Monthly Archives: July 2011

Amelie’s bones are kicking my ass

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Today I took Amelie into the big hospital again for a check-up. Basically it was to make sure I’ve been putting the leg braces on her correctly and that they are doing the trick. No problems there. Doing well. We have another appointment in late August when she’ll get X-rayed again to see if her pelvic bone has opened up more, and hopefully the braces will have done their job and she won’t have to wear them any longer than that.

HOWEVER, I asked the doctor to look at her elbow for me, and here’s where the very shocking problem lies. I can’t remember when I first noticed it, but something about Amelie’s right elbow has never seemed quite right to me (no pun intended). It didn’t seem to bother her though and she uses her right hand just fine and waves it all around, but something just didn’t didn’t seem quite right. So last week when I had my appointment with my chiropractor, I asked her to take a look at Amelie’s arm and tell me what she thought. She too thought something seemed not quite right. Amelie wouldn’t straighten her arm out all the way, and she would pull her arm away when the chiropractor tried to touch her elbow, but it didn’t look or seem dislocated, just not quite right. It was still around 11a.m. so I decided to take her into the pediatrician’s office before they closed for the morning.

The pediatrician starts off by telling me it’s okay if babies have an unbalanced range of motion in their arms when they’re this little yet. He then looks at her elbows and says “You’re right. Something may be wrong. ” He said that it didn’t seem to be bothering her though and it wasn’t an emergency where I needed to run out and have x-rays done on her right away, but that I should mention it to the doctor the next time I took her in to see the orthopedic specialist for her leg braces, which was today. I tell Akinori about all this, as he hasn’t noticed anything wrong before and all of a sudden he’s like “You’re right! Something’s funny! I wonder if it’s dislocated. I wonder if Sara pulled her arm too strong. I wonder…I wonder…” Over and over and over. Driving me up the fucking wall. I don’t know!!! That’s why I want to take her to a doctor! Asking ME the same question over and over will only get you the same answer, I DON’T KNOW!!! as well as piss me off because although I know he doesn’t mean to insinuate it is somehow my fault, I can’t help but hear it that way. Why do mothers always blame themselves?

Anyway, legs are checked and everything is fine. Then I ask about her elbow. The doctor looks at it and asks me what I think is wrong with it and I explain that she doesn’t fully extend her right arm, or the range of motion seems to be somewhat limited. He looks at it, and tells me I am in fact, correct. Not what I was hoping to hear. He suggested that we have x-rays taken of her arm the next time we go back to the hospital in August for her legs. I asked if waiting until August meant that it was not an emergency situation, and the doctor said she hasn’t been injured, so no it’s not an emergency, but if I had time we could do the x-rays now if I wanted. So we did.

Not sure now if I regret having them done then and there or not. The doctor called us back in and had an orthopedic arm specialist come in as well. Amelie’s radius and ulna should be two completely separate bones, but on her right arm, they are fused together at the elbow, which is limiting her range of motion in her arm. The doctor said that this was not completely uncommon, but obviously it is not something that is too common or they would check for it at the health checks like they do with hip displacement. Googling the condition “Congenital radio-ulnar synostosis” doesn’t really help put my mind at ease. So far anything I’ve found on the subject leads me to believe that nothing can be done, and this is something that Amelie will have to learn to live with. It’s just a matter of severity. I don’t know if finding it this early can change anything. From what I’ve found on the internet it seems that most people don’t catch it until they are at least a few years old.

I left the hospital with all of these questions and in tears, so I went to the midwife clinic where I gave birth to Amelie because it is on the way home from the hospital, and they are all nurses, so I thought maybe they would have heard of this type of thing before since it is supposedly not so rare, and could give me some information. But none of them had ever heard of it. They were kind though, as they always are, and listened to me and asked me to keep them informed on Amelie’s progress. I left feeling better, but Dr. Google has kind of made me feel worse. Our next appointment is August 23rd. That is SOOOOOO far away! How am I going to keep sane until then?

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What a morning!

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The day started out at 6:10 with a whiny/crying wake-up call from Sara, who had woken up in the living room because that is where Akinori passed out, yet again! I bring Amelie up to bed and he brings Sara, though Akinori tends to pass out in front of the TV and is really difficult to then wake up. I usually try, but he just gets cranky and then may, or may not, wake up and come upstairs. Anyway, Sara was not impressed with waking up on the living room floor.

