Sunday, December 28, 2008

I don't think cookies will be enough...

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we cannot foresee. ~Marian Wright Edelman

When is the last time you saw a movie? I love the movies, but am never motivated to go anymore. It always seems like there are so many things to do and they are so much easier without a lil' one in the backseat...whining because he's bored out of his gourd, so I usually choose the boring stuff over the movies when we can get away for a small moment. We haven't seen a movie since the week after Corbin was born..almost to the minute to be exact. I had the baby blues and was upstairs crying, reading What to Expect the First Year, when Richard decided it was time to step away ;) Pretty funny looking back on it now, but that was the best movie I've ever seen...Juno...I liked it, but with the reminder that the world still exists outside these four walls...there was a special touch added to the experience. Well, we decided it was time again last night..almost an entire year later...to venture down to our local theater and spend two glorious hours in someone else's world. Will Smith's to be exact. 

Seven Pounds. Not exactly the Christmas delight you would hope for on the weekend after this glorious holiday, but we thought it looked worth the $17 it cost for the freakin' matinee and it was. I won't spoil it for you, but it was sad in the same weird sense as the Bucket List. A necessary "too bad the world is the way it is" way. It was sad that Will Smith's circumstances were what they were, but it was beautiful what he could do, and was willing to do, for other people. Good people. While sitting in the theater, it hit me like a ton of bricks...I think someone did this for us. No, no one gave us an organ, but possibly did something incredible for us...maybe without knowing it.

So I'm almost sick of writing about this, but we are going to beat this dead horse one more time. Drum role please....Oh yes..you guessed it..Corbin's infamous "procedure"...oi vey! So here goes..I promise, this is the last time, but trust me...its a good one. So on a financial note..it really sucked. Since Richard changed jobs in September, our insurance changed for the third time since Corbin was born. First, we added him to TWC, then I quit, so we went onto Richard's old job's insurance, and finally, we are now on Richard's new job's insurance...and although it's not crazy expensive...we have acquired quite a deductible. $4K quite a deductible..those insurance bastards. We are even arguing with Cigna (the old job's insurance) at the moment because they are claiming Corbin had a pre-existing condition..yes..a four month old..with a pre-existing condition..insurance bastards! Soooo, the cost was an obvious and unavoidable detail in our quest to feed Corbin something other than his golden milkies. The sucky part was that we saved a good amount of money while I was pregnant as a security blanket in case anything happened and I had to be on bed rest...trust me, I asked every time I went to the doctor..in hopes of slightly high blood pressure or a little protein in my pee. Nothing life threatening, just a little break from hauling a small whale around all day ;) I'm sure my fellow mommy-to-bes would concur. Well, Corbin didn't follow through on giving this mommy a break, so we used a good portion of the money to pay off our car, so I could stay home. I guess that was a pretty decent consolation prize. :) We still had some in our account to save for a rainy day that our beautiful baby boy decided to eat..literally.  After his milk addiction hit an all time high around 6-7 months, we were able to start inflating that baby back up. This is like Zoloft to an accountant...until someone swiped my drug supply somewhere around "$4k deductible"..those insurance bastards. So while I was on my way to a MacBook, Corbin's belly took precedence. We figured everything would work out, so we just took a deep breath and made the call to make the appointment. 

Now let me tell you about my favorite nurse...we'll call her Nurse Nancy (this one goes to Richard..for some reason he finds this fake name very amusing). She has answered the 700 calls I've made to Corbin's GI office. It even got to the point that when I said "This is Alissa"..she would say "Corbin, right?" I responded with "Wow, I must call a lot." :) She claimed that it was just that since they were still trying to diagnose him...she was familiar with his case. I, personally, think it was cause I call too much ;) New mom with a screaming baby syndrome. Nurse Nancy even bumped us up in line when it came to doing the biopsy. We were supposed to wait two weeks and she called on the Friday morning before with a cancellation for Monday....she had booked us early :) We heart Nurse Nancy. Out of curiosity and planning purposes (like it even mattered at this point), I asked if she could let me know how much it would cost us..because of those insurance bastards and their deductible. Of my bloggy friends who know me..I must add that for the first time..these weren't my exact words. She called back with better news than I was expecting, but still quite a hit to our poor sad "Zoloft" account. But it was worth it, so I'd just have to wait on my MacBook. 

So we got through that day, then Thanksgiving, and now Christmas. A couple of weeks ago we received our medical bills. Much to our surprise...there was a big fat ZERO next to the "you owe this amount" line. There was a small bill for the laboratory...well smaller than the total we were expecting..but all the other bills equaled NADA. Definitely thinking it was a mistake, Richard contacted BCBS to find out what was going on. It turned out that the procedure and the anesthesia were supposed to be approved prior to the actual event. This never happened, so by law, they had to eat the cost! Oh yes...eat like almost $5K for the anesthesia (it took 15 minutes..possibly just 5) and almost $7K for the actual endoscopy (for 30 minutes of work and 30 minutes of making us feel like sh*t)...leaving us with a measly $480 for the lab work :) WTF...not that I'm complaining..but seriously...WTF!

So I'm sitting there watching Seven Pounds and the last conversation I had with Nurse Nancy dawned on me. After she called to move up our day and I asked her the price of the therapy inducing day o' fun, I said..and I quote...if my son can have birthday cake for his first birthday, I will pay you a million dollars...not that I have a million dollars, crap, I have no idea how we're going to pay for this. Nurse Nancy already knew about the $4K deductible (and the insurance bastards) plus she had already confirmed that she got the fax of our new insurance that Richard had sent over when she gave us the quote on how much it would end up being. So what do you think happened? I know what I think. Maybe she accidentally forgot to get it approved or maybe it was someone else in the office. Maybe the 72 hours it takes to get insurance approval was a moot point because she called on Friday and the procedure would be Monday...maybe she moved us up for that purpose. Or maybe we slipped through the cracks and got a special gift from the universe that could see that these two struggling parents needed to catch a break...needed a small pat on the back for whatever it is that we had done...good or bad. All I know is that I like to believe that there are people like Will Smith in this world. And I'm choosing to believe that Nurse Nancy was ours. 

