In 2007, my son, Stephen, raised around $5,500, for Push America, an organization that exists to improve lives of those with disabilities, in an event called Journey of Hope. He bicycled as part of a 30 man team from San Francisco, CA to Washington, DC. It was a 63 day journey stopping daily to volunteer and interact with people with disabilities.
Megan Alman of the Newnan Times did a series of articles highlighting his journey. It was all very exciting. Dennis and I were sooooo proud.
Well, Sunday, ( Feb 27,2011) I get the paper out of the box and see my nephew, Matt Brown on the cover in a story by Alex McCrae. It isn’t the first time he’s been in the paper. He has Muscular Dystrophy and the paper has featured him before. But this time as I read the article I had so many emotions. First of all, I have always had a special place in my heart for Matt. He has such an amazing spirit. I cannot imagine having his limitations, yet having such an optimistic outlook on life! Butas I walked the long gravel driveway back to my house….I was hit with a wave of melancholy. The very thing he credits his optimistic outlook, his faith or religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses….. is the very thing that has kept me out of his life!
But I have no regrets for leaving the witnesses….. as you can see. I think my son turned out just fine without them. However, there are so many similarities in these first cousins, Stephen and Matt, including their optimism. It is such a shame the two have never gotten to know one another!
The writers of the stories are oblivious to all of this. Will they ever know how these stories connect?
(this is an old post, re-inserted due to deletion)
“Everything happens for a reason?” Personally, I really do not believe this. (did you just GASP?!!!) I think it is one of those things people say to you when you tell them something about your life that undeniably sucks. I think those platitudes are just our mind’s way of trying to contextualize experiences that don’t fall inside our usual frameworks for making sense of the world. I believe that sometimes we all make pointless, useless choices…..and these are the times you make “lemonade out of lemons”. There are just too many really bad things out there for me to rationalize “everything happens for a reason”. I guess a lot of it comes down to situations like this: The mother of a severely handicapped child who has to listen to the well-meaning chirping’s of her friends who say “everything happens for a reason…(or) God only gives special children to special mothers who are strong” Yes, these people do not know what else to say…they are well-meaning. But this mother is thinking…. “there’s NO reason good enough that I should have to deal with this severe disability….and I don’t think it is part of a LARGER plan!”. Here is what I DO believe: We ALL have life experiences that make us STRONGER. We learn from these experiences. These experiences are what mold us. They help us better our choices for the future. I have no real problem believing in the randomness of life. This is just MY take, albeit a very unpopular view…..but it is what it is And I am what I am:-) I’m definitely not trying to change anyone’s thought process. Just give insight on another view.
Our acquaintance goes back to maybe fourth or fifth grade at Western Elementary School. We didn’t bond at that point. And even on into high school we didn’t become real close friends, although we were buds. But after high school we ended up working at the same Chiropractic Clinic. And from there we bonded and have been the best of buds since. It was early 80’s. From there we sort of followed one another to jobs. We ended up working together at so many places! After Advanced Chiropractic, Elks Club, Conference Center, Cracker Barrel. All the while Jan is going to school to get her teaching degree. After she begun teaching, I signed up to sub. And we actually worked at the same school together! For a while there it was really crazy how we always ended up working together! We worked a few private parties together as hostesses. She dog sits for the family I clean for. It seems we just can’t get away from one another. But we really don’t want to. Oh yeah, we also played soccer and coached soccer together!
When we were at the Chiropractic office/Cracker Barrel/Elks Club both of us were struggling financially. We would share meals to save money. We were in this together! It felt good to have such a close friend. We shared what we had. It wasn’t easy to live on your own and make the wages we made. A lot of our jobs overlapped. I think at one point I was working four Jobs, Chiropractor, Kwickie Store, Elks Club.and Cracker Barrel. It was a tough schedule. Having a bestie like Jan sure made those days bearable. Sometimes when we miraculously had a couple days off together we would take a mini vacation. It would not involve a hotel stay or any elaborate planning. Usually on our way to the car from getting off at Cracker Barrel we would just decide to take off. I loved having the freedom to do that! Nothing like Spontaneity! Those were good times! Once we drove to the mountains. It was a beautiful trip. Just friends and nature. We drove at night. We might have napped in the car a bit at twilight. But I remember having a wonderful time together and the scenery was so beautiful. We sang together and had the best conversations!
