Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My people are falling apart.

So Thanksgiving was great. Family drama was pretty much nonexistent which is great (and pretty unusual for my family). But the post-Thanksgiving weekend was really tough.

Friday we went as a family to a local park to play a game of touch football and burn off some calories and energy. The day was in the mid-fifties and gorgeous. The group included my parents, my 3 brothers + their wives and kids, my 2 sisters + their husbands and kids, in total there were 26 of us.

Halfway through the game there is an incident. Joe had made a sharp turn to try to make a catch and ran right into Little One who had been tailing him. He tripped over her and in an effort to cushion her fall he used his hands to cradle her head. Because he had no hands free to catch his fall he fell square on his right shoulder. He's not one to complain so when it took him longer than a minute to dust himself off and get up I knew this would not be good. At first he thought he had dislocated his shoulder.

We headed home and my brother in law who is an MD (general practitioner) took a look and his best guess was it was either a broken collar bone or a separated shoulder (where it's not dislocated but all the tendons holding the joint together have been stretched or torn to the point where the arm is hanging).

Joe held out for a few hours before the pain got so bad that we had to go to the ER for an x-ray. Turns out it's a separated shoulder. The least bad of all the bad options it could be. So he's in a sling and on vicodin for pain. All while trying to finish up the end of the semester and his final pediatric clinical rotation. He has an 8 hour rotation in the ER at Children's Hospital scheduled for Wednesday and I know he's disappointed that he won't be able to be as hands on as he normally would be.

He has a follow-up with an orthopedist on Thursday morning to get more info on how long his shoulder will need to be in a sling.

Next post.... Little One takes her turn with a medical crisis.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Ok, so the trip to Nicaragua might be delayed or off for Joe. The trip in Feb. I mentioned is full! His professor is trying to get more spots opened up, but if that doesn't happen he's second on the wait list if someone drops out. They're also trying to schedule a 2nd trip for early May that also might be an option if the Feb. trip doesn't work out. He should know more after Thanksgiving.

Now for something completely different. A slight rant about the Bus Stop.
Little One gets on the school bus in the morning at the corner of our block with about 10 other elementary school kids. What kills me is that most of these kids are unsupervised at the bus stop, or their parents drive them to the bus stop and then sit in their cars and whip out the instant their kid is on the bus. We live in a neighborhood where the majority of families have 2 working parents. I get it, you gotta get to work. But seriously, take 2 minutes and stand at the bus stop with your kids and give them a hug goodbye. 1 other dad and I are the only ones who do that. I have a long commute but it's still worth it to me to spend those couple of minutes in the morning to see her off.

Then there is The Dirty Kid. And I mean literally a child who is dirty and needs to be washed. There are a fair amount of kids at this stop that to me look like they need a little more parental guidance in the morning in terms of putting on appropriate clothing for the weather, a jacket, getting their hair brushed etc. But there is one girl who looks like Pig Pen. Remember him from The Peanuts comic strip? The little boy who walked around in a tornado of filth? That is this girl. Her hair is never brushed and it looks like a rats nest in the back, her clothes are generally ill fitting, inappropriate for the weather and stained and ratty. But the topper has been now that the weather has turned chilly, she has been wearing a light blue down coat and that thing is beyond FILTHY. I mean COVERED in ground in dirt. It is inexcusable to let your child out into the world that way. To show so little care that you send them out in complete filth to face the world. Even if your child wears hand-me-downs or thrift store clothes they can be clean and neat. That is your job as a parent. I honestly don't want Little One to associate with this girl because if her parents care so little for her that they routinely send her out filthy and ill-dressed I'm guessing there is a whole lot of general neglect going on in her house. What do they feed her? Does she have a warm blanket on her bed? Do they check her homework? Read to her? Teach her right vs. wrong?

Good grief. All these things seem like such basics of parenting. And not even exemplary parenting, but just the "Must Do's". It makes me sad for this little girl and repulsed at her parents.

