's just hope it never comes to that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Broken? Bruised? You decide

So, after Sunday's unexpected gift, I was strangely Zen all day at work Monday. Spilled coffee on myself and didn't flip out at the loss of some precious Indigo Indulgence with Almond. Redid some markdowns and had a sign holder fall over and smash me right on the bridge of my nose. Hard. Being that it's some flimsy metal, I wasn't too concerned. I just wanted to make sure my nose wasn't bleeding.

It's got a lovely indentation, though. You can actually fit the blasted sign holder in that indentation, but I won't let you! Anyway, I thought all was well. Yesterday morning, I woke up to find dried blood caked in one nostril. Not a lot, but enough to give me pause.

Ed inspected and said the nose is broken. Whaaaaa? I didn't hear any crack or other impending sign of doom coming from the nose. It's not like I can do anything about it anyway, a broken nose is like a broken toe-tape it and ignore it.

However, since then, I've had to blow my nose a lot, and some of those tissues have not been pleasant. Hmmmm, maybe he's right. Even if he is, I don't think it warrants a visit to the doctor. I just have to remember that it hurts when I laugh...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Simple Gifts


"Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
Twill be in the valley of love and delight"**


This year's Mother's day flew low under the radar. Heck, I haven't even had time to properly celebrate Ed's birthday.

The boys were all too proud to present their gifts: Handmade cards from school, a handmade heart pin (very cool) and a gift bag containing a candle, a fancy soap and some hershey kisses. I even got a coupon book good for chores. It should be interesting to see if I can collect on washing dishes and folding laundry.

I was happy with those gifts, as they'd come from the heart. Ed later surprised me with a sweet card and some dark chocolate truffles.

The best gift of all, though, was on the car ride from the hospital to get the kids some dinner. I got five minutes in the presence of my older son, without the fog that hides the beautful child within. He is funny, he's got a vivid imagination and he was a joy to behold. It was a powerful few minutes to witness-and I wish it weren't so brief. Each time I retell it, I'm brought back into the moment and it brings me to tears.

Something so simple. While I know I can't enjoy this gift all the time, I cherish the memory of a few minutes in the audience of the child behind the fog...


1/10/08 I realized that I wasn't very detailed the first time around, and that some didn't get the email that I sent out that detailed my experience that day. I've decided to add the email to this entry. It goes into further detail.
My mother's day gift
This year, Mother's Day didn't hold a lot of anticipation for me. For my family, money is beyond tight, my sister in law Jane is in the hospital with a staph infection, I was 'railroaded’ into cat sitting, AND my husband started a new job. To say that things have been chaotic would be an understatement.

Today is Mother's Day. For the past four days, my husband and I have had about 15 minutes a day with each other, thanks to work schedules and traveling between Tampa and Lakeland, Florida to take my mother in law to the hospital and back daily to see my sister in law.
Work was slow today. I got sent home from work early by offering to use a few hours of my vacation time. Ed was to leave for work 20 minutes after my originally scheduled return home tonight, so I thought the use of vacation time would be a pleasant gift to us all.

On my way home from work, I called Ed's mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. She asks very sweetly if we could come take her to see Jane at the hospital. I can't say no. So much for 4 hours of 'vacation time' to get a few minutes of family time. Hi honey, bye honey, see ya Tuesday-hope you've got a day off, too.

Of course, the kids aren't hungry until we arrive at Mema's. She and I decide that they'll grab something at the hospital cafeteria, but it had already closed for the evening before we got there. I bring Mom to Jane's room, then head off to dinner with the boys. I am so very glad I did, for on that drive, I got the best gift.

As many of you know, Gameboy has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism characterized by emotional outbursts and inability to interpret or show appropriate emotion. The easiest way to explain this is that Gameboy is stuck in the terrible two’s. This week, though, he's been a trouper with all the chaos he's had to endure.

Many Aspies HATE any change in their routine, and Gameboy definitely falls into this group. He is a very rigid thinker and does not imagine. For instance, he got the top scores on all areas of our state exams EXCEPT creative writing. He just doesn't 'get' imagination. Oh, he adores what other people imagine and fancies that those movie locales really DO exist. For instance, last month, he expected an owl from Hogwarts on the occasion of his 11th birthday.

To draw a comparison, picture a dense fog, so dense you cannot see your hand directly in front of your face. Gameboy's thoughts and actions are behind this fog, crystal clear to him but inpenetrable to others. He comes across to most people as very wooden in demeanor.

We were driving across town to get dinner. Chef Jr mentions a frog in the conversation. Then, Gameboy imitated a frog-one rather authentic sounding and loud frog. We all giggle and something sounded a little different. We had one of those rare 'genuine laughs' from Gameboy. His usual laugh sounds forced and heavy, these rare genuine laughs are lyrical and light.

