Gratitude week 82

  1. Today I had my upper endoscopy re-check. Everything looked normal, so I’m grateful for that. I still feel a little doped up so bear with me if I start cracking bad jokes.
  2. Angel, Dan, and I got massages for Angel’s birthday.
  3. Since my massage was way earlier than theirs, I hung around until they were done and then they followed me to the restaurant. Why I’m grateful for this is because apparently both blinkers and break lights weren’t working. I didn’t even know it. I’m grateful that I didn’t get into an accident while my rear lights were out.
  4. Arabella’s boyfriend broke up with her. You might have been wondering if I thought he was a jerk or something to be grateful for this. I am not that mean. What I am grateful for is that her response was appropriate. She was sad and crying, but she wasn’t depressed and didn’t self-harm. She said that she knew she wouldn’t feel this way forever and that she was okay. I truly felt she handled it well. Her boyfriend is leaving for college soon and that is apparently why they broke up. I am truly grateful she is handling the break up better than I expected she would.
  5. Summer!! Oh my gosh, the weather was perfect this past weekend. We spent the weekend up north for Angel’s birthday and had a lot of fun.
  6. I achieved my sailing certification. Although sailing is my husband’s passion a lot more than mine, I wanted to know what to do in case there was an emergency.
  7. Now that I finished reading my sailing certification book, I started reading the book Educated and it is really good. I really want to dig into some really good memoirs as I want to edit and rewrite my own book soon. Wow, I really used the word really a real lot.
  8. My mom is making supper tonight.
  9. I’m grateful that my husband took me to my appointment today.
  10. I’m grateful that my daughter might have a wedding date picked out this week. Then the real fun starts…the wedding dress shopping will be so much fun!

Carrying a heavy weight

She gained 13 lbs. in a month.

Arabella wasn’t on any medications that could cause weight gain. She also went through periods of restricted eating. This really didn’t concern me as much because at the time she was easily over 250 lbs. I was more concerned about diabetes and other health related issues. She wasn’t eating meals with us anymore. I would tell her it was time to eat only to find her eating a bag of Oreos in her room. She only wanted junk food.

It struck a painful chord in me. I show I care about my family by doing nice things for them such as their laundry or cooking nice meals. It was triggering of childhood memories of my own mom working hard to cook nice meals only to have my dad ask her what kind of dog shit she made for supper. I feel hurt and unappreciated when my efforts are scorned. It takes a lot of work to cook supper and make healthy homemade meals for a family of 5 or 6. It makes me angry when my cooking is replaced by a cheap sugary substitute.

My dad also struggles with obesity and unhealthy eating. He does not exercise and now can barely walk. I saw how he struggles with his weight and I don’t want that for my daughter. Not only that but it is hard to care for someone who is elderly and prone to falls. He is over 300 lbs. and there is no way I could lift him.

What was even more concerning besides her obesity and binge eating of junk was that she started to eat non food items as well. She ate woodchips. She cut up a Capri Sun pouch and ate that. She ate paper and several plastic forks. What if that was to tear up her intestines? To me it seemed like a whole new way to self-harm. The doctors were puzzled by it as well. They ran all sorts of blood work but nothing could be determined what was causing her pica. Was it some strange side effect to her medication? Was it for attention?

One of the hardest things was that I didn’t have any control over it. She was twice my size. Although I could share with her my experience with healthy eating and exercise, she wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, to this day I am not allowed to talk about it.

While she was in residential, Arabella still went through periods of eating paper and plastic silverware. Again, more tests were run and not surprisingly nothing was found. The best anyone could tell me was that she should take a multi-vitamin because she wasn’t getting any nutrients from what she was eating. Things haven’t really gotten much better since she came home. Her meals consist of chips, candy, cookies, and sugary foods. I can’t stand it really. I don’t know what to do about it. If I talk to her about it she gets angry with me. She tells me that I don’t understand and quite frankly I don’t.

