Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thank You

Thanks for all the kind words the past few posts (the sobbing uncontrollably one, especially).

It always looks too me like so many other people have it so much harder. I don't understand when I can't shoulder what that drunk lunatic known as God has decided to throw at me.

I'm off to IVF class now, which scares the hell out of me.

Look forward to more whining.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mama Busted in Daycare For Carrying A Concealed Weapon

Behold, Mama's weapon of choice:

The full story: Mama has been taking beads and string and making bracelets. Along the way, she has been using (and losing) every pair of scissors we have in the house. So she went into the kitchen and took the POULTRY SHEARS out of the knife rack. Poultry shears, as you well know, are designed for cracking the delicate bones of fowl. Apparently, they work just as well on gold stretchy thread. And people who run programs full of delicately-boned people do not look kindly on POULTRY SHEARS being wielded about. (Apparently Mama had them in her hand, and was gesturing with them. As you do).

If she IS NOT kicked out of her daycare, this will be very very funny. (Is she looking for enforcement money? Recruiting for the geriatric division of the L.ati.n K.ing.s? Protesting the taking away of Hot Dog Day?)

(As H has not called in a blind panic, I'm assuming / hoping / praying to Jesus that this is the case) **CONFIRMED*** She has not been kicked out. (Let the jokes begin).

Lord, may I please lead an un-interesting life?

(and get pregnant?)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

And I Sobbed Uncontrollably At Work

You know that bad day you had? A couple of weeks / days / hours back? When you were just so damn tired of being infertile? Of the toll it takes on your life, your heart, your freaking bank account, your relationships? And your back's aching because of physical therapy / hormones / you were trying to get fit? And your home care attendant has flaked on you? And a couple of other things, little things really, went wrong. You forgot your keys, your debit card, your work ID, your cash? And then someone teased you?

And then someone made an offhand comment about how THEY'D never do IVF / try to get pregnant at 40 / didn't want to wait until they were past 35 to get pregnant...

And you lost it?

Welcome to my Tuesday. Guess it was my turn to have the bad day.

Tuesday was so bad it bled into Wednesday. THAT'S when I started sobbing. Sobbing. And. Just. Couldn't. Stop. My manager pulled me into his office and wanted to know what was up. And I couldn't stop crying. I kept trying to change the subject, but he would not be dissuaded. So I started telling him. Getting teased at work. (I'm thorough in my explanations, which is not always well received). Mama. (Home care coordinator kept having issues coordinating) Debt. (Got lots of it because we paid for so much IF treatment). Husband (in charge of paying bills and budget, but keeps forgetting to open the mail and oh yeah pay the bills). IF (no further explanation needed). Miscarriage (doubled for two weeks and then stopped. Is that a chemical pregnancy? A blighted ovum? A miscarriage? Can I get a ruling from the judges, please? Until then, I call it a miscarriage).

Apologies for the whining. That's the worst of it -- how embarrassing it is when you lose it.

Thanks for the kind words. (I kind of feel as though I cried wolf). I'm not sure I deserved them, but I'll take them anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mama and the W.onder.Bra: Part 2

So we take the W.onder.Br.a home and my husband.. doesn't kill me. It gives Mama, ahem, a nice little bosom, which God did not provide. And, H says, as long as NO ONE EVER SEES the bra.

Fine. Phew.

And then. And then...

Shortly after purchasing the bra (and putting it on) I noticed Mama watching TV. Her hands are folded behind her neck, her head back, and her breasts are about a half inch from her chin.

Wait -- WHAT?

Yeah. Okay, the W.onder.Br.a is a thin, thin little thing. And Mama IS NOT. And while the bandeaux is hooked tightly behind her, and the straps are as loose as they can be... Somehow the 38A push up COMPLETELY escapes her breasts and starts heading for daylight.

Meanwhile her own breasts are a little farther down on her chest (about where you would expect breasts hanging out on their own on an 81-year-old woman would be) which means she had... 4.


