asshattery and other pre-existing conditions

Just in case you missed it, Jimmy Kimmel last night shared details on the birth of his son, Billy, in a teary, emotional monologue. Oh my goodness, a person has to have a heart of stone or no heart at all, and definitely no soul to not be touched by what Kimmel shared.

Ahem, Joe Walsh. When it comes to being heartless and soul-less, you never disappoint.

It is indeed the longest hours of your life when your newborn son has to have emergency open heart surgery. I’m reminded of that every time I see the scar that remains on my teenaged son’s body from his open heart surgery. Kimmel is right too in the statement:

We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but until a few years ago millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all,” he said. “You know, before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition and if your parents didn’t have medical insurance you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.

If only congressmen like Mo Brooks, Alabama’s 5th District, could understand that good, clean living’ does not guarantee someone from pre-existing conditions.

If only there was a cure for such asshattery!

If only

Little Billy Kimmel has just begun to live and has done nothing but live a good life. One might argue that he peed on his mother the other day, but it is the rare person who changes a newborn baby boy’s diaper who does not get peed on. Billy Kimmel is leading a good life – and now has a pre-existing condition. Daniel, my son, is arguably the most good and kind person I have ever known. He has lived a good life for fifteen years now – and has pre-existing conditions secondary to his extreme, premature birth. Both boys enjoy having health insurance right now thanks to their parents – whether or not they realize that they are enjoying having health insurance.

Joe Walsh, Mo Brooks, and every other member of Congress and their families, enjoy the guarantee of health insurance for their lifetime, regardless of any pre-existing conditions they might have – including being asshats.

Meanwhile, I will be walking this weekend with my colleagues and NICU graduates and families whom I have been honored to care for. If you want to offer your support for my walk, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

March for Babies

how does it feel

So I had a medial branch block in my lumbar spine on Monday and for a little more than 8 hours I was in pain-free heaven. I celebrated by over-doing it for several hours because there was no pain and because immediately after the injections, my doctor asked me to bend over and try to touch my toes.

I did.

I touched my toes and then  showed off a little and stretched just a bit more to touch the floor with my palms.

I have very long arms.

I was also showing off.

Then I cried. I cried happy tears because for the first time in months…many months, I was bending over and touching my toes and the floor and there was NO PAIN!!!

NO.

PAIN.

NO MOTHERFUCKING PAIN!

Yeah, I cried. Then I hugged the doctor and the nurse because there was no pain.

He brought me back to Earth reminding me that this block was only temporary; a test to see if the next step was an option. Go! Go for a walk…ride your bike…bend, stretch, reach for the sky…go do things he told me. Do all the things that you could not do without pain and write it all down in this Pain Diary.

My doctor asked me, a blogger, to write in a pain diary what I was feeling after the medial branch block.

Heh!

In other news, hurry up Insurance gods and give your consent for the RFA procedure. I am so ready!

 

living with the greatest evil

Saint Augustine once said, The greatest evil is physical pain, and all I can say right now is preach on good saint!

I like to imagine that I can handle pain. I mean I have birthed babies with no pain meds on board. I road a bike from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene and back the next day with my right arm in a cast. I’ve run my fair share of half marathons. Come on, surely I am capable to handle a little pain and survive.

But time, spondylosis, and osteoarthritis is telling me otherwise. Forget an exhilarating 5K run to start the day. The same goes for a slow walk around the park just around the corner from The Big Top. Reach for that salad bowl on the top shelf or bend down to tie my shoes guarantees the constant throbbing to amp up to knives stabbing the spinal column, hips and knees. The 20-30 commute to work just might kill you were it not for the salvation of the heated seat in that fun-sized Dory-car. The pain of swollen fingers,, hands, wrists and elbow promises that sleep will be interrupted numerous times through the night…or day for this night shift nurse. Yes, I tell my ortho doctor, I do take THAT much Naprosyn daily – my stomach is fine, for now. Late at night, as I attempt to console a baby born addicted to opiates because of mother’s addiction, I find myself having a better understanding sometimes what that mother must have been living with and trying to erase with prescription and illicit medicating. I’m still Team Baby, but as my back, neck, shoulder and elbow scream in protest while I hold their baby in comfort from their own withdrawal pain, I can imagine wanting to do just about anything to make this pain stop.

I’m working on it with the help of my ortho and pain specialist doctors; but this chronic suffering did not come about overnight so I imagine that relief or adjusting to a new normal that I can live with, work with and play with will take time too. I tell myself that. I tell myself that a lot – every day, every week.

Today though, today was not a good day because that chronic pain is peaking with no relief. I might have ugly cried at least three times – driving home from work this morning, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep this morning and waking up just an hour or so after falling asleep to that same pain. Days like today, and last night at work can be much too much sometimes.

But hurray for a new ball cap representing the fact that I am just a Steeltown girl and that, in spite of the pain, I woke up like this.

You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and…you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way. ~ Elizabeth Taylor

playing with sharp objects

Just in case you missed the other night in the land of Laura’s social media, this happened:

Three years ago he began this adventure with all the trepidation and tears any kid might have over the idea of shots literally every day. Still, we soon settled into a routine where mom or dad and sometimes sisters and even sometimes favorite aunties have given him his daily injections. But tonight, three years and ten inches and fifty pounds or more later, he asks if he can give himself the injection. And with his Dad’s hand on his for moral support, he does it.

