Bad Mama


Midwest
October 15, 2009, 12:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Peanut has the flu. The scary one. But she’s doing all right, outside of the vomiting. Who decided that vomiting should go along with fever, body aches, stuffy nose, and sore throat? Because I have words for whoever came up with that idea. And they aren’t nice ones.

Last week we took Peanut to Delaware again, to have them look at her back because her PT was concerned she was developing scoliosis. She had also outgrown her braces. The results of this visit are for another post, but I bring this up because I want to say something nice about a major airline. I know! Hard to believe but it’s true.

Midwest Airlines helped us fly there and back, for free. They have a program, like many airlines do, called Miracle Miles, for children who need to travel for medical care. We have a slightly different version than the posted one, but it means that we can afford to take her to receive the best care there is for her condition. The doctors here are excellent, and I have nothing bad to say about them, but they do not see as many children with AMC as Dr. Jayakumar and his team do. This means they are not quite as familiar with the newest findings, and they simply can’t look at her and say, “We saw another girl with similar legs last week, and this is what we know about how she’ll probably grow”. That is invaluable when you have a kid who has atypical AMC.

Anyway, back to Midwest. It’s true that their planes don’t all have the extra-wide seats anymore (it was like flying in first class, but for coach prices) and they’re charging for checked luggage, but they still seem to have the same attitude towards customer service they always did, which is as pleasant as you could possibly ask for. They are also VERY breastfeeding-friendly. The first time I flew with Peanut, she was five weeks old, and I was flying to DC to visit my aunt. My uncle had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the visit had been planned in the hope he could see her before he died, which unfortunately was not to be. So the first thing that was great was that they had a very comfortable family room (not just a family bathroom) in the Milwaukee terminal, perfect for breastfeeding. No one blinked an eye when I nursed her on the plane. While waiting for our return flight at Dulles, I asked the gate agent if there was a family room around to nurse in, as I didn’t see one. She told me that unfortunately there wasn’t. As I looked around at all the businessmen on their cell phones filling the gate area, she saw me look, smiled, and said, “Go ahead and do it here if you want. They can all deal with it.” How awesome is that? (I did nurse there, and I don’t think anyone even noticed, which was a great way to nurse in public for the first time.)

Without Midwest’s program, there is no way we could afford all the trips to Dupont/Nemours we have taken and are about to take. And their fine service makes what is an otherwise fairly stressful experience much more bearable. If you are looking to fly somewhere they do, please keep them in mind. Also, they give you free chocolate-chip cookies fresh from the oven on most flights. And if your kid is cute, apparently they give them all the extras.

I get nothing from this endorsement. I already qualify for their program, and I don’t get anything special because of this post. I just think it’s good to hear about good business experiences as well as bad.



No.
October 5, 2009, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Squirt picked up the phone handset today and had the following conversation:

“Hehyo. No. No. No no no no no no. No. No no no. No, bye.”

I said, “who are you talking to?” “Daddy.”

I am sure he would say she got it from me.



There was a time when I did not have anywhere I could call home*
October 1, 2009, 6:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I had really hoped to come back with a happy, funny post, but that will have to wait, because I have just been blindsided.

Back in college, I was out one night and a guy came up to one of my friends and started hitting on her. He was really tall (6’5″), dark, and I thought he was ridiculously good-looking. My friend was not interested, so I started talking to him. At first, I knew he was talking to me only to get to her, but gradually he figured out that I was not, in fact, unattractive, and might even be a worthwhile date. We began to see each other, which lasted for a couple of months, until I essentially ended it because I felt he wasn’t taking things seriously, and I didn’t want to just be a booty call. But we stayed friends.  He was funny and smart and thought I was cool as hell. He nearly always called when he said he would and really seemed to like spending time with me. We both dated other people, but gradually became each other’s best friend. He was a kind, gentle, and slightly innocent soul, unlike any other man I knew.

Then I found out I was pregnant by a guy who had just dumped me out of the blue. It was, at the time, the darkest point of my life. L. didn’t hesitate. He offered to help in whatever way he could, including stepping in to help me raise the child if I chose to keep it. I don’t know how I would have gotten through that time without him.

