Saturday, October 30, 2010

Go Away Lady Bug

For as long as I can remember, the lady bug has symbolized good luck.  As a child I always viewed them as one of the more attractive and harmless insects. And they were supposed to be good luck. I haven't felt that way in a long time. My first bad experience that occurred after seeing a lady bug happened a year ago. It was July 2nd and it was a Thurs. I remember because that was the day I was having my eggs retrieved. The next day I became very ill.  It lasted most of the summer. I went through 3 courses of antibiotics and two courses of steriods. I even lost some of my hearing (it never came back). My next encounter was on July 19th.   I will always remember that date because it was the day that my husband's niece was born and the day that I got my period after my last try at IVF.  Since then I've been skeptical every time a lady bug crosses my path.  

Fast forward to June of this year.  I see a lady bug out on my deck.  That night Max peed in the bed.  That was very uncharacteristic of him.  We took him to the Vet. and find out that he's diabetic.  Two shots a day and he can no longer have all of the foods that he loves because they are high on the glycemic index.  

It was a Saturday.  July 17th to be exact. My husband and I were going to tour a brewery with his parents at noon.  I decided that If I got up early enough I would go visit my mom in the hospital. She was back in ICU and they had limited visiting hours.  She'd been back and fourth between the hospital and nursing home since she'd been operated on several months earlier. They had just moved her back to the ICU the evening before upon my insistence. She began slurring her words the Sunday before and each day it seemed to get worse. She was x-rayed, and had several CT scans. Nothing. They found nothing.  After being moved the doctor told my brother, "we're going to get to the bottom of this." That night my sister said that my moms vitals were stable and she was talking (she had not been able to do it much that week).  That evening I was relieved to hear it and slept well that night.  Sat. morning I got up early and decided that I'd go see her.  I was washing my glass at the kitchen sink and noticed a lady bug on the window screen in front of me.  My stomach started to churn and I became a little uneasy but put my thoughts aside and remembered what the doctor had said the night before. Still,  I was feeling anxious. I drove faster than normal to the hospital that morning. I knew that most likely no one would be visiting her that early because they were there late the night before.  When I reached the hospital my heart was pounding, I was alone. The walk to her room felt like a never ending maze. I made a left into the wrong ICU. I didn't see her in any of the rooms.  After asking one of the nurses at the desk I was directed to the ICU on the opposite side of the hall. I nervously looked into each of the rooms. Then I saw her, only I didn't recognize her. Her mouth was open but tightly pursed, like the drawstring to a gym bag, but open enough to take a deep breath.  I had seen this look before on my grandmother and uncle before they died.  I was a crazy woman.  I asked question after question to the nurse coming out of her room. Why wasn't she looking better? I didn't understand. "What is her prognosis?" The nurse said that she was comfortable and this is what happens to people her age (but she was only 76) when they have multiple infections (she had just informed me that my mother had MRSA) and their kidneys start to fail.  What?! I told the nurse that my mom was speaking, eating and joking around only a week earlier. She was being treated with antibiotics for the C.diff  and her lungs were clear.  "When did her kidneys begin to fail?" I asked. The nurse didn't know what to say, she only had my mom since the night before.  I walked into the room and placed my hand on my mom's arm.  She was not responding to my presence. I had to leave. I left the room and went down the hall to call someone, anyone.  I called my husband and began crying hysterically. I left a message for my brother, who was working, and called my father once I gained control of myself.  There were so many questions. I had no answers. It was 10 o'clock in the morning and I no longer felt like myself. I knew that what I was feeling were the feelings of a woman who, after that day, would no longer be able to speak of her mother in the present tense. I knew that my mother was going to die that day, and she did. At 5pm that afternoon my brother, sister and I lost out mom and my father lost his best friend of nearly 50yrs (their 50th would've been on Sept. 10th). We were all there to see her take her last breath.  It was surreal.  I never thought we'd lose her this early. And for the first time, I truly understood the pain that she must have felt having watched her parents and two brothers pass away. I hope that she is with them now. She'd speak fondly of them and would never fail to tear up when reminiscing about the "old days".  That kind of pain was foreign to me because I was always comforted by the fact that she and my father were still alive as well as my siblings. It is a new day, it is a long day, and it is a painful day. 

