Counting the Days

It is never easy watching a parent die. And even more difficult watching them suffer a slow and painful death that could take their life tomorrow or take them in another 40 years. And what can make it even worse, knowing that you will likely achieve that same level of agony at some point before you die, because you too have that same medical condition. But hopefully you will know you can choose…

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The Elephant in the Room called Bullying

People are talking about how to stop bullying. But the obvious elephant in the room is how to help those children who are driven to such desperate measures that taking the lives of others feels like the only option. As adults we cannot really communicate with the kids directly as it’s often considered adults just being condescending to them. So the reality is, we NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME COMMUNICATING WITH OUR KIDS. Not just about asking if they are bullied, but if they know if others are.

It’s not just a matter of our own kids and what they do that we should be concerned about. The Native Americans’ believed that raising a child was a community effort. And even though you might not think it’s your responsibility to take care of others’ kids, it is important to stop and think about those others kids and their capability to feel safe. Because those children not feeling safe leads to these desperate non-logical thinking events in an attempt to eliminate threats to themselves and that safety they need, including your child. So that means we as parents really have to be concerned as much about the happiness and well being of those children around our child, as of our own.

For example, when my son was being bullied in the 1st grade, instead of approaching the parent to address the issue, (being a former bullied child myself) I knew a few of the reasons that might drive a bully to do what he does, which includes feeling unsafe or wanted. So I invited the child to my son’s birthday party, despite my son’s asking why because the kid didn’t like him. Not only did the bullying END, but they became friends after that. Bullying issue all but ceased after that. My son told me just today says he regrets asking why I wanted to do that, and is grateful I taught him this important lesson. He now applies this thinking of how others might be feeling to those around him at his new school.

Obviously dependent on the age, the options of what a parent can do to address bullies changes. Before 4th grade the group play dates is an option, but after that, it becomes more a matter of helping bullied kids feel less alone. Because as a bullied child, it’s when they feel completely alone and the only way to protect themselves is to FIGHT BACK is when issues like lately occur. The easiest way to help your child be safe, is encourage them to get to know the “odd ball” kid who might not seem to have a lot of friends.

Now there is two trains of thought here. First off this encouragement helps that bullied kid (formerly me) feel less alone and safer in their environment, so at least they know someone cares if they live or die. Secondly, this getting to know others different from them helps your child learn to accept and welcome others that are different than their usual group of friends.

But as parents, ultimately we can’t do this for our kids, we need to teach them to do it for themselves. So stop and think the next time you are riding in the car talking about bullying and how wrong it is. However wrong the act of bullying might be, the best way to fix the problem is to help not only your child but the other children, by helping them feel less alone. So encourage your child to talk to the “odd ball” kid. Maybe suggesting they start a conversation about how bullying sucks/is stupid. Give them an easy starting message to get the ball rolling. Because it’s important to help ALL children, not just ours be happy and feel safe in their schools.

Another one of Life’s Secret But Still Abridge Manual’s tips

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Counting the Days

It is never easy watching a parent die. And even more difficult watching them suffer a slow and painful death that could take their life tomorrow or take them in another 40 years. And what can make it even worse, knowing that you will likely achieve that same level of agony at some point before you die, because you too have that same medical condition. But hopefully you will know you can choose your death, even if you can’t choose the manner you are delivered to it.

I remember going with my mother to the first pain specialist in 2001. “You have Parkinson’s,” the doctor said. Parkinson’s explained her stuttering and shaking, but it didn’t explain the random pain and the doctor wasn’t sure either. He handed her a prescription for Neurontin 5 mg to be taken once daily. “We’ll see if this helps with it and address it further if this doesn’t resolve the symptoms.”

It was four years, three doctors, one new diagnosis, and many  more medications added later before the pain specialists managing my mother had finally decided that the Neurontin was not the appropriate drug for her medical conditions. But at this point, there was one problem. My mother had been on it so long and was increased so many times that her dosage now sat at 800mg daily.

The doctor who had recently taken over her care stared appalled at her. He was concerned that the previous doctors allowed her to remain on this medication for so long without trying a different one despite the fact it obviously was not effective. He requested she try to use a half dosage of Neurontin and supplement with a potentially more effective new medication. She tried. But after 14 hours the agony from her lack of Neurontin and the side effects from the new medication nearly drove her to suicide. She pleaded I call the doctors because her body hurt so bad from the pain that she feared she would not be coherent enough to express her needs to the staff. I did so and they promptly stopped trying to alter her medicine regiments. It has since become a “treat the pain and sedate the soul” until the time comes. My mother lives out of a little box filled with pain pills and antidepressants to get day in and day out.

Holidays, she will visit the family for maybe an hour and then she is spent, emotionally and physically. She fears the burden of her presence on the family will bring others down. So she returns to her small apartment where she keeps her gun and her medications to keep her from using it. I’ve watched my mother go through tests, experimental procedures, and excruciating pain for the last 8 years. She has given up. And now I have it.

The biggest differences between her and I. She was improperly treated by doctor after doctor; we knew the proper precautions to avoid triggering mine or at least advancing it. She was one of the first people to really be treated with many of the experiments’ now known to make the condition worse; I have had a few years to have results of the tests be published to research online. And lastly, my mother fears being a burden on her family and would sooner be dead to us now while she still lives than feel she is causing us despair seeing her deteriorate. I don’t care if my family feels that way, because those of my family and friends who really care will be there as I will always be there for them. Even if I can’t physically do what I once could have.

I know my mother is going to die. And it might seem odd or maybe uncaring, but I hope it’s soon. The doctors are giving her so many pills, that my mother is barely a human anymore. I can count one of three things each time I try to call my mother; she’ll be pushing herself too hard because the pains subsided for a few hours, she will be exhausted from the pain from fighting the atrophy of her legs trying to use them, or nearly dead from taking a medication at the wrong time one of these times. I just hope that when she goes, it’s not because of the pain and because of the fact her body was done. I count each day as one more my son has gotten to have with her and one more he will have with me.

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