i just felt the second tremor of the evening. they’re very mild here and having no experience at all with earthquakes it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on. the epicenter of the earthquake was up near the burma/thai/china border and it was somewhere around a 6.8 on the richter scale. here in chiang mai they’ve said the tremors register about 3.0. which, from what i understand, puts these tremors in the category of no big deal when it comes to earthquakes.
but for me it is a bit more than no big deal. because it plays into one of my biggest fears. the fear that something horrible will happen while michael and i are separated. this has been on my mind quite a bit lately. michael arrived home from the states just before the earthquake happened in japan and he’d had a layover at narita airport hours before the earthquake struck. that moved this fear of mine from back burner to high gear (am i mixing my metaphors? are those even metaphors?). and then he headed to nepal. and up into the himalayas. and he sent me texts that said things like, “wow! we finally made it. crazy, wild times.” which to my paranoid mind translates to “wow! can’t believe we made it alive!” or the one from this morning, “taking very scary bus ride through the himalayas today. mostly downhill with barely enough room for the bus.”* and i’m pretty sure by that he meant, “headed down a mountain in a death trap with no brakes!!” thankfully, i’d heard from him earlier this evening and he said, “looks like we made it through the worst part.” so i knew he had better than even odds of not being trapped under a bus somewhere on the side of the himalayas when i texted him that we’d felt the earthquake.
we’ve never discussed what to do if something major happens while we’re apart. part of me doesn’t even want to go there. but then i wonder if that’s wise or responsible. shouldn’t we have a plan? shouldn’t i know who to call in the middle of the night on a weekend if i need help and i need it now? i like to think that the chances of needing a plan like that are slim, but with as much as michael travels (40 days so far this year, but who’s counting?) it might be a tiny bit more likely than i think.
this is michael’s bike
michael’s bike is a special bike. it’s not special because it’s a super-dee-duper top of the line bike (it’s not), and it’s not special because it’s an awesome color (it is an awesome color, but that’s not why it’s so special) and it’s not special because of any amazing promises that were made in the advertising of the bike (we saw no advertising). it’s special because it’s different.
and it requires a different bike riding skill set to get it to go. it didn’t come this way. the pedal came off and before we could find the tool we needed to fix it our house help’s husband had it all taken care of.
michael’s been in the philippines and indonesia for the past 2 weeks. and, while 2 weeks isn’t all that long, i’ve discovered that about 10 days is my single parenting threshold. starting on day 11 it’s sort of a crap shoot – i fluctuate between all’s well and katie bar the door – and it’s better if whoever is around is on the opposite side of that door from me. but this trip we’ve managed. there have been a few close calls. some short fuses when short fuses weren’t called for, but no blood has been drawn and no permanent psychological damage has been done. (i think).
here are a few of the highlights that occurred after the 10 day threshold
- i made wassail for 300 and caught myself on fire. with flames and everything.
- s11 participated in the school christmas program. (even singing one song in thai – well, most of it. he forgot a few words.)
- c16 and i had our final performance of the
worst best christmas pageant ever.
- a13 had birthday party (slumber/movie viewing).
- c16 performed a monologue and acted in a two one act plays. his monologue was disturbing, but powerful. maybe i mean powerfully disturbing.
michael gets home tomorrow. and i get to transition into a one-half of a pair of parents and i’ll be an active duty spouse again. it’s an akward
tug-o-war transition, because we both are ready for a break. ready for a sleep in and a day or two of much fewer responsibilities. i’ll actually be happy with a good night’s sleep. lack of sleep probably contributes greatly to that 10 day threshold. not being able to get to sleep before 2 in the morning when he’s gone sorta sucks.
today is his majesty king bhumibol adulyadej’s birthday. and that makes it father’s day in thailand which means i have a chance to make up for the really bad job i did of celebrating american father’s day. but, i can only make up for it in a post, because michael is in the philippines, where it’s not father’s day. so…
happy father’s day michael! our kids are amazingly blessed to have you for their dad.
and thanks for making it so very easy to put together a post like this – i’m not sure one person should have so many silly pictures of themself so readily available. we love you.
this picture was taken a few weeks ago.
how cool. me and a baby tiger – of the generic, regular tiger variety. a baby tiger that is still baby enough to come across as cute and not deadly.
this picture was taken last week.
sweet – isn’t it? all of them and a not so much a baby tiger. of the special, white tiger variety. i’m pretty sure that paw that’s sort of floating around in front of s11 could take off his
head ear in one swipe.
“the key to a good birthday is low expectations,” phil dunphy ~ modern family
sadly, phil is describing michael’s last 5 or 6 birthdays. maybe more. and this year i had every intention of doing his birthday up big. i mean it’s the big four-oh. aren’t you supposed to celebrate with at the very least a funeral dirge or some such thing? but i didn’t. and i have no excuse. i did get him a gift. 4 weeks ago. and it was exciting then, but now, not so much. so that sort of added to the whole low expectation thing. he did get cake and a song. not from me, of course. from n. khao and n. jim. they showed up bright and early in the morning with cake and even brought an extra kid with them to make it more festive.
so i’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to my husband for being such a sucky birthday memorializer – or whatever you wanna call it. and to tell him happy birthday. 3 days late. here’s hoping for many, many more birthdays for me to fail in the planning of!! i love you.
remember back in september when michael was in the states and he went to the doctor and the doctor told him he had type-2 diabetes and we followed up here with another doctor and the doctor here did a little blood test and said oh, no, that can’t possibly be right. he doesn’t have type 2 diabetes. and i was we were totaly convinced cautiously optimistic that he didn’t have it. but, just to be safe, the doctor wanted to do follow up blood work when michael was in town for more than a day or two. well, that time is now. turns out michael’s currently in the middle of three weeks here. and he’s all over the medical – which is slightly out of character for him (it’s quite possible that his motivation comes from this being some serious and scary stuff.) tuesday morning he went in for his blood work. thursday evening he got his results back. turns out doctor #1 was correct. type 2 diabetes (what kinda fun are you gonna be?) but he’s got even more fun than that going on. he’s leaking albumin, and his eosinophil level – it’s off the chart. his blood pressure is poorly controlled. there’s protein where protein shouldn’t be and that’s only the bits and pieces michael remembers. at least the doctor has a plan of attack. it’s a simple four step plan.
