Friday, December 14, 2012

Why Spouses Should Be Invited To Company Parties.

I worked full-time until Cara was one year old. In all that time of working during college and post-college I only attended two company holiday parties. I then joined the ranks of the stay at home moms with no corporation to celebrate Yuletide cheer. Relying fully on my husbands income, I've only been a guest at one company party. That's SEVEN YEARS and only ONE!!! Some years I could have cared less but this year I really could have gone for a night of dressing up and mingling (a cash bar would be a nice addition). I am thinking maybe they just don't know what they are missing by doing luncheons or neglecting it all together. It's time to tell them why.

Why I, the spouse, should be invited...
#1 Spouses are the reason your employee is available. 
Ok sometimes we mess things up but mostly, my handling of the home-front leaves Carter available to go above and beyond. Staying after hours, being on call, having a clear head for meetings, that is because I am at Kroger, making dinner or doing homework with the girls. You're welcome. Now feed me and let me dance a little. 

#2 I am your advocate/antagonist
I'm a problem solver psycho. When he comes home I suck the daily issues out of him. Ok so I don't do that much anymore because it is (A) not necessary, (B) annoying and (C) frankly it can just about kill me sometimes. I can't make him or you follow through with my ingenious solutions. Really, you all should listen to me. When I am given the privilege of positive and negative work tales, I can be your best friend or worst enemy. A chance to cut loose and eat banquet or buffet style (I'm not picky) would tip the scales in your favor. 

#3 Analyzing has begun. 
After hearing about you, I feel like I know you. Picking apart your personalities and work habits aids in my problem solving sessions. One previous employer owes me a weekend at a bed and breakfast because of the dysfunctional characters I tried to juggle. Holy moly they should never have wanted to interact with me. No hard feelings there for the lack of Christmas fellowship. I'm good. The best gift was his 2 weeks notice.
Give me a chance to form my opinions based on first hand observation. Right now it is all funneled through my husband. I promise to stop taking notes after your second drink.

#4 I've been told that I am fun.
Great asset to your party. I swear to keep all comedy within HR guidelines. There will be cheers of "Carter your wife is great!" the next work day. This is a bonus for Carter also. Endearing. As a matter of fact I am thinking he should take me on interviews too (side note: I am pretty sure we are finished with interviews. I'm way too fond of this place and my shoe discount).

Of course I know these events are costly and time consuming to organize. No, this will never change the mind of CEO's. I feel confident that a lot of employees despise these events.  This year I could've used a reason to let my hair down (or up depending on the outfit and hair behavior that day), find a babysitter and be at my husbands side. Just to have fun. This is why spouses (I) should be invited. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just Nod and Smile.

A friend of mine recently said "Honestly, people should only get one stupid health thing and that's it." Appropriate response to my update to her and another dear friend after my last Doctor's appointment. Great idea, but I seem to be working on #2.  #1 of course is the random benign tumor that I have. At this moment #2 random freaky thing has not been completely diagnosed, but the guesses have been enough to throw me.

"When did this start?" Usually this is an answer I have to guess or estimate.  Seriously, I don't chart sore throats and headaches which is usually what they are asking about. This answer, however, was heavily lined with major changes in my life and actually mentioned in my blog. No problem dropping the bomb of an answer "Almost 2 years ago." It's fun to make professionals use every muscle in their face when they react. Her look was part "OMG" and part "DUMMY!" Regardless, I had finally let this 2 year old cat out of the bag and it turned into a lion.  Who ignores serious "brain farts" for 2 years? Where everyone sounds like they are speaking some alien language? *Raises Hand*

I had only sprinkled this information around to friends and family. Only when necessary because it makes me sound crazy. That's exactly what I thought it was, mental.  I was under a tremendous amount of stress when this started.  Carter had just been laid off and we were still waiting for the next job to swoop in.  Then we moved to Nashville.  Who wouldn't feel a little nuts? I blogged about being frozen and I was during that time.  I guess I figured all of that clenching and freezing busted something up there and it was getting out this way. In the last few months it was getting harder to cover.  It wasn't just happening while I was watching TV, or talking to Carter, or alone.

Answering all of those standard questions for a pediatric sick visit a few months ago, I felt it.  It hit and the nurse was looking at me because it was my turn to talk. I knew she was talking about Natalie's prescriptions.  Tried to talk... nothing. Tried again to gather what she she was asking... nothing. Great idea, let's go around and look at her computer and read what she is talking about... oh crap, I can't read either! Panic doesn't help these episodes.  These things last anywhere from 5-20 seconds.  When I finally came back around I had to tell her. Her response "You really need to get that checked out." I'm OK with being crazy on purpose, people expect that out of me.  I had no control over this and it was weird. At that moment it stopped being a quirky thing about me.  I could not process any form of communication.

