Tag Archives: vesicoureteral reflux

I thought it was going to be all complaining but it’s just mostly complaining.

I had to take a break for a while, due to some health concerns and the fact that my husband was away for six weeks and a Penelope stops Peneloping for no man or blog. Oh, and also, I watch Korean television, like, ALL THE TIME. But when I talk about it, it’s like I’m talking to Penelope, because no one gives a shit or listens or does what I say and then just draws on the wall even though I am RIGHT THERE and saying STOP IT.

Or, at least, I thought that’s why I took a break, but I just logged in here to make a post and it turns out THIS STUPID POST INTERFACE DIDN’T MAGICALLY FIX ITSELF and I guess I wasn’t posting for a while also because everything is stupid.

Anyway, Phil’s been back for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve gone as far as to open WordPress a couple of times to regale you will all of my thoughts, but I’ve stopped short when I’ve realized that most of my thoughts are more like complaints or complainy observations, and there’s bound to be someone who is all, “geeze, don’t you do ANYTHING but COMPLAIN?” and I will point out to you that I just did several months of nothing, so yes, I complain and I also do nothing. So, I’ve just unmade your point for you right there, hypothetical person I made up in my mind largely as a reason not to make the effort to post.

(At this point in writing this post, I updated WordPress, and some things fixed themselves, but I can’t go back in time to two months ago and do that. Sorry.)


Here’s my kid in a flying bathtub.
I went to the Phoenix Children’s Museum while I wasn’t posting.
I also started using Instagram.
It was an eventful time.

So during this whole period, most of what was occurring to me to post was pretty complainy stuff (see: health issues, husband away for a month and a half, general predisposition to narrowed eyes and curmudgeonliness in the face of blank text editors), and it was stacking up. I had piles of small ideas for a blog post, but they nearly all fell in the “general grumbling” category, making me feel as though I couldn’t write a WHOLE POST of general grumbling – though I don’t know why I felt I couldn’t, when I’ve made a pretty solid five year blog career of doing just that.

I was thinking a bit about why it bothered me, and it mostly comes down to the trend of pegging anyone who has anything negative to say as someone who must actually be deeply sad or internally unhappy with herself somehow. Or how someone who finds fault with another person  is actually just jealous. I guess it’s pretty tempting to imagine deep faults in another person when they’re finding fault with you, but we all know that’s just something we say to make ourselves feel better, right? That those are completely empty and likely totally untrue words in most cases?

Desert Ridge Market Place

We also went to a splash pad.
She was reluctant to splash.

Listen, all of this is lead up to say this: you can’t send me an email that says: FREE SHIPPING!! as the subject, and then inside, it says, “with $50 purchase.” That’s not free shipping. I basically expect free shipping with a $50 purchase from most of the places I shop, because I do not buy expensive things. That email subject line is bullshit and I hate it, and fucking stop.

Here’s another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks.

Here is another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks, and then he had a week of leave, and for some reason, since he has to shave for work every day, he feels no obligation to shave when he’s on leave, even if his leave is long enough that the only face I can make at him by the end is a hate face.

The helpful hobo

After church one Sunday, this random helpful bearded hobo offered to buckle my kid into her carseat. Thanks, hobo! Go shave. Because you look like a hobo. Hobo.

Hey, I know I have not been totally on the ball with updates here on this site, but hopefully those who are interested in attending PJs at TJ’s in 2014 have already joined the Facebook group. If you haven’t, you can do that now or follow me on Twitter for updates, but regardless of either of those things, you should know that registration opens at 9am west coast time on October 10th, which is this Thursday. All of the details are in the Facebook group so… I still suggest you go ahead and join it for full information. I can’t tell you if it will sell out or not, because I don’t know, or how quickly it will sell out if it does, but the best way to make sure you get a spot if you want one is to sign up for the Facebook group and register when registration opens on Thursday morning. Like always (the whole entire two past years), PJs is not exclusive. Everyone is welcome. There’s no secret in club or list. You don’t have to know anyone to come. You do have to register and it is first come, first in, and that includes people who have attended in the past or who are my very best pals in the whole wide world, so don’t think you don’t have a shot because I’m going to try to pull some tricky shenanigans so only my friends can come. That would make me a big hypocritical asshole, and while I am several kinds of asshole, I am not that kind.

If you have any questions, leave a comment, email me, message me on Twitter or Facebook, whatever you want. I don’t extend personal invitations, nor do I extend personal exclusions. You, personally, are welcome. That’s it. That’s the best I can do to assure you. I’m assuring you.

Penny on Charlie


Penny also on Charlie

On further reflection, this horse is just okay.

Let this be a lesson to me, I should have just complained when my complaints were hot, imaginary complaint complainers be damned, because now I can’t remember any of my complaints, except for one, which was kind of specific, in that I can, if pressed, name several people that I have, over the course of ACTUAL YEARS, seen do this specific thing, even though I would not actually be thinking of THEM SPECIFICALLY if I was to complain about it, you know what I mean? Like, for example, if I say, “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right.”

