The waiting game part II

Women amaze me, especially in the labor process. Something inside them kicks in and as a man you have to just sit back and think one of two things; the first being WOW that looks like it hurts tied with the feeling of I’m glad its not me, the other is trying to figure out something you can do to alleviate the pain. There’s not. We did the classes and learned all about the breathing and some suggestions for “the birthing partner” to do but aside from some encouraging words, the occasional back rub and holding her hand we get to watch in astonishment.

Late last week Tara started having minor contractions that got regular Saturday evening. By 3:30am Sunday (also our first anniversary) we were at the hospital with contractions right on top of each other every 3-5 minutes lasting a minute for a couple hours. I don’t know if it was my driving, the air in the hospital or the monitors hooked up on her but after being at the hospital for about thirty minutes they slowed to about ten minutes apart. After a couple hour-long walks and monitoring in between with no change, we came home to rest. We both were able to get a few hours of sleep. Contractions all yesterday were sporadic which also allowed for her to get some sleep last night. This morning they are starting to get regular again averaging 5-7 minutes. Tara is falling asleep between them. Exhausted she wakes, looks at the clock, breathes, gives a sigh of relief and falls back asleep.

Not wanting my wife to struggle much more hopefully/prayerfully my next post will be introducing you to baby Hannant.


The waiting game

I’ve said before that between everything with the chop and baby, this summer is pretty much a waiting game. In a matter of days baby will be here. We had a baby appointment today, and the only news we got was that everything is on track, and it should be any day now. Thanks that helps, especially with the routine questions. The main question that is getting asked constantly is, “are you ready?” I don’t know, baby isn’t here yet; I’ll let you know. I am as ready as I think I can be, Tara and I have had nine months to prepare, I think that’s good notice. I have heard all kinds of advice, some I can tell right away is, “not the way I would go about things” some I can’t tell whether it is good or bad however, baby’s not here yet, I’ll let you know. The other side of that question is the tangible side. Yes, we are ready. Baby’s room is all put together and collecting dust. We have all the clothes we need along with everything that baby and mommy require, and a little more. I think the only thing missing is a daddy with two legs, but that one is in the process of being resolved.

The hardest part about this waiting game for me is trying to do anything. I won’t go to far into it but with me being out from work so long there have been some changes. I need to make a decision of whether or not this current/new position will provide for my growing family. I’m almost to the point where I don’t think that it will, and need to make a change. However, making that decision now is hard while in this waiting game. I don’t think it looks too good with a new employer to start and a couple days in say, “my wife just had a baby and I have family in town, see you in a month.” In this process, I’m doing my best at supporting my wife. There is not much I can do for an independent pregnant woman aside from reminding her how beautiful she is, and putting lotion on her feet. So I sit, and with every cramp or moan wonder/hope to hear, “It’s time”.

ATM Parking

I’ve been in one of those moods where I am just looking for a fight, and this afternoon I just could not help myself. Stupid drivers have got to be my biggest source of frustration, aside from insurance caps. I was at a local grocer/ wannabe Wal-Mart looking for a parking spot and all the blue guys were taken. I had passed this lady a couple times looking for a spot, and I noticed that a handicap spot was opening up. I pull up to wait for it and right on my bumper is this lady again. As I pull forward she does as well, and slides into the area next to me marked full of yellow lines, that has the ramp up the to the sidewalk and is also for vans that have lifts. There is an outdoor ATM there with a long line that she quickly gets in. There were a couple other people eyeballing her and who better to let her know of her idiocy than a one legged man, since she was starring as it is.

For the sake of my Mother, I will not recite a word for word dialog, but I walked by and politely with a hint of sarcasm said, “excellent parking”. She snidely responds with a, “hey I’m just using the ATM and it’s raining” to which I respond with, “I see that, I’m glad for you that the yellow lines and blue signs mean ATM parking” that got a nice laugh from the line. I got called a nice name along with a similar response about the rain. There were some pleasantries exchanged as I provided her with the intent of yellow lines and blue signs, but she never faulted from her position that it doesn’t matter, “I’m just using the ATM and it’s raining” except with different expletives. Satisfied, and also seeing that I was obviously in the wrong I went inside, out of the rain.

Leg lamp

A few weeks back I had a leg lamp donated to the cause. For those of you that did not see A Christmas Story you might not get the whole lamp thing. I am in the process of trying to come up with a way to either sell or auction this lamp so if you have any ideas let me know. Knowing that this lamp was coming I just had to order some shirts that go with it. This was our second choice for a design and we are now introducing it as a special edition shirt for a minimum $30 donation.

Yellow shirt

Thank you to Red Rider Leg Lamps for the donation.

