Friday, August 8, 2014

The Magpie Strikes Again (also titled "Down syndrome, The Teenage Years")

It's been awhile since James has pilfered anything from my room because the last time I made a very dramatic (long and loud) point about him keeping his little winged claws off my stuff.  He seemed to have gotten the message.... until today.  Today I decided to take the boys to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  So I sent James to shower and I hopped in my shower.  When I got out I dressed, toweled off my hair and headed to my bathroom counter to fetch my brush. 

Now a little background.  I have been dying my hair blonde for a few years now ... and it's pretty dry and damaged.  Think scarecrow meets porcupine.  So I have a regimen that I follow to help me get my hair detangled and brushed out.  When it's wet I use a generous dap (handful) of very expensive leave in conditioner (don't tell my husband) and rub throughout my hair (straw).  I have a special brush that has very wide bristles so as to gently detangle my hair without yanking me bald.  I've had this brush for many years.   It's well worn.  The handle has been broken so many times I could easily shank an intruder with it.  I don't even need to keep a gun in the house.  I've already got the sharpest, most jagged shiv in town.   Most of the paint has flecked off, there are many missing bristles and I'm pretty sure there is hair trapped in it that is so old, it didn't have any grey in it!
AND I should also note that you cannot find a brush like this one anymore... trust me.  I've looked.  And looked.  And looked some more.  So to say this brush is off limits is phenomenal understatement. 

Now back to my after shower routine....  I looked in the basket on my counter where I keep my hair brush when it's not in use and guess what.... go ahead.  I'll wait while you wrack your brains to try and figure out where this is going.  I'll just hum the Jeopardy theme song.  Do do do .... oh wow.  You are quick.  Yep, my hair brush was gone.   Siiiiiiiigh.  After a search of the general area I quickly came to the conclusion that the "Marauding Magpie" had arisen from the temporary coma he was placed in and was flying again.  Oh thank God.  (Sarcasm)

Of course I immediately call James to the scene of the crime.  He comes in with that ridiculously innocent look on his face that makes me want to Mirandize and cuff him on the spot.  "James my dear, did you take mommy's hair brush.  You know,  the one that NO ONE is suppose to touch".  James gives me that Spongebob toothy smile and says, "Uh....  nawp".  And then he nonchalantly  turns to leave!!  Uh, I don't flippin think so mister.  I said "Hold up there, Cowboy".   He slowly turned back to me, pivoting on his toes with his arms spread out like he doing some sarcastic drunk ballet move and replies with  "Whhhhattt"?   OH NO HE DIDN'T!  "Yeah, you wanna take that long drawn out 'what' with me when "The Hairbrush" has gone missing, Bucco?   No, I don't think you do".
So I gave him the 'Mom Eye'.  If you are a mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about. One of your eyebrows raises up a bit, while the other one comes down and one of your eyes gets all squinty while you are kind of looking a bit maniacal ....

He just rolled his eyes and sighed. 

Well, that used to work.

So then, I, being experienced in Magpie recovery tactics, took a different course of questioning.  Ya know, mix it up, keep him on his toes.  "James, where is my hairbrush".  He just stands looking at me.  I swear his poker face is ridiculous.  He MUST have been John Wayne, a lawyer or a politician in a previous life.  "I dunno, mom".  Maybe he was all three.  At this point he sighed deep enough that I'm sure his last three pulmonologists all felt a warm fuzzy, where ever they were at that moment.  I feel my blood pressure rising, so in the interest of staying out of prison (especially since my hair brush shiv is missing), I decide to leave James and go searching for my brush.  I do a cursory search from the door of James's room, because if you have read my last blog post, you know I have to be desperate to actually enter the Pit of Despair.  I would consider shaving my head first.  I walk through the rest of the house just to see if it's sitting anywhere obvious.  Nope.  Still missing.  By this time, my hair is beginning to dry.  That can't happen!  If my hair dries, I won't be able to brush it at all.  It would dry in a tangled mass that looked like Medusa used a weed whacker to style her hair and then fashioned a bonnet out of an elderly vulture's nest. In desperation I go to the kids bathroom and find Ryan's hairbrush.  Oh mama, this brush has so many tightly clustered bristles that my eyes start watering before I even raise my hand to take the first stroke.  It takes some doing, but I manage to get my hair combed out.  I will, however;  have to stagger to the medicine cabinet for a surgery grade pain pill or two.  I walk back to my room, sit down on my bed and drop my head in my hands while I take a few deep calming breaths and gather patience from deep within my psyche.  After I called on the 'Patron Saint of Not Going to Prison' to grant me some extra restraint, I called James back to my room.  He comes in, with his iPhone, dancing to Party Rock Anthem, which I can hear blasting from out of his head phones.  After we battled at length about the volume of his music, how rude it is to have a conversation with Mom while wearing headphone, his right to twerk, whether or not he could grow an afro like the lead singer of LMFAO, the unfairness of the fact that he could not grow an afro like the lead singer of LMFAO, if he can't grown and afro like the lead singer of LMFAO,  then why he can't at least have a pair of skin tight red shiny pants to dance in, and we rounded it up with a knock knock joke, which James did not actually have a punch line for.  He just wanted to find out how many times he could say "Knock knock, who's there", before Mommy's eye started twitching and she got loud. (Seven, the answer is seven, but only because the 'Patron Saint of Staying out of Prison' was perched on my shoulder)  After we wrapped up the "This is why mommy drinks" portion of the conversation, I finally managed to get him quiet again.  "James, honey.  Look at mommy.  Right here.  In my face".  Meanwhile he is looking anywhere BUT my face.  At my hair, at the floor, behind me, closing his eyes altogether and at one point, turns his head in my direction, to give the illusion of looking at me, but he crossed his eyes so I knew he wasn't actually focusing on me.  Sometimes I'm certain my blood pressure could cause my eyeballs to dislodge from my face, but they never seem to.  Really glad of that. 

