Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year 2007!

Well, the new year had begun: 2007!

It began with our annual New Year’s Day combined birthday celebrations dinner, wherein we celebrate all the December and January birthdays that run together and sometimes get overlooked with the busy-ness of Christmas and then the rut of post holiday blahs. Included: Aunt Chris’ birthday (December 16); Alex’s birthday (December 28); Mom’s birthday (January 1); Dad’s birthday (January 7); Adrian’s birthday (January 10) and my birthday (January 15). So to cover all this, we headed to one of our favorite restaurants, Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

Macaroni Grill offers a wonderful loaf of bread for dipping in the tasty olive oil and spices they bring to the table. And while this bread is delicious, it’s a little different from my mother’s bread. I may have written previously about my mother’s home-made-from-scratch-sourdough bread. She makes loaves and loaves and loaves every week, and we get our bread fresh out of the oven almost daily. Alex loves it; he shoves it in his mouth by the fistful and calls it “Maw-maw’s Happy Bread”...I guess coz it makes him happy to eat it. Whatever the reason, he can shove almost an entire half-loaf in his mouth at once, that’s how soft and delicious Mom’s bread it. The dipping bread at Macaroni Grill, however, is a little crunchier for dipping. Alex didn’t realize this, and spent the entire night repeatedly trying to shove the whole round loaf in his mouth. Despite Alex’s table-manner-lacking display, a great time was had by all.

However, a sad, sad decision had to be made the next day, saying goodbye to a beloved member of our family. My cat, Chloey, left us after we made the painful choice to end her suffering. She had been diagnosed as having kidney trouble about 18 months earlier. At that time, the vet did not sound optimistic about her chances of survival. I was determined, though, and did a little research on my own. We ended up bringing her home and giving her twice daily sub-q injections of fluids to help flush out her kidneys, as well as keeping her on a very strict diet. To the shock of our vet, over the course of a few months, she greatly improved, and within about 8 months, her condition had improved to the point we only had to give her injections a couple of times a week. She lived for an additional 10 months after that a very happy, healthy life. Then, around Thanksgiving, she crashed again and it was back to the twice-daily, and then on to 3 times daily injections. She recovered only slightly, and then, sadly, her liver started shutting down as well. She lost a lot of weight and began having trouble walking and meowing. We knew the end was near, and we kept her comfortable over the long new year’s weekend. But on the morning of January 2, she was ready to go, and I had to be ready to let her go. She left our lives that afternoon, in the doctor’s office, 11 happy and loving years after she had come into our family. She was a solid white Angora, as soft and prissy and precious as you could ever imagine, and still, to this day, she is horribly, terribly missed. Her official name was Clarissa Grace (Chloey) but she was also called “PP” for “pretty princess”; and our family is not the same without her.

Later in January, we got some great news: we were going to be grandparents again. Matthew’s wife, Emily, was pregnant. Their oldest, Colton, was 4 ½, and they finally decided to add to their family with another baby. And, within the next few days, we got the news that our second adoption homestudy was finalized, and to put it in adoption lingo, we, too, were now expecting.

I remember feeling so very sad for Matt and Emily...I had had two miscarriages in years past, and the heartbreak of a miscarriage can be crushing. Especially when you had tried so hard and so long for a baby of your own. I was glad those days were behind me...not having a baby days, just the trying to get pregnant days. I was “out of that box” and into another...and I was relieved and happy to be pursuing adding to my own family again as well.

