Thursday, June 30, 2011

Like my button ??

I finally got around to making a button for my blog. Like it?


KyFireWife


Well, if you like it, feel free to grab it. And I'm looking to practice some basic graphic skills, so if you need a button, feel free to email me (kyfirewife@gmail.com). Just be sure to include any picture files you want to include, and a description of anything you want. Or just tell me to take my artistic freedom with it and take your chances. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Facebook as Life

Social media has become such a part of our everyday lives that we often don't even think about it.

Well, I've been thinking a lot about it over the past few months. More than I should, really. Probably.

See, a few months ago, someone close to me took offense to something I did (or rather, did not do) on Facebook.

Something... small. Innocent. Harmless. But apparently not in their eyes.

By "took offense" I mean that they called me out publicly (via my FB wall) and privately (via email & text) for my actions, telling me how disrespectful I was and what a "horrible person" I was. Yep, "horrible person" is in quotes because those are their words.

Long story short, they eventually demanded that I delete my FB account, for something about their opinion of how awful I treat my FB friends. I responded by telling them that I was not deleting my account because of one person's opinion, but if they truly believed me to be that horrible (using their word), then perhaps they should defriend me.

They did.

To this day I don't know why they were so upset. They offered no explanation for their opinion, other than to hurl insults at me. The few people I have confided in about the situation, are just as confused. Two separate people even suggested the person might have been drunk at the time.

Who knows.

I do know that they have never apologized, nor attempted to re-friend me, and we both have limited contact with each other since then.

Because of my close relationship with this person, and our previous history, I've actually given this one, seemingly simple incident quite a bit of thought. Their reaction really got to me.

After much reflection, I can say that while I still don't believe that I did anything wrong, I can see how my actions, or lack thereof, could be perceived as a social media faux paus, a slip in etiquette.

Why such a misstep would cause such a large emotional reaction on this person's part, I still have no clue.

What I can say, is that there are some life lessons to be learned from this social media incident:

#1 - if you find someone's company to be truly "horrible", remove yourself from their company.
I might not understand the whys, and it may have been my idea, but it was a good choice on their part. You're not going to change someone, so you if you find them to be so unpleasant that are in emotional upheaval over their actions, simply removing yourself from their company is best for everyone, including yourself.

#2 - at any given moment, someone is watching what you're doing
Perhaps the most surprising thing to me is that this person essentially stalked my account*. Something they vehemently denied when I called them on it, but... it's the truth. They monitored not only what was posted to my wall, but what I responded to, made note of whom I responded to & whom I didn't, what I posted on mutual friends' walls, etc. Something I never suspected of any of my FB friends, and certainly not this person. But it goes to show, that especially in our day & age, we are being watched. In public, in the workplace, in parking lots, on the street... and of course, online. More than ever we should be careful of our actions and our words. One innocent misstep could be perceived as intentional offense by someone watching.
*note* my FB account has always been private, and for over two years has been viewable by friends only. I monitor my settings regularly, and only friend people I actually know.

#3 - you can't please everyone
'nuff said

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog

I don't think I ever told ya'll that I started posting on my other blog again.

http://mywifelyjourney.blogspot.com/

I don't post nearly as often as I do here, and I probably won't post the link again, but I wanted my regular readers to know.

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea


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So far FireGirl's new preschool is going really well. Except for drop-offs. And that they keep not giving her her paci for naptime. Other than that, great.

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FireMan & I did a mini-vacation last weekend. One of these days I'll post some pics. It was a nice time to relax, and reconnect. Much needed, and well-timed.

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Got my MRI results. Yep, a fragment from my disc (same one) has broken off and is "dangling down" and interfering with the nerves in my spine. I have a surgical consult scheduled for next month.

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Did I tell ya'll about the weird stomach virus I had last week? and the week before? and back in March? Well, my mom finally convinced me that there was no way that could be a virus. I saw my family doctor yesterday. He thinks it's my gall bladder. Great. They're supposed to call me sometime today to schedule an ultrasound. Oh, and if it is my gall bladder, I'll probably need surgery. Because if it's progressed to the point of interfering with my digestive system, there's not much more they can do. Great.

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I've decided I need to start photographing & keeping track of the wildlife we see at our house. We see so many interesting things. Last week alone: five-lined skink, various frogs & toads, white-tailed deer, snake (still unidentified), pileated woodpecker, two other kinds of woodpeckers, lots of birdies, box turtle (actually a tortoise, but whatever).
In the past we've also seen walking sticks (maybe my favorite insect), raccoons, opossums, salamanders, another type of turtle (still unidentified), another type of snake (still unidentified), tree frogs, and... I'm sure a bunch of others I'm forgetting.
Plus all the buggies. I'm learning a lot about bugs. Which are good. Which are truly icky. Which I hate so much I kill with a vengeance on sight.
But I love nature. And I find all this wildlife invigorating, inspiring, and peaceful.

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I have a new boss. Again. Four bosses in seven months. Basically now I just directly report to the guy above the other three guys. And he sat down with me and apologized for all the confusion and that none of it was my fault, that it was management's fault for not getting their act together. I've worked with him for years, and I really like him, and think it'll be good, but all the changes still kinda stress me out. Being the only one here who does what I do, I've had to "train" each one of them on my job and what I do and stuff. And it's just getting really old.

