Thursday, June 2, 2011

Who Do We Think They Are?

Today our family experienced a little injustice.  We all experience things that are unfair in life - all the time.  It's part of life.  Okay it was actually a big deal to me - but calling it a "little" injustice is not totally sarcastic - It's just that there are much greater injustices elsewhere in the world.  Comparatively, I have nothing to complain about.  But I will because I want better than "better".  I want the best.  

We partially vaccinate.  For Chris we've opted out of chicken pox, rotovirus, and delayed (I thought) wild polio.  When I talked to Chris's pediatrician about it a few years ago, he told me that the Polio vaccine was something we could hold off on because it is so rare.  For example, in the entire US, there were 4 cases the previous year, all of them in an Amish community in PA.  It made sense to him, it made sense to me - so that's what I said I'd like to do - hold off.  

Well, we have a new pediatrician now, since we moved to a different part of the valley.  He's a Naturopathic pediatrician and we LOVE him.  In reviewing Chris's vaccine history that was sent over from the former pediatrician's office, I learned today that Chris had actually received polio vaccinations.  Four of them in fact - almost the entire series and yes it was without my consent -starting when he was just 2 months old.  
My plan had been to wait until he was older and his immune system more developed, and not at the same time as all of those other vaccines.  But, that option was taken from me.

I was so, so sad and angry.  It was 5 years ago now but how could that happen???  How can I have let that happen?  I thought I had my bases covered!  Do I really need to grill the nurse when she comes in about exactly what she is sticking him with, every time because on FOUR occasions they put something in there they did not have consent for!  Could it really be just a communication error, a simple mistake - FOUR times??  Was it pandering?  Is it another example of the voice of a parent being disregarded and unheard?  Maybe they are telling me to back off from my child's care, that I can't know what's best for him if I don't agree with them.     Or.....or maybe   -     maybe they are asking me to be involved, to be adamantly involved in my children's care.  Sure, okay, they're asking me not to give them responsibility anymore because the malpractice claims are costing too much.  Me handing off responsibility requires them to practice defensively, and to create this facade - this stance that they cannot be wrong  - and please, who wants that pressure?  Oh!  See - they are giving me a gift!  A reason to risk looking a little pushy because really they don't have all of the answers - just options, a little information and services to provide should I choose to use them.

I love doctors, I truly, truly appreciate what they do.  I have a brother who's a doctor and I know a little bit of the sacrifice that it's been for him.  It is not easy and there are all kinds of kinks in the system that drive Docs to some of the less savory practices many of them adopt.  It is often a thankless job.  They are learning everything on information overload and sleep deprivation.  We expect them to have all of the answers - they should fix everything, know everything, do everything without much effort on our part.  But really, Who do we think they are??  
At times there is no question - I was SO grateful when Abby broke her foot and needed a cast.  Not for one minute did  I question the Orthopedic surgeon's diagnosis of the fractured meta-tarsal and treatment plan of a cast for 3 weeks.  He also kindly showed me where the fracture was on the x-ray and let me take a copy home.  It made perfect sense to me.  But when he was removing the cast and I asked him about chiropractic and what he thought of it for alignment and etc, he point blank told me it was basically evil.  Yes, that is the word he used, "evil".  He then told me he didn't know anything about it - where or how they got their training.  

Okay.  So, I could take this a couple of different ways.  I could say, "he's a bone doctor, he would know if there was any benefit to chiropractic",  Or, I could say - "this guy admits he knows nothing about something he is making quite a harsh judgement on.  Wow, I will gratefully allow him to cast a broken foot but I think I will take my research on chiropractic elsewhere."  why? WHY would I put my trust of judgment in his hands on something he openly knew nothing about??  To think he knows everything about everything regarding bones and our skeletal structure??  Who do I think he is??  

