Less than four

Years ago before I ever thought about getting married or having kids, I many different jobs. The one I loved the most was when I worked at David’s Produce. I began working there at the age of 11 making like $2.85 an hour, sounds crazy to even type that-man I’m getting old! It was a business much like The Berry Patch except they didn’t have ice cream when I worked there & they had plants. I learned a great deal about the food we eat & flowers while during my tenure. It was a fun place to work & great people to work for. I worked there all through junior, high school & college(s), 11 years total, working in between seasons at RW Goodman’s in the clothing department, I was a telemarketer for our local newspaper selling ticket booklets, I thinned peach trees, worked in Daddy’s chicken houses, & my last paycheck job was as a EKG tech for a local hospital. Now I loved the job itself, but starting out in any position, you often get the lowest of the low jobs. Mine happened to be the stupidest shift ever. I went in at 3pm on Friday, worked until 11:30pm that night, drove home a 1/2 hour only to report back at work from 6am-3pm Saturday & Sunday. I am not a morning person at all, what idiot would do such a shift? Someone trying to get their foot in the door that’s who. I got less than four hours of sleep on Friday night because I was so hyped up from working that I had a difficult time winding down…which is what sparked this blog. Less than four hours of sleep is my (our) current mode of life.

After getting my foot in the door, i got moved to the Monday-Friday second shift which was good for me, but it ruined the following day for me. I came home hyped up from charting which meant walking copies of EKG’s to each nursing station in the hospital right before getting off. And let me tell y’all, I was skeered to death going to some of those stations. After 5:00pm, a lot of the areas of the hospital closed down. I was a one woman show working second shift & in the old part of the hospital alone, talk about creepy. When I was charting, I was practically running since I just knew someone was going to pop-out from a secluded area & kill me. So when I got home, I was hyper & couldn’t rest. I’d stay up til 3am or later & then I slept all day until about an hour before getting ready for work. Second shift will ruin your life that is, if you want to have one. Later on, I went straight into another idiotic shift for me personally, 6am-3pm Monday-Friday. Now I loved the job I did, but I am not a morning person. I’d come home after work & sleep for hours, just to turn right back around & go back to bed. I have a huge respect for those working in hospitals or mills, those shifts are hard on the body. What I liked most about my hospital job was having a built in cafeteria to dine in, I love me some cafeteria food! I’d call Mama & Daddy on Saturday’s & see what they wanted to eat, it was the best. Then the gift shop was my next favorite, they had the best finds.

What’s the point of me talking about my job history I’m sure you are wondering. Well I am too at this point lol. It’s to explain the lack of sleep Lee & I are in right now & Jack. It’s a lot like working first, second, & third shifts all in one day inside our home, with a little siesta here & there. How we are able to function is only by the grace of God, that & Lee’s obsession with the Bang energy drink. I’ve always been scared to drink or take anything to give you energy because I have a slight heart issue, so I suffer with toothpicks holding my eyes open. Since being home from our unfortunate incarceration (aka the hospital), Jack hasn’t slept an entire night other than the first two nights after we got home. He is all out of whack, very much like a newborns schedule. It’s not because of new meds, he’s not on any. During the first few weeks, it was out of sheer hunger, we couldn’t fill Jack up. He was eating 8 bowls of popcorn a day, plus tons of other meals. He was even eating throughout the middle of the night, Jack was starved to death. His body was playing catch-up from where he was starving. Now that he has put on weight, he doesn’t need that ginormous amount of calories any more. He isn’t able to sleep now because of a spinning mind. Jack’s eating has slowed tremendously. He’s eating one good meal a day now, maybe two at times & that’s okay, he can live like that. As Jack has built back his strength, he has gotten back into the things he was interested in prior to him getting sick-his phone, tv, music, being more active around the house. Unfortunately, with a healthier Jack comes things that we were not looking forward to such as looking at inappropriate things online, getting back into interacting with strangers, playing his Lego Batman video game that gets him all stirred up & wired. When he finally does decide to call asleep, it’s usually around 1:30am, he wakes at 4am almost every single night to either mess with a toy or get up to pee because he has become so enthralled with the other stuff all day & night long, that he forgets to use the bathroom. When I remind Jack to get up & go pee before bed, he ignores me. When I try to reason with him about waking us up with his noises & bathroom trips, it’s like talking to a wall. I sleep with a baby monitor on my nightstand from Jack’s room to ours so I can hear if he has a seizure. I hear every move & sound he makes, Lee can sleep through it most of the time, but I never can. That’s just one of the many gifts of being a man! Just last night, Jack didn’t nod off til around 1:30am, I didn’t get to sleep til about 2:15am, he awakens at 3:30pm, piddles in his room with something, gets up at 4am to pee. I send Lee which I feel terrible about because he gets up for the day around 5:30am, but I’ve only had a little over an hour of sleep at this point. Jack never went back to sleep until 11am when I was busy getting my chores done & ready for work. He didn’t wake up until 2:30pm for day. This cycle is exhausting for us old parents. He started knocking on my bedroom door around 9:30am & I told him I was still sleeping (obviously not), and Jack says ‘it’s 9:30, you need to start getting ready for work’! I died! Made me feel like Mama & Daddy were talking to me when I was a teenager. But working outside in the hot everyday makes one sleepy any way, pile that on with the lack of sleep & you’ve got a whole mess.

