Wednesday, March 27, 2013

are you kidding me?

Apparently the universe thought my last post had too much whining in it, because karma got me.  This is how my day went:

No sooner did I click "publish" on my last post and Patrick called me with more tasks.  Turns out in order to get medically cleared I would need immunization records for both Gunnar and I.  Dating back to birth.  For real?  I had 16 years worth of medical records lost by Johns Hopkins.  And I'm fairly certain that the doctors that gave me shots when I was a baby are no longer practicing.  So, I said that's not happening, what else can I do?  He said the overseas screening office told him that I needed to get a blood titre drawn by my doctor.  Ok, sounds easy enough.

I called my doctor who said they can't just take my word for it, I needed the overseas screening office to fax them orders for the labs.  Well after a phone call to them, I found out they don't do that, so I had to go to the base hospital and have it done.  Patrick told me to go in, ask for the admin office because I needed to be put into the system, and then they would help me from there.

I pack Gunnar into the car and we head to the naval hospital, where the parking lot looked like Christmas Eve at the mall.  I found parking and went on with the mission... In the main entrance to the front desk, asked for admin and found the right office.  I waited a few minutes, gave the guy my info and he said "Did they tell you you weren't in the system?  Because you are."

Ok... so then I asked where I needed to go for the titre, and he directed me to labs.  There, I took a number and waited.  When it was finally my turn, the woman at the desk asked who sent me since I didn't have any orders for blood work.  I told her my story and she said "You need to go to the Overseas Screening Office and have them put it in the computer, I can't do anything without orders."  Annoying, but makes sense; so I asked where to go.  "I don't know" she said, and was on to calling the next number.

Ok... so I went outside and googled where I needed to go.  Turns out it was in the hospital.  Went back to the front desk and asked for directions again.  Found the right office to which I was told they didn't do that and I needed the immunizations clinic.  I got directions, and wouldn't you know... right next door to labs.  The woman there put the info into the computer, and it was back to labs where I pulled another number.

We waited, returned to the desk with the same woman who took my number and my ID and then asked "did you pull another number?"  Well, since I just handed you a new one, yes, yes I did.  I was lectured on the fact that I should not have taken a new number because had I not, she could have bumped me to the front of the line, but now I would have to wait.  Since they hadn't yet called my old number to the back for lab work I don't know how this new number affected the situation, but I didn't ask questions, I just apologized and took my seat again.

I finally got called back, and since apparently I couldn't hold Gunnar while they drew blood, and he couldn't be "unsupervised" we had to wait for another nurse to come in and watch him.  The vials started filling and then GASP!  Just what you want to hear from the person holding a needle in your vein.  Turns out I started "free bleeding" and blood was gushing out of my arm where the needle was sticking in.  Once it was under control, I told her that never happened before, and she told me she had never seen it happen before.  Very comforting...

I got cleaned up and quickly gathered my things, and we were on our way.  Bonus - I can now navigate the naval hospital in my sleep.  Another bonus was that I got a call that our passports were ready, and I could come pick them up.  I planned on it since I was still on base; could things really be turning around and going my way?! After lunch with Pat I went to the passport office.  She asked if I wanted to check them out, and I said yes (really just to make sure that the important documents were returned with them).  Everything seemed in order, so I put them back in their respective envelopes and noticed that they were different colors.  I asked why, and she said "oh no".  She made a few phone calls and turns out, the government issued me the wrong type of passport.

So it was back to waiting, more phone calls, paper work, and trying to control a tired toddler who was way too far past nap time.  I got everything filled out and turned back in, and she will call when it arrives... "hopefully it won't be too long".

In conclusion... Gunnar and Patrick are totally ready to go in regards to everything we have accomplished thus far.  I, however, am not ready in regards to ANY of it.  I didn't get cleared by dental, I won't be cleared by medical until my lab results come back in two weeks (meaning a longer delay before meeting with TMO and scheduling our move), I won't have a passport for probably another four weeks because they sent me the wrong one.  Clearly I am not meant to make this move, or someone up there gets a real kick out of having me run all over God's creation.

