Hello out there! This blog started as an open letter to my mother, siblings, daughters, and any interested cousins, a way to keep them all informed on our peculiar lives up here without having to write the same email over and over again. It took a while to figure out that other people were reading it, but I decided I liked that idea. Being a low-income single parent is a very isolating thing--I was usually too tired or too busy to do anything, and then when I did have the energy and the time, there was probably no money. Things were getting a little better as my girls got older and my doctor put me on thyroid hormone and there was slightly more money, then KidThree got shot and that all came to a screeching halt. Much less money, lots of new expenditures, no time, and Tired didn't begin to cover the way I felt. My days consisted of dragging myself out of bed, running a load of laundry while showering and putting together packets of food, then heading into work where I did an absolutely abysmal job (tough to work when your mind is across town), and after that, to the hospital until time to go home to fall into bed so the entire cycle could be repeated the next day.
KidThree was hospitalized for three months, during which I was little more than an automaton. When she came home, I tried to keep working but after all my FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) protections were used up, it was clear that I still couldn't begin to be at work full-time. So, a year ago, I closed my eyes, held my breath, said a prayer to any deity in the area, and jumped headlong into the bizarre world of those who stay at home, dependent on public funds for their survival. The isolation returned with a vengeance. Mostly I didn't mind being on my own with only KidThree for company, as I have a good time in my own head out here and KidThree is always a lively companion, but sometimes actual loneliness would hit. That's where this blog evolved into my version of that last little Who's "Yopp," my "I Am Here" shout-out to the world. It's mostly still for Mom, the sibs, and the girlies, et al., but it's also my way of feeling like a part of this endeavor called life that we are all embarked upon. Public funds weren't enough to survive on, so I started babysitting to earn a little grocery money. Last month I started caring for infant twins full-time so their mother could go to vet school and their father could work to support everyone. The family also has a three-year-old girl, who goes to pre-school full-time but who will come here on sick days and pre-school holidays.
***My daughters are numbered instead of named to protect their privacy. Of course my family knows who they all are, but their friends are all conversant with the internet and I didn't want this to pull up if someone was googling their names. The numbers are strictly chronological order--I'm bananas about all of them. Not always the same amount on the same day, but it all balances out in the end.
Today is Friday, and the babies won't be here--their mama decided to play hooky today. On the one hand, I'll get things done that I couldn't do while they are here, but on the other hand, I will miss them a little. There's just nothing like the feeling of rocking a sleeping baby and I'm enjoying the heck out of having that back in my life. Since they won't be here, I'll work on phone calls and paperwork this morning. What fun.
Wednesday KidOne came over after her last class to stay with the babies so KidThree and I could go to Group without them. (Group is our weekly Spinal Cord Injury Support Group, where we get to go visit with other paralyzed folks.) The two new people from last week weren't there, but our social worker was going to see each of them prior to their discharges (both are still hospitalized following their initial injuries), so I was able to pass along information on a charity that provides funds to new SCI patients making that initial transition from the hospital back to home. The younger of those two new men had looked as though he were still overwhelmed by what had happened to him and he needed an interpreter so was not able to easily follow the back-and-forth of our meeting, so our wonderful social worker arranged for him to have a private meeting with our friend who's been in a chair for fifty years now. What an invaluable resource that particular man is. He was injured in an accident at the same age as KidThree when she was injured and has almost the same level of injury she has (he's a T-10, she's a T-9), and it hasn't slowed him down a bit. Famiy, career, and now retirement and travel--he's managed to have them all. He comes to Group now to act as a mentor to those newer to their changed circumstances. There was one new face--a young man who has been quadriplegic for several years now. He is studying to be a dietician, as he found through personal experience that paying attention to his nutritional intake made a significant difference in how he felt. We also talked about one woman's upcoming surgery for a bladder stone and how her family and friends were reacting to that--she is turning out to have to support them, rather than having them support her. They're all worried sick just because they are used to worrying about her, while she is eagerly anticipating relief from pain. I can understand both sides of that. When KidThree first came home from the hospital, I was calling her doctor constantly. "Doctor, she has a cold, how does that work with a paralyzed kid?" It took a while to figure out that most things work just the same, and to get a good handle on those things that don't work the same at all. It's a delicate balancing act to learn.
KidThree has attended school full-time for two days now--it's so far, so good. I miss her help with the babies in the morning, but am so glad she is feeling more and more like a regular kid (her term, not mine). The bus is arriving right on time and I'm enjoying not having to load up the babies to take her to school. (I still do the pick-up in the afternoon, though.) Fingers crossed that it will continue to work well.
Yesterday I finished "I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage," by Susan Squire. It was a pleasure to read--the author was delightfully snarky throughout while still giving a lot of information. Next I think will be "The Lady Elizabeth," by Alison Weir; I feel the need for something more on the lines of a soap opera, and goodness knows Queen Elizabeth I's life was that. She's a historical figure I've always been interested in, and I love reading about that era.
Now for the third cup of coffee and then to clear up the living room. It's a bit of a mess after four days of babies.
p.s. Still nothing on the shooting that took place Wednesday evening. Can't find info.