Books Read in 2014

So Mote it Be

Laura Gore's favorite books »

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Date

I have really been looking forward to this date.  If you had asked me a few years ago about online dating I would have laughed and said it was not for me.  I might be right.  This was my second first date using an online dating sight.  The first guy (not so cute) was wonderful to talk to and the conversations we had were fantastic!  The second guy and I have been talking on the phone and he seemed okay but the conversations have been a bit one sided and choppy.  But he was cute so I agreed to a date.  He lives far away so we met in the middle.

I was safe and would only meet him in a public place in the middle of the day.  He picked McDonalds.  While we were there he didn't ask if I wanted anything (I didn't but it would have been nice to be asked.  It was a date after all.) while he drank his coffee.  Then he started to get all touchy and was suggesting we gets bottle of wine and find a place to drink it.

Then he wanted me to let him get into my car so we could drive to another location.  No, sorry, not happening!  So I made sure we stayed in our separate cars and I filled him to another public area so we could walk a little.  The weather was beautiful and I was looking forward to being outside and not shivering.

On the way to our walk, while in our separate cars, I called my brother and asked him to give me a call in a half hour so I could duck out of the date if I felt the need.  I fully expected to need that call.  I have never done that before.  This was all new to me.  I never dated much before I met my ex and that was many years ago.

 We parked in a small lot overlooking an intersection between two creeks.  You could clearly see where the two flows combined.  It was beautiful.  I was mesmerized.  It would have been a great romantic place.  Oddly here he was almost ignoring me.  I was clearly interested in the beauty of nature and he was not interested in it at all.   he wanted to go on our walk so I made sure we walked on the main street of the village we met in.

On the way to the parking lot I noticed a cute shop that promised books, toys and food, three of my favorite things!  I was hoping that we would walk by it.  We must have been an interesting pair to watch as we walked.  He was 15 inches taller than me.  Luck was with me, he turned toward the store I wanted to go to.  I was even more lucky when we got there and it was open.  Yes, on my big date, I decided to go shopping.  I said I wanted to go into the store and before he could protest I was in.

This was my dream store.  Educational toys, fun toys, cute toys, toys from my childhood and even those roll caps that we used to hit with a hammer to make them bang.  I still remember the smell those caps made.  I should have bought some.  I was clearly thrilled to be there and he was there.  A few times while we were in the store he tried to initiate conversation.  I have to give him credit for that.  He just couldn't keep it going.

I shopped, I bought some items to use in the classroom.  I found Guatemalan Worry Dolls, I buy them
every time I find them.  I even found those gunpowder filled paper pops that my kids love to play with.  He bought a bottle of Coke and didn't offer me any.

We found a bench to sit on and again he was all touchy.  I was very uncomfortable and at least got him to stop trying to kiss me.  Then my phone rang and I am sad to say that I took my out and rushed home.  Well, I drove home for over an hour and bought myself dinner because I was starving!

Now I have a third guy messaging me, again he looks good and seems okay on line.  But in person we are not doing okay.  They seemed thrilled with me, and both are asking me out again.  I have said no to both.  I have gotten away from one less than ideal guy and I am not planning on going through that again.  So I am being picky and I am being assertive.  When did I become this person?  The woman I was before I met my ex was terrified to call him on the phone.  Now I am messaging guys online looking for a date.  Surprise!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Longest Day

6 am - I am awakened by my father looking for a shirt.

"I need a shirt, I need a shirt, where is a shirt, I need a shirt, a shirt, where are my shirts?  I need a shirt, I have a sweater but I don't have a shirt."  This continued for about 15 minutes.  If you know me then you know I don't do 6 am well.  Usually if I see it, it is because I haven't gone to sleep yet.

I know what is next so I don't even try to go back to sleep.

6:30 am - My ex calls to let me know he is on his way to pick up the kids for school.  Since I am awake and trying to figure out the bed situation between two kids at two houses, suddenly we need two more beds.  Of course when I say we, I really mean me, because I am pretty much on my own here.   Had I known WWIII would have occurred I might have pretended to be asleep.

The problem - I have a king size bed I told B that she could use because P was sleeping in the back room and it wasn't big enough for the bed.  Of course P, wants the bigger bed and since he had a full size bed at Dad's house he doesn't want a smaller bed.  I get that and know that my e still hasn't bought B a new bed so since she has a new bed with me I thought P could get a full size bed at my house.

This started a huge argument because me ex couldn't understand why I needed another bed here.  So I gave up and said I would find one on my own, not to worry and let's change the conversation so we don't get into a fight.  (I could feel it building up in me.)  Then he started yelling at me about money, I overdrew my account (A child figured out a password and things were purchased, and they got into a lot of trouble.) I knew where this was going.

We have two joint bank accounts.  One he calls his side and the other he calls my side.  I have bank cards in my name for both accounts.  He wants me to give him the one for the account that he calls "his side".  It has my name on it and it is a joint account so I said I was keeping it.  I used it accidentally once and quickly transferred money to "his side" so no bouncing would happen.  Since then he has been almost harassing me to give him the card.

This morning though he went a step too far.  He told me that he would not pick up the kids for school in the mornings anymore, forcing me to move them into a new school district mid-year, if I didn't give him my bank card.  The only reason I agreed to wait until the summer to file for divorce was to keep the kids in their current school district for the rest of the year.  I am going to be the custodial parent so they would have to go to the district that I live in.

To be safe I called the school district I live in now to start the process and get the paperwork filled out.  I have documents to get copied and statements to be notarized.  And the day is still early it is only 10:30 am at this point now and I am at work teaching.

I love my job, today though was trying.  Maybe it was because their music class and lunch were both before noon and the afternoon seemed to go on forever?  I was so tired at the end of the day and just wanted to go home.  Yikes I almost forgot to pick up the cat from the vets.  She was spayed yesterday and luckily the vet was on the way home.  I go in to pick up Oreo and I can't find the check.  They won't let me pick her up without paying.  I have just enough time to go home get a check and come back before they close.  Now I am on a mission.

I make good time getting home and turn the last corner of the back way to the house and am greeted
with a road closed sign.  My street is closed?  What?  Why?  Oh, good I can get around the sign and the road looks clear.  At the corner (almost next to my house) I see flashing lights and construction equipment.  I flashback to the morning and recall the gas company marking pipes.   Is something wrong with the gas?  Do we need to evacuate?

I pull in the driveway and none of the workers run over to me and tell me to get out of the area.  They do notice me and seem okay with my presence so I am a bit relieved.  Dad is okay and I explain about the check and I have to go back to get Oreo and he understands.  Back to the vet's office I go, I go around the construction vehicles to see what is going on.  Again they are not concerned by my obvious rubbernecking and watch me as I access the situation.

My street is blocked of from the major intersection one block down on  either side of the intersection.  So two full blocks are "closed".  The major street is double blocked.  Two sets of roadblocks are set up a block apart to really make sure the road is closed.  Plus the construction vehicles and trucks are placed across the intersection so there is no possible way to go through.  Now I am more concerned and I just left my partially blind, partially deaf, father who can't walk well and has dementia home alone just houses away from whatever is happening.

My brother calls and I tell him about it.  He calls the police and finds out that it is a water main break.  Okay, dad is safe, he might be thirsty but he is safe.  Back to the cat.  As I got into the car to go back to the vet's office I found the check on the car floor.  I had it all along and just didn't see it.  I picked up Oreo and it is almost 5 pm.  I still have to get Dad to see Mom, make dinner, get the kids oh and my aunt is coming into town tonight and I need to get ready for her.

Finally back home, I notice that Dad is a bit out of sorts.  At first I think it is because I have been gone all day and he was grumpy.  He yells and tells me that he wants water (ah, water main break.  They must have shut the water off and he couldn't get anything to drink.) Then he holds up a cup and asks me what is in it.  I look and smell it, it is Coca-Cola.  Dad has diabetes and the last thing he needs is a drink filled with sugar (okay it is the last thing I need too, but a girl has to have some vices!)  I look and the bottle of pop I bough last night is half gone!  I test his blood sugar level and it is high.

He gets extra insulin and doesn't want to visit Mom so I go.  I think I will visit for a short time and get home to make Dad dinner and get to work getting ready for my aunt.  I was wrong.

Very rarely do I go visit Mom without Dad.  When I do I walk the halls faster because it is just me.  I turn the corner and enter Mom's room.  She is delighted to see me and holds her hands out in anticipation.  I have no idea why.  I notice that she has a stunning new haircut but have no idea what she expected me to bring her.

Oh no!  She has been looking forward to a spaghetti dinner from a local American Legion Post.  I forgot all about it and I see that she is disappointed.  I feel awful and I ask the dreaded question.  "Do you want me to go get it for you now?"  She nods and apologize, briefly explain my day so far and meekly walk out of the building.  It is 6 pm.

