Monday, June 29, 2009

Motherly Guilt: Perfecting My Technique

Being a mother is full of guilt. Not just feeling it, but inflicting it too.

When I was first pregnant with Jack I got a bad cold. I got out all of my pregnancy books to see what kind of over the counter cold medicine I could safely take. Everything I found said basically to stay away from all drugs in the first trimester unless it is absolutely necessary. I remember telling a woman at church who had five kids that I had a bad cold and she suggested I take a dayquil or something. I explained that it just wasn't worth it because once the baby was born if he ever had any problems I would always wonder if it was the stupid Day-quil I took early in pregnancy. She looked me in the eye and said "Welcome to motherhood." I laughed thinking that she was so funny and clever. She stopped me and said earnestly, "No, seriously. Welcome to motherhood. You will spend the rest of your life wondering if you are screwing your kids up." She was dead serious. I thought it was the most hilarious exchange at the time but now I get it. I really get it. Cammie Smith, you are a wise woman.

So Jack has taken to punching Ella and Emma when he gets mad at them. Its summer and they are bored and they spend all day pushing each other's buttons and picking fights. Jack seems to always escalate to violence. I feel like I have tried everything but I just can't get him to cut out the hitting. Time outs, spanking (yes I know its ironic to hit a kid for hitting) positive rewards for not hitting etc. etc. I feel like I'm just not getting through to him. So the other day he had been sent to his room after a fight and I decided I would just level with him. Here is our conversation:
me: Do you think I'm a good mom?
Jack: Yes, you are a really good mom.
me: Well, when you hit your cousins I feel like a really bad mom. I feel like a total failure.
Jack: (completely shocked by this information) You shouldn't feel bad about yourself, Mom, you aren't the one punching anyone!
me: Teaching you to be a good person is the most important job I have and if you grow up hurting people then I have done a bad job.
Jack: I wont hit anyone anymore. You are a really really good mom.
Me: Promise?
Jack: Yes, I promise.

And maybe its too soon to declare victory on this one but I can tell you that he hasn't hit anyone since and he seems totally committed to peace.... just so that I won't feel bad about myself. Why did it never occur to me before to use the age old tactic of guilt. Next thing you know I will be mentioning to him how many hours of labor I went through to bring him into this world or telling him how far I had to walk to school uphill in the heat. Whatever works....

There was also a hilarious conversation between Ella and Jack and I that I though was worth sharing. Ella was explaining to Jack (as she often does) that the devil whispers in your ear and tells you to do bad things, but Jesus whispers in your ear and tells you to do good things. I interrupted and told them about the Holy Ghost and gave them a little lecture on listening to the Still Small Voice and shunning temptation. I asked what are some things you guys can think of to help the Spirit speak to you? Their answers: "Say a prayer! Tell the devil to shut up!" They were really into it. I mentioned that what has always worked for me is to sing a hymn or a Primary song in my head and that invites good feelings and temptation leaves. It was a good little lesson. A few minutes later Ella approached me with a very frustrated look on her face. "Staci, do you know any Primary songs?" "Sure, I know a bunch of good ones." Very solemnly she said, "Well, its time to sing them because the devil is telling me to do something really bad." Alrighty then....I can't imagine what in the world the devil was telling her to do and I guess I really don't want to know so we busted into a rousing round of Book of Mormon Stories complete with Indian drum beats and hand motions. It worked like a charm. Afterward she told me that the devil did not like that song and that he took off immediately.

Kids are so literal. It cracks me up. Ella often taunts Jack by saying "Jesus is in total control of everything I do and the devil is in total control of everything you do." This is usually about the time she gets punched.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm just not a candidate for amnesia

Yeah, I can stop dreading my colonoscopy! Its over with and everything looked good! I can't express what a relief it is to have it done with and I can't express how happy I am to eat again. Yesterday I thought I had it so hard because I could only have clear liquids but today I wasn't allowed even water and I was so dehydrated and thirsty. All thoughts of food left me and all I could think about was having a nice drink of cool water. The waiting room at the hospital featured a big gushing fountain. I know I was probably the only one there that felt like they were dying of thirst, but it seemed cruel and taunting. I was so glad to have a drink after the procedure.

