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Me, A Purple Banana Seat Bike, And A Big Bad Scary Hill

I hear the lone plastic training wheel awkwardly catch the pavement once, twice, three times and then see his body wobble to quickly readjust to find its center on the bike.

I hold my breath.

I think we both do.

He plants both feet on the ground bringing the bike to a full stop. I know he’s thinking “I-should-have-taken-mom-up-on-that-offer-on-using-the-toilet-before-we-left” and I laugh and slap the back of his helmet…but ever so gently.

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“I remember falling off of my bike when I was a kid,” I say to him, “I fell off lots of times but the scariest time was when I went down the big bad hill at camp.”

“What? A driveway? An ant hill? Did you drive over a sock? That’s not big and bad mom. Pft.”

“Shhhhh my little smart allec on a cute tiny third wheel. It was a big bad hill and scary hill and I rode down it while I was blinded by soap.”

I was camping with my grandparents. My cousins weren’t up yet but there were some kids who were around my age that I thought I could play with. The only problem was that I was painfully shy. I didn’t have the nerve to ask them to play or introduce myself or to even make eye contact for that matter, so instead I stalked them around the campground.

I was like a GD camp ninja only on a purple banana seat bike.

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One day I followed them into the bathroom and hid in a stall.  I couldn’t see what they were up to since the cracks in the door were too rusty or maybe too poopy and I’m pretty sure that insects were doing insecty things in the corners and it gave me the hibby jibbies. I could only imagine what those giggling campground friends of mine — yes friends who didn’t know it yet —  were up to.

“What are you doing?” an adult shouted from another stall.

“Nothing,” one of them responded as their  sparkly jelly shoes collectively, and sounded very guiltily I might add, ran out the door.

I slowly emerged from my stall and the woman stared me down, “Are you with them?”

“No. They don’t want to play with me.”

“Well that’s a good thing. You shouldn’t play with them. They’re bad kids.”

What a very mean lady. How could she say that? I thought as I went to go and wash my hands. I reached for the soap dispenser and pushed nozzle.

The soap nozzle that those kids flipped upwards.

That they aimed just perfectly into six year old eyeballs.

Soap shot directly into my eyes.

It was like someone rubbed battery acid on razor blades and then gave them to angry hornets. And they were all up in my mother loving eyes. I opened my mouth to let out a yelp but out came a laugh instead. Those hooligans were standing in the small window of the bathroom and they saw it happen!

I couldn’t let them see me cry.

I had to play it cool.

I was cool.

So I wiped my eyes with my shirt and made my way out of the bathroom like Ray Charles.

Kicked my feet around until I stubbed my toe on my bike and hopped on.

Then I rode it like the wind to lot 34.

To lot 34.

Yup right to lot 34.

Where was it?

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“So you see my little smart allec, lot 34 ended up at the bottom of a massive hill — just right on over the handlebars of my purple banana seat bike and right into the forest. How’s that for big and bad and scary.”

“Momma, that’s not being a smart bike rider. You should have got an adult to help you.”

“Ahem, what? Yes, of course. You should definitely get an adult when you’re in trouble.”

We stared at each other in awkward silence.

“I’m glad you lived Mom,” he said as he put his feet back on the pedals, “because your old bones can’t handle things like that.”

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Mama’s Losin’ It
Prompt: Describe a memorable camping trip

Those Pills Are Going To Help Me – I Have Hope In That

There was a time in my journey to wellness when I was ashamed of taking medications to treat my bipolar disorder and anxiety.

Now this is me:

Don't worry, I am parked outside of the pharmacy. It's safer out here -- those jackasses just messed up my doctor's order and can't figure it out and the pharmacist just asked me if I've tried kiwi to "cure" my anxiety.

Don’t worry, I am parked outside of the pharmacy. It’s safer out here — those jackasses just messed up my doctor’s order and can’t figure it out. The pharmacist also asked me if I’ve tried kiwi to “cure” my anxiety. Yes. Kiwi cures mental illness.

This is me accepting the fact that I am increasing one of my medications again even though we were working on decreasing them.

And do you know what?

I am perfectly ok with that.

Because anxiety is happening all day long – while I’m cooking, driving, sitting here breathing, even while I’m sleeping, it just slithers its way in and sits on my chest, grips my throat, and places horrible no good thoughts in my mind that shouldn’t be there.

I want to take a shower without worrying about falling into the shower curtain and suffocating my face in it. I don’t want to panic over folding the towels perfectly four times over because who knows what catastrophic thing might happen if the seams aren’t aligned. I would love to be able to make simple decisions like the pink bra or the white one. And honestly, does it even matter? I don’t even have boobs so are bras necessary? Yes.

I'm pretty confident that this sports bra will reduce the milkshake-age during the Colour Run...rather Colour  stroll since I can't physically run  --- Signed President Chairman and CEO of The Itty Bitty Titty Committee

I’m pretty confident that this sports bra will reduce the milkshake-age during the Colour Run…rather Colour stroll since I can’t physically run — Signed President Chairman and CEO of The Itty Bitty Titty Committee

I want to stop being scared while grocery shopping because there’s nothing to be scared of. I know this. Elderly people maneuvering shopping carts aren’t that gangster. I would love to watch my son play hockey (in the summer yes, weird I know) and not worry when he’s at camp or at my mom’s or just not with me.