My heart goes out to all of you ladies that have lost your moms and dads. This is not easy. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mom Still In ICU

I haven't felt like blogging much lately.  I'm sorry that I'm missing your posts, life has been exhausting.  My mom was supposed to be in ICU just for a weekend but she's still there.  The nurse described her as being "very frail".  It sounds so strange to hear those words.  Nothing was ever "frail" about my mother.  She's used to be about 5"7", was always complimented on how young she looked and acted and the doctors used to tell her that she was so healthy.

The visiting hours are very limited in ICU (10am-1pm, 3pm-6pm, and 9pm-10pm) and they only allow 2 people at a time.  It's so sad seeing my dad look at her.  She never used to get sick...ever.  I walked out to get us some coffee and when I came back my dad had his hand on my mom's hand and he was praying.  I had to look away because I started to cry and didn't want to make either of them upset.  My mom has a tube through her nose and down her throat so she can barely be understood when she speaks. She's never had surgery before so this type of pain is probably a shock to her particularly at her age.

It's been incredibly difficult watching all of this happen.  I'm finding myself praying frequently and I haven't done that in a really really long time.  I feel so helpless.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mom Is In The Hospital

I've been very pre-occupied lately because my mother went into the hospital for an intestinal infection Tuesday.  She's going to be 76 in April.  She had just gotten out of the hospital/rehab facility last Nov. were she had been for two months due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis.  The thing is, she was never sick before.  A little over a year ago she was walking around, shopping, doing laundry, etc.  Now she just sits on the sofa.  She won't go up the stairs because they are very long and she needs to use a walker.  Her legs will give out on her sometimes and it makes her afraid to walk.  Plus she has my dad and sister around to do things for her.  She hasn't slept in her bedroom in over a year.  It's very sad because she can do it if she wanted to.  But she doesn't.  She's been very depressed and will not take the anti-depressants that were prescribed for her.  She walks when the physical therapists come but when they're gone she won't even walk to the kitchen to get herself a drink.

To make matters worse she just went back into the hospital for surgery because of an intestinal abscess.  She's been on steroids for her rheumatoid arthritis and it makes it difficult for her body to heal.  She had the surgery yesterday and is in the ICU right now.  She's never had surgery before and her biggest fear was that she would need a colostomy bag.  The surgery went well and she didn't need to have a bag.  So that was wonderful news.  My fear is of complications.  They seems to follow her like a shadow.  I also hate the hospital that she's in.  It's close to my parents house and my father doesn't feel comfortable anywhere else.

Horrible Hospital Story Ahead:

When my mother was in the hospital last year her cardiologist (who was assigned by the hospital) came in her room at 7am and had her sign a consent form to have a pacemaker put in the following morning! This doctor was very good at one time many years ago but now he's a quack!  He hadn't even considered that the medication they had put her on a few weeks earlier had been causing her irregular heartbeat. We were able to postpone the surgery but he still scheduled a stress test that next morning without anyone knowing.  Her heart was fine thank God.  Why would you do that to a person that you thought was in serious need of a pacemaker?!  He'd prey on her when she was alone or when my father was there (he's 81, can't hear well, and won't argue with a doctor).  We eventually had to threaten police action to get him away from her.  Long story short, her heart was fine and the new group of cardiologists that we'd selected said that she was lucky she did not have the surgery.  Her steroid dosage was very high in order to get her vasculitis under control and everyone feared that she would not heal properly. One doctor even told my mother that he felt that I had saved her life.  My sister and brother, who are childless and spouseless, are also very gullible and would not argue with a doctor's decision either.  I later found out that the quack had a restraining order against him about 10 years ago because he was stalking a woman at the hospital.  But I don't know if it was a nurse or a patient.  I wanted to get medical POA on both of my parents but they're "old school" and won't sign the form. It's a very difficult situation.

