Everything and nothing.

14 Nov

So… there was a presidential election (in case you’ve been under a rock and to whomever is under said rock please scoot over because I’d like to join you indefinitely).  I started writing this post the day after the election to spew my frustration with the onslaught of Facebook wars and media coverage and to say that the sky is falling and yet, wait… it might be just an acorn.  Also I was going to express my frustration that I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I’ve opened a link to an “acorn throwing” post that either came from a source with a fundamentally bias agenda and/or was posted by someone who didn’t even take a moment to read the very link they thought was substantial.  If posters actually read the link, in their own post (like I took the time to do, not to counter-argue, but to honestly support and try to understand their viewpoint) they might realize that they themselves are part of the problem and not the solution- false information by headline/meme reading and sharing spreads like wildfire and it’s really hard to put out a wildfire no matter how it started.

Fun fact- the Internet and the modern media as a whole can manipulate anything and everything to make a mountain out of a mole hill AND conversely, it can also keep a mountain at a far distance making it mole hill. Don’t give them that power of manipulating what you know and what you don’t know.  Be aware that for every one link that argues one way there are 10 to counter argue it and for every video shot from one perspective, there is one from another perspective capturing a different version.  I get it though, in some instances right is right and wrong is wrong and there are no blurred lines.  Just be sure to use your filter before you sip the tea.

So know your stuff.  Read articles that not only support your stance, but also read those that you think might knock you off your feet.  I took the time to read your link and fact check it and ponder about what it means to you.  Sometimes it turns out to be a moment wasted because it’s an old post or it’s an engineered post and it’s already been debunked, but sometimes I’ve walked away with a bit of knowledge.  If it’s a moment wasted, rarely do I point out in a comment to the poster that the link should actually be read or fact-checked by the poster, but I promise you that mostly I’ve just rolled my eyes and have decided that said poster is either a headline reader or had a moment of soon-to-be regret and just scroll right past any of their future posts on the topic.

But this is my blog… my personal diary… my safe place where I can type my opinion and have the option to publish publicly or keep it for my eyes only (I don’t actually have private posts because if there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that I either say it publicly or keep it all bottled inside, but if I wanted to hit “private” I could).

So here I am a few days later, still feeling as though the 2016 presidential election will go down in history as the election that meant everything and yet, nothing.  Beyond the fact that historically every president EVER has not been able to fully reign over the United States.  I recently watched an eye-opening video about the electoral collage (which I’ve never fully understood, have been frustrated when it worked against my personal vote, and frankly, just wanted the public to do away with it).  I’m questioning my stance on doing away with the electoral collage now.  Our founding fathers really thought things through to the very last detail as far as fundamental government structure goes (including the prediction that party affiliation would be detrimental, but unfortunately, they never figured out how to work that kink out).

Part 2:  My opinion- “you get what you look for”

Hall0we-lujah, on to Christmas!

2 Nov

It was a long haunting weekend.  Halloween was on a Monday this year and the kids had an extended weekend with a two hour early dismissal on Friday and no school on Monday, so the celebrations began on Friday with a costume party at school.  Phoebe’s costume was an underwhelming last minute choice of Foxy Woxy from Henny Penny (just a crappy fox mask and a clip on tail that we have laying around in a costume bin).

On Saturday, we went to Baker’s 2nd birthday party where I met Isabelle for the first time and got my baby fix.  She’s so sweet and such a good baby.  Jan is one lucky mommy.

Then we rushed home to make it to a friend’s 46th birthday party and Halloween celebration for the kids.  It was awesome, but I left my phone home, so no pics.  Boo!  My costume was the underwhelming Foxy Woxy mask and tail that Phoebe wore to school, but I did attempt to create drama with a badly drawn smoky eye under the mask.  I was too tired to hose my face down when we returned home at 1 AM, so I woke up with some seriously stained white pillows and a face that looked like this


On Sunday, we had Trunk or Treat at the pool and it was supposed to be followed up by a Skate Night, but once again the Skate Truck didn’t show up, so the kids enjoyed their own personal scooters on the tennis courts while we set up the old school Ghostbusters movie on the big screen.  5 minutes into the movie a storm started brewing, so we had to call the whole thing off.


