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Old Bodies, Little Bodies, Allergy-Bodies, Used Bodies

And just like that, the summer was over…

The kids started back today and I was even on the ball enough to have David start his senior year, too.  They all did just fine.  The school is undergoing some major renovations.  It was fun to walk in the new entry way this morning and see the new office, lunch room, and library.  It’s so modern-looking now!

Last night was  the back-to-school night where the kids bring in their school supplies and meet their teachers.  I had my first classes of the new term and couldn’t take them.  So Will and Arien did it for me.  I was so thankful for those two!  Arien even took pictures and texted them to me.

I have noticed in recent weeks that Sam’s stuttering has gotten pretty bad again.  But, I remember last year at this same time, the same thing happened.  I think he has some form of anxiety and this is one of the way it manifests itself (what did we all ever do before there was a diagnosis for everything?  Didn’t we used to just ‘get nervous”?).  Actually, his speech therapist released him last week.  I had the idea that she would work with him until he quit stuttering but I guess the idea behind the therapy is to teach the child ways to moderate their own bumpy speech.  That makes sense.  I guess stuttering can’t actually be cured – just managed, and hopefully, eventually outgrown.  So now, I make a little hand rocking motion to remind Sam to slow down and focus on getting each word out and he is often seen tapping his thigh as he says each word.  It makes his words come out a little robotic-sounding right now, but that’s ok.   After he went out to the first recess I talked to his new teacher about it and she told me she had his 504 plan which makes allowances for his speech.  I imagine as he gets used to school again his speech will become more fluid.

And on the subject of kids who need help (well, ALL my kids help – especially Ellie…that girl…) – well, physical, anyway…

Ben’s skin is seeing some improvement with the creams his new dermatologist prescribed.  However, he feels Ben could use some additional drugs.  I can’t remember if I wrote about this before on my blog – if so, forgive the repeat.  Years ago, when Ben was a baby and toddler he also had severe eczema.  After chasing all over, trying all kinds of treatments and allergy testing and spending money that we should not have, we ended up having to place him on a year and a half of steroids (which is why he turned out so short I think  - “short” being a relative term.  He’s 5’11”) and antibiotics.  He also took methotrexate for several years, which is a chemo drug.  Every couple of months he’d have to have a blood draw to make sure his liver was still functioning correctly, I remember.  Since that time, they have come out with an injectible drug for psoriasis that also works well for eczema sufferers.

It costs $4000 a month.

Holy, stinking, cow…but the good news is that Medicare has agreed to pay for it. Thank you, American tax payers!   So now I’m completing my end of things – sending Ben’s guardianship papers to the drug company, arranging to watch videos and/or meet with a nurse to learn how to give shots, etc.  So within the next few weeks Ben ought to be starting this drug.  I’ve done some research.  It appears that the possible side effects are minimal.  I am hopeful.

Taking this drug is apparently a pretty big deal.  I’ve been getting quite a few calls from  the doctor’s office, the drug  company itself, and the pharmacy in Maine that is going to be supplying the drug.

It is official – I have entered menopause.  Although, technically, I don’t think you actually are considered menopausal until you have no periods for a year.  So, I guess this would still be considered the “peri-menopausal” stage of life, which I have been doing since I was 38.  But, I am now having frequent hot flashes – started those this summer.  I didn’t even know what was going on until my mom told me when I visited a few weeks ago.  It’s awful – I will suddenly be overcome by this odd heat that goes from the inside out and will start fanning myself vigorously – only to realize that everyone around me is not doing the same and actually looks quite comfortable.  I was visiting some friends the other night and had to start fanning myself.  Concerned, the husband of the duo asked if he should turn the AC down for me.  I told him what it was and he just laughed and said he remembered when his mom went through that…yes, I felt old...  We had a neighborhood get together the other night and I suddenly got super hot.  My neighbor saw and then had to regale me with the misery of her hot flash experiences years ago.  Ugh – it sounds like they can get a lot worse than this!  I think I may be dressing in a lot of layers this winter.  Today, I was absolutely dying every time I walked into my bedroom, which does tend to be a little more warm than the rest of the house.  But the rest of the house still obviously had the air on.  So I cranked it down to make it come on and made sure there was air coming out of my room vent.  Before I did that I texted Will and asked if it was possible for air to work in all but one room of the house (like if a pipe or hose got disconnected, I was thinking).  He wrote back, “It’s just you, Mom!”  I think things were a lot more exciting when my body developed to the point where it could grow new life and so much mystery awaited of who those lives would eventually be.  Now, I am just drying up.  Although, most older ladies I know do not appear to be depressed, so there must still be some life on the other side of things!   In fact, I know that’s true – tomorrow I am going shopping and out to lunch with a pair of women in their 70s and 80s.  They have a lot of fun!  Just entering another stage of life that gets me closer to Heaven…

I did have the thought though, that it is really not fair that Paul died and got to miss all this fun.  He should have had to share this with me!

