Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Frank and Earnest

Let's be Frank and Earnest...Do you want to be Frank...or Earnest?

I'll be Frank. 

How on earth can the simplest of things turn into such a complication?  The dreaded pinky finger has ruined my entire schedule today!  I'm never going to be able to have the nervous breakdown I so deserve because, until I get caught up...there's just no time for falling apart and that's a pity. 

Anyhow, the doctor's office called and said they could squeeze her in at 12:30 today...during the lunch break.  Apparently the lunch break goes from 12:30 to 3:30 cause there we sat...and sat... and sat and they must have told 6 other people the same thing because they were all sitting too except more than half of them were actually sleeping.  I may be wrong but if you come out to get your patient and everyone is asleep...you might have a problem.

I was however, amused with the check in packet and because I am so freaking tired, everything today made me laugh because crying in public, for no apparent reason is frowned upon. (I'm also fond of run on sentences and the word because.) Tell me this, since when was 'American' a Race?  Did I miss something?  Did that become a thing when Yiddish also became such a prevalent language it had to be added to the list of PRIMARY languages?  Here in my small town of 18,000 people in the armpit of Idaho, Yiddish is not one of our primary languages.   

Don't even get me going on the section to check off your gender.  One word.  Ridiculous! That should just become a fill in the blank...If you haven't seen this pop up yet, you don't go to the doctor's enough.  It's the dumbest thing in the world...I literally can't even go on about this or I will end up using my 'inside voice' and that might be too frank.

Okay, anyways...back to the finger.  We didn't even get to see the surgeon!  But the PA comes in and he's nice but he says, "Who told you you broke your finger?"
"Ahhh...our doctor?" Is this a trick question?
"It's not broken.  You're fine." He says
"Huh?  Are you sure about that cause I'm pretty sure something's not right." I said
"Ya.  I'm sure.  We see broken fingers all the time here.  It's not broken.  The x rays look fine."
"Would it be okay if we just took a peek at it under all that wrapping material?" I ask.
"I guess if you want me to look anyways, that's fine." he said.
"Okay, I do."

Oh. My. Goodness.  The second he saw her finger, I thought he was going to pass out!  Which started me laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face.  It looks like a limp noodle.  All he could do was stand there and say, "Are you kidding me right now?" I'm still laughing about that now when I think about his pale face with his jaw sitting on the top of his Adidas. Ha ha ha...Poor guy!  He really is super nice but the whole thing was a joke.

Anyways...long story longer, they did some more tests and what happened is, the ball hit in such a way the tendons and ligaments pulled the joints apart from each other and when it snapped back, the bone of the top joint sheared off.  Because she has hypermobility disorder the tendons and ligaments are all out of place and stretched; lots of injured soft tissue and the broken bone.  So, no surgery yet.  A more substantial brace and no movement for 6 weeks.  Then, we'll see what we need to do. 

What a day.  On a more serious note, I'm a little worried about what is shaking down for me.  My kidney testing is looking like a sandbox of stones or cancer.  I really don't have time for either but I love sandboxes of kidney stones more than cancer.   They've ruled out infection and lupus is really what they thought was the problem but my inflammatory markers are awesome thanks to my daily beverage of apple cider vinegar and baking soda with a splash of lemon juice.  I'm losing a significant amount of red blood so that's the bad deal.  It shouldn't be this hard but my insurance keeps denying the testing the doctor really wants to do.  If they deny it again next week, after I've done all these other useless tests...I'm taking names down.  I'm done playing nice with them.

I also have bigger problems than this...my blood pressure was 155/97 and my cholesterol level is well over 200.  When my doctor saw this, he said, "That's not right.  Our machine must be off."  So he sent the blood work out for a different lab to test it.  Came back the same.  So, I said, "What do I do now?"
"Well, you need to eat healthy and lose..." then his voice trailed off and we laughed nervously. 

