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Archive for May, 2008

I’ve been resisting the hysterical reaction to plastic that has been building around me. We’ve continued to use straw cups and sippy cups and plastic storage containers for the kids’ lunches (using those used to be considered ecologically-friendly, given that the option was one-time-use packages).

I’ve given the kids straw cups of water with their lunches every day they’ve gone to school and camp and daycare since they were babies. For Maya, that’s over eleven years of water soaking in plastic, so I really, really don’t want that to be a bad thing to do. Plastic is bad for you? Lalalalalalala – I can’t hear you!

I even read an article in the paper a few weeks ago about Canada’s ban on the chemical BPA in baby bottles, wherein some scientist was quoted as saying that exposure to harmful chemicals was actually very, very minor, but that the Canadian government wants to be extra careful when it comes to babies.

Ha, I thought. I was right. Hysteria. I don’t have any babies (and when I did, they refused to take bottles). I don’t need to worry.

But then I accidentally picked up a copy of GreenLiving (www.greenlivingonline.com) at a friend’s house and started reading what they had to say about plastics. They said things about how the leaching rate (how fast bad chemicals leach out into the water in the container) goes up like crazy every time you wash something like a sippy cup in the dishwasher, particularly when they get old and scratched up. Everything we have is old and scratched up.

It tipped me over the edge. I came home and bought these online:

They are metal water bottles. Those ones will belong to Asher, Maya and Boo I got a couple more too, but they aren’t so cute (they are still pretty cool-looking). If the children lose them, I will have a fit. In fact, I’ve made sure Asher’s will have a cap like the other two and not the screw-cap shown here, because there is no hope he’ll keep anything not securely attached – I’m not that stupid. No, I’m just stupid enough to buy these and hope the kids keep them long enough for me to not have to special order them from the US next time.

As soon as these arrive, all the water bottles, straw cups and sippy cups are going in the garbage. I think it was very restrained of me to not throw them out already. It is the sort of thing I’m inclined to do  – just suddenly toss out all the things I’ve decided are bad without having yet gotten replacements. But after eleven years, what’s a couple more days?

The plastic bowls and plates are history too, but I was heading towards that anyway, as we are somewhat past the bowl-knocking and plate-tossing age. I haven’t figured out how to replace the little plastic lunch containers we use, but from what I’ve read, I need to panic less over food containers than those for liquids. Luckily, we’ve been using stainless steel thermoses all along. At least I did something right.

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weird coma fall-outs

So I have this big scar from my pubic bone to the top of my belly button. My belly button is beside the top of the scar. For the longest time, I thought the scar was creating an optical illusion. Because it looks like it is in the middle of my abdomen, it makes my belly button look off-centre.

A couple of days ago, Boo and I were getting dressed when she announced that my belly button isn’t in the middle. I said it is, it just looks like it isn’t. She said no, it isn’t. As she kept insisting, I looked closer, and she’s right. The scar is centered. The belly button isn’t.

My belly button has been through a lot. It used to be a small vertical slit, cute and perfect, if I do say so myself (so were my boobs, but I don’t want to discuss that … sigh). If belly button peircing had been a thing back then, I’d have done it for sure.

Then I got pregnant and my belly button got stretched all to hell and didn’t really bounce back so well. It became a gaping cavern. It got more gaping and cavernous with the next two children. I don’t know exactly what the surgeon did with it, but it is small again (and not cute) and, of course, now off-side.

One other weird quirk is that all my fingernails have gone funny. I have good fingernails – pregnancy couldn’t wreck those, at least. They are strong and it is so too bad I hate painting them because they are perfect for that. Instead I used them to scratch J’s back. They are perfect for that too.

But now they are growing in weird. They are all rippled and bumpy and the top layer of nails even peeled away up to the healthy part. I find it fascinating that my nails got so insulted by one little coma. And why?

Another thing – I’m shedding like a dog (not my dog, of course, as he doesn’t shed) this past week or so. When I wake up, there’s a ton of hair on my pillow, more than J ever had when he was losing his hair (it’s pretty much all gone now). It’s a good thing I have a lot of hair to start with.

A friend of ours who is a doctor visited me in the hospital several times and the last time said in passing that I should expect to start losing my hair in a couple of months, like after pregnancy. I promptly forgot what she said, until it all started falling out. I regret not asking why she thought this would happen and now she’s off on vacation.

