Some day I will begin writing in ernest but in the mean time here is a picture that reminds me of just how fun it is to be a kid:
Last week we spent an agonizing day at Children’s Memorial Hospital having Sophie evaluated for her reflux with a follow-up to her pediatric urologist this week for the test results. She has not spontaneously resolved any of the reflux so she is going to have surgery. We have two options: a less invasive procedure with lower success rates and a more invasive procedure with higher success rates. It is so hard to make decisions like this: on one hand I know that we have to fix this. But to be the parent and make the decision to put your child at risk, even though the outcome is in her best interest, is so freaking hard.
Shortly after I was married my husband had back surgery. I remember thinking, as they wheeled him towards the operating room, that if something happened to him I had to make the decisions regarding his care. And that freaked me out big time. I didn’t think I should be responsible for making decisions about his life even though he was my husband and technically it was part of the job description of wife. It just seemed like he was a grown man and should be in charge of his own care…and in the event he couldn’t make his own decisions I thought hey, maybe his Dad would want to make these decisions. Thankfully nothing bad happened and I didn’t have to make any decisions but the reality and gravity of that situation was overwhelming.
Now I find myself in a similar situation knowing that my daughter has to have a procedure to repair a malfunctioning part of her body. But when the doctor started reading through the list of possible complications and their outcomes I wanted to walk out of the room and throw up. I don’t think I could live with myself if something happened to her…even thought I know logically that if this issue isn’t corrected much worse things lie in wait for her so not acting is not an option. The odds are in her favor and I love her urologist – he is very cautious and not anxious to cut her open. So have to put my faith in him and what is best for her and hope to hell all runs smoothly. It won’t happen until after the school year is finished so we have some time to prepare. But we also have time to wait. And think. And worry.
Once you become a mom there are certain things that you are pretty much not without. I’m sure there is a point where you stop carrying these items on your person but for me, for now, these are the things I always find myself “packing”:
-snacks: of both the salty and sweet variety
-wipes: will I never be without these?
-poop bags: even though Henry does not wear diapers, there is an endless use of the diaper disposal bags and I find I cannot leave them behind (no pun intended)
-crayons and paper: always a good go-to items when kids are starting to melt down
-aspirin/advil: because I always seem to be just a moment away from a headache
-water: because someone is always, always, always thirsty
-kleenex: because snot never, ever seems to go away
-hand sanitizer: because germs are always lurking
-miscellaneous garbage: from candy wrappers, used kleenex, sticker backings, straw wrappings…pretty much you name it. Trash winds up in your purse and you have no idea how and/or why
-miscellaneous “friends”: my kids always seem to be in need of having a “friend” to travel with them. It could be as small as a plastic dinosaur and as large as a beanie baby but I always seem to have a traveling companion.
-hand sanitizer: something that I always want to have on hand too…because dang, shopping carts are nasty.
I don’t know how parents of chronically ill children manage. I mean I guess you don’t have a choice. If your child is ill you do what needs to be done to get them well. But the stress on them. On the parents. It sucks and my kids aren’t even chronically ill.
About a year ago Sophie was diagnosed with reflux in one of her ureters which is the tube that leads from her kidney to her bladder. Basically it is only supposed to drain out but the valve that regulates urine movement is faulty resulting in urine being able to travel back up into the kidney. This has resulted in a series of kidney infections resulting in some minor permanent damage to her kidney. We put her on daily antibiotics for the past year hoping to keep any new infections from happening. There was a small chance that the reflux would resolve on its own.
We were at Children’s Memorial Hospital this morning to check the reflux in her ureter. To do so, a catheter is inserted into her urethra up into her bladder and a contrast dye is presented into the bladder. If the reflux is present, you can see the dye travel from the bladder up into her kidney. Which we saw today. So the reflux has not resolved on its own. Most likely she will need surgical intervention.
The worst part about today is that it took 6 attempts and three different individuals to get the catheter inserted. Two of the six attempts actually got the catheter in but it was not in the right position. Meanwhile my daughter is beside herself. Screaming when they are attempting to get the catheter in place and my husband and I are holding her hands, trying to ease the pain and terror she is feeling. There is nothing. NOTHING. like staring into the eyes of your child while they are being poked and prodded and helpless and screaming in pain and fear. You are so completely helpless and trying to explain how important this test is to see if her kidney is better or still sick. The worst part was knowing that multiple attempts were necessary and to watch her fear build as she realized it was going to happen again and again…..
When a pediatric urology resident finally came in and got the catheter placed properly I broke down. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had told them that he could try once and if it didn’t get in then we were done. I wasn’t going to put her through anymore and we would regroup with her urologist to determine how to get the test done without so much pain and anxiety for all of us…but mostly Sophie. She was so strong and amazing and once it was in place she was able to breathe a sigh of relief and assured us, “I know it doesn’t hurt when they take it out.”
So now it is 3:24 pm and I’m having a beer to destress….and if I could legally offer one to Sophie I would.
