Friday, July 25, 2008

What would you have done?

I took little man to the mall tonight to play at the park. We left the house at about 7:45pm. Which was bad enough in itself considering the mall we went to was at least 20 minutes away. But I love the little guy so I went ahead and took him and spent some time with him...indoors...where it was at least 80 or so instead of 95.

Anyway, at one point I was helping Logan be good and play with the other kids (read: stopping him from pushing the little girls down the slide) and saw a dad put his little girl over the rail and into the play area. Of course he could have walked her to the entrance...but that is the least of my worries.

She was all of 4 or 5, maybe. As he lifted her over the rail he cautioned her to stay in the play area and not go out or else someone might take her and she needed to be safe. I thought that was odd, but was busy keeping an eye on Logan, so eventually got distracted enough to forget about it. Probably 20 minutes later or so the girl went up to another one of the mom's, crying her eyes out, because she couldn't find her daddy and her daddy was missing. I leaned over and told her that he had left her there by herself after realizing she was alone.

At that point I thought about calling the police, figuring they could maybe scare the parents into not doing it again, but realized that there was a very real possibility they would have to take the daughter away and I wasn't ready to make that call when it could have been a dad just making a stupid mistake. So I consolled the girl and kept an eye on her, watching to see if I could find a security guard to do the scaring for me. It was probably 10 minutes before the mom returned with an arm full of shopping bags. When I finally got to the security guard and pointed out the family, thinking maybe he could at least say something, he said he had already had a discussion with him earlier in the day for doing the same thing and he had a bad attitude, but since they had picked up their daughter and the mall closed in 7 minutes, there really wasn't a point in saying anything more.

So, what would you do in that situation? Hindsight being what it is, I wish I would have called the cops right away and let them handle could a parent do that over and over again, leaving their child with people they don't know at all and hoping their child won't walk away looking for them or that another adult will realize that the child is alone and take them away. I just can't understand that. I believe we all make mistakes and I know I am not a perfect parent, but still...I just can't imagine doing that. Next time, maybe I would take the girl away to the security desk, "looking for her parents", and then let the police handle it that way with the parents panicking when the return to look for her and she's not there...then they would learn while she's in safe hands? ...I don't know what would be right in that situation...then, would you say something when the parents return? What about if you saw the parents dropping the kid off and leaving...would you say something then?

Just curious...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight...sort of review

First, let me say two things. I don't consider myself a qualified movie reviewer for the general population. I am WAY to sensitive and fairly much so that even my most conservative friends disagree with me most of the time on whether a movie was good to watch or not. And yet, I have a few oddball favorites I can't think of them right now but I know they exist. The oddball tendency in me is probably best characterized by my affinity for gangsta rap. Oh, I thought of one...American History X...that is on the top of my all-time favorites despite the horrendous violence, which, of course, leads me to plug my ears and sing "lalala" as loud as I can so that I don't hear or see the violence and put that picture into my head. I know...totally defeats the purpose of making the reality of certain situations known...but, I don't need to see it to experience me. Even the slight suggestion of some sort of violence or meanness sends me to tears.

And, of course, I haven't actually seen this Batman movie.

So, take my feedback for whatever its worth to you.

My dear J had the unique opportunity to go do the whole comic book enthusiast (read: geek) thing and see a movie when it opens...12:01am. This one had such rave reviews, which, coupled with his eagerness to see the movie anyway left him waiting in line with his friend from work, for...90 minutes before the movie began. He got home around three this morning and I woke up long enough for him to tell me his review of the movie.

He loved it. And was glad he got to see it the way he did. He said the line wrapped around to the back side of the theatre and there were 1800 people who came to see the movie at that time...I don't think there are 1800 people who see a movie there on any other typical day.

But, that was about all of the positive review from J. He went on to say how incredibly dark and gruesome it is. There wasn't much blood and guts, but the evil portrayed in the movie was just overwhelming. I guess this is why Heath Ledger has received so many accolades for his performance. He said I shouldn't watch it (he knows me and my sensitivity). He also said that he definitely wouldn't recommend kids to it and almost wouldn't recommend for teenagers to watch it.

