Friday, January 25, 2008

Kindergarten readiness... feh

Funny, I had started writing this post earlier today, then came across Rebecca's birthday post, which I neglected to post at the time of her actual birthday. This post is particularly fitting after that one, though!

***Warning*** this is a whiny post.

Last night our school district had a Kindergarten readiness forum. Jim and I were both planning to attend, and had even secured a babysitter. Then on the way home from day care, Carly barfed in the car. We canceled the sitter and Jim stayed home so I set off by myself for the meeting.

Because I didn't get there super early, I had to sit in the last row in the cafeteria where the meeting was being held. It was difficult to hear what was being said at times, because they didn't use a sound system. A couple of people brought their kids, and the kids were noisy. Then a cooler behind us started running a cycle. Someone from the school turned it off, but I still had to really strain to hear some of what was being said. One of my pet peeves was played out too; people in the audience would ask a question and the speaker would not repeat the question. Most of the time I could figure out the question based on the answer, but not always.

The information provided at the meeting itself shocked me a couple of times. There is an elementary school close to us, on the other side of one cross street in the next development over. I looked at the district map in my packet and it showed us in the area of another elementary school. This isn't a huge deal, except we have told Rebecca that she will be at the closer school. I found out at the end of the meeting that the map is not correct and we ARE supposed to go to the closer school. It was still quite a surprise.

Then I learned that while the district has a before and after-school care program, they offer no mid-day care. Couple this with the fact that K is half-day in our district, and it means that I have no place for R to go for half the day. She could go to the daycare she's been attending, but it is located in the suburb next to ours, so we'd have to provide a private bus for her to go back and forth. One of the parents asked about full day K. We were told that they've been studying it and find that most people do want it, regardless of whether there is a stay at home parent or not. No kidding... how much can they really do in 2.5 hours? And for kids like mine, who have been attending a full day preschool, it's a step backward. They told us that when we come for K registration, they will have us complete some form or something that they are using to collect opinions to give to the superintendent and Board of Education members. It sounds like the district is finally open to changing their K, not in time for Rebecca, but *maybe* for Caroline. I may write to the superintendent and board members myself to express my support for full-day K. Maybe it's time I started attending Board of Education meetings too.

Here are our options, as I see them at this time:

1. Attend public school, send her to current daycare for before/after care for the portion of day not covered by school's AC program
Pro - she would be with familiar kids and staff for part of the day
Con - cost of shuttle on top of tuition

2. Attend public school, send her to local day care center/private elementary for AC
Pro - school bus will take her to and from AC, she will meet other "local" kids.
Con - I have heard bad story about where bus drops off; need to check this out with AC school and with district's transportation dept

3. Attend private elementary above for K
Pro - she would be one place all day. Also if we like it could consider switching C to this place so we'd only have one point of pickup and dropoff
Con - would then have to apply to local school for first grade and then go through transition again

4. Attend K at our Catholic church's school
Pro - K is full day there and they have after care
Con - unsure of starting time and therefore before-care situation. Also, not sure I want her to go to Catholic school because of my own struggles with their teachings on social issues and other things.


OH, what to do, what to do... I so do not feel up to this challenge to figure out. Part of me wishes that staying home were an option, so that I could be here for her before and after school. But right now that's not an option, so we're left with the above, unless another option presents itself. We might have had a fifth option, where R could go to her grandma's after school, because Jim's folks were looking at a house near here. But when they got the disclosue information, they learned that is has a ton of problems, including black mold in the attic. Everything is supposedly being addressed but they are going to pass.

Any ideas you have, I am open to! I know we'll get through this but it isn't the part of parenting I dreamed about when I stared at the positive pregnancy test, that is for sure!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Still clean

Here is the email I received this morning from my oncologist:

"Just got the results. There is NO evidence of change and NO evidence of recurrent RCC. I think we can repeat scans every 6 months. Reminding me with an email works best. Take care and reply with any questions."

(RCC = renal cell carcinoma)

So THAT is a relief, to be sure. Now I can enjoy my weekend. A girl friend invited me to see Juno; Jim agreed to chauffeur the girls to and from a birthday party, so I am free to be an adult for a while. We may make it a double feature and see 27 Dresses, which is not getting good reviews but might be some silly chick-flick fun. Depends on whether our behinds can take sitting through two movies!

Thanks to all for your prayers, PVs and good wishes. They help more than I can say.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Big day tomorrow

Time for CT scanning again. It's been 6 months already? This is a weird one because usually I go through my oncologist's nurse to make the appointment. She in turn works with appointment schedulers so it usually takes a few days to secure the appt and the appt is usually a few weeks out. When I saw Dr. Rini last summer, he told me just to email him when it was time to schedule and he'd have his secretary take care of it. No kidding... I emailed him Monday afternoon, he replied within 1.5 hours, and she called soon after, offering me an appt the next day if I wanted it. I had a full schedule today so I'm doing it tomorrow. This is good because I won't have to obsess about the appointment for a long period of time. I should have results by the end of the week, which I will post.

