I Don’t Like Doctors

Three years ago my daughter M, got mono and “The Swine” at the same time. She was at a camp in West Virginia when 2/3 of the kids got sick, sick, sick. TSM and I made the trip to get her and then he took her straight to the ER where she was diagnosed and quarantined. She was a very sick little girl for a very long time. Ever since then she has struggled with staying well. She gets the “flu” every 4-6 weeks, has chronic headaches and is endlessly exhausted. We brushed it off for a long time as a result of the mono. We were told it takes up to 12 months to get back on track. Then we thought it was allergies or maybe from the hormone changes that take place when one enters the teen years.  We had taken her to the doctor a few times to get looked at, but each time were told it’s nothing.

Last year she started to miss a bit more of school and she was getting very annoyed at feeling like crud all the time, so we took her back to the doctor. This time we said, look more closely, something isn’t right.  They looked a little harder, but ended up saying, these symptoms are very common with girls this age. After a few months and no improvement we returned and pushed harder. Eventually her doctors agreed to run some blood work, but when all came back perfect they patted us on the head and gave us the boot. The test results were good news and she did seem to be “healthy” except she wasn’t feeling any better.

Each doctor we saw had very little interest in looking beyond the obvious and most thought she was just trying to get out of school.

For the record, she is a straight A, Honor Roll, National Honor Society kid. She is involved in all kinds of after school activities, she doesn’t complain or seek attention and there is zero reason to think she is the kind of person to fake an illness. Plus, you can see she is sick. Her eyes get very glossy, she has a cough and it’s the kind where you can hear stuff in her chest. Often she runs a fever. She sounds nasal and she feels so awful it keeps her from doing things she wants to do like sleepovers or trips with friends.

It’s frustrating, but we have been down this doctors don’t seem to get it road before.

About 2 1/2 years ago my husband was suffering from headaches and all kinds of stomach problems plus he was having seizures. The doctors were only slightly more interested in his problems, but ended up saying we don’t know, good luck with that.

Through a friend and a crap load of research on my part we narrowed down what we thought he could have. I ordered some tests, he took them and we sent them into a lab. The results were he had Celiac. Basically, no gluten. We cut that out and it’s been about 2 years since he has had a seizure and his headaches and tummy issues are totally gone. Easy fix.

It did occur to me that M might also have this problem, but she didn’t have any tummy issues until very recently.

Lately she has been getting worse and worse, so I have been researching like mad and I discovered that often times kids with gluten issues do not have the same gastro issues. Theirs often is in the form of just headaches and fatigue.  I have been trying to watch her to see if I can notice any clear connections between what she eats and her symptoms, but she is busy and doesn’t always eat around me. It has been a challenge. The only thing we have been able to pin point is milk. Milk seems to give her a headache and serious bloating, but with her dad’s issues, gluten has to be in the running as a problem.

I thought, ok, we have more info lets go see a doctor (we have a group of doctors in this clinic and we can be assigned any one of them. Some I have met, some I haven’t. This one I hadn’t) and discuss it. Bad, bad, plan.

First off we were put in a room the size of a shoe box with the door closed and a sick doctor. This guy spent the entire time coughing and only covered his mouth about once every six hacks. Most of the time he would just talk and hack and not bother to move his hands from his lap. Well, at least not while coughing. He did move his hands a few times to retrieve eye boogers. Unfortunately, he also moved his hands to roll the boogers in between his thumb and index finger. Both M and I almost threw up.

After a long visit he suggested more sleep, more exercise, and more fresh fruits. Cutting edge stuff there Doc.

So, as with my hubby, I will try to figure this out myself. We are going to start with a totally gluten free, dairy free diet and go from there.

As you can imagine my highly social teenager is super excited about not being able to eat pizza and ice cream with her friends. Giving up dairy alone would be enough to piss me off, but to be 14 and have to deal with team dinners, packing lunches, sleepovers…royal suck. In an effort to help make life less sucky, I am going to spend the weekend experimenting with different recipes with fingers crossed that I can make her some yummy convenient foods.

