Monday, January 29, 2007


Bleary eyed, I make my way across the dark bedroom, bend over, and switch on the small lamp next to Joseph's bed.

I pause a moment, then look hopefully at my sleeping son as he lay curled on his side, one hand resting by his head.

Reaching down, I move my hand across his forehead and down the sides of his pale face-- gently pushing aside several strands of damp hair.


Quickly, I slide the meter out of its case, pop open a small cannister, shake out a test strip and insert it into the meter.

"Code 23" appears on the illuminated display.

I push the "OK" button, put down the meter, then pull out the lancing device (or "poker"), and carefully take hold of the hand that rests on the edge of Joseph's pillow.

I draw a breath before pricking the calloused tip of my son's index finger.

He doesn't even flinch.

Squeezing his fingertip, a bubble of blood begins to form.

I pick up the meter, bring the loaded test strip to his finger and watch as his blood is drawn in.

5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1


Without turning to look at it, I reach for the jar of glucose tabs that sits on the small table next to his bed.

"Bud, you're low," I say quietly, then pull down his chin and push a glucose tab into his mouth.

Almost mechanically, he chews for a few seconds, swallows, chews some more, swallows...

I slip in another tab.

He doesn't open his eyes-- doesn't say a word.

Just chews and swallows.

When I've given him what I hope will be enough (but not too much), I take a seat on the floor by his bed-- and wait.

20 minutes.

I prick his middle finger this time.


Not enough.

Two more glucose tabs.

And still, he sleeps through it all.

I stare at him, shivering.

Imagining the sugar entering his bloodstream.

Willing it to.

Another 20 minutes.

This time, it's his ring finger.

He's now 104.

Relieved, I tear open a package of cheese crackers.

"Bud, you were low-- you have to eat some of these," I whisper, while feeding him a cracker.

I feed him another, then brush the crumbs from the sides of his mouth, his chin.

He sleeps through all of this, too.

All of it.

Before climbing back into bed, I set Ryan's alarm for two hours later.

Then finally -- at 12:45 -- I crawl under our heavy comforter.

And for a long time, lay curled on one side, cheek resting on my hands.

Eyes wide open.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just What Are We Doing Over Here?

We're bonding, that's what.

After months of big brown-eyed-begging...

So many adorable photos...

And yes, my own longing for a feline friend...

We finally took the plunge.

His name?

Well, he was dubbed "Reno" at the shelter.

But we call him . . . Tim.

(aka "The Enchanter")

We brought him home late Saturday.

He'd been at the shelter for a month-- before that, living on the street as a stray.

The kids and I already love the heck out of him, and vice versa-- though I must say, Tim seems to have taken a particular shine to Ryan.

And since Ryan never had pets growing up-- I find this both ironic and more than a little amusing.

Ryan need only sit down with a book, and Tim will run to him, leap onto his lap and nestle there, purring so loud you can hear him across the room.

Too. Dang. Sweet.

Anyhow, there are other things to share-- this week's endo appointment, new developments on the girlfriend front, some funky blood sugars... to name a few. Hopefully, I can post on some of this by the weekend.

In the meantime, if you're checking in over the next few days, and suddenly can't access my blog-- no worries, I'm just making some (if all goes well) small changes to the site.

And let me tell you, trying to maintain the look and feel of this site while using the new Blogger layout tools has been one big ol' pain in the rear.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In the Cold

Joseph and I move through the revolving door together, spilling out into the bitter cold.

We walk forward a few paces, and then stop-- resting our elbows on the building's stone railing.

Below and in front of us is an expanse of frozen, brown grass and leafless trees. Just beyond that, a busy downtown street.

Ryan and Evan are still inside.

"You cold, Bud?"

"Nah, I'm fine. But I think Dad's gonna be a while-- Evan didn't look like she wanted to leave."

The wind picks up. I put an arm around him-- for a second, wondering if there'll come a time soon when he'll no longer let me.

After a couple of minutes, I'm ready to go back inside -- my gloved fingertips are just starting to go numb -- but then Joseph turns his face up toward mine.

"Mom, what age do you want to be when you die?"

"Huh-- well, um . . . I think maybe . . . 102."

"Really?" Joseph says, sounding surprised-- and a little pleased.

"How about you, Bud?"

"Probably like 91, 'cause I'd be afraid to get so old that I'd have lots of problems."

I hold onto him a little tighter.

For a while, we don't say anything-- just look out toward the many small figures rushing along a crowded sidewalk-- hands stuffed in their pockets; chins tucked down into their coats.

"Dying is kind of scary, you know?" Joseph says suddenly, without looking at me.

"I mean, I think it's like you go to sleep one night -- thinkin' you're gonna get up the next morning -- and then you just don't wake up."

For a moment, I just stare at him.

And then a sudden, unbearable chill takes hold.

I rub my upper arms, my shoulders-- and once again, pull him close.

"Honey, have you been thinking about this very much?"

"Naah," he says, shaking his head. "Just now... it's weird though, you know? That you're here, and then you're not."

"I know... you wanna talk about it?"

"Mom," he says, now looking me full in the face, "do you think there's a Hell?"

"No, I don't."

"How about Heaven?"

"Well, most religions talk about Heaven; they just have different names for it. Yes, I think there's something else-- some other level we get to. I'm just not sure we can really know it's nature, but yeah, I believe we do go somewhere else. And you know, there are times when I can actually feel my Mom is with me... so yes, I do believe there's something else.

"But hey, Bud-- you've got a long life ahead, and boatloads of things to do here."

"Yeah, I know," he says, giving me a smile that makes me wonder what things he already has in mind.

