Monday, July 31, 2006

Two Relieved Mamas

Bigfella has now had 4 of his 5 dosages of antibiotics.

Getting him the antibiotics was a bit of a struggle. The after-hours phone nurse was less than helpful, and the health department nurse scared the stuffing out of us. I finally yelled at Nurse Meany, and she got the doctor to phone in a prescription for Bigfella.

And, then my father, well-meaning man that he is, added to the anxiety by calling back 15 minutes after hearing the situation (which was appropriately phrased as "precautionary treatment with antibiotics") to make sure that the pediatrician had prescribed a medication that Bigfella was not allergic to. When I patiently explained that I wasn't too worried about an antibiotic reaction since I am not allergic to any medications, my ever-calm father announced that he is allergic to an antibiotic.

So, when I explained that there is no way to predict when a person will have an allergic reaction to a medication, he made me promise that we would use the Angelcare baby monitor and keep track of Bigfella's breathing all night. I hung up the phone and immediately cried to Dyke Two, "I have enough to worry about with the pertussis! I hadn't even thought about an allergy." While we hope that antibiotic allergies don't run in our families, it is clear that anxiety does!!

But, Bigfella seems fine. Happy and comfortable with his medication. His poop has been a little runny, but that could be the dairy I ate this weekend. Our second set of questions to Nurse Scary had centered on the wedding we were intending to attend this weekend. One of my best friends from college got married this weekend in his bride's home town an hour from Smallcity. Our entire posse of nerds from college (seriously, we played bridge and baked cookies every weekend in college--when we weren't studying at the library) were going to be in attendance, and having not had a night on the town since before Bigfella's birth, Dyke Two and I were willing to overlook the heterosexist practices of the state and toast the happy couple and spend a happy weekend with our family of choice.

When Nurse Scary heard about the wedding, she told us to go, and bring Bigfella. Apparently, pertussis has a 5 day incubation period before one becomes contagious. Since Bigfella would be at the wedding for days 3 and 4 post-exposure, and on antibiotics for 2 days when we left for the wedding, she thought it perfectly safe for him to go, even with the other babies he would be in contact with.

So, we went. And I wore a backless dress with a plunging neckline and the Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Infinity Edge convertible push up bra with gel curve shaping for extreme cleavage. And we danced. And we drank vodka cranberries and red wine. And we ate delicious food. And Bigfella smiled, and rolled around and laughed and sang and slept and nursed. In fact, he slept and nursed in the Ergo while I danced and drank.

And, we went out to the car after shutting down the party, and we strapped him in his carseat for the ride home. And he cried. And kept crying until we turned the radio on and listened to 70s Saturday Night. And then he slept again.

Apparently, Bigfella is already quite the party boy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Two scared mamas

We just got a phone call from a friend who spent a lovely evening with us and Bigfella planning our upcoming dance routine. (I haven't told you all that some friends and I have alter egos who are lounge singers. We channel our inner dragqueens and do highly choreographed performances). But, anyway, this particular friend, who is pretty anxious and high strung was crying as she told us she had just tested positive for pertussis after being exposed at work last week. (she didn't know she had been exposed when she spent the evening dancing with Bigfella).

I calmed her down, saying that it wasn't her fault, blah blah blah, but that I would call our pediatrician just in case. The phone nurse at the pediatrician's office said that we didn't need to worry unless he developed symptoms. We thanked her and hung up. About 15 minutes later, the Health Department called, and basically told us that the phone nurse was full of shit. She said that since Bigfella has only had two of the three vaccines for pertussis, we should really try and get him in for a sick visit tonight and get him checked and started on antibiotics.

So, I called the nurse back, explained the situation, and politely told her that the Health Department disagreed with everything she told us. So, she said she would talk to the doctor in the office, and call us back. That was almost an hour ago.

Bigfella woke up from a nap about 20 minutes ago, and is doing this sort of throat clearing coughy cry thing. We are getting more and more alarmed.

Even worse, now we have to face the fact that he may be about to go on antibiotics for something he doesn't have, simply because he might get it.

