12 Months Later

I'm sure, if you follow me on Facebook, then you are probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about my hospital stay a year ago.

I started posting about it on the day I was admitted. I let it go for a while, but seeing that it's the 17th of September, I realized I was in the lowest lows of my life on this day last year. A lot of this post consists of fragmented sentences. I'm just rattling things off the top of my head.

At this point, I had been in the hospital for 18 days. I had gallbladder surgery that left me with a perforated diaphragm. Because of the infection associated with the gallbladder, I had what is called "sympathetic" fluid in my lung and on both sides of my diaphragm. I had been on an intensive care-type floor because I had respiratory distress. I had countless x-rays and MRIs. I had two drains coming out of me, one from my bile duct and one from my liver. I had my lung vacuumed out when I had my lung puncture. And I cannot forget, I had that barbaric "procedure" where I was given a chest tube. Not only did I have an inch thick tube coming out of my lung, it was connected to a box on the floor. I was tethered to my bed on a very short leash.

I had two IV stands that were filled with various bags of things I needed: nutrition, fluids, antibiotics, something to treat a fungal infection, something else to restore the good bacteria into my digestive system...I can't even remember what else. And all of these fluids entered my body via a PICC line that had to be placed by a cardiologist because it had a threadlike thing that goes towards the heart. It was supposed to reduce the times I would have to have blood drawn, but after a couple days they weren't able to get blood out if it, so it was back to the old way. Shot after shot, needles after needles. Being awakened in the wee hours so they could get an oxygenated blood specimen. Having my finger pricked multiple times a day. Insulin every now and then. Shots in my stomach for something I can't remember.

Sticky patches stuck to me for the entire time. Those damn things they keep on your legs to keep the blood circulating. Awful hospital food. Not being able to shower at all. Hospital beds that hurt after the first week. Not being able to sleep well. Only being given pain meds every 4 to 6 hours even though they wore off after two. Nebulizers I'd have to practice breathing with for 15 minutes at a time, a few times a day. Do you know how stupid it feels to have to concentrate on breathing? This is something we take for granted. Inhale...exhale. Our bodies do that on autopilot everyday!

Then there was physical therapy so I could get back to walking. Sure, it sounds easy enough, but it's not when you have a bum lung and your legs are weak from being laid up for weeks.

I laid and watched Mad Men. Then it was every brain-rotting Housewives show on Bravo. There was the huge PG&E gas line explosion in California. I learned Thunderheart is one of the most depressing films ever. I was intrigued by the ads for The Walking Dead, but hated seeing the ad where Rick falls out of his hospital bed in the first episode.

But the worst part of it all was the NOT knowing. When would I get out? Would I get out? Were the doctors sure I wouldn't die? What would go wrong next? What horrible procedure would I face the next day?

When I was on the intensive care-type floor, I asked my doctor if I was going to live. He reassured me all would be well, but there were so many unknowns. And I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my post after all this happened or not, but the second week I was in, I seriously considered taking my own life. I was in so much pain and so miserable. No one had any answers and I had a very hard time trying to visualize my life returning to normal. I mean, I couldn't even talk without getting winded. I was in such a state, I didn't want any of my loved ones to see me like that, especially my kids. I really did want to down too many sleeping pills and end the daily pain and torture. I experienced pure hopelessness. It wasn't terrifying to think about it, I guess I was just so worn down at that point (and this was before the chest tube). I would get sad and cry about all of the things I would miss in my kids' lives, but I wasn't afraid to die...I didn't even look at it that way. I just wanted the hospital experience to end.

It took me about 5 months to fully recover, complete with in-home nursing for a while, as well as tanks of oxygen for me to use, if needed. I have 11 scars to remind me of my nightmare. Even today, if my cat settles down on my side and happens to stick his foot near just the right ribs, where my chest tube scar is, it hurts.

Have I changed my life after all of this? Sadly, not so much. Things have pretty much reverted to the way they were before I got sick. It makes me sad to see that not much has changed. I suppose I was hoping life would be rosy and new, if only for the simple fact that I survived the roughest time of my life. But the reality is that life goes on with you or without you.

