Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greetings from the bowels of a rehab hospital

My sincerest apologies for completely neglecting this blog. I can only defend myself by saying that these last few weeks have been a very draining and frightening experience. I’ve spent most of my time at my mother’s bedside contemplating what lays ahead for her. I simply cannot believe how quickly one’s life can profoundly change, but her experience was a wake-up call I didn’t need.

My mother has always been a very physically active, sharp-as-a-tack woman who neither looks or acts her age, but in a split second, the time it took her to take a step back to get out of the way of a little tot on a bicycle and trip over a landscape rock, her life changed dramatically. How much and how permanently is still getting tweaked by the experts on a weekly basis, but the prognosis is getting rosier with each opinion.

For me, it was last Saturday when I knew with any certainty that she was going to really be ok. I sat on the edge of her bed and had the most wonderful conversation with her about nothing in particular and felt totally exhilarated by it. She was as close to her old animated self as I have seen her in weeks. And that blank stare that has so haunted me for weeks is gone, replaced with a sparkle I feared might have been permanently squelched the day of the accident. And if I needed any more proof of her recovery, it was when she was given permission to go to the dining room pushing her wheelchair instead of riding in it. Not only did she do a great job making the long walk, but I had to keep reminding her to stop taking her hands off the handles to wave and talk to all of her new best friends at the rehab place (those Italians – they don’t know how to talk without their hands…). I now know I have my mom back, I don’t need anymore expert opinions.

We still have a long way to go, but now I can finally exhale in relief and start celebrating the fact that we are planning her recovery (make that full recovery) and not her funeral. There is so much that we take for granted in life. My mother’s accident stopped me in my tracks. This whole experience has been an opportunity for me to take serious stock of my own life and all the truly wonderful things I’ve taken for granted, which doesn’t exactly provide great material for a blog dedicated to Seething. In fact it is damn near impossible to seethe when I am so busy being counting my blessings, which of course include an amazing husband and three amazing kids, one of them gay.


Dear Senator Larry Craig from Idaho

Please consider today your lucky day. Why? Well there are actually 2 reasons:

One: I am not going to join the thousands of others who have already piled on at your expense even though I am so disgusted with you I could spit. Nope, today I’m going to use great restraint and forgo the seething rant and instead just say thank you.

(But for those who visit this site for the seething rants, there are others who have already done the ranting and seething for me: Obsideon Wings, Daily Dish, Balloon Juice, Carpetbagger, Shakesville, Bark Bark Woof Woof, Pam’s House Blend, Americablog, Republic of T., BC, etc.)

Yep, that’s right Senator Craig, you heard me right, I want to thank you. You see, you have just shown millions of parents who have gay and lesbian children why they absolutely, positively MUST encourage their children to come out and proudly be who they are. You have also confirmed why all parents should not only accept their gay and lesbian children but embrace and love their gay and lesbian children just exactly as they are.

And Senator Craig, you have done a marvelous job of showing millions of parents just how toxic and harmful the closet is and why all parents need to encourage their gay and lesbian children to come out into the sunshine and proudly celebrate who they are. I mean after all, no truly good and loving parent would ever wish upon their beloved child the pitiful, tortured, hypocritical, and pathetic existence you have endured for decades.

But that is not all you have done for the gay and lesbian community Senator. In addition to all of the above, you have also confirmed for the many parents like me who have embraced their gay and lesbian children from the start what great gifts unconditional love and acceptance are for our children. Could there be any greater family or Christian value than that Senator?

Two: And the second reason this is your lucky day Senator is that you have now been handed the opportunity to come out into the sunshine yourself. Take it sir and don’t look back. Let today be the beginning of the rest of your life.

Yes, you’ll have some pretty big regrets you’ll have to deal with along the way, such as the long trail of people you’ve hurt with your sinful deceptions and hypocrisies, the many years you’ve wasted trying to be something God never intended you to be, and the family members you’ve lied to and deceived, but you cannot go on living this twisted, demented existence any longer, you must be true to yourself.

Try it, you’ll be glad you did. And besides, you will never find the intimacy, love, and acceptance you so crave in the stalls of airport bathrooms. That can only be found when you finally admit who you are: a gay man who is just as worthy of love and respect as your heterosexual counterparts. Share

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hey hets what you afraid of??

From Andrew Sullivan one of his readers writes:

Reading your marriage posting made me cry today. You summed up so well what we all feel now that this is a reality. It made me realize today as a young gay man living with my boyfriend in Massachusetts how special it is that I think about him proposing to me one day. Ten years ago no one even dreamed of that. Now someone at 23 years old gets to live the same boring life and have the exact same hopes and desires as all of his straight friends. It is something I could never imagine when I was in high school crying to God to change me.

