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Carefully Crafted

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where do I sit? How's my body language? Did I wear too much make up, not enough? Damn it! I should have washed my hair this morning! Did I choose the correct clothes? What does my designer bag say about me? Should I have left it in the car? Did I really have to finish my tweet while he waited in the doorway?

All that screamed through my mind today as I met with the new psychologist for the second time. I don't think I made a really great impression during our first visit. I wore my 5150 tank and no bra. I wasn't thinking then. He said it gave him "insight" into who I was and what I was about.

But I know, I know what they, these doctors, do because I've seen it in my charts from various other providers: "well groomed today," "uncooperative body language,"" no eye contact," "unusually chatty," "no make up and hair in a pony tail," "manic," "depressed," yada yada yada.... Every move a psychiatric patient makes is scrutinized, put under a microscope and dissected like a frog in an tenth grade biology class.

I usually don't mind therapy, I get to talk about my narcissistic self for 45 minutes. Today, however, wasn't so great. I was nervous, I was unsure of myself and I was teary. I hate being teary, it serves no purpose I can think of other than making me look weak.

It is all about appearances isn't it? Isn't that why I drive a Mercedes and wear a Rolex? Isn't that why I botox the hell out of my forehead? Isn't that why I color my hair and paint my nails black?

I told the doc of all that has transpired over the last week and a flood of emotion came over me and betrayed the shit out of me. He said when I first told him of the horrific things I sounded "nonchalant." I said I was numb. I told him I "compartmentalize" to get through my life.

He assured me that was a perfectly normal coping skill, deal with what I can when I can and put the rest away until later. That's when I really began talking, and he began questioning, and that's when I nearly lost the appearance game. I felt the betraying tears.

I was determined not to let them cascade over my lashes. I would not allow them to trace the outline of my cheeks. I would not reach for a tissue. I would hold it together and continue to compartmentalize.  I'm quite sure in the copious notes he was taking he wrote of the cracked facade he'd witnessed and of my insistence on controlling the emotion that almost overcame me. 

All of my psychiatrists before had mentioned my ability to hold myself together and my "great coping skills." They spoke of my strength and resolve. I knew it was all bullshit on my part. They didn't really know me, I never let "me" out.

Very little of that was there after the first few minutes with this doctor today. I almost lost my appearance, the person I've carefully crafted over the years to cover my inner self. This doctor was touching nerves, nerves that haven't been touched in years.

Was it good? Was it bad? Did I even want to know that self? Did I want anyone else to know the real me? I did know I didn't feel comfortable with a new doctor getting a glimpse of my inner being.



It Took Twelve Days For Him To Die

Monday, June 25, 2012

I've avoided it for years, the building, the people, the memories. I was there Sunday as I have been the last few Sundays. I've been uncomfortable, wary and guarded. I still am.

I didn't know why, until then. Sunday morning the memories came flooding back of a small dying child. I was flipping through my Bible and found the bookmark that announced the death of my grandson.

The cause of his death was listed as viral encephalitis. I've written of Isaiah before but never in depth, I wouldn't let myself go there. I wouldn't allow myself to remember, to feel, to experience the intense feelings that surrounded those months and the tiny child whose destiny was the grave.

I've written the facts, but not of the excruciating feelings. I keep those feelings locked tightly away in a box that's filed in the deepest recesses of my brain, I keep that box far from my heart lest it once again be pierced.

But today is different. I'll write of the experience, of the decisions, of the ultimate fate of the perfectly beautiful angel.

I knew when Isaiah was a few days old that he was sick, very sick. He slept way too much, even for a newborn. And I had this feeling, this really bad feeling in my gut that he was extremely sick.

My daughter, Karli, took him to the doctor several times. They diagnosed him as a sleepy newborn. She took him to the ER and again was told he was a sleepy newborn. Little did we know at the time that those misdiagnosis' were critical in the life and death of Isaiah.

Karli took him to another doctor who witnessed seizures. Isaiah was immediately taken to the children's hospital in Portland. There was a team of incredible doctors assigned to his case and test after test was done.

He was finally diagnosed with Herpes Encephalitis. The Herpes virus can kill newborns, Herpes killed our newborn. Karli contracted it from her then husband but she had no symptoms. It was passed on to Isaiah. Had he been accurately diagnosed in the beginning, he might still be with us today. I wish I had pushed more, I wish I had been more proactive. I can't help but feel his death is my fault. I knew, I knew, there was a problem.

After many meetings with the specialists at the hospital, and many treatments, there was one final meeting with his team of doctors. I avoided that gathering of the medical minds. I knew what they were going to tell us.