I put the bra away, then, until I could think of something (anything) that would help to keep the bra in place. That Mama could live with. But, as you imagine, the bra was popular.

Most notably, I realized she was wearing it at brunch. And that, once again, the bra was making a break for it, and she had breast right parallel to her collar bone.

I reach over to try to pull the bra back into place. NOT well received. I ask Mama to, ahem, pull her bra down, but she doesn't realize that the two perfect cones she keeps hitting with her chin are NOT her breasts. I ask my husband to request she pull her bra down and OH DO I GET A LOOK. (Sons do not talk to their mommies about their boobies and bras, it seems).

I start hiding the bra, and she starts looking for it. And finding it. I put the bra up and out of her reach... and she still gets to it. Highest shelf of my utility closet... nope, found it there. Buried in one of my boots...nope, there it is. What is this thing, freaking super-natural? Does it have a homing beacon?

Finally, I go to a sewing supply store (the one thing New York does NOT have) and pick up 3" elastic and extra bra hooks. I have spent the weekend carefully sticking them all together to create the world's first ORTHOPEDIC PUSH UP BRA!

It looks freaking horrible, especially as I am the world's WORST sewer, but the bra stops riding into the sunset, so we let her wear it as we walk around the neighborhood this morning.

I make the mistake of asking her if the bra is moving, what have you. She stops, lifts her shirt and asks IS IT STILL THERE.

Oh, god. (It is still there, by the way. Should I patent my invention?)

(And if anyone asks, I did NOT make my husband WEAR the W.onder.Bra while I was pinning the elastic to it. Nope. Not me.)

(Okay, yeah, I did.)

(Looked good on him, too)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mama and the W.onder.B.ra

Mama's hard on her clothes. Really, really hard. If there's a shirt she likes, she will wear it every single day. Every. Single. Day. And she'll, occasionally, sleep in her clothes. We try to catch it, and get her to change into her pajamas, but dang. She is hard on her clothes.

Most of all, Mama is hard on her brassieres. Now, you know how, sometimes, after too many washing and too much wear, the hooks from a bra will start to become misshapen? Mama's go straight. As in uncurled, flat, straight. I still haven't figured out how she accomplished that trick.

A few weeks back, Mama and I went shopping. I took her to a local outlet mall because they had a big bra shop. Mama is a 38A, just to overshare. It's hard to find her size.

When we arrived, I had her fitted, just to be sure. (Yup. 38A). "We're you looking for anything in particular today?" the salesgirl (she was in her teens; I can say 'girl').

"I'm looking for a man," says Mama. (It's her usual response. Sexual urges do NOT go away, it seems).

Now, I'd like to interrupt this anecdote and mention a few things: first, a description of Mama. She's 81, a little over 5 foot tall, and a bit thick. (She weighs twenty pounds more than me, and I've got about 4 or 5 inches on her.) She demands to be taken to the beauty parlor whenever she notices her roots growing in (Vainful urges do NOT go away, it seems) and no matter how we beg and please with the hairdresser, Mama always comes out a redhead. A really RED redhead. Add to this a little rosacea, orange nail color and a too bright lipstick (someone, somewhere slips her the lip paint: I have yet to track them down) and you've got Mama. She's also prone to break out in song or dance when she feels like it. Not a shrinking violet, not your typical frail old lady, that's my Mama.

"I'm looking for a man," says Mama to the teen-age salesgirl, who takes one look at Mama and points her to the W.onder.bra.s.

"Um, NO," I say, valuing my marriage and knowing that my husband will not appreciate me bringing his sainted mother home all tarted up. But Mama was intrigued and started for them. Again, please note: I usually put Mama in the wheelchair for such excursions, so for Mama to "start moving toward the display" involved her having to figure out how to (1) unbuckle the chair's seat belt (2) stand without assistance (3) walk without support. All of which she did, none of which is an everyday occurrence.

Behold the power of the W.onder.bra.

I direct her to the moderate ones. Simple designs that are not too daring. Neutral colors that kind of match her skin tone. Calm bras that will not get me in hot water with her son.

