Sunday, April 27, 2014

Remembering Dr. Grossman

There are people in this world who touch our lives and our hearts in a major way. These people are not just “people,” but extraordinary human beings who are actively trying to make a difference in this world. They are the ones helping others, helping the environment and really stepping up to do something much more greater than they can possibly comprehend. And no matter how large it is, or how much it requires of them, they will not be afraid and hope that someone else will do it. No, they are brave enough and smart enough to take on this mission in their lives and do it no matter what. They feel called to do this because they know that this is what they must do. This is what they are here for and this is how they can help others.

This, I feel, accurately describes one person I had the privilege to know many years ago: Dr. A. Richard Grossman.

As many people who know me are aware, I am a burn survivor. My burns are the result of a car accident I was in at the age of 20 months. I would not be alive today if it weren’t for the firefighters who pulled me out from underneath the burning wreckage of a car, but I would not have recovered from these burns if it had not been for Dr. Grossman and the entire staff of the Burn Unit at the Sherman Oaks Hospital. Even though I spent many years since then in and out of different hospials undergoing reconstructive surgery because of my burns (I lost my left ear and the fingers of my left hand in that accident), Dr. Grossman was my very first doctor on this journey and he was, ever since, the one doctor I went to and turned to before making any decisions about anything related to recovery from the burns and rebuilding what was damaged. My family moved around a lot, but I never lost touch with Dr. Grossman. We often called him up about one thing or another, or we sent him letters and cards. Sometimes we would hear about something that Dr. Grossman has done or see him and his son, Peter, on the news. I even heard about his other son, David, who was involved in TV, and at the end of a show, when David’s name appeared, I’d point it out and say, “That’s my doctor’s son!”

Yes, Dr. Grossman was indeed “my doctor.” For a lot of people, we have so many doctors or surgeons, but for some, there will be that ONE doctor who stands out above the rest. That one doctor you know you can trust and who you respect for being so  dedicated to his career. Dr. Grossman really was the best doctor I have ever known, and he was one of THE doctors who made a difference in my life, along with a few others. I never forgot about him no matter how old I got or where I lived. I tried to stay in touch with him as often as possible, even when cards were returned in the mail or emails bounced. But I never forgot about him and I never stopped thinking about him. He was truly a remarkable man who did remarkable things for so many people. A whole room just lit up the minute he entered through the door. To this day I can still remember his smile and even his voice.

So I was deeply saddened to learn recently that Dr. Grossman had passed away. I was in tears while reading his obituary. He really made such a big difference in this world and he really helped so many people.

God bless you, Dr. Grossman. Your work will live on and your legacy will be cherished. Rest in peace, Doctor. The world may have lost a talented and skilled doctor but I am glad there are others who will continue your work and preserve your memory. Thank you for all the work you did and for helping so many people in this world, including me. You will never be forgotten and we will always keep you in our hearts.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Now I'm the one writing things down

There is always one thing I can count on happening in my lifetime: Losing my voice! The very first time I lost my voice was on my wedding day (of all days!). Then it happened a couple of other times later on.

And now it has happened a fourth time. I can barely talk! Argh!

When I woke up this morning, my throat felt funny and a little dry. I thought that was strange. When I tried to talk later on, when I woke Jennifer up for school, I noticed that it hurt to talk. I strained to speak, despite the pain, and barely got any words out in a voice.

It was then that I realized that it’s happened again! I’ve lost my voice!

And when you are a parent with young children, that is never a good thing. Especially if one of those children needs to constantly be put in line!

Still, I managed the day okay. The kids felt bad that I couldn’t talk. I did get words out here and there, but only when I was saying one word. For anything more than one word, I wrote it down.

I used a dry erase board that Jennifer got for her birthday years ago. And even though he knew how to fingerspell, Jesse used it to write things down on, too! The same went for a little girl I babysit. These kids know sign. They can fingerspell. But I guess they wanted in on the fun of using the dry erase board to communicate with. Heh.

As for Jennifer, she continued to fingerspell everything like always. I also used the dry erase board to tell her things.

But sometimes I didn’t have that board with me, like when we were in the car or eating dinner. For those cases, I would whisper or sign to Jennifer or my husband to tell Jesse something because he couldn’t hear me. (I saw some friends today, too, and was a little embarrassed I had to whisper when I talked to them – except one, who I just pointed with.)

It’s frustrating that I’ve lost my voice again but thank goodness I don’t rely on my voice to earn a living. How terrible that would be! (I think I once saw on a TV show that Celine Dion tended to lose her voice a lot and there were times she would not speak when trying to protect her voice – or something like that!) I DO like to talk with the kids and my friends but it looks like I won’t be using a voice to talk with for a while. As a deaf person, I am used to people writing things down if I can’t lipread them and they don’t know sign. But until my voice comes back, I guess I’ll be the one writing things down. I know that this happens a lot and I only hope it will continue to be temporary. It would be awful if my voice never came back!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Three things from today

I recently started a new schedule. This one, like the others, will expire come summertime, but so far it seems to be working well for me and the kids. It’s helping me to get in some writing time, some book work, and some personal time. And we even have time to watch a movie. Part of this new schedule includes time to read the news, which I feel is important to do every day.

