An Experiment in Hijab


OK, I’ve come across something that irritates me so much that I can’t contain myself. Please bear with me on this rant.

A few months ago, I had occasion to speak with a woman wearing a Hijab. It was a wonderful conversation about the reasons she wore it. Not all were because of her religion and the main thing she said that stuck in my head was “try it and see how you feel”

Last month I bought one and that night I put it on, trying to figure out how to drape it so it looked right. My husband came into the room and frowned at me. “Why are you wearing THAT?” Was his question. The tone of his voice screamed that he didn’t approve so I told him I was just trying out a different way to wear my scarves. He shrugged and left the room and I put it away with tears in my eyes.

Then I got angry.

Who was he to tell me what I could and couldn’t wear?

For the next few days, I worked on practicing in the bathroom, with the door locked, when he wasn’t home. I loved the way it looked on me and devil be damned, I was bound and determined to wear it!

A few weeks later, I had to take my youngest son to the hospital for an overnight stay and took it with me. I put it on at the hospital and wore it in public for the first time. It was surreal, honestly. My 12 year old son smiled when he saw me wearing it and said “mama, you look so pretty in the Hijab.” I didn’t even know he knew what they were!

We sat in the cafeteria of the hospital and ate dinner and the looks I received from people around me were a mix of admiration, confusion and disgust. A couple of women came in wearing hijab and sat next to my son and I. One commented on my scarf and we chatted till it was time to take my son to the clinic. They were super supportive when I said it was my first time wearing it in public and gave me tips and encouragement.

This past Saturday I went out with the hijab on, in the company of my daughter and her Godfather. We had a wonderful night and no one even commented on it. I guess they assumed that it was to cover my hair because of the weather.

As an American woman, who has always been very adventurous with dressing, I have found that wearing the hijab does something to me, mentally. I feel more…. I don’t honestly know how to describe it but I guess I feel more feminine. I feel less like I have to prove something… Something as simple as covering your head and understanding WHY you’re doing it does something to you. I find myself WANTING to wear less revealing clothing, WANTING to be more modest in not only my dress but my actions and my words. ¬†It’s…. strange, honestly. But I like it.

My husband will read this tonight or tomorrow and probably frown but I hope he is openminded enough to understand that not all women who wear the head coverings are Muslim and that what I want to wear not only makes ME feel good but honors him as well. Think about it, the more modestly I dress, the less temptation another man has toward me ūüôā

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The Obama Healthcare Debacle


A family in Denver got some surprising news this morning. The health care, which they have had for twelve years has changed. Before, they were able to take their children to the doctor for a very little fee and no monthly charges. Now, thanks to the change in the government laws, they will have to pay thirty-five dollars a month for their children’s health insurance.

Now, to the average American, this wouldn’t seem like a big deal but this family is hovering on the edge of homelessness. The parents are both disabled and dependant on Social Security to pay the bills. They don’t qualify for food assistance (SNAP) or any services from the state besides the CHP+ program. They are among the millions hurt by the changes the government has forced upon them.

With the medical bills skyrocketing, the father of this family has decided to forgo the much-needed surgery he needs because they can’t afford the copays. If he doesn’t get the surgery, he will lose the use of his left arm completely The mother doesn’t see the doctor as she should because the copays rose from twenty to forty dollars a visit. The youngest child is a type one diabetic and needs multiple shots of insulin every day just to survive. He’s twelve years old. Without the medicine, he will die. Without the insurance, he will not get his medication…. with the monthly insurance payments, he will go without food a few times a week.

This is not an isolated incident. For MANY American people, this insurance issue has gotten way out of hand. We aren’t punishing anyone for being poor… are we? With the struggles of the poorer American people getting harder, I have to wonder if the government isn’t just trying to kill off those who are “less than desirable” in subtle ways. We have families becoming homeless every day because of any number of things and this is just one more family who will become homeless because of a government that doesn’t really care about its people. Just one more family being shoved into the gutters of America.The only thing different about this family is it’s mine.

Now it’s personal.

Natural Disasters and Prepared Children


This past week has definitely hit home for us. We live in Colorado, right smack in the middle of the floods. We have become accustomed to the weather alerts on the television and radios and my sons are well prepared if we need to flee the flood waters. Backpacks filled with necessities, shoes where they can find them, extra meds and emergency kits in each pack and the understanding that, if we HAD to flee, the Xbox, cell phones and laptops would go with us. (their insistence on the Xbox!)

