Category Archives: Health

Fresh air.

I was born in the beginning of October, which means that I’m a Libra. Libras fall under the heading of “air sign.”

I don’t know much. But I know that.

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It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I’m lying in bed, fighting my carpal tunnel and/or arthritis in order to type. It hurts to grip a pencil and to open a bottle of medicine and to reach for my kids. But that’s what I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks.

The nannies have been on vacation because I expected to be in NYC by now and I didn’t want to rearrange their plans just because we’re not abroad. My brother’s been a big help just by looking after the boys for 30 minutes each day so that I can shower—but that’s all the help I’m getting. It’s just me, a 34-month old, and a 10-month old. I clean the five-bedroom house we live in, cook three square meals a day, and take care of the kids. It’s not easy, but it’s gratifying. I’m beyond proud to be able to say that I’ve gotten control of this domestic life within a couple of weeks.

School-wise, I’m at a stand-still. I decided months back that I would take a year off. I was supposed to take the kids back to NYC asap because Rob’s mom has stage four cancer and would like to see her grandsons before she dies. Only thing is, we’ve hit a lot of snags. Problems with paperwork and red tape. Drama that would make your head spin if I got into it.

I don’t know what the future has in store, if we’ll end up going or not. Right now though, my plans don’t include going home any time soon. I want to get my dual citizenship taken care of asap so that I can work at a call center and save money. Due to my grandma’s death, Rob’s car accident, Riley’s hospitalization, and other factors, finances are beyond tight right now; I’ve decided that I’m going to pay for my tuition from here on out.

Not Rob. Not my parents. Not Rob’s parents. Me. No loans or borrowing or credit cards. I’m going to pay for the rest of my nursing school education out of pocket. I’m going to pay for my own tuition, and all of the expenses that go with it.

Also: I’m going to pay for Riley to go to daycare, and for clothes for the kids, and for a life that’s closer to the one that I want. I’m frustrated at my circumstances and need to feel in control of something.

I need to feel like I’m getting a kick-ass nursing education, and that I’m good at what I do. I need to feel like I’m an amazing mother, and honestly, only now, after being a stay-at-home-mom do I feel that I can claim that title. I need to feel that I’m in a relationship that works. I need to regain faith in myself and the future; I keep on fumbling the former and I’m afraid I’ve permanently lost the latter.

I’m angry at Rob for being so goddamn hard to communicate with.

I’m anxious about my health because I haven’t fixed any of my problems, haven’t gotten my skin biopsy or cervical biopsy, and haven’t taken thyroid meds or consulted specialists or gotten answers.

I’m sad because of all the death that’s been surrounding me, and because of my parents’ shortcomings and how they affect me and my own family.

I’m tired of making lemons into lemonade. I think I’m just going to suck on some lemons and see where it takes me. I can’t deal with pretending to be happy all the time just for the sake of other peoples’ comfort.

I am learning to be brief and concise. I am learning to be ambiguous, and to not share as much of my life as I would have done before. I am learning to keep to myself, to let the internal workings do their thing, and to trust whatever is in me.

Point blank: I’m not in an easy place. It’s not a bad place, per se. It’s just terribly difficult. My plate is full of worry and anxiety and frustration. I want to get to the next stage, to a place where I already have my BSN and at least one finished manuscript that I’m damn proud of. I want to kill my board exam and pass the NCLEX with flying colors. I want to add on to my family and move back to NYC and feel… different. I want life to be easier and fun and happy.

Because this? This lack of money, lack of power, lack of control? This overthinking that I do? These expectations for myself and for others that I have? They’re too much. It’s all just too much for me right now. And the more I try to fix things and realize that I just muck up the gears, the more frustrated and angry I get.

I need a break from everything that is unnecessary. I need to strip away the stuff I don’t need and get to the bare essentials.

I’m working Maslow’s hierarchy, one level at a time.

I’m climbing it, trying to get to self-actualization.

And taking as many deep breaths as I can on the way up.

I could do a lot worse.

