(please note that these are my feelings and thoughts and what I think about people in no way represents what/who they are in real life)
What a ride it has been since my last blog. It was the closest I’ve been to riding a roller coaster without actually being on one. That and there was no prepubescent teenager in a colorful uniform checking my lap bar and announcing the ever important “Please keep your arms, hands, legs, and feet inside the car and remain seated at all times. You should not ride this ride if you are unable to be restrained by the safety bar. Please stay seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. The ride operator has the right to refuse any ticket holder at any time.” Yeah, that last bit of information was encroaching on reality a little too closely. I’ve been kicked out of bars and restaurants but this will be my first experience getting refused into a country. Half the fun is doing whatever it is that gets you kicked out, and I haven’t even been to Japan yet to experience such things. 🙂
For me though, the roller coaster warning message with the most significance is probably this one: “Please observe all warnings regarding this ride and behave in a manner that will not cause or contribute to injury towards yourself (and here’s the good part) or others.” Oh come on! Where is the fun if I can’t do any of that?! I firmly believe that last warning should have been tattooed on the forehead of every person that was pissing all over progress regarding our orders. At least then I’d know where to direct my frustration.
In reality though, we boarded this roller coaster a long time ago. It was rolling along so smoothly for so long that I assumed we were on a kiddie ride. There were no insane hills to climb up and plummet down the other side wildly out of control as we all screamed with fear and pure pleasure simultaneously. Nope, there was none of that. When suddenly, the ride went from being bland, humdrum, ordinary, vanilla, boring, and insipid to this absurd, senseless, irrational, preposterous, impetuous, and histrionic ride. It was out of control and gaining speed and I wanted off before I lost my lunch.
If you’ve ever been to Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World and ridden Expedition Everest you’ll know this feeling. What starts out as an ordinary high-speed, high thrill, and totally up my alley roller coaster ride suddenly takes roller coaster reality, and throws it out the window in one smooth (relatively speaking) motion in the pitch black summit inside Mount Everest when you literally plummet (and that’s kind of a mellow term for this) down that hill you just spent eternity climbing up in the pitch black darkness….backwards. Yeah, that’s what this was turning out to be.
The crazy thing in all of this is that I’m not exaggerating. Up until three weeks ago we were riding along relatively smoothly. Sure, we had a few hills to climb and some valley’s to fall into; but nothing like the three-ring circus of the last few weeks. A large part of the problem is that when Bruce and I are told ‘no’ we’re not the type of people to just accept it and walk away. If you’re telling me no you had better have one heck of a good reason. And believe me, I’m one of those crazy people who will actually go back and check on what you just said to make sure all your t’s are crossed and all your i’s are dotted. I can smell BS a mile away….or in this case 7,123 miles away (as the bird flies).
We had to jump through some crazy hoops in the past three weeks because we wouldn’t accept no for an answer. Not true; we’d accept no for an answer if it was a justified no, this was not a justified no. For instance, we had to prove that the information in our medical packets was accurate information. Understandable, except this was about the third time we were doing this…for the same person! We also had to have our doctors here explain why they made the medical diagnosis’ they made, despite the fact that it was clearly spelled out on the required paperwork. With that too, the doctors had to restate the level of the diagnosis and provide more documentation as to why it was one level and not another. Again, clearly spelled out on the form and our medical data clearly fell into one specific category. Although some medical weenie on an Air Base in Japan insisted that the very doctors that treat our family (which coincidentally are the same doctors that filled out the paperwork) were wrong. No, not wrong….dead wrong.
Call me crazy, but isn’t the doctor you physically see a little more qualified to make that determination than some staff puke looking at a file? Especially when they aren’t even a specialist in the condition they are questioning? Turns out you should call me crazy, seems the lowly doc on an island far, far away is a medical expert in every field. To include conditions and evaluations not even mentioned in our packets. Thanks to this lovely young lady we had to prove, yet again, that our doctors here were making accurate assessments. We had to prove that they, the experts, knew what they were doing.
This roller coaster ride and three-ring circus gets better, hard to imagine but it does. Just as we were getting ready to toss our clown suits aside and ride in on white stallions for a victory lap, she tosses us in with the lions like we were a piece of raw meat. Now I’m thinking to myself (and possibly out loud if you were here to hear it): “I know who needs to justify her job……at our expense.” I love a good show at the circus, but what I don’t love is being the star of the show. I may come from a long line of carney’s but let it be known that I am not cut out to be one (don’t listen to my husband). 😉
In true form, we take on this next gig in the big top with more gusto and determination to wow the crowd than ever before. We were going to have those lions eating out of our hands in no time. If they didn’t roll over and purr like drunken kittens than we weren’t working hard enough. This time the so-called Ringmaster demanded we produce a normal EKG on one child and a full endocrine blood screen that was normal on another. “You have got to be kidding me?” is all I could say. Sure, I said other things too, but none of a quality worthy of the web. 😉
Begrudgingly we accepted our new circus act. Like a roller coaster climbing to its highest peak, we climbed to the top of the big top for our final performance.
