Over the weekend…

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I tried to write this last night, but kept finding roadblocks, not “feeling” the message I wanted to convey. I began reading old blogs from every year on or around her birthday, hoping for inspiration, and realizing, I’ve told her birth story about four of the five years I’ve written a blog. Sorry! So today, you get the party review and a reminder, my doll has grown into a really neat young lady, who blesses our family, every second of every day. Happy ‘Sweet Sixteen’ Birthday doll!

*****

On Saturday evening, we welcomed many of my doll’s friends to a party celebrating her “Sweet Sixteen” birthday; which in reality, happens to be today.  On Monday following school I asked her, “Did your friends have anything to say about Saturday night?” Hoping to hear glowing reviews for all our many efforts. “They said they had fun…” She replied and internally, I was jumping for joy.

They had fun. Who knew trying to motivate fourteen girls to giggle and laugh was sooo stressful? But I digress.

What they had the most fun doing? Sitting and asking “Alexa” to play old nursery rhymes, and then singing along to them. Not quite understanding this, I simply shook my head and took pictures. After all, this was the doll’s friends and party, not mine. After a while they discovered the air hockey, foosball and marble soccer games available and began to play them in a rowdy manner.

My favorite remark? One girl playing foosball, whose sole job was as the goal keeper and failed miserably lamented, “Now you understand why I’m not an athletic type person…” much to the delight and laughter from all the girls in the room.

When all was said and done, and the girls parents arrived to take them home, the doll thanked me for time and money put into hosting these girls. She was happy and surprised by the many presents (especially when she specifically asked for no presents from her friends) and the time she had to feel appreciated by all of them.

All in all… the party was a great success.

But, in the grand scheme of things, while she had fun, the party did nothing to advance her own standing with her friends. That’s something she has to work on day in and day out on her own. When we talked about the party Sunday afternoon, she mused about what a great bunch of girls she’s found herself in. “I’m not sure what I did to deserve all of them…” She said, almost without thinking. “Maybe a compatriot…” I offered and she looked at me oddly. Maybe, because you tend to see everyone for their value, not based on popularity or looks; you’ve landed in a group that does the same with you,” I explained. She mulled my thought over for a minute or so before semi-agreeing, “Perhaps…” and then dropped the subject all together.

 

 

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Contemplations 4

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This whole ordeal is giving me a headache! What’s more, every so often I find myself checking my peripheral vision, to make sure it’s still there…which gives me a headache. It’s like cracking your knuckles, both equally annoying.

Following my doctor’s appointment, my husband and I sat down to discuss my options. “She’s written orders for a carotid artery sonogram as well as a brain scan to make sure there isn’t something besides my very little brain growing in there…”I explained. “Okay.” “She also suggested I see an Ophthalmologist too, which could be the less expensive way to go,” I added. “Marsh, regardless the cost, if our insurance approves the tests, I think we should go through with them. The last thing we want to do is bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best,” He said and I nodded in agreement. “I guess, I’m never meant to get out of debt…” I lamented, knowing the high costs for these tests. “We’re working middle class…name any one of our friends who have,” he replied, which to be honest bothered me. He was being far too sensible–something, I believed to be completely out of character for him. “Any idea how I’m not supposed to stress eat between now and then?” I asked. “We’ll all go clean…” He said and the doll, with her acute hearing from the next room chimed in with her concurrence.

As luck would have it, I managed to get an appointment with the Ophthalmologist before the other two tests. After conferring with my older sisters, I was convinced the Dr. would find any number of problems with my eyes, simply based on family history. “I feel confident he’s going to tell you you are related to Joyce and Tom (parents), my sister Carol convinced. Both parents suffered from floaters,  macular puckers and degeneration, not to mention glaucoma.

Okay this is getting weird. I mean, which choice is better? Knowing that you’re slowly going blind or that you may have a tumor or something growing/pressing against your optic nerve or in your brain? Am I supposed to sound happy if he tells me he’s found something or be sad that he hasn’t? This is so damned weird.

After a thorough examination by one of his nurses, the doctor entered the room and we discussed the real reason I was there (besides a bump up in my glass’ prescription). “Do you remember seeing any squiggly lines while this was occurring?” He asked. Taking a moment to reflect, I said, “I don’t think so, but honestly, I don’t remember,” which made me quite disappointed in myself, because I tried to memorize everything that was happening during the last occurrence. “Okay, well, let’s take a look at your eyes…” He said and began additional testing.

