Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving, Britney and tomorrow with the plastic surgeon

Thanksgiving was great. Had six kids at my house and family and good food. Then went to David's folks house for more food and family. Jackson played very hard and still keeps saying, "I had fun with my cousins, Mommy."

I stayed in with Jackson Friday morning while David and his family braved the pre-dawn crowds for Black Friday. They said the crowds were less in the tech stores, but Kohl's was even busier than last year. Which is saying a lot. I am happy to stay in bed and let them get out there in it. David bought me the GPS system for my car that I have been wanting. And he got himself a new monitor. So we got our big presents already. But that is ok. They have such a good time researching and finding the great deals.

On Thanksgiving mishap stays with me though. My cell phone was on the island in my kitchen when we were setting all the food out. And it got brisket grease all over it. (Yes we had brisket as well as turkey and ham.) It still works just fine. But damn! It reeks of smoked meat. I wiped it down with a Clorox wipe and now it smells like bleach and smoked meat. I keep forgetting about it till the phone rings and I sit there thinking "Who's bbqing? Oh, yeah, that's my phone." Sigh. We are in the process of looking at new phones and switching to AT&T so I will have to deal with the meaty phone till we make our decisions. And our Verizon contract isn't up till December 23rd. So Christmas. Yes. Mmmmm...brisket.

I am watching MTV's Britney Spears documentary. I still find her so fascinating and find myself rooting for her to get it together. She is physically looking pretty darn good, much better than the last couple of years. But I am wondering about the hair. We all know she shaved it off when she was in a crazy fit. We know it isn't down to her ass anymore. Why does she persist in the long blond extensions under the visible short layers of her real hair? Why can't she take them out and just rock the short-hair for a while? She can't pretend her crazy time didn't happen. It just seems like such a pretension to me. You aren't 20 anymore, Britney. You had a hard time and shaved your fricken head. I had cancer. Neither of us has our gorgeous long hair anymore. Difference is she can afford the expensive extensions to pretend it didn't happen. I just have to grow through my layers. I am not the same person and neither is she. So off with the extensions Britney. Show us a 26 year-old mom who can rock the layers and be happy with it. I think it would be awesome.

Jackson and I have a new game. It's the "How was your trip?" game. I went to the store a few days ago by myself and when I came home he asked me 'How was your trip mama?' And randomly throughout the day now he asks me again, even though I haven't been anywhere. So today he asked me how my trip was and I made up a story about going to an ice cream mountain and climbing up to the top to take a bite out of the great big cherry on top. Then I asked him how his trip was and he said "Not very good." "Why," I asked. "It melted. Mama. My trip melted."

We went on telling stories for a few minutes and I ran out of ideas. He was playing with the little NYC Police car I brought him back from my NY trip in Feb. So I told him the true story of that trip. I told him Daddy and I flew on a plane and saw all the tall buildings and the lights of Time Square and we watched four Broadway shows and I bought you a New York City Police car and flew on a plane all the way home and brought it to you. Jackson loved the true story best of all and made me tell it over and over again. "Tell it again, Mommy! How was your trip, how was your trip?" Such a sweetie.

Tomorrow morning I go to the plastic surgeon to get my scar revised, as they call it. Basically the doc will numb it up, which will probably hurt like hell. Then he will cut out the scar tissue and work his plastic surgeon magic and stitch me up. I will have stitched for five days and hopefully the divot in my face will be gone. I will always have a scar, but maybe we can reduce it a little. I am a bit nervous. I am doing this under local, no happy drugs, and I am used to getting happy drugs during procedures to escape the reality of it. But not this time. I am getting my face cut into and I have to remain right there in my mind while they do it. Makes me nervous. But I am sure I will be fine, after all I gave birth without any happy drugs or escape. What is a little scar revision?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sam the Cat and the Zilker Train

This morning before taking Jackson to school he and I made a pit stop at the vet with Sam cat. He got a scratch on his head a few days ago in a probable alley cat scuffle and he messed with it and worried it into an abscess. Looks pretty gnarly. So we dropped in to the vet to get it looked at, cleaned up and antibiotified. In an out in half an hour and we dropped him back home before heading to school/work for the day.

