Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time crunch

Unlike the Rolling Stones I don't know if time is really on my side, or anyone's side, for that matter. For some reason even more than before I have spent a lot of time obsessing over how I spend my time or lack thereof. Like most working moms I constantly question the amount of time and energy I spend giving to my job and always wonder if the time I spend away from my kids helps or hurts them. Don't get me wrong, I don't see the big C at 12 years old robbing a string of liquor stores at gunpoint and saying that his mom was a, a working mom - as an excuse or anything.

But there is that twinge of guilt that runs across me when I can't attend a field trip or a class party because of work, or that sadness that fills my heart when I see a child with their mom while I am out during the middle of the day on a lunch break. I think any mom, or dad even, can relate to this feeling.

I also commute an hour each way to work which means I am up and gone before the kids are even awake for the day. I can't tell you many times I have agonized over this, but at the same time on the days I am home with them rushing through the morning routines, scrambling to get out the door on time, I find myself feeling guilty for being late for work. I get home around 5 in the evenings which isn't so bad, but I also miss out on a lot of the things other moms do on a daily basis. I don't get to pick the kids up for school very often and before the husband was home full time there were several times when I found myself rushing in at the very last minute to pick up the kids from daycare.

However, since the husband is able to be there for them when I am not it has really been nice. I told him if I had known how nice it was to have a wife at home I would have gotten one years ago.

Note to self, I don't think he likes that joke.

So yes, it is nice that they have a parent at home, but to be honest I am a little jealous. More than ever before I have started to realize that the time is coming that all the Cs will soon have lives of their own and it makes me sad to think I may have missed out on something. But of course, on the other hand, I am extremely grateful to have a job that allows me to provide for my family and allows me time to be there for them. I may have not attended every school or class function, but they have always had someone at every event, not to mention how many evenings or weekends I have spent at various sporting events cheering on my favorite athletes.

All time well spent.

Then there is this other pressing matter of time I have been focusing on lately:

How much time before the old liver really decides to call it quits?
Will it ever really happen or can I continue to mentally wish it away?
How will I know it is time or will I just feel sick one day and never feel better?
If I ever make the list will a new liver be found in time?
Will it last until I am at least 125, old, cantankerous and ready to go?
Basically, how much time do I really have?

Isn't that the million dollar question for us all? I could just as easily get hit by a bus tomorrow as I could wake up sick. I always wonder why people use that expression. I don't know, or haven't heard of anyone that was ever hit by a bus - a car , yes. Even a train, but never a bus. So until the time comes, whether it be a failing organ, or Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock on an unstoppable bus out to get me, I guess I will just continue to do the only thing any of us can do - live.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spot check

Recently I went for yet another round of spot checks to make sure that my liver was still being my friend and not growing any tumors. I am happy to report that, once again, everything aside from the liver's statuesque appearance all is well! According to my CT scan results not much has changed in almost three years. I know this because each and every time I have any kind of lab work done I pick up a copy of the report for my own file and my own sanity. This may seem very strange to some, but I have seen lab results get mixed up, lost and have even had doctors not tell me results for weeks at a time. Now call me crazy, but there is just something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you know as soon as possible that you don't have cancerous tumors in your liver.

This time in addition to picking up my lab report I also picked up a CD with the images of the scans. I am not so far off the deep end to think that I can even begin to read these scans. To be honest, I couldn't tell what any of those white blurs on the screen were. The last time I looked at anything even remotely similar was when I was looking at images to see if the latest addition was a boy or girl and thankfully, there were no other humans in these images or the husband's urologist would be in big trouble.

I only got a copy of the CD because one of the many latest ridiculous rules that are in place, you know the rules that are supposed to protect patients from having their medical records violated, but all they really do is make you have to move heaven and earth to obtain a copy of the results of the stuff that was taken from your own body, and make you have to argue with the lab workers and insist that as a patient you have a right to your own records no matter what the lab manager says, those rules. Can you tell I was more than a little annoyed???

