Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When the Doctor Makes You Think....hmmmm?

Over the many years residing in Bahain Ive had recourse to seek medical help on many occasions. Usually the outcome was good and I was happy with the results...other times Ive sat there (or writhed around on the floor or was curled up on the bed unable to get the point) and wondered if this person in front of me was a REAL doctor or just someone that wandered into the hospital, donned a white coat and plastic smile, and had thus far gone undetected? It dont laugh at me.
Most of the time Im left with the feeling the doc know his or her stuff and is in full command of the situation..other times I feel like I need to start hunting for another facility...or at the very least...start googling my symptoms on my phone and clue the doc in...point him in the right direction so to speak...(I got my story there so once again...dont laugh).
When it comes to my own health and health concerns Im way too flexible (lazy)and lenient about proper care and treatment...I will let things slide and drag on quite awhile before I get up enough desire (or endure enough pain) to drag myself to the doc. Usually after friends and family have had to practically drag me there under extreme protest and foot dragging. Im like that.
Now..when it comes to my children its a completely different story.. One sniffle or stomach cramp and they find themselves sitting in a doctors office before they know what hits them. (this does not include children that try and pull one over on Mom by faking symptoms or trumping up minor ones to get out of doing know who you are). Unfortunately Ive had my fair share of, what I assume to be quack doctors, sit in front of me disguised as a Pediatricians just as often as not. The things that these doctors come up with....some actions they take...and conclusions they come up with just leave me wanting to scream and run for the nearest and then they just completely floor me with the some completely off the wall questions...questions that just make me say....Um? Here is a short, but by no means complete, list of such moments.

1. When my son was 6 months old I awoke in the morning to discover his soft spot (fontanel) had swollen considerably over night. It was severely protruding from his head...any idiot could easily see it. (I was seriously considering my little "demon child" was sprouting his devilish horn at last...late bloomer that he was...for some reason he doesnt find that in the least funny...sigh). Anyhow...I rushed him to the hospital imagining the worst...sat down in front of doc with my swollen headed kid...the doc looks my son up and down and asks...."ok...why have you brought your child in today?"... Um? Well lets see. When I pointed out what I assumed to be the obvious...he smiled at me and said..."your such an observant mom to see that and bring him in so quickly". Really? Do I get a cookie now? I would seriously like to meet the mom...any mom (any person)...that would NOT be observant enough to see such a swelling...anyhow. Turns out he had viral meningitis and spent a week in the hosp. That, my friends, is a story for another time all by itself....sigh.

2. When my other son was also around 6 months old I took him to a specialist because he had been sick for quite some time and the local clinic was not getting anywhere with finding the cause. I was stressed out and worried because, among other symptoms, he had blood in his stool. I didnt have money for a specialist but begged for it just to get to the bottom of his symptoms after suffering for so long. Soooo.....sitting there in front of this serious confident sincere doctor who was talking with a calm voice and making me relax and believe I had finally found someone that would take all this seriously...right in the middle of discussing tests that would be done and possible outcomes and treatments etc...the doc looks at my (ex)husband and I and asks..."whose idea was it to name your son Adam?" ...Um?....mine. Ive wanted to name my first son Adam since forever...but what has that got to do with anything right now? "Its a very old name you know...not very common among Arabs I was just wondering whose idea it was"...he added...well that would be idea...and btw its the OLDEST name there is. So now that we have that out of the way...back to my son and his illness...gee thanks.

3. When my daughter was 4 she stepped on a piece of glass and managed to cut out quite a chunk of meat from her foot. It was horrible and bleeding terribly. After sitting in the emergency room for hours...the doc comes up (after literally dragging him there)..takes one look and says..."did she cut her foot?" Im thinking...yes. His powers of observation were almost as good as mine when I "diagnosed" my son with the swollen head.

4. When my daughter was 3 she swallowed a whole bottle of Ibuprofen 400 mg. (I might add that this daughter was known throughout her childhood for putting absolutely everything in her mouth...this was just one episode of many). We rushed her to the hospital and the doc ordered her stomach to be pumped. Afterwards he gave me a large glass of liquid charcoal and told me to try and get her to drink as much as possible to absorb whatever remained of the meds. He told me she probably would refuse and I needed to make sure she got as much as possible. problems. I handed her the glass and told her.."baby, mommy needs you to drink this will make you feel better". Imagine everyones surprise when my daughter took the glass and drank the whole thing down...hardly pausing along the way. They all clapped and cheered and the doc looks at me and asks..."have you given this to her before?"...Um?...yeah...I keep liquid charcoal at home and give it out only as a special treat when the kids are being extra good.

5. My son had quite a few injuries as a child from his unquenchable desire to climb anything and everything. He also apparently preferred the express descent over the slow and cautious one. Consequently...he's has his fair share of stitches and mild concussions. There was one period of time that I actually had him in the emergency room 3 TIMES in one week with injuries that required a few stitches. Thankfully this isnt America or I might have been charged with child abuse...whew! Dodged a bullet there. Anyhow...after the third trip there (but by no means last) the doc, while looking over his file says..."looks like hes been injuring himself since before he was born"...Um? cant imagine how many times he needed stitches after climbing my ribs and falling down and smacking his head on my pelvic bone while in my uterus.

Im happy to note that I havent had to take them for anything too serious of late...with everything else going on in my life...I think Im right at that point where I would not hesitate to smack the doc upside the head and head for the door.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Surrounded by Water....but Still Cant Swim!!!

