Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There's No Place Like… the Hospital

I'm pretty sure I should have just stayed in bed yesterday.  It didn't begin particularly well, and it ended… well, it hasn't ended yet.  Technically, I suppose it has, but it certainly hasn't seemed like it.

I could get into all the ugly details of everything that happened before Tuesday evening, but I won't.  Suffice it to say that while some parts of the day were good - visiting a friend in the hospital with ongoing issues and hanging with another friend at the pool while the kids played in the water - other bits were not so great, like losing the car in the massive hospital parking garage and causing the pool to be shut down because Doodlebug accidentally kicked Boo square in the nose and caused blood to gush everywhere.

Anyway, the real fun started after the kids went to bed.  A few days ago - I remember it being Saturday - Oz mentioned that he was having fairly strong stomach cramps.  Since his digestive system is temperamental at the best of times, he chalked it up to either something he'd eaten or some supplements that weren't agreeing with him.  So he stopped taking the supplements and assumed it would go away.

It didn't.

By Sunday evening, he was taking painkillers for the issue, and then… then on Monday evening, the pain began to change.  He didn't say anything to me, but the pain began to move and localize… in - where else? - the right lower quadrant of his abdomen.

On Tuesday evening, he admitted the movement and localization of the pain to me, and he didn't seem particularly well.  His appetite had been affected for several days, and he'd lost 10 pounds, though since it had been a couple of weeks since he'd weighed himself and he had been going to the gym, we're not sure how quickly that had come off.  Anyway, I insisted that he take his temperature, and while it was only 98.8, I know that to him that's at least a full degree of fever.  I had him take it again throughout the evening, and it rose to just under 100 degrees and stayed there.  The pain level rose with it, and by the time it was 11:30 and he went to brush his teeth and take a shower, nausea had appeared as well.

Shortly thereafter, he told me he wanted to go to the ER to get checked out.  So at 11:48 p.m. I began calling people looking for childcare.  Oz drove himself to the hospital, and once I was able to find someone whose phone rings after certain hours in the evening - mine doesn't, so I certainly understand -  I woke the kids and piled them in the car and sped across town to drop them off with an incredibly wonderful family.  (And yes, they went back to sleep once they got there and slept till sometime around 8, which is excellent!)  Then I took off to the ER after Oz.

By the time I got to the hospital he'd been triaged and had blood work drawn, and shortly after my arrival he had a CT scan of his abdomen.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And about the time that I was about to lose my mind because it was 4 a.m. and there were two televisions playing two different channels and small children crying and people talking and I just needed peace and quiet and Oz was about to send me home to sleep until something happened, he got a room.  And 15 minutes after that, the PA on call came in, listened to him, and said (and I paraphrase), "Yup.  It's your appendix.  The doctor will be in shortly."  And he was, and he'd seen the CT scan results and said (and I paraphrase), "Yup.  It's your appendix.  And it's ugly, so I'm getting the trauma surgeon on call to come and tell you what the plan will be, but likely surgery and likely first thing in the morning."  And by the time the trauma surgeon came in and confirmed everything and gave us a tentative surgery time of 7:15, it was 5:15, and there was no point in going home, was there?

Things moved reasonably quickly after that.  Oz had a chest x-ray and an EKG, and as the EKG was being done someone came to schlep us to an actual private room, and so about 5:50 a.m., approximately 22 hours after I had awakened, we finally arrived in a room.  It was glorious.  I'm not sure how we scored the giant room that we did, and I'm sure that will show up reflected on the hospital bill later, but I was not an am not arguing.  I settled into the first comfortable chair of the night and answered questions about Oz's health (because all the gods love the man, he didn't even contemplate sleep apnea and his CPAP as being a health issue and couldn't remember his blood type and couldn't remember how high his temperature had risen throughout the evening) while half asleep.  And the nurse tech brought in pillows and blankets, and when they came to get Oz for surgery at 6:40 a.m., I was tucked in.

