Friday, October 15, 2010

My Life Could Be Reality TV

Starting with Monday: We had an all-day teacher inservice on Columbus day, where I first felt that I was sick and that something was wrong. I went to bed that evening unsettled and not feeling well, but knowing that I had a day of staff development the following day so all my sub plans and activities for the next day were already ready, set out for the sub, and I would be good to go no matter what.

Tuesday: Turns out I was sick. I woke up in the morning hardly able to move or speak. There was no way I was going to make it to math training. I went to the doctor that day and he told me I just had a regular cold and just to take medicine, rest, and that I should be able to go back to school on Wednesday.

Wednesday: I enter my classroom and it is a disaster zone. War zone. Tornado eruption. I found pencils, crayons, papers all over the desks and under chairs; I found my Daily Calendar completely messed with and things stuck all over my chalkboard; I found my Lunch Count clips all over the floor and under tables. The substitute left me NO note. That tells me one thing: He was ready to get the HECK out of there at the end of the day. Which leaves me thinking: What happened...?

I try to clean up as much as possible before the kids got there Wednesday while I'm still sniffling and blowing my nose and dizzy from my head cold. I am not happy with them and the way the classroom was left and, it also seemed, that they really didn't do much of anything that I left the sub to do with them. It really did seem like his fault. So our day was already off to a not so great start, and I could barely speak or sing because of my loss of voice and accumulation of phlegm going in and out of my nasal cavity.

But here is where the week gets interesting. Wednesday after lunch I'm running Daily 5 stations with my kids when all of a sudden my nose starts bleeding profusely. I mean, not just your run-of-the-mill nose bleed. It's running hardcore, dripping down my face and falling onto the carpet. I catch my nosebleed with my hands and run and get tissues, flinging open the door and shouting to my teacher-neighbor to watch my kids while I run to the nurse. I go to the nurse and try to get the bleeding to stop for about 10 minutes. It finally subsides and I return to the classroom.

The beautiful icing-on-the-cake part about my week this week was that it was my first group of 18 Parent/Teacher Conferences. 6 per day, Wednesday-Thursday-Friday. I had absolutely no down time in between activities, and my usual planning period was spent with parents, who I adore and was so glad to have come to school and speak with me, but I sounded (and probably looked) like a wreck. Many of them even commented on my stuffiness and asked if I was feeling okay. I mean, great first impressions were given by yours truly.

But then, after school my nose starts bleeding profusely again. This time it won't stop for about 30 minutes. And I am not kidding! I promise! It's like, shooting out of my nose, like a fountain or something. I can barely keep up with it, I'm going through boxes of Kleenex at a time. It's ridiculous. I can't get any work done and my teacher friends ask if they can drive me home, etc. because they are worried. I finally got the bleeding to stop and said, no, I'll be okay. Only to have it start spurting out blood again in the car on the way home.

By now I'm getting kind of flustered and worried myself. Why is my nose some sort of blood gun. I was so irritated but also scared. It happened again when I was at home later that evening. I slept with a towel on my pillow; what could happen when I was asleep?

Thursday: I awoke the next morning and was in a huge hurry. I had woken up late and had a Parent/Teacher conference at 7:30 and I really needed to get dressed and go. I felt stuffy, so absent-mindedly I blew my nose. This caused the Nile River of Blood to once again flow out of my nose. I could not get it to stop for 20 minutes, sitting there putting pressure on my nose and pinching it tilting downwards. I know the right things to do! I had done this before! But nothing was working. Of course, it caused me to be late (about 2 minutes, but STILL) to my conference that morning.

But not to fear, because we had a field trip on Thursday. To make my week even crazier! We as a first grade walked down the street to our city fire station. It was exciting and I felt really cool about taking my very first class on their very first field trip. All was well as we were learning about the size of the hoses on a firetruck when my nose starts shooting blood AGAINNNNNNNN by this time I am just annoyed. I rush into the fire station and, not seeming to be able to find the women's bathroom, burst into the men's and grab paper towels to stop the bleeding. There were definitely some awkwarded-out firemen that came in and saw me and got me ice, I mean at least they helped me, but I definitely weirded them out and they really didn't believe I was a teacher until they later saw me in action with my class.

Thursday day and afternoon I had 6 more Parent/Teacher conferences, one being particularly intense. I was really upset afterwards and debating what to do next when suddenly, I sneezed. I had to go blow my nose and as this is happening, blood starts bursting from my left nostril for yet another time. It's flowing for about 45 minutes, and I mean, it's not stopping. It's like a stream of constant blood. I began to feel really dizzy and light-headed. I had been losing way too much blood and I was beginning to get really scared.

I called my teacher friend Vicki and she came and picked me up and took me to CareNow, which turned out to be Care...Not? I was sent away with really no answers and nothing to walk away with to help me understand why I was bleeding so much out of my nose. The doctor said that if it happened again, to apply direct pressure for at least 10 minutes without letting go, and if it didn't stop after that, to go to the ER.

Friday: So I go through my whole day today just fine. I thought it was going to be a heck of a day, and felt very unprepared since I hadn't gotten any work done after school the day before, but it actually was a great day. Especially for a Friday, my kids were amazing and I felt like I was on top of my A game again. And, I got through the whole school day and parent/teacher conferences successfully! No nosebleeds, nothing.

But, about 1 minute after my last parent teacher conference... I sneezed.


It bled for an hour. An HOUR

Vicki rushed me to the ER. And the doctor sent me away with nothing, again, because the bleeding had stopped. I told him, well, let me sneeze or blow my nose and I can make it bleed for you. He didn't seem to understand my concern.

So. Frustrated and with way too much money out of my pocket due to this dumb nose, I decided to park it here at my house for the evening, get a pizza, watch How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days and get way too emotional over it, spray my nose 4 times an hour with saline solution, and hang my hat on this tornado of a week.

Things that made it all better:

I had a student draw 3 things in his writer's notebook today that were quite questionably male body parts. And I, alert, asked him, "!!! What are those??!"

"They're, you know, those masks? With the two eyes and the long nose sticking out the bottom. That's what they are, those funny masks, Miss Leiss."

"...Oh...Yeah, I...see it." Trust me, I handle these situations with the utmost respect and class.

Or, when I asked this question on a comprehension test:
What did the Bad Guy want to make Bill into?
Real Answer: Suitcase
Child's Paper Answer: Suck

I mean, he tried.

It's the little things in life. And this, is the life of a teacher. You are there everyday, you are 100% there for the kids and their parents, you don't miss a beat, you are on top of things, you HAVE to be. It doesn't matter if you have been to the ER because of lots of blood loss and you can barely function and you're getting no sleep at night-- you are there at 7:30 am because a parent wants to conference with you and by golly you better be there. On time. Looking perfect. All files, papers, necessary discussion items in hand, ready to go. Because that's what's expected. The expectations for the teaching profession are the highest out of any profession, and anyone who wants to argue with that, I'd like to whip you into reality.

But... I LOVE it. I had a student write in their writer's notebook: "Miss Leiss, I love you a whole lot. I want to hug you forever." And that's all that matters.

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