Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MRI results

My MRI results were bad. I tore a tendon as well as some connective tissue. The tendon tear is particularly bad news because if it completely ruptures the surgery to repair it is highly unsuccessful. I will be in my beloved cast for many weeks and am off work until January 3rd. I'm supposed to use two crutches and not bear weight until the pain is gone. I will eventually be in physical therapy. Crap!

I knew this was the worst injury I've had in a very long time, but was in complete denial about how bad it actually is. I totally planned to go back to work today; I could at least work half-days. Wrong! Telling my boss last night made it real. I was forced out of denial and made to realize I will not be working the month of December. I will spend at least the next couple of weeks sitting around, keeping off my feet as much as possible. I will become proficient at carrying food and drinks and my laptop while using crutches. I will come up with creative ways to do laundry with crutches and one leg. I will be so incredibly happy that my house has no stairs!

I know I can't sit around feeling sorry for myself. I also can't be overly ambitious with accomplishing anything physical around home. I will hopefully not have this much time off work again for a very long time. I need to use the time off to my advantage and try to actually enjoy myself. I was laughing at myself last night because I was thinking at least this isn't as bad as when I was on bedrest when I was pregnant with Kaylin. I mean, I didn't do ANYTHING for two or three months! What I was laughing about was that I can't even remember how long it was. I'm sure 10 years ago I could have said 74 days. Now I don't remember even how many weeks or months. A long time? Good enough.

I have to do one thing today and that is take Logan to his ENT appointment. I can't wait to hear what he says. I hope, hope, hope Logan just needs tubes! That would be such a quick and easy fix. Yeah, it's gotta be too easy to be true!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm a-skeered

Right now I'm suffering a big case of "what ifs" and feeling quite sorry for myself. Today I should find out the results of the MRI on my foot. I will find out if I can go back to work tomorrow. I can't even begin to express how much I want to go back to work. On the other hand, I'm terrified I won't be able to stand for 8 hours. My foot is much better than it was two weeks ago. However, it still hurts when I'm on it very long. I did nothing over the weekend other than some housework. I didn't leave the house once- not even to walk to the mailbox. If my foot started hurting I sat down for a while. Will working all day re injure my foot? Will I go from manageable, minor pain to excruciating pain? Will sitting at home another week drive me completely out of my mind? What if I have to wear the stupid cast 10 more weeks? What if I need surgery? What if whatever is found on the MRI doesn't justify having had two weeks off of work? What if I DON'T get my results today? What if the doctor is sick?

Haha, yes, I know I'm being ridiculous. Unless I actually DO need surgery(not likely), I will barely remember this a year from now. I'm making missing work a much bigger deal than it is. I'm sure it bothers me far more than it bothers the coworkers I'm "screwing over." Whatever happens, happens.

But I suppose being out of control is the reason for my mental turmoil. (Neener-neener Ruthie Roth, I LOVE starting sentences with the word but!) I mean, I obviously KNOW there are many, many people with much worse illnesses and injuries. I am not comparing my boo boo foot to someone with cancer! It drives me nuts that something that doesn't bother me at all while I'm sitting and typing this entry can keep me out of work for two weeks! Why can't I just suck it up and go to work? How did I hurt it in the first place? Why did it happen?

Yes, poor, poor me. And poor, poor YOU if I ever have a REAL illness or injury and you have to be around me!

I am going to spend what is hopefully my final day off of work taking my son out for breakfast and cleaning the kitchen. I am going to relax and watch some bad television and spend too much time online. Perhaps I'll take a little nap with my cat. I have three minor writing projects to finish. I have PLENTY of stuff to keep me busy until my doctor appointment at 5:15pm. Twelve hours and 45 minutes...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This and That

While not "all better" my foot is noticeably improving! I hope and plan to be back at work on Tuesday. If not, I will be very, very sad. Thanks to the holiday, I won't get the results of the MRI I had Wednesday until Monday late afternoon so still have no idea what's actually wrong. Hopefully NOTHING!

I have spent my time off going through So. Many. Things. The entire pool table is stacked with stuff ready to be donated to Goodwill. We will be getting rid of TONS of toys, books, movies and clothes. And yet, my house is still cluttered! It honestly doesn't look any better than it did before I started. How is this possible? It seems that our stuff reproduces like rabbits and accumulates overnight. Where does it come from? Why can't ANY flat surface remain uncluttered for 24 hours? There are books, papers, toys and clothes everywhere! How do I make it stop? Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

My plan for my (hopefully) final three days off is to spend a day apiece in the living room, kitchen and bedroom and attempt to find a place for everything. There must be 10 coats and 4 backpacks on the kids' hooks by the front door. There should be 4 coats and 2 backpacks. I will fix that. WHY are there golf clubs in the living room when nobody in this house has EVER played golf? Surely we can find a better place for all of the papers and chapstick and books and JUNK all over every table or flat surface. It must be possible!? I'm making an attempt...

