Monday, March 17, 2014

We Can Do It

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This pic was taken of me by a co-worker who said I looked like Rosie the Riveter. Afterwards,  she and I decided to start a project in which we would take pictures of all the teachers and support staff in our department in the Rosie the Riveter style. Each individual would be holding something that was related to the work they do. I am holding communication pages that our special needs students use to assist in communication. Our audiologist will hold an otoscope, a teacher might hold an iPad, the behavior specialist could hold a behavior contract, etc. 

Any-hoo, fast forward to yesterday when my little sister posted this picture of her daughter (my niece) on Facebook:
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I added a color wash and the text.

Yup...we are totally related. 
I think my niece did a better job of posing than I did. She is fearless!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sympathy, Empathy, and Memory

My little brother, Joshua,  died of Leukemia when he was 2 years old. I was 4 and a half. When I tell people about my brother dying, they always ask how old he was and how old I was. Then, they ask if I remember. They look into my eyes and I can tell that they want me to say that I don't really remember much about the painful ordeal.

  I remember a lot.

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Joey, Stephanie, Joshua, Sarah *Susan was not born at the time of this photo

I remember before he got sick, how we would always be close to one another. If he was on the floor, I was next to him. If he was on the couch, so was I.  He was the closest in age to me out of all my siblings and he was my playmate.
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I remember when he got sick. We ended up going to the hospital in Dallas and staying with some friends of the family. We also spent time at the Ronald McDonald house...if I remember correctly.

I remember when he died.
It was a few days after my older brother's 7th birthday. My parent's called us into a room at their friends' house. We stood in a circle as my dad told us that Joshua had died. I didn't cry. I didn't know what that meant....death. I did not know anyone who had died before. I'd never been to a funeral. My older sister was about 12 at the time and she knew exactly what death meant. She let out a wail so sorrowful, so filled with pain that it shook me to my core. Channels in my brain were activated and I could feel her pain vividly and terribly.  I experienced sympathy, maybe for the first time. I remember holding her hand and using my tiny thumb to trace circles on her skin. I was trying to somehow take some of the pain away from her. My heart was breaking for four year old heart.

I remember the funeral. It was December and the sky was grey. I couldn't find my church shoes. This was not unusual (losing my shoes) and my mom, like so many moms, would normally track them down after asking the standard questions like "did you look under your bed?" and "are you sure you looked under your bed." This morning, she just looked down at my feet only covered by tights and said "put your slippers on and get in the car."

Joshua's funeral was a closed casket funeral. That was for the best. My mom later told me that the cancer had raveged his body and he no longer looked like my brother. She did not want us to remember him that way...all swollen, skinny, and hairless.  "what is in the casket is not your brother"

After the funeral, I rode with my younger sister to my grandparent's house in Witchita Falls. The two of us were to stay with them for a while.  I don't know where my other siblings stayed. My grandmother asked me if I knew what it meant for Joshua to be dead. I told her I did not. She explained that I would never see him again....not in this life. She said I would one day see him in heaven....but that was as strange as a concept to me as death so it didn't really make me feel any better. I wanted my brother back so I could play with him. So I could hide behind the couch and eat cookie dough with him. So we could steal my older brother's kite and try to fly it only to break it and then hide it in the dumpster.
I wanted him back so my mom would no longer be so sad. So my older sister would not be in pain. So my younger sister could know him. So my brother could have a brother. So my father could do it all over again with a better result.

So we could hang our family pictures back on the wall.
So we could be a complete family, again.

For years after his death I felt Joshua around me. I felt him like a guardian angel and I felt the ghost of his death in many things. It's still there...the ghost of his death. His spirit is also there...I just have to ask for a visit...pull up a memory. I think about what he would be doing now. What kind of man would he be?

Over the years my family remained stamped with sadness, but we learned to laugh at the pain  because that meant survival. We could not give in completely. We came close, but we could not give in all the way.

