Saturday, March 31, 2007

Smuckers Jelly and Rocket Science & Buckets

Smuckers Jelly:
The Boy cracks me up. The other morning, we're cuddling on the couch together before getting him ready for school (my totally FAVORITE time of the week day!). He told me, "I wish I had a normal name." Interesting since I think The Boy's real name is kind of unique (as long as you don't live in Boston) but it's not all out-there and wacky (which I actually like but chose not to do to my kids). So I said, yah, I used to want that when I was little, too. I told him how, when I was little, it really upset me that I couldn't find mugs, bracelets, shirts, etc. with my name on it. When I rarely found a "L.y.n.e.t.t.e" item, it was spelled with two N's or some other such horribly insulting spelling issue. I told him that the name I wanted to change it to was....and I'm not really sure where this came from....Maryanne. Yah. That was the name I always used when playing house or any other game that required an alternate identity. I don't think it came from Gilligan's Island. But I don't know. Anyway, we had this nice little talk and I asked him what - if any - name he would change his to. He thought very seriously for a bit and announced, "Smuckers Jelly," then burst into giggles. Well with a name like Smuckers...

Rocket Science & Buckets:
I know this makes me sound like a horrible mother but I'm going to tell you this one anyway. The Boy is smart (academically) beyond his 6 years. Always has been ahead of his peers. Lil Bro is normal smart. He's right on track for a 3 year old. We joke about this - borrowing some imagery from the Steve Martin movie, 'Parenthood' - Steve Martin's character has some in-laws that are those competitive parents. And they're bragging about getting their kid into some hoity toity school or something. They're going on and on about how exceptional their kid is or how important it is to get them into good schools. And Steve's character's youngest boy comes running into the room with a bucket on his head and proceeds to bang it over and over against the wall. Insult to injury. So, I've joked that The Boy is sitting there doing differential equations while Lil Bro is running around with a bucket on his head. This is obviously a figurative image that is only funny to my husband and me. And only when we're sure the boys don't hear.

This afternoon, I walked into the living room to find Lil Bro laying on the floor with this red square gift box on his head just rolling around singing silliness to himself. Of course, I inwardly giggled at that sight. But as I round the corner into the kitchen, there is The Boy drawing these complex charts at the table. I just burst out laughing and had to go poke my husband in the arm to point to the two boys and what they were doing. By the time hubby turned to look, Lil Bro had stood up and was standing there with the red box on his head laughing, too. Hubby totally cracked up. I'm sorry. It just totally got me up to have my figurative in-joke become a reality!

No had to be there!

Friday, March 30, 2007

An Aside: Interview With a Vamp

One of my favorite bloggers was recently interviewed by another blogger pal. Beck was kind enough to offer an interview to any who asked. I love this stuff. Here are my questions from Beck:

1. Which insect do you find the most beautiful?
What a very interesting question - seeing as how most insects really set my skin to crawling. But there are gorgeous ones. I'm going to read "beautiful" here as meaning beautiful to look at. The first thing that popped into my mind was butterflies or moths. Their wings and patterns are rather obvious. But I thought about it a bit more to be fair to the entire insect kingdom and I'd have to say some of the larger beetles - the kind that have iridescent shells that change subtly in the light (like this stag beetle). Mind you, I don't want said beauties in my house or on my person. But they really are gorgeous if you can just get your mind to let go of the "ew bugs!" factor.

2. Which actress - past or present - would play you in the movie of your life?
Oh what a totally delicious question! Now you will see what living in a fantasy world for most of my life is like. To play the teenage me, it would have to be the young Valerie Bertinelli - like from when she first started on 'One Day at a Time'. It's close enough. I wasn't quite that adorable-cute. But it's a relatively close match - she has a small nose like me. And she was sweet, goofy and innocent. Like I was back then. But to play me in my mid 20s - my debauched era - that would have to be more like Anne Baxter - ala Nefretiri in 'The 10 Commandments'. She's got the attitude, the wikkid raisable eyebrows and the bangs. Oh and she would get my drama-queen overacting down pat! The sensible later me...I have no idea. Are there any sensible brunette actresses in Hollywood? Ones that can still have that spark and attitude while not destroying anything? Let me know.

3. If you could change one thing about your typical day, what would it be?
Well, I've been kvetching about it for months. I would somehow eliminate the need for working for Corporate America. Well, working a "job" at all. I don't mind working in the home - and that is killer hard work. But it doesn't pay well unless you're independently wealthy or married to someone who can bring home the bacon, eh? I'm the bacon bringer. But I would love to change that I have to do a job that I no longer love. It's hard to sit there watching the wonderful people I work with getting a cattle prod in the arse every day when they don't deserve it. I mean, imagine having enough resources that you could pick your job! Pick something you love. I could actually go back to singing! Or I could volunteer at a senior living place. Don't know why but I think seniors get forgotten and need someone to come in and make them laugh or take them out. Imagine being able to wake up and just pick whatever you wanted to do that day! And I'm meaning something that will contribute to the good in life. Not just sitting in my underwear watching bad daytime TV all day. That's what I would change. Find me a winning lottery ticket!!!

4. You can have a 50% discount at any store of your choice, for life. Which store do you choose?
Hmmmm...fifty percent? Well, I'm lucky enough to be able to afford the "affordable" stores that I frequent. So I'd use this choice to make some not-so-affordable store more affordable for me. But which one. I was thinking William Sonoma...but then, how many $300+ toasters and $100+ sets of utensils can one person have/use in a life time? I am SO not a shopper. That's my problem. I do blitzkrieg shopping - if I need something, I go and get it. I don't shop around. I know my brand loyalties and I know you pay for quality (I like to when I can afford to). Let me think here. We'll always have to eat. So...if I could afford to, I would only eat organic. We try but it's so expensive. So maybe I'd just get a 50% life discount at Whole Foods. That would be sweet. I mean, those killer brownies, tiramisu or chocolate mousse for half off? Yes please. Yah. That's what I'd pick. Man, that took me long enough!

