Well friends, it is with a heavy heart, and no ease that I am going to abruptly tell you that I’m shutting this blog down. It isn’t that I don’t love having it, because I do, but it is for the sake of my husband and his future career. Army medicine is a very, very small world, and thought I’ve never used his name, he and I have agreed that for the sake of precaution it is best that I veer away from the Army medicine arena in subject matter on my little corner of the internet. Nothing has happened and nothing I have written has caused him or his career any harm, but we both want to take as many steps as possibly to ensure the safety of our family and his job.
I have loved blogging here for 3+ years. I loved writing about being married to a medical student. There hasn’t been a whole lot to say about being married to a resident, but when I’ve written about it, I’ve loved it. And I’ve loved sharing the changes in, and addition to, our family with you all. I love that my post about my long distance insanity has the most hits. I love that at least something I’ve said here has been of worth to even just one person. I love blogging, even if it’s just for me and a small handful of people.
Because of that, I’m not giving up blogging entirely. While I’m leaving this one behind- The Army Doctor’s Wife (medicalwife.wordpress.com)- I will be starting anew. The new blog will largely leave C and his career out of the picture, but it will be about our life. Life with a baby. Life in general. Regular, every day life. Sans a whole lot of the Army stuff, and a whole lot of the medicine stuff. I mean, I can’t avoid that stuff 100% because it’s a huge part of our life, but it’s not going to be the main theme.
My plan is to leave this post, and this blog up for about a month. Then it’s coming down for good. Better safe than sorry, you know?
The new blog can be found at http://threeconejitos.wordpress.com.
I love all of you that have been keeping me company here on the interwebs for the past 3 years, and hope to see you people on the other side.
PS: No worries though, because I’ll still be following all of you!
Miss E reached 2 whole months yesterday! Despite all of the sadness lately, E is one consistent bright spot for all of us.
So, what has the last month brought us with our sweet little human?
Smiles! Lots and lots of smiles. she mostly smiles in the morning hours, but if she’s otherwise content, she’ll gladly smile at anyone who wants to talk to her and smile big at her.
Sleep! (knock on wood) In the last week E has slept for a solid 8-8.5 hours at least four or five times! It’s insane, and I’ve definitely gone in there to make sure she’s still alive at least once. Her pattern has been to go down between 7:30-8:30 (it varies), sleep for the 8-8.5 hours, wake up- BUT NOT EVEN FUSS OR CRY! I am having to go in there without any indication from her to change her and feed her. I guess I could start to wait and see if she goes back to sleep, but I’m not comfortable with that just yet. She’s only 2 months old. Kid has gotta eat. After a feeding, she goes back down for about 3.5 hours, sometimes 4, and even then sometimes she won’t cry or fuss and I’ll have to make the executive decision that, geez, it’s 8 or 8:30am and it is TIME TO GET UP, so I go in there and she’s laying there, wide awake, staring at the glowing light behind her blackout curtains. Just chilling. And staring. No complaints. It’s the craziest thing, and it kind of freaks me out on occasion. I mean, isn’t she hungry?! Why wouldn’t she complain?! When I pick her up to feed her, she eats readily and plenty, but it just boggles my mind that she would just lay there for who knows how long without so much as a squeak.
So that’s been happening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful she’s a great sleeper so far. I’m just a tad freaked out because it was such a sudden change. We’ll see if it becomes a continued habit. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to fill her up nice and full all day long since she’s taking such long stretches at night.
Tummy time! We do some tummy time every morning. I should probably do more in the afternoons, but she is much more agreeable in the morning, so I try to do it then. She is getting better and better at lifting her little head and shoulders high up off the ground and looking all around. I found it helps if I lay on the floor on my tummy right next to her and read her a book (placing it out in front of us so she has something to look at when she looks up).
Grabby hands! Girl has got some busy hands, all the time. And the other morning while I was changing her clothes, I caught her staring at her fist. Just laying there, holding it out in front of her face, staring at it. Her crude grasp is getting better and better (much to my hair’s dismay).
I just can’t believe how much she’s changed already in the past month, and how much she’s grown. She doesn’t have her 2 month appointment until next week, so I don’t have any official measurements, but just looking at pictures it has become quite clear that she is indeed growing. Makes my heart feel all bursty-like, really.
Time is flying, and I’m soaking up every minute.
