Feb 22, 2011

Choices

So, remember last December when my knee gave out? While I was in another country? Well, after multiple visits to the doctor's office, an x-ray, and an MRI, it turns out that physical therapy isn't going to cut it. There is a layer of soft tissue between the cartilage, called meniscus, and mine is torn.

According to my doctor, I have two choices: I can get surgery to fix it, or I can leave it as-is.

If I get surgery, I will be laid up for two weeks, unable to drive and in some pretty good pain for a while. I'll also be in physical therapy for two months. The surgery itself is arthoscopic so I won't go under a knife, but I will still be severely limited.

If I don't get surgery, I can still get around fine. And that's pretty much all I'll be able to do. I will have to be careful not to bend my knee too far, and, if I do, then the pain can be managed with ibuprofin and possible cortizone shots to reduce swelling. But the pain won't be over the top and I'd be able to function okay.

So, my choice is basically this: do I go through a lot of pain for a short amount of time, or do I live with a constant, dull pain for the rest of my life?

Well, for me, the choice was obvious from the start. I'm an involved mom. I like to play with my kids, whether it's sitting on the floor putting legos together, playing board games, cards, putting puzzles together, etc. Or, playing soccer or baseball in the yard, building a snowman, going sledding, giving my kids piggy-back rides, etc. That doesn't even include the things I want to do for me, like hiking, camping, climbing, and who knows what else.

If I chose to do nothing and manage the pain for the rest of my life, then I would be putting a thin layer of hesitation between me and the rest of the world. Between me and my kids. And that's something I can't do. So, next monday I go in for surgery. Hopefully it will go well, and I'll be back to my normal life in no time.

Feb 15, 2011

Penny-Pinching Tooth Fairy

Oldest has been losing teeth like crazy for the past year. He didn't lose any for the longest time, and was upset that he was the only kid in class with all his baby teeth. Then they started falling out all at once and he happily showed everyone his jack-o-lantern smile, especially the photographer taking school photos. :)

Last week, he lost another tooth. We put it a pouch under his pillow, and the tooth fairy came and left him a dollar. When he woke up the next morning, he excitedly opened it up.

Oldest: I hope there's more than one dollar here! (opens the pouch and smile disappears) Aww, there's only one.
Me: The tooth fairy has always left you one dollar. Why did you expect more?
Oldest: The other kids at school all get more.
Me: Huh? What do they get?
Oldest: One kid got 25 dollars the last time he lost a tooth.
Me: (laughing) I don't think he was telling the truth.
Oldest: He did! And another kid gets toys!
Me: How does a toy fit under his pillow?
Oldest: It doesn't. The tooth fairy leaves it in the middle of the room.
Me: Well, our tooth fairy doesn't leave toys, or 25 dollars. Ours leaves a dollar.
Oldest: (grumbling as he walks away) Why do we have to have this tooth fairy?

I hate to see what happens when he wants a raise in his allowance. :)

Feb 8, 2011

Chicago Blizzard, 2011

So, last week we had a pretty historic blizzard. Over twenty inches of snow and wind gusts of up to seventy miles per hour. Pretty scary at times!! 
An hour of snow.

It started late tuesday afternoon, right before pickup time at the kids' school. I got there really early because the roads were already bad and the wind was ridiculous, and I was contemplating pulling Oldest out early. Well, the second I got out of the car, the wind nearly knocked me over. That was enough to convince me that it was time to go home, like NOW.

Youngest is in school half-day, so I'd already picked him up at lunchtime. So this poor kid was trying to walk down the sidewalk with seriously strong wind gusts blowing at his back. I had to hold on to him pretty tight to keep him from being blown over.

I got Oldest, and when we got back outside to walk to the car, the wind had picked up. Or maybe it just seemed that way because we had to walk into the wind. The kids couldn't see anything because there was so much snow being blown into their faces, so I told them to hang on to me and each other, and then walk behind me. I felt like a mama duck leading her ducklings down the sidewalk. :) We made it to the car okay, but the wind was so strong it was hard to keep the car doors open so the kids could get inside.

