Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Gynecological Adventures of a Deana

In the continuing saga of doctors' office staff who can't get my name right, I made my pilgrimage into Little Rock for my yearly grope session today. (At the Cornerstone Clinic, which prides itself on being a Christian place of business. So you can get groped to the glory of God, I guess.) At last year's appointment, (I thought) I had gotten them all straightened out on my name. Today, I approached the sign-in desk, where the woman asked if I brought my forms. "Actually, I was never sent anything," I said. So she gave me new forms and I sat down to fill them out. A few seconds later, I heard, "Jeannie?" I looked up and realized that she meant me. Let me stop here and explain something that everyone named Deana (pronounced Deena) has to deal with. People mess our names up ALL THE TIME. And every time it happens, we have a split-second to decide whether we are going to correct the person or not. At this point, I decided not to say anything. And I'm glad I didn't, because it only would have added to the confusion that followed.

Woman: I think you didn't get your forms in the mail because we have an old address for you.

Me: OK...(giving her our "new" street address)

Woman: And you're still living in Lonoke?

Me: I've never lived in Lonoke.

Woman: your date of birth 11/2/54?


(I wasn't trying to be rude. But 1954? Really???)

So she got all that straightened out. At least I hope she did. I would hate for my Pap smear to show pre-cancerous cells on my cervix and Jeannie in Lonoke getting the phone call instead of me.

Then I sat down and immersed myself in a five-month-old copy of Southern Living. Then, "Deana Hall?"

I walked up to the nurse.

Nurse: Hello! How are you today?

Me: I'm great. But I need to let you know that I'm not really Deana Hall. I'm Deana Nall. I just respond to the name that sounds the most like mine.

Nurse: (looking quite puzzled) Let me check on that. I'll be right back.

A minute later, the nurse returned with a triumphant look on her face. "You're right! It's Deana Nall!"

I was right! About my very own name! What a moment.

Then I was ushered to a bathroom, where I had to roll my eyes when I realized I was peeing into a cup labeled "Dena Hall." (And rolling your eyes while peeing into a cup is not easy. You should try it some time.)

Once in the exam room, I glanced at my chart and anything else with my name on it to make sure it was right. In case the real Dena Hall was scheduled for major surgery that morning. But everything checked out. "Deana C. Nall" -- my official, legal, correctly-spelled name was on everything.

On my way out, the cheerful nurse (who had pronounced my name correctly up until this point) called out "Bye, Dee-Anna!"

I can't wait to see what they call me next year.

Here's what I don't get. My name is really not that hard. It's not like I'm Polish or anything. It's not like I'm Attitaya Indrakamhang, the photographer I knew while working on the college newspaper whose name we had to meticulously type into every single one of her photo credits. That poor girl probably never goes to the doctor. It's probably not worth the hassle.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hikers, bikers... they're all the same

My parents came up from Houston last Monday and we've been busy driving them all over creation. On Thursday, we drove them up to a friend's cabin near Jasper in the Ozarks. We've stayed there before and we LOVE this place. It's on the Buffalo River and it's gorgeous up there this time of year.

We planned to do some hiking, and my mom was determined to get my dad a walking stick. (Not the insect... an actual stick you walk with.) None of the usual country bumpkin-type places in our town (like Cracker Barrel) had any, so we decided to stop on the way up to the cabin. We passed a sign that we thought said "HIKERS OUTLET" so we stopped. Surely the Hikers Outlet would have a walking stick! It wasn't until we were all out of the car that we noticed the sign actually said "BIKERS OUTLET." The Confederate flags should have tipped us off. However, we did manage to secure a walking stick at a business adjacent to the Bikers Outlet, so mission accomplished.

After a couple hours of windy, hilly driving (in the backseat with a 9-year-old who is as prone to motion sickness as I am), we finally got there. The cabin comes complete with a resident elk (named "Elkie" by Jenna) who came to see us both mornings we were there.

Why, there she is now!

Julia and Jenna got to do lots of exploring on the land around the cabin. Here are my sweet girls actually being sweet to each other down by the creek.

We hiked Lost Valley trail and poked around in Beechwoods Cemetery, where graves go back to before the Civil War. In fact, if you know anyone whose last name is Villines and they live in Arkansas, just about everyone they're related to who's dead is buried in this cemetery.

Here's Jenna in the original Villines house, which was built in 1850. While we were in there, we looked up and noticed the whole place is being held up by a couple of thin cables. So we left. Rather quickly.

Then back to the cabin, where we walked down to the Buffalo River. My dad loved looking for arrowheads there...

...while my mom pretended to not be related to any of us.

This is the perfect place to find some lovely fall colors, which I tried to capture in this rather artsy photo I took:

We drove back to our house Saturday and my parents flew home today. My next much-anticipated outing: the Twilight movie on Nov. 21! Edward + Bella = love forever! (And I do mean FOREVER.)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tales of the Crypt

Last night, our house church went to Mt. Holly Cemetery in Little Rock for "Tales of the Crypt." It's an annual production put on by students at Little Rock's Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School. Mt. Holly Cemetery is the final resting place of a number of Arkansas notables, including 11 Arkansas governors and several Confederate Army generals. For "Tales of the Crypt," the audience walks in groups to different graves, where students act out a short dialogue about the historical figure they are portraying. Last night, we heard from the wife of James Dibrell, who started the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; William B. Worthen, who started the bank that eventually became the Bank of America; and several others. The actors are all in period costumes and perform at the actual grave of the person they are portraying. That photo up there is of Mount Holly Cemetery in the daytime. Pretty creepy, huh? And we got to walk around it in the dark! It was a lot of fun and very educational. Julia wanted to see David O. Dodd, the young Confederate martyr who reportedly haunts a house not far from our church, but he was on a different part of the tour. We'll try to catch him next year.

