Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Good News/Bad News

So the good news is there is nothing broken in my rib/back area. I have a pretty badly pulled muscled in my lower back but no bones are involved.

More good news is that Cedar Point is still on for next week. The doctor said that movement is the best thing I can do for my poor strained muscles and so walk I will.

One more bit of good news is that it doesn’t hurt my back when I throw up.

The bad news is that I know that it doesn’t hurt to throw up because the medicine the doctor gave me for inflammation and pain has made me throw up.

I’m not planning to take any more of that medicine.

I will continue to use a heating pad, change positions often and have fun at Cedar Point but medicine? Is not going to be taken.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We're a Mess Over Here

When I hobbled into the house yesterday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was Alyssa’s left eye. It was red and puffy. Not horribly swollen but definitely noticeable.

Because she’s Alyssa, she’d been putting a cold pack on her eye all day, wiping the gunk out of the corner every fifteen minutes or so and basically over-reacting to what might have been a leaky eye on someone else.

She does this about everything. And it’s fine, really, because she tends to take care of herself and so while it amuses me to see her with her entire foot wrapped from toes to mid-shin because she ‘kicked’ a wall while doing a handstand at a friend’s house, it doesn’t really affect me because she doesn’t expect me to baby her ‘injuries’ because she’s perfectly capable of babying her own injuries.

So yeah, her eye was a little swollen. She told me she’d woken up to find it matted with dried goo. Ick!

We put some allergy eye drops in her eye and she continued to ice it for the night.

She woke up this morning with a VERY swollen and red eye. But, she declared that it actually felt better than it had yesterday so we’re playing it by ear.

After she’d given me all the details on her eye issue, Alyssa informed me that Tom took a nap yesterday afternoon. Well, okay. Whatever. He’s allowed to take a nap. It’s not like the girls are five and one and need constant supervision.

He mentioned that an injury he sustained last Friday while at the lake (he was playing in the water with the girls and was, well, he was showing off and hit his head on the bottom of the lake while doing backward somersaults in the water) had moved from just a stiff neck to his shoulders.

So the nap was warranted. He declared that while yes, his neck and shoulders were stiff, he wasn’t nearly as injured at I am (you know, what with the stabbing pain in my back when I take a deep breath) and so he made dinner last night for all of us.

Olivia, on the other hand, is hale and hearty. But she can’t stand being left out so she declared that while rubbing her eye, she must have scratched her tear duct because her eye hurt too!

I hugged her and kissed the corner of her eye and told her that I was sure her eye would feel better in the morning. She assured me that if Lyssie’s eye was better in the morning, then HER eye would be better too. Okay, so she didn’t actually say that but we all know that’s how these things work.

Monday, July 18, 2016

And So He's Building New Stairs

The humidity around here finally dropped from 99.9% (it wasn’t quite raining) to a mile 50% over this past weekend.

I decided that since it didn’t feel like we were breathing through a wet cloth, it was a good time to paint Alyssa’s dressers, something I’ve planned to do for, oh, two years. I know, please don’t judge.

Anyway, I pulled the drawers out of the dressers, emptied them onto the floor (yeah, brilliant, huh?) and then Alyssa and I lugged the dressers down the stairs, through the kitchen and into the garage. I made another trip up the stairs to start bringing down the empty drawers and on my way up for the second of what I knew would be at least three batches of drawers, I enlisted Lyss’s help again because, yeah, I didn’t want to make a third trip up those stairs.

We gathered the drawers. She picked up two and I managed to carry the last three and we headed down.

We made it to the kitchen where Lyss opened the door to the garage and I started out.

And that’s when I slipped going down the garage stairs and landed in a pile of tangled legs and dresser drawers.

Tom was in the garage at the time and shouted in alarm. He moved the drawers off me so I could gingerly start to stand up and assess any potential injuries.

He asked me if my head hurt. I told him it didn’t and asked why he wanted to know. He said he’d seen my head bounce off the wall as I fell.

I couldn’t feel any pain in my head because the worst pain I felt was in my left lower back. There was a shooting, burning pain there. I asked Tom and Alyssa if I’d scraped up my back on the way down the stairs.

They both assured me there were no marks but taking the steps back up to go sit down, I knew I’d hurt my back pretty badly.

Yeah, for the rest of Saturday night, I was pretty much glued to the giant recliner in our living room. I knew I’d have to get up at some point to use the bathroom but each time I tried (before I actually HAD to get up) the pain sat me right back down again.

Finally, there was no question. I HAD to get up and it took some time, a few gasps of air and a lot of grimaces of pain but I made it to the bathroom.

After doing pretty much everything Saturday evening, Tom decided to take a trip to Menard’s on Sunday. He’s going to build new steps in the garage, you see.

Why? Well, because I didn’t fall just because I’m a clumsy fool. Yes, I am a clumsy fool but that’s not the only reason I fell. I fell because the idiot who owned our house before we did built stupid stairs in the garage. The stairs are three steps high. The first step down from the landing of the stairs is about four inches. The next step down is about eight inches and the last step to the garage floor is something like ten inches. So yeah, it’s just a fall waiting to happen; but especially when you’re carrying something big and cumbersome and can’t watch the stairs to gage where to put your foot next.

