March 2010 Archives

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Last week's sixty-four colors was a reprise of week one's robin's egg blue.  I found this on the outside of an art studio in Morro Bay, CA.  I still haven't found this week's asparagus.  I need a new box of crayons; mine has a lot of weirdly named colors, but it doesn't have asparagus.

Last Sunday I turned thirty-nine and a half, and at one point during the (incredibly good, good) day, my internal dialogue (monologue?) was all, Hello!  This is your captain speaking.  We have reached a cruising altitude of thirty nine and one half years today.  It's time to get over the baby lust, lady, really way past time.  Here, take this PUPPY LUST instead! 

The truth is that a puppy would just as surely kill me dead as a baby would.

But that won't make me stop wanting them.  I keep having dreams where I rescue abandoned babies and take care of them and then I wake up and I miss them so desperately.  I really don't know what the hell that is all about, but I think a puppy would make it better. 

There's been a lot happening here.  Right now, I'm set up to sleep in the living room on a big chair near Nathan, who is zonked out on the couch.  I am too worried about him to leave him alone all night.  He's zonked out because he had 50mg of benadryl, and he had 50mg of benadryl because he is, as we learned this evening at 9:36 p.m., allergic to codeine, which is why I'm worried about him.  And why - ahem - is my eleven-year-old taking narcotics?  Well, yesterday he broke his big toe.  He gnarly broke it.  At the beach.  SG was going to take a day to himself to go dive with friends in Monterey, but he ended up taking the boys with him (and getting Lex a new wetsuit) so they could go get in the water and also do guy stuff like eat beef jerky for breakfast. When Nate went to stick his skimboard into the sand and make it stand upright, by, you know, hoisting it up over his head and ramming it into the sand with all he was worth, it came down on his big toe.  There was blood, but thankfully he didn't need stitches.  In fact, he managed to still go boogieboarding the rest of the afternoon, because he is totally badass (and maybe because the Pacific is icy and made his foot numb?).

I know there isn't much to be done for a broken toe, but I took him to the ER today, about 24 hours after the fact, all the same.  You can't just let your kid sit there with a green and purple and swollen toe and not at least go check to be sure there aren't errant bone chips floating around in there, right?

There aren't any bone chips, but the xray showed he broke his right big toe bone just above and on the right side of where its last joint is, if that makes sense.  So that is why the codeine.  We started out with just a half a tab, and that was enough to make him pretty loopy.  We went out looking for crutches, crutches that the doctor and I agree he probably doesn't really want because they are a pain and will make him more likely to fall and hurt himself, but crutches that he was so fixated on that I decided it was better to just let him learn the hard way.  And now?  We have crutches for just in case or for Halloween, only they are TOO BIG for Nate unless he puts them out to the side instead of straight down under his arms.  That's a long overpriced story, but it was the third place we'd driven to and so when the dude told me they were the right size, I didn't look too closely at the label.  There is the inches that tell the size of the crutches, but those don't translate into the size of the user.  That's what the other label is for.  The one that says "Adult."  Yeah, I should go back, but, no, I probably won't.  I'm beaten down and that would take way too much effort. 

In the car on the way there, Nate was talkative.  He didn't want to go with me to get the crutches, but he's never had codeine before and my mom spidey sense told me not to leave him alone in case he was allergic to it, so I made him come.  The girls, too.  And that is why they got to hear him ask me things like, WHY do people bite each others' EARS when they are making out?  I don't GET that.  Really.  Biting?  What a wrong time to not have any movies in the van.  While I was figuring out how, exactly, to answer that, he drifted off into jabbery talk about something else.  Hopefully Willow won't ask her first grade teacher why people who are making out bite each other.  But she might, because her teacher knows everything, and obviously her mom has no clue.

After we were home with the crutches, I terrorized the ambulatory children into cleaning up their mess in the living room (it goes like this: You have ten minutes until I come through here with a garbage bag.  ANYTHING left out is trash.  Then you go through and start putting their eyeglasses and remote controls and novels in the bag and they freak and you dump the bag out and growl, I will be back in FIVE minutes.  This time, NO MERCY.

Fifteen minutes to a tidy living room!  They only cry a little.  Don't *really* throw away the $400 eyeglasses, of course, but *do* really throw something less important away from time to time so they don't think you aren't serious.  Because you are very serious.

You're welcome!