"I want that one!" she cries. And selects this one:

Oh, God.

I'm dead.

I try to get her to reconsider. I tell her it's a push up bra (which it is). I tell her it's too provocative (which it is). I try to reason with the Alzheimer's patient.

It's hard, if not impossible, to reason with an Alzheimer's patient.

"They don't have your size," I say, finally.

"Oh, no," corrects the salesgirl. "Here's a 38A." And hands it to Mama. "Would you like to try it on?"

I mean, really. Where's all that crappy customer service I've come to EXPECT in a New York City Shopping Mall?

I accompany Mama into the changing room, and she encounters an obstacle that she can't overcome: the clasp. Her "old" bras are the sturdy standbys. Lots of give and plenty of buckles. The W.onder.Bra is not nearly as forgiving. In short, she can't get it on.

I suppose a different person would have just said, "hey! It's broken! We're done!" and wheeled her over to the 18-hour category. But we'd gotten this far... so I helped her into it.

And watched her fall in love.

"Nica! Look! I am sexy!" She admired herself from several angles. She even dug out her glasses so she could see clearly, then whipping them off because they spoiled the, um, sexy look she was going for.

I tried to talk her into the more moderate bra, but it backfired on me: she would take those she said, but the animal-print one as well.

Oh, goody.

And then she refused to take the bra off.

"Um, Mama," I try to reason with her. We have to take it off so we can pay for it.

"I show them," she reasoned, "and you pay."

"But what about this?" I ask, fingering the anti-theft device firmly snapped to the bra.

Mama shrugged. "They take care of it."

I'd had it. I got Mama dressed, and rolled her out to see the ever-helpful salesgirl.

"Please tell her that she has to take the bra off to buy it," I ask politely.

"Nope!" says the salesgirl, not getting me. "All I need is the tag!"

Mama raised her shirt, in the middle of the store. I headed to the checkout line, pulling her shirt down as I went.

"Well, what about the anti-theft device?" I asked. "Can you take THAT off? Or should we take the bra off so that you can remove it?"

"Hmm," thought the salesgirl, her creaseless forehead creasing. "Well, if you don't mind having it, I can leave it on..."

"Good!" cried Mama and off we went, triggering every alarm in every store we went to for the rest of the day.

And now she wants to get something "low cut" to show off her breasts.

Help me.

and how was YOUR commute home yesterday?

Three blocks from my office.... What WILL it take to stop talking on the phone?
My story:
About six o'clock last night, the fire alarms went nuts. Some people evacuated immediately. There was a series of announcements, all confusing and conflicting, but everything seemed to be mostly okay. Everyone stood around telling horrow stories: 9/11, the blackout, the transit strike, the other blackout. Not a fun day, but one of those days that reminds you of so many things. (Like it's good to be alive, you can get through a crisis, nothing is certain and what's really important to you).

The full story...

An Eruption, and Fears of Worse

Steam Blast Jolts Midtown, Killing One

Asbestos and Aging Pipes Remain Buried Hazards

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

H.arr.y P.otte.r and the Wheelchair Accessible Seats

Mama loves H.arr.y P.otte.r. Loves him. Before Alzheimer's, she used to be a big reader. Since... well, it's a little harder for her to follow. With "adult" literature, she has a tendency to be stuck on a page. With "juvenile" books, she finds them... too childish. Not for her.

But H.arr.y P.otter, that's our Goldilocks book. Just right. I got the first last year (and in Spanish, so it'd be easier for her) and she flew threw it. For days, all she could talk about was H.arry. And occasionally Ron. ("He's Harry's friend," she would explain to me, over and over again. "Really?").

Her love of one book necessitated getting all the other books available. And to say that she loved them all is an understatement. They fell to pieces from too much use. She would carry at least one book with her at all times. She would read half of book 2, then switch to book 5, then start on book 3. I have no idea how (or if) she kept track of it. I'll confess; I've never read the books (and only seen a few of the movies).

