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.

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My son, the meth addict

I’m not sure how to start this;  I don’t know where to begin.  How do you tell the world that your son uses drugs?

 

My son is addicted to meth.

 

I returned from my trip to Vegas feeling refreshed, inspired, relaxed…

Those feelings didn’t last long.

I came back to my house after being gone a week-I’m not the best housekeeper, but I try.  I knew I was leaving my 21-year-old son in charge of the house-I spent the weekend cleaning.  I mopped, cleaned the bathroom, did the dishes, vacuumed, stocked the refrigerator…he was set.  I knew he would probably have a few friends over, which I dreaded, but I needed him to be around the house to care for the dogs and cats.  I didn’t ask him to do anything but make sure they were all fed, could go out to relieve themselves, and keep the house locked up.  I don’t think this was too much to ask.

While I was gone, I would text him periodically to get a status report.  I wanted some peace of mind.  He’d respond when he felt like it to say, “Yes, the dogs have food. Yes, I locked the house.  Yes, I have not been abducted by aliens.”

The floors were covered in black footprints, the sink was full of dirty dishes, there were clothes strewn about (not his, but stranger’s clothes), and the door was not locked.  I found a broken meth pipe in my kitchen sink as well as two miniature plastic baggies.  I looked inside the refrigerator and found that someone had broken off one of the cubbies on the door.  I don’t know what the hell happened.

My son and I spend more time arguing and fighting than we do having any sort of meaningful relationship that a mother and son should have.  He’s lived in this house his entire life.  I would find out years later that some kids at school introduced him to marijuana in 6th grade. You can say all you want about marijuana-tell me how great it is for cancer patients, how it is the cure for all that ails you, that it will bring world peace.  But don’t try to tell me that it is not a gateway drug.  My experience with my son tells me the complete opposite.

Before I told my boy that he could stay in the house and have a couple of friends over, I had kicked him out.  I told him that he could stay next door in the garage (my deceased Grandmother’s house, long story) because I was sick of all of his drug buddies disturbing my household at all hours of the day;  it was nonstop.  Unfortunately, his living in the garage turned into hordes of people also living in the garage.  So now, instead of these undesirables coming to my door, they were frequenting the garage directly next door to me and entering the premises from both the front yard and the alley.  The garage had turned into a drug den.  I couldn’t catch a break-there were people walking and driving at all hours of the night in order to do God knows what besides just getting high.  There was even a mom who would drop off her 17-year-old son next door, and I’m quite sure she knew what was going on.

I confronted him.  I told him I was done, I couldn’t put up with this.  How could he bring his drugs into my house when he has younger siblings that live here with me (thankfully they are old enough to know better than to pick things up and put them in their mouths)?  Back to the garage, ye go!  We argued, it got animated.  I told him I’d call the police on him to which he replied, “Go ahead, I’ll slit my throat!”  He said that twice so I called the local police department and told them that my son was suicidal-they promptly appeared on my property and said they’d talk to him.  One officer was very smiley which I felt was inappropriate, given the circumstances.  They talked to him for less than five minutes and then left with no further contact with me.  Nothing.  That left my son free to return to the garage.

Sunday morning, my son showed up at the front door.  I asked him what he wanted and he said he was hungry.  Fine.  I let him in and he went to the kitchen where he proceeded to try to pour a bowl of cereal from an empty box.  He kept shaking it over the bowl and, of course, nothing came out.  I opened a new box and poured some for him, all the while taking mental notes of his strange behavior.   He began to take a bite full of dry cereal and said, “Hey, don’t you want any milk?  Your cereal is dry.”  He said it was fine but I poured some milk on it anyway.  He stood in the kitchen doorway eating his cereal as it spilled all over himself and the floor, which he didn’t notice or didn’t care about.

“You’re either drunk or high, which is it?”

“I’m not.”

“What are you on, you’re on something.”

“No, I’m not.”

He set his bowl down and went to his room and shut the door.  I went to check on him a few minutes later and caught him semi upright on his bed swaying from side to side. I took video as proof to show him later.  I told him to lie down and gave him a nudge so he’d roll on his side.  At this point I decided to call my husband and ask his advice and show him the video because he was acting out of character.  He told me I should call 911 because it seemed that he was overdosing on something.  Cue 911.

While the paramedics were tending to my son,  one of the officers asked me to go outside so he could ask me some questions about the events leading up to this.  I explained that he’d threatened suicide and nothing was done, and that I was at my wit’s end with this drug culture he’d brought into my house, into my family, and into the garage next door.  I’d spoken to this particular officer on a separate occasion pertaining to my son and he was well aware of the situation.  Out of all of this chaos, I was struck by his kindness.  He gave me some background information on some of the kids that were hanging out next door, gave me some advice, and above all, made me feel like I didn’t totally suck as a human being.

