“Everything Happens for a Reason?”

Now isn't that Random?
Now isn’t that Random?

(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.  Or, that maybe SOME  things happen for a reason.  BUT….. This is only 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.

Deja Vu

hospital emory

Here I lie in a hospital bed in Emory Orthopedic and Spine Hospital.  It is March 8, 2017. Yesterday I had surgery on my left foot to clean up my surgery of November 7, 2016..  Dr. Bariteau  performed a debridement and removal of all hardware,  He also gathered cultures for Dr. Kraft, the infectious disease doctor.. The previous surgery was done by Dr. Hiensch. Going with a local doctor for this seemed logical because I hate driving to Atlanta.  Huge mistake in hindsight.

Here’s the Deja Vu part.   Several years ago I had double knee replacement surgery at the Hughston Cliniic, but ended up at Emory for clean up and repair. .  So here I am,  back at Emory for clean up..D is not letting go of the I told you so’s.  But at this point, I cannot blame him.

The infectious disease doctor is going to analyze the cultures and decide on specific antibiotics. In the mean time I am bound here,  pumped with antibiotics and other drugs.   The pain block is wearing off and foot is beginning to come alive with pain.  But I am under pain management, so I can’t complain..

On every post op visit to Georgia Bone and Joint,  I complained the foot was not getting better and the pain was worsening at an exponential rate.  On one post op visit he prescribed a mysterious drug.  He said I could only get this drug from a specialty pharmacy and it would be mailed via Fed Ex.  I left with a sample.  After consulting my son, the pharmacist, I learned this drug, Duexis, is merely Advil 800 mg. and Pepcid.  It was also about $500.00 for 30 pills. I don’t even know what my co pay would be. I declined the prescription.  The doctor knew I was already taking 800 mg Advil and it wasn’t keeping the pain at bay.  I just wanted a solution.or explanation for the edema and constant pain.

The initial surgery was to correct my Haglunds Deformity, or pump bump.  This bump on my heel was stressing my Achilles and was causing pain and difficulty walking. I began experiencing those issues about two years ago.  I thought it was plantar fasciitis  until an MRI revealed the real issue.   The doctor said this surgery would correct the deformity and I should be pain free in three months. Free of pain at last!  But it didn’t work out that way.

At my final post op visit I was asked to have another MRI to see what was going on. It should be well, not swollen and immensely painful.  More painful than it was before surgery!  So after the MRI, I called to make an appointment for the reading of the MRI.   I specifically asked the receptionist if this would be considered a post op visit.  There is no copay for post op visits.  If the surgery had worked, I wouldn’t need this appointment.   I was frustrated because I was in so much pain and this doctor had not laid out any plan.

I signed a request for the release of records and left without seeing the doctor.  By the time I got home, the office had already called asking me to come back and they would consider the visit post op.    I politely refused the offer.  Later that day, the doctor called and explained the MRI.  He said I had a lot of inflammation. There might be damage to the Achilles and I may need surgery to fix it.  He was very nice and seemed sincere when he told me to stick with him he would fix the issues.  He also mentioned there could be an infection, but he would need to order blood work. I already had orders from my primary care physician.  I had the blood work done the next day. When results came back I called the doc to tell him I had the results and find out about his treatment plan..  I left three messages that week with his nurse  When I didn’t hear from them it was my cue to collect my records and move on.  I contacted Emory and made an appointment.

I took all my records and MRI discs.  Dr. Bariteau came in the room, introduced himself and cut to the chase.  He said I had an infection and should have surgery right away. He was concerned and so was I!   He would remove the hardware and possibly leave open if a significant amount of drainage.  Fortunately he was able to close it and refer me to an infectious disease doctor. I have been taking fluids and antibiotics for a couple days and will go home tomorrow and remain on powerful antibiotics for a month or so.  If the cultures taken from my bone begin to grow, my antibiotic could change.