I found a website called Elana’s Pantry that looks like a great resource. Tomorrow morning we will be having these…

And since she adores bread I will make this…

I went to the store and bought all kinds of ingredients I have never heard of at 3x the price of anything I have ever bought in hopes that the foods from here will be tasty treats.

Hoplorati!

You know how I am always saying how lucky I am and how much I love my life and how much I adore the Hoploratis?

Ok, good point. I have never said Hoplorati before, but from now on I am going to. I think it is just a crazy neat story and I think Broken Andy is just a crazy smart, clever, nice guy and I would say that even if he didn’t send me a Hoplorati hat as a gift.

Good close up dontcha think? If you go here you can see it modeled by a crazy smart, talented, beautiful lady.

If you click here, you can get one of your very own.

Oh and he also sent me some very cool stickers that I have already put on everything. I have one on the back of my everyday carry holster, my iphone cover my and ammo can.

Thanks again, Andy!!

Conversation with TSM

TMS is “The Sexy Marine.” Somehow MSgt and I started to refer to my hubby as the sexy Marine(I actually think he started it) and then my other friend, CC, started using TSM in emails and I loved it, so I from now on my hubby is TSM.

So, our neighbor, who we love came over tonight with his girls. He has them every other weekend and lucky us, this is his weekend. His youngest daughter is 7. I remember babysitting her and rocking her to sleep. Her name is the same as our youngest daughter. I knew her before I knew mine. Anyway, the parents have since divorced(not a pretty story) We remained friends with the husband. Tonight he told us that he and his girlfriend have parted ways. Conflict with the kiddos.

After they left, TSM said, “That must be hard.”

Me- Yes. I can’t imagine. That is the reason I keep you around. The kids already seem to like you.

TSM- I don’t care why you keep me around as long as you do.

Me- Ahh, that is so sweet.

TSM- Ya, you really know how to make a guy feel special.

It is possible I might need to improve my communication skills slightly:)

Quickie

Crazy busy life right now. All good stuff, but busy, so this will be short.

After my post yesterday I got a few emails asking about Arete. You all like hearing about my training with him. Not sure if you like that I get my butt kicked or what, but here is the deal why I haven’t written about him.

He has had some fairly significant health issues. His body is showing signs of all those sacrifices he has made on our behalf. Just not sure I will get to benefit from his expertise and generosity in the near future if at all.

Little Gunner and his mommy are coming for a play date, so I am off to get ready for their visit, then off to the store, then homework with the little ones and then my daughter’s field hockey game.

An Update & Another Link

So, that didn’t take long. I wonder who was more vocal the deaf community or the gun one???

I love this article. I like that it features a woman instructor that is extremely skilled and on the same level as many of the top male firearms instructors. I don’t have a problem learning from guys and I don’t have many of the issues that some women have learning from the opposite sex, but regardless I think it is great to have positive role models in both genders.

I also like how Greg explains the difference between how a lot of women think and learn. I am unique and do not fit into either gender learning style really, but as I have assisted John on the range I have seen many women who do learn and react exactly how this article describes. They are smart and capable, but how we present the information to them has a major influence on both their ability to learn and their willingness to do so. For me, 99% of all instructors I have learned from have been phenomenal, but I have taken a course from a company that had instructors that were not up to snuff. The women were not experienced or competent and the men were jerks. I was able to get what I needed out of the experience, but I thought of some of the women who I had worked with and felt sick. I knew if they came across people who belittled and berated them, it would likely turn them off to training all together. If an instructor is passionate about teaching for the purpose of training the student and for that student to be able to utilize what they learn in real life, then the instructor will think about how best to get that information across. Instructing shouldn’t be an ego boost, it should be about doing whatever one can do to empower others. Which incidentally, is a pretty big ego boost.

When I read this passage…

“I want to see if his techniques really work in the worst case scenario.  I don’t have to fight women my size on the street.  I picked you because you are the biggest guy in the room.  If the techniques will work against you, they’ll work against anyone.”

