Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A new level of fun!

I must recommend this to everyone! It was such a blast, I am shaking from excitement or is it my nerves? I just went to the dentist and had 3 fillings replaced with the twins. I had no idea that fillings do not last forever. I should've had these replaced 10 years ago, who knew? So I scheduled the appointment while Cole is in preschool and I didn't even think about the twins. I am so used to them sleeping through most things. No, not anymore. They are at that curious and awake stage. So many new sights to see and people to talk too.

I got to the dentist early so the twins could get used to their surroundings and finish their bottles. We get back to the room and they are settled in the stroller with the toys, and their bottles. No problem, until, the Dentist starts the drill. It all went down hill from there. I don't know if they were sensing my nerves or the sound of the drill, but they didn't want anything to do with it. Now, I'm not normally a nervous person at the dentist, but the dentist has a tremor in her hands. So between the dentist coming at my mouth with a drill and shaking hands, and both the twins crying, I decided I needed a valium.

Wow, I feel much better now. The twins are taking a nap and I think will too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sniff, sniff, My little guy is growing up so fast.

It's back to school time. I've noticed all the supplies out for parents to purchase, eager to get rid of their kids, I mean send them back to school! I, on the other hand, will still be home with all 3 children as my oldest just turned 3. I've got a couple of years to go.

Whoa! Side note: As I was just typing, Cole said to me, "Mom, I want to watch Bow-Chick-a-Wow-Wow" Me - "What?!! What did you just say?" To me it sounds like an impression of, um, well, you know. And he says it again, "Mom, I want to watch Bow-Chick-a-Wow-Wow!" and this time he is holding the 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' movie. Whew! Maybe I need to watch this with him and see where that music is coming from. What is it rated? I'm sure it's just me with my mind in the gutter, but you never know.

Now where was I? Oh, my little guy is growing up. He had his very first check-up at the dentist today. He was such a little man about it. No melt downs and completely cooperative. I have seen some adults at the dentist with less composure. Not to mention he laid out all of his charm. I went to the dentist last week for a check-up, and I brought him with so he could get acquainted with the whole process before it was his turn. He just loves our hygienist, Miss Donna, and wanted to bring her a present. He brought her an elephant that he colored and picked a flower for her. As soon as he saw her, he ran and gave her a big hug and then gave her, her presents. Luckily, the man in the chair has children and didn't mind the interruption.

When it came to his turn he was an old pro, you'd think we do this everyday. He was just amazingly well-behaved. I didn't even know he could do that! He was so excited he got to pick a toy from the BIG treasure chest and ran around most of the office giving high fives to everyone. This coming from the same little boy who likes to tell me he's a "shy guy".

After the dentist we went to pick-up the van after having the AC fixed. We returned the rental and got loaded back up into our van, when he said "(Sigh), my van, it's messy and dirty but it's quiet. I missed my van."

Slow down Cole! Don't grow up on me too fast. I'm enjoying this and want to savor it, please!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Funny things I never thought I'd say, then I had kids!

  • Please don't lick the TV.
  • No, Spam is not dog food. No, I promise I am not trying to feed you dog food.
  • Do NOT put jelly beans in your ear....Oh, DON'T EAT IT!!
  • Sweetheart, do not put your head down my shirt, we don't do that to ladies.
  • I thought I asked you, please, do not lick the TV. No she is not giving you a kiss.
  • No you like corn with a "kuh" sound not a "Puh" sound.
  • You are NOT a puppy dog, do NOT drink the water from the dog bowl again. I mean it!
  • Look, you either wear it or not wear it, but you can't do both at the same time. It's just not possible.
  • I know sweetheart, I can't fly either.
  • Do not ride your tricycle down the stairs!
  • Do not pick the dog's nose... No, he doesn't like it....No he doesn't....Because I said so!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Helicopter Story

Ok Amy, I said we always laughed that Amy is a little crazy and it's for reasons like this. A couple of years ago on Mother's Day, Amy had went to pick up Olivia from her Dad's house in Winston-Salem, which is about 90 minutes away. Well she is on the way back and gives me a call. Mind you, I am about 8 months pregnant at the time. So she calls and asks if I can come and pick her and Olivia up, she has a flat tire. It's 6:00 pm on Mother's Day so just about every thing is closed. I ask her where she is at on I-85 and tell her I'll be there in about 45 minutes. She said she was at the bottom of an exit ramp and she'll meet me at the top of the ramp at the Waffle House. She had already called a tow truck and it was on the way.

