Sometimes I feel as though I'm surrounded by stupid. It's not exactly fun, but it is always funny...just be glad it's happening to me, not you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait!

Waiting is something one does often when dealing with the military world. I'm not the healthiest person on the planet and have lost a good chunk of my life as a Navy wife to waiting in Naval hospitals. It's the norm to leave a 3-hour block of time for a simple check-up or follow-up appointment. You can imagine how much waiting I have had to do lately, since I have spent the last several months being sick. I've had a kidney infection, pneumonia, mono, and a cancer scare, among other things. My Facebook friends must think I am a hypochondriac.

I'm "waiting" very "patiently."

In November I had two procedures done to see if some questionable cells were cancerous. I was told I'd have results in 2 weeks.
"We'll call you if it's serious, otherwise you'll get a letter in the mail if you're ok."
Well, that seemed kind of silly to me, but ok. I'll wait, and hope for a letter.

Two weeks went by.

Three weeks, no letter, and then four weeks...I called the office, left a message on the machine.

Five weeks have gone by...And I have pneumonia but don't know it and am kind of loopy. I leave another message on the machine. I get sicker and sicker and the importance of the biopsy results are pushed back while I deal with the idiots in the ER who sent me home with a 104+ degree fever and Tylenol. A few days later I am back and I snagged a hard-to-get appointment with my doctor, Dr. D. She orders tests (something the ER did not think was necessary) and discovers there's weird stuff going on in my blood and that I have pneumonia. I'm put on bed rest until a week later when I come back feeling worse, a few more tests from Dr. D and we figure out I have mono, too. Oh, and a sinus infection! Just because, you know, pneumonia and mono weren't enough. I'm taking so many pills that I rattle when I move (which isn't too often) and I have alarms on my phone going off constantly to remind me what to take and when.

My kitchen counter was my own personal pharmacy.

By now I have completely forgotten about cancerous cells. Thankfully, Mother Dearest hasn't, and neither has Auntie LJ. They both get on me to call, and so I do...I start calling every single day. I made 17 calls to two different office numbers between January 1st and 10th, never getting an answer, just a machine...and you know me, of course I have to leave a message every single time.
On January 10th (over 2 months after the procedures were done) I called Dr. D and asked if she could help me find my results. I am promised a call back within 24 hours.

It was on January 11th that I ended my first message to Stupid Central's office with "Talk to you later, answering machine!" and ended my second message of the day with "Well, answering machine, we need to It's not me, it's you. I'm seeing someone else. It's Tony at Patient Advocacy...and Maj. Gen. Caron, who's in charge of most of the stuff at this hospital. Look, we've had a great run! But I just need to move on." *click*

Fifteen minutes later I got a call back.

"We sent out your letter! It says here in the computer it was sent. It must have gotten lost in the mail! And I never heard a voicemail from you until today! Have you already called the PA office? You might want to cancel the appointment, since it was just a mail mix-up..." Stupid Central Lady says.
"Sure, sure. Can you just tell me the results now?" I'm a little more than exasperated.
"Oh, well I can't, but I can have a doctor call you ba--"
"TELL. ME. THE. RESULTS. NOW." I have turned into a large green dinosauresque monster.
"Non-cancerous!!" Her voice is tiny and squeaky. Feel my wrath, Stupid Central!

Another half hour goes by and I get another call from a hospital number. It's Dr. D, calling to tell me she's found out my test results. I told her about the messages I left and my conversation with Stupid Central.
"Ooh, you're cutthroat! I like it!"
Damn right.

A few days later I get this envelope in the mail that I myself. No return address. Confused, I open it and find my test results inside. Check out the postmark date.

Surrounded by stupid.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Other Mothers

Let me be perfectly clear on something: I am not a parent. I am a nanny. All I come home to at night is my really weird dog and a mountain of shoes.

But since I am a nanny I am a substitute parent. I don't mean that with any disrespect, nor with a sense of superiority. Parents need to work so they can take care of their children, and sometimes need a caregiver. It's not a glamourous job, but it' a job I love. It puts the milk in my fridge (and drawings on it) and the kibble in my really weird dog's bowl. I'm not complaining. You know who complains? Other Mothers.

From the Refrigerator Gallery.
Myself, Dex, and Miss K walking my really weird dog.

Now the Other Mothers aren't every other mother. They're a special group of moms that have their noses in the air, think they're superior to every other parent on the planet (and each other), yet have zero parenting skills themselves. I am often the subject of their loud and easily overheard whispers. Whether I'm waiting at the bus stop for the kids or bringing them to their Karate lessons or basketball practices I get looks from disapproving OMs. How dare my employers hire a nanny?! Those kids need a mother's love, not a teenage best friend! Then those proud Other Mothers promptly scream at their own kids for interrupting their gossip sessions, throw them a candy bar, and expect them to sit quietly for an hour with nothing to do.

Eventually the questions start. I know what's coming if an Other Mother says more than hello to me. I am constantly asked the following:
Are you with the kids every day?
Where are their parents?
How much do you make?
How old are you? (I like watching their eyebrows go up when I tell them I'm almost ten years older than they think)

For some reason it's perfectly acceptable to ask me these things, though it's nobody's business but mine and the family I work for.
"Oh, I know Mrs. M, you can tell me!"
If you know her so well, feel free to give her a call! The OMs go back to discussing me again, whether they believe how old I am and how those kids I watch must be so maladjusted. Poor things.

The Really Weird Dog gets a really awesome handcrafted necklace courtesy of Miss K.

After a few weeks the Other Mothers start to realize how well-behaved the kids I tote with me are. Their own kids are screaming, crying, jumping on chairs, and breaking things like smartphones and nearby eardrums. It's allllmost time for us to finally leave the tiny Karate class waiting room...and I can't wait to get away. Junior has been crying for twenty minutes straight because Other Mother 1 won't let him play with her iPhone.
"I have a headache!" She tells him, and continues to text Other Mother 2, who has gone to the grocery store next door. Junior screams louder, confused as to why he is allowed to play with this fun toy sometimes and not others. The kid has nothing else to toys, no books, no video game or tv or he just cries. The one time I offered to loan him a children's book I got a sneer and a curt "we're fine, thanks." I haven't offered again, but I do bring crayons and a coloring book, just in case.
Finally, the kids are dismissed from Karate.
"Drea, can we go to Subway for dinner?" My eight-year-old charge is putting on her sneakers, while Other Mother 2's son is throwing his socks at his sister.
"Nope." I reply. A sock whizzes by my left ear.
"OK," she says with a shrug and walks out the door with me. Behind us the Other Mothers have their jaws hanging open.