Back to School: A Teacher’s Wish List

It’s back to school time.  And teachers are FREAKING OUT.  Because it is almost Labor Day, and Summer is over.  The to-do lists are out. of. control.  The parents are already calling.  The administration is sending a million memos, some in print, some in digital form, a mixed media medley of messages that are often vague, full of jargon and these many forms of communication do not seem to align with one another.  We are worrying about our students, we are worried about our sanity, before we have even started.

The rest of you?  You are rolling your eyes and saying it’s about time you slackers had to get yourselves back in the working world with the rest of us.  Never mind that teachers generally put in enough overtime during the school year to compensate for all of that unpaid “time off” during the summer.  Or that they work second jobs during the Summer to make ends meet.  Or that even though they work during the Summer,  taking classes or preparing for the new year, they are only paid for nine months.  Ahem.

Regardless of your stance on teacher compensation or hours, I think everyone can appreciate these seemingly simply desires that every teacher wants, but usually does not receive, from September through June.

Time to pee.  Seriously.  There is no time to pee.  In between classes?  We’ve got students popping in, admin popping in, other teachers popping in, and not just to chat, but with some sort of need.  There is often a crisis.  We live by the bell, by the minute, by the semester and EVERY SECOND COUNTS.  We are in a bizarre time warp where things must be done NOW (even though what must be done NOW can realistically hardly be done EVER).  This is a problem for many reasons, but the no-peeing part is especially troublesome for those of us who have birthed children.

A desk that isn’t broken.  One of my students on the autism spectrum took out all of the wheels from several of my desk drawers, and those kind of things just don’t get fixed.  You just, for thirty years, have drawers that go thump thump thump thump, jumping a bit as you pull the drawers out or push them back in.

A chair that isn’t going to cause disc damage.  Okay, if that isn’t possible, at least A CHAIR.  I don’t have a chair, because the one I bought (which happened to be an exercise ball because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a chair, and I have a relatively weak core) was lost when I moved classrooms.  Poof.  I blame privatization.  Our regular custodians would have made sure my chair made it to my new room.  It’s really not that far away.

Coffee.  No, this doesn’t just exist in any “teacher’s lounge” I’ve ever been in, unless it was in a coffee pot bought by a teacher, made with coffee bought by a teacher and, if it existed, was hopefully cleaned by a teacher.  Who knows when they had time to clean it….it probably wasn’t cleaned.  But, let’s be honest, we really care more about the coffee than the cleaning.

Time to drink coffee.  There is no such thing as a coffee break.  There is really hardly a lunch break. C’mon. I can’t believe more student scaldings don’t happen, to be honest.

Time to work by ourselves without interruption.  Planning period?  Hahahah!  That is filled with meetings and more meetings and, oh yea, STUDENTS.  Do you know, teachers have to plan what they are going to do when they stand in front of their students?  Do you know, teachers have to grade their students work?  Do you know, teachers benefit from collaborating with other teachers?  Time for any of these things is what teachers want.  So much more so than apple-shaped trinkets.

Pens.  Why is it so hard to get pens?  And pencils.  We need a million pencils for the kids. They are incapable of keeping one in their possession for an entire day.  And they are incapable of not stealing our pens.  Don’t get me started on tape.  I got an email from a co-worker last year saying that they would not be providing tape for their students because they were ON THEIR LAST ROLL OF TAPE and would not be providing any more. This is what teachers become at the end of May.  Barbaric tape deniers.

Tissue.  Maybe the kind that doesn’t cause chafing the first time you wipe your nostrils with it.  But, if that isn’t possible, we’ll take the tissue that feels like sandpaper.  I’ll take the sandpaper tissue.   I NEED SANDPAPER TISSUE.  Anything is better than my sleeve. Best case scenario if I don’t have any?  I’m wearing a pattern (that doesn’t show the snot so much).  But, my students?  They don’t even use sleeves.  If they don’t have tissues, they just use my air.  And my desks (which are also your kid’s air and desks, by the way).  Ew.

A cabinet that locks.  And ideally, a key that goes with it. Because if the stars align, maybe I can go pee.  But, I don’t want anyone to steal my wallet when I do.

