Happy Halloween! (Crazy Morning)

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We have an Elsa-themed Princess and Minecraft Steve today, folks!

For all practical purposes, today is Halloween! At least, I’m hoping it is. Technically, they don’t know that tomorrow is the actual day, so I’m hoping that between wearing their costumes to school, having Halloween parties at school, and doing the Downtown Trick-Or-Treating Ordeal later this evening, they’ll be satisfied that they’ve had their Halloween and we won’t have to do additional Halloweening on the real day tomorrow.

Yes, so we all got up about 30 minutes early this am so we’d have time to costume the kids. It was a good thing we did that, as Princess Elsa really had her heart set on a traditional Elsa side-braid, but we discovered (since Mommy was too lazy  unable to do a pre-Halloween “dress rehearsal”) that her Princess Comb/Crown/Hair Thingy was not going to stay on her head unless we stuck it into the base of a bun somehow. She has very fine and silky hair that doesn’t hold style or ornaments for long under any circumstances, but with a boatload of hairspray and many stern admonitions not to roll around on the floor, try to take it off, or do overly much snuggling or face nuzzling… maybe it will stay. At any rate, she looks pretty darn cute even without the side-braid, and got to wear lipstick as a consolation prize. While I was floundering for a way to get the Comb/Crown/Hair Thingy to stay on her head, Hubby had to do some emergency shoe work to get her princess slippers to stay on her feet. I didn’t even ask what he did, but he returned to the bathroom with modified princess slipper-shoes and she was able to walk on them with only one slip-and-fall-on-her-face incident before 7:30am.  

Thankfully, Minecraft Steve was a bit easier. Since he’s not allowed to wear any sort of mask, or carry any sort of weapon to school, I did have to do something so he didn’t just look like a kid in blue jeans and turquoise shirt. I mean, without the cardboard box head and the Styrofoam fire sword, the Minecraft Steve idea sort of falls flat. So we improvised by drawing a totally crappy square beard, and an even more crappy square outline around his nose and eyes using cheap Halloween face-crayons. I thought it was embarrassingly terrible work, but after all the earlier drama with the Hair Thingy and The Slippers  Mommy didn’t have much time. Luckily, he seemed pleased with it, and now looks like a kid with some sort of slipshod costume, if not Minecraft Steve. I told him he could wear the box head and wield the fire sword  after school, and he was satisfied.

Besides, he had other items on his agenda. Having forgotten to bring home his Thursday folder yesterday, which contains announcements for parents every Thursday, we were in the dark and had to take his literally LAST-MINUTE word for it, that in addition to Halloween madness, it was also ok to bring your pet for show-and-tell. We were a bit dubious about this, and really, as if parents didn’t have enough on their plates with Halloween costuming! So he had to convince Daddy to hunt for the cat carrier, then hunt for the cat, who Elsa had inadvertently let slip outside when she opened the front door to check the weather. BTW, it’s pouring rain, so that meant Daddy had to hunt for the cat through the mud and the pouring rain!

Thankfully, Hubby, Elsa, Minecraft Steve and a somewhat sodden and muddy Zax did make it out the door barely on time… and Mommy needs a glass of wine.

Zax and Minecraft Steve

Be thankful you don’t have to see my lousy face-crayon work up close!

P.S. This just in… a text from Hubby revealed that Zax was, indeed, invited to attend show-and-tell, and a black cat on Halloween was lauded by all the children as just the ticket! Happily, he was content to be held by Minecraft Steve and Daddy did NOT have to hunt for an escaped Halloween cat through the spooky halls of the elementary school. =)

Additionally, there were at least 700 other Elsa’s, but NOBODY recognized Minecraft Steve!

At any rate…. Happy Halloween!

 

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Trichotillomania: My Lashless Love

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Eyelashes present and accounted for this time last spring. Sigh.

