Thursday, June 4, 2009

My First Giveaway and My Sixty-Eleventh Rant

First the rant. (You're welcome.)

Yesterday while waiting for the morning school bus, my neighbor told me that she's just been diagnosed with long-standing Lyme disease. As in, her blood work shows that she's had it for a long while -- probably a year or so. When I asked her whether she had been aware of being bitten by a tick, she said no, but that her health has been dodgy for the last year -- urinary tract infections, aching joints, heavy fatigue, and the like. At one of her many doctor visits prior to diagnosis, she mentioned the fatigue and was told, "Well, you're a mom. Of course you're tired."


I am sure that the medical establishment does this frequently -- brushes off complaints of fatigue from women (particularly mothers) because it is assumed that we, in our multiple roles as caregivers, workers, home tenders, etc., tend to overdo it, get tired, and then whine about it. OF COURSE YOU'RE TIRED, the message runs, YOU POOR LITTLE THING, YOU'RE OVERDOING IT AND CAN'T BE TRUSTED TO PROPERLY GAUGE YOUR OWN HEALTH AS A RESULT. And the medical inquiry stops there. And the potential Lyme disease, or potential depression, or potential thyroid problem, or potential anemia, or potential (fill in the blank) goes undiagnosed and untreated.

(Please pardon the shouting, but I am THAT PISSED OFF.)

Has this happened to you? Because it's happened to me. The exhaustion I felt when the kids were littler and before my kidney failure asserted itself through high blood pressure was bone-deep and pervasive. My then-doctor tested me for anemia (negative), but stopped there. Was there anything else wrong with me? Who can say? It's quite possible that my on-again, off-again depression was lurking, or that the early signs kidney failure were asserting themselves. There's no way to know, now, whether there was something treatable going on that would have spared me some of that exhaustion that I could ill-afford.

AND! Can you in your wildest dreams imagine any doctor saying something similar to a male patient complaining of fatigue? Michael and I both work full-time, stressful jobs. We put in a fairly equitable amount of house- and parenting-work. And yet, I guarantee you that if he were to complain to his doctor of heavy fatigue, he'd get tested up, down and sideways for heart problems, blood disorders, and anything else the doctor could dream up. There is no way in hell that his doctor would say "Well, you're a father -- of course you're tired" and send him on his way with a pat on the head.

This makes me so angry I could SPIT.


Now, the fun stuff! A few weeks ago I was contacted by the nice people at All Children's Furniture and offered a chance to do my very first bloggy giveaway. I must admit to being somewhat ambivalent at first -- I have no experience with this company and can't vouch for them in any real sense -- but the person who contacted me is very nice and has put up beautifully with my dithering and delays. And their product line is quite extensive -- I spent LOTS of time browsing everything from kids furniture to play kitchens to organizational systems. Plus, we're in a recession and free = good, right? And don't you all need a jungle marble maze from ALEX toys, rated for ages 3 and up?

This maze has won a "Best Toy" award from Parents' Magazine and is made of solid wood blocks. (There's a detailed description of the maze here.) If you'd like to enter the drawing, please leave a non-anonymous comment (with a working email address) before Sunday, June 8, at midnight. I'll do a random-number-picky-thingy (or put numbers in a hat, more like) on Monday and announce the winner then. Weeee!


MemeGRL said...

I'll bet my kids would love that marble race. Ok, who am I kidding, I think it looks like fun for me, whether they like it or not!

jennifer said...

Looks like a great give-away. Agree completely with your rant as well. Sexism is, sadly, still rampant. And that can have huge consequences.

Domestic Goddess said...

I do not want to win marbles. My son eats them.

That said, this has happened to me healthwise for years. Poor thing, your kids are autistic. Poor thing, you are a stay at home mom. Poor thing, you dont' get enough sleep. Until this week, when I switched back to my old doctor, despite the fact that she is 40 mins away. And know what she said? "Hmmm...that doesn't sound right. We're gonna do this blood test and that one and that one. I'll call you in three days, ok? Then you can come back and we'll decide what to do next."

And I fell off my chair and died. The end.

But seriously, it's nice to go to a doctor who is a mom who totally gets it. She knows this isn't just mommy burnt out.

I feel so validated!

Anonymous said...

DG - I'm glad your doctor is working with you.

Ruth - I'm with you on the sexist rant, especially medically speaking. I think it ties in with my anger over the fact that pregnancy is treated like a disease in this country too.

And my youngest would love that toy, so enter me please :)

Bridget said...

Don't enter me into the contest because I don't have any bebees. Event though I'm sure Billy would love to take drugs and play with that marble thing. BUT I just wanted to say that ever since I read an article all about lyme disease, I am flipping terrified of it. Billy and I are often hiking in woodsy areas with the dog and whenever we find a tic on him I loose it. Cannot touch the thing because I'm convinced one bite will leave me disfigured for the rest of my life. It seems like lyme disease is almost always misdiagnosed (esp. in women!) and by the time it actually is caught, people are all sorts of messed up. Aren't doctors reading these same articles that I am?! Why are they not catching these things?! DISFIGURED, I TELL YOU!

That is all.

Jules said...

OK now I am scared, because I have had those same symptoms for about a year and a half.

Oh, and enter me in the giveaway. Ronan's birthday is almost here.

By the way...funny Ronan he asks me on the weekend if Jesus is God. So I proceed to tell him that Jesus, the father and the holy spirit -- the three of them together -- are God. To which he replies, "You mean, like the three Stooges mommmy?" Four year olds are fantastic, aren't they. It was good for an a good hour of recurring laughter.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I had a conversation about sexism this week because he is upset about societal expectations and feels like society makes it hard for him to be an equal partner...blah blah blah. I just want the cool marble thingy. please?

Christine said...

I can't tell you how many times I had to mention fatigue (and a whole other list of symptoms) and get my doctor OFF the whole depression thing in the PAST to get my thyroid checked. I wanted to scream PLEASE STOP THROWING ANTIDEPRESSANTS AT ME AND DO THE DAMN BLOOD WORK ALREADY!

And then it finally took a miscarriage to check for PCOS. TOO BAD checking BEFOREHAND may have been able to help prevent that!!!

And no, they would never say that to a man.

ARGH! *pfft*

There. I DID spit.

Magpie said...

I think I would love that toy!

BOSSY said...

Don't want the giveaway, just want to add a Sister Amen to the rant chorus.

Lisette said...

It won an award? Wow that is awesome! I'd love to try and win this. :)

lc_intocable [a]yahoo[d]com

Caroline said...

I know some little ones who would just adore that thang.