The scary part of this is,  if this had gone unchecked, I could have lost my foot, or maybe my leg!    I may even need another surgery on my Achilles if it doesn’t attach properly.  As nice as the first doctor seemed, he never saw the urgency of this situation.  He allowed me to go three months with never any improvement. Only more pain and edema than I had prior to surgery. My Emory doctor saw the same MRI and blood work.  He examined my foot.  Noticing the edema and warmth of the area. He  was able to diagnose and make a plan to solve the issue.

Emory is a huge team of very professional medical experts.  They were so thorough in preparing me for the surgery.  I am very impressed with the staff.

I appreciate all the support I have received from friends and family. I feel loved.

Perspective:  Last week I left the house to run an errand.  I saw a man in a wheelchair exercising on the track at Moreland cemetery. This guy was moving that wheelchair around that track at an impressive pace. With what he was missing in lower extremities, the upper extremities were compensating.    When I returned from my errand, he was still tearing up that track!    I’m optimistic my issue will be controlled.   I will be walking normally in a few months.  This guy has no legs.

It is cathartic to blog about things like this.    As I get older, time can cause facts to become fuzzy.  So I have to write them down as they happen. .

Kane the Big Red Dog

family-picI have googled Ehrlichia Canis or E.Canis a dozen times this week. It is what blindsided us, taking our Kane so fast and furiously.  Imagine a tic bringing down a one hundred pound dog!   Generally I apply topical flea and tic medicine in the spring and summer. Usually I skip the fall and winter months.  I was feeling guilty, thinking all this was my fault..  But our vet told us that a tic can latch on to a dog who is treated with flea meds..  To latch on is all it takes to infect.

I only wish I had caught it before it got out of hand, but I never noticed any symptoms. One day Kane was fine and the next he was sick.  That Wednesday morning I discovered he had thrown up his supper, I was not extremely worried. I have had many dogs and sometimes they have stomach issues, maybe from eating something they shouldn’t or are just not up to par.  Usually in a day or two they perk up on their own. I knew Friday eventing this was not going to clear up on its own.  I took him to our vet, Dr Hendricks, first thing Saturday morning.  A fifty minute drive to Manchester.  He thoroughly examined him and did a blood analysis.  He tested positive for E.Canis, and was started on Doxycycline.   Dr. Hendricks has been our vet for about twenty five years.  So I knew from his demeanor, this was a serious condition..  He gave him a shot for pain and nausea and we went home with three prescriptions. Getting these pills down him was a difficult process. Felt like I went in up to my elbows and literally placed them in his stomach.  He fought me with what little bit of strength he had left.

Kane would not eat that day, or Sunday. Not for a lack of trying on my part. i cooked rice with chicken broth, boiled chicken breast and shredded the meat, canned salmon, canned chicken, and even cat food.  On Monday night he ate a piece of hot dog and a bite of canned chicken. It was enough to get my hopes up.  He ate a bite or two of a hot dog on Tuesday morning, but that was it.  So on Wednesday, I loaded him in my car and took him back to Manchester.  Doc came out to the car to examine him.  He was even more grim than before, but I couldn’t give up on him ….not yet.  He said he could try a different antibiotic and give him a shot to stimulate his appetite. Although I never sensed any optimism on his part,   I desperately held on to a slim hope Kane would respond and be back to his old neurotic self.  I longed to see him work on his China project, a hole that has brought him so  much pleasure .  Digging was Kane’s favorite hobby.   D was not fond of the gargantuan holes.. Cutting grass had become a dangerous task..

The appitite stimulant kicked in and he ate a whopping two bites of hot dog. Sadly that would be his final meal.  Still clinging to hope he would eat only if I served the right thing, I cooked some ground beef for him.  On Friday morning I took the hamburger meat to him, but he could barely lift his head. He managed to get up and stagger outside..Then he collapsed and laid his head down.  I brought the car around to load him up for his final ride to see his Doc.   I put his collar on and he tried to walk to the car, bless his heart. But he collapsed again outside the gate. D had to help me roll him on a blanket and load him in the car.  He was still looking wistfully at me with those big brown eyes, but there was nothing I could do for him.  When we arrived , Brandy, the vet tech,  said they would come to the car as soon as Doc arrived.  As I sat there in the back of my car waiting on the vet and bawling my eyes out, Kane tensed up in pain and I though he was seizing,  his tongue was lolling out.  But he relaxed.  As hard as this was, and even though I’m still in shock at how quickly this all unfolded, I’m at peace with letting him go. I cannot bear to see him suffer.

