Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I feel like we deserve to catch a break. The last two years have been, to say the least, stressful.

Liz had two miscarriages. Both required surgical intervention/resolution. One of these had some lasting side-effects that made for multiple visits to the Emergency Room and additional inpatient stays. Miscarriages are hard enough (emotionally) without the additional medical problems. About a year ago, I had a sudden, spontaneous pneumothorax. My lung had collapsed. I spent about a week in the hospital with a chest tube abd eventually had a VATS procedure in which the top 5% of my lung was removed. The collapsed lung, the chest tube, the surgery and the recovery were all painful and frightening for both of us.

Not long after the surgery, we conceived Simon with the help of some painkillers to make the heavy breathing of the ...babydance... less painful (that's commitment to making a baby, friends).

The pregnancy was very difficult. Liz has awful nausea that losted through all three trimesters. It was so bad at one point that she was hospialized so they could get her dehydration and migarines under control. When she was discharged, we had a wek of HOME-BASED IV care. It is an unnerving thing to have an IV pole in one's home. It seems as out of place as would a fire hydrant or a coffin.

Despite her nausea, we went to Ohio for Christmas with Liz's family...where Liz's father had just been admitted to the psyche ward against his will. It was a tense Christmas.

Late in the preganancy, Liz's father (after being discharged from the psyche ward) tried unsuccessfully to kill himself. This was, of course, very hard on Liz.

So after the difficult pregnancy, Simon was born.
He was a little early and a little small, but got 9/10 on his first two APGARs.

Four days later, Liz's father successfully took his own life. He'd never even seen a photo of his grandson.

My beloved boss/mentor/friend left our place of work, leaving me reporting to the same lunatic incompetant who drove her away. I miss her terribly.

I had a panic attack for the first time in my life maybe two months ago. I'm now getting counseling and taking medication for an anxiety disorder that was diagnosed many years ago- it seems to help. I need to be a patient and gentle husband and father. They both need that. I need it, too.

Simon has been an easy baby- cheerful as long as he's not overtired, hungy, or in need of a fresh diaper. Except now Simon has this tremor, and doctors are unable to tell us why...or if it should be cause for concern.

I know that awful things happen to everyone and we're luckier than most...but I feel like whining anyway. Why does it feel like Liz and I can't catch a break?

Thanks for letting me vent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On Not Being Canadian

When Liz and I have travelled in Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands), we have frequently been mistaken for Canadians.

We did NOT sew the Canadian flag on our bags (which I'm told some American travellers have done) did not tell people we were Canadian. If anyone asked if we were Canadian, we admitted that we were not- but this happened so often that I suspect many more people assumed we were Canadian than mentioned it.

Why did they assume we were Canadian? I think it was because we strove to be very polite. We attempted at all times to communicate in the local language (failing frequently, but I believe the gesture of making the attempt is meaningfuul) and did not express frustration when others did not speak English. If someone asked my opinion of Dubya, I was ready to express my feelings in the local language (e.g. "j'd├ęteste Bush!" in Paris).

Today, I'm a little less embarrassed to be an American. I'm a registered independent and not a huge fan of Obama's, but my fellow citizens did something right yesterday and elected the more reasonable, intelligent candidate.

Here's to President-Elect Obama: May he please give me reasons, when overseas, to be proud of my nationality. May he be successful in overcoming the massive challenges he faces. May he be successful in meeting the extraordinary expectations his adherents have for him.

Most of all, here's hoping that his team governs as well as they campaign.