Thursday, June 4, 2015

Surviving Adult Chickenpox

I am thirty, and I have the chickenpox. Not shingles. Not a few red spots. Full blown-itching-my-brain-out-chickenpox. Google "adult chickenpox" and you won't find much about how to survive this. Maybe because you're supposed to have gotten this over and done with in childhood, or maybe because it's not survivable. I'll let you know which it is in about two weeks.

I was diagnosed yesterday, though I think my first "spot" showed up three days ago concealed by me thinking it was a bug bite. Like I thought the cluster of five that showed up on my arm were. Like I thought the next cluster on my foot were. It wasn't until I'd exhausted Dr. Google before dawn because I couldn't sleep due to the itching that I starting thinking it wasn't a normal bug. Silly me, I even thought it was quite possibly bed bugs and even woke up my sleeping husband to tell him so, until I went to the bathroom and saw The Rash on my legs. Like, all over my thighs legs. I watched the rash morph over the next few hours, telling myself that I would NOT be that person who went to the ER in the middle of a night for a non-life-threatening rash. Proudly, I made it until the closest doctor's office could fit me in yesterday.

Here's what happens when you're a chickenpox infected adult: other adults get scared. This is confusing to them. New territory. You are not only probably wrong about what you have, but you're also strange, and probably have something that's going to kill them, or at a minimum, should be on display (while quarantined) because now something that's only in textbooks has become a real life medical model. I witnessed this as I politely (and quietly) told the office receptionist that I think I may have the chickenpox, and could they put me in a separate waiting room or at least give me a mask so I don't infect anyone else if I'm contagious? I got The Look. The wide eyed, I have no idea what to say, I'm not sure I should hand you a pen or take your registration paperwork back before I spray it with bleach solution, look. Thankfully, the physician assistant knew what to do and told the panicking receptionist to "put her in room 5" (along with my paperwork).

When the female physician assistant was able to get in to see me, she offered a gown. When you're a chickenpox adult victim, you don't wear a gown. You just strip your clothes off as fast as you can so that the diagnosis can happen because you think that they must have a magic can of itch-stopping spray handy for cases like this, and you want that magic spray can. A whopping 30-seconds was needed for diagnosis, thanks to the various spots that now covered all of my limbs and back. She writes me a script for an antiviral that might offer relief though I'm bordering on the 24-hour start threshold (or possibly a day over it), I throw my shirt and pants back on, and then the door opens again because another young staff member has never seen chickenpox in real life. No problem, glad to be of assistance.

Society apologizes profusely for your plight, from the pharmacist to the cashier. Everyone except for your kids, who still demand you function at just the same level as before you were a walking red, itching mass. You didn't think to ask all of those apologetic people if they'd put their empathy to work by watching your kids for you, so you become a zombie chickenpox adult as you use Benadryl as your coping method. When I say "coping method", I'm really just referring to the trade you're making between itchiness and alertness. Since you can't nap or lay in bed all day, but you REALLY need that diphenhydramine, you are now a bumbling, fumbling, slow, foot dragging, red, itching mass...who, if she was with it enough, would be praying that her children don't see this as an opportunity to take advantage of.

Since Dr. Google isn't helpful enough to give you a list of what you need to know to survive the chickenpox as a mother, here is a summary of what I've learned:

a. It isn't fun. In fact, it's worse than the opposite of "fun", whatever that may be. It can be described as "the type of itchy that consumes all of your willpower and thoughts." You will be so itchy, in fact, that you will be nauseous. 

b. At least it isn't Scabies. Google that. You're welcome.

c. That oatmeal bath thing? Fiction.

d. Popsicles: skip it. Your throat hurting is easier to deal with than cleaning up the stickiness that is bound to occur when your children eat popsicles because they see you eating one. And you don't have the energy for sticky floors right now.  

e. Benadryl. Consider making it a family event.

f. People are going to tell you weird things. Weird remedies, weird memories, weird everything. Just move on. 

g. There is an antiviral specific to chickenpox/shingles/herpes. Who knows how well it really works, though. I don't know yet, but I'm taking four pills a day, anyway, just in case.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

4 Things To Know About Child Sexual Offenders + Resources for Parents of Juvenile Sexual Offenders

I wasn't going to write on this topic again, but alas, it appears that a post that covers juvenile sexual offenders would be helpful to the general public. I'm glad people are eager for this information, because there is a lot of misinformation going around right now. I hope that the information and resources here will put minds at rest and abate some fears, as well as bring hope for a future without abuse.

  1. Being a sexual offender is not the same as being sexually curious or sexually acting out. Curiosity is normal, sexually acting out is a result of something else (it can even be a result of violence, other abuse or neglect, etc.), and sexually offending means you are repeatedly doing this, knowing that it's wrong (these aren't the scientific definitions--look them up to learn the differences).
  2. Children who offend are different than adults who offend. The police, courts, and programs understand this. You don't need to worry that by seeking out legal or professional help, that your child is going to be sent to prison. That's not how it works. (See "Understanding Juvenile Sexual Offending...")
  3. There are treatment programs available for child offenders to help them act safely in the community and at home. These aren't "jails". They are programs, and precautions are taken to make sure your child isn't going to "learn" from another offender. Again, this isn't prison. In fact, the research shows that a community/home based approach is effective (
  4. Many child sexual offenders will not continue to offend. Hallelujah! Again, they aren't little adults. (See "Understanding Juvenile Sexual Offending...")