We began talking to Alex about a new baby, asking him whether he wanted a brother or a sister. His reply? “I want a dump truck.” This went on for a few weeks, and his answer never varied. He wanted a dump truck. I began cleaning out Adrian’s old room in preparation for the future arrival of Alex’s new sibling, and found an old, life-sized doll that had belonged to Adrian, left forgotten in the top of her closet. I decided to break Alex in with that, and I began carrying around that baby doll, so that he’d get used to seeing me with another baby. The first time he saw me with it, he pointed to it and stood on his tippy toes, indicating he wanted to see what it was. So I sat on the couch and held the bundle towards him and he said, “baby?” I said, “yes.” He very gently pulled back the blanket I had wrapped the “baby” in. He looked in, pointed to the baby’s head and said “hat” (the doll was wearing a cloth cap on her head). I said, “yes, Alex, baby has a hat on.” He looked again, pointed to the baby’s cheeks and said, “hot” (the baby doll had very pink, very rosy cheeks). I said, “yes, we need to keep the baby toasty and warm.” He looked some more, pointed to the doll’s blue-yarn hair and exclaimed, “boo hair”. To which I replied, “yes, she has blue hair, but our real baby will probably have yellow or brown hair.” He kept looking, gazing, gently touching the baby doll. So I then asked him what he wanted to name the baby doll. He looked back at me, thought about it a moment, and answered, “DUMP TRUCK!” After that, he never showed any interest whatsoever in the baby doll, no matter what I did. I’d ask if he’d like to help me bathe the baby, feed the baby, or cuddle the baby and he would reply with a firm, “NO! Want to dig dirt!” Alex, he’s all boy, isn’t he?

Now, you can't imagine that I let a new year start out without some random, odd event happening, can you? So here's that latest installment in my oddities collection: We were scheduled for our physicals for our adoption home study. I remember distinctly that it was scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon. Mine was at 1PM, and Pete's was at 3PM. However, on the Monday morning just prior, and upon arriving at work, I bent down in the parking lot to pick up our office's daily copy of the Wall Street Journal. When I did: SNAP! I don't know what happened, but it must have been something in the way I bent over, but I pinched a nerve in my back. Oh, the pain I was in that day. And I hated to go to the doctor, because I was scheduled to see him for my physical the very next day! So I just kind of suffered through with a heating pad and Advil that way, waiting anxiously to get to see the doctor on Tuesday.

Tuesday dawns and the babysitter lined up to watch Alex while Pete and I went for our physicals bailed on us. Last minute, too. So, since our appointments were back to back, we decide we have no choice but to take Alex with us and take turns watching and entertaining him. We figured that would not be too hard to do, since our doctor's office is near the hospital with the duck ponds close by.

Me first! I went in for my 1:00 with the doctor, and I get my physical and he writes me a RX for a pain reliever for my back. Now, this man had been my doctor for 12 years at that point in time, and he knew I was highly allergic to codeine. Also, he makes it a habit to ask his patients of any allergies before he writes any RX. I can't remember what the RX was for, but I'm sure it was something that did not contain codeine.

Next up: Pete. He goes in for his physical now that I'm through. Alex is getting antsy so I walk him out to the duck pond behind the doctor's office. Now, I like ducks. I really do. I've even had ducks as pets. A whole slew of them. Love ducks. But you gotta remember: Alex had just turned 2 at this point, and I was dealing with that insufferable back pain. So while I'm happy to have Alex occupied and enchanted with these ducks, he's getting pretty close to the pond as well, and that was making me nervous. That, and all the duck poop everywhere. The ducks must have been fed well the last few days, because the amount of duck poop all over the ground was staggering. And for those of you who've never seen duck poop, it's silver-green, slick and slimy. So here I am, nearly immobile with back pain, and trying to keep up with a two year old who is apparently on a mission to hunt down and pet every last duck out there. I start with the verbal barrage: "Alex, come back here. Alex, don't. Alex, stop. Alex, don't go near that water. Alex, get away from the water." On and on I go, tiptoeing carefully in, on and around this field of duck poop. Well, one particularly gargantuan mallard caught Alex's attention and off he went. He was bound and determined he was going to "get that duckie." So Alex charges after the duck, heading straight towards the pond, and despite my back pain, I take off after Alex. And next? You guessed it! I slip and fall and slide on my back and rear on all that duck poop! Straight towards the pond. I got caught up on a tree stump and settle there, Alex turned around and looking at me and saying, "Why you sitting down like that, Mommy?"

Oh, the pain, the smell, the humiliation...even if it was only in front of my two year old and a bunch of ducks. No one else was around, as far as I could see, with the exception of anyone looking out of the office windows nearby and seeing a middle aged woman covered in duck poop all over the back of her WHITE jacket.

