Military Life

Our life’s just full of excitement over here.

This is the latest predicted path for Hurricane Irene direct from the National Hurricane Center. It’s updated a few times a day & throughout the last 2 days has slowly predicted it moving further & further east of FL. The question is how far east it will be by the time it gets here?

We just so happen to live right on the very east coast of central Florida so the current predicted path, which has Hurricane Irene as a category 3 by the time it’s scheduled to get here, not boding too well for us.

We’ve been here 2 years so far & have been fortunate enough to dodge every storm thus far so I’m getting a little anxious keeping tabs on this one because we’re due and so far, other than a list of things we want to remember to take with us in the event of an evacuation, we’re not really prepared.

The house we’re renting is old. It definitely doesn’t have hurricane proof windows & I can only imagine what sort of effect a category 3 hurricane will have on this place if the storm does blow through too close to us. Fortunately, the base will be ordering us to evacuate, likely within the next few days, if the predicted path of this storm doesn’t continue to push it further east from us.

I fear what we’ll be coming home to if it comes to that though….

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Some times things change in a moments notice & there’s nothing you can do but just sit back, try to relax, & accept the path you’ve been abruptly dropped on.

Of course my recent experience is not nearly as traumatic as many whom have been affected by a statement such as that above, but this is my personal lil story:

About 2 weeks ago I awoke one morning to our dog Orly whining to go out at about 7:30am. I jumped up out of a sound sleep and quickly let the two dogs out for bit.

As I stood at the back door waiting for them to do their business I became acutely aware of an increasing pain in my upper belly. It felt at first like a cramping sort of feeling & I thought maybe a lil snack & a drink well I waited for the dogs would help. So I went off to the kitchen, had a granola bar & a few sips of juice then got the dogs back in & went back to bed.

Laying in bed I curled up in a fetal position, the pain progressively intensifying. I started visualizing the call I was going to make to Roy at work if it didn’t soon stop & it hurt more to even whimper. I feared I wasn’t even going to be able to explain to him what the issue was if the pain got any worse but thankfully it slowly started to disappear once again & I drifted back to sleep.

Then there was nothing, until a week later which just so happened to be last Tuesday. I’d had a relatively uneventful day at home & when Roy got home from work he stayed with the girls, who were napping, & I ran out to the grocery store to stock up on some things we needed.

When I returned home about an hour and a half later I could feel this cramping sort of pain returning. I put the groceries away, sat down for a lil while, then went off to make dinner for everyone.

Slowly the pain worsened.

By the time I’d finished making dinner and had sat down to my own plate I could barely touch it. I just picked at it for a while whimpering to Roy about my dilema & waited for the girls to finish up then managed to shower Alanna since I’d given Brooklynn one just the night before then left them to play for a little while before bed.

I sat back down to attempt to finish my dinner & the pain started to then become agonizing so I decided to try laying in a fetal position on the bed as I had done the week before hoping it would just pass like the last time & thinking it felt oddly familiar to the gallbladder attacks I had been experiencing earlier in the year, before it’s removal in late February.

After laying on the bed for a while Roy came to find me & suggested that if I was in this much pain maybe I should consider going to the ER.

For most people this might be an easy decision but it’s something I always struggle with. I know that a typical ER trip lasts hours & it was already after 9pm by this time. The following day was also the girls first day back to school & I didn’t want to go to the ER get stuck there for hours, get told it was nothing major, be sent home in the middle of the night & then end up having Roy wake up the girls, load them into the van, pick me up, load them back into their beds & then expect them to get up for a full day of Preschool, after all summer off, with an interupted night of sleep.

I also didn’t want to have to find someone willing to come in & babysit on only a moments notice for half the night while Roy stayed with me. So, after much agonizing concideration I finally decided that if Roy & the girls could just drop me off so I could at least make sure it was nothing serious then I would take a Taxi home when I finally got released so that I didn’t have to disrupt the girls or anyone else.

Yes, I think of all these things despite being in severe pain & my worries are almost immobilizing. I am just so grateful that this time (unlike a major gallbladder attack I had back in January) Roy was actually here to stay with the girls so I could seek immediate medical help.

Around 2 or 3am, after some lab work & a CT Scan, the ER Doctor decided I had a bowel obstruction & admitted me telling me there was a possibility I may need a tube down my nose or possible surgery.

Moments after updating my Facebook status to keep Roy & my now concerned family members in Canada, all in the loop, the nurse (who had already blown a vein in my arm while roughly trying to insert my IV) returned to announce she was going to be shoving the dreaded tube down my nose also.