I take his face in my hands and direct him to look at me.  Then, as calmly as I am capable of, I quietly ask him again. "James, can YOU find Mom's brush....... please"?  Without a word, James does the drunk ballerina pivot again, walks three steps toward my bathroom, pivots again and pulls a few of the dirty clothes from the hamper, reaches in, grabs my hairbrush, replaces the dirty clothes, ballerina twirls again and walks to me, places the brush in my hand and then takes a low bow and turns to leave.  "Wait just a lemon sucking minute, Maynard, I thought you said you didn't take it".  He sighs again, looks over his shoulder at me and says "I didn't take it".   I then asked him that if he didn't take it, then just how did he know where to find it.  He gets that John Wayne look on his face again and makes a show of inhaling and exhaling very slowly, closes his eyes, pinches the bridge of his nose and says " Gosh mom, does everything have to be a battle with you? Sometimes you are so hard to get along with".  And with that he sauntered out of my room singing 'Let it Go'. 

Dear Lord,

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I cannot accept,
And the willpower to not put Tabasco in my
son's morning applesauce cup,
or thumbtacks in his underwear drawer,
or tarter sauce in his toothpaste tube. 


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sleep Deprivation Experimentation

In order to write this blog post I’m going to have to admit that on my summer break from school, I am really immature and juvenile and since I don’t have to get up at dark hairy butt crack of dawn to get ready for work, (you are welcome for that visual) I stay up nearly every night, keeping the owls company, until 1 am or later/earlier, toe-may-toe/toe-mah-toe.  Don’t judge!  Everyone is in bed and I get peace and quiet to do whatever I cannot do during the day because too many other human beings are demanding of my precious daylight time.  So there it is. 

Last night was no exception to my summer rule.  I was enjoying a night of reading, tv watching and Pinterest perusing. Yes, I have ADHD and I was doing all three at the same time.  Around 1:45 am I was doing ‘touch and gos’ , which for those of  you who don’t know, that is when your head is wobbling and dropping causing your chin to touch your chest at which point you jerk it back upright repeatedly because you are trying not to fall asleep.  I decided at this point that I should probably give up the battle and head to bed.  After all the last 10 pages in the book I was reading were just a blur, some infomercial was on and Pinterest had lost my interest.  So I stumble and weave off to bed like a zombie with a belly full of sumo wrestler. 
When I staggered into the bathroom to remove my contact lenses, surprise-surprise, my glasses and contact lens case were not on the counter where I normally leave them.  Sigh.  Siiiiiiigh-uh.  I immediately know why they are not there.  My youngest beastie has turned into a magpie in the last year.  If you know anything about the magpie, you know they will fly around commandeering and collecting bits of stuff left unsupervised by their owners and take it back to their little nest.  Little winged flapping thieving hoarders.  Well, my child does the same.  He flies around the house, quietly collecting little things, THINGSTHATDON’TBELONGTOHIM, and then he hides them all about his room.  FYI- on any given day, his room looks like a 30 year landfill.   Finding anything in this room is an all-day event, and at times, things HAVE disappeared into his room like they were swallowed up by an interstellar black hole, never to be seen again, but probably reappearing in some other dimension, billions of light years away.  If you realize that something is gone quickly enough, you can ask him and he will promptly go find it for you.  If you are unlucky enough not to realize that something has gone missing for a few days, then he has forgotten that he took it and you are just plain ol’ outta luck.   

