Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I am a mess today

Well, one of the reasons. It is my parents fault. Isn't everything? It is a wonder I have not been on Oprah, crying about how I was the oldest and obviously the "test child" for their other children or as they insist on calling brothers.

Because it is Halloween I want to share the crazy story of me and a haunted house. I was about 3 years old. I have a very clear memory of this day for reasons that will become VERY obvious to you in a moment. I know I must have been 3 because my brother Roger was not born at this point. Anyway, every year the March of Dimes out together a fabulous and incredibly scary haunted house to make money for the charity. My parents thought that taking a 3 year old to a haunted house seemed like a good idea, so off we went. What the hell did I know? I

Now, that would have been bad enough. My 16 yr old worked at a haunted house this season and would frequently tell me how these parents would bring in terrified children and force them through the rooms, almost taking delight in the child's horrified clinging and screams. In the words of Zachary "that is fucked up, dude" But, that is not where my parents went wrong with me...OH NO.

So we arrive at the haunted house and as you can imagine the parking lot is packed. The setting was an old, unoccupied mansion. Screams, groans and growls are piped out of the windows. Rattling of chains and creaking doors surrounded those who dared walk up to the front of the house. The crowded parking lot was a field next to this old house. My mother gets me out of the car and says to me "you stand right here, Heidi while your dad and I park the car"



Yes. My mother got me out of the warm, safe car and made me stand in front of the haunted house ALONE. Let's not leave my father out of the blame. Did he say "umm, Fran, you are INSANE. Not only is out child 3 and could be kidnapped in 15 seconds and will end up on a milk carton BUT she will be scared SHITLESS!?"
No, he did not. They both thought it was a perfectly sound and prudent move to leave me there ALONE.

And let me say that throughout my childhood I had a recurrent feeling that when my parents left me somewhere, that I would never see them again. That did not help this situation in the slightest. In fact, maybe this is why I started to feel that way in the first place.

So, I am standing in front of the house. Terrified and I start to cry. And cry. And cry some more, so hard that I puke all over the front of my red plaid jacket. This incident was so traumatic that yes, I know what I was wearing at the time. After an eternity of waiting my parents saunter up to me and my mom is shocked at my pukeiness, cleans me up and hugs me and takes me THE. HELL. HOME. sigh.

A few years ago I bring up this incident up to my parents and my mother has the nerve to deny it happened. My father told her..yes, yes it happened and said to me "Heidi, I am not sure what the hell we were thinking" Clearly, not much about anything.

Thus began the trials of parenting on an unsuspecting, adorable little girl.

Perhaps I should have been more afraid of my dad's sideburns. OYE!

I can't MAKE this stuff up, if I tried

I swear, people are all insane. I never used to think so. Then I became a nurse. Still, then I didn't think everyone was insane. Then I became a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. Now, I am empathetic. I am, trust me. Family members are under great stress there and it is for lack of a better word, intense. But really people can be totally off their nut sometimes.

We had a patient that we were going to "terminally wean", which means we withdraw the medications and ventilator that are sustaining life, knowing pretty much that this will end the person's life. Some people die every quickly, some it takes days or weeks. But the point of it is that the person is too far gone, too sick and the end is imminent and we are not going to prolong that pain anymore. Sadly, where I work, it happens pretty much several times a week.

So anyway, we withdraw the vent from this patient and the relative of the patient calls up to check his/her status. Note: she did not COME IN to see her family member, but called. When we told her that her family member was going to be moved to a non-acute bed due to wait for a Hospice placement, she got MAD. And asked us if we were sure we knew what we were doing there because we were suppose to "unplug" him and he was SUPPOSE TO DIE RIGHT AWAY.

Seriously? You are mad because he was still alive? wow. just wow. I didn't know what to say. I gave her the new floor phone number and the room number.

Totally staggering.

This week I also overheard a family member say to the patient "I can't believe how much better you are doing! Last week we were picking out your coffin"

If you can't think of anything to say..please say nothing. Or talk about the weather. Or, God forbid..the election. That usually gets the blood a-pumping!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's been going on here

I am not sure even what I want to write here or even where to begin, but I know I want to write out my feelings and frustration somewhere. Here is as good a place as any, right?