One of the oddest things I have come to learn about Bahrainis over this 23 years is that they seem to be a population of people living on an island...surrounded by water...and yet are ignorant of even the most basics of safety when it comes to enjoying the water.
Ive lost count of the number of drownings we have in Bahrain on a regular basis (at the beach, in swimming pools, even in buckets of water or washing machines etc for small children)...most of those drownings seem to happen because of little or no concern for personal safety or the safety of their own children. Small children drowning is a common headline in the local papers come every Summer. There have even been instances when children have drowned in water tanks that are on nearly every building in Bahrain. The fact that these tanks are left open...or that small children on are on the roofs of buildings in the first place never seems to come up when discussing who is at fault.
Anyhow, having said all is my near drowning story that involves my own children and myself. (yeah I know...stop pointing fingers and all that)
Some years back before the stretches of beach along the road leading out to Hidds local beach were filled in and houses were built on reclaimed land...I would take my then young children to wade in the water nearer to my home...rather than all the way to the end where it was always more crowded etc. My oldest daughter at the time was around 12, my younger daughter was 6 and my youngest son was 2. The two older boys were 8 and 10.
I learned to swim from a very young age due to swim programs that were in effect every Summer where I grew up and the local YMCA...Ive never had fear of water and consequently cant understand people that do. If your afraid of the water...learn to swim...or stay away from it all together...believe me..."accidents" are waiting to happen.
It was a habit of mine to take my children to the beach on a regular basis and to take turns teaching one or the other to do the basics...paddling like a doggy to stay afloat or just floating on the back to rest etc were what I consider the basics. Each of my children had different learning curves...some I had to spend more time with...the others took to it right away. Because I had 5 children to keep an eye out for...whenever we were alone I always took them to an area of beach that had a very low water level...maybe just to the knees....or where they could basically float but not dive or anything. Perfect for lessons but no fancy swimming etc. Not to mention that I had instilled in them time and again NOT to venture out too far or too far away from me that I couldnt get to them if there was trouble...they had always been very good about sticking close to me.
Now generally when I take them to the beach to play I do not take the youngest one unless Im with friends or with the (ex) husband because I cannot watch him on the beach and watch them in the water on my own...but this trip to the beach was not for swimming lessons was just to wade in shallow water and let them cool off. I took them to an area that was barely to the knee at high tide. They all tumbled out of the van and raced down to the beach...I took my time getting the 2 year old and a blanket etc to sit and watch them. When I arrived at the waters edge they were all happily splashing not even 8 or 10 feet from the shoreline....and it was all shallow. So I turned my back and walked back up the beach to spread the blanket...away from the debris alongside the shore.
My 2 year old decided he needed to wander
back up the beach to the van so I went after him to bring him back. After I had gone just a few yards further my oldest daughter screamed out my name. Now Im sad to say I did not immediately pay attention to the alarm in her scream...with 5 kids playing there are always screams and shouts etc....mothers get pretty good at ciphering the screams from the ordinary play ones to the "somethings wrong" ones...but I was after the 2 year old...they were in 2 feet of water...and I wasnt paying attention...pure and simple.

I shouted back over my shoulder.."what?" but didnt turn to look as I was intent on reaching the 2 year old before he hit the hot tarmac of the parking lot.

Quickly she screamed again..."MOM!!!" ...but this time I turned and looked because her scream was cut off mid someone had clapped a hand over her mouth. When I looked back down towards the beach all I could see were my two sons...the two girls were gone!!

You know sometimes when you look at something and its not making sense...and you try and understand it and make sense of it so that your brain can take it in and explain it to you? Do you know that feeling? My two girls should have been there...the water was only 2 feet deep...even if they sat down I would have been able to see them...their shoulders and heads above the water...but they were gone. I quickly scanned the beach up and down hoping for a second they had run off and were screaming in play chasing each other...nothing.

I looked back at my two boys and it was then I noticed they were both standing next to each other looking DOWN into the water....I ran....

When I reached the waters edge I quickly realized what had happened. There was a trench of some sort...maybe not even 6 or 8 feet across in width...but obviously wasnt even that far out in the water...I could see it from the waters edge...I could also see both of my daughters down in it struggling to come up for air. I immediately screamed at my sons to get back and to go get their brother who was still wandering up by the van.

I was intending to step near the edge of the trench and grab their arms or clothing..or even their hair if I had to to pull them to safety...however as soon as I came near the edge it gave way...and before I knew it I was plunging into the deep water right along with them. Because of the unexpected plunge I never had a chance to grab a lungful of breath...and because my daughters were panicking and suddenly had something to hang on to...ME....they quickly clung on to me trying to get up to the surface...I nearly drowned myself right then and there. Now I know how to swim...even with age and weight gain and inactivity for the most part Im a capable swimmer....but to suddenly be thrust into a position in which two drowning victims are viewing you as their only hope...their only chance...and with reason completely tossed to the winds because of fear and daughters were intent on dragging me down right along with them. (it was here that I realized just how it is that people who can swim often drown while trying to save others...funny the things that go through your mind at times like

I NEEDED some order to save their lives I needed to save mine first. I did the only thing I could think of, I violently pushed them away in order to claw my way to the surface and gasp for some air. As soon as I reached the surface and with my second gasp of air I once again screamed at the boys who were still standing there to get back and go get their brother...then both my daughters clung to me again and I went down.

