Saturday, May 11, 2013

Round Two

So... apparently, Wonder Woman wasn't as buoyant as I thought.

I went to bed Thursday night with every intention of going to school on Friday. I even texted with a few Key Clubbers to arrange to borrow Wii games and a popcorn machine for the event after school Friday. During the many times I woke up during Thursday night/Friday morning though, the more apparent it became that plan was not going to work. My throat pain only grew worse and sleep was elusive.

I should have followed my own instinct Thursday and went to the doctor to be checked for strep. However, upon the nurse's recommendation to give it a day's rest first, it was easy to romance myself into following that notion and avoiding the deep-throat assault of a strep test. I did make a doctor's appointment Friday morning though... and, alas, it was strep (making me one of the 5-10% cases that are adult.)

After a day of regularly scheduled Keflex/Tylenol/Sucrets cocktails, the pain has subsided to a mild discomfort. That is an extreme improvement from just laying on my side and drooling onto a towel because the instinctual swallowing we do with the saliva our mouths produce felt like glass shards raking down my throat. (TMI?)

Looking back over the last twenty-four hours, at how easy it was to get into to see the doctor and how easy it was to confirm a diagnosis, and how quick it was to get the prescription filled and how quickly the antibiotic took effect, it has left me pondering on the "luxury" of health insurance.

Some parts of my childhood were spent uninsured, others I had Medicaid. The Emergency Room was my doctor's office, because you didn't have to pay when you went. I would venture to guess many of those bills were left unpaid altogether. It took a while for me to mature into the adult role of being insured, or seeing the importance of having medical insurance. It was during an appointment at the free clinic for birth control when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son (I always was a bit of a procrastinator.) I had sat in the waiting room of that free clinic often through my childhood waiting for my mother during her appointments.

Working for the hospital was probably my first "real" job, certainly the first time I ever remember being offered health insurance. It was a much higher monthly charge during the first 3 or 6 months of employment, so I chose to hold off until the rate dropped to enroll. Doing so, gave me the very unique experience of enduring the exact same medical issue twice, once as an uninsured patient and once as insured.

I had a peri-rectal cyst that was extremely painful. When I was uninsured, the doctor sent me back home and told me to try Aleve for a couple of weeks to see if it helped. It didn't. I remember laying on the couch, in agony, trying to lie perfectly still as my mother cared for Justin. When I went back two weeks later and the cyst had only become more aggravated, and the surgeons scheduled an outpatient surgery to drain it.

Fast-forward a year or two, following the physical stress of Cameron's birth, when the cyst returned. At this point, I had insurance. Upon my first doctor's appointment, for which the cyst was less painful than my previous experience, I was admitted directly into the hospital, given a private room in the case there should be drainage issues, given narcotic meds for pain, and stayed overnight following the drainage for follow-up care, then sent home with more meds for any discomfort.

Quite the different experience. It was eye-opening.

There are many things for which I am made thankful from Jason's military career. His paid college education and the retirement check that pays a big chunk of our mortgage are indeed high priority on that Thankful List. Also, equally high (if not higher) is the medical insurance we will have for the rest of our lives... at no cost. A couple of years ago, something with the insurance or military medical ticked me off. It was so nominal I can't even remember the circumstances now. But as a knee-jerk reaction at the time, I said I would just get insurance through the school and not worry with it any more... then I found out for the first time how much my co-workers pay for health insurance... like $800/month for a family. I cannot fathom that! I cannot fathom paying HALF of that monthly! We would have to make a financial sacrifice or change a significant part of our living style, such as our house/mortgage to be able to afford that!

I know that Healthcare and Healthcare Reform are political hot topics. I am not informed on the issues and have no real opinions on such. It's just hard to believe that SOME kind of reform somewhere is not in order. In the mean time, I am just so very thankful for that "luxury" of being able to go to the doctor and being able to get medicine that I or my children need. My heart aches for those mothers who cannot afford that same "luxury."

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Sometimes you take a break.
Sometimes you are broken.

Overall, I am not someone who gets sick very often, but when I do. I am KNOCKED.OUT! It's as if my mind and body work together to decide when I can afford to "take a break," then they work together to knock me out! Sometimes, there is no break in site and they just "Sweep the Leg" anyway and force me to take one.