So, as I have blogged here before Sammy is have a tough time adjusting to school. And that would be one of the biggest understatements of my life. Not only is he unhappy to go off each morning. but at school he almost becomes another child. Sure at home he is odd and says funny things. He is stubborn and loud, but NOTHING like the maniac he becomes at school. I know this first hand as I have been going to school to work in Sam's class twice a week for about 3 hours at a time. Sam's teacher and I have had many conversations in person and on the phone. I have talked to the school social worker on several occasions. And it comes down to none of us know what to do.

And let me just say that those hours in the classroom with Sam's class are some of the hardest and longest in my life. I need to step back and let his teacher handle Sam. I have to be the classroom helper, not his mommy. And if you ever tried to step away from the mother role for a little while when it involves your will know what I mean when I say it is torture.

His behaviors range from yelling out, to crumpling papers, refusing to do the work, throwing things, and escalating to the vigorous shaking of his clasped hands together as a nervous tick. He seems lost in the room. Unable to focus. He often wanders. He needs constant re-direction. When asked to do work or sit and calm down he wails to the teacher " what! You don't love me anymore!" And as his level of anxiety or exhaustion rises, he just shuts down. His teacher sees his breaking point and lets him sit and try to relax himself. Usually this makes not difference in my child. He doesn't have many coping skills for a 6 yr old, so freaking out and yelling are it. Not acceptable or desired, but he doesn't know what else to do.

And to make matters worse, he is not a kid that "has a price". My friend Sue and I talked about this the other day, because she too has a child that "has no price" She can take away anything and everything and unless she takes away love, food or sleep, he says "okay, fine. when will I be un-punished?" That is Sam. No matter what is offered or taken away, he feels how he feels and he is not changing his behavior for anyone.

And two weeks ago, it escalated. He absconded from the room. His teacher had to run to catch him. He told me he was heading for the bus door so he could get a ride home. In the battle of fight or flight, he chose flight. He just can't handle being there and just wants me to come get him. He is very unhappy there. I can see him filling with tension the entire time I am there and finally it brims over and he is done. He can't work. He cant follow directions. Just done.

And the really sad thing is that he knows he is not acting right. He knows that he is freaking out. Last week he had quite a bad day and once he got into the car with me after school he started to cry. I asked him what was wrong. He said " I guess I am not going to be October's Terrific Kid" And that broke my heart. And that was it. I called his pediatrician and made an appointment. We had tried to work it our with other methods and I didn't know what else to do.

And I am sure there is another component to all of this too. Sammy has some sensory issues as well. Noises, lights, temperature all bother him and make him more anxious. So I have been completing paperwork for the OT specialist to see him too.

After examining Sammy, talking to him, talking to me he felt Sam suffers from an anxiety disorder and advised me to home school him and take him to see a specialist. This might have something to do with Sammy telling the doctor "I am VERY nervous is in school and if I do not hold my Buffalo token...I go crazy!

That was just the beginning of my adventures. While I agree with the doctor in some respects, I am worried that taking him out of school all together might not be the way to go. Bringing him back into the setting after a time away might be harder. And it comes down to..I just don't know what to do. I come from a background of medicine. There are cause and effects. There is a recipe, if you will, for fixing things. And while that recipe can be tweaked to fit a certain person...for the most is the same recipe. I want a set of instructions. I want the code. I want someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do.

And that is just not possible in this situation. This is ground I never walked before. This is something that needs watching and trial and error. This is the beginning of a VERY long road for us. I talked at length with Sam's teacher and she could not be more open and willing to help him if she was his own mother. She notices the same things about him that I do. She can sense his anxiety and frustration like I can. I can't say enough great and wonderful things about her. We all just want what is best for Sam. We want to work him through this and make him happy and confident. She told me she is not going anywhere and he is hers for the year. She wants to help me solve this puzzle which is Sam. I trust her. I look for her input just as she looks for mine. And my heart almost broke when she looked at me and said "if this takes all year we will get him through this."

