Healing

It’s not uncommon that on Saturday afternoon we run errands. This usually means stopping in for frivolous browsing (& purchases). We go to the craft store, the pet store, and usually Target. Target is a special stop since it’s across town and more often than not we get a little treat at the in store Starbucks.

Kiddo went to a birthday party this afternoon – it was at the same pottery studio we held his at earlier this year. The birthday girl was G, one of the two girls who scuffled over his attention at his party. I had a commitment elsewhere so we dropped him off at the party and retuned later. He was pretty quiet about the details of the party but I did get him to admit that he sat next to the birthday girl. 

After a brief stop at Target we went next door to the PetsMart. Kiddo made a beeline for the cat adoption area.  There was a year old male tabby who immediately reminded me of my ‘babycat’ Kissa who is 15 and lives with my mother. After all these years she’s really more my mom’s cat than mine but whatever.  After Karma (her ‘brother’) passed away a year ago, it hit me really hard.  

It’s been about 6 years since I shared my home with a companion animal. While I absolutely adore my corn snake, he’s not exactly cuddly or affectionate. I said for a long time that I wouldn’t get another cat until Kissa passed away. Her health is declining, albeit slowly. She’s certainly not young anymore. 

Today we met a cat named Floyd. For the first time, I gave serious thought to adopting another cat.  There was a lot of discussion after we left the store – the practical things like pet deposits and making Kiddo responsible for feeding time.  Then, naturally, the idea of being emotionally ready. 

We decided to handle this similarly to how we approached getting Atlas, our snake. The details are different since snakes have some very specific care requirements and honestly I could walk in to a WalMart and get everything I need for a cat. However, it’s the idea of introducing a new family member the right way. 

It feels like a big step. 

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I wasn’t the only one happy to have my boy home. He was practically glued to me at lunch (so much hugging/leaning/snuggling) and he just stopped playing his video game to “check and see” what I’m doing. 

I missed you too, monkey. ❤️

The Final Countdown

This afternoon was spent getting Kiddo’s footlocker packed up for Webelos camp. He leaves tomorrow afternoon and will be gone for 5 days. This feels huge to me because I’ve never allowed him to go anywhere with non-family. 

I’ve channeled my anxiety over this into the preparations for the last two weeks or so.  I realize that my need to do all this ‘just right’ is my way of feeling in control of a situation that literally leaves my hands (arms) in less than 12 hours. I understand my crazy but I don’t always cope with it gracefully as I might like.

Tonight, we went down the packing list item by item as we bagged and organized. It took a lot longer than I had anticipated. Kiddo is a bit distracted and I’m not as long on temper as I could be. It was a stop and start process to say the very least. This was the progress at about 80%:


Kiddo has been very affectionate today – cuddled up on the couch and next to me reading before bed. We lean hard on each other in time when one or both of us is unsure, anxious or scared. I’m doing everything I can to keep him (& myself) focused on how exciting this is going to be.  I know I will cry tomorrow as soon as I am out of his sight.  I miss him fiercely although it’s not an ache borne of negativity – I trust that he will be safe and have great experiences.  I just feel less centered and not quite myself when he is gone. 

In these moments I am always reminded of the words of Elizabeth Stone – “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” 

These are his first steps into what will be so many adventures that we experience separately.  I look forward to hearing the stories that he will tell upon his return.  This feels a lot like letting go (on some level) and it hurts like hell. Tomorrow I’ll reassure him that he’s going to have an amazing time.  Tomorrow I will give him an extra long hug that will carry us both through the next 120 hours. 

Tomorrow I will remind myself that my son knows his way home – and most importantly he knows that I love him.

Thankful

Photo by Rick Smith via KLTV News

It has ended up wild holiday weekend here, although it certainly didn’t start that way.  We had no major plans for the long weekend. Kiddo’s final day of school was Friday.  I wanted to finish up getting the bulk of his camp supplies since this is the final payday before he leaves. 

No big deal.

A storm rolled in Sunday night – lots of rain and high winds. I’ve spent most of my life in Texas and can recognize ‘tornado’ weather. But there were no weather alerts, sirens, or anything in my neighborhood that caused any alarm. Our power went out for less than an hour. 

 Imagine my surprise when checking the news the next morning to learn there had been a tornado that touched down in town. Preliminary reports by the National Weather Service team estimates it was an EF-1 tornado. Most of the damage has been caused by downed trees to homes and vehicles. No fatalities have been reported. 

The local news, KLTV, said this on their Facebook page about the lack of alerts:

We have researched the event to find out why people were not getting calls – the reason is because there was no tornado warning in effect when the tornado touched down in Longview. Thundercall is activated from the warnings issued by the National Weather Service and this tornado happened so quickly that a warning was not issued.

