Just need to let it out. Don't read it if you don't wanna hear be bitch about my privileged life

I'm feeling so down, blue, depressed, dejected, rejected, isolated, trapped. Sick of it all and wishing that I could just stop being me for a while.

I don't even want to get into the stupidness of why I feel so down I guess I just want BF to be so conditional with his love. I wish I could understand what he is thinking, but he doesn't even talk to me anymore. No smiles. No kisses. Nothing.

No one understands where I'm coming from. The pain. The disappointment. The emptiness. The loss. And then I don't get any emotional support at home, not one arm to pull me close and just hold me. I fell down a couple of weeks ago and took the full force of the fall on my knees and straight up through my torso both knees were badly bruised, but my hip was the concern and it took it pretty bad. BF totally sat by my feet and helped me ice my knees and I was ( painfully) up and walking a few minutes later and I took it easy for for the rest of the night. By a couple days later, I still was in pain, both in my knee and in my hip and not up to carrying laundry baskets across the house. And instead of asking me what's wrong, he gets loud and rude and accusatory and acts like that's my job and I'm on deadline.he doesn't give a damn how bad I'm hurting. He never asks me how I feel, because I'm never in no pain and he doesn't want to hear that

I'm alone all goddamned day. I can't go anywhere because of my foot that's not getting any better. I can use my scooter to get some places, but not when it's icy cold out like this and not when it's in the garage or the back of BF's car.

I worry and stress and try to wrap my mind around what we can do for LM. His school should be testing very soon to figure out which little box he fits in, as if anyone actually fits in one of those boxes. After they get those done we might be able to get real help in school to make things run more smoothly. He's got major anger and defiance issues at home and at school. He's injured and threatened to injure kids. He lies so much that you can't believe anything he says and that's ridiculous. You'd think that we're his parents, we know him well enough to tell; NOPE he's got us totally snowed. So now I just have to believe anything that the teacher (who we hate) sends home about his behavior.

I wish I understood where all of this anger is coming from...it's so sad for me that this sweet boy with this great personality and gallons of energy is burdened with these emotions that are just so out of control. So I try to spend as much time as I can while we together enjoying him, because I do love him more than I ever thought that I could. There's a little sunshine in my day :)


From my heart.

Everyone always talks about how STRONG I am when they hear my story, how brave I am, how exceptional I am. Whether I believe in all of that or not, I feel like that and all i am has been stripped away and I'm lying doubled-over, naked, exposed, raw. I feel as if a hole has been blown through me. There's just this emptiness.

I spent all day today crying and sleeping. Not very productive, but none of this weekend is supposed to be productive; I just lay here and wait for them to cut me open Monday and replace the replacement hip with another replacement hip filled with drugs to kill the bugs.

So now I'll have this surgery, and the next. And Christmas will be whatever it turns out to be. It may just gets pushed back to January, which seems to be absolutely fine with everyone, so I don't have to feel guilty about it and I get the gift of feeling that my family is really okay with relocating the whole holiday because they love me and they don't want me to miss it. Everything in my life will just change from here on out...

Life gets pushed back.

I was supposed to be living a normal life this Spring for the first time in years. IN YEARS. I was going to go for walks with LM to ride his bike, maybe even bike with him by the Summer. I was going to do housework and get my life organized. I was going to have great sex again instead of "No, I can't move like that," and "Ooh that hurts," sex. I was going to nurture my relationships with both of my men, as I haven't been able to do. I was going to put energy in friendships that have fallen to the wayside. I was going to stop being the person that takes and start being the person that gives. I was going to get off my ass and lose 60 pounds. I was going to show BF that I am capable of caring for another child so that we can have a baby before the time limit on our embryos is up in June of 2014.

I was supposed to be living; freely, healthily, happily living. And that's just been put on hold. I haven't lost it. This MRSA diagnosis is not a cancer diagnosis. This is not another debilitating disease that will take over my life and not let go. It's just a monster that has eaten a month of my life so far and will eat another six months from the next year. I just have to come to peace with it. Right now, though, I'm really very depressed. I'm angry. I'm despondent. I don't feel like I have the emotional resolve to get through this weekend, let alone the next hour or the work that's ahead, the physical pain that I will endure, the loneliness of hospital and rehab. It's just overwhelming to think about.

So I think I'm going to go zone out, try to find some television that is not about those poor children and teachers in Connecticut. My heart really goes out to that entire community, but especially to the parents who've lost their babies. It's such a crushing story and it just makes me want to curl LM up in my arms and hold him close where we can feel safe together. I want to tell him how much I love him, how much I miss him., but we can't have that tonight. I'm on contact precautions and he's at his mom's house anyway and I'm sure that she needs those hugs and cuddles just as much as I do.

I'll write again soon, but that's all I have in me right now. Thanks, as always for reading.