Sometimes after our shift at the Conference Center or Cracker Barrel we would go to Old National Highway to a bar. We really loved the music and it was exciting. It was the thing to do back then. Jan was always impressed that I had “guns”. Muscles that were quite impressive for the skinny girl that I was at the time. But really, I have always been a strong girl. In elementary school boys would arm wrestle me…I would win. I have always been strong. Anyway, at one bar there were some guys at a table nearby who noticed my muscles, and commented on them. I was sleeveless, but it was a feminine outfit. I was not dressed as a manly girl. Jan tells them I can beat them at arm wrestling. I’m getting nervous., as I’m a little shy. Long story short. I beat the table full of them, and we drank free that night! Maybe they were drunk, I don’t know. But It was fun at the time. They were sulking as they made their way out to their Harleys!
We have had so many vacations together over the years. It was just natural to bring Jan along with us. All the children in our family know her as Aunt Jan. She is my sister of the heart. ♥ She is welcome and expected to come to our family functions. She is so much a part of our family! Jan has been such a part of my children’s life as they grew up. I am so happy that we were able to rekindle our relationship in the early ‘80’s. I can’t imagine life without her!
These days it seems she is so busy I don’t see her as much. She has her other interest and is so tied down with her job. But even though I don’t see her much, when I do we pick up where we left off before. We need to make a monthly date for one another. That is what I do with my friend Kathy. Although we have been lax about our dates lately. I plan to make an effort to do better. Friends are important! Jan has a very special place in my heart. She knows I love her and am always here for her. ♥
This Grandma Loves her little Grandson, Jackson! That is the undisputed TRUTH! I do not want anyone to think he is an unhappy baby. Anyone could look at my Facebook timeline and see all the smiling pictures of Jackson that are posted. He is a happy little guy! I am a little bit off the wall. People who know me will not argue against that. Sometimes I do some crazy things. This might be one of them. You can decide for yourself. I was looking at the little fellow as he pouted up to cry. He was so stinking adorable! A lightbulb went off in my head…. I thought I should cry along with him! Yes, Oh my goodness! I have to take pictures! What the heck. So here are a few of those images, and a video to boot!
This is a game where a friend tells about herself. If you like her/his status they give you a number and you have to list that many things about yourself in your status. I was given the number 12 by my friend Denise. So I played the game. This is what I posted on Facebook:
Okie Dokie, I was given #12 by Denise 1) God 2)Family and Friends mean the world to me 3) I have a Godson, LeeMondi, he is so precious to me! Such an honor! 4) I LOVE animals. I have 5 dogs. 1 cat. Would love to work with animals or volunteer in a shelter. 5) I’m a Blogger. I maintain two blogs. Love to write, even though writing isn’t my strong suit. 6) I have lived in four states. Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Florida 7) If I could go back 30 or so years, I would try our for Roller Derby 8 I have Stryker Get Around Knees I had bi lateral knee replacement surgery two months ago. They still feel like they are not my own. Like I’m walking with prosthesis. lol 9) I played Amateur Soccer up until a few years ago. See #8 GRRRR 10) I LOVE Music. Blessed with loving many Genre’s. 11) Love working with Videos and Pictures. Have a Youtube channel. 12) I love thrift store “hopping” with my sisters.
Alright, now via my blog I can get down with it and say some things I would not post on F/B. First on number one above I’ve listed God. Yes, I do believe, and Have a love of God, and what is good and right. I try very hard in my daily life to follow the golden rule. Or as when Jesus came, he brought a new command. To love one another as He has loved us. He stressed that Love was very important. I believe in love. I know that love is the glue that binds. It never fails. It does indeed cover a multitude of sins. I however, am not religious. I am spiritual, and a believer. But due to my nasty religious background. I am just not into any organized religion at all. But I do not look down on anyone who attends church. I admire anyone who follows their beliefs.
