Monthly Archives: June 2008

Whirlwind Fun

Oh, my gosh.

My trip to San Diego is only half way over, and I’m already exhausted!  Not even close to maintaining the schedule of a politician or celebrity promoting a new film, I am feeling tuckered from the late night events and go-go-go day time schedule.

Since making the successful drive to and drop-off-of-kids at my parents’ house, I’ve hit SD with a bang:

Thursday morning, after a kick butt hour long rung with my dear friend Tera. (I haven’t run for one consecutive hour for…um…years?  Unless, of course, I included running after children, and through daily routines.  But that is another story.)  Then I attended a Stroller Strides workout with about 10 other women–all pushing children in strollers, ranging in age from 4mo’s – 6 years old.  We chatted.  We did squats.  We Hoola-Hooped.  We laughed.  We did push-ups and stair climbs.  We chatted some more.  At the end of the workout we sat around a primary colors parachute (where we had been drilled through a variety of crunches, plank poses, etc.) and talked about the joys and challenges of motherhood.  Children milled around us.  Moms gave each other encouragement and understanding smiles.  And I told them about my book.

Thursday night, I met with an incredibly lovely group of women for a book club gathering, from the Mama Fest Book Club Donation I sent down here in May.  All mothers themselves, these women had insightful questions regarding the process of writing A Dozen Invisible Pieces , questions about how my children are doing now in comparison to what was happening in their lives at the time the book was written (actually, they’re doing quite fine, I’m happy to say) and about how much the book resonated with them.  And that’s all I can really ask for.

Thursday afternoon and yesterday I visited several book stores, baby stores, and mommy stores in the greater northern San Diego County area.  I promoted my book.  Gave out free copies.  Dropped sell sheets and hoped store owners would see enough value in my little ol’ story to order a few copies in for their customers.  Oh, and Andrew bought a couple gifts for our kids who are now starting to wonder if we’ve forgotten to return for them, even though we call twice a day.

Last night.  Last night was incredible, indescribable and phenomenal.  Our dear friends Tera and Brett through us one hell of a party.  We transformed their home and pool-side back yard into an Aisian wonderland.  With tables adorned with orchids, platters presenting chicken stay, California rolls, and coconut shrimp, and Martini glasses filled with the best tasting Leche Fruit Martinis under the sun, we celebrated the release of my book with 50 of their friends.  There was much laughter, joy, drink and song to be had by all.

My head hit the pillow at 1:12 this morning and by 1:13 I was fast asleep.

Tonight, we will take in a b-ball game between the Padres and my old home-town team, the Seattle Mariners.  Tomorrow morning:  my big lecture/book reading and signing event at Indigo Village.

Pictures will follow.  Stay tuned.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Writing and Publishing

Road Trippin’

I’m two hours away from attempting the nearly unthinkable:  taking a six hour road trip with all three kids…alone.

Andrew left on a business trip yesterday.  I’m heading down to San Diego in a few days to do some book promotional work.  In between now and Wednesday, I need to get my children to their grandparents’ house, where they will enjoy a week at “Camp Nana and Poppa’s” (and I will enjoy a week…all the while missing my ruffians…of book signings, book club gatherings, cocktails parties, long workouts and more).

So I spent an hour and a half last night strategically packing the car…mostly with toys, coloring books, snacks and books that will hopefully keep the kids occupied for several hours at a time.  I even borrowed a friend’s DVD player to use in the event that things become really desperate.
carpreppedfor-drivejpg

And yes, I remembered to throw my James Blunt and Goo Goo Dolls CDs in for me!

So, please send us good vibes for safe travels…and I’ll keep you posted on how San Diego goes!

2 Comments

Filed under Kids, Living

Leisureville

What would we do without our mentors?  What would we do without our parents, teachers, neighbors…the folks of the generation that came before us?  The folks that have, for all intensive purposes, gleaned a little more  wisdom out of life than we have yet had the opportunity to pick up?

