Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

Poor baby has bronchitis.

Connor is still sick. He seemed to not be running a fever after Thursday, and though he slept a great deal, he was somewhat active on Friday. But Saturday and Sunday he slept. And slept. And slept. He was also congested. I was hoping he was just working his way through the cold, but the amount he was sleeping was getting quite worrisome. He actually had his first sleepover at my parents Saturday night. He had a few bursts of energy there, but he definitely wasn’t himself. I took him into the pediatrician first thing Monday morning where he was diagnosed with bronchitis. Oh, and he had a fever again. Had his fever come back, or did my ear thermometer royally suck? I checked when I got home, and it told me his temperature was perfectly normal, even taking into account a margin of error. Fantastic. He was probably running a low-grade fever all along. He’s always warm anyway. He inherited that from his dad and I assume they are both secretly descended from the shape-shifting Native American tribe of Twilight’s Jacob. I was super cautious, always taking it from both ears multiple times and making sure mine was in the normal range for comparison because I know user error can be an issue with those things. At any rate, I do NOT recommend the ear thermometer from Safety 1st. I dug out his old NICU thermometer and stuck it under his arm. That method, which is supposed to less accurate, was far closer to the mark. And we bought a second rectal one for future situations. Apologies in advance, Connor. Fancy technology has never been my friend.

Since he was still doing so crummy, by Monday I did figure there might be another underlying issue, so I went in expecting to be told he had an ear infection. His ears were great. It was his chest that was terrible. It wasn’t his usual pediatrician, but one of the male doctors I hadn’t met before. Sorry to stereotype, but I prefer female doctors most of the time. Generally speaking, they put off a more empathetic vibe and listen more. (And yes, I have experienced the EXACT opposite with both sexes as well). Men often seem abrupt and more rushed. So I didn’t talk with him as much as I would with his regular doctor. But I was a tad hesitant that he prescribed antibiotics. I was ready for them when I thought it was an ear infection, but I thought, isn’t bronchitis viral? Yes, I should always ask, advocate and all that, I know…I just didn’t ask enough this time. I read up on it afterward, and antibiotics aren’t typically considered helpful for bronchitis since most of the time it is viral. But perhaps he was ruling out other possibilities, preventing another infection, being super cautious, so I am giving them. This is my first time dealing with Connor being sick in a manner that is not TSC/seizure related so I’m learning. Again.

The weirdest thing about all this is that illness and fevers typically cause a spike in seizure activity. Instead of a spike, we have seen a major decrease. I’ve caught two since this all started. He usually has 1-3 most days. A bright side, I suppose. If I keep him in viruses and covered in snot, maybe we can be seizure free?

He is better today. Still very tired, but he did summon the energy to throw a puzzle all over the floor in the playroom this morning. That room has stayed spotless since Friday. And he’s staying awake to watch the TV more today. Yesterday he slept ALL day.

But we did get his first sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa’s done. That was the first night he’s been away from both of us. I went to DC earlier this year, and Chris has had a couple of business trips, but it was weird to sleep in the house without him. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I checked to make sure the cats were breathing just so I felt like I was serving a purpose. But I did sleep until 10:15. It was AH-MAZING! No alarm at 8 for meds. I felt like I was 25 again! No… 30. At 25 I would have slept past noon. Chris and I used our free night to see Catching Fire (can I please be Jennifer Lawrence?) and eat at Marlow’s Tavern.

Here I present a montage of Connor’s varied sleeping positions at our home and my parents’ house:

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And a few bursts of energy:

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Joy Behar is the New Ignorant (reblog)

Joy Behar is the New Ignorant

By Debbie Costello Smith (original post here)

I was watching The View the other day, largely because Bradley Cooper was on to discuss his role in Silver Linings Playbook. The movie is about a man who has bipolar disorder and has a setback after a traumatic personal event. It just so happens that it is set in Philadelphia, Cooper’s hometown and mine. Cooper went out of his way to assert that the director wanted an “authentic” portrayal of the protagonist, and nothing disparaging was said about the character, just that it was hard to play when trying not to stereotype his challenges. Joy Behar, allegedly an educated woman who is a former teacher, in preparation to asking him a question, said something like “there were a lot of crazies in this movie.” Then, without any apparent catalyst, said: “Bipolar is the new black.” I was astounded and honestly, angry. I told my husband what she said, to which he responded: “Joy Behar is the new ignorant.” I thought it was a perfect retort.

At first, I intended to write to The View, or maybe even write on Ms. Behar’s Facebook or Twitter account (not sure if she has them); however, I decided that the responses would probably only serve to aggravate me further. I honestly don’t trust the attitude of the population at large about views on mental health. I was sure she would take cover in being a comedian. I actually enjoy sarcastic humor. On this occasion; however, it was awkward, uninformed and inappropriate. Whoopi Goldberg tempered the comment by saying that she was black, but not bipolar. As another comedienne, Whoopi might have been being sarcastic, but it came off as a way to offset the inappropriate comment.

