Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Encounter

Oh, my. It was a visit nightmares are made of.
No, really. I had multiple nightmares last night and they most certainly stemmed from this whole experience!
I woke up tired and a little cranky yesterday. I don't look forward to new situations and I especially don't look forward to blood work. I can't stand needles and I have small veins that like to dance. I tried to look up the clinic and the doctor and the nurse practitioner to somewhat familiarize myself and make myself more comfortable, but I came up with nothing except a few obscure ratings sites that anybody can contribute to, and no true reviews on those. I couldn't even find a clinic name, let alone a website. It was No-Name Clinic in downtown Richmond. Yikes. That was my first clue things were fishy, but I thought surely the midwife couldn't have steered me that wrong, she's worked with the doctor there for 30 years! So what if it was a little hole in the wall? I often like little hole in the wall places. I was in such denial.
We left early, knowing what fun we'd had in the past trying to find our way in downtown Richmond. As it is, we only got lost once and Lee quickly figured out what the roads were doing so we were actually early. I stalled at the car for as long as possible, but Lee was aching to get in there so I could get it over with and I finally either had to get out or sit in the car by myself, haha.
We walked up to the building, it looked like a very old house with nothing to make it stand out as a business among the houses along the street. It was dark, quiet, and had no. signage. whatsoever. Weird. The door was left cracked open, in "welcome", I suppose. As we walked up I told Lee I wasn't liking this, "Don't worry", he said, "I see files and stuff, it's definitely an office. ". I answered, "Ya? Well even the mafia keep files on people.".
I walked up to the counter and told the lady I had an appointment with Bonnie. She responded by making a dive over the terribly messy desk for the clipboard, knocking off papers and barely catching a plate of food before it could fall to the floor. There were plates of food everywhere, lining the front desk. Classy.
I sat down to fill out the paperwork while Lee and I worked very hard to stifle our laughter. The paperwork said "New Patient Encounter" at the top, sounded scary to me. The clinic name was no where on the paperwork either...hmmm. After a little while the Nurse Practitioner comes in to the office area and gets excited about the free chicken meal. "Ooo! They even have the boneless kind!". "Those are biscuits.", responded the lady at the counter. Yikes! Lee and I were *dying* trying not to laugh at this point. The lady who is about to assess my health can't tell a piece of chicken from a biscuit!
Remember, we got there early. I had my paperwork done before my scheduled appointment time and they had no other patients in the office. We still waited almost 20 minutes past my appointment time, listening to the lady at the counter gagging on something. Her food, I would guess.
At this point I'm peeking at the church across the road mentally planning my escape in case I ended up needing to run for sanctuary!
The nurse finally calls me back from nowhere, I had to follow the sound of her voice to where I needed to go. Now, here is where it gets really fun in a Really Irritating sort of way. I had read on a forum I'm a part of, from a woman who doesn't let the doctor's office take her weight, she just tells them what she's gained. Reading it I thought to myself that it would be a great way to "test" just how much a particular doctor/clinic would allow me to control my care. I mean really, all they need to know is how much I gain between visits. They don't need to personally see it unless they don't trust me, and if they don't trust me, I don't trust them! I am sure that my old doctor would have been perfectly fine with it, even if his nurses had initially balked at the idea. It was also something that would be one of the first things they did and something I couldn't care less one way or the other whether they did it. If they refused my request, whatever. If they went with it, I wasn't losing any information I didn't have myself. I knew I needed to know my heart rate and blood pressure (which were GREAT by the way!) so I couldn't refuse those.
We walked into the hall and the nurse motioned to me to step on the scale. "No thank you. ", I told her, "You can just put down that I've gained 2.5 pounds since the beginning of the pregnancy. She looked at me in disbelief and told me, "No, I *need* to take your weight.". "Alright", I told her, smiling as sweetly as I could, "It was just a test.".
She was pretty quiet until we got to the room, then I must give her credit for being very kind. Even though from her point of view it appeared I could end up being the patient from hell, she did her best to be warm and friendly. I think she may have even realized that she really didn't need to take my weight so badly because her attitude became, "We need to take your blood pressure, is that all right?" and "Can we talk about....". She is also the one who got my blood work done in just 2.5 sticks. I really liked her.
