Learning To Function With One Hand

(Apologies in advance if there are any typos in this post. I’m typing with one hand. )

Confession: I am not a good sick/injured person. I don’t like being cooped up in the house. And I really don’t like not having the use of my right arm.

I had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in early August and while I know its not forever, cabin fever has definitely set in. Right now, my movements are very restricted: The only approved way of moving my shoulder is to be standing, bend at the waist, and let my arm slowly hang away from my body. That’s it. And now you know how I get dressed every day: Put sleeve on bad arm, bend, pull it up, pull over my head, insert good hand, and SLOWLY adjust said shirt.

Bras?  The only ones I can wear are strapless or bandeau tops. Although my favorite so far is the tank top with a shelf bra. So. Much. Easier.

My sling is gigantic. It even has its own pillow to keep my arm away from my body. I also can’t drive for another week, and when I do, it can only be for short trips and I have to use my left hand for everything. (Translation: I’ve been cooped up in my house for nearly six weeks! And most of that time was spent alone. HELP ME.)

So … life has been very small recently. And slow.

Life, Interrupted

I seem to be unable to put an entire cohesive post together, so think of this as expanded bullet points.

If I were a car, I’d be a lemon

I had shoulder surgery when I was 19 years old. It was an old sports injury, the doctors had shaved the interior of my shoulder socket to prevent grinding and shrank my shoulder muscles so my shoulder would stay in the socket. I thought I was done with that issue.

Except that for the past five years or so, my shoulder would slip out of the socket once a year. Until a couple of months ago, it was only a little slip and I was able to put it back in the socket by myself without incident. Kinda like the end of this clip, except I don’t slam it against a wall, I lean and gently twist and nudge downward:

Sorry for that.

Anyway — in late March, my shoulder FULLY slipped out of the socket, prompting an ER appointment after there was lingering pain after I got it back in the socket. After sending me home with a sling after a round of X-rays, I was referred to a shoulder specialist. He’s ordered an MRI, but at my appointment last week while he was assessing my arm, an offhand comment he made really caught my attention: “You have to think about how you move your arm.” It’s true. He’d tell me to reach above my head as if trying to get something off a high shelf, and I’d pause, rotating my shoulder and arm, trying to find the correct angle. I never even realized I was doing it.

He also commented on my limited range of motion. He called it “significant to severe” in its limitation. His bet (he’s 99% sure) is that I have a lateral tear, which the MRI will likely confirm, because this guy was GOOD. And once it’s confirmed, I’ll be having surgery on my shoulder. AGAIN. To repair the tear and to “laser” my shoulder muscles to shrink them again. In the meantime, I’m blowing through my supply of Aleve and Motrin with ridiculous rapidity.

Stress Management = messy house

For awhile, I was staying up to about 1 a.m. daily, trying to stay on top of cleaning the house. I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep and essentially burning myself out. My “to do” list was so long, ever growing, that I actually considered getting some no doze just so I could get ahead. That list, and my daily responsibilities, began to weigh on me. I started to feel like Atlas. Except that my burden had shifted to my chest: I could barely breathe from it. I’d find myself having issues drawing a deep breath. The pressure on my chest was so great I started having panic attacks. Hyperventilating. And not knowing why.

I talked to a counselor, who as a stress management aid, told me to take 10 minutes for myself each night, and to give myself a set bedtime and that no matter what I’m doing, when that bedtime hits, to go to bed. No excuses.

My house is now a disaster zone. It’s ridiculously messy. But that feeling of not being able to breathe? It’s gone. I’m not hyperventilating. No panic attacks. Just feet that have been pierced by tiny, sharp, plastic toys as I try to cross the living room.

Total Upheaval

The Fiscal Cliff has pushed us over our own proverbial ledge: Hubbs was laid off a few months ago, and despite calling our mortgage company the very next day, we’re still in loan modification purgatory — meaning we’re still waiting for an answer as to whether they’ll modify our loan. And they just asked for more documents. Again.

As someone living between the proverbial rock and a hard place, it doesn’t feel as through they’re trying to help me. At all.