For anyone making decisions about what happens in classrooms to actually have experience working in a classroom.  We can all have dreams, right?

Time to eat lunch.  At least, sometimes? Pretty please?

Assessments that aren’t arbitrarily changed from year to year. Oh wait, the change isn’t always arbitrary.  It’s usually based on profits for companies and cost-savings for our government…

Assessments that actually measure something of value.  Can anyone give me some proof that anything we assess actually has merit? Hello?  Bueller? I’m all for data.  I love data.  Just not pointless (even if well-intentioned) data.  And hell hath no fury like a teacher who cares about their students seeing them freak the heck out because of assessments that, in the long run, don’t mean anything.

More coffee.  There is never, ever, enough.

An automatic translator that turns what we are actually thinking into polite and professional language. Seriously, how do politicians and admins do this?

Wine.  Coffee only goes so far.

Time to work one on one with students.  We really want to help our students.  All of them.  That’s why we’re here.  We just can’t be everywhere and help everyone at the same time.  Anyone who says class size doesn’t matter has never been in the classroom.

Note that nothing on this wish list pertains to wishing the students were anything but themselves.  The students are the best.  They are why we keep coming back.  Parents, keep sending those lovely students of yours! They keep us going.

desk

By Malate269 (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Anything you’d add to the list?

Three Dirty Wash Cloths Can Put A Parent With Anxiety and Depression Over The Edge

Laundry is not a chore I mind doing. It’s something I can do while I’m doing other things around the house.  It doesn’t require me to get my hands dirty.  It’s not too physically demanding, except when I lug the basket up and down the stairs, but then I can pretend I’m getting some cardio in.  I like the way our detergent smells. I like taking the mess of dirty clothes and ending up with the neatly folded piles.  I like the way it feels when it is all done. Every hamper emptied. Every drawer stuffed full of folded clothes. When I’m done with the laundry, I know I’ve done it right and I really like that feeling.

Most things I do don’t give me that absolute feeling of successful completion, of knowing the job was well done.

Parenting is certainly not a job that leaves me feeling that way.  Especially being a parent that deals with anxiety and depression.

I try to do a lot of things for me, to ward of the depressive slumps, because doing so helps make me a better mama. One of them is running.  Nothing on this planet feels as good as a long run. Running makes every molecule in my body vibrate.  Right now a pretty significant hip injury has left me unable to run for several weeks. WEEKS.  And my body is not responding kindly. Other than the shooting, stabbing, searing pain in my hip joint, for the past four weeks it has felt like my legs are numb.  I’ve been wading through thigh-deep water instead of just walking like a normal person on land.  The other day I stood in place in the middle of my kitchen and had to think, much longer than should ever make sense, about walking to the garage to grab my shoes and then carrying them to the front door, or just walking outside barefoot because I wasn’t sure I could manage the extra trip across my house.  Lately I am moving very slowly. I am dropping things.  I am worried I will not be able to run the marathon I signed up for. I am not happy.

Maybe it’s my mind that isn’t responding kindly.

This month there have been so many days that I’ve felt like I didn’t have the energy to be the best parent I could be.  When I get like this, I worry I’m not doing enough arts and crafts, or taking the kids outside enough, or reading enough books.  I worry about my toddler watching too much t.v.  I worry I’m not giving enough attention to my youngest.

Lately I keep hearing a lot about how if you’re worried you’re a good parent, then you shouldn’t worry because that means you are one.  Which is sort of confusing.  Does that mean to stop worrying?  Because I’m worried now.  Is that good? Now I’m worried that I don’t even know the right way to worry.

Today I was finishing the final fold and had the, “Ahhhh” feeling of a task fully completed.  I exhaled for a minute.

Until I went into the girls bathroom and saw this:

This is enough to put a parent with anxiety issues into a tailspin.

This is enough to put a parent with anxiety issues into a tailspin.

I shit you not my heart jumped a beat. How did I miss this?  Damn it, I thought I had done all the laundry, but here are three wash cloths in the sink!  It’s like even though I did five loads of laundry today and everything is folded and put away, it all the sudden doesn’t count because of three dirty wash cloths.  For some reason it made all the more insulting that they were still wet.