We continue on. A few moments later, Chef Jr was singing the Star Wars Theme and Gameboy starts croaking like a frog again. Chef Jr pretends to be a movie director who is annoyed that his film take was blown by a frog's interruption. This is classic Chef Jr-all imagination.

Chef Jr begins 'take two' of Star Wars, and I add to the insanity. A monkey also interrupts the movie director's work. Chef Jr feigns being even more perturbed and my two sons banter back and forth, with the occasionally monkey interruption. There is good hearty laughter emanating from the car, the likes of which come so infrequently. It is a beautiful sound.

All of a sudden, Gameboy pretends he is a Jedi frog with a light sabre and he's ready to do battle with the director because he's the star of the movie. He paints a vivid scene of battling for good, and feeds off of our laughter. His brother at turns, becomes a Jedi Penguin and a Jedi Killer Whale and the two have a battle for control of the 'movie.'

For five glorious minutes, I saw the child that dwells on the other side of the fog. The one full of hope, promise, dreams, and laughter. This doesn't sound like much to the average person, but for all of this to spring forth from my son unbidden brought me to tears.

I saw the child that is behind the fog tonight. He's funny, he's got a quick wit and can keep up with the wild imagination of his younger brother. And tonight, for mother's day, he decided to part the fog to share this gift with me.



**"Simple Gifts", a Shaker hymm composed by Elder Joseph Brackett (the melody is known to one and all of Calhoun Choir as the variation "Lord of the Dance" arranged by Lawrence Fleming, with different lyrics)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The week

There's so much swimming in my head, begging to be put to blog, but I won't unleash the rantings at this time. Suffice to say Donna and Joyce have been so wonderful and let me vent my ire-several times to each. Ladies, once again, thank you for being there.

The week was our typical chock a block busy one, with several monkey wrenches added in, because, hey, Ed and I don't have enough stress already. Some of it is already a blur...

Monday: I was off, Ed was in training. I got some well needed sleep and caught up on some things that I needed to do.

Tuesday: We were awakened at o dark thirty to be informed that Jane was on the way to the hospital. Oh shit, no one to watch the kids while Ed's in a training meeting. The boys get home at 2:15, Ed at 3. I get off work at 5:30, get home and off we go to Scouts. Sorry, there are so few things we enjoy as a family, we are going to scouts-don't like it, bite me.

Wednesday: I'm off, Ed spends his last day working for my former employer, now his former employer, too. They'd cut his schedule from four days to only one or two thanks to the last time Jane was in the hospital. Once the kids get home from school, we all troop over to Lakeland and the boys either swim or watch a movie while Ed and his mom go to the hospital. Once they come back, we go to Carrabba's for the second time in a week, because I thought I'd get Ed his b'day dinner (nope, he's angling for this really good Thai place that we can't take the kids to).

Younger son orders the same adult sized entree that I'd enjoyed Sunday night when the four of us ate out BEFORE the shit hit the fan early Tuesday. Our server was really good and mentions conspiriatorily that he'd get the boy extra and he delivered on that promise. The scary part there is that it was easily half again what I'd been served Sunday night, and that meal was consumed 1/3 by me, 1/3 by son (and he FINISHED his kid pizza) and 1/3 leftovers for lunch Monday. The child ate 80% in one sitting without so much as offering a one to anyone else at the table!

Their soups are really good, so I opted for their spicy chicken soup. It's a nice, rustic soup with a consistency like a pasta e fagioli in a chicken broth. The child managed to eat 80% of that, too.

Back to the weeks events...

Thursday: (Ed's birthday)Ed started OJT at 5:30am, and I had a meeting at work at 9am. I got out of that at 10:30, come home wiped out. Kids home at 2pm and I trek over to cooking school, then leave there as the class starts so I can arrive at work at 4pm. I come home and make the kids lunches because I need to be out the door by 7:20am. Ed went over to Lakeland to take

Friday: Ed OJT, me off to work for an 8am arrival. I called him on my lunch break to check in . He tells me he'll probably head over to Lakeland as soon as he gets home to the boys. This puts in my head that I take my time leaving work. A call at 5:30 finds that he's got dinner in the oven and would rather we all go to Lakeland, so he can sleep on the drive home. Screws with my pharmacy run at Target, but that's another story.

I get home to find him sleeping and he's wiped out. Instead of all four of us going, I head to Lakeland solo and he goes to bed. Mom and I visit the hospital and it was an interesting hour. (frustrating interesting, not good interesting)

Mom's hungry when visiting hours are over, so I take her to Olive Garden (told her to pick someplace she likes that Jane CAN'T eat). I talk about work and a lot of other stuff to take her mind off the worrying she is wont to do. Back to her place at around 10:45 (I'm so very tired) and back here at 11:30.