ALL YEAR? I am exhausted and it has been about 6 weeks. And part of me was excited to have him home with me again and part of me wonders if that is what he needs. I go back and forth in my head trying to think it out. Wonder what I could have done differently. What I can do now to help him. What is the right amount to push him? Can I just keep him home forever? You know that part of me wants that so much. But I know I can't. I need to help him go out into the world, when all I want is to protect him from it. forever.

So as it stands, right now, until I get permission from my doctor, Sam is home. I am in a circle of unending phone calls with the school nurse, the principal, the teacher, the insurance company, his primary doctor, the clinic for treatment and the school social worker. His teacher and I are trying to find a schedule that works for him. Afternoons seem to be the hardest. He is spent by that point of the day. Perhaps a half day will work best. We are working through it together.

I am sure I will be writing more about this in the weeks and months to come. I need to write it out to keep it straight in my head. I feel so many things right now..but mostly stressed. Nah, that is not true. I can't really pick out one emotion from the cluster. I think at the end of this, I might be the one with an anxiety disorder.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes. I will beat her

My friend, Jen. She will feel the hurt. She "blog tagged" me again and that kinda person I am, I can't let it go. I have to do it. She knows this about me. She might not want me to come visit her is fall cuz I am gonna whip her ass before I hug her "hello"

So here is the things I gotta do. 7 Random fact about me. some weird, odd. Lots of things about me are odd. This should be no problem, right?

1. I have a sick obsession with Degrassi, a Canadian teen show about a middle/high school. I watched it when I was young and now I still follow it. Some of the cast that played the kids in school when I was growing up are now the teachers. Sick, I know. Zach and I watch it together. We talk about the character like they are real people. It drives Adam insane. Zach and I have an ongoing argument about Paige...whether she is really a bitch and if she uses the term "hon" too much.

2. I hate the sound of whistling. Can't stand it. Even before I wore hearing aids it made me totally crazy and now it is even worse. Sounds can make me sick to my stomach, even more so than sights and smells.

3. The "whites" of my eyes are actually blue. Really blue. I have a genetic disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta or "brittle bone" disease. I inherited it from my father. My bones break much more easily. My ligaments and tendons are for crap. Yes, I am a wreck. This lovely disease also lead to me having to wear hearing aids for the rest of my life. Good times! I did pass it on to Mr. Sam. I broke my first bone at 9 leg, learning to walk.

4. I ABHOR olives. So much I tell people I am allergic to them. I don't feel that way about many things...but they are the WORST. Licorice is right up there too. Those two smells/flavors make me wanna hurl.

5. I pretty much NEVER go barefoot. Not ever. Except maybe in the shower. Stupid Plantar fasciitis will flare up if I do. All that damn walking as a nurse.

6. I read the obituaries EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I know...morbid. But I usually know a patient or former patient several times a week.

7. I have an insane, almost Rainman memory for movie and tv dialog. This sad skill I have passed on to my eldest child. Often we will begin to quote the same movie, at the same time. Creepville.

So I am suppose to tag 7 people, but you know what? I don't know that many people that have a blog personally, I mean) So if you do it..Link me up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Future Leader

I am behind. What else is new? I have not had the energy or time or whatever to sit down and blog about Sammy Satan's birthday. On one hand I feel like I practically write a whole blog about him alone. Crazy stories and things he says end up here more often than any of the other men in my life. But you know what, that kid is VERY unique and so damn funny. We all agree on this here at my house. Sometimes he just cracks us up or makes us think or often times scares us.

Yesterday he told me he is going to take over the world. I told him that he is 6 and not ready to handle the whole world just yet. He responded that he made a wish for another birthday, so he could be 7 and then rule the world. Can you argue with that logic?

So my brain has been clicking with what I really want to say about the little man, our future world leader. So much to say and none of it will really paint the picture of this beast. I have met many other kids in my life and none are like Sammy. Drives me crazy because he seems to never pay attention to me, but when pressed he can relay verbatim what you said to him. He makes me laugh. He warms my hearts with his love and constant kisses. He scares me with his teaching himself to read. I live to come home from work to be greeted with his usual "Mommmy! You're home! I was looking for you everywhere!"