I always wondered how my husband would deal with loss. We’ve been so fortunate in that in the nearly 6 years we’ve been together he hasn’t lost a single important or close person in his life (that I can recall in this moment, which isn’t saying much since my mind is a little bit fuzzy right now. I’m so sorry if I’m forgetting something hugely important). I’ve lost family members- important ones- but never have I really had to see him, or help him, go through grief.
But today, like a ton of bricks, immediately after I posted today’s post, we were hit with the tragic news that one of his cousins, who turned a mere 26 yesterday, died early this morning in a horrific car accident. He was riding as a passenger with one of his friends down a major road when, around 3am, the driver lost control of the car. They hit a retaining wall and the car flipped. C’s cousin was crushed on impact. So horrible was the damage that the only way to identify him was through fingerprints. The driver was taken to the hospital in very critical condition, and died earlier this evening.
This cousin isn’t like your average cousin. This cousin lost his own parents at a young age. He has one sister. In other words, the bulk of this cousin’s immediate family was the whole family- C, C’s family, the other cousins, the aunts and uncles, and most importantly… their grandmother. Their grandmother ultimately raised him after he spent a short period of time living with C and his family. This cousin is a child of the extended family, loved by the entire extended family. There have been so many things- too many things- that haven’t gone right in his life, and for it to end so tragically, so abruptly is just…
Well. There are no words.
C was devastated when he heard the news. He spoke to his dad and held it together, but when he hung up and began to tell me, he broke down. I held him, and we cried. We cried, and we talked about it, and we accepted that we are on standby to leave for Texas at any time.
Then C started working out. Then he went outside and started mowing the lawn (which has been grossly neglected, more so the backyard than the front). I watched him through the backdoor as he pushed through our unruly backyard of tall grass and weeds. I can see in his face, as he pushes through the thick spots, that he is coping. He is thinking, and working, and physically exerting himself through it all. And I realized, this is how he copes. He is pushing, as hard as he can, through the thick of it.
Look, I’m not a doctor and I’m not claiming to have any magical medical knowledge here. I don’t. I only know what my husband comes home and shares with me, and the things I personally ask him about regularly (which, to be honest, is a lot of things).
But I’ve got to go there today, because lately I’ve seen so much of this from not just a few people
You know what irritates me beyond all reason?
People who have no medical knowledge, no medical background, no medical ANYTHING, who assume they know better than their doctor, or want to criticize what their doctor has diagnosed them with simply because they didn’t get what they would deem an adequate prescription or treatment (based on what they got from some other doctor awhile back, or on what their friend got when they had “the exact same thing” (newsflash! Some illnesses look kind of alike but aren’t the same!)). I don’t know about you, but if I had been through 10+ years of school and training (bare minimum for years of undergrad, medical school, residency) to do my job, and some layperson off the street with no training in my field whatsoever tried to tell me how to do my job, or tell me that I’m wrong, I would be infuriated. In fact, most would deem it unacceptable for me, a teacher with NO business experience, to walk into a CEO’s office and tell him that he’s running his company wrong. I’m pretty sure I would be promptly escorted right on out of there. And rightly so. And as a teacher, I can tell you from personal experience how INFURIATING it is for a parent who has whatever job that is nowhere near the education sector to come into my classroom and tell me I’m teaching something incorrectly. Oh really? Because you know so many things about Latin and how to teach it. NEAT.
So it goes with medicine.
I’m not going to lie. I used to be one of them. I was PISSED when I was sick once in college with a wretched sore throat and fever and went to see the doctor and he told me it was a virus- not strep throat, and to go home, take two tylenol and rest. P.I.S.S.E.D. Pissed. DOESN’T HE KNOW I HAVE A HEART PROBLEM?! DOESN’T HE KNOW IT’S TERRIBLE FOR MY HEART FOR ME TO HAVE A HIGH FEVER?! DOESN’T HE KNOW HE SHOULD GIVE ME ANTIBIOTICS JUST IN CASE?! THIS IS THE WORST DOCTOR OF ALL TIME!! I HATE THE DOCTORS AT MY UNIVERSITY ‘S CLINIC! RAWR RAWR RAWR! RANT RANT RANT!
Yea. I did it. I doctor ranted. What did he know anyway?!