5. Which one thing always makes you smile?
Ask a happy mom this question and I'm sure you can guess the answer. I'll cheat here by saying "my kids" is one thing. But The Boy and Lil Bro can almost always elicit a smile from me. They are amazing amazing creatures and I marvel that they came from two such imperfect people. Those of you who are enduring the teen years might be smirking at this answer. But they're 6 and 3 - still young enough to think I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. Still young enough to find wonder in almost anything. Still young enough to think anything is possible and that most things are good. Oh man, just thinking about them makes me smile and want to cry all at once.

Wow. My first interview where I didn't get misquoted! All interviews should be fill in the blank or take-home like these. Honestly, you say the most inane drivel when asked on the spot. And then they always get it wrong anyway. Thanks Beck!

Anyone want some interview questions? Just say the word and I'll do my best!

- 04/01 edit: Sarakastic took my interview. Go check it out here.
- 04/02 edit: Ellesappelle's interview is here. Check it.
- 04/06 edit: Jenkneebee got interviewed, too! Here it is.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Beautiful Mind

Have I mentioned how glad I am that The Boy is able to verbalize things so precisely at the age of six (and has been since like 18 months)? I'm so used to it that, at times, we rather take this advanced communication skill for granted.

Anyway, tonight - as usual - I was excruciatingly lazy when it came to dinner. So The Boy and I hopped in the car and drove the completely walkable distance to the nearby mall to get Subway subs from the food court. I had Lil' Bro time earlier in the day when The Boy was in school, so I took only The Boy this time. We walked through the open-to-the-sky mall way (well, The Boy ran, skipped, danced and I lumbered). As I stood in line and got our sandwiches, The Boy danced on the giant diagram of Texas on the center of the food court floor, asked me about where our town was, and then proceeded to squash us all with his giant feet (it wasn't that crowded and therefore this was "cute" as opposed to "obnoxious behavior"). This has nothing to do with the point of my story but it's a cute image in my head and I'm attempting to put it in your head with very little success.

On the walk back to the car, we were talking and just visiting. At one point, he started limping. I asked if the foot was ok and he said, oh sure, I was just kidding around. This may sound like I'm a wikkid buzz kill mom. But with The Boy's propensity for tics, we tend to lead him away from anything that could develop into a habit or tic. So I told him to be careful kidding around with limping or walking funny in any way as it could make his back or leg hurt (John Cleese would heartily disagree, I'm sure). Anyway, I just mentioned how that, even people without TS can give themselves bad habits that border on tics with enough repetition. [I'll aside here - I'm re-reading this and I sound like an alarmist idiot. But here's the reason. As a young kid The Boy's age, I was an attention hound. I would do anything I thought was interesting in hopes of making myself more interesting and worthy of the spotlight I craved. I remember once seeing a school mate who had this quick flick of the head - as if to clear nonexistent hair from his eyes. We all thought he was cool. I decided to affect his head flick. I, too, would be head-flicking cool. I wasn't cool. But I did it for enough days where, when I decided to stop? It was actually hard. It had already begun to head toward becoming a habit. So, I always think of how easy it is to start a physically repetitive habit without TS. I'm a freak. Sue me.] And the tangent is now over. So, back to my thought. We were talking about habits and possible tics and it suddenly occurred to me that The Boy's tics are still so minor and dismissible, it just makes me happy. So I said, you know what? I just realized that I hardly ever even notice tics in you lately. Just a couple and they seem really minor. He said, "Oh yah. Just this one," and he proceeded to do this little series of noises that remind me of his original verbal tic of "er-duh" and then sucking his breath in through his teeth but with the tip of his tongue between his front teeth. If that makes ANY sense. I said, yah, I've noticed that one but it doesn't seem to bother anyone. Do they notice it at school? No, he said. (Internal praise to God there!) I asked if he still feels the TS urges or if he even notices. Oh yes, he notices them. That's when he does the series of mouth noises. He was saying this all very matter-of-factly, very comfortable with the whole thing. Then - and here is the part I thought was interesting (long winded to get here, eh?) - he said, "Yah, my tongue and the roof of my mouth like to meet. I think that's where my 'er-duh' came from. It feels really good when my tongue does that," and he proceeded to do quite a few of the big former er-DUH sounds. I just thought that was really cool. I mean, it's a tiny insight for me into why he might choose one tic over another. I'm interested whether he will ever be able to similarly describe to me the feelings that may produce the exaggerated eye blinks & rolls. Or the Spidey-hands finger movements.

His mind never ceases to amaze me. I have read over and over of kids with TS that also have incredible talents - some have many. One young man my sister knows is an amazing pianist. My sister is an amazing pianist - classical and pretty much any other kind. She said, this kid can't play classical well or read music well. But he can play rag time like nobody's business. She said that it's like he is in another zone - just a genius at it. His hands fly over the keys. She said it's almost like he's a savant. I hear and read things like that a lot. Of course, as The Boy's mom, I think he's a freaking genius. But I'm his mom. He could be running around with a bucket on his head and I'd be like, "There goes Einstein!" But when he wants to play a card game he made up with US State flash cards? Or wants to make huge charts and tables in Word that correspond letters in the alphabet to interesting numerical patterns? Or when he comes into my bathroom when I'm showering and holds up his magna doodle to the glass of the stall so I can see his huge addition or multiplication problems he's doing? Yah, I'm diggin' it. If that's what he can focus on to keep the tics at bay someday, I will do everything in my power to encourage it. Even doing math in the shower.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's Getting Better All The Ti-i-ime

I finally got to the ENT in Austin today. Nice guy. The good news is, he confirmed that my general practitioner diagnosed and treated me exactly as he would have. He also confirmed how difficult I was to diagnose given that I presented a different set of symptoms each time they saw me. My steroids were due to end today (I went from 6 pills, to 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 today) and the antivirals are done tomorrow. However, he wants to make sure they keep treating me so this doesn't flare back up. My symptoms are enough that he feels it might not be ready to give up the fight yet. So he put me on more steroids for the rest of the week (equivalent to a few days of the 5 pill dose - ugh). And antivirals for another week, too. He said that this stuff can last for weeks. Meaning, the healing and getting better stuff can take a long drawn out time. Lovely.

