By Mir
September 16, 2013

“You have to blog so I have something to read on the way home,” my father said to me this morning.

“No pressure!” I answered, and we laughed. Then I told him I’d try to come up with something.

When my folks come to visit for less than a week, it feels like they arrive and we eat and have some wine and some ice cream and then they leave. I never know where the days go. It is never long enough, and yet after they go I reassemble the house—taking the place mats off the dining room table and replacing the decorative runner that indicates we are normally an eat-at-the-kitchen-table family, stripping Chickie’s bed and putting her sheets back on and the guest sheets and towels in the laundry—and then curl up with Licorice and take a nap. I’m completely exhausted.

To be clear, it’s not my dad and stepmom who are exhausting. It’s probably just life, but somehow we stay up a lot later when we have company, I guess.

To be even clearer, I have recently started on a new (to me, anyway) medication that seems to be making me even dumber than usual. (Modern medicine is just WONDERFUL!) I had myself a merry little meltdown right before my folks arrived, wherein I became convinced that life was awful and ruined and no one would ever be happy again. Otto—dear, sweet, even-keeled Otto—held my hand and listened and nodded and asked if maybe, possibly, he wasn’t IMPLYING anything, and he wasn’t SURE, you understand, but MIGHT it be the case that the new med was making me just a WEE BIT unsteady and this reaction, while totally okay and he had my back and everything, could possibly be partially due to brain chemistry rather than, you know, reality? I conceded that while life was awful it was also true that I just didn’t feel good in general, so he had a point.

After that I dried my tears and vowed to enjoy this brief visit and not let my ridiculous and often overwrought emotions get in my way.

The good news is that for the most part, my plan was a success. There was a lot of food and a lot of laughter and despite that thing where the hard stuff you deal with every single day suddenly strikes you anew in all of its many-splendored sucktasticness as you watch someone else watching you deal with it (you know how that goes? like, this is just something you do, but then you see That Look on someone’s face and you remember, “OH! RIGHT! Most people do not live like this, actually”), I spent most of the past five days just enjoying our company and wishing that they didn’t live so far away. And I’m not just saying that because I only buy potato chips when my dad’s here.

The bad news is that, while I was largely able to avoid further emotional boomeranging, I’m surprised I didn’t end up burning the house down or giving myself a brain injury. I walked into things. I managed to kick the dishwasher door up with my foot—a move I’ve made a thousand times before—in such a way that it cracked into my knee so hard I saw stars. I stood at the kitchen counter making dozens of pancakes on Sunday morning, set out everything else we needed for brunch, even remembered to keep the pancakes warm in the oven while I cooked; then, just before we sat down, I grabbed the heating element for our electric griddle with my bare fingers. (That thing gets HOT, in case you’re curious.) Lucky for me, I forgot all about my blistered fingers later that night when I was pulling dinner from the oven and managed to rest the top of my wrist on the (hot!) oven door.

And no, none of these incidents involved alcohol. I am just clumsy. Clumsier than usual, I should say.

I’m hoping this period of relative fog will wear off—after all, I’m running out of skin to burn or bruise—and that I return to feeling like myself in the near future.

“You two should think about taking a vacation,” my dad said, last night, as we adults were sitting around talking, up too late. “Without the kids, I mean,” he added. Otto and I exchanged a look, because that sounds like a great idea, but also an impossible one at this point for a hundred different reasons.

The conversation veered in another direction for a while, and then when we were finally all getting up to shuffle off to bed, my stepmom piped up. “You know, if you want to go somewhere, I would come down and stay with the kids. I’d be happy to. Think about it.”

“Oh, my God,” I said, overwhelmed by the offer. Five days of watching juggling schedules and doctors’ appointments and homeschooling and school phone calls and deadlines and shrieking meltdowns, and still, that willingness? “That’s so sweet. And… brave.” (“Brave” seemed more appropriate than “foolhardy,” after all.)

There was chuckling, and we said our goodnights and put our ice cream bowls (already licked clean by Licorice) into the sink. Everyone turned in.

I lay there in bed, so tired but unable to sleep, reminding myself that the grogginess will pass. Or it won’t pass, and we’ll try something else. It won’t always feel like everything is so hard or like everything I do is wrong at best or damaging at worst. Burns heal, bruises fade. Clarity will return. Maybe Otto and I will even plan that vacation.


