School Is Starting Soon…

My son will be 12 in November; he’s starting 7th grade on 30 August. As someone born at the end of March, I was one of the older kids in my class; my son is one of the younger. I’m still not used to having a child born so late in the year. When it became 2016, I immediately knew my age*, but when I came up with “12” for my son’s age… I realized I’d better learn about having a kid born later in the year!

My son goes to a Charter school. (When he leaves this school, I have a loooong post written, including video, photos, emails, etc, to show just how bad this particular school is. Until then, we’ll pretend he’s going to a school that is a tiny bit better than our zone school and not mention the name if the school.)

Normally, the school allows students in between 7:15am-7:30am. A second after that, and you’re considered “late”. When my son was in 5th grade, they excised kids whose parents called in and said there were problems with the trains (this can be easily confirmed by going on the MTA website). Apparently, too many kids showed up with food from tbe local McDonald’s and train delays, even with a note from the conductor, are not acceptable reasons for lateness. I can understand this for kids with McDonald’s or kids who use this excuse a few times a week. But I kept track, and my son was less than 5 minutes late due to train delays about once a month. We would leave at the same time each morning, leave twice the reccommended time Google Maps suggested, and normally arrive between 7:10 and 7:15am. But at least once a month, my son, probably the only kid brought by a parent on the train (I didn’t see any others although about five come by car), would have “lunchtime detention”.

With the exception of Wednesday, when they get out at 2pm, they would get out at 3:45pm. Unless they had detention or Homework Center (meaning you didn’t do or didn’t hand in all of your homework). Then they got out at 4:30pm.

Either way, my son arrives as the sun is rising, and, in winter, leaves as it is setting. He was put on a Vitamin D supplement as he didn’t see the sun for a few months every year.The new schedule is 7:45am-4pm. Meaning my son still needs his Vitamin D supplement.

I’m worried about my son returning to this school. In 5th grade, he was bullied by 3 boys (one of whom was part of the reason we left his last school) to the point my son had to be switched to a different class. Knowing this, they still put the one boy we had left his old school to avoid in my son’s 6th grade class. Ironically, the bully’s mom had also asked that they be separated. (I had tried being friends with her and apparently “knew too much”. And there was the time she yelled at my son in the charter school office in front of teachers and staff before I got there. But why should they care about my son?)

Anyway, once my son is back in school, what will I do?

I will write. I will set up, and keep to, a writing schedule. I will set up doctor’s appointments on only two days a week so tbere will be a minimum of three day wbere I have to take my son to school and pick him up and in between, write. Write, Write, WRite, WRIte, WRITe, WRITE. (That was harder than you’d think with my cruddy phone keyboard.)

I have tons of ideas and I will do them.

I will be more social. Fuck this pain. I’m in pain no matter what I do or do not do, so I might as well do something!

And that’s all, really.

(Oh, I’ll find out hpw to have a bar separate sections of my blog!)

As for the asterisk it will be explained below.😃

* Although I tend to add a few years. Most people take off years. I had a boss who turned 30 three times when I knew her; everyone laughed behind her back, saying she was probably closer to 40. I add a few years, and people say, “You look so much younger!” That’s the trick, folks: add a few years. People will think you look and actually are younger than your real age.

I also reccommend staying away from ages that “sound” fake. Twenty-one always sounds fake, and you will be carded, even if that’s your real age. Thirty sounds like you’ve been there before and, depending on how you look, people will mentally add a couple of years, believing you’ve been 30 before.

Obviously your real friends will know the truth 😃

And now I’m melting in the bathroom, and the constant knocking followed by, “Are you ok in tbere, Mommy?” (I only get called, “Mommy” when he’s worried or tired. Otherwise, I’m, “Mom”.) means I’m done.

Blessed Be.

See y’all soon!

Warning: I’ve Got A Twisted Sense of Humor

(NOTE: This entire post just got deleted. I’m rewriting from memory.)

I wrote a whole long post about how I came to have what some might call a twisted sense of humor.

It was all erased.

My dad was going in for surgery on some herniated discs in his neck. There was a 50% chance he’d die on the operating table. But when his parents and brother went for lunch, my dad launched into a hysterically funny story about a hot female nurse shaving him “down there” as he would need a catheter after the operation — and how cold the room was.(look up the Seinfeld episode about Cold Water if you have questions.)

Then he pointed to a huge fruit basket he had received. “What am I supposed to do with that? I can’t eat solids for a month!”

When our family came back from lunch, my dad was smiling and I was hysterical laughing. He was literally facing Death but he had made me laugh.