Of course, that meant that at 6:45 a.m., just as I was drifting off to sleep, the texts began.  I had been updating Facebook throughout the course of the night to let people know what had been happening, and some of my friends are early risers.  They were all well meaning and wanting to help, but I couldn't help wanting to chunk the phone into the wall when it buzzed.  I didn't, though, and responded to them all, grateful for such a wonderful group of friends who were willing to help.  Most of them offered to take the kids or run errands or visit or just do absolutely anything that I needed.  I could never say thank you to them all properly - I have so many favors to return as it is!  I did doze, though, and shortly before 9 a.m., the doctor who performed the surgery came in to let me know what had happened with Oz.

Oz is fine.  I'll say that first.  But the surgery was, in the surgeon's words, "a tough case."  Oz's appendix had indeed perforated and was releasing infection into his abdomen, and that all had to be suctioned out before anything else could be done.  After that, the appendix itself had to be removed, and it was "stuck" inside some inflammation and the end of it was abscessed to begin with, so that took time.  And then the whole abdominal area had to be flushed.  At this point the plan is IV antibiotics today, another round tomorrow, and we'll see how his white blood cell count and fever stands after that.  I suspect he'll be fine and ready to go home on Friday morning, but we shall see.  I'm hopeful.

I spent the day organizing places for the kids to go; actually, that's not quite true. I have two amazing friends who conspired together and commandeered my children, so all I had to do was pack bags for them and they organized all the transportation themselves.  I did talk to the kids and let them know that Daddy is okay, but I haven't seen them since midnight and it's starting to wear on me a little, mostly due to my own fatigue, I'm sure.  Anyway, I got them sorted and packed a bag for Oz to have at the hospital and spent most of the afternoon there before coming back home.

It's now 8:24 p.m., and I'm just a tad tired, as you can imagine.  I've run to the store, the animals are fed, I am fed, Oz is in good hands (and has had two bouquets delivered as well as several visitors throughout the evening), and the children are in good places.  It won't be long now before I let the dog out for the night and tuck myself into an actual bed for a good, long night's sleep.

I'll pick the kids up and let them see Daddy tomorrow, and then… well, I suppose it'll depend on what the doctor says.

I'm glad I can be there for Oz.  And I'm still so glad that I have such an amazing village of people willing to drop their own concerns and worries and rearrange schedules to help us out.  I'm so lucky.  And given the fact that Oz's issues could have been so much worse, I think he feels the same.

But I do believe I'm rather tired of hospitals for a while now…

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Sleepwalking Sons

My son has gone sleepwalking since he was small.  He experienced night terrors when he was younger, too, but those are far less amusing and far more alarming, especially because he's a strong child and can - and WILL - fight you tooth and nail when he's having a night terror.  Thankfully those seem to have gone away with age; the last one he had that I can remember was when he was 9 and woke up screaming bloody murder at about 11:30 p.m.  Oz and I both thought that someone must have broken into his bedroom and went racing down the hall to find a shrieking, sleeping child.

Aaaanyway.

Sleepwalking is far funnier.  He's done everything from peed in the trash can to holding entire discombobulated conversations.  But it had been a while since I'd seen anything particularly remarkable.

Until today.

He went over to his best friends' house yesterday.  They're twins.  The three of them sit up and play video games until their brains ooze out of their skulls, talking and laughing (and eating) ad nauseum.  They're a good group of boys, but I fail to understand the fascination of a screen.  And apparently Doodlebug felt the need to help provide snacks this time and helped himself to what was left of the loaf of cinnamon raisin bread I had in the pantry.  I had no idea he'd swiped it until I showed up to retrieve him today and noticed a bread bag in his backpack… and then five minutes later saw one of the twins hauling an uneaten piece out from another bedroom and putting it in the trash.  The twins' mom was like, "Was that moldy bread?!?"  And I had to explain that no… no, those were raisins.

I digress again.

So Doodlebug came home from his friends' house in his usual fatigued state.  They sleep during these 'sleepovers,' but only just enough to recharge their inner batteries long enough to play more games.  I suspect Doodlebug probably got about 4-5 hours of sleep, which is actually more than par but way less than the child needs.  He had some cleaning to do when he got home, but he knocked that out before he fell asleep.  I didn't know this, however, and after about an hour I called him downstairs to ask about the status of his chores.  I called once.  No answer.  I called again.  No answer.  I called a third time and got a, "Coming, Mom," after which he thumped slowly down the stairs.