Lee & I were so desperate for sleep the Sunday before Memorial Day, we went out to my car & slept for about 45 minutes behind the produce stand. As the teens say, ‘we be tired bro’. In actuality, mine was like 15 minutes-the problem with being a woman, the inability to sleep anywhere. Lee has considered getting a camper for us to rest in during the day. I never thought at the age of 50 & 45, we would be on the same schedule as when I was nursing our baby’s! I don’t have anything cute to snuggle with when I’m awakened now. Now I’m too hot to snuggle with Lee (menopausal problems) & we are too ill & annoyed to enjoy life. The other issues that have arose from Jack’s health improvement is his constant need for stuff. He needs gift cards everyday, food from restaurants everyday, batteries-y’all wouldn’t believe the request for batteries from this child, getting his mail from the post office. He tracks every single move UPS or the USPS or FedEX makes & knows just when they are to arrive. The anticipation makes him so anxious, worries him to pieces. He tracks those services like it’s Christmas Eve & he’s expecting Santa Claus! Now he’s back on wanting his guitar that Lee was supposed to take to a friend before he got sick for repair & Lee has lost it. How does one lose a guitar? Our lives are pure chaos. Just this week, I had to pay up with his gift for staying in the hospital & doing what was asked of him by his medical team. This contraption you see pictured cost me over $200. Can y’all believe this “phone” cost $200. It doesn’t even do anything but make animal noises, it’s a “vintage” Power Ranger phone! Being this child’s parents is so expensive along with trying to manage him through bribes, his daily eating out habits, gift cards & battery consumptions.

Today he’s been on a haircut kick. Calls me out of the blue demanding to have a haircut by our guy in Ellerbe, then got mad when he heard he was on vacation. To try to reason with him, I asked Jack if he wanted to call the man & have him ride all the way back home just to cut his hair. He of course had a solution for that, what about so & so cutting it? Jack doesn’t understand other people’s time, only his & everything must be done instantly in order to please him. And sadly for us, if something isn’t done at the particular time he wants it done, he wakes up at the crack of dawn or never goes to sleep because he’s thinking about it. We are so very grateful Jack has improved, but we knew what was coming, what is here. He’s more energized, move active, & thinking more-that’s a good & bad thing. As far as seizures go, he hasn’t had any big ones in a few weeks. I’ve been praying really hard that the Lord will grant me with the ability to free my mind from the fear of Jack becoming violent again. My prayer is that I will be strong enough to handle whatever may occur. Lee turns 51 tomorrow, so we definitely ain’t getting any younger, makes us both wonder how much longer we will be able to sustain under such conditions & be able to operate what our business has grown into at the same time. When you start having kids, you know there is a possibility of having a child that may have complications, but you never know to what extent. I only thought Jack’s issue would be seizures, little did I know that seizures would be the last on our list of worries. Lee & I say all the time, we could never make the stuff up that comes with being parents to Jack. We will do the best we can’t until we can’t & then I don’t know what will take place. It’s a tough life no matter which side of the fence Jack is on. As our family saying goes, ‘it’s always something’. Does this blog even make sense? I feel like Blanche on the Golden Girls when she wanted to become a writer. She was operating on such a profound lack of sleep that when she finished her novel, it made no sense!

Author: dravetsyndromeblog

44 year old Mama of three kids, wife of a farmer, & business owner.

2 thoughts on “Less than four”

  1. Ofcorse you are doing it right you and Lee have done an excellent job it seems nothing ever goes right but what if you didn’t have the means to do all you do for Jack ?? Your other kids seem to be very understanding of it all . I pray for you daily for God to give you the ability to keep up that special mom and dad job you both have . The serenity prayer all ways gives me stength to get through my own medical problems and so far it works . All my love and prayers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish, I lived near by. I don’t sleep well and I would love to spend the night with Jack and let y’all get a camper and sleep. Honey child, you need sleep to operate. I have always been a light sleeper. I don’t have to get up the next day makes a world of difference. Amy do you not have a social life? I am not being nosey because l hate nosey, but you better try to work something out. At least 2 nights of the week you both need to do something or visit someone. Just plain chill out. I am no marriage counselor but you and Lee need to go somewhere this winter and live it up. As Kenny and dolly would say just she and I. They say if you have a problem and money can solve that’s not a problem. You definitely have a problem because money can’t solve all of yours nor mine. Lord knows, I would love to help you. I bet Jack would love me. Lol. I am serious. You could take teddy with ya’ll on you big trip this winter. After Christmas and all your collards and turnips are gone. Just keep planning your entertainment at the Berry patch what is it once a month. We will pray for Jack to keep getting better. The Lord helped Jack ‘s appetite and I know HE will help with his sleep. Yes, HE can do it. Ava is a very good girl because I don’t believe she calls for a lot of extra attention. You pray for me as my grandmother would say and I will pray for you. Love and prayers. I pray Lee got an extra hour of sleep for his birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

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