The latest rule at this particular lab in this hospital said that I could not have a copy of the CT scan report unless I picked it up from medical records on the 2nd floor, which supposedly closed at 4:30 but the door was locked and the lights were off at 4:20 when I arrived. I went back down to the radiology lab to explain to the lady behind the counter that the records office was closed and she stared at me like I had five heads rolling down my back and asked if I was sure because they didn't close for another 10 minutes. I nicely tried to explain that unless they were scared of intruders or were chanting in the dark I was certain they were closed. She said there wasn't anything she could do and I would have to wait. I started to walk away when I just happened to notice a sign in the window that said CD images picked up here. I asked if a copy of the report came with the CD and once again, I got the head-rolling glare as she said yes but it costs two dollars, over emphasizing the amount like she totally expected me to say WHAT?? OH MY GOD DID YOU SAY TWO DOLLARS WHERE AM I GONNA GET THAT KIND OF MONEY and then all five heads down my back would repeat the phrase over and over.

Then I had to go to yet another floor to cashiers office to fork over my life savings and bring a form back to the bitter shrew kind lady at the window  and wait patiently as she took her sweet time and hit print on the computer after she had to go through the complicated task of typing in my last name and date of birth to access the record. Oh yes, and she also had to pick up a blank CD and insert it into the computer and I am sure press at least another two buttons to burn the images to said CD. It was incredible, I am telling you she had some mad skills, I can totally see why it costs TWO WHOLE DOLLARS.

In addition to gaining the image CD, I also did one other thing differently this time. I did not have my MELD score checked. Since my last score was 8, technically I don't have to have it checked every six months like I have to have the CT scan. According to UNOS standards people with a score less than or equal to 10 only have to have their labs checked once a year. Normally though I usually beg and plead ask my wonderful doctor to indulge me and go ahead and check everything out so I can keep some sense of sanity. This time, however, I decided since I had a good report and I feel just fine (still convinced my liver is playing tricks on everyone and really isn't sick at all!) that I should have a little faith and wait until March to see if my score has changed or not.

So it looks like I am all in the clear and good to go. Yippee! I am going to try to do a better job of keeping up with the blog, I really stink at doing that. Also, I do want to add, that while I may have gotten and great report and I feel totally fine, there are those who do not. Please remember them in your thoughts and prayers and give your thanks if you are blessed with good health.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New commandments

I can only tell this story as it was told to me since I was too young to remember the actual event. However, I feel this is an important piece of our family history and should  be shared. It pretty much sums us up and it proves that I have always had a great sense of humor.

One fine Sunday morning the parents rounded up all six of their children and headed to church. The mere thought of attempting to get six children ready and off to church makes me shudder. I simply can't imagine. If I had six kids we would probably turn on the gospel radio station and watch an episode of Veggie Tales and call it even.

Regardless, there we were, the whole brood, ready to get spiritual. I am sure my parents were pleased and felt all holy and stuff right up until the moment it happened...

someone in the family let one.

My two-year-old self, who was seated up on my dad's lap did not want to let a golden opportunity such as this pass by so I loudly proclaimed, "DADDY FARTED!"

Now who actually passed the gas has been a great debate amongst the family for years, some say I was the guilty party, but I believe it could have been any one of the suspects. I lived with these people for years, I know they are capable.

Needless to say my outburst caused great commotion and everyone turned to look at my poor red-faced father who had thrown me onto my mother and was doing his best to slide out of the pew past his laughing family. I guess they never read the commandment - Thou shalt not laugh at thy father or thy husband.

By this time the service had come to a complete halt and everyone was in hysterics watching my poor father who was insistent that my mother get the kids up. I can only speculate but I am pretty sure that neither the Father, the Son, nor the Holy Spirit was going to be in the conversation taking place in the car ride home.

My poor mother was laughing so hard that her poor after children bladder could not take it and you guessed it, she wet her pants. A fact that I used to think was hilarious but now that I have had three children, I unfortunately can relate.

 By now I am sure even the church leader was silently praying God come down and take this poor family out of their misery or at least get them out of his church. So my mother managed to get herself up, still holding the culprit, and situate herself in between two of the tallest children in a pitiful attempt to cover her mishap and walk out of church with her head held high and probably cussing my father, who was long gone and hiding in the car, under her breath.

I can't so say for sure but I am fairly certain it is situations like this that started the whole nursery and children's church concept. If your church does not offer such a luxury, simply remember this commandment - Thou shalt not hold the baby in church.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Potty mouth

Hi, how are you?

A common phrase, we all use it and is normally followed with, fine and you? At least we hope it is. But there is always that one person, and we all know one, that you dare not utter those words unless you want to stand there and get a full play-by-play of their medical history. This is for you, and the people like you, who love to share all of that personal information like how often your bowels move or how often they do not,  so take a note and remember this the next time you are in this situation.