But since then, I’ve had the privilege of having a very close, personal relationship with someone while they went through medical school and now residency. I call him my husband. I’ve learned through him that a lot of the time (in regards to acute illnesses), it IS a virus, and often the very best doctors are the ones who are brave enough NOT to just hand out medications like antibiotics just to appease uninformed, demanding patients. Handing out antibiotics when a patient doesn’t need them is a huge problem today, and it’s causing the formation of super bugs that are resistant to our very best antibiotics and medications. I’m willing to bet there are a handful of patients out there who hate my husband because he DIDN’T prescribe them medicine to fix their problem. Not that he didn’t do his very best to counsel them on how to ease their symptoms, because I assure you, he did, but he didn’t just throw some pills at the problem. There are so many other ways to treat so many symptoms without pills (and so many of those pills are becoming more and more useless today due to their overuse… z-pack, anyone?! Oh sure. You had it once and OMG IT WORKED SO WELL!!! OR, your virus had finished running it’s course and it just happened to coincide with your z-pack. Not all that uncommon, friends.)
What us laypeople don’t really know is that medicine is both a science and an art, and when it comes to run of the mill, day to day, acute illnesses? Your doctor knows EXACTLY what to look for. Why? BECAUSE THEY’VE SEEN IT A MILLION TIMES. Really. They have. Strep throat? What I thought I had in college? Turns out it is EXTREMELY rare in adults. EXTREMELY. If your throat hurts, and you’re an adult? It’s probably a virus. And? Strep has very specific symptoms that you probably only know a portion of, from that one time you googled. I promise you your doctor knows what he/she is looking for, and I PROMISE YOU, your doctor knows more about it than you do. None of us laypeople have spent 4 years studying the human body and all the bacteria and viruses and diseases that can attack it. We haven’t spend HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS of hours learning from doctors with years of experience on how to BEST recognize and BEST treat all those ailments. We think we know, but really, we don’t. We just don’t know what it requires to diagnose and treat illnesses, common or otherwise. (I should note that I’m specifically referring to those of us who have NO academic or professional training in the medical field. Nurses, etc. do not fall into my “laypeople” group here).
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be informed. We should be. I’m all for googling and researching. Seriously. I’m a google addict when it comes to this stuff. But I’m also all for trusting my doctor, and if I don’t understand why he/she is doing something- ASKING THEM. JUST ASK. If you’re doubting what they’re doing, or disagree with what they’re doing, ASK THEM WHY THEY THINK IT’S THAT PARTICULAR DIAGNOSIS OR WHY YOU NEED THAT SPECIFIC TREATMENT, don’t just complain about them after the fact. Most doctors I know (and these days, I know a LOT. Not bragging, that’s just the group we find ourselves amongst, what with C’s job and all) WISH their patients had questions for them. The truth is, your doctor doesn’t know exactly what you want to know from them unless you ask. They can tell you a diagnosis and a treatment plan, and some will, on their own accord, talk you through their thought process, but others assume you just want in and out, so they give you the summary version. I guarantee they would gladly tell you more if you wanted to know. Your healthcare should be a conversation. You have the ability to ask. To suggest something you’ve read about , or to bring up your previous experience. Not only do you have the ability, you have the RESPONSIBILITY to do these things. I’m not saying to walk in and tell your doctor how it is, but I am saying to take an active part in your care. Ask questions. Get answers. And after all that? Trust what they have to say. Trust them until they give you a GOOD reason not to. A good reason, by the way, is NOT simply them failing to prescribe you what you think you should get, or what your BFF got when she had “the exact same thing.” I can admit that there are some crappy doctors out there. I’m the first to admit that. But even those crappy doctors went to medical school and had professional training beyond that. They still know more medicine than you and I could ever hope to.
And if they tell you it’s a virus, and you STILL think they’re wrong? Give it 10 days (average run of the mill virus), and see what happens. If it gets worse or stays at the same strength past that time? Go back to your doctor for a reevaluation. Even the very, very BEST doctors are still human. You hear that? Human. Doctors are human. You know what humans do? They make mistakes sometimes. Just like you do, you mistake making human, you. And sometimes it’s not a mistake at all, but simply running down the proper differential. Have you ever seen an episode of House? How many times does he get it wrong before he gets it right? Sometimes that’s how medicine works. Start with the common things first, treat what it MOST LIKELY is, and if it works, great! If not, move on to the next most likely culprit. C had a professor in medical school who always said, “Common things being common…” In other words, don’t go reaching for the rare and extraordinary until you’ve eliminated the obvious first.