This is where it got good.  Instead of coming into the living room and talking to me, he walked behind me and into the laundry room.  He opened the dryer.  He paused.  He felt around the top of the dryer - for what, I do not know.  He paused again.  He pulled out the lint trap and stared at it, then blinked and cleaned it.  He tossed the lint into the trash can and returned the lint trap.  At this point, I started giggling and Oz, who was still waiting on the boy to come talk to me, gave me an odd look.

"He's sleepwalking," I told him.

"He is?  Is he going to feed the animals?"

Something registered in Doodlebug's mind when Oz said that, and he did in fact turn to open the closet where we keep the animals' food.

"No, Doodlebug," I called out gently.  "It's not time to feed the animals yet."

The boy turned back to the dryer.

"Can you close the dryer, please?"

He obligingly closed it… and reached for the controls to turn it on.

"No, don't turn it on, please.  There's nothing in it."

He lowered his hand.  Then he walked to the light switch and flicked it off.  And stood there.  At this point, my goal was just to get him safely back upstairs and into his bed again.  I wasn't even concerned about the status of the cleaning.

"Doodlebug, can you come here, please?"

He wandered out of the laundry room and back into the living room.  Oz still wasn't convinced he was sleeping.  "Hey, Doodlebug, what color is a pink elephant?"

Doodlebug stared at him for a minute, wrinkled his brow, and said, "I don't know."

I sighed and figured I'd prove things definitively.  "Can you hold up eight fingers?"

And that request broke the child.  He almost burst into tears.  Don't worry - I felt bad and gave him a good cuddle before I sent him back upstairs.  It's kind of fun fitting a 5'6" 110-pound child in your lap, but a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

He's awake now, for real, and has no memory of any of this.  And while it's kind of cute that he does chores while sleepwalking, it also concerns me how lucid he seems during these times.  Because a normal person would never have realized that it was sleepwalking.  I only know because I know.

Heaven help us all if he sleepwalks during school one day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Summer of Blog Neglect

Apparently I can't keep up with this blog during summer.  I'd say I'll do better, but… yeah, I probably won't.  I feel like I should say something like, "It's been 20 days since my last confession…"

But I won't do that, either.

I started seeing a therapist a week and a half ago.  I've only seen her once, for the initial intake, but I liked her.  I go back later this week to start actual therapy, and if the first visit is any indication, I'm going to need a big box o' Kleenex.  At least this time I'm going in with a week or so of decent moods under my belt and not weeks of emotional lability.  It's the little things.  I also have a plan for the future, more or less, and have started working toward it, doing things like putting together a resume and filling in the odd online job application.  Of course, I'm sure I'll wind up doing something through a temp agency because nobody wants to hire a cold-call nobody with an empty resume, but it's a start.  I'll keep working.

I got back from a brief trip today.  A few weeks ago one of my friends announced that her husband was moving his start-up company to some rented office space, which meant that she was going to have a finished garage space to use as a school/game room for her kids, and she needed furnishings for it.  Which meant that she wanted to make a run down to Ikea in Dallas.  Oz and I had been talking about running down there and getting some bookshelves from Ikea at some point (and really, if Doodlebug will ever manage to learn how to take care of property properly, we'd get him new bedroom furniture, too), but he didn't really care if he went, so he agreed to watch the kids, and suddenly I was headed to Dallas.  We also took along some rented muscle - a friend of mine's boyfriend, because my friend wanted another dresser to go with some other Ikea furniture she'd gotten on her recent trip down to the Big D.

Both of them had been to Ikea before.  I hadn't.  We got there when it opened at 10, and Oz texted around 12:30 to ask if we'd left yet.  Nope… we sure hadn't.  We had actually eaten lunch AND made it to the area where we were pulling boxes, which was an impressive feat that no doubt would never have been accomplished if my girlfriend hadn't made a wish list, including aisle and bin numbers, before we even headed out.  That store is an adventure and a half, for certain.