Really I did ask them nicely REPEATEDLY to clean up and they chose to ignore me.  So the fact that things got kicked up to an ugly notch had more to do with them than with me.

Let's talk about nice things now, like the fact that last weekend, a million years ago,  I went to San Luis Obispo with SG and we had Such A Good Time.  We didn't make any plans, and so the natural course of things led to us eating really great food (steak and eggs for breakfast, awwww yeah), watching a couple of movies (The Hangover and Crazy Heart), driving around Pismo and having shaved ice, SG buying me TWO awesome pinup girl swing dancing dresses, almost driving SG's car down onto the beach, sitting on the beach watching a whole bunch of college aged kids walk by with twelve packs of super cheap beer, and shopping downtown. 

I had a moment there on the beach, on the last day of being thirty-nine and not thirty-nine and a half, where I finally stopped caring all that much about how I look in a bathing suit.  I'm not going to go and rock the string bikini or anything, but if I want to wear a two-piece, Whatever, I will.  It was something about watching all the girls twenty years younger than me walk by that did it, odd as it sounds. Without getting into too much detail/drama, I'll say that I've spent a stupid amount of time wishing I were all willowy and tall and thin when the reality is that I am 5'1 and athletic and strong.  Oh, and I've had four kids.  And a c-section.  And my appendix out.  Sitting there on the beach, I saw these gorgeous young girls in bikinis with hips and bellies and muscly thighs walk by and I was so impressed by them, if that's the right word.  I think that I have finally broken free of the stereotypes about beauty that I maybe didn't even always realize I had.  I was sitting there under my floppy beach hat like some energetic self-esteem coach totally struck by how beautiful all these young women were and instead of feeling old and jealous I felt good.  How dumb is it that when I was their age I hated my body?  And now I'm this softer and blurrier version of myself and I can walk down to the beach in a pair of short board shorts and a bikini top, holding SGs hand and honestly enjoy being with him and feeling the sun on my shoulders on the first day of spring instead of feeling ashamed that all the people on the beach would look at him and think, Why is he with her?  Mainstream culture can really fuck you up, apparently, if you don't stop to think for yourself.  Sometimes SG says he wishes he could go back in time and meet me way back when, when we were young, because we found each other a little bit late and it feels like we missed all this time together.  I've never told him this, but I wish I could go back, too, and meet me.  Pull me aside and tell me that all the self loathing was really, really dumb.  Give me a huge hug, whisper in my ear, Enjoy this time, love yourself, everything is going to be okayAlso, watch out when you are thirty-nine and a half because you may get all melodramatic and obnoxious.  Seriously, though, ENOUGH with the self-hate.  Go have fun.  And hang out at the Winchester skate park, there's this guy who hangs out there and I think you should meet him.

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So, hey -- I love Tom Petty.  But I love him in a weird way that's not very practical.  I won't buy his music, because then it's not A Thing when I hear him on the radio.  I was the same way with Led Zepplin for forever and then I bought an album or two and now when they come on the radio, instead of being all WHOOOOOO THE MIGHTY ZEP TURN IT UUUUUP!  I'm just all, Eh, I will listen to that later.  On my iPod.  That's wrong and pathetic and I won't let it happen to me and Tom.

I'm on a lot of prednisone because of this drug allergy and oh my, is it making me mean.  Ask my kids about how awful I have been and especially about me screeching at them to stop fighting and they will totally back me up so long as they don't think I'm close enough to reach over and whack them upside the head. 



(I'm ALWAYS close enough for that.)

Poor Sophie had a fever and sore throat and headache and ear aches (bilateral, natch), and leg pain, and so tonight my mom and sister pitched in to tag team babysit the remaining children while I took her to the ER so that she wouldn't have to suffer all night.  They gave her a mask in the ER, so she would not spread the love to the other patients.  That was fine, but I think with the 101+ fever she got a little hot and so then she puked all in the sink of the waiting room bathroom. 

That was fun to clean up.  No, really.  I mean, it wasn't MY house, so I was all whistling while I worked, you know?

One of the male nurses was such an asshole to me.  I caught myself short of saying to him, Look, dipshit, I am NICE, stop being a dumbass to me.  Ha.  Haha.  Basically, he asked if Soph had ever had a bladder infection before, and I said, Huh, I don't think so, have you Soph?

Uh. Aren't you her MOTHER?  And you don't even KNOW THAT?

