Friday, February 27
I'll post a few favorites in the morning. (Blogger won't let me put more than five shots in one post.)
Kiss those babies!
Thursday, February 26
Poor LB comes to get away to the temperate winter of the South, and we get hit with not-so-Southern temps. Ah. Well, today's a new day. A bright, sunny, supposed-to-be-warm day!
And, we're off to the Wildlife Refuge!
Monday, February 23
This morning, I left the kids with LB. They were having a beautiful breakfast, planning feats of artistic creation that are best performed when I am not home.
I picked up the ultrasound films and headed to the appointment. Small mix-up with the scheduling. They told me ten. They wrote down down eleven. Then, I actually got there early (it's a new thing I'm trying - not panning out so well, to be honest), so that made for a lot of sitting and mocking of the various sales propaganda. (Hey, Baxter makes a large variety of dialysis machines, but they don't seem to know squat about diet, other than, "food and drink are the primary causes of waste". Aren't ya glad you asked? Oh, you didn't ask. OK, nevermind. Moving on, then.)
In a nutshell:
The N-Doc (Nephrologist, but N-Doc is shorter and catchier) asked me to fill him in, because he could not make any sense out of ex-Doc's notes. (His words. I swear I am not projecting.) So, I filled him in on the ongoing pain, my tendency to compartmentalize (aka: ignore) pain, the fear-of-cancer that spurred me to go in, our relief at finding it's not cancer, and our current frustration that ex-Doc refuses to listen to my concerns regarding Life, the Universe, and Everything. (Or, more specifically, the pain, the kidney, and the ultrasound.)
N-Doc looked at the radiologist report. He asked to see the films. He took one look and had no trouble finding The Thing That Isn't There. He said, without fear of reprisal, "Well, that looks nothing like nephrocalcinosis! That looks like a huge stone. Or two stones. Or, I don't know what, because it is in an odd place for stones. But it is definitely NOT nephrocalcinosis." (And yes, the report said "nephrocalcinosis", not "nephrosis", which is what ex-Doc had said it was.)
As a matter of fact, he was surprised to find that the radiologist's report bears no resemblance whatsoever to the images on the film, other than that it's about kidney. And both have my name at the top. (The film, not the kidney. Although that might not be a bad idea...)
He agrees that we need to know a few things:
A) What is that?
B) Why am I making things like that?
C) What can we do to make it stop?
D) Is there anything else in there that might indicate a pattern?
He said the fact that it's unilateral is odd, for stones, considering the sheer mass of the thing (or things - he wants to find out more on that end, too). The placement is odd, for anything. The size is "impressive", according to him, and when I said I really had no desire to pass something that size on my own, he snorted and said, "Oh, you couldn't. I can tell you that, right now."
All of the things I suggested to ex-Doc, which she poo-poo'd and blew off, and accused me of making things up? Yeah, he brought them up on his own:
A) 24-hour urine test to determine the makeup of whatever that is
B) Dietary modifications, if/as indicated by further test results
C) Um... oh yeah, further tests
I go in for a C/T scan tomorrow, so we can get a better picture of Joe (KathyJo named it for me). And then I have the following week to just enjoy the kids, the family, the friends, and the weather before my follow-up consultation. But there will be a follow-up consultation! Yay!
Just another reminder that we've got to pay attention. We've got to be willing to educate ourselves about anything we might come in contact with. And we've got to keep going until we get answers -- clear, upfront, above board answers.
THANK YOU, all for your continued thoughts and prayers. For your words of encouragement and kindness. I can't tell you how much that meant.
Kiss those babies!
The visit with my (soon to be ex-)Doc on the 12th did not go well. The Doc says:
All is well. Nothing wrong here. Nothing to see here. Don't know what the pain is, but it's not that. Oh, and that isn't anything. It's nephrosis. Which is nothing. Don't know why that kidney is bigger. Or what you're talking about with this "thing" that's in there, because there is nothing in there. NO, I haven't seen the films. Why would I? I'm not a radiologist. How did you see this thing you're saying is in there? Who let you see it? You're not qualified to see that, and of course you're frightened, but you're wrong. You're obviously nuts.
