Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Zach's New Stage Of Development

Zach is in a new stage of development. Eric Erikson would call it "middle childhood". His interests are changing. I look forward to this. As I have looked forward to all of the previous new stages of development. That interest of mine started when I saw two lines on the Dollar Tree pregnancy test informing me of his existence.

He doesn't play with his action figures that much anymore. He's more likely to play with his Legos or Wii U games. As for outdoor play, he's more interested in playing sports or swimming. He likes to play with his Nerf guns and Nerf bow and arrow too. He asked for a skateboard yesterday. He never used to be interested in riding his bike. I told him "no skateboard until you're off training wheels". Now he's interested in riding his bike.

He's also getting more adventurous. Last year, he wasn't comfortable on the diving board or going down the dark blue slip and slide at the town pool. Now, they are the first things he does when we arrive. For the first half hour or so I do laps while he bounces between the slip and slides and the diving board. There are other things, but these are good examples.

He's more independent. This being a condo we park in a parking lot. Often, my car is close but out of sight from most of the apartment. Lately, I have been letting him take my keys and walk alone to the car to look for something left behind. I didn't used to let him out of my sight like that. He can handle it. There are other things we let him do now but, you don't need me to list all of them. The more responsible he is, the more freedom he'll get. He's not fully independent yet, but it's a process he's moving forward in.

I'm enjoying the person he is becoming. He used to wear character shirts, now he wears the funny shirts. He's smart, funny, active, and strong! He also wants to do chores to earn money. He's learning that Mommy pays better then Grandma and Pop. Maybe I'm more impressed then they are. The last time my Mom had a boy doing chores for her it was my brother and he was in his 20s. Zach's just now at an age where some things are appropriate for him to do. Its a new experience for me. He asked us for an allowance

 He got the idea from one of his new TV shows. He used to watch shows like Wallykazam and Peppa Pig (Nick Jr.). He still likes them, but his new favorites are Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn (Nickelodeon). With each age I like most of what he chooses to watch. That's still true. Now he's asking for an allowance and talking about "when a boy gets three hairs on his chest he's a man". THAT was interesting to wake up to today!

Some things haven't changed. His favorite color is still green. He still loves Breaded Chicken and to help me cook. He has some of the same favorite places and he's still addicted to Legos. I have a picture of him at 18 months building with Lego Mega Blocks. THAT interest will be around a while!!!

Yesterday, he wore the t-shirt and cap that were his baseball uniform. He LOVED being part of a team. He enjoys baseball. He also has been doing the camp though the town school system. His favorite parts are all the science experiments. He's connecting with this town like Josh and I have. That's the best part of all this!!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Yes, ALL Lives DO Matter

Lately, I have seen some things criticizing the saying "All Lives Matter!" It started with an article I read. After that, I started seeing facebook graphics about it. They make a good point. They say it minimizes what "Black Lives Matter" is supposed to be about.

Originally, "Black Lives Matter" was about ending violence against black people. Unfortunately, it has become an anti-police movement. When we say "All Lives Matter" we aren't saying black lives are less important. We are reminding people that everyone's life matters. We need to end violence against everyone.

When you say it minimizes what "Black Lives Matter" is about, are you saying black people's lives are more important then law enforcement lives? That their lives are more important then anyone else's?

No, their lives are not more important then anyone else's. They are equally important. That's actually kinda the message of "Black Lives Matter". It's fighting racism. In some states, you can shoot someone just because you feel threatened by their presence. That doesn't mix well with racism. Racists feel threatened by black people. Hence the higher amounts of violence against black people that needs to end.

But, some people are saying it's racist to say "All Lives Matter". How is that racist? Racist is saying "White Lives Matter". But, "All Lives Matter" is a reminder that we are all equally important. That saying started when "Black Lives Matter" became an anti-police movement.

When police officers started to get killed because they are police officers. When it became a war between black and blue we were trying to remind everyone to end the violence overall. No one said that black lives don't matter. But, when an anti-violence movement becomes violent against a specific group, they need to be reminded that the people they are harming or killing matter too.

I will continue to say "All Lives Matter". If you consider me a racist, then you are buying into the media and not really paying attention. It's not about minimizing the message that racism needs to end. It's not minimizing the message that we need to end violence against black people.

It's about reminding everyone that ALL violence needs to end. We need to live peacefully together. Everyone's life is important. Are "Black Lives Matter" people saying a raped black girl is more important then a raped white girl? Both of their lives matter. "All Lives Matter". Think about the entire message.