After his exam he said, “You have beautiful eyes. No tears, no scar tissue, nothing to suggest you’re on the same paths as your parents…” “Considering I’m… how old am I? Fifty-threeand I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 50, this makes me happy,” I replied. He smiled in return and said, “Yes, only a simple upgrade in your glasses too. You’ve done a great job of taking care of your eyes.” “Okay, so where does this leave me?” I asked. “Are you sure you didn’t see any squiggly lines?” He asked again. Thinking hard I replied, “I’m thinking if anything, they were curly-q type lines? Though, I might be saying this only at the suggestion…” I replied then rationalized my reply. He nodded his head in understanding.

“If you have good insurance, then go ahead and take those other tests. But I think what you had is something called an Ocular Migraine without the headache. Both eyes were probably affected, but because you’re left eye dominant, you only noticed the vision loss in that eye,” he diagnosed. “So, I’ll probably experience this again in the future?” I asked. “Hard to say, but I’m confident this is what you experienced,” he replied before adding, “We see them from time to time.”

When I arrived home, my husband and I discussed the doctor’s explanation. “I think you should get the MRI to cross everything off, before we accept his diagnosis,” My husband said. “I think so too. He said he thought both eyes were probably affected, but I know only my left eye checked out, because I analyzed what was happening and conducted little tests to pinpoint what was going on…” I explained. “So you take the other tests…” My hubby said in a matter of fact tone. “I’ll take the other tests…”

******

“Hello, Marsha? This is Jeanie from Dr. KW’s office and we have received your tests results….” The nurse said on the other end of the line. Taking a deep breath I replied, ‘Oh Hi, okay, what’s the verdict?” “After conferring with the Radiologists suggestion and thoroughly looking over the pictures as well, she’s concluded they are clear. No signs of stroke. Everything looks normal.” “Whoo, well that is good news..” I replied, sporting a grin, before adding, “Thank you for the call”. The nurse probably said “You’re welcome,” but by then, my mind was on cloud nine.

The scary days were behind me…for now.

An Ocular Migraine without a headache… I suppose if I’m going to suffer from migraines, this is the best one to get? Frankly, I’d rather skip the whole thing. After all, while they are happening, they really are quite frightening (especially while driving!!). But in researching them, I’ve found several friends who also suffer from them. Perhaps they aren’t as rare as WebMD suggests… at least that’s my point of view.

An Ocular Migraine without a headache.. crazy.

 

Contemplations (3)

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“Doll, why am I getting text messages from your friends’ parents telling me they’re praying for me?” I asked a bit perturbed. “I asked my friends to keep you in their prayers in case…” she replied. Genuinely touched by my daughter’s concern, I replied, “I’d prefer we keep this close to the vest until we know if their is reason for concern…” Upset with me she replied, “Fine then I’ll never worry about you again!”.

“I wish she didn’t have such acute hearing…” I lamented to her father. “She loves you…” he replied. “Yes, but whatever this is, I don’t need her worries adding to my own.” I replied.

“Okay, this is fairly easy…you lie here and I’ll put this pad underneath your knees to help your back balance,” The technician said as she explained the procedure, “Your only job here is to remain still. I have headphones for music to make the experience a little better, so what kind of music would you like to listen to?” Without much thought I replied, “Classic Rock?” and she offered in return. “60-70’s or 70-90’s?” “70-90’s please,” I replied and a moment later, music quietly began to play as I adjusted my position before the test. “Is the music loud enough?” The technician asked. “Can you raise it up a bit?” I replied. “Sure thing, how about now?” “Fine,” I said, trying my best to settle in. Then as luck would have it, the worst possible song began to play through the headphones. “How am I supposed to stay still to this music?” I thought as the start of Train in Vain, by the Clash began to play through those headphones.

“What do you mean you’re having vision issues?” My doctor asked and I filled her in on my two distinctly different, yet very much the same days of vision loss. “Did you go to the emergency room?” “No…” I began and by the look she was giving me added, “I knew I would see you in a few weeks so…” Shaking her head she replied, “If this ever happens again you go straight to the emergency room, okay?” Nodding my head,  I agreed.  Looking over my chart she added, we tested your cholesterol a year ago and it was great… I don’t understand this, but to be on the safe side, I’m going to insist you have some tests done, to be sure there isn’t something, an anomaly maybe, that we just can’t see. I would also recommend you see an Ophthalmologist too. They might have a better idea of what’s causing this to happen.

If I were someone afraid of confined spaces, I could understand why people don’t like MRI’s. The noises alone are enough to make you go nuts. “Instead of music, I should have asked to hook up my Rosary recitation, at least then the time would be more productive,” I thought as I let my mind wander. “Not to mention, the rosary wouldn’t give me a notion to tap my toes or head bang every few minutes…”

Finally, thirty minutes of bangs, bumps, beeps and a general feel of lying still inside a loud washing machine, the tests came to a close. “You’ll need to drink plenty of water to wash the contrasting dye out of your system. It generally takes two visits to the bathroom, before all the dye is out…” The technician informed, as I exited the room to get redressed and meet my husband in the waiting room. We had a breakfast date to attend to.

