Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My First Essay Contest Entry

Let me know what you think! I've never entered a writing contest before...I'm totally nervous. It had to be 500-600 words, and start with "If I knew then what I know now, I would have..." So here it is!

Living For Today

By Kerri Sweeris

If I knew then what I know now, I would have lost my mind. I might not even be here. I never would have believed my own story! I would never dream that I would have to quit the job I loved. I couldn’t fathom knowing I would only have one child. I could not manage all the overwhelming things that I have dealt with over the past 15 years if I had known then.

If I had know that it would take eight years to get diagnosed…or that people would think I was crazy…or that two neurologists at a major teaching hospital would stand by my bed and tell me everything was in my head, and if I only accepted that I would get well….

If I had known that I would need a trach to breathe through for the rest of my life I would not have handled that well. If you had told me that my best friend of 12 years would die from cancer 2 years after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I would have been devastated. Best friends, both with chronic illness, diagnosed years apart, and then one dies from cancer?

I just simply would not have believed it. How could one person go through so much? If I had known that most of my friends would not be able to deal with the “sick” me? If I had known that the church I was involved in would abandon me? I would have been emotionally annihilated. Relationships are everything to me.

I am so thankful that I didn’t know. I don’t want to know what tomorrow holds. If I had known what I would be facing, I may have tried to change something, and then I wouldn’t be who I am today. And the who I am today is a lot better than the who I was then.

It’s sad that it took chronic illness to make me appreciate the little things. It makes me heartsick how much I took for granted. A deep breath. Climbing a flight of stairs with ease. Going out with friends whenever I wanted to. Saying no because I just didn’t feel like it, not because I could not physically go out.

If I knew then what I know now, I may not have married my husband, and then I would have missed one of the best things in my life. I also wouldn’t have my precious son Jacob. Even though it almost killed me carrying him, I wouldn’t change it for the world. His face, his eyes, his soul…I am enraptured by this almost-five-year-old version of me.

My faith is forever changed. I have learned of the faithfulness of God, even in the face of my faithlessness. I have developed a deeper understanding of how suffering can bring out the best in people. I have seen it firsthand. People show their true colors. I’m glad I didn’t know who would hurt and disappoint me before they actually did.

Living with chronic illness is difficult. But it is not impossible. I have a good life. I have a wonderful husband and son, and some real, genuine friendships. But best of all, I know that God will always be faithful, therefore I will always have hope.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day


Just wanted to say Happy Memorial Day, and thanks to all who have served and are serving. My nephew Daniel is deployed overseas now, and my niece and her daughter are staying with my sister and missing him every day.

Thank you to the families of those who are serving, and those who have fallen. Their sacrifice is not in vain. There are MANY who appreciate our troops, past, present and future, and owe a huge debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. God Bless You all, and may He keep you safe.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brain Overload

There's a concept called 5-minute Fridays in the blogosphere. You're supposed to write for 5 minutes, unedited, un-proofed, no fixes, etc. I'm terrified to do it. You will all come to realize how very close to crazy I really am!

I read these very poignant, beautiful poems and prose that the women who participate in 5-minuted Fridays write. It's amazing. There aren't any typos either! I'm like, really? Me, unedited for 5 whole minutes? They do give you a topic, but my brain is like spaghetti. One string leads to another, and another....I start talking about friendship and end up talking about my Aunt Ethyl who had a hip replacement before I was born. (I don't have an Aunt Ethyl, by the way).

So, I'm doing a mini-version today, just to see what it would look like. I'm going to set my phone watch for like 3 minutes, and see what happens. The topic is: Chronic Illness. (I know, BIG shocker!)

START:

I hate chronic illness more than I hate anything else in my entire world. It stinks. It's lonely. It's isolating. I just sent a prayer request to a few people that I know and love, and who will love me no matter how ugly I am inside OR out. I'm having loneliness issues right now, and having a hubby with the emotional quotient of a mushroom doesn't help. (Hey it said unedited). So I'm thinking, I just need prayer. I have to ask people to pray for me. And I did...at 2 AM when I couldn't sleep because all I could think about was how lonely I was and how my hubby's words of wisdom didn't exactly sit well. But he was right, really. I mean, who wants to give up their weekend and come sit with a sickie? People have lives. I understand that. I really do. But I want one. That's my problem! I want to be normal. Sort of. I just want to have some semblance of a real life where I can be sort of independent and go and do things that I know others can do. And I want more friends, like I used to have. Friends to go out with. But my stupid disease stops me from so much.

STOP

Okay, that wasn't so bad! Three minutes, and probably a million typos. That was about 72 words per minute, not counting errors. I don't know if "they" deduct from that or not. Do you ever wonder who "they" are anyway???