That's funny...eat healthy to the girl who drinks vinegar for breakfast and dinner and goes to the gym everyday.  So, I don't even know what to do and he honestly has no clue either.  I eat a pretty clean diet so I don't understand what is happening.  If I eat any cleaner, I will start losing weight and that's not really ideal right now, or ever probably.

I guess, I have no choice but to leave this, along with the other stuff in God's hands.  When I'm done, I'm done.  I've watched my boys thrive on half a heart beat and next to no heart beat so I guess I can keep going on arteries that don't allow blood to flow!  I don't know.  I'm bugged by it all but here's to continued prayer and faith.

Monday, November 20, 2017

This crazy life

I actually had an epiphany this weekend about the state of my life...I mean besides crazy.

But...you're going to have to wait for another post before I dive into that topic. I am so far behind on taking care of my house and my kids.  Even though I really wanted to try to get some rest this weekend and try to feel better, that didn't happen.  Not at all.  I saw all the things around this place that have been driving me bonkers and tore into them.  The main thing was the wall I ripped out in the summer!  Yes, it's been undone since then...just an ugly eye sore.  I got as far as sheet rocking it and then I don't know...someone tried to die or something and I got distracted.

But it's done!  Mud, sanding, more mud, sanding, texture and painted even!   It's far from perfect or ideal but it looks like I made an effort to care...so that's good.  I actually think it looks awesome for the likes of me with no real handyman experience.  Sam cut the shims off from the door we hung this summer on Shelbie's room so she doesn't get "shanked" (her words) every night when she gets up in the dark.

Since all of us have been sick with one thing or another the past few weeks, I bleached all the hard surfaces, washed all the blinds and scrubbed all the baseboards.  I vacuumed the mattresses, cleaned out the storage room, cleaned out my closet and the garage.

I did a lot!  What I didn't do, that I should have done was create the handmade Nordic Santa ornaments for the Festival of Trees that I am in charge of this coming Saturday.  I have a feeling there will be some long days and short nights in my very near future somewhere between pie making, turkey basting and cheese balls!

In kid news...Spencer is at 4 weeks post surgery.  He is doing okay. I can tell when I talk to him that he is worn out and feeling pretty poor.  I don't think he realizes how much his body has been through both in mind and spirit.  He didn't give himself any time to recover from surgery, he started his new job just 4 days after surgery and starting a new job when you feel great is hard.

Sam is pretty much feeling better from pneumonia.  His heart has had some issues Saturday and Sunday which I'm not sure what to do...but like usual, we wait and see what comes of it.  It keeps me on my toes to live like that.  I've needed to get a bunch of paperwork for him to get signed up with disability services at College.  I finally did that today!   It actually was easier than I thought to rustle up all the testing he had back in 4th grade...which is what the College was asking for!  So, jumping through hoops this afternoon was all sorts of fun.

Shelbie...Sometimes, I'm surprised I don't get fired from being a mom!  Seriously!  She has been complaining all weekend about her broken finger.  I kept saying, "Shelbie, of course it's going to hurt, it's broken.  Give it time."  But she insisted..."There's something not right mom."

So, this morning I unwrapped it to see if the swelling was down and it was down a lot but call me crazy... I don't think this is right!

 I was shocked when I saw this!   We are 5 days out and the darn finger is starting to heal this way!!  I called the nurse in the clinic where it was 'set' and explained what was happening and she said she would show the pictures and x-rays to one of the other providers.  She called back 10 minutes later and said, "I'm sorry, she probably needs to have some pins placed so we are sending a referral to the ortho surgeon."  Sheesh!  I should have been more on top of this. I feel bad.

As I was driving to work this morning in Idaho Falls, I was laughing at how sometimes, I treat my kids like I treat my cars.  My last car had no paint on the bumper for 6 of the 9 years I owned it because I just didn't have the resources to fix it so we just became accustomed to the lousy looking car.  Honestly, for one second I thought...It's just a pinky finger!  It's not the end of the world if it's a little crooked.  No big deal!   But then I thought...I guess we better try to repair it so it looks new-ish again!  Ha ha ha...I'm a dork!  Actually, I'm just tired.  It's tiring trying to keep us all looking like newer models than we are!


