Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What A Calamity

What can I say about this week?  If I had to say one thing right now... at this exact second... it would be, "Holy crap... it's only Tuesday........".  It can only go uphill from here?  Maybe?  Please?

Yesterday, Monday, Quentin (my three year old) had a doctor's appointment with his audiologist.  While on the way there, I had one of those moments.  It happens to us all at one time or another (I sure as hell hope I'm not the only one).  I felt this nagging, sick feeling like I had forgotten something.  I tried to tuck it away but I couldn't rid myself of it.  Until finally it hit me.  Like a punch in the gut that knocks all the wind out of you.  S***T!  Did I set up the scopes for Mallory that I've been raving to everyone about for like the past month?  By this I mean her airway scopes with ENT and pulmonary.  They were to be coordinated with her surgery today while she was already under anesthesia.  

I'm pretty good about making the phone calls I need to make when I need to make them to get everything set up.  So I kept thinking that it must be taken care of.  It had to be.  Right?  I call our trach/vent coordinator to see if maybe she can investigate this for me.  I left her a message and then spent the next ten minutes asking myself questions.  Out loud.

"Was I supposed to call and set that up?"

"Didn't I discuss this with someone and they said they'd take care of it?  That had to be it, because I wouldn't forget this."

Then I got angrier with myself... out loud.

"WTF is wrong with me?  How could I let this slip through the cracks?"

"How could I tell everyone under the sun she was being scoped but didn't bother telling the people who are supposed to do it?  Beat yourself silly!"

I took Quentin in for his appointment, where he received a new, brightly blue colored set of hearing aid ear molds.  He went through another hearing screening and we discussed what to look for if there's more hearing loss.  We also discussed when may be a good time to start considering cochlear implants.  The appointment went pretty well, although, I seemed to have forgotten that making an appointment at 1:30 when I'm 45 minutes from my house makes it near impossible for me to be home when my kids get home from school.  I didn't get out of there until 2:40, which is about when my first two boys come home.  I'm telling you, I think someone needs to come and beat me with a smart stick because I'm losing it!

Driving home, I found I had a voice mail.  The one I had been dreading.  Nope.  No ENT.  No pulmonary.  No one set up for a scope and at this point it's too late.

I get home and unleash my anger at myself on my husband's apparent inability to start dinner while he's sitting on a toilet.  Then, I found rational Cathy again and forgave myself.  No matter what, Mallory was going in for surgery and we'd deal with the scope stuff later.

Begin today.  I get up to lots and lots of prayers and thoughts on Mallory's FB page in regards to her surgery.  It always lifts me up and makes me feel a little less alone in this.  She's got an army behind her!

I get up early enough to give her a bath, do a trach change and take a shower myself.  She wasn't allowed to eat solids, so we were trying to give her some apple juice here and there.  I start packing her bag, followed by my bag.  I spent time straightening my hair... that's always the easiest solution for me when I know a morning shower won't be available and I need non-Ursula hair.  I made myself a tomato/avocado/cucumber sandwich and packed carrots and ranch dressing to snack on today.  I was proud of myself.  I got out the door right when I wanted to, 10:45 on the dot.  I needed to be at Children's at 12:30 but I knew I needed to stop and get gas first.  After the crazy that was yesterday, I was proud of my accomplishment to get out of the house on time and with everything I needed for an overnight hospital stay.

We made our hour long drive up to Milwaukee.  It was a peaceful ride, filled with some good music and fairly easy traffic.  Mallory took a nice nap too.  Check in at day surgery was short and sweet.  I answered all the questions and signed the consents.  I had Mal's go bag ready and her g-tube attachment all ready for her goofy juice.  I like when things roll nice and smooth.  And she was just chillin'... trying to take off her leg bands and playing with a pack of baby wipes.

Then, the anesthesiologist came in.  He started to tell me that there might be a delay in the surgery.  I was bummed about it, but as long as we still had a green light, I wasn't going to complain.  He explained his part in keeping her comfortable and sleepy and then walked out.

It seemed like forever before anyone came back in again.  I was worried that we'd be sitting there for hours before her surgery.  Then, amazingly only twenty minutes or so later, her hand surgeon came in.  He checked out her fingers and explained what he'd be doing.  She so nicely pushed his hands away each time.  Sassy pants.  As he was leaving the room he said, "shouldn't be too long now".  Famous. Last. Words.

