Friday, May 18, 2012

And it just keeps getting better...

I've recently been informed that:

A)  My uterus should be tossed in a dumpster sometime soon (This is so incredibly awesome because, as you know, I have no health insurance and am approximately 3 steps above a coal miner from the 1930's on the wealth scale.  Actually, the coal miner could probably afford to take me out to dinner, so maybe he's 3 steps above me.  Want to guess the odds I'll get the surgery anytime in the next few years????  Anyone?  Anyone?  Nil.  My guess is NIL.  Unless I win Publisher's Clearing House, or something.  It could happen, right?  You can have my uterus, but let me keep my dream.)

If I could get my uterus yanked, I'd consider trying to re-purpose the stupid thing (you know how committed I am to recycling, right? *Snort*)  - like maybe make it into a purse or something (Is the average uterus more like the size of a large change purse, or a small clutch?). 

No, if I really am ever fortunate enough to junk it?  I'll be happy to say, "Good riddance, Pesky Uterus!  I shall not miss ye."  I got plenty of use out of it- it blessed me with 5 pretty babies- so I'd be just as happy to excise it myself right now with a dull pair of Fiskars, if possible.  Unfortunately, I'm not that flexible or coordinated.  And we're out of Betadine.

And 2 (...and this is the fun one...):  I may have had a small heart attack back around Nov/Dec. 

...I'm not joking (Yes, it's hard to tell when I'm joking and when I'm not- since I am known for my heart attack humor.  It's the best in the Four State region.  But, I'm not joking.  Sadly.). 

I know it happened sometime around the holidays, because I was stressed and trying to get everything done before company came.  It didn't seem important enough to mention at the time (mostly because I received a wee bit of sarcasm, bordering on ridicule, from someone over it and was embarrassed to tell you about it).

It definitely felt like a heart attack at the time (I guess...  I mean, it felt that way to someone who's never had one- explosion of chest pain, yada yada yada, elephant sitting on the chest, making it hard to breathe, blah blah blah.  You know...  The usual.  Lots of pressure in my head and neck, with a whooshing noise in my ears.  And the back of my neck and jaws hurt like you wouldn't believe.  It was crazy-scary.  I was making things right with Jesus real dang quick, know what I mean?  It was painful as crap and made me weak, shaky and a little sick to my stomach afterwards, too.  I didn't have the whole "pain running down the left arm" thing, but that's more common in men.  I did have some pain in my left shoulder, but truthfully the neck/jaw pain was worse).  

It also looked like a heart attack to my poor, freaked-out kids who were standing there frantic, watching, feeling helpless and screaming, "SHOULD I CALL 911?  MAMA!  WHAT DO I DO?"  I didn't want to scare them any more, so I was trying to act as "okay" as possible, which is kind of stupid now in hindsight.  They were plenty scared anyway and could plainly see something big was happening.  I also didn't want them wasting the paramedic's time until I knew for sure I needed help.  Again, hindsight is 20/20 and makes you feel like an idiot.  I always overreact on the kids' medical stuff and under react on my own.  I kept thinking, "Wait 'til I collapse, then we'll call."  And I didn't collapse, so...  I assumed I was fine.  It couldn't be a heart attack when you're able to stand up on your own and go back in the kitchen to finish baking a cake, right?  Wrong. 

Now my doctor also thinks it may have been a small heart attack (This really is awesome because now I can say "IN YO FACE!" to the certain person who made fun of me at the time [the mocker in question wasn't there to see it], flippantly referring to the whole thing as "my little palpitations," which, in addition to hurting my little feelings and making my poor heart feel attacked all over again, made me want to beat said horse's butt person with a bag or oranges).

(You know the old saying, "Nothing says 'I love you' quite like mocking someone who may have just had a heart attack?"  Wait...  That is a saying, right?)

Anyway, you may refer to our previous coal miner conversation above to see why I will not be getting the cardiac work-up my Dr. wanted anytime soon (This is super-awesome because, without having my heart tested, she feels uncomfortable prescribing the hormones I need to keep that pesky uterus in line, since they carry some risk of heart problems).

Nothing has changed around here on the financial/job front, obviously.  In fact, the hub is basically doing odd jobs/handy man crap for a few dollars here and there.  We no longer have any guarantee that money will be coming in from week to week- no security of knowing the house payment will be made and food will be in the fridge.  I honestly never thought it would get this bad, and yet I'm afraid to imagine how much worse it could get before it's over.  I never, ever thought this would be my life. 

