This is totally politically incorrect.
May 7, 2008, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: ,

Today, I commuted to Oakland for the first time! It was so exciting. I enjoyed it a lot.

Except for a few things. While waiting at my T stop, and then on the T, I had to listen to a particularly irritating girl talking on her cell phone, complaining about her “not boyfriend” that she “is so in love with”, who is sleeping with two other women and won’t give them up for her, but also won’t leave her alone and she just loves him so much and can’t get rid of him.

If you have a guy that you’re regularly sleeping with, and he won’t let you call him your boyfriend, or stop sleeping with other women (even though you have to stop sleeping with other men), here’s a hint. HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU. HE IS USING YOU. DROP THAT SH*T.

I felt bad for the friend because she had to listen to that crap. Oh wait, no I feel bad for myself because I was forced to listen to that against my will. Rape listening. Blah.

and then, AND THEN, while walking through downtown, I passed a young, black, obviously poor woman who was very very pregnant (or possibly fat in a weird way. You can’t assume for certain that someone is pregnant unless you see the baby coming out of their vagina at that moment. But I digress.) and SMOKING. A CIGARETTE.

If you’re black, poor, pregnant, and probably unmarried, your kid is already disadvantaged from the get-go. WHY WOULD YOU MAKE HIM MORESO?

I know, totally politically incorrect. I shouldn’t assume she’s pregnant, let alone poor and unmarried. But statistically? I totally can. And regardless, if she is pregnant, she’s still smoking. And that’s still setting the kid up for a sucky life. If you’re making that bad decision now, you’ve made a lot of others, and you will continue making them. People tend to be consistent in their behaviors. Bizarre, but consistent.

And it pisses me off. Why? The obvious reason of just being blatantly stupid comes to mind, as well as risking the life/health of an unborn baby. And then there’s the fact that HEY LOOK. THERE GO MY TAX DOLLARS WALKING DOWN THE STREET.

I bet the only reason she wasn’t drinking was the open container laws.

Yes, I am politically incorrect. And judgmental. And I make assumptions. But you know I’m right.

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Diseased.
February 27, 2008, 10:11 am
Filed under: daily | Tags: , ,

Genetically speaking, I’m a screw up. I have a bleeding disorder, called Von Willebrand’s Disease. It is a minor inconvenience more than anything. Essentially, I do not clot appropriately. I am a slow clotter. A retarded clotter. My blood just needs a little more time to get the hang of it. Clearly, it could not be that life-altering because I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16. Of course, I was generally a sloth-like child, and preferred spending my time curled up in a corner reading than doing anything that would injure me, so that made it easy to miss. Officially, it is a genetic disease. I have one copy of the screwy gene, and since it is a dominant disorder, I have it. Oddly, neither of my parents have it. I am proof that genetic mistakes DO happen and they DO alter the genetic line. I have a 50% chance of passing it on to my children.

Bear has type 1 diabetes.  He has a 4-6% chance of passing it onto his children. Actually, type 2 diabetes has a higher genetic link than type 1. Part of this is because type 2 is part of an overall metabolic syndrome: obesity, sedentary lifestyle, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes tend to be very closely associated with each other. One is genetically predisposed to eating a certain way, retaining a certain amount of weight, not exercising enough, so it tends to appear in families. Of course, one can come from a family with this metabolic syndrome and work hard to avoid it. Bear’s family is wrought with the metabolic syndrome, but he will probably avoid it since he’s been working hard to manage his eating, exercise and health from an early age.

However, type 1 is not the same thing. It is not related to lifestyle. They don’t really know how it works, yet. It is probably an autoimmune disorder, where his body specifically decided to kill off his insulin producing cells. Unfortunately, the spectrum of autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, lupus, etc) are not really well-understood. What causes the body to decide to attack itself? Why does it attack what it attacks in a given patient? Until we understand those questions, we can only treat the symptoms of each separate disease. I predict that eventually, we’ll be treating them as the same disease with a spectrum of symptoms.

Bear is the only one in his very large family to ever develop type 1. Many people have type 2, but he is the only type 1. He was diagnosed right before he started kindergarten, and has been taking meticulous care of it ever since.  We both say that if the worst thing that happens to us is these diseases, we’re lucky people. My bleeding disorder just makes being female a little extra exciting, and could make childbirth more complicated. I’m also more likely to have problems from a moderate injury that normal bleeders would be ok. A severe injury will be a problem for anyone. I also can’t give blood, because really? What good would that do to the person I gave it to? No good, that’s what.  Bear was lucky enough to be born and develop diabetes right around the time that technology and understanding of the disease were exploding. He had high quality insulin, he’s been on an insulin pump (extremely fine control) for 8 years, and he is on drugs that protect his kidneys from potential high blood pressure that comes with the disease. He is in excellent health, especially considering that he has a serious disease. The slightest issue with his insulin, as I found out over Christmas break, can land him in the hospital, but those situations are few and far between.

