Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm Not Asking For Advice, Per Se ...

... (<- gosh how I love those dots ... ) I'm not asking for advice, per se, but maybe after you read my short story, you'll tell me what you believe you would do ... I already know what I'm going to do.

Brief History: Years ago I was C O O L. Today, it's official, I'm no longer cool. Not even remotely.

Yesterday, after a busy morning off -- it's all relative -- I worked at home for my husband, rather than at my job for my boss -- I ran to deliver CAT Scan films to the oral surgeon and headed to the local hospital to visit a friend from work who had been in the hospital for about a week.

Before I ran off to do the delivery and the visit, I carefully groomed myself, sans makeup because of the cryosurgery of a few weeks ago; nice blue twin set, gold hoop earrings, gold chain and cross, gold ring, a teeny, tiny bit of scent. I'm not the girl I used to be and I am okay with that.

I arrived to work and got down to the tasks at hand. My boss came in to the office and greeted me, left, came back ... it's how our days go, usually. Some days we don't see each other much at all, others we are busy, busy, busy.

Later in the afternoon he came in to the office and on his heels a co-worker followed him in. This co-worker is not a superior of mine. Thankfully. My boss said something along the lines of, but I cannot quote it exactly, "You know Kathy, when I saw you earlier, I was going to comment how you looked like .... a nice Catholic girl." Which made me chuckle. As he knew it would. We are friends beyond our working relationship.

But there was more .... right up there where the like ... a nice, on those dots, inject another male party having his say, which I heard, but didn't get. And so I ignored it because I was paying attention to my boss.

My bosses comment, 'I was going to comment how you looked like .... finished with the other male party saying, 'a M.I.L.F.'

Had I know then, what I found out today, besides the fact that I am totally out touch and not cool at all, I'm sure I would have shot up out of my chair and been over the desk tackling this fellow ... rather quickly. How dare he presume to say anything like that to or about me?

My defense would be justifiable rage. This *(%#&* has been, er, doing things and saying things to the women who work here, for the last twenty years or more. Soon to be twenty-one for me. We've all been 'hit' at one time or another, some more than others. We all keep some kind of tally sheet in our heads. I don't know if others keep them on paper or not, but I do.

I tend to forgive but not forget because, well, I have to work with him. I have no choice. He is not my boss, but we have to commiserate on some items and while it is distasteful on a good day, my demeanor is such that you wouldn't know that I can't stand this person. Pretty much at all any more. I used to try. I don't bother now.

Sad state of affairs.

Today, my boss came in and leaned down toward the desk, "Did you hear what he said yesterday?" Who? Nods head in the direction of his office. Uh, yes and no. I heard him, but didn't get it. "MILF? You don't know what that is?" Uh-no. What does it mean? Bosses face sort of pinks up and he's trying to tell me without embarrassing me or himself. He told me what it means, but he left off the last offense word. Didn't need to hear it once I heard the first three.

Did I feel like a dope or what? On the other hand, I guess it's a guy kind of thing. Best used between men and out of earshot of women who know what it means.

If you don't know ... reference the movie American Pie ... and if you need further clarification ... ask ... I'll explain.

I could make all manner of excuses for his inappropriate comments, gestures, remarks to others and about others, and even myself, but I'm not going to. We are all adults. The work climate is such that hostile work environs and sexual harassment should be non-existent. Wouldn't you think? Not so.

So, tell me, what do you believe you would do?

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Brief Phone Call

State Representative Brad Hill and I just had a conversation. Brief, but a conversation none-the-less.

He called to let me know he had received my letter ( ) and wanted to assure me that he has always been and will continue to support DMR services and the citizens who need those services. He thanked me for my letter and then asked my permission to share it with "my co-workers on The Hill' to show them the type of feedback and response I am getting from the citizens of my district."

Yes! Please feel free to share my letter and thank you for your continued support and for taking the time to call me yourself.

It's always better to write from the heart than it is to follow the suit of others ... form letters don't cut it ... they aren't personal enough and they are not your own thoughts.

