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Friday, June 23, 2006

Add Another Hero To The List

Three years ago, I was working as a medical assistant at the pain clinic here in town, writing out prescriptions, running the x-ray machine, taking vitals, etc. I had just finished earning my MA certificate having aced Anatomy and Physiology I and II. I knew just enough, you know, to hold the job and use the every day experiences to grow and learn further.

I was sitting in the triage office downloading voicemail after garbled voicemail of patients in more pain than they could mentally handle, others that needed prescription refills and still others that needed appointments that had been inadvertently dumped into the wrong mailbox. It was almost the end of the day and as I logged and recorded what was left in the mailbox in the waning minutes, the receptionist poked her head around the corner of the doorway and told me that Tall Boy was on the phone for me.

I took the call and could tell immediately that he was somewhat frantic. He told me that he was on his way to work but that he had just been at his parents and had spent most of his time there convincing his mom to go to the emergency room. He was sure, he said, that she either had or was having a stroke. He then asked if I could go to the hospital after I left work to check on her.

There was no waiting until the end of my shift after a phone call like that so I went and told my boss I was leaving. When I got in my car I called my mom and asked her to pick up Bam-Bam, then a recent two-year-old, then called his babysitter and told her mom would be by. I rushed to the hospital and found MIL (mother-in-law for those not familiar with message board speak) sitting up perky as can be on the guerney in the room adjacent to the radiology room. FIL was with her and so was Tall Boy's sister and brother-in-law.

I got the low down as to what was going on, what they thought had happened and was the plan going forward was, at least at the moment. Apparently four days prior, her left hand had started going numb. Gradually over the following days the numbness had crept up her arm then into her left foot to the point of interfering with her walking around the grocery store that day. It had also started to affect her face but she hadn't noticed.

As Tall Boy's siblings all came and left and FIL also decided to go home and get some sleep, I told her I would stick around until they came to take her up to her room. Once they'd all finally left, I asked her why it took her 4 days and all this damage for her to speak up that something was wrong and she said it was because when she does have an illness, FIL "always has what you have but worse and I didn't want to have to listen to him". Yeah, that's a glimpse into their relationship right there.

At any rate, I casually went over to the side of her bed, leaned in close and said "Mom, from now on if you have trouble taking a shit, someone better know about it." She promised me she would make sure.

In the days following, we learned that MIL had a Transient Ischemic Attack, also known in the medical world as a TIA. TIA's are similar to strokes because the symptoms are so similar. In a stroke, a blood vessel bursts which makes flow impossible to the affected areas beyond the break. In a TIA, there is a clot that has made it's way to the brain that blocks, at least temporarily, the area beyond where it is lodged thus damaging the brain that is deprived of the blood flow.

It is important to note here that had MIL spoken up when the symptoms started, she would have almost certainly 100% recovered from any damage to the affected areas of her brain.

Because she didn't, she still struggles with her function in her hand and walks with a slight limp. She spent 6 weeks in an in-patient rehab and at least another year in out-patient therapy.

But none of that is why she's ranking as a Hero today.

She's a hero because prior to her stroke, my mother-in-law would drink no less than a 12-pack of beer every night and more on the weekends. She was hammered every minute she wasn't at work. She was the typical alcoholic, repeating stories, eyes half shut, slurring and being belligerent. She wasn't much fun to be around and I struggled often with the idea of having she and FIL babysit for us, even when they were the only option.

Since the day after she checked into the hospital (I say the day after because I'm certain she was hammered at admission), she has not touched another drop of alcohol and I am so incredibly proud of her.

I am here to say now that I really love my mother-in-law. I love the strength and determination she's shown not only in her recovery from her episode but also in her sobriety. I enjoy talking with her and having conversations with her because I only have to tell her something once, and she me, and we are able to joke and laugh with each other often. I love that I can trust having Bam-Bam in her care. I love that instead of drinking the night away, she's voraciously reading book after book. We're now able to share books between each other and buying gifts for birthdays, Christmas and Mother's Day can be something meaningful because we know she'll enjoy it.

I love that she's never felt sorry for herself or asked us to pity her, even in the beginning when she could hardly do anything for herself. I love that in the beginning she wasn't ashamed to ask for help and that now she's determined to do things on her own. I love that whenever I need her, I can count on her. And, even though we struggled when Bam-Bam was a baby to see eye-to-eye, I love knowing that now that she's sober, she can see that I'm a really good mom. And I love that she's got my back with him too.

