Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I don't feel 40, whatever that means.

I got out of the sky diving. I live for another day.  Seems my birthday and death day will not be one and the least this year. 

Rob asked me last night if I really felt like jumping.  I found it hard to articulate why, no, it did not sound appealing to me at all...when just a few years earlier I would have gone with glee.  I figured it out though: I have less incentive now to do stupid shit.  In my heart I know sky diving is safe, but not safe enough for me to chance being that freak accident that we read about in the paper.  I didn't work this hard to have Cam so I could maybe check out on her early, over an adrenaline rush.

Before you think what a great sentiment that is, let me tell you my main reason for bailing:  being stuck in that car for about 4 hours with a kid who only barely tolerates the car.  As it was, we drove about 20 minutes to get some breakfast.  Cracker Barrel, you need to move CLOSER to me.  Cam whined nearly the whole way.  Every parent hates whining.  I am a parent with overly sensitive hearing.  Noise bugs the shit out of me.  That whining puts me over the edge within seconds.  Especially when I watch her in the mirror smile and play with her toys and then start the whining the second I say a word to her.  Which begs the question?  Why do I talk to her if her response is to whine?  I wish I had the answer to that.  It would save me loads of frustration.

So no sky diving.  A pig-out at the Cracker Barrel, followed by an exciting trip to get my car washed.  My best friend gave me a gift certificate to get my toes done, so I did shuck off the whiner and her father for an hour.  Cam home to a Rob coming down the stairs saying her just got Cam down for a nap.  That in itself was a gift, as I got to relax on the sofa and thank the 86 people who wished me "Happy Birthday" on Facebook.  I thought the best gift of all would be a dear friend giving birth today (she is being induced), but the little guy refused to be evicted from his digs, so that puts his birthday tomorrow.  Babies are so selfish.  I did drag Rob and Cam out so I could get a new tattoo.  My place had no spot for me, walk-in appointments were full.  On my birthday last year I got my sobriety date done, and was going to put the AA symbol (a triangle within a circle) below it.  Might get it done on Saturday when Rob and Cam do their Saturday thing. 

To round out the day we got crabs for dinner.  Delicious, steamed crabs.  Just as we sat down, Cam tucked snug into bed, we saw the red flicker on the baby monitor.  Then heard the unmistakable sound of a furious Cam.  Willing all 16 of my readers to drop me like a hot-potato, Cam is a near-perfect sleeper.  Like goes to bed at 6:30 PM and usually sleeps until around 0830.  Nary a peep between those hours.  So, we ignored her for the first five minutes.  Elbow deep in crab innards, neither one of us was wont to move.  And honestly, it is MY birthday, no way I was abandoning my feast.  At minute 10 I started to twitch.  Still wasn't giving up my spot, but nervously wondering if I was going to HAVE to go.  A game of screaming-baby chicken.  Rob broke at around the 15 minute mark.  I scarfed down three crabs while he was gone. 

It was a good day.  Not what I envisioned my 40th to look like, but as I told Rob tonight: nothing I ever thought about what my life would look like at this point has come true.  Most of the time things are way better than I ever imagined, and other times I realize what I didn't get wasn't really that important. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I think the best days are ahead of me.

Today is my last day in my 30's.  They have been fun, harrowing, joyful, sad, scary, somewhat peaceful, and confusing.  Things I thought were absolute have been blown to smithereens.  People I didn't think I could count on are proving otherwise.  I feel like I am on the cusp of....something, I am just hopeful it's a good something.

Last year Rob surprised me with a flying lesson.  It was fantastic.  A life's dream for me to get up in the clouds and fly, but never got the gumption to go do it myself.  Then, for shits and giggles, and because I am incredibly impulsive I got tattooed.  Again.  I chose my sobriety date, and had it inked onto my right shoulder blade.  After a brief nap we went into the big city and had a fantastic meal that will require Cam to work a little harder for financial aid.

This year I was hopeful Rob would come through.  It's been a year of sparse acknowledgements on holidays for us this year.  Being that my mom has been on my schedule and mind 24/7, I have let my birthday creep up on me without giving it much thought.  What my thought was, was a chill day of nothingness.  Perhaps a most delicious cake.  Maybe dinner out, if I can get my sister to watch Cam. 

Last night Rob told me he made reservations for sky diving.  I am still not sure what my feelings are about it.  A few years ago we had reservations to go, but it was too windy.  Instead we spent the day wandering around a cute, cozy little port town and then did dinner back in town.  I was kind of bummed that day, but I got over it pretty quickly.

Now I am to put it mildly, scared shitless.  Rob told me about it as I crawled into bed last night.  He had mentioned it a few days earlier saying we could go this weekend, and I demurred.  I told him that driving to the shore (the beaches are two hours away) was not a hot idea on Fourth of July weekend, plus, Mom will be home.  I thought he got the hint.  But oh, I forgot.  Men don't take hints.  Sigh. 