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The friends who looked after Jasper when I was sick got their own puppy a couple of weeks ago. Jasper had a playdate today and so I include a picture of Big Puppy and Little Puppy. The cuteness never ends ….

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My sister-in-law called me yesterday to tell me she’d just discovered her kids have lice. Lotsa lice. Now, we hadn’t seen them a lot recently, but we did drop Jasper off with them on the way to Toronto and then pick him up again on the way back, during which time children did interact.

Talking to her, my head itched. It itches now. I sympathized and imagined trying to comb Boo’s hair for nits. Boo hates having her hair combed. In fact, it is the reason she has short hair.

Does your head itch, reading this? Because really, my head is itching like crazy.

When I picked the kids up from school, I poked through all three heads and couldn’t find a thing. I think we dodged that bullet. And since my head doesn’t itch at all when I’m not thinking about lice, I am pretty sure I am good too. Except for the lice-related hypocondria.

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What I do have is strep throat. I’m not particularly surprised, especially as I once again feel worse today.

I went to the after-hours clinic on Monday, where I told the child claiming to be a doctor I thought it was strep. He told me he thought not, but was nice enough to take a swap anyway. It came back positive.

I’m so happy, because it has been a whole month since I last took antibiotics – how’s the sarcasm coming across?

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yay me

I’m feeling better today, thanks for asking. I even took Jasper for a decent walk. We went to the dog park and I marched right into the deep woods, most because I wanted to stick to the shade. It is actually hot today. I discovered that the mosquitoes are out in force already. When I stopped to talk to another doodle owner, we were immediately surrounded in a cloud of mosquitoes. I exaggerate not one bit. Hundreds of them. But when I walked fast enough, they left me alone.

The thing that was so great was that I could walk fast enough. I actually walked fast through the woods. It wasn’t even my heavy-footed fast for me but slow for everyone else kind of walk – I passed a couple of people. Now, those people were at least 150 lbs overweight each, but still!

Up until recently, I had this weird sort of stomp to my walk, like my shoes were made of cement. But I noticed, as I beetled through the woods, that I have managed to shed that. I still trip a lot, but I look like I’m walking normally.

So I’m kind of thrilled. It wasn’t long ago that I just couldn’t even imagine walking in the woods at all. Now, granted, my zippy walk was only about half an hour long, but it is still amazing.

I wonder when these accomplishments will become old hat to me? How long before I start taking for granted that I can walk up stairs? Because I swear, every single time I make it to the top of a staircase, I am impressed, like a little kid. Look what I did!

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The other thing I did was get a new pair of shoes for Boo. This is more impressive than it sounds. One of my first outings, after I was freed from the hospital, was for sandals for Maya. It took many shoe stores and much pain, spread out over days to accommodate for my lack of energy. (There is nothing new about Maya and parental shoe torture.) In one of the stores, we found adorable shoes that didn’t fit Maya, but would fit Boo. They were sandal-like in lightness and really, very cute. See? –

Now, truth be told, I do have a perfectly good pair of hand-me-down sandals that will probably fit her, but they are black. Basic and black. Asher hardly wore them, with the speed his feet grow. I knew she’d hate those sandals and love these ones and I couldn’t really blame her. They were more expensive than I like to pay but there was Maya, like the devil on my shoulder, saying, “You have to buy them. She’ll love them.”

So I did. And she did. She has worn no other shoe since. Until yesterday, when one strap snapped.

My old self would have been sad and annoyed at the expense and gone out and bought more sensible sandals this time. But I’m not like that any more. I am not sure exactly when it changed or what brought about the change. Possibly I have just become – dare I say it? – less WASPy over the years. Or maybe I just aged and decided it was time to stand up for myself.

I took the shoes back to the store and told the nice saleschild there that I yes I was having a good day, only I had this little problem I hoped she could help me with. I showed her the shoes and the bill I miraculously found, demonstrating the shoes to be 3 weeks old, and she gave me new ones, just like that.

