Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Little Unabased Solicitation

Saw this really neat thing on someone's website that I thought was cool. So I got it too (gotta love HTML).

It's that new section in my sidebar. See? Where I've posted items that I'm "into" right now? Yeah. That way, you can know a little more about me, and I can maybe make a little moolah. Isn't that great?

So if you like something you see in the sidebar, feel free to click on the Amazon link and check it out for yourself. Hey, feel free to buy something even! I'll make a little commission!

I actually didn't do it for the money. I didn't even know that was part of it. I just liked being able to show pictures of things I like, like recent books I'm reading and such.

But if you WANT to buy something....well....I'm not gonna hold ya back, k?

Life Can Be Bittersweet

(drumroll please)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Wheeeeeelllchair haaaaaassss arrrriiiiiiiiived!

(applause! applause! applause!)

Oh yes, this thing is sweet. Very sweet. It's a very girlie purple. It tilts back, oh so smooth. It has a 4-point harness, easy foot brake, IV pole, contoured seat pads, removeable tray, and stroller handles. It's a beauty....

...and a beast.


Why couldn't this thing just be perfect in every way? It's the nature of it all, I guess.

So, we have some new quirks to figure out with the wheelchair. I guess it's no big deal, really, but I just wanted everything to be perfect, ya know?

Problem numero uno: It's a mess to try to get it in the van. It comes apart in 2 peices, the top and bottom. BUT both peices are super heavy, and not the easiest to get back together. You practically have to get on your hands and knees to secure the 2 peices back together. Not practical. It would better if I didn't ever have to take it apart, but then I couldn't get it in the van. Like, on Sundays: between getting in the van for church (which is 2 miles down the street), getting out to go into church, getting back in to go to Memaw's for lunch, then going back home or back to church....phew! That's like taking this thing apart and in and out 8-10 times a day! Sometimes only 3 minutes apart!

There's GOT to be a better way! But, that's the sad part. See, we bought this van with the wheelchair in mind. It's got this new feature: a really deep rear cargo area. That way, we could put the wheelchair in, and I could still see out the back, and even have room for other things, like groceries or a stroller. If I had known that I would NOT be putting a wheelchair in the trunk, then we may not have gotten that very nice, but very expensive van.

I'm hoping they make something that will attach to the rear of my vehicle, like something that fits on the trailer hitch. I would like for it to have a ramp so we could just push it onto it, instead of having to lift a very heavy chair. Even Chris thought it was heavy---and he lifts groups of very heavy crates of milk every day.

Problem #2: It doesn't like to go up and down stairs. Oh it drives like a dream! It glides soooooo nice. But it doesn't like anything bumpy. So the fact that I DON'T have a ramp yet? Yeah, not a good thing. It even coughed at getting onto the school bus chair lift--cuz it wasn't completely flat. I think this wheelchair needs a good whoopin'.

BUT, Michaela was able to go to school this morning on her feeding pump, and that's just awesome. This chair is going to make some things just so much easier. Like the tray---now she can sit and play with toys, and I don't have to worry about her stumbling away. The other chairs weren't tall enough to fit at the table, so she had a hard time playing in the chair. The tilt feature on it is very very good too. It'll help take some pressure off of her backside when she's sitting for a long time, and it'll help her when she's tired and falling asleep sitting up---just tilt it back, no prob. It's a feature they should put on baby strollers--so unobtrusive to a sleeping child. I'm gonna love it.

Good thing I don't give up easy. I gots some bitter pills to spit out.....I'll let ya know how it goes....

Hail to The Chief

He started it.

It might have been when I broke down the first day I met him (I was pregnant and stressed, OK?). Or....hmmmm.....when I was completely (yet, nicely) pushing for something I wanted and he didn't. But either way, no matter when it started, he definately started it.

He calls me Boss.

Yup, I'm "Boss", and for those of you who know me, no snickering allowed.

What I'm talking about is Michaela's newest neurologist. He calls me Boss, and rightly so. It kinda took me aback at first, but I'm the kind of person who likes casual nicknames, so Boss it was. It actually kinda helped. Cuz he used to call me "Mom". And that is just so weird. My own children don't even call me that (it's Mama). Mrs. Morris didn't work either--yuck yuck yuck. Hate that. I only use that when I'm trying to sound strict. Like, when I have to call the insurance companies and force them to pay up...

"Yes, this is MRS. MORRIS, and I would like to speak to your manager, PLEASE."

That's when I like that moniker alot. But not from my child's doctor, who, by the way, is NOT much older than me. Needless to say, Mom, and Mrs. Morris tasted funny.