So the colonoscopy itself was interesting. I have talked to a number of people in the past few days who have had one done and everyone said that they were totally knocked out for it and didn't remember a thing. Most people describe the experience saying that one minute you are lying on the table and the next minute you are waking up afterwards. Only one person (my mom) said that they were awake for it and it hurt. My mom is kind of a wimp when it comes to pain though and her colonoscopy was done in an emergency when she got appendicitis, so I figured that her experience was probably odd.

I brought up the issue of being put under with the doctor last week when I scheduled this thing and he assured me that he would make sure I was totally knocked out and the whole thing would be painless. That eased my fears but I was still anxious. I hate pain. I know that's probably a stupid statement to make because by definition it is undesireable, but I really really really hate pain.

I did a bunch of reading on the Internet about colonoscopies and everything I read said that they don't really put you unconscious because they need you to be in a semi conscious state, but they give you a drug that makes you forget the whole thing. This brings up a very interesting philosophical question: If you feel pain but don't remember it does it count? What is suffering if there is no memory of it? Its a fascinating concept to me.

I digress... the whole issue of being awake or asleep for the ordeal had me the most nervous. When I got checked in at the hospital I kept checking with the nurses and then again with the doctor if they were in fact going to put me to sleep. They all assured me that I would be knocked out and I wouldn't remember a thing. In fact, they told me that I probably wouldn't even remember getting dressed and being driven home. Now that I look back on it I realize that they all skillfully avoided answering me directly but just gave soothing reassuring responses.

After they hooked up the IV and got me ready they wheeled me into the room for the procedure and the doctor came in. We talked for a minute or two and then they put the drug into my IV. I got a little woozy and was waiting for it to kick in and to fall asleep but I never did. They just started with the colonoscopy. I was saying "Aren't I supposed to be asleep? Hey guys, I'm wide awake. What are you doing?" They all kind of ignored me and kept telling me that I wouldn't remember anything and just went on with it. Let me tell you, I remember it. All of it. Every single detail. Its not even a little fuzzy. I felt tired and a little dizzy but not even close to unconscious. The drug obviously calmed me down enough that I didn't run screaming out of the room but the whole concept of being on the table one minute and waking up the next is total bull crap. And by the way, it hurt. Enough to scream out in pain at one point near the end. The pain only lasted about 10 seconds but it hurt bad. I kept thinking, "When do I forget all of this?" The answer is never. It wasn't horrible and if I ever have to do another one in my life I will do it but next time I will be aware that the entire staff is in on this big deception and that they don't really put you out, they just hope you don't remember.

The screen was right in front of me so I watched the whole thing. I was fascinated by it so I asked a million questions about what I saw. Whats that? Is that normal? etc etc. I could totally tell that they just wanted me to shut up and were answering my questions to just placate me. After all, why do their responses matter if I'm just going to forget the whole thing? I could tell that they were all annoyed by my going on and on about still being conscious. They were exchanging looks between them that said "we got a feisty one, here."

Afterwards the doctor told me that everything looked great. There was nothing out of the ordinary and everything looked healthy. I was very happy to hear that. They took tissue samples for biopsy and those results would be back in a week or two but there was nothing abnormal so he just took the biopsies from random places. He felt very sure that all the results would be clear which was a huge relief. He said that someone from his office would call me to go over the results because I wouldn't probably even remember this conversation. He vastly underestimated my memory.

So a clean colonoscopy doesn't explain my symptoms but I'm really happy to rule out a lot of bad things. I am feeling like my health is on the upswing and this will all be over soon. Thanks so much to everyone who has been supportive and understanding through all of this. I have been so touched by everyone's concern and prayers for me. I have amazing friends and family.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

colorectal fun

I have dropped off of the edge of the blogging world lately because I really don't know what to post. I feel like my health problems have become the center of my universe. I don't want to go on and on about it because I worry that dwelling on it makes it worse but if I blog about my life and don't include the health drama it feels fake so I have just refrained from writing at all lately.

