Being a Mom Makes You Tough // more thoughts on healthcare

I’m a klutz.  Certified, tried and true — I am reliably injuring myself in some emergency room-worthy way at least once a year.  Someday, if you should hear I have tragically died, be sure to get the story because it’s bound to be something dumb like me running into a doorway or something silly like that (of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but let’s just say if it did, I wouldn’t be surprised).

So today, in an effort to take an epic photo of the baby in a pumpkin (thank you, Pinterest, for raising the standard so high that this was my #1 priority today), I sliced my left index finger nice and deep.  [sidenote: I’m currently marveling at my ability to type with 9 fingers… outstanding!]  I realized a few things over the past few hours that seem blog-worthy:

  1. Being a mom has made me way less of a wimp than I used to be.  Having been a life-long klutz, this is not the first time I’ve sliced my finger with a knife.  Every other time something like this has happened, I have been a hysterical mess.  The reality is, it’s usually not the pain that sends me into hysterics, it’s the shock of seeing my body opened up and bleeding.  When I was 19, I got stitches for a similar cut and cried for nearly a day over the ordeal.  This time, however, I haven’t shed a tear and handled it like a pro – a big step for me.  This calm rationale has swept over me telling me, “The body heals.  You’ve been through way worse than this and have come out just fine.  It looks bad now, but this is the worst it will be.”  I guess after healing from childbirth, a cut just seems like no big deal.  Cool.
  2. I probably need stitches, but I’m not getting them.  For me to go to the ER and get stitches will mean at minimum a couple hundred bucks, and that’s with our terrible private insurance.  So, I went to the CVS on the corner and bought some butterfly closures and first aid tape, cleaned the wound and closed it up.  I chose to avoid the hospital in order to save the money.  In this case, probably not a big deal – if the wound doesn’t start looking better in a couple of days, I’ll go to the doctor… but I think decisions like this are the motivation behind healthcare reform, but on a much bigger level.  When someone like me, who could probably find the money to pay the outrageous bill for a few stitches, chooses to avoid seeking medical care because of an exorbitant expense, this is the system failing.  Why should stitches cost hundreds of dollars to get?  Why should health care ever be cost-prohibitive?  Doesn’t that seem evil and wrong?  Shouldn’t we place such a high value on human life that health care is something we just get as citizens?  If a privatized system is resulting in people choosing less-than-adequate healthcare in order to avoid financial collapse, we have a big problem.  (For more of my thoughts on this, read my post about my friend Ron).

Anyway, I hope that when the baby wakes from her nap I can ultimately get that epic pumpkin photo, but for now I feel tough and a little bit angry.

EDIT: Totally not worth it, but the photo is hilarious.

hysterical, but not worth it.
hysterical, but not worth it.

Birthday Gratitude // One Year Later

Last year on my birthday, I had just wrapped up an incredible internship at Americans for the Arts.  Mike and I gathered all of our friends together to help us move from the downstairs apartment in our house in Stephens City to the much nicer upstairs apartment.  We were so excited to be upstairs with doors on all the rooms, a roomier space, and a legitimate kitchen as opposed to the makeshift one in the old place.  We also expected to be there until at least May 2013 if not a bit later.

I was staggered by how many of our friends showed up to help and how awesome they were.  I’ll never forget the many, many boxes coming upstairs, or my sweet friend Marisa spending a couple of hours scrubbing down the bathtub so that when it was all said and done, I could take a bubble bath and have a moment of calm on my birthday.  Mike and our friend Eric went to Walmart at the end of the day to buy me bubble bath and bath salts so I could just relax and not spend the entire day in chaos.  It’s funny – I hated moving on my birthday but that day is a perfect example of how lucky we have been in the friends department.

Here we are, only a year later and nothing in our life looks the same.  We’re back in Ashland, OH getting ready to close on a house.  Our daughter will make her debut sometime in June.  We are surrounded by dear friends who we’ve known since college (and in some cases, high school), family, and have made some really incredible new friends too.  We have totally different jobs, totally different day-to-days, and we are so happy and eager for what’s to come.

I turn 28 today and it’s funny because this birthday seems so silly.  I feel like I’ve aged much more with all the change that has come in the last year.  One year just doesn’t seem to reflect the amount of blessing and change we’ve had.  I am so amazed and excited to think about what this next year will bring.  As we move into our house, as we officially become parents, as we get to know our little girl, as we settle into our lives here… and who knows what else may come… I am so excited and blessed to see what is to come.  And, today, I am so thankful for all that has come before.  That we have been lucky to have fun, devoted, intelligent, creative, thoughtful friends in every place we lived or visited is a huge blessing.  Thanks to Facebook for reminding me just how far our connections reach on a day like today.  It’s awesome to see messages wishing for a happy birthday from all over the globe!

So, thank you dear friends – I am absolutely staggered by all of you and the incredibly charmed life I get to lead.

The 5 Things You Learn on a Roller Coaster in a Tornado

That’s what the last few weeks have felt like.  So much has happened and changed over the last few weeks that, honestly, I’m not sure if my feet have even hit the ground yet.

Rather than list out the tedious details and relive the highs and lows and twists and turns of the past few weeks, I’ll list the 5 things I’ve learned over these past few weeks:

1. Every human will disappoint you; recognize and accept it, and then move on.

Someone I respect and have a relationship with did something that really disappointed me over the past two weeks, and I was angry… and then I was hurt.  At the same time, I was surrounded by a person who had not accepted this lesson and held grudges about every disappointment in his/her life.  This was exhausting!  It is natural to hold grudges about disappointments, but it is not easier.

2. Professionalism is 70% social and 30% politics.

The past 3 weeks have included more highly “professional” experiences than any other concentrated time in my life.  When you think of the factors that make up professionalism, one thinks of suits, formalities,  business cards, etc.  But if I learned nothing else, I realized that people are people are people.  And, if you really want to win someone over to your way of thinking, you’ll be nice, ask them about themselves, and you’ll play their game.

3. Your entire life and everything you call normal can change in a single breath.  Be thankful when those changes are minor, and treasure the breaths they don’t.

In the past three weeks, several of my friends have suddenly and unexpectedly lost people they loved due to preventable acts.  In total contrast, I was up for a job that would would have required a complete and total change of our daily life and we were doubled over with anxiety.  Change is the only constant… keep it in perspective and expect that it will come.

4. You aren’t actually more productive if you don’t take a break, you’re just leading up to a crash.

I haven’t had a lot of choice over the past few weeks about whether or not to take a break.  So, when I sprained my ankle right before I got two days off, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Nor should I be shocked when looking over what I’ve actually accomplished over the past two weeks: I’ve alienated a few people I care about, I’ve given several projects I’m committed to less attention than they deserved, and I’ve been an absentee wife to the greatest husband in the world.  Stupid.

And most importantly…

5. Being obedient to God can be tough, but it’s way tougher to be outside of his blessing.

Since I wrote about our obedience financially in my first blog post, 3 separate full-time jobs have been put in my path.  One of the concerns before we started our budget was that we wouldn’t have enough money long term to sustain.  And the next day, job offer #1 came in.  God is waiting to bless us- we just need to position ourselves under the faucet of his blessing.  This is about obedience, repentance, and submission.  While it’s way more fun to spend as we want and worry about it later, it is not more fun to be outside of His blessing.

{do tell!}

What are your 5 lessons of the last month?  What has been your greatest lesson from stressful times?