Why…

I hear “why” a lot.  Mostly from Bug.  It’s generally never a why like “why is the sky blue mama?”  No his why’s are all weirdly specific and complicated things.  Like “why did they paint that house blue?”  Short of walking up to the door of said house and asking the people living there the reason for their color choice I have no way to answer that question.  Of course this isn’t acceptable to Bug.  No if I try and tell him they choose that color because they liked it he’ll continue down the why road.  “Why do they like the color?”  “Why don’t they like another color?”  “Why that blue?”  Begging doesn’t stop this incoming cross examination.  Crying only makes him ask why you’re banging your head into the wall.  I mean, the kid is smart and he looks for loop holes in everything and he must have every last tiny detail of whatever has caught his fancy, but I may be the first mom who can’t wait for her kid to realize she’s not as smart as he thinks.

 

I do envy him though.  I’d love to be able to just keep saying why to get answers to questions that drive me batty.  Like, why is it when I finally sit down to eat my lunch my work phone and personal phone blow up?  And for the record, my personal phone is used a lot for work which means I can’t just ignore it.  Or why can I find the one small patch of mud in a parking lot, step in it and have it splash all over my pants leg?

 

Or why can’t I beat the first frigging boss in my video game when I’ve conquered far harder tasks in the video game world without breaking a sweat?  And please, why for the love of whatever God you believe in, can I download a book to my Kindle, read it a few times only to open it up again to find the smallest type setting is now large enough for  a person with limited sight to see every word?

 

I’d also love to know why my son never moves at a slower speed than coked up long distance runner until he’s right in front of me and I’m carrying his sister a bag, a purse and a coffee mug.  Oh, and how is it someone can know me for years and totally miss my addiction to coffee?  It’s not like I hide it.  I almost groan with joy with the first sip each morning and the first thing I do when walking into the office is switch the coffee pot on, which was prepared before I left the day before because I do not have time, patience or the ability for upper level thought to make it in the morning.

 

Why does the baby want to sleep later than the 4 year old?  And why does the 4 year old require me to wake up and speak with him?

 

Why can’t little elves break into my house and do my laundry while I sleep?

 

Why can’t I stop eating this 3lb bag of Hersey’s Candy Cane Kisses?

 

So, I envy Kyle and his complete lack of worry as he asks whatever why that pops into his head.  Because he refuses to accept a non answer to his machine gun fire why’s he always gets an answer of some sort.  I, on the other hand, have to just keep wondering why a size L from one store fits just fine while a L from another store fits as if it were made for pygmies .

 

And why the hell I just told the interworld my clothing size.

Sometimes you don’t even know you need it.

It’s been almost a year since I went back to work after my maternity leave.  I know this because Ivy has just turned a year old.  I spent three weeks doing my job then got farmed out to a clinic.  Just as I was seeing the light at the end of the clinic time the manager at another clinic quit so once again I was still not going back to my job.

My time at that clinic began to seem like this never ending series of odd happenings.  No one to hire, then an internal person, but to move her someone had to be hired to replace her.  That person then taking longer than needed to train.  Then, just after things seemed to settle we lost our Jamie, and I was back in the car driving through the city to get to work, only this time I knew I wanted to put myself out there.

Then another person taking the job and then just not showing up. Well all of these things and the five months I’d already spent at that clinic, cleaning it, organizing it, caring for the patients, getting to know so many of them and them getting used to me.  The providers getting used to me and our routines, then figuring out I actually loved being there and I would miss it lead to a talk where I told the doc who owns the clinics if he would find someone to take later parts of the hours so I didn’t work 45 hours a week and seeing my kids lead to me getting, well I suppose it was a promotion(?) and a new chair.  The chair is something everyone who walks into my (!) clinic must sit in.  It’s legendary mostly because I’d only had to ask for it once and got it with out a blink.

Turns out, I didn’t even know I needed to do what I’m doing now.  Is it stressful?  Yes.  Are the hours long?  Sure.  Does the fact that I’m in charge of a clinic, that all the problems (and yes the joys) are on my head and my head alone scare the living daylights out of me?  Many days.  But going into work and solving these problems, seeing and hearing people when I’ve helped them is a joy.  I get embarrassed when I’m thanked because I’ve done what I see as the right thing, or just flat out my job.