"Hey, Mom-- let's go back inside and get warm."

We move quickly across the stone terrace, enter the revolving door-- and gratefully, leave the cold wind behind.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Principal of the Thing

"If you want your kids to eat, have them bring a bag lunch," offers the principal of H middle school–- then pauses, as we all stare at him.

"Look, we've got over 250 sixth graders comin' into the cafeteria and only two lunch lines-- and they move real slow. There's just too many choices.

"Though," he says with a laugh, "most of the kids end up eating three slices of pizza or a pile of french fries. But again, that's if they get up there. I know. I did it once-- stood in line just like the kids -- and even movin' quick, I had only like four minutes to
eat . . . "

Oh no.

Scanning the crowded room, I see a hint of my growing anxiety mirrored in the faces of its occupants-- parents, like me, who've come here to learn more about the middle schools in our area.

To listen to three principals talk about the merits of their schools.

" . . . we used to have a lot of dances, but not anymore," he continues, "the kids just take advantage-- they're smackin' up against each other.

"We set up games-- you know, like air hockey -- and they like those, but," he says, casting a big, dopey grin around the room, "ya' add music and a disco ball and somethin' happens."

"Excuse me," calls out a mom with a tentatively raised hand, "my son transferred into his elementary school -- we live in another district -- I'm assuming he'll go to H middle school with his classmates since- "

"We stopped taking transfers this year."

"But all of his elementary school friends will be going to H middle school," she tells him in a voice edged with panic.

"Nope. No transfers-- no exceptions," he responds in a dismissive tone.

I begin to squirm.

The speaker is the principal of our district's middle school-- where Joseph and the majority of his neighborhood friends will go next year.

On my way to this meeting, I was feeling hopeful-- though it's a big school (800 kids, total) with very little ethnic diversity (unlike Joseph's elementary school), I'd heard great things about its teachers and academic programs.

But right now, I want to cry.

I'm just so damned tired of it.

Tired of people like Joseph's current principal-- who didn't want a classmate to go with him to the nurse's office when he was low because getting help (if say, Joseph should pass out) was "too much responsibility" for the other student.

At the same time, she didn't want Joseph to test his blood sugars in the classroom for fear of the "sharps."

It took over a year-- and a lot of skirting around that principal -- to get the nursing staff, teachers, bus attendants, and cafeteria workers completely on board with what needed to happen for Joseph to be safe at school.

And now, I'm sitting here listening to this man with his confident smirk.

Thinking about all of those new teachers, new staff.

So many more kids...

And already, I'm exhausted.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sometimes It’s Really Hard To Say "Thanks"

I sit down and begin typing the acceptance note:

Thanks to everyone who voted for A Shot in the Dark.

Hmmm... I'm so dang flattered... don't know what to say.

“Mom. Mom," Evan calls, grabbing hold of my left leg.

"Look what I did... Dad’s work card is inside of here.”

She hands me an envelope containing Ryan’s pay stub-- now covered with drawings of little stick people.

“Okay, Honey– I just need to write this one thing.”

I turn my attention again to the unfinished email.

Man, this is such an honor, and Joseph is so proud... should I just say that?

“But Mama... Mama... ” Evan continues, now scrambling onto my lap. “Can I work on the computer, too?”

She moves her fingers over some keys, the mouse...

"Honey, I just have to write one more– "

Oh no.

At first, I simply stare at the screen.

It takes a moment for the words -- "Message Sent" -- to register.

Then I shake my head, letting go a small laugh.

Alrighty then.

"Come on, little one," I say, as I lift my girl off of my lap and carry her upstairs--where Joseph (reluctantly) agrees to play with her while I return to the laptop and quickly draft a second message:


I was just starting to type a formal thank you, when Evan climbed on my lap and started pressing keys and playing with my mouse.

Guess which button she managed to hit?

That would be "send."

I'll get you something for real a bit later. :-)


Soon after, I receive this response:

Oh that's funny. I think I should put that up... Just kidding. :-) Look forward to it later.


I kind of liked Allison’s idea.

And seriously-- Thank you.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Looking Back

Last night I couldn't sleep. And sadly, I couldn't write either.

The mind was racing a little too fast-- just couldn't grab hold of anything.

Anyhow, while checking in on a few blogs I came across the "Year in Review" meme over at Kerri's place. Then saw it again at Rachel's.

Since the kids are entering their second full week of vacation (Read: little time to think, let alone post) and I felt the need to get my bearings -- to look back before moving ahead -- this seemed like a nice way to kick off the new year.

The idea is to share the first line of a definitive post (or the first post) from each month of 2007.

I went with the defining post option (and linked them, in case you'd like to read further):

January: Yes, for a very long time I dreaded these.

February: On Saturday, we went to an all-day chess tournament-- Joseph's first.

March: So how exactly does one attempt to pull oneself out of a funk?

April: "When can we start?" Joseph asks, shifting back and forth in his chair.

May: "Zack and Michael are gonna see Ice Age: The Meltdown tonight . . . and, well, they invited me to come too . . . "

June: It was a long drive-- three days to get there, two for the return trip.

July: When Joseph's endocrinologist enters the exam room wearing a serious expression, I know I'm about to face the reality behind a growing fear.

August: "Are you nervous, bud?"

September: I didn't expect it to happen this soon--

October: His blood sugar was 130 just forty-five minutes ago.

November: He's 321, and cranky.

December: I push open the heavy glass door, stomp my feet to release the snow that's stuck to my boots, step inside and stand still a moment-- letting my eyes adjust to the bowling alley's dim lighting.


So long, 2006!