Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Medical "care"

Or lack there of.

So I am probably just being a paranoid new parent. But in my American Academy of Pediatrics book it says that when an infant has had a cough for 5-7 days, and it doesn't go away, take them to the doctor. Now a paranoid mother would have ignored that advice and taken the baby immediately. That makes me officially NOT paranoid.

I called the doctor at 8:30am. First off my complaint there. I could.not.get.through. I finally left a message on the appointments answering machine. After a number of calls back, apparently my messages got somewhere. The nurse calls me to tell me that they are too busy to see Leif both today AND tomorrow. If he has a cough to take him to the emergency room, and she follows that up with "you do have insurance don't you?"!

The emergency room, you have got to be kidding me! Ok, April going off here... that sounds like total abuse of the insurance system and a waste of the ER staff time. Leif had signs of asthma when he was a few months younger and we bought him a nebulizer and have albuterol for him. We have been giving treatments as a preventative measure with the strict instruction that we call the doc when we do this so she can listen to him. But no... we are to take him to the ER for a cough? We WILL take him to the ER if he shows signs of difficulty breathing, but seriously now.

Oh and I should add that according to the doctor an Urgent Care facility would not be appropriate because they wouldn't do a blood gas to check his O2 saturation. Really? I am just beside myself. At least an Urgent Care facility would listen to his chest!

I know it is a busy flu time, but I think it is appropriate for his doctor to listen to his chest since she was the one that diagnosed him with asthma. But they apparently didn't have this written in his chart or something, because the nurse was unaware of his asthma background.

I decided to do the Urgent Care thing and just called them. Yay, they are open till 8pm. But wait, they have a 2 hour wait right now! What?! So Leif could go sit in the waiting room where he would likely pick up more and nastier bugs. Or we can just go home and have an evening at home. I will choose the later. Ok, hereby classify me as a horrible parent.

I just can't believe the quality of doctors here. It really is good that we are on top of our medical care and knowledgeable, intelligent people. Because if you aren't, forget about it. Is it really too much to expect that the phone get answered and at least talk to a receptionist? To know that your call is being addressed by someone - it might take an hour or two, but someone WILL call you back? Is it too much to ask that when said person calls you back that the doctor might have actually read the history instead of just prescribing the standard "get off my back will ya" response?

The medical field sucks. When *I* worked in medicine we actually cared and tried. And man, if the doctor I worked with ever found out patients weren't getting to talk to a real person, there was hell to pay.

I am hereby jumping from the medical professions bandwagon that states that healthcare is best privatized, and that doctors are not overpaid over to the consumer bandwagon that says "hello have you ever tried to see a doctor and to speak to one for longer than 5 minutes?" I hereby am calling for REFORM!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

No funding, yet again.

So another cycle of exploratory proposals has come and is going. I submitted two, very excellent proposals. Last year I was told it was a 50-50 shot if I got funded, but next year I will for sure. Well here it is, next year, and welp, no funding of my own.

Ok, I should qualify that this is simply based off my chatting with R.C., who doles out the cash-ola today previous to another meeting.

In one instant my "collections platform" proposal received acolades. It really is unique and a good idea, but it is just one in a stack of 5 collections proposals. So his solution is to consider getting them all together along with the currently funded sorbents project and revamp them under one heading for a large chunk of money elsewhere. What? You mean there is other money elsewhere?? I doubt it, I think "elsewhere" is a place that exists where they don't want to tell you it is a bad idea, cause it's not, but it's that place where no one ever wants to go to retrieve ideas. Who actually puts money in "elsewhere"?

The other proposal, everyone says it was a shoe in. The biggest problem was that I asked for 1/3 of their complete budgets. Yeah, I could have asked for less, but by my calculations I can't even BUY the equipment for less than $50K, and then I still have to pay people to work on the project. So R.C. told me that it is a long shot because I asked for $100K and unfortunately he thinks I was correct to ask for that much money, he doesn't think it could be done for less. He did throw me one bone though... get off my lazy duff and submit it as a concept paper for a life cycle plan (my words- he phrased it much nicer). Hell it probably shouldn't even be labelled "exploratory", it can be done, it is just a matter of logistics, putting it together, modeling it and making it work. So... with any luck the big talked about "plus up" for the program this year could result in my first funded proposal for FY06. Imagine that... to skip the entire exploratory phase all together... just dreaming here... don't mind me.