Isaiah was brought home to my house and put in hospice care. His brain had been destroyed by the virus. He was going to die. We had to wait and we had to watch.

My daughter made the decision to end his life support. His feeding tube was removed, all medications, except those to keep him comfortable, were stopped. We watched the chubby little cherub grow frail and emaciated. We watched as he starved to death. We dabbed his little lips with cold water. We tried to keep him comfortable. We passed him from person to person, he was never laid down, he was never alone.

It took 12 days after his nourishment was stopped for him to die. Those were the longest 12 days of our lives. We prayed for his death, for his suffering to end, for our suffering to end. We waited, we watched and we prayed.

We were sitting at the dinner table when Isaiah's soul left this earth. Karli took the stethoscope and listened for a heartbeat, there was none. We called his doctor, his wonderful doctor, and she came to our house. Our pastor and his wife came as well and we all waited for the men with the black van to come take our child away.

While we were waiting we passed the lifeless baby around, we each held him, kissed him and told him how much we loved him. When the men arrived Karli carefully strapped him into his car seat after she had wrapped him in his blanket. That night was the beginning of a journey none of us wanted to be on, but we had no choice.

Sunday as I looked at the bookmark it dawned on me why I had avoided church, or at least one of the reasons I had avoided it for nearly 8 years. The building reminded me of Isaiah. We had taken him to every service with us. We had his beautiful memorial service in that building. We said our final goodbye to him there.

Sitting in church I read the verse my daughter had chosen for him, for his bookmark and for his headstone and I cried.

Isaiah 57:1 and 2
The righteous perish, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come. 
He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. 

I thought of the evil that Isaiah was spared from. The "person" that had fathered him was a meth addict we found out, a very sly one. He also sexually molested my older grandson. His family was full of drug addicts and, to put it rather strongly, they were losers of the worst kind.

Who knows what Isaiah would have faced, who knows from what abuse he was spared. But it doesn't stop the grief, it doesn't stop the hurt, it doesn't stop the anger.

I think my realization Sunday was the beginning of healing for me.  I need to open that box. I need to feel the pain. I need to embrace the memories. I've only visited his grave a handful of times in  8 years.  I think I'll go more, I need to go more, but I'm afraid to. 




Saturday, June 23, 2012

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing which originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes. You may have heard of the expression, “honor amongst thieves”. In that age-old tradition, we also have our rules. First, we always credit the blog that we stole it from and we will “fess up” to the blog owner where we stole the meme. We also provide a link to the victim's post. (It's our way of saying "Thanks!") We do sometimes edit the original meme, usually to make it more relevant to our global players, to challenge our players, sometimes to select that meme's best questions, or simply to make it less repetitive from either this new meme or recently asked questions from a prior featured meme. Let's go!!!
Today we ripped off a blogger named Hui Lin from the blog Conversations with an Imaginary Audience. It's 200 questions, so we will do it in parts. Lots of parts. She does not state where she got it from. But this is someone who could not come up a separate screen name and a blog name. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

81. What’s your favorite action movie?  

82. Have (or are) you ever been involved someone much older than you? 
First of all I have bipolar disorder which means that I'm prone to be impulsive, so no great ideas when I'm unmedicated. We'll just leave it at that. 

83. Do you believe in lust at first sight? 
Robert Downey Jr, Johnny Depp and George Clooney.....uh yeah, duh

84. Favorite type of venomous snake? 
The kind that has first been shot by buckshot and then hacked into pieces with a hoe then has it's rattles taken and put on a little silver cart pulled by a little silver boy. Yes, there is a story there. 

85. Do you drink alcohol?  
I know you guys are SO laughing at this one. I don't drink often. Most of the time I'll have one drink, but there are those nights that are dancing on the table nights, or more like falling on my ass in the hotel bathroom, hitting my arm in the process and having no idea how I got there. Or the night out with Lori and Deb that I somehow managed to forget huge chunks of the evening, but there were pictures...oh gosh there were pictures.

86. If you wanted to talk to someone who'd lift your spirits, who'd you call?
Angela always makes me laugh, Karyn always calms me, and I can talk myself into some pretty cool stuff. 