We all developed a sense of empathy. No longer could we allow a single person to experience emotional pain in our presence without us trying to intervene. We had all been there and knew what it was like for people to be in a dark place. Once you know that place and that feeling, it is almost impossible to not stop and render aid in some form or fashion. For example, each and every one of us kids all of us stood up for others in the face of a bully. Some armed with words, others with fists, and others with a shotgun (am I right, Stephanie?)

Death is something we will all go through and, if we are lucky, we can prepare for our own deaths.
But I still don't know how you prepare for the death of a loved one.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Survival *Now with update*

I've been trying to get my doctor to call me back. I left a message on the on call line and the nurses' line but so far ain't nobody called me back!!
Last night, things got bad. Really bad. I'm talking my pain was at a level 10. Now, if you remember in a previous post I wrote about how I take myself off of pain pills for 1-2 weeks at a time to clear my system. This is one of those weeks. I let my prescription run out knowing I have an appointment on Thursday. No big deal, I do it all the time. It's a risky move, because I will for sure experience some pain during my week(s) off, but I just bare down and get through it knowing I will have meds later. 

Well, I was not planning on this type of an episode. I really think either a disc is pressing on my nerve or the bone growth I had removed has grown back 10 fold. Won't be sure until I have another MRI....which is why I am trying to get in touch with my doc. I would rather do the MRI before my appointment on Thursday so we know what we are dealing with. I should have known better. This past month, my pain has been getting worse. 

I'm also going to request a visit to a rheumatologist and a neurologist for further testing. 

Any-hoo, last night I could barely stand the pain. I took a giant ibuprofen but that was like spitting on a fire. I kept thinking "go to the ER and they will help you. They will give you an MRI" but then I was like "SCREW THIS! I HAVE A PAIN DOCTOR THAT SHOULD BE MANAGING THIS CRAP! HE NEEDS TO ORDER AN MRI! I AM NOT PAYING ER PRICES!" 

So I rocked back and forth and cried until I passed out.

I feel a little better this morning, actually. Still very painful (Level 7-8) but not ER trip painful. Swelling must have gone down.
Let's hope it stays that way. 
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*UPDATE* At around 4:00 today, the day after I thought I would go to the ER, I am feeling pretty dang good. Some discomfort, but no pain. I GIVE UP TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THIS BUSINESS! I am very, very, grateful
 for the break. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

You Dummy

So the day after my dance party I threw my back into crazy distress. Pain all over the place...even up into my face. I can't turn my head to the left and my left arm keeps going numb. I'm trying to contact my doc for a new MRI but he has not called me back. I think he has too many patients. I already have an appointment with him set for this Thursday. Hope I can wait that long.  Meanwhile, I'm stuck in bed. Kenny Rodgers is keeping me company. No more shaking it like a poloroid picture for me. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I Just Want to Celebrate

I am feeling better today! Almost no pain and it's all good! After 3 days of pain, a day off is cause for  celebration!

Yes! I LIVE!

p.s., thanks for putting up with my grumpy posts. Chronic pain ain't no joke.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Some Days I Feel Like I Hate Everything

Oh boy. Two negative posts in a row. Are you ready? Here we go?

I hate it when people ask me about my yoghurt and I tell them how good it is and then they ask how many calories it has and I check the back and say "280 but Its really like a dessert and it is better for you than your Yoplait." and they say, "oh, I could not eat that. Too many weight watcher points."

I hate Facebook and don't know why I am still on the darn thing. A pot roast recipe here, a political comment there,a outright ignorant repost everywhere. No thanks. I need to disconnect from that crap.

I hate my bra. Every bra I own, I hate it. The back strap is killing me, smalls!

I hate not getting compensated for my hard work appropriately. Good thing I can change this, eventually. Once I'm vested.....

I hate when people are cruel to children, especially those with special needs. I see it all the time and it is horrible. Just be nice. Give love. 

I hate it when I have responsibilities I never asked for. I hate that.

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