In non-Halloween news, I've invented a new sandwich. I want to announce it to the world so I can get full credit. It's a grilled cheese with pepper jack cheese and banana peppers. SO YUM. And vegetarian, to boot! (For those of you keeping score at home, I've been meat-free for over two years now.) I'll never eat a boring old regular grilled cheese again.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

20 Years Ago...

I stole this off Jacinda's blog. I could REALLY confuse everyone and just use her answers, but I decided to come up with my own. Here's what I was doing...

20 years ago (1988)

I was a senior at Beaumont Christian High School in Beaumont, TX. I was thinking about breaking up with the guy I had been dating since 10th grade, and I finally did in December. What else was going on in October? Let's see -- at school, we seniors were probably getting ready for the senior spook house at the annual fall fest. I had big hair, and not just at Halloween. And I was a brunette. But not for long.

10 years ago (1998)

In October 1998, Chad and I were living in Abilene and I was gradually coming out of my bout with hyperemesis during my pregnancy with Julia. What a NIGHTMARE. I was also fighting to get my strength back up to pull off ACU's Homecoming, which I was in charge of. It all came together with the help of Kelly and all the other wonderful students on my steering committee. Oh, and after a summer of me staying in the hospital way beyond my sick leave, Chad (who was in grad school) and I were completely BROKE. No savings and sometimes, no income. We made it through somehow and welcomed a sweet baby girl into our family a few months later.

5 years ago (2003)

We had been in Baytown, TX for three years. Chad was a youth minister and I was taking Julia to preschool and writing for The Baytown Sun. That was a rough year -- by October, I had had two miscarriages and was about to have a third. What was up with my reproductive system? Soon Jenna would be on her way, though, and then I would get out of the baby-making business FOR GOOD. Despite that difficult year, I still have sweet memories of Julia as a four-year-old and of our family being active with our church and community.

1 year ago (2007)

Now we're in Arkansas! Julia was in third grade and Jenna was in preschool. I was writing for magazines by then, which, guess what? Pay a WHOLE LOT BETTER than newspapers. So goodbye, newspaper writing... nice knowin' ya! We were also busy with church/youth group stuff and enjoying fall in Arkansas, which is always lovely. The girls were gearing up for Halloween (Julia was Hannah Montana...someone she wouldn't be caught dead dressing up as now).

yesterday (October 8, 2008)

I weeded out clothes to donate to charity, went to my weekly Bible study, went to lunch with friends, managed to lose our cat, and went to Refuge where I spoke to the teens about finding value in others.

today (October 9, 2008)

Secured the cell phone number of our neighbor, who is in Florida, because I could hear a cat meowing in her garage and I was convinced it was ours. She gave me her garage code and when I opened the door, it was ANOTHER cat. Not ours, not the neighbor's, just some random cat. Weird. Chad and I took Jenna to preschool and I'm lining up interviews and doing research for my next deadline.

tomorrow (October 10, 2008)

Friday. I really have NO CLUE what we're doing tomorrow. I guess finding the cat would be good.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Out of the mouths of... something

The other day, Julia's friend marched up to me and said, "Julia said you were pregnant five times!"

That threw me for a second because I thought she meant Julia said "My mom is pregnant" five times.

"Oh," I said, after I figured out what she meant. "Yeah, I was pregnant five times but three of the babies died."

"That is just CREEPY!" she said.

"Well, they're called miscarriages and they're actually fairly common," I told her.

"That is so WEIRD!" she said.

I was so stunned by this conversation that it wasn't until she stomped away and moved on to something else that I realized I probably should have said something about how rude it was for her to talk to me that way. I know she's only nine, but at nine I knew what a miscarriage was and I certainly knew not to charge up to someone who had experienced one (or three) and act like that.

The whole thing put me in a funk for the rest of the day.

Anyway. We're still going strong with the Grocery Game. I haven't paid for toilet paper since I started four weeks ago. Here's one of my latest bargains. The AirWick FreshMatic Ultra Automatic Spray usually sells for $11.99 at Kroger. They went on sale for $5.99 last week, and I got a $5-off coupon in the paper that day. So I got it for 99 cents! I got apple cinnamon and it makes the house smell all harvesty. The only thing is how LOUD it is. We don't really notice it during the day, but at night when the house is quiet, it sounds like someone is sneezing in the hallway every time it goes off. Scared me to death the first time it happened. Now we turn it off before going to bed. Anyway, I've been able to buy what we need for the week and stockpile stuff and I'm still spending a lot less than I did before. I used to spend $130 a week on groceries and now it's more like $70. I spent a little more than that this week because I had duplicate coupons and decided to stock up on a few things. We won't be buying deodorant until halfway through 2009 and we have more cereal than Jerry Seinfeld.

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