I try to see things in a different light. I am thankful for the second chance I was given and all that I have. Although, I can't help but feel disappointed with myself that I haven't "seized the day" as much as I wish I could. The routine of being a mom, with two young kids and a husband who works an insane number hours a week, really doesn't leave much room for anything else, apart from complete exhaustion. I hope that one day I can figure it out. For now, I have to be thankful that I am here and will be around to experience tomorrow.

posted under | 0 Comments

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

One thing I have learned this summer is that my kids really love nature. We went on a road trip in July and traveled up the east coast into New England and Canada. Along the way, we stopped at state parks in Connecticut and Maryland, as well as the Lake Conemaugh lake bed in Pennsylvania and a cool little park in Romford, Maine. My kids are drawn to water. They love creeks and streams. And Tate loves the beach. It's the one place I've ever seen her completely acting carefree. At home she stresses about bugs and little things, but at the beach, she throws all caution to the wind and runs for the water. She doesn't even think about fish, crabs and all of the other little critters you can find there.

So, I felt the next logical step, once we settled in back at home, would be to check out the North Carolina state parks and natural areas. Since the kids enjoy water, I've specifically searched for places that have things they may enjoy. I have a shortlist of locations that are considered kid-friendly and decided to start with Looking Glass falls, which are near where my Dad lives.

Today, I can tell you, I've learned that "don't go chasing waterfalls" is not just a line from a TLC song. It started out innocuous enough. My Mom, my kids and I drove to my Dad's and from there we headed out for the falls. My Dad's neighbor said he knew exactly where they are and gave my Dad directions. I grew a little concerned once we were getting close because I had not seen anything I had expected to see along the way there. I have a friend who went recently and did a pretty good job of documenting the journey there. I decided to just cast those doubts aside and figured perhaps we were approaching from a different direction or something.

At last, we arrived at the overlook for Looking Glass Rock. We were told that once you park there, you cross the road (the Blue Ridge Parkway) and get on the trail to the falls. It should only be a 1/3 mile hike. Everything I had read online was that the falls were easily accessible and the walk was easy for children. As we started, the trail was fine. But it wasn't very long before there were tons of exposed roots, many rocks and inclines and descents that were steep and hard for the adults to get proper footing, much less the 4-year-old and the 8-year-old. And we walked and walked, seemed like forever. Occasionally, we would pass some hikers coming in the opposite direction and they would give us some idea of how much farther we had to go. At one point we had to climb these precarious dirt and log "stairs" and as soon as I saw them, my brain started trying to tell my body, "No, I'm not going there!" Every step had me tense with my leg muscles shaking. But once again, we all persevered and got through it. We thought it was encouraging when a hiker explained that we only had to crest one more hill and we would be at the falls.

It took us about an hour from start to finish, to hike the trail to the falls. But once we got there, it was really quite lovely. We went down some wooden stairs to a small bridge that crossed over the water. Great! Pretty! Worthy of photos.

I only took a couple of things with me on the hike. My camera was in it's case, hooked to my belt loop. My keys were in my left pocket. I had a bandana to keep my hair back once it started curling up and becoming unruly. And last but not least, I wore my sunglasses. At some point, I put my sunglasses in my pocket. On the bridge, I realized they weren't on my head so I reached into my pocket to get them.

This moment is insane and kinda difficult to explain properly. Some bizarre, cosmic thing happened. A fluke. When I pulled my sunglasses out, apparently my keys were hooked onto one of the earpieces and were catapulted into the water below. It happened in slow motion and very fast...at the same time. I couldn't believe it. I was dumbstruck and I would say speechless, but a litany of profanity came spewing forth. One good thing was that the water was very clear and I could see where the keys landed. They weren't carried off by the water and they were on the side closest to where I was. Unfortunately, the only way down that side was by descending these flat, steep rocks. (It's hard to tell in the photo. The red circle shows where my keys landed.)