In Andrew Blechman’s Leisurville,he gets around to asking these questions while mostly painting a bright and colorful picture of the goings-on in communities like The Villages in Florida and Sun City in Arizona–where thousands of retirees live in communities that disallow children (under 19) as permanent residents.

I actually have yet to read Blechman’s book.  But there’s been plenty of hype out there to get a good gist of what the book is about. 

If you’ve read my book, you know the issue of support from extended family is a hot topic for me, as I struggle my way through early parenthood.  Upon receiving my copy of Leisureville, I’ll be curious to see if Blechman touches on this topic as much as I seem to ruminate on it these days.

Have you read Leisureville?  If so, what did you think?  Even if not, what is your opinion on the apparent age segragation that is occurring (self induced, in many cases) in various pockets around our country?

2 Comments

Filed under Living, Writing and Publishing

Courage, Confessions and Spirituality

One of the several blogs I follow on a regular basis is Katherine Stone’s Postpartum Progress.  A majority of Katherine’s posts highlight articles about postpartum mood disorders (including postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum psychosis…) as well as insights into the PPMD experience, testimonials from other women who’ve suffered one of these conditions, and encouragement for the healing process.

Katherine has, up until now, avoided addressing spirituality in relation to this issue.  Today, she tackled it.  Please read her post, and then see my reply to her post, below:

Katherine,

Thank you for your courage and willingness to bring this particular part of the PPMD issue to light.

During my experience with prenatal depression, one could claim I was “not right with God.” I forsook Him.  I cussed him out on a regular basis.  The only prayers I offered Him were about how angry I was to find myself in that place – after having suffered and recovered from PPD after my previous child’s birth.

But I recovered.  With the help of medication, couseling, and the diligent presence of my husband, family, friends, and my priest.  She came to my home once a week.  I refused to pray with her.  She came anyway.

In retrospect, I now realize I am no less “right with God” now than I was then, or before the experience I described above.  God loved me enough to carry me through  that experience even when I didn’t believe that He was doing it.  I can’t think of a better example of unconditional love.

Leave a comment

Filed under Depression and Other Pregnancy Complications

Under Pressure

Family Matters is a radio show hosted by Caroline Kruse and Jacquie Chakirelis, which began back in 1996.  As you might guess, Caroline and Jacquie discuss topics on their daily program that relate to all things family.  I receive updates from Family Matters about the various topics scheduled to be covered in each up-coming show.  The email in my Inbox toady caught my eye:

The Family Matters guest for today’s show was best-selling author Carl Honore. He has recently written and published a book entitled Under Pressure, which discusses the issue of parents over-scheduling their children in various enriching activities, and the affects this increasing popular approach is having on children.

I have not read the book yet myself, but found the information about the book on Honore’s website very compelling.  I plan to check out Under Pressure and I hope you do too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Kids, Living, Writing and Publishing

Time is Ticking

I am less than two weeks away from going into a probationary period.  If, when I enter that period, I don’t do anything actively about it (which includes paying extra money to the national certifying body for PAs, and logging 100 hours of continuing education credits) I will lose my active Physician Assistant certification.  I will no longer be able to claim myself as being a “PA-C”.

I suppose, I will always be able to claim myself as a non certified Physician Assistant.  After all, education is something that no arbitrary time line or lack of meeting requirements can take away from a person.  But the fact is, this rapidly looming occurrence is about to happen, not by accident, but by choice.

I haven’t worked as a PA in almost four years.  Prior to that, I spent five years rotating in and out of five different PA jobs…struggling to find a fit for myself in the world of medicine.  Not having found that right fit, and half way through my second of three pregnancies, I decided to put my work as a PA “on hold.”  That was four years ago this summer.  My PA work is still on hold.

The further away from the medical field I became, the more my devotion to staying home with my kids became.  But it wasn’t just the SAHM thing that further encouraged my choice to table my pre-children career.  It was what I saw happening within the medical field:

Our medical system, in the past 30 or so years, has moved into a situation in which money inconsistently dictates quality and depth of patient care.