So when he kept looking at me expectantly I deflected saying "it will mess with Cam's schedule".  Him:  "Yep."  He was still smiling like a crazed person.  I tried two more tactics:  mom and the long drive with a kid who hates the car.  Not budging, still msiling.  Then he tells me he already put down a deposit.

So, my happy-ass will be shoved out of a perfectly good airplane tomorrow.  I hope I live to tell the tale.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I might need a room there when all of this is done.

Just when you think you have it bad, you should never, ever tempt the universe to show you how good you really had it.

I left off with Mom going through full blown alcoholic withdrawals.  At the worst of it I was not there to witness her insane behavior.  Suffice it to say, it was bad enough that they had a restraint order for her, and at one point it took three nurses and my sister to hold her down.  She also, had a babysitter.  They moved her to a room down the hall, next to a guy in worse shape than her, so that one sitter could watch both patients.  The worst of her behavior was the hostility, aimed at any and all who came near her.  Her repeated refusals to stay in bed earned her a fall out of bed that rewarded her with a trip to x-ray.

The Librium and Ativan they gave her helped tremendously, by Tuesday she was almost coherent and realizing where she was.  They chose that day to move her up to the "Special Care Unit".  Nice words for the place they stick the psych and unruly patients.  It was a unit that has tested my faith in our medical system.  When she was on the regular floor, her nurses and aides were fantastic.  Helpful to not only her, but to me and the rest of our highly concerned family.

Special Unit deserves a special place in hell.  It started off with the morning after she was transferred.  I wandered in on Wednesday to visit, and found her bed empty.  I figured she must be in PT, which was a good sign.  I stood there in the empty hall, with Cam, waiting to see anyone...anyone who actually worked there.  It was like a ghost town.  I then see someone, who obviously works there because she starts digging through files, but she ignores me.  An aide finally wanders out and tells me she will find my mom's nurse.  Said nurse takes her sweet ass time to come find me, and when she does never even introduces herself to me.  My main objective was to find out if anyone had told my mother WHY she was still in the hospital.  It was Wednesday, she had her hip replaced the Thursday before, at the latest she should have been discharged on Sunday.  in fact, she had discharge orders on Saturday, but that's when she started ignoring the nurses, and trying to escape.  So, I give the low-down on what had happened on the previous floor.  Down there I was told someone, a social worker or a counselor from the affiliated drug/alcohol rehab would be up to talk to her.  Simple request.  Just wanted some medical professional to detail why mom was still in the hospital. 

That nurse tells me she doesn't know anything about that, all she knows is that the night nurse said the night went okay.  Alarm bells ring in my head.  Having been in the Navy, I am exquisitely aware at how one gives and receives a pass down from the shift before.  You read all the notes, you ask about things that are unclear, THEN you take the shift/watch.  What you don't do is take over a shift, and not read the notes on the patient you have just taken custody of.  I asked this nursing professional to get someone down here to talk to my mother.  She mumbles "fine...I'll go see..." and disappears.  Mind you, I have a 16 month old with me.  We'd been standing there doing jack shit for about 30 minutes at that point.  Fifteen minutes goes by and she doesn't return so I go to the desk and ask for the charge nurse.  And aide calls her, and I hear the aides side of the conversation "yeah, a patient's family member is up here...okay....well....would you just come up here???"  Another aide is sitting there and they exchange looks and tell me sorry, but she'll be down in a moment.  So up walks a lady, the same one who had ignored me and dug through the files not 20 minutes earlier.  She looks irritated to be summoned.  Whatever.

I go through everything I went over with the nurse before.  Could someone please get the social worker or rehab guy down here to talk to my mom.  She says in a condescending tone "we don't need them to do that, we can do it...if she remembers."

At this point I nearly lost my shit.  One of the better aspects of my mother's personality is an unfailing ability to be polite to strangers (when she's you know, not going through the DT's).  I think I held it together pretty damn well.  I bit my tongue and took a breath:  "I am an addiction's counselor and I.." she cuts me off to say "well then you know what we are dealing with."  I tell her "yeah, your dealing with my mother who is now oriented to time and place, she needs to be told WHY she is still here.  Can you make that happen?"  She says fine, and walks off.  I was gripping the handles on Cam's stroller so hard my left hand fell asleep.

I walk off that floor LIVID.  I go downstairs to text my sister and calm down.  She tells me to find the patient advocate.  So I go off to find a nice lady, who was appropriately shocked and appalled at the rudeness of the nurses.  She promises me she will handle it.  I go home and put Cam down for a much needed nap.  Later we head back to the hospital, as we pull up my sister pings me to tell me that she talked to mom's nurse and asked her if Mom had been made aware of her situation, the nurse tells her, I shit you not:  "The patient hasn't asked why she's here."  Okay.