 I think our doctor forgot that Shelbie doesn't produce collagen like the rest of us and she has hypermobility issues so that is likely going to create some problems in healing.   Of course...it can't just be simple.

I'm hoping maybe a different kind of splint but that really feels like wishful thinking. In reality, I believe she will be having surgery and probably by the time they fit us in, it will be re-breaking it and then pinning it or screwing it...whatever they do...but first we have to get through that PET scan on Monday!  Ugh.

Anyways, such is life.  It could be worse.  One crazy day at a time I always say.   Really, I just started saying that.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Giving Thanks...

Yep...A Christmas post the week of Thanksgiving. 

What a week it's been so...what else could I do but deck the halls and Fa La La.

Here's the thing I've been thinking about.  I use to be that grumbly person who complained about Christmas crowding out Thanksgiving and even in some cases, Halloween!   Every year, Shelbie begs me on November 1st to put up the tree and decorations and every year, I simply say 'No! It's way too early for Christmas.'

This year, I've spent all year thinking about Christmas.  More specifically, thinking about Christ and how, without Him, I would be so lost.   I've thought about how He was born so humbly and lived so simply, so kindly, so lovingly... He lived the way I ultimately want to live. He lived for me and He lived for you. 

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I thought about all I am thankful for.  You can come up with a list covering all sorts of things to be thankful for.  At times this year, I have had to really use some creativity to find things to be thankful for.  There's plenty but sometimes, it's more like a scavenger hunt  than a cornucopia of goodness spilling out around us. 

On Friday, I sat in a laundromat watching some clothes tumble and couldn't stop thinking about how I love this time of year.  I love that people just naturally become softer and more gentle and the air smells sweet with all things warm and good and hearts are filled and full.  I love that Christ crowds out the pettiness, anger, shortcomings and sadness.  We lean into understanding each other more, lifting and carrying burdens that haven't been shared all year, for some.  It's almost as if we all try to equalize life and the seemingly unfairness that comes with it.  

So anyways, that's why I decided it would be perfect to have Christmas up the week when we really focus on gratitude, and it feels so cozy!  I want to crowd up our life with Christ. We worked on it together, laughed as we tangled ourselves up in lights and listened to holiday tunes while Snapchatting with Spence.  It was an easygoing and much needed night together...to be grateful for Christ. 

The Santa corner.  The porcelain sleeping Santa was made by my mom and my favorite.  The Santa figurine is our favorite real life Santa who passed away two years ago so we honor Mike Powell...a.k.a Santa.

My skinny tree in the corner of my postage stamp room

The Nativity

Of course, my favorite tree decor..I love my little elves and jingle bells. 
So...how are you going to let Christ crowd out the noise as 2017 winds down?


Thursday, November 16, 2017

I can't resist...

Too true!
Today just has to be a day full of sarcasm because otherwise...

Well, otherwise it would be a really sad day and as it was, the grey clouds hung low and showered their sadness all over the place.

I'm not at liberty to discuss the happenings last night because it involves too many other people, even though I absolutely hate cryptic writings.  Things transpired in our little family that were mostly unexpected and incredibly difficult.  I don't think we stop long enough to consider how our choices affect everyone around us, especially those closest to us.  The kids did not handle the situation very well and spent the night in tears and sadness and lots of anger.  The saddest thing I heard all year came from Sam last night through lots of tears..."I'm so sorry that we are a burden and ruin everything."  I hate nights when all I can do is reassure them that they aren't a burden and that they are loved and the most important part of my life.  My living room has become the place where life falls apart and together we sift through the wreckage and piece it all back together the best we can...and then we go to Taco Bell.  Close to 3 this morning, we called it a night.