I didn't even wind up getting proper bookshelves… well, not the ones I'd planned to get, anyway.  I got this instead:


It seemed more appropriate to the space, my taste, and the varying sizes of the books and whatever else the kids might want to stash on the shelves.  I like breaking up the monotony a little.  I got home around 6 and put this together before the kids went to bed.  Oz helped a bit when I got frustrated… mostly I hate Allen wrenches and didn't know he had a bit for that in his screwdriver.  That would have been nice to know before I started, but c'est la vie.

Back to reality now and appointments the rest of the week.  I actually booked myself a spa visit for one day this week (using a gift certificate Oz got me for my birthday in April), so that should be an interesting experience in itself!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Busy Weeks with Friends

Summer is officially here, and if I ever had any concerns that summer was going too slowly, they're now definitely dispelled.  This week alone has had activities and visits with friends coming out of every available calendar date.

Sunday night I hosted our monthly book club.  It's an informal gathering (reading the book is suggested but more or less optional) where we mostly sit around and eat, drink, and be merry.  Ordinarily the book club foundress (is that a word?) hosts, but she had been out of town for a couple of weeks and had only gotten home a couple days before.  Nobody should come home and host an event, right?  So I held it here.

On Monday, the kids and I piled in the car and drove across town to visit a friend who has a daughter a little bit younger than Boo.  She and I chatted while the girls ran around; Doodlebug was bored, but that was his fault since I had asked him to bring something to do to entertain himself.  Anyway, we set up a sleepover for Boo and the other girl in another week or two, and they're already counting the days.

Today we went over to another friend's house.  She and I are incredibly close, so when I showed up and her hair was wet and her son was wearing the same shirt he'd been wearing constantly since Sunday, it was no big deal.  She did dishes and cleaned, and I drank coffee and wandered around with her, and then we ordered pizza for lunch because fixing food was out of the question.  Who wants to do that when Mazzio's delivers?  The kids had been playing with water guns by that point and were sopping wet.  Anyway, we had a good time.  

The rest of this week is filled with plans for equally good times.  We have a tour at a museum, another visit with a friend (this one's coming to our house), lunch plans with another friend, the 4th of July, and a get-together with another family.  

Every time I think I'm an introvert, my calendar fills up with weeks like these and I realize exactly how much I love getting together with people and look forward to them.  I love hanging out with my friends, and I'm grateful for all of them!  Knowing a wide variety of wonderful people really does make life better.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two weeks!

The last two weeks seem to have absolutely flown by.  I never would have realized that it had been two weeks since I had last posted except that Blogger tells me when my last post was.

When I last posted, I was feeling down.  Really, really down.  Doodlebug was at Camp Quest, Boo was coming home from a sleepover so she and the other girl could have another, consecutive sleepover, and I was - and still AM - finally down to the lowest weight I have been since I was 18 years old.

The girls had their sleepover, and then on the 12th, Oz, Boo and I climbed in the car and drove up to Grand Lake for a family reunion with my dad's family.  One of my uncles has a home there and graciously hosts us all.  There's a reunion every three years, if possible, and this was The Third Year.  There's a picture of all of us floating around somewhere - all 91 of us who came (I think there were another 20 or so who couldn't make it?) - in our color-coded T-shirts.  My dad and all his siblings pick a different color for each of themselves and their families, and so at least on Saturday you know who belongs to which family group.  The rest of the time, all the newcomers wander around in a daze trying to figure out all the people and names and everything else.  But it's a fun weekend.  This year was the best-organized yet, and two of my cousins held a cook-off (jambalaya vs pastalaya) and a bunch of the guys threw money into a pot and went out clay shooting to win a new gun.  Yes, we're that family.  Beer was, I'm sure, drunk during the contest.  It flows freely throughout the weekend.  We spend time on the water - my uncle takes out the boat, and other folks are permitted to use the jet skis if they're trusted, and my husband is trusted - and the kids commandeer the game room in the basement or watch videos or run around with their cousins.

