Monday, June 29, 2009

Tolerance

So, Son has his car. He's head over heels for the thing. Drama Queen has been out of town for a couple of weeks, while all this is going on. He sent her a picture of it, but she's not impressed. Her only question:

Does it have side-curtain airbags?

I about laughed myself unconscious.

All weekend, I've been asking Son if he's told her that he got it. "No," he says, sheepishly. Finally, yesterday, he says he told her.

"Must have gone well," I said. "I didn't see a mushroom cloud."

He shot a look at me. "Oh, I missed the mushroom cloud," I said.

"I'm still waiting for it," he said. "I waited until she was on her way back home, so she'd be in a good mood."

So, he actually plotted this out.

"I don't know if that helped," he said. "After I told her, all her texts back to me were one-word messages."

I grimaced. So did he. "Yeah, I know," he said. "I'm waiting for the fallout."

I had an image in my head of Drama Queen seeing the car for the first time. Arms folded. Frown in place. Disapproving. Taking the fun out of it for him.

"Listen, Son. You should enjoy this. Don't let her put a damper on it. And no matter what, don't allow her to make you sell it. Even if you marry her. This is how I look at that. I hate it when women marry a man, then expect him to change what he loves because she doesn't like it. She married him knowing about his cars, motorcycles, hobbies....all that. To make him dump it after you're married isn't fair. You work together and compromise, but you don't demand that it goes away."

He considered this. "I think you're right. As long as it doesn't take time away from your relationship, you can work together to make both people happy."

I gave him the example of my Ex loving to fly r/c planes. "I married your dad knowing he loved to go fly those things. I could have demanded he get rid of them and spend the time with me, but all I'd do is be taking away a little of his joy. Instead, he'd fly part of a Saturday and spend time with me the rest. It works."

She's back in town now. Keep your fingers crossed for him. I have a feeling her reaction will test the limits of the things I tolerate well.

I also had to tolerate an irate email from my Ex. I think Daughter told him about the car because Son doesn't speak to him anymore (long story, for another time). Ex said: "I want to go on record as saying I'm completely against Son getting this car. With his behavior, he doesn't deserve it. He should earn such a thing. You are only rewarding his bad behavior."

Uhm, no. He is earning it. He worked out payments to his grandpa. He's cut his hair and is getting a job. If he doesn't pay for it, then grandpa sells it. The price he paid for it is equal to the value of the engine alone.

So, I replied to Ex's declaration with one word: "Okay." Think he could hear the shrug in email?

Unfortunately, I'm having to tolerate more of something else well. I learned how to do this when I was about 15 years old. I had a lot of pain, and no one could figure out why. One doctor told me I was making it up for attention. I cried my way out of his office. Finally, someone noticed something on a past blood test. Ah-ha!

I'd had my appendix out months before. Turns out, I didn't need it out. I had Rheumatic Fever, and it mimicked the symptoms. It left me with a little gift. I had Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I learned to tolerate a lot of pain for a long time. I put pipe insulation around pens and pencils, to do my homework. I had to stop horseback riding. I pushed through orchestra by doing paraffin baths on my hands every night. I watched my body change with the effects of steroids. It went into remission when I was 19, but my knee still hurts when the weather changes or I bump it just so.

Now, in recent weeks, I'm worried. I'm in pain. A lot of pain. All the time. Head-to-toe aches. It started with the migraine, the one that lasted for weeks. Now, the head feels okay most days, but everything else hurts. I refuse to stay on the morphine. I can't live like that. The doctor thinks it's tension-related, but she hasn't run blood tests and scans yet.

I'm almost afraid for that, but I'm being pushed to the wall by this. I'm really, really tired of feeling bad. It's not me. It's not how I want to live my life. Life is too short to spend it sitting and hurting or whacked out on pain medication. I don't like feeling like an invalid, or having others look at me that way.

I guess I'm a little scared. I keep telling myself the thing that's become my mantra -- this too shall pass.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Update of "First cars"....

It's official. Here's the latest addition to the family.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First cars

I remember when I got my driver's license. I was 17 and not particularly in a hurry to get it. I'm not sure why, but that was just me. Not particularly in a hurry, which is probably why it took about 24 hours for me to be born in the first place.

Anyhow, my dad had a friend who had restored an old VW Beetle convertible. Candy apple red with a white top. Kinda like the pic here. And he'd let it go to me cheap. Oooooh, I wanted that car.

Then a friend of mine was killed by a drunk driver who rolled over the top of her VW convertible. No Beetle for me. I got a 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza.


They don't even make these things anymore. It was a really durable car. I actually wrecked it a month later, hitting the "watch out for the median" sign. That's when I learned dogs go in the back seat.... I got it fixed and drove it throughout high school and college. When I got married, my now-ex wanted to get rid of it. Made him crazy that I kept cars for more than a year or two. We drove that car until the third alternator replacement happened, and so did the first child.