We sat there for about another 45 minutes.  Mind you, Mallory hasn't eaten all day long.  She's getting tired.  She's getting angry.  I tried to hold her but she was gouging me with her evil witch finger nails.  The nurse would bring her some toys which would entertain her for a few minutes but then she'd just try to drop them through the prison bars.  She tried to choose this moment in time to learn how to roll.  I don't know if she was trying to escape, to make herself as thin as possible and slide through the bars... but of course I had to take a picture.  What it really boils down to though is that I felt so sorry for my little lady.  A little less when she repeatedly slapped me in the face, but yea... even then.

The nurse walked by our room and saw me bouncing Mallory on my hip.  She told me I could walk her around the hallway to give her a new view while we waited.  So I did that.  She seemed to perk up being able to look at some new things.  We went for a walk down the hall and as we were turning around to come back, I saw her surgeon and the ICU surgeon.  I'm not gonna lie.  They didn't look like they had a happy note to share.

They both explained that although the surgical team was all ready for her, there had been some unexpected intensive care patients admitted.  Which left Mallory with no bed post surgery.  Because she has a trach, she has to be in the ICU to recover.  "So it was a bad note." (Adam Sandler.. The Wedding Singer.)

I don't know if I was just feeling tired or my contacts were bothering me or if I was really weepy, but my eyes felt quite watery.  I tried my best not to cry.  After all, this wasn't anything life or death.  We just needed to reschedule.  Everything that leads up to these surgeries though always takes so much effort and planning, I think I felt really defeated with the news.  Mallory's face in this photo says it all.

An ICU lead coordinator (I think) came down and talked to me as well.  Apologized again and asked me if there was anything she could do or if I had questions.  Hmmm... yes?  Can you feed us?  Can I get like 20 bucks for gas?  Can you just please, please find her a bed so we don't have to drive all the way back home?  "No, no worries... these things happen."  That's what I said.  Or at least the gist of it.  She thanked me for not being angry.  I told her angry does no one any good.  I asked her if I was good to go and we left that place.

Is that the end of my troubled day?  No.  Only minor things came after that, but it was some salt in my open wounds.  I missed my exit on the high way because of a stupid construction detour.  I'm not quite sure how far that put me out of my way but it felt like the longest drive home ever (and I hadn't peed since 12:15 which my bladder was truly upset about).  Then, my 16 year old son called me to ask when my eight year old should get off the bus.  Usually it's like 3:50ish, but it was already 4:15 and he still wasn't home.  I called the school who told me that there was a new bus driver and I should call the bus company.  Well, on that phone call, I missed another exit because I couldn't listen to my GPS.  Fun stuff.  When I finally got home, I started to unload all of our meticulously packed things only to find that the bowl of oatmeal I had prepped for her breakfast in the morning had lost it's lid and was now spreading all over the bottom of her bag.  Yep.  True story.

To sum it up... this has been the most exciting two days of my entire life.  Let's hope next time is just as much fun?

(P.S.  Some have been asking about a rescheduled surgery date.  I don't have it yet.  Hopefully I'll have some kind of idea tomorrow or by the end of the week at the latest.  I'll keep everyone posted!

P.P.S.  No children went missing in the making of this blog.  They all made it home safe and sound... both times!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just Us Girls (& Cap'n Jack)

For a few years now I've tolerated an event my husband attends called MFC.  I'm not even going to begin discussing what that stands for but basically he gets together with his brothers, cousins and guy friends at the cabin up in Minocqua and in a nutshell they pretty much act like boobs.  Every year when MFC rolls around, I roll my eyes.  But that's a story for them to tell (which they won't).  I'll just talk about the girls.

This year, we decided a girls weekend was in order.  We titled it 'FEMFC' until a new name came about.  The weekend was set in September (next year it needs to be in a warmer month) and we knew we all needed it.  I sure as crap know I did.

I ended up driving up a little earlier then the rest of the clan.  Yea, that's how much I needed to get out.  My husband came home from work and I basically said, "Peace out.".  It was my first drive to the cabin on my own.  It was at night and I was terrified.  The cabin is in a woodsy location.  I've heard bear stories.  I don't know if any neighbors were really around.  I made it at around 11pm that night.  I parked as close to the house as I could get with out my car actually being in it and I left my bags in the trunk because I was too scared to take the time to get them out.  No, no, instead I curled up on the couch inside and prayed for morning to come quickly.  While watching 'Mean Girls' on my iPhone.  Who doesn't want to fall asleep to 'Mean Girls'?