I actually didn't stay for the entire weekend.  One of my dear friends is moving to another state for her husband to finish college, and she had a combination birthday/going away party on Friday night that I swore up, down and sideways that I wouldn't miss, so I left the reunion on Friday afternoon and attended that.  Then I spent the night at home, picked up Doodlebug on Saturday, and headed back to the lake to finish off the reunion.  It was a whirlwind, but it was great.

Did I mention that by this point my depression had subsided and I was… and am… now in a much better place?  There were a few days I was concerned I was absolutely manic, because I was talking and typing and going 90 miles an hour the entire time, but even that has settled down now.  Thankfully.  Being in constant motion was almost as bad as not being able to move.

After we made it home from the reunion (and did all the laundry), last week was quiet.  Nothing to report, and I didn't even think about the fact that I hadn't looked at the blog for ages.  It seems so odd to blog on a homeschooling blog when I'm not homeschooling, and I haven't quite made the mental transition to being a public-school mom yet.  Because I'm not… yet.  Not till the middle of August.

This week is busier again, which is good.  Yesterday I caught up with some friends I hadn't seen for quite some time, and this weekend I have both another night out with different friends (we're going to one of those wine and paint places, and we're contemplating going for fondue first) as well as a book club meeting at my house.  Usually the book club is held at the club leader's house, but she's been out of town for two weeks and didn't quite feel like coming back into town and hosting an event two nights later… and I don't blame her!

So things are puttering along.  We've been to the pool once so far, with plans to go again soon, bowling once, and the kids want to go to some museums and do a couple other things before school starts in August.  Summer may have just officially begun, at least in terms of the solstice, but we're well into it and, I think, are having a good time.  I have some pictures I want to share; I'll try to remember to post more often and actually get them on here. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Silence is Weird

Doodlebug is at camp this week.  Oz took him on Sunday.  Our son performed his usual good-bye ceremony, in which he said, "Bye," and walked out the door.  Oz had to remind him to come back in and give his poor long-suffering mother a hug.  He repeated the ritual when he was dropped off in the cabin.  As Oz was walking out, he heard another kid ask the counselor, "So, what video games do you play?"  And he knew, as I would have known, that Doodlebug is at camp with his tribe.  The pictures today have shown things like watching a tarantula spin a web and discussing the adaptations of fish.  Not your usual camp stuff, but perfect for Doodlebug.

Anyway, then Boo went to a friend's house last night for a sleepover.  We'd been trying to get this one planned since mid-May, so the girls were thrilled that it finally happened.  That meant that Oz and I were completely child-free for an evening, and we weren't even paying a sitter.  (OK, well, we paid for camp, but never mind that.)

So what did we do, you ask?

We went to the gym and watched at 15-year-old movie (since when was 1999 15 years ago?!?).

Adulthood is weird.

It was oddly quiet in the house this morning.  I got up and had to feed all the animals by myself (Note to self:  Let them all die natural deaths, because seriously, I'd forgotten how much work it is to feed and care for these things.  Children do have uses.), and then I got dressed and ran to the store to pick up worms for the lizard before crashing at Oz's office to watch him have a photo shoot in a suit and go out to lunch.

There was silence in the car.  When I left the house, I didn't have to yell at anyone.  When I got back home a little after 3 (I went clothes shopping because I've lost my last 10 lbs. and am now down to the weight/size I never thought I'd be again and I'm THRILLED but it means everything's just a lil' too large), it was quiet in the house.  I had to carry everything in by myself, and nobody was immediately fighting or clamoring for food or forgetting to flush the toilet.

By 4, I had two girls in the house - did I mention that the mom and I had decided to surprise the girls with a double sleepover?  They've been begging for this forever, and I can only imagine the reactions when they were told.  And so the noise level is back to normal, if someone subdued by a little bit of fatigue and the fact that the girls are friends, not siblings.

