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sickness
Posts

  • Health and Healing Hypocrisy

    I see all physical ailments as metaphysical messages. I believe our souls communicate to our egos through the language of the body. Every time I am sick, hurt, or in pain – I see it as an opportunity to dig deep in the bowels of my inner being, and extract a warm brown piece of who I really am.

    Because of this belief system, I never take western medicine. The medical establishment may lesson your symptoms, but it drives your sickness deeper inside. When you take pills for momentary relief, you are denying yourself the opportunity of self-reflection. Rather than trying to mask my pain, I will willingly sit in it so as to discover what it is I need to learn.

    Yet when my kid is suffering, I just want her to stop complaining – I mean I just want her to get better fast.

    The Munch was really miserable the other day. Usually when she is sick, she takes it as an opportunity to watch TV all day. Yet this time, she was in such a state of distress, that she wouldn’t even watch “My Little Pony!” She said that her eyes hurt too much to open them, and was writhing around in my bed in a state of physical crisis. The only thing I could do was to tickle her back to relax her.

    I felt so helpless. It’s traumatizing to see your child in anguish. But she was also being really dramatic and annoying about it. Sorry that was my auto correct. I meant to write; she was being SUPER dramatic and annoying about it.

    At first I tried to examine the mystical meaning of what was going on with her.

    Munch: MOMMY! It hurts! Wahhhahhhhaaa!
    Toni: I know it does sweetie. Can you tell me what it feels like?
    Munch: My eyes are pushing into my mouth.
    Toni: What do you think that means? What is it you don’t want to see? Or don’t want to say?
    Munch: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? My eyes and mouth just hurt! Wahhhaaahha!
    Toni: I hear you – but what do you think is the significance of your eyes hurting? Do you feel like there is some hidden question you could be asking yourself? What are your eyes and mouth trying to teach you?
    Munch: MY FACE HURTS! WAHAHHHHAHH
    Toni: Is there something about yourself that you have to face, and that’s why your face hurts?
    Munch: I DON’T KNOW! I JUST KNOW IT HURTS!!!

    My philosophical inquiry wasn’t exactly getting to the bottom of things. The Munch didn’t seem too interested interested in delving into the spiritual significance of what was going on with her health.

    Then my mom called.

    My Mom: I think she has allergies.
    Toni: How do you know?
    My Mom: Because she is experiencing the same symptoms I used to have. Stuffy nose, itchy eyes, irritability… That’s why I take Benadryl every day.
    Toni: But what do you think that your runny nose and itchy eyes are trying to tell you mom? Is your nose running perhaps a metaphor for something else you are running from?
    My Mom: Jesus Toni, it’s just seasonal allergies from pollen. Stop being such a hippy freak and go get your daughter some over the counter allergy medicine like Zyrtec.

    So I did.

    The Munch ended up sleeping the entire day, and I kind of felt like I drugged my kid. Which I guess I did. But then she woke up the next day, and was perfectly fine.

    hiding under the pillow munch

    munch sick sleeping

    March 17, 2016 • 5 years old, Family Drama, Health, Mommyhood, Parenting, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 1049

  • Why Is “Mom” the Answer to Everything?

    Even though I love the shit out of my kid, being “the mom” can sometimes seriously suck. Whenever The Munch is sick, all she wants is me – her mom. No one else will do. Not even if My Little Pony had an orgy with Frozen, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid to produce the ultimate neon princess pony with magical powers and tail.

    I think we all have this visceral connection to the idea that “mom” emotionally translates to safety. When I was young and sick, it was my mom who I felt I could trust most to know what to do. Which was pretty much the right idea since her cure to all ailments was to mix together a drink of lemon, honey, warm water, and whisky. Not sure if those concoctions actually helped me heal, but they did facilitate a damn good time.

    When we are at our most vulnerable, especially when young, one true relief is being with mom. But what is it about “the mom” that is most soothing? Is it because we once lived inside her as an actual physical home while feeding from her blood like a parasite? Does the inadvertent nurturing dependency of pregnancy impact an assumption that mom = support? But what about adopted children? I am sure they still want to snuggle with their mom even if they didn’t spurt out her birth canyon. Is it a female thing that bitches are inherently more comforting and shit? But what about children of gay couples? Which mom is the sick mom? Or which dad becomes the sick dad? Is one person always burdened with being the sick parent? Why did it have to be me?

