Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I apologize I’ve been doing most of my writing elsewhere... but I have a lot of blog posts bouncing around my mind... Meantime, it’s Halloween! Todd is gone for work... Elisabeth spent the evening with a friend... Amanda dressed up (goes with her work at The Costume Shoppe) to hand out candy (15 humans and 1 canine this year)... Benjamin was a Care Bear and Madeline was Cleopatra. The kids trick-or-treated with friends, and the grandparents came by to partake of the spectacle. I ate too much candy and now I’m going to bed. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Medical Terminology, Krinkeland-Style

I'm not sure how it happened, as I never am in these situations, but somehow in the car the kids started talking about seizures.  What is a seizure, what causes a seizure, what to do or not do when you see someone having a seizure...

B: "What is a seizure, anyway?"
A: "Well, it's something that happens in your brain... I don't really know how to describe it..."
B: "Oh, is that when your body goes all rigid?"
A: "Well, it can be, but..."
M: "You guys!  A seizure is when they cut you open straight up to your guts!"
(long, silent pause)
M: "Oh."
(silent pause)
M: "Well, I never had a c-section, either.  I've never been cut into.  I've never even been put to sleep."
B: "Right.  But, also, c-sections are only for mommies to have babies."
M: "Well, I know I wasn't born that way, either, because Daddy's hand slipped when he was making my birth video, and I've seen it all!"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

World Mental Health Day

Here's an issue about which I haven't blogged, but about which I should, because we all need to become aware and active: Today is World Mental Health Day.  It seems to me a HUGE disconnect that today's society is by and large so open, so accepting on so many extremely personal topics, but mental health still seems shrouded in some kind of taboo.  We must guard, keep watch, and treat our minds the same way we do our hearts and our souls and, of course, our physical bodies.

In the past six months, two families known and loved in Krinkeland have lost beloved teenage sons to suicide.  We have a sweet young friend who is wrestling with anxiety and self-doubt and has developed trichotillomania.  Just today, to honor the day, another young woman we know and admire took to social media to share her battles with an eating disorder.  I have multiple friends who, whenever I ask about their teenagers, reply, "I'm just trying to keep him alive."

One of my favorite bloggers is a fantastic writer who is also very open about her ongoing battle with depression.  Sometimes, her work is hilarious.  Often times, it's dark and scary and I don't understand it.  Yet, I try to understand it.  I stay with her in the dark and await her announcement of return to light.  I pray the cycle continues, because it is far preferable to the alternative.

There is a well-known musical about mental illness called "Next to Normal."  It is so scary and powerful.  The last time the production toured and came to our area, some friends had seen it and recommended it to Todd and me.  We saw it and were changed.  Still, when our friends said they loved it so much they were getting tickets to see it again, we worried.  "Next to Normal" did not feel like fun entertainment.  It felt like a trial.  You can decide for yourself, if you choose to watch it here.

Depression, anxiety, rage, focus issues, impulse control... there are as many mental health conditions as there are people who struggle with them.  We all need to be aware, be sympathetic and share the struggle.  Do not turn a blind eye.  This does not go away.  Of the examples I gave above, all are intelligent, resourceful, and come from two-parent families of means.  They are male and female, of various races and ethnic backgrounds, at different stages of development, education and careers.  There is no way you could classify people that would make some group immune to mental health challenges.

We cannot be so jaded.  I am guilty of having immediate judgmental thoughts when a friend casually mentioned that both she and her husband take antidepressants.  "Am I the only person in this group who is not medicated?" I thought.  But if I am, maybe it is only for now.  But if I am, definitely I should be grateful.  But since I am, that should make me even more obligated and available to offer an ear, to lend a hand, to be a true friend.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Beautiful Brace Face

Our darling 15-year-old got braces today. She is not happy about it; neither is our bank account. But it is what it is, and we must remind ourselves things could be much worse. We have a reasonable and cautious family dentist who held onto his wait-and-see approach until after she lost all her baby teeth. Months out from that point, it appeared the overbite and bottom-crowding would not correct itself. So, we juggled a bit to decide how to have the least impact on Amanda's role in the school musical, as well as how to hopefully avoid having braces on for other major, upcoming events, such as senior pictures-- YIKES! Amanda's mouth is some new kind of sore, but isn't she all kinds of adorable?!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Plastic Semantics

"Mom, what is that?"
"It's an emesis bag."
"A what?"
"A barf bag."
"What? Why?"
"It's from the hospital, from Daddy's surgery. A helper gave it to me when we were leaving, just in case Dad got sick in the car, but he didn't."
"Oh. An emesis bag."
"But, Mom? It's just a Ziploc bag and a paper towel."
"Yeah. But not really because the bag is not brand-name, it's generic."

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Getting Cut on a Birthday

Today is my father-in-law Harlan's birthday.  He would have been 64 years old.  We celebrated in Krinkeland by taking in Todd for double hernia surgery.  He has needed the operation for months now, after injuring himself in the spring doing heavy dead lifts at the gym.  There just wasn't a "convenient" time to have surgery-- is there ever?-- and so Todd was just marching on tolerating the pain and shoving his guts back in whenever necessary.  We have dubbed this year "The Summer That Wasn't" because of all the things we did not due, many because of Todd being out of commission. 

He was dreading surgery because he is an awful patient, and I was dreading it because I am a terrible nurse.  That said, things are going pretty well so far this night.  The painkillers make his brain loopy but his pain tolerable.  The kids are fascinated to see Dad laid up.  They're also more anxious and out-of-sorts than usual, but I didn't really expect them to be helpful.  My parents swooped in to be parents today, so I could be at the bedside.  Todd has had many well-wishers check in.  I think we're both just hoping for a little sleep.

We have, of course, been remembering Harlan especially this day, too.  Todd had his hernia surgery where Harlan had his cancer surgeries.  Todd's general surgeon even assisted Harlan's surgeon on his major operation.  The kids and I took some time this evening while Todd was resting to make apple crisp and sing to Grandpa.  He lives in us.