J is not sensitive at all to the violence and evil in media, and he has seen much of that stuff in real life. He'll play the most graphic video game and watch any shoot em up movie and rave about it. So, the fact that he called out how seriously disturbing this movie is should be taken as a stern warning about the content. With the exception of Never Die Alone, a movie (from our perspective) with NO redeeming value, he has never said anything like this about any form of media in the 10 years I've known him.

So here is my warning...I'm not one to tell you what to watch and what not to watch, but if you are at all sensitive about violence or evil portrayed on film, I wouldn't recommend watching this one. I'm not going to watch it. And, I would certainly think twice, no, 300 times before allowing a kid to watch it...who, of course, might be begging you to watch it because they are familiar with the comic book or the saturday morning cartoons. There is only so much you can do to get certain thoughts and images out of your head after they've been planted there along with a form of "entertainment".

Friday, July 11, 2008

Funkey Monkey...Let Me In!!!

Hey Lady-
This is just for you...wasn't sure if you were still checking my site, but when you went private I got locked out. Can I come back pretty please?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Difficulty accepting reality

The last week has been quite interesting. I'd say that you'd be proud of me, but, my reality is that many of you won't be, and I'm learning to deal with that.

You see...I finally went back to the neurologist. After a brief discussion about why, as someone with insomnia, I was taking a nap while waiting for him, the doctor eventually found my chart and realized that taking a nap was more than appropriate after waiting for him for an hour after my appointment time, especially since, oh yeah, I have narcolepsy not insomnia. Completely different doc... (You can't blame him too much though...not only was it 3 years ago that I last saw him, my hair was about 10 inches longer back then and I was told at least a few times that my picture didn't look anything like me now. Of course, maybe that was because they had the wrong chart...but I digress)

Anyway, we discussed taking medication even though we're not on birth control. I reminded him that although we aren't on bc, its been 21 months and no pregnancy, therefore it will be highly unlikely to get pregnant spontaneously in the next few months until we go to the dr to do something about it and, even more so, we are constantly monitoring for pregnancy so we would know nearly immediately and could stop taking the medication. He said overall, you have to weigh the risks of falling asleep driving (which i do all the time) or falling asleep while cooking, and the danger that poses to your family compared to the danger of taking a medication while pregnant that, as of yet, is not known to cause any complications. Weighing our situation, it seemed reasonable to start me on Provigil.

This my friends is extremely exciting and yet scary news. I hate taking medication. I really, really, hate taking medication. I hate to be in an altered state of mind so much so that I won't take any medication for pain besides the occasional Tylenol 3 or 600's of Motrin for the occasional migraine, and, of course antibiotics when necesary. Spent $100 on tamiflu when I had the flu a few months ago...didn't even take one pill. (shh...don't tell J or the dr). Its just not who I am. And, its REALLy not who I am when it comes to being pregnant. When I was pregnant with Logan I think I took one benadryl for allergies and one Z pack due to a sinus infection. Nothing else, at all, including for labor, delivery, and recovery. So, taking medication ongoing for the rest of my life, excluding known pregnancy and breastfeeding periods, particularly a stimulant like providgil, really makes me a bit nervous.

On the other hand, the opportunity to take medication brings promise of a brighter tomorrow. And, the first day I took the medication I noticed a remarkeable difference. So much more alert and aware of what was going on around me. If you haven't been there, I don't think I could explain it, other than to say I actually felt awake. At one point in the day I sat in a meeting and thought "the last time I sat with a group of people and felt this alert was in junior high"...the meeting reminded me of what it felt like to be in junior high and actively engaged in the class. It was amazing. I was happy and felt great. Of course, my luck, the night before I started to come down with a nasty sinus infection or cold, probably a cold, and it hit me hard the rest of the weekend so much so that the medicine didn't help much since my body needed its rest.

