Thursday, June 11, 2009

My “Day Without Stress” and The Snake Bite

Yesterday morning I woke up and decided I was going to have a day without stress. Just for one day. I’ve been experiencing a little stress lately (snort), but Dr. Dyer assures me that stress is not something that I can run out and get a bucket full of and bring home, it’s just the result of the manner in which I choose to respond to circumstances, and as such, is completely within my ability to control. So, I decided that today (yesterday) I would choose to have no stress. Just for the day. Just to see how it goes. Here’s how it went.

Stress Test Number One: Getting children to bathe/shower before breakfast in a timely manner. We had a Kids Book Club meeting to attend. Earlier than usual. And further away than usual, requiring additional drive time. To a place I’ve never been before (see below). I’ve got to get three kids up, bathed/showered, dressed and fed (and one tested and dosed) before we leave at 11:30. And, we’ve got three “bathing lingerers”. Those who have birthed members of this particular species know that I’m talking about. I did raise my voice (just over the sound of the shower) to emphasis the need to get in and out promptly and shampoo hair. A few times. And then I yelled. Just to be heard over the sound of the shower.

Stress Test Number Two: Diabetes Eating Schedule vs. Social Snacking. I’ve been working on accommodating the “optimum diabetic eating plan” to T-Bear’s natural eating pattern, and we’ve pretty much settled into a routine that works for us (which, I’m sure, the diabetic dietician would not entirely approve of). But, leaving the house at 11:30 am, with social snacks scheduled for 1:30 pm… well, that presents a little hiccup in our plan. But, I was determined to just go with it, adjust and dose as neccessary, and “correct” T-Bear’s numbers at dinner. No sweat. No stress.

Stress Test Number Three: Getting to a new place. I can’t get anywhere without getting lost, even with a GPS, unless I’ve been there at least five times. End of story. The first time I go somewhere new, even with the GPS AND Google Maps, I take at least one wrong turn and have to adjust course. It might have something to do with the constant “question and observation” commentary coming from three kids in the car. I don’t know, because I can’t remember back to a time when I didn’t have at least one “talker” in the car with me. I do have vague memories of myself as a single adult with only a Thomas Guide to show the way, but that’s a pretty vague memory. But, add on to the “easily losing one’s way” tendency to Stress Test Number Four (below), and you’re pretty much guaranteed I’m going to miss a turn (or two) and add a few more minutes to the time it takes to get where we’re going.

De-Stress Number One: We left the house early. Really early. I figure we would have arrived half-hour early, if I didn’t take a wrong turn. Or two. I even had Brother Bear call S to be sure it would be okay for us to arrive ahead of schedule.

Stress Test Number Four: Husband gets bit by a Copper Head Snake. Three minutes from our destination, Papa Bear calls to let me know he’s been bitten by a snake in our garage. He’s done some research on the internet, and it looks like a Copper Head, which is venomous. Not lethal, but pretty painful, and there could be complications. We’ve got one vehicle, and I’m currently driving it (look, there goes the street we were supposed to turn right on), half an hour away from home. After a couple of turn-arounds while talking to Papa Bear on the phone (and answering several insistent questions from Brother Bear, and trying not to look like I’m talking on the phone because there are an unusual number of sheriff’s vehicles parked along our route and we have a hands-free law in our State), I manage to pull in to our destination, already having decided to leave the kids at the Book Club meeting and return home pronto to tend to Papa Bear, when I get a second call from Papa Bear. It’s getting worse. I instruct Papa Bear to immediately call 9-1-1 if he starts feeling the least bit “weird”.

Stress Test Number Five: I can’t leave T-Bear with, well, anyone who is not a trained nurse, because he’s going to need testing and calculating and dosing within the next hour or so (note to Self; keep a copy of T-Bear’s current “routine” with dosing instructions in his Cami Kit). Except, in my stress fog (which I’m not supposed to be in), I forget this little detail. I walk into S’s house, dutifully carrying T-Bear’s Cami Kit. “I’ve got a small crisis. Papa Bear’s been bitten by a snake. Can I leave the kids with you?” S has a “deer-in-the-headlights” look on her face, which, in my fog, I’m not deciphering. An apologetic “I’m so sorry, I just am not equipped to keep T-Bear”. Oh, shit. Duh. Right. Okay, gotta take T-Bear with me. Poor, put-upon and stressed T-Bear has a melt-down because he can’t stay for this much-anticipated social event and play time. I don’t respond in a very Dyer-like manner, but do end up getting T-Bear back in the car and on the way toward home.

Stress Test Number Six: Did I mention I started my “ladies’ time” yesterday? Thank goodness I opted for my Moon Cup this morning, and don’t have to deal with “it” for about 12 hours.

Neutral-Stress Moment: After an apology to T-Bear in the car for my small outburst, we return home. Quickly. Papa Bear seems fine. He’s holding a plastic take-out container with a dead snake in it. Lovely. We drive to the closest Doc-In-The-Box clinic (within five minutes of home). They can’t take him, because they are not equipped to deal with snake bites. Off to the nearest Emergency Room (thankfully, within 10 minutes of home). They can take him. I leave Papa Bear in the waiting room while I whisk T-Bear off to Wendy’s (“you can have lunch anywhere you want”) to feed him. Test and dose in the car in the parking lot (great thing about fast food….you know what you’re dealing with, and that it will be delivered and eaten within the Magic 30-Minute Insulin Window). Grab a “to go” for Papa Bear, and back to the ER.