He confirmed that my inner ear and throat is fine. The ear canal is still itchy, painful, tender, swollen a bit, etc. But I can at least lay on that side without waking up in horrid pain. It's not comfy, but it doesn't keep waking me up like it did. He also thought this might not be on the trigeminal nerve as we first thought. He said there is another deeper nerve that affects this area of the face. I didn't ask as my brain sponge was full from learning about shingles and the trigeminal nerve. I also entertained him by telling him I have officially changed the medical term for that little spot in front of the ear from "tragus" to "ear doink". He liked that one.

So I will be Crazy Steroid Lady for another week. And I don't know when my few lesions will disappear. They are hanging on for quite a long while. Fortunately, they are not really out there where people think "ARGH!" when they see me. Yesterday, my friend from church stopped by with a care package (you rock, Beth!) and was surprised that I looked as normal as I look. That was nice to hear!

I confirmed with the doc that I shouldn't be contagious to anyone at this point. The exception being those who haven't had chicken pox or the vaccine. So I should be able to go out in public. I am planning on going to my small group tonight - hopefully it won't be me on one side of the room and everyone else on the OTHER side of the room. HA!

Just thought you'd like to know.

Thank you for the prayers. I have no doubt this has been as mellow as it has been because of all the prayers going up on my behalf.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Little Whining, A Little Fun

Well, I'll give you the whiny update first. I went to the ENT doc yesterday only to find they had sent me to the wrong office and I couldn't get to the correct one in time. So I will be seen next Tue by ENT. I'm assuming it's a confirm of shingles on the trigeminal nerve as they just want to be sure. My symptoms are not "classic" shingles - at least not following most of the readings I've read. My body is behaving like a cat once you open a door for it. Hmm....maybe I'll have shingles....well....maybe!....yes...I'll have shingles....but then again.....

The steroids have given me something my cousin Monica terms "Roid Rage". That one made me laugh out loud. But my temper is shorter (is that possible?) and my cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat trigger is over worked. My brother is on steroids for medical problems and he understands the rage to weeping thing - confessing he has found himself teary while watching Star Trek. While sad, that visual did get a chuckle from me! Yesterday, I just walked around on the verge of tears all day. So it didn't' take much. Toilet paper didn't rip on the perforation? WAAAAAAHHHH!!!! Insanity.

A bit of a light red blotchy rash on the left check/jaw area. Nothing profound. It was more pronounced yesterday. Can't really see it today. Again, my body just can't make up its mind. I'm bagging social events. Probably will bag church tomorrow but am not sure. That's the one place I actually WANT to be.

Ok, I need a bit of light fun. And I saw this tag on a couple of my pals' blogs. So I'll take the tag.

Go to Wikipedia and type in your Birthday Month and day only.
October 20th - the day it all began folks!

List 3 Events that occurred that day.
(There were tons so I picked 3 that I like. I love LOTR - I'm a dork. When I shave my legs, I usually announce that I'm pretty sure I'm half Hobbit and half Sasquatch so the Big Foot thing is close to my heart. And come on, who doesn't love Jakie O?)
1. 1955 - Publication of The Return of the King, being the last part of The Lord of the Rings
2. 1967 - A purported bigfoot is filmed by Patterson and Gimlin. Frame 352 from the film, allegedly capturing a "bigfoot" mid-stride.
3. 1968 - Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

List 2 important Birth days
(well, MINE, duh! I won't try to impress you with any people with world significance. In stead, I will list the ones that I found most amusing.)
1. 1958 - Viggo Mortensen, American actor (who knew he was that old?!)
2. 1971 - Snoop Dogg, American rapper (The Dogg Father is younger than me??)

List 1 Death.
(I will cheat here)
1. 1977 - Members of the American rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd killed in a plane crash:
- Cassie Gaines (b. 1948)
- Steve Gaines (b. 1949)
- Ronnie Van Zant (b. 1948)

List a Holiday or Observance. (if any):
(list this under "Who Knew?" I will now know to serve calcium supplements at all furture birthday bashes!)
1. World Osteoporosis Day

Oh and I tag anyone who wants to take a fun harmless meme on.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

So We're Back to Shingles...

Well well well. It appears my post on Monday was a bit premature in the fickle world of how my body behaves.

When the doc saw me on Monday, the thought of shingles was dismissed since there were no lesions and sufficient time had passed since my first tingly symptoms and the normal time that shingles lesions tend to show up. On Tuesday, my husband looked at my ear (my doink, actually) and said hey you have a sore here. Well, I assumed I had scratched it raw in my sleep and didn't call the doctor. I was told to call if any blisters formed. This was just a scab. One. So I wrote it off as my own scratch and went on my merry - albeit itchy - way. She had also said to call her if I wasn't significantly improved by Wed/Thu.

Yesterday (Wed), I was miserable. The swelling on the left side of my face had increased in area. The itching was increasing. The needly prickly electric-shocky stuff was less but still hurt like crazy when it did hit. And a new intense pain (I call it my ice-pick-through-the-skull pain) had surfaced in and around the ear. So...I'm thinking that qualifies as "wasn't significantly improved." I made an appointment for early this AM.

