Category Archives: Societal Observations

The LCD

One of the greatest experiences of my childhood was visiting the Tower of London with my family.  That day, history came alive and a lifelong passion was born.  When I returned with my husband in 2012, I was a little bit disappointed in my experience.  While the great structures were still there, many of the exhibits had been “dumbed-down” to make them more interactive.  I really didn’t need to vote on who I believed murdered the Princes in the Tower.  This did nothing to enhance my experience; I didn’t learn anything.  In fact, having the voices of little boys shout “Uncle!?!” actually detracted from my experience.

The same thing happened at Hampton Court.  We rented the audio tour, and what we got was a make-believe, short story about Katherine Parr’s wedding day to Henry VIII.  I would have preferred a straightforward audio tour.  A lot of us, even as children, don’t need all the bells and whistles to make something interesting.  Being in a site with as much history as Hampton Court was riveting enough.

Above Left: Exhibit in question in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London.  I don’t have a problem with this display but there was an area where you can vote who you think killed the princes.  WHO CARES WHAT I THINK!?!?!  Above Right: Me at Hampton Court in the Haunted Gallery where Henry VIII’s fifth queen, Catherine Howard, ran screaming for the king to spare her life.  Stories like this are fascinating unlike the make-believe audio tour we had!

Unfortunately, this is just a small, personal example of how society caters to the lowest common denominator.

Another example – when I call to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I am often treated like I’m disengaged and unimportant.  I have to fight to get what I need.  My husband, who has experience in this field, says it because they see so many who don’t give a damn about their health and don’t listen to the advice of their doctors.  Just because other people don’t care doesn’t mean that I don’t.  I’ve never heard of just not showing up for an appointment, but apparently it happens multiple times per day!  When I go in for my visit, the doctor is usually delighted that I’m healthy and engaged in my healthcare.

It’s hard to find a real news broadcast anymore.  Respectable news programs show youtube clips as news.  They report what some clown says on Twitter as fact, and then it turns out to be wrong.  You would be hard-pressed to find many people in my generation who know the actual news, and I’m not talking about Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  I’m sure the average person knows what craziness Donald Trump tweeted early this morning, but do they know what is going on with North Korea or ISIS?

I’m not trying to be political here, but this is concerning.  I’m tired of living in a world where we cater to the uniformed.  We live in a nation where a lot of people think Lena Dunham and the Kardashians have all the answers.

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It Feels Good to Get This Off My Chest: My Childbirth Experience

NPR and Pro Publica have been doing a study on rising maternal mortality in the United States.  They have found “many hospitals are woefully unprepared for a maternal emergency.”  Tell me about it.  Here is our story:

September 18, 2014, approximately 10:30pm

I had been laboring since around 8:00am.  I finally felt that the pain had become too much, and we went to the hospital.  I was 37 weeks, 3 days.  As a side note, I had the most uneventful pregnancy ever: no morning sickness, swelling or other issues.  I exercised almost everyday and was the picture of health.  The only symptom was a 40 pound weight gain!

At the hospital, they told me it would be at least until the end of the weekend before I delivered (another 3-4 days).  I was sent home with some Ambien, which kind of makes me laugh angrily.  Five hours later my water broke, and I was back.

September 19, 2014, 8:30pm

After laboring naturally more than 24 hours and pushing close to six (WTF), we decided to go with the C-section.  At this point there was no choice; her head wasn’t going to fit.  But why did I have to push six hours before we came to this conclusion!?!?!  

We had asked repeatedly why this was taking so long but the conga line of different medical professionals kept telling us we were so close.  I was admitted at 6:30am, and over the next twelve hours we had three attendings, a fellow, two residents and a midwife.  Those are the ones I remember.  No continuity of care.  We retold our tale at least six different times.  Somebody other than us should have said “this is going on too long.”  The only reason we were in the C-section line is because my husband paged the fellow.  My stats were stable, so they forgot about us.  This could have gone on for hours longer, and we could have had issues.

On top of it, we were informed we would have to wait another two or three hours because there was only one fellow in the hospital that night who could perform a C-section, and there were two people ahead of us.  What if something had changed and the operation had to happen sooner?  We were lucky that baby girl and I were stable.  Our beautiful girl was finally delivered at 12:01am September 20th, with a sizeable bruise on her forehead from six hours of pushing.

