Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I want for Christmas is your Chomments.

Did you know you can comment on my blog posts? It used to be that you had to have a specific type of account to post. Now, anyone can do it! If you don't have any of the account types listed in the drop down, you can just choose the "Name/URL" option, enter your name, and leave the URL field blank. Voila!

I'd love to know your thoughts.

Here comes Santy Claus!

Joy oh joy! Christmas is only a few days away and we are feeling all kinds of festive here. I have a couple of photos to share from the interactions Hannah has had so far with Santa. It's not good...
I've trained her to scream when a stranger grabs her. Nice job!

She will forever fear bearded men.
Hannah does much better when her parents are around. (Yes, I grew antlers.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mental illness and the death of children

My grandma died exactly one year ago today, and I miss her so badly. She was not young. But because of her age and her Alzheimer’s, she acted like it. She depended upon others for supervision so she didn’t take too many pills at a time or burn down the house by forgetting about the pot of water heating up on the stove. I remember her cackling voice, her flowery scent, and the precious scratchiness of her hands. More than that, I remember how badly she wanted to take care of people and act like a host even if it wasn’t her party. How she loved to have her family around. How sweet she was and how much she enjoyed Christmas and the One who was born to die for us. Alzheimer’s turned her around. Her actions became unrecognizable. This was a very distant person from the grandma I knew my whole life. She became a child again.
Mental illness is ugly like that. It doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, religion, age, or any other factor. It is the serpent that slithers quietly through the subconscious and presses, lies, and bites.
I read a blog comment from a person today who said, “Mental illness is a myth.” Anyone who thinks mental illness is a myth has obviously never had it. It is very real. It is a nightmare for those who live with it, and for those who support someone who has it.
Yesterday, in Newtown, Connecticut, we lost 28 children in an evil attack of mental illness and sin. We lost 20 innocent first-graders, 6 heroic school employees, a mother who most likely tried to help and a young man who needed it. They are all “children” to me. Now that I have a

Friday, December 7, 2012

My disc is trying to vacate my spine, and it hurts like a muther.

The results are in on my back: I have a herniated disc in my lumbar region. To save you from having to check the Googles about this, I will do a little Q & A on your behalf.

You: What does that mean?
Me: It means that I either screwed up a disc with wear and tear over time or I injured myself at some point and it never healed properly. It means I have sciatica radiating down my right leg. It means I'm annoyed at the fact that it hurts to pick my daughter up and I'm thrilled that I can't carry laundry baskets, although Jason still doesn't let me use that as an excuse to not fold laundry.

You: So how did you ruin your disc?
Me: The doctor thinks I probably injured it a long time ago and it never really healed, and then when I gained three baby's worth of weight during pregnancy and tried to lug my 18 lb baby in a 20 lb car seat, I pushed it over the edge. And now it wants to leave my body.

You: But I lift heavy things and weigh more than I should. Why does my back feel fine?
Me: Because you're not a lemon, and because there are other factors that contributed to my defect. Apparently I have a 14mm difference in the length of my left and right legs. The doctor thinks I probably jacked up my right knee at some point (I'm looking at you, 7th grade softball injury) and stunted the growth plates. My body decided that I would either wobble like an elderly hobbit or remedy the situation by forming a moderately crooked spine. My body chose the latter, and this also contributed to the susceptibility of my lower back to injury.

You: What does that look like?
Me: Here's an image from my MRI.

You: Does it hurt?
Me: Would it hurt if  your knee cap was trying to leave your leg? If your knuckle was trying to exit your hand? If your tailbone was trying to leave your butt? Yes. It hurts like a muther. It's a consistent throbbing lower back pain. It has a heartbeat. Sometimes if I move the wrong way, sneeze, or laugh too hard it's a shooting pain that takes my breath away.

You: How are you going to treat it?
Me: I've done a trial period of decompression therapy and so far that seems to help. I'm not going to have surgery. I refuse. I suck at recovering from surgeries. If decompression therapy winds up being too expensive (not sure yet what insurance covers) or doesn't help, I'm going to investigate my other non-surgical options. Like maybe losing 40 lbs. to see if that lightens my spinal load. Or yoga. Or percocet. Whatevs.

You: When are you going to stop griping about it? It's kind of annoying.
Me: First of all, quit reading my blog or standing within earshot of me if you don't like it. Second, I'll quit griping when it quits hurting. And then I'll have a little pity party and complain about how I'm always sick or injured. And then I'll drink a glass of wine and feel better and write about how nice life is and how it could be worse and I should be grateful for what I have. And so on.

Thanks for your concern, you. It makes me feel better knowing that you are interested in my physical well-being, and that you continue to read even though I can be slightly annoying at times. I hope you have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Scenes from the Annual GrisWalter Christmas Tree Chop.

Oh Christmas tree. Oh. Christmas tree. I want to touch your branches.

I have a sweet little angel baby all tucked up in her crib with her bottom in the air, her tummy full of the delicious carrots that I cooked and pureed for her tonight. The dishwasher is buzzing, little scrubbing bubbles vaporizing remnants from tonight's delicious Alfredo, suds splooshing all about like it does in those illustrations you see on the TV commercials. Jason's on the couch strumming his precious guitar, Mabel. He's playing along with the music coming from the television. F chords when it's intense. A minor when it's sad. D chords when it's pleasant. Benson's all curled up next to him, licking his paws. We sip our night caps and watch a recording of our favorite show, Intervention. It's the holidays and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I love me some holidays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ladybug is 8 months old and I am 2 days late telling you.

Get off my case about the timeliness already! I'm doing my best! (I said to myself.)

Hannah crossed the 8 month line last Sunday, 12/2. She's such an adult now. I think the only thing that's holding her back is her height. Otherwise she'd be driving, working a fast food job, and voting. Or doing other things. She's probably not getting any taller because she's constantly sick. It's hard for a body to focus on growth when it's focused on battling perpetual illness. We took her, yet again, to the pediatrician yesterday. She just can't overcome this cough of hers. The nurse practitioner scoped her ears and - yep! - we've got an ear infection. Again? Still? I don't know. I hate giving her medicine but I have to continuously weigh that against the alternative of her remaining sick or growing weaker. I'm trying to figure out what the catch is here. Am I supposed to surrender to this? Are all babies sick their entire first 8 months of their life? Or is this just the 50% of her that came from me? I do have an update on my ailing back, but I am not prepared to share just yet. I need to provide visual aids, and that takes effort I'm not willing to commit to a post yet. However, I will leave you with this very adorable picture of me, Jason, and our darling little ladybug. Good night, all.

Hannah, the 8 month old adult