I thought that is me. I don’t have her skill or experience, but I do have that mindset. I have struggled to get my mind right in several areas of self defense, but never on my motivation to learn, This self defense thing is not a hobby for me. For me it is about preparing to defend my life and I want to know to the best of my knowledge that I can and will be able to beat the bad guy. For me it means challenging myself and trying to make the training as real as possible. I want to train with the biggest, most skilled person out there and test my mind and my abilities. If I can succeed in that environment, then I have more confidence that I can and will succeed in a real life bad guy situation. Peace of mind and experience are worth any bruise or broken bone as far as I am concerned. Although, I really hope never to break another bone in training or elsewhere because that really did suck.

I have my NRA Instructor Certificate, but for me that paper is the bare minimum requirement to work on the line and assist. It is not a very good measure of a qualified instructor. When someone asked me what to look for in an instructor I tell them someone with lots and lots of experience. They don’t have to be military or cops or even victims of crime, but they should be well rounded and they should have years of experience in the field. Someone like John. It should not be someone who has been learning for 18 months. I know a lot and I can teach you the basics and I can prepare you to shoot accurately at a paper target and I can probably even help your mindset a little, but you really should expect more from your instructor and you should expect more for yourself than the bare minimum. However, if your top notch instructor is wise enough to hire an assistant like me then you are in really good shape. In all seriousness, this is your life. Don’t take it lightly. I suggest you train often in a variety of ways from a variety of instructors(male and female) who know more than you think you will ever need and get references.There are plenty of very good instructors out there and there are plenty of extremely skilled people out there. Find them and then pay attention.

I have trained with some of the best people in the industry, lucky me. I could probably get everything I need from them, but I will be more prepared if I stretch myself, if I get outside of my comfort zone, if I open myself up to new situations. Hopefully, I will get to do that soon. Hopefully, I will see some of you there too.

Just cuz…

Three-Year-Old Deaf Boy’s Name Violates Gun Policy

Apparently there is a school in Nebraska that believes that a deaf three-year-old boy’s name is in violation of their gun policy. You have to go read this.

Go here to see what the letter “H” looks like in sign language. My son is deaf and his name starts with the letter “H” and even when I was not a big fan of guns did I ever confuse that sign for a gun. And not only that, but  when I have seen someone actually make a “gun” with their fingers I have never been afraid.

You can’t change a person’s name. A child’s name is not for the school to decide. Beyond that, no one, not even the other 3 year old kids in this deaf child’s class think his name is gun nor are they afraid of his tiny little fingers. I guarantee it.

Our friend’s have a little boy named Gunner. Named after…gasp a gun. His dad is a former Marine sniper and his mommy has 2 gun tats and one is large. Whenever we call his name or she shows her belly, even in public, even with small children around, no one has ever ducked for cover or ran screaming in terror.

Our son went to a Headstart like preschool and 2 different times the school tried to get me to change his name sign. Once because his name sign is very close to the sign for boy and the teachers thought the other special needs kids would be confused. The second those in charge wanted a change was because sometimes when he signed his name, his middle finger would stand a bit too tall for their liking. I said no. Deal with it.

I figured the kids, even the slow ones were able to tell the difference between my son’s name and the word boy. It’s kind of like how if a little girl is named Lily no one in the room gets up and tries to stuff her into a vase full of water.

In addition, my son is Chinese and sometimes he actually signs using his middle finger straight up, on purpose, for the whole world to see. This is because in Chinese Sign Language that is the sign for brother. Different cultures, different languages. My son came to us at 4 with no language of any kind. None. We have taught him English, American Sign Language and some Chinese, both spoken and signed and guess what..even his late blooming brain knows the difference. For example, if he wants to sign in, Chinese Sign Language that his brother is here, we let him. BUT, if we are at the dinner table and he is none to pleased with eating his peas, he is not allowed to flip us off. I am sure you will be shocked to know he has never, not once confused the two.