But if after 10 days your symptoms are weakening, or are all but gone? Give your doctor some credit. They know what they’re looking for, guys. They didn’t spend all those years educating themselves to not know what they’re doing. I’m just saying.
In case you think I’m full of it, here’s a couple of my own personal experiences with my live-in doctor. (this in NO WAY is to be used as medical advice. This is simply personal anecdotes from my personal life… If you think you have something similar, ask your doctor. By the way… if you think you have something similar? It was a virus.)
Back when he was a 3rd year medical student (not even a REAL doctor!), I got a wretched sore throat. Wretched, y’all. And I was so achey. And then I got the worst congestion and chest phlegm ever. Oh the pain! And pressure! In my chest! How it hurt! SURELY I HAD SOME TERRIBLE ILLNESS THAT REQUIRED MEDICAL ATTENTION. I cried to C. I explained to him my discomfort and woes and how I couldn’t sleep or breath at night, and how my throat felt like fire. “I need to go to the doctor!,” I cried, “I need some medicine! Some antibiotics! Something!”
“It’s a virus,” C informed me, after examining my throat and listening to my lungs. “We can treat your symptoms, but I promise you antibiotics are not going to fix you. Time and rest will fix you.”
UGH, I thought. 3rd year medical student. What does he know anyway. It’ll get worse. I’ll show him. In the meantime, I played into his whole “treat the symptoms” method. He bought a humidifier for our room. He got me some throat lozenges and some Afrin nasal spray. Above all, he bought the dreaded Neti Pot. He even went so far as to Neti Pot my nose FOR ME (I’m a wuss). It was sick, but omg did I feel so much better afterwards. I coupled that with the Afrin and the humidifier at night, and zomg! I could sleep again.When my throat hurt, I sucked on the lozenges. Temporary relief, but still. Some kind of relief.
But still, I thought, we’re just MASKING THE PROBLEM HERE.
A week later though? I stopped using the neti pot (and had stopped the Afrin after the requisite 3 days warned on the label). Slowly but surely, my symptoms were disappearing. The sore throat was gone. I had a remnant runny nose, but overall? I was better. The entire thing, including my first few days of whining and misery, took between 10-14 days.
Never once did I take a prescription medicine, yet I spent the bulk of that time in relative comfort because of our treatment plan to ease the symptoms.
C was right. I HATED that he was right, but he was. Virus.
And one more quick one, for fun:
One time, my mom told me this particular regimen to keep my skin moist and young looking. She bought me all the products to do it. It involved a body oil, to be applied just after showering while still damp, and a shea butter body cream that smelled yummy. I was all about keeping my skin moist and youthful looking.
At some point that I can’t recall, my legs started getting this AWFUL red rash on them. It itched so badly. I was miserable. I complained, as always to C: OMG, C! MY LEGS! THEY’RE DYING! I NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR! I THINK I’M ALLERGIC TO SOMETHING! I NEED SOME KIND OF PRESCRIPTION OINTMENT OR CREAM TO FIX THE PROBLEM! I NEED TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT RIGHT NOW! (I’m SUCH a drama queen about my well being. It’s sad, really).
C, with his usual calm, told me not to make an appointment. He said, “Have you been using anything new or different on your body recently?”
I thought long and hard. “Hmm. Yea I guess. That stuff my mom gave me.”
C replied, “Why don’t you stop using one of those products. If the redness and itching go away, great- you found the problem. It was that product. If not, stop using the SECOND product. If the redness and itching go away then, you’ve found the problem. If you stop using BOTH PRODUCTS, and the redness and itching are still there, THEN you can make a doctor’s appointment.”
ME: UGHHHH C. BUT THAT WILL TAKE TIME. GOING TO THE DOCTOR NOW WILL SOLVE ALL MY PROBLEMS SO QUICKLY. AND THE PRODUCTS SMELL SO GOOD!
C: I guarantee you, Lauren, that your doctor will tell you to do exactly what I’m telling you now.
Me: Fine. I’ll do it. *secretly hoping it doesn’t work*
Because I’m impatient, I didn’t quit the products one at a time. I quit them both, at the same time.