Birth Survey

This is a survey that I made to elicit responses from women and men about the circumstances surrounding the birth of their children.  I'm starting a business the aim of which is to support women and their partners through pregnancy, childbirth, and new-parenthood.  I am currently in training to become a birth doula, a childbirth educator, and a lactation educator.  As part of my self-education, I'm asking people I know to send me the answers to the questions below along with a birth story in their own words, in order for me to understand more about what happens in real-life situations and how people feel about them. 


I'll write more about this whole new career thing in my next post, but for now, here's the survey!

If you've found yourself here because you want to help me out with this project, let me just say a big THANKS!!  

In addition to that, if you could ask your spouse to fill this out as well I would really appreciate it - I'm desperate for some both men and women's perspectives!

So just copy this survey and then click here and it'll open an email to me, where you can paste and complete it. - Please, whatever you do, don't answer the questions in the comments section

Below are some questions about your pregnancy and childbirth experience.  Please answer as many or as few of them as you want to and/or feel comfortable with about one or more of your pregnancies (Please don't feel like you need to fill this whole thing out 4 times if you have 4 children.  If you would like to, I’d love to hear your birth story or birth stories in addition to your answers to the questions. Gentlemen, in order to make things here simple, read  “you” as “your partner” or as the plural “you.”

First off, do you know what a doula is?  If you don't and you'd like to learn please follow this link.

How many children have you had?

Was your birth a scheduled induction or a scheduled c-section?  If so, why was it scheduled?

Who was present during labor? Delivery? What was each person’s role? (witness, support, coaching, etc.) Did you want these people there? Did you feel pressure for them to be there?  From whom?  Did you feel like any of them were interfering or was their presence helpful?

Did you have an ob/gyn or a midwife or was it different for different pregnancies? If you've experienced both, what made you choose each one?  Did you have a preference? What did you feel the differences were? Would you use any of these people if you were to have another child?

Did you read any books or reference any websites to prepare for pregnancy? birth? parenthood? Which ones? Did you feel that they were valuable?  

Did you have any preferences for your birth experience(s) that you informed your care provider of? Were they written or conveyed verbally?  Do you feel that your care provider and the nurses took these requests seriously?

Were you at a hospital with 1:1 nursing care or did you have a doula with you?  Do you feel that you benefited from this experience? Why/how? 

Was there anything that you disliked about the service that was provided?

Would you use a doula/this particular doula again? Why or why not? 

What did you have with you when you gave birth? What do you wish you had had with you?

What comfort measures did you take (epidural, changing positions, shower/bath, visualization, music, lighting, touch, massage, etc.)? Which ones worked?

Was yours a “high risk” pregnancy? If so, why?

Did you have any complications before, during, or after labor?  What was the problem?

Were you allowed to eat and/or drink during labor?

What medical interventions did you have (stripped membranes, IV fluids, pitocin, narcotics, epidural. spinal block, or other drugs, c-section, enema, induction, external or internal electronic fetal monitoring (intermittent or constant), directed pushing, episiotomy, etc.)? Did they work?

Were the risks and benefits of any interventions thoroughly explained to you in language that you could understand?  Do you feel that you gave “informed consent?”

From 1 – 10, one being “you need no help coping” and ten being “not coping at all,” where do you feel you feel at different points in your labor?

Were there any complications with the baby during labor or delivery or shortly thereafter? If so, what were they and what was done about them?

Were you able to have immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby when he or she was born? If not, why?  Was your husband/boyfriend/partner able to hold the baby immediately if you were not?

Were you given time to be with your child after birth before he or she was taken to the nursery?  How long was the child allowed to stay with you? If you breastfed, did you breastfeed immediately/within the first hour?

Did you baby stay in your hospital room around the clock or did it stay in the nursery part or all of the time?

Were you advised about the benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding?

Were you given formula samples?  If you did, did you stick with that brand of formula once you’d left the hospital?

Did you breastfeed?  Why or why not? If you did, what age was/were the child(ren) when they were weaned? 

 Did you supplement breastfeeding with formula? If so, what was the reason for the supplementation? 

At what age did you add solid foods to your child(ren)’s diet(s)?

If you chose to breastfeed, did your baby receive supplementation with formula or sugar water while in the hospital?  Did anyone ask you if they could do this?  If your expressed birth plan stated that your baby should only be nursed, was that wish respected?

Did you ever attend any support groups for new or nursing mothers?  If so, which one(s)?

What kind of support did you get from family members and friends when you got home?

Did you suffer from the “baby blues” or postpartum depression?  Did you seek treatment?

On the whole what did you like about your birth experience(s)? What do you wish had happened differently? Did these feelings change with successive pregnancies?

Have you told your child(ren) their birth story/stories? Why or why not?  

If you haven’t told him/her/them, do you think that you might at some point?

Your Birth Story:


The Hip Saga Continues

Better mood. Happier post. . . 

