May 4th, 2005

6 months and counting

Only three more to go.

The chili verde experiment is ticking along in the crockpot, returning me,
after several months, to that lovely virtuous state of knowing that
dinner is cooking and it isn't even lunchtime yet. Heh. Thanks again to
K. for the Xmas gift a couple years ago.

Under the heading of TMI, my nipples are flaking. I realize that at this point,
some people are going to start asking questions intended to find out whether
I should worry about this. No, they aren't sore (less sore in the last
few weeks than during the first few months). No, they aren't red. No,
there isn't anything coming out. I don't think this is pathological.
I think this is a completely normal development preparing the breasts
for nursing, because associated with the flaking is the nipples getting
noticeably longer. But the whole thing is frustrating, because if you
attempt to figure out what's going on, whether via books or the web,
there's usually a checklist (or, in a forum, a bunch of questions) of
whether its something to worry about, without necessarily including an
explanation that this might be normal and what's going on. The last breast
weirdness in this pregnancy was one morning noticing the clock-face-like
appearance of enlarged Montgomery's glands one morning. (To be fair, when
I ask my midwives questions about stuff like this, I get direct and
useful answers.)

I realize there's a risk I sound obsessed with my breasts at this point.
I feel obsessed in some ways.

I just wish that all these web sites and books actually had a bunch of
useful trivia about normal body changes (including these ones) in addition to
the more obvious trivia. Basically, a geek's guide to being pregnant.
I don't want reassurance. I don't need permission. Just the facts, ma'am.
(Of which there are precious few, I might add.)

In unrelated commentary, I'm reading _Internal Bleeding_ (because I don't
have enough fuel for my loathing of medicine in America already) and
really quite appalled by it. Not only do they repeat the hoary (and quite
untrue) bit about airplanes being safer than cars (in fact, they're twice
as dangerous in the US on a per mile basis, unless you limit air travel
to single legs in excess of a thousand miles, run by commercial carriers,
etc.). They also seem to think that because the IRS, NASA and some other
government agencies have had trouble computerizing, this justifies the
abysmal state of information management in hospitals. That hospitals
generate unique demands on information management. As near as I can tell,
most hospitals don't even hire competent file clerks. Most of the
ridiculous records/charts f-ups look to me directly attributable to
having a massive filing system and no dedicated professionals to
managing it. In large organizations of specialists, logistics is where
it's at, and I think medicine overgrew and didn't realize it. If we
had those people in place, they would further tend to notice what
behaviors externally made their life suck, and would tend to rationalize
the behavior of the staff in general, and a few of the geekier ones
might notice error trends and start documenting them along with
their downstream costs (which so far look completely unaccounted for
when hospitals make c/b decisions).

Worse than that, tho, I recently realized there's a huge $ cost of
medicine that is completely unaccounted for in our society (or wrongly
accounted for). People charge medical services and drugs, and then
pay interest/late fees/higher service fees due to ensuing bankruptcies
of other people etc. None of that would have been incurred without
the initial medical charge -- so all of it should be attributed to
the cost of medicine in America. And yet, it isn't.

I've been having a lot of fun going for long walks lately with friends.
Lots of wonderful conversations, getting to know the neighborhood in
more detail. Seattle is great for walking in the city.