Mar 29, 2011

The big time

I started writing again. Before anyone gets excited about that, let me clarify. Last night, I sat down with my laptop and wrote about 100 words. But it felt good. I miss having that creative outlet in my life, because right now, I need an outlet.

Next Thursday we're taking Griffin to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital for an appointment with a pediatric pulmonologist. In all honesty, we should have done this months ago. Maybe even years ago? And yes, I know he is only two-and-a-half, but this kid's lungs have been giving him trouble since he was only four months old. We waited because everyone told us that it's because he's in day care, and under three years old, and that the winter months are tough on little ones. It made sense. But then he got pneumonia just before his first birthday. And then just six short months later, he developed double pneumonia. In between those months were bouts of bronchitis. In fact, by the time he was 18 months old, he'd battled bronchitis about 12 times.

At that time, Griffin was prescribed daily breathing treatments and "rescue" treatments as needed. When he got really bad, he was on oral steroids, too. I don't think Griffin knows life without the whirring sound of his nebulizer.

It has been a rough winter for him with illnesses - ears (four infections in four months even after tubes surgery), bronchitis, colds, fevers, etc. Then came early February and we found ourselves rushing to the ER again with a listless little boy with a cough and a fever of almost 106. Diagnosis: Pneumonia. Again. That made three times in 18 months. And if that wasn't enough, he developed an ear infection just one week later, and then another bout of bronchitis just one week after that. That was it. We'd had enough and Griffin definitely had enough. We brought up the idea of seeing a specialist, but we were told that they most likely wouldn't do anything different from his current treatment plan. We mentioned it to Griffin's allergist, but she sort of said the same thing. Were we overreacting?

Last week Griffin developed strep throat. A week later he developed a cold/cough/bronchial infection. And now? Another ear infection. I did some research and found out that our current health insurance does not require us to have a referral to see a specialist. I picked up the phone and called the Children's Hospital. Our appointment is set for April 7th and I have never been so excited to see a doctor. Maybe, after additional testing, we will find out that this is how Griffin is and we should stay on the same treatment plan. But maybe we can get some answers, or even tweak his meds just a bit so they're more effective.

Griffin hasn't been healthy for more than two weeks in a row since early October. I miss happy Griffin. I miss his smiles and silly questions. He doesn't smile so much anymore and that makes me so unbelievably sad. I'm not expecting a miracle from this appointment. It could turn out that there is nothing more we can do. A little peace of mind would be nice, though. Peace of mind and a big 'ol smile from my Griffin.

The smile that I miss
(September 2010)

Mar 16, 2011

Treading water

It has been one month since I last posted on my blog. To be honest, it's not that I haven't had time. I haven't had much to say. What's the point of reading this if all you're going to see is a series of complaints? Yes, lately my life has been stressful and frustrating. Whose life isn't? We all experience ups and downs in life. I'm no different. I took a long break during my most recent down. Not a real break, but just a break from my blog. It was one more stress I didn't need. Instead, I took that time to focus on just surviving. Getting by. Taking care of the basics in my life.

There is a lot of pressure to do it all - work a full-time job, take care of your family, stay on top of bills, etc. Then there's that little matter of actually taking care of yourself. What? You mean it's okay to take time to take a walk (alone)? To read a book (not one with pictures)? To browse the aisles at Target (and not have to explain to a two-year-old why you won't be visiting the toy department)? So that's what I've been doing lately. Reading. Enjoying the weather - taking walks, getting ready for our garden, sitting on our porch doing nothing else. You know what? It feels good.

My boss and I had a serious conversation this time last year. It was the first time I told her, or anyone outside of my family, that Patrick was unemployed and we were struggling. After telling her how the whole situation had been weighing on me, and how the stress of keeping everything (and everyone) together was overwhelming, she said to me, "Sometimes all we can do is tread water." In other words, all you need to do to survive is stay afloat. No fancy moves, just keep your head above water. That's exactly what I've been doing this past month. The pressure is still there. I feel it all the time, but the difference is that I can weigh what is truly important. Sometimes the laundry sits longer than I would like. Other times, I don't cook and we have sandwiches for dinner. Writing has fallen down my list of priorities. Instead, I choose to sit in my living room with Griffin, watching him squeal as I blow bubbles.

There is comfort in letting go of the pressure - letting go of the excess. I'm not trying to keep up with anyone else. I'm just trying to do what I need to do to get by. I'm treading water, and that's okay.

Sometimes good enough is all we can do. And when you think about it, what's wrong with that?