This time I was more prepared and took a lungful of breath...I grabbed their clothing with both hands and shoved them to the far as I know that was their first breath in minutes? seconds? moments? ...I dont know...time has a funny way of slowing down at times like that. Then I needed air again so pushed my way to the surface.

The agonizing thing about this whole drama was that we were in fact quite possibly going to drown not 8 feet from water that for the most part was barely 2 feet deep...while I was caught up in the moment of trying to prevent my daughters from drowning me...while also trying to save them...I also had time to think about my 2 year up on the beach wandering alone...possibly headed for the nearby highway...I had time to think of my two older boys that might try and help and step into the trench as well...I had time to think that if we did in fact would anyone know...what would my boys do...who would save them? All of this was roaring through my head and all the while I was trying furiously to think of a way to get, not one, but two drowning victims to safety.

Talk about hectic...I would say you "just had to be there" but I wouldnt wish that experience on anyone.

Now when all was said and done it turns out maybe not even 5 minutes passed from the time I entered the water until I manged to shove them one by one close enough to the edge for the older brother to grab some clothing and help the younger one out...then the older one managed to climb out since she had was able to calm down sufficiently to think rationally..(it could have been longer but I wasnt wearing a watch so not real sure) ...but it felt like a century or more had passed during that brief spell...and it felt like the whole world had disappeared and us and our little drama was all that mattered.

I realized by the third time I went up for air that I wasnt going to last much longer...I was fat and out of shape...suddenly thrust into a perilous situation...and asking more of my body then it was use too...if I didnt do something quick it would be too late for me...and probably my daughters as the next time I struggled to the surface I screamed at my older daughter to let go of me...and I let go of her (its the hardest thing in the world to do to let go of a child when they need you...but when you have two children that need you...its a feeling quite like no a moment of extreme chaos and confusion...I had to make the choice of which daughter to let go and which one to help to safety...its not easy...dont ask me what criteria I used to make that choice...I seriously dont know)...

She immediately let go of me and I was able to maneuver my body, grab my younger daughter properly...and basically shove her up and over to the edge...before going under son grabbed her clothing and she struggled out. As soon as I struggled once again to the surface my older daughter once again clung to me...but had calmed down considerably now that her sister was out of the water...I was able to help her to the edge and we both managed to haul ourselves out.

To this day Im not real sure how we got out of that trench...the sides just dropped slope or anything...but we did...thats the important thing.

Once we were all out and I had once again shouted at my son to go catch his brother...who was thankfully playing in the sand near the van...and I stood there heaving, trying to catch my breath...feeling as if my heart was either going to just stop working...or explode into pieces in my chest. I might add here that at the time of this incident I was wearing hijab and the required long sleeves and loose clothing that the culture requires women to wear...even when swimming at the beach...and I must say that extra clothing was detrimental to me at that weighed me down and tangled up my legs...not to mention my hijab covered my face more than once acting like a barrier between my mouth and a lifesaving mouthful of breath...I would seriously caution women against swimming with all that clothing on...but then again...I know they will...its a burden they must bear to preserve hell with safety.

Anyhow, I remember just standing there...catching my children crying and freaked out...and I just screamed at them....THATS WHY YOU LEARN HOW TO SWIM!!!

I gathered them all up and went back home...soaking the inside of the car with our wet things...not bothering the change...and surprising the (ex) husband with our early return. Turns out we hadnt even been gone half an hour. I could have punched him in the nose when he actually had the nerve to laugh when I gave him a brief rundown of what had just happened. He didnt take it serious at all....maybe I didnt tell it right...WE ALMOST DROWN ASSHOLE!!! whatever...sigh!

After that all my children put more effort into learning to swim and are pros at it...except for my oldest daughter...who has never been able to put her head under the water agains since that time. She wont even relax enough to float on her back. She is petrified of water now...will cling to the side of the swimming pool with a floaty grasped tightly in her hands...nothing I say will convince her to give it another try.

I hope there are no drownings this Summer here in Bahrain...but alas..I fear there will be. People dont respect the water and what it can do. They dont look for dangers and give little regard for the pull of the tide. Considering they are a pearling culture which has strong ties to the water...I find this odd.

But then again...when it comes to personal safety...I find Arabs in general are pretty lax about the whole thing....even when it comes to their children.

btw I have never taken my children to the beach alone again since that time. I do learn my lessons...some quicker than others...sigh!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Do the Drama and Impending Heart Attacks EVER End?!!!

So...Ive often wondered about the serious lack of concern for customer service here in Bahrain (is it the same all over the Middle East I wonder?)...Ive often been in business establishments in which the staff are doing absolutely nothing...and yet cant be bothered to stir from their apathy long enough to earn their salary. Walking out, or taking your business elsewhere, seems to bother them not all all...sigh!!

Generally speaking it doesnt bother me too much unless I really need some help and look around to discover every salesperson has quite literally disappeared...grrr!!

Now, complaining about a service that SHOULD be provided as company policy...or because you PAID for that service and therefore should actually get what you pay for is something else all together...if I dont get my customer service taken care of adequately in that regard...then you will see more than a pissed off customer taking her business elsewhere...todays little (big) drama involving my daughter travelling home is case in point. Picture this...