On the best of day it’s an annoyance.  At 2 am it’s an outright mega rage fest.  So, to be calm and diplomatic I first start searching the other rooms in case he just dropped them somewhere silly throughout the house.  Please, God, Please????   Of course, this is not the case.  As I stand at the threshold of his door, peering into his personal junk-yard, in the dark (even better), I don’t dare flick on the light because I know he will pop up out of bed like a freaking wild eyed Jack-in-the-box  and then be up until 4 or 5 am, prowling the house for more stuff to pilfer to his Bermuda Triangle portal that is hidden somewhere in his 10’ by 12’ junkyard.  I debate just sleeping in my contacts.  Really what’s the worst that can happen?  I already know the answer to this because I have in the past forgotten to remove my lenses before falling asleep.  For those of you who are wearers, you know that sleeping in contact lenses that are not specially designed to be slept in is an unwise decision.  On those very rare occasions that I forget to remove my lenses and I sleep in them all night, the next morning when I wake, the first thing I notice is that someone snuck into my room in the middle of the night and dropped handfuls of sand and rocks into my eyes.  Not those lovely river washed pebbled that are nice and smoothed round.  The kind of rocks that you step on while walking barefoot to your mailbox, the sharp pointy ones that imbed themselves into the soles of your feet, causing you to scream and howl like a pissed off banshee with PMS.  Of course only a moment passes before I realize that I slept in my lenses.  The real issue isn’t that they feel truly horrid in your eyes after a night of sleeping.  The real issue is that they dried out overnight.  That lack of blinking apparently controls the amount of watering your eyes produce and the amount of air that can get into your eye, i.e.: no blinking, no watering and no air.   What this means is that your lenses have adhered to your eyeballs.  So when you normally reach in with the pinching motion to remove your lenses at night, they slide right off into your fingertips easily.  When they are dried however; they become hard and sticky, making them stick to your eyeball like upper lip hair to a cold wax strip.  Not that I know anything about lip hair and wax.   So after gripping them with your fingertips and enjoying a pulling, tearing, tug-o-war, ending with a suction and pop-rip noise like you might experience watching one of the “Saw” movies, your contact lenses are finally removed from your eyes, but probably need to go directly into the trash and your eyes need to me pried open and run under the faucet for about 20 minutes each. 

As fun as this sounds, I do opt to continue to search for my lens case and glasses in the ‘pit of despair’.  It doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy toward James, that he is lying in bed, snoring like a hibernating bear with some pretty serious sinus issues, while I am pawing through his labyrinth at 2am trying to find my property!  As much as I want to grab him by the feet and flop him to the right where his happily sleeping form will plop face first out onto the floor, I resist the desire because ultimately I will suffer for waking him.  Oh and because I’m a good mother too.  Yeah, that one should have gone first.  Good mother first, suffer for waking him second.    I begin my methodical search by looking in all the usual hiding spots.  Sometimes I hit it lucky and will find stuff right away by looking in these secret happy hiding holes.  He doesn’t know that I know where these hoards are and I won’t be telling him anytime soon because I know he would find new places.  One of these crevasses is a favorite spot of his to hide my keys.  Yeah, not giving up that I know where that is!   Back to the search, the first thing that I find when I enter his room is his Imaginext Space Shuttle Launching Pad.  With my left shin.  Too bad that’s not what I was looking for, because I could have just limped away and been done.  Then I found a few spare Legos.  With the soles of my feet.  I didn’t even know he had Legos.  I certainly didn’t buy them!  That would be like me buying James a set of drums, or a wooden baseball bat, or a bag of hard plastic army men.   After some silent cursing and Lego extraction surgery, I make it to his bedside table and as quietly as possible, slide open the little drawer.  Of course it makes a creaking squealing noise that sounds incredibly like the Wicked Witch of the West’s cackle, through a bullhorn.  James snorts a few times, rolls over toward me, bring his arm in a lovely high arc and slaps my bent over back so it feels like I was just stung by a Portuguese Man-o-War.  I’m not experiencing a great deal of tender feelings for my child right now.  Most people look at their sleeping progeny and feel an overwhelming sense of love and an urge to gently kiss their sleeping face.  Not feeling it right now.  If that boy knows what is good for him, he will suddenly stop snoring and be as still as the night about right now.  Though he does not become silent, he is still for the remainder of my search.  Guessing his subconscious self-preservation sense kicked in, as I may have made a guttural growling noise when he slapped me.    I can feel my right eye twitching as this point and I decide I should hurry up my search before I start growling some more. 

