About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Lesson From My Mom

Although I didn't do the labor, I have to admit that I felt victorious when I turned on the sinks to discover running water. Even though the water was brown and mucky, a temporary result of the well being disturbed, I felt as if I had overcome an obstacle which initially rendered me defeated. Unfortunately, my water vindication was short lived when I realized that our toilet tank was not filling with water.

It was not difficult to diagnosis the problem: the muddy water had obviously clogged something inside the tank. Not knowing anything about toilet repair, I acquiesced the responsibility for fixing the defunct toilet to Scooter. He worked on the tank for about five minutes on Wednesday evening before declaring complete defeat, turning off the water and instructing us to never use that toilet again because it was broken.

I learned many lessons from my mom when I was growing up. For much of my childhood she was a single mom with limited resources. Giving up was simply never an option because calling and paying for a repair was not financially feasible. I remember watching her toil, problem-solve and try to fix just about everything in our house. I remember witnessing tears of frustration as she squeezed herself into small, cramped and dirty crawlspaces in order to try to stop a leak or fix a problem. Even when she didn't know what she was doing, she always tried. Giving up was never an option!

As I have grown older, I've come to appreciate the must try attitude demonstrated by my mom. Although I don't always know how something is going to be fixed, I am not one to simply give up and walk away. Like her, I feel compelled to exhaust all of my options and calling an expert repairman is always the last resort. Refusing to accept Scott's white flag of defeat, I woke up Thursday morning determined to fix the toilet.

Logically, I reasoned that the intake mechanism was probably clogged with grit. I had no idea how to go about unclogging it, but I had faith that I would eventually figure it out. My adventures in toilet repair began with my learning a paramount lesson: it is prudent to turn off the water supply to the toilet before beginning any repairs. I skipped this step, and ended up thoroughly washing my bathroom walls, floor, fixtures and myself before I managed to get the valve completely shut off. You would be amazed how quickly the water will spray out of such a small little hose! Needless to say, I was not off to a good start.

Soaking wet and trying to squeeze my pregnant belly further into the odoriferous spot between the commode and the tub, I began to feel that my battle with the toilet was becoming personal. I was determined to get the water flowing again, and I knew that I was not going to give up regardless of how long it took me.

After a lot of experimentation, some phone consultations with my mom and research on YouTube, I had managed to remove the inner workings of the tank. It took me three hours, but I managed to get the grime removed and everything put back into place. I felt such a surge of adrenaline when I turned the water on and the tank began to fill. The first flush was one of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Well Pump Problems

Yesterday morning I woke up and went about my normal routine. I made Robby breakfast, watched another riveting episode of SpongeBob and prepared myself to tackle another day. I took our little neighbor up the street to catch the bus and returned home ready, albeit not terribly enthusiastic, about tackling the sink full of dishes I was too tired to clean the previous night.  I turned on the sink and- BAM- the entire tone of my day took an irrevocable turn.

The faucet was completely dry. Confused, I tried the faucets in our bathrooms. None of them were working. Before I entered full panic mode, I waddled downstairs (something that lately I try to avoid doing at all costs) and checked the circuit breakers. When I realized that none of them had been tripped and finally surmised that the culprit was most likely the well pump, I had a full blown meltdown. 

Between the unexpected hospitalization and baby scare over the weekend, Scott's dental procedure and the ensuing stressful recovery, and my looming work and prenatal anxieties, the last thing I needed to tackle was a failed well pump. Of course home repairs never come at an optimal time, but this one seemed to develop simply to push me to a breaking point. With no running water and unsure of who to call, I felt totally defeated.

Of course, defeat is not part of my DNA. I was raised by a single mom who demonstrated both the necessity of invention and must try attitude which carried our family through a myriad of home repairs. After dropping off Robby at school, I cried on the couch for about 30 minutes. When my head hurt to the point where I couldn't cry anymore, I ventured downstairs and began to investigate.  I managed to find a sticker for a well pump repair company on a blue tank in the utility room. I was elated, buoyed by the fact that this company has at least been to our house before and might be able to help. I called, and they managed to fit me in for an afternoon appointment.