 

contemplations, a series (2)

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Last week it was, “Turn your head to the left and relax then after a minute or so it was turn your head to the right. A perfect opportunity to scratch an itchy back then. But no, it only itches on the day when I’m not supposed to move. Pretend it doesn’t itch. Think about something else. Think about… anything other than why you’re here…”

Sometimes when hanging out with Mrs. K, while she works the daily crossword puzzle, I’ll read the front section of her newspaper. On one of these occasions this past November, I noticed all of a sudden, I could not read. At first I joked, “Well, that copy editor needs to be fired, he forgot the first part of the word…” pointing to the headline. Setting her crossword puzzle aside, Mrs. K took a gander at what I was reading and replied, “That headline isn’t missing any letters…”

“What……

                                                         the…….

                                                                                                            _______?”

I thought to myself.

Instead of arguing with her, I lifted my left hand and placed it over my left eye, while simultaneously, re-reading the newspaper headline and watched as the missing letters came into focus. In an attempt to tamp down my fear, I thought to myself, “Memorize this so you can answer all questions honestly,” then began to document what was happening. “My left peripheral vision was gone, while my right side was still intact. I didn’t have a headache and it wasn’t immediately noticeable until I tried to read something. Hence, I couldn’t pinpoint how long this phenomenon had been going on. When my full vision finally returned, I barely noticed“.

Later, after my eyesight had returned,  I looked up causes for “Temporary blindness” from my smartphone and three different sites suggested I was having a stroke.

“A STROKE? I’m not having a STROKE…. am I?”

Immediately, I stuck out my tongue and noticed it came out straight-not sideways as the early Stroke indicator tests usually suggest. But something was happening…and now it had happened twice.

Following work I mentioned to my husband my fun little freak out and he asked, “Were you having a stroke?” Looking back at him in wonder I replied, “Not according to my tongue…” “You really need to discuss this with your doctor…” He replied and I agreed. Fortunately for me, I had an appointment scheduled fairly soon.

contemplations, a series… (1)

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Okay, all I have to do is lie still…so of course my back itches…oh and it’s one of those bad itches that begs to find a door frame to rub against. Why didn’t this itch ten minutes ago when my husband was handy? Well at least I don’t have to pee…. damnit, why did I think that? Ugh…

Last Summer, Mr. L and I sat on his front porch looking at my laptop. It was a beautiful day with the sun high in the sky, only silver streaks from distant airplanes dotting the skyscape. While we looked, I had a momentary thought that maybe the sun’s reflection off my laptop could maybe harm my eyes.

A few hours later, Mr. L and I were parked outside the high school waiting for the kids dismissal when I looked at the building and noticed something wrong. “Well this is odd…” I thought to myself. The school name, which can be plainly seen across the front entrance, seemed to be missing the first part of it’s name. “What the heck?” I thought, as I looked away, then back at the building, yet achieving the same bad result time and time again. Then I rubbed my eyes, believing I was tired and this could help. It didn’t.

As you might surmise, I tried my best not to freak out (though I really wanted to). I had a man with dementia seated next to me and two high school students getting into my car and expecting a ride home. Freaking out, much like other mother’s work, was not an option. So, I pretended everything was fine and began to drive home, praying my lack of vision wouldn’t induce an accident. Thankfully, somewhere along the way, my full vision returned (almost without notice).

Thinking maybe that laptop reflection somehow screwed up my vision,  I made a vow to never look at my laptop in the sun again.

Then six or so months later, when I lost my vision again, my laptop was no where in site.

 

The pusher…

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve pushed my son.

When he was small, these pushes manifested as gentle loving nudges, inviting him to take his first steps. Or as a push on a swing to elicit screams of laughter and joy. Then there were the pushes that hovered between delight and fear, say as the first time he rode his bike without training wheels. With each push I gave to him, my hope was to help him achieve a goal and reach greater heights than first imagined. Giving my son a push back then was easy and nurturing for both of us.

Giving him pushes now…. well, not so much.

“I love you so much, but you drive me absolutely nuts!” The boy said to me as we hugged goodbye in his dorm room. “I know bay, I just want you to succeed,” I replied with my hug. “I know…but your tactics leave much to be desired…” He replied and I knew he was right. The time had now arrived for me to back away and allow him to push himself toward success.

But knowing so and doing are two completely different animals.

