Monday, May 11, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 37

For Mother's Day we were fortunate to have unseasonably cool weather for us, which allowed us to take our sons to one of their favorite places yesterday morning, the train park.  Given the usual May weather here, I would anticipate that this trip to the train park will be our last until the fall.

In the afternoon, we visited my inlaws for Mother's Day.  The boys gave me gifts they made at "school," and MM gave my flowers and a very sweet card also (plus a contribution to my iPhone 6 purchase fund).

All in all, my fourth (!) Mother's Day as a mother was a good one.

I am still feeling more tired than usual following my unexpected illness and associated hospital stay, but apart from that fact, I am pretty much back to normal.  Still trying to dig myself out of the hole I'm in with work, but I'm making (slow) progress.

Onward and forward. . . .

Monday, May 4, 2015

Microblog Mondays 36: Medical Mystery Edition


A week ago today, while I was sitting at my computer at work in the middle of the afternoon, I had a pain on the right side of my neck that radiated up to the base of my skull.  Initially, this pain was little more than a mild annoyance, and I chalked it up to having sat too long in a bad position.

Over the course of the next couple of days, the pain continued, became more severe and began to spread to the top of my head and to the left side of my head as well.  It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and was so severe on Wednesday that I spent the day on the couch and in bed, taking high doses of and icing various parts of my head.  Nothing helped.

Wednesday night MM mentioned that he thought I felt feverish.  However, I didn't feel sick.  I just had such awful pain that I wanted to die.  I could hardly sleep at nights because just placing my head on a pillow caused an increase in the pain.  I also had no appetite, very unlike me.

Thursday morning I was no better--perhaps worse--and so we agreed that, although I would go to the office, because I had deadlines and a couple of pressing matters I needed to take care of that day (having stayed home the previous day), I would then go to the doctor.  As planned, I went to work for about 45 minutes--enough time to take care of the things I had to--and then drove straight to the emergency room of the Mayo Cl.inic Hosp.ital.

I actually thought I might have a long wait because I was "misusing" the ER to get treatment just for a muscle strain.  I really thought that was what I had.  Even when I noticed that I had developed some sort of odd discoloration on my forehead since waking up that morning that I couldn't really explain.  I thought maybe I'd fallen asleep with an ice pack on my forehead and it marked my skin.  In retrospect, maybe I wasn't thinking very clearly.

When I arrived at the ER, instead it turned out that I had sepsis.  I had a fever of 39.8 degrees Celsius (103.6F).  (My usual temp runs around 97.8; I run low.)  The mark on my forehead had grown more red and swollen and had also spread to the right side of my face.

For over a day, doctors did not know exactly what was wrong with me.  They administered treatment for an infection, since that was the presumptive diagnosis, given my high fever and the results of some lab tests, but they were unsure.  They ran what seemed like every test known to G-d or man.

It is a scary thing to have a doctor in a preeminent hospital tell you "I'm not really sure what is going on with you."  At one point, I jokingly compared myself to an episode of House, M.D., and the resident physician said "We were just saying on rounds that your case is like an episode of House!"  When you are sick and in pain, you want answers.

Notwithstanding their inability to immediately diagnose me, I believe I received excellent care throughout my hospital stay, and I began to respond to treatment.  The results of the many tests performed gradually started to rule out more serious and/or chronic diagnoses.  Finally, on Saturday, the redness and swelling on my face and right ear (which had eventually swollen so much it looked like I'd been in a boxing match) began to subside, as did the pain all over my head.

Ultimately, I was diagnosed with cellulitis of the head and face, with an atypical presentation.  Based on the appearance of the rash on my face, and on my response to certain antibiotics, the infectious disease physician believes that the most likely organism responsible is group A streptococcus.  However, a source of the infection was never identified and probably will not be.

My condition is/was complicated by myositis (inflammation of the muscles of the scalp) and by collection of fluid under the muscles of the scalp.  The myositis and fluid were what were causing the tremendous pain I was in (and continue to be in, but to a much lesser degree).

I came home on Saturday afternoon and have been focusing on resting and trying to get back to normal.  There is so much I want to do to get caught up, but am finding I have very little stamina and can only work at anything physical for 10-15 minutes before having to sit down and rest.  I am also sleeping more than usual.