Doctors are human and have limits.  I know there is more than one solution to a problem and more than one avenue of getting onto the path to healing than drugs and surgery - including someone who has faith in your ability to be an active participant in your own health.  How AMAZING it is to find a doctor who respects the responsibility and intelligence of a parent as much as he asks to be respected.  One that doesn't get feathers ruffled by questions - that are simply intended to find information, not to judge, or criticize.  Why are they sadly so hard to find?  
Another story: The doctors and nurses at this same former pediatric office got very defensive when I asked questions about the safety of the aluminum content in all vaccines, the mercury that is still currently used in the flu vaccines, or which brands of vaccines they used.  How were they tested?  How serious or common were the diseases?  I thought these were fair questions.  But bottom line, they could give me little to no real information.  They seemed appalled that I was asking questions.  They could only focus on the AAP's recommended vaccine schedule.  I know the AAP has some merit, but one must weigh all things against his/her own conscience yes??  Isn't it our right to understand the gravity of the decisions we're making?  It makes me wonder about exactly when the physician's ego became so delicate - and what a barrier that can be to dialogue and solutions for health and healing.  I'm not sure we started this but I think that we, the consumers have a part to play in that.  We allow it to be so.

Am I really asking too much??  Nobody has all the answers, so why pretend there is only one way?  Why judge me for questioning these specialized humans?  I mean no disrespect!  They are counselors and I can know any fact my doctor knows.  And I demand facts and evidence based practice - not medical pop culture or anecdotal advice.  In the end it doesn't matter anyway because what it boils down to is that my husband and I have the ultimate authority and right to inspiration and guidance from the Spirit for our family's care.  Can a medical degree usurp that?  Nope.  It can't.

Today when Chris got his tetanus booster, the doc administered it personally and I was there to hear him order it so I knew exactly what it was.  I didn't have to badger him to do this, it just worked out that way this time.  At least I feel he's in good hands now.  

Oh well, move on from here I guess.  And maybe there is an unknown blessing and purpose in this event.  To protect Chris from wild polio?  Probably not.  To teach me to speak up more?  Probably.  Something else??  It's possible.  Totally, totally possible.  If nothing else, this little injustice was a good reminder that anything is possible.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How I "Get Over It"

-This is a post I began writing at least a year ago... Not sure why I didn't post it then but here it is now-

When presented with a problem or challenge others face, I've been telling people a lot lately that they're choosing to have that problem or not...they sometimes feel misunderstood which is not the desired effect. I realize that when a person hears that they're choosing to feel a certain way about something – it can seem that I'm saying “it's all in your mind” or suggesting that they can somehow change the circumstances or whatever with some mystical mind powers or something. Well, it may be mind powers, but I wouldn't say it was mystical by any means.

The process I'm learning that is helping me overcome so many roadblocks and therefore helping me accomplish so much is as follows:

When I recognize that I'm faced with a challenge or a problem that occurs over and over again, I realize that there is a choice in the matter. I realize there is something I'm thinking or doing that is keeping me there. I cannot wish or even pray it away, but I right then and there can decide that no matter what arises or what reservations I must have, I'm 100% committed to overcoming it. Nothing is worth the pain of the mistake that I feel. Connecting the pain of the mistake to the mistake is very important. I remind myself I've overcome many difficult things and that anything can be overcome. We're only given what we can handle in a particular moment – we just have to commit to get through that moment.
Then I remember that it all starts in my mind and heart. “it's only a thought, and a thought can be changed” is the phrase that comes to mind. So if I feel a certain way about something, it is because I have told myself some story about some information – almost never all the information needed to create such a story. The brain doesn't like unanswered questions, and inevitably has to filter due to the huge amount of stimuli coming in at it all the time. So we sometimes naturally fill in the holes.
Anyway, the thing that often keeps us from changing is a belief or a thought that we adopted along the way, usually a suckers choice. Something that says we can't do something because of xy or z. Examples are: falsehood: I can't write in my journal tonight because I'm too tired. The Truth: I can write in my journal tonight, but if I do I will lose sleep because now it is very late. I suppose that tomorrow I can write in my journal before I spend free time on the computer, so that I will have enough time for both, and get to sleep earlier.

So the falsehood would keep a person in the same pattern because it's framed as if a victim to the time today, when in truth, better planning most of the time is all that is needed to change the situation. The Truth not only recognizes responsibility, but line upon line it leads a person to devising a strategy to change. This comes because you are putting forth the FAITH required to believe that you have a brain smart enough to find a solution to the problem. It also requires COURAGE and HUMILITY to face your mistake – your human condition. This requires LOVE and PATIENCE for yourself, and remembering you are still an infant spiritually, and we are after all, here on this earth to learn.

Pink Motorcycle?... maybe after the kids move away

WARNING:  Lots of generalized statements here about gender differences.  PLEASE there are always exceptions... just noting the general differences - or even just what we believe is different.  In all honesty I believe we are actually more alike that we all think or care to admit.

