Day 183-My Tuesday Essay-My Firstborn Son

This day and age, it is not unheard of for someone to have a baby out of wedlock, for me however, 34 years ago it still had the stigma attached. When I had Sean, my firstborn, I was still in the Army, unmarried, alone, scared and unsure of how my parents would react. The letter I wrote to my mother was tear-stained and heartfelt, the hardest thing I had ever written in my life-due to the time it took for letters to go back and forth, I had to wait an agonizing amount of time before I got her answer back. That answer surprised and relieved me, for she agreed to help me and from then on, my only fight was with the military as I had to convince them Korea was not the place I was willing to have my child.

When I left to join the military, my Dad and I had talked abouut what it was like to be a woman in the service, I felt I let him down by going a bit wild and was ashamed of the fact that not only did I not have a partner to help me raise my son, I simply did not know who the father was. It was a crazy and confusing time when I was in Korea, there was way too much partying and alcohol kills the brain cells you know. Anyway, I can’t blame anyone but myself, sleeping around was not seen as cool or hip, and I was afraid my parents would only see me as a promiscuous whore and want nothing to do with me. My mother, being a mother, convinced me, however, that everything would be alright and she was going to help me. She did not lecture or judge me, and told me not to do anything rash, just talk to my Top and get home.

That was easier said than done, but after going through many channels, talking to my “boss” who was my Top Sergeant (also a pediatrician!) who tried to convince me to have an abortion, all the way to the Army legal personnel, or JAG as they were known-who said “Woman, doesn’t he know you’re about to have a baby?” They were the people finally responsible for getting me on a plane out of there, just in the nick of time. I had to wait until a C31 was ready, he did not want me flying on the less-than-safe C4 plane. That meant a short layover on Osan, where I frantically waited to transfer to the safe flight home. I was over the limit considered safe to fly, which was 7 months by that time, by 10 days. When I arrived at the airport in Dallas, I was still so small, my Mom said, “I thought you were pregnant!” I was not even showing yet.

In Korea, black marketing items was rampant, so there was not a lot for me to eat. What I did eat, I usually found off base somewhere, and I was trying to eat healthy for the baby. When I got home, however, my parents set out to make sure I got lots of comfort food, and by the time Sean came, I had gained around 20 pounds. That still did not make me look very big, the doctor had a hard time finding him on the sonograms prior to me giving birth and when the time came, I spent 22 hours in labor before they declared it an emergency for me to undergo a c-section. Turns out my pelvic bones never spread and they said it would kill me or the baby to try to have them naturally, therefore all my babies would have to be delivered that way.

Just to be clear on one point, before I left Korea, I did talk to two of my closest guy friends, potential baby daddies you might say these days, and tearfully told them of my dilemma. Both of them were stand up guys and offered to help, even to marry me, but I just could not bring myself to ruin someone’s life, not knowing for certain if either man was the father. One of the guys actually stayed in touch with me for a few years after I got out, even after knowing there was no way he was the father, I was always thankful he was my true friend. Eventually the letters and visits stopped coming, that happens when you get married and start raising a family. The other guy I talked to was someone I had a mainly sexual relationship with, I saw him three or four times and did not know him very well at all. I could never remember his last name once I got back home, so Sean nor I have any way of locating him, and he may not be the father anyway. What a mess I made with our lives.

Unfortunately, my mother compounded that mess, insisting I carry on with the rest of my tour, saying she would keep him until I got out. Her way of “helping” me. What I could never know at the time, was that Sean filled some void in her life, she needed someone to love and take care of, and had no intention of giving him back to me to raise. Sometime later, unbeknownst to me, she adopted him and I did not know it had been done-she even got me to sign the paperwork, telling a naive me that it was something for insurance purposes and took me to get it made legal. After that, there were other excuses every time I asked if it was time for me to take him, you need to finish school, etc. until finally, when Dave and I got married, she threatened me that if we tried to take him, she would not attend the wedding. That did it for me, and I decided that he was better off with her, having been with her four four years by that time, and we would not disrupt everything he knew, or ruin our relationship, such as it was, only now, I wonder if we should have.