Yes, so… it seems the eye issues must continue with my young love. Last fall, the poor little man was unlucky enough to develop an awful viral lesion on his right upper and lower eyelids, which landed him in Children’s Hospital for IV antiviral medications, and nearly landed me in the mental ward with insane levels of worry. His eye eventually recovered, after a 5 day stay in the hospital, and he was discharged with no actual corneal complications. If you’re familiar with cold sores, then you’ll know how they behave: blisters erupt, then sort of rupture, forming crusts and later scabs. All this happened along his eyelid margins, and he was discharged after no new blisters had appeared for over 36 hours. He went home with oral and topical eye meds, and as part of our routine, we had to clean crusty goop from his eyelashes several times per day. At first, I did the honors, but as time went on, he got proficient at cleaning his own eye fairly well. The eye recovered within about 10 days of hospital discharge. Or so we believed.

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I happen to have this documented courtesy of unsolicited selfies found on my cell phone. Here we have the right eye plucked bare, and the left eye looking rather sparse.

Ever heard of trichotillomania? This is my theory, as he’s not been very forthcoming as far as reasons for his behavior… it started several months ago with the right eye, the same eye that had all the blisters along the margin, the eye for which he had been having to clean crusts off his eyelashes. I think that either lingering irritated sensations persisted, or he just began to like pulling eyelashes, but in either case, a couple of months after the viral infection, I noticed his eyelashes were very sparse on that eye. I figured he lost them during the infection, and didn’t think too much of it. Then a couple of months back, I noticed that there were in fact no upper eyelashes on his right eye. Once there were none, he moved on to the left eye, and now my child has no eyelashes at all on either eye. It’s rather weird-looking. Though I must say that at least it’s symmetrical now, which makes it slightly less noticeable than before. Sigh.

His grandparents and teachers have all noticed, and he’s been lectured quite a bit about this behavior of pulling eyelashes, and I’ve tried to explain the function of eyelashes and why they’re important in terms of shielding our eyes against particulate matter and UV radiation, etc… and he will knowledgeably explain back to me the reasons why eyelashes are important, and add that people look funny without their eyelashes (which I can assume may have come from a grandparent or a teacher). However, it seems to be some sort of an OCD-like habit for him at this point.

I can relate to some extent. I happen to derive some level of enjoyment from pulling out a perfectly normal eyebrow hair or an eyelash now and then as well, and I definitely have an OCD-like compulsion to tweeze any erstwhile hairs on chin or around my eyebrows any time one pops up. And I wear mascara daily because it helps me to notice if I’m messing with my eyelashes- there’s a smear of mascara there on my fingers… otherwise I may do it subconsciously. So I can relate, though I’ve never pulled to the extent that the young love has done.

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Most recent Young Love selfie. As you can see, he’s pulled just about each and every eyelash out. I keep telling myself at least it’s symmetrical.

I read up about it, and the experts say that sometimes trichotillomania is caused by some underlying stress or anxiety disorder, which worries me, except that he seems pretty well adjusted, isn’t having problems at school, has good stability and is loved and doted upon at home. That’s why I tend to think he may have a tendency from me that was just sort of kick-started with the eyelid infection and has now become a “thing”… the experts also recommend not to constantly hound kids with trichotillomania about the behavior, and not to institute punishments etc. because that can just heighten any anxiety they may have, and actually aggravate the problem. Hard to imagine how it could be aggravated, unless, horrors, he moves on to pull out all his eyebrows next. Or the hair on his head or elsewhere, heaven forbid.

So, what to do? I did read that for some kids, the attraction is the act of pulling the hair, and for others, it’s after the fact- they like to roll the eyelash between their fingers after they’ve pulled it. I asked him if he could tell me which it was, and he said he likes to roll the eyelash between his fingers and that he catches himself doing this when he’s alone and doesn’t even remember pulling out the eyelash, just finds it rolling back and forth between his fingers. I asked him if he could think of a substitute item he might roll between his fingers instead of an eyelash, and he suggested a paper clip. So far, we’ve not had success with that because we either forget to send the paperclip, or he forgets it’s in his pocket. So my next approach was to offer something really tempting to him if he can grow his eyelashes back and keep them… I broke my own rule about gaming systems. Well, not a rule, just a dislike for them.

