This Thanksgiving, I sat down to write about what I’m thankful for, but instead decided to do something a bit different. I was watching the Today Show (which I love, by the way, because I delight in watching banter, happiness, and cooking segments while drinking my morning coffee), and they did a story about some senior republican staff person who tweeted a very sad and judgmental comment about President Obama’s daughters. She said something about them being “classless” in reference to the way they were dressed on television, and that they clearly didn’t have good role models. She went further, saying that the girls should dress nicer instead of looking like they were trying to get a seat “at a bar”.
Seriously, what a bitch. I get it; you don’t like the guy. You hate his policies, what he stands for, his political views, and maybe you even hate him as a person. But Lady, he’s our PRESIDENT. Like it or not, he was elected, he’s doing his job, and his children have NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Leave the kids alone; leave them out of it.
These girls are teenagers. They were wearing dresses and sweaters. Maybe the skirts were a tad short, not awful at all, but a little short. I DON’T GIVE A CRAP. They looked sweet, clean, calm, and like TEENAGERS. The part about them trying to get into a bar was especially hurtful, awful, and CLASSLESS. Did they look a little bit bored up there listening to their dad speak? They did. But classless? Nope. What’s classless is that an ADULT woman chose that moment to knock them down, criticize two children and take a stab at their parents’ lack of role modeling. Now that’s classless.
Also classless; the apology that followed. The woman tweeted that “after praying” she realized that her comments were not nice. You needed to pray to figure that out? So, you slammed two young girls, your Christianity kicked in several moments later, and then you felt “just awful” about it? I’m not buying it, Lady.
We all make mistakes. We all say and do things we shouldn’t. But that tweet was thought about, written, and that little “send” button (or tweet button, or whatever button), was pushed because you thought you were being clever or funny or disparaging or mean, and you wanted everyone to see it. It wasn’t like you were watching this on television, and you turned to your mom or significant other and said, “Hey, those girls should be dressed a bit nicer and they should have bigger smiles on their faces when their dad is up there speaking.” Nope. You went in for the kill, instead deciding to tweet your hate for the entire world to see.
Never mind that the girls were there to watch their dad pardon a turkey. It wasn’t like he was doing an important speech about human trafficking or the war in Afghanistan. He was talking about a turkey, and there was a turkey sitting right there, clucking away (or whatever turkeys do), waiting to run free all over the land. Seriously, I don’t know if I would have been able to keep a straight face. And what do you expect young girls to wear to a turkey pardon? Ball gowns? A pantsuit? A pilgrim costume? I think their choice of attire was perfectly acceptable for the event.
Say what you want about the President, but you should leave his kids out of it. Don’t you think it’s hard enough for young girls all over the world to grow up in this day and age? What is it saying to all those young people out there when an adult, who obviously has a prominent position as a GOP staff person, cuts down two innocent girls in front of an entire nation? Talk about a bully. Talk about a mean girl. Talk about classless.
So, during this Thanksgiving/holiday time, I’m going to talk about some people in my life who have made a difference to me, to others, and who would never, ever use a position of power to humiliate another human being.
First up; my ex-mother-in-law- This lady is just about the nicest person you’ll ever meet. She makes me smile every time I see her, and my kids are lucky to have her as their grandma. Her son and I are divorced, of course, but she never blamed me, slammed me, talked about me, or shunned me. No matter how many stupid mistakes I’ve made in my life, she’s stood by me and supported me. She was my second mom for nearly seven years, and I couldn’t be luckier to still have her in my life. She’s one-of-a-kind, and those who are lucky enough to know her are truly blessed.
And in talking about someone loving me despite my making stupid mistakes in life, I could never forget my own mother. She has raised me, loved me, accepted me, helped me, and taught me. I'm a better mother to my own children because of her. I'm a better person because of her. She has allowed me to be my own person, has given me the strength and grace I have to handle just about anything that comes along, and doesn't judge me. She taught me respect for myself and for others. What a great lesson to teach your children. What a great mom.
My Grandmother- My eighty-nine-year-old Grandmother (Grammy is what we call her), is such a special lady. She’s got a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. She is spunky and truthful, and she doesn’t shy away from telling you like it is. I’m OK with that, even if it means she tells me I’ve put on a few pounds (and she has told me that on more than one occasion). She tells me to stop buying her gifts for birthdays and Christmas, but I know she secretly delights in receiving fancy packages in the mail, so I keep buying her stuff. I love the way her voice sounds when she calls to thank me and says, “Now Tammi, you shouldn’t spend your money on me, but I like it.” It really doesn’t get more honest or better than that, now does it? My early memories of her are those of riding in a car for hours to visit, me running into her house immediately upon arrival, opening the refrigerator, and seeing my favorite dessert there just waiting for me to eat it. Every time. She never forgot. In all my years of knowing this woman, I have never once heard her say a bad word about anyone. The world would be a better place if it were filled with more women like my Grammy.