I've not been feeling well for weeks. I finally decided to see a doctor about why I can't seem to feel like a human being and  it seems I have a little problem to be addressed.  So, today, I got to spend the day fasting with just clear liquids since midnight last night.  That's not really out of the ordinary for me, I usually get around to eating breakfast around 3 in the afternoon anyways, but the amount of water I had to drink was unreal!  105 ounces today.  I think I went up two dress sizes at least!  And after 2:00 pm I wasn't allowed to pee.  You have no idea what kind of fun that is until you've had a few babies River Dance on your bladder for 9 months at a time.  Your constant prayer becomes...Please don't let me sneeze, cough or laugh.  And...this town needs to fix the potholes in the roads.  Seriously!

When I saw that bladder on the ultrasound screen, I was pretty impressed!  I'm such an over achiever and no one got to appreciate the skill and talent I have in holding my 'clear liquids'.  The tech said, "Good grief, you really followed instructions didn't you?" I'm certain she meant that as a compliment.  That's me, a straight arrow.  Rules are rules.  I'm pretty sure the news on this is going to suck but for today...I'm enjoying a little sarcasm and denial and trying to steer clear of people who are going to screw my life up anymore than it already is.

In other news...because what a boring day today has been...Shelbie broke her finger!  I can't even believe it.  Her friend convinced her to go to church Volleyball tonight and the first time the ball touched her hand, snapped her finger in half.  Straight up, in half.  No little hairline fracture, no wait til the swelling goes down...just a sheared off, clean cut, bone in half; between the first and second knuckles kind of brake.

I was at work of course and I get a call from Sam.  He has watched way too much Brian Reagan.

"Hey Ma!  Umm, you doin' anything right now?"
"Saaammmmmm! What happened?"
"I was just thinking maybe.. like if your finger is dangling, is that just dislocated?"
"Samuel! Whose finger is dangling?"
"Maybe Shelbie's."

After I got him headed to the urgent care with Shelbie in tow, I hurried to lock up the building I was working in and meet them.  Meanwhile, Sam sends me a Snapchat of Shelbie crying in pain with the background music in which the lyrics said, "It's okay to be a little broken..." I have to admit, I laughed.  NOT at her suffering of course but Sam's twisted sense of humor he must have gotten from, well, me, probably.

Brother!   I realize this is so incredibly minor compared to what we have faced but it's the never ending little things that assemble into last straw kinds of things.

At some point before 6 am, I plan to start work for the day!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

All in a day...

I have an intern working for me still...she's funny.  I think she is surprised at the fast pace we move around here.  It's a little odd that the only office I can provide her is my living room so she's sort of become just another part of the family. 

Everyday we are hopping from project to project and everyday, she comments on how crazy our schedule is and I just laugh...because what else am I suppose to do but laugh anymore.  Having her around has made me realize what an amazing job I have.  I get to do something completely different every single day of the week.

After so early morning work hours, a doctor's appointment for an hour, we headed to decorate a client's home for Christmas.  I've been decorating their home for 8 years now!  It's hard to believe.  (Later this week, I will be decorating a home I've been doing for 25 years!)  It took over 4 hours and I didn't take nearly enough pictures...
Some floral arranging I did

Hanging the stockings...

They have a very simple tree...you can't tell from the photo but the tree is full of tiny red frames with photos of the last 4 generations of family and their names are embossed on the frame.  It's a fun idea.

Love the felted angels
 I got home from that with just enough time to change and head down to Idaho Falls for a presentation.  When I walked in the door, the first thing I saw was Sam and he is sick!! Ugh.  I could tell by his sunken eyes and his wheezy breathing, he has pneumonia again.  I made a quick call, cancelled the presentation and called around to find a doctor who could get us in to confirm my fear.  I ran him in and that took another two hours which left me only an hour before my house was going to fill up with college kids.

In that hour, I whipped up some cupcakes, tidied the house and welcomed my Nephews (they really belong to my Wasband) and all their roommates and friends.  My Wasband's Nephew opened his mission call at my house.  His family, in Indiana had a houseful too, as they Skyped in so he was surrounded with love.

