Soul Doubt: 06/2008 - 07/2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

O Happy Day!

Well, it's been a long, rocky road, but I've gotten word that all my hard work has finally paid off. What am I referring to, might you ask? PROBATION!!!

I just got off the phone with my probation officer. She had submitted a request to my judge (The Honorable John T. Mitchell, for those who are interested) to waive my community service, and I've been waiting- with bated breath, to be sure- to hear back. See, the community service office had lost my records (see previous rant, I mean post), including the verification of 100 HOURS I had completed, and I was getting to the point where I was willing to do the entire damn thing over again to have it off my chest. I mean, I did all that months ago, slaving away for free at thrift stores and the Humane Society; nowadays, I don't keep track of my volunteering, but I would sure start if required.

I'm not even sure what happened- I remember turning in my card to the office at the courthouse and getting the little paper saying I was all done, turning it in to my P.O., and generally being relieved to have leaped another hurdle on the track of supervised probation. Then the whole mess with the Supreme Court overturning my judge's ruling came up, and I had much weightier matters on my mind.

When that was all cleared up, lo and behold, I was on probation again, and my new supervising officer was confused: why was there a record of my completing it in her files, but not in the courts'?

At her suggestion, I went down there, self-righteous and indignant, only to find that there were all new people at the courthouse- no one remembered me, and of course "computers never lie". Ha. Ever heard of operator error?

So then I was on a mission. It had been 18 months or so since I'd worked at the various places, but I made the rounds, asking the ladies who had signed my card back then to sign a paper saying they remembered me, or perhaps they still had records verifying my hours?

Struck out almost everywhere, but thank heavens for the Humane Society. They keep their records for four years, apparently to come to the rescue- not just to the poor kitties and puppies- but to reformed criminals such as myself! So I was able to Xerox verification of 36 of the lost 100 hours, which apparently was enough to convince my P.O. I wasn't full of B.S. (which, BTW, I wanted to do ASAP). And really, other than that, I didn't have a single blemish on my record anyhow, so she forwarded a request to the judge to waive the requirement, submitting the evidence- such as it was- that I had completed it and shouldn't be penalized for the community service office's error.

The great news, however, was that Judge Mitchell went even further- he recommended me for early discharge from probation. All I have to do is complete this year under supervision, which will be up in August. Then, apparently, he intends to sign off on my case completely. According to my probation officer, he thinks it's a waste of the taxpayers' money to continue to have me on their caseload. My sentiments exactly!

So... a scant two months under the thumb of the Man to go. The funny thing is, as I told my soon to be former P.O., it's almost anticlimactic at this point. I'm not rearing and chomping at the bit to be set free anymore- I don't do anything I'm trying to hide, you know? So really, it'll just be a relief to not have to shell out the fifty bucks a month they charge to "supervise" me (a process which entails my checking in every other month or so).

But, I suppose this is another milestone I was bound to hit, being on the path of the straight and narrow. I do find a sort of self-satisfied "weight off my shoulders" feeling, if I'm to be completely honest. And really, it's about damn time!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Coincidence? I Think Not...

I've been a pretty erratic poster as of late, mainly because of the small, sticky tornado named Jameson- of whom being the mother of is an extremely demanding and exhausting, albeit exhilarating, full-time job in itself. I still have the responsibilities that my actual paying job entails, too- and let me tell you, just because I work from home does not mean there's any less to do! Between trying to print out FedEx labels, pack up boxes for events I've coordinated in far-off places and get them mailed in time- and feed, clothe, entertain, rescue, soothe, holler at, clean, chase, change, and finally! put to bed a one-year-old... it's a wonder I get anything else done.

There's been a few things I've been itching to blog about- like our Memorial Day trip to Atlanta, ID (yes, there's an Atlanta in Idaho- it's a tiny little rundown mining town tucked away in the mountains north of Boise) and maybe I'll eventually get around to doing that; after all, I took almost 400 pictures and laughed my butt off all four days, so there ought to be a decent story there. But of course on the rare occasion I have more than five minutes to myself, the only leisure activity I have any desire to pursue involves closing ones eyes to snatch a blessed bit of sleep.