I was born at home, not in a hospital. I had no hair for a long time. My nickname was Peach Fuzz. My dad called me that throughout my early childhood.
When living in Pontiac, Michigan, I walked two blocks home from school when I was five years old. My Aunt who worked nights overslept and didn’t pick me up from kindergarten. I went in the house. (I guess we didn’t lock the doors) Climbed on a stool and called my dad at work. I told him I was home alone and scared. Haha My brother got chased home from school most every day because of bullies. They didn’t like the way he talked. We were kind of different coming from Gadsden, Alabama! I even came home the first day telling my mom the teacher had the best sun tan I had ever seen. My mom, having met the teacher, told me no, Betty, she is Black. That is her skin color. She will be that color all year round. How shocking. I was five and had never seen a black person.The year we lived in Pontiac, Michigan was the only time we had an inside bathroom. When we moved back to Alabama, It was back to the Outhouse .Us kids had to take turns taking out the “Slop Jar” in the morning. That is the Pee pot. Because at night, you don’t want to walk out to the outhouse. And for baths it was heating water in a galvanized tub. And guess who got leftover water. This girl! Youngest of five kids!
We moved to Georgia in 1967. Yeah, baby. Indoor plumbing!!!!! But we didn’t have great heating system. Just a fireplace in the main living area. I’ll have to consult my sisters. But I think this was the only heat in that first house near Shoal Creek. My dad would heat bricks in the fireplace at night. Wrap them in blankets and put them in our beds near our feet. This would keep us warm at night. One night he got my brick a bit too hot. I was lying there and I saw my covers begin to smoke, then a flame! I screamed FIRE! My dad was there in a flash. Put out the fire. All was well. The next day as I was getting off the school bus I was so embarrassed I could die! There on the clothes line for everyone to see was my blanket with a big burned hole in it!
I also didn’t mention the fact my mother and I have no relationship. we have not had a relationship since I was in my early 20’s. She doesn’t know my kids or my sweet Grandbaby. All because of her religion. She has disassociated herself from me because I have left the religion. I cannot be a Jehovah’s Witness. I do not believe that way. I honestly think it is a cult.
I loved my Dad, especially later on in my adult life. But he drank a lot when we were children. He was a functioning alcoholic. He held down a job and was well respected at work He was good at what he did. But when I turned 16 he provided me with a car. It was an AMC Gremlin. He did not give it to me. He just let me drive it. There was a catch, I soon learned. He called me many times to take him places. Or to come and get him from places. I was his designated driver! I was slapped on the butt a few times while dragging him out of bars. Not a pleasant thing for a 16 year old. And if he was in the right state of mind I’m sure he would have punched those guys out!
A lot of people don’t know that I picked cotton with my mother and aunts when I was a child. I remember how good it smelled. I would get in trouble for getting in other peoples rows. Apparently we were assigned certain areas to pick . Once I was stung by a yellow jacket while picking cotton. My cousin’s grandmother, who dipped snuff, came over and spat snuff on it. I was so grossed out. But she said it would take the sting out….and it did.
My second car was a Dodge Coronet. It was custom painted and had glass packs. Sounded loud! I had regular stereo speakers in the back I could pull out and put on hood or trunk when parked. Sounded awesome. Good ole 8 track. Once, Kathy and I took this car to Savannah when I was just sixteen….almost seventeen. I had actually gone to the bank and got a loan for this car. I think my mom co-signed. I was working at Evans School. I was in the VOT program at High School. I worked mornings and went to school in the afternoon.
When we lived on Spence Avenue, across the street from the “old folks projects” as I called them. I met a few of the older ladies over there and asked them if they needed help cleaning. I earned money weekly by cleaning for those people. It wasn’t much, but was a lot for a kid. I usually spent it all at Kesslers. I could walk to town on the weekends. I would also take bottles to the Coca-cola Bottling Plant on Greenville Street for money. I loved going to town to Buy Wise, Kesslers, Lee King! It was fun just to walk around on the square. Or ride my bike.
