Saturday, May 29, 2010


Our cat, Sasha, got hit by a car last night at about 9:30. Dh heard it happen; I was upstairs reading to Josie, and Patrick was already in his room for the night, playing his ds before going to sleep. He dealt with moving her from the road into a box in the garage before coming upstairs carrying her collar to tell us. I still can hardly believe it. Her bowls are sitting in their places on the radiator, her kitty tower is waiting to be perched on near the door. Her brush still has her fur in it. How can this be? My sweet kitty, who purred constantly, even when I was trimming her nails, and who put up with all manner of indignities from young children and dogs? Who made us laugh every day, climbed up to listen to Josie play the piano, and slept under the blankets with her every night? How can she never be coming back?

An hour or so after that happened, we realized that Baci was bleeding on Josie's bed. The dogs had gotten out of the yard earlier in the day, and we thought he had had an altercation with the dog who snapped at him before down the road; we now think what actually happened was that he somehow fell onto their tiny metal garden border fence, which is about 12in high and has pointy tops. There's a puncture wound on his side about the size and depth of my pinkie finger to the first joint. So, 90min after our cat was killed, I was off to the ER vet with Baci. He hadn't been bleeding earlier; his fur, which is really thick, just looked a little roughed up like last time and he carried on like usual, so we hadn't noticed anything, but once he jumped in and out of the car on the vet trip, it started to really bleed. The poor thing was ready to come home an hour later, completely doped and disoriented on morphine, and still with an open wound, since you can't close a puncture. When we got home, he practically fell out of the car, and once in the yard he seemed to not know where he was or even, for a moment, who I was. It took me a few minutes of quiet talking to get him to let me take his collar and guide him into the house, where he just melted to the floor about five feet inside the door. I let him lay there for awhile, and then we moved his dog bed into the living room and coaxed him onto it. I "slept" on the couch last night next to him, where I assume I will be sleeping for the next week since he's not supposed to go upstairs and I don't want to leave him alone with himself.

Delilah is completely freaked out. She knows things are all wrong around here, and can smell the blood on Baci. Sigh. It's like he's walking around with an open bullet wound.

The kids are OK. They both cried pretty hard last night, and that was pretty much it for them. Kids are amazing. DH and I aren't so great. I am a mess, actually. I was doing OK until I had to bring Sasha's body to the vet for cremation, and the new woman there was completely insensitive and cold. I've never seen her before, and hope I never do again. She acted like I was making a dog chow delivery rather than bringing our poor sweet kitty meow in in a box. *That* totally made me lose my stuffing for the next hour. I hated having to leave her there, and even more with that awful woman. I don't care that it's Memorial Day weekend, and she didn't want to be at work. I care that a member of my family died, and she was asking me questions like a telemarketer. "Name? First name? Are you a patient here? You're not in the computer. Oh, yeah, sorry, I spelled your name wrong. $35. Sign here." Bitch. You're in the wroooong line of work.

We will, of course, recover. We've already talked about adopting another cat in a few weeks when we're all ready, Baci is healed, and school is out. It's not that I'm tossing Sasha's memory aside, but rather that we love her so much, and loved having her in our lives, that now there's a huge awful sad space, and the only thing that is making me feel at all better is the idea that maybe we can have something happy to look forward to instead of this emptiness.

We will never find another cat who has your appreciation for fine music.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Taking a Breath... and Sighing

The ENT doctor said that my throat is clear - no lumps or visible issues that would indicate anything unusual. He told me that I have reflux that's messing with my throat and causing the muscle spasms and swelling feelings, and that it may take a few weeks to see any changes, but that I was right to start taking the Prevacid when I did. Normally, it's a 14-day course, but he said to take three straight, and come back to see him. I may need to be on it long-term depending on how I respond, and what happens when I eventually stop taking it after the third course. He also told me something I didn't know before - we actually have *two* sets of tonsils, the one we all know about and another on the back of our tongue. They can get inflamed and spasm in reaction to severe allergies, which I apparently also have. So, I'm also on two allergy meds, and when I feel like things are really swelling, I take a hit off of my kids' inhalers that they don't use to relax the muscles try and zen my way out of it. I still wake up at night feeling like I'm choking, but it's more brief, and since it doesn't scare me anymore, I'm able to go back to a fitful sleep fairly quickly. That goes on for a couple of hours, and then I'm OK again. I wish it would just go away, but I guess I have to be patient for awhile more. In the meantime, no coffee, nothing yummy-spicy, no chocolate.

