Previous Blogs from my pregnancy with Rumi

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Issue with the US medical system, continued…

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My mind has been totally preoccupied with things that should not really be a part of my everyday thoughts. I am so bothered right now in so many ways, and honestly, I cannot WAIT to move to Canada. Montreal, I’ll be there soon, prepare yourself for me.

When did this great democracy become a Communist world of “Big Brother” and furthermore, allow no freedom of choice, thought or responsibility? Suddenly things that used to be choices are being mandated “for the good of all.” All what? Non-thinkers? What is the true agenda here?

When you look at the governor of Texas, and his brilliant idea to make it mandatory that ALL teenage females receive the cervical cancer vaccination. What’s interesting is that there is very little research on this particular vaccination and no information about long-term effects. Additionally, This particular form of cancer is pretty rare, and it doesn’t proclaim to be 100% effective. There are already so many reproductive problems in the US, and he has no idea what the long-term repercussions are going to be, but I have a feeling that the very real side-effects are going to be worse than the potential benefits.

On a more personal note, let me tell you about a doctor, Dr. Janelle Henning. She’s a family practitioner, who, it appears doesn’t deal very often with babies. We took our daughter, Rumi, to her on the advice of my midwife –who was awesome and I completely trusted her advice. She said that Dr. Henning would be a bit more liberal about things and not insist on immunizations –which after all of our research we have decided that we are completely against.

The first couple of visits to Dr. Henning’s office, were very interesting. She insisted that Rumi had jaundice (which I realize is quite common, and there is no real need for alarm unless it doesn’t go away after two weeks). She wanted blood test after blood test and even expected me to sitting in an ER waiting room in the middle of winter with 3 day old Rumi to get more blood drawn since the lab was closed. I realized at that moment that she was an idiot and refused then, and continued to counter her afterward. I knew Rumi didn’t have any horrible case of jaundice, but even more, I knew that was her real color and I kept telling her that. She didn’t believe me until she met my husband, Rumi’s dad. He’s half-black/half-Cherokee. The minute she saw him, she actually said out loud, “Oh, that must be her color then.”

After that, she labeled Rumi “Failure to Thrive.” This is an extremely severe and devastating thing to tell parents who on their way to the office truly believed they had a perfect and healthy baby. She had always seemed healthy, She reached all of her milestones around a month ahead of schedule, and she was general happy and content. To find out that this child who, in our eyes, was the picture of perfection, was actually sickly, I didn’t know what to do. I remember looking at her differently, as if maybe I expected to much of her. I know she likes to stand with my help, and scoot, and roll, but was I, by encouraging this activity, causing her to not gain weight? The guilt and fear set in.

She kept insisting, “It’s not your fault that you can’t make enough milk.” and things like that. I have to say that if someone told you that it’s not your fault you can’t speak Spanish anymore, even though you were fluent once, would you believe them? The big difference here, though is whether or not you speak Spanish probably doesn’t adversely affect anyone around you.

Then she continued with, “What we need to do is ‘pork her up’” In fact she said that about 3 times before Osa gave her a dirty look and she stopped. She told us that she would be happy if Rumi gained an ounce a day. We realized then that our job was to make Dr. Henning happy, it was no longer to follow our instincts nor to use our own awareness of the daughter that we have lived with for every moment of her life.

She also insisted we put Rumi on formula. Osa had already gone to work so I had no car. I wasn’t going to put her on formula anyway, at least nothing that we both didn’t approve of. She had me crying when I left. Here I was pushing Rumi down the street, wondering if I could make it the two miles to the grocery store (and two miles back) in the 90 degree weather. I didn’t want her exposed to the sun and heat like that so I went home and cried some more. Not knowing if I was harming her or if I did have good instincts and common sense.

We brought Rumi in the next week –because Dr. Henning insisted that Rumi be weighed every week in the same way on the same scale. The first thing I noticed was that they weighed Rumi on the scale that was broken the week before. So already that was out the window. Either way, She had gained 9 ounces. We were pretty happy with our victory. But she let us know that she had every right to call Children’s services, and the only reason she hadn’t was because we always came to our appointments.

The next week we brought her in and she gained 7 more ounces. This didn’t make Dr. Henning happy, and I had no idea why. It fit in her guidelines. She said, “well, really that was the bare minimum.” Bare minimum or not, it still fit in the guidelines that she set for Rumi (the child she does not see every moment of her life). Then she told us how she wanted us to take her to the Cleveland Clinic for testing. I explained to her that Rumi is EXACTLY like I was at her age. She replied with, “That was a long time ago.” I don’t see the connection. I told her, I am only five foot tall, Osa’s mom and my mom are both only five foot two.That didn’t matter to her. We told her that his daughter Chiyoni was the same way. She didn’t care. She said I still need you to go to the Cleveland Clinic for testing. And we remembered our job to make her happy and we nodded our heads.

She got her receptionist to make an appointment immediately meaning early the next morning, and then she insisted we that this receptionist for all of her hard work We didn’t want to go, we didn’t ask to go, and now we’re supposed to thank someone for setting it up? Osa asked her what will happen when all these tests come back saying there is nothing wrong biologically. She said, “That’s when we start the genetic testing.” We are both totally against that.

The next morning I had to call in sick, and we went to the Cleveland Clinic with our full diaper as we were instructed in Dr. Henning’s office. We paid our $12 for parking and our $25 co-pay for seeing a specialist, and waited in the crowded waiting room with many sick children. We were called in to see Dr. Rita Steffen. She harvested her own stool sample of Rumi and gave an order to go down to the lab for them to collect blood. Then she took the diaper and left the room. Then a woman came in and taped a bag to Rumi to collect her pee. She asked us to also save a stool sample if she made one. I told her we had brought one in and that Dr. Steffen had left with it. She went running out the door, but Dr. Steffen had thrown it away.


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About Ryn Cricket

When I talk to people, I always hear, "I always wanted to do that," or "You're so lucky!" I NEVER want to be the person who says those things. I am not lucky, I make things work. I don't think "I want to do that." I do it. When I was in the seventh grade I wanted to do three things when I grew up, I wanted to be an English teacher, a writer and a mother. All of that traveling, adventure, and Peace Corps was just research for what was to come. After more than twenty years of being told I would never be able to have children, I had two beautiful baby girls, a year and a half apart. I spend some of my time teaching English in Shanghai, China, and the rest of my time, inspiring my two little girls, or being inspired by writing at the writers’ workshop I call “home.”

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