My mind started racing. My car was the only car we drove there. Dominic is the only other person with keys to the car. He was in Charlotte and even if he could get away from work, he is horrible with directions and never would've been able to find us anyway. My Mom is spazzy like I am, so I could just see her injuring herself if she tried to get the keys. And my Dad offered, but he's got a foot that's not too great, so I didn't want him to hurt himself either. I was the youngest and allegedly the most fit, right? Right. I had to do it. If anyone was going to, it had to be me.

I began to descend down these flat and sloping rocks. There was lots of butt-sliding like a kid does when they are afraid to go down stairs. Once I found a safe spot to ditch my shoes, camera and sunglasses, I did. Then I set foot in the water. HOLY MOLY it was cold!! Mountain water is COLD! I baby-stepped at first, but why prolong the agony? But with each real step I took, the water got about 2 feet higher!! It was crazy. It took my breath away! I tried to stop to take a second and catch my breath, but it wasn't happening. And, unfortunately for all of my family who was present, I was dropping f-bombs left and right. By the time I got close to my keys, the water was past my shoulders!

I began to worry that I had hallucinated where my keys were or if they would be beyond my reach or something I'd have to try to pick up with my feet. Oh no, what if I missed and knocked them off the ledge they were on and they got carried off downstream? I really didn't want to take any more steps, so I swam a little bit, stretched out my arm as far as I could and grasped around until I had the keys. They were firmly in my hand and they were staying there until I could get to solid ground!

I got back to where my belongings were and got my shoes back on, reattached my camera to my belt loop and decided to add my keys to the hook that attached my camera case to me. Then the task of scaling the rocks back up to the bridge was before me. I'll be the first to admit, I am a complete spaz. I lack all coordination and I've always tried to avoid situations where it was needed. Over the past couple of years, I've become more and more interested in hiking and some mild climbing. When I hiked up part of the rim of Mt. Ubehebe in Death Valley in 2010, I knew it was something I'd want to do again. Unfortunately, I hadn't done that much of it. All the best laid plans and good intentions, right? But I found myself doing what I had to do and carefully placing my hands and feet and using muscles I never intended on using that day. My Dad was waiting towards the top and helped get me to my feet. After that, my arms and legs were like spaghetti and I was pretty much ready to go.

BUT, we hadn't really seen any of the areas around the falls. I wanted more photos. So, my parents took the kids and I did some more mild climbing and hiking to get some photos. It wasn't so bad, apart from trying to stay still long enough for a photo...and being drenched from head to toe. I took a change of clothes for the kids. Never imagined I would be the one needing some!

After all the photos were snapped and I made my way back to my family, we had to hike all the way back to the car. That was about another hour of hiking. Once we got to the car, I was absolutely gobsmacked to find that my keyless entry remote still worked! I had written that off!

The punchline of this entire story is that my Dad's neighbor gave us directions to Skinny Dip Falls, which are across from Looking Glass Rock.

Looking Glass Falls are somewhere else entirely different. We drove around and found them. Looking Glass Falls are beautiful and have concrete steps down to them. It's a minute's walk. Totally ridiculous, but an adventure all the same.

posted under | 0 Comments

This Breaks My Heart

While I was looking at photos to pin on Pinterest.com (which is my new favorite distraction) I Googled one of my favorite of places in the world, Killarney, Ireland. I was happy to see quite a few places I remember from my trip, like Ross Castle, the Muckross House, the tiny church in the town center, etc.

But all of a sudden, I came across this photo of I house that I recognized. It was taken in 2009.

So, I ran through my travel photos on Facebook and found my photo of this house, which was taken in 1999 while I was walking to Ross Castle. It was one of those amazing moments in your life when the world seems to stop for a few seconds. Everything was quiet and I looked over and saw these horses and this beautiful little house from 1839.

