Everyone Needs a Ladder

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For those of you that may have been following along on Facebook, you know I had a really rough week.  In the past 9 years of being epileptic, this is the worst it’s ever been.  ‘Round the clock auras (feels a bit like falling, mixed with anxiety, and other things I can’t describe due to lack of actual definition).  Up to 9 seizures a day.  I have spent many days this week sleeping for 18 hours on average.  Get up.  Have a seizure.  Lay down.  Wake Up.  Eat.  Facebook.  Have a seizure.  Lay down.  Wake Up.  Get ready to pick up the kid from school.  Have a seizure.  Power through the postictal state.  Get him started on homework.  Snooze.  Wake Up.  Have a seizure.  Take the kid to MMA.  Have a seizure.  Try really hard to keep it together.  Go home.  Crash on the couch.  The rest of the night is much of the same as the morning once the husband gets home.

Living this…half life…is hard.  I am sure there are people out there that have it worse than I do, but that doesn’t mean that my epilepsy impacts me in any less of devastating way on an emotional level.

My seizures live in the part of the brain that deals with “fight or flight” – I bet they light up that area like Christmas.  When I come out of a seizure, I have heightened anxiety.  Later, once I’ve calmed down, I have an aura and my anxiety spikes in anticipation.  More often than not, the elevated stress seems to trigger a seizure.  It’s a big old circular mess.

I stand still like a deer in the headlights.  Everyone around me can see my demeanor has changed.  I may have stopped mid-sentence.  Or maybe I stood still suddenly while walking to the kitchen to get a drink.  When this happens, my husband and son are keyed in.  They are waiting like I am waiting.  Will this aura turn into a seizure?

But my thoughts continue past that…

Will this be the time that something really goes wrong?
Crap, look at my husband’s face…he’s already stressed.
Oh, kidlett…don’t look at me that way.  I already feel guilty that you have to worry.
Here we go…
I hate this. 
Did my husband just ask me a question?
I hate this so much.  Just breathe.
Please, someone get the pets away from me.
Close your eyes.  Everything won’t look weird if you can’t see it.
*TV STATIC*
I wasn’t sitting here a few minutes ago…yay seizures.

As much as my seizures affect my anxiety, it affects my mood in other ways, too.

Namely, depression.

When I think of the amount of responsibilities I put on my husband’s shoulder, it breaks my heart.

When I see my 9 year old son jump to attention every time I sigh or make a small gesture that in most cases would be normal…but I’ve perhaps performed these gestures or movements during a seizure.  He’s hyper vigilant.  We all are.  But it hurts me to see my son on edge.  He is mine to worry for.  He is my satellite heart, living outside my body but always attached.  He’s not supposed to worry about me.  At least not this much.

When I can’t help out with my share of the housework, I feel guilty and worried.  It’s not fair to my husband that he should work full time and come home to cook dinner and clean up a bit because I’m out of commission.

When I have seizure after seizure, I feel so helpless and lost.  Will this be my life forever?

Before I know it I am stuck in a metaphorical pit.  It’s dark.  It’s lonely.  It’s scary.  All I have are my thoughts that like to drag me down until I have no hope left at all.

I want to stop existing.  But I can’t choose that option, because for better or for worse, I have to try for my husband that is trying so hard for me.  I have to try for my son, so that he can see that his mother was strong and persevered.  So he can see that he doesn’t have to worry anymore.

But how can I climb out of this pit?  I can see light when I look up, but I don’t know how to get there.  I can hear my family calling me, but I can’t reach them.  I try jumping.  Screaming.  Anything.  The depression has caught hold of me.

I realized some time along the way that the first thing I needed to do is stop punishing myself for things I cannot control.  I can’t control my seizures.  I can’t control that I can’t always carry my fair share of the responsibilities.  I can’t control that I struggle staying awake and functional after a seizure.

It’s hard.  When you carry around such a burden of guilt for those who are caring for you, it’s hard not to punish yourself and fall deeper into depression.  I still have my moments, but I realized I needed to get out of the pit, no matter how.