Anyway. I'm really excited about a bible study that I got that isn't even released yet, that I get to review. I'm not sure if I can say what it is or not so I won't for now, but let's just say I think it's exactly what I need right now.

To be truthful (do I know any other way??) I'm really struggling. I need an accountability partner. One who is tough, but won't make me cry or anything. I can be kind of...umm.... I'm not sure what the word is...let's just say I have a big personality??? I need someone to speak straight with me. But not someone too close. Any suggestions? I need to stay in this Bible study because I have a commitment to review it. I'm hoping that will get me in the habit of it anyway. It's a 10 week study, and it's supposed to only take 21 days to form a new habit. SO....

I've got so much I need/want to work on, but that needs to come first. I have to get out of this dumpy schlump I've been in (Yes, schlump is a word) and get back to kicking butt and taking names. Now if I can just find my butt-kicking boots.....

Oh, and P.S. My OCD wouldn't let me NOT fix the typos in my 3 minute unedited rant. SORRY!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blah

Completely wiped out from three plasmapheresis treatments today. No energy. But I know it will get better. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a decent post for you all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Deep Thoughts Today

Well, well, well.

Just kidding. I have a lot of serious stuff on my mind and thought I'd just lighten myself up a bit! Our sweet cousin Sara (who I just got to see at the baby shower I went to this past weekend) was pregnant, 16 weeks at the shower. About 16 months ago, she gave birth at 38 weeks (I think) to a Trisomy 18 baby who had passed away in utero. This past Tuesday she had an ultrasound, and they couldn't find a heartbeat. Her baby boy was delivered a few days later. Knot in the cord.

Yesterday they found the body of a young man who had gone missing on the Kalamazoo River on May 21 or 22. He and his friends were "celebrating that the Rapture hadn't taken place." They were tubing down the river, his friends lost sight of him, and he wasn't a good swimmer.

Before I go on, let me just say I certainly wouldn't want to be Harold Camping on Judgement Day.

The number of tornadoes on record so far this year is more than ever recorded in history. And we're not done yet. The known death toll (not counting the missing) is higher than the last NINE years of tornadic fatalities. I had a cousin whose wife was killed. He's all of 33 and left to raise 4 children on his own. The tsunami in 2006. The earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The earthquakes in Japan in 2011. I am not a "The End Is Near, The Sky Is Falling" person. But when the writing is on the wall, the writing is on the wall. SO much suffering.

Anyway. We've all asked the questions: why do bad things happen to good people? Why do evil people seem to prosper? Well, the answer is this: life is unfair and sometimes it really stinks. Yup. No deep theological debate. God created man. He gave us free will (who would want a relationship with a robot?) Man screwed up. We're paying the price. This earth is broken and dying.

Romans 8:20-23 (NLT): "Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us."

Let me add a personal footnote: Hallelujah for the new body!!!! Mine is DONE.

Mark 13:7-10 NKJV: For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations."

The reason I make it through every day is because I know that there is a God in Heaven. Jesus has gone before me to prepare a place in His Kingdom...for ME. And I will be perfect. And there will be no tears. No sorrow. No crying. NO PAIN. Just perfection. Think about that today, will you? And try to encourage someone with that Hope.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scrubs for Everyone!

Being that I am what I call a "professional medical patient," I have seen all kinds of scrubs. I've seen plain and patterned, ones that fit well, and ones that fit not so well. I really like some of the printed ones with designs, except that they always seem a bit childish.

Well, at http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/ you can get any color of scrubs you want. They have very colorful, fun, patterned scrub hats to make up for the unitary look of the scrubs them selves. They even sell earrings, bracelets, and really cool lanyards. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This Week

Just a note that this week's blog posts may be few and far between. I'm totally exhausted, and have two more treatments to go this week. Thanks for understanding! Hey, why not take this time to look at some of my older posts?
Have a good one...I'll post when I can.

NCIS is My Fave by Esteban Vinson

Thanks for the guest post by Esteban Vinson

NCIS is my favorite television program, but I often get stuck working late on Tuesday nights when it airs. That's why I really appreciate being able to watch it for free through the on demand channel of my Cable Television. I don't have to worry about setting a recorder or about racing home to try to catch the last half hour. Instead I can watch it at my convenience.

I find the relationships between the characters on the main team to be entertaining and endearing. Watching Tony tease McGee lifts my spirits while I admire Ziva as a modern woman who has no trouble standing up to anyone who gets in her way. I also like Abbey, who works in the lab--she's such an unusual character, as is Ducky.

