Monday, December 23, 2013

Toys for Tots can suck it...

Yeah, you heard me, they can suck it.  They are supposed to be some great charity right?  That's what I'd always thought, that's what I'd always heard, and that's what I'd always read.  Well, I guess I was wrong.  I've had good years and I've had bad years.  On good years, we've even been the family that donates to Toys for Tots.  A few years, we "adopted" a family and bought gifts for them.  That's why I thought that this year of all years it would be ok to ask for help back.  I've had a bad few years financially.  We barely squeak by most of the time.  I supplement a lot of what we have here with my free stuff, I get stuff for the pets and the kids, and I have some really generous friends that have helped me, but I wanted to be able to give my younger two kids a few things from "santa" this year.  My older two kids aren't even getting ANYTHING from us.  Not one damn thing.  19 and 17 and there won't be anything under our tiny little tree for them to open, except what their aunt brought them.  But they are old enough to understand this.  My younger two are not.  They are almost 8 and 2 and a half. It's the almost 8 year old that is having the hardest time here.  His aunt brought him something too of course, but there will also be absolutely nothing from us under the tree.  Not for him, not for Memphis.  We almost never get gifts for each other, so that's no big deal either, but THESE ARE KIDS DAMN IT!!!

So here's the story.  I had signed up for Toys for Tots.  I got the confirmation email back on December 14th at 8:56 pm.  The pick up time was at 6pm on December 20th.  I did try to contact them by phone and by email between the time I got the email and the day to pick up to make sure I had everything in order and would have everything I needed to pick up.  I had a bad feeling about it, but I couldn't nail down why, I just had a bad feeling about it.  Like I knew something was gonna happen and we wouldn't get them, but I still for some reason unknown to me now, counted on the damn gifts.  So I did the responsible thing and I spent my husband's tiny little paycheck paying our gas bill to keep the heat on.  I didn't even manage to get enough stuff to finish off our private Christmas dinner, but I did manage to get the stuff for our family dinner that I shared in the last post.  Thankfully, I'd managed to get a ham at the beginning of the month or I wouldn't have that either, but that's another sob story altogether.  Anyway, back to the story here...

The number in the email is not to the actual Toys for Tots organization, but to the church where the pick up was being held and only rang to a voicemail.  I did leave a few messages, but they were not returned.  I also tried the phone number that was on the Toys for Tots website (located here), but it would not go through.  I have no idea if they have updated it at this point or not.  I never got a response.  So the 20th rolls around and I have spent literally every dime I've got on the gas bill, food and diapers for Phiz, and my husband has a friend that will take him there because we don't have bus fare for him to get there and obviously, if we don't have bus fare, a taxi is out of the question.  When he gets there, he sees that there are literally HUNDREDS of people waiting, of course, because if someone is giving away something free, people here will take it if they need it or not.  He gets his ticket and asks the man that hands it to him if he needed to bring anything with him and if he's ok with with he has.  The man tells him he was supposed to have brought the kids, but that he'll be ok without them, they'll let him pick for the kids and it's fine.  This is at 6pm.

He waits in the line until almost 8pm before he gets to the door of the church to get inside.  Mind you, we do live in the desert, but it gets cold at night, we were under a wind warning and it was roughly 40 degrees outside so it wasn't a super fun wait, all I can say is I'm glad he DIDN'T have the little boys because Maxwell still has a horrible cough from the virus we're all still getting over.  He gets just inside the door to check in and a very rude woman asks him where the kids are.  He tells her he didn't know he was supposed to bring them, and tells her that the man that gave him the ticket told him he'd be fine without them.  She tells him no, he can't go any further without the kids.  He tells her we tried to find out what to bring, we just didn't know, is there anything they can do to help us because we are desperate.  She tells him that the email said right on it what we needed to bring.  I don't see where it says that...do you?

He tells her no, we looked at the email right before he came to get the address to get there.  Then she tells him it's all over the website that he needed to bring them.  I never found anywhere that it said that either.  But she's yelling at him and he gets embarrassed, and he asks to talk to the guy who gave him the ticket.  The one who said he was FINE without the kids there.  The man tells him they'll let him go home and get the kids and come back.  The problem with that is twofold, it's not our car, it's a friend of his and we don't have any more gas money to give the guy for another ride (because it seems like no one is a good enough friend to give a ride without gas money) and they guy doesn't have a vehicle big enough for everyone.  Not to mention that they are still both sick and they'd have had to wait in the line in the cold again.  We had to decline that offer.  Declining the offer made them act like we had done something terribly wrong, like they couldn't comprehend that there are people in the world that don't have transportation of their own and have to rely on others to help them get places and sometimes those other people really aren't doing out of the kindness of their hearts but for the gas money we can give them.  When you can't give up any gas money, people won't give you a ride.  So he ended up just coming home empty handed and upset.  

There are a whole lot of things I really don't understand about the deal.  Now don't get me wrong, I understand that people take advantage, and that people steal.  I understand that people take things they don't need and that ruins it for people that DO need it.  I have no problem proving I have kids.  I have no problem proving I am in need.  I honestly wouldn't have had a problem taking the boys IF I HAD KNOWN I WAS SUPPOSED TO. But I didn't.  And the way they treated the situation was deplorable.  So they expected that while we were there with a hand out to accept charity, that we should bring our small children 5 days before Christmas so they could see that we needed the charity to provide them gifts.  How nice for the kids huh? (yeah, that was sarcasm there)  So the kids can lose faith in their parents and then lose their belief in Santa if they had it to begin with.  Awesome job Toys for Tots.  Thanks for nothing.  I appreciate it.  

I know the reality of this is that it is my fault.  I shouldn't have relied on a charity to give my children the only gifts they were going to receive from us.  I should have made better choices.  Maybe I shouldn't have wanted to have a family dinner.  Maybe I shouldn't have wanted to have heat in my house, maybe I should have Memphis potty trained by now, or maybe I should just have never gotten so sick I can't work anymore (but not QUITE sick enough to get permanent disability yet, go figure...though the 500 pound man down the street had no problem getting his check simply for being fat).  I don't know.  I do know that I had really worked hard to make myself try to put so many bad things aside to make this a good holiday season for my kids and my family.  With so much loss in 2012, how could we not have a hard time still?  This happening was hard on me.  It'll be even harder on an almost 8 year old who will have nothing from his parents on Christmas.  Now, I'm so lost and depressed about the whole thing I spent the entire day in bed yesterday. I alternated between escape sleeping and crying because I can't figure out how I'm going to handle Maxwell's disappointment... Toys for Tots...you can suck it!  

Until next time...
J

***I do want to add a quick little note that I had made a post on a Facebook group I help admin and there is a lady that offered to donate a few handmade crafts for the boys, but unfortunately, they will not be ready in time for the 25th, and Maxwell is having a really rough time understanding a lot of other things in life right now, so I'm extremely worried about how he's going to (not) handle this.  It's going to be very difficult for me because he takes out his anger on me most of the time.***

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lips and Asses...


Yeah, you read that right. Lips and asses.  I usually associate the term with hot dogs, and it's usually lips and assholes, but there is a reason I wrote it that way.  This is not about hot dogs.  Or assholes really, unless you count my family being jerky rude assholes and then yeah, I guess that counts.  It's been a while since I posted and I have a little catching up to do with ya. 

Thanksgiving was ok.  It was a fully satisfying huge meal that we ended up eating off of for days afterward, thanks to my very dear friend helping me yet again.  I made a beautiful meal that included homemade rolls even.  I made almost everything from scratch and it was amazing and I was and still am pretty proud of myself for having done it.  See?


That's my lil Phizzy man there in the background.  He's gotten pretty tall, eh?  So there was that meal, and then this one right after that was turkey a la king, home made bread and in the jars behind the bread is turkey stock...


This girl can cook like a mofo.  I don't do it as often as I used to for several reasons.  My kitchen here is small, and my mom complains about almost everything I cook.  She always does it in a sneaky weird way anymore, like telling me the next day how dinner kept her in the bathrom all night.  I find that less than complimentary.  I have no idea what to do about that though.  Except let my husband do a lot of the cooking anymore.  

Moving on to the title, the lips part.  Last night, Memphis ran into a bookshelf and busted his upper lip open.  It scared the shit out of me more than anything because he barely cried.  He did almost nothing but stare wide eyed at me while I cleaned the blood that was dripping off of him.  It also gave him a knock on the forehead, but it wa the lip that was and is still scary to me.


Both pics are while he was asleep because that's the only time he is ever still!  Top is last night, bottom is this morning.  It's not too bad, I know, but my kids getting hurt freaks me out.  Blood from a child is never fun for a mommy.