In the worst of ways, the bottom line has prompted doctors visits to be scheduled on a fifteen-minute basis, and if you see a health care provider in a setting such as an urgent care center, that number of minutes may even be less.  Some health care systems dangle incentives in front of their providers–encouraging doctors, PAs and nurse practitioners to see more patients in less time than ever before.  The more patients pumped through a clinic in a day…the more health insurance reimbursement for the clinic…the more $$$ for the health care providers.  At one of the clinics in which I worked, it was not uncommon for us to see 60 patients in a single day.  60!  (That’s 7.5 patients/hour…an average of 8 minutes per patient)

In other ways, we are far too free with the expenditure of health care related dollars–other peoples’ dollars, that is.  In a culture where excess is our collective middle name, we order CT scans, MRI’s, sleep studies, EKGs, EMGs, VQ scans, blood pH tests, endoscopies, laparoscopies, x-rays and ultrasounds…JUST BECAUSE WE CAN.  Oh–and because, should there EVER be a lawsuit related to that particular patient on that particular day, we will have covered our you-know-whats.

And don’t get me started on the pharmaceutical industry.  Oh my, the drug rep.-sponsored dinners, lunches, golf outings, wine tasting evenings… would make your head spin!  And guess what?  Somehow, somewhere all of those dinners and lunches have to be paid for.  Ever wonder why prescription medication costs so much if you don’t have health insurance?

So, what does any of this have to do with motherhood, or being a writer?  It has to do with the fact that, as a mom, I need to put my money where my mouth is.  In this case:  I’m putting my mouth were my money is not.  And that’s in the bank.

Having chose, mid stream, to change career paths from being a surgical, emergency room and urgent care facility PA, to being a stay-at-home mom, childbirth educator and writer, means I’m earning a hell of a lot less money than I could have been, had I stayed in the health care biz.  Believe me:  it’s pennies on the dollar.

But when I look at–I mean really look at the prevailing attitude that SO MANY health care workers have toward their patients, and the surrounding systems that promote those attitudes (health care insurance, medical malpractice, etc.) I see a system that is so incredibly broken–one I can’t presently see myself participating in.

Take pregnancy, for example:  The way our system stands now (mind you, I’m talking about the allopathic, western-medicine philosophy of doing things) we treat pregnancy as a disease and childbirth as an emergency.  And 90 + percent of the time, this is NOT the case.  But we health care providers, who are trained to intervene and fix people’s illnesses, don’t know what else to do.  So we fall into the trap of assuming almost everybody has something wrong with them–even if it’s the parent of the child brought in for some ambiguous, unquantifiable symptom.  So we order tons of (expensive) tests, get the patient out the door in fifteen minutes or less, and move on to whomever’s behind the door in room number two.

My children, at some point, will figure out that this is my opinion.  And I can’t risk looking like a hypocrite in their eyes.  I can’t talk the talk if I’m not willing to walk the walk.

So I have, for most intensive purposes, hung up my stethoscope and put away my lab coat.  I have, instead, supplied myself with baby and pelvis models, posters of pregnant bellies, and armed myself with a lap top computer and a good thesaurus.  And I teach and write–realizing little financial gain for my efforts, but feeling a hell of a lot more satisfied with my career choices.

This all is not to say I will never, ever work as a PA again.  I may, just yet, find the right fit for myself, in a place where everyone cares about the true well-being of each and every patient that walks through the door as me.  But until I regain enough courage to look for that potential opportunity, I’m happy with what I’m doing right now.  I am part teacher, part writer, mostly mother.

What choices are you making in your career life?  Are you really, truly happy doing what you’re doing?

4 Comments

Filed under Living

The 11 Best Things Parents Go Through

A certain daddy blogger turned me on to the following list about monumental experiences during parenthood.
Read it.
It’s really that good.

The 11 Best Things Parents Go Through

Leave a comment

Filed under From One Mother to Another, Kids, Living