I’ve been told the clinic now has my vibe, homey, welcoming and fun and a little quirky.  The providers all like me and enjoy working with me.  They know I care about their patients and will always work to do what I can to make sure their care is the best they can get.  Even the doc who is known as a bit, erm, fussy.  We joke, he teases.  He thanks and he trusts me.

I’ve also learned some very important things.  After Jamie died I saw without a doubt that the people I work with and for really are a family.  We pulled together, helped each other and put ourselves out to each other to hug, talk and support each other.  After the last several months I know, without a doubt, I work with a group of people that will, without stopping to even think, step up when the people they work with need it.

I would be missed if I left.  I am appreciated and liked by the people around me.   They also know I would miss them if they left.  That I would step up for them and their patients.  If I get a funny feeling, I step up and I get them.  If there is a problem, I solve it and I’m thanked for it.  A person can look for their whole lives and never find the satisfaction at their jobs I have.   It’s a drive, it’s stressful, there is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility on my shoulders but the satisfaction at the end of my day when I know that for at least one person I’ve made a difference is well worth it.  Even when Bug tells me to let dad help people so I can stay home and play with trains.

The mental health crisis.

The media and political pundits and politicians are already focusing on gun control following the massacre of children so young they could almost still be called babies and their teachers/protectors.  For the sake of honesty because I do tend to be bluntly honest; I have to say that I’m not a huge lover of gun control.  I tend to be more rational about it, I don’t see the need to go hunting or protect your family with automatic guns or a firearm capable of blowing through body armor.  But if I didn’t have two small children, one who is the poster child for curious mind.  And because I’m a responsible parent I don’t have one.  Someday maybe but not now.

 

Gun control is always the go to hot topic after such a completely horrifying episode.  And it’s something we’re seeing more and more of in the news.  Gunmen opening fire in malls, church, schools and movie theaters aren’t a common everyday thing but it’s become frequent enough we now know to take the first moments of the news flash with a grain of salt, to wait for the lists of victims and to watch for the candle light vigil.  And before the bodies of the dead are even removed, much less buried, the world ignites in a debate about guns and how to prevent such a mass killing again.  This argument misses the real problem and danger. The one thing that’s never talked about, except in passing about how the killer was always a “little odd” and “seemed to have issues”, is mental health.  

 

We have, without a doubt, a mental health crisis in our country.  While the stigma is slowing being worn down on the mentally ill it’s still there.  That stigma prevents people who are sick from going to a doctor for help.  It’s seen as a weakness.  If you have depression or anxiety you’re weak.  ADD/ADHD is just bad parenting.  Bi Polar and schizophrenia is something to fear.  And thanks to ‘true crime’ shows and movies any progress being made that mental health is an illness just like any other is stymied.  Even if you think you’re a rational person who wouldn’t fear someone with a mental health issue you do.  In the back of your mind is that story about the crazy guy who spoke to himself and then murdered three people.  Or the TV show you saw a month ago where the girl who heard voices burned down the town church.  I could go on and on about how our media in all it’s forms helps to keep this idea that crazy equals criminal or dangerous in our minds.

 

Not only do we deal with sick people who aren’t getting help because of  fear or stigma; but we deal with people who are so sick they do not know how sick they are.  Remember how you woke up with that dream still so fresh in your mind that you knew it was real?  Imagine that being your whole life.  There are people who’s minds are so broken that they do not see reality the way the rest of us do.  I don’t mean someone who believes in Area 51 or that the X-Files was a documentary.  I’m talking about people who honestly think that there are people who are following them or the dolls on their dresser speak to them.  

 

This sort of illness isn’t dangerous it’s self.  There are people who live among us everyday who won’t ever live a normal life but who do no harm to themselves or others.  If we’re lucky they have moments of  being lucid where they realize they need help and seek it out.  If they are luck they find a good mental health safety net, doctors and therapists, who can help them maintain some minimum of functional life.  If they stay on their medication and continue  to work with professionals on how to deal with their impulses and what to do when they are not sure what is reality and what isn’t they form relationships of friendship and family who can care for and nurture them.  

 

The danger, the real danger in these mass shootings isn’t the gun used.  It’s the gunman.  The mentally ill who refuse to obtain help, who’s family’s have nowhere to turn and whose doctors and therapists aren’t able to break through too.  

 

The mental health crisis in this country have many parts and no easy fixes or answers.