Today we were rolling down the freeway on our way back from a very cool 5-year old's birthday party, when I noticed a biker riding in one of the lanes next to us.  It was not your usual biker, she was decked out in pink, from her helmet to the pink and white detail on her iron horse.  It was all girl... on a typically manly contraption.
Surprisingly, this bothered me.  Hubs and I got in a discussion about it, and I discovered my feelings as I spoke. Now if there is anyone who is into breaking tradition or ignoring the rules of cultural practice, it's me.  I can be very traditional, but on the other hand, I resent assumed expectations to the MAX.  For the most part, the traditions I participate in are those I've researched, thought through very well and decide I fully agree and they are what I want.  I do them because I believe in them.  Almost nothing else has my total commitment.

So, a woman riding a motorcycle, what's wrong with that?  Well, nothing really, and to be perfectly honest there's always been a small part of me that wanted a motorcycle.  I love trying new things, adrenaline rushes and breaking free of the mold, proving stereotypes wrong, even taking risks and part of me has always been that way.  My dad likes to tell me about the time I was 2 or 3 years old and chubby.  I set out to conquer the tallest sand dunes I could find and slide down them... but then, I grew up, and I got pregnant.
Anyone who's gone through it knows that pregnancy changes your body and mind.  These days I get my thrills listening to programs like "Science Friday" on NPR.  One of my favorite shows they've aired talked about the changes that take place in the mother's brain beginning in pregnancy and ending about 6 months postpartum.  I LOVED this because it confirmed my suspicions... the brain actually rearranges to become more maternal!!  Woo Hoo... (So mamas - your NOT going crazy forgetting everything... AND baby really is borrowing some of those grey cells in your noggin.  Actually you're not getting them back, thank goodness for EFA laden foods).  

ANYWAY as I was saying... the brain changes.  Of course one of the changes we all notice is mom becomes more emotional, more sensitive.  This really bothered me at the time.  Now I really needed people to take me seriously - and how were they going to if I was crying all the time??  Crying while watching 101 Dalmations??  REALLY?? (true story)  NOW I believe that emotionally, physiologically, we kind of go back to an earlier state - our callus shell starts peeling off and we become more as we were like children again.  And it makes sense - our children have no filter for the first years, and it gradually develops until around the age of 7 when they begin to develop a sense of identity and moral compass.  We are their filter.  Everything they see or hear passes through us first.  We wouldn't be very good filters if we were so far removed from our child's feelings that we lost all sense of what they can handle - I say.  
Well, I digress.

As I said, a woman riding a motorcycle is not inherently wrong.  The idea of me riding a motorcycle around town feels wrong to me now because:  I changed.  My role and view of myself shifted from thrill-seeking, trying to squeeze every adventure out of life mode, to safety and protection mode.  I feel like me riding around on a motorcycle would be dangerous - maybe even irresponsible for the increased risk it would pose to myself and therefore my family.  I have kids to take care of and I want to be around to raise 'em!  Even the Goliath, and other extreme roller coasters I used to CRAVE are out of site anymore.  The idea of turning in all directions without warning just doesn't hold the same appeal.  (I wonder if it ever will again - maybe after the kids have moved away I'll be the old lady in the front roller-coaster car!)  But for now...the once irrelevant ferris wheel has caught my eye...

Someone might say: 'well that's cool she's riding a motorcycle because she's doing what she wants to do - something different from most women...'   For many women this may work - there was a time it would've worked for me.  Not anymore.  When we deny or try to change our feminine nature, (in this case, my maternal instinct which says the best place for me to travel is in  a vehicle with a seatbelt, top and sides) we are the ultimate oppressors of our sex.  Let me say that again.  When we try to be something we're not to fit in or for any other reason - we deny our feminine nature and devalue it.  We become our own enemy.  We lose peace.  When we devalue the things that most women generally tend to value - things that aren't so "cool", like feelings and sensitivity for example.  To be taken "seriously".  To not be "soft" and "weak".  Actually - I'm talking about the stereotypical view of masculinity - which I think is skewed as well... for despite popular belief - MEN HAVE FEELINGS TOO!  All of them.