Soon afterwards, he moved back to Chicago, his hometown, and then I met Big Daddy. We gradually lost touch, the multiple daily phone calls fading to weekly, then every few months. He moved again to Los Angeles, and with the next move around the same time as one of ours, we lost touch completely (this was before email was as ubiquitous, obviously). I thought about him once in a while, and eventually Googled him (his name is rather unusual). He would pop up here and there. He was modeling (I told you he was gorgeous!) and working as a fitness instructor in some of the best gyms in LA and NYC (yeah, seriously hot, people). Eventually, I contacted him through Facebook, and we had a short email exchange catching up. He was doing well, about to open his own studio in Chicago, his dream for many years. Things looked very bright for him, and I was happy he was doing so well.

I hadn’t talked to him in a while when I realized he had de-friended me. I was kind of hurt, but knew no good reason for it, so I figured it was probably an error and when I felt like chatting again, I’d just send another friend request. Then, his profile disappeared, then reappeared, with only a half-dozen people on it as opposed to the 200+ there had been before. I sent another request about a month ago, and he accepted. He told me he’d had a problem with his other account, and I didn’t really question him about it. He was in NYC, to teach a class. He said nothing about his studio, and I didn’t ask, figuring he’d tell me what happened when he was ready. The next message, about two weeks ago, told me he was in Chicago, and would I like to come down and hang out? I replied with my phone number, so we could make arrangements. He answered that he didn’t have a cell or a car at the moment, but it would still be nice to see me. All right, did he have a number where I could call him?

The next message blew me away. “I’m kind of homeless, and have been sleeping in a park most nights. Money is tight so I don’t have a phone at all. I will try to call you from a friend’s soon.”

My response was, essentially, WTF, are you serious? Why isn’t your father helping you? Do I need to come and get you? I spoke to Big Daddy, whose response was to immediately offer to put him up in our home. Then yesterday, I got this (only slightly paraphrased):

“I was in a mind-control cult and the woman who was supposed to buy the studio with me was a sorceress and she was using sex and black magic to try to kill me. My father won’t help because he thinks I’m mentally ill and  need to be institutionalized. Please help me, I am good with kids and I can help you with yours. I am all better now. Can you come tomorrow?”

Yeah.

His parents divorced when he was very young, and he went to live with his mother. It turned out that she had schizophrenia, and he eventually had to move in with his father for his own safety. She disappeared into the streets. He had always been afraid that he would get it too, but once he’d made it into his mid-20s, he felt safe.

I called a friend of mine who also knew him, and she agreed to make calls around to see if she could find someplace safe for him to stay. I then carefully wrote him another email, offering to pay for a bus ticket here and telling him we would try to find him a room. The next message elaborated. He needed a lawyer because of the unethical practices of the yoga center he’d belonged to–a yogi had tried to have him killed, sending his disciples to influence him psychically and flipped his dream state and his awake state in his normal conscious daily activities. The good news was that he’d found a friend who agreed to put him up for a few weeks while he waited to start a bartending job. But he still needed that lawyer, and if I just looked all this up on the internet, I’d know he was telling the truth.

I did look it up on the internet. I don’t think I have to tell you the results.

My heart is breaking. I know that I cannot fix this, that if he is as ill as I think he is, he does need to be institutionalized and get on medication. I am having a hard time reconciling this L. with the man sitting on the couch in my studio apartment, eating the dinner I cooked for him every week because I didn’t like cooking just for myself, and laughing about our pathetic love lives. I cannot bear to think of him so obviously in distress, feeling as if everyone has turned against him. I have a lot of ex-boyfriends who have not ended well (the majority, really), but he was not one that I expected that from and not in this way.

I hope I don’t lose touch with him. I hope this friend of his is able to get him some kind of help. I will do my best to support him, to not alienate him, while keeping myself safe. I know the vast majority of people with this sort of mental illness are not violent, and he never had an aggressive bone in his body, but I don’t know if that’s still true in his case.

Mostly, I will pray that whatever sorcery that is mental illness releases its hold on him.

There was a time when
I d
id not have anywhere
I could call home.

I was awake because
Sleeping was difficult.

Well, after several weeks
I entered the world of dreams …

*From the poem Waking Dreams, in Schizophrenia Poetry, by M. Stefan Strozier