Bravo to you, mom, for the last three years and for many more sober ones to come.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

And you know, wherever I am, I'll come runnin'

I've lost some friends lately and I'm sad.

I'm not exactly sure what happened. I don't know if I did something to upset them and I can't get them to call me back or answer an e-mail in my attempt to find out. Several of these friends I've had for several years which is why I'm so perplexed. I'm not talking casual acquaintences. These are people I have genuinely confided in and believed to be within my tightest of circles.

Granted, my phone and inbox have been unusually quiet since my miscarriage. I'm not sure if people just don't know what to say or if they are afraid or if they really don't believe that I'm ok and think that I'm pining away on the couch eating oreos but it's been seriously amiss here in casa de Hero. I'll admit, I've seen some oreos lately but day-am, they are good. Especially with a huge glass of cold milk....but I digress.

I miss my friends.

I miss them terribly.

I miss laughing with them.

I miss sharing with them.

I miss hearing their voice.

I miss feeling safe with them.

I've never been one to over-analyze or expect all that much from my friends. In fact, I have a really hard time maintaining friendships in which the expectations on me are high. I don't do well with feeling like someone is expecting to hear from me or hang with me frequently. I've also prided myself on my ability to maintain intimate friendships over great geographical distances as well as during times of quiet busy-ness for either me or them. That I get.

But these new cravasses seem deeply cavernous for some reason. As if I should be apologizing or clarifying something to them.

I hate not knowing.

I hate not hearing from them their side.

I hate the silence.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm Moving (now, how to convince Tall Boy.....)

I'm such an underachiever! All I hoped for was mandatory insurance coverage.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Friday night late night chat [only somewhat hypothetical]

Me: "I mean this with every ounce of my being. I will gauge my eyes out and go on Social Security before I get a full-time job ever again."

Him: "Even when he's in school?"

Me: "Yeah."

Him: "Even when he's in high school?"

Me: "Yeah."

Him: "Even when he's in college?"

Me: "Yeah."

[silence]

Him: "Whoa"

Me: "Yeah."

[The previous dialog is loosely based on an actual conversation involving Hero and Tall Boy last Friday after Hero left the house at 7:30 am to work for TheOlderSib - "just to help out" - and returned home at 9:30 pm]

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pick Your Poison

Recently I received an e-mail, forwarded from person to person on to me, reminding me to go to the Breast Cancer Awareness site daily and click on their link to help them fund mammograms.

Off and on over the years I've done the daily clicking, reminded that some day I may very well be one of those touched directly by breast cancer. I went, I clicked, I felt better about myself and moved on.

This morning, in my insomnia induced state, I slowed down my clicking and decided to surf through their store. Whoa!

All these years I mistakenly assumed that the only thing I could get through the store was pink ribbon stuff. Now, as groovy as the pink ribbon stuff is (my mom bought us all pink ribbon bracelets when my aunt and cousin were all dealing with breast cancer scares), let me tell you, it is FAR FROM the only groovy things in their store.

The store is a venerable menagerie of gifts and items for literally anyone for any occasion. Items imported from countries all around the world using fair trade, items for the dog lover, cat lover, mom lover, dad lover....seriously, I hadn't quite dealt with my insomnia but I was really grooving on the store! If it weren't the Thursday before Tall Boy gets paid, I'd be buying me some stuff.

But wait, there's more! Why "Pick Your Poison" for the entry title? BECAUSE, not only is the store part of the Breast Cancer Awareness site, but if breast cancer isn't your cause of the heart, the store is also part of the Hunger Site, the Child Health Site, the Literacy Site, the Rainforest Site AND the Animal Rescue Site. And the stores are all linked along the top of the page so that if you'd rather your percentage of profits go toward feeding a child, feeding a dog, or feeding a brain, "YOU CAN DO IT".

OMG, seriously, from now on, I think these sites are the only on-line gift shopping I'm ever going to use, ever again. And, I can connect to all of them at the same time and donate to SIX really amazing causes at any given time.

How cool is that? C'mon now. You know it's cool. Link 'em up!

Oh, and lest I forget to remind, each of those causes have a "click daily to help" link that would appreciate your attention first thing each morning.

Don't forget!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Amid the Bustle

Oh! I forgot to share!

Amid the mayhem and crap-o-la-ness of the last couple of weeks, something cool happened and I've forgotten to share it here.

