Monthly Archives: March 2011

Goodbye, Kitty

We may have found a new home for our kitty.

You probably remember when I brought him home months ago. It was kind of a battle. He lived at the store where I worked and they wanted him to go with another kitty. We had fallen in love with each other, he would follow me around the store and respond to me better than anyone else, I loved to see him and the joy and life in him made me happy. I won the battle and brought him home.

And discovered that I am not a cat person.

I like cats. I like other people’s cats. I like visiting cats. I loved seeing Parker at the store. This morning I was getting teary-eyed, remembering how much I loved seeing him at the store and what a great connection we had there.

But that doesn’t mean I want to live with one. I love animal cuddles…but cat cuddles just don’t really do it for me that much. We don’t interact in the same way. Parker is desperate for something from me, more attention, more cuddles, more interaction, and I try to give it but I don’t give what he wants, either. So we’re both lonely and frustrated. It’s been only 7 months, but that part of it is only getting worse.

Then throw in the clawing, the spraying, the getting up on counters to get into food and other things I thought were safe, and it’s frustrating.

There is a lot of good and joy from living with Parker. But there is more frustration. The net result is not happiness.

And if that was all it was, I’d stick it out. We promised him a home when we took him in.

But he’s unhappy, too. He is a total person-oriented cat. He wants to spend all his time with you. He cries when he is separated from us. And we just don’t give him the kind of amount of attention he wants or deserves. You can tell how miserable he is in many ways, even though he loves us desperately.

So slowly we’ve been toying with the idea of finding him a new home. A home of true cat-lovers who could respond to his needs.

Finally, yesterday, I put up a Craigslist ad describing our kitty’s personality and what we wanted for him. That we wanted him to be an only pet ideally and definitely in a home of real cat-people, because he is so people-oriented. After I submitted it but before it posted there were two “free cat!” ads that went up. So mine was the third you’d come across right then, not to mention all the other cat ads that are on Craigslist. I figured we wouldn’t hear anything, and in a few days I’d post again. No big deal, this was a first tentative feeler. Not really expecting a response.

Until a few hours later, when I got a response.

Young woman whose boyfriend and her are looking for a cat, since their 15 year old cat died last month. Very, very much cat people. Want a cat who is indoor-only. No other pets. Want a cat they can snuggle with all day. Want a loving companion who sounds just like our man. She wrote me a very nice e-mail explaining what attracted her and her boyfriend to our kitty, and how everything just seemed to line up perfect the more they heard after we’d sent some inquiries back and forth. Made me feel better. They’re the real deal. It sounds like a perfect home for our kitty. And when I obsessively and creepily stalked her on the interwebs and facebook I can see she’s a real person which lines up with what she’s saying.

They’re coming over tonight to meet him. And, if things work, take him home.

Holy shit. That happened fast. From tentative-first-feeler-OK-let’s-look-into-finding-him-a-new-home-we’ll-have-weeks-of-sorting-through-whack-jobs to he-may-be-leaving in just over 24 hours.

It’s too soon! I’m not ready!

But…if this is the right family…I am. The hubby and I may be losing out on the opportunity to love a very sweet and wonderful individual. But we have others to love. And while Parker and I have a special bond, I honestly think he’d rather be with people he maybe has less of a uniquely strong innate bond with who will shower him with love and affection all day long in the way he can respond to. I really, truly believe that he would be happier in another home, if it’s the right home, and that’s why I can do this. I really think it will be for the best. For everyone.

The next 24 hours will be very hard. Dealing with this decision, following through on it, saying goodbye to the kitty I love with all my heart, probably forever since these people live almost an hour away (have I mentioned they’re willing to drive almost an hour to visit a potential not-free cat? Yeah, definitely cat people).

But when all is said and done, I think that if you looked a month out, we’d all be happier for the change.

We’ll see what happens tonight.

