Posted by: Kate | April 6, 2009

The Week in Review

OK, kids, gather ’round.  Pull up a chair.  Grab a snack.  This one will take a while, but it’s a thrill-a-minute.  Really.

Last week, in full detail:

Monday 3/30 – I really cannot remember Monday at all.  Most Mondays are hard for me, that whole experience of watching the rest of the world going off to work and me sitting home, still.  I’m sure I did something, went somewhere, talked to someone, but it all has faded, both because the rest of the week blew up and because depression is like a fog – a thick, dark, swirly one, that allows me to glimpse thoughts if they’re close by and brightly colored, but that swallows up other things before I can even see them clearly.  Anyway…

Oh!  I know now!  Monday was the first really bad migraine since the new-neurologist appointment.  I’d had one, which I would consider moderate compared to many, on Thursday evening but treated it with my old medication because it took a few days for the pharmacy to stock the new stuff.  Another headache – such a cute, common little word for an ice pick in the brain – rolled in sometime Monday afternoon, such that I woke up from a nap in blinding, whimpering distress.

And the new medications?  Do. Not. Work.  At all.  Not a bit.  One is a nasal spray, meant to stay in the nose and not trickle down the throat, so it requires sitting down and leaning my head between my knees to get the correct angle.  This pressure change, from leaning over like that, feels just lovely with an already-pounding headache.  You know you’ve taken the medication correctly if you don’t get an immediate horrible taste in your mouth, and if, after about an hour, you get a sort of whole-body muscle contraction for a bit.  So I took it correctly, but it literally didn’t impact the pain – or the aura – one tiny smidgen.  The other medication is for nausea, which I don’t typically get, at least not bad enough to need meds for it.  Taking two results in a very sudden, very long nap, ready or not.  It’s true that, often, a migraine will go away with a long enough period of sleep, but I don’t get them only at night, and cannot just sleep each migraine-day away when I get them twice a week.  I’m also allowed to take up to 400mg of Celebrex, originally prescribed for back pain but additional allotted for headache.  No other medications allowed, including over-the-counter stuff.  I refuse to completely avoid all pain medication, because my back has ongoing pain and I just see no reason to push through that every day on courage alone.

Tuesday 3/31 -I found out I didn’t get the job.  As time goes on and the hits just keep on comin’, I am losing my resilience.  The rejection really upset me, as in a 24-hour crying jag (at least leaking and wobbly at all times, with occasional bouts of sobbing; great fun).  Which is ridiculous, because the job required a 90-minute commute, each way.  I was sad not to get a job that would put me in the car for an extra three hours a day just to get there.  And I was pathetically grateful to the interviewer, because he did call me directly to tell me I didn’t get the job.  Such a sad commentary on the state of things right now, as soulless Form Letters of Rejection have become the preferred method of information-sharing.

I had L’s girls overnight.  Both were coming down with a cold – coughing, sometimes loudly and with junk rattling around their little lungs, but never alarmingly so.  K and I slept in the living room, sporadically, and otherwise cuddled or rocked.

Wednesday 4/1 – April Fool!  The day begins with ongoing intense, very dark depression on my part, though pasting a weak smile that was just barely enough to fool the toddlers; I think either of them would have picked up on it if we were alone, but since they had each other to pay attention to, I was a mere distraction.

In the afternoon, I packed up all four kids and drove down to L’s new place, and couldn’t find L anywhere.  Her car was there, but she was nowhere to be found.  It turns out that she was in the neighbor’s apartment… because she discovered that the back door has a quirky lock that can appear to be unlocked and yet close and lock behind her, with her keys and phone sitting, mockingly, just inside on the kitchen table.  Fabulous, no?  The landlord said she could be there in two hours, so I stuck around for about an hour – I had my keys and could keep the minivan running and warm on a 40-degree day – until another friend of L’s showed up to take them out to dinner.

