MPO (missing, presumed overwhelmed)

Wow! Have I really not posted a single update since last August? Well, the blog doesn’t lie. I certainly have been missing from this space for a long time. I’ll try to give you a concise update of the past several months.

Since the job loss last August, I was unemployed for a total of 6 weeks. That’s a very short time based on what some of my friends have experienced in their own lives. I took a job with an international provider of fulfillment services in October 2013. I was taking inbound customer service calls for a major sweepstakes company. I say was, because in mid-January, I became ill and then in February I began having dizzy spells again. I was diagnosed with Menier’s way back when I was about 22 years old, so dizzy spells are nothing new to me. In March, I had a dizzy spell at work on a Friday morning. The following Monday, I woke up at 1 a.m. with a dizzy spell and just thinking about going in to work the night before had triggered an episode that ultimately lasted about 9 hours. I knew that I needed to quit my job. My health wasn’t going to rebound until I did. So at 1:30 that Monday morning, I spoke with DH and broke the news. He took it well, saying “You have to do what you have to do.”. I knew he was disappointed, but that he understood the spells were beyond my control.

Understand that I have held several jobs since being diagnosed and the only common ground this job held with the one other job that I had quit due to dizzy spells was that both companies treated their employees like machines. The first company had unachievable standards for productivity. And I really mean that. We were expected to complete our assignments in 1 hour and then get the next hour’s work from our supervisor. No allowance for the time it took to stand in line with the rest of your shift waiting your turn for work was given. No allowance for the needed time to organize the work or pull the correct files was given either. Everyone (yes, we talked on breaks & lunches) was continually being given verbal or written warnings that they had better bring up their productivity or risk being terminated from employment. Ridiculous!

My recent past employer also maintained an atmosphere that made us feel like we were less than human. The 2 days that I was legitimately ill in January dropped my attendance rating from a 5 (highest given) to a 1 (lowest given without termination). The company HR department and my supervisor had both firmly stated that if we were ill, because we are a large call center, do not come in to work because it would just make more people ill and increase workloads for those not ill. And yet, they dock us for not coming in when we are sick. Yes, that rating of 1 on my attendance meant that although I had achieved the 25 cent/hour bonus pay for the 3 months prior, I was not eligible for that bonus for the month of January-due to my “poor” attendance. I was also informed that even if I had gone to the doctor and received a note stating that I was indeed ill, the note would not have taken effect until the day after I received it. I’m sorry, am I supposed to request that my cold/flu should give me 24 hours notice before taking me out? How absurd! Well the stress this brought on (and other issues there) triggered some lasting episodes of dizzy spells through February, culminating in the March episodes. This forced me to rethink my employment there and I went in the following Tuesday morning and told them I needed to quit and that I was sorry but I wouldn’t be able to give them the customary two weeks notice due to the unpredictable nature of the dizzy spells. I was kind. I blamed my illness, not the company, but I had to get out of there. Since leaving, I have had one full-fledged dizzy spell and many close calls, probably due to residual stress. I am praying that the month of April sees my return to good health.

During this time, last August, I also returned to being a catechist for a group of twelve 9th grade boys. You see, I can handle stress just fine 🙂 ! I’ve always enjoyed teaching and I do enjoy teaching this group of guys as well. I was informed (frequently!) that this group was difficult to work with and would try my patience. Good grief, they’re just boys! And unfortunately, the methodology used to teach them (lessons on video) does not work well with the learning style of boys. Nor does it impress upon them the need for a deep faith relationship with God. I understand why this method is being used. it is used because, unfortunately, we can not count on getting volunteers to step forward and teach who are faithfully Catholic. How sad that there were so many years in the formation of today’s adults where the beauty of our Catholic faith was not taught to us and so very few of us realized that we had an unfulfilled yearning for God and looked for that beauty later on in our lives. The early mistakes made in the implementation of Vatican II cost our churches dearly. I am grateful for the nudges that made me look deeper and deeper into my Catholic faith and it’s customs & rituals. Those nudges helped me to realize the beauty that lies within those sacred ceremonies. Thanks be to God!