On to the "ass" part of the title.  Who here has heard of pilonidal disease?  About a year or so ago my tailbone got really painful.  I take a hell of a lot of drugs too, so for the pain to be almost unbearable I knew something was off, but where it was located, I wasn't really excited about having a doctor look at it so I sat on my heat pad, took hot baths and tried to just cope with it.  Mind you, this was not the first time it'd happened, it was just the worst pain I'd had from it.  So, eventually I felt better and at my next appointment with my pain management doctor I mentioned it.  A few months later, I Started hurting really bad again, only this time, there was a swelling in my ass crack the size of a marble and when I looked at it in the mirror (that was acrobatic of me, believe me) my whole lower back and buttcrack was green with bruising.  So this time I sucked it up, got over being embarrASSed and called the doctor.  But they couldn't get me in for a couple of weeks and told me to go to the ER.  I had another pain management appointment the following week, so instead I had that doctor look at it.  She immediately knew what it was, told me it was a pilonidal cyst that was probably very abcessed and gave me some antibiotics and told me I really needed to have it lanced.  But here's the thing, my brother had this when he was about 18.  They actually leave the thing open and pack it with gauze and let it heal from the inside out.  The doctor also told me I really need to have it surgically removed because I have some pretty serious spinal damage already and the pressure that fluid puts on my spine is dangerous.  That's not even talking about what happens if the infection breaks free and ends up in my blood stream.  That'd probably kill me according to her.  So that round of flare up ends in the gross swelling eventually draining on it's own and the bruising subsiding eventually.

About oh, I dunno, a week or so ago, I started to get up in the morning and moved wrong and felt the now familiar sharp pain in my tailbone.  There is again a swelling, but it's minor in comparison to the patch of skin that looks like broken blood vessels or something.  I don't even know.  I am scared to go anywhere and have it looked at because I know already what the treatment is for this.  None of them are pleasant, all of them will put me in bed until well after the first of the year, and it's almost Christmas.  5 days before to be exact.  And I'm doing my very best just to keep everyone from killing each other as it is.  Not to mention that my family can not function without me telling them what to do and how to do it. Sadly, I have to yell at people here to get them to do anything at all most of the time.  My husband can't handle things when I'm at what is now 100% for me, what the hell would he do if I was laid up in bed all day?  So I'm kind of stuck being butthurt, literally.  So that's where I'm at.  Fun times!

On an entirely opposite and happy note, I just want to show off my Christmas present from my friend in Georgia.  I got this to keep some food upstairs so that when funds and vittles are running low, my darling mother doesn't do her typical tricks of eating everything she can stuff in her mouth while simultaneously feeding whatever she can think of to the cats.  AND IT'S PURPLE!!!

So, I've written enough to keep ya busy for a few minutes at least, and I'll try to get a new post up on Sunday.  I've got some pretty cool shit to show you as far as product.  You can totally look forward to seeing a few recipes too.  Y'all are awesome for reading.  Happy Holidays to you too, whatever you celebrate, and much love from us crazies over here.  Until next time...
   



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Germ Spreaders and Drama (Shocking I Know)...

So we caught the stomach flu.  Viral Gastroenteritis.  You know the kind right? The going at both ends, afraid to leave the bathroom and you want to curl into the fetal position and die?  Ok. That kind.  For reals, man, I'm not kidding you, this was one of the worst bouts of it I've ever had in my life and I've had it probably 10 times.  Gross, I know, but I was indeed, once one of the dreaded germ spreaders too.

My 7 year old, soon to be 8 in January, is a disgusting sick person in general and even more so when it's the throw up kind.  He made it to the bathroom a few times, that's the best I can say for him.  He made it all over the bathroom a few times too if you know what I mean.  He's gross.  I don't clean that up, my husband does because frankly, I can't handle that kind of thing, it gives me panic attacks.  So anyway, Maxwell got it first.  My darling husband cleaned up after him, but he wanted his mommy for comfort, so he came and cuddled up to me as often as he could.  And how the hell could I say no to my sick kid wanting a hug? So of course I woke up an hour after going to sleep sick.  And spent the night, quite literally on the bathroom floor.  It was awful and I still feel like total shit. Honestly, I'm barely making it through the post without tossing my cookies.  Moving on...

Maxwell got so bad that  we ended up having to take him to the ER.  He was fine, got some anti nausea meds to quit throwing up so he could rehydrate at home and got sent home.  My mom threw a fit at me.  She totally freaked out that I was so concerned.  The truth was, I looked in the toilet and saw his vomit had streaks of blood in them.  I freaked out.  I thought he needed to be seen sooner rather than later.  My mom is my mom and I love her but we don't always see eye to eye on things.  She didn't agree that it was quite as emergent and was rather rude about the whole thing. I lost my shit and yelled at her and we got into a dramatic fight and she hasn't spoken to me since.  Um...mature I know. If not for calling a very great friend I don't know what I would have done that night.  I'm so very grateful for that.  I know that they're right and I need to be the better person.  But I'm just not the bigger person right now.  I just don't have the energy today to take the crap I'll have to take to apologize first.  I know I'll have to eventually, but I just couldn't manage it today.  The sooner the better, I know, it's like a thorn in my foot.

So Maxwell went back to school today and says he's feeling better and I hope he is.  I'm not feeling fantastic but I'm trying like hell to fake it.  I ended up losing the 12 or so pounds I had managed to put back on.  It has definitely affected my energy level, but I'm trying to push through that for the sake of everyone.  They can't handle it when I'm not on my game at all, too many things slip through the cracks!

Oh and the blood, was irritation in Maxwell's throat from so much vomiting.  Where as it wasn't something that was life threatening, at the time, if it had continued it would have been. At present I'm awaiting time someone else gets it.  I hope no one does, but I have a bad feeling.  Or maybe that's just my nausea?  I hope Still nursing Phiz is giving him the antibodies and he won't get it at all, but I don't know.  And I REALLY hope Ronnie doesn't get it, he's gross when he's sick, but above all, we just count on him too damn much.

Anyway, I'm not feeling peak, so I'm going to go ahead and close here and just advise everyone that ginger tea and lots of it and honey if you can stand it and can have it has been really helpful while we had this bug.  I hope you don't get it, but if  you do that's the only advice I've got.  And get a big bowl :( You'll understand why if you get it.  And I'm really sorry, because I wouldn't wish these stomach bugs on my worse enemy!
Until next time...
J

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween and all that good shit...

It's that time of year again.  All hallow's eve and I haven't written a post in way too long.  I've been having some personal issues.  Yes, again.  I know, I have them a lot.  I can't even begin to describe how hard the last few weeks has been at home.  Financial shit backing up again, the hubs and I constantly fighting, the kids running amuck.  It's just been about as crazy as I'd ever hope it to be, except I don't hope for it.  I want it to calm the hell down.  I'm having issues with my mom still too.  I love her, she's my mom, so of course I do, but HOLY JEEZ she's driving me up a wall.  My cat that I'd had since before Mac was born died in part because she was lactose intolerant and my mother REFUSED to stop giving her milk.  She basically crapped her guts out until she just died.  There was no point in taking her to the vet either, because we knew what it was and my mom still refused to believe it.  She'd stop with the milk for a few weeks, the cat would get all better, stop crapping blood, and then sure enough she'd give her a big bowl of milk and it'd start all over again.

So she died, and it broke my heart a little more, and that was just a few days after my mother accused me of overtaking my meds because I had a migraine and was throwing up one day.  I have chronic migraines, that's why I take migraine medicine prescribed by a doctor...duh!  That and I'm not the one running out of meds every month, she is.  We also discovered she's not been taking her thyroid medicine.  Considering she doesn't have a working thyroid, if she doesn't take it, she'll die.  She had a bottle that was filled in JULY that was still more than half full.  Thing is, if my darling husband was doing his job, he'd have known that.  But he's not.  He's too busy making my life miserable to do that lately.  Everything I say he gets defensive over, and I have no idea why.  I'm sick, I can't help it.  I didn't wake up one day and decide to have heart failure or Brugada or Fibromyalgia, or the migraines, or RA, or the other crap, or the incredible weight loss that has turned me into a skeleton.  I didn't pick any of this, and what happened to in sickness and in health?  I suppose I could have warned you that this was one of THOSE posts huh?  Well, I need to vent and here is the only place I've got.

I'm so lonely for positive adult interaction it's pathetic.  I don't have very many positive people in my life and the ones I do I feel like all I ever do is complain because I just have so much to complain about.  I know the saying if you can't be happy with what you have, you'll never be happy with what you're going to get.  I even understand it, but it's really hard to remember sometimes.  Especially when I'm constantly being reminded of what I don't have.  Like food.  That goes in to my why I am so frustrated with my mother category.  She is like an eating machine.  She eats everything that is not nailed down and thinks that her colostomy bag gives her the right to do so. While I've lost over a hundred pounds since we moved in here, she's steadily gained weight.  All while making these little comments about how I must be so much taller than her because she "weighs the same amount" and can't fit in to the same size as me.  I guess she doesn't realize that my husband goes to the doctor with her and I know she outweighs me by like 40 pounds (and is at least 4 inches shorter).  It's that crazy here.  If she sees something to eat and she thinks I might want it, she eats it.  I actually have to hide food in my bedroom to be able to have anything at all that isn't made at dinner time.  Even then, we have to shop day to day so she doesn't eat half the ingredients before dinner.  Worst part?  We pay for all the food.  So I'm paying out like $1000 plus a month in food and even my kids food isn't safe.  We catch her feeding the boys milk to the cats, cheese to them, anything they will eat.

