Saturday, February 16, 2013
I must admit that I am sure glad this is a three day weekend. I am exhausted physically and mentally. It was really nice to get to WW last evening, I lost a pound. I haven't recorded it here and I'm not sure I recorded that big four pound gain from two weeks ago. I should get my records updated. I have noticed that SP doesn't give you recognition for losing weight that was weight you gained recently anyway, but I do like my records to be correct. Somehow they quit showing my earliest weight loss records here anyway. Maybe it's because I have been around for so long.
Our Ash Wednesday Service had some moving readings in it. It included a collection of poetry and short pieces of prose about the life of Christ and there was a litany that started with "Feast" and "Fast." I took it to school with me to have to help me through difficult times, so I cannot share it word for word right now--it was kind of long for that any way. It had phrases like "Fast on complaining. Feast on finding the good around you." There were around 20-25 of these phrases and each one was touching and thought-provoking, dealing with how we treat others and approach life in a positive way. I want to make copies of it and have it around me--I think it might be one of those wonderful "words to live by" quotes that I want in my presence all of the time.
I think the example I gave, which isn't a direct quote, but is certainly the essence of one of the pairs of phrases is on my mind because I have been so whiny and difficult lately. I am sure that the tone of my blogs along with my conversations with my family and friends have been pretty down and I need to get my thoughts in a new place. It will not be easy because constant, chronic pain is difficult. I have lived with it for years and years and years. However, maybe it will help me to try and hold it at bay some. I think it can't hurt to try in any case--if I'm not successful, I can at least feel good about the fact that I gave it my best effort. It also won't be easy when it hurts to keyboard and it hurts to move in almost any direction with most of my body parts, but I think I can let work on this might help me with my other goals. It's my plan as I work on my body and wait for some help with my physical needs.
I think my pain doc had his shoulder surgery and I am going to wait for him to return to work before i go for an appointment. I am going to call on Monday and find out when he will be available. One of the other docs in his office is not so good and once you have had the kind of care my doc gives, it is not right or at least easy to settle for that. I have an appointment with my rheumy on Monday and he certainly may have some insight on my issues. He often finds fibromyalgia to be a big culprit when I hurt all over--I hope that he looks deeper into all of this as well.
It must be time for some rest. I just held my daughter accountable for some things she was saying and an unpleasant confrontation occurred. She always reads that as I am picking on her and nobody else. She doesn't seem to be here or pay attention when I am somebody else's mother around here and have to do the more unpleasant tasks of parenting. I am sorry that she feels that way right now, but I am not going to allow any of my children to engage in unfairly picking on another. That is my job. Great ending to a less than desirable week. The coming week will be new and improved. Starting with a holiday after our first Sunday with our new pastor will get it off on the right foot.
Take care my friends!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
This day has been weird. I know that between pain and feeling ill that I am not up to stuff. However, there is a lot going on around me. I noticed today that many people are grumpy and overwhelmed. I was feeling particularly sorry for at least three teachers today.
My doctor's office today called me and told me that they are running cultures of my urine and they found that I have some bacteria growing that indicates the antibiotics they prescribed for me might not be able to make me better. Then the nurse told me that they are waiting for the final results and that they will call me and let me know what we need to do. Then she questioned me to find out if I am doing better. I didn't think that made sense after only two doses of the antibiotic anyway, and I told her the truth that I had another problem in the night. She assured me that they would let me know.
I saw my therapist tonight and he told me the things I already know about being over-extended. He did tell me to keep one word in my thoughts and that that word should be one. He thinks I should remember that I can only do one thing at a time and that I can only worry about one thing at a time. He is right and I am going to need to select that one thing carefully. I can be happy when one of my kids learns one new sight word or reads one book successfully or does one thing better each day. I need to have that same respect for myself and what I need.
I picked up a paper from the doctor on weight loss and although there were no new ideas or secrets on it, I was struck by the first thing on the page--eat three meals a day. This is the first place I fall down. I am barely getting time for one piece of fruit in the morning and I don't get lunch until after 3:00. I'm sure this is not helping me in any category. I will get a full breakfast in each day. I am having a lot of trouble in the morning because when I wake up to get ready for work, I am so stiff and sore that it takes me well over a half an hour for my pain meds to work and for me to get moving at all. That throws me for a loop unless I have been awake all night. The past few days, I have waken up at around 2:30 and then I fall asleep sometime around 5:00 which makes waking up even more difficult. I sure hope that we can get to the bottom of my pain again so that I sleep sometime. I was getting in a morning nap while I was home after surgery, but that is no longer a choice.