So far we've had an awesome holiday weekend. The neighbor kids have been gone so haven't been bugging me. The kids have been getting along fairly well and mostly sharing video games. Mostly. Yesterday morning Gene and I were still lying in bed when the kids started fighting about who "owned" the Mario game they were playing. Kaylin claimed that Santa gave it to HER. Ugh. Well, I can say one thing, Santa (and WHY do you kids still believe in Santa???) will NOT be bringing individual gifts this year! Santa's bringing a family present and a note about SHARING. Otherwise, the kids have been more than happy about hanging around home with hobbled Mom. It's been fun watching them relax and play. Kaylin put up the Christmas tree yesterday and Tiger the cat has so far left it alone.

I've decided to stop freaking out over Logan's reading ability. After a week of making him read out loud from a comprehension workbook I found at Barnes and Noble, his reading and comprehension have both improved noticeably. I think what was needed was for Logan himself to be told there was a problem. I think he has been uninterested in reading and had no desire or drive to improve. Now that it's suddenly a "big deal" he's like "Oh, I CAN sound out words and read whatever's in front of me. I CAN pay attention to what I'm reading and answer questions about what I just read." I mean, he still needs plenty of work, but I think that will include practice and enforced reading time daily rather than testing and tutors and $$$$. If we work with him for the next couple of months and he's still way behind his class, I will certainly take major steps with tutoring. Meanwhile, his Ear, Nose and Throat doctor appointment is on Tuesday, so hopefully that will be the start of taking care of his hearing problems.

One of my favorite restaurants near our house started selling I think 50 different flavors of soft serve ice cream. This could have been a year or two ago, but I'm not a big fan of soft serve, so have never bothered trying any. The kids occasionally get some, but I think black raspberry has been the strangest flavor they've tried. I've been bored to death with my time at home and was in a weird mood yesterday, so when Gene went to pick up our order and the kids asked for ice cream, I told him to get me a black licorice one. Both kids groaned in disgust and I figured it was worth a dollar to eat a bite or two and watch their reaction. I dramatically spooned the first bite of black licorice ice cream to my lips, happily listened to their fake gagging and quickly shoved the bite into my mouth. Pure bliss! It was the best soft serve ever! I loved it! Perhaps my occasional side order of hummus will be replaced with black licorice ice cream. Or maybe I'll try rum raisin or peanut butter. Oh Pita's, you just keep giving me more reasons to love you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Boo Hoo

I'm off work for another week and trying to make the best of it. I still can't put full weight on my heel and have an MRI scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. It's 11am and I'm still in pajamas and unshowered. Sigh. This is not who I am. I WANT to be at work! I'm bored off my gourd!

I've spent my time off scooting around on my butt, going through books and toys and stuff. I can only stand to be on the floor for a certain amount of time because my cast cuts off circulation so I pretty much go back and forth between going through stuff and sitting in my chair reading blogs. I guess the good news is that I have 90+% of my Christmas shopping done. Yeah for Amazon! But really, I don't work well when I am on forced rest. I need to record receipts and balance my checkbook which will take 10 minutes max, but I've put it off for the past week. I'm surrounded by junk mail and trash and recycling but can only carry like one thing at a time with my crutches so I stack it all nicely and Tiger the cat scatters it all over again. I'm frustrated half to death but too bored and lazy and hobbled to do anything about it.

I've kept up with the Kardashians, watched countless episodes of Made and am actually excited about the Dancing With the Stars outcome tonight. I've spent hours upon hours with a fat cat curled up on my lap. I've moved from intense stress over not being at work to acceptance and pretty much a state of lethargy. I'm terrified that all the work I put in to lose weight to (ironically) help my feet is going to be lost to my inactivity. If I'm stuck in the stupid cast for another 12 weeks I may lose my mind.