Morning rolled around and I took it all in.  I walked to the end of the pier and fawned over the beautiful fall colors.  After all the fawning, I decided to go to the store for some groceries where I got in trouble with my sister in law, Nora, (via text) for considering serving spaghetti for dinner instead of macaroni and cheese and cinnamon rolls... oh... and beer.  She told me to stop being such a mom.  Which is what I totally needed!  It's so hard to shut it off!

Once everyone started showing up, we started doing all the drinking.  Drinking and sitting on the pier.  The drinking is fun.  Especially when you use a shoe as a cup holder.

I learned about preparing watermelon vodka.  (Friggin' delicious by the way... I highly recommend it.)

Uncle Jack arrived to keep an eye on us trouble makers and we were able to take a nice boat ride.

 I'm fairly certain this is the last photo of Nora with her burglar hat too.

Despite the cold weather, out came the wet suits and some water fun.  I did get in a wet suit as well, but I do not yet have evidence of it... it's out there somewhere.  There was dancing on the raft.  Very good dancing.  Artistic stuff.

There was this... I think I was calling myself Jay Cutler and throwing a beer at someone.

And there was this.  No idea why we were wearing the orange hats.  I vaguely remember a discussion about it.  Apparently it was the cool thing to do.

Come evening, we had some dinner.  Lots of mac n' cheese.  Uncle Jack convinced some of us to go to the casino.  I walked in with $40 and left with $.35.  Not so great, but still fun.  I enjoyed learning all about the slots.  Once we got back from that, I went to sit down on the couch to rest my eyes for a moment and I did not wake up until morning.  I think someone tried to wake me but I was dead to the world.

The next day was filled with more drinking.  Why not?  No kids.  No responsibilities.  Bring on the booze!  We had breakfast at Bunyans and then Uncle Jack took us on a three hour tour.  It was pretty cool, but I think it got cut short because us boozin' ladies needed a pee pee break.

Our Saturday afternoon rounded out with some water sports.  Not me... I stayed in the boat taking all the photos.  It looked like tons of fun though... really.

We also got an early fire started.  I think I love Minocqua campfires more than anything else.  So relaxing!

I think dinner that night involved some pizza?  Maybe?  Dessert was a happy birthday song in cinnamon rolls to my soon to be sister in law, Kira.  The cinnamon rolls, of course, got toasted on the fire afterwards... because us ladies dare to boldly go where no one has gone.

Aunt Marilou joined us later that night and we played Cards Against Humanity.  BEST GAME EVER!!  I have no photos of this, but it was seriously awesome and I think I need to buy that game and throw a party just to play that game.

We all headed back home before noon on Sunday.  Not with out some finale photos though.  To document our first girls weekend.  Which has been renamed to FBD weekend.  I'm so glad we were able to come up with our own name!  FBD...  stands for 'Farts Be Damned' and it all started with a bag of chips.  That's all I have to say about that.

This was an awesome weekend and I can't wait until next year to do it again!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear Thankful Mom...

I'm writing this blog as somewhat of a response to a blog I've seen floating around my Facebook news feed.  I know some may roll their eyes because I guess I always have something to say... but hey, you don't have to read it!  In case you haven't seen the blog I'm talking about, you can read it here: Dear Stay-At-Hom-Moms, Please Shut Up.

Although I understand the premise of the point she wanted to get across, she did it in such a selfish, self absorbed and high and mighty way that I don't even know if I can take her seriously.  I even hope that she was hired to write that article just to stir up controversy.  That would be more understandable than her close minded point of view.

So what was the premise?  Well, I think she was trying to say that there are many moms out there that have to spread themselves very thin.  They work full time, put kids in daycare and hope to squeeze in some time with their kids before tucking them into bed.  They miss out on lots of firsts, like first steps, first words, maybe even a first lost tooth.  You know, those milestones we, as parents, all hope to witness for the first time.

For single working moms, time gets spread even more thin.  No one to help cook dinner.  No one to feed the kids in the morning so you can get a quick shower in.  You have to take time off of work if a child is sick.  You have to be mom and dad on so many occasions.

Both of those positions are very hard to be in and it's a legitimately good reason to sometimes not want to hear griping from other moms that maybe don't have to spread life so thin.  However, that doesn't mean the stay at home mom might not have it just as rough, but for different reasons.  For the author of the blog I posted above, it seems to be her theory that working moms have more of a right to complain than stay at home moms.  Or I'd even go as far as to say that she believes they don't complain nearly as much.  Some say she's talking about just being happy and content with the life we have, but I'm sure not even she can say that it's just that easy.  Just because people complain sometimes, it doesn't mean they aren't grateful for the life they have.

