Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bad Days? Who Cares?

March 18, 2009

When you've had a run of bad days in a row, you can easily fall into a pity party. That's why it's great to have friends with perspective. I wish I could give proper credit to the websites where I recently had learning experiences, but I can't track down either entry in the blogs I read that started my thought process on the topic of "how to react to bad days."

Anyway, one was from the mother of a child who died from neuroblastoma, venting about something she had read on a different blog. Apparently a mom was complaining about getting stuck in-patient with her child who had a phantom fever, low counts, but no other apparent problem. This "stuck" mom was bemoaning the fact that they were wasting time in the hospital when they could be out doing more interesting things (I think I have been guilty of those feelings from time to time, whether I expressed them on Erin's Home Page or not). The wise NB mom venting basically made the point that the "stuck" parent should slow down and appreciate the time she could spend with her child and use the time together when everyone felt relatively well to play and share and enjoy each other.

Another website I read didn't have an elaborate story, but just made the point that once a day was gone you could never have it back. Some of us feel glad to bid bad days good riddance and think we would never want them back. On the other hand, a bad day seems infinitely better than the promise that you will never have any part of that day back and may never have another to replace it with.

These two thoughts have really kept me on track the last few weeks. Instead of alternating between boredom, depression, and insanity stuck in the house with Erin, I've tried to reframe the experience (my more humble self must admit that I'm not always successful). Anyway, the last two days have been a sweeter elixir for my efforts. Erin is making headway. Believe me, it's slow headway and I have to practice patience (repeatedly). She's frail, weak, and still full of sputum. Her ribs show, her arms are sticks. She still can't leave the house and go very far under her own locomotion. But she's better. We went to Jackson's house yesterday and hung our feet in the hot tub for a while. We sat outside in the best part of the evening contemplating the extraordinary number of birds collecting around our yard to tell us about the arrival of spring. We chuckled our way through The Rachel Maddow Show. She called me over at one point and told me, "I need help. My nose is running again." I brought her a box of tissues, thinking I had solved the problem, but she pointed and said, "Look I think I see it over there, heading down the hall."

The state would arrest me if I had deliberately doled out the tiny amount of food she has eaten over the last two weeks rather than her rejecting the many and various things I have offered. Yesterday, however, her intake volume doubled or tripled (still not enough calories to sustain even the smallest kitten, but definitely an improvement). Bites of honey glazed walnut shrimp, avacado, tater tot, egg drop soup, chocolate cake, and crispie noodles. Today we're going to try a day trip over to Washington-on-the-Brazos and the Barrington Living Farm, a poor substitute for the mountains of New Mexico and spring break skiing, but better than bed.

These tiny steps in the right direction almost take me out of the rhythm I had developed facing up to the chain of bad days. If I know myself, I will want improvements to come faster and faster. I will make grander plans and push to move past the bad back into the good. My friends need to remind me that patience is a virtue and to take things how they come. Thank goodness for friends.


  1. Thanks for this. I read the same post about the mom in the hospital and keep thinking of it as well. Sam is in the hospital with fever and is doing scans today and I needed this reminder again. So thanks. Hope Erin's nose runs right back to her and stops running.

  2. Thanks for this. I read the same post about the mom in the hospital and keep thinking of it as well. Sam is in the hospital with fever and is doing scans today and I needed this reminder again. So thanks. Hope Erin's nose runs right back to her and stops running.

  3. Hey, I think I saw one of those spring birds flying away with Erin's nose :) I'm always stealing my girls noses and giving them to the birds! Thinking of and praying for your family. Thank you for the wisdom and humor you share with us, it is truly uplifting and puts so many things in perspective! Hugs and smiles!

  4. Loved this entry! Amazing how such simple truths can be so complicated and hard to live out! So thankful for the Lord to teach you this for today for now! I am so looking forward to getting to see you and the family!! Asking for more of Jesus for in Him there is all the patience we could ever need.

  5. Thank you for posting this. It is a good and wise reminder for all of us to appreciate and make the most of today, every day. You and Erin are a constant source of inspiration for me. Love you guys.

    Kimberly Reeves

  6. Dear vickie and Erin, Great perspective on Bad Days who Cares!!! I 've had some really bad ones lately with the sudden death of my bestfriend two weeks agoand so much dental work on my right front eye tooth from root canal,abcess draing to impendending peridontal work; but it is all nothing compared to Erin, Sam,Hans,Sydney and Will and Super Ryan! Gosh I just admire Erin so much for her fiighting spirit,biting humor and her smile! "Yuall" enjoy the Texas Spring on the Brazos State Park Breath in all the beautiful flowers the bluebonnets, the redpaint brushes and the yellow buttercups and the greengrass and the river! Enjoy just being out whenever it is! So glad Erin is getting better! Here's passing on some more of that fighting Irish spirit! Very fondly, "Sam's Gram", Sara Maley

  7. Erin's CA aunt and cousins are looking forward to seeing all of you. I admire your positive spirit! Hold on to that!! Hope your day was refreshing to your spirit!

  8. Not being patient is one of my greatest downfalls. I also relate it to being a control freak, grudge holder, and full-fledged member of the "but it's not fair!" society. This is why I need a good dose of churchin' weekly and to read your posts as often as you write them. Thank you for helping me.
    CS can chase Erin's nose for her tomorrow. And ironically, it will be PPR day!

  9. Thank you so much for this post. You too help us remember what is important in life and to not take any moment for granted. Erin is a trooper!

    Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way,

  10. I hope that Erin starts to have better days, she deserves them! I You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. I hope the tiny steps grow larger each day.
    I am thinking of you.

  12. Erin - I just sent this email to your mom, but I thought it'd be something for you to do, if you're still feeling icky. Your mom has the spreadsheet in her email inbox.
    Hope you're feeling a bit better.
    We're thinking of you every, every day!!!
    Love, Lara

    This is a 5th grade math problem. The attached spreadsheet is password protected--the password represents the correct answer to the problem. Solve the problem; unlock the spread sheet. You'll see it's a very small list of people who have gotten the correct number. This is not a trick question. This is a real math problem, so don't say that a bus has no legs. There is no bus driver, no amputees, and they are sitting on the floor. If you get the correct answer add your name, save it, and send it to all your friends.
    There are 7 girls in a bus. Each girl has 7 backpacks. In each backpack, there are 7 big cats. For every big cat there are 7 little cats. Question: How many legs are there in the bus?
    For other readers who want the spreadsheet to see if you are smarter than a fifth grader, you can email me at :)

  13. You are right. You don't know how many times we've been delayed and I've complained about it. Sometimes on my blog, sometimes just to myself.

    Honestly, I don't mind the wait except when they are starving my poor child for some procedure! Then, I start to get grumpy.

    For me, I've spent so much time in the hospital for my own illness, I do know that things move slowly!

    I'm so happy that Erin is moving along. I know it is a slow process. You are such an inspiration.

    thanks, again, for the great reminder post!

  14. I just heard the news. You'll always be in my prayers.


  15. Hey erin....
    you know, that some times things just dont go our way, and we get very frustrated. I am just here wising, praying and hopeing that all this yucky time that you have bin going threw gets over soon, so that we can hear or better yet read about you, school, friendsand soccer games! Wishing you all the best! Love from brasil,
    talita Calebs mom