The stuff they didn’t tell you when you went through the academy

THE ENFORCERS NOTEBOOK

So most of my posts will have some sort of funny anecdote or involve quirky stuff that happens on the job. Im not sure if its that I’ve hit crusty old veteran status or just the fact that with society as screwed up as it is, This stuff isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

That being said this post is a cautionary tale, one of an officer that paid close attention to all the bookwork, physical training and most of all tactics.

Within the last 3 years this officer has seen massive changes, both good and bad in law enforcement, Things that have made the officers work life easier, sometimes harder but with the knowledge that it will keep him and his brother/sister officers safer, and quite frankly some really stupid undoable or unenforceable command decisions dictated by liberal politics and politicians trying to make a name…

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Measuring Cups, Moguls, Apples and Oranges

Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

I can remember sitting in class in high school, seemingly a lifetime ago, and hearing my teacher talk about how we needed to learn the Metric System because our country was planning on switching over and naming the Metric System our designated, official system of measure.  It was a big deal back then, I recall, with many in an uproar that we would change, so significantly, the way we measure.

I watched the Olympics last night and saw American Hannah Kearney take the bronze in what was, for her, a cutting disappointment after her gold medal four years ago.

I saw that little flub they spoke of.  I saw her knees come apart as the hills gauged her and stole her dream finish in that split-second.

To the world, we marveled at her ability.  Wow!  To tackle those moguls and to flip and flip backwards, to land, to maneuver.

But…

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How Minecraft is Parallel to My Feelings

Awesome Hippie Girl

Hello everybody and today, (like usual.) this post is about Minecraft. Now this is not just any Minecraft post, this is a Minecraft post about my feelings. So today I am going to list my feelings, and then put a Minecraft picture of how I feel under that. Okay?

Number 1: This is sometimes how I feel when Little Fat Brother annoys the crap out of me:

So, yeah.

Number 2: This is how I feel when I am thinking about aliens (I like aliens):

Do they not look like aliens?

Number 3: This is how I feel when I am bored or lazy:

Yep.

Number 4: This is how I feel when I think I am ruling the house:

Yeah. I really do get pretty scary sometimes.

Number 5: This is how I feel when I am scared:

So now last but not least, this is how I feel…

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For A Season……For A Reason

Just Another Day

Friends are a lot like clothing. Best friends are there forever like that sweatshirt you lounge around in every season with your mud masque and hair tied up cleaning the house. People you know are there for a season, kind of like mass-produced clothing that  you find in the stores that changes every two weeks.

I have more clothing then I actually wear . I have more shoes than I actually wear . I know who my true friends are. I know who my seasonal friends are. As I was getting my items ready for donating, I got to thinking, is it time to clean house with my friends? How many of friends actually take the time to actually care about me like I care about them? So why not clean house?

The best friendships in life are the kind when you have those periods of constant communication, constant contact…

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Trick or Treat for Special Needs Ghosts and Goblins

 

 

Guest Blogger -Jenn Solomon

 

As we get ready for Halloween I have to tell you that I am out of my skin excited!! You see, as a mom of a kid with Cerebral Palsy Halloween usually totally sucks!! The drive ways are too long, and not always paved; there are too many stairs; spaces between houses is too far apart; nothing is well lit so it can be a hazard. I inevitably end up carrying Rachel because she gets tired. Friends always mean well and invite us along but it is still so freaking hard. Kids are excited on Halloween they want to run door to door to collect their loot. So we are usually trick or treating long after our friends have started their sort and trade. Coming in a half an hour later and exhausted because it takes Rachel that much longer and that much more energy to trick or treat. Last year because Westford had Halloween delayed we went a 2nd time and while the bigger kids did their own thing Lilah stayed back and trick or treated with Rachel. Where the driveways were too big or when there were too many stairs she hooked Rachel up and got loot for both of them. (love that kid). Another part I hate about Halloween is the people that make unsolicited comments like: wow are you lucky that your mom is giving you a piggy back or you’re too big for the carriage. I’ll be honest I got to the point I was rude and said, she is disabled and left it at that. Sometimes it is exhausting trying to make someone else feel better about the fact my child has a disability and they are a total jackass.

