Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Frustration by Dorothy Parker


If I had a shiny gun,
I could have a world of fun
Speeding bullets through the brains
Of the folk who give me pains;

Or had I some poison gas,
I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of
People whom I do not love.

But I have no lethal weapon-
Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
So they still are quick and well
Who should be, by rights, in hell.
--Dorothy Parker

This poem is a bit over the top, but evidently, so was Dorothy Parker. It certainly puts into words something that we've all felt at one time or another. I think it's healthy to vent this sort of rage, especially in a silly way like this, so that we don't actually get to the point of actually thinking about considering acting on those feelings.

Elizabeth had her six month birthday on Monday. We celebrated it by watching a house get knocked down. Evidently, the mobile home across the street from us was so old and decrepit that they couldn't GIVE it away, and had to pay somebody to demolish it. It was kind of sad. Also it was VERY noisy, and kept Elizabeth from sleeping at all that day, so we didn't get any decent pictures till we took a walk in the evening.

Speaking of selling mobile homes, we've had zero interest in our house. I can't even tell that our realtor is advertising it. Sigh...

We had another frustrating day for Elizabeth yesterday. The cardiologist wanted to follow up with her at 6 months old to see how the holes in her heart are doing. You'll remember that she has three small defects in her heart which they thought would close on their own. Well, they wanted to be sure, so they had us come back for another look.

This is a very poorly run practice. It seems that they give everybody the same appointment time in the morning, then hope they see them all by noon. They routinely keep people waiting for hours in a room with only 8 chairs, and about twice that many people wanting to sit in them. I arrived on time for our 9:45 appointment and they didn't even call Elizabeth's name to weigh and measure her till 11:15. She was pretty sleepy when we left home -- if we hadn't had the appointment, I would have put her in bed for a nap -- and I had just given her a bath because she had a major diaper blowout. I thought this would be perfect because when she's at that stage of tiredness and contentment, she's usually pretty docile. But of course, she wasn't in that stage of tiredness and contentment after an hour and a half in that waiting room. She was overtired, wired, and grumpy because she couldn't eat the beads from the one toy they had (it was one of those tables with lots of wiggly wires that you push beads around and through. She enjoyed standing next to the table (she can hold herself up without any help from me these days) but she was annoyed that the beads wouldn't come off no matter how hard she pulled).

When we went in for the EKG (ECG?), they put about a gazillion stickers all over her belly, and one on each of her arms and legs. Then the nurse attached an alligator clip with a wire to each one.

Here's a picture of another baby getting it done. I didn't get a photo of Elizabeth for reasons that will become obvious. Elizabeth knows all about wires. They're "those fascinating things connected to Mom and Dad's fancy electronic stuff that they won't let me eat." So when she got lots of them presented to her on a platter so to speak, she went crazy trying to grab and chew on as many as she could. To make things worse, the baby oil I slathered her with after her bath made it so the stickers wouldn't stay stuck. Every time the nurse got one attached, another would fall off. I had only two hands to hold her arms, legs, head and arching back still, and the bottle of milk I brought with me to distract her during this test (see photo) was long gone. Eventually, by using rubbing alcohol to get the oil off, and tape to hold the leg stickers on, we got that test done.

Next, we waited for another half an hour for the Echocardiogram. We got to spend part of that time in an exam room, so I was able to feed her, but as soon as she took the edge off her hunger she got distracted by all the neat things she wasn't allowed to eat in that room. Elizabeth was much more cooperative for the Echo, which confused me until I saw where she was looking. We were in a dark room, and the only thing that stood out was the computer monitor that was showing the Echo and making nice soothing heartbeat sounds. Elizabeth was fascinated. Below is a youtube video that shows what it looked like. It turns out that all three holes are still there. One seems to be shrinking, but the other two are about the same. The doctor says that they may still close, but even if they don't, they're not big enough to bother with surgery for.