 

You cannot force someone to take medications, nor can you force someone into a treatment facility unless they are a danger to themselves or others.  Once that danger passes, meaning the patient has taken medications for long enough they are less pron to actions of violence, they are free to choose to leave.  And then choose to not take their medications.  The reasons behind this are sound.  We cannot force a cancer patient to undergo chemo.  It’s their health and their choice.  

 

We cannot keep someone in a hospital or other facility against their will unless they have committed a crime.  And once the therapeutic portion of treatment is over often times they cannot stay even if they want too.   These laws make sense too, the government can’t just have citizens rounded up and placed in locked away places.  And history shows that the ability to commit someone for mental illness is prone to abuse.  

 

If you’re an adult no one can force you into treatment of any kind unless you’ve been legally incapable of making those decisions on your own.  And the bar for that is set high and generally only granted for those who are not mentally ill but who cannot function in an adult world and make adult decisions.  Even if you are mentally ill you are fit to make your own decisions in most cases and taking that right away is something that isn’t done lightly.

 

Mental health help can get expensive and the medications costly.  In most states there is no mandate to cover it.  And many policies limit the amount of medications or doctor visits you can have.  Even more do not cover different diagnosis and limit or totally exclude in patient treatment.  Mental illness isn’t something that can be cured, meaning you can’t just take medication and your depression never returns.  Mental illness is something that can be stabilized but without continuing care it won’t last.  

 

And lastly, there is so much about how the human brain works that we do not know the gaps in treatment are vast.  The sad fact is there are people who aren’t able to be helped.  Either what they suffer from can’t easily be diagnosed or given a name at all or the are no medications or therapy treatments can can actually help.  

 

In all but the last cases things can be done to fix what’s broken but in none of the cases is it something that can be fixed easily.  In most cases to fix what’s broken is something that goes against what we believe in.  Freedom of a human to make a choice, to not fear their rights be taken away.  

 

What we can do is stop ignoring it.  No rational human would do what was done in an elementary school on a Friday morning.  The gunman wasn’t rational in any sense of the word and we need to stop looking for a rational explanation and start discussing how we can help change how we deal with mental illness in our country.  

Cookies don’t look good coming back up.

About 2am Kyle sat straight up in bed, looked at me and then threw his cookie up all over the bed, then the floor outside the bathroom, the bathroom mat, his blanket, his PJ’s and the shower curtain.  Yes, I said the shower curtain.

 

Jason woke as I was cleaning up the mess and helped out then took Ivy, who of course woke just as I finished the clean up and settling Kyle back in bed.   I was so thankful but a little guilty because I knew he’d only just gone to bed himself.  I curled up with sad little Bug and started to fall back to sleep.

 

Now this isn’t the first time he’s been sick to his stomach but it’s the first he decided to try and do something to feel better.  In this case it was to go lie down in Daddy’s because because obviously mommy’s bed was making him sick.

 

I’ve been home with both kids since about 11am when I was able to leave work and pick the kids up at the sitter.  Who, by the way, didn’t blink about kid puke.

 

I’m blogging about this because it occurred to me going into work today that it always seems like you get sick in the middle of the night. I really don’t remember going to suddenly puke in the afternoon, or right at dinner.  Ok, once after I was forced to eat breakfast but I woke up feeling like I was sick so it doesn’t count.

 

It seems like the only time a person can possibly start throwing up is when it’s dark and doing laundry is a giant pain in the arse for everyone.  Though I’m actually glad Bug was in my bed because it’s closer to the bathroom and I was there to get him out of bed quickly instead of him vomiting all over the hall to the bathroom.

 

As a side note, I’d like to know why cats decide 3am when puke fest is slowing down is a great time for attention.  Also, does anyone want a friendly cat with extremely bad timing?

 

 

Me and ADHD, or My ADD. Whichever you prefer.

While discussing options for Kyle and his ADHD with on of the docs I work with he mentioned that ADD/ADHD runs in family groups.  Well, I was sure I didn’t have it, despite some questions on my part, because surely someone would have said something to me.  And I know Jason doesn’t have it so I was stumped and figured Kyle was a one off.  Not so much.

 

I told my mom about what the doc had said to me and she casually, like it was nothing, told me that, yep, I’d been tested and I had it.  “But a low level of it, so it really shouldn’t be an issue.”  Well, knock me over with an acronym.  When I began telling friends and co-workers about it their reaction was “no shit.”  My primary doctor figured I knew and never brought it up because it wasn’t causing issues.  Well, ok then.  