The Bro is out watching a movie with Dad. I’d be with them, only I’m behind on a thesis that I have to edit, and I really wanted to spend time with the kids. Ever since Dad got here, our schedule’s been all out of whack. My routine is dependent on having attentive nannies care for my boys while I’m working/studying/et al., and with my dad here, the nannies’ responsibilities have somewhat shifted. Now, instead of taking care of Micah, his nanny, Tess cleans. A lot. This means that I have to take care of Micah, and though I love love LOVE spending time with my squishy-faced cherub,  there are papers piling up in my work inbox, advertisements that I need to finish for my editing business, and a slew of subjects I should be reviewing before the next semester starts. I’d rather spend time with him when it’s more convenient, aka, when I’m not having a panic attack from the thought that all my plans are washing down the drain.

I’ve been mostly unplugged for the past day and a half. A wicked virus is making its rounds in the house. My eyes are tearing up incessantly, my throat feels like it’s my cat’s scratching post, my nose is clogged up, and my body aches. Micah just got over a runny nose, and just an hour ago, he coughed so violently that he vomited at least two ounces of milk. Riley is the little carrier of infection who brought it to the house, and luckily he’s feeling about 94% better.

I’m not sure why – I’m assuming it’s the fact that I feel like curling up in a ball and sleeping for a week straight – but I’m dragging my feet to edit. Already, words are all a-jumble in my head. The cool part is, it’s actually a good thing that I’m feeling this way. Editing other peoples’ writing frees me to write creatively, without my inner editor interrupting the flow of ideas.

So. Here’s where I stand. My biggest problems are the following:

  1. A void between myself and my father. Only, the fact is, my dad’s been the personification of DOPE! since he arrived. (Read: He’s footed the bill for groceries, diapers, formula, and pretty much every other thing since he got here, thus allowing Rob and I the ability to pay off a few bills and save some money for Christmas shopping.) The real void has been our inability to communicate honestly and unflinchingly. We’re both too traumatized by past experiences with each other to let our guards down.
  2. My health. Even though, let’s face it: Whatever I have could always be worse.
  3. Being forced to rearrange my precious schedule and relinquish control over my life in order to spend more time with my little cuddle muffin, Micah.

All in all, not too bad a list of problems.

On being a pregnant nursing student with diarrhea.

The last few days have been a warm-up to the difficulties that await me. On Tuesday night, after eating brown rice and beef with onions, carrot sticks, walnuts, and lots of other healthy fare the whole day, I suddenly felt like I was going through labor. A really bad bout of diarrhea sent me to the bathroom faster than a 5-foot rat with rabies could’ve had me running. Also, I was exhausted after having a tiring day at school, and contractions wracked my body. I really thought Micah was going to be born a premie, and I kept on saying to him, “Not now. Mommy’s not ready yet. I don’t have your bassinet or your diapers or even the money for your delivery into this world. So, please? Not now. Give me at least two more months, and everything will be set. I’ll even love you more than I love your brother. Deal?”

That last part, of course, wasn’t serious.

I don’t think…

Anyway, the pain was getting unbearable, to the point where I couldn’t hold a cell phone to my ear while getting hit by contractions. (Rob and I were talking on the phone at the time.) Luckily, though, my ob-gyn had prescribed some pills to ease pre-term contractions. I took one at 2:30 a.m., and just as I was about to get some shut-eye, Riley woke up. So I woke up Joy. Then I quickly ran back to the bathroom and planted my ass there for what seemed like an eternity. By the time I was done, my butthole burned and I remembered how, after I gave birth to Riley, I’d had my first-ever case of hemmorrhoids and kept on thinking Ya know, this isn’t a walk in the park on a perfect Spring day, but it’s not like I’ve been caught butt-naked in the park and tourists are oggling me while a monsoon is tearing up the place.

Right after that thought hit me, I had an epiphany. Because hemmorhoids? They’re pretty fucking bad, and if I don’t remember that fact in all of its clarity and actually think that diarrhea-ass is more painful, then I must’ve been too high on motherhood to make an objective assessment of the situation.

And that made me think of the future. Because in about three months, I’m planning on popping out a baby as naturally as possible, bonding with him for no more than two weeks, then returning to the same old rigorous routine of school, family and running an editing business. And while I have help with Riley and the household, I still often feel drained and tired.

I had to ask myself: Can I really handle all that?