Of course we started her on the movies. And Mama loves those, too. When Ron is on screen, she points to him and calls HE'S HARRY'S FRIEND! She waves to Harry on the television and calls out HELLO. I truly think she's just excited to make the connection. Nonetheless, I vowed to never take her to see H.arr.y in a movie theatre.

Then came the H.arr.y P.otte.r and the 0rder of the P.hoeni.x movie.

Mama saw the ad on television, and it stuck with her. A new H.arry movie is coming, Nica. Can we see it? Can we see it today? I heard this for weeks. It's not coming for months, I told her, hoping to buy time until the DVD came out. But then Mama got crafty. She wrote down the date she saw on the ad and asked me how soon it was. As her birthday was around this time, I was stuck.

Okay, I acquiesced. We can go this weekend.

So Saturday the 14th rolls around, and I lie to my family. I boldly LIE to them so we will get to the theatre a full 30 minutes before the movie starts. And we pick a show in the mid afternoon, because I'm hoping the theatre will be empty and we can just toll into the wheelchair accessible seats with no issue.

Now, two things, before I continue. One is that Mama does not need a wheelchair, she can walk, but she walks very slooooowly. So most of the time I take her out to interface with the public, we put her in the wheelchair. (It's really REALLY handy if I need to get her to a bathroom quickly). Two is about wheelchair accessible seats.

You know those seats in the middle of the movie theatre? There's, like, a group of three together? And all that space around them? And then maybe two or three seats the right and left, and those have space around them as well?

THOSE are the wheelchair accessible seats.

Anyway, I roll Mama in to the theatre (30 minutes before the show starts) and I'm happy. There are maybe 9 people in a theatre that seats 90. I should be good.

Except that the wheelchair accessible seats are taken.

At first, I think, I'll get the management and avoid a confrontation. But then, I think: there are DOZENS of other seats available. SURELY when I POLITELY ask the ABLE BODIED PEOPLE seated in the WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE SEATING to move to one of the MANY other seats available so the ELDERLY INFIRM WOMAN in a WHEELCHAIR can sit, they'll graciously get up and go.


Yeah. Not exactly.

The seats are taken by a fella in his late forties/early fifties and two tween-teen girls.

I ask, politely, that they move, pointing that the row above them (and below) are available.

"Why should *I* move?" the man asks, dumbfounded.

You're in the WHEELCHAIR accessible seats, I explain. Again. I'm here with a woman in a WHEELCHAIR.

"Well, she can stay there." He gestures to the space to the right of them.

Yes, well, she'd like to sit on a MOVIE SEAT, I continue.

"Well, that chair over there is available." He points to a lone Wheelchair accessible seat of to the left.

Um, I'm with her and would like to sit WITH HER.

"Well, how many people are in your party?" (I don't know what bearing that had on it, but he asked. The theatre only had the three seats that he was sitting in together and with handicap accessible seating).

There's three, I reply, looking at the man and (I assume) his daughters in the three seats.

That was all the girls needed. They had jumped up shortly after I started this inane conversation and had been whispering "CAN'T WE JUST MOVE" to the Dad throughout. I don't know whether to say it was because someone (not this guy) had imbued them with a sense of decency and fairness, or if it was there not wanting to be in a public confrontation/conversation. At this point, they just started moving into new seats.

He followed a moment after. I was shaking. SHAKING. I mean, what the hell? You really need an explanation after the she's in a wheelchair and you're NOT observation? Really?

How was your weekend? (PS -- when Ron came on, she tapped me on the shoulder. What, Mama? I ask. That's Harry's friend, she says.)


Friday, July 13, 2007

All I Ever Wanted Was To Be Your Spine**

I want H.ous.e MD to be my RE. Tell the truth; you do, too.

There's never been a puzzle he couldn't fix. (Okay, a patient or two has died, but he figured it out... eventually...)

It was a goofy comment H made a while back, but it inspired me. When a mysteriously ill patient comes to the H.ous.e team's attention, they gather in a conference room and mark up a dry erase board with all the symptoms. And I decided to do the same (minus the conference room and board).