Sean and I in 1982 after coming home from the hospital
Sean and I in 1982 after coming home from the hospital

He is 34 now about to turn 35, still confused and having a difficult time in life but has a job and lives with my dad, a good arrangement for the both of them. I have told him the honest truth, many times, yet I have no idea what my mother told him in his developing years that may have influenced his thinking and view of me. When he was a toddler, he used to call me Mama Kid and my mother was Mama to him. To him, I looked like a kid that was playing his mama, that’s how he saw me. Due to my short stature and easy going personality, I can see why he would think of me that way. At least we lived close by and once Dave and I started our family, the boys could play together from time to time, although it was always stressful. My mother was very lenient with him and we were pretty strict with our boys, Dave and I spent a lot of the time biting our tongues. He knows now that he was a spoiled child and that is the reason he has a hard time understanding why everything can’t go his way in real life. Some day he will grow up and learn to live on his own, that is my hope anyway. I have tried to get him to seek counseling, talk to a professional about why he seems unequipped to deal with life like everyone else does, yet he is stubborn and wants to figure it out for himself.

He has a lot of issues, and for that I blame not only my mother but myself. Back in the day I was a wild child and who knows what his father might have also been doing at the time. We have no way of knowing what the contributing factors may have been, developmentally. He seemed normal as a baby, passed all of the tests they give them in the hospital, and I breathed a sigh of relief about that. The other thing I have somehow failed to mention is that he may be part black. We never really addressed that issue or had him tested in any way, we went on about our business like he was a white child and raised him as such. He has ethnic hair and a darker skin tone, more olive really than anything, he is a gifted musician and highly intelligent thinker. He and his brothers actually make jokes about the things that make him different, yet he never pushed the issue or looked into learning about African American culture, he just is what he is and deals with it. Other than buying certain products for his hair care, he acts no different than his brothers and they treat him as such. (other than teasing him about being a spoiled only child) since that was how he was raised.  I figure if he really cared, he would have found a way to be tested, maybe some day he will, but at this point, does it really matter? He has enough other issues to deal with, demons to conquer and lessons to learn, I really don’t think the color of his skin should become an issue at this point in his life. What he really needs to address is why he feels the need to self medicate and what is at the root of that.

He may walk to the beat of his own drum, but he is my son and I love him, even if our relationship is still a work in progress. We sign off every conversation with our trademark “Love you, bye” something he started years ago when he lived in Austin. I hope that someday we can mend the broken parts of our relationship and grow a stronger bond. Now that he is a grown man, trying to find his own way in this world, I don’t know how long that will take, but we’re working on it.

Day 182-Motivational Monday-

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I don’t know how motivational this is, however, I picked this quote today because it perfectly describes the week I just went through with my husband, as he recovers from his surgery. We didn’t do much, but I was there for him, sitting next to him on the couch, even if we were each kinda doing our own thing. I tried to do my writing either there, next to him or later, when he’d napped or gone to bed, so I wasn’t leaving him alone, feeling abandoned. If I was feeling bad or down, he would do the same for me, if it was something serious, I’m sure.

Some of the time, he was watching stuff I don’t care for, that’s when I would catch up on my episodes of Orange is the New Black on Netflix, from my IPad. Just being next to him, instead of off in another room, shows my love and support-a small thing to ask, even though he didn’t. The gift of my time is all I really had to give and all he really cared about. He only had a couple of visitors all week, something that may have depressed me, yet didn’t bother him at all. He knows everyone is busy.

Think about this quote the next time a friend or partner is hurting in some way, whether it’s physical or mental, and see if it doesn’t brighten their day, just having the gift of your presence might be what gets them through it. Sometimes, even if no words are spoken, simply being present is all that is necessary to make someone feel loved and supported.

We are getting ready to go have his tubal removal, something I’m sure he’s dreading, but anxious to be free of. Everything seems to be working properly, say a prayer that with each day, he grows stronger and feels better. Hopefully, the doctor clears him to drive and maybe half days at work, the return to a sense of normalcy will help him recover that much faster.

Join me tomorrow for my Tuesday essay, topic to be disclosed then. Have a blessed day everyone, I’ll see you tomorrow on the patio!

Day 181-Free Day's- Sunday Blessings

There are so many reasons for me to say we are blessed today! First and foremost, the message at church this morning was that to be blessed was said to be on the right road. I know that for me, going to church on Sundays to worship and praise God means that I will have a good week. I totally credit Him for making David’s surgery go swimmingly and I just feel better in general all week, knowing He is with me…us.