A guy actually did this to us fairly recently, fairly recently meaning I remember it but don’t have any real concept of the time frame. Just walked up and said, “Can I just get my bananas” and set them on the belt and began to go through the whole checkout process as if it was just a given that it was fine, because we had several items in our cart and he had the MOST IMPORTANT BANANAS IN THE WORLD in his hand.


And you know, when I have a full cart, I do often let someone with just a couple of items go in front of me. But that’s my call. On this occasion, we had several items in our cart, but by no means a full load. Maybe we were in a hurry, too. Maybe we had exactly enough time for X items, with X being the number of items in our cart. Not X plus NICHOLAS CAGE’S BANANAS (I assume). How arrogant do you have to be to assume that wherever WE have to be is unimportant enough that it can absolutely, definitely and certainly wait for one banana bunch checkout’s length of time in addition to the time we’ve already calculated for our own shopping? How do you assess the shopping lanes to choose? “Oh, those schmucks there can definitely wait a banana length. They’ve got nowhere banana-important to be. Not like me. OUT OF THE WAY, PEONS. INCOMING BANANAS DESTINED FOR THE BREAKFAST OATMEAL OF THE GRANDSON OF SPUDS MACKENZIE.”

Anyway, so sometimes when you pick a specific complaint to make, like the one I had in my head that, when pressed, I could remember some people I do actually like and consider friends and don’t in any way hate AT ALL maybe doing on one or two occasions, one like “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right,” you’ve got to be ready for those people to maybe defend it. And I get that, I guess, because I just said I don’t like something you do, and we’re friends, so obviously I actually hate you.

And someone will say, “Well, I’m actually responsible for buying Nicholas Cage’s bananas.” Or tries to explain how it’s actually a courtesy on their part to stop clogging up the lines with just their one bunch of teeny weeny bananas. Or explain how they only did it one time, but they actually did have a really extremely important place to be that time, more important than anyone else in the store could have possibly had to be. And then everyone feels awkward. Because, what? I’m supposed to start giving arrogant banana line rushers the benefit of the doubt? I’m supposed to issue individual pardons so that a line jumper can mentally reconcile the fact that they can both do something that I personally don’t like, yet still somehow remain my friend? I’m supposed to… continue this awkward stare down?


And that’s why I had to just scrub one whole complaint from the list, but I think the whole banana guy thing worked out pretty well, because THAT GUY, RIGHT? WHAT THE HELL? “Can I just get my bananas?” Can I just rip off your arm and beat you with the wet end?

Here’s something else. I haven’t talked a lot about makeup stuff recently because I haven’t talked a lot about anything recently, but you need to go out and get Gimmie Brow by Benefit right now, and I will demonstrate the reason with an actual picture of my actual face wearing the actual makeup product I am actually talking about, something I have never actually done on this blog, which is kind of amazing, considering how much I talk about makeup. I went and got my eyebrows done by the most amazing eyebrow lady in all the land, and after the waxed my wonky and odd shaped eyebrows, she used only ONE PRODUCT on them, Gimmie Brow, and this is what they looked like, holy shit, go buy it:

Don't care, eyebrow hair.

Far from the most flattering angle of my forehead wrinkles.
Don’t care, eyebrow hair.

Macy’s, Ulta, Sephora, Benefit site, wherever you’re racking up your bonus points for buying all the awesome holiday gift sets that are coming out. Buy Gimmie Brow. Do it.

Anyway. That’s it, I guess. We’ve still got a lot going on right now. Some stuff is up in the air. Still working on some somewhat difficult health issues.

Oh! But Penelope isn’t! In September, she was pronounced completely clear of all kidney and VUR issues by her pediatric urologist and she was completely released from care by her team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. All issues related to her failure to thrive and vesicoureteral reflux have been resolved. We passed my “one year catheter free” goal and hopefully she’ll stay catheter free until she epidurals up for her own kid some day.

Penelope's Last U/S


And speaking of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phil is once again participating in the Extra Life marathon fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, specifically playing for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Last year, he was playing when Penelope’s surgery was pretty recent. This year, he’s playing shortly after finding out that we’re completely done with seeing Penny’s team at Phoenix Children’s, but I don’t think we’ll be ending our relationship with them – in terms of support – for a long time.

Children’s Miracle Network raises money for hospitals across the United States and Canada, to fund research and buy equipment, but most importantly to us, to pay for uncompensated care. We are lucky enough to be in a situation that Penelope’s expensive care and surgery didn’t burden us financially. For others, Children’s Miracle Network provides the funds to allow families in less fortunate situations benefit from the same excellent standard of care Penelope has received for literally her entire life from Phoenix Children’s Hospital. PCH has benefited our family in more ways than just the top notch medical care they provided to Penelope, and that needs to be extended to as many children and their parents as possible.

