Sunday, February 01, 2009
Time is flying by. Last week was our first five day school week since sometime in December. It felt good to be a bit normal. Our weather last week never rose above 30, so every single day was "indoor recess" for the kids. The kids at school were getting pretty antsy and my own delightful 5th grader got into his own brand of trouble. He made a nuisance out of himself by messing up a chess game (more than once) and found himself in the office. He has Asperger's syndrome, a high level of autism, and being in the office raised his anxiety level and he tried to relieve it by singing. Instead of telling him not to sing, the secretary told another kid that he was a terrible singer. That hurt his feelings and he responded by growling. Then he was told that since he acted like an animal, he was going to be treated like one. He had to wait until every other person had lunch to get his and now he has to eat his lunch in the office every day for at least a week. Do you agree that this is inappropriate and inexcusable by these adults? I would like opinions by people who will tell me the truth. It seems to me that the punishment for the horseplay was appropriate, but the rest of this was just a combination of bad moods that came together.
He has a birthday on Wednesday and in honor of his love of shopping, I want to get him a gift card for Toys R Us. The thing is that he will take days to make up his mind and this can be really excruciating for those of us who will take him. He is a loving little guy, but the Asperger's elevates his anxiety and he really struggles.
My head cold from a week and a half ago has been replaced by a chest cold and flu-like symptoms. I try to sleep and then I cough and choke and make my throat burn. I haven't had a cold in a long time. I'm betting it has something to do with some of my students. Even my youngest kids at my former school knew to cover their mouths and use manners--Many of my students this year have no clue and I suspect that my system is pretty fragile and can't fight this off. This is what happens the first two or three years of teaching while you build up some immunity, Argh.
I had a couple of good sessions with my therapist. I/ see my doctor weekly and this past week i t was early in the week and the previous week was late in the week, so it seemed like along conversation. I had talked to him about how I felt that taking care of others was part of my personality and that made things hard for me to take care of only myself right now. I asked him if that meant I had some serious problem that we weren't addressing and he gave me a good picture of how all of this stacks up. He started by pointing out that almost every mental health disorder has some aspects that they share with all people--like eating, drinking, crying, etc...and it is only when these are abused that problems occur. That is the category where my roles as a caregiver come in. For another, taking care of my children and family is important--and for a teacher--caring for my students and trying all of my possible skills to help them be successful is important. He believes that I have been working on these skills since I was a young girl. Now, I have reached the time in my life that I have to put my own health and needs in front of everything else in m y world. This involves a reteaching of everything that I have done in my adult life and my childhood as well. I try but get trapped in old patterns and he comforted me by explaining that I am making progress with this and I just have to keep at it. A couple of my good friends had me thinking that maybe I had some really obsessive type personality that couldn't get better. His understanding and explanation of such things was helpful. I am working hard at taking care of myself, but I have made some commitments that are problematic. For example, I begged a parent to let her child attend my Tuesday and Thursday tutoring class--she had no way to pick him up then. I offered to keep him with me until she gets off work at 4:30--the other kids leave at 4. Mom agreed and now, she isn't picking him up until 5. She also doesn't seem to be helping him at home with anything he needs to work on either. I have another student who needed more help than I could give in a group, so I made arrangements with her mom to get her a ride to school 40 minutes early and I tutor her before school. Now I know that I need more time for resting and my own self-care, I cannot quit providing this support. I cannot ignore my 10 year old's birthday this week either because he is a boy and he needs us to make a party for him. I think that I will keep trying to elevate my own needs and yet stay close to the love and satisfaction in my life at the same time. I am an intelligent woman, I think this is a whole bunch of "building new habits," much like working at weight loss and maintenance.
Take care everybody,
Monday, January 19, 2009
We are starting the week with a historic holiday and watching history unfold all week. The weather improved a lot, off and on this weekend--yet it was snowing the last time I looked outside. I have grown to realize a couple of significant things, and it was because of a very thought provoking thread on the OA of the lower back team and the "Healthy Reflections" quote of the day. My doctor advised me to put myself first, but I never sat down and thought about what "myself" actually meant. Our team had a post questioning "what did you do to make yourself feel good today?" The quote of the day from SP involved looking at the world through the eyes of others before you are critical. These things don't seem to relate much...until my brain put them together as a very interesting puzzle.