Sam retaliated against the indignity by bringing a decent-sized pigeon into the house. He chased the bird into my bathroom leaving a trail of feathers until the bird rested/hid in the sink. I found him when I got home from work, just quietly breathing in David's sink hoping not to be found by the cat. When David got home from work, he gathered the bird in his gloved hands and hid him under a bush in the yard. I don't think he is long for this world but at least we got him out of the cat house.

We took Jackson to Zilker Park on Saturday to ride the train. We tried to ride the train a couple of months ago, but he was terrified and refused to get on. David and I were so disappointed that he was scared of the train. We thought he would be really excited and love it. But I actually wasn't all that surprised he didn't want to ride it. He is such a cautious child when it comes to such things. But in the last week or so he has begun talking about the train and wanting to ride it. So we decided to head down there and try it again. And this time we had the reaction we wanted the first time. HE was excited and ready to get on. We had such a good ride. The weather was slightly cool but it was a nice day. And we got to see them setting up the Trail of Lights displays. We definitely need to come back when the Trail is open later in December.

I need to get to my housework since I have family coming in two days. Yay housework. But sincerely, yay family coming!

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Ear for Music

Jackson has quite an ear for music. While having gyros at a little greek restaurant tonight, Hard Candy Christmas came on the radio. It was the Dolly Parton version made after she did the movie of Best Little Whorehouse. And within two words into the song Jackson piped up with, "Hey, that's the song Mommy sings!" Yup. He saw me sing that song on stage in Whorehouse and probably in the car a few times and recognized the song immediately 6 months later. He kept saying "That's my mommy singing." We didn't bother to tell him it was actually Dolly singing.

This is not the first time he has exhibited such music memory. First some background - we listen to all kinds of music in the car. But no kid music. I decided early on that we would not be investing in kid CD's and playing them in the car. Music is very important to me and jamming out in the car is one of my favorite things in the world. I have seen too many moms resign themselves to a life of listening to nothing but Sesame Street and Wiggles and Disney music. And I am sure it won't end for them there. They will graduate to whatever top 40 crap their kid likes in jr. High and whatever angst music they like in high school. Not me. When they drive their own car, they can pick the music. As long as I am the driver, we listen to my stuff.

So back to the point. Jackson is very opinionated about music. He wants to listen to what he wants. He has to argue with the CD choices I make. But at least we are arguing about my idea of good music. Some of his favorites are Guy Forsyth, Monte Montgomery and Sara Bareilles. But what astounds me is his ear. He loves Ray LaMontagne. As do I. And recently we were driving and listening to the radio when they played a brand new Ray LaMontagne song. It came on and we both perked up immediately as it is a pretty kick ass song and we had never heard it. Before the vocals started, I was thinking, "Wow, this is great, who is this?" When Ray started singing, within two or three words, at the same time, Jackson and I both yelled "It's Ray!" My three-year-old can pick out Ray LaMontange in three notes and agrees with me that Ray is awesome.

I introduced him last week to early 90's Ian Moore, which he loves. And Keb Mo. Actually anything blues he digs, like his Mama. It makes me smile when Jackson requests specific singers and specific songs from the back seat. He is into Broadway stuff too. David will be directing Big River in May so we have been listening to that. He adores it. And The Last Five Years, which is an amazing show of music, Jackson listens happily to the entire thing. You should too! (He requests song four endlessly)

What do you do with a musical three-year-old? Just because he has an interest and an ear doesn't mean he will be a musician of some kind as that is a different kind of aptitude. But I guess an interest in and recognition of music is a prerequisite to playing an instrument or learning to sing. I am certain music lessons of some sort are in his future. I am just not sure where to start.

For now I will just keep playing Jeff Buckley and Jimmy LaFave and jamming out in the car. And endlessly arguing about which Monte Montgomery album to play. "No, mamma, that is the wrong Monte!" he says when he wants his favorite instead of the one I picked. Oh, lately I have been playing the soundtrack to The Commitments and he likes it as much as I do. Of course he does, it's Soul Music. Cool kid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rejoice, I Am Not in the Hospital!

Well I have to admit that my car is running much better, smoother and just plain happier after having some money thrown at it. I even got the brakes done at Firestone as I planned.

