November 18, 2012

As many of you might know, or have surmised, Momz and I don’t have the best relationship. I’ve visited my hometown three times in as many months and didn’t tell her I was coming for any of those trips.

She’s now visiting my town. Because my brother has kids.

Apparently Bro and SIL went out tonight and planned to leave the kids with her. This is something they didn’t do before – they didn’t want to leave the kids alone with her. Momz doesn’t see well so is not the best babysitter. But the kiddos are a bit older now so I guess they figured she could handle it. I wasn’t so sure.

I mean, would the kids die or would they burn the house down? Probably not. But I went over both to do my duty and see Momz and to help her babysit.

It’s a good thing I did. Bro and SIL made tacos before they went out. Even with dinner ready, I was still the one to rally the kiddos, make sure they ate both protein and vegetables, clean up and get them to bed. Momz did almost NOTHING. She managed to serve herself some tacos but that was about it.

Strike One.

Strike Two requires some background information. Momz has been collecting family “heirlooms” most of her adult life. Anytime someone in her family has died (read great aunts, grandparents) the majority of the stuff has ended up in her basement, mostly because she had the space to store it. She’s apparently very attached to family furniture and other items that have been ‘passed down.’ Now I’m as curious as the next person about my ancestors and I love history. But I do not need a bunch of worthless crap sitting in my garage simply because it’s been ‘passed down.’ I am acutely aware of this right now since my garage is currently full of such items from Pops.

But she is DETERMINED to give me, or my brother, a crystal punch bowl from the 1600’s that is broken. It is broken in such a manner that it apparently requires yearly gluing just for display purposes. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it is fascinating that my family has been in this country that long. And that they bothered to pass down a punch bowl. But I don’t need to own said punch bowl and store it in my garage for my (potential) kids to find when I die.

And this is just ONE of the family “heirlooms” she’s trying to unload. And it’s also the umpteenth time I’ve heard a similar story about some inanimate object that needs saving. Would you expect your great great grandchildren to be using you current coffee table? It’s just stuff. It can’t replace people. But she seems to think all the junk in her basement are really antiques that are worth quite a lot. She apparently didn’t want to mention this punch bowl via email because she was afraid someone would intercept the email and then try to steal the punch bowl. Priorities, please.

Strike Two.

Hospitalists are going to kill her. She’s had ONE personal bad experience with a hospitalist (with my aunt) and she’s heard from a friend that a hospitalist killed her friend’s mother. She’s convinced that, if she gets sick enough to require hospitalization, the hospitalist will kill her. Mainly because she thinks the hospitalist will give her some drug she can’t take. Because, you see, she can’t take many drugs. No, I don’t mean she’s allergic. I mean she claims that ibuprofen makes her drunk. Her body reacts differently to common drugs and this will surely kill her.

Her fear of hospitalists is new. But her contention that normal drugs produce weird reactions is an ongoing topic. This is why she chooses alternative medicine virtually every time. She prefers clothespins on her ears to novacaine for dental work. She won’t take ibuprofin. Don’t even mention antihistamines or she’ll freak out. She no longer eats any sugar nor drinks any alcohol (no exceptions) because she’s borderline diabetic and might have a slight fatty liver.

Strike Three for paranoia.

And lastly, I think most people won’t find this bad but, it irks me. She refers to our efforts to have a child as our ‘project.’ I think this must be her way of being discreet. But I really don’t like that she calls it a project. It’s not a high school science project. To me, that word minimalizes what it really is. I guess she means well, but… it’s not a project. It’s a kid (potentially).

You’re Out. Or rather I was. On that note, I left.

And that’s just today. You don’t even want to know how many strikes she had in the past.

Round Two later this week.



December 29, 2011

It never fails. My mother will always make everything about her. Although, I have to admit, this trip (so far anyway) is not as bad as usual.