Secondly, in some sense, David is feeling better today, having plugged off his catheter and using the restroom normally. This is good news and hopefully his catheter removal tomorrow will go well. If it wasn’t coming out of his abdomen, I wouldn’t even worry, but it is. I’m certain the procedure will go well, I just hope it isn’t painful for him. He also was able to eat something more substantial than soup today, since he finally went no. 2, lol.

Other than that, there’s been a lot of sitting around on the couch since he still didn’t feel well in general. Sinus infection or something has given him a constant, nagging, dull headache, and he still tires easily. I was able to fit it a couple more episodes of my Netflix series, Orange is the New Black. I’m on season two episode four now. I can’t tell you how good this show is, you should check it out for yourselves.

Whiskey
Whiskey

Someone has had enough of this sitting around! Does she not look bored to death? I feel her pain, however, if I was down, I’d want company too. Also, my son’s girlfriend sent me a pic of the baby, saying that she told her to smile for grandma, so she did! Lol. Don’t you love her owl suit?? I used to collect owls, once upon a time.

Smiling for grammy!
Smiling for grammy!

Another blessing for sure! Seriously, I cannot wait to meet this little girl! Josh has orientation to a new staffing agency on Tuesday, say a prayer they place him in a permanent job this time!! Then, he can move forward with his plan to get his own place, a vehicle, and make his way back home to Texas, in time. Also, his ex was kind enough to send him a pic of his other daughter and he shared it with me. Meet Delaney, now 7 yrs old. I don’t know why the change of heart, I’m just glad they are now communicating. She probably feels save in the knowledge that he gave up his rights and is now concentrating on his new family, as is she. Still, I miss her.

Delaney Skye
Delaney Skye

Top all that off with the news that the insurance has already paid the doctor and the hospital their part of the bills, and this has been a blessed day indeed. Join me tomorrow (not early though) for Motivational Monday. Not sure what it will be yet, rest assured it will be helpful. 😊

Day 180-Free Days-Flower Chowder

So…not a word has been written so far today, except comments on other people’s blogs, therefore, I am fulfilling my promise to blog every day with a peek into what I created for our dinner today, for lack of anything else to write about. Day five of Dave’s recovery has meant quite a lot of sitting around together, due to the fact he wasn’t feeling very chipper today. I didn’t want to leave him by himself all day while feeling yucky, so at least I’ve been next to him on the couch, watching various food/flip type tv shows, alternated with a couple of episodes of Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The last one I watched was so intense, I needed a break. I laughed, I cried, I recoiled in horror, then cried some more.

I decided it was a perfect time to make us some home made chowder. What kind of chowder can you make from a flower you might ask? Why, cauliflower of course giggle yes, I’m goofy today. Anyway, my friend Michelle turned me on to this gem and sent me the recipe. It was easy, low carb and delicious! Here is the recipe:

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I subbed almond milk for the 2%, so it was thinner than it might have been with dairy but still tasted great. Poor David has been on a (creamy) liquid diet since coming home from the hospital and I thought home made would be better for a change of pace. He has got to be getting sick of chicken noodle by now!! He has been nauseated and sluggish today (kinda like his digestive system) and I think when he has some movement, he will feel so much better. At least the gas is mostly gone, and for that he is grateful.

Let me know if you try the chowder and how you like it. For those on a low carb diet, this is a perfect fit. Turns out it is less than 5 carbs per serving…pretty good right?

At least watching tv with Dave is a learning experience- what not to do while flipping a house, where the original Porsche belonging to Janis Joplin really resides (not the Museum of the Gulf Coast like we thought, that is a replica), who is winning the golf tournament so far, and other bits of information you are just dying to know. 😉

Day 179-Flash Fiction Friday- In An Instant

img_0745It was a sunny afternoon, the rare winter day in Texas when the air was cold, yet the sunshine had a way of making you feel warm in spite of the chill. Ella had gotten off work a little early and was on her way home to check in with the family before making a trip to the hobby shop. She’d been sneaking a taste from a bag of gummy bears when one fell in her lap, and in the space of two seconds, her life changed forever.