On Friday morning I drove my mom's car to Hyundai and picked up my car. I confused the heck out of Jackson, he didn't know what we were doing, getting out of mom's car and into mine, only to drive it across the street to the Firestone and leave it there. But I promised him after we ran my errands we would have lunch at the McDonald's next door to the Firestone and he could play on the playground there. He was nervous when we had to cross the big 'highway' to get back to my mom's car. I carried him and he kept telling the cars to 'wait, you can't go yet!" He gave them permission to proceed when we got to the other side. So we then drove to the McDonald's, had some lunch, and he played for a while as I talked on the phone with my insurance agent working out the steps I need to take to fix the bumper of my mom's car. Hopefully I will have all that taken care of this week. I am on hold with the claims center now, waiting to get the claim officially filed. I'll let you know how it goes if they ever get on the line.

I was a little irritated to realize that my inspection is due this month. I didn't even notice that till after I got my car back from Firestone. You would think that having had it in the hands of two different shops last week would have led to someone mentioning it and selling me on an inspection which I would have surely accepted. But as I didn't notice and neither did they, I will have to take it in again before the month is out. Also, I had the rear brakes done, but not the front. Hyundai told me the front breaks were at 30%. So does anyone know what that means in terms of when I can expect to need the front breaks done? Do I just wait for the squeaking to begin and check on it then? I hate car repairs. I just hate being so ignorant of the process and yet I have no plans to study car maintenance to become less ignorant. Maybe I should look for one of those adult education classes that teach layman's basics. I don't really want to take such a class, but perhaps it wouldn't be a bad investment.

David got his car back on Friday also. His was in the body shop after having been hit and run in a parking garage. Today, his battery was dead and we had to run out and buy one to replace it. This is the month of car repairs. If I have any money left on Thanksgiving, I will be surprised. My cars are feeling needy and want some attention. It must have rubbed off on my mom's car. It doesn't want to be left out of the fun....still on hold with Allstate.

I can't be too upset that my cars are needy and breaking and in the shop. My family is in great shape if you consider that on this day last year I had been admitted to the hospital with the great toxic pimple saga that kicked my ass through Christmas last year. Wow. I just read over some of those blog posts and am amazed I survived it all with my sanity and my face more or less intact. And on December 1st this year I will have the remains of the beast cut out of my cheek and the divot will be history. Seriously though, what a sucky time that was. The picture pretty much says it all. food.

I have a busy week coming up at work with a playbill deadline Tuesday morning and plenty of administrative things to take care of before Thanksgiving week. We open The Gifts of the Magi on the Friday after Thanksgiving so much of the work needs to be done with one day less in the work week. And Jackson will be out of school for the holiday so I'll have less focused work time that week also.

I have three appointments scheduled this week too. And I am planning on cancelling all of them for different reasons. Tuesday is a haircut that I don't think I need yet. She said she wanted to see me back in 4 weeks, but I think it is too soon. And it is too much money to spend every month on a haircut. Geez. I think I can wait another 3 weeks or so. I am out of mullet danger for the moment so I am axing that appt.

I am also axing the fake-nail maintenance appt for Wednesday. I have been wearing finger-falsies for a couple of months and while I really love the ease of pretty nails you don't have to file and won't break, it really ads up, the appts every other week. And I have never been so high maintenance, WTF, who is this girl? Hair salon every four weeks and the nail salon every other week with a pedicure once a month thrown in? I act like I have money with my discount Coach purse and my fake nails. Heh, add that image to me climbing out of my dinged up little Hyundai (cause I am a terrible driver who likes to hit dumpsters) and you have an incongruous image. So off with the fake nails. I cut them down and as they grow out will keep cutting them down till the acrylic is gone. And now that I am hopefully out of the habit of nail biting, I can have my own nice nails and maintain them myself. I did it before, and I can do it again. Sans acrylic.

The third appt is with a Plastic Surgery Center in Westlake. As I am happy with the Doc I met in Georgetown and am assured that he is a board certified, trained plastic surgeon and not a podiatrist-turned-plastics I don't need to haul myself into Austin to have my insurance poo poo'd by the big dogs. Georgetown Plastic Surgery did not even flinch and said "Of course it will be covered, it's due to chemo. It isn't considered cosmetic."

