Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Year and Counting

I hit the one-year mark at work last week.  It is hard to believe I have been back in the workforce for the past one year.  The original plan was to return to work for a year, pay our debts down, then resume stay-at-home motherhood.

Scratch the plan.

I like my schedule, I like (most) of my co-workers and my manager. I like the work that I do triaging people in withdrawal from substances, or who have suicidal or homicidal ideation.  They are in a moment that is ripe for change and opportunity.  And I like that Andi and the twins can hardly wait to go to school and that for the most part, they seem to have adjusted well to having a mom who has her own career. It’s been a good balance.  And I feel like I’m a better role model than I was as a stay-at-home mom.  (I am not slamming stay-at-home moms, I am just saying that I am not a particularly good stay-at-home mom.  Neither choice is better and I don’t like the whole “who works harder?” debate and I’m not taking a stance on that, either.)

I also like that after I find pee all over my counter, dripping down the cupboards and into the mixing bowls and onto the (just mopped for god’s sake!) floor because my three year-old couldn’t stop her hunt for the hidden tootsie rolls long enough to take herself potty – again – that I can hand my children off to someone else and go deal with other people’s crisis.  It gives me a chance to calm down and laugh at how Andi responded when I asked that she not let peeing her pants happen again... 

She changed clothes and put a panty liner in her underwear. 

Apparently she wasn’t taking any chances, though I don’t think a panty-liner could absorb the whole contents of her bladder.  But I’ll give her points for effort.

But going to work makes this blogging awfully difficult to get to.  I don’t know that I will keep up the blogging. I originally started it so family could see pics and read stories about the girls, but with an ipad that takes and sends pictures so easily and quickly, it’s made blogging less needed for keeping extended relatives mixed into the lives of the girls.

And while I do like writing, between cooking a weeks worth of homemade dinners during my three days off, getting all the errands run and bills paid and house cleaned and then trying to “just have fun” with my kids, Oh! and do the yard work, brush the dog, hit the gym and pump-it-up at Zumba twice a week, there just isn’t much time for writing.

But somehow, life feels better balanced – for right now… 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Skinny Corneas

I fear there is a chance that -- if I am able to vote at all on Nov. 6th – that my skinniness may cause me to vote in a harmful manner towards the general public.  I know that’s a big jump, but I promise you the thought makes sense.  Here’s the story…

 I may vote Republican, vote for VOTER ID in MN, and VOTE for ONE MAN ONE WOMAN marriage.  My brother -- who loves to freak me out -- pointed this out to me in a one line e-mail this morning.  I had not considered that my  “non-functional vision” the day of surgery could have a worse outcome than my not voting at all – the lack of vision could lead to me misreading and accidentally voting anti-woman, anti-minority, and pro-separation, pro-racism, pro-discrimination, pro-disenfranchisement.

Oh dear.

But I have no choice. The surgeon has 2 surgery openings left in 2012.  And only one day worked with Dave’s and my schedule.  That day is voting day.   

On November 6th, I go in to have PRK done on my eyes.  Just typing that out has made my throat constrict, I cannot breathe, and I am getting dizzy.  The recovery time is long, and I am told that for at least three days I will not be able to see in a functional manner and will likely want to sit in a dark room with my eyes closed.  And if I fall in line behind all the horror stories on the internet, it could be much longer than that.

Note to self: STOP reading PRK experiences on the internet!

Last year, I had the bright idea to put a big wad of money into a health or flex spending account.  I reckoned the “use it or lose it nature” of such an account would make me follow through on getting either my stomach surgery done or my eyes fixed with Lasik. 

It did not occur to me that I would not be a candidate for Lasik.  Though, it probably should have...

All my life my feet have been too narrow to wear the shoes I want, my waist too thin and legs too long to wear the clothes I like, my earlobes too tiny and thin to wear more than a diamond or pearl stud, my boobs too “lacking in tissue” to breast feed one baby, much less twins.