Glasses are not in any of the normal hiding spots, so then I resign myself to searching his toy box and dresser drawers.  Ugh.  I retrieve my cell phone to use as a flashlight, of course I managed to step on the Legos on my second trip back into his room.  Couldn’t miss those.  I paw through his toy box, rifle through his drawers, I even venture into the scariest place in the house, His closet.  Fortunately his closet has an independent light.  So I slip into his -not a walk-in closet- and quietly close the door.  I am barely fitting in here because there is ‘stuff’ stacked higher than my head in every direction.  I’m pretty sure there are some clothes hanging in here somewhere, but I surely cannot locate them.  Somehow James dives into this shoe box sized closet every day and comes out dressed in clean clothes.  I’ve often wonder if he could have some magical portal in here that leads to another clean organized closet where he finds his clothes and dresses himself.  Probably not, but it still seems more likely than him finding clothes and getting dressed in here.  I try to turn while searching and a pile of stuffed animals, stacked in a reality defying arrangement, fall quietly onto my head, essentially filling in the tiny area I previously had around me, trapping me in my spot.  Since I was now in danger of having a claustrophobic hissy fit, I decided I had searched the closet long enough and release myself from what felt like the trash compactor scene from Star Wars.  Where was my wookie when I needed him?  Still no lens case, no glasses.  By this time I am audibly mumbling very naughty things and both of my eyes are twitching in a synchronized rhythm.  I re-evaluate my resistance to sleeping in my lenses.  Nope, not prepared to have to use an ice scraper to remove them in the morning.  I debate just removing them and throwing them out, but 1. They are brand new and 2. I am legally blind without my lenses or glasses, so no, not going to put myself in the position of needing to get up in the middle of the night and stumble around blind either. What if the house caught on fire?  I’d sure be toast then.   

@!%&*#!@!!,  Where are my glasses and case?????  I shuffle out of James’s room and stomp through the house again.  Maybe they are out here and I missed them.  Not in the living room.  Not in the dining room.  Not in the guest bath.  Not in the kitchen.  Not in the fridge.  (Don’t laugh, you’d be surprised what I’ve found hidden in there)  I walk to the front door and look out into the darkness.  In frustration, I allowed my head to fall forward where I have failed to judge the distance to the door and my forehead strikes the leaded glass panes.   As I am cursing the door and rubbing my head, I turn to head back to James’s room and by the power of Greyskull, what do I see?  My glasses and contact lens case is sitting among the fish food and algae pellets on top of the aquarium.  Now why exactly, in the hell would James put them there?  Gawd!  That child.  When he gets up in the morn……. Oh.  Wait………   Oh crap on a cracker!!!!  Now I remember.  I was getting my medicine earlier from the bathroom medicine cabinet and on my way out of the bathroom, I grabbed my glasses and lens case so I could just take them out in the living room instead of in the bathroom where I might wake my sleeping spouse, who does in fact have to get up at 5:30 am and go to work. (It makes him really unreasonable crabby when I come to bed in the wee hours of the morning and wake him.  Men.)   I paused to feed the fish their night time snack and must have set them down there.  Whoopsie.  Sorry James.  Really glad now, that I didn’t flip your sleeping self out of the bed onto your face.  You probably would have been pretty upset.   

So finally, after an exhaustive 55 minute search, fraught with peril, terror, pain and frustration, I had my lenses out and glasses on (yes I sleep in them) and I finally crawled my very exhausted self into bed.  By this time it’s past 2 am and I’m so ramped up that it takes me a good half hour to finally fall asleep.  Not long after my lensless eyes closed and I finally entered dream land, I hear an odd noise.   I don’t open my eyes because, well, I can’t.  I’m too freaking tired and no matter how I will them too, they just won’t open.  Just as well.  I don’t really care what the noise is unless the house is on fire, which I don’t smell smoke so it probably isn’t.  But then, the noise is a little closer and suddenly my glasses are gone and my left eye is opening, on its own accord.  Oh and look, my eyeball is beginning to focus on whatever pried my eyelid up by pulling on my eyelashes and is hovering approximately 3 inches in front of said eye.  Wouldn’t his Occupational therapist by proud to know how excellent his pincher grasp is because it’s my darling son, who has shuffled into my room with a plate full of breakfast junk food that consists of a pop tart, a chocolate muffin, a pack of gummies, a fig newton and a hotdog bun.  He then leans down and kisses me almost directly on my eyeball and says “Mom, I made you breakfast”.  At this point I realize that I cannot stay in bed and disappoint the breakfast chef, I’m going to have to get up.  Sigh. I ask James what time it is.  7:12 am. Lovely.  Since my left eye is open already and I still cannot seem to will the right eyelid to lift, I ask James to kindly pry open the other eye.  He happily obliges me and giggling he pops that lid open using his perfectly honed eyelash pulling technique.  Thanks son.  Okay, both eyes are open and at least one of them is working on focusing.  James sets my delicious looking breakfast on the nightstand and assists me further by grabbing my feet under the covers and yanking them out from under their warm home and plopping them unceremoniously onto the cold wood floor.  Alright, I’m up, I’m up. 