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Next week I'm scheduled to clean the manatee tank at the zoo again. For the first time in over a year. They finally called me out on not doing it in too long. My fault, totally. But now I'm nervous. Not about the manatees, about the diving. And about squeezing my butt into my wetsuit.
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We bought FireGirl a giant floor puzzle of the United States. She loves it. Asks to play with it every day, but unfortunately usually at very inopportune times. Like five minutes before we're supposed to leave. Which is probably her plan, as she is brilliant at crafting stall tactics. But anyway, she loves it, which makes me happy. Because I like when we can make learning fun for her. Because I'm a dork. And she's a genius    =P
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Speaking of FireGirl, she has discovered Yo Gabba Gabba. And it is her latest obsession. What little I knew about the show pretty much came from The Original Bean's posts. So far, I like that it tends to get her moving, even early in the morning. Lots of dancing. Which she hasn't done much of since she got tired of watching Angelina Ballerina about three months ago. And the lessons are nice, I suppose. Same as most kids' shows, just delivered differently. But mostly I think it's really weird. Although I do like the DJ guy, because he reminds me of a friend from college    =P

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Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Observations from the County Health Department (and Clinic)

*note* these are my observations, nothing more. Observations from the very little interaction I have had with the local county health department. Those with more experience in this area may find that these observations hold true... or not. They're just my observations.

I had to go to the health department this morning to have some paperwork filled out.

My first observation is demographic in nature. During the time that I was there, here are the family demographics (I would say patient demographics, but I don't want to make assumptions as to which family member was the actual patient):

Of the family-groups as a whole:

89% were white

11% were Latin American

56% were there with families that included small children

44% were there alone

100% appeared to be healthy (no runny noses, sick looks, etc)

Of the families with small children:

60% of the children were infants

20% of the children were toddlers

20% of the children were school-aged, but younger than pre-teen

50% had both parents there

50% were mothers with small children (father not present)

Of the people there alone:100% were women

50% appeared to be in their late teens / early 20s

25% appeared to be in their mid-30s

25% were senior citizens

Some notes about the office:

As someone who spent four years working in medical offices, I would like to say that it was run as a model of... inefficiency.

Whether this is due to budget cuts / staffing shortages, inefficient procedure practices, ineffective employees, staff being bound by governmental red tape, systems issues... well, I don't have nearly enough experience to tell you why. I can only tell you that it appeared to be incredibly inefficient, and I was not nearly the most frustrated person there.

First, there was my experience when I scheduled my appointment. I was told to call the day before to "make sure the staff will be there" for my appointment, and that there was still a chance I could show up and the staff I needed to see wasn't there. This is ludicrous. Do I really need to explain why?

Secondly, I had to see four different people to get one form filled out. It went something like this:
        See person #1 - go sit in lobby
        See person #2 - go sit in lobby
        See person #3 - go sit in lobby
        See person #4 - free to leave
And person #4 gave me the impression that normal procedures would have had me seeing yet another person, but she decided to "go ahead & take care of it" for me, so I could leave.

And it's not just me. Just in the time I was there, 56% of patients were called up to a cubicle (hey, it's a clinic remember) or back in a room only to come back out to the lobby to sit and wait to be called again later.

Then there was the timing issue. I had an 8am appointment. According to the person who scheduled me, and the sign on the door, the first appointment of the day.

I got there at 7:50am
Saw person #1 at 8:05 am
       person #2 at 8:15am
       person #3 at 8:25am
       person #4 at 8:35am

Fairly even increments, but my point is: should it really take 30 minutes for someone to get one form filled out? I did not need an exam. Just a form. Four lines, to be exact. Thirty minutes? Not just for the patient's sake, but for the staff as well? for the rest of the patients? for efficiency's sake?

Each person did their job fairly quickly. It was the wait in-between. What is that about? Why four people at all? And apparently, normally five people? Do we really need a five-person procedure to fill out four lines for one patient?

Do you know, when I called to make my appointment, she flat-out told me that I really wanted an 8am appointment, because if I come at any time other than first appointment of the day, I can expect to be there for a couple of hours, "at least". She actually said that.

That's a problem.

Again, I don't know the "why" behind this. Maybe they are bound by governmental policy / procedure. Maybe they are short-staffed. Maybe... whatever.

All I know, is this is a problem

I heard the frustrations of parents who were asked to fill out the same forms that they "just did two days ago", saw the tiredness on everyone's faces as on mother muttered "I hate this place".

But... beneath it all... there was also quiet. Smiles. Friendliness. And somehow, I couldn't help but feel a sense of gratitude coming from the patients there.

Despite the problems, the imperfections, the inefficiencies... the fact is that we live in a place where in the God forbid that something happens to us, we can get health care for our children. And I was simultaneously so very thankful that we didn't need to use a place like the clinic, and very grateful that such a place existed.

Because you really never know when that might be you.

And it renewed afresh the feeling in my heart that God is leading me to serve in a very specific way. I've been feeling this tug for a while now. A long while really. Looked into it months ago, but kept running into dead ends. Perhaps just signs the timing was wrong? I suppose we shall see. FireMan & I have already talked about it. We need now just to take the steps to start the process.

Nope. Not sharing any more. Yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Be Still

This phrase has come to me repeatedly over the past... Lord knows how long.

Be Still.
And my response is usually "when?". As in "when will I have time to be still?"

The message has seemed especially insistent lately, and has combined with other... well, I suppose the best word to use would be "signs".

I think God might be trying to tell me something.

Be Still.

Friends have told me how I need to go camping, get out in the woods, be alone with nature.

