Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Voice of Doom

I feel like everything I have to say lately is depressing and morose. It's not like me to be such a downer, or at least to talk about it out loud. However, that's just the way things are lately.

So, on to more crappy news......My Dad had another stroke the other night. He's doing okay, regained his speech and back to dialysis, but it's another setback nonetheless. It's also pretty much what is going to happen from now on. They can't give him blood thinners due to his other medications and conditions, so they've pretty much told him he's just going to continue having these strokes until one kills him. I think this is stroke number four. My Dad chose to go home and just live his life, or whatever is remaining of his life. The problem is, he hasn't been back there very long each time he tries to go "home." Inevitably, he's back in the hospital with a stroke.

It's difficult for my siblings and I here in Canada, because my Dad is so far away. We wait on pins and needles for that next phone call or email saying that he's gone. It's difficult for my Dad waiting for something worse to happen to him, as well. It's difficult on his wife to have to take care of him and worry about him, when her own health is precarious.

That's a lot of worry.

And hence why I'm a Debbie Downer as of late.

But I'm thankful as well. Thankful that this wasn't the one to signal the end. Thankful that my Dad continues to fight, because honestly at this point, all that is keeping him alive is his own will. Thankful that I've inherited a fighting spirit. Thankful that my fairly non-existent relationship with my Dad has strengthened since I had children of my own. Thankful for the times we've had and that we had that time.

And especially thankful that today is a new day, where the possibilities are endless and anything can change on a dime for the better.

That right there isn't a buzzkill, for once. It's called HOPE. Though things seem pretty dark, there's always that light shining on. I'm trying to keep it lit, even when I'm confronted with doom.

Just like my Dad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Life Moves Pretty Fast, You Don't Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It"

I know, that's a long title. Deal. It's also one of my fav quotes from one of my fav movies, (Ferris Bueller for those living under a rock) and it fit my current state of affairs.

Where the heck is time going these days? I feel like a hamster on a wheel, just running and running but seemingly getting nowhere.

Our schedules are pretty busy during the week, so it definitely feels like each night we have to rush through dinner and get out the door in time to go to dancing, swimming, etc etc etc.

It's not just that, though. Everyday, school sends home yet another note with yet another thing to order, fundraise or complete. I'm usually the nerdy mom that fills out whatever I'm supposed to and sends it back the next day. Currently, however, I have a stack of papers awaiting my perusal.

Of course, Christmas is also a month away. I have quite a bit done, shopping wise, but there remains more to do. There also remains cooking and baking and decorating. My "To Do" list seems interminable.

We had our Christmas with my family and gave them our gifts. It was a lot of fun and the day went really great. The problem is that these trips "home" are never quite long enough. I make plans to visit my friends and extended family-and never end up doing so when all is said and done, before it's time to head back once again. Sigh.

Basically, I'm stressed and overwhelmed currently. My body is feeling it too. I'm not sure why I'm more stressed than any other year or any other time, but I am. I have a cold sore on my lip which I get when I'm sick or stressed. My tongue has two raw spots that are killing me. I have chills and I'm beyond tired. I know, don't even say it. I'm NOT getting sick. Nope. Nuh uh.

I don't have time to be sick.

I shouldn't even be kvetching about all of this and I truly feel like a dud even doing so when obviously there are bigger fish to fry in the world of pain and sorrow and stress.

It's my blog though, and I'll bitch if I want to do so.

Now that I've vented that out into the Universe, I'm off to prepare myself for a long afternoon and an evening rushing off to dance classes and baths.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vault, Or Open Book?

I have a friend here that I've known for the two years that we've lived side by side. We share coffee times and playdates and hang out with our husbands and friends for dinners and movies. We both also like to shop. We've grown quite close, and I enjoy her family a lot.

We went on a recent shopping excursion and had a long drive to get back home afterwards. During that 1.5 hour trek, we did a lot of talking. We talked about our lives growing up, the types of boyfriends we had, our marriages and families now. I won't get into the whole sordid details of that exchange, obviously, but what she relayed to me was significant. At one point as I was speaking, she turned and looked at me and said, "You are a total VAULT. You've sat across from me while people talked and cried, and you've never, ever let any of this stuff you just told me out. How do you DO that?"