I'm not minimizing what "Black Lives Matter" is about. In some parts of the country racism is still very strong. Saying "why can't they just move to a less racist state then?" IS minimizing the problem. Saying "All Lives Matter" ISN'T minimizing the problem. Because it acknowledges that black people do face a lot of racism and violence. But, racism isn't the only form of prejudice. ALL forms of prejudice need to end. That's what "All Lives Matter" means.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

When Complete Is Incomplete (Silly Rabbit Edit: 7/18/2016)

Includes lots of pictures!

I finished my hats and wraps project. I had finished them before. But the stitch was done wrong on the crochet hats and the knit hats were too big. So I remade all 10 of the hats!!! All better!!! Pictures below!!!

It looks like it was expensive to complete this project but it really wasn't. Three of the visors are left over from a previous project from years ago. A project that I thought was complete but wasn't. But, I am using some of them for a new project.

As I updated my project list. I am learning something about myself. For a while, I liked having a few projects going at a time. But when I remade the hats, I learned I can easily finish them in a day or two if they were my only project.

So I move on to another one of my projects within a project. For Christmas I had made Zach a blanket. I am in the process of making one for Josh and one for me. I've put mine aside and have been focusing on Josh's blanket. Even when his is complete, it won't be a complete project..........not until mine is done. These pictures are below too!!!

With OCD complete is never actually complete. Yes, we have checked and confirmed the door is indeed locked. But, that one time isn't good enough. For most people, once the door is checked, the task is complete. With OCD, it's incomplete. Because it was only checked once. What if a mistake was made? What if the checker wasn't focused when checking?

The anxiety feeds the OCD. Most people with GAD have OCD too. Just like me. The fear makes you check so many times. It goes well beyond the locked door. It's reached a point where, with some things, if I'm not anxious, I start to feel anxious. Because why am I not anxious about it?

OCD fuels this project but it's not what started it. I have high blood pressure. I can't handle too much heat and sunlight. So I started collecting the brimmed hats to create shade. But, then I needed visors for when my hair is in a pony tail. In the end, all of these are used plenty and necessary. There isn't much waste.

The only waste is the headband I made. In the winter, there were times when it was snowing and I wish I had a brimmed hat. So I got that on clearance. But, I needed something like a hat for summer to fit that category. The headband is a good choice but I'm having trouble figuring out the situations I'd wear it in. At least it was one of the things I made and I used hardly any yarn for it. That cost about 25 cents to make.









This project isn't complete. Whenever I treat a project like it's complete, I always end up changing things. It helps with the summer heat and sun but it also helps with my winter depression. In the winter, I used to always feel like I look the same. It might still be the same coat, but at least my hats and cowl changes. So I'm not wearing in March what I wore in January. I found this past winter that really helped keep the depression away. Looking just a little bit different makes a difference.

It looks complete. What could I possibly add to it? But I know it's incomplete. I don't know what I would add. It feels complete. But, somehow, I know there will be a change. It's incomplete. But, that's part of what calms the anxiety. The compulsions in OCD are routine. That calms me.

Silly Rabbit Edit:
So, it's not complete. I got a brown sarong for fall and a purple one for spring. I still have a use for what is pictured for them though. I'll post new pictures for spring and fall soon.

My focus now is Josh's blanket. Square by square. I have done two squares a day the last few days. I have 6 out of the 12 patterns done and 3 of the 20 solids. One of the pattern squares is a template. I need to make sure they are the same size. That's why it's not sewn on.

Josh's in progress blanket

My in progress blanket


Zach's completed blanket

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Clothing Shopping Language

Recently, I was shopping for a new suit. I need one and the one I had didn't fit. It didn't come close to fitting. It's a bit of a challenge for me to clothing shop. Not because of the season wardrobes. Because of my size. It made me think about the language of clothing shopping.

As I looked around at the tops, I realized there are two types of formal. Serious formal and fun formal. Serious formal is for funerals, job interviews, and business meetings. Some people have to dress in serious formal cloths for work. Fun formal is for celebration. Weddings, Baptisms, and other parties that require formal cloths.

Trouser leg verses strait leg. What's the different? It turns out trouser legs are just a little bit wider. Ok, that makes sense. I have a belly. A trouser leg will conceal that better then the strait leg. Curvy? Oh, it's for women with wide hips. Modern fit? Oh, they are using that instead of regular. That's just the suit pants!!! Jean language is even worse!!! All I know is I prefer the relaxed fit strait leg jeans!!!