And then Monday… Halloween… finally came.  Time to Trick or Treat!  Phoebe’s costume cost all of $5 for a can of yellow spray paint.  Mike drew on the SpongeBob face and I painted it (and then repainted it after an accidental throw of a dog toy ripped a giant scar down the front of SpongeBob’s face.  It had to be surgically taped and touched up with another layer of not-so-well-matched paint).  It was a chilly year for trick or treating, but we survived… save for many houses that left their porch lights on, but were not handing out candy.  What’s up with that?!  Tess was hilarious though in her disappointment with said houses.  “Why don’t they have candy?”  “Why is their light on, though?”  “Why don’t they like Halloween?”  “Who doesn’t have CANDY?”  “Why… Why… Why… won’t they give me candy?”  Then she would stop at the end of their driveways and glance back at the candyless house as though she was memorizing their location and possibly thinking to herself this is the house that I’m going to egg tomorrow.

Jax roamed the neighborhood with his friends again this year and since they just went to each other’s houses, he pilfered all of the candy that Tess had received with peanuts/peanut butter in them from her plastic pumpkin.  Such a good big brother, looking out for the safety of his peanut allergy plagued little sister.  I managed to get one lone blurry picture of the boys before my camera died, but since I can’t find my charger, I can’t upload the photo… so you get none.

Leila went trick or treating across town with a few friends and apparently they decided to go to a haunted house along the way.  According to her text, she “barley screamed”.  I get a kick out of her misspelled texts.

As the long, several different costume-change-filled, Halloween came to a close, I was happy to say so-long to Halloween.  Bring on the Christmas!!!



Failed it!

31 Oct

So, I know it’s hard to believe with all of those fabulous forehead lines (*note to self: ask dermatologist “how much is botox?”) that I’m not 16, but nope, I’m 38 and taking my driver’s test… again.  [because remember this]

This is me in line, ready… or not… to go.  I passed the written portion with Jaxon, my 16 year old son, with flying colors a couple of weeks ago and spent a few hours prepping for my 2 point turn.  Maryland no longer requires you to do a 3 point turn or parallel parking, so yay, me… this is cake, right?!  Not so much.  2 point turns aren’t that easy, especially when you don’t have giant cars on either side of you to judge your side mirror distances.  I kinda sucked at it when practicing, but finally became more comfortable and decided it was now or never to take the test.  Of course, I was nervous.  I don’t often drive and when I do, I basically concentrate on the important things like stopping at stop lights/signs, using turn signals, checking my mirrors, not hitting cars or pedestrians and defensive driving tactics, so that I’m prepared for all of the idiot drivers making illegal maneuvers around me.  It’s a lot harder than you think (or remember from 22 years ago) to focus on turn signals (in empty parking lots), proper speeds, making sure to look over your shoulder and in all of the mirrors at all times, counting your trailing distance from the car in front of you, reading signs, following every minute traffic law possible, etc.. etc.. etc…  Though these things do come naturally over years of driving, you get into a comfort zone and stop focusing on 30 things at one time… and for good reason to be honest, because who can focus on 30 details at once and not be missing something critical because your focus is literally everywhere all at once?

Well, apparently it is critical to keep your hands gripped to the steering wheel with your palms facing away from you.  Seconds after the test started the instructor told me to stop and said “watch the position of your hands”.  I assumed that she was trying to tell me that I wasn’t keeping my hands at “10 and 2” and simply replied “ok” and resumed motion focusing on braking, signaling, mirror checking and her instructions on what to do next.  The 2 pt turn was straight out of the gate, as I started backing into the spot I immediately got flustered because those darn flags are just not visible in the mirrors until your turn is in place.  I noticed the instructor nodding in disapproval from the corner of my eye as I was backing up, so I doubted my position and decided to pull forward and reposition myself.  She nodded again.  Clearly, I was screwing up, so I sighed and thought “screw it, just back in”.  I had overcompensated when I pulled forward and readjusted.  Apparently, I was actually good to go on my first attempt and should’ve ignored her nodding.  Though close, I was still inside the cones and just continued on my way backing in.  She asked me to pull out of the space and pullover.  Focusing on blinkers and mirrors and cones and looking over my shoulder all the while, I pulled out knowing that her tone meant I failed even though I cleared the cones.  After I pulled to the side she said, “remember when the test started I asked you to watch the position of your hands?  As you turn your steering wheel, you turn your hands and grip the steering wheel with your palms facing you.  You can’t do that.  I had to give you a point every time you did that and you did it 6 times during the 2 pt turn, so you failed.”  She continued to say that it happens all of the time with drivers with expired licenses.  Us, more experienced drivers, get into a habit of gripping the steering wheel wrong or using palms to turn or letting our grip go of the wheel, so that the steering wheel slides through our hands (palming) as we turn.  Though, I never lost my grip of the wheel and didn’t palm it, I was turning my hand and gripping the steering wheel subconsciously from the wrong side.  She said she even does it all of the time and when she drives she thinks to herself “I would fail my own test”.