Sure enough, a week later? No redness. No bumps. No itching. No doctor’s appointment for me.
C’s diagnosis? Sensitive skin.
He bought me Cetaphil body lotion, and I haven’t had a problem since.
Silly common things. Get me every time.
I’ve cooked some things!
I haven’t really consistently cooked REAL dinners in a long, long time. Like, since we lived in Texas long time. I mean, we eat things, obviously. But I’ve taken the easy way out, and truthfully our neighbors have fed us a million times over. Basically she cooks so much food every time she cooks, and then passes them along to us. They’re delicious, but not always super healthy. ANYWAY, so not a lot of cooking on my part. I’ve been all out of whack.But then we had E, and I knew I couldn’t keep eating crap. This baby weight will never come off if I still eat like a teenager. And on one fortuitous weekend morning, I got an email from Groupon.
The Groupon was for a year subscription to a meal planning service. These kinds of things are a dime a dozen on the interwebs these days, but this particular meal planning service is slightly different. It’s called The Fresh 20. The premise behind it is that each weekly menu is made up of 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients (and several “pantry items,” from their list of 20 pantry essentials). Each meal is healthy and nutritious, and doesn’t use a bunch of preservative filled ingredients.
This was like GOLD to me. One of my fundamental problems when it comes to making dinner is that I only know how to make a handful of things, and I lack the personal creativity to branch out. When I previewed the meals on this site, my mouth started watering. WE NEED THIS! I told C. It would give me a guide for each week. A guide for grocery shopping. And look! Healthy! And then we could look forward to our planned meals. I am so much more motivated with a plan.
C agreed. He actually agreed! So we purchased our Groupon and signed up. We had to wait a bit to start using it, as we still had meals coming to us from the spouses’ group for C’s residency, but last night, I made my first meal from it!
Southwestern Sloppy Joes. I know. The name “sloppy joes” sounds fundamentally disgusting and UNhealthy. I’m actually not a fan of regular old sloppy joes. But guys. These were amazing. And so NOT unhealthy. Ground turkey! Whole wheat buns! Carrots! Onion! Garlic! Spices! Organic Tomato paste! Cilantro! Honey! This is possibly one of the best things I’ve ever made for C and I. We had a side of grilled corn. It was so delicious.
We don’t necessarily plan on using all five meals from each week every time, but even if it gives us a solid three meals a week it was well worth the $25 for the year. Even better? The recipe from last night had me make double the meat (pre-cilantro and honey) and save half for a SECOND meal this week of Turkey Bolognese Penne. The day I make THAT it will take me less than 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. Bam. Success. The third meal we are going to make this week is ginger shrimp fried rice. The other days we plan on eating leftovers from each meal (they serve four, and well, there’s only two of us), and going on a date at least once. This is the best we’ve eaten in a solid week since we moved here, and I’m SO looking forward to cooking yummy things from here on out.
So yea y’all. Meal planning service. Huge win in this household. NOM.
Sometimes I cry while I rock E in the mornings.
I’ve pulled her curtains and tied them back, opened the blinds and let the sunlight coming streaming through her room. I’ve switched the iHome from a non-functional radio station that provides white noise all night to playing my old ipod from college. I feed her while we bathe in the morning light and listen to my favorite music from some of the best years of my life. Then we just rock. We rock, and I gaze into her pretty blue eyeballs, and she looks back at me, first cracking her half smile and slowly giving way to a full open mouthed grin. Sometimes I sing the lyrics to my most favorite songs to her. And always, at least once, my eyes fill up with tears. Tears of unspeakable joy. Unexplainable happiness. Overwhelming gratitude. This is one of the best parts of my day, rivaling only C’s arrival home at the end of every day.
I could’ve never imagined what this feels like, and I can never fully explain it to anyone, at least not out loud. When people ask how we’re doing, or how I feel now that E is here, my words fail me. My mom used to tell me that it’s an overwhelming love, a love like you’ve never loved anyone or anything in your life. But I disagree. It’s something beyond love. It feels greater than love. Even in writing, I don’t even know what to call it. She is the greatest gift I have ever been given, and I feel so honored to be tasked with raising her to become the person in this world she was meant to be, whatever that is.
We are so blessed, and so, so grateful. She is truly our gift from God, despite all it took to create her.