Situation: Older niece upset about not being able to play games

She’s the oldest so she’s frequently told they have to play “family” games – games that everyone can play. Her younger siblings don’t quite grasp Monopoly. Or even Monopoly Junior. And especially not Chess (which she loves). Along with LOTS of other games. So I said to her, “Sometimes it’s hard being the oldest.” Me personally – I have NO CLUE about being the oldest. I’m the youngest. But I can still imagine what it’s like to want to play one game and be outvoted. But Momz, from across the room – not a part of this conversation – pipes up with, “I wouldn’t know. I’m a middle child.” By definition a middle child is older than someone else. Just sayin’.

This is a frequent issue. At the ripe old age of 71, my mother still has issues with being a middle child. She has attempted to bond with my cousin (who is a 3rd of 4 children but doesn’t identify as a middle) about this. Seriously? Get. Over. It. Already.

Situation: Common Sense

When ordering Thai food, it is NOT acceptable to ask, "What is wide rice?" when the menu shows "wide rice noodles."
When watching a movie set in the 1500's, why would you think that the king's sheets should be 'monitored' just like the queen's? Does he menstruate?

[I have countless other examples from previous occasions but this is all I have from THIS TRIP]

I’m still waiting for the height argument. I claim 5’8″. She claims 5’8 1/2″. She insists that she is more than 1/2″ taller than me. Perhaps I am only 5’7 3/4″. Who the eff knows? Who the eff cares? I concede that she is taller than me. She cares. It’s all a competition. It’s not enough for her to be taller than me. She has to be an extra 1/2″ taller. This issue has, so far, not reared its ugly head this trip. But it usually makes an appearance so… I’ll just be waiting for it. Why my exact height is an ongoing issue I will never understand. But generally she comments on it every time I see her. And I have (non-familial) witnesses that will attest to this fact.

Situation: It’s all about her

The saddest part of this trip has got to be my aunt – her sister. My aunt has been in and out of the hospital all month. 3-4 times in December. I’m worried about her. REALLY worried about her. I’m worried about me. Can I take yet another loss? And I recognize that Momz has legitimate reason to be upset. Her sister has been in and out of the hospital all month and her brother was also in for surgery. If it were me, I’d be upset. BUT. BUT. Momz has a tendency to exaggerate, to be a hypochondriac, and to make everything about her. She *loves* a tragedy. But even when it IS kind of about her, I get cynical because she so often makes it about her anyway.

We should feel sorry for HER because her sister is sick. Her brother is not so well either. Well, yeah, that’s rough. But, ultimately, it’s not about Momz, it’s about my aunt. And my uncle (ongoing issues from a motorcycle accident 3 years ago). And it is NOT acceptable to ask about whether her sister made the time share payment this month. The world cannot possibly end if the payment is made a little bit late due to hospitalization. But she asked me if it would be OK for her to ask my cousin (who wouldn’t know anyway) about it. You’re worried about money and your time share right now? Really?

I’ve (amazingly) avoided her miscarriage stories. Her divorce stories. I’ve previously heard how her divorce was worse than mine (um… I don’t think so but it’s debatable – I’ll admit that). I think she must know better that my ectopics were worse than her miscarriages (in the sense that there were hospitals and surgery involved). And when I say these things… please don’t think that I’m in competition with her. I don’t care who had a worse time – I only care that SHE tries to make comparisons and make her situations worse than mine.

Why are women in competition with each other outside of sports? Why? And why do mother’s want to compete with their daughters?

Apparently my mother only knows how to relate to other women competitively. It’s not a competition. Or, t least, it *shouldn’t* be a competition.

What the fuck is up with that?

Really. Can you enlighten me? Why does my mother want me to… do worse than her?

MYO. ME. TRIAL IM.PLAN.TATION: This seems to be the term for what has happened to me. Google it. I dare you. You won’t find much. What you will find talks about rats, guinea pigs and women who have had uterine surgery – such as a C-section. It’s when the embryo implants in the myometrium – great definition, huh? ūüėČ According to wikipedia….

The myometrium is the middle layer of the uterine wall consisting of smooth muscle cells and supporting stromal and vascular tissue.