How many times have you stood their providing your medical background to some poor soul who simply asked how it was going and their response has been - Well, bless your heart...

Let me help you out here and explain what most of you southerners are already aware of. The phrase, "Bless your heart" is what all nice southern people say when what they are really thinking is Oh sweet Jesus, please save me and get me away from this person.

It is the southern version of if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

My mother is the world's worst for sharing too much information. She is a repeat offender of the worst kind. Case in point, she was supposed to go to a baby shower and was not going to be able to make it. If memory serves me correctly the phone conversation went a little something like this -

Expecting mother: Hello

My mother: Hey hun, I just wanted to let you know that I am not going to be able to make it to your baby shower this afternoon. I am sick.

Expecting mother: Oh, I am sorry to hear that, I hope you feel better soon.

My mother: Me too, I have had the worst case of diarrhea, I have been up and down all night, I tell you it is just awful.

Expecting mother: Well, bless your heart...

Do you see how this works?

First of all, you should never discuss your terrible case of the runs with anyone whose name is not followed with the letters M.D. No one wants to hear that. So for the love of all that is good in the world, please quit sharing too much information about your bodily functions with the rest of us. We don't really need to know that you have been on the commode all night and now your hemmoroids are so flared up you can barely walk. Do us all a favor and get some Tucks and keep it to yourself.

So remember the next time you are posed with the question simply say these three little words - fine and you, and instead of hearing bless your heart, I guarantee you will hear a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leavin' on a jet plane

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always been close to my dad, you can read more about him in this post. The older kids had already left home and began making their own way, and it was just me and Dad, so it was inevitable that we would have a stronger relationship. The joke between the brothers and sisters is their dad and my dad are two different people. Now as an adult, I didn't see him every day or anything, but we talked at least several times a week and if I needed him to come by or pick up a grandchild or let me borrow a tool, or whatever the case may be, he was there and I knew it.

Dad has been married a few times, like neck and neck with Larry King, but who's counting? I don't want to embarrass him or anything, let's just say I have been through the whole dad's new wife routine at least a time or two.

So sometime around Christmas of last year when he informed me that he was considering moving to Alaska with the latest missus I didn't really think it would happen. However, as time passed and he knew he could no longer avoid the conversation I began to realize he was probably going to go. Without me. Yes, of course, I know that I am married, with children, and have all these other trivial things like a job and a house to take care of, but that is besides the point. He was moving to ALASKA. Which, in case you didn't know, is no where near my house in Alabama.

To fill you in a little and give you a better understanding of my dad, he is very good at only sharing the information he wants you to know. You know, the mundane, unnecessary events of every day life, he will tell you at a moment's notice, but the important stuff, like I am moving to ALASKA and I am leaving on this day and I will or will not be back on this day, he will conveniently leave out of the conversation in case you have, you know - questions.

It's kind of like selective hearing, except in reverse. In his defense, I think it's more like trying to make everyone happy but you know you really can't so you just tell people what you think they can handle and try to avoid all the rest.

So when the day finally came and he was set to go, there wasn't a long visit or a party to say goodbye, there was only time spent with the wife's family and a quick call to me to say goodbye. While this may all sound a little absurd, it was a song and dance that we had spent all week perfecting, I had intentionally avoided going to his house so I wouldn't have to see packed boxes and feel the sting of reality, and he had not come by mine so he wouldn't have to see how much it hurt me to see him go.

So the night before I was restless and could not sleep and decided at the last minute to go the airport in the wee hours of the morning and make him say goodbye. The flying sister, went with me and since she is the emotional one, I spent the entire drive down talking to her about not making a scene. We arrived and intended to say a rushed goodbye, hope you hate it and come back soon wish them well and then the sister and I would head back to the house.

What happened next is a rare event and I am truly sorry to all of the early-morning, groggy, rushing travelers who were minding their own business and just trying to catch a flight that you had to witness such a scene. I got to the airport and saw my dad and cried like a fool. I mean twisted-face, running nose, sniffling, snorting, crying like a baby. And although, I certainly did not save face in the airport, I said my goodbye and that is what truly mattered.

It was the first time I had ever felt sorry that I left home and started my own family and left him so soon. All those years before I felt all grown up and was so caught up in my own plans and moving foward that I never stopped to think about how my dad must have felt to see me moving on without him. I had to learn what my dad had already witnessed at least a half a dozen times before. He didn't try to stop me, or talk me out of it, or beg me to stay because he knew it wasn't fair to me and that part of loving someone really is letting them go. He is much smarter than me, and probably less shelfish too.

