Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Inspirational Young Lady

There is a young girl in my neighborhood who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma. You can follow her story here. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/katiehawley

A brave girl who is an inspiration to all of us; I wanted to share. Let's all say a prayer and keep her in our thoughts. 

It's "Back to Swine Flu" Season

I don't  know about you guys, but I left Swine Flu back in May somewhere. I remember I was flying to Seattle and the media was on fire about Swine Flu, but nobody in the terminal seemed to be paying attention. Armed with one painting mask (don't judge) and trial sizes of sanitizer, I was ready to tackle the air. Only thing is, nobody showed up to join me in the battle. So I went commando, as it were; no mask, no sanitizer, just my usual Diet Coke in hand. As I am posting today, it's clear I survived.

So here we are, getting the back to school gear together and hearing about the massive Swine Flu epidemic that awaits on the horizon, like a bad storm. Is it going to blow in, or is it going to dissipate, or maybe just hit hard somewhere else? Given that Congress is on vacation, this is the media's darling. I've also stayed abreast on the status of a Swine Flu vaccine. Currently in trial, it's difficult to tell if it will hit the market in time, if it will be effective, and if it has serious side effects. Today I read that there are projections that the Swine Flu will be in full swing by mid-October, well sooner than anyone could build up antibodies from a vaccine. And that it could infect up to 50% of the population.

So here's my question to you. What do you think? Is this media hype? Are you scared? What do you think of a rushed vaccine? Are you more scared of the vaccine or of the flu? And, if given the option, will you get the shot? Or take your chances?

I'm curious. Because I am pondering all of that. Here's my take, if it's worth anything: Yes, there is a significant amount of hype; yes, I am scared, I am not fond of the word "pandemic"; I don't like rushed vaccines; I am more terrified of long-term effects of the shot at this point; and at this point, I'd opt out and not do the shot. But I don't like making mistakes. 

So, fellow moms, what say you. I really really want your opinion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shopping for Jeans Is Not in My DNA

Recently, I had the impossibly rare experience of HAVING to shop for new jeans. Yes, this is documentable proof that it does happen. Your old jeans may literally fall off your butt, leaving you exposed and wanting for new denim. Fashionable denim. Hot denim. Because if your jeans are falling off your ass, your ass is now smaller. And this, trust, is something the world absolutely must know. And it must know it right now. In fact, if your local TV station had an ongoing fashion crawl, mine would have read: Lori Wildrick loses two jeans' sizes. Really. You can see it live right now at Mission Viejo Mall.

But I digress. So, armed with my wallet, a water and a rather obnoxious smile, I drove to the Depot of all things Denim: The Mall. Because, over the course of my lifetime, women have evolved from girdle-wearing Barbie dolls who wore full pantyhose, silk slips OVER a full bra, a colorful skirt/jacket combination and matching shoes/hat/purse/gloves to a uniform of jeans and flip flops and/or heels combos. We can talk about the death of fashion another day. I have to stay on topic here.

Okay, so how hard could this be? First stop: J. Crew. No, it's not logical. But I have a $50 gift card and that's like free money, so, thus, this is my first stop. Their jeans are not sized; they are numbered. Where I factor in the 24 - 29 spectrum baffles me. Luckily a salesperson steps in, sizes me up, so to speak, and hands me a 25 and a 26. And a stack of fresh denim. Oh boy. Finding two pairs that fit AND that almost screamed "hey her butt's not fat" I gave myself a good once-0ver. Can a mom in her 40's really get away with severely distressed jeans? The pair that fit best had a fine four-inch rip across the left knee and numerous "distressed" areas. In fact, they looked like my eight-year-old had worn them for half a year (had he been my size, of course). Disappointed that they fit, but convinced that I would look like one of the Desperate Moms (I'd need the bedazzled t-shirt to finish off that look), I shelved the J. Crew project and kept moving.

Next stop: White House/Black Market or whatever. You and I know it as 'the place that sells things that are either black or white'. Here, they have sizes. This I understand. And no, I do not understand what a Size 0 is. I'm not a math major, but if you are a zero (which I have continuously admonished my kids NEVER to be; a "zero" that is), that would tell me that you do not exist. So why start there? But, that's the way it is, and I'll say that zero must be the new 1. I remember that size. It was for Juniors. Anyway, nothing too exciting that made me run to the register. So I kept moving. Through the entire mall. 

At then end of the mall, having now tried on a minimum of 25 pairs of denim products, I wandered, dazed, into Nordstrom. Into their fashion denim section, actually, where an impossibly tiny salesgirl (hello, Miss Size Zero!) happily flitted from rack to rack like a busy little denim hummingbird. Then she herded me into the Nordstrom fitting room, piled high with 12 pairs of perfectly presentable jeans and chirped "Mynameislindsayletmeknowifyouneedanothersize...." 

Hopeful for the best, I attacked the stack. Most fit. Many looked okay. A few looked great. This is when I noticed two things: 1: The price must be based on the designs on the pockets. And 2, fashion denim is really, really pricey. For example, a very nice pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans, $155 (yeah, I'll be cool and leave off the exclamation point that went off in my head) had very embellished pockets. BUT the True Religions were extra embellished and they cost even more. However, the subdued Hudsons were slightly less. So it leads me to believe that if you are going to drop a Costco-sized chunk of change for one pair of jeans, your backside absolutely MUST look like there's a party going on back there. And the more you spend, the bigger the party. And, follow me here, but I am guessing that only the chicks with impossibly tiny butts would buy these, because, to me, a "big party" on a big butt would not have big appeal. 

