Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A diaper and a boob

With my energy level returning, I thought it would be the perfect time to make a list of what this little one will need. Let me just say, I want to avoid having my house taken over by baby gear. Sure, the parents among you are laughing. Stop it ... you were probably once this idealistic.

So a girlfriend loaned me a copy of Baby Bargains. The book rates all possible baby products telling you what you really need and what you can do without, what the best products are and the price ranges. From here, I made a list, put it in a spreadsheet (stop laughing. I LOVE Excel.) with columns for brand preferences and prices and whether it was something we should buy, borrow or register for.

Then I had a mental meltdown the first time I actually saw a crib in a store. It was rickety, the wood was too shiny and I couldn't get the side rail down. Then there's the bassinet that my sister loaned me. It's mocking me. I struggled to put it together and it too feels rickety. Thinking about strollers makes me twitch. Most of them are made to collapse for easy storage, but that fact makes me pretty uneasy. I have visions of the stroller collapsing with the baby in it.

I took a little break from baby gear browsing. It was making my head hurt. I looked around my house and wondered where I will put all this stuff "they" say I need. Then I remembered what a woman once said at a baby shower.

"All you really need when you have a baby is a diaper and a boob." Well said. But I think I still want a crib.

Monday, May 29, 2006

What is the greatest threat to our freedom?

People often talk about freedom, what it means and who exactly is protecting or threatening it, especially on Memorial Day during a time of war. I greatly appreciate the sacrifices our military makes on behalf of us all. The War on Terror fought in Afghanistan and Iraq is being fought for our safety and security here at home. Those wars are being fought to ensure the freedom of others. Our enemies are not trying to take away our rights, they are trying to take away our life and security.

But being the linguistic person that I am, I do wonder how exactly those sacrifices are protecting our freedom - as our current administration is fond of saying. Do we believe that militias of armed Muslim extremist will force our women into burquas and our families into mosques? Do we really think that our government will be overthrown? (Well, maybe it should, but I'll save that for another post.)

The military protects only our right to live in safety and security. Safety and security are subset of the concept of freedom overall. So, I have to ask, whose protecting our other freedoms? Certainly not our government.

Whose protecting our private property rights? Certainly not the Supreme Court, which decided that the rights of private development can trump property owners when it will benefit the tax base. That should make every property owner in America tremble.

Whose protecting the right of parents to educate their children in the manner they see fit? Certainly not the government which insists on compulsory government schooling or some other form of education that it deems fit. Here they have trumped a parent's right to determine what a proper education is.

Whose protecting my right to use any herbal remedy, including marijuana, that I see fit? Certainly not the government which insists that herbs used safely for centuries and proven less harmful than some legal substances should remain illegal.

And just who is our government protecting? The rights and interests of corporate America and itself. It is protecting its own right to extort our money and educate our children to preserve its own power. It is protecting the rights of corporate America to ensure the re-election of politicians who will do their bidding. At this point, expecting the government to protect our rights is like expecting the fox to guard the hen house.

Last week, I heard someone say that we should thank the government for giving us the rights we have. This is backward thinking. It is not government that gives us rights. Our Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights ... by our Creator.

When I reread this document recently, it struck me that our founding fathers believed that government was not an absolute power, that it can and should be abolished if it becomes destructive. They believed government was not the endower of rights, but a guarantor of the rights with which people are born. The founders of this country instituted this government to protect the rights with which we were born. The government does not allow us to have rights. We have designated our government to protect our rights. And when people begin to think this way again, I wonder just how much our government will be able to get away with.

The bottom line: It is our responsibility to protect our own rights from encroachment by our government. Our Declaration of Independence puts it squarely on us. That's why it's imperative that we keep a watchful eye on what our government is doing in our name. That's why a free press is crucial. That's why its important to vote. Too bad our children aren't learning that in the government reeducation camps.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Missing: One waist, fat from my legs and butt

If anyone sees these items, let me know. Actually, I think the missing fat from my legs and butt has shifted to my waist. And I haven't gained an ounce, yet.
I'm still puking. In fact, this morning, I was puking into the garbage disposal and my husband is so used to this that he just silently worked around me in the kitchen.

I'm not sleeping quite as much. Too bad. I really enjoyed sleeping 12 hours a day. Another unpleasant side effect? The pressure from my growing abdomen is pushing on a nerve and making my left leg numb. So ... the baby is literally getting on my nerves. I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Welcome to my fourth month of pregnancy!