 

Looking back it explains a lot.  Like why I had trouble focusing on details, how I didn’t manage to finish college or how despite how smart people kept telling me I was I struggled with school.  I have a hard time focusing on my work and would find my self frequently needing a distraction.  I would get a great idea on a story and not be able to finish it.  Hell this blog.  I started it and update it only once in a blue moon.  

 

I’m going to be going back to school in the fall and realized if I wanted to succeed in not only obtaining my Bachelor’s much less a Master’s I would need to address it.  So, I talked with the docs I worked with and then went to my primary care doc and began with Ritalin.  To say I noticed a difference would be an understatement.  I’d never say I was a bad employee who didn’t get her work done but now I can see and react to situations further out, I’m able to recall important details quickly and balance the demands of managing an office with far more ease.  Low level or not it was impacting my life in far more ways than I realized.  

 

It’s more important to me now that we help Kyle with his ADHD, give him the tools and knowledge he’ll need to cope and figure out what works for him.  He has so much in him, creativity, fun, mechanical skills and joy I don’t want to see it compromised because he cannot work in a group setting.  I don’t want him as socially isolated as I was, as unable to cope as I was or as confused as I was.  

 

Every good parent wants better for their child than they had.  The better depends on the parents idea of what that is of course, and what better I want for my son is reaching the goals he wants to whatever they may be.

This came as no surprise.

For a while now I’ve been debating if Kyle’s level of activity and energy is above  normal for a boy.  Let’s face it, when your kid suddenly starts jumping up and down while just watching tv and he can’t tell you why you wonder.  While a lot of kids his age and boys in general are more challenging let’s say, I started to realize that sometimes what we see him doing at home and in day care is a little above the norm.

 

The biggest concern we had was when he started school.  He’s been so excited to start 4K and make new friends and learn new things we didn’t want to see it ruined for him.  I so want to see him make friends and enjoy going to school.  You know until he hits middle school and loses his mind to hormones.

 

His behavior has also become a safety issue.  Running into the street, not staying where he’s told and climbing on things that aren’t safe.  Oh and hitting or biting other kids.  They tend to get a little testy and hurty back about that.

 

So J and I took him to see someone and he acted just like we wanted him too.  Sweet but a bundle of movement.  And as if to announce his intentions to act that way he insisted on wearing his t-shirt with a train on it that says “In Constant Motion.”   He climbed the furniture, tried to read the books, ran trains into the wall and pawed through the desk drawers.  In short, he was Kyle.

 

The diagnosis?  ADHD which is more about the activity level than just not being able to sit still so to speak.  I had never thought a child that young could be diagnosed but while speaking with the doctor I began to realize that he’s always  acted in ways that pointed to it.  Even his biting stage fit because he has a hard time regulating his emotions or reactions to them.

 

No, we won’t be putting him on the meds.  He’s far too young and the side effects with him could be a bit more dangerous because of his age and his size.  I also don’t think the meds should be a place to start or the only tool we have.  I want to learn how to help him as he is before we go down the road to giving him a daily pill, or two.  Also, I have a hard enough time getting him to take his Flinstone’s.  Trying to get him to swallow an actual pill would make mommy need to up her Paxil.

 

Bottom line?  Kyle is a funny, sweet, active boy who’s a boy.  He plays in dirt and runs around like a mad man.  I don’t want to change who or what he is I just want to help him learn to be himself without needing to jump over his chair for a few hours.

When I think about you I punish myself.

Last night I finally had time to go to the gym for the first time since I was put on restriction with Ivy and since my membership began being charged again.  I was pleasantly surprised with myself.  2.1 miles in 30 minutes on the elliptical is not far off my normal mark.  Tomorrow I am going to go to the yoga class.

 

See, I’ve never liked working out.  Sweating and breathing heavy does not make me feel endorphin’s or whatever else those work out nuts feel.   Jason has said a few times that he knows how much I enjoy my work outs, no I just enjoy not having to grease doors to fit through them.

 

That’s not to say I don’t look forward someday’s to my work out.  When I’ve been stressed and the irritation and urge to maim burn deep hitting the gym really does help.  Instead of venting on those around me I punish myself.  That cookie?  10 minutes of running!  A whole cheeseburger?  Girl get your ass into the pool and swim extra laps!  Finally had it with having to send back charges for correction?  Yoga baby yoga!

 

That’s my secret to staying with my work out.  My motivation is a sort of self punishment system.  Really, I’m my own personal trainer.