I call the social worker assigned to the unit.  Being as how I talked to a social worker earlier in the week, and felt like I had had a not so pleasant conversation with a lawyer, I wasn't expecting much.  But you know, maybe that social worker was new, or old, or just an abberition.  Nope.  This one was unbelievably rude.  highlight of the conversation that I had had THREE times with three OTHER professionals, and now with this lady:

Unethical, bitch of a social worker: "you don't know why she's still here, she came in for something else (no shit, it was a hip replacement), this other thing you are talking about (alcohol withdrawal, you fucktard) is totally unrelated".

Me: I summoned up every shred of patience and civility I had left in my to tell this woman that "I know she went in for hip surgery, it was DOCUMENTED she went through alcoholic withdrawals, all I am asking for is someone to tell her what happened."

UBSW: " "so, basically, you want us to tell your mother she is an alcoholic."

Me:  "YES, please!  She is oriented to time and place, she is wondering why she is still here, and we want a medical professional to tell her.  She won't believe it if it comes from me or my sisters."

UBSW:  "you keep saying that's why she's here, but it's not, your NOT a doctor!"


UBSW:  "You know, you don't even know that she is still here because of..."

Me:  "Seriously?  Are you still arguing with me about why she is still here?  You are supposed to be a social worker.."

UBSW:  "I have another call, you'll just have to...can you hold?!"

Me:  : I am done."

I have never in my life been so pissed.  Or felt so helpless.  Days later and I am still shaking, pulse racing, just thinking about it.  Thankfully one of my sisters showed up, who is coincidentally, a social worker.  She calmed me down.  We ate some dinner, we then bit the bullet and went to talk to our mother.  Mom was happy to see us, especially since sister brought her some food.  We chit chatted, sister took a phone call.  Mom asks me to hand her a packet of papers that were on a chair next to me.  I saw the heading, something about alcohol.  I play it cool and hand it over to her.  She tells me some bitch social worker came by and left her some "reading materials".  I probe, a little.  Seems the SW finally did her job, but not a very good one.  Gave mom the run down on her behavior.  She was bewildered, amused, and seemed to be mulling it over.  I didn't push, but told her she scared the ever-living shit out of me and my sisters, and her 10 year old granddaughter who happened to witness four people having to hold her down and restrain her.  Ever the clever woman, she then said "well, if it was really withdrawals, then why didn't this happen in February after the mastectomy?!?" she was smiling childishly, reveling in the feeling that she had me beat.  "Uh, it did.  You just brow beat me into giving you more pain meds.  I told all your nurses and doctors then, and they brushed me off."  Since I was home with her then, it was basically just me witnessing it all.

So, that night, Wednesday of last, Mom was finally told why she was still in the hospital.  And it only almost gave me a stroke and made my head explode.  Cat was out of the bag, and some stress was lifted. Little did I know the fun had only just begun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It is true what they say about denial. All of it.

I have written about my complicated relationship with my mother before. This explains but a smidgen.   We've reached a precipice, and I was not sure which of us was going to fall in or go over it.  I am still not sure.  It's been that kind of hellish week for me.

Mom's hip has been in need of repair for over two years now.  She initially put it off because my Dad had a heart attack, and then died 7.5 weeks later.  Then she put it off because she was grieving.  She finally had a date to get a new hip in January 2011, but breast cancer decided to rear it's ugly head again, so no new hip.  Got over the mastectomy, which took until the end of April to heal.  It was an ordeal I wouldn't wish on anyone, and has me convinced that when the day my breasts decide to up and try and kill me, is the day they get lopped off and leave me flat chested.  So she is healed enough to go through with a total hip replacement, which she was actually really looking forward to.  Her optimism, which she is not prone to gave me hope, hope that my mother was kind of getting her shit together and preparing for a new and healthy life.

How wrong I was.  My mother is an extremely private person.  Something I clearly didn't inherit, because I will tell just about anyone my life story and then some.  I will come back to that first sentence after a bit of explanation. When my father had his heart attack, the plan of action was to have him undergo open heart surgery as soon as they could get him stable.  About 18 hours after he was brought in things went south quickly.  They had to put him on Ativan.  A hell of a lot of Ativan.   Some 30 hours after the heart attack he was dosed with enough Ativan to take down an elephant, yet he was still tremoring like crazy and his temperature was so high they had him stripped down naked laying on a bed of ice.  A BED OF ICE.  With a delicious blanket of MORE ICE.  Nearly two days later a nurse finally had the balls to ask if he drank.  I snorted "Hell yeah he drinks!"  The look she gave was odd.  I went on to tell her about the vodka he practically mainlines when he gets home from work.  The bottles of red wine he would wind the evening up with.  She then told me what my mother said: "he has a martini every night.".