Sorry it's been so long, but now I finally have something to write about.

July 24th I had total hip replacement surgery.  The night before, I showered twice, using antibacterial soap, per the doctor's orders and then anxiously sat around, not eating or drinking and definitely not sleeping, until it was time to head to the hospital   I arrived at Penn Presbyterian Hospital at 7 am and was registered for surgery.  I got changed, taking yet another sponge bath, and then waited for the surgical team to be ready for me.  

Once inside, I met with my surgeon, it was brief, but long enough to feel like I was more than a bag of bones needing repair.  The anesthesiologist let me know that he'd be using a spinal block and then knocking me out with sedatives rather than using general anesthesia, which he let me know was his preferred method for this type of surgery.  I was pleased to hear that because it was what I was hoping they'd use; general anesthesia scares me given my complicated pulmonological situation.  The spinal block was such a weird sensation, gradually losing all feeling in my lower half was really strange.  I actually remember waking up in the middle of the surgery, very drugged, but feeling no pain or pressure or anything like that.  The anesthesiologist soothed me back under and the next thing I knew I was in recovery.  

So, using a lateral approach, they replaced the top portion of my femur and a piece of my pelvic bone with a ceramic, artificial hip.  The way they do it is actually crazy - take a look at this video if you're interested.  The only part that kinda gives me goose bumps is right around 1:22 and continues to 1:45, where they widen the hole they've drilled with what is essentially a hammer and a wedge.  Orthopedists seem  to be the closest thing to carpenters that exist in the surgical world, what with their saws, power sanders, power drills,  pliers, screwdrivers, mallets, pins, plates, and screws, it seems that they could build a house just as easily as they could replace a hip..  The surgery took a remarkably short amount of time, just a few hours, and then it was off to recovery and my hospital room.

I felt better as soon as I woke up.  Well...that was probably because of the high dose of morphine that I was taking, but more than that there was just something indefinably different about the way the whole thing felt.  It was really amazing.

The first few days were a mixture of total drugged delirium and hellish pain.  They spilled a bedpan once, trying to take it out from under me, and I screamed louder than I've ever screamed in my life, that kind of all out, unguarded, primal scream that you couldn't fake if you wanted to, as they held my on my side so that they could change the sheets.  I begged them to just leave the damn sheets on the bed and go away.  I don't remember much else from those four days, but I remember that pain like it was yesterday.  It was a totally different kind of pain than the hip pain I've been experiencing for the last year and a half though, it was surgical pain, sharp and profound, not the pressure and dull ache of the AVN.  That was gone completely and it was immediately clear that I'd made the right decision when I pushed for the surgery.

My time in the hospital and the dopiness and pain that came with it was over quickly.  They bandaged me up, got me up, walking (a few feet with a walker) and off to rehab.  Because I made the decision of which rehab to stay in while under the effects of lots of morphine and, apparently, no guidance from my family, I decided to stay on the skilled nursing floor at Penn Presbyterian, rather than going to a SNF that would have been a more convenient place for visitors (they still came though).  But boy-oh-boy was it a nice place to stay.  My room was big enough for two, but there was no second bed; I had it all to myself and that was glorious - no sharing a bathroom, no listening to someone else's TV or snoring or visitors, no forced small talk or having to listen to someone I don't know go on about their irritable bowel disease or other gross encounters.

Rehab was hard.  I had one hour of physical therapy, focusing on strengthening my legs and butt, and one hour of occupational therapy, focusing on daily living tasks (strengthening my upper body, dressing myself, doing my laundry, the dishes, making coffee and tea, getting in and out of the bathtub, going up and down stairs, etc.), every afternoon, six days a week.  I'd be beat by the time I got back to my room, but the progress was easy to recognize and happened quickly.  By day ten after surgery, I could walk downstairs to the vending machines using my walker and all around the unit using my cane.  By day fourteen, when I went home, I was using the cane all the time.

My sweet brother came downtown, picked me up, and brought me home on August 7th.  I had home PT and visiting nursing come out to the house for about ten days after I came home, but I was advancing very quickly and my ortho doc took off all of my hip precautions during the first follow-up visit, so I couldn't have the at-home stuff anymore.

So in the last couple of weeks I've stopped using my cane and I've actually gotten back to being able to do a lot of the things that I haven't been able to do for so long.  I've been making dinners, I've done some laundry, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned up the kitchen, swept the floor, taken the kid to and from school, gone shopping, and other stuff, stuff that I've wanted to be able to do so badly, but have been limited from almost entirely.  BF is pretty happy about it, too.  It's a weird thing to get used to doing again, though, this "normal life" thing.  I'm pretty used to being a total couch potato and that's not something you bounce back from quickly.  So it's taking some time for me to ease back into normal life.

