Less drama, more LOVE

Occasionally I want to run away from all of the things (and humans), to live in the desert in relative solitude.

I suspect I’m not alone in this longing.

Connection is not an antidote to misanthropy.

I find it hard to endure people some days. Damned hard.

Guess I’m an introvert after all, notwithstanding the courtroom, boardroom, backroom advocacy and public speaking.

My life was simpler when it was just me and my dog living alone in a foreign country. So much simpler.

I miss simple.

I miss the joy of embracing a random moment, of not being pulled in 47 directions at once, of chasing a small, neurodiverse human with remarkable capacity for self endangerment, of not wondering where the love in my life went and how it got replaced with periodic drama and distress.

I miss love. Not Hollywood schlockery. Not the head over heels stuff. Love. Finding joy in the little things – favourite socks, clean teeth, crisp morning air, the first signs of Spring, random acts of kindness. Random acts of love.

I am done with the negative, the naysayers, the demands and the drivel. Done, I say.

Down with drama. I stand with LOVE.


(Re)learning to blog, community style

I miss blogging. And I need a space to be my current muddled, wonky-brained, visually impaired self. I’d like a safe one, but we take what we can get some days.

So… starting November 1, I’m joining the NanoPoblanos and committing to blog… maybe 10 days of posts, 10 days of commenting and 10 days of reading/sharing, or maybe 30 days of blogging, 10 or more days of commenting, reading, sharing. We’ll see what I can manage.

Here’s the inspiration and back story, if you want to take part too or become a cheer pepper: https://rarasaur.com/2019/10/14/10-10-10-new-format-to-our-nablopomo/

Worst Birthday Ever

The day before my birthday (in early September) I spent 8.5 hours at the emergency after 45 minutes with my usual eye doctor who could not stop my eyes from seeing double, occasionalily triple and more. My optometrist said he was fairly certain it was neurological and told me I should go to emergency at the local hhospital where eye emergencies, surgery and specialist care are handled.

Sure, he isnt an MD. Still, I started to cry. Then I got a ride to ER.

The wildly blurry, nausea and anxiety inducing vision changes started after I caught some virus that made my head hurt so badly I could not get out of bed and took gobsmacking doses of painkillers for several days. I had never had such bad headaches except quitting caffeine and these were way more intense.

The ER doctor of course had no idea what was wrong with me and chastised my optometrist for sending me to Emergency instead of calling an Ophthalmologist. I nodded, not explaining that the optometrist had said if he referred me I’d be waiting weeks at best, even on an urgent referral.

Ah, public health care. Time sensitive it does not do well. (More on that below.)

ER doc made a call and gotvme an appointment the next day with the on call Opthalmologist at the specialist eye clinic in the same hospital.

In the Uber on my way to that appointment the next morning, my driver asked why I was going to hospital, visiting someone? I said no I have to see an eye specialist. He asked why. I said, simply, I have double vision.

He immediately described symptoms that sounded identical to mine after having said that he once had terrible double vision all of a sudden. I asked if he saw a doctor. He had. I asked what had caused it. A stroke, he said, but he had no other symptoms. His double vision cleared up in it’s own a week later.

I’ve had this for about a month now. It got progressively worse over the first week and hasn’t changed much since.

It is neurological, said the Ophthalmologist after many tests and various visits from an Orthoptist and another eye clinic technician whose title I forget.

He referred me for a CT scan of my brain and orbitals (eye sockets), although he has since called me to tell me: (1) I have a CT scheduled for March 2020 that he is trying to get changed to October); and (2) that an MRI would be bbetter but he referred me for CT because the wait for MRI would be even longer. I’ve asked about paying privlately. It is complicated but last week he said we can look at finding a private neural-radiologist if he cannot get an earlier date than March 2020.

Meanwhile… 6 hours into day 2 of my tine spent at hospital earlier this month, I was given (and have to pay for) and still have a fresnel prism in the right lens of my eye. This is a plastic film with dinosaur-like ridges or lines that create a prism to help my brain see one image blurrily but not 2, 3 or more. The Orthoptwist at the eye clinic in the hospital installed it after the Ophthalmologist told me:

(1) I have a partial palsy (paralysis) in one of the six nerves connected to my right eye and mild strabismus, in both eyes but worse in the right one; and

(2) I need to take a low dose aspirin every day until we know why.

I immediately asked if he suggested the low dose aspirin because he thought I’d had a stroke. He said “we can’t rule that out so until we know you should just take it.”

Between the hospital and my regular doctor, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Diabetes, kidney disease and hypertension have been ruled out. Stroke (transient ischemic attack or mini stroke, to be more precise), aneurysm, tumor and other brain injury are still on the table as potential causes. I’ve had no recent blows to the head or other head trauma.

When the lab technician at the hospital who drew my blood after this news was delivered (to check kidney function and rule out kidney disease causing stroke, if I understood the Opthalmologist correctly – I was pretty stunned by then) wished me a happy birthday, I burst into ugly tears. His distress – like my own – was palpable. It had been a really bad day.

I have been struggling. I cant drive safely as I cant see well and my brain gets tired trying to do so. I am scared. I had requested mental health support. It would be an understatement to admit that doing so has not been a good experience.