Frankly, I have neither an impossibly tiny rear or a party budget. So I left Lindsay and her perky size zero self to reshelve my rejects and sauntered into American Eagle Outfitters. I had avoided this particular store; it's a teenager store. I'm not a teenager. And I had low expectations, I might add, when the impossibly happy salesgirl came up to me and asked me if I needed any help. I was waiting for her to finish that off with "finding some jeans for your daughter." But she didn't. And she showed me all of her favorites, pulled sizes and again, armed with a dozen pairs of denim, I dragged myself to the fitting room. I was not the empowered, confident woman who had entered the mall hours earlier. Denim had defeated me. Boggled as to whether I should try on "the Artist" (sounds creative) or "the best boyfriend jean" or the simply titled "straight leg", I started all over again. 

You know what I learned? Don't be afraid of the teenager stores. And that you can find jeans for under $40 bucks that look damned good and fit fine. And that teenagers will help you, even if you're old enough to be their mom. And that dropping two jeans sizes is fun, but the shopping sucks.

And, finally, that the best part of that day was the oatmeal raisin cookie I scarfed down on my way out of the mall. Sweet. And that will be two extra sets of squats tomorrow. Because, after going through this to buy new jeans, I am NOT going back up in size, lol.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Going on Record About Digital Health Records

I cut my finger last night. Sliced, really. Well, since the sight of blood makes me queasy, I think I could say that I could have given any good slasher film a run for its money. I was showing my littlest how to use a Swiss Army knife. As my husband has so kindly pointed out, apparently I wanted to demonstrate exactly what NOT to do. Which is it flip the blade closed and have your finger in the way.

The damage was immediate and profound. Blood everywhere. Like Carrie, without the prom dress. My husband, the calm one (and, luckily someone who is not at all afraid of seeing blood or a gaping wound) comes over. "Get your hand over your head!" he barks. "Put some pressure on it!" An hour later, this thing is still giving up the fully Freddy Krueger. Not one to give up on staying home, he starts calling around for an open Urgent Care. At 10:30 p.m., none answer. Now he calls the E.R. "What's your wait like?" he inquires. "It's a typical Saturday night," responds the nurse. "So a cut finger would be low on the list?" he offers. All he gets is giggling and a quick "yes." 

Knowing that my digit was not going to be repaired any time soon, Dr. Husband props me up in bed, clamps a brace I used when I slammed my finger in a door around it and says, "Get comfortable. You're sleeping with your hand over your head." I do not need to offer that I had a really sleepless night.

This morning, we surveyed the damage. At least it wasn't still splurting. Nasty, deep and angry looking, Dr. Husband doctored it up like a pro. Then I called my insurance company's 24-hour nurse line. "So when's the last time you had a Tetanus shot?" she asks. I have no idea. I've been compiling all of my family's medical information into our HealthVault account, and since the kids and my husband had a lot more stuff to enter, I was on the bottom of the list. I was the cobbler, as it were, and I had no shoes. "Well, if you can't remember, you probably need one. Get it within 24 hours, though, okay?" And then she very kindly helped me find three Urgent Cares that were in my plan. (Thank you, btw, Blue Shield). 

What bummed me out is that I had already picked my Urgent Care. Apparently not in my plan, this one, across from the hospital, had convenient office hours AND, the perky phone message offered: Electronic Health Records! I could get a copy of my visit and drop it into my HealthVault account. Some day I might forget about this bloody mess, but my electronic health record would remind me. But the thought of a high deductible and higher co-pay sent me to an in-plan Urgent Care. 

Nice they were, but as I arrived, finger bundled and bored eight-year-old in tow, I was not happy at the prospect of filling out SEVEN pages of paperwork. Stuff I don't need to remember and, as an Urgent Care, stuff they prob don't need to know. Like the date of my last pap smear. Uh, that has NO bearing on my finger. Or the date of my last mammogram. Or whether my mother is diabetic. Had there been an electronic health record, all of that would have been available, I might have been seen sooner and I would not have felt stupid giving absolutely incomplete and inaccurate information (I am not getting into who has asthma and who has high blood pressure and why; I just want my finger sutured).

Luckily for me, the Urgent Care was not too busy and I was out of there in an hour. A fresh shot, a bunch of Steri Strips glued in and an admonishment from the doc (via my husband) to take it easy in the gym for a few days (We wouldn't want this to pop open again. (No, we would not))and I was good to go.

While I was trying to look unconcerned  as the nurse prepped my shot, I asked him how he felt about electronic health records. "I like them. This group doesn't use them, but I can see how they would help." I told him that I am a big proponent for them, and am closely following the health care reform progress. "How's it going out there?" he asked, too busy at the Urgent Care to see all of the town hall coverage. "There's a lot of fear," I offered. "That's too bad," he added, handing me some bandages.

He's right. Slicing open your finger on a weekend and knowing that you'd be in the E.R. for 7 hours is a LOT scarier. As is making important decisions about your health based on your insurance coverage, or lack thereof. 

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