As he was wheeled into surgery, everyone said how much they loved him. I whispered, “When you wake up, you’ll have a catheter.” My dad smiled, “I already do.”

He came out of surgery as well as could be expected, but I learned a valuable lesson:

As I grew older and amassed my own laundry list of illnesses and diseases, I remembered that lesson. Life can suck but if you are reading this, you are better off than most of the people in the world. If you have a roof over your head, food (or money to buy food), and a change of clothing, you’re better off than 70-90% of the world. (Sorry, but I couldn’t find an exact number to quote.)

I’ve been told I have a twisted sense of humor. But…

Here are a few links:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

http://time.com/3592134/laughing-health-benefits/

http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/6-reasons-why-laughter-is-the-best-medicine

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

Laughter truly is the best medicine.

When I was in high school there was a girl I couldn’t talk to because she was so cool. We became Facebook friends and, I thought Real Friends. We supported each other and sent messages of encouragement. Recently, I made a joke to my ex- high school/ college boyfriend, based on this joke:

An elderly widowed gentleman in a nursing home became very friendly with an elderly lady. He told her his former wife used to hold his penis every night to help him go to sleep. The elderly lady decided to do this for her new male friend every night for a week. Each night he fell soundly asleep. The next week the gentleman told the lady that he was sorry but he had found a new partner. She was very upset and asked him, “What does she have that I don’t have?” He replied, “Parkinsons.”

The Cool friend replied:

NOBODY WITH ILLNESSES AND/OR DISABILITIES SHOULD EVER BE MAKING FUN OF. IT IS VERY CRUEL AND IGNORANT. HOW DARE YOU.

I replied:

[i]t’s how my family deals with us all having chronic pain / illnesses. Mostly my dad and me when we were talking.

It’s from a joke about a couple who meet in an old folks home. One day the woman sees the man with another woman and calls him over.

“We’ve shared meals, we’ve slept in the same bed, I even put my hand on your penis! What does she have that I don’t?”

He answers with a grin, “Parkinson’s.”
If I couldn’t laugh I’d curl in a ball and cry. Sometimes the pain is so intense I’m laughing and crying. 

When the muscle spasms started, it would scare my son to see me jerking around or flipping off the bed or, one time while making dinner, a knife flew out of my hand across the room. If I let my son know how much pain I was really in, it would’ve scared him and he would’ve worried more.

So I’d laugh.

Often hysterically, like a crazy person, but then he [my son] could laugh, too, instead of being scared all the time.

I hope you understand — I’m not making fun of anyone. When Michael J Fox was diagnosed an article said it was from head injuries playing hockey as a kid. I used to get my head slammed into walls daily by my biological mother so I was terrified I’d get early onset Parkinson’s.

It’s the best coping mechanism I have since my son is with me a lot. If I didn’t have a kid, well, I wouldn’t be using prescription pain killers, that’s for sure! I’ve been out of Lyrica for a week now & am praying I can get it today. Mixed with the heat… It’s been rough. And my son has to watch.

And then after finding out she had unfriended me on Facebook and Instagram, I wrote:

I see you unfriended me on Facebook and I had to request to follow your instagram account (again; As we were following each other).

If you’re that bothered by me making a joke, I wish you’d text me or messagenger me or dm me privately to discuss this.

I can’t believe this is the first time you’ve noticed my sarcastic / laugh-instead-of-cry approach to living with chronic pain. Even with my son, if I had to take a cold hard look at my future — in a wheelchair, in constant pain, completely alone — I’d probably be suicidal. It’s one thing to not mind being alone but to deal with never being held as I sleep, never being kissed again, etc… Once my son is grown, I will have to deal with such self-pity. But until then, I need sarcasm and humour or else I might as well pack it in. I’m sorry if I offended you but it’s how I cope.

And now I’m [re]writing this. Hoping she will see; hoping she will understand.

Mi Manzanita:

I’m very sorry that you misunderstood my comment on Facebook. If you don’t wish to talk to me, I will respect your wishes.

Please understand, I would never “make fun” of any illness or disease; I do use humor to deal with my situation and if that means we cannot be friends, I understand. I would like to hear your reasoning, but I wish you health and happiness no matter what you choose.

I freely admit that my mind goes to self-pity-mode a lot. It depresses me that after I have raised my son I will be, literally, alone. It upsets me that I will never be kissed or held by a lover again. But I need to stay strong for my son and for myself. Please do not mistake my joking as “making fun of” or “laughing at” others.

