Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In defense of tedium.

Today, when I was supposed to be hibernating, I stumbled on a post by Slouching Mom. The post began, was titled in fact, with a disclaimer that it would cover a topic that has been ongoing in her life for quite a while now. Her tone seemed to indicate (and I could be projecting here) that if she mentioned it too many times - or too often - she might owe us, her readers, an apology for failing to always provide us with spicy new reading topics. I sat and chewed on this for a while. To me it seemed obvious that a blog about ones life would have to be somewhat redundant if it is to be real. I know that I, for whatever reason, tend to find myself in the the same mental quagmires time after time.

She also went on to say
"we each have our pet themes on our blogs, the issues that just won't quit, the issues that keep floating up to the surface"
Ding. That's the light bulb turning on over my head.

I am thankful for Slouching Mom's post because it revealed to me how much I have been struggling with this issue here, at Joy in Chaos. My writing, actual post writing and not just photos or random family news bulletins, has slowed to nearly non-existent. While this is partly a result of a conscious decision to spend less time blogging, it is also because I fear that I find myself saying the same tedious things: *I love my kids. *I don't know how to raise a teenager. *Ben doesn't eat. *Clara doesn't walk. *Being a stay at home mom without much time off is really hard. *I have no time to blog. *I'm overweight. *My husband is a saint. *Aren't my kids cute. *I want to kill my kids. *I read books. *Jesus loves me this I know. *Meme, meme, meme, meme.

That's it. Seriously. My blog in it's entirety. And sometimes it's hard, when I see my life reduced to these topics again and again, not to feel insufferably dull. And so I stopped writing. Which is just craziness when I think about it. I was writing because I enjoyed it. And then people started reading it and I enjoyed it even more. And then I thought I might be boring people so I stopped writing. What's wrong with this picture?

This week, for example, I started another post about Clara, and the wretched conversation I had with her pediatrician on Friday. It's was an ugly post full of my own hurt feelings and some positively unchristian comments about the doctor. And I didn't complete it because I was certain that no one wanted to suffer through another round of my mental ping-pong on the issue. In hind site it's probably good that I didn't post it. Let's just say God would not have been glorified by the awful things I had to say about that woman. However, I see now that I was paralyzing myself by thinking too much about what people wanted to read. Which is just more craziness, because it's not like I have a slew of people coming here every day to get my opinions on the state of the universe.

So what will all this navel gazing actually amount to? Probably nothing. I am still not sure that I will ever find the time to write as much as I would like. But if I do, eventually, find a writing rhythm, don't be surprised if I end up writing four posts a week about Clara not walking or Allison's dramatic entrance into puberty. Because I tend to dwell on things. It's just who I am. And because I am going to learn to revel in my mundanity.

I know you can't wait.

Oh and as for the Clara thing...

Basically, the doctor stood by her initial recommendation that she needed to see a neurologist, (which I respect) and she was mean and condescending (which I don't.) And I cried. A lot. Because I felt angry and insulted and frustrated that I didn't stand up for myself more. But I am over it now. In an "I will never see that doctor again if my life depended on it" kind of way. And Clara will probably go to a neurologist. Despite the fact that we don't have the money and it is causing me to break out in a rash each time I think about following that doctor's recommendation.

But I'm over it. Really I am.


karen said...

I love to read about your tedium because it makes my own more bearable sometimes!

I wouldn't take the medical advice of any doctor that would treat you like that! Your intuition about Clara is probably right on - she'll walk all the time when she's good and ready to walk all the time and not one moment sooner. I'd skip the neurologist until sometime closer to kindergarten, by which point I expect the whole idea will be moot.

the dragonfly said...

I've kind of been thinking about this too...my blog is going to get very repetitive at some point this year, because my husband is going to deploy and I'm going to be a "single" mother for a year. And that is a bit scary, and I know it's going to take up a lot of my writing space.

But...that's me. I'm writing about my family, not someone else's...