I build ladders.

In order to get out of the pit, I build myself a ladder everyday.

Get out of bed – one rung.
Get the kid dressed and ready for school – another rung.
Get out of the house – third rung.
Do a chore – fourth rung.

And so on.

Some days I only make it to one rung.  Most days I can at least get three rungs on my ladder.  And there are some days when I lay at the bottom of that pit, simply too exhausted to summon the courage to build my ladder at all.

I haven’t climbed out of the pit yet.  And I don’t know when I will.  But I know that some days I’m able to build my ladder half way.  I can feel the sun on my face and see my family clearly.

So long as I keep building my ladder, I’ll be okay.  And so long as I have my supportive family, I’ll have a reason to keep building until the pit is far behind me.

When you’re down and out – build a ladder.  One step at a time.  Slowly and gently.  You will climb out of whatever pit you may stumble into so long as you keep building.

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My Journey With Epilepsy (Part 2)

I will not be using accurate names or initials for any neurologist I worked with.

————–

I remember my initial meeting with Dr. A, my first of four neurologists.  First impressions really are everything and I was left with a bad one right off the bat.  Honestly, I didn’t feel like she really took me seriously.

When I explained my symptoms, Dr. A looked at me and thought it was “so very interesting” and “definitely not a typical case of Epilepsy.”  She “thought” from my description that I might have Simple Partial Seizures, but I wasn’t a “textbook case” so she sent me for an MRI.

Guess what?  My MRI came back completely normal.  No signs of damage or epilepsy anywhere.  Great.

My follow-up appointment was about as useful as tits on a mule, but I still remained hopeful as she explained that “maybe” it was epilepsy.  She prescribed Topamax and sent me on my way.

Oh the joys of Topamax.  Aside from turning into a bumbling idiot, I also experienced random bouts of my hands and feet falling asleep.  If I became hot, a ton of tiny water blisters would appear on my arms and stomach.  Summer was intolerable.  Working out was intolerable (at one point I tried Crossfit and the heat really made it unbearable).  Apparently Topamax causes weight loss.  Not for me.  What’s worse was that it didn’t slow down my seizures at all.


The next appointment, I explained all my NEW symptoms and she decided to up the dose of the Topamax, despite my complaints about the side effects.  She treated me as if I was a guinea pig and that was the last thing I needed.  I contacted my family doctor and asked for another referral.

A few months later I was sitting in Dr. B’s office.  She came highly recommended and apparently was an epilepsy specialist.  I had renewed hope.

And then the hope went right out the window.

I won’t deny it.  I weighed between 220 and 230 lbs.  But I don’t think the first words out of a Neurologist’s mouth should be “Hmm…you need to lose weight.”  Especially if the Dr. is a portly woman, not too far off from my (then) current weight.

I was too stunned to question her.

Speaking of, I need to back track for a minute.  The time period between seeing Dr. A and Dr. B was difficult.  I wasn’t convinced I had simple partial seizures.  I did a lot of research.  Was it the pre-eclampsia?  When they performed the nerve block before my c-section, did that do something funky that affected my brain in some way?  Hundreds more questions filled my head over that time period.  Could my obesity have caused seizures?  Maybe.  But it’s not like I suddenly got fat when I was pregnant.  I was overweight long before that and never had a seizure.  So what exactly changed to make the seizures happen?

My husband and I kept a seizure diary.  We recorded the days I had the seizures and how often during each day.  We showed this to Dr. B and pointed out that my seizures increased significantly the week before my period.

“I don’t think that has anything to do with it.  Are you sure you aren’t having panic attacks?”

Lord, if I could have reached across her desk and smacked her upside the head, I would have.  I explained to her that I lived with anxiety for a very long time and that panic attacks were familiar to me.  This was not a panic attack.

“I guess they could be non-epileptic seizures.  Or complex partial seizures.”

So now “Simple Partial Seizures” was crossed off the list, and two different types of seizures were added.  Dr. B also upped my dose of Topamax again, completely ignoring the fact that I was experiencing well-known side effects.  Was this the ONLY drug on the market for seizures?