I am also still processing the experience emotionally.  Apart from the hospitalization associated with my pregnancy complications with my sons (which you can read about in the January 2012 archives, if you weren't a follower of this blog then and are interested), I had never before spent a night in the hospital.  I've never been sick.  I've never even had another surgery besides my c-section.

For the first 24-36 hours, while the redness and swelling on my face continued to spread (although other parts of my condition improved), I did not know what was going on, and it seemed my doctors didn't either.  I was very scared and wasn't sure what would happen to me.

Well, all's well that ends well, they say.  I am home now and definitely on the mend, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I'd like.  I guess I will have to wait and see if any greater insights come to me out of this experience.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Microblog Mondays #35

A mom posted on my local twin moms' group's Fac.ebo.ok page last week that she was feeling overwhelmed and hoping it was just a phase that she was going through where she felt like she couldn't get anything accomplished.  She has 10-month-old twins and has recently returned to work part-time as well.

I certainly cannot speak for all mothers of twins, or for all mothers who work outside the home, or for all mothers-of-twins-who-work-outside-the-home. . . but if my experience is at all a representative sample, it could be a long time before that feeling goes away.  As I think I've mentioned here on a number of prior occasions, I feel like I am constantly behind.

Obviously I get SOME things accomplished, both at home and at work--if I didn't, by now, more than three years into this parenting experience, I would now be unemployed and child protective services likely would've removed our children from our care--but there are so many more things that I must leave UNDONE on a daily and weekly basis that it SEEMS that I'm not accomplishing much, or sometimes, anything.  Especially when it comes to things like dishes, laundry and general tidying, which just need to be done again when you've just done them yesterday, or even earlier that same day.

I think the secret to maintaining some shred of sanity as you live through this experience is prioritizing and letting go of the notion that you will get everything done.  You won't--you can't--and you just have to accept that.

Monday, April 6, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 32

Don't have time for a full post. . . luckily it's not expected on Microblog Monday. . .

  • The boys had a good Easter. . . insofar as they define a good Easter by getting an Easter basket they like, including plenty of candy, and finding plenty of eggs on their Easter egg hunt.  (Thus far they have no clue what the holiday is actually about, and I'm a bit at a loss as to how one might explain the resurrection to 3-year-olds.)
  • I finally got a massage on Saturday after over 3 months of failing to fit it into my schedule.  It was long-overdue and much-needed.
  • My husband was super-psyched that Wis.consin beat Kent.ucky in the Final Four on Saturday.  I didn't much care which team won, but it was a really good game (well, the second half that I got to watch was good).
  • My dad is home from the hospital and doing better.
  • Work is stressful and busy but generally going well.  I sometimes wonder what I was thinking by choosing this profession, but at this point, over ten years in, don't know what else I'd do instead.
  • My mom left for last week, and I already miss her.  She won't be back until September.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Evil stepmother


Based on my personal life experiences, it's no surprise that fairy tales employ the plot device of the evil stepmother.  I have a stepmother, and if she's not exactly evil, she is certainly unpleasant and toxic.

My father has been remarried to my stepmother for over 25 years, and she and I have never been close.  We are just two VERY different people, and truth be told, I think she has always felt threatened by me.  My father and I were very close when they married (though less so now), and I think she was jealous of that.  Plus I have a very strong personality (like my father's), while she is more passive-aggressive.

Honestly, I could write a number of blog posts about the many problems and conflicts I've had with her over the years--and the conflicts I've had with my father that were really due more to her than to any problem with him per se--but it's not worth the effort and energy to put the words down on paper.  Suffice it to say, I don't like her much, and I believe the feeling is mutual.  We act like we like one another for my father's sake. . . but actually, we don't like each other.

At the moment, my father is in the hospital.  Sadly, this has become a not-infrequent occurrence of late.  For this particular admission, my stepmother had to call an ambulance in the early morning hours of Sunday because my father was too weak to stand or walk and had a high fever (103).

Yet although he was taken to the hospital in the early morning hours of Sunday and admitted almost immediately, she did not call either my sister or me to let us know he was in the hospital until after 7:00 p.m. their time the following evening. He had been in the hospital for over 36 hours before she let us know.  She claimed that he told her not to call us because they "didn't know anything" about what was going on with him and decided to wait until they could talk to his doctors on Monday.