Tom’s planning to build nice normal stairs that have seven or eight inches steps from top to bottom. His OCD demands uniformity and when it comes to stairs, I’m kind of glad he’s all about being precise.

So I’ll just be over there in the recliner while he saws and hammers and glues and builds. He’s a good guy, that Tom is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

When Lyss Is Away

“I miss my friends,” Alyssa lamented last weekend.

I asked her, “What are you going to do about that?”

She gave me a thoughtful look and then grabbed her phone. One guess as to whether she called or texted her friends. Yeah, that’s right. She let her fingers to the talking and managed to get something planned for Tuesday at her friend Sabrina’s house.

Thankfully, Sabrina’s parents are awesome and don’t mind having three extra teenage girls descend upon their house at the spur of the moment.

So Sabrina’s big brother picked Lyss and their other friend Trixie and off they went for the day and night.

When I got home, Tom mentioned that Olivia had been especially destructive without the ever present gaze of her sister to keep her out of trouble.

Of course, in Liv’s defense, when you leave a nine year old alone in the house for up to fifteen minutes at a time (he was outside working on ‘projects’, which deserve a post of their very own) and that nine year old just KNOWS there is candy in the house, you can’t really blame her for seeking it out and eating ALL THE PIECES while Dad’s outside.

I mean, right?

I decided that what Miss O needed (other than more diligent supervision) was a distraction from the fact that her sister was off having loads of fun without her.

So I did a quick search on the hours the local community pool is open, found that it has evening hours, 6pm to 8pm and it only costs $1 to get in during those hours and it was settled. Olivia and I were going swimming. That would show her sister for taking off with friends and leaving us behind.

One benefit, in Olivia’s eyes, to going swimming is that she gets my constant attention the entire time we’re in the water. I mean, duh. The pool, at its shallow end is three and a half feet. Olivia is now four feet seven inches tall, so she does very well in the area of the pool that is four feet deep but it’s very easy to wander into the deeper water and even though there are five life guards at that pool, well, I’m the mama, it’s my job to pay attention to my child while she’s submerged in four feet of water.

So we swam and played and enjoyed one on one time together. And then we went home, had dinner and Liv was sound asleep by 8:30. All that candy combined with sunshine and swimming really knocked her out.

For the record, we did invite Tom to join us, but his ‘projects’ required that he go to Menards when I got home, which is west of our house, while the pool is east. Maybe next time he and Lyssie can join us for a family swim. If not, I’m sure Olivia would be willing to join me anytime. She’s still young enough to not be embarrassed to swim with Mom.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Always Amazing

Yesterday was the second Sunday in July, which, duh, means that we attended Tom’s family reunion. It was the 91st reunion of Ezra and Elizabeth Ordinary’s descendants. Tom’s father was a grandson to Ezra and Elizabeth. So that makes Tom their great grandson and our girls are their great great granddaughters; kind of awesome when you think about it that way, huh?

Over the past few years, Tom’s older sisters have lamented that the kids at today’s reunions aren’t are involved at they were when they (the sisters) were involved. They reminisce fondly about the old days when the kids put on a talent show for the adult attendees.

This year, a couple of months ago, Tom suggested to Alyssa that she take her flute to the reunion. She rolled her eyes at him (have I mentioned she’s thirteen?) but then about a week later, I hear her practicing The Star Spangled Banner. She practiced on both her flute and on her piccolo.

As the weeks flew by, she practiced a little less because suddenly gymnastics were at the forefront of her mind. She’s been stretching her muscles instead of playing her flute.

But at the beginning of this week, Olivia reminded Lyss that the reunion was just a few days away.

Lyss asked Tom if he was serious about her playing at the reunion and this time, it was his turn to roll his eyes. “Of course I was serious,” he told her.

So with just a few days before the reunion, she started practicing again. This time, she only practiced on the flute. She explained, “Tiberius (the piccolo) is just so high pitched that every little mistake is very obvious.”

Ha! So she became acquainted with her flute all over again and remembered who much she loves it.

At the reunion yesterday, several people asked about the music stand that Tom carried from his van. He would smile and give a vague shrug.

Finally all the food was eaten, Tom had taken care of the business part of the reunion and one of his sisters piped up, “We need these kids to entertain us!”

Laughter filtered through the pavilion and Tom replied, “Funny you should mention that.”

He looked at Lyss, who opened her flute case, put her flute together and set up her music.

And the crowd went silent as she played the national anthem with nary a mistake to be heard.

The applause when she finished was huge. She couldn’t keep the smile off her face. Her confidence when she’s playing amazes me. I love to see her do something she knows she does well. I love that she’s so willing to practice hard to learn the music and then wants to perform for others so they can enjoy the fruits of her labors.

As she cleaned her flute and put it away, so many extended family members came up to her to thank her for playing and to tell her how well she’d done.

My shy girl, the one about whom it was noted when she went to kindergarten testing, “Will not speak.”