C’mon people, what the heck is so scary about that young man having the same hopes and dreams you do? How can you read the above letter and feel like your own marriage could be threatened by this young man? How can you deny him what you already have? And lastly, how can you not feel a lot of shame for what we have done to a whole group of people simply because we are ignorant and homophobic (because there is really no other reason that makes sense)? Really now, let’s all stop acting like a bunch of asses and treat all Americans equally. You know this whole jig was a GOP crock of sh*t used to whip the Religious Right into a frenzy, nothing more, nothing less. Do we really want to play this game anymore?

So let’s let this young man’s dreams come to fruition by making this a reality for all gays and lesbians. It is time.


Slowly but Surely we move forward

Just a quick update and then I am off to see my mom.

(This part was written on Friday):

Progress has felt very slow, but then again when you are there day in and day out for hours upon hours, it is hard to step back and look at the big picture. And up until yesterday, I wasn’t.

Yesterday, my mother finally had a nurse she’d had before but much earlier in her hospital stay (if I had any complaints at all about her care at the hospital it would be lack of “continuity of care”. With a different nurse every day, it is impossible to get to know a patient and gauge that patient’s progress). When she walked in and saw my mom she was shocked and very pleased at the progress she’d made. Her reaction sent seismic jolts of happiness through my whole body. I’d been so entrenched in the day-to-day minutia that I’d lost sight of the big picture.


I am now back up in the Phoenix area. The Neurosurgeon released her later in the day on Friday with a bed secured at an in-patient rehab facility up closer to where I live. I cannot tell you the relief. First, knowing now that my mom is now on the mend and that this 2-3 weeks of rehab will be that bridge back to a normal life and second, being back on home turf and closer to my husband and daughter and brothers.

They keep telling me it will be a slow and frustrating process but they don’t know my momma. She is a fighter and it doesn’t hurt that she was extremely fit when she had this accident. She was a star basketball player in her younger years and has worked out at a gym 4- 5 days a week for decades (and we won’t even talk about her competitive spirit). The physical therapists all say the same thing: “Wow, you are strong.” Truer words have never been said. She is the strongest, most optimistic person I have ever known. And that will all play into her recovery.

I don’t need any more predictions on her prognosis. I know she is going to get better because she wants it so badly. I walked into her room yesterday after she was all done with her physical and occupational therapy for the day figuring she’d be exhausted, which she was, but the minute she saw me she told me to grab the walker in the corner so we could go for a walk. This may not sound like a big thing, but a mere 3 or 4 days earlier she was so confused and hallucinatory (is this a word?) that the nurses had her bed surrounded my mats rigged with alarms that would go off if any pressure was put on them. They did this because she was so confused and out of it that she did not know where she was or why she was even where she was and thus kept trying to get out of the bed even though she could not yet walk.

So now I’m completely focused on the big picture and it is slowly looking better and better. Head injuries are a scary thing because it makes prognosis a difficult thing to predict, but I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that my mom will make a full recovery and be back to her normal lifestyle very soon. And I will be back to what I was doing very soon as well: Seething over the very same things I was before this accident happened. And unfortunately, I don’t think the prognosis for all of that is going to improve any time soon.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Greetings from a hospital room in Tucson Arizona

Well, I came back from my three-week break in Seattle full of vim and vinegar and ready to start blogging again. But as I was soon to find out, even the best-laid plans can go awry and mine certainly did.

Late last Friday night I got a call from my mom's husband (they married 4 years ago and somehow referring to him as my stepdad doesn't feel right since he never played a father role in my life -- so I prefer to call him my mom's husband instead) informing me that she had taken a very bad spill and hit her head pretty hard on a rock outside in the yard. He said she was going to require a bunch of stitches to the back of her head and the hospital was going to keep her overnight just for observation. He assured me it would be ok to wait until morning to make the 2-hour drive down to Tucson. (And for anyone who has ever made this drive, I think you'd understand my relief at being able to wait til daylight to make the drive.) So I reluctantly agreed, feeling a little better that she was at least in the hospital under the watchful vigilance of doctors and nurses.

The next morning I left early and rushed down to Tucson. The drive went well until I got to the outskirts of the city (which is where they live). The night before they'd had torrential downpours (it's "monsoon" season after all) and as is usually the case in Arizona, dried washes can almost instantaneously become raging rivers, which ultimately flood many of the streets making it very difficult to get to your ultimate destination. I started to get panicked. I knew one, maybe two different ways to get to their house and both required using roads I knew would probably be washed out. And I was right. But eventually I made it to the house, a little rattled and very worried about my mom.

