Saturday, March 31, 2012

My very special day with the N.orbertines.

My week was eventful and what I am most excited about, I'm sure God had His Hand in crafting it.  Work is very busy and dare I say it (because I hate this word) - stressful.  And more than that, the Devil was inhabiting my mind.  I've been fearful and resentful.  Ugly stuff and I had to quickly remind myself that these were evil thoughts that would come to no good.  In addition, I haven't had a day off in a while and on Monday wasn't planning on taking one soon.  But, He stepped in.  On Tuesday, I called a friend of mine whom I used to work closely with but now we have to deliberately reach out to one another to connect.  I needed some information from her but she invited me to a groundbreaking ceremony taking place on Friday, yesterday.  She's a very faithful Catholic with I think, at least five children.  Stupid me, I forget.  They are all about my age.  One of her daughters is a cloistered nun with the Norb.ertine Order just north of us in the mountain range.  Check out a very detailed documentary the diocese put together.  


You can read a real reporter's take on the ceremony.  

The nuns are cloistered and usually fast from visits from family and friends during Lent but this was a special occasion and probably a good opportunity to network for donations to the new facility, so we were able to mingle freely with the nuns.  They are an impressive bunch.  They are highly accomplished, educated women giving themselves totally to God.  I felt so honored to be there and just overjoyed that the day came together like it did.  There were, by my count, at least eight priests there.  One said to me, "What's your connection to all this?"  "Well, I'm Catholic.  Isn't that connection enough?"  :)  

The nuns listened intently to what I said them.  They were perfect hosts, reminding us to eat the cheese they make themselves while they couldn't eat it.  A lot of the parents of the sisters were there and it was wonderful to speak with them.  My friend told everyone she could that I was a convert!  Not that I minded, they seemed even more interested in me and my story.  I tried to jazz it up other than just saying I married a Catholic!  

I got into a conversation with one of the Sisters.  She used to work in computer science in L..A...  I really thought she was my age but I laughed when she told me she was 50.  I joked that their tag line should be, "Being a Nun Keeps You Looking Young."  She was the only one who asked me if I had children.  I said, "No, we're infertile."  She asked if I tried any natural remedies.  I told her that we'd followed the Catholic infertility protocol, had surgery with a Catholic surgeon.  She said that maybe now that the stress of trying is over, we'd get pregnant.  I told her, "No, the last few months we've come to terms with our situation."

I told her I felt so blessed to be a Catholic and have a sacramental marriage.  That my husband is a wonderful man and our lives feel full.  I said there are many wonderful, motherly, giving, nurturing women that don't have children.  "Just look at all of you Sisters."  She smiled and said, "Yes, we are mothers ourselves and all of you are our children."  Amen!  Yesterday, was one of the best days I'd had in a long time.  My husband even said he was so glad I was so happy, I should go out and do more fun stuff.  I guess work is making me a sour girl.  Here are some photos and videos from the day.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

OMG! and an opportunity for advice!

I opened an explanation of benefits letter last night.  And yelled OMG so loud my husband was extricated from his computer to come see what the matter was.  My local hospital is going to attempt to charge me $2,030.00 for one friggin' ultrasound!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, $685 for the 30 second abdominal ultrasound and $1,345 for the transvag.  I get the pleasure of a transvag ultrasound and I am rewarded with a bill for $1,345??????

Lest you think I'm freaking out, I'm really not.  I'm in control.  I know this is a game.  The for-profit hospital price gouges and thinks an idiot like me will comply.  No ma'am.  First of all, the abdominal ultrasound was not on the order.  She just tried it... because... I don't know, she was curious.  I told her I wasn't having one and my bladder was not full.

I tried calling the hospital but apparently messed up the phone tree because getting to "member billing" got me in touch with a woman who asked me for my mental health claim number.  I might be crazy but that's not the issue here.  I want to negotiate this thing.

Now, ladies and whatever gentleman is out there... what approach should I take?  Should I pretend I'm too poor to pay (unethical)?  Should I tell them I've been such a great customer of the hospital that they should show some customer loyalty (ethical)?  Should I tell them I'll pay nothing knowing that they'll try and talk me up or even put me on a payment plan (stupid)?  I am willing to pay 10% of the $1,345 but that's really my max.  I know a lot of you have run into ridiculously high insurance costs related to infertility so I'd love the advice.  I guess the world can't reward us enough.  We can't procreate and if we want a little help, the powers that be will drive us into bankruptcy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

There's got to be more to life; It's not up to you

I like reading the NY Times obituaries.  Most notable people tend to die in their 80s.  Some get to live a bit longer; a New Yorker cartoonist, Al Ross just died at 100.  An aside, I love New Yorker cartoons.  I bought the complete anthology (a very heavy book) for my parents a few years ago.  They leave it on their coffee table in the living room and I read it every time I go over there.  I pretend to listen to what they say while I read the cartoons.  One of my favorites is from the 1920s.  The wife has just ransacked their apartment and beat up her husband and says, "I'm not angry dear, it's just that I'm terribly hurt."  :)

The obituaries expose me to other parts of the world and humanity that the media normally never comments on - the lives of non-celebrities.  What a treat!  Cartoonist, poets, WWII flying aces, spies, screenwriters-they all led terribly interesting lives.  It makes me think about my life, and other people's lives.  The choices we make.  I've been really perturbed recently by the immorality of some of my co-workers.  I asked a dear friend for advice on how to deal with these people and she gave me nothin'.  Turn a blind eye?