I got in my minivan and headed out. So I find the exit she was talking about and had to go up to the next exit since they were doing construction and I couldn't get off the highway at her exit. As I am coming back to her exit I notice just how much construction they are doing there. It is very dangerous area just to be driving. So I see Amy's car in the absolute worst possible place for a tow truck to get to. She could have pulled over half a dozen places that would have been better. She had passed the exit and stopped in between the exit sign and the pillars for the over-bridge. But with the construction stopped for the holiday, her car barely fit between the machinery, sign and bridge pillar. Not even considering a tow truck will have to fit in there on a major highway!

So I go up to the Waffle House and find her and Olivia. On the way back this was our conversation.

Me: What happened, how'd you get the flat? Could you not get it up the exit ramp to the Firestone there on the corner?
Amy: No I was afraid to drive on it any longer.
Me: How long did you drive on it?
Amy: Maybe just a few miles.
Me: WHAT?! Amy, you could've ruined your rim! Why did you drive on it so long?
Amy: Well, I didn't know I had a flat.
Me: How could you NOT know that you had a flat? Did you not feel the car shimmy?
Amy: No the wheels shake a lot when I'm going 75, plus all the construction, you know...
Olivia: It's true, the whole car shakes! It scares me riding with her!
Amy: Olivia! Not all the time. It's not that bad.
Me: OK! If the car is shaking at 75, you shouldn't be driving that fast. (Sigh) So you didn't feel it, how could you not hear it?
Amy: Well, we heard the thump-thump-thump, but I thought a helicopter was following us. Olivia and I kept looking up to see if we could find it.
(At this point she puts her head to the glass and was looking up into the sky to show me how she and Olivia were looking around)
Me: Are you serious? Are you just pulling my leg? Why would a helicopter be following you?
Amy: I don't know, maybe because we were speeding or something. I don't know, it just sounded like it. So I asked Olivia to look for it too.
Me: Well why did you park it at the bottom of the ramp?
Amy: Well, once I realized I had a flat I was afraid to drive on it anymore.
Me: So you couldn't make it up the ramp to the Firestone? Ok, so is that where the tow-truck is taking it? Your going to pay $75 for a tow up the ramp?
Amy: NO! I was too embarrassed to have them tow it there. When I talked to the driver and he asked where I wanted it towed, he mentioned a friend of his that has a station, so he is towing it there.
Me: Do you know where this place is at?
Amy: Not exactly, I'll have to call and get directions tomorrow. I know it's about 15 miles North of here.
Me: WHAT???

So the next day, Alex and I took off work so we could take her up there. It had so many turns getting off the highway, I still don't know how we didn't get lost. Dumb luck, I guess. We had to stop at the dealership before leaving Charlotte to get one of those special tools because one of her lug nuts on each tire is a locking lug nut and something happened to her old one. I think it had gotten stripped being used with one of the guns. It was a special order item and luckily she had ordered it about a month earlier and just forgot to pick it up.

So we get there, and it was a scene straight out of Deliverance! I was so glad Alex was there. I have never seen a place so filthy, grimy and disgusting! It was just on old run-down gas station. There was no waiting room, there was just an old car bench seat out front. I really would never had believed there were places like that in North Carolina. So here it is a hot sunny day in May, I am 8 months pregnant and it just took us an hour to get there. We have to sit outside in the sun on an old car bench and their restroom hadn't been cleaned in probably about 20 years, no exaggeration. I was not a happy camper! The whole time I was thinking about the Firestone, with the AC, clean waiting room and restroom and a Waffle House across the street.

The guy gets to work on removing the flat, her tire was shredded so it couldn't just be repaired. He realizes he doesn't have that size at his place. So he tells her, he has these used tires that are really close in size to her current tires and he could put it on the both back wheels for a $100. She says she doesn't want to pay for 2 tires and could he just do the one. Alex tells the guy to go ahead, and then spends the next few minutes explaining the physics of the wheel diameter needing to be the same size on both sides. So the guy uses the lug nut key on the first tire and strips it on the second tire. Luckily enough he was at least able to get the tire off. So all said and done, she ended up spending a total of $175 on 2 tires that were nearly bald and would just be enough to get her back home. Since the guy stripped the key, again, she would have to order a new one before she could get her tires replaced, again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Are you freaking kidding me? How much?

I have a ghost in my van. That's what the serviceman told me. My AC went out in the van last week. Not that big of a deal, except that I live in the South and I have 3 small children. Oh and I don't like the sound of 3 children crying because they are hot, that is just me though I'm sure.

Well I was at Sam's Club last week and saw one of those great deals you can't pass on, because if you do when you come back the next day they have already sold out. It was an Eddie Bauer 3-1 convertible car seat. Cole already has one and we have been real pleased with it. Sean, my chunky monkey, has already outgrown the travel carrier. They are 6 months today and he is about 21 lbs maybe 22 lbs. He is wearing 12-18 month clothing! Sweet little Katie is only about 14 lbs and feels like a bird compared to her brother. So these Eddie Bauer car seats were $90! I bought Cole's seat at $180, so I went ahead and bought 2. They only had 4 left, I had to. I don't think men understand the bargain part of shopping. It is like a gambling addiction and you just hit a big pot in Vegas. If it's 50% off, you have to buy it. You have to, otherwise you'll kick yourself over it for years. Trust me!

Okay so what was I talking about? Oh Sam's club and car seats. I had went there for formula, wipes and diapers for 3 children, enough to last for 2 weeks! My goal is to only go to Sam's twice a month when Alex gets paid. So between the 3 children already in car seats, the double stroller, 5 super-sized cans of formula, and the mega-sized wipes and boxes upon boxes of diapers, I almost couldn't get it all in the van. I was working up a real sweat in the 100 degree weather, it took me 15 minutes of loading, taking it out and reloading (think Tetris) to get it all in and have the children safe. So I had the van running this whole time to keep my sweet babies cool, and right as I get in the van and feel the cool air in my face, it suddenly turns HOT! It was so hot, it was cooler to roll the windows down type of hot. UGH!

So I drive back across town straight home, no more errands. Not that I had any room left in the van anyway. The kids are all crying because if it is so hot. Gotta love the South! So I call Toyota and immediately schedule it to get fixed the next day. I bring it in at 9 am, and sit there for 3 hours with all 3 kids (not fun by the way). He tells me good news/bad news. Bad news they can't figure out why it's not working. It wasn't working when I brought it to them and as soon as they hooked it up for the diagnostic, it started working. Good news was they aren't going to charge me. If it goes out again, they will have to keep it all day and maybe overnight. Crap!

So I am driving it around with no issues, and after a week, it goes out again. This time I drove it for 2 days to make sure it was really out. I brought the van back in this morning and they were able to find the problem within an hour. The compressor is bad. $2600! Yes twenty-six hundred dollars! (One dollar and NINE CENTS! Sorry but I often hear movie quotes in my head) Oh and it won't be fixed until Tuesday at the earliest! Luckily, they gave me a rental for free. Alex's truck is a two seater and the van is the only way to haul the whole family. I think the twins were just so sweet and cute, he didn't want me driving around all weekend without AC. You know when I was young and cute, I could get by on my looks. Now that I am old and fat, I can get by on their looks. Haye at least I am getting by!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back to Amy

I guess I should finish up the story about Amy. I left off after she had been admitted to the hospital. For me this is part of my therapy. It has been a rough couple of months. I must say Amy is doing well, but I definitely had moments that I thought we were going to loose her. Most of it is a blur when I think back on it, so that is partially why I am wanting to record it.

Okay so she was admitted to the hospital and stayed there from Thursday until she was released on Tuesday. She vaguely remembers her hospital stay and the weeks after. She said it is like being really drunk and not remembering, but when someone mentions what you did, it starts to comeback to you. So I am hoping by documenting those weeks in her life it will help her remember. If you were to meet her on the street, you'd never know what she went through.

When she was first admitted, we still hadn't been told by the doctors it was a stroke. I wish I could say we had the best medical care for her, but we didn't. At this point I am just glad she had medical attention at all. It took a couple of days before the neurologist told us that it was a stroke and not a brain tumor. He didn't realize we were in the dark and hadn't been told by the admitting doctor what was going on. We learned after Amy was out of the hospital that the admitting doctor was in practice with the doctor from the ER, who diagnosed Amy with a standard migraine. I do believe if she had insurance from the get go, the doctor would have worked her up and found she already had a stroke. Instead she was sent home after blood work only and had a second stroke. The second stroke was the one that did the most damage.

It was very odd to watch my sister go through all this. We are very close and I probably know her better than anyone else. Her strokes were in the front right lobe and has a big impact on personality. Amy has always been a vivacious person, very lively and active. It was a very hard ordeal to go through. Each person is affected differently by stroke. It depends on what type of stoke, where in the brain it happens and how much damage is actually done. So during the time I was watching her heal, I had no idea if these were permanent changes. I would say she is probably about 95% back to herself. It was almost like watching a computer get rebooted after the power goes out. It needs to do a system check before it reboots to see if any files have been corrupted. (See I told you, I learn things from Alex by osmosis. I don't know if what I wrote is technically correct, but just the fact that I would go to a computer analogy shows he has been brainwashing me!) At first it was like her personality was completely stripped away. She wouldn't make eye contact when she talked to you and she was very monotone when she spoke. She made Ben Stein sound like the most animated person. (Bueller, Bueller) Then when you weren't talking to her, she would stare at you. It was an unblinking stare that would make you uncomfortable and self-conscience. She slowly came back to being her old self. She has had some changes though. It is hard for her to multi-task and she doesn't have the energy or focus that she used to. But she has made a remarkable recovery in a very short time. In just 3 months, she has gone from being paralyzed on her left side to walking, talking, driving, you name it.

It took a couple of weeks to get all the blood tests back that they ran in the hospital. We found out she has Factor V Leiden. It is somewhat common in Caucasians, about 5% of people have it. It's most dangerous when you don't know you have it. Once you know, you can take care of yourself better. I am very proud to say that she has quit smoking. Hold on that needs more highlighting:

Amy and Paul have quit smoking! Is has now been 3 months!
I am so proud of you!

These past couple of months have been so tough on the whole family. She had to quit cleaning houses because she could just physically not do it anymore. So that has been hard, but it has been more than that. I have been so angry at her and I couldn't figure out why. I was so angry I was avoiding her, then I would feel guilty because I was abandoning her in her time of need. If ever there was a time she needed me it was now. But I just couldn't figure out why I was so mad.

Once I started working through my issues with this blog, it came to me. Our little family here is not that big. We have my Stepdad Paul, Amy and her daughter Olivia, Me, Alex and our children, and my cousin Kris. That's it. We are all very close, maybe even too close sometimes where we get on each others nerves, but either way we are close. Amy and I also have different fathers, her father passed away when she was just a teenager. She doesn't know his side of the family at all. As for my father, he passed away a year ago May. He wasn't much of a father to me, more of a source of pain. Paul has been there for us since before I started school. He is really the only father I've known and I am immensely proud of him. But I digress. I now realize I've been angry at her for almost dying. How dare she? Who does she think she is trying to die on me! Girl, if you go and die, I'll kill ya!

And like Forrest Gump said, "That's all I'm going to say about that!"

Important life lessons I missed while skipping school

I had one of those rare moments today, the house is peaceful and I could hear myself think. Cole is at preschool today and Katie and Sean took a nap at the same time! So I went and took a relaxing shower and shaved my legs. This is what I was came up with.

In high school, I started hanging around with the wrong crowd immediately. We thought it was great to skip school, but now I realize the days I missed where the days they taught the important Life Lessons. I think they may have waited for the days I was out, but I can't prove it. I realized I had been living my life as if it were a sprint to the finish, but it's really an endurance race! Now I know most of you were probably good students and didn't skip school, so you're saying, "Well of course! You're just now getting it?" Maybe the point is not when I got it, but the fact that I got it at all.

Suddenly my life became clearer. As a working Mom, I was almost forced to live life as a sprint. How much can I get done right now, because I don't know when I'll have a few minutes again to get it done again. I'd race about trying to get it all accomplished, family time, clean house, grocery shopping, errands, always keeping my eye on the prize - when will I be finished so I can relax?

Now, as a stay at home Mom, I realize it's never done. If I keep trying to live my life as a sprint, which I have been doing, I burn myself out. I create negative energy around me because I feel I'm not living up to what I think I should be - the perfect mom, the perfect housekeeper, the perfect wife. I realize that is what I have my whole life for, I am a work in progress. What happens if I do finish the race? I've got all the cleaning, laundry, and shopping done, now what? I still have to start all over again. Who wants to keep going back to the beginning of the race? That's no fun! I like the endurance idea, then at least I am always making progress! I love to go backpacking. I don't carry that heavy pack around just so I can finish, I do it because I love the whole experience - the fresh air, exercise, getting back to nature, spending real quality time with family and friends.

I've heard lots of expressions about life before but for some reason they just didn't click like the way they should have. I know you know them too: Live for today, not tomorrow because there is no guarantee you'll have tomorrow. Life is a journey, not a destination, enjoy the ride! For some reason it finally clicked while I was shaving, wait, that clicking may have been my hip. I am getting old you know!

I actually had more lessons, but Katie had a blow-out up her backside and I had to stop and give her a bath. I think I threw out the rest of the lessons with the bathwater. Well, I'm interested to find out what I learn the next time I shave my legs! Haye! Wait a minute, maybe that's why Alex is always telling me I need to shave! See there, he didn't skip school very often and see how smart he is? He has been trying to point me in the right direction all along. Boy I married a kind man!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Feeling a little nostalgic

We lost my Mom three years ago. It will be four in October. When I look at my life and my beautiful children, time seems to pass by in mere seconds. When I think about my Mom, those 3 years seem like a lifetime. I just miss her. She was never able to meet my children in person, but I know in my heart, she has met them. She hand-picked them for me. I know this with every ounce of my soul. Some days it's just harder to get through without her.

Obviously during holidays or birthdays, we miss her and remember her. But here it is just a plain Tuesday in the middle of July, no special reason I should be crying and missing her, but I can't help myself.

The other day, Cole got rug burn on the back of his thigh at a Little Gym Birthday party. He started crying immediately "I want my Mommy." That's how I feel. I want my Mama! She raised me well and I know she is proud of me and the person I've become. I know I don't need her, but I want her. I want to smell her and listen to her. I want to hear her wisdom.

She never had a rocking chair when we were little girls and always enjoyed rocking us. She also loved this poem:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow. For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow; So quiet down, cobwebs, Dust, go to sleep! I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep!" —unknown

Don't worry Mama, I have 2 rocking chairs, one for each of us and the dust is resting. Rest in Peace Mama, I love you!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wow! I'm pretty long winded!

I have just been surfing around other blogs and then came back to my own. Wow, blah, blah, blah... I guess I've just had so much going on, I just need to get it out. Bear with me, it'll get better. I hope.

I told my sister about my blog and she started to read it. I haven't heard from her since. Whoops! Well, I guess I'll hear about it soon enough!

Life is crazy! I am averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep a night and not in one stretch either. Katie sleeps through the night but Sean is up every 3 hours still. You'd think I would be tired enough to fall out at the end of the day, but noooo, I have to do something stupid like develop insomnia. My doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien, but I'm too groggy trying to take care of Sean. I'm afraid I'll do something crazy, like diaper the wrong end or something, so I don't take it. I've already found my phone in the fridge twice. She said I have too much anxiety and gave me a prescription for Valium, but I swear they are just placebos. I gave one to Alex to test if they are real and he just melted into the couch, so that solves that riddle.

What I don't understand is, if I'm not getting much sleep and have high anxiety, why isn't my house cleaner? I need to figure out the balance of caring for the kids and cleaning the house. (See the picture of Paul feeding Katie down below and you can see the mop in the background.) Trust me, by no means have I ever been a good housekeeper, but now that I have kids, I'm a terrible housekeeper. I realized this today when I told Cole we need to clean up the play room and living room and he asked Why is Daddy coming home?

And so we laugh...explained

So my husband is this super computer geek, not to be confused with a nerd. Geeks are smart and cool, where as nerds are just smart. Other super computer geeks come to Alex when they are stuck, that's how good he is. He is also very modest, so when he reads this he will probably ask me to take it down from embarrassment.

So I am very proud of my little blog that I have created and showed it to him. So he took a look at it and was impressed by Blogspot. He looked at the code or something and started jabbering about the something or other that they are doing under the hood. I really have no idea what he was saying, but I always listen. I find I do start picking things up from him by osmosis. After checking out blogspot, he looks at the content. "It's not very lighthearted is it? It seems you are using this for therapy. It is very 'this happened, and then that happened'". I replied it is therapy. My life is so crazy right now, I'm trying to make sense of it all and get some order back in my life. Then my insightful husband asked the important question. "Then why did you name your blog 'And so we laugh...'?"

Life is full of choices. We ALWAYS have a choice, I may not like the alternative choice sometimes but it IS a choice. Sometimes life will throw something at me that isn't a choice, for instance, my sister's stroke. It is just a fact. She had a stroke, well actually she had 2 strokes. My choice comes in with how I handle myself. I can either cry about it and maybe even through a temper tantrum. Fight against it or hide my head in the sand, that it isn't really happening. That all of our lives just changed in an instant. OR, I can laugh about it. I don't mean laugh that my sister had a stroke, but laugh that life has thrown us a curveball. Jump into life and not let it defeat me.
Most people would say I have a full plate. I have a 3 year old son who I am trying to potty train to little avail. My twins are 6 months old and I was breastfeeding (not any longer.) My dear husband has been working 60 hours a week for about 9 months now and will probably continue to do so for about 9 more months when this project starts to wrap up. I have 2 dogs, one of which is suffering from Renal Failure and has accidents in the house all day. During all this, my sister had 2 strokes, was in the hospital for a week and then came to live with me for a month for rehabilitation. When I write it down it sounds a little overwhelming. But you just take it one day at a time and the great thing is, you get to choose your attitude.

I realize I always have a choice of how I will react to the curveball. So, when life gets so crazy you can either laugh or cry, I choose to laugh.

The ER Experience

Needless to say the ER is an experience all it's own. Every one who works at a hospital seems to wear scrubs, but their colors signify different things. I noticed pink was for Maternity, green was for Surgeons, purple were for Physical Therapists just to name a few. So when you first check in and are not familiar with the color scheme, you wind up telling your whole history to the triage nurse who is not the triage nurse but a candy-striper.

So I pulled up to the ER doors and run inside to get a wheelchair. I was just there a few weeks earlier when we thought Alex broke his ankle playing catch with the football on Easter Sunday. So I knew exactly where they stored them. I somehow manage to get Amy out of the truck and into the wheelchair without too much drama, but she did spill her water down the front of my pants as if I couldn't hold it. Great! She was really mad because I wouldn't stop on the way to the ER to pick her up some strawberry milk. Damn that strawberry milk!

I never knew you could be seen so fast by a doctor in the ER. We had her checked into triage by the time I parked the truck and walked back to the ER. They immediately wheeled her back and was seen by the doctor right away. I was amazed! Hell, women giving birth to twins in the parking lot won't see a doctor that quick! But I digress. The doctor asks her what brought her to the ER and of course she answers, My Sister did. So I go into the full story about the spray paint, migraine, the visit Monday night and her actions that day. I explained how she didn't care that her front door was standing wide open or anything. They ordered a CAT Scan and she's back within a few minutes. The doctor comes back and said she can't tell exactly what is going on from the CAT Scan alone, so she'll need to do an MRI. She said it looks like either a stroke in a very odd place in the brain or a brain tumor. Amy is only 38, this can't be happening. They both were earth-shattering to me, so I wasn't sure which one was better to hope for. I felt like I was in a movie when they zoom in on the central character while panning out at the same time. It just couldn't be real. We lost our Mama 3 years earlier to cancer. Both of our fathers had passed away as well. (We are half-sisters, but grew up together and often forget we are not full-blooded sisters. We have the most wonderful man for a Step-father, Paul, who has been there with us since I was 3 and Amy was 6. I have often wished I was his blood daughter, but I know he couldn't love me any more than he already does. I am his daughter.)

When they came to take her for the MRI, and I asked the doctor to please knock her out for it. She had a migraine and I knew the pounding sound would just be torturous. After the MRI, she was resting and I was able to make a few phone calls. I called Paul and Olivia to tell them of the news we were waiting on, my husband Alex, and our only other family member in town, my cousin Kris. Plus her cellphone had been ringing off the hook all morning from her customers who were concerned. When Amy woke up, she thought she would be able to go home or at the least go outside and smoke a cigarette. Ha! I told her sorry, she would be in the hospital at least over the weekend and she has smoked her last cigarette, ever. The results came back , she had 2 full blown strokes, not a mini-stroke but full strokes. They started an IV with Coumadin and other meds and then we were just waiting for a room to open up for her to be admitted.

Paul, Olivia and Kris all showed up about 6 pm right as her room was ready. By that time she had lost a lot of strength on her left side and couldn't walk or lift her left arm. So Kris said he would stay the night with her and I was finally able to go home. By this time, my boobs had become engorged because I hadn't nursed the twins all day and forgot my pump at home. It was all just surreal. How could this be happening?

Friday, July 18, 2008

She's alive? I'll kill her!

Well that Thursday, we were going to have a family discussion with Amy after Olivia got out of school. I thought I'd give her a call and just let her know Paul and I would be coming over later. She answered her phone and was able to talk, but something was definitely off. She kept talking about the phone trying to get her because it wouldn't stop ringing. The phone was just doing it to piss her off. Then she started rambling about strawberry milk. She'd spilled it on her bed and from there it just got so crazy I couldn't even follow what she was trying to tell me. I knew something wasn't right at all. But what?

Amy had just been to the ER Monday night and the doctor said it was just a migraine, but my gut was telling me something else was going on. We've always laughed that Amy is a little crazy, but this was a lot crazy. So I'm thinking I need to take her to the doctor again and looked online for a free clinic. There are about 20 in the Charlotte area, but no walk in clinics. So I see this one number that doesn't have hours listed, so I thought let me check that one out. Lo and behold, it is the personal cell phone number to the Director of all the Free Clinics in Charlotte. It was an old list and not supposed to be on the Internet at all. Well she asked what was going on with Amy, and I told her a brief history and she said get her to the ER immediately! Take her to the same one she went to on Monday, so they'll have her history. At this point I am beginning to panic inside. I keep hearing the thought in my head "immediately" and I remember thinking "do not pass go, do not collect $200". So I called Paul to let him know I was taking her to the ER and the family talk would have to wait. Olivia wouldn't be home from school for a couple of hours so I'd call him and check in with him later when I know something.

Amy's house is about 20 minutes away from mine. So I jumped in my husband's truck and took off to her house. I called her 18 times on the way. I wanted her to know I was coming and to get ready, plus I realized since I took Alex's truck I didn't have her house keys with me. 18 calls and she never answered once. I was really starting to panic! What if something really bad has already happened and she's dead. I'm thinking maybe she had an aneurysm or something. So I pull up to her townhouse, which is in a bad part of town, but all that she can afford. I pull up and see the front door wide open. Now my heart completely sinks. Someone has broken in and killed her! That's why she didn't answer the phone. I am in a full out panic and afraid of what I am going to see. About a year earlier, there were a rash of robberies in her neighborhood and someone had tried to kick her front door in. Luckily about that same time, she had just rescued a stray dog and he had been there only a few days while she tried to find him a home. Well when the person tried to kick the door in, Charlie went nuts and they didn't get in, but the door is really loose and would be easy to kick open. And now she has a very protective dog!

I call out to her when I walk in, and Charlie comes running down the stairs barking and growling. Then I hear her, she upstairs in her bedroom. She's alive! She's alive? I'm going to kill her! I am going to kill her. Is she trying to scare me to death? I race upstairs, but now I'm angry! Why the hell didn't you answer your cell phone? She said it wouldn't stop ringing so she put it under the pillow on her bed. I told her her front door was wide open, and she starts telling me about the homeowners association. I'm just confused. I told her the homeowners association would not come unlock her door and leave it open. Then she goes back to the strawberry milk again. She's out and really thirsty and just wants some strawberry milk. So I tell her forget it, we are going to the ER. She thinks I'm just over-reacting and she's not going. I finally convince her after about 20 minutes and a few choice words about how she would be more sober if she were on heroin, than she is now. She says she'll go but needs to pee before first. She fell twice on the way to the bathroom, her left leg kept buckling out from beneath her. I realize I am never going to get her down those stairs on my own.

She looks down the stairs and says again I am just over-reacting and she's not going. I lost it with her. I started yelling at her, get your f***ing ass down those stairs before I drag you to the truck by your f***ing hair! That wakes her up. I am 3 years younger than her and although I have been known to cuss like a sailor at times, I've never spoken like this to her before. She starts laughing at me! She tells me I have a lot of Mama in me. So I go to reach for her arm to help her and Charlie tries to bite me. With promises of strawberry milk, I persuade her to scoot down the stairs on her butt like a 2 year old. So finally, we are off to the ER.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Amy, Amy, Amy. What to do, what to do?

So back in April my sister, Amy, called me and told me she was really sick and couldn't go out to dinner with us all. We had reservations at Kabutos for her daughter's 16th birthday. She was spray painting the Rock outside Olivia's high-school and thought she had spray paint poisoning. She called me and said she was throwing up and had the worst headache in her life. The wind kept whipping the paint back into her face. My thoughts were why in the hell did you paint into the wind and not paint the other side of the Rock? But I knew she didn't want to hear it just then. So I got online to research huffing and tried to figure out if she should go to the ER. She doesn't have insurance and can't afford it. She cleans houses for a living and doesn't even make enough to get by, but you do what you've got to do, you know? Well, everything came back about respiratory symptoms and nothing about a migraine or vomiting. So I told her to lay down, rest and take some Tylenol.

During the following week, I called her everyday to check on her. She tried to work a couple of days but just couldn't make it and had to take off. The whole time, she and I laughed that only she could get spray paint poisoning outdoors. It's typical for her. (Remind me one day to tell you about the helicopter story. It's hilarious!) I had been thinking all week something was seriously wrong, so I called Poison Control for their advice. They thought she was a teenager who had been huffing. They said there is no way she had spray paint poisoning from paint outdoors. It would have to be in a bag and breathed in intentionally. So we thought it was just a standard run of the mill migraine. But after a solid week of having a migraine without relief, she decided she should probably go to the ER. Olivia went with her since it was about 10pm. The Doctor said it had nothing to do with spray painting but it was definitely a migraine. She sent her home with Fenergan and Ibuprofen 800mg. That was a Monday night. They didn't get home until almost 3 am in the morning, so Olivia didn't go to school on Tuesday. Wednesday, I called to check on her and she had not gotten out of bed all day and didn't take Olivia to school! I'm was getting pretty ticked off by this point and thought she was just milking the situation. I could understand why she was depressed but Olivia HAD to go to school. Her only chance at paying for college is with a scholarship. I made arrangements with Paul to get Olivia to school on Thursday, just in case Amy didn't get out of bed again. Which surprise, she didn't! So Paul took Olivia to school and told her to ride the bus to his house after school and he would take her home. I planned on meeting Paul and Olivia at Amy's house to have a serious family talk with her after school. At this point it had been almost 2 weeks since she had worked and we were really worried about how she would be able to pay the rent. (Oh, Paul is our Step-Dad, Mama passed away 3 years ago) Plus bad enough as that was, we were not going to let her neglect Olivia. That is just out of character, her life revolves around Olivia. Oh Amy, what to do, what to do?