Friday, March 26, 2010

PDD Done!

I've just finished (essentially) my Professional Development Dossier. For those that don't click the link, the PDD is an enormous document that teachers must complete between their 3rd and 5th year of teaching in the State of New Mexico. The purpose of the PDD is to encourage reflection, professional development, and assess one unit of teaching.

This thing is a beast. I've been working non-stop this Spring Break. I started writing on Tuesday and finished a few hours ago. Right now, my document is approximately 55 pages. I still need to scan in a few images and update some resources, but I have finished all that I will finish on my own.

Many teachers complete their PDD over the course of an entire year, and I decided to do mine in one week. This is because I am a supreme procrastinator and love to complain about pressure. I am in my 4th year of teaching, and so I have been planning for my PDD all year, but I was going to wait until the summer deadline to complete one. Then the NM Public Education Department announced that beginning in the summer the price to submit this document will increase substantially. I decided that I better save some money and submit by March 31st. Soon after this news, my district announced that they will institute a 1% pay cut across the board next year in an effort to balance the budget. You see, the state of NM is low on funds, and therefore they are making cuts to education. Because it just makes sense. But if I pass my PDD, I will get an approximate $12,000 increase in pay. It's worth a week of my time.

Now, the website to which I submit my PDD costs 1 million dollars to maintain. That is pretty significant. Also, my PDD is to be scored by two scorers and those scores are to be evaluated by a third individual. Now, I don't believe that there are only 3 readers, considering that there more teachers are attempting to move up in licensure levels in order to get more pay. That's a lot of people reading a lot of documents.

I may not pass this process, but I needed to attempt it in order to have an opportunity to resubmit later. I would really like to start the next school year with a raise rather than a pay cut.

It seems to me that the State of NM could save some education dollars by eliminating this process, but what do I know? I'm just a teacher.

PS-This post is just a rant to let all of my friends and family in on what I've been ranting about on Facebook for a week.

PPS--It is really good to know that I can churn out that much writing in a short amount of time, but now I've got no excuse for not posting more often. :(

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Health Care, Pregnancy, TMI

For those of you who are not already aware, I am pregnant for the second time. This pregnancy was a surprise, as my husband and I forgot birth control for the first two weeks of the new year.

With that TMI out of the way, I wanted to discuss the health care system and how it is affecting me.

I have known I was pregnant since January 15th. I called my doctor's office on January 19th. My first appointment was not scheduled until March 3rd. I will not see my actual doctor until March 16th. I will be 1 week shy of completing the 1st trimester when I finally see the doctor.

I am frustrated.

I have had some abnormalities with this pregnancy as compared to my last one. If this means that there is a problem, then waiting until the end of the first trimester to find out puts me in a dangerous predicament. Also, when I told the nurse that I was having constant nasuea, she did not recommend any remedy except a prescription for a drug that causes such extreme drowsiness that I am not allowed to drive if I take it.

So, feel like your gonna barf all day long, or go into a coma while teaching class. Not exactly ideal.

Luckily, I had fantastic care while in Albuquerque with my previous pregnancy. I was under the care of midwives, and they had an affordable (often free) solution for nearly every pregnancy ailment. Now I am just rifling through my brain to remember them all. And since I did not have as many problems with my last pregnancy, I didn't have to use very many of the remedies they casually mentioned.

Take notes when you go to the doctor. You never know when you will need the information again.

Aside: Do not go to WebMd to diagnose ANYTHING. It will just horrify you. I nearly always end up with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, stroke, or something I've never heard of. (If you suffer from those diagnoses, I am not mocking. I am simply pointing out that Web MD could not possibly "know" that from my symptom of a headache.)

My most frustrating discovery this pregnancy is that I am required to have a C-Section, because I had one 2 years ago.

This is not because my fetus is abnormally large, or because I am having multiple births, or even that I am high risk. This is because the hospital needs to schedule an anesthesiologist if one is required, so they won't be able to call one in if I "need" a C-Section during normal labor.

I also believe that it is because the hospitals know that it is more profitable for them to schedule a C-Section when it comes to insurance. I am not being a conspiracy theorist. Hospitals make more money per patient on C-Sections (especially pre-scheduled ones) than on long labors.

This choice has been robbed from me. During labor with my first child, I chose C-Section as a last resort. I had been in labor for 25 hours, and I pushed for 5 straight hours. My daughter entered the birth canal and then returned behind the cervix and turned upside down. The nurses were dumbfounded that someone could push so hard and not produce a baby. The option was to stop pushing for 2 hours (those of you who have been in labor know how hard it is to stop pushing, let alone after the baby has already entered the birth canal) and then try again, or have a C-section. I opted for the C-section.

That was my choice.

Now, between hospital insurance companies, and health insurance companies, my choice has been taken. I will not get to experience the drama and beauty of waiting for my child to be ready to leave the womb, using all of the physical, mental, and emotional force in my body, and gathering my family for support during labor. I will turn one of the most human events I have ever experienced into a clinical appointment.

This is not to disparage those that choose C-sections for health or convenience for themselves. That should be your choice that is made between you and your health care provider.

But I haven't even seen my health care provider, and the decision has been made.

C-Sections are serious surgery, and the recovery is very difficult. I was terrified that my stitches would rip, or that my scar would get infected, or that my uterus would fall apart (that last one was irrational and fueled by mild post-partum depression). One day I simply pushed my dog off of the couch and I ripped a staple. The pain was excruciating, and the wound became slightly infected, oozing and smelling. Luckily I was able to see a midwife before the infection became dangerous. I can't imagine what it is going to take for me to see a doctor here since I can't get into my OB for 3 months.

Now I will be recovering in a multi-story house, with 2 children. This increases the possibility of interrupting the healing process, and therefore infection. Infection is very dangerous if it is near a major organ (my uterus!).

I don't feel as if my health is being considered. No one has reviewed my file to determine if I am a good candidate for VBAC. I feel that I am at least due that consideration. Then I will feel that the health care providers are considering my health.

But for now, I feel as if my health is secondary to profit and convenience. That is not care.

When I finally see my doctor, I will request that he determine whether or not I would be a good candidate for VBAC, even if the hospital will not allow the process. I at least want that on my file.

I should be in charge of my health. I will do my damnedest to take charge.

About Me

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.