    The Munch came home from school yesterday with a fever, and has literally been on top of me ever since. I mean I know I am delightful and all, but this primal urge for her to be near me is intense. She slept on me all afternoon – pinning me down so I felt like a guy after a one-night stand that wants to chew his own arm off just to free himself from the embrace of a girl he is just not that into. If I tried to maneuver myself away, Munch just held on tighter around me neck – IN HER SLEEP LIKE A BOSS!

    Then of course last night she didn’t want to sleep by herself. She kept waking up with these intense hallucinations like she was at a Grateful Dead Show – her heart beating as fast as tripping hippy. So I brought her into my bed hoping we could both get some rest. My logic was that if she was alone and scared she would wake up more than if she was next to me. I also wanted to keep an eye on her in case things got really bad throughout the night. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fever induced nightmares that would ensue. It was like trying to sleep in an insane asylum. Every 20 minutes she would yell in her sleep. Some of my favorite utterings she bellowed into the darkness were “Don’t peel my skin off! I want to eat it later,” as well as “Those bushes are evil and the sugar will destroy you,” and then “I don’t want to go to school, the monsters keep taking our blankets and using them for polenta.” I was fucking terrified.

    At one point Munch woke up for some water, which she proceeded to drink too fast, and then vomited all over my bed. As exciting as that was to have this exorcist moment, it was also pretty gross to sleep in bile. So we went back into her room, where I slept on the floor in case she puked again. Then came the deliriums, which caused not only intense thrashing, but for Munch to wake up yelling in my face blowing barf-breath directly into my nose – all the while still sort of sleeping and sweating like a coke head in the early morning hours.

    Today wasn’t any better. A kid with a fever is a lot like being around a detoxing junkie. There is a lot of crying, flailing, fitful napping, and relentlessly asking for more medicine. There wasn’t any liberation from her unyielding need for me to hold her through this process, which was as flattering as it was oppressive. It is nice that she feels so consoled by me, but I haven’t seen the light of day in 24 hours. Has WW3 started yet? What is going on out there?

    Hopefully despite all this direct contact I won’t catch whatever she had, but if I do get her germs Munch promised we would take care of each other. Meaning I would still do everything for her, but she would let me have some of her orange juice and some of her medicine that takes like candy.

    I give up…

    sick-munch-mom-blog-(i)

    September 24, 2014 • 4 years old, Health, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 1496

  • Swimming In Bacteria Like a Boss

    Okay. So I totally fucked up. But it’s not totally my fault. It is also nature’s fault… and global warming… and all the politicians/corporations/bankers who are ass fucking the planet. But I guess it is also my fault too.

    This is what happened. I live on a lake. It is a beautiful clean mountain lake. I have always thought it was a magical, healing, energetically pure body of water. It never occurred to me to doubt its virtue. The other day my baby sitter, Lilliana, brought The Munch to the beach to go swimming and was told not to go in because of bacteria contaminating the water. When Lilliana texted me this information I was like, “what the holy dick hole. I don’t believe this shit. I have never heard of this in my life. NEVER in 30 years on this lake have I been told not to swim because of bacteria! That is some serious yuppie bullshit!!”

    I just didn’t believe the hype, and quite arrogantly considering I did ZERO research on the subject. Had I just taken… oh… I don’t know… 3 minutes on the Internet all my questions would have been solved. But NO! I was NOT going to be told that I couldn’t swim in the damn lake I have been swimming in my whole damn life.

    Okay so this is where shit got bad. Later that afternoon when I went to pick up Munch she mentioned our plan to go swimming that we had made earlier that morning before this whole debacle.

    Toni: Do you think we should care about the bacteria in the water?
    Munch: Nope.
    Toni: Cool. I am going to trust you because you have the wisdom of a 4-year old. Forget the fact that I am an adult who can and should research potentially dangerous situations. Lets do this because you, my child, say its cool.

    And we drove straight to the bacteria filled beach.

    Okay, so here is a little context. For one… august has been cold as fuck. New England weather already sucks, and our summer has been uncharacteristically short. It didn’t get warm enough to swim until July, and then we had a serious cold rainy front for most of August. Essentially we got dicked out of summer and our only swimming time. After days and days of crappy weather, it was finally a nice day to swim. To not go because of some cryptic threat seemed ludicrous.