Right.  If a martini is straight vodka on ice.  So that was my first lesson in my mother's denial.  The second was when I walked into the waiting room bewildered at why she would lie...when the man is clearly on death's door.  All my siblings were there, the teenaged grandchildren, some aunts and uncles.  I came out to quietly ask "Mom what did you tell the nurse?" (inside I was screaming: "WHAT THE FUCK?!?") when she hotly replied that the nurse had "no business asking that question."  I stood there dumbfounded.  Like someone had seriously smacked me in the head with a brick.  We are not quiet people, so I am sure I hollered "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?!?!?" loud enough for the entire hospital to hear.  What ensued was a lot of yelling, cussing, teenagers being shooed away, and the scaring of the poor quiet family sitting on the other side of the room.  She maintained that level of denial while his kidneys started to shut down.  When his liver started failing. When his lungs gave up and he needed to be trached.  Even after his intestines started dying, and they opened him up to do surgery eight times.  My brother and I had to contact the hospital social worker to ask if my mother ever put our dad's DNR in place.  She hadn't.  He coded twice before we asked about the DNR. My brother and I had to finally make the call to remove him from life support.  She still didn't believe it.  As he lay dying, she screamed over his body, yanking his arm "why are you doing this to me?!?"  Horrific doesn't even begin to detail what those seven and a half weeks were like.

It has been a long two years of me picking up the pieces of that mess.  Because nobody in the family was willing to help out.

I shattered her privacy again yesterday by telling the nurse that my mother drinks.  Every day.  Because she lives alone, and I have had to detach myself from it, I don't know how much.  She had her surgery on Thursday.  She was "okay" on Friday, getting antsy and anxious on Saturday.  She could have been released on Saturday, but she refused to do all of the PT.  Sunday rolled around and she was not only refusing PT, but she was completely disregarding the instructions to stay in bed/sit in her chair.  All she had to do was call the nurse to help her up.  Nope.  She fell out of bed on Sunday morning trying to do it herself.  Had to take her to x-ray. Scared the ever-living-shit out of me.  Get to the hospital and she is sitting there, fine.  She had been loopy, as most people on pain meds are, but something was

She was really agitated, and getting mean.  Even to the nurses and aides.  Mom is usually extremely polite to strangers, so that alarmed me.  So I sat by her bedside surfing the net while she slept, half listening to her talks with people she met in her dreams.  She would startle awake and be embarrassed about it and I'd just say "no worries...go back to sleep".  A few hours later a nurse approached me and asked me if Mom drinks.  I gave her the low-down: "I know she drinks wine every night, because I over heard her tell someone that last week...she says it's a few glasses a night."  It's all I really knew, because we don't talk about drinking.  She knows I hate being around it, and the times I have brought up that she could ease up on it, have gone...not well.

I return to the hospital today to find a HIGHLY agitated and angry mother.  Within ten minutes of me being there she tries to stand up and an ear-piercing alarm starts screaming.  Five nurses come running into the room.  That's when I see they attached an alarm to her.  I deduce they did not have a good night with Dear Mother.  She argues with them, says she can do it herself, but is so unsteady on her feet it takes three nurses to help her to the bathroom.  I step out into the hall and approach the nurse who looked in charge.  She tells me what I feared: Mom is going through delirium tremors.  She's detoxing, and it's only going to get worse from that point on.

And it did.  Soon after they gave her some Ativan to calm her down.  I go back to my laptop and watch as she abruptly awakes, starts grabbing for the phone, and telling me to help her.  "Who are you calling Mom?"  She doesn't answer me, I ask her again and she very rudely shushes me and then sits in rapt attention for the next five minutes.  Listening to the dial tone.  Back to sleep.  Another ten minutes passes and she starts freaking out about a magazine she wants to read but can't find.  No such magazine existed in the room.  A little while later I see her moving around in her chair, she's bending over (a HUGE no-no for the new hip) to grab a scrap of paper off the floor when I rush over to help her.  She starts yelling at me to get back, she can do it her damn self.  Again, I am not a quiet person, I yell back "NO YOU CAN'T!  CALL the damn nurse, MOTHER!"  She starts yelling and the poor aide comes running in to calm her.  The man has the patience of a saint, I swear.  At that point she sneers at me and says "YOU can go.  I don't need you here.  LEAVE!!!!"

Peace-the-fuck-out.  Gathered my belongings and ran for the door.  I had HAD IT.  I stop at the charge nurses' desk to tell her she needs to get someone, anyone down there to talk to that woman about her drinking.  I leave and head home to relieve Rob of 5 days of nearly 24/7 Cam duty.  He was gathering up his stuff to go to the gun range when I realized my wallet was missing.  Yeah, I had to slink back to the hospital and search that room.  Last place on Earth I wanted to be.  I had been texting with one of my sisters and she met me there.  She's technically my step sis (and has her very own issues with my mother), so her being there meant more to me than anyone will ever know.  She went in and talked to Mom while I waited in the hall.  She was shocked at her condition.  Vowed to help me out, to back me up about Mom's behavior when she is back to normal and telling us she doesn't have a problem.