It makes me sad to see it in such a state. And imagine what it must look like now, if it still exists. I know things change and the world changes, but how does this happen?

posted under | 0 Comments

The Latest on Tate and the EOGs

Ever since took and failed every section of the EOGs she's been getting assistance from another teacher, a couple of hours a day. He basically just helps out with math. Today, Tate comes home with a note from this teacher basically saying that she needs to pay attention and follow instructions with her math remediation. And that was it, very short and blunt. I had to sign it to acknowledge I saw it. That's when I started to get angry. This guy has a classroom down the hall, but what does he really know about my daughter? Does he think she is simply thick and doesn't get it? Does he understand she has ADHD? I have no idea. But after Tate told me he said she would have to repeat 3rd grade and be in HIS class if she failed the EOG retest, that was it, I had had enough. You don't mess with a mama bear's cubs, you will get mauled.

So I wrote this and emailed it to him and the interim principal:

Hi Mr. *********,

Thanks so much for helping Tate with her remediation for the EOGs. I received your note today and I understand that Tate has some problems with concentration and following instructions. I'm not sure if you are aware or not, but Tate has ADHD. Her issues with paying attention and following instructions have been something we have struggled with for a few years now. There are multiple things the psychologist who diagnosed her recommended to help with her learning. A major thing to take into consideration is that Tate is an auditory learner, so it helps to have things repeated so she stays on task. You may or may not want to do this or feel like it is distracting for the other students, I'm just putting it out there.

Before the EOGs, Tate's father and I had a meeting with Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Burley and Mrs. Stephenson regarding our concerns about Tate and the EOGs. We discovered right before that special testing situations can be arranged for kids with ADHD. While Tate has an IEP for speech and it does include the information about the ADHD, Tate doesn't have a 504 plan in place, so nothing could be done. When we asked about what needed to be done to get a 504 plan in place for next year, both Mrs. Burley and Mrs. Stephenson stated that Tate would most likely not qualify for one since her ADHD doesn't seem to interfere with her schoolwork (Tate is a B/C) student. While I disagree with them, you are more than welcome to throw your two cents in to Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Burley and Mrs. Stephenson if it will help our case for getting Tate a 504 plan next year.

Last but not least, I understand the importance of the EOGs. And believe me, Tate understands the importance of these tests. Heaven knows it's been drilled into her head enough. You aren't the only person who has told her that if she doesn't pass she will have to repeat 3rd grade. She is very aware of the consequences of failing and she is terrified. I think it is quite cruel to place that kind of pressure on a child, especially after the school sends home a note prior to the EOGs stating to make sure that the kids get good rest, good meals and have less stress at home during the testing week. And let's face it, we both know that while the EOGs are important, they do not dictate if a child is promoted or not. Other factors are taken into consideration, at least that's what I've been told by Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Burley and Mrs. Stephenson.

Thank you for your time,
Courtney Zepeda-Hawkes

And so the fight goes on...

posted under | 0 Comments

Teacher/Principal Meeting

After the email I sent to the principal of Tate's school, she replied that she could meet with me and Dominic this afternoon. So, of course, Dom rearranged his schedule and we went.

The meeting was attended by the school principal, Tate's teacher and the school counselor, who oversees testing. I will admit that I was terribly nervous. I hate these kinds of meetings. When it's something I feel passionately about, I get worked up. Then there's always the possibility I will say something inappropriate because I have a big mouth and I cuss like a sailor when I am mad. Last year, it got so bad that I sent Dom to all the meetings towards the end of the year.

SO, what I was most afraid of was true, the IEP set in place for Tate is about her speech impediment and while it mentions the ADHD and has all the paperwork in there, it is not sufficient when it comes to allowances during testing. You need a 504 plan in place for that. You can learn more about a 504 plan here: http://www.playattention.com/504/school-your-adhd-child/ Even if Dom and I pitched the biggest fits we could, that red tape alone would prevent us from getting the results we desire.

Then, Tate's teacher brought up that Tate is a B/C student and has improved so much during the school year. And the principal assured us that the EOGs are not the end all, be all when determining if a child moves on to the next grade or not. This is very frustrating to me since they have placed so much emphasis on this. Tate has felt lots of pressure, at school and sadly, at home. I can admit that. I've been scared to death. When I talked to her teacher not that long ago, things seemed pretty bleak in her opinion. Today, another tale was being told.