So my hope is that my children will forgive me one day when I stand there with the twisted-crying face when they follow thier own dreams. As much as I don't want it to, it is bound to happen, and thanks to my dad and his journey to Alaska, I might be a little more prepared. And even though I know he's not just down the road anymore, I hope, that he, and one day my kids, will still remember the way home.

Monday, April 26, 2010

How does your garden grow?

I am not one of those lucky girls who barely has any arm hair, or naturally thin eye brows, or light hair on her legs that allows you to go weeks without shaving and it not be noticed. Oh no, that is not me. I can wax my eye brows and a week later they need to be done again. I am total mustache denial. I don't only have to shave my legs, I even have to shave my big toe.

Don't be a hater, you know you do too.

So with bathing suit season right around the corner, not my favorite time for many reasons cellulite, stretch marks, jelly belly, thunder thighs that shall remain unnamed, I am once again faced with the daunting challenge of the bikini line. Or in my case, the lack thereof. Let's be honest, I would have unwanted hair down to my knees if I wasn't careful.

Laugh all you want, you know you have been there.

Of course there is always the first option, the plain and simple one, the razor. The razor and I share a love/hate relationship because while it does get rid of the squirrel tail, it also leaves behind a horrible case of what looks like teenage acne on the top of my thighs. And no, not the kind Proactiv can clear. Of course I have tried all the creams, the alpha hydroxy, the Bikini Zone, the powder, the bend-over-backwards and turn-three times to prevent razor burn method.

Nothing works.

I have seen the commercial that shows all the skinny tramps, I mean lovely ladies, prancing around in their shorty shorts with their smooth legs and I have dared to Nair. Sure the hair washed down the drain. So did the nasal hair that has burned out of your nose from the horrendous burnt plastic smell of the toxins you have just smeared into your skin to get rid of a little unwanted hair. It works fine until the next day when the stubble returns in full force. Are we sure Nair and Rogaine aren't made by the same company?

I have even dared to try to use a home waxing kit. Of course I know I can go to a salon and pay some poor soul to do this for me. I refuse. I can't bring myself to do it. No one deserves that kind of torture. If you think you are having a bad day at work just think about doing that job for a living. The nightmares. I can't imagine.

Back to the home project, I bought the kit with the best of intentions, followed the directions and heated up the wax, made sure it wasn't too cold or too hot, and then I proceeded to rip the skin off of parts of my body that will  never fully recover. Not to mention the wax got cold a lot faster than I expected and I thought I was going to have to take a trip to the ER to the have crack of my rear end surgically reopened. Saying it did not get well is an understatement. A huge understatement. I still break into a cold sweat when I see a jar of wax or a popsicle stick.

So until I come up with a viable solution, there will be no string bikini here.

Anyone know where I can find a nice wetsuit?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The facts of life

The husband I decided it was time to have the big talk with the big C and tell him all about where babies really come from. He turned 11 and we knew it was time, so we did what every good parent does - we put it off as long as possible. Then he turned 12 and I told the husband we could not wait any longer. Nor could we continue to live in the ignorant bliss that our oldest child had no interest or knowledge of the grown-up subject.

Come on, I know what is right around the corner. I had three teenage brothers in '80s so I know what tube socks were really used for.

After much discussion and preparation (flying by the seat of our pants and praying for it to soon be over) the husband and I teamed up on the poor unsuspecting child. At first I didn't think it was going to be so bad and then the husband, this boy's father - leader, mentor, teacher, began to speak.

Son, sex is when a man and two women...

Holy mother of god, what is he talking about? You mean a man and woman, I said. One woman, two people, one boy, one girl.

Yes, that's right. Son, one boy and one girl. See they get together and then he proceeded to try to explain things using big, grown-up, clinical terms like private place and lady spot. Clearly, our son was now well aware of the trap he had just fallen into and was balled up on the couch with his hands around his knees and his face pointed downward.

I know about this, ok, I know, please just stop, he begged.

I felt sorry for him, I understood this torture. My poor husband was still rattling on about girl spots and boy spots sounding more like we were having a discussion with a kindergartner about strangers than trying to tell a half-grown boy about sexual relations.

I tried to help by explaining that we just want him to know the facts, to know that he can talk to us. Then the husband starts in -

Husband: You see, son, in the Bible it says...

