I help

                My husband came to me the other day and said, “Where’s my underwear?”

I stood there a little incredulous.   This is not an issue I wish to address. I have long had a policy that his underwear is not my purview. “I don’t know,” I replied, eye roll, sigh, “I am not responsible for your underwear.”

Hubby: No seriously, where is it at?

Me: Seriously, I don’t know

Hubby: (stomps around, digs through piles of clothes, mutters to himself)

Me: After pausing and thinking for a moment, “What about all the pairs of underwear you have been throwing out.” (It suddenly came to me that I have observed several pairs of my husband’s underwear buried in the kitchen trash. And honestly, when one finds their husband’s underwear buried in the kitchen trash it is in the category of I. Do. Not. Want. To. Know.)

Hubby: I haven’t been throwing out any underwear.

Me:   Yes you have, I have seen something like two or three pairs a week in the trash.

Hubby: Why didn’t you tell me my underwear was in the trash?

Me: I assumed you knew. You threw it away.

Hubby: Why would I throw my underwear away?

Me: Remember the incident at Best Buy?

Hubby: (glares, more muttering)

Me: Well if you didn’t throw it away, and I didn’t throw it away…. (we both turn and look at the two year old)

Hubby: Z sweetheart, did you throw daddy’s underwear away?

Z: (blank stare)

Hubby: (holding a pair of underwear this time) Did you throw these away Z?

Z: (face lights up) Oh yeah, Daddy, I help.

                At that moment my mind flashed back to the many times over the last three months that I have followed the advice of all the parenting books about engaging your toddler in the care of the new baby. I have been asking her to “help” for three months now by throwing the baby’s diapers out when I change her. Perhaps this is a faulty strategy.   I think we are going to need more underwear.

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Phone Call Blues

                I was on phone call for the last 24 hours and this has prompted me to post a little bit about doctor-patient phone call etiquette.   First of all, phone call is not to be confused with regular call. Regular call is something your doctor is paid for and they are usually working a scheduled shift. Phone call is where your doctor answers patient’s phone calls, usually through the inadequate screening provided by an answering service. Secondly, phone call is basically a federal mandate. Clinics MUST provide this service if they would like Medicare to reimburse them for work that they have already done. Thirdly, this is generally done on a physician’s personal time while they are trying to sleep or enjoy their family. As one might imagine, most doctors really love phone call.  

                So picture this, in order to receive payment for services already rendered, we must make ourselves available during personal time, for free, to patients to call and ask sometimes random questions. Can you imagine calling your mechanic or hair-dresser at 2 o’clock in the morning for advice regarding your mini-van or your weave? Usually, my phone call is carried out while trying to get a whiny toddler asleep for a nap; dodging sippy-cups as they are hurled at my head because there is no more “Miwk” in them. Sometimes it is in the quiet of night when I am desperately trying to get my 3 month old back to sleep so I can get a quick nap before working the next day.

                That being said, I do not mind phone call if the patients really need me and the calls are legitimate. Here, for your edification is a quick reference of legitimate versus the illegitimate, sometimes ludicrous phone calls I receive:

GOOD REASONS TO BOTHER YOUR DOCTOR DURING THEIR FREE TIME:*

  1. Chest pain – or better yet, instead of calling me, if this happens, you should probably call 911.
  2. Stroke like symptoms- see number 1.
  3. A question about medications (i.e. I accidently took two of my blood pressure pills instead of one, am I going to die?)
  4. Hemorrhage – by this I mean serious bleeding, not a small abrasion or your regular menses. Better yet, see 1 and 2 above

 

THINGS THAT PROBABLY DO NOT DESERVE A 1 AM PHONE CALL (But things I have actually received phone calls regarding)*

  1. Refill on regularly scheduled medications because they figured it would be easier to get refills in the wee hours.
  2. Apparently patients only lose their Xanax, hydrocodone, or other controlled substance on weekends or after hours. It is a shocking phenomenon.
  3. Changes in the color or consistency of bowel movements. I don’t need to know in the middle of the night that you haven’t had a bowel movement today. I also do not need to know that it is slightly more green than usual.
  4. Patient lonely, just wants to talk.
  5. Probably the best middle of the night phone call I have ever received, kid you not, was a patient who was concerned that they couldn’t stop yawning (I sincerely had to fight the urge to tell her that I yawned five times while talking to her).