As we prepared the packs during the worst of the flooding, there was much discussion about fears and planning for the worst case scenario. Danyls biggest fear was running out of his insulin so we packed all his insulin in an insulated lunch bag and stuck it back in the fridge. His ONLY job if we have to leave is to grab this bag and his backpack.

Sean has a different job, that he chose. His biggest fear is injury and being unable to aid the injured so, his job is to grab the medical kit we have for emergencies. He’s gone through and made sure theres bandages, antibiotic salves, tape, gauze, cold packs and splints in the kit. I think he added some other things as well but Ill have to look and see. He was VERY busy on Thursday getting this ready.

My job is the important papers. Birth certificates, marriage license, shot records for kids and dog, insurance cards, ownership papers and the like. I will also supervise the kids and make sure they are ready quickly.

Hubbys job is to make sure the power is cut off when we leave, getting the computers into their waterproof bags and getting the dog ready to go. We even made an extra bag with a weeks worth of food and water for the dog and kids.  HE gets to carry THAT.

Friday, we did a drill to see how fast we could get ready. It worked very well and we were all ready in less than 10 minutes! This is good because I was having a HUGE fibro flare and was moving slow. Preparation is key, getting things ready BEFORE you need them.

Teaching this to the kids was fun and an important step in their bugging out preparations. We’ve discussed, all week, where we’d go and what to do if we got separated. Thankfully we haven’t had to implement this plan yet.

 

One thing I worry about is getting to higher ground fast enough. I’m deathly afraid of murky, rushing water and I just hope, if we have to go, there’s none around!

As I watched the events unfolding around us, I kept thinking “No, please no, not now, not this year” We’ve gone through so much crap this year that this would be just another disaster added to the most disastrous of years in my entire marriage. As I listened to yet another emergency broadcast, I bit my lip and inwardly prayed that we be spared. When the dam broke three miles from my home, flooding the area, I cried. When the waters went the other way, I silently celebrated, selfishly.

I watched the news yesterday and saw that Longmont was being evacuated. Five miles North of us. Flooding continues swirling around the communities around us yet we are untouched, thus far. A sea of peaceful calm within the eye of the storm. I thank the Gods and Goddesses for this.

Mike said a few days ago that he could have done a better job of finding us a place to live, a place we could actually afford instead of this expensive place. I pointed out, yesterday, the places we WERE going to move to. They were all flooded! I hugged him and told him that we were meant to be here, for exactly this reason.

 

As you go through your days, think on this. What would YOU and your family do if this flooding or any other natural disaster hit YOUR hometown? Will you and your kids be prepared?

And one final yet VERY important thought: Remember your pets! They are your family as well. Think about how devastated you would be if your animal was killed in the disaster because you forgot them at home. PLEASE, take your pets. They deserve to be safe and with their family too!

Reflections on a snowy spring day


I found a video today that hit me, making me remember how completely exhausted and low I was, even recently. Thought I’d share. Since I suck at HTML, I’ll just give you the link lol.

14 years ago I was widowed at the age of 29. Three months later I was a new mother. I was homeless with a newborn, living in my Mustang, the only possession I owned. Truthfully if it hadn’t been for my son, I would have totally given up. I thought it couldn’t get worse. Then my son got sick and was in ICU, breaths away from death.

I remember the day after he was admitted. I’d been up for three days, worrying about my son. I sat in the lounge chair in his room, praying to a God that I’d not spoken to in years, asking Him why. Why¬†He had¬†to hate me so much that He’d take my husband and then give me a beautiful baby, only to take him as well. I was angry, hurt, desperate for answers and none were coming. I ended up crying myself to sleep.

In my dream, I saw my husband and our son who had died, years before my husband, when he was only 18 months old. They smiled at me with such peace in their faces that it hurt me to look at them. A voice said to me “They are with me and all is well. I will not take another from you now. He will recover and you will become a mother again as well. Trust me and know that I love you, no matter how painful life becomes”

I woke up, many hours later, and looked on my son. He was still as sick as ever but my heart was at ease. I knew he would be fine. Four days later, they released him from the hospital and we went back to the place I’d been parking my car. It turned out that three days after we entered the hospital, there was a gang war of some sort in that area and, had my car been in its place, we may have been right in the middle of a hailstorm of bullets.