You see, the night before he returned to school, I let into him for his slow approach to finishing some school work, “You’re aiming for this to be one (year) and done for this school if you don’t get your head on straight!” I yelled. Instead of replying, he only looked back at me as if I was a crazy person–which didn’t sit well with me. “Why are you wasting time sitting on your ass? You should be writing your professor about the paper and….” I continued to badger him.

Of course, I had good reason to be concerned…when he put all sorts of worry into our heads at the end of his first semester of school…

“Mom, I’ve decided to turn in my report unfinished…” He texted me the night before the report was due. “What?” I replied. “I’ve been wracking my brain trying to finish this report and I’m one article down. But I’ve decided to let that one article go because otherwise, I’ll be up all night and unprepared for my other exam tomorrow.” “Bay, how much time were you given to complete this assignment?” I replied. “That doesn’t matter. What matters now is having peace of mind to study for that other class. Mom, I’m not happy with these turn of events, because I like going to school here and I want to stay here. I promise next semester, I’ll work harder on staying focused on deadlines…”

He also arrived home hoping to finish up his class observations at two area schools (he failed to complete at school), only to be thwarted by winter weather, resulting in an Incomplete grade for the class.  So you see, the mom in me kicked into overdrive and began to push the immovable object that is him and together we were disappointed in one another’s traction.

****

Last week I sent him a text asking if he’d finally received his grades for the first semester. His father and I were beginning to wonder if they were really bad considering his standard reply was always, “They haven’t posted”, whenever we asked before. But this time he sent me an email; a copy of his official report card for his first semester of college…. Two A’s Three B’s and the Incomplete which he’s currently working to finish.

I guess my role as the pusher has finally come to an end… and I couldn’t be more happy or proud.

a hard year….

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Who would have believed, last December, as I wrote my year end wrap up, I would find myself struggling to write my daily blog for much of this past year? I certainly didn’t. I began this blog in 2010, partly as a way to document my children’s growth from elementary school into adulthood and partly to give myself a creative outlet for my desire to write. I’ve often told people, “I’m not creative-I can’t draw a straight line or dance particularly well. But on occasion, I can spin a yarn or two.

Then this year hit and that ability to spin yarns became increasingly more difficult. On occasion, I had a great story to tell, but more often than not, I struggled. Even when I took some time off, to clear my head, I struggled to find something worthwhile to write about and no matter how many times I tried to come back, I found myself staring at the screen and wondering why I was torturing myself or you, for that matter.

Of course, I had help in failing. My aging laptop whose ability to recharge is at odds with the power cord needed to supply said charge; gave me a great excuse to step away from the blog circuit. Add to that my frustration at possessing fat fingered thumbs and fighting my phone’s predictive speech patterns, which at times left me wondering if this was all one big subliminal message (to stop writing completely) instead of finding an actual point?

Back in the days when I took care of Mary Alice, there was a three hour window where she would pray for her family members. As such, this gave me three hours to write my daily blog without worry. Well, those days are long gone and my need to stay “present” and engaged with my charges, takes all the energy I can muster through the day, which unfortunately, leaves me fairly drained by the time I arrive home.

But in the spirit of a hopeful 2018, let me at least attempt to get back on track with this one… here goes…

2017 was a year in which three great things happened in the boy’s life. 

1)He turned 18

2)He graduated High School

3)He left for college

2017 was a year when these three great things happened in the doll’s life…

1)Her friendships forged the year before, remained and better yet, grew exponentialy

2)Her brother left for college….

3)The long promised puppy finally entered her life and she’s a really good “Mom”.

in 2017, three great things happened in my husband’s life

1)He fulfilled his dream to buy a vacation place in/near Myrtle Beach, SC

2)His son left for college

3)He filed paperwork to retire in three years (God help us).

and for me, 

1)My son reached 18 without too many scars. I was told by many classmates how much they all loved him and he’s a good kid–which four years earlier I wondered if anyone his age would see his worth.

2)Four months after the loss of our rescue terrorist, I kept a long held promise to my daughter. Though I had deceived her, adding two years onto the original promise, all was forgiven when we brought home “Luna” the crazy Eskimo/blue heeler mix.

3)My husband and I now have a vision for our future. While time is always in flux, at least now we have some hopeful directions to follow.

Of course, there were many more than three catalysts for change we all experienced, but for the sake of the argument, these are the brightest of highlights. Moving forward as 2018 unfolds, I do hope to find the desire/energy and time to come back and write, or at the very least, to throw a photo up to be seen now and again. But, in keeping with my Mean Mommy Memoir status and applying a standard Mom Reply,  “We’ll see…”

Until then, have a wonderful and hopeful New Year. May the light of love find it’s way to your doorstep and fill your lives with joy.

Marsha, Mike, Dylan, Doll and Luna