But Boss fits me well.

I think it's because I'm pretty involved in my daughter's medical treatment. (understatment) I make it a point to learn as much as I can, including the lingo, and engage in intellectual jousting matches with her doctors. She's MY ultimate responsibility, right? So I ask any question I want, don't take things for granted, and have him photocopy literature to understand what he's getting at. It's not that I mistrust him, or doubt him, for that matter. But I just can't stand not knowing what's going on. I HATE when doctors talk doctor-speak to each other, and baby-talk to me. I'd rather look a word up after the conversation than be talked down to. See, I've worked for doctors, with doctors, and have been to nursing school (umm, a little), and I now live with small children. I need a little mental stimulation!

So anyway. He got on this "Boss" kick. And I don't know when it happened, but I started calling him "Chief." As in "Chief of Neurology." I now have a few "chiefs" in this corporation. Chief of Surgery (Dr. S), Chief of Nutritional Implementation (dearest Mel), Chief of Liguistics (Miss Beth), and Chief of Pediatrics (Dr. P). Michaela is the CEO (Chief Epileptic Officer), and I, I am the Boss. Together we are a highly functioning team. And I feel pretty "in control" of this ship called healthcare, which, recently, has weathered some pretty stormy seas.

Chris calls him Tony, but that's just too casual for me. I almost feel disrespectful. But guys can get away with that....I'll just stick to "Chief". Worked so much better than Dr. M---. Especially during those times when Michaela wasn't stable, and a little lightness in the conversation went a long way to making us both feel better about discussing what was going on with her:

"Well, Boss, it doesn't look too good. I'm thinking we've got a major problem here."
(Silence) "Alright Chief........Just try to fix it, ok?"
"I'm doin' my best Boss."
"Thanks Chief."

Kinda feels more like a Star Trek episode, then finding out your kid's got a potentially-fatal illness. Dontcha think?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

No, I Don't Have Dementia and I Haven't Forgotten About My Blog, BUT

I AM older now. The 27th was my birthday.

For those of you who know me or have picked through my blog here, I'm sure you can figure out how old I am. It's not something I want to talk about. It's not a "cool age" like 16, 18, or 25 (when you get that nice fat discount on your car insurance). It's actually kinda depressing. So let's not talk about it.

The 26th was Libby's birthday though. Yup, my sweetpea "Loo Loo Froo Froo" just turned 3. How time flies. She's not a baby anymore. Well, actually, she all but refuses to potty train, so I guess that reduces her to the "baby" department still. But besides what she wears on her tush, she's pretty growny these days. She says "actually". Like, "I wanna get a drink, actually." Kinda makes you do a double take when she talks like that. But she sounds a lot like me, huh? She got a little papasan chair and a horse shaped purse (which she calls a "pursey") that she likes a whole lot. She also got some money, so we're gonna make a trip to Toys 'R' Us soon. How crazy can that get!!

I really don't like the fact that our birthdays are a day apart. It really stinks. Yeah, I know, as a Mom, I should feel "blessed" to share a special day with one of my darlings. Whatever. Birthdays are special, and they're supposed to be a day just for yourself. It's not like that anymore. And the real issue here is not that I actually share the day, but it's probably just that I tried to NOT share a birthday. I've been blessed with predictable fertility, and predict I have. I had (until Libbigail was conceived) spaced everyone's date of arrival in such a way as to not have more than one birthday in one month. We have birthdays in April, May, June, July, August, and January. Skipping November (our anniversary) and December (the obvious) were on purpose. Everything was just peachy--until my two best friends got pregnant. Well, since we were wanting to have another child anyway, we threw planning out the window and went for it. I got pregnant that month. Yeah! Um, when is this kid due? January?!?!? Argghghghhh! AND THEN....she was due on the 15th......and she came 11 days late. Which ended up being the day before my 27th birthday. So much for planning. Of all the people to have to share a birthday month. It's me who cares the most. And it's not like we coulda had our day on opposite ends of the month. NOOOooooOOOO.

I know. As Caleb says,"You just cryin' for nuthin." And I guess since I have to share it, she's a pretty cool kid to share it with :)

But happy birthday to me anyway. I got lots of cash to spend on house fixin', some Charles Wysocki puzzles, and a big birdfeeder which is very cool. Also, my hubby's supposed to put down some flooring for me (bye bye bad linoleum!) as my gift from him. What more could a "new house owner/stay-at-home-mom/self proclaimed neat freak" want?