I pulled quickly into my mother and her husband's driveway and rushed to the door and rang the doorbell, fully expecting to get NO answer because my mother's husband would most assuredly be at the hospital waiting to bring her home. And so when no one answered, I figured that to be the scenario. But something told me that maybe I should at least use my cell phone to call their house phone before making another harrowing trek to the hospital through detours and washed out roads. And guess what? He answered the house phone! He hadn't heard the doorbell. He hadn't gone to the hospital. And he hadn't called to even inquire how she was. He was just too shaken I guess to do anything.

So when I said to him that we should head on over to the hospital that very minute, I fully expected that he would readily go with me, relieved that I was there to accompany him. He was definitely relieved I was there, but he didn't want any part of going to the hospital. He said he didn't want to bother them at the hospital and that he was sure they would make him wait in the waiting area and tell him nothing.

Ok, confession time: I'm frustrated at this point. I'm getting really upset. And I'm not really feeling like I have the time to assure him that it would be ok to go to the hospital and inquire about his wife/my mom. I'm also getting the feeling that he was not going to go with me no matter how many reassurances I gave him. And I knew that I needed to get over there and find out what was going on and how she was doing. And in addition to all of the above, I had heard from reliable sources (my mom) that he could be a very stubborn man, so I decided it would be best for me to go on over, find out what the situation was, and then either bring her home or go back and get him and bring him to see her.

He seemed quite relieved when I told him my plan. So I made sure he was going to be ok and then I raced off to the hospital, encountering two detours, but eventually getting there without getting too lost.

I went to the information desk and gave them my mother's name. They said she was still in the Emergency room. I said, "no, you don't understand, she came in 16 hours ago" and they said, "yes, we know, and she is in the Emergency room." I couldn't believe my ears. All I could envision was my poor momma laying on a gurney in some hall moaning and disoriented and feeling completely abandoned. I was heartsick and angry with myself for not having come the night before.

So off I went, with my security badge and directions on how to navigate through the maze of halls that would eventually lead me to two wooden doors that would electronically open and let me in once I got the lady behind the secured glass window to buzz me in. Oy, was this a prison or a hospital?

Once I got into the Emergency room a nurse at the desk led me back to the small dark room in which they had my mother. She explained to me that they had kept her in the emergency area because they were waiting for a bed in ICU to open up.

ICU??? Really ICU???? Oh my God, I'd really let my mom down!!!

I was starting to have a panic attack. What in the world was going on? I thought she was just going to need some stitches and then everything was going to be ok. But alas, that was definitely NOT the case. And as the nurse explained, she had suffered a brain injury as well and though the stitches and gash were on the back of her head, she'd fallen so hard that she had some bleeding on the front of the brain. This happened as a result of the brain sloshing around within the skull when she fell.

Well it is now Monday night. She has been moved out of ICU and she is slowly getting better. She has had 3 CAT Scans and things are looking like they will be ok. I'm told the prognosis is good and the bleeding has thankfully stopped. She is expected to fully recover. They just don't know at this point when she will be able to come home.

I'm sick to death that she has had to go through this, but so grateful for the people who got her through it. There simply aren't words to describe how indebted I feel to all those absolutely WONDERFUL people who have cared for my mother through this very scary ordeal. So to the paramedics (about whom my mother could not say enough --- are you reading this Ray?) who took her to the hospital, to the ER doc who looked like Doogie Howser, to the Neurosurgeon who came in on Saturday morning dressed like he'd just gotten off a plane from Maui, to all the compassionate and caring nurses who treated my mother as they would their own, I just want to say Thank You so much for taking such good care of my mom. I am overwhelmed by your dedication, professionalism, and compassion.

And to everyone else, Seething Mom is temporarily out of commission until Seething Mom's mom is back in commission. Errrrr you know what I mean… Share

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Some thoughts while roaming Seattle streets

We had a wonderful time in Seattle. The weather was sublime and a welcome break from the Arizona heat and monsoons. Seattle is such a fun city to visit. There is so much to do and everything is within walking distance. It is a wonderfully progressive and diverse city with so much to see. I am really excited for our daughter who will be joining her brother there for school in September, but I am dreading that trip back up there to help her move into the dorm. She is our third and last child and this event will definitely mark the end of an era for my husband and me.