Oh, and because when I adopted this kitty I told the crazy cat rescue I would NEVER rehome him, if I couldn’t keep him I’d return him to them (not a chance in hell crazy cat rescue, I love him too much to doom him to another year of living alone in a room with maybe an hour of human contact a day) I will not be confirming or denying for sure what happens. I may say I miss him, I may even say he’s gone..but of course, he could run out the front door and get hit by a car when I go to greet them. He’s been interested in outside recently. Who knows?

One final thought. I am noticing a pattern of slowly getting ready for something, deciding to start feeling towards it figuring it will be awhile, and BAM!, it happens. First with leaving the pet store; I applied for a tutoring job on a half-whim, first place I’d contacted, heard back for an interview in minutes, had the job the next day. Then with Parker (potentially). Can I say I hope having a baby goes the same way? We hit the point where we’re ready to start trying…and BAM, pregnant! *sad smile*

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More books: Midwives and Empires

I’ve been moving slowly that last month or so with reading. I’ve kind of been up-in-the-air between series; even though I have new ones I just couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. Throw in some non-fiction, which takes longer, one of which I’m about 3/4 of the way through but is still quite a long book, and my number of updates is not speeding along! That’s OK, my goal is to enjoy my reading, and I still have 11/26 of the letters down by the end of March! And I still have 2 book updates to share now. As always, click on the picture to go to the Amazon page.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Ina May Gaskin

I had heard Ina May referenced by many natural-birth proponents, and finally decided to look up her work. This is the only book of hers I have read…but I loved it. Ina May is a total hippie who was part of a commune that was started decades ago where they decided they were going to go back to a more naturalistic type of birth; women attending women, with trained midwives rather than OBs. Her statistics are phenomenal, and she is respected by midwives and OBs around the country (and even around the world). The first half is nothing but birth stories. All kinds of birth stories from births she (or her team) attended. You see, women in her community don’t fear birth, because it is not a topic of horror stories. It is presented as hard, tiring, and painful, but not something to be scared of because basically everyone they know has done it and has found peace and joy in it. In our culture, however, the culture of birth is full of fear. So to counter that, Ina May presents her readers with a large number of birth stories from all different women with all different experiences, from short, easy labors to ones that took days, from unwed teenagers to “high risk” older women. She is trying to share her culture of confidence with the reader by sharing all of these stories. And since her c-section rate is under 3%, and forceps and vacuum extraction rates are even lower, and maternal death is almost unheard of, these stories really are typical of what she sees (and if I remember correctly, I believe there even was an assisted birth story in the tens her former clients shared).

The second part discusses her views on birth, including many tips for coping and many techniques she found to work, along with attitude. She wrote this book because after the stats she gave at the end of her last book an OB came up to her and said he wanted to know how she achieved those stats. This book was her answer. She describes “sphincter law” which she follows (along with the “law of 3 Ps” which OBs follow). Basically, she says that the cervix and vagina are sphincters, just like the rectum or urethra. And just like how it is hard to poop in front of a large group of hostile strangers, it is hard to let your cervix dialate and let your vagina relax to avoid tearing in front of a large number of strangers (or really any other situation in which you are uncomfortable or stressed). This insight alone I thought was really cool and worth reading the book for (trust me, she explains it better). The information and techniques she shares in here are really interesting, but her view definitely is one-sided. She is definitely not advocating for episiotomies or c-sections, though she is glad they exist for the women who need them, and while she doesn’t bash hospital birth she does point out many potential downsides from it being standard.

Overall I found this book very, very empowering. That seemed to be her biggest point. Throughout the whole thing there is this message that women can birth. We are made for it. And, generally, we can do it just fine. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is pregnant or thinking of becoming so, but it’s one you have to pick up on your own. I would never give it to a friend unless I knew she was open to natural birth because it is so one-sided, and what feels empowering to someone open to that may feel pushy to someone who wasn’t. However, looking at reviews, it seems that if a women comes to it on her own even many very pro-hospital-birth women thoroughly enjoy the book.

