Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finally Frozen

The other day Zoe asked for seconds.

One problem.

We were out of banana. So I asked, "Would you like something else in your cereal?"

The answer is usually "blueberries" or "no". Sometimes she asks for walnuts.

But this day was different.

I was about to launch into a big speech on how frozen corn wasn't a breakfast food.

Then...A: I remembered corn is the base for a ton of breakfast foods; grits anyone? And B: What do I care what disgusting thing she puts in her cereal?

So I made her a bowl of Joe's Os, almond milk, and frozen corn.

A little bit later we settled in to watch Frozen for the first time.

After the movie she asked me, "what's that movie called?"

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest Disney classic...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Newest Character

Yo Gabba Gabba has been a staple in our house for a long time. It is the first show Zoe ever watched and we all love it.

Zoe has always had a clear favorite...

Something about being pink and nice. Too nice for my taste.

She's more like it! She cuts in line and lies and is used to teach all the lessons.

Yannos even has a soft spot for one of the characters...

He claims it's the arm dance, but I think it's the big frown and the uni-brow that really does the trick!

She assigns Muno and Plex as favorites to various people at random times. So we asked her...

"Who is Aleko's favorite?"

Wait. What?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The New B-Word

Have you heard? We're not allowed to use the B-word anymore. Yep, I'm not supposed to call my daughter bossy. This is terrible news. Why? Because she's BOSSY.

I'm no expert on these things, and I completely understand the goal behind Ban the Bossy, but here is my problem: What on earth do you call this?

Looks pretty overly assertive to me...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Best Decision

Although things are usually lighthearted and (some people say) funny around here, I'm not one to ignore the more serious or sad issues that happen in my life.

I met Marion through email in June 2011, just 2 weeks after Zoe was born. A colleague of mine asked if I was interested in doing some private contract work with a patient who was being discharged from the PT clinic I used to work at.

I was hesitant.
A - I just had my first baby.
B - A year earlier, I quit working because of a relapse that paralyzed my arm.

Luckily, I said yes, and it was the best decision I ever made. Marion came to me at a time where I had all but lost my identity as a PT. Working with her gave me purpose that I had lost since my relapse. It gave me an identity beyond my disability. Beyond being a mom.

It was a rare situation. I saw her 2-3 times a week, in her home, for two and a half years. That is a lot of time in a profession where treating someone for 3 months is considered lengthy.

I looked forward to our visits. Initially, just to get a break from parenting, then to keep my head in the PT game, but then...to spend time with her.

People in her apartment complex would see us working in the pool and ask me, "Oh, is she rehabbing to get better?"

I'd reply, "I'm sorry, I can't discuss patient care with you." when on the inside I was thinking...No, she has ALS. Getting better is not one of the options.

ALS was on the table when I started getting foot drop in 2006.

MS is a much better alternative.

Nonetheless, I know a little something about not being able to move. About your muscles not listening to your brain. Just sitting there sizzling with fasciculations when in your head you just raised your arm to scratch your ear.

I don't, however, know anything about not being able to swallow. Or talk. Or breathe.

I'm not sure there are many diagnoses more cruel than ALS. Few things have the finality that comes along with what is sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease.

My entire family rallied in order to allow me to see Marion consistently. Yannos would pick up extra chores to ensure I had enough energy to work. My mom and mother-in-law watched Zoe before I was ready to leave her. Even my neighbor who watches the kids while I work was rooting for her. Marion was a priority in our house. Being there for her was important to me and it was certainly more than just work.

In fact, calling her a patient sounds absurd. She is my friend.

When I found out about being pregnant with Aleko I had a wave of disappointment, as I worried about the lapse in Marion's care. Not many PTs get in the water with people, let alone drive to their house to do it. Even if I did find someone else, I didn't trust other people.  I always wanted more for her. More comprehensive exercises. More compassionate care. More time.

More. Time.

Sometimes Marion would ask me questions about my treatment decisions. I always answered scientifically with facts about muscle fatigue or inhibition or buoyancy, but for some reason, with Marion, I just felt it. I knew what she needed. I knew when she needed to be pushed and when she needed me to back off. I knew when she needed help up the stairs out of the pool and when she could get into her wheelchair herself. I got her.

When Marion died on Friday, I was heartbroken.

It seems silly to be surprised by the death of someone with ALS, but I was. It is weird how something you know is coming can catch you so off guard. It's also weird that my family hasn't even met this person who is so important to me, which has been a little isolating.

I will be forever grateful for all that Marion contributed to my life. She saved me. She saved my sanity by giving me an adult to not only talk to, but thoroughly enjoy. She saved my mind by giving me something to contemplate. She saved my career by showing me that even with my limitations, I am still relevant.

I only have one nice thing to say to ALS. Without you, I never would have gotten to spend a couple of years with one of the nicest and most wonderful people I have ever known.

She will always be in my heart.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Tough times

Guys. Can we take 5 minutes to woe is me and then I can move on?

This week wins. It totally beat me. I give up and I'll start again with a new week.

In exactly a 7 day time span: I couldn't move my legs for 2 days. An important person in my life died. I got an ear infection that perforated my eardrum. On our way to the funeral, blood started pouring out of my ear.

Saturday night I had some sort of MS event and I could not move my legs at all. I spent 2 full days in bed and made a quick recovery. I pushed myself hard to go to work on Tuesday and I am so glad I did because it was the last time I got to see my patient who died on Friday. More about that on Tuesday because it's important.

I was up with a screaming Aleko until 2am and then awoke at 4am to stabbing ear pain. Like someone was standing next to me with an ice pick jabbing it into my ear kind of pain.

I blew my nose and my ear exploded. I looked like a patient in an insane asylum. I was moaning, crying and rocking back and forth all the way to urgent care.

Dr. said there was blood behind my eardrum, but it would clear up with the infection.
No biggie right?


I hopped in the shower before the funeral and felt a pop. Then a whoosh. Then blood was coming out  of my ear.

This week coming up better be awesome.