OK, that very last sentence is a paraphrase. But not by much. And the rest are direct quotes. According to her, I was making a mountain out of less than a molehill. Her plan? Wait for an obstruction -- that will probably not come -- and then just do emergency surgery. Obviously, I found that prospect unacceptable.
I also took issue with the assumption that someone has any place to "allow" me to see my own innerds. If I recall correctly, I gave *them* permission to take a peek. But I don't have to ask leave to look, and God help the first person to try to stand in the way. In this case, my impertinence may well have saved a kidney from a long, ugly demise.
So. In order to placate me (much the way she placated me by ordering the ultrasound in the first place, when I refused to accept her off-the-cuff diagnosis that the pain is gallbladder), she sent me to a Nephrologist for a second opinion. I actually tried to get out of going to see him because of the way she worded the referral. It was like she was giving a buddy a head's up that she needed a backup for her alibi. Not encouraging.
And this is where it gets weird.
I emailed a friend to ask who her DH (who is a dr.) would send her to in this situation. Never heard back from her.
I left a message for my midwife, asking for information on a doc she might recommend. Never heard back from her.
My pastor's wife talked with her doctor, who she used to work for, to see if he would see me. He's not taking new patients.
Every avenue we tried to take was blocked.
By last night, I was a bit manic. So, I prayed for calm, for strength and grace, for wisdom and fortitude, for kindness tempered with a good dose of pig-headdedness. And I accepted that, lacking any other options, I would, in fact, be seeing this guy in the morning. *poof* Total calm.
As if God were saying, "Well, yes, that is what I had planned, thanks."
This morning, I gathered my notes, my cross-references, kissed the babies and headed out to pick up my films...
I've got to get supper on, and I'll finish this after that's done.
Sunday, February 22
Kiss those babies!
Thursday, February 19
We've got LB here (Needleroozer). We've just been lazy, hanging out, telling stories, playing with babies. We'll do something interesting and get pictures up soon.
In the meantime, have a beautiful Thursday!
Kiss those babies!
Monday, February 16
The kitchen door (leading out onto the balcony) has a new threshold. And new to-code exterior electrical boxes. And wiring. And I think there's a light fixture out there, but it's just holding down the balcony right now.
The foyer looks like something other than a transfer station for recycling, donations, and childless shoes looking for their owners.
2 of Five and 3 of Five are registered for baseball. 4 of Five is torqued that we would not register her for T-ball on the argument that she's "three AND four" and, therefore, officially qualified to play T-ball in the 4-yo league. She'll get over it. I hope. Or, she won't, and it'll be a Really Long Season.
Jase is Officially Ours. He has a sense of humor, and we have opted to keep him. We had to light a fire this evening, and he was fascinated by the flames. Naturally, he'd crawl to it to check it out. So I gave him the "unh-unh-uhhh" warning. He stopped. Sat down. Turned to me and said, "unh-unh-uhhh," laughed, and resumed his trek to the flames. So, he gets it. He just thinks it's funny. Or optional. The boys think he's the funniest baby we've had yet. (If only they knew...)
The schoolroom is re-arranged and semi-functional. Though mostly as a reading nook and hang-out spot. But that's okay. We do a lot of reading and hanging out in our school. So that works out nicely.
It's going to be a beautiful, joyful week. I don't care if it kills me, it's going to be. Tons to get done, but I've got support coming, and am hopeful.
Kiss those babies!
Saturday, February 14
The first: tie-backs for the living room curtains. Because nothing says, "I have completely given up trying" quite like using your couch to hold back the curtains. But have we given up? Well, not yet. So, I bring you the first completed project of the Warriors' Weekend Work:
The second: cull through the art in the basement and decide what gets hung. Then hang it. It is fortunate for me that Zorak forgot that was *this* weekend, or he may have had an emergency something-or-other to do up at Me-Wa's today. And tomorrow. Oh, and it might have taken 'til Monday. We're about 2/3 of the way through this one. I have six empty boxes and a pile of ready-to-hang framed things. But no pictures. Will do that tomorrow, when this project is complete.