I've also run into another problem, namely my other hip.  I was sleeping on my back of the first month, but as soon as I could, I started sleeping back on my right side.  Soon, however, I had to start switching sides back-and-forth between my left and right sides and my back throughout the night.  My back is just uncomfortable, my left side has the incision, which is still sore when you put pressure on it, and my right side has advancing AVN, which has become much more pronounced since the surgery.  I don't know exactly what I'm doing that's aggravating it so badly, but it's been getting worse and worse as time goes on.

I have another follow-up appointment with Dr. Lee, the orthopedist, next Wednesday, when we're going to discuss what the next step is moving forward.  At the last appointment h said he wanted to see how I continued to progress and that he thought we might do core decompression on the right side, but he'll have to look at some new x-rays to see how far the AVN has progressed.  It might be too bad to try the core decompression on.  I want the right hip replaced completely, I don't want to mess around with this decompression thing.  The fact is that the core decompression is an iffy procedure to begin with; it requires another spinal block and sedation and another hospital stay, but it also isn't a sure thing - there's a sizable risk that my bone won't react well to it and I'll have to have a total hip replacement anyway and there's a good amount of time where I'd be on crutches, still in pain, waiting to see whether it works or not.  And even if it does work, there's a good chance that in the next few years I would still need a new hip.  Also, from what I read, this sounds like a crappy option with a long recovery and uncertain results.  Not what I'm looking for. So who's problem would that solve again?  I'm going to be pushing that we just go right ahead and replace it now (or close to now).  I'm doing some volunteer work for the Obama/Biden campaign right now, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to schedule the surgery for just after the election, then I could work right up until Election Day and still be home in time for Thanksgiving and be walking before Christmas and New Year's.

So that's the story about the hip.  The rest of my life is getting better.  Some growing pains; I'm not really sure how to function now that I'm functioning better and the right hip pain is still limiting me, but things on the whole are good.

So that's it for me for now. I write these things like letters and I've never known how to end a letter gracefully, so bye!


Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I have a real post coming, honestly I do, but right now I just need to talk about something that's driving me fucking nuts.

I wrote a letter to LM's school psychologist the other day requesting that she and LM's second-grade teacher meet with BF, the Ex, and I to discuss the state of things and maybe some strategies that we all could employ to deal with LM's major behavioral and emotional problems; namely, mild Asperger's and ADHD.  Before I wrote the letter I talked to LM's therapist and asked him point blank, "What should we be saying [LM's] diagnosis/es is/are when trying to get support from the school?"  His answers were "Asperger's" and "ADHD."

Despite that, BF was upset that I named the disorders in my letter.

He disagrees, says LM has no diagnosis.  This is despite these terms coming up nearly every week in therapy.  Despite the fact that the only other disorder that the doctor has ever named is Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which can only exist alongside ADHD.  Despite the fact that he exhibits the major, defining symptoms of all three disorders.  Despite the fact that multiple people in our lives, including a couple who have plenty of close-hand experience with Asperger's kids, have come forward, independent of me saying anything to them, to express their concern that LM has Asperger's and isn't receiving any of the special programs and attention that Aspie's kids deserve and need to function in a world that's built for "normal" people, attention and programs that LM will continue to be excluded from partaking in because his biological parents refuse to accept that their child has special needs.  No, LM couldn't possibly have Asperger's, ADHD, or ODD.  Never.

Tonight, LM had a meltdown about not getting to go for a bike ride with his dad before the sun went down and he had to go to bed.  I brought up, yet again, that I don't think that the kind of therapy that he's receiving is right for him, that I think he needs to be doing more than just talk therapy, something like cognitive behavioral therapy that will help him recognize how his behaviors need to change and help him institute concrete changes, not just subtle changes in his attitude.  A major part of the problem is that children with issues like LM's don't recognize that there's anything wrong with how they're acting and don't care what anyone else thinks/feels/does unless it somehow impinges on their desires.  He doesn't think that what his therapist says is worth two cents and he doesn't think that he should put any of the doctor's suggestions into action.  I like the doctor very much and I feel like there was some progress for the first few months of therapy, LM needed someone to talk to, someone to bounce his problems off of who he didn't perceive to be one of the people who were causing his problems, but I feel like we've been on a plateau for quite a while now and something needs to change.  All of the reading I've done (and I've spent days upon weeks reading up on these disorders) indicates that he should be receiving behavioral therapy and that talk therapy is not indicated at all.  All of my investigation into these issues, all of my education is completely disregarded here though.