Saturday: Ed's got his last day of OJT at 5:30am, I get to sleep in and take the boys to a pool party at noon. Ed and I get to see each other there for 20 minutes before I leave for work.

Sunday: The agenda calls for me to be at work at 10 and work until 7. I'll get home at 7:30 and see Ed for a half hour before he goes to work from 9pm to 6am.

Other things to consider: I called in a refill for my Lyrica to Target Wednesday night. I ran out Thursday morning, but because I'm so damn busy with other people's stuff, I still don't have it. I am CRABBY at the stabbing pains. Ed can't get the script w/o money, so I can't ask him to do it. Thankfully, it's just friggin pain, it's not life or death.

Ed needs new shoes for work. His feet span three different sizes, depending on the width, so I can't go 9 1/2 wide, just does not work. Again, he doesn't have money-he needs me there to get them.

This list is not all inclusive. There are more things to be done each day, but this is the major stuff. Sleep deprivation, RSD pain, stress and feeling put upon make me have short fuse.

Oh and I feel bad that the earliest Ed might even get his birthday cake is Tuesday. The reality is that it probably won't be until next weekend. Sorry, honey.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The hospital, once more

No, not me. In my 40 years on this planet, I have had four overnight hospital stays, consisting of: my birth, the deliveries of each of my children, and the DVT that earned me a 9 day stay when older son was 7 weeks old. While one stay every ten years is not what I'd consider good, it isn't that bad, since three related to births.

As you all know, I've had some chronic issues. My hatred of being confined to a bed is so great that I don't let issues get out of control. Any health issue that requires a specialist has one. Hell, I even have a cardiologist because I needed a sign off for surgery last year. I don't fool around with my health-there are three people depending on me. If there IS a problem I'm dealing with, the first thing I do is get on that phone, make an appointment and get my ass in to be seen by a doctor. No ifs, ands, or buts.

My sister in law is in the hospital. Again. This time, she got a boil. According to Wikipedia, "Boils are generally caused by an infection of the hair follicles by Staphylococcus aureus or staph, a strain of bacteria that normally lives on the skin surface." Staph, folks. Major, heavy duty stuff. The stuff they talk about in grave voices on all the medical dramas on TV. The lesson for the day is: DON'T MESS AROUND WITH A STAPH INFECTION!

The reason for the current hospital stay is that the boil did what boils will do, it got worse and became abscessed. When the circulation is already compromised by diabetes and heart issues, this should not come as a surprise. She previously had been hospitalized due to having a boil years ago that ultimately earned her a diabetes diagnosis.

Sunday, as we were leaving Lakeland, we were asked to pick up some drawing salve for a boil. (and I'll admit I knew nothing about boils and that they're caused by staph then) Monday, she planned to spend the day at WDW, but left the parks early because she was feeling like crap. She didn't call the doctor. Tuesday morning at 2:30am, we got a phone call that the ambulance was en route to the house because her blood sugar was out of control.

The questions then and now are many, and I don't really have the answers. They're still nagging me. Why wait until 2:30am to do something about it? How long was her sugar out of whack? How long was she feeling like crap? Did she call the doctor? If so, why didn't she go in to see him? Why did she go to WDW if she knew this was something to keep an eye on?

Having diabetic episodes of too much sugar or not enough sugar are taxing an already weak heart and putting those kidneys through hell. The more this happens, the weaker they get. The nephrologist told her that if she'd waited another day, she would have had another heart attack. Considering that her body is enduring stresses from the CHF and diabetic highs and lows, I don't know how well she would have pulled through it.

Two friends lost their dad just over a year ago from complications of diabetes. He was cavalier about managing the diabetes to the point that the kidneys were irrepairably damaged. This caused damage to other major organs and eventually, it was too much for his body to handle. He went on dialysis, then into the hospital in renal failure and had a stroke. It was a domino effect, one that's hard to stop once it starts.

I wonder if this is the wake up call to take better care of herself. I though the hospital stay a couple of months ago was it, but time has shown that it hasn't. What's it going to take? This time, she's dodged a major bullet. Knowing what I do about the issues at hand, those bullets don't kill her, but they do damage every time.

Soooo, if I ever come off as a nag to any of you reading this in checking on your health concerns, understand that it's because I want you around for a long time. Especially Ed's sister. No, this doesn't mean you should call us at 2:30 in the morning to report that you're fine, either!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The internet, in all its beauty...

