It's All Connected

It's All Connected

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Like Getting Black Out Drunk But Without the VD

I know I mentioned that I had the first of my eye surgeries, but I don't think I told you about it. I'm sure you're probably thinking (because I know you so well) that's because I don't remember it. Truth is, I do.


The thing is, you are not actually supposed to remember eye surgery. They give you this handy little thing called a waking sedative, which is basically like the date rape drug but less rape-y. The waking sedative makes sure you are awake, feeling most of what's happening, but you don't remember anything later. Also, they basically break your eye spine so you are completely paralyzed.

Okay, fine, eyes don't have spines and only my right eye and part of my face was paralyzed. What they really do is give you a shot just below your eye that causes one of those moments like you see in horror movies where the person is lying on the autopsy table but they aren't actually dead but they can't let anybody know because they're paralyzed and we as the audience hear them screaming inside their head. You know, one of those moments? Which is pretty much exactly like breaking your eye spine.

This shot is pretty much the only thing I don't remember.

Apparently I didn't learn my lesson from years of experiencing information as passed on by somebody in Wellpinit, so when my nurse practitioner told me I'd be having surgery on the 27th, I took that as meaning I was having surgery on the 27th. What I should have taken from her statement was that I was going to spend hours having my eyeballs continuously dilated so aliens could shine bright lights into them and probe my nether regions.

Fine, there was no nether region probing, as far as I can remember. I did lose a little bit of time, so the jury is still out on that one.

See, the Spokane Eye Clinic is smarter than I am and decided they wouldn't just take the word of a reservation nurse practitioner that I was going blind. So, they wanted to run every test known to man, then tell me exactly the same thing I already knew, THEN tell me how expensive all of this was going to be, all with the end game of scheduling a surgery I thought was already scheduled.

I have to interrupt here to say that the doctor was afuckingmazing and did everything he could to help me out. He heard that the tribe wouldn't pay for any of this so he told the billing lady to only charge me the Medicaid rate. Then, when I told him that I thought my surgery was happening that day, he said, "we can do it today if you want. It doesn't take very long, I can do it on my lunch break!"

I went back and forth between thinking he was the most amazing doctor EVER and wondering why he was so keen on taking a laser to my retina. Maybe it was a new laser and he was dying to try his new toy. I don't know, but it was a little sketchy.

I said that would be awesome because I couldn't really afford to take more time off work and he said that was no problem, I just had to have another test done first. So, I went and had my right eye dilated again so they could take more pictures of the hamster inside my skull. I think they might be stalking him. I was then taken upstairs to the surgery center for the procedure.

Now, this is where things started to go a little wrong. They didn't know exactly when the doctor was taking his lunch, so they dilated my pupil for the THIRD time that morning to make sure, "it was nice and open for him". That's where things got slightly more rape-y, but just for that one moment.

Then, they put in my IV and put a big X over my right eye to signify where to point the laser I guess. If that wasn't enough of an indication as to which eye needed lasering*, they covered the other eye with a clear plastic disk that had a bunch of little holes along the edges.

Me: Hey babe, do I look like a cyborg?

Jero: The masking tape holding it on makes you look more like a Wal-Mart cyborg.

Me: Rude.

Then came the guy with the needles. Now, I remember him introducing himself to me, and I do feel bad that I have no idea what his name was. Can you imagine having the job where nobody remembers anything you've said? Oh yeah, I work in customer service, I have that job too. He put the waking sedative into my IV and for a short time that is all I remember. I don't remember the needles in my face (which because he's a big baby about eyes, Jero can't even tell me how big the needles were). I don't remember repeatedly calling him Pokey. And I most certainly do not remember telling Jero to take this:

Resistance is futile!

because I apparently needed a picture for my blog because, "I'm a blogger".

I am so embarrassed. I do not actually think I am a blogger. I think I basically keep an online journal for my seven readers. One of which is often present for most of what I write about. But the date rape drug also gave me delusions of grandeur. Which makes it much better than the actual date rape drug. That and the absence of rape.