Today I couldn't resist because I am having a colonoscopy tomorrow and I'm obsessing over it. From what I hear, the preparation is worse than the procedure and I am hoping that's true. I asked the doctor to put me so far unconscious that I would remember nothing and he agreed. First of all I'm not a fan of anybody looking at my bum but especially not a staff of people. I had a colorectal exam last week and let me tell you, its embarassing. I know its probably immature and silly to be embarassed about it, but what can I say, I am immature and silly.

I was sitting in the exam room with my paper skirt on waiting for the doctor to come in and I was thinking "This is the only time in my life that I am praying for an old ugly weird dude for a doctor. If this guy is even remotely young or attractive, I am out of here." Plus I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I had no idea how a rectal exam is performed. I wonder if this is karma paying me back for giggling about this kind of thing my whole life. You win, karma, I will never laugh about it again.

The anxiety before hand was much worse than the actual exam. When the doctor came in we chatted about my symptoms for a minute (he was fantastically old and unattractive, by the way, which was a huge relief) and then right before he did the exam his assistant entered the room. I wasn't expecting this but I wasn't surprised either because I have been to the gynocologist enough times to know the drill. They make sure someone else is in the room so that you can't accuse them of inappropriate behavior later or whatever. I was thinking "I get it. I will sign a waiver. I will forgo my legal rights, lets just keep this between as few people as possible." You might be thinking, like I was, that this extra person would just sit quietly in the corner of the room with her attention respectfully averted while the exam was going on just like they do at the gyno, but that wasn't the case. No, my friends, she holds the flashlight. Are you feeling my pain yet? It only lasted like 20 seconds but still, I was not expecting a rectal exam to be a public affair. In fairness, they were so professional and as un-humiliating as humanly possible but I was still pretty mortified and I am so glad its over. At least for the colonoscopy tomorrow I will be drugged up and totally out of it before anyone whips out their flashlight and rubber gloves.

So I'm starving. I can't eat anything except for clear liquids for a day and a half and I feel like I'm going to kill someone for a bite of food. Of course I still have to go about the business of feeding my children so its not like I can just avoid the issue all day. I have to handle food and smell food and prepare food, but just drink my chicken broth. Also, don't let me forget to mention the medicine that I am taking that clears out my intestines. I'll spare you the details of this colon cleanse but I'm sure you get the idea. Its been a long day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The God Card

Jack likes to use the night time prayer as a manipulation tactic to get what he wants. (Don't we all?) Tonight during the snuggling portion of the routine (this has sneakily made its way into the most prominent position of the nightly bed-prep ordeal) The kid likes his snuggle time. Tonight he knew the end of the snuggle session so he volunteered heartily to offer the prayer. His prayer was as follows: Heavenly Father, Bless my mom that she will read two more books and sing three more songs and that she will fall asleep in my bed. In the name Of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A very good tactic, Jack Kramer. Its not going to work but its a good try. I call this "pulling the God Card" He thinks that the God Card trumps everything. He's banking on the fact that we would rather bolster his faith in prayer and give him what he prayed for rather than crush his little testimony. He thought that for sure his prayer was iron clad protection. I guess I am a testimony crusher when it comes to the quality of my sleep. Once again though, good try. If you need me I'll me in my King sized Tempurpedic.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Handsome Boys

I took some pictures of the boys today that I just had to post. When I was showing them to Ella she said "have you ever noticed that Jack and Abe look kinda alike?" Yes. Its the ears I think. And the thighs. My uncle Wayne once wrote a song about what his children inherited from him. I only remember one line: "blue eyes and thunder thighs, that's all you got from me."