Teaching the boys has been very rewarding. They have been open to trying new forms of prayer. They seem to have enjoyed some of our non-scripted discussions. I even brought in dessert as a treat for our last class before spring break and, true to their teenage years, they were quite enthusiastic about that as well. I’m thinking about trying the sung version of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with them for two reasons: 1: I’ll bet no one has ever taught them the beauty of the chaplet and 2: Not one of them is in band (Ditty is and I never saw any of them at the concerts which are required attendance for band students) so they must have taken choir (9th grade is required to take one year of music class for high school graduation). Since I therefore have singers in my class, I say “Let’s get them singing!”. For their own comfort however, we will go down to the chapel for this part of the lesson so that they don’t have to sing (and risk being heard) by the other 9th grade boys class which meets across the hall from our room. Yes, I do take their feelings into account and I realize that they might not be ready yet to stand strong and proud in front of their peers as followers of Christ.

We had a nice Thanksgiving and a lovely Christmas. The kids enjoyed the break from school and I wished that I would have had more time off with them. (Wish granted, I guess.)

DH & I had a nice time at the ice fishing tournament in late January with our friends. Although that was when I suspected the dizzy spells were coming on. Kavanaugh’s was a nice time away for us.

We went to Florida this year for the kid’s spring break and all 5 of us were able to go making this the first real, total family vacation we have taken in about 6 or so years. It was a nice time even if it was a bit cold down there. And here’s a tip, if you’re looking for a really good seafood dinner: Go to George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille on Sanibel Island. They have the best fresh seafood items I have ever tasted!

Well, that brings you up to date, more or less on where my life is. I hope & pray your life is going well and that you enjoy a long life and happiness as well.

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Please pray for . . .

Carol and Teri and Evelyn.

Carol has been diagnosed with cancer.  The doctors believe they got all of it, but she may not be returning to work the rest of this school year.  Carol is a much loved science teacher for the middle school grades at the catholic school my children attend.  The middle schoolers enjoy all the “fun” stuff they get to do in her class.  She enjoys teaching them to explore using the scientific method.

Teri has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She is in the midst of round 2 of her chemotherapy.  The doctors also believe they removed all of the cancer.  Teri is a family friend and a very outgoing person.  If there is a family in our school who does not know her, it’s only because she hasn’t seen them at a school event.

Evelyn was born last Friday with Down’s Syndrome.  Her parents fought bravely against a doctor who kept pushing her mother to abort her.  24 hours after Evelyn’s birth, she was diagnosed with a condition that mimics leukemia and requires much of the same treatment.  Evelyn has received 3 sessions of chemotherapy in her first week of life.  This condition is only present in some Down’s babies.  I’ve been keeping up with Evelyn’s CaringBridge site and can honestly say that she is a beautiful baby.  Her parents have their other children in our school and are active members of our parish.

Please keep these people in your prayers.

Thank you.

I want off this merry-go-round

I hoped I was done with the merry-go-round of Menier’s.  I know this isn’t possible, but it has been so long since I’ve had a dizzy spell, that I really had hoped.

Menier’s, for the uninitiated, is a chronic condition where a person’s body retains excess fluid in the inner ear.  It is accompanied by diminished hearing, generally affecting only one ear-usually the left.  Eventually the person goes deaf in the affected ear.

I know.  As if going through the usual bloating every month isn’t bad enough, I get to listen to a doctor tell me that I’m retaining fluid in my left ear as well. 🙂

The good news, if you can call it that, is that if you can learn to identify your triggers (the things that specifically make you prone to the dizzy spells), then you can learn to avoid or counteract them.  Oh, and I should mention that the triggers can change over time as our bodies age.

I have been able to identify what I think are most, if not all, of my triggers.  Smoking or second had smoke, Lack of adequate Sleep, High levels of Stress, Excess Salt, Caffeine (this one was new after I had my 3rd child) and there was another one but I’m sleep deprived at the moment and can’t remember it.  Then there are the things that only seem like triggers:  drastic climate changes (we’ve been having those lately but we normally call it spring or fall depending on whether the weather is getting hotter or colder), menstruation (although I’ve read that this really can be a trigger, it hasn’t been in the past for me.  Wouldn’t that be a kicker though to have it become a trigger just as I’m getting to the peri-menopausal stage?), moon in Jupiter (just kidding, I have no idea when the moon hits Jupiter, it’s just that on days like today these dizzy spells make no sense at all).

I have been able, in the past, to counteract the dizzy spells.  Taking an over-the-counter sleep aid when I know I’ll need extra rest, drinking orange juice or eating a banana (both are good sources of potassium which the body uses to regulate fluid retention) has helped in the past.