I think the surgery is meant to happen shortly after the shots, but the doctor wasn't there yet. So, by the time they took me into the procedure room, I was pretty much aware of what was going on. I still couldn't move my eye, but I do remember every second of the lasering.**

I remember that the nurses job was to hold my head in place because when your eye is immobile, your first instinct when seeing six lasers shooting at your eye is to turn your head away. I wanted to tell her it is never okay to push the head down, but I didn't think she'd admit to getting it in front of her boss.

For the next twenty minutes I experienced what I can only explain as a tattoo on your eyeball. But not the beginning of the tattoo, more like the end where it feels like someone keeps scraping your bad sunburn. BUT ON MY EYEBALL. About the time I started crying from both eyes, he said he was almost done. If I could have nut punched him I would have, but that damn nurse was still holding my head against the bars. I should have boob punched her and then nut punched him, but I honestly didn't think of it until right now.

Next time, sadists, next time.

Once done, they taped my eye closed because it was still paralyzed and they didn't want it to dry out, and sent me back out to the torture chair. Then they told me that I would be in a significant amount of pain soon and it would be a good idea to take some Tylenol. Seriously? I didn't even get one Vicodin for all of that?

Jero and I got home and I tried to eat lunch. About that time someone starting drilling inside my skull and my appetite was pretty much ruined. I have never had a migraine before, but I'm pretty sure that's what I experienced that day and a handful of times since.

After the paralysis wore off, I was able to take off the tape, to have the fun of serious double vision. Though I did enjoy playing the Is-That-The-Real-Thing-Or-The-Double-Thing Game. Most often than not, I should have switched my answers and I would have been right.

The next day started with the migraine still being extremely annoying and me thinking that he had screwed up somehow and made me worse. Do you remember that episode of King of Queens when Doug finds out that Carrie has hated all of his gifts so he decides to get her Lasik surgery for her birthday, but he uses the guy that he has a coupon for and it goes really wrong? That was what I thought had happened. I kept thinking, no wonder he gave me the Medicaid rate, he gave me the coupon worthy laser treatment!

My vision took about a week to get back to normal, and even now if I look too far up and right the migraine comes back. I get to do it all again in February but I'm hoping this time I won't remember a thing. I prefer my blackouts complete thankyouverymuch.

Also, I still think I may have been abducted by aliens and/or probed. Think about it, it's the perfect ruse for those aliens. "Waking sedative" my ass.

* says lasering isn't a word. I say they are stupid.

**Okay, now it sounds like an M. Night movie. The Lasering. Only it wouldn't suck as hard as his last movie because at least there'd be lasers and not just pissy plants.

Hug those babies, don't drink anything you've left unattended, and watch out for UFOs.

Not for Heavy Petting

Yep, folks, I am officially blogging from work. I feel both slackerish (it's totally a word) and a little like I did the first time I pocketed a lipgloss from Fonk's Petstore as a kid.

Wait, is there a statute of limitations on shoplifting lipgloss? If there is not, then I am only guessing how that would feel. Ahem. Moving on.

So, the reason I am writing this at work is because I could not let this go untold to as many people as humanly possible. It is so good that I also could not wait until I got home from work to tell you all about it.

Conversation just overheard between my coworker and one of our customers:

Coworker: That $5 Washington State Parks donation, donate or opt out?

Customer: Well, I'm going to tell you, I got caught at the park. I was asked to pull my trousers up because there was no heavy petting allowed. I said, 'isn't that what the parks are for?' and the officer said, 'no, they are for recreating*.'

This is then followed by stunned silence throughout our office. I would like to say that this was a random customer who we never have to see again, but he is actually a regular. He is also not a young man by any means. I tried to make a joke out of it by saying, "I'll make sure to let the Parks know that if they only allowed heavy petting they'd get a lot more donations." But he didn't think it was funny because he was completely serious.

He walked out and all three of us began laughing. I was already logging onto Blogger and as my coworker says, "can you believe he just told us that?" I was saying, "oh, I am totally blogging this right now because there is no way I'm not sharing it with the world!"

I know, "the world" is awfully narcissistic of me and completely inaccurate, but it's the sentiment I am trying to display here.

So, here's my question, did you donate to the State Parks on your last tab renewal? If not, would heavy petting being allowed in the parks have changed your mind?

*So, according to, recreating can be used in this manner. I didn't know that, but it can, which makes this footnote pretty silly. So, just ignore it.