In other news, surprise! The college messed up my practicum placement. No way, right? What are the odds? I mean, they've only messed up every single other thing so far. There are three schools the thirty or so of us can be placed in, one with a teacher day starting at 7am, another at 8, and the third at 8:30. On the form, I said that I really wanted the 8am one, which is right down the road from where Patrick will be in the fall, because it starts and ends at the same time, minimizing his time in before and after care, and thus limiting the time Josie will be alone after school. Guess which one they put me at? I was told, no problem, sure, we'll put that down for you. Got the confirmation the other day, and guess where they put me? THE 7AM ONE. The only one I said I couldn't do, period! If I was there, I would have to wake Patrick at 5:45 so we could leave at 6:20, at which time I would wake up Josie before walking out the door. She would have to get ready and leave by herself every day, and Patrick would be in beforecare for 90min. Then, Josie would still be alone when she got off the bus in the afternoon around 2:30. Um, noooo.

So, I called, and was told, gee, they didn't know what happened, they remembered telling me that, and now it's too late to move me to the school I had requested because everyone had gotten their placements at the same time I did. !!!!!!!!! They finally moved me to the third school, the one that starts at 8:30 for teachers, because they had someone drop out, which is what I was going to have to do if they hadn't been able to move me. Now no one will be in before care, I'll be able to see Josie off to the bus, and have plenty of time to get to the school after dropping Patrick off, even though it's nowhere near where he is. He'll be in after care for an hour and a half or so, and Josie will be alone for about two hours after school, but I think we can make it work. I start classes on Monday, and it hardly seems real. I've tried to contact the teachers I've been assigned to, but the grade 2 teacher I'll be working with in the fall hasn't responded, and the email I sent to the grade 4 teacher I'll be with in the spring came back as undeliverable. I'm not entirely sure what to do about that, since it's not like teachers have a direct line to call at the school. I guess I can leave a note in the main office for them? My classes start on Monday night, four hours a night M-Th through the beginning of August, so I suppose I can ask for suggestions then.

In the meantime, I should call and make sure my financial aid made it through OK. With the track record I've seen so far (and I'm not the only person to have problems, I found out at the orientation a couple of weeks ago), I'm almost afraid to ask.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Breathing is Overrated, or Why I've Been Away

I haven't been around much lately. I was just too exhausted, scared and short of breath to do anything. Plus, I'm tired of myself being this way.

It all started a few weeks ago, when I had that fb debacle, and I began having what I thought were panic attacks at night. I would wake up gasping for air, my heart racing, feeling like I was choking. My throat felt like it was closing off, and I had muscle spasms in my throat and tongue that were like massive cramps for days. I stopped eating, because I felt like I was going to choke, and also because being so freaked out totally took my hunger away. To make a long story short, I went in to my doctor, who I really like, who said that I needed to take some Xanex, and that I should take allergy meds because I have junk in my throat which could be pairing up with sleep apnea or something. I took one right after, and the second at bedtime, only to wake up gasping again, but this time also was completely confused and disoriented, which was even more scary. I felt like I couldn't wake up.

The next day, my heart rate went to 120 at rest, which, paired with the continuing feeling that my throat was swelling or there was something stuck in it, sent me right over the edge into near-constant panic. So, I took another Xanex. A few hours later, I was covered in hives. Turns out the rapid heart rate and dizziness were an allergic reaction, not a panic attack. Enter Benadryl, which also made me disoriented when I woke up in the middle of the night, but at least I know I'm not allergic to it, and the next day my heart began to calm down, and the hives began to go away.

It's been over a week since then, and I've started eating again, only because I was getting really shaky and weak, so I've been forcing myself to take bites and swallow them with a lot of water, because my throat is so dry it's hard for me to get it down. The sleeping problems have continued, and I wake up several times a night, feeling like my throat is swollen, but it's gone on for so long that I no longer have panic about it, just a sense of resignation that OK, I've jerked awake again, watch TV for a little while and try again.

