You can count on Mom

I got a call last week from the oldest son wanting me to pick him up because he was hurting and hungry.  Many emotions swam over me at once-panic, dread, sorrow, heartache…my child has been in trouble for so long and it’s impossible for me to turn my back when he clearly needs me for the most basic essentials.  I drove about a half an hour to a sketchy part of town and waited for him to come out to my car.  The first thing I noticed was how gaunt his face looked.  His pretty blue eyes did not shine and he was very pale.  He was looking far older than his mere twenty-one years.  He put his back-pack in the trunk and off we went.

Not knowing what to talk about, I left it up to him to speak first.  He started telling me about how bad his legs hurt and how his head had been throbbing for days.  He looked like a lost puppy.  I didn’t bother asking him if he was hungry, instead driving straight to a drive thru.  He wanted a double western bacon cheese burger.  I got him the large combo and he was done with the fries within five minutes.

We got to the house and I suggested he shower and take a long hot one to wash away some of the filth that had surely attached itself to his wounded legs.  He happily obliged.  As he showered, many questions went through my head:

  • what am I going to do with him?
  • how long will he stay?
  • is he going to try to break into the garage again?
  • when are they going to have room for him at rehab?

I needed to get some laundry done and seeing as I’ve been house sitting for my mom, I could do it at her house.  I told him that if he wanted to sleep here  he should get me the sheets and blankets off his bed because I hadn’t touched anything since he’d left previously.  His friend had given him some skateboard guts so that he could put his back together and he wondered if I’d take him to the skate shop so they’d put it together for him.

We got that done and I wondered if he’d turn around and sell it for drugs.

He left for awhile, happy, because he had a functioning skateboard again.  It’s nice to see him with a genuine smile, even if it’s small because he’s exhausted.

Please don’t go get meth.

I got all of his bedding and clothing washed and left it folded in a bag in his room.  I didn’t want to do too much because I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t want to be disappointed.  And, as sorry as I felt for him, I didn’t want to bend over backwards just to be shat on again.  He didn’t come home that night but showed up the next morning, put his sheets on his bed and promptly went to sleep.  I asked him one time if he was doing alright and he said sleepily, “I haven’t been in a bed in so long.”

I checked on him periodically but he slept for almost five days.  He got up to use the bathroom occasionally and I gave him a gallon of cran-raspberry juice to keep by his bed so he wouldn’t drink out of the container in the refrigerator.  I didn’t see or hear much from him but I was content knowing he was safe and not in jail.

He wasn’t getting beat up by the police.

I assume that those five days were spent detoxing from meth and who knows what else. He swears he has not, nor will he ever, use heroin.  Who knows.  I told him they make that shit with so many chemicals that he may have inadvertently used it at one point.  Of course, that’s a great way to get people even more hooked, right?

His legs are infected and draining. I brought him some antiseptic liquid that his supposed to clean the wounds and relieve some pain but if they still look the same tomorrow I’ll have to get him in to see a doctor.  I’m not quite sure why the hospital spent thousands getting him cat-scans but wouldn’t bother to bandage his bleeding legs.  He went directly to jail after the hospital and staph is a popular infection to pick up-especially having open wounds.

I try to make sense of the nonsensical and it leaves me frustrated.

For now, he is at home and I’m thankful.  Relieved.  He’s my firstborn.  I had so many dreams and desires for him as I cradled him all those nights, years ago.  My only wish now?

Stay alive.


I didn’t post the other pictures showing the infected areas because they aren’t pleasant.

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My Rocky Bottom

The oldest boy texted his dad informing him of his latest arrest.  Apparently,  he tried running from them, well, biking from them.  He didn’t get far before he was tackled, body slammed, and face planted into the asphalt.  He said his fingers got pretty messed up and somehow his leg had incurred an injury which he says was a cut to the bone.  They took him to the hospital where he received a cat scan which revealed a concussion and they wouldn’t stitch his leg wound.  And now I ask, How far down is rock bottom?

California has had its teeth pulled regarding drugs.  An individual can walk up and down the street carrying meth, a pipe, various other drugs and their paraphernalia with nothing more than an officer checking for felonies and then being transported to the jail overnight and released the following day.  It’s nothing.  It doesn’t count.  The state voted to reduce drug charges to misdemeanors so now they are nothing more than the equivalent of a traffic citation, only there don’t seem to be any fines.  How would they pay them, anyway?  California would rather make up the difference on me for not having my dog licensed on time.  $300 for failing to register your dog vs. getting a talking to by police for carrying meth.  Make sense?