I haven't taken the time to figure out how to perma-link one of my own posts to another of my posts ... hence, the long link back to my original post. :::sigh::: I may, or may not, get it some day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pssst ...

Dr. M. #1 called me, again, from his vacation in Arizona, at 7:30 last evening to check on me and to apologize for being so 'out of the loop' on what has been going on. No need Dr. M. #1, I was in your office in January, a repair had just been done and things were good that day. Who knew?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Poor Mary At The Doctor's Office

Well, the tooth saga conintues and while I am grateful this isn't a fatal disease or anything else like that ... I am exhausted.

After a tooth extraction and two oral surgeries to correct the root up into the sinus, er, gaffe, I was back for the third surgery when Dr. M's assistant noticed that the root of my tooth was actually still way up there in my sinuses and in fact, had not come out during the first ... and golly ... that's a problem.

The plan? Drain and repair the sinus again, close the hole between gum and sinus by ... well, that's a bit too graphic for here ... and voila! You're done. Except for the part where I have to go see the ENT, have a CAT Scan and all.

The flowers were beautiful! Remember I wrote that?

I couldn't get an appointment with an ENT until mid March ... which is when I am due to return to Dr. M. I checked both of his offices, "oh, we're just so busy." I get it. Every one is busy and health care being what it is today ... don't let me get off on a tangent. I didn't make an appointment, I decided I'd try to find someone else.

However, I am still trying to figure out how a receptionist/booking specialist can't know that if she reschedules two noncritical follow up patients, she can fit one new patient in. That, my friends, has to be rocket science because no amount of explanation helped. That was something routinely practised back in the day, when we really needed to fit a patient in. Non sick patients are typically more than happy to wait a few days or weeks longer, as long as their prescriptions don't need refilling or will be refilled during the wait time.

Over this the weekend just past, I could tell something was amiss and I waited until this morning to do anything about it because it was the weekend and any sane surgeon, dentist, doctor who didn't have hospital rounds would be enjoying their time off. Add to the weekend mix it is also school vacation week here ... they are all off skiing. Or something equally fun and exciting.

Yeah for them.

I woke Sunday to the sinus drooping again and as the day wore on, filling up because my sinuses no longer drain properly. If they ever did, now that I reflect. But. Anyway. I can't reach anyone and so I start taking my Amoxicillin prescription (don't lecture, you would too) that was left over from the original extraction last November. It was left over because Dr. M. changed the med. I have enough for five days and I figure I should at least start something so that at the least the infection is maybe being treated and at the worst ... my sinus won't explode. It's like having my thumb take up residence in my mouth. Grrr.

It hurts. Yes, I'm whining and I'm frustrated. This has been going on too long.

I called Dr. M's office this morning. He's in Vermont skiing. His secretary called my regular dentist's office. That Dr. M is in Arizona. He called me via cell phone. Promised me a rose garden and you know what? Actually came up with one. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

In the meanwhile, I assured Dr. M's secretary that I was going to get an ENT appointment if it was the last thing I did. Today. And I started to cry. The pain is awful. Add to it my pulse making it throb and, well, I'm worn out from it. Frustrated and annoyed and tired.

I said, "I know I'm an adult, but right now, this moment? I don't want to act like one, so please, just bear with me." And bear with me she did. Bless you B.

I finally located an ENT who can see me on Friday morning at 8:30! Yeah! Called my PC for a referral. No problem. Double Yeah!

Received another call from Dr. M. (the one on vaca in Arizona) ... he set up an appointment with another oral surgeon, Dr. M. (yes, that is three doctor M's -- imagine!) whom I went to see this afternoon.

He looked at my x-rays, ordered another, looked at them, looked at me and gave me the good and the bad news. The good news is, he can fix my problem. I need a CAT scan and once that determines exactly where that root is, he can do the surgery. The bad news? Under general anesthesia at the hospital. Oh joy.

But first, because I have wonderful health insurance, I need to get that referral for the Dr. M. # 3, because this is medical, no longer dental, and I need to get pre-certified to have the CAT Scan. This is not a big deal except when you are worn down from the last few months and the pain, the simplest thing becomes somehow, stupidly huge.