A check-up for my blood pressure became my forum for finally asking for help.  After my Doctor got her face back to normal she asked more questions. One of them, "Do you ever bite your tongue or urinate on yourself when this happens?" Uhhhh NO! I think I would've panicked before now if I did that. Duh.  I gawked a little at the question and then realized I was the idiot that waited way too long to look into this. So here we go, she throws out strokes (TIA), arterial flow issues, seizures and migraines (OK I threw in migraines for her because I had done some "healthy googling" and that was my favorite).  The first thing we had to rule out was the more immediately serious of the bunch, stroke and blood flow issues.  A CT scan and a 30 minute carotid artery doppler later I got the all clear from those causes.  Oh yeah, and brain tumors  That was in the back of my mind but I am sooooooo glad she kept that to herself.  For some reason hearing her say these things has more weight than when they are just floating around in my malfunctioning skull. No brain tumors, not going to join Dad and Granny in the TBI/Stroke recovery program at 34.  Cool. Next appointment please!

"You need to tell people".  This was after her heavy list of warnings regarding seizures. Partial-Simple Seizures are the suspect at this point. Letting the neurologist diagnose it is her plan but she has her mind pretty much made up.  The other thing on the diagnosis table would be migraines. These brain farts turned into serious business. Warning me that I couldn't be put on medication until the tests the neurologist would want had been completed, I was told when to go to the ER and what to watch for. I think the longest I have gone without one was 3 weeks.  Right now I am getting 3 days at the most.  A month ago I was having 2-3 per day for 2 weeks. Nothing seems to trigger them. Can't say that a headache proceeds or follows them. I have started to be able to feel them coming on.  I give Carter warnings and then I play a fun game in which I repeat the jacked up stuff I hear. So far I have always been able to get out "Hold on" or something like that during them.  Beyond that, I am afraid that I will start saying crazy things and really freak people out.  What I see is out of focus.  I am completely conscious and I am aware of it all. I remember it all. Sometimes the room gets brighter. I just nod and smile.  Lasting from about 5 to 20 seconds (by the way, 20 seconds is an ETERNITY when you don't understand what people are saying to you!).  I even had one day that I felt on the edge of one the entire day.  No multi-tasking for me that day.  Walking and listening posed a problem.  I was advised that someone at the school needed to know just in case they became more physical.  All I could think about was ending up on the floor there.  I joked quite a bit about it. I told a few that I was going to stand on a tumbling mat in the gym. Feeling confident that even though they had increased in frequency recently, but not in severity, it was humorous. I try to make everything funny, duh. 

Enduring the "OK weirdo" (my interpretation not the actual feelings of the listener) looks, I started sharing.  Let's cover my self imposed job in this world here: I am passionate about encouraging everyone to share, talk, go to other people, speak up and finally, listen.  This is why I probably over-share.  No one should feel alone, ever.  If no one has experience with it, you will find someone who will listen and go through it with you.  I am incredibly blessed with family and friends that do just that.  Taking a chance on being annoying, I will normalize or help you with whatever I have to offer. If I don't know I will be googling it.  My family has experience with so much, every few years we hit something new. Yeah, this is a new one. Putting our heads together we almost become experts in these areas. Do we really want to add new things to the experience section of our life resume? No. What do you do with it? Lean on those that play on your team and stay open to be leaned on.

At this moment it is not serious and I never thought it was before.  Hearing the warnings and signs to watch for come out of my Doctor's mouth made this typically well composed woman crumble. I am super woman in almost ever other situation.  Lacking control...there is nothing I can do until I have my appointment with the neurologist.  The tumor thing I can take Motrin, wear the right clothing and avoid using my stomach muscles and frankly just suck it up.  Eventually we will have a solution to this, but it has been the few weeks in limbo after my last appointment that have been tough.  There is a chance I could walk in there and be told that this is just mental, in that case, I will take a purple straight jacket. That seems to be my best color. Migraines also could be to blame.  They don't seem to match as well but I'm not known for being "textbook". And there it is! Chances are, you won't experience one with me and even if you do I probably won't tell you ;) .  I've gotten pretty good at fudging through it. I should carry certificates for those who have seconds of their important rhetoric mutilated in my brain! Anxiously awaiting November 6 when I burst on to the Neurology scene. Until then I will keep laughing when my brain tells me "those aren't the lyrics to that song" and "you should rewind that Housewives episode because they are crazy but not that crazy" and "geez I hope I didn't just nod and smile and agree to something bad!" We will get this taken care of, and I will label myself an honorary specialist on this new subject soon. I just can't wait to stop worrying.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let's Re-visit

Yes I have been slacking hard on blogging. 
I blog when I feel like I have something to share.  I share and open up in the hope that maybe someone else can relate and not feel so alone in this.  Normalizing is one of the most powerful things we can do for others.