So, that was that.  38 years old and Failed it!  Though, I didn’t wreck the car or hit a pedestrian or run a red light… this failure sucked almost more… I mean, that’s a really obscure fucking technicality.  The instructor wished me luck next time and told me to go ahead and schedule a retake tomorrow, but as I drove home Mike and I noticed that this “moving my hand” thing is a pretty bad habit that is going to take a lot more practice to shake.  Poop.  I’m not going to lie, I did cry afterwards because what’s more embarrassing than failing a test that you easily passed 22 years ago… that your 16 year old son is getting ready to take?!  But that’s just it.  I have to take a deep breath and show my son that it happens.  Whatever.  Try, try, again.  I think I’ll try again after a bit more practice this time, though.  And who knows… since I technically didn’t get to drive the course at all, maybe there are a couple of more habits that could fail me that I don’t even know about?  Stay tuned for “Failed it: Part 2“.  In the meantime, watch out for a dangerous white minivan roaming the streets with a seriously old female student driver who dares to turn her grip when she turns risking the lives of anyone who is in and around her vehicle.

Monday, Monday

12 Sep

I had this grand idea to get organized.  The pool season has ended and so it’s time to stop neglecting the house/kids/myself.  As I do with most of my grand ideas, I looked to Pinterest (aka “Carol’s brain” because how did I ever do anything or have an idea on my own without Pinterest).  And with any great idea that can only be completed with the help of Pinterest, I had to spend hours searching and pinning and then clicking on pins and filtering through pins.  I finally decided to do this…


Yep, 147 pages!  Not to be confused with 148 pages which would totally be overboard.

…and then there were all of these checklists that had to be printed out and organized.  (because you have to organize your organization binder to help you organize)


…and then I had to fill in checklists, make menus and plan a whole week of cleaning.

The more lists I completed the more overwhelmed I felt.  *This is already backfiring.  Why do I feel less organized.  What’s that?  What’s happening?  What’s going on?

So I worked and typed and penciled-in this and that in my binder all weekend.  And finally, at 3 AM this morning, I had the week ready to go.  I looked over my Monday morning checklist and thought to myself “Ok, it seems like a lot.  I’m overwhelmed, but wait… some of this I can really knock out in the hour that I have in between dropping Phoebe off at her bus stop and dropping Leila off at her bus stop.  Tess will be asleep.  This may work!  I’ve got this!”

…But then Tess woke up at 4 AM crying and I couldn’t get her back to sleep until after 5 AM and feeling exhausted I started reasoning with reality.  “I have to get up at 6:30 AM to get Jax off to school.  Let’s be real.  I’ll be too tired and want to take a nap after all of the kids are gone.  I’m going to have to add “nap” to my to-do list.  Is that contradictory?  Can you add “nap” to a to-do list that is supposed to keep you organized and timely?  Screw it!  Adding “nap” to my to-do list will be the first thing I “to-do”.”  Zzzzzz…

As predicted, I was exhausted to the point of delirium, but I got Jax up and ready, then I got Phoebe up and ready, and then I opened my binder and set to cross things off quickly, so I could get to “nap”.  I did a load of laundry, took care of the dog, woke Leila up and got her in the shower, realized that most of the things I actually do weren’t even on my to-do list, but thought things were going well… until Leila walked up to me in the hallway mid-“laundry” check-off.  Soaking wet with tears in her eyes she stammered, “Mom, I just remembered, I was supposed to do a project this weekend.”  

“A project?!  Not a worksheet or a chapter to read, but a whole PROJECT?!”

“Yes!  I need to make a poster about something for health class.”  Still dripping under her towel, she shuffled through her binder and handed me a sheet with her project requirements. 7 research bulletin points, to be exact.