Without any hoopala or fireworks, I passed my Tae Kwon Do test for yellow belt. I tested in front of Mr. B, our instructor, prior to the miscarriage but was still supposed to test in front of Grandmaster Hwang for the actual promotion test. I couldn't do the test with Grandmaster Hwang because I'd had the d&c the day before and had been told I needed to rest for at least 24 hours.

I'd considered going to the test and asking to just do one example of each of the techniques but Mrs. B, our other instructor, said they'd just videotape me doing the techniques and once GMH reviewed the tape, I'd promote officially.

Well, last Friday when I went in to class, Mrs. B gave me my belt and material very unceremoniously prior to the start of class and told me I could put it on. Cool.

I still have to do the videotaping but I'm no longer a white belt. Now instead of doing shoulder tag and foot tag, I will begin actual sparring, punching and kicking people etc. Double cool.

I know it's probably queer for a 36 year old previously non-athletic woman to be excited about something like this but I am.

You're still not getting any pictures of me in my uniform though.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

First it was all that rain that just kept coming and coming. Did you hear about that? That FEMA, those dopes that screwed up the Katrina mayhem, yeah, they had to make some trips through our neck of the woods. They've handed out some $3 million dollars for people really hit by the flooding. In hindsight, I should have claimed the leaky roof we've had for over a year but I'm guessing they'd have noticed all the rotted siding as the culprit and denied us, right?

Since the actual flooding, it's been raining here, a lot. Especially on the weekends. Tall Boy's new schedule (it changes every six months in May and November) makes the weekends our only real time with him now. As a result, poor Bam-Bam has waited a MONTH for his birthday present but it's sitting, as I type, in two boxes in the garage. We're hoping that this coming Saturday isn't a wash out again so that daddy can assemble it for him. The instructions said it'll take two people 6-12 hours to assemble it, depending on experience. Um, yeah. Tall Boy is expecting it to be on the high end of that estimate. Even with my expert help.

Then, as I've hinted at but not confirmed, I miscarried and had a d&c on the first. All the hoopala and excitement that was supposed to be on the verge of unveiling in the coming weeks dashed. I'm doing fine with that. Except.

Except Saturday, in the middle of assembling the monstrous beast that will be occupying our front yard, we have to take off and go to a jack and jill baby shower for Tall Boy's nephew. It's he and his wife's first child so it's not like we can shake them off. Add to that the brand new baby of Tall Boy's OTHER nephew (their second) that joined the family on May 19th that will be the star in everyone's eyes.....I JUST DON'T WANNA! CAN'T I BE FIVE FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS AND POUT IN THE CORNER INSTEAD OF BEING THE ADULT?

Believe me, this has nothing to do with either of my nephews, their wives, their kids...nothing like that. Anyone that knows me that has been here long enough knows that their ability to conceive HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY DAMNED INFERTILITY. I've got my cross, thankyouverymuch. I just don't want to go. I don't want to have to put the painless face on. I don't want to expend the energy to fake it. I don't want to burst into tears. I don't want to have to explain!

I have a feeling that Tall Boy's mom hasn't told any of the family what happened but since I don't know for sure, I'll be weary. Do they know? Do they not know? ARGG!!

I don't wanna go.

I just don't.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Few Questions...

The big doings that I had hoped to tell you all about didn't quite pan out the way we were hoping. There will be no big announcement.

How in this world
Can we put a man on the moon
And still have a need
For a place like St. Judes
And why is one man born
In a place where all they know is war
A guy like me,
Has always been free

And how can two people
Who built a loving home
Try for years
And never have a child of their own
And somewhere out there tonite
There is a baby no ones holding tight
In need of love
To me that don't add up

CHORUS:
But I wasnt there the day You filled up the oceans
I didn't get to see you hang ths stars in the sky
So I do'nt mean to second guess you
Or criticize what I don't understand
These are just a few questions I have

And why did my cousin
Have to die in that crash
A good kid
Only seventeen
I still wonder 'bout that
It seems unfair to me
Some get the chance to chase their dreams
And some don't
What do I know

CHORUS:
I wasn't there the day You filled up the oceans
I didn't get to see You hang the stars in the sky
So I don't mean to second guess You
Or criticize what I don't understand
These are just a few questions I have

Why do I feel like
You hear these prayers of mine
When so many outta be
Ahead of me in line
When you look down on me
Can you see the good through all the bad
These are just a few questions I had

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