On the drive home, my kids immediately started in bickering.  Monday’s headache had finally broken that night, and Tuesday was OK, but a new migraine rolled in sometime Wednesday afternoon.  Not a shock to get more than usual while transitioning medications, but no fun, given the ineffectiveness of the treatment.  I called the neurology nurse to ask for some change, anything, and after some phone-tag, she reported that the doctor wants me to continue with this treatment protocol for at least a month in order to consider it “a good try.”  It’s very hard not to ask the nurse to reply with a message of, “Bite me.”  So, I had told the kids, please take it easy on me tonight, I’m not feeling well.  But they were keyed up from the events of the week, and their favorite thing to do when edgy is to bicker.

I lost it.  Just screamed at them, “Shut up!  Shut up!  That is enough!” and then pulling to the side of the road to switch their seating – one true blessing of the minivan – and layer on a guilt trip because they knew I wasn’t feeling well but ramped up anyway.  Neither is my preferred method of discipline, so of course I then burst into tears.  I hadn’t taken any Ativan – an antianxiety medication – in several months, but called the pharmacy on the way home to request a refill.  Got home, set Emily loose on her homework and Jacob on cleaning his room, curled up in bed, and waited for the medication to work.  Willem came home in time to keep us all alive and less-than-completely-insane for the evening.

(Hang in there, I know it’s a lot of words but the week is half over and the good parts are still coming up.)

Thursday 4/2 -Emily awoke complaining of a sore tooth.  She was diagnosed with two cavities at last month’s dental checkup but the soonest appointment is in late June.  Late June. It seemed excessively far away to me, but I’m certainly not a tooth expert.  Her dentist agreed to see her in an emergency appointment, and decided to pack the tooth, which she had chipped with a simple stumble on her way out of bed, with a temporary filling and send us on our way.  With the same late June appointment.  “She’ll be fine, just give her Motrin if she needs it.”  Great, thanks, I would love to feed my kid Motrin every day for three months.  I refrained, barely, from growling at him as I left.

That night, we had X at our house again, because her sister was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.  X wheezed and coughed and barked through the night and seemed much better in the morning.  I did neither.

(Gasp, pant… one day left!  Stay with me!)

Friday 4/3 – Emily awoke complaining of a sore tooth.  I thought she was starting to look a little puffy, too, so I told her I would find a way for her to be seen again that day.  She took some Motrin and decided she felt well enough to go to school, so I planned to wait by the phone and bring in another dose if she needed it.  I waited until 8:00 and called her dentist, who had left for a weeklong vacation.  Somehow he neglected to mention that the day before, and hadn’t left an alternate contact in the outgoing voice mail message.  Rather than firing him over the phone, I just hung up.  I found a place that offers a discount – not insurance, but about a 50% reduction in charges – as a side benefit of our new, horrible health insurance.  It’s a group practice, part of a chain (they did great, so I’ll share the name: Aspen Dental).  I called them at 9:30, and they offered me a 10:00 appointment.  I quickly turned Jacob and X over to Willem (who took them to the Children’s Museum instead of plugging them into the TV, isn’t he sweet?), and rushed to get dressed, pick up Emily, and get her to the new place.

We made it just in time.  As we walked in, I took an Ativan.  Within the hour, they gave her a consultation with a dentist, a panoramic xray, and a prognosis that she needed to have that tooth removed instead of filled (it was a baby tooth, there is crowding of the adult teeth, et cetera).  I took another Ativan.  I asked if they could do that on the same day, and they said, “Sure, there’s an 11:00 slot open.  Go meet with the receptionist about payment and then she’ll be ready.”  They did, indeed, offer a good discount, and they gave us the xray for free because we’d just paid to have them at the other dentist last month.  We were soon in a small room with a different dentist and a hygienist.  I took another Ativan.  They proceeded to give Emily two shots of Novocaine – no nitrous at this office – and remove the tooth.  With a screwdriver and pliers.  Ugh, dentistry is barbaric.  I didn’t take anymore Ativan because I wanted to be able to drive home, but I believe I was only able to keep it together and drive home afterward because of the Ativan.  Better living through chemistry.

