Saturday, February 23, 2013
These eyes. I would give anything to not have to see the world through them. Seems like a lifetime of waterfalls have been cried, yet still, the tears can still flow from time to time. I haven't always felt like this....because.....
These eyes have watched in wonder at 5 very first ultrasounds. These eyes have seen 4 out of my 5 children take their first breaths (Heather was an emergency c-section that I was put under for). These eyes watched each of their first smiles, first steps, first teeth, first temper tantrums, first written letters.These eyes have watched all but the youngest start school. These eyes have watched two of them graduate from High School so far. These eyes have watched the oldest ones cry over boys, perceived inadequacies, grades, and pressures they feel. These eyes have watched one sing like an angel on many an occasion , and another play a beautiful violin many times (even though I know she hated to play for us at home for some reason...).These eyes witnessed the second oldest daughter love and be SO gentle to her baby sister, and thoroughly enjoy taking her under her wing. These eyes cried tears of joy while watching my firstborn marry the man of her dreams and embark on her new life as a wife.
BUT........These eyes also had to watch helplessly for a week as the second born suddenly became ill, struggle to breathe and become dependent on a ventilator to stay alive. These eyes watched my Holly bloat while on the ventilator. These eyes watched as her father (who at the time, had taken for granted that he would have a lifetime to make up for the wasted time that could have been spent with his children) fly in from Florida (though not before she was intubated...he never saw her beautiful blue opened eyes again...)and never leave her side unless he had to grab a quick bite, use the restroom, or sleep for an hour, and hold her hand while singing to her.
These eyes watched as her doctors told us that Holly WAS.GOING.TO.DIE. These eyes watched as the sound to the machines was turned off, and one by one, the machines themselves were shut down. These eyes watched as her heart beat its last beat. And, after crying for many days, these eyes watched her older sister spontaneously stand up and walk to the front of the room next to Holly's coffin and start singing (a-capella) "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dione. These eyes watched a butterfly flit around , between, and among Holly's sisters and I while we heard a brief service by what would be her final resting place. And then, these eyes had to start to learn to live in an altered state of reality, where tears took on a mind of their own, and the eyes were permanently red ringed.
So NOW....These eyes see the world through a jaded veil. These eyes see a world that has parents that lose their children , and in which sometimes, a visit to the ER can be a one way visit.
I have spent the last (almost) 15 years trying to choke back utter panic any time I would go to the hospital for myself, let alone to take my children. I always walk that inner tightrope that rises above a divided sea which is composed of utter alarmist paranoia and the solitude of rational thought. But at least in recent years, it becomes more of an inner dialogue of some facsimile of Edvard Munch's iconic The Scream yelling out from time to time (NO!! PLEASE!! NOT AGAIN!), while somehow. remaining present for my ill or injured child.
Last night, the Hess household experienced a crisis with Alexander that took us to the ER. And these eyes went to work viewing the world as it is now, and not as it was , before May 22, 1998, when vision was unveiled and crystal clear with the naive belief that "those things always happen to people you read about, but never to you....". I wish that I didn't have to view the world through these eyes. We returned later with orders to follow up with an appointment on Monday with our own doctor. I wish that I still lived in a world where the possibility of surviving any of my children did not yet exist.
I wish I would not have to view the world through these eyes, or their permanent...jaded....veil....
I need to say that the above is not being shared to elicit sympathy or pity. Writing for me is therapy. It is my fervent hope that if my burning urge to pick at the scab of my wounded psyche can help even one person to gain even the tiniest of insights into the mind of a person who had to learn to live life in a "new normal" after learning they would have to survive the rest of their days without one of their beautiful children, it is worth it......
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Whoa...I knew I hadn't posted in awhile, but I guess I didn't REALIZE the last post was back in DECEMBER!!! WOW! Well, lots of water under the bridge from then until now. In fact, far too much water to blog about in one posting. Synopsis now, more to follow, I PROMISE!
I discovered a mass in my abdomen last December that turned out to be a mere Spigelian hernia . Hernia repair happened in Mid January. Complications arose, leading to the still open wound (that is slowly healing) I have today (yes, I PROMISE more details will be in a later post--pictures too! YUM!). MRSA infection develops in the wound. Hospitalization. Many antibiotic courses. Mystery rash appears last week. And now...NOW...the ICING ON THE GODDAMN CAKE................
