Monday, August 21, 2017

The Perfectionist & The Rare Disease

Roll back to December of 2016, it's the end of the year, well over 8 months ago, and I am still thinking about how crabby I was during our Pediatrician appointment.  Our experience with managing our children's rare disease is that the parent or primary caregiver commonly receives a list of recommended specialists; a cadence for testing and monitoring/follow-up appointments.  These lists are generally provided by Genetics but are also a source of information for your Pediatrician and other critical Specialists who are part of your team delivering care for your child.  It's overwhelming, and all you can do is your best with it.  I am obsessed with these checklists and doing "everything right" that during the appointment I became so extremely disappointed in myself for not getting "everything done"; some things were not even done in the right order. Some things seemed as if we took the wrong child and should focused on the other child instead, e.g. like allergist appointments, etc. I felt like the appointment was like an audit, and sometimes appointments can feel that way even if you're working to set the plan with your Geneticist for the next six months or year.  The plan is the gold; it's the plan.  You can't mess up the plan.  Oh but you can.

I can still "feel" sitting in that appointment, and running down the list of things we needed to accomplish...a list that would generally overwhelm anyone let alone the fact that we have two children with that list.  I was grumpy and annoyed that in my mind we were failing the audit, we sucked.  I even blurted out "why would we do that?".  I felt bad for anyone around me watching the intensity with which I was so disappointed in our management of the disease.  That my friends, is ridiculous. That is someone who is tired and needs a break.  That is a perfectionist.  There's a bright side to this in that I see a challenge and I want to tackle it head on. Knock down the disease, and take it out but while doing that I am taking my own self out with it! Perfectionists and rare diseases do not mix.  Flexibitionists (< I thought I made that word up) only apply, adaptability welcome but not perfectionism.  What do you win for perfectionism?  Does your child only then get to survive?

What have I learned?  Negotiation skills, advocacy skills, and prioritization.  I now do not just accept the list, I ask questions. I press for importance. I press for opinions, consultation and prioritization. I also realized I am not just managing the monitoring piece but ensuring there is balance in my children's lives. Someone has to ensure the financial aspect of it is covered: what's the co-pay or co-insurance, etc.  This is my job. I know that one is always going to be out of whack.  We might get the sleep study scheduled, but there may be no sleep and it may not be covered.  We might also win some, and we do.

Don't do this to yourself.  You're not perfect.  I am not perfect. You don't work for anyone but you and your family. In this case the physician sensed my stress and was willing to help but had to witness some pretty severe, unfair treatment of myself. No more perfectionism, the end.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Gone Fishing - A Love Note about Summer

The Summer "Bucket" List as written by our children includes a "Fishing Charter". This was our mission to fulfill this summer. Just a pole, some bait, a boat, boat captain, a Dad, and Lake Erie...and a whole bunch of walleye. Gone fishing, check. Walleye, check.

There's a beautiful vacation spot called Marblehead right on the shores of Lake Erie. Two little boys were bored, tired of their devices and tired of hitting each other just for a moment. A pole and some bait so simple, just wait, and wait. It was what they wished for; their dream to fish and fish sometimes at the side of a stream. This is the poetry of summer. This is childhood.

It might be the best lesson of summer. How to catch? What lure to use? How to cast and add some drag? How much does it weigh and how long is it?  A strategy lesson with math to boot. These are the life lessons that are the most fun to watch. Catch and cook. What does it taste like? Catch and release. Why do fish swallow hooks? Gaining independence, doing everything yourself. Ah, childhood.

Carpe Diem
Patience.  Learning to wait, recheck your bait, think of your strategy or whether you abate. Anywhere there's water, you're happy to wait and wait. But the charter, nobody could have worked harder. Hooking 10 then 20 then 30 then 40. Stoking the love, and the fire within, fishing and fishing with a grin.

Friendships made at the end of that pole both with the young and the "old". Trading secrets of spots, and the lure that works. A bond that will last forever.

Gone fishing. In the lake, no worries about a boat or the wake. Just boys with a pole, and some bait.