When Laura died in ’89 I decided to do something that would allow me more time with my kids. Family really meant so much. I had lost someone. I wanted to spend all the time I could with my family. So I started cleaning houses. I have done that since ’89. Although I work part time at Kroger, I still clean for a few very special clients.
In 1989, the year my niece, Laura was murdered. I was so restless for months. I could not sleep at night without dreaming about her. It was a horrible thing for our family to go through. She was only 19, yet left behind two children. She was the youngest daughter of my oldest sister, Doris. But she lived with us a lot growing up. I thought of her as a sister. I still miss her.
Dennis and I met in 1983. We married in 1988. Stephen was born in 1987. He figured this out when he was in kindergarten. That was my first clue that this kid was going to do pretty well in school. He came up to me and said that they had made a mistake on our marriage license. (Dummy me had hung up a copy of our marriage licence in the living room) He said it had to be wrong because it said 1988 and he was born in 1087. But he knows we had to be married before we could get a baby! OOPS!
Oh yeah, Stephen was due December 23rd, but was born February 2nd. NO, I am not an Elephant! I cannot believe my doctor let me go that long. I apparently do not have the hormone that makes you go into labor. Stephen was post mature. He was very sick. He stayed in the hospital for ten days. He was born with a simean crease in his hand. And he was chubby. He weighed 10.7 at birth. He had a lot of skin around the back of his neck. These are features that are found in babies that have Down’s Syndrome. A nurse approached me. (He was born at Clayton General Hospital) and told me he had Down’s Syndrome. She showed me his hand and said he had the feature of the redundant skin. I lost it. I called Dennis, crying. I cried most of the day. They had to take blood test and send them off. It would take a couple of weeks to find out if he had Down’s for sure. I held him and looked into his eyes. He just didn’t have that look. I did not believe he had it. Yet this one nurse kept telling me I should contact a support group. She was so sure he had it! But one afternoon I was sitting in the neonatal nursery rocking Stephen and a doctor came over and began talking to me. He was the head of Pediatrics, I think. He held out his palm to me. He said look at that. I noticed he had a simean crease. I said WOW! He said that he had heard there was a baby in the neonatal nursery with a simean crease. He wanted to meet the little fellow. I let him hold Stephen. He looked at his palm. He looked at Stephens face. He told me there was no need to worry. Those test would come back negative. He said your baby does not have Downs. I wanted to jump up and hug this man! I felt so relieved! I now have a very good friend who has raised a child with Down’s Syndrome. I know that if he had Downs I would have accepted it and he would have been a blessing. My friend’s child, now a man. Is a blessing for sure. Down’s Syndrome children have a special place in my heart.
I have an alter-ego I’ve named Beatrice. She comes out when I’m angry. A lot of my close friends know about her and have seen her. They do not want her to come out She is scary.
I have had some close friends turn their backs on me. Very hurtful. They really did not do anything to me. Just disappeared from my life. Strange. Hard to explain. But I have some very special friends that I’ve had for a long time. Who have been loyal through the years. BUT…. my sisters are the best friends ever! Their love is unconditional. The older I get the closer I am to them. And I have a very close friend, Brittany I talk to EVERY day….several times a day….and she lives in Virginia. Love her dearly. I have several very close old friends who live locally I do not talk to often, but I know I can call on at any time and the conversation would pick up where it left of the last time. They are true friends I could call on at any time for any need. They are Jan and Kathy. I do correspond with Jan via text and Facebook. But Kathy has not wanted to do the Facebook think yet. We try to keep a regular date monthy where we meet at a local restaurant and talk, usually after she gets off from work. But we have been lax about it. I think that will be one of my New Years Resolutions to keep that date going. Friends mean so much. And Jan and I should start a date as well! Sorry…at this point I am rambling…No wonder no one reads my blogs! I do recommend some older blogs. The latest ones about my knees etc. Are kind of depressing. I have written some funny ones.