I won’t take her shopping because she fills my cart with junk. I don’t mind buying some snacks, but I don’t want to fill my cart with them. When she has money, she buys her own snacks. It was hard when she worked at the grocery store because she would spend her paycheck there. It didn’t matter if she didn’t have money. Sometimes her friends would be her junk food junkies and bring her a new stash.

The therapist said that I shouldn’t be nagging her about it because it would cause her to feel shame which would cause more stress eating which would cause a perpetual shame cycle. Instead she should feel natural consequences, such as diabetes. Who wants their teenager to struggle with body image and health concerns due to obesity in a society that pressures women especially young women to look a certain way? I am in my 40’s and I still feel the pressure to look a certain way. It’s not as bad as when I was a teenager, but still.

My intention is not to fat shame my daughter. It’s hard to talk about because I’ve never really struggled a lot with my own weight. But it’s a big problem and I’m not sure she is going to be able to fix it. It’s going to have to be another thing I have to let go because there is nothing I can do about it. When I do try to help I only seem to make things worse.

Sometimes it’s really hard to let my adult children go and watch them struggle.

It’s not too late

It’s been quite the adjustment with my mom living with us. The first week or so it has been rather triggering. I needed to tell her that I did not feel comfortable as her daughter to process her trauma or our shared trauma with her. I also do not feel like it is a good thing to process your trauma with your children or your grandchildren. The jury is out on Paul yet whether or not it is a good thing for my mom to process her trauma with him. I feel like it is important for her to talk about these things and let them out, but maybe with a sibling or a friend.

It got frustrating for me because my mom talked about a traumatic incident of mine regarding my dad as the delivery guys showed up with my new refrigerator or right before I went in for a crown. She bombarded me with my trauma/problems at times where I was already under a high amount of stress with no consideration with what I was going through at the time. I did not want to talk about some of my most traumatic moments in life as a delivery man was about ready to ring my bell or as I was freaking out about my dental appointment.

Not only that, but my mom has had my brother Matt over last weekend and will this weekend as well. That is okay, I said once a month is fine to have him at my house. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is her babying him. It’s my house and it is hard to feel comfortable in it with her here because she doesn’t always like the things I do. She doesn’t like my music or some of the shows I like to watch. She doesn’t like it when other people come over. I know I should have more of the attitude of this is my house and my life and I am living it the way I want to. Too bad if you don’t like it. I have no idea how long she is planning on staying either. I find myself getting very annoyed about these things and I have been trying hard to say something so it doesn’t bother me, but sometimes it does.

Her anxiety is through the roof. She wants me to take her to the ER when she feels very anxious. She wants to quit taking her medication. She has had several serious adverse reactions to medications. Then an ER doctor prescribed her a medication for anxiety that could cause irreversible dementia in elderly patients. I have to question what the hell they are thinking. Some nights my mom only gets an hour or so of sleep at night. After several days of that, she is a mess. She doesn’t want to take the meds that could cause dementia and I don’t blame her for that. The nurse put my mom on a new anxiety med and after several sleepless nights she wanted to quit taking it because it could cause insomnia. I told my mom that she needs to keep taking it and that she already had insomnia before taking it. So now when she wants to go to the ER or quit taking her medication, I tell her to call her doctor’s office first if she doesn’t want to listen to me. It has been all very frustrating for me.

A couple of days ago, after several nights of severe insomnia, my mom gave my son Alex money to go to the smoke shop to buy some CBD gummies that a friend of my son told her about. My son brought back a couple of gummies. One of the labels was so small I couldn’t even read it with a magnifying glass. My mom popped a couple of gummies and tried to go to sleep.

The next morning my mom was not up when I got up. I almost had a panic attack myself. What was I thinking having her take a couple of gummies from a product from a smoke shop where I couldn’t even read the label? My God, what if she was dead? Should I go in and check on her? She had an appointment that morning. What should I do? I thought long and hard about what it would be like if my mom were to die under my care. She is an adult and can do what she wants, but I would feel some responsibility for her and so would my son if something went wrong. We don’t know what we are doing, but do the doctors that she is seeing? They push her on through and give her some nasty meds that could be habit forming and cause dementia. Seriously, is that the best that science has to offer?