Magazines and websites, television shows and movie trailers - all seem to be echoing the same message.

Stories of friends & co-workers repeat the same directive.

Be Still.

And then I was. For just a moment.

A few nights ago, I had the unusual circumstance of being home alone for the entire evening. Jena was spending the night at my parents' house, Jason was on boat patrol.

I had a raucous night of catching up on household chores and packing for vacation planned for myself.

And, as usual, I turned on the television and pulled up streaming Netflix to choose something to watch in the background while in viewing area, and in between other chores when I had to leave viewing area.

Because I actually hate to be alone. So the television and Tucker become my company, keeping me from hearing every squeak & scratch, keeping me from being certain someone is breaking in.

When I pulled up Netflix, I started toward my usual sitcom, the 30 minute bits perfect for chores. Nothing you have to pay too close attention to, built-in breaks every 10 minutes to keep you from getting too engrossed and keep you on your path to productivity.

But there it was. Staring at me. "Eat Pray Love". I'd wanted to watch this movie when it was in the theatres, but never did. And it had been in my queue since it was available on Netflix. But I'd never watched it.

Screw the sitcom. I'm watching my movie.

I honestly didn't know a whole lot about the movie. I knew it was about a woman who got divorced and decided to go on a trip around the world to discover herself. And Julia Roberts was the star. That was about it.

Well, if you've seen the movie, then I think you know that the "Be Still" message is infused throughout.

That movie spoke to me.

But I still did my chores. Folding laundry on the living room floor. Straightening the kitchen. Getting the next load of laundry ready. Pausing it between scenes when necessary.

Luckily our open floor plan allows me to do a great deal still in view of the television.

I did I-don't-even-know how many loads of laundry. More than five. Washed the dishes. Took out the garbage. Cleaned the kitty litter. Packed my bag for vacation. And so many more odds & ends.

And then, somewhere in Bali, after finishing folding yet another load of laundry, I pulled myself up onto the couch, remote in hand, to wait for the next end-of-scene moment so I could pause it and begin my next task.

And there, on my couch, somewhere in Bali... I relaxed.

I put the remote down.

I stopped thinking about all I had to do.

My mind simultaneously melded into movie-script and drifted into nothingness, then veered into its own thoughts and back again.

But... calmly. Relaxedly, if there is such a word.

And there, on my couch, somewhere in Bali... I realized that I don't remember the last time I just sat down to watch television, the last time I just sat down, just to... sit down, the last time I let my mind wander so aimlessly.

I don't even remember the last time I did that.

Sure, I sit on my couch. Sure I watch television. But it's always during household chores, or a break in-between chores, or sometimes I'm catching up on emails and text messages and Facebook, and all the time wondering how much I'm gonna get done, and how much will still be left to do.

On infrequent occurrences, the most relaxed couching I get is when Jason & I sit down to watch a movie after Jena has gone to bed. Which is nice, don't get me wrong.

But my ears are always open for sounds of Jena stirring, as she always seems to know when we're having fun without her. My mind is on Jason, so no aimless wandering. And more than once I've been so tired I fell asleep during the movie.

But to just... be? To just relax, and let myself be?... I don't even remember...

But I did that night.

Not forever. Not even for very long. I don't think. I'd guess 30 minutes or less.

But in those few moments... I felt like I found something.

In a few moments of nothing, it felt like I found everything.

I think... I re-learned how to Be Still.

And something inside me tells me that in this mindset to Be Still, I may just find the answer to the problems I've been facing.

So my new goal, is to have more moments to Be Still.

Be it once a week. Heck, once a month would be a good start. To forget the to-do list, forget the stresses of work, forget the troubles of parenting a toddler, the juggles of being a working mom, the tensions that might be in my marriage... let it all go for just a few moments, and just Be Still.

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."  -- Lamentations 3:22-26

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rough Waters

On our wedding day, as we rode the rescue boat down the Ohio River to our ceremony location, we encountered some rough waters.

The water got rather choppy, the ride was rough. There were even white caps on the river. Which is signifcant, when you're talking as small of a channel as we were in.

It got pretty rough.

The captain discussed the problem. If the waters stayed this rough, in order to keep the boat perpendicular to shore during the ceremony, he would have to run the engines throughout the ceremony, creating unpleasant noise, and possibly drowining out the preacher's voice.

But... there would be no way around it. If the waters stayed rough.

Seeing as how it was our wedding day, once we began our entrance, I forgot all about it, lost in the moment.

So the story goes, told to us later by the captain, and confirmed by the rest of the crew:

the moment he made the 90 degree turn to come into shore... the waters calmed

Mystically, magically... they calmed in an instant.

The waters stayed calm throughout our ceremony. The boat stayed perfectly still. There was no need to run the engines.

The captain was amazed. He insisted it was like a miracle, for the waters which had been so rough, to calm so suddenly.

And he has the decades of experience on the Ohio River to know what's a miracle on those waters and what is not.

The memory of that detail, long forgotten, came back to me a few nights ago.

I was thinking about my life, about the turmoil I have felt for so long. And I realized that... it doesn't matter how much I run the engines, the performance won't be just right until the waters calm. And while I may have control of the boat, I don't have control of the waters.

There's only One Who does.

I still have a duty to run my engines the best I can, to steer my boat the best I can, to make my performance as captain the best it can be... but I need to realize that I'm doing so within the environment of the water. And rough, or calm, I have no control over the water.

There is only One who can calm the water. Only One who can still the waves.

