55 Flash non-Fiction Friday: Family Planning

Family planning isn’t a euphemism for abortion. (If they cared so much for the unborn passing healthcare reform wouldn’t be so difficult.) That’s not all that Planned Parenthood does. If Republican’s are concerned with “welfare mothers” mooching off the government teat, why not fund the one organization helping to plan families when they’re financially secure.

it's about planned parenthood

55 Flash Fiction Friday

Murphy’s Law of Triple Disaster

The first disaster that initiated the rule of ‘everything happens in threes’ was that I received a letter from the county auditor. They never got our marriage papers. Something happened to them on their way from the courthouse to the county auditor and if it turns out our mail carrier works that neighborhood, I’m going to scream. The auditor has the license request on file but no license so I can’t get a certified copy required to change my name or get health insurance. Kurt has already initiated the health insurance paperwork through his employer, so I have insurance, but I’ll loose it in 60 days if this isn’t resolved by then. I called the judge that performed the ceremony and he wrote us a letter to give to Kurt’s employer. Hopefully that will keep me insured if this takes longer than 60 days.

On Friday, I took Sophia to the doctor for her eighteen-month baby wellness check up and it went really well. The nurse went through her usual routine of asking a bunch of milestone type questions and I felt awesome because I could answer “yes” to most of them. Does she drink from a cup? Yep. Does she walk with confidence? Absolutely! Does she help take her clothes off? Yes, especially her socks. She also tries to put her clothes back on by herself. Does she put words together to form phrases? She only has three words, “Da-DEE”, “key”, and “hi”. “Da-DEE” is obviously Kurt. “Key” is a Sophia derivative of kitty, but for Sophia means any four legged furry creature that ranges in size from mouse to moose. Our husky and malamute are both “key”. “Hi” is a greeting only reserved for Kurt, our indoor ‘key’, and I. “Hi” is usually accompanied by vigorous, almost frantic, waving. She’ll even wave at the cat, and he’s been known to wave back, though he doesn’t seem as happy. “Hi” is also occasionally followed by, “Da-DEE”, which for the nurse counts as a phrase. Yay!

The doctor appointment disaster hit when the nurse left and the doctor came in. His first question for me was, “Do you have any concerns?” Up until this point, my only concern was Sophia’s lack of words. Words have finally started to spring up. She’s still behind in that area according to my personal chart, but between her three words and the three baby signs she uses at least we’re communicating better. So my concern this time was something that had been bothering me since Sophia was ten or eleven months old, the bouts of what looked like pure baby rage. Only her rage is completely silent. Even after I told the doctor’s answer to Kurt, he still thinks Sophia is just experiencing a surge of adrenalin.

Three things made Kurt’s explanation not sit well with me. First, the occurrences are random. There are many time that there isn’t even a cause for frustration or anger at all. Second, when Sophia tenses up it’s ALL of her muscles including her jaw. Something about a toddler’s jaw locked in an open position without her making any nose seemed very odd. She’s a toddler, when a toddler’s mouth is open sound comes out, ALWAYS. Third, Sophia acts as if nothing just happened after a ‘surge of adrenalin’. I would think that a toddler would take at least a few minutes to calm down after an adrenalin surge.

The description I gave of Sophia’s episodes of muscle tensing led the doctor to confirm my fear. Those not from a surge of adrenalin. They’re seizures. He told me what type of seizure, but for the life of me, I can’t remember. It’s probably a good thing though, otherwise I’d be freaking out at all the descriptions, causes, treatments, and side effects listed on webmd.com. It may seem odd but part of me is just relieved that it isn’t fits of rage. I feared having to take her to years of therapy to control her anger or something, but of course, seizures bring a different set of fears. We just have to wait and watch that they don’t get worse. I hope that this is something that will disappear with age, preferably before she starts school.

Later the same day I received a call from the veterinary clinic. Chelan, our ten-year-old husky has been drinking water as if we live in the desert. She’s drinking about two and a half gallons of water a day! The results from her blood and urine tests had come back and the vet narrowed down the possibilities to the three most likely. The first is a chemical imbalance in the brain. We love Chelan but she has to be one of the dumbest dogs ever. She survives in our household on cuteness alone. Since bringing her home from the pound, we suspected a malfunctioning brain. The second possible cause is a malfunctioning gland, the name of which escapes me but it’s near the thyroid. The third is a form of cancer. In the morning, I’ll be setting up an appointment for further testing. It’ll take another week to get those results.

