Category Archives: Bro

Exciting times we live in

So many important things are going on right now, good and not-so-good, that keep me busy and thinking all the time.

My brother Greg survived a significant heart attack and subsequent double bypass open heart surgery.  Getting the call from my Mom was the biggest shock of my life.  But he’s a few weeks out now, the cardiac surgeon has released him from his care, and the cardiologist has set him up with cardiac rehab in a week.  Greg’s physical and emotional worlds have been rocked and he’s struggling to reconcile his old activities with his new limitations.  He’s doing so well.  I’m so proud of him.

Mom’s been his rock all this time.  She’s been busting her hump, trying to give him the support he needs, encouraging him to do more each day.  She’s on the front lines in this war recovery effort.  She’s a saint and we have to get her a really big gift this year.

Bill’s company was bought out and he started with his new employer last week.  So much frustration and uncertainty over small and big things.  I worry that he’s too stressed out.  I do what I can to keep things calm and comfortable around here, giving him loving support and meals that he likes.  He works so hard.

I’ve started to give my grandboys some learning opportunities while I watch them.  We have a Letter of the Week, with activities and hands-on projects, and I’m working on coordinating a weekly field trip.  It’s really hard to go out with three little men, but even if it’s to the playground, that’s something.  Doing preschool stuff makes me feel like I’m not just sitting on my butt watching them do stuff.  I’m actually working to prepare them for school!  And it brings me great joy when the ‘light bulb’ goes on and I can see that they’ve actually learned something.  They’re so proud when they succeed!

The Cubs have had their best year in so so long.  It’s been so wonderful to watch this season.  They seem so relaxed and happy, like they’re having a great time.  The Wild Card game is Wednesday, and I can’t wait!  Maybe I’ll make a poster…

Ryan and Michela are finally married!  It was a wonderful wedding, thrown by her wonderful family, and we were all so happy.  We danced every dance.  New moves were invented, toasts were given, babies were exhausted.

Stefanie and Kevin and Elliott are moving into a rental house in less than two weeks.  It’s a big step, and they’re so ready.  I can’t wait to see Elliott playing in his own yard with the dogs, Stef cooking in her kitchen, Kevin mowing the lawn.  And they’ll be so close by, too.  Yay!

Caitie has been dealing with so much crap, but still has manage to mostly keep her shit together.  She is currently looking for a new job, since the first one was not right for her.  I have faith that she will find something that will fit her needs and allow her to grow, build a clientele, and earn lots of money to support her boys.

Declan is so tall now, and he’s still growing.  His voice is low, he shaves, he wears the same size clothes and shoes as his brother and dad.  And he’s becoming more mature in other ways, too.  I know he could take care of any baby or kid in the world, and keep him/her safe and happy.  It’s in him and it’s wonderful.

The grandboys are my joy.  Owen is in second grade and has long blonde hair.  He can catch any ball you throw to him and run like the wind.  He is a wonderful boy with a strong love for his mom.  And he has no teeth in front.

Ollie is our sensitive one.  He wears his emotions on the outside, so he is joyful and goofy one minute, sulking and quiet the next.  He’s bright as they come and loves to learn.  I also heard him mediating a babyfight between the younger two the other day.  He was so calm and patient.

Elliott is his own man.  He is slightly smaller in stature than Theo the giant baby, but he holds his own.  He is smart and sweet and is excellent at all sports.  He’s not afraid to catch any ball!  I can tell he thinks a lot, and he’s got a great sense of humor.

Theo is a tornado.  He runs through the room, hair all bushy and disheveled, destroys whatever he sees someone playing with, then turns to you with a brilliant smile and reaches up for a hug.  He pushes the other boys’ buttons and laughs to see their reactions.  He snuggles hard and is a joy to be with.

Sure, not-so-good things happen.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.  But life is good.  With this wonderful family of mine, it’s certainly never dull.