 

Before I knew the surgery date I started planning a daytime trick-or-treat on our street for the special kids in Chelmsford and Westford where night time door to door trick or treating is too challenging. I had been planning it in my head since last year. You see it is so important to me that Rachel feel part of a community. I want her to have the same experiences as every other kid and damn it I don’t want it to be hard. I want her to do the candy sort at the end of the night in a state of bliss that she had at the age of 3, where she didn’t know she was left behind or understand the neighbors unsolicited comments.

 

Today during Trick or Treat we will be part of a community where none of the kids can walk. Where no one will run ahead and no one will start the sort without my daughter. I cannot wait!! I want to the 2 hour Trick or Treat around the hospital to be 20 hours. It will take everything I have not to cry because for the first time on Halloween she will be like everyone else. For once the fact that she had cerebral palsy and can’t keep up won’t matter at all.  I cannot wait!!!

 

Today as you give out candy and treats to all the little cuties that come to your door I ask that you have a little patience. If they don’t say thank you they could have Autism and just don’t know how. If they are being carried they might not be able to walk. If they aren’t fully behaving they could have a behavior problem and simply just not understand especially with all of the excitement.  Please know that 99.9% of all kids are good kids with big hearts and events like this might be difficult for them. And if this is too hard just leave your light off.  Because the last thing you want is a mom tearing up because without even knowing you said something that broke her heart just a little.

 

Love,

Jenn & Rachel

Trick or Treat for Special Needs Ghosts and Goblins

Guest Blogger -Jenn Solomon

As we get ready for Halloween I have to tell you that I am out of my skin excited!! You see, as a mom of a kid with Cerebral Palsy Halloween usually totally sucks!! The drive ways are too long, and not always paved; there are too many stairs; spaces between houses is too far apart; nothing is well lit so it can be a hazard. I inevitably end up carrying Rachel because she gets tired. Friends always mean well and invite us along but it is still so freaking hard. Kids are excited on Halloween they want to run door to door to collect their loot. So we are usually trick or treating long after our friends have started their sort and trade. Coming in a half an hour later and exhausted because it takes Rachel that much longer and that much more energy to trick or treat. Last year because Westford had Halloween delayed we went a 2nd time and while the bigger kids did their own thing Lilah stayed back and trick or treated with Rachel. Where the driveways were too big or when there were too many stairs she hooked Rachel up and got loot for both of them. (love that kid). Another part I hate about Halloween is the people that make unsolicited comments like: wow are you lucky that your mom is giving you a piggy back or you’re too big for the carriage. I’ll be honest I got to the point I was rude and said, she is disabled and left it at that. Sometimes it is exhausting trying to make someone else feel better about the fact my child has a disability and they are a total jackass.

Before I knew the surgery date I started planning a daytime trick-or-treat on our street for the special kids in Chelmsford and Westford where night time door to door trick or treating is too challenging. I had been planning it in my head since last year. You see it is so important to me that Rachel feel part of a community. I want her to have the same experiences as every other kid and damn it I don’t want it to be hard. I want her to do the candy sort at the end of the night in a state of bliss that she had at the age of 3, where she didn’t know she was left behind or understand the neighbors unsolicited comments.

Today during Trick or Treat we will be part of a community where none of the kids can walk. Where no one will run ahead and no one will start the sort without my daughter. I cannot wait!! I want to the 2 hour Trick or Treat around the hospital to be 20 hours. It will take everything I have not to cry because for the first time on Halloween she will be like everyone else. For once the fact that she had cerebral palsy and can’t keep up won’t matter at all.  I cannot wait!!!

Today as you give out candy and treats to all the little cuties that come to your door I ask that you have a little patience. If they don’t say thank you they could have Autism and just don’t know how. If they are being carried they might not be able to walk. If they aren’t fully behaving they could have a behavior problem and simply just not understand especially with all of the excitement.  Please know that 99.9% of all kids are good kids with big hearts and events like this might be difficult for them. And if this is too hard just leave your light off.  Because the last thing you want is a mom tearing up because without even knowing you said something that broke her heart just a little.