When her ticket was purchased an adult ticket was paid for because as an unaccompanied minor she will need "extra" care and attention. For those that dont attendant will literally take her from one location to another...handing her over to the next person in charge for the next part of her journey until she is delivered personally into the hands of a relative etc. Each person handing her over must sign the document that travels with her indicating she/he is relinquishing responsibility and that the minor is being handed over in good shape and without harm etc...the next handler signs that they have taken over responsibility etc...and it goes from there from the start of journey till ending with relatives joyful to see her....thats the way its SUPPOSED to work.

I called early the next morning to ensure that her status as "unaccompanied minor" was properly indicated so there would be no problems (you have to keep on track of these things just to quiet that little voice in the back of your head that never goes quiet while your child is out of your sight etc)...she was flying Gulf Air, Bahrains national carrier, and the person I spoke with assured me her status was noted...ok...sigh of relief.

Last night when we arrived at the airport I discover in fact that no such notice had been put into affect and she was without an attendant to see her through. Funny enough, even though I was totally pissed off...I wasnt surprised...Ive lived here long enough to know customer service sucks...even with follow up.

With much drama and angry words from my side...much hemming and hawing from the Gulf Air reps about how this "technicality" was eventually rectified by me filling out paperwork at that time (rather than the required 48 hours notice) and an attendant was brought to escort her onto the plane.

I was slightly mollified by the Gulf Airs reps who quickly got around the gaff and made things right...all though I wasnt completely satisfied sending my daughter off with an airline attendant that had been hastily brought and had never actually done that particular job before (hence the need for 48 hours notice etc). It couldnt be that hard to do...could it?

Turns out Gulf Air wasnt telling me a very important fact that I needed to know before relinquishing my daughter into their hands...because she was switching over to American Airlines in Germany...apparently this meant there would be no attendant waiting for her from the American Airline side of the journey...because they have no "unaccompanied minor policy when it comes to handing over from one airline to another" service...or something like that.

So I get a frantic message from my daughter in Germany who is all but abandon in the airport as she is shown (I assume here) the American Airlines reservation desk etc...and then left to on her own to figure out what to do next (there is no handing over policy remember...apparently). I call her and she gives her telephone to the American Airlines reservation employee who informs me that she is basically on her own (he is the one that also informs me there is no hand over policy) and is asking for my permission to board her on the plane anyhow. Well gee...I dont know...why not just let her wander around the airport in Germany for eternity...Im sure the experience will be interesting and something to remember for her. HELL YES put her on the plane...however...slight problem with that too (isnt there always)...of course this means there will be nobody to accompany her through customs and passports and luggage claim etc once she reaches the other side.

Now my daughter is intelligent and quite capable of reading signs and following the crowd and asking for help if she doesnt know where to go or what to my biggest fear wasnt that she wouldnt manage to get through all that on her own...

Has anyone seen the movie Taken? Well a quick run this film there is a ruthless gang of human smugglers that hang out at airports looking for young vulnerable girls (over 17 obviously)...striking up conversations to determine their status (someone waiting to pick them up...where they are staying etc) with the eventual outcome that they are kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. Its a very emotional and heartbreaking movie for anyone interested in seeing it.

Anyhow, my biggest fear was that someone similar to one of those human slave traffickers would spot my obviously young daughters status as "completely alone" and waste no time in setting her up for the news.

So I had to agree to let her on the plane of course...the AA rep said "very well and thank your" and hung up....I quickly called my daughter to once again lecture her on not talking to strangers...not giving out personal info...and also to give her details about what exactly to do once she arrived in Dallas and had to go through customs etc....but her phone went dead as soon as she answered....and so I spent the whole night worrying about what would happen to her once she reached Dallas (even on the plane she isnt safe if she tells a fellow passenger she is alone cant trust anyone these days) A mothers imagination when it comes to the potential harm that can come to her child has no limit...believe me.

I called my older daughter who was picking her up...told her what had happened and told her to call the American Airlines customer service to get their advice. They told her to come to the airport early and they would "help"....hmmm.

When she arrived and went to customer service this is the conversation that ensued.

Daughter: My 15 year old sister is going to be landing soon and she doesnt have anyone to help her find her way through. Can you send someone to bring her to me?

C.S. rep: Its only one long tunnel with stairs etc...with lots of signs...anyone can find their way. Dont worry.

Daughter: But my mom is worried and wants to be sure my sister is safe and gets through ok.

C.S. rep: Even if she (my daughter) was walking on her hands and knees...she would find her way through.


When my daughter called me and told me the rep had actually spewed those horrible words out (with a dismissing tone while she turned and walked away I was told) I nearly went up in smoke. Is that really what Customer Service is like in America now? Oh well...your 15 year old child is alone and potential prey for God knows what...but if she walks on all fours like a dog she will get through it....any idiot problem!!!

I immediately told my daughter to go find that rep and put her on the phone...but she couldnt find her....not to mention that my older daughter is not the sort to confront and demand action and was hesitant to "make a big deal over it"...just wait Daughter until you are a mother...then you will find your voice and understand just how big a deal it is when it comes to your child. For the moment I was stymied how to deal with that.

45 min after the flight had landed my daughter still hadnt come through. Phone calls back and forth, much hand wringing accompanied with heart palpitations, not to mention way to many vivid scenarios of what obviously happened to her being played out in my head, were not helping matters.

Finally a phone call to tell me she had come through with all body parts intact...thank God. Apparently her reason for taking so long was that Gulf Air did not tag her luggage had to be hunted down...nice!

I aged over night people...I felt the ache and pain of every single one of my heartbeats from the time she left my sight until I received that phone call telling me she was safe and sound. I did not sleep...not even a little.