I think the important part of that definition is that it says UTERINE WALL as opposed to uterine LINING.

ADENOMYOSIS: This term is much more “googleable” and something my doc will check me for once my body gets back to baseline HCG=0. It has to be looked at via ultrasound/cervical scope AFTER ovulation which is something my RE has never done (and why would she?). But the presence of this condition could facilitate/cause myometrial implantation. So if I have adenomyosis and we do a FET cycle… it might happen AGAIN. Gulp. This could be a fluke or I might have an anatomical anomaly that caused it. And could cause it again.

At the moment I can’t even think about doing this again. And yet I’m terrified they will ultimately say I CAN’T do it again. That there’s something wrong with me physically that increases the chance that would happen again. As far as I can tell (from the interwebz) there *may* be a link between Adenomyosis and endometriosis. So there’s a chance my history of endo sort of caused this. But that’s jumping way ahead. We don’t even know if I have adenomyosis.

We still have to get my HCG to plummet so I can safely go home. And then I’m sure they’ll continue to monitor me closely. And then, eventually, when my body returns to normal (whatever that is) they will start running tests again to see if they can determine:

  • HOW this happened
  • WHY this happened
  • IF it DAMAGED my uterus
  • IF it’s LIKELY to happen again

I know my RE wants to get me pregnant again (or a possibly surrogate – she mentioned that as a possibility if I can’t do it physically – so don’t want to go there) and then writing this all up for a medical journal. I suppose the happy ending would make for better reading. Regardless, I think this is going to be written up somewhere at some time. Everyone here is intrigued by my case. I think I might be THE patient to visit around here if you’re in OB/GYN. I’ve never seen so many MDs (even if a lot of them are residents in training) in such close succession. Someone is stopping by all the time. But I don’t feel like too big a freak – they are all compassionate and don’t make me feel like I’m on display. But I am slowly coming to realize that I am sort of on display. And I’m OK with that if it means they learn something from it.

The depression is starting to set in (the pregnant resident I saw late last night didn’t help – I can’t be thankful enough to be on the oncology ward instead of the OB ward right now). I’m still trying to hold off on the emotional breakdown. A steady stream of visiting friends and family has helped. But I just really want to go home. Unfortunately Crazy Momz is coming again today. I think she’s coming and camping out here all day. And Right Guy had to go back to work today. So… today is gonna SUCK. It started with a second methotrexate shot and that has just sort of set the tone. And it’s not even 7am. Ugh.

I’m so dreading the Momz visit. I’ve already warned the nurse that I may be asking for extra narcotics today. ūüėČ

This is really a continuation of my prvious post Thoughts on Feminism.

Let me start off by giving a few facts about my mother:

She went to college at a time when women were not allowed to wear shorts on campus. She had to get special permission to attend since it was only open to females if they were locals. They didn’t want to put women in dorms – they had to live at home with family to be properly chaperoned. So my mother lived with her aunt while she was in school and the university allowed that. An overwhelming majority of women studied either Nursing or Teaching. Nothing else. I don’t think it was forbidden to study other subjects – it just wasn’t done. I’m not sure if she had to get more special permissions or not but I do know that she was the ONLY female Mathematics major in her class. Upon graduation she took a job at the same university working with computers. In the 60s. Back when they took up whole rooms. She learned to program in languages no one uses anymore. She worked until the day she had her first child. She made the choice to continue working after she got married – despite the fact that many women looked down on her for not being home and taking proper care of her man (my father was all for her working BTW).

Have I just painted the picture of a pioneering feminist woman? You would think so. I grew up hearing these stories. I never ever thought I wasn’t good at math because I was a girl. Until high school, I thought that was a myth. It seemed perfectly silly to me that girls would be bad at math simply because they were female. But I learned that many of my peers had experienced that feeling. I always went to my mother for help with my math homework. My father sucks at math. And my mother can’t spell a word to save her life so it was to Pops I went for help with spelling and English. So I was shocked when I found out that she and my father had argued about the Equal Rights Ammendment (ERA) back in the 70s. He was FOR it SHE was AGAINST it. How could my mother, the woman who worked with computers in the 60s, not believe in equal pay for equal work? Did she really think she was worth less?

