Doctor! Doctor!

Think about, for a moment, all of the things or people in your life that you rely on for services.  Do you have a regular person you go to for a haircut?  One who knows just how you like it cut?  Do you have a great doctor who knows your medical history?  How about maybe a chiropractor, who knows why your neck is literally bent the wrong way, and also knows just how to adjust you to relieve that chronic ache you get?

Back home, I had a gal who knew never to cut my hair too short, because if I asked for it short she knew I’d end up crying and feeling like I looked like a boy.  I had an OB who delivered my daughter, and who knew exactly how much damage that wreaked “down there” (she should, she stitched me up after all); she also knew the ins and outs of my pregnancy experience, and brought my daughter into this world (one day I’ll tell you her birth story, and why I think my doctor is literally an angel).  And yes, I had a chiropractor because of my bent neck and he knew just where to adjust me that gave me instant relief.  I also had a dental hygienist who knew why I have gum issues (its genetic) and who did an AMAZING job cleaning my teeth.  I trusted her endlessly.  Really, she was my bff because she basically saved my teeth.  That sounds like I don’t brush or floss my teeth, but I promise you I take better care of my teeth than anyone I know, even you!

dentist

I have been in Florida for almost four months (which I can NOT believe), and am just now starting to feel like I almost have all my ducks in a row.  I never gave much thought to how much a person relies on various services to keep them running healthfully… But I guess now that I’m 31 and actually need to see doctors every now and then, and have to pay extra attention to my teeth, etc., I am painfully (pun intended) aware of how hard it is to find people you can trust for all of these things when you are in a new city, all the way across the freakin’ country.  Here’s a little checklist of all the services I’ve had to locate since moving, just to give you an idea:

  • General practice doctor
  • Gynecologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Hair stylist
  • Pediatrician
  • Pediatric dentist
  • Gym/yoga studio

Not to mention a great place for a pedicure, which I have yet to find.  Or an eye doctor if you’re most people (I still have great vision but I’m sure that’ll be an issue one day too).  Or the perfect coffee shop or favorite restaurant.  We have found a Chinese takeout place that is better than anything in our little town in Washington, so I guess that’s a plus.

Anyway, up until this week, when I finally got an appointment with a general practice doctor, I felt like I was flying blind, listless in the wind because I didn’t know who to see to clean my teeth, or where to go for a pap smear, and so on.  I have slowly been finding all of these services since we moved, but only recently found an OB/GYN whom I LOVE (without any recommendation, too!  Score.), a good dentist (though I’m not yet convinced they are as good as my previous one) and a doctor for Claire.  And because you probably never thought much about all of the doctors and services you need in your life, you probably have never considered what it feels like to not know who to go see if you’re sick, or have a tooth ache, if your baby is sick, etc.  I know I never did.

(I know, I know: first world problems.  I promise I am not complaining- I am very aware that my family is so very lucky to have these services available to us through insurance and Sean’s job.  I would never complain about having these options or even paying for them.  I believe it is everyone’s right to have these types of services but that is a different discussion altogether.  I’m just trying to express that it’s difficult to constantly change everything every three years, just when you start to feel good about your choices.)

I can tell you, it makes you anxious.  Unrooted.  Like you have no support system, and you don’t know where to go if an emergency occurs, God forbid.  And it’s hard to find all of these people and trust them at the same time.  You’re new in a city, you don’t know a lot of people, how do you know you can trust all these doctors?  It takes a lot of work finding ones who seem to actually listen to you.

Luckily, I knew one gal from our time living in Hawaii, who lives here now with her husband and baby.  She has been a life saver- she pointed me in the direction of my chiropractor, Claire’s pediatrician, and told me about a great yoga studio.  She also connected me to some other Navy wives who have told me of other good places to go for various things.  I discovered a great park only ten minutes from our house thanks to her, and Claire absolutely LOVES it there.

As much as I like to call myself the anti-military wife, I have sure relied on her for help adjusting to this place… Hey, just admitting that is progress for someone like me, who thinks they can do everything themselves (and tries to).  Have you tried finding a doctor based solely off of a list on your insurance company’s website?  How are you supposed to choose from a random list of names??

So I guess my advice to you, the military spouse moving somewhere new and far away, is to think of anyone you might know from your past who might live in your new duty station.  And if you can’t think of anyone, search Facebook for a military spouse’s group in your new city (I guarantee you there is one).  Maybe you do know someone based off of that group’s members… And if you don’t, post on that page and ask for any recommendation for anything you need: daycare, groceries, the best fro-yo in town, whatever.  Even someone like me, who is fiercely independent and likes the challenge of figuring everything out on my won, reads every post on my local mil spouse groups, and has asked for numerous recommendations for things.  It can also go a long way in making you feel less isolated and alone.  Seeing new people join the groups, and others moving away reminds you that it is a constant cycle and there are many many other wives out there feeling everything you are feeling.

You might even make new friends that way- this gal I’m speaking of was only really an acquaintance in Hawaii, but now we’ve gotten together for several play dates with our little ones, have done a girls’ night and have another one coming up next week.  Without her I’d still be so lonely!  One friend is better than none!