And I know it doesn’t matter. I know that by tomorrow we’ll have dirty onesies and socks and bibs and whatnot, so what’s the big deal?   I know it shouldn’t bother me.

But it does.

So even though I’ve come a long way, I realize I am always on edge. My anxieties are raging.  I’m always worried that something won’t be good enough. The kicker? Something always won’t be.  And usually the more I worry about it, the more I screw shit up.  Or at least the more I notice.  Either way – that’s not a good situation to set oneself up for.

I’m working on it.  Usually at the end of the night I do a final load of dishes and clean up the living room and kitchen, making it somewhat presentable before I pour my glass of wine and relax on the couch.  I pat myself on the back on the nights I’m able to step over the baby toys on the floor and just leave them.  I’m happy to report that there have been days that I have been able to do this and let it go.

Today just wasn’t one of them.

If It Ever Gets That Bad (What People With Depression Want You To Know)

Everyone who has battled with depression has their own analogy for it and for me, it’s drowning. I’ve been riding high and dry the last few years but after Baby Grouch Number Two was born, I was swiftly sucked out to sea in a riptide. It happened quickly, a sharp jerk that startled and surprised me. Because, we’re always surprised when it comes back, aren’t we?  We always think it’s gone for good because we are strong and capable and we really don’t have anything to be sad about, anyway. We’ve got it all. Except no matter what, it creeps back in, like a looping vine ruining the landscaping in the backyard that we can never get rid of, even with the strongest of weed killers.

Every depressive sometimes considers how they might end it, if it got bad enough. It might just be a flicker of a thought, a blip of morbidity that occurs right after the thought about how to prepare the chicken for dinner and right before the thought about do we have any vanilla ice cream to go with the apple pie for dessert.

It is a thought that exists like any other, it isn’t special. Did I get the mail out of the mailbox? Is tomorrow trash day? Should I just end it today? When is the Smith-Miller wedding?  Oh, look, Adidas shoes are on sale, awesome.  It is not selfish, it is not dramatic, it is just THERE, coexisting with all the other not-selfish, not-dramatic thoughts.

A million little ideas nag and grab hold of us, constantly running through our heads, repeating in our brains, it’s just that the How Would I End It thought is not benign, and is one that we have to constantly battle.  And I don’t mean the same type of battle as the one about remembering to put the car keys on the hook or the one about remembering to take the coffee cup off the roof of the car before driving off, I mean a real, legitimate, drag-out-fight for our lives.  The How Would I End It thought has a whole military brigade of buddies, it never shows up alone, it’s just one of the many dark thoughts that sour our brains, capable of becoming quite dangerous, when all working together.  For me, the thoughts I am fighting are usually lapping waves, that push at my back at regular intervals, sometimes lightly and sometimes with enough force to knock me from my feet.  I can usually scramble and keep my chin up high, just barely above the surface, while I reach down and curl my toes, grasping at the sand.  I make it back to shore.

I know I need to keep a relatively fit body, and need to practice gratitude and remind myself how good I really have it, to keep the constant tide at bay, to prevent the blips from becoming an all-consuming internal barrage of horrific self-talk.  Those things help, they really do.  But I also know that someday doing those things might not be enough.  I know that the possibility exists for stormy thoughts to create a tsunami.  It’s pretty fucking hard to battle a tsunami.  Most people wouldn’t call death by tsunami a selfish act.

If it ever gets that bad, I will get the names of doctors from people I trust.  And I will actually attempt to call one.

If it ever gets that bad, I will stop lying on the forms asking me to rate my anxiety and depression.

If it ever gets that bad, I will remind myself of some tricks and tips to help make things better, if only temporarily, if only by a smidge.

If it ever gets that bad, know that being angry at me or trying to guilt me into feeling better is equivalent to shoving my head back under water.  It will only make things worse.

If it ever gets that bad, please don’t take it personally.

If it ever gets that bad, please support me by just being there.

If it ever gets that bad, please remind me where I can get help from, and remind me that it’s okay to ask for the help when I need it.