    Then next influence is my overall denial of drastic changes in the environment. I know they exist – but I don’t want to actually believe it. I see all those kids wearing sun shirts to protect their skin from the hole in the ozone, but I keep going back to the fact that I never wore sunscreen when I was a child… so what is the big deal? It is this stubborn renouncing of obvious truths because to admit reality is too painful. Yeah maybe when I was a kid the lake wasn’t contaminated, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t now.
    Here is another element of the equation that maybe is less nature’s problem and more mine. I felt SUPER guilty about how much I have been working all summer, and wasn’t feeling like I spent enough time doing stuff outside with Munch. The fact that the season was almost over, made me feel like I didn’t appreciate it. The months went by so fast, and I spent an ample of amount of time inside working trying to make something out of my life. It was this crippling realization that my relentless ambition kept me from enjoying the fleeting warm months with my child.

    The last contributing factor to this scene is the “Holly” in me. You see, my mom –Holly- has a very particular approach to life. She is they type of woman who has mustard from the 80’s that she will put in your sandwich – ignoring the fact it expired 15 years ago – and rationalize eating it because fermentation or whatever. She has fed me rice with maggots unknowingly cooked in, because hey protein. She doesn’t measure when she cooks because measuring is for pussies. She let me ride in the back of a pick up truck because you know, safety is for weak. My mom just doesn’t give a fuck. She operates on her own frequency, and her attitude has obviously impacted my psychology.

    So being told I couldn’t swim because of some stupid bacteria seemed absurd! Forget the fact that NO ONE was at the lake. Never mind the water was eerily still and I could see the algae floating on the surface. Munch and I went anyway, had a wonderful swim, and watched the sunset.

    Sooooooooooooo…

    The next morning The Munch felt a little off. Her throat hurt, her tummy was cramping, but she seemed to pull through after breakfast so I totally forgot about it.

    Later that afternoon we again went to the beach. I assumed whatever silly little water thing HAD to be cleared up by now because it was all so ridiculous any way. Buuuuuut…. yet again it was closed. Yet this time though, there was a GIANT sign explaining what was going on with the water. So yeah…. I spend a moment looking it up, and it turns any contact with this bacteria can make you sick as fuck – including skin rashes, fever, sore throats, and stomach problems.

    Ummmm whoops.

    After I read that, I couldn’t help but feel sick myself. I couldn’t tell if it was in my paranoid head, or it was because I HAD BEEN SWIMMING IN BACTERIA FILLED WATER LIKE AN OVERCONFIDENT FOOL!

    So my guilt about not playing outside enough with my kid quickly transformed into guilt about maybe poisoning her with bacteria infested water. Luckily, she seems fine and never got to the explosive diarrhea or anal leakage stage… thank god Munch has been eating over at mom’s house having old mustard sandwiches with maggot filled rice to build her immune system.

    bacteria-blog-(i)

  • East vs. West vs. Hippies on my FACE!

    Fuck my life.  I got shingles again.  I felt something on my face Friday night, and just assumed that something weird was formulating.  No big deal.  I didn’t want to over think it.  Saturday morning I woke up, felt my face, and knew something was wrong.  So very wrong.  The same wrong as my fucking shingles that I had only 6 months ago.

    I was supposed to go to my cousin’s baby shower that morning but I knew I had to go see the white man doctor to get the white man medicine.  So I called the dermatologist I went to before assuming that would be the best first move since he already had dealt with me.

    Toni: Hi. I have shingles festering on my face and I need to see a doctor.

    Operator: Well, it is Saturday so dermatology is closed. You will have to call Monday morning to make an appointment.

    Toni: Please, I really need your help.  I have had shingles before.  I know that is what I have.  I can’t wait until Monday.  Last time they were almost as painful as childbirth – and my baby came out horizontally.

    Operator: Well, who is your general practitioner?

    Toni: I don’t have one.

    Operator: You don’t have any doctor that you see?

    Toni: Well, I have my hippy doctor.  But they are hippies.  They don’t answer their phones – especially on a Saturday.

    Operator: I guess you can come in to see the after-hours family practitioner.  But you really should get a doctor.  Can you get here by 10:15?

    I was out the door and at the hospital by 10:00 am, feeling really sorry for myself.  Let me tell you, there is nothing more depressing than a hospital on a Saturday.  The after- hours family practitioner’s office was literally abandoned.  There was no one in the hallways, no one in the waiting room, no one at the reception’s desk – everywhere was just empty.  It was like a Twilight Zone.  I sat there for 20 minutes by myself, thinking that a nuclear bomb had gone off and somehow I was the sole survivor of the blast, when finally a man hobbled out the door with puss-soaked gauze wrapped around his leg.