That was a long sad ride back home.  We covered him in his favorite blanket and placed him in the China Project.  I placed a cross on his grave on which I will hang his dog tags.

In my research of this disease I ran across one article that recommended dosing dogs with doxycycling from time to time as a prevention. I am going to ask Doc about that.

Two weeks ago Kane was chasing armadillos and squirrles, eating like a lumberjack, and wiggling with happiness as I spoke his name or petted him.  This has happened so fast. Two months ago we had five dogs. Today we have two.  Seems surreal.

Kane, Kaney Baney, Kanicus,  Kane Kane was my buddy. He came here Christmas of 2007. He was with his friend Maddie, who iwas about to pop with a litter of puppies.  We let Maddie have her pups in our basement. We found homes for them, and Maddie, but kept little Pinky.  Kane and Pinky became good buds. We are letting Pinky stay upstairs with Beau so he won’t be lonely for Kane.

Rest in Peace my Big Red Dog.

https://bhplayon.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/the-story-of-kane-pinky-and-maddie/

Rolling with the Changes

am

First I’ll  reminisce a bit, then on to the glorious discovery of Amazon Unlimited Music and Echo Dot.  Music is and has been a huge part of me.  I hold no genre allegiance. I’m a genre hopper for certain.  . Always embracing music thru the years while the modus operandi for listening constantly changes.  Currently streaming music is the trend..

My earliest exposure to  the music love bug was in 1964.. I’m the  youngest sibling of three older sisters and a brother who all loved music, Naturally, I became infected at an early age. One of my earliest  memories was hearing “The Birds and the Bees” on the radio in 1964.  At three,.I was obsessed with that song.wanting it to play every time anyone turned on the radio.  Another memory of song euphoria happened in 1966. That was when Nancy Senatra released  “These Boots are made for Walkin'” .  It’s was catchy and funny lyrics filled me with delight.

As a small child.I stood there, mouth agape in front of our black and white TV . Teenage girls were falling out one after the other, overcome with emotion as the Beatles sang “I want to hold your hand”.  This music thing was more powerful than my small mind could perceive..  I was sucked into a life enhanced by melodies and lyrics to match my changing moods.

When I was in the fifth grade,  mama bought a stereo.  It was in a cabinet with a turn table on one side and and am/fm stereo on the other.. A playlist in the 70’s was stacking maybe five or so records or albums on the turntable. Sometimes there would be a scratch or two or a skip.  No complaints, though..  I fell in love with technology and how it facilitated my auditory needs.

Once I stayed home “sick” from school so I could listen to anything I wanted as loud as I wanted. Paul Revere and the Raiders version of! “Indian Reservation”  blasting!  (I know, Cheesy, but I was TEN)  I sang , “Cherokee People” at the top of my lungs…rocking the trailer park!. . Fast forward to my teens and the 8-track.. Remember that awkward pause as the track changed often in the middle of a song?  Bob Segar and Elton John on  8-track was as good as it got at that time in my life.  Then technological improvements to fidelity led the Compact Cassette to supplant the Stereo 8-track.  This cassette thing was the perfect medium to take music to another level.  Now I could purchase blank cassettes and record playlists.  I no longer had to fast forward through songs I didn’t want to hear.  Custom playlists was the new ticket.  It was also a marvelous way to share music. Making tapes to enjoy and share with friends was my favorite hobby.

In my early teens I was obscessed with the America’s Top 40 radio show with Casey Kasem. I really looked forward to all the trivia facts about the songs and artists. I still listen to recordings of this show on I Heart radio.  Radio helped build my music knowledge base. I remember using a cassette recorder to record my favorite songs on the radio. Pretty fuzzy playback, but served me well at the time.