Leif is doing awesome. He is such a happy baby. I don't know what we did to deserve him and I only hope that I can prove myself as being deserving enough to parent him. He is truly amazing. He is saying (imitating) mama and dada and today I swear he waved at me. I always wave at him when I leave after visiting daycare. And today he raised his hand and opened and closed his fingers. His teachers got excited and everyone tried to get him to wave after that. He is such an attention hound. I am sure he just played coy after that!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day. I asked for and got this year, an electric fondue maker. I even got to pick it out! Hans is always so good at picking up flowers and chocolate for me, but this year I thought I might ask for something that I want. While I love the ambiance of fondue with flame, I royally dislike the scrubbing of the burnt cheese krinkles out of the bottom and not being able to get the pot hot enough for oil fondue. So now, I can not only control the temperature precisely with my non-stick pot, but I can turn it up really hot to get that satisfying sizzle when you plunk a piece o'meat into the hot oil.

Leif took cookies to his teachers today. Actually he did his best to prevent me from actually getting the cookies in the door today. He has definitely got his daddy's monkey arms! How he could still reach the plate of cookies while I held him on my hip and walked with my arm extended carrying the cookies I don't know. I really can't believe we actually made it in the door.

A friend I work with came in with another Leif story for me from when he was dropping off his son at daycare. He told me that when he put Nathaniel on the floor in his carseat, Leif just stood there staring at Nathaniel. The staring doesn't get me, more the fact that he told me that Leif "stood there". Actual standing? It can't be? I am so confused. I must ask daycare.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday again!

Already! I can't believe it. No complaints here.

We are going to have a reclusive weekend. I don't want to visit or correspond with anyone we know, lol! I feel very privileged to have a number of friends in the area. But lately it seems as though we have something planned every single day of every weekend. And many times it is AT our house. We frequently get volunteered for these things. And while I am thrilled that people like to come over, it is sometimes overwhelming.

So tonight we are going out to dinner at the Olive Garden. Ok, I admit, the likelihood of encountering someone we know there is high. But I can deal. Then Leif is going to sleep all night long tonight (ha ha) and we will get bright and early at 6am, fully refreshed from a full nights sleep (I really am funny aren't I?). Tomorrow we are going to enjoy our very clean house thanks to our housecleaner, Wendy. I am completely spoiled and will never be able to survive without a housecleaner for the rest of my life. I am going to fix a nice dinner, but spend most of the day just hanging out with Leif and working on my scrapbooks!! I MUST get some pictures put in scrapbooks.

Oh I need to go to Target and get a few things for Valentine's day. I will do that, but no pressure!

So Valentine's day is on Monday. I was such a slacker this year. I didn't even realize it until too late to send cards. I really should have gotten them out, but I didn't. I asked Hans for an electric fondue pot for V-day. He will probably get some candy from me. We don't have much planned. We have cheese for fondue and king crab. We might celebrate on Sunday night since Hans has class Monday night.

Well so that is the state of things here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Blah blah blah

It is just a blah day. I just feel reclusive and quiet today. It hasn't been a great day.

Leif didn't sleep well, however, he did eat last night. He has recently decided he doesn't like solid food, mommy milk only. BUT, we did entice him with some banana/berries blend Gerber mix. He thought that was yummy stuff last night. However, wouldn't you know it is PURPLE! Nothing stains like berries.

Ok, so he was a little fussy this morning after a long night. I was just a little tired. You know those occasions where you are having a really cool dream, something wakes you up and you can't get back to the dream? It is so frustrating. Well I had the opposite problem last night. I would wake up, comfort Leif, fall asleep and fall back into the same, monotonous, tedious, awful dream. Ok, it wasn't awful, but it was a perfect exemplification of my frustration with work right now.