At one point I considered how great it would be if I could do graduate research and a thesis on how the medical profession in my country and maybe others renders professional, articulate women invisible. If you can explain clearly and haven’t fallen apart completely yet, you must be fine.

I hope to find out this week that I either have a CT scan booked within the month (which may lead to a MRI r down the road) or a referral to a private, competent neural-radiologist for a MRI and report to be paid for at my own expense (I have been told my insurance likely wont cover that cost).

I am trying to stay afloat. That is as good as it gets for now.

They learn while we do

So… my two kids found defunct cell phones I kept for them to play with. They’d been playing around for a while when I overheard the elder child reciting exactly what the younger one is wearing and describing where he had last been seen.

I stop what I’m doing. I listen and, finally, I ask “are you calling the police to help us find your brother?”

The answer was yes.

They are learning while we are doing. Even though I know this, the realization floored me.

I hope I never have to make another one of those calls.

The loneliest job

I have come to the realization that parenting in the post modern, imperialist, consumption-crazy part of the world in which my family and I live, with a special needs child, whilst juggling a demanding professional job and another sensitive child whose needs may or may not be getting met… is lonely.

So, so lonely.

I had to call 911 again yesterday when the dozen plus people (and me, and Miracle #1) could not find Baby A (who just turned 4). He was found, afraid and red hot, buried underneath a big bean bag chair where I can only assume he was hiding initially to be playful but which ultimately almost became suffocating (and yet he doesn’t regulate himself enough to just get out from under it).

But until then – until he was found, almost an hour later – it was heart stopping.

He has been approved for one on one child care subsidy at his daycare. But they haven’t hired anyone yet.

The bean bag and suffocation hazards did not feature much on my radar before last night. Now fear and the scope of potential sources of suffocation for a sensory kid who loves compression and small spaces into which to cram his lean frame feels overwhelming. I feel the panic rising and an anxiety attack gurgling up just writing about it.

I was not alone when this happened. Other parents, their children – all of whom know Azulito and that he is special in his own way – and some of the daycare staff were there and were helpful. Some were simply amazing.

But the LP wasn’t there and I never did reach him. And when he came home late I didnt even want to talk about it. What for?

What I feel – beyond fear and the tidal wave of anxiety yesterday’s madness has evoked – is lonely.

So, so lonely.

I’ve said it before. It bears repeating. Parenting is hard. Parenting special kids is hard.

So, so hard.

Diagnoses: the good, the bad and the ugly

We waited almost a year for the appointment. I started out suspecting Baby Azulito (now preschooler Azulito!) may be on the autism spectrum. But since he began to receive state funded supports for his former severe speech delay and them for various other symptoms/ issues (separation anxiety, sensory seeking and defensive behaviours, hyperactivity, inflexibility to change/ new/ different/ unexpected/ unscheduled, social anxiety) his symptoms began to shift somewhat and I wondered where we would end up.

This past week Azulito was diagnosed with severe Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and anxiety. The specialized psychiatrist who assessed him offered to follow and treat him. I accepted. I told his child care providers the following day, with a plan to include them in the recommended path  forward once we have our first private meeting with the new doctor in a few weeks.

Two days later they told me he had to leave the child care centre unless he attended with a full time one on one Aide, claiming they were not equipped to handle his needs.

And so it begins.

The Unthinkable

Yesterday our large very sweet and mild mannered foster dog who was on psychiatric meds for anxiety and whose background was a void bigger and blacker than she was attacked my senior smaller dog and tried to kill her.

I intervened every single way I knew how. Over and over. The sweet lovable foster dog was unstoppable. She lunged under and around my body as I tried to form a human shield, when all else failed.

I have stopped many dog fights. This was nothing like that. I’ve never seen anything like it. A switch had flipped and she could not hear me, see me, or stop.

I screamed and screamed – as loud as I could, not caring who I woke – for help. Nobody came.

Eventually I threw myself over my senior dog, leaving only enough space to avoid crushing her and elbowing the big dog in the face. My old girl bit me, not knowing it was me, fighting as she was for her life.

I got off easy. I have a number of wounds (a foot, a hand) but no stitches and a prescription for antibiotics that should prevent any further physical harm befalling me.

My senior dog needed emergency surgery we cannot afford. I charged and borrowed to do it anyway as the vets had stabilized her and things looked promising if only she could have and recover from the surgery. Then she didn’t. She’s now on life support. I don’t know if she will live.

Other volunteers with the rescue have chipped in, their kindness precipitating more tears.

I’m having trouble living. Breathing. Eating. Sleeping. The lump in my throat is hard and sharp, my nerves jagged and jarred into action every time my phone rings.

Please don’t let it be the vet. Please don’t let it be more bad news.

Everything I thought I knew is in question. I am in question.

The grief is undulating though never softer in pitch than the roar of a stormy sea. I feel… I don’t even know anymore.

I feel at fault.

And here’s the thing. I did – nay, we did (the rescue, professional trainers, vets, vet techs) – everything, literally everything, to avoid this, never anticipating it could happen, this attack, unprovoked, nonsensical. Not by this dog. Unthinkable.

The day before this happened these two dogs were chumming on the couch together. I took a picture as the big dog gave up room so the senior could be comfortable.

I never saw this coming.

And I could not – despite it all – make her stop.

It is hard to keep breathing.