So there. I have just dropped several maintenance levels. This week I am not getting my hair done at the Aveda Salon, not visiting the nail spa and not consulting the plastic surgeon in Westlake. But I am keeping my dinged up, desperately in need of a vacuum Hyundai Elantra...and my outlet mall Coach purse.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Car repairs, ulcers and politeness

I am really tired. Just worn out. This week at work I have been getting my hands into the playbill(yay!)for our Christmas show and coordinating a photo shoot for publicity shots and creating the poster and sending off the elements for the ads in the local newspapers. At the same time I have had an appt with the plastic surgeon and a check-up with my Oncologist. And have been dealing with car repairs, car repairs, car repairs.

My car needed breaks and was running with a shimmy and just needed work. Transmission flush and spark plugs and all that. So I have been driving my mom's car while mine is in the shop. Except...except...I really don't want to type this. Don't want to confess it to anyone. I don't want to talk about how a fucking dumpster jumped out in front of me while I was driving my mom's car. I don't want to talk about how extremely crappy it feels to have damaged the car my mom loaned me for a week while my car is bleeding the money out of my bank account. And I don't want her to have to deal with it. So I got an estimate on it, and I think my insurance will cover it minus my deductible. And I can get it in the shop maybe Monday and have it fixed for her.

My car is still at the dealership. I went after work and paid them for their part and left it there. In the morning I am taking it across the street to the Firestone to get the break job that it needs. I can save $100 by having Firestone do it instead. Maybe I could have saved more if Firestone had done everything, but I have had such good experiences with Hyundai finding things to fix that were under warranty, I just wanted to give them an opportunity to do so again. No such luck this time.

But they did find that one of the lug nuts on my tire was either over-torqued or mis-threaded. They couldn't get the tire off without breaking it. So they broke it, then fixed it. $100. Yay! They told me that I should go back to Firestone, who put the tires on, to get them to pay me back for that. So I will attempt that but anticipate the run around and don't really want to argue about it. I am somewhat meek in the high maintenance bitch department. (Unless you are married to me ;)

So to sum up: I am exhausted, broke and fully engaged in the operations of the Palace and getting the Christmas show Collateral ready.

Jackson is having his first experience with cancer sores in his mouth. He was complaining this afternoon that his 'teeth' hurt and was really distressed. So when we got home I had him lean his head back into my lap and he let me take a look in there with a flashlight. And sure enough, he has cancer sores. Which actually made me happy to see since it explained his pain and I was afraid we were talking cavities and the horror of fillings on a three-year-old. Poor baby was hurting though so I gave him some Tylenol and put on a paste I got from the doctor way back when I had bad sores from chemo.

At the dealership this afternoon, all the new cars had big yellow happy face balloons tied onto them and Jackson really wanted to look at them. When I realized all the cars in the show room had 6 or eight balloons tied to each of them so I decided to go in and see if they would give one to the small boy. They did. You can't resist a small boy with balloon hope in his eyes. And he was so polite. "Thank you for the happy face balloon," he kept saying. They all laughed at the death grip he had on the string. He won't let you tie it to his wrist. "Don't tie it, don't tie it," he chants any time he is handed a balloon. I assured them that the boy knows what happens when you let go and he won't do it. It is starts to get windy, he cried out for me to take the balloon so it doesn't blow away. He is well aware of the consequences of letting it go.

He is such a polite boy sometimes. And caring, how did he get such empathy and caring? Elaine had dinner with us on Tuesday before her soccer game and she was taking the photos for the Palace on Wednesday. She came to get me so we could go to the Palace and the very first thing Jackson said when he saw her was "How was your soccer game?" He remembered that she was going to play the night before and somehow has learned the social skills to ask her how it went. Shit, I didn't even ask her how it went. I never ask and I know she plays every week. I am an asshole and my son has apparently outstripped me on the social skills. So if you are reading this Elaine, How were your last 50 soccer games since I failed to ask and was called out by my three-year-old?

Monday, November 10, 2008

In search of perfection

Jackson is such an interesting person. This morning he came into my room crying, sobbing, devastated. I took him into my arms and asked him what was wrong and he said, "I'm not perfect. I'm not per-her-fe-he-hect!" It was so sad. I wasn't sure what to say. Or where that had come from. But I questioned him till I figured out that he had just seen a song on Jack's Music Show on Noggin about 'no body's perfect'. I sure wish I had heard the song. Then I would know maybe what the hell set him off. It was noggin, for pre-schoolers, so it was probably just something my weirdo kid found devastating. I tried to tell him it was ok,that no one is perfect, but that didn't seem to help. And I don't think he really understands what perfect means. I dunno. It was one of those moments of parenting when you go 'shit, I am really raising another whole person here. This is not a game!'

