Monday, July 30, 2012

Why I'm Reading Cordelia's Honor to Lis

I may have mentioned this before, but I am about to make a full confession.  Science fiction? I LOVE it.

We had a staff meeting, where someone mentioned that about a year before I joined the staff at my company, Edward James Olmos had been a speaker at an event.  I was rather perturbed that this had happened before my time, and exclaimed, "He's in my favorite TV show!"  "You mean Miami Vice?" my CEO asked.  I responded before my brain caught up with my mouth: "No, Battlestar Galactica!"

Cue laughter.

Anyways, I love it.  The first thing that could be lacked science fiction that I saw was that (somewhat awful in retrospect) Nickelodeon show Space Cases.  (Yes, I am aware that to some of you, I am very young, and to other of you, I probably seem old.  Whatevs.)  The idea fascinated me--this whole imaginary world! Where crazy things were possible! It was wonderful!

Then, one fateful day, I wandered into the TV room, and the last 30 minutes of Star Wars was on.  "What's this?" I asked my mom.  She look at me, curious.  "I've never shown you Star Wars?"  Nope.  So, I sat down and watched.  And I watched Empire Strikes Back the next day.  And I watched Return of the Jedi on the following day.  I was hooked.  I bought and borrowed Star Wars books.  I watched the movies over and over.

An equally glorious day came when I discovered the sci-fi channel. A little show called Stargate SG1 started in 1997.  I started watching towards the end of 1998.  I watched all of the spin offs, and the movie that originated it.  I watched X-Files, along with the rest of the world.  I watched (and am still working my way through) all the iterations of Star Trek.  Firefly.  God help me, Seaquest.  You name it, I've been watching.

It's not just the TV--its the books.  The Wheel of Time series, the Otherland series, and so on.  I completely fell in English-nerd love with the Lois McMaster Bujold series on Miles Vorkosigan.  Go read that one, starting with Cordelia's Honor.  You don't need to be a sci-fi person to love it.  It's just good.

Somewhere along the way, I began to identify why I love this stuff.  It's not just the cutting edge technology (don't get me jewelry, get me gadget--which I suppose makes me ideally suited for my formerly engineer now a patent attorney husband), and its not just the wild, barely possible and maybe impossible ideas.  It's not just the thought that maybe this could happen some day, maybe we could have technology to do that, ways to see this, a future without or with that.

It's the women.  There is something about science fiction that tends to (not always, I know) breed strong female characters.  Truly, I did not have any women with a backbone around me growing up.  Okay, maybe backbone is the wrong word--I think I mean strong sense of their own worth, and wiling to demand the respect of those around them.  I didn't have that--except through my science fiction addiction.

In these shows and movies and books, I saw (fictional) women who were astrophysicists, who were in the military, who didn't need a man to be in a relationship with, who had brilliant ideas.  They were women who were good at math and science, who didn't always first define themselves as mothers, although they cherished that role too.  It was an "and," not an "only." They were pilots, they were scientists, they were warriors, they were professors, they were presidents, they were leaders of rebellions.  They were villains, too.  They weren't always pure.  They were complicated.

I think there is just something about the science fiction (and fantasy) genre that doesn't just push gender boundaries, it just...ignores the ones we have.  It creates new ones, or discards them completely.

It made think I could do it too.  I want that for Ms. Lis--the ability to see beyond the horizons I had, and the ability to see beyond the horizons I have given her.  I want her imagination to be even more vast than mine was.  I want her belief in herself and her own worth to be more steady than mine was, and maybe is.  I want the possibilities of the present and the future to dance before her, and I want to work for them.  I want the dreams of what is possible, maybe no tin her lifetime, but in that of her children or grandchildren, to be something that she watches, reads about, and helps set in motion.  I want her to want the same for her children.