BF infuriates me and has spurred this pissed off rant because he boiled all of my ideas and reading and study and conversations with people who have experienced these things, down to me needing to be right.  He says that I push these things not because I care about LM's future and present problems or because I'm interested in finding the best way to deal with his maladaptive behaviors, but because I was the first one to speak up and say "I think [LM] might have ___________." and I just have some pathological need to be right.  He must be right about all of this because he contributed DNA to this child and because he was there for LM's first year and I wasn't.  His ideas and behaviors couldn't possibly be the result of his (and his ex-wife's) desire that there offspring be free of any kind of mental disorders, no, that could never happen.  And in her case it couldn't possibly be resistance to the fact that with behavioral therapy comes a necessary change in her way of life that would include setting and enforcing rules, rewarding good behavior, rather than just handing out toys and candy like they're water and air, punishing bad behavior, maintaining a consistent schedule, and organizing their life in a way that worked better for him, but that a whole other ball of wax...her ineptitude pisses me off, but not to the degree that his disregard and disrespect does.

I don't know what to do here.  He doesn't respect me as a fellow parent to our child.  He acts as if all of my motives must be selfish and that because I share no biological connections with LM I couldn't possibly have his best interests at heart.  It wouldn't bother me nearly as much if this was a less important issue, but I feel like this is critical, especially as we move in to another school year that threatens to be just as difficult and heartbreaking as the last.  LM needs these educational and social interventions.  Right now he feels isolated from the rest of the kids and he doesn't think anyone understands him.  We could be actively working to change that situation, but we're stuck at this impasse - without parents that will admit that he's sick, LM gets no special programs and all of the helpful interventions that we suggest to his teachers will be completely voluntary, there will be no IEP to compel them to act.

So just to recap, no change in the therapy, no medication, and I'm an asshole whose only desire is to rub it in everyone's face that I was right and they were wrong.  I feel like we're in a game of "How Bad Can This Get" where the goal is to make things as not-terrible as possible, but my teammates are all working against me.


I promise a real, not angry post in the next two days, 'kay?


Parenting Conundrum

Over the past few years LM’s behavior has become more and more difficult. With his entry into public school and promotion to first grade, things were really amplified.  He hated school and seemed to generally be pretty miserable. He started wetting his pants, both in school and out, up to two or three times a week, sometimes without being aware of when he did it or not caring that he had.  He started lying very frequently.  He had always had a tendency to exaggerate the truth, often speaking in hyperbole, and lied regularly, but it became much more extreme.  He made vicious, unnerving threats to us, to other kids, and even about harming himself.  He became increasingly disobedient and defiant.  He left his homework at school.  Notes, calls, and emails were sent home from his teacher and the principal, telling us that he was not completing his work on a regular basis, distracting other students (to the point that his desk was moved), saying things that were wildly inappropriate for a 7-year-old, and even hitting other students.  He was also finding it very difficult to make friends and had several come and go, becoming his “enemies” after only a few days of being friends.

We started meeting with a child and family psychologist on a weekly basis.  We all (BF, the Ex, and I) really liked him and so did LM.  He would go in and spend about a half hour with the doctor and then the three adults would go in and we’d talk with him for fifteen minutes or so, expressing our concerns, updating him on how LM’s week went, and getting suggestions from him on how we could deal with all of these behaviors.  We also removed refined sugar from his diet, though we let him cheat once in a while.  Well, actually his mom lets him cheat most of the time, but whatever, we still let him have a piece of cake at birthday parties and such.  It took a while, but gradually the threats went away (being replaced by “you’re the worst [parent] in the world” and “I wish you weren’t in my family” both are very charming, I must say) and the wetting has decreased to a few times a month during the day, but he still wets himself every night and has to wear pull-ups (he’s never been able to stay dry at night though, so it’s not as disconcerting).

So we’ve had some successes with therapy, the most important being that he seems much happier, but he still has a lot of behavioral problems.  Some of these are of the “trouble” variety, some are just behaviors that are annoying to others and make life hard for him.  The most problematic of the latter type are that he is highly distractible/has trouble concentrating and has major memory problems, like he can’t-remember-what-happened-yesterday-or-even-earlier-today memory problems.  He seems increasingly frustrated by these and I can definitely understand why.  He also becomes entirely engrossed in some things (like his iPod Touch or television), to the point that he becomes totally unaware of what’s going on around him.  In addition to these, there are the less-than-but-still-problematic problems, like chewing on his clothing and sticking his fingers in his mouth, making careless mistakes when undertaking activities, being unable to follow a short list of instructions, having to be told numerous times to do something, fidgeting constantly, being emotionally explosive, and guessing the answers to problems or cheating to obtain the answer rather than working them out.  He also has difficulty socializing; he doesn’t seem to understand how to have a conversation, is unable to maintain friendships, doesn’t observe social niceties (like saying “hello” and goodbye,” “please” and “thank you,” “you’re welcome” and “excuse me”), and says whatever comes to mind, whether other people are talking or not.