And so we’re going to rent out our house for a year — or more, depending on how things pan out. This means moving in with my incredibly generous parents. It means renting a storage unit. Discarding a ton of stuff. Trying to fit everything we need for daily life into two 8×10 bedrooms with only the teensiest bit of overflow.

It means upheaval for my children, who will need to adjust their expectation of what “home” is going to mean. Who will need to adjust to brand-new teachers and a brand-new preschool. But it also means more love: They’ll be living with their grandparents and uncle — enough to send them jumping up and down and yelling “yay!” when we told them. They’ll have dinner at my grandparent’s house once a week, which warms my heart because I grew up doing the same thing and have wonderful memories of those dinners and visits.

I adore my parents. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for helping us. For upending their house to make room for us. For my dad grimacing, but allowing me to paint the kids’ room a light blue — despite abhorring any wall color but white.

I never expected to move again. I was going to grow old in this house — watch my kids grow up here. They took their first steps here. Said their first words here. I expected to walk with them, hand in hand, on the way to their first day of school from our front door. I expected to teach them how to back out of this driveway when they learn to drive.

Maybe I still will. You never know what life brings. But not matter how it turns out, we’re together, and we have a loving and supportive group of family and friends that are with us no matter where we call home. And in the end, that’s what matters most.

Homemade Halloween

I have decided to make my daughter’s first Halloween costume. (Pictures/instructions in a later post.) A lot of things factored into my decision: the fact that she’s crawling all over the place and I wanted something that was lightweight and wouldn’t get caught on things or make her slip were some of my top reasons.

Do you think this is appropriate for a 2-year-old?

But really, it came down to the fact that I’m completely disenchanted with what the stores have to offer. Because it seems like every year, the little girl costumes look more and more like the “sexy” Halloween costumes.

What happened to little girls being able to look like little girls? And STAY little girls for just a little bit longer? (I go on rants about little girls walking around with “Juicy” written on the butt of their sweatpants as well. Because REALLY? Why (WHY?!) does a 9-year-old need “Juicy” written across her bottom? Whose benefit is that for? Pedophiles? Because anyone who looks at a little girl’s bottom and thinks “juicy” has issues. Major issues. Locked-away-from-society issues.

Case in point: The first picture is for a size 18 month to 2T. So … 18 month-olds and 2-year-olds. I found it on the Toys R Us Web site when searching for Halloween costumes for my almost 9-month-old.

Now the child model is wearing tights, which is good. And you could argue that it’s a leotard with a tutu and wings. I’ll give you that.

But what’s with the top of the outfit? Why the off-the-shoulder look with ruffles? Why so much bare skin?

This model is TWO FREAKING YEARS OLD.

Is this costume so very different from the toddler version?

I never thought of myself as a prude or a “cover yourself” kind of person but this totally rubbed me the wrong way.

I posted the link on my Facebook page with this message: I don’t know about you, but I never wanted to be a ladybug hooker for Halloween. Especially not when I was 18 MONTHS OLD. WTF.

One friend responded that it looks like an “Old West showgirl.” That’s code for prostitute, in case you were wondering.

What I’m getting at, is that the sexualization of little girls disgusts me. It pisses me off to no end. It makes little girls, who then become tween, teens, and young women, that their worth is firmly based on their looks.

And to look “good” means wearing short shorts, short skirts, low-cut or off-the-shoulder shirts. To look sexually appealing. To men. In a society where a rape victim’s sexual history and the clothes she is wearing is a cornerstone of the defense. Because if she dresses “sexy”, that means she’s asking for it.

Compare the two images: Off-the-shoulder design, a tutu, tights, and wings. The length of the skirts is practically the same for both costumes, in proportion to the models. Both are (technically) wearing tights. The adult model has her hair styled like a school girl. (Because school girls are sexy?) Even their poses are similar.

My daughter will not be a ladybug hooker for Halloween this year. I’m making her a winged cape out of felt that she’ll wear over a black onesie and leggings.

She is nearly 9 months old — and she’s going to dress like it, damn it.

A Huge Crock Of Funk

Sorry for the stream of consciousness today, but I can’t seem to shape my thoughts into something more coherent.

