Saturday, July 19, 2008

Don't ya just love the sun?

I do. And I heard on Oprah the other day - and everyone knows that makes it the gospel - that we don't get enough sun. This doc was on saying how women (and others I guess) avoid the sun because of the skin cancer scare. The doc emphasized that sunburn is what we should avoid, not sunshine. So we're not getting enough Vitamin D and it somehow acts like a hormone that affects our general health and feeling of well-being. How do you like that?

Today Luke and I played outside and swam and played some more. We had fun. We got sun. We got Vitamin D. Hurrah!

Do you spend enough time in the sun?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Professional Responsibility

Today I was late leaving work due to an urgent referral from a nurse. He had just heard an unusual question from our patient. The guy had asked him, "how long have I been here?" He was referring to the length of time he had been in TDCJ. The nurse came down the hall and told me he was concerned. This patient had never appeared confused before and today he seem to have an altered mental status.

I interviewed the patient - using a mini mental status exam - and determined he was not oriented to date, had impaired short-term and long-term memory, had reduced appetite, and had speech with an unusual rhythm. After he told me he had been missing meals, I weighed him and found he had lost 9 pounds in a 10-week period. A quick review of his medical record also indicated he had seen the medical provider a few weeks ago and received a tentative diagnosis of TIA (that's a mini stroke to us non-medical folks). The patient had been waiting on a referral for 2 weeks. As he was not evidencing any signs of a current TIA, the nurse and I had no choice but to send him back to his cell. Good luck!

So there I was feeling very bad and more than a little concerned about the patient, and I realized that unless my car could sprout wings, I'd be late for daycare. Great. I wish I could say these days happened rarely but I have some sort of patient crisis about once a week. I wouldn't mind so much if they'd happen earlier in the day.

BTW, when I looked up the patient's TDCJ information, I found he had been incarcerated for 21 years on a 30-year sentence for murder of an unknown male and attempted murder (with a hammer) of his wife.

Earlier in the day, I was facilitating group therapy and a colleague interrupted me to tell me one of my patients had another pseudo-seizure and I was needed in the ER. The group members were irritated by the interruption.

This evening, the daycare workers were (only slightly) irritated by me sliding in a few minutes late.

Why is it that no matter how hard I work, I end up either apologizing to some people or feel like I should?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Upon turning 50

I'm not actually 50 yet but soon will be. And I'm not freaking out about being old so much as beginning to freak out about what I have not yet accomplished. I didn't realize it but I guess I've had these preconceived notions of how my life would look at 50. I certainly didn't think I would have a young child again. I thought I would have more money, time, and freedom for travel. Certainly believed I would own my own home. I never thought I would be this heavy. Thought that by now I'd be earning much more and have those student loans paid down. Didn't think I would ever have to live without my daughter. Thought maybe I would have found a companion -- I've never wanted to remarry.

But I've laid awake tonight, as in recent nights, thinking about the wherefores. My spiritual philosophy has been that I am basically where I'm supposed to be in life. That I'm accomplishing things on a deeper level so that when I go back home, my soul will have progressed. I do believe that. I just can't believe that I don't deserve to have some of the other stuff here.

I know the work that I do is important. I help an under-served population. It would be nice if the federal government would view my work like it does that of teachers and nurses. Then my student loans could be forgiven. Of course, our society's view of the importance of mental health treatment is a huge soapbox topic by itself.

Why can't I do the work I want and still make money? I know that my career path is at least on an upward incline now. I finally received my temporary LPC license. At some future point, I'll be eligible for promotions and a higher pay scale. But there's a big part of me that feels like time is running out. Time goes by so quickly now. Remember when we were little and it seemed like Christmas took forever to come around again? I blink now and it's here again.

Before anyone (who means well) suggests I use positive thought, believe me, I do. All day. And before I go to sleep. It's these times in the middle of the night when the goblins of self-doubt come around. Why did I make the choices I did that led me to this place? Can I please go back in time and tweak just a few things?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday

I can write about this now. My lovely daughter, Rachel, would have been 27 on June 17, 2008. We had a birthday party for her, her son, his father, my son, her sister, me, and Rachel. She loved the big chocolate chip birthday cookies and that's what we had for her. More chocolate than white icing (yes, we remembered Rachel). And lots of butterflies - on the cookie, the napkins/plates, and streamers. We had her favorite punch, the sherbet kind, green - her favorite color. Sang happy birthday. Her son blew out the candles. We watched a few videos of her. Most of what we have are of her with the children. And I think more of her video taping the kids than actually in them. But we heard her voice, saw a bit of her, and saw things through her eyes. Her love for her family and for nature is so obvious.

We will always miss you, Rachel. I know that in spirit you've only returned to your true form. And I know that you still visit us often. Still watch over your son. Can you see how beautifully he's growing, Rachel? How much like you he looks? He's a great kid. I know you're proud of him. Happy Birthday, baby.

jeez with the whine

So yesterday I went to court again regarding my soon-to-be son's case. This was the second time we were supposed to go to trial to terminate parental rights. Once again, due to some technical glitch, we were postponed for another 3 months. I was disappointed, to say the least. Still not closer to adopting him. Another vacation day wasted. More time off work means working that much harder when I go back. Tired of going to court. Tired of attorneys and court rooms. Tired of that stupid drive downtown. Tired of not being his legal mom.

I told a friend about it and complained, "Jeez, you'd think these people got paid by the month! They keep postponing this until it's almost 2 years later!" Then she said, "uh, they DO get paid by the month."

Call me an optimist or just some sort of wishful thinker or call me anything you want, really, I won't hear you, but I started thinking of some of the positives in all this.

Even though I can't call myself his legal mom, I do call myself his mother. More importantly, he calls me "mommy." Even though I don't like the drive downtown and the traffic, I do have a car that I trust, have air conditioning, have a radio/CD player, and can afford the gas it takes me to get there. I do get to go to court and have court appointed attorneys working on this case. I have a GREAT CPS caseworker. We hear so much about the bad CPS people but I have had 2 out of 2 good people working on this case. I do have vacation days to take off. How many people don't get any paid time off? And I do have a job I love to which to return.

I am adopting this boy I call my son. It may take longer than I would have liked, but it is happening.

Who would have "thunk" it a few years ago (least of all me!)? I'm a mommy again. I have a son.