I have a lot to accomplish to get my self-care act together. I am intelligent and capable so these things that should seem easy, should be accessible. They are not easy right now, given all of my issues and stress, but I am not giving up nor am I giving in. Just like each day is a new start on our spark goals, it is a new start on these goals. I will get back to where I was in December with caring for myself and feeling good. I can and will get this done, I think my existence depends on it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I've had a tough time lately and after a lot of manipulating, I got in to see my PCP today. I had a Friday appointment that they needed to change and I couldn't get in to see him until March 11. I knew this couldn't wait and I called them back to find out who I should go see and when they told the doctor why I needed to see him, he made me a late appointment for today. When people did some canceling, my appointment got miraculously changed (with my blessing) to the same time as my husband's appointment for his shingles vaccine.
Anyway, last week I started having a few new symptoms to go along with my wild, out of control pain. I had a lot of issues with needing to urinate and on Thursday, I had a potty accident at home. On Friday, I had one at school--and I was extremely humiliated. I had a couple more and yesterday, I had a brief one at work, unlike the Friday episode where I had to call the principal and my husband for clothing, canceling an hour of classes while they also cleaned and disinfected my classroom. Yesterday, it was my clothing and I had spares after Friday. Arghhh and yuck.
My pain has had a couple of additions as well. My left shoulder is hurting so much that I cannot even move my left arm to pick paper up or push open a door. My left arm has had some shooting pains and both of my hands--but far more intensely in the left--have had bizarre pain that includes tingling and numbness along with pain that won't let up. I just sit here with my hands on my abdomen doing nothing to keep them from moving. It has been awful.
All of this is in addition to the pain in my knee and the increased pain in my right hip since I went back to work. It hurts when I try and get in the jeep again and it hasn't done that since about my second week post-op. Anyway, I am at my wit's end. All of this pain and this additional health stuff added to the stress at school is a bit much for me to deal with. I realized today that having 68 primary students a day is too many, but I don't know what to do to ease things up for me while taking care of our kids.
Anyway, after seeing my doctor today, he did a urine test to be followed by a culture after he did my exam. My BP was still okay--124/70. He decided that we needed to get to the bottom of things. He is sending me to a urologist for a bladder scan. He added physical therapy for my shoulder to my current physical therapy orders. He made an appointment with my ortho to check this shoulder out--I know I felt it pop out of place and back into place this morning when I was cleaning out my bunny's cage. I forgot to mention that to him. He is also sending me to a neurologist to do an EMG of my left arm and hand, looking for something that might be indicating a pinched nerve or something that might explain my hand pain. I have three more appointments on a schedule that is stretched to capacity.
My urine test came out showing that I had an infection, so I have antibiotics. He also prescribed something called Detrol LA to ease up on the urges and the lousy feelings that are making me a nervous wreck right now. I originally thought that the problem was because I am so slow right now in walking from one place to another, but that isn't it. I have been going to the bathroom a lot more frequently for a while, but I didn't think much about it until all of these problems came up. I sure hope that the antibiotics solve something here.
I almost have my classroom back as something of my design. I have been working on motivating all of my children--former and new, to the job at hand. I have upgraded all but five of their book baskets and have been so lucky that Marshall has come to school twice to help me to do the physical aspects of that job. He has been a blessing. I have overcome all of the sub's inappropriate lessons and put more important things in place for and with the children. We have looked at their goals and why they are with me. We have talked about why they are in my class and my goal of setting them free because they have grown to be good readers. That is something that I am not sure I talked with them about before, but they are clear on what coming to me is all about now.
I think I have given up on my colleagues behaving in a decent manner. A couple of them are expert bullies and there seems to be no protection from the office since that is the way it operates as well. I am not going to be chased away and I am going to continue being the conscience around our place. I finally fought back against their insensitivity with the email I sent. I am working hard to help out with building needs and am going to be tied up for weeks with our BIT (Building Intervention Team) meetings. I have led this groups for a long time and it was allowed to sit and wait until I returned. Funny thing, the office person did everything to take everything out of my hands except scheduling meetings but people expect me to keep things going and to help with their needy children. I think they know what is needed. Finally, I have a nightmare of a schedule. I create my own schedule based on the schedules of those around me. Each teacher creates their classroom schedule after receiving their scheduled assignments for lunch, PE, and music. From that point, the teacher has to meet the state's required number of minutes for each of the content areas of instruction. There are typically extra minutes left int he day and the teacher fits in library time and other needs. I have never seen people so rigid that they cannot even give me 5 extra minutes off of math, especially when they are using well over the prescribed amount of minutes. (Math and guided reading lessons are the only times I am not allowed to take students for reading support except for their time in specials--PE and music.)