These kids need help.  No, I don’t want to see them in jail, but I’d wager that most of them are dealing with psychiatric issues that need to be dealt with and I’d think the state could come up with a few rehab facilities that are set up like jails only not actually jails.  Keep them confined but get them clean and feed them.  But our governor would rather waste billions on a stupid bullet train that will never get built.  It’s hard to feel hopeful for the future when you see these young people with no options who will continue to spiral down until their crimes turn violent and they end up in prison or dead.  I’m no bleeding heart, but damn, there has to be something.

This has been my morning-well, in actuality, the past five years of my life.  Worrying about my oldest son who seems hell-bent on self-destruction with no way to get him on the right track.  He’s brought the criminals around who have inhabited the garage next door.  Saturday I discovered a blanket thrown over the outside security light and a blanket on the grass covering a block of cement that I’m sure someone was going to use to break the back door.  I called the police about it and they sent a giggly woman who spent a grand total of two minutes checking it out.  She happily returned to flirting with her partner before they drove off.

I didn’t realize that the rock bottom being referred to was my own.

A Quick Trip

I went to Vegas with the intention of hanging out in the casino with my husband, drink free.

I arrived, stitches hot from sitting on them for the entire ride, minus one quick trip to the only working rest stop along the way.  I was sore and in need of a painkiller-it was Tuesday and I’d only just had the surgery on Friday.

We got checked in, got up to our room, Robert jumped in the shower, and as I sat on the bed looking forward to a couple of days of relaxation-my neighbor called to tell me that our oldest son left the men’s home already after staying less than 24 hrs.  That kid knows how to shit all over everything.  My relief and lightheartedness was replaced with dread.  He was supposed to be in that home for a year-they’d let him live there as long as he didn’t use drugs.  He couldn’t manage one full day.

Instead of spending time visiting with each other and having a calm two days together, we focused on the fact that he’s forced our hand.  No more coming home for showers or food, no more loading up his phone with new music or checking his social media.  And definitely no more hanging out next door in the garage where the police have been closely watching for months in order to gather enough information to raid it.

I had also planned to stay on my diet while in Vegas.

This was definitely not on my low carb diet.

At least not the hash browns and pancakes!  I tried.

That evening we stayed down in the casino until late.  We played blackjack until our luck and my wine ran out.

The next day we spent our time at the nearby outlets and walked a few laps and bickered back and forth.  The stress of having an addict for a child dominates every aspect of your life if you let it.  We’re still grappling with it-I don’t want our limited time together to be spent arguing over things of which we have no control.  It’s not our fault-we didn’t cause this.

I’ve been trying to get him on this low carb diet with me.  It’s difficult for a truck driver to follow any sort of healthy diet but he does have a refrigerator, and once he cleans out the ice cream, he’ll have room for bacon and pepperoni.  I think he thinks I’m being pushy.  I’m really not trying to be, but as (almost) every wife wants their husband to be healthy,  I do try to give gentle nudges.  He’d probably argue that they’re more like karate kicks to the groin but…I’m still me.  I’m not the nicest, I suppose.  I blame it on my humor-I have inherited too much of my dad’s sharp tongue.

We enjoyed looking at things we don’t normally.  They have a store there, Le Creuset, which happens to be an outlet, as well.  And while their entire store was 40% off,  I can’t see myself ever spending over $300 on a cast iron pot.  They were gorgeous and we had fun imagining our new kitchen full of these fancy items, and Robert loved teasing me about leaving rotten potatoes in them to sit outside until he dumped them for me (yes, I’ve done that more than I care to admit!) retching the entire time-he has a delicate stomach.

The colors were rich and I fell in love with the plum-colored collection they had.  We discussed which color pepper mill we’d want and I told him it was up to him;  I’m not the one that peppers everything.  He’ll pepper food before he even tastes it-salt, too, but mainly pepper.  He finds it strange that I don’t.  It was nice to discuss housewares and idly pass the time.  I miss him.

