Phew.

Thank you sweet baby Jesus, Christmas is finally over.

My job makes us work the seven days leading up until Christmas. The way my days off played out, I worked 10 days in a row. The ten days before Christmas. Which for those of you who work in the retail slash service industry, you know that those are the ten worst goddamned days of the year. IN A ROW.

That does something to a person. Somethin uuugly.

It also seriously must compromise a person’s immune system, because guess what? I’m sick again. And not just a little cold, no no. That’s not how I roll.  Friday morning, Christmas Eve Eve, I woke up with some ear pain. As the day progressed, it got worse and worse. By Saturday morning, Christmas Eve, I was in quite a bit of pain. Even with enough ibuprofen in me to stun a yak, I was struggling. I got lucky and got out of work early, and raced straight to an UrgentCare. But they were already closed. So..I sat there, thinking well, first thing Monday morning, I’ll go in.

But it just kept getting worse and worse. It woke me up a bunch of times that night. I was really in a lot of pain. So..at 3:30 in the morning, I woke up John. “I’m going to the ER. I can’t take this shit another day. Might as well go now. I’ll be home by the time X wakes up.”

Well..I wasn’t. Apparently, earaches fall pretty low on the emergency scale.  Eventually, the doctor made his way over. Said “Yea..that’s doubly infected, inside and out. Here’s a stack of prescriptions. CVS is open, head on over.”

So, I did. Eardrops, antibiotics, and two kinds of pain meds. Oh yes. I made it home about 9:30. Xavier had pooped on his Christmas pajamas. Mom and John were waiting, Xavier’s excitement was palpable:

And Squirt could barely contain his overwhelming joy:

 But John was ready: (to start drinking. Ha!)

So, let’s start the show. We start with stockings. First, my mom looks through hers. Finds a chocolate orange. She’s pumped about it.

John tricked her into wearing that hat. I love this man.

Then we opened Xavier’s stocking. I handed him his first gift, expecting him drool as he dropped it on the floor. But instead, this happened.

DUDE. LOOK AT HIS LITTLE FACE!!!!

How cute is that? He’s all “Oh yes, this is relevant to mah interests!”

Stupid little set of teething keys dazzled his world. Babies are so funny.

I’d like to post more pictures, but stupid WordPress is being slow and if I keep waiting around to do that, I’ll never get this finished before Xavier wakes up.

So..the day after Christmas, John, Xavier and I made our yearly trip out to the stores to get the goods on next year’s Christmas decorations. My theme for next year is certainly more challenging than red & white was, but I think I did okay and I am pretty damned excited about it.

Also..next year, my mother has decided she wants a tree for her area also. So that’s TWO trees to decorate. I don’t think she’ll let me get all OCD on her tree. But I really wish she would. She’s probably going to get all obnoxious drunken fruity pebbles vomit on the damned thing just to drive me batty. *sigh*. I suspect she just doesn’t like next year’s colors. I’d tell you what they are, but then you’d try to copy me. So you have to wait, suckas.

Anyway. When I went to the ER Saturday morning, they told me if I’m not much better by Tuesday morning, I needed to go see my For Real Doctor. So..Tuesday morning I was still really struggling. I tried to go to work..and it was a fail. I couldn’t take the serious pain meds they gave me and drive or groom dogs, and trying to groom dogs in that much pain…well. It didn’t work out. So I left work and went to the doctor.  It was worse, my face was swollen, and now my left ear was aching and crackling.

And this is where we discuss bedside manner and it’s importance. A doctor should not take one look at a person’s ear and say “Oh no! It’s really bad. Like..REALLY bad. You need to go see a specialist. NOW. Right NOW. It’s reaaaally bad. I’m going to find you a specialist to go to, right now. This is serious, I’ve seen people go on IV antibiotics for less. YOUR BRAIN IS IN DANGER!”

And then disappear for 10 minutes.

Leaving me just…sitting there. Apparently, in grave brain danger.

So she comes back, gives me an address and a number and tells me to “Go right now. Just go NOW okay?”

OKAY I’M GOING!!! FUCK!

In a rare exception from my usual stubborn to the core independence, I had had John accompany me to this appointment, in case they wanted to dope me up or something.  So he was with me, thank God, because I was actually sort of scared. MY BRAIN WAS IN DANGER, for fuck’s sake.

So I went to the specialist. And waited for over an hour and a half before he wandered into the exam room. Which had a big scary dentist like horror movie chair in it with lights and pokey things. And there were all these instruments that looked like something out of the SAW movies. GAH.

I might have peed in the chair.

So he takes a look in my left ear, the newest arrival to the party in my head. He’s like “Yup, infected. We’ll flush that sucker out and give you some drops. NBD.” Then he looks in my right ear, and says “This is really bad.” He says my ear is completely clogged up, and the antibiotics they had given me in the ER were not strong enough. Since my ear was closed up, there was no way for the drops to get down in there, so they just kinda built up and gummed up the works even more. So..we’ll have to suction that out. Then flush. Then we’ll have to insert a wick so it can drain.

