Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The post in which I am neither funny nor happy.

I've talked off and on about Llama's ears, and I've mentioned twice now that she's getting tubes put in her ears on June 1. Which is in five days. It's the best decision, and I will explain why. (I'm going to state, parenthetically, that one reason for this blog is to record Llama's life for her in a much more organized way than the box of "stuff" under my bed. This post is mostly for her.)

In February, Llama got an ear infection. It was her third. It seemed normal. The doctor gave her the same antibiotic she'd taken twice before (amoxicillin). Six days into it, she broke out in hives. We went back to the doctor and he switched her to a different antibiotic (omnicef). She seemed to be much improved.

But when we went back for her ear re-check in March, she had either a new ear infection or the same one that had never really gone away. So the doctor gave her more of the same drug that hadn't really worked (omnicef).

Llama was still running a fever and was still very crabby and messing with her ears. She was inconsolable, but it was Sunday. So we went to Med Express, where they gave her yet another antibiotic (zithromax). She seemed to be much improved.

But then we went back to the doctor in April for her ear recheck and her ears were infected and she seemed to have a sinus infection. The doctor said this was definitely a continued infection, not a new one. And he put her back on omnicef. Which hadn't worked TWICE in the past. And he said if it didn't work, he would give us a referral to the ENT.

But first, we went back for the recheck. The omnicef didn't work. And she was again in a lot of pain, running a fever, and inconsolable. So the doctor decided there were three options and presented them to me. First was to wait and see what happened, which I was not willing to do since Llama was so obviously not herself. Second was a series of possibly three shots of another antibiotic (rocephin). Third was a different antibiotic (vancomycin), which is a drug of last resort and most pharmacies don't carry and most insurances don't cover. So I went with the second option of shots, even though we had to go to the doctor three times in three days and Llama ended up having two shots that were painful for her. In the end, they did clear up the infection. But not the fluid.

I was not surprised when it didn't work all the way. I was not surprised when we got a referral to the ENT. I was very surprised when the ENT was able to see us in less than a week. I guess that's a benefit of living near a major medical center?

The ENT gave me three options. (I really liked him, by the way. He was quick with Llama and he didn't keep us waiting in the exam room forever. That's valuable when you have a curious, nimble little girl.) The first option was to keep treating her ear infections as they come, but her hearing is already impaired. The second option was to put her on a daily antibiotic for several months, but that will definitely mess up her teeth, possibly mess up her tummy, and she's allergic to the antibiotic that they like to use for it. The third option was tubes. I thought for about 5 seconds and asked him how soon the surgery could be scheduled, and it could have been two days ago if it hadn't been Memorial Day. So June 1 it is.

The whole thing will take about two hours, and that's counting the 30 minutes we will spend each way in the car. It's an outpatient surgery and it's in the same building that my OB is in.

I was not okay, but now I am. Bucket is taking the day off from work, as much for me as for Llama, I think. I'm okay with that, because even though she won't remember, we will. And one day, we'll be able to tell her that she's a chatterbox because we took her to get her ears fixed. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Procrastination. It's what's NOT for dinner.

A fact about me that I like to think is not well-known, but is probably known to everyone but me? I work best as the deadline approaches. Minor freakouts and caffeine are standard. If I have no deadline, sometimes I never complete projects. The corner of my bedroom that is filled with half-done crafty projects is a testament to that.

Things I am currently procrastinating:

1. Blogging about Llama's ear infections and the upcoming tubes. I can't be funny about it and being serious about it upsets me. I'll get something written sooner or later. Probably later.

2. Finishing the thank you notes for Llama's birthday presents. I'm just lazy. There's no deadline. But I do have manners, so they'll be out sometime.

3. Cutting coupons and making a grocery list. Self-explanatory. That's not fun.

4. Making a list of delegated responsibilities for a golf outing that I'm chairing on Sunday. Sunday! There are a lot of things that can only be done last-minute, and on Sunday, I can't be everywhere at once. There are 18 holes, one registration table, and one picnic pavilion. I have four helpers. I guess I'll make my list when I figure out how five people will cover 20 jobs.

5. Working out. I guess at this point, it's less procrastination and more "skipping my workout," since it's raining and I can't get outside and I've already taken a shower.

6. Buying a bathing suit for the summer. Again self-explanatory. No matter how much weight I lose, how great I look in clothes, etc, I will never like myself in a bathing suit. And yet, I love to swim and can't wait to swim with Llama this year.