Hug those babies, teach them to love our State Parks, but don't let them near the crazy old guy with his trousers down.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Before the Candles Went Out, I Wished for a Better Tomorrow

Due to the fact that I had eye surgery that day and am still experiencing some residual effects of migraines and tired eyes, I did not talk about my kidlet turning 11.

For those of you who haven't seen him in a while, you would be amazed at how unbelievably tall he is. It makes no sense whatsoever because I am a midget and his sperm donor wasn't much taller, but he is nearly as tall as I am!

Right now he is sleeping on my love seat because he woke up at an extremely painful hour and could not get back to sleep. This seems to be happening a lot lately, and I am a little worried he has inherited my tendency for insomnia. But what has me feeling all mushy mommy is that even with how big he has grown, he still manages to make himself as small as he did when he was a toddler while sleeping. Curled up in the fetal position, it is easy to still see my baby lying there.

He isn't though. He has gone through so much this last year. Enough to need a therapist. I worry about him every day. Wondering what I can do, with the time I have, to help him through this phase in his life. I cannot imagine how confusing his situation is. I am three times his age and I am baffled by it every day. What must his mind be thinking about his complicated family dynamic?

I wish he were still going to St. Luke's for therapies. I wish he had an occupational therapist helping him with his fine motor skills and a physical therapist helping him use his right side the way he should. I wish I had control over such things, or even a say at all.

Sometimes I feel like the world around him is leaving him behind. Content with him being where he is now for the rest of his life. I feel that I am the only one who has dreams of him advancing enough to be independent as an adult. To live on his own, to fall in love, to have a family, to go to college. I want to see him graduate before he is 21, have a date for the senior prom, have his choice of colleges.

I guess all of that sounds superficial when you think that we almost lost him nine years ago. That he wasn't supposed to ever walk or talk again. But I can't help but want more for him.

I would like to think that is a normal wish for a parent to have. I know he will have a difficult time. I know he will experience bullying like even Jero and I won't understand. I know that he will have the hormones of a young man but may not have the mental capacity to make those decisions as an adult. I know all of this, but that doesn't mean I refuse to hope for something better.

We all want our babies to have lives like we never had. We all wish the world to be at their fingertips. A world full of happiness, fairness, justice, peace. We all want those things. Right?

I know that there are people out there devoted to disability advocacy. Who will continue to fight for the rights of children like Kel. But I also know that there are also cruel people out there who think that the only response to something different is devastation. I remember fighting for the kids in our school who had disabilities. Protecting them when boys would try to get them to lift their shirts or drop their pants. I remember that I was the only one. What if my son doesn't have a person like that? What if nobody in his school is brave enough to stand up and be a protector?

He has come to that delicate age where almost all children have an unbelievable meanness in them. Where they will now decide whether to continue to grow that cruelty or shove it down and choose a path of kindness and empathy. Sadly, too many choose to bully.

I know that even a full time parent can't protect their little ones from bullies all of the time. My coworker told her 11 year old to pop her bully in the mouth. The thing is, I don't believe in that either. I believe she did her child an injustice by not going to the school and demanding the suspension of said bully. I believe that if we can't be our children's bullet proof vest that we need to remove the bullets from their world.

When our children have the guts to speak up about being bullied, or seeing another child being bullied, we, as the adults in their lives, need to have the guts to do something about it.

I watched this episode of Extreme Home Makeover recently (it was a repeat) that was about a mom whose 11 year old son was being bullied and he hung himself. I can't imagine the life that child had at school that would make him think that was an answer to his pain. I believe every adult in that school and the parents of those bullies are responsible for the death of that young boy. I believe they failed him, and they failed those bullies.

It scares me to death. It scares me to think that my son is the same age. That we live in a town where being different is not embraced, and children as sensitive and caring as my kiddo are easy targets for hatred.

I am pleased as punch that he has grown another year. That he is a terrific speller and continues to amaze me with his kindness and courage as well as his ability to just know what the people around him need. I hope that through therapy and our time together that he will feel he has plenty of adults to turn to. Most of all I hope that we, as his advocates, do not fail him.