Basically, we got dismissed as the hysterical, stressed out parents. I really hate the feeling of being blown off. When we asked what we needed to do to get a 504 plan in place for Tate, they explained it would be something we would need to do at the beginning of the school year next year. Then they continued to say that Tate most likely doesn't qualify since her ADHD doesn't affect her work. WHAT!?!? Huh!?!? That confounded me. Her teacher has told me about Tate's struggles to focus while reading and finishing tasks on time. But her ADHD doesn't interfere. That doesn't make any sense. Her classwork grades aren't consistent either, it's not uncommon for her week's work to have A's, B's, C's, D's AND F's. It's the combination of high grades and low grades that average out to the B/C level she is at.

It was right around that time that I could hold my tongue no longer. I couldn't help but ask them why we spent almost $1000 on having Tate tested to learn she has a learning disability if accommodations were not going to be made to help her with that learning disability? I'm sure you can imagine the awkward silence that followed. These 3 women just sat and looked at each other. That's when they said that many ADHD kids do not have 504 plans in place. That seems like a great disservice to the ADHD kids.

The principal then tried to give us a different perspective and asked us if we would want Tate out of her familiar classroom setting to have her testing alone with a teacher she doesn't know so well? My answer was, "Don't you think it would be helpful if she could read the passages aloud?" They then informed me that even when you are testing alone, you cannot read out loud.

In the end, the principal basically told us to stop stressing, not discuss it with Tate and to have a fun, early celebratory weekend this weekend. That's so easy for them to say, when yesterday I had to deal with Tate crying because she is so scared. Before we left, Dom asked them so, if Tate takes the first test and fails, then takes the retest and fails...what happens? She explained that we all get together and discuss it. He asked who makes the final decision and the principal said that they make it as a team. Then they all started talking about how Tate has done so well...blah, blah, blah. Basically, she WILL be going to 4th grade. So, that's good. But all of this unnecessary stress has me so exhausted and I know Tate is tired too.

We are having issues getting her Daytrana refilled today too. The doctor wrote a prescription for 60 (10 mg) patches for the next month. Well, the insurance company won't cover it without pre-authorization from the doctor. I guess the fact that he wrote the prescription isn't enough. Not to mention, I had to go to the doctor's office to pick up the paper with the prescription on it. Then I had to take it to the pharmacy, only to get a call about the insurance company's shenanigans. We are going to get 30 patches, since that is what the insurance company will cover, but if she goes through more than that this month, we will not be allowed to get more.

UGH! I don't think I can take much more today.

posted under | 0 Comments

Here We Go Again

Well, third grade has almost wrapped up for Tate. There is just under a month left of school. That said, there is still one MAJOR hurdle left for us to overcome. Next week, the "end of grade" tests (which I will refer to as EOGs) begin. These tests are standardized tests that were brought about by the "No Child Left Behind" program. But in reality, it seems like quite a few kids are left behind.

Let me take a moment to post a letter I emailed to the principal of Tate's school. I wanted to set up a meeting with her and Tate's teacher, but they wanted to set it up next week, when the EOGs are happening!

Hi Mrs. Cooper,

I am afraid that meeting up next week simply will not do. This matter is
pressing and requires immediate attention.

Having a child with ADHD has certainly been a struggle. At the beginning
of the school year, my husband met with Mrs. Stephenson, the assistant
principal and the speech therapist to lay out exactly what was going on
with Tate. I was unable to attend because I was in the hospital. He brought
the information from the psychologist who tested her and the recommendations
that doctor has made to help facilitate Tate's learning experience. It has
been common knowledge from the beginning that Tate has ADHD.

What I do not understand is why it was never brought to my attention by anyone
at SVES that special testing arrangements could be made for Tate (and other kids
with ADHD) when she takes the EOGs? I found out on Friday from a client I was
working with who explained that her little brother has ADHD and always has to have
special arrangements made for standardized testing. And just about a month ago,
I had a meeting with Mrs. Stephenson about her concerns with Tate and the EOGs.
She explained to me the process of testing and the one opportunity for retesting
and then the process of the meeting where a teacher from each grade level is
present, as well as you, and we state our case about why Tate should be promoted.
She also gave me a list of things we can do to help with her studying skills.
I have downloaded all of the practice EOG exercises, as well as made copies of
quite a few reading exercises that Mrs. Stephenson gave me last week. I am doing
everything I can on my end.