Okay, I admit it, it's true.  I am becoming like the older ladies in the neighborhood that were "oh so nice and sweet", maybe seemed a bit daft and naive, weak, YES (NO! -shudder-)  I am becoming them!  But if I don't, who will be the standard for gentleness in the world?  For virtue?  My pride and need to appear strong are not worth the cost, and strength can look differently than we think it needs to.  Beauty is strength.  Gentleness is strength.  It takes a LOT more strength and discipline for me to speak respectfully and think clearly than it does for me to just yell at my family when my emotions would like to take me for a ride.  I don't always succeed... sometimes I succumb to this belief that aggression is strength and appropriate.  But I fight it, every day because I believe in Charity, gentleness and LOVE and I believe that I will overcome.

"Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness.   To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow..."  
~JULIE B. BECK  "Mothers Who Know," , (October 7, 2007)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Bedtime Prayer

As my son cried and called out from the other room in protest of bedtime, I admit I delayed and tried to ignore him and continue my project. It escalated. I waited, then my daughter started in. Frustrated, I put down my things and went into their room. It was almost painful to be in there amidst all the hollering and crying. Jack was most upset, and I went to him first. I sat next to him and tried to calm him down. I wasn't sure what to do. I had a desire to stay strong - to have my first attempt be successful and resisted this idea that I would have to come back again once I'd already left. Most of all I had so much else I wanted to do besides explain again why he needed to be in bed at that time. It was getting late and I hoped to be able to sleep at some point (of course I'm up late writing about the whole thing). I tried talking with Jack after he calmed down some and asked him why he was crying, through sobs he told me he was scared and he couldn't sleep. I tried some more though the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to be dimming... and Renee was becoming more upset every moment - I felt I couldn't do it. I cried. I cried and desperately prayed “what do you want me to do?” almost angry, and feeling sorry for myself.

After a few good sobs of my own, I sat up and talked more to Jack. I said, "look at the pretty lights" (he has stars on his ceiling, cast from a unique nightlight) and "listen to the music" (Primary Children's songs). I was suggesting what I wanted him to focus on. Results rarely appear right away - but I think in the long run it helps. He insisted he wanted to come to my bed. I told him it would be lonely and dark now because I wasn't in there. Renee was screaming by this point. I looked up, again overwhelmed. I didn't want to pick her up, I'd already put her in bed. (Where did I get this notion that I will ruin her if I pick her up once I've put her down? I don't know but it's kind of overdone and most often it doesn't really work) I continued to pray and plead in my heart. My daughter was asking to be held, and as much as I didn't want it to be, I knew in my heart that was the answer. I picked her up and could tell she had wet her diaper through her pajamas.

I was surprisingly relieved because that was a problem easily fixed. I pulled her out of the crib and lay her on the changing table. I then realized I had to go get a new diaper from the dryer. As I walked across the house I continued to ask Heavenly Father “what do you want me to do?” feeling like it was, once again an impossible task, resentful I was taken away from the other “important” projects I had going... walking past the mess in my home which erupted that day, and the piles of half-finished projects that I didn't have time to finish or put away, the mountain of dishes.... “how can I do it all?” The answer quietly came to mind – organization, planning, and priorities. I knew these answers. I know, I've been working hard at it – I'm just not there yet! The truth resonated within me... I was not being chided, but reminded that yes I was trying, and I just wasn't there yet. Oh. I've not yet mastered it and that is why all the fuss about it. I walked back into the room with the diaper with a new lesson but still feeling like I wanted compassion and empathy, comfort from the Lord in my struggles and my perceived emotional turmoil. After I diapered and dressed Renee, I brought her to the rocking chair.

As I went I realized the key to me getting compassion was for me to first show it to my children. They were crying out and needed my love. I nursed my daughter and she soon fell asleep. It all fell into place once I put forth the effort. I put her in her bed. I started for the door, still somewhat fixated on the project waiting for me on the kitchen table, and I noticed Jack's legs twitching anxiously under his blankets. He had quieted down, but wasn't asleep. I sighed and released my other ideas about business.... and walked over to his bed. I knelt beside him. He said in a soft voice, “Mama I want you to lay with me for a little while”... and he repeated himself while I thought about it. Time. All it takes is time. Why am I so resistant to the time? Where else do I need to be? What else do I need to do? I did climb into bed beside him. He put his arm around me and touched his head to mine and my heart warmed over as I felt his love. I needed this too This was the comfort and the love I was looking for. Mamas need their babies and babies need their mamas. He was soon fast asleep.

"Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. … In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency “Happiness, Your Heritage,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2008, 119, 120).