That dude, I bet, NOT A PARENT.

In the end, she's just a little dehydrated, has a viral fevery thing, and needs to rest and drink her fluids and hopefully keep the ears from getting infected.

Last Monday the class I've been wanting to take for months began, and of course that was the very day I started getting that reaction.  I was too sick to turn on my computer for a little bit there.  That's sick, people.  In addition to no internets, I had no coffee and no beer.  By choice.  For like, days on end.  But tonight I got all caught up (with the class, not the coffee and beer. Yet.)  and turns out if I had to check out for a week, this was probably the week to do it.

Next weekend, SG and I are going to the central coast (where Eden and her family were last weekend, actually) and I am supposed to stay out of the sun, but I am still determined to get out of here for a good 30 something hours.  It will be the first day of spring, the last day of me being closer to 39 than 40 (this is more interesting to me than it is terrifying, I'm not all Woe is me, I am so elderly, but my birthday is on the last day of summer, and I like patterns and stuff like that), and the first weekend we'll have had all to ourselves since January.  I think we could maybe go see a movie and eat hot dogs without buns, and we'd be all, DAMN, that was a GREAT vacation!  The Best Ever!  And that's what long stretches of hard times, do, right?  They make all the nice and regular type stuff, Really! Super! Appreciated!  I mean, you know, even though the universe has been all Lucy on me, I'm totally all about making contact with the ball soon. 

Week 8 was brown (sepia). The toe and heel of those socks are a pretty perfect match to the crayon.  I'm still catching up.

The medical fun just kept coming this week, but I'm not sure if I'm up to narrating all the activities (because when you are in the hospital and you have to REPEAT your story to every person (and there are many, many people) who comes in, the compulsion to share gets worn right down.  So, bullets, then?  Don't mind if I do, thanks!

  • Wednesday night - headache.  Very bad. Rash GETTING WORSE.
  • Thursday morning - Nate is home sick, too. Again.  Make 11 a.m. doctor visit for him.
  • Two minutes after that - H E A D A C H E.  Email doctor.
  • Half hour later - phone.  My doctor, please go to the ER.  You didn't TELL ME you had a bad headache.  You still have a fever?  YES?  You DO?  You didn't TELL ME you had a headache.
  • Hour later - Nate with his dad for day, SG bails on work and takes me to ER
  • Two hours later - crying in the waiting area because my head? It hurts.  And so does my neck.
  • You know what that means?
  • It means I get to wait.
  • Wait
  • Wait
  • Wait
  • Get an IV in each arm and almost get pain medicine, but wait
  • Watch two nurses working one on each arm draw out most of my blood.  For tests
  • Wait
  • Wait
  • Morphine (think it will kill me dead, hate it, head still hurts)
  • CT scan (if you keep your eyes closed the WHOLE time, it's less terrifying.  If you aren't claustrophobic, never mind)
  • Turn down more morphine
  • Turn down vicodin
  • Ask for tylenol
  • In comes doctor to do Spinal Tap
  • Revise order, gulp vicodin just before the spinal starts
  • Cry
  • Curse
  • Cry
  • Love vicodin for the moment
  • Cuss
  • Lay flat on my back for an hour, talking to SG, who is missing classes to keep me company.  (This is a Big Deal.  I can't even begin to make you understand how much of one.)
  • Leave hospital 9 hours after we arrived
  • Get Willow from Granny's
  • Go home
  • Put Willow (who was worried that I was going to actually die) to bed.  She tells me Granny took her out for supper and that she had grilled cheese.  Also, she is glad to see me.
  • SG comes home with In and Out and fries.  Yes again.  He does love me.  Little bit.
  • Eat
  • Sleep
So, I'm totally fine, but because my head was making me cry, the doctor wanted to be sure that my brain wasn't infected.  Which, well, at one point I bet SG $100 that I did have meningitis because I was hurting so bad, but luckily I didn't.  I think I did figure out why the headache, though.  As the doctor was doing the spinal, she remarked that it was taking a very, very looooong time for my CSF (cerebral spinal fluid - I worked in a neurosurgery office long enough to call it that in my normal vernacular) to fill up the four containers they needed.  I said, So, is it possible that I have this awful, awful headache because I'm dehydrated from having a fever for so long and I'm low on CSF, and I have a headache from that?  And will have another after this procedure?  You know, from being even lower on CSF?