I also had developed a tremor in my left hand.  I showed it to Dr. B and her response was: “That’s not related to your issue.  It’s a red herring.”  That was it.  No attempt to investigate further or help resolve the issue.

There were a couple more visits with Dr. B that were fruitless.  Another MRI.  Lots of EEGs.  Bloodwork and so on.

Dr. B referred me to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU).  I had no idea what that entailed, except that I would be monitored in the hospital for an extended period of time.  Dr. B said the EMU would contact me the moment a bed opened up and they would give me 1-3 days notice.  Lemme tell you how much my job liked that…

“Oh, by the way, I’m going to be needing some time off in the near future for an unspecified amount of days.”

They didn’t say much, but they certainly weren’t happy that I didn’t have any further information than that.  Trust me – this particular situation gets way worse as the story goes on.

Somewhere around this time, Dr. B finally relented and agreed that the Topamax wasn’t working.  She put me on Tegretol.  Holy crap – if I thought Topamax was bad, Tegretol was 10x worse.   It spiked my anxiety to such a degree that I couldn’t get out of bed without being terrified of everything and nothing at the same time.  My husband called Dr. B and advocated for me since she certainly didn’t take my word for anything.  You know what she put me on next?  Topamax.  Seriously.  I guess someone with seizures only has access to 2 types of drugs…but I am digressing.

To give you an idea of where we are in the timeline, it had been about 3-4 years at this point that I had been suffering from seizures.  I was frustrated and tired.  I had already lost one job due to my illness, and while I should have sued the shit out of them, my boss had wads of cash and could hold up the legal process indefinitely.  (Also, I did call quite a few lawyers from here to Toronto…none of them would even talk to me because of “conflict of interest” – seriously…leave some lawyers for the rest of us, you selfish, narcissistic piece of shit.  But really, I’m not bitter.)

The EMU call finally came.  I was settled into my “new” job for a year at that point.  They were aware of my seizures (and were witness to at least half) and I had provided lots of information from my doctor to protect myself.  I gave them 1 day’s notice.  The EMU called on a Friday and I had to be there on Monday.  There was no real scheduling for the EMU.  A bed would open when the team felt like they had enough data and would send a patient home.

Unfortunately, month end was coming up and anyone who has worked closely with a finance department knows that month end is when all hell breaks loose.  So they were one down and others would have to cover my work.  Not a single fuck was given by my employer or coworkers about my health.  They were too angry with *me* personally and not the situation.  I mean, it’s not as if I was doing this just to ruin their monotonous, petty lives.

Do you know what it’s like to work in a place where your health issues are treated as an inconvenience?  Where you can just see your employer chomping at the bit to find a legit way to fire you?  Where you actually round the corner and hear your ENTIRE department talking about you under semi- hushed tones?  Most of you probably do – the workplace sucks more often than not.

I try my best to maintain a solid work ethic.  I felt as if I wasn’t being fair to my employer and coworkers by being sick.  So, I’d work late hours and on the weekend to keep up with my work load and be less of a burden on my peers.  Didn’t matter.

Anyhow, I carried my anxiety and guilt with me as I packed my bags and checked myself into the hospital.

The following 8 days would provide me with a glimmer of hope.  Some justification.  And, because you can’t have the good without the bad, confusion and division among the EMU’s team of neurologists.

-To Be Continued

My Journey With Epilepsy (Part 1)


October 10, 2008 marks the day that my life changed.  For better and worse.

At 2:11 in the afternoon, I performed my greatest achievement.  The best thing I will ever do in my life.  My “pièce de résistance.”

I gave birth to my son.

My near magical female body grew and nurtured this tiny little being and then, with the help of a c-section, a little dude entered the world that provides me with so much joy.  (Shout out to my husband who contributed…and for being really awesome while I was pregnant.)

Then my near magical body decided that it wasn’t so magical anymore…it broke.