I think after worrying that my mother was dead I was able to change my perspective a little. I’m not as annoyed. I have more compassion. I have to be honest and genuine with myself and her. I was able to see my therapist this past week and she said having my mother live with us was an opportunity for me to heal. This could be a special time together to mend some wounds and find some sort of closure before she is no longer with us. I now have the opportunity to say everything I wanted to say. It is not too late. I have to keep that in mind when I am frustrated.

Gratitude week 66

  1. It’s Easter! I’m grateful for the resurrection of the Lord.
  2. I’m thankful for friends we can celebrate the day with along with two of our kids.
  3. I’m thankful that Arabella is starting to do well in residential.
  4. I’m grateful that March is over and we are one step closer to summer.
  5. I’m grateful for beautiful weather this weekend. Yesterday I went for a run for the first time in a long time. This means a lot because I never thought my life would be like this. Before the pandemic, I went to the gym three times a week for intense workouts. Then the gym closed once the pandemic started. My routine that I thought I couldn’t live without abruptly changed. It’s been a year since I’ve had colitis. I was so weak for a month afterwards that I thought I would never run again. So, I’m grateful for good health, to be up and running again, and to know I can survive just fine without it.
  6. In some ways, I’m grateful I learned new things about myself during the pandemic. I also examined what I want to keep in my life and what I want to leave behind.
  7. I’m getting my first tattoo this week. I’m grateful that so far I am not letting fear stop me from something that I’ve always wanted to do. I am very nervous about it, but I think I can do it.
  8. I’m grateful that no one fooled me on April Fools Day. Honestly, I don’t think I could handle the stress of more (even if it is fake) bad news. I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer want to play pranks on people either. I don’t know if it’s a sign of me being too serious now or if I am just getting old.
  9. I’m grateful to be able to write this post sitting outside in the warm sun.
  10. I’m grateful we were able to take Angel out to eat for sushi for her achievements earlier this week. We were able to spend a lot of time with her this week and she went to church with us this morning.

Just a one time thing?

When you get admitted into a psychiatric hospital, they do bloodwork to determine if there are any health issues that could be causing mental health issues. Arabella’s vitamin D levels were really low and they also found a thyroid disorder. She has hypothyroidism which could explain some of her issues in losing weight and depression. In my mind, it was as easy as fixing those problems and she would be back to her normal self again. If only it were that easy!

They also put Arabella on a low dose of an anti-depressant and a mood stabilizer. The mood stabilizer was meant to be a temporary boost to increase the effectiveness of the anti-depressant. She stayed in the hospital for a week. I really thought this was going to be a one time thing. Once her health problems were fixed, her mental health problems would go away. Or so I thought. We weren’t dealing with complex trauma since she had a relatively normal upbringing. Why couldn’t she just go back to being how she was?

When it was time for Arabella to leave, Paul and I met with her treatment team. They thought it would be a good idea for Arabella to have goals to work towards. The first time around they had a reward based system. Once she reached those treatment goals, her dad bought her a pet frog. I was a little more hesitant about the idea since I ended up being the one that took care of her beta fish.

Arabella was going to be attending an outpatient program for at least a week. She didn’t like her current therapist outside of the hospital, so we were going to be switching to a third therapist. She was also on a waiting list for a psychiatrist. She received the diagnosis of Major Depression with Anxiety.

In the meantime, Arabella had a meeting with our family doctor. The hospital requires an appointment be set up a couple weeks after discharge. The doctor retested Arabella’s blood levels and refilled her psychiatric medication but didn’t want to change anything. We also set up a consultation with a plastic surgeon for breast reduction surgery. She was having back pain and was uncomfortable with her body in general.

I started working full-time and her dad was working a lot of hours as well. I worried about Arabella when we were at work. If anything, I was a little less reluctant when she wanted to go right back to Jordan’s house. Arabella started to feel fearful at our house and was afraid she was going to hurt herself when she was home alone. Jordan’s older brother moved out to go to college, so they had an extra bedroom and invited her to move in. The school was over a half an hour from our house and a couple blocks from theirs. It was comforting to know that she had somewhere to go if the roads were bad in the winter, but we didn’t want her to live there.