If your child, or a child you know, is acting in a sexually abusive way towards others, you need to take action and get help for that child (and also the victims). Here are some resources to get you started:

  1. Understanding Juvenile Sexual Offending Behavior: Emerging Research, Treatment Approaches and Management Practices This article explains the characteristics, typology, treatment research, justice trends, intervention research and models, abuser assessment, treatment, and recommendations for practice (READ THE RECOMMENDATIONS).
  2. Sex Offender Treatment Services PASS Program: This is for youth, and is done while they are at home or in therapeutic foster care. It works with the youth, the families, and others involved. It's a treatment team approach, which all treatment is in these situations.
  3. The Marsh Foundation has an example of a inpatient treatment program for male child/teenage offenders. Even though the child stays on site for generally 6-12 months to complete the program, the family must take part in the program and completion is influenced by the home and family environment.
  4. Your local social service/law enforcement agency are who will have the resources you need. They are not going to look at your child with disgust, but instead will be compassionate and will understand your outcry for help. Your child has to be brave enough to receive treatment, and you have to be brave enough to get it for them. Check for local support groups for parents of juvenile sexual offenders, and check out this Handbook for Parents and Caregivers of juvenile sexual offenders. 
Above all else, remember that there is always, always hope. The best days are yet to come.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

For The Girls (a response to Josh Duggar's abuse scandal)

The media is blowing up right now. Facebook. News sites. Blogs. Twitter. Most of what I'm reading is about how we should all not judge Josh Duggar because we all made mistakes when we were 14, too, and that Jesus said that "he who is without sin should cast the first stone." The other 1/3 of what I see is about how Josh Duggar should lose everything and no be allowed around people and so on.

But did you notice something?

It's all about Josh Duggar.

Do I have thoughts about him? Yes. Do I think that the opinions that are carelessly using the Bible and disrespectfully implying that the heart of God loves forgiveness more than He hates sin are wrong? Yes. And am I going to let all of that go right now? Yes.

I'm letting it go because none of this should be about Josh Duggar. In our outrage, shock (or for some of us, not so much shock), and need to try to make sense of all of this, society has focused on Josh. And they shouldn't. Because Josh will reap the consequences of his own actions, as is normal and as he should. But there are at least five other people out there, plus all of his family, who will also suffer. And no one is talking about them. When did we become a society that became so moved by Hitler that we forgot about the Jews? An abuser is no one without his or her victims, and every time that you get into a discussion that leaves the victims out, you have become focused on the wrong person.

I get that we need to make sense of this. I get that everyone is clawing for a reason--what was missed? How could this have been prevented? Would the outcome or anything be different if it had been handled any differently? All of these questions should be considered, and it's important, oh so important, to understand that these things do happen and to understand how they should be handled (as if there is a one-size-fits-all answer to that). Except that to ask those questions right now puts the focus on me, and my need to somehow make this work in my head and my heart. But it's not about me. And it's not about you.

So this post, this blog, this lady whose heart wishes there were never stories like this, is for the girls.

Dear Girls,

I'm sorry. I'm sorry it happened. I'm sorry it was your brother. I'm sorry he had to continue living with you. I'm sorry that now instead of being who you are, society just sees you as a victim right now. I'm sorry that society is focused on him. I'm sorry that you have no voice right now.

I'm proud of you for telling. I'm proud of you for not being afraid. I'm proud of you for not forgetting. I'm proud of your for your willingness to forgive, though I hope that you have also been able to make peace with things and that you do truly understand what happened had nothing to do with you or your actions. I'm proud that you haven't let this define who you are.

I hope that you are able to experience your emotions and not just shut them down. I hope that you are able to say what you need to say, regardless of which spectrum it lies on. I hope that you have been able to, or will be able to, have correct and truthful thinking and understanding regarding sexuality, male roles, and what God really thinks about abuse.

You are worthy. Your identity has nothing to do with this. You will move on from this media outburst, it will get better, and you will be fine. Hold your head up, let yourself feel what you need to feel, do what you need to do, and know that your best days are still yet to come. You are enough, and our God is not a God who condones abuse. Ever. He didn't want that to happen to you, and He will be your Jehovah Nicci, your banner, as you shelter in the shadow of His wings.

I know that you know that you're going to be ok. I know that I don't know the details of your recovery or any of your thoughts on the matter. I just want you to know that it's ok to feel whatever you're feeling, and that you aren't forgotten.

You are not forgotten. I will not forget you, and I will stand for you.

<3 br="" nbsp="">

--> Please see our next post on 4 things to know about child sexual offenders & resources for parents of juvenile sexual offenders to better understand how you can help fight this within your own home. <-- font="">

Note: the original title of this article is changed because I realized after the fact that it was the same as another similar article posted here:!This-Ones-for-the-Girls-A-Duggar-Response/cupf/555f43a90cf23d0164b4313b . I had previously read that article and must have really resonated with the title of it, haha! Please also check out the article here that I just linked, as it's beautiful and needs to be read. So much love to her and the other many boys and girls who have been victims of sexual abuse.

Note #2: PLEASE feel free to leave your responses to this article here and not just on Facebook as it makes it circulations. This way, others who have been affected, and maybe even the girls it's written to may read it and be encouraged and embraced. I don't ever censor comments, but I do withhold the right to do so about this post as this is to be only a safe space concerning this issue.