But, with my joy comes some very interesting reactions. I thought people would be happy for me. What I've found is that, although some people are happy for me, more often than not the reaction is skeptical as to whether or not I need the medication. Now, let me first say that I've made it 11 years so far with this condition and no medication, so there is something to be said in that no, I don't NEED the medication. But oh my can't believe how different my days have been with it. Although I've been tired, I haven't had any sleep attacks. I can see clearly, which, I know sounds weird. I can hear AND understand what others are saying. I have felt fine walking around and cleaning the house and doing yardwork and whatever else needs to be done...I haven't felt the need to just sit on the couch and sleep. I can actually think clearly and write things down as I think it and just overall manage life better. And I've been much more emotional. Not sure if this is good or bad, but it just is. I think its because I'm alert enough to experience life. I don't know.

Nevertheless, the medication is a stimulant, and that in itself causes concern. The dr told me to take one in the morning, and then, after a few days if it seems like I need more then take one at lunch time. I realized right away that the medication wore off quickly at around 3 or 4, so on the 4th of July I took the second pill at lunch. My husband was quick to tell me that he was worried about me because I was addicted to it or going to be addicted to it. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his concern and want EVERYONE to feel free to approach me if they feel I am adversely affected by the drug and/or addicted to it, but that REALLY, REALLY hurt me. Really badly.

I have always been so careful to stay away from any kind of substance that I can be addicted to. I have never had alcohol. I have never had any kind of drugs. I have never smoked. I am really sensitive as well to other types of addictions, knowing that addictive behavior can be borne out of pretty much any kind of behaviour. I have never even had a narcotic painkiller after the surgeries that I've had. Refused to take them. And so the idea that I would willingly take a drug and abuse it after one day was hurtful. Especially since I was following the doctor's instructions. Not to mention mky reluctance to take the medication in the first place since the idea of taking medication goes against everything I believe in.

But even deeper, to me it meant that he didn't believe that I had a condition that caused so much challenge. I have always been someone prone to sickness...I catch any kind of ENT germ that crosses within 25 miles of my door. That is partly because I was born with GERD but not diagnosed until I was 17 and therefore had trouble keeping good bacteria in my body to fight off the bad stuff..yadda yadda yadda. Add on top of that my migraines, which I started getting when I was 5 but more regularly around puberty (go figure...) and are caused in me by two things...hormones and changes in sleep behavior (i.e, when I don't get enough sleep). Add to that the excessive tiredness and an odd low blood pressure history, it made me...a natural problem solver...dig for what this all could be. Not because of wanting to be sick, but because I wanted to find a solution so that I could be well. I've seen neurologists for the migraines, cardiologists for the blood pressure, gastroenterologists, ENT's, etc. This has led many of my family members to joke about me being a hyperchondriac. That on top of my tendency to be injured and have extremely random illnesses (remember my hand surgery for the tumor that 'only' happens in males?...and yes, I found another female with the same problem...) all of this has made me try really hard not to appear like I'm feeling ill when I am. And, has led me to be the butt of many jokes some of which were spoken by my husband who with good intentions (?) or at least out of a good spirit has actually called me a hyperchondriac.

So I was relieved to learn that most of my health problems (and even my tendency to be less graceful) are caused by or at least made more prevalent by the narcolepsy. Low blood pressure and narcolepsy go hand in hand. Obviously, the tiredness (falling asleep standing up talking anyone?). The tendency to completely fall down when startled. Even the migraines, at least to some degree...all caused by or made worse by narcolepsy. Narcolepsy that was confirmed by a series of tests that measure brain waves and other bodily functions while sleeping, something I can't make up. Tests read by a board certified neurologist that is a director of a sleep center. A report that says, without doubt, I have narcolepsy. Not because I SAY I do, but because I actually do.