The best-laid plans

So yeah. I knew my list for this weekend’s activities would not be the definitive format, but really?

I saw Ryan yesterday in my ED. He called and said, “Where are you?” Work. “Okay, I’m coming in.” Why? “I’m gushing.”

He had cut his thumb. With a butter knife. In the time-honored Dooley tradition of self-maiming with a dull utensil. It was ugly. He received twelve or more sutures to a large v-shaped incision that ran from above the knuckle of his thumb to near its base. He also received a tetanus shot and a tube gauze dressing.

He has to work today. Ugh.

Other than that, the rest of my hopeful schedule is still kinda on. Decky has a flag football at 11am, Dani should be coming over this afternoon to give us all haircuts. Hopefully Ryan, Cait, Koby and Owen will come, and Tommy and Miles, too. Bean soup (two versions – vegetarian and hamful) is on the stove. Maybe we’ll hit the driving range.

I hope we can have a Fire Night. I better pick up marshmallows and firewood just in case.

Friends and family

For a while there, I was fretting that I wasn’t a good friend. Wasn’t attentive enough, wasn’t there for people. It was true, to an extent. But it wasn’t the whole picture.

My old friends and I grew apart. Their interests are not mine. I don’t like to shop, or wear fancy clothes, or watch Real Housewives. We don’t hang out with the same people. They are wonderful women, and I know they would still be there for me if I needed them, as I would for them. And I’d still like to hang out with them occasionally. But we are different and as our kids have grown older, it has become evident.

So then I wonder, do I have any real friends?

I realized today that the people I talk to the most, the ones I have the most in common with, the people I really, really like are my family. They get me, I get them.

Bill and I have grown up together. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes, and still loves me anyway. I am happy just to be with him.

My kids are some of the most wonderful, special people I know. Stefanie would give you the shirt off her back, and a couple bucks if she had some. And a place to sleep. She has a generous and courageous heart. Caitlyn is an exceptional mother and gives valuable insight. Ryan is a protector of the weak and has a strong moral compass. Declan’s wacky sense of humor and his offbeat thought process keep you on your toes. Owen demands and deserves the best from us and keeps us honest. Kevin and Koby are sons I would have chosen for myself.

My parents and siblings are people I could tell anything. My mother feels everything I feel, only more strongly. She is my emotional rock. My father has high expectations, but backs them up with big hugs. My sister is all out there for you to see and love. She lives her live courageously. My brother would take a bullet for any of us, then display it with pride.

I am fortunate enough to have in my life some very cool, funny, compassionate, smart individuals.

I work with many wonderful people too. I don’t call them my friends, but they’re much more than acquaintances. They are my work family. I don’t love them all, but I accept them for who they are, and I acknowledge their value to me. They are my brothers and sisters in my work world. They get me there, in that parallel universe.

So I do have friends. I even have some who aren’t family and who don’t work with me, just not many. But that’s fine with me.
I’m not an island after all, I guess.

News of the day

Thought I’d update since it’s been a while. And so much has been going on!

I am on my seventh week of methotrexate. I don’t feel anything but mild nausea, maybe a little inattention and spaciness, but that’s it. It’s no big deal. The iritis and scleritis are gone. The CT of my orbits and sinuses was negative, so there is really no reason for my behind-the-eye pain and headache. So I will just forget about them and carry on. I see my eye doctor and the orbit doctor next week, so maybe we can figure out why my left eye stays swollen.

Koby and Caitlyn are engaged and plan to marry toward the end of June. Her ring is beautiful and they are both so happy planning their honeymoon. We’re just psyched we get to have Owen while they’re gone!

Stefanie’s shower is this weekend. We have been planning and working on this for a while and it’s finally almost here – we’re so excited! Stefanie is gonna pass away when she sees what we have planned. I can’t wait!

Bill has figured out how to make separate playlists for his ipod so he can rotate content periodically, so he’s really happy. He’s working on this project for hours each day. I’m not so happy about this. He’s also in the best shape since he was a young man. He’s feeling great and I’m happy for him.