It's insanity.  I know it's the insanity of the disease.  But it hurts.  A lot.  She is my last remaining parent.  My fathers drank themselves to death.  I cannot watch another.  I am trained as an addictions counselor, yet I am clueless right now as to what to do.  She's been a great mom.  A really shitty mom.  A generous mom.  And a selfish mom.  She's an alcoholic, and that's what we do to the one's we love.  It's what the disease does.  I know in my head and I know everything I have been taught that the disease does the ugly, dirty work, it just uses the person and body it has control over.  I know that, but right now I am so goddamned angry and resentful of my mother, I cannot separate the two.

But I have to if I want to keep her alive.

Life, You capricious bitch.

It has been a long few days here.  So much to say, so very little time to do it.  I now completely, 100% see why mothers always wish for more hours in the day.  I promise to come back and write a book later, for now I have to tend a baby who refuses to nap and give her mother a break.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Consider my last nerve plucked.

I just read this article on CNN.  And.  Well.

"When the Arkansas Supreme court struck down a voter-approved initiative that banned cohabitating straight and gay couples from adopting orphaned children, the Christian community predictably erupted.
Byron Babione of the Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers, attributed the April ruling to a “political movement afoot to undermine and destroy marriage.” Baptist Press, the publications arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, ran an article that quoted Babione as saying the ruling reflected “a campaign to place adult wants and desires over the best interests of children."
On one hand, these comments aren’t surprising. Conservative evangelicals have decried “the anti-family gay agenda” for decades. On the other, they underscore the way many Christians denounce a social problem that they have no plan for solving.
And the problem here is not ultimately gays adopting — the prevention of which, I believe, was the impetus behind the Arkansas initiative and behind adoption restrictions in various other states. The problem is a global orphan crisis involving tens of millions of children.

In the United States, there are approximately 116,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. That means a judge has either severed the rights of the original parents or the parents have voluntarily signed their children over to the government.
To put this into perspective, we might compare the number of American orphans to the purported 16 million Southern Baptists who attend more than 42,000 churches nationwide. Quick math reveals that there are roughly 138 Southern Baptists for every child in the American foster care system waiting to be adopted. To say it another way, this single denomination has an enormous opportunity to eradicate the orphan crisis in America.
If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve probably heard a sermon on Noah or Moses or David. But how many sermons have you heard on the biblical mandate to care for orphans?
When was the last time you heard your pastor declare, “if you choose to adopt a child we will stand with you. We will provide respite care, financial help and do everything possible to meet the needs of that child?”
Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics — the Christian Church — can provide safe, loving, permanent homes for these kids. Our faith dictates that we fight for a better way in both words and deeds.
When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter responded yes, Jesus didn’t tell him to picket the wolves. He told Peter to feed and tend his sheep.
Some churches and Christian groups are stepping up. Focus on the Family launched a Wait No More initiative in Colorado in 2008, forming partnerships between local churches, adoption agencies and the government in order to encourage families to adopt through the foster care system. As a result, the number of Colorado orphans waiting for a family has been cut in half.
Christianity Today ran a 2010 report headlined “Adoption is Everywhere,” illustrating the trend among churches and Christians who are giving “attention to orphans, adoption, the fatherless, and so on.”
Despite such efforts, the American orphan crisis remains. Too many churches still find it easier to stand behind a megaphone decrying the morality of laws than to stand beside a child in need.
Thousands of orphaned children in America need grandmas and grandpas, embarrassing uncles and crazy aunts. They need someone to teach them to fly a kite and throw a ball and read a book and tie their shoes. They need someone to call mom and dad.
In fairness, adopting a child is not easy and many of these children face difficult adjustments once they’re adopted. They have experienced pain, loss, hurt, confusion and misplaced trust. They have endured physical, emotional and sexual abuse — things most of us don’t even want to imagine.
In 2008, when my wife and I adopted through Bethany Christian Services, the organization educated us on the possible challenges of adopting a child. They informed us that even though our daughter was a baby when we brought her home, she would eventually ask tough questions, as would our friends and family.
But my wife and I know our faith demands action and that sometimes action takes us out of our comfort zone.
As a father of three — two biological children and an adopted child — and a host to a number of children that have needed a temporary home I can tell you these kids need less arguing over who should and should not be allowed to adopt and more families stepping up and saying, “we will adopt.”
It is time Christians decide to either step up or shut up. If a Christian group wants to wade into the discussion over who should adopt, it needs to put its money and manpower where its mouth is.
That means not only challenging families and churches to adopt from foster care (which costs virtually nothing financially) but also to adopt children resulting from unplanned pregnancies, children with special needs and children of mixed race or minority ethnicity.
If Christians’ only desire is to fight the culture wars and score political points, then they should continue to lean on empty rhetoric. But if they truly care about the family and the Bible, they’ll begin caring for children who desperately need a home."
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jason Locy.