Of course Agent Gibbs is the main reason that most women watch NCIS. He's a handsome older man with a strong sense of patriotism. That's refreshing these days. Seeing him and the other patriotic characters in the show renews my faith in our country. Of course I know that the show is just fiction, but I like to think that there are such heroic people in real life. At the very last, maybe such characters will inspire real people to be so patriotic and heroic.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Totally Wiped Out

Had my first of 3 plasma exchanges today. Doug had a council meeting tonight. I'm whooped. So here's a quick post from yesterday. We went to the Renaissance Fair in Marshall. I had never been to one before. Let's just say it was interesting. Not terribly easy to navigate with a walker, but I knew I would be able to keep my balance on such uneven ground. And of course it was hot and humid. Oh well.


Right away Jacob met the Queen!


The handsome knight is explaining the armor to the crowd. In total it adds about 100 pounds to a man's total body weight. And it's HOT.


Jacob got to hold the helmet, which weighed almost as much as he did!

These guys fought FOR REAL. Real armor, real weapons.


And so this is what frequently happened! He needed two guys to help him up.



Jacob was really paying attention to the "battles." And Daddy was kind enough to buy him a sword. So here's Jacob kicking Daddy's butt in their sword battle. (In Doug's defense, only Jacob had a shield.)


And I got a cool butterfly henna tattoo. It looks more orange there, but it's a lot darker today. It's kind of hard to take a picture of your right hand with your left if you're right-handed!



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chronic Illness

Yesterday I experienced one of the most frustrating things about chronic illness. I had someone here watching Jacob. I was dressed. I had my hair done. I had make-up on! I had a vehicle (albeit it was the ginormous truck, not my van, because SOMEbody took my van to work)....and I just wanted to get away.

But I couldn't. The problem is, I take ME wherever I go. Yes, it sounds funny, awkward, whatever, but it's true! I want to go somewhere and just be me, by myself. But it can't happen. That really struck me yesterday and made me kind of sad. It was like, even though I'm feeling better, I can't just take 24 hours for me because I have to pack all of my machines, medication, etc.

When you have a chronic illness, there truly is nothing in your life that stays the same. Some things are so much better...as I wrote about the other day. But some things, no matter how you try to spin it, just plain stink.

I need time to just be alone and do what I want for a day or two...and I'd LOVE for it to not be at my house...but it just doesn't work that way. Frustrating.

BUT...today I get to go to a baby shower, and it's a beautiful day. So we'll just go from there.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cherish Each Other

I got news today that upset me for more than one reason. I found out that my cousin Eric Huizenga (first cousin once removed) who I have not seen since he was probably 5, and is now 33, was involved in the horrible tornado that effected a friend of mine in Tuscaloosa last month. He and his wife and 2 of their 4 daughters were at home when the tornado hit their home. They were all lifted and thrown 500 feet into a ravine.

Eric's wife Jodie, 28, died. The oldest daughter has a broken pelvis. The middle two girls were not home, and the youngest, aged 3 suffered 2 collapsed lungs and a head injury. She is out of ICU but still hospitalized. Eric, 33, had 3 broken ribs, a broken knee, and LOTS of internal bleeding due to damage to his spleen, liver and gallbladder. He just started a new job, but didn't have insurance yet. They just moved into this house a month ago, were renting, and didn't have renter's insurance. He will likely be in the hospital for weeks. His parents, my cousins Tom and Shelia, are apparently living in a small FEMA trailer with the surviving daughters.

I also found out another cousin of mine has advanced prostate cancer.

The thing is, I don't even know these people. The cousin with cancer I know a little bit better; I think I would at least recognize him on the street. I have not seen any of my other extended family for years. Probably like 8 or 9 years. I wouldn't recognize half of my aunts, uncles or cousins if I passed them on the street. How sad is that?

I have very few extended relatives because my mom's older sister married my dad's older brother, and my dad's other brothers either died young or had no children. But we never talk. What is up with that? It's not my doing...it's like we just stopped getting together...I was just a kid...and now no one knows anyone else. This tornado was almost a month ago, and we just found out now?

There are other people in my life that are LIKE family. They much closer than family. So whomever you choose to hold close, LOVE them dearly. Cherish them. Encourage them. Tell them they look beautiful or handsome. Let them know why you love them and how much you love them and that you would never want to live without them. Why wouldn't you? What do you have to lose? Except love.

Cherish. It can all be over in a blink of an eye. Don't let anything go unsaid. Life is too short.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Drumroll Please.....The New 'Do!

I LOVE IT!!!!


The MG Face




Feathers!!!


Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful gift ladies!!!