I wish I could say that a resounding HELL TO THE YES! screamed from the emptied bowels of my… umm… soul, but instead, I shrugged. Because the truth? The honest fucking truth? It’s that I don’t know if I can handle all of that. I don’t know what the future has in store, or what might come back from the past to bite my ass. I just know that I’m willing to stick it out, try my best, and make the best out of whatever comes. No matter the challenge, that’s what I’ve got, and I’m okay with the outcome, whatever it is.

Even if it burns my ass in the end.

Backtracking.

It’s the ides of January, and I’m nursing a cold. Riley’s just gotten over a slight fever that lasted a couple of days. Rob’s laid up in bed with a worse version of my stuffy nose and lethargy. And in the next week, everything’s going to change.

Not only will we get over this round of sickness, but Rob’s mom arrives from New York, I have midterms, and my search for a nanny goes into hyper overdrive. It’s about four weeks till Rob leaves for the States, and because there is no daycare or babysitting here, I have to find a nanny to watch my little guy while I’m at school. The position is a live-in one, which means that the nanny will be rooming with Joy in the downstairs maid’s quarters. It also means that I’m hoping we get someone whose appetite doesn’t resemble that of a dinosaur.

I’ve contacted several domestic worker agencies in the hope that they get me what I need: A mature and responsible woman in her 30s (at least) who has had extensive experience caring for babies and toddlers. She must be hard-working, fast-learning, and know English fairly well. (The latter means that if I tell her to do something, not only will she understand the words coming out of my mouth, but she’ll pick up on subtle commands as to how the task should be done.) Oh, and it would be awesome if she could cook.

These days, my schedule looks like this:

4 a.m. – Wake up. Wash dishes, cook breakfast and lunch. Get dinner ready to be cooked when I get home. Edit papers. Write. Clean up upstairs. Walk the dog. Eat breakfast. Set up lunchbox of healthy snacks/meals. Shit, shower, and shave. Brush teeth. Riley wakes up, so we brush his teeth. Feed Riley as we watch MTV, CNN and BBC. Go to school for most of the day. [Rob takes care of the rest of Riley’s routine.]

Sometime in the afternoon – Finish editing papers, cleaning, cooking. Feed Riley. Bathe Riley. Study. Do homework. Write. Wow, it’s already 8 p.m. and I’m exhausted! Somehow, though, between work, school, spending time with Rob and Riley, taking care of my brother, and handling household responsibilities, I don’t sleep until around 10 p.m. I’m just lucky it’s that early; Rob lets me sleep and he takes over whatever needs to get done. He usually doesn’t get to sleep until 3 or 4 a.m.

That’s pretty much us in a nutshell.

We have tons to get done in the next two months, including figuring out why the hell my transcript never came from my first college, figuring out if we have to get married in order for Baby #2 to be American, and quite possibly taking a trip to the States in order to tie the knot. Also, I start my clinicals, break in a new nanny, and wrap my brain around the reality of being a mom of two.

This is a lot to digest, and in the meantime, while I’m wrestling with all of these issues, I figure I’m going to backtrack a few months. Not only do I have many, many adorable pictures of Riley that have never seen the light of the internet, but there have been a few issues here and there that I’d like to touch on. Like my new-found habit of mending burnt bridges with earnest and apologetic emails, and the freedom of letting my vegetable garden dry out.

I’ve gotta keep at the grind if I don’t want to fall behind. In the meantime, though, I hope you’re all doing well.

Intimacy for germaphobes.

What is intimacy to a germaphobe?

It’s feeling your beloved’s body heat radiating from the toilet seat and not running to another bathroom. Who cares if you’re probably – no, definitely – inhaling and digesting tiny bits of fecal matter that have been thrown into the air after the toilet was flushed? It’s human waste, it’s shit, but it’s his shit. That somehow makes it okay.

The big announcement.

After much heeing and hawing about when to tell everyone the big news – Should I do it after we tell our parents? After the 3 month-mark? After the positive pee stick? After our first prenatal appointment? – yes, yes YES, you guessed it: WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

I’m 9 weeks along, extremely nauseous, and completely over the moon. In about 7 more months, we’re going to be a family of four. ❤

Still sick, but…

In recovery!

After a day of debilitating pain and all-around yuckiness, I’m back at it. Not at100% quite yet (witness the uber-puffiness around my eyes), but well enough to smile.