Years ago, they thought she had a stroke.  The truth is, I can't find anywhere in her medical records that says she did, but it's easier to say that to people that to say "she takes enough ativan to kill a horse and forgets what the fuck she ate five minutes ago".  My husband took away her pills for a day.  She called her doctor and told him that my husband wasn't giving her any meds, so he chickened out and gave them right back to her.  No one monitors them, and she takes so much to get high it's insane.  It'd knock out a bull elephant.

Moving on.  Samhain is usually a time of happiness for me and I just couldn't get into it this year, I just got too caught up in my whateverness to be able to get super involved in it.  The kids didn't really dress in costume so much as painted their faces, and in truth, masks and face paint were traditionally the way people dressed up for Samhain in the good old days.  As I write this, the boys are still out trick or treating.  I'm watching Carrie with my daughter and fighting off a headache for the 5th day in a row.  They've been bad with all the stress and my bad moods.  And the weather is changing, so my bones hurt oh so bad.  It's just been one of those years...again.  My good old ticker isn't working very well either and I found mold in my oxygen concentrator so I can't use it and I'm stuck with my portables until I get a new machine :( and they are all almost empty, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

So this has been one big blog o bitchfest and I apologize for that, but I really needed to get it out in a bad way.  And that is what this blog is for sometimes, so this is what I do.  I write to get it out, because I can't keep it bottled up anymore!  On that note, I'm going to go watch this movie, and wait until the boys bring me back candy to steal ;)

Until next time...
J

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In Loving Memory...

I wrote a post the other day explaining why I have such a hard time in October.  If you read it, and read down to the comments, it explains a lot of why my behavior has been so strange as of late.  I'm also just plain not feeling well.  Something is up with my heart again and the shortness of breath is beyond dealable for the moment and it was suggested by my cardiologist that I use my oxygen machine whenever I get short of breath or have any kind of dizziness that doesn't immediately go away after sitting down.  Here's the thing, I take meds that make me dizzy all the time, so sometimes I put it off.  Yesterday, I realized both my portable tanks are empty and I'm out of clean 50 foot tubing and cannulas so I have a whole new bullshit deal I have to handle for the week.  Yesterday, I had a bout of hiccups (I know, seems really lame and benign, right?) but if you have a cardiac history like mine, you know hiccups that just won't go away are a bad thing.  Especially when you have a pacemaker lead laying right next to your vagus nerve.  So I spent most of my day laying in bed hiccuping with my oxygen on.  I also had a fight with my mother the other day about her belief that I use my heart complications as an excuse not to do things and how my depression is strictly caused by overtaking my pain meds.  Really, that's not what this post is about, but I had a few things to get off my chest today so to speak.

The title, let's talk about that.  I posted about losing babies.  I wanted to post a little deeper about My son Mac.  MacKenzie was a very wanted baby.  We had planned for him, and he was to be the only one of my children without the MLM initials because his middle name was Zane after my late brother.  His name would have been the same no matter his gender, but he was indeed a boy.  The day my water broke, I felt "off".  I blame so much of this on myself because at 19 weeks I still did not have a regular OB/Gyn.  The previous experience had marked my soul forever and I was afraid.  I was constantly afraid that something would go wrong.  I believed with all of my being that once I'd made it past that first trimester, we were safe.  That there was no way I would lose the baby.  I never thought of fetal viability age, or amniotic infections, or any possibility that I wouldn't stay pregnant past that first trimester, once I'd passed that hurdle.

I was so wrong.  My older children and I were sitting watching television that afternoon and I had been achy/crampy and just felt plain weird.  I'd had a bit of a cold a few weeks before, but I was totally over it, and at that point I had quit smoking (I quit as soon as I knew for sure I was pregnant that time and never smoked again).  All of a sudden a felt a little pop and a gush and my brain couldn't understand what had happened.  With my two older kids, my water had never broken on it's own, in fact, my oldest was almost completely in her sac as she slid out.  It was something I'd never felt before and I was confused.  I sat a moment and asked my son to bring me a towel, and he had no idea why so he brought me a small hand towel from the kitchen.  I must have looked scared out of my mind, because when he came back with it, he asked me what it was for.  I told him I thought my water broke, and like a scene from a movie, he asked me if I wanted a new glass of water.  I told him no honey, I meant my baby water and he broke down into tears.  He knew what that meant.  He was so young, only 8, but he knew that meant something was very very wrong.  We called his dad to come home.  My daughter sat there stunned.  By the time my husband got home I'd called my mom and she got there within minutes of my husband.  We didn't know what to do.  We were all in a panic.  I was afraid that the baby would just fall out.  In retrospect, I know how dumb that sounds, but I was.  I was afraid if I stood up, my baby would just fall out of me.

My family decided that since we were so far away from the hospital, that we'd call an ambulance, and they got there pretty much right away.  The did a scoop and run and got me to the ER so fast I don't even remember that trip.  My husband had followed behind in the car and my parents stayed with the older kids.  Once there, they did a quick exam to discover my cervix was completely closed and still thick.  They didn't have any clue what was going on, and they hooked me up to a contraction monitor.  I was contracting as if in labor, but remember my belly was tiny, I was only 19 weeks.  They did the test to determine that my water had really broken and of course it had, they also did a ton of blood work and an ultrasound.  That first ultrasound, he was moving and still very much alive.  Alive and with no cushion of water at all.  I had a temperature of 103.  They debated on what to do.  At one point, they even said to send me HOME!  I thank the Goddess that is not what happened though.  After several hours in the ER I finally got moved to the Labor and Delivery floor.  They did so many ultrasounds, they kept checking to see if he was alive, and if I was regenerating water.  Evidently there are cases with pinhole leaks where the baby can be carried to viability.

They hooked me up to monitors, but kept losing his heart beat and every time they did I'd panic again.  They hooked me up to IV's, antibiotics, anti-emetics, mag sulfate, fluids.  They kept checking my cervix because they couldn't get the contractions to stop.  And they never did.  But they also never got strong enough to do anything.  They kept checking to see if the baby was alive.  They came in to counsel us about end of life procedures, about the hospitals weight limit for resuscitation and how no one was sure due to my gestation if the baby would meet them.  As it turned out, we didn't  need to worry about it, but I was of a mind to decline anyway.  I felt that those efforts would be better spent on a baby with a higher chance of survival.  But that last ultrasound showed no fetal heart tones.  My baby was gone.  And I had to finish laboring.  They gave me a drug called Methergine, because your uterus doesn't have pitocin receptors until after the 20th week and it wasn't making my contractions work.  The Methergine made me throw up about every twenty minutes for the duration of the labor.  They gave me some demerol for the contractions until they could get me an epidural.  Strangely, my only effective one.

Once we knew he was really gone, they stopped treating me like I was a mother and began to treat me like a patient.  They no longer checked my cervix for changes.  They no longer asked me if I needed anything.  They left my husband and I alone in that room to process what was happening to us and to grieve.  And finally, just after 1 am on October 1st 2004, I pushed with everything I had left in me and out slipped MacKenzie Zane Mead.  We never got a lock of his hair because he didn't have any yet.  I couldn't bring myself to hold him, but my husband did and wept until his tears ran dry.  His skin was transparent, and he was so tiny.  I remember his face, it's forever etched into my memory.  When all else is gone, his face will be there.  They let us look at him for such a brief time because I hemorrhaged and needed to be taken care of so I wouldn't die.  The placenta had attached to some scar tissue and came out in pieces and when it was finally all the way removed I continued to bleed profusely to the point that they had the transfusion ready for me, but by some miracle of the universe, the bleeding finally slowed and I was "ok".

It took them hours after to find me a room that wasn't on the maternal floor.  In those hours we listened to new lives enter the world, and happy parents and happy families while our hearts were breaking into a million pieces.  I didn't understand how I could have loved someone so much that I'd never met.  But even though I'd never met him, I'd felt him move inside me.  He had a name and a family that wanted him greatly.  He was no less my son than Morgen or Maxwell or Memphis.  They kept me in the hospital for 4 days to be sure I wouldn't start to bleed too much again, but I think part of it was to make sure I was dealing ok with it.  I wasn't, but I put on a good show.