The hub hasn't had a "real" job in so many months, I've lost track.  He and I disagree, um, somewhat about giving up on his company and trying to find employment elsewhere, possibly even switching careers altogether.  As you can imagine, this causes lots of warm, fuzzy feelings between us, so we're experiencing a second honeymoon, of sorts, around here.  It's awesome.  I feel like a girl again.  The romance is palpable as soon as you walk through the door.  Can ya feel it? 

I feel we are way past time to throw in the towel and get a "normal" job, but he isn't ready to give up on owning his own business.  So... 

This leaves me scared out of my mind, nervous, anxious- you name it- and wondering if I should give up on homeschooling the kids, put them all in public school/daycare, and try to find a FT day job.  I think it's time to give up the hope of finding a night job (for myself) or something I can do from home that will actually support this many people. So I'm looking at the FT daytime option, as much as I hate the idea. I worry about working FT outside the home with Fibro/chronic pain, too. That's going to be hard. And it's going to suck. And not being a SAHM and continuing to homeschool the kids goes against everything I ever wanted to do and be as a mom.  But, you know, as a mom, you kinda want to see your kids eat, lol, so...

I don't know what's going to happen, but I know that my uterus and I will be going through it together.  So, that's nice.

I'm suddenly hearing Kelly Clarkson in my head (... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, somethin somethin somethin...). I feel as if I'm becoming the Queen of Facing Adversity with a Smile and a Joke. But the terrified chick underneath all the jokes is starting to wonder how much more she can take. 

I know it's hard for people to listen to this kind of stuff and I apologize for that.  Money problems are awkward to discuss and make everyone who isn't going through them feel uncomfortable.  But, you know me- I figure, why not tell the truth about stuff?  And you want to know a secret?  Money problems sorta make the people who are experiencing them feel uncomfortable, too.  So, at least it's a feeling we can all share.

Since no one, including me, likes to hear all this negative crap, I'll balance it out with something positive and say that it really is incredible the way God continues to take care of us on so little.  Despite my looming fears about hungry kids and home foreclosures, my kids have never missed a meal (I've missed several- yet I'm still huge.  Go figure) and we still, for now anyway, have a roof over our heads.  I don't know how He's doing it.  I really don't.  We've learned to live on less, sure, but I genuinely don't see how a household of 7 is staying fed on what we're making.  God is unbelievably, undeservedly, amazingly GOOD to me. 

Speaking of goodness...  Did I mention yet that I was able to go to the Dr. because my kids all pooled their money together and paid for me to go?  That was my Mother's Day gift and it's one of the sweetest gifts I've ever been given.  I am beyond blessed.  What is a word that means more than blessed?  Bragging on my babies is almost as nauseating as discussing our financial problems, I know, but I don't care.  They're good kids and deserve a little bragging every now and then.  They are my reasons to keep going; the ones who make this whole thing tolerable...  They are the silver lining in my really big, dark, crappy cloud; seven bright spots on a dismal, dreary landscape; my sunshine on a cloudy day (sorry, Temptations);  the white daisies in my field of horse poop.  I'm quite poetic, am I not?  I'm thankful for my babies, is the general sentiment I'm trying to convey here.

You know...  Picasso once said, "I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money." Unfortunately, I've had ample opportunity to learn exactly what that means. If only I could have it both ways- to keep the lessons I've learned; to continue to appreciate the sweetness of small things... To remain focused on gratitude, and what truly matters (and what does not); to be content with less ...while still having enormous amounts of cash!  Yes...  that would be good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Birth of a Phobia

What is the deal with me and medical (or dental) professionals?  Why do I always wind up with the guy who graduates at the bottom of his class from Bub's House of Doctorin'? 

You remember I recently told you I had a tooth pulled, right?  And that there would be a story forthcoming?  As always, my story shall be long and oh-so-rambly, but the point you must take with you in the end, dear one, is this: Dentists are morons. 

Remember that, okay?  Let's all say it together once, just to be sure it's locked in your brains... Ready? 

Dentists.  Are.  Morons.

Thank you.

The story begins two years ago.  See?  I told you it would be long.  I told my dentist I had a tooth that was beginning to hurt.  He said the tooth I was talking about could not possibly hurt because I'd had a root canal years ago.  He said I was experiencing "referral pain," when the tooth that hurts is only picking up on pain from another tooth. Hmmm.  Okay.  "Maybe I'm an idiot," I think.  "Maybe I'm so dang dumb, I don't know which one of my own teeth hurt."