What are my thoughts on this topic and her blog?  I say, who cares what she thinks?  There are so many different types of moms out there... so many different types of parents.  There are so many types of situations that who is she to judge one person or another?

I've been in a few different boats.  I've been a working mom with a partner.  I've been a single working mom.  I'm currently a stay at home mom.  All positions have griping rights.

When I was a single working mom, I went through all the things I listed a few paragraphs up.  I had to play many roles (just like a stay at home mom).  I was the chef, I was the boo boo kisser, I was the chauffeur (to and from babysitters or doctors appointments or on a good day something fun), I was the bread winner, I was the banker, I was the maid, I was the shopper... there was a lot on my resume.

As a married working mom, guess what?  My resume wasn't much different.  I still did most of those things.  I just had an extra set of hands.  But they weren't my hands.  I still wished there was two of me to get everything done.  I also worked an overnight shift, so I had to do it all on little sleep.  I did this up until I had three kids and decided to stop working right before I became pregnant with number four.

So my husband and I decided it was best for me to stay home.  My resume was still the same (although I had to remove the bread-winner part).  My job hours have increased though.  I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  When the kids are sick, I stay up and hold the buckets or sleep on the couch with them so my husband can sleep since he has to work.  I pay the bills and make the doctors appointments.  I talk to every teacher that calls me.  I do a lot.  I'm the face of this family.  I get exhausted sometimes.  When my husband was out of work, I went back out and started working again until he could find something.  My husband will never deny how hard I work and try to keep our family running.  Now he has a job where he travels.  When schedules are normal, he's gone every other week.  Which means I go back to being a single parent during that time.  No extra hands, still working 24 hours a day.  I also have two kids with special needs.  God forbid my daughter, who has a tracheostomy, gets sick and ends up in the hospital.  Then I'm trying to be super mom from an hour away for sometimes 7 days straight.  Despite how hard it is though, I am very grateful for the blessings God gave me.

Do I do some complaining?  Of course I do.  Being a mom (any type of mom) is often a thankless job.  It's hard work.  So is being a dad.  Or a grandparent caring for a grandchild.  Or an aunt or uncle that steps into the parent role.  Parenting isn't easy.  Kids can be frustrating little creatures.  No one's life is perfect.  Mine definitely isn't.  So I allow myself the right to gripe.  I tend to keep most of the griping to under my breath mumbles but sometimes it builds up and I burst.  It happens.

Being a stay at home mom for me is very hard.  There are days I'd love to have some interaction from humans that aren't shorter than me.  There are days I feel very lonely.  There are days I just want to scream at the top of my lungs.  There are days I get no 'thank you's".  I can do this job though and do it well.  There are many rewarding things.  I love my family.  I love the laughs we get to have.  I love watching my kids grow and learn.  I love being a mom and I don't take it for granted.  There are days you will catch me talking about how blessed I am and there are days you might just see me feeling defeated.

At the end of the day there are all types of moms out there with their own struggles.  It matters not what the role is in the household.  Some working moms wish they could stay home and some stay at home moms wish they could be working.  We shouldn't be judging each other or situations we may not know everything about.  We should be open to hearing each others' stories and be willing to be comforting.  We should feel like we have support no matter what we are all going through, happy or sad.

This is plain and simple.  It's called Motherhood.  It's our jobs to be accepting.  After all, we have to be able to teach it to our children too so they can become open minded and accepting human beings.  Listen to your fellow mothers out there.  Be supportive and non judgmental.  We all need a shoulder to lean on every once in a while.  That's what helps us be content and happy, knowing there is someone there to help hold us up when we need it the most.

I would hate to know that someone I thought of as a friend and shared frustrations with would turn around and write about how I should just shut up.  I wouldn't deny anyone the right to do some complaining.  I wouldn't make anyone feel badly about struggling a little bit and needing to get it off their chest.  Because that's really what the author is getting at right?  She opens the door, allows "a friend" to sit down at her kitchen table and listens to whining?  Whining that is unjustified because that person should feel lucky that they aren't a working mom?

Listen here, unjustified whiner with an apparently bad friend who is using your complaining against you, my kitchen table is always open.  And I don't care if you are a working mom, a stay at home mom or a stay at home dad or even if you don't have kids and need to get something off of your chest.  I will listen and do my best to help you.  I don't know... I guess that's just the mother in me.