De-Sress Number One: Papa Bear is doing fine, and is in good hands. Our nurse is awesome, we’re being checked on and updated frequently, and everyone is relaxed and attentive. Papa Bear gets drugs (ER’s always have the best drugs), and is feeling MUCH better. He’ll need to be kept overnight for observation.

Stress Test Number Seven: T-Bear’s flash-backs. We’ve been sitting in the ER cubicle for about ½ hour, and T-Bear is having some stress remembering his very recent violent illness, visit to the ER, and resulting hospital stay. And resulting diagnosis and accompanying…well, you get the picture. He’s getting more and more fidgety and uncomfortable and stressed as we sit there, despite the comforting presence of Rufus. And, watching the soap opera playing on the overhead TV is, amazingly, not really capturing his attention and diverting him. Time to exit. Soon.

Breaks-Your-Heart Moment One: T-Bear offers Rufus to Papa Bear to make him feel better.

Stress Test Number Eight: Papa Bear’s business cell phone is just about to die, and he’s pretty much on-call 24/7 in his job. I need to take it with me to recharge in the car, call his boss (Erik, who is a Big Ol’ Love) with an update, and then return it to Papa Bear after picking up my stray kids. This means I can’t just call Papa Bear on his cell phone to figure out where he’s been moved to for his stay. I have to track him down once we get back to the hospital. Okay, deal with that later. And (goodness, gracious), answer a few business calls while I’m driving (ring….”Hello, Papa Bear’s phone, can I help you?”…shit, I just turned left when I should have turned right…Shut Up, GPS, I know I have “make a U-turn when possible”!).

Stress Test Number Nine: Oh, shit. T-Bear has an appointment at the endocrinologist’s office tomorrow morning. As I’m driving, I pull up “pediatric” on my cell phone, looking for “pediatric endocrinologist” while I’m negotiating traffic (to a place I’ve only been once and got lost on the way), hit “send”, listen to my automated options and hit “5” for appointments, and proceed to explain to the appointments lady that my husband is in the hospital and I have to reschedule tomorrow’s appointment. After a few minutes of complete confusion, I realize I’ve called the wrong “pediatric” office, apologize profusely for having wasted this poor lady’s time fruitlessly searching for an appointment that doesn’t exist, and try again. I manage to get the pediatric endocrinologist’s office by scrolling through previous received calls on my cell phone, and have to make do with leaving a message to reschedule tomorrow’s appointment.

De-Stress Number Two: G calls to check in, and divulges the Group Plan to have a “special needs kids class” to train our Core Group moms in how to care for and appropriately feed the kids in our group with special dietary needs, so we all have someone to leave our kids with in the event of an emergency. Brilliant. I love brilliant moms. S re-emphasizes this plan when I pick up the boys. Love our support network.

Stress Test Number Ten: T-Bear is totally “done in” for the day and needs a little down time, but I don’t have anyone to leave him with while I take Brother Bear and Angel Bear to the hospital to visit Papa Bear (which the boys desperately need to assure themselves he is okay). I’m mentally running through options (which are few and far between) and leave a message for M, our lovely (nurse) neighbor, to see if she can lend a hand on short notice.

De-Stress Number Three: Nurse M returns home “just in time”. Just as we pull in at home, M shows up in her nurse’s uniform, fully prepared to take T-Bear for a while. Hand off the Cami Pack with Routine instructions, and I’m off to the hospital with Brother Bear and Angel Bear to check in with Papa Bear. Just have to get back home by 6-ish to feed The Bears dinner.

De-Stress Number Four: Papa Bear is fine. I manage to track down Papa Bear’s whereabouts at the hospital (despite the absence of a human being at the information desk), and we check in for a short visit. He’s doing fine. His nurse, who is taking his medical history, is putting up with his cheekiness with good humor. He should be home tomorrow.

Stress Test Number Eleven: We’re out of toilet paper and wine, and I really need to get to the grocery store. Call Nurse M on the phone, confirm drop-off of remaining offspring, run by the grocery store for essentials and instant dinner. Try not to laugh hysterically at the Very Young Bag Boy who is complaining about having hit is elbow on the bag rack, the epitome of his “bad day”. Run home, unload grocery, fetch children. Test, calculate, dose and feed.

Stress Tests Number Twelve Through Whatever: Dogs with medical issues who don't want to take their pills, trash night, basement is a disaster area, and dog who digs through kitchen trash and spreads it all over the house when you’re not looking. Not even going to bore you with the details.

The End: End the day with three kids in my bed, along with a carton of Ben & Jerry’s Double Fudge ice cream and a glass of Fitzer Pino Noir. No stress. Until the dog on steroids wakes me at 2:00 am because she desperately needs to pee, which touches off my insomnia. Which is why you’re reading this.

Now, if you’ve hung in this long, and read though this entire diatribe, you are either a mom, have horrible insomnia, or are a very good friend. In any case, Bless You. And, as Scarlet says, “Tomorrow is another day.”


  1. I didn't whether or laugh or cry. Poor Dyer, he is a man after all though...

    I hope today was better. Love you!

  2. Wow! Heres hoping the pendulum is swinging to the other side for you and your family! I read to the end. My goodness.
    Lots of love, light and healing and safety for you and your family!!!

  3. Hmm. . . I notice it looks like blogger ate my comment before. Oh, well. Suffice it to say, "WOW!" and you handled a doozy of a day remarkably well, I think.

    And that "training class" for our little group is an amazing idea!! Count me in.

  4. It is so funny that we both referenced Scarlet O'Hara!lol and WOW what a stress free day you had! lol!