The dentist couldn't find anything wrong with any other tooth, so he sent me on my way.  After, of course, I paid him to tell me I don't know what the h**l I'm talking about.  Time went on.  My tooth still hurt. 

I went back months later.  The dentist told me I had the teeniest, tiniest dot of decay on the tooth behind the one that "supposedly" hurt.  He couldn't imagine that itty-bitty spot could be causing me  pain, but- what the heck- he'd fill it and see if it helped.  Okay.  Time went on.  My tooth still hurt.

I went back.  Again.  Months later.  Now, he could see I had another very small spot on the tooth in front of the one that hurt.  Maybe that was it.  He filled it (FYI- I've never in my life had a cavity every single time I went to the dentist, and I did think it was odd that he kept finding these "tiny" spots).  He also mentioned that sometimes people with fibromyalgia feel pain in perfectly healthy teeth.  In other words...  "There's nothing wrong with you.  You're imagining this."  Time went on.  My tooth still hurt.

I did not go back.  I knew what he'd say.  He'd tell me he found yet another microscopic spot to fix, one that was so small it couldn't be detected a few months earlier, yet was still somehow able to cause pain for months and months and months (and- yay!- it was something new to charge me for).   Keep in mind that each and every time I'd gone, he assured me I was wrong about where the pain was coming from.  There was "no way" that that particular tooth could be hurting me.  So, I gave up.

The tooth continued to hurt.  Increasingly so.  I still didn't go back.  Why would I?   There was nothing wrong with me.  Even when my mouth started tasting "funny," I didn't go back (Gross-out Alert...  Um, yeah, sorry, but it turns out that taste was pus from infection.  Yucky, I know.  Way more than you wanted to hear.  But the lesson for you?  If your mouth tastes "funny" and you KNOW something is wrong?  Do something about it.  Get a different flippin' dentist, for Pete's sake and demand some help).

Which brings us up to the day a month ago when, while talking to my daughter, I felt my tooth sort of lift up a tiny bit.  I reached in to feel it and it came right off.

I went back to the dentist feeling incredibly vindicated- "SEE!?! TOLD YA THE D*MN THING HURT-" and he told me that what had happened was that my tooth had broken off under the crown and the broken parts had been cutting into my gums, causing them to swell and eventually leading to an infection (Oh, really?  You don't say.  You roddy jack*$$.).  I was put on antibiotics and pain pills and sent to an oral surgeon.   And that's when things went from bizarre to crazy.

For starters,  the surgeon's hands shook like Don Knotts.  I mean it.  You're old enough to remember Don Knotts, I hope?

I swear on my life, the oral surgeon's hands shook like Don's.  I had a hard time not laughing, at first.  Because, you know, how funny is it for an oral surgeon to have shaky hands?  The irony of it is beautiful.  That's some Grade A Hilarity, right there. 

Then...  I had that "Oh Crap" moment, which, coincidentally, occurred right about the time he came at me with the first of three huge syringes.  The funny wore off PDQ, know what I'm sayin'? 

He used a drill to make a hole in the stump of my broken tooth, so that he could stick his little poky tool thingy in the hole and pry the stump out (he rocked it back and forth against my gum for leverage, which would later hurt like a booger, but I digress...).  The drill slipped off the tooth and I knew it hit my gum, but wasn't aware at the time how painful that, too, would be for me later.  He pulled the tooth- in fact, a huge piece of it went flying across the room, and the surgeon said (Creepy Alert...), "Usually it lands right in a person's crotch and your first impulse is to reach down and pick it up-" and I was sent on my merry way with a mouth full of gauze and a prescription for painkillers.

That night, when the bleeding finally let up enough to see, I took a peek in my mouth and almost threw up.  My gum was split all the way down to the bone.  Seriously.  (Gross-out Alert...) I had a huge section of exposed jawbone, with a "flap" of gum skin that sort of wiggled and slid around, not connected to anything in particular.  Call me goofy, but this seemed like a bad thing to me.  Not only that, but I also realized a portion of the tooth was still there.

Long story a little less long...  It got infected.  Yes, shocking.  I had to go back on antibiotics, then wait for it to heal enough to let him pull the remaining piece, which I just had done today.  Surprisingly, it went fine.  I'd spent the last two weeks dreading my return visit to "Dr. Knotts" but fortunately, even though his hands were no less shaky, the last chunk of tooth came out easily...  Thank God. 

Now...  If you'd like a referral to either one of these guys, you just let me know!