Bradley Cooper ignored the remarks and maintained a professional demeanor as he again reiterated the intent of the director to present an accurate picture of the challenges of the disorder. At the time, I hadn’t seen the movie (I have since), so I didn’t have an opinion on the movie. My reaction to Ms. Behar’s comments was visceral. There are actually two parts to her slur: (1) referring to characters as “crazies” and, (2) suggesting that bipolar disorder is the new trend. These opinions are definitely suggestive of the stigma that impedes progress in diagnosis, treatment and self-esteem.

Let’s take the first part….”crazies.” For that moniker to be assigned to characters in a serious movie is ignorant. Let’s say this was a Monty Python movie. Crazy could be a term that would fit some of the characters and their behaviors. They are supposed to be over the top. Crazy referring to people who are struggling with mental illness is unacceptable from anyone, never mind someone who professes to have worthwhile opinions. I am sure that there was a time when people who had medical diseases, like chronic migraines, were called “crazy” because effective diagnosis and treatment weren’t developed. Symptoms were real. Pain was real. Crazy they were not.

The disappointing thing to me was that there was no uproar after the fact. When one of The View members says something that people take offense to, the following day or so, they clarify their intent and often apologize. Not another word was said in ensuing days. I watched the movie this past weekend. I didn’t find the characters to be crazy in any way. Yes, they had some exaggerated responses to things, but that is the nature of bipolar disorder. What was significant to me was that the so-called “normal” people in the movie had quirky behaviors (Robert De Niro was obsessive compulsive and a bookie/gambling addict; Cooper’s psychiatrist was an avid Eagles fan who painted his face half green at games, etc.). This is life. We all have some unusual habits or beliefs. In the case of Cooper’s character, his behavior often crossed into the realm of mania – the point where it was diagnosed an illness and interfered with his life. Cooper’s and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters actually came through at times as the more stable and insightful of the group. They rose above their challenges and accomplished something really significant to them. Crazy is an insulting term that had no place in the discussion.

The second part, “bipolar is the new black,” was so flip and ignorant that I was actually dumbfounded. Where the hell did that come from? Why was that even necessary to say? She obviously doesn’t know from what she speaks. One in four people suffer from a mental illness. Three people in a hundred have bipolar disorder (10 x that number if creative). The cost of disability for mental illness is greater than all cancer and heart diagnoses combined. Statistics indicate, however, that a small portion of people with mental illness ever get care (lack of insurance, stigma, cost of prescriptions, etc., etc.). I spoke with a world-renowned expert on bipolar disorder and asked if he believed that BD was being over diagnosed. He adamantly disagreed with that assessment; in fact, studies show that BD Type II is many times more prevalent than currently thought.

There is more discussion about bipolar disorder, not because it’s trendy, but because people are beginning to talk about it. I’m taking a course on the relationship between mental illness and society and it’s enlightening. One author suggests that reduction of stigma and improved outcomes will only happen when there is a coming together of a community bound by a similar cause. In the case of mental illness, many people are still hesitant to admit that they have a diagnosis in that realm because of the reaction of others…maybe because of the attitude of people like Joy Behar. What’s sad is that she is supposed to be intelligent, educated and informed, at least capable of asking relevant and researched questions. If she were performing in her role as comedienne, one could possibly be more forgiving (although that form of comedy would still be completely tasteless), but she was assigned the role of interviewer.

I’d like to think that she was an isolated case of bias and ignorance. I prefer to think that people are better informed and that they are learning more about bipolar disorder with more empathy toward those who deal with its challenges. Unfortunately, I think her views are more common than I’d like to believe. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to be a guest on the show and tell them what I’ve learned. Unfortunately, I’ve contacted shows before with no response. I’m not connected in that world. I take some solace in the fact that Bradley Cooper never sunk to her level; that he had the courage to portray a man with acute bipolar symptoms in a very compassionate way; and, that he is now speaking out about the stigma surrounding the disease. We can only hope that people who are connected like him will be able to mobilize that community strength that will educate the public and Joy Behar.

In the meantime, go see Siler Linings Playbook, if for no other reason than to support mainstream cinema willing to address the subject in a winning way. I was never impressed with Cooper when he was chosen as People’s Sexiest Man. I am now impressed with his courage, empathy and tolerance of uniformed and rude interviewers. I am proud that he is a fellow Philadelphian. I’d say Go Eagles! , but I still have to live in Atlanta and I love my adopted Falcons. Even some of the most emotional opinions can be changed.

Here’s hoping for a new view on mental illness and more Bradley Coopers.

Debbie