The third: these stoopid little spots over the doors, one over the back kitchen door, and one over the hallway opening. We'd planned to do something interesting with wood there. Please don't ask, though. We don't remember what we were thinking. Which is probably why, three years later, they still aren't finished. However, we've decided we'll probably never remember what we were going to do, and so, the sheetrock is up and the mud is drying. Yay. (I took a picture, but Zorak pulled an Executive Order out of thin air and asked that I not post it.)
So, I will leave you with a photo from one of last week's project that didn't get blogged: balcony top rails. Wide enough for coffee cups, yes indeed.
Kiss those babies!
Thursday, February 12
I found the copy of John's birth certificate that we've used for baseball the last two years. It's not a "certified" copy, but they've taken it for two years, so, *shrug* it'll work. And Smidge's new one is scheduled to be delivered today. Of course. I have to be at the doc's at eleven, and I think that's about when the UPS lady comes. I'll try leaving her a note, but since it requires a signature, I don't think that'll work. However, I did email the nice-lady-who-doesn't-like-me (she's in charge of all things paperwork, so I can't blame her for not liking me a whole lot), and told her of the situation. She gave me a reprieve until the 21st to get Smidge's cert. to her. Yay! Sometime before Saturday, we can go sign our lives over for this Spring and Summer to the Community Recreation Association! Happy Boys!
Now, to put the house back together. *ack*
I'm hoping Amy will do another Weekend Warrior thing. This is just the perfect time of year for it, and I am, evidently, a child, who needs somebody to promise to put my project up on her fridge, because these projects really motivate me to get things done. Or, more accurately, to get things done in a timely manner. Good stuff.
This weekend, I want to hang art on the walls. Or, again, to be more accurate, I want to hang *things* on the walls. We don't have much art. Zorak and I haven't found anything yet that we both like, and as quiet as he is, he will speak up about putting Ugly Things on the walls. (It's a good thing - I'd hang some seriously atrocious things, just because they make me smile.) However, we do have a few nice pieces that we both agree on. And we have pictures of People We Love, which always makes me smile. So. That's this weekend's plan.
And now, we are off to see the Doc. Hopefully, this will go well. I do have feelers out for another doctor. There are a couple of Naturopaths there, but, as with much of Alabama law, their practice is limited in scope. For our protection, and all that. bah. I won't get started. I won't get started. I won't... which means, I should probably go, now.
Gotta round up the wee ones and find all the shoes! Have a splendid day!
Kiss those babies!
Wednesday, February 11
I plan to look into the mail order bride thing and see if there isn't someone who would be willing to come just as a personal assistant and doesn't really require marriage. That might be handy.
I called my doc to see if I could get in to see her this week, rather than waiting until the 20th. My thought was that I'd like to be proactive about the stone the u/s found in my kidney. The conversation was a bit odd. She started off by telling me that everything looked absolutely perfect. No problems at all.
*blink* What about the kidney stone?
What stone? What tests did you have done?
We sorted that out. She called the lab, which hadn't faxed the results of the bone density or the u/s back yet. Then she called me back.
Nurse: There is no stone. You're perfectly healthy. You don't need to come in.
Me: Well, what's that large mass in my kidney?
Nurse: That's just a calcium deposit. It's nothing you need to worry about.
Me: What's the difference between a stone and a calcium deposit?
Nurse: Well, it's not a stone. Really, this is nothing to worry about, at all.
Me: So a calcium deposit of that size won't impair renal function?
Nurse: Not yet.
Me: *I am screaming in my head, but not on the phone.* Well, won't it have to come out, at some point?
Nurse: I don't know why you're upsetting yourself over this. It's nothing. I've spoken with the doctor about this, and it is absolutely nothing. You just have that. And a simple cyst.
Me: *thinking I do not want to look up "kidney" and "cyst" on Google...* A what? A cyst? On my kidney?
Nurse: Yes. It's nothing. You don't need to come in earlier than your appointment. *tsk* Honestly *deep exhalation* Where ARE you getting your information from?
Me: So what does The Doctor say might be causing my pain, since absolutely everything else looks completely healthy and clear?
Nurse: Oh, we don't know what that could be.