Ryan had the hardware in his leg removed and is now just about fully recovered. It was rough on him, but he got through it. I’m just glad it’s over and we don’t have to think about it anymore. He stays busy with work and friends and Michela. He seems happy but tired. I think he’s looking for a change.

Decky is busy drumming and playing tennis. He’s not been sleeping very well lately and I think it’s due to stress at school. He really doesn’t like it. They’re considering him for the gifted program, but the evaluation takes a few months. If he gets in, he’ll get out of his classroom for a while each day. I’m crossing my fingers. His second grade teacher is a fierce advocate for him. She’s a blessing to us.

Work is work. I gave my presentation to the nurse practice council last month, and now it looks like more people want me to give the talk to their departments. I don’t think I’ll be doing that until I get part-time status back. Why do all the extra work when I don’t get any credit toward the clinical ladder for it?

And I’ll be getting the veins on my left leg taken care of soon. I thought I would never bother with them again, but my brother has inspired me to do it. I have another thirty or so years left on these legs so I guess I better do the maintenance. I don’t want major problems down the road.

I haven’t been exercising lately because my eye pressure has been elevated. I’m hoping that gradual weaning off the steroid drops will resolve that issue, and I’ll be able to get back on the treadmill (or out on the trails) soon.

Cait and I leave for Chicago Friday, so we’re hustling to get everything done and settled before we leave. It’s stressful, but we’re going to have so much fun!

Crazy times

First, an update on my eye and the drugs.

I took my second dose of the methotrexate Sunday, and it wasn’t bad at all. I took it at 1:30pm while at work, which probably wasn’t the best idea. I got tired at about 3pm, and felt slow. Next time I have to take it while I’m working, I’ll just wait until I go home. Otherwise, I felt fine, and the fatigue didn’t hang around very long at all. The next day, I was functioning at 100%. I credit a very good, healthy, sensible diet, and an attitude of self-caring.

The eye seems to be getting better. It’s still a little achy and cloudy at times, but doc says it’s improving. My eyelid has started to spasm off and on throughout the day, but I figure it’s just inflammation and irritation, and doc agrees. He says the methotrexate should start making things better in a week or two. I can’t wait.

I’ll be so glad when I don’t have to spend one or two hours each Wednesday waiting to see the eye doctor. He’s totally worth it, but still…

Now the crazy update:

Bill is out of town in Miami for a business/dog track field trip. I am full of envy and resentment, but I’ll get over it. I kinda like having the house to myself. I clean it and it stays clean. Mostly. And while I have to chauffeur Decky to his basketball, tennis, drums, etc myself, I also get to eat out if I want to.

Bill gets home late Saturday. Ryan is scheduled for his surgery Monday at 5:30am, and will stay overnight. I will pick him up Tuesday morning, drop him off at home, and possibly go out to lunch to celebrate a girlfriend’s 40th birthday. It’s morphed from a simple local lunch and gift certificate to lunch at the Plaza, a makeover at the MAC store and a gift certificate, and I obviously can’t commit that kind of time. Caitlyn is happy to ‘babysit’ her brother, and would take very good care of him, but I may just keep the lunch appearance to a cameo. We’ll see how Ryan feels.

The next day, I have to give a presentation on lateral violence among nurses at a system-wide nurse practice conference. It will be nearby, so I won’t worry about leaving Ryan too long, but they just asked me to fill forty minutes instead of the original five to ten. Yipes. I feel like I was roped into this under false pretenses: they originally just asked me to ‘give my talk’. Then they asked me for a whole bunch of other stuff, under a short deadline, so they could give continuing education credit for it. Now they ask for a big long lecture. If they expect it to be interesting and exciting, I am in trouble.

There’s a lot on my plate. I guess it’s back to taking things one day – or one hour – at a time, at least for a little while. Yeesh.