Just an FYI universe:  I'm not whining.  I get it.  You can stop now.  Thanks.

PS:  I promise to make the next post much more fun.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

saying goodbye

And so the "goodbyes" begin... We have been slowly selling some things we don't want to keep or store while we are overseas, and last night our list got down to the fish tanks.  I put our big tank up online and within a matter of minutes it sold as a whole.  I didn't even get to post the small tank, but there was so much interest in the big tank I mentioned I had another tank and pretty much everything inside the tank sold on the spot.

I was not prepared for it to go that quickly.  A very nice woman, who tolerated my lengthy questioning about her abilities to care for our fish in her own tank, came to pick up our little 6 line wrasse (along with a snail and some rock and coral) last night.

I spent the hour before she got here taking photos of the little guy:
He was one of my favorites.  Ever since we got a tank 3 years ago all I wanted was a 6 line wrasse.  And I'm not going to lie, I shed a few tears saying goodbye.  Hopefully I picked a good home for him, and he will enjoy his new tank-mates.

I figured now would be as good a time as any to update everyone on where we are in our moving process.

As for the people in our family, we have each been to our respective doctors and been medically cleared to live overseas.  This involved three separate appointments at three separate doctors - civilian for Gunnar and me, military for Patrick.  We then had to get cleared by dental as well.  That had to be done on base.  I was concerned with this part because we have to be totally cleared medically before we can meet with TMO (aka the office that schedules and plans our move - which we are supposed to do 7 months out, but we are 2 months out).  However, base dental recently stopped taking appointments because they were so backed up.  I guess they managed to squeeze the three of us in, and we went yesterday.  Turns out that even though I have been getting regular cleanings every 6 months on the dot and have had 2 sets of x-rays done in 2 years, my dentist missed a pretty big issue in a tooth, and now I might be looking at a root canal.  This means I am not cleared to move with my family until it is taken care of.  Given my huge (and only slightly irrational) fear of the dentist (I have to be sedated) you can only imagine my reaction to this.  So pray for me that my appointment in 2 days goes smoothly and it's nothing more than fixing a filling.  Then I have to go back to dental on base, get rechecked and hopefully cleared.  After that we have to take all of our paperwork to the overseas screening office on base and hope that it's all filled out properly and we will be done with that part of our list.

As for our furry family, we are still deciding if we are taking the dogs with us or not.  It's a heart breaking decision, but it comes down to what is best for them.  And even a direct flight from LAX is 15 hours.  That's a long time to be under a plane.  They are good travelers, but I think that's asking a little much of them.  It's a lot of time for me to spend panicking above in the cabin as well.  I told Patrick I would need to be sedated (that seems to be a reoccurring theme for this post...).  As it turns out, that wouldn't be possible, because if we took them, I would have to take them (and Gunnar) over by myself in August while Patrick would go ahead in June.  Sounds like a job even SuperWoman would turn down.  The reason for that is because they have to be quarantined a minimum of 30 days in Australia, no matter what.  But they also have to be quarantined a total of 180 days (6 months) from the date they get a certain blood test drawn.  Well the date they were first able to get that test taken would put them in quarantine until September 8.  If we had to pay for quarantine from June to September we would go bankrupt, and also it would be miserable for the dogs.  The would be 10 hours away from us, in Sydney, in a cage, with strangers.  We are getting all the necessary tests and shots for them to come with us (which has involved 2 vet visits on base so far, we still need 1 more off base, and shipping vials of blood off to a lab), but they might be staying with their cousins at the farm with my parents.  We can't seem to bring ourselves to even discuss the topic.

After all that, I guess the next step is to sell more stuff, and then sort the rest between storage, household goods, and other things.  The HHG shipment will be expedited I believe, and will take about a month?  I'm going on what I've heard, so I'm not sure.  And the storage stuff will be shipped off to wherever the military has space to store it (no climate control available much to my husband's chagrin).  Then the rest of our belongings we will need down under (but aren't HHG) will be shipped, but take somewhere between 5 and 6 months?  That's what Patrick tells me anyways...