Yes.  That is entirely possible.

Oh.  Okay, then.

Here.  Drink these two cups of straight-up potassium.

Dude.  You should at least mix this shit with morphine.  Yuck

When It was finally time to leave, I was a little wobbly and so SG led me by the elbow and shoulder through the back of the ER and to the exit.  We walked past a few other patient beds, and this older woman walked up to me, looking very concerned, and said, Hello, Dear.  How's your wrist?  Is it better?

I looked at her, thinking she'd maybe look back and realize I wasn't who she thought.  But her whole face looked like she was still waiting to hear an answer, so I just looked at her and looked at my wrist, and I said, Oh, it's much, much better.  Thanks for checking on me.  Then we said goodnight and walked outside.

I'm feeling a whole hell of a lot better now, but I haven't done much but rest the past couple of days.  SG took another day off on Friday, to take care of me, get Willow to school, pick everyone up, take me to get a birthday gift for Willow's friend and then drive Willow to and from the party.  He took Nate with him to study and pick up a new gorgeous guitar.  My stepdad took Alex to the high school for a game, gave him money to get something to eat.  Sophie and I had a girl's night: The Simpsons and pasta on the couch. 

This morning I took Willow to softball at 8:30 for the Hit-A-Thon and Opening Day.  She didn't have a game, but she had the best hit on her whole entire team.  I smell a college scholarship and a whole lot of Saturday morning snack shack hot dogs for the next several years of springs.

Then we went to Soph's first soccer game, where she nearly scored, but was shut out.  SG came down to the game on his motorcycle.  At one point, Willow was bored, so he let her put on his helmet and walk around.  And I stood there watching, thinking that I should get a picture, but I think the idea of pushing the shutter button was more than I could stand.  Too bad, because it was hilarious.

I was so insanely tired today.  Really.  We didn't get home from all the sports until well after 2 and I had to nap.  But - it was a beautiful clear blue sky day and I was not in the hospital.  I only look like I should be.

Next weekend: road trip.  No kids.  Possibly even no more rash. 

If you are sick and even think about going to breathe on me this week, be prepared
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So this is a fun and too-long story; the story of how I learned that I'm allergic to the sulfa family of antibiotics.  Last week I got an ear infection, and since I can't take erythromycin (you know, that five-day Z pack thing) or penicillin because I'm allergic to both of those, the doctor called in a sulfa based antibiotic for me.  Bactrin or septra, it's called.  But I think those are the generic names and the proper name is JenIcide.

I didn't take the medicine right away, hoping that my ear would feel better and I wouldn't need it.  But on the third night of not being able to sleep because it felt like I had an icepick in my eardrum, I caved and took the first pill.  That was Thursday at something like four in the morning.  Twice a day I took the antibiotics, and my ear started to feel better and that was good and things were fine, except my throat still hurt, a lot, and I felt kinda bad, but, you know, no more stabby ear pain, so I was better, all things considered. 

Then at work on Monday, I got a little feeble brained.  Actually, a lot.  I left a few minutes early, because Nate was sick and had already left daycare to go home and rest.  I got home by five and felt awful and took his temperature and mine.  We both had fevers; his 99.8 and mine 101.9.  Huh, I said.  We are sick.  There was a blur of soup and blankets and medicine and popsicles and I went to bed at 8, telling the kids not to stay up too late.  Even though he's in the middle of studying for three finals, SG offered to come by.  I told him no, because I really didn't want to get him sick and he needed to study.  Tuesday I got up and barely got the girls dressed and out the door, somehow drove them to school, and came back home and worked,shivering, from bed all day, Nate on the couch coughing and watching Lost for probably 10 straight hours.

Tuesday night was much the same, very early to bed, still with the high fever, lots of shivering.  It was my stepmom's birthday, so before Alex went over to the school for wrestling, we called and the kids all sang Happy Birthday over the speakerphone.  I kind of recall talking to them, remember my dad telling me that I should call the doctor.

Wednesday morning I woke up at five and got up to pee.  And there was this really awful rash all over the tops of my thighs.  Huh, I thought, that's weird.  I guess it's a heat rash from having a fever.  And then I went from the bathroom to where the vanity mirror is and I turned on the light and there was my face, swollen so badly my eyes were unrecognizable.  I lifted up my shirt, and there was a rash starting on my stomach and chest, too.  I leaned in closer to the mirror and confirmed that my face was covered in all different sizes of purple and red bumps.  And so was my neck.  My back, too.  I was feeling pretty sure that given my migraine-stage headache, high fever, muscle pain, and rash, I had some kind of viral meningitis and that I would surely die.    