I managed to get up and drag Alex, screaming and crying, back towards my doctor's office. Luckily, Pete's physical was over and he was headed towards the duck pond anyways looking for us. We go back into my doctor's office where I clean up as best as I could without changing clothes all together. I took off my jacket, which is where must of the duck poop was, and just stuffed it in a bag, probably unsalvageable. I went home, changed pants and socks and shoes, and prayed the odor of duck poop was not permanently embedded in my skin.

I then took off for the pharmacy to drop off my RX for the pain reliever for my back. I was in so much pain now, I decided to wait for the RX. They finally (40 minutes later) call my name and I pick up my RX, pay for it, and an headed out, already digging the bottle out of the bag. I notice the name of the drug on the RX, and while I can't remember now what exactly it was, it sounded close to codeine, which worried me. So I headed back to the pharmacy counter and started to inquire. Well, I had to wait so speak to the actual pharmacist. Another 20 minute wait. My back is now killing me....I'm in tears with the pain. I talk to the pharmacist. I explain my allergy to codeine, which should have been in my records there anyway, and even if not, they ask about allergies when you drop off any new RX. She explains to me that this is not actual codeine, it's just "sort of like" codeine. And it's not so much what she said, but how she said it, you know what I mean? In a very condescending, "you be a good girl now and just take your medicine" type of voice. Now I was crying and sniffling because of the back pain, all hunched over and everything, but for heaven's sake! I was 40 years old! I went on to explain my allergy to codeine and that I was worried that taking something "sort of like" codeine would have the same effect as codeine itself. She asked me to described my allergic reaction...did my throat close up....chest pains...couldn't breath...what exactly was my reaction? I told her exactly what happened the one and only time I ever took codeine: I had violent, gut-wrenching vomiting and a blinding headache. And I mean blinding literally, my vision was very dark and cloudy for a few hours, along with the projectile vomiting. And this....woman....(can you hear me gnashing my teeth?) then asked me, "was it really vomiting, or did it just upset your tummy a little bit?" And she rubbed her hand in a small circle on her own belly to illustrate, much like I have done with any of my boys when they've complained of a tummy ache. But: they're babies! Here I was, a grown woman, and this bee-yotch was treating me like a difficult school child, I guess because I had the gall to question her pharmaceutical judgment about medicine prescribed to me! You know what? You're damn right...anytime I have a question about a drug anyone wants to give me, I'm gonna have the audacity to ask about it if I think I might have a reaction! I was furious! I stormed out of there and was by then ready to jump off a cliff I was so tired and in so much pain.

I ended up calling my doctor's office and he prescribed me something else...which I had called in to someWHERE else. That turned out to one of the worst day of all that year. What a way to start 2007! And come to find out, when I went back to work and told everyone my sad, miserable tale, one of the women I work with is friends with that particular pharmacist! Small world!

So our new year was off to a start. Good or bad, call it what you will....just a month out of the box, and it’s already had it’s share of both good and bad news. But that’s life, right? That’s families, marriage, jobs, friendships, and just life. You gotta take the good with the bad, and everything in between. Turns out, LIFE was about to start happening to us, the good, the bad and the in between, in SPADES. Stay tuned.


Karen L. said...

Everytime I read one of your entries I find another kinship we share. I grew up with a white angora cat named Princess. We got her when I was 5 and she lived for 21 years. She was a great cat!! One Christmas morning we woke up to find her covered in grease...and she was an indoor kitty. Come to discover Santa had brought me a brand new ten speed bike for Christmas and Princess decided to rub all over the bike chain!!

They call me Mommy said...

If it helps, I too have an allergy to the codine/morphine family of pain meds. Of course, mine is more like a hay fever reaction....when I was having my first c-section, they gave me a little shot of morphine because I got a pain in my shoulder. The rest of the day I rubbed my nose. My mom would spy me and say "stop rubbing your nose". By the end of the day I could have guided Santa and the sleigh in foggy weather!