In all my lamenting and indulging in loneliness, I will say I am thankful for the way in which military spouses are so willing to help each other out.  The more I live this life, the more I realize how important it is to lean on each other when you can.  And that folks, is hard for me to admit, but there you have it.

Now that I have a doctor, I can check all those things off my list.  I even found a hair stylist a month ago who gave me one of the BEST haircuts I’ve ever had!  I am feeling much more at ease, knowing I know who to take my daughter to if she gets sick, knowing I have a trustworthy chiropractor to help with my chronic neck pain, and where to get my annual physicals at a fantastic OB clinic.

I’m not ready to admit to liking it here yet (I’d still move home at the drop of a hat), but finding all these services definitely has me feeling more settled.

Progress.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve failed as a mother today.

Days like this always seem to come out of nowhere, have you noticed that?  After Claire went to bed last night, my husband and I were talking about how good she had been all day.  Pleasant, happy, charming, playful, and ate up all her dinner.  I woke up this morning, got my shower, and came out of the bathroom to the sounds of her crying on the monitor.  I should have known then that it was going to be a day.  She almost never cries when she wakes up anymore.  She will spend anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes babbling away happily in the morning before she gets a little fussy and I go and get her up.  And yeah, my kid likes to sleep in.  Usually I don’t get her up until around 8am.  This morning she was crying in bed at 7:30… Not complaining because I know plenty of kids who are bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am, but it’s fair to say this is unusual for Claire.

No fever, no runny nose, no telltale signs of being ill.  I’m guessing it’s teething, as she has a few incoming teeth, but even that wasn’t obvious.  She was just pissed off.  Cried over having to wait for me to make her pancakes, cried over the Cheerios I gave her while she waited, cried at the fact that I was trying to address an envelope to stick in the mail while she ate said pancakes.  God forbid I don’t give her my full attention while she eats her breakfast.

Now here comes the part where I failed today (as a sidenote, I am in major PMS mode, so my level of patience is at an all-time low right now.  I’m not in a bad mood per se, but I’m also not feeling like a saint at the moment).  I couldn’t take all the crying, as Claire continued throwing a fit after I let her out of her highchair.  So I went into our spare bedroom, closed the door and sat on the floor; I needed a time out.  Claire is yelling “mommy!” “mommy!” throughout the house, and after about two minutes I open the door and let her come in.  She sits in my lap and snuggles me for a minute, and my heart melts and I feel instant guilt.

Until she throws tantrum #376 about fifteen minutes later.  As soon as I’ve gotten myself put together enough for the day, with an almost-toddler at my heels incessantly pulling at me and fussing while I do my best to ignore it, I decide we should go for a walk.  As I get Claire changed and out of her pajamas, fill up her little snack cup, get the dog’s collar and leash on, my dear child follows me around the house screaming and crying at me.  I can’t take another minute of it again, so I go into the laundry room, shut the door and sit on the floor.  Mommy needs another time out.  While I take deep breaths and try to count to one thousand (I made it to 11 I think?), I hear “momma!” “mommy!” “momma!” on the other side of the door.  Jiggle jiggle jiggle goes the handle.  I count to twenty.  Open the door.  See a very mad and upset baby looking at me.  I don’t say anything but walk through the baby gate, get the dog ready for the walk, get us all into the garage and we take off for the walk.  Claire doesn’t utter a single peep the entire time, so I keep walking.  And walking.  And walking.  And because I live in Florida, I start to get hot after a while and finally head home.

Luckily it is 75 degrees and sunny out today, so we played in the backyard until her nap and that also seemed to distract her from her crappy mood.  And I have to say, enjoying my back porch this morning helped to calm me down too:

backyard

Now you might be thinking, that doesn’t really sound like a parenting failure to me, but believe me when I say inside I felt like an utter failure.  From pretty much the moment my daughter woke up, I wanted to bring her to her dad at work and take myself to the nearest day spa and pay for the most expensive mani/pedi I could get.  I keep envisioning handing her off to her father when he gets home so I could go shut and lock the bathroom door and take a bubble bath, or, you know, just lay on my bed staring at the ceiling and doing absolutely nothing.  I’ll be honest and say I wanted to scream a couple of times this morning, which made me feel like a monster.  Sometimes being a parent is just so, so hard.  And other times it’s the greatest gift, on days like yesterday when Claire was an absolute delight.  Ok, being a parent is always a gift (I still can say that even today), but it doesn’t always feel like it.  Let’s be real.  Today just feels like I need a solo vacation, with cocktails, spa sessions and absolutely no one that depends on me to feed them (that includes my husband).

So while I sit here typing this, eating my daughter’s Gold Fish crackers on my lovely back porch and praying Claire takes a three hour nap and sleeps off whatever funk she woke up in, I’m going to count to fifty (thousand) this time and push “restart” on the rest of my day.  If all else fails it is socially acceptable to start drinking in about four hours.