Family,  Health, Wellness, & Self Care,  Little Brother,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings,  Special Needs Parenting

In which my life is one constant extenuating circumstance

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I recently enlisted the help of a close friend who has successfully lost weight to be my accountability partner in trying to lose weight. Because after two years of trying to lose weight on my own, I’ve been 100% unsuccessful. This friend has been wonderful. It’s me who is the problem. Or, more accurately, my life. I sent her this message earlier this week:

“In all honesty, I have had trouble maintaining some good choices however there have been some extenuating circumstance. Traveling out of town, also some extra stress over the weekend. The problem is emotional eating and making excuses for ‘extenuating circumstances’ when my life is pretty much one constant extenuating circumstance.”

So let me tell you the tale of my life over the past three months:

I was very hopeful that once Ezra started school and LB started preschool 3 days a week that I would have a wonderful opportunity to recover from the exhaustion that is summer-with-a-special-needs-child-and-an-almost-3-year-old.

Boy was I wrong.

First of all, our time on the wait list for Ezra’s autism testing finally came to fruition with our first appointment at the end of July. What I did not realize was that his testing would require FIVE additional appointments over the course of a few weeks – one for intake, two for testing, one for parent interview, one for results.

On top of that, I had the INCREDIBLY BRIGHT IDEA to have both of my boys’ well-checkups scheduled in September, because, you know, they are born in September. I also had the INCREDIBLY BRIGHT IDEA to have both of my boy’s dental checkups scheduled in October. Oh, and mine too.

So I pretty much flitted from appointment to appointment for six weeks – as well taking in information about Ezra’s new diagnosis and trying to process those unexpected results.

Also, the boys were out of school for two days for this thing called HURRICANE FLORENCE. Even though both of the days they were out it barely rained at all. And the day that they were sent back it poured all day. Go figure.

But we finished up that last appointment the first week of October and I was looking forward to FINALLY having a chance to recover from life as it has been. I was looking at an empty calendar of no appointments and nothing but school coursework to do and figure skating competitions to watch.

Russ was headed away for a 3-day camping, and while helping him prep on that first Wednesday evening in October, I FELL DOWN THE STAIRS and strained / tore a muscle in my leg. Which meant that I was off my feet over the weekend.

In which my life is one constant extenuating circumstance

I was concerned about the strain, but by the time Sunday rolled around, I felt like things were getting a bit better.

I had a restful whopping three days (except for LB having a bad cold and needing to stay home from preschool) during which I was all like, “YAY! NOW MY LIFE CAN FINALLY GET BACK TO NORMAL!”

Then there was this thing called HURRICANE MICHAEL.

Now, while we were projected to have CATASTROPHIC FLOODING and damage with Hurricane Florence, we didn’t get hardly anything. So when they called again for flooding and wind damage with Hurricane MICHAEL that blasted up from Florida at the speed my unmedicated-ADHD-8-year-old runs through the house at 6AM, we were really taken by surprise when Michael hit.

It all began with this voice in my head at 2:10 PM after about 6 hours of hard rain that said, “Maybe you should just check around the property and make sure nothing is flooded too badly.” I ended up in the driveway staring down about two inches of standing water about to spill under our garage doors. I was trying to process how to clean out our driveway drainage system with a 3-year-old underfoot when the power went out. Between the water and van stuck in the garage, I knew that picking Ezra up from school in 10 minutes was NOT going to happen.

hurricane michael

While on the phone with my mother-in-law asking her to pick up Ezra, I heard what sounded like a tree cracking.

Now we have about 8 VERY LARGE white pines on both our property and the line between our house and our neighbors. I looked around and didn’t seen any trees falling, so I assumed that any trees falling must be a street over.

After the driveway was cleared and the waters had receded from off the face of our driveway, I turned a show on for LB and turned my attention to packing bags for us, operating on the assumption that power would be out indefinitely and we were going to have to spend the night with my inlaws. In this process, I walked into the kitchen to get Ezra’s medicine and realized by looking out the kitchen that the cracking I had heard was a tree on our property that had FALLEN ON OUR HOUSE.

Okay, well technically…it wasn’t the whole tree. It was only one huge branch. And it had twisted, not cracked – which meant the tree just ever so gently laid itself down on our roof, which is why I was completely unaware for almost 30 minutes that it had happened.

hurricane michael

hurricane michael

In the midst of trying to assess damages from inside the attic, my husband also put his foot through the ceiling of our living room, spilling insulation ALL OVER THE HOURS WORTH OF LAUNDRY I had worked the entire morning folding.

I was incredibly bitter about it. The laundry, not the ceiling. 

