I was so proud of my discoveries! Some clean, freshly pressed handkerchiefs (no one uses them anymore), a couple kitchen linens, and a pop-over baking pan! 

     But as I walked through room after room of this once-occupied house, I grew sadder and sadder. It wasn't a house. It was someone's home. People lived here. A family history was made here. I was made ever more aware of that when a man came up to me as I was paying for my finds and said, "You better do that pop-over pan justice. Everything my mother made in that pan came out perfect!"

     I assured him of my affinity for cooking and told him about www.kitchenpsycho.com. After exchanging a few more words, I took my leave and arrived home, excited to invent some tasty new oven-baked delight. 

     Now, a day later, pictures of that home flash up in my mind. The flawless eight-piece set of white wicker bedroom furniture. The glass case in the dining room that contained twenty different flowered teacup and saucer sets. The shelf in the hall closet, piled high with spools of assorted ribbons. The kitchen cabinet containing a set of dishes, obviously thirty years old, but in pristine condition. The off-brand mixer, with all the attachments, whose housing had yellowed with age.

     All of these things had a good life in the hands of someone now dead. And there I was going through them. I almost felt like an intruder. As I spoke to this family's 40-something year-old son, he informed me that his father had died and they had moved his mother into a nursing home closer to his home in Dallas. 

     Oh, the sadness of growing older and being faced with your own mortality! "Old age is the most unexpected of things that can happen to a man," said Leon Trotsky. 

     I will be 37 when November arrives this year, and I am more surprised than anyone about it. Thirty-seven is by no means old, but how did I get here? I still feel as if I should be 23 or 24, still acting like a know-it-all about a few things and yet still trying to figure out... well, life. Still grappling with disappointments and insecurities. Still wondering what challenges - and blessings - the coming years will bring....

     I have always been the kind of person who appre-ciates the small, simple things. I am grateful for that. And I am determined to remain that way. And now that my pop-over pan has a history, it waits for its first use in a new abode. It shall get a lot of use as the newest adoptee in my home!
     "I'm a scientist," he said. It took all the self-control I possessed not to roll my eyes and respond in sarcasm.

     There stood my step-daughter in the pediatrician's office, bouncing 10 week-old baby Noah in her arms. She had asked me to accompany her this time because we wanted to change his formula. Yes, formula. 10 weeks old and he's eating formula already.

     Noah was born about 8 weeks early, they say. He lived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a children's hospital in Dallas for about five weeks. When he was about 10 days old, he developed NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis) and after antibiotics and rounds of x-rays, it cleared up. Since then, the doctors encouraged formula, saying he couldn't handle breastmilk (which is the biggest load of hooey I've ever heard, but this post isn't about that). Not knowing she could fight for the right to breastfeed, my step-daughter relented.

     The formula Noah has been eating is apparently the cream of the crop, the "Cadillac" of formulas. Even the nurses in the hospital hadn't heard of it when the doctor prescribed it. "Elecare" claims to be the pre-digested (by what, I don't care to know) formula that is the most easily assimilated by babies. 

     But all of that doesn't matter. Noah has been a screaming fit ever since he came home from the hospital, despite gaining almost five pounds since then. He has had acid reflux, vomiting, bowel blockage... all that from the most easily digestible formula on the market. My step-daughter, at times, has been close to tearing her hair out in frustration and is now certain this will be her one and only child. 

     Meanwhile, she was running out of formula and I had been doing some reading. There is only one formula on the market that does not contain a key ingredient. A key bad ingredient: a synthetically made DHA supplement. DHA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid and is a main structural component of the brain and eyes. DHA occurs naturally in breastmilk and is said to be important for healthy visual and mental development throughout infancy.
     Unfortunately, man-made vitamins, minerals and fatty acids are sub-standard and can cause serious side effects. This one, synthetic DHA, can lead to: 
  • Severe gas 
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting  
  • Gastric reflux 
  • Constipation and bowel obstruction 
  • Agitation, fussiness, crying and severe distress
    Little Noah was experiencing all symptoms. Two weeks ago, the doctor gave him an acid reflux medication to help with the reflux. "Really? You're going to treat one symptom? Just like a doctor to shove a drug in your face as he ushers you out the door," I thought. 

     Here we are two weeks later, and his condition has improved only slightly. The doctor admitted it might be a good idea to switch formulas and suggested one made by Similac. That's when my step-daughter presented him with the information about this synthetic DHA supplement and asked for the ONE formula on the market that is made without it: Baby's Only Organic Formula by Nature's One. Both WIC and Medicaid cover it. Now let's just see if he'll let her use it...
     First, he objected to the formula's being organic by saying, "Even poison ivy is organic." Yes sir, you're right. But I'm sure that it does its job without any added ingredients, either.

     Next, he protested the doctor who wrote the information. "Is he a pediatrician? Has he done the research? I'm a scientist. I do this all the time." Scientist, sir? I beg to differ. Scientists spend long days in a lab, testing hypotheses, gathering statistics, and writing reports. You, sir, are a busy pediatrician who talked to us for a total of 10 minutes. And your day will be spent doing the same for 50 other patients and their parents. I doubt you have the time to be a scientist as well. (No, I did not say all of this, because we would have left without getting what we wanted)

     At this point, I pulled the can of formula out of Noah's diaper bag and said, "Well, we ran out for formula yesterday, and I went ahead and got some. He's been on it ever since and has only spit up twice since then. We would really like to see what only two weeks will do for him."

     This seemed to soften him a little. BAM. Gotcha. We can do something without your consent. What're you gonna do about it? After my humoring him through another bout of "I know what I'm doing" talk, he finally gave in. And, in the off-chance of WIC not accepting this formula, he gave us a back-up prescription of the other formula he had suggested at the outset.

     Hey, docs: why is it so hard to imagine that a parent would know his child better than you? Why is it so hard to imagine that we could be educated about treatments and side effects? Why is it so easy to ignore the root cause and only treat a symptom? 

     Recently, I took one of our dogs to the veterinarian to get neutered. He tore out stitches a couple times and ended up having to stay several days because, in the vet's words, she "didn't want to see him again." She wanted him to heal. 

     Maybe next time I get sick, I should go to a vet.

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