Friday, April 30, 2010

coxsackie came for a visit

Yesterday my son Leo complained to my husband David that his knees were hurting. Then during school he told his teacher than his stomach was bothering him. When David picked him up from school, he had a hard time walking to the car. David carried him in from the car, and within an hour or so he vomited. Later he looked flushed and was lethargic. He fell asleep on the sofa, and later David carried him to bed. When we checked on him about 8 PM, he was awake and had a rash all over his body, worse on his face and torso. He was scratching all over and looked bad. It's really hard to see your kid sick. I asked how I could help him feel better and he asked me to cuddle him. So I climbed in bed behind him and cuddled up to him. We sent an email to his pediatrician, and she called us back about 9:30 - she's great. I thought as soon as I saw that rash that it was a viral rash or an allergic rash, but he hadn't taken anything that he's allergic to. She thinks that he has Coxsackie virus, which has been going around lately. This morning he's much better, the rash is almost completely gone, and he's back to his usually very energetic self.

I want to thank everyone who offered me and my friends support over the past week. It has been a difficult time, but much less for me than for others, one person especially. He is doing better, and I was very happy to get an email from him yesterday with his sense of humor restored. So thanks again for everyone's support.

I also wanted to say hello to some new followers. I have a relatively new tradition of introducing new followers, or asking them to introduce themselves. First is Taylor, a Canadian pilot who I know was hurt by the Mikey scandal. Then there is Joe in Philly, who I met through Mikey's blog as well. Next is Ed, who I am pretty sure is the same Ed that was GayEMTinNJ from Mikey's blog. Then there is bighairyjockdad, who I don't know by that name but maybe my memory isn't so good. Lastly there is someone without a name or an avatar. Welcome to you all. If any of you want to post something here introducing yourself please do. It's always good if we know something about each other. And if any longer term followers want to introduce themselves or say something, please do.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

the lies are exposed

Many of you are also followers of another blog that kind of went up in flames today. I have a hard time even saying the name of the person who claimed to be a 17 year old high school hockey player, but in reality was a 40 something guy. I trusted that guy. In fact, reading his blog was how I got started exploring the world of blogs and started my own. It was so upsetting to find that the whole blog was lies.

This is where I have to say that I know more of the story than most others do. I started emailing Jimmy, who is the main victim in this deception, soon after I got started blogging. He had posted comments on two blogs that I follow, and I sent him an email. From there we started a friendship. As Jimmy said today, he and "that guy" started an online relationship. I knew about it, and at one point Jimmy asked me if he was crazy to consider a relationship with someone that he never met, who was 17 and then 18, who lived 1000 miles away. Being the romantic fool that I am, I said no, and at one point said something about the two of them being "cute." I am so angry for steering my friend into something that hurt him so badly. I hope that Jimmy can find a way to forgive me.

I am also embarrassed to say that I was able to figure out who "that guy" was pretending to be. He sent Jimmy photos of the real high school hockey player that he was pretending to be, and Jimmy sent one to me. I was able to see the team name and jersey number, and although part of me said not to do this, I did an google search and found out the hockey player's name. I didn't share it with anyone, but I'm ashamed to admit that I felt special that I knew who the mystery guy was.

Then earlier this week I got an email from Jimmy that he realized that "that guy" was a fake. I was shocked. I'm gonna admit something else that I'm embarrassed about. My first thought was "Are Jimmy and "that guy" faking being fake as a way to end the blog and not risk being found out?" What a totally shitty thing to think. My friend had his life turned upside down, his heart ripped out, and I was thinking that he was lying to me. In retrospect, my thoughts may have been a defense mechanism. I just didn't want to accept that "that guy" could be fake. I am really, really sorry that I doubted you, Jimmy.

Now my trusting nature has gotten me burned, and I'm suspicious of everyone. I wonder "Is anyone out there real? Maybe every blog I follow and everyone who reads my blog are fake too."

And I worry about the young gay athletes. One guy decided to come out to his conservative family and his football team because of this guy. Now he and his mother have a strained relationship. He called that guy his hero. How does he feel now? Can he trust people, especially older gay men. Great. Now young gay men think of older guys as liars. That's just what our community needs.

