New Year, same drama

It has been a while since I’ve given an update on Dick and Jane. Not much has changed with regards to Dick’s girls, Mary and Sue. The younger, Sue, still refused to spend any time with her father, with the exception of a Christmas dinner with him and her sister, but I maintain that was simply to get whatever gift he was giving, it was Christmas after all. Jane was sure there was more to it, as he always does. Just before the holidays Dick’s lawyer suggested that a “friend of the court” be appointed on the girls’ behalf. This would be someone who could advise the court as to the what is in the best interest of the girls, without an emotional attachment or financial bias. A motion was submitted in mid-December, with notice of the hearing date in early January received just before Christmas. Jane was sure that Medusa had told the girls and convinced Sue to see her father for Christmas as a way to prove that things were fine and no appointment by the court for the kids was needed. Personally, it think Jane gives Medusa way too much credit, this was a selfish act by a manipulative girl to get “stuff” after months of refusing to see or even speak to her father, going so far as to run and hide when she sees him.

At this point I truly feel that both parents have failed these girls. I can understand why Dick felt that living with their mother full time was best, given the emotional outbursts, threats of self harm, lack of communication from either child, that doesn’t mean you just stop being involved. Mary, the older daughter, had seemed to open up and engage with her father once she wasn’t made to stay in his home. She talked to him daily and spent more time with him than she had in months. Mary maintains that while life at mom’s house is not perfect, not having to go back and forth, with two very different sets of rules and expectations was much better and made her life easier. Because Mary was willing to spend time with Dick, he maintained responsibility for taking her to her weekly therapy sessions and any other appoints she had, in addition to weekly dinners and hanging out on most weekends However, while he has done well with Mary, Sue is a very different situation. Aside from sending texts that are not replied to or calls that are not answered, Dick has done little to keep involved in Sue’s life. She has a medical condition which she often uses as an excuse to miss school, therapy appointments, pretty much anything she doesn’t want to do. Mary would mention that Sue had missed school, yet he made no effort to check with school on her attendance or academic progress (its a small private school with no online reporting for parents) or check with the doctors as to her treatment plans.

After comments Mary made about Medusa having no control over Sue to make her attended school and given the courts are now involved since the advocate for the girls was approved, Dick is looking into things. This school year there have been 86 school days, Sue has missed over 30 days. She also missed a shadow day/entrance exam, at the high school she is expected to attend next year.  The reason for all of the absences  is her health, however upon checking into that, her primary doctor has not seen in her in months and the new treatment she started just prior to the living arrangement was stopped with no explanation. By all accounts Medusa has no control over Sue, she tries to be her friend, not her parent and with Dick out of the picture, that leaves this troubled girl with no parents to look out for her.

Jane has been pushing Dick to check with Sue’s school and doctors, but Dick has once gain become resentful of anything Jane has to say about his kids. My thought is Dick never thought things would turn out like this. He likely thought the girls would find life with mom was not as ideal as they had hoped and they would be willing to discuss the issues that to got them to that place, resume family therapy and go back to the old visitation where he would be able to monitor things like school attendance and work as well as Sue’s medical issues. But that has not been the case and now I feel he blames Jane for the situation.

This morning Jane shared with me that she informed Dick that since Sue is part of their family plan for internet usage, she could tell that she had not been at school last Thursday, as she was logged in online for over 6 hours. She could also see her internet search history, given the parental controls they had put in place. Dick became angry, said that was an invasion of Sue’s privacy. Really? Your 14 refuses to speak to you unless you are giving her gift, she has missed over a month of school and is not following her treatment plan, yet you have no interest in using the tools available to you to get some insight into what might be going on with your kid? Sorry Dick, lame. For all of Jane’s faults, she’s is not to blame for any of this. Dick and Medusa have always been more focused on their hatred for each other than what is in the best interest for their kids. The girls know this, they have used it to manipulate their parents, now to the point that Sue is not made to attend school or take care of herself as the doctors have suggested.

This is a textbook example of how being a friend to your kids fails them. Kids need parents and structure. Without those things they are left to learn on their own, which many simply don’t. I have no idea what will end up happening. I can only hope the friend of the court will be able to help get both girls into a better place developmentally, as neither is prepared for the next phase of life.

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Updates on weight, health issues and annoying co-workers from hell

Well, life for this Southern Belle has been crazy since my last post, which I’m going to toss out like word vomit in one long, rambling blog….sorry, not sorry 🙂

When I was seven I had my tonsils removed, ending what seemed like and endless cycle of tonsillitis and strep throat. I had not had strep since, until last week. I’m not a baby (unlike the giant infant I call a husband), I don’t think I whine when I am sick, usually just want to be left alone and sleep, a lot. I came home Wednesday from work, just wasn’t feeling good; sore throat, slight hacking cough and itchy ears (yes, itchy ears). These are the usual signs of seasonal allergies, which for me are worse in the fall. I assumed drainage was the reason for my sore throat, so I drank lots of hot tea, took cold and sinus medicine and slept. Folks, I was wrong, so very, very wrong. I woke up Thursday morning feeling so much worse, unable to swallow even water without horrible pain. I had called the doctor the day before thinking I could get ahead of a sinus infection, so off the doctor I went, feeling worse than I have in years. Throat culture confirmed: strep throat. Ugh. So much for returning to work last week. Got my antibiotics and raspberry sorbet (because it sounding soothing, not “good” and less fat and calories than real ice cream). The issue with the antibiotics was, even with no appetite, I needed to eat a little something or I would feel sick to my stomach. After being off bread for weeks, I had a piece of toast each day, sometimes for breakfast and dinner. While fat and calorie wise, it wasn’t horrible, as that was pretty much all I was eating until Saturday, but I felt like I was cheating by eating BREAD.