Things I'm not procrastinating:

1. Planning our Disney vacation in September. Llama, Bucket, The Army Guy, Frenchy, Z-man, Wolfman, my yet-unnamed brother, and I are all going on our first real family vacation together. Three of us have been to Disney World before (Bucket, Frenchy, me) and I am a knowledgeable control freak, so I'm in charge.

2. Signing Llama up for Book Babies at the library. We needed something to do for the summer.

3. Eating my weight in cupcakes. I need to stop baking as a form of procrastination.

Not related to MY procrastination:

1. I have not yet booked airfare for Disney because I'm waiting on one last person to commit "157%" to going with us. I'm not putting something on my credit card, only to be screwed over.

2. The job offer that I've been dangling on since the beginning of May. I have done everything, they just can't make up their minds whether they want to pay me a salary that I find acceptable. They want me, they just don't know if they want to pay for me. Tomorrow's the deadline.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is near and dear to my heart. It's not just a three-day weekend. My brother is in Iraq for the second time. My grandfather flew bombers over Korea. My great-uncle commanded a ship in World War II. My great-grandfather fought in the Spanish-Indian War. I don't know how many greats back, but Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox from the American Revolution, is my ancestor.

It means something. I try not to be a person who keeps her emotions at the surface, but I will say that I'm close to tears when I think of the sacrifices made by our servicemen.

And on that note, I was in Oakland on Friday with Llama for a doctor's appointment (yes, tubes, June 1, and I'll cover that another day) and as I was walking back to my car, there was a Marine in uniform trying to get directions. Several people ignored him. Pittsburgh is supposed to be one of the friendliest cities. I felt AWFUL, but rather than make apologies for something I hadn't done, I gave him directions and told him to have a great day.

I hope he got where he was going and that he's relaxing today.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So I've been slacking on the posting.

I have no excuses, just that Llama and I have been having a lot of fun lately.

We went to the playground in Mingo Park (and that link takes you to directions to the Covered Bridge Festival, which you'll hear about in September, but the park doesn't have a website) for the first time. Actually, it was Llama's first time at a playground at all, and she had a very good time, as evidenced by her happy face and climbing skills.

There's a creek there with duckies in it, and Llama jumped up and down on the banks of the creek and pointed at them.

And we went out to lunch with some imaginary friends (the message board friends who live locally), but instead of paying attention to the news, the newspaper, the internet, or the signs along I-79, we sat in traffic because of the "Missing Ramps" project. Llama was mostly not thrilled, but got a lot happier once she took her shoes and socks off and I gave her my Starbucks cup. It was empty, but she wouldn't have cared. She likes cappuccino (thanks, Grandma!).

And the biggest news is that Llama got a haircut. Even though Bucket said it made her spoiled, I took her to the salon where I get mine done. The girl who does my hair is great (both for me and with Llama) and it seemed like she was just following Llama around and taking little snips off, but in the end, Llama's hair is much better. Not hanging in her eyes or straggly at the ends, but there still seems to be as much hair there as there was before.

And I don't have photos of this, but this morning, Llama decided to play in my makeup basket. She does it every day, and I let her because it makes her happy. I didn't think she could open anything. Like every other parenting lesson I've learned, what I think is irrelevant. She decorated the bathrooom with about $100 worth of makeup. It looks like a $2 hooker. You'd think expensive makeup would make my bathroom look like a more expensive hooker.
I guess I'll be makeup shopping in the next week. And finding a more secure way to store it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '99, wear sunscreen.

Remember that?

I didn't heed the warning. I tried to tan my pale Celtic skin, over and over again, to the point of blisters and lobster-red skin. On the days when I wasn't trying to burn myself, I forgot sunscreen.

I had a mole removed a few weeks ago. It was "congenital but with a number of abnormal cell divisions," which basically means I was born with it but due to my failure to appropriately protect it (and the rest of myself) from the sun, it was pre-cancerous. I have to go back in six months and every year thereafter for the rest of my life, because once you've had one mole like that, the odds are greater that you will have more cancerous or pre-cancerous moles.

So, wear sunscreen.

**I was, in fact, part of the class of '99. That song was even DIRECTED at me and I didn't listen.**

Monday, May 4, 2009


Ear infection. Number four or number five, depending on who you ask. I say five, the doctor says four, but that four has been going on for TWO MONTHS. Either way, it's not fair to Llama that she continues to be in pain and have her hearing impaired.