I've missed reading everyone's blogs this week.  I hope you are all doing well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wham Bam Thank You Mam

I finally went to the OBGYN after much anxiety.  It wasn't all that I thought it would be.  First, it was fast. Very fast.  I suppose I'm used to the long drawn out wait at the RE office.  The appointments with the RE were always much more involve with discussion and protocol.

The nurse was very nice.  I had to tell them about my myomectomy and of my many IF procedures.  She was very sympathetic siting that she'd been through it with her sister and she knew that it was a difficult process.  I wanted to ask if her sister eventually had a child but I couldn't bring myself to speak the words.  How would I respond if the answer was "yes"? She began to tell me that she was a single mom with 3 children.  I started to feel bad for her and wondered if she was thinking that maybe I was the lucky one.  Then as she was wishing me luck regarding IF I made my carefully concocted statement, "Well I'm a teacher so I have all of the children I need." To that she said, "See, children come to us all sorts of ways." My eyes started to well up with water but I didn't want to have a break down.  I quickly added, "we have two dogs".  I don't even know why I said that.  I just needed to get myself out of the moment.  The moment where I start remembering that earlier in the day my closest co-worker (who knew about my IF struggles) told me that another co-worker (also a friend) wanted her to tell me that she was pregnant.  I was happy for her (still sad for me), but I felt bad that she didn't want to tell me because she thought it might hurt me.  It was very sweet of her.  I can't help but feel like I have the plague or that people might think that I'm a loose cannon that will go off somehow at the mere mention of the word "baby".  Perhaps I am.  I don't even know how I'm going to react anymore.  That's how I ended up mentioning the dogs.  It just comes out.  I could've just as easily said, "I like apples".   She smiled at me and left the room.  Enter: the doctor.

I'd never met this doctor before.  She was a little cold and kind of a know it all.  I also think I'm just too sensitive.  She told me that they were going to do blood work and I asked if I could have an FSH done.  She said,"Your FSH doesn't really tell us anything other than if your ovaries are still working." Then she said, "if it's for reasons of fertility I'll send you to a specialist." I said, "It is about fertility and I have been to a specialist.  I was thinking that if everything is okay maybe I'd try a few more IUIs."  She said,"At this point you're looking at IVF." I couldn't believe how she just dismissed every thing that I was requesting.  That's why I am so bothered that people in these positions hold all of the cards.  It never matters who's footing the bill.  I was also really annoyed because cost wasn't even a consideration.  "You're looking at IVF."  I should have said, "Well I can't afford IVF and I'd like to do a few IUIs to ease my mind and make me feel as though I've done all that I can.  Plus my insurance covers that or that wouldn't even be a consideration either." But I just don't have the nerve to pull myself together enough to say something like that.  I'm getting so much blood work done that I don't even know what's included. I assume that from her protest she does not have me down for an FSH count.  I feel like checking that box off myself.  What do you think would happen to me? Fraud charges, jail?  This sucks.

Here's what I'm scheduled for:

  • CBC
  • Lipid Panel
  • Complete Metabolic Panel
  • TSH Cascade
  • Phosphorus
  • HIV
Room Temp:
  • P.T. Mutation
  • ANA w/Reflex
  • P.T.T Activated
  • Fibrinogen
  • Factor V Leiden Mut.
  • Cardiolipin AB
  • Homocysteine
  • Anti-Thrombin III
  • Lupus Anticoagulant
  • Protein S Function (nonpregnant)
  • Protein S Antigen (pregnant)
  • Protein C Function

What the hell does any of this mean?  Is there an FSH count in there anywhere?  Has anyone ever checked off an extra box or two before? Help!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oh my God it's my birthday

It's my dreaded birthday.  I've become the big 42.  This is one of those moments that I was talking about where in another 5 yrs. I'm going to look back and say, "Wouldn't it be wonderful to be 42 again?"  Only, now that I'm in the moment I'm finding it very difficult to appreciate it.  42, that's another milestone where IF gets even more finalized.  I remember the RE telling me, "we want to try to get you pregnant by the time you are 41." That's here and gone.