So I typed something like: "high fever, rash, swollen face," into my iPhone and in the first page of matches on google, I saw a link with the name of the drug I'm on jump out at me. When I clicked thru and read, the symptoms I was having matched to the letter the description someone had written of being allergic to this drug.  She ended her note by saying, "PLEASE, PLEASE think hard before letting anyone put you on this drug God bless everyone."

So I took a benedryl and took a shower, where I was afraid for a little bit that my throat was swelling up, maybe about to swell shut, and I wondered if I should maybe go grab a handful of the kids' straws and kinda jam them down my throat just in case.  Honestly.  No kidding.  Finally I decided that my nose was definitely not working so great, but I could still breathe alright, and my throat felt funny, but not like it was really closing up.  I sure was awake though, and that was  a damn short shower.  I got on the phone with the advice nurse who told me to go ahead and take another 25 milligrams of benedryl and asked if there was another adult home with me.  No, I said.  Just my four kids.  Oh, she said, they know how to call 911 if something happens to you, right?  Sure! I said, They totally do.  Well, she said, you can't drive.  Can you call someone to take them to school for you?

And so then I called my mom, who'd left for work early that day because she had a shitton of work to do, and she turned around, came to my house, picked up the messy living room, fed the girls pancakes, brushed their hair, helped them gather their school things and gave them a ride to school.  All the while I was drooling on the couch, totally knocked for a loop by the benedryl.  I think I came to sometime around 1, and Nathan spent another entire day watching Lost. 

I worked on and off (mostly off, because I knew I'd just mess up if I really tried to do anything) and then called my stepdad for a ride to the doctor in the late afternoon.  And, you know, he only had to wait for me for two hours at the doctor.  Whoops.   

She looked in my ear and told me it was still infected.  Awesome! I said, and she kind of looked at me funny.  Oh, it's just comic at this point, you know.  I totally figures that my ear would still be infected.  She said that just to be sure this was a reaction to the medicine, she was going to take some photos of my rash and send them to the dermatologist for review.  And in the meantime, I was to drink some water, because she was considering admitting me to get some fluids in me because my heart rate was really high, up over 100.

I had my photo taken in my underpants, and the girl actually kinda gasped when she saw my back.  I drank some water. Then, finally, the doctor came back and told me that the dermatologist agrees that I am allergic to this antibiotic, too.

Willow was finally willing to get within three feet of me once she learned my fever wasn't contagious (she HATES having a fever), and I even took SG up on his offer to help me out.  I made him go to In and Out burger after school and he brought me a burger and fries and a Dr. Pepper.  Willow got a chocolate milkshake and fries.  The truth is that I didn't really want him to see me like this.  I look bad, people.  Like, even my kids were going, Jeez, Mom.  What the hell!?

I've made a short story long, but now I'm home with a little bit less of a fever, a new antibiotic that she hopes I won't react to (Help me, Doxycycline, you're my only hope.  hahaha) a turbo prescription version of benedryl, and my all-time favorite drug to hate, prednisone.  I'm starting out on 60 mg a day, so of course I don't think I'll get any sleep tonight.  It's too bad my body has no strength at all, otherwise I could clean the house all night and do a ton of laundry and organize the kitchen cabinets.  I have to stay out of the sun for the next ten days, the tail end of which overlaps with the weekend away SG planned for us in San Luis Obispo. You know, the beach town on the central coast where we were planning to be outside a lot and maybe get in the water.  Yeah.  Looks like I'll be rockin the floppy hat, sunglasses, and long sleeved shirts.  Still, though, I am so looking forward to next weekend, even more than I was before I turned into a much more swollen and splotchier version of myself. 

I took a desperately-needed twenty minute break from work today to take photos for the red and white crayons.  (If you are all, Huh?  Read this.) 

I'm at home because 3 out of 5 of us are sick.  And we recommend sugarless gum for our patients who chew gum.  Really, though, twenty minutes from picking up my camera to sending to flickr.  That and a glass of cold peppermint tea, and I'm not quite so crabby anymore. 
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