Gotta love the internet. If not for its invention, we wouldn't google previous classmates and find them on Zoominfo. We wouldn't go from Zoominfo to Indeed, which would have a listing for Ed's former employer in NY/Chicago and find that they have a facility in Tampa/St. Pete. Thank you, Marci, for popping into my head today-I wanted to see how things were in South Florida for you. On the other hand, I did find her Myspace page, though-she's as ascerbic as ever.

I think it's a pretty neat thing, that I've got friends spread out across the US and if it wasn't for the bandwidth, we would still be unknown to each other. I was all set to head up to Indiana to stay with one and meet with a few others, until the meeting was relocated to WDW for late July.

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with another internet friend who's moved over to the realm of "IRL" friend. We IM constantly about her issues with her teenage son. She's a good person who is just trying to be a good mom, and the boy is running away with every inch she's given.

The reason for all the internet/IRL friends was a chance meeting with two ladies that frequented a BB that a coworker and I also were members. We were invited to their little section of the 'net. Four years later and I'm still there, one of those ladies disappeared into the black hole known as 'grad school' and the other keeps herself up to her neck in jobs and activities and pops into the group as time allows. I am grateful that they did show up that day, my life is so much richer for it.

Oh and guys? Understand that Ed and I are going to drag the boys to visit y'all someday for a cultural and gastronomical tour of the US. Just let me google some more...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Progress!

I'm pleased. The wounds are getting smaller (.5" and 1.5" around and flat). Dr. J looked at the leg Wednesday and a nurse who'd never wrapped an Unna Boot did the honors this week. Dr. J's comment when she came in to do it and said she'd never done one was "Suzanne can probably do it herself, she's done a few". LOL!

So, the boot is wrapped slightly differently, but it's not tight. I haven't been itchy, either. All in all, a good situation. I've got stuff to wrap another, which means a dip in the pool will be in the future. Also, it's pretty comfortable, so I attempted sleeping in the bed, rather than the couch-and I made it through the night. Yay.

As far as the sleep woes in general, I picked up a bottle of melatonin. This is supposed to be a good natural way of getting to sleep. Next time I'm up later than I want to be (probably tonight), I will give it a try.

Tonight's entertainment is going to son's cooking school's "Cinco de Mayo" celebration and then getting older son's free ice cream from cold stone. Of course, his is free-but we'll buy ours. Woohoo!

Life is soo much better when I don't have to deal with an RSD flare and I've had sleep!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

3:45, that must mean

that I am still trying to get to sleep.

The leg is getting better, but my sleep is still out of whack from the RSD flare of Wednesday night.

The removal of that top layer helped tremendously. I later found out that this layer really isn't neccessary, so I will keep that in mind when I put on dressings myself.

Sunday afternoon found us in Lakeland and at the inlaw's. The pool was just too inviting to pass up and I removed the two layers of the boot. Yet again, the wounds were noticeably smaller than they were on Wednesday. A bonus of not being bound by that top layer is that I didn't feel the need to scratch my skin down to the bone.

Then, the freedom from the Unna Boot meant one thing: SWIMMING!!!! 74 degree salt water, what could be better? We spent about an hour and a half in the pool, younger son perfected his cannonball skills and the water worked its magic. It'd be nice if the pool fairy would plop one of these things in my backyard, because it just feels so good to spend time in the water.

I was bad and skipped putting a boot on right away, figuring that I'd do it in the morning. Unfortunately, sleep didn't happen until 4am, I slept until 11am and barely left myself enough time to get ready for work. Then Ed suggested I wear the really expensive shoes to work. Wanna know something? Really expensive shoes can be very comfortable, when they fit right!!

Nurse D happened to pop into my store tonight after her workout at the nearby gym. She wanted to see how I was doing, which was rather nice.

I had a follow up call with Nurse M on Friday. I got the sense that Nurse M was ticked at me, because I was throwing 2 vicodins at the RSD pain every 6 hours and that wasn't working. I've NEVER had anything stronger than Vicodin or Percoset/Darvocet, nor had I taken anything like this for more than a week before. She'd asked what else I'd taken for pain (nothing) and thus began a conversation about seeking alternatives.

We talked about what Dr. K advised regarding the RSD. Some other options were bandied about, but the upshot is that she really feels I should have the nerve block. I got off the phone, sensing her frustration. Given time to think about it, I realize that maybe she wasn't frustrated so much with me, but with my situation/allergies/slow healing. It sucks to be the medical practitioner treating the 2 percenter!

In that regard, I suppose I should bite the bullet and schedule the nerve block. I have to get over my hatred of general anethesia. At least I know some better coping strategies for it now, namely large consumption of water post procedure. My throat will hurt and food will taste like crap for the week, nor will I have an appetite to speak of for roughly that amount of time, either. Oh joy.

On the plus side, if it works, it'll give me 3 months or so of less pain. Guess that's better than being up til 4am from the flares and their aftermath.