It was after noon when we left that Doctor's office, and Elizabeth still hadn't slept yet (She's usually had two naps by that time of day). We had another appointment at 1:00, so I grabbed some fast food, and quickly stopped at one store before going to the Pediatrician. You may say it's my own fault for scheduling two appointments for her on the same day, but we really don't know what, if any, insurance coverage we'll have next month, so I had to push the Cardiologist visit into July, and this was the only day they could give me. We're switching insurance because COBRA is SOOOOO expensive, and the company that's administering it is shady at best. When Peter was laid off, they gave him an invoice for over six hundred dollars a month to continue on our old plan. I went online and paid that amount for July since I didn't have time in June to research health insurance plans. Then I got a call from our Doctor asking for my new insurance information since the old one was terminated. I went online to check that the payment had been made, and it showed that we owed seven-hundred-something per month and since my six-something payment was seventy-three dollars short, they cancelled our coverage! I called to complain, and after putting me off for a few days, they finally said, "Oh yeah, the invoice was wrong. You owe the seven hundred figure." At this point I had no choice but to pay it, but I was SOOOOO mad! I've put in applications for replacement insurance that will cost less than half that.

Anyway, at the Pediatrician’s, Elizabeth was so tired and hungry and upset, that she started wailing the minute the doctor came in the room. We talked a little about height and weight percentiles and feeding, but the doctor didn't spend much time examining my poor little sweet thing. Then the nurses came in and gave her four shots in her little legs, and that was the last straw. After they left, I let her nurse a little and she went straight to sleep even though we were in such a strange place. We went home and she slept all afternoon.

Peter's been frustrated too. The Unemployment Insurance people assumed that since he made more than $400 the week he did a freelance copyedit, that he was fully employed, so they stopped sending him claim forms. He went online to get another, and found that you can't get them that way, they have to be mailed to you, and the only way to request one is to call. Well, for some reason, their phone system won't put anyone on hold -- if all the operators are busy, it'll just say, "Call back later, goodbye!" and hang up on you. He called them something like thirty times a day for three days before getting through. Then, they sent him a form with one of the weeks XXXXXX'd out. Peter thinks that they've started a new claim, instead of continuing the old one, and that they may make him go through another waiting period before getting benefits. So it's been more than a month since he got laid off, and they haven't sent us a single check.

He posted his resume on several websites, and applied at a couple of Temp agencies. There was a LOT of typing and filling out forms, and redundancy in these, and it's hard not to feel like it's an exercise in futility. The people at the Temp agencies were impressed that he'd been with a single company for four whole years, and that he was a college graduate. He took their online computer skills tests, and got really good scores on them too. Then we waited, and waited, and waited, and today somebody finally called and offered him a possible assignment. It's essentially glorified Data Entry, updating a phone contact list for a hotel chain, but it's a job, and it pays well for temp work, so he'll put in his application and we'll see what happens.

On the mental health front, I've been doing pretty well, considering, but when every day is one frustration after another, it's tough to keep a stiff upper lip. I really appreciate the words and other generous gestures of encouragement that we've been getting from family and friends. Please keep praying for us.

By the way, if you're wondering what the baby duck picture has to do with anything, the answer is NOTHING. I just found it while doing my searches today, and I thought this post could use a little dose of cuteness since it's mostly just a grumpy rant.


  1. There was a poem by Dorothy Parker that I ran across in high school--"One perfect rose." I thought it was funny.

    Man, bureaucracy stinks. Hang in there!

  2. Feel free to rant whenever needed, and I do like the duck.

    Love, Kathey

  3. This reminds me of "I've Got a Little List" from the Mikado

    http://math. boisestate. edu/gas/mikado/ webopera/ mk105a.html


  4. Whoa! What a couple of horrific days! Hopefully you have had some calm since then, and that Elizabeth will grow and continue to be a joy in your lives; sorry that things have been SO Stressful!!

  5. i LOVE the poem...this may be the poem i finally memorize

  6. most_children_strongly

    Most Children Strongly Oppose Health Care