87. What do you wear to feel sexy?
Great lingerie ( an everyday must) and Chanel No. 5

88. Do you like to learn? 
I like to learn all sorts of things, the problem is with remembering what I've learned. 

89. Have you ever been hit on by someone who really overestimated their attractiveness? 
haha.....well the toothless security guard at a casino in Lexington that kept telling me he had his own trailer on the river....creepy

90. Where did you last go on vacation? 

91. Dallas (as in J.R. & Bobby) returns this week. What film or TV series would you loved to be resurrected? 
Brothers and Sisters

92. Explain your karma beliefs. 
be careful or watch your back

93. When do you think that you have a hard life? 
I've had a strange life, and yes some of it has been extremely hard, but some of it has been extremely blessed.

94. Favorite comic strip? 
sorry, no answer here

95. Have you ever broken a heart?
yes. end of discussion. 

96. Should pot be legalized? 
yes, and tax the hell out of it. Alcohol is legal and people get behind the wheels of cars and kill people. The only thing murdered by a pot head is a bag of cheetos. Plus there are a myriad of medicinal uses for it.

97. Have you ever gone skinny dipping with someone that you shouldn't have?
can I plead the fifth here?

98. What do you do when you're down? 
I tend to stay in my room, withdraw from everyone and write, or sleep, or, or, or....

99. Last time you were really angry?
a couple of weeks ago. sorry no details here. come to think of it, I'm still royally pissed off. 

100. What is your favorite flavor in general? 
I'm a flavor of the day kinda girl
 101. Name 4 things you always have with you. 
Benzos, Buxom, iPhone, business cards

102. How many SERIOUS exes do you have? 
one. totally. broke. my. heart. And it doesn't help that he's in the news, on the internet and on TV constantly. Just keep your shit in your own country and stop letting it cross the border. Stay off TV, stay out of the papers and just hide somewhere. 

103. What causes you to you admire people? 

104. Do you like sports? 
Hockey and MMA (UFC)

105. Would you have sex after marriage? Why or why not? 
sex AFTER marriage? I might consider it. 

106. What is your favorite male name? 
 Julian, my dad, or Reagan, my hero

107. Do animals go to Heaven? 
I don't know. I haven't been there yet. 

108. Last time you had a great time with your dad?
ten days two weeks before he died

109. What is your favorite hair style? 

110. Do you like your name? 
my parents took it pretty seriously when they chose my name. it would be disrespectful and rude to say no. 

111. When was the last time that you quit your job?
I quit it every day.

112. When you wake up, what is the first thing you think? 
WHY does it have to be morning?

113. Have you ever pulled an all-niter? 
bipolar and insomnia go hand in hand, so does staying up after taking ambien and shopping.....yeah, hate those morning confirmation emails

114. What is the perfect day for you? 
those ten days I spent with my dad before he died. 

115. Last time you cleaned the bathroom? 
it's been probably 9 or 10 years. I write a check for that. 

116. Have you ever failed a grade? Why? 

117. Have you met anyone online? 

118. Have you ever smoked? 
no. Three of my grandparents died of smoking related cancer. I'd say the odds are against me. Besides, it stinks, it's gross and I like my skin to look closer to my age and not 15 years older.

119. Do you like celebrities? 
usually not

120. Do you like traveling? 




Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today was the day that I met with a new psychologist. I still have the same incredible psychiatrist but he doesn't do psychotherapy, only med management, so I've been on the hunt for someone on my insurance plan for psychotherapy. If anyone needs a psychotherapist it's me.

I was fully prepared to question him to death, to take charge of my treatment, and to make an informed decision on if I would choose him as my treatment provider. I was going to be the one doing the judging and the assessment.

That was until my husband burst my bubble and brought me crashing to the ground. I was on the way out the door when he asked, "You're not really going to wear that shirt are you?"

"Yeah, why not?"

"Do you think it's appropriate for meeting a new psychologist?"

"Yeah, why not?" I was a little confused. It was just a black tank top.

"Teri, that's your 5150 shirt, you're 'Hardcore 5150' shirt."

"Oh shit! But it's hot out there and I couldn't find the shirt I was looking for so I just grabbed this."

"5150" is police and institution code for a dangerous crazy person on the loose. I got the shirt at Street Vibrations last year from my friend's family's booth.

"Are you sure you want to wear that?" He wasn't going to let it go.

"Well I guess I'll see if he has a sense of humor."

With that I left the house and made my way to the doc's office. When he greeted me his eyes went directly to the "5150" or to my boobs, I'm not sure which. Both were well displayed.

I decided I needed to explain my shirt and told him what my husband said and that I said I'd just see if he had a sense of humor.

He looked at me and said, "Well, it definitely gives me insight on who you are and what you're about."

Shit. I was sunk. I was no longer in control. I'd betrayed myself with my choice of attire, and on my first meeting at that.