Everyone knows I can't resist a baby bum shot. Also a nice pic of the above mentioned thunder thighsThis one is a classic. It captures so many things about their personalities and their brotherly relationship.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

blogworthy "art"

I originally set out in my blogging career to archive the growth of the family and to celebrate milestones etc.... That's great and all but sometimes you encounter something that has little to do with the family or our lives, but it still has to be blogged.

I was in the patient room at the Rheumatologist waiting for the doctor to show up and I spotted the single most horrible piece of office art I have ever seen. It. Was. Hideous. Voila...for your viewing pleasure...
And here's a closeup. I wondered if it was just paper crumpled up and sprayed with a few splats of metallic spray paint to get that special turd effect. I had to touch it to see if it was metal or plastic. Nope. Its EXACTLY what I expected ...just crumpled grocery bag paper with a little paint and as ugly as sin. A few questions spring to mind: First, who sold this to you, Dr. Nardella? This mystery salesman's skills are valuable. A salesman who can sell a decorative turd to a doctor as art is a man who could sell anything. Ice to an eskimo. We need him at Frespa. If for nothing else, just to give us tips on proper placement for wall turd art, because I don't even know where to begin. Also to Dr. Nardella: I have a bridge in San Francisco you might be interested in buying
Rob looked at it and said, "yes, I can see the corn." gross and hilarious.

I wouldn't be so harsh on Dr. Nardella's horrible taste in office decor except that so far it seems his skills as a Rhematologist are summed up by looking at the aforementioned art. Crap. I have made the 100 mile round trip to north Scottsdale twice now and each time he refused to speak about possible diagnosis because he hadn't see every bit of the lab work yet. I asked him for his best guess without seeing the rest of the labs (he did have one set and all of the x-rays, afterall). He totally refused and acted offended that I would ask him to "make a wild guess." Its not really a wild guess though is it, when I am standing here and telling you in plain English what my symptoms are? "Well its probably Fibromyalgia". "Uh, okay, but the sources I have researched have all said that fibromyalgia is marked by widespread pain that does not swell or get hot and infected. And lets not forget the horrible disfiguring sores. His answer: "you don't have swelling and sores". Me: "I do. Thats the whole point! The joint swelling is out of control!" Dr. Dumbass: "Well I have to either see it or it has to come up on the labs to prove that it exists." Then there was this awkward moment when I realized that he just doesn't believe me. He thinks I'm making it up. He thinks I like paying a 35 dollar copay twice a month and driving 100 miles round trip while someone watches my baby and he won't get a nap, making my life hell. He thinks I'm a drama queen hypochondriac . HE THINKS I'M CRAZY. He was in such a hurry to get me out of the office too. I was trying to shove in symptoms while he was walking me to the door. "Did I mention that I am losing weight with out trying at an alarming rate?" "Well I guess we'll weigh you. Oh my, you have lost 8 pounds since May 12." I thought, "Finally! a verifiable symptom that he can't blow off." but then he said, "Don't worry, I noted it in the chart." That's a relief. Those charts diagnose and treat people all the time. Thank goodness for the miracle of modern charts.

My favorite part of the visit by far was this little exchange: Warning: there are personal details about my health condition that are not for the faint of heart.
Dr.: "Have you developed any new symptoms since I saw you last?"
Me: "Yes, I have developed severe bleeding hemmorhoids. I don't like to talk about it but its very painful."
Dr. "Wow, sounds awful. maybe you should see a doctor about that."
I'm no health detective, but damn. Isn't that exactly what I am doing right now at this very mother loving second?

Okay, I could go on and on about this guy, but suffice it to say I got into the elevator and burst into tears and then cried the whole way home. Its one thing to be sick, its another thing for doctors to think you are making it up. I have pictures, I have a log, I have other doctors who saw my condition and pushed narcotics on me with pity in their faces. I have a bottle of chemotherapy with my name on it that is starting to look better and better every day. And of course within hours of leaving this guy's office my hand began swelling up and if I walked in there right now he would have his "proof".

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys