Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rainy Day

sitting
and looking
from the inside out

blurry

the rain courses down the window
cold
distorting
twisting

i want it
all washed
away

what is real?

and where
where
where
is the sun?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Creeping Crud

Well, we found out in fairly short order what it was that got Super Boy sent home from school sick on Friday: My baby has strep throat. :(

Here's how it all went down...

Friday afternoon: Phone call from school saying Super Boy had been to the office twice with the bad headache, but when they checked his temp at the first office visit (around 1pm), there was no fever. After I got Super Boy home, I checked his temp because he looked glassy-eyed and flushed, and his temp was 100.5. Gave him some Jr. Motrin, had him lay down, and about an hour later he was looking and acting much more like himself. Was fine through our late dinner and had a 99.0 temp at bedtime, but I gave him another dose of Motrin just in case, and I had him sleep in the guest bedroom with me so I could monitor for fever.

Saturday morning: Was very fidgety from about 6am until about 6:30am, when I felt his forehead to find him burning up. Checked his temp and it was 101.5. Woke him up to give him another dose of Motrin. Super Boy was very congested - head and chest - and looked miserable. The Motrin eventually kicked in, but instead of holding him steady for several hours, the fever broke through again within 3 hours, so I started alternating with Children's Tylenol.

Saturday midday: Had a pretty active midday, ate a decent lunch and seemed relatively okay. Also, when my Super Dad and Super Stepmom and Super Sister-in-Law arrived, was VERY active and rough-housing with my Super Dad. I kept cautioning them both to take it easy, but that fell on deaf ears (big shock!).

Saturday afternoon: Super Boy crashed hard around 4pm - was very tired and glassy-eyed, fever wasn't being controlled by the Motrin/Tylenol, and Super Boy was complaining of a sore throat. He also lost his voice. Fell asleep around 5pm and didn't want to wake to eat dinner.

Saturday evening: After I'd cooked dinner and cleaned up, I went to check on Super Boy again to find him burning up yet again. Temp was 102.5 and he was very lethargic. When he spoke, his voice was a croak and he was coughing. Suddenly occurred to me that he looked and sounded EXACTLY like Super Girl had a month earlier when SHE had a raging case of strep. Called the pediatrician's office to talk to the doctor on call. Their first reaction was - like mine - to think that it must be the flu, but when I said he'd had a flu shot (we get them every year) and that his older sister looked and sounded EXACTLY like this with strep a few weeks ago, they suggested we take him in to be cultured. Didn't feel like sitting and waiting for several hours at Children's ER, so went to another hospital's 24-hour Urgent Care around 9pm.

Wee hours of Sunday morning: Finally left Urgent Care after midnight with a diagnosis of STREP and a prescription for amoxicillin. As we were driving to Walgreens to get the script filled, Super Boy said he felt sick to his stomach, and proceeded to puke. (Thankfully I was holding him and had a puke bucket ready and waiting just in case.) Sadly, Super Boy had eaten and drank so little in the hours immediately preceding that there wasn't much to throw up, but the poor baby was miserable. We filled the script, got him home at 12:30am, and had to make him eat something so he could take his medicine. Like a champ, he choked down some french toast sticks and water, took his first dose of medicine, and fell immediately to sleep.

Sunday morning: Woke up at 5:30am with fever raging (103.1) and threw up again (thankfully I was right there with the puke bucket ready again). Gave him some Motrin and let that settle for 20 minutes and then had him eat breakfast and take his next dose of antibiotics. That all stayed down, and Super Boy seemed MUCH better once the fever was under control again.

Sunday afternoon: Ate a small lunch, took another dose of antibiotic and then took a two-hour nap. Woke up feeling MUCH better, and fever only reached 100.5 for the rest of the day.

Sunday night: Super Boy slept great after his last dose of antibiotic and Motrin, and no more puking (amen!).

Monday: Kept Super Boy home from school. His fever only reached 99.1 all day, so I didn't give him any Motrin, figuring his body was doing its thing. I also didn't want to upset his stomach by continuing any medication he didn't NEED, since I knew the antibiotic could do that all on its own. Sure enough, on Monday afternoon, Super Boy had a few bouts of diarrhea, but no vomiting and his appetite continued to improve. (I just made him eat more bananas, cheese and yogurt to try to bind him up a bit and get some healthy bacteria back in his gut!) He still had significant head and chest congestion and coughing, too, so I figured we'd see how he was Tuesday morning and make the call then regarding school.

Tuesday: Decided to keep Super Boy home again for one more day, both to see if he had anymore diarrhea and to give him another day to get some of the congestion out. Had to make a quick trip to school early in the day to drop off items I had signed up to bring for their "Green Tasting Party" for St. Patty's Day, and Super Boy's teacher told me that he was one of EIGHT KIDS out sick yesterday (zoinks!). He was very sad that I wouldn't let him stay at school and insisted he be able to go back today (Wednesday). Anyway, he felt MUCH better with a normal temperature all day, more energy and a normal appetite, and only had one soft BM in the evening after a normal one right after lunch. We even made a trip to a local park in the late afternoon for a little bit, after a serious talk about NOT picking or wiping his nose with his fingers/hands and coughing into his elbow so he wouldn't get the other kids sick.

Today: SUPER BOY RETURNED TO SCHOOL - HOORAY!!

I still don't know if my Super Dad and Super Stepmom have ended up sick, or if they've passed the germs on to my niece and nephew, but I'm assuming no news is good news!

Unfortunately, we have since learned that our friends' daughter ended up with it, too (she and her younger brother - who is the same age as Super Boy - were at our house for about an hour last Friday morning playing with Super Boy, as I was taking them to school for our friends), and now it looks like her brother might have it, as well. There are SO many kids sick with it at the kids' school that she could've gotten it from any number of kids, but I still feel bad. I hate having the infectious kid! ;)

I've gotta say, it's times like this when I'm glad that I'm a bit of a germophobe. All of my weekly doorknob/lightswitch/remote control/phone disinfecting and occasional compulsive cleaning isn't for naught in a case like this! And so far - knock on wood - Super Man and I haven't come down with it. Here's hoping our luck holds out!

Stay healthy, friends!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th: Welcome to My Nightmare

I'm really not a very superstitious person. Let me just get that out there right now, before I proceed.

I've had - and adored - a black cat. I've walked under ladders (considering my husband is on one in various locations around the perimeter of our house pretty much all summer long, they're hard to avoid). I've broken mirrors.

I've even had the audacity to step on cracks in the sidewalk.

**gasp**

Today is Super Man's birthday. His 43rd birthday, to be exact. (Happy Birthday, baby!)

And we have company coming to our house tomorrow. My Super Dad and Super Stepmom, as well as Super Man's Super Sister, are all coming into town tomorrow and spending the night at our house, so I've been doing major spring cleaning for the past three days to ready the house, and I spent this morning stripping the beds and washing bedding.

Between Super Man's birthday today and the impending arrival of our family members tomorrow, I had plans for my afternoon. I had a mile-long "To Do" list of things to get done by 5:00pm.

Super Woman's To Do List:

* Pick up Super Man's jacket from shoe repair shop. (He ripped the soft, supple leather on the back when it got caught on the screen door latch. Ugh.)

* Pick up flowers for Super Man's birthday.

* Pick up Super Man's drycleaning & drop off 8 million hangers that were in the closet. On the floor. (Ugh.)

* Go to Post Office for more stamps and to mail grossly belated baby gift to cousins whose baby was born in EARLY DECEMBER.

* Run to Mall for GC for Super Man. (Which, of course, was to be his big gift this year.)

* Grocery shopping. (Was going to make steaks tonight, in honor of Super Man's birthday. Also needed general food items, especially with company coming, as am down to one 1/2 gallon of milk, cheese, salad dressing and apples in the fridge and a motley assortment of crap in the pantry.)


Guess what? I accomplished only the top two things on my list.

Why?

Because as I was driving from the florist to the drycleaner, I got a phone call on my cell phone. From Super Boy's school.

Super Boy was in the office complaining of a very bad headache.

The school secretary said it was his second time in the office this afternoon for this headache. When she checked his temp the first time, it was fine, but he still wasn't feeling well.

Could I pick him up?

Yep. "I'll be there in 2 minutes."

I arrived at school to find Super Boy's face flushed, his eyes glassy, and his head in his hands. He was clearly not feeling well. We packed up his stuff, drove straight home, and I checked his temp again.

100.6

Not record-breaking, but obviously not normal either.

After some chewable Motrin and ice water, Super Boy is resting comfortably on the sofa with me at his feet. And my To Do list is sitting in my purse, barely begun much less finished.

I called Super Man to tell him that the plans for dinner will likely be changing since I'm now home-bound with Super Boy. He might just have to pick something up on his way home tonight. That'll be special.

And I emailed our family members to tell them that they might want to reconsider their plans to come tomorrow, to avoid exposure to whatever it is that Super Boy's coming down with. I'm especially concerned about my Super Dad and Super Stepmom, as their visit here is more a matter of convenience: They're flying out of our airport Sunday morning to visit my Super Stepsister and her family, which includes a 2-year-old toddler and a 7-month old baby. I'd hate for them to end up sick and/or carry whatever it is that Super Boy has with them to Virginia and share it with my niece and nephew. They're of course still welcome; but it's a "come at your own risk" sorta deal now!

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this. For Super Girl's birthday two weekends ago, we went to her - and our - favorite sushi restaurant for her birthday dinner and pretty much right as we were arriving, I suddenly felt super sick to my stomach and ended up unable to eat. I felt sicker with each passing minute, so we left as soon as she, Super Man and Super Boy were done with their sushi, and I spent my night in the bathroom. It's only fitting that now another member of the family is sick for Super Man's birthday!

It definitely feels like a Friday the 13th. Oy vey.

Anyway...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUPER MAN!! You are the love of my life, and I hope that your birthday is still lovely, even if it's not *quite* what we had planned. :)

XOXO,
Super Woman

Monday, March 9, 2009

Friendship

What does it mean to be a good friend?

Does it mean the same things to everyone? Or is it possible that people can place more or less value on certain things than others without making them any less of a good friend?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I've been thinking about friends and friendships a lot lately, for many reasons.

One of them is just the passage of time and reflecting on the friends I've made over the 35 years of my life.

Some of my friends have been in my life for almost all of those years, despite sometimes lengthy periods of times out of touch for one reason or another. Others have only entered my life relatively recently, even though I feel as though I've known some of them forever. And still others have come and gone at some point and under various circumstances, some of which I could clearly outline and others, well, not so much. It's the latter that sometimes keeps me awake at night, wondering. Was it me? Was it them? Was it both of us? Could anything have been done to keep the friendship intact or was it destined to be limited to a certain period of time and for a specific purpose in our lives? I hate feeling like I've failed at anything, but failing at friendship is one of the worst feelings of all.

There are other reasons this issue has been at the forefront of my mind of late, but really, it's the one above that has been driving my thoughts.

As I think we all do at times, I sometimes question whether or not I'm the best friend I can possibly be to all of my friends at all times.

The realistic answer to that question is "no." Like everyone else, I'm human and, thus, imperfect. I'll be the first one to admit that.

Sometimes I screw up. I might say or do something (or NOT say or do something) and it hurts someone I care deeply about. Despite my best intentions, damage is inevitably done. Sometimes the damage is minimal and can be repaired; sometimes not. In the case of the former, I resolve to try harder, to do better, to NOT screw up again. In the case of the latter, we're left assessing the damage and figuring out where to go from there.

Both situations leave my guts twisted in knots, my heart aching, and the tight threads of our shared history unraveled a bit. Obviously, I try to avoid screwing up as much as possible. I hate having my guts in knots, my heart aching, knowing that something that was there before has gone away, either a little bit or a lot. But again, I'm not perfect and sometimes it happens.

Other times, the things that go on in our own lives get in the way of our reaching out to others as often or to the extent that we otherwise might. I'm incredibly guilty of allowing that to happen. And I do feel incredibly guilty when I realize that I've been neglectful of my friends.

With my long-distance friends, I know that I often rely too much on email or Facebook to stay in touch when I ought to be picking up the phone - or, better yet, making a trip to see them - more often.

When it comes to the phone calls, sometimes time is the issue: We're in different time zones, and I'm a stay-at-home mom while some of my long-distance friends work full- or part-time. So I'm available at times that aren't always convenient for them or vice versa. In those cases, email is just so much easier because time doesn't matter! There's also the matter of email being so darn efficient: In addition to time not being an issue, it makes it possible for us to share all of our "new news" without interrupting each other or getting cut short having to go tend to a child or take another call, etc. We can say as much as we want and the only restriction is how much time the other person has to read or respond.

In that same vein, I'm also very (very) bad about returning phone calls from my long-distance friends. The desire is there, but I seem to be cursed with remembering that I owe a phone call to someone only when I'm out running errands. And I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing I hate more than having someone call me when they're running errands and they've only got five or ten minutes to talk - interspersed with interruptions to talk to cashiers - and it's really not an opportunity for a good conversation. Unfortunately, by the time I get home from running errands, I've already forgotten that I need to return a phone call, and thus the cycle begins anew.

On the subject of visiting long-distance friends, the biggest issue is financial. Since I left my job to stay at home with Super Boy, our finances have tightened considerably by necessity. My income, while not staggeringly high, was substantial; without it, we really needed to curtail a lot of the "extras" that we used to enjoy. The trade-off is worth it, but it does come at a price, and seeing my long-distance friends less often is one of them. For the friends that are just a state or two away, it's easy enough to drive or take a train now and then without costs breaking the bank, but for those who are halfway across the country on either coast, flying and staying at a hotel if space is tight can be cost-prohibitive. I feel bad about that, but it's a reality that can't be ignored. I try to remember that my long-distance friends are generally in the same boat, so I don't take it personally that they don't make special trips to see me either.

When it comes to my local friends, I also tend to rely too much on email. The net effect on those relationships isn't quite as significant because I'm able to see my local friends pretty regularly, so at least there's that. But still, I know it's not ideal. Fine for making plans and dropping a quick note to check on each other, but not so much for having emotional or delicate conversations. (Yikes!)

The problem with email - or any form of communication that happens in writing - is that you cannot be sure of the tone the writer intended. An ordinarily benign comment can so easily be completely misconstrued and/or misunderstood, and things just snowball from there. What could be a great and efficient way of keeping in touch can now become the thing that rips a relationship to shreds, without any intention at all. I know this from experience, unfortunately. I'm sure many of you reading this do, as well.

Despite all of my faults and short-comings, I think I am a pretty good friend.

When any of my friends needs me, I'm there. In that situation, it doesn't matter if I'm flat broke and my friend is 1,000 miles away; I will find a way to be there if they need me. For my local friends, if it's a matter of picking up their child from school or watching their kids in a pinch, or running to the grocery store for them because they're too sick to leave their house, I'll do it. If they've just gotten bad news and need a shoulder to cry on, or they've received great news and they want someone to celebrate with, I'm there.

I try to remember - and acknowledge - the special events in their lives. Birthdays, anniversaries, a big project at work, a new business venture, whatever - if it's important to my friends, it's important to me.

I try to empathize and sympathize with my friends. If I know they're hurting or struggling with something difficult or painful, I want them to know that I can understand their feelings, whether I've specifically been in their shoes or not. Their pain is my pain.

I try to encourage my friends. Whether they want to pursue a new career path, try a new hobby, lose weight or get in shape, or WHATEVER their desire is, I want them to succeed and pursue their goals with passion. I will offer whatever support I can toward that end because I want them to be happy and fulfilled in their lives.

Bottom line, I always want the best for my friends, and I'm a strong believer in "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Am I perfect in demonstrating those sentiments in all ways and at all times? No; but I try to be.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To all my friends (and I know that not all of you read this blog, but several of you do - and bless you for that!), I love you. Whether you were a friend a decade or two or three ago or you're a friend to this day, you are in part responsible for the person I am today, and I thank you for that. If I have ever done anything to hurt you, a thousand apologies I extend to you; I hope you can forgive me. For anything you have done to hurt me, I forgive you. Life is too short to hold onto anger and resentment and, in the end, it only hurts us to dwell on those negative feelings.

I have learned something about myself and about the world from each and every friend I've ever had, and I aspire to be more and better because of the people you are. I honor and celebrate you, and I hope you honor and celebrate me, too.

Friends are one of the greatest blessings we can receive in life, and the very greatest of friends become family. From a girl who has no immediate family in the immediate area, I appreciate those of my friends all the more for being family to me.

With that, I will bid you all a wonderful day. :)

XOXO,
Super Woman