I'm sorry you had such a rough time with the doctor. It's frustrating when doctors lose the kindness and caring they should use when speaking to a patient (or a patient's parent, in this case). Please don't be too hard on yourself!! Is there any way you can see another pediatrician, get a second opinion? That might make you rest easier, either way you go..

Don and Lynn said...

I'm sorry that Dr. showed her butt a bit, but if you don't mind, I can give my advice on that subject having worked with MANY doctors on a daily basis. Bottom line, she is Clara's advocate. I'm sure this doctor sees TONS of parents who don't give a rat's behind about their kids. Without knowing you personally and how much you care about your kids, they HAVE to somehow make it known how imperative it is to have certain things done. Apparently, the only method this dr. learned was being the "dictator." Just to put yourself in her shoes for a minute. Imagine you suspect a child has cancer and order a CT scan. The parents are losers and delay getting the scan for a month or two. The child does have cancer and it has spread everywhere by this point. The child succumbs to a cancer that would have been curable a couple months earlier. I know it sounds harsh, but believe me, stuff like that DOES happen. Dr.'s see it all the time. Don't take her personally, she's trying to do what's best for Clara. I would applaud her for that!

slouching mom said...

It's when I start to bore myself that I worry about boring others... But boring myself? Comes and goes and is entirely mood-dependent, KWIM?

Anyway. I for one enjoy reading about your kids -- I never find you boring -- and that video of Clara and Ben was one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

Chaotic Joy said...

Lynn- Thank you for your perspective. I definitely understand what you are saying, but I will not excuse this doctor's behavior. I called her to talk to her about my concerns about Clara's appointment and to ask her more questions about why she made the recommendation. It was obvious that I was trying to weigh the options and make the best decision for Clara or I wouldn't have called her, I would have just canceled the appointment. And I can honestly tell you she couldn't have been more insulting about me asking her these questions if she had just come out and called me a freakin moron. And when I started crying while talking to her on the phone she continued to be condescending and ending the conversation with the statement "Well doctors aren't free, you know."

Well, Thank you for that helpful & insightful comment, Doctor.

So while I do believe that she recommended what she thinks is best course of action for Clara, I do not think that excuses her being just plain unkind.

Sigh. Maybe she was having a bad day, or something. I need to pray for her since I am obviously having trouble letting this go.

Chrissy said...

That doctor thing burns me up. You're already emotional from weighing the financial restraints against something your child may or may not need, and to have her drama added to it just makes it worse for you.

As for your blog, if we didn't like it, we wouldn't keep reading it, now would we, so keep writing what you want to write.

Sister K said...

i love reading your blog! if people don't want to read it, they won't. but i think we all like to peak into other people's lives just to see that we're not alone in coping with the day to day stuff. please keep writing if you will! i don't have kids now, but i have my own issues to deal with. "one person's junk is another person's treasure." :)

Beck said...

One of the nice things about reading blogs is that they so often aren't about Officially Approved Important Topics - and who is to say that everyday life isn't worthy of being recorded?

Some doctors are just jerks. We had a lot of weird treatment while The Baby was being brought from specialist to specialist, because one of the possibilities on the list of things that might me wrong with her WAS neglectful child abuse. Obviously, that wasn't the cause, but they had to rule it out, and in the process, we got treated badly. So I've been there.

But I do think that Clara should go see the specialist, if only to be able to have it down on paper that you DID check out all of the appropriate avenues. I'm sorry it's so horribly expensive.

Sister K said...

p.s.-some doctors flat out have the "God complex" syndrome. some are wonderful. is she youngish? depending on how they're schooled, some doctors stick to facts and milestones and don't flex. to save their butts, they have to refer to a specialty (because in this day no doctor can know more than one thing i'm finding). nursese are advocates for the patients, especially when some doctors fly through and don't care about the patient/family feelings. i wouldn't stay with a doctor who makes you feel uncomfortable or puts you down. you're the customer. it is the doctor's job to share with you all options and reasons for each and their recommendation. have you seen this dr. before? is she always like this? perhaps there is some internet info. (from reputable sites) that you can research or a 2nd opinion. i wouldn't ignore the issue but i wouldn't worry about it to the point of dwelling either. as long as she's not showing sings of major problems, some kids just decide their own milestones at their own time!

