Friday, May 18, 2007

Back and Forth

Like most kids her age, 3 year old Ellie loves the phone. Since her daddy works outside the home and her grandparents live far away, she gets lots of practice with the real deal to supplement her regular conversations on toy phones and similarly shaped objects. (The remote control was last year's favorite.)

Last Friday, I accompanied Ellie's preschool class on a field trip to Grant's Farm. Later that afternoon, Ellie talked to my mom about it on the phone.

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"Hi, Gah-mah!" Ellie said.

My mom said hi and asked Ellie what she'd seen at the farm.

"Camel! Eagle. Chickens. Goats. Bye bye!" She waited for my mom to say goodbye, then passed the phone back to me.

My mom nearly cried with happiness. Hi and Bye aren't new additions to Ellie's phone conversations, but they're a little inconsistent, and she didn't used to wait to hear responses, let alone answer questions. This question she answered appropriately, in detail, with no prompting from me (I'm often whispering in her ear, exactly as I should not be).

Instead of a dinner conversation like this:

Mommy: Ellie, what did you see on your field trip today?

Ellie, eating pizza: 'za!

Mommy: Did you see an elephant?

Ellie: Eh'fant. Mo 'za?

I got several real conversations with Ellie where she was able to let me know what she found really interesting. And the camel that came right out into the road with us was far more interesting to her than the elephant. After all, she stayed way over on the other side of her pen and we saw elephants at the zoo just a couple of weeks ago.

I know that people dealing with infertility are annoyed when I complain about my kids keeping me up at night. Similarly, I get frustrated when parents complain about their kids talking too much and asking too many questions. I look forward to feeling that particular frustration.

Cross-posted at Yeah, But Houdini Didn't Have These Hips.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Can there be a balance between work and healthcare?

from Becca, at

I wasn’t signed up for this. This is not what I dreamed of when I dreamed of becoming a mom. Which by the way was it for me, it terms of career goals. Ask the 5 year old me, “Becca, what do you want to do when you grow up?” Never did I say, be a bank auditor or compliance specialist. No, “be a mom,” was typically my answer. I did not dream of auditing bank areas for regulatory compliance or spending my days reading banking laws.

My how time changes us. Here I am a working mom, with a child that is waiting for her second liver transplant. And I consider myself lucky.

I can still work; Natalie is stable enough right now to ensure that. And I have a fantastic employer. I work for a bank that is small enough to still care about the family unit and about people in general. For the most part, it is part of our corporate culture. From the top-down I have heard, “Family comes first. The job will still be here.” And this was exactly what I needed to here during those times when a hospital stay seemed never ending.

It was one less thing to stress about during the summer of rejection, PTLD, hemolytic anemia, and portal vein stenosis. I knew that my life had some sort of stability. Even if only a little.

And now, now that our time in-between hospital stays has grown longer, now it is about balance. I get lab results faxed to me at work, and during break time or lunch I can be seen making calls to the hospital. Vacation days are used for CT scans or “tubey” flushes, and late arrivals happen because a proper prograf level is done in the morning and the lab doesn’t open until 7:30. Meds are given in the morning before going to work and in the evening when returning home. And in those rare occasions when IV meds were necessary, I would hang out at Natalie’s babysitters during my lunch break to administer them through her PICC line. (And it helps to comfort me knowing that sweet Jennifer the babysitter has a medical background.)

While it’s not the job or even the career path that I asked for, I think that being Becca the mom-wife-auditor-bank-compliance-nerd-dishwasher-laundry-washer-cleaning-lady-relay-for-life-team-captain-organ-donor-advocate-nurse suits me just fine.