On the way home, we went to the pharmacy to have my prescriptions filled and the lady behind the counter congratulated me on my new baby (because of where the prescriptions had come from). I told her he was dead and had to go wait in the car until they were done.  When we got to the house, I held my children, I cleaned the chair and I tried to move on.  I didn't want to do this again, I didn't want to risk this pain ever again.  I never wanted to put my kids through it, or my husband through it.  I grieve still.  Every day I remember that I have a little box with nothing more than his memory.  I touch the outfit that he wore, I look at those two polaroid pictures and I hope to some day have the money to tattoo his little footprints on me (something I had hoped to do for his birthday this year but just couldn't afford it).  I miss what could have been.

But I thank him.  I thank him for paving the way for his brothers after him.  Had I not gotten so far along with him, I probably would not have been able to carry Max or Memphis. (That's a whole other story in itself that maybe I'll explain another time.)


When I look at the two youngest, I wonder if Mac chose to come to me to give me the strength to carry his brothers.  If there was some greater purpose in his loss, or if it was just some awful twist of fate.  Either way, I remember him with love, and I remember him with each breath I take.  When I get frustrated with Phizzy at bedtime tonight, I'll take a few extra moments to settle myself and remember what a gift he is.  What gifts they all have been to me.  I love them more than life itself, and that's the way it should be.

I may not be the best mother in the world, but I'm the best mother I can be.

Until next time...
J

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why October Is Not My Favorite Month...

I've been through a lot of strangeness in my almost forty years.  A LOT!  So much, that when I tell people my life story, they think I just have a very vivid imagination and that I'm off my meds again or something.  I basically live the real life version of a soap opera.  Every now and then, I'll have some normalcy and things will calm down and we'll have months go by without anything out of the ordinary happen.  October usually isn't one of those months.  Some of my worst things ever have happened in October.  But also, one of my best.

I'm one of those "good news first" people, so I'll tell you the good first.  When I moved back home to California from Ohio, it was the first week of October in 2001.  That was a good October.  That trip was pretty cool really.  I didn't do the bulk of the driving, my husband did, and we did it in three days.  Only two nights spent on the road and the third night we were home.  Back home to everything that was familiar.  Back to my desert, my mother, my family, and my daughter who I'd been separated from since August 23 because she'd come back with my mom to start school on time.  The separation had been hard on both of us.  9/11 happened while we were apart.  She had come back to California with a terrible case of head lice that was resistant to all but the prescription version of the shampoo because we'd been battling the little fuckers for months prior.  Every time I'd gotten rid of them on her, this one particular neighbor girl would give them right back to my daughter.  Thankfully, head lice isn't something that's very common here in the Mojave Desert.  I and she are forever grateful to her aunt Jorena for picking nits out of her hair for hours on end until she was lice free.  Finally.  And that was the good.  Now to the bad.

I've suffered some pregnancy losses.  While I'm aware that it's very common, and there are many women that have suffered through the same thing, my documented losses were not common at all.  I say it that way, because I've had an undocumented loss as well, where I had a series of positive home tests and then began bleeding and my body was able to clear the products of conception without a doctor's intervention so I saw no need to seek medical care.  My first documented loss was the year after we came back to California.  I had had an endometrial ablation in Ohio several years before so I was not concerned with birth control and we weren't using much of anything other than natural family planning (watching the calender).  I had a very regular cycle at the time and although it had been many years since I'd been pregnant, it didn't take me long to figure out I was.  I took a home test, got a positive and went to the doctor.  At about 6 weeks, I started to spot.  It was not unusual for me to spot during a pregnancy, I'd had that happen every time, but this was bright red spotting, so we went to the ER.  They did an ultrasound and found a heart beat.  They assured me that since they'd found a heartbeat, statistically, the chances were slim that I'd lose the baby, but to be safe, see my doctor the next day.  I did just that, and she refused to do an exam.  She refused to do anything but a urine test, which was still positive and told me to go home and keep my feet up and I'd be fine.  So that's what I did.  I continued to spot, but it was very light and the doctor just kept telling me I was fine.  Four weeks later, I bent over and felt a gush.  I went to the bathroom and discovered that the gush was blood.  I called my husband, and we went to the ER per doctor's orders.  The ultrasound confirmed I'd lost the baby.  The baby had died the day I'd had that first ultrasound at 6 weeks and I'd carried a dead embryo for weeks.  It's called a missed miscarriage.

The ER sent me home.  The doctor there told me my body would pass everything since I was bleeding now, but the next day, the bleeding stopped.  That was October 14th, 2002.  For the next three days we struggled with the doctors and the insurance company to allow me to have a D&C and be done now, they kept trying to tell me my body would pass the baby, but my body was not doing it's job.  Go figure right? My body, NOT doing it's job?  Like that never happens/  Finally, on the 17th, they agreed to allow me to have a D&C at the county clinic in the area.  When I got there, we had to wait another several hours while I convinced the nurses I did not need yet one more ultrasound at the ER to confirm my baby was dead.  I just wanted to be done and grieve and move on.  Eventually, a kind nurse signed off on the paperwork, and they allowed the procedure.  I went home to grieve and realized that if I could get pregnant that time, maybe my body was capable again, and maybe, if we planned it next time, the outcome would be better.  So we talked about it, and we decided that we'd try.

The next year I spent trying to get and stay healthy, I tried really hard to quit smoking, but I didn't.  I did manage to cut way back and I was down to less than a half a pack a day.  I took vitamins and supplements and we watched the calender, but didn't try very hard.  We didn't NOT try either though, and I ended up pregnant and due in May of 2005.  But on September 30, 2004, at 19 and a half weeks, my water broke because of an amniotic infection I didn't know I had.  MacKenzie Zane was born just after 1 am on October 1st, 2004.  Because of his gestation, he was considered a late term miscarriage, but I had to labor and deliver him.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  It changed me.  It altered my being forever.  When I get really weird in October, this is probably why.  This particular loss, was devastating to me, and even though I went on to have two more healthy children after him, I have still never recovered completely.  The labor was the most painful I've ever had, I think, because I knew the whole time I wasn't going home with my baby.  I went home with a box of keepsakes.  A copy of his tiny footprints.  A bluebird pin from the chaplin.  The outfit he wore for the few precious moments we got to hold him.  And two polaroid pictures that you can barely tell what he even is because he was so premature he still had transparent skin.  I get crazy this time of year.  I lose myself in my sorrow.

I always try to figure out what I can do to fix things.  How I can fix myself.  I come up with all of these plans to do it too and then I don't follow through.  I think it's because I'm scared.  Scared of what, I'm not entirely sure, but I spend my whole life scared of one thing or another.  Outcomes.  Fear of outcomes.  I know, I'm weird.  Having told everyone those things though, it probably explains a little more about why I've been so down the last few weeks.  Also, I'm going through some "everyone hates me, everything is my fault"  head trip that I can't seem to get over.  The people that I live with are absolutely no help at all and in fact are contributing to that so much, I'm pretty sure I'd be over it by now if I didn't have a house full of people to tell me every thing is all my fault and to remind me how much they don't like me.  Also, I have no real life friends.  Like none.  Like, I have absolutely no one to call to go hang out with on a regular basis because I'm so socially awkward I have no idea how to make them.  The only local friend I've got I'm related to by marriage and she's got so much shit to deal with of her own I don't want to intrude.  I WISH I knew how to make friends and that I had at least a few of them, but I just don't.  I didn't used to be so awkward with people, but I am now and I'd like to figure out how to change it.  Anway... So I've got my one online friend that is so far away and in a different time zone and I ALWAYS feel like I'm bothering them with my weird shit and not being a good enough friend back.  I am really awkward with people, have I mentioned that?   I need a class in friend making or something, but it'd need to be taught online, because I can't handle seeing that many people in real life.

Until next time...
J


Friday, October 4, 2013

A Major Apology and Some Other Random Things...

First, I'm going to apologize the the Mesothelioma foundation and especially to Heather Von St James.  She had very graciously offered me the chance to write about National Mesothelioma Awareness day on September 26 and I dropped the ball.  Completely.  I got overwhelmed in my head and in my life and I just didn't do what I said I would do.  I'm so very sorry for that.  I'm not sure how to make up for it, but if anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment.


I drop the ball on a lot of things.  I just do.  Obviously, that's not what I set out to do, it just happens more often than I'd like it to.  I suffer right along with everyone else when I've done it too.  I guess that's the universe's way of reminding me to get my shit together.  Which I still, at almost 40, have yet to do.  I've just never been good at the follow through.  I desperately WANT to make people happy, but no matter my intent, I don't meet those goals very often it seems.