I hope that people do realize that despite the lies, there is a community that has started here. We can support each other through this. I'm here if anyone wants to email me directly, or you can post here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arkansas adoption law declared unconstitutional

Last week the adoption law in Arkansas that banned any unmarried person living with a partner from serving as an adoptive or foster parent was declared unconstitutional by a district judge. This didn't make the headlines either in the mainstream press or in the gay media, which was surprising to me. The suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (of which I have been a proud member for many years) on behalf of a lesbian couple that couldn't adopt, a grandmother who couldn't adopt her own grandchildren when her child couldn't raise the children, and married heterosexual couples who would not have been able to have a relative or friend adopt their children if the couples were to die.

That's what the right wing bigots don't get - when you try to make a law discriminating against gays and lesbians you also drag in straight people like the grandmother and married couples. In my own family I have a cousin whose husband died while serving in the military. She lives on her military widow's pension, which she would lose if she remarries. So she's lived with a guy for the last 7 years or so. By this law she wouldn't be able to adopt her nieces or nephews. That's crazy.

This law was a response to an earlier law that banned only gays and lesbians from adopting that was declared unconstitutional by the Arkansas State Supreme Court a few years earlier. The judge rightly declared that the law was not "in the best interest of the child" as other laws require. The state of Arkansas is expected to appeal.

This is another example of the laws against gays and lesbians being declared unconstitutional. I hope that the two big challenges to marriage equality heading to the national Supreme Court continue this trend. Also perhaps the challenge to Don't Ask, Don't Tell will also be successful.

I also wanted to welcome a new follower, David. I don't know much about you, David, although you seem to like cats. If you want, you can introduce yourself and tell us about you. Don't feel any pressure though, it's up to you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Supreme Court, gay rights and religion

Today the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case about religious freedom and gay rights. A Christian law student group at the University of California Berkeley was denied official recognition as a campus organization because they would not admit gays and lesbians, based on the religious views of the organization.

The Christian law student group's argument was that the university can't dictate who they must admit to their group, because that infringes on their religious right to admit only that who follow their (narrow, right wing) beliefs on who is a Christian. I can kinda see that, but I think that the opposing argument is stronger.

The university argues that any group of people has the right to choose who to admit to their group. But to gain official recognition, and the funding that goes along with it, all groups have to agree not to discriminate based on sex, sexual orientation, race and a few other criteria. The religious law students refused to do that, but want the funding and official recognition.

Based on the press reports, the two female justices pointed out the obvious - if one group is allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation, another group may want to discriminate based on sex or race, and asked if that should be allowed.

This court is quite conservative, and I think will come up with the wrong decision. They will probably require the university to recognize the Christian law group. There is a middle way though. The court could decide that the Christian law student group has the right to exist, but the university does not have to recognize them if they will not agree with the university's requirements for recognition.

This case is not directly about gay rights, but whether a group has to follow a university's requirements to treat sexual orientation discrimination in the same way that race or sex discrimination is treated.

This is totally unrelated, but I wanted to welcome a new follower, LetMeDieFirst. You have an interesting screen name and avatar. I don't see that you have a blog, so don't know anything about you. If you want you can post something introducing yourself and telling us about you, or not, whatever you want.

Friday, April 16, 2010

a step forward

President Obama released guidelines for hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid (which is the vast majority of hospitals) regarding visitation. Now people will be allowed to designate anyone to visit them in a hospital in the same way that a recognized family member can. That's an advance for the gay and lesbian community. It should prevent situations such as the one in Miami in which a lesbian's wife/partner and children were denied the right to visit her for several hours as she was dying.

For our family, this is good news as well. In California we are recognized as married, so visitation should not be a problem here. But when we visited my parents in Georgia recently, we brought along a folder with copies of our important paperwork - our marriage license (not that it's recognized in Georgia), durable powers of attorney for health care so that we can make medical decisions for each other, and our son Leo's adoption paperwork, because you never know when some redneck police officer will challenge two gay men travelling with a six year old. It's unfortunate that he have to do that, but we prefer to play it safe in potentially hostile places like Georgia.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"My booty is on fire!", and a legal challenge to DOMA

Yesterday my son Leo had a playdate with our "godson" Alec. Leo was looking forward to this playdate for several days, so he was more wound up that a six year old boy with ADHD normally is. At one point he was running around yelling "My booty is on fire!" It wasn't. My thought was 'Where did a six year old learn the word "booty"? I think the last time I said the word "booty" was in 1976 in talking about KC and the Sunshine Band's song "Shake Your Booty". There was a movie called "Booty Call" I think, but I certainly didn't see it.