I am quite certain that I was NOT made aware of these special arrangements at the
meeting with Mrs. Stephenson because after that meeting the main thing I researched
was opting out of the test, but while the State does allow that to happen, Union
County does not. Had I known there were other options, I would have pursued them.
I do everything I can to give my daughter a fighting chance. She is extremely
bright, but just does not have the skills to learn how to harness that intelligence.
Tate does have an IEP, but it primarily focuses on her lisp and what actions need to
be taken to improve her speech. It does mention her ADHD, but it is not the central
issue. I think once this is reviewed again at the end of the year, we need to do
something to get the focus more on the ADHD. Sure, I am concerned about her speech
too, but the ADHD seems to be the biggest stumbling block when it comes to her

I feel like her rights as a "special needs" child have been compromised and she has
been set up for failure. I also know that if she repeats 3rd grade she will be
bored by going over information she has already gone over and I think the
repercussions of that could be far more detrimental than we think.

I'm am sure you will be hearing from me quite a bit in these last few weeks.

Thanks for your time,

Courtney Zepeda-Hawkes

(The principal emailed back and we have a meeting with her and the teacher tomorrow.)

**An IEP is an "Individualized Education Program" **

You can read more about it here:

So far this year, Tate has made B's and C's on her report cards. Her main problems have been her concentration and ability to complete tasks on time. At one point her math skills were weak, but now it looks like her reading skills are weak. But if she fails one of the two sections of the EOGs, she will be held back. As I stated in the letter, there is one opportunity to retest. Beyond that, there is a meeting with the educators to discuss the situation and ultimately, the decision is made by the principal. Did I mention this was a NEW, interim principal?? Her predecessor left during spring break a couple of weeks ago. This just complicates issues more because this principal doesn't know Tate. What doesn't work in our favor is that Tate is one of the youngest kids in her class, it's easy for the powers that be to say she'll be fine if she's held back because she will still be with kids her age. That's a tough one to argue.

I'm so tired of arguing. I'm so tired of having to fight tooth and nail. I wish I could find a teacher who was experienced with ADHD kids. I wish I could home school, but Tate needs the social interaction and gauging from how personally she takes things when we do homework together, I know it would never work. Not to mention, I have no idea what it will take to help her absorb and digest information.

On a side note, I am growing more and more frustrated with Tate's teacher. The other day she told Tate (within earshot of other kids) that Tate will be in 3rd grade again if she doesn't pass the EOGs. I know Tate wanted to tell the class about her trip to England over Spring Break, but her teacher wouldn't let her. (Last year it was a requirement in her class.) Then yesterday, they were discussing space shuttles, since Endeavor is due to launch on Monday. Tate tried to explain that she has seen a shuttle launch, but the teacher dismissed her and told her not to talk when she was. Apparently, the opportunity to contribute to the conversation never came up.

It's these sorts of things that make me wonder if the teacher is actually following any of the suggestions made by the psychologist? I'm thinking probably not. It seems like she treats Tate like an underachieving student. But I know, this is just speculative opinion on my part, I don't know what goes on in the classroom.

I have friends who are educators and I hope I don't offend them. All I know is what I am going through.

The Daytrana patches we started her on seem iffy, at best. Her teacher hasn't noticed any differences. One 10 mg patch apparently doesn't do anything. Two patches keeps her up at night. We haven't even tried 3 patches! We have started telling her to take them off at lunch, instead of when she comes home. But so far, we are in limbo. We are going to try for another month, then we are going to meet up with her doctor again.

posted under | 0 Comments

3 AM

Well, here I lay, 3 AM. I'm not sure what time it happened, but I had a grand mal seizure. I have a history of seizures. It started when I was 26.