Love,
Jenn & Rachel

Juvenile Arthritis – The Family

I woke up this morning with a sore throat, stuffy nose and achy legs, I thought it was a crappy way to start my day. Then I thought, think of your worst case of the flu. Multiply that times 10. Imagine having it every day. Imagine your child has it every day. Imagine waking up, or not waking because I was up all night with a sick kid, wondering if this was going to be a good day or a bad day. Could we go to the grocery store? Should I call the doctor? How will my other kids feel knowing they will be getting less attention today? That’s Juvenile Arthritis (JA). So I dragged my ass out of bed took some Ibuprofen and reminded myself how lucky I am.

While showering, I do my best blogging in the shower, I thought about Kim and today’s blog post. I mentally threw it away and started again. A few years back, Kim helped me with something, I don’t like to ask for help and for some reason I confided in Kim. It was right about the time she started blogging about JA and the things she was coping with. Instead of reading her updates as they came out and being a really good friend, I read them on occasion, sent a box of chocolates here and there when I knew she was having a bad day and hoped for the best for both of us. Her updates were filled with medical information, I swear I thought she was a nurse. She’s not, she’s just incredibly thorough and wanted to really know what is going on with her kids.

I wallowed in my own misery and avoided Kim, her posts sometimes made me cry. While I was being a less than good person, Kim was going through hell. I only realized the extent of it last week when I read her book. I went to her website, looked at her Amazon Store and thought I’d get her a pick-me-up gift. I looked at her wish list, thought “Holy Crap! We have the same taste! She has the same stuff on her wish list as I do on mine!” Just as I was about to hit purchase, I realized Amazon pulls up my wish list, not hers! Wow! I am sure she would have loved that chili pepper laptop bag! I’ll figure out another way to cheer her up.

In the meantime, I can spread her story and her incredible strength. Let me give you a summary of 2010 – Spondyloarthritis , Drug Rash (or Reaction) with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms , Stevens–Johnson syndrome, Methotrexate (Chemo) by injection, steriod – and that is only 3 months. 2011 – more diet changes, more meds, fly to California to see doctors, pain centers, wheelchairs, ER visits, hormone growth shots, lots of doctors appointments. 2012 – homeschooling, surgery, bucket list, Endocrine, GI, Opthomology. And I haven’t even scratched the surface.

Trying to appear headless while waiting in clinic

Here’s what’s ironic about all this, Kim now has 2 sick children, before her children were sick, she was helping sick kids. She brought Nurses for Newborns to Tennessee, volunteering as Director of the program and making a financial commitment to the program. While her then husband was an NFL star, Kim shared the success with the smallest voices she heard. Her focus has shifted a bit, in 2012, she and her boys headed to Washington, DC for the Arthritis Advocacy Summit. Although she is now a single Mom, she is pouring her heart into advocating for her children and others like them.

Kim has endured working through her children’s bucket lists, they are sadly aware of their mortality due to a callous conversation between residents in Grant’s room; they alluded to him having a 50/50 chance, within earshot of Kim and Grant. Their bucket list is an envious one, lots of it revolves around food, remind me to introduce Brandon to Grant! She helped her son set up a First Giving Pageso that he can raise money to Cure JM on his own. She has sent out e-mails to friends asking them to play games with her kids online to pass the time, while they lie in hospital beds or wait in waiting rooms. Endured insensitive comments from people who think her kids don’t “look” sick and has had to make excruciating decisions on their behalf. She now struggles with medical bills, insurance companies and having enough time for both kids. She has to cope with two children who have different needs and the associated envy that comes with it, it’s a precarious balancing act.

Not everything has been horrible, Kim, Grant and Evan have made some wonderful new friends, friends that are dealing with the same issues, friends they will have for a lifetime. Her children are wise beyond their years, it’s a double-edged sword. Grant and Evan appreciate each other more than most siblings. JA has gained a phenomenal advocate in her and her children; they have a message that they can give to the world and it’s documented in her book, it is a huge contribution to parents everywhere. Kim’s book is chock full of information that even I can use. She helps you understand medical bills and how to get a discount, yes, a discount on your medical bills! But there is one thing that Kim has to tell you that is so very important; your kids are healthy today, they may not be tomorrow.
 
In the past, when I feel like I may not be spending enough time with my kids, I often sing the following lyrics to Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” –

When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son
You know we’ll have a good time then

 
There’s a song for everything, remember?

