Monday, November 29, 2004

So when can I start parenting?

Since the birth of my youngest kitten, my male, I have not had a moment's peace. Oh, I'm not talking about the usual sibling fights and the rambunctiousness of a toddler and the worries about safety. I'm talking about illnesses.

My son is very ill with a mystery disease. He's been sick for several months. Cough, cough, cough. That's what he sounds like all the time. He can't get through a sentence without coughing. Yes, there are times when he'll get through an entire morning without coughing. Most of the time, though, he is coughing.

A month, ago, or so -- I'm not sure because I'm losing track of time and dates -- he was diagnosed with what the doctor thought was pneumonia. We were suspicious, because the cough has gone on for months, but we took the antibiotic and ran with it.

After a week of no improvement, we went back and got a new antibiotic.

After two weeks, he improved for one day and then we ran out of that antibiotic, and he started up coughing again.

We were then given a steroid puffer. After a week and a half, no improvement.

Today, he was coughing so hard he was gagging, so we caved in to extreme fatigue and chronic worry and took him to the ER.

Doc there says he thinks kitten has pertussis. That's right, pertussis. Whooping freaking cough! Turns out the immunization only works on about 80% of kids. However, doc is concerned because my son has been sick for a longer period of time. Also, he now has an ear infection in both ears. Off we go with more antibiotics and a referral to a paediatric respirologist.

So let's see where we are now:

We have two chest x-rays, one in August and one in November. Both are normal.

We have one head x-ray to check the adenoids and tonsils. Normal.

The internet tells me chronic cough could be cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, or pneumonia. (I know, you may *spank* me for internetting).

We know he doesn't have pneumonia. Cystic fibrosis, I just found out tonight, has been present on DH's side of the family. No known cases on my side, though. Plus, kitten doesn't seem to have any gastro problems that are typical with CF.

So that leaves two unknowns: tuberculosis and now pertussis, both communicable diseases. So how could kitten get one of these rare infections?

Enter my cousin. She lives in a little town outside of Atlanta. She is in her mid-thirties, and has six children with six different BF's. She's lost all of her children due to negligence and a nasty bout with drug addiction. She's been in and out of jail. Currently, as far as I know, she is back in jail.

Because my cousin lives down south and I live in Canada, I haven't seen her in many years. But her mother, my aunt, lives here in my city, in the same apartment as my mother. In fact, their apartments are side by side.

So the last time my cousin went to jail, she lost custody of her one remaining child, the baby, who I'll call Jake. Jake is two. My aunt high-tailed it down to Georgia to beg some judge for temporary custody of Jake. She won, with the promise that she would not let Jake near his mother. Well, since the mother cannot keep herself out of jail, this should not be a problem.

(I should mention here that, in spite of the many problems my aunt has had over the years with my cousin, I do have a small place in my heart for sympathy for the poor girl, who was sexually abused by my uncle for many years. It's no wonder she's so fvcked up.)

So little Jake came to Canada. It was nice for my son, who has a weekly sleepover at Gramma's to have a little playmate on Saturday nights. They got along famously!

Then my son came down with a terrible cold. Coughing, hacking, sputtering, went on for about a week. My mother came over and as kitten started hacking and coughing, she said she hopes that he didn't catch Jake's terrible cough. "He's been coughing for weeks and he can't seem to get rid of it!" I'm like WTF? Thanks a lot, Gramma, for letting my kid play with this coughing-for-weeks kid! Holy fvck! What were you thinking? I found out later that DH's inner voice was shouting the exact same thing at the exact minute.

So my mother went on to explain that no cough syrups or cold medications were helping this poor boy. A doctor? "Oh, no! She can't afford to take him to the doctor. He's an American citizen, so he isn't covered by OHIP, and she's unemployed, so she can't afford to take him."

I have two issues here: what judge in their right mind would let this toddler go to another country without proper assurance that the child would receive proper health care? The second issue is immunization. Are children immunized for free in the states? Because if they are, my aunt doesn't know about it. When asked if the child is up-t0-date on his immunizations, the answer is "I don't know."

I told my mother that I wasn't happy about my kitten being around this chronically ill child. She then backtracks and says that kitten's cough is "different" than Jake's. Yeah, right. Can you tell I have some issues with my mother?

Well, so began many long months of coughing, doctor's appointments, ER visits, sleepless nights, frantic googling, and nervous breakdowns.

Now, I've heard kitten may have pertussis. No doubt, if he has it, he caught it from Jake, the poor child who has not had the good fortune of visiting a doctor about his condition. (I hear he is better, but I don't know that firsthand. We haven't seen the child in months.)