Everytime it's the same, I am awakened to Dom, who is desperately trying to keep me awake. I can only compare it to like my brain rebooting. I can't stay awake and I have no recollection of the seizure. My tongue is usually chewed to bits...the last one I had left me with a speech impediment for weeks. My limbs are usually too weak for much of anything. Tomorrow, I will be extremely sore from having my entire body tensed up. It almost feels like I'm drunk.

I always have these in my sleep. I've had my head scanned, had a sleep study...but there are no explanations why I have a seizure disorder at all. I hate feeling out of control of my own body.

I used to take medicine to prevent them. But stopped taking them when Dom and I separated. I guess it's time to work the medication back into my life.

Right now, I literally cannot bring myself to roll over, I am that weak. I have to be up in a few hours. The biggest pain in the ass is that I am not supposed to drive for a month after I have one. I guess it's a good thing we are going to London next week, for a few weeks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

posted under | 1 Comments

Blog Games: Website ABC’s

The Rules:

Type the ABCs into your browser’s address bar and list the first website that pops up for each. No cheating! Use the first website that pops up in your address bar! After you’re done “tag” five of your bloggy friends to do the same!

A) Amazon.com

B) Beautycrunch.com

C) CNN.com

D) DListed.com

E) Ebay.co.uk

F) Facebook.com

G) Gmail.com

H) HardCandy.com

I) IAmGlamourpuss.blogspot.com

J) etsy.com/shop/Jewelrybyglamourpuss (Nothing that begins w/J)

K) Kayak.com

L) Lamebook.com

M) MyFitnessPal.com

N) NYXCosmetics.com

O) OCCMakeup.com

P) photosbyglamourpuss.daportfolio.com

Q) No Qs

R) Regretsy.com

S) SleekMakeUp.com

T) ThePirateBay.com

U) Ulta.com

V) VogueWigs.com

W) Wikipedia.com

X) X17online.com

Y) YouTube.com

Z) ZenniOptical.com

Whew, that was some work!! Enjoy!

posted under | 0 Comments

ADHD 18 Months Later...and more.

Well, it's been about 18 months since my daughter, Tate, was diagnosed with ADHD. We've had her on the drug Strattera, which is not a stimulant, and it seemed to work well for a while. Over the past couple of months, we've noticed some changes. Tate's still struggling with reading directions and finishing assignments in school. The big thing looming overhead these days is the end of grade testing. Her teacher is really worried she will be able to successfully endure a 3-hour standardized test. And if she doesn't pass the test, she doesn't go to 4th grade. She's incredibly defiant about everything at home, which results in her feeling like we are coming down on her all the time. It feels awful knowing she is unhappy and not knowing what to do about it.

She is still insanely picky when it comes to food and clothing. She has tried a couple of new foods over the past week, so that has been inspiring. But the clothes situation just seems to get worse and worse. It doesn't help that Spring has sprung and she really could use some new clothes. Tate got new shoes last week and it was one of the most excruciating experiences. She tried on EVERYTHING Payless and Target had to offer, but ended up settling on moccasins she didn't like the look of, but she did like the feel of.

So, today her Dr. told us that he thinks we should try to find her an occupational therapist to work with the "sensory integration dysfunction." This would include the sensitivity to tactile things, textures of food, etc. This is good news because we were thinking she still needed a therapist, even though we were uncertain what good a therapist would be when it came to the issues that could make everyday life easier. At least now I have a direction to go in!

We also decided on a patch called Daytana for Tate. It is a stimulant, but unlike Ritalin, there are no extreme highs, then lows once the meds wear off. She puts it on the AM and we take it off before dinner. Odds are, she won't even need them on weekends. This seems more favorable since she would fight taking the Strattera. Of course, we are going to monitor everything and make sure she is doing well. If any problems arise, we will contact her Dr. This wasn't an easy decision, but we are really desperate for "normalcy."

So, how am I, you ask?

I'm still suffering from depression. I still haven't totally unpacked from moving home. It's difficult that my husband works crazy hours and I have to do a lot of the parenting by myself. I have a hard time sleeping. And then I find myself crashing out on the sofa until lunchtime. I feel guilty and horrible about that.