Major things left on our list of "to sell" items are our cars.  We still have Patrick's old truck (we have 1 interested party) and we have decided to sell the Tahoe as well.  Patrick's parents will be taking the new truck.  We spent so long looking for the perfect one, it would be a shame to have to start that process all over again in 2 years.

We also have sent off our applications for our government passports (which involved going to base for photos, and then a separate meeting with the base passport office).  It's been over a month, so hopefully they will arrive soon (along with our important documents) so we can then apply for civilian passports as well.

If you're still with me (and not bored out of your mind) then thank you.  It feels nice to vent about all this, and putting it all in writing makes me feel like I have accomplished something.  There's still a lot more to do, but we're getting there (I guess) slowly but surely...

Friday, March 8, 2013

unconventional baby book entry

Baby's first stitches?  Well, we ALMOST made it to 18 months before our wild child ended up in the emergency room to get something stitched.  Almost.  I'm actually kind of surprised it didn't happen sooner, with the way this monster monkey climbs, and is so stubborn independent.  But here's how it happened...

Last night was just like any other night, Patrick was still at work, Gunnar and I were playing around before he ate dinner.  At the time of the incident we were playing with one of Gunnar's favorite things - a bucket.  This one was a soft, nylon one shaped by springs.  He was busy putting it on his head and taking it off, giggling while I asked "Where'd Gunny go?!"

He started throwing it back and forth with me, when it landed on the couch.  He decided he wanted to get it, so I let him.  He climbs on and off the couch about a thousand times a day so it's no big deal.  Still, I was so close to him we were touching.  Halfway up it was like he decided to stop climbing, and slid down off the cushion.  Something went wrong, and instead of landing on his feet, he slipped landed on his butt, and his ear caught the corner of our coffee table JUST SO that it split wide open.  He started crying, I picked him up thinking he just bumped his head, yet again.  Then I saw the blood, and when I took a closer look I saw a flap of cartilage.  Gross.

I had a minor freak out and almost called 9-1-1.  I'm glad I decided not to, because after I threw clothes on him (he was naked) he was totally fine.  Totally acted like he wasn't bleeding every where.  I mean, it was on our couch, his jammies, the car seat, his face, me.  On the car ride over, I was panicked and shaky, and of course hit every red light (and got stuck waiting on our one lane bridge).  I called Patrick, who answered his phone apologetically that he hadn't left the office yet.  I said no worries, meet me at the hospital.  And he did.  After a horrible experience at the civilian hospital, I knew we wouldn't be going there again, and we headed for base.

Patrick arrived just as I was signing us in, and I can't tell you how glad I was that he was there!  He's much calmer than I am, and Guns loves his Dada so it automatically made him forget about everything else.  Plus it was another set of hands to grab him when he tried to run off, and someone else to help keep him busy when he got bored.

There were a lot of people so I expected to wait a while.  Gunnar entertained himself by literally running up and down the halls, looking like a lunatic... with a face covered in blood, laughing his little tush off.  All in all, it wasn't terrible.  It would have been a bad experience no matter where we went just because of the circumstance.  We were there for about three and a half hours, including wait time, triage, doctor's exam, stitching, and picking up prescriptions.

I won't talk much about the stitching because it was quite a traumatic experience.  But we all survived, and Guns has 9 stitches to show for it.  Now I'm left with the task of keeping a bandage on it 24/7 for the next 5 to 10 days, changing it daily.  Are you kidding me?!  Luckily, we've done one change and it wasn't too awful.  Once we got the tape off he let me do what I needed to do.  And he leaves it alone for the most part.  He will only poke at it if he accidentally touches it.  Kind of like "Hey, what's this on my ear?" I tell him no, and he stops.  Hopefully he will keep up the good work and it will heal up just fine.

But UGH what an experience.  I have an unfortunate feeling it is the first of many...

Watching Sponge Bob in the waiting room...
The damage:
Glad Dad was around for this ER trip.
Post stitches... we were both worn out.
Re-hydrating from all the tears.
Back in one piece:
And... he's out.