Now, because H.ous.e is a TV show, the symptoms are always relevant. And get treated with a level of respect. Mine... not so much.

I know I've mentioned the hypothyroidism.* But have I mentioned my spine?

I have, um, a reverse curve spine. (I don't know if it has a proper term) It's concentrated in my lower back. I was diagnosed when I was in high school. The doctor wanted me to wear a brace, but my mother said no. (I don't know why).

Because of the curve, my hips have to compensate. And my hips are TIRED of compensating. So the right one has started to hurt.

It was nothing more than a dull ache, but I mentioned it to first RE. Who was very un-H.ous.e-like and said it had NO connection. But I figured, my hip is IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD of the party I'm trying to host; may as well make sure the welcoming map is out for the whole neighborhood.

So last year, I went to see a chiropractor. I had seen one before, but this one was thorough. he actually had be take x-rays. Of the spine. (I'd been to another Chiro, who jut popped my bones about and nothing more, and I'd been to see my GP, who ordered x-rays of the hip and only the hip, because THAT was what was hurting. And my hips are structurally fine, they just get moved too often. I have new found respect for Charo...)

And looking at my spine, he saw the curve. And he was convinced that it could have an impact. After all, what are those things in the middle of spines? Oh, yeah -- nerves. It can't be good that they're having a traffic jam. NO ONE likes a traffic jam.

Anyway, that was last year. And now I have health insurance! So I took it up a notch, and yesterday I went to a Physical Therapist.


My PT needed to conduct an evaluation. My PT is a huge (6 and a half foot) muscly fella with some sort of Russian-Polish-Slavic accent. "We put you on rack and stretch you out!" he chortled in a somewhat evil way. (I started having B.on.d movie flashbacks).

He grabbed my ankle, knee, etc. and tested my flexibility. Can my ankle go over my ear? Does it hurt when he pulls my knee off? (Okay, I'm exaggerating, but it hurt).

My spine is definitely a problem, my PT says. "I can drink soup from your back" he says. (I'm not kidding). Yeah, THERE'S an image for you. But it can be fixed.

All I have to do is STRETCH (and meet with the PT two to three times a week).

I may be glad about it later but DAMN and I hurting this morning....

**A title of an A.rchers of Loa.f song.

*(I have an Endo appointment today. Trying not to think about it; secretly worried the Doc will say "nothing to be done, Sorry.")

Monday, July 09, 2007

And now for something POSITIVE

I don't know if I mentioned, but Dr. Robotica recommended two endocrinologists for me, because of my crappy test results with regards to the h.ypothyroidis.m. And when I was done reeling, I called them both.

I now have appointments. With them both. I believe in overkill...

Actually, the second office could get me into see the Endo a full week before my other appointment, so I figured... What'll it hurt? If Doctor Two (who I see first) doesn't work out, I still have the other appointment. (I'm a belt AND suspender kind of person).

The first office (with the second appointment) called back with an hour of my calling. That's a good thing. The knowledge the receptionist has was... slight. As you may recall, I have new insurance. Do I have to have a referral? What kind of referral is it? Am I covered? These are all questions that your doctor has no clue on, but the doctor's administrative help should know. But this one... didn't.

The second office (with the first appointment) called me back a few days after I called. As I said, they could get me in a full week earlier. And the woman on the phone knew EVERYTHING. YES, you are covered, NO you don't need a referral, YES you should bring every scrap of previous medical information and by the way, do you need directions?

I love this office already.

Okay, so you want to hear something goofy?

I only know the second doctor (with the first appointment)'s last name. Not the first. And because of this, I have no idea of gender. It just wasn't mentioned.


Now, for reasons that I can't put my finger on, I am nervous as hell about this upcoming Endo appointment. Perhaps it is because it is on Friday the 13th, or because I am the last appointment of the afternoon, but I am scared. Again. Fully expect the possibility of a melt down. Again. Don't want it, am not looking forward to it, but know it's a distinct possibility.