I know, I know, boo-freakin'-hoo. Lots of people have it extremely much worse. I have a boo boo foot and in or out of the cast, will probably be back at work next week. I've had a stressful couple of months and am going to do my best to spend this week chilling out and de-stressing. When I go back to work I want to have a better attitude and a better outlook on life. It's definitely time for a change for the better.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ears and Reading

Hurray, the day of Logan's doctor appointment FINALLY arrived and taking him to Gene's and my family doctor worked exactly as I had hoped. Well, except I had hoped the doc would do his "sucky worst" and blow us off and recommend Logan to an ear, nose and throat specialist. I was apparently remembering my childhood family doctor, because this doc was extremely helpful! He first scoped Logan's ears and then used some thing to measure the vibration of his ear drum. Doc left the room for a minute and brought back a printout of the vibration test. He sat down and showed me on a piece of paper what a normal printout would look like- pretty much like a single heartbeat on a heart monitor- sort of an upside-down V. Both of Logan's ears were flat lines. Doc said he took a while getting the results because he initially thought the device was not working. Anyway, that probably means there is fluid or other blockage prohibiting Logan's ear drum from vibrating, which is a necessary component to hearing well. Off to the specialist he will go!

This doc did a great job helping me understand what is wrong but wouldn't speculate on whether something as simple as tubes will fix the problem. Logan did NOT have ear infections at this visit so hopefully he'll somehow stay well until the specialist visit. I had completely forgotten that I chose this doc because when Kaylin and I saw him at a prompt care before he started his private practice, he took time with us, listened and was NOT an arrogant jerk! When we got a letter in the mail that he was starting his own practice, I immediately called and signed both Gene and myself up. I absolutely loved Kaylin's pediatrician at the time and Logan wasn't born yet. I think I still have a horrible opinion of family doctors because of the idiot I saw my entire childhood through young adulthood. I could go for YEARS without a visit and then go in with nasty bronchitis and he would act like I was a total hypochondriac wasting his valuable time. The visit I was soooooo sick and walked up to the receptionist to pay, a nurse noticed how sad I looked, questioned my symptoms and gave me a bag full of sample meds (all while rolling her eyes in disgust at the doc's ineptitude) was my final visit. I went the prompt care route until my current doc started his practice.

It's funny- I love my podiatrist and my OB/GYN. I loved two of the kids' pediatricians and the Kaylin's ENT. I like my family doc (haven't seen him enough to "love" him...) And yet, my opinion of doctors is completely skewed because of the one idiot. I mean, the guy was such a jerk and always made me feel so bad about myself. Even as a small child, I NEVER faked an illness or injury! If I was at the doctor, there was a GOOD reason. Dr. Jerkwad ALWAYS treated me like I was a faking pain in his butt, wasting valuable time he could be seeing REAL patients. Idiot.

Whew, I digress! We are supposed to be receiving a call for an appointment with Logan's new ENT. I'm sure it will be months before anything is accomplished, but I'm thrilled the ball is rolling. Meanwhile, we're working on reading and comprehension. He's doing better, but still just shuts down and doesn't even try when he encounters a big word he doesn't know. I've always hated the pointless SRA books that are apparently the major part of reading at school. The stories are horrendous and boring. They were hard to read and comprehend when all the words were simple. Now every other word is a "big" word and the nonsense stories read like a technical manual. This system of reading is incredibly unfortunate. I love reading but hate these stupid readers. The kids who don't love reading are almost screwed. I mean, when you're already struggling with just the reading and then you can't understand a quarter of the words because they throw in "impoverished" as an example of the short o sound... The whole state testing prep curriculum is alarming and stupid! How can the teachers who have been around for years and years go along with this crap? Are they totally brainwashed? I don't get it! I can help my own kid, but what about the many parents who can't or won't? These kids are doomed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

whine on

Whatever I did to my foot, I don't think it's my usual plantar fasciitis. Wednesday I called the doctor who recommended I get crutches and keep weight off my foot. With PF, even at its worst when I was always in pain, the pain got better and manageable as I walked around. This I just can't even walk on. Even in the cast.

I haven't been able to do a lot during my time at home, but I am going through and weeding out lots and lots of stuff. We've lived in this house 11 1/2 years and I can't believe how much crap we've accumulated and kept. I really thought I wasn't materialistic or into "stuff." I was wrong! Why on earth do I still have ~50 VHS tapes? Do we even have a VCR? Good-bye! Do the kids really need an entire library of baby board books at ages 8 and 10? Nope. Ok, those things are easy to part with, but what about the Disney DVDs? WHY am I have a tough time getting rid of movies neither the kids or I will EVER watch again? Why is it so hard to get rid of certain toys? Ugh, and books... What is my attachment to books?

My plan for the next few days is to condense my extensive Playmobil collection to one Rubbermaid tub by eliminating all the boxes and separating smaller sets into ziplock bags. I also hope to do this with Legos. It's not a fun job, but at least I feel like I'm doing SOMETHING other than sitting around not working.

Kaylin and I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch yesterday. I'm pretty sure that was the first time I've baked anything from scratch. They turned out to be excellent. We even bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's Karamel Sutra and made cookie monsters out of the fresh cookies. Mmmmmm.