Today, they looked at me (they being my doc and she pulled in another for consultation) and noticed my "scratch" was a lesion. [Now, I have to comment on the word "lesion". I'd prefer blister but it's not a blister. It's a round little scab. And it's dark red - almost black. This kind of lesion is the kind of thing that makes people shrink away from you. I feel like walking around yelling, "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!" I have the one on my ear-doink. I have 2 lovely large ones on my lower lip. They are not as dark and forboding as the ear-doink lesion. They look like cold sores. Which still makes my husband not want to kiss me and makes all other men sigh in relief at the sight of my wedding band. But those little buggers on my lip hurt WAY worse than the nasty looking one on my ear. They itch like banshees and I can't touch them without sending myself screaming and wanting to punch myself for daring to touch them. Good fun.] So that lesion moved them back to thinking shingles. And the fact that the antibiotics aren't really getting rid of the swelling or pain near my ear. And that the tingly prickly electric-shocky things are still happening. And the pain is getting worse. And I feel generally miserable and, frankly, downright pissy. I guess there are different manifestations of shingles. This just might not be your classic shingle variety. In all honesty, I have to say that, if this is as bad as it gets, I'll take it! I've heard about "classic" cases (my Big Sis & cousin both survived them). And I'll take my weird case that seems less severe. But it's possible we haven't hit the climax of this fun little venture.

They've made an appointment with an ear/nose/throat guy tomorrow in hopes that he might have seen something like this and will have more ideas for treatment. Until then, I'm on new antibiotics, an anti-viral and steroids. So far, I feel no different. I'm still irritable, in pain and don't want to do anything but sleep and whine. You can imagine how fun this must be for my hubby! But seriously, I'm not being that bad. I FEEL that bad - inside. I'm trying to keep it there. That's one good thing about locking myself in my office and working.

So we'll see what the ENT dude says tomorrow. And will I feel good enough for my business trip up to NJ & NYC on Monday. OH and a classic crack up about that!! I'm sitting here posting while my work group is on the speaker phone discussing stuff that doesn't involve me. Yes, I'm evil. But earlier, when it was my turn to give a status, they were asking how I'm feeling. Keep in mind, they're all about to meet me face to face for the first time next Tuesday. So my new boss asks, "So are you contagious? I your FAMILY at risk?" Yah. I'm sure she was asking out of concern for my family! HA! She also told me that next week's meeting is not critical and if I don't feel up to it, we can reschedule. "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!!"

Monday, March 19, 2007


YEAH! YIPPEEE!!!! God Rocks!!! Thanks for your prayers. I have to tell you, I had already made up my mind that I had shingles and figured God would just get me through it. But I don't! WOOOO-HOOO!!!! I have an inflamed trigeminal nerve. It can give you the same symptoms of pre-erupting shingles. But no blisters and way less pain, I'm told. If it was shingles, I would have shown blisters by now. There's no real treatment except to treat what might be inflaming the nerve. Which seems to be some kind of bacteria right now - so I'll remain on the antibiotics for now. If I'm not significantly better by Wed or Thur, she's going to check me out again and see what's up. Or if I do present with blisters, I have to call right away. But for now, we're going with inflamed trigeminal nerve. WOOOO-HOOOO!!!

The needle pin prick pain and itching is driving me to distraction but I'll take this over the pain I've heard you have from shingles any day!

For dorks like me who like to know way more than they ever need to know:

Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Interrupted Sleep and Mom Might Have Shingles (catchy title)

Here's the The Boy stuff:

File this under "is this TS or just other crap?" I'm chalking it up to a smidge of both.

Tonight is the last day of The Boy's spring break. He's had over a week of going to bed probably between 9:30-10pm. We were always shooting for 9pm but we're suckers. What can I say. Tonight, we put them to bed at 7:30 because tomorrow is school. We were trying to watch HBO's Rome on our DVR. It's a one hour show that took us about 1.5-2 hrs to watch. This, because our sweet boys kept coming down stairs. Lil Bro has just recently discovered he can get out of his big-boy bed any time he wants. Tonight, he tried it out for size. Plus, he just plum wasn't tired. But The Boy...I'm not sure what his deal was. I would have just thought he couldn't sleep so he kept coming down with any excuse he could think of. But it wasn't the usual "I need water" or "I can't sleep" or "Turn down all that Roman bloodshed!" He kept coming down telling us he had a weird feeling in his chest or that he thought he was going to throw up.

I think I've mentioned before that The Boy tends to get these little panic attacks, of sorts. And he usually says that he thinks he's going to throw up. If we can calm him down and figure out what he's anxious about, everything is good. Rarely, he actually pukes (them are loverly times). And rarely, but a bit more often, we can't get him calmed down and it just goes on way too long. Those are the hard times for me. I like to think I'm a good mom. Well, I am a good mom. But I'm also human. And right now, I don't feel well myself. So you put the human sick I-want-to-watch-Rome factor in there and you have a mom who followed The Boy up the stairs about 7 times with clenched fists asking God to calm me down because The Boy doesn't deserve a jerk reaction. God is good.

The new factor to his tension tonight was the weird feeling in his chest. Today at church, they gave his class balloons - I forgot to ask why but all the kids were blowing them up and letting them make glorious farting noises. It would have made my brothers very happy to see it. But I digress. A couple of times, The Boy would get his blown up quite big and, I guess, as he was taking another breath in through his nose, the balloon would suddenly blow air back into his mouth and inflate his lungs a bit. He told me that was what the feeling was like. I can see how that would be disconcerting if you weren't actually blowing up a balloon. Then he also said he thought he would throw up. Since the last time he said this I didn't believe him, only to have him blow chunks all over my potty room, I took the precaution of taking him into said potty room and getting him into the just-in-case position in front of the toilet. He asked me if I thought he was going to die. No, actually, first he asked me if I had ever felt like this before. I told him I don't really think I had ever had this problem. Then he asked me if I knew anyone who had felt like this before. And I had to admit that no one I knew had ever described this exact scenario to me. I think that bothers him. Often times, I can say, yes, I've felt this or you aunt so-and-so had this once or whatever. That seems to make him feel so much better. But I don't like to just lie to him. Anyway, I got him calmed down enough to go lay in my bed (I had made a mommy judgement call that no puking would be forthcoming so I felt rather safe in doing this).