Typically, being without water would be an inconvenience. When pregnant, the lack of a working toilet took the frustrations to a whole new level. I think I wore a path between my house and Mr. Bill's because of my constant need to use his facilities. I never realized how frequently I had to empty my bladder until I had to cross two yards to achieve this goal!  He laughed each time he answered his door, and I have no doubt he will be able to spin today's events into a plethora of stories to be recounted for years to come. 

By 7:00 in the evening we finally had water restored to the house. My educated guess was correct and the well pump had indeed burned out.  It makes me appreciate running water.  I would not have liked schlepping buckets of water to the house from the stream, which had become plan B.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

April Fool's Day Recap

Yesterday was April Fool's Day, a holiday which must have been designed with young children in mind. Robby and his classmates have been planning their "pranks" for weeks, counting down the days until they were able to execute their mischief. Of course, most of the students were not able to keep their plans to themselves, summarily ruining the surprise factor for each prank with their excited chatter. I understand this compulsion because, as a child, I was completely unable to keep a secret. 

It seems that Robby does not take after me when it comes to secret keeping. He devised his April Fool's Day prank more than a week ago and managed to fill in a few select accomplices on his plans. Since the majority of the work for his prank landed on my shoulders, I was one of the first to know of his idea. Have no doubt that Robby is indeed my son however, because his elaborate "prank" involved cupcakes.

While his Daddy was convalescing from his periodontal work, Robby and I were working in the kitchen on Monday night. We made a batch of ice cream cone cupcakes and carefully frosted each one to resemble the frozen treat. Robby was all giggles as he anticipated the surprise and shock of his classmates biting into what they thought to be ice cream only to discover a cupcake. He was sure that his prank would be the best one of the day!

Yesterday morning we carefully packed up our disguised cupcakes before heading to school.  Robby told his teacher and Principal about our deception, but only after both agreed to keep the secret. In order to make the prank more plausible, the cones were stowed in the school refrigerator until lunch time. 

When I picked up Robby from school he was full of himself for pulling one over on his classmates. Apparently one student was confused why there was cake in her ice cream, while another tried to figure out how we managed to get the cake to fit so perfectly inside the cone. After the first lick, all of the kids were confused about why their ice cream was not frozen, and why it tasted like frosting. At this point Robby stood up and screamed "Happy April Fool's Day. Consider yourselves pranked, Robby style."

Although I had doubts that his ploy would work, it turns out that none of the students have ever seen the ice cream cone cupcake. I found this surprising because I consider the treat to be a childhood staple. I guess this staple is now considered nostalgic?  Regardless, I'm glad that Robby was able to adequately surprise his friends with a friendly April Fool's Day prank, and I was happy to be part of his master plan.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Teeth and a Baby Pic!

Yesterday was an extremely long and physically draining day. The schedule was packed with appointments, primarily medical, which kept me moving for much of the day. By the time the sun went down, I felt a sense of relief taking off my leg, knowing that the day had finally come to a close.

Scott had periodontal surgery which would be difficult for anybody but was the experience was made more intense because of his deep phobias. He was nearly inconsolable in the morning, working himself into such a frenzy of fear that I couldn't help him recenter and regain perspective. I tried throughout the morning to remain compassionate, loving and calm, but I have to admit to slipping up and barking at him when we were getting ready to leave. I found Robby crying uncontrollably, holding onto his stuffed turtles in the corner of his bedroom because he was worried that his Daddy was going to die while he was at school. I understand that Scott's fears are real, but seeing them impact Robby was heartbreaking.

After dropping the scared patient off for surgery, I barely had enough time to get him checked in with the nurses before I had to leave for my own appointment. Thankfully my "old lady having a baby" doctors were in the same office building because I'm certain I would have been late had they not been so close. The appointment was not physically pleasant (I'll spare the details because I am sure that many read this blog over their morning coffee) but I only hope that every pain I experience will become a distant memory when I am holding this little baby.