My pre-eclampsia resulted in a surprise induction at 36 weeks.  Luckily, the gestational diabetes I was diagnosed with during the 3rd trimester disappeared within hours of my son being born.  My high blood pressure; however, wouldn’t go down.  Thus began the litany of doctors and nurses…

“Your blood pressure should come down in a day or two.”

“We can’t bring your blood pressure down.”

“We can’t let you go home until your blood pressure goes down.”

“I’m not comfortable with you leaving the hospital when we still can’t control your blood pressure.”

“I understand you’ve been here for 5 days and you want to be with your family on Thanksgiving.”

“You’re being discharged against our wishes.  Return to the ER if your blood pressure goes any higher.”

So I left the hospital with my husband and my newborn.  I had prepared myself mentally to accept this would be a hard year as we learn to be parents by losing sleep and being exhausted all the time.  I was officially a mom.

I remember 3 days after I was released from the hospital laying as still as possible because my blood pressure was 200/117.  On medication.  I was afraid if I moved a muscle, I would have a stroke.  So I laid there, on the couch at my in-laws, too afraid to be alone, looking at my baby and praying that I wouldn’t die.  I had a few trips to the ER and a couple to my doctor, but around the end of the first month, my blood pressure normalized with the proper medication.

It was around that time that I had my first “spell”.  I remember sitting in the passenger’s seat of our old Sentra while my better half was driving.  I had this awful sensation come over me. I was afraid to look at my arms because they felt like they were melting into my lap.  I was certain that I would look down and see my lap and lower arms tangled into a saggy mess like that of a Dali painting.  My mouth watered.  My anxiety spiked.  I had a memory so vibrant that it could have been in my field of vision, but once it passed, I couldn’t recall anything.  When the spell ended, I immediately had a headache and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep.

Despite the confusion, I shrugged off the incident.  Maybe it was just some weird postpartum thing.  My body was doing weird things on the regular, so I thought maybe that was normal for weird?

A week passed and it happened again.  What the hell was going on?

I tried to explain to my husband what happened, but it was so damn hard just to liken the experience to something human.  Something anyone – including myself – could relate to.

A few more spells and we were fairly sure this wasn’t supposed to be a “thing” that went with all the other weirdness of postpartum life.  I went to see my family doctor.  By my description of the events, I’m fairly sure he must have considered “bat shit crazy” as one of the potential diagnoses.  The exploration began with blood tests and continued on with this test, that test, and the other tests.

We were all stumped. The spells kept continuing.  None of us could pin point what was going on.  That’s when I turned to the mysterious wonder that is the internet.

I sat at my computer, my son asleep in the baby swing behind me.  I pulled up Google and typed:

“postpartum spells dizzy tired headache pregnant mouth water spaced out”

Obviously that’s not verbatim, but I’m sure I typed something similar to that.

Let me tell you, if you google any word and “postpartum” together, you will find that you most likely have cancer.  (Okay, not really, but how many of us have fell down the WebMD hole and wound up with cancer as a possible diagnosis?)  Honestly, I couldn’t find anything that resonated with my experience.  I decided to add “pre-eclampsia” to the search.

Bingo…?

Apparently people who suffer from pre-eclampsia could also have seizures depending on whether or not the pre-eclampsia turned into eclampsia.

Seizures?  Is that what I was having?  Seizures??  My childhood dog had epilepsy when I was a kid, but I certainly didn’t look like he did.  I wasn’t falling over, eyes rolling into the back of my head and tongue hanging out.  I wasn’t convulsing.  But, I had nothing better to go with, so I printed off some material and headed back to my doctor.

I’m really fortunate.  My family doctor takes patient input into account.  I think his willingness to consider my thoughts to be one of the reasons why I was able to keep the faith that I would find an answer.  I could have had a doctor that wasn’t interested in the amount of work it would take to find a diagnosis.  I could have had an egotistical doctor that made snide remarks if I tried to suggest an idea.

I tried my best to explain what I found online and how it “might” correlate to my current condition.  He agreed that we had nothing to lose and he referred me to, what would be, the first of several neurologists.

-To Be Continued

Culture Shock!

culture-globe

I’m adopted.