So I read to her.  I try pass on a love of possibility and imagination.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Bread Crumbs Led Home

So, after almost a week in the hospital, we are home.  Lis's eyes popped open, and after a few more tests, we were free to go.  Just like that.  With no supervision.  I felt like a criminal, sneaking out of the hospital, or maybe a dog that is leaving without a treat (ie, a nurse), slinking away. 

On the other hand, I was glad to get the hell out of the hospital.  As much as I love Riley Children's Hospital, as much as they did for us, and as much money as we are probably going to donate to them from here on out--there's only so long I can sleep (or not sleep) in a recliner.

Lis is still Lis.  She looks like herself more and more every day as the swelling goes down.  I have paranoid panic attacks every three hours or so when I look at her incision, convinced that infection is setting in.  Yes, of course, I've already called the NP twice.  It doesn't make me feel any better that she knows exactly what spot I'm talking about, because it was a point of concern to watch for them.  Ugh.

Anyways, it was a good thing our pediatrician noticed this so soon, it was a good thing she referred us, it was a good thing that they got us in so quickly, it was a good thing that we did the surgery as soon as we did.  If we hadn't, it would have been ugly.  Things got much worse between Lis's original diagnosis and the surgery.  It made things "hmmm... how should I say this? Interesting." in the words of our pediatric neurosurgeon.  It would have been much closer to impossible if the surgery had happened later.  Lis would have certainly been showing symptoms soon of increased inter cranial pressure. 

In other words, we did the right thing.  In other words, I am terrified in retrospect. 

Her cry is a little different--she sounds desperate and scared when she cries.  I assume this is because she is in pain, although we are managing the pain as best we can.  She's afraid of the dark, which I assume is because her eyes were swollen shut for five days.  She's afraid of her diaper changes, and I have no idea what to assume about that.  My amazing sleeping baby is not so amazing or sleeping anymore. 

But every day, she's a bit less scared and a bit more Lis.  She's rolling around, she's sticking her tongue out, she's belly laughing at the dog.  She's here.  A few more weeks, and we are out of the infection scare zone. 

I noticed over the last month or so, I've been getting a ton of google hits on craniosynostosis.  At some point, I will put together the whole story experience in several parts, and then advice (from my experience) for parents.  I know it helped me immensely to find other blogs of people who went through it.  I th8ink I should return the favor.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fork In The Road

I'm watching the Olympics. It's bizarre to see athletes there in my old sport whose asses I used to kick--I mean, really hand it to them. The Olympics was my dream, my goal... and then, it wasn't. For me, it was that I found other things more important- like education, like the rest if my life. I might post more on this later, as I watch them compete, but there you go. I know now- I was damn good, and I would have been good enough.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Are We human (Or Are We Dancers)

As busy and as sleepless as I have been, I've also had time to ponder the imponderables.  I've categorized them as follows: (1) truly stupid [i.e., I must be lacking serious amounts of sleep]; (2) interesting thought there, kiddo [there, there poor dear, you just need a short nap]; and (3) actual deep wonderings [I am so over caffeinated and sleep deprived that I had entered a whole other realm of existence where my IQ is through the roof--don't worry, it'll be over very quickly].

With no further ado:

(1) What do you think happens when you have  children's hospital with a water fountain?  Do you think they stay away from the water?  Why do you bother with the signs that say stay away from the water?  McDonalds salad or hospital food? McDonalds coffee or hospital coffee? Why do you have no songs (NOT A SINGLE SIGN) that points patients, parents, visitors to the main lobby?  Also, the necessity and what this sign says about Indiana:


(2) If I stare at the monitor, will that make the beeping stop? If I glare at the doctors when they barge in at 5:30 am, will that make them go away?  If I stare at Lis long enough, will that make her wake up and open and her eyes?

(3) Evolution and the laws of thermodynamics, specially the one towards increasing entropy--do they conflict? Can they be reconciled?

Then, somewhere in my sleep deprived state, I began wondering about human-ness.  What makes us human? I don't mean in the biological sense, though in a hospital, you are acutely aware of what makes you an alive human, a functioning human.  I mean in the mental, emotional, relational sense.