I think there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives, regardless of how much we DON’T want them to happen. With Mike on the road to recovery (no hospital visits in weeks!!) and Dans easy transition to being diabetic, I’m counting my blessings today.

And my sick baby? He turned 13 in November and had his first kiss a few weeks ago. He’s playing the trumpet like nobody’s business and hangs out with his friends. Oh, and he eats a truckload of food a week!! Typical teen.

Never say “it can’t get worse”


I’ve always been a firm believer in the saying “it can always get worse” and this past week was a prime example. The past 6 days has changed our lives dramatically.

Thursday Mike started talking incoherently again and I rushed him to the hospital. Dan had been throwing up for a couple of days, sporadically, so I thought “what the hell, we’re here” and had them check him as well.

Mike was put into a room and I went back out front to see how Dan was doing. Our friend Chris had driven us and was sitting out in triage with him when I found them. I followed them to his er room only mildly concerned. I thought he had a touch of stomach flu or something minor. My mind drifted, worriedly, to his father on the other side of the ER department as I tried to wait for Dans doctor to come in. Dan and I talked about his upcoming birthday party and the gifts he’d gotten that previous afternoon. His tenth birthday marred by an ER visit and the possibility of his father going back into the hospital.

I drifted between the two rooms, trying to keep up to the minute with them both while worrying about Sean who was supposed to be getting home from school within the hour. I called Chris and asked him to come get the keys to the apartment and wait till Sean got home. It was 2:15 PM.

At 4, the doctor for Mike came in and told me they would be admitting my husband. They had found clots in his lungs and they were concerned that he would have more problems if they didn’t do something soon, medication wise. I looked at Dan after the doctor left and he looked so bad. His lips were chapping quickly and he kept saying he was so thirsty. He asked them for a Popsicle and the nurse brought him one.

At 5:15, Dans doctor came in with three others and I knew the news was grave. I steeled myself for news of Mike. The nurse did a finger stick while the doctor explained to Dan and I that he was exceptionally ill. At one point the nurse spoke “545” and my heart froze. The doctor turned to me, her face grim as she spoke. They had to take Dan to another hospitals ICU. The one we were at had no room.

Everything just went numb. I looked at Dans face and swallowed hard, tears welling up in my eyes. He smiled a little painfully and said “happy freakin birthday, huh mom?” I took a deep breath and shut down my emotions somehow, though I felt like my world was coming apart at the seams.

After the dr left, I went to tell my husband, who was actually looking a little better. His worry was evident the moment I told him what was happening and I broke down, allowing myself a quick cry before heading back to my son. They were waiting for a bed to open up for my husband before taking him upstairs.

When I got back to Dans side, he was complaining about his lips hurting. They were horribly chapped and getting worse, it seemed, by the minute. I noticed they had opened the IV to full and had brought an insulin pump into the room while I was gone. Dans hands were like ice as I took them in mine and talked to him. I got him a warm blanket and wet a paper towel for his lips, fighting fears I’d not had in many years.

For the second time in less than a month, I began to pray. Silently, while Dan rested, I prayed for help. I knew, from the doctor, that he was really sick and I just couldn’t do everything asked of me without SOMETHING. I was still afraid I’d lose Mike and now they were talking about ICU for my baby.

I cursed inwardly, growing more anxious waiting for the ambulance. I looked at the clock every five seconds, I think. By 6 PM, the ambulance was there for Dan and they took him in to see his father before we left. I had no clue if I’d ever see my husband again but I had to go with our son. I kissed him and told him to get better then followed the ambulance techs out of the hospital.

They were putting Dan in the back when I noticed that the day had turned to night. I climbed into the front of the ambulance and waited while they got Dan situated and we headed toward Childrens Hospital, across town. I made minor small talk with the driver, about what I don’t remember. Sometime during the ride I called my sister and told her what was happening.

Before I knew it, we were at the hospital and going inside their ER. I noticed, right away, that something had been added to my sons IV. They had a different pump on him I’d never before seen and I asked what it was. They told me it was a temporary insulin pump and that they could add other things to it as necessary. We got into the room and, after the initial flurry of activity, were told we had to wait for the ICU bed.