I liked these:

After the iHop breakfast that morning hit my stomach like a ton of bricks,  I found myself hurrying to the restroom on more than one occasion and I have to ask-why can’t women manage to flush a toilet?  I don’t understand it!  Is it laziness, are they in so much of a hurry that they can’t possibly spare 30 seconds to step on a lever?  These thoughts were going through my head as I tried to maneuver myself onto the seat without letting my stitches actually touch.  That’s more difficult than it ought to be but considering the location, it’s my reality.  Forget a toilet seat cover-I tried and spent too long trying to carefully remove wet tissue from my stitches when they became wet after flushing.

I lead an interesting life.

We made our way over to In-N-Out and Robert easily talked me into trying a lettuce wrapped 4×4.  It’s four juicy beef patties with four slices of cheese wrapped in iceberg lettuce.  Of course,  we made it a combo that came with fries so it completely rendered the low carb burger useless, albeit, monstrously tasty!

I inhaled my burger and Robert kindly offered to eat my fries for me.  I declined his offer.

We drove around the area imagining living in the newly built gated communities.  I joked that we could move and not tell our oldest.

I left the next day and the trip home took an hour longer than usual because of an accident.  I played cat and mouse with a Ram for many miles because he cut me off and while his big truck has a bigger engine,  my lighter badass car can quickly overtake him.  I took every opportunity to pass him.  Jerk.  I have to find ways to keep myself entertained because the drive along the 15 freeway is ugly and I can only shift my leg around so many ways to avoid sitting on my healing leg.

The kid has court tomorrow.  We’ll see if he goes and if he does, if anything happens.  I’m doubtful on the latter.

 

A Minor Procedure

 

I’ve had this bump on the back of my thigh for several years-it’s grown, as have I, unfortunately, and my doctor finally agreed that my insurance would pay for its removal.  The first time I went in to have it looked at, she said it would be considered cosmetic and therefore, not covered.  I’m not sure why;  it wasn’t supposed to be there, it was an obvious lump, and it bothered me.  So, it stayed.  And grew.  It got to the point where I wouldn’t wear swimsuits because I was very conscious of it-directly below my butt cheek for the world to see.  It started causing me discomfort when I’d spend any length of time driving or sitting, and even made lying on my left side quite uncomfortable.  My left side is my favorite side, as sides go…

I got the approval a few days after the visit with my primary care doctor.  She isn’t the most friendly doctor and I suppose it’s not necessary that they have a prize-winning personality.  After all, what’s important is that they are good at their job.  An agreeable nature is secondary, although feeling like I’m being looked at like I have hypochondriasis isn’t pleasant.  The more I think about it, I might look into switching.

My mother volunteered to go with me to my appointment.  I didn’t rush to say yes only because I didn’t know how long she’d have to wait for me but I told her I might have her go.  Just in case I was sore driving home, she might be of some use to me.  I reminded her of it on Saturday and she asked when it was again and proceeded to tell me, “Oh, I made an appointment for the dog at the vet on Friday…”  One upped by the dog.  Thanks, Mom.

I got myself to the hospital where the doctor would perform the procedure-no idea what to expect, and quite stressed, actually.  My biggest fear was that he would cut on me before I was numb.  After having each of my five large children, I had stitches like most women nowadays.  Unfortunately, I felt each stitch and no matter how many times the doctor would inject more anesthesia, it didn’t seem to help.  I felt each one.  As you can imagine,  this left an unpleasant impression on me.  Would this doctor listen if I told him I was hurting?

The nurse took my vitals and asked if I was allergic to any medication.

“None that I’ve encountered thus far.”

“On a scale of one to ten, what would you say your pain tolerance is?”

Now that’s a question I haven’t put much consideration into.  How much pain can I take-were they going to see how far they could push me?  The notion didn’t help my blood pressure, I can tell you that.  I thought about it for a minute and the implications if I made the number too high and if I’d be considered a wimp if I made the number too low…I sat there psychoanalyzing myself before deciding on five.  Five is a good solid number.  Right down the middle.

The nurse asked me to put on a gown and I was concerned about being allowed to keep my underwear on.  She said I could and so I felt some relief.  I don’t like strangers looking at my naked butt.  I was also able to keep my shirt on, which was a bonus.