I hate feeling like no matter what we do, it's the wrong thing...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Clean House

Some friends of ours gave us the perfect baby gift a few months ago: 12 hours with a professional organizer. (If the organizer wants more time with us, they might up the number of hours.)

Sadly, anyone who knows us knows that this gift is long overdue. We aren't at the level of needing to be condemned, though we are at the level of piles of mail, stacks of laundry, mountains of junk, and overflowing closets, basement and storage shed.

I like to think that it is simply due to the merging of two houses, but sadly, I know it is more than that. Both of us have an inability to get rid of anything. For me, it is because I am afraid that I might need it again, and I hate to think about the money wasted by purchasing something new. I am much happier getting rid of stuff now that I know about Freecycle. Dyke Two, on the other hand, refuses to get rid of things because she can't shake the scars of growing up with nothing that belonged to her. Living in poverty will do that to you. Too many times of getting evicted and losing your belongings will make anyone hold on to even the strangest of items.

Dyke Two also thinks that someday, people will want to go to the Dyke Two Museum. She is saving her report cards, her high school basketball uniform, her baby booties, and (my personal favorite) her dreads for inclusion in the museum. (She also thinks we should save the vials the sperm came in, the plastic speculum we used for the insemination, the eye droppers and oral syringes from Bigfella-making.)

By the middle of August, we want to have two functional bedrooms upstairs, a playroom and office area downstairs, and a basement and shed that have room for the basementy and sheddy items like lawnmowers, power tools, Hannukah decorations, and outgrown baby gear (for number 2, don't you know??) instead of the old dishes, two microwaves, an extra kitchen table, a moldy futon and boxes and boxes of my teaching crap that currently have taken over our storage areas.

I don't know how many of you get the Style Network, but we are hoping our organizer is more Neicy Nash than Martha Stewart.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dyke Two's dirty little secret...

So, we are the proud owners of a Bugaboo Frog stroller. I am known as "the mother with THAT stroller" among our mommy-friends. I am kind of embarrassed by our stroller: conspicuous consumption is not really my style, but it was a gift from my doting and adoring brother, a lawyer in Westchester County. So, when people approach us and ask about the stroller (which happens at least once a week, since Bugaboo sightings are unusual here in the People's Republic of Smallcity) I always preface it with, "Well, it was a gift. We would never spend this much money on a stroller..."

Sunday, a middle aged White man, his five year old son and their two purebred dogs approached us while we were leaving my favorite coffee shop. "My wife is pregnant. We're thinking of getting a Bugaboo. What do you think of it?'

I quickly jumped in with my usual disclaimer, "It was a gift. We like it, but if we were spending that much money on a stroller, we probably would have gotten a phil and ted or something that is a little more versatile since this isn't really great for grass and is kind of a pain to get in and out of the car."

We talked for a few more minutes, the man pushed it up and down the sidewalk (Bigfella was in Dyke Two's arms, so don't worry about our sanity letting some random man push our son) and thanked us for the input.

After he walked away, Dyke Two said to me, "You don't need to always tell people the stroller was a gift." I looked at her with raised eyebrows. "You can let them think we bought the stroller ourselves."

Ahhh. There's her secret motivation. I smiled at her and said, "Honey, you just want that white man to think you have more money than he has!"

Dyke Two just grinned and put the seat of the stroller into the backend of the car.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What's 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep worth to you?

The surgery was a smashing success. We arrived at the surgery center, and realized that I had never filled out a health care proxy for this particular hospital. Bigfella was born at the hospital across town, which has multiple forms on file giving Dyke Two permission to make all sorts of decisions for me. But, this hospital, if it has any forms I filled out on file, has my mother listed as my health care proxy. She's a good choice and all, and I trust her to make the decisions that Dyke Two would make, but yesterday, while waiting to go under the knife seemed as good a time as any to make Dyke Two's relationship to me as official as it can get here in Red State. So, I asked the receptionist for an Advanced Medical Directive. She said, (and this is a direct quote), "an Advanced what??" So, I explained that I wanted to designate a new health care proxy, and since this was a surgery center, I assumed that they would have the forms available. She shuffled through her drawers, and referred me to her supervisor. Her supervisor, upon hearing the situation, promptly said, "an Advanced what?"

