Posts Tagged With: dad

Blinding Pain


Indulge me for a moment as I reflect on PAIN. The electric word, pain, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time, but… wait, no. Wrong lyrics. It’s more like I have stood here before inside the pouring rain. But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.

(TANGENT: Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is a song for every occasion. And my life is a never-ending jukebox of extended play soundtracks, product jingles and sitcom theme music. But I digress…)

Pain comes in various levels of intensity that I personally believe can be classified by the initial or ongoing reaction of the body. For instance, there is the OUCH variety. As a parent you become intimately acquainted with this type of pain, since it is usually the result of being caught in the crossfire of flying toys, or stepping on a Lego brick for the 2 millionth time. Then you have the NAG variety. This is pain attributed to something like a paper cut, or in my case, the silent and invisible slice of the skin that occurs when you’ve lost your patience while trying to open the 124 jumbo pack of size 4 diapers. After the initial intake of breath from the sudden sharp cut, this pain follows you around for a day or so as it reopens repeatedly because you’ve forgotten about it, and failed to take it easy on the tickle attacks. Of course, there is the THROB level of pain. Most of us are probably familiar with these dull waves of soreness that gather in your arms, feet and legs when you finally sit down after a long day of errands, decorating and playing host to a couple dozen tyrant gradeschoolers for a birthday party.

Why am I saying all of this? Because on Tuesday of this week I was finally at the point of no return with one of the more devastating levels of pain… which is BLINDING. Blinding pain is when the pain is so intensely excruciating that you squeeze your eyes shut uncontrollably. It’s the kind of pain that wakes you up from a dead sleep and laughs at your feeble attempts to ignore it for the sake of rest. It’s the kind of pain where panic sets in because you are quite certain it will never go away and you seriously consider the horrific thought of what it would mean to endure this kind of torture for the rest of your life. Yep. That was me. It was a toothache. And you can chuckle all you want, but when your head feels like someone is shooting bolts of electricity through the roof of your mouth and directly into your brain, no amount of head-holding, temple-massaging, hot packs, or acetaminophen is going to provide you any relief. It was the kind of pain that you can’t run from though you desperately wish it were possible.

(TANGENT: This is second only to MIND-NUMBING pain in which the pain is to the point where the body shuts off all sensory perception and you knock out. This happened when I was 12 and was hit by a car. You can read that story here.)

Fortunately for me, I have a wife that likes having me around and wants to keep me around for a bit longer. So she set up an emergency appointment for me with the dentist that afternoon.

A little background on my relationship with dentists… I’ve developed a bit of apprehension about visiting them. Why? Well, not because I’m the kind of person who’s afraid of going to the dentist’s office. But it’s more about how the dentist treats me. As a kid, if I had a cavity the dentist would say something along the lines of, “If you don’t lay off the sweets, all of your teeth will fall out.” Now I know that this approach works for some people, but for me it just felt eye-roll worthy. As I got older, the dentists I visited seemed to only get worse. Instead of a jovial “Lay off the sweets,” I’d get a more accusatory “You’re too young to have this going on in your mouth!” or something equally degrading. Their comments were the antithesis of encouragement. “Hey Doc, I’m fully aware of the crummy condition of my incisors. That’s why I’m here! Can we skip the personal insults and just cut to the part where you fix my teeth and take away the pain? Thanks.”

I was happy to find that my wife (you know, that crazy-beautiful lady that tolerates my imperfections) had let the dentist and office staff know of my previous experiences. Because of this, they were extremely gracious. The dentist who took care of me that day was not only compassionate, but genuinely concerned about my overall comfort level. God bless her. After an initial examination I was told that my wisdom tooth in the upper right was broken and infected. I was given antibiotics, pain medication, and scheduled for an extraction appointment in 3 days. The next few days brought my pain level down from BLINDING to NAGGING with the occasional BLURRY thrown in for good measure. In any case, I made it to today.

My appointment was at 7am, which allowed me to get up this morning a whole half hour later than usual. I pressed through the rain, into the car, down the street, and into the familiar strip mall that contains our dental office, along with a smoke shop, a juice bar, and a much-frequented 99 Cents Only Store. As before, the office staff received me with knowing kindness and before I knew it, I was in and out with a mouth full a gauze and one less wisdom tooth!

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

I’m still taking the antibiotics and the occasional pain pill. But the blinding pain is thankfully in my past.

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Categories: health, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Daddy! Come Quick!


PREVIOUSLY ON “Daddy! Come Quick!”

A leaky diaper at 2:00am interrupts our father’s normal sleep cycle when a delirious, yet still adorable, 3 1/2 year old requires a change of clothes and a full bed makeover, including the temporary relocation of a dozen stuffed animals.

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All clean!

TONIGHT ON “Daddy! Come Quick!”