Now, of course, I am risking these ones lasting 3 weeks too, and playing the shoe-exchange game all summer, but I think the problem actually stemmed from Boo’s extremely bad habit of not undoing and doing the shoes up again, preferring to just ram her feet in (so yes, technically the breakage was her fault, but 3 weeks? Come on). So I told her those were the very last ones in her size (small lie)  and if she wants to keep them, she’ll take her shoes off and put them on like a civilized human being. I think she will. She was so happy. Her sheer shoe delight made spending the money on those crappy shoes worth it. I’m getting soft.

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Crabby

My throat hurts. A lot – the kind of hurt where you scrunch your eyes up and brace yourself just to swallow. It’s been kind of sore for a couple of days, but then I just woke up to this – whamo. To go with it, I am exhausted and ache. My first functional act of the day was to pick up the kids at school. At 3:45 pm.

Wait, there was one more functional act before that – I called my doctor’s office’s after-hours clinic and made an appointment for 6 pm.

After I picked up the kids, I was driving home. I drive along a street towards the enterance to the highway. The entrance was coming up, so I put on my indicator to move over into the right lane on this very not-busy street, and slowed down a bit to pull in after the car I was beside. I wasn’t obnoxious and didn’t try to pull in ahead of the car. I also put my indicator on in plenty of time, but as I had dropped back behind the car enough to pull in, the car behind it started to speed up. The big asshole in the car behind decided that for no good reason at all, he wasn’t going to let me merge, despite my polite and correct way of doing so. He just zoomed up and blocked the space, forcing me to either miss the highway entrance or slow down radically to get behind him, thereby endagering the people behind me who would not be expecting me to to suddenly slow down so much.

I did slow down more, but first, I leaned on the horn, and merged in such a way that maybe, for a moment, the big dork in the car next to me might wonder if I was just going to drive right into him instead. I didn’t, of course. I slid in right behind him, in order to make my exit. But what I wanted to do, despite my incredibly sore throat (or, perhaps, because of it), was drive right up his inconsiderate ass and tail him to wherever he was going, so I could then tell him in person what a huge moron he is.

I now get how road rage works.

Fortunately for both of us, I had kids in the car, so I let him go.

I must confess, I am a rather aggressive driver most of the time. I don’t know why. If I’ve merged at a reasonable point, for example, in rush-hour traffic that is going down to one-fewer lanes, and somebody drives their car right up to the end of that ending lane and then tries to insert themselved at the last possible moment, I am the sort of person that makes sure I am mere inches from the guy in front of me to ensure that doesn’t happen. I view it as punishment for being obnoxious. There are occasions, though, when I am in a hurry, that I am the obnoxious last-minute merger car. So yes, I have my faults. But I never, ever do outright nasty things like speed up to prevent someone from a perfectly legitimate merge.

I wonder if that guy is always and incurably and asshole, or if he is just one in his car?

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I’m Number One!

As I have mentioned before, my blog stats show me what phrases people are searching when they find me. I have noticed a couple trends recently. One, there are a lot of people, and I mean a lot, who think they can find luck on the internet. Last summer, I wrote about my success in finding four-leaf clovers and that’s probably the most popular post I have now, even surpassing the ones in which I mention those evil Webkinz.

About once a week, someone leaves a comment on that post actually asking me for luck, like I can somehow dole it out, since I’m so four-leaf-clover rich. (Perhaps some of them should read some more recent posts, then they’d realize that I haven’t actually been that lucky lately, although I suppose the fact that I’m still here to ramble on like this could be considered lucky.) I let the first couple stay, but now I delete them all. But no wonder there are so many people out there trying to take advantage of the gullible and desperate, because it appears there are a great many gullible and desperate people out there.

So I googled the phrase I keep seeing – ‘need some luck.’ My post is second on the list. Oh, lucky me.

The other phrase that comes up all the time is ‘lumpy boobs.’ I had no idea so many women were worried about their lumpy boobs. (I’m assuming the searchers are worried women rather than interested men.) I had no idea so many boobs were lumpy. So I googled that phrase and I’m first! How can I be first when so many people seem concerned about this? All the rest of the links on the first page lead people to actual real answers, and yet people keep clicking on me.

Luck and boobs. That’s what it’s all about.