I did some online investigating, and saw some seriously scary shit that this all could be, but what I think it might really be is something to do with reflux. I saw that there's a kind that can cause all of these things I've been feeling, including swelling of the vocal chords that results in a 'lump-in-the-throat' feeling. So, over the weekend I started taking a course of Prevacid, just to be on the safe side, figuring that it can't hurt, and it's what doctors use when this condition happens (although I read that usually a doctor will put you on a double-dose to get rid of more severe cases). I have actually felt a little better since I started taking it, and I have an appointment with an ENT tomorrow morning first thing. I have noticed that I have had some reflux in the past few months, but have never had heartburn, so I didn't think anything of it. Turns out, you don't always get heartburn. My throat has been sore, though, and I can see that it's red when I look.

As you can tell, I'm kind of praying that this is what's going on. I really don't think that it's panic, just that my initial stress over just everything in life kicked off whatever's going on with me. I don't feel terribly stressed, just exhausted from not sleeping. I was supposed to go on Patrick's field trip tomorrow, but had to back out due to my dr appt; to be honest, I wouldn't have had the stamina to do it, anyway. The lack of sleep has made me barely able to do a regular shopping trip. Josie has a school camp field trip tomorrow through Fri, and DH was supposed to be staying there with them as a full-time chaperone, but he called the school today and told her teacher what's been going on, and that he's concerned about my being alone at night, particularly if the doctor starts me on a new med, since I've been having allergic reactions to the last two new prescriptions I've been put on. So, he'll go for the day, and come home to sleep, just in case. I started crying when he called and told me. I feel like such a wussy invalid, and I hate that I feel like I'm screwing up everyone's lives. Josie doesn't mind that he's not sleeping over (he'd be in the boy's bunk, anyway), but I still feel like crap about it. I could cry now telling you about it. I guess it's the over-exhaustion. Anyway, cross your fingers that I have reflux. That, I can deal with.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Moving On

Things are slowly improving around here.

Patrick got into the magnet school he applied to!!!!! I was told that there were 90 kids that applied for it this year, and while kids in any grade (1-4) can try to get in for the next year, I'm thinking that most of them were in 1st or 2nd grade, since if you're thinking about putting your kid in a magnet program, I would think it would be right away or not at all. There will be about 25 kids in his class, plus the smattering of kids who were admitted to fill spaces of kids who have left the other grades' classes throughout the year, so I think it's probably less than 40 kids who got actually got in. We're so proud!

This means that he will definitely be in before- and aftercare, so I need to call the school and find out whether they offer it there (most schools do), and how much it is, etc. He doesn't mind the idea at all, particularly since I found out that one of the schools available for me to student teach at is less than 10 minutes away, meaning he'll only be in both for about a half hour each. If I get into that school, it will also minimize the amount of time that Josie spends here alone after school, to maybe an hour and a half or so. I wish it was less, and I'm still not thrilled by the idea, but we have neighbors who will be aware that she's here and available to help her if she needs it. I'll still be able to see her off in the morning to the bus, and we're going to get her a cell phone that she can use to text me when she gets home or if she goes to a friend's house that I'll be able to feel vibrate in my pocket to know she's safe. The bus stop is right across the street from the house, so once she crosses the street she'll be inside with the dogs and safe.

Josie's hardly going to be here at all this summer. She's got karate camp for a week, another camp that both kids are going to the last week of their vacation because I'll be working in a classroom to prepare for the students (!!), and then she's been invited to go away with two different friends for a week apiece on their family vacations! Phew! Patrick just has two weeks of camp, one of which *I* want to go to! It's a robot-building camp, where they use computer modeling to design them and legos to build them! How awesome is THAT?! He told me the other day that he wants to be an inventor when he grows up. :)

With all this stuff going on, I am finally pushing things off of my plate. I quit the PTA the other night, because with both kids leaving the school I can't be VP there anymore, so once I'm done with 5th grade graduation, I'm free of that. I told the committees I'm on at church that I'll see them in the fall, and the choir, too, since I'll be in school at night. I took my last final at the community college yesterday. Other than the graduation project, I'm free until the 24th. I'm not going to work, or volunteer, or even show up at just about anything at all. I'm going to organize the house, read a few books, and spend extra time just hanging out with the kids.

Who wouldn't want to hang out with these two??