Paperwork in hand I headed out to my car, pulled out my cell phone and called my PCP's office. Kathy the receptionist/greeter lady was very nice and told me to stop by with the paper work and she would see what she could do. Thank you, thank you, thank you. An office that has an actual person answer the phone ... that's three in one day!

There seems to be a three theme going on in my life just now.... Could be good. Could be bad.

Weeping all the way, I drove myself to the Dr. B's office where Kathy took my paperwork and went 'down back' to Mary, the nurse practitioner to see what she could do to help. Mary called me back to her office.

I walked in, sat down and burst into tears. Again. Blubbering about how sorry I was, but I'm so dammed tired of all of this ....

Poor Mary. She handed me tissues and listened to my tale of woe through the sniffles and weeping and then got on the phone with the health insurance company referral department. It seemed in the blink of an eye the paperwork was filled out, faxed and on its way.

"You're all set, but this may take a couple of days to pre-certify the CAT Scan."

It's all good. I just need to know that this is almost over. Even that little crumb has me feeling a bit better.

So I while away the rest of Emily's school vacation week and my own vacation doing pretty much nothing, because even the treadmill at the gym is too much ... but I'm going to remember to count my blessings, which are many, and finally, finally, I'm going to get good and thoroughly caught up on my blog reading. ;)

Pssst.... Dr. M#3 just called to keep me posted on the progress of that CAT Scan appointment. It's still in limbo land, but getting closer.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Violets In February

Growing up I would ask my mother, "Why did you marry dad?" I suppose I wanted to hear the romantic story of how she met my father or of how he proposed to her or even of their unrequited love for each other.

Her answer to me each time I asked was, "I always said that I would marry the first man who brought me violets in February."

"Did dad bring you violets in February?"

She would chuckle a bit or smile and say, "No." And she never did tell me why she married my father. I presume she knew I knew she loved him and he loved her.

They didn't share a romantic-can't-eat-sleep-do-anything-without-you kind of love. Their love was a deep, committed love ... and they left the romance ... tucked away in privacy. "If it existed at all." my sister would say.

I know it did. I was the child who watched everything and learned about relationships from my parents. Their romance wasn't all flowery and noisy and in your face. The romantic moments in their marriage could be seen when you watched closely, when you really wanted to see them as a couple, rather than parents.

I recall years of my father doing his yard work on a Saturday morning. I'd see him walking slowly back toward the house with a small fistful of pussy willow branches, a bouquet of violets or apple & pear blossoms during the spring, timothy grass or a sunflower during the summer months and through the fall, the odd bits of left over flowers that continued to blossom and the last of the grapes as the weather grew cold.

My mother would make him a hearty lunch of homemade chowder or soup and a wonderful sandwich. She would perk the coffee that she did not drink and serve him his lunch as a king would be served. There was china and place mats and linen napkins. She was not subservient, but rather, appreciative of what he did for her.

They would sit quietly together at the table, eating and softly chatting about this and that.

There was no romantic comedy at our house. There were no love letters or proclamations of undying love.

There was loyalty, kindness, respect, compassion. Plain. Simple. Love.

~Happy Valentines Day~

Friday, February 6, 2009

This is the second letter I've sent off today. The first was to the State Senator of our district and it is posted @ There are subtle differences only ...

February 5, 2009

Representative Brad Hill
State HouseRoom 128
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Representative Hill:

Earlier in the week I was invited to attend a ‘State House Rally’ at the Grand Staircase to share my story with my state legislator and ‘anyone else who will listen’. Unable to attend, I am able to write.

Our story began just over twenty years ago with the birth of our second child, a daughter whom we named Emily. Emily was born with Down syndrome. You may be able to imagine the surprise, even shock of a pediatrician, not your own, entering your hospital room to advise you that your baby has a syndrome, a heart condition and is being transferred via ambulance to a Boston hospital while you are stuck, right there in that room, in that bed, for another twenty-four hours. Fortunately for Emily and her family, her heart condition required no surgery and she was home with her family in no time.