Where Mom is, is not close to where the spaghetti is.  However my children are on the way so I swing by and pick them up.  I manage to get to the post five minutes before they stop serving the spaghetti and back into the car we go.  The kids are thirsty and Burger King is next-door so I order three small drinks.  When did small become a large?  we could have swum in the amount of beverage we received.

I get on the highway and I think I know how to get back to where Mom is.  It is a different route than I usually take, but I just took the route to where I was, how hard could it be to back track.  I am familiar with the area and very rarely get lost.  Today was one of those times.  I didn't really get lost, I just couldn't get to where I needed to be.  I knew where I was the whole time.

After ending up on another expressway and back all the way from downtown to the science museum and back again I finally got back to Mom's.  We get out of the car, well B and I got out of the car.  Somehow I managed to lock P in the minivan.  Of course I did, nothing is going right today!

It is almost 8 pm when Mom finally get's her spaghetti dinner.  I have to get the kids home, they need to do their homework, I need to get Dad dinner...  OMG Dad I forgot about Dad, it is 8 pm and her goes to bed at 8 pm.

Somehow I managed to get home in just fifteen minutes.  It is the first thing today that has gone smoothly.  Dad is so relieved that we are okay that he isn't upset that we were gone so long.  I give him his meds and off to bed he goes.  On the way upstairs he asks me to get him some pop tomorrow because the pop we have at home tastes horrible.  Of course it did, because he is used to diet and drank my regular, sugar filled pop.

The kids go to bed, Dad is in bed it is 9 pm and I think my day is done.  Wrong!  My son hurts himself and reacts like someone chopped off his arm.   He is screaming, I am yelling and overwhelmed and Dad comes downstairs.  It is too loud.  Finally he goes back up, P wants to snuggle and he calms down.  I had to tickle him to break him out of the doldrums.  Sometimes a tickle is the best medicine.

I manage to crawl up to bed around 11:00 pm and my aunt arrives around 11:45 pm.  The day is almost over and my body is ready to collapse.  My brain however has hamsters running on the wheel and won't stop.  It doesn't help that I know my morning and afternoon tomorrow are booked solid.

What does help is that I have a date tomorrow.  He is 6'5" and I am 5'1" so it should be interesting.  I am doing the online dating thing.  I am being safe and meeting him for the first time in a nice public place in the middle of the afternoon.  I am nervous, it has been almost 20 years since I dated and I never really dated before my ex.  Wish me luck!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Her Surgery is Indefinitely Postponed!

The last few weeks have been a series of ups and downs for my mother.  Mom has been in and out of the ER because she has been having issues with her tracheotomy.  Anytime I see the name of her rehab center on my caller ID I cringe.  This week alone she has been in the ER twice.  The second one happened at night and she made me stay home and I decided not tell Dad.  I worried all night.  There was nothing he could do except make me take him to the ER to be with her.  I did tell my brother and if things were to get worse I would get Dad there ASAP.

At the same time I don't want to get so used to Mom going to the ER for tracheotomy issues.  I don't want to assume she will be okay and have something bad happen because I am taking my time getting there.  Mom was the one who told me to stay home so I feel that I was respecting her wishes.  I let her know I wouldn't tell dad and she understood.  But I felt guilty.

There have been some fun things that have happened.  Next to where Mom stays is a take out place called Twisted Pickle.  I drive by it every day and finally I had enough and walked over to try their food.  I did try to look up their menu before I went but it was "under construction".  I decided that I would walk over there and see find out exactly what a "Twisted Pickle" was.

Well, Mom wanted some wings.  Of course she has no cash, there is no need for patients to have cash so she asked Dad for money.  He has a tendency to be purposely funny difficult.  Hmmm, now I know where I get that from.  So he tries to hide his money from her.  She was having none of that and even though they were both in wheelchairs and neither one could walk she "attacked" him and got the money for her wings.  He decided that he would get a mixed sub, he will deny all of this however and insist that he was robbed.

I have tried to find the joy in simple things.  So on one ER visit I found such joy.  The ER has the smallest parking lot I have ever seen at a hospital.  Even worse than parking at college.  It might be large enough for 20 cars.  Everytime I go there I have to get Dad out of the car, into the wheelchair, inside and into the room where mom is.  This happens while my flashers are flashing so no one will hit the car in the tiny lot while I am doing this, because of course there is no parking and valet parking is on the other side of the hospital.

