Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ignorance is bliss

For the past couple of months (maybe even longer)Tess has been crying at night. And I'm not talking a little fussiness here and there. No. I'm talking every 15-20 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG she will break out in pathetic, heart-wrenching sobs. This in turn escalates her heart rate which then proceeds to set off her heart/oxygen monitor alarms. So between the crying and the alarms, sleeping has become quite a poor joke around here. And I am one exhausted, grumpy chick.

So irrationally grumpy that when I see anyone on Facebook complain about their lives, I have to physically walk away from the computer so I won't respond with an inappropriate, snarky comeback something along the lines of, "ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?!?!  YOU THINK THAT'S A PROBLEM??!! COME SPEND SOME TIME AT MY HOUSE AND THEN WE'LL TALK!!!"

So yeah. That kind of miserable, irrational attitude is not exactly beneficial for keepings friends. Especially since everyone's problems are relative to their own lives and shouldn't be compared to the abnormally huge and constant problems we are faced with on a daily basis in my house. It's just not fair to them. So I close my laptop and wait until the urge passes. Luckily, it usually passes pretty quickly.

But in my defense, since Tess's surgery in May, nothing has been the same. She has been way more unhappy than usual. And not just at night. Many, many days she is crying and unhappy and not engaged in her little world.  And there has been all this agitation from Tessie. This is so not the little girl that I have known for the past ten years. Your guess is as good as mine as to what is wrong. We have wracked our collective brains, along with whining to her pediatrician countless times and even to her surgeon to try to find the solution. Any solution.

We have literally changed her bed, bedroom, who she sleeps with, medications, posters on her wall, night time rituals...anything and everything we could think of to help her. Last night I even let her go to bed (with me) without her knee immobilizers, cast and wedge to see if it would help. And she slept like a log. But I am not ready to get too excited that we may have found the answer just yet. She has fooled us before into thinking we had it figured out only to cry and cry a couple of nights later.

This is where having a child who cannot talk really, really sucks. WHAT IS WRONG?!?! If she could just tell us. And I'm sure she's thinking the same thing. Like, "Mama, why can't you figure this out and help me?".

Some say she is spoiled and they would be right. Tess is spoiled and I am the first to admit it.  But every "mother's instinct" that I have is screaming at me that that is not what is going on here. There is SOMETHING wrong. I can't help but wonder if she has been traumatized by the surgery and then the pneumonia and spending so much time in hospitals between May and June and now she is scared. Sort of like a Post Traumatic Stress type deal. I mean think about it. Tess is smart, and I'm quite certain she can put together that one day her daddy and I left her in this hospital and she was happy and feeling good, then BAM! She wake's up and is in major pain and doesn't know what the hell has happened other than mama and daddy weren't there when she fell asleep and when she woke up she hurt. Then, to top it off, she gets very, very sick and is whisked away in an ambulance that mama and daddy aren't allowed to go in and gets admitted into yet another hospital all alone (until we showed up about ten minutes later). To a little kid, that has got to be pretty dang traumatizing.

Then I feel guilty, because ultimately, I am the one who agreed to put her through all of this. She had no say in it at all. And I must confess, I have moments where I totally regret it. I know in my heart is was necessary and is what she had to have done for her own health benefits, but right now, in the thick of whatever this is,  I can't help but think longingly back on my pre-surgery Toodle Bug and how well she was doing. What is happening now actually hurts my heart. Rationally I know it's not my fault but that part of me that's in every mother, the part that takes on all their kid's problems, says, "Oh yes it is your fault, Joanna. If you hadn't agreed to it, she would be fine right now".

I just want Tess to feel good and be happy. And right now it has become painfully obvious that I don't know how to make that happen whereas, in the past, I have been able to do that for her. I guess what it all boils down to is this: I feel like I am letting her down and that is not a good feeling for the person who supposed to fix everything for her.

I'm sure this is all part of her recovery process but dang! When I thought about this surgery in the early stages, none of this ever even entered my head.

Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blog Love

I read several blogs on a daily basis and one of my very favorites is TellingDad. Greg Zellers is the author of TellingDad and I am here to tell you, the man is one giant (literally, the man is tall) goofball. If blog crushes were a real thing, mine would be on TellingDad.

Last summer he did a series of posts called Take Me With You in which his readers, like myself, printed out a cartoon version of him and took it with them for photo ops to random places. Personally, I took him to New York City for Ellie's Sweet Sixteen and got our photos featured on this post here. Fun and Silly? You bet. Totally worth making people wonder why we were holding up a paper doll for photos? Absolutely.

He also travelled to Chicago for a blogging adventure and offered to send postcards to his readers upon request. He did not realize how many readers he had and suffered the hand cramping/disfigurement to prove it. I love my postcard just because, once again, it was silly and fun.

Although for the most part his blog is hysterical, there are some posts that tug, pretty roughly, on the heartstrings. He and his wife started the Sweet Dreams Fund after his wife's cousin lost her mother and children at the hands of her abusive ex-husband.

And just this past spring, he wrote a funny yet touching love letter to his wife while she was away taking care of her dying mother. See? He's a good guy.

Now he is asking for our help to get flip flops to kids in a Village that he and his wife help support in Malawi. They were going to do a campaign where you had your kids walk one mile barefoot while people pledged money to their efforts. Then the concern of what could happen to the kids' feet became a factor. They could get hurt, blisters, cuts, and infections. The idea was scrapped due to those concerns. But do you see the irony here? We wouldn't want our kids walking even a single mile without decent footwear while these children in Malawi walk EVERYWHERE barefoot. And what really struck home for me about this was when I thought about the number of shoes that Tessie has. Her shoe collection at times has rivaled Imelda Marcos'. And she cannot walk. I must admit, it made me feel a little bit uncomfortable when I thought about it in that context.

So I made a monetary donation and offered to spread the word (even just a little) here at Travels with Tessie Toodles. I'm hoping those of you who can will click the link below and make a donation as well and/or copy the link and share on your preferred social networking site.  This is not meant as pressure or guilt. It is simply an, "if you can and want to, then here is the info you will need to help".

Whether you are moved to help with this campaign or not, I hope you take some time to read some of Greg's posts. You won't regret it.

Here is the link to the flip flop campaign(or you can click the word link):

TellingDad himself in all his goofball glory.  *photo credit to TellingDad*