It’s to be an Xbox, if he grows his lashes and keeps them. Doesn’t even have to be a birthday or Christmas, in fact- it could be sooner, but the Xbox is his, with all the capabilities to create his own Minecraft mods that he so envies the YouTube Minecraft gurus… if and when he has a full compliment of eyelashes on both eyes.

He’s pretty motivated by this idea. So wish the little guy luck. We’ll see.

Worried Daughter, Proud Mother

Nothing Richard-related here. Just an update on my crazy week of highs and lows.

First, the lows… Wednesday morning brought a brief but tremendous panic when I got a 6am phone call from Mom, who was making gurgling noises yet couldn’t speak. I briefly debated whether to call an ambulance, but figured if she was able to call me, she either didn’t think an ambulance was necessary or had already called an ambulance but still needed me. Having just stepped out of the shower, I threw on clothes, texted my earliest-rising employee to tell her I had an unknown emergency, and drove like a bat-out-of-hell over to Mom’s house.

When I arrived, I learned Mom had woken up to a pillow soaked in blood (not the pillow-case… the whole pillow) at 4am and had a gushing arterial nose bleed that she’d been trying to stop for 2 hours. If she tried to plug that side of her nose, it came out the other side. If she plugged both nostrils, it went down the back of her throat and out her mouth. I’m not kidding you when I say there was a blood spatter pattern like a crime scene all over the bed, the bathroom, the mirrors… I’ve never seen anything like it.

I loaded her up and off we sped to the emergency room, with one quick stop along the way when I apparently blew through a school zone and was stopped by a police officer. (I didn’t see the light flashing and didn’t realize the school zone speed limit was in effect at 6:30am!) The officer thankfully took one look at the big, bloody towel on mom’s nose, and sent us on our way with only a verbal warning. Miraculously, the nosebleed finally began to subside just as we were pulling into the ER parking lot. As the nosebleed began to subside, she began to get a worsening sinus pressure headache. Apparently a huge clot had finally formed in the nasal and frontal sinuses, which at least stopped the bleeding, but became very painful.

I’m not a huge fan of the E.R. I’m sure they do know how to be fast and efficient when a critical trauma arrives, but for anything else, they really seem to mosey around as inefficiently as possible, taking 5 hours to do what would have amounted to about 45 minutes of work for a typical emergency visit at my vet hospital: get baseline cardiopulmonary parameters and history, physical exam by a doctor, set IV catheter, draw and run bloodwork, give some pain meds, do diagnostic imaging.

One bright spot came that morning when my little girl arrived on the scene. Mom needed to call some of her patients to explain why she wouldn’t be in to see them that day, but needed her iPad for their contact info. I called Hubby and asked him to swing by her house and get the iPad after he dropped our young love off at school, so he showed up midmorning with our 4-year-old daughter in tow, and that was rather a highlight for her Grandma Dee. Just as they arrived, a nurse came in to take Mom off for her CT scan, and as per hospital policy, Mom had to ride in a wheelchair. The nurse saw little sister, who was looking pretty snazzy in her little skirt and leggings, and said “Hello! Don’t you look cute in that skirt!?” Little sister beamed and replied, “Thanks! And doesn’t my Grandma Dee look cute in your stroller?” This caused everyone to laugh, and Mom said the nurse told the “stroller” story to several other nurses and CT technicians while they were gone. Isn’t it amazing how a child’s innocent comment can brighten an otherwise rather awful morning? =)

Mom was eventually discharged and sent to see an ear-nose-throat specialist, and he was able to use his scope, suction and cautery unit to cauterize the artery and hopefully prevent another massive bleeding episode. She now has to see about another surgery on her nose to repair a hole in her nasal septum that he found on the rhinoscopy, but at least they figured out the problem and it’s not something really ominous, like a tumor. (I am of course able to come up with a scary list of potential sources for non-traumatic severe nosebleeds, such as bleeding disorders, severe fungal infections, tumors etc. by pretending mom was a dog or a cat… lol).