His birthday was a small one this year. I made a lopsided cake, as usual, and we celebrated with our little family. I don't know if he especially liked his birthday gift, but when I decided to give him my old iPod, he seemed to perk up. I had wanted to get him an MP3 player for Christmas, but surprisingly the tribe sent him one instead. Except it broke the next day. Because I spent that extra money on some new clothes for him, I decided to give him mine. He has a hard time with a little bit of big brother bullying at home, and he needed a private way to check out for a bit.

He will have a tough adolescence, I know this. I guess we all did/do.

Please, talk to your kids about bullying. Let's make sure they understand that the bullied have NOTHING to be ashamed of. That they are not the ones doing anything wrong and it is perfectly acceptable to tell an adult. It doesn't make them a snitch or a tattle-tale, it makes them strong and confident. And let us also make sure that our kids understand that bullying is NEVER acceptable. There is never a reason to treat another person with anything less than respect and kindness. Let's let them know that if they bully, there will be severe consequences. If we shrug it off as "kids will be kids" how will they ever learn that this is a real threat to our children?

Maybe if we all band together to stop bullying, we can also take a collective deep breath and find something else about our kiddos to worry about.

So, Happy Birthday to my baby (because he always will be even when he's officially taller than me)! And here's to many more birthdays to come for all of our babies.

So, hug 'em, support 'em, and teach 'em compassion!

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm a Little Bit Angry, You're a Little Bit Rock and Roll

Being a diabetic sucks.

There, I said it. I don't say it very often because, well, 1) it's all I've ever known and 2) there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

There is no cure, though promises were made to the contrary to a baby me three decades ago. Honestly, I don't see a cure happening anytime in my lifetime. Mostly because of television commercials talking about advancements in medical science making it possible for you to go from Jean-Luc Picard to Wesley Crusher in one month*. I'm not sure why medical science should be spending it's time on such trivial things as hair loss, but that's the way this world works.

If you can't tell, I'm a bit depressed about my disease today. There are certain things that most juvenile diabetics have in common. A need to over-achieve, hopeless loyalty, and extreme discipline are some of the better qualities most have, but one of the most devastating is depression.

I have been working really hard to get my health back on track. Falling into that discipline was easier than I thought it would be. But the frightening realization that I was experiencing my first side effect of the disease has helped me keep my eyes on the prize. I am down from smoking a pack a day to four and a half cigarettes yesterday and so far one and a half today. I have a quit date of a week from Wednesday but I don't like to think about it. It causes a bit of anxiety.

I know many of you have to be thinking, why not just quit now, are a few cigarettes a day really worth it? The answer to that is, yes they are. At least right now. On top of everything else I am trying to do, those few smokes a day (and a wonderful thing called Wellbutrin) have kept me from committing murder on numerous occasions.

I have been keeping really tight control on my sugars. Maybe a little too tight. Normally, I would want my sugars to be between 80 and 180. I have been trying to keep mine below 120. I guess it comes back to that discipline.

Most people don't understand what it means to take care of yourself when you have Juvenile Diabetes. They think all it takes is to cut out sugar, sweets, soda. God, if it were only that easy. You see, go into your kitchen, open your fridge, pull out your milk. See on the nutritional guide where it says total carbohydrates? Yep, even milk is an issue for me.

Fruit, yogurt, some veggies and even some meats are as well. It is very difficult to find anything that doesn't have carbs in it. Now, I'm not allowed to cut them from my diet completely, but I do have to account for every single one of them. There is no such thing as a free carb for me. To be honest, if any of you are trying to count "net carbs" or "digestible carbs" you are all fooling yourselves. Carbs are carbs folks. Yes, things like milk or fruit are better carbs than cake or candy, but that is because of the sugar. Carbs are carbs, no matter how creative companies get with their packaging.

Now, imagine a home where every meal is made from scratch. Where there aren't those handy little guides to tell me how much insulin I should be taking for my homemade spaghetti. It's been a bitch to keep such tight control, and this is a lifetime thing. I haven't always been good about testing, but worrying if I am taking too much or too little insulin has always been an issue.

Here's why I am so down right now.