We walked back to the surgery room where I was asked to remove my underwear and lie down on the table.  Man, just when I was starting to relax a little.  So up I went, feeling very exposed, and they quickly rubbed iodine on my thigh and cheek.  They were nice nurses and understood my desire to have a bit of modesty and laid the sterile cloths so that only one cheek was exposed and nothing else extraneous.  They laid a warm blanket over me, afterward.

The doctor came in, checked that everything was as it should be, and let me know he was going to begin numbing my leg.

“This will sting, I guarantee it.”

He went slowly and I didn’t mind it at all.  It felt like little pinches and were only a slight irritation.  He asked if I was doing alright and I said I was.

“You’re not a guy, that’s for sure!”

I’ve been told that women have a higher pain tolerance;  it would make sense, of course.

He asked if I felt this and did I feel that, and thankfully, I did not.  He proceeded to cut and I noticed that I was suddenly feeling warm and slightly nauseous.

“Gosh, it’s really warm in here.”

“I told them to turn the temperature down in here so it should be cooling off soon,”  said the nurse.

“I’m worried that you’re feeling that way because you’re about to pass out,”  added the doctor.

They brought me something to vomit into, just in case, and after a bout of the sweats, I started feeling a little better.

I’m not sure how he was able to cut into my leg when I know I had both butt cheeks on super-clench the entire time, but he did it and asked if I’d like to see what he retrieved.

“Yes, absolutely!”

He brought around the growth that had been causing my discomfort for well over seven years and it looked like what I can only describe as a baby octopus from the Korean BBQ place up the street.  I wish I could’ve taken a picture.

“That’s about how I imagined it,”  I said.  “I’m glad it’s out of my leg.”

He asked me if I wanted stitches or staples and that there was no wrong answer.

“I think I’d like stitches.  I’ve never had staples and the idea isn’t the most appealing.”

Stitches, it is.

I got seven on the outside, I don’t know how many on the inside and I’m not sure if he counted, anyway.

He went over all of the ways I should care for my wounded thigh-no shower until Sunday, no hot tubs or jacuzzi for three weeks.  Come back and have the stitches removed in two weeks.  He was naming all of this off as I laid there light-headed hoping I’d remember everything.

“Thank you for being patient,”  he said as he was about to leave the room.

“Thank you for numbing me!”  I responded, as they were applying the gauze.  Truly, that was the greatest gift-a doctor who listened when I said I could feel something and he promptly gave me more anesthetic.

As I got dressed and was directed by the nurse which direction to go, she said to go one way if I had anyone waiting in the waiting room for me.  No, I didn’t.  Thanks again, Mom.  Then go the opposite direction to get the elevator.

I picked up the pain pills the doctor prescribed and then hiked what felt like a mile out to my car.  I made it.  I had my first in-office surgery and it wasn’t horrible.  I also realized that my doctor was someone I could picture my husband and I hanging out with at karaoke.  He probably liked Neil Diamond, too.

I went to the grocery store directly from the hospital and bought some ice cream.  Yes, I’m on a diet, but I figure a little pistachio almond ice cream is better than a glass/bottle of wine and it’ll make me less upset with my mom for ditching me.  Right?

By the way,  I told my mom that I was giving up the alcohol for a bit.  My brother and his wife took her wine tasting tasting for Mother’s Day weekend and, being the wino they’re used to, they found this mug and unanimously agreed it was perfect for me.  Obviously she’d forgotten about my abstinence, but it was nice to be thought of, I suppose.

I broke my liver

After drinking every day for the past, say, ten years, aside from the occasional hangover recovery day, I haven’t been able to bounce back.  I haven’t had any alcohol for nearly 30 days and I assumed the weight would melt off of me in puddles.  No such luck, sadly.

I allowed myself nearly two weeks to eat ice cream and other fatty, sugary foods in an effort to be a little kind to my system during its detox.  Obviously there’s no medical necessity for this but my brain needed a break.  Cue expansion of butt.

I’ve tried quite a few different diets over the years but I seem to be happiest on a low carb, Atkins style diet.  That doesn’t mean I actually lose much, but I love bacon and can have it eating low carb.  I’m not sure I’ve actually done this diet and gone longer than one week with no alcohol.  Why?  I’m all about instant gratification and if I gave up something I loved, wine, I expected to see some results.  Fast.  Since I didn’t lose while not drinking, I’d decide Why suffer? If I’m not going to lose anyway, might as well enjoy some wine.  And the cycle continued of dieting, drinking, and not losing.

