Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some thoughts on my yesterday.

So much happened yesterday. I'm still actually trying to process it....

When I was leaving Williamsburg to go back to the Lower East Side I noticed that quite literally no two people on my subway car were the same. No two same race & religion. Hassidic man, Latin American Woman, Asian girl... you get the idea. And at the risk of sounding trite and cheesy.... well... it kinda made me feel good. And I remembered back in NYC when they were having the riots in LA. They thought we would have them here in NYC, too. My office actually closed early, to let us get home to be "safe". I remember we didn't take subways... we walked. I remember telling some friends of mine who lived in walk up apartments.... "Come sleep at my house. I'm in a big building. I have a doorman."

We left work early and did what most young single people do when let out early from work on a nice warm day.... went to a bar. Stayed out pretty much all night. Not too smart if there were going to be riots. But there weren't.

And we all thought and talked about it the next day.. and realized that the big difference between NYC and LA is the subway. We're all together. Quite literally bodies pressed against bodies. Our heads droop on each other's shoulders when we nod off, our bags poke each other, we see each other tired at the beginning and end of work days... and that all really builds community. As strange as that seems.

So. I thought about that.

And I thought about how X actually finally realized that I did/do something. While walking to the subway yesterday, on my way home to take Max to the ER I called X to tell him. I lost it. I asked him if he knew how difficult this has been, and what he experiences is a fraction of what I experience. He said: "I know." "I don't know how you do it."

Stunned silence.

NevereverevereverevereverEVER has X realized what I do. NEVER.

Later he thanked me for taking Max to the ER. Thanked me It was strange to be thanked for taking care of my son... so I'm actually not really sure where to go with that one.

When I talk to J about all this Max stuff he always says we should do this for him, or we could take him to that doctor.. We. A small word. But I notice it. I totally notice it. It's like it's in boldface. It's not you. It's we. (Just to... you know... drive home that point. We.) And. Well. Wow. I'm obviously having a very difficult time accepting this. (As evidenced by Heidi's comment in my previous post. She's right.) I can't really digest the "we" thing. I think... not in the true sense of the word.

Gotta sort that all out, because he is so obviously very there for me... and it's not wrong to need somebody. To need help. And of course I wouldn't think twice about doing the same for him...

Today I kinda got a slap upside my head. I was talking to one of the child therapists & telling him about Max. How he yells in pain. And the therapist kept saying "That poor boy." And my brain flipped. I had been feeling so beleaguered. So overwhelmed. So annoyed. So ... well... so damn sick of his yelling - that I kind of lost track of WHY he was yelling. Even if it's not pain in the physical sense... something is hurting him. For real.

So when I came home today & the sitter told me he was fine all day.. and he starts yelling and moaning that his stomach hurts. As if on cue. I tried. I really truly tried. Then I told him to go in his room and yell. Such a good, kind, social worker mom.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How I Spent My Day (So Far)

This day. Oy. (ETA - This was started yesterday -- before I actually knew how the whole rest of my day would go...)

Slept through my alarm. Totally. Just didn't hear it. Running around getting ready before I wake up the kids & hear a moan... "Mooommmm.... my stomach. It hurts more than yesterday! More than last night!"

Last night I had found out the magical Pokemon Cure. You haven't heard of it? It's the one where you tell your ailing child that if he/she/it makes it through the week you will buy he/she/it a Pokemon Card on Ebay. It's amazing. Works wonders. Ears perk. Stomachs stop hurting.. or at least the VOLUME of the stomach ache is taken down a few notches... it's kinda, almost, all forgotten...

So I responded to the moan: "Remember... you make it through this week.... Pokemon!"


It was a tough morning, but relative to the ones I've been having lately... a piece 'o cake.

We make it out & up to the bus. I went off to work - although today I had to visit a client at a nursing home out in Brooklyn. This is the client who got the trach even though he had a living will that stated he did not want to be attached to any machines.