Driving was a thrill for Ella, always had been, and she sort of took her skills for granted, knowing she followed the rules, and she had become quite cavalier in her attitude when behind the wheel. Most of the time she paid attention to the road, kept a sharp eye out for children and animals, yet sometimes had experienced a close call or two. Like one time while driving through the neighborhood, a cat had run smack into her tire, Ella glanced in the rearview mirror, thinking she ran over a stick and, to her horror, saw the kitty go tumbling in the street behind her. Thing was, she never even saw it! Had it been her mistake, or just bad timing?

Luckily, the kitty made it, yet Ella was certainly traumatized and never went down that street again. On a separate occasion, she had been humming along to the radio, very much in her own world, when out of nowhere, a child’s soccer ball rolled out in the street in front of her. Her quick reflexes caused her to see it and break in time, but now she avoided school zones like the plague. She was careful not to text and drive, loving the fact that she could receive phone calls through the car’s audio system, and frowned at driver’s who always seemed to be on the phone.

While what happened to Ella while driving that day could happen to anyone, in that moment, she had the incredulous feeling that this could not be real. She was in shock, and barely could bring herself to face the nightmare waiting outside her car. In that two seconds she had glanced down at her shirt to find the fallen candy, a young boy had chosen that precise moment to step out from behind a truck, and Ella had struck him. Finally gathering her wits, she flung open the car door and rushed to his aid. He was bleeding, oh God, he was bleeding so badly! She screamed for help and ran back to her car to grab her phone. Hurrying, she rushed back to the boy’s side, calling 911 in the process. It was all she could do not to get sick herself, mustering the strength to murmur “I’m sorry” over and over in his ear, trying to comfort him as best she could.

Evidently, someone had called the EMS before she had, the glorious sound of the siren’s wail could be heard and Ella pleaded with the boy to just hang on, help was coming. “I’m here, I’m right here with you. Please, hang on”, tears streaming down her face. By now, there were other neighbors running to join them, the boy’s mother among them. “What did you do???” she screamed when she saw Ella, leaning over her son. “I just looked down for a second, I swear! He came out of nowhere! I’m so sorry!” The mother was inconsolable, as was Ella. The police and ambulance arrived simultaneously, while the paramedics attended to the boy, the police questioned Ella, once she had calmed down enough to give them her statement.

This was no cat, or squirrel and Ella would never be able to recover, she thought. After a long night first at the police station and then the hospital, after she was charged and released, Ella went home with her family, they had joined her at the hospital. By the grace of God, the boy had only minor injuries, all the blood had come from a laceration on his head when Ella’s car just grazed the side of him. As for Ella, there would no longer be joy in driving again. In fact, she could not bring herself to drive at all.  Months went by during which she got therapy to deal with her feelings of guilt. The boy’s mother had forgiven her, but she would never be able to forgive herself. Through her church she found a sense of peace, after a time, and her family was supportive, though she secretly wondered if they were just placating her-scared she might harm herself.

Some months later, she joined a support group, and with their help, she gained some strength and got back her confidence. She found solace in helping others, and soon sought out a job at a crisis center, where she could give back to her community. It didn’t totally erase her guilt and shame, yet one day she thought, through her actions a life might be saved, and that was a comfort she felt she could live with.

Day 178-Throwback Thursday-Oh Baby, Baby!

Take a guess!
Take a guess!

 

Ok, today I want to play a game. In the picture are myself, Rayven and her mama, Taylor.  Can you see who’s who? Going clockwise from the biggest picture, make your guesses in order. Do you see a resemblence? I’d love to hear your opinions! First person to guess everyone’s names, in order wins!

What do you win? Well…I could say bragging rights, but where’s the fun in that? How about this-if the winner is a lady, I’ll send them a pair of my handmade earrings in their favorite color.

If a guy wins, I have a coupon for a free product from Van’s who make delicious, gluten free breakfast foods like cereal, crackers, cereal bars and waffles. They are gluten free, made from all natural ingredients like seeds and nuts. Deal? Too easy? We shall see!

I just wanted to do something different and fun. Let me know if you like it and maybe I’ll figure out a way to make it a regular feature. (Like once a month, I don’t have that much jewelry, lol!)