Why I Am Thankful For MG

What a crazy title, right? But seriously, as I was heating up my breakfast (don't ask...I eat weird things for breakfast) I was thinking how blessed I really am. SO....without further ado:

Why I Am Thankful For MG

1. I got to learn right away that my husband was a man of integrity and character. We were married for six weeks before I went into the hospital, and he could have so easily said, "not for me." But he didn't. He stayed. And I love him for that, and so much more.

2. I have had the opportunity to hear doctors who were not men of faith, tell me I was truly a miracle for being alive. That there was no medical reason, other than Someone wanted me to live.

3. I have had the blessing of sharing my story and sharing the Power of Almighty God. There truly IS no medical reason I should be alive, yet here I am. (Like it or not!) This includes the miraculous birth of my precious son, whom I never should have been able to conceive, let alone carry to term.

4. I have met some of the strongest, most amazing people with illnesses like MG and others. These men and women support me, encourage me, pray for me, and genuinely care about me. Many live far away, but they are like family. I know that I can depend on these people to be there for me emotionally, because they "get" me.

5. I have had the sometimes dubious distinction of finding out how much I really mean to people. Some stepped up, and some stepped out. Over 11 years of illness, I have lost many friends. But were they really friends in the first place? The good thing about being ill, is that if you have the same people by your side before AND after, you know you've got the real thing.

6. I am SO thankful for ministry opportunities that God is opening up for me right from my own home. It is obvious that the church (generally speaking) is sorely unprepared for dealing with people with chronic illness. If I can help someone else by anything I can do or say, I will be thrilled to pieces.

7. As weird as it may sound, I don't worry nearly as much as I used to. I used to worry about everything. But when you get sick, things change. Priorities change. Things that used to consume me don't even register on the radar anymore. God has everything under control, and it took a LOT for me to understand that. But now that I'm there, it's a beautiful thing.

8. I have seen the graciousness of people that I have "known" but not really KNOWN. The obvious examples are Kerry and Karen, who give up a day of their week, EVERY week, to come to my house. They help around the house, they help with Jacob, they lift my spirits, they make meals for my family....they love me. And I love them. My new "old" friend Linda, who has coordinated care for me and made many meals herself...who has talked me off the ledge....

9. I have always been a Christian as far as I can remember...but now I know what it is like to be a Child of God. There is a difference.

10. I have grown emotionally and spiritually in ways that never could have happened without being ill. I mean, nothing is impossible with God, but He knew what it would take to REALLY get my attention, and bless me in ways I never could have been blessed as a healthy "me." I would have SO gotten in the way.

I know I don't feel like this every day, but I really wouldn't change a thing. I know so many amazing people now. AMAZING. And I am just plain BLESSED.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Is A Test

I saw this on a friend's blog today....it is HILARIOUS! Read all the way through. Thanks Kim!

This is a neat test. I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly accurate. Read the full description before looking at the picture.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress levels at St. Mary's Hospital.

Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical.

A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical,

A person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins.

The more differences a person finds between the dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing.

Look at the photograph, and if you find more than one or two differences you may want to take a vacation.





I need a vacation!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What A Morning!

It starts at 4 AM. I have this tiny little bump on my bottom eyelid. T-I-N-Y. Ya know how if you get a paper cut it hurts like you've cut your arm off? And how your smallest toe causes the most grief? Well, same thing. I must have been rubbing my eye during the night, and woke up to this searing pain...so I go in the bathroom, turn on the light, recover from blinding myself, and find the source of this vexatious interruption to my sleep.

I find a tweezers (pretty darn good with one eye in the middle of the night!) and start pulling the eyelashes out of the bottom of my left eye. I do have lots of eyelashes, but still...and it flippin' HURT! I'm thinking it's an ingrown eyelash or something, but pretty soon I clear the area and it's not any better. Now it's just more obvious because I have a 1/4 inch GAP in the bottom row of my eyelashes. {Lord help me.}

So after all that, it still hurts like sin, but opportunely, I have an eye doctor appointment today. FINALLY some good timing.

I finally fall back to sleep about 5....Doug scares to poo out of me kissing me goodbye (which he does every morning whether I remember or not); I ponder getting up. Instead, I set my phone alarm for 7:30.

I just get up and Jacob bursts through the door. "I want to cuddle!!!! But I need dry jammies first." Oh, love of my life. So we get dry jammies, and I check the bed. Soaked. And Doug JUST washed his bedding yesterday. THAT'S more like my usual timing.

So we get dried off, new jammies, and I get back in bed for a few minutes to cuddle. As I'm weaving my way through a convolution of hoses to get my oxygen on, my suction machine falls off the bedside table. It weighs 8 pounds. Makes quite a noise. I curse in front of my child, who had the wherewithal NOT to say, " What sh!t, Mom?" I jump out of bed (well, roll is more like it) and get the machine only to discover the top of the suction canister is completely decimated, and the bucket part is shoved so tightly into the machine I can't budge it. Nice.

