Monday, November 19, 2007


The grandbaby was due last Saturday.
Needless to say, she's not here yet.
If she's anything at all like her mother, she might not be here for another 10 days.
I'm not sure I can take the suspense; but I guess I'll just have to take it as it comes.
It was October 16, 1985, and the baby was 10 days late. I had consented to be induced, tired of waiting for my baby. What I had forgotten was the battle for the American League Pennant was due to be played that night, and our team was playing. The whole town was on fire with baseball fever. When I realized what I had done, I hoped that the baby would be born before the game.
But she had other ideas.
They broke my water right away, something I did not want them to do. But once done, there was no going back. Her father had worked the night before, and spent the day sleeping in a chair by the bed---so much for the labor coach. Yet this time, unlike her sister's birth, the labor was "bearable"--there was no surprise at the pain, and the breathing I had learned in childbirth class was actually of some help. When I finally felt the urge to push, the only word I could manage to say was."Push!", and I whacked my sleeping spouse on the back of the head. "Push what??? ", he fairly shouted, bolting upright out of his chair. Looking at me, he got the idea, and went to get a nurse.
We were taken to the delivery room, and they readied me for the birth. A door opened, and I could hear the faint strains of the ballgame from another room. Suddenly, everyone in the room (including my husband) disappeared; then I heard their voices from that room. "Hello!," I said. "I really feel the urge to push!" "Hold on a minute", said a nurse, "Breathe!" I heard the roar of the crowd from the other room. Dammit! They were watching the game! "HEY!," I shouted "Woman with a BABY HERE!" They came running from the other room; her head was already out. The cord was also wrapped around her neck three times, but I didn't find that out until later.
She was born and declared a girl, which surprised everyone, as we were told to expect a boy. The doctor asked my husband if he would like to cut the baby's cord---husband was not expecting this, and I watched (with some glee) as the blood drained from his face. "Oh no," he said. "Oh HELL no." They showed the baby to me; she was a purpley-gray until she opened her eyes, looked around and stated to scream. Then she slowly began to pinken from her toes to the tip of her round little head, until she was pink all over.
They took her away for awhile---later I learned there was some concern about the cord situation. When I next saw her, she was dressed in KC Royals colors, and a little white cap. My mother brought my eldest up, who was grinning from ear to ear, thrilled to be the big sister. I ended that night eating a large dinner , my baby by my side, and watching game highlights. A pretty good day, all in all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What, me? Handicapped?

I've been a sick puppy most of my life. I mean physically sick, get your minds out of the gutter. I have an autoimmune problem, asthma, allergies---well let's just say the list goes on and on. But never did I consider myself handicapped. I might have been sick a lot, but I was also pretty active for a fat chick---I walked, swam, rode a bike, schlepped whatever needed to be schlepped without complaining.

Then in 2005, I was moving into my girlfriend's apartment , and I fell. Which doesn't sound like such a big deal---but it was. I tore the meniscus in my knee, and partially tore my ACL, which was excruiating. I was not able to get treated right away, due to the lousy health plan I had at the time, so that complicated matters. Finally, I had my knee surgery, and settled back, waiting to recover and get back to normal.

Except I never did fully recover. I never got back to "normal".

As the weeks went by, and my ability to walk did not improve, I went back to the doctor several times, trying to discover what was wrong. Then I lost my job and my piddly little insurance plan went with it, so I went for several painful months with no treatment at all.

Then the gods smiled on me briefly; Jackson County Missouri, where my girlfriend works, decided they would extend their health insurance to domestic partners. And so we were "civilly unioned", and I got some decent health insurance.

I visited another doctor, who sent me to an orthopedic specialist, who determined my MAIN problem had not been my knee, but that I had severe nerve damage in my back. I have been having nerve blocks, which help a little, but not much. I can walk a little, but then the pain becomes too severe, and I have to sit. I also have to use a cane, because I tend to wobble a bit, and the cane keeps me verticle.

I could try back surgery, but the success rate is not that great. Physical therapy helps, but is not a cure. And since bionics are still fictional, they're not an option (yet).

Being in this condition is not only painful, it limits my activity. I cannot go shopping , unless the place has a "crip cart". Which means Wal-Mart, not Saks. I can't go to the Westport Art Fair, or to a bar with friends. I can't stand in line for anything. I can't go for a stroll in the park. And I'm sick of it, sick and lonely. So I could save my money for an operation. Or I could save my money for a scooter.

For a long time, I felt committing to a scooter was like throwing in the towel. If I were wealthy, perhaps I could do both, but I'm not. And the scooter would definately get me out in the world, while the surgery has no such guarantees. Some would think the scooter doesn't really have the sex appeal that two able -bodied legs have, but neither does sitting alone in my room, while my partner goes places without me. So, after a lot of soul-searching, I've decided to explore the idea of adding a van and a scooter to my life. It's not the life I had planned to live. But neither was a life of isolation.

Monday, November 5, 2007

a kitty on my lap...

I wanted to post some pictures of my new kitty, so I called my daughter , the one with the fancy new digital camera. to come over and take some pictures. However, said pictures have yet to arrive, probably because she has more important things on her mind (like impending motherhood). So I searched the cyber-world and found a picture of a cat that looks very much like her, and that will have to suffice, for now.

These past few weeks have been shaky ones here at Squirrel Manor. The bursitis I was originally diagnosed with turned out to be a mild form of MRSA, which fortunately was handled by an "antibiotic cocktail"---which gave me another sort of infection. Then I came down with good ole fashioned bronchitis for the third time in so many months

Still, this time I take it all in stride, because now I have an affectionate, four month old kitten on my lap, and everything's just different somehow. Just think how much better the world might be if Kim Jong Il had a calico lap kitty. Or Putin, or even Dick Cheney. A lap kitty seems to make the world a little softer, a little more pleasant, dontcha think? Or maybe it just makes me a little more pleasant. And when the real pictures come, I promise to post them all!