The road we’ve travelled since has been uphill and bumpy and on occasion we found ourselves lost due to detours and curves that we hadn’t planned for or dreamed of in our wildest imagination. It has been long, often times arduous and so completely not what we expected. We have all had to learn as we go the ins and outs of living with a special baby, then child, then teen and now young adult. Each age brings new challenges and a new learning curve. For each of us.

We love our Emily no less and no more than we do our oldest child. In our eyes she is a shining star. She spreads joy and laughter as she goes about her days, unaware of all that goes on in the background of her life. She has a light about her that beckons us, pulls us in and encourages us to do more, do better, be better. This learning, these challenges show us just how strong we are as people and have cemented our commitment not only to Emily, but to other individuals with disabilities and different needs. I shudder to think of the financial burden that some families face as they work to provide a good life for their child, brother, sister …

Our family has not been alone in our efforts to educate Emily, to give Emily the tools she needs to live a life that she will enjoy, independent of her family, yet fully supported as she needs. Our extended family, our friends, our school district, her educators, her coaches and the many, many people who work tirelessly at agencies such as North Shore Arc, Till, Inc. and DMR … have all been there with us through ‘all of it’.

Tough economic times are upon us. I know difficult choices are being made daily, weekly, monthly throughout the legislative body. I admire those of you who serve in public office and support your constituents not only in the good times, but also during these difficult times. I recognize that your office receives requests daily from many individuals with varied special interests – those that they hold dear – to support their cause, their funding, and their needs.

I am no different than those that ask for support for other causes. I am writing to ask you to support full funding of current programs that provide family support, respite, social, day care and educational opportunities for babies, children, teens and adults with disabilities, special needs and mental retardation. Without the continued funding of programs currently in place, the many disabled and special needs citizens of the State of Massachusetts will lose the precious support services they receive that enable them to live full, and to the best of their abilities, unrestricted lives.

As you work as Representative of Fourth Essex, please keep in mind the hundreds of families and individuals receiving these needed supports and services, and recognize that the numbers will not diminish, but more than likely, will climb as the economic downturn forces layoffs which in turn will force more families to seek assistance and support.

The waiting lists for respite and other vital services are long now. I remember well the four to five year wait during the early years of our journey with Emily; I cannot imagine how much longer the wait will grow as we all struggle through the next few years.

I believe the State of Massachusetts should make a commitment to these citizens, less fortunate than some perhaps, but in no way less valuable than other citizens of the commonwealth.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Dentist Awaits. Hope He's Not Holding His Breath

Okay, the title isn't quite fair, but it's close to how I'm feeling about the dentist, the oral surgeon and an upcoming visit to an ENT.

What was I thinking? Do you remember way back when I was fussing and fuming about my primary care doc? Well, silly me. I should have just stayed with him 'cause I wouldn't have gone to see him, and had referral after referral and test after test just to have something to do all winter long.

I don't mind being busy ... but harried is another thing all together!

I dutifully followed the new PC doc's orders. Saw the plastic surgeon ... three visits later I am finished with him until the next bout of spots show up! Then the mammograms, the blood work, the bone density test.

Good patient am I.

Back to the PC to have some female work performed and then one more visit to have a thing or two or ten removed. This fair Irish skin o' mine, ya see?

Then off to the dentist whose question of the day was, "What would you do to keep your teeth?" Well, almost anything except take a mortgage. Geesh.

The referral to the oral surgeon, an extraction or three later and I am still suffering the ill effects of one extraction that included a tooth root that broke off and found itself in my sinus. The hole in the sinus healed but the sinus kept herniating into the tooth socket and so the socket is not healing.

For those of you that a weak about the knees and stomach ... no pain. Not even gross. More of an inconvenience than anything. Well, an annoyance really. I mean, it has been since the beginning of November.

Three visits, three more surgeries and I am due in for yet another follow up today. And the name of the upcoming ENT visit doc will be handed down while I'm there. I'm thinking, "oh boy! That should be fun!" (not) But someone has to get the root out of my sinus ... so I can drain and blow my nose and you know, breath. :::sigh:::

I'm not sure I want to see this guy again ... but ...

The flowers he sent me last week after my third surgery to heal the socket? Beautiful!