My relationship with my daughter has been an up and down rollercoaster for the last 4 years. I am told that is a fairly normal description of a typical mom-teenage daughter relationship, but it doesn’t make the down parts of the relationship any easier to take. And it is way different than the type of dynamic I had going with her two older brothers during the same time period in their lives.

I suppose the ups and downs my daughter and I have weathered took me by such surprise because I did not have that kind of relationship with my own mother. But again, I am told by those in the know that my experience with my mom was the exception and not the rule.

Now that is not to say that things were always peachy keen with my sons. They weren’t. But boys are just so different than girls and somehow, they were just easier to take when they were pushing and testing boundaries. I cannot explain why that is, but that’s just the way it was --- at least for me. Just ask my husband who never felt the need to run for cover when things got testy with either of our boys and me but somehow always had a good disappearing act going when it came to my daughter and me.

But when I look back on my relationship with my gay son (before I knew he was gay), I am especially amazed that things between us weren’t more contentious. Being a teenager is hard enough under normal circumstances, but he was dealing with so much more. And, he was doing it all alone. I wonder now how the heck he did it and still remained a decent person to be around. I don’t think I could have done it. And I admire him all the more for it, especially now after seeing how my daughter handled the normal teenage dramas in her life ---- everyone around her felt some of her pain.

I’m glad my son’s story has had a happy ending, but my heart breaks for the many kids whose stories don’t have that “happily ever after” finish. Whenever I get a letter from someone telling me that they are scared to death to come out to their parents, I simply cannot in good conscience tell them that everything will be ok. I now know that there are many parents who’d rather throw their child away than accept them for who they are. I cannot understand that, and I have to work very hard to keep from judging them with extreme harshness. But to go patting myself on the back for accepting my son unconditionally would be completely out of line. I knew he didn’t have any more control over his sexual orientation than I had over mine.

So why go all humble and “aw shucks” now about our son’s easy coming out story? Well because my daughter was another story altogether. I have really mourned the fact that our last four years have been so tumultuous. I had a really tough time accepting my daughter’s antics as normal teenage angst and as a result, I feel her final chapter at home was way more bumpy than it should have been (at least in my mind). This breaks my heart. And it certainly didn’t fit the storybook ending I had in my head of her final years at home.

But some of the most valuable lessons come out of some of the most unexpected chapters in our life. Our children are not extensions of ourselves. And that is where so many of us parents get into trouble. We have these preconceived notions of who our children should be and when they don’t meet those expectations, it can be tough. And for some parents, it can be devastating.

18 years ago I sat in a pediatrician’s office complaining about my (gay) son’s horrendous and most embarrassing temper tantrums. That was when I got some of the best advice I’d ever gotten. He told me that some of the very things that were making me want to squash that child like a grape would be the very qualities later in life that would make that child an amazing success. Now I didn’t want to squash my son like a grape when he told us he was gay, but I can tell you this, I wouldn’t change anything about him now --- even if I could. He is an amazing young man. But I must also make a confession at this point, I have on occasion wanted to squash a certain daughter like a grape …


Random Thoughts: Fox News, Lobotomies, etc.

I am back. In fact I’ve been back for a little over a week. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t ready to jump back into it all when I got home. It was so wonderful being away from computers and news for such a prolonged period that I just wasn’t ready for it to end. So I used this past week at home to catch up on doctor’s appointments and various other things that had been on my “to do” list from before we left.

Well, today was a nightmare. I had a doctor’s appointment. He was running waaaay behind. And there I was, stuck in the waiting room with Fox News blaring on a flat screen tee vee in the corner and a bunch of very disgruntled patients, all of them glancing at their watches and sighing these exaggerated sighs meant to send a signal to the poor girl at the receptionist desk that the natives were getting restless.

I too was getting irritable, but more with the damn tee vee than with the poor girl behind the desk. It has been a long time since I have watched Fox News and I now know why. It was an unending loop of pretty women presenting National Enquirer-like stories in a manner that was supposed to “look” like serious news. I felt like I was going to go out of my mind. It took everything in me to keep from getting up and going over there and turning the damn thing off or at least turning it to something more informative, like maybe the food channel. It was beyond unbearable. How do people watch that stuff? I’d rather sit and read the National Enquirer than watch that news station. At least with the National Enquirer I know what I’m getting and I don’t feel like I’m the victim of some kind of bait and switch scheme.

I’m sorry for the rant. This is definitely not the way I wanted to make my re-entrance into things. But there you have it. I’m back. I hate Fox News with a passion. And seeing my kids in Seattle only made me miss them more.

Now back to business… Share