But it's not just about reading the labels once your in the section. Sometimes it's hard to know what section to go to, to begin with! I've listed them all below. When I was a 16 in jeans, I started looking over at the Plus size section to see what the difference is. The 0x was still too big.

I remember reading a comment to an article once. It was on Melissa McCarthy's new plus size clothing line. In this comment, the woman said she was "against petite sizes because it encourages eating disorders". That's not what petite means. At 5'3", I'm petite. Read on to see what petite is!

Baby (month sizes)

Toddler (with a t)

Little Girls/Boys (4 - 7)

Big Girls/Boys (8 - 20 side note: Zach's a 10/12. yeah, he's that big)

Juniors/Young Men (TEENS! The size range is similar to adults but teenagers are still growing they have a smaller frame. Sorry adult women like my Mom, you should NOT be shopping in this section. It's not about trends, it's about fit for a teenager not their full size yet.)

Men's (regular men's sizes)

Big and Tall (big men's sizes. The men's version of Plus sizes)

Petite (Short women. under 5'4". A size 14 waist is the same as in regular sizes but the leg doesn't go as long)

Petite Short (a little shorter pant leg then petite. example, my jeans are 14S (14 short) because 14P (14 Petite) is slightly too long) can be found in the petite section

Tall (it's not formally a separate section but can be found in the misses section and there aren't many options. It's for tall women)

Misses (Regular women's sizes)

Plus (when a women is too big for the regular sizes. usually done as 0x, 1x, 2x, and 3x)

Maternity (Because you do need something when your belly outgrows your normal cloths)

If it's not obvious, they figured out a long time ago that women are mostly the ones buying cloths. I'm still in awe that Zach is only 7 but has been a 10/12 for most of the school year!!! I think he started a growth spurt in May of 2015 and it's still going. Usually, they stop for a while then a new growth spurt starts. Zach's never ended!!!

Clothing isn't the only thing with sizes. Hats do too. As I have been making hats, I have learned the head sizes. I'll post them below. I actually had to remake all those hats I made. The crocheted ones where done wrong. Before I learned how to do the stitch right. The knitted ones are a little too big. I gave one to a friend and am saving three for Josh's mom, Josh's sister, and our niece (Josh's sister's daughter). I have an extra one. It's feminine. I'd like to give it to my brother's wife but she would never appreciate it. So I still don't know who get's the dark blue hat. I have a close friend it would be perfect for but I've never seen her wear a hat in winter.

Head Circumference Chart
Preemie baby: 12"
Newborn baby: 13 " 
Baby 0 - 3 Months: 14"
Baby 3-6 months: 15"
Baby 6-9 months: 16"
Baby 9-12 months: 16.5"
Baby 12-18 months: 17"
Baby 18-24 months: 17.5 "
Little Kid Small: 18"
Little Kid Medium: 18.5"
Little Kid Large: 19"
Big Kid Small: 19.5"
Big Kid Medium: 20"
Big Kid Large: 20.5"
Teenager Small: 21"
Teenager Medium: 21.5"
Teenager Large: 22"
Adult Woman Small: 21"
Adult Woman Medium: 22"
Adult Woman Large: 23"
Adult Man Small 23"
Adult Man Medium 24"
Adult Man Large 25"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

America's Broken System

 We are a very divided country. Everyone has their own opinions. I won't change yours and you won't change mine. That's why there is no compromise from our leaders. Because we Americans aren't willing to compromise anymore.

It's time to start listening to what's being said and not just what we hear. We do this on too many topics. Our system is broken because facts don't form opinions anymore. In the wake of the Pulse shootings in Orlando, it's time to look at things from clear eyes. I'll start with gun reform but that's not the only area I'm talking about.

We need gun reform. The states with the loosest gun laws are the ones with high shooting rates. I'm not posting the links to those charts again. I usually do, but the people who should read them never actually read them.

No, good civilians with guns aren't stopping the bad guys. In fact, they are more likely to get shot by shooting back then by running and ducking for cover. They are also more likely to accidentally shoot an innocent bystander. This isn't a crime drama. Civilians are not trained law enforcement. The "defend myself" situation is very different when it happens in real life then NRA imagination.