  1. Rita

    It sounds like a vacation would be a wonderful thing. It won’t change anything that you have to deal with but you might just find a little bit more charge in your battery, so to speak. Take you step-moms offer and go! (and sorry about the burns and bruises. I just tested how hot a 400 degree pan is with my forearm. It’s really hot!)

  2. Jean

    I don’t know….you were on the new meds before your parents came and they were there for 5 days and you are still feeling not yourself (or some version of yourself). Maybe talk to your doctor? It just kind of seems like a long time and I don’t want you to be miserable :(

  3. Avie

    If that new drug starts with a W and is used to treat depression and ends in ellbutrin, don’t wait for too long for that fog to fade. My partner waited two years before we went to a pharmapsychiatrist, and the first thing he said was “W. causes mental fog and disordered thinking. it’s terrible for people who have executive processing issues, AND it’s terrible for people with focus and motivation problems to begin with. it goes. now.”

    internet, grain of sand, obvs. but that was our experience and it sounds awfully familiar, the clumsy, the despairing and the foggy.

  4. Carla Hinkle

    Take. The. Vacation.

  5. Flea

    A vacation? It does sound impossible. Too bad you love your step mom so much. Still … do it. Just do it. Take her up on it. Do it.

  6. Megan

    Darlin’. Honest. Life should not be this hard. Maybe… maybe? [oh god there are so many difficulties with saying this stuff online!!] it would be okay to give some time to yourself and the lovely Otto?

  7. Tenessa

    I feel ya with the clumsy and while I wouldn’t describe what I feel since I started Synthroid several years ago as “fog”, it has definitely affected my memory and multitasking abilities.

    I hope you get the meds issue worked out soon. Feeling out of sorts SUCKS and feeling like everything is awful, terrible is even worse. **hugs**

  8. crazyjane

    I envy your your stepmom…

  9. Amanda

    RUN. FOR. THE. VACATION. How many times do those of us with kids get offers like that? EXACTLY. GO.

  10. Amy

    I’ve felt this way lately.

    Consider the vacation. Thinking of you.

  11. TC

    How long the groggy? More than, say, two weeks or at most a month, and unless it’s treating a physical, life-threatening illness, you need to revisit. Seriously. Been there, done that. Over and over again, until I found one that gave me peace without stupidity. (That one gave me weight gain, instead. Always with the gifts, these meds.)


  12. meghann @ midgetinvasion

    Hey Otto? I think it’s officially time to ban her from the kitchen. Unless y’all are trying to hit your deductible cap for the year. . .

    • Otto

      Too late.


  13. Karen R

    Vacation, yes!

    Meds can do that to you. I’ve learned not to try anything new, and to double check everything I do if I am on antibiotics. Were you aware that a bread machine doesn’t work terribly well if you neglect to put the paddles in? Or that rice tends to burn if you forget to put any water in? Hormonal tampering can do it, also. I had to get Luprin shots for a few months, and my brain pretty much went AWOL. I remember standing in the middle of a grocery store I had been shopping at for ten years, trying to remember which direction I was supposed to go in. Good luck!

  14. karen

    Take her up on it. Go.

  15. Valerie

    You’re pretty.

  16. Jeanie

    I feel ya with the burns. The standing joke in my family when we’re all together is, “Don’t let Jeanie near the oven.” And I agree with the others about the meds. It’s probably time to talk to your doc.

  17. Lucinda

    I have a friend who deals with many of the same issues you struggle with (and which I assume this new medication is for). I have watched him go up and down for 20 years as he finds a med that works and then it doesn’t and then he finds something else. His downs always come back up and yours will too. In the meantime, the life you have built for yourself and your kids is a testament to just how amazing you are. Try to remember that. And take her up on the offer.

  18. Chuck

    Yes. VACATION! That sounds like an awesome idea. Not just a camper vacation either (not that there is anything wrong with those at all) but something where you can totally feel like you’ve Gotten Away From It All. Florida Keys, perhaps? Anyhow glad you had a nice visit in spite of the injuries.

  19. Lauren

    TAKE THE VACATION. Not to a new city for exploring — go to a beach and just SIT. Dear God, you’ve earned yourself that.

  20. Brigitte

    Get thee some Bag Balm on those burns (despite its stink and explicit directions NOT to put it on burns, ha). Pregnancy, child-rearing and meds have dumbified me to the point that I’m pretty sure other Mensans might disinherit me.

    • Elizabeth

      I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. Medications can be like that, and then after three weeks, work absolute MAGIC! I hope you get on the right combo soon.