So, Dyke Two and I sat and waited. When the nurse came back to get me, I promptly asked her for a form. She, at least, knew what I was talking about, but didn't have any available. So, with each person who came in to my little curtain area, my request for an Advanced Medical Directive got a little more impassioned. By the time my surgeon arrived, the general consensus was that the main hospital had the forms, but couldn't fax one to us. (at this point, three residents, two nurses, the attending anesthiesiologist and my surgeon were all looking for the form.) It was also the general consensus that I was a stubborn one, and wouldn't go back into surgery without filling out something.

Finally, they had me write on a piece of paper that Dyke Two was authorized to make all medical decisions while I was unable to do so. Then, all of us: me, Dyke Two, the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the nurses, the residents, maybe even the orderly all signed it. And then, we pricked our fingers and pinky swore. (Since there was no notary, that was the best we could do.) But, they all assured us that in an emergency, they would not wait for my mom to arrive from across town to make decisions, and would let Dyke Two make the decisions.

So, happy, finally that there was some semblance of my wishes recorded, I allowed myself to be led into the torture room. I got strapped onto the crucifixion table, they put the freaky pumping boots on my legs, and they covered my face with a mask. I woke up 5 hours later, and after a few minutes of the room shaking, they were able to move me to a recliner. Dyke Two joined me, and we ate ice chips, drank cranberry juice and ate raisins. (the animal crackers they offered me had soybean oil in them, so they were a no-go.) And, I took Percocet. Yummy percocet.

According to the doctor, my gallbladder was way infected and nasty. The nurse called me stubborn, and said that my self-reports of symptoms and post-operative pain proved me to have a high pain tolerance. (I believe she actually called me "a tough one.") The nurse said I was a champ with the general, but that I slept much longer than usual. I said, "I have a 4 month old at home. I haven't slept for 5 hours straight since I was 6 months pregnant."

So, eventually, they sent me home with some Colace and Percocet. We got home and Bigfella, who had consumed a total of 6 ounces of milk all day, promptly latched on and guzzled for 30 minutes. He nursed two more times in the next 4 hours. Dyke Two made me rice and chicken broth.

This morning, I woke up well-rested, but with a sore throat from the intubation. And, Bigfella had two bloody diapers. We were about to call the pediatrician's office, since I hadn't eaten anything that he's allergic to. Instead, we called Swanson (the makers of the chicken broth) because the empty can had been picked up by the recycling truck. After 20 minutes on the phone with customer service, including many minutes of grilling about his allergies, his doctors and a lot of legal rigamarole, the customer service rep told us that the Swanson's regular chicken broth that I had eaten, does have soy protein in it. So, they are sending us coupons for their soy-free versions (Natural Goodness and Organic).

We were just glad to know that we didn't need to rush to the pediatrician, given that I was still a little woozy. Anyone have any tips on how to care for a 20 pound baby when you have been restricted from lifting more than 15 pounds for the next 4 weeks?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The News from Orlando

In a previous life, I was on the steering committee for the NEA-GLBT Caucus. I was also a founding member of my state education association's GLBT Caucus. I spent many hours and lots of tears in the past few years trying to move my Red State Education Association forward on GLBT issues. I also spent many hours on various committees for the state association, working for the best interest of ALL teachers and students. And, every time the right wing orchestrated an attack on the NEA based on its positions on sexual orientation, or I heard a colleague talk about the "damage" that is done by focusing on "social" issues not "education" issues, it was a stab to my heart.

Every so often, the state association does something to win me back. Today was one of those times. The NEA was considering a new resolution that would voice support for same-sex couples being able to create legal relationships. While this is hardly a news-worthy, earth-shattering action, there are folks out there who were organizing a counter-attack. Our state president was one of the ones who received thousands of emails and voicemails asking her to lead our state delegation in voting against the new resolution.