When I was twenty, I bought a High Fidelity component system from a department store on credit .  It was money well spent.. I had it years after it was paid for.. By that time I had a fairly impressive Album collection.  Bought many in my high school years at the little record store that stood in what is now the parking lot of the new Justice Center in Newnan.  Some of them I got from Columbia House. Remember that music club?  Eleven Records for a penny!  How could they do that?  I jumped on that bandwagon!   Could it get any better than a stereo component system and blank cassettes?  Well, yeah, Compact Discs!  At least I thought so at the time they were introduced. Although now I am not a big CD fan. I have bought enough to fill a 55 gallon drum.  They have served their purpose and I am so over them. I’ve dealt with cassettes getting eaten, winding them back with a pencil was easy enough. But once a CD gets scratched or damaged in the slightest way, it is impossible to listen to. Often while playing they stop with no warning and as you are about to change or take out, spit on and wipe with your shirt, it blast back in startling fashion. On the pro side, I loved making CDs from mp3’s on my computer.  They are cheap enough to rip a new one if they get scratched. But I am not organized enough to even grab a sharpie for writing what I had put on the CD. Resulting in stacks of mystery CDs. I have a stack of CD jackets in the basement without their matching CD.. In my bedroom closet I have a large shopping bag filled with stray CDs and Jackets. My CD situation is so messed up I’d even be ashamed to donate them to Goodwill!.  Embarrassing really.

I embraced MP3 technology. Was sucked in to file sharing in 1999. Remember Napster?  I did so innocently. Not realizing it was frowned upon and probably illegal.. Then digital downloads became the next new thing.  I-tunes and I pods came out in the first decade of this century. That was a good way to organize music and make CDs from playlists. But what a pain if you changed devices!    I have spent a whole lot of time in troubleshooting forums.

These days I stream music on  Pandora and I-Heart Radio. But while ordering some Christmas gifts on Amazon, I saw this advertisement for Amazon Unlimited Music. The word unlimited tweaked my curiosity.  It was Amazon’s answer to Apple Music and Spotify.   I decided to agree to the free trial and the unlimited part blew my music lovin’ mind!  Imagine going into your favorite music store and grabbing any CD you want, no holds barred.  You can have any song you desire!. Yes, any song you want is yours for the clicking.  You can even pick out music that you’re just curious about.. This unlimited music is available on up to six of your devices and is AD FREE. I am totally loving this.so much I  purchased the Echo Dot to use as my personal music robot..  I’ve only had it a day, but I am in awe so far.   In addition to playing music, . it is also Google on steroids. Ask it anything and it answers quickly. You can have it add songs to your music library, or sample songs you are thinking of adding. It is a speaker and will play whatever you ask. Not an impressive speaker so I ordered a bluetooth speaker! . I’ll update this blog to review this product further once I’ve used it for a while.. I am so excited with this new technology!.My Husband, D, is not as enamored with technology but thinks it’s cool she understands his commands better than Siri.

Organizing my music has been on my to-do list for years!  Now I’m free. My music will be organized and I don’t have to spend time doing it!  I am FREE!. I don’t have to worry about keeping up with all those pesky CD’s!  The endless game of concentration as you try to find CDs and their correlating Jacket.  Trying to get a new one out of those plastic containers and the seal wrap that is molded on is maddening!  I have literally sat in the parking lot at Best Buy cutting them out with D’s pocket knife.  Amazon Unlimited Music is definitely a safer choice.  No more time spent trying to figure out I tunes. You know how some songs will play, and some are unauthorized because you bought them on a computer that is no longer on the authorized device list.

Amazon Unlimited Music comes with a price, it is $79.00 per year for an individual plan, per year,  if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. So immediately I thought of ways to justify this purchase.  Hmmmm maybe  I will cut back on those delicious Frappes at Quicktrip or maybe I can ask Santa for this every year:)

Now that I’m delivered from CD Hell I  hope this isn’t a dream. What a nasty nightmare!. Somebody pinch me!