I. Freaked. Out…. Completely!

Not just because she was “rough” but I had already had a previous nose tube experience after waking from my Gastric Bypass surgery back in 2009 & I knew it was far from pleasant. The difference however is that in my previous experience I was unconscious from surgery when they inserted the tube & this time I was wide awake. I begged her for some sort of throat numbing spray or sedation of some sort & she just shook her head no. So like any other mature adult I broke down & bawled like a baby.

Seriously.

She left for a while as I tried to compose myself, frantically Facebooking an update of my impending trauma that was about to ensue.

When she returned with a second nurse she produced a bottle of throat numbing spray & told me she could in fact numb my throat for me a little bit. So she gave it a spray & both nurses moved around me until I had one on each side. They then produced the long tube & a cup of water with a straw telling me the best thing I could to was swallow when they told me to in order to help it go down.

The rough nurse held the tube, while the other held the cup with the straw in my mouth & each of them put a hand on the back of my head holding it so my chin was against my chest & then the rough nurse with the tube began shoving it home while they both barked at me to swallow.

I did. Frantically! Up until the tube began clogging my throat making swallowing nearly impossible. They just kept barking the order at me while I spewed water everywhere exasperatedly trying to explain that I couldn’t!

Finally the tube bottomed out once it hit my lil stomach pouch & they backed off to test & make sure by pumping a syringe of water into it causing me to belch as my lil pouch suddenly filled with a blast of air & water. I was horrified, humiliated & definitely a bit traumatized fearing what the night with this thing was going to be like.

Around 4am I finally got taken up to my bed on one of the upper floors where I got very little sleep for the next night & following day. I think the tube was only in for that one night (it’s all a bit of a blur now) but it turned out to be a waist of time since it didn’t do anything they’d hoped & the Xray which I had the following day showed there was no blockage there. So they weren’t sure if it had somehow passed or if there was another issue we were dealing with.

Apparently some of my laps were showing elevated levels such as in my liver & after my assigned Doctor & hospital surgeon consulted with one another they decided what I might actually have is a left over stone in my Bile Duct left over from my Gallbladder removal. They ordered some sort of special MRI to be done on my belly, which ended up taking a day & a half for me to get in for & I’ve since been waiting over a day just for the results of it.

If it is a stone then I will aparently need surgery but because of my Gastric Bypass they will not be able to go in through my mouth like they normally would & the surgeon here is claiming it can’t be done Laproscopically either so I’m possibly looking at major surgery which means a big(ish) scar & a lengthy recovery. Not to mention all the added risks that go along with it.

I’m considering contacting my Gastric Bypass surgeon if it is indeed a stone because he knows exactly what’s going on with my insides & he is a professional at the Laproscopic surgeries so he might be able to do it that way for me. That would however mean having to go 3 hours away for it to be done.

Ideally I hope it’s not a stone at all but the question then is; what is it?

I’m still experiencing pain although not as severe as Tuesday night & I know my body well enough to know that what I’ve been feeling is definitely not normal for me. So I’m also a lil afraid of just being sent home if it shows nothing because they don’t know what to tell me & then find myself back here in another week or two when it reoccurs as severely once again.

Tomorrow I hope to have answers… but it may take till Monday since not a whole lot tends to happen on the weekend.

Fortunately, Roy’s chain of command gave him the immediate time off he’s required in order to take care of the girls while I’ve been holed up here for the past 5 nights & all without forcing him to take any personal leave for it. If I do require surgery they will also get him on a longer term family medical leave in order to get us through it.

I’m saddened however, to of missed the girls first day back at preschool but thankfully, Roy took pictures for me & the girls have thoroughly enjoyed their time back.

I am extremely grateful for my wonderful MOPS group & Roy’s squadron spouses group who together have come together to create a meal sign up & have been bringing wonderful home cooked meals over to Roy & the girls in my absence. I feel truly touched & blessed by their support during this time & I know Roy & the girls are truly grateful for it too.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a fresh post written up for today but since it’s special & I had a pretty awesome one for it last year I’m going to copy & paste it here as well since a simple link to the original post just doesn’t do it justice. I’ve added some minor edits also since some things, like my step father’s passing, have occurred in the last year.

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It’s not that I’ve forgotten that it’s Father’s Day today, but more that I have always struggled with the celebration of this particular day.