I'm so mad I'm just spitting nails. Not only has my own doctor been merely treating a symptom instead of trying to find the root cause, but I, as a parent, have done everything possible -- everything that is expected of me -- to keep my child well. I've kept his vaccinations updated, I've taken him to doctors and ER's, I've begged for follow-up, and he's still ill and I still don't know what's wrong with him.

This kitten has been plagued by developmental problems, too. He's fine now, but still very shy. He was a late walker, a late talker and a late trainer. I wasn't worried because I was all of the above when I was a kid, and I turned out just peachy.

But doctors started tossing words about. Austism. Fragile-X. It was terrifying. And to make matters worse, it went on for years.

You could say that I feel cheated out of my son's kittenhood. I really haven't had a moments peace of just putting my arms around him and feeling 100% love as opposed to 100% love and 200% anxiety. Hopefully, in the coming days after he sees yet another physician, this will change for the better. I just can't help but worry that it will change for the worse.

All that keeps me going really are the false diagnoses of autism and fragile-x. I wish I could go back and tell myself that nothing was going to come of all that. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, I'll look back and wish I could come back to this time and place, and give myself a big *hug* and tell myself it's all going to be okay.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Work is hell

My parents always taught me that when you go to work, you give it your all. Work your ass off, don't question the boss, and get the job done.

So it just felt so unnatural three weeks ago when I went to Human Resources for what I called "guidance."

I remember sitting there with the nice HR lady, my eyes down, my hands shaking as I described the oppression taking place in the office. You see (I'm telling you just as I told her), I'm all about justice. Misappropriation of funds is okay if it involves my own bank account, but not when it involves public money and the borrowed money of people who will not be able to afford to pay it back for years.

Not to mention the injustice of me, at $45K, guiding the hand of her, at $70K. Dictating her emails, standing over her shoulder dicating policy, advising her on how to deal with staffing issues, and pretty much cleaning up her messes. After ten years and an anti-depressant prescription, I was done. I wanted out.

So I told the nice lady that I wasn't expecting HR to step in. I can't save the office, I told her. I've tried to save it for too long, and I can't. It's spiralling out of control, and I refuse to go down with the ship.

So she tells me to tell the boss of my boss. There is injustice, she pointed out, hitting me in that nerve, in my leaving and changing the course of my life because of someone else's incompetence.

I looked over on the other shoulder, and there are my parents, telling me to just put up and shut up. Don't rock the boat. Get another job.

I thanked her for her advice, and left, planning to regularly check job postings each week.

Then, another big event happened. Big events in my office have become commonplace. Almost every fifteen minutes, my boss screws something up and blames whoever happens to be standing closest to the fire. Sometimes, it isn't something she's currently doing, but something she has neglected to do in the past creeping up and haunting us. This time, I was standing close enough to the fire to get burned.

I walked into the office of the boss of the boss, and told him that I have been feeling frustrated lately. We can't seem to do anything right, I told him. It's embarrassing. Can we start working on fixing mistakes before they occur instead of scrambling to sweep the ashes under the rug after the fire? My speech, of course, was much more eloquent and intelligent, or so I thought, but his eyes glazed over. He looked away from me, averting my eyes, taking himself away to some far off happy place where he wouldn't have to deal with this huge problem that would just turn the organization on its heels if he started to do something about it. Inaction is safer, I suppose.

The nice lady at HR told me that if I kind of worked my way into it like I did, that I would get clues as to whether he is open to hearing the information that I had. He clearly wasn't.

Just as I realized the futility of my appeal, he cut me off and told me the screw-up was my fault and I should have known better. :( I had my answer. As much as a small piece of me believed in the goodness and justice of the world, it wasn't here for me. Not in this office.

The next week, I applied for another job. Not a promotion, but a new beginning. I also called the HR lady to give her the update. I am not the knight-in-shining-armour after all. I failed in my mission. Or did the boss of the boss? It doesn't matter, because as in all injustices, there are victims, and none of us can (or will) help them, and so we all have failed. She doesn't know yet, because I had to leave a message.

Meanwhile, in the bosses office, she's on the internet booking her next vacation and writing up more fake overtime.

Three of us went to HR in as many weeks, each with our own concerns. Why won't they do something, they ask? Well, HR works for management, no matter how corrupt they are. My next job application went out on Thursday, and finally the HR lady returned my call, but I wasn't at my desk.

I tried calling her back, but her line was busy.

Then my friend called me today, and told me that the big boss, the boss of all bosses, has a mystery appointment with the HR lady next week.

So, of course, my mind starts racing. Along with my heart, and my imagination. The news spreads, and people fall into *gigglefits* thinking the boss is finally going to get canned.