My very best friend, Kimmy- I’ve known this woman since she was three-years-old and I was five. She’s been in my life forever. She’s seen me at my worst and my best, and loved me through all of it. At my worst, she never judged, she never criticized. She supported me, talked with me, prayed for me, and helped me. She’s an excellent mother to two of the most wonderful children on the planet, and she chose so wisely a husband who is as equally tremendous as she. If you would like to see a true Christian person in action, it’s this woman whom I admire greatly. We should all strive to be like her.
Several teachers at my sons’ school/s- I can’t name each one because I’d be too afraid to leave someone out. The truth is, nearly every single teacher my two sons has ever had has repeatedly gone above and beyond to guide them, educate them, mother them, instruct them, and teach them right from wrong. If I have ever had a concern, no matter how big or small, and I’ve contacted a teacher, that teacher, every single one of them, has answered me that very same day, addressing my concern as if my child was the only child in his/her classroom. It’s awe-inspiring, it’s motivating, and it’s not always like this at every school. We are lucky. I am lucky. My boys are lucky.
There are so many more people I have in my life to thank and to be grateful for. I think I’ll write more blogs such as this, and include more of these amazing people, during this holiday time. Look for them in the next coming weeks. You might just be one of the people I mention here! ; )
I haven’t been writing much lately because my son has been very ill after suffering a concussion nearly eight weeks ago. I do sit down and try to write, but only crud seems to come out because I just can’t focus or think about much else right now. Since we’ve been dealing with my son’s injury for the past eight weeks, I’ve come to realize some things.
I’ve had it with doctors. HAD IT.
My son fell. I took him to our pediatrician. She gave him a neurology test, told me he had a concussion, and sent us to the hospital for a CT scan. Perhaps I’m stupid. Maybe I am a bad mother, but I didn’t know much at all about concussions or how to treat them. I certainly didn’t realize that my child could possibly be in pain, miserable, depressed, and anxious for weeks, maybe even months.
The CT scan was negative, and our pediatrician called to tell me to keep my son home from school for a few days, and then send him back, if he was up to it. We were supposed to keep him out of physical education class and recess “until he felt better”, and no sports for two weeks. I thought we’d be able to handle that; not a problem.
I did exactly what our pediatrician told me to do. He fell on a Wednesday and I kept him home from school on that day, Thursday, and Friday. Monday he went back to school. He came home completely exhausted, in pain, and miserable. He went back on Tuesday and stayed for only a half day. On Wednesday, I kept him home. He seemed to be getting worse instead of getting better.
On Thursday, he was home again, and he woke up from a nap with a very large, swollen eye. Alarmed and nervous, I called our pediatrician (who was not in the office that day), and made an appointment with her partner. She, too, was worried about the swollen eye. She had no clue what it meant or why it had happened. She told me that he needed to see a neurologist “today”, and instructed me to “not let him eat anything in case they want to do a procedure or something.”
A procedure? What kind of procedure would she be talking about here? Are we talking brain surgery? Does she think he has a tumor?
I left the office numb and confused. The pediatrician’s office was to call the neurologist and set up our appointment, and then call me with the details. My son and I went home to wait.
No one called.
I called the pediatrician’s office. Of course I had to leave a message.
Much later, the pediatrician’s office called to let me know the neurologist’s office staff would call me very soon to schedule our appointment.
No one called.
I called our pediatrician again.
This time an office staff member from our pediatrician’s office told me that the neurologist group (there are well over ten doctors in this practice), had no openings for an appointment for my son.
“But the doctor said my son needed to see a neurologist today. She even told me not to give him anything to eat in case they needed to do a ‘procedure’.” By now it was past three in the afternoon, and my child was starving. I let him eat.
“Yes, well, the doctor says it’s OK. The neurologist told her that all the symptoms your child is experiencing are normal symptoms of a concussion, so he can wait for a few days for an appointment.” The office staff member explained.
“Um, well, OK. So, they aren’t scared there’s something really wrong with him, then?” I asked.
“No, the neurologist said everything is normal.”
I felt somewhat better, but still uneasy as I hung up the telephone.
We finally got an appointment with the neurologist, about a week and a half later. My son was having a good day that day. He passed the neurology test she gave him, and she said he could return to school and activities, as long as he felt like it. She said she had “no idea” why my son would have had eye swelling; that it wasn’t a “normal” symptom of a concussion, so it must have been something else.
I was relieved and thought we were at the end of this journey. I wrote off the eye swelling as just a weird allergic reaction to something that day. I figured my little boy would be better very soon. The neurologist had given us access via the Internet to a “Patient Portal”, which would be an online account we could create and retrieve all my son’s medical records and information. That would be nice and easy! I was feeling so much better and much less worried about my baby.