Since I am not a delegate, and am not in Orlando for Convention, I have been left trusting the universe to make sure the correct outcome occurs. And, today, I received an email from a friend of mine who is a delegate. Turns out that not only did the resolution pass, not only did our president voice support to the state, not only did the state vote in favor of the resolution, our president spoke on behalf of the new resolution on the floor of the RA, and the resolution passed overwhelmingly.

Five years ago, when three of us started our Caucus, we never, ever thought we would see something like this happen. Our state has never been among the trailblazers for gay-rights. Hell, 10 years ago, they were among the holdouts who refused to endorse a similar resolution. I can't help but feel that I am part of a legacy here. I am so proud of my state president for taking this stand (and even prouder that my work has been institutionalized to the point where I don't need to be the one advocating for change). Last year, I made an impassioned speech at our state delegation meeting about all of us needing to be recognized in our fight for civil rights, and apparently some of the members of the Black Caucus took offense. One of our African-American classroom assistants came up to me, shaking with anger, and proceeded to tell me that some of her friends weren't speaking to her. She continued to tell me that when they bitched about my speech, she told them, "If you all would open your eyes and see how homophobia and racism are intertwined, my closeted gay son might not have died of AIDS."

I am so pleased that folks like Deanna finally felt empowered to speak their hearts as well. And, even more pleased that people have changed their minds so much in the past year.

Because I missed the Victoria's Secret Nurse-In...

First a quick medical update: I have my gallbladder surgery tomorrow. We have to be at the surgery center at 11 am, with a tentative OR reservation at 12:30. If all goes according to plan, I should be home by 4. I am not sure when I will be back on line to update...

But, back to the main point, I thought for a few brief minutes on Monday that I was about to have to organize a nurse in at Lowe's.

Our town, as wonderful as it is, has no Home Depot. All we have is Lowe's, which has always been smaller, dirtier, darker and more crowded than Home Depot. And, we always have to track down a sales associate to help us out. At Home Depot, back when I was pregnant, the associates were falling over themselves to help us out. One of them even walked me to the bathroom.

So, Monday, we decided to go to Lowe's to buy the supplies I need to make a tiled tabletop for an old sewing machine stand. We got the tiles, the wood, the grout. All we needed was something to use as a trim to hide the messy edge. We wandered over toward millwork, and were looking at various pieces of molding. An associate came over and asked what we were doing. He then suggested that we go talk to the folks in the flooring area and see what they could do for us.

I stood and waited, Bigfella in his sling, for a solid 15 minutes. Finally, I found a sales associate who called me "Sir" and then suggested talking to the kitchen folks when he heard the type of project I was working on. I went to the kitchen area, where I waited for another 10 minutes. Bigfella was getting hungrier and hungrier, and the associate said something that sent me into a tailspin:

Me: I'm tiling a table top and need something like the trim on this countertop to hide the messy edges from view.

Evil Kitchen Man: Well, that's a custom piece.

Me: Well, I want to buy the materials to make that type of trim.

EKM: OK, what you need to do is tell your handyman what you want. He'll know what materials to buy to make that.

Me: But, I'm doing this project myself. There is no "guy."

EKM: Oh, then I guess you need to go to millwork.

Millwork! Right where I had been 30 minutes earlier. I stormed out of the area, and found Dyke Two in the lawn and garden area. Bigfella was, at this point, starving. I wanted to just leave the cart full of stuff sitting there with a little note saying, "We're boycotting your sexist asses!"

I'd like to end this story with me storming to the manager's office, explaining all the while that they were never going to get our business again.

Instead, Bigfella and I went to the patio furniture to nurse while Dyke Two went to millwork to find the molding I needed.

I was just waiting for one of those stupid little Lowe's men to come up and tell me I couldn't nurse in the furniture area. I was ready. I was set to yell at him, and then go home and start faxing and posting.

But, the only person who said anything was a woman with her two children:

I remember when I used to do that! It seems like only yesterday...