Before I get into this man's ass, I need to say I am not brushing all Christians as I do this one, in particular.  He struck a nerve. A nerve that I need to work out and on.  I made the mistake of clicking on a story about adoption on a blog about "Faith".  Raised a Catholic, I have many, MANY issues with a lot of the hypocrisy that is often found in Christianity.  I will explore those issues at a later date, but for right now, know this: my issue is not with the religion, it's with the attitude of some that follow that religion.
Let me count the ways in which this article chafes my ass. 

1)     What I hear is "we need to get those poor children before the gays get a hold of them and ruin society!"

2)   This quote REALLY kills me: "That means not only challenging families and churches to adopt from foster care...but also to adopt children resulting from unplanned pregnancies, children with special needs and children of mixed race or minority ethnicity".  Um, so let's start our charity with the bastards, mental and physical defectives, and those pitiful black/Hispanic kids.

3)   The Savior Syndrome.  This douche bag hit a nerve.  BIG TIME.  There are a lot of things that piss me off about people. But the biggest one is people congratulating me on being some kind of savior to my child. That Cam should FEEL lucky that Rob and I rescued her. Implied is that she would be living in some squalid, drug-infested ghetto if it weren't for us "saving her". The only one that should feel lucky in this situation is me (and Rob), for getting the privilege of raising such an awesome baby girl.  Truth is, Cam's life would be different, and it's not for me to say better or worse.  

So, Jason Locy, why don't you leave adopting up to the people that just want to be parents?  Leave it to the people who don't think adopting one of the aforementioned kids isn't something that will garner us extra points with Jesus?  And really, calling people to parent those children (that you alluded to being charity cases) so that they can make it right in their heads when they campaign to deny gays and lesbians their civil rights?   Do you realize that you have reduced children in need of homes, our littlest citizens, the most vulnerable of humans to keys on your big eternal key ring to heaven?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A 12 Step program for this?

In the last year or so I have managed to find a new addiction, but one that may bring me riches.  No, I haven't started playing the ponies or riding with the old folks to Atlantic City.  I enter at least one survey/sweepstakes a day.  It started off when Target came to town.  It's a brand-new, most fabulous Target.  Best one I have ever been to, and I love it almost as much as I love the new Whole Foods. 

I must have been cleaning out my purse or diaper bag when I grabbed an old receipt and saw "Win a $5000 GiftCard" printed on the front.  Since then I have religiously brought my receipts home and entered the User ID they give me and let them know how they are doing.  I am a little peeved I have not been awarded my $5000 GiftCard yet.  I figure now, I am so "invested" that I have to keep doing it...the odds get better each time I do it.  Now I look at all of my receipts, and a lot of them have these surveys.  Bonus!

What made me recognize my "habit" was standing in line at the in-store Starbucks and saw a receipt from the person that went before me still sitting on the register.  Just as the barista (I feel so foolish saying that word) was about to chuck it, I squealed and said something so high-pitched she tilted her head to the side and slowly handed me the receipt.  I stood their clutching that extra receipt as if it were the Golden Ticket. Then I saw the look on Cam's face, the one that goes with her furrowed brow...."what's so interesting??". 

That baby ruined my moment of unfettered glee by reminding me how crazy I am.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A bully at 16 months?

Cam likes to hit people in the face.  It doesn't matter if the target is big or small, parent or not.  She hits when she's happy.  She hits when frustrated.  She hits when the words you say don't make her happy.  She hits when she meets someone new. 

It's absolutely mortifying.  It's been going on for months, but she saved most of her slaps for Rob and I.  Or Grammie (my Mom).  Now it's everyone and nothing I do about it is working.  Mainly I tell her "NO!" very firmly.  Or a variation on the same "No hit!".  Occasionally I can grab her hand before it reaches it's target. 

Today at playgroup she was extremely energetic and excited to be there.  Some days I have to cajole her into playing, but today she was enthusiastic about everything.  Then they brought the swings out.  We go to a place called My Gym.  One of those ubiquitous indoor play places for kids.  This place has huge ceilings with ropes hanging down to attach baby swings.  Cam loves the swing.  She saw Miss Sarah bring out an armful of swings, stopped dead in her tracks and started clapping and bouncing.  Then she got serious, saw the first swing get clipped on, and a little boy made a move for it.  before I could grab her, she very purposefully reached out and smacked the ever-living shit out of that kid.  Predictably he screamed bloody murder.  The kid's mother was very understanding, but his grandmother was pissed and kept giving me the stink eye.  I snatched Cam up FAST, told her "NO!  See?  You made C cry.  YOU SEE THAT?  HE'S CRYING because YOU HIT HIM!"  I then walked away from the swings and told her she lost her sweet spot at the front of the line because she hit.  Whimpering and pointing at the swings, I then felt stupid for thinking my 16 month old could understand what just happened.