Wanna know a secret? I wrote this blog last night, so if I was busy with Dave in the morning (my normal time to blog, since it’s my most creative time) all I have to do is hit publish when I got time!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and will join me for tomorrow’s Flash Fiction Friday. Until then, see you on the patio! 

Day 177- Wednesday's Medical Minute-

Well we are home from hospital, and now starts the recovery process. Everything went fine until it was time to leave the hospital, which was supposed to happen between 1 and 2 PM, but actually happened at five. Still the process on the whole was a great experience. They can’t help it if the doctor is in surgery at another hospital and his PA is in clinicals all day.

Honestly I haven’t prepared any subject matter for today, and since I didn’t receive any feedback on what y’all might want to talk about, I was thinking maybe I would talk about diabetes today. Since I don’t know much on the subject, I need to do some research. No one in my family has diabetes that I know of, however, Stephanie and her mother both deal with it.

Only you know your body, and since the symptoms can be gradual or sudden, noticing changes is your signal that you may need to be checked out.

If you are experiencing symptoms like unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst or hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, and nausea or vomiting, you need to be checked by your physician.

Diabetes can cause excessive thirst
Diabetes can cause excessive thirst

Diagnosing diabetes starts with a random plasma glucose test in which fasting is not necessary. If your results are equal to or greater than 200 milligrams per deciliter, this is an indicator that you may have diabetes. Your doctor will schedule another random test or a fasting glucose test to determine if you need a glucose tolerance test. Normal fasting glucose level should be between 60 and 99 but your doctor can’t confirm a diagnosis of diabetes until two fasting plasma glucose tests measure 126 or greater.

Sometimes people with diabetes can have a normal fasting plasma glucose test. If your doctor still suspects you may have diabetes he may order a glucose tolerance test. This is a fasting test where you drink a liquid that has a known amount of glucose following an eight hour fast. Your blood will be drawn prior to drinking the drink and then again  two hours later. If your glucose numbers fall between 140mg/dl and 199mg/dl, you will be diagnosed as pre diabetic. If your numbers are equal to 200 or above, this indicates you have diabetes.

Since everyone’s case is different, your doctor will determine the best treatment for you. The main goal is to ensure your sugar stays as normal as possible, this could be managed with diet or insulin replacement therapy.

These are just a few basic facts that can get you started if, like me, you know nothing about the disease. My goal for the day was to just provide a jumping off point to those people not already dealing with this disease.

I’m trying to be a good caregiver right now, so my writing will take a back seat- I will still get something done everyday, it may just sound scattered or maybe that’s just my brain at the moment. Y’all let me know if you have a better topic for next week, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Throwback Thursday!

Day 176-My Essay Tuesday-Our USMD Experience

Psych! I had planned on writing an essay about my first born, however, life has a way of changing things. So while our experience at the hospital is fresh on my mind, I thought I’d write it on that.

USMD is an affiliate of Urology Associates of North Texas and is the hospital/cancer center his urologist chose for him to do his treatment, which was surgery to remove his prostate. When they said be there at 5:30am for 6:30 procedure, they weren’t even kidding. They checked him in, brought him back and got the ball rolling early. By 6:30, they were rolling him off to surgery, and our waiting began.

I was joined in the waiting room by his mom, our pastor, his brother and sister-in-law. The procedure took all of three hours, but I was happy about that because I knew it meant they were taking the time they needed to get the job done right. I was just as concerned they spared the important nerves used for sexual and urinary function as I was they remove the cancer. The fact that we caught it early meant that he had the very best chance for a full recovery, with little to no chance of recurrence. Having our pastor there was special and although he missed the chance to see David before the surgery, he started praying as he was driving to the hospital, I was grateful for that.

After the doctor came out and told us how well the procedure went, Mike, our pastor, said a prayer with all of us, thanking God for taking care of him and guiding the doctor’s hands. Soon after, we went up to see David once he was transferred to his room. Pastor Mike had gone on to tend to another member of the congregation, and Dave’s brother was in pain from a back injury, so they didn’t visit long. That was cool, because Dave needed to rest and was in and out due to the heavy sedation.