This time after I got dad inside the clouds opened up and as angels sang a bean of light shined on a car backing up and leaving from the seconded closest parking spot from the ER entrance.  I managed to quickly maneuver their minivan into the coveted spot and just about danced into the hospital.  I didn't have to go into the parking garage (I hate it in there I always actually duck my head when I drive in because the ceiling is so low!), I wouldn't have to pay a fee for parking.  Joy in such a simple thing!

Now the absolute best thing that happened this week is my aunt emailed me two photos of my grandfather that were taken before he met my grandma.  These had to be from the 1930's.  He was in the U.S. Army and stationed in Hawaii.  The photos show just how much of a fun guy he was.  I miss him so much, but as the years go by I forget more and more about him.  I only knew him for 15 or 16 years.  The day I found these in my email was the day of the above ER visit and seeing my Grandpa doing the Hula made my day, I hope they make yours too!

Today though we received some disappointing news.  The surgery that Mom needs to get the tracheotomy out has been postponed indefinitely.  The LASER that they need to use, the one her doctor has been patiently waiting for because it travels between hospitals is not working.  They don;t know how long the repairs will take.  Her surgery was supposed to be in the morning and now we have no idea.  All the problems were tolerable because the possible end date was in sight.  Now we have no idea.  I was the one who broke the news to her.  She took it okay but I could tell that she was upset.  I did soften the blow with her treasured thurenger though so that helped.  

While cleaning this week I found a wonderful photo of my parents together.  I am leaving you with this image.  This is how I always think of my parents, happy together and well.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Things i never thought I would have to worry about...

  • Kinks in a catheter tube.  Just like a regular hose if it kinks the fluid can't get through. 
  • What to do if your child hides in the back of the minivan while you are bringing the wheelchair back into the hospital.  I really thought he had run off for a moment.
  • Helping your father put on clean underpants (after you had to fight with him to change the pair that he would have worn to death if I let him).
  • Helpful children who help out by loading and running the dishwasher, but forget to put all the silverware back into the dishwasher.

  • A rehabilitation center, housing people who use wheelchairs to have only four handicapped parking spots in the parking lot and two wheelchair ramps nowhere near the main entrance.
  • My underpants falling off while shopping, luckily my pants stayed on.  I guess I lost some weight! Sorry no pic of that!
  • A cat that garbage picks various items out of the garbage can.  I swear she is part ninja.  She is not as innocent as she looks.

  • Getting a phone call from your Mother and because of the tracheotomy she can't always talk so you can't hear her at all.  So you have her communicate by tapping on the phone.
  • To have your 11 year old have anxiety at school and home so bad it effects his breathing and gives him chest pains.  
  • To have to pick a stop sign up that was blown over by the wind and was blocking traffic.

Be woken up by my father, change his Foley bag and then be told he is going back to sleep, so I have to switch the bags again, then just when I think it is safe to sleep have to convince him that his pants are okay and that they are not running away from him.  I think we both are going back to bed now.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Cut the Red Wire

We all have had that annoying beep, the one you can't find, the one that taunts you until you are sure you will go mad!  We have ripped the smoke detectors off the walls and removed the batteries over and over again.  Sometimes however the beep isn't so easy to trace, especially when there are two going on at the same time and you don't know that they are mocking you.

Today the torment began around noon.  I came home for lunch to check on Dad, that is another story filled with blood and gore so I won't go into it now.  After I replaced his foley bag and gave him lunch I heard the beep.  Dad did not and since I didn't have time to hunt it down and it wasn't bothering him I went back to work.

After work I came back home and there was the beep, but Dad was my priority and the blood and gore was worse so to the ER we went.  I forgot about the beeping and just made sure Dad was okay.  The ER made sure he was okay and sent us home with instructions to follow up with the Coumadin Clinic (You know how I feel about them!  That is my new swear word, Oh, Coumadin Clinic!) and the Urology Department.  So back home we went.

As I walked in the door I was welcomed by that beep!  The security system seemed the logical suspect.  It controlled all the detectors.   Yes, there was the yellow triangle taunting me knowing that I had no idea how to make it stop beeping.

A bit of a backstory .  My parents have a security system, that possibly once had instructions to it but now neither of them remembers how to use it and have no idea where instructions are.  The phone number on the door is to another state and when called is answered by a personal answering machine.  My brother and I have called that number various times and of course no one has called us back.  He was ready to rip out the power supply if he had to.

