Sunday, November 22, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

I hate listening to ads on the radio, so whenever I'm driving and one comes on, I switch to one of three Twin Cities stations. That happened last week Tuesday, when an ad came on 97.1 and I tuned into 102.9. To my surprise, they were playing Christmas music. A little early, I thought as we drove to Community Homestead, but Kurt was enthralled. This is Kurt's favority holiday, and combine that with his love of music, and he must know every carol ever recorded.

"All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey came on the radio while we cruised along Highway 35, just north of Somerset.

"She doesn't want any presents," Kurt said.

Deep in my own thoughts, I looked over at Kurt, "What?"

He nodded his head towards the radio and repeated, "She doesn't want any presents for Christmas."

Turning back to watch the road, I listened to the lyrics, which I hadn't paid much attention to until Kurt brought me back to the present.

Mariah was singing:
"I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you."

Kurt completely missed the romantic nuance, but I like to follow his line of reasoning. He can't believe someone wouldn't want presents.

On Wednesday, the Mariah Carey song came on again. We were a little farther up the road, having left earlier than the day before.

"If this song was in my brain," Kurt said. "I'd still be hoping for presents under the tree."

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I have waffled back and forth on getting the H1N1 vaccine for Kurt. When I read that the vaccine has ingredients that have not been tested, I thought no thanks. When I read that the government relieved the drug companies from being liable for harm, I thought no thanks.

When I hear warnings on the news that the flu is worse, perhaps fatal, for someone with underlying medical conditions, that's when I freak, especially when the news story used epilepsy as an example of an underlying condition.

Kurt is medically fragile. He has, in the past, had multiple seizures from illness. Pneumonia a few years ago caused seizures and dehydration, and a hospitalization. And the worst case was ten years ago when a nasty virus caused status epilepticus, a life-threatening situation when the brain is in a state of persistent seizure.

So I called Kurt's neurologist and asked for his advice. He said get the vaccine. Of course, when I called our clinic, the vaccine wasn't available to the general public in our area.

Then I went back to, okay, maybe Kurt won't get it. Or, since he received the seasonal flu vaccine, maybe he'll have a mild case. Kurt is healthier now. He had a cold at Halloween and got over it in 4 days, without any seizures.

I follow the Dream Mom blog,, about her Dream Son, a medically fragile teen. He has intractable seizures and other conditions. She explained that her son is severely disabled. I read that her son has the H1N1 flu and is in PICU, with a ventilator. Having been in that situation with Kurt ten years ago, my heart goes out to them. It is traumatic, and life or death.

These are the cases that scare me. I hope we can get the vaccine soon.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat

Kurt missed the Bridge Halloween Party on Saturday because he had a head cold. He was very disappointed, but we had Trick or Treating.

I think all kids have trouble when they are getting too old to Trick or Treat. I remember when Kelly wanted to go “one more year” every year. We took Kelly when he was 11 and Kurt at 14 for the last time. I walked around the neighborhood with the boys. When we got back to the house and the boys dumped their candy out on the counter, Kurt had about half as much as his brother, even though they had hit the same number of houses.

I immediately thought of Charlie Brown and the rocks.

Since Kurt had trouble getting “Trick or Treat” out in time, he most often remained silent at the door. So maybe the adults thought he was rude, or because of his height, they thought he was too old, or a combination of both. I’ll never know, but that’s the year I decided to make the transition for both of them.

Kelly ended up going one more year with his friends.

I had a plan for Kurt. He would hand out the candy to the kids when they came to our door. Oh, what a process that became. He wanted to do it all by himself, but was very slow. He insisted on locking the door after each group. So the whole routine consisted of unlocking the door, opening it and the screen door. Sometimes he talked to each one and asked about their costumes. Then he would pick out which candy he wanted to give out of our orange candy dish.

Our dish is actually an orange bucket. When we moved to River Falls, the Welcome Wagon lady came around and gave us gifts, one of which was this bucket. It wasn’t very big or sturdy enough to carry around with water to mop the floor, for example. So for some reason unknown to me now, we threw in a package of snack size candy bars and put it in the cupboard. And ever since, if you want to find some candy, just look in the orange bucket.

Starting with last year, Kurt really owned candy duty for the first time. Since he had planned to go as a Coca-Cola driver (Paul’s former job) to the Halloween party, he donned one of his dad’s uniforms and sat in the darkened living room, watching out the picture window at the shadowy figures walking the street. As soon as they started up our drive, he shot into action, opening the door and dropping treats into their bags.

His Halloween transition from kid took some time, but it’s really worth it to see him enjoying his adult role.

Kurt at 19