Today I just don’t know what to do.  I’ve had a banana, even though it isn’t part of the diet cycle I’m on.  I can’t take a sleep aid because I need to take BooBoo to school in about 2 hours.  So far this hasn’t helped and I can feel my stress level rising.  Maybe I’ll just have to escape reality for awhile by reading a good book.  Hopefully that will relax me enough to hold off the dizzy spell until after I get BooBoo to school.  Then I can take the sleep aid and get this mess under control again.

One other thing about Menier’s.  I found out that once you go deaf in the affected ear, they can do a surgical slit in the ear drum to permanently release the excess fluid.  The surgery means that you will be permanently deaf in that ear, so they flatly refuse to do it until you have become deaf in the ear naturally.

The Maker of Opportune Miracles (aka Mom)

Sorry for the silence.  I’ve been battling a cold and pms this past week.  I think the pms plans to hang around until the cold is gone and then really unleash its fury.  Or perhaps the cold has me so knocked down that I am able to ignore the pms.

Either way, I’m miserable.  It would be nice to be able to just lie on the couch with a cold cloth over my watering eyes and rest.  At least to rest as much as one can while clutching a box of kleenex and praying the wastebasket doesn’t overflow before I feel well enough to empty it myself.

But that won’t happen.  Because I’m a mom.  We don’t get the luxury of days off like that.  Instead we keep plugging away at our tasks.  Like driving to school to deliver the guitar, music book & guitar picks to the son who always seems to forget what part of the week Tuesday falls on.  Or explaining patiently, when the husband asks in all seriousness, why I can’t fit 100 pounds of beef roast in my 5 quart crockpot and get it started for the Blue & Gold ceremony that happens to be on the same day the Girl Scout troop needs to run a station for Thinking Day (an all day event in our service unit).

“Well, could I do it if he got me a roaster?”  Yes, seriously he asked.  And no, I could not fit 100 pounds of beef in an 18 quart roaster either.  The man has no concept of quantity and the space needed to store it.  Or for that matter, the time needed to cook it.  In fact, I doubt that we could fit 100 pounds of beef roast in our home refrigerator even if it was completely empty and it is currently full of produce (for my diet) and leftovers (because I can’t always eat what I make for them).  So no, no and N-O.  Sign me up for bars or something I can make the day before.

However, this is why I have come to believe that my family thinks that the word Mom stands for:

Maker of

Opportune

Miracles

Their supporting evidence:

1.  Their clothing is miraculously clean when they need it.  And mended when required.  All with little to no effort on their part.

2.  Good food always appears when they are hungry.  The only effort they make in this area is to occasionally cook if the mood strikes them.  And if they aren’t “too busy”.

3.  They can drop their junk anywhere and never clean it up, yet they can ask one question and be told exactly where to find said item.  And the items in question even occasionally arrive in their rooms waiting to be found and put away.

4.  Needed items always make their way to them without anything worse than a phone call to the Maker of Opportune Miracles (guitar, flute, change of clothes because they can’t be seen in their school uniform after school hours).

5.  The house is always clean (or at least clean enough for them not to care) with little or no effort on their part.

6.  When they are sick, they receive comfort, care and as many of their favorite foods or things as their illness can tolerate without worsening.

Quite the convincing argument for belief in the Maker of Opportune Miracles. 

I think it’s time they start pulling their weight.  This M.O.M. needs a break.

Breaking the rules

I’m breaking our house rule of no computers on Sunday to bring you an important update.

DH’s cousin spoke!  Yesterday morning, for the first time since the accident 9 days ago, she spoke.  She said “My neck doesn’t hurt” in response to a question.

I’m smiling and crying and want to leap for joy!  This is such fantastic news.  She still has a long way to go in her recovery, but for now at least, we can rejoice in this victory.

Please keep her in your prayers.  And thank you for praying with us.

Prayers needed

Your prayers are requested for the following:

That our garage sale fundraiser for our Girl Scout troop will go well this weekend.

And that I might get a good night’s sleep with no pain in my arm.

Yes, the bursitis has left the arm, but for some reason, perhaps not being prescribed muscle relaxants this time, the arm itself is still causing me pain.  I’ve switched over to ibuprophen for pain management since the prescription pills and over the counter meds I took for a week were acetominiphen based and I was at the 4000 mg max level each day.  Waking at 2am each night, in pain, has definitely been wearing on me.  Even one night, pain free would go a long way to restoring my equilibrium.

Thank you.

So sorry

Unfortunately, vomiting half the day does not make one eager to get on the computer and post anything.  Monday’s Muse will have to be a Tuesday Muse this week.