I made a nice meal Wednesday night. Ham with a homemade glaze and a seasoned veggie medley. After Googling carb values for carrots, potatoes, horseradish and brown sugar, I gave myself what I thought was the proper amount of insulin. While eating my dinner, I could feel my sugars dropping. I had Jero grab me another piece of bread and butter, to no effect. I ate some peaches, nothing. I remember saying I was scared. I remember telling Jero that something was really wrong. Next thing I knew, I was lying in my bed with my mom hand feeding me some fruit. I had a sandwich in my hand and was refusing to eat it. I do not remember going to the bedroom. I do not remember the massive amount of applesauce I ate. I do not remember being combative about the food they were trying to feed me.

My mom and Jero saved my life that night. I have not had an insulin reaction like that since I was a very young girl. My blood sugars were apparently in the thirties for quite some time. I ended up going into work late the next day because I felt like I had been hit by a bus full of pixie sticks. My sugars were sky high and my eyes hurt along with just about everything else in my body. My stomach was rolling because I simply do not eat that way.

I still don't know where I went wrong. I still don't know how I bottomed out so fast. All I know is that I AM PISSED.

There is just no way to keep things like that from happening. It's going to happen. I'm trying to keep my sugars at a rate I would have difficulty keeping them even if I was on an insulin pump. I am so damn stressed out. I am quitting smoking, trying to lower my cholesterol, and living in a house where I have had no personal space for over two years. Supporting my mom has become so financially burdening that I never know how we are going to pay our bills let alone support my disease. The lack of privacy is hard on Jero and I. And I am angry.

I am at war with myself all day long. I am angry that nobody gets it. Angry that after the last time I mentioned my eye surgery I got responses about "asking for help" and "doing this to myself". Angry that my diabetes takes over six thousand dollars a year just to maintain WITH INSURANCE. Angry that I can't find support out there because I have a job. Angry that my home isn't my home and nobody seems to understand that I just want some time to myself. Angry that I have to postpone our wedding for an unknown amount of time. Angry that I have to apply for service after service with the goal of being denied so that I can qualify to have my next eye surgery paid for. All of that anger? Well, it leads to guilt. The guilt? It goes straight to depression.

The depression makes me angry. It's a vicious cycle and I am just so overwhelmed.

I think some of that anger has come from fear. When I was young, those lows never really worried me, they were just part of being diabetic. Just the normal response of my body to swimming, P.E., riding my bike, my dad's death, my SATs. My body has never responded well to stress. It's just...normal. But that night scared the shit out of me. I find myself so insulin shy that the easiest response is to just not eat. But I have to eat, and I am, but I'm all jumpy, which leads to the anger, guilt and depression.

I love my mom, I don't want to feel so resentful.

There is another side to that though. It's the side that wonders how a woman can see what this disease has done to me since I was a baby and still eat her way into it herself. People make jokes all the time, or lightly say, "I'm sure I'm pre-diabetic", and it infuriates me. It feels like a personal bitch slap. Like, oh, this disease is no big deal, I'll just eat another cookie, la di da. So, the resentment isn't just about my lack of personal space, or the fact that I can't just be by myself for a little while, it is also about her and TOO MANY OTHERS choosing to have a disease I have been waiting 30 years for a cure for.

Okay, I have vented and wasted your time for too long and I don't really feel any better. I know the comment I made about type 2 diabetics is going to get some nasty feedback. I do know that not all type 2 diabetics choose this or have done this to themselves, BUT many of them do and have. That is just the plain truth, and if I have offended you, well, I'm not sorry one bit. If you have the rare type of Type 2 Diabetes that was not caused by poor diet and exercise, I was not talking about you so get your panties of that wad and relax. Stress isn't good for us remember?

If you ARE one of those diabetics who continues to do this to yourself, do me a favor and hand over your health insurance to someone with cancer, Parkinson's, MS or one of the million real chronic illnesses that are causing people to go bankrupt all over the country. Because I honestly feel that the studies into your type of Diabetes are just as silly as the ones focusing on male pattern baldness.

I am now stepping off my soap box to go prepare my bucket for cleaning the eggs off my car that are bound to be there tomorrow.

Hug those babies, eat a pickle (they are a diabetic free food) and don't hate me forever.

*Come on fellow nerds, that was one SWEET** Star Trek reference.

**Pardon my pun.