Oh well, what the hell, like he said it'll give him insight on just who I am and what I'm about. I decided to just roll with it. At least he got a valid first impression.




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

He'd been unusually friendly. For years we barely got a "hey Mom," or "what's up Dad?" But for some reason my 21 one year old son was chatty, overtly happy and a little loopy last week.

On June 6th there was a car accident. He was in his white Toyota Tundra and was rear ended while waiting for a woman to turn left. His back got pretty wrenched up and his neck was bothering him. I took him to Urgent Care and they prescribed hydrocodone every 4-6 hours for pain and Flexeril for the muscle spasms he was having.

Then a few days later he had nine teeth pulled, four impacted wisdom teeth, four pre-molars and a baby tooth as well as a cyst removed. The oral surgeon prescribed him more hydrocodone to take every 4-6 hours.

He thought he was feeling happy because he was out of the constant pain in his mouth he had learned to live with. What I figured out was that he was taking all his prescriptions as ordered, which meant he was doubling up on the hydrocodone.

With the double hydrocodone, the flexeril, and benadryl he was taking for hydrocodone induced nausea, the kid was high.

My very straight laced, no alcohol, no drugs, no rule breaking, gonna be a cop kid was as high as a kite. The bad thing is that I was really enjoying him that way. Once we discovered what was going on and had him cut back to a single dosage of hydrocodone he gradually went back to his 21 year old self.

Damn! I wish hydrocodone wasn't so addicting or that the potential for acetaminophen overdose wasn't so dangerous. I kind of liked the kid that way.



It S'not True!

Monday, June 18, 2012

It was an awesome day for a long motorcycle ride on Saturday here in Oregon. It was about 80 degrees and the sky was cloudless. We had a client to meet that lives out in the country so we took full advantage of it and rode the Harleys. We roared through the beautiful winding back roads of Oregon and enjoyed the incredible scenery.

I choose to wear a full face helmet when I ride. I like the face shield, bugs to the face hurt like hell.  I like the way it looks and I love the protection it offers. One of the only problems is that when I need to talk to someone at a light I have to grab the bottom of the helmet and pull it down and away from my face so they can hear me speak. 

Being nearly summer, with all the trees and flowers in bloom, I have full blown allergies. For me full blown allergies mean, uh, well, they mean huge masses of thick mucus that like to slide down, and get stuck in, my throat.

Usually they get lodged in that area right at the back of my nasal whatever it's called and I can sneeze them up and blow them out. I hate, I mean HATE having them where I have to suck them into my throat and spit them out. It makes me gag just thinking of it. I don't do snot, I don't do vomit and I don't do bathrooms.

Wouldn't you know that while I was riding 65 miles per hour down the freeway one of the nasty little bastards would decide to crop up on me. I certainly couldn't sneeze and blow my nose so I had no. other. option. I was going to have to suck it down and try to spit it out...gagging here.

So I sucked and then realized I had on a full face helmet. I had this thing in my mouth and was beginning to get that queasy feeling in my stomach. I had no choice. I had to try to spit it out and away from me. HA!

I lifted my face shield and pulled down the helmet a little bit so my mouth was free. Without taking the wind speed into account I spit as hard as I could. Wrong. Move.

The wind caught the huge thing and blew it right back into the side of my helmet. Oh Holy Mother of God I was going to lose it. I had no choice. I had to try to TOUCH it to get it out of my helmet and off of the side of my face all while flying 65 miles per hour down the freeway. I'd rather be hit in the face by a eight pound locust than have snot touch my skin!

I was hoping Jeff didn't notice but being a general contractor he notices even the smallest detail, and I wasn't exactly graceful with my attempted spitting or my trying to get the damned thing off of me. He saw every, single bit of my very un-diva like behavior.

As soon as we stopped at a light he looked over at me laughing so hard he could barely breathe. After he caught his breath he finally was able to ask, "Did I see what I think I saw?" All I could do was nod my head in shame.

First SPITTING and then getting hit by the massive wind swept snot ball was enough to take away my title of "Diva of Happy Valley."




Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dear Mom, The anniversary of that terrible day the negligent doctor killed you is close at hand. It will be six years this July 3rd. I remember getting the proverbial 4AM phone call and being emotionless. I guess in shock would be a better way to say it. I calmly walked into the kitchen where Jeff was making coffee. I looked at him and simply said, "My Mom just died." I couldn't comprehend, I didn't want to comprehend. In a few short hours I was on a Texas bound plane. I miss you.

I laugh as I remember you hanging up on Karli when you found out the babies she carried were boys because you really wanted a girl. You did call back after a few hours and apologize though.