Mom is full Italian.

Dad is full Polish.

I mean, we haven’t had one of those fancy pants DNA tests to know for sure, but both sets of grandparents were the same respective culture, so I’m sticking with full Italian/Polish for the sake of this blog post and because I’m stubborn when I’m trying to make a point.

Growing up in my house meant antipasto, pasta, sauce that takes all day to cook, mushroom stew, manicotti, prosciutto…and then kapusta, bigos, kielbasa, pierogi, golabki…well you get the idea.  And then there are the cultural influences from both sides.  Maybe the occasional Italian/Polish swear word.  Sometimes dropping a vowel off the end of words. Hearing a stern “capisci” after being lectured.

My parents look extremely European with brown eyes, dark brown hair, olive skin…

And then there was me – blue eyes, brown hair, fair skin, freckles…

I knew I was different by virtue of knowing I was adopted and the clear divide between the way I looked compared to my parents.  I’ve heard people say that I look so much like my mom, but I’ve never seen it at all.  Sometimes I think people say that to have something to say when they find out I’m adopted.  “Oh my goodness!  I never would have guessed!  Your daughter looks like you!”  Meanwhile, my cousin looks like she could be my dad’s daughter and I stand out like Wilt Chamberlain at an Abstinence Convention. (Is that really a thing?)

I never felt truly connected to Italian or Polish culture.  It felt like a skill I learned, as if I learned a new language.  Just because I could speak the language, didn’t mean it was in my DNA.  I was a welcomed spectator, but never really Italian or Polish.

Earlier this year, I had the joy of meeting my biological family.  My background is English and Scottish.  I never grew up around those cultures, so I don’t feel connected to that culture either.

What do I know about Scotland?  Kilts and haggis?  William Wallace?

What do I know about England?  The Queen?  Big Ben?  The Beatles?  Bangers and Mash?

This morning I told my husband about my thoughts.  “Considering all of this, do I even have the right to claim any culture?  What category do I fit into?”

My husband stood with his arms crossed, contemplating for a moment.  “Southern.”

“What?”

“America has so many different cultures.  If you feel like you can’t claim the cultures you know, then yours is Southern American.”

I sat on that for a minute while he continued.  “Think about it…its a culture you were raised in.  It affects your beliefs.  It colors your views on things.  Everything you do and think, for the most part, uses your Southern culture as framework.   For example, you cook lots of Southern delicacies.  You teach our son to say Mr./Ms., Sir, Ma’am, pardon and other forms of politeness.  When your accent comes out…  You have a strong opinion on Civil Rights.  These are all things that came from your background…your culture.”

I suppose that’s true.  I am a Southerner that has personal experience with other cultures.  I can relate to Italians and Polish because I learned aspects of those cultures from my parents.  But I was raised in the South and that’s where I planted my roots without even realizing it way back when.  Even though I’m in Canada now, my roots will always be in Tennessee.

And I’m okay with that. 🙂

 

When it feels bad to lose weight.

Funny-fat-meme

I received the largest dose of fat shaming reality ever yesterday.  And, ironically I was the culprit and the victim.

If you didn’t know, I’m on a Ketogenic diet.  It’s been successful and I’ve lost over 50 lbs since February.   With that said…

Yesterday I walked into a convenience store and the, admittedly, attractive guy behind the counter starting flirting and joking in a very innocent way with me, despite the long line.  I, per usual, dropped my gaze and gave my obligatory chuckle when I feel like a situation is awkward.

Real talk:  It felt great.

Realest talk:  It felt horrible.

Obviously, being complimented in such a way feels good.

But in that moment, I realized that since my weight loss, I’ve been getting more attention from people of both sexes.  People come up and compliment me, they’re kinder to me, the looks on their faces isn’t one of disdain.

It broke my heart.

Was I not worthy of attention before?  Were my words not good enough because of the way I looked?  Was my obesity so offensive that people naturally just kept me at arms length?  (I’m not including any friends or family – y’all are the best, always).