And NOW....TONIGHT.....I break a fucking tooth! Eating NOODLES at a hibachi place! Doesn't that just beat all! It was a back molar, which was drilled and filled several times in my life, and I have been having intermittent pain that the dentist *THOUGHT* could be a vertical fracture but wanted me to go to the Endodontist (back in DECEMBER) to have him check it out (cue HERNIA and ensuing complications and infection), so it's days were likely numbered. But wow...sure, I have had a few "chipped" teeth, mostly due to abuse received as a child, but never have had one break. I love my teeth. I love my smile. Shit, it's been the ONE thing I have always and UNWAVERINGLY loved about myself. It has been with me through thick and thin. But apparently, the straw (or noodle, whatev...) that broke its back was my wanting to enjoy one measly night out with a good friend and my children. After practically being a goddamn HERMIT for months. I guess that was too much to ask!
So I kept asking, the rest of the evening, both to myself and to my daughter and friend, "What the EVERLOVING HELL is the universe trying to tell me?!?!?!" I know there is always a lesson to be found somewhere. Always. And it is not always readily apparent. And believe me, this thought has crossed my mind several times since 2012 was ceremoniously rung in at the Annual Shade New Years Fireworks. But tonight, it was REALLY taking over my mind. And it wasn't until I read a very small Facebook post tonight by somebody -- You know the kind, those musings that make you go, "Hmmmmm..."--Something to the effect of being truly grateful for all that you have in your life instead of lamenting what you are missing.
BOOOM!!!!! There it was! Sure, I preach it. Sure, I have been SO thankful for the people in my life that have been bolstering me up and getting me through the struggles of this year. BUT...... I wonder if I have truly taken stock of what I *HAVE* versus what I am *MISSING*.
I found a mass... BUT... It was ONLY a hernia....could have been a tumor, but IT WASN'T.
My body rejected the implanted mesh from the repair...BUT...the sutures are holding the repair without the mesh so far.
My wound just would not heal......BUT...I have one of the BEST and MOST compassionate, thorough, and just plain AWESOME surgeons -- Dr. Galvan -- One of the true wonders that Penn State Hershey Medical Center has to offer (hope he doesn't mind me mentioning him, I will be mentioning him ALOT in future blog posts about this year's journey...).
I contracted MRSA.....yea.....hard to find a positive here.... BUT....... I am otherwise healthy and NOT immuno-compromised , so I AM able to fight it, it's a slow and steady race, but my body is doing what it is supposed to.
I had to be hospitalized for the first time in my adult life that WASN'T linked to childbirth! For 5 days!....BUT....I was at a wonderful facility, with an amazing staff, with the shots being called by an even MORE amazing surgeon , and I was sent home feeling fully equipped to handle the healing.
I hurt. Alot. Sharp. Stabby. Constant. Hurting. Pain. ... BUT... I have a wonderful support system that not only is changing my dressings, but is making sure that I have help with the little ones, AND that I have time to cry or bitch and whine if I need to. I also have ice packs. And a husband who doesn't mind the ice runs every couple days, NOT TO MENTION working all his double shifts AND taking on the lion's share of child care and household duties. And Vicodin.
I broke out in this heinous (and I do mean FUGLY) mystery rash. What's it from, you ask? How the hell do I know? All I know is that now, on top of being stabby/hurty, I am now swollen/itchy/hot/full of hives. Again, something I am struggling to find a plus for....BUT.... At least the rash isn't MRSA skin infection! Just hives! Shit, I can deal with that. ALSO....Since Dr. Galvan seems to have a magical way of making things happen, I got RIGHT IN to Dermatology yesterday, where I was promptly seen AND prescribed a longer dose of Prednisone, a RX antihistamine, AND some wonderful ointment that are ALL keeping the itching at bay. And even though the dermatologist is equally as befuddled as to what has caused my breakout (can't rule out a delayed Bactrim reaction, can't say what the hell is causing it, yadda yadda yadda...), I am BEYOND grateful that they got me in PRONTO and prescribed me some RELIEF!!!!!
This said Mystery Rash has made for a really puffy, ugly Brenda face.....
And quite a shiner from rubbing my eyes in my sleep! ... BUT.... I have a husband who still calls me gorgeous. Yea, I know, makes me tear up too, he's one of the keepers!
And tonight. I broke. A tooth. Probably will have to be pulled. Fuck. FSA will be all eaten up by June at this rate! BUT.....had I not broken that tooth, I would not have had to go refill my vicodin tonight, and would not have talked to the BEST pharmacist EVER at Target! She not only told me that I COULD use my ointment on my lower eye lid (THANK JEEBUS! THIS ITCHING IS KILLING ME!!), BUT, she told me I should do it at night while wearing an eye patch so it doesn't smear into my eye or rub off onto the pillow....and if I wouldn't have asked her about that ointment, she would not have sold me my SUPER COOL PIRATE PATCH!!!!
Complete with requisite duck face!