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And I’d love to not have to linger near the bathroom because I feel like I’m on the verge of vomiting or passing out or having a heart attack. Do you know what it feels like to go through the motions of dying when you’re not actually dying?

Those pills – with the combination of all the things I already do – they are going to help me.

I have hope in that.

 

I had to return the next day because they still didn't fill it -- I did not purchase kiwi out of spite

I had to return the next day because they still didn’t fill it — I did not purchase kiwi out of spite

There is no shame in taking medications for your mind.

You did not choose this.

You’re not weak.

You’re sick.

You need help and that’s ok because sometimes people get hemorrhoids and they need help with medications too.

Sometimes they are just assholes though. 

Maybe they should eat some kiwi.

You’re doing the best you can and so am I.

One day at a time.

And that’s good enough

No matter how hard my illness forces itself to be recognized and to be in control, I  guarantee you that I, along with the help of medications, will be fighting back harder.

xoxo

Solitude In The Yard

Every once in a while I can hear the distant laughter from a party in a neighboring yard, a family giggling as they pass by the front of my house, my dog’s bark just because, and my phone dings from way, way, way, inside my house, but mostly, it is quiet outside.

And I am thankful.

I craved this.

My kind of night has surely changed over the years. Gone are the short skirt escapades downtown of drinking until I couldn’t feel feelings or limbs or if I was wearing a bra anymore to the now — seeking solitude in the backyard with a book and a cup of iced tea.

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I like being alone.

While I do miss those wild days I wouldn’t trade them in for the right here and right now and yes, I am saying that even as I sit here clinically depressed and anxious and bipolar and my back is disintegrating as gracefully as non-plastic bits of Joan River’s face (god rest her soul). No matter how rotten those parts of me get, my life is still better now than it was before because of the people in it and because I know what I have now is important and matters for survival and the rest is just icing.

My every day is always  full of all these good things that I never knew normal people had.

Sometimes I forget that.

I actually forget that a lot when I’m sick.

It’s hard to see beyond pain, beyond my mind’s thoughts that race so fast and so loud. I spend so much time sorting through the chaos in my head and calming myself down all the while living like everyone else lives during the day.

Sometimes by 6 o’clock if I hear my son say “I’m bored” and my husband say “You look like a nutty deer in head lights. What’s for supper?” and then my phone dings to make plans and my brain flashes an image of myself putting my hand in a pot of boiling water for the 100th time (see: intrusive thoughts for the Saturday win) and I see how sick I look in the mirror — I want to rip out of my skin and cry.

Then I hear “There’s no reason to be anxious! It’s all in your head!”

I feel prickly and monstrous and I want to run away.

What I need sometimes is to just be.

I am thankful that my family and friends want to surround me with love but sometimes…

I am thankful for solitude — that in this moment I can face the chaos head on with just a few background noises — no family, friends, phones.

In my yard, all alone with my book and a cup of cold iced tea, I can breathe.

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I am briefly centered.

And do you know that when I’m alone, I think about all of you, who make this life worth fighting for?

Because I do.

All. The. Time.

For that I am thankful.

 

Do you prefer time spent alone?

Ten Things of Thankful

Tackling Chronic Back Pain With ActiPatch®

It was December 7th 2003.

I was scheduled out at triage and worked my tail end off trying to whittle down the never ending line of patients pushing their way through our emergency room doors but to no avail. They just kept coming.

I scurried from one room to the next to the next as I dodged angry mobs of people asking me, no demanding to be seen.

I tried to be polite when I explained about the wait times and explained about the triage process but the people were irate. It was understandable though. Being in an ER sucks. Waiting sucks.

“Unless you’re actively being mauled by a bear,” I wanted to say, “you’re not being seen.”

Oh I wanted to say that.

Then a mom walked in.

She needed a wheelchair and of course we didn’t have any so I asked if her child could “hop” in. He couldn’t, she said because he couldn’t breathe.

Adrenaline got the best of me and I took off running into the parking lot. Her teenage son was slumped over on the hood of the car. I slid my fingers under his hands that clutched his neck and I could feel his pulse. He opened his eyes — scared and starved of air. I couldn’t hear a single wisp of air pass through his lungs.

“Asthma,” his mom shouted from the ER doors.

I grabbed a computer swivel chair and picked the teen boy up — all 170 pounds of him — and dragged him into the hospital by myself.

Straight to the trauma bay.

Then picked him up with the help of a few nurses onto a stretcher and within 10 minutes he was intubated and was in the ICU.

And in those 10 minutes I herniated 3 discs in my lower back and ended my ER career.

My back has been falling apart ever since.

To date, I’ve had one surgery and I cannot even begin to count how many procedures I’ve had.