Things were too quiet there for a while.  It was nice, but it was definitely strange.  I like having my kids around.  I'm going to miss them this fall.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Revival

I realized yesterday that I hadn't posted since my ugly post about depression.  Don't get me wrong - it's still there.  But I've made it out of bed every day.  I've brushed my hair, brushed my teeth, fed myself, and kept the house in working order.  I haven't taken the kids anywhere or done anything spectacular, but I've stopped yelling as often.  I think.

I still have bad days.  Worse, I've been having bad nights.  Insomnia has taken hold.  I've spent five nights out of the last six lying in bed thoroughly exhausted and yet unable to fall asleep.  Last night was the worst.  I started drifting off about 2:30 when the thunder started rumbling in the distance.  The rain came at 3:30.  That was when I moved to the couch.  Sometime around 4:30, I think I dozed off, but I know I woke up at 5:30 because I checked my phone.  At 6:30, Oz was up because he had to leave the house early for work.  It's an ugly cycle.  Contact lenses are no longer my friend because by 2 p.m., my eyes are so itchy from fatigue that I want to peel off my corneas, let alone the lenses.  Driving probably shouldn't be on my agenda.  Thankfully it's been cloudy, so I haven't felt too sleepy behind the wheel (I'm weird… the sun knocks me out in the car far more than clouds do), but it's still a dangerous proposition.

I do have to drive, though.  As of last Saturday, I have had things on my calendar again.  Schools are out, the pools are open, and the kids have camps.  This is GOOD.  If I'm doing things, I can't dwell on the ugly and I can't become a hermit.  Having a schedule makes me more human.  On Saturday we went to a friend's house and I helped her paint her kitchen, and then Boo spent the night.  Today we visited another friend's house where I hung some shelves in her son's room, and in a little while, I'll take Boo to her first day of acting camp.  We also have an upcoming family reunion with my dad's family, and another friend is having a combination birthday/moving-away party.  So there are things to do.  

Doodlebug had his physical for his summer camp this morning.  He's 5'5" tall, which puts him at the 99.19%ile.  I find this number amusing for some reason.  The pediatrician did, too.  They have new software at her office, and she spent several minutes this morning playing with it to see what numbers she could plug in.  Doodlebug's projected adult height, based on mine and Oz's, it 6'5".  I'm pleased with that; Doodlebug was annoyed.  He wants to be taller than his father.  The pediatrician said that because he's showing early signs of puberty already, he probably won't grow too much past the curve of 'normal,' so he'll just be tall and not scary tall.  For the first time today, Doodlebug let them draw blood (for cholesterol and general screening since issues run in the family, not for anything specific) without having to be held down.  That was nice.

I'm not out of the hole yet.  I probably won't be for a while.  But things seem less dark right now.  I can keep going.  I'm still giving myself mental high fives for getting out of bed, but some days it's easier.  I hope it lasts.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Let Me Tell You About Depression

I don't like to talk about depression.  It's a selfish thing, because it calls attention to me when I'm trying to be invisible; it causes people to be curious when I wish they already knew and, at the same time, hope that they've never been through this themselves.

To those of you who have experienced depression, I'm sorry.  To those of you who have recurrent depression, I'm really sorry.  I hate when I find others who know this dark place.  Not a 'funk.' Not a 'rough patch.'  No.  Depression.  That special kind of hyperawareness of the normalcy of others that sends you into a black hole of self-loathing and self-doubt that's almost impossible to escape from.  I was teetering on the event horizon for a while, and then I fell in.

I'm writing this today to prevent myself from doing one of the following:

1.  Going back to bed and doing nothing at all until someone makes me.

2.  Hurling this computer across the room and into the wall out of sheer frustration at all the futility and nothingness, this void of life that I'm stuck in.

3.  Pulling the freshly-sharpened knife out of the block and carving lines and words into some random and usually-hidden body part.

4.  Lying on the couch motionless for the remainder of the day, except for those times when I drag myself off of it to do laundry or go to the gym or make dinner, because I have to do those things for other people or they'll notice that I'm not okay.