Like me, my son hasn't shown a particular interest in getting his license. He's nearly 18. I've taken him out to the back roads to practice, and so has my dad. He thinks it's fun, but he's not particularly motivated. Not particularly motivated to have a job, either....

Remember this gem from him? "A car is just another girlfriend to drain my money."

Guess what? He just might be about to have that other girlfriend.

We were at a car show for Father's Day. All the kids, my sister, me, Ranger, and my dad. Son and my sister's oldest head off on their own. Soon, I get a frantic call.

"I think I found my first car." Yes, indeed. Love at first sight.

And it looks somewhat like this.

The blue is a little darker and shinier than this picture, but there you have it. A 1968 Ford Thunderbird. The thing would have hit the lot in 1967 about the time my parents were planning their wedding, and I was but a glimmer in their eyes.

The one my son was standing in front of still needs work. My son had the flyer in his hand, though. It had a list of all that had been updated on it, and the price of $3,500. NOW, the boy is motivated.

He still carried the flyer in his hand as we went to his doctor's appointments yesterday. His therapist even heard about it. Back at home, he was still rattling on about it. He was formulating a plan.

He'd get a job. He even knew where. "I need a haircut before I go looking for a job," he said. You coulda knocked me over, hearing that. Cut his hair?? Dang, he wants this car.

"It's a powerful engine," he said. "But you don't want to drive a car that old too fast, or something will break." Come again?

"Grandpa said his uncle works on Thunderbirds all the time," he said. "Maybe we can take a trip down there and he can show me how to work on it." No kidding? Hmm.

He asked me to look up how much the insurance would be. To add Son to my insurance more than doubles my premium each 6 months. I pay $450 every six months. He would add $540 to that. If I add him and a 1968 Thunderbird, it's $604 more every six months. Go figure.

The lady with my insurance company asked if it was a 2-door or 4-door. "Two-door," I said.

She laughed. "So the doors go on for like a mile, right?" Yes, exactly!

So, Grandpa gets home and Son wisely lets him settle into his comfy chair before rattling at him. But rattle he eventually did.

They have an appointment to drive the car tonight, after work.

Grandpa contacted the owner, who is actually only the second owner. He bought it three years ago and started updating the engine and giving the car a thorough cleaning. He wanted to put the engine in a hot rod he intended to build, but never did. Before that, it sat in a warehouse for ten years after the original owner died. It has 120,000 miles on it.

The upholstery has two small tears in the front seat. Back seat is perfect. Air conditioning and heat don't work. Power steering, power brakes, power driver's seat.

Hear that sound? That's the "drain for my money" opening for dear Son.

Drama Queen hates it.

But Son is absolutely in love. And actually motivated towards something, which is good to see.

Monday, June 15, 2009

One big pain....

....in the head.

Literally. A migraine.

A week ago last Saturday, Daughter and I were getting ready to go out shopping. My head was starting to ache, so I took a couple of Excedrin and out we went. I thought maybe the headache was starting because I hadn't eaten yet, so we grabbed some lunch. A couple of hours later, the pain was getting worse, so I took a couple of ibuprofen.

Daughter has a clothing allowance now. She's been saving it to have a good chunk of change to shop with, but she knows that's all she gets. She budgeted her money wisely, made good purchasing decisions, and still have some dough left over. Good girl. Her personal style is emerging, too, and I'm glad to see she has a sophisticated edge that I didn't gain until much older than she is. Again, good girl.

So, we get home, and I start getting ready for Date Night. The one night a week when Ranger and I can go out without anyone bugging us. Unless it's an emergency. The headache was still there, so I popped a couple more Excedrin before leaving.

It only got worse. Ranger and I went to dinner. I took more ibuprofen. Ranger worried over me. He gave me something soft to relax in, put on one of my favorite shows, an darkened the room. He pet my head and let me rest quietly. By the time I headed home at midnight, I'd had two Aleve and no relief.

I woke Sunday to pain. "You have something wrong with you every Sunday," Mom said. Thanks. I'd just been dismissed. Everyone else left for church, and I curled up in a darkened room.

When 10:00 AM came along with nausea, I'd had enough. Only twice before had a headache gotten this bad for me. Each time, I ended up in the emergency room, begging for a shot of Demerol. It was time. I called Ranger, and he drove me to the Urgent Care place that shares my doctor's office.

I kept my sunglasses on the whole time. Even the dimmed room wasn't dim enough. The doctor went over my history and examined me. Yep, I had a migraine. The trouble was that only the hospitals carried Demerol now. These little places were afraid to keep the big-time narcotics on hand because it made them a target for robberies. So, they wanted to try the little guns first. I got two shots, one of Phergan for nausea and one of Toradol for pain.

Twenty minutes later, no one was surprised that I was still hurting.