As I'm walking out of the subway my phone rings. It's X. Did I hear from Max's school? The nurse had called him (!!!!) to pick Max up. I said - No. Call them. Say he's staying at school. A roar from the other end of the phone: "I can't! It's crazy today! I can't do this!" I take the wimps way out & say fine. I go into nearby store & call the nurse. Max isn't there. As I'm on the phone with her the school calls. I talk to the woman who works in the office. Max came in with a teacher. His stomach hurts. It's been hurting for 6 weeks. If I do not come pick him up they will call an ambulance.

(It's been hurting for 6 weeks!?!? Really?!?! Well, watcha know! I had NO FRIGGIN' IDEA!) Gah!

I told her everything that has been going on: Three Doctors, One Pediatric GI, No stomach aches on the weekend, the professional opinion (from my shrink) that it does him more harm than good to bring him home... etc, etc, etc. She is sympathetic & transfers me to the.... Assistant Principal.

The Assistant Principal is probably the best person in the school. A very warm, kind, professional woman. I like/respect her very much. So, I tell her the same thing. She said yes, but the teacher was very alarmed. I explain how Max is VERY dramatic. She puts the teacher on the phone with me. I explain to the teacher. She sounds unsure but says "ok, I guess you have to do what's best..." I respond (just at the absolute total end of my rope at this point) that I do NOT have a crystal ball. That I AM trying to do what's best. That I have to rely on my instincts and professionals - all of whom are telling me that there is nothing physically wrong with him. I say that I am sorry if he is disruptive, but I'm just trying to do what is best for him."

I hang up and realize that I am in a Kosher store. I pick up some Kosher marshmallows, which are actually very hard to find. I tell the Hassidic man behind the counter that these are very hard to find. He very obviously could care less. I must go on, though, and say "I guess I haven't been going to the right places." He gives me a "please leave now" smile. (Kosher marshmallows are good for people who are veggies - since marshmallows have gelatin in them that's made from animals.

I went to the NH to see my client. As I'm walking I'm realizing I'm getting some funny looks from people. Then I remembered: I'm in Williamsburg. Brooklyn. This is an area that now is thought of as the young, hip area -- but actually still has a very large Hassidic Jewish population. And there I was. In the middle of it. They were looking at me. Wearing pants. Head not covered. And when I tell you that EVERYBODY there was orthodox/Hassidic -- I am NOT exaggerating. It's not often that a white woman has the chance to feel like a minority.... but I did.

Get to NH. See client. He is in a lovely private room. He has a tube attached to his trachea, a tube feeding him into his stomach, a tube draining his urine. He was awake but would not open his eyes. I told him we haven't forgotten about him. I told him we are trying to get him home. I told him that it is his choice if he wants to have the tube in, or not. That he has to think about it. He turns his head to the wall. I tell him I will be back to see him again.

I talk to the nurse who tells me they are weaning him from the vent. Three hours a day. But he is 87. It will take a long time. Then she says: "You know, we are a Jewish facility. We will not disconnect him."


Well, better (for me, I guess) knowing that from the start. I leave not sure how to feel about all this. What can I do? What did I do?

I take the subway back. I stop off at The Essex Street Market which is nearby but I've never been able to go to. I buy myself a carrot cake truffle and wonder at food's ability to comfort.

I get into work and promptly get a headache that I still have now.

Max's school calls. Stomach still hurts. I call sitter. Pick him up.

I talk to one child therapist who is no longer taking patients. She tells me she can hear the anxiety in my voice. She takes pity & gives me referrals for others.

I work. I leave to go on a home visit. As I'm walking to the client I call my house. I tell the sitter that she should still bring Max to Hebrew School. She says he's been laying in his bed for most of the time. I call J. I think it's just time to bring him to the ER. My Dad is actually at my house, I ask if he can stay. He will.