When Josiah was born three months early you called every day three or four times to check on him. His birthday is always a sad day for me because you were killed when he was just two weeks old. We were celebrating his quick progress in the NICU not knowing you would soon be killed.

Now you have a totally girled-out great granddaughter, Anna-Grace. She, also, was born three months early but she's kicking butt and is a nail polished, lipsticked, tu-tu wearing princess. You would have loved her to death. And Facebook! Oh my, how you would have relished keeping up with the kids on that.

I was thinking the other day how Joel, Eric and I put loads in your cigarettes and hid outside of the bathroom door waiting for them to explode. I'd never heard such language from you. We ran our legs off and hid for the day, but we were caught after you originally blamed it on Dad. He really should have taken the fall for us. 

Remember the trip we took to South Carolina when Aunt Joan's husband died and Dad fell between the back seats of your Navigator and couldn't get up? We laughed and laughed at the site of that big belly struggling to regain its upright position.

That entire trip was fun. I'd never laughed that much before. When I think of the toothless security guard at the casino in Lexington trying to pick me up using the line, " I have my own trailer on the river," I burst into laughter each and every time.

What about when Dad found that hair in his drink in that little cafe and when he told the server she looked at him with disdain and shouted, "Well it's ISN"T mine!"

It was a great trip and I'm so glad the three of were able to enjoy the long drive from Texas to South Carolina and back again. 

It wasn't too long after that you were taken from us, taken from me.  I miss you. I miss your laughter, I miss our twice daily phone calls, and I miss the friendship we shared. Mostly I just miss you being alive.

I'm still in shock. I still haven't grieved, I can't even look at your pictures. The day will come though when I can look at them and remember the good and forget the way you were taken.

I love you Mom and I always will.




Sunday, June 10, 2012

I have nothing profound tonight. I think all things profound left me about two xanax ago. What I'm left with is a racing heart and the remote control to the DVR.

The DVR remote is an amazing thing you know. Who knew that fast forwarding through endless commercials would give a person such a sense of power? I need that power these days since everything in my life seems to be out of my control.

I hate the feeling of being out of control, not being able to "fix" things, not being able to say the right thing and of being accused of all things terrible.....that's a whole other story not to be told here, but rather in the confines of my therapist's office. Good God! I'm sounding like a Happy Valley Mom now! Go ahead, read it if you haven't and I'll wait for your return.

Truth is I'm between therapists. I have a new one that I'm interviewing next week, I wish it was this week. God, how I wish it was this week.

I'm totally going to interview him. Therapists always think they have the upper hand, well this one is in for a surprise. Tables will be turned. Not only does he need to be an expert in Bipolar Disorder and PTSD, he also needs to be an expert in large, dramatic families.

I'm gathering my questions now. Oh I filled out his paperwork. It makes me laugh thinking about it. Just about every box in the three pages of questions is checked. There are comments everywhere. I'll study his face as he reads my extensive history and I'll be chuckling inside. He's gonna think I'm nuts, hell I am nuts.

But I'll be studying his body language while he familiarizes himself with my answers and when he turns to speak...POW....I'll pounce. I don't have the time, the will power or the patience to train another therapist. He's going to have to have answers to my questions, good answers, not the well rehearsed psycho-babble answers. And he damned well not look like a deer in the head lights. Well that might be too much to ask, since even I would have that look after seeing my answers and hearing my questions.

So while I sit her fantasizing about controlling that first meeting with the new therapist I'm going to exert the only power I have at the moment; I'm going to fast forward through every damned commercial there is tonight.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

They were wild, unpredictable, fun, creative and so, so dangerous. I miss them. I miss them more than I can say.

They were the days before mood stabilizers entered my vocabulary and, more importantly, my mind. I have a love/hate relationship with the white pills the size of dimes stacked three high. 

I love them because they keep my moods stable. They keep me from the lows and from the self harm that seemed all so normal at the time. They keep me from making bad choices and from impulsive behavior. They tend to keep me on a good path emotionally.

I hate them because they do keep my moods stable, sometimes almost flat lined. I miss the highs, the days where anything was possible. Most of all they've seem to have quelled my creativity. There are days I don't know where it went, or when it left. I miss the creativity most of all. I miss the projects, the painting, the writing, and the ideas. 

But mood stabilizers are a necessary evil. They keep me sane, they keep me out of harms way. They help me make better decisions but they make it so much less fun.

There are those days I consider stopping them all together, but then I remember the darkness that will follow the mania and realize I can never stop them.

We're going to have to learn to live together because life without them isn't an option.


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