I’ve started trying the kids’ winter clothes on to see what fits and what I need to buy.  I was doing Ellie the other day and she was singing to occupy herself while I put clothes on and off her body.  She sang the old Tim McGraw song, “I like it, I love it.”  Only, she sang I like it, I love it, I want some more nuggets! (instead of “I want some more of it”)  I think more nuggets is always a plus, myself.
 Here it is the end of August and I am having my best year of hayfever ever.  One thing I've been doing differently this season is to start every morning, no matter I feel, with a claritin and shots of sinus buster (capsascin pepper nose spray).  I don't know if that's the key, or my allergies are changing along with the rest of my body, or if the dry summer contributed to this ease.  Of course, things usually reach their peak around Labor Day, so misery may still await since we're not quite there yet.
Sam is telling me he must have new cowboy boots this school year since his old (given-to-us) boots are now outgrown.  And I know he’ll insist on some flannel shirts, too.  His brothers never cared for the ranch hand look, but Sam must go to school with some farm kids because ever since he started, he’s really liked to dress that way!

A couple of weeks ago a young mother in the metro had a seizure and died on her 29th birthday.  They attended one of our sister churches in Ankeny, I think, and the husband teaches at an area Christian school.  Definitely caught my attention.  She died a few days after her seizure, though, not right away.
We have a gerbil on the loose.  And really, I have decided that “gerbil” is a misnomer.  “Small rat” would be more closely aligned to what they really are.  We are never having gerbils again.  I do wish we could find this one because she’s going to start stinking when she dies.  And if, by chance, we did find her alive, she has such sharp teeth there would be virtually no way to capture her.  And how did she get out of her cage, you may ask?  This time, it wasn’t the kids forgetting to latch the gate.  That rotten rodent chewed the plastic cap over a part of the cage (you can either add plastic tubes or cap it off) and then escaped once the plug fell through because it had been chewed up.  Argh!  Sam, who has been absolutely inconsolable when his hamsters have died, could not care less.  In fact, he told me he kind of hopes the other gerbil escapes soon, too.  I told him to BITE YOUR TONGUE – I don’t need 2 rats running around free in my house.  With any luck, the one will fall into the sump pump pit and drown – but there’s still the stinkage problem.

I had to have some work done on my  new van a couple of weeks ago – new front rotors and brake pads.  Those sure didn’t last long – I thought they had new ones on when I bought it 9 weeks ago.  It cost $450 for the work.  My mechanic told me that Kia parts are rather expensive…nice to know.  And the steering wheel is still shaking.  I would have thought replacing the brake parts would have fixed that.  I probably should call him.  And then today I put in a CD to listen to kids praise music on the way to school – and the CD player ate the CD!  I googled the problem and found out it is found in nearly every Kia vehicle – it’s a fuse problem.  However, my handy little manual doesn’t tell me which fuse controls the CD player.  But, I was able to finally eject the CD by pushing the eject and power button at the same time.  Grrr….moment by moment, I am losing affection for this van. Really, there is no perfect vehicle, I don't think.  Although that first van I bought right after Paul died sure was close.  That was a wonderful one!   On the other hand my new van –  is rust-free, so that still makes me happy anyway! I've always had a thing about rust...

I’ve been sorting pictures, off and on, for the past few weeks.  I have a lot that got pulled out for various projects and I’m trying to get them re-glued to their pages.  I ran across one  taken in 2011.  We were at Lamberts in Lake of the Ozarks, on our way to Branson.  The picture made me pause because I looked so good – so young, relaxed, healthy, and happy.  It literally made me hop up, run to the mirror, and then sigh, What happened?  Life happened.  Tragedy happened.  Adoption happened.  RAD happened. Paul’s family happened.  Children grew up.  School happened. Single parenting happened.   The last 6 years since that picture was taken have been worth a lifetime.  No wonder I look a little worse for the wear.  Plus, I’m 6 years older now in a decade that is not super-friendly to females.  It’s explainable.  But it still bums me out.  I want to be that person again. 

But then I wouldn’t be me, would I?  Sooner or later, our lives get etched on our faces and I guess that’s just what’s happening now.  It’s silly to think that I could experience all that I have the past 5 years plus and not have it show.  I’m not ready to say “and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!” because I don’t know that that is necessarily true, at least all the time.   But I do know that all these hard times are shaping me and making me better – even if I didn’t want to be better.  So, it’s a good thing. 

But maybe I should still lay off the Twinkies because they’re showing up on my face, too!



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