What is it about our human nature that causes us (most of us) to form communities?  What is it that allows me to understand a sign from another parent, walking the halls at 1 am, like me?  How do I know when she sees Lis in a stroller and presses her hand to heart, that she knows how I feel?  What gives us that need to seek a connection?  To touch?  To be close?

All I know is that when Lis opened her eyes and saw us, the first thing she did was this:


Reach for our faces, touch us, feel us, know the connection.  How human.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Beloved Crystal Ball Says

Well, of course I was right and some moron on my docket would hospitalize their kid while I was out in the hospital with my kid. Bonus points for correctly predicting which child and having and emergency motion ready to go. Minus points for general suckage. ************************ As for Ms. Lis, we had a few bad days pain wise, we are still in the ICU, but things are going better. She stuck her tongue out at me yesterday, and blew raspberries at me at, you know, 2:45 am. Because when your eyes are swollen shut, who cares what the hell time it is. It's time to party! Maybe we'll be home Tuesday. ************************ I am aware of the craptastic formatting of my posts right now. Sorry. All I have is my iPad and my phone.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's all been one long day

I have never been so tired or scared in my life. She's doing well & is on target for recovery. Her pain and swelling are going to peak soon, so she is refusing to eat. I guess I can humor her for awhile on that point. But only for a bit. She is so very swollen. I wish I knew what to do for her beyond what we are doing. And it's 1 am, so I am going to bed before I get even more weepy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In the meantime

She's in. We're waiting. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tonight's Outlook


Packed, baby:
2 snap up onesies
2 snap up footless sleepers
3 lovies (is that what you call these?)
2 heavy soft blankets
1 handmade blanket (from my mom, by my mom)
2 light blankets
1 toy with lots of crinkly sounds
1 soft stuff toy
1 rattle
1 bunny bag (a massive bag of children’s books from the library)
4 ditties (pacifiers… who knows where I picked up ditty)
2 hats
Lotion
Diapers and Food not needed.

Packed, adults:
Adoption paper materials
Newly published cases that need write ups
Paper that needs powerpoint presentation
Laptop & charger
Ipad (this thing is amazing for legal documents)
Phone charger
Granola bars
Water bottles

Unpacked:
All of my clothes
All of my toiletries
All of his clothes
All of his toiletries
All of his work
All the dog's stuff

Prognosis:
Late night ahead.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Out Of Office Reply:


I’m getting ready to be out of the office for awhile.  Obvs.

I feel like I’ve been doing this rather often lately: assessing my docket, finding the potential problems, squinting down the road and into my crystal ball to see what the problems are and what the best solutions will likely be, and doing a memo for it all.  Sending off the memo to the other attorneys in my office.  Making sure my desk is all organized and all my files accessible.  Making sure everyone has my passwords.  Giving written permission to open my mail, email, voicemail; giving permission to sign routine motions to appear and withdraw appearances (I call them disappearances, because, well, they ARE.)  Let my volunteers/clients/other attorneys know that I am out, and who to contact.  Setting up the voicemail, and the out of office reply for email.  Making sure all hearings, settlements, mediations, attorneys conferences are covered.  Predicting the inevitable OH MY GOD XYZ TOOK THE CHILD HID THE CHILD RAN WITH THE CHILD HIT THE CHILD incident and having the template for the motion ready to go.  With the way my work life has been since June, I know it will happen.  I had one emergency FINALLY wind down, only to have another start.  I have CPS on speed dial.  I have the legal office at DCS on speed dial.  I know case workers’ phone numbers by heart. 

The thing is, I have done this recently.  I did it when I went to Ireland (remember this?  It was glorious.  We were carefree, and while I think our lives were less rich without Lis in them, there was no surgery looming over us and there was a lot more sleep).  I did it when I went on maternity leave.  I did it when I left for Buffalo.  And I’m doing it again now for Lis’s surgery. 