What gun rights people hear "they want to take away your guns"

What is actually being said "we want to keep guns away from those who are high risk to cause harm"

It's not just about guns. We have a lot of topics like that. Gay rights, transgender rights, equal pay, healthcare, abortions, birth control, government assistance and minimum wage. It's one thing to have an opinion on something. It's another to force your views on others.

Gay rights:

What homophobics hear "they choose to live like that and don't deserve to be treated the same as you"

What is actually being said "it's not a choice, it's part of who they are. They are still law abiding citizens that  pay taxes like you and deserve the same rights and privileges as you"

Transgender rights:
What Transphobics hear "you are born the gender you are born, look down and that's it"

What is actually being said "it's not that simple. Being  a drag queen is very different then being Transgender. A drag queen likes to dress up like a woman sometimes but still feels like they are a man. A Transgender person identifies as the opposite gender. It's not about what's in the pants. It's about what gender makes you feel whole"

Equal Pay:
What men hear "they are making the same as men what are they complaining about?"

What is actually being said "I know men in this company in the same job making more then me. Having kids held me back in my career. Why does that still happen?"

What the heartless people hear "you are paying for other people to get healthcare"

What is actually being said "ALL medical related expenses are out of control high. In the meantime, people are making less money. People are dying of curable diseases. We need to do something to make healthcare affordable for EVERYONE!!! We'd like to do better but this is the best we can do thanks to hearlless selfish  people.

Note: yes, I got judgy there. Because when Josh was unemployed and broke his hip our Affordable Care exchange plan covered a huge percentage of it. It was made affordable by a nice tax subsidy. Between $23,000 and $25,000 for everything related to his surgery, rehab and recovery before insurance paid their part. What exactly do you think would have happened if this insurance wasn't an option for us? I get not being comfortable with universal health care. But, being against the Affordable Care Act makes you either ignorant of it, or heartless and selfish. I did a blog post years ago clarifying it if you don't understand it.

What pro-lifer's hear "don't have sex if you don't want to get pregnant"

What is really being said "It's not that simple. Rape victims didn't choose to have sex. Women should not be forced to carry a baby that won't survive outside the womb. If the mother's life is in danger, there would still be a loss of life. In fact, there is no guarantee that the baby would survive if you let the mother die. It really boils down to one things. A woman's uterus should not be more regulated then guns!!!!!"

Birth Control:
What the religious right hears "Birth control is a type of abortion"

What is actually being said "So, you failed that part of sex-ed. Okay, here's the cliff notes. Birth control prevents the egg from being fertilized by the sperm. It prevents the creation of life, it doesn't end a life that has already been created. "

Government Assistance:
What the Peniaphobic hear "they are too lazy to work"

What is actually being said "Almost all of us have jobs, are looking for jobs, or physically can't work. Of those of us then can physically work, our circumstances are out of our hands. Jobs need to be created and employers need to pay a living wage. A lot of employers purposely pay their employees poverty wages so the government can supplement their income. This is called 'Corporate Welfare'. Hold these companies accountable for paying their employees a living wage. If you believe that trickle down economics is the best way, you know nothing about economics!!! Because trickle down economics is the reason I need government assistance in the first place!!!!!"

Minimum Wage:
What the opponents hear "it will raise  prices and cause layoffs"

What is really being said "when people make more money, they have more to spend. In time, this leads to more business and a stronger economy. It's what basically every economist has frustratingly been saying for years. "

I doubt this will change anything. The other day someone quoted a specific statistic to me. Now, there is zero chance this statistic was correct. When we read articles that mention statistics there is always more then one statistic in that article. You might remember the number, but the likelihood that you are getting what it's for right is very small. The same is true in reverse. You might know what a statistic was for, but the likelihood you got the number right is also very small.

When I post a statistic, I include the link to where I got it from. But, I don't quote statistics unless reading from a reliable source (no, FOX news doesn't count and neither does Wikipedia). You loose credibility with me if you quote a statistic in conversation without physically showing me your source. Too many opinions are not formed on facts anymore. Fix the broken system. Start hearing what is really being said!

Monday, June 20, 2016

After the Alligator

I read the news the other day. The first story was about a little boy taken into the water by an alligator in Disney World. The next day was the article that his body has been recovered. The responses ever since have been predictable. Some people criticize the parents others criticize the critics.

Critics say "why weren't his parents watching him?" and "there were 'no swimming' signs". He wasn't swimming. He was standing on the shore nearby. Both his parents WERE watching him. His dad tried to free him from the alligator instantly.