To come to that realization really hurt.  Was it just me all this time?  Was it society’s perception of fat people?  Was it both?

I was always the “not quite pretty enough or thin enough” in my group of friends back in High School and University.  Maybe that was just my own perception of myself.  I guess even pessimists can also be narcissists…

If we went out on a Friday night, all of my other friends would get “the guys” – I would get “the guys” too…but in that way where they like talking to me as a pal.  If you’re stigmatized by your appearance, you learn to make up for it in different ways.  You either shut yourself off from the world, or build up a skill to make people interested in you as a human.  For example, I learn a little bit about everything.  I admit that some nights I find myself on Wikipedia for hours.  I try to be as eclectic as possible.  Because of this, I can be a good conversationalist.  People enjoy engaging with me and eventually they sort-of see me and not the fat…  I had as many guy friends as I did girl friends…but I didn’t have many boyfriends during that time.

As some may have seen, I posted a photo of myself that clearly displayed my freckles.  I try my best to hide them in photos, but after yesterday, and some self reflection on my relationship with obesity, I’ve decided to own my body from this point forward.  Take me as I am or leave me.  If my appearance or personality offends you, then you’re more than welcome to bounce out of my life before I throw you out. ^_^

To try to bring it back to my original statement about fat shaming…

Every last judgement I ever experienced because of my obesity came crashing down on me at one time.  In a lot of ways, it was like watching my life flashing before my eyes.  I saw memories of being told I was fat in high school, that I needed to lose weight to continue pointe ballet (I wasn’t fat – I just think my body was suited more towards athletics).  How I would be treated at jobs – I was the resourceful, go-to idea girl, but all the praise went to the slimmer coworkers instead and eventually I noticed that pattern.  I wasn’t asked to certain functions with high level executives – even though I knew my shit up and down.  A cuter rep from our department would be chosen.  Nevermind that I was the one in charge of it all.

No one has to find fat people attractive.  I’m not saying you have to become super PC around the obese.  Not everything is fat shaming.  The word fat exists.  The actual fat exists.  The health risks exist.  No one can deny that.  But, when it comes to social interaction if you see the fat first and catch yourself making a mental judgement, take note.  Condition yourself to see the average Joe or Jane first – not their fat.  And if you think that’s impossible…at least be cognizant of it.

I feel like I’m rambling at this point and I probably am.  TL;DR:  Fat.

 

How I plan to unplug…now with 30% less click-bait.

unplug

Okay, let’s face it.  There’s no “plan” to unplug.  I’m just going to wing it.

I’m part of the generation where Windows 3.1 was my first OS on a PC.  I couldn’t WAIT to get home and listen to that delightful screeching of a modem connecting.  I was about to access the internet!  I could message people anywhere!  And my computer would always tell me in an electronic male voice when I had mail! (It still does, but the voice has been replaced by a notification beep and my emails rarely are a fun affair…)

Wait, was AOL active for 3.1?  Or was it 95?  Anyway, I’m digressing as usual.

I’ve grown accustomed to a lifestyle where every last bit of information is accessible.  And quite frankly, I’m starting to hate it.

Facebook, news sites, not quite news sites but passing themselves off as news sites, assholes, keyboard warriors…I could go on and on.  I am finding that there is more negativity on the internet than positivity.  I just get pissed off.  And it’s not healthy.

It spills over into our personal life.  I read an article that said that people tend to check their phones on average 150 times a day.  One. Hundred. Fifty.  I don’t think I check on my kid 150 times a day!  (I’m not convinced I check Facebook 150 times a day, even if I am a prolific poster.)

I stopped posting about politics.  I’ll still post a generic political meme that I think both sides can find funny, but anything judging the current political climate and I’m done.  At least on social media.  It creates rifts in family and friendships.  You might as well bang your head against a wall – you’re not going to convince your liberal cousin or conservative friend to think differently at this point.  Cognitive dissonance is rampant everywhere and the idea that a belief system could be destroyed by accepting a truth is too much for a lot of people to bear.