While performing what could easily be his 1 millionth diaper change, Dad reflects on that glorious day when the only poop he’ll have to manage is his own.

mattmaskdiaper

Take precautions!

Categories: family | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Voices


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“You’re such a mean dad!”I usually hear this one after I discipline my children.

Your wife is miserable!”I hear this one mostly on the days when I see how overwhelmed my wife can become with managing a household that includes four children under 8 and two over 16.

“You are a failure!”I hear this one frequently. Either when I reflect on unmet educational goals or unwritten books and songs that are begging to get out of my head.

“People don’t like you. They think you’re weird and anti-social.”Well, if you’ve read “The Struggle With Hugs” last year, you’ll understand this one.

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Yes, these are the voices in my head. No, not the “OMG, I’m hearing things!” crazy kind of voices. But rather the very distinct voices that narrate various parts of and events in my life. Like uninvited guests to my parade of memories.

They are altogether unrepentant, distorted versions of my own voice that cast verdicts from the sidelines like a mental peanut gallery.

This is probably the result of the fact that I have a tendency to fall into over thinking or over analyzing situations and people. As soon as I dedicate any mind power to introspection, here come the snickering voices that want to judge my past or recent actions against society’s definition of success.

Sometimes it seems as if they simply want to pull me toward despair. Encouraging depression and pessimist behavior. Or pushing me toward isolation and episodes of social awkwardness.

But I resist.

I push back at them by encouraging myself with what I know to be true. I am loved by my wife and children. I am appreciated and respected by my peers. I pursue honor and integrity and support others in their pursuit of health and happiness.

Of course there are days when my exhaustion makes the effort to resist seem ten times harder. But I’m not given over to pity parties. Besides, there’s yet another voice that likes to shout things like, “No one wants to hear about your stupid issues, Mr. Happily Married with 6 beautiful kids!”.  I just ignore it, realizing that if I decide to stuff down those thoughts instead of purging them, I will become the worst version of myself.

So this is my release.

My confession.

Admitting that I struggle against the naysayers from within more so than I ever did against those from without. Yet, I strive to be a daily overcomer. One who acknowledges the challenges while doing everything necessary to overcome them.

It makes us human and ultimately, makes our victories so much sweeter.

What do some of YOUR voices say to you? How do you quiet them?

VoicesInHead

Categories: personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Not All Fathers Are Biological


To all of the Dads (biological and non-biological), Grandfathers, Uncles, Cousins, Neighbors, Educators, Ministers, Supervisors, Business Owners, Social Service Workers, Physical and Mental Health Professionals and any other man who has accepted the responsibility and privilege of helping to raise and mentor the next generation of our society…

I SALUTE YOU!

May your labor of love be rewarded through the lives you’ve changed and the world you’ve helped to shape.

Happy Father’s Day!

fist-bump

 

Categories: relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Struggle With Hugs


I’ll just come out and say it… I’m weird. Awkward. Maybe at times even a bit uncomfortable. To some, this isn’t news. Or maybe it is. Whatever the case may be, I’m confessing my struggle with hugging.
Hugs, you say?

Yes, hugs. Let me explain…

I love hugs. I do. I think they are perfect for expressing affection for those you love, appreciation for people who’ve done something wonderful for you, and even as a greeting for those you haven’t seen in quite a while.

The problem is that I’m painfully inconsistent. I may hug you on one day and not hug you the next. It has nothing to do with how I feel about you. I think it has more to do with over thinking the process. What I mean is this… I grew up thinking that guys don’t hug. For any reason.

Did you brake your leg? Head nod with a grunt.

Did you just have a fight with your girlfriend? Shake head while saying, “Dude.”

Did you just accomplish some major goal? Punch to the shoulder with a smile.

Now, with the exception of the common one-armed back pat with hands clasped between you, most guys I know don’t hug. So it’s not something I made a habit of doing. But this threw me WAY off later in life.

When I was younger, I had no problem hugging girls I dated or even my mom. My dad, on the other hand, was never a big hugger. Even now I think it surprises him when someone moves in for an embrace. But that’s not to say that my dad isn’t affectionate. We actually hug more now that I’m older.

Neverthless, with most friends and relatives, I probably confuse the heck out of them. Sometimes I’ll immediately go in for a hug. Other times I’ll wait for them to make the first move. And still at other times, there will be this awkward moment where neither one of us is certain if the other will offer a hug, so we’ll do this weird wobbling until we either hug or one of us moves away to end the stalemate.

I don’t know what causes me to do this. It’s not intentional. But I fear I’ve gotten to the point where my inconsistency is to be expected, and to all of a sudden start hugging people regularly would make things even more weird… or awkward… or confusing.

Who knows?

All I can say is, if you see me, give me a hug. I will never refuse them.

Categories: personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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