I grew up without ever knowing who my Father was. I knew his name, had seen some pictures, but I didn’t know him.

Although I desperately wanted to have the opportunity to get to know him, that was never able to happen because by the time I found him… he was dead & along with the news of his death went any hopes & dreams of ever having any sort of relationship together.

Sure, I had a step father (who passed away January 17th 2011, RIP) but he never raised me. I grew up with my grandmother & it was my sister, who is 3 years younger than I, that grew up with our mother & her father, my step father.

To me he has always been her dad & my mother’s husband… but he’s not my father. I don’t say that to belittle him him in any way. It’s just the facts. Still however, I always called him on Father’s Day to wish him a special day (2011 is the first year I won’t be able to)

My relationship with him was more like one of an uncle & a niece… in fact, in the very early years of my life, that’s precisely what I called him when I saw him… “uncle”… because I heard my cousin calling him that & figured that’s who he was.

I have always struggled with this day & remember years of being so angry at school around this particular day (I went to school in Canada where school is in session until mid to late June, not like here in the US where they get out in May). I hated how every Father’s Day we were forced to participate in making special projects to give to them. I would argue that I didn’t have one & didn’t wish to participate & they’d just tell me to make one anyway & give it to my grandmother… but it wasn’t the same.

My gramma was indeed pulling double duty taking on the motherly & fatherly roles in our single parent household but a mother (or grandmother) simply cannot take the place of what a positive male role model can bring to a young girls life no matter how much both she & the school may have felt that she could.

What I have realized however, is that I need to find a way to put my dislike for this day behind me because now there is a very special Father in my life who deserves to be recognized & celebrated to the fullest.

He has been so kind as to come along on this band wagon of taking in children that aren’t ours & accepting them as our own until they were.

He’s opened his heart, his mind & his home.

He’s changed diapers, fed bottles, cradled the crying, & wiped away tears from all of us.

He is kind & gentle, patient & understanding.

He’s been a teacher to our girls & their most favorite person to play with.

He brings them into fits of giggles on the floor around him & I listen as they beg for more.

He wakes early in the mornings, works a difficult job, attends strenuous physical trainings 3+ times a week as a requirement of his job & has a very real understanding of what it means when “duty calls”.

He has always been there for us.

Not only has he provided for us by keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs & insurance to keep us healthy while at the same time giving me the opportunity to be a stay at home mother & consistent care taker in our young childrens lives….

… but he also serves his country too!

I love my husband & his level of devotion & bravery more than words can express. I am so proud of him & couldn’t ask for a better role model & Father for our children.

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I don’t normally enmesh myself in political matters.

Yes, I care about what happens I just don’t normally care to talk about it all & get myself into debates with people regarding what’s right or wrong since everyone’s opinions on things are naturally different & that’s ok!

Different perspectives can be good, they can make the world go ’round… or in some cases like that of a few weeks ago, bring things to a screeching halt.

It was because of differing perspectives the Military almost had to sacrifice their pay indefinitely while continuing to show up for work, while Congress & Obama would of continued to receive their paychecks regardless.

Fortunately, in the last few minutes before a Gov’t shut down, a decision was made & the halt on Military pay was released to continue as usual.

Two days ago, that very Military found Osama Bin Laden & took him out. Obama gave the thumbs up to do so.

My opinion is that the Military deserves the credit for this, not Obama. Yes, Obama is the current Chief in Command of it all, he gave the thumbs up, but he’s not the one who risked his life to see Operation Kill Bin Laden through. He just happens to be the President in office when Bin Laden was finally found.

I saw one of those “If you like this post re post it” things on Facebook last night which stated:

“Let’s be clear on this: OBAMA did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American soldier, who Obama just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to PAY, did. Obama just happened to be the one in office when our soldiers finally found Bin Laden and took him out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN… victory!!”

Because I agree that Obama does not deserve sole credit & because I’d seen a number of posts pop up in my feed earlier in the day saying things such as:

“Yay Obama!, Obama finally did it!, & Congrats Obama!”

I was moved & felt the need to re post the initial quote. I especially liked how it pointed out that it was just a few short weeks ago that Obama was prepared to not pay his Military. The public at the time was in an uproar & yet that very same Military just took out the mastermind behind the terrorism of 9/11 & I’m seeing the public (some, not all) give the sole credit to Obama!

All he did was give the thumbs up folks!

I didn’t realize my re posting of the quote was going to cause some people to want to dissect it & point out all the flaws rather then see the meaning behind it but alas’ that’s what ended up happening.