One time I tried on a very cute outfit at Banana Republic – a long skirt and v-neck skin-tight shirt. It was fashionable at the time.  I walked out of the dressing room and my mom and sister erupted into laughter…

The kind of laughter that brings tears rolling down their faces and wields their speech –non-understandable as they try to tell you, “You look just like Olive Oil!”

Oh Lordy.

So it should have been NO surprise when the opthamologist said, “Your corneas are too thin.  We will have to do PRK to protect your eyes.  Lasik is not an option.”


Luckily, I have two personalities.  One is highly neurotic, anxious, pessimistic, anxious, controlling and, did I mention anxious? 

The other personality is a licensed therapist who is calm, kind, patient, and a tad more realistic about things. 

So while I am FUR-REAKING out about:
  • Dave not taking care of …everything…while I am down for the count
  • Not being able to exercise, clean, and cook – my normal coping tools.
  • Being able to work
  • Being able to drive
  • Potentially never having the vision I want and completely regretting this decision or having long term negative side effects
  • Preparing to have horrible panic attacks
  • Catastrophizing about *just sitting* OH GOD I HATE SITTING! for three days
  • Wondering will I get to vote if I can’t see immediately after surgery on VOTING DAY? What if the republicans win? What if marriage becomes restricted and I.D.’s become a requirement of voting?  It’ll be ALL MY fault!!!!

And doing something that Dave would NOT be okay with since it is a “really, really bad idea,”
·         Driving around without my glasses on to *test* whether or not I can function with poor  vision.  I found that if I just focused on the fuzzy white lines ahead of me, I was able to drive to work and back home again – in the dark no less! 

The soft-spoken therapist is action planning by seeking out positive coping tools such as:
  • Listening to comedy shows on Pandora Radio
  • Finding audio books
  • Developing mantras such as, “I will get better. This pain is temporary. This blurry  vision is normal and it will get better. Breathe and calm down. There’s no reason to think you will have a negative outcome.”
  • Taking Omega 3’s and Vit C to help with recovery and really focusing on staying well hydrated.  Going into the surgery as healthy as possible – emotionally and physically as that helps with recovery.
  • Planning ahead to have meals frozen.
  • Giving myself permission to use sitters for extra help instead of chastising Dave for not helping.
  • Replacing intense workouts during recovery by identifying little stretches and gentle movements safe for and conducive to recovery.
  • Shopping for NON PRESCRIPTION sunglasses.  Who doesn’t love shopping? Actually, I’m not a huge fan of shopping.  It costs too much. And the temporary high of something new is not worth the depressed, guilty feeling of a dwindling bank account.

PRK was the vision correction surgery done before LASIK/LASEK came into play.  PRK is what the military still uses, so should I take that as a vote of confidence?  PRK does not “have the wow factor that Lasik has” according to the eye surgeon.  Vision with Lasik is clear 24 hrs later.  Vision with PRK is blurry for days, if not weeks, or even months (yes, I was reading horror stories online) and there is a pain element as well given that they burn off a layer of your cornea which has to grow back – slowly – hence causing vision disruptions.

Lasik removes a flap, but then puts it back. But this causes a person to permanently lose 20% of their corneal thickness. (If I understood my doctor correctly.)  Because I have skinny corneas, this is not a good idea.

And so, once again, my skinniness bites me in the butt again.  The plastic surgeon who did my tummy surgery eval did say he’d give me a discount, “you aren’t going to need any lipo when I sew your muscles back together. There’s no fat on you.” 

Well that’s something.  Perhaps I can put the saved money in an envelope, along with my apology letter to the democratic party…

I’m very sorry I voted for the enemy.   My Olive Oil Pippi Longstocking gangly skinniness is – in short -- the reason.  Please accept this monetary donation and spread it amongst all the populations that are suffering now that the Republicans are in charge. 

The Skinny Democrat Burning in Hell 

P.S. I thought Hell was supposed to be full of gays, women who aborted babies, welfare-crack-whores, and people who got divorces?  It turns out I am sitting with a bunch of CEO’s, bank executives, Republicans, and judgmental Evangelical Christians!  Who’d have thunk it?