Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yet Another Gall Bladder Test Today

To update, I saw the surgeon two weeks ago, but he said that he can’t remove my gallbladder based on current test results. He felt really badly because he said that my symptoms are classic gall bladder-itis. Well, he didn’t actually say gall bladder-itis. He said that my symptoms were a “classic case”. I added the gall bladder-itis part because I’m a clever, wordsmithy writer of the highest order. Anyway, the surgeon said my test results didn’t warrant surgery, but that he was sending me on for another test to try to get something that would make the case.

I was disappointed that the foul organ wouldn’t be coming out, but I have been feeling lots better, so I didn’t cry and grovel for him to cut me.

So, today was the test. I had a HIDAscan, and I will just own here that I was not at all prepared. I had what I thought was a HIDAscan 5 years ago, during my first gall bladder flare up. Apparently, I was wrong. During the test in the past, I ate some radioactive oatmeal, and they took a few pictures of my gut. Easy peazy lemon squeezey.

Except that’s not what happened today.

Today, I walked in and the nurse immediately started eyeing my arm. Whatever for? I asked myself. My arm is not a chicken wing. There is no need to view me like you’re a dog, and I’m a pork chop.

Nurse: You’ll need to decide if you want to take off your shirt or if you want to pull up your sleeve for the IV.

Me: What? I thought I was going to eat some crummy oatmeal.

Nope. That’s another test. We have to do two different injections for this test so we do an IV.

Neurotic Factoid #35, I am really bad with needles. Really bad. Like so bad that I can make my mom cry if she’s in the same room with me when I have to have a shot. The “whys” aren’t important, suffice it to say that I must do some serious mental preparation if my skin barrier is to be breached.

I tell the kind nurse that I am not so god with the sharp things, and she’s relatively sympathetic but not skilled enough to not blow out the first vein she tries to get. (And yes, I know that this characterization of her skill level is grossly unfair, but after she dug around in my wrist for a little bit, I was in no mood to be fair.)

Nurse: Oops. Your vein puffed.


I have never actually blown a vein before, and it was surprisingly painful. But there was no time to inspect the damage as they quickly started searching for another vein and told me to lie down on the table and not move.

So I lay down on the table, and they put this large piece of imaging equipment over my entire torso and injected me with a radioactive dye. They positioned my arms to my sides, and told me that I would need to lie still for 60-90 minutes. 60-90 minutes!

So here’s me, laying stock still staring at the ceiling for 75 minutes. I couldn’t fall asleep for fear of moving. I couldn’t read because my arms were plastered to my side and there was a contraption pulled almost up to my chin. All I could think was, This is a desperate way for a mama to get some down time.

At the same time, the blown out vein on my wrist was hurting. A LOT. I couldn’t see it, but I envisioned that my throbbing wrist was swollen and discolored because clearly the trauma to the area was severe.

And then the betrayal. Turns out that the injection and the insane amount of stillness was only THE FIRST PART of the test.

This was followed by yet another injection (but to be fair, I had an IV at that point, so the actual getting of this injection wasn’t such a problem) that made my gall bladder squeeze “like you just ate a high fat meal” followed by about 40 more minutes of stillness. Except this time the stillness was accompanied by nausea and pain since I stopped eating high fat meals 8 weeks ago because of this whole gall bladder thing.

And throughout it all, my wrist was throbbing, throbbing, throbbing. And I’m envisioning the carnage that must be my lower arm; because it hurts so badly. But of course I can’t see it, as I’m super busy holding still. Really still. Not daring to move even my eyes still.

And ridiculously, all I could think was, Well, this will at least be an interesting picture for the blog.

So behold, my massive vein blow-out:

Do you see it?
Ack, the pain! The pain!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Well, That was Fun

My dear friend, Lsig, posted this on her page, and I’m finally taking up the invitation.

Here it goes.

I was working part time at a 5 and dime
My boss was Mr. McGee.
He told me several times that he didn’t like my kind
‘Cause I was a bit 2 leisurely.

It seems that I was busy doing something close to nothing,
But different than the day before.
That’s when I saw her-
Ooh, when I saw her.
She walked in through the out door, out door.

She wore a raspberry beret...

Give me some of your favorite 80’s lyrics in the comments - I can’t wait to hear ‘em!

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Best Laid Plans

I apologize that I haven’t been a good bloggy friend to many of you recently– i.e. haven’t stopped by to read your posts, left very few comments to let others know I am alive, and ee gads, my own posting has been sparse of late – but we have had a hectic few weeks, and this week has been particularly crazy. I’ve been working a bunch, SRH has been working even more, and Zane has been consistently demanding things like food and water.