“Crap!  Ok, get dressed.  Seriously, Leila?!  You have to be at the bus stop in 20 minutes.  It’ll be fine.  Dry your eyes.  Mommy to the rescue!  Let me see what I can knock out.”  I quickly turned to the computer and tapped away at the keyboard, scrambled for a gnarly piece of leftover posterboard, a glue stick and my paper cutter.  Frantically, I searched, copy and pasted, printed, cut and glued and all the while it was killing me that I couldn’t rephrase most of it and that it wasn’t pretty.  It dawned on me that most people with OCD are probably unorganized because if it’s not perfect then it’s not good enough, so why even try?  I had completed 5 bulletin points before she had to leave for the bus stop.  She walked out of the door without a project and both of us were deflated, but I trudged on and when it was completed I jumped in the van with what is quite possibly the worst looking poster on “Stuttering” the teacher will ever be handed.  I zipped to the bus stop just as the bus was coming down the street to pick her up.  *Yay!  I got to be her hero!  She gave me a giant hug, as I told her to study the poster on the bus and really learn her topic.

I left the bus stop smiling, but even more exhausted.  I came home to stare blankly at the mess the haphazard project had left behind in its wake and then look over even more blankly at my “to-do list” with its one… lone… check.  Nope, “do Leila’s weekend project for her” wasn’t on there.  Just then… *crunch* *crunch* “Shit!  What’s the dog into?”  Fabulous, “cleaning up shards of gnawed on colored pencils” isn’t on my to-do list either.  F U, Monday!


When life gives you pink eye, make pink lemonade.

5 Apr

So you know how things never quite pan out how you envisioned them.  Yeah, well that’s the definition of Carol Trader.  I don’t think I’ve pulled anything off quite how I meant for it to be.  And I’m talking the small things, the haphazard moments that make you go “really?!”, not the life-altering atrocities or the as luck would have it happenstances.  Matter of fact, the very definition of haphazard

1. disorganized, unsystematic, careless, slapdash, helter-skelter.

is pretty much the very definition of me.  Most of the time I really do just kinda fumble my way through things and try to just. get it. done.  But even when I try to be careful and meticulous it always backfires and I just end up sitting at the head of a table caving in under a heap of mess.

So my girl, Jan is having her third baby, but first baby girl.  I’m so excited!  I thought to myself, “Carol, you kind of sucked at the Maid of Honor thing for her.  You know, like when you left the bachelorette party that you had planned for her (DC 101 Chili Cookoff concert then bar hopping) to go grab a car to meet up for bar hopping… but then your husband, who picked you and your friend Renee up in his police cruiser to go grab Renee’s car ended up in a haphazard car chase while you and Renee were in the backseat… which was kinda time-consuming and left Renee skittish and no one wanting to drive anywhere afterwards.  (Also, as it turns out, I think one of the girls was roofied while bar hopping without us, later that night.  Though she ended up being fine, it was scary, to say the least.  Yep, that’s me-  Friend of the Year!)  Or like, when the time came for you to give a speech at her wedding reception, but you had to to tell the DJ that you were haphazardly chickening out due to speech anxiety and you had your speech printed and framed for her instead.”  Yeah, I’m that Maid of Honor.  So, I owe her and something like a surprise baby shower might be an awesome way to show her how much I love her.

I sent Jan’s husband a text to see if a baby shower was already in the making, first.  He said that a neighbor threw a tiny neighborhood Baby Sprinkle for their last baby, Baker, so I asked for the neighbor’s name and number and quickly went to work on a surprise shower.  While waiting for a guest list and confirmation from the neighbor, Jan’s mom beat me to the punch and I received a shower invitation in the mail.  Crap!  But all wasn’t lost, Jan’s mom’s shower was being held on the shore an hour and a half away from Jan’s local friends & neighbors, so I thought we could still pull it off.  Jan’s neighbor thought it would be best to ask Jan if she was cool with it first, so no surprise, but the shower was still a go.  Yay!  I set to pinning things to make for the shower and sent out the digital invite.  I made the bunnies for the cupcakes the night before and woke up early to bake.