Although not comfortable, the appointment did yield more information about little baby-to-be. The little cherub is already 4 pounds and 11 ounces which was deemed "perfect" by the specialists. (S)He is still lying transverse and doesn't appear to be motivated to move into a more suitable birthing position. The cord is still wrapped around the neck but it is not impeding with growth or development at this time. Because of the cord and position issues, coupled with the fact that no diaphragm exercises were picked up by the sonogram, I was given a steroid shot to develop the lungs quickly. This is preventative but seemed prudent considering the situation.

As soon as I was done with my appointment I waddled to the grocery store to fill a handful of prescriptions. Between Scott and me, we certainly put our insurance card to good use yesterday! By the time I climbed into the car, I received a text message from Scott informing me that the procedure was over.

I was surprised to hear from him but delighted because I thought it signaled an easier procedure than expected. I drove directly to the Periodontist office to pick him up. They were surprised to see me because Scott was no where close to being finished. I guess I should have known better than to trust a text from somebody under partial sedation!

Instead of leaving I stayed in the waiting room, resting and killing time with old copies of People magazine. He emerged about an hour and a half later, groggy and sporting chipmunk cheeks. I drove him home and immediately tucked him into bed. Although he was obviously tired, he spent his time calling and texting me rather than sleeping. I love him dearly, but he is certainly a high maintenance (and non-compliant) patient! I spent the rest of the day and evening fetching ice, bringing an assortment of soft foods, fluffing pillows, answering questions and just providing sympathy.  I was happy to pick up Robby from school because I knew that he would help me by being a fantastic little delivery boy.

Scott is home from work today and seems to be on the mend. I am hoping to spend the day quietly working on the couch. I know that a nap is too much to hope for, so at this point I'll be content with the absence of drama. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sore Weekend

This has been a rough weekend. As much as I would like to say that the adversity is behind us, the beginning of this week isn't shaping up to be any easier. This morning I am dropping Scott off at the periodontist at 8:30. I'll have enough time to get him settled before I have to leave for my "old lady having a baby" sonogram, which is scheduled for 9. Typically I'm not nervous about the sonograms, but today is different. I spent the majority of Saturday in the Labor and Delivery ward of our hospital, hooked up to monitors and hoping that this little one was not making a dangerously early arrival.

I woke up at about 3 AM on Saturday violently vomiting. I had felt well when I went to bed and, although I had no fever, even a tablespoon of water caused me to wretch for long intervals. Each episode caused my cramping to increase until I was pushed into a cycle of near constant contractions. By 11:00 I had enough, and I knew I needed intervention.

As luck would have it, my mom and my sister were coming to paint the baby's room. The pair took one look at me, packed me into the car and drove me to the hospital. Scott stayed home to care for Robby and to tackle the most unenviable task of cleaning up the prolific HazMat scene I had created. 

I was expecting to be seen in the emergency room, primarily because the hospital is still under construction and I didn't think that the labor and delivery ward was complete. It turns out that it was officially opened on Wednesday, and I was the first emergency patient to utilize the facility. The nurses seemed so excited when they wheeled me into the brand new ward. I'm fairly certain that I saw two nurses high five each other when my presence was announced.  Needless to say, being the only patient on the ward had significant benefits. I was seen quickly, and the staff was attentive and excited about caring for me.

Within minutes I was in a gown, propped into bed and hooked up to a variety of baby monitors. Needless to say, I was scared. I knew that this baby was going to be facing a struggle if he or she made an appearance this early.  I felt helpless and vulnerable.

It turns out that the vomiting, coupled with dehydration, caused my body to enter a cycle of contractions. I was experiencing rather significant contractions every two minutes, like clock work, for several hours. After two liters of IV fluid were administered, along with medication to thwart the vomiting, the severity of the contractions began to wane.  After spending the afternoon in the hospital I was discharged. I crawled into bed and slept until the next morning.

When I woke up seemingly ever muscle in my body hurt. To me it felt like I had done 500 sit-ups, although that analogy is only a guess because I know I've never done that many. Sunday was spent resting and trying to keep Scott centered and calm before his procedure.  That in and of itself felt like mission impossible!

I'm looking forward to seeing the sonogram pictures today. I have been worried since my unexpected time in the hospital and just need to verify that everything is okay. It is one thing to hear the doctor's assessment, but it something entirely different to have visual confirmation.  Wish us luck!