That very girl smiled at people who may be related even if somewhat distantly but are mostly strangers for the most part, and thanked them…with words.

Even the twelve year old son of a cousin (which, yes, makes him Lyss’s first cousin once removed but whatever) came up to her and said, “Wow, you just played high school music. That was great.”

Then he mentioned that he plays the tenor sax. I suggested he bring his sax next year and he kind of shrugged. I guess we’ll see.

For now I’m going to bask in my girl’s success. She’s always been amazing. This weekend she got to be amazing in front of more people than just me, her dad and her sister. That’s pretty cool.

Friday, July 8, 2016


So in the two weeks since O’s surgery, I never mentioned that walking into the surgery center with her, being bombarded with the smells that only exist in a hospital setting, actually managed to take me back nine plus years to those days she spent in the NICU.

I honestly thought I was past it.

I mean, even the Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes barely registered last year.

But that day, with that girl holding my hand and trusting me as I walked her into the surgery center, I was jolted back to when she was a five pound infant in an isolette. I pictured so clearly the day when she was three or four days old and needed a new IV. It took three nurses to hold her down and several nurses tried to get that IV in as she fought and screamed and kicked and all I could do was hold my hand on her head, a simple touch to let her know I was there.

One of the nurses at that point told me I didn’t have to be there for that. I clenched my teeth together and replied, “She has to go through it, so do I.”

And here we were again, assaulted by the smells, the sounds of a hospital. I was leaving my baby in the hands of doctors and nurses who were going to hurt her in an effort to make her better.

For about two minutes, it was awful. I fought the panic I felt rising in my chest. But then the receptionist called my name, I did all the paperwork and we waited all of half a minute before O was called back for the first step of the procedure.

At that point, she was nine year old Olivia again. She was smiley and cute and being silly. She wasn’t that tiny baby who cried like a kitten. And I wasn’t the mom who had to leave the hospital without her every single day

But I guess it never really goes away. That trauma our family experienced all those years ago is still there, buried by the minutia of day to day life, waiting to be triggered by something like a smell, or a snack cake or even just a song that played on the radio during those daily drives to the hospital when she was incarcerated in the NICU.

I do find it interesting that I wasn’t triggered by the smells when we took Alyssa in for her tonsillectomy four years ago. I mean, obviously, I get it. I get that Alyssa’s surgery didn’t trigger me the way Olivia’s did because Alyssa never spent time in the hospital. I never had to leave her there, alone, in the care of strangers while I went home and just…waited.

So yes, the trigger wasn’t just the smell, it was the fact that I was hit by the smell while holding Olivia’s hand, preparing to hand her over. I knew I wouldn’t leave that hospital that day without her. I knew it was a routine procedure that would be over quickly and we’d take our girl home with us that very same day.

I knew all this in my head but my heart was transported back nine and a half years to those days when I did have to leave her; when I wasn’t in control of her care. And it was kind of awful even though it only lasted a few minutes.

Triggers…you never know when they’re going to be pulled, when you’re going to be hit in the solar plexus with a memory you didn’t even realize you still had access to, that you thought you’d buried deep in the archives of your brain.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Two Weeks

We are exactly two weeks out from Olivia’s tonsillectomy. She hit a wall last week right around day eight. She napped for several days in a row, her appetite dwindled and she started sucking on (wiping the inside of her mouth? Who knows what she was doing) wash cloths. We went through about three hundred wash cloths in the span of about four days.

Then, on Monday, Olivia declared her own independence. She woke up HUNGRY. She told me she didn’t need medicine. She ate well at all three meals and asked for snacks throughout the day. She decided to forgo a nap in favor of watching a parade. She danced and sang and ran around with her sister.

I don’t know if I kept track of Alyssa’s tonsil journey but O’s seems pretty normal so far. We managed to avoid any tonsil bleeds (those things sound SCARY), infection, dehydration, and any of the many other things that can go wrong after this surgery.

Even the smell this time around seems less intense than when Lyss’s tonsils came out. Of course, Miss A refused to eat for the first four days after her surgery. Olivia, on the other hand, ate PIZZA about six hours after surgery. She’s a trooper, I tell you.

After two days with no pain medication, Olivia did come to me last night and let me know her jaw was hurting. I hugged her and then took her to the kitchen where her meds were still on the counter. As I poured the medicine for her, I said, “Well, you have been eating a lot these past couple of days, you’re jaw is probably sore from all the chewing.”

She grinned even as she took the medicine.

At this point, I can honestly say that I’m glad we went ahead with surgery. I am hopeful that this will make third grade better for her, with fewer illnesses, fewer missed days of school, less time spent at Urgent Care.

I didn’t have quite as much guilt this time around as I did when Alyssa went through surgery and the recovery involved in a tonsillectomy but this time around, I had the anecdotal experience we’d had with Alyssa. I knew the pain wouldn’t last forever. I knew the smell would dissipate. I knew that she’d heal and we’d move on, leaving this moment in time behind us, memories to be dusted off every so often but mostly regarded as a blip on the radar of her life.