Edited to add: After rereading this I felt like I needed to clarify about the kind of neighborhood we live in. These families are NOT poverty level. We live in a neighborhood of nice homes (all 4-5 bedrooms homes with playsets in the backyard and 2 cars in the driveway) all under 10 years old, with sidewalks, a duck pond and a neighborhood playground. There are a lot of professionals in our neighborhood and a fair amount of cops, firemen, teachers etc. In my mind this makes it worse, these are not people just scraping by and trying to make it under tough circumstances. They are choosing not to parent their child. And honestly, after being in the position for 4 months where I was unemployed and Joe was a full-time student, I know first hand that not even trying circumstances and very little income gives you an excuse to neglect your child.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time to renew that passport.

Unfortunately, it's not for me. It's for Joe. We decided last night that he's going to go on a week long medical mission trip with his nursing school and the University of Cincinnati medical school to Nicaragua. They're traveling over spring break, the last week in February into the beginning of March. He'll be done with classes by then (yeehaw!) since he only has to take one clinical that lasts 8 weeks during the spring semester.

He came home and told me that his Public Health professor did a presentation on the trip yesterday and that even though he couldn't go he wanted to figure out how he could contribute. So we were talking about what the needs were and figuring out what we could purchase (clothing, books etc) to send along to the families there. And then we just realized what an amazing opportunity this was for so many reasons. Travel to a new area, putting his nursing skills to the test in a rural environments without the normal supplies, having a chance to really help families one on one and educate them about health care. All things he is passionate about. I've jokingly nicknamed him MacGyver Nurse because he can rig medical equipment out of nothing and has developed that reputation in pretty much all of the clinical settings he's worked in. If they need a certain piece of equipment to do a job and it's either slow to come up from supply or doesn't exist, Joe can figure out a way to make it out of the supplies on hand.

So we're considering it his graduation gift. It really will be pretty inexpensive, they have to pay for their flight (about $300) and then it costs $260 to cover meals, lodging and expenses for the week. He showed me this video about the organization that they're working with on the trip. The scenery looks amazing. The last day of the trip they'll take some time to go hike a volcano. How cool is that?! Here's the video he showed me last night:

I really am so excited for him. So many good things are happening. Completing his BSN and then getting to go out and really use his skills for people in need is a great way to wrap up these last 4 years for him. Now I have to figure out how to stop being terrified about him traveling to a South American country and the possibility being kidnapped, robbed, held indefinitely by a rebel army.... :0

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Medication Shortages

Joe has been diagnosed with ADD since he was 32. He has had ADD since he was a kid but it was never diagnosed or treated. The hazard of being a child in a family of 7 parented by a single Mom, some things slip through the cracks. His ADD was one of them. He learned how to cope the best he could but once he went back to school we both knew getting it officially diagnosed and getting treatment was the only way he would excel in rigorous coursework. So he's being doing great. He's on medication that helps him immensely with his concentration and focus. BUT. It's a medication that is abused and is under strict controls because of that. And it's in a serious shortage because of manufacturing issues and its general overuse and abuse. You think your kid has ADD, sure, we'll just medicate him that's fine. So all those kids that are now being medicated without a firm diagnosis and teenagers who are abusing the meds for fun are causing a serious shortage.

Every month is a scavenger hunt for us to find a pharmacy that his it in stock, and if they do have it, do they have enough to fill the entire script. With the protections on this medication you can't just fill it partially and then go back for the remainder when it comes in. If you fill it partially you don't get the remainder of the meds, and that is not good. So Joe has been without meds for 4 days unbeknownst to me. He told me this morning how off he was feeling, how he has been unable to concentrate and buckle down to study. These meds really do change your body chemistry. So I spent this morning calling the pharmacies in town to find 1 that had the full script available. Thank god for Walgreens, they were the only one. I rushed out in my PJs with coffee in hand to get his script before they were out too. So we're good for another 30 days, which takes him through the end of the semester.