I demand satisfaction from someone. This was a gross display of customer service from my point of view. Children are not something to abandon at airports cause there is "no policy of hand overs" (assuming here)...courtesy and just God damned human empathy and the desire to see no harm come to children would seemingly be enough to "overlook policy" long enough to deliver her into safe hands....especially when nobody had informed ME that such a policy did not exist in the first place when I released her into Gulf Airs hands..does policy (or lack there of) take precedent over the safety of a child?

To make matters worse, her return flight goes through London, anyone that has ever had to navigate Terminal 5 for international flights will understand just how daunting and complicated it can be getting from one connection to another. I cant imagine my daughter being able to find her way through that maze on her own without mishap...Ive done it many times and I still find it confusing and frustrating at times. And because there is no unaccompanied minor status indicated on her ticket from the American Airlines side (it is from Gulf Airs side)...even if Im able to get her ticket indicated as such....Im assuming she will be forced to do it alone as AA will seemingly abandon her in a similar fashion at Heathrow once she has disembarked their airplane and tries to make her way through that maze of confusion that is Heathrow to her Gulf Air connection? (there is no hand over policy remember)

Ive got some serious phone calls to make...and Im pissed.

Gulf Air...your customer service sucks.

American Airlines...while your customer service was slightly better...I cant believe you were not willing to have someone waiting upon her landing and seeing her through...even though there is no official hand over policy (apparently)...its just seems like the right thing for you to have done...especially considering she is a child...and that I was not informed of ahead of time...and therefore an on the spot decision could have been made to cover the ineptitude of airline employees that lead to that trouble in the first place. Im sorely disappointed in you...and will be telling you so as soon as I can get someone on the phone...fricken lines are always busy.

Its going to be a long month until she is back safe with me again.

And if I ever discover who the customer service rep was that referred to my daughter as a out!!

Just Cant Say thank You Enough!!!

I wanted to extend my thank you's to someone that reached out an anonymous hand (all though not quite so anonymous in some ways) to help me in my time of need.
He chooses to remain unnamed and said "if we cant help each other why are we here".
He truly was my Knight in Shining Armour and asked for nothing in return for this act of selfless giving.
All I can say is thank you...and we can never say it enough as this post proves. I tried many times to put this Thank You pic just once...each time it kept printing and printing them over and over again...eventually I decided...maybe it was trying to tell me I left them as they were...might be a bit over the top for a post...but really...can we ever say thank you enough when people reach out and acknowledge our need...and do what they can to assuage it?
Thank You M.Y.....maybe you dont want others to know who you are...but I do...and my daughter does as well.....and as long as she knows (and me of course) that there are still good people in the world who help without expecting explanations...conditions...or gratitude after every little (or big) kindness...then she has learned a very valuable lesson.
Thank you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Dont Know Me....!!!

You dont know me
You think you know me
Cause I choose to let you in
The words I write are but a dent
To the real me and who Ive been
You dont know me
You think you know me
Cause you've read a book or two
You watched Oprah or Dr Phil
And that gives you a license or two
Your advice might well be good
If a kind word was used...maybe a few
You dont know me
You think you know me
Cause you've "been there done that"
Let me tell you
You havent "been here or done this"
So dont give me your crap
You dont know me
You think you know me
Cause you aunt, sister mother
Suffered without blame
Im sorry they suffered, truly I am
But our suffering is not the same
You dont know me
You think you know me
Well walk in my shoes for a day
Then come back and tell me Ive lost my mind
And that my kids are fucked in all ways
You dont know me
You think you know me
Cause the words I write and you read
Its only a portion of the torment Ive known
And theyve known...and still we live and breath
Life is easy from the outside looking in
Choices are easy when you know where to begin
Mistakes are not forgiven...when its someone else mistake
Dont tell me that you know me and that its just fucking too late
Its not to late
Its never too late
Things broken can be mended
Things started can be ended
Whats wrong today
Can be right tomorrow
Why come and add
Your poison, add to the sorrow
You think you know me
You dont know me...
But heres a thought or two
As much as you dont know me
I know exactly who are you
*Ive turned on moderation of comments because some people have an unhealthy idea of "helpful" advice...and others are just sick.
This isnt a reflection on any poster that I allowed their comment to be posted.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Desperate Times Call For...Well...You All Know The Rest

People who know me...and those who might frequent this blog...know that I have had, this past two years plus, a very trying time...that old adage, "when it rains it pours", has never been more true then of late for me. Of course my children are suffering right along with me...a family affair and all that. For the most part we are getting by...what seems like an emergency RIGHT NOW may lose its intensity by tomorrow and you just get on with things...most of the time that works...sometimes it goes on.

Of the many many things we have dealt with lately here is just a brief rundown (just so you get the general picture)

1. divorce due to incestuous father (much more drama there then I could possibly explain...)

2. Abandonment by his whole family...all of them...EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. my children not only lost a father...such as he was...they lost aunts...cousins...a grandma etc a wholesale clearing house of "family" that have known them since the day they were born...and yet turned their backs without a backward glance. I do believe that wholesale abandonment has hurt my children far more then anything else. They have lost faith in people to "say what they mean"...and "mean what they say"...if you know what I mean.

3. Much drama involving the neighborhood "Wahabbis" (everything from young kids to old pains in the ass)...everyone felt obliged to weigh in and give their opinion about the goings on in my home...with either me or my children (especially my girls). It was not uncommon for rude things to be shouted from car windows...messages left on my car calls... and just rumor and gossip to pass the time...thats what we children and I...something to gossip about and pass the time among the Oh So Pious Muslims that felt we needed gossiping gets so tiring.