Out of the entire practice, there is one pediatrician that I don't like. He calls me "Mom," instead of Heather or Mrs. Bucket, and he's old and he scared Hawaiian Punch when SHE was a kid, so he's extra scary. He also dismisses my concerns and I feel like he's accusing me of things when he asks me questions. But when you call for a sick appointment, you get what you get and you don't get upset (yep, preschool logic reigns here in the Llama house). Anyway, I again brought up my concern that this many ear infections, or this one ear infection that's lasted for this long, whichever... neither is acceptable and I asked for an ENT referral. Instead, he gave me a prescription for an antibiotic that didn't work last month and said that if it didn't work this time, he'd give me the ENT referral.

Okay, so we're going to repeat something that was ineffective. In hopes that, for some reason, this time it will be more effective? I read once that the definition of insanity was repeating the same actions over and over again hoping for a different result. Well, apparently we're insane.

Llama loves medicine. I guess that's a good thing, since she hasn't really gone a night without medicine in months.

There are days when I question...

What the HELL am I doing?

I mean, I'm in school full time. I have an interview for a job on Thursday that will, in all likelihood, be my new full time job. I'm obviously Llama's mama on a full time basis. Our house, because it is so small and has such a dearth of hiding places, always seems to be a pig sty. My husband is an awesome guy, the best dad, and incredibly supportive of my educational endeavors. But when I'm on break, as I am right now, he feels like HE is on break from the full time dad gig. Friday, he and Llama and I went out to dinner by ourselves, like a nice little family. Then on Saturday, he went to his fun second job (it was opening day at Kennywood!) and then came home to go to a wedding with me. (More on that in a second, Llama had her first sleepover!) And on Sunday, he went to a pinball show four and a half hours away and came home just in time to eat dinner at his parents' house.

Did I get the bathroom cleaned while he was on his happy fun weekend? No, I did not. I can't clean the bathroom with Llama in it, because she wants to taste the toilet brush and "help" me by grabbing the sponge and the cleaner. It scares me. Remember the vanilla debacle? The kid will drink anything.

This morning, I decided that the bathroom HAD to be cleaned, even though Llama was at my feet. I figured I would just keep redirecting her, right? Wrong. She is not a child who is easily redirected. Tampons? Loves them. Used razors in the garbage? Loves them too. Will she switch her attention from the unsafe razor to the safe (albeit not my perfect choice of toy) tampons? No. Will she sit in the hallway and play with some other, safe and approved toy? ABSOLUTELY NOT. So I had to close the door on her, leaving her in the hallway and me in the bathroom, because there was already cleaner sprayed around and I had to rinse it off without Llama's interventions. Screams and door pounding ensued. And I said, "What the HELL am I doing?"

I went through my closet and pulled out all the dry cleaning, because I have to get one of my suits cleaned before this interview. As I laid all the stuff on the bed (and Llama played in my shoe mountain at my feet), I thought, "What the HELL am I doing?" My life is crazy stressful NOW. It will be worse when I work full time. I have control issues (who would have guessed? :p) and the thought of leaving Llama in someone else's care kind of makes me a little nauseous. But I did it on Saturday with absolutely no ill effects. Hawaiian Punch was so awesome to offer to keep Llama for us while we went to the wedding, and when it was over, Llama was sleeping, Tuna Roll was sleeping, and Hawaiian Punch was already in bed when I called, so Llama just slept over. She had a great time, and I could tell that because when I got there to pick her up, she didn't care about me and only wanted to hang out with Hawaiian Punch. Knowing me, you'd think that would make me a little sad, right? Strangely enough, it made me happy. My little independent girl.

And as promised last time, pictures of Tuna Roll's baptism:

The happy parents (iHusband, Hawaiian Punch, Tuna Roll):

The actual baptism-ish... I couldn't get a shot of the water:
What a cute little Tuna Roll:
Oh, and Mother's Day is this Sunday. If your wife has already handled all the stuff for YOUR mom, it might be a good idea to do something really nice for your wife. Bucket reads this blog, and that's a not-so-veiled hint. Since I'm a mom AND I take care of all of Bucket's cards and gifts, with the exception of the ones he gives me...

Be nice to the moms in your life. Not just on Sunday. :)