gratitude: a little stick now

So I have this friend…

** In a names have been changed to protect the innocent sort of way, we’ll call her Kay for the sake of this post.

Kay has what you might call a bit of (ahem) trouble with needles, if by “trouble” you mean “transforms from a sweet, sassy, competent woman to the Incredible Hulk at the sight of that pointed implement.”  Shifting from reasonable adult to hazy minded fight-or-flight creature in five seconds flat is her specialty.  Kay’s been known to actually warn medical professionals beforehand that she cannot be held responsible for her actions once the needle appears in the room, and woe to those who do not heed the warning.

Now, to be fair, I hear tell Kay’s gotten much better recently when it comes to her needle phobia.  This is a relief because I’ve always harbored a secret fear that some nurse would freak out, tranquilize her, and call the police, and it’s kinda hard to come up with bail money on short notice.

All of this is my round about way of saying I’m (exceedingly) glad I don’t have a thing with needles.  I get a lot of blood work done – have for years now – and that’s a whole lot easier when needles don’t send me into a massive panic.  Some draws are easier than others, but none of them cause me to threaten the lives of sweet little nurses.

Ahem.  Not that I’m saying that’s happened.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

crack of dawn Christmas 2016

I went down for the count on Christmas day.

Christmas Eve was one of those nights when I woke up several times after midnight, not from excitement about the next morning but because I was trying to find a comfortable (enough) position.  By 5:00am I was lying in bed, staring at the dark ceiling and trying to pinpoint exactly what was wrong.  By 5:30am I was hacking up a lung (Feliz Navidad!), so I quickly slipped out of the room.

At 6:00am T-man found me trying to cough silently at the kitchen table.  This involves a great deal of contained barking and sputtering and shaking – it isn’t pretty.  I guess T-man figured this was as good a time as any to shoot the breeze, the dogs heard him and went nuts in the bedroom, BrightSide stumbled into the hallway as the mutts scrambled to race him out, and the next thing I knew T-man was hollering upstairs, “BEAR!  Come on down!  Everyone’s awake and ready to open presents!!”

Which is how “I think I’m dying” turned into crack of dawn Christmas 2016.

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random musings from my tissue covered couch

**  My children oscillate between sweet concern and odd obliviousness when I’m ill.  One moment they’re bringing a thermometer and offering me water; the next they’re waking me from a fitful nap to ask if they can have a friend come over.  Don’t get me wrong, the kindness is appreciated, but the unpredictable swing between the two attitudes is quite disorienting.

**  How many trees have I actually killed by blowing my nose through a box and a half of tissues?

**  The temperature swings are outrageous.  Too cold, too hot, waves of clamminess, heat rushing up the back of my neck – there’s no getting comfortable with this mess going on.

**  The combination of dizziness, pounding sinuses, wracking cough, and sheer exhaustion greatly levels the playing field when I have to tackle Gracie.  I’m worried a few more days of this might give her the impression that she can pull her shenanigans without repercussions.

**  Phoebe is (comparatively speaking) in heaven.  When I’m horizontal 80% of the day that means she always has a snuggle bunny for naps.  She’s snoring away at my side as we speak.

**  It’s saying something when my biggest accomplishment for the day is running two loads of laundry, but hey…I say celebrate the little successes, too.

death on a cracker


Riddle from the Middle is lying in bed, feeling like death on a cracker, and therefore has lost all wit and wisdom for the day.  As a matter of fact, just sitting up long enough to do this has made her lightheaded and a little achy.


Some perusals for today:

Hedger Humor – Because everyone can use a laugh now and then.

Playdates on Fridays – ‘Cause parenting.  Lawd.

The Mighty – Because we need to talk about all of it, even the hard stuff.

F*owl Language – Comics with an edge (and funny as all get out).

All in a Dad’s Work – Because omg, I cannot do that elf, but at least someone is giving their child a magical Christmas.


SoCS – JR & the breathing room

Whoa, Nellie…it’s like Linda was in my head this week when she picked this prompt which, I have to admit, was just a little freaky.  No matter – at least I know exactly where to go from here.

I’ve been experiencing shortness of breath for a while, and this week I “enjoyed” (snarky font) participating in the Methacholine Challenge Test.  This is a fancy name for “very long breathing test to check lung function.”  Guess that name was already taken.

