Archive for December 2011

Surgery successful

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The above picture is an x-ray view of the new hardware that now exists inside my son's clavicle. It kind of looks like a centipede, huh? Well, it's a little more complicated than that but I am so glad this procedure is behind us. He is resting comfortably thanks to some strong pain medication and his doting nurse.

Last Sunday when this happened, word spread like wildfire thanks to the younger brother on Facebook. As we were leaving the E.R., I got a text from a friend , "How is Quinn??" I had not talked to anyone so I knew Ian was the bearer of bad news--to the entire social networking world. As the week went on, messages of well wishes and offers of prayer poured in from local friends and neighbors. Classmates stopped by with homework assignments, teachers emailed to check on him and even his former youth group leader came over with a pizza and a movie and spent the afternoon with him. It warmed my heart to see how very loved he was. I commented to my husband, "These are the perks of living in a small community." I haven't always shared that sentiment. But isn't it funny how when it works in our favor, we are all about it?

This got me thinking about celebrities and how they have no problem making millions off the world but when a misfortune happens in their lives (typically a divorce), we all need to respect their privacy. As much as I tend to criticize this hypocrisy in them, am I really that different? I love feeling supported by our community and the perks that come with that part of the small town lifestyle. Those are the days where being a big fish in a small pond works to my advantage. But what about when something happens that I'm not so proud of or that I don't want exposed to everyone else? That's the time I wish for my publicist to issue a statement requesting that everyone mind their own business. Who's the hypocrite now?

Other than this "Ah-ha moment," Quinn's accident has been full of so many other silver linings too. From the minute his collarbone snapped in half, I have seen God's hand on this entire process. First, the friend he was with on the mountain that day happened to have parents who are in the sports medicine field. They are good friends with the local orthopedic doctor who happens to specialize in collarbones and shoulders. They put in a call to him and he fit us in the next morning. His personality and demeanor were a perfect fit with Quinn's. Second, as selfishly as I was looking forward to two weeks off before the kids were out for their Christmas break, I'm so glad this happened when it did so I could be available to take care of him. Is there really a better investment of my time? Third, he gets the entire vacation to recover instead of having to miss two weeks of school--he's already finding that making up the schoolwork is going to take forever. Finally, it was nice to watch Ian and Ben show deep concern for their big brother. They called or texted us all day while we sat in the waiting room on the day of surgery. Typically we would all be going many different directions in the week leading up to Christmas but everyone has slowed down and enjoyed being at home and being together. This has been the biggest blessing of all.


Even though we're innocent

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yesterday afternoon I was finally getting some Christmas tasks crossed off my to-do list. It was just me and Millie having a lazy Sunday while the big boys were tearing it up on the mountain. Little did I know that my oldest was about to be torn up BY the mountain. A seasoned snowboarder, he and his buddy were taking in one last run when someone much slower got in front of him and caused an abrupt stop on his part. Only the stop then turned into a flip which culminated with a collision of his left shoulder and a very icy patch of snow.

Without even an x-ray or medical training of any sort, anyone could determine his collarbone was broken. Badly broken. The bone pushing up under the skin gave it away for me. As we sat in the E.R. waiting to hear his fate, I thought about the sense of loss he was feeling knowing his first winter with a season's pass had come to a screeching halt. It makes it easier to process those losses when we've made decisions that have had a direct effect on the outcome. But he did nothing wrong. He wasn't being crazy or risky--not that this never happens. He didn't cut anyone off or break any rules and yet he has to pay a hefty price in spite of it.

I didn't go down the path of "this isn't fair" but instead I started thinking about how this has been a theme in my life this Fall season: having to pay (literally and figuratively) for something that wasn't my fault. Back in October, I got out of my car in the Walgreens parking lot during a terrible windstorm. Just as I opened my driver's door, a gust of wind flung it out of my hand and perfectly into the mirror of the car parked beside mine. My door hit the passenger side mirror so perfectly that it shattered in a million pieces and blew away. The unit was fine but the mirror was gone. I left a note and went inside. As I got to the register, there was a little old man holding my note with a bewildered look on his face. I went up to him and identified myself as the author and breaker of his mirror. He was appreciative of my honesty and felt sure it wasn't going to be a costly repair. Less than two hours later I got a call informing me that he'd already been to two body shops and the total damage was $280!!! It was hard to write that check knowing I didn't willfully cause his mirror to break.

Two days later I walked out to my car in the driveway only to notice a huge dent in my front bumper that I know wasn't there before. I retraced my steps and figured it happened in the high school stadium parking lot during the last home football game. No note was left behind. Although it was covered by insurance, I still had to pay a $300 deductible toward the repair. Again, I was innocent but still had to pay the price--and write another check.