Fortunately, Zane seems to be continuing on this track of good health. Well, except at night. For the past 4 nights in a row, Zane has woken up a little after midnight coughing like crazy and really congested. We give him a breathing treatment and some cough syrup (because we can’t really tell if it’s asthma) and then after about an hour, we all get back to sleep.

And in the morning, Zane is JUST FINE. No symptoms, no problems, he feels great.

So last night, SRH and I went to bed really early because we’re both exhausted from the long work hours and interrupted nights, and we figured that even if we had to be up for an hour in the middle of the night, we’d still get in 8 good hours of sleep.


So after midnight, the coughing/snottiness starts and we do the breathing treatment and cough syrup routine. But the cough won’t go away. And then:

Me: Uh-Oh. Did you just hear that?

SRH: (grunt, grunt, groggy, groggy)

Me: SRH, did you hear that?

SRH: Wha-?

Zane: (puke)

Me: That.

We added puking to the coughing-snot mix. The child coughed so hard, he puked. And sure it was gross, but Zane really didn’t seem much bothered by it. We changed his clothes and proceeded to stay up with him for TWO MORE HOURS while he coughed and talked rolled around the bed, generally working hard to make sure neither of us got a full night’s sleep.

And while I was the one who held him throughout the breathing treatment, the cough syrup, the puking, and the incessant gabbing, when he was finally ready to settle down, the Little Judas wanted SRH to cuddle with him. And once he was done giving lovings, he came over to me so that he could fall asleep with his little vomitous breath on my face.

So that was nice.

Then this morning, Zane was just fine. Completely fine. Totally fine. So weird.

And there’s been no change in his bedroom environment. Nothing that would explain that this strange nightly coughing fit. I am left to simply believe that I am in some type of hell reserved for people do not deserve a good night’s sleep. Probably the hell for folks who are not good bloggy friends.

And don’t you go and make this about Zane. I know it’s his coughing, but it’s my lack of sleep, and that’s gotta count for something. Plus, he’s fine the next morning. Totally fine. Whereas, I am a sleep-deprived mad woman who goes to work disheveled and bitter.

(I have noticed that my posts recently have been very Zane-specific. And more particularly, Zane-and-illness-specific. If you’re wondering, I’m kind of sick of it, too. This is how deep winter is for my family, lots of energy and attention given to Zane’s health. Which is completely fine and appropriate, so I’ll blog about it. But I, too, am longing for a future where I blog about Lionel Richie, crazy yoga classes, and anything other than asthma and food allergies. Maybe I’ll tell you about the time I dated a guy who kept a gun in his backseat – and I shot a man for snorin’ too loud.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Proud Mommy Moment

I think I’m a pretty good mama. I love my kid, and I let him know it everyday. It’s true that I didn’t receive my copy of The Handbook, but I manage to muddle though most days and feel okay about the job I’ve done.

And before you rush to my defense and point out how I starved myself for 15 months while I was nursing due to his food allergies or how SRH and I have done stretches of 20 consecutive days of breathing treatments in the middle of the night, I should point out that I think that those things do not constitute good parenting. They are more, well, necessary parenting.

But there are a few activities where I feel like I shine as a parent.

And baking is one of them.

Zane and I bake our little hearts out. We bake pumpkin muffins. We bake banana muffins (Of course, we stopped doing that quite as often as bananas seem to make Zane itchy). We make cupcakes, and we make cookies. We make pumpkin bars, and on the odd occasion, we’ll bake up some cinnamon rolls.

And sometimes, Zane will actually eat what we’ve baked.

You see, Zane seems to enjoy the process of baking, but not so much the outcomes.

I have consistently made him “faux” treats for birthday parties, preschool events, and holidays. He has, just as consistently, not given a fig for my hard work and effort. Lifting his nose against the assault of egg-free cupcakes and turning away from dairy free cookies, he has been quite clear that while he likes to bake, he could care less about eating our efforts.

But finally, the toil and sweat (and flour encrusted clothing) of our endeavors has paid off.

Behold, the vegan cut out cookie:

This amazing cookie fits the Holy Trinity of Baking-for-Zane Requirements: It’s fun to make. It’s allergen-free, and it’s delicious to eat. Yay!

And imagine my glee when Zane not only asked to make these cookies, but then pestered me to lick the beaters and eat the dough as I was trying to roll it out. (He also asks to have them every morning for breakfast, but my maternal pride has some limits.)

