Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things to be thankful for

I complain an awful lot. Have you ever noticed that? Just kidding - of course you have. That is one of the reasons I haven't been posting lately. I'm sick of hearing myself whine, so I figure, "why would anyone else want to hear it?". Thank you to the people that have emailed me, I appreciate it. The thing is, I can't seem to get myself out of my dark place lately, so I've been avoiding this blog like the plague. The worm may have turned, so I'm going to post a few things that I am extremely grateful for.

My son's knee is on the road to recovery. The MRI showed that he had no bone chips, he does have a deep bone bruise, the ligament is stretched pretty badly, but not completely torn off, and they think the cartilage is okay. There is one line that looks iffy, but apparently it's not uncommon in boys his age - when they are growing that fast, their bodies can't always keep up. He's started doing physical therapy 3x a week at a rehab facility, the other 2 days he's exercising with the trainer at school who actually works for the same rehab facility.

He's on the short brace now, which he hates, but that's only until the PT/trainer people tell him can stop using it unless he's actually running or exercising. The orthopedic doctor wrote the script for 4 weeks, we see him again at the end of October. Hopefully the boy'll have a clean bill of health at that point. The only reason they would want another MRI is if he's still having any problems at that time, without the brace on. I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that it gets taken care of completely now, without any long term effects.

Other things I'm grateful for include my girlfriend and her husband giving my son guitar lessons every weekend for free; one of my sisters finding a possible place in town that will give my son formal lessons in the winter on a sliding scale or scholarship; another girlfriend letting me borrow money in cash, and then her credit card also when I really needed it; the prez of my company offering to give me my "end of the year" bonus early when he found out I was in really tough financial straights - on the day when they laid off 6 people; the fact that I still have a job; the prez offering to pay for courses in Quickbooks so I could maybe start a side business as a bookkeeper to offset my full time wages; a lady at the rehab facility tonight who turns out to be the wife of the head of the sports dept. telling me that the school's insurance should help me cover the co-pays, which total $450 just in what has already occured or what is scheduled in appointments so far... I have been so unbelievably blessed. That is the way I choose to see it, right now.

I have a bad habit of only looking at the glass as half empty, and I have a nasty, quick temper. Things can go from placid to really bad pretty quickly around here. Case in point: my special sister is living with me. I'm so grateful that she empties the garbage every day and does her best to fill the dishwasher - but only on weekdays. She has it in her head that we agreed when we moved in together that she would only do these things on the weekdays. I have tried to tell her many times since that I still cook every day, so she should still do the dishes every day. She is adament against it, so I have cooked and cleaned up the dishes on my days off. She has even gone so far as to claim she is too sick to do the dishes if I get a 3-day weekend.

Apparently, the last time that happened, I was cursing and yelling and banging things so much in the kitchen that I scared her. When she went to say good night to me, she started crying. I gave her a hug and a kiss, and asked her why she was crying. She said it was because I scared her, that I was so angry in the kitchen and she thought it was because I was angry at her. Well it was, but I didn't mean to scare someone who is basically a child! What is wrong with me?!

When I'm actually getting some sleep without wondering where the money is coming from for the next big thing, I'm not really all that bad as a person. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever change, be able to change, be in a position to change. When I'm feeling the squeeze, I can't even remotely find the light at the end of the tunnel to hang on to. When I do see the light, it's beautiful and I am able to remind myself of the times I have seen it in the past and how I might feel in the future.

When will the future ever come?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Bunny Foo Foo

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at my desk when out of the corner of my eye I spotted what I thought was a bird hopping outside the entrance door. It was a rather large bird, so I gave it my full attention and discovered it was actually a baby bunny. Which is what I yelled as I grabbed my camera and headed out the door, "A Baby Bunny!". Of course, when I got out there, it had long ago hopped away, but I still searched under all the bushes out front trying in vain to find a picture.

While in the bushes, I realized I was looking right into a co-workers office. She in turn was staring out at me and when she had my attention, she made a shadow puppet rabbit ears with her hand, and gestured that it was hopping away. Little Bunny Foo Foo! I hadn't thought about Little Bunny Foo Foo in years!

(If you're not familiar with it, it's a rather violent little children's song that uses hand gestures to get the point across. It's similar in tone to The Itsy Bitsy Spider, but is more repetitive and has a moral. Until I looked it up this morning and found it on Wikipedia, I had no idea it was as well known as it is.)

I went back inside the office and said to my co-worker, "You know Little Bunny Foo Foo? I thought that was just one of those random things only my family knew." To which she replied, "I learned it in kindergarten". We looked at each other and started laughing, "Mrs. Capp!". We had already established quite a few years ago that we had the same kindergarten teacher at the same school, one year apart. The beautiful Mrs. Capp with the long blond hair that she always wore in a huge bun on top of her head. Who knew in 1975/1976 when she taught us that song that it would be a bonding moment for two grown women over 30 years later?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bird, bird, bird

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my back porch smoking a cigarette. One side of my back porch is completely overgrown by what I can only describe as a huge bush. It provides shade and privacy, and encourages birds and bugs to take refuge in it. This particular day, I could see a little bird roosting on the far side of it. Being who I am, I decided to go inside very quietly to see if I could grab my camera and get some pictures of it.