Here's where the 'Bad Parenting Handbook Volume 1' comes in handy. I knew that, if this kid didn't get some sleep soon, he was going to anxiety himself right out of his mind. Every time he came down tonight, he'd look at the clock and get MORE upset at how late it was and he wouldn't be fit for school in the morning, etc. So this last time, he checked the clock and got all upset again. So, mentally consulting my imaginary Bad Parenting handbook, I recalled that the Benedryl I give him for his allergies help him sleep. I asked him, "Do you think some pink medicine will help?" He was willing to try. So I dosed him up and hung out rubbing his back and he hasn't gotten up since. Bad mommy. But he's sleeping. And he does have allergies. And once he's had to get up at 6am for a day or two, his early sleep will be right on track again.

I wish I could figure out from whence came the anxiety (sorry - I love using 'whence'). At first, he really seemed worried about going back to school. He told me he was used to spring break. He loves school so this didn't really make sense to me. So I asked him if anything was going on at school that I didn't know about. There is one bully that can get to him so I was worried that had been happening. But no. Nothing about school. I think it was just the whole change in schedule thing. He's a creature of habit. The one change in schedule he adapts to very quickly is staying up late. He's like me. He can do that on any given day - and would, if we let him. But changing back the other direction, that's hard for him. And I think it fits into his whole change in routine thing. He doesn't like his routine to change. It really freaks him out at times.

I'm just guessing. But he's sleeping now. And our last prayer was asking God to multiply his sleep so he'd wake up refreshed. I'm sure he'll rally nicely in the morning. And tomorrow night, I won't have to give him Benedryl unless he's actually having allergies.

Here's the Paranoid Mom stuff:

That's the The Boy update. Now I'll give you the mommy update. And I'm giving you this update because, if I have what a few people think I might have, I doubt I'll be blogging for a while. And if I don't we can all have a good laugh and you can see just what an alarmist looks like.

A few days ago - like early last week - I had a weird sensation in my outer ear. For anyone medical, please forgive this. I don't know the proper terms for any part of my ear. But you know that little doink that sticks out right in front of the ear hole? Some people pierce it (well, I went and found a picture - and this is NOT my ear! - and the little bugger is called the tragus - but I like doink better). Well, on my left ear, my doink was itchy. When I scratched it or even just barely touched it (like, when you run a finger so it just barely touches the itty bitty hairs there), it would feel raw and painful. I had hubby check it out, expecting him to say, oh yah, you must have scratched it raw. He said it looks fine. No red. Nothing. I thought it odd but went on my merry way. It remained that way and then I started having discomfort in my inner ear. I would have sharp needly pain back deep in my ear - felt like it was near the ear drum and maybe in the Eustachian tubes. So I thought, lovely, I have an ear infection! But the next day, that pain wasn't really there but I had terrible sensitivity to sound. I could barely take the kids making normal sound. I could barely handle listening to my conference calls. I couldn't listen to any phone call in my left ear. It was either speaker or using the right ear. That was Thursday. So I figured, well, don't want an ear infection to go on too long so I called and made a doc appointment for Friday 7:30am (gack!). That night, I noticed a slight swelling happening just outside my ear - right in front of it, actually. Like, where men have sideburns. Right there. If you cut a quarter in half and placed it right there, that's the area of swelling. Odd place for swelling from an ear infection.

A much too long story made a smidge shorter: inner ear looked fine. She could see the swelling and it was pushing one wall of the ear canal in a bit but nothing very alarming. The swelling was itchy and hot to the touch but I had no fever. I didn't really have much pain to speak of. Just periodic little pin prick types of things that would happen down deep or near the original spot on the doink (I think that should now be the medical term for that part of the ear). She thought it could be an allergic reaction, but to what? It could also be an infection, but an infection of what? She erred on the side of caution and sent me home on some lovely antibiotics that are, at this very moment, wreaking havoc with my GI tract (fun, that). So that was Friday morning. Oh yes, and she told me hot compresses might help - especially if it was an infection.

Yes, well...a day of antibiotics, ear drops and hot compresses...Friday night, I have a huge area of swelling that basically has grown from a half quarter to more like if I had mutton chops. But in stead of following my jaw line toward my chin, it dipped down over the jaw line and under the ear lobe - like the bottom tail of this thing feels like a swollen gland. My nurse sis-in-law said stop the heat - that increases swelling. Try ice. Ice was nice - helped a bit. But not much. Saturday, I woke feeling like someone had dumped olive oil in my hear - everything sounded like I had my finger in my ear. That finally cleared about an hour after I was up. The swelling was still there and now you could see the difference in the sides of my face. The lower gland swelling thing hurts like a beast if I barely even touch it. Oh yes, forgot one important thing. On Friday, I get two small lumps on my lower lip - on the left side. They look like maybe zits but they're not. Hot compresses do nothing but make them bigger. I don't get cold sores so I have no idea if they are cold sores or not. They have not broken skin or anything. At times, they're lovely and red, at times, you barely notice them. I, however, can TOTALLY feel them. So can my vanity.