4. Eventually the drama became too much so my sister came here (first time ever) just to take my two girls back to the states with her...with the intention that the boys and I would follow later. I needed the girls to get away from this drama and have some time to heal and get perspective. It seemed like a good decision at the time. They went to the states last July 08.

5. The boys and I got on with it...missing the girls...fending off comments people were making about how I "sent my daughters away" because of the shame "they" caused to the family etc. (funny how nobody was talking about the Ass and his destruction of a family....figures) The girls were doing ok...needing time to adjust and all...but that was expected. Life went on.

6. Around Nov there was some drama back home...misunderstandings and a boiling point reached...(just imagine...small house...2 new additions...culture shock and an only child that had never had to share in her life etc...makes for a slow burning fuse...but you cant see these things coming most of the time). I ended up going to the states with my youngest son calm the situation down and try and start a life there. I left my two older boys with my best friend with the understanding they would come in the summer. It was too soon as it turned out...things werent settled here and things werent working out there (just so happens the economy was in a nosedive etc...thanks economy).

To make matters 17 year old started showing signs of mental breakdown...without going into detail here...lets just say he was starting to scare people with his strange behaviors (hindsight...oh I hate hindsight...tells me he was showing these signs before I left...but I understood it to be anger and just general teenage drama over the situation etc...although that was probably part of it). So there I was in America...trying to start a brand new life in a sucking economy with a crappy C.V. (it wasnt happening)...and getting news that my son was falling to pieces. Not to mention the Ass and his family had discovered I was gone and started some drama on their well as the Ass decided he didnt need to pay child support anymore since I wasnt here to enforce it. For many reasons I needed to come back.

Of course with no money I had to rely on friends (one in know who you are girl) and I had to make the tough decision to leave my youngest son there. For one the schooling was far better...he was enjoying himself...and we just couldnt afford to bring him back at that time. To make the decision easier I had been offered a very good job in Bahrain while in the assumed I would be coming back to a decent income...compared to no income over was deemed worth it. So I came back with a heavy heart but with expectations based on promises given.

7. Upon arrival I found a therapist for my son (he is on meds as well)...took the Ass to court (currently dealing with that) and discovered that the job was no longer available. I have been unlucky in securing a job every since I arrived here months ago. Im depending on friends etc to pay our bills and make life bearable.

8. To add just one more straw to the camels back...some more drama back home (for which I do not blame my daughter in the least...she did her best) and Im shocked to discover my sis has made the decision to send my youngest daughter back without even discussing it with me first. I had just days to prepare for her...and now here she is. Im so very happy to see her...but there is a serious problem...and this problem is the reason for this post.

Now pretty much all those problems and events listed above were lived through and put behind us (for the most part...some of it is being stubborn and wont cut loose easily) get through it...past it...and move problem. (ok I dont always get past it but Im trying).

Here is the problem people. My daughter is in the 9th grade. She has just 6 weeks of schooling left in America to complete the 9th grade (Im sure those readers in the states know the school schedule better than me)....schools here are pretty much the same...just a short time left. Why my sister chose to send her back at this time I will never just doesnt seem like something she would do...however...its I need to fix this problem...the problem being I cant find a school that will take her in and let her graduate the 9th grade. There isnt enough time left every single one of them has told me. I even checked with the embassy...they cant help me. I checked with every source I could find searching every luck. If she stays here folks...she will have to repeat the 9th grade next year...7 months of school wasted...7 months of school in which she went from a C average student to an honor roll student.

I cannot bear the thought of my daughter having to repeat the 9th grade merely because the adults in her life made some bad choices regarding her. She isnt failing the 9th grade...she doesnt need another year to "catch up" with the other students etc...she is on the honor roll for Gods sake...and yet she feels like a loser now...a failure...just one more straw on Her camels back....through no fault of her own.

It seems my ONLY solution...the only way I can ensure she finishes her year and gets her 9th grade certificate is to send her BACK to Texas and let her finish her few remaining weeks of school. There is no other solution. The school says if she returns by the 27th she can still maintain her attendance...catch up with what she missed...and take her finals etc. So the 27th is my deadline.

Now if just sending her back was my only problem...then there wouldnt really be a problem...the REAL problem is that I have nowhere to send her to. Obviously my sisters home is no longer an option. I suppose if I begged her she might relent out of feelings of guilt etc...but then I would be subjecting my daughter to living in an environment in which she "isnt wanted" for whatever reasons they have come up. I dont want anymore family drama if I can prevent it.

So my solution would be to have my 21 year old daughter take care of her for the next month and a half or so until school finishes and then send her back to me...along with my son. Chances are high I will not be able to return to the states this year simply because I cant afford it...the trip with all the kids...and just plain living there the way things are...waaay to expensive for me...I cant manage it I know. But staying with her sis would require somewhere for them to my oldest daughter still lives with my sis. ( that confusing). I would need money for them to rent an apartment for a short duration or something. I dont have that obviously as I havent worked.

On the other hand I could return with some place and bring her and my son back when school finishes by the end of May I believe...but requires money.