When you picture this incident, how quickly do you think it took place in? The alligator grabbing the kid. Do you picture a long struggle? I don't! I imagine this happened very quickly! Alligators are predators. They are quick. The after bite struggle took longer then the bite and tug itself. Even that might not have lasted that long. No one was watching the clock so we don't know for certain!

After the alligator came a lot of critics. I read one critic, critic that dared the critics to say what they post online to the faces of Lane's parents. I like that idea, frankly. Too many people hide behind a computer and say things they would NEVER say in person. Because they don't want the labels that come with saying those things in person to the people you are talking about. "Heartless" is one that comes to mind.

In the aftermath after the alligator I found myself asking "WHY is there criticism in the first place?" The answer is fear. The critics usually say some variation of "That wouldn't have happened if it were MY kid!" But, that's burying the fear. The fear that it could be your kid. That someday something could happen and you become the grieving parent.

When I read about these kinds of tragedies I find myself thinking some things that wouldn't occur to most people. Did they have trouble getting pregnant with this child? Was it a high risk pregnancy? What about labor? How much did they suffer to get this child in the first place only to loose him/her way too soon?! What was their personality? I wish I could just give this family one giant hug!!!

These parents will be asking themselves if they could have done something different. They will be crying as they pack up his things. They might never give anything of his away again. They might take a very long time before doing something with his room. They will cry when they think of his hugs and kisses. They will cry when thinking of giving him hugs and kisses. His older sister will think of him as she goes through school. They will all relive this moment for the rest of their lives.

What they need more then anything right now is support. They don't need to be told everything will be okay. He's gone forever. They might eventually move on, but they will never forget him and will never be okay with his loss. They need hugs. They need distractions. They need to hear from the people that say "you did everything you could possibly have done!"

The critics are bullies. They won't like that label but that's what they are. Bullies!!!! Bullies bully to cover up their own insecurities. When I read or hear a critic I listen to what they are saying. Because in their words are their fears. I respect the people who say "I can't imagine what they must be going through!"

I talk all of the time about why we shouldn't judge. We don't have all the information. We don't have the education and life experiences others have. In times of tragedy there isn't room for critics. There is only room for support!!!

We talk so much about the parents. That sister was on the beach too. I just read this article about Disney princesses that came to comfort her. She is young. But, she'll never forget this. This will effect her development. She will think of him every time a friend complains about their brother. She will hear the sentence somewhere down the road "you are so lucky you don't have a brother because mine is awful!" Words with good intentions that will hurt!!!

In their grief, her parents still have to raise her. Will they be able to fully mourn this loss? They will be there for her as she works her way through it. They had to explain to her what happened. They have to teach her about death. They might have to answer the question "why did God take Lane from us?" Questions that might make their own grief harder to deal with!

After the Alligator we must ask ourselves "how would we need people to respond if we were the parents or sister of this child?"

Friday, June 17, 2016

Last Day of Year 2 of 13

Before Zach started Kindergarten I said the following:

"K - 12 are the most important 13 years of your life"

You learn, grow and mature a lot both before and after. However, these years influence those. Before it's about getting ready for K - 12. After, lessons you have learned in school and at home influence your decisions. Things that happen in your life during that time shape what's after.

Today is Zach's last day as a first grader. Year 2 of 13 is ending. His teacher is amazing. Her classroom management is strong. Zach always knew what was expected of him and what was coming next. He thrived in her classroom. We are both eternally grateful to her for that.

We both have had mixed feelings since the start of June. We are both looking forward to finding out who will be his second grade teacher. Both are also amazing teachers. It doesn't matter. But, today he finds out who she is. It's very exciting!!! I never had that. It might be the same town but classes were a lot smaller. His grade has 33 kids and two teachers. My grade had 17 - 19 kids and one teacher. So we always knew who we had each year long before the last day of school!

Zach gets his report card this afternoon. He always does well and I know he's been working hard. I know I won't be disappointed! He was classified as gifted in math earlier in the year. I know he's been enjoying the more challenging math work!

I have been feeling sick all week. On Wednesday I realized it was a panic attack. Yes, all week. I'm not worried about how he'll do next year. Neither is he. We are both looking forward to next year. It's hard saying goodbye to such a wonderful teacher. But, I know he'll have a wonderful teacher next year too.