I'm depressed.  I suffer from what my doctor has termed "situational depression" with the diagnosis of OCD and Anxiety that was made so many years ago, but also, she firmly believes I'm suffering from some degree of post traumatic stress over a whole hell of a lot of things.  Basically, my head's all fucked up.  I don't WANT it to be, of course, why would I?  No one wants to feel like this, do they?  It's gotten to the point in my home life where I don't even want to be here.  I feel so unwanted in my own home it's disgusting.  No one seems to make any attempt to even try to understand that I have these feelings, let alone to want to help me with them.  All the people here are seemingly worried about is what makes them happy and what they want.  It seems to go beyond the normal every day human selfishness that all people have.  Trust me when I say that I'm aware that my perception could well be wrong.  Realistically though, I live with a bunch of overly selfish people that are very used to me doing everything for them and taking all their shit without complaining too much about it.  It's not because I WANT to feel this way that I do.  I can't imagine anyone wants to feel like no one likes them and that everything they say just makes the people around them angry.  My family is all I have.  I don't have any friends.  I can't think of more than 3 people on the whole planet that would even talk to me on the phone if I called them.  And even them, whatever is wrong in my head, tells me they probably don't really want anything to do with me either really and only talk to me because they feel obligated. Like I said, I don't want to feel this way, I just do.  I'm being medicated for it.  I take my medication like I'm supposed to.  But at some point, if the environment doesn't change, and the people around me aren't willing to help me more, I feel like nothing with ever change and I'll stagnate here until I die.

Moving on.  I went to the cardiologist this week and it was a terrible visit.  Beyond the fact that it took forever, Memphis was really difficult for the entire time.  Care1st sent me a taxi for transportation, there and back...to LA!  The total for both trips was over $400.  I'm glad I didn't have to pay for that out of pocket, but what a waste on their part.  Of course I got bad news.  I always get bad news at the doctor anymore.  I've lost so  much weight that there isn't enough skin to cover my device anymore and it's migrating out.  Meaning, my skin is so thin covering it, that literally at any given moment I could stretch the wrong way and the skin could tear exposing my pacemaker.  I have very little time to put some weight back on or they will replace the device that I've only had a little over 2 years.  They last on average 6 years, so I don't need a new device per se, just one that isn't about to pop out of my skin.  You can actually SEE where the leads feed out of the device and up to my collar bone.  It's fun times.  I was told that if I even got a cat scratch over it that I MUST go to the hospital immediately for antibiotics to avoid an infection of the pocket.  With a different doctor but while I'm making medical admissions, I'll go ahead and tell everyone that I did indeed have a pilonidal cyst.  It was confirmed that the huge bruising over the small of my back and my butt cheeks that lasted months along with the golf ball sized lump at the top of my butt crack was for sure a pilonidal.  Again, not good news.  It's better at the moment, but the next time it flairs, I'll need it surgically removed at worst and at the best, lanced and antibiotics.  Fun times.

On another subject, we had a cat swap go on in our house.  We had a bunch of cats to begin with.  Part of the joy of being a home owner with several adults is, you can have over the "legal" limit of cats if you keep them all licensed under different adults, so say I have three, my mom does the same, and six is legal.  Or at least, that's how we justify it.  Keep in mind, there were 8 when we all moved in together.  My neighbors are awful, and the one next door to the north, hates cats.  She keeps traps in her backyard and sends them to the pound or the man down the street comes and kills them for her before the pound gets here and they dispose of them.  All of our cats are indoor cats and have a screened in patio to get their fresh air, but a few of them had a habit of sneaking out when my big Bear dog would let herself out the back screen door and it would stick open.  Over the course of a few weeks, we were down by 4 cats.  So a few days after my mom's favorite cat EZ just disappears, a little boy brings 2 small black and white kittens to the door and tells my mom that if we can't take them that mean miss from next door will get them cuz the momma cat is in his backyard so would we please please save these baby cats?  My mom makes sure that's the case and so, we have two new kittens.  But we still have less than we started with, and one of the ones we lost was my little Merlin.  I really loved that little cat and I'll miss him very much.  But if you see new kittens in my newsfeed, or here or whatever, please try not to judge me, I don't make all the decisions here, some are made for me and I just  make the best of what I have to work with.

That's really just it, I make the best of what I have to work with, and maybe I'm not doing it the way I'm supposed to.  Maybe I'm not doing anything the way I'm supposed to, but I don't have an instruction book to tell me how to handle what's in my head or what goes on around me.  I guess, beyond anything else I'm just so damn lonely for some adult interaction that doesn't include someone judging me, or being upset with me over silly shit, or feeling like I'm just not good enough for anyone to want to be friends with any more. I really feel like this even with the people at home!  I guess I have some serious self esteem issues.  I just feel broken.

Until next time (and hopefully I'll feel happier!)....
J

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Weekend in Neverland...

I've got this thing where I disappear for days on end from my friends online.  I think I mentioned that once before.  Sometimes I have good reasons, sometimes I just need a break or I've gotten into a book and I get all obsessed and can't put it down and I do everything one handed because I can't stop reading.  How was THAT for a run on sentence?  Anyway, this last weekend I was offline.

Not really, I mean, I kept checking Facebook randomly when Memphis would log me in through a game on my iPad or when he'd pin something for me but for the most part, it wasn't me that was there.  He had roseola.  Any mom that's had a kid with this knows the horror of realizing that your kid has a giant fever and you have no clue why.  When Maxwell had it, his fever topped out at 105 and I damn near panicked.  Phiz, never got above 103 and by the time I even realized for sure what it was, he had the rash and the fever had broken.  He acted totally normal through all of it, a little more clingy than usual and nursed more than normal so I think I lost about 5 pounds in that whole deal.  Why am I telling you this?  Because it caused me to not be there for a friend.  And I should have been.  Phiz was sick yes, the house was in chaos yes, but it always is, but I could have been there for my friend.  And I wasn't.  Makes me feel like I need to re evaluate a few things and the ways I do them.

In among the household chaos, there was an argument that affected my kids more than it should have.  I'm not proud of it, it wasn't one of my finer moments, but it happens.  Married people fight.  I hate football, and I wish I was the one that could spend three hours plastered to the television with no worries and no kids to watch, but I digress... It was the affect on the kids that I wish I could have changed.  Poor little Max who tries so hard to keep the peace with everyone, went back and forth between the living room and my bedroom making sure I wasn't crying and daddy wasn't going to yell at anyone any more.  Again, made me feel a need for re evaluation., and like shit, mostly like shit.

Back to my friend.  I need to be a better person for my friend because they've been a better person for me.  Why can't I follow the example that's been set for me?  I drive myself crazy with self doubt and worry anyway, and this is the direction it's taken, wondering why on earth I can't just grow the fuck up and act right.  Why do I do the dumb things I do STILL?!?  So I'm setting myself some goals people.  I'm absolutely sure that I can get some of them accomplished.  Some of the others, not so much.

I know I can be a better person, a person that is proud of who she is and doesn't hide from the world around them.  A person that can take what's handed to them and make something good with it instead of shoving it into a corner and pretending it's not happening.  That's what I'm going to be doing with my energy.  I'm hoping that all the people reading will send me some positive vibes too, ok?

Until next time...
J

Friday, September 6, 2013

Some Things About Myself I'd like People to Know...

You may want to settle in a minute, I'm not sure.  I don't know if I'll become emotionally exhausted halfway through and have to stop, of if it will be one of those posts that makes people wonder if my shrink needs to adjust my meds.  Either way, I'm having  a REALLY hard time this last week, and the week before.  It seems like everyone and everything has its or their own way of doing things and that within the year we've all been here together we'd have become accustomed to each others idiosyncratic behaviours.  My mother lives here FFS, I've known the woman my whole life, I know how she is.



Nothing has gone as it was planned at all.  Everyone still gets on everyone's nerves.  The animals here that were supposed to be shared duty have turned into making my 17 year old the king of shit clean up for animals that do not belong to him.  He is left picking up slack that literally no one else here will.  My husband doesn't understand you can't do housework once and it's just permanently done, it's a perpetual job.  How the fuck did he think he always came home to a spotless house and clean kids and done laundry and food on the stove ready for a hot dinner when he walked in?  He never thought about it, it's just what happened and he was happy with that.

He's not an asshole for the most parts.  Don't delude yourself though, he's not a saint either, he's got some real dick moves that he has perfected, but that's not what I came to write about today.  We've been married for closer to 20 years than we haven't.  He does what he can for me when he doesn't have his blinders on, but for his own protection, he put those blinders on many years ago.  I bet I'd wear blinders too if I were him.

I have a lot of things wrong with me.  When the journey began, he saw a skinny, pretty girl that had gotten her gallbladder removed and had an asshole boyfriend that left her in a lurch. I wasn't supposed to be pregnant anyway, but through that, while I was carrying a child that did not belong to him and he knew it, he was kind to me.  He was patient, he took care of me if I got sick, and treated me like no one else ever had.

Our budding relationship weathered the early storms, an easy delivery, another pregnancy and an easy delivery but a complication with the child. He was still right there, my partner in it all.  As those 2 children grew, we moved on with life. Working to make ends meet, to make a nice Christmas, those kinds of things.

When I moved to a colder climate, some of the aches and pains I'd had as a kid that were blown off by my parents as nothing more than "growing pains" came back with a vengeance.  I started to see doctors and get opinions and have tests. They thought I had lupus, they thought I might have leukemia, they ran test after test after test and I was so grateful for insurance it was crazy.  The only diagnosis I got at that time was Fibromyalgia. Here's what the Mayo Clinic says about Fibromyalgia.