Me: The Bible, why are we talking about the Bible?

Husband: Yes, the Bible, the story of God, we like God, you know the Bible says to wait until you are married.

Oh, aren't you slick, I don't remember you talking about the Bible and the importance of saving yourself when we were dating.

Me (desperate to save face): Of course we like God, I love God, God is great and while I do think you should wait until you are married, or at least grown, the sad thing is many people today don't wait (in my best motherly voice, mind you).

Then the husband, father of my children, life partner, supposed best friend, totally hangs me out to dry.

That's right, take your mother for example...

Me? Me? You want to talk about me? Um, excuse me, you want to use ME as the example here? This coming from the boy who put his address on the bottom of the chalk board in high school with the words Sex Shop above it.

Me (again desperately trying to rescue any self-respect I have left while not exposing traumatizing secrets about his father) loudly said: This is not really about US, son. This is about you and making sure you understand things.

Then I went on to tell him how we knew he would talk about this with his friends but not to really listen to them because they would be confused and misinformed but that it was ok to talk about it with them, and to not send naked pictures of anyone with his phone because it would make someone's daddy very unhappy and if he were older he could get in serious trouble. And on, and on.

So basically I rambled and fumbled my words just like the poor husband who was trying to explain the horrible, evil world of porn and I thought was doing a good job until he followed up with - it would be awful for you to see it now because it would probably scar you for life but man, when you get in college have I got some things to show you. Nice.

When we were done and the poor boy had left the room and his humiliation was finally over, I looked over at the husband who at this point had his face buried in his hands. It wasn't so bad, I said, except for maybe the menages a trios, the whole your mother is a whore, and your dad is obsessed with porn, part. I think he will recover. Besides, you will be better prepared when your daughter starts her period sometime in the next couple of years, we will be old pros by then.

The look on his face said I had gotten all the revenge I needed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Meet the C's

Ok, I know, it has been a long time. So long, I debated on if I should do this again but I have been thinking about and thinking about it and have decided that it is time, so here we go.

If you have ever read this blog before, then you have probably gathered that the three C's are my children. They are the most important C's and they provide me with lots of funny material to share. I plan to continue to do that, but in the meantime, if you wish, you can learn more about them here.

Now this is the part I have been really thinking about. The other C's in my life. I have debated and debated over whether or not I should share them because not that many people know about these C's. I have Hepatitis C. No, I didn't not get it from a prison tattoo gone array, or by doing a string of x-rated movies in the 70's. I simply received a blood transfusion when I was born and thus the love affair with my liver began.

Out of 6 children, I am the only one who has never smoked, I don't drink, and I have never done drugs. See, it took my parents six times to get it right. Anywho, it is very amusing to me that out of the whole brood, I would be the one to end up with cirrhosis. I mean, there was the one time back in 2005 when I had a sip of a pina coloda while on vacation, and once I drank a half of a wine cooler at a friend's bachorlette party, and in high school, I may have drank less than a handful of times. LIVING ON THE EDGE, I know. But there it is, me, the one who walked the straight line, except for the whole pregnancy thing, is the one who ends up with a drunk liver. Go figure.

However, I decided to let you in on it, because it is a part of my life and at times, it can also be funny. Like this for example -

Thanksgiving a few years ago -
Sister- my head is killing me.
Me - really, it is my liver that's getting me.
Sister - not funny.

Liver biopsy 5 years ago -
Radiologist - if you don't mind me asking, how did you get cirrhosis at such a young age?
Me - middle school rocked.

Endoscopy last year -
Doctor - All I am going to do is put this tube down your throat, all you have to do is open wide.
Me - Why do I feel like I have heard this line before?
Doctor - laughed but turned 10 shades of red

It took me a long time to decide to do this because for people like me there is no pink or red ribbon and no one wears red for us on a Friday. There is a stigma attached with having something like this, but there should not be. You can't catch it unless you were thinking of asking me to be your blood sister or you like illness and carry needles in your pocket and go around jabbing people and then sticking yourself. I will assume you are not a needle-carrying maniac with a death wish. The truth is, there are lots of people out there just like me and I thought this would just be a good way to talk about it. So, if you would like to know more about me and the C's visit here.

Next post I will have to tell you about the recent birds and the bees talk we had with the big C. He's 12 and I hope we didn't scar him for life. So come back if you want, I am not going to turn this into a sad blog or anything. My liver may be jumping ship, but I am certainly not.