I have to backtrack to the middle of the week. I have been on the edge of some deep dark hole and have been trying to keep myself together. I called my therapist and got in for an appointment late one night. I am sure that he could tell that things weren't better for me. I talked to him about my laundry list of stress with some of my children, my frustration over my husband working 7 days a week, 9 hours a day and how I need him, the things going on at my school...and the visit to the doctor who prescribes my anti-depressants. That doctor increased the dose of my cymbalta and he wrote me another prescription for sleeping pills. He didn't much care about the vitamin D concern, except to mumble that, "Lots of people are taking that stuff these days." I cannot take sleeping pills--I have 4 bottles, 3 types and they just are no good for me. One type makes my mouth taste sour and dry. They all prevent me from waking up and I drag around all day. He really wants me to take them, but I have tried--and if I try on a non-working day, I sleep all day long. My therapist talked to me about the fact that I have a limited amount of energy and now my body uses a lot of it to deal with my pain and my health problems. He told me that the only way that I was going to start feeling better and back in control of some things was to rebuild my stores of energy--and to do that, I need to focus totally on myself for now. He helped me to understand that this is not selfishness or laziness, this is necessity given the condition that I am in right now. He also encouraged me to take the sleeping medication, but suggested that I take it much earlier in the evening, like 8:00. so that it would wear off in time for me to manage my day.
On Tuesday night, I took that sleeping pill at 7:00. I went to sleep earlier and slept all night. I felt like a human dumpster in the morning--but I got myself ready and went to work. My school district was the only one of three that did not cancel school on Wednesday, so classes were small. Thank goodness!! I kept falling to sleep when my students came in after about 10:30--and it was horrid. I fell asleep mid-sentence in both talking and writing. I felt so awful, this is extremely inappropriate. I don't know if this was the sleeping pill reacting with my other meds or just the condition I am really in. I am so ashamed of myself--and I don't have a clue what my kids were thinking. I did at least let my boss know that my meds seemed to have caused me to have major difficulty focusing and I hope that she is unaware of all of the rest. She still owes me a lot for all of the stress that I have had because of her activities and decisions.
I spent the two frigid days that we had all snuggled up, doing a lot of napping and some exercising. I went out to lunch with my most dear friend on Saturday--had a bowl of steamy vegetable soup and half of a baked ham sandwich, and about5 glasses of water. I also went to some big stores and did shopping and walking, my style for the afternoon. I did similar things today. I spent time with each of my younger kids and talked about their stresses, helping them. Today at church was my day to teach children's church--but my son was the only one who was available for that, so we played word games in the pew so that I could stay in church. I also brought my big bag of new books to donate for our special book nook program.
I came home and this evening, turned on the computer...and that's when I started thinking. For me to take time for myself--well, it means to have opportunities to give of myself to my family and the church and children who need me. If I am not doing that, I am not taking care of who I am. I believe in other people and rather than just feel run over by them, I tend to look for what makes them act like they do and to help them to feel better. That is who I am. I understand that my body is broken down and that I have enormous pain that zaps my energy. Yet, if I am not me, things aren't quite worth it. I cannot give up everything about me to get better because I cannot be better.
Does this make sense to anyone besides me? I don't want to refuse change to refuse it--but if change is forcing me to lose my personality and spirit in the process, is it really a good idea? I'm looking forward to your thoughts and I want you t be brutally honest with me. Thanks so much.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Hi there--Wow, my friends have all been hovering around this week. I have been up and down and all over the place in virtually every corner of my life. It is very odd to be on this ride and I'm not sure what to think is going on. I see my psychiatrist tomorrow--for refills on my meds and I am wondering if I should talk to him about all of this. Most likely, he will change my meds--and well, I'm a bit nervous for that to happen. I may need to research some of the drugs for depression. One thing I can swear to is that my weight was coming down regularly, a pound or two a week until I started on prozac and I have battled ever since with weight. I was at my goal when this started some five or six years ago. I have had so many surgeries and conditions since then, I let that go in my brain.
