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Showing posts from July, 2017

An Essay on Empathy

Empathy.

 Quite possibly the hardest, biggest, most convoluted word in the English language. It's a concept I became painfully aware of in 1999, when I realized, my world was not going to resemble the world I had conjured up in my teenage, dreamy, mind of happily ever after.

It was a time when I was facing the diagnosis of the kids, at least what was the official beginning.     It's a word that has provided me with hours of sorrow, frustration, anger, regret, confusion and even
resentment. At the same time, I found respite and care in the word.

So, for 18 years, I have studied and pondered to extreme lengths about Empathy and still today, it can be elusive.  Still today, it isn't second nature for most people, me included. For instance, when someone sneezes, people instinctively say, "Bless you!"  Except...last week, I was at the grocery store in line, and the guy behind me sneezed.  He blessed himself!  I actually felt shame and guilt for not stepping up to ble…

Doing Epilepsy in Style...and other news

Shelbie's epilepsy monitor came in the beginning of the week.  We still haven't started the medication yet...I think Sunday we will start.  I really wanted to get a few days with the monitor and see what a typical day and night is like for Shelbie with the monitor, no meds.


It looks nice enough, kind of like a smart watch and it's pretty darn smart!  I love the name of the device...Embrace.  What exactly are we embracing?  Epilepsy?  Embracing periods unconsciousness without the commitment of death?  I mean...that's something to embrace I guess.  It's important in times like these to look for the silver linings. This company is winning at silver lining things cause I feel so much better about things now that we can embrace it.

She has had two significant seizures but did not lose consciousness.  It monitors everything!!!  It monitors how much time she spends in various stages of sleep and how active her brain is.  One night, she tossed and turned 173 times!!  Good…

This Happened...

It's been a pretty busy week around here but there's always time to squeeze in a little DIY project right?

My Wasband gave each of the kids a piece of furniture of their choice.  The boys choose shelving units that are really nice and Shelbie chose a sectional sofa with down cushions...it's really nice.  Probably the nicest thing in my house even though it's over 20 years old.  The problem is, it's really big and my house is really small.

Shelbie has had her heart set on this for the basement.  I am letting her take over the basement so she feels a little autonomy.  It's not just about the sofa, it's about the memories that comes with the sofa.  Memories of family Karaoke nights, family movies with popcorn, bedtime stories, family home evenings, Christmas nights under the tree,  happy parents, happy family...all the stuff that children from divorce dream about from days gone by.

All the King's men and all the King's horses couldn't get that s…

Winning

Most days lately just feel like a struggle.  I'm not winning at anything, really.  My mantra use to"be,

Efficiency with Things, Effectiveness with People
I think this is from my early 20's when I fully worshiped Steven Covey, I had all things Covey- the planner, the books; I even gave talks to students and women on being effective.  But, that was in my 20's when I had it all figured out. 
Now, I'm not in my 20's and life has happened and happened good.  
Yesterday was a disaster in terms of effectiveness.  I had doctor appointments from 7:30 am, back to back until I walked out of my last one just after 1pm and by walked out, I mean, I literally got so angry from waiting over an hour and a half, I walked out of the exam room.  
The secretary called out on my way out..."Why are you leaving?" "Why was my appointment at 11:30 and now it's 1:00 and I still haven't been seen?  I don't have time to sit around waiting for him."  I don&#…

Sounds of Contentment

Without a doubt, the last few weeks have been a messy time for us.  Kind of out of control, sad and messy and sometimes I worry that I am not writing enough about the really good things that happen.

Every day, good things happen and I am blessed to usually see those good things and despite the drama of sad things, we laugh a lot around here.

Yesterday, I was blessed to spend just a few minutes with 'Little Miss'.  She is a half sister to my kids.  I call her Little Miss and she calls me Kat and sometimes, I think she is my best friend.  She is so smart and has the sweetest disposition.  If truth be told, she is always saying nice things about me..."Your hair looks great today Kat!" so what's not to love about having her hang around?