    Eventually a woman called me back to the offices, and I waited in the room poking at medical equipment for the standard half hour to see the nurse practitioner.

    Nurse: So what is going on here?

    Toni: I am pretty sure I have shingles.

    Nurse: I see in your chart you have had them before so I am sure you know what you are talking about. Let me take a look? Did you put makeup on to cover them up?

    Toni: No, I don’t wear makeup.  Last time I had shingles I had an acupuncturist see me, and she gave me this cream to put on them.  I have no idea what is in it because it is all in Chinese, but I put it on anyway.

    (I have to say I was pretty offended that she would imply I was vain enough to cover up shingles with makeup??  I mean I know they are not pretty, but putting makeup on a festering wound seems like a pretty bad fucking idea.  Not to mention the fact that said cream was white, and looked like I had sloppily slathered toothpaste on my face.  So this double insulted me because the nurse obviously thought I was really pathetic at applying makeup discreetly).

    Nurse: Yeah.  You definitely have shingles. Do you see how the pustules have already formed here around the eye and nose?

    Toni: Please don’t ever say the word “pustules” again.

    Nurse: Those are the shingles erupting from your face.

    Toni: Yeah, I get it.

    Nurse: So do you have a general practitioner?

    Toni: No.

    Nurse: Do you go to the doctor?

    Toni: Not really.

    Nurse: Have you had a pap smear then?

    Toni: You mean at the gynecologist? Yeah those things are horrible.  I don’t do those.  I guess I went about 3 years ago, and then about 6 years before that.

    Nurse: Maybe you should go the doctor more often…

    Toni: Yeah, okay

    Nurse: You know you can get a vaccine for shingles.  I highly recommend you doing that once this clears up. Here is your prescription.

    Although the crazy burning itching pain of the shingles hadn’t started yet, all I could do was anticipate the suffering.  Last time I had shingles, I didn’t know how bad it could get. But this time I was fully aware of the potential agony, and was in a state of total panic.  When I got home I called the acupuncturist and made an appointment for 1:00.  I then started recklessly taking supplements, unsure which where for my allergies, frequent periods, or the last time I had shingles.  I took 3 out of every bottle… which was about 60 of them.  I then started pacing maniacally waiting for the acupuncturist to torture me, and by they time she got there I was terrified.  Not only of the pain of the shingles soon to come, but the pain of this tiny Asian lady jabbing me with needles then twisting them around sending electric shocks throughout my body.

    Toni: Yeah, so my shingles are back.

    Acupuncturist: Mmmmmm… yeah I see the pustules.

    Toni: Great.

    Acupuncturist: Let me take your pulse.  In acupuncture we don’t just want to treat the disease.  We want to know why it is happening.

    Toni: Yes, yes, yes, I want to know why too! Can you tell me why?

    Acupuncturist: Too much cold.  Here.  In stomach.  Stagnation.  Very cold.  Energy needs to flow.

    Toni: Okay, so why do I have them again.

    Acupuncturist: Stagnation.  Here.  Stomach. Lower back.  Energy stuck.

    Toni: Okay… that really clears things up.

    After the acupuncture, she gave me a bunch of Chinese herbs to take.

    Acupuncturist: Just take these.  Chinese herbs.  No supplements.

    Toni: The hippy doctor gave me the supplements.  So I shouldn’t take them?

    Acupuncturist: No.  Just Chinese herbs.

    Toni: What about the pills the doctor gave me? Should I take the white man’s medicine?

    Acupuncturist: No, just Chinese herbs.  Acupuncture and herbs take pustules away.

    Toni: Why does everyone keep saying that word?

    Acupuncturist: Excuse me?

    Toni: Never mind.

    I don’t know what I did to deserve this.  This whole experience brings up a host of issues for me.  For one, my conflict with vaccines, and how paralyzed I feel about them as a practice.  Should I have vaccinated myself for shingles, should I in the future, should I be vaccinating The Munch?  My head is spinning.  Then of course the western doctor is in conflict with the eastern doctor, who is in conflict with the hippy doctor.  I don’t know what to do.  The last time I did everything – the supplements, the acupuncture, the herbs, the white man’s medicine, and I have no idea what cured me for sure.  Was it a combo of all of them?  I don’t know? Who should I listen to? Who should I trust? Help me!!