Me: You don't think it could be that, um, calcium deposit?
Nurse: No. Not at all.
Me: You know, that's fantastic news. But, uh, I think I'd like to talk to Dr. D about all this, anyway. You know, just to make sure we're all on the same page.
So, I go in Thursday, but the nurse isn't happy about it. And I'm trying to figure out the best way to get a copy of the u/s to take to someone else. Because if I have a long-lost twin living in my kidney, I'd like to know.
And the best I can figure, a 1cm "calcium deposit" sounds an awful lot like something more than nothing. I know I'm not a doctor, or even a radiologist. But I also know that anything that large that shows up that clearly from *inside* an organ that ought not have solid things lodged in it probably isn't "nothing".
I'm not worked up, but I am also not feeling overly confident in my current doctor, who is, to be perfectly honest, probably busy being torqued that my bone density test didn't come back with full-blown osteoporosis. Because that means her argument that I am - quite obviously - an osseous sponge (because I nurse my babies longer than six months - her words) just might not be exactly it.
And that's... about it, this week. Documents and Care. I need more time playing with the kids. They're a lot more interesting and a whole lot more fun.
Kiss those babies!
Monday, February 9
We had lunch with the pastor and his family after church on Sunday. It was very nice, and the kids had a fantastic time. Zorak and I felt horribly awkward, but that's pretty normal. It's us, not them. We aren't quiet, demure, well-appointed homes kind of folks. Put us in a quiet, demure, well-appointed home, and we both feel like we just tried to crash a party at the wrong home. Like we're the only ones wearing togas.
In trying to locate the boys' birth certificates, I have now filled four 13-gal trash cans with shredded paper to be composted. Thrown away just as much trash. Absolutely stuffed the filing cabinet with things-to-keep-but-not-what-we-needed. And there is nary a birth certificate in sight. WHERE did we hide them? I'd already ordered a new one for John, but now it's looking like I'll need to order one for Smidge, as well, and I don't think they're going to make it in time. Gah. I'm asking Santa for a Personal Secretary for Christmas.
Meanwhile, it's supposed to be 72 degrees today! We're going to get out and roam about a bit. That's always good for the spirit.
Kiss those babies!
Saturday, February 7
So. Fine. I have a semi-legitimate reason for the lack of finishing touches in the kitchen, and they are not all based on our Functional Trumps Finished approach to home decor. However, they aren't going in this weekend, either. So, I had to come up with something else...
Anybody remember the Futon Chair project? Yes, over a year ago, I commented that we'd need another cushion... obviously, that wasn't a driving Need, like unfrozen pipes, or
So that was my project for this weekend.
I started by dragging up old foam mattresses that had come with the boys' bunk beds. They've been living in the basement, awaiting some kind of new life or Viking Burial, whichever came first. (The boys were hoping for the fire, to be honest.) Sized it up, measured it... ok, no, I didn't measure it. You knew that. Eyeballed it.
Then I cut the mattresses to size, removed the outer fabric (not that I didn't dig the space theme, but it would have clashed with the Prometheus theme we already have going in the living room), and used spray adhesive to stick the two mattresses together. (Had to do that part, because they are thin, cheap foam mattresses. One would not be comfortable. That would be why they live in the basement.)
I covered the foam in muslin. This makes a nice, firm, smooth cushion. Keeps everything together. And when you take the cover off, you don't have exposed foam for the children to peck at and decimate during the dry cycle. Total sanity saver.
Dry fit one. last. time. (Probably not a necessary step if you measure, to be honest.)
And... then make everybody wait for tomorrow to see the Finished Project, because the light was too bad in that room to get a decent photo by that point. Sorry.
But what about you? The weekend isn't over! Pop on over to Amy's place and join in the Weekend Warrior fun!
Kiss those babies!
And here is the mostly-finished project:
It still needs velcro closures along the top back, but I ran out of good light and so, that's where I had to stop. The kids don't seem to mind at all, though...