So...we're still waiting on Michaela's chair. It was supposed to be here 2 weeks ago. Now, it's supposed to be here tomorrow. We're only waiting on the harness, which the manufacturer forgot to mail with the rest of the package. It should've been here on Friday, too. So I'm not holding my breath. But we're getting to needing it real bad. Michaela can't eat very well these days. Instead of not being able to swallow, she can't open her mouth much of the time. She can't figure out how to get her muscles to do it. In fact, she'll close it real tight instead of opening it. Almost like the signal is mixed up.

But what does that have to do with the chair? See, the chair is going to hold the feeding pump on it. Right now, she has an uncomfortable, sub-par rental chair that she sits in while she's on the feeding pump, which is held by an IV pole. Her new wheelchair will recline and have really nice padding, and it will FIT HER. That way, she can be comfortable while she has to be fed for 8-10 hours a day. Not that we don't stop it from time to time. Or let her sit somewhere else. But the chair keeps her from getting up and just "walking" away...while she's still attached to the pump tubing....OUCH. It could be a really bad thing. So we're really anxious to get the chair with the nice harness.

Unlike lots of handicapped kids, Michaela CAN walk. But it's not often in her best interest to do so. She doesn't quite walk, exactly. She more or less is constantly "falling" into the next step. Her balance is so poor that she needs to constantly be moving in order to keep from falling down. This often leads to stepping in the wrong place--or on the wrong person--like her crawling baby brother. SOOOOOoooooo, we don't let her roam as often as she'd like. Our next big thing may need to be a stander, just so that she can be in an upright position without moving around and possibly hurting herself (by walking into a wall) or the others. It's hard to justify needing this type of equipment sometimes. But her case is so unusual, and her physical needs are just not your run-of-the-mill. We find ourselves constantly second guessing ourselves. Or putting off what could help her, just because she wouldn't need it full-time, or she wouldn't use it for the same reason as most kids do. It's been a hard road of mind games.

On some days, I wish her various problems were more clear cut, and on others, I'm glad for the function she does have, even though it makes it harder for me to get help for her. Like, for instance: she doesn't get PT regularly. Now, anyone who sees her would think, "Surely that child gets physical therapy to help with how she can't do a whole lot!" Well, they don't feel it's necessary because she CAN walk. They would only give it to her regularly (in the school, that is) if she started losing that ability completely. Very frustrating to say the least.

At least we're getting this nice wheelchair. And it was nice to not have to fight with the insurance company to get it.

Sometimes there ARE rays of sunshine through the rain.


Two other things I'll have to write about later...

-Renee and Dave have a new little bundle of joy....info to be announced.
-PFTD, Round 2 has occured...more later.

Just to keep y'all lookin' for more ;)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wow, Do I Feel Stupid

You know, we expect our kids to do better than us someday. To achieve higher goals, make a better life for themselves. It's a natural part of life, I'm thinking.

Yet, I was certain I still had the upper hand for at least a FEW more years. Years where my children would look up to me, and "idolize" me, and think I was something worth bragging over. That, for at least, OH I don't know, 12 years or so, I would be really smart in their eyes. You know, the "my Dad can beat up your Dad" mentality?

Yeah, well, this Mom got knocked down a few pegs today.

My 4-year-old and I were playing "I Spy" while at the breakfast table. And I can't beleive it....he was whoopin' on me. I did not even know that this child KNEW his colors (we play that version). But for a while in the game, I was really enjoying watching him do so well distinguishing colors and picking out an object that would work, and not giving away the answer. It was cool. Especially when I realized that it was one less lesson I would have to teach him when he starts homeschooling. Yeah!

But, as much as I was having fun, he WAS beating me pretty good. Now, I'm not so prideful or stuck on myself that I can't loose to my 4-year-old, but the last round we played broke my desire to play completely:

"OK, Mom. IIIIIIII spyyyyyyyyyyy........something RED!"

"Hmmm, let's see, the gumball machine?"


"Alright......The baby spoon?"

"Uh Uh."

"Uhhhh, the berries on the bush?"


"The stuffed crab?"

"Nope! Guess again!"

"OK, Caleb, I give up. What is it?"

"The cap on Asher's sippy cup!"


"Uh, son, that cap is PINK, not RED. See?"

"No Mom! It's red!"

"No...Caleb, that is definately a PINK cover....like this over here. See? PINK!"

"Mom, it's not pink. It's red! 'Red Violet'!"