ANYWAY, the Extra Life Marathon is coming up! Here’s Phil’s fundraising page. If you’d like to donate, we’d appreciate it very much. If you could share the page on your social networks, we’d appreciate that, too. If you’re feeling crazy and want to stay up for 24 hours straight playing video games and want to support Phoenix Children’s while you do it, let me know and I’ll get you in touch with Phil and he’ll get you started with joining his team. If you just want to think about joining next year, still let me know. We’ll still be here.

That’s it! Thank you!


I can do as I say and as I do and not as I do, there’s no law.

Internet, there are two forces at war within me right now.

There are two things you know about me. Or should know about me. Well, should know is kind of an arrogant thing to say. You shouldn’t know anything about me. I don’t mean that in a if you know things about me, you must be a creepy stalker kind of way, but more in the you’re not actually obligated to know anything about me kind of way.

Let me start over. Here are two facts about me that are relevant to this blog post that you may have discerned from some things that you may have read here in the past, or gleaned from a conversation that you and I may have had at some point, or maybe just assumed based on what you know about me and happen to remember because it stuck in your mind for some reason because it was just one of those things that stuck in your mind, not because you feel in any way responsible for recalling random facts about me as if there was going to be some sort of quiz, because there is not, and I will never, ever, in any sort of fashion assume that you remember a goldiggitydamned thing I have written here today, or yesterday, or tomorrow, because who the hell do I think I am? Come on, bloggers. Get out of your own buttholes, am I right?

Anyway, the two things:

1. I am anti-extreme messy face pictures of children shared in a public fashion. I really don’t think it’s cute. Wet, mushy food is probably what I will die from, to be honest. Our kitchen white board once sported a very urgent, multi-colored message about a bloated sink Cheez-it and the urgency with which IT NEEDED TO BE HANDLED BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN ME before life could continue as normal for so long that the white board has burn in.

“BUT YOU POSTED THE PICTURE OF YOUR KID WITH CAKE FACE!! Ha ha! I have caught you doing something you said you don’t like! Here in your comments section, I have called you out! I have caught you! J’accuse, blogger! J’accuse!”

That was me, doing you. Me, doing my you impression. You see how you sound? You sound ridiculous. Let it go. There is no prize for “But you said that one time… !!!”

(Not you. Not you, specifically. Actually, it’s been a long time since someone called up some random detail I said one time and applied it to something else I was saying years later, as if I had SOME NERVE saying something different at 30 than I had said at 25. I’m obviously holding a grudge, and that’s my right as a lady.)

(Or a man. Not that I’m either or both, I was just trying to head off those people who were going to be all, “LADIES AREN’T THE ONLY ONES WHO HOLD GRUDGES!” at the pass. God. See what the Internet has made me into?)

(Not you. The other ones. Anyway. Stop remembering things I said.)

2. I am very much in favor of copping out, but only when it benefits me or when the person who is copping out is copping out about something that doesn’t bother me personally so I don’t actually care. I suspect most people have this rule.

So, what it basically comes down to is that I feel obligated, in a personal way, to provide a full accounting of Pen’s surgery and recovery, much the way that Swistle did with her daughter’s tonsillectomy. Because I have been the person looking for personal accountings of this surgery, and I have been the person looking for answers to the questions that I now have the exact answers to. And I don’t need those answers anymore, but I know what a ridiculous comfort it would be to find them.

And I’m going to do that. I want to do that. So if you are searching for information on vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) and ureter reimplantation surgery in children, I am going to give a full write up of how it went, but for now, I am going to cop out. With pictures of my kid eating spaghetti.

See? See how it all came together there in the end?

Also – everything went PERFECTLY. She is doing so well. WE are doing so well. Only a 24 hour hospital stay and she’s walking – WALKING WITH HER FEET FOR REAL – all around our house, like  she and I don’t even have matching belly scars now. We’re practically twin Sneetches.

What it all comes down to is that I had to make my own jello.

No time for pleasantries.

– Remember when Penny was in the hospital in August and I was all cryptic about what was wrong with her? That was because I didn’t want your reassurances. I know, that makes me sound like an asshole. But the thing is, I had (and have) genuine concerns, and sometimes a person just needs to worry them through without being told “oh, my aunt had that and she’s fine so obviously your kid will be fine!” Anyway, we worried through it all, and now I’ll tell you – Penny has vesicoureteral reflux – or VUR – or kidney reflux. And we’ve gone ahead and scheduled her for surgery for July 5th. It was just one of several possible options, but it was the best option for us. I think. I’m pretty sure. I mean, logically, I’m sure.


This is how I intend to distract you from the impending lack of content.