So now I have to e-mail my contact at Apria to get a new one with all the accoutrements.... AND ask them to correlate the delivery with the dude who is coming out to check my concentrator later this week and bring me more tanks. Then I call the delivery dispatcher to tell him I e-mailed the other guy and please make sure it's on the truck. "No problem." There are five ways to Friday that this could get messed up, but we'll see.

THEN, there's no flavoring for my coffee. So after this morning, I just grabbed the airplane sized Canadian mist that's been sitting on my shelf since Florida last year, and a little CoolWhip, and viola. Yummy coffee that takes the edge off.

Who needs Calgon??

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tough Stuff

"Jesus teaches that human need must always be helped; that there is no greater task than to relieve someone's pain and distress and that the Christian's compassion must be like God's-- unceasing. Other work may be laid aside but the work of compassion, never."
William Barclay

I read this and I was like, YES! That's it! Other than leading people to salvation through Jesus, compassion is the KEY to the kingdom. If we amass huge fortune, but help no one, what good have we done?

If we work very hard and advance ourselves, and educate ourselves, and grow in mind, body and spirit, but cannot improve the life of another, what have we accomplished?

I know this is a very familiar piece of Scripture. Try to read it with fresh eyes.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.".... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13:1-3, 13

Ya know, I keep hearing about churches that are being run as businesses instead of bodies of Christ. Yes, there ARE good churches out there. And if you belong to one, thank God for it. But there are many more that have lost their way. They are worried about the latest technology, the best sound system, the most dynamic speaker, the biggest bank account, the most people.

My sister had gallbladder surgery, as many of you know. Her daughter Jessica called her former pastor, the man that actually married Jess and Daniel. She needed to talk to someone because she was scared. She also wanted to use the church for a bake sale. One day she walked in to check on Lori, watched her pass out on the bed, and thought she was dead. Lori woke to Jessie slapping her face and trying to wake her up. She was very upset, as you can imagine.

After like a week, someone on the staff called and told her she couldn't just "talk" to the pastor. She told them of some of their needs, and the man's reply was "there are a lot of families in need. We can't help them all."

That's the short version, trust me. I was so angry. I wrote the pastor of that church a letter and told him exactly what I thought of the situation Gave him my e-mail address and welcomed any response he may have.

It doesn't matter how much you can offer. Everyone can offer a little. Can you imagine if every single person you know helped one person a day? The whole world would get their needs met.

But we don't. We sit on our collective hands and worry about what people might think if they saw us in a particular part of town, or if we gave a ride to a stranger. I'm not asking anyone to take risks they are uncomfortable with, but to just open their eyes and REALLY look at their surroundings.

Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood--being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it."

That's from the Amplified Bible. I usually don't use that version, but I really liked the specifics of this verse. Just think about it. Get out of your comfort zone. You may have the ONE THING that someone else needs. If you never offer, you'll never know.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where Do They GET These People?

Oh goodness. I know I can't expect perfection from people...from anyone. I am far from perfect. But with today's unemployment rate what it is, you would think that EVERYONE would have qualified help.

I get a voicemail from my mail order pharmacy saying that they "couldn't process my order." Okay, first of all, I have like 10 scripts on file with them. How the heck am I supposed to know which one they mean? I even check the website and can't get any more information.

So I all the number the woman left me where "anyone who answered could help me." Mmm-hm.

I get the push one for English blah, blah, blah, and finally get to a human being. She mutters her perfunctory greeting and name, and asks how she may help me. I explain I got a voicemail with minimal information and that I was returning the call.

Her: What's your account number?

Okay, how the heck do I know?

Me: Is that the same number as my insurance number?
Her: Yes.
Me: Ok, just a minute. {digging for my card}

Her: {hurumph} What's your name? {imagine attitude and a slight smacking of the lips.}

Me: Kerri Sweeris. S-w-e-e-r-i-s First name Kerri. K-e-r-r-i.
Her: Birth date?
Me: 1-4-71.
Her: 1971?
Me: {No, 1871, what the??} Yes, 1971

Her: Did you say T-e-r-i?
Me: No, Kerri. K as in kangaroo (I can never think of anything on the spot)---
Her: {interrupting} Last name V-i-n-e?

Me: {thinking, Really???} I found my card now, would that help?
Her: What's the number?"

So I read it off.
Her: {getting back to her "customer voice"} Oh, yes ma'am, your prescription can't be processed without prior auth.
Me: {again, thinking which freakin' prescription??} Okay, which one?