I have been trying too hard, doing too much, in fruitless effort.

Because I am not relying on Him enough.

I still have a duty to captain my vessel... but I must let go of the water.


"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear...Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,...Be still, and know that I am God:...Selah."  -- Psalm 46:1-2a,3a, 10a, 11c


Monday, June 20, 2011

THAT place

If I didn't have to go to that place, I wouldn't be so exhausted & stressed at the end of the day that I end up reaching my breaking points wtih my family later on.

I hate it. I resent it. I resent the time it takes away from me, time I could be spending with my family, for my family.

If it weren't for that place, I could be with my family more. I could be home with FireGirl. I could be home with FireMan on his days off.

Resentment is especially strong when FireMan works on a weekend. For instance, let's say:
he's off on Friday, but I'm working, then
he works on Saturday, but I'm off, then
we're both off on Sunday, which is great, but let's face it, after church, lunch, then home for FireGirl's naptime...
well, you get the picture.

If I didn't have to go to that place, I could be home with him on that Friday. As one example.

And even when my loves aren't home, I could be doing things at home. Like actually catching up on laundry. Finally organizing the kitchen cupboards. Using my new drillin' skills. Taking FireGirl to the park more. Taking her to the library. Playdates. Classes. So many things.

If I didn't have to go to that place.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Supermom has left the building.

or that's how I feel at least.

I cried on my way to work this morning. Because I hate who I am weekday mornings. Rushing around, ushering FireGirl to get up, eat her breakfast, get dressed, and out the door.

Even on days we don't fight, which are the majority anymore (thank the Lord!), I still hate who I am on those mornings.

It feels so... cold, so unfeeling. I swear I don't even think I saw FireMan this morning, till I was hurriedly pulling out the driveway.

It's get up, do this, c'mon, I said "do this", are you doing this?, why aren't you doing this?

It stresses me. It stresses her.

I hate who I am weekday mornings.

So I cried on my way to work this morning. Because I hated who I was at that moment.

But I don't know how else to do it. How else do you get up and get yourself and a toddler ready in the morning? It's so busy, so go-go-go.

I hate it. I hate me. Or the me I've become. On weekdays.

You know, I used to be a good employee too.

I was a great employee. I came early whenever they needed me to. Stayed late if anyone asked. My longest day was 6am-11:30pm, with no breaks except for lunch. Straight work. And I loved it. People depended on me, and I got stuff done.

Now? Please. Well, even if I could figure out how to get out the door sooner, I can't get there too early, because I'd have to wait until I could drop FireGirl off. And I can't stay too late because I have to pick her up.

So those days are definitely over.

My focus is split. I don't love my job anymore. I'm starting to hate it. Because of how it affects the rest of me. I hate the fact that I'm the way I am in the mornings because I'm going to that place. If I didn't have to go to that place, we wouldn't have to rush around, I wouldn't be ushering FireGirl around the house, urging her to eat her breakfast, begging her to let me dress her, fighting with her about getting in the car.

Ugh. I hate it. I who I am on weekdays. I really do.

I seriously considered texting FireMan when I got to work this morning and telling him I was putting in my two weeks notice. And meaning it.

I have no idea how we would make it financially, but...

I just feel like something's gotta give.

And it can't be my family. So...

I was a good employee, until I became a mom.

I'm a great mom, when I'm not trying to be a mediocre or better employee.

And in-between all that I'm desperately trying to be a satisfactory wife.

But... it's not working. Twenty-six months later, 26 months of trying, 26 months of failing, 26 months of stress, 26 months of failing at all three... I think we've reached a point where something has to give.

I am broken. I am tired of feeling like a failure. I am tired of being told I am failing.

You know how you have the worst things you think about yourself?

Now imagine if everyone around you told you they were true. Not just one person, but everyone. Okay, not literally everyone, but just about.

Oh, they always phrase it nicely. Okay, not always, but usually.

What if your husband told you repeatedly that you were not satisfactory to him as a wife, and he wasn't pleased with how you handled your daughter, and by the way, why can't you keep the house clean?

If your mom started putting parenting articles in your diaper bag so you'd find them once you got your daughter home?
If your dad kept telling you that you'd better "shape up" before you got fired?

If your boss & co-workers started telling you how to do your job?

And you are trying, you are really, honestly trying, working, pushing yourself to do better at all of it.

And when you realize you can't work on all the areas at once, so you focus on one, you immediately hear a chorus of dissatisfied groans around you, because focusing on improving in one area means not focusing on five others.

And so when you decide that won't work, and you decide maybe if you take baby steps in several areas, so you don't overwhelm yourself too much you get laughed at & made fun of because what are baby steps gonna do? and "I know how you are & how this will end up" and then the chorus of dissatisfaction starts anew because you're not improving quickly enough.

Heck, let's broaden things.

What if two different volunteer organizations you that your volunteer contributions weren't up to snuff?

If members of your own family told you how horrible you were, and decided not to be around you?

What if you invited over 150 people to a party... and only five showed up?

Just... whatever it is for you... think about what the worst things you think about yourself. Seriously. Take a minute. Think about what they are, what they would be.

And then, imagine if the rest of the world seemed to be reading your mind, and telling your that you were right. That all of those horrible things... really were true.

And every time - we're talking over the course of several years - every time you had the arrogance to try to convince yourself that they weren't true, to stand up tall, and press onward... well, every single time you got knocked on your butt again.
That every teeny tiny success you might have, was met with a minimum of two decent-sized failures?