Next to the swings they always hang a hammock so that multiple kids can sit and swing together.  I made my way over to it just as poor aggrieved C and his mother did.  I apologized again, and started to walk away when C got a look at Cam and started wailing all over again.  Now we had the hammock all to ourselves.  Awkward.  Ever time that kid saw Cam, he ran the other way.  Pretty much the same thing happened yesterday at the little playground in our local mall.  Except this kid was about 4, and had the words to tell me that my baby hurt her.  When Cam would come near her the kid would scream "STAY AWAY FROM ME!!!". 

Cam was born drug dependent.  I know hitting is considered normal in toddlers.  But something in my gut tells me something is  Her other way of dealing with frustration is to shake her head violently back and forth and to start "mouthing" whatever she can.  It's not turned to biting...yet.  It's more like an open mouth banging against my legs/her car seat/the sofa....whatever is large and immovable.  We have our Occupational Therapist coming back next week to evaluate Cam for her "delay" in talking.  That woman is going to earn her money next week.

And she better bring a face/mouth guard.  Just sayin'...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I was diagnosed with having Depression when I was a teenager.  Since then I have been medicated, with the exception of most of my Navy days.  Lately I have been just down in the dumps.  In reality, I have not felt this bad in years.  At times in my life I have had suicidal thoughts, at one point I landed on a pysch unit for a week.  Medication has always helped me find a balance.

I was on Cymbalta for a few years, which seemed to be working okay.  I have never been one to notice side effects or what symptoms have eased or gotten worse.  I am finding that I am starting to notice a lot of things that aren't right, now.  About a year ago I was finally diagnosed with having ADHD.  I had thought for years I could have it, but never put the effort into getting tested.  So last year I finally did it and it was kind of a relief to know that some of my more annoying character flaws were because of some chemical fluctuations in my brain.  My pdoc (short for psychiatrist) put me on some meds for the ADHD and we talked about coming off the Cymbalta.  At the time he described how ADHD symptoms can masquerade as depression, so perhaps we'd see some depression symptoms lessen.

I started out on Vyvanase.  Nope, felt awful.  As if I were having an anxiety heart, racing was awful.  Stopped the Vyvanse.  Took Concerta.  Same thing.  Tried Intuniv...same thing.  I was beyond frustrated.  I finally knew what was wrong with me and none of the meds were working.  I almost gave up on meds.  Then pdoc put me on Daytrana.  It's a stimulant, just like the other three, except Daytrana is delivered in a patch.  It never gave me that "speedy" feeling.  In fact, I felt MOTIVATED to do shit!  For about a month I started and completed new projects, stuff I had been putting off for YEARS.  It was like I finally felt almost right.

A month or so went by and I started to notice that all I had was motivation to do things.  I still had no focus (my number two goal, right behind motivation), I still would start one thing and be distracted a million times before completing what I originally started.  This has been going on for many months, but I am also a person who hates to be the squeaky wheel.  I didn't want to keep bugging my pdoc (I know.  I KNOW!), as we have done more medication changes in the last year than I had in the previous 10 years.  So I let it go. 

So along with now focus, I also have extremely poor impulse control AND horrible, vile, terrible irritability.  I must be a complete asshole to live with.  This I know.  The impulse control comes up when I am home bored (which is every single day) with Cam.  My child probably thinks Target is a second home.  Target also must looooove me.  I have managed to drive our credit card debt up substantially.  You can imagine how the bread-winner of the family feels about this.  It is mostly an agreeable marriage we have, until money comes up.  I know no one else in the world has this problem, right?

So I finally wrapped my defective brain around the fact that spending money you don't have is no bueno.  As if it's a new concept to me.  In some ways it is, I grew up never having to ever worry about money.  As the youngest child my parents babied me until...well, until I was in my mid-thirties.  Shameful, no?  In the Navy I had no bills, all that money was spending money!  Woooooooo!  After I got out, I slummed around living with a friend, having no job, living off of unemployment.  I then came into a considerable pile of cash when my bio dad died.  An active alcoholic with no job, and a big-ass bank account?  Yeah, you can imagine how that went.

So I sober up and make good on a lot of my character defects.  I never bothered to tackle my money issues.  Now that chicken has come home to roost.  I was laid off over two years ago, many circumstances led me to NOT go back to work, the latest being Cam.  I have been on the hot-seat for about six months now, needing to get at least a part-time job.  I hate it.  I hate having to leave Cam.  I hate anything new.  I hate putting myself out there.  Oh, another first for me?  A job interview.  Yes, three weeks shy of 40, I have never been on a job interview.  Every job I have ever had has been with family, a family friend, or the Navy.  Petrified.  Shitting bricks.