    (Have you ever seen anything more surreal and sad than this waiting room?)

    shingles-saturday-blog-(i)

     

    August 19, 2013 • Adventures, Health, Mommy Body, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 5874

  • So This is What Trust Is

    The Munch having pink eye was not only a revolting mess for me, but I also sometimes care about her too – and it looked pretty darn uncomfortable.  Plus it wasn’t healing, so after about 4 days of “Old Indian Bark” (not a joke… and that not being a joke makes it even more disturbing than if it were a joke) I decided to try the white man’s medicine.

    The first attempt of getting the medicine in her eye was truly traumatizing.  I had this goo I was supposed to line in the inside of her eyeball twice a day. That means pulling down the bottom lid, looking deep into that red cavernous veiny grossness, and then squeezing gunk into it.  All while her eye was open.  Three of us had to hold her down and she was so upset by it, she immediately wept out all the medicine.  So that was an epic fail and I was pretty sure that unless I had sedatives (I mean, ones that I was willing to share) I had to come up with a new strategy.

    That night I did something so brave, so reckless, it is hard to believe I am still here to tell you about it.  Before I begin, I have to let you in on one fact.  The Munch is still on the boob.  I know… that is fucking nuts.  She will be 3 in July, and I can’t tell you how over it I am.  It is the one thing we get into serious fights over.  I never knew my boobs were in such high demand.  Just kidding, I have dated a man before.  I only do it once a day to get her to nap, but please Gaia let this be over soon.  I will sacrifice my first born if you do.  Seriously, I totally will.

    So I had this idea that if I let her do “nana” (as she likes to call it) while I put the medicine in, then maybe she wouldn’t struggle the same and I could actually get it in her eye.  Of course this was a fucking ludicrous idea.  What sane person would put their boob in such a vulnerable position, as in – someone’s mouth where it could get chomped off -while you were administering medicine in their sensitive eye?  Especially if said person is an irrational toddler who is intensely afraid of this process.

    But I figured it was about trust.  If I showed The Munch I trusted her, then she in turn could trust me.  I mean even though no one likes to have their eye peeled open and have crap squirted into it, unless you are into that sort of thing- no judgment here- this process wasn’t going to hurt her if she just relaxed.

    And you know what? It totally worked! She did not bite my nipple off, and now her eye is better.  So I highly suggest next time you are trying to get someone to trust you who is having a hard time and battling their fear, let them cup your balls or vagina.  Trust me.  It will work.

    (Only when feeling healthy is one ready to rock their leopard vest with no pants)

    so-this-is-what-trust-is-blog-(i)

     

    April 15, 2013 • 2 years old, Baby Body, Baby Brain, Family Drama, Health • Views: 1054

  • Tragic Beauty

    As we all know from debating the worth of a song, book, or painting, art is a subjective experience. I have often wondered what that intangible pull might be. In my own relationship to works of creativity, I have always felt that what makes art evocative is the spirit in which it was created. If, the artist is fully present and passionate about their craft, then that will translate into my relationship with it. Being in the flow and connecting to that force can make the artist feel like the work is channeling through them, and that sincerity is palpable.

    Even though every artist has their own unique creative process, what unites them all is the need to take what is in their imagination and translate that into a medium that people can experience.  The intentionality of wanting to connect to others in these ways puts the artist and the viewer or listener into a symbiotic relationship. Even if I never physically associate with the creator, my observing of their art means that we are energetically intertwined. So, as the photographer sees the beauty in their picture, as the painter commits entirely to their vision, as the writer is immersed in their words, so am I.

    But some art comes from a different sort of inspiration.  Not from what the artist is seeing or fantasizing in their mind, but from what they are dealing with in their actual lives.  Often times, it is this type of expression that is the most moving.  Especially when the subject matter is deeply intimate.  Its almost as if the more personal someone is willing to be, the more universal the outcome.

    I came across this blog called “the battle we didn’t’ choose” where a husband documented the last few years of his wife’s battle with breast cancer.  The pictures are so beautiful and heart wrenching that it is impossible not to cry.  He used his artistic talent as a photographer to tell her story in a way that was more compelling and tender then words ever could.  It is so hard to relate to an experience that you have never had, yet seeing these pictures on screen spoke to me in a way that not only evoked my compassion, but also touched my soul.

    I really commend him for creating him for his courage to share these images with the world.  In the face of tragedy, his art is spreading a message.

    battle-we-didn't-choose-blog-(i)

     

    April 12, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Health, Musings • Views: 1215