If anyone wants any DVDs, kiddie books, toys, etc., let me know soon. I'm going to take everything to work and then whatever people don't want is going to Goodwill.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Foot problems again :(

Yesterday at work I hurt my left foot climbing up a hill when we were at shotgun practice. It was no cliff, just a slightly steep short hill. I figured it was nothing I couldn't walk off, but by 2pm I was in agony. I've had my share of foot pain in the past year and a half, but this was incredibly much worse. I hate leaving work early and calling off sick, but by 2:30 I pretty much knew I wouldn't last until 5. I finished what I was doing and went home and spent the rest of the night icing, elevating and massaging my throbbing foot. This morning it wasn't any better. I could barely stand and the only way I could walk was on my toes. I called off work then called and begged to be seen by my very booked podiatrist. Yes, today.

Doc was pretty surprised when I told him how much pain I was in. He was shocked I called off work because he made so much fun of me for working every day of the 12 weeks I was in the cast because he always offered to give me a note if I wanted one. This time he INSISTED I not work. For a whole week. Sigh. He also insisted I wear the cast again. Double sigh. He tried to give me a prescription for crutches (you need a PRESCRIPTION???) but I asked if I could wait and see if I was doing better on Wednesday with the cast and rest before I run out and buy crutches. He took Xrays and prodded around on my heel and ankle until I almost kicked him because it hurt so much.

I came home and sadly dug the cast out of the closet. Apparently I just discarded it, hoping to never give it another thought, because it was completely disgusting from its final previous wear at work. Yeah, I got to clean it first! Well, I didn't forget at all about how much I hated wearing the thing. It sucks.

Logan's family birthday party was Friday night. He had a blast playing with his cousins. Patrick gave him a Nerf blowdart gun that everyone young and old had way too much fun shooting. Andy gave him a um, flying UFO thing that you charge and it glides around the room. Yes, horrible description, but a really cool toy that again, was enjoyed by everyone. It was a fun night.

Kaylin got the good news on Friday that her B in Effort was a computer mistake and had been changed to an A. That meant she made the strait A honor roll and was recognized and given a certificate at an all school assembly. She was very thrilled her hard work paid off and very proud to show everyone her certificate. I was glad her hard work was recognized enough for one of her teachers to make the Effort to go back and change the grade!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


My baby is 8. Eight! Monday morning he ran out to the car, removed his booster seat and ceremoniously chucked it in front of the garage where it remains today :) Wow. My car has not been carseat-free for almost 10 1/2 years! It's not quite as monumental as being done with diapers, but hey! Both kids spent the ride to school yesterday complaining that the lack of boosters forces them to sit in all of their spilled cereal and food wrappers. Jeepers, children, there's a simple solution to that nasty problem. They just laughed at me and Kaylin explained to Logan that he'd get used to it. He gave her a serious nod and agreed. Sigh.

We celebrated on Saturday since we were all home and it gave Logan plenty of time to play with his presents on a non-school day. We got him some batting gloves and a practice weight for his bat, a Lego set and a "5-in-1 Game Table" that sounds about 1000 times cooler than it actually is. It's an extremely cool IDEA, but in reality is fairly pitiful, with lame-o "air" hockey, basketball, pool table with large raised hump in the middle and a couple other equally poor games I can't think of. Fortunately, Logan likes it anyway. Oh, I forgot about the dolphin punch bag I found at Farm and Fleet for $1.79. I couldn't help buying it because it's an adorable inflatable dolphin you're supposed to punch in the face. Who punches a dolphin??? Anyway, it has provided the most laughs. Both of my kids and all three neighbor kids have had a blast beating up the dolphin. Also, Tiger the cat is terrified of the thing so that provides even more comic relief.

Kaylin made a cake and cupcakes. We tried to have a celebratory birthday dinner at Chili's, but left home at (gasp!) 5pm and the wait at 5:15 was already 40 minutes! Logan made the choice to go to (sob) Denny's instead. Denny's is almost right across the street from Chili's but instead of waiting outside for a table there were maybe 5 families. I wonder why?

For Logan's actual birthday on Monday he took cupcakes to school. Hee hee, there are now health department regulations so sadly "I" didn't make them, but bought them at the Wal-Mart bakery. Then for dinner he wanted carry out Bob Evans. Oh yeah. Bob Evans, the "other" Denny's! He had a great birthday, is thrilled to be out of the bay-bee seat and got two fantastic dinners :) Friday we're having yet another party at my parents' house and he'll get to see his cousins!