That is what a diet does to you, it vilifies food to the point you feel real guilt when it passes your lips. No being grateful to the toast that keep my meds in my system, thus making the raw, painful throat heal and allow me to resume my life. No, I must beat myself for consuming CARBS. Then there was the guilt of not working out. I walked Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday to Saturday I was laying on the couch all day, leaving only to let dogs out and go to bed to take a proper nap once my husband returned home to be on dog watching duty. I would go to be each night as if I was once again a sick seven-year old, no later than 8:00pm. I was sure the combo of toast and all that sleep was converting to fat and the scale was going to be my judge, jury and executioner. I was dreading Monday’s weigh-in.

While I did lose, it was only .6 lbs (or 9.6 oz), but I didn’t gain. My total thus far is 17.2 lbs. I won’t say I was happy, relieved is a far better way to describe my feelings. I was determined to kick it in high gear and get back on my 2 lb per week loss program. Well, not so fast. I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon yesterday. While I have known that eventually my arthritis would progress to the point of needing knee replacements, I honestly thought I had more time…. but the time has come. Compared to the x-rays from just two years ago, the cartridge and space between the bones in my knee are completely gone, bone on bone grinding with each step. I’m waiting to hear back if I can be scheduled before the end of 2017, otherwise I have the issue of skyrocketing costs and high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses that must be met before insurance will over anything. Our failing healthcare system is a rant for another blog, as I already have a headache thinking about it.

So, on to the last tab currently open in my brain; annoying co-workers. I was out sick, with no warning. My boss, the BEST boss, can take care of himself and ended up not even coming in one day I was out. However I had already planned to be out for my appointments on Tuesday before getting sick, so I know it looks like I’m the biggest slacker in the office. Now, I’m looking at being out for 4-6 week, if all goes well (which it will). One office neighbor, a true Queen Bee from a previous blog, has to go on and on about how late she works, how her boss calls her at 6:00am to make changes and how over worked she is. I may be overly sensitive, but if just feels like a  “look how much I am doing while you are taking time off”. I just can’t, not today, not ever. Do your job, get your paycheck and shut the hell up! I value my job and strive to do the best job I can for the best boss ever, but I can’t come to work deathly ill (nor would anyone want me too) and I can’t ignore the burning pain with each step.

So, that is what has been going on in my world since I last posted. Let’s hope things get better before we chat again.

Suck it up and smile

When you suffer with a chronic medical condition, you have two options: sucks it up, smile and face your day or give into the pain and give up. I was diagnosed over 20 years ago with psoriatic arthritis. In that time I have had periods of great pain in which each day it is a true struggle to get out of bed and face my day. On those days, there are no awards for covering the fact that my pain is winning. There have also been other periods that medications have erased all signs of the disease. I go about my day with no pain and no one around me had a clue that at any moment things can take a sudden turn.

Today is a painful day. Actually, the past several weeks have been getting progressively worse. The thing about advances in medicine are the diseases seems to advance right along with them. I have gone years with medications working miracles, to wake up one day as if I have taken nothing to manage my pain. I realize with age comes the normal wear and tear on the body, so I have two forces working against me at this point in my life. I also know that my disease is progressive, it will not “get better”, my best case is to maintain and find a treatment plan that manages my pain consistently. I am not one that likes to make it know that I have a chronic medical issue or that I’m in pain. I am not looking sympathy and asking for help has always been difficult for me. I in no way think this makes me stronger than others, in many ways its stupid to hide the truth and power through in pain when there are many wonderful people in my life who would be happy to help when I need it.

Pain does change you and those around you. I can see a change in myself from day-to-day depending on what my pain level is. I have far less patience than I used. I see my usual bubbly outgoing personality more quiet and subdued, as if I don’t want to expel any extra energy that may be needed later. I also see how my pain changes those around me. My family tends to plan around how I am feeling. I have lost track of how many outings and events I’ve missed due to my condition. I have to work, giving up on that is not an option, so my personal life tends to suffer more because of it. I’m grateful for my wonderful and loving husband who never makes me feel bad for missing things or simply needing to rest. “The Girl”, at 13, is understanding and more concerned for my well-being than she is disappointed that I’ve missed one of her sports or school events. That actually makes me sad, that my family is so affected by “my disease”, that it’s the first consideration that is taken.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how lucky I am. Not only do I have a loving and understanding family, but I am able to work and have benefits that make it possible to get the medical care and medications I need. While the pain is chronic, it’s not life threatening, so I am in a much better place than friends and loved once who are battling much worse.  Today I’m having a bad day, a day in which I want to wallow in my pain just a little, to lash out at it with words, as that is really all I can do.

Rant over. Slapping on a smile, sucking it up and powering on.