Up until today the system was nice and quiet and caused us no grief, except we didn't know how to use it.  But today there were all the beeps.  Loud high pitched rattle your bones and burrow into your ears beeps.  So I called that number once again and left a cut off message.  As soon as I hung up - BEEP!  SO I called back and a miracle happened, the phone was answered.  It was a human and she was surprised that I didn't have a local number.  Thankfully she gave me that number and the contact person's name.

I called and he called me back and told me how to silence the alarm.  That would have been the end of it too except two alarms were going off, I just didn't know it yet.  I hung up the phone and started to eat my dinner, it may have been after 9:00 but it still was my dinner.  I took a bit of my Reuben and BEEP!  So I called him back.  He had me try different codes.  He finally gave me a master code which should have done the trick, of course neither of us knew about the second alarm yet.

Finally P and I staked out the alarm key pads and figured out the beeping was coming from the dining room.  When I called my new best friend at the alarm company back this was the solution to the puzzle.  The problem wasn't just the security system but he thought it was a carbon monoxide detector.

If you look carefully at the photo you will notice a green light, that means there is no carbon monoxide detected.  Good!  I have had carbon monoxide poisoning and it was a carbon monoxide detector that woke me up and saved my life.  But this detector was not beeping to let us know there was carbon monoxide detected.  It was beeping to let us know that it was dying and would soon no longer be able to detect carbon monoxide.

Now the fun begins.  My new best friend tells me to remove the cover.  He said if I had to smash it with a hammer that is okay.  Luckily it just popped right off.  Though I am sure smashing it with a hammer would have been satisfying.  The detector is wired into the houses electrical system, no batteries.  I just looked at it and wondered how I was going to turn it off.

It turns out that turning it off was not an option.  I had to remove it from the electric supply.  Because there was no battery to remove I had the pleasure of cutting the red wire.  First I tried to pull it out and it wouldn't budge, so finally I got a pair of scissors and snip!  The wire was cut and the beeping finally stopped.

So after a long day of teaching, going to the Emergency Room and hunting down beeping and security personal I finally finished my dinner and took my anxiety meds.  After a day like today I definitely needed them.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a nice calm day.  It could happen, right?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Have to Empty a What?

Three in the morning my brother wakes me up.  They are home from the emergency room.  Dad's bladder after the surgery needed a break and Dad now has a Foley Catheter in to give his bladder some time off to heal.  Not that there is any great time to learn how to use a Foley Catheter bag, but three in the morning after waking up out of a sound sleep is definitely not the best time.  But I did and lost track of how many times I had to tell Dad that he couldn't remove the catheter.  It had to be uncomfortable, but the pressure was relieved and he was feeling better.  He went right to sleep, I tossed and turned for a while and finally went to sleep.  I am so glad that I had the presence of mind to call off of work the next day.  That is one advantage of being a substitute teacher I can choose not to work if I need to.

I picked up my anxiety meds today, so they were no use to me last night.  I luckily had a guided meditation app on my iPad so I used it a couple times and finally I was able to control my anxiety enough to go to sleep.

I was sure Dad would sleep in this morning.  He went to bed at 3 am, no such luck.  7:00 am he was up bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I however was stumbling around because well I did not sleep well.  Add to that the fact that I don't do mornings well and I took a deep breath and started the day.  I got him downstairs and gave him his meds.  He had his breakfast (The same exact breakfast that ha has every morning, how?), a bottle of water, coffee, and drained the bag into the reservoir.  Now I just had to figure out how to empty the reservoir.

The fun part of the day was convincing Dad that the bag and catheter were necessary.  He was convinced it was an open wound on his leg.  Now there was a plus side to this.  I didn't have to guide him in and out of the bathroom over and over again at night.  Plus I knew when I had to run errands he would sit in his chair and not have to get up.  That means less times I have to help him when he gets lost in the house.

The bag was getting more full.  It was fast approaching.  I was going to have to empty the bag.  I got a bucket and took a deep breath.  I studied the locking mechanism and figured it out.  The bucket was in place and I did it, I opened the latch and the waterfall was unleashed.  The bag was empty and Another one of my fears were conquered.  Now I know I can handle it.  He as to do his part, but I think we can do it.  Still February 21 is ten days away.  How many more times will I have to empty it?