Another portion of a school day lost for Tyler as Bruce carted him to the hospital for blood work. You know, America has a childhood obesity problem and now my skinny kid is targeted…..for being skinny? I just want to knock on the head of the moron making us walk this tight rope and say “Hello?! Is anybody in there?!” As expected, his blood work is totally NORMAL! Of course, the half a dozen other times our doctor said that didn’t matter. I mean, one more blood test should certainly justify someone’s job for at least another day or two.
Whew! First half of the tight rope was a success! This second half though, it’s a little tougher. Not only do we have to walk the tight rope, but we have to be trapeze artists too. And let’s face it, Bruce is nowhere near as flexible as he needs to be for this dog and pony show.
It’s EKG time baby. One final appearance and we can shut this circus down….for good. Everything is hinging on Trygg having a normal EKG. Oh dear God p-lease show us that you fixed the heart valve problem we found in Trygg when he was just over a year old. This could be bad, very bad, on so many levels. As a parent I was sick with fear that he’d have an abnormal EKG. Literally, I felt like I fell off the tight rope. We hadn’t had his heart examined by a pediatric cardiologist in over two years…..when they told us he’d most likely outgrow it and we need not worry about it. And since then we’ve had NO SIGN that he hadn’t. He checked out good at every physical….and Lord knows he’s had a lot recently thanks to this one individual in Japan.
Why would today be any different? For the first time in over two years (and about a million visits to clinics here and there and everywhere) the nurse asked if he had a heart murmur. She said it was real faint, like a murmur, but it wasn’t consistent (crap, that’s how we found it last time), so maybe it was nothing. Things are not starting out good….
First EKG….abnormal. I’m not a nail biter but if I was I’d be going to town…
Second EKG….abnormal. Do I panic now or not?! Oh my gosh is my baby going to be ok?
This is not good. I’m losing my grip on the trapeze and someones going to plummet to the ground and I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to land neatly in a pool of water like they do on T.V.
To make matters worse, nurses can’t read the EKG printouts and provide an “official result.” And, Trygg’s doctor was on vacation. I’m sure she needed it after dealing with us day in and day out for the past three weeks. So, knowing we needed the answer on these tests yesterday the nurse faxed the print outs to Children’s Mercy, the children’s hospital in Kansas City. We get to wait again. It’s like being on a ride that gets stuck…you just get to sit there totally helpless for an indiscriminate amount of time. Take your time, I’m just hanging onto this tight rope for fun.
This time though the waiting was agonizing. Nothing like waiting to see if you kid still has that valve problem they told you he’d outgrow…and if he hadn’t outgrown it by now it would not be a good situation. The beauty of it is that God works in mysterious ways and for a moment I appreciated what the psycho doctor in Japan was doing. I mean, if Trygg did have a heart problem we never would have known about it had she not dissected his medial records and examined them in more detail than the NYPD does at a crime scene. Sure we’d lose out on Japan, but we’d have Trygg and that is so much more important. This could be a blessing in disguise. For this I am thankful.
A few painfully long hours later the hospital called with the EKG results (Bruce couldn’t drive back to the hospital fast enough). A pediatric cardiologist read his EKG and in big black letters wrote “NORMAL” all over them before faxing them back to our doctors. Heck yeah! And my kind thoughts about our blessing in disguise finding doctor in Japan were so fleeting; I am only human after all. Oh believe me, I gave praise where praise was due and sent up more than my share of thanksgiving and gratitude and pure delight with the Lord. Talk about a relief. Kids and hospitals aren’t an ideal combination in our family.
Once again we were in wait mode. Bruce sent all the paperwork off to the necessary people as quickly as he could. Unfortunately, our Friday afternoon is early Saturday in Japan. I’m not one to get bummed about a weekend but I did not want to wait a moment longer to find out our future. I did not want to wait all weekend to discover if we had any other flaming hoops to jump through or cannons to be launched out of. Truth be told, I’m about circus’d out. You can take your cotton candy and impossible to win games with the over-sized prizes and shove it. If I have to take much more of this I’m going to turn into the crazy lady you’d pay five bucks to see.
Thank God for the Army of friends working on our behalf in Japan. I know their impact, and their potential impact, was making a huge difference on our behalf. I mean, what doctor reviews case files on a weekend? Especially ones that don’t qualify as life or death? Apparently a doctor who wants half the Army to get off her back does! Praise God and sing hallelujah we have an answer!
We hit the top of that roller coaster and plummeted down that last hill with our arms thrown in the air, butts lifting off the seat, legs pushing into the safety bar, tears streaming down our face from the wind, while screaming like a couple of banshee’s as we rocketed towards earth with more force than a tornado tearing through a trailer park. Yeah, it felt that good.
Ready or not Japan here we come! 🙂