There are certain people in the world that are Open Books. If something is going on in their lives, you know about it. Either they can't contain themselves enough to keep it in, or they just need to purge as much as possible to get feedback or feel better. That's definitely not me.

I think most of us have secrets we keep inside that we will take to our graves. Or at least I used to think that. Now, I know people that say that isn't so. They believe in "getting it all out." That concept gives me the shakes.

I'm the type that will let you in after many, many, many years. I need to feel a trust between us. Even then, I'll feed you select random details and not the whole picture. In fact, I've been known to minimize. A lot. To me, sharing pain or difficult situations is embarrassing at best. Mortifying is the more apt term. It also makes me feel weak, and I also feel it gives up some control. It gives power to the other person that they now know something so intimate from your life story.

When I told my husband that I had shared some of these details with my friend, he was in total shock. He knows me enough to know that it took me years and years before I even completely opened up to him. Even saying completely might still be stretching it.

Conversely, if you tell me something personal, that's where it also goes; the Vault. I can be trusted to keep a secret, mainly because I know how difficult it is to share that secret and let someone in.

I'm not saying that being this way is right. Oh, hell no. I would say sometimes it's very trying to struggle within and then go out in the world with a smile on your face. I would just say that I've had a lot of practice.

What about you? Are you a Vault, or are you an Open Book?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Week In The Life

Yes, I've been remiss in writing here. Again. This time, I make no apologies. When I say, "it's been a week," I realllly mean, "it's been QUITE A WEEK."

Last Friday, my daughter got off of the school bus looking pale. She also informed me that while on her hour long bus journey, she had wet her pants right before her stop. I brought her in the house, changed her out of her wet stuff, and took her temperature because she looked quite piqued. I almost fainted. Her temperature was 104F.

Of course, I then started to feel a little angry with the school. Did they not NOTICE a kid with a 104 fever??? How long was she at school feeling like that? I remembered though that nowadays, teachers don't ever actually TOUCH their students. Who WOULD know then if a kid had a fever? Well, other then them telling you they didn't feel so great which my kids generally don't do.

The fever rose, despite the use of Tylenol, to over 105F. At this point, I was getting pretty panicky. We gave her some Tylenol and Advil together to bring down the fever fast, and then alternated the two every few hours. That seemed to work, though her temperature never did go down under 101. It was a long, sleepless week for me. When my kids are sick, I don't generally sleep. I'm being absolutely serious here. I watch them, check their temps, check their breathing, give them sips of water, sponge their foreheads and wrists. Suffice to say, I'm a wreck.

I closed the daycare for almost the whole week (re-opened Friday) and kept her home from school. She seemed much better by Wednesday night, and it was at that point that the fever finally broke.

My Dad had also had a stroke and was rushed into the hospital. They also found he had double pneumonia and a cyst on his kidney and a bacterial infection. How much can one man TAKE? Apparently, quite a bit. They didn't think he'd recover from the stroke but he's doing much better. He's on antibiotics for the other messes inside his body, but the good news is-he has gone home. The bad news is, more strokes are imminent. Due to everything else my Dad has going on, they can't operate on the cyst. So, benign or malignant, it's just staying where it is and they can't know more about it than that really. He also can't take the typical blood thinners to reduce the chance of more strokes, so he's just gone home to wait and see what happens and when. I don't know that the quality of living is great doing that-waiting for the stroke to come that will kill you-but the alternative of living in a hospital isn't very appealing either.

In the middle of these stressful life moments, my two daughters received their reports that they had passed their swimming levels. They are both doing so great in the water, and I'm loving it. My youngest was the only one in her class to pass and she's now on to learning the front crawl and swimming longer lengths. My oldest has finally mastered her crawl and retrieving things from the bottom of the pool, and is now on to perfecting her dives.

Their dance classes are also going well, though every time we go with them and wait in the room with the parents, it's a cesspool of germs and illness. I don't know why people continue to bring their children when they are sick, but apparently they do. It's a dance class, folks. They can miss a week, or two.

The highlight of this week, well maybe this month actually, is that we are going HOME to visit for our "Christmas" with my family. We don't get to travel at Christmas time itself, so this is it. I have all of my presents bought and just need to get them wrapped in the next day or two. We'll leave them there for Christmas day, and bring some back as well. Whoohoo. The best part of course is just seeing my family and my friends that I miss so much. There's nothing like going home where you know that you are loved and supported, no matter how neurotic you may be. Not that I'm talking about myself there you know. Just, in general.

