Friday, July 31, 2015

My Little Hero

I was in the shower when Zane barged in. I knew it was Zane because suddenly the room was louder than normal.

"MOM!!!"  He shouted.

"WHAT??!!" My heart was racing at the sudden interruption. "WHAT IS IT?"  Larry was outside mowing the grass, and I thought something had happened involving lopped off limbs and lots of spurting blood.  Yes, I am one of those mothers. 

"mmmmmmmmm,"  Zane said, suddenly deciding to speak in a normal tone of voice.

"WHAT?" I succinctly indicated that he should repeat himself.

"IT SAYS CHILD ABDUCTION EMERGENCY!!!!

Dammit. Zane has his own tablet, and it is connected to Larry's account, so we can monitor what the boy tries to download.  Both of us are set up to receive emergency messages, such as tornadoes, flooding, and Amber Alerts. Zane can see those.  My mind raced. How to explain this to a seven year old mind, that there are people in the world who do horrible things to children? How do I explain that without actually saying it out loud, which makes it more real?

"Zane that means that someone stole a child, and they want you to be on the lookout for them so they can be returned to their parents."

I went for the simplest explanation I could come up with, and Zane seemed to be satisfied, as he slammed the door on his way out.   I finished my shower in relative peace, only to have the door burst open on me as I was drying off.  Zane stood in the doorway, his face solemn.

" I did not see them out front!"

It took me a minute to realize that my son had run out in the front yard to look for this poor child. My little heart swelled up with pride that he would want to help.   I took a moment to get a little teary about that, then got it together, got dressed, and got my phone.

Zane and I looked at the Amber Alert together.  I explained that reading the alert would help him to know more about what was happening, if he really wanted to help.  We read that the child was taken from another city that was not near to us, and then I explained how he could look for the license plate of the car just in case the driver showed up here. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

School Supply Shenanigans

I move much more slowly than I now than I normally did these days, but I am trying to get back on my feet again.  The chemo left me feeling weak and tired and while I am not interested in spending my life in one of those motorized wheelchairs right now, I have had to face reality and make adjustments.  My usual, night before, last minute frenzy of school shopping will not be on the menu for this year.  I've had to actually think ahead.

My son hasn't been happy about it, but I went ahead and ordered all of the special shirts for his school uniform that he will need.  They came in the mail in June.  I went online to download the school calendar, so that I might be aware of any school holidays or teacher workdays that may not coincide with my school calendar.  And I downloaded the school supply list, hoping to get those items purchased well before the first day of school.

And I had a minor coronary.  What in the name of Harvard were these teachers thinking?

Zane is going to be in the second grade. Still learning to read, not yet reading to learn. They need supplies, and the parents are expected to provide them.  We aren't supposed to label any of the supplies, so they will be communally shared.

I don't mind that.  I understand that second graders need pencils.  But 36 "special" Ticonderoga #2 pencils? Why not just generically random #2 pencils  Why does a seven year old child need that many pencils, anyway?  I still have a few pencils from high school.

And crayons.  I understand that elementary school students use crayons.  But Zane is supposed to have FOUR boxes of Crayola crayons.  As well as two boxes of Crayola washable markers.  And colored pencils.  How much coloring is a kid supposed to do to go through that many Crayolas?

I understand that kids get sick, and that kids can become little snot factories during allergy season.  Zane's school supply list calls for tissues.  But EIGHT boxes?   In a classroom of twenty children, that is 160 boxes!  Even in an allergy-prone area like ours, it seems excessive.

What I did not see on the school supply list was notebook paper, or spiral notebooks, or journals. I'm hoping that last year's group of second graders supplied that particular need.  Second graders need to write; it helps with eye hand coordination as well as learning.  Even if second graders do most of their work on iPads, they will still need to write.

Am I being unreasonable?   I don't think so.  When I added all the items to the Amazon basket, the total was around 150 dollars.  If this is how much second grade costs, I don't even want to think about high school!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

And Now For The Radiation

In between the end of my chemo, genetic testing, and getting my mediport taken out, I've had to prepare for the next phase of cancer treatment: radiation.

We followed the directions to the door where a big sign said ONCOLOGY,  me out of breath and needing to sit down.  (I try very hard to walk from the car to wherever, but that usually means that I need to rest a moment afterwards.) No one was behind the reception area when we walked in, but there was a sign-in clipboard up front at the desk.  I started to write my name.

"Who are you here to see?" A nicely dressed older man came from nowhere to stand behind the reception desk. 

"The Radiologist," I huffed, still out of breath. I knew that wasn't the right word, but close enough, I thought.  I was concentrating on trying to write my name and stay on the line, which has become very important to me now that I can't feel the tips of my fingers.

"We do not have radiologists here at this clinic," the man said, his tone patronizing. His name tag indicated that he held the lofty title of "Office Coordinator".  "We have radiation oncologists. Is that who you were needing to see?"

I just stared at him like he was an alien, obviously a foreigner on the planet Cancer. Are you talking to a cancer patient like that?  I had just walked into an office with ONCOLOGY on the door, right?  You're lecturing ME?  Really?      

I nodded. 

"Well, that's the wrong sign in for the radiation oncologist.  His sign-in is over there."  He pointed to a clipboard hidden away behind a sign about health insurance cards, where absolutely nobody without x-ray vision would see it.

I just stared at him.  Really? 

I signed the correct clipboard, and moved to the waiting room to sit down.  My husband looked at me, then reached for my hand. 

"I thought for sure that you were going to punch him."

"I wanted to."

We waited quietly, and I thought about how easy it is to treat people you don't know poorly.  I've been guilty of that a time or two.  But this is different.

The way I see it, if the guy was willing to speak to me like he did, then he's likely upset a number of other patients seeking treatment.  Maybe not intentionally. I'll give him the benefit of that.  He's likely hurt little old ladies or elderly men who can't remember as well as they used to because of chemo, dementia, or other issues, I don't know.   That's not important.  What is important is that those scared, frustrated people be treated with respect, not derision, when they get confused and say the wrong word.

I'll be seeing this guy five days a week for six weeks.  He will know better by the time I am done.