No distractions

My husband is an overachiever. When he does something, he wants to excel at it. When something needs done, he puts his full attention to the matter. So, when it comes time for his proficiency check (PC), or is it recurrent training?...whatever the hell it is called now, he takes time to prepare. He has been flying the same airplane for 10 years now, so he is obviously very skilled with the aircraft, but he still studies. He prepares. All of the above makes him distracted and somewhat stressed on the days leading up to his time in the sim. I just smile and grin my way through those days. Even the kids can tell he is a bit out of character. He admits that he puts the pressure on himself, even when he doesn't really need to. Again, overachiever.

Steve left for his PC early Wednesday morning. He got home late Thursday evening.

On Wednesday afternoon, around 1pm or so, I got a call from the nurse at my daughter's school. "This isn't an emergency, but Cici came in here telling me she couldn't see out of one eye..."

The nurse and I continued to have a conversation that over the weekend Cici told us the same thing, but we didn't react much to it. We did the whole "how many fingers am I holding up?" thing, she passed, and we went on. But, now that it happened again, I grew concerned.

I called Cici's pediatrician, confirmed she needed to be seen, and scheduled an appointment for Thursday morning at 8:20a. So there I was Wednesday afternoon, sitting at my desk at work, googling these symptoms. Detached retina came up, and I started to freak out. Then I started thinking brain tumor. Of course my mind ran away, and I grew more and more concerned. Tears came to my eyes a couple times, but then I turned on the "don't cry at work...everything will be okay..." mood. I distracted myself, and tried not to let my mind get carried away.

When I picked Cici up from school that Wednesday afternoon, I certainly asked her a ton of questions. Here is the summary: during an episode, of which she has had three, she will have blacked out vision out of her right eye. Her whole vision isn't black, just block objects. Say she is looking at me, my silhouette will be black...and then there will be pink or purple auras around me. And if she blinks, that blacked-out silhouette may switch to our dog, or whatever object is next to me. Each episode will last for a couple minutes. The right eye will go numb for a bit, also.

I asked her to draw what she sees. "N" is for normal. "S" is for strange, which is what she sees during an episode.

Once Cici told me she was seeing auras, which wasn't discussed during my conversation with the school nurse, I took to google again. Anything from migraines to spiritual mediums came up. I have to say, I did find some peace with those search results...and the fact that Cici was her total normal self.

Steve called me around 9pm or so, Wednesday night. "How was your day?" he asked.

"Oh, just fine." I could tell his mood was more light. He said the day went well. He was about to head out to dinner with his captain. For a brief second, again since his mood was light, I thought about telling him. I refrained. Don't distract him. 

We were out the door at 7:30am Thursday morning. Trash needed out to the curb. Cleaning lady was coming, so that took prep work. The dog needed walked. School snacks and lunches. All before 7:30am. Ben was dropped off at the neighbors and caught the school bus with a friend.

During Cici's appointment, the MD checked Cici out and asked a lot of questions. He also gave her an eye exam. He thinks this is a type of migraine, perhaps an ocular migraine. He also mentioned "Alice in Wonderland Syndrome." He didn't feel the need to do any scans at this point. He didn't seem overly concerned. He did ask that we keep a diary of these episodes, and he gave me the name of a neurologist, whom I will call if she has another episode or two.

After the appointment, I dropped Cici off at school, and then talked to my mom and sister. They knew the whole run down of everything. Others knew the full story, and Steve had yet to find out anything.

The last thing I wanted to do was tell Steve and have him worry about this, especially since it wasn't an urgent issue. If he were on a trip, that would be one thing, since there wouldn't have been the stress of his PC. But I wanted to keep his PC time as distraction-less (is that even a word?) as possible.

Steve called me around 4pm on Thursday afternoon. He was at the airport and ready to catch his flight home. His PC was over, and he was ready to get home. I give him the full run down on what happened in the last 36 hours. He asked a couple questions here and there, and I was able to answer them. All was well. I handled everything like a pro...he trusts my parenting...and the day goes on...


I wanted to add a bit more to this story, but wanted to keep it separate from the story above...

As I mentioned above, Cici's MD appointment was Thursday morning at 8:20a. We were out the door at 7:30a. I prepped Wednesday evening as much as I could to make life easier on Thursday morning.

One of these "prep" activities was to get things ready for the cleaning lady. This entails getting all the clutter put away so she can clean and do her work as efficiently as possible.

Well, truth be told, come Wednesday night at 9pm, I was tired. I had been up and active for the past 14 hours, and I was a bit stressed with Cici's vision trouble. The whole solo parenting thing isn't always easy. When it came time to getting the kitchen ready, any excessive papers went into a pile on the side counter. This side counter is our "hub" of sorts...electronics are charged there, papers are stored there neatly in a wooden organizer. This newly formed pile-o-papers were not in the wooden organizer, but rather stacked *next* to the wooden organizer.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon when Steve addressed said pile-o-papers. "You know I don't like clutter."

"Well, then go through it," I responded. And so he did. He was two papers in, asking me what to do with each of the papers: keep or pitch. I wasn't in the mood, so I told me that I didn't want to do this now. He got pissy. I could tell. I ignored it. I think he went on to sort through the papers without my input.

And then I got to thinking a bit later, and took my thoughts into the laundry room where he was folding items out of the dryer. I told him that he needs to watch his words with me. I explained that I had a ton of shit to get done all because of Cici's out of the ordinary vision issue/appointment, and the only energy I had for the papers was to put them in a pile.

I told him to have mercy on me. I told him I can't do everything all the time. He emphasized that he wasn't pissed. I know better, I've know the man for 18 years. I know he was pissed...he really hates clutter. But, I also know that he saw my point. Steve is a good man, he really is, so I know he heard me. He didn't push back.

Sometimes he just needs a bit of a reminder that I can't do it all.

I am adding this last bit to the story, because I think it is a good reminder to all the pilots out there that we deal with a lot of shit on the home front when you are gone, and a lot of it you don't even realize. All-the-while we make it look all pretty for when you get home. Don't take that for granted. And perhaps before you criticize when something is not done, or not done the right way, think about how things looked on our end.


  1. Are all pilots anal about clutter? Good thing I'm not married to Steve. I would've told his butt off for bitching about the clutter. Seriously, I love your blog (and I'm not even married to a pilot!)

  2. The last half of this blog post really hit home. I can't do it all. I've said that many times to myself this week and once out loud to my pilot. This life is hard for everyone involved!


Post a Comment