Friday, January 24, 2014

An unfair F

A couple of days ago, Jennifer was super late coming out of the school building after school was let out. She was kept after school for 20 minutes, actually, and it wasn’t because of detention. I asked her to explain what had happened and was a little angry by her answer.

By way of explaining, I will copy and paste an email I sent to the school about it:

“Yesterday, Jennifer was kept 20 minutes after school in her last class. When she finally emerged from the school, I asked her about what happened. To put it mildly, I was very troubled and a little angry after Jennifer explained to me what happened. Apparently, Jennifer has been placed into a Robotics class for her last class, and this was done without consulting either myself or her father. If we had known, we would have asked for an alternative. Robotics is not really Jennifer's thing and not something she is interested in, either. She told me she hates this class. Well, what happened was that yesterday, she was teamed up with a student who ended up sabotaging the assignment they were given. Jennifer was forced to try to fix it, put it all back together, all by herself and, of course, she was not able to because she didn't know how. She might as well have been asked to perform brain surgery! Because of this, the teacher gave her an F.

Jennifer was very upset and her dad and I are also upset. We feel she was wrongfully given this F and she did not deserve to be put into this situation. The whole thing is unfair.

Jennifer does strive to do well in school. Grades are important and we always work with her in areas she is struggling in at school. However, when it comes to an elective, I feel there should be a little more leeway as well as some feedback from a student's parents on what classes are available.

Please let me know if you or someone on staff will look into this. Please consider removing Jennifer from that class. I would be most interested in talking with the teacher myself and asking him/her to reconsider the grade. Perhaps Jennifer can do some extra credit instead of having the F on her record.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your reply.”

Yep, you read that right. They placed Jennifer into a class that not only does she NOT have any interest in but also not exactly a knack for. If I had known they wanted to put Jennifer into a Robotics class, I would have requested an alternative class. But what really set me off was the F! I felt that was unfair, given the situation. (But life is unfair, right??)

Well, two people responded on this issue: The registrar and the teacher. I got some really good feedback on this situation and we managed to talk it out. Apparently, the Robotics class is a part of some kind of “rotation system” the school is using to introduce students to classes they may not otherwise understand and decide not to take. That’s fine. What bothered me, though, was a student given a failing grade in this class, and this grade counting towards their final grade for the school year! (This is what I found out when we discussed this further.) It makes more sense to give the students a grade that does NOT affect their final grade if it’s a class that is not required for completion.

Well, I got an email from the teacher today and it’s been decided that Jennifer can complete two assignments and, if she does well on those, her grade will go up. What a relief!

I still don’t understand why they grade students on these rotation classes but I am just glad this was resolved and we can do something to fix the bad grade that she was given.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Doctor, impossible

Today, it finally happened: I FINALLY got to talk to my doctor! After over a month of getting the runaround and NOT getting any answers about a medical situation I am in, I finally, FINALLY had a sit-down with my doc to talk about the situation. To ask her all of my questions and express to her all of my concerns. I had some complications because of the last medical procedure I went through, and these complications lasted for over a month. In fact, I was finally pain-free on Christmas Day. (That was certainly a nice Christmas present!) But, you know, it scared me, and I was frustrated because I could NOT talk to my doctor over the phone about what was going on. That was just aggravating!

So I told her that today. I also told her that I was stressed out by this other procedure she wants me to have. I told her that I looked this thing up on Google and saw these pictures of what happens AFTER the procedure and those were NOT nice pictures. I told her when I saw those pictures, that “it freaked me out!” I even had a panic attack – and I don’t have those very often. Every time I called to speak to her about it, though, I was given a nurse to talk to instead. I talked to 3 nurses and they each told me “the doctor says you need to have this procedure” and nothing more. I got a second opinion; was told the same thing.

None of this seemed to concern my doctor, though. She just didn’t care about the anxiety or stress that threw me into. She only said that my “disability,” my deafness, makes it hard for her to communicate with me, and that in-person contact was better.

How hard is it to pick up the phone and answer a few questions????

Now, I did not blow up at her about the whole “I can’t talk to you over the phone because you are deaf” thing (I do use relay), but I have been stewing over it since. Everybody else at that place talked to me on the phone. Why couldn’t she?? I mean, she’s my DOCTOR! A doctor should be THERE when a patient really needs her! And she’s been my doctor over 5 years. It’s not like she doesn’t know me at all.

I am just glad I was able to express all of my concerns to her at my appointment today. I am also glad I FINALLY got answers to my questions. I am still a little angry that her avoidance of talking to me at all put me through all that stress, but I know I need to let that go. I’m going to let it go because I don’t want her to be my doctor anymore. I want a doctor I can actually COMMUNICATE with. We have relay to ensure a deaf person can talk with a hearing person over the phone. You know, it’s not all that hard. But she didn’t even TRY.

All the same, I decided to go through with the procedure. My doctor said, “You’re 39. You’re healthy. You don’t smoke. There’s no reason not to do this.”

If I don’t do this, it will lead to cancer. That’s a guarantee. So I have to go through with it. Just get it over with.

I was stressed about it because I’ve never been through it before, but the good news is that my ASL interpreter at the appointment has. She HAS been through this. I am sooooo grateful she was there and that she took the time to tell me what it’s like and talk to me about it. That helped me feel a lot better. She definitely talked all about it and told me what I can expect from it. She echoed my doctor’s sentiment that it was a small thing and not as big of a procedure as I made it out to be. I’ll be out of there in 45 minutes. She said, “You've had two kids. If you can get through giving birth to a baby, you can get through this. This is nothing.”