 

* These lists are in no way meant to be exhaustive and are intended for amusement only and in no way should be construed as any form of actual medical advice.

Sunday Morning Hustle

Sunday morning found me luxuriating in the bed at 5:30 am when Baby Bird, my three month old alerted me with a wailing siren-song of a cry that she was ready to be fed. Again. I say luxuriating because 10pm to 530am is probably the longest I have slept in the last 3 months. I awoke with a cold sweat rushing to Baby Bird’s bedside (also known as my closet) in order to keep her from waking her big sister, Z. Z had already been up almost every night this week complaining of her teeth hurting and asking for “tywenol” with her chubby two year old baby cheeks, and I did not want Baby Birds screams to wake big sister, or there would be no going back to bed. Ever.
And don’t judge me about my baby living in my closet. I know that many of you baby-wearing, attachment parenting types will gasp with consternation that my child was not snuggled alongside me in her co-sleeper. And I am well aware that the “Babywisers” will smugly condemn me for not already having Baby Bird sleeping through the night and buying a pack of Lucky’s at the gas station by now. But, I can’t please everyone and the fact of the matter is that Daddy snores, and Baby Bird kept waking up constantly in our room, and I am not ready to move her downstairs, so Baby Bird sleeps in the closet for now. In fairness, it is a rather large closet.
I think Baby Bird must be in a growth spurt because she nursed pretty continually for the next three hours until Z started kicking the wall of her crib loudly, which is her customary means of alerting us that she is ready to get out of bed. My husband went and retrieved her and collapsed back in bed with her and her sippy-cup of warm milk that must be heated for exactly 47 seconds and no more or less.
Our church attendance of late, since the arrival of Baby Bird has been embarrassingly sparse. I was pretty insistent that we were going to go to church today. My husband in a fit of fatigue cited every excuse possible for not going to church. He included everything from the psychiatric state of our beagle to a measles outbreak to try and buy more time to sleep in. This was at about 830 that we were having this discussion and we live about 30 minutes away from church. He finally threw down the gauntlet stating, “There is no way on earth that you are going to have these two kids and us ready to go to church in time to get there by 10.”
Now there is one thing that my husband should have learned about me in our nearly ten years of marriage, and that is not to make a direct challenge. I took this as a personal insult and started furiously trying to get us prepared to go to church. I shoveled oatmeal down Z’s gullet as she was staring at Dora with a mesmerized glare that only toddlers watching their favorite television show can muster. I wriggled the 3 month old into a pink smocked ensemble with a bonnet (which my husband ridiculed, although it was super cute. Sadly, Baby Bird kept yanking it off her head and wrapping the ties around her neck, and maybe Daddy might have had a point about the ridiculous nature of baby bonnets). I got the two year old dressed and then splashed some water on my vital areas and brushed my teeth and painted on some eyebrows (I seriously have no eyebrows. They are nonexistent. I will include a picture some time.) I put the dog in her kennel (this is a whole different discussion about the destructive nature of neurotic beagles). I announced proudly to my still-sleeping husband that we are ready to go. As I loaded up the toddler and the baby into the car, he miraculously took a quick shower and saunters out to the car fresh as a daisy and ready to go.
We pull up to the church parking lot to find it relatively empty, and I looked at him triumphantly and stated, “See, Memorial Day weekend. I knew attendance would be down. There is barely any chance of the girls catching measles now.”
He agreed, chagrined that this was a good Sunday to avoid the measles considering the decreased attendance, and besides we had made it early, with time to spare.
As we entered the learning center to check Zela into her class, none of the usual workers seemed in any hurry to assist us, and there was not the usual hustle and bustle of parents dropping children off. We were wondering around slightly disoriented and confused, wondering if this was some weird episode of the twilight zone, when I look at my husband and said, “church doesn’t start at 10:00, it starts at 10:30” At this point, we have two cranky children and about forty minutes to entertain them, and a thirty minute drive to get back to the house. We laughed at ourselves as we decided to wait it out until service began. We pulled a coloring book out and had probably some of the best undistracted one on one time with Z that she has had from us all week. Maybe it was in God’s divine plan that we got to church early so Z could explain to us why she thinks Dora’s backpack looks better blue than purple. And I count it all Joy.

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