 Yesterday, my Wasband was helping Spencer move a desk and stuff over from Spencer's room at his dad's and she came along to help.  She really comes to spend time with the kids but since they weren't around, she got to s…

The Art of Insanity

One thing I hear all the time...All. The. Time!!

"Well, what else is new, at least you are use to this."  This is the comment when people find out we are still dealing with 'stuff'.  Health stuff.

NO.  We aren't use to this.  We will never be use to this and if anything, every day is getting harder.

The worst part is, half the time we don't realize the toll this is taking until it all explodes in a completely unsuspecting moment.

Sometimes, those moments happen in a hospital parking garage at 3:00 in the afternoon when people are coming and going but there you stand in the middle of the road, falling to pieces and unable to form a logical thought.

Not my finest moment.  After 10 minutes of melting down, I was able to call Spencer for help.  He had just driven off after his appointment to come home.  I had parked my car just three cars down from his but it wasn't there.  I ran up and down the two aisles of the hospital parking garage and my car was nowh…

Abundance

Every day is full of surprises!

Every day, I have learned to find God in the most unsuspecting places.

Every day, I lay in bed and wonder how such a place of heartache and suffering can be so beautiful and sacred.

Last Saturday I was at Walmart with Shelbie and Sam.  I ran into an old acquaintance.  We were in the same ward probably 18 years ago.  She had a baby who was born with Downs Syndrome and I remember her grief.  Her husband held, what I perceived to be, an important position at the University.  They were very well known and very well respected in the community.  They were, by all of the ridiculous social standards, the perfect family.

When their son was born, it shook their foundation, as one could imagine.  I remember spending time with her listening and trying to help them cope.  They moved out of the area shortly after this event.

Saturday, it was good to see her.  She was with her son.  She came up to me and put her arm on my shoulder and said, "Do you remember me…

All That Life Requires

I feel like this title should start...

Captain's Log...

Because, seriously, we are knee deep in uncharted waters.  It's been an interesting week thus far. I've been living my life from as far off on the fringes as one can get and still be somewhat engaged or at least appear to be engaged.  It's an art I have come to perfect!

It is an intriguing place to be.  I have become an expert in being unhinged from the emotion of it all yet, at the same time, side stepping my way into the issue and poking it with a long stick because I can't believe this is all real but then without warning, the tears can burst forth and I can't even really name one single thing that upsets me...it's just the combination of it all.

I find it so fascinating to keep a distance and watch how we are all dealing with this latest news.

For one thing, we have yet to talk about it.  We are the highest functioning picture of dysfunction you will ever meet!  Hands down!  Corner on the market..…

Untitled Part 2

I guess this post is part 2 of our Neurology appointment from last week...

In addition to the news of the seizure disorder, it was confirmed that Shelbie has a large benign tumor in the left temporal lobe of her brain.  I have never quite understood how a doctor can look at a brain tumor and say, "Well, don't worry about it."

Really?  Because how is that possible? It makes me kind of mad...well, really mad and part of me feels like I should have gotten mad about 25 years ago when it didn't make sense my SIDS baby continued to live...can you really call it SIDS?  And night after night for 2 years of monitoring when she couldn't maintain a normal heart rate or respiration rate...I wasn't suppose to worry about that either? And febrile seizures don't happen at 99 degrees...

I guess after letting this news settle in for a few days, I am now circling around to the anger side of grieving.  This is the ugly part of the process.  This is where there are no earthl…

Blissful thinking

This has just been a week of stuff...lots of hard stuff so it only seemed fitting to finish things off with a trip to the dentist.  I hate the dentist.  I have always hated the dentist.  I will always hate the dentist.

I had to have a root canal.

I figured I could either be upset and cranky and whine and complain or try to make the best of it.

So...I tried to make the best of it.