So my little brother is back in the hospital. AGAIN. He had his gallbladder removed more than a month ago and its been nothing but ER visits and overnight stays since then. (He’ll have gone through at least 6 procedures by the end of the month.) He has a drain inserted into his body cavity to help drain bile and to keep it from pooling in his body cavity.

So on Friday, Kaiser decided to test and see if the stent they inserted is working, and they went all MacGuyver with it. The “test” is a rubber band. As in: “fold the tube and wrap a rubber band around it to force the bile to go through the stent. If it hurts, or if you get a fever, undo the rubber band and go to the hospital immediately.” That strikes me as odd. If the tube were meant to be closed off, wouldn’t it have a valve attached specifically for that purpose? So that it’s … oh, I don’t know … SANITARY?

Fast-forward to Sunday: My brother has severe pain in his abdomen, has a temperature of 102, and is now stuck in the hospital for 2 days while intravenous antibiotics work to kill his raging infection. Although Kaiser has no idea where that infection actually IS.

Kaiser can take its “Thrive” campaign and stick it where the sun don’t shine, with my compliments. 
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I have been a bundled, mangled, emotional hormonal mess for about two weeks. Hubbs says I’ve been lethargic, easily hurt, and a pain to sleep with. And he’s right. It’s Monday, I got at 8 hours of sleep, and I’m exhausted. I slept on the BART ride into work this morning. Still exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open.

Hubbs was walking on eggshells all weekend because he’d make some joke that I normally don’t take seriously, and I’d start tearing up. Then sob. For 20 minutes. Its like PMS on steroids. He even put “Pride and Prejudice” on TV last night — without me asking! — while channel surfing to try to appease me.  

Probably the main reason for this is the pregnancy hormones. I’m officially six months along and I’ve started the descent from the “reasonably comfortable” second trimester into the “oh my god, what the hell have I done?!” third trimester. Peanut has definitely gone/is going through a growth spurt, since I’ve taken to opening car doors into my stomach again. My feet are swollen, and my pudgesicles can barely fit into shoes, despite me putting them up frequently and drinking gallons of water.

Sleeping is becoming horrific. This is probably the worst part of pregnancy: You just can’t get freaking comfortable. My back constantly hurts, since I tweaked it while picking Sean up sometime in the first trimester. I hug a body pillow all night, with my belly supported and my feet raised. I kick blankets off because I’m too hot, then freeze and wake up to pull them back on. I have to pee all the time. If I need to roll over, the effort causes an uncontrollable grunt. Its not a pretty sight. And on top of it, I’ve been inexplicably stuffed up for the past two weeks, which at this point is kinda like adding insult to injury.
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I’m probably scaring any newly-pregnant people and terrifying anyone without kids right now. Yeah. Sorry about that. 
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I baked homemade zucchini bread last night and put two slices in my lunch bag for my breakfast this morning. Then I forgot to bring my lunch. Which also means I forgot my breakfast. Which means I started sobbing when I got to my desk at work and opened my big “cart everything” bag to find that my lunch was missing. So I ate dry cereal, since I’m too lazy to go downstairs to overpay for a jug of milk.
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And although I remembered to put Sean’s laundry in the dryer before I left the house, I think I forgot to feed the cat. Which means she’ll be a crazy biz-natch when I get home.
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And although I planned out meals for the week, I was so flustered/whacked out last night that I didn’t set up the crock pot for tonight’s dinner. Which means I cried for about 5 minutes an hour ago, when I realized that I had to think of something to make for dinner. But then I stopped crying, because we can have spaghetti and frozen meatballs. Huzzah!
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I cleaned the kitchen yesterday. But then I baked bread. And made dinner. And now you can’t tell that I cleaned anything in there. Which is depressing beyond words. But at least I ran the dishwasher.
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I put my mountain of laundry away last night. It took about an hour and at least 2 breaks for it to get done, but I did it. And then the Hubbs said something flippant about it, which is totally fair, and I burst into tears. And I don’t know why. What I DO know is that these freaky hormones had best cut it out soon or we’ll all be losing our shiz.

Happy Monday, all.