Now, When I had talked to the midwife she had told me I could refuse whatever I didn't want, all I specifically needed was the prenatal panel. I had stressed to the lady I made the appointment with that *all I wanted* was the prenatal panel. I did go in assuming a basic exam was going to be part of it anyway, but as the nurse and I were leaving the room so I could go get her a "sample" she asked, with her nose wrinkled and motioning to the gown on the table, "They did tell you about the exam you were going to need today, right?. I gently but firmly told her that I do not do internal exams in the first trimester, and she didn't push it, win for her!
Even if I was in the habit of allowing exams in the first trimester I Absolutely Would Not have acquiesced in this place. Oh, friends. It was disgusting. Out in the front you had filthy desks covered in food...that was downright clean compared to what we found in the back rooms. I was afraid to touch anything. The used gowns were just thrown in a hamper, like the sort you find at Wal-Mart, behind the door, without even a lid. There was an unidentified fluid in a bio hazard jar sitting right in the middle of the counter in the exam room, and there was crusted pee...I Kid You Not...on the sink in the bathroom where you had to set your cup. I have never seen such filth in my life in a public place and this was a doctor's office! If I had known about the condition of the bathroom first, instead of well into the visit, I think I would have begged to leave! At this point though, I was just so ready be done for good!
Next, I got to meet the Nurse Practitioner I had the appointment with. She was rather quiet and brisk, I think she'd heard about me. She checked my arms and legs for swelling, felt my abdomen and asked if she could do another exam, which I politely refused. I was really trying to go out of my way to smile and be nice. I truly didn't want them to remember me as know what! But at the same time I was there paying them to do certain things, there were unnecessary things I didn't want for Very Good Reasons, like the internal exam. I didn't bother to explain my reasons because I didn't want to start an argument about them. I've done my research and my mind is made up.
"All done!", the nurse practitioner said, making no move to help me up like every other doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse and midwife I've ever had has at least made a move to do. Lee moved forward to help me, as he always does, and Bonnie points to the chair against the wall, telling him very rudely, "I need you to sit.", and then brushed by to get out of the room. I forgot to mention that the exam room was at least half the size of a regular *small* exam room. It was no bigger than our children's bathroom! Tiny!
I went down for my blood work and the nurse practitioner struck up a conversation with Lee, wanting to know "What in the world brought you to Virginia?!" from SC.
When the nurse was ready to take my blood, Lee was my hero and told her I needed him so he needed by, in the new, equally small, room. At that point I was in such disbelief at the experience that I was just too emotionally exhausted to demand anything more, not to mention I was kind of nervous of getting blood work done in such a dirty place! Thankfully Lee stepped up for me. She stuck me once, it didn't work, twice...not she dug around with the needle for a minute that second time and blessedly got what she needed. And I Was Done!!! Yay!!!
We paid our bill and left the building. I declared to never darken it's doors again and Lee said he wouldn't let me if I wanted to. And that was before we learned the whole truth later that evening.
I called Bri to tell her it was over, and that my physician didn't know chicken from a biscuit.
And this is nothing, stay tuned for Part 2...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Homemade Baby Wipe Solution

We emphasize meaningful homemade gifts quite a bit around here. That means we get a lot of beaded necklaces and pipe cleaner ornaments from little ones for Christmas. It also means our older children have continued to be creative as they grow and their ideas and creativity have grown with them. That said, I do believe that the award for Most Entertaining Homemade Gift Idea Ever must go to Abbi! I came out of my room a few days before Peter's birthday to find her "making Peter's birthday present". She had torn several paper towels off of the paper towel roll, gotten out the baby wipe solution that we keep in a spray bottle, doused the baby wipes well and "wrapped" them in paper towels with masking tape.
What a great idea for a gift for such a little one, she was quite proud of herself ;).