Don and Lynn said...

I was going to ask what Sister K did-if she is a young dr. They have the worst attitudes by far!

I would definitely see another doc in the practice if you can since you don't have a good rapport with this one. She could use some schooling on her bedside manner. I think she probably has good intentions for her patient, but she could work on her coldness and lack of understanding a bit.

Maybe she had cramps or PMS. A fight with the boyfriend/husband before work is always a possibility. No excuse to take it out on anyone though.

Sister K said...

especially for a pedi dr.! usually pedi docs seem to have a better attitude than some of the adult med/surg docs i've dealt with! we used to call our doctor "uncle bernie" when we were kids! but young female docs sometimes think they have "something to prove" sorry to say....

Lori said...

Joy, I never find you boring. For those of us whose lives are our very own version of "Groundhog Day" we appreciate how many times we have to repeat something before we get it right (if ever). I don't know how to parent a teenager either- by the way. And I will keep writing about that.

That doctor sounds horrible and inexcusable. I would never ever go to her again. I don't care what the excuse might be. It is not acceptable as a doctor and a human being. The fact that she didn't change her tact even after hearing how upset you were burns me up. Frankly, she can tell herself she behaved that way for the benefit of Clara, but I wouldn't trust her any further than I could throw her. Give me her number. I'll tell her that. I swear I will. :)

Big hugs to you! Don't you dare stop writing!

Chaotic Joy said...

Nope, not particularly young. Clara's 18 month appointment was the first time we had seen her though. We go to a large practice and the doctor we always saw with Ben has left the practice. So now we get bounced around. But I have liked all the other doctors well enough.

Even at the appointment itself our rapport was not great, even though she and Clara got along just fine. Maybe it's just parents that annoy her. Or maybe just me. :)

Sister K said...

no excuse...if she can't get along with you she shouldn't be given the chance to get along with your daughter! :)

bubandpie said...

Will it make you even more self-conscious if I point out how laugh-out-loud funny I found that list of blog topics? I, too, have been feeling sick of myself lately, finding it hard to write because I feel like I'm just endlessly repeating myself.

And I kind of wish you'd posted that angry venting post. Because the Christian/unchristian dynamic needs to take into account the contextualizing we, your readers, would do on your behalf. We know that you're writing from a place of frustration; we know that there is more to that doctor than the piece of herself that you got yesterday; and we know how it feels to be condescended to and made to feel like an unworthy parent. (I don't suppose you still have a copy?)

Kyla said...

Aren't we all just repeating ourselves? Our lives are revolving doors, we just walk in circles. I know I am constantly harping over the same things. KayTar, KayTar, KayTar. Geez. But I need to talk about it and somehow, people find it interesting or involving or something...because they keep coming back to hear me repeat the same stuff. LOL. I try and remind myself I never find anyone else's minutiae repetitive and it makes me feel free to keep repeating myself with slight variations.

I am so sorry that doctor was hurtful. It shouldn't be that way. She could have held her position with kindness, it didn't need to go there. In situations like these these, when there is some sort of concern, the doctor needs to be even MORE reassuring. I'm just so sorry she was rough and careless with you when you obviously needed tender explanation about something important.

If you think it is the right thing to do, take her in. If you need to talk anything through, what to expect, anything like that, feel free to email me.

Kicking N. Screaming said...

It's a web log. I'd define that as a diary you don't put the naughty bits in because it's on the internet. Well, some people include the naughty bits, but that's a different type of blog. Anyway, write what you want to write! It's a good exercise and I enjoy reading your stuff all the time.

Christine said...

oh hon, it is hard to get over it, even when we say we are.

i'm glad you are following your gut with that mean 'ole doc.

and i love your blog.


Lisa writes... said...

Go ahead, revel in your mundanity. I love it, because it's honest, it's authentic and I know I am not alone. So, keep writing sister, the glorious and the (seemingly) dull, and I'll keep reading!