Why did my mother never want to be anything more than a wife and a mother? I still don’t understand it. And, to be frank, she wasn’t particularly good at either. So why was that all she wanted? Was it simply because it elluded her? She had to go back to work when my parents divorced. I’m not saying that SAHMs don’t have any other identity than wife and mother. I think many do. But I fail to understand how a person can successfully define themselve through other people (hubby & kids). You need something of your own. And my mother never wanted that.

This is a woman who feels SO STRONGLY against feminism that when I got married and she yelled at me when she found out I didn’t intend to change my last name. Literally yelled at me (not something she ordinarily does). Her exact words: “I didn’t raise you to be a….a… Women’s Libber!” The phrase “Women’s Libber” was said with such disdain I could never do it justice when recounting this story. I’ve never fully understood that comment since I believe she DID, in fact, raise me that way by telling me the stories of her college days – even if she did recount them not in awe of what she accomplished but matter-of-factly. She calmed down after I explained my reasons for that decision. My reasons for not changing my name really have nothing to do with feminism. With the noted exception that it is because of feminism that I can make that choice at all.

There is a stark contrast between my mother and Right Guy’s mother. Right Guy’s mother never went to college. Because her family didn’t believe in educating females. Can you believe that?!?! It outrages me. The choice was taken from her. Well, I suppose she could have chosen to go later in life. But still. My mother had all these amazing opportunities but never really wanted or cared about them. And there are so many others who would have killed for them!

I guess it all boils down to personal choice and doing what is right for YOU. But, damn, sometimes it’s really hard to understand those choices when they are not the ones we would make for ourselves.

Momz Part 3

May 14, 2010

Remember how I thought my mother was asking about exactly how we were trying to get pregnant (In Momz Part 2)?  I thought she wanted to know whether we were sinning by having premarital sex or just having my doctor inseminate me Рwhich would theoretically be NOT sinning.  When I recounted the conversation to my brother he came up with another possibility.  Equally as weird. But also a moral issue.

Momz has a genetic degenerative eye disease. ¬†She recently sent out an email to family giving us an update on her status (she is slowly losing vision and has now stopped driving – another reason for me to move before I have 2 parents to take care of and have no life of my own). ¬†In this email she also mentioned that there is some research being done for her condition that might possibly offer a cure – or at least restoration of some of her vision. ¬†But it involves stem cells and she’s not down with using aborted babies to cure her condition.¬†Although she’s still excited about the research. ¬†That was what she said.

I don’t know if she’s aware or not that unused embryos from IVF can be donated for stem cell research. ¬†And if she is, does she consider them ‘aborted’ babies? ¬†Certainly she considers them living beings so it’s all just semantics. ¬†In any case, my brother thinks that might be why she was asking me whether we were having any ‘procedures’ done. ¬†She didn’t want to know if I was an ordinary having sex before marriage sinner. ¬†She was asking if I was a potential murderer (in her mind anyway). ¬†Great. ¬†That makes it SO much better. ¬†Thanks Bro.

Momz Part 2

May 10, 2010

So. I did it. And I survived. I’m somewhat bruised, but I survived. Fortunately, even though my father was not really much help, one of his friends was around to help me. My counselor had suggested that since Right Guy would be working today and couldn’t be there that I have someone or something planned to help me feel better after talking with Momz. Pops is always hit or miss with his moods these days but he is normally who I would turn to so that was my plan. But he was a bit of a miss today. But two of his friends were over for dinner (it’s a weekly Sunday night get together) and those two are kind of surrogate fathers to me – they helped him raise me. So that was good.

I told her. I pretty much spit out all the facts and waited to see how she would react. Perhaps I should have done it in phases. There are essentially two news items for her to react to: (1)my condition and the health issues and (2) the fact that we are trying to get pregnant. If I knew I wanted her to react to the first item first perhaps I should have held off on the second. But no, I’m a glutton for punishment and I set myself up big time. My bad. I really should know better.