Scary stuff, y’all. 

Everything was fine at my house so I got up this morning and went about getting ready. My phone dinged at 7:35 with the news that the office was closed due to no power. 

As of Tuesday morning, SWEPCO estimates the following timetable for restored power in the following areas:

  • Carthage – 961 Wednesday at 10 p.m.
  • Gladewater – 1,076 Wednesday at 5 p.m.
  • Kilgore – 159 Wednesday at 10 p.m.
  • Longview – 21,440 Friday at 5 p.m. (Initial estimates showed 65,000 without power)
  • Marshall – 350 Wednesday at 10 p.m.

We’re just chilling at home today and counting our blessings. Hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday weekend! 

Health & Hope

Today, I met with my new Psychiatrist. 

Due to the change of insurance at work, I’d been forced to find a new provider to manage my treatment (medication).  I’ve lived with Bipolar long enough to know that going off meds is not ever an option for me.  

I was anxious about meeting with her – mostly because I’m always nervous about change. Given the fact that she is literally the only provider taking my insurance this felt a lot like an all or nothing situation.  If it didn’t work then I had no clue what the next step was going to be. 

The intake was pretty standard stuff, no surprises there. I’m in a pretty stable place as far as my mental health. I mentioned that I’m working with my PCP to figure out an issue with my thyroid and we detoured the conversation to that for a bit. 

About a year and a half ago, the decision was made to reduce my Lithium dosage because I had developed a tremor in my right hand. After discussing it with my PCP there were labs run and based on my symptoms and labs I was diagnosed with Reynauds Phenomenon.  It’s not anything major – the cold sensitivity and random loss of circulation is just bothersome.  My hair is thin and I have a nickel sized spot where I’ve lost hair.  I’ve seen a dermatologist and get screened yearly for Lupus. 

My yearly panel, done last month, was normal according to the nurse when she called me with the results.  So when he called me back in last week to discuss my thyroid I was a little confused. Although the rest of my thyroid panel was within range, my TPO antibodies are elevated and my thyroid was ‘generously’ enlarged when he checked it that day. 

We’re going to redo the labs and check back in next month. The hope is that things will be back to normal. But the reality is that I’ve been on Lithium for nearly ten years and it’s possible that it plays a role in my current issues.  So a decision was made today to start the process of weaning me off Lithium and introducing a new medication. 

This medication is better geared for Bipolar II, which is less manic and more depressive. I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to be stable on this new med and perhaps my thyroid will settle down. It’s really a 50/50 shot at this point. 

Here’s to better health!

Keeping Up…

My life is busy right now, y’all.  It’s like the mad rush before summer break around here.  We have a girl out for maternity leave at work and they’re going to start transitioning one of my coworkers to a tech position (from front desk) since she’s bilingual. She happens to be my closest friend up front so I’m kinda sad that she’s moving but excited for her opportunity. 

Kiddo has state testing the second week of May so there’s a lot of focus on that at school for him. This will be his first year to take these tests. He brought home the information for the practice website that the use and we’ve been letting him have unlimited time on that. I’m sure he gets that it’s a learning thing and not quite like regular free time on electronics but that’s totally fine. 

We had another camp out with our Scout Pack – this one was local and much easier to prep for, thankfully. I got an air mattress and it is a gift from the Gods, let me tell you! I’m much more pleasant in the mornings when I’m not in pain (& feeling old).  

Yesterday Kiddo got the opportunity to participate in a service activity – this one was organized for the next rank group in scouts but since he’s graduating into that one in a few weeks we were invited to attend. I try really hard to get him to all of these types of events. 

He helped prepare lunch at one of the local missions. As we drove over we talked about service –  I feel like it’s important that he understand that while. Helping others is important, there’s also no shame in receiving help when you need it. I think that what I’m getting at is that I want him to understand the importance of compassion. 

During our tour of the facility, the program administrator spoke to the boys about the main reasons people end up at the shelter – addiction and abuse.  As we walked the halls of the family center I was keenly aware of my own past.  All I could think was that if my family hadn’t been able to come get us then we would have been in a shelter just like this.  Kiddo is aware of the domestic violence in my past and has asked Michael about it. He has never asked me about it directly but we’ve talked about it in general terms. There have been things that I don’t let him participate in because of that past with my ex (such as his childcare provider posting his picture online). 

He stayed close to me while we were in the family shelter. As the director talked about women surviving abuse, he pressed his back into my belly and wrapped my arms around him. I don’t have the words for all the emotions that ripped through me in that moment – my memories of things I hope he’ll never remember, my promise to do everything I can to always keep him safe.   

We’d called ahead to ask about donating toys that he doesn’t play with anymore so before leaving we dropped those off as well.  Then we did a little shopping and thankfully made it home before the weather got bad.