Idiots.

Someone You Should Know

It is Tuesday, so that means it is time to meet another hero. I read this, of course, over at BLACKFIVE. There are books and videos you can check out and you should, but I think learning about who John Walter Ripley was can be best done by reading the words of his son.

Colonel John Walter Ripley, U.S. Marine Corps

A Eulogy by his son, Thomas Ripley

I would like to start my remarks with one of our father’s favorite prayers – God, Please do not let(me) screw this up. Amen.

As I look out in this chamber I see some of our nation’s greatest warriors and patriots. Our father addressed each of you as his friend, family, and fellow Marine. All equal terms in his book. I want to thank all of you for coming to honor our father. Our family is deeply humbled by the outpouring of support and your condolences. Our father taught me that leadership is “a contact sport”; you have to personally engage your Marines. This turnout is a testament to John Ripley’s style of leadership and for that matter his style of friendship.

My father is part of two great institutions: the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Academy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Commandant, Gen. Conway, and the Superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Adm. Fowler.

When I was a newly minted 2nd Lt. one of my Basic School instructors told me that my father is worth 1000 men. He could see from my expression that I did not understand – a look that I mastered as a 2nd Lt. He responded that if there was a fight and your father was going, then 1000 men would immediately join him. It appears that instructor underestimated John Ripley.

Family was always the most important thing in John Ripley’s life. My siblings and I are living proof of this. We made plenty of mistakes as children, and if it were not for the bond of family none of us would have seen 18. Our father gave everything to us. He never had a nice car, took individual vacations, or had lavish things – all of that went to our education and betterment. He was a selfless parent. Despite all of his achievements we always knew that we were his greatest accomplishment.

Our father loved history. A lifelong student, and son of Virginia, he often closed his messages, notes, and speeches with a quote from Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart, or Robert E. Lee. Every road trip as a child included a sudden stop to read a battlefield marker, or pause for a quick history lesson. This knowledge gave him a sense of perspective. He believed that he was located at Dong Ha for a reason, and that he had the tools and the training to blow that bridge. He passed on this perspective at every opportunity. When he would speak in public or private it was always built on stories and lessons of the past. How many of you have walked a battlefield, toured a museum, a monument, or cemetery with John Ripley – the emotion was overwhelming and was only matched by his passion for the topic. History inspired our father, and his passion was focused on the courageous acts of Marines carrying out their orders. The tactics and details of history were simply a baseline to teach us about the more important things. Our father’s knowledge of the Corporal, the PFC, and those overlooked acts of heroism was unmatched. It tells a great deal about John Ripley’s character that he spent the time to uncover these facts, and chose to use them instead of other, more well-known examples of courage and heroism.

Faith always played a powerful role in our father’s decisions. Faith is why John Ripley was always incredibly optimistic. When the odds were long John Ripley wanted to be with you, and you wanted the same thing. His parting words to my brother and I as we matriculated into VMI were “Just remember – they can’t kill you”. He took particular pride getting the underdog, the student athlete with the questionable academics but great leadership potential, into the Academy. John Ripley loved a good fight, and he was good at it.

There are so many incredible memories and lessons that I have from our father. I want to leave you with a few of our favorites.
• Trouser pockets are not for hands.
• Officers with facial hair love to stand weekend duty
• Always take the hard road. You will be tired, but you will be alive.
• There are two seats on the John Ripley train – on it or under it
• When you use the kneeler today, do not rest your bottom on the pew. Kneel or sit – not both.
• The term Skipper is only to be used for Commanding Officers of Rifle Companies in Combat, and Ships at Sea.