Shane’s leg

At the age of eight, Shane Smith was diagnosed with a benign type of cancer in his knee called synovial cell sarcoma. When Shane was 22, it came back in a harsh way. In February of 2001, his doctors said it was just scar tissue, but after seeking more opinions it was said that the cancer had returned. By June, Shane was an above knee amputee. In December of the same year the cancer had moved to his lungs. From what I understand by talking with his Mother, he was the type of guy that I would get along with. He was very upbeat all through his chemo and hospital time, ordering out for food and doing the best he could to live his life. On September 17, 2002, Shane passed away.

I am telling his story because a few weeks back Shane’s mother, Kathy, contacted me after one of the news stories. Kathy, who had been holding on to Shane’s prosthetic, heard what we are trying to do with Shirts For Limbs, and inquired about donating her son’s prosthetic. I have and continue to receive similar types of questions, and I am in the process of receiving limbs from a variety of situations. Most are unusable to me, but as we get Shirts For Limbs going, hopefully we can get them to amputees in need. On Thursday of last week, I met with Kathy and Allisyn (Shane’s sister) to pick up the leg. Tara and I had a great time chatting with them and hearing about Shane. After playing with the leg I could tell that it was in almost new condition. Shane’s amputation was on the right side, and mine is on the left. I knew that would not matter with the knee, but I would still need a foot. On Friday, we took the leg to my prosthestist. He had the same opinion, and the donated prosthetic will be a great starter knee for me to learn on. It should last until I am able to get something more suitable for my activity level.

Today we started the process of fitting for the leg, and casting for the socket. In the next few weeks I will be walking! This venture of Shirts For Limbs we have started has, for the time being, done what we needed it to do. I will soon have a leg, with the knee being the most expensive part. We are still going ahead with the goal of $40k, because Shane’s leg is only a temporary solution and we are looking forward to assisting the next amputee. His family’s generosity and compassion will never leave me.

A little rant

I am not writing this post because of a lack of donations. I am actually blown away at the progress that has been made and if it takes longer than planned to get a new leg then I will buy better crutches, but this has nothing to do with Shirts For Limbs. I am in a situation of receiving a lot from people that I do not even know and for me as I process that touches on some issues that I feel strongly about.

In the last week alone I have had conversations with four good men that are working their asses off just to put food on the table. I am not angry about the fact that they have to work or even that they have to struggle, we all will at times. I am pissed because they are men that would give the shirt off their back to help any one. They are not lazy. They are educated. None of them have any type addiction or habit that has caused this time of hardship; I have seen some of their budgets and spending trends. But yet it is known by anyone that knows them that they are in need.

People offer to buy something from them. They work overtime and take side jobs. They are married men that have families that they would much rather be spending time with. In some cases if not all their home lives are in a state of crisis as well, not because they are broke but because they not getting the time they need. Their wives would follow them to the end of the earth or under a bridge.

There is an aspect of generosity that causes most to think that they cannot do anything. It is the thought of our own bills. I know that most of us are tight as it is. What I suggest is look at your creature comforts, give up one and see what you can do. For me if I have one pint instead of two when I go to the pub that is about $40 a month.

I don’t want people to clean out their retirement or put themselves where they can’t pay their own bills. First I want people to sit for five minutes and look at their past. There has to be a time where we all had some sort of struggle, it doesn’t have to be financial. Next understand that there is someone you know that is experiencing a similar situation only for them it is financial. After that look at what you might be able to do to help. Maybe you have an extra $100, walk up to them and just say, “Here, I want you to have this”. Or pick up one of their bills for a while, not their mortgage but maybe their electric bill or buy their groceries once a month.

Giving is hard to do with out reason, it’s not a birthday or Christmas why is it necessary? Try it and you might find out why.

Oh to have a clear mind again

A little to soon I am now starting to think I decided to get off all the pain meds that I could. There is still one that I am taking for the nerve’s that are learning their new place or lack there of. I made a decision about eight years ago, crap almost nine, to get off all medication legal or not. This last month being on drugs again has been really interesting in my head. If I tried hard enough I could realize that I am still feeling the pain I just don’t care about it. I then started to realize that I like the fact that I don’t care about the pain, which has led to the most recent decision.

After detoxing for a couple days, a process that I never thought I would have to go through again, it is nice to have a clear head. While I am still learning to manage pain it’s great to have more than a ten-minute memory span. Unfortunately though I have stopped talking in my sleep. There was one night that I woke Tara up to tell her that I needed her to paint my back. Also the night that I was kicking her off the bed and when asked I told her that she was an ice burg. Just a note, don’t kick pregnant women when they are asleep.