OUCH!  It’s real, y’all!

Love is the greatest gift! Insight on Motherhood and Grandmotherhood 

My blog has been a fabulous setting for pouring my soul on topics that are close to my heart. This post will present insight on motherhood in contrast to grandmotherhood from my perspective. In 1987 I became a mom.  I was so excited about motherhood. It was something I was over confident about. It felt right and natural. Oh, I thought I was an expert already with all the experience I had with babies and children!. I became an aunt at age seven.  By the time I had my first child all my siblings had established their families.  I had loads of practice!  Motherhood is very humbling, though.  You suddenly have this little person who depends on you to provide all their needs.  So many times I felt I was doing very poorly.  But as I look back on my highs and lows of motherhood, I realize that I loved my children more than anyone else ever could. I believe with all my heart, Love is the greatest of all the fruits of the spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:13  New International Version:  And now these three remain, faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13, 7-8 New American Standard Bible:  Love Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

So even though my parenting skills were not up to par, my love was always there and I hope this was enough to smooth over any harm I may have inflicted, though not intended. I was often a little uptight with my kids. A little staunch and inflexible at times. For instance, perfect attendance at school was expected..  I sent them to school sometimes when I know they felt awful. If they didn’t have a fever and it wasnt contageous, they were going to school. Maybe  I should have let them have a sick day here and there.  If I could go back and let little Erin stay on the couch with  some hot chocolate and watch cheesy movies all day, I probably would!   I wish I had opted for a messier house to make time to play more and engage with the kids. D and I expected all A’s from our kids and they never let us down.  But was that too much pressure on them?   Any loving parent can second guess parenting.  I am now, and always have been very proud of my kids. With all my faults aside, I am most proud of the love I have for them and their love for me.

I don’t live with regret or sadness over what I should of, or could have done. There are no do-overs so you just have to live, learn and move forward.  I hope my kids know I did what I thought was best.  

But now maybe I do have a do-over. At least I can demonstrate I have learned from some of my parenting mistakes..   As a grandmother I am much more relaxed. If you visit on the days I have my grandboys,  you might have to step over forts, leggos, blanket piles, toys and dogs. We have picnics on the porch, explore in the woods, hang out with Granddaddy at the shop, and sometimes bake brownies!   Our day is adventurous and fun most of the time.  Yet they still ask for their mama and are sometimes homesick for her. There is nothing like the love a child feels for their mama. 

 I am more careful about the tone of my voice with my grandboys.  I do not want them to remember me as that crazy angry woman.  Sadly, my kids may remember that side of me.  Now I know that it is better to be the kind of person you want them to emulate, than to lose patience and later feel terrible and regret. At least  that’s what I strive to do. But as a Grandmother it’s easier to be more relaxed. I don’t have the same stresses and burdens on me as I did as a mother. I remember how exhausted I was after work only to come home to more work. Cooking supper, doing dishes, bathing kids and putting them to bed, cleaning, doing laundry left little me time.  D was there to help, but as a Firefighter he was home two of every three days. So I had only a tiny  glimpse of how it might feel to be a single parent.   Always having that trump card,  wait till your daddy comes home  was golden! 

That’s why my heart goes out to Erin as she takes on the job of single parenting. This is not the what she had planned. But is doing a way better job than she thinks. It is a difficult job with two parents.   Extremely difficult as the only parent 

 When I’ve had the boys all day and am worn out, I am often thankful to get a break as they go home. Even though D is usually here to step in to give me a chance to shower or throw in a load of clothes. I’m sure it is especially hard for Erin who is on her own. Prayers are with her as she tackles this huge responsibility and the pressures of teaching middle schoolers.  

I’m so blessed to be in a position to help with the  care of my Grandboys.  I don’t have the same energy level of my young Betty.  But definitely less stress. 

 I tell them they make my heart happy when they are here. And that is the honest to God truth!