I go on Home Visit. Client is being terrorized by her neighbors. They yell when she puts on her fan. They yell when she puts on her tv. They watch her. She is starting to yell at them. From her apartment to theirs. They are starting to call the management company. She asks if I think she is crazy? I tell her. "Ignore them. If they yell - just ignore them. If they scare or intimidate you - just ignore them. They are bullying you. That's the best way to deal with a bully." She listens. She agrees. I wonder how long that will last and leave.

(Sorry this is so long. It was a long ass day.)

I go home. Both of my parents getting on my nerves. I feel like my mother is telling me that I need to do certain things with Max that I have not done yet. I do not want them to come with me to the ER. I call J. Please. Come. I. Cannot. Deal. Too much. He had plans with his sister. He says I will meet you there later. I had oh so many conflicted feelings: Don't ask him. Ask him. Do it on your own. Need him. Don't bother him. That's what relationships are for; it's no bother. He tells me to be quiet and he will be there.

We go to ER. Me. Max. My Dad. We do all the registration, the triage, etc, etc. Max is scared. He wants to go home. I talk to triage nurse who understands where I'm at. She's like listen: You can put in the time tonight & get the tests done, or wait another two weeks for a GI appointment. I tell Max we are staying. I have to stop the madness.

We sit. Sit. Sit. Sit.

J. comes with his sister. She teaches 3rd grade. She says that she has lots of boys with stomach aches. She does not even let them go to the nurse. I think I have to talk again to Max's teacher.

We go in. One Dr. checks him. Two doctors check him. (We're up to 7 doctors now, people!) He gets an x-ray of his abdomen. He pees in a cup.

He's... say it with me now.... Fine.

Except I have to give him a suppository. Yech. Nice to have another new parenting experience.

We go home. J stays over. We crash at 12:30. I wake up this morning with yesterday's headache raging... telling J I had a bad dream that we spent the night in the ER.

Max will be staying home from school today. I will be calling more therapists.

Monday, March 24, 2008

You Have to Separate....

That's what a co-worker just said to me. That I have to try to keep my home stuff home.. and not let it impact me so much at work.

And she's right.

But how the heck to people do it?!?

Honestly, as you can tell from this blog I've never really been able to keep my stuff in. I haven't figured out, yet, if that's good or bad... and I'm really really trying to learn how/when NOT to spill... (Like the time in high school I told my new employer at the bakery that maybe he did not want me to come in on a weekend... I was new, and not so experienced and maybe.. didn't he think.. the weekend might be a bit much for me? Yeah, he didn't call again.)

I am way, way, too honest & today I got an email from my supervisor. She is starting to "document our supervision for clarity." What does that mean to me? That she's creating a paper trail. I'm not too concerned, because I know I can pull myself back... but it kind of took me by surprise, I guess.

Issues discussed were concerns about personal life kids being sick and
Amy having to miss work. B stated she understood that children are her
priority but she is concerned with how much more Amy can take on and how the
stress is impacting her. Amy said she is trying to keep up with her work and
feels she has been able to. B and Amy also spoke regarding her
monthly stats which have been low since Dec. all full time social workers are to
be pulling in 80 hrs a month. B suggested Amy review her stats and make
sure she is documenting everything.

I had felt like she's supportive.. somebody to talk to... and I guess she is -- but I also guess that she has to be "manager" first.

But lately? This working mom thingy... not really liking it too much. I feel like I can't do either thing well. Not parent or my job. I'm not as good at either as I'd like.

I know it's a tough patch now (Max screamed and screamed this morning - I had to carry him out of his bed - we did not leave the house until 8:10 for an 8:20 bus. He's saying now that he's dizzy, too. He would not move. Didn't eat anything. Didn't even go to the bathroom, I made him dress - practically dressed him. I actually left a message w/the pediatrician for a name of a local therapist. This is almost becoming like a panic disorder & I just do not know what to do.) I come into work every morning with my kishkas in a twist. And I notice it's starting to upset Nathan, too. Max's stomach was FINE over the weekend. FINE. Nathan's fever went away by Saturday... luckily.

Now just to make it through the rest of this week...