I was pretty excited with the knowledge of the Vitamin D information on Monday and was pretty boggled down with the people I work with creating roadblocks to my new schedule, because of many absurd reasons and because they were wrapped up in their own world, refusing to look at things in my world, the building level. I didn't get to see students until FRIDAY!! That upset me to no end.
My children have been children this past week--busy, sometimes kind and angelic, sometimes sassy and annoying, and sometimes not so cooperative either at home or at school. One of my sons got a detention--no big deal except he is one of my kids who has never been in trouble. My son who is a senior is managing to fail two mandatory classes and could care less. My youngest son has been ditching homework and notes from his teacher. And, nobody has done any chores.
I have had one late work night after another this week as well. I didn't get home on time one night--and Thursday was long after 6. I haven't eaten well and all I had focused on was trying to get time for exercise and boot camp. On Friday, I left work and was home shortly after4. I fell asleep for quite a long time and woke up and slept again. I did some exercise Saturday and today and I slept. But today, I also came unglued. I cried and cried and picked a couple of arguments with my family--see above paragraph for details.
Now, I;m here dealing with a nasty headache--waiting for some pain relief--over laundry and one of my naughty kids going out to a movie on a school night. I didn't go to school and do my lesson plans, so I am heading for work at 4:30 ish. I? am a train wreck. I have thought about this vitamin D and I am praying that the reason this is not changing yet is the severity of my deficiency. Tomorrow is my second big dose of Vit. D--maybe I'll improve.
Finally, the thing left is Boot Camp. I am so awful that the videos have fallen into my dreaded "I can't" list. I can't walk down the hall at school without clutching my walker until I find the nearest chair. my back pain is horrendous, even with the meds and treatments and all. I am so frustrated with this. Every time I hit one of the "I can'ts, I find myself frustrated as I slink into the land where I try to find another answer and another way to get to my great big goal of good health and living like everyone else.
I haven't even logged in yet today, so I'm going to scoot. Again, a big thanks to all of my team friends--OA of the back, my basset hound team, the DWD posse--all of you guys sending sunshine, slobbery hellos and other encouragement have kept me from falling on my face. I do believe that I have a combination to unlock the way to my goal. Take care!!
Monday, January 05, 2009
Hello Friends, New and Vintage:
I love that word, vintage. A friend of mine taught us to refer to ourselves as vintage teachers not old or older or experienced...and it grew on me as a way to describe myself. My experiences in life are valuable and so is something vintage, so it just fits everyone nicely, no matter what the age.
Actually, D is my big letter of the day. It's all about D...Vitamin D deficiency. Wow, I have a possible answer and some medical information that needs to be shared with everyone. When I saw my family doctor about a month ago, he did yet more lab work on me. He wanted to check on my thyroid and a couple of other things and on my Vitamin D level. It turns out that they hadn't been able to catch up with me, but the doctor had been trying like crazy to speak with me. I had my follow-up appointment tonight and it turns out that my Vit. D level was 18 point something. The acceptable level is between 90 and 150, I think the doctor said. He was quite concerned and ordered a weekly big dose of Vit. D for me to take for the next 8 weeks. It made him decide to check on some other vitamin and mineral things and to check on my anemia as well. The nurse who did my lab work told me that she had once had a Vit d deficiency that wasn't as low as mine, but the day after she took her first dose, it was unbelievable. Her energy level was back and she felt better in so many ways that she couldn't believe it.
There are so many effects from being low on Vit d that it is unbelievable--and yes, I have many of them. Achiness in the muscles, fibromyalgia type discomfort, fatigue, inability to sleep, depression, overall malaise...the list went on and on. I did a check online when I got home and got the same information repeated on several different sites. My husband picked up my prescription and I took one ASAP. I promise to post if I get my energy feelings, and just plain feelings of myself back quickly. I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, the answer has been found to help me get back to being myself. It also helps a bit to know that there really has been a problem for some of the issues that have been hurting me.