Friday, February 6
...Then I sat down to go through the mail and pay the bills. Oh, look, tax papers! Gotta round those up for Granny, who does our taxes. (Because she is brilliant and really good at it. Not to mention, she has an unflinching supply of patience, which I want one day to reward by actually getting all our stuff to her before the actual deadline to file passes). And then, because I've been working overtime to make sure I have everything lined up (Year of Joy and all that - being on time and full of integrity!), I got all braggardly about how I even have a printout from the kids' dentist of all the money we gave him in 2008.
And while I was digging it out of my wallet, out fell an appointment card for the oral surgeon. With JAN 5 written on it.
I'm guessing that didn't mean January 5, 2010.
And all of it came crashing down on me at once. The unending dental appointments. The ongoing scheduling conflicts. The crud that will not die. The mystery pain that probably isn't cancer unless it's accompanied by back pain and fatigue. (Of course, it is.) The vehicle that craps out at the worst possible moment, every time. Missing Gram's service. Missing Gram. The sheer volume of food we go through. The fact that I'm *always* at the dentist and yet, I'm nowhere near done. Nor will I be done before, say, I die.
Whew! That was a big ol' vat o' whine, wasn't it?
Tuesday, February 3
Today is the Day of the Paperwork. It's official, and it is as scary as it sounds. I've got to call all our doctors and ask them to print out a list of our visits and payments over 2008 so I can pick them up while I'm in town later this week, find two missing birth certificates, go pay the water bill, get two of five registered for baseball (thank God it's only two!), and then try to have supper ready in time for me to slip out for a church meeting tonight.
I don't really think I can do it, either. But look, it's "Happy Tuesday". Year of Joy. Good thoughts. It's not the end result that matters, it's the effort you put forth. Or something like that. Haven't worked out all the details of the pep talk yet, but that's okay. Mere details. Nothing more.
Sometime in the next month or so, I'm also going to have to carve out time and cash to buy new materials for school. Dang. That went quickly. We are finally ready for Story of the World Vol. III. (THREE!) I'm so excited to find out what happens next. *grin* The boys are ready for new math books. And we are all ready for some new literature. It's been a good school year. Time to start anew and move forward, though. Very exciting.
Well, I've got fresh coffee, the kitchen's clean and the dishwasher is running. The kids won't starve. Fire's hot. Looks like I can't put it off any longer. So, I'm going into the filing cabinet. If I'm not back by Friday, send snacks.
Kiss those babies!
Sunday, February 1
A) It's too cold to use it outside, but too much fun to leave it alone out there.
B) It's a Burmese Toddler Trap
I'm thinking B. Or a combination of the two.
Or maybe it was a mermaid trap? Nah, they don't live in hallways. Everybody knows that.
I want to go back!
Today we nearly didn't make it to church. I hung in there through the oversleeping, and the children who evidently decided underwear weren't a necessity when laying out their clothes last night (but suddenly decided they were a must-have item that they were OUT OF this morning). I didn't lose it when breakfast kept going and going, long after that pink bunny's batteries up 'n died. But when church had already begun and only half of us were loaded into the car, and I turned around to find Smidge wearing sweats, still barefoot, I lost all will to fight.
Zorak asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to stay home and yell at people. (Well, he asked.) He offered to take everybody to Lowe's and let me have some quiet time to do... whatever. It's a good indicator of my mental state that I didn't pounce on that, but instead said (half jokingly) that that wouldn't work because it didn't leave me anybody to yell at.
So, we went to church. Better late than never. And certainly better than yelling at people for no good reason. I've gotta say, the service sure does fly when you're only there for the last fifteen minutes of it.
Then we all went to Lowe's. Not necessarily as much fun as napping on the beach, but definitely a bit more productive.
We came home and I washed every stitch of clothing we own. I swear, if anybody runs out of anything tomorrow morning, I'm giving up and declaring us a nudist colony.
The guys ran wiring and installed a new light fixture in the Scary Room. It's not so scary with warm, UV-showering light in there. That's how you eat an elephant - one bite at a time. We'll have this baby dished up with a stucco side dish in no time at all!
And then I edited pictures. Which has nothing to do with this post, but there you go. Tell you what, to tie it in, I'll throw random vacation shots in throughout the post. That should tie it all together nicely.
Kiss those babies!