Throughout this whole process, Emily was cheerful and relaxed.  She’s practically stoic about serious pain, but wails and moans and carries on over a hangnail.  I always know when she’s actually unwell if she tells me about it quietly.  But the Motrin was working, and she has absolutely no fear of the dentist.  Looks forward to it, actually, which I simply cannot fathom.  She kind of wanted to go back to school afterward, to show off her new gap and gauze and ick, but I vetoed that because I suspected she would be miserable after the Novacaine wore off.  So I took her out for a milkshake for lunch, and got her set up on the couch with water and TV in time for her to get uncomfortable again.

Then there was the hostage thing in Binghamton.

That evening, I returned X home, where she was going to stay with a friend of L’s for the night because if she couldn’t be with Mom she at least needed her own stuff around her.  She’s comfortable here and behaves angelically for us, but it was a rough week for her.  I drove home and joined Willem and the kids at the table for dinner: BBQ pork, which had been in the crock pot for over a day because the chaos of the night before required a drive-thru “meal.”  It was so tender as to fall apart with a stern look, and served with egg noodles it made for a tasty dinner that was soft for Emily’s sore jaw.  I breathed a sigh of relief: it was just us four at the house, Emily was taken care of, Jacob was his regular sweet self, Willem had opted not to share his own frustration and stress about the week’s events, and I had navigated through a seriously complicated, intense series of days.

Then my crown fell out.

Oh, yes, it did.  I didn’t swallow it, but I did immediate go into a full-on panic attack, imagining that the dentist would tell me that this was going to require an immediate, emergency appointment.  The nasty thing about this is, this is the temporary crown, and I had already scheduled an appointment for Tuesday, the 6th, to have the permanent crown installed.  Couldn’t have waited three more days, huh?  I called my dentist – who, astoundingly enough, left a contact number on his voice mail – and he was frighteningly casual about the whole thing.  “Oh, no big deal.  Just go into the bathroom and pop it back in.  It will only fit in one orientation, so you’ll know when it’s right.  No, you don’t need any sort of glue, it will stay in place.  No, you won’t dislodge it and aspirate it in your sleep.  Just don’t chew on that side.  I’ll see you Tuesday!”  My goodness, but this week has been awesome.  I did get the crown back in place, after a lot of struggling and missing because I don’t even like my own hands in my mouth.  (Which is, admittedly, a bit odd that it’s the dentist that I have such a hard time with; I have never had any sort of eating disorder and can, *ahem*, engage in certain adult activities.  It’s not a complete oral aversion, but my jaw was specifically, manually forced open in the attack, and that has just stayed with me.)

I had planned to do our taxes that night.  I opted to wait.

See?  Wasn’t that worth over 2300 words?

The good news, is, Saturday and Sunday were amazing.  Two really wonderful, special days, planned and yet unexpectedly great.  They deserve their own post, so I’ll set that one to run while I’m zonked out from Tuesday’s appointment.  Stay tuned…



  1. Oh my GOD. Just getting through that alive is an act of heroism. I hope it made you feel better (or at least proud of yourself) to write all that down and see it in print!

  2. I think I’ll just repeat what I said in my e-mail. Damn.

  3. Better living through chemistry. – hilarious. Well it’s not but you know what I mean. Glad the weekend at least proved undramatic and fun. Somehow Kate, I feel so much better knowing someone on the other side of the world is having a worse time! Let’s face it, the only way from here is up!

  4. GOOD GOD! I can’t wait to read about your good weekend — if anyone deserves two consecutive amazing days (even just two consecutive unshitty days), it’s you. I give you a ton of credit for just surviving last week.

  5. Jesus Christ Almighty, woman. You deserve a medal of honor for enduring that week.

  6. […] After the Storm Whew.  That was a lot, wasn’t […]

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