Hidden Empire

Orson Scott Card

This book is the sequel to Card’s Empire from 2007. In the first book there is a civil war in the US. In this book there is a world-wide epidemic. Are the conspiracy theorists right? That’s what we get to find out. The main character is a special ops agent who runs his jeesh of highly specialized soldiers. Other semi-main characters is single mom who is an advisor to the president and a young African monkey-catcher. This book is very action-packed and full of excitement. It was enjoyable and I did get somewhat sucked in, but it was nothing special. Good, not great. I wasn’t a fan of the ending, so that can ruin a book for me, but if you want some brain candy and like good action, then this is a pretty good choice.

You can tell my apathy by the length of my commentary.

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Portland Art

This weekend I spent some wonderful, relaxing, escapist time with my sweet hubby enjoying the nearby city of Portland. Saturday we went to the Saturday Market, and at one of the last booths I ran into artist Tricia Beck who runs Red Parasol Productions. And completely fell in love with her work.

I was in love with so many of her paintings it was hard to pick. She had gorgeous prints, for a very reasonable $10-$20. But she also had something extremely unique, textured prints on 1/2″ wood painted black, totally sealed and finished, ready to hang on the wall. They looked like original art because of the texturing and vibrant color, and I wouldn’t have to get them framed (one of my big downfalls).

I love her pieces. The colors are stunning. The more I looked at them, the more I found to like. If you live near Portland I highly recommend seeking her out at the market, as some of her prices were lower there, but if not I still recommend checking her out online. Some of the colors aren’t quite as vibrant online, but your print will be!

We considered getting a few. Like this:

"Spring Fever"

The colors are so vibrant. She also has a triptych based on this design, and we thought it would be a stunning focal point for a room with the gorgeous color and print.

Or this:

 

"Today is the Day!"

Which I loved in triptych. It splits beautifully, and you just see more the more you look.

Another of my favorites isn’t on her website (another reason to go visit her!) but I did get a little card of it which I totally intend on framing and putting up.

There were lots of others I liked, even if I wouldn’t necessarily want them as her only piece in my home, like these:

 

“Under the Maple”

So complex and stunning.

"A Round Conversation"

Stunning if macabre.

 

"To Survive"

Just cool.

I love her work because I just want to keep looking at it. Discovering more. And as I said, there was even more to look at and dive into and enjoy at her booth in Portland.

So what did we end up getting?

 

"Through the Trees"

I love it. The colors, the branches, the hills, everything. Love.

It went up in our living room as soon as we got home. Impressive, since we have prints from previous trips a year ago which are still waiting to be framed and have their spot found.

Art makes me happy. It makes my house feel like home. And I am so glad to add this piece to my collection. Especially for how unique it is with the texturing at such a very good price!

Whatare your favorite pieces?

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Positive training, it’s all essentially the same

I had today off and I have spent it enjoying some positive training shows.

One is It’s Me Or The Dog, showing Victoria Stillwell using positive training methods to train problem dogs (and their owners).

The other is Supernanny, showing Jo Frost using positive training methods to train problem children (and their parents).

I was just introduced to Supernanny by a friend, and I marathoned 5 episodes in a row. Watching it, I was struck over and over how much what she does is similar to what I do when I go into people’s homes and help them train their dogs. The standing and giving them instructions while the kid is having a tantrum on the floor was eerily reminiscent of my regular life working with clients while their dog is misbehaving in front of them. “Lots of praise, lots of encouragement,” comes out of my mouth constantly, just like hers. And so many of the techniques and advice are essentially the same as what I recommend to my clients for their dogs.

Basically, the show has helped confirm for me that raising children is much like raising dogs. Positive training is positive training! Here are just some of the similarities I saw:

Give appropriate outlets for energy

For dogs this means the owner takes them on lots of walks, runs, plays games of fetch, goes to the dog park, and does training. For kids this means the parent has to spend time playing games with their kids to have fun together and give them physical and mental exercise. This is the number one things that almost every person with problem children/dogs needs to improve on.