It was pointed out that it wasn’t a “Soldier” who killed Bin Laden it was a “Sailor”.

The term “Victory” was scoffed at.

My depth of “Canadianness” was questioned….

I responded trying to clarify that the reason behind my ”re posting” what was already written is because I agree that it’s not just Obama who deserves the credit. It’s the very men who just a few short weeks ago he was contemplating not paying.

That was the point behind the post for me. The words “Solider”, “Victory”, & whatever else everyone wants to pick apart did not come from my mind nor my own personal word choices, I simply felt the desire to repost because as I had just said, the point behind the post that took meaning for me was the fact that it’s not Obama who did this. It was the military. Yes, he’s the head honcho but the credit is not all his.

I realize he’s not the one taking the full credit. My disgruntlement is not so much with Obama as it is with those out there who seem to believe it’s all Obama’s doing.

I also think Justice would be a better term than victory.

Justice for the many thousands of people who have lost their lives because of Bin Laden & all the many thousands of families who are still grieving the loss of their loved ones. Not only from the 9/11 attacks but from the loss of the many men and women who have put their lives on the line for this very reason. To not only serve justice but to protect our nations from terrorism so we can all sleep better at night.

The fact Obama & the rest of the Gov’t would even consider not paying those men & women is upsetting.

To then see other’s give credit solely to Obama (the Chief who was prepared to deny the military their pay but not his own) for this historic event instead of the very Military who have truly put their lives on the line over & over again to accomplish this mission is just further upsetting to me.

It’s nice to see credit where credit is due, regardless of my nationality, especially speaking from the perspective of someone married to a US military member, who has also put his life on the line in this war against terrorism. It’s only natural my opinion may differ from those of the general public & those of my Canadian friends & family.

This is not a rant on whether or not this war should have happened in the first place, or whether it’s right or wrong to “celebrate” Bin Laden’s death (which I don’t). My only focus is on that of what our Military has accomplished in removing such a serious long term threat of terrorism upon us & my feelings that they should get the credit they deserve, especially given all their sacrifices to reach this monumental day.

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The weather here’s been in the mid 80′s all weekend with just a slight touch of humidity. It’s been awesome!

I’m really starting to love living in Florida. If it weren’t for the Palmetto bugs I think I’d want to stay here forever!

I’ve We’ve pondered the idea of buying the house we’re in, or the gorgeous house that was available down on the corner at the end of our street but it just isn’t worth it being that we’re likely to get orders out of here in the next year or three & being that our house is located beach side we’re prime target for major hurricane damage should one come directly at us. So insurance would be extremely high & we’re just not sure it’s worth it… especially if we aren’t living in it & have to rent it out while we’re gone.

There’s also the distance to both sides of our family from here which sucks…. Interestingly enough, if we were stationed in Japan I could get to Seattle for something like $40.00 a seat on a direct Air Force “Hop” but from here in Florida my only option is to fly commercial at closer to $300.00 a seat.

Anyways, we’ve had a beautiful weekend here. It began a little bit shaky with what was supposed to be Date Night on Friday with the girls going to the bases Give Parent’s a Break Program but unfortunately, Brooklynn had a reaction to some food I gave her Thursday night causing her to throw up a couple times. I was worried Friday morning that she was coming down with something & mistakenly voiced my concern about it via Facebook.

After monitoring her the rest of the day & seeing she was still just as energetic as usual with absolutely no other symptoms or continuation of puking I was able to narrow it down to a reaction to what I had given her the night before for dinner. Being that I’m her mother & know she has a long history of food sensitivity I was confident in my analysis. But, because I had voiced my earlier concern about the possibility of her being sick on Facebook followed up with our plans for date night that evening. A couple women on my “Friends List” got their panties in a bunch & went off the deep end more or less calling me a bad parent for even considering contaminating their children who would also be at the Give Parent’s a Break Night, with whatever Brooklynn had.

I completely understood the reason for their concern & attempted to explain but rather than listen (or even bother to care) they took it upon themselves to contact the Give Parents a Break program directly & complain about us.

We then received a phone call from the program stating they had a number of parents call in concerned about our children attending that evening. Before she went any further I explained what had happened & told her not to worry. We’d already decided not to bring our girls in as it was obviously causing too much of an uproar. In fact I had already posted via Facebook that we were turning date night into family night & that we planned to attend “The Melting Pot” restaurant that evening, so for anyone not wanting to be contaminated by my daughter’s food sensitivities they might want to consider a different restaurant if they were also planning to go there that evening.