So here are my options:

1. send her back alone...stays with sis in some apartment or hotel until school finishes...bring her back with brother

2. I return with her...same set up...then bring her back with brother

3. give up and let her repeat 9th grade and consider it a learning experience...ugh (and possibly another secretly hidden reason to resent me...sigh)...but will still need to bring brother back in summer

Im at a serious crossroad here my friends and matter which choice I make...I NEED SOME MONEY TO FULL FILL IT...I dont have all. My daughters 9th grade school year is possibly wasted simply because I made bad choices for her...and I now cant rectify them because I cant find a freakin job so I can fix the horrible mistake that has happened to her through no fault of her own.

If she was still struggling in school...if she was still apathetic about it like she was before...if she showed no real interest in maintaining her honor roll grades etc and seemed to not "mind" repeating the 9th grade here...I might not be so determined and torn up about this...but she is taking this very hard. She feels like a failure yet again...and is doing terrible things to my heart...I want to fix this.

Ok I know...people write letters to gets passed to someone else...this and and there...then suddenly Oprah is talking about it on live TV and we are all basking in the joy of witnessing yet again the miracle of "people reaching out to strangers and helping them in some way"...yes...they make us cry and feel good...but does it really happen? Are those "feel good" episodes on Oprah etc just made up shit for the viewing public...or are they real?

I hope they are real...I hope there are really people out there like that...cause I need one of those people (or several) to read this post and feel sufficiently moved by my daughters dilemma to want to help us...otherwise I havent a clue what to do to fix this...and she will suffer one of my bad choices yet again. I hope I can prevent that...I hope.

So here is my pitch...such as it is.

If there is any kind reader out there...who feels as outraged by this turn of events as I do....but unlike me is in a position to do something about it...I would be forever in your debt if you would find it in your heart to help us get her back home for 6 weeks to finish her school year...get her certificate...then return to me and start the 10th grade just like she deserves to next school year.

The help I need is:

1. A return ticket from Bahrain to Dallas to the 25th to ensure she arrives back to school by the 27th of April.

2. Adequate money for my older daughter to rent a cheap but decent hotel or apartment for this length of time. Once the need is gone...the living arrangement will be cancelled.

3. And while it will be my every intention to pay this person(persons) back in my lifetime as soon as I possibly can...I would hope that this person (persons) will acknowledge the fact that that might take an awful long time and be patient with me...but it will NEVER be forgotten or ignored.

Thats it folks. The post and request is made. What comes of it I cant say...I can only hope...hope for my daughter because seriously...Ive made a hash of her life...the lives of her making decisions for them based mostly of wishful thinking...wishful thinking that that choice will "make things better" for them...ugh! Sending her to American was better for her...she improved herself in so many ways (not that she has ever been a "bad" girl...but she had some issues) and sending her back I feel was a grave mistake on my sisters part...but it cant be can only be fixed...this is the only way I can think of to fix it.

Thanks for reading...I dont expect anything...I can only ask.

btw for those Anons that get on here and kick my ass and say I have screwed up my kids lives and deserve all this headache etc (and I know your out there)...believe me...I couldnt agree more with you...but feel free to express your self righteous soap box rant anyhow. I can take it.


I cant help and defend myself just a tad bit and say that everything that has happened has been the result of that first bit of snow sliding down the hill.

1. abusive father resulted in me choosing my "father" as a husband (ask psychiatrist, we abused victims tend to marry our abusers, metaphorically speaking)

2. abusive controlling husband made a 20 year marriage in a foreign country a living nightmare...laws that prevented me from seeking justice kept me prisoner in a cage without bars.

3. the only thing that afforded me to finally divorce that shit was to discover he was raping his own daughters from a young age. the mysogynistic mans world that I live in means not much is done about sexual crimes and the culture would rather blame the female child then her father

4. having spent 20 years of my life basically locked up in my house in a foreign country with no job, education, or even friends for the most part means Im started divorced life at age 38 knowing nothing about how to do all these things I should know how to do. Ive never been given the chance to learn them...everything was forbidden to me. Im not even very socialable because I havent spent a whole lot of time around people. It was forbidden....etc etc

5. Im learning how to be a single mom while having to learn to be an adult with all its responsibilities all at the same time...sorry folks..its not easy...and Ive made some mistakes. Some big and some small...but whatever the kids suffer from it all the same.

6. So the situation my children and I find ourselves in was not entirely of our own doing...others forced us down this path against our wills...but we are on it non the how do we correct it.

I dont make choices assuming they will fail. I dont make choices hoping they will fail. I dont make choices wishing they turn out bad and we all suffer even more...Im on a learning curve people...I dont always learn it the first time...but its worth it to try again....right? My kids are worth it.

All I want is a proper chance for them. I sent them there thinking that was their chance. For awhile it fate, destiny, the Hand of God has decided its not the right place for them they need to come back to me.

How do you even start to make a decision on your next move...when all the cards in your hand are crap...and the dealer is out to screw up all your chances of even bluffing your way out of it. Im lost. What do I do next? What do I tell my kids now?

Follow This Blog

As promised this is the new blog created by my 15 year old daughter(just had her bday not too long ago). Im highlighting it just so she can get some traffic in the beginning...and then hopefully it will go from there.

I told her to write what she pleased and dont feel censored just because I can read it...freedom in writing should be automatic and is very cathartic. Her first post is amazing and powerful and Im blown away all ready.

Please readers, if you have the time, visit my daughters blog. I promise you will read some awesome words...all though I cant vouch for the spelling (even with spellcheck...she is somewhat lazy in that


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back in Your Birdcage Little Bird!!