A few trivial facts: I like wordfeud and Words with Friends and am very competitive.
I sometimes make myself a small skillet of cornbread for lunch and eat it with buttermilk. I like tomato sandwiches with Mrs. Dash.
I cannot sleep unless I have a pillow between my legs and vaseline or chapstick on my lips.
I have a minor lottery scratch off addiction.
I have disabling migraines to the point I want to die.
I would rather listen to music than watch tv ….unless music is on tv…I love Palladia and AXTV! Like a concert in your living room!
This is a blog I will probably update and add on as I think of things.
Today marks six weeks post surgery. My left knee has progressively gotten worse and my right knee has started to get sore again. Over the weekend the pain was so bad I thought about going to the emergency room. But waited until Monday and called my doctor. They told me they could not get me in for an appointment until Friday! I am really beginning to regret going to Dr. Waldrop. It is not good to have issues and have to wait so long. This, on top of all the other issues was probably the last straw.
Then as if I wasn’t having a bad enough weekend, I broke a crown eating an apple last Friday. I called my dentist. They informed me that because I have joint replacements I would need antibiotics before receiving any dental care. I was to call my doctor. I called Dr. Waldrop’s office and told the nurse I had an RX for Amoxicillin. She said that would be fine. She said take one capsule before I go that morning and one that evening. That was such a low dose!!! I repeated it. She confirmed. Then the day of my appointment I get a call from the dental assistant. She is calling to remind me of my appointment and to take my antibiotics. She said she wanted to make sure I had taken my four capsules of Amoxicillin. I said No, they only told me to take one. She said I should go ahead and take three more ASAP. It is a shame that my dentist cares more for me than the medical doctor. I appreciate them looking out for me. I am absolutely dissatisfied at this point. I will go to my appointment Friday and give them a chance. I know there is no reason I should have such pain issues six weeks out. Something isn’t right. I have not had a good night’s sleep in six weeks! That is ridiculous!
My physical therapy team, mostly is Bill Keurzi or Jill Derums. They are outstanding. I’ve had most sessions with Bill who is remarkable. He really is an asset to his profession. There was one negative experience with someone there…. I will not mention a name. She apparently didn’t like me anymore than I liked her as she had her name down for me the next two visits, but mysteriously disappeared from list, and Bill was added. I was glad because I was going to ask for that to happen anyway. It saved me the trouble. This person was so negative from the get go. She asked me my pain level. I told her I had trouble sleeping the pain was so bad, probably a 10 at some points during the night. She said in a condescending voice, “I cannot put that on here! If it is that bad you need to go to the ER!!” I just looked at her in shock. Who was she to tell me how much pain I’m in. I gave her a lesser number. She then told me to do an exercise by the name. I wasn’t familiar. As the therapist before had just showed the exercise and got me started. I said, “Ok, which one is that?” She looked at me, disgusted, and showed me. then walked off. Bill always hangs around to make sure I’m doing it correctly. He helps me stretch further if he has to do take my leg by the hand and push. She was so stand Offish! There were so many other things that happened that by the end of my session I was silently crying as she iced me down. She was telling me to massage my scar and I was getting squeamish. She actually rolled her eyes. Yes, I was not going to have my insurance pay them good money to get service like that. But Bill and Jill totally make up for her. Actually, Jill could see that I was getting upset with her that day and tried to make up for it. She was very comforting. She and Bill have an X factor that the “mean” PT person lacked. It is empathy for the patient.
Friday is my appointment. I am nervous as I had a horrible night last night. Pain was off the charts. Pain meds don’t even touch it. I want to be validated. I want them to not think I have made it up about the pain. It is so real. But I really do not want to undergo another procedure. I really hope there is a simple solution.