September 22, 2014, 8:00pm

We were finally discharged.  It had been a hell of a day.  Almost three days postpartum, I weighed MORE than I did the night of September 19th.  I gave birth to an eight-pound, 1.5 ounce child, and I weight ten pounds MORE than when I had entered the hospital due to fluid retention.  I had no swelling at all during my pregnancy, and now my legs were like tree trunks.  I had disgusting rashes on my legs and abdomen.  My husband, who is a doctor, had fought all damn day to get a dermatology consult.  Nobody cared.  It was like, as long as the baby and I were alive, it was all good.  They could send in multiple lactation specialists to “bully” me about breastfeeding, but nobody cared about the swelling, which could have been a sign of a serious problem.  Because I’m going to be producing a lot of milk when I have a major complication or am dead.

September 24, 2014, evening

After being home a couple of days, we were becoming concerned that my weight hadn’t gone down at all.  My husband was a little worried about my heart.

I had a six week post-op appointment set up for mid-October but nothing else.  My husband had to use the “I’m a doctor” card to get me seen in a timely manner.  If I didn’t have that connection, who knows how long it would have taken for me to get an appointment.  The doctor was alarmed by the swelling.  Fortunately, it was nothing that a little Lasix couldn’t take care of, but it was still good to know.  And I felt better and had more energy!  Isn’t that the goal!?!?

Mid-October

I went to my six week postpartum check-up.  When I relayed my concerns regarding my delivery experience, I was met with the same “well, you and the baby are alive” attitude I had experience in the maternity ward.  Yes, I was 100% grateful that my child and I were alive and well, but they put us in a position where something could have gone wrong!  Our excellent health got us through the ordeal, but you can’t bank on that!  

I also completed a patient survey and explained my frustrations.  I never heard a word.

I know and have had wonderful experiences with multiple OB-GYNs in my thirty-three years.  My problem was with the poor hospital staffing and the dismissal of my post-delivery issues.  During the evening hours of the delivery, there was a newer first-year resident, who gave us some terribly wrong information, and a fellow, who was often busy with other patients.  I acknowledge we were at a teaching hospital but young residents need to be supervised; that is how they learn.  Childbirth can be risky business.  Why operate with a skeleton crew?  

Medical professionals need to listen to their patients.  Not all postpartum women are complaining just because they’re “hormonal.”

While my care was sub-par, I have to wonder if it is worse for “average Jane,” someone who doesn’t have a doctor spouse providing push-back.  Doctors are human and sometimes make mistakes, but there was a general lack of care from start to finish.  I am grateful that we are both happy and healthy!  Unfortunately, I think my experience is more the rule than the exception, and that’s just not good enough!  

While our experience wasn’t what it should have been, it did make me stronger.  Nobody is going to fight for you but you!

And now you know the real reason I can never root for a certain ACC school in anything!

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Oh no!

After a more than two-year break from this blog, my child is more self-sufficient, and I’ve grown accustomed to her poor sleep habits.  That is not the reason I’m writing today.  It’s because I have to make a comment on these kids who are skipping their bowl games.

They say it is to “focus on the NFL Draft” this April.  Okay.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  Just say you don’t want to get hurt.  I’m sure Willis McGahee will understand. 

Overall, I agree with Miami Head Coach Mark Richt, who calls it “sad.”  If nothing else, I think it’s a really (pardon my french) shitty thing to do to your teammates, university and fanbase. 

I don’t get how you sign a scholarship and get away with this crap. This is a slippery slope.  Sam Darnold, the stud redshirt freshman QB at USC, is an almost-guaranteed first-round draft pick once he is eligible.  Next year, can he say, “Hey Clay (Helton), I might get hurt vs. Washington and it will hurt my draft stock.  I’m sitting out.”

Playing in the bowl game is the right thing to do, but I can see the other side.  Coaches ditch their teams for greener pastures all the time, and an interim coaches the bowl game.  Nick Saban made a good point too when he said the bowl games are being devalued.  At least Willis was playing for a national title.  No player wants to blow out his knee at the Toilet Bowl.  I’m digressing,  but there are too many bowl games.  OMG.  Bowls used to be a privilege for teams that had outstanding seasons.   I think we have a 5-7 team in a bowl game this year.  5-7, 6-6, 7-5, and even 8-4 teams should not be in bowl games.  Having formerly worked in athletics, I understand the coaches want the extra practices but come on.