 

 

Broken Machinery

The floor is lined with well-oiled machines.

They are gleaming models,

producing perfect products.

They hum, whir, purr.

 

Smile.

 

They are lustrous, polished instruments

with safety valves releasing steam,

and automatic shut-offs.

They are controlled and efficient.

 

But one machine is not like the rest.

A single rusty clunker,

worn out, broken down, wearing thin.

It screeches, bangs, clanks.

 

Snarls.

 

Gauges tarnished, valves corroded, sealed stuck,

it is unreliable and dangerous.

It will cough out mangled wares

’til its inevitable collapse.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Image credit: Wikipedia

The Secret

She had to hide It somewhere. Somewhere safe. So, she cut herself open, quickly, before anyone could see It. It had to be hidden from view from prying eyes. From her own eyes.

The pain of the cut was nothing compared to the pain Exposure would bring. Or so she thought. She shoved it inside her chest cavity, wedged beneath her lung, impeding her breathing, but just a little. She could deal with it. Hopefully.

She cleaned up the blood and hastily stitched up the wound, much more concerned with the functionality of the stitches than the aesthetics.

She didn’t bury it as deep as it could go. It was a somewhat superficial burial, but an effective one, nonetheless. Too deep and It could do some serious damage to the internal organs. Too shallow and It could burst through the artificial seam, undoing all the work she had put into harboring It.

Because of Its relative proximity to the surface, sometimes It pressed against her wrinkled scar tissue, making it stretch… itch… ache. She ignored the nagging tension when she could, and tried to press the bulge down just a little deeper, with minimal success, when it became too much. Eventually It would subside on its own, even if only to resurface later. An internal iceberg she hoped wouldn’t sink her.

She covered up the slight bulge and occasional redness of her jagged scar with a polished wardrobe and a carefree attitude, so no one would suspect she was hiding something so ugly underneath. Inside.

If you liked this post you may also like The Monster’s Comforting Cloak.

Secret:  An internal iceberg she hoped wouldn't sink her.

Secret: An internal iceberg she hoped wouldn’t sink her.

The Office Is The Only Hope

The office is the source of hope.

But it brings with it, more.

 

Fluid filled, cystic anxiety.

Blood soaked uncertainty.

Regression, after success.

Loss.

 

It brings stomach aches and heart palpitations.

Emotions and exposed nerves that are scrubbed raw,

to maintain sanitary conditions in the sterile environment.

 

It’s a recurring nightmare that offers the promise of a dream.

The office is the source of hope.

But, it is not free for the taking.

 

You must pay, with more than only money or time.

You pay with undignified prods and pokes and pills.

With screams and moans that are saved for later.

With tears that are held back and with some that escape.

With exhaustion.

 

And even with a visceral reaction to the office itself, you keep going back.

It’s where you hate to be

and want to be

and must be.

Because the office is the only hope.

Waiting room

The Reproductive Endocrinologist’s Office Is The Only Hope For Those Dealing With Infertility (Photo credit: Melissa Venable)

Mama Worries About You. Except When She Doesn’t.

At only 1 year of age, Baby Grouch has taught me how (approximately) 8230753 lbs of mommy-love can be squeezed into a teensy, tiny, Grinch-sized heart.  She’s also taught me that the equivalent poundage of terror can be packed into that same cubic volume.

Like some anxiety-riddled, futuristic camera, my brain captures images of Baby Grouch in worst-case scenarios.   It would be easy to get sucked in and dwell on this imaginary album and give myself multiple heart attacks each day.  I have to refocus my mental camera constantly, to appreciate the real view in front of me. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes the refocusing of the Crazy-Brain Camera feels less like rotating the lens of an SLR and more like trying to swivel the steering wheel of a semi truck that lacks power steering.

With that in mind, here’s my letter to Baby Grouch about my anxieties and my corresponding, seemingly rare, moments of clarity and sanity.

Dear Baby Grouch,

Mama worries about you.