But that's not the way this world works, I tell them. It isn't about justice anymore. It's about sweeping the ashes under the carpet before people see the soot around their feet.

Times are definitely changing for me. By this time next week, I could be going in a different direction. I could be leaving it all behind, moving onward and upward and rising above the smoke and fire that is my current workplace.

If there is any justice left in this work, I will have a new job by the end of next week. Pray for me. And if you are my boss reading this, you fvcking thief of time and money, you worthless sack of useless untalented unprofessional back-stabbing shit, have fun cleaning up your own slop.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Everything has its place

You should see my desk at work. What a mess. My house? Omigawd. Please call first before you visit.

My kitchen is a whole different story.

My cupboards are a mess, I'll give you that. But it is an organized mess. I know where everything is, or at least where it should be....

Mr. Frisky just cannot understand that everything in the kitchen must have it's own home. The frying pan goes in the drawer in the stove. The dutch oven goes under the sink. The measuring spoons go in the silverware drawer, in front of the silverware holder thingie.

WHY is this so difficult to understand?

Things are so much easier to find when they are in their place.

Take tonight, for example. Each night, I make my daughter two roll-ups for lunch the following day. I have to grate cheese. In order to grate cheese, one needs a cheese grater. Which begs the question...

Where the fvck is the fvcking cheese grater?!!

I've searched through the whole kitchen. Mr. Frisky is upstairs sleeping soundly. Only he knows where he put it. Of course, I can make do with a sharp knife (on the cheese, of course). But that's not the point. The point is that I have assigned a home to everything in the kitchen, and he just insists on putting things away in the wrong place.

Is he trying to drive me crazy? Then again, why am I letting something like a cheese grater drive me crazy? Am I so psycho that I'm going crazy over a cheese grater? How can I be so insensitive, knowing that all over the whole, people are dying, children are starving, and here I am sitting on my kitchen floor angrily tearing my cupboards apart looking for something that I really don't need.

Is something else out of place in my life and I'm taking everything out on poor sleeping Mr. Frisky and the cheese grater? Are there other....deeper issues? Should I call Dr. Phil?

This is where I go with everything. I take every little event and turn it into self-analyzation. Why do I do this? I'll have to think about that, too.

In the meantime, I still haven't made lunch.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Hitting the Wall

Today I hit the wall at work. I've been trying to save my workplace. I care about it, I care about my co-workers and I care about my job. My boss is incompetent and is sinking the whole ship. Today, I made one last-ditch effort to change the course, but I failed.

I emailed my best friend and told her what happened, then signed onto to learn about cover letters. My friend phoned and said the words that have been going through my mind all day -- "Time to move on."

Yes, the time has come. In the past few weeks, I've been thinking that I have to leave, but I've carried some guilt around. What kind of responsible person am I if I know where the problem lies, but I don't help my organization by trying to fix the problem? How would I feel if I moved on to another job without saying anything? Would I be asking myself what if?

So, today, after my boss pinned yet another of her major screw-ups on me, I tested the waters to see if there was any way to save the place. There isn't. It's doomed. That makes me very sad, but in a way, I'm relieved, because now I know I can totally separate myself from it. I can leave and never look back and not feel guilty because I didn't try.

Isn't that what "hitting the wall" is like with a good workout? You get to that excruciatingly difficult point where you are in pain and you don't think you can go on, and then all of a sudden you get the exhilaration and the clarity and the rush of adrenalin that pushes you forward.

Today was a terrible day at work, but it's all downhill from here. I'm ready to go. :)

Monday, November 01, 2004

When is later?

I'm such a procrastinator. I'm at work, but I'm procrastinating. I'm not doing my work because I got all worried about procrastinating my blogging. So here I am.

I procrastinated my blog-work so badly that I forgot my username and my password. So I had to go grovelling to the blog gods for my secret info.

Don't get me wrong -- I had lots to write about over the last few days. Sometimes I just procrastinate for the sake of procrastinating. I think it's because it's part of my psyche. I think I am a procrastinator, I tell people I'm just the WORST procrastinator; therefore, I must strive to be the best procrastinator ever!!

You see, not only am I the world's best/worst procrastinator, but I'm also a people-pleaser. Since the people who know and love me know that I am a procrastinator, they have come to expect that behaviour from me. Therefore, by not procrastinating, I'm disappointing my loved ones. And THAT is unacceptable!

The time change is getting to me, too. Yeah, that's a good excuse.

Maybe the cure for procrastination lies within the behaviour itself. Hmmm...

Yes! That's it! I will procrastinate with my procrastination. "I think I'll just do this work now and procrastinate later." Hallejula! I'm cured!!

I'll let you know how my treatment pans out....sometime.