In other news, I scheduled Logan an appointment with our family doctor. I'm counting on him to be impatient and in a hurry and just immediately recommend Logan to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Please, Doc, do your sucky worst and get us in and out with that specialist appointment! I also talked to my zoo friend and emailed Logan's teacher and am hoping for a tutor recommendation. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another round of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Ah, nothing like a parent-teacher conference to shatter my illusion of well-being and complacency! Thursday evening I was already tired from a long week at work but had to rush home to shower and change and get to my evening conference with Logan's teacher. I wanted to be relaxing in my chair, but instead sat in a tiny 2nd grader chair processing words like "intervention" and "occupational therapy" and "hearing problems." Logan's issues with reading have apparently gone well beyond what I previously thought. I still believe his issues mostly stem from lack of interest and plain stubbornness. However, I also see that if we don't do something soon the reading issue will become major. The teacher went on and on about budget cuts and how Logan's not critical enough to be placed in the existing intervention programs. That basically means he CAN read Hop on Pop, but once he attempts anything past beginner level he struggles. The thing about Logan is he doesn't even ATTEMPT to read words he doesn't immediately recognize. It doesn't occur to him to sound them out. He just skips them and the story makes no sense and therefore he can't comprehend what he just "read."

As far as Logan's hearing issues, he's been to the district audiologist several times and we've been told his hearing is at the low end of normal range due to fluid buildup. He doesn't have nerve damage, he needs tubes. Then I go to the pediatrician and they either put him on amoxicillin (which does nothing) or flat-out refuse to see him (that's happened twice.) I'm on my third pediatrician and none will recommend him to an ear, nose and throat specialist! I don't know what to do! I guess I'll go back one more time and insist and demand and cry until I get the appointment. Maybe I'll try our family doctor. He's never had issues sending Gene or me to a specialist.

Meanwhile, I posted a question about Sylvan Learning Center regarding tutoring. I assumed it would be expensive but one person who replied had her 2nd grade son tested and estimated it would cost between $13,000-$15,000! That's approximately TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS more than I had guessed!!! And that was NOT one on one help, it was a small group that included snack breaks. Um, no. I have a friend at the zoo who works as a school counselor and has done tutoring and I will beg her for help on Sunday. She's much younger than Logan's teacher and hopefully knows some young teachers willing to tutor for a lot less than $15,000.

Kaylin, on the other hand... My disorganized child has pulled herself together in her first grading period of middle school! I was shocked at her change! She had 11 letter grades on her report card and 10 were As with one B in Effort. She was very disappointed with the B, but sheesh! I'm not! In middle school you just line up at the different teachers' classrooms and wait your turn for conferences. It sucks. It was nice to be able to talk to all the different teachers, though. The mystery of the Effort B was never solved. Each teacher claimed "they" had given her an Effort A so it must have been the Social Studies teacher. (Her English teacher actually said that, lol.) Anyway, I spent more than 2 hours at Kaylin's school, most of it waiting in line.

I had assumed her Effort grade came from her Accelerated Reading (AR) points being low. She always hated AR in primary school and always had low points despite reading constantly at home. I sat down with the English teacher and glanced at the printout, thinking Kaylin had 2.9 AR points. Nope. It was 29! Far more than required for her A. Probably more than she had in 3rd and 4th grades combined! It was just class after class of compliments about her work, her attitude and her (gasp!) organization. This is ALL Kaylin's effort! I've told her over and over that I refuse to nag her endlessly about her school work. She can choose to take responsibility for herself or she can deal with the consequences. Ultimately she'll be an adult and nobody will care about her grades in 5th grade. They will care about hard work and personal drive. Being born with natural intelligence is a gift to be treasured, but without the drive to push yourself to do what you love the gift will be squandered and you will be passed like crazy by the C students you previously found yourself superior to...

As for the B in Effort, I feel simultaneously furious and happy for the tough life lesson. Obviously, these stupid teachers don't realize Kaylin should get an A+++++++ in Effort! The kid has made an incredible change in attitude! Of course, the teachers don't know any of that, they see her amazing ISAT test scores and assume her As came easy. This is a good lesson about life NOT being fair and sometimes never getting a satisfying answer to why things happen the way they do. Does a 10-year-old need that lesson? Sigh.

The sad news from Kaylin's school was that Art is going to be replaced with more Writing. The students as a whole are struggling with writing so the Social Studies teacher who previously held one art class a week will now have a writing class instead. Puke. Stupid test scores! Ack, test scores are a whole other post! My other sad news was I got caught up in excitement talking with the science teacher about the upcoming animal unit and accidentally revealed I'm a zookeeper resulting in the unwanted invitation to COME SPEAK TO THE CLASS!!!!!! Shudder.