Monday, October 17, 2011

On Choices...

This month has been an interesting one. There has been some major progress on the book scene, a few set-backs on the health scene, the continuing countdown to the end of something that has become a lifeline to me and a couple blasts from the past. I'll be honest, that last part shows some major progress in my life.
     It wasn't that long ago when anything or anyone from my past was banned from my present. All that was allowed in was my best friend from childhood and my family. But, social media works in weird ways. I joined Facebook because of my wonderful online friends at Tiel Talk. Then, a little at a time, people I knew from my childhood church started to trickle into the "friends list." A year later I stared letting down my guard a bit and people I knew from Cumberland Christian School joined the group along with former co-workers. However, there was one group that always got the "not now" or flat out "ignore." It was anyone from my seven years in Colorado. Why?
     That question gets answered in today's mania. See, a couple weeks ago, someone asked me why I've been coming across online as someone in their early twenties versus someone nearly thirty-four. Supposedly, I'm "normally" a serious minded person with a no-nonsense personality. I had to think that over, reread posts, and ask a few others. It's not like I didn't know, I just wanted to verify before verbalizing it. I see my twenties as something that was taken in a series of bad situations. From the two years of lies that turned into three and a half years of an abusive marriage, to moving thirteen times in eleven years across three states, to just wandering lost as I tried to figure out who I was and how I was going to move on. Right in the end, just as I was getting my feet under me and was in a wonderful relationship with the person I call my soulmate -the man I am now married to- my minor health issues from years past became not so minor. The twenties were something I didn't have such fond memories of and wanted to forget.
     I'm facing a condition that is increasingly affecting my quality of life. I think that was the first reason why I started down this road. I want to live my life to the fullest while I am still physically able to. I spent six weeks of this summer on my back, and believe me there was a lot of depression and bad attitude to go with it. That had to stop and one of my dearest friends sat with me one evening and forced all that bad emotion out so I could see how I was coming across. Before the injury I had been on this younger persona road, and he helped get that back on track. The second would be finding out how much fun it is to teach high school students and the joys of mentoring a few of them. They make me feel young, and if anyone was in the Lowes in town last Friday, act young. (Yes, that was me with one of my students trying to find items in each aisle that could take out zombies.) Then you throw in my virtual world where many of the people I interact with are in their twenties and, if they are older, they generally don't act it. It is a place where I can forget the pain and frustration for a couple hours, a place I can laugh freely. The combination has healed me more than anything.
     So, in His perfect timing, God decided it was time for me to face the twenties I actually lived through and not the ones I'm recreating in my daily attitude. He took what had to be the two "safest" people out of that painful seven and a half years and put them in my path. Oh, I balked and whined for sure but hit "accept" anyway. You know what I found out? It wasn't so bad facing them. If anything, it built up my confidence. I am just as eager to press forward with this younger persona online and off. I'm not going off and making stupid mistakes with a live-and-learn attitude. I already did that! This is just how I am choosing to be. As our elders may say, "You are only as old as you think."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Once upon a year (PKU post)

     Once a year Owen and I take a day off of work and take a little trip. The drive is probably one of the most boring in the state, but the destination city isn't so bad. We start the day with a list of places we want to shop at and a list of items we just cannot get in our rural county. One of the most important, if not THE most important, stop is at an international food market. It is inside where my husband of four years suddenly turns into a child. We wander through the aisles, making frequent pauses to pick up food from his youth. Various British or European items fill the little basket until we just give up and grab a proper cart. Ribena, McVitties, Walkers Chips and more are piled in. I just smile and hope the bank account can handle the withdraw.
     After our shopping adventures, it is the real reason for our visit. Owen starts to get moody and I just sigh and pick up the bag I brought along. Inside is a notebook, three days of diet sheets, something for me to drink, one of Owens' metabolic formulas and whatever magazine we decided to bring along. We check in at the front desk of the massive clinic attached to the even more massive hospital system and head up to the fourth floor. That is where things get a bit more uncomfortable. That floor belongs to the "Children's Hospital" and the bright murals, toys and children all hit you at once. However, it is also where the Genetics department has its clinic. Owen is here for his annual appointment with his nutritionist and his metabolic specialist.
     I smile and do what I can to settle him down as we wait for his turn. In truth, I'm not doing so well myself. I had overdone it over the past couple days and my own condition is acting up. However, what is, is, and we are soon called back. Barb is a wonderful woman with a no nonsense attitude and years of dealing with stubborn patients like the one sitting next to me. She first asks the basic questions, then notices that Owen has not sent her a blood test in too many months. I cringe as she gives me a look that says "and why not? You're his wife." After years of seeing that look I say, "I'm his wife, not his mom. He gets reminders and suggestions about it." For once, she actually agrees...normally I still get that look for the rest of the visit. She then makes Owen complete the test from start to finish right in front of her. He was so embarrassed, but it needed to be done. PKU isn't something to mess with. From there she looks over the three days of diet sheets she asked for, talks to us about his low weight and lower stamina, asks about his daily formula and all the other things that go along with being an adult with PKU. Then, she says something that made me want to scream. She wants him to take his blood one month from that day and send it in with a month of diet sheets. No, no, no! My mind screams.
     If you read anything at all from the PKU blog I wrote for two years you know what it is like to have someone with PKU in the house. If not, I encourage you to read that journey. I know full well that he is not going to keep those sheets and it is going to be up to me. I shift uncomfortably in my seat, partly from the announcement and partially because by that point I could trace my sciatic from hip to arch. Barb notices, looks at my hand brace then down to the compression garments showing on my crossed legs and asks how things are with me. Since screaming wasn't an option, I just shrugged it off with a "as well as it can be" and hoped she would bring in the specialist soon. It worked! Dr. Wilson and Owen chat up what is going on with the PKU world and offers up some hope with BioMarins latest projects. He also comments how it is nice to see me off a cane for once. I had to agree, even though I wished I had it with me by that point. With that we are dismissed, hopefully for another year. Of course we will see each other along the way, at various picnics, walk-a-thons or cooking classes. But Owen sighs with relief as we leave and I cringe again, thinking about the diet sheets and how in the world I am going to make him take his blood on schedule. Just another insight into Morgan's Mania!