Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm a typical father

Poor DH has been down with a cold/flu bug the last few days. And I myself spent yesterday down, after a trip to the hospital complaining of chest pains. They couldn't figure out anything wrong, so assumed it is a strained muscle. I let DH act as pharmacologist and mix up some painkillers and vitamins for me until the pain went away.

Although I chose a doctor and hospital that is an hour's drive from the mountain house, I'm glad I did. I never have to wait for an appt and I have had to go in twice for urgent lab work, such as yesterday, and never had any trouble. If they were not so accommodating I might be more hesitant to even go to the doctor at all. I suppose that one statement alone could get us started on a debate over the health care system, but I can not debate it since I don't have a solution.

Being pregnant is a reminder of how controversial motherhood is. Yeah, I've known that for years, but never paid that much attention. But now I am reminded that any decision I make, no matter how seemingly insignificant, causes people to line up in camps both for and against my decision. From how you fold a cloth a diaper, to the pros/cons of Baby Einstein, to your choice of stroller, from working (or not), to how you plan to deliver, to home schooling, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Pretty much from the moment we found out we were expecting, I made the decision not to read or participate in these debates in any way. For one thing, out of necessity, my baby is a minimalist baby. There is no point in me spending hours researching the merits of Baby Einstein when I don't even have a DVD player. It took me about 3 minutes to decide that the cheapest fire-department approved car seat is just fine for me, as opposed to the one with cupholders and a built in mobile and awards from JD Power and Associates. Second, DH is fully schooled in maternity nursing and has attended and had hands-on participation in a delivery. I know that doesn't make him an expert, but in my eyes he's pretty close, especially compared to myself. Third, as someone pointed out to me just this morning, the Information Superhighway has become the Information Dumptruck. There is simply too much to filter - I need to rely on my own intelligence and instincts rather than what everyone else says.

I'm afraid even this one decision of mine is controversial. Earlier this week I was scolded by one of my doctors when she asked me to watch birth videos on YouTube and I refused. She told me I was behaving "like a typical father". I was not offended by her statement, though I suppose a "typical father" might be. I'm just not going to participate in the Information Dumptruck.

Example: yesterday's chest pains. Of course I was not about to be a martyr and suffer with it, or stick my head in the sand and pretend it wasn't happening. Of course I wanted to know if I should make the hour-drive to my hospital or go to an emergency room that is closer. So yes, I Googled "pregnancy chest pain" and "pregnancy right shoulder pain" since it was radiating out to the right. Well, it turns out there are about a hundred different things it could be. Some of them absolutely life-threatening, some not. Therefore I still had no idea what was causing my pain. I stopped right there and called my nurse. I was not about to waste my time filtering through the garbage trying to self-diagnose. I was not going to post my question on a message board to see what the rest of the Yahoos thought. You may argue that doctors don't know everything and we must be our own health advocates, and I agree. But I also think that my doctor's "filter" was a lot faster than my own, and though he was unable to give me a diagnosis, he was at least able to quickly filter out any life-threatening diagnoses and confirm that The Bun was oblivious to my pain and was not in any danger at all.

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