The cupcakes turned out adorable and we loaded the gifts, cupcakes and girls in the van (they would play with Jan’s boys, while I attended the shower).  Things were going well, until I turned to hand Tess a juicebox to drink during our ride and noticed that the eye that looked a bit irritated when she woke up was looking more like pink eye.  Crap!  Crap!  When we arrived at Jan’s neighbor’s house, I pulled Jan aside and said that it was looking like Tess had pink eye and that I didn’t feel comfortable staying and letting her play with Jan’s boys.  Mike took the girls to the neighborhood park, so that I could unpack the cupcakes, drop off the baby’s gifts and give Jan a hug.  Boo!  And that was that.  The carefully planned – I’m going to make up for being a horrible Maid of Honor – solo- surprise- shower that ended up being a second, non-surprise, Sprinkle that I wasn’t even able to attend.  I don’t mean that quite as negatively as it sounds because everything turned out just perfect, I’m just harping on the somewhat hilarity that it was not quite how I had envisioned it would go down on my end.  Jan’s mother’s shower was fabulous (Thank goodness I was in attendence).  And in the few minutes that I was at the Sprinkle, it looked as though Jan was having a great time and that was all that mattered, whether I was able to stay or not the ultimate goal was achieved.


On the way home, we passed Great Falls Park and since we had a surprising amount of time to kill that day, I asked Mike to stop.  The weather was perfect to take the girls on a small hike down a Great Falls trail, so we took the time to stop and enjoy our pink-eye-filled life.  And though even the Great Falls hike was a haphazard family outing, sometimes haphazard is… *sigh*… kinda nice.  Not what I envisioned for the day, but still nice.  When life gives you pink eye, make pink lemoade.

IMG_1087IMG_1079 IMG_1079 IMG_1078 IMG_1069 IMG_1054 IMG_1053

P.S. We made the right decision about not letting Tess stay and play.  It turned out that she had viral pink eye, which apparently is more contagious than bacterial and there is no treatment.  You just have to wait it out.  Thankfully, it was short lived.  2 days later, she is well and on the mend.

There are really good days, too.

22 Mar

So we missed Jaxon’s Bowie High Swim Team Banquet tonight.  To be honest, somehow I wasn’t even aware that they were having a banquet.  Bummer!  Anyway, much to our surprise we were visited by a responsible parent of another swim team member after the banquet.  He stopped by to drop off Jax’s varsity letter and a plaque that reads:

Bowie High School

Swimming Team

Freshman of the Year


Jaxon Trader

Shut up!  How freakin’ awesome is that?!  I’m not going to lie, I got a little choked up.  I hope he’s as proud of himself as I am.  He smiles and blows off his accomplishments, but I hope that he’s just being humble.  I hope deep down inside he gets how big of a deal Freshman of the Year really is and is just masking it under a goofy grin.  I hope that he continues to grow as a swimmer and begins to really enjoy the sport.  Most of all I hope that he stands a little taller and speaks a little louder knowing that he’s capable of so much more than he ever thought.

Don’t just dream bigger Jax, dream broader.





I love you and am so proud of you.



14 Jan

As of late, (and I’ll tell you all about why in a later post) I scroll through Facebook or Pinterest and wonder who the f*ck is making all of these inspirational quotes attached to stock photos of sunsets or beaches or sunsets on beaches or silly minions?!

Sometimes, I’d rather not be “stronger” because of what I’m  “going through”.

Sometimes, I want to punch that stupid minion in the face and sometimes I flip that damn sunset the bird.

Sometimes, I really don’t care what “God’s calling” is and I drop to my knees and I yell at him.  Yes, I’ve yelled him.  I apologize in prayer later and I hope he understands my anger, as I hope he understands that I unapologetically think he’s making the wrong call.

Sometimes, I pull away from a compassionate hug or shy away from eye contact when talking about “life’s difficulties” because if I hug for one second longer or actually see the sincerity in your gaze I will lose it… I mean… I will really lose it.

Sometimes, “you can do this” doesn’t apply.  I mean, really… I don’t live in a Disney cartoon.  There’s no bippity-boppity-boo nor anything humanly possible to fix some things.  I can’t do this because umm… It can’t be done.  I’ve tried and searched and have done everything in my power to fix some things, but like a shattered piece of antique china that’s irreplaceable… some things are just… unfixable.

Sometimes I give people a fake smile and say “everything’s fine” or “it’s going to be a long journey, but it’ll be fine”, but…

Most of the time  “fine” sucks shit and I honestly don’t think “fine” is good enough.

Most of the time, I want everything to be “perfect”.