I am delighted to realize that I may be better so quickly. I'll let you all know!! Thanks for standing with me through this--and even on the chance that this might not help me, I am so glad to have you all here to keep me smiling and going.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Let's take every good thing from 2008 to carry over into 2009!! I am going to carry over many things from 2008--my husband; my children (when they are cooperating with each other, lol), my basset hound, Lady and my son 's half golden lab/half dachshund, Scooter; the cats that we are caring for; my church and my faith; working with children; my friends--of course, I'd love to add more, teehee; most of my doctors; music; beauty; humor; my family and myself having jobs in this economy;
I am thankful for those things and there are many more, that's why I left it unfinished. Last evening, we finally ended up at a pizza restaurant for dinner. Whew, it was terribly difficult to get a consensus on where to go to. There were several video games, so that took a few major hands full of quarters and dollar bills to become quarters from the beginning. They ordered 4 pizzas for all of us and soda. I only ate one piece of taco pizza--I think my plan from during the day worked more than I imagined. If I had eaten any more, it would have left me feeling ill. We did get a couple of medium pizzas to take home for the others who didn't come--and I didn't eat any of those either. I did have a couple of glasses of wine last night with the adults in my family. We played games like on Christmas day and we watched the ball drop. The younger kids went to sleep and the rest of us just chatted and watched some TV until it was time for each person to go to sleep. It was a satisfying evening.
My husband prepared meals today with the things I planned and purchased yesterday. My 16 year old took me shopping yesterday and I bought a kitchen full of healthy foods. That was good for him and me. We had fun together and he got to see what decent grocery selection looks like. My husband likes to buy what we need as we need it and we end up with some poor choices. Shopping is a tricky activity for me because of the limited amount of time that I can walk at one time. I chose to try to walk yesterday and got through about a third of the store before my son went and got me a wheelchair, I do not like using those because people seem to treat me a bit rudely when I use the motorized ones and it is a slow ride if I try to turn the wheels on the other type. I think those chairs are for people who cannot walk, but it seems as if they are reserved for the entire obese community. People already think that obese people are lazy already and I don't want to be a part of that. Anyway, it took us about an hour and a quarter to shop and an hour to wait in line and check out. I bought lots of veggies--fresh, frozen and canned and fresh fruits. I bought lots of full grained breads and rice and pasta (Yes, it does cost more--but I explained that since it is better for us, I can justify it.) I also bought some low fat/calorie snacks because I eat at least 5 times a day when I am focused on weight loss and good health. I hope I helped this bright high school junior things about shopping that he needed to know rather than my husband's brand of how to take frequent grocery visits that result in some unhealthy eating in the long run. (Note to the world--it is very difficult for me to go shopping, so I really need and appreciate the help I get. When I go back to work, my plan is to give the guys well written lists when they go shopping so that we aren't all dependent on their quick, get what looks good style of purchasing. We can work together in a better way!!)
My pain and mobility issues are a big problem. This worries about my commitment to the bootcamp. All I can say is that I know what I can do and I will do my best. I have to make a decision about the use of my big back brace as well. I have the doctor's permission to take it off, but it really hurts at work when I am not wearing it. It has been 6 months since my surgery and that doesn't really indicate that I should need it any more. I do notice that when I am not wearing it, my posture droops more and more and as I curl up more and more, my pain increases more and more. My husband and I talked today and we are considering replacing the batteries in my wheel chair and taking it to work, so that when I have to walk longer distances, I have it. My doctor hasn't had me have any therapy yet because he really wants me to go slowly in becoming independent. I am also going to try to get to the pool three times a week, possibly joining some classes in water walking or arthritis classes. The down side to this will be the expectations that I will be traveling to a second school if I am no longer wearing my brace and am able to drive again. It is more difficult than one might suspect being a teacher who travels from one building to another and back during the course of the day. That exaggerates greatly when part of what is traveling includes a walker and any other medical needs. It is a bit like being punished if my health really improves. I believe that I see the doctor in 4-6 weeks and maybe he will shed his light on these concerns.
I have a lot of unanswered questions, but I have very clear goals. I want to continue teaching children to read, especially those who have had some problems in other situations. I know that they all can learn as long as they are believed in and if the teacher has patience and skill to bring them along. I can do that and I love the opportunity. This goes along with the things that I began today's blog with. I have great things in my life and to do. The things I do will be to help me maintain what I have and to further develop my skills as a teacher and a parent.
That's it for now--I want all of my SP friends to have 2009 be what they want it to be. If I can help you to get there, please let me know because I would love to be a part in helping any of you meet your goals. That would be a pleasure and an honor.
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