Does anyone update this blog anymore? Geesh.
Well, this news this morning just about broke my heart in two. Let’s just give everything away, shall we?
a blog for kate and gracie and friends
Does anyone update this blog anymore? Geesh.
Well, this news this morning just about broke my heart in two. Let’s just give everything away, shall we?
So, the last couple of weeks? Oy vey, you know what I’m saying? You probably do – because I haven’t really been able to shut up about it – but let me elaborate in writing. Thanks in advance.
On Sunday, April 26, my mom and Mollybear & Phoebe and I were heading out of Shawano (after attending my godson’s spectacular first communion party) when I slumped over in the driver’s seat (because I was driving) and became unconscious. I can’t imagine what this must have been like for my mom. I know that she, and the rest of my family, handled it beautifully, though, because when Molly talks about it she laughs and says that I got sick and that she and Steve then went to a party and ate hot dogs. I remember nothing of the event itself and even the moments after are very foggy. For example, I distinctly remember throwing up in the ambulance, but I remember neither walking to the ambulance, which I’m told I did, nor getting from the ambulance to the hospital bed. While at the hospital (or medical center, as I guess it’s more accurately called), I had a bunch of heart, brain and blood tests. Nothing looked too out of the ordinary and, after a decent amount of time with Ibuprofen and fluids inside of me, I was sent on my way with a diagnosis of having suffered a grand mal seizure and two directions: (1) no driving for three months and (2) call my primary doctor the next day to get a referral to neurology.
On Monday, April 27, I called my primary physician. I told the nurse that I was directed to ask for a referral to neurology. Instead, I was told that I would first need to be seen by an internist and the next available appointment for that wasn’t until Friday. Uh, ok. I took Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday off of work because I couldn’t move without significant muscular pain (for example, my jaw hurt like the dickens and moving from one position to another would have been comical if it weren’t so painful) and I was uncommonly sleepy. When Friday came, I went through the hoops of the appointment. I relayed everything that I remembered and I gave a written report of what my mom had observed. I brought all of the paperwork from Shawano, including a DVD of the CT scan of my brain. I just kept thinking, “Answer the questions and we’ll move this along.” I did all of the muscle tests that were asked of me (push here, resist here, etc). The appointment must have lasted an hour. At the end of it? I was referred to a neurologist. First, though, she asked that I do more blood tests and another EKG. I complied and the tests were all returned with mostly normal results (“Good news!” read the note to me). I was told that Neurology (I’m going to capitalize it from now on, just because) would call me, but that if I didn’t hear from them by Tuesday, I should call the office.
On Monday, May 4, I woke up with a horrible sore throat. I mean, ouch. But, I also had a bit of a cold so I thought that maybe it was related. We took Mollybear in for a dental appointment (during which she sat on my lap and cried, “I want my mommy!” – always confusing for everyone), then to school and then we went to work. My throat pain wasn’t abating and I realized I’d had chills throughout the night. Hmm. I called the doctor and made an appointment, worrying that it might be strep. I had my performance review at work at 10 and asked Aaron to take me home around maybe 11. I just wasn’t feeling right. I slept for a bit and Aaron picked me up at 2:30 to take me to my appointment. I went in, described my symptoms and was told, unequivocally, that I did not have strep throat. No swab was taken, no test performed. Although the resident said some of my lymph nodes were a little swollen, he was certain it was not strep, but was instead viral. He told me to come back if it got worse. I went home and felt kinda embarrassed. When I woke up on Tuesday, I felt no change in my condition, but I certainly felt like something was wrong. Even if this was *just* viral, it wasn’t feeling very good. I needed to stay home. As the day went on, things got worse. The pain in my throat extended up to my ear. It no longer hurt only when I swallowed, but all the time. I measured a temperature of 100.6. This just couldn’t be right. But I’d felt dismissed the day before, so I doubted myself and continued to hope that the pain would subside soon.
On Tuesday afternoon, I called my primary doctor’s office to relay that I had not yet heard from Neurology. The response? Here’s their number. Uh, ok. So, I called Neurology and explained the situation. The nice woman on the other end of the phone said, “Well, we’ve actually asked your doctor to request a couple of tests be performed before we see you and she has not yet ordered those tests. Let me transfer you back to their office, but I’ll explain to them first what we need.” So, I get transferred back and the guy to whom I’m transferred said to me – earnestly – “Ok, great, I’ll get the ball rolling on this!” Uh, ok. It’s been nine days now since I had the seizure.
On Wednesday, May 6, I woke up and felt terrible. Every time I swallowed, my body made a large jerking motion to try to offset the pain. I couldn’t talk without pain. I couldn’t breathe without pain. Whatever this was, I needed help. Ibuprofen hadn’t alleviated any discomfort since Monday evening. Enough is enough. I just couldn’t take it anymore. We dropped Molly off at school (well, AO did; I was far too reluctant to go near all of those kids) and he took me to Urgent Care. I walked in and asked to be seen. The woman at registration was so kind. The nurse who led me back to the exam room was mostly nice, but when I requested that we skip the scale – honestly, since turning 39 I feel more confident in asking to skip the scale at most appointments, but why on earth would anyone need to be weighed to determine if they have strep? Plus, I’d had it! I didn’t want to take any more time to do any of this nonsense! – she said, “Ok, I can put down that you refused.” Uh, ok, put that down. You do that. The nurse took my blood pressure and pulse and temperature (100 even) and became more sympathetic as her tasks wore on. She took a swab of my throat and left. The NP then came in and I almost started to cry immediately. She was so kind and caring and she listened so well. She looked at my throat and told me that no matter what the test results were, she was getting me medicine because things looked terrible. In about three minutes’ time, the test results came back. Positive. I had strep. I actually started to cry. I felt so validated. She sent me on my way with a prescription for penicillin, three Ibuprofen and a bottle of apple juice. Praise modern medicine and health care providers who listen.
I went home. She said that I needed to stay home for 24 hours. While I didn’t feel immediately better physically, I felt entirely different mentally. I felt listened to. I felt respected. I felt, weirdly maybe, vindicated.
This morning, Thursday, May 7, I realized that I had missed a phone call from my doctor’s office that came in yesterday after 4 p.m. The voice mail just said to return the call from someone I’ll call Jennifer. Around 8:15 a.m., on the way to take Molly to school, I returned the call. I was told that Jennifer was busy, but she would call me back. Around 11:20, Jennifer called back to tell me that Neurology had requested an EKG and an EEG. She said that I could come in anytime for an EKG, but that I’d have to wait for a call from a specialized scheduler for the EEG test. Ok, I thought, kinda puzzled. I hung up the phone, relayed the info to Aaron via text, and quickly checked MyChart. I thought, “Didn’t I have an EKG on Friday? Isn’t that what that was? And didn’t I have one in Shawano? Why would I now need a third one? And why would Neuro want yet another one?” I quickly called my doctor’s office back and – against all odds! – was actually able to speak to Jennifer during this same phone call! I said, “I think I had an EKG on Friday. I think Dr. X ordered it.” Jennifer gave me a weird answer to something that I hadn’t said, but eventually confirmed, yes, indeed, I had had an EKG on Friday and, oh wait, that’s not what Neuro had asked for at all. Turns out, Neuro had asked for an EEG and an MRI of my head, something my doctor had not previously ordered. Oops! Ok, they will get on that now (four days after Neuro had requested it) and I will, once again, wait for a specialty scheduler to call me.
Tick. Effing. Tock.
[And yet I know, despite all of this, how lucky I am to live in a time with the medicine we have, in a country in which I can access it, in a city in which it is all around me and with a job that lets me afford its privileges. Still. Holy Toledo there has to be something more efficient.]
Ugh. What a disappointment.
Last December, I signed AO up for a sausage-making class in Chicago scheduled for the Saturday of Fathers’ Day weekend. I had thought we’d all make a weekend of it, but that was before we moved into the house that’s needed a lot of money spent on it, before the GAOOG generation set the date for her wedding and before we adopted a crazy dog. So, AO went it alone and trekked solo back & forth to Chicago on Saturday to make sausage. Of course Sunday, not Saturday, was Fathers’ Day, so I still felt we needed to do something to mark the occasion, but we’ve both been spent and overwhelmed by the house, the dog & the 2-year old, so I knew we weren’t up for much. Neighborhood brunch seemed doable and pleasant and something we’d been meaning to do for awhile. We decided on Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace, which is just a few blocks away. Neither of us had been in years and while we both remembered the food being kinda meh, we decided to give it a go. Boy, were we wrong.
The food, once I got some, was fairly delicious. The service and organization? Just shy of a fiasco. When we walked in, we were greeted rather indifferently by a hostess who put us at a table with menus and crayons. Crayons are always a nice touch, so despite the laissez faire attitude, I was optimistic. But then we were left to ourselves for a significant amount of time. Tick, tock. No water, no coffee, no server. People around us were served, coffees were refilled, food was delivered, people were asked if everything was going ok. We were not spoken to. Tick. Tock. I decided I needed to go ask the indifferent hostess what was going on. I was so thirsty and needed coffee! While the place had lots of other patrons, there were also many empty tables so I didn’t feel like it was a “Argh, we’re overwhelmed, please be patient” situation. It felt like we were in no man’s land server-wise. It started to feel very weird. And with a 2-year old, I always feel like we’re on borrowed time, so I decided action needed to be taken. So, I went back up to the front and asked the indifferent hostess. She asked me where we were sitting. I told her we were in the other room, along the back wall. She needed me to be more specific. Honestly, it’s not that big of a place and everyone else in the room had a server. I wanted to say, “At the table with no food, water or a server,” but instead told her it was the middle table. A short time later, a very nice woman with red hair brought us two waters (sorry, Molly) and told us our server would be with us shortly. After that, our server came by – without explanation or apology – and asked us if we wanted anything to drink. We did. We also ordered breakfast. Huevos rancheros for AO, migas sans sour cream for me & an egg in a slice of Madison Sourdough toast with a slice of bacon for Bear. All three dishes are served with breakfast potatoes.
And then we waited. It took awhile to get our coffees because, apparently, the pot ran out and they needed to brew more. Ok, I thought, at least they explained themselves. But odd. I mean, they serve breakfast starting at 8. It was 10ish. Seemed like things should be well-oiled by that time. Anyway, we keep waiting. Eventually, a third server brought AO’s huevos rancheros, but with rice & beans instead of potatoes (no explanation given) and Bear’s egg in toast with a small bowl of potatoes and no bacon (no explanation given). The server asked me if I had ordered anything. I told her, why yes, I had. “Oh, the migas!” she said. She then left us and we never saw her again. I asked AO & Molly to start eating. Why wait? It’ll be here soon. Uh, no. More than five minutes go by when I realized no one is coming back. Our server isn’t the least bit interested in us and neither is anyone else. I trudge back to the front (again) and ask if I’m going to be served. I almost started to cry because this was getting so embarrassing and felt like it was deliberate. I’d recently heard a This American Life episode in which David Sedaris tells Ira that he observes people being treated badly or ignored in restaurants and then makes fun of them in his stories (he was talking about how it took him a very long time to go out to eat alone because he feared he’d be ignored and end up the subject of a David Sedaris-esque story in someone else’s life). I worried this was happening to me. I ask the redhead and the hostess – who were together – about my meal and Bear’s bacon. The hostess pretty much immediately left to go into the kitchen. The kind redhead asked what I ordered and after I tell her, says, strangely, “Well, this is embarrassing, but we ran out of breakfast potatoes. Would you like sweet potato fries?” What? Aside from the fact that I never want sweet potato fries, what does this have to do with my migas? At that point, I didn’t even remember potatoes were supposed to come with the migas. I. Just. Want. Eggs. And Molly’s bacon. She asked if rice & beans would be ok instead. Sure. I stumbled back to the table, confused. After I relayed the perplexing explanation to AO, he said, “So, for the huevos rancheros, they just automatically subbed out the potatoes for the rice and beans I got, but they were totally stumped on how to handle the migas?” Argh. A short time later, the nice redhead came over to tell me that they would comp the cost of the migas. Which still hadn’t arrived. We ask for more coffee, though at this point I notice the bottom of my cup is full of coffee grounds. This request, too, is a production because the coffee mugs apparently have to be taken elsewhere to be refilled. There’s no portable pot to bring around. Coffee is then returned to us.
And still we wait. Molly is done with her breakfast, and AO is pushing things around his plate so I will still have someone to eat with if those eggs ever do come. Eventually, they arrive. And a sour creamy thing is in abundance on my plate. AO swiftly grabs my plate to remove the offending white stuff. The eggs, though, they’re tasty, but I’m feeling rushed because we’ve been there over an hour and we have a two-year old with us. Thankfully, Molly’s bacon also arrived (and then some – three strips instead of one), which bought us a little more time out of her.
All in all, the food was great, but the service ruined the whole thing. You see, I’m pretty forgiving. Especially when it comes to service mix ups. All I need is a sincere apology. And maybe an explanation. I’ve waited tables. At a Food Fight restaurant, no less! And I made mistakes. And I apologized and did my best to make up for it. I make mistakes every day: at work, with Molly, with AO, with the dog, with strangers, with the universe. Heck, I’m probably making a mistake right now. I don’t think I ask too much. Yesterday, though, Tex Tubb’s asked too much of me. And it didn’t feel good.
There are several things on my mind today, but I’ll bore you with only three of them.
One, today I saw something really baffling. First, let me say that it really bugs me when a parent is biking along with their child and the child is all helmet-ed up, but the parent is sans protection. For a lot of people, this is annoying because of the message it sends to the kid: when you’re old enough you, too, can choose to be an enormous idiot. And that message bugs me, too. But the bigger thing that bugs me — because, frankly, the message that adults can make choices that kids can’t is valid — is that it is a colossally dumb plan. What happens when you get hit by a car, parent? You’ve crashed and hit your head. Sure, your kid is fine. Except that she has a parent with a head injury (or is – God forbid – dead) that could have been easily avoided. Anyway, now for the even weirder behavior. Today I saw a man biking with a girl in the attached bike trailer. The girl looked about three. Maybe four. And guess what was on her head? Nothing! No helmet! Please PLEASE explain this. Actually, please don’t. I don’t want to know.
Two, (and this is completely unrelated) I saw this Kotex commercial last night that was sort of making fun of other tampon commercials. This young woman said to the camera, “How do I know if a tampon works for me? If I see a commercial with a woman dancing in circles.” Or something like that. And it was heavy with hilarious sarcasm. So the commercial then says something like, “Try our tampons. Try them for yourself. We are not pushing them in any annoying way. No gimmicks. Just try them. If you don’t love them, we’ll give you another box for free.” Uh, what? If I don’t love them … I get more of them? I’d rather just see the woman dancing.
Three, (and again, not related) Bear and I went to Target this morning because I decided I needed to suck it up and buy her a doll. She loves the dolls at day care and while I see this in her face, it never really occurred to me I needed to do something about it. And then yesterday, when we were at a friend’s house and Bear was playing with all of the little girl’s dolls, it hit me: Bear needs, and deserves, a doll. So, at 9:30 this morning, we headed to Target. I also needed some microfiber cloths to clean that damn smudge off my camera lens, FYI. We tool around the doll aisle and she alternates between jubilation and fear, which I think will seem very honest to you if you’ve seen that aisle. Anyway, fast forward to the check-out line. We place ourselves behind a couple and their son, who looks about Bear’s age. The woman leaves as if to go look for something else (though she does not return in my story and really is a red herring in this tale). The boy is being held by his dad and is looking sorta old mannish and worried; his brow is furrowed. When it’s their time to check out, the check out clerk coos over the boy. She says, “What’s your name?” and “He’s so cute!” I kinda think she’s laying it on a little thick. I mean, the kid is cute because he’s a little kid, but he’s not the kind of kid that makes people ooo and ahh. Unless maybe you’re the type of person that ooos and ahhs over every kid. Which she must be, right? Then she amps it up even more, asking the boy if he’d like a sticker. She holds the sticker out to him, gently, patiently, kindly. The kid takes the sticker. The clerk is glowing. Glowing, that is, until we start the check out process. Then it’s all, “Do you need a bag for this?” That’s. It. No, “How old is she?” No, “What’s her name?” Certainly no, “She’s so cute!” And absolutely no sticker transaction. I put on a brave face for Bear, of course, but Dear Reader, what the what was that? How. Rude.