I have to say that life has been feeling a tad overwhelming lately. It seems when I feel like I finally have my finger on the pulse of my life, it goes haywire. At one point last week I broke down in tears because it seemed like everyday was just some new fresh hell. Luckily this week is moving along much smoother and I'm taking some more deep breaths and pushing forward.

Glad to be back in the land of the living! Thanks for waiting me out!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Etsy Love

How come I've never really checked out before?

I went there today after reading something about it having a great selection of homemade and crafty sorts of unique gifts.

After spending an embarrassing amount of time "researching" different categories, I found a multitude of gift ideas for myself and others. I pretty much was able to shop for my whole family, at least one or two items each. Well, in my head.

Now I just need to whip out Mr. Plastic and start making some of those Etsy purchases for reals.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Phew. We Survived.

Where have I been, you ask? Or maybe you don't, but I'm going to tell you all about it anyways.

It's been quite the week and a bit. I don't even really know where to start with it all, so if this blog reads like verbal diarrhea, just deal.

My husband was away for four days last week. That's not usually difficult or anything, in fact, I seem MORE organized and on task than when he is here. (what does THAT say about me? I have no clue) However, it was the week of Halloween and we had no pumpkin and no candy. Oops. When he arrived back home, it was a mad scramble to find said items. Well, the pumpkin anyways. In the end, my neighbour gave us two of her 5 and we carved those. I grabbed candy Friday night while grocery shopping.

Now, this probably doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but I'm a HUGE keener. I'm the Mom that did a big "scary" dinner last year and decorated like a fiend. This year-chaos. We put a few decorations up Halloween day. We carved our pumpkins a few hours before Trick or Treat time. Luckily we had the girls costumes all picked out and ready a few weeks prior. Not so luckily, we forgot to take our camera and any pictures of the girls in their costumes. My neighbour, thankfully had taken a few.

I have no idea what happened in that week, but the whole thing seems kind of a blur.

Actually, I DO know what happened. The H1N1 happened. It has struck where I live in a big way. It seems like every family I know has someone down for the count. They aren't even testing it as H1N1 anymore, they are just assuming that is what you have. My husband has had some confirmed cases within his employees though. It's pretty scary stuff. While the flu "kills" people every year, it usually attacks those with already compromised systems. The difference with the H1N1 is that it's killing young, healthy children and young people. Schools here are out anywhere from 30-48% of their children. We are hand washing and my kids take antibacterial hand gel to school as well as a pack of Kleenex. They immediately wash their hands after coming in from school or anywhere we go in public. The problem isn't with us, it's the inevitability that many, many others don't take as strident regard for their (or others) health.

So, after much debate, we decided to get the vaccine. My daughter has asthma and we were told that her lungs would constrict much quicker then others (as asthmatics lungs usually do) but the difference would be that H1N1 attacks the lungs quickly and savagely. She was considered high risk and we were "household members of a compromised person" so we were all able to get the vaccine. The next day, they ran out of it in my city. Then, my nephew got ill and most likely has the virus. My Mom and my brother have been ill for a week and they both said it's unlike anything they've ever felt before with extreme exhaustion, body pains and high fever. While I'm glad we were able to get the vaccine, I keep hearing of people getting the virus before the immunity kicks in-and we have 10 days to wait for that. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping my family back home can all be on the mend soon.

Finally, the roller coaster continues with my Dad's health. He went home after months in the hospital and was seemingly doing well. He had eaten, he walked from one end of the house to the other. These were all good signs. And then the bad news. He had a stroke and bleeding on the brain. That night they said his chance of survival was pretty slim and they asked if he had a living will. That moment was awful, and we were scrambling about how we'd get there, who would go etc etc etc. Now, he has gained some feeling back on his right side (which was attacked by the stroke) and he has said a few words and struggles to be coherent. So again, we wait and watch. If "I" am exhausted by the up and down nature of this past year, I can't even imagine what he and his wife must feel.

Yes, folks, that all happened within a week. So, I hope you can see why I haven't blogged and why I feel slightly burned out by it all. Let's hope this week sees more health, less stress, and a little more time to just breathe.