Most of the time, I say “it’s fine”, close the door, sit in my bathroom and sob in a roll of toilet paper until my head throbs.

lily's birtdday party

(For what it’s worth, I forced myself to get my sobs together and walked to the party that I wrote about in the previous post and I’m glad I did because soon after I arrived and snapped a photo with my gal pals, Leila came down with what would be one of her last horrendous headaches.  As, I walked her to Mike’s car she vomited violently and at that moment I knew, what deep down I always knew- something was very wrong with Leila.  I made the appointment that would change our lives forever the very next day.)


12 Sep

*for what it’s worth, this post wasn’t written without reflection on the fact that it could be worse.  this is just my own personal account of my new normal.  nothing more, nothing less.

There they go.

I stare out the window, wet with rain on the outside, wet with tears on the inside. They are off to yet another birthday party that I cannot attend or will not attend… whichever way you look at it. I could go. I’d just have to fight through pain; the same fight that I have here looking out the window. But here, I don’t have to pretend, I don’t have to act, I don’t have to fake a smile and sometimes faking that goddamn smile is just the absolute worst. Here I can cry and I can lay down and I can grip my pillow and grit my teeth when it hurts. I don’t have to pretend and it’s freeing and it feels good to let my body curl up in a ball and ride the wave and it’s nice to cry without a little person looking up at me with wide eyes asking, “what’s wrong, mommy?”.

Yet, I’m staring out the glass and just having a little moment first. My “why me, WTF, I hate this” moment.

The cartilage in my ribcage is inflamed, so it hurts to breathe. (Robbed. I would love nothing more than to laugh so hard that I can’t catch my breath.)

The lymph nodes in my breasts are swollen, so it hurts to move my arms or lay down and forget a bra, I’d rather poke my eyeballs out. (Robbed. I don’t want to be a stay at home Aborigine.)

Even if my boobs felt ok, I still haven’t been able to lay on my stomach for 3 years. My guts feel like they are being gnawed away by the Alien. I yelp whenever one of the kids accidentally leans into their hug. (Robbed. I’d love a good tight bear hug by them, all day, everyday.)

The nerves in my neck and my arms are raw bc my muscles are so inflamed. (Robbed. I’d love an affectionate shoulder massage that didn’t make me squirm or cry.)

My stupid body, just eating away at my muscle like grazing cattle and shitting away all my precious muscle protein into my bloodstream like it’s nothing, like it’s insignificant. (Robbed. I’d love to be able to know that my muscle tissue wasn’t wasting away and that if I wanted to, I could hold another baby of my very own for as long as a baby wants to be held.)

My muscles continue to twitch, randomly, all over my body as they have every 2-3 minutes for the past 3 years. My fingers move, or don’t move, on their own. (Robbed. The summer, the school schedules, whatever excuse I offer, isn’t the only reason that I’m not sewing.)  Tell me that’s not annoying and I’d love to introduce your face to my toilet water.

And there it is… one of my favorite symptoms… bitchiness. Ugh! I hate it, but I can’t help it. There’s hormonal bitchiness that women recognize the minute it happens and there’s the “why do you keep pissing me off?” bitchiness that isn’t exactly refutable. But this bitchiness is a symptom of torture. I don’t like it, I feel bad about it, but I just want the inflammation to stop, S-T-O-P, that I just can’t focus on anything else or tame my emotions… I am, as I stated, tortured. (Robbed. The real me is in here. I’m cool, I’m fun, I’m loving, I’m caring, I’m a good friend, I’m a good wife, I’m a good mother and I’m not selfish… in here. But I’m stuck in here being robbed and I want to be out there. I want to be outside this glass, at a party with my girls, free as a bird… to be me, be the real me, be the old me, be anything but this me!!!!!)
Yesterday, I had a doctor agree that steroids were the right direction. Shitty as they are, they are my last resort, so I glance away from the window towards the counter-top where my new prescription sits, still in the pharmacy bag. I know my body needs them. I’m just scared that like everything else, it’s just not going to work and what happens when your last resort doesn’t work?
So here I sit, in pain, in tears, staring out the glass, glancing back at my only hope.
I’ve been robbed of my big girl panties, too.

When life gives you lemons…

13 Mar

… laugh at the little things.

