Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Turkey

My sister, who recently arrived for the holiday from Boston, has brought me my very first Sudoku book. I'm afraid I will not be posting for a few days as I am now frantically obsessed.

I, for one, am thankful for Sudoku. For bringing the idiotic obsession that I have not known since tetris back to my life.

I'm thankful for a few other things too, like clean water, good family, my sunshine of a child, but mostly Sudoku.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Other Best Friend From High School

In all of the drama of the past few weeks, I've neglected to direct your attention to Mama Cumquat, aka my best friend from high school. She happens to be the person who introduced me to both Mr. Lady and Sarah.

She also happens to be the first friend I had, outside of my sisters, who really got me and she did a great deal towards teaching me how to be myself around people. Because before her, I was a pretty lonely little teenager. I was never unpopular in school, but I definitely didn't get to talk about the stuff I wanted to talk about with my friends. In fact, right before I met Ms. Cumquat, I was told by a friend that I used too big of words, and if I wanted to be friends with her, I needed to not be so serious all of the time. Yeah. Teenagers suck.

So anyway, enter Mama Cumquat. She was the new kid, she was in my french class, she wore lots of silver and listened to cool music. She had a thing for Peter Gabriel. We became fast friends, and with her I was able to incorporate my love of books and movies and talking about real life things like politics and religion with wanting to talk about boys and clothes.

Recently, she's been blessed with a son. I've not met him in person yet, but every time I see a picture of this kid, I couldn't love him more. He's gonna be as warm and funny as his mama, I can tell. Anyway, check out her blog!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wherein I Write Haikus and Write About Really Sad Stuff

I'm in the strangest mood tonight, let's get that out of the way right here.

See, I've not been in the mood to write much lately. But fueled by creative cooking (I made really yummy pork chops brined in saltwater and maple syrup with a very inventive Fat Tire gravy... Did you know you could deglaze a pan with beer? It's great!), as well as a medicinal amount of beer while I cooked and ate, I find myself again in the mood to write a thing or two about the state I am in.

See, prior to the creative cooking experiment, this week has looked a lot like this: wake up, go to work, pick up The Kid, go home, work, feed self and Kid, attend to other random needs of Kid and self, bed. Repeat. See? No where in that previous description do you see "write pithy blogpost about heartbreaking struggle on internet." Nope, no place for it.

Instead, I've done a lot of thinking internally. There is plenty of room in the aforementioned schedule for navel gazing and self-doubt. I look back, I can say with all honesty that each week since somewhere in July has been progressively worse than the one prior to it. Prior to the start of first grade for The Kid, my biggest problem was that the daycare annoyed me.

Remember? Summer?
Bickering With Other Kids.
Damn. Good times, indeed.

Then, school started and The Kid started going slightly nutty with the running away from teachers and kicking chairs and breaking the really nice school secretary's pencil caddy. And I wanted to help them help him, and was playing the role of super involved parent, writing long emails and calling daily and setting meetings and stuff. But then I lost all faith in them because instead of working with me to help The Kid, they broke all kinds of laws and failed to do all of that 'parent notification' stuff that the pesky disability laws protect against. I can't lie and say I'm over all of it, but I can say that I've learned a little bit about being the obstinate party on the bad side of bad news. Sometimes you have to suck it up and take it.

Schools: Don't break the law
Bitches. Yea! The A.D.A!
You stick up for us!

or alternatively:

Should have known better.
The school couldn't handle it.
The Kid needed help.

So we tried another school, but then the hospital. The hospital which I tried to contact first, but we got talked out of it. Oh well, another missed opportunity to provide timely care to The Kid. It happens every day. But anyway, we DID end up at the hospital, in their school program, and damnit if they couldn't even handle it. He was admitted to the psych ward.

Bring on Sedation!
Drug him 'til his eyes water.
That will fix him, right?

Except, that was not it, not it at all:

Wow, the crazy kids
They're a lot like us. Cute, too!
The Kid belonged here.

The staff at this hospital was sooooo good. They did have to give him "extra" doses of certain meds to keep him safe for the first few days. After that, though, the non-extra doses of meds kicked in, and he began to function, he began to be my darling Kid again. See, he was a mess before that. He was anxious, and unsleeping. He was tirelessly angry, and itchy. Also restless and sad. He didn't function. Living with that was a lot harder than seeing him on psychiatric medicines in a hospital, believe me. After 10 days inpatient with significant gains in mood stabilization, he was discharged.

He came home Monday
pizza and macaroni
joyous reunion

But then, but then... Do you know how life has a way of letting you know that you are not the center of the universe?

We went to my mom's house for a family dinner when he came home. My mom and I were bitching about political solicitations via telephone, and her phone rang, so I answered it, expecting another of these November nuisances. Instead of a recording of Bill Clinton or John McCain, it was a real person. And not only that, something and someone much much more.

