It’s been quite awhile since my last post – despite my best intentions I just haven’t had time to sit down and chronicle my thoughts and experiences. Life is busy – but blessed. Our little family has moved to a home in one of the little villages near Mt. Hood, which is as beautiful as you’d imagine. (There’s quite a bit more traffic up here than I was expecting though!) There are still plenty of boxes that need to be unpacked, but I’m hoping to have more time for this little corner of the internet now that we’re settling into our new place.
There’s a lot going on in life right now. I’m still heavily involved in hospice volunteer and NODA work, and I’ve also begun a birthing doula program (the skills for birth and death doulas are very similar and I’m really enjoying adding this other “dimension” of “being present” [with women specifically] to my skillset). I’ve dropped my course load down to half-time for my BA in Religion so that I have time for everything that I want to be doing right now. I absolutely love my world religion and philosophy classes (the information is very useful in my “work”), but I’m not keen on the classes that I don’t feel connected to — especially when I know how much money they’re costing me!! Yes, I have a 4.0 GPA right now, but it means very little to me when I think about the financial hit this degree is giving me. I try not to think about the fact that in order to be a Catholic Chaplain I’ll need a Master’s degree — which is even more money! (But at least I’ll find all the classes in an MA applicable to my life and interesting.) I am looking forward to my next class though — web design!! It’s been about a decade since I took a web design class, and I know things have changed a lot — it’s going to be fun. :)
Truthfully, I toy with the idea of just getting my birth and death doula credentials, making myself available for whatever donation people feel they can afford, and not worrying about the chaplain idea. I get to spend a lot more “hands on” time with people as a doula than I would as a chaplain. Hospice chaplains end up with heavy patient loads that seriously limit how much time they can actually spend with each patient, which means less time for making the heart-connections that I love so much. As a hospice volunteer I get to spend as much time with patients as I want — really I’m only limited by my own family and life schedule. I love this work, and I understand my initial pull toward chaplain work, but I’m in no hurry to spend the crazy amounts of money that the degrees will cost me. I’m already 37 — and we’ll be paying off my husband’s student loans for years… adding mine to the mix, and then whatever loans the boys end up needing… the financial implications are insane. (Why the heck can’t our education system be like the rest of the developed world! Ugh!)
Speaking of my amazing boys. :) We’ve finally managed to get useable insurance – we qualified for state insurance for the next year – so we’re trying to catch up on health concerns that we haven’t been able to afford dealing with until now. I’ll admit to having some trauma and a bit of ptsd when it comes to seeing doctors myself – which apparently makes me a bit unstable even when my kids are the ones being checked out. I just feel like I’m on trial the entire time, my heart races, I’m nauseated… it’s awful. Thankfully, the boys haven’t had the negative experiences I have, so they handle the presence of doctors fine.
In all the recent flurry of evaluations we’ve discovered that the Philosopher has a tethered spinal cord, as well as some other things going on, so we’re in the process of tests, imaging, and the like to see if surgery is going to be necessary or not. In the meantime, he’s in physical therapy with a special therapist to help limit the degeneration that’s been happening. Thankfully it’s been helping, so while he still needs a cane, he’s now able to sit up for a longer period of time. In the next few weeks he’ll be seeing a geneticist, neurologist, cardiologist, and rheumatologist. It’s going to be a whirlwind of tests, but we’re hoping for some good answers.
The Professor had his first doctor visit in many years this past week and did a great job. He has a really hard time with touch, but the doc was very understanding and I think she’s going to be a good fit for all of us — hopefully for a long time. (Of course, so much depends on how long we have insurance!) He handled the bloodwork like a champ (I think the urine test was more disturbing) :), and we’re hoping to get answers to his blood sugar issues soon. We’ll brainstorm with the doc more at his follow-up appointment in a couple weeks. Struggling with digestive issues of all kinds has been such a normal part of his life, I don’t know what it would be like to get to the bottom of it all. With our weird genetics I don’t know if there will be a solid answer though! :)
Okay, so I managed to get through a primary care provider visit for myself yesterday. She was really understanding with my crazy physical response just to being in the room with her. :) We did an EKG to get a baseline and lined up a variety of specialists to try to get on top of my healthcare. Without usable health insurance, I haven’t been able to be responsible about any of my ongoing issues – things like echocardiograms to keep an eye on my prolapsed mitral valve and EEGs to stay on top of my weird seizures – and I was feeling really embarrassed about it. Thank goodness the doc was understanding and didn’t make me feel any worse, she just got down to business and started lining up specialists to send me to — an echo, cardiologist, neurologist, gynecologist and I think rheumatologist — or maybe we decided to do that last one later. Anyway, our family schedule is going to be really busy for awhile as we get all these specialist visits done. I’m tired just thinking about it all… I’d much rather stay home and ignore the issues, but that’s irresponsible when I actually have the ability to do something about them!
So, life goes on… Hopefully I’ll be by here every once in awhile to try to catch some of the moments as they fly by and store them here. Every time I turn around things are changing… and yet so much stays the same.
…It’s all Grace.