I just... I need a break. I need... I need something to give. I thought giving up volunteer organizations would help. And... at least I have lowered the number of people I am disappointing, but... I'm not really doing any better at this.

And then, of course, I have those people that like to tell me how I shouldn't have given up volunteering because of... blah, blah, blah. And when I try to explain they proceed to tell me how they manage to work it in.

You know, because the fact that I can't handle it is just another sign of how badly I suck. Because everyone else can do it.

I don't have much of a social life to give up (see above note re: party).

Can't give up family. They're family.

All that I see that's left, is work.

And all I know, is that I've reached my breaking point.

After two-and-a-half years of fighting just to manage as a working mom, fighting and struggling, and fighting, and failing... I am waving the white flag yet again and saying, I can't do it. I give.

I spend too much time crying. Too much time feeling bad. I give.

I honestly believe I will be a better, and happier, wife & mother if I am not working full-time outside the home.

I will have more time for my family, more time for my home, more time for myself.

I will not be as stressed. I will not be under as much pressure. I will not be held to so many outside pressures.

Instead of 50 different people reaching for me, depending on me, relying on me, counting on me... there will be two.

I don't know how to convince FireMan this is the right decision, and I don't know how we're gonna make it work financially, but... I really think I need to do this. I think all of our lives will be better.

And Lord, Father, Abba - if this doesn't work...........................................................

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vaccine Soapbox. But not really.

I posted in a Friday Fragments post that I was back on my vaccine soapbox after a recent incident. But really, that's not totally true.

I'm more on a rant about how our pediatrician's office is handling the situation.

So, for those of you who don't know, we chose to delay several of FireGirl's vaccines, and skip two.

Last Autumn, when she started at her old preschool, we got a religious exemption form to enroll her, signed by her pediatrician.

The week before she started her new preschool, I called her pediatrician's office to let them know I would need her immunization records as well has have a new exemption form signed. They told me I could pick it up on Friday. She was scheduled to start school on Monday.

When I go in to pick them up, they give me her immunization record, and the office manager asked me to step into a back office to talk about the exemption form.

I was told that as a practice they no longer sign exemption forms for patients, and at that time was not given any explanation other than "that is the stance our practice is taking".

She then explained that if I still needed one (duh), that I would need to contact the Health Department, who would show me a video explaining the vaccines.

This was a little confusing to me. I asked her why. She said so I would understand why vaccines are necessary.

So I said something along the lines of:

"So this practice's stance is that the only reason that a parent would make a serious medical decision for their child that is contrary to your position on the subject is that the parent must not be educated on the issue?"
She stuttered, and insisted that no, they were not saying that anyone was uneducated.

So I  asked what watching a video was supposed to do then.

She said something about giving parents more information.

So I reiterated that they were basically taking the stance that the only reason a parent would delay or skip any vaccine is that said parent must be uneducated on the matter, and that by watching a video, surely said parent will change their mind.

More stuttering.

Keep in mind that at no point was I ever asked why we had chosen to delay / skip these vaccines. At no point during our appointments had the pediatrican or nurse asked us.

She said maybe a doctor could explain it better, and would I like FireGirl's pediatrician to call me later.

Yes, in fact, I would.

He did.

He explained that their legal counsel had recommended that they no longer sign exemption forms, as to do so could make them liable in the case the child, or the child's immediate contacts, contracts the disease for which they were not vaccinated.

Okay. I get that.

So I asked if that then meant that they were assuming liability for any side effects that children suffered as a result of the immunizations, and assuming liability for any children that contracted the illness despite the vaccine.

Like, perhaps they would like to pay us back for the multiple visits FireGirl had in their office and the dermatologist when she developed Gianotti-Crosti Syndrome from a vaccine when she was a year old.

Well, no.

I told him that did not make sense, was not logical.

He then said that their counsel did advise them they could sign the exemption form in the rare instance that it was a true religious exemption, in which they confirm the parent's official religious affiliation and receive documentation from their house of worship stating that receiving said vaccine violates their religious beliefs.

I explained to him that even asking a patient or parent their specific religious affiliation was most likely illegal, and that Kentucky law was written to be specifically vague to allow for personal religious beliefs, not just organized religion.

He said he did not know that.

I then suggested that they might want to find new legal counsel, because it sounded to me like whomever it was was giving them advice that made it more likely that they would be the center of a lawsuit, not less likely.

He did not appreciate that.

And then I just had one more question.

If you signed one in September, your policy must have changed within the past nine months.

True.

So why weren't parents notified? Either by mail, by informing us when we came in, or by posting it somewhere in the office (there are numerous postings throughout the office both in the patient rooms & by the reception desk)? And why wasn't I informed when I called and specifically said I would be picking one up?

His response? They had discussed notifying parents, but they didn't think it was that big of a deal.

I told him it certainly was a big deal for any parent trying to register their child for school, to get that unexpected surprise at the last minute.

That also bothers me for a broader reason, of wondering what other policies have they / might they change, that they never communicate to parents until it's too late, because the doctors / office manager / legal counsel don't think it's a "big deal".

Again, I would like to note that nowhere in this conversation did he ever ask me why we had delayed / skipped certain immunizations for our daughter.

Not once has anyone at this practice asked us why. We have not, ever, even been asked our religious affiliation (since apparently it is perfectly okay for them to ask that). We have only been told, in very polite terms, that the only reason a parent would not follow the "normal" immunization schedule for their child must be a lack of education.