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It's interesting to me how depression works.  I am constantly thinking of the line from the movie "Legally Blonde," where Elle says, "Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people just don't shoot their husbands; they just don't."  I wish that was true.  And sure, I have no intention of shooting anyone.  BUT… if endorphins were all it took to combat depression, I wouldn't be depressed right now.  I've been going to the gym 3-4 days a week, and I really do like it.  My arms have more definition than they've ever had, and I've told myself that when I can use the assisted pull-up machine with only half my weight, I'll get my next tattoo.  But endorphins alone are not enough.  Neither is vitamin D.  Or the smell of flowers.  If I'm in a funk or just hitting a rough patch, some aromatherapy or going outside or vitamins or a good movie or a great date with my husband or a good book can be enough to keep me going and pull me out of it.  This is not that.  And those normal fixes aren't enough.

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A couple of weeks ago I spent a day almost entirely in bed.  I got up once to use the restroom and ask the kids to do a couple of things, but I didn't even bother to brush my hair or put on deodorant or change into real clothes.  It was all too much effort.  Oz and I had a long talk that evening, and he's been wonderful, but when I'm up and dressed and going about my daily business, I know he thinks that it's all over and done and that I'm back to my normal self.  And I am not.  One bad day - and it may or may not have a trigger - and I'm back down the rabbit hole, except this hole doesn't end in Wonderland, it ends somewhere much, much darker (which is saying something when you're comparing it to a world populated with the likes of the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat), and sometimes it's only six feet deep.

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I know the 'cause' of this particular bout of depression is twofold.  One of the causes is being addressed and things are on their way to being okay.  The other cause is deeper, more existential.  I can't just 'fix' that one easily.  It's going to take a long time.  I wish I knew where the end was.  That might make it easier.  But I'm not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel today.

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I hate the way I parent when I'm depressed.  I'm grumpy because I can't parent the way I should… and can, when I'm mentally stable.  I can't take an interest in anything, even the kids.  They're being left to fend for themselves more often than they probably should, and when I do notice something, it's usually something I should have addressed earlier and now have to nip in the bud, except I don't have the energy to approach the problem properly, so I just yell and cry and then ignore the problem altogether because it's just easier.  It's the lazy way out, and I feel lazy, which doesn't help the depression, because I feel like I should just be able to snap out of it and kick this whole laziness complex and DO ALL THE THINGS.  Except I can't.

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I'm not allowing comments on this post.  I've never done that before.  But I don't want pity or sympathy or empathy.  I don't want to know who has read this and who hasn't and who has been here and who hasn't.  I just really wanted to get it all out, and for all I know, I'll have poster's remorse in about an hour or so and come and delete this whole thing altogether, because it's selfish and awful to rant about being depressed and then not let anyone 'help,' except while I love you all, it isn't really helpful to read about others who have been there or dealt with that, and it'll just make me sad to know how common depression is.  And if you can sympathize or empathize, I'm so sorry.  I really am.

Nobody should know this darkness.

So I'll just leave you with this:


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Summer Break

So we've been on summer break for what… a week and a half now?  It seems longer.

The first day off, the kids were bored to tears by 2 p.m.  There were actual tears.  Doodlebug in particular was crying because I'd kicked him off the Wii and told him to find something to do other than stare at a screen, because I wasn't going to have him turn into a vegetable just because it was summer break.

By 6 p.m. that day, they'd been grounded from the Wii for sneaking back onto it.

By 6 p.m. the next day, they'd had the power strip removed and all electronics banned for two weeks.

This means that since last Tuesday, my children have had no electronic stimulation whatsoever.

When I doled out that punishment, I knew - I just knew - that the person who was going to be punished most by this was myself.

My children, however, have surprised me.

Doodlebug has gotten out his whittling knife.  He made a couple of wooden items before running out of usable wood, and then I let him carve my last block of Fels-Naptha.  Over the weekend, Doodlebug and Oz went to the local woodworking store and bought a bunch of wood so he can use the real stuff again.  He said soap was too easy.  Yesterday Doodlebug got himself grounded after being in his sister's room for the fourth time in 24 hours (he's not allowed into her room at all EVER, but he has a hard time respecting privacy - he invades my room, Oz's office, and Boo's room whenever he wants, to say nothing of the pantry, and I've had it, so I lowered the boom), so he pulled out his K'Nex and Legos and started making robots.  By dinnertime he had two built.  He got up early this morning and, instead of going into his sister's room and waking her like he normally does, which results in a grumpy sister and an even grumpier mom to start the day, he built another two robots and a Ferris wheel.

