Saturday, January 21, 2017

Anemia & Why 12 Year Olds Shouldn't be Doctors

With Dr. Illegible on an extended vacation and Dr. Ginger on a shorter vacation, for my 32 week checkup, I saw Dr. Young*

So, because of the leg cramps that scared me into thinking I had DVT episode (did I blog that? I should have. I'm fine. Just normal pregnancy leg cramps), Dr. Ginger had ordered some extra blood work. That had come back that my iron was a bit low. Or, my hemoglobin was a bit low, which makes them think my iron is. However it works.

Dr. Young told me I should start taking iron supplements, but basically everything is fine. The hobgoblin is getting enough iron; I would have to be severely anemic before anything would effect the baby. He recommended I pick up some supplements and between them and my prenatals, shoot for 40mg of iron per day.

He also told me there was something wonky with my urine sample and I might have an asymptomatic UTI; that if I do, it could prompt me to go into labour early and that the treatment is antibiotics. I wasn't comfortable with taking antibiotics without confirmation, so they were going to send the sample off to another lab and call me in a couple of days if I needed a prescription.

At the same appointment, I asked him about dietary changes to help with heartburn. He said a lot of people had success from giving up or reducing their alcohol and caffeine intake. I just kind of blinked at him until he realized that I had probably already done that, being 32 weeks pregnant.

Anyway, because I'm an idiot, I bought the iron, but blew off taking it, because I'm horrible at remembering to take medication of any kind, except my thyroid stuff. But I didn't think it was a huge deal because, after all, baby was definitely getting enough.

Dr. Illegible got back from vacation (finally), so I had my 34 week appointment with him. He'd barely gotten through Hi, how are you? before he asked if they'd spoken to me about my hemoglobin, said I'm severely anemic, my iron is extremely low and wrote me a not-quite-prescription (they're OTC, but not out on the shelf with the other supplements) for crazy strong iron supplements. Then I got quite a lecture about how I must take them every day, along with my iron-fortified prenatal vitamins, that I'm going to bleed a lot during delivery, and that I needed to go pick up the tablets now and take them every day, and I have to. He is normally the most laid-back, easy going guy ever, everything is always perfect and wonderful and fine, so for him to be that strict and inflexible kinda wigged me out (did the trick, though, I've been keeping up with my pills).

I should mention as well, that I haven't had any blood work done since the DVT thing, which means that when Dr. Illegible saw my hemoglobin numbers, freaked out and put me on 10x the recommended daily intake for an adult, he was looking at the exact same numbers that made Dr. Young go meh, you might want to take some iron.

I asked about the UTI and he told me the sample had been contaminated. So rather than just call me to come provide another one, Dr. Young (or maybe Dr. Ginger, if he had them send the results to her) decided to let me walk around with a potential infection that can cause early labour for two damn weeks (side note: ever try to pee into a tiny cup when you can't see around your belly, your urine stream has been screwed up since the last time you gave birth and you have a two year old who is not even remotely slowed down by a locked bathroom door? It's not a picnic, let me tell you).

Neither of them ever asked me about any of the specific symptoms of anemia. I looked them up, and I have all of them. Like, I'm basically a walking case study in anemia. And even without asking me, I'm ghosty white. I mentioned lightheadedness and fatigue to Dr. Young. I've been walking around feeling like crap, feeling like I'll pass out at the drop of a hat, and thinking it's all par for the course.

So, I'm annoyed. I don't actually have anything against younger doctors, but it's hard not to blame age when you have one that seems so ragingly incompetent.

Ok. Enough ranting. I need to fight my pukey pass out feeling enough to get at least a little done around here before Mr. Wolfman gets home from work.

*We saw him once back in the summer to get the Monster's sub-dermal hematoma looked at (he's had it since birth, but had recently decided it was a good idea to scratch at his face nipple constantly). I liked that he explained what things were, how they worked - but not the way he pretty much didn't listen to us, and only right at the end of the appointment, when I showed him a picture of how the thing looked non-scratched, did he stop trying to convince us it was something completely different than what Dr. Illegible had originally told us. The stunned, "but it just looks brown in the picture," really rubbed me the wrong way. I'd told him about a thousand times by then that it looked pretty much like a small, light mole and that the redness was from the scratching.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Boys Books"

On my local buy&sell Facebook page, I saw a post for Baby Books and Boy Books.

And I thought to myself: What the fuck is a boy book?

The baby books, presumably, are the stack that include a potty book (the only book in the bunch that could conceivably be just for boys), a Sandra Boynton book and a couple of Sesame Street books that have the titles obscured. The boy books, I'm guessing, are the others: Cars, Thomas and Spiderman.

Of course. A book that (I'm guessing) tells you how/where to pee from your genitals can be for anyone. But a book that has something manly like a mode of transportation or a superhero, that's only for boys. I mean, it's not like women and girls drive or take public transit, after all. And why would they want to read about Spiderman? A girl can't get superpowers from being bitten by a radioactive spider; that would be so unrealistic.

The monster would enjoy all of these. He loooves Thomas. He doesn't know what Cars is, but he is a big fan of anthropomorphized vehicles as a general category. He likes Spiderman well enough (although, in the world of superheroes, Spiderman is a distant 3rd behind Superman and Batman). But, just to clear it up, for anyone who might think otherwise, NONE OF THAT IS BECAUSE HE HAS A PENIS.

Let me break it down:

He loves Thomas because a) Thomas is a train and we live relatively close to the train station; b) His Dad likes trains; c) His aforementioned enjoyment of anthropomorphic vehicles; and d) The biggest reason, he has two Thomas books. Books are are the best things in the monster's world and a character that appears is a book is, to him, infinitely better than any other.

He loves cars because a) Mr. Wolfman and I (you know, the parent without a penis) both love cars. We collected them as kids and started collecting them the Monster. He has about 30; and b) They have wheels. Wheels are cool. He loves faces on cars because... he's creepy? I don't know what's up with the faces, but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with him being two than it does with having an XY chromosomal makeup.

And he passingly likes Spiderman because I found a bag in the shape of Spiderman's head about a year ago and bought it for him. It has a zipper and it's sparkly. He loves zippers. He loves sparkles. It may also have something to do with Spiderman being red and blue, which were his favourite colours until he discovered purple. Spiderman, incidentally, also has eyes and at 16 months old, when he got this wonderful bag, eyes were one of the few body parts he could name.

I know this was an individual post and not a marketing campaign, but this mindset, this divide between boys and girls, is exactly what every industry has been shoving down our throats for (at the very least) my entire life. We're told not just this is for boys and this is for girls, but actually tricked into believing this is for boys because they like it better, this is for boys because girls wouldn't be interested. Gendered nonsense exists because the market demands it, not because products and marketing create a demand.

I think campaigns like Let Toys Be Toys,  Let Books Be Books and Let Clothes Be Clothes are so important. Not just to get producers and marketers to change the way they operate, but to get parents to think about why they buy what they buy and why they teach their kids what they do.

Obviously, I don't have a problem with what are often considered boy books or characters or toys. My son, as I've mentioned, adores a lot of things that would fall into that category and I'm happy to buy him the things he likes. But I'll be damned if I let either of my boys believe for a second that they have special rights to superheroes, tools, sports, the automobile industry or carnivorous animals* just because of what's in their underwear.

*except cats, 'cause they're for girls. Obviously.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Conversations with My Monster, Part 17: Noly

LM: Oh, it's dirty. We need to wash it.

Me: What's dirty?

LM: The noly [linoleum].

Me: Yes, we need to wash it.

LM: With the big, red vroom.