Despite Sara not waking up in the best mood, the morning wasn’t all that bad. She didn’t throw any major fits about the clothes I chose for her to wear, she ate most of her breakfast, and she didn’t burn down the house or torture Amelie while I popped into the shower for 10 minutes. Amelie had an appointment at the big hospital this morning to have her hips checked again (didn’t blog about that, but I’ll get to it later), so I wanted to get everyone out of the house a little earlier than usual so we wouldn’t be late for her appointment. All’s going well until I’m gathering the keys, my house keys and the car key. House keys – check, car key – not in the key dish where I left it. Fuck!

Akinori always carries his car key in his bag, even when he’s not using the car. I usually keep my car key in the front hall in the key dish I have there along with my house keys.  I remember very clearly taking it out of my bag yesterday and putting it in the dish. Last night I had belly dance lessons, so Akinori drove me and took the girls to his parents house for dinner.  We’re always in a rush to get out of the house in time for my lessons as Akinori runs home and into the shower, I express some milk and get the diaper bag together, make sure everyone is fully-clothed, has changes of clothes, etc. etc. In last night’s rush, Akinori must have grabbed my key from the dish.

I said that he keeps his key in his bag, but in reality I have no idea whether it is in his bag or not, and neither does he. It is just not in the dish. Often times there is no time for him to go looking for his key and he will ask to use mine. When that happens though I make a big production of saying that he had better make sure to give it back once we get home, and because my nagging isn’t much fun for him to listen to, he usually does without me having to say anything. Last night I guess he didn’t even think about whose key it was he was grabbing, and considering the man has never put an item back where it belongs in his life, it is not surprising that he didn’t put the key back last night.

Fast forward to this morning and I am without a key to the car, which sucked not only because I couldn’t drive the car, but also because the stroller was in the car and I wanted to put Amelie in it once we got to the hospital as there is a lot of waiting time and with all the setsuden going on, it gets quite warm in the waiting room and holding her for long periods of time is uncomfortable for both of us. I tried to call Akinori about 7 million times but he wasn’t answering the phone, so not wanting to waste anymore time, I called a taxi. Luckily there is a taxi company right around the corner from our house, so by the time I got us all outside, the taxi was waiting in front of the house. (Akinori did finally call me back while we were in the taxi, and was all sheepish and apologetic.)

Of course it was raining this morning and Sara was incredibly excited to be able to use her umbrella, until I took it off of her because umbrellas aren’t allowed at kindy and I wasn’t about to carry hers around with me all day if I didn’t have the car to store it in while we were out. She then had a short tantrum in front of the house where she nearly laid down on the wet ground to pout, but I was definitely not about to let that happen and cause even more time loss with a change of clothes, etc., so I dragged her along by the arm, along with her 2 kindy bags, and my diaper bag, and Amelie in the other arm, along with the sling I used when Sara was smaller that I hadn’t had time to throw Amelie into yet. We make it into the taxi and we’re off!

Get Sara to kindy, she’s fine by now, say goodbye. Back into the taxi and off to the hospital. All together a 3300 yen taxi ride that hub will be paying me back for! We check in at the hospital and there wasn’t much waiting at all, which was good since last month when we went we waited for HOURS even though we were 15 minutes early for our appointment.

A little background, at Amelie’s 4 month cattle call health check, the dr. said he thought her hip joints were a little tight, so we got a referral to have her seen at a big hospital. We took her last month and she had an x-ray, and the diagnosis was that nothing is immediately or obviously wrong, but her pelvic bone is indeed a little more closed than it should be, or what is considered 100%. The dr. said that the Ergo carrier I’ve been using is still a bit big for her and therefore constricts her leg movement, and they need to be free for her to move about. S0 he had a nurse show me how I should be carrying Amelie on my hip or have her straddling my leg while sitting, and hopefully those changes alone would improve the situation. Today’s appointment was for another x-ray to see if there was any improvement. Unfortunately there wasn’t.

The situation isn’t dire. She is already rolling over in both directions without a problem, but there MAY be problems in the future when she starts walking, or even further down the line, so the dr. recommended nipping the problem in the bud now, and putting leg braces on her. I would rather we solve the problem now than wait for a bigger problem to possibly arrive later also, so we got her fitted into leg braces. These little leather straps cost 17,000 yen! Which I had to pay in full! I was told at the hospital that our insurance will cover 100% of the cost, but I have to submit all of the receipts, etc. to the insurance company myself and get reimbursed later. So far today has been an expensive day!