This is why I am so sick often on holidays. There is no school and usually less on the community calendar, so it is like my body knows NOW, hit her NOW, when she will actually lay down and recover. My birthday was no exception. With a jam-pack calendar of craziness for the next four weeks, it was not convenient to spend my day in bed, but it wasn't catastrophic to take off a day... not just from school, but from life in general.

I actually did go into work... but it was the shortest work day in the history of my life. In at 7:50, out at 8:30. Right after school yesterday, I started having that fuzzy flu feeling that usually predicts the onset of a funk. Later into the evening, my throat became very sore, and any thought of an impromptu birthday was replaced by huddling under the blankets begging for sleep.

I went into school this morning, though feeling bad, with the plan to go to the doctor's after school to get the antibiotic I probably needed. The boss sent me to the nurse to be checked out first though, and she painted a big red X on my classroom door and sent me home with a suspected virus. She said I was just run down and the swollen glands were a sign of needing rest. Though skeptical that she didn't feel I needed to go to the doctor, honestly she has been more like my PCP over the past 9 years than the doctor has, so I followed her advice.

There was a bit of humor to it all though. Since I insisted on going to my room and setting up for the substitute (I am the one that refused to leave work early just because I was in labor, after all), my class was sent out into the hallway to await further instruction (evacuation plans?) and I was told to close and lock my door (ha!). There were comments about "swine flu" thrown around. I can only imagine the scale that chatter grew to (amongst high schoolers!) by the end of the day.

Of course... I also took the time to stuff my work bag with papers to grade and a vocabulary quiz review to prepare. I have been a pretty good bedridden patient though, save for a few Relay-related phone calls and e-mails, and creating the vocabulary review.

After all, even Wonder Woman can only stay knocked out for so long...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I am sure peppered throughout this blog are proclamations of how much I hate holidays. All holidays. Or, at the very least, there is self-promotion of myself celebrating the holidays in an effort to defer my deeply embedded hatred for holidays. All holidays.

Teacher's Appreciation Day was yesterday. My birthday is today, and Mother's Day is Sunday. I have often felt this week in May should just be declared National McHenry Appreciation Week. Ok, maybe not seriously... but I may just create a Wikipedia page for it and declare it official... hmmm!

That being said, my most dreaded holiday of all holidays is my birthday. Maybe that doesn't qualify as a "legitimate" holiday, but for tonight's purposes it does.

I know it's because I set such high expectations for a magical day- a perfect blending of a Disney Princess movie and "Martha Stewart Entertaining" rolled into one ball of confetti-throwing, candle-blowing bliss. I want to wake up to a room full of balloons and go to bed with paper cuts from all the cards (not even presents) that I opened. That's not setting myself up for failure at all, is it?

Today was a jumble of highs and lows, feeling completely appreciated and feeling completely disrespected,  some peaks & valleys related to my birthday, and some not at all. I'm going to choose to cherish the good things today though rather than allow my frustration about some issues fester within me. My biggest regret over the past year is just how quickly I let it race by. Like most years, it was a complete blur. I want so much to stop life from getting too busy to live in the moment once in a while, and to blog about those moment too, so here's one of them...

I had bus duty in the gym this morning. While away, the kids festooned my room with streamers and birthday signs to greet me when I started the day.

As if that weren't great enough (as much as I joke about wanting accolades, I don't handle such attention well... and may have hid in the Teacher's Work Center to avoid the kids... maybe), they also bought me a Bedazzler. Now, that is awesome for OBVIOUS reasons, but even moreso than the obvious reasons (Sparkle!), I just off-handedly joked around last month about wanting to bedazzle everything after watching "Gypsy Sisters," so it was a gift of reflection, thought, and appreciation. The Starbucks gift card was a pretty spiffy addition too!

But wait! The day's awesomeness did not stop there in all its bedazzled glory! Last night the Relay team waited tables at Pino's Pizza and raised over $600 in tips (and that was following our bountiful lunch spread for Teacher Appreciation Day, which repeated today with enough left-overs for an entirely extra luncheon)! And with that added to our funds raised thus far this year...I need a new poster!