So, about that first week … yeah.

First three days of school were good. Besides one little incident, things went well. My students did great on a reading assessment I did on Wednesday. We’re going to be fine, just have to adjust to the school, city and grade level. Will take some time.


Increasingly through Wednesday (2-Aug), I had been having more and more arthritis pain, all over. By Wednesday morning, I was waking up bawling my eyes out and barely moving. After consultation with my principal that morning, we talked about ways to ease up and not kill myself keeping up with 179 kids and he told me to take Thursday and Friday off so I could find a doctor/rheumatologist and get things under control.

It has totally trashed my emotional health at the same time and I was simply losing it. Thought I was gonna lose my mind. Not in front of the kids, but it was only a matter of time. So, I went to local urgent care, got some percoset and xanax and a referral to a rheumatologist. On Friday, I saw the rheumatologist in Walnut Creek and she was great, much better than the one I was using in Ann Arbor, and she ordered tests and x-rays and gave me vicodin and increased anti-depressants. She suspects that I have spondylosis, which is basically spinal osteoarthritis, which involves deteriorating discs and vertebrae in my back, which are causing nerve problems in the rest of me. My sister and mother have the same thing. Mom’s is especially bad. So, the x-rays will be read and next week we’ll figure out where to go from there.

She also insisted that I take next week off of work. Since I have 11 days of sick leave, it’s not a problem, but hugely embarrassing and frustrating and I’m feeling failure and anger and all that. Just when I needed to be on the game the most, my body failed me. But the principal is great, they have a sub that the kids love and knows what to do, I had lesson plans ready to go, and I’m going to stay home, keep immobilized and let the swelling go down. Doc also is pumping me full of steroids. I’m a walking pharmacy.

In other words, out of the first two weeks of school, I will have been there only three days. Not exactly a sterling start to the year. It is a huge job I’ve undertaken (much bigger than I realized or was told) and I question if I can do it physically. I have to discuss that angle with the central office tomorrow. I also have to attend open house night Thursday evening and deal with parents while higher than a kite on percoset, steroids, anti-depressants and vicodin. Fun, fun, fun.

To top it all off, I was awakened this morning by a nurse at the medical center, who told me my potassium was dangerously low and I should be preparing to head for the ER. She was trying to get in touch with my rheumatologist to find out what she wanted me to do. After several phone calls, the doc called a big ol’ potassium prescription in to the pharmacy and I had to go out again and deal with all that. It might explain the exhaustion, though, and I do feel better for an hour or two after I take the pills and they get absorbed into my system. Now I’ve got that problem.

Getting old sucks.

If that weren’t enough, my brother-in-law had an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday night in Oklahoma, and my aunt in New Mexico had an emergency abdominal surgery Friday night in New Mexico. Whatta week.

There have been good things. Don’t get me wrong. Love the class room, love most of the kids, we’ll be fine. But this is a real kick in the pants. Reminds me of what happened when ELMAC 7b began in the summer of ’04, and that’s quite scary. But this time, it’s worse. Pain is the worst I’ve had ever and it came out of the blue without warning.

In other news, the weather has cooled down and is back to California nice. Brentwood is a weird combination of redneck Delta town and edge of the hip Bay Area colliding, with the dividing line being the railroad tracks behind our house. Quite fascinating. The most Hummer SUVs I’ve ever seen in one place are all around here, mostly driven by teenagers or small women who can barely see over the steering wheel.

Frank’s commute is hell, but he’s adjusting; he’s just very, very tired, plus his boss has been on vacation and he was placed in charge of the entire IGS library. David is providing all my chauffeuring needs, since I can’t drive. He also helped me grade reading assessments this weekend and is taking care of kitchen/cooking duties, as well as keeping up with Bayley’s demands.

And that’s the news from Brentwood.