18-Month Baby Seizure Wellness

Today I took Sophia in for her 18-month baby wellness check up. She measured in at 32½ inches tall and 28 pounds, so she’s at the 75th percentile for height and the 20th percentile for weight. She’s doing really well with exception to the one area of concern I brought up with the doctor. Sophia has had some very odd episodes that first started when she was about ten or eleven months old. Kurt and I first chocked up to silent fits of baby rage, tantrums, or a general surge of adrenalin. They may actually be mild seizures.

During an episode all of her muscles tense up as if she’s abnormally angry. Sometimes her face will turn red too. Seeing these fits, we really thought we were dealing with a kid that will have severe anger issues in the future, but I’ve noticed it happens even when there is absolutely nothing causing her to be angry or frustrated. I know what you’re thinking, but this is completely different from when she rolls her shoulders forward and leans against me as if I’m a pooping post. I note the difference mainly in the distinct lack of poop.

She doesn’t loose her balance or loose conscientiousness. These are not fall-to-the-ground and flail-like-an-out-of-water-fish seizures. If she’s standing when it starts, she remains standing for the two to three second duration and then goes about her toddler business afterwords as if nothing odd happened. Her mouth is usually open with her jaw tightly locked in place. Her eyes are also open the but there isn’t a blank stare, really these episodes are too quick to determine if she’s staring blankly or not. They last only seconds and then she’s fine and off playing again. She averages about two or three episodes a week.

The doctor did the very basic normal neurological testing that’s done at each baby wellness checkup, which consists of making sure the eyes dilate properly and other reflexes work. She passed that with flying colors. He said that it’s possible whatever is going on with her is right on the border of ‘normal’ and it could go away on it’s own as she matures. He asked me to track length of time they last, intensity, and frequency to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

They don’t generally do MRIs on toddlers but if it does get worse in anyway then we’ll be making a trip to Chilrden’s Hospital for more detailed questioning and evaluation.

Special note to relatives of Sophia: The doctor didn’t ask for a family history, but if this persists, I’m sure the question will come up. If you are privy to any family history of seizures that weren’t due to a bad reaction to prescriptions or self-medicating please let me know. Dreams about seizures also don’t count. (Please email the family histories)

Yes, I’m still a sarcastic pain in the ass even when writing about my daughter having seizures.

55 Flash non-Fiction Friday: Death with Dignity

Requiring terminally ill to linger in pain is cruel. What’s the point of a ‘death with dignity’ law if medical practitioners aren’t required to participate? Doctors claim a ‘do no harm’ clause, but opting for lethal doses of medication isn’t different from opting out of a beneficial medication, which has always been a legal choice.

55 Flash Fiction Friday

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55 Flash non-Fiction Friday: Counterintuitive Health Care

Almost one in five Americans lives without health care, how is this pro-life?
Even with insurance, contraception isn’t always covered.
“Conscience clauses” allow doctors and nurses to withhold both services and information from patients that are contrary to their beliefs such as contraception.
Why don’t republican’s care about people’s rights AFTER they’re born?

*** Update – I was informed that my 55 was actually a 53, so here is the revised 55 ***

Almost one in five Americans lives without health care, how is this pro-life?
Even with health insurance, contraception isn’t always covered.
“Conscience clauses” allow health providers to withhold both services and information from patients contrary to their own beliefs such as contraception and STD prevention.
Why don’t republican’s care about people’s rights AFTER they’re born?

Almost 1 in 5 Americans Going Without Health Care
12.03.07, 12:00 AM ET

“People tend to equate access to care with insurance,” said report author Amy Bernstein, chief of the analytic studies branch at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “But access to care is more than insurance.”

“People assume that if you have health insurance of any kind that you’re okay, but that’s not the case,” she added.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: News Release
Thursday, August 21, 2008

“This proposed regulation is about the legal right of a health care professional to practice according to their conscience,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience. Freedom of expression and action should not be surrendered upon the issuance of a health care degree.”

North Dakota Abortion Center Says it Will Do Record Number of Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 2, 2008

Tammi Kromenaker, Rid River’s director, tells the Associated Press that the center is on pace for its highest number of annual abortions and is doing about 25 abortions a week.

She contends the number of abortions is on the rise because college students have seen funding for birth control and contraception cut.

Carly Fiorina’s fuzzy McCain-speak
By Cathleen Decker
July 10, 2008

“Let me give you a real, live example, which I’ve been hearing a lot about from women. There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won’t cover birth control medication. Those women would like a choice,” she said.