I recognize that there are things going on with my body that are not right, am seeking out help, and will do what is needed to feel better as soon as I can so I can get on with my life and the things I need to do. I have added more protein into my diet these days, but the thing is I need to get this in at breakfast and lunch time rather than not getting any eating done until 3 in the afternoon. I know that we need to eat regularly to keep that nourishment coming all day long. I just cannot get my time between the morning rush around here and the schedule I am following all day long. I am adding in bathroom breaks as I need them and often which is making the eating time harder to fit in. I suspect that this makes me even more weary.
I am trying the best that I can to get my life back. This isn't easy and I know there are problems with the way I am handling things. I also don't quite see a way out because there are so many wonderful children involved in all of this. They must get the help and support they need and I am their best hope, in spite of anything the other adults in our building do.
"Thanks so much for the support and caring you all give me. I read and cherish every response and comment. I think about them and use them in many ways.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I cannot think much at this point and I am terribly grumpy. I don't much understand why I feel like this, but a lot of pain takes over and thinks and acts for me. I want to come back and I want to do it soon. I have things to do and I have things I don't want to do. If I think about it too much, I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the pain and I want to cry about not being able to handle it and because it hurts everywhere. This is unbelievable and I don't care what anyone wants to call it, it is WRONG.
My skin hurts. The area around my upper left arm is aching and throbbing. My right knee is throbbing and the pain is sharp. My inner hip area is also aching. I am tired and I have a headache. My feet are tired and my right ankle and thigh are aching. My back started hurting around 10:30 (right after our earthquake drill. I refused to crawl under the table!! Hmm, I'd still be there because I couldn't get out.) My back shifted into aching with two burning areas, one on each side of my spine. My left shoulder is throbbing around the joint. This is too much pain, my friends.
I left work at 6:45 and went straight to the pool. I spent most of my time walking in the water and doing my stretching and endurance exercises, lot of kicking and stretching. Just before I left, I checked my work emails. There was one that offended me a great deal and I couldn't NOT respond to it. It was the meeting notes from yesterday. I had taken the second revision of my schedule to one of the groups of teachers whose children were getting the majority of my time and asked for them to help me fix it. In their meeting evaluation, under the cons, it said that I was frustrated with my schedule. "We feel your pain. However we would like to have the schedule completed so our kids can get the service they need and we can get our schedules going." I was so hurt by these words.
They feel my pain... Hmm, all they did with the schedule I asked for their help with was to circle the problems and give it back to me. The reason I had a problem at all is because 4 out of the 6 of them teach math at the same time for well over an hour and a half and I cannot use the bulk of the afternoon for their kids. I was trying to put the first grade children in the morning because I have longer blocks of time for lessons then and because we lose the afternoons one day a week because of early dismissal days. I was trying to make things as good as I could for meeting the children's needs.
Anyway, I wrote a very nasty response and deleted it. (Personal form of therapy, lol) Then I wrote another somewhat nasty response and deleted it. Finally, I wrote a more controlled response and let them know that they offended me and that I was trying to do the best for my kids that I could. I also pointed out that I serve more children than anyone else in my role and that we have the only school in which kindergarten kids get service and have an intervention under their belts before they even get to first grade. (That helps us to be able to get kids special help if they need it!) I told them that I do my best and that it was cruel for them to write such a thing, they know nothing about my pain.
Did I over-react because of my pain and fatigue? Was I out of line? I have far too much on my mind to be treated in such a nasty way by the people who are benefiting the most from my work next to the children themselves, of course. They cause me the problems and then poke fun at me before they act like I am causing them trouble??? I was offended to the nth degree. There was no reason for them to do that or say that or anything.