So that brings us to today. Today, I keep having needle pin prick pain or discomfort in my left inner ear, near the swellings on the left side of my lower lip, in the left side of the roof of my mouth, in the gum line (left side), on my tip of my tongue. The whole left side of my jaw, cheek and chin itch. The swelling itches like crazy. I want to just jam knitting needles into my inner ear to satisfy the itch there. When I do scratch my cheek, jawline or chin? Even with the lightest pressure, after I take my fingers away, it's on FIRE. It hurts. The inside of my mouth is really sensitive. Like, I rinsed with Listerine last night because I had one point on the tip of my tongue that felt raw. Listerine always burns but totally in a way I can handle. Let me tell you, last night and today? It BURNED. Yah. Good times.

So, as all of these things developed over a very short period of time (and as I sit here typing and I feel little things that feel like someone is dragging a needle over my skin), I'm wondering what the hell is going on. And I just love how all the major stuff started once I left my doctor's office.

Is this just some major allergic reaction to something? Maybe a spider was chilling out on my ear doink while I slept. And I rolled over and he was all, "WOAH! What's going on???!!" and bites me on the doink. Maybe (and I like this theory much better) some alien larva is nesting in my ear and will spring forth at some ghastly and inopportune time. Or maybe - and this was suggested by a few people today - I am getting shingles. Now, I love a good alarmist exercise as much as the next drama queen. But my sister just had shingles and she was like, "Uh...that sounds just a little too much like how things started with me," except it started with her side/back and this is my ear/face/mouth. A woman at church asked if I thought it was shingles and I poo-poo'd that because it wasn't my torso (like my sis had). I made sure not to kiss anyone or touch any of the kids today. Just in case I have some kind of contagious cootie (another alarmist paranoia is that I got herpes in my ear from some horrid public toilet incident of which I am unaware - I don't know where my brain gets this stuff. I'm just the messenger). I'm also not going to my great-aunt's funeral that is a 7 hr drive away because, honestly, I don't know what I have and don't want to do the meet-n-greet if it's giftable, you know?

So tomorrow, I will call my doctor's office and tell them, I need to see a doc. And when they try to give me an appointment that's like 7 years away, I'll just say, uh, no, I think I have "The Shingles" as David Letterman calls them. That should get me in pretty quickly.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope it's an alien larva. I've always wanted to be and exploding host for one of those. Just hope I can get it on camera. But all the tingling and itching and swelling and pain really reads like all the websites describe for pre-shingle onset.

I'll let you know. Oh, and I'll leave instructions with my husband that, if it IS an alien that will explode out of me? He's to log on here and let you all know.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Little Bro

So I was thinking that Lil Bro will be dealing with that thing many siblings have to deal with for various reasons. Living in the shadow of another sibling. And on many levels.

  • The Boy is outgoing and a real meet-and-greeter. Lil Bro is initially a bit more shy but copies the extroverted antics of his big brother.

  • The Boy is older and therefore hitting a lot of things first. Lil Bro will enter school and be known as The Boy's little brother.

  • The Boy is a ham and will probably do some kind of acting or singing. If Lil Bro doesn't (and he's not showing the love for it like The Boy), then he may be in the wings.

  • The Boy has TS and gets extra attention for that. Lil Bro has no signs yet and we hope he never does. But the sibling of a special needs kid can often feel like they're the second priority.

I was raised the youngest of 4 kids. At the age of 7 months, I started having major medical issues with my kidneys. For the first 2 years of my life, I had multiple surgeries, lots of illness related to those surgeries and my condition, almost died a few times, blah blah blah. I know that my siblings were often left in the care of my dad and/or friends while mom stayed in the hospital. This was especially hard on my sister - girls need their mommy. My oldest brother was pulled from little league because mom couldn't keep sitting in the car with a super-sick infant. I'm a singer and ham. I've always jumped into any spotlight that showed up. My siblings are much more normal and reserved. They are musicians and music managers. They are behind the scenes. They are what keeps all the show offs able to show off.

So in the light of my ripe old age, I am keenly aware of how special those people are that have to live in any aspect of anyone's shadow. They are the adoring fans. They are the quiet support. They are the unthanked organizers of everything. They are the unconditional love. I have no idea where I'd be without my wonderful siblings. And I can tell you that I love watching the absolute love and worship that goes in both directions between The Boy and Lil Bro.

Lil Bro will be fine. But to give him a little time here in this blog, here he is. Cute and full of attitude. I wonder if he'll be the younger guardian of The Boy. I picture kids possibly teasing The Boy when/if his tics get more pronounced. And I picture Lil Bro getting that little screwed up angry look on his face and rushing in to kick some bad-kid butt. But that's just me. We'll see how it really goes.

Do You Ever Feel Funky?

Over the last week, The Boy has been asking hubby and I a question that is unsettling me because I can't figure out what he means. He's been asking us something to the effect of "Do you ever feel funky in life?" He's asked it a few different ways but that's the general gist of it. I told him that everyone probably feels funky now and then. I asked him what he meant by funky and it's usually just, "You know....funky!" Duh. I'm concerned it's a new feeling brought on by his TS and he's just not able to verbalize it.

But who knows, it could just be that his advanced little mind is over thinking "the world" and starting to realize, hey, this is a lot to take in! That'll make anyone feel funky. I'm thinking this because, yesterday, he asked me if I've ever wondered why we have life. He was getting frustrated trying to articulate his thoughts. But I'm gathering that he's doing a lot of thinking about the world, how it's created, why God made it all this way, why are we alive, etc. Man, I didn't start thinking that deeply until Maybe high school.

If he gives me any more insight into his funk, I'll be sure to pass it along.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

An Aside - Networking in Heaven

I'm loving the posts by Ellesappelle on her God Is Nice blog. And since things with Liam's TS are calm for the time being, I'm going to borrow an idea of hers.

Here is Ellesappelle's criteria for her list:
Here is a list of some of the people I would like to meet in heaven. Assuming it's possible to meet other people in heaven, and leaving out the obvious choices of family and friends, I make this list without passing any judgement on who has gotten there; this is simply a list of dead people I would like to meet, who are not Bible characters, and since I feel half-confident most of the time that I'm going to heaven, it seems a likely place to meet them.