I’m going to try my hand at patience-it’s certainly not one of my strong suits, but I don’t have much choice.  I’m not happy with how I look so I need to do something about it.  Only I can fix Me, right?

So here we are, adjustment time.  No sweets, no breads or pastas, no liquor…No fun.  I’m kidding, I’m not feeling as though I’m missing out on anything, really.   I know I can do this, it’s the waiting that kills me.

My scale has been broken for about a year-it seems to be stuck at the same weight without budging.  Well, until this morning, that is.  It was about five pounds less than it has been shouting at me for months.  Thank the Lord!

Here are some low carb foods I enjoy eating:

  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Butter
  • Half and half
  • Avocados
  • Nuts

All of these full flavored and full of fat foods are acceptable on this diet and if I feel hungry, I go back for more.  It’s pretty simple. If I were to try a complicated diet, I’d never stick with it.

Do I see myself ever being 120 pounds again?  Only in my dreams where I have a fantastic super charged metabolism and waif like figure-a time in my life where I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted and only needed to sneeze to lose five pounds.  Life was good!  But I was also only 19 and I wouldn’t go back there for anything.

We’ll see how it goes and all I have to lose is, oh…30 pounds…!

The kids wanted me to make a stir fry for dinner and while theirs had hoisin sauce in it-which contains sugar,  I made a separate batch that used only soy sauce.  It’s fairly easy to make modifications in order for us to all eat the same meal.  We can all be happy!


A midday hike to clear my head

I’m getting increasingly stressed about the idea of my husband switching jobs-the company he is currently with is making certain changes which are not conducive to a good working environment and so he is looking at his options.  This means we will no longer have the same insurance and we’ll most likely take a financial hit.  He’s in the trucking industry and is away for long stretches of time.  While he’s been away, two of the kids have moved out, the other three are rapidly moving closer to adulthood, and his own health has declined.  I’d love to see him find employment that has him home in the evenings or at the very least, the weekends.  We all miss him and want him to be healthy and happy.

In order for him to possibly have a local job, he would most likely be forced to take a serious pay cut which would mean we would have to pick up the slack somewhere…this means me.  Somehow, I need to make some money.  I haven’t worked since 2010 when I was a home health aide.  Before that, I taught for a year at a private school, was a substitute teacher, and was in college completing my degree in English.  Honestly, I have no clue what I would even be good at, let alone where to begin my search.  I would absolutely love to work from home but is there even such a thing anymore?  I know people somehow manage to earn money off of their blogging and various other social media ventures but I’m completely out of my element in that area.  How exactly does one do that?

So here I am-what does an unemployed 42 year old mother of five kids do when faced with the challenge of finding supplemental income?

I grabbed my daughter and we went for a hike yesterday.  I needed to get some nature in my lungs, be off of my bed, outside of my house, away from the noise in my head.  I needed some pine trees, wildflowers, and bugs crawling in my socks-some sweat, slippery dirt, and climbing.  I also realized quickly just how out of shape I’d gotten.


 

About halfway up, I realized I had worn the wrong shoes.  Converse sneakers do not have the tread needed to navigate through the slippery surfaces and I easily envisioned myself landing with my feet over my head and having to be helicoptered out of there. We’d be easy to find between my heavy breathing and Hannah’s lime green socks.

We spotted several lizards that seemed to be trying to race us down the hill and only encountered a handful of people, which was very nice.  There was quite a collection of poops along the trail and I’m sure at least one was from the mountain lion the sign at the gate warned us about.

The sun felt good on my bare arms and the breeze helped relax me somewhat.  Bonding with my girl was a great escape-exactly what I needed.  She’ll be twelve in August and I relish the time we spend together while I’m still in her good favor;  before I turn into the woman that no longer knows anything.

As for extra money and me gaining employment, who knows, I don’t know what I’m qualified to do other than possibly work at Taco Bell.  What does a B.A. in English get you nowadays other than snickers and giggles from engineers?

Laughter is the bees knees

My kids are a constant source of amusement, whether they’re creating comic strips, drawing, writing stories-you name it, they keep me entertained.

They took this little snippet while staying at my mom’s for a visit and I laugh out loud each time I watch it. I think they need their own Youtube channel.