And there was a long while when we thought we would never have Sammy. The years slipped by, we started weeding out our baby supplies. I had a few miscarriages. I was slowly giving up hope even though my heart told me that there was a baby for our family still to come. Then I will never forget, my sister-in-law was unexpectedly pregnant. She was originally not happy. I remember crying myself to sleep thinking how unfair the world was, I wanted to be pregnant and she was not thrilled. You know what? Sammy is exactly ONE week older than my nephew. Yup. So the name Samuel was perfect for him. It means "the one for whom I prayed"

And let me tell you the road to getting that tiny, little pink baby sucked. I was sick with all sorts of maladies..many of them stupid. We learned of my penicillin allergy at that time after a nasty reaction. I puked until I had bloodshot eyes. Isn't that that more adorable picture? I am sure my doctor was counting the days until I popped out that kid so we would be done with my weekly trips to his office.

And follow that with a birth that was pretty damn traumatic and I am only lucky mom to have that little maniac tell me I am the best "Earth mother an alien boy could ask for"

Quirky, stubborn, hilarious, affectionate, so freakin' weird and all mine.

Happy Birthday, my baby. I love you!

A sick Sammy only hours old.

Josh and his little clone, Sammy

Sammy and his cousin Dakota, is October birthday buddy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Disturbing conversation of the day

Typically, we have several disturbing conversations in this house on a daily basis. They can range from random Sammy ramblings to a tangent on a tv commercial.

Today Zach has been home sick for the second day in a row. He has a fever, he has been taking up the whole couch and generally being grouchy. He asked me today if he could receive an "immune system transplant"

I told him no, however it was probably all my fault as I did not breast feed him and if I had he might be fine today.

Josh is giggling the whole time and I KNOW he has something to add.

"Mom, you should start now. Ya know...breast feeding him" ( with continued giggling )

*crickets chirping* ( oh, and Josh giggling)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Target....oh and my kid too.

So this weekend marks a very important date in my life. The opening of Target in the Western New York region. Few things have brought me more joy or cost me more money...except my children. And my middle son Josh was rude enough to be born on the Grand Opening weekend 12 years ago. Those kids are just so much about themselves.

Oh, I had been waiting for Target, let me tell you. I had shopped at Target on several occasions in the Southwest while on vacation and I was smitten. Before that we had our choice of Kmart or Wal-mart, both of which I despise. So, when it was announced that Target was coming to our area my heart beat a little faster and I smiled a little bigger.

But, of course, I was over due with Joshua on the Grand Opening weekend. His little 5lb 10oz self was born on October 4th, 1996. It was a pretty bad pregnancy and the summer was riddled with tragedies. Not only was I on bed rest for high blood pressure but I lost my 16 yr old cousin Lisa in a stupid car accident and my dear friend Bethany to lymphoma. I am lucky that Josh was not born with some hideous birthmark across his face from all the worrying and crying I did that summer. On the contrary, he was unbelievable cute and had personality and charisma from day one.

Big Brother Zach with Josh a few hours old. Don't tell Zach at one time he was happy about Josh breathing and alive. Those days are past, dear friends.

He still sleeps like that to this day.

So far, he has been my easiest kid..and yes, I know he is only 12. But he is cute and sensitive and smart. And damn, does he love his mom. He sneaks in a hug or a kiss or a cuddle whenever he can. He loves to sing songs with me in the car at the top of our lungs. He has an infectious giggle and a kind, sweet spirit. He is confident and yet humble. Not one day goes by where he does not just say he loves me right out of the blue. He has a weakness for video games and trading cards. He makes me happy. So much so that I almost forgive him for making me miss the actual grand opening. He does understand though, he loves the place almost as much as I do. In fact, it was the first place he visited after being released from the hospital. Yes, instead of taking him home immediately, we stopped at Target for a quick ( or not so much quick) look around. Hey, we needed baby supplies.

Happy birthday day to my love, Target and to my son, Josh. The first 12 years have been a treat, I can't wait for more. I love you, J. Bob. Oh, you know I do.