But this little story I'm about to impart is good enough for me to make time to type it out, and is the kind of thing I'm sure will be passed around our family for years. It's also the sort of thing that makes me cherish my faith, a faith that in part because of events such as this, is growing stronger and more secure.

Yesterday morning, I got a frantic call from my aunt- her son and his wife have a small child, a girl who is about five months younger than my son. We look forward to the cousins playing with one another just as my cousin and I used to, and since my little one is hitting the milestones first, they frequently call and ask for advice.
Anyway, my aunt asked me to come over with some baby Tylenol and give my opinion on what could be wrong with little Zoe. My cousin was at work, and his wife (who is very young and inexperienced) was home alone with the baby. She was pretty panicky, saying Zoe had choked on something early that morning, and although not in respiratory distress, she still seemed not quite herself.

We all examined the baby, and I honestly didn't really think anything was all that wrong- sure, she was crying and sounded a little raspy, but that could've been nothing. And yes, the baby didn't want to eat, but that could've been because she just wasn't feeling good. So I tried to reassure Trisha, the young mom, that the best thing to do would be just wait it out and call the pediatrician if things got worse. I told her that I could certainly relate with feeling helpless about a sick baby, but since her symptoms weren't drastically bad, Trish should just try to stay calm and give Zoe lots of love.

Well, several hours later, Zoe started bleeding from the mouth and nose. Trisha raced down to the emergency room, and the hospital couldn't find anything wrong- they x-rayed her stomach and lungs, did an exam, and told the frantic parents that Zoe probably just gave herself a nosebleed from crying too hard.

I should say that at this point, the whole family- including myself- thought Trisha was blowing things out of proportion, and that maybe the child just had a really sore throat or was coming down with something. But still, at my Bible study that afternoon, I brought it up to the other ladies and we joined in a spur of the moment prayer for little Zoe. This was at 4:15 in the afternoon.

On the other side of town, Trisha and my cousin- Brad- had taken Zoe to their pediatrician, where she was given yet another x-ray and exam. They were being shown the door at 4:00, the doctor saying, "Sorry folks, but we just can't find anything wrong with your baby." At this point Trisha broke down into tears, begging the doctor to just please, please look again- there HAS to be something, she choked on something and hasn't been the same since! Reluctantly, the doctor agreed- probably to just make them happy.

So at a bit after four o'clock, Zoe was again strapped to the x-ray table, and this time the technician took films of her mouth and throat as well.
At 4:15, the doctor again met with the little family, and his demeanor was completely different. Because the latest set of x-rays showed evidence of a sharp metal object lodged in Zoe's throat, where it was partially obstructing her airway and probably causing the poor little girl a lot of pain. Zoe was immediately taken to KMC, where surgeons ended up removing a small piece of aluminum foil with a thin wire attached to it that had pierced her esophagus.

I visited them there in the hospital last night, and after apologizing for not taking them seriously enough earlier, told them I had joined in an impromptu prayer for Zoe with around a dozen other women at our church- at 4:15 pm. Stunned, Brad and Trisha stared at each other for a moment, then revealed that that was the exact time the doctor had found the metal piece... finally. We all broke down and cried, and although Brad and Trish are professed agnostics, this moved them to the point where I got a call from my cousin this morning- sharing the good news that Zoe had been discharged, along with a HUGE apology from the E.R.- and he asked me, a little hesitantly, if he and Trisha could join us this Sunday for church.

They could've just passed off the time thing as coincidence, or said something like, "Thanks for praying, it's great to have a Christian in the family," but instead, it seems like it was a catalyst in their becoming willing to investigate this faith thing a little closer. Brad said that he in particular had been quietly watching my own transformation over the last few years, privately envious of how happy I seemed these days, and that, along with the small miracle of yesterday afternoon, had made him call with the request to come to His Place with Tony and I. And Trisha had apparently done some "bargaining" with God during the crisis, and since in her eyes God certainly came through, she's determined to hold up her end of the deal.

All in all, I think the whole thing turned out wonderfully- and if my cousin and his wife end up believers because of it, that'll be the best part of all.