Arabella couldn’t stand us anymore, but we still wanted her here.

Gratitude week 64

I have to admit I am feeling rather crabby today…so. I just feel bored, restless, and like my life lacks purpose. Maybe it’s an empty nest thing. I don’t know. I went from spending the last year trying to keep my daughter alive to her going into a residential care facility. I hate to say this, but maybe my purpose was keeping her alive and now I don’t have that purpose anymore. Not only that, but family therapy seems like kind of a waste at this point. It sure would’ve been helpful 10 to 15 years ago. But now with my baby turning 18 in less than 2 months, it seems a little late.

So anyway, here is my list for this week:

  1. Spring!
  2. 1,000 followers!
  3. I think my son broke his little toe this week. He could barely walk, but is starting to feel better.
  4. My mom took my brother Matt to the ER today as she thought he might have scabies again. Thankfully it’s not that and doesn’t appear to be anything serious, although his rash is really bad.
  5. Stimulus checks.
  6. Our refrigerator bit the dust. Unfortunately the first place we went had the fridge we wanted on back order due to COVID with no arrival date in sight. This shouldn’t be news to me, but apparently COVID also caused a refrigerator shortage. Thankfully we were able to find a new refrigerator at another store, but it will take almost a month until we get it. I’m grateful in the meantime that we have a chest freezer and a drink cooler we can put food in. So we didn’t have to throw anything away.
  7. I was finally able to get in to see my therapist this week.
  8. Paul took me out to eat at our favorite Indian restaurant to celebrate 1,000 followers.
  9. My best friend and I went out for corned beef and cabbage yesterday. I’m grateful since I didn’t think I would get any since I didn’t go out for St. Patrick’s day.
  10. Today my mom, Matt, and I went for a walk and yesterday Paul and I took our dog for a walk. It’s nice to be able to start getting outside more. We did get some snow this past week but it’s pretty much all gone now.
  11. I’m grateful that Paul assembled a chair for us to sit in on the front porch. Then we can watch other people who have a life come and go. Okay, I’m busy but am starting to feel this empty nest thing.

Gratitude week 63

  1. There was one I forgot from last week. Before my daughter went into residential, she had her dental exam. With her asking for her new toothbrush in advance so she could brush in the bathroom right before her appointment and her candy bingeing, I was a little worried about what they might find. Not only that, but she was having some dental pain with her wisdom teeth. The dentist said that she didn’t have any cavities AND so far all of her wisdom teeth are coming in like they should. So it’s looking good that she won’t need wisdom teeth extraction. I didn’t even know that was possible! LOL!! On a side note, I’m sure my daughter Angel will be upset to hear that. She is my only kid that brushes and flosses probably more than I do. Her siblings always did the bare minimum and she always ended up with the cavities. It always made her mad when the dentist told her to brush and floss more and told her siblings to keep up what they are doing.
  2. Talking about Angel, she is coming back home today until she finds her own place!! Her boyfriend Dan came down with COVID a couple weeks back while she was visiting him at his parents house. They all holed up in quarantine there. Dan got really sick. My daughter and his mom got sick too, but his dad who we were all worried about ended up being just fine. They were sick for a good week and a half. It even went away for a day or two and came back with a vengeance. I’m grateful that they all have returned to health and that my daughter is coming back home!
  3. I’m grateful for the warm and a few rainy days that pretty much decimated all of our snow. I’m ready for spring although there is a chance for more snow this week…
  4. I’m glad that our first telehealth meeting with Arabella’s therapist at residential went really well.
  5. I’m grateful for some time for me to get my hair and nails done. I even decided to color my hair again and went a little darker. It must seem natural as no one really noticed it yet except Angel when I was facetiming her.
  6. I had my success story interview with the wellness clinic this week. It went pretty good. I’m going to be my worst critic, this I know. The lady that interviewed me was very nice. She said that I was beautiful and could be a motivational speaker. I was excited for the opportunity but it was rather terrifying and I did lose a little sleep over it. Now my husband is going to the wellness clinic.
  7. I’m grateful for the visit from my best friend. She made some deviled eggs for me and left them here for me to eat.
  8. Since the weather was nice yesterday, I’m grateful that I was able to go for a run outside without being too cold.
  9. I’m grateful that my son found his lost wallet.
  10. I’m grateful that I can start spending time with my mom again since she is fully vaccinated.