So to bring it back 'round, my depression has decided to kick me in the ass.  HARD.  After a particularly bad fight with Rob yesterday I had a couple of revelations during my 3+ mile walk home:   1) men can be righteous ASSHOLES;  2) I probably need my meds tweaked;  3) it won't be the end of the world to get my ass back in the work force; 4)  Cam could use some socialization (have I mentioned how she likes to walk up to babies/adults and smack them in the face?  My baby is just so damn sweet.). 

You ever pass by someone who is obviously crying?  Or even worse has the ugly face that comes after all the crying?  That was me.  Walking through our very busy, congested cute little city.  Down roads I grew up on.  I am sure loads of people I know passed by me.  At about mile one I just stopped giving a shit that people were staring.   When I stormed off from Rob, I had the presence of mind to grab my mug of tea, a burp cloth to blow my nose in, and some cash.  Once the tears started they just kept coming.  And man, when I cry, it's an UGLY cry.  I cried so much yesterday that my eyes are practically slits today, which is probably why Cam keeps looking at me funny.  The good news is that I recognize just how awful and horrible I feel and called for help.  My mother calls it "gumption" or, more precisely "not taking shit". 

I call it revenge.  Don't pepper me with (some mostly true) insults and think you've got the best of me, because I will prove you wrong. 

I suppose that IS gumption.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Is AARP far behind?

I am 25 days shy of my 40th birthday.  According to some age groupings, I am still a "young adult".  Last night, however, I was anything but.

I have to preface this by saying I am noise averse.  I hate loud noises.  I hate barking dogs.  Yelling of any kind gets my Irish up.  Of course, Rob points out to me all the time that I turn the TV up way too loud (my prerogative, thank you, now piss off.) and have a tendency to talk loud.  Very loud.  Whatever, noise sucks.  I suppose noise not made by me especially sucks.

So when Dixon started growl-barking at a little before 10 pm last night I told him to zip it.  Then he got louder.  That's when I noticed he was barking at noise outside.  High-pitched screaming.  Thinking someone may be getting assaulted, raped, or murdered in front of our house I ran to the door to see what the ruckus was.  It's not uncommon for drama to unfold on our "lawn".  Dumbasses seem to have a penchant for getting DUIs or having the cops called out for a domestic "incident" and happen to do it in front of our townhouse. 

So part of me was excited to see a trashy Cops-like scene unfold in front of me.  The other part was annoyed I had to get off my ass to see what was going on.  Turns out it was a gaggle of teenage girls squealing, shrieking, and generally being overly-girly in their attempts to wake the neighborhood.  Before I knew what I was doing I yelled out: "Hey, guys, could you keep it down out there, please!!"  I am that old lady in the neighborhood who yells at children.  Twice.  Because, of course they didn't quiet right down.  I flung the door open again, and one of them yelled "sorry!".  And then...they shut up.  I must have cultivated my crazy-old-lady look well, because I didn't hear another peep out of them.

So I go out this morning, run some errands, come home and go out to water the garden.  I step outside in my over-sized, face-shading, really-old-lady hat (I have really fair skin!) and there are the girls.  I swear to god I actually heard them turn their heads to see the mean-old-lady-who-yells-at-children.  Then they disappeared inside rather quickly. 

So THIS is Karma.When I was 16 I used to spend the night at my BFF's house a lot.  She had her own telephone line, to which her parents called down EVERY single time to tell BFF if I didn't quiet down, I could go home.  Or how I was just reminded by the grown son of another friend how back in my Navy days I, along with his mother and other friends, would keep him awake with our hootin' and hollerin' when we were drunk.  And he was 15.

And right now, my Mom is sitting down stairs kicking Rob and I out of the house for the night.  It's 4:30 pm.  We are off to the Early Bird Special. I bet we make it home before dark.  Or maybe before the street lamps come on...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Never thought I'd look so forward to a Wednesday.

Wednesday is Bingo night.  My bestest girlfriend and I go to an early dinner and then hit the Bingo hall at the local synagogue.  Most weeks I look forward to Wednesday, but today I cannot even wait for 1700 to get here.

Early into our Bingo adventures, I sat at the table by myself as my friend got snacks.  The lady next to me started chatting me up, which is a rarity at Bingo.  Normally banter is saved for muttering obscenities at the caller or loud complaining about someone calling bingo without actually having it.  This being my only Bingo hall experience, I am under the impression that bingo ladies (and some gents) are an angry, hateful lot.

Anyway, this lady starts telling me how she told her family (much earlier in the day) that she was going out to the store for a few things.  And never went back.  A good 8 hours had to have passed between her declaration and her sitting there arranging her bingo cards.  She had a wry smile on her face, and didn't look at all bothered that they may be worried.

I may be that lady today.