And just when I was feeling flush with this good feeling – my kid adores something allergen-free that I baked especially for him! – he gave me another proud mommy moment:

While pooping on the potty today and simultaneously picking his nose, Zane promptly took a boogie and wiped it on the bathroom wall.

Kids will always keep you humble.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Cupid Zane, 2007

So, it’s Valentine’s Day, and even though we don’t celebrate it much at my house, I thought I’d share a few LOVE-ly things that are happening for us right now. (Get it. LOVE-ly. My clever use of the word love in my Valentine’s Day post is awe-inspiring, no?)

Anyway, here are some good things that are happening:

Zane’s Health -- We’re finishing up the antibiotic, and Zane genuinely seems to be feeling better. And while we are still having to do 3 “rescue” breathing treatments a day, we’re not having to do any in the middle of the night - hence increased sleeping for his parents and better moods for all involved.

Plus, just the general sense of well-being inherent in having a child who is currentlywithout illness is pretty cool.

Snow DayCentral Ohio has been covered in snow, resulting in my – and most of the town I live in – having the day off work. Delightful! We had a wonderful morning of family togetherness before SRH had to drag himself into work, and it was divine. Now, by family togetherness, I mean that we slept in until 8am, and then I got to take a shower for as long as I wanted without any interruptions.

Some days I swear I would cut someone for just a little time alone in the shower – and today I got it. Bliss.

Poop on the Potty – For the fourth day in a row, Zane has pooped in the potty! Those of you who have potty-trained can feel me on this one. Zane has been peeing on said potty for about 6 months now, but has been slower to embrace the “doing of #2”.

We’re bribing him with soda pop, and I am understandably ashamed of this, but the ends justify the means in this situation.

Eddie Vedder Dream -- I had a dream about Eddie Vedder last night. Apparently, my psyche wanted to give a valentine present to itself.

(A few pics for your viewing pleasure are here and here).

Afghanistan Email – I got an email from SRH’s best friend today. Now typically this is not something that is particularly remarkable – Captain McArmypants is generally a cranky, stinky, opinionated guy. But since he deployed to Afghanistan a few weeks ago, we’ve been quite anxious about how he’s adjusting to life in a war zone. Turns out, he’s adjusting just fine, which I’m sure says something very disturbing about him. But since he’s in the line for guardianship of our child, I’m not going to ponder this overly long.

Cupid Photo -- Oh yeah, the love of my life photo-shopped the above picture of Zane as a Valentine’s gift for me.

And for those of you who might be slightly appalled that my mate only got a small mention on this Valentine’s Day post, a post which also described my dreaming of another man, I should probably say that SRH and I do not really celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This owing to the fact that the anniversary of our engagement occurs on Feb. 7th. Therefore, we have agreed to celebrate all things lovey-dovey on that day. But don’t bother to go back to last week’s posts to see if I happened to wax eloquent about my hot monkey love for him there; you won’t find anything. Last week, we happened to be in the middle of a bit of a medical crisis with Zane; therefore, there was no mention of how I am slightly puzzled that I can still feel this way about someone – anyone, even Eddie Vedder- after twelve years.

But I’m sure he knows that I would break both of his legs should he ever even consider being with someone other than me. And I would also add an obligatory arm break if s/he happened to be younger, skinnier, or had bigger boobs.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Desperate Times Call For Complete Irrelevant Measures

What’s a mama to do when her child has been sick for two weeks? When he still needs breathing treatments every 4 – 4 ½ hours? When she’s in full “sick child” mode morning, noon, and night? When she thinks he’s getting better, but she’s not quite sure?

She redecorates her bedroom, of course.

Craziness, to be sure. But I decided today that I can’t stand my bedroom for one. more. second. It must change. It must radically change.

I hate my bedroom, folks, and this is no way to live.

And if you are speculating that perhaps this mama is taking control of her physical environment because she can’t control her kid’s health right now, you’re wrong. Plus, nobody likes armchair psychologists.

Today, I told SRH that we were going to paint our bedroom. And we need new window treatments. And he needs a new dresser. And I hate the stand the TV is on, and it’s too cluttered, cluttered, cluttered…

SRH looked slightly frightened, but he agreed to my demands.

So after my yoga class this morning, we went to the paint store. (He may have made me agree to go to yoga before buying paint so that I could calm down about the whole thing, but it didn’t work. I was still raring to go, because my bedroom is a pit of despair, and I needed to change that TODAY.)

So we stood in the paint store for 45 minutes debating which blue was soothing and yet vibrant and finally decided to buy samples of 5 colors to take home to test them out.