Of course she reacted first to the news that we are actively trying to get pregnant. While not married. That was the VERY FIRST THING out of her mouth “What about marriage?” As if a little thing like a legal document that I don’t even care about matters in this situation. Will a marriage certificate get me pregnant? I don’t think so. Will the few eggs I have left care whether or not we’re married? Doubtful. Will his sperm stop to knock on the egg’s door and request a marriage certificate before entering? Not f*cking likely. Will marriage prevent me from getting osteoperosis? Nope. But I still had to spend about 20 minutes justifying not being married.

And then she asked a strange question. I’m pretty sure it was not idle curiosity. She wanted to know if we were… ahem… doing this at home or were there ‘procedures’ involved. I could be mistaken but I feel fairly confident that she wanted to know whether I was actively sinning by having sex with the man who lives in my house or if we were being good Christians and having my doctor inseminate me with his non-sinful sperm. WTF? Only my mother would ask this in that context. Maybe she just wanted to know what else she needed to pray for. I thought my sinner’s soul was already on that list but maybe she just likes to be specific about WHICH sins to pray for.

You might be wondering how many of my predictions came true? Let’s see….

1pt – She did indeed tell me about all 3-5 of her miscarriages (2 of them she’s not sure about because there was no confirmed pregnancy). Mercifully not for a full hour.
0pt – She did not make any hot flash jokes.
1/2pt – I don’t think she knows anyone with osteoperosis. But she did mention her sister and how hunched she is these days. And how she is now taller than her sister because of this (see Tell Me About Your Mother… to find out why height is such an issue) le sigh
0pt – She did not tell me she was happy that I was trying and although she did refrain from Bible lecturing she definitely made an issue of me not being married.
1pt She will indeed be praying for me. Fortunately there was no laying of hands on me in public or private.
1pt – She showed me all of her natural supplements for bone health.
1pt – Make me feel uncomfortable? Check.
1pt – I did get a hug and she did talk about herself for an hour.

My score: 5.5/8

What was I most surprised about during this encounter? I should have known. There’s always something that, in retrospect, I feel I should have expected but somehow didn’t see coming. With Premature Ovarian Failure sometimes there are known causes. Chemotherapy and genetic disorders top the list for causes. And then there are other things that are not direct causes but are often found as co-conspirators so to speak. That list consists mainly of auto-immune disorders and heredity. My RE has pretty much ruled out everything in my case- including heredity. My RE ruled out heredity because I had told her that my mother went through menopause at the normal time – sometime around age 50, maybe a year or two earlier. Which is true. And completely normal.

I know this because I distinctly remember being in a mall with Momz when I was 16 (which would make her about 49) and she was fanning herself with her hands and in general making quite a spectacle of herself. There was nothing discrete about it. In fact, she even explained herself to the female employee working the jewelry kiosk. “It’s menopause. I’m having a hot flash.” I was mortified. I was 16. What other reaction could I have possibly had at that age? It is etched in my brain. And every time I have a hot flash in public I remember it. Because I refuse to be her. And honestly, the hot flashes do SUCK. But I have never felt the need to engage in histrionics while I’m having one – in public OR in private. Strip naked and stand in front of the AC vent in my own house? Yes. Wave my hands about wildly? No. This story is really hysterical when I tell it in person and can imitate her.

So when she asked if it could be hereditary because she had gone through menopause early I was a bit mystified. And she wasn’t asking this in a “OMG, I’m sorry, could I have done this to you by passing along bad genes?” sort of way. It was more of a “OMG, maybe I have this condition too and they just didn’t know about it back then!” sort of way. She sounded almost… excited. All. About. Her. Always.

Anyway, I survived. It could have been much much worse. And I no longer have to pretend everything is wonderful if I don’t feel like pretending. So I’ll just have another glass of wine and put this Mother’s Day to bed.