I went to the doc today. I actually did not see Dr. Waldrop. I saw the PA. I like the PA. I don’t even remember his name, but he is very nice. It makes me angry though that Dr. Waldrop didn’t even come in to see me. I am fuming that I even chose that doctor for the surgery. If I had it to do over again I would just have gone with Dr Powell. I have regrets. But anyway….getting on with today’s visit…..they took x=rays. The PA said they looked great. He said I had a lot of swelling and edema. Which I thought was the same???? He told me I should take it easy at Physical therapy for the time being. I am not to do very strenuous exercises now. He wants the area to settle down. He prescribed two weeks of steroids and some cream to rub on my knees. I am getting that in the mail. I thought that was strange. A cream that my pharmacy probably won’t carry, so they are having to have it shipped to me. What is in that stuff??? I hope it helps me sleep. That is all I ask! I go back in a month. If I still have not slept. It isn’t going to be a very pretty visit!
Note I sent to Doc through Patient Portal:
This message is, in part, to praise Nurse Susan at Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital because she was able to get my Rx called in to my pharmacy. The RX You should have faxed to them on Friday when I was there. We had such a late appointment Friday, I could not get back to the Drug store to pick it up Friday, which is good since it would not have been there! I called the answering service Saturday morning after my husband had tried in vain to pick up the Rx. The answering service was no help at all. They said they could not contact you about an RX. I called you LAST Monday as I was in such pain last weekend I contemplated going to the ER and that is what told the lady at the appt. desk. She said there was nothing available until FRIDAY! I am HURTING but have to wait until Friday. Ok, I accepted the Friday appointment. Then they screw up with the RX. I also showed the PA a place on the back of my leg that I received the day after surgery. It hasn’t healed. My primary care doc has me applying an ointment on it. The LaGrange Physical Therapy place had e=mailed you about this sore, but I never heard anything. I started on the steroids and am hopeful it will relieve some of the pain. I am very unhappy with the lack of concern and care I’ve gotten from this clinic. When I saw how people seem afraid to contact you I realized why I cried the night after I went to 4th floor from ICU with a migraine headache all night. No one at Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital would help me. They said the opiate based drugs had caused my headache and would not give me any meds., except for some reason they offered me Oxycoton which is opiate based???? And I refused. They offered Immitrex and Lorcet. I told them I was a migraine sufferer for 30 years and this one was out of hand the Immitrex wasn’t going to work. I was in intense pain, nevermind I still had knee pain, that was irrelevant, when a migraine comes along it says “I’m the Boss” nothing else matters. I asked my husband to go get a gun and kill me. I don’t think the nurses called you. I only needed a nausea med and Demerol. They said it wasn’t on my chart. I will never forget that worse night of my life. HELL. But as a migraine sufferer for so long I have been the last called in emergency rooms before. I’ve sat out there intense pain while they triage me for last. No sympathy.. Migraines are my worse nightmare. I hope I’m nowhere near that hospital when I have another one! I am working hard with my PT team to get better. I want that.
And I appreciate all the kind people I have talked with from the clinic. No one has been rude.
Day 4 of Prednesone:
My swelling has gone down and the pain isn’t as intense during the day. However, I am still not sleeping at night. It catches at every angle I position when lying down. I cannot get comfortable! UGH! I am at the point I hate to see bedtime come around! I lie there trying to sleep and cannot! Knowing sleeping pills are useless. It is a “HELL” in itself. Gotta figure out something soon. I’m wearing down.
UPDATE…YES ANOTHER:) I got a call from a compounding pharmacist. He says the cream they want to send me isn’t covered by my insurance. An ounce of it will cost me $30.00. I’m thinking how far can an ounce go? I have big knees! Oh well. Gonna wait to see how they feel after Prednesone is gone. I might have to order it. Right now I feel good in the day. Night time I have trouble getting in a comfortable position to sleep. But not sure if cream will help. It is a positioning thing.
Last Update on this post: Finished the steroids. Swelling had gone down but is going up again slightly with the completion. I am sleeping about an hour more per night. Woo hoo! It helps a lot though! Knee pain has gone down tremendously! I still feel as if I am not using my own legs. Sort of if I am using prosthesis. But Hey! I can walk and get around. So YAY!