I HATE that getting his meds has become such a hassle. It feels like some months it would be easier to get them on the street corner downtown.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I am stressed. The past 6 weeks I've been running at a constant level of high stress and it is starting to take its toll. It's all work related too. Normally at the end of a stressful work week I might have had a glass of wine to relax. Now at the end of pretty much every work day I have been brewing a fresh pot of coffee because there is so much to be done in the evenings that I need another jolt of energy. Forget relaxing, it's all GO GO GO. I feel constantly on edge, wired and yet not feeling like my thoughts are organized. I feel scattered. Distractable. Unable to focus. In conversations lately I struggle to find the right words.

Every weekend I say I'm going to get some rest and be back on my game for the upcoming week. But by Monday at 7am the stress is back on my shoulders and I'm out of sorts again.

I have no good solution for this. How do you tackle stress and force yourself to relax? Any good suggestions? I'm considering trying Gingko Biloba or some kind of supplement meant for concentration but I think that's just grasping at straws.

Post Script:

- added to update on my last post regarding my husbands incommunicado status driving me bazonkers: I must give him some props for yesterday to make up for that. Yesterday he was AWESOME. Amazeballs.* Joe worked his standard clinical rotation at Children's yesterday with an absolutely miserable 2 year old who he said cried nonstop all shift long. Poor kid. He came home, picked up Little One and was hosting an impromptu game of kick ball in the back yard with 3 neighbor kids. One of our neighbors was in the middle of treating his lawn when a wheel fell off of his spreader. Knowing that Joe is that guy in the neighborhood who will help anyone he came over and Joe dug out our commercial grade spreader that had been put away for the winter for him. I got home, barely walked in the door when I received a desperate text from a neighbor whose 5 year old had just had her tonsils and adenoids removed. Child was refusing pain meds, was 4 hrs overdue to be dosed, miserable and throwing up. Could Joe come down and help? Off to the rescue he goes with stethoscope in hand (I love when he rescues people!). And to top it off when he got home from dealing with our neighbors little one he told me that he had fixed our broken oven that afternoon. Total renaissance man, I love it. Fix the oven, help a neighbor, take care of sick kids... he's a total keeper. But I still wish I had a direct line to reach his brain. :)

*I love that term. One of my guilty pleasures is reality TV (the little couple, giuliana and bill, tori & dean etc) and that term comes from Giuliana and Bill. I find them hilarious, mindless entertainment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


In this world of instant communication, texting, smart phones, iMessaging, FB and Twitter, when is someone going to install a direct line into my husbands brain so that I can reach him?

I spent the majority of the afternoon trying to touch base with Joe while he was on a clinical rotation at Children's Hospital. Little One needed to be picked up from school early (constipation that had taken a turn for the worst and the girl was miserable). I had 2 COULD NOT MISS meetings scheduled for the afternoon and had already gotten to work 45 minutes late and missed a critical team meeting this morning while trying to cajole her into eating prunes to help the situation along. After talking to Little Ones teacher and finding out she was miserable but it wasn't an emergency, I iMessaged Joe on his iPod, and left a back-up voicemail on his cell phone asking him to please go to her school ASAP after his rotation let out. And to call or text me and let me know he was going to get her. 2pm no response... 3pm no response... 4pm no response. Finally finished up with my meetings at 4pm and bolted from work to get her. Since he hadn't followed up I figured he was stuck with a patient. My drive from work to home is 35 minutes at best. I made 2 calls on my way home to his cell. Still no answer. Made one final call when I was 5 minutes away from her school to leave him a voice-mail to let him know to ignore all of my previous messages and that I had picked up Little One.

He answers. He is at home. He had his phone on vibrate while at the hospital, then it was shoved in his backpack for the ride home and he had headed straight to take a shower without checking it. He hadn't checked his iPod for messages. Would he like me to go pick her up now? Good freaking grief! I'm 5 minutes away now, and left work early to try to "rescue" her. ARGGGGGGG. That man is killing me.