Con mucho amor,

Dee

Aka, D. K. Stevens

Sometimes You Need To Take A Step Back

image
[I wrote this a year ago about an Angel I met in a children’s cancer ward. Or maybe just a very wise little girl. But I prefer to think of her as an Angel. Its a Free Write, but it’s true.]

 

I woke up this morning as I always do — in pain so harsh it makes it hard to breathe. I have three herniated discs in my lower spine. Fibromyalgia. My knees have been locking up on me and I’ve had a pinched nerve that has rendered my left arm almost useless for over five weeks.
My son is in my bed, which happens more often than not. ACS (Children’s Services in NYC) has given him PTSD and the nightmares are bad enough that he comes into my room in the middle of the night.
My middle cat, Nikita, is having a bloody discharge, sometimes cloudy yellow, that is leaving stains everywhere. Worse, I can’t afford a vet. I tried all of the free vet services, and none were able to help. I’m going to have to throw out what little self-esteem and pride I have and try GoFundMe.
My favorite game, Titan Empires, has had an update. I’ve got two accounts and had just started one for my son. This new update resulted in the game crashing during three attacks yesterday. Today, it crashed during a war attack for my main character, leaving me with 0% on an easy 100% win. My son’s account took the Titanite (required to upgrade Titans, who help with your attacks) for an upgrade three times but didn’t do the upgrade.
We’d missed lunch with my grandmother, who is my best friend and always has been, along with being a mom and a grandmother, on Monday due to my son throwing up and having an upset stomach. The lunch was to be a one-week – early Happy 88th Birthday with my aunt and uncle who don’t yet live full-time in NYC and we’re leaving the next day. Tuesday we’d gone to the New York Aquarium, and today, Wednesday, my son had his stomach ache back.
We had a home visit and we’ll have another Friday morning, despite everyone agreeing that being crippled and asking for help was not child abuse or neglect. The damage to my son, my family, and to me has already been done. Lesson learned: never ask Children’s Services for help because you’re physically unable to clean. They did nothing for years despite overwhelming proof that my son was being abused by his father and father’s girlfriends. Why would they help a non-abusive, non-neglectful parent?
As I went to the bathroom for a cigarette, I thought back to when I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was 20, but my birth date had been written wrong and I was sent to the children’s cancer ward.
I sat on an uncomfortable chair and tried not to look around. The parents with that hollow look, watching their child die and not being able to do anything about it. The thing about losing a child is that it goes against Nature. Parents are supposed to die first and while it’s sad, it’s the Natural Order of things.
Then She sat next to me. It bothers me that I can’t remember Her name, but I will always remember Her.
“Hi,” She said, this little girl attached to a metal pole with wheels. The pole held bags of liquid which were attached to tubes leading to needles in her veins.
I nodded a hello, gripping my latest test results in my sweaty hands.
“You’re new,” She observed.
“That obvious?”
She coughed a little laugh. She was barely four feet tall, and probably didn’t weigh more than 50 pounds. Her hair was gone, but She wasn’t wearing a scarf around Her head.
“I know everyone here. You’re too young to be a parent, you don’t have that Family Member Look, so you must be a patient.” She went on to tell me that She was eight and the couple nervously watching us were Her parents. Her brother was somewhere, wandering the hospital hallways.
Her parents came over. “Sweetie, don’t you think you should get back in bed?” Her mom asked.
“Come on, I’ll carry you,” Her father offered. They looked like they hadn’t slept in years.
She bargained for five minutes with me. They returned to their seats, never taking their eyes off of Her. Or me.
“No offense, but you do look tired,” I said quietly.
She gave a small smile. “I’m exhausted all the time. But you look like you could use a friend.”
The next few minutes flew by. She told me how She was so tired, that She’d been in and out of hospitals since two years of age. She said She held on for Her parents, who wouldn’t be able to handle Her being gone. How Her brother loved and hated Her: loved Her when She was healthy; hated Her for being sick, taking all of their parents attention, then hated himself. She spoke like someone years older than eight. Every Doctor or Nurse who walked by received a greeting by name. But as She spoke She seemed to lose substance until a nurse came over and said She needed to go back to Her room.
“Chemo,” She said, rolling her eyes. “I wish they’d stop.”
“Now, honey, you don’t mean that,” said the nurse, helping Her up and taking hold of the metal pole.
“You’ll be okay,” were Her parting words.
I had to turn in my seat to watch Her walk back to Her room. She was insisting on walking by Herself.
The sun was bright thru the hospital windows and while it might have been a trick of the light, to this day I swear She had a beautiful pair of white feathered Angel wings on Her back.
I blinked, and She was gone.
I was called in soon after, the age mistake corrected, and I was sent to the adult cancer ward.
Two days later I went back to the children’s ward. Her parents weren’t there. I asked some of the Doctors and Nurses if I could visit Her and received confused looks. Nobody had been there with that name recently. Thinking I’d gotten Her name wrong, I described Her. Unfortunately, that description fit most of the children there.
I left, hearing Her say, “You’ll be okay.”
And I was.
A few years of cancer treatments and numerous hospital visits and I got a clean bill of health. My eyebrows will never grow in properly, my hair is very thin, and I have a desperate fear of feeling my bones after having lost so much weight. I also proved the doctors wrong by giving birth to my son — I had been told I would never have children.
So, I may have left the Nair on my tender areas a bit too long, and I may be in constant physical pain, and my son may be scarred for life by Children’s Services, and my cat may be sick. But I’ll get the money for the vet. I’ll put my son back together. My tender area will heal up. And maybe Titans will fix the bugs or maybe I’ll find a new game.
We’ll see my grandmother for her 88th Birthday this Monday. And we’ll get thru the home visit and hopefully won’t have to have someone court ordered to stay in our house every day (again).
Either way, as an Angel once told me, “You’ll be okay.”
I will. I’ll be okay.