RED VIOLET?!?!?!?!? How in the world does my kid understand "red violet"?!?!? He can't even read! It's not like he's reading the names off of the bazillion crayons we have....or is he? Hmmmm....

And the truth of the matter is, that cap is very similar to red violet. More of a light fuschia, but hey, he's only four.

Either way, the game was over at that point. Yup. Game, set, match. Caleb is the official "I Spy Champion".

And Mom? Well, let's just say she's not out showing off her I Spy trophies anytime soon.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ode To The Shirt Lady

I'm overrun with laundry
Ever since our move.
I'm not too sure what's happened
I can't get in a groove.

And in my darkest hour
When socks and shirts are mocking,
A light shines through the piles.
I see where I am lacking.

She makes it look so easy!
If I could only do it too!
It would make the folding faster.
I must watch and watch straight through!

So if your plight is clothing
Heaping to the roof...
Don't despair! Just watch here-
She'll show the same to you....!

Shirt Folding
Watch and Learn!

(Click on the link above to see the Shirt Lady in action)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Normalcy on The Horizon

So, I'm home and life's starting to feel more normal. See, normal for me is NOT EVER leaving the house. And I kinda like it that way. I'm not a hermit, by any means, I'm actually a major people person. However, I'm also pretty fanatical about my house and my obligations to it and my kids. I use the word obligation kinda loosely. Because when it all comes down to it, no one cares about the house being a wreck as much as me. And as long as they get to eat, my kids don't care if they're in their pajamas all day or stink to high heaven. Actually, they all create the wreck of a house I sometimes live in (not to mention the pile of dirty diapers), and I'm convinced they all like it that way.

But this past holiday season I was home hardly at all. At least for me, ok. We were gone for 4 days during the Christmas holiday, and like my previous post mentioned, I was out of town for the New Year holiday. That's alot of laundry! I still feel as though I'm swimming in it! Although it's pretty much under control now, thank God. Also noticed that the bathroom was horrific, and I'm glad that I didn't have any guests. The dining room floor was sticky from too many half-cleaned-up spills, and the bills were piled up high. This is what happens when I'm not home--the home takes over. It masters me instead of me mastering it. I hate that. Can't handle it, really. And I tend to go a little psycho when it happens.

Thankfully, I'm breathing easier now. In fact, Chris didn't have to work yesterday, so we tackled a PFTD that I've been getting really edgy about....mirrors. You can't believe how hard it is to function without mirrors in your house. Try it sometime...you won't last the day. I'm serious. Well, I've lasted almost 2 months with only one mirror in the entire house. And no, it wasn't in the bathroom, hence my frustration. It was in Michaela's room. The only one who got a mirror is the one person who could care less. And yes, it's pretty funny to see your husband trying to shave in the same room as Cabbage Patch kids and princess decorations. Pretty funny indeed. So now we have up more mirrors. 3 more, in fact. I tried to put up a fourth one, but Chris got onto me. No, not because we had enough, but because he didn't think it would look right in the spot I chose. Go figure.

On another note: I'm still waiting for Michaela's new wheelchair. I hope it works out well, because I'm starting to get a little worried about it. See, it doesn't fold up like our other one did. I'm not so sure it will fit in the car. But I've been just kinda keeping it to myself, hoping, praying, wishing that it'll fit. Overall though, I tried not to think about it too much since there wasn't anything I could do about that yet. But it all got disturbing again when Dearest Hubby nonchalantly asked at the dinner table tonight: "So, does this new wheelchair fold up? It folds up, right?" Um, No, I say. "It doesn't? Then how's it gonna fit?" It comes apart. "Apart? Do you think it'll fit that way?" OK, no, I'm not sure...I think to myself. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to deal with simple dilemmas when you don't have anyone else worrying about it too? It's one thing to hash it out in your own mind; it's a completely different ballgame when someone else starts to worry also. It's like I'm thinking: Don't worry about it! I'm doing all the worrying necessary to fulfill the worry requirement. Don't even ask about it! I've got all the worrying under control!

Finally got the all the Medicaid info into the department. Had to wait for the longest time for the doctor's notes to get back to me. Not to mention: the copying company charged me over 40 bucks for those documents! How ridiculous! Some pages were a dollar a page! I was incredulous. I even called in a complaint. I don't know that they even cared about my little comment on their legal theivery, but at least I told them so. I just believe in the "squeaky wheel" theory too much to sit back and not voice my opinion. Not that I don't know how to keep my mouth shut, cuz I do. But in the world of business, I try to make them keep their noses clean. Of course, I'm always nice about it ;)

So much to say. So little time.