Anyway, it all comes back to the fact that I am hurting. They added in some emotional hurt to the physical hurt. I am also too tired from working these 10 plus hour days and trying to sort out a lot of nonsense that is all around me. I am worried about my kids right now and I simply want to do the best work I can do. Anytime someone adds in stress in any way isn't right. Their words--"We can feel your pain..." just insult me and go through my head over and over. I think if any of them had an ounce of sensitivity in their beings that they wouldn't say anything like that about me in such a public way. Of course, there is always the possibility that I am over-reacting, so I am going to let you all share your thoughts.
As for me, I haven't done much sparking--so I'm off to do that now. Take care of yourself and keep on being as kind and thoughtful as you are! You are all so caring and kind--and awesome!!
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I went to work today and yesterday. This is a mixed variable to me. I love, love, love my work when I am doing my job without any unreasonable interference. However, interference is what I am getting.
I left for work this morning leaving my lemonade sitting on the table. (My current beverage to choice is sugar free lemonade and I cannot get it just anywhere...) I had plenty of water, so it should have been okay, but it set the tone of how the day worked. I am amazed when some little and trivial thing can set the tone of things. I know that I allowed that to happen.
I have almost completed "undoing" the things my sub did that were unacceptable. She made my job as easy for herself as she could by ignoring the lessons and directions I gave her. Instead, she went to Pinterest and found lessons to use and taught them to all 14 of my reading groups. Hmm, the same lesson for first grade, second grade, and third grade readers. Even though they all need support, they do not need the same thing. They made lots of cute little things that they spent time coloring and cutting out. (As a teacher, I know how to do those very time consuming activities with pretty little products as outcomes, I have always done my job as believing it was my job to help my children get their reading up to grade level as fast as I could so that they didn't have to come out of their regular class for support. Maybe that is flawed thinking, but it has worked well for my students for a very long time.)
Most of that doesn't matter, but I have a philosophy that above all, I can "do no harm" to any of my fragile children. They all know that their reading is not what most of their peers can do and I think they need to be encouraged and to believe that they will get there (and they will because I know that with very few exceptions, all children can read.) My sub created these books with the children that took her a bit of time and inside each book was a random list of some words and some letters and letter chunks that each child explained to me that "I don't know." I questioned them about what the books were for and virtually none of them could tell me. A few told me that they were supposed to "practice them." When I asked them to describe how that looked, not one of them could tell me. The telling moment came in one of my groups when two of the little girls at the table were bragging how they only had "this many" (about 3 or 4) items written in their book and the little boy sitting next to them had at least 3 pages of words in his book. His little sad face told the tale as he quickly closed his book and tucked it into his basket. I was so angry on his behalf. When a child has difficulty with something, I always stop whatever I am doing and teach them how to work with it--how to figure out the word or sounds or I share the fact with them that it is a word they have to practice after we try it out for those true sight words. I sure don't single anyone out for what they don't know. This is one thing that I am going to make sure that somebody "higher up" knows about because as I said, the rest of the issues were based on what this sub didn't know or have skills to do in my position--but hurting a child's feelings in such a cruel way goes beyond ignorance, in my book.
Yesterday, I tackled rewriting my schedule and I worked on it for hours. I tried this and that and finally had what I thought was a breakthrough and solved it. However--I made a mistake and scheduled three kids during their PE and music time, which isn't a choice. I went back and muddled with it and no matter what I tried, it wouldn't work. I finally gave it up and sent a message out to everyone saying that i couldn't see children again on Thursday due to problems with creating my new schedule. I stayed at work until 6 on Tuesday and couldn't do it again on Wednesday because I had physical therapy followed by therapy after school.
As for my own well-being, I didn't get to eat until 3:00 on Tuesday and by the time my husband came to pick me up a little after 4, I could barely move. I was feeling pain in my new hip along the inside which I had only felt a few random times previously. My back was virtually on fire. MY left knee and right shoulder were both screaming at me. My husband helped me wrap up my details and took me home to get into my swim suit and I went to the pool to treat my aching and sore body. I didn't workout hard, but I walked in the water in every direction I could and I did some stretching and strengthening exercises before I took a long, hot shower and dried off in the sauna. It felt good in the moment, but i didn't have any long term relief like I am so used to getting from those activities.
I came home and tried to get comfortable with ice bags on some of my really obnoxious pains and parts. It took me a while to get to sleep and quite honestly, I couldn't even do a thing--read or spark or talk--at this point. All I could do was feel miserable and that is how I woke up. That was kind of scary. Wednesday was similar except after PT and therapy, I simply came home to do nothing. My hands were hurting and my arms were throbbing too--that all seems to be fibromyalgia pain. I'd say that I am in a full-fledged flare to go along with a lot of joint and post-op pain. Nice, it will keep me on my toes, I guess.