All of this, to me, seems to read like the playbook for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  His therapist seems to be of the same opinion, but he is reluctant to make a firm diagnosis.  The therapist said that “Meth works,” but hasn’t weighed in on whether we should or should not medicate LM, which makes sense since he’s not a psychiatrist.  I’ve tried to talk about it with BF, but he doesn’t really want to talk about it at all and is resistant to medicating LM.  BF’s resistant to the general idea of medication for anything, even though he’s on blood pressure medication.  He’s also anti-homeopathic and eastern medicine; he just believes that they’re crap.  The Ex says “absolutely not,” refusing to even consider such a course, even though she admits to having ADD herself and even tried and had success with Ritalin, but prefers to self-medicate with caffeine instead. Check out these blog entries to see what I’m talking about when it comes to her - Ritalin Diaries Pt. I, Ritalin Diaries Pt. II, Ritalin Diaries Pt. III.

It’s all very frustrating and I’m having trouble with their “against medication just for the sake of being against medication” and being “against any discussion of the topic” attitudes.  I can’t understand it.  If LM had depression (like his mom and me, who both take meds for the condition) or high blood pressure (like his dad, who, like I said before, is also medicated), they’d put him on the drugs, not necessarily on a permanent basis, but at least for a trial to see if they helped him.  That’s all I would like to see, a trial to see if it’s effective and he can tolerate it without major side effects.  It’s got to be incredibly frustrating for LM to have to deal with all of this stuff and to be unable to control himself.  He’s constantly dealing with the consequences of these behaviors and if he tried Adderall or Ritalin or one of the non-stimulant medications, he might have greater control over himself and a greater ability to avoid the negative consequences of the behaviors that he doesn’t have control over.
I feel really alienated by BF’s attitude here.  His refusal to even discuss it with me makes me feel, yet again, that because LM and I don’t share DNA, I’m not a full-fledged parent and my feelings regarding this matter don’t matter.  They may not matter when it comes to legal matters, but they should matter to him.  I feel like he doesn’t think that I have LM’s best interest at heart, that he thinks that I’d do anything to quell the frustration of living with a child who behaves like this and that that somehow makes me unable to see the situation clearly or that I would go to extremes to achieve this goal, even if they hurt LM.  While I, like anyone else, would be happier if LM behaved better, my interest here is mainly that he be given the best possible circumstances in which to thrive, to fulfill his potential.  I would never suggest that we do something that would be harmful to him.  I feel that forcing him to live like this without even trying to change his faulty brain chemistry would be a disservice to him and I speak as someone who’s been hospitalized because of my depression.  I understand how difficult it is to be that out of control and how much medication can help.

I also feel that it would be beneficial to LM’s education if he were formally identified as having the disorder and this was communicated to his school.  He wouldn’t be pulled out of his class or anything, but would have an IEP and be given special treatment at school to help him be more successful in both his studies and the socially.  His teachers and the administration would be aware of the fact that he isn’t just a kid who behaves poorly and needs to be separated from the other children and constantly punished.  At best, they would understand that he’s got a medical condition and work with him and with us, as his parents, to make sure that the roadblocks that are in his way are removed as much as they can be.  At worst, they continue to see him as a problem child, but are forced by the law to comply with the IEP and give service to his special needs.  Either way he’d be better off than he is now.  I think that his mom and dad are both concerned with him being labeled and with teachers pre-judging him without getting to know him.  They don’t want this to become a big “ADD” stamp on his records that forever puts him in the “TROUBLED YOUTH” category.  I don’t believe that that’s the case with schools so much as it was when we went to school.  More and more kids are being identified as having special needs and integrated into regular classrooms.  Teachers have been better educated and forced to deal with these students and their pro-active parents more.  He’s never going to have as easy a time with school as BF or I did, but I’m convinced that it can be easier for him than it is now, he just needs some more help.  Everyone who knows LM can see that he’s an exception little person with high intellectual ability and he probably even falls into the “gifted and talented” educational category, but he’s never going to realize his full potential or qualify for the special enrichment classes that kids like him should have if these behavioral problems are always hanging over his head and getting him classified as a “bad kid.”



Hi guys! Sorry it's been so long since I updated; student teaching was crazy.

I ended up getting placed at a charter school in the Logan section of Philadelphia.  Started observing the next day, started teaching four days after that.  It was a wild ride.  The students were really difficult to work with.  There was so little asked of them throughout their years in the Philadelphia School District and I was expected to do such high-level work with them, stuff that they were not willing or able to try for, that it was really hard for them and me.

I had problems with my supervisor, too.  And my cooperating teacher.  Really, overall, it was a pretty shitty experience.  

My supervisor emailed me at the end of the first month, after I missed three days, ands said that I didn't need to worry about my absences, that they wouldn't be held against me, that exceptions to the rules would be made in cases like my own.  A five weeks before the end of the term, my cooperating teacher expressed his own concern about my missed classes (seven at that point) to my supervisor, and she passed the message on saying that I would need to make-up any further absences at the end of the term.  I agreed with this and was actually able to make it through the end of the semester without any more absences.  When we sat down for my final lesson review, both my supervisor and cooperating teacher said that if I hadn't been absent as much as I had, they would have given me a "B"in the course, but because of my absences they both gave me "C"s, and the two teachers have to agree on at least a "B" to pass.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  When I brought up the earlier emails about this I simply got the answer that I "should've known better."