Aaannd this is why they tell you to watch tv with your kid. So when they start crying because they aren't perfect, you might know WTF set them off.

I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon today to talk about the scar on my face. I was hoping the plan would be to simply plump up the divot with some filler or harvest some fat from the place of my choice and fill it up with that. But alas it will not be that easy. The doc says that it is scar tissue banding and pulling that is making the divot and filler won't help. So we have to actually excise the scar and put in stitches and start all over. He thinks that it can definitely look better than it does now. The dimple casts a shadow and I feel it makes me look tired and droopy. So I am going to do it. It will be a 30-minute procedure in the office, stitches for five days and then creams and make-ups till it looks good. So December 1st is the day. Heh, I went to David's company Christmas party last year with a band-aid on my face and here I am getting elective scar revision the first of December. But I just want to get it over with.

The doc also thinks my insurance will cover the procedure. So that is awesome. And I want to do it now before my insurance rolls over my deductibles and such next year. Interesting that I called several plastic surgeons in Austin and none of them were interested in billing my insurance or even asking if it was covered. The receptionist at one place was frank with me when I asked why. She said it wasn't worth it to the doc. My insurance might pay them a couple hundred for a scar revision. They are making bank on face lifts and liposuction. My measly insurance payment ain't nothing. And they wanted to charge me $55 for a consult. I went ahead and made an appointment because you have to make them a month in advance. But my Oncologist gave me the name of a board certified plastic surgeon in Georgetown and he was totally interested in my insurance and got me in in 2 weeks time. Said this is a chemotherapy-related injury and is billable and should be covered. I just felt like I mattered there. My little scar left over from a freak chemo infection that I don't like looking at every day matters as much to this doc as the boob jobs and face lifts. So I am cancelling the appointment in Westlake and going to the guy in Georgetown. So there.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Restless nights and accidents

For the past several months Jackson has been sleeping most of the night in my bed. He comes in around 1 or 2 and stays till morning. The problem is that even with a king size bed there isn't enough room. David requires a lot of space. He can't sleep if Jackson so much as touches him. And Jackson is an active sleeper. He tosses and turns and flails and kicks. And talks. He has a lot to say in the wee hours of the morning.

I have been so reluctant to put an end to this for many reasons. I love being able to hold him and cuddle with him. And though the talking wakes me up, I sure love listening to what he has to say. Lately all he talks about is being buddies. He gets in my bed and says, "Mom, let's be buddies." Or "Mom, we can be buddies together." Or, "We are sleeping buddies, Mom."

But my sleep really began to suffer. He wants to dictate how I lay, "No mom, turn over this way, you need to hold me." And somehow his body knows when it is 6:00 in the morning and he wants to get up. And he starts in on me. "Mom, can I get up? Can I get up now? Is it up time? Can I get up?" Relentless, incessant, unflaggingly persistent. Before the sun is even up, I am bugged within an inch of my life.

And then the time changed. So now his body knows when it is 5:00 in the morning. And it only took one morning of that to make me decide that for sure, Jackson cannot sleep in our bed anymore.

I don't want him to be unable to come in at night if he gets scared. I spent a lot of time as a child running to my dad because of nightmares. But he just can't stay all night. He needs to go back to his room. So I had a talk with him a few nights ago at bedtime. I explained that there wasn't enough room in my bed for us all and that he was keeping his dad and me awake. I told him that if he came into my room at night, I would give him hugs and kisses, but that he would have to go back to his bed. He seemed to understand, but I really feared what would happen. In the past, putting him back in his room has led to an hour or more of crying and loudness and miserableness had by all.

But I was amazed that the very first night, he climbed into my bed and after a few minutes of me holding him, I was able to put him back to bed without incident. He came back a half hour later, came to my bedside and got a few hugs and kisses, then went back to his bed on his own. I was so impressed. Last night he did the same thing. Came in, got hugs and kisses, went back to his bed.