In Willis’ interview with TMZ, he mentioned that he’s played for four pro teams,  but his college team at The U is where his loyalty lies.  The reason the 2000-3 Miami teams were so great (besides sick talent) was that they believed in something bigger than themselves.  Now, it’s all about ME.  There is no loyalty anymore.  This is a result of society worshiping sixteen year olds on social media, among other things.  Ken Dorsey, Willis McGahee, Ed Reed, etc. were lucky not to have this problem.

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Yo Adrian!

You are not too bright.  In light of the recent child abuse allegations against himself, Minnesota Viking’s RB Adrian Peterson in a statement said that he regrets the “unintentional” injury caused to his four-year-old son.

There is so much wrong with this.  First, has anyone seen the pictures?  This man didn’t just spank his kid one time; he whipped him with a switch numerous times to the point of bleeding.  The pictures that have surfaced online were taken about a week after the beating.  He injured the boy’s private parts. What is “unintentional” about this?  Let’s be real – he meant to hurt the child.

Also, what could have a four-year-old have done to warrant this punishment?  Absolutely nothing.

I’ve been told that I couldn’t possibly understand, as someone who was spanked just once (for doing something dangerous as a toddler).  Even though I was told my upbringing was “soft,” I turned out reasonably well.  Many have said that I shouldn’t judge how one parent choose to punish his child.  I’ve been told that this method of discipline works.

As somebody who will soon be a parent, I believe in correcting bad behavior, but there is a way.  You don’t hit a child for having a smart mouth (whatever happened to soap) or for being poorly behaved in school (and AP went beyond spanking when you have to do it that many times).  One bad interaction can damage a child’s psyche for life.  As the wise Dr. Phil says, “it takes 10,000 atta boys to erase one ‘you’re an idiot'” or other abusive encounter.  This article here pretty well sums it up.

If my child behaves poorly, I would take away privileges.  I see hitting as a control method for the parent having to assert dominance over the child.  You are the parent – you should be in control and setting an example.

As a side note: Adrian Peterson had a child beaten to death last year at the hands of another man.  You would think this guy would be sensitive to the subject of child abuse. 

While we continue to beat the dead horse that is Ray Rice, people justify AP’s behavior as a man trying to discipline his son.  I’ve heard so many “everybody does it” quotes from the media.  Just because everybody does it doesn’t make it right.  Just because it was what happened to you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do better for your children (blog upcoming).

That’s why I applaud Cris Carter.  The former Vikings WR said his mother employed a similar style of discipline and while she did the best she could, she was wrong.  He also promised that he would never treat his children that way.  Good for him!

In the last couple of days, it has come out that there was another child abuse allegation against Peterson in June 2013.  His other four-year-old son sustained a gash on his head.  While charges were never filed in this case, Peterson admitted that the injury occurred during a “whooping” and that the boy was being punished for saying a bad word.  Just because you are capable of making a child doesn’t mean you should have one.

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Sofia

I love me some Sofia Vergara. Not only is she beautiful, but I find her charming and entertaining. I don’t understand the whole hullabaloo surrounding her Emmy sketch. She stood on a rotating pedestal and was obviously in on the joke. People are crying “sexism,” but it was a joke. Everybody needs to lighten up.

I agree with Vergara’s comments after the incident. “I think it’s absolutely the opposite,” she said in response to the accusation the stunt was sexist. “It means someone can be hot and also be funny and make fun of herself and enjoy and work and make money, so I absolutely think it’s ridiculous.”

I’m digressing here, but I don’t understand why society needs to “hate on” everything feminine. Being female, I support equal rights for women, but I also think society has taken a very negative view on that which is feminine. There is nothing wrong with being a girl, having “girly” interests or embracing feminine beauty.

When I was a young girl (and even now), I idolized Sleeping Beauty (so much so that I named the senior yearbook I edited “Aurora”). That’s no longer acceptable because Princess Aurora is now seen as some dolt who waited for a prince to rescue her (I recently had this exact conversation with an acquaintance). So are Cinderella and Snow White, who are the epitome and kindness and grace under pressure. But, these qualities are no longer praised. Let’s all be obnoxious like Merida from Brave!

Back to the Vergara incident – it was a joke. Just because a group of people didn’t like the sketch doesn’t mean it was sexist. The second something doesn’t fit into society’s feminist agenda, we attack it. We need to stop psycho-babbling EVERYTHING and creating problems where there aren’t any. Take it with a grain of salt and worry about one of the world’s “real” problems.