“We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves to be like other people.”  Arthur Schopenhauer

God created you to be an individual.  Live up to that expectation.  In the end, it’s what you did with the gifts God gave you that matters.

Sorry for the brevity also.  Still recovering from yesterday’s illness.

Updates & such

Sorry for the long wait.  I’ve been working on our parish festival.  Glory Days seems to have been a huge success on the feedback portion anyway.  I don’t know yet what the numbers look like or whether we turned a profit from it.  All of the feedback that I’ve received has been very positive.  People enjoyed the bands, liked the games that were offered, even enjoyed the tv set up in the beer garden so they could watch the various sporting events they all seem to follow.  Personally, if it was me, I would have tuned in a good movie.  I don’t understand the whole “must watch professional sports” thing.

Volunteer coordination, my area, went fairly well.  Since the whole sign in before your shift thing was new this year, as were the waiver forms, people on the whole did well with it.  I’m really convinced after this waiver form thingy that we don’t have to worry about Muslims taking over the world (the latest rant from the extremists).  I fully believe that when you can’t even volunteer your time without signing a waiver, that says in general that you won’t sue the church/school if you get injured during the course of your volunteer shift, the lawyers have already taken over the world.  And we know they won’t give it up without a fight.  A vicious, nasty fight.  So we should be safe from the advancing hordes of fanatics.

The Monday after Glory Days, I had set aside as a day to relax.  Vegetate.  Do absolutely nothing.  Then BooBoo missed the school bus.  Okay, I can still keep my pajamas on and drive him to school.  Done and back home, I settled in with a cup of coffee and a good book, Mattimeo by Brian Jacques.  Then the doorbell rings.  Really!  Today!  Didn’t absolutely everyone I know get told that today was my “do absolutely nothing” day? 

It was a Jehovah’s Witness.  Okay, since we’re not on speaking terms, that would explain why she didn’t get the memo.  In fact after asking her what this was all about, I only managed to grunt the word No several times and shut the door on her.  I returned to my book and coffee.  Then the phone rings.  Yes, it’s turning into one of those days.  Should have unplugged the darn thing.  Too late now.  I answered and it was an automated call from a credit card company.  I need to update our listing on the National Do Not Call registry.  Yes, we really have one of those on this side of the pond.  We can thank the annoying telemarketers for that at least.

I did manage to throw together a dinner that night.  Pork roast in the crockpot, leftover mashed potatoes and some green beans.  The kids gobbled it up.  The mister was working again.

Tuesday, I woke up with this cold.  I felt it coming on Monday but I was in denial.  Still proof that no good deed (giving up my life to our parish festival) goes unpunished.  In spite of the cold, I’ve nearly finished the laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, Swiffered the floors and picked up milk.  Forgot to buy more tissues though.  Had to have DH pick more up last night.  Made chicken vegetable barley soup last night, so I’m going to settle in with a cup of that, some herbal tea and my box of tissues and ride this thing out.

Hope you are all well and healthy.  Enjoy your weekend.

Desperate Plea for Prayers

The sister-in-law of a friend of ours went into early labor at the beginning of March.  She was pregnant with twins and the doctors had to do an emergency c-section at 24 weeks.  Unfortunately, the babies did not survive.  What’s worse, after the delivery of the second baby, the young mother went into cardiac arrest.  The doctor’s did CPR for about an hour before she revived to a normal hearbeat.  The doctor’s then put her into a medically induced coma. 

It was an amniotic embolism that put her into cardiac arrest.  This is a rare thing, it happens only in 1 out of 80,000 deliveries.  The young woman is now out of the coma and recovering, but she hasn’t been told about the deaths of her babies yet.  She has a long and challenging road ahead of her. 

Please keep her and her family in your prayers.  Thank you!

For Marci

and most importantly for her daughter, Punky.  Marci has a post over on her blog 6Hands2Hold .  She needs help paying for treatments for her daughter’s Asperger Syndrome.  If you can help, please give generously.  Thank you.

I know this is a shorter post than you’re used to, but I am nursing a cold mixed with a bout of laryngitis and staring at a computer screen is making my eyes water.  Hopefully this all passes soon.

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Perfectly Preserved In Perpetuity

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Quotes:

"If you are what you should be you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

I finally understand

"Among those around you, apostolic soul, you are the stone fallen into the lake. With your word and your example, you produce a first circle, and it another, and another, and another, wider each time. Now do you understand the greatness of your mission?" St. Josemarie Escriva: The Way