The following year near Christmas, I was at a stop light and the person behind me didn't feel like I moved fast enough so he rammed the back of my station wagon and moved it 12 feet while I had my foot on the brake.  I hurt my neck (fractured my c4 to be exact) and I had hit my mouth on the steering wheel and fucked up my teeth terribly and permanently.

Time moves on, and I'm involved in yet another car accident that leaves my neck and back very sore and my shoulders messed up as well, but I'd declined medical care due to lack of insurance so I'm not sure what the true damage at the time was, but we know now that at some point in time I've damaged several other vertebrae in literally every region of my back from cervical to sacral. All regions have vertebrae with bone spurs encroaching on the nerves.

Fast forward to Maxwell being born and that wonderful birth was amazing, all of it, except that I hemorrhaged and had to have the doctor reach his entire arm into me to remove all the pieces of the placenta that had attached to me.  It was a rough delivery.  I was unaware that I would be able to conceive after little MacKenzie Zane's dramatic entrance into my life.  So unaware that upon release, I was asked to make an appointment to have a tubal ligation done and the sooner, the better.  I made the appointment, but I never could go to it.  I just couldn't.  I knew I shouldn't have more children.  I knew I should be done.  But in my heart, I didn't want to be.  So I just never had it done.

The older Max got, the more tired and just plain shitty I felt, so I kept going to my PCP thinking something was off, hormones, thyroid, whatever.  He blamed it on the fibro and told me to get more sleep (with fibro and a newborn? yeah right!).  I thought I should get a second opinion but before I got a chance to, I ended up lights and sirens in the back of an ambulance to get an angioplasty and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure with an ejection fraction of about 30. Normal is over 50.  I was in there for 5 days that first time.  Within a few weeks, I had another episode where I fainted in the living room with no one but my then 2 year old to help me. Thankfully, I didn't die and his dad pulled up outside seconds later.  That landed me all the way down in Los Angeles at Good Sam Medical Center having an ICD put in.  And one more diagnosis. Brugada Syndrome. Here is some information on Brugada Syndrome.

Shall we go over the basics at this point? Fybromialgia, Congestive Heart Failure, Brugada Syndrome, a fractured c4 healed poorly and pinching nerves, scoliosis that was not treated in childhood because my parents didn't put me in the reccomended brace and a seriously fucked up spine due to bone spurs all up and down.  I haven't even begun to tell you all what is wrong with me really, there IS even more.  I have inflammatory bowel disease as well, that's not a pleasant one.  I have a ton and a half of anxiety issues (none of which are HYPOCHONDRIA) but I've been checked for that too.  I talk about this all the time because these things are all a big part of my life, but more than that....no one sees me as anything else anymore.  "oh its that sick girl that complains all the time".  Yep, that's me.  My reality anymore isn't "it's the sick girl" at all, it's the "it's that girl that complains all the time".  Because what you DON'T SEE is that I do try to put on a brave face when I can.  When the mask is there I use it, but sometimes, the energy I would otherwise use as a mask to hide the pain and the shitty way I feel is busy being used up breathing.  Living.  Surviving it all.

After Memphis was born, I got so sick I should have died. I was within days of it. One of the chambers of my heart altogether stopped working.  They got my bi-vent pacemaker in just in time according to my doctors.  I AM better now, but I've now cycled into something digestive and lost almost 100 pounds total since his birth.

Now I know that there are people out there that have it worse off, but c'mon now, you can't begin to tell me that you know for a fact that I don't respect the hell out of them because I complain.  Because I do.  I also know that there are folks out there that have it easier that make themselves out to have it worse.  But that's just the way of the world, human nature if you will.  I'm flawed.  I'm sick.  I'm not who I appear to be.

                                    


I LOOK TOO HEALTHY TO BE THIS SICK and that is a disadvantage to me.  How or why you may ask?  Well, it's the glances sideways and the mutters under the breath when you see me using the scooter at the grocery store.  It's the rude comments you make when I park in a handicapped spot on a bad day when I can't breathe or can't move properly.  It's the doctor in the Emergency Room that decides that because my color is ok and my troponins are negative that he shouldn't bother to look for anything else and sends me home to almost die again an hour later.  This shit happens ALL THE TIME.

I've just become tired of it happening to me.  I'm tired of being treated one way when I'm just as much a victim to their treatment as I am my own body.  I did not wake up one morning and decide to become this person.  But maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and decide not to be. Maybe, I'll get healthy again, and maybe unicorns will dance on my roof at midnight during a fool moon ;)
Until next time...
J

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Confessions of a "Latch Key Kid"...


The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Summer is “My Parents Failed Me (A Little or a Lot)” This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the parenting failures of their own parents or in themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
*******************************
I'm not even sure how many people will understand that title.  When I was a kid, a "latch key kid" was a kid who got home before their parents.  I honestly don't know the origin, and where as I could google it and give you the root origin of the slang term, that's not why I'm writing this.  No, today folks, I'm not going to talk about any products, or stuff I've made.  I'm probably not even going to mention my boobs more than a few times, but I'm betting they'll factor in too, because in truth, I harbor some resentment about that too.

Growing up, my mom worked.  She worked a lot.  My dad was in aerospace and had a tendency to have a hard time holding down a job for long stretches (or so it seemed in my mind and please forgive me Dad if that's way off and you by chance actually read this).  So my mom supplemented our income with a series of part time minimum wage jobs.  As most people know, when you have that type of job, you take the hours you get offered so you get offered more hours. That's what she did.  I had an older brother, but he was unreliable, and at best would be there to watch me MAYBE a few days a week when I got home, so for the most part, when I was done with school, I walked home, opened the door with my own key and spent several hours alone in an empty house.  This started when I was my son's age.  I was 7 and in the second grade when I got my very first house key of my own. I wore it on a chain so I wouldn't lose it.

I can't imagine my son walking home alone, let alone coming home to an empty house.  For this, I feel my parents failed me, and I'll explain why, but for now, let me focus on my own kids.  My older pair, the adult and the teenager were awful when they were young.  They could not be left alone until they were well into their teen years because they just could not be trusted to not set the house aflame or flood the bathroom or some unholy disastrous thing that I could not fathom dealing with.  They once tried to "bake a cake" on the kitchen floor by mixing all the ingredients on the tile.  So they were not left alone.  Maxwell on the other hand is a marvel.  He is my perfect baby, remember?  He could be left alone long enough for me to take a shower when he was a toddler.  I did have the older two to make sure they kept a bit of an eye on him, but he didn't need them at all.  He was just that kind of kid.  And now, he is seven.  He can do so many things on his own that I am still constantly surprised.  He can make his own food.  He can use the microwave.  He can get his own drink.  He knows not to go out in the backyard because there is the pool out there.  He knows how to let the dogs out, and not to answer the door and this list goes on and on and on.  I can't imagine that boy here alone.  I can't wrap my head around it.  But when I was exactly his age (actually 6 months younger because of the way his birthday falls in the school year) I started walking home from school alone to an empty house.  For hours.

As the years went on, it progressed to things like me doing the dishes before mom got home.  Starting dinner so mom wouldn't have to cook after work.  Then when my dad left, my brother left shortly after and I played housewife for a while because my mom just didn't have it in her.  When her second husband came along, I was set in this routine and resented his presence.  His mess.  I resented the fact that she'd skipped from relying on my dad to my brother to me to him and never relied on herself.  But I digress...

This messed me up permanently.  I don't like being home alone.  I don't like going places alone.  I just plain don't like being alone.  I blame this in part to the hours upon hours I spent alone in an empty house as a kid.  I could never do that to my own children.  Hell, I never even put them in a daycare setting.  We worked really hard when the bigger kids were young and damn near lost our marriage because of it.  Him working third shift and me working a split shift to keep from needing daycare until they started school.  When the little ones came along I was already able to be at home.  I'd rather be broke and with my kids than have a ton of money and them come home to an empty house.  The worst part about my growing up that way?  We never made ends meet anyway and I got a job two days after I turned 16 to help with the bills and had two jobs simultaneously while finishing high school before I left home at 18.  I ended up taking the five year plan in high school as well and graduated a year late in part due to my need to work.  But mostly because I just didn't want to go to school and deal with everything else.  But alas I did finish.