Bottom line: I think you can be a strong woman while still exhibiting elegance, beauty, and charm.

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The National Anthem – Let’s Have Some Class

With college football season officially starting today and Labor Day just around the corner, I wanted to address a troubling incident at a sporting event I attended this past spring. The Miami Hurricanes were in Raleigh to play NC State in basketball. Before the contest, the announcer addressed the crowd with the typical “take off you hats…we’re doing the National Anthem now” message.

Everything was pretty normal until the line “and the rocket’s red glare” came up. The whole crowd shouted “red” as this is one of the school’s colors. Not classy, but I wasn’t mortally offended. The last line of the Anthem, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” was changed to, by a good portion of the crowd, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the Wolfpack.”

My husband has worked some games for a rival of NC State and said this exact thing happened when the two schools played a couple months ago. I get that individual fans do stupid things at sporting events. I know we probably have some individuals or groups that yell “home of the ‘Canes” at Miami but nothing this widespread. I know there are idiots at Miami games. I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of trashy behavior at Florida, FSU, Ohio State, and Notre Dame…but nothing this widespread.

Defenders of this practice say this is a way for Wolfpack fans to put a “home spin” on a pregame tradition. Um…it’s a United States tradition. The fans in our section (we were two of about ten UM people in the entire place) did not appreciate it when my husband shouted “have some class” at the conclusion of the Anthem.

This truly seemed to be something that was organized and condoned by the university. It probably isn’t, but the university administration ought to do something about it because it is really low class. It is a poor reflection on the university, and they don’t act like this at Carolina or Duke (regardless of what you’ve heard about the Cameron Crazies).

If this happened at the University of Miami, I guarantee you the university president would send an email to the student body and season ticket holders directing them to stop. The head football and/or basketball coach would put an ad in the student newspaper. While the National Anthem is being played, we are all Americans. Take off your hat, put away your phone, and close your mouth for three minutes.

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Rewarding Bad Behavior

In March, my husband and I were filing our taxes. The week before, we received an email from the firm we were working with, detailing exactly what was needed and imploring us to be on time to our appointment. They threatened not to do our taxes if we did not have everything in order. That morning, we had a 9:30 appointment. So did another gentleman; he beat us there by a couple minutes but his affairs were in disarray. He was furiously calling the credit union to obtain his interest statement and his wife for Lord-knows-what. So, when the next representative became available, Eric and I were confident we would be taken, especially since our paperwork had been so organized. WRONG! They allowed this man to FINISH getting his ducks in a row and made us wait another forty-five minutes until we were seen. So much for following instructions and being organized!

I am tired of living in a society where we constantly reward bad behavior. There are no consequences for anything anymore. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen a child misbehaving in public and the parent offering some sort of inducement for said child to behave. “If you sit down, we can get ice cream after,” says the do-nothing parent (as the child runs around the restaurant, disturbs other patrons, and almost knocks over the waitress with a plate of hot enchiladas). No! Get off your butt and either a) make your kid sit down or b) leave the restaurant. Now, this child believes she can misbehave and be rewarded for behaving. I know every child has his or her moments, but good behavior should be the expectation. If my sister or I misbehaved in a restaurant when we were old enough to know better, my parents would have gotten up and taken us outside.

Bad behavior is also commonly rewarded in the workplace. The hard worker gets more work while the slacker does less and gets the same pay. The exemplary employee’s reward is escalating expectations, leading to resentment and burnout. The slacker is better-liked because s/he is socializing rather than doing his/her job!

Finally, we live in a country that promotes bad behavior and laziness. Some of us work hard and have to support those who do not. I’m not trying to get political (for the record – I don’t identify with either party), and welfare has its merits in some cases. When I’m home from work and tired in the early evening, I sometimes watch JUDGE JUDY, which is a great show, by the way. There was a case that recently aired about a fellow who owed child support (he claimed he didn’t know what child support was even though he had been jailed for not paying it – you can’t make this stuff up), but he didn’t work because he was disabled. He collected disability and before that unemployment. Judge Judy was dumbfounded because he seemed able-bodied enough to father four kids. He said he had asthma. She laughed (I love this lady. She is like the judge version of my mom). I know asthma can be serious for some and I don’t have an MD, but this guy looked like he could work a desk job or in retail.

I am so sick of hearing about people who repeatedly scam the system while Eric (especially him) and I work hard and don’t live above our means!

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