      We are supposed to go on a “babymoon” this weekend but are having a hard time leaving the 75 year old father in law for someone else to deal with… We had to take his keys last week (doctor’s orders) and he is punishing the world for it. Do we cancel? Do we just stay really close so that we can get called home if necessary? If we do go, we’re having a large man come by the house to dispense his pain medication on a 12 hour basis– not the same person as someone who would be staying with him. I’m afraid that is all he would respect, and I definitely don’t want to put anyone we love through the wheedling and manipulation that can happen…

  21. The Other Leanne

    Stop with the excuses and take the vacation. Everyone will benefit from it.

  22. Dezi

    It’s hard for me to imagine anyone so brilliant and talented needing meds, but one hour at a time is my motto. And if anyone offered to take my eleven year old so I could lie on a beach*soak*pool*boat*Camp*whatever for a few I would freak them out at how fast I would take the offer, You deserve something really really relaxing and guilt free!!! Silver cream is the best on burns, so sorry about your boo-boos. :(

  23. kapgaf

    I think there’s a message in there somewhere and I think the message is “take the offer and go”. Just make sure it’s somewhere that has no kitchen or, if it does, strict instructions to Otto that you are not allowed to touch anything even resembling kitchen ware (that includes a corkscrew).
    And I hope that the fog clears soon.

  24. abbeyviolet

    I think the vacation sounds nice as does getting to have had this time with your Dad. For some reason this particular post just makes me miss mine so very much. You’re a lucky girl even when time are hard and painful in several ways. Hugs and dreamy vacation thoughts!

  25. Meri

    :( I hate switching meds. I hope the side effects become tolerable soon.

  26. Tracey

    This: “the hard stuff you deal with every single day suddenly strikes you anew in all of its many-splendored sucktasticness as you watch someone else watching you deal with it (you know how that goes? like, this is just something you do, but then you see That Look on someone’s face and you remember, “OH! RIGHT! Most people do not live like this, actually”)”

    YES! I mean, you just keep your head down and do what you have to do, but seeing it through someone else’s eyes always makes that so clear-that it IS hard to do what you’re doing, dammit!

    My son with MD had a bad first week of middle school, involving some falls and some tears (on my part not his) and coming to terms (also on my part-he seems to roll with it) that he is at that transition phase from walking to full time wheelchair and…well sucktastic is a good word for it. The more parents with special-needs kids I talk to, the more I realize that even though the fine details of the struggle may be different, the big picture looks awfully familiar. I told my husband it’s a wonder we’re not raging alcoholics, and would anyone really blame us??

  27. Tracey

    Also! I second your dad on the vacation. We managed to get away this past spring, and even though I needed a vacation just from figuring out where the kids needed to be and when while we were gone….it was totally worth it.

  28. Rachel

    Just chiming in to second the comments above to:
    a) see your dr about the meds, &
    b) take that vacation! I’d be in the car 5 minutes after that offer if it were me. =)

  29. js

    Thank you for blogging today.

  30. Genevieve

    Take the vacation. Leave the cannoli. (For your step-mom, as a thank-you.)(she is terrific.)

    A chance to recharge could be very very good for you, and for the whole family as you’d come back more refreshed.

    If your new med starts with L and ends with ca, it can indeed cause “cognitive slowing” and you might ask about another med. Just anecdotal, but I had a ton of issues with it and wish I’d gotten off it or on a much lower dose much sooner than I did – when you’re cognitively slowed, it can be hard to recognize it if there are other reasons to attribute.

    Also, thyroid levels could be worth checking, as when they’re too low, it can be like thinking through fog.

  31. lizneust

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned the drug that starts with a Cym and ends with a balta, but it can be really tough going on and hell going off AND makes most people really foggy. If you are extra special lucky, it can also slow your metabolism to nothing and you can put on quite a bit of weight very fast.

    I hope you can figure out how to take that vacation, and that the suckitude lets up a bit.

  32. Chris

    Mini- vacation. Not as much guilt as big vacation but still a honest getaway for 4-5 kid free days – you must do it! (and depending on your family schedule that could only leave 2 school days for them to deal with – if weekends are more crazy scratch that but you get the idea).

    I would revisit meds before you go. I am not sure medically induced crappiness will contribute to the goals of a getaway.

  33. Kady

    Hang in there, Mir!

  34. Felicity

    Go…it will be good for you! But as an added benefit, it will help install a sense of independence in the darling children. They will rise to the occasion!

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