Is it because he's getting bigger? Maybe. But, being there for him every step of the way is fantastic! He had an assignment in computer class earlier this week. What was your favorite thing about first grade. His answer, library class. He told me it's because that's that class I helped in every week.

It's the last day of school. Most people are a mix of happy, sad, excited, and nostalgic. I've been shaking nonstop with an endless knot in my stomach. I'll modify the class cheer:




Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Mysterious Thyroid

Every once in a while over the last 6 years I have done a blog post on my diet struggles. You can read a lot about the ups and downs. I'll do the quick version in blue below. If you know about them already, go ahead and skip the blue.

So I was born with Selective Eating Disorder. It sounds like simple picky eating but it's more then that. Blog post below. I also had a 9 year long eating disorder. 80 lbs at 5' 1" freshman year in HS. 98lbs and age 24 on my wedding day (5' 3" by then). My body will forever be in survival mode.

For the last two years I have been overweight at 5' 3" 153 pounds. Activity level and eating habits couldn't change that amount. I KNEW I had a thyroid issue. The doctor knew it was a thyroid issue. He sent me to an Endocrinologist. HE knew it was a thyroid issue. The Endocrinologist said:

"All of your symptoms point to a thyroid issue but it would show in the bloodwork. After my testing I can't find anything."

I even requested a thyroid ultrasound to check on things. Thyroid issues are highly genetic and we have some in my Dad's side of the family. I had a hypoactive thyroid before I got pregnant with Zach. Why wasn't it showing in the bloodwork?

The doctor does bloodwork every 3 - 6 months to keep an eye on a few things. He's currently monitoring for diabetes. At the end on March I did some fasting bloodwork. When you wake up starving at 5am every day you tend not to agree to fasting bloodwork. This time I agreed to it.

Sure enough.................high enough to try a low dose medication. I have lost 8 lbs in 2 months. I was a size 16 and am now a 14. 145 lbs at 5' 3" I'm still overweight but a lot closer to a healthy weight!!! I haven't changed my diet and exercise habits. The only change has been that thyroid medication.

I don't know why it took so long for the thyroid issue to show it's face. The doctor says you don't have to fast for thyroid. I once got a high result in a non-fasting test. However, it wasn't high 6 months later.  It wasn't even that high in the blood work this time. But, it clearly was the problem. He couldn't medicate me until the bloodwork showed it. Insurance company rules. But, I look and feel a lot better in a lot of ways!!! It will always be a mystery to me how the thyroid issue was so clear physically but not showing in the bloodwork. But the mystery has been solved!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Zach's Easy Path

In March I did a blog post called "The Path To A Moment":

Three years ago I talked about "Watching Zach" in a different blog post. It was about how I watched him then. But, in it, I mentioned a vision I had of Zach playing baseball on this one big field in town. It's the field for middle school kids.

"The Path To A Moment" was about his first baseball practice ever. We didn't know what to expect of this season. I didn't know how he would feel about baseball. I wanted to encourage it without being pushy. Baseball is good for his asthma. It means he can catch his breath sometimes. Even MLB players have a chance to catch their breath. While he's still young and exploring interests, I wanted to expose him to the things that he'll be able to do at an advanced level without struggling to breath.

Zach loved baseball. He loved being on a team. He loved learning more about baseball. It's an environment he thrived in. He said he wants to consider doing the summer program. We got him a T and found our gloves. He liked practicing at the apartment too sometimes. He loved the games most of all.

Frankly, so did I. I told myself when I was pregnant that I would never be THAT mom. It's not easy to really define what I mean. If you're at a game though, you probably know who THAT mom is. I was very much THAT mom.

There I was behind the bench with the kids and some dads. Helping keep the kids in batting order. Cheering for each one by name when they did something well. Loud and proud. I didn't insult anyone from the other team. I encouraged them too. That's Rookie ball. But, I wasn't subtle.

Zach had a batting pattern. We did 3 innings. Each kid swung the bat until they hit the ball. Sometimes a T was required. The coaches pitched. Zach had trouble with his first at bat.......every game. His second at bat was better.......every game. His third at bat led to a good hit on the first or second pitch.....every game.

I saw every kid improve throughout the season. I was the parent taking pictures on opening day. Zach noticed his improvement too. After the last game he said "I don't want it to end". He misses his teammates. He's repeatedly said he is "definitely doing baseball next year!"