Everyone taped their guess to the mantel but no one was right...He's going to Cambodia!


Taylor's family
 He's the cutest kid!  So full of personality and fun.  I've only really gotten to know him this past year because he was so little the last time I was in Indiana, when I was married.  I'm really going to miss him!  He lights up my house when he comes over.

After the shock of that was over, all the kids took him out for a late dinner to Teton Thai and Shelbie treated everyone to a really late movie at the cheap seats and I headed for a late start at my night job.

So...it's been another big day around here. 

Tonight, I'm cramming to get stuff ready for another health insurance meeting tomorrow.  I totaled our medical expenses for 10 months and we are sitting just over $125,000 this year.  It's been a 'light' year since I put off three bone marrow biopsies which would have added an easy $45,000 or more.  I don't mention these things for pity or attention...it's just part of the reality of our life and you have to admit...fairly impressive.   Still ahead is a brain PET scan for a few thousand, Spencer's surgery...and whatever other surprises are coming.

I don't know what to do about Sam.  His lungs are taking a beating with all these pneumonia relapses this year.  Our immunologist is just trying to buy time before he commits to weekly plasma transfusions because it will be for a lifetime when it finally starts.  He is hoping he can hold off until Sam gets a little older but I just don't think that's a good idea anymore.  As much as I hate to tether him to that treatment and the obscene expense of it every week, it's inevitable. 


Sunday, November 12, 2017

In the mess of Life...There's Grace

I've tried to get this post written for a couple of days but things have been busy around here and other things took priority. 

I'm not even sure where to start.  I guess I really want to focus on the little mercies and miracles I've seen.  I talk a lot about the isolation that comes from the chronic trials and stress that we face.   The past couple of weeks, I've mentioned about the little gifts and heartfelt cards of encouragement that have been showing up on my doorstep...it continues!  I can't even believe it.  I'm overwhelmed that it is still going on.  It has made all the difference in how I have been able manage things.  Isn't it funny how just the fact that someone is thinking of you, can change the perspective and thoughts of despair to an increase in confidence in your ability to keep going. 

I wish I could really give an adequate thanks to those who have been so caring and thoughtful.  It is something I will never forget and a great reminder that I too, can do more for others who are alone and isolated.

This week, I have had to get a handle on my insurance issue since the company I have been with has pulled out of the healthcare exchange.  There are two things I feel powerless over and bring me so much anxiety I will go to any length to avoid it...money and health insurance.  They both add to my impossible situation.   My insurance guy bailed on me a year or so ago when he made some life changes and even though he stayed in the industry...I think, he turned my account over to someone else.  They were actually clueless so any problems I had, I went straight to the help line at the exchange.  I was really lost as to what to do now that I have to find a new carrier but that prayer was answered.  I found a new insurance company to work with, turned all my stuff over to them and started working on a new plan. 

Even though, I'm completely hosed for next year, he was so patient as I cried huge tears that puddled on the edge of his oversized desk. I've never been so embarrassed.  He didn't try to silver line it...or say "At least..."  He just let me have a moment til I could pull it together.  I was so grateful that I had help to navigate things and he patiently explained for the umpteenth time, how deductibles and out of pocket max works because I am too tired to remember all these things.   There is only one company that will cover the specialists we need and that is going to come at a price nearly 5 times in monthly premiums what I pay now!  I'm pretty upset and don't have a clue how I will be able to pay it.

The same day, I found out my car insurance is going up by nearly $200 a month and the night before my health insurance meeting, I got a letter from the mortgage company saying they miscalculated my escrow when I refinanced a year ago so that's going up. 