My son continued to experience severe headaches on a daily basis. School made them much worse. Any time he’d have to do anything that required him to think or use his brain, he couldn’t handle it. He said the pain felt like someone was stabbing him in the head with a knife. Other times, the pain was a constant pressing down on his head, as if it were in a vice. He told me the headaches never went away; that they were always there.
I called the neurologist again and made another appointment. This time I asked my husband to go with me, because I didn’t want to forget to ask certain questions, didn’t want to be confused, and just needed some moral support for my son and me.
We explained to the neurologist that our son wasn’t doing well; he was still in a lot of pain, still having some eye swelling from time to time, and still feeling very depressed and anxious. She examined him again. She said he had neck spasms and injury, probably from the original fall, so she gave us a prescription for physical therapy. She realized that Motrin was not helping my son’s pain, so she prescribed a different medication. She also suggested we get an MRI for him, which could be done right there in her office. However, they had no openings for two weeks.
We scheduled the MRI, filled his prescription for medication, and began physical therapy. The medications haven’t helped. He’s still in pain much of the time. The physical therapist did say that his neck is “pretty bad, very tight”, so she gave him several exercises he can do at home to help. We also bought him a special pillow for sleeping, an ice pack for his neck, and some other crap that’s supposed to make him feel better.
The date for the MRI finally arrived, so I took my son to the office and waited while they took him away to a big room with a loud machine that would look at his brain and hopefully tell us something. We were sent home after the MRI. My son cried all the way home because the MRI was so loud. It hurt his head to be in there for the test.
I called the office toward the end of the day to see if I could get the results of my son’s MRI. They were not available. I tried logging onto the Patient Portal they had told me about at our first appointment, but received this message, “the system does not recognize this patient information.” I tried logging in multiple times, but still received the same message.
The next day, I called the neurologist’s office again. I told them the Patient Portal wasn’t working properly, and that I would like to get my son’s MRI results, as my son was still doing pretty badly. The MRI results were back, and they were sitting in the doctor’s folder (I was told by the receptionist), but she was out of town for the rest of the week. I would need to call back next week to get the results. Also, I was told that they were aware of the problem with the Patient Portal and they were “working on it.”
Most excellent of answers.
I asked if there was another doctor in the office who could possibly review his chart and maybe change his medication because he was still having very painful headaches and it just didn’t seem like the medication was helping much at all. The receptionist said I would have to wait until my son’s doctor returned to the office the following week, but that if I wanted to, I could take my son to Urgent Care or to my pediatrician’s office.
“You mean the pediatrician who sent me to YOU because she didn’t know what to do about this?”
There was no answer.
I hung up.
I do realize there are people who are much sicker than my child. I also know that these doctors are very busy, and they see hundreds of patients every week. I know that my kid only has a concussion and that he will recover at some point. But I wish these doctors could see those nights when I’m holding him in my arms while he cries because his head hurts so badly he couldn’t eat dinner, can’t sleep, and can’t even open his eyes. I wish they could see it when he has a panic attack because he’s so afraid to try to go to school because every time he does his headaches become unbearable. Maybe if these doctors saw my child in these situations, they’d call me back right away rather than a week after I call and leave a message, or maybe they wouldn’t instruct their staff to take my kid to Urgent Care when he’s had a concussion for seven weeks. They must understand that an urgent care facility won’t know his history, won’t have his test results, and won’t be able to give him the medication he needs to make the pain stop.
I’d like for a physician to LISTEN to me and listen to my son. He’s very good at communicating and does a great job telling the doctors what symptoms he’s having. It doesn’t help when they look at him like he’s a freak when he tells them his face is numb. Why would he make that up? Weird things are happening ever since he fell and got a concussion, and no one will explain any of this to me. The Internet has been my only resource for information.
Thank God for counselors, because he’s the only person who has helped us understand why my son is feeling the way he does. He explained to us that my boy suffered a trauma, and his brain is trying to “reset” itself. He said that it’s not uncommon for a child to feel this way after an accident like my son’s; that my son is understandably scared to go back to do the things he used to do before he suffered the concussion.
My son has lost his confidence, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. He is behind in school, he can’t think for large amounts of time, he feels like he’s letting everyone down, and he thinks all of this is entirely his fault.
I know there are good doctors out there; I just haven’t found the right one for my son.
Tomorrow I will try a new route and make a call to a different neurology team; a group of doctors who specialize in sports concussions. I’m hoping for the best, and praying that my little guy gets some relief and starts feeling better about himself and his world.
There’s no worse feeling in the world than watching your child in pain and realizing there is absolutely nothing you can do to help him. I hold him, I hug him, I kiss him, and I tell him that everything is going to be OK. He is starting to doubt me. I have never lied to him, and I don’t want him to think I’m starting now.