Monday, April 21, 2008

Not Guilty by Reason of Pregnancy

I read somewhere that a woman was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity due to severe PMS. I wonder if the same holds true of pregnancy, aka, the ultimate hormonal roller coaster. Because I almost strangled a lady today. Seriously.

Liam ran a fever all weekend and has eaten no more than two bites of oatmeal and a little bit of Jello since Friday so we decided that a trip to the pediatrician's office was in order. And now I'm seriously considering a switch of pediatricians once we move to The Land of Fruit this summer.

I spent 45 minutes getting a busy signal while attempting to make an appointment. It's a Monday and everyone else's kids got sick over the weekend, too. I think, "No big deal - this kind of stuff happens."

I had to park on the top (read - not covered) level of the parking garage because the medical complex was so busy. I think, "OK - so I've got a little extra walking to do. I'll live."

Once in the office, I had to wheel the stroller around an obstacle of other strollers and overstuffed diaper bags to get to the sign in desk. I sign Liam in and make my way back through the obstacle course to a vacant chair on the other side of the room. I think, "It's Monday. Lots of sick kids. We'll live."

After ten minutes or so, the receptionist calls me back to the desk. I hesitantly leave Liam (and my purse) parked on the far side of the room to avoid pushing the stroller through the obstacle course just to have the receptionist ask me questions I know I've answered two dozen times or so (address, phone number, birthdates). Then she asks for my insurance card. Which is in my purse. Across the room. I waddle back and forth to dig it out and bring it to her. More stupid questions with a "Sorry - we just got a new computer system" as an excuse.

Then she tells me that the office has changed its policy and they now expect payment before seeing the doctor. So once more I waddle back and forth through the maze to grab my wallet. By now I'm wheezing since Baby #3 has cut my lung capacity in half. She seems unconcerned that I'm gasping for breath and that Liam is hanging half in/half out of his stroller while simultaneously making the "milk" sign and desperately reaching for the diaper bag.

But, believe it or not, this is not the woman I wanted to strangle.

We were finally seen by the nurse practitioner (our pediatrician is on maternity leave) who diagnosed Liam with double ear infections and swabbed his throat for strep. Once antibiotic prescription and two swabs later, we were sent to drop off the swabs at the lab on the first floor. "All you have to do is drop them off," they promised me.

We got to the lab where at least a dozen people were waiting to be seen. I stood at the window for five minutes waiting for a lab worker to appear so I could hand off the swabs. We finally sat down so that I could breathe (standing compresses my lungs even more) and watched as a dozen more people entered and signed in. Ten minutes later, a lab tech finally made an appearance at the window. I started to hand her the swabs (which are packaged with our lab slip and insurance information) and the lab tech said, "Sign in and we'll call you."

I said, "Are you kidding me? It's all right here ready to go."

She replied, "We need more insurance information. Sign in and wait."

I said, in my most controlled voice, "Never mind. It's not that important."

And as I grabbed my purse, Liam's diaper bag and began to wheel him out the door, she retorted, "Well, excuuuuuse me."

THIS is the woman I wanted to strangle. It took all I had to not jump through the little window and strangle her with my bare hands. Hands that are slightly swollen due to being 35 weeks pregnant. Hands that have been taking care of one very sick little boy (whom she could clearly see was quite ill) for 48 hours. Hands that belong to a woman whose back hurts so bad she can't sleep at night. Of course, she couldn't know that my back hurt, but I'm sure she could see the circles UNDER my eyes and hopefully the thoughts of murder IN my eyes.

Thankfully, my OB's office is in another building in the complex and I knew that there was a lab on the floor below his. So Liam and I walked out of the pediatrician's building, past the parking garage and through a construction zone to get to the other building and its lab. We walked right in and handed off the swabs with no difficulties whatsoever. I could have kissed the tech.

To add insult to severe emotional injury, the parking attendant revealed that we had been parked for a total of 92 minutes so we owed five dollars for parking. Had we left three minutes earlier, it would have been four dollars. Oh, well. I was just happy to get out of there.

Sorry for the rant, but I just had to get it all out somewhere. It's rather cathartic, actually. And after reading over this, if you've gotten this far, I'm impressed. I would have stopped reading about seven paragraphs ago.

But since you've read this far, tell me, would you have found me guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity for strangling the lab tech?

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