Well what will be in store for me this year.  Last year it was fertility injections nearly every month until July.   That's when I finally realized that I was compromising my immune system too much.  It was taking me longer to recover from simple colds.  It all ended with my crazy illness in July after my 4th IVF.  Two weeks into my illness my hearing changed. Three courses of antibiotics and three courses of steroids could not get my hearing straightened out.  About 2 weeks ago I went back to the ENT for a check up.  Nothing has changed and he hasn't offered any new information.  My previous CT scan and MRI showed debris and swelling in my middle ear cleft left over from an infection.  I recently found out that there are ear specialist in addition to ENTs.  My next step is to find one and see if they can shed some light on the matter.

I'm also proud to announce that I've finally made an appointment with the OBGYN! Happy Birthday to me!  Tuesday is the big day.  I've been avoiding this for a while now.  I'm really not sure if I'm ready to find out if I have anymore fibroids or what my FSH is.  But I need to know.  If all is good then I think I'm going to try a couple more IUIs and see what happens.  Of course I will need a separate appointment for an ultrasound and blood work.  But at least I made the initial appointment!  I was kind of hoping they'd be booked for a few weeks, but no, there was an opening. So on Tues. at 4pm I'll be spread Eagle on the table.  Then they do the breast exam... that's always fun. I have a female doctor.  I've always wondered what would drive a man to become an OBGYN.  In this day and age I just don't feel comfortable getting an exam from a man.  But that's just one of my many hang ups!

Tonight I will be celebrating quietly with my DH, the pugs and some pizza.  Life is good sometimes.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My H.S. Student Is Pregnant

One of my favorite students has been missing from class more frequently than usual.  I asked some of the others if they knew what was wrong. As it turns out she's pregnant.  She's due at the end of June. She's a  pretty girl... long blonde hair, athletic and a relatively intelligent 11th grader.  I feel awful for her, but it's not like she wasn't aware of the consequences.  I was even surprised that she was keeping it.  As it turns out she's living with her boyfriend (also a former student of mine) and her parents are apparently supportive of her decision.  Truthfully 20% of the students in each of my H.S. classes has a child.  Unbelievable but it's true.  Some have infants, some have toddlers and some have girlfriends currently expecting.  True, the school that I teach at has a very diverse population and many of the cultures are more excepting of this.  But they're still just kids themselves.  If we can't get the parents educated what chance is there for their children's education?  My student says she's going to continue through to graduation...but how? I asked one of my girls that has a 7 month old if she missed her daughter while she was at school.  She said, "Yes but I enjoy the time away too."  How sad.  For both of them.  She doesn't truly get to appreciate the gift she's been given, and her daughter doesn't get the benefit of being with her mother as much as she should be.  What is wrong with this picture?

It gets to be very surreal sometimes.  I can't help but thinking, "that should be me not her." Then it would be a joyous occasion all around.  The responsible adult that waited until she had a career and a house would be set to raise a child.  The H.S. student would have her whole life ahead of her.  She could finish high school on time and perhaps decide to continue onto college.  But things don't seem to go that smoothly.  It almost feels as if it's one or the other.  I can't even blame her knowing what I now know to be true.  If she does get the support that she needs, she'll have a child possibly graduating college by the time she's my age. Who knows, if she aborted this baby maybe she'll never get another chance.  I know she's young.  But then I'm old and infertile.  I wish I could turn back the clock but I can't.  She probably wishes for the same thing.  It's a sad mixed up world.

I've noticed that about every five or ten years I look back and realize the mistakes that I've made and how I would change things.  It's like that song, "I wish that I knew what I know now... when I was younger." I think it was a car commercial or something.  But how do you live in the moment and have the forethought to make decisions that you're not going to regret in the future.  If I keep spending time looking back I'm going to miss what I should be enjoying now and will be regretting it when I'm fifty.
I'm sorry for rambling.  The DH and I have been under the weather lately.

It snowed another twelve inches on Friday.  I thought I'd keep the falling snow on my blog because apparently we might be getting more in the coming week.  I've lost track of how many inches we've had this winter.  I think it's around forty!