Her: I'll spell it. {rattles off very quickly}
Me: Um, could you spell the name of it a little slower please? {I didn't recognize anything but the last 6 letters or so}

Her: Of course, ma'am. {get ready for it} N as in Nancy, A as is Adam, M as in Mary, E as in Edward, C as in Charlie....{spells all out} and then X as in X-ray and a 24

So she goes through the whole thing like that, and this is what she spelled: nameclaritinx24
In NORMAL people language, that would be 24 hour Claritin.

Now, like I said, I don't expect everyone to know everything. But you'd think she would have realized that the N-A-M-E at the beginning was the word NAME??? As in the NAME of the medication?? Good Lord.

Oh my GOSH!!! And at least this one was American. I could see her shaking her head, rolling her eyes and hear her smacking her lips, but she spoke English. Not like the Indian people (IN India) who answer, and say their name is Joe or Sue or whatever.

With so many people looking for a job, you'd THINK they could up their game a little. Just sayin'. I have enough ignorance to deal with regarding my health just with the general public!!! How silly of me to expect SO much from someone answering the phone at a place that deals with all of my prescriptions! God forbid this woman was in charge of like, alerting customers to potential interactions between their drugs!

"Yes ma'am, I just called to let you know that your medications could interact. Call anyone at this number and they will be as ignorant as I am will be able to help you."

Help me right into a straight jacket!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

When Will I Learn??

Good grief.

We don't have central air. So I, in all my wisdom, decide to go to the store about 7 minutes from my house to get 2 more of the circular fans they had on sale. We got one on Saturday when the ad first started. Doug was going to stop on his way home from work, but I thought, as it gets hotter, more people will be buying fans.

So then, of course, I start looking at coupons. I mean, if I'm going to BE there, I might as well see if anything they have on sale has a coupon, right? After all, they have double coupons this week too! Ug. So I end up with a list. Then I think, oh crap, Jacob needs shorts on. So I go upstairs to get shorts. I find 1 pair that I know will fit. I get two more-brand-new-bought-on-clearance-last-year pairs of shorts. Too small. He has 2 pair of jean shorts upstairs as well as the other stuff I grabbed to try on him.

So he needs shorts. They happen to have some on sale. So we go to leave (probably an hour and a half after my original intention so it's already that much hotter) and can't find shoes that fit the child. So we end up buying 2 pairs of summer shoes...one pair on clearance for $5.00 thank you very much.

THEN they were out of the fans anyway! I still bought 2, an oscillating standing fan and another cheap box fan to blow on me while I sleep. So then I have to get all this out to my van...Let's just say the fans and the propel water are still in the van for Doug to unload. I had to sit in my van for like 10 minutes before I could drive home. Thank GOD Jacob was a good boy. And I didn't take my suction machine, so all I had was my purse. And Jacob doesn't need a diaper bag.... but of course he DID have to go potty 5 minutes before we were done shopping, so I had to find a place for my cart, take my purse, take him potty, wash his hands (this is all quite tiring).

We finally got home and I put my head in the freezer for a few minutes. That always helps. Now I'm flippin' exhausted....and it's still hot in the house, and Lord knows when the window air conditioners will get put in. As I said yesterday I just got Doug to stop burning wood yesterday!!

Oh the joys of chronic illness and a "frugal" healthy spouse.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tomorrow May Be Too Late

Okay. So yesterday I was super crabby. And when I'm super crabby, I usually listen to Skillet, a Christian rock band. And they ROCK let me tell ya. I was actually playing a game online while listening to them, while Jacob and Doug were outside. All of the sudden the lyrics of one song really grabbed my attention. Check it out:

Tick tock, hear the clock countdown
Wish the minute hand could be rewound
So much to do and so much I need to say
Will tomorrow be too late?

Feel the moment slip into the past
Like sand through an hourglass
In the madness, I guess, I just forget
To do all the things I said

Time passes by, never thought I'd wind up
One step behind, now I've made my mind up

Today, I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it

Today, I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late
One day too late, one day too late

Tick tock, hear my life pass by
I can't erase and I can't rewind
Of all the things I regret the most I do
Wish I'd spent more time with you

Here's my chance for a new beginning
I saved the best for a better ending
In the end I'll make it up to you
You'll see, you'll get the very best of me

Time passes by, never thought I'd wind up
One step behind, now I've made my mind up

Today, I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it

Today, I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late

Your time is running out
You're never gonna get it back
So make the most of every moment
Stop saving your best for last

Today, I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long, gonna make the most of it

Today, I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late

One day too late, one day too late
One day too late, one day too late

It kind of all goes along with my message of getting out there and doing something for someone. You don't know how much time you'll have to do it. It could be your spouse, your friend, your child, your co-worker. Don't save your best for later. Give your best NOW.

