Friday, March 25, 2011

The one where we head for Memphis...

So I don't know how many of you are like me...I'm always up for a road trip. Especially when I'm going through states I've never been to. There's not many states I haven't been to at some point but this trip is hitting a few of them. We started off in Mendon this morning and then hit St. Louis, Mo; Blytheville, Ak; Memphis, Tn; and came to rest in Southaven, Mississippi. Now I've been all over the great state of Tennessee but Arkansas was new to me. We really barely clipped a corner of the state and I was kind of disappointed to find it looked no different then Missouri. After 7 hours, two gas/potty breaks and a ton of 80's music we checked in to our Holiday Inn before going out to chow down on some BBQ (we are just south of Memphis after all!).

Here are some brief glimpses of our day:

After a stop in Arkansas for gas, I asked the attendant how to get back to the highway. Another gentleman joined the conversation and then I headed out to the car where the kids already were.

Sean: Were you talking to people in there?

Me: Um. Yeah. I was getting directions.

Lu: Mother!! Stranger Danger!! Stop talking to strangers.

Me: They weren't that strange...

Sean: You're hopeless...

While driving:

Lu: Can I see the Atlas?

Sean: No.

Lu: please?

Sean: Ask me again in six minutes.

Lu: (waiting) Can I see it now?

Sean: No. You still have two minutes.

Lu: How about now?

Sean: No.

Lu: But you said ask you again in six minutes.

Sean: Yes. But I never said I was going to give it to you...

After dinner we came back to the hotel room and Lu decided to take a shower so she could sleep in a bit later tomorrow. She takes her stuff into the bathroom and we hear the shower start, immediately followed by a thump, an "oh shit!", and strange noises. We couldn't tell if she was laughing or crying.

Sean: do you think she fell?

Me: no. the thump wasn't that loud.

(Lu is still making the noise) I go to the bathroom door and knock.

Me: Are you okay in there?

Lu: (muffled) Yes.

She opens the door and she is laughing so hard she's crying (so it WAS both). She points at the floor and I see it's flooded with water!

Lu: The shower head was pointed out into the bathroom and I didn't see it before I turned the shower on!

Leave it to Lu!

I'm so happy to be back below the mason-dixon line where the only acceptable beverage is sweet tea, everyone says "y'all" and "yes ma'am", and grits are a staple. But I am going to let them keep their fried pickles. Those were just gross dude.

Well tomorrow will come early and we have another 8 hours on the road before we hit the gulf. Good night y'all.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The one where we get some good news...

I haven't blogged much in the past few months and there are a variety of reasons for that. We've had some health issues at our house and to be honest, it sapped my energy. In many ways, we are still feeling the effects of Mike's accident even after nine months. He was back on the job so quickly that many folks, including us, forget that it was such a serious accident. To say it has changed our family would be putting it mildly. A lot of good has come out it, but there are the bad things too. Mike has had more sinus infections and then the stay in the hospital last month. This is hard on a guy who got sick once a year (maybe) before this and hardly ever slowed down for it. But eventually we started noticing other changes in him as well. He seemed to be having lots of trouble with his short term memory. He got frustrated very easily. And then got frustrated that he was frustrated. For those of you who don't know him well, Mike was one of the most laid back guys on the planet. As one young man we know put it a couple of years ago, "Mike's so slow to anger, that if he yells at you, you better believe you f**ded up bad!"

And while he still manages to contain the frustration and not yell at people, it's simmering on the inside. He also tires much more easily and doesn't seem to enjoy things (even hunting) as much. We were both a little worried. So we went to see a neuropsychologist in Springfield. And after an hour long interview, Mike spent the next 5 hours being put through a series of tests designed to test mental functioning. Then we waited two weeks for results. I was nervous about the results. Yesterday we went back to her office. Most of the tests Mike aced. Especially the problem solving one. Which isn't surprising. Solving problems is a big part of his job. But there were some short term memory issues. The doctor's diagnosis was Prolonged Post Concussive Syndrome. Which means Mike had a mild traumatic brain injury from the accident. The symptoms showed up late and are staying late. Probably the stress of work exacerbates them. The good news is they'll go away on their own. He doesn't need any treatment except patience and his brain will heal itself.

I don't know if you can imagine what a relief this was. It's not a tumor. It's not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's not a worse brain injury. It's not permanent. Things will be fine. She gave us some tips on how he can help himself remember things. She gave us tips on things I can do to help him. She told him he absolutely has to give himself down time occasionally to de-stress and rest. She said even the frustration is a symptom and it will go back to normal. She completely concurred that him skipping this vacation is the right thing to do since he'd only stress more about all the things he wasn't getting done. And she told us we were a great couple who communicated better than most people she knew. (Score us!) And then she wished us well.

And so I try to remember to be patient because this too shall pass. And some day the accident will be completely behind us. I only hope we don't forget the lessons we learned.