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Longest Monday

I am not a fan of Mondays.  Not for the reason you may think.  I love going to work, okay I may not love mornings but they happen every day of the week.  Mondays are the day I get the kids back after they spent Sunday with their dad.  Getting them back into my routine with them is a battle.  They try to do what they want and fight me when I play the mom card.  Luckily it usually only takes Monday to get them back into the swing of things.

Today was a double whammy.  Dad had his bladder surgery.  I was up at 6:15 am (see above to see what I think of mornings) and had Dad at the hospital at 7:01.  I got him inside and had a great parking spot.  Finally after 8 am they finally started getting Dad prepped for surgery.  Then I had to go to the waiting room.  The chairs were so uncomfortable especially with my hip that I went home for a short bit.

I spent the morning trying to find my parents security company.  I am convinced they don't exist.  I finally found their address and back to the hospital.  Since his surgery was supposed to be at 8 am and I knew he wasn't in at 9 am, I thought maybe by 1 pm his surgery would at least be started.  I walked in and found out that he still was waiting.

Then I spent the afternoon dealing with my ex, figuring out income taxes, trying to find a comfortable way to sit in those chairs and arguing with a Coke machine.  Still no Dad.  This was worse than any other Monday that I have felt with in a long time and the kids aren't even home yet.  Oh I was hungry.  I hadn't eaten much but I was told if I wash't in the waiting room the doctor  wouldn't tell me how the surgery went.  So I waited and waited and waited.  Finally when it was almost 5 pm someone came in and told me that Dad was back upstairs and getting ready to go home.  WHAT?  Where was the doctor, why didn't anyone come get me?

So I managed to get the doctor to come back and they removed 5 polyps from his bladder.  Dad was disoriented like her usually is when he goes to sleep and wakes up in the middle of the night.  Luckily my brother was there to help get him out of the hospital.  We got McDonalds on the way home and dad almost inhaled french fries on the way home.

Oh the evening was barely started and the kids came home.  Dad was grumpy and I was sleepy (I guess we were two of the seven dwarfs) and hungry.  I was about to eat when Dad threw up.  A wonderful side effect of the anesthesia.  So began my evening.  Dad is in the bathroom, B is running back and forth, upstairs and downstairs.  I was getting dizzy.  The only blessing was that P was quiet and out of the way.

Wait, P was being quiet, he even helped me take out the garbage.  Not only that but he gave me an unsolicited hug.  I'm not going to rock that boat.

Then Dad decided that he wanted to go to the Emergency Room.  I am pretty sure he is just feeling the side effects of the anesthetic, but who knows.  He can be so stubborn and he thinks that I am going to let him take a cab to the ER.  Does he not know how stubborn his daughter is?  I am his daughter after all.  I had custody of his wallet and hid the phones, there would be no cabs on my shift.

My brother came and took him to the ER, during all this B, has refused to go to bed.  She keeps telling me that she "just needs one more thing"  I am so tired and cranky and it is Monday and I just want to go to sleep.  Don't worry she is okay, but she is confined to one room and had better be going to sleep.

Now it is 11:13 and I am waiting to hear how Dad is.  I am sure it is going to be a long night but Monday is almost over.  I just hope that with the arrival of Tuesday some routine comes back.  The kids settle down (okay just B), Dad is feeling better, I am more awake and maybe even get a good nights sleep.  I am looking forward to this Monday being over.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

So Many Worries

Tomorrow I need to get my father to the VA hospital at 7 am for bladder surgery.  He has bladder cancer.  He has had it for a long time and it seems more of an annoying cancer than deadly.  Of course that can change.  Every year or so he needs surgery to remove growths from his bladder.  No chemo, no radiation, nothing like that, just surgery every so often.

Of course usually Mom is the one who deals with this.  I only know what I have been told and I found out accidentally.  So I am sure there are things about his cancer that I don't know.  Dad is not a fountain of knowledge on the subject.  Then again he might be but just can't tell me what he knows because he can't get his brain to allow his voice to say the words he wants to say.  Mom can barely talk because of the tracheotomy so it is hard to get information out of her right now.  I wasn't prepared to deal with cancer, then again I wasn't prepared to deal with my mother almost dying five times.

Dad has been out of sorts these last few days.  I know the surgery is on his mind.   He has been getting ready for it for a week now.  Usually he doesn't know what day it is and thinks he needed to go to the hospital for the surgery over and over again.  He has been having more trouble sleeping than usual.  Today he came downstairs after bed to see if I knew his ID number for the VA.  He couldn't remember if he had the number right.

