Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Healthyness and Other Blessings

I got home from work on Monday at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. I left at 1, but had to stop at the gas station because JP drove my car all weekend and left it for me with a cruising range of ELEVEN MILES. So at 1:09 a.m., in 29 freaking degree weather, with my little screen computer telling me I had a SINGLE mile of driving range left, I had to stop to fill my tank. I left JP him a special voicemail to listen to in the morning. I suppose I could have waited to share my irritation in person when we both woke up, but I feared that sharing a bed and morning cuddles would taken away my ability to make him fully appreciate how unbelievably annoyed I was in the moment.

Then when I parked my now-full car in the driveway and walked in the door at 1:27 a.m. I heard wails coming from upstairs. It was the Clairebear, growing her canines and VERY upset about it. I snuggled her for a while, forced some ibuprofen in her mouth, and cuddled her some more. I finally got in bed a little after 2 only to find myself too hopped up to fall asleep. I couldn't let go of the feeling that I should have stopped writing my draft 2 paragraphs before I did... the rambling words I hazily remembered writing just keep getting worse and worse in my mind until I was left with a deep-seated fear that I had lost all punctuation and possibly proper English before I sent the draft to the partner. The thought haunted me all night. At nearly 3 I was finally drifting off when the wailing began again. I kicked JP out of bed to go comfort his daughter but lay awake until he came back. And so the pattern repeated- Claire crying, me kicking JP out of bed, every 45 minutes until 5 a.m. I was so tired at work yesterday that my body ached from the inside. But, it was okay. My draft wasn't as terrible as my exhausted 3 a.m. mind made it out to be (though the partner did highlight the last paragraph and insert a comment, that said "it seems we're repeating ourselves a bit- perhaps we could shorten? or remove? this paragraph". I deleted my text immediately without reading it again).

And that long exhausting night with Claire was a nice reminder of how well our kids sleep most of the time. I don't think we've been woken up in the middle of the nice in at least 6 months. Usually it's a book, a goodnight kiss, a song, and a closed door - it all takes about 10 minutes and JP and I are back downstairs by 7:45 continuing on with our evening. Landon wakes up about 7, checks on Claire, and either plays with her in her room or comes downstairs and entertains himself until about 7:30. It's a blessing I'd temporarily forgotten to be thankful for.

And speaking of blessings- we headed to the ER (or really, minor ER) for the first time in THREE YEARS last Friday. Landon had slipped off the monkey bars at daycare and busted open his chin. According to JP (who happened to be working from home that day and was thus 1 mile away when he got the call instead of his usual 55 miles away) there was blood everywhere, but Landon was calmly holding an ice pack to his chin and asking a lot of questions about these "stitches" everyone kept talking about. I left work to pick up Claire (daycare was going to close soon) and meet the boys at the Immediate Care place. I found Landon just as JP described- dried blood all over his shirt, holding an ice pack, now asking questions about the fountain on the wall behind him ("but where does the water COME FROM? Can I drink it? Where does it go?"). We were seen quickly and though JP and I both held our breath during the "how did it happen" questions, it seems now that Landon can talk for himself and give his own detailed account of just how his fingers slipped on the bars, we weren't subjected to any additional scrutiny. I don't think a spike of anxiety in that moment will go away until our children are grown and we don't accompany them to the doctor anymore.

(Side story: Claire was so offended in triage when the nurse didn't pay attention to her. She sat very nicely in the chair next to Landon and looked genuinely shocked when the nurse only took his temperature, his pulse rate, his blood pressure, etc. She kept looking at me like, "Um, I'm RIGHT HERE! Is she ignoring me? NO ONE IGNORES ME." It was pretty funny.)

We were quickly seen by the doctor and found out that Landon was a perfect candidate for the dermabond glue instead of stitches. What an incredible invention. After cleaning the cut and rubbing some clear sticky stuff, we were released! He had a bandaid we could take off in 24 hours, he could take showers and baths, and could even attend the bounce house birthday party of a friend the next day. My two siblings and I each had stitches once or twice as kids and I wish that glue had been around back then.

Landon's "bonked" chin (as he calls it) has been our single medical issue this year, another blessing I'm meditating on this morning. I'm a little irritated I have nearly $1,000 wasting away in a health FSA account that has me I'm frantically trying to think of eligible things to purchase, but am overall so thankful at our remarkably healthy year. Claire didn't have a SINGLE sick-baby visit and neither did Landon (though we had a few nurse calls during his big stomach bug in March). JP's ear was truly cured through his surgery last year and I've just had check-ups. In the 10 years JP and I have known each other, we've been in the hospital about seven times, had three surgeries between us, and been to the ER on numerous occasions. Landon's had two surgeries and went to the hospital more times than I want to remember his first year. Claire seems to have stopped our pattern.

And speaking of the Bear. She turned 18 months old on Sunday and had her check-up yesterday. She's in the 75th percentile for height, 60th for weight, and 99+ for head. She was very angry about her shots (daddy took her, so it was all his fault) and glared at everyone during check out. I need to write about her at 18 months, but turning a new draft of my brief takes precedence. So until then- she's healthy and happy, independent and cuddly, smart and sweet, and just generally adorable. 18 months might just be my very favorite age, with 2 and 3 years taking close seconds.