It's starting to sink in that we are having a baby. We are now staring down our last summer without children. Saturday, we took off for the lake on a moments notice. Definitely something we can't do with a baby. I predict a very spontaneous summer ahead.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bad news, good news, bad news

The bad news: Captain Stu does have cancer. His biopsy came back showing that he has a rare form of cancer in his spleen.

The good news: It doesn't appear to have spread at this point and he is a good candidate for surgery to remove the spleen. Post-op, he can live anywhere from three months to three years. What we want to avoid is another internal bleeding episode.

The bad news: I have to convince the vet that all we want is a splenectomy and endure the litany of procedures and regimens that they will inevitably try to pressure us into.

You know, I'm starting to really resent veterinarians who use pressure tactics to drive up the cost of care, especially when your pet is in a medical crisis. The bottom line for us is this:

Yes, we care about our little guy. If he is going to die of cancer, we want him to be as comfortable as possible and have a good quality of life for the remainder of his time with our family. We already know what we are willing to do for him. I don't want a battery of tests run so that you can give me options that I'm not interested in. I'm not springing for chemotherapy for a cat, precious to me as he may be.

Tomorrow, I'll be talking to an oncologist and a surgeon about our next steps.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stu, the wet food fiend

Stu had an ultrasound today which showed that his spleen, and thankfully only his spleen, is rife with little growths or tumors. We are awaiting the results of a biopsy on the spleen to see just what these growths are.

Meanwhile, his belly has been shaved. And he is still a little dopey from the sedative they gave him for biopsy. And he's stalking us, begging for wet food. I'm afraid he's going to attack us.

We'll know tomorrow what the biopsy shows, but the bottom line is that we want his spleen to be taken out. Cats apparently do very well with abdominal surgery and can live without their spleens.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rumors of Stu's demise

Our nine-year-old cat, Captain Stuebing, appeared to be on death's door this past weekend. After noticing Friday morning that he was not quite himself ... rather lethargic, for a cat ... I took him to the vet. She diagnosed him as severely anemic with a mass around his spleen that could be a tumor. I was advised to take him to the Small Animal Emergency Room for an ultrasound. He made it through Friday night on pain medication, but still very obviously in pain. On Saturday, I took him to the kitty ER.

Their diagnosis was the same, but to do the ultrasound, they wanted to check him into the hospital ... at a cost of about $3,000. I asked her for pain medication (for the cat) and took him home, fully expecting him to not live through the weekend. They told us he was likely bleeding internally.

We made him comfortable on an electric blanket (his body temperature was dropping) and gave him pain medication. By Saturday night, he had started to perk up. By Sunday, he was himself again ... and by that, I mean, swatting at the dog, begging for wet food, smacking our other cat around and perching himself on my now-very-sensitive belly and chest. The vet thinks that his tumor stopped bleeding and he reabsorbed a lot of the blood he lost over the weekend. But we're by no means out of the woods. He will probably start bleeding internally again soon.

We're having some tests run early next week. Our vet gave us a much more reasonable price to figure out what's exactly wrong ... $600 v. $3000 ... hmmmm. I wish she had given us that option before we took him to the kitty ER.

The prognosis:

If it's a tumor that can be removed along with his spleen, he has a good chance of living for several more years until the cancer catches up to him ... if it is indeed a cancerous tumor.

So, rumors of Stu's demise are premature, if not exaggerated.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's been a long time

I know, I'm a very bad blogger. But I have an excuse. I've been busy growing one of these ... and by that I mean, sleeping 12 hours a day, and puking, eating and going to the bathroom the rest of the time.

I started a new blog, just so I could post photos. Normally, I'm not a photo posting kind of person. But now we have something other than pets and home construction projects to photograph. I cried when I saw the sonogram. I'd had nightmares that we'd have the sonogram and they wouldn't find anything.

We found out we were pregnant on Good Friday. And I say "we" because "we" are both having a baby. I just happen to be growing it. After two years of trying to get pregnant, I was extremely relunctant to take a pregnancy test. We've been disappointed before. But three weeks overdue on the monthly bill is hard to ignore. So I took the test, and brought it down to show my husband. His reaction? "D'uh. What did you think was going on?" Of course, he is thrilled and so am I. We've waited a long time for this and we are grateful to those who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers.

We are due on November 30 and we will find out the baby's gender by the end of June. We'll keep you posted.