Admitting questions

When my daughter was admitted into residential they asked her a lot of questions. One of them was if anyone she knew committed suicide. She said ‘yes’.

It brings us back to a year and a couple days ago. A friend from our theatre group decided to end his life. I had known him a couple of years by that time. Since I’d known him he was in dialysis. He even had a kidney transplant that failed before I met him. Every week he would go to dialysis for 30 hours. He couldn’t work. He lived by himself. He didn’t have a girlfriend, wife, kids, or barely any family. He didn’t have much of a support system from what I saw.

He wasn’t good looking. He wasn’t popular. Most people thought he was weird. He was kind, but I got the impression that most people didn’t really like him. He wasn’t even a good actor. He never got any good parts.

One day he posted on Facebook that he was trying to find a good home for his pets because he decided to discontinue dialysis. Some people tried to talk him out of it. Others tried to convert him because he didn’t have faith in any God or creed. I have to pose the question if it really was suicide. Technically, I suppose it was because he decided to discontinue the treatment that was keeping him alive.

I know he was suffering greatly. He had lost hope. There wasn’t a cure just spending the rest of his life tied to a dialysis machine. Could anyone blame him for his decision? Maybe I would’ve chosen the same thing if I was in his situation. But who really wants to think about that? We just want to judge. As an adult I can understand and reason. But maybe the young folks in the theatre who didn’t fully understand his suffering might think that suicide is a good solution for dealing with pain.

I felt sorry for the man and about the situation he found himself in. He passed away right before the lock down started. Because of COVID we didn’t even have the chance to say good-bye. His funeral was cancelled. In most respects, he was forgotten until a couple days ago when he was remembered as the man that committed suicide.

I seem to find myself in a moral dilemma. Is suicide okay in some scenarios and not others? What about emotional pain and suffering? I have a friend that decided to stop Chemo because it greatly affects her quality of life. Is it okay to discontinue life extending treatment if the quality of life it gives you is horrible? We are not going to escape this life alive.

Are we going to cut off the elderly from our lives because they could die of COVID? Just for them to die in a nursing home alone without their family. Is it worth it? We are making those level of decisions right now. Is the emotional pain of being separated from loved ones worth an extra year of life?

I would have to say that the answer to these questions should come down to individual choice. I don’t have to agree with it. But as far as my family is concerned I would like to have some say.

Gratitude week 62

  1. My daughter Arabella was admitted into a residential care facility and we are doing the best we can to get her the help she needs.
  2. I’m grateful for warm spring weather and sunny days. It makes me feel so much better even if there is still snow on the ground.
  3. I’m grateful to hear the birds chirp in the morning which is another sign of spring.
  4. I’m grateful to be able to see wildlife in my yard this week including birds, deer, and a red fox. I’ve never seen a fox in our yard in broad daylight. I was a little paranoid that as a nocturnal creature it might be rabid or something. But apparently after doing some research found out it wasn’t too unusual to see foxes during the day in spring.
  5. I’m grateful to be feeling healthy.
  6. I’m grateful that my daughter Angel had a mild case of COVID. Her boyfriend is finally starting to feel better today. It’s frustrating because if anyone is super careful about COVID as young folks they are. They don’t take any unnecessary risks. Then they got sick. There was a COVID outbreak where Dan works.
  7. I’m grateful to be able to visit my mom and go for a walk with her this afternoon.
  8. Although I feel helpless about Angel and Dan and his mom being sick, I’m grateful that I was able to help them out by dropping off medicine and other things they needed after being quarantined a week.
  9. I’m grateful that I cleaned out my daughter Arabella’s room. It makes me feel better. Even though she didn’t mind, I couldn’t leave it messy.
  10. I finished a really hard puzzle I have been working on the last couple of weeks. It makes me feel good when all of the pieces finally come together. Now if only that could happen in real life. Right?