Conversation earlier today:

Me: We never got a bill from the hospital for your stay last month.

Mike: Are you going to call them about it?

Me: Are you kidding? And remind them about it? Um. No. I'm just going to assume that we had enough frequent flyer miles built up with them that this trip was free.

Enjoy your day today readers. Each one is a gift.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Then one where Lu finally picks a name...

Bless me readers, for I have sinned, it's been one month since my last blog post. Sorry. Forgiven? I'm just going to go with "yes" on that one since I can't really hear your answer. And I'm going to dive right in with the good stuff. And apparently Lu's love life is the "good stuff". How do I know? Because a friend of mine related this conversation the other day:

KK: So I read the blog. Please tell me the guy Lu was seeing wasn't M!

MM: It was.

KK: What was she thinking?!

MM: I don't know. But it's over. The end.

KK: Thank God!

MM: Do you ever wonder why we're so invested in Lu's love life??

Don't worry guys. I get it. It's like a soap opera. So the update on that is that Lu and the baby's father are on very friendly terms. They aren't what one would call officially reconciled but that's because Lu wants to take things slow and make sure that the previous issues are on their way to resolution. But he's very involved with the pregnancy now. He and his mom were both at the sonogram where we found out it's a boy! And things seem to be progressing between them in a positive direction. And frankly, it's nice to see her happy. They did work together to choose a name: Dylan James Flanagan. Personally, I was partial to Milo. Her belly is ginormous. But she makes pregnancy look adorable. And thankfully, she takes after me and has a very easy pregnancy. I hope her delivery is the same. All the screenings have come back with negative results so the baby seems extremely healthy and on track. Her platelets dipped but then went up on their own. And she finally gained some weight. Here's a picture:

Isn't she adorable??!

Sean is still working as a telemarketer and comes home daily with the funniest stories ever. He meets and works with some interesting characters that's for sure. Some of his stories are funny, though kind of sad in a way. Sad that people feel the need to self medicate with drugs and alcohol to the point that they do. Even to get through the work day. I was going to share one, but suddenly I'm not in the mood. He's looking forward to vacay. And to getting to quit his job. He's working for the boy scouts again this summer and camp callahan and then travelling.

Mike is, of course, submersed in work. Always a ton of projects to do and the usual getting camp ready for summer. In fact, he'll be missing our vacation. Don't worry about him too much though. He's not a big fan of the ocean. He calls it the big puddle.

Mike: have fun visiting the big noisy puddle.

Me: Noisy?

Mike: yeah, it's constantly making that noise.

Me: You mean the sound of the waves? The one people find soothing and they put on those machines to help people relax?

Mike: yeah. It's so annoying. Give me silence any day.

Me: You just get weirder every time I talk to you.

Don't worry. I will enjoy it. I love that sound. And I'm very excited to be visiting a state I haven't yet been to. Alabama. And drinking sweet tea and saying y'all without anyone laughing at me. I'll keep you posted.

The heart wrenching part though? We aren't taking CJ. I just can't do that without Mike. I'm already having a fibro flare up and not getting enough sleep would make it worse. Also, we considered that we aren't sure how he'll do on an eight hour car trip two days in a row. Or being out of his routine for 10 days in unfamiliar surroundings. I know in my heart that we've made the right decision but that doesn't make me any less sad. But I will be taking him to my sisters in the next month or so. We'll see how he does there and keep working to get him ready to go on a vacation with us. And Mike has promised to go somewhere with me in the fall when his work slows down some. Alaska anyone?

The fibro flare was really bumming me out. I've felt so well for such a long time that it sucks to be reminded you have a chronic illness that can put you on the bench from time to time. I was throwing myself a real pity party for a couple of days. The klutziness was really getting to me. I have thrown my phone across the kitchen (not on purpose, it just slid out of my hand), dropped a dish of cat food upside down on the floor, spilled a very full glass of red juice all over the carpet, dropped and broken a glass cookie jar and sliced my thumb open on a can lid requiring an ER visit and tetanus shot. Talented, huh? I've grounded myself from using glass glasses for the duration. But the pity party ends today. Because I happened to see a show that reminded me that there are far worse conditions to have. I may be typing awkwardly with my bandaged thumb, but at least the rest of my appendages are responding to my brain signals. I may be dropping things, but I'm still able to clean up after myself. I may be forgetting things and having trouble coming up with the right word now and then, but I can still speak and see and hear and walk. And I have people who love me and forgive me when I'm moody and sick. People who take care of me willingly when I need it. A job doing what I love. A roof over my head, plenty of food to eat and a grandson on the way. I am a blessed woman.

Thank you all for sticking with me like you do. And a big shout out to my kindle readers!! You have not gotten your money's worth this month and for that I apologize sincerely. I'll try to do better.