The last incident that came to mind was when Millie (our dog) had a bladder infection in September that was treated with antibiotics. It returned in November with a vengeance. This time they wanted to do a culture to determine if the strain was resistant to what was previously prescribed. Sure enough it was and, more than likely, the original infection had never left her body. Apparently we were supposed to bring her back after the first round of medicine to make sure the infection was gone. We don't recall hearing those instructions although it's highly likely they were given. The culture showed a bacteria that should respond to the second round of meds and we brought her back in for yet another culture to determine it worked. No dice. We went back again for another urinalysis and culture and they suggested that perhaps their office may have contaminated her urine sample so the charge would be half. Sure enough, the last culture found no bacteria and most likely they were at fault but a full admission wasn't given. The cost? Again, close to $300. And again, neither we nor Millie did anything wrong.

So where am I going with this? No, I'm not just venting and I'm really not angry about it because it's made me realize something greater. Jesus also did nothing wrong. He was completely innocent and yet he still had to pay the price for our decisions. He still went to the cross knowing this. What a beautiful, humbling reminder of His sacrifice.

No, I'm not happy about the time and money spent on that which I view as frivilous. No, I'm in no way excited that my son has to endure a painful surgery, a long recovery and a season's pass down the drain. But in the grand scheme of things, they are small annoyances in comparison to what I have been given. And what better time than this Christmas season to be reminded of this.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I remember last October when I had to write my first paper for an English Lit class. Because of my parental responsibilities, I couldn't get to it until 3 days before it was due and I was utterly stressed out. A mom of one of Ben's buddies saw the look on my face when I dropped him off at their house the night I was starting the paper. As I walked to my car, she yelled: "Remember, BDP!" Huh? Translation: Big. Deep. Breath. Over a year later, I've never forgotten that phrase and found myself muttering it under my breath (pun intended) all quarter as deadline after deadline loomed overhead. On Monday I was able to not only say it out loud but put it into practice because .......Fall quarter is officially behind me!!! Ahhhhhhhh.....I can feel the stress leaving my body moment by moment.

I've posted intermittently about my quarterly musings, most of them tongue-in-cheek about my classmates and our generational differences. Probably because that's been the most fun to discuss. And also because, after the warnings we received about posting personal info about our teaching experiences on social networking sites, I was completely paranoid that I would never find a job or, worse yet, be kicked out of the program. Even if I talked in code, I was sure "the powers that be" were perusing the Internet in search of violators. I now understand a little better who they were warning and why they were warning them. I'm not out to disparage anyone or vent over my grades or assignments. You have a little more perspective the second time around. All that said, I definitely need to do a "download" of the last 12 weeks' highlights.

Thumbs Up:

  • My "middle schools" class: with only 6 of us in there, everyone of whom was over 5 years post-baccaleaurate, the lively, mature discussions made showing up at 8 a.m. worth it every Tuesday and Thursday.

Thumbs Down:

  • It was the only class that required a meeting during finals week. I did my final presentation and thought I was officially done. On the bus ride home, my classmate informed me that there were grading guidelines posted on our website--of which I had no clue. I missed doing the part that was 50% of the grade. OOPS!! It turned positive when I emailed my professor and explained my ignorance. She extended a lot of grace and let me do an "addendum" after the fact.


  • Having an actual teaching experience in a middle school setting. Planning lessons and spending time with the students was invigorating. My professor's daughter and my son were students at the school so we had an affinity with each other over our love for the building and its teachers. My supervising teacher was Quinn's 6th grade teacher which was another plus.


  • Trying to team teach with a classmate from another endorsement area whom I had no relationship with. And learning later,from someone in another class, that my teaching partner was not fond of me and referred to me not by name but by "that older person." OUCH!


  • Having a professor who was a professional storyteller with a British accent. She brought such enthusiasm and fun to the class and gave amazing feedback to our performances. My classmates were so creative and passionate about their subject areas. Every week I grew to love them more.


  • It was only a two-credit class but we regularly met for 3-4 hours per week, in the middle of the day. And knowing I won't share classes with but one or two of them next quarter makes me sad. Also, I was a nervous wreck all four times I had to get up in front of the class. Crazy.


  • atching my family adapt to their mom and wife being preoccupied by her schoolwork and completely step up and show support and encouragement. Having the boys regularly ask me how class was and Trey taking over carpool while I rushed off for my early morning classes warmed my heart. I found out yesterday that when they shared prayer requests in Ben's class last week, he asked his classmates and teacher to pray for his mom's finals. Double "thumbs up!"


  • Having to say no to "can you have lunch with me?" or "can you pick me up from practice ?" or "did you make it to the store today?" and regularly accepting a messy house, unfinished laundry and cereal for dinner.

It's been a great adventure and one that presses me into uncomfortable places and out of that comfort zone which is always a good thing. Looking forward to a month of no deadlines, clean clothes, nutritious meals and quality time with all my guys. Until I disappear again on January 3rd.