- # first – getting the diabetes under control.
- # second – regulate the blood pressure.
- # third – cap that albumin leak – hope that’s easier to control than that little oil leak in the gulf.
- # fourth - fix his inadequate breathing. the doctor’s all about getting him off the sleep apnea machine.
i’m really not sure how simple this plan is seeing as how he’s been given no plan of attack for accomplishing these four steps. but we’ll figure it out. i’m thinking a top priority is finding a nutritionist and as tempting as it is to let google fill this role, i’m guessing a real live person would be a better choice.
the train arrived early. we boarded. we were excited. we ordered dinner. the train left the station for chiang mai. we ate dinner (which convinced me not to order dinner on the train again. it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either.) we ordered breakfast (only because by that time the train was running an hour behind schedule and i didn’t figure the kids would like waiting until 11 in the morning to eat). the nice train employee came and put the beds down for us. we got into bed. we were curled up nicely with our ipods and we (or at least i) was ready to be put to sleep by the swaying of the train. and just as i was beginning to understand how someone could possibly be swayed to sleep by a train they came and told us we wouldn’t be having breakfast. or chiang mai. that we were headed back to bangkok. flooding again so we shouldn’t count on the overnight train on thursday night.
now we’re back at the bangkok christian guest house with tickets for an overnight bus tomorrow night. s11 has a vote in that we do nothing tomorrow. he’d like a day to hang out around the hotel and fill every available minute with whatever might be showing on cartoon network. and as tempting as that is – check out is at noon. that leaves us several (like 7) hours to fill. a13 mentioned that cats and dogs: the revenge of kitty galore comes out tomorrow and we’re not at all far from the mall where the ginormous theatre is and maybe we should go there. right now, my vote is for sleep – and blogging, obviously.
and while we’re figuring out how we’re gonna fritter away a few hours before we can begin our journey home, michael’s hearing reports that super typhoon megi is due to arrive where he is somewhere in the same time frame as when he’s gonna be attempting to leave. it seems he always has to one up me.
my last post mentioned michael’s type-2 diabetes diagnosis. which might not be a correct diagnosis. michael was in krung thep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahinthara yuthaya mahadilok phop noppharat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amon phiman awatan sathit sakkathattiya witsanukam prasit last week when we got the results from the doctor in the u s of a. (and, yes, i do feel very smart when i copy and paste the full name of bangkok in to my posts.) which meant we couldn’t do much about it. he got back late saturday night, so we were up and at it early this morning.
i’d worked concessions at a badmitton tournament all day saturday. (badmitton is big here in asia. real big.) and i asked the lady i was working with if she knew of a doctor we might be able to use that could help us navigate the what and how of diabetes. and she did. she gave me the name of a doctor who has a clinic on the moat and you can just walk on in. no appointment needed. so that’s just what we did. he asked michael a few questions, looked at the results of the bloodwork and immediately doubted the diagnosis. partly because there is absolutely no family history of diabetes on michael’s side of the family – that he knows of – and partly because the cellulitis hasn’t cleared up and he’s been on all kinds of antibiotics and those, combined with the infection itself, can do a number on your sugar levels. he hasn’t totally ruled out diabetes, but he’s highly doubtful that’s what it is.
he did do a random blood test today and the results were 126. which, from what he said, is great for a non-fasting blood test. he then looked at a few more things, prescribed some more antibiotics that should finally kill the infection – hopefully – and told michael to come back in on saturday, so he can look at his legs. and then michael heads out of town again. when he gets back, he’s to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment for more blood work, this time fasting, and for an angiogram – because the doctor said there is definately something causing the blood to not flow correctly through his legs. and after all that’s done he should be able to make a more definitive diagnosis. so for now we wait.
and our new doctor’s not really puerto rican, he just told us he was. he’s really 1/2 thai and 1/2 indian, but when he was studying in new york and people would ask him where he was from he would say, “thailand.” and they would say, “you don’t look thai.” and he would say, “well, my dad’s indian, my mother is thai and i was raised in thailand.” and they would say, “you don’t look indian.” so he asked them, “what do i look like?” and they said, “puerto rican.”
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ~World Health Organization, 1948
i would be totally satisfied if we could just get “the absence of disease or infirmity” part down. not too long ago michael recovered from his bout with cellulitis. and pretty much immediately after michael’s healing came my run in with the “very bad” tumor. and a few weeks after the removal of the tumor the 6″ incision on the tippy top of my head decided it would seperate a bit – which was alot of fun – but it’s healing properly now, so no worries. we’re on the mend. our family is a picture of health. or so we thought.
while michael was in the states he went to the doctor. a doctor who discovered that michael’s healing wasn’t a complete healing. it was more of the cellulitis going dormant. it hasn’t flared up like it did, but given the right situation it could. and he did a bit of blood work because he suspected that michael was having a difficult time fighting off the cellulitis because he was diabetic. and today we got the results of his blood work. type 2 diabetes. which means we’ve got to find a doctor to be michael’s doctor. so far we’ve handled all our doctoring on a walk in basis (except for my skin stuff – i’ve got a dermatoligist for that one), but i think this is going to take a little more following up on than a walk-in situation allows for.