Now I'm off to turn a brief and research what else I can spend FSA funds on in the next 3 weeks besides a 5-year supply of contacts (and I only wear a contact in one eye, so that's a LOT of contacts...).


  1. Have you ever thought about a healthcare option through your provider that is a Health Savings Account (HSA) rather than a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? HSAs don't expire like FSAs and actually carry over indefinitely. Plus the money is always yours (I just changed jobs and was able to take my HSA with me to use on eligible purchases). Just a thought worth exploring!

  2. Good idea, Stephanie. We had a very expensive health year last year and so put the maximum into our FSA this year and got to Dec 1 with 2 grand in it. Eek! Turns out we could use it to buy a new mattress & box springs with a doctor's note. Huz's back doctor was on board, so HOORAY for a new much better bed and not losing all that money.

  3. Thanks Stephanie- I hadn't heard of the HSA v. the FSA, I wonder if my firm offers it? Last year we hit our full family deductible (between my delivery, Claire's birth, JP's ear surgery, and Landon's ear tube and adenoidectomy) so I haven't had a situation where we've used less than a quarter of our reserved funds (and I even drastically reduced the allocation). We're all going to the dentist in the next 2 weeks and doing a few other check-ups, so that should use up at least half. And as I told JP the other day, if someone had said, you can all have a healthy year but you're goign to lose about $500 of pre-tax money, I would have taken the deal, so I'm just trying to keep that in mind...

  4. I really love reading your blog, but I am a first time commenter. I'm pregnant with my first baby. Like JP and you, we will be a two-career family with demanding hours. I would LOVE to hear more about how you raised such great sleepers - any advice is welcome!

  5. What about teeth whitening? It's not covered by my insurance plan and my dentist wanted $600 to create a customized tray for my teach along with the treatments. Of course it's not very practical, but it burns a lot of money quickly.

  6. LonghornBlonde12/7/11, 1:04 PM

    you might also want to check out the firm's policy on using the funds. in recent years, more companies have moved toward allowing you up to 3 more months in the following calendar year to use the funds in your FSA. my current employer allows us to use funds through March 15, while my husband's allows expenses incurred through February 28. His past employer allowed expenses incurred through March 31. Not that you're necessarily planning to have any major illness or anything in the next few months, but it might give you time to plan for something. I think FSA covers chiro and some chiros provide massages so that might be a relaxing way to use some of those funds up if you had more time!

    Or consider something like LASIK (which totally rocks. Ten years later and I'm still 20/10 in both eyes after being extremely nearsighted with a big astigmatism. Husband had his 8 years ago and is still 20/10 as well. He could drive in familiar areas without glasses but still feels it was supremely worthwhile.)

    the IRS has revised guidelines around what constitutes an allowable expense so you might want to look through there to get some ideas on what you could do.

  7. Ours does allow for 3 extra months, but at least last year - that was only to submit your claims, the actual expense had to have been incurred in the previous calendar year. I'll clarify though. I do know that teeth whitening, electric tooth brush accessories, or any other cosmetic procedures/items aren't covered, and neither or OTC drugs (which used to be- one year I took about 10 things of childrens pain meds to a local children's shelter). I've thought about Lasik- JP had it done and it was life changing (he was nearly legally blind), but I have 20/20 vision in my right eye, so even without my contact in, I can get around pretty well (just can't drive and I get headaches after an hour or two).

  8. OTC meds can be covered with a doc's rx. So, if you take allergy meds, for example, you could call your doc and get the rx and then stockpile.

    Per the IRS -,,id=227301,00.html


  9. Prescription sunglasses? You can get some nice designer ones, and it will be 100% covered with the FSA funds. You can also get the nonRX lenses so you can pop them in if need be. Tax free Coach sunglasses? yes, please. First aid kits are also tax deductible.

    Also? I'm guessing you might change your mind about 3 with Claire... Landon seemed pretty darn compliant. Claire sounds like she has a personality much more like my daughter, who has been a huge challenge at 3. It's like 80% awesome, and 20% OMG, how much can I get for you on Craigs List?

  10. So glad everything turned out ok with Lan-man! And your brief!

  11. I am laughing that 18 months is your favorite age. My oldest is about to turn 22, and I have to say that 18 months was my absolute least favorite age with all of them!

    Go to the dentist. I can blow over $1000 easy just taking everyone in for a cleaning and whatever followup he recommends. We have great medical insurance, but terrible dental.

  12. Just wanted to end my lurking to quickly comment that A) I'm glad everyone is OK and turned OK! I can imagine that the Urgent Care/ER would have been unnerving, given your experiences (my family has had run ins with overly aggressive people at CPS. The whole thing still looms as a shadow) and B) to thank you for writing this blog. Truly. As a female currently in college who plans on pursuing an ambitious, academic career -- and who is painfully undecided between medicine and law, as I currently can't imagine my life without either -- it brings me a great deal of hope and relief to see someone with a career such as yours having and managing a healthy and well-adjusted family (including having a husband who supports all of it). I hope I don't sound odd or creepy saying it; but you and your blog have truly been inspirational to me.


  13. this is the trouble with FSAs and the reason the associate committee at my firm has been lobbying for HSAs for a few years. (we're finally getting a HSA option next year.) good luck finding a way to use the money!

  14. Sorry, I thought teeth whitening was covered. Maybe it was covered back when my husband was using an FSA in 2007, but not now since the rules have changed. Stupid rules.