Batgirl: I am no longer

This is a true story that happened to me in June 2011…every year I re-post how I became…BATGIRL!

Backstory:  Beginnings
Performing amazing feats of logistics

The day 7 shot was a God-send. I called my regular physician and left a long and rambling message to see if they could help me find a place, other than the mega expensive trip the downtown ER again, to receive my rabies injection: I was having a hard time finding a place in Michigan that had any rabies serum other than emergency rooms, which are $$$ and did not want to administer them to a walk-in since they had them in stock for “emergencies only”.

In a shocking turn of events, my doctor’s office called me back to let me know that another patient at the practice had been undergoing a rabies series and never came in to get their 5th injection. The serum was not yet expired and I could come in to their office and have it administered by a nurse there. Praise God, an easy one! This shot was in my left arm, and I had to sit for 30 min at the doctors office to be observed to ensure I did not have a reaction to the injection. Hmmm…none of the other places made me sit and observed me for a reaction…

Day 14 took place while we were in Chicago. Friends had gifted us a hotel room so we could have some fun family time together after finishing our job at the church but before moving to our new location. I typed the address of the hospital (I had already called to verify had rabies serum in stock) into my GPS and put on my brave face. I found the hosptial, parked, went in and took a deep breath as I told my story. “I got bit by a bat and need to get the next shot in my rabies series…”

Because I was from out of state and because my doctor was as well, a doctor certified in the state of Illinois had to re-write my prescription so that I could get the shot. Apparently bat bites in Chicago are common–the nurses told me they had tons of vaccine here and regularly gave this series of shots–especially to entire families that wake up to find a bat in their house and don’t know whether anyone got bit or not, so they all have to go through the entire series. Yikes! This time my shot was in my right arm.

My fifth and final shot took place in Oklahoma, where the kids and I stayed with my parents for the month of July while Dan traveled the country hosting summer camps. Because we were not yet in the state of Georgia, where our new insurance would cover us, and because we were no longer covered by our “old” insurance we had to do everything out-of-pocket as if we had no insurance.

I had to be seen by a doctor licensed in the state of OK and have him re-write my prescription yet again in order to have my shot administered. My parents’ physician agreed to see me and re-wrote my script. I was the first person he had ever met that had actually been bit by a bat. Yay me!

I took my final prescription to the Urgent Care center and breezed right through, having already pre-paid for the shot at the discounted no-insurance rate (somewhere in the $200 range instead of the usual $1500)

For some reason, that shot was very painful and I was cranky and my left arm hurt quite a bit, but I was thankful to finally be done with this whole crazy process, and told my dad that he was no longer allowed to call me “Batgirl”.THE END.

(Or at least I thought it was until the bills started coming. My first ER visit was nearly $4,000. More bills to come…)


Batgirl: Performing amazing feats of logistics

This is a true story that happened to me in June 2011…every year I re-post how I became…BATGIRL!

Backstory:  Beginnings

To complete my rabies series, I would need to get injections 4 days after my original shot, 7 days after, 14 days after and 28 days after.

Kind of a pain, but REALLY a pain if:

  • No medical entities in Michigan had the serum in stock and could administer the rabies shot except for the ER downtown (and it took nearly 20 phone calls to find this out)
  • The family and I were headed to church camp the next day and would be in the boonies hours away from home and without cell coverage (unless you were standing in the middle of the soccer field) when the day 4 injection needed to take place
  • I would be in Chicago when the day 14 injection needed to take place
  • My husband’s job would be changing hence our medical insurance would be changing right in the middle of my series of injections
  • I would be in Oklahoma when the day 28 injection needed to happen and the new insurance would only cover me if I were physically in the state of Georgia

It was excruciatingly frustrating to have to try to figure out how, when, and where to get these shots on the exact dates they needed to happen and in the locations that I would be on those dates. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent making phone calls to hospitals, ER’s, med centers, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and the insurance company to get each and every poke procured.