Now I remember something from Kim’s book, she spoke of being flexible and rearranging your priorities. Do I really need to watch today’s episode of Judge Judy or can I run to the school and have lunch with one of my kids? Should I put in OT on Saturday or should I take the kids to the park instead? Easy questions, easy answers. Kim had to give up things because her kids are ill with a disease that has no cure, don’t wait until then to spend time with your kids. Do it now.

Grant and Evan warrant a special mention here, they have learned a lot about compassion. The kids got wind of some rescue dogs that were slated for death, after witnessing a friends death in the hospital, it was more than they could take. With a lot of Facebook posts, phone calls and e-mails, the kids were able to organize donations, rides and homes for all 15 dogs! Since they have a lot of car rides to different states, they were even able to give some of the dogs a ride to their new homes! Really great kids, there is not enough room in this blog for their stories!

As for Kim and her boys, she has threatened them with Twerking if they don’t behave, that’s not something they really want to see. They have formed a tight trio of love, understanding, tolerance and giving. They do walks and runs for arthritis as they can, spreading knowledge as they go.

Follow Kim on Facebook or check out her website, you really will learn about more than just JA! If you don’t I will personally give you a full refund! Since her sites are free, I am happy to oblige! Buy her book, too, I promise you won’t want a refund! Even better, go here to enter a raffle, Goodreads is giving away 10 copies! Do it now! You’ll thank me!

Oh, and did I mention,  Buy Kim’s Book!
Don’t forget to check back on Saturday to see if Kim wins the coveted Human of the Week award!

Juvenile Arthritis – Kim, Grant and Evan

Your oldest child is two, he starts having pains he never had, his personality is changing and you are about to have another baby. Sound familiar? It could. Being a Mom, you take him to the doctor, just in case. You are told it’s the terrible two’s. Things aren’t getting better, your child is walking funny and his personality continues to change, this time the pediatrician thinks he is feeling left out and  trying to get attention away from the baby. You think maybe it’s growing pains, maybe you are over-reacting but something just doesn’t feel right. A chance meeting with another pediatrician changes everything; weeks of testing and a year of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) later, his symptoms are gone, the rheumatologist doesn’t think he has a true auto-immune disease and your life returns to normal. Seven years later, more symptoms appears, your child gradually gets worse and you still have no diagnosis.

It took Kim 10 years after the onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis for Grant – Juvenile Arthritis (JA). As for Evan, the baby that was born when Grant was 2, his symptoms began when he was 11 ½; his diagnosis took 3 months. Kim now had 2 children diagnosed with a disease that serves as an umbrella for over 100 different diseases or conditions of the joints, bones, muscles and other tissues. Last week I read Kim’s book Living with Juvenile Arthritis and I encourage you to do the same. It’s not just a book, it’s an emotional journey, a how-to manual for families and friends of  chronic illness and a reminder that nothing should be taken for granted.

In all honesty, I am not sure where to start, there is so much to tell. Two different children, different symptoms, different treatment, same disease, same Mom. After reading her book, I am still not sure how Kim pulled herself through, I am equally impressed with the fact that she laid her life and her heart out for all to see, it moved me to tears more than once. In addition to the heartbreaking news that her son had a 50/50 chance of survival at one point, she helped guide her son through his bucket list and endured many servings of callous, misinformed advice and opinions.

JA falls under the category of ‘invisible diseases’, although the children may undergo chemotherapy and steroidal treatments, they may not always look sick. Also, arthritis is typically portrayed as something the elderly get in their hands, and it can be quickly relieved by a dose of  Aleve. Until I read the book, I was sorely misinformed about the disease and the pain associated with it. My knowledge was as thorough as it is on Viagra, only what I see in TV commercials. Although I have no intention of study up on impotence, I did a little homework on JA.

Think Kevin Bacon 6 degrees of separation, I bet if you looked hard enough, you know someone who has it. There is a child in your son/daughters school that has it, a cousin whose symptoms you never really noticed before, or someone sitting beside you in the bleachers. The numbers are on the rise but the awareness is not; Kim can help you with that!

On Wednesday, I am going to introduce you to Kim, Grant and Evan in detail, but before I do, I want you to understand what they are dealing with. It’s not simple, it’s not “just arthritis” and it’s not a popular disease. If Kim Kardashian and Dave Coulier were diseases, and I’m not sure Kim isn’t, JA would be Coulier. Kim has a powerful PR machine behind her, Coulier only has an 80’s sitcom. He may have something to offer but he hasn’t been able to get his message to the public.