These are the things that I tell myself, because when I really think about it, the fact that I am a Bleeder, and he is a diabetic, and we’re going to have babies… that really scares the everliving daylights out of me.  We have a 2-3% chance of having a child with both diseases. A bleeding diabetic, now wouldn’t that be fun? I am more accepting of having a Von Willebrand’s child, because I know how easy it is to deal with it. Of course, having children with a person like Bear means I will probably have active babies who do things like figure out how to open their cribs and fall head first out of them (his nephews), or want a cookie so bad that they rock their high chair across the kitchen floor and then tip it over and break both wrists (Bear).

Having a child with diabetes is scarier. Marrying a diabetic is terrifying. Especially when I talk to a good friend of mine and find out that her older sister, a type 1 diabetic, recently died of it. Granted, she did not take appropriate care of herself at all. She was also born about 15 years before Bear, and just missed the massive leaps in treatment quality. Regardless, to know she died of kidney failure in her 30’s, blind and wasted away, is terrifying.

But I know, that no matter what, it doesn’t matter what my children have. Every pregnancy has a 2% chance of having something, anything, wrong with it, from massive developmental defects that result in extremely early miscarriages, to Down syndrome to genetic diseases to congenital birth defects. That means that the 4-6% chance of having a child with diabetes is not that much higher than the risk everyone takes when they choose to have a baby.

When you hang your hat on a statistic, you better look at the statistic from both sides. We say we’re lucky, because we are. Even if many people would consider a bleeding disorder and diabetes in one couple the opposite of good luck. I might be scared, but I’m still lucky. That’s what I have to tell myself. Thinking anything else would just be too hard.



Cracked out Baby
February 25, 2008, 9:54 am
Filed under: Food | Tags: ,

One thing that is important to know about Bear is that he doesn’t need coffee in the morning to wake up. He needs coffee in general in order to function correctly. You know how if you’re an alcoholic for long enough, your body as a whole starts to depend on the alcohol? Without alcohol, you can’t perform the biochemistry that you need to in order to live. Going cold turkey can actually kill you.

That’s the way Bear is with coffee. It’s not just the caffeine, it’s coffee in general. He needs the whole bean or he’s down and out. I keep suggesting that he start injecting coffee into his insulin pump, so that he gets a steady stream of it. He needs it as much as he needs insulin, really.

There’s a reason for this. The boy was drinking coffee at about 2 or 3. All of his siblings were. They were given a sippy cup (A SIPPY CUP, for Pete’s sake) with half coffee, half milk, and sugar. And they drank it. And they loved it. And now they require coffee in order to function. It’s a family trait, this coffee dependence. One might think that little kids would be turned off by the taste of coffee. I still haven’t acquired a taste for it, even though Mama! keeps telling me that I won’t be allowed to call myself a grownup until I do.

Bear’s  nephew starting tipping his head into Bear’s coffee cup last night, which is the way a 15 month old asks for you to help him drink out of a cup. Haha, funny, everybody thinks it’s cute, little baby won’t like coffee. So they got a spoon, and Bear spoonfed him a taste of it. He got a perturbed look on his face, walked away, Hahaha, funny ha. Ha. Wait, he’s coming back and asking for more. Mouth wide open like a baby bird, but instead of partially digested, regurgitated worms, this baby bird is asking for coffee. He LIKES it. He spent the next half hour perched next to Kevin, being spoonfed coffee, oddly calmer than he was all day.

I see coffee-drinking babies in my future. Apparently this is in their genes. I might as well accept it now.



When does blue equal green?
February 3, 2008, 7:48 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: ,

Did you know that if you eat blue food dye, your poo turns green?

Well, now you do.

This endearing little creature taught me that. He is the nephew of Bear, one half of an identical set of twins.img_1308.jpg

Oddly enough, getting a 15 month old little boy to hold a pose so you can get a clear photo is difficult. He spent 10 minutes examining the prism, trying to figure out why it wouldn’t wipe off on his hands. It was just so frustrating! He was petting the carpet so hard and nothing would come off on his hand! IT. JUST. WOULDN’T. WORK.

Then, we changed his diaper and found the green evidence of the blue Trix yogurt he ate the day before. You doubt me? Just go eat some blue Trix yogurt and watch your poo tomorrow.