Oh..that sounds magical.

He says “It’s going to hurt. If it doesn’t hurt I’m not doing it right. Sorry.”

So he pulls out this thingy. It has a four inch or so metal tube that’s very narrow, like the inside of a ballpoint pen. He STICKS THAT IN MY FUCKING EAR. And then he turns it on. And it’s like the suction thingy at the dentist, only it’s metal and it’s in my ear. And it’s sucking the danger out of my brain.

It was unpleasant. But I have to say..it almost felt better. There was a lot of pressure in that sumbitch, and that relieved a good chunk of it. Then he goes around to my left side. Takes this giant metal syringe thing..and a metal vomit catcher pan, you know, the kidney bean shaped guy. And he comes straight for me. This ain’t gonna be nice.

But again, not that bad. He sticks the giant metal thing in my ear and it’s like a firehose jammed into my brain. The kidney bean was to catch the excess.

(Are you grossed out yet?)

SO THEN. He comes back to my right side. And he’s being very descriptive about what he’s going to do my ear. Which I appreciated, I don’t think I would’ve taken too kindly to someone just cramming stuff and shooting and suctioning on my orifices without an explanation. (That’s what she said.)

He shows me the wick he’s going to put in my ear. He shows me what he’s going to use to put it in with. Explains it’s purpose and when it needs to come out. I really liked this doctor.

(Dr Tarro at RI Ear Nose & Throat in Cumberland RI)

So then he tells me it’s gonna hurt again. And I brace myself. But it wasn’t that bad. Certainly no walk in the park. He says “Wow. You must have a really high threshold for pain.”  If you’ve read my birth story, you know why that is.

So..I did take the day off work today. I’m in quite a bit of pain,  and I can’t hear very well, and I’m still quite loopy from the Vicodin regimen. But I’m getting better, I can tell.

And one last thing before I end this, speaking of getting better. The Reglan is working like gangbusters for my milk supply, it has totally pulled me off the ropes in that battle and I’m in the fight again and swinging. When I first started breastfeeding,  I honestly wasn’t sure I’d last the week. But when I did, I said “Six weeks. I probably won’t be able to do it after I go back to work.” But I was. so I said “I’d like to make it til Christmas, that’s just about six months.” I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to make time to pump because it gets so insanely busy. But I did. I made it. So. I’m not going to set another goal. I’m going to keep going until I stop. So far, I have had zero side effects that I can’t handle. Hopefully that continues. HOORAY FOR BOOBIES!

Everything & Nothing.

I don’t really have anything specific I’d like to talk about this week, so I’m just going to do a general update. I just realized, just this second, that today is my last day off until Christmas. That’s a big ol’ FML for you. Had I realized that…oh well.

We have to talk about my hair, as it is the most important thing ever. (Sarcasm.) It has been falling out in clumps. Xavier has been ripping out what’s left. Birthing a behbeh does weird shit to your body. MY baby sucked the goddamned life out of me. He was like “Bitch I don’t have any hair, you don’t need any either.”

My hair has been a point of pride with me for a long time. I don’t have big boobs or a tiny waist or big velvety lips or long legs. I had pretty hair though.  But about six months into my pregnancy..it got duller. I changed shampoos roughly 120 times. Finally, towards the end of my pregnancy, I gave up, and into a ponytail/bun it went.

And there it stayed..pretty much until yesterday. It also refused to take color properly..so I couldn’t get it all one color to save my life. Finally..I decided it was time. Fuck it, cut it off.

Now..I’ve had my hair short before so it wasn’t total terror, I know it looks okay short. But last time, I had sideswept bangs, and I feel like it made me sorta look like a little kid. My six year old niece has the same haircut.

So this time I wanted something kinda grown up. Maybe even a little sassy and sexy? I don’t know.

I scoured pictures, got a few ideas..but really, you just have to have a good stylist that you trust. I was lucky enough to find one pretty quickly after I arrived here in Rhode Island. She’s the only one in the 401 who I’ll go to, and she has never done me wrong.

Sue, at Allure Salon in Warwick. GO.

Now that I did that little shout out, I will show you my before, during and after shots. My before picture is pretty embarassing. But it’s the most recent that shows my hair. I want to clarify and really, really, stress the fact that I was attending an UGLY SWEATER PARTY and I DO NOT WEAR SHIT LIKE THIS NORMALLY.  And neither does my friend Cara. Swear to God.

Ready? Okay!

So…yea, we’re idiots.  But don’t let it distract you. Notice the hair. THE HAIR.