I'm back on the dieting thing. I'm using a cool website called MyFitnessPal.com. They have a app for the iPhone and it's really easy to track your exercise and caloric intake. I'm doing alright on the calories. But I know I could exercise more. I am just stifled by this depression and have the hardest time getting motivated. Then today I discovered I have gained weight and that was just like a punch to the gut. I know muscle weighs more and I have gone to the gym some, but it's still a letdown and I feel like I could do more. I just HAVE to make myself. I'm not sure how I will do it, but I will. My parents and Dom have all commented on how my face and mid-section have changed and that helps some. I think I'd be more motivated if I saw more changes.

I'm a work in progress...what can I say?

posted under | 0 Comments

The Tale Of A Toe

Toes are something we really take for granted. We wake up with ten little piggies, we go to bed with ten little piggies. Occasionally they can provide amusement when you pick something up off the floor with your feet. You can decorate them all silly at the nail salon. But what do you do when your little pig went to market and never returned? I don't know. But this is a reality my father is facing tomorrow morning.

If you don't know me so well, then you may not know that my dad has diabetes which has been treated off and on for quite a few years now. There have been varying degrees of seriousness when it comes to his condition. He went through spells where his eyesight was never quite right. Then he developed a wound, then later an ulcer on his big toe. This was about 3 years ago. He spent some time with a podiatrist, but without insurance, he couldn't keep it up for long. Then in November of 2009, he was in the hospital for a week seeking treatment for his toe.

Two weeks ago, my dad told my mom that his toe smelled. Then he told us not to worry, he figured out the source, which was a big pus ball. But he refused to admit it was infected. We all know what pus is right? White blood cells...trying to fight off infection! We tried to get him to go to the ER, but he had excuses against that. We tried to get him to set up an appointment with a doctor but he had excuses against that. Living life without health insurance does that to you.

In any event, his toe become so worrisome that he came to see a doctor he saw a couple of times after his last hospital stay. Fortunately, they set up an appointment for him to get into a wound care clinic today. While he was there and they were cleaning out the ulcer, a piece of bone came out. Yeah, I know...freaky.

And before he could get too far on the road back to his house, the clinic called my mom looking for him and explained it was urgent. My mom got ahold of him and told him to call. The next time she spoke to him, she asked what was up? He said, "They are going to amputate my toe." My father always likes to mess with your head so my mom didn't believe him at first. But no, I only wish it was a sick joke. Tomorrow, they are going to amputate his toe.

I suppose what's even more disturbing is that they are going to leave the wound open for a few days and see how the infection does. If it dwindles away, great. But if it lingers, something else is infected. Something else may have to go. My father has already said that he will not consent for anything else to be taken and that he refuses to be wheelchair bound. I'm upset that he would be so selfish and short-sighted...and while I understand his frustration(I felt suicidal when I was in the hospital in September), he has a family who loves him and needs him. My kids only have one granddad. And I don't want him taken away from them at such a young age, the way mine was. And the only thing that kept me going through my horrific hospital ordeal was my family. I did it for them...all of them. I cannot imagine life without my family, so it distresses me to see my dad speak so nonchalantly about leaving us all.

Even though there are some dents in the armor, he is still my super-hero. If he goes, who will I look to when I'm a damsel in distress and in need of her daddy? My time with him isn't up yet. We still have many Mel Brooks movies to watch and laugh at together. We still have so many things to see and do.

But I'm digressing...as for tomorrow...we will have to see what happens. Will he be able to walk? Yes. If it's just the toe, he can get an orthopedic shoe with a weighted prosthetic thing where his toe would be. This would help with his balance.
There's no reason why he couldn't go ahead and enjoy the rest of his years. I just really hope this doesn't completely break him. He was my first true love, but I think daddies are always that to their little girls.

Please keep us in your thoughts. I need positivity. I'm feeling pretty low and weak. Thank you.

My sister, Heather, my Dad, my Mom and Me.

posted under | 0 Comments
Newer Posts Older Posts Home


Recent Comments