He is still waking up at 6 or 6:30 and coming in, only to be sent back by his dad. That is upsetting him. He has cried both times, but only for about 5 minutes or so. I am hoping this lasts and that he has and will accept that he has to sleep in his own bed, but that his mommy will always comfort him if he gets scared or needs to get hugs.

So we are two months into the pre-school term and Jackson is still having pee pee accidents at least one out of the three days and sometimes two. I have been feeling really bad about this and wondering what it is I need to be doing to help Jackson stop peeing his pants and go to the potty when he needs to. He does well at home and out and about, but at school, he doesn't get there in time. Runs to the bathroom saying, "Oh no, oh no" while losing his bladder all over himself. The teachers say they ask him if he needs to go, but he will often tell me 'no' when I ask him if he is busy or interested in something else. I wonder if the other kids are having accidents and how often. I thought that peer pressure would cause him to not want to pee his pants, but it seems he doesn't really get hassled by the other kids, or if he does, it doesn't bother him enough to get to the potty on time.

I have been kinda beating myself up about it and I talked to my mom yesterday about it. She gave me a whole different perspective. She said it was more their problem than mine. She said I need to meet with them to find out what they are going to do to get him to the bathroom. Reminders are not effective with this particular three-year-old. He needs to be told to go, taken in hand. Their needs to be a bona fide potty break. I know they want the kids to independently go when they need to instead of having any designated potty times, but I think that may be what Jackson needs. He needs the action to stop so he isn't so afraid of missing something. Mom suggested I ask that he be taken to the bathroom whenever a specific 'buddy' goes. Maybe if another kid id going he will too.

She also said to tell them that if they can't get him to the potty, that she will come up every hour and take him herself. I am pretty sure that is just a threat. But I think it is interesting that I have been looking at this as my failing and she pointed out to me that it is just as easily looked at as theirs. I really like the pre-school he goes to, but I do think we would all be a lot happier if he had a lot fewer accidents. And they need to be more proactive with him and I need to have a conversation with the director about it on Tuesday.

This afternoon the mother of one of his classmates called me to tell us that they are taking their son to the circus tomorrow and he has been requesting that Jackson come too. So we are going to meet at the circus at 11:00 tomorrow and take the boys to the circus. Fun times.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Boo Boo

Jackson was looking for me when I was in my closet and I yelled out to him, "I'm in here, boo boo. I call him that sometimes. Always have. I am not sure that he had ever really paid attention to it. This time he noticed though and said, "Boo boo? Why did you call me that?" I told him it was just something I call him sometimes. "Oh," he said. "Then I will call you sore."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A&M Cancer Panel

Yesterday I took a road trip with 5 other young adult cancer survivors to Texas A&M to participate in a blood cancer panel for their 2nd year med students. I had a good time on the ride up shooting the shit with my car mates about the various horrendous side effects of our respective chemos. We all had a good laugh about the 'mild' bone pain associated with the neulasta shot and commiserated about the state of our hair. For the first time I got to listen to a man bitch about losing his full head of shoulder-length cork-screw curls. He showed off his drivers licence and we all had a good laugh about his awesome hippy-liberal hair and how much it sucks to have it all gone. The guys said that their hair came back in thinner as if the process hastened any male-patterned baldness they may have had in their future. Anna, a college student overcoming Leukemia had long, thick, dark red hair and mourned the loss of it as much as I

Anyhow, hanging out with other young people who have had this carnage inflicted on their bodies is really cool and you might be surprised at the level of humor and fun with which we talk about it all. Fun in a sick sort of way.

At the University, we were ushered into an auditorium classroom that held maybe 60 or 70 students, many of whom had laptops open and starbucks in front of them. They looked very young, but very interested in the presentation. Courtney from Planet Cancer presented a power point full of statistics on the abominable survival rates of young adults and the negative gains we have had in the last thirty years. She really hit it home when she said to them that the survival rates today have made no gains from before they were born. She also talked about the unique needs and concerns we have - fertility, peer support, the stop sign in the middle of career or school goals and the fact that our choices are forever limited by the need to have health insurance at all times.