I was pissed off, still am.  More that pissed off, but I don't really know how to explain it.  The college has screwed me over at every turn.  I've been poorly advised, rushed into graduating when I should've stayed and finished my double major.  I've had payments mishandled, costing me late fees and penalties.  I've had them screw my up whole student teaching thing two semesters in a row, costing me six months of possible employment.  And now this bullshit.

So I'm appealing the grade and I feel like I have a decent shot at getting them to change it and getting certified, at last.  If they don't change it, I'm getting an ADA lawyer.  It's that simple.

On a more positive note, after a year of worsening pain, I was diagnosed as having avascular necrosis of both femoral heads - the veins and arteries in the top end of my thigh bone have died and it's spreading.  Later x-rays have shown that the dead bone has actually begun collapse, making it necessary to replace the hips.  So, later this month I'm having my left hip replaced with a ceramic-on-ceramic implant, meaning that both the end of my femur and the part of my pelvic bone that comes in contact with the femur will be replaced with pieces made of ceramic.  This kind of implant is supposed to have less wear than the older metal-on-metal implants over the years and should last much longer, which is great for someone as young as I am.

I went to doctors at Abington Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's Rothman Institute and got conflicting answers answers as to what they thought I should do.  The doctor at Abington thought that we should try core decompression first, but thought that no matter what we did now, I would need a total hip replacement on both sides within two years.  The doctor at TJUH thought that I needed to detox from the OxyContin before I have the surgery because he felt that my pain would be out of control if I had the surgery at my current tolerance.  So, because the first two doctors disagreed I decided to go get a third opinion and make a "best of three" decision.  This time I went to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the highest ranked hospital in the Philadelphia Area for Orthopedics.  The doctor there saw no problem with doing a total replacement on my left hip right away and thinks he might be able to save the right hip with a core decompression - as my mom put's it "roto-rooter" or drilling down through my thigh bone.  I like him a lot, I explained what the other doctors thought, and feel comfortable leaving this decision in his hands.  So that's where I am now.  I have to go in to see the medical doctors at HUP and have x-rays, an EKG, and blood work so that if something happens while I'm in the hospital, the medical team knows my baseline. Then, I have the surgery, spend two to four days in the hospital, a week or two in rehab, then another month recovering and I should be back to normal, whatever "normal" is for me now.  It's hard to imagine my life without the need for daily pain killers.

I can't wait.



So I said I'd post when I knew something more about student teaching. Well, I do and I don't. I got an email Tuesday afternoon from the program coordinator that he had heard from the school I was waiting to hear from the previous afternoon and they couldn't take me. Great turnaround time, huh? Yeah, he's just my favorite person in the world. Anyway, he asked me if Central Bucks School District would work for me, but warned me that it's a long shot, if not he said his only other option would be Philadelphia School District.

I wrote him back that any of the high schools in Central Bucks would work for me and gave him a few schools in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia that I think wouldn't be an excessive commute.

I also had a nice long conversation with my classmates before seminar on Wednesday night. It seems like a lot of other people have had problems with this student teaching coordinator that's given me so much trouble. I told them all about the problems that I've had with him and the college over my time there and some of the things he's said to me that were discriminatory regarding my disability and everyone agreed that if I don't have a placement by Monday (the last day to drop or add a class) I should the university. I've been thinking about suing for a while now. The reasons are many, dating all the way back to 2008 when I did student teaching for the first time. At that time, the advisor at the College of Education advised me that I would be okay graduating without my certification, that I should be able to work for private schools because they don't require teachers to have certification. The truth, which I found out once I started looking for a job, is that since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, in 2001, no schools are hiring uncertified teachers, private or public, so I couldn't use my degree to teach. Another reason is that they're not continuing the post-baccalaureate certification program after this semester, so if I don't student teach at Temple I'll have to go to Delaware Valley College, which has a similar program, but will cost me another $12,500+. So I should be able to sue for lost wages (maybe several years worth, but at least one), for tuition paid to Temple for this program I won't be able to finish, for the difference in tuition between Temple's and Del Val's post-bacc programs, possibly for disability discrimination, and for additional damages for the wages that I'll lose while going through another program. I don't want to have to do any of that though, I just want a damn placement and to be certified at the end of the semester.


At Last

I went to the doctor yesterday, MRI in hand, and finally got a diagnosis as to what's wrong with my hip. I have osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Meaning that the part of my femur that butts up against my pelvis to form my hip is dying due to lack of blood. This is caused by either my long-term steroid use, my lupus, or both. It's frustrating to have another major medical issue to deal with, but at the same time having a diagnosis makes me happy. That may seem odd for those of you who've never had a major illness that wasn't immediately identified, but I'm sure you can understand how frustrating it is to just not know what's going on with your own body.