So far, the path to THIS moment is easy! This moment might not happen. It was a flash of a vision I had when my son was four. It was a very specific vision. Sometimes when I have those they come true. But, not always. There will be bumps on this path. He might not make the travel team if he tries out for one when he's older. I just hope he doesn't let those bumps hold him back. I know if he makes it to this moment, he'll be proud of himself. Maybe when he's done with that moment he'll reflect on the path he took to get there. It starts with this season.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Menacing Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes cause a lot of trouble. For most people, their bites lead to itchy bumps that take a few days to go away. You can use bug spray. However, some mosquitoes will bite you anyway. Some people are more likely to get bitten by others. Okay, okay I admit it. I'm one of those people!

Mosquitoes become menacing when they carry a disease. Possibly, a deadly disease. Below is a link to a great website about different mosquito borne diseases. Here's the list:

Dog Heartworm
Yellow Fever
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
St. Louis Encephalitis
LaCrosse Encephalitis
Western Equine (Japanese) Encephalitis
West Nile Virus
Zika Virus

I haven't heard of some of them. It's scary, you can't always control if you get bitten or not. You can't know if the mosquito that bit you carried a deadly disease until symptoms show! With Zika virus in the news I decided to outline the more common mosquito borne diseases.

Zika Virus

Strait from the Center for Disease Control, it turns out most cases of Zika virus are mild. So mild, some people don't even know they have it!


Joint Pain
Red Eyes
Muscle Pain

It could take a few days to a week to show up. It lasts for about a week in the blood. It's rarely deadly and once you have it you are likely to be immune to it in the future.

Treatment is basically rest, drink plenty of fluids, and Tylenol. You can't take a NSAID until Dengue has been ruled out. Try to avoid further mosquito bites. It turns out this in one of the least deadly mosquito borne diseases.

West Nile Virus

70 - 80% of infected people don't have symptoms. 1 in 5 people will develop some symptoms:

Body Aches
Joint Pain

Most people recover completely but fatigue and weakness can last for months. Less then 1% of people develop severe symptoms. The red part is copied from the link above.

Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
  • The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.
  • Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.
  • Recovery from severe disease may take several weeks or months. Some of the neurologic effects may be permanent.
  • About 10 percent of people who develop neurologic infection due to West Nile virus will die.

Treatment is Tylenol for fever and pain. For severe symptoms, go to the hospital

The media has been painting these illnesses like they are very deadly. So far, I'm surprised to learn how mild they usually are. If you are pregnant, over 60, a child, or have a low immune system, you are more likely to feel symptoms or get the more severe version of these viruses. Even then, you still might not get the severe versions. Now I'll see if some other common mosquito diseases are the same way.


There are four versions of Encephalitis

Each has their own variation of the details but they are similar to Zika and West Nile. They are more likely to be deadly then Zika and West Nile. The real difference is you are more likely to have neurological side effects that might linger after the disease is gone. Eastern Equine is the most deadly. 1/3 of infected people get severe symptoms.

Yellow Fever

It is very similar to Zika and West Nile. I'm sensing a pattern. 15% of infected people will get severe symptoms and of those 20 - 50% will die. Symptoms are similar to other mosquito transmitted diseases.

Dog Heartworm

That link has a nice graphic. It doesn't just infect dogs though.

Most people don't have symptoms. It's most likely to be found in Europe. If you do have symptoms, they are most likely to be:

Cough (including possibly coughing up blood)
Chest Pain
Excessive Fluid in the Chest Cavity

It is caused by a dying adult heartworm. It leaves coin lesions in x-rays. If that's discovered, you are more likely to need an invasive procedure to rule out more serious things like cancer.


The principal symptoms of dengue are:
  • High fever and at least two of the following:
    • Severe headache
    • Severe eye pain (behind eyes)
    • Joint pain
    • Muscle and/or bone pain
    • Rash
    • Mild bleeding manifestation (e.g., nose or gum bleed, petechiae, or easy bruising)
    • Low white cell count
This one is more likely to be severe. Mostly what you can do it take Tylenol. Like the others, avoid NSAIDs. If you get to the hospital or doctor quickly, you are less likely to die from it. The most disturbing part for me is the symptoms. They are so much like the symptoms for the more mild mosquito diseases. It's so hard to know what you actually have!!!


Most people do develop some symptoms. The most common are fever and joint pain. You might also have a headache, joint swelling, muscle pain, or a rash. The symptoms are more likely to be severe but you are less likely to die from it. The good news is once you've had it you are more likely to be protected from getting it again in the future. Treatment is the same as Zika.