The students had the opportunity to ask us any questions they had and I got a lot of questions about marriage and family since I was the only married parent in the group. Interestingly I got several questions about how my husband handled it and if my marriage suffered. I told them that David was awesome and that our families circled the wagons to support us and that it would have been much different had we been alone to take care of it all. A serious illness could tear a couple apart very easily or it can make you stronger. I am lucky to have experienced the latter. It was really hard. It is really hard to be a good mom and wife when you are bloated and sick and bald and scared. And it must be hard to be a good husband when the focus is not on your pain and fear and on the load you must bear. And I am grateful that David transcended that and loved my bloated, bald, irritable sick ass for all those months.

The students were also very interested in the cost. The cost of insurance and what I had to pay and did I have to fight for it. I told them all about my hours on the phone with billing clerks and Aetna and how I never pay a bill before double checking it for errors. Some of them were incredulous to think that someone might be denied treatment for lack of ability to pay. I told them that the cancer center isn't the ER, they don't have any mandate to treat anyone. They do what they can, but can take on only so much charity work. And it takes a lot to qualify for medicaid. I know a lady who works in the office that determines who gets covered and who doesn't. She told me that a young woman with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer would be denied until she hit stage 4. Stage 4 is terminal, stage 1 or 2 is curable. So Medicaid would deny the person they could cure until they could no longer be cured, then they'd go ahead and cover her. How fucked up is that? And my age group is the most likely to be uninsured.

I think it bodes well that they really were interested in our experiences and seemed to relate to us well. They will hopefully remember us when they set up their practices. Courtney had a great quote in her presentation. She said 'Doctors have a saying, "When you hear hoof beats, look for a horse, not a zebra." Well that's great unless you are a zebra. This panel is nothing but zebras.'

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trick or Treat!

This is our third Halloween as parents and for the first time we have been trick or treating! Last year he didn't get it, wouldn't wear a costume but had a good time handing out candy. This year we started early talking about costumes and Halloween and the cartoons he watches have all kinds of Halloween plots to them. So he was ready. We looked at pictures online and in circulars to find a costume he would wear. I knew it would be tricky with him being as picky about what he wears as he is. He decided early on that the only acceptable costume would be a race car. "A race cacr driver?" I asked with high hopes. But no. Race car. So I googled race car costume and the inevitable Disney pre-fab costume came up and Jackson fixed his sights and set his heart on being Lightning McQueen. Sigh.

Mommy thinks pre-fab costumes are lame and would much rather make something with card board and tempera paint, but alas, mommy has little say in what Jackson wears and if Trick or Treating was to be in our future, I knew we would have to have a pre-fab Disney Car costume. We went to a couple of stores in search of one with no luck, even scaring the crap out of Jackson by taking him into one of the only-open-during-October costume stores with scary-ass statues and latex figures and fog and scary music. Am I sadistic to take my three-year-old into such a place knowing it would probably scare him? Yeah. So what. He was mesmerized by a life-sized witch statue - so much that he put his speed racer car down on her pedestal while he studied her. When we got out to the car he got all upset because he lost his car. David went back in and found it thankfully. I guess he hadn't really meant to leave it as an offering to the witch.

So having no luck finding the foam Lightning locally, I found the best price I could online and had it priority shipped. Luckily it came in time and Jackson liked it. So we had him costumed for trick or treating. Funny that I spent a small fortune on the costume but was too cheap to spring for one of those little pumpkin candy baskets. We took his soccer ball Easter basket instead. Here he is in all his glory.

I rummaged around in the costume room at the theatre at work on Friday and found a saloon girl costume to wear. Working in the theatre has its small privileges sometimes. I don't look quite as good as Sabrina did wearing this in A Christmas Carol last year, but I am happy to fit into it anyway. And I love red.

Jackson held his daddy's hand as we walked the neighborhood begging for candy. I was so proud of the boy for speaking up each time and saying "Trick or treat" like a champ. He also said "Thank you" to each person without having to be prompted each time. I realized that it was probably easy for him because David and I said "Thank you" each time and he was following our example. I was proud none-the-less. He was a happy, polite little boy and we had fun.

One little old man who was sitting in his garage pointed out the stuffed fish on his garage wall and told Jackson to come back i a few years and he'd take him fishing. He had a little boat in the garage and pointed it out. Jackson left with us, chattering the whole time saying, "He's gonna take me fishing in his boat, daddy!" I think the old man was pleased to hear Jackson so happy about fishing.