I want to share with you the concept of “A nickel a run.” We never took normal vacations as children. In our house it was 100% all the time and this held true for vacations. We would drive all night to the beach and arrive at 2AM. In the middle of the night we did what every normal family would do – we would go for a swim. When we went to Martha Vineyard for a day trip our father rented 5 bicycles, and we peddled around the island. My entire family found out first hand that it’s 27 miles around Martha’s Vineyard. I was 10 years old. While visiting Yosemite in the early spring we all had to swim across the Merced River. And when we would go skiing, Dad would buy us all lift tickets at $20 each. The key was to get as many runs down the hill as possible so that at the end of the day you were at a “nickel a run.” I was 25-years-old when I discovered that that ski resorts serve food, and have warm lodges.

In John Ripley’s house everyone had a job and whining was not allowed. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings. One summer our father found us watching TV in the basement. He promptly cut the power cord off the TV closest to the set so that we could not splice the wires. Many of you do not know that my father is also a dentist – after years of complaining about the fact that I had to wear braces, I demanded that they be removed. To my surprise, my father obliged and removed them that day with a pair of pliers.

You all know that our father loved being a U.S. Marine. Over and over in his notes he says the same thing – To be a Marine is to be blessed. My emblem is the same as yours and the same as the hundreds of thousands that went before me – they are watching me perform. I have to uphold the standards. My father’s style of leadership was summed up on a card he gave me when commissioned.

 

A Marine Leader must have:
• The Spirit of the Attack – March to the sound of the guns
• Boldness – You are part of the finest fighting force in the world – act like it.
• A receptiveness for risk taking – Risk comes with the job, and if you are not comfortable operating with risk then you need to get into a new line of work.
• Endurance, mental & physical – Mental is far more important than physical
• Decisiveness – Make a decision, Lieutenant!
• A sense of mission, a sense of duty. – Mission first, Marines Always

In recent years the Marine Corps saved our father’s life – twice. The first time our 32nd Commandant, Gen. Jones, provided a helicopter so that our father could receive a transplant. Time was short, and when John Ripley needed the Corps they came through in a way only the Corps could. The second time few people know about. The road to recovery from the transplant was a long one. Our father was struggling. There was a commotion outside his hospital room as an Army orderly tried to stop the four Marines from entering. Moments later the Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps entered with the Battle Colors of the Marine Corps. The message was simple. “”Sir, the Commandant [Gen. James L. Jones] says that these colors are not to leave this room until you do.”” Those colors saved his life.

While stationed here in 1985, the Commandant of the Naval Academy, Leslie Palmer, died suddenly. Our father came to visit his friend prior to internment. He was shocked when he entered the room to find no honor guard with Capt. Palmer. As the Senior Marine at the Naval Academy our father stood at Parade Rest by Capt. Palmer for 10 hours. It was only after our mother called another Marine to replace him that our father would leave his friend’s side.

While serving as the Director of History for the Marine Corps our father was contacted by an officer from a regimental staff in Iraq. The regimental CP was hit by a mortar round and the regimental colors had blood on them and were burned in several spots. The officers question was what do we do with these Colors and how do we get new ones. Our father’s response was classic John Ripley – “”Nothing. They are called BATTLE COLORS””.

There is little question that John Ripley was a winner. Most of you do not know the secret of our father’s success. If you have ever attended one of his change of commands, a promotion, or an awards ceremony, you will know that at the end he always thanked one person for his achievements – our mother, Moline. As many of you know our mother is not able to attend today’s funeral service. It is said that behind every successful man is a woman that expects it. This was never more accurate than in our home. My Mom loved being married to a Marine, and she loved the Corps. I remember in Camp Lejeune when our father would come home for dinner she would politely ask him to go upstairs and change out of his uniform. I always thought this was odd. I finally figured it out. When passing out orders in the house Moline did not want to embarrass him. Mom outranked Dad. Our mother, Moline, has always been the driving force behind John Ripley.

In the future I will tell my son about his grandfather, John Walter Ripley. I will tell him that John Ripley was everything that is good about being an American. He gave everything he had to his family, and he loved his wife above all things. He was driven, and eternally optimistic. John Ripley was a patriot, and he remains my hero. His one defining trait – above all others – was that John Walter Ripley is a U.S. Marine.