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In my quest for alternative pain relief, I’ve recently had a couple massages. The first one was quite gentle and while it was enjoyable, the effects weren’t lasting beyond about an hour. So for the next one, I told the massage therapist to dig a little deeper, work on the muscles. The muscles in my back and neck are very, very tight, she admitted, but after working on them pretty hard, she said she felt they’d softened a little bit.

I felt okay during the day, but by early evening, the muscles in my back, neck and head were just screaming at me. Moving hurt. Breathing hurt. I was wishing for some bigtime pain meds, which don’t really exist. I have no idea if further massages are a good idea – if they can actually cause a more permenant softening of my hard and stubborn muscles, or if those muscles will just hurt more at the intrusion. Must do some research on that before the next scheduled appointment.

I was a bit nervous about my assessment for the pain clinic this morning, imagining this making my early-morning stiffness even more extreme. While you have to be in chronic pain to get into the program, you also have to have the stamina to hang out in their program all day.

I made it to my appointment on time, and it didn’t even feel hideously early. They asked me all kinds of questions about my pain and functioning, including one I hate. They asked me to rate my pain on a scale of one to ten, ten being the most unbearable pain you’ve experienced. This was a question I got in the hospital a lot, whenever I told them anything hurt.

The thing is, the ruptured colon totally reset the definition of number 10 for me. Compared to that, nothing else gets higher than maybe a 5 or 6. I figure the rupture probably occured around 9 pm, given that I suddenly felt a great deal more pain than before and ended up collapsing on the bathroom floor. But I didn’t get into surgery until 11 am. Add to that the dehydration caused profuse sweating from the pain and the fact that they wouldn’t allow me any liquids, and I felt really, really bad. I felt so bad that when the surgeon told me one possible outcome of the sugery was death, I didn’t care. I really didn’t. This is basically what I thought: “Okay, whatever. Just knock me out now.” During what could have been my last conscious moments on this earth, strapped down to the operating table, all I could do was complain that the mask put over my face to sedate me didn’t have a good enough seal and I wasn’t reaching unconscious fast enough. “Why am I still here?”

They say you can’t remember pain, and I’ve always found that to be crap. I remember my legs hurting when I was a child, remember how the pain felt. I can easily remember how badly my body aches when the FMS really flares, how migraines feel, how labour and delivery felt. But I cannot remember the pain of the rupture. I cannot bring it to mind at all. I only remember feeling miserable and moaning over and over, like a mantra, “It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.” I felt badly about that, worrying that I was upsetting my mother, who was standing beside my bed helpless to do anything at all to make it better, but I could not stop the moaning. I remember begging for sedation, not understanding why they couldn’t just knock me out that moment, even if they weren’t ready to operate.

Needless to say, that experience really messes up the bell curve when it comes to rating my pain. Assigning a number to a feeling is difficult enough as it is. So when they asked me the question this morning, I decided to remove the rupture from the curve, since it was pulling everything out of wack. I decided that when the nurse says that number 10 is the worst pain ever, she really didn’t mean pain that makes you uncaring of your own death, perhaps even welcoming of it. I decided that unmedicated childbirth could be the worst pain, or maybe the vicious migraines I’ve had, which make me want to hide in a dark room and not move, but have never had me contemplating death – those could be the 10.

After the assessment, which included many questions about my life and how I handle my FMS, the doctor told me that she wasn’t sure how much their program could really do for me. A lot of what they do, she said, was help people come to terms with their conditions and then learn how to appropriately pace themselves, something the doctor thinks I have done long ago. (J disagreed when I told him, saying I don’t know how to pace myself at all). Despite that, she did think that maybe they could still help. She said knowing something (how to hande one’s illness, for example) and doing it are not the same thing, and perhaps having everything in one place and working thought it intensively would be of benefit to me. That was pretty much the conclusion I had come to as well (although I was secretly hoping they knew some stuff I don’t already, and this meeting kind of popped that bubble).

All that being said, they rejected me. Thanks to my Nap, I’m not at the point where I could handle the intensity of their course. That was what I feared would happen. However, she suggested re-evaluating me in September. She did say that it was just a matter of time. I just need to recover from, as she put it ‘this insult to your body’ and eventually they will accept me.

I consoled myself when I left by popping over to a large and marvelous garden centre near there and getting a couple little plants for the few gaps still in my front garden. Green things make everything better in spring. 

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