When you are asleep, she checks on you once before she herself tucks in. Sometimes twice.  Even though she knows you are probably okay, sometimes the silence scares her. She is reassured by the rising and falling of your chest.  She marvels at the fascinating science of DNA inheritance, as she observes you fast asleep with one leg bent at the knee, up in the air, crossed over the other, just like your father sleeps. She admits, without remorse, that she has, on occassion, slightly disturbed your slumber in order to hear you emit an audible sigh.

While you are at daycare, she knows you are in good hands, but she has moments of panic that a tragic mishap will take place. A slip. A fall.  An accident.   She might even work herself up into an unwarranted frenzy at the prospect of a trivial busted lip.  When she walks in to pick you up, and sees your happy, healthy self at play (with both lips intact) a breath she didn’t realize was wedged in her chest escapes out of her mouth.  She is so relieved that she doesn’t even mind the smashed graham cracker in your hair or the dried snot under your nose smearing all over her shirt as she gives you a grateful embrace hello.

Every time she hears a news story of a shooting, a car accident, a drowning – she thinks to herself that losing you in such a fashion would be unbearable, unimaginable, fall-on-your-knees-with-your-mouth-hanging-open horrifying.  Every time she hears a harrowing story when she’s in the car, at work, watching television or out with friends, for a split second she replaces your wide eyed, grinning, gap-toothed face with the victim’s. She morbidly imagines the photograph that would accompany your news story, one of you scrunching up your nose in excitement, or one of you smiling, with your eyes open wide – two almost-perfect orbs, the left slightly narrower than the right – showing off your favorite doll to the camera.  During this brief gruesome flash, she holds back the tears that threaten to pour off her lashes. She manages to keep herself together as she almost falls apart at the mere reminder that bad things happen to good people all of the time. Depending on where she is, this can sometimes be embarassing. But it can not be helped.

When she’s at work, as a high school teacher, hearing snide remarks and bullying tones and hurtful words coming from the mouths of some of the kids, she pictures you as a teen, getting crushed by broken friendships, broken promises and broken hearts.  It pains her even now to think of your inevitable heartache in the future.  She knows that even though some people make it through high school unscathed, no one makes it through life without some significant rough patches.

But your Mama doesn’t always worry.

While you play you are cheery and you are able to amuse yourself, yet you love to share your joy and engage with those around you.  You bang toys together, on the table, on your head.  You laugh.  You give them to me, then take them back, then give them to me again. You hug your baby and kiss your Elmo.  You make “fish” face and surprised “oh!” face and your sideways head tilt “cute” face for the purpose of amusing those around you.  You stack your blocks, and joyfully knock them over with a Boom!  If you fall while you’re exploring, you get back up.  You are strong.  You babble as you page through your books and point at the images you look at.  You are smart.  Oh so smart!  And also silly.  A winning combination for life.

While at daycare you grow and learn and improve your skills.  She’s watched you perform independent tasks since you were only months old and continues to hear reports of how you excel.  And she’s proud.  She also hears periodic reports of your strong-willed nature, your refusal to follow an occasional rule when you don’t want to, or to want to sometimes do things on your own terms.  No one can make you crawl up the steps or eat a cheese quesadilla or sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a stretch, if you don’t want to.  And for this, she is also proud. Mama would worry if her daughter didn’t sometimes question what she was told to do.

When you’re older she knows that while you’ll mature and learn new things, you’ll essentially be the same person that you are now.  People may go through different phases and stages, but they really don’t change all that much, in the long run.  You’ll be strong. You’ll be smart.  You’ll be silly.  And Mama will still be proud.  And even with her anxieties and worries now, she knows in her gut that you will be okay.

Mama worries, but knows that you will be okay.

Mama worries, but knows that you will be okay.

The Monster’s Comforting Cloak

She had a monster inside her.

He was shadowy and spiny and ran he laps around his home, inside of her heart.  His talons took chunks out of her flesh as he stomped his feet on her. In her.  The bristles on his back scraped and poked and gouged her insides as he turned and twisted.  He dug in. He chomped at her flesh and took sips of her blood; he drained her. He wounded her heart, leaving it loose, saggy, shriveled.  As tiny as he was, that monstrous speck in her heart, he weighed her down.