My heart is always in my throat a bit when I leave my docket in other people’s hands.  I know they are completely competent, and one in particular has far more experience than I do.  But it’s my work, my license, and I’m always afraid there’s a bit of important info that I forgot to tell them.  There comes a point where the things are just etched in your skull… any maybe not in the file.  Where, you know, they should be.  In fact, now that I typed that, I am starting to think that these out of office memos are a good thing, because my files are way more up to date than just about any other attorney’s files that I know of.

I am super lucky to have great co-workers.  They fixed up a massive basket of goodies to take to the hospital.  They are stepping in without complaint and with a smile to help.  And down the road, I will do the same for them.  Someday.  And someday, I will show them all the processes I’ve created for being out of the office, and it will make it easier for them to do what I’m doing now.  Someday.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inappropriate Response of the Week

Also known as "case that has consumed my life since June 1 2012." If the court changes custody, DO NOT take your child and run. Especially if you're the one who was been diagnosed as CRAZY. (details spared to protect the innocent and not so innocent) That is all.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Truth in the ( )

I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.  Yes, I’m fine, we’re fine, she’s fine, I’m fine, he’s fine, we’re all FINE.  I’m sure it will be alright; I’m sure it will go well; they do this almost all the time; it’s practically routine. I’m okay, she’s fine, we’re all swell. 

(I am NOT fine.  He is NOT fine.  Of course’s she fine, she’s okay, she has no clue.  But she ISN’T fine or okay or swell, because then we wouldn’t be doing this, would we?  I don’t know that everything is going to be okay.  I’m just saying that so you will go away and feel comforted, because if I really let you know how I felt, there would be puddles.)

No one knows why; we don’t know what causes it; no, we’re not sure what its related to; yes, it’s just one of those things.  No, it’s no one’s fault. 

(What if…this IS my fault?  Was it something I did?  I didn’t do?  Is it a genetics thing?)

Oh yes, I know there are other kids of have had this done.  Yes, the one I know of have turned out fine.  No, no major complications.  Oh really?  Your sister’s boyfriend’s stepmother’s sister’s child had this?  Turned out fine?  That’s great to hear.

(I know other people have done this.  But I am doing this.  Right now.  With my baby.  Infant.  Defenseless thing, can’t walk, talk, chew, crawl, etc?  You know the one  I’m talking about?  So, the fact it is my baby that this doing this right now pretty much makes everyone else’s wonderful outcomes irrelevant, because I am sacred shitless for my baby. MY baby, not theirs, or your sister’s boyfriend’s stepmom’s sister’s monkey’s uncle’s child.)

Yes, I have heard the jokes about having a hard head.  Oh yes, they’re funny.  No, of course I don’t need to worry about her bonking her head, because, haha, hard head! Yes, I’m laughing.  Oh yes, we are keeping our sense of humor up.  No, it’s not too soon.

(Yes, it is too soon.  How the EFF is it possible that you don’t see that this laughter is on maniacal side of things with me barely keeping tears back?  If you make one more hard headed joke before this surgery I am going to lose it.)

Help? Oh, we have plenty.  No, thank you, we’re all set over here.  Thank you for the offer of help.  Yes, I know I can call you anytime.  Yes, I know I can request anything, anytime.  Thank you all, you’re so sweet.

(Help is not a vague offer of being a phone call away, you ass.  If you meant it, you would do what the people who really want to help are doing, and just effing do it.  Like I’ve done a hundred thousand times for you and everyone else.  I’m not here to be your cruise director of help-needed.)

+++

Yes, I know they are expressing concern.  Some of it is genuine, some of it feels like something uglier, like people wanting to watch an area where think a car crash is about to occur.  So this has nothing to do with the genuine.  This has to do with the ugly, and with the people who ask about it, and then while I’m answering, brush it off, well!  It’ll be fine! God has plans!  Have you seen my new nail polish?