Set up rules with consequences and always always always follow them

Define the problem behaviors, decide on consequences for the behavior, and be 100% consistent in enforcing the rule the same way every time.

Use time-outs

Separate the offender from the fun of the family as a form of discipline; for many problem behaviors this is taking away what the offender really wants most and is thus the most effective punishment.

Make the offender choose to accept the punishment

With kids this means not locking them in time-out, but allowing them to choose to get up/out and being there to put them back every.single.time they choose to do so. The punishment is internalized when they acknowledge it enough to choose to stay in it. With dogs it’s often much the same, for example, holding them in an “alpha roll” proves nothing. Intimidating them into an alpha roll (they choose to submit and roll over without physical contact) at least conveys a message. Similarly, when your dog refuses to listen, getting firm and waiting them out, being calm but not backing down, insisting they listen to you at least eventually, is far more effective than just shoving them into position.

Don’t hit

Hitting only escalates the situation and doesn’t convey any lesson.

Stay calm

If the owner/parent loses it and gets angry, the battle is over. There is no longer any productive comunication happening. To stay in power and control of the situation stay calm and follow through on your planned discipline.

Acknowledge the good behavior that’s easy to ignore

It’s easy to ignore your child/dog when they’re being good, because you have a break. Instead, make a conscious effort to notice that good behavior and praise or reward it somehow.

Yup, pretty much the same. Now imagine what Jo could do if she had a clicker!

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Stupid depression stupid

My dysthymia has gotten better. My average mood is not as low as it used to be. And my dives into deep depression are not as deep, nor as frequent.

All of which is fantabulous.

But the downside I’m being reminded of now?

It means I’ve lost many of my coping mechanisms.

So this deeper bout I’m going through today I am totally stuck by. I’m not as practiced (and thus as good) at shaking it off.

Stupid depression stupid.

Can’t better just mean better?

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Birth Plans Pt. 2

A commenter on my first birth plans post helped me illuminate much of what I find so frustrating about the birth plan discussion and attitudes towards birth plans in our culture. She didn’t mean anything by it, but she tacked on the end of her comment:

You read Tulpen @ Bad Words right? If anyone can tell you that the first lesson in motherhood is that we do [what] it takes, it’s certainly her.

Again, in her comment this was totally fine and I’m pulling it out of context, nothing at all against her, but it helped me clarify for myself a sentiment that many people do say, obviously or not, to mothers who exhibit an interest in a birth plan.

“Don’t be too rigid, you don’t know what birth will be like!”

“You can’t plan your birth, you have no idea what you’ll be getting into!”

“I just want the doctors to do whatever is necessary for a healthy baby.”

Do you see that? The implication there?

It’s that mothers who make birth plans are selfish, caring about themselves above their babies, that they wouldn’t want the doctors to help them ensure a healthy baby.

(The same is often said of mothers who birth out of hospital with trained midwives, but that’s another story).

It’s that mothers who make birth plans are unreasonable, and unwilling to accept whatever sacrifices are necessary for the good of their child.

(Ironic, since most mothers with birth plans want to deny induction and pain meds, which have been proven to be sacrifices which make things safer for the child that mothers are often derided for making).

It’s that mothers who make birth plans are control freaks, refusing to submit to whatever may happen.

(Also ironic, since most mothers with birth plans want a more natural, going with the flow type birth as opposed to a more managed one).

It’s that mothers who make birth plans are trying to stop doctors from helping their child if it is needed.

I don’t think that is the case for most people who want a birth plan.

They just want to be a part of the birth. They want to have a voice. They want to be treated with respect and dignity.

If I put in my birth plan, “Please do not cut an episiotomy without gaining verbal consent, and only offer it in the case of a true emergency,” that does not mean that if my baby was in distress and needed to get out now I would stop the doctor from cutting an episiotomy. It just means I don’t want to end up like my cousin, whose doctor after one push while she screamed, “Don’t cut me!!!” cut an episiotomy in order to hurry things along (no respect of her shown there). It also means I am not like some women, who might prefer an episiotomy being cut in order to shorten the pushing phase. It is not unreasonable, it is a completely legitimate preference in the face of all things being OK.