We might still be in complete and utter shock over this here under The Big Top y’all.

He asks the next day if we are proud of him for giving himself his own human growth hormone injection.

Proud?

Yes.

Surprised?

Absolutely.

Surprised?..

He ponders this.

Well, most folks who need injections of medication aren’t so eagerly doing it for themselves. His own mama, who needed to inject a subcutaneous needle into her skin every three days while pregnant with her fourth child, just wasn’t that into that until her home health nurse told her that her darling husband can learn how to do it for her.

Yeah, no.

Necessary, Yes. But c’mon, not something we are falling all over ourselves to do to our own body with a sharp needle used to pierce our own skin….I get it son. I really do. Poking yourself with a needle is hard. But you did it. You really did it!

upheaval benefits

Anyone who has followed life under The Big Top of late knows much has happened in a very short time:

  • my darling husband turned 53 and got really, REALLY, REALLY lucky in a car versus motorcycle accident so that he could enjoy celebrating turning 53.
  • Fallon now enjoys making direct eye contact with Mima’s camera and is literally counting down the days before she begins pre-Kindergarten…it’s coming y’all in DAYS!!!
  • Daniel is back to school in 8th grade and we are all pretty certain that I will be that mom as this is the last time ever for me to have an 8th grader who will be graduating 8th grade nine months from now. I’m already teary y’all.
  • And in one weekend, Abby and Jodie both moved out. Jodie moved back for another year at Arizona State which means that she won’t be home for dinner tomorrow or the next day or even the days after that. Abby ran away from the circus to her own apartment shared with her best of friends. She is not far but she is definitely off doing adult things like grocery shopping and hanging pictures and dealing with apartment maintenance trouble shooting a leaky dishwasher.

One would imagine that I am here just wanting to settle back into a quiet, calm, easy, normal routine.

Are you kidding?

It’s quiet around here…it’s even quieter than I might have ever imagined when all these kids of mine were home and noisy and loud and everywhere and underfoot and standing on my last nerve. This is too calm, y’all.

And so I decide to challenge myself with a little change or two or more.

Why not?

Yes, I know that I am late to the Whole30 party…but I am not the only one. Truthfully, I might have never given it a second or third thought were it not for the inspiration of two people I am acquainted with, two very busy moms of four. I watched them both take on the Whole30, making all the changes in their kitchens, their routines, their diets…and they did not go bat-shit crazy trying to balance Whole30 into everything else that busy moms of four kids under 12 must do. On the outside, they both looked better reporting inches and pounds lost, better sleep, better skin, hair and nails…and for one, who has dealt with a number of health issues after a major medical crisis a few years ago, dramatic improvements in her overall health.

Hmmm…

Why not look into this. I am a woman of a certain age now…menopausal with all the fun and games that comes with that bull-shittery. Sleep well? I am a a nurse who works 12 hour night shifts…please. But positive health changes and inches and pounds lost aside, it’s too quiet around the Big Top and I need a challenge,,,soo…

Of course it takes time, planning, patience and support from people around you. It might seem hard but as Melissa Hartwig phrases it: Quitting heroin is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Childbirth is hard. Drinking your coffee black is not hard. I’ve birthed more than my fair share of babies…which doesn’t come close to beating heroin or cancer but I get it. This is a challenge but it is a do-able challenge.

The initial pantry-stocking shopping list will likely hurt but you got to start somewhere. The dreaded first week might have been hard except I had a killer summer cold to distract me from feeling miserable without sugar and pasta and bread. Let’s just say they both made me miserable. But I did survive Bill’s birthday cake by letting his children serve it up.

Ultimately, it wasn’t as hard as I imagined it to be. The circus that remains under the Big Top has literally never eaten better. I didn’t miss Bill’s birthday cake or bowtie pasta with pesto sauce or even the big bowl of Jelly Bellies in the break room at work. I enjoyed feeling full between meals, improved sleep and energy levels. My skin literally has never, ever looked better.

The Whole30 is not really a diet but more of a dietary reset. Eliminating excess sugars, dairy, grains and over-processed foods resets your gut allowing it to heal and then work the way that it is designed work. Still people think of Whole30 as a diet and, of course, want to know what are the results? How much weight did you lose??

Well, 30 days later I am happy to report that along with all the other positives I have lost a little over 9 pounds and 8 inches and yes, that is pretty cool too. And now, 30 days later, where do I go from here? Whole60? 90? Whole30 forever? How about Whole30ish. I’m liking the overall changes in my health and physical condition and I imagine that I, like other mere mortals, will need more than 30 days to see far dramatic results…like the end to these ridiculous soaking hot flashes because menopause happened more than five years ago….so I will continue to maintain following Whole30 guidelines with the exception of treat like when a coworker brings in a Nothing Bundt Cake to share or wine or a Moscow Mule or an ice-cold glass of chocolate milk after a 5 mile run because, literally, there is nothing better than that!