I know. Who am I - getting samples to “live with” the color for a week? I wanted a new bedroom today, yo, not next week. But since we couldn’t agree, it made sense to wait a bit. Plus, I was feeling pretty good since SRH walked into the store not wanting a blue bedroom, and I came out with 5 hues of blue with which to make my currently dreadful sleeping digs into an inviting azure oasis.

Then we scoured the town for a dresser –and I think we found one, but we’re sleeping on it. I bought window shades and valances this evening. (And lest you begin to believe that we are made of money, we went cheap, cheap, cheap on everything but the paint.)

But the issue is the paint. Here are my options.

I’m leaning toward the top color and the one below it to the left. I’d be willing to hear your opinions, though – as long as you realize that I’ve got my heart set on the 2nd color, and I probably won’t be deterred.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Pharmacy is Now Open

Zane's current daily medication regime. *

Zane is sick. He’s doing a bit better – maybe. You’ll notice that I say this without much confidence. We had to take him to the urgent care last night and back to the doctor today.

It appears that he has some sort of infection (probably sinus), and his asthma is flaring up quite a bit. He’s on a ton of meds, including the dreaded Orapred– but at least we feel that we have a clear course of action.

We’ll see how it goes.

As I was sitting in the Urgent Care last night, it came to me that there is a predictable course that the doctor-mama relationship follows every time we seek urgent/emergency treatment.

Stage 1 – Sizing Each Other Up
The doc and I spend a few minutes getting each other’s measure.
I’m looking at things like how does s/he interact with my child, how competently s/he does the exam, and if they seem to “get” asthma. The doc watches me for signs that I’m using the urgent/emergency care as primary care for my child (I’m not) and also looks for “hysterical mama” syndrome.

(I’ve yet to figure out how to navigate this line well. When you’re kid is having trouble breathing, you want to seem appropriately concerned but not kooky. It’s a tightrope, really.)

Okay, we're getting a feel for each other here, let’s move on to…

Stage 2 – Fact Gathering
The doc asks me multiple questions about Zane’s asthma.
Some of them will be insulting – i.e. Did you give him his prescribed asthma medicine today? But at some point s/he becomes suitably impressed with all the meds Zane is on and gets that we’re dealing with the Real Deal Holyfield Type of Asthma.

I’m watching to make sure that the doc doesn’t say anything egregiously wrong, like But I don’t hear him wheezing, after I’ve already explained that Zane doesn’t typically wheeze, he coughs. He has cough asthma. It’s a tricky little variant, but it's not unheard of.

I also look for a very thorough exam, and if we’re in the ER, I expect them to order a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. If they don’t bother to tell me how well he’s moving air or skip asking me about allergen exposure, I mention the allergen information and ask about the air.

Most days, this leads us to…

Stage 3 – I’m Competent. You’re Competent.
The doc and I start to feel pretty good about each other.
I know that they are taking Zane’s asthma and allergies seriously, and they acknowledge that I’m a parent with a pretty thorough understanding of my son’s health issues.

We both relax a bit, and get cracking on taming the asthma beast, moving into…

Stage 4 – True Partnership
This is where it really works.
I can ask I’ve-always-wanted-to-know questions like, Why does the breathing treatment seem to work so much better here than at home? (Answer: because they’re pushing oxygen at the same time.)

The doc asks things like, Do you usually push a double-dose of the steroid at the outset? (Answer: Sometimes).

If we’re really in a state of synergy, the doc will call Zane’s allergist for a consult – and he may drop by to our Abolish Zane’s Asthma Party.

It’s all rainbows and marshmallows and good feelings, and we’re all satisfied with the process. (Except Zane who is most likely still having some breathing issues.) We acknowledge that none of us has all the answers, but we work together to get Zane’s breathing back under control.

Ah, bliss. Bliss induced by a medical crisis, but bliss nonetheless.

When it works, there is minimal hassle. My kid gets good care, and I feel respected. The doc usually lets us take Zane home as long as I agree to do whatever s/he tells me to do. (Within reason, I suppose. They’ve never asked me to sacrifice a duck to the Lung God to get my boy back to health. I might balk at that. I mean, the Lung God clearly has it out for my kid. I refuse to abase myself and appeal to this cold deity of retraction and cyanosis).

Last night, however, we got stuck in Stage 2, and I became adversarial. It wasn’t pretty, and I’m not proud of myself. (I was right, but that's really not the point - or at least not all of it.)