If I put in my birth plan, “I do not wish to have any type of narcotic, epidural, or other medical pain management during my birth. I will be very disappointed if I end up accepting it. Please do not offer it to me unless I ask; I am aware that it is available,” it does not mean that if I have a 36 hour labor (that is somehow allowed to happen in a hospital) and am exhausted and unable to continue, or if I am too nervous and shaken by the pain and it is stopping me from progressing, I will not request pain meds. It just means that when I am feeling vulnerable at the height of a contraction I do not want a nurse to look at me and say, “You know, I could just make this all go away,” as one did to my mother in law, or to say, “Don’t be a martyr, just accept the epidural,” as countless women have heard. There are many ways to have a successful birth. Pain medication certainly does not increase my chances of a healthy, alert baby in most cases. And I would rather be supported in my completely legitimate decision to try to forgo pain meds than to have something I know about but do not want offered to me when my will is weakest. Think of it this way, if you were on a diet and had cut down on your number of calories, and one day after having to rush out the door and miss breakfast and then being held up and not getting to lunch until late leaving you starving someone offered you a big slice of chocolate cake with more calories in it than you were trying to eat in a day, would you thank them for it a few hours later? It depends how strongly you felt about your diet. For some, it would be extremely demoralizing, especially if they had been struggling with weight for awhile. For those people it’s a lot easier if their friends know not to offer that piece of chocolate cake when they’re starving. Is it being unreasonable to let them know you’re seriously trying to avoid dessert? No. So why is it unreasonable to make similar requests in labor?

I guess I just resent the implications that people with birth plans are selfish and unreasonable and don’t care about their children. Typically these women are very reasonable, and will accept and be happy with deviations from their original birth plans as long as they felt they were an informed, respected part of the decision making process for where to depart.

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One thing my house lacks

In high school and college I loved the bath tub. Soaking in warm water, letting my whole body relax, while devouring a good book or watching some Star Trek on the laptop? Priceless.

Of course, there was no bathtub in the college housing, so I would bask in them on breaks while at my mom’s house.

I love me a good bath. It is my favorite (close to only) way to relax. It is the only thing I have really found to provide reliable relief with killer menstrual cramps. In a bath I can let go of my worries and just float.

So when my hubby and I were looking for a house, one requirement was a bath tub.

Now, it was our first time buying a house. So I made sure our house had a tub. It does!

What I didn’t know enough to find out was that it is literally the smallest tub made.

It holds 7″ of water. Max.

Great for bathing small children.

Not great for adults to relax in.

Plus behind the overflow cap there is a lot of grossness we can’t access, since that thing is cemented in.

Shivering soak in gross water? Not the relaxing escape I dreamed of.

So yeah.

I miss having bath tub!!!!!!!

This alone makes me want to move sooner than I probably would otherwise.

I miss baths. Sooo much.

Right now I just want to go soak and relax before taking my shower.  *sigh*

This will be my number-one requirement in our next house!

Do you have any petty things that you miss more than you probably should?

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Birth Plans

The birth plan debate has been interesting to me. I have seen both sides yelling back and forth. To me birth plans just makes sense. Especially if you’re giving birth in a hospital, attended by L&D nurses you’ve likely never met. Having a short document which indicates your preferences regarding pain management, IVs, movement, and more, as long as it has been discussed and cleared by the OB, only makes sense. Not all women want the same birth, and knowing what your patient wants should help you help them better.

But if you say anything in favor of birth plans, you always hear, “Don’t be too strict in your birth plan, you’ll just end up with a c-section!” or “People with birth plans are crazy, they need to understand that birth is unpredictable and things may not go as you plan!”

