Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving & Birthday Vacation

We are finally back home from our long road trip to and around Florida.  Miles has taken a few more days off of work so that we can have some private family time together since we rarely ever get exclusive vacation time to ourselves anymore.  I'm so appreciative of this time with him.

Bella got to meet her great-grandparents down in Fort Meade.  They were delighted to see her and watch her bobble along everywhere.  She was herself most of the time initially and baby-gabbed away at them and everyone else who'd listen ;-)  Unfortunately, the 12-hour drive from Virginia to Jacksonville, then the 4 hour drive to Fort Meade, followed by a full day at Busch Gardens in Tampa, then another big visit/birthday party/Thanksgiving afternoon feast in Fort Meade then a drive back to Jacksonville really quite wore her out.   We'd watched her decline little by little, and hoped we could get her some rest eventually but it was very hard.  Dumbly we overbooked ourselves and Bella's presence and cost Bella a good 2nd birthday and robbed her of feeling well.  By the time we hit Jacksonville the second time, to share her birthday and the Thanksgiving day celebration, she ended up throwing up a little at dinner and then the next day she threw up in the morning.  Poor Bella was just plain exhausted :-(  As parents we felt awful!  We now know better, but we hate that it was at the cost of a pleasant 2nd birthday for our little wonder.

Regardless, everyone was so pleased we could make it down to Florida for Thanksgiving.  Seeing as we've been in South Dakota for the past 4 years and haven't spent any holidays with any of our families, I think everyone appreciated our efforts. 

We are now just celebrating the rest of November peacefully here at home.  Today we went out and took care of some pricey car maintenance (yuck!), went to the post office to send off a letter to my friend in South Africa, stopped by Starbucks for an indulgence and stared at pretty Christmasy things in Michaels.  Whilst waiting for our  car to be finished in the parking lot of the dealer we counted our budget for Christmas decorations.  We won't be able to afford a 2nd tree this year as we'd hoped for, but instead we'll be able to slightly concentrate on the outside decorations that we "desperately need". 

It's night fall already, despite being 5:40, and Miles is diligently working on a paper for school.  I'll play with Bella a bit tonight then clean up the kitchen and tidy the living room (she sure can make quite a mess!) and once she is cleaned up and sent to bed then I hope to work on two of my Secret Christmas Projects tonight. 

One thing to mention though.  I haven't personally had a terrific Monday in ages.  Miles, I'm sure, hasn't either.  When we checked our postal mail after our trip, we discovered a letter from our medical insurance.  Bella was given permission to see a pediatric cardiologist at Bethesda (where she already has her primary pediatric cardiologist).  We were livid.  Let me explain...

After our last appointment with her cardiologist we were very disappointed with their care for Bella.  The ultrasound (u/s) technician was rather rough with the device on Bella, making Bella cry and therefore making it very hard to see one part of her heart/aorta that is already slightly difficult to get a good look at anyway.  Despite me having to pin Bella's four limbs down with the weight of my arms and body (and still trying to keep her calm), Bella was NOT having it.  The cardiologist was less than honest with my husband and I the first trip in there.  He'd claimed a heart catheterization was an unncessarily invasive first option for Bella in November/December as suggested by her previous pediatric cardiologists from Omaha Children's.  At the time of hearing this we were relieved because, really, who wants to put their child through that?!  If it needs to be done, okay we will do it... but if the resutls can be accurately determined in a less-invasive fashion then we're voting for that.  He'd led us to believe by saying to us that "...a heart catheterization measures the pressures and we can do that by other testing.  Of course, if by those other tests we can't accurately measure the pressures we need then we need to discuss a heart catheterization, but really it's not necessary to jump to a catheterization first.  So, let's exhaust the other tests before we do that."  We wearily felt relieved by these words.  After another appointment, unaccompanied by my husband, her doctor begins to discuss a possible heart catheterization.  O_O  Why?  All we did was a typical and routine ultrasound of which your technician didn't even perform properly or kindly.  Now she needs a heart catheterization but you're "...not worried" that anything is wrong with Bella.  No.  Not cool.  So, we're seeking a second opinion from the pediatric cardiologists at Children's of D.C. whom we were originally referred to by her Omaha cardiologists who, like us, have no faith in Bethesda's pediatric specialists.  Military doctors are (sorry in advance to whomever this may offend) absolute crap.  They're great for combat, but certainly not for children and not for pregnant women either.  I've yet to hear something good from a woman who's been forced to give birth by the car of a MTF.

The blessing?  I know, I know.  The blessing is that TriCare (medical insurance) called us this morning  right as Miles was dialing them (to yell at them lol) and I explained that we had wanted a second opinion from a specific doctor from a specific location and we were instead given a referral to a doctor from the same institution we were having concerns with.  Without missing a beat, the lady on the other end of the line quickly realized Bella's pediatric office made a mistake and went readily to correct it and put through a request for a second opinion.

Second blessing, thank You dear Lord, was that we received word from USAA that Miles won his debate, so to speak, with the other insurance company from that small fender-bender/wreck he was in the day before we left South Dakota.  That's a good $500+ back in our pockets from the repairs!  Yay!  What a perfect time of year to receive that kind of reimbursement!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and vacation!  Pictures will soon be posted on Facebook and Picasa!

EDIT: Bella update!  Over the holiday Bella began standing on her own from the middle of the floor (no help from furniture!) as well as drinking solely from a sippy cup!

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