But as the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America was happy to point out, McCain twice voted against measures that would have required insurance companies to cover birth control – in 2003 and 2005.

Birth Control Foe To Head Family Planning
Bush Pick For Contraceptive Program Called Birth Control Part Of “Culture Of Death”
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2007

Orr has been criticized for public statements which have indicated an anti-contraceptive view in areas of education, public policy and health insurance.

In 2000, while working as a policy director at the Family Research Council, she objected to a Washington, D.C., city council bill requiring health insurers to pay for contraceptives. By not including a “conscience clause” allowing employers to withhold contraceptive coverage, Orr said the council would force employers “to make a choice between serving God and serving the D.C. government.

55 Flash Fiction Friday

Baby Pincushion, One Year Checkup

Last night Sophia woke up at midnight and four in the morning.  She slept in until nine in the morning.  It hasn’t been until recently that I realized Sophia has never slept more than four or five hours at a stretch since she was about four months old.  Lately she has developed a habit of waking up at eleven, at one and sometimes a third time at two or three.  I only feed her for the first one (usually) and then for the other two I pick her up, hug her, hold her for a minute and then put her to bed and listen to her scream for twenty minutes or more.  This has only gone on for the last couple months, prior to that her wake up times were more spread out and she genuinely seemed to need to eat.

Yesterday was Sophia’s one-year checkup.  She is thirty and a half inches tall/long and weights eighteen and a half pounds.  She’s in the eighty-fifth to ninetieth percentile for height/length and the twentieth percentile for weight.  I didn’t catch the size of her melon but it’s in the seventy-fifth percentile.

On this visit, Sophia received shots on three of her four limbs.  I intended for Sophia to receive all of her shots according to schedule and all that except for the chickenpox one.  I didn’t know that was given at one year.  I had not had a chance to read up on that one.  No, I’m not worried about her getting autism or any other neurodevelopmental disorders from vaccinates.  I’ve done enough research to know that thimerosal, the evil ingredient in question has been removed or reduced to trace amounts from all vaccines for children under six except for the flu vaccine and because there was never any hard evidence of a relationship between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. I still think sending parents to jail for not vaccinating their kids is bullshit.

I’ve never thought of chickenpox as such big a deal that it warrants a vaccine.  I asked the nurse, “Whatever happened to chickenpox parties?  You know, the Smith girl has chicken pox.  Everyone bring your kids over so they can get it too.”  The nurse said, “Well one hundred people a year die from chickenpox.”  I didn’t say anything but I’ve turned into Kurt after ten years (only I still can’t do math in my head) and I’m thinking, as of July 2007 there are 301,139,947 people in the United States – that’s .000033%  (I didn’t actually come up with that number in the office, I just knew it was a very very tiny percentage).  It’s like nothing.  It might as well be nothing.  Granted, it would suck the big one if we hit the lotto in this case, but unlike the lotto the odds are in our favor in this one.  The scare tactic for this one isn’t working on me.  I had heard that even with the chickenpox vaccine kids were still getting chickenpox and that they could still get shingles, so what’s the point of getting the shot?  I didn’t want to delay her getting chickenpox as a kid and risk her getting it as an adult.  The nurse told us that the chickenpox vaccine is now two vaccines.  With only one vaccine, about 85% would never get chickenpox and after the second vaccine, it was more like 99%.  Also, those that do get chickenpox after the vaccine usually have much milder symptoms and fewer blisters.  Ok fine, I’m sold.  Sophia got the chickenpox shot.

We shared our concerns for the baby pincushion about her not sleeping through the night.  When I told the doctor my routine with her at night and ended my statements with something like, “it’s just easier that way”.  He gave me a look like, “You know this is your fault.”  Yes, I know.  *hanging my head in shame*  He suggested that I wake her up at ten or eleven before I go to bed because Sophia’s bed time is seven and she isn’t up for the day until eleven or twelve hours later.  He said that it’s reasonable for her to sleep eight hours without food at her age, but eleven or twelve is too much. When she wakes up after the midnight snack we (I) just tell her from our room that everything is ok and to go back to sleep.  He also said to push the solid foods in the evening more so she has enough calories to make it through the night.

Our other concern for the baby pincushion was that she isn’t talking.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t know if it was clear that her babbling “ma ma ma” and “da da da” are just babbling.  She isn’t attempting to identify anything or anyone with those syllables.  The doctor said at this point babies only have about four words and they usually don’t come gradually but suddenly in bursts so it’s not time to worry.  I’m a mom, it still bugs me.