Continue reading “Sometimes You Need To Take A Step Back”

Word

Dear WordPress:

I have continually praised you. I have recommended you to friend and  people I do not know. And now, as I look through my entries, I see that you have NOT been posting blogs that I have written. Not just scheduled blogs, but blogs that I’ve written  (like this one), where I post immediately (or think I do and you tell me I have).

You suck, WordPress.

Blessed Be,
D. K. Stevens

Top Four Easter Hazards for Pets | ASPCA

http://www.aspca.org/news/top-four-easter-hazards-pets?ms=em_new_newspost-easterhazards-20160323&initialms=em_new_newspost-easterhazards-20160323&utm_source=newsalertemail_20160323&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsalert

Top Four Easter Hazards for Pets

As many families prepare to celebrate Easter this weekend, it’s important to keep in mind that this spring holiday may pose potential hazards for our furry friends. Before you hide eggs in your yard and decorate your home, please read the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s (APCC) list of the top four most common Easter dangers:

1. Chocolate. The APCC received an average 37 calls a day regarding pets eating chocolate in 2015. Most of those exposures occurred around holidays: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Chocolate can cause gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, stimulation to the nervous system (hyperactivity, tremors and seizures) and elevation in heart rate. Not all chocolate is created equally—the darker the chocolate, the less it takes to cause problems for pets.Other ingredients to keep out of your pet’s reach include raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol and alcohol.

2. Plastic Easter Grass. While pets cannot absorb plastic Easter grass into their bodies, when consumed, this plastic material can become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract and wreak havoc. Signs for concern include vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in appetite, lethargy, and stomach pain.

3. Plants. Many plants can cause issues for pets, but during this time of year, the APCC sees an uptick in calls about Lilies and bulbs that bloom in spring. Lilies (Lilium sp and Hemerocallis sp) can cause serious concerns for our feline friends. Exposure to any parts of the plant can result in kidney injury and gastrointestinal upset.

4. Fertilizers and Herbicides.Warmer weather brings gardening and yardwork. Many pet parents will use fertilizers and herbicides in their yards, and while these don’t often cause serious problems, it is best to keep pets indoors while applying the products, follow label instructions and wait to let your pet out again until the product has been watered in or the ground is dry.

Please visit our APCC section to find out more about items that could be poisonous to your furry friends. APCC is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler Speaks Against Declawing Cats

http://loudwire.com/black-sabbath-geezer-butler-speaks-out-against-declawing-cats/

Declawing is literally ripping the nail out at the root.
An indoor cat might get out.
An indoor cat might become an outdoor cat (it happened to my precious Fluffy).
Cat scratching furniture? Try giving them something else to claw. No need to buy an expensive version, you can make one with rug scraps (make sure theyre cat safe!) and wood, or buy a cardboard version at the dollar store. A little cat nip sprinkled on it will get your cat where you want him/her. Be sure to praise them when you see them clawing the scratching post!
Another technique is a water spritzer, like the kind used for watering plants or doing hair, also available at dollar stores. Fill with clean water. When you see kitty scratching, sternly say, “no”, and give them a light misting (not the direct spray). Then direct them over to what you do want them to scratch.
It’s also important to keep your cats nails trimmed — not cut. Have the vet show you how. This will help keep them from scratching, too.
Above all, DO NOT DECLAW!
I am proud to live in what might be the first state to ban declawing. Yay New York!
Best news I’ve had in over a week…