On a more serious note, I saw a few days ago that the hearing for the challenge to section 3 of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) will be next month. This could be a really big advance for gays and lesbians in the US if section 3 of DOMA is overturned. Section 3 is the part of the law that states that the federal government won't recognize valid same sex marriages from any state. If this is overturned, it would mean that couples from states without marriage equality could travel to states with marriage equality, get married there, and return home with recognition from the national government. I think that this could be a more important case that the challenge to Prop 8 here in California. But I'm not a lawyer and can't say how all this will turn out.

I decided that I didn't want to keep using aliases for everyone that I mention in this blog. So I'm using the names of my mother in law, father in law and godson.

I also wanted to welcome a new follower, the_only_lorraine_copycat. Welcome. I can't tell if you have a blog of your own or anything about you, so if you care to you can tell us about you or your blog.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

we're home

We returned from our vacation. I've been up since just before 3 AM Eastern time, so just before midnight today Pacific time. We're probably not going to fly United again. Why send us from Georgia to Chicago to get to California? Leo did well on the flights until the last 30 minutes or so, which is really good.

David is angry at my father about the way that David feels that my dad ignored Leo. My dad prefers little kids that can't disagree with him, and he doesn't know how to handle it when Leo is tired or frustrated and snaps at him. My dad takes it personally and gets his feelings hurt, when all the other adults recognize that it just a tired kid. David is going to write an email later about his issues with the trip in general and my dad's actions in particular.

Friday, April 9, 2010

a tombstone in the front yard

Today's the last full day of our vacation, and we're flying home to California tomorrow. David and I went to lunch with my sister, two of my cousins and one of the cousin's sons. It was good to see some of the family. We thought that we would see everyone at Easter, but the cousin's parents had a bitter divorce, so if one parent is there the other won't show up. So instead of having everyone over, my older cousin just had her father over. It's hard for me to understand being married to someone and later not being able to be in the same house as that person.

My sister talked to my dad this morning and told him that he was ignoring my son Leo whenever my niece was over at my parents' house. I guess that the older grandchild gets ignored when the new baby is around. David has noticed this too, and Leo was feeling bad about the situation. So now Leo and my parents are at a park feeding the birds for some grandparent time for him.

My mother is an amateur genealogist, and found that some of her Irish ancestors didn't have tombstones at their gravesites. So she raised money and bought tombstones. But one of the tombstones misspelled her ancestor's name, and the company that made it gave her a correct one in its place. So she has an extra tombstone, and she decided to put it in her front yard. They have the only tombstone in the yard in the whole neighborhood. Don't you wish that you had one in your yard? It's not that bad really, since it's flat and only a few inches high, and it's only visible from near the house.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

hiding Easter eggs for the 20th time

My son Leo enjoys finding Easter eggs, so we keep hiding the plastic Easter eggs that his grandparents bought for him. We started with 18 and are down to 10, which means that there a 8 missing eggs hidden somewhere in their house. It could be worse, they could be real hard boiled eggs.

My family is boring my husband David. He went to Starbucks just to get out. My family doesn't get out much and tends to sit around the house. David and I would go to one of the local museums, but Leo wants us around. He's being clingy because he stomach bothers him at times, probably from the stomach flu that he had and his ADHD meds can cause stomach pain. I'm honestly a little bored myself.

I think that my niece Allison knows me as "the guy with the finger". When I hold her she grabs one of my index fingers and puts it in her mouth. She doesn't generally suck it, she chews it. She's probably starting to teethe.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

vacation, day 4

Today Leo, my mother and I went to Tybee Island, the local beach. Leo ran around, played in the surf, and collected shells and shell fragments. He seems to love the beach. When he was asked in school to draw a picture of his favorite place in the world, he drew a picture of him playing at Tybee Island.

