This has been one of those weeks I would like to erase from history. Son has been under the weather and has only slept through one night the entire week.
We had a flat tire on the way to Grandma's house on Tuesday morning (Husband should take my opinions more seriously regarding things like flat tires, but that's another topic for another day).
I had my eyes checked Wednesday. First time in nearly 10 years. I thought it was time to investigate the cause behind my headaches. I was prescribed reading glasses. Again. Maybe I should start using them. It was stressful to find time shop for new frames for the new prescription. I get zero time to focus on my own needs because mothering a four-year-old and 22-month-old takes it all out of me, and whatever is left goes to my "career-by-a-thread."
Wednesday was also a day that I spent another two hours on the phone with the insurance company from hell. After spending 60 total hours on the phone with the claims department since last May, speaking to 25 customer service reps and three supervisors, re-submitting the same claims about eight times, providing (in writing) my credentials, my license number, my IQ score and my shoe size, they reported that their current excuse for not yet processing my claims is that they were "misrouted" and I needed to submit them a ninth time. I also learned on Wednesday that the phase of state health care restrictions that deeply impact my work as a mental health provider with this population are to be implemented. This will make working with this population even more punishing as the amount of work necessary in order to obtain the required pre-authorizations is huge. And every state health care program provider already knows that the reimbursement amounts are insulting. It may become necessary for me to focus on a new population.
On Thursday I called the doctor's office to discus that Son would not eat or drink for the past four days and the nurse said to bring him in. I had thirty minutes from the time I hung up until the appointment was to start. We live 30 minutes away. I had to bring Daughter with us as I had no other choice. This became a very stressful outing. Jacket weather has finally hit. I'm thankful for the cool down. On the other hand, wrestling two little ones in and out of jackets every time you go in and out of somewhere is a pain in the rear. My phone rang in the car, and I appreciated a few moments to process the state health care changes with a colleague. I knew this might be the only few moments I could steal out of the day to talk about this issue. When we got to the doctor's office, they wanted me to fill out new paperwork. This was a good reminder that we don't go to the doctor very often. I juggled the kids and their jackets and all the gear to a chair to work on the form provided to me on a clipboard. Son wanted to be held the entire time. I get two minutes into the form and the nurse calls us back. I stand up and find a way to juggle all the crap I have to carry, including one almost thirty pound toddler, two kid jackets, one adult jacket, the clipboard and pen, and a bag containing all the other assorted, but necessary kid gear required if you step more than twenty feet outside your home with children in tow.
Nurse does her job and the kids are entertained for a few moments with looking out the 5th story window at the city below. This gets old after a couple minutes and Son starts getting impatient. I manage to engage him a few more minutes with a game of name the color of the car driving by on the road below. Doctor enters and does his thing and leaves to process a throat culture to test for strep. Son was traumatized by the tongue depressor and the long cotton swab that made him gag. Son wants to leave. NOW. I manage to entertain him for several more minutes with the view outside the large windows. Daughter's nose is dripping now. Great. The only thing more fun than one sick kid is two sick kids. I find her a tissue for her nose. A couple minutes later I catch a whiff of some green air. I ask Son if he has stinky britches. He blinks at me innocently, and Daughter grins as she informs me that she is "tooting." I wave at the air hoping it will clear before the doctor comes back in. The air clears in time for Daughter to do her thing again followed by a concerned look on her face and the announcement that she needs to use the bathroom. My left eye begins twitching, and I am hopeful the doctor returns quickly as I don't want to abandon the exam room in search of a bathroom. A few minutes later the doctor returns, and the sight of him sends Son into a screaming fit. The doctor explains it is not strep, but I cannot hear another word between Son's screaming and Daughter's impatient nagging about getting to the bathroom.
We get to the bathroom, and I drop all the gear in the middle of the floor trying not to shudder at the unsanitary aspects of this. I had to move quickly in order to keep Son from grabbing the toilet plunger he spied in the corner. I struggled to contain Son while supporting Daughter on the toilet to keep her from falling in. Son then decides he's ready to leave and opens the door, which was possible since it was one of those button locks that automatically unlocks when you turn the handle. I try to keep Son in the room with one arm while continuing to do my best to prevent Daughter from falling in with the other arm. Daughter decides she doesn't have to go after all. We get her pants fastened and both kids' hands washed and Son bolts out the door and starts doing a happy dance in the hallway because he is so proud of himself. I gather up the gear that was dumped earlier in the middle of the floor. We make it to the checkout window, and I hand over the clipboard. I'm told to finish filling out the sections on the page that the previous person told me not to fill out. The kids make a beeline for the toys. I try to finish filling out the form as quickly as possible as my kids cover their hands with all the germs from other sick children who have handled the toys. I swiftly herd the kids out the door and drop all the gear once again in front of the elevators so that I can clean their hands with Purel before entering the elevator. Daughter suddenly exclaims with panic that she has left Taggie Book in the doctor's office somewhere. My right eye now begins twitching, and I resist the urge to scream and to refuse to go after Taggie Book.
I herd the kids back in and send a receptionist on a wild goose chase for Taggie Book. The kids make another beeline for the toys. Receptionist reemerges with Taggie Book and Daughter and I are both deeply relieved. I herd the kids back out to the elevators and drop everything again to sanitize their hands. I know I'm obsessed, but trips to the doctor's office are almost always followed with Daughter getting ill. The elevator opens and I enter with Daughter and my armful of crap. Son starts chanting, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" and refuses to get on the elevator. I stand, helpless, for a couple moments in the middle of the elevator before finally just dropping all the crap in the middle of the elevator again. I try to hold the door open with one foot while grabbing at Son to pull him on with us. He falls in front of the door and starts crying and I briefly wonder how many passersby are tsk tsking me for being such an insensitive mom. I scoop up Son and get Daughter to pick up the jackets until we get off the elevator.
There are reasons that this motherhood thing taxes my energy and patience. There are reasons that I am planned and deliberate about what activities I do and don't engage in alone with both the kids or which places I take them when I am on my own to manage them. Today was another reminder of these reasons. I don't know how people with three or four or more kids can go anywhere or do anything. If I had four or more kids, I am certain that I would just stay at home curled up in the corner in a fetal position mumbling unintelligibly.
Son was up all night last night again. I went to bed with a headache and the beginning of a sore throat. I woke up at three am to Son's screaming, feeling certain I had managed to catch the "crud" myself. The good news is that Son is eating and drinking again and that we don't get sick like this very often at our house. It is the second time this year that any of us have been sick, which is not bad considering the year is soon over. Other good news is that it was last week that the water heater went out and we had to special order a recall part and go for three days without hot water. If that had happened along with all the other drama this week, I would have resigned for sure. As it is, I am only in the consideration phase of giving my two-week notice.