I am not very good at taking care of myself and I'm especially not good at asking other people to help me take care of myself or take care of anything really so, when the dental assistants ask if I need anything, I always say, "I'm fine."

Not yesterday.  Nope. I am a tired and cranky woman, on Prednisone, with an abscess in my ear to boot!

Just before I left for the dentist, I dug through the sofa cushions to find some left over Valium.  I was really intent on making this a good experience! They say that attitude is everything!  It's not what happens to you, but how you choose to deal …

Untitled...

I have had a lot of time to think about what to title this post.  I'm still undecided.  Here are some options...

Testing...
This is just a test.
Full Circle
Redemption
The wonders of God
Missing pieces
Borrowed Time

Shelbie had her neurology appointment yesterday.  About a month ago, a nurse called to tell me our neurologist wanted to see Shelbie.  That has rarely happened, that a doctor calls me to see my kids, so there was no hesitation in my response.

We waited over an hour and a half for the doctor to get to our room.  We kept occupied with Snapchat filters, GIFs and stupid Memes.  Everything seemed funny but I had the worst gnawing feeling that all that was about to change.

The doctor came and in said, "So, how are you handling this latest development and do you have any questions about Epilepsy?"

She was talking a mile a minute and describing in detail how she arrived at this diagnosis.  "Any questions?"  She paused to ask.

I remembered one time, I was …

Adulting

Adulting is hard!

I can see why it should only be attempted by grownups!

All graduating seniors should get a life packet called..."So you want to be an adult!" I would have enjoyed something like that.  It would have been nice if they also included a few parting gifts from the magical world of 'blame it on others.'  I'm not sure what those gifts would be, maybe some Rocky Road candy bars with a chaser of Mountain Dew because really, it's not all bad.  Sometimes, life is like the dewy hills on green mountain with little streams chasing rainbows.  I think a soundtrack for life would be nice...a collection of songs to ease you into adulthood...

Don't Worry Be Happy- Bobby McFerrin
It's a Hard Knock Life- Annie
I Will Survive- Gloria Gaynor
If You're Going Through Hell-Rodney Atkins
Only the Lonely-Roy Orbison
It's Not Easy Being Green- Kermit...because sometimes you get sick.

Anyhow...you get it gist. Today has been a really, crappy day and I…

The Butter Patch

It's almost a Sunday night tradition that Sam and I go long boarding.  I love long boarding more than I ever thought I would, and odd, it's true for someone of my mid-century age.  There is one part on our path that Sam calls the Butter Patch.  It's in the middle of the road and the asphalt is super smooth and almost slick, no rocks!

Every time we approach the area, Sam hollers back to me..."MOM!! The butter patch!  Hit it!"
Each time, I chicken out.  It's in the middle of the road and I have yet to build some confidence in my long boarding skills and ability to zip around.  The way my luck has been going, I'd meet the front end of a garbage truck.

But, last Sunday, I did it!  I hit the butter patch and Sam was right...it's a sweet spot for sure.

I've been thinking about the butter patch this past week.

I know to those reading the blog, it doesn't seem like we ever enjoy a 'butter patch'; smooth sailing in life, but we do.  The past…

So this is what breathing feels like...

This is where I got to work this afternoon...Technically, this is where I escaped to after I was done my work in Island Park.  This is Elk Lake in Lima, Montana.  Tucked away in a little forgotten corner of the Red Rock Mountains.

I was lucky enough to have been invited to spend the day with our good friends who were having a family reunion there.They reserve the entire place, a cabin for each family unit and gourmet breakfasts and dinners, canoes, paddle boards, toys and a chain of beautiful lakes for fishing and floating.  I couldn't be there all day but a couple of hours late this afternoon was the perfect teaser before I had to make the long drive home to start my evening job.

When I arrived, everyone was gone on some activities up in the mountains so I made myself comfortable on this dock with my new favorite book.  There is no cell service for miles.  No technology.  No distractions at the tip of your fingers...just this!  Just pure mountain air, with nothing but the birds…