The strongest thing they had was something called Nubain, a "low-level narcotic." I got another shot, with this medicine and more Phenergan in it. Twenty minutes later, the pain was dulled. Not gone, but close. Keep in mind, Phenergan is the stuff that knocked SC on his ass, the first weekend we met. So, they released me into Ranger's capable hands, and sent me on my drug-induced-merry-way.

I tried to sit on the couch with Ranger at home, but the sleepiness took over. He helped me up the stairs, kissed me goodbye, and went home. I tucked myself into bed and stayed unaware until the next morning. I woke up long enough to leave a voicemail for my boss, explaining that I'd been to the Urgent Care place and would be out of it for a day or two.

While I was awake, I noticed something disturbing. I still had the headache. Not as bad, but still there.

Now, since the last post, my household has changed. My sister has arrived with her kids and dog. All three ADHD kids, ages 7, 11, and 13. While trying to sleep on Monday, I realized something. My sister is a loud person. I mean, LOUD. Louder than the five kids and two dogs running around the house. And Rock Band is a LOUD game.

Ugh. No one really surprised that the headache was back on Tuesday. I called the doctor.

My doctor wasn't in, but her partner was. Ranger took me again. I told this doctor all about the past migraines and how this one was different, in that it didn't go away with the narcotic shot. She checked me out and decided I had a sinus infection. She prescribed Phenergan for the nausea, Azythromycin for the infection, Claritin for the sinuses, and Vicodin for the pain.

Vicodin didn't touch the pain. On Wednesday, about noon, the nausea overpowered the Phenergan. Eight bouts with the porcelain altar, and Ranger put me back in the car for another trip to Urgent Care.

A different doctor frowned at the sinus infection diagnosis. She scolded me for sleeping through two doses of insulin (like I did it on purpose). She said I needed to see my doctor (who I already had an appointment to see on Friday for my diabetes) and get on a migraine preventative. She gave me another shot of Phenergan and a bigger shot of Nubain.

I was LOOPED.

Imagine my surprise when I woke the next day to an even bigger headache. But no more worshiping at the altar, so there was something to be happy about. My sister took the kids to the mall. Another thing to be happy about, until my big white dog came and sat on me. I think she was worried, too.

I had to deal with reality for a little while, though. Thursday morning, I showered and dressed in business clothes. The college president was meeting with my department that morning. We didn't know what he was going to say, but it was going to be about the budget. I had to be there to hear it myself.

I explained to my boss that this was all I was showing up for. Everyone commented on how pale I was. I wanted to lay down in the floor and squeeze my skull, but I kept my composure. At least, I think I did and no one is looking at me funny, so I think I did okay....

They had scones at the meeting. My stomach liked those, so I swiped two. Let's hear it for large purses!

Then, I went home and collapsed. I kept trying the Vicodin, thinking that even if the headache was bad, it could be worse.

Friday morning, Ranger took me to my regular doctor. I told her the whole story. When I got to Wednesday, she said, "OH MY GOD!" She looked. She agreed that the sinus thing needed to be treated first. However, she wanted me to get some relief from the pain. "It's hard to get ahead of it when you can't get a break from it," she said. Agreed.

So, she wanted me out for the weekend. Flat-on-my-ass out. "Don't take the Vicodin with this," she said. "Or you'll do a Heath Ledger and not wake up." She handed me the prescription.

Morphine.

I had dinner with Ranger early. Then, I prepared to be out cold all weekend. I made everyone aware that I would be out cold. I stocked my room fridge with Jell-O, string cheese, and ginger ale. Then, I took my first dose.

The weekend is a little blurry. But not as blurry as I'd hoped.

I remember my mother whistling incessantly. I remember my sister hollering all the time. I remember the front door slamming and slamming, until I shouted downstairs for it to stop. Then, it became hollers of "Don't slam the door!" every time a child went in or out.

And I remember my dear, sweet nephew. He's the middle child. He has some serious psychiatric problems, and I worry for him. But I'm Favorite Aunt in his book. He sends me video texts, and texts, and picture texts all the time. And this time, he wrote me a note. It says, "I'm wrighting this for you especially. I hope you get better soon. I also love you very much. You are the one I'll miss the most, and that's a secret between us." The back of the note is covered with "I love you!"

I didn't know that his frequent visits to me were being reported back to Ranger. My nephew texted him all weekend, with updates on how I was feeling. He was a good little soldier all weekend!

I also remember my niece. Standing in the doorway to my room. With the neighbor girls. Staring at me.

"Hello?" I'd say to her.

"Hi," she'd say. "I just thought you'd want to say hello to the neighbors."

I was asleep under a thin quilt with skimpy pj's because it was hot in my room. My hair hadn't been brushed recently. "Uhm...no, thank you," I said, making sure the blanket covered me. The little girls ran off, until it was time to stare and the drugged lady again.

