Sunday, January 27, 2013

Early Morning Worries

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've blogged. I've been sick as a dawg these two weeks, with bad reactions to some new meds. I mean, some really crappy and icky stuff. I won't oppress you with the details. It all culminated with a five-hour sojourn in the ER yesterday. All they could do for me was repeat the tests my PCP had already done and inform me it's a bad reaction to my meds.

Well, fuck you too.

And now I'm actually feeling physically better but was lying awake since 2 a.m. worrying about money, so I came downstairs to make a list of ways I can spend less this week and forever.

First thing I noticed was that some person in my immediate or extended family had set the thermostat to HOLD at 73 degrees Fahrenheit. !!!!! So who knows how long we've been keeping the downstairs toasty all night. I bet the paper whites have been loving it. On the other hand they've totally wilted over onto the lamp beside them, so maybe not.

The fish would have loved it but they all died.

So anyway, I made a few lists. The first one had money saving tips on it like:

  • Postpone Saskia's oral surgery (before you call DSS on me, this is not URGENT oral surgery. Yet. And Grandpa, who is a dentist, has a colleague who will do it for free if we go to NY. Good enough for me).
  • Apply for grant to pay for the 1K self-pay part of Benjy's upcoming neuropsychological evaluation. These are done every four years or so on kids like Ben and at the price of five thousand or your first born. If you are lucky enough to be insured, as we are, you get away with paying only a thousand out of pocket.
  • Eat only food we have in the house this week, even if gross. (Lars can eat the gross stuff, he doesn't care.) Stuff with freezer burn can surely be resuscitated. Google on how to do this.
  • When (edible) food we have in house runs out, purchase pasta, mac and cheese, and other toxic but cheap food items at Aldi or Market Basket, our two local cheapie stores (by "local" I mean 15 miles away. Nearby us you get to choose between pricey, pricier, and upper-crusty. I'm talking about you, Whole Foods).
  • Tell Bestie that I was in the throes of MADNESS when I agreed to put down a $300 deposit on a vacation house in VT to share with her and her son this for a week this summer. Make her inform the rental agent who is holding that week for us that we have changed our minds (because I am too embarrassed to do it).
  • Hold off on non-essential bills.
  • Keep heat at 67 during day. Wear sweaters. Scold whoever did that "hold" thing on the thermostat. (Who knew you could even do that?)
  • GET A JOB.******

***** Here is why I can't. Benjy is going down again. Eight weeks in the hospital this fall and winter, countless med changes, and he is slipping into deep depression again. Restless and seeking. Bankrupting us with his need for more and more video games. I say no, hold firm as long as I can. But when I am sick and exhausted as I was last night, and he is depressed and anxious and lonely and pacing around the house and lying pale and despondent in his darkened room there is nothing else I can do. If only I weren't sick, didn't have to attend, sometimes, to things other than Benjy (the tutoring, for example, that brings a little extra money into our house, my other child, who needs me too, even if she does not like to admit it) I could simply devote myself to keeping him busy and happy, keeping the emptiness at bay. But how the hell do you manage THAT with no spare money? There must be a way. I know some moms have figured it out. But my kid does not like the outdoors (except fishing, but in spite of what he told me yesterday evening when he begged me to take him, you cannot easily do that when it's ten degrees out). He does not want to read or watch DVDs. Tennis he likes but again, not so much when it's 10 degrees out.

So how can I POSSIBLY work when every year his seriously dysregulated periods grow longer and closer-set?

All I can do is hope for a tax refund this year, that my O essay comes out soon (payment upon publication), and that I sell a couple more, pronto. And just keep swimming.


  1. I understand this post so much. Have lived this post, aside from what you're dealing with regarding Benjy. The complications from meds. (Verapamil made my small intestine shut down. THAT was fun.) Have felt the bitterness about how expensive medical care is even with "good" insurance. I hate the eating-the-pantry weeks, the endless ways I can prepare potatoes (I can even make them taste like meat -- I've had a lot of practice).