Tomorrow may truly be one day too late. Do you want to live with that regret for the rest of your life? Tell the people you love how much you love them. Buy someone flowers for no reason. {Even if they're expensive!!} (Sorry, inside joke). Send someone a card. Pickup the phone. Offer a co-worker a ride. Ask someone how they're doing, and LISTEN to their answer.

Mean what you say, and for crying out loud, say what you mean. And then DO.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thankful

I don't feel especially thankful today. I'm pretty darn crabby. Woke up that way. Coffee didn't help. Karen and Kerry helped...after I blubbered my brains out. Dealing with a lot of personal stuff that really doesn't have to do with my health (shocker) on TOP of all my health crap. Just have days where it's overload. So I decided to list some things I'm thankful for, like I used to.

1. I'm thankful that all of my senses, although not perfect, work. I can see and hear and smell and touch and taste. For that, I am grateful.

2. Kerry and Karen have been coming every Tuesday unless someone is sick. They bring food every time. (Meals). Next week they are coming their "normal" Tuesday, then Thursday they are bringing out their hairstylist to do my hair...cut, color, everything! Then SATURDAY they're coming to pick me up for a baby shower. I am SO thankful for these two women in my life. Love you girls!!!! (Emma too!)

3. I'm thankful that my niece's hubby got home safely from overseas and got to spend time with his family.

4. I'm thankful I have a healthy, brilliant, adorable, precocious child whom I love with all my heart.

5. I'm thankful that I'm not allowed to carry a concealed weapon. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Different Kind of Mother's Day Post

Being a mom is awesome. My mom is the best mom in the the world. I'll never forget when I was in the hospital, she was there every day that my husband couldn't be...and this was 150 miles from home. She is an angel.

But I want to talk about before I became a mom, and to those people for whom Mother's Day is a painful day. I consider Mother's Day a "Hallmark Holiday." I'm all for appreciating Mothers...but I think it should be done EVERY day.

Before I had Jacob, I hated Mother's Day. Those were the days when "everyone" either had a baby or was pregnant. I wanted children so badly, and it broke my heart that I couldn't. I've always wanted a big family, and even today my heart grieves for the children I can't have.

On this day I think of those who have lost children. I can't imagine, to the depths of my soul what agony that must be. Somehow, in the back of my mind I think it's the ONE thing I couldn't handle. I can handle the trach, the MG, stuff like that, but losing a child...I think it would destroy me. So for those of you who have gone through that....I acknowledge your pain.

On this day I also think about those who are adopted, who have given up a baby for adoption (which I want to say right here and now is the most self-LESS thing a woman could do. I wouldn't be strong enough....but to carry a baby to term and then give it the gift of a life that you couldn't give...AMAZING!!) I salute you. To those searching....I encourage you and hope you find the answers you desire.

On this day I think of those whose hearts are full of love for a child they don't or can't have. I remember how this day broke my heart....how I just wanted to stay in bed, locked in the house, and not even HEAR the word "Mother" or "Mom."

On this day I think of those whose Mothers have gone on to heaven, and as painful as it may be for us down here, THEY are rejoicing with their Creator...While we mourn, they celebrate.

So wherever YOU fit on this day, remember that you DO fit. You are loved. You are someones best friend. You are someones role model. You are someones "Jesus with skin." You are special. You are exceptional. And you are a BLESSING to many. So Happy Sunday May 8.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why I Have HOPE

You know, having a chronic illness really bites. It stinks. It's unfair. It's crappy. It's changed my life forever. But you know what? It's all good.

How can I possibly say that? Well, for one, my life is better than it was before. I have more fulfilling relationships, I'm more patient, I love more deeply and am quicker to forgive. I appreciate the beauty around me.

Before I got too sick to work, I worked 55+ hours a week. I was on call 24/7. I was stressed out more than any one human being should be. I drank too much. I was in inappropriate relationships. I didn't see the light of day much, and I didn't appreciate all that I had.

Now I look out my back window and see open fields. Every season I say is my favorite. The winter fields covered with a blanket of pure white snow...only marred by the occasional animal track. In spring, everything turns that bright yellow-green and the buds bloom on every living thing out there. Summer time, everything is lush and green and abundant. And autumn...may be my favorite. The trees are amazing, but even the fields turn yellow and purple and maroon and wheat-colored. It's simply stunning.

But do you know what gives me the most hope? Because I KNOW that someday, when this fleeting life is over, I will be perfect for eternity. Jesus said so. And I believe Him. When compared to eternity, the number of MY days here on earth is barely a drop in a bucket compared to the number of days in eternity.