So what brings me here today?  Well, a lot of things really.  It's the start of a new school year and I was thinking about when I was in second grade.  My mom is driving me nuts lately.  In fact, she's making me question a lot of my parenting choices again.  The boobs come up again here.  At dinner the other night, Phiz climbed up in my lap for his after dinner boobs, which he literally ALWAYS does, even if he's got a drink at the table (he doesn't always, he likes to pour them on his plate instead of drink them).  I needed to scoot my chair back and he was being very impatient, and I told him he wouldn't fit right then.  My mom looks at me and says "If he won't fit, maybe he's too big to nurse at the table honey."  She wasn't being mean.  She was just being honest with her feelings.  Have I mentioned before that I wasn't breastfed?  My mom claims she never made milk.  My grandma says that's bullsh*t and when I was a baby she was so engorged she had to get a shot to dry up her milk.  I don't know which is true, I just know that I resented the comment after my recent battle with mastitis while she was pretending she didn't know I was even sick.  Remember WE LIVE TOGETHER?!?  I have no idea how she didn't know when an AMBULANCE came to pick me up to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM! But ok, mom.  Moving on, he's my last child, my last nursling and he can nurse as long as he likes.  There is no such thing as "too big" to nurse at the dinner table if you want to in my opinion and this is my house too.

Also, I wrote this today because I'm entering it in a contest which I think is pretty brave of me, but as you guys know, there are more of you now than there used to be and I think that's so cool I want even more people to come read too.  This whole thing has been so cathartic for me.  It's the best therapy I've ever had to be able to write here and in truth, I'm grateful for the *almost* anonymity of the internet.  So there you have it.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Until next time...
J


August 2013 Taboo Carnival


*** Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!
  • I Am Not My Parents — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a guest post from a mama whose tumultuous childhood witnessing the daily volitility of her parents' dysfunction empowers her to provide her children with the peaceful, respectful, non-voilent childhood she longed for.
  • Am I a Liar? — Jorje of Momma Jorje *really* didn't appreciate being considered a liar as a child. Click to read how this has affected her relationships.
  • Confessions of a "Latch Key Kid"... — Lois at The Myth of the Perfect Baby talks about being left alone after school as a young child and her thoughts on extended breastfeeding at the dinner table.
  • Sometimes Families Break Down — Joella at Fine and Fair shares a guest post about how a mama ended up being estranged from her family and what she hopes to do differently.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hair Products in Hell...

Ok, so that's probably dramatic, but it's hell LIKE here some days and I need to talk about a hair product today.  I'm going to get that shit out of the way first, because frankly, it's cool hair stuff and because I don't want to forget to do it.  Uberliss.  Weird name, great product.  They sent me some samples of shampoo and conditioner, but the bigger deal here was the Uberliss Straight Effect Rituoil Orchid and Argan oil complex.  It is AH-MAZING! It really is.  I believe it's designed for curly haired folks to use to straighten with heat but I have extremely straight hair as it is, so for me it just made my hair smell great and feel like cornsilk.  I LOVED using it the first time, and realized that even though the shampoo and conditioner were one use only samples, the oil is going to last quite a while.  You only need about a dime size amount to cover my hair and it's down to my waist so it will last me probably a good 3 months and that's if I share it.  How cool is that?  It is rather expensive to purchase, but still, if it lasts that long it's totally worth it right? The Rituoil is $20 for a 2 ounce bottle and here's a link to their site to check it out. I don't get a kickback or anything if you buy from their site so if you find a better deal somewhere else, have at that, cuz it's great but I don't spend $20 on hair shit often.  So my take on Uberliss?  Love it, would use it ALL.THE.TIME. if I could afford it, and will use the Rituoil often until I run out and then hopefully find another product like it to review :)

Moving on to the hell part.  This past weekend I had to call Poison Control for the first time in my parenting career.  Memphis swiped a bottle of tea tree oil off the bathroom counter while we were running his bath and got the lid off and tried to take a sip.  I'm honestly not sure how much if any he really had in his mouth, he looked like he might have had some in there, but I caught him in the act and he quickly gave me back the open bottle that appeared to be missing very little.  He does this thing were he keeps things in his mouth and spits them at you and I tried to get him to do that, but he panicked and whatever was in his mouth he swallowed, so then I panicked too.  R was right there, and all I could think to do was make him vomit it up the good old fashioned way so we swept his mouth and my good in a crisis husband got him to vomit up his stomach contents all over the hallway.  I wish we'd had the presence of mind to move it to the bathroom tile, but well, hindsight is 20/20 right?  So while we were making the kid barf, Mik, my 19 year old daughter was getting the number for poison control and the phone, and we're calling as we're stripping him and I down since we are now both covered in his puke and get ready to clean ourselves up while R deals with the poison control call.  It's times like that that I remember that he's not an idiot, he can handle his shit really well, and in a pinch, he knows exactly how to act like a grown damn man (it's just the day to day that gets him all fucked up) we get the instructions to watch for and the longer it is since the "accidental ingestion" the more we realize he must not have gotten much in him if any, because he's acting totally normal.  Tea tree oil should make a kid his size really drowsy and lethargic and he was up running frantically around like he always is.  Part of the instructions were that we were to watch for an hour and they were going to call us back to check symptoms at that hour mark.  They did, and when we told them he was up running around eating an otter pop, the guy laughed and said we had a tough kid, and R said "you have no idea" and laughed with him in relief for a few minutes before we got ready for bed. By the way, the number in the US for poison control is 1-800-222-1222.

And that was what we did, but this weird thing has been happening where he wakes up at about 3:15 every morning and starts talking to someone.  Someone we can't see, the dogs don't react to, but he points to the person and tells me someone is there.  I don't know if it's one of our resident ghosts or if it's a dream state he's in or what, but he's been doing it for 3 nights running now.  Today he didn't take a nap, and he's already out cold before 10 so hopefully, he'll sleep all night for me!

I've also been a busy little bee lately (for me).  Just tonight I made some banana bread from scratch, and I realized that for that kind of thing, I don't even need a recipe, I really can just eyeball it and it comes out amazing.  Someone ate all my walnut halves so it was missing that, but short of that, it was so good I almost wish we had more bananas going bad.  I made spankopita the other night, and that was a hit.  Been cooking a bunch really, I also made Alfredo sauce from scratch tonight, for the tortellini that my son had been craving.  So yeah, I can cook some amazing stuff...I'd forgotten that.  I need to unforget and get back in a kitchen so I can keep myself a little more busy.

I also have an update on my mastitis issue (sort of).  It really is more in depth than I'm going to post right now, because it really is a blog in itself and it deserves to be the focus, but I wanted to give a short update none the less.  I am doing much better now.  I did end up with thrush from the antibiotics of course, so I was on diflucan after the antibiotics were over.  The baby did not get thrush thank god.  It did take quite a long time for the duct to stop being sore, but it's mainly because of which duct it was, the tissue there is sensitive, it's been through a lot and been battered and bruised since I began having ICD's put in.  My primary care doctor visit was interesting at best.  He let me in on a "secret" of his own that he himself had been breastfed to the age of 3 so saw nothing wrong with me continuing to nurse Phiz as long as my meds caused him no ill effects and they really truly don't.  Anyone that knows him knows that, as does his doctor.  The medication that I take is mostly life saving for me and the benefits outweigh the risks.  I'm not his primary source of nutrition either.  So there's that too.  Yeah, I'm still touchy about it, and I'm sure I will be for a while, but I just can't help it, this is a big deal in my life.  I'm going to leave you with some links about extended breastfeeding as well today :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Henna Tattoos and Free Razors...

So one of my lifelong dreams has been to be a tattoo artist.  I'm not sure I'll ever become one, but a rather "easy" substitute is henna.  I henna'd my hair a lot when I was a teen.  My mom taught me how and we did it about every 60 days or so for years, but I wanted less realistic colors so went the way of the colorist and forgot all about henna for years.  Well, MY daughter brought it back up a few months ago and we did out hair.  I forgot how much I LOVE HENNA!!!!

So it came time to order a new batch and I went to my favorite ebay retailer for the brand I love (Jamila) and I'll link her in the bottom of this post or in a comment :) We did a test batch because this was a different mix than we usually would use, I'm out of lemon juice and we wanted to try apple cider vinegar.  So we mixed up a test batch and waited for the dye release.  The batch was way too small to do anything but maybe try a few tattoos, so I added some honey to it to see what I could do.  I do not have the right tools, so I had to use a makeup brush and got super thick lines and dots, but I got to test my mix and I got to play with doing tattoos.  

Here's a picture of my foot...


That's with the paste on, here's the next morning sans paste...


I also did some rings on hands but don't have the pics of them, they came out pretty cool too.  Moving right along...

I was REALLY lucky and got sent another free razor to try.  I'm not going to lie, I didn't like this one as much.  Although you can't beat the price (free) it wasn't all it had stated it would be or that the commercials lead you to believe either!!


The Venus Olay 5 blade in sugarberry scent was easy to use, smelled great, the handle was extremely comfortable in all angles BUT (and it's a big but!), it had some drawbacks.