Everyone sent well wishes via the blog and other internet sources and we settled in for a long night. Which it was. The nurses came in every one to two hours, making sleep difficult, at best. Good to know he was being attended to though, and they took care of his every need. He had walked earlier in the evening and was in pain as the trapped gas from the inflation of his abdomen during the surgery, moved through his ribcage-I knew from experience, that is very uncomfortable and painful. They monitored his vitals throughout the night and after breakfast, took him for another walk. His pain was not near as bad, they have removed one of the catheters and now we are waiting to be released sometime later this afternoon. He will go home with the supra-pubic catheter, which drains urine straight from his bladder. By this weekend, he should be able to urinate normally before his follow-up visit with the doctor.

Overall, this has been one of the best experiences with a hospital I’ve ever encountered. Everyone is professional, pleasant, and knowledgeable, they provided a delicious cafeteria and snack/drink area, his room was large and included a couch/futon type thing so I could stay the night with him. It’s like they thought of everything and go out of their way to make the experience the best they can in spite of the circumstances. The nurse informed us we should be going home by two this afternoon, if all goes well and he is feeling comfortable to leave.

Other than being a little bit out of the way, our USMD hospital at Arlington experience proved to be the most up to date, state of the art experiences ever. I would recommend this hospital to anyone looking for a superior experience in healthcare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 175-Motivational Monday-Quote from the Duke

First off-praise the Lord, David is out of surgery and the doctor said everything went well and he will keep me posted. He is in recovery and will be moved to a room pretty soon to spend the night. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Today’s quote comes from John Wayne…the Duke to all of his friends. “Courage is being scared to death-but saddling up anyway.” (Or so my coffee cup says, lol.)

I think this applies in the current situation as well as anyone starting out in a new business venture. David was unsure about getting this surgery, but knew it would be the best thing for him, possibly save his life and served as the best treatment option for removing the cancer. He could have put if off, but chose to take action and nip it in the bud.

In my life as a writer, I was scared to get started, scared to “put myself out there”, scared no one would want to hear what I had to say, but went for it anyway and now I’m glad I did. It has given me purpose, helped me meet all kinds of new and interesting people and started me on the road to reaching my goals. I think if we are courageous enough to move past our fear and just do it, we will realize, it wasn’t so scary after all.

What is your interpretation and how do you find the courage? Let me know in the comments and thanks again to all of you who lifted us up in prayer. Special thanks to Pastor Mike Love, who stayed with us until the doctor came out with the post surgical update. Thanks to my brother-in-law also, who came to wait with the family…on his birthday…with an injured back. He was so uncomfortable, but waited with the rest of us until Dave was alert enough to recognize him.

Lucky for me, they provide free wi-fi here at the hospital and I was able to post the updates and do my blog. If I don’t get around to updating tonight, come back tomorrow for Tuesday’s Essay. Have a blessed Monday everyone!

 

Day 175-Free Days-Weekly planner

I’m doing the blog today using the Voice activation already built into my Mac. It was easy I just googled the steps and carried them out. There’s much less typing, although I have to go back and fix minor things like punctuation and/or capitalization, and as it gets used to my voice and inflection, things should get better.

 

As my husband and I get ready for his surgery tomorrow, I’m planning the week with little hope of achieving my daily word count, but hoping I can at least accomplish daily assignments. Monday’s quote applies to both of us as we each deal with the surgery and recovery process our own way.

 

Tuesday the essay will be on having my first child out of wedlock. Some know the story of my oldest son but not everybody. These essays that I’m doing as part of a 52 week challenge are about personal things that I’ve experienced and lived through. It was hard enough to think of 52 things much less 365, although if I tried really hard I could probably come up with something.

 

Wednesday’s medical minute is still up in the air, suggestions and feedback are welcome. Depending on how well David’s recovery goes may dictate what I talk about, if you get my drift. I may decide to cover what it means to be a caregiver, or talk about whatever you guys suggest.

 

What I might do on Thursday is show a picture of me as a baby, actually a toddler, and put up the a picture of my grand baby, do use as a comparison. Call me silly but I think we favor. Maybe sometime before then I can get a baby picture of Taylor, and we’ll put all three up.

Flash fiction Friday is always a mystery until I start writing it. Hopefully I improve each week with my storytelling abilities.

 

We have several prayer warriors on the case, however the more we have the better it is, so I will thank you in advance and talk with you tomorrow. At least the weather is going to cooperate! Have a nice Sunday.:-)