I was extremely surprised to find the bird still there when I came back outside. That never happens. So I slowly made my way down the porch steps to see if I could get a better angle on the pictures. The bird could not have cared less. It let me get as close as I wanted to. It kept looking like it was trying to sleep.

At that point, I thought that there must be something wrong with it. Sure enough, it tried to hop down a couple of branches and it looked like this:

I thought I would probably have to call a wild life rehabilitator or take it somewhere and see if it could be healed. In the meantime, the poor little baby allowed me to croon to it, and stroke it's feathers. I'm not kidding when I say it was the softest thing I've ever touched. It didn't try to attack me while I was touching it, and it didn't seem freaked out by it, either.

I went inside briefly to tell my mother what was going on. I was concerned that a wild life rehabilitator wouldn't take the bird in because they are basically a dime a dozen. There was no way I could bring the baby bird in my house with 2 cats and a dog that wants to eat everything that moves. I didn't know what to do. My mother insisted that I should wash my hands before I did anything further. In my mother's eyes, god only knows what diseases the bird was carrying and I had been touching it.

After speaking to my mother, I went back out and the bird was gone. I can only hope that it wasn't sick, that it was a new baby and needed to rest for a couple of minutes before it found the energy to go live it's life. Sweet little angel baby!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The knee cap issue

This past Monday at about 4:15, my son dislocated his left knee cap while tackling another kid during drills at football practice. I got the call at about 4:25, and by the time I got to the school (less than 10 minutes) the trainer had already put the leg into a full leg decompression device and called the team doctor. The team doctor is an orthopedic, and was willing to see the boy as soon as we could drive there so the doc could pop the knee cap back into place (the knee cap was completely on the left side of his leg...). Apparently time is of the essence in these kind of injuries. The trainer was leary of popping it back in himself, he thought it would be better to have the ortho do it. Because I live so close to the school and could get there so quickly and get him to the ortho, the trainer didn't think it was necessary to call an ambulance.

When I got to the school, the boy was pale but seemed okay in the compression device. I was concerned about my insurance not paying for a specialist without a referral. Please don't think me cold hearted. If the trainer had popped the boy's knee cap back in place on the field I still would have taken my son to the ER to make sure he was okay. Just as the trainer was thinking it would be an unnecessary expense to call an ambulance just for transportation, I was really worried about out of pocket expenses if the insurance didn't cover us going straight to the ortho. I called the primary care pediatric and asked for an immediate referral rather than waiting until after, and it's a good thing I did because they wouldn't give me one. They told me to go to the ER.

We got to the ER at 5:05. They didn't put his knee cap back into place until after 8:00. At least they gave him a morphine/valium cocktail first, which he wouldn't have had at the ortho's office. Of course, he wouldn't have needed it if he hadn't had to wait almost 4 hours with the joint swelling! Anyway, the ER took x-rays (during which the knee cap popped out again, ouch!), and no bones are broken.. We didn't get home until almost 10:00 that night, and the ER didn't prescribe anything for pain except otc ibuprofen.

I'm still struggling with guilt over putting money before my son's pain. If I had known there was going to be such a long wait, I'm not sure if I would have done things differently. It's a really hard call. If we had gone to the ortho without a referral, I would owe him a lot of money. The office has signs all over their walls advising that if you don't have a referral, you need to pay for services rendered right there and then. Not to mention the follow up treatment which wouldn't have been covered, because the first visit wasn't covered. Now I only owe the hospital a co-pay, but made my son wait hours in pain... As it was, the hospital tried to collect it's $75 co-pay, and I could not give it to them. It was Monday, I had just spent every last penny getting the boy his books for school. I asked them to bill it to me, they are going to have to wait...

We had an appointment with the ortho yesterday, my son can forget playing any football this season. There is definitely a torn ligament in his knee, but they are hoping that will heal on its own. They are trying to get us an appointment as soon as possible for an MRI to rule out torn cartilidge, which the ortho assured me would be rare. If there were to be torn cartilidge, there would probably have to be surgery. If not, he has to wear a long leg brace for 3 weeks, a short knee brace for at least another 3 weeks, and physical therapy. His thigh muscle has already started to atrophy from the swelling in the knee and he's having difficulty picking the leg up because of it. Thankfully the ortho gave him a prescription for something stronger than otc ibuprofen. The kid is in pain! He said the swelling is normal, they don't recommend draining the knee any longer as it will just swell back up. The swelling will probably be there for six weeks!

Here are some pics of his knees I took yesterday at the doctor's office while the brace was off. Yeah, I know, GROSS!