On the day the woman became a mother, her body opened up and the child emerged. With the child came gristle, blood, and watery fluids.  And also the beast.  The dreadful speck got washed away, expelled for good.

But, while her body was open and vulnerable, a new monster crept in.

The new creature surreptitiously found its way inside and into her heart. It filled the void The Other had left.  Only this monster was not a speck. It was a giant.  It packed her heart full, and crouched inside, with its arms around its knees and its back squashed up against the sides, for lack of space. The woman felt  an intense tightness in her chest from the pressure.  But she did not complain.

Unlike The Other, this monster was not covered in bristles.  It was cushy and downy soft. The pressure from this monster comforted the woman.  It made her feel complete. Warmed.  Full. Even though her heart now held more weight, the woman felt lighter. Over time, the new monster fed on her happiness and it continued to grow fatter and fatter inside the woman’s heart, which stretched and stretched to accommodate it.  The intense fullness usually felt good.

But sometimes it didn’t.

Sometimes instead of filling her with happiness, the distention scared her. Terrified her. Paralyzed her. Because the tiniest notion that there could once again be emptiness where the fullness now was, was unimaginable. Unthinkable. Unbearable.

The woman came to realize that the new monster wasn’t new at all.  The Other had not actually disappeared.  The tiny, barbed monster had simply put on a thick, cushioned, cloak. He was hiding underneath the happiness, growing larger.  Stronger.  And if the soft veneer were to be shed, the stiff bristles, which would have once left only a scratch, would now impale her from the inside, killing her for sure. The monster chuckled as it leaned back, settled in, and kept feeding, growing more and more obese, stretching her heart even further and further.

monster2

Secondary Infertility: What I’ve Been Telling Myself

It’s no secret that Mr. Grouch and I have been trying for Baby Grouch #2.  We’ve been “not not trying” since she was only a few months old, and we started seeing our reproductive endocrinologist again back in May.  As we embarked on this journey for a second time, I told myself I’d maintain a positive attitude.  That I wouldn’t get sucked back into a self-pitying hole.

I’ve been telling myself  that I should be grateful for my family of three, when so many others are struggling to become parents for the first time.  I am grateful our process wasn’t as long, expensive, or invasive as what many others have endured. I am so very, very, lucky and I tell myself not to be greedy.

I’ve been telling myself that no matter what, I’ll be happy with the family that I end up with, whether we can ride as a group in a small sedan or if we require a van to haul us around.  I have a smart, interesting, silly, happy, curious and delightful one year old who amuses, thrills and amazes me each and every day.   She defines beauty, inside and out. And, if she’s the only child I am able to have, I couldn’t have been blessed with a better little human being.

Yet, a nagging whisper coming from inside me keeps saying But I want one more….If one is this good, two can only be better.

So, as we’ve begun the second round of fertility treatments, I’ve been telling myself that we got pregnant using this combination of meds the last time around, so it should work again this time, and that I just need to be patient.

I’ve been telling myself that I should relax, and if the upcoming blood draw turns out to be a big fat negative, that it will be okay, and we can always try again.

But, apparently it doesn’t matter how much I tell myself those things, however true they may be.

As the two week wait comes to a close and the blood draw date looms ahead, I can’t help but feel incredibly anxious.  I can hear my heartbeat and feel it in my throat.  My face is shiny, sticky, slick with sweat.  My hands are shaky, my knee won’t stop bobbing when I sit. My breath is labored, shallow, my lungs are tight.  My high pitched voice barks at those around me and while I try to rein it in, my responses are often short, brash, sharper sounding than I want them to be.  At first I couldn’t pinpoint my anxieties, but now I know why.

I don’t want the test to be negative.

And even though I have no control over the outcome, and my rational self knows “if not this month, maybe next month” the horrible dark little corner of my heart whispersmaybe never...  And it chews little holes inside me with those words, turning my insides to mush, and squeezes my juices out of the corners of my eyes.

I guess it isn’t just this test that I’m anxious about.  My overreactions, which at first glance appear to be over a relatively trivial event, are really projecting my true fear. Going through this process again (for how long?) with maybe nothing to show for it in the end, other than mountains of bills and valleys of disappointment.

