05 January 2011

Big Girls Do Cry, Especially Very Big Girls

My beloved oldest sweet daughter Grace has been sick to her tummy for about a week, and it came to a crisis yesterday. She laid on the couch all day, sleeping, fevering, looking miserable, and vomiting forth any sustenance I provided.

This morning she threw up yet again, and again laid down miserably on the couch. So I dutifully called and got her worked in to the local clinic's schedule. As soon as she had her coat and mis-matched* boots on, we headed to the doctor's office, where she pranced about the waiting room happily, chatting with the kind and helpful staff, admiring the fish, and generally acting like a sweet, healthy small adorable girl child.

While I was waiting to pay my co-pay, my friend who works there asked if I would like a financial aid application, since Alex is now self-employed.  I said, "Sure," and then my awesome tear ducts began malfunctioning. My friend asked when I was due, and I sniffled back at her: "In March." She said, "Are you okay?" Which made me need to cry even more, because oh, a compassionate person. In response to her kind inquiry, I thought the following:

- It injures my over-inflated pride to be offered a financial aid application. Of course there is nothing wrong with applying for financial aid. There is nothing wrong with struggling when a huge percentage of the rest of the nation is struggling. In fact, I often forget my motto (guilt is optional) when I think about how good I actually have it, because there are many people whose husbands aren't handsome, and whose husbands can't fix broken dryers, and who wonder how they will pay their heating bill, and who don't have jobs, or food, or [insert a bajillion things I have]. I feel guilty stressing about our finances, because we actually have it really good right now. Yet it irks me to have to think about applying for financial aid. I know we won't qualify, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy paying medical bill after medical bill.

- I am sleep deprived. For several nights in a row my child has thrown up multiple times, and I have had to drag my heavy body out of my soft bed to hold her hair back from her face, while she calls Ralph on the white phone.

- I am very pregnant, and I had not cried for at least several days, if not several weeks. And weeks are like years in pregnant people time.  

- I am dismayed by Grace's sudden seemingly good health. I usually pride myself on not going to the doctor unless it is genuinely necessary, and yet here I am at the office with an unusually bright, cheerful, happy child, claiming that she is sick? I could just hear the thoughts of judgers around me, "That woman must have some sort of problem, bringing healthy children to the doctor's office. She must really need a lot of attention. As if she doesn't get enough attention when she is that pregnant.  And with two other small children who aren't even in school yet!"

- I am relieved by Grace's sudden seemingly good health. I had been troubled through the prior sleepless night, and even late into the morning, that her vomiting was probably a sign of something Serious, like [Insert your favorite horrible Disease for Worrying]. Maybe the doctor won't call for Expensive Tests after all [Insert more guilt for worrying about finances when my Child's Health is at stake].

- I haven't worked out in a long time. Something about exercise works out my emotional knots better than drowning them in chocolate or talking them out or bottling and shelving them.

In response to her kind inquiry, I said the following: "I'm fine!" And I smiled, and I'm pretty sure it was the most grotesque thing she had seen a make-upless tired mother with tears streaming down her face do in a week. Lucky for me, now that I have had a good cry, and now that I have dismayed the clinic's entire staff, I am feeling much, much better. And so is Grace. Actually, she seemed to feel better as soon as we got into the car to go to the doctor's office. They have Strawberry Shortcake stickers there, you know.

* Mis-matched: it's like wearing TWO pair of fashionable shoes at once. Can't decide between your favorite two pair? Wear one of each!


The Stratton's said...

Oh dear. I really hate those watery moments when others gaze on in confusion... Glad she's feeling better. The offer is still good on the popsicles though.

The Yoder's Four said...

You were totally not overreacting--about the financial aid application, or the worry that you were wasting the clinic's time. I know exactly what you mean!

Mark tells me about moms who either wait till their kid is at death's door to come in, or show up at the first sign of the sniffles. It's hard to know what to do. Next time, consider just calling to talk to a nurse for free advice. I promise they get dozens of calls like that every day.

Hope you get some rest!

Linz said...

Awww! **hugs** it's okay to break down in public. Pregnancy gives us that blessed ability to cry, scream, or cheer for any or no reason at all! I hope Grace is all better!!

Marie Says Yes said...

I am not laughing at your misfortune. But I am chuckling, as I was there only seven months ago. So tragic. So funny. So very, very special.

Something about having an illness and going to the doctor -- it's like a miraculous cure! You should just give them five bucks for the chance to sit in the waiting room and then go home so that the throwup can resume.

Get better soon, Jenny! And you will -- in March!

Jessi said...

No sleep, crazy hormones, and forced humility will send even the best of us over the edge. I'm sure things will get better. If not sooner, then later.

The Rookie said...

I'm not pregnant, never have been. But I frequently need a good ugly cry. Alice listens as I list out my ridiculous worries and fears and stresses, snot crawling down my face.

And I hate the "you're not really all that sick" vibe I get at the doctor's office. I hold out from going there because of this. Better to wallow in my miserable hovel of kleenex that never quite makes it into the trash can than be judged by them.

I am giving you a hug from far away. (Even if we technically don't know each other--when someone cries I feel the need to hug them and usually tear up a bit myself.)

On the bright side, I think Grace's sticker was clearly worth every sacrificed penny.

And now I'm rambling.

msjvd said...

*Yeah, I knew it was going to be some "Super Star Fashionista" answer like that... that I would never come up with. Yup, yup, yup.

Like I told you when you mentioned the crying, "If a pregnant woman can't have a crying jag at her doctor's office, where can she?"

Pots and Pins said...

Hilarious! Oh sorry, don't mean to laugh but really, your post is something right out of a Sit-com or at best, a Reality-TV-SHOW!!! I'm going to nominate you for A Best Supporting Actress Emmy for impersonating a normal pregnant person - I'd nominate you for Best Actress but I'm quite certain you and Grace would have equal billing at the doctors office! This too shall pass...and sooner than you think you'll be old and senile like me just waiting for your kids to call! xoxo, Nan

angela michelle said...

Oh Jen, you know I'm with you on the embarrassing crying jags. Recently I could NOT get my act together in front of the Primary kids, so I paused for a moment and made some comment about being pregnant. But when I continued with the story I was telling, the tears continued as well. A charming little 4yo in the front row piped up, "You're still doing it!"

Is your secret stash of medicinal chocolate in place?