Here is my attempt at a list. And it's hard because most of the people I'd really want to meet are biblical characters. But here goes:

Julius Caesar. I think I want this one just because I have the HBO image of him burned in my brain. I'd like to meet him to see exactly what kind of man he was. Did he really want good for Rome or was he just another arrogant psychopath.

My birth-dad's mom, Antonia. Now, you might say, hey, that's family. But I'll be sly here in saying I didn't know my birth-family until I was 20. And Antonia had been dead for about 5 years before I was even born. So she's on my list (insert stuck out tongue here). From what I'm told of her, she was just an extremely loving person. I have the impression that her husband was the stable discipline and she was the love and light. I could be wrong. But I'd like to find out if I'm like her or not.

Martin Luther King Jr. I would love to talk to him and it would take years just to hear all his thoughts and stories. His writings intrigue me on so many levels. I think his writings have often been taken out of context - meaning, he seemed to understand that along with civil disobedience came consequences. And unlike a lot of whining champions of all things politically correct these days, he understood he'd have to pay those consequences. He just seems like a totally cool guy.

Marilyn Monroe. I don't really know why on this one. I guess I'd like to find out if she was really as vapid as she appeared to be at times. I imagine there was way more to her than she presented to the public eye. Just one of those things I'd like to find out.

Davinci. And this has nothing to do with the book. I'm just thinking he would be fascinating to know. I mean, all of that art and science all mixed up in one person - I know a few people with that mix and they are incredible to be around. It would be so fun to be able to see what his reactions were as technology took each of its leaps and bounds.

Any servant/slave to any historical icon. Now, this one definitely comes from my love of HBO's Rome. I am fascinated by the thought of servants standing there in attendance during sexual acts, defecation, eating, everything. Just standing there like so much furniture. I want to find out if that was really how it went. And also, back in that time, there seemed to be many servants/slaves that were well treated and kept a type of honor code - not running, etc. It would just be fascinating to see how much of that was truth - how it really was.

Queen Elizabeth I. I'm trying to narrow down all the dead British royals to the one I'd most like to meet. I think Elizabeth I would be my first choice, followed closely by Victoria. But we'll go with Elizabeth I. I'd like to find out how many of the books and movies were even close to the truth. I'd want to ask if she felt the throne was really hers. I'd want to ask what it was like to be a monarch in a time where women were scarcely considered. And as for Queen Vicky - I just want to pat her on the back for having all those kids. Dang, girl!

Normal everyday people from any era. Now, this may seem like a cop out. But I have to say, the iconic figures from history, cinema, music, etc....they get all their due here on earth. When we get to heaven, we'll be finding quite a few unfamiliar faces in rather high places. As you can glean from my few choices above, I have a real love of finding out what is fact and what is fiction from times that I did not experience first hand. I'd love to find out if each era really was like in the movies and books.

Robin Hood. Yes, he's probably a fictional character. But if he was based on anyone real, I'd like to meet that person. And this is strictly as a person who has read/seen anything Hoodian. Call it an obsession. And speaking of obsessions...

King Arthur. Again, most likely fiction but I imagine his legend was based on some one or a few people. I'd like to meet those people. This again comes from just trying to read or see anything to do with the Arthurian legends. And I want to find out of there really was a love triangle - or if there was actually any Gwen or Lance to begin with!

That's my list. Purely off the top of my head. And it would be a totally different list if family and biblical figures weren't off the table.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

An Aside - Where Would You Go?

So one of the bloggers I love to visit, Ellesappelle, had a really cool post that asked where would you like to visit in the world and why. I thought it was an interesting thought and decided to put my list here. Which shows that all is well in The Boy's world because I have nothing else to write about.
  1. England/Scotland/Ireland - why? They're freakin' GORGEOUS, are you kidding me? I've only been to England and only to London and Cornwall. What kills me about these countries is that, when you walk around and look at their landmarks, it makes our American historical landmarks look like newborns. Ancient has a whole new meaning over there.

  2. The United States - this might sound trite but let me put it this way. I've had layovers in tons of US cities. But I've only been able to stay in and really explore a few states. If you haven't gotten to stay at least 4 days in a city or state, you haven't really "been" there, in my opinion. I have friends that fly around for business and claim to have been to all the states or most of them. But I defy them to describe the local feel or color to me of all those places. So I'd love to get in an RV and just travel around the country.

  3. Jamaica - I've been there and it's incredible. And I didn't get to see as much as I wanted. Although, I steered clear of the awful places like Hedonism or any resort where you never get to mingle with people who actually live there aside from them waiting your tables. That island ROCKS.

  4. The Philippines - now this one scares me. I admit it. I'm chicken on quite a few levels. I'm not sure I could handle seeing the incredible poverty. I would probably have this problem with quite a few countries. But I want to see this country because my birth-father's family comes from there. I think he's the only of his siblings born in the US. I'm told by a couple of my aunts that it's incredibly beautiful there. I'd like to check it out for the whole roots factor thing.

  5. The Entire Fertile Crescent - if there was no such thing as war, I'd be over there all the time. The history there blows my mind. Makes all western civilizations look like infants. I'd love to see places with names that I've read in history books and bibles. It just fascinates me to think this is where civilization started and this is where it apparently is falling apart. But being a chicken, I won't go there with all this unrest. Bawk bawk.

  6. Amsterdam/The Netherlands - everything I've heard just fascinates me. And since I haven't smoked anything for over a decade, you can count THAT reason right out. I have friends that live over there and their photographs are amazing.