Anyway, she doesn’t seem to be overly bothered by them as she is fast asleep now and slept the whole way home, but she doesn’t seem too happy in them while she is awake. Hopefully this will do the trick and when we go for another x-ray in about 6 weeks, her hips will have opened up and no more braces!

I considered taking a taxi home and putting that on Akinori’s tab as well, and then I realized that there are buses that run from the hospital to very near our house, so I got on a bus instead. Luckily there was one coming in a few minutes, because there are only 2 an hour and if I had to wait more than 20 minutes I was going to cab it. I have never taken the bus in Nagano before. The train, yes, but not the bus, and I doubt I ever will again, at least for a lengthy trip. It was 420 yen from the hospital to the bus stop nearest our house! I have never taken such an expensive ride on a city bus before!

We’re home now, and I really need to get started on the latest work project I’ve got going. My deadline is Monday, but I’ve got a big weekend ahead. I’m teaching a belly dance workshop during the day on Saturday, then performing at night, and I’d like to work on my performance more than I want to sit in front of the computer. At least I don’t have to pick up Sara from kindy today so I won’t be interrupted until Akinori gets home with her around 6. Here I go!

Rock Bottom

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I don’t feel like getting into the whole story of what exactly happened to make me hate my job today, but if I had the option of quitting motherhood, I would have walked out the door, told my boss (Sara) to stuff my paycheck up her ass, and never turned back again. This is going to sound horrible, and I cannot imagine myself ever doing it, but I can understand why some mothers pack it up and leave their families. It ain’t easy, and men don’t get it. Even if they are stay-at-home-dads, it’s not the same. Men are not as emotional, and don’t process things the same way as women.

I think there are many different types of mothers, and I think when I look at the spectrum, I would fall under firm, but calm, and very far from perfect. I am definitely harder on Sara than I should be quite often, scolding her for stuff that isn’t really all that important, but I try to make sure to get down to her level when I am scolding her, physically, not mentally, and that after I am “mean mommy” there are cuddles and kisses. Maybe I am too lenient most of the time, which is why nothing is getting through her thick skull and she continues to do the stuff we tell her millions upon millions of times not to. Maybe it is because she is two and that is what two year-olds do. Maybe it is a combination. I do my best not to yell as I was raised with a yelling, screaming, hysterical mother, and it was terrifying and it sucked. But today I lost it. Really, really lost it, yelling, screaming, crying, sobbing, the works. Sara definitely deserved to be scolded, A LOT, but I don’t believe yelling fixes anything, or makes her understand any better.

I’m not really all that upset at the yelling part. It happens. I’m human. Everyone has their limits, and today I was pushed past mine. Hopefully while I am sleeping at some point during the night, my reset button will get pressed and we can start again tomorrow. I am more upset that what happened was because I wasn’t watching Sara like I should have been. I was cooking dinner in the kitchen, which is at the opposite end of the house from the living room, where I had put a DVD on for her, and since it was quiet, very wrongly assumed she was sitting and watching the DVD like she promised she would. I was stupid for even thinking that might happen. This is Sara – the Destroyer we are talking about. So really, it is my fault that all this happened. I need to accept the fact that I have to cook dinner while Sara is at kindy and just heat it up when we eat because I can’t cook and chase after her at the same time. Tonight’s dinner only took about 15 minutes of prep time, and in that little window Sara caused HUGE amounts of trouble. Her curiosity is going to get us all killed one day if I am not more careful.

I love my kids, but lately I dread going to pick Sara up from kindy, and in the morning I cannot get her there soon enough. I feel awful even confessing that. What kind of mom delights in getting rid of her child and feels dread at the thought of having to spend time with them again? I guess I am more convinced now than ever that sending her to kindy when we did, instead of waiting until age 3, was the right choice. I really don’t think I could manage having both Sara and Amelie at home all day, every day. In fact I know I couldn’t. And tomorrow is Saturday. No kindy for Sara and Akinori is at work. I hate Saturdays with a passion. At least we actually have plans to go over to a friend’s house tomorrow. It’s always better to have other people around and other kids to play with. When is this ever going to get any easier?