So if it stinks? Oh well. If I have 20 bad days in a row? I'll have 20 MILLION great days in heaven. I will be whole. I will sing. I will swim. I will run. I will do what I have not been able to do ever...throw my little boy up in the air and catch him. I don't care how big he is!

I have bad days. Lots of them. But I have good days too. And the BEST day down here is the worst day in eternity. Because then, I shall see God face to face, and He will put His arms around me, and hopefully tell me the words I long to hear: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

This song is by Jeremy Camp, and it's called "There Will Be A Day."

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth,
That we will enter in this rest with wonders anew

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears,
no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel your walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you’ve walked out all alone

Troubled soul don’t lose your heart
Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that’s in store
Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting

I can’t wait until that day where the very one I’ve lived for always
will wipe away the sorrow that I’ve faced

To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery
This is why this is why I sing….


There will be a day with no more tears,
no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face


There will be a day,
He’ll wipe away the stains,
He’ll wipe away the tears,
He’ll wipe away the tears…..there will be a day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Review: Max On Life

I am a HUGE Max Lucado fan. This is by far his best book ever written. In "Max on Life," Max Lucado takes on 172 questions that he has been asked over the years. Everything from "Who Is God?" to "Why Does God Sometimes Opt For Silence Even When I'm Screaming My Loudest?" to "Exactly Where Is Hell?"

This book is an invaluable resource for believers and non-believers alike. If you are searching, if there's something you've always wondered about, it's probably in this book. Mr. Lucado covers so many different topics. One of my favorite parts is an answer to a question regarding the death of a very young child. Max says, "While we are shaking heads in disbelief, they are lifting hands in worship. While we are mourning at a grave, they are marveling at heaven. While we are questioning God, they are praising God." What perspective!

I would recommend getting this book if you've ever had a question you couldn't answer, or a friend who has lots of questions to which you may not know exactly what to say. The only thing to remember is that when not quoting Scripture (some of his answers don't have any Scripture referenced specifically) that this is one man's interpretation of truth. I tended to agree with most of what he said; I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to review this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our "Herd"

"I don't know about you guys but we are the weirdest herd I've ever seen." Sid the Sloth from the movie Ice Age
Molly


Moosie


Huey, Dewey and Louis

Stash

Oats, Hay and Chuck

Blackie
Jacob named all of the animals except Moose, Molly and Chuck. The little black cow is Oats. He is too freakin' cute. I told Doug he needed to get me a little brown cow that I could have as a pet. Hay is HUGE already, and Chuck is just ugly. No problems there.

So that's just some of our herd...I didn't get any pics of the turkeys or chickens because most of them are food. The layers are still in the coop getting bigger.

I did waaaay too much already this week so I'm trying to chill. Peace out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sooooooo Tired

Jacob has decided that his new wake-up time is between 6:00 and 6:30 AM. So, whether we get a nap or not, whether he gets to bed on time or not, whether we have a busy day or not...does not matter.

Thankfully, I have been feeling stronger (YAY!!!!) than I have been, so I haven't keeled over. Yet. But I am telling you, we ARE taking a nap today....and SOON!

Went to the doctor yesterday afternoon, got more water pills, and more labs to do. Doug had to get to the cow auction, so I didn't have time to do it yesterday. We'll probably go back (to get blood drawn) when he gets home from work today. Then he has a council meeting tonight...the last 3 days have just been insane.

Speaking of cows....we now have 3. Yes, THREE. Good ol' Chuck has really settled down. {It's quite hilarious, because when he's laying down we call him Ground Chuck, and when he's standing we call him Up Chuck...Jacob doesn't really get it, but the other morning we were letting the dogs out and he says, 'Hey, we have Up Chuck today!!"}

And technically they are not cows; they are steers. (I'm learning way more than I ever knew I would know or even care to know!) Chuck has mellowed considerably. The second day of medicating him never happened. I got to watch that one. Talk about stubborn! Doug even went in with the tractor to try to herd him toward Kyle, but Chuck charged the tractor! Then, when the DID finally get him in the stall, it went though the wall of the barn! Now granted, our barn is 150 years old (at least), so it wasn't difficult.

We got a red angus steer weighing in at about 850 pounds (he looks very big) and a little one (400 lbs) that's mostly black with a little white. He's SO cute. Jacob named them Hay and Oats. I told Doug I needed one to have for a pet. I want a totally light brown one. They are cute even when they're grown up. And when they are little....SO cute. I want to feed and pet one, but I can't do that with the ones we have now or I'll never be able to eat them.

So anyway. Now we have 3 dogs, 3 steers, a rabbit, 3 ducks, 6 turkeys, 23 laying chickens, and like 24 meat chickens. Yikes. Green Acres is the place to be.....