However, most of the news I read is on the Internet. And when you’ve got a computer that is so painfully slow, this can be nerve-wracking if you are crushed for time. Which I am!

Today I realized that it’s not so much of a good thing to read the news online. Out of the 8 articles I wanted to read, I could only read one. Just! One! How will I live??? Ugh. I was so mad and so disappointed. Of course I read the local newspaper later in order to get my “news fix” for the day, but I was still upset I couldn’t read the other news items. I wanted to read about the new form of matter they discovered in outer space or the new crime intervention program they created specifically for schools that was successfully tested at a middle school but, no, I did not have the time to read them. Darn it! Hopefully I can get caught up on Saturday. That is my day to get caught up on what I couldn’t read during the week!

I know a lot of newspapers are switching to having news on their web sites, but for folks with slow computers or smartphones with bad connections, this is not always a good thing. Sometimes, print is better.

Also today, I gave my dog a bath and after the bath, I swear, it looked like he was sitting there all glum-faced like he was saying, “I just had a bath. Dislike!” LOL My dog doesn’t like having baths. He HATES baths! And when I give him baths, it’s like he keeps trying to get OUT of there. The other night, when I was in the bathroom starting to run Jesse’s bath, my dog was in the hallway right out the door and, the minute he heard that water turn on, he bolted! It’s like he said, “Oh no! Bathtime!” And he took off. It was kind of funny. He may hate baths but I can tell he enjoys being all nice and clean after they are over.


After Jesse had soccer practice today, we had to hang out at that school because we were waiting for someone. Then afterward, Jesse wanted to play at the playground. Since we had some time to kill, I told him to go ahead. When it was time to leave, a little boy came up to Jesse and started talking with him. I looked at that kid and thought, ‘That boy looks familiar.’ Then I looked up and saw his mom smiling and waving at me. That was when recognition struck. I was like, “Oh, hey! Hi!” LOL Turns out the little boy was Jesse’s classmate from preschool. I knew his mom from seeing her at the preschool a time or two and we have also communicated through email. I thought it was pretty cool we ran into them and I’m glad Jesse got to see an old classmate.

Oh, and I’m also on another type of schedule: A laundry schedule! It’s something that Jennifer put together last night and I started trying it out today. More on that later.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A hole in the head

For a long time, I am going to be haunted by something that I saw happen today: My 6-year-old son tumbling backwards and hitting his head upon landing. We were getting ready for me to take him to school this morning. Jesse told me he had to use the bathroom and I told him to go ahead. He ended up being in there too long and so his dad decided to check on him. We both walked into the bathroom. Jesse had been in the process of getting his toothbrush and toothpaste down but we startled him so bad he tumbled backwards. He hit his head against the wall so hard that he was bleeding! His dad and I both saw it and his dad sprung into action quicker than me, quickly tending to Jesse and the bleeding wound on the back of his head. Meanwhile, Jesse was crying and freaking out so I did my best to comfort him while my husband cleaned him up and tried to stop the bleeding.

We took Jesse to the ER and explained what happened. (Jesse also got to share his side of the story, too.) When they finally saw him, the nurse took his vitals then cleaned his wound. I couldn’t help but cringe when I saw what the result was: He literally had a hole in his head!! I almost freaked when I saw it. We talked with the nurse about it and then we waited for the doctor to come in. When the doctor examined it, he proceeded to check Jesse in other areas. He checked his ears, eyes, reflexes and made sure Jesse could turn his head from side to side okay. (Right after it happened, Jesse walked REALLY slowly and turned his head slowly.) We checked to see if he had any headaches or dizziness. He said his head hurt where he’d hit it. Next the doctor instructed Jesse to walk around the room to make sure he could walk okay.

Then the doctor talked with us about treatment. He said there were three options: Staples, stitches or glue. The doctor wanted to staple the hole shut but my husband thought we’d give the glue a try first and, if that didn’t work, staples. (I really did not want to think about what might happen if the glue didn’t work!) So after a while, both the nurse and the doctor came into the room and had Jesse lie on his stomach, with his upper body over the pillow. Once he was comfortable and the doctor made sure he was ready, he started applying glue to the wound and the nurse gently squeezed to close it up. After a while, they finished. I guess it was a success because the doctor gave the nurse a fist bump. (Ha!)

After that was over, Jesse proudly announced that it hadn’t hurt. We congratulated him and told him what a brave little boy he was. We talked with the doctor then the nurse about follow-up care and when we’d need to call or bring him back in.

Because of this, I kept Jesse home from soccer practice today. He’d already missed school (we were at the ER for hours!) and I also told him no bike riding, no running, jumping, climbing around or other things that might make him fall down again.

Now this evening, he is doing a lot better and the pain has stopped. We are allowing him to go back to school but I sent his school a note about what happened and the precautions we have to take until his wound is all healed. I have been keeping a watchful eye on him today. This is actually the first time I have been back on the computer since this morning! I was so nervous, scared and panicked over what happened. Thank God he is okay. I hope he will stay okay. I hope he’ll sleep tonight without problems and wake up feeling somewhat back to normal tomorrow.

Oh, and also today, Jennifer had tripped while running and skidded across the parking lot! Ow! She scraped her elbow and shoulder and she also hurt her stomach.

This was just not a good day for either of my kids!