In it I would walk into the classified conference room and sitting there would be my project manager, one coworker and a former coworker who I cannot stand. The former coworker starts complaining and being his general disagreeable self about my presence, my general feeling about this project, I feel like I am the biggest misfit and am sick of being treated like admin. My project manager makes a big deal about that I am not supposed to be there, but if I want I can stay he guesses. Yep, more signs of my feeling like a project misfit and indications of my feelings of always being left out and as if I am the third wheel. All the while my coworker who I do like, sits there saying nothing. I keep waiting for him to pipe up and support me, but in the end, as IRL, he goes with the flow.

So everytime I woke up last night, which was frequent, I would fall back asleep into this dream. No wonder I am exhausted today.

I went to telecon first thing this morning only to be jumped on left and right by a guy on the other side. He was being an inconsiderate jerk. My team backed me up, but it still made me feel inept and as though I am not being thorough in my work, which bugs me. I am extremely thorough. At the end he asked if I was still there, I said yes, and he apologized profusely for the way he treated me and said he felt guilty for being such a jerk. Well he should feel guilty.

I needed some quiet time after that so I worked in the lab working on wiring up a thermal controller. I worked and worked on it, determined to make it work. It wouldn't. I took it to my former team lead and now fellow scientist. I was prepared to tell him exactly all the tests I did and what happened. He didn't need to hear it, he trusted my judgment and tossed it in the trash. I went to my office and ordered a few new ones.

While I was placing my order my former manager, I still have yet to meet my new current manager one on one, came to my office. It appears that *I* am the matter of great concern among my division. He didn't close my door, so I didn't worry too much about this being a bad thing... but still it peaked my interest. I am one of three people that the division leaders met to discuss. It appears that my former manager, former team lead, division leader and current manager have outlined a career path they would like to see me follow. He told me that if it doesn't sit well, or I have concerns to let him know. He really reitterated to me that he wants to stay involved in my career path as much as possible and that he is there for me. It was so nice to hear that.

My crystal ball is propped up in front of me and through the haze I see my manager sitting across from me, I can't tell if it is my office or hers, but she is telling me that I need to dump Jim's project if I want a promotion. Now what is hazy in my crystal ball is if she is actually offering to help me find a project to fill said booted project or if she is giving me her advice and turning me lose to find my own way. Also hazy is the timeframe... is this to happen next week, next month, or over the next two years?

Surprised? Nope. I fully expect to hear this. Why? It's true. My career path under Jim is sketchy at best. I don't care for what I am doing, I don't feel important, I don't feel valued. I am ignored and expected to guess what is expected of me. I am not part of the boys club. Why should I stay on this project? I see no good reason. They don't stand up for me, they don't push for my promotion, they don't praise nor offer incentives for success. They suck.

I don't know why I was ever hired to start with. I mean really, my background was not commensurate with what they wanted me to do. I was easier to hire than a technician. But here I sit functioning as a technician/administrator. I didn't get my Ph.D. to order tubing, or to be in charge of purchasing equipment for the engineers. I have got to move on... how to do that is the only question. I don't even worry about hurting anyone's feelings anymore. Just give me a charge code.

Is it time to go home yet? I felt horrible leaving Leif at lunch today. He cried and cried. He is having a rough day too. I think I need to go home now. Bye!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The calm after the storm

My proposal is in. Yes, it was "in" last Friday too, but not the final draft. I am nervous and scared. I have submitted proposals before that I thought would get funded, but they haven't been quite this nerve-wracking. I think the reason it has me so spazed out is that in the past my proposals have been related to another ongoing project. Not this one. This is completely my own idea and there isn't any supporting staff or infrastructure for it. It is building from scratch. I am scared. I am also scared because the likelihood of funding is scarily real. The level 6 who is on my proposal has asked that it be funded asap so that I can get some particular equipment. My former mentor said he would bet money it will be funded and that I can get follow on money for the year after for proof of concept.

I have already basically designed this system before, I KNOW I can do it. But can I make it work?

So now I sit in my office, quiet, trying to calm my heart. $100,000 for 6 months is a lot of moolah.