Feeling tested

The last time we talked I told you that my daughter Arabella was admitted into a residential mental health treatment facility. What I didn’t tell you was that at the same time my other daughter Angel most likely had COVID.

Last weekend I briefly saw Angel’s boyfriend Dan. We were close to each other for a few minutes while I opened the sliding door we all walked out of. I was in close contact with my daughter Angel who was in close contact with her boyfriend Dan. Are you following me yet?

The next day Angel goes to Dan’s house. While she is there he develops a fever. She decides not to come home. The next day Dan has an instant test and tests positive for COVID.

To make matters more complicated, my mom stopped by with my brother Matt on Saturday. My mom and Matt both received all of their COVID vaccinations. Because of COVID, I have not seen my brother Matt since last June when my mom had a medical emergency and I needed to take him back to his group home. Once he returned to his group home, he couldn’t go back home until fully vaccinated. My brother Matt has not seen my daughter Angel or her boyfriend since Christmas of 2019 again thanks to COVID. After the visit, before we found out Dan was sick, my mom took Matt back to his group home. My mom and brother were not in close contact with us but they did give everyone hugs including Dan.

Monday morning Dan has an instant COVID test and tests positive. He gets really sick. His mother gets sick. My daughter Angel gets sick. So far his father is fine.

What am I to do? My daughter was scheduled to be admitted into residential care. This was her last chance to get into a great adolescent program. She will be an adult in 2 months and they said if she didn’t fill the bed she would lose the opportunity. She had to wait 3 months to get in.

I decided to call the COVID hotline. Not only was it a bad connection, but it was useless conversation. She told me that my situation was really unusual and complicated and that I would be better off calling my doctor or going on the CDC website. My husband and I fought over what to do next. We don’t see eye to eye on COVID. Words were said that weren’t meant.

Meanwhile, my mom’s COVID anxiety ramped up again. She called the group home, program, and case managers. Two of the people told her that Matt should be okay since he had both shots. What more could she do beyond that? Is he never allowed to see family again after everything was done in her power to prevent him from getting sick? Two of the people my mom contacted chewed her out. They said how irresponsible she was. One of them even told Matt he wasn’t going to be allowed home again which caused him distress. My mom was beside herself with worry about Matt. I tried to calm her down but I was worried myself about the ones who were already sick and what would happen next.

I was worried that my brief exposure to Dan would be enough to get me sick and then I would get Arabella sick and then she wouldn’t be able to go into residential. Or Arabella would get sick alone and spread it on to others in a hospital setting. A few days after Dan got sick, Angel got sick too. She got sick several days after I saw her last. I felt pretty confident that I didn’t get exposed from her. I felt iffy about Dan though. I did see him although we weren’t in close contact for very long at all. According to the CDC website I don’t think what we had was considered close contact but I still wasn’t sure because I saw him right before he got sick. But who knows? It’s not like I was keeping track of how far apart we were or how long he was in the room.

Thankfully I had Arabella tested for COVID right before she was admitted and it came back negative. Now it has been several days since I saw her and I still feel fine. I take my temperature everyday and I have been laying low. Everyone has been telling me I have to stop worrying about it and trust God. I’m trying but this has been really stressful. To be honest, trust wasn’t my first instinct. I felt angry. Of all times, why does this have to happen right now??

The first time my mom takes Matt out of the group home he gets exposed. Why God? Why? I sometimes wonder if my family is cursed. Arabella is healthy and everything ended up being alright. But still??!? It was horrible timing to go through a COVID scare. Plus I’ve been worried sick about Angel and Dan and his family. It’s hard knowing my daughter is sick and there is nothing I can do to help her. I’m feeling that way about both my daughters right now.

I ran over to Dan’s parents house today and dropped off some medicine, vitamins, and Gatorade. Angel is feeling a lot better already, but Dan is still pretty sick.

What a week! What a wreck it has made of me! I feel so tested.