That was Friday. So on Tuesday, I donated this to Locks of Love:

Sue participates in the program and donates hair for you, free of charge. Which I think is pretty dope.  This is the second time she’s lopped off and mailed in a metric fuckton of my hair.

I was very scared. And she just kept. fucking. cutting. I reminded myself that she’s never done me wrong. I reminded myself I look okay with short hair. I reminded myself that it grows back.

And when she took clippers to the back of my neck, my bladder released a little.

But..here is the final product:

 And I must say, I really, really dig it. Thanks again, Sue!

Now, moving on to other business. Xavier is AMAZING the shit out of me lately. Like..a week ago maybe? He rolled over, belly to back. He was a little behind on this, but his Dr insisted not to worry, that everyone is on their own timeline and he’ll get there. I was so proud. But then..a few nights ago, he started doing this:

Sitting up, all by his damned self. How bout that!

He’s doing okay with solids. Still struggling a lot with constipation, even after we’ve integrated fruits like prunes, pears and peaches..he gets bound up pretty badly, pretty often. Not sure what to do about that. I guess it’s normal to have an adjustment period, but man oh man, I feel so damned bad for the poor kid.

And..speaking of foods.  I went to my doctor today, and we talked about my breastfeeding & supply issues. I told her about my hair falling out, my milk supply going to hell, my body hoarding calories like I’m a starving Ethiopian..and she thinks I may have a thyroid issue. So she tested me for that, and I’ll know the results soon. But she also prescribed a drug called Reglan to help with my supply. One last ditch effort, and if it doesn’t help I can say with certainty that I absolutely tried everything. Even a drug that has been known to cause hallucinations and a disease called Tardive Dyskensia, and “rapid stomach emptying”. But if it’s the thing that works and buys me six more months of nursing, then bring on the hallucinations. Okay..maybe not. But formula IS freaking expensive. Just saying…maybe a few hallucinations aren’t so bad.

(That my friends, is desperation talking. And I’m kidding.)

One more thing I want to discuss before I wrap this shit up. In late October, I wrote a post titled “Six Months.” It was a two parter, about my feelings surrounding the death of my best friend Jimi. It was insanely hard for me to wrap words around the things I was feeling, and even harder for me to put them out into the world. I have recieved a LOT of feedback about these posts, from his friends and family, my friends and family, and our friends that are like family. And overwhelmingly, what people are saying to me is “Ditto. I feel the same freaking way.”

Now, here’s the thing..ever since I wrote that..no. Even as I was writing it, I could feel the healing starting. Believe you me, I am never, ever going to be the same again. But talking about it plainly and honestly was evidently precisely what I needed to do. I really haven’t talked much about my feelings since he died, and my reasons for that are kinda stupid. 1. I felt like I was being sort of whiny, and I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I do want to be pleasant company and pleasant company doesn’t spread melancholy around. No one wants to be Debbie Downer. 2. I don’t want to use the word arrogant..but it almost was. I didn’t feel like anyone could possibly understand the pain I felt. People would say “Oh I know how you feel..” and I would think “NO YOU DON’T! YOU DON”T KNOW! IF YOU KNEW I COULD SEE YOU’RE BROKEN INSIDE LIKE ME AND YOU’RE NOT!”

Finally, the few people I felt were close enough to me to actually speak frankly to about my feelings, were the same people I worried about hurting if I were to say “No one’s ever understood me like he did.” or “He was my most loyal friend.” By saying things like that, while true..I worried that I would be saying “YOU don’t understand me. YOU are not loyal.” But that’s not how it was, of course. I don’t hang out with people who don’t get me, or disloyal sonsobitches. It’s just that those were HIS strengths….and other friends have other strengths that are equally valuable to me and I would certainly mourn the loss of those just as much. But that’s a lot to try to explain, and rather than do that, I would simply clam up.

My point, and I do have one is this: Ever since I put those words out into cyberspace, I feel better.

I didn’t realize how damaging it was to my soul to be repressing it. That’s why it was leaking out at random times, and I was bursting into tears over music, any music, all music. I would be standing there washing a dog at work and start to cry and try to hide it before anyone caught me. I was bursting at the goddamned seams with grief. So when I opened the valve I released a lot of pressure, and the healing is beginning.

I can listen to music now. New music only. Music that has nothing to do with anything, is totally shallow and topical and light. But no more talk radio. No more random bursts of tears. I still think about him every day, and I always will, I know. But it’s not so bitter and dangerous anymore.

So if you are one of those people that called me, emailed me, texted me, saying “Me too”..my advice to you is to find that damned valve and GET IT OUT. Go see a counselor, start a private blog that no one can read. Or be an attention whore like me and let everyone read it. I’ll read it. Figure it out, scream it out, swear it out, sing it out. Do what you gotta do, but letting that repression fester in your soul is going to spoil you, like a bad apple in the barrel.

That’s all for today.