Honestly, if we didn't love our pediatrician and the care he has provided her since she was a day old (literally), I would probably now be looking for a new practice.

So anyway... we turned in her immunization record on FireGirl's first day of school, and scheduled an appointment for the Health Department. For three weeks later. The soonest they could see a non-urgent patient.

But we're to call the day before to make sure the staff we're scheduled with is actually gonna be there.

Becaaaauuuse... that's... an... efficient... way... to run... an office.... ?
I was kinda speechless when she told me that, and had to have her repeat the instructions, certain I'd misunderstood. Nope. We have an appointment. But we are to call the day before to "make sure" the people we're scheduled with will be there. If they're not gonna be there, or if we get there the day of and they're not there, we'll have to reschedule, probably another three weeks out.

What the...?{{steps on political soapbox for a minute}} Good thing Obamacare got passed. Because clearly having the government run our medical offices is a great idea (please note sarcasm).
Fortunately FireGirl's school hasn't said a word about her missing immunizations. Yet.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well, I had my MRI

45 minutes in a narrow little tube on Saturday, and I already have the results.

My family doctor called yesterday and said that the MRI showed that a fragment of my disc has broken off and his "kinda hanging down", interfering with the nerves.

I'm kinda struggling to really understand that, but basically, I have somehow managed to re-injure the same disc as before.

They are recommending a surgical consult at this point.

But... more because a neurosurgeon is the expert that knows about these types of injuries and can recommend the best course of treatment.

Apparently there are some new sort of steroidal injections that have shown some success in shrinking these types of fragments.

Or he said the surgeon might think that several rounds of physical therapy might due the trick.

I don't know.

I'd be willing to try the injections.

But the PT? I guess after last time... I just hate to spend all that time and effort going thru physical therapy, only to end up on the surgeon's table anyway, you know?

But that's why he's sending me to the surgeon. To see.

The good news is that the neurosurgery practice I went to five years ago (and 45 minutes away), does have surgeons that come to the hospital here, and our family doctor highly recommends I stay with that practice. Apparently it is the neurosurgery practice that they recommend to all of their patients, and consider the top in the area.

Good to know.

As far as my symptoms go, I've had very little pain since that one 4-day episode. I did make the mistake of jumping last week with FireGirl, and immediately knew it was a mistake. I was in very minor pain for a couple of hours, but it was enough to remind me that I need to be carefu - really careful - until we get this taken care of.

But I do still have the tingling / numbish sensation in my legs, particularly my right leg. It's become so frequent now that I don't even really notice anymore. Unless someone asks me, or I'm telling someone about it (like right now when I'm typing). Like at the MRI when the tech asked if I'd had any tingling recently. I sat for a minute and was like "oh, yeah, like right now?"

It doesn't really hinder me at this point, just is a minor annoyance.

But I know the drill, I know the lecture. The what-if's that go along with leg tingling & numbness. The possibilities for it progressing into worse - much worse.

And so... I will call to schedule my consult sometime this week. And at work I've begun making sure the work instructions for my job are up-to-date, and given my boss a heads up on the possibility of me being off. Seeing as how I'm the only one who knows how to do my job and all, I figure they'd appreciate that.

Part of me says I should be taking this more seriously than I am. I guess part of my brain knows how serious it could be. Potentially.
But... I also feel like I've been thru so much worse, right?

And this is just really inconvenient, which is annoying me.

I have things I want to do. And a job. And a house to clean. And a daughter to take care of.
In reverse order of priority.

Right now, I'm functioning, for the most part, normally.

Sure, this could potentially be serious, but if I have surgery I will definitely not be functioning normally, for what is most likely an extended period of time.

That idea annoys me. Greatly.

Thanks for checking in. I'll keep ya'll updated.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Fatt Butt



I saw my endocrinologist last week. In the past two months I have lost another eight pounds.

My doctor is still pleased with my progress, so we are, as planned stopping the stronger medications, continuing the maintenance medication, and I will go back in six months to see how I am doing, and will have bloodwork done before my appointment to see how all of my levels are.

That's really about it.

I'm to otherwise just keep up what I'm doing, and I can come in sooner if I have any problems. Specifically, if I have sudden weight gain, unexplained bloating / weight gain in my upper abdomen, or bloating / puffiness in my face then I should come in right away to see what's going on.

He said I can expect to continue a slow weight loss as my insulin levels continue to normalize, as long as I continue what I've been doing.

I'm a little nervous about the safety net of my stronger medications being taken away, but I've gotten used to the idea over the past couple of months, and his reassurance at this checkup that things were still going well helped to calm my anxieties.

I guess that's about it. Not a very exciting post, I know, but... that's the update.

Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blogging on my own laptop, from home

I don't think I've ever done this.

I've blogged from home on FireMan's laptop before, on rare occasions, but not my own.

So here I am, on a lazy Saturday morning, home ALONE, blogging from my laptop.

Work blocked the blogger picture-add page, and since I do most of my blogging on work breaks, if I want to have pics in my post I'll have to either upload them to another site & then write the HTML, or... start blogging more from home. You know, in my spare time.

Except right now this, my new laptop, is void of any software except what it came with. Which is... nothing. And while I don't do much photo editing, I do like to at least crop & compress the pics before I upload them to the internet.

I also need to get a mouse. I'm not very good at the little pad thingie on the laptop, and have a habit of accidentally deleting everything I just did (thank you Blogger auto-save)

Yes, I said I'm home ALONE.