We went out to a restaurant for my brother-in-law's birthday. It was called Moe's, and I knew that it wasn't my kind of place when we walked in and all the staff called out "Welcome to Moe's!" It wasn't a sit down place with a waiter or waitress as I expected, so we placed our order, got our food and found a place to sit. It was so loud that it was hard to hear anyone.

Yesterday wasn't the best day. First my father was driving and pulled out right in front of another car, almost caused an accident. He's really not the best driver. I got upset because David and Leo were on that side of the truck and yelled at my dad. Later he and David had a bit of a disagreement. The details aren't important, but I could see both of their viewpoints. Things are OK now, but David has said that he doesn't want to come back next year. He doesn't find time with my parents relaxing. Leo and I will come back but it's David's choice whether he comes or not.

I did get to spend more time with my niece. She's four months old, and I even thought 'I would enjoy having a baby again.' But David would not, and since he's the stay at home parent, he would have the vast majority of the work. Going through the adoption process again is a big undertaking, and at 45 I'm kinda old to consider another newborn. I like Leo's age now, although I've liked every age that he has been.

Monday, April 5, 2010

vacatin, day 2

Low energy day on vacation. I went for a run and David went to the YMCA for a workout. When he came back, he asked "If someone looks back at you over his shoulder four times as he's walking to the steam room, is he wanting you to follow him in?" My answer was "Yes, but I'm glad that you didn't!" David's an attractive man, and he gets hit on occasionally.

My parents took Leo to a local park with a lake to feed the ducks. Leo's recovered from his vomiting and is eating normally. We enjoyed the time alone, and spent much of it horizontal, if you understand my meaning ;-) Well, David was horizontal and I was mostly vertical. The walls here are thin, and I'm a moaner, so this was our only chance for privacy.

I am experiencing Southern cooking. I forgot how different it was from what I eat in California. My mother boiled sweet potatoes, which I normally like, but she cooked them until they were mush. Why do Southerners have to cook vegetables until they are a pile of mush? Have they not heard of leaving some crispness in a vegetable?

Since I'm slamming the South, I've got to comment on the accent. My mother made two syllables out of the word "bad" today. "Ba-yad". Grrr. To think that I had a Southern accent until I moved to California and realized 'This makes me sound like a hick' and got rid of it. Now I sometimes don't understand what my own family says. For over a decade they had a neighbor whose name I thought was Von from the way my family pronounced it. Then I saw it in writing and saw that it was Vaughn. That was a shock. When David first met my father, he couldn't understand most of wht my father said. My father has not only a thick Southern accent, but a slight speech impediment also, so I understand David's problem. He said that he just smiled and nodded at times when he spoke with my father. My large, loud Irish Catholic family was also a shock to David compared to his stoic German relatives.

I realize that I'm complaining a lot, but I guess that this is my place to vent. I am having a good time, and I love my family.

I wanted to say hello to some new people reading my blog. Madeleine and Jon have been here a while, and wanderinpom seems to have just joined. Welcome all. I can't find if you have a blog yourself wanderingpom, so introduce yourself or tell us about your blog, if you want. If not, that's fine.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

we made it to my parents' house

Leo, David and I survived the cross country flights and arrived in Savannah, Georgia yesterday. David was able to take advantage of a last minute deal and use frequent flier miles from our credit card to upgrade us to first class on the flight from California to D.C. I'm too frugal to even consider first class, but I can see why he wants it - he just doesn't fit into economy seats. At 6'4", his shoulders are wider than the seats and his long thighs cause his knees to be wedged into the back of the seat in front of him. But I feel guilty flying first class. We had drinks and food offered to us from the time we got on, even as other passengers were trying to get by into their seats. The three of us got even better service because I asked our gay Puerto Rican flight attendant if that was a Human Rights Campaign ring that he was wearing. It was, and from then on out we were his favorite customers. I guess special service from male flight attendants is one of the few advantages of being a gay man in this society.

Leo did very well on the flights. Last time that we flew he wanted to watch movies on my iPhone the whole time, which wrecked my plans to read a book that I had on it. So this year we got Leo a refurbished iPod touch for a bargain and put several movies on it. He knows that the iPod is only for traveling, not for use at home.