Children experience excruciating pain, endure long hospitals stays and some even die from the disease. I know you don’t have time to read Kim’s book before Wednesday, but I wish you did. Kim lays out the disease in simple terms, using analogies to professional football, she walks you through building your team of doctors, traveling, packing for your hospital stays, schools, insurance companies and much more. There are sidebars in her book which tell the stories of many families whose children suffer from JA, each one a unique, heartfelt retelling of the challenges the families face.

As with most diseases, once you are invested, you go all the way. The Juvenile Arthritis Association was formed by parents who wanted an association that focuses solely on the Juvenile aspect, specifically pediatric rheumatologic diseases. Cure JM was founded to support families and raise funds to find a cure, it was the idea of a couple moms and a grandparent which has now raised more than $4 million dollars. Stop CAID Now is an internationally recognized group for children with any form of autoimmune or auto-inflammatory disease founded by a Mom who was not able to get the services she needed for her children. More information can be found on their websites, or in Kim’s book. Wow, I really seem like a high-pressure sales person! I’m really not, I’m just overwhelmed with the information in the book and in awe of the fact that Kim wrote it.

Come back on Wednesday, learn more about the family behind the story and the weird quirks I discovered by planting a webcam in their living room. See you then!

If you are interested in purchasing Kim’s book, go directly to her site Living with Juvenile Arthritis or purchase through Amazon – Living with Juvenile Arthritis: A Parent’s Guide .

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Some of Kim’s favorite resources are:

Mattel Children’s/ UCLA

Lurie Children’s (Chicago) Pediatric hospitals are a must in my opinion. I love that Lurie allows me to access my kids electronic medical record (emr) from anywhere. I always have labs, doctors note, appointments, etc right at my fingertips.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)for any type of medical research- this is my first stop
AARDAfor breaking news about autoimmune disease. I love that this organization includes so many of the possible overlap conditions, and keeps us abreast of all the new exciting developments on the horizon.
Kids Get Arthritis Toopart of the Arthritis Foundation
Mayo Clinicthis is the JA link, but I use it to research drugs and other conditions that may arise in conjunction with JA

A Week With Cerebral Palsy and Jenn Our First Human of the Week!

Magnet Design

This week was a test of my new weekly spotlight; I chose Jenn, Rachel and Cerebral Palsy. It was a good experience for me, learning more about the disease, the family and the emotions involved. The intent is to create 2-3 blog posts per week on the family and their special needs, having done 2 posts on Jenn, and researching for next week, I decided I needed to expand this a bit. The 2-3 blog posts will remain the same but I will be adding a new feature – Human of the Week (HOW)! Guess who wins this week? Jenn!! Congratulations!

Jenn comes to us from Chelmsford, MA with 3 kids, a dog and barely a thread of sanity holding her together. Although her crown is short-lived, today is the end of the week and tomorrow I start a new focus, it was well deserved! When asked how she felt about being the first recipient of this award she said, “I am laughing uncontrollably. Do I get a real crown?” Well Jenn, you get a virtual crown! You can check it out on the blog sidebar, hope you like it! It was in the works before you asked for it. Additionally, you will receive a HOW magnet, specially designed by me for the recipients. In the event I become rich and famous and expand the prize pack, all previous winners are entitled to the full benefits of future swag.

Thanks to Jenn and Rachel, here are a few important things I have learned about CP this week:

  • There are surgeries available which, if successful, can improve the CP patients quality of life.
  • CP does not necessarily affect mental capacity, people with CP may actually perform better emotionally and intellectually than their non-affected peers.
  • CP typically results from a brain injury.
  • It’s not a disease, it’s a condition and it is not progressive, it will not get worse over time.

Cerebral Palsy leaves a lasting impact on the friends and family of those afflicted with the condition, the impact on Rachel’s friends and family has been greatly lessened by Jenn. Her sense of humor, honesty and blatant, passionate love for her children puts everyone at ease when they are with her. She is a strong, self-assured woman who deserves a hell of a lot more than a magnet. So Jenn, I dub thee “Crazy with a Side of Decency”, congratulations!

You can continue to follow Jenn and Rachel on their journey here if you like, if not, you’ll certainly be missing out! Thanks for tuning in!