Sunday, April 23, 2006

Eating an Elephant

Please consider this post, a public apology. Life has been overwhelming for me lately. I have had a lot on my plate, but have continued to barrel through as if I am perfectly able to handle anything that is presented. I'm actually sure that last statement is true if I am reliant upon God to guide my behavior and words. That didn't happen on Friday. I completely blew it at work. By jumping to conclusions that were completely unfounded, I single-handedly made two of my favorite teachers and co-workers cry. I accused them of "not being team players" and being "passive-aggressive". After talking things out and realizing I was completely off-base, I profusely apologized. However, I realize that isn't enough. When I roar through someone's life, without consideration, more than an apology is needed. An amend is in order.

Amend means "to change". I intend to change my behavior and insure that I do not behave in a similar fashion to hurt anyone else. In the course of the debriefing afterward, my co-worker shared with me that she feels so much pressure at work. She feels I create a demanding atmosphere, and because everyone so wants to please me, they are walking around on eggshells. I am very much a child advocate, and I always
approach each situation with "What is best for the child?" Given this "high moral platitude", it is difficult for anyone to present a reasonable argument against anything I say, even when there are sometimes very ligitimate ideas that need to be considered with regard to whole programming and the running of a school. My friend and co-worker didn't know it, but when she used the phrase "walking on eggshells", I really stopped to evaluate everything. As a child, I felt very much like that... My father was an abusive alcoholic. We always felt as if we were walking on eggshells, trying to keep the peace in our home. I hated that feeling. So, the fact that my dear friend used that particular phrase really opened my eyes to the seriousness of my behavior. If this is a trend with me, I intend to do whatever is necessary to change. Truly, I appreciate my situation at work. I work with a fabulous team of women and love each of them for their unique talents and personalities. Together, we bring wonderful opportunities to the children with whom we work. Also, I fully believe that God brought us together to do the things we do. Given that, why on earth am I storming around seeing conflict where there is none?

I always tell my students, "O.K., how do we eat an elephant?" They respond, "One bite at a time..." And, then we start. This week has been an elephant that has been tough and chewy. I have just had one "event" after another. I need to remember to be especially careful when life is particularly full. I have had an awful lot on my plate lately: rebuilding my house after Katrina, the girls have been hospitalized twice, softball for Dan, dance class for Sarah, dances, band concerts, paperwork at home and paperwork at work... I'm overwhelmed. Instead of trying to cram more than one bite of elephant in my mouth to expedite the process, I just need to sit and chew slowly. The thing that I need to remember is that everyone is always in the process of eating their own elephant too. But, maybe if I am open, I can get advice on how to swallow the especially tough bits that someone else has already had to eat.

I sincerely apologize to my wonderful co-workers. Perhaps after a while of real positive change, I can rebuild some of the damage that was done.

All of that being said, the girls are doing beautifully with regard to their health. We had a CF appointment a two weeks ago and Dr. Sindel pronounced Dan "healthier than she has been since 2002". He put both girls on different medications this time and the I.V. meds he chose really seemed to help. He also lent us a little portable nebulizer machine for Danielle to take on her trip to Italy. It is nice to know that she will be leaving the country in optimal health.

Last night, Danielle attended her 8th grade formal. The picture above is Dan in her finest dress. Jeremiah, her boyfriend, brought her a beautiful corsage and gave it to her at the dance. I don't have a picture of the two of them together because I was told she was going to have her picture professionally taken. Well, she got there and the "line was too long", and by the time she got in line for pictures they stopped taking them. I am really bummed out about that, but she insists that other people took photos, so maybe a copy will come out of that. Next time, I will know my daughter well enough to take the photo myself.

Mom sent me a great quote this weekend... Probably because she knows I have been beating myself up about the incident at work on Friday. "I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business." ~ Michael J. Fox


Monday, April 03, 2006

Growing Mushrooms and Looking at Statues

Well, here we sit in the hospital again. Dan and Sarah were both admitted on Friday. Danielle started running a fever last week after having taken oral antibiotics for two weeks. Sarah began complaining of back and chest pain. I called Dr. Sindel right away and got them in quickly. I think this time he has really had to work for his money. Since Sarah just got off I.V. antibiotics and Danielle was on very strong orals, he has had to work to create a treatment plan that will work for each of them.

He came by this morning and explained that Sarah seems to be having an allergic reaction to mold. (This isn't exactly what he said, but my layman's interpretation of what he said, since I would have to be taking notes to remember the doctor vocabulary.) Basically, he believes she is growing some type of fungus in her lungs. I have been teasing her saying she is growing mushrooms. Dr. Sindel is treating it with steroids and awaits lab results to see if an anti-fungal medication is needed. All of this while treating her with I.V. antibiotics and inhaled medications to treat the lung inflamation.

Grammy and Grampy, Randy's parents, came and spent the night with them on Saturday. Dave will be coming to stay tonight. It is so nice that everyone is able to chip in. The hospital can be so exhausting. People are coming and going all the time. I know I get bored and tired being in here. Imagine how the girls feel not being able to escape at all!

Overall, though, they are in good spirits. There is a wonderful school right here in the hospital. Mobile County Public Schools provide educational services to students who have been admitted. The classroom is called "Class Act". Ms. Anne Vella and Ms. Mary Day are the teachers. Ms. Anne teaches the lower grades and Ms. Day teaches the upper level. When the girls are admitted, the teachers fax a request to the schools for assignments. The girls' teachers send assignments to the office to be faxed to the hospital. The teachers work with all the children to help them complete assignments. The girls are busy during their time in the hospital and they don't get behind in their assignments. Students who attend Mobile County Schools are not even marked absent from school. For more information click: Class Act. There are volunteers who come to work with children, enrichment games and activities available on computer, and even "pet therapy".

We also take any opportunity to go walk in the park. There is a beautiful park on the grounds of the hospital. Statues of children in various states of play are located throughout. It is really great to be able to get out and walk around. If you would like to see the statues, click here:

We also had some wonderful news first thing this morning. Our beloved cat, Suzy, returned this morning after having been missing for a couple of weeks. Dave said he spent the morning taking care of her since all of the other girls in the house are at the hospital. Dave usually wakes me up by bringing me a cup of coffee after getting Sarah in her vest. He heads off to the gym after making sure we are up and moving. Then, I know I have to get up and make Sarah reset her vest, and switch her treatment to saline. After she is finished I start Dan on her treatments and vest. Still, without Dave, we wouldn't get started on time since morning is definitely not my best time of day. I'm glad Dave had Suzy to tend to... I'm sure he is missing us.

Thanks to all for your prayer support. I have a friend who had brain surgery a couple of days ago. He always says, "God is loving us now." He really is, isn't He?

Namaste'~ Christy

The above pictures are the girls' favorite statues. Can you guess which statue goes with which girl? Hint: The little girl with her hand out has a frog behind her back in her unseen hand.