During a moment of quiet, Dan broke down and asked me if he was going to die. He was so scared!I took him in my arms and I told him that he wasn’t going to die, that he COULDN’T because I said so. What else was I supposed to say? The doctor had already expressed her amazement at him still being awake.

“I’ve never seen someone so sick NOT in a coma”

After moving up to ICU, they told me what exactly was wrong with him. Ketoacidosis, a life threatening diabetic condition. With that one word, I knew our lives were changed. My baby is diabetic.

Stage 1 juvenile diabetes. I’d heard about it, from my childhood when my cousin was diagnosed with it. I’ve walked for a cure, donated time and money for a cure but NEVER thought it would touch my life so personally. Now it’s here and, damnit it’s not fair.

Ugh, before I start ranting, which I’m sure I will do soon enough, I’ll finish with some good news

Mike, my dear, sweet husband, is home and resting. They have him on meds to thin the blood and get rid of the clots. He’s adjusting to not being able to play Superman anymore. He keeps telling me how strong I am.

I wish I COULD break down. I’M the only one that can take care of the shots since Mike’s blind. Dan needs mommy strong but GOD if they could see how truly terrified I am and how bad I wish I COULD be the weak one…

Dan and I, along with Sean (who I allowed to skip school) went for our second of many visits to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood on Monday. I’m so grateful for these wonderful people! They have been so patient and understanding with all my questions. Thank you, Dr. Wadwa for being there for Dan. You are a Godsend!

Open letter to Wills mom


I hope today went well for you all. We don’t go back till Tuesday but my eldest is already nervous. Though we’re half a country away, we feel the pain of that day just as we flashed to Columbine, the year he was born.

I often wonder if the events of Columbine, somehow, reached into the womb and affected him because he has taken the news of your loss harder than I could imagine. Or, perhaps, it’s me who’s taking it harder. I know the loss of a child, personally and it never gets easier. Just know that there are people across the country holding their children a little tighter before they leave for school this year. I know, for myself, things are much different. I make an added effort, every day, to tell my son that I love him. No one will ever bring your child back nor will any words spoken ever make it all go away. Just know that I think of you every morning and you will ever be in my heart.

Is this a virtual world or a really good trip?


Today I’m remembering something that happened to me when I was seeing a doctor that would give me IV treatments for my Fibro.

When I’d go in, I’d lay, face down most times, on a massage table. He would start the treatments on my back, then insert the IV. What happens next is hard to describe but I’ll try.

Imagine, if you will, A television screen that’s filled with nothing but static. Then the pictures come through, slightly. A bit clearer then you’re not where you were but somewhere else. My first time under, I was in my Second Life realm of Gor, thinking I was serving in a tavern. I even took orders for drinks! It FELT real. I smelled the cooking of meat and beer. I’d transformed into what my virtual character was. For an hour or three, I was under the influence of this stuff and it was a rude jolt to find myself back in the “real” world.

The treatments went on, every few weeks, for over a year. The last one was……. um…. interesting to say the least.

I went under, as usual but, this time I knew from the onset that things would be different.

Instead of getting the fuzziness, I was taken on a trip to the cellular level. I was an amoebae, surrounded by other amoebae, floating in nothingness. It was rather enjoyable till the head amoebae came in,  and told me to take a breath.

head amoebae: “ok hun, take a deep breath for me”

me: “um, I can’t”

head amoebae:”why not?”

me “I have no lungs”

head amoebae:¬†“try for me, you’ll be surprised, just expand yur chest and breath”

me: “um, ok…”

I envision my entire amoebae body expanding and suddenly I’m breathing!

me: “wow, that was cool!!”

head amoebae, laughing: “I now, huh! now try it again and lets see where it goes”

I take several deep breaths and slowly come out of the medicines severe grip. I look at the nurse, rather sheepishly I imagine and say “you aren’t going to tell anyone about this, are you?” She laughs and shakes her head, helps me get dressed and lets me relax for a bit till I can “find my legs” This I find extremely funny and am still chuckling half an hour later when I leave the office.

 

Now, my ponderings are this: Are the episodes I had in the drugged state visions of a subset of virtuality, where the programs overlapped momentarily or was it just a really good trip? As an avid computer user, it makes me wonder.

Are we just computer avatars in a simulated world? Is death just our programmer hitting the delete button?