I stagger to the living room, bumping into walls, door and the aquarium, thankfully it’s a big one and cannot be tipped over, even by my extra-large plus sized self.  I join James in the living room for a rousing and educational round of Sesame Street watching.  I’d really like to reach through the tele, grab that annoying little Abby Cadabby and give her a Flying Fairy School lesson, sleep deprivation style.  But I sit quietly and eat my muffin and hot dog bun, wondering for the 12 billionth time why I never took up drinking coffee.  We sit like this through Sesame Street and then into Dinosaur Train to which I notice that James’s incessant talking is suspiciously not present at the moment.  I figure he’s either got food stuck in his throat or he’s unconscious, because these are the ONLY two circumstance where he is quiet.  Jiminy Christmas Tree!!!  He is ASLEEP!!!! 
And he is sleeping on top of the remote.  There is just zero chance that my extremely exhausted self is getting up to squat in front of the tv and change the channel by hand on the cable box, so….  Dinosaur Train it is.  Aurgh!  I guess this is my karma payback for mentally haranguing him last night when he was, for once, innocent of all charges.  Although, after he woke me at 7:15 in the am, I was revisiting my decision not to flop him onto the floor last night.  Sigh. Siiiigh-uh.

Monday, March 17, 2014

ENT UPDATE 3-17-14

ENT Update: Okay, first the good news.  I didn't need bail money.  Now the even better news.  James's ears are MUCH improved from the last time we were there.  Now for the AMAZING and somewhat DISTURBING news.  Doc believes he may have found the source of the major mass that was in James's right ear.  Lemme just start at the beginning. 

We arrived at the office a little before 3 and receptionist assured us that the doctor was on time with patients.  Fast forward to a little after 5 o’clock and we finally moved from the waiting room to a patient room.  We are sitting there in the quiet room when James’s nether regions make a noise that sounds like a cross between an angry honey badger and a volcano that is seconds from explosion.  (Colitis is a blast.  Pun intended) I grabbed James’s hand and we make a seriously mad dash for the bathroom.  Phew, we made it.   So after the business and paperwork are complete in the loo, I am thinking to myself “man, I sure feel bad for the next poor scrub who has to come in here”.  It’s at that moment that I notice an air freshener dispenser up on the wall, near the door.  It looks like one that you press on it and it squirts a tiny blast of air freshener into the air.  So….  I reached up, with one finger and press in gently on the bottom and lo and behold, the entire freaking contraption leaps from the wall and comes crashing down on my poor child, who just so happened to be looking directly up to see what kind of ridiculous mischief Mom was getting into.  It landed squarely onto his precious little upturned face.  He, of course, immediately buries his face in his hands and I just know I’ve mangled his poor little nose.  I start to move his hands away from his face, all the while repeating “I’m so sorry baby!  I’m so so sorry!  Let me see.  Jamie, I’m sorry, sorry, sorry!”  When I peel his hands away, I expect to see tears and a crumpled little expression.  Nope.  James looked up at me with the most distinctly exasperated look and said “God Mom, Seriously? Ouch-uh.”  What could I do???  I started laughing and James just shook his head and started laughing too.  I should say that at this point, both his chin and forehead were bleeding and his nose did look decidedly bluish, but he was laughing.  Sometimes that high pain threshold is not such a terrible thing.

I picked up the offending air freshener, investigated whether it could be put back on the wall and determined that this may indeed not have been its first suicidal leap and it may in fact have jumped from the wall before and been precariously placed back on its spot, waiting for some doofus to come mess with it. (Doofus raises hand) Instead of setting up someone else’s poor child, I  tossed the stupid thing in the sink, cleaned Jamie’s face with a damp paper towel, kissed all the booboos, then I put my arm around him and we headed back to the patient room.  On the walk back James looked up at me and said “This is kind of a craptastic day, huh”?   Yes son, it sure is.   Back in the room, we all sat and waited for the doc.  James had tissues stuck to his face in the two little places where the skin had broken, and looked like a teen who had just tried his first solo shave, but by the time the doc showed up, his face was better and no longer bleeding.  HOWEVER……  His first words to the doctor when he entered the room was “MY MOM HIT ME IN MY FACE, SEE” and he proceeded to point out each little injury to the doctor.   What could I do but laugh?  I did attempt to defend myself and say that I bumped something and it fell and hit him.  Doc didn’t look too sure.  (I might still need the bail money after all).