The treatment options aren't great. It's not like I can take a pill or do some physical therapy and this will go away. It's probably going to require a total hip replacement, which causes a problem for someone as young as me because the lifespan on prosthetic hips is only about 20 to 30 years and I'm planning on making it well past 58. They can do a revision on the surgery and extend it's life by a few more years, but they're not always successful. There are also new kinds of hip replacements including ceramic and metal-on-metal that purport to last longer, but they have not been around long enough to have really been tested and both have problems of their own. There may even be options for me that don't actually require replacement of the hip, but rather an implant of some other kind, or even injecting my own stem cells into the necrotic parts to try to regrow the bone.

I'll know more about what my options really are after I see an orthopaedist at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson Hospital on the 1st of February. I'm also getting a second opinion at Abington Hospital three weeks later, just to be sure about where I want it done and who I want to do it.

Rothman and Abington both have great programs, with rapid recovery that has you up out of bed and walking in the first couple of days. That sounds painful, but also exciting and less like I'll be an invalid for some length of time afterward.

Alright, that's all I wanted to say about that for now. No news on the student teaching front, but I'll let you know when I know and I'll let you know more about the hip surgery once I know more.


Déjà Vu

I really thought I'd set things up so that they'd go smoothly for student teaching this semester.  I had a meeting with the Associate Dean of Teacher Education and my Disability Resources advocate, we worked out what accommodations that they could give me without disrupting the goals of the program and I came out of that meeting feeling like I could be comfortable about how they would move forward to find me a placement.

That was probably mid-to-late October.  When I hadn't heard anything about my placement by mid-December, I emailed the program coordinator.  He told me that they were working on a placement at one of the local high schools, but they hadn't secured anything yet.  That made me nervous, but I figured I'd wait some more and give them a chance to work things out before I went to someone farther up the chain.  After all, what else could I do?  I just hoped that I'd hear something before the first day of student teaching, January 19th.  Alright, I wasn't really going to wait until the 19th, but I did give them until last week.  I tried getting in touch with the Student Teaching Coordinator all week.  After leaving message after message on his voicemail, I called the Associate Dean last Thursday (who actually answered the phone after two rings).  He admitted that they weren't having much success finding me a placement, but assured me that they were going to continue working on getting me a placement that worked.  He also assured me that if I didn't get placed by the 19th it wasn't going to be held against me.

I have Graduate Student Teaching Orientation and then my first Student Teaching Seminar on Wednesday afternoon/evening and then on Thursday...well probably nothing.  But I'm all ready to go!  I've got lots professional looking new clothes, I've got a nice new bag to carry all of my lesson plans, notebooks, and supplies. Unfortunately, not knowing what grade and subject I'll be teaching, what book I'll be using, I feel unprepared when it comes to the subject matter.  When they're training you to be a history teacher, all of the classes are very specialized, like The History of the American Presidency, Colonial America, The Modern Middle East, Race in America, American Military Culture, Dissent in America, you get the picture - SPECIALIZED.  When you get a job, part of that job is to become an expert in the subjects that your teaching.  The first time you teach a course, you're learning almost as much as the students are, especially when it comes to the specifics and the organization of the materials.  So once again, I'm nervous as hell, I hate not having prep time before I get into the classroom.  I'd like to have the textbook, had time to design some powerpoint slides, get acquainted with the material and my cooperating teacher well before I got into the classroom.  As things stand now, I'm going to be working my ass off that first week just trying to get ahead of the materials so that I can plan ahead.

On the positive side of things, our Christmas went well.  The custody swap went beautifully.  We had the little man on Christmas Eve, which we spent having a "Christmas Morning" here and then  going to my mom's for dinner.  Christmas LM went to his mom's house and then BF and I went to my dad's in-laws for the day.  We also had another get together on the 26th at my dad's with the Earnest family.  It was great to see my cousins, who I rarely see, and really just to see that whole side of my family.  It was a long day, but a really nice time.  And then for New Year's Eve, we went to my cousin and her family's house for a nice little get together, which ended promptly at midnight when we figured out that we are too old for New Year's Eve to be the all-night party it once was.

My hips are still doing pretty terribly, but I had an MRI about a month ago and I have an appointment with my rheumatologist to get it read on the 23rd of this month.  I'm hoping that she'll agree to do a hip replacement surgery to just end the pain in my hips and all of the other trouble that my hips are causing; my ankle is a wreck, my leg is always turned out to the side, my knees ache, and now my lower back is acting up as well.  Not that I would be able to have a hip replacement until after student teaching, but if all went well I would be laid up for the summer, but I could be ready to teach by the fall, or at the latest the spring semester of next year.

Alright, I suppose that's it for now.  Not really all that much going on without school going, but things should be speeding up pretty soon.  Not too much I hope!