With “Friends” like that… who needs enemies!?!?

I deleted all the posts on Facebook shortly after figuring it best to just let it all go. Needless to say these particular women are no longer a part of my “List” as I do not need “Friends” like that. Had the whole situation been handled differently, like perhaps a response voicing concern such as “Hope she feels better” or “I’m sorry to hear!” or something that an actual friend might say, rather then jumping into attack mode putting me immediately on the defense, then I suppose the outcome would of been a lot different.

…. ’tis the joys of Facebook & internet MIS-communication.

I know it’s petty of me to even rehash this all here, but my feelings were indeed hurt. I should have already known but it was just the abrupt realization over the fact that a fair portion of people on my “List” are actually just mere acquaintances who frequent the same social settings & follow me for more of a gossip type purpose then any actual desire to be real friends. Whereas I was delusional enough to think that by adding certain people to my “Friends List” whom I also frequented the same social setting with that I might actually get to know them better & form deeper more meaningful relationships.

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Anyways, as I said, Date Night turned into Family Night at The Melting Pot where Roy & the girls got to have their first Fondue experience.

Having Fondue takes quite a while, especially when you do all three courses like we did. It began with cheese then meat & then chocolate. We were there for nearly 2.5 hours & the girls were impressively well behaved the entire duration. They loved the cheese fondue. Well, Alanna enjoyed the cheese & Brooklynn enjoyed the fresh fruit & veggies. She’s never been one to get excited about dipping her food. They also loved the chocolate at the end but the meat one they would of happily done without. However, for Roy & I we found it delicious!

Overall, despite the fact that the evening didn’t go as planned we had a really enjoyable time together & I’m glad it all worked out how it did. Although I could of done without all drama to begin it.

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Saturday, we got up early & attended the bases annual Easter Egg Hunt & Kiddie Clothing Swap. I’m not sure why they decided to do the hunt so many weeks before Easter but it works out as we have other hunts we also plan to attend next Saturday & then again on the one after.

The girls got to do a few fun things prior to the hunt like decorate a cookie, color an Easter Chick & Bunny, & of course visit with the Easter Bunny.

After that it came time to wait for the hunt to start & patience has never been one of Alanna’s strong suits. Here’s a comparison of last years egg hunt wait & this years….

I think there’s been some improvement though!

Eventually the hunt began & all the kids made their mad dash around the field collecting whatever eggs they could & after they were all picked up the parents found their kiddos & all squated down on the field to quickly go through them seeing if they had gotten any eggs with gift certificate type things that would win them prizes over at one of the prize tables that had been set up.

Alanna got one & Brooklynn got two & from the table they received a plush beanie ladybug, a Dora comb & mirror set & a 2 pack of Disney playdough.

From there we made our way over to the Kiddie Clothing Swap that I had donated 4 jam-packed boxes full of the girls outgrown clothes ranging from 0 – 2T so I was really hoping to get at least a nice bag full of stuff they’d fit now or soon grow & was pleasantly surprised to bring home two!  They each got some new (to us) pajama’s, a couple dresses, a few shorts & plenty of shirts, a couple of which were a size 5/6 but were just too irresistible to pass up.

We brought the girls home for lunch & naps then headed out later in the afternoon to a friends son’s 2nd birthday party. We’re sad to soon have to say goodbye to these friends as they’re moving out of State at the end of the month. We’re sure going to miss them!

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Sunday was pretty well a relaxing stay at home day. I had all sorts of grand plans of cleaning house, working on some of my reborning, spending some time teaching Alanna to ride her Trike & doing some swimming but not much of it got done. We all pretty much just lazed around the house until late afternoon when we decided to venture on out to the pool for some family swim time after the girls nap.

It was my first time getting in the pool since we moved here & it was really nice. I’m definitely looking forward to spending plenty more time in there this summer!

We finally got Brooklynn to stop clinging to the wall or hovering around the steps the entire time & Alanna has shown what a lil adrenaline junky she is by her love of having Daddy toss her into the pool over & over & over again!

It’s been a truly blissful weekend full of family fun which I feel so blessed & thankful for. I’m very thankful that Brooklynn’s early illness on Friday was just in fact a food sensitivity & not the start of anything worse. I’m also very thankful that the impending Government shut down was averted at the last minute & it looks like Roy will continue as normal & still get paid!

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