The doc looked in James’s ears and escorted us to the torture room (at least that is what James’s calls it) where he has a high powered microscope and an ear vacuum.  (Yes, I did say ‘Ear Vacuum’.  I know.  We all want one. ) After much coaxing and prodding, James got onto the table so doc could gaze into his ears with the microscope.  He said James’s ears were much improved (that’s the really good news) and proceeded to vacuum his ears out.  After a minute he paused, looked puzzled, leaned in to look again, paused, and looked one more time.  He opened a drawer and pulled out the ‘evil looking little curved scissor things that they use to dig weird stuff out of ear canals’ (I’m sure that is the technical name) and inserted them into James’s ear.  James was not so impressed with this, and let everyone in the building, and most people in the surrounding neighborhoods know about it.  He pulled out a little blue plastic thing, shaped like a T.  I’d ridden in this rodeo enough to recognize that wicked little blue devil.  He had removed the useless PE tube James had placed in December.  Then he muttered under his breath and went back in.  I thought, what the heck is he trying to pull out now?  There shouldn’t be anything else removable in there.  At least nothing he should be taking out while James is awake.   Now for the amazing and disturbing part.  He pulled out another little, sort of blue, really mangled T shaped thing, that was covered in stuff you would rather I not share, but it was obvious that it wasn’t the sparkling new tube that was inserted in December.  No, James’s last set of PE tubes, before December 2013 was from 2008-ish and according to his regular ENT, they disappeared from the ear drum within 3 weeks of being placed, presumably having fallen out of his ear.  No, this tube was not in his ear drum where it should have been.  It had embedded itself into his ear canal and gotten infected and grew polyps and granulated tissue over top of it.  The steroid and antibiotic treatment had shrunken the surrounding inflammation enough that the doc was able to see something was under it and pick it out.    After clearing the other ear out in the same manner and removing a tube and some other stuff you don’t want to know about, the doctor told us that he believed the tubes may be the cause of all the issues.  James’s ears are still pretty inflamed and have some “stuff” going on, but the doctor believes with continued treatment and frequent vacuum treatments, the rest of the inflammation will subside and he can remove any other foreign bodies that may be present (perhaps an old tube is hiding out in the left ear as well, or a green army man, or a piece of moon-rock, or some nuclear waste or whatever) and James may not need surgery at all.  Yippee!!!!!!!!  So VERY long story short, thank you all so much for the prayers and good thoughts, I do believe we may have the miracle healing we were praying for.  We are to continue his medicines for three more weeks and then return to Ochsner on the 7th of April for a recheck and clean out, but doc said if all has healed, he will clear him of surgery at that time.  I am SO relieved and no longer bitter about the nearly 3 hour wait!!!!  The poor kid needed a break.  Especially after I clobbered him in the face with an air freshener!!!    Oh by the way, if he talks to you in the next week or two and says “My Mom hit me in my face”, there really is NO need to call CPS.  Lol.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Jacuzzi Diving with Hippopotami

Okay now, I really, and I mean REALLY (note the all caps, obviously I’m serious) hate to admit to this but I’ve managed, through severe lack of attention, poor decision making skills and a lackadaisical safety attitude, to have another water related accident.  Sigh.  Yes, I know.  You are all staring at your computer screens with your mouths agape, catching flies and letting spittle fall out, like…. “No… what?  You had another accident.  No way”.  Yes.  Yes way, I did. 
Kind of like this.

Now in my defense, I didn’t break any bones this time.  Not a single one.  Go me!  However, I am slightly concerned now that at my age (I am not in my twenties anymore.  Hell, I’m not even in my thirties anymore) I may have torn something that 40ish year olds bodies have a harder time mending without some creative medical intervention. 

But that’s not important right now.  First I need to describe my swan dive.  Oh, it was graceful:

 As all my local friends know, well, actually anyone on the planet right now knows that it’s really cold tonight.  Pretty much anywhere you live its cold.  No exception here in the south.  So Mark, James and I headed out to the hot tub to raise our body temps from ‘corpse’ to ‘almost human’ again.  Just a short while after getting in (still in the morgue fridge range) I got a spot of chlorine water in my eye.  Of course I rubbed my eye…. Ever so gently….. And somehow managed to dislodge my contact lens from my eyeball and send it scurrying off into deep eyelid territory.  Though this isn’t a huge deal, it is uncomfortable, and more importantly, it was my last pair of contacts.  So I reluctantly hopped my still ‘Walking Dead Cold’ tail out of the warm hot tub and scampered off into the house to find a mirror to help locate my wayward contact.  Once I found that little bugger hiding out in my brain stem and extracted it with our commercial grade shop vac, I quickly made my way back out to the back yard to ease myself back into the joyously warm waters of our hot tub.  My progress, however; was somewhat impeded by two bundles of Y chromosomes who just happened to have been sitting in the two most comfortable spots in the tub.  Coincidentally, both of these spots collectively blocked the entrance to the hot tub.  So, being that my feet were quite nearly numb from the ice cold concrete, I decided to step over the two floating hippopotami
into the center of the hot tub.  In retrospect, this was probably not my wisest course of action.  Hindsight suggests that I may have had a more favorable outcome by shouting “Move it or lose it”, then waited for the water moose to move out of the way and stepped gingerly back into the gloriously hot water, nearest the edge.  But alas, I am not well known for being patient and making prudent decisions when under some sort of pressure (and freezing feet is definitely some sort of pressure in my world).  So I grabbed the handrail to the stairs and swung my right leg out over hippo #1 toward the center of the tub, which happens to be about 12 inches lower than the seats and about 3 feet lower than my left leg.  At the exact moment that I had achieved proper momentum to launch myself elegantly  into the center of the tub, my Judas left leg decided it really didn’t like this plan and took its own course of action, heading directly up into the air and instead of landing graceful as a ballerina, into the center of the tub, I instead fell, like a bean bag full of Jell-O and wet mice, directly down onto hippo #1 and hippo #2, then rolled less than delicately into the center of the hot tub, completely immersing myself under the water.  As my head broke the surface I was treated to a chorus of giggles and guffaws from the hippo brothers, thank them very much.   Although, as my eyeballs cleared the water and fell on their happy little faces, somehow the peals of laughter faded away.  Go figure.  So in my Olympic grade maneuver, I somehow managed to strike the edge of the hot tub with my left ankle at Mach 78 and twist my left knee cap around so it was wobbling around in an area that I’m certain it wasn’t designed to visit.  Ever.  I, of course, wallowed around the tub for about 10 minutes, dunking my head under water when I felt the need to let out the string of vehement slang that included a lot of references to “ducks” and “monkeys”, that kept building up in my brain, while I was waiting for the throbbing to abate. 
The hippos continued to revel in the entertainment potential of my dive and ensuing rant.  Thank them very much again.

After the pain subsided enough, I limped out of the tub, carefully.  Very.  VERY (note the caps again).  Carefully.  I hobbled to the shower and then plopped myself down onto the couch, where I remain still. 

 I wish someone had placed a video camera just above our hot tub before the show.  I could have been a Tenthousandaire if AFV had a copy of the event.  Perhaps I could have used it to mount a campaign with the Olympic committee to add ‘Graceless Water Falling’ to the list of winter Olympic events.  Although, I don’t know that I would be willing to demonstrate the maneuver to the committee, so that’s probably a no-go. 

At this point, I just want to wobble off to bed and hope that a good night’s sleep and rest for my leg will, in fact, recover it enough that I won’t be dragging my leg behind and shouting “Sanctuary!  Sanctuary!” down the halls tomorrow at work.  There is nothing worse than having to explain to dozens of teachers and curious students, why I am limping.  I’m just not sure I can come up with that many convincing lies on the fly. 

Oh well, time to hobble off to bed.
Goodnight, sleep tight, and beware of Y chromosome hippos blocking your warm waters of life

Thursday, January 30, 2014



You will soon realize that this post has nothing to do with fish or stew. It’s just a dumb title that popped into my addled brain a bit ago.   Oh, well wait.  We did actually have pork roast last night, which I think qualifies as a stew because I always add too much water.  And well, I do have an aquarium full of darling little goldfish.  You know, goldfish live a surprisingly long life when you have a large enough tank.  Yes they do.  So I guess I just lied there.  This post has a very insignificant relation to both fish and stew. 

But now that I’ve completely wobble off the mark, let me attempt to drag my ADD brain back to the original thought behind my desire to write tonight.  Did you see what I did there?  I rhymed.  Ha.  I’m a poet.  No, not really.  Okay, now I really am going to get back to the true post subject.  Tonight’s subject is my little darling, James.  I know.  You cannot believe that I have something to write about James.  Well, I do.  And here I go.  You all know that my darling little James has Trisomy 21, Down syndrome in lay terms.  And along with having Down syndrome comes a plethora of unfortunate physical issues, learning challenges and in many cases, an abundance of medical maladies.   By the time their children reach just a few years old, many parents of kids who have DS know all about these lovely challenges, and are prepared ( or so they think ) to face them as they come.  By this age, many parents (I won’t say all, because not all do) of kiddos with DS have toughened up, developed a thick skin, if you will.   My skin grew so thick that Dwayne Johnson could throw a javelin at me and it most likely would explode into sawdust on contact.   (We also tend to develop a really sarcastic and mildly inappropriate sense of humor.  I didn’t get that though).   That is not to say that there are not days when I go into my bedroom, walk into the closet, shut the door and bawl my eyes out.  I do.  I do it plenty.  But I do have much more hutzpah and gumption now than I did before James was born.  I also am the proud owner of more medical knowledge than I EVER wanted to know.  I’m frequently asked by James’s physicians if I am a nurse.  I always laugh and either reply with 1. No, but I probably should be.  2. No, I’m just one of those parents that makes it a point of researching everything to do with James’s health. 3. Have you seen James’s medical charts? Volumes 1, 2 and 3?  4. I watched a lot of General Hospital and  ER in the 90’s or 5. What? Can’t every parent recite Gray’s Anatomy, cover to cover, from memory?   But, back to James.  The list of medical issues that James has dealt with in this short 14 years is astronomical, at least in my mind.  And I know that he is still way better off medically than many of my friend’s children, so I try not to complain.  That being said, there does come a point when every parent loses it for a bit.  Special needs parents are no exception and in fact they probably lose it more often than typical parents.  You just might not see it from the outside of their body.  That thick skin tends to hold it in better.   