I'm trying to keep up on reading all of your blogs.  It's not easy.  You guys are really great to talk to.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mother to no one

I love following the winter olympics and Canada looks so beautiful. But the commercials are really starting to tick me off.  Particularly the P & G commercials.  There's one where they show all of the kids competing in the olympics.  Then they cut to a middle aged mom in the stands and they flash the words, "To their moms they'll always be kids." Then, "P & G proud sponsor of moms." Everybody loves moms.  Moms, moms, moms, enough already.  Why doesn't P & G care about me?  Who will step up and be the proud sponsor of the IF woman? Wouldn't that be a hoot! I can see it now, "Ferring Pharmaceutical proud sponsor of infertiles everywhere!"

The IF woman is forgotten by most everyone.  Many can be sympathetic in the beginning, but if you start to bring up the subject too many times they eventually turn on you.  A coworker recently confided in me that she is suffering from POF.  She is only 32.  I felt so bad for her.  Her FSH is over 100 and she's been to a doctor in NY that said that they can't do anything for her.  She's taking it really hard.  She's not married and never saw it coming.  The doctors told her that she can use donor eggs but it's too soon for her to think about that.  Her family was very supportive at first.  Then when her relatives began shoving babies at her during holiday gatherings and she wasn't in the mood they told her to, "get over it." This is nothing new. People are not sympathetic to the plight of the IF woman.

My own DH has even made questionable statements at times. The freshest one that comes to mind occurred on the day that my SIL gave birth for the second time.  AF had just arrived after my 4th failed IVF. I was crying and DH said, "It's not my sister's fault that you can't get pregnant." Those words will live in infamy.  Right along side the, "you're not really family" declaration during an argument over why he did not call the church after they refused to recognize him as a Catholic so that we could be godparents to my SIL's first born 4 1/2yrs. ago. I get why he did not want to call and argue that we were married there and that he went to school there for 13yrs.  It was all about the money. They hadn't seen our envelopes so they no longer considered him a Catholic.  They probably would've had we offered to turn in a few envelopes.  I gladly would've but he was "pissed." This was before we'd started ttc.  I wanted to ttc but DH had been injured in an accident and the time was not right.  I desperately wanted to be a godparent.  I was not raised Catholic so I had no say in the matter.  My mother was Catholic and my father was Baptist.  I was able to get married in a Catholic church because when I was an infant my mother sneaked me into the Catholic church and had me baptized.  I didn't even know that I had godparents until I was about 15. When DH's sister asked us I was so honored.  It would be the only opportunity that I'd ever have to be a godparent. DH only has one sibling and mine are not Catholic. As it turns out, DH became the godfather and SIL's friend was the godmother.  Since her friend was Catholic she "sponsored" my husband.  I became the photographer for the for the day. Snapshot after snapshot of everyone holding the baby.  At the end of the day there was not one photo of me holding that child.  I thought for sure SIL would ask me and DH to pose for a shot with the baby since we were the "preferred" godparents.  I was wrong.  No one cared.  Only me.  When I mentioned it to DH after arriving home that evening it turned into a big fight.  It had to.  I could no longer contain myself.  I blamed him for screwing things up with the church and he let me have it with the, "you're not really family anyway" line.  Words do hurt and I will never forget that.  He has since apologized and even tries to convince me that he'd never said it, but it'll always be there.  I would've been such a good godmother. At least I would've had the word "mother" in a title not associated with furry children.  I would've pampered her. We had already spent hundreds on the kid and she was only an infant.  Since that time my relationship with SIL and her children has lost it's momentum.  SIL doesn't really have a clue. And after unsuccessfully ttc I realize now that being a godmother was the only opportunity that I was going to get to be the "mother" of someone.  I can't help but question if I will ever be considered "family" to DH if we don't have a child.  There will be nothing that forever ties us together.  His aunt and uncle split up 4 yrs. ago after 34 yrs. of marriage.  They never had children.  My husband and his uncle "in-law" were very close.  Since the divorce it's as if his uncle never existed.  I don't want that to be me but I can't help but think that if we divorce there will be no one around who cares.  No one will miss me.  It sounds selfish but it's the way I'm feeling right now.  Like the lonely old lady in the nursing home that no one visits.  And it will probably be a county nursing home because all of my money went towards my DH's current college education.