Which yes, I get. But I don’t think most women with birth plans are looking to outline exactly how their birth will go. They are looking to express their preferences, and to stay included in the decision-making process. They want to be viewed as an active and respected participant in the birth, rather than just someone (or something) in the way of the baby being out who has to be dealt with.

Through My OB Said What?!? I found a link to this blog post. Which is, quite possibly, the best expression of birth plans I have ever seen. I mean, exactly.

 

I have heard some argue that a birth plan is trying to control the uncontrollable (the birth)…that it is almost guaranteeing that you will have problems because you are trying to dictate the way the birth will go.

First off…I can not disagree strongly enough – although, as I stated above, I concede that my definition of a birth plan is different than most are currently using. To me, a birth plan has nothing to do with controlling the birth or how the birth will unfold…it is ONLY about how you are treated throughout this journey. I haven’t read a birth plan yet that addressed the BIRTH (“I want to be in labor less than 10 hours” “I will feel it only in my hips and cervix, not in my thighs or back.” “My contractions shall not become closer than 5 minutes apart”)…..NO! The birth plan is addressing the choices and actions of those around you!

[…]

This in no way states anything about how the birth will unfold or trying to control events – it’s about how you are treated and the respect you are given in the process as an adult autonomous human with rights and freedoms. We aren’t treating a pathology…we are overseeing a biological function.

Yes, exactly. And if I go to a small midwifery group and know and trust all the people who may be attending my birth and spent 9 months of long appointments discussion my preferences with them…then there’s no real need for a birth plan. They already know it. And my husband and I will have discussed it, and he can remind them.

But I may write one anyway, in the event of hospital transfer. Because I do want my autonomy respected during birth. That was my earliest uncomfortable feeling with the whole traditional hospital birth, before I even knew other options existed. It felt like the birthing woman was treated as hysterical and unable to make decisions or really be a helpful part of the birthing process, and so things just had to be done to her to manage the negative experience she was going through. I don’t want to be treated that way. Others might want the control taken from them so they just have to listen and not think or decide. GREAT! That is where birth plans come in! They can express that there. But if I don’t, I at least want an expression of my desires while I’m still “calm and reasonable” given to them, in the hopes that they’ll listen to it.

Do I think I can plan my birth exactly? Of course not. I am not naive. I have no idea what the experience will be like or what will work best for me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have an idea how I would like things to end up, and at least a starting point of my preferences. If I change my mind during labor, that is fine.

I just want to be the one to change my mind.

I don’t want someone else to decide a different way is better and either pressure me to do it their way or force it on me without consent.

And that is all a birth plan means to me.

You will treat me with respect at all times and I will maintain the autonomy that I had before entering your hospital. Before you touch me or intervene in the normal course of my labor/delivery, you will discuss it with me and obtain informed consent.

If this was a given in hospitals, there would be no need for birth plans. But since it so often isn’t, if only because you likely have never before met the people attending most of your birth and are meeting under extremely tense circumstances, I still maintain that respectful birth plans are often necessary for truly satisfying birth experiences today.

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Modern Medicine

One thing I love (love LOVE!) about the midwifery model of care is the continuity of care and presence that the midwife has with her clients. Prenatal appointments always last 45 to 90 minutes. The midwife is the one who takes you back, does all the initial readings, answering of questions, and more “professional” tests herself. She is with you throughout the entire birth, from when labor gets going until a few hours (at least) after the baby is born. She will let that time take as long as it takes, no intervening to hurry things along, but she also knows when to go to interventions.

Compare that to an OB/hospital birth. Prenatal appointments may last 45 minutes…but only about 5 minutes of that (maybe 10 if you’re lucky) are with your actual OB. Much of the rest of the time you’re waiting, filling out paperwork, or an assistant is asking you questions and doing procedures. The assistant takes you back and does all the initial readings. OBs are often frustrated that you have questions that expand the length of your appointment, and I know women who have even been told, “Well your questions took so long now we have no time to do any of the normal checks for this appointment.” The OB ducks in to do the professional tests, then ducks back out and sends results or follow-up info back in with the assistant. At the birth you are attended mainly by L&D nurses, who are likely to rotate throughout your stay. No one has ultimate responsibility for your care, it’s easy to pass the buck if something confusing happens. And it can be hard to notice long-term patterns, since there is no one with you long-term. The OB shows up just at the end to catch the baby…and not uncommonly you are told to wait for the OB to show up so they can catch. The other time the OB might show up is to try to get you more on their schedule, so you can deliver before their shift is over or it gets too late at night, by advising additional procedures.

