Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Anna, The Reflective Listener

So, my little girl, age 3, knocks my socks off on a regular basis. I mean, she's just incredible as a rule...but today, I couldn't believe how amazing she was.

Yesterday, we found out that neither I or my husband had been selected for promotion at work. There were 6 promotions -- we both felt (as did most of our co-workers) that I was a sure thing for one of them. We thought he had an outside chance, as well.

I took the news rather well -- my heart hasn't been in that job since I gave birth to Anna and I sort of embrace this latest slap in the face as motivation to get moving, fast, on getting a job as an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I've always been drawn to the medical field and to work in an allied health capacity like that seems like the perfect fit for me.
Bryan was and continues to be livid, just raging mad (not about him, about me -- he feels like I was wronged beyond belief).

Anyway, this morning, I offered to drive Anna to school because I wasn't hungry for breakfast anyway -- Bryan and I are both just sick trying to process all of this information and make big life decisions. When we got in the car, the conversation went like this:

Anna: Mamma, how come you're not hungry today?

Me: Well, sweetie, some bad things happened at work yesterday and I'm not very happy about them.

Anna: Are you angry and sad?

Me: Yes, baby, I'm feeling angry and sad.

Anna: What happened?

Me: They were picking some people to be special leaders at work, and they didn't pick me or daddy, so we feel hurt.

Anna: Were they mean?

Me: Yes, I guess they were mean.

Anna: Mom, just *deal* with it! (undoubtedly a reflection of what we say to her on a regular basis!)

Me: (holding back a laugh) I am, sweetie. I have a lot of other things to be happy about.
Anna: (sighs) So, do you want to talk about this?

Me: (still trying not to laugh) Sure, baby. Let's talk about it.

Anna: OK. So. They picked special leaders at work, and they were mean and didn't pick you or daddy, so you are feeling angry and sad and hurt. Is that right?

My daughter, the reflective listener, gave me a world of perspective this morning. We're doing something very, very right.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Health and Denial

I'm stuck in this funny place where I can't really tell whether I'm being stupid or sane.

I don't like doctors, I don't like the notion that someone knows my body bettter than I do, I am not interested in medication and invasive intervention for the most part.

I feel that I have a good working understanding of my body and its functions, probably better than that of the average American doctor-worshipper.

That said, it's entirely possible that my desire to avoid doctors might have gone a little too far.

I have found an MD I really like -- she supports my extended breastfeeding, and has worked really hard to help me find answers to the extreme exhaustion I've experienced over the last two years -- exhaustion beyond that which is normal for a mother of two young children.

I haven't told her everything, though, in all of the visits I've made to her since August of last year, when I had gotten sick of fainting and feeling lousy all the time. I told her what I thought was relevant to the situation -- that I couldn't digest "easy" foods, that I was tired all the time, fainting at work, couldn't sleep at night. She told me about Addison's disease and suggested I had a lesser but similar condition called adrenal fatigue. I looked it up and, sure enough, I fit the profile of a patient wiht fizzled-out adrenals. The most remarkable thing was my blood pressure, a whopping 70/45.

I started working to get more rest and take better care of myself. I felt marginally better, but all the sleep in the world wasn't helping the exhaustion abate. My doctor ran some tests; surprisingly, I am iron deficient. I've started supplementing with liquid iron and I feel a lot better, after 10 days of faithful consumption.

But, I still haven't told her everything.

I took my little Anna to see the pediatrician the other day, because sometimes, when I wipe her bottom, there is blood on the paper. I was concerned about why a little girl of 3 might have rectal bleeding and whether she was losing any significant amount of blood.

The pediatrician turned the appointment around to me, about my own history.

I told him everything.

He scared the living daylights out of me and now, I am going back to my doctor to tell her everything. I'm going to tell her that I've been losing disarming amounts of blood in the toilet since May of last year, which is likely contributing to my iron deficiency and my exhaustion. I'm likely going to need some kind of colonoscopy, which I just don't want to make the time for.

My instincts don't tell me I'm sick, and I don't think there's anything wrong with me, but the doctor said "This isn't about you anymore. You have children, and you owe it to them to take the best care of yourself that you can."

What's funny is that, when asked about my chief complaint about my parents, it's that they don't take care of themselves.

Maybe the apple doesn't fall as far from the tree as I thought it did.