YoungLove1On to the highs… that same day, the young love was to test for placement in the GT program at the school. Of course Mommy and Daddy were excited that he’d been recommended for testing, but we were told not to be disappointed if he didn’t test well, as many gifted/talented kindergarteners are unsuccessful at that age because they don’t necessarily know how to take tests well. We’ve been aware that he is (sometimes scarily) intelligent ever since he was a toddler, but he’s also always been a bit of a challenge. He’s prone to going off into his own head, becoming distracted, or just perversely deciding not to cooperate with the program. So we’d told him we were excited and proud and thought he could do well if he applied himself, but privately we had a few chuckles, saying (out of his hearing) that he’d probably either ace the test, or get the worst score they’d ever seen.

That evening, we asked him how it went, and he confidently proclaimed he’d gotten every single question right. (This is typical for him. He is nothing if not self-assured!) Hubby has a friend who administers these tests in a different school district, who said that statement meant exactly nothing, as a lot of kids think they did great when really they missed quite a few, and others leave thinking they bombed the test, when really they nailed it. So we were really delighted when we found out today that the young love really did get every question right, and tested into the program! Yes, I am one very proud, very happy mama… =)

Revelation: Not Overly Preoccupied

Yeah, so I had an epiphany yesterday, which was my first full day back to normal life after a 4-day, 4-night stint at Children’s Hospital with my young love…. I am Not Really All That Preoccupied With Armitage at the moment. Kind of a welcome change after the past seven months.

I can’t say I never thought about Richard Armitage at all while we were there. That would be asking a little much. I did think about trying for a hospital room selfie watching North and South, but I just wasn’t feeling it. You’d think that N&S would be some kind of comforting tonic I could have used, but apparently not. Maybe I didn’t want to have any negative association with it? Hmmm. I saw a new Richard Selfie on Twitter, and mused about the reappearance of The Beard. Is he gearing up for that video game movie, maybe? I saw a couple of posts on Facebook involving cute manips of Armitage characters in cappuccino art, and then realized that there was some kind of controversy there. (Really, people? Kind of hard to care about fandom brouhahas when you’re concerned whether your child’s eye is going to develop a corneal HSV-1 lesion, you’ve listened to a Code Blue called over the paging system at a Children’s Hospital, and you’ve watched a toddler with chemotherapy hair ride past you in a wheel chair.)

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The Young Love was super interested in the workings of this portable ophthalmology mega-scope!

This is not intended to be a downer post. And I’m fairly sure that I’ll be getting back into the swing of the Richarding Life soon. When I get caught up on laundry, housework, patients at work, and most of all, Sleep. (My own bed- how I do love thee. May need to burst forth in Limerick Mode with an Ode to my bed at home!)

I do want to say Thank You So Much, those of you who sent words of encouragement through comments, e-mail, Facebook posts, and forum messages. I had several very low moments, and these kindnesses were so encouraging to me. Chalk up several for the SpReAd the Love Campaign =). For those of you interested, the kiddo’s eye itself is fine- thanks to timely intervention with IV antivirals, it never developed a corneal viral lesion- and the eyelid lesions are now resolving very nicely. He now looks like a child with a scraped up eyelid and a nice shiner. Hopefully nobody seeing us out and about will conclude we punched his lights out. =)

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Looks like an IMAX Date Night on opening weekend for BOFA.

And, since I was glued to my kid’s hospital bed, my Hubby made a really sweet gesture as well… he stopped by the IMAX on his way home from the hospital last Friday, and messaged me this picture to boost the spirits. Not quite opening night, but close enough to suit me. He knows me well!

I wonder if there is a lot of catching up to do, Richardwise. It’s creeping in at the edges, that preoccupation, but it’s in the background at the moment, and I’m not averse to keeping it there for a while. Right now I’m counting my blessings and grateful to be off the constant BlisterWatch that’s been my obsession for the past 6 days. Life is good.