BUT...these little secret angels who have dropped thoughts along my way each night, have given me my second wind to face this with a renewed faith in the miracles that Heavenly Father can do on my behalf.  This is how we roll...we will do what we've always done...we will watch and wait, do the needful things and see how it all comes together for a long term plan.  It's interesting to me that all this happened the day after I was inspired to take one night off a week and give that income to someone else...who also needs the work.  I'm a little excited to see what happens next in the saga, so stay tuned for January 2018.

IN the meantime, I have had some really amazing opportunities to help people this week.  Helping people in much worse circumstances than me and I could see how many of my past experiences have prepared me to be there for them.  The Lord is amazing and truly, all things do work for our good...and the good of others too.

Spencer came home this weekend...truly my kids are my currency of  happiness!  To each other, they are happiness.  There was a moment when I was so happy and so proud of them as I watched them having fun with each other and smiling so big, even in the midst of our continuing difficulties. 

When he arrived, the first thing he and Sam did was compare their scars and stories of recovery.   We were all sitting in the kitchen and when they both lifted their shirts and I sat there looking at my boys with scars across their chest, I was overwhelmed with our story of where we are and how we got here.  It was a moment for sure!  One of unbelief. 

Anyways...always a lot going on and never a break but such is life. 


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Making Changes

Tonight is an epic night...

For the first time in 5 years, I have not had to put in a 14 hour work day!  It feels so weird.  It makes me wonder how in the world I do these long days, day in and day out.   I still put in a good 10 hours but still...

I knew this past weekend, I needed to start making some changes in my life before I die of a heart attack from the stress and work.  So, I took the plunge yesterday and officially hired a girl to do my night jobs one night a week, at least through the rest of the year.  I'm hoping I won't miss the income too much or at least can make up for the losses some other way.  I think I'll be fine, nothing that a little faith won't take care of.

It is interesting to me how resilient we can be at times.   Things don't always seem impossible until you look back at what you did and realize there is no way you could have done it without a lot of help from God.   I remembered tonight back when I was working full time right after I got divorced.  I was determined to not miss being at the crossroads of my kids' life so with the blessing from my employer, I went in to work at 4:30 am so I could take my lunch at 7:15 am and run home, wake the kids up, feed them breakfast and drive them to school.  I would work the rest of the day without a break so I could then leave the office at 3:00pm and pick them up from school and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening with them. I did that for years.  It wasn't until the first day after being laid off, waking up that early seemed next to impossible!  I don't think I could ever do that again.

I've been pretty worried about a few of my jobs that I have fallen so far behind on and the other ones I'm barely keeping up on, have been hard to keep organized and on top of what needs to be done.  I have a huge project I'm working on in two other cities.  If I screw these up, it will be bad news for many reasons. I'm not at all worried about the money loss but my reputation.  I get more referrals from my commercial projects than anything.  Three people have been fired from the project over the past few weeks because they dropped the ball on things or didn't follow through.  This week, they haven't been responding to me as usual so I was panicked that I was next!

Somehow, as a tender mercy, when I met with them this afternoon, they said how pleased they are with my work and I have rescued the project.  I am  highly suspicious of that but I was relieved that I've been able to keep them happy. I'm so grateful that even my less than usual attention has been enough until I can get caught up.

From day to day, I don't think I have the energy to do what I need to do but somehow, I manage.  Not somehow...I am truly being blessed during these hard times.  Today, I feel a little like the fog has lifted from the incredible worry and stress of the past few weeks.  I know it's the constant prayer that has saved us.

The kids are hanging in there too.  Spencer seems happier today than I've heard him sound in awhile and he told me tonight he is coming home this weekend!  I am so excited.  This job that seemed so perfect has been a let down and now it I'm not sure it's going to work out but all we can do is wait and see.  They alluded today, that they won't be able to pay him the promised salary until January!  Who does that?  Who hires someone and then a week into the job, make them feel like they won't get a pay check for two months?   Poor kid!  This is the way it goes...my only advice is wait and watch.  Let the wonders of God unfold.  There is a reason he is there and though it doesn't make sense yet, it will.  Here's hoping anyways!