I started bawling in the car after the movie. Thinking that this is what could have happened. That someone could have seen what we were going through..what people go through everyday...and decided to give us a little light at the end of a hard year. We have seen a lot in the past 12 months. We've hit some rough times..I'm sure there will be worse in our future (like the day Corbin steals our car and wrecks it into a State Trooper..oi) and we have seen the beauty that is the simplest and most precious gifts someone can receive. The worst in people and the best. I have spent the past year focused on my own issues...reforming who I am and deciding who I need to become. It has been a rich journey and I have accidentally documented the entire thing. Just another gift I didn't know I was giving myself. I know this is a defining time in my life and what started out as just the pure love of writing, has become the reminder of the best and hardest things we face in life. With this, my New Year's resolution is the stop looking inward and start looking outward. This life isn't all about what I have done for my own family, but what I can also do for others. Nurse Nancy helped me see that. So in the next year, I hope I can help someone else see what she has shown me and give them the gift of a light at the end of their tunnel. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peek-a-boo

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Life goes on. Sometimes on and on and on. Other times it seems like the end of the world, but in the end...life goes on. I'm sitting in my living room. Everything is sooo still and all I can hear is the sound of Corbin's white noise machine through the monitor. I don't get very many moments like this and due to my type A personality...very few urges to enjoy them. There are toys everywhere...and I mean EVERYWHERE, dishes all in the sink, and dust on the hardwood floor under the foyer table...along with slober handprints next to it. But I'm just sitting in my living room. It's so peaceful in my one small moment. 

 We got the results to Corbin's biopsy and as predicted, they were normal. This, of course,fantastic news...although, it's almost a reminder that some people were right and I was..I'll say it...wrong. I could hear them thinking "I told ya so"..even though they wouldn't dare say it. The really good thing that is  came out of the procedure was that we know Corbin is just fine. I know now that it was a series of necessary events to come to the current place where we are...a way of molding me into this mother I have become. Even though, I truly believe this..and love how Sally rolls her eyes everytime I say this next bit (Exactly why I love her) along with my husband's complete annoyance by it...I still struggle with the guilt of thinking I put my family through something completely unnecessary and very difficult. I used to be this girl who was SO opinionated...still am to an extent...but I've learned that you shouldn't really have an opinion if you've never felt what you are judging. I was going to put Corbin in daycare and keep my career, I wasn't going to be that first time mom that called the pediatrican at the first sight of a runny nose, I was going to know exactly what I was supposed to do. It's a humbling thing when you find out that you have no idea what you are talking about. ;) And a very adult thing to admit it. So...so far we've given Corbin white meat and he did awesome. Chows down on some chicken...one step closer to only having to make one meal. And we heard from the dietician, as promised. She told me that it could possibly be the fiber that Corbin's body is having a hard time with and, as the doc mentioned, we would have to train it to digest the cereal grain. So I started trying...he had oat teething biscuits and although he got pretty gassy, he didn't scream or stop eating like before. I'm elated by this!

I just can't get over how we all grow up so fast. Just a few weeks ago, I looked at Corbin and realized he was a little boy. Yes I know that I am stating the obvious, but he wasn't a baby anymore. He no longer needs me to do certain things and at times makes that quite clear! I can tell him things and he actually does them (give him a few years...I mean months..... and I could be singing a different song)...it's insane to me to think that just 11 short months ago, he could barely open his eyes. Now if I tell him he can't go up the stairs without mommy..he comes BACK DOWN! Talk about development. He has also started to fight growing up! Can you even imagine that this lil' guy already knows that we forever just want to be young again???? Always looking back at what once was! He refuses to feed himself and drink from a sippy. Just wants mommy to do it. And I don't mean with a utensil..I mean with his freakin' fingers. Nope not having it. Richard finally got him to do it and we went CRAZY..YAY, YAY, YAY...he immediately got hysterical. As if to say...this is all happening too fast :( I agree, Corbin. 

Sometimes he stops playing to crawl over and give me a hug or a kiss then returns to his curiosity. I must be doing something right. We all grow up way too fast. Just 11 months ago....I was a baby too. And now, especially after his procedure...I'm not a baby anymore. I see things through different eyes. Through grown-up eyes. 11 months ago I was someone who had it all figured out. And now, I don't have a clue. All I know..all I need to know..... is that I love my son and my husband. Do you really have to figure anything else out? Does everything have to have a rhyme or reason...a logical order? I've learned to keep it simple. People are who they are...only our circumstances change...we control how we react to them. My circumstances felt like the end of the world to me, but they weren't. They were just another step in my growing process. And at the other side, I grew A LOT. But I've noticed something else in this "process"..I get to be young again. I was sitting in my living room yesterday watching Corbin. He was ecstatic that I let him play with the paper towels in our closet. Such a small thing. I just watched him for at least 20 minutes thinking that I am so lucky to have these minutes, not only to be with him, but to enjoy the little things that I took for granted just 11 months ago. I had lost this girl that I once was. Free spirited, passionate, strong. I grew up and forgot all of those things..replaced them with the responsibilities of Corporate America and through Corbin...I found her again!