Ah, yes, I'll end with a biggie.


Flu-like symptoms

you know, because the scary stuff can't be more obvious. It'd be great if there was an obvious sign. But, no. It has to make hypochondriacs think a mild flu is malaria. Because if left untreated, you can die from malaria. (the red below is copied from this link)

Uncomplicated Malaria

The classical (but rarely observed) malaria attack lasts 6-10 hours. It consists of
  • a cold stage (sensation of cold, shivering)
  • a hot stage (fever, headaches, vomiting; seizures in young children)
  • and finally a sweating stage (sweats, return to normal temperature, tiredness).
Classically (but infrequently observed) the attacks occur every second day with the "tertian" parasites (P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. ovale) and every third day with the "quartan" parasite (P. malariae).
More commonly, the patient presents with a combination of the following symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches
  • General malaise
In countries where cases of malaria are infrequent, these symptoms may be attributed to influenza, a cold, or other common infections, especially if malaria is not suspected. Conversely, in countries where malaria is frequent, residents often recognize the symptoms as malaria and treat themselves without seeking diagnostic confirmation ("presumptive treatment").
Physical findings may include:
  • Elevated temperatures
  • Perspiration
  • Weakness
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Mild jaundice
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Increased respiratory rate
Diagnosis( of malaria depends on the demonstration of parasites in the blood, usually by microscopy. Additional laboratory findings may include mild anemia, mild decrease in blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), elevation of bilirubin, and elevation of aminotransferases.
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Severe Malaria

Severe malaria occurs when infections are complicated by serious organ failures or abnormalities in the patient's blood or metabolism. The manifestations of severe malaria include
  • Cerebral malaria, with abnormal behavior, impairment of consciousness, seizures, coma, or other neurologic abnormalities
  • Severe anemia due to hemolysis (destruction of the red blood cells)
  • Hemoglobinuria (hemoglobin in the urine) due to hemolysis
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), an inflammatory reaction in the lungs that inhibits oxygen exchange, which may occur even after the parasite counts have decreased in response to treatment
  • Abnormalities in blood coagulation
  • Low blood pressure caused by cardiovascular collapse
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Hyperparasitemia, where more than 5% of the red blood cells are infected by malaria parasites
  • Metabolic acidosis (excessive acidity in the blood and tissue fluids), often in association with hypoglycemia
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Hypoglycemia may also occur in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria, or after treatment with quinine.
Severe malaria is a medical emergency and should be treated urgently and aggressively.
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Malaria Relapses

In P. vivax and P. ovale infections, patients having recovered from the first episode of illness may suffer several additional attacks ("relapses") after months or even years without symptoms. Relapses occur because P. vivax and P. ovale have dormant liver stage parasites ("hypnozoites"( that may reactivate. Treatment to reduce the chance of such relapses is available and should follow treatment of the first attack.
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Other Manifestations of Malaria

  • Neurologic defects may occasionally persist following cerebral malaria, especially in children. Such defects include trouble with movements (ataxia), palsies, speech difficulties, deafness, and blindness.
  • Recurrent infections with P. falciparum may result in severe anemia. This occurs especially in young children in tropical Africa with frequent infections that are inadequately treated.
  • Malaria during pregnancy (especially P. falciparum) may cause severe disease in the mother, and may lead to premature delivery or delivery of a low-birth-weight baby.
  • On rare occasions, P. vivax malaria can cause rupture of the spleen.
  • Nephrotic syndrome (a chronic, severe kidney disease) can result from chronic or repeated infections with P. malariae.
  • Hyperreactive malarial splenomegaly (also called "tropical splenomegaly syndrome") occurs infrequently and is attributed to an abnormal immune response to repeated malarial infections. The disease is marked by a very enlarged spleen and liver, abnormal immunologic findings, anemia, and a susceptibility to other infections (such as skin or respiratory infections).

Those menacing mosquitoes! Some diseases they carry are mild some are deadly. You can use bug spray, wear long sleeves and long pants, and try to avoid them. But, they might bite you anyway.

If you're like me, you spend the summer slapping yourself because you think you felt the tingle of a bug landing on your skin. I've killed a lot of mosquitoes. I do fear getting one of these some day. I tend to spend this time of year with a lot of joint pain. For all I know, I get West Nile each year and just don't know it!!!