I joked that I guess after a woman has given birth to a baby, she can do anything. We had a good laugh over that. (She’s had four!)

Well, I feel much better now and I am grateful that all of that stress, anxiety, confusion and frustration have permanently been quashed. I know I have some changes to make soon. I just hope I can find another doctor that is a little more deaf-friendly.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Another bus incident!

After I dropped Jennifer off at school this morning, I was driving home and saw this mom frantically running with her baby in a stroller. I wondered why she was running so fast until I saw a bus pull up to the bus stop not too far ahead of her, and the mom reach that bus stop in time to board it. It made me SO grateful I don’t have to ride the city bus anymore. There was only one time I had to RUN to catch a bus, and that was only because I’d ended up getting on the WRONG bus that took me back to the bus station instead of to my stop!

Well, today, I was chasing after another bus. And it wasn’t exactly a city bus that I was running to catch up to!

Today I had an appointment to meet with somebody. Because I’d never been to this place before, I had a slight fear I might get lost. But I went anyway, confidently holding the directions in my hand.

And I ended up getting lost. ARGH!

My appointment was at 1, but because I got lost, I didn’t get there until 1:30. This was not a good thing, because my son would be getting out of school soon. So I was pretty nervous about the time while I was talking with this lady I had to meet. (While also being aware of one other thing I had to do before getting my son.)

It was nearly 2 when I got out of there. The other thing I had to do was at the Downtown Library, so I was pretty mush RUSHING through the library to do what I had to do. My son’ s bus was due at the bus stop at 2:30, and I left the library with only 8 minutes to get there. Yikes!

I tried to drive fast to get to the bus stop, but OF COURSE I ended up driving behind a slooooooow driver. ARGH! I was a nervous wreck I would not make it in time!

By the time I got to the street the bus stop is on, the bus was already there – at the first stop!

I had too many cars in front of me to park behind the bus when it stopped at Jesse’s bus stop, so I realized I was going to have to park on the side of the road, jump out of the car and RUN to the bus stop! If I was not there to get Jesse, the bus would take him back to his school. And I had to be somewhere else at 3:15 and I was STARVING! (Why can’t there be two of me??)

So that’s what I did. I parked the car, jumped out and RAN up the street to the bus stop. And I made it there in time. WOO-HOO!!

So I’m standing a little ways behind the doors of the bus, watching as the kids climbed out, looking for Jesse. But Jesse never got off the bus. And then the doors CLOSED!

A thought flashed through my mind: GAH! SHE CAN’T SEE ME!!

I practically threw myself to stand in front of the doors before the bus could pull away. I frantically waved my arms through the air, yelling, “I’m here! I’m here!”

The doors opened and there was the bus driver, laughing over the whole thing. Jesse was standing near her, looking at me funny. I admit I laughed a little, too, but mostly I was glad I was able to get her attention. Yes! Score one for the Mom Team!

So Jesse climbed off the bus and we calmly walked back to my car. I know this was a crazy thing to happen today, and a little funny, too, but to be honest, I’m not surprised it happened. What is it with me and chasing buses, anyway?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Into the Wild

The first book I have read in 2014 is the nonfiction book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. This copy I have is the second edition, published in 1997. I read this book because I read the article published all those years ago about the death of Chris McCandless. I never knew the author wrote a book, so when I saw it mentioned in a newspaper article, I definitely wanted to read this book. Chris’ story really stuck with me. Even now, all these years later, I could not stop thinking of how sad it was that he died. Here was a young man trying to do something – only God knows what – and he ended up dying. So I read the book because I wanted to know more about who Chris was and exactly what happened. I wanted to know his story. And I must admit that, after reading his story, I was deeply saddened and in tears – for what happened to him and for the pain his family has gone through because of it. I really felt for his parents.

But reading the book made me a little scared, too, because I have a child who wants to do the same thing that Chris did: Walk off into the wild. In fact, she is set on it, planning to depart on her travels after graduating from high school.

My daughter does not know about Chris McCandless or about what happened to him. Now that I have read this book, I want her to read it, too. Maybe it will be a wake-up call, or maybe she’ll come away from it a little wiser.

Part of me keeps hoping she will abandon this plan of hitting the road, but at the same time, I’m not surprised she has a strong sense of wanderlust. I come from a nomadic family. We were ALWAYS moving from one city to another, one state to another. My husband’s family moved a lot, too. Jennifer was born in California and we moved to Oregon when she was 3. We have driven out to the Oregon coast and traveled out to St. Louis. We have also visited family in California (where I was born, too). We have definitely moved around quite a bit. So I’m really not surprised she feels the call of the road. My mom had that stronger than anybody else in the family and Jennifer has got that, too. She is really set on these travels.

And after reading Into the Wild, I was a little frightened that Jen would meet the same fate as Chris McCandless. I know for a fact that my daughter is NOT prepared to live on the road or to ride the rails or live off the land. She does not know the necessary survival skills. I have tried to help in that regard, giving her books to read on those subjects, encouraging her to learn things like how to use a compass and read a map. That sort of thing. She will have to learn other things, too, like how to catch and cook her own food and how to use a flare gun.

I am just glad she is not planning on traveling alone. In fact, she has talked two of her best friends into hitting the road with her. That is one relief. I have come across too many stories of young women traveling alone getting raped and murdered. I have told Jen that she should NEVER travel alone. There is safety in numbers.

Of course I support my children’s dreams and the things they want to do in life. I just hope they will make the right choices and be smart. I have heard how Chris McCandless’ story has inspired others to do what he did (as well as the tragic end many of them met), but I also hope that Chris’ story will make people think, make smarter choices and learn from the mistakes that happened on his journey.