But, just continuing to go through the treatments in an indication of hope, isn’t it? That I must think it’ll work out in the end, and that, in the not-to-far future, my heart will be doubly full and this will all be behind us.  So louder than the dark voice, I keep telling myself.Don’t give up

secondary-infertility-300x300

secondary-infertility – what i’ve been telling myself-300×300 (Photo credit: Argyropoulos)

If you liked this post you may also like: The New NormalTop 10 Things Infertiles Want You To Shut The Fuck Up About, and the other pieces in my Infertility/Pregnancy page.

Well, Shit, That Doesn’t Sound Good.

Yesterday morning was a little rough.

I never answer my phone when I see a number I don’t recognize.  So, it was not out of the ordinary when I ignored my phone after seeing “Restricted” pop up on my caller id.  I muted the call and went back to sipping my coffee and singing to Baby Grouch in my horrendously off key tones.  Maternity leave is so grand!

I noticed the voice mail icon pop up, so I called to see who had hidden their number from me.  It was the doctor’s office calling and telling me that my doctor had a message for me and that I should call back.  That was a half-truth.  It was the nurse practitioner who had a message for me.

(Background:  I had a doctor who was AH-MAZ-ING.  He moved and I got transferred to a new doctor in the same building.  My new doctor appears to be a twit, since she doesn’t remember much about me from one visit to the next, and who gives me advice and dismisses issues related to my health without looking at my chart or asking me any questions.  Needless to say, I don’t value her opinion and am looking for a new doctor.  In the meantime, I started seeing a nurse practitioner, Kara, at the same office, since I really like the office and need to keep up with my preventative health care.  Kara really impressed me at the last visit, which is not the easiest thing to do.  She was thorough, she asked a lot of questions, and she read through all of my information on the computer.  I liked her right away.  I may continue to see her – as clearly there isn’t a correlation between having a doctoral degree and being able to provide exceptional family practice care).

SIDEBAR:  When women tell stories, we start the story, and are, at some point, reminded of something else, so, we tell a little mini story and then sometimes another little mini story that is an off-shoot of the first mini story.  Eventually, we go back to telling the original story – at times needing a teensy reminder of what we were originally talking about.  This doesn’t mean we aren’t paying attention or we don’t eventually get to the point.  Someone tell my husband this is just how women’s brains work, okay?  Back to original story:

I had gone the day before to get some routine lab work done to keep an eye on things considering my chronic high blood pressure.  I wondered if the call was related to the blood work.  It seemed pretty early for them to even have the results back.  But, if they WERE back, it probably wasn’t a good thing if they were calling, right?  They don’t usually call for good news.  Hmmm…. I avoided returning the call for about 15 minutes until I worked up a little courage and then dialed the office number.

After being connected to the nurse, she told me that my microalbumin numbers seem exceptionally elevated and Kara had put my lab results on her desk, with a red flag and a note to call me immediately to have me re-do the test to see if it could possibly be accurate.

Well, shit, that doesn’t sound good.

“What were my numbers”, I asked?  “530”.  Okay, that means nothing without context.  I asked a follow-up question, “What are the numbers supposed to be?”  The nurse hesitated a bit and then said, “Between 0 and 19”.

Well, shit, that doesn’t sound good.

Let’s hope that the blood work re-do numbers look a little better.

UPDATE:

So, in every profession, there are people who make mistakes.  It’s a part of being human, I suppose, and we all understand that no one is perfect, and that it is ridiculous to expect perfection.

Unless you’re a teacher.

Then, you’re supposed to get 100% of students to meet 100% of standards, and if you don’t, you’re clearly the Anti-Christ and the very idea that you should be able to collectively bargain for things such as class size and a planning period are preposterous.

I digress.

I went back for lab results, slightly concerned that I would have to ask my sister for a kidney, and that I wouldn’t be able to drink wine anymore, but HAVE NO FEAR – I can guzzle away and save my favor-asking for later.  My updated microalbumin level is 5.  FIVE.  Not FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY.  Slightly off there the first time.

Whew.  (And, cheers!)