Fortunately, my inability to form any type of working relationship with the medical staff didn’t have any ill effects for Zane. Of course, it didn’t help him either. We had to take him to his pediatrician today to figure out that he has an accompanying infection, etc.

Therefore, I hereby vow to get to third base – uh, I mean stage 3 – with any and all doctors that I interact with on Zane’s behalf.

Unless they piss me off. In which case, I’ll just do my best.

*If you feel the need to comment on the amount of medication that Zane is on, please, please say something supportive like, Wow! That’s a lot to handle. Hang in there! Please do not say, You shouldn’t be putting all those chemicals into his little body. Have you thought about the side effects? I have, and I do. All the time. We’re a little desperate in our household these days, and we’re doing the best we can.
See, the preceding is just a wee taste of the defensiveness and attitude that I took with me to the urgent care last evening. I’m working on that.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Another Monday Musings

'Cause I got plenty of things to say, but nothing worth a whole post.

There once were two boys who were friends.

One was named Zane.

One, Ben.

Apart, they were the sweetest of boys.

Together, they made such a horrific amount of noise –

That it drove their poor moms to distraction.

(insert a picture of me holding a martini here)

I know it doesn’t rhyme, but seriously my soft spoken, gentle, little boy becomes a crazy banshee while under the influence of Ben - another soft spoken, gentle little boy. It’s like Zane’s hopped up on goofballs when that cute blonde is around. Ben is crack. Ben is speed. Ben is crystal meth.

We love Ben.

Got Self-Esteem?
I just got done reading an article from Parenting magazine (March 2004 – apparently my magazine circle needs to look at recycling) about kids and self-esteem.
Of course, it was saying how kids have too much self-esteem these days. Blah, blah, blah…

But then I had the following conversation with Zane, and it did give me a moment’s pause.

Me: Zane, you’re the best little boy in the whole world, do you know that?

Zane: Uhhh...huhhh. I is.

He doesn’t have healthy lungs, his immune system ain’t for crap, and we've still got some work to do on grammar, but my boy has self-esteem.

I love Zane.

SRH is a Scaredy Cat
Last night as we drifted off to sleep, I tossed one of Zane’s stuffed toys out from under my tummy and it landed in front of SRH’s face.

And while maybe you had to be there, please picture a big, burly guy jumping three feet up from the bed and screeching like a Nazgul – and you will get the image that had me cracking up for a good ten minutes last night.

I love SRH.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm a Yoga Teacher

You didn’t know that, did you?

Well, I suppose some of you knew that, but to those who only know me from this blog, this might be a bit of news.

Funny, you say, you don’t seem like a yoga teacher. You’re… well… a bit neurotic frankly and you NEVER talk about deep cleansing breaths or anything. And honestly, it seems like you’d be a little more centered if you were a real yoga teacher.

It’s true. That’s how you guys talk to me in my head.

But back to the topic at hand – I am a yoga teacher. I teach using the Ashtanga vinyasa system of yoga which synchronizes the breath and postures for a moving meditation.

Or more accurately, I was a yoga teacher teaching 1-2 classes a week– until I was fired last year by the craziest yogi in the universe.

And lest you think that I am being a bit unfair in my characterization of Crazy Yogi (hereafter referred to as CY), I should tell you that I went through yoga teacher training with 17 other people – and CY has fired 16 of the 17 so far.

CY fired me for having to get an emergency sub two times in 2 ½ years – even though I paid her $100 for the privilege each time I had to do it. She fired Mary for teaching the wrong sequence of postures one day. She fired Jay for teaching a class at another studio. She fired Cris for gaining weight.

I’m not kidding. These are all true, though names have been changed to protect the yogis who were broken upon her wrath.

Indeed, I was one of the last yogis standing, but eventually CY had to let me go.

And as you might guess for an awkward overachiever like myself, the firing was a blow. No matter that my fellow yoginis congratulated me on my liberation or that SRH heaved a gargantuan sigh of relief when he heard the news – I was appalled. I have never been fired in my life. It’s a lingering shame, really.

Well, perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement. It’s a lingering slight embarrassment.

So, I was a bit taken aback today after yoga class when the owner of my new yoga studio (I never went back to CY’s studio) asked me if I’d be willing to do some substitute teaching.

No pressure, she said. Just think about it. There’s no hurry.

And while I’m totally not used to a supportive yoga boss and therefore had no idea how to respond, I am thinking about it. I figure I might be a whole lot poorer in a short amount of time if I decide to quit my job, and while substitute yoga teaching won’t pay the mortgage, at least I’ll get free yoga.