The ambulance whisked my son away to our local hospital.  It’s about a five minute walk from here but I’m sure the bill is in the thousands just for the gas to propel them forward.  I waited for two hours in the emergency waiting room before they found him a bed.  Sunday is a busy time in the ER, apparently, or at least this particular Sunday was.  One man decided that he needed his leg checked out.  He’d hurt it recently and could walk on it but it just didn’t feel quite right yet.  A mother brought her young son in whose head hurt-I don’t know if he fell or what but as she was standing in line, I heard him say with tears in his eyes, “Mommy, my head really hurts.”  Her reply?  “And tears help you how?  Why are you crying?  Stop it and go sit down.”  She was busy updating her social media while her son sat, alone, on the furthest chair he could find from her.

I was wondering who, out of the entire waiting room, was actually there for an emergency.  Were any of them waiting to hear about their son who was possibly overdosing?

So many thoughts go through your head.

If only I’d done things differently.

As a Mom, torturing yourelf isn’t going to help.  You didn’t force your child to use drugs.  It won’t change anything.  You have to move forward.

The doctor asked him if he’d used any drugs, he told me.  I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me?  He lies to me, his mom, do you really think he’s going to be honest with you?”  I wish I’d said that, but I didn’t.  They ran a urine test, did an EKG, blood tests…they don’t wait for the blood tests to come back, apparently.  The urinalysis showed marijuana and meth.  I told the doctor about the threats of suicide and he said, “Well, that was a week ago, we can’t do anything.”

I’m ready to scream at this point.  Nobody listens.  Nobody cares.

I’m witnessing first hand why there are so many homeless in my area.

 

To Be Continued.

 

 

 

A little pep talk

I feel like the writer who doesn’t actually write.  Throughout the day I find myself saying Ha! I really should write about that, but then it’s time to get ready for ballet, pick up something for dinner, or clean up the dog poop pile by the front door.  I get interrupted and these interruptions translate into months of not writing at all.

Growing up, I had certain ideas of what I’d like to be doing by this stage of my life-some were a little crazier than others;  being a spy for the CIA, for example.  But one has remained constant, and that is to be living the life of a writer.  Published novels, stacks of papers strewn about, cups of half-finished coffee sitting next to my laptop…I picture myself in the future living by the beach known as “that eccentric old lady with the mismatched socks and crazy hairdo.”  I suppose we all have dreams, right?  And some of us, more than others, let the doubt creep in and take over to the point that we don’t actually write due to fear of rejection.  I’ve been doing that for years.

My kids are growing up-my oldest will be 22 this year, the youngest will be 12.  I feel like time has eaten most of my good parts and left me to wonder what could have been if I had only put in the effort and braved through all the self-doubt.  It would have been good for my kids to see that…but, playing the ‘what if’ game does no one any favors.

I turned 42 a week ago and didn’t enjoy it one bit.  The day itself was alright-I enjoyed a pedicure, picked up some makeup that needed replacing…but mentally, it was tough.  I’m not where I want to be and only I can change that.  My husband is always gone due to work obligations and for that I feel tremendous guilt.  He’s missing out on the kids’ day to day antics and me-he’s missing out on me.  I worry about his health and peace of mind.  I think about the bike rides we could be enjoying together and trips we should be taking as a family. But his sacrifices keep the lights on, the kids in ballet and guitar lessons, and me in my cute little black car.

So what do I do to invoke the changes I desire?  I really don’t know.  I feel like my 18-year-old Navy son has grown smarter than I in that he has already set upon his own path.  He knows what he wants and is working to accomplish his goals while I let life pass me by.  It’s certainly a hit to the ‘ol ego, I’ll tell you.

Maybe all is not lost.  I guess this is me giving myself a pep talk.  I would really love to have those old lady mismatched sock days and there’s nothing written in stone saying I can’t, right? It would be even better to have my little old man wearing his pulled up too high pants beside me.  What a picture we’d be.

Write. Write. Write. Right?

 

 

My son, the Sailor

I traveled to Great Lakes, Illinois a couple of weeks ago to watch our son graduate Navy boot camp. I knew I’d be an emotional pile of Mom tears but I wasn’t ready for seeing my 18-year-old transformed from the young boy that had me hunting Pokemon at 9:30 pm in the park, to the man who stood before me in his uniform, tall and proud.  My son grew up in the blink of an eye, sadly.

The ceremony was beautiful, the parents were beaming, and we all shared one thing in common that day-our children were brand new Sailors!  I met many of Jordan’s boot camp buddies and their parents before we headed to the Navy exchange to buy a “Proud Navy Mom” t-shirt and hat.  I even bought two bumper stickers that I’m considering putting on my car that I swore would never have any stickers.  This is my son, after all.

I’m having a difficult time reconciling myself to the fact my boy has moved out and probably won’t be coming back other than on the occasional visit during leave.  He has his own life now out of state…away from me.  He’s busy and I don’t get texts back but I do know that he reads them.  When he has a spare minute he’ll “heart” one of my photos on Instagram which tells me I’m not completely forgotten in his new adventures.

I’m happy for him;  excited, really.  But that excitement is tempered with the bittersweet memories of my tiny baby boy and how I had him with me everywhere  I went.  I crave those times now, even more.

jordangraduation

I hugged him tight as I cried so hard.  He was gone for two tortuously long months.

jordandresswhites

We had to buy some Tide bleach pens because it’s very difficult to keep these white uniforms spotless.