    You have my hopes for a windfall, recovery, some nights of good sleep, and no side effects.

    1. Thanks, Dear Atty! I'm beginning to wonder if small intestine shutdown isn't precisely what is happening here. Will be off the offending med in a few days I hope, and then we'll see. If it's not the culprit things get scary. Just what we need around here!

      Hey, can you tell me the meat-like potato secret??

      All best to you and Pea!

    2. The secret is using beef bouillon powder on them before cooking (also with sage and rosemary, IIRC). I would slice the potatoes thinly, then sprinkle this mixture over them, and then microwave. It really did get us through six months of undergrad. It SUCKED. We have eaten the pantry in the last few years more than I care to recall, too.

  2. Have you had him checked for seasonal affective disorder? I think the light boxes are covered by insurance, which you mention you have, and his going downhill at this time of year might make it worth looking into. Bipolar disorder can also have a seasonal component as well. Thank you for writing honestly about these issues. I hope it gets better.

    1. Hello, Anon, and thank you for stopping by!! (Methinks this is a different Anon than the one who lurks around here dressed as my mother, who is never awake until 11 pm. ;)

      Yes, we have tried a light box in the past, which did not make a difference. Yet it's true that all of Ben's hospitalizations have begun with the short, dark days. Not that he's not depressed and dysregulated other times of the year, but in the fall and wingter it is probably worse. I was ready to try again after his first hospitalization this fall but it turned out he was manic -- most likely medication-induced -- and as light therapy can increase mania we didn't dare. But I think the mania has been addressed and I will ask his psychiatrist about it today. Thank you for the reminder!

      Oh, and thanks for your kind wishes. They really help. I hope you'll drop by again sometime. :)

  3. Ohhhhh mannnnn...

    I wish words and thoughts could make an enormous difference right now. Or cups of tea, because I'd make you one.
    But, for what it's worth, I'm praying for you. Hang in there.

    1. It's worth a lot, Megan. And right back at you. I've been following your blog and I know about your loss. It's one I can't yet imagine -- I haven't lost my dad (but I did lose my sister 16 years ago). Your writing about grief is so beautiful and resonant. I hope it is therapeutic for you. I know writing about the tough stuff is therapeutic for me, which is why I am so exhibitionistic about all our crap. I appreciate your prayers, Megan -- keep 'em coming! In return I will continue keeping you and your beautiful writing in my thoughts. Have a nice night! (Day?? I think it's either tomorrow or yesterday in your part of the world. My sister-in-law is an Aussie; I will ask her for a reminder.)

    2. Thanks so much Anna! Yeah it is therapeutic - and energising, too, in a world where so much of what I do sucks me dry.
      I so love being able to connect with people in this new world called the blogosphere. Magic, magic place. All the best, and hope you have a lovely day my friend.

  4. I have been reading your blog since Alan told me about it after the Yom Kippur speech. I come to it when I need a quick reality check or a refresher course in perspective-taking (I work with young children with ASD and their families). Yesterday was a tough day--too many kids with too many needs and feeling like I was fighting windmills. Today, I wore this bright neo-pink sweater (bought on sale for $10 at the Gap over the weekend) and things did not look so bad. I will be back wearing my regular black and grey tones tomorrow. Just saying, it might be worth a drive to the mall!
    I hope that things brighten up soon for your family-- Viviane

    1. Viviane! So glad you are reading the blog! And thanks for your warm thoughts. I bet you have lots of tough are doing noble and HARD work. And I bet the kids love you. I love the pink sweater idea. I did something similar one day during Benjy's first hospitalization this fall. I was so down, driving back and forth to Boston and home. I'd had him on a community pass and did not have time to stop home before bringing him the McDonald's dinner he'd begged for. So I WENT TO THE MALL. And I spent waaaay too much on a sweater (I was not good, like you). And you know what? It felt GREAT. So I totally hear you.

      Regards to Alan and the kids, and come back soon! xx

  5. Thinking of all of you... and hoping for the best.