J says its hard to believe, not only because its hard for someone without it to understand what its like to have it, but also because I don't show it. And he's right. I struggle in the most part silently. Partly to avoid explaining it to people. Partly to avoid pity. Partly to avoid the situation in general and pretend it doesn't exist. Mostly just to choose to live the life I have to its fullest, narcolepsy or not. And I realized that I'm actually punished for that. If I were to choose to "give in" to the condition and let it rule me, then people would be more likely to understand and therefore support me. If I quit my job so that I could stay home and sleep whenever I needed to, people would get it. If I chose not to drive anywhere or gave up my license voluntarily, people would get it. If I chose to let myself sleep whenever my body was telling me I needed it rather than, as I do, try to stay as fully awake and alert to whats going on around me at all times, people would get it. They would get how often I try to struggle to stay awake. They would see how often my body tells me I need to sleep (or, actually forces me to do so). They would see all the times I do ridiculously stupid things (like fill up the dog's food dish then put it in the refrigerator) because I'm running on automatic behavior gone mad. If there were a camera following me around silently, people would see how often I fall asleep while driving, how often I sing at the top of my lungs like a drunk sailor trying to stay awake instead of falling asleep while driving. How often I have no idea what you just said because my mind was sleeping and my body was spending all the energy it had trying to fool you all into thinking I'm awake. Then people would understand.

But I don't do any of those things. I've spent almost half my life struggling to stay awake while choosing to live my life anyway. While choosing not to give in to my flesh but to "beat my body into submission" and live the best I can, doing the best I can as much as possible. Because of this, the general public has no idea that I struggle. Those closest to me rarely do either. I don't care what the general public thinks of me. But I do care about what those closest to me think about me...for better or worse. Maybe thats a fault of mine. Maybe I put too much care into what they think. But at some level we are all looking for acceptance as who we are. I didn't choose this. I would never have chosen it. And, at some point I'm sure I'll get to the point where I'm ok if people don't get it or don't acknowledge the condition I face. I've never really had to justify it before. But now, with the medication, I feel like I have to justify why I'm taking it, even though those around me should know me by now in that I would never take a medication, especially one like this, if I didn't think it was essential. It's the reality I face. And yet its one I'm ok with. The reality that not everyone will understand, approve, or accept it is another reality I'm learning to deal with. One I'm having difficulty learning to accept.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Birthday J!

Happy Birthday and a Big Congratulations to my wonderful husband, who I am extremely proud of.

Of course, many of you know that his ACTUAL birthday is in December, yet we are now celebrating another birthday July 1st. I'll let him tell you the exact nature of the issue (its not drugs or alcohol), but he has been fighting an addiction now for many years and is "clean and sober" for two years. One thing I've learned growing up in a culture of recovery is that your sobriety date is indeed a birthday, a day to celebrate the new life you received as a result of choosing to give up what has been controlling you and accepting a new way of living...choosing everyday to fight against what is comfortable, what kills the pain, what is 'easy' and instead choosing to be honest with God, oneself, and others. J is ready to celebrate making it to two years and doesn't care who knows if you want to make his day, give him a call and tell him "Happy Birthday!!!" He'll know what you mean. :)

The past 4 1/2 years, since I've known of this struggle have certainly been challenging. As much as it would be nice to have never gone through what we've gone through, the reality is that my husband struggles with something, as we all do, and the reality of our situation is that we would never have been more open, honest, understanding, and close than if things happened just the way they did. As much as the pain literally hurt my heart so bad and changed me, causing me to go through things I would have never imagined, the end result is that we are both continuously looking for our character defects and learning how to live, together, with each other's 100% support with a love that we never would have known for each much as blind faith and newlywed trust was a wonderful feeling...we have something so much better. We know we aren't perfect and yet still our spouse is totally commited and full of love.

Things aren't perfect. What I have had to accept is that they never will be. I may be writing a blog tonight about how things have completely fallen apart and how "the other shoe has dropped". I don't know. But my faith is no longer placed in my husband as the ultimate knight in shining armour. That 100% trust, 'blind faith' regardless of all situations, only belongs to One. And, that relieves my husband of the pressure of being perfect, something he can never attain leaving him to always fail. I am a different wife than I would have been if we hadn't faced this situation...God needed to grind some things out of me that I'm sure I wouldn't have wanted to let go of otherwise. And for all of it I am grateful. My husband now has an appropriate place in my life...the head of our household, the loving and caring and provisionary husband. He is my hero but not my saviour. The man I admire in so many ways and who can have fun and play and just learn to be who God has made him to be.

Happy Birthday's to many more interesting, trying, and wonderful years together. I love you.