It was my aunt, and my uncle had died. Suddenly. Shockingly. No one was prepared for this. My uncle was a quiet guy. He loved his wife, his kids, and his dogs. He wrote out the Christmas cards and birthday greetings and all of the letters to the family for as long as I can remember. He was strong and silent, and good. Good as can be. The very definition of Good Man. He was a hunter, and trained black labs for hunting trials. He was a man of few words. Our last great and very typical conversation took place right around the time of the great Chaney-Shooting-His-Buddy-In-The-Face incident. I asked him if he could understand what happened there, to see if that was "something that could happen," like the stories you hear other random accidents that you think, 'that SO could have happened to me.' He said, "No. And I'm not saying that because I'm a democrat." I often thought of him as the kind of guy who preferred the kind of communication that exists between a man and his [extremely well trained and beautiful] dogs. Not complicated, lots of unspoken understanding and great amounts of peace.

Don, you and your dogs
are hunting in the duck blind
together, Heaven.

Other things have been going on, too. Midterm elections. Whoopee. I'm feeling so underwhelmed and cynical about it all. Perhaps it's because Colorado elected all sorts of blue in all sorts of places, but then still decided to put into our constitution an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman . I guess I'm an underrepresented extremely liberal democrat, and I want the sun and the moon and the stars and I've only been given the moon and I'd really like that sun and stars, too. Also, I read an article which cited the last time congress changed hands as dramatically, in the year of Gingrich's contract for America, 12 years ago.

12 years ago? For reals? I remember that Wednesday morning so well. Honor Scholar seminar, freshman year. DePauw University, where the students are 9814% more conservative than the professors, where the majority of the students come from affluent suburbs of Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago, where the majority of the students never saw diversity in color and ethnicity until Pell Grants and affirmative action made them see it (and they've probably not seen it since, for the most part). And the fucking gloating on my friend Kevin's face when he walked into seminar that morning. So, I freaked out quickly in thinking that that was only 12 years ago and holy shit I'm getting old that I was an "adult" 12 years ago (but that fixed the freak out, because I was exactly 18 years old in 1994, so yo, I'm really not very old at all), but then I returned to Kevin's gloating. I will not be a Kevin in the light of this change. I'm in Wait-And-See mode. But also, don't think for a minute that I've not done the math to figure out that we've got a woman third in line to the presidency. And a woman from San Fransisco, at that. Cheers, girls! (But I'm totally not gloating, it's just about the girl power. Oh, and Impeach Bush AND Chaney. Somehow)

Midterm Elections
Steering us toward center
I want to go left

I think this post has to end someday. I can't think of how to end this, but in Haiku:

Soapy Water, yo
The Kid, Dripping With Crazy
The Mom, Drinking Suds.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Untitled, or The Hospital Post

The Kid has been in the Inpatient Child Psychiatric Unit of the hospital since last Friday. I really haven't been finding much energy or time to post an update here, but as I've found myself with a slight window of time, I shall attempt to. I can't promise complete sentences or even coherent thoughts, but here goes:

Here are some adjectives that do NOT describe what it is like to hospitalize one's child because of psychiatric illness: easy, fun, and relaxing (as in, although there have been many times that I've wanted to ship The Kid off and see what it would be like to have a house to myself for one goddamned night, this was not one of those occasions).

Here are some adjectives that do describe what it is like to hospitalize one's child because of psychiatric illness: heartbreaking, tiring, lonely, alternatively encouraging. He's doing better. His first few days weren't good, but he was there because he so desperately needed stabilizing, and that is what they have endeavoured to do for the past 5 days. He completed an EEG (which The Kid told me he thought was a 'brain transplant') yesterday, which means I missed out on depriving The Kid of sleep for the test, so in a way, that was a good thing. Mengele G. is not my name, if you know what I mean. He had an MRI today. I should hear back about both of those things tomorrow.

He's slowly but surely getting more sparkle to his eyes, while simultaneously being calmer and less anxious. He can still get pretty pissed off, but it's really hard to tell what is pissed off because of inability to control anger vs. being sleep deprived and/or having been anesthetized, as he was for the MRI (he had to stay perfectly still, and anesthesia is the only way to do that with The Kid).

It's up in the air as to how long he'll be in there. They are hoping Friday as a discharge date, but it just depends. It's too long and hard to explain given that I have to leave for the hospital again in 10 minutes.

The only other thing I have time or energy to share right now is to put in writing how completely wonderful my family is. My mom is the most generous person I know, and I'm not talking about money. My sisters have been perfect supports for me and for The Kid. When I admitted him, they tried to say that only nuclear family should visit him for the first few days. I told them that just having me visit him would not be an option. During those tough first days of heavy medication and long rages, his only joy that I could see from him was in getting visits from his aunts and Meema. After the staff at the hospital has come to understand how our family rolls, they've agreed to one more very special relative. Tonight he gets to see his cousin, K. I am so excited to see his face when she walks up to him.