Not to mention the cost. Google how much a single rabies shot costs. Now multiply by 5. Add in ER visits and all the miscellaneous hospital expenses they LOVE to tack on. No wonder Bill Finger made Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, a millionaire; no one less endowed could afford to survive a bat bite!
Day 4 injection
My dearest friend, who was also volunteering at church camp, drove me 45 min to the hospital nearest to the camp that assured me they had a rabies shot to give me. We drove over what appeared to be a 27 foot long black snake on the dirt roads as we drove to get there. I walked into the ER and sat and waited, along with a man who had sliced his hand and was gushing blood, as all the old people who had fasted to take blood tests were taken BEFORE the walk-in emergencies. Again, I state, gushing blood man had to sit and wait with his arm elevated and trying to contain the blood flow with a paper towel while Alma, Cletus, Edna Mae, Walter, and Edith all got their cholesterol checked.
After finally being taken to the ICU of this very tiny hospital, I was told to sit on a bed and wait. My room adjoined another patient’s room, and he had just been helped to the restroom that adjoined our rooms. Let’s just say the sounds I heard rumbling from the bowels of that bathroom were making me ill as I waited for the nurse to decipher my chart because, “she ain’t got no stickers on here!” Lord help me! I don’t have stickers on my chart and they aren’t going to give me my shot!
Finally a nurse with a syringe entered my room and asked me where my most recent shot had been, then proceeded to inject my alternate hind-quarter before I was released. I did not get a band-aid on my injection site and my release entailed no paperwork. “Have a great day, honey–walk right down that hallway, go out the door on the right and you’ll be outside in the parking lot”.  I highly suspect that syringe was filled with nothing more than plain tap water.

2 down…3 to go…
On the drive from the hospital back to the camp, we came upon some local construction. The worker holding the “slow/stop” sign apparently didn’t think we were slowing down/stopping fast enough and started yelling at us before he literally tore his vest and shirt off to make his point. Not in a good way. If he had shaved in the past month or had his hair cut in the last year, had any teeth, or did not look like nicotine was his only food group maybe the experience would have been more pleasantly memorable. We laughed our way back from our very “rural” hospital experience.
…tomorrow it ends…

Batgirl: Pierced

This is a true story that happened to me in June 2011…every year I re-post how I became…BATGIRL!

Backstory:  Beginnings

I drove myself to the emergency room. Feeling a bit like a fool and also feeling like I was saving my own life.

I felt my cheeks blazing a bright red as I stood a pertinent distance behind the man in the wheelchair at the ER check-in desk agonizing about the sharp pains he was having when he …well…I was probably standing a little too close and he was probably talking a little too loud. After his groaning self had been wheeled off to a room, I took a deep breath that filled me with resolve and I walked up to the check-in desk where I made sure I lowered my voice as I leaned in and said, “please don’t send me to the psych ward, but I got bit by a bat and need to get a rabies shot.”

They didn’t laugh, but I could tell that they were entertained. After their previous customer, I think I would have been too.

I was taken to a room where I sat and explained my story to quite a number of different medical professionals. I have a feeling the ER was slow that day and not only was I the sanest person there, but also had the most interesting “case”. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the phrase, “I’ve never met anyone who has actually been bit by a bat before!”

Yes, thanks very much people, I’ll be here all day, apparently, unless someone wants to get around to treating me? Anyone else on duty wanna hear my freaky bat story?

A few people asked me why I didn’t catch the bat and keep it to have it tested for rabies. To which I had to restrain myself from retorting, “Gee, I just didn’t happen to have my gardening gloves, hockey mask, butterfly net, and bird cage on me while walking to the ice cream shop with my family.” Instead I reeled in my emotions and calmly told them I didn’t realize I had been bitten until well after leaving the area.

I had to fill out paperwork for the county so they could put on record that there had been a bat bite in the area. One of the questions asked if I knew the “pet name” of the animal that had bitten me. Umm…that would be a no.

An intern was assigned to administer my shots. Poor guy. He explained that the first shot was a half syringe full of serum which needed to be injected fully around the bite site.

Since the bite occurred on my ankle, where there is mainly bone rather than muscle or fat, he had to do 8 subcutaneous injections encircling the bite on my ankle. He was absolutely shaking and terrified as he warned me that this serum was one of the most painful shots when injected. I assured him that I had a very high pain tolerance and could handle it, but his arms were shaking for each shot nonetheless. Partly because the tiny needle was having a hard time penetrating my leathery ankle skin (each time, he would push and push until I heard a little “pop”…like the sound you hear when you are piercing a Capri Sun and the straw finally breaks through the little silver lining). Then he had to hold the needle in place and push with all his might to try to get the serum to come out of the needle into the bony void around my ankle bone. Honestly, I barely felt a thing besides empathy for this poor big bear of a guy who was battling a teeny tiny needle.

After the shots encompassing my ankle were complete, I got to enjoy a shot in each thigh and my right buttock. Poor intern. No one should have to look at my stretch-marky buh-boomba.

