Friday, February 25, 2011

dark spaces and quilter's flannel

So, I have this Google Reader thing, and it's about as effective as my inbox: you have 334 posts to read, it intones. Plus lots of Baby Blues cartoons. But nobody's listening, see, because I might have posts to read, but I don't have time - I'm too busy glaring at the 1352 emails in my inbox. (Although I make an exception for BB, because, you know.)

But I do miss my favorite blogs, like this (on bedrest) blog, the Toddles' and my new favorite this one (and had I known that she was a mere brisk walk away, well!), the blogger who SHOULD get a satellite for A's birthday (IMHO) and oh, oh, oh these ones that feed the heart and tum- the please don't be defunct this one, and that one - the one I just found, the two that break my heart, the queen of the allergy lunchbox, the lady who produced the maker of an absolutely superb box, the ones walking in our shoes, and oh, more, many of which are languishing on LiveJournal. I'd go on, for fear of missing any particularly beloved blog, but you'll notice by now that this is really an apologia to the inhabitants of my Reader list, and I'm starting to feel like a variant on Dickens: guilt paid for by the word.

Enough. The point is, I let my Reader moulder, collect curiously shaped dust bunnies, which then debate the benefits of libertarian politics. Meanwhile, I wrestle with my inbox, let the Man lecture me on the proper way to write emails (efficiently, apparently), and mutter. But tonight, the kids finally asleep after an overdose on Disney, the Man and I were talking about a dear, if neglected friend. Which lead me to this post.

Okay, so first of all, cripes. I had that virus, and I'm assuming that the rest of the Imperfects were at least introduced to it, given the horking up of stuff that I've done over the past three weeks. I'm so sorry to hear that R had it - G? ST? YS? and all of the other alphabeticals. And you know, that thing gets points for combining the timing with the nasties. Because pilgrimages suck.

Oh, sometimes they really, really don't. But they do. And yes, I've been holding out on you, because our last visit managed to do both.

I can't begin to explain what dairy means to the Eldest, or to us as a family. Aside, as the Man points out, from a $30 rise in our weekly food costs. (Can't explain it, but can quantify it? Bah.) The Eldest's kaput!ted dairy allergy means something for what we put in our mouths, yes, but an easing of a fraction or two in my now-famous, unknottable shoulder muscles. (Forget Rafael Nadal - you should string a racket with those suckers) The two work together, in a wonderful positive feedback cycle of the kid can -> look! this used not to be okay, but now it is -> less worry, more breathe -> I don't gotta persuade nobody of nothin' here -> ahhh, the kid can.

Now, try the other version.

No, don't. It sucks great green goblins. And the thing about a pilgrimage is that you don't always know which one you get. Even if you had a great year, a bad year, maybe you read the signs wrong? maybe the labs will show, oh, something else? The Eldest's heme pharmacokinetics this year showed that no, he isn't working as well with his clotting meds as he has in the past, and we went to the annual heme visit (at, yes, a still-funded HTC) waiting to discuss The Rise of the Inhibitor, or the Great Statistical Insignificance.

(Don't ask me which one it was, I still don't know. The medicos don't, either, but they made up for it by noticing something completely different to horrify and entertain us all, as I'll tell you some other time.)

This year, we got both. The Great Dairy Escape, and the great green gobs of screeching heebie jeebies. Or possibly, screeching me(s). Hi, is this Miz Imperfect? I'm calling with the Toddles' lab results - do you have a minute? I did. I was also in the office of a really lovely director of admissions for a local lovely school. And suddenly, awash in numbers. So, according to this, the Toddles' RAST tests are double - or more than double - the ones from 2009. She walked me through the relevant results, and I plopped into a conveniently placed chair. Oh. The phone was sympathetically silent. Yes. It's fairly concerning, and we were wondering if there's anything that's changed? a new product that you might have questions about, a new food?  ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod

deep breath. Come on, woman - say it - well, the only real change that I can think of is that for the past few months, the Toddles has been eating lunch with his friends. He stays for lunch. At preschool.

And Miriam was right. At moments like that, I know that the dark spaces have been there all along, discreet little hatches, bulkheads that open and yawn which is unfair because, simultaneously the room is getting smaller and the damned bulkheads are eating all of the space - but that's a major milestone for him. And I don't want to take it away, unless we absolutely must.

Silence roars from the other end of the phone. Then, no. I agree. Let's not touch that until we have to. For now, why don't you look at the foods he's eating, see if you can identify any risks that might be of concern, and let's talk about them?

I nod, idiotic with relief. Oh. Um, yes. I'll do that. Flip the phone closed (did I say goodbye?) and blink, looking up at my now-worried audience. Who doesn't quite sigh, doesn't quite wince, but lets me scrabble myself together and think.

Because, truly? for us, the dark spaces aren't really quite medical. They're the places where our ability to live a life - a valued, rich and happy-in-our-way life - drops away. I'll tell you some other time about reassessing whether the Toddles can eat lunch at school, with his class, and the new mold allergy and angst-r-us. But at the end of the post, I am glad that there's this post.

So, let me sidestep the angst and my psyche's bulkheads to say, hey, ladies! I'm writing this post while curled up under a quilt. Don't know if you made it, but someone did, and gave it to HitWGC, and they sent us home with it. Now, it's the quilt that I put over the Eldest last weekend, when he had a bleed in his ankle. And that the Toddles snuggles under, for a sleepy waking-up ritual, and that I curl up with for my daily cuppa.

Dark spaces and bits of soft, flannel comfort. Yeah, it can work. Especially if that director of admissions is a very, very level-headed and sensible person.

(looks up. essays smile. tries again. sighhhhhhh)

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