I guess it's just... it feels like the stakes are getting higher (and higher and higher) at every turn. I'm getting older, we're getting broker... This all freaking matters too much.

Title, once broken, now fixed

And now my title isn't working, either.


I was going to call this "and now for something positive" but since I can't title the freaking post... I get to whine.

I'm tired of not being pregnant. TIRED.

I've mentioned in the past money's tight. It's so scarce that I'm not sure that we can cover the cost of drugs on my otherwise insured IVF. Not to mention the incidental what nots that they never tell you about and then SURPRISE! You owe a few extra grand. I work 40+ hours a week. I work ten hour days. I have freaking insurance now and am not sure we can afford IVF. Tired.

Money's so tight we haven't been able to pay last month's rent. Or this months. Tired.

My husband blows up at me when I try to talk about the money. Mocks me, says it is "just my primal fear" talking. And all I am trying to do is set up a plan, a road map, a WAY OUT of this. A way he gets what he gets and I get what I want. Tired.

Okay, so my NExT post will be about something positive.

And now my title isn't working. And Blogger help isn't working. And I'm out of time.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence Day

It being Independence Day yesterday, I thought I would declare my independence. In much the same way our founding fathers declared their independence before they were technically independent. I guess I think of it as a mini-resolution. What do I want to be independent of, and am not.

So today, I declare my independence from my mother.

This is not going to be an easy post, so forgive me if I'm hard to follow. Or if I don't exactly... make sense. But here goes.

I can sum up my mother's feelings for me in one anecdote: She didn't call me on 9/11. The daughter who lives in New York City. Who works in the financial industry. (Hell, I had an interview for a job in WTC2. My daily commute involved transferring trains at the W.orl.d T.rad.e C.ente.r station).

Everyone on the planet called me on 9/11. My landlord, the woman I had in to clean once a week, an assortment of friends and ex-boyfriends. Are you okay? Are you alive?

But not my mother.

My father called me 15 seconds after the first plane hit. I answered the phone "I'm okay" and he screamed "I know you're okay! Where's your BROTHER?" He apologized much later when he realized what it sounded like.

But my mother... just doesn't like me.

I'm sure, on some level, she loves me. For whatever "love" means to her. But she doesn't like me.

I'm forty, conceived in '66, born in '67. Before abortion was safe and legal. When my mother found she was pregnant, she wanted to get an abortion. She wasn't married, she knew a safe practioner; her college roommate had already seen him with no ill effect. (And not completely, although reasonably sure that my dad was my dad). But, as the story goes, my father wouldn't let her. Was willing to marry her.

And so I exist.

I know this because my mother told me. The first time, I was eight. I can describe ever detail of the scene to you. The car we were in, the intersection we were at, the smoke curling off of her cigarette. She was pregnant with my brother, and because of that, I'd learned that babies take 9 months to grow. And done the math days earlier, and realized that I was born six months after my parents wedding. And, because I was eight, assumed my math was wrong somehow, and that my parents had married the year before.

My mother set me straight.

I wish I could tell you that that was the only time the story came up, but no. My birthday is within a week of the Roe v. Wade decision. So every year, when news would cover it, or our local priest would homilize against it, my mother would tell me the story that, if it had been up to her, I wouldn't exist.

My mother's general attitude was... that I owed her. If she didn't like her life... well, I was the one responsible for her current situation. For the marriage she grew increasingly discontent with, for the job she didn't find fulfilling, for a life that disappointed her, for the extramarital affairs and divorce that still didn't fix it. It would have been SO MUCH BETTER if she hadn't had kids early, she'd say, everything would be different. Better.

And I declare my independence. From her disappointment, from her anger, from the nagging voice in my head that wonders if I'm truly worth it. (oh, that one's going to take a while).

But -- most importantly -- I declare independence from her pattern.

I am not going to blame any child of mine for my choices and my body and my life and their consequences. And, furthermore, I'm not going to blame any non-child. If I never end up having kids, I'm not going to blame the lack of them for things under my control. My happiness is dependent on me and my choices. Me. Mine.

Happy Independence Day.