Now you probably think I’m about to say I lost it recently.  No.  I didn’t.  But it’s coming.  I can feel it scratching against the inside of that thick skin.  There is just too much.  And I rarely use the word “fair”, because I’m a big proponent of ‘Life’s not fair’.  This, however; is the one instance where I think the term ‘It’s not fair’ is more than acceptable and appropriate.  Kids with disabilities and the ridiculous amount of crap that they have to go though.  It’s ludicrous.  And despite that fact that spell check demanded that I capitalize that, I’m not talking about the rapper.  I’m talking about not being fair to our kids.  James has had 18 surgeries in his 14 years.  His first surgery was at 6 months and his most recent surgery was last month. 

Last month’s surgery is the one that is causing the scratchy feeling inside my skin.  That freak-out, melt-down, screaming, cursing, throwing things, hissy fit that is trying to get through my skin.  Believe it or not it was a very minor surgery, all things considered.  It’s not like it was another open heart surgery, although I did find out last October that he has not only the original leak from the previous surgery, but now a brand new leak in another part of the heart and will be needed another heart surgery,  sometime in the hopefully distant future.  And it’s not another dental surgery, although he does have a major dental surgery tentatively scheduled for Spring Break, which promises to be very unpleasant and painful according to his dental surgeon.  And it’s not another gut wrenching gastrointestinal surgery, but he is supposed to have another one of those this summer.  No, none of those biggies.  This surgery was to put tubes in his ear drums, for the 8th time, and to remove some large globs of scar tissue from his ear canal.  All in all, very minor stuff and the surgery went well.  So here’s the kicker- the surgery was to correct some pretty moderate to severe hearing loss that had become evident in the last several months.  If I stood directly behind James and spoke to him, he didn’t even turn around.  I had to get in front of him and speak so that he could see my mouth before he could understand me.  His audiologist reported that she believed removing the scar tissue and putting another set of tubes in would improve his hearing significantly.  So we scheduled and surgeried again.  (I know that’s not a word, but I’m a woman on the edge here, so let’s agree that it should be a word, especially in my circle of Special Needs Mamas)  He had quite a bit of bleeding and discharge after his surgery, but when cutting out so much gunk, who wouldn’t bleed?  Then it got infected while we were 9 hours away, visiting my parents for Christmas.  In all this time, his hearing never appeared to improve.  In fact, it became much worse.  Now I not only have to make face to face contact with him when talking, but I have to shout as well.  I’m essentially shouting into his face.  I just have to throw the BS flag here.  How is this fair?????  Really.  No, Really.  Is it not enough that he was born with a significant cognitive disability?  Is it not enough that he is also obviously physically different from his peers?  Is it not enough that he has serious social challenges to being accepted by society and just simply fitting in?  Is it not enough that his peers don’t come over for sleep overs, that he rarely gets invited to parties, that his best friend is his mom?  Is it not enough that he has horrible, life altering colitis, which has no cure and no successful treatment?   Well let’s add in 18 surgeries in 14 years.  Is that enough?  Apparently not.  Because now he is losing his hearing and I’m quite sure that it still won’t be enough.  It’s not fair that my baby has to suffer so much.  So the whole unfairness of it all is clawing relentlessly at my sanity saving thick skin.  I know it coming.  I know that any time now, running to the closet for a little cry won’t be enough.

 No, I’ll have a major meltdown soon that will make Britney Spears’ head shaving frenzy look like a toddler crying for her teddy bear.  It’s happened before, many times.  Fortunately only once in public, in the parking garage at UCLA Medical Center at 5:30 in the morning on January 10, 2001, and the only witnesses were relatives whom are all afraid to mentally relive it.  I know it’s coming.  Once I may or may not have went to the dollar store and bought $30 worth of ugly glass and ceramic figurines and dishes.  I then, may or may not have, come home, went into the backyard while all the kids were at school and smashed them all with one of the kid’s little tee-ball bats.  I may have felt better.  Then I may have had to clean it up.   

I hope that I won’t shave my head though.  I’m not one of those people who would look beautiful bald. No, I would look like a dude if I were bald.  An ugly dude.