She called me again yesterday evening with a brief update saying he was improving.  We talked for less than 10 minutes, during which time she mentioned that she had left the hospital at noon and gone home at my father's urging and that she had called him a few times over the course of the afternoon to check up on him.

On my way to work this morning, I called my father on his cell phone.  I figured since my stepmother told me last night that she had spoken to him a few times yesterday afternoon that he (1) had his phone, and (2) was able to talk on the phone.  She answered the phone instead of him.  I was initially surprised, as one is when someone else answers someone's cell phone, because you expect to reach the person you are calling directly.

I said good morning to her and then said I had hoped to talk to my father.  She responded "I'll see if he wants to talk to you."  There was a brief exchange between them, and then he came on the phone.

He and I spoke for 3-4 minutes, and then I told him I loved him and goodbye.  The phone was not immediately hung up, and I could overhear some of their conversation in the background.  She was obviously angry that I had called.  The first exchange I only caught bits and pieces, and then I distinctly heard her say "I won’t call her again unless it’s a dire emergency because she will just call you directly anyway.”

Oh, and I should mention here. . . back in November when my father was in the hospital, I called him one afternoon around 2:30 p.m., and I overheard her telling my father "she [meaning me] hasn't even bothered to call" (apparently because it was afternoon and I was just calling).  So apparently last time I was a b1tch for not calling and now I'm a b1tch for calling?

It's clear to me that it really wouldn't matter what I did: it would not be right in my stepmother's eyes because she dislikes me.  I really don't care about that because I have little regard for her or for her opinion.

I do care about my father, though, and it puts me a difficult situation to have to deal with her as the go-between who provides me with information when he is sick and/or in a weakened state.  (Normally when he is home and doing well, I just call him directly and talk to him and bypass her entirely.)

There is no solution to this situation, and it is one I have been living with for a long time.  It just sucks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 30

Saturday was my birthday, and MM took me out to dinner to celebrate.  Just after we ordered our meal, he thoughtlessly made a comment touching on something that really upset me. . . to the point where I had to leave the table because I was about to burst into tears.  (This topic is something that we have previously agreed is to be a closed topic, and I am not posting about the details simply because (1) they don't really matter for the purposes of this post; (2) they are extremely personal and sensitive; and (3) explaining them would make this post WAY too long for a microblog post and take me too long to write.)

I am not generally a crier, so the fact that what he said made me cry is, in and of itself, noteworthy.  In short, his thoughtless, offhand comment ruined my meal and basically ruined the evening.

My husband is, in the main, a good person and a decent husband.  He is also an excellent father.  However, things like this make me wonder sometimes if being married is worth it.

After talking with him about it, I do believe that MM's comment at dinner was not intentionally made to hurt my feelings.  But it didn't make it any less hurtful.  And there are few other people in my life who would be allowed access to knowledge of my inner life that would allow them the ability to hurt me in that way.

And even if a friend or family member had that knowledge, at the end of the day, I could return to my own home and my own space, away from that loved one.  Not so with my husband.

I don't know that I really have a point, and this post is already too long and much too heavy for Microblog Mondays, so I will simply close by saying that marriage is one of several parts of adulthood that hasn't really been what I thought it would be.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 29

We have taken our sons relatively few places out-of-town in their three years of life.  The reasons for this are primarily that I don't get much time off; my inlaws live locally, my mother is here for a few months each winter, and my father and stepmother have visited us more than vice versa historically, since they are retired and we both work full-time; and neither MM nor I would consider traveling to a vacation destination with two toddlers much of a vacation.

We spent this past weekend visiting my father for his birthday.  He lives a 6-hour car trip from us, so we spent a total of 12 hours in the car in less than 48 hours.  I had also traveled 3 1/2 hours away from home for business during the week, so I spent approx. 19 hours in the car over the past week.

MJ said "it's too far, Mom" about 10 times on the drive home yesterday.  I agree, buddy.  I could never be a long-haul trucker, that's for sure.

Yesterday's drive made MM actually bring up the possibility of flying to my father's in future.  (My father's health will no longer permit him to readily travel to us, but prior to yesterday, MM had been firmly set in the belief that he did not want to fly with the boys until they were "at least 5.")

Glad to be home.