Here is the recipe we use for our baby wipe solution:
1 cup of filtered water
1/2 TBS. distilled white vinegar
1 drop lavender oil
1 drop tea tree oil
We keep it in a spray bottle and have specifically designated our baby wash clothes as baby wipes. When we switched to cloth diapers several years ago it only made sense to switch to cloth wipes as well, though we still used paper wipes occasionally until Peter was born. We tried several different brands with him but his skin couldn't handle any of them so I haven't bought a box of paper wipes in months. If we're using paper diapers for some reason we just use paper towels instead of the cloth wipes so we can throw them away with the diaper. Since we've perfected our baby wipe solution and switched to AIO diapers, cloth diapering has become a breeze! Even during this busy, busy season while we're trying to sell our house we've been using cloth diapers. Aside for the five minutes it takes to start and switch the load it is no more difficult than paper diapers! On top of the health benefits and cost savings, it makes a great gift too! What's not to love? Haha :).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Missing Daddy

It has been 7 months since Lee started with his new job and we've been living in two different states. Sometimes it feels like two different worlds! I never imagined it would take this long to iron out at least *some* of the details, though I did have a feeling that the house wouldn't sell right away. Emmi says that when we get to Virginia we're going to lock the door so Daddy can't ever leave again!
One thing that has been a blessing to me is how much a part of our lives Lee still is, even when we get such a relatively small fraction of time talking with him each day. I get to talk to him here and there throughout the day and he leads our family devotions over speaker phone at night. All throughout the day we are talking about when such-and-such happened (back before all of this started and we were still together), or how Daddy would find this-or-that funny and we need to remember to tell him, or the children are reminding each other of how Daddy wants something done, or I'm getting something out of our walk-in closet and my heart sinks again when I'm reminded that he isn't here by the closed dresser drawers. One of my fears was that Peter would forget him. Peter was only 5 months old when Lee started his new job and he's only seen Lee about six days a month since then, but every time Lee comes home he looks at him like, "Where have you been?!" and literally clings to him. It is beautiful, I can't wait to see the bond they have grow even deeper when we're back together again.
Peter's excellent memory has been just one of God's many mercies. God has been so very good to bless us with a husband & father who leads us spiritually, even over so many miles. A husband & father who works hard to provide for us and puts up with things he probably wouldn't if he was only thinking of himself. He has been so very good to provide Lee this job, and there is no doubt this job came straight from His hand. He has been so very good to give us each of our seven beautiful children. They have all "pulled their weight" wonderfully. While the older ones offer more, shall we say, "tangible" help, the little ones offer their help in the form of chubby arms around our necks and carefree giggles that melt away the stress. At least that's how it works when they're not contributing to the stress level, haha :).
I have been learning over the last 7 months. I've always been a little uptight about keeping things pretty clean but, out of necessity as we try to sell our house, I'm learning tricks to get a house even more clean in less time, as long as we maintain it in the in between times. I'm learning that things are usually not as hard as I think they must be and next time I don't need to put off fixing the screen or the railing or changing the color of the front door just because I think it's going to be too hard. It's *much* easier to just change it than to wish you could every time you pass it. I'm learning to be more consistent in training and disciplining the children because there's no one there to pick up the slack when it feels too hard to keep on top of it all. I'm also realizing how much Lee does around here! I will be more than happy to go back to our "I have the babies and change the dirty clean up the vomit and mow the yard" arrangement, haha :).  Most important, I'm learning to rest in the sovereignty of God...notice I said learning, in the present tense. Lee still has to remind me on the bad days, but even on the bad days I *know* it's true, and I *know* that I know it's true because that belief has been tried again and again in this furnace and still I can say with conviction "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." (Psalm 115:3). God has a reason for each and every day this season lasts, whether we realize the reason in this lifetime or not. I have been in places in my life before that I thought could not *possibly* be used for good and I know now I was wrong. That doesn't make the day-to-day any easier but it does make it more full of hope for the future.
Yes, I am really looking forward to moving on, but in the meantime we're thankful for our springtime birthday season and getting to see Lee a little more frequently for a few weeks. I think Abbi put it beautifully one of the last times Lee was home when she sweetly held up some flowers to Lee and said, "I love you as many flowers as I picked.".
...And that was a lot of flowers ;).