So.....to recap. Yes, 2012 has really sucked so far. Sucked balls, as a matter of fact. BUT...... I can laugh. It hurts my belly to laugh, but you know what, SO WHAT! I can STILL laugh. A few weeks ago, I didn't think I would be laughing any time soon, but now look at me, laughing at my own pain, hideous rash, and broken molar. And my family loves me. And I have a husband who loves me and thinks I am beautiful , even though I look like a damn pimp beat me up, and I rolled around in a bunch of poison who-knows-what. And sure, my belly is still swollen, and will be until it is all healed up (whenever the hell THAT will be...), and SURE, I still have to wear my comfy pants....BUT....I *GET* to wear the comfy pants and nobody can judge me. If they do, I'll just whip out the pics of my open wound.
2012 may be sucking now....BUT....I think the universe is trying to tell me to not only take stock, but to sit back, and enjoy what *is*. There are graduations to attend! A wedding to be had! Hold my chin up when all it wants to do is droop. Pick myself up when all I want to do is curl up into a little ball and cry for the mother who will never be there to comfort me (THANK GODDESS FOR MY LOVING MOTHER IN LAW!!!). Be proud of myself for the baby steps of healing, when all I want to do is wallow in the time it takes to heal. Be thankful for the pain that I feel.....at least I am alive to feel it! And above all else, LAUGH, when all I want to do is cower and be overwhelmed by the constant and seemingly never ending physical and emotional pain that has been with me since the New Year rang itself in at the Annual Shade Family New Year Fireworks Celebration.
"SCREW YOU!", I say to the hits that keep on coming. I will not tempt fate by telling her to BRING IT THE HELL ON, but I am not staying down. In fact, Mama's back.....and she is here to stay ;).
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Redbox: Thx Redbox 4 my free video! Enter 4 ur chance to win daily prizes at http://bit.ly/uqDw4a Come on, it's SO easy! So many daily prizes offered! Even the lowest coupon for 25 cents off a $1 rental is pretty sweet! Movie night for 75 cents! Not too shabby! Have at it!
Yes, I have received a free Redbox rental for this mission. But I use Redbox all the time anyway! Sure I have Fios on demand at my fingertips, but for some movies, why pay what they charge when I can get it for $1! Also, Redbox is hosting 12 Days of Deals & Prizes and offering daily prizes from December 13 thru December 24. Text FUN to 727272 for instant savings of 25 cents - $1 off of your movie and game rentals, as well as a chance to be entered to win a daily prize from Redbox. Each day, a random drawing will select a winner with top prizes from Sony, Wii, Barnes & Noble, Activision and more.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Do you have a whippersnapper who hates having their food touch? If you do, you know it can get exasperating. Sure, there are plastic plates available for your toddlers and other young children to use, heck there are plastic ones out there for ALL of us to use. But it seems that every day, you are hearing of yet another chemical in the plastic is horrible for you and your child. Makes you feel like there is very little out there that is actually *SAFE* for your children and yourself to use. HELP!
From the ECOlunchboxes site:
"Say goodbye to plastic and paper plates! Plastic-free, lead-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free & waste-free. Perfect for any meal or snack, great for camping and picnics. Holds one main and two side dishes.
Will not retain stains, odors or residues. Is non leaching, unbreakable, and dishwasher safe. 100% high-quality, food-safe stainless steel. Independently tested lead free. Made in India."
I really like the idea of this stainless steel tray, and cannot WAIT to try it out! While Alexander is a human garbage disposal, Sedona is VERY particular about her food touching, and I am very interested in how this works. AND , the BIGGEST thing that has me excited, is the fact that it seems PERFECT for the holiday season, when they want a little bit of everything on the holiday buffets! Can't wait! I'm already guessing that I will need to purchase another one in addition to the one that will be sent to me to review.
I will also be giving one away in the near future, so you don't want to miss out on the opportunity :). More on that in a future post ;). If you DON'T want to miss out, there are some things you can do to show your desire to be in the running to win one of these:
1) Go HERE and "Like" the ECOlunchboxes Facebook page, and while you are there, look around at their posts and products--LOTS to see!
2) Go HERE and "Follow" the ECOlunchboxes Twitter feed. And while you're there, send them a mention of brand love!
3) Go HERE and "Like" this picture, comment that Shoestring Muse is talking about this tray, and share the pic of the tray on your own FB wall
4) Go HERE and like the NEW OFFICIAL ShoestringMuse Facebook page, post a comment on the wall, and share the page on your own facebook wall.