This is so different. So wildly different. I know some don’t understand my desire to have a midwife over an OB. This is one of the many reasons. Social Anxiety Disorder, people. I will have a hard enough time relaxing in front of one person I trust enough to make good progress through labor (because yes, being scared, nervous or anxious can stop or slow labor), constantly changing nurses and whatever OB is on call at the time is not my cup ‘o’ tea. Especially when I don’t trust them to let me be me..possibly outside of the “average” progression or procedure of labor but still perfectly safe. I have had too many doctors not accept that I am the way I am and just try to “fix” me against my will, I don’t need to go through that at birth, too.

But my thoughts here were more than just birth.

I recently made the connection between this attitude in obstetrics and this attitude of all of modern medicine.

Recently I found a new doctor (recommended by a friend). I’ve only seen her once, but I thought she was fabulous. She talked to me for 45 minutes, really getting a history. She was happy to explain why she recommended everything, answering all of my questions without making me feel guilty for taking up her time. She recommended, and I got, 3 vaccines, but I felt pretty OK taking her recommendations, because she was happy to explain her reasoning behind them and every time she had a good, concrete reason.

Now I have to go back to get the follow up vaccine (since it’s a multi-shot series for one of them).

I called yesterday to make my appointment (because I am anal retentive and I wanted it scheduled waaaaaaay ahead of time so I don’t forget and then have to wait one extra day for an appointment but when I got the first one it was too waaaaay early to schedule the second). Since I first saw the doctor, and she seemed so happy to answer my questions, I had started a list of follow-up questions that I had been thinking of. I was so disheartened by past bad doctors I hadn’t made a big list before the first appointment (plus I had that one big issue on my mind), so I was excited for this next one when I could ask all those little things I’d been wondering about for early pregnancy and TTC.

As I scheduled the appointment, the scheduler let me know, “So if this is just for a vaccine you won’t see the doctor, this will just be an appointment with her assistant.”

It makes sense, given the modern medical model. The assistant pulls me back. She does all the basic intake tests. She delivers the vaccines. So why would the doctor even need to come in?

Except that I want to see my primary care provider. Because that’s who I go to the office to see. I want her to do my care. All of it. Start to finish.

I hadn’t realized how much this fragmented model of care kind of got under my skin. Not a lot. But a little.

The endless repetitive paperwork.

The re-answering the questions for the assistant.

The re-re-answering the questions for the doctor.

The doctors’ time just feels like it’s too precious to be spent with patients. You need your blood pressure read? Eh, someone less skilled could handle that. You need a prescription? Eh, I’ll send it back in with the nurse, if you have (any or further) questions you can ask the pharmacist. You’re coming in to get a vaccination? Eh, the assistant can handle everything there.

I’m pretty sure I’m paying the same price for the office visit, doctor or no doctor showing up (though maybe not). So why can’t she just stop by to look everything over quickly before giving me the shot?

I mean, heck, even the vets want to see my dog before just giving him shots.

*sigh*

I want continuous models of care to become common. So I don’t feel like I’m wasting the time of professional who I hired to provide a service by asking her to provide that service in depth. I just want to see her regularly. And, maybe more importantly, have her see me.

Not a big deal. Just feels kinda off. Something else for me to think about.

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A-Z Update

I’m doing pretty well so far this year, less than 3 months in I’ve already read books with titles starting with 11 of the letters of the alphabet! And considering I have 3 “S” books, and 2 more books that are half-done, I’m pretty pleased with myself.