A real nice fella named JR met me at 8:00am to administer this.  Normally I’d be at least minimally responsive at that hour, but I’d had to leave home really early and wasn’t allowed to drink any caffeine before the test so I was in a bit of a fog.  (There may have been some quiet whimpering – “coffeeeee” – involved.)

Just a quick rundown.  For the test you breath in and out through a mouthpiece so the computer can record all sorts of medicalish numbers.  First you get a baseline, then you breathe in a dose of saline & repeat the test, then you start moving through the levels.  They put a dose of histamine (yep, the thing I fight with ANTI-histimines) in the system and pump oxygen through it so you can breathe it into your lungs.  Then they run two more breathing tests to check your lung capacity before increasing the methacholine dosage.  (There won’t be a test at the end of the post…all of this is just to say there’s a lot of breathing involved in this process.)

But to get to my point (about time!).  JR spends his days administering this thing.  He can only do two a day because they can last upwards of two hours or more – mine was a two hour stint – so there’s only so many patients he can see.

What I found truly impressive, though, was that he never once seemed bored or rote or mechanical while in the room with me.  Why is this impressive?  Because an extraordinarily large part of his role included verbal directions for me, such as:

Okay, we need nice steady breathing, in and out, in and out, in and out…perfect, keep that rhythm…in and out, in and out – now take a big breath in and PUSH IT OUT, push it out push it out push it out push it out, keep on going, keep going keep going keep going keep going keep going keep going – and breathe in.  Okay, take a break then we’ll go again.

So basically it was this, for almost two hours.  My saving grace (if you want to look at it that way) is that my numbers tanked before I completed all the doses.  There were three or four more levels I could have had to do if we hadn’t stopped, and let’s just say I’d had all the in and out I could take that morning.

You wouldn’t think of breathing as a difficult thing.  I never used to, anyway.  It came as naturally as…well…breathing.  So I guess that simile didn’t really work out, but you get my gist. Being able to breathe was always a given, so the fact that I have to strain to push all the air out of my lungs has been an adjustment.

Happy breathing, everyone!

SoCS 2

Linda’s weekly Stream of Consciousness prompt is open to one and all.  Click the link to check out its rules and participating blogs.  This week’s prompt was “in/out.”

sippy cups – yay v. nay

Let’s be clear…I’m a huge fan of sippy cups.  Huge.

Sippy cups allowed my bumbling youngsters to toddle around with their drinks while saving my carpet from endless stains.  It meant they could plop down on their diapered bottoms, tipping over, without me launching off the couch trying to snatch those cups up before they went horizontal.  Sippy cups gave T-man and Bear the independence necessary to explore and play.

So sippy cups yay.


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my life as a locker room virgin

I’ve been in plenty of locker rooms.  I grew up in the American public school system after all, an institution that at least nods toward the importance of health with physical education requirements that include changing into a P.E. uniform.  Plus I played soccer all four years of high school.  This often meant changing into practice clothes or my uniform before games.

So you’d think the locker room would be familiar territory.  And yet…

You know that scene in Sixteen Candles?  The one where Samantha and her friend lurk in the shower doorway, discussing all the ways the senior girl’s “bod” is so much more fabulous than their own?  (And there goes every young male reader to Google search.  All three of them, anyway.)  I have exactly zero memories like this.  Not the comparing myself to other teens part ’cause girls, but of showering in a locker room.  Not even one.

And now you’re either thinking I’ve blocked it out or ewwwww, you never showered?!  Either way, it is what it is.

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oops doesn’t quite cover this one

On-The-Job Training confers an honorary medical degree to mamas and papas by the time their offspring are eighteen months old.  While college degrees are certainly useful, I’ve found the Parental MD has been critical when it comes to day to day life.

You guys know what I’m talking about.  Parenting Survival 101 teaches us to doctor as many injuries as possible at home, a performance that’s only convincing when delivered with 100% confidence in our MD authority.  We simply can’t run to the real doctors for every little thing; we’d end up spending roughly 64.7 days annually in Urgent Care waiting rooms that way.

So we quickly learn the difference between a slight temperature and a dangerously high one. Which boo boos simply need a kiss and Bandaid and which require soap and water.  When a tummy ache came from too much candy at grandma’s and when it signals the flu’s arrival in my home.  (Ugh.)

Every once in a while, though, there’s a glitch in the Parental MD system…kinks that lead to major Mom Of The Year moments.

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