Power remained off and the tree crew wouldn’t be able to come until the following day, so we spent the night at the in-laws and returned home the next day. Power had come back on about midnight. School was canceled, so the boys stayed with Grandma. I worked on cleaning up the house and prepping laundry to REWASH. Russ came home from work about 11 AM to prepare for the tree guys coming. Also, he was dizzy and nauseated. This is not completely unusual for him, as sometimes his medication hits him harder than others and he also struggles with an on-going GI condition that sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. Also, life stress.

He laid down and we pretty much hung out waiting for the tree guys. At about 2PM I went to pick up the boys from grandma, during which time Russ kept texting me that he was feeling worse…and vomiting…and unable to walk…and THINKS HE NEEDS TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL…and oh the tree guys are here too.

I tried to get him in as a walk-in with my doctor, but they aren’t taking new patients. My MIL dropped me and the kids off and took off with Russ in her car in search of an urgent care facility that had power – when there were none – so she ended up at the ER with him. I plopped the kids in front of the iPad and ordered a pizza while fielding texts and calls from my MIL and husband on their quest to find someplace with power. The pizza arrived just as the tree guys were leaving and then I could finally breathe.

Russ and my mother-in-law returned about 11PM with a diagnosis of severe positional vertigo, meds, and a husband who literally couldn’t walk through the house without holding onto walls.

Remember now, I’m only 1 week post-muscle-strain. So now my special needs kiddo and my 3-year-old have two invalid parents. We pretty much spent the entire weekend on the couch and the children watched copious amounts of TV and Russ and I fought constantly because STRESS and HURRICANE THINGS and KIDS and LIFE.

Also, somewhere in this, my husband’s car that had been on it’s last leg for a long time (complete with already having a total loss title) finally gave up the ghost. Like, the week after the hurricane.

Which meant that even if my husband had been capable of driving (which he wasn’t, because vertigo), I still would have had to drive him everywhere because we were down to one vehicle. Everywhere meaning work (after close to a week of being out of work because he was unable to stand up), doctors appointments, and physical therapy for his vertigo. I practically lived in our van for a week.


Fast forward about three weeks, during which LB got another bad cold, my leg continued to hurt, Russ slooooowly recovered from the worst of his vertigo, and things were finally doing a bit better. We are borrowing a vehicle from family and Russ could drive again. The insurance claim was handled and the repairs to the roof and the ceiling were at least inspected (still not completed, but we have a guy lined up to do the work).

November has been decent enough. My husband and I were even able to sneak away out of town for an evening and have a lovely 24 hours or so without kids. We walked up and down the boardwalk of Virginia beach with my soft-limping leg and him carrying a walking staff for his slight vertigo, but we had some peace.

Side note: we had a really fabulous first Aibnb experience! 

This week, I was in a tizzy over some issues that LB has been having at preschool as well as trying to establish some sort of therapeutic care for Ezra and Russ – both another story for another day. I also was working on a paper for my abnormal psychology class. So I have been in Mental Health Case Manager mode – except for that one day when I was a parent chaperone traipsing through a corn maze on a hurt leg with 6 second graders who wouldn’t stop arguing about everything.

Which brings me to last night, when Russ and I had plans to meet some friends from church for dinner while the boys were at home with a trusted babysitter (because Grandma was out of town).

I was in the boys’ bathroom talking the sitter through the last minute instructs about brushing teeth while the kids were bouncing off the walls, or the beds, or something…in Ezra’s room. The next thing I know, there was screaming, which isn’t entirely abnormal because LB is chronically falling and bumping into things. He has rightfully earned his name Baby Bonk Bonk.

But this scream was different and there was blood everywhere and Ezra was screaming and freaking out and the next thing I know we are abandoning our panicked special needs kiddo with a trusted babysitter and rushing our 3-year-old with blood streaming down his face to the nearest ER.


But four hours and six stitches later…

I’ll spare you the graphic “before” pictures. While we waited, we caught back to back episodes of “Paw Atrol” and LB was pretty much a TV zombie. When it came time for stitches, he did WONDERFUL thanks to the amazing ChildLife worker who kept him entertained with tablet games, Fireman Sam episodes, bubbles, and spinning light toys. He didn’t even whimper and stayed very still!

Brenner Children's Hospital Emergency Room Child Life

Brenner Children's Hospital Emergency Room Child Life

LB was so tired he was licking his sticker instead of his popsicle. He even licked the TV remote once!

If this weren’t enough, I had a root canal started in June that due to extenuating circumstances (like sick kids and hurricanes and the like) I have been unable to complete. Last night while eating a vending machine dinner of potato chips, I chipped the tooth and now have a piece of tooth wedged in my gum and have an emergent endodontist appointment at 2PM today.

In all these things, outcomes could have been far worse. God’s provision has been so clearly seen throughout all of these ups and downs, and we know our life is truly blessed.

But I’m exhausted and I also may or may not have had cheesecake-that-was-meant-for-last-night’s-grownup-dessert for breakfast because my life is one constant extenuating circumstance.

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