I am worried that I will over sleep.  I don't wake up well, I don't do mornings well.  If I could sleep all day I would.  Maybe I should stay up all night.  Probably not, I am sure driving on the snow covered roads while falling asleep isn't the best idea.  Of course that is just the beginning of my worries.

This is a surgery, he will be put under anesthesia and there is always a chance that he won't wake up.  I made sure to take him to visit Mom today, just in case.  Ugh, I hate even thinking that.  But one thing I have learned in the last few months is in the blink of an eye life can change.  The wind can knock a person over and cause a cascade of one health crisis after another.  A surgery can not go as planned.

Of course the house is quiet tonight it is my ex's night with the kids.  So my mind can easily dwell on all the bad that can happen.  I wish the kids were her to distract me a little.  I almost brought B back home because D was yelling at both kids and she claimed to not know why.  I tried to talk to him to find out what was going on, but he refused to speak to me.  Sometimes he can be just as bad as a pouting child.  So I don't know what was going on.  She wanted to come home and if I didn't have to take Dad to the hospital so early I would have gotten her.

So many worries and I try to focus on the good, the fun and the happy.  I had a visit from a friend today.  We grew up on the same block.  She helped me do some deep cleaning because my hip has been preventing me from doing a lot.  It just doesn't prevent me from worrying!

Some Fun in the House

This last week my father has been more fun than usual.  He thinks he is funny anyway.   I wish I was carrying my camera with me because he definitely has been doing silly things.  I guess this is the cute side of having a parent that you need to care for like a child.  It is my reward for being woken up every 1 1/2 hours by him some nights.

Of course it is during these late night disturbances that he can be his silliest.  I do all I can to ensure his privacy.  There are things I don't need to see, and if I have seen them that does not mean I want to see them again.  So I have gotten very good at looking up and making sure doors or curtains are closed.  My parents don't have a door on their bathroom upstairs.  Instead they have a set of curtains on a curtain rod so he can get in and out of the bathroom from his bedroom and not bump into the door.  Did I mention the curtains are a bit on the sheer side?

I have gotten pretty good at directing Dad out of his room, into the bathroom, and back to his bed.  While he is in there I stay nearby because I know he has to get back to bed (because I want to go back to bed).  Last night he called me while he was in the bathroom.  First question I asked was "Are you zipped up?"  "Yes."  So I opened the curtain.  There is my 78 year old father with his thumb on his nose and wiggling his fingers in the air.  He was giggling and I swear he was dancing while doing it.  Silly!

Of course some of the silly things are because he can't see or because of the strokes he had last year.  He isn't trying to be silly but he sure appreciates the humor after the fact.  One day he called me all upset because he couldn't figure out how to put his pants on.  First thing I noticed was that he already was wearing pants.  Why was he trying to put another pair of pants on.  I tried to explain this to him but he was bound and determined to put those pants on.  Sometimes it is just easier to let him try and then steer him in the right direction after he realizes that it won't work.

I showed him where the waist was and where the legs were.  Then he took the pants and started to put his arms in the leg holes and put them on over his head.  Yes, my father was trying to wear his pants as a shirt.  Now I understood his problem and could get him a shirt.  Then Dad understood what he was doing and laughed so hard that it was several minutes before he calmed down enough to put the shirt on.

Today he was having trouble with his words.  Sometimes he gets frustrated and gives up.  Sometimes I can figure it out and steer him in the right direction.  This time I was perplexed.  Eventually he managed to get what he wanted to say across but this is how it went.

Dad: "You need to go to the store."
Me: "What store?"
Dad: "The store where they sell men to women."
Me:  "The what?  They sell What?"
Dad: "You buy the men."

Now I want to know where this store is?  Of course I need to know their return and exchange policy.  Finally through some questions while I tried not to laugh I found out that he wanted a bag to carry his meds around.  Once I knew what he wanted he understood what he had said earlier and I am not sure who was laughing more, me or him.

We do have some fun in the house.  Some of it is planned but a lot of it is spontaneous and just pure silliness.  We have to be silly so we don't focus on the bad.  Embrace the sillies!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

When It Rains It Pours!

For the last few weeks at school, when they have had school that is, P has been getting regular asthma attacks at school.  Only at school and only at a specific time.  The regularity of it worried me, the timing worried me and the fact that it didn't happen out of school peaked my interest.  He wasn't faking, he was definitely wheezing, the school nurse confirmed it.