The next morning.
We went home and stayed home after that, watching the snow come down and listening to the wind blow. It was crazy. I haven't seen snow like this since I was a kid, and it still wasn't this bad. The kids thought it was great, of course, now that they weren't out in the gusting wind anymore. :)

3 ft drift by our front steps.

The wind blew all night, and we could hear debris hitting the windows at times. Either that or it was icy snow. Not sure which. The next morning, we had about a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Snow had drifted against the back door about two feet high, and it was interesting trying to get out there to clear off the back steps. It wasn't too cold, so we let the kids go out to play for a bit while DH shoveled. I couldn't help because of my knee, which I was actually bummed about. I love snow, even shoveling it. I'm sure Oldest gets that from me, because the kid can't wait to get out and shovel even if there's only an inch of snow on the ground. :)

So, after the first round of shoveling was done, the heavens opened and we got another six inches of snow in two hours. So, DH and the kids went back out to shovel when that was done. Also, while we'd been inside sipping hot cocoa, a plow had gone through our alley. Which sounds kind of nice, right? Well, instead of angling his plow so the snow went to the side without garage doors, he just went straight through and dumped snow in front of our garage, and all our neighbors'. DH spent two hours digging that out, even with the neighbors helping and hiring someone to come by with an industrial strength snow blower. Poor guy was about to collapse when he came back in.


Digging himself out.
 The streets were pretty much impassable, which at least one car discovered. The drifts were about three feet tall on the street in front of our house, even before the second round of snow. One car decided he could make it through if he just went fast enough...  Yeah, you can probably guess what happened. He got himself stuck, but good! He'd forced his way into the snow so fast that he had snow packed underneath his car. He spent thirty minutes digging that out, then some helpful neighbors went out and helped him push his car back out of the drift. There was no where for him to go, so he dug himself out a parking spot and parked his car. It stayed there for the rest of the week. :) I guess he learned his lesson.

After the second round of snow.

School was closed both wednesday and thursday, so I didn't bother trying to get the car out. Friday morning, though, I had to take the kids to school. And, even with all the shoveling DH did, I still got stuck pulling out of my garage. We even have a four-wheel-drive vehicle! And I grew up driving in snow, so this is really saying something. There just wasn't room to maneuver, and I had to shovel some more and do a three-point turn just to get out. Same thing when I had to turn onto the street from our alley. There is so much snow piled up on the corners that you can't see around them, and there isn't really clearance to get around without going back and forth a few times. Crazy!

The worst part is that the temperature has dropped so low that it's going to be forever before this stuff begins to melt. Looks like we're going to be buried until March...

Feb 1, 2011

Mommy, What's That?

Here's a funny Youngest story for you...

While we were in India, we didn't encounter Indian-style toilets for the most part. Everywhere we went, there was a nice, western-style toilet bowl with a clean seat to sit on. There wasn't always toilet paper, but I always think ahead so it wasn't an issue.

My boys have never seen the Indian-style toilet, which is basically a hole in the ground with two footholds on either side (you stand on the footholds and squat--it's like peeing outdoors, except you're indoors). Sometimes they're clean, and sometimes they're...well...not.

Anyway, when we went to the theme park type place that had displays of various cultures across India, Youngest had to go to the bathroom. There were public restrooms there, but this place isn't there to cater to foriegn tourists, so you can probably guess what style bathrooms they had. :)

I took Youngest to the bathroom and opened a stall. A porcelain hole was in the floor, with two porcelain footholds on either side, and a handle sticking out of the pipes so you can flush when you're done. It was very clean, and the lack of toilet paper wasn't an issue for Youngest because he just had to pee. But he'd never seen a toilet like this before, and just stood there staring at it.

Him: Mommy, what's that?
Me: That's the potty. It's how a lot of them are in India.
Him: (cocking his head to the side) How do you use it?
Me: You go pee-pee in the hole there, then flush here.
Him: Oh, okay. (he looks at the toilet again, then at me, then back at the toilet). Mommy, how are you going to use that?

It was all I could do not to burst out laughing! I told him I'd do just fine, and that he should go potty. Which he did. :)