First one being that the soap bars don't last long at all.  Like only one full shave, meaning armpits, bikini line and legs ankle to bikini line.  I might be able to squeeze one more ankle to knee shave out of them, but I'm not sure about that.  The blades *I guess* would be ok to use for a few more shaves but not the soap bars and well, that defeats the purpose of using this kind of razor right?  Also, Rather than being ultra moisturizing, it dried my legs out so bad i woke up TWICE to put coconut oil on my legs in the night.  Again, defeats the purpose if you ask me, and they did, so I'm tellin' ya!  One last thing, unlike the last razor I was given to review, this one didn't give me a two day close shave.  The next morning, I'm already stubbly everywhere :( for the dry skin itch factor that irritates me in more ways than one LOL.  So this razor, even with coupons, I will not be buying.  

So, that is my life today, my boob still hurts too!  I'm off to go mix the henna for our hair, I'll post a pic and the recipe for that next time.

Until next time...

J


Monday, July 22, 2013

Mastitis and the Treatment or LACK of That One gets in Never Never Land...

When I was pregnant with Phiz, my case manager at Care1st called the area I live Never Never land, because if you need good medical care you're never never going to get it.  Oh my good golly is that ever the fucking case when it comes to good old Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center's Emergency Department.

Over the last week I dealt with a nasty clogged duct in my left boob.  THE boob, the one with the pacemaker up top, so it's painful when that boob even gets full, let alone a clogged duct, but they happen. Of course when it happens it's that boob and the duct right under the pacemaker. Since the pacemaker is generally sore ANYWAY, and something I never mention because frankly, if I mentioned every time something hurt on me I'd never say anything else.  So the clogged duct had a weird milk blister thing that I was able to get easily with a sterilized tweezers and the milk started flowing just fine and all was well that day. The next day, the duct was clogged again, and it was sore all up under my pacemaker.  No milk blister this time, but when I pumped, what came out was a clogged looking thick, stringy, almost snot consistency(I know, TMI and this is gross.) and I'm developing a fever.  This is Saturday.  So I call the nurse line for Care1st, and she says call your doctor's service and see what they say to do.

So, I call my doctor's answering service and leave a message to call me back asap.  And I wait.  And I wait.  So my fever creeps up and I start getting the chills and Dr Google informs me I've bordered into mastitis territory so I call back and ask to just speak to the doctor direct please.  She puts me on hold, comes back and tells me the doctor does not want to call me in a prescription for antibiotics, if I feel as bad as I say I can go to the Emergency Room, or I can wait until Monday.  At this point, I'm like ok...mastitis is not really something you want to fuck around with in a healthy person let alone someone with a pocket full of LIFE SAVING DEVICE attached to that same boob and cardiac pain tolerance of about zero.  So I call Care1st back and let them know what the doctor's exchange told me and explain I have no transportation and here's the scoop.  I have one choice here...I can stay here and watch my fever continue to creep up or I can take an ambulance which would they prefer?  Care1st says, well, your doctor told you to go to the Emergency Room, you do what you have to do to get there, it'll get covered. This is all on Saturday.  Remember this part, this is all on SATURDAY.

I waited it out a while longer, because in my head I couldn't justify calling and ambulance for mastitis.  It felt weird.  So Sunday I feel really shitty.  BARELY able to move around, don't want to eat or drink, don't want to do anything but lay there with my sore boob in the dark watching the back of my eyelids. So my husband says, ya know what, why don't you call the cardiologist and see what she says?  Ok, so I did,  I don't know how coherent I was during that, I cried while I was talking to her.  I know I told her mastitis.  I know I told her I'd rather be at White Memorial than AV but that I had no way to get there.  I know I told her that Care1st had ok'd and ambulance to the ER and I know she told me they'd get me admitted and get me transferred down there for overnight and get me fixed up. She gave me her cell phone number and told me to have them call her as soon as I got there, and told me she'd get me through this, she always does and told me to calm down. That was the end of the conversation.

I got my purse ready with a brush, my iPad and charger, a couple of snacks and got dressed to make the call.Someone made the call and the ambulance came and as always my 12 lead looked paced with a LBB and my o2 sat was low because it hurt to take a deep breath.  My blood pressure was almost non existent for me at barely 80/50, so I was worth a trip to the ER cardiac wise if nothing else. But they didn't bother to check too much into anything to be honest.  The ambulance ride was uneventful for me, sometimes I crash, sometimes I throw up, this time I'd taken an ativan and was super calm so all was well and I just wanted to be done with this shit and home.  Remember all I really wanted out of this whole fucking deal was for my doctor to call in a prescription for some antibiotics.  We get checked in and the woman running the computer inputting my information gets to the part of baby's age and I tell her 2. She looks at me a little funny and says, like just turned two or two and some? And I say does it make a difference? kind of jokingly and then said No, he just turned two on the 6th. And that I feel like a rockstar being able to nurse a baby as long as the WHO recommends. She kind of wanders away.  They put me in Trauma Bay 6.  I thought it was weird that I was in a trauma bay, but it was pretty quiet and I didn't bitch because the beds are softer in there.  Just so happens I have some Post Traumatic Stress about that particular bay though because that's where I was the first time I went into SCA.  Anyway...In pretty short order the doctor comes in and takes a look at my booby and ya know, at this time in my life, I've had a lot of people see my boobs, I just don't care, so he's poking and prodding and it's painful and tender and bringing tears to my eyes and he says, yes, he thinks it's mastitis.  He comes back a few minutes later to poke and prod at my device pocket and asks me if it's sore too and I say yes of course.  He says, well everyone's is, is yours more sore than normal and I say yes.He goes over my list of meds that include a beta blocker, an ace inhibitor, digoxin (the smallest dose possible), an anti depressant(low dose), an anti anxiety(low dose), a muscle relaxer and a heavy duty narcotic pain killer. He says that's a lot if meds, and I say yeah, I look too healthy to be that sick eh Doc? Again, he walks away.



A young man walks in and asks me if I need anything and I said water and he said he's not sure he thinks he has to ask the Dr, they might be giving me an IV but he'll check.  He comes back with a glass of water.

The doctor comes back in with a nurse I hadn't seen yet with a stern look on her face and she stands at the foot of my bed.  The doctor sits in the chair next to me, the chair that would ordinarily be taken by your family member or friend if you had one with you, but I so rarely do in that situation, so mine are generally empty and it seemed so out of place for him to be there.  His eyes look up at me and the look I can't place is a mix of pity and maybe disgust, maybe shock, I'm not sure.  He begins to ask me why I'm still nursing my son at his age, when was I planning on weaning him?  I said when he wanted to be done and the man looked at me like I'd grown another head.  He told me I was on medication.  I said  yes I know.  He told me my medication was contraindicated for breastfeeding. I told him I'd been informed.  He moved to another tactic and told me my milk could brain damage my child because of the chemicals in it. He told me my son could eat other food as if I had had no prior knowledge and had never shared a solid meal with my TWO YEAR OLD SON. He gave me a look of pity as he got up, he put his hand on my hand and said he'd go call my cardiologist.




He came back a few short moments later and said that my cardiologist said she didn't think I should be breastfeeding either, handed me back the card with her direct cell phone number and said that since they didn't see any abscess that needed draining they'd just go ahead and get me started on some antibiotics, and left the room.  I got out my iPad (no wifi in the ER) and settled in to read a little.  No more than I had read three lines the original check in lady hands me a prescription for antibiotics, and my release papers.  I didn't even have to sign them.




I told her I had no way home, that my cardiologist had led me to believe I'd be admitted for overnight IV antibiotics because of my CHF and history with unknown high white cell counts. The woman looks at me like I'm crazy, tells me she doesn't know anything at all about that and tells me that if I'm lucky I can catch a bus that will let me ride for free with my hospital bracelet on.

I walked home, I didn't see even one bus going my direction my whole walk there.  I live more than two miles away from there, and that may not seem like much to some people, but in the desert, with no water, suffering from mastitis, without even a water bottle, wearing black yoga pants, and a black tank top, in ill fitting flip flops, it was not a comfortable journey.  But I had no one to call to come pick me up.  That's how alone I was in all of this.  Humiliated, Scared because I was facing a walk in the heat I wasn't sure I could make, and thirsty.  I hadn't had anything to eat all day.  I had had maybe 3 glasses of water because I had been nauseated. And they just sent me packing, walking home in the heat. All because I'm nursing a toddler.

I don't understand what I've done wrong to have been treated like that or if that's normal procedure for mastitis treatment.  I don't get it.  I just know I feel degraded and ashamed of something I thought was so beautiful.

So they question me and don't realize that I know what I'm doing and that his pediatrician knows.  I was there to be treated, not to be interrogated. I time my meds so the half lives at most are such an insignificant amount for his weight, and we watch for any reactions and the only fucking thing wrong with the little shit is that hes rude and surly and spoiled and too smart for his own good.
 AND HE'S TWO! it's not like I'm pumping the remnants of morphine into a newborn. I waited until he was over a year to go back to a pain management, living every moment of every day with bone against bone pain and dealing with it.  And I take the SMALLEST DOSES POSSIBLE to make sure he is not affected.  Theses are indeed meds that they give mothers of newborns anyway are they not?

Until next time...
J


http://youtu.be/67FROnAHnX8