As I said before, I am SUPER excited to have the opportunity to not only try and review this product, but I am REALLY chomping at the bit to share one with one lucky winner! Details on how a winner for the next giveaway will be chosen will be posted on a future blog post, but (SPOILER ALERT!)-- Those who are 18 or over and choose to do all 4 steps and actually make meaningful comments and take the time to share the product and the site will STRONGLY be considered among the top contenders ;).
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Melisa Bartlett Dodrill
You, my dear, are a winner! And if Blogger wasn't being such an asshole tonight, there would have been a post sooner! SO....get me your information, girl, and I will forward it on to ECOlunchboxes so they can send you your Furoshiki Wrap and supercool SPORK!
Monday, November 7, 2011
I became a fan of ECOlunchboxes on Facebook all because of one of those sidebar ads you see along the right side of your home page. Just because their things looked cool! I fell in LOVE with this VERY unique alternative to a disposable bag for what I would be bringing along with me. SO--I sent an email to them to see if they would be willing to allow me to review one, and they were EXTREMELY happy to send me NOT ONLY a beautiful wrap to use and review, but also one of THESE nifty creatures!
But...I digress. Returning to the Furoshiki wrap ... Isn't it a lovely idea?!?!
I have been taking small steps to try to reduce my own carbon footprint on this planet, and also those from my family. Note I said "small". Nothing is ever an easy change, especially when we are living in a disposable society that thinks nothing of adding to the landfills. I'm trying. I really am, and I found that this wrap is very helpful to me me. I have used it to tote snacks for the kids, as well as a nice sized little lunch to take to the playground. What I like about it is that I can also use it as a little table cloth to put my items out on, and it's SO pretty! Best part of my experience was when my daughter told me she wouldn't "hate" using this to take HER lunch to school in HAHAHA.
I thought it would take me awhile to get the hang of wrapping it the right way, but NO...the instructions are right there, and it is EASY PEASY! I think my next purchase from them will be the Stainless Steel Solo Cube - it will be nice to have a stainless steel container for my goodies!
There is plenty of room for a sandwich and an apple, or a salad container. AND LET'S NOT FORGET THE SPORK!! It is SO small and cute! It took a couple bites to get used to because it doesn't have a handle, but I don't have to worry about hunting down whatever plasticware I normally would use, because this is good for both the salad AND the pudding cup, baby!
A word of caution, though--I HIGHLY recommend that if you pack a sandwich with anything like an apple, PUT IT IN A HARD CONTAINER...otherwise, it can get SMOOSHED. If it is packed with something like a pudding cup, or some chips or baby carrots, not so much. Especially if you keep your lunch/snack in a safe place until you get to use them!
Also, not insulated (OBVIOUSLY), so you either need to add in an ice pack (UNDER your food--NOT rocket science here..) if you need to have something kept cool, or put it in the fridge at work.
All in all, I have to give two thumbs up to the furoshiki wrap and the spork. The company is ALL about sustainability and PROMOTING sustainability. Maybe the lunch you packed from your homemade goodies is all from sustainable sources. What better way to carry that on then with sustainable packaging for your lunch??
Just look at this chart:
Eye opening....what the average consumer wastes in not only $$ but in packaging!
Do you want to reduce your own TRASH footprint? Would you like to own one of these SUPER pretty and sustainably sourced and made Furoshiki wraps?
WELL ... today is your LUCKY day, my friend! ONE lucky reader will be chosen at random to receive not only a Furoshiki wrap, but a STAINLESS STEEL SPORK as well! Here are the 4 things I need you to do:
(1)Go HERE and "LIKE" ECOlunchboxes on Facebook (and please post here what your facebook name is)
(2)Go HERE and post a great comment on the Furoshiki Wrap photo about the wrap and mentioning that The ShoestringMuse Blog sent you (AND REMEMBER--I ALSO NEED YOUR FACEBOOK NAME ON A COMMENT ON THIS POST)
(3)Follow ECOlunchboxes on Twitter and Follow ME on Twitter and then post a comment on THIS blog post with your twitter handle.
(4)Follow this blog with Google Friend Connect
The winner will be chosen randomly on TUESDAY, 11/8/11 at 6pm EST. I will be posting the winner's name shortly after that here on the blog and also HERE on my facebook page (so if you aren't my friend already, please send me a request so you can see the post!). The winner will have 24 hours to furnish me with their name and shipping information. Otherwise, an alternate winner will be chosen. This prize will actually be shipped directly to the winner from ECOlunchboxes.
PLEASE NOTE: ONLY THOSE WHO DO ALL 4 STEPS AND ARE 13 OR OVER ARE ELIGIBLE TO WIN!!! I WILL NOT CHOOSE ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO POST ANONYMOUSLY.