David also wants me to complain to Jimmy about our flight from D.C. to Savannah. It was on one of the smaller regional airlines, and we were on a Canadaair Regional Jet. David couldn't even stand up in the aisle, forget about trying to stand in the restroom, and I banged my head standing up in the aisle. I explained that a Canadian student in a business major (sorry Jimmy, I know that's not exactly right but couldn't remember exactly what your major was, and it has something to do with business) doesn't design airplanes, but David said that some Canadian was to blame and Jimmy was the first one to come to his mind. I'm thinking of the South Park movie, which of course I didn't see, with the theme song "Blame Canada". Maybe Jimmy and Madeleine can share the blame ;-)

We did get to meet my 4 month old niece, my sister's daughter, for the first time. She may be my sister's daughter, but she looks like a female clone of my brother in law. She was showing all the signs of being tired, and I wanted to tell my sister just to take her home and put her to bed.

Our night didn't go so well. Leo complained of abdominal pain at about 1 AM and started vomiting at 4. I'm still on Pacific time, so I might have gotten a few hours of interrupted sleep. Leo seems fine now, so let's hope that he's over it.

My parents are off to Easter mass, so I had a chance to blog. I hope that everyone is having a good weekend.

Friday, April 2, 2010

going on vacation

Leo, David and I will be flying to visit my family in Georgia tomorrow. We'll be staying with my parents, and since they have only one computer, with no privacy while using it, I may not be able to post for the next 8 days or so. We usually visit my parents each spring during Leo's spring break. Although David likes my family, a week of living in their house gets to him. My father and David are very different people, and my dad can drive David crazy - he drives me crazy at times too, but I'm used to it.

A few years ago when we were back visiting and were at a party with my parents, one of my mom's friends asked me if I was enjoying my visit back home. I answered her honestly and said "Oh no, this isn't home. California is home, this is just where I grew up." I didn't realize that my mom was standing nearby and heard my response. David saw that she was and that she got a sad look on her face. I didn't mean to hurt my mother, but my answer was honest. Georgia isn't my home, and I haven't lived there in 20 years. It was too conservative and inbred for me - so many people there have never lived anywhere else to experience a different outlook on life. My mother tells me that I'm in the seventh generation of our family to be born in the same town. My response was always "Well, there won't be an eighth generation."

So where is "home"? To me it isn't that place that I was born, but the place that my home is now. I don't like the term "hometown" either, since what people mean is where someone was born or grew up, but to me it should mean the town where you have your home. There's nothing wrong with living your whole life in one town, but you do miss the opportunity to try other places and be exposed to new experiences. That's my view, but I'm open to hearing other opinions.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm coming out...about my profession

Until this point, I've never mentioned what I do for a living. I'm not embarrassed about my profession, but it does have a tendency to change what people think of me and how they interact with me, and I don't like that. By now you're probably thinking of less than honorable (or honourable for my Candian and British readers) professions such as mafia hitman or Republican politician, but I'm neither of those. I'm a physician. I practice internal medicine, which is primary care for adults. Much of my time is spent treating chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, etc. I also treat everything else - colds, pneumonia, skin problems, orthopedic problems, abdominal problems, psychiatric problems, etc. I also try to do preventive care, but to be honest that doesn't seem to be high priority for many patients.

I decided to do primary care because I like patients - I like getting to know them, following them over the years, treating entire families. Many specialists seem to want to do procedures, or think of patients as just the body part that they deal with - "Here's the injured knee that needs ACL repair" instead of seeing the whole patient and realizing that the patient with the torn ACL also just lost his job and won't have insurance much longer, or that patient's mother is dying of cancer so isn't able to do the physical therapy that the specialist wants.

I like my job, most days. Sometimes though it seems that I'm racing from one person to the next, not able to spend the time that patients want or need. It's impossible to do the work in the amount of time that it is supposed to take, so I get up early, by 5 AM, to come in early and get to work. I try not to stay late, so that I can come home and spend time with Leo and read him his bedtime story. I worry that my family life suffers some with my work schedule.

So now my profession is out there for all to know. As a note to two of my readers, thanks for giving me the little push yesterday to share this with everyone. Thanks M&J.