Someone recently told me that I'm not as funny via email as I am in my blog. Well, sometimes I'm not as funny in my blog as I am in my blog. So here goes one of "those" posts.
Very Mom's post yesterday got me thinking about trusted advisors.
A while back we were refinancing our home. A few days before we signed, I had some questions but I couldn't get ahold of our mortgage guy. The day of the signing I started to freak out. None of the documentation made sense to me. I didn't have a degree in finances or legalese. What if our mortgage advisor was taking advantage of us and trying to rip us off? He called me back in the nick of time, explained everything to me in a way that made sense and has proven accurate and above board. Then he gave me the "trusted advisor" talk.
It goes something like this:
We can't go to medical school, law school, accounting school, investment banking school and all the other schools out there. So sometimes we need to research and find a trusted advisor (I'll add here, pray about who you pick) and then trust them to guide us in making some pretty major decisions. By all means, do your research but in the end if it seems inconclusive, listen to the person you hired to guide you.
I was a bit miffed when he gave me this talk because I didn't particularly trust him but I'd researched as much as I could, took a leap of faith and followed his guidance. It turned out very well for us financially.
When I was going around and around in circles, reading everything I could find, trying to decide whether or not to immunize my kids, I finally came to my pediatrician whom I love and trust and said, "I'm scared to do this. There are so many books and articles against immunizing. It doesn't seem necessary and there are so many risks. Is there mercury in these shots? (answer - no) I know the medical community pushes immunizations. What I want to hear from you, is - do you immunize your kids?"
She said she did so I did. I do. I'm not sold either way, but in the end I had to trust someone and so I picked her.
Very Mom's post was about IUDs and the fact that some people say they are an abortive method of birth control. I had always heard that too.
A week after the birth of my second child, with no history of mental or emotional illness, I had a dramatic and terrifying dive into the world of Post Partum Mood Disorder. I became terrified, unable to sleep, eat, or keep food down. I lost weight rapidly and experienced hot and cold flashes, panic and anxiety attacks. I almost completely lost my breast milk, though I pumped every two hours in hopes of keeping some supply for when I got better.
My days and nights were filled with waking terrors and for several weeks the thought of death seemed like a welcome release. I was almost totally unable to function and needed to be babysat around the clock. Everyone said I was the last person they expected this to happen to and I agreed. I think I scared a lot of people.
It was the closest thing to hell I have ever experienced and I pray to God never to go through something like that again, though we do plan to have more children.
In the end, after a visit to the ER, afraid my body systems were going to completely shut down, I was referred to a well-known post partum specialist who I believe saved my life. You can't go on for long if you never sleep and throw up everything you put in your mouth.
I have never prayed or devoted myself to God as I did during those weeks. In fact, many of the religious practices I started out of desperation during that time still linger on and have had a positive influence on my family. I was reminded that sometimes God heals people through an instant miracle and sometimes he heals them by inspiring good people to come up with amazing medical treatments.
The specialist put me on medication and within 3 days I felt completely like myself again, not drugged, just like Kathryn. I had always said I would never use "mind altering" drugs. I had always harshly judged people who did.
Dan convinced me by saying, "Your mind has already BEEN altered. What we need to do is alter it back. If you were diabetic, you would take insulin. Your body has a chemical deficiency. Replace what's missing.
If you had lost a leg, you'd use a prosthetic limb. Sure, it wouldn't be as good as your own leg, but at least you wouldn't be hopping around on one foot, saying, 'I'm too proud to use a crutch.'"
I was humbled, scared, and right before taking the medicine for the first time, I called my doctor's emergency line, bawling and begging him to call me. "Please tell me about the studies again. Tell me how the medicine won't affect my baby through the breast milk. Tell me I won't be on this forever. I'm so, so scared to take it and I'm so so terrified not to."
My new-found trusted advisor quoted the studies. He told me of his past experiences with women over 20 years, dealing solely with post partum issues. He calmed me and I trusted him.
Then it was time for birth control. I needed to be on the above medication for my family to function. I refused to be on it while pregnant. Also - Magoo, weighing in at 10lbs 8oz, had caused significant damage to my body and I was unable to walk normally or even lay down in any position but flat on my back. I had to use a special lifter to get my legs in and out of bed.
I could not be pregnant. I could not trust the rhythm method, or the fact that I was nursing (yes, my milk came back) to keep me from becoming pregnant. I was told that going on the pill would only worsen my PPMD symptoms and so we explored our options.
An IUD was suggested by my Obstetrician, someone I have trusted with my life and one of my most trusted advisors. He brought up the fact that outdated literature suggests that IUDs cause a woman's body to abort the fetus and, knowing my religious background, he wanted to address that. I am a firm pro-lifer.
He said that the device has been shown by more updated research to act basically as a spermicide, disabling the sperm so they are unable to fertilize an egg. I haven't read all the studies. Religious websites say one thing, choosing to believe studies done in the 70s for their information. Planned Parenthood says another. I don't really trust either.
My doctor is my trusted advisor. He's read the most recent stuff. He knows my concerns. I feel strongly that he shares my beliefs. I believe him. I don't have access to all of the studies and if I did, would I understand them?
He is my trusted advisor.
(And don't think I blindly follow any doctor's advice. I used a midwife the first time around in another state and loved her. I couldn't find one that I felt great about here so I went the MD route, which turned out to be a majorly great decision considering Magoo's size and the complications. I even switched OBs 5 months into the pregnancy when I realized that I didn't really trust my advisor, no matter how many people had recommended him to me.)