Hey little girl

I know you were free

You tasted how sweet living your life can be

Without judgement and fingers pointing out your "shame"

In daring to be different and ignoring the blame

That girls are for cages and being free is for boys

That boys are meant to live and girls are just toys

Back in your cage sweet daughter of mine

The neighbors are pointing and their lips are as bitter wine

They cant believe a girl has gone "bad" in such a short time

They blame the West, the freedom...but most of all the

How dare I let you be

Girls are not meant to be free

Back in the cage little girl

And throw away the key

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Enough With the Rules...Whatever Happened to Just Having Fun?

Last night I was in Seef Mall with my daughter. For anyone that doesnt know we recently had yet another mall added to our already impressive collection (all within a short distance from each other mind you) called City Center. Since this new state of the art mall opened up Seef Mall has really seen a decline in numbers. How do I know this...well simply because you can actually find a place to park your car pretty much anytime you go there now (except the weekend as Seef has the cinema and City Centers still hasnt opened theirs).

When you wander around inside its almost like a ghost town at times...City Center has definitely put a dent in Seef Malls the bosses at Seef have apparently knocked their heads together and came up with a crowd puller...or at least what they thought would pull the crowds.

A Cash Grabbing Booth

Now in theory this would seem to be a good idea for getting the crowds away from City Center and back to Seef...who doesnt like a chance at free money? However, I found the crowd (such as it was) less then enthusiastic considering Bd2000 ($5000 more or less) was up for grabs (at least thats how it was promoted).

Anyhow, first off I have to point out that it was quite clearly false advertising. Supposedly there is Bd2000 in that booth...but our largest denomination of the dinar is a Bd20...and it takes quite alot of those to make Bd2000...and looking into the booth you were lucky to see maybe 10 or so...with a few Bd10 notes scattered around as well...and some Bd5's just for good measure. The majority by far of notes were Bd1 and half Bd (5oo fils) notes....and anyone with a modicum of counting skills could very clearly see there wasnt even close to Bd2000 worth of those in that booth.

Secondly, they had so many fricken rules about what you can NOT do while in the booth.
1. dont move your feet
2. dont grab for money stuck to the sides
3. use only one hand
4. dont stick money in your shirt or pockets
5. dont jump up or bend down

Oh yeah, and you have 20 seconds to grab as much as you handed...not jumping or bending or using your clothes etc...just standing there and reaching out into the air to grab what you fun fun!!!

Last but not have to be present when and if they call your shows are disqualified. So one guy who had run off to the bathroom (we are told) lost his chance cause they werent willing to wait 5 min...oh snooze you lose...or something The ticket holder was a huge tumbling machine that had several thousand tickets in it...there were only about 50 people gathered around at show time. Im thinking it wasnt advertised well enough so that people understood the rules or something...anyhow...

The first one drawn was Bahraini lady...problems right off the bat. She was wearing hijab and duffa. Now Ive never been in a wind booth but I hear its... well...pretty the air is being blown from below upwards...are you following me here...chances are neither her abaya or hijab will take kindly to such rude wind.

So she looked around hopefully...maybe wishing the Presenter would just let her go into the booth sans wind and grab what she liked for 20 think...or maybe she was thinking she wished one of her brothers or sons was with her (if she had any)...but nothing. Eventually the Presenter had a light bulb moment and asked for a volunteer to come forward and grab for the lady. She looked around somewhat embarrassed as if he was asking for someone to model underwear she planned on takers at first but eventually a British teen volunteered and everyone was happy.

My only problem with volunteering for such a project is that things can get ugly if the volunteerer (?) inadvertently breaks a rule and gets disqualified (and very likely considering how many there were)...and if they dont do a very good job grabbing...someones feelings might be hurt and a little resentment felt...understand me?...but British teen volunteered and Bahraini lady happily accepted.

She was given a run down of all the rules and stepped tenderly into the booth on top of a pile of money. It was at this point we learned that only 20 secs were given to supposedly grab Bd2000 dinars...yeah right...anyhow.

I took pics of this with my phone cam but unfortunately I cant find the wire to hook it to my computer so you have to visualize from the pic up there.

Air was turned went flying (although she was standing on quite alot of it and nobody advised her to move her feet to set it free into the playing field) and she started grabbing. 20 secs flies by in..well...20 secs. Its like no time at all. Started and finished before you can really get excited about anything.

It was all over and she stepped out for the count up. A grand total of Bd21. Free money and all but the crowd was obviously not impressed. Hey...its not as easy as it looks judging by her efforts...anyhow. Bahraini lady was smiling and offered the British girl Bd5 for her efforts. Fun fun fun!!!

Next was a grown man (not sure his nationality...anyhow) and he went through the whole thing and came away with Bd32. People were expecting more from him judging by the reactions...but what can you do...its wind and its paper and its rules rules rules. I noticed he actually dropped quite a bit of money in there as it would fly from his hand while transferring from the grabbing hand...maybe thats why they dont allow pockets etc...might actually get some money that way.

All in all it wasnt nearly as exciting as Ive seen on tv etc. The crowd tried to be supportive but with only around 50 or was lackluster at best. The rules were unfair and unneeded...just how much money can be grabbed in 20 secs even without those rules? Seef promoters had a good idea but didnt really do enough with it in my opinion.

If your trying to draw a crowd...let them have fun for goodness sake...enough with the rules already. Life already has enough of them for us....20 secs in a booth full of money sans thats a crowd puller.