I have my MRI today at 12noon, and FireMan is on shift today, which meant I didn't have anyone to watch FireGirl. Since my parents were watching her yesterday anyway, they graciously kept her overnight for me.

Why would I schedule an MRI on a day when I had FireGirl & FireMan wasn't home? I didn't. When I left my doctor's office they had said they would call me back later to schedule the appointment. Okay. Then three days ago I get a voicemail saying that MRI is Saturday, at 12noon, at such-and-such location.

Um... okay...

I'm sure if it were a major problem I probably could have called & rescheduled, but I still thought that was an odd way to do it. To schedule an appointment without even talking to the patient about days/times.

Anyway, my parents watching FireGirl also afforded FireMan & I a date night last night. Which didn't go as well as planned, but was still nice to have time alone together.

We ate at Abuelo's. Not the best experience. If I had my reviews page set up, I'd tell you about it, LOL.

And then... I got hit my a stomach virus. While still at the restaurant. We were gonna try to go somewhere else after, but... I decided maybe we should just head home. Ended up being a good decision. We barely made it home before it struck full force.

Not to gross anyone out or anything, but this is the weirdest stomach virus I've ever had, but I've had it twice. Back in March, and now.
I feel fine, until I eat. Once I eat, I get VERY sick. Very, unpleasantly ill.

So I've had it for about three days now. It's so weird. I mean, seriously, you feel just fine, absolutely great even. Until you eat. And within 30-60 minutes... you have a no-good situation.

It's just so weird.

And I'm hungry. But I'm not supposed to eat or drink before my MRI anyway, so... I guess that's that.

After my MRI I'm gonna grab some lunch (I guess - I really am hungry! but I'm also a little scared!), and then do some shopping. I was gonna head straight to pick up FireGirl, but we figured out by the time I got done & drove up there she'll probably be taking her nap anyway, so... shopping it is.
Sorry for so many random updates.

Have been super-busy at work, and used up my breaks with FireGirl's new preschool situation (it's the child care provided by my workplace) this week, so didn't have much time to get on & write.

So far we love this new preschool. Things are going really well. I'll try to write a separate post on that later.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I felt like Supermom this morning

I've made no secret of the fact that I have struggled with my role as a working mom.

I struggle all. the time.

The juggle is quite a challenge for me. All. The. Time.

What others seem to manage with relative ease, I fight to just get by with the minimum, and feel like I'm failing about half the time at that.

So... this might seem like no big deal to some of ya'll, but to me, this morning... I felt like Supermom.

Just as I was getting up, FireGirl came into our bedroom. She had woken up because she peed thru her diaper and wet her bed.I changed her diaper, removed her wet PJs, got her favorite baby blanket, and tucked her back into bed.

I folded & put away a load of laundry. Got another load together & put it in to wash.

Ate breakfast (I never take time to eat breakfast).

Packed FireGirl's lunch.

Ironed my clothes for the day.

Packed FireGirl's diaper bag.

Wrote out the check to FireGirl's sitter & put it in the diaper bag.

FireGirl was up for the day by then.I got her breakfast ready (watermelon & instant cinnamon toast [in separate bowls], both cut into smaller pieces, with milk to drink) and found Diego on Netflix and told her to eat her breakfast while Mommy takes a shower.

Took a shower and got ready for the day.

By the time I got out of the shower FireGirl had started a 2nd Diego, but was instead in our bedroom trying to convince Daddy to wake up.
Updated my chore list.

Woke FireMan up & gave him the rundown of what I'd done, since he was off today & taking FireGirl to the sitter.

And still made it to work on time.

I even managed to pick up / tidy up a tiny bit in between tasks.

Yep. I know for some working moms, that might just be a normal day. No big deal.

But today... I felt like I did it all. I felt like Supermom. I even managed to wear a cute outfit and look halfway decent today. Which is a big deal in & of itself.

To me anywa.

So... realizing that everything in life is relative...

I am relishing in my supermommyness today.

What makes you feel like a supermom?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea


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Work has been... interesting. I love my new boss. So far, things are great. But he's been out sick, so it's been a mix of him trying to learn the position, implement a few new things, and then just not being here.
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Need. To do. Chores.
With Jena being sick a couple of weeks ago, then me getting sick, and then my back going out last week... let's just say our house is badly in need of me getting things in order.

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I don't think I ever told you that my friend did come over a couple of Saturdays ago, and I did indeed learn to use a drill. Ends up it really is pretty easy. In fact, we're both convinced that it was more me not understand how all the settings work, than me not understanding what to do.

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So now I have a to-do list for myself of things I've wanted done around the house, but have been waiting for Jason to do, because I didn't know how to use a drill. The only problem is that I don't want to do it with Jena there, because she will want to help, and that's not safe, but I can't wait until after she's asleep because it's too loud. Hmph.

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And... learning that skill has given me a little boost of confidence. I think once I get a few of these drill-necessary projects done, I might just try to learn how to do something else & get at it.
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After typing that, I do seem to remember reading / hearing that once upon a time: to boost your confidence, learn a new skill. Yep, it works!

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I want to get another dog. Another protector dog, like Buddy. Or a gun. But with Jena... I figure a dog is a better bet.

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I swear I've been hearing coyotes the past few nights, and it scares the beejusus out of me. And Buddy is a great protector, and he's big, but he's only one dog, and if they're in a pack...