A long time ago I read and blogged about reading Beth Moore's book on insecurity. Apparently that's a book you should never have out of reach. I started struggling again recently and in the back of my mind kept telling myself I needed to get another copy. My need to revisit stabbed me right in the heart yesterday and made it an emergency. 

On the very short ride home from school Cara was obviously excited about a toy that a classmate had. She hesitated and then said " I want to say how cute it is but I am afraid that Natalie will be upset". You know what I did next, hail storm of questions.
"Why would Natalie be upset?"
"Because if I say how cute it is she will think she is not cute."
Natalie chimes in, "yeah like if there is a baby bird and it is soooo cute, cuter than me, then I am not cute anymore. "

Where did she get this?!? She has no less than 10 people give her daily affirmations about how cute she is. The child is practically the Mayor of the school! If the whole school voted for a School President, 4th graders would elect this kindergartener! I was called "Natalie's Mom" for weeks when I first started subbing. Regardless of the grade! What in the world was this new development in her thought process?!
I talked with her and told her no matter how big she got or who else was around, they love Natalie. It's not just the cute-ness. While talking her through it I felt an elephant was on my chest and now it was sitting in the living room.

The elephant, well it was my conversation I had with Carter a little over a week ago (pretty sure he is wishing he married a girl that was mute right about now). There was no way Natalie heard it, but those words sounded like mine. Almost exactly mine! Did I pass this on without saying it? I feel like I never drop my guard. But these girls will see past it. And this was the first time I realized I had to attack this issue for them.

I like to analyze myself and then try to fix it.  I spent a lot of time this fall reading books on women in The Bible.  Picking out the bad things about myself in the "bad girls" and the good things in the"good girls". Seeing myself in Jezebel was a horrible moment! Catching a glimpse myself in Sarah was a high note. Suddenly I hit a wall.  I was spinning my tires in the mud trying to be a perfect wife when I couldn't fix any of the things bothering my husband.  If I had been allowed to go every where with him and counsel him through it, I would have.  Changes I was making in myself were not being recognized like I wanted them to be.  He didn't see the things I was doing, what I found to be valuable, for him.  I let that kill my sense of worth.  My sense of worth had no business being rooted there. Beth told me that a few years ago, but it slipped my mind.

Today I made a point to go get the book so I could read it again.  Lucky for me, it was on sale too. Got home, opened it up... the tears started on page 5.  How did I get so far away from what I had learned before? On page 10 she started in on another problem I have.  Kicking myself for being foolish or stupid enough to let these things bother me.  OK, yeah that does not help solve the problem! At the bottom of page 10 she says "We can think we've murdered that monster once and for all, and then it rises from the dead and it has grown another head". Yep, it's got a few heads now.

In my honest conversation with Carter he turned to me and sincerely said "You've got to do something to feel better about yourself". My reply "I know what you are thinking and none of that works".  I could start working out and lose a bunch of weight.  Go get implants, or my teeth whitened.  Carry the latest Coach bag, or go back to school and finish my degree.  But it's not there and I know it.  That has to be the worst feeling as a husband.  He can't control it or fix it, but he has to listen and watch me struggle with it.

If any good can come from watching these "Real Housewives" shows it has been this: I have watched an openly God fearing woman with a lot of money, blonde hair, purchased boobs, an incredible figure and 3 great kids stumble with her insecurity.  What does that prove? That none of that works!!! You can be feeling great about yourself and then whoops, there is a woman in front of you with brown hair, real boobs, 4 kids and more money unintentionally making you feel lesser.  It's all in your head, not your bank account, job, workout routine or mammaries. If it is there, it needs to be relocated to a safer venue.  That is not where your confidence belongs. 

Chapter 1 was tackled today. This is my second go at trying to make progress. I have to do it for my girls.  I can't accidentally pass down my issues to them.  They need to know right from the start how to handle this.  How can I help them when most of my brain is thinking the same thing? Once Mommy gets a grip on the tools, I can pass them on so they can have them in their belt. This book is going to stay next to my bed for a very long time.  I will re-visit it as many times as necessary to regain my security and keep putting it back where it belongs.