So instead of fighting the good fight on Facebook (which, honestly, isn’t a forum for polite discourse if you have a divided friend list), I’m going to fight the good fight for and in my community and especially at home.

I realized today that our family doesn’t really communicate.  The kid is on the Nintendo nearly in melt down mode from the console freezing, the husband is on the computer getting pissed at the game he’s playing, and I’m on my tablet getting irked at some news article.  We’re all in the same room, but we might as well be in different countries.  This is how we spend time together.  Not all the time, but more than I’d like to.

Why am I getting annoyed when my kid wants a fraction of my attention while I’m playing Candy Crush?

(Okay so I don’t play Candy Crush, but you get the idea.)

When I felt that annoyance, It was like a shock to my system.  How dare I?  I won’t get that moment with him back.  Ever.  How will he remember that moment?  Did I pay attention enough to even remember that moment?

Am I addicted to the internet?  Aren’t we all to some extent?  Even now, I’m using the internet to voice my opinions.  I’m sure some narcissistic part of my ego feels like my words are important enough for all of you to read.  And why shouldn’t you?  I can write and share whatever I want whenever I want!  It’s the internet!!!!

I’m going to keep this blog, because I want to chronicle my life here.  In long format.  140 characters on Twitter isn’t enough to write more than a statement that reads a lot like click-bait just to grab people’s attention about the massive dump we took this morning.

I need to step back from electronics though.  I am unhappy on the regular and I am certain this is part of the reason.  I feel guilt for neglecting small moments of actual life happenings.  It’s too easy for me to stare at the dishes and say “meh, later” and returning to surfing the web.

And news…  News. News. News.  What’s real?  What’s not?  I’ve reduced my news consumption to two times a week and replaced it with kitten videos.  Okay, maybe not just kitten videos, but this is what I figure:  If it’s an emergency and I need to know, I’ll know.  The same way we knew back in the 80’s.

The internet and social media are creating a level of anxiety for the world.  Too much information is as bad as not enough.  We are scared to let our kids go out and play.  We are worried that we could get bombed at any time.  We are being taught to fear differences.  And there is the irony.

In a time where we can connect to anyone anywhere, instead of becoming more tolerant and a global community, we are becoming ever more divided and perhaps taking a hard stance on issues we normally wouldn’t be bothered so much by.

I’m not suggesting passiveness.  I’m suggesting actions, not words.  I’m suggesting putting down my phone and tablet and enjoying every day’s reality, good or bad.

No, I’m not going off the grid.  No, I’m not doing anything drastic like buying those weird foot toe shoe things and suddenly going hiking across the country.

I’m just going to delete the Facebook app off my phone and tablet.  If I want to check it, I’ll do it once a day from my computer.  I’ll at least try to…I’ve been plugged in for over 20 years.  That’s more than half my age.  I want to experience life directly, not just via a YouTube video.

Enough is enough.  I’m going to go Netflix and Chill.  And at my age that means watching Netflix in my pajamas and actually chilling out.

I’ll still be accessible via texting.  But I’m going to take a step back from the internet for awhile.

Kids… Am I right?

This story may contain flashbacks.  Brace your necks.  Don’t need y’all getting whiplash…

May 7, 2016 – 9:30 P.M.

Bath time is over, LMP (my son – short for Little Man Pants – long story…another time) is in his PJ’s and brushing his teeth.  I walk into our bedroom because he wants to sleep with Daddy and I tonight.  I start fixing up the bed and notice something strange out of my peripheral vision.

We have a large window in our bedroom, but it’s broken down into 3 panes.  I could see the window screen peeking out from behind the blinds.  Our screen was not attached to the window frame.  I call my husband over and ask him if he was working on the window.  Nope.  Then I start freaking out because…burglars!  The hubster goes over to the window and sees that the screen locks were disengaged – this was an inside job!

May 6, 2016 – 6:45 P.M.

My husband and I heard LMP repeatedly running up to his room and taking stuffed toys outside.  He was playing with the girl down the street, so bringing stuffies to a play date with a girl makes perfect sense. (So does bringing GI Joes – I’m not discriminating!)