Boo has been less obviously productive but equally busy.  She's read several books - kid versions of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Oliver Twist, and Gulliver's Travels - and created a 'house' in the greenbelt across the creek.

They've both been in the kitchen at least once, and they both intend to do more cooking throughout summer.  Yesterday Doodlebug made tuna salad, cucumbers & onions (omit the paprika… that's weird… really you don't need any of the parsley or dill, either, if you don't want them), and sweet potato fries.  There was leftover tuna salad, so today the kids made a picnic lunch and walked down to Boo's house to eat.

They left for their picnic at noon.  At 2:15, they came back up and informed me they'd been having a philosophical discussion about a tree falling in the woods and whether or not it makes a sound (Boo insists that logic states that it does; Doodlebug is having a blast playing Devil's advocate, though I suspect he rather agrees with her assessment) and by the way, Mom, can we spend the night outside?

I was on the phone at the time, so I nodded absently at them before processing the full scope of their rambling.  By the time it all sank in, I heard the attic door close.  Which means they'd gotten out the tent.

So far they're still up in the game room.  I'm curious to see if they expect me or Oz to help them with their camping preparations.

Either way, they're amusing themselves.

And this makes me happy.  Maybe I just… won't tell them when they can have electronics back.  This is much nicer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Feeling Successful

After spending the last two weeks in an incredibly horrible funk while having a major existential crisis (still having the crisis… just have the energy to ignore it for a little while), I had to get up and function today.  I had the last meeting of this school year with the school psychologist, the gifted program administrator, and the 6th grade counselor.  The plan was to sit down and make sure Doodlebug was all set up and ready to go in terms of gifted services as well as writing the preliminary 504 plan so it will be in place the moment he walks in the door in August.

The meeting went well.  We wrote down only a few items on the 504 plan for now, mostly having to do with seating placement for classes and testing as well as trying to figure out SOME way that Doodlebug will have someone checking some sort of agenda to make sure he has his homework written down each night.  That was the hard one, mostly because we don't have a schedule yet.

One thing that did come to light was how much the psychologist and the gifted director are willing to bat for 'their' kids.  Doodlebug scored extremely highly on his tests.  I now know his IQ, and the number pleases me.  I refuse to disclose it, even to him, but he's smart.  Parental brag moment over.  Anyway, the counselor made a comment at one point that because he didn't have an enrollment packet for Doodlebug, that there was a chance that Doodlebug may wind up in classes that weren't really what were needed/wanted, and the other two instantly stepped in and said, "Sorry, I don't care if it means booting another kid.  This kid (Doodlebug) gets in."  I sat back and didn't say a word.  Rather nice to have other folks do the fighting for me, to be honest.  The counselor seems like a good guy, don't get me wrong, and I know he's trying to do scheduling for 300 or so 5th graders who are going to be in his school next year as 6th graders and there are only so many slots and so many classes per day.  BUT… my kid will be in certain classes, come hell or high water.  I think he got the message.  He also made sure to let me know that the teachers at the school are very knowledgeable about autism and know how to talk to kids on the spectrum - I guess his kid, who is a middle school student this year, is ASD as well, so he's seen as a parent how the system works with them, and he said it's been very positive.  That gives me a lot of hope.

Anyway, I did go down to the enrollment center right after the meeting and actually filled out all the paperwork so the kids are officially enrolled and they can put Doodlebug into the right classes.  That is now done.  Finished.

It's been an interesting process, going through all the testing and meetings and figuring everything out as we go.  I know there will be more meetings this fall to modify the 504 based on teacher findings once he gets into the classroom, but it's been a good, solid start.  I hope it's enough to offset some of the issues that we're going to run into eventually.  We'll see.  Fingers crossed.