And yes, I totally count re-reads. Because I may have just finished the Twilight series for the fourth time. If I read it through cover-to-cover this year, it counts!

So I need to update my reviews. I’ve fallen quite far behind. As always, click on the picture of the book to be taken to an Amazon link for it. Here’s a brief glimpse at what I’ve been reading (that I haven’t talked about here before):

Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamists’ Wife

Irene Spencer

I think this is the best book I have read on polygamy in all of my exploring. Irene was raised in the FLDS church and entered into a plural marriage, but her family life was not idyllic. Her story is full of confusion mixed with confidence, and overflowing with heartache. We get a picture of life inside many typical FLDS communities, and an inside view of the strains of sharing a husband with so very many other wives. I cannot put into words how this book touched me, but it paints a picture that pulls at your heart strings in ways you weren’t expecting. This is one of very few books I’ve read that actually brought up some tears while I was reading it. I highly recommend it, whether you are interested in other cultures in general or polygamy specifically, this book is, in my opinion, the best introduction and overview out there, while being a captivating, easy read.

Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy

Susan Ray Schmidt

I was drawn to this book, partially by the captivating intro given on Amazon, and partially because it is written by one of Irene’s sister wives. This is another look into the same family as shown in Shattered Dreams, by a wife who came much later to the family. Susan was seen as the favorite wife by the other wives, but she never saw herself that way. Her story is very different than Irene’s, though it depicts many of the same times, and getting to see each of these women through each other’s eyes is fascinating. I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Shattered Dreams, but I did enjoy it and find it a nice counterpoint to Irene’s story.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hunger Games trilogy, and have to thank a commenter on my 2010 A-Z Challenge for suggesting it to me! Within minutes of picking up the first book I was totally and completely hooked. [Early spoiler alert. This is revealed early but slowly, if you don’t want to know, skip to the next paragraph] It is set in the future when the country (world?) is divided into 13 districts which all support the one Capitol. To keep the districts in line the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games every year. Each district must send two tributes, adolescent children, to fight to the death in the arena, killing often with their bare hands or whatever rudimentary weapons they can find. The battle takes weeks as the 26 children are whittled down to 1. This year, the main characters’ number comes up. We follow her in her journey through preparation for and participation in the Hunger Games.

The books are not brutal; though they do include violence they are not about violence. When I started the first book I was completely captivated and could not put it down. I posted a status on Facebook to that effect, and my brother warned me, “Each one gets worse.” I do have to agree with him, while the first book is STUNNING, the second and third are each a bit more of a stretch. Partially this is because the characters are so fully developed in the first book (one thing I love) that there isn’t that much more developing to do with them in the future ones. But that being said, I still do not regret reading any of them, and I still enjoyed reading all three. I think the first book could have stood alone, without any follow up, but I still highly recommend the whole trilogy. Because once you read the first you won’t be able to resist seeing what happens to the characters in the future books, as they will have become so much a part of you.

The character development is fantastic, the world building is stunning. You will keep reading, searching for more scraps of information, to see if what you have guessed about the rules of this world could be true, if things really work that way. If you want an enjoyable, though slightly dark, read, I definitely recommend The Hunger Games trilogy.

Sunflowers

Sheramy D. Bundrick

This book was recommended loaned to me by a friend who knows I enjoy reading, and while it’s not my normal fare I definitely enjoyed it! The book tells the story of Vincent van Gogh from the point of view of the prostitute for whom he cut off his ear. There is very little known about this prostitute, here called Rachel, from historical documents, so the author (an art historian) writes a novel answering the question, what if there was a true loving relationship between Vincent and Rachel? She weaves this tale deftly, keeping true to history but adding depth and personality to the players. This book gives you an insight to what may have been, and you will never view van Gogh, or his paintings, the same way again. I have approximately zero interest in art (since I have approximately zero understanding of it), but I really enjoyed this book and it made me want to go see van Gogh’s paintings. I recommend it if you are looking for an enjoyable, light read.

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