Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Overlooking little things

A weird rash that appeared on my leg around the 4th of July lingered, and then started to spread. Last week, I got diagnosed with Lyme disease. Twice a day, I take antibiotics. The doctor told me, "Make sure you take it with food." The pharmacist said, "You'll want to take this with food." I take it with food, and about an hour later, I start to feel like crap, slightly nauseous, tired, very cranky. My patience with my kids has been low nonexistant. And I keep thinking of Henry.

When we brought him home that last time, he was on I think ten meds. Two of them were antibiotics. It didn't occur to me how he might feel because of them. I was too focused on his heart rate and his breathing. I didn't think about how they were wiping him out inside because I was too busy thinking about withdrawal of some of his other meds. That's how it was. We didn't worry about PT because we needed him to be able to breathe. We didn't think about his flat head because we needed him to be stable enough to move. All I thought of the antibiotics was that they would be gone soon—and we'd be down to eight meds.

I'm tired just thinking about that med schedule and pushing the sticky pink antibiotic into his NG tube, wishing he didn't have the tube but knowing the med administration was much easier because of it. I'm tired, just thinking about it, and I wish I could pick him up, snuggle him close, tell him it will get better, he'll feel better, soon, some day. And back when I was pushing all those meds into his tube, I thought that was true. Now, I think, "I'm sorry, bud. Sorry for all you went through." I don't blame myself, I just wish he didn't have to go through it all.

Tomorrow, we're going camping. I'll be on high alert for ticks, like I was on Monday when we went blueberry picking. I tucked Elizabeth's pants into her socks. Instead of telling Kathleen she'd be too hot, I let her wear tights. I love being outside: hiking, picking berries, working in the garden. I want my kids doing these things and running around the yard. I won't stop doing these things, but I pounce on every speck of dirt on their leg or bit of debris on their neck. I know how many ticks we've pulled off this year, and I worry about the little tiny ones we might have missed.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rani and Anne

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Green River Festival with my sister. Four years ago, I went reluctantly. I got there and heard this, "I wanna be ready. I wanna be ready. I wanna be ready when joy comes back to me." I was slowly opening to joy, embracing it, diving in sometimes,  struggling other times, but that night I found myself ready, joyous, dancing.

Rani Arbo won't be at the music fest tomorrow, but I've been listening to them a lot lately. It's my canning music and my cleaning up the kitchen music, and if you were walking by, you'd see me dancing along with my kitchen chores.

And when "Crossing the Bar" comes on, I always think of Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, really, for Jim, the lighthouse keeper who "crosses the bar." I read the series again and again as a kid, and I'm sure I found it incredibly sad when I read about Anne's first baby, Joyce, dying, but when I read the books in 2009, in my spree of comfort reading when Kathleen was a newborn, I sobbed at the chapter when Joyce is born and dies. It rings true to me, from the platitudes people throw at you to the sting of the words of a friend who didn't know even though you know they would never have hurt you, to the day Anne smiles again, though there is something new in her smile that will always be there going forward.

And what I really love is that this isn't the last mention of Joyce. She is not mentioned much in the last few books in the series, but she is not forgotten. A little bit further along this road (though two children later, not six like Anne had) that feels about right too.

For summer reading, I recommend Anne of Green Gables or picking up a childhood favorite. For summer listening, try Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, Big Old Life or Some Bright Morning (or get Ranky Tanky for the kids—it's fun too).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer unplugged (kinda)

I remember setting up my first email account to participate in an online discussion group for a seminar my senior year. I have a letter up in my attic from my friend Kate asking me if I had email and telling me what she thought her email address was. It seemed a novelty.

I remember that annoying noise that dial-up made. I always thought we can send somebody to the moon, but we can't come up with a nicer sound for this process? As recently as 2000, I had dial up. I'd log-in, go fill up my dishpan during that annoying bong-buzz-static sound, come back start the slow download process, go wash my dishes, come back to see if it was done.

And then I ponied up for a cable connection. Suddenly I could log on and be on all day. It was so much quicker. Email replaced letters. I played games online sometimes, got my news on my homepage. But still, I wasn't online all the time. I'm not sure how that happened, but I think it started when Henry was in the hospital. We kept moving rooms and I didn't have a cell phone, so email was the best way to get in touch with me. Email and our CarePage became my lifeline to the world outside the hospital walls, my link to the world I so longed to be part of.

And then he died and I was floundering and as much as I dove right into my grief, at night, I longed for distraction, to restless to go to bed. One night I was searching for a poem I got at a grief group and I found Charlotte's Mama's blog, which led me to other blogs and Glow in the Woods, which led me to still more blogs. There were other people who had lost babies who were sitting in the dark not wanting to shut down because that thin veneer, that sheer curtain they had pulled between their hearts and the sorrow that threatened to drown them would go away when they did.

I started to spend a lot of time online. And then came Facebook. Sigh.

This summer I decided to try to spend less time online. I had tried during the winter, actually shutting down my computer when I wasn't working. It made me realize how dependent I am on my online connection. I kept finding myself popping in to my office to "check something real quick," which would have turned into checking email and answering it, and liking half a dozen posts on Facebook and reading articles friends had linked to and . . . .

It's not how I want to spend my time, and summer with all its outdoorsness seemed like a good time to make a bigger break. It helps that I'm not working a lot. I'm out in my garden or trying to read while my kids splash in our tiny kiddy pool or sweating in a steamy kitchen making jam or pickles or relish. My weakness right now is right after bedtime when the kids are down, but not quite settled, when I don't want to get involved in anything because somebody is sure to need to use the potty or irritate somebody else with their noise or just need me.

Unplugged is a bit of a stretch for what I'm doing right now, but I'm cutting back and trying to figure out how cut back more, recognizing that cutting it out completely isn't feasible.

I wrote a letter today, to Kate, who so many years ago was the first friend I emailed. I put in an envelope, addressed it, stuck on a stamp. Tomorrow our mail carrier will pull it out of my box and add it to a pile of mail to be sorted and routed and delivered. She won't get it seconds after I sent it, won't reply almost instantaneously, but sitting with a notecard and a pen, jotting memories and stories about our summer was satisfying—and I didn't get distracted by the new message popping up or the new Like on a comment.

I'm shutting down now for the night. I'll get out early tomorrow before the heat really settles in. I'll drink coffee with my neighbor under the pear tree while my kids get along with hers (or not). I'll check my plants for squash bug eggs and pick lettuce and water. We'll get dressed for story hour and gather trash for the dump. Somewhere in there, I'll log on to see if there are any work issues for my one little on-going project and then maybe I'll shut down again to have the day free.

Do you spend to much time online too? How do you limit yourself? Or do you?