You know how when you were growing up and watching TV and you really kinda wanted Marcia Brady to be your best friend so you could get close and possibly date Peter? How Mrs. Brady seemed to really have all her shit together – even though Alice was probably the one doing all the work and all Mrs. Brady did was smile and look pretty? I do.
When it came time during high school to pick a college and figure out what you wanted to be when you grew up, nothing ever came to my mind. There was nothing I could imagine doing for the rest of my adult life – except be a mom. So when I got married and we decided it was time to have kids who would have thought that road would have been as hard as it was. But we got there. And I decided to stay home to be a housewife. Really, I did. And at first it was great. But slowly, over time, the illusion of housewife bliss faded and the reality of my new life set in. No pay. Long hours. No respect. Assumption of additional duties with again, no additional pay. It’s a life sentence this housewife thing and I’m convinced that Carol and Alice were sipping on the cooking sherry to make it through the days more times than not.
A few years ago I wrote a post entitled “Think Before you Pink” regarding the explosion of pink-based products in the month of October which is breast cancer awareness month. I have mixed feelings about how much money actually gets to organizations for research and how much winds up in the corporations back pocket. I wondered how many companies simply slap a pink label and ribbon on their product with the false pretense that consumers are doing good. Especially products like Secret Deodorant which contains aluminum which is thought to be a cause or catalyst of breast cancer.
This year I have a different perspective on the issue as a friend of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is the first person I know to have cancer. She is a few years younger than my 42 years and has two small children. She is a smart, funny, strong woman with an excellent support network around her to help fight this battle. And so this year I will don my pink armor for her and step up to the front lines and stand to fight with her, as best I can, and I will pink this year. I will pink smartly and often and I urge you to do the same.
With a birthday just around the corner I’ve been wondering what I would ask for if someone were to ask me what I want for my birthday. I think once people reach a certain age, they find themselves with the material things they want – or the means to get the material things they want. I find myself longing for intangible things but wonder why I would request of someone else the things I can only give myself.
I recently took a personality test and yes, despite some dispute I was found to have an actual personality. Seriously though, I think I’ve learned the source of my angst. I am a romantic. Life is nothing without sensitive personal ties, shared experiences and intimate attachments. I am concerned not so much with practical realities as with meaningful possibilities, with romantic ideals. It is why when my life is drowning in reality I escape to fantasy. Of a time in my life when things were so much less complicated. And memories are clouded with the haze of time, all the rough edges filed away. I long for these easy days. For the uncomplicated haze of memory.
So for my birthday this year I am going to give myself permission to linger a bit longer in the hazy days of the past as I try to pull myself out of the fog and into the clearer skies of days to come.
Wanted: a fun-loving girlfriend (not a girlfriend, girlfriend….a friend that is a girl with no physical/romantic implications thank you) to spend quality time with. Must be funny and willing to discuss all topics of conversation from global politics/policy issues to what the fuck the mother of thus-and-so wore to drop her kid at preschool yesterday. Preferably will have children around the 4 and 7-year-old mark so our kids can entertain themselves while we discuss menu planning, husbands and celebrity gossip. Bonus attribute is the ability and desire to run, not great lengths mind you, just enough to keep the 40’s spread from spreading too far. MUST, and this is non-negotiable, must like to drink but in a responsible manner of course. Must live close by so we can easily foster our relationship and so the beer/wine/margaritas don’t get cold while we drive to each others houses. Please submit all applications to this site and we will be in contact with you should your qualifications meet our expectations.
There once was this girl who was really quite quiet and shy. She wasn’t one to approach strangers and initiate a conversation but would much rather hang back, assess the situation and try to figure out how to “make friends” from there. Because of this approach to new social situations, people would tell her that she was cold and unapproachable. And this label hung with her for a very long time. And she wore it like a shield to protect herself from the possible hurt of rejection. And it held her back from taking the steps to meet some people that she really wanted to meet. Even though there were some people she really wanted to meet. And know. And possibly date. Somewhere along the way she realized that what other people thought mattered but not as much as she thought it did. And that people who wanted to know her would make an effort to break through that “cold” and “unapproachable” exterior. And people did. And over a great period of time this girl changed into a confident person who could initiate new friendships and navigate the ups and downs of life. But somewhere she got lost again and found her way back to the cold and unapproachable girl she was. But not in the same way – in a different way. Life had handed her some things that were so twisted that even the most cunning stranger could not break through this new, improved exterior. So now she searches the past to find the key to the future that will once again allow her to open the doors to new and exciting things.
Busy Mom is in Monday mode of working out, showering, doing laundry and hoping to meet family members for lunch. In an attempt to thwart an arguement with sassy 7 year old she offers up clothing advice for the day:
Mom: Sophie, do you want to wear a dress today?
Henry: Do you have a dress for me to wear today?
Mom: No Bud, boys don’t really wear dresses.
Henry: But they wear shoes!
Yes they do. What a smart boy.