As always, I am nervous, even though chances are very good that the scans will show that I'm still cancer-free. It stinks to always have over my head, but better this than actually being sick. And assuming the news is good, I'll feel like I can get on with my winter. I have LASIK surgery scheduled for February 7 and we're planning a weekend away at an indoor water park for late winter. I am very excited about the fact that I won't need to wear glasses in the water! Last year when we went that was a big pain. So, I have lots to look forward to, once I clear another hurdle.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Health care hassles

Jim came down with pneumonia on Christmas day. He had a fever and chills and so he spent most of the day on the couch under a blanket. He just thought it was a seasonal virus until he called his doctor's office two days later, at my urging, because he wasn't showing any signs of improvement. The triage nurse believed that Jim was not suffering from "what is going around" and that it sounded like he was dehydrated, so she recommended he go to the emergency room. I left work a little early to get him, and his parents took care of the girls for us.
We had a truly dismal experience in the ER, complete with a phlebotomist telling him that "when you have the flu you need to let the heat out" while Jim's entire body shook under two coats and a blanket. Oh, and even though they took a chest xray, they never mentioned that he might have pneumonia. They hydrated him, gave some IV antibiotics, and sent him home with a recommendation to "follow up with your doctor as needed". He called the next morning and got in to see a doctor in our doc's practice. (Side note, what is the point of having a Primary Care Provider when you never get to see him? Jim was told he is completely booked until April. WTH?) The doctor had his records from the ER and told him right away that he had pneumonia and could be hospitalized unless he wanted to be treated as an outpatient. Jim chose outpatient so that I wouldn't be dealing with the kids alone. I was glad because while I expected to take care of them by myself, since after all, he would be too sick to deal with them, at least at home he could get better rest. And so he did; for several days he slept for 10-12 hours at night and napped during the day. He's doing fine now but it was pretty scary to see him that sick.
Through this experience Jim had two "fat patient" episodes that really annoyed me. When we were at the ER, a physician assistant was checking him over. He asked if Jim or anyone in his family is diabetic, and Jim answered "no". The PA asked this at least twice more, with a tone in his voice that sounded like, 'come on buddy, you're too fat not to be diabetic, so let's just fess up.'
Jim kept insisting that he was not diabetic. He's never had high blood sugar levels; in fact neither have I. Yes, it is possible to be fat and NOT be diabetic. My obstetrician didn't want to believe this either; when I was pregnant with Caroline he had me take the glucose tolerance test twice because he was sure I would develop gestational diabetes. He actually seemed somewhat disappointed to see my blood glucose numbers both times.
OK, I've digressed... back to Jim. He saw the doctor at our office the next day. This was a doctor he hadn't met before, an associate of our doctor. While he was there, the doctor asked him if Jim was interested in having bariatric surgery. Jim said he didn't know. After all, he was feeling lousy and just wanted to know what was wrong and how to get better. The doctor repeatedly encouraged bariatric surgery, telling him he really should look into it. In fact, he said, if his brother needed it, the doctor would kidnap him and take him to have it done. ??? Is this really an appropriate topic for discussion when treating someone with pneumonia? Obesity is not a risk factor for pneumonia. It just wasn't the time to be discussing weight loss surgery.
Some of you reading this may think I'm overreacting, that these health care providers were just concerned for Jim's well-being. I certainly hope they were concerned, since taking care of people is their career, and I would assume they chose that career at least partly because they care about people. Unfortunately the health care profession has a long history of not looking past the fat when treating people. I was recently re-acquainted with a really interesting blog, Junkfood Science. When I read this article, I was amazed; it described so eloquently what I've been feeling for a long time. I've had experiences like Jim's all my life. Going to the doctor makes me anxious enough that my blood pressure goes up even though it is normal when I take it at home. I am hypertensive and medicated for it, but the only time I get a high reading is at my doctor's office.
Anyhow, I think Sandy Szwarc is telling a truth that people don't want to hear, that in her words, "Science is being misused for marketing and political purposes." I've realized for a while that the media takes information out of context, so I now generally ignore most stories I read or hear in the media that start with "according to a new study". I'm not just talking about studies about weight, weight loss, or the correlation of fat to disease, but studies on most any subject.
Of course, being a fat woman, I am more in tune to the deluge of information we get telling us that fat is bad. That's a whole bigger rant though, so I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bad silly mama

I've been really wanting to post but haven't taken the time. I think I will just say I was busy living life! :-)

We got through the holidays fine; the girls had a wonderful Christmas. Jim got sick - more on that in another post - but he's better now. I'll post some pics as soon as I get a chance, ie. when I am at the PC where I keep the photos.

There is lots in my head that I'd like to spill out, so hopefully I will have more to say in 2008. Whether it's worthy of being read by you all is questionable, but that is okay.

I also decided to start a new blog to track exercise. I would like to see if I can get off my blood pressure medication this year and I know the best way to do that is to exercise. You can read about my efforts at silly mama walking, though right now it's pretty bare.

I would like to lose some weight this year. I don't believe I will ever be a thin person and I am truly fine with that. On the other hand, I'd like to be less fat than I am now, for a number of reasons. My eating is definitely disordered, and that is something I want to change. Following a specific diet has been problematic for me in the past, because the stress of it has caused me to be bulemic. So this year I am working on making positive changes and not worrying about the numbers on the scale.