About the fifth time  he swings the front door open and goes to march up stairs yet again.

(With his shoes on!  Doesn’t he know we’re in Canada?  WE DON’T WEAR SHOES IN THE HOUSE FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, KID.  SIT YOUR TINY BEHIND ON THE BENCH IN THE FOYER AND TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF!  THAT’S WHY I BOUGHT THE BENCH IN THE FIRST PLACE!  Wait…where was I?)

Dad stops him dead in his tracks, “Buddy, why do you keep bringing more and more stuffies outside?”

Aaand we get the kid look.  The one where his face is somewhere between a trusting smile, a worried glance, and the eyes of prey looking for the best escape route.  If you have a kid or have ever worked with kids for a period of time, YOU KNOW THIS LOOK.  It’s obvious that he thinks we’re asking a trick question.  Nope.  And your poker face needs work, LMP.

Eventually, after trying to skirt the issue with non-committal answers that are sort of related to the incident, he fesses up and tells us that his friend’s stuffy is up in our eaves trough and he was trying to get it down by throwing even more stuffies at it.

See, now, when parents ask a question, there are so many other unasked questions that go along with it.

When I asked “How did that happen?”  I was also asking “Why?  Just why?  You know you can’t reach the roof!  You know you ain’t getting Super Ultra Steve and Betty Spaghetti down off that roof by yourself!  I MEAN WHY, CHILD…WHY?  WHAT MADE YOU DO SUCH A THING?”

And it doesn’t matter if I asked the simple version or the long version because LMP’s answer is almost always the same:  a simple shrug.

So off dad goes to retrieve the stranded stuffed dolls.  On an upside, we got a peek at our eaves trough for the first time since last summer…really clean!

May 6, 2016 – 8:30 P.M.

Why is there a giant stuffed elephant just hanging out on the staircase?  Oh well, back to LMP’s room with you, Dumbo.

May 7, 2016 – 9:32 P.M.

“Seriously, do you think someone tried to break in to our house?”  I’m bordering on panic attack levels of anxiety.  Before my husband could answer a small little voice comes from the hallway behind us.

“I did it.  My ally is the force and a powerful ally it is.”

Okay, to be fair, he only said the first part.  The second part is his Star Wars electric toothbrush that lights up, makes light saber noises, and quotes Yoda.

I really can’t absorb what he’s saying.  What does he mean he did it?  Did what?  Is he telling me  he pulled this screen off the window all by himself?  Did I forget somewhere in the last 7 years to tell him that windows on the 2nd floor are bad?  Instead of asking all those questions, I simply say, “Explain.”

“Well….remember when the stuffies were on the roof?”

“Yes.”

“I did it then.”

“You took the screen off the window?”

“Yeah.”

“How did you know how to do that?”

“I figured it out – those silver thingies are locks!”

“Yes, I know, and verbal high five for being super smart, but why?  Were you going to climb out the window onto the roof?”

“NO,” he exclaims, as if I just asked him the craziest question in the world given the scenario.

“Then what were you going to do?”

“Well, when throwing other stuffies at the ones on the roof didn’t work, I thought I’d try throwing stuffies from the window so that it hits the stuck stuffies from behind and knocks it off the roof.”

“Again, another verbal high five, dude.  You’re pretty clever.  Why didn’t you just ask dad and I for help from the beginning?” Another shrug.

“Dude.  DUUUDE.  Don’t do this again.  You’re terrified of knives safely stored in drawers and cutting blocks, but you’re crazy-brave enough to take a screen off of a window and potentially fall?”

I get the pouty face puppy eyes look.

“Honestly, I am glad you told dad and I the truth and I’m glad we could talk about this, but just ask us if there’s something you need help with.  Especially if that something has to do with our roof and windows and stuffies.”

“Okay, mom!”

INTERMISSION FOR FAMILY HUG TIME.

“Hey buddy…”

“Yes, mom?”

“So, the elephant that I found on the stairs…was that for…”

“Yeah…sorry.”

I love family life.

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