My ex was the one the school kept calling.  He would call the doctor and call me.  I felt a bit out of the loop.  I usually take the lead with medical issues.  Usually because I can explain things better and pass along a message clearly.  But with me at my parents house I was not around to take care of my children's medical issues.  I was taking care of my parent's medical issues.

Still the "asthma" attacks nagged at me.  This week started out with another asthma attack.  As usual the meds didn't work and the symptoms eventually went away after a couple of hours.  Usually after school was over.  That night P came up to me and asked me if he had to go to school the next day.  If he goes to immediate care and is kept out late sometimes I would keep him home.  Especially if he didn't get much sleep.  However in this case he was home before school let out and staying home wasn't an option.

He begged me to let him stay home.  He pleaded with me and told me how scared he was about having another attack.  I don't blame him there is not much scarier than not being able to breathe.  My mom just went through that with an obstructed trachea.  She ended up needed a tracheotomy.  He was in tears and there was real fear in his voice.  He clung to me with a death grip.  He wasn't being silly and this was not fake.  He was afraid to go back to school.

The next day I called his pediatrician and made an appointment for him.  This was more than asthma. I was sure he was having anxiety issues.  I had no idea how bad it was though.  Luckily I was on the right track.  Luckily I made that phone call and luckily I told my ex that I was taking P to the doctors and I was taking an afternoon of work off to do it.  He didn't think it was urgent and didn't want to pay the copay.  I would pay the full amount for the visit if I had to.

The appointment was for the next day.  That day I also found out that P had failed English last quarter  of school.  He wasn't handing in his assignments.  He was misplacing textbooks and assignments in school.  His teachers were concerned and now I was too.  I was almost in tears.  The last few months added to this was about all I could take.  Still I was at work and I had to pick up the kids from art.  Back to the real world where I had to act like everything was okay and teach some math and reading.

That night I was mad!  My dad went to bed and P asked to watch TV.  Seriously I find out he is lying to me about homework, and failing English.  NO!  No, TV for you!  He is in tears and screaming at me, telling me how much he hates me (to which I always reply that I love him) and that I am the worst Mom EVER!!!

Even after I went upstairs I could hear him crying and I remembered what it was like when I was a child and I thought my parents were the worst and how alone I felt when that happened.  Of course I went back downstairs and called him over to the couch.  He sat next to me and I hugged him, just a tight hug and told him that I loved him.  That was exactly what he needed.

Before I knew it he was telling me that he couldn't handle school.  He had three locker combinations to remember, he couldn't remember which binder was for each class, where all his classes where, who his teachers were, what his homework was, what he needed to hand in to whom, where he needed to go after school, what house he would go to, when would he see Dad, when would he see me, what items were at each house...  He is in sixth grade.  He was overwhelmed and I think almost ready to pop.

To hear your 11 year old say that he can't handle school over and over again and to know from to quiver in his voice and the uncontrollable sobbing that this was real was almost more than I could handle.  I listened to him and told him I would do anything I could to help him out.  I held him and let him cry in my arms for two hours.  I made sure I was there for him and I was so glad that I made that doctors appointment for the next day.  Even the next morning when he went off to school and I saw the fear in my eyes I knew that I was on the right track to finding a way to help him.

Right off the bat at the doctors office I told P's Pediatrician that I thought it was anxiety and he immediately aground with me.  He picked up on the fact that my ex was not someone who understood anxiety or how it can effect the body.  He had no idea.  Yes, my ex was fired by our psychologist.  I had already called my psychologist, who had helped P before his diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.  I also had emailed (it bounced back), called (I was transferred to another extension) and walked into my son's school psychologist office to let him know my suspicions and to see if the school could help P out.

Everything I had done was exactly what his pediatrician wanted me to do.  He was hoping P could be seen soon by the psychologist, luckily I was going there that night.  It had been a few years since I had last gone, but my world has abruptly changes these last few months so I gave him a call.  HELP!!

He also agreed with me and because he can't get P in for at least 4 weeks he refereed us to another practice.  P needs help now.  Of course when I told D about all of this he heard it with reservations.  He wants nothing to do with the mental health services.  I hope that P doesn't pick up on that.

That night P offered to do the dishes, not something he usually does.  He was so loving and snuggly and happy.  He knew I had spent the day starting the process to get him help.  I listened and let him talk.  I didn't over react and reassured him.  Still I couldn't help but think, "When it rains it pours!"  How much more can I take?   Luckily I called my psychologist and I think I am going to need him!