And then I think about all the good choices I've made in life and how, despite a serious personal calamity last year, really nothing in my life changed that much.  I don't spend money on a whim for clothes anymore but that doesn't dampen my spirit in the slightest.  I thank God we don't have a baby right now since this is absolutely the worst time since we've been married to have a child.  So, infertility has come in very handy and you thought it was all bad?  We were at Costco yesterday and you know how they have the product sample people in the store?  One lady was talking to another about child care and having to work two jobs to pay for a babysitter and the other asked how many children she had.  "Just two," she said casually.  But I worried for her.  Here I am with no child, no babysitting to worry about.  No kid to worry about.  My life just breezes on for the most part.

So, I work, I save, I stay as healthy as possible.  There's got to be more to life.  All these things we do, I do to fill up the time.  What's it worth?  I can calculate how much I save and what I'll need every year in retirement and I think about the quality of life's experiences versus paying for high dollar stuff.  My mortgage is 1/3 of my sister's rent for a dingy apartment one block from the beach.  Am I better off than she is?  Do I feel guilty for feeling fine?  Am I due for disaster?  I guess I'm not coming to my normal blog post conclusion. I'm just thinking that's all.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Your girl represents on the NYTimes!

Since I'm a subscriber to the digital NYTimes, they track my interests (sometimes OK) and their bot recommends all kinds of infertility type articles.  A woman wrote a short post to promote her book about using an Indian surrogate to give birth to her twins.  Homegirl takes exception to her methods to have children, writes a comment about it and gets 30 recommends!  Yeah!  I didn't link directly to my comment but I think I'm the only one that refers to herself as a 34-year old infertile.  Please read.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ghetto Healthcare

OK, I'm being harsh.  I chose my radiology place for their close proximity to my work.  They are OK, not great.  Case in point, the tv was playing T.MZ.. Hour when I walked in and the other patients were apparently very amused by the crude humor.  While tempted to ask them to change the channel, I just tried to block my concentration on the show.  The receptionist wanted to see my insurance cards again and have me fill out another health questionnaire.  I protested that saying I was just here six months ago and NOTHING in my life had changed; health, insurance, or otherwise.  I did cave to the copies of the insurance cards thinking I was getting dangerously close to becoming the belligerent, wise-ass bitch.    She also wanted me to fill out a form asking about my periods and other gynecological health stuff.  I looked closer and it was for pelvic/transvag ultrasounds.  I remind her that this was for my breast.  Oh yeah.

The tech was running a half hour behind schedule and thought my appointment was a follow-up to the last cyst we found last year.  Had to correct her too, that this was a brand spanking new lump and she should have the doctor's order since I confirmed they received it on Friday.  Yes, she did have it and we would be looking at my left breast instead of the right.  There was a young woman in the room with us and figured she was an ultrasound tech student.  Indeed she was but they didn't ask me beforehand if this was alright with me.  For a split second, I was tempted to order her out of the room but I calmed down a bit and figured, no harm no foul.

The lump was easily palpable and came up almost immediately.  Yes, another fluid filled cyst.  I'm getting good at this self-diagnosis stuff.  The tech found a "friend", another cyst right next to it.  And this is when it got real ghetto, she called me "the cyst queen."  I rolled my eyes just thanking God for some sort of healthcare that required only an hour off work, a half hour if they'd been on time, but nevertheless.

Dr. Elizabeth called and left a message yesterday saying the report showed "just a simple little cyst."  I think when I do actually find a tumor, I'll call everybody on this childish, pedantic language.  I'm not asking anybody to drop everything when it comes to my breast health, but a little, tiny bit of respect would sure be appreciated.

I've been binging on all types of food the last three days, just yesterday I had a bag of peanut M&Ms, and two cupcakes.  I haven't exercised in a week.  And I feel great.  We're keeping our arguments to a minimum, that is our Lenten commitment and I owe it all to my husband who is steady as a rock lately.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Getting to know you

I've really liked reading the blogger bios that ladies have posted lately.  Honestly, I'd like to read more information, some of it looks much like the blogger profiles.  I know most of us like to protect identifying details (me included) but you'll probably see me submit something, perhaps tomorrow.  This video is a bit old but I thought it captures our love of motos pretty nicely.  Those are two of our bikes and now we have a third.  Not to brag about the benefits of childlessness... ok, maybe I am.

I found another lump in my breast.  Good times, so I go in for an ultrasound tomorrow.  I'll keep you posted.  Grandma died of breast cancer so this is not something I take lightly.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

They Say I'm Crazy But I Have a Good Time

The family event went great.  The kids at our house didn't eat all my lasagna which kind of hurt but they also didn't tear up the house.  The hubs was pretty tolerant of all the squealing and running around and I'm proud.  I wore my very highest heels to the wed.ding and of course, I was the one squealing in pain during the ride home.  The most embarrassing moment was when I didn't recognize my own first cousin!  Ah, well I haven't seen him in six years.  Hopefully, we'll get the pictures soon.

On Sunday, we bought another motorcycle.  I'm supposed to be keeping this a secret and since I'm pretty anonymous here, I think I'm still abiding by the code.  It's pretty sexy driving behind your husband watching him ride wearing black leather.  That was really the start of my good mood.  I'm getting pretty stoked about non-medicated cycles.  This is fun.  The progesterone last cycle gave me an eight day period.  Yeah!  Work is busy in a smart way so that helps too.  I'm just happy.  Enjoy the music.