Before I could be released, I was made aware of the SCHEDULE of ensuing shots I would need to get to finish the series.

Despite all the injections I had endured that day, I wasn’t done yet. Not by a long shot.

…to be continued…

Batgirl: Dillemma

This is a true story that happened to me in June 2011…every year I re-post how I became…BATGIRL!

If you missed yesterday’s Beginnings, read it here 

“Crazy day that ended w/ a bat clinging to my ankle…& not the baseball kind. Hoping I don’t wake up with cowl & wings…always an adventure!” ~Twitter/Fbook status June 8, 2011 @ 8:43pm

I scrubbed my ankle with some rubbing alcohol hoping it would cleanse the tiny red marks on my ankle. I wondered, “Did the bat bite me? Scratch me? Or are these scratch marks from me itching mosquito bites? Did I graze my ankle on moving boxes or paint pails? Maybe something kicked up while I was mowing the lawn?”

I didn’t think too much of it as we began our nightly routine of painting the house (to get it ready to put up for sale) for as many hours as we could before falling into bed exhausted somewhere around midnight.

The next day, I did a little internet searching on bat bites just in case the writhing, squealing varmint had indeed chomped my ankle. It was some of the most dire reading I have ever done–rabies is a 100% fatal disease. Not to mention that when I told a friend that I may have possibly been bitten by a bat she freaked out on me because she knew of someone in real life whose husband had been (unknowingly) bitten by a bat, went to the hospital a few months later sick with what they thought was the flu and he actually died a few days later of rabies.

My fears were clinched by a message from my husband’s cousin, who is a doctor, recommending that even if I had come into contact with a bat–bite or no bite–rabies is indeed a 100% fatal disease, bat teeth are so small often you can’t even see their bite marks,  and in his professional and familial opinion it’s better to get a series of shots and be safe than dead.

Hence, first thing the following morning,

“Bat girl checking in. Lots of shots forthcoming…” ~Twitter/Fbook status June 10, 2011 @ 9:36am posted from Emergency Room in Grand Rapids, MI

…oh, there’s more…

Batgirl: Beginnings

This is a true story that happened to me in June 2011…every year I re-post how I became…BATGIRL!

A few weeks before moving from Michigan, we decided to take a very nostalgic “one last family walk” down the bike path to end up at the little ice cream shop in our tiny town.

We were in high spirits, so much so that we let the kids choose anything they wanted off the menu, no matter the cost, size or sugar content! You want the choco mountain sundae? Sure, let’s have two! An orange creamsicle frosty shake? Extra large! Can we get two cherries on everything, please? It’s a celebration!

On the walk back home, we stopped to talk to friends and confirm the rumor that we were moving. They live in a charming yellow house with a zipline from the tree house, a chicken coop next to the teeter totter, a climbing wall and a tire swing in addition to a random assortment of animals from an aligator in their basement to a baby zebra and a giant tortoise roaming the yard.

Not only did we attend the same church and elementary school, but I had been in Bible study with the wife, the husband helped work on our basement renovation, and they had once had us over for dinner. It was only appropriate that we stop and  say farewell to such good neighbors.

We stood outside their white picket fence exchanging pleasantries and they stood inside listening to our moving story while attempting to corral their 3 children plus the 4 they were babysitting that night. Not to mention all the animals in the yard.

As I was telling them the crazy story of the events that led up to our impending move, I felt a leaf or something blow on top of my left foot. I simply brushed the offending object off my foot using my right foot, but a tiny screeching sound caused me to look down.

It was a bat. Lying on its back. Squealing at me and baring its fangs.

Of COURSE all the kids were immediately intrigued by the tiny creature. “Did it bite you?” the neighbor asked. Since it was dusk and getting hard to see, I said, “I don’t think so, I didn’t feel anything.” I laughed it off and we commented on how strange it was to see a bat on the ground rather than flying in the air etc.

The neighbors grabbed an empty clay flowerpot to put overtop of the clearly unable to fly nasty-looking little creature in order to keep the kids from poking it with sticks or trying to touch or step on it. We finished our conversation and walked home remarking how totally weird the whole bat incident was.

After we got home and got the kids in PJ’s and settled into bed, I had a chance to take a good look at my foot in the light.

It looked like someone had stapled my left ankle.

…to be continued…

Skip n shop–a new gift

As we’ve been thinking more intentionally about our growing children’s birthdays, trifles are just that to them. Although they enjoy unwrapping presents