– Okay, remember when I was in the hospital and you were a total jerk about it? Well, I went (or more like, had Phil take me to) the ER because I was dealing with insane vertigo. More than dizziness. I mean the whole world was just whipping around me. It was so miserable. Nonetheless, I was still surprised when I was admitted to the hospital. They made me use a walker and wouldn’t let me pee by myself. Honestly, if I had blogged it in a timely fashion, it would have been some hilarious stuff. In a sad-for-me kind of way, but that’s usually my best stuff. I want you to know that it bothers me that I just ended two sentences in a row with the same word, but I just sat my kid in the middle of the floor with a whole cheeseburger and some french fries so while normally anal about such things, it’s a bit low on my give a damn chart at the moment. Just want you to know that I know.

Moving on, I had a CT scan and an MRI and both were perfectly clear, which is why I didn’t feel the need to alert any of my east coast family that I was in the hospital – I mean, come on. So they could worry over nothing? So I would have to call them multiple times a day to update them on my nothing? I told Phil that if it had turned out to be a brain tumor, he could call them. It didn’t, so he didn’t. Long story short, my mom threatened the shit out of him when we were in Pennsylvania for Penny’s birthday.

Internet, I need your honest opinion on this. Is it my job, as a 30 year old lady, to inform my family, on the other side of the country, of all of my medical issues? Some of them? Where’s the line? Colds? Fevers? ER trips? Broken bones? Admissions? How many days? Keep in mind that YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING from across the country and also family across the country wants CONTINUAL UPDATES from the person WHO IS SICK and DOES NOT WANT TO UPDATE. Seriously. What is an adult’s duty to family when it comes to medical issues, disclosure thereof?

So, the vertigo would have remained a mystery, had the neurologist not arrived right when a ripping headache that the floor doctor refused to treat in case it would mask symptoms was about to kill me. He quickly diagnosed vestibular migraine, which you can Google if you want, and then you’ll know exactly as much as I do, which is about nothing. When I got out of the hospital, the dizziness and vertigo took so long to fade I was resigning myself to the fact that I was going to be desperately clinging to walls for the rest of my life like all of the other sad stories I had managed to find online. Then… it was gone. Mostly. Most of the time. Lots of headaches and some mild dizziness, but no big episodes.

I don’t want to say a lot about vestibular migraines, because as of right now, I don’t have a lot of information. When I was looking for information myself, all I found was horror stories or just more people looking for information themselves. So. Nothing like that from me. I will say that my neurologist is going to be running a couple more tests and as of right now, thinks I’m an excellent candidate for migraine management with medication, so I’ve started on Topamax. I’ve taken it in the past and I know it’s a brutal medication, so we’ll have to see if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I have high hopes of no headaches. Well, fewer headaches, since Phil has no plans of moving out.



– Remember all those times you told me, “You know, you really should go to the eye doctor, and you should let the eye doctor look in your eyes, and also you should do the puff test?” Well, I don’t like to do any of those things. I like to order my glasses online and never discuss it with anyone, ever. But I unfortunately have birthed a violent hooligan who slaps my $8 Zenni Optical frames off my face on the regular and they finally gave up the ghost on Saturday night, when Phil and I were supposed to be having a real live adult date while my mother (who flew back from Pennsylvania with Penny and I under the guise of helping me since Phil had flown back a week early but UNDER THE REALITY of soaking up my adorable child) had the only kind of grandparent-grandbaby bonding time that really counts – the kind where the parents are nowhere to be seen.

I would have loved to order from Zenni again, but with the whole headache mess, I couldn’t deal with being glassesless for any length of time and thus had to deal with the OPPRESSIVE NATURE of shopping for glasses in the real world, where they refuse to just GIVE YOU SOME and instead insist on peering straight into your head.

And you know what? Go ahead and say you told me so. Just get it out of the way. Because guess what? The doctor looked in there? AND SOMETHING WAS WRONG. He referred me to a specialist for papilledema, which as I basically understand it, means my eyeballs are going to explode. But that’s not the CRAZY part.

Like any normal person, before calling any specialist, I of course went home and googled (this was yesterday). This papilledema is caused by high pressure inside your brain bag, and you know what one of the main causes of THAT is?


Except? I had a CT and an MRI just a couple of weeks ago and there WAS no tumor.

Obvious conclusion?


(Please note: no tumor has been confirmed and is, in fact, only suspected by the part of me that is convinced that everything from an earache to stubbing my toe is probably caused by a tumor, but when you think about it, what other conclusion could there be?)

There was going to be more here today, including some deeply philosophical questions about leaning your seat back on airplanes, but guys – I am not even shitting you right now – I just got back from urgent care and I have strep throat.

I have crazy migraine managed with the medication from hell, exploding eyeball most likely caused by the naked cancer box at the airport and NOT EVEN FUCKING WITH YOU STREP THROAT.

Here’s my current favorite picture of my baby.