I talked at length with my therapist about pain. It is taking all of my energy to deal with it right now. It is overpowering everything that I do and care about. I can almost smell it and I don't know what to do about it. I am weary of it and I am tired. I fell asleep early (after 11) last night and woke up at 2:30 this morning. I didn't get my things for work ready like usual and will need to get some help when others wake up around here. I have taken my morning pain meds already and hope I can take a short nap in a while.
I am trying to eat correctly, but I am not doing as well as I should be. I hope it comes back to me soon or I won't be losing the weight I gained after surgery or get to my goal. I am not sure I should care about it while I am trying to combat this pain and these issues right now--I'm not sure that I have the energy to try. I decided last night that I won't go to the pool on the three days a week that I have PT.
On the home front, this pain has also come close to interfering in my ability to be a mother. Megan called me from work Tuesday to let me know she was having horrible back pain. I was almost outraged that anyone would come to me complaining about their back. I told her to try ice or the hot tub at the fitness center and she was quick to tell me that she had already done that. Quite honestly, I was thinking that she is 24 and that she should just handle it. However, I also thought about that pulmonary embolism from a couple of years ago and told her to call the doctor. She did that, but they didn't get back to her until Wednesday morning. She got an early afternoon appointment. She had a few tests that we are waiting for the results but we already know a source of her pain and problem. She has shingles. I didn't think someone her age could get that condition, but because her immune system is depressed because of the coumadin she takes to thin her blood and prevent a repeat embolism. She broke out in a small rash on her back on Saturday evening and on Sunday, it had spread to her tummy. I thought it was hives--she has always been prone to a few allergies. It turns out that you need antibiotics within three days of getting shingles (the rash) or it is too late to be treated. Our doctor put her on tramadol for the pain and will see her again next week. We are waiting for lab tests, the check for kidney stones, and the results of her back x-rays. And of course, I am feeling guilty for my initial reaction to her complaints--thank heavens they were only my thoughts, but I know what I was thinking. It was because I was so wrapped up in all of the pain I was having and it interfered greatly in my most important role, being a mother.
I am going to try to rest a bit more because I have to tackle that schedule this morning. My son is coming to work to spend a day with me to help me restock the kids' book baskets and to do bending and lifting that I know is beyond my limits. I am so weary and I don't like the way I feel. I will figure out a way to manage it. I think I will make a call to my pain doc today. I have an appointment in just over a week with my rheumy as well. Between the two of them, I hope to find my way to some relief.
Marissa came home from show choir practice almost in tears tonight because she has been told that they want her to be able to do well in the musical and her senior show choir show. They want her to be able to go to Dallas without a wheel chair too. They think she should give her role in the play to her understudy and she really is hurting about this. She is going to do it, but she is so unhappy that she is lashing out at the choir director who she is such good friends with. (He goes to our church.) I am waiting for her anger about this broken foot and possibly for it to come my way because she was helping me to get clothing when she had her accident. I cannot help her with any of this, but I advised her to consider that if she started walking on that foot against the doctor's advice and the fact that she could permanently damage her foot and/or suffer with it for the rest of her life. That's a lot for a 17 year old who is certainly living for the moment--but she is a bright young lady and I think she is finally understanding that she needs to make some important, but difficult decisions. I am so sorry this is going on, but it is beyond me as much as Megan's shingles.
I have a lot on my plate, my friends. Interference in my day to day life is being overshadowed by out of control pain and the actions of others. My children need me to be on my "A game" right now with at least 3 of them in a crisis kind of situation. I did have one success--I just opened an email from Micah's special ed teacher and the principal and teachers have agreed to accommodate Micah's issues and cut his written assignments in half. This teacher would have done it without being told, because I work to the needs of each of my individual students--all 60+ of them--but I know that I may be the exception in some places.
Interference can be a good thing when it is helpful or enriches what is going on. Unfortunately, it is not helping me right now, in this place and at this time. I am not sure how I am going to handle today, but I am going to try to take care of me in the process. I will call my pain doc and I will take a break sometime today. I will muddle through and make this schedule. I will go easy and be kind to myself. I will pray for those I love and care about to help them in dealing with the extremes in their worlds. I will not be an interference to anyone.
Very gentle hugs,
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