  7. Venice/Italy - Venice intrigues me because I want to see a city built on giant stilts. Honestly, that just sounds like science fiction to me. I want to ride the canals. Yes, I'm a tourist. Sue me. I want to see lots of other parts of Italy because it was the seat of the Roman empire. I love that stuff. It's another place where I want to walk in cities and provinces whose names I've read about or seen in turgid, over dramatic VistaColor movies.

  8. The African Continent - the origin of man. Yah, I wanna see that. It amazes me how many different places and types of land that continent contains. It could take a life time to tour it well.

  9. Japan - this one I have trouble with because I hate going some place and just expecting them all to speak my language. I understand English is largely spoken over there but it feels arrogant to me to expect it. I'd want to be able to walk into any place and know what they're saying and how to order my own food.

  10. The World - let's be honest. If there was no war anywhere and money were no object, I'd just be running around the world. There isn't a place on this earth that doesn't hold absolute interest for me. How do you narrow it down?
So there you go. Those are just the ones that popped into my head as I wrote this. Where would YOU go and why?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My Drama King

I suppose calling a 6 yr old boy a "drama queen" isn't really a good thing to do. But if the sentiment fits... To be kind to the ever growing awareness of all things girlish and boyish, I'll just say that I have quite a drama king.

I don't think this has anything to do with The Boy's TS. I say this because both his father and I are guilty of the overdramatic rediculousness when things aren't quite going our way. So when The Boy comes down in tears because he asked his friends to play school and they politely said no, well, I have to lay that blame squarely at the feet of The Boy's parents.

He has also taken to speaking (often yelling) his displeasure to the offending person or persons building up the blame in direct proportion to the volume of his voice. For example, if Lil Bro (3 yr old brother) takes a car/truck/other toy from The Boy, The Boy will screw up his face, stand stiff with fists by his side and declare something to the effect of "You just took that truck because you don't want me to play with it because you don't want me to ever be happy and just want me to have no toys ever in my whole life because you hate me!" At which point I'm usually standing nearby thinking....uh, what?! I mean, it's kind of like, take the ball and run but don't just run to the goal line. Keep going until you've hit a whole other state. It's amazing. My attempts at negotiating these communication breakdowns usually result in The Boy turning away from me, stomping one foot and going, "HMMPH!" I kid you not. Honestly, at times I feel like he has his own script writer from really bad kids movies.

I'm sure it's a phase. I just hope it's not a phase that lasts much longer. At these times - especially when he throws a tizzy around non-family - I am reminded that God has surrounded us with some really cool friends. And that the kids in these families are uber patient with The Boy. But we are also surrounded by pretty normal kids that aren't so patient and really have no idea what to do with The Boy and his manic in-your-face friendliness or his hmmph-ing anger. And those kids, you can tell, they have already built up that kind of weird tolerance that kids have for other kids with which they have no idea what to do. Or they're just outright rude to him. But those are few and far between at the moment.

I hate the passive observer portion of being a parent. Where you have to pick and choose when to step in for rescue. I hate having to watch kids grow into those phases where they are just horribly mean and intolerant. The Boy is friendly to anyone. He will try to be friends with almost anyone. This is a good thing in that, if you try to befriend 100% of the people, you have very good chances of finding that small percent of wonderful people who give friendship unconditionally. The bad part of this is, he has to hit the other percent of idiots. And it's that percent that I find incredibly hard not to just whack upside the head. Because it's usually not just my kid they're being rude to. I could write a whole other blog on how some kids amaze me....until I meet their parents and go, ah....NOW I see it. You know the kid who is swearing up and down in your house so you politely tell them that, in your house, swearing isn't ok? And then their mom shows up knocking on your door to tell you that their precious little snot-head is allowed to say any word they want? It's like, were you raised by wolves? No. That would be insulting wolves. Wolves are very civilized and probably don't swear in each other's dens.

That swearing thing didn't happen to me - thankfully. They'd probably have shipped me back up to Boston for what I would have said to her.

Hmmmm...rereading this shows that I have severely digressed. I think you get a small hint of where The Boy gets his drama from, eh?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dinosaurs in Heaven and Other Items

The Boy is six. He's in first grade. He's obsessed with heaven. Normal for this age. And it makes for great conversations.

Today he asked me if I thought dinosaurs would be their original size in heaven or would they be small. This came after his declaration that he would like to have some dinosaurs in heaven. REAL dinosaurs. I said I imagine that, if we have physical bodies in heaven, they'd be their original sizes. He was concerned that their size might make them a danger - they might accidentally squash someone. I explained that, I imagine God has all of that worked out. I mean, if someone in heaven has some aspect that might be a danger to others (like the size of dinosaurs), I imagine God has that figured out and no squashing will happen. In my mind, I was picturing these invisible force fields around the dinosaurs so they'd gently push us wee ones out of the way. Ha!

The other day, he was wondering if the dinosaurs would try to eat each other or us in heaven. I told him that I was sure that, in heaven, God has everything set up so we enjoy life there. So we probably only need to eat for pleasure. No one will have to kill anything or anyone. I'm sure that God will provide food that we'll all love and that no living thing had to die to provide. The Boy was pretty glad about that.

Another question, I believe from yesterday, was "Will I be able to do everything I want to in heaven?" I thought about it and figured that, if you're in heaven, you won't want to be doing anything evil so I said, I'm sure you will be able to. He said, "I mean, like, will I have to go to school?" I told him that I believe that, when you die, God lets you know everything about everything. So there really would be no need for school. Plus, I told him, you're going to be so busy meeting everyone and hearing their stories and telling your stories, you really won't have time for school. He asked what I meant. I have this vision of heaven from a song I heard once. That we all get up there and we'll meet people and just sit around telling each other our stories. The Boy asked if he would be able to meet people like Moses or Martin Luther King Jr. I said, oh yes. But also, we'll meet tons of very interesting people that never got their names in a book.

I like seeing things through his eyes.