Thursday, May 17, 2007

trading places

Yesterday, I fell down a flight of stairs.

I wish that I could say that this was an isolated incident, and that normally I am a graceful human being, whisking my way through life. In fact, my normal modus operandi is closer to that of a bulldozer than a swan. Nine years of ballet, and my typical approach involves a charge. I've made my peace with it, and am aiming for a sort of zen approach: if I can't stop the charge, then just lean into it and guide the energy. Sorta.

So, as I fell, I said to myself, oh, bugger. Just go with it, woman. Just go with it. This is, in case you were wondering, the advice borne of experience, which allows one to roll rather than bump, saving any number of bruises later. This voice was, alas, directly contradicted by the mama instinct, which had me grab for the Toddles. One moment my foot was on the step, the next it wasn't; one moment the Toddles was on my hip, the next he wasn't.

We flew through the air, he landing in a graceful arc on some carpet, me twisting viciously and fruitlessly to catch him. Ow. He wailed and I delegated all griping to the child, who performed admirably. Good lad, that one. Good lungs, too. A few kisses, a snuggle and a quick nursing and all was well.

This morning, I noticed a flash of purple on my lower back. Huh. Sure enough, there was a nice bruise, a couple of inches wide. Cute. Over the course of the day, the bruise grew, until it was bigger than my hand, and with a solid swelling underneath. It started to hurt when I leaned back in my chair, when I sat the wrong way, when I walked. My skirt was tight around my waist - on one side, only. Irked, I called my primary care doc's office to ask advice, and found myself looking at a nice young doctor, who backed up slightly when I offered to lift my shirt to show him the purply-red bits. He yanked my shirt down quickly, happily rotated my joints, and declared me bruised but healthy.

And here's where it got funky. I accepted his opinion because I wanted to hear it - nothing cracked or dented in the spine, sure ya crazy lady, go on vacation- but as I drove home, I realized that the majority of my brain was in rebellion. No hematoma? What is he kidding me? Did he compare one side of the back to the other? I could feel heat, solid swelling, and the bruise was growing at an impressive rate, matched only by the increased swelling beneath. Those hoofbeats may yet be a horse's, but I wasn't absolutely persuaded that a zebra wasn't involved.

A deep breath later, I called the hematologists. They listened briefly, and prescribed factor. You can give it to yourself, right? Me? Factor? I waited for the punchline. Silence on the other end of the phone, so Sure. I can have the Eldest do it - he'd love that.

And he did.

The Eldest picked his vein, set up, laid out his supplies, held the needle (which I helped him aim), and then there was a terrifying moment when I let go, and he stuck me. Suddenly, I remembered that I'm afraid of needles, and I'm not ashamed to say that I panicked a bit. But then he was, improbably, in the vein. Just like that.

It was odd, getting factor, though the sense of displacement was strongly outweighed by a desire to puke. Gotta love the phobias, they do have a sense of timing.

So here's the thing: I felt - feel - guilty. Why am I getting factor? Why aren't we all worried about the Toddles (who, by the way, ate his weight in pasta today and told more knock-knock jokes and generally seems just fine)? It felt somehow petty and self-dramatizing to be insisting on having the hematologists pay attention to *me*, a feeling I remember well from the first time they prescribed something, to make my nosebleeds stop. The drug worked, but I felt uneasy.

I've said (loudly) for some time now that symptomatic carriers are just women with mild hemophilia, whose diagnosis gets cluttered up by their uterus. I've said (also loudly) that such women should be treated as if they have hemophilia, and assessed. And, in the spirit of putting my veins where my mouth is, I have gone and been tested to check my clotting levels (low) and how I respond to a med. designed to boost clotting levels (DDAVP). But to actually get factor? That kind of blows me away. I'm just not sure what to do with this - and it's making me a little uncomfortable. But maybe that's the reality of forcing past a percieved role/pattern? I felt that way the first time I left the ER with the Eldest, having refused a procedure.

Damn. Like I needed a new kind of mama guilt. Still, the reversal of roles (me getting factor, the Eldest giving it to me) has supported the empowerment-driven upswing in the Eldest's behavior. With each practice with self-infusion (and, apparently, mama-infusion), the Eldest seems more confident, more tolerant of his chaotic little brother, more willing to work with his testy mama. It's a good, good thing. Obviously, he doesn't feel like his turf has been invaded by his mother, and today he welcomed me to the club. Now we can both get factor! Together! So, just possibly, it's good that the kid might be the one giving me the next two or three doses of the stuff - assuming, of course, we can get the to ship it over to us! This 'script is for you? Are you a hemophilia patient now? I thought it was for your son, said the confused pharmacist. Roll with the punches, honey. Just roll.
Some time ago, I wrote this post, and exclaimed over the joys of these muffins. I recall clearly the patience with which Mary Jr ate that latest offering. She needed far less patience for these, I'm happy to say, and was assisted in her role as guinea pig by a happy Toddles.

Light at the End of the Tunnel Banana Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1/2 c. margarine (be careful about colorings and flavorings!)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs/flaxgel subsitutes (1 Tb ground flaxseeds/flaxmeal + 2 Tb water, zapped in a microwave = 1 egg sub.)
1 Tb ground ginger
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
3/4ths cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1/4 cup soy flour
2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
1/3rd tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F.

Sift together (or put in ziploc and shake well) dry ingredients. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Add eggs/egg subs, beating well. Add bananas, mix well. Add dry ingredients, mixing well.

Pour into non-stick muffin tins, preferably greased somehow. Fill 3/4ths full, and bake 20 minutes.