Last week, I started feeling pretty awful.  Lymph nodes began flaring again, chest inflammation, irritability… blah, blah, blah, so I closed down my Etsy shop.  Just in time, as luck would have it!  Leila had also been sick with a virus for over a week.  She was coughing non-stop, but it was productive and her doctor listened to her chest several times and said she had normal breathing sounds, so not to worry.  She began vomiting mucous, but my doctor said again, not to worry, she would be fine.  After 5 days of her vomiting mucous and gasping for air, I had had enough and asked Michael to take her to urgent care.  I would stay behind with the little ones because they had their own congestion issues and I didn’t want the petri dish of a hospital make matters worse.  At urgent care they took xrays and noted something, but they weren’t quite sure what it was, they recommended a ct scan, which would have to be ordered by her doctor the next day, started her on antibiotics, and sent her home.  She had coughing spells and difficulty breathing throughout the night.  After we sent Jax off to school in the morning, I told Mike not to wait for her doctor’s office to open and to just take her to the ER, where they could run a ct scan.  I paced with worry while the little ones slept and when Mike called me a few hours later to ask me if she could have been exposed to TB and I could hear her in a fit to catch her breath in the background, I had had enough!  Still without a license and not wanting to expose my neighbors’ kids to whatever my children had, I asked a dear friend to drive me and the kids to the ER.  Like a scene out of Terms of Endearment, I hovered over her, fussed over her condition at the nursing desk, got her a warm blanket, tissues, more meds, begged for the doctor to come talk to me immediately… I was a mess.  They performed new xrays and though there was a discrepancy, they were sure that her lungs were ok.  They ran a TB test and started her on a stronger antibiotic.  The nursing staff stood by my side and comforted me, while they explained for nearly an hour why she was doing much better than she sounded.  They were so very kind to me.  We went home and 2 days later, I decided to get out of the house for a bit and drove everyone to the local pharmacy to get some more meds for our at home infirmary.

And guess what???  While at the pharmacy (obviously, because it was the only place we had been within 48 hours), Tess picked up the dreaded stomach bug.  Oy vey!  I stayed by her side and woke up with her every 15-30 minutes and washed and rewashed blankets and sheets and pjs.  While doing one load of laundry, I asked Mike if he could watch Tess as I had just put her in the bathtub.  She had an “incident” in the bathtub, which Mike tried to swipe down the drain.  The “incident” resulted in him contracting the stomach bug, himself!  Woo hoo!  And within 24 hours, I came down with it, as well.

As the 3 of us laid in a king sized bed, taking turns in the bathroom and changing runny diapers, I heard faint giggles coming from Tess.  In the quiet of the night, I listened as Mike snored over and over again and with each bear like growl a tiny toddler laugh followed.  Though I had just hovered over the commode and I was destined to return in nearly 30 minutes, and I felt like a bus had hit me, AND had one of the most stressful weeks, since Phoebe’s surgeries… I let out a giggle too each time… after Tess would giggle… after Mike would snore.  It’s the little things, or the little people, rather that just make life spectacular, even when it’s rotten.

Gone are the days…

6 May

…of the funny stay-at-home-mom posts.  Posts about fighting with random people in parking lots, or toddlers locking themselves in the bathroom, or general moanings and groanings that an ‘ordinary’ mom might utter… have been forgotten and replaced with a couple of posts about my health.  I miss those random days.  I feel that they will come back.  Diagnosis or not, feeling good or not, clean house or not… I need to come back.

Last Monday I had an axiallary lymph node, closest to my breast, surgically removed at Hopkins.  It measured 3 cm, which I’m told is really big for a “reactive” node.  In other words, it’s probably not cancer, but you’re pretty damn sick and it’s no flu.  They are currently still biopsying the node because… honestly, they have no idea what they are looking for.  I also, just shelled out nearly $2000, out of pocket, to have extensive blood tests run for Lyme, babesia, and bartonella.  The doctor seems suffice enough that I will test positive for all three, that she started me on meds for them while we wait for the results.  This Wednesday I have my first appt. with a cardiologist to see why the arteries on the left side of my body are so enlarged.  The left carotid is visibly and palpably enlarged and the artery in the left axiallae was so enlarged that the sonographer couldn’t even figure out what it was.  Later that day, I have a consultation with a surgeon regarding a hernia, that has been darn near excruciating at times since I was pregnant with Jax 13 years ago.  To recap:  I still feel bad and no one knows why.

*Sigh*  As I wait for results and a magic pill to make it all go away, I will post about funny things that Tess does… tomorrow…

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