Chronic pain impacts my life every day both physically and mentally. I do a lot of things to help control my chronic pain – eating healthy, daily walks, exercise, stretching, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, heat, ice, medications, once a month lidocaine infusions, steroid injections, meditation, and so on….and I’m always looking for new  and  innovative things to try which is why I was excited for this product, ActiPatch® Back Pain Relief .

Actipatch

ActiPatch® is drug and ingredient-free wearable microelectronic medical device that helps fight against chronic pain.  Unlike a TENS machine which only blocks pain signals and has no healing effect, ActiPatch® repairs and regenerates damaged cells by reducing pain and inflammation and accelerating blood flow.

If you have ever used a TENS machine before you know how it can be sort of painful. Well ActiPatch® works by emitting a pulsating electromagnetic field that penetrates the body without sensation or heat to induce an electric field in the affected joint and tissue.

According to ActiPatch®, the advantages to using ActiPatch® are:

  • Effective: Clinically proven pain and inflammation relief at the source
  • Long Lasting: 720 hours of controlled use with unique On/Off switch
  • Safe: Safe to use for diabetics, arthritics, elderly, and people with compromised renal function. Can be combined with any medication and used overnight.

This device is very simple to use.

You just take it out of the box, click on a button, affix it to a belt, put it on, and carry on with your day.

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I thought that it would be a tad bothersome wearing the belt but honestly, it isn’t bulky at all and they weren’t kidding when they said that there is no sensation! There literally is none. I often wondered if it was working. I had to keep checking if the green light was on (there’s a green light that tells you it’s on).

I have used the ActiPatch® for a few days now and if you’re wondering why the device isn’t centered perfectly over my back it’s because the area I’m having problems with right now is SI and facet joints. Oh osteoarthritis.

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Just like my spine, our kitchen chair has also seen better days.

While I’m not pain-free (I won’t ever expect that) I have noticed that I’m not as stiff waking up in the morning. There isn’t a deep deep down in there bone type ache either — one that makes me want to dig in there with a knife and surgically remove the bone myself. Also, just sitting here I notice that, I’m sitting here a little longer without a burn in my bum.

If you’re familiar with back problems — you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

All in all, I think this product was well worth the try.  I suggest that with this, keep trying it especially since you’re not feeling anything when you’re wearing it — unlike the TENS machine. It may not work right away but it did help me.

You can learn more about ActiPatch® and their products on their website http://www.actipatch.com

 

Disclosure: I received ActiPatch® Back Pain Advanced Long Lasting Relief Electromagnetic Pulse Therapy and ActiPatch® Neck & Shoulder Pain Relief Advanced Technology for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Attention Itchy Babies: Live Clean Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema Cream Has Arrived

I’ll never forget that moment when that nurse shouted, “A hat will take care of it don’t you worry!” when my husband and I just stared in silence at the sight of our newborn son’s cone head. We expected things in delivery like forceps and my hands ending up around my husband’s throat and me shouting “What have you done!” but cone heads weren’t on the list.

I started laughing when the nurse returned with a knitted cap that was a “bit bigger” for him and my husband said “That’s my boy. It just means he’s smarter than the other babies here. Make sure you tell the other dad’s the smart one’s in here.”

Yes, he had a cone head and he was still perfect because he was ours.

Did I mention that he was also as yellow as an oompa loompa?

yellow baby

Oh yes, that boy had jaundice and a wicked case of dry skin.

Did I tell you about the time the nurse said “throw some olive oil in the bath water” and our dog sat by the tub drooling?

Thankfully though, our little guy didn’t suffer with what a lot of peanuts do and that is eczema.

According to WebMD eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. Eczema is almost always itchy.

I know a lot of mom friends who have been battling this with their small ones and I was happy to hear that Live Clean (Baby) has introduced a new product to help out!!

livecleanbabycolloidalcream

Live Clean Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema Cream is a natural health drug product that is registered with Health Canada (NPN). At the core of Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema Cream is Live Clean’s special Multi-Oat Complex of Colloidal Oatmeal, Oat Kernal Extract and Oat Oil, which creates a protective barrier that encourages healing and helps reduce itching, irritation, redness, and cracked skin caused by eczema.

This unique formulation contains Colloidal Oatmeal at 2%, making Collodial Oatmeal Eczema Cream the highest percentage of this important ingredient available today, compared to similar products.

It’s enriched with Aloe Vera and Chamomile which deeply moisturizes to prevent recurrence of extra dry skin.

Like all Live Clean Baby products, their Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema Cream is 98% plant derived with Certified Organic Botanicals. It’s free of fragrance, petroleum, parabens, silicone, phthalates, phosphates, and dyes. It’s hypoallergenic, pure vegan, and pediatrician tested.

While our son is much older now and out of the baby years, we do use Live Clean Kidz products and love them a lot. The price, the quality, knowing that our son is not putting harsh chemicals on his body — what’s not to love.

live clean hand wash

Visit Live Clean website www.live-clean.com for more information on their products for baby, kidz, and more eco-friendly products (even for your dog!!), where to purchase, tips on going green, and so much more.

 

Disclaimer: I received Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema Cream and gift for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

 

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