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Yes, we have three dogs. But little dog (Flopsy) and old & blind (Tootsie) aren't exactly helpful in actual defense situations.

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and Buddy is getting older. Something I try to ignore, but is true.

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Jena has been talking about Tess a lot lately. She misses her. She wants her. She was her friend. It makes me sad.

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And now she suddenly has a huge attachment to Flopsy. "Mommy, that's my dog" she'll say. Over, and over. Dear Lord, please don't let anything happen to that dog.

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As I typed this, I realized I have some new-ish readers, who don't know who Tess is, or what happened. If you're interested, here's the story. I also realized that new-ish readers won't realize why we don't just bring the dogs inside. The story pretty much answers that as well. At least, I think it does. It also helps to answer why the #1 priority on my drilling-project list is adding an additional dead-bolt to our front door. Again, to me it answers those questions anyway.

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Yes, I said "additional" dead-bolt. Yes, I still have issues from this. And probably will for a long time. Maybe I should write a separate post about it. I could probably fill up an entire post with the issues I have now, because of that night.

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I'm back on my vaccine soapbox, following a new policy at Jena's pediatrician's office. Of course, them implying that I'm uneducated didn't help either. Either way, I'm on fire about it, so expect a post or two on the topic. If I had time, I could churn them out right now. But alas, time is one thing I do not have right now.

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Oh, and I've decided June is Jodi-uses-her-new-benefits month. I'll be getting my first bonus, my first pay increase, starting on the 1st I now get vacation days, and Jena's new school is the workplace daycare / preschool.

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And with that, this very long Friday "Fragments", I bid you adieu. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And then my foot started tingling...

Yeah. Remember when I said there was a reason I was posting the background of my injury? There was.

About three months ago I was sitting at my desk at work when I started having the oddest burning / tingling sensation in my right foot. I was wearing a pair of shoes that I hadn't worn in a while, so at first I thought it was my shoes (because shoes do that to people all the time, right?), so I took my shoes off at my desk and started rubbing my foot.

And it did nothing.

By the afternoon, I was having the same sensation in my left foot as well, although not as strong.

I mentioned it to FireMan, just as a heads up.

Since then, I've experienced tingling, numbness, and the occasional burning sensation in both of my legs (buttocks down to toes) off-and-on. Mostly in my right leg, like before, but definitely in both.

A little twinge of minor pain in my lower back on occasion as well, as well as the rare sciatic pain in my buttocks, extending into my hamstring.

All of this was just a little too familiar.

I considered calling my family doctor. But... since my surgery I've moved about 40 miles south, and the family doctor who I had at the time (who knows my case backwards & forwards) moved his practice about 60 miles north.

So... did I want to see my new family doctor? Drive to see my old family doctor, who knows my case? Just skip it all & go back to my surgeon? Or just wait it out?

Well, since all of these symptoms were more annoying than anything, I decided to wait it out, all the while trying to decide which doctor I wanted to see if / when the time came.

And then, one night last week, my back went out.

I don't know why. I hadn't done anything unusual. Just... horrible, crippling pain.

And the Hunchback of Notre Dame was reborn in an instant.

And of course this happens on a night when FireMan is on shift, and I am home alone with FireGirl. Luckily she is old enough to do most things by herself (with direction), and is also old enough to understand when Mommy's back has an owie and so she cannot be picked up.

I would give my pain that night an 8 on a scale of 1 - 10, without a doubt the highest since my surgery. By far.

Once FireGirl went to bed, I tried to get as comfortable as possible to relax on the couch, and finally gave up, took some Ibuprofen PM, and went to bed.

In the morning when I woke up, I felt great!

Until I tried to move. The minute I moved my legs, the pain came back. Not quite as bad as the night before, but... bad.

But... my history told me it was doable, so I got up, got ready, got FireGirl ready, and headed to work like normal.

And spent a good part of the day answering questions about why I was walking around so funny.

I called my family doctor, who didn't have an opening until the next week. And since I know this isn't urgent, and our work has an on-site clinic that I can go to if it suddenly becomes urgent, I decided to wait.

I walked funny, couldn't lift things, and generally tried to take it easy for 4 days before the pain finally subsided

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trip to the Firehouse

We don't get to visit FireMan at his firehouse too often. Why? Because FireMan works an hour away from home. Not a horrible commute, since he only has to drive it once every third day. But it does mean that FireGirl & I just don't make it down there that often. But we try.

I'm not sure FireGirl thinks there's anything better than "driving" the fire truck. She knows exactly which doors to go thru to get into the bay, from anywhere in the fire house, and she knows exactly which truck is Daddy's.

She's ever-curious about what Daddy does, and she is always looking for more to learn. On this day, she learned how to put on the headset & use the radio, all by herself. Sort of. I mean, we can't actually let her use them, you know. Ha!

This day I surprised FireMan. He had no idea we were coming. We managed to sneak in at the tail end of lunch, and catch him in the kitchen. Good thing. The last two times I tried to surprise him they were out on runs when we got there. But that's the way it goes in the fire family, I suppose.

And then, because we were lucky enough for FireMan's engine to not get one run (not even one!) while we were there (although another truck did have to go out, not his, yay!), he decided to show FireGirl how to work a hose. I love those pics. I think they both enjoyed that thoroughly.

She ended up soaked, but who cares. That's why we keep a spare outfit in the diaper bag, right?

We even got to eat dinner with the guys that night, before heading back home. All in all, a great visit.

Thanks for checking in!


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