The headache never went away. I took the Morphine as prescribed, every six hours. Sunday afternoon, I thought my head was about to split open.

I woke at 3:00 AM today, without pain. I went back to sleep for three hours. Took a shower. The pain was hovering in the background, but I avoided the drugs. I called and updated the doctor. Since it's not completely gone, I'll see her again this week. I've finished the antibiotics. So now, we wait.

I'm not good at waiting. Ranger is worried. We'll see how this goes the rest of the week.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

An overdue update

I promised an update on South Carolina, and even left a teaser awhile back, but I never updated. So sorry, dear Diary!

Let's flashback for a moment. A refresher, if you will, especially for those who haven't followed SC's story. If this is you, might I suggest for your reading pleasure (I hope):

I really should learn.... (11-5-07)
One of my top ten embarrassing moments.... (11-6-07)
Not sure what to think..... (11-9-07)
Taking inventory (11-12-07)
Your input is needed (11-13-07)
A hard day across the board (11-20-07)
Things that make me smile today (11-23-07)
All the news that fits (12-5-07)
News little and big (12-10-07)
Murphy's Law (12-12-07)
Is something in the air? (8-26-08)
Reply vs. Reply to all (12-25-08)
South Carolina update (11-02-08)
Small update (11-18-08)
Something new to worry about (2-20-09)
Bad, Blogget. Bad, bad, bad. (3-19-09)

Whew. That's quite a list. It's not as bad as you think -- some of those just have a small paragraph about SC.

So, health-wise, he's okay. Relationship-wise, I think he's messed up. And I think he knows it, too. I'll explain....

To recap, his marriage broke up because his wife cheated on him. Then, she had the stroke that stole her memory of their break-up. More recently, he's been trying to get back together with her, on and off. He said she's too high maintenance. He's tired of her freak-outs. He actually deleted his Facebook page because she had a freak-out over him having female friends. Ironic, yes? He put it back up a couple of weeks later.

So I woke up to a beep-beep-beep the other day. It was nearly 5:00 AM and my phone was telling me I'd missed a message. Seriously?

I'd actually missed three messages. A voicemail that came in at 2:45 AM, and two texts. Seriously? Apparently, my ringer was too low.

And all the messages were from SC. The voicemail said, "Hey, you said I could call you anytime if I needed to talk. So, I'm calling. I can't sleep and need to get some advice. Call me."

At 2:45 AM. My time. That's 4:45 AM SC's time. WTF?

I called. We chit-chatted for a bit, but I knew he couldn't have called for that. "I have a relationship problem," he finally said. "I could use some perspective."

"So, I've been seeing my ex, you know?" Yes, I know. "And it's been rocky, but she's like...my ideal. My perfect woman, right? So, we're trying. Exclusive and all, you know?"

Got it. Perfect woman is high maintenance. Got it.

"But there's been some things lately that don't make sense. Secretive stuff. I had this feeling something was going on. So, I had a look and I found her profile on a dating site. I mean, there wasn't a picture or anything, but the profile just sounded like her."

"Okay, are you sure it's her?"

"Here's the thing. I made up a profile and contacted her. We emailed back and forth, and she told me more about her. Never mentioned she was dating anyone. Then, I asked for her picture, and she sent it last night. It's her."

"Ouch. I'm so sorry. I know exactly how that feels." I told him the story of finding Old BF's profile on AdultFriendFinder.com, with the subject line "Bored to tears with my current relationship." The still hurts to say it.

"Yeah, you understand! I knew you would. So, what do I do? Do I confront her?"

"Certainly. SC, you gotta know what's going on. With her history, you have to know if this is what you're in for. Then, you have to decide if you can live with it. I couldn't. That constant wondering, waiting for the other shoe to drop, is exhausting. And it hurts to know you've been betrayed. Like now. Your trust has been violated. Will it happen again?"

He was quiet for a moment. "You're right. I'm always going to wonder what's happening behind my back. I have to talk to her today. She's going to be mad that I contacted her as someone else."

"Let her be mad," I said. "Don't let her divert you from the point, that she has been lying to you."

He sighed, but stayed quiet for a bit. When he spoke, his voice was small.

"This hurts," he said. His tone broke my heart.

"I know, babe. I really do. And I'm so sorry. You don't deserve this." And he doesn't. He's such a sweet man.

Later, I texted to check on him. No answer. No emails or Facebook messages, either. And she's still on his page, and he's still "In a relationship."

Did he decide to not confront her? It's possible. He might have decided to live with it. In any case, he knows I don't like it. I don't like him being hurt. Nothing came of our fling romantically, but he's a good friend. I don't like him being hurt.

I don't like anyone being hurt. At the root is usually the same three things -- selfishness, dishonesty, and disrespect. I've seen too much of that.