Friday, January 17, 2014

Next time your doctor is running behind schedule

I had an epiphany.

Tonight Jake is working a 30-hour shift at the children’s hospital, so I spent an hour making dinner and 25 minutes of driving so we could enjoy a homemade meal together. Our meals are usually anywhere from 30 seconds to 25 minutes. Tops. 

I waited on the bottom floor of the hospital for him to come jogging down the stairs like he usually does, anticipating our meager dinner and few quiet moments in the resident’s lounge, updates on my day and details about his.  

Five minutes pass. Then 10. Sure enough, 45 minutes pass and my hot salmon dinner is no longer warm — and neither is my mood. Eventually Jake comes rushing down the stairs only to tell me he’s so sorry, but we can’t eat dinner together tonight. I had to hand over the meal and jet. 

His young patient was out of surgery and not quite stable yet. He couldn’t waste any time and needed to get back to his room.

Duh. He was late for our classy hospital dinner because he was dealing with a sick child who needed him. Lots of children, actually. And worried parents.

For a moment, I had forgotten. I was only concerned about my time, my comfort, my needs and my meal.

I was grumpy that I had to wait, only to be turned away. And I bet you, too, get impatient when you wait in a doctor’s office. How dare the doctor make us wait, right? He’s just “in it for my money,” anyway. He’s out to get me.  

Fallacy. (No one seems to consider how much medical school costs. And how many years it takes to get out of debt. Personal message me if you’d like details. And our W2.)

Doctors put other’s kids before their own. They miss dinners with their pregnant wives, anniversaries, birthdays, sports events and baptisms. They commit to putting their needs second, working thousands of hours, studying for a million more — not to mention the lack of sleep and emotional toll of deaths and child abuse.

You may be waiting an extra 30 minutes for your appointment, and that’s got to be frustrating. I can’t speak for all doctors, but from what I’ve witnessed firsthand on the inside, the majority are doing their very best to give every patient the attention and care they need.

We may never know what struggles the child and parents are having in the appointment before our own, or what cold dinner waits on the doctor's table at home. 

So let's lighten up a bit. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

An attempted allergy shot that changed our lives forever

I haven’t written in exactly 30 weeks.

Fear of jinxing my pregnancy maybe. Or a bit of irony considering the last gut-wrenching entry.

On June 11, I woke up feeling like I wanted to rip my Kleenex-abused face off and cut down every tree in Oklahoma. I’ve never experienced allergies like I have in this pollen-ridden state. Jake suggested I call my doctor and get an allergy shot since I’d be spending a week in the “mountains” for Young Women’s camp — like a spiritual retreat filled with hundreds of girls, bugs, pranks and late-night stories.

Since my own Doc. P didn’t have to work until 12:30 that day, I convinced him to come with my to my appointment because I am in love with my family practice doctor. It was time my two bffs met each other. We drove separately since he’d have to leave immediately after. (Good man, eh? Tagged along just for me.)

After my two favorite doctors finished making small chat, we discussed getting a shot. Per my usual the last 12 months I said, “But if I’m pregnant by chance, can I still get the shot? I mean, I’m two days late.” Usually by that point I’ve taken three tests, but up until now I’d only taken one. Like a script she said, “Well no, if you’re pregnant you can’t get the shot. We’d better do a urine test.”

She and I have been through this before. She looks me in the eyes and repeats, “It’s a God thing. When it’s supposed to happen, it will. I promise.” Deep down we both know it will be negative but instead of bursting my bubble, she lets me take the test. I usually go “tinkle” (as Mama Willie still says) in the cup only to find out it’s negative. So this time I told her, “If it’s negative, please don’t tell me. Just come in with the needle for my shot and pretend I never took the test.”

Almost in tears I retreated to the bathroom. Nervous, anxious, doubtful — I felt it all. Yes, there were even “signs” right then that indicated I was starting — to the point where I set the cup down and decided not to subject myself to another letdown. After a minute of mental ping pong, I changed my mind and peed, just in case.

I moseyed back to the room and took my place on the scrunchy paper, prepared to drop my pants and get my shot. Jake and I talked about the pictures of Ireland on the wall and how cool I was that I went there. Obviously. Then the doctor walked in: “Sorry, Brooke, (cue meltdown) but you won’t be getting your shot today — you’re pregnant.” (Instant switch from meltdown to shock.)

Tears welled up from 13 months of waiting barreled down my face. And his. And hers. After she grabbed me for a hug, I buried myself into Jake’s chest with my hands over my mouth, sobbing like our future newborn. She quickly left the room and told us to take our time. 

After having those sacred minutes to ourselves, we walked out of the room with much bigger smiles than when we entered. And at the end of the hallway were two nurses and our doctor — waiting to congratulate us with our positive pregnancy in a bag to take home. 

Now I’m sitting here in Jake’s OSU sweatshirt and Christmas pajama pants, just five weeks and five days away from meeting Baby P. It’s been a crazy eight months and I am still in shock that I'm even pregnant.

I can’t explain what a tender mercy that was, to find out like we did. I had taken so many tests in the bathroom, usually with Jake gone, expecting to find out the news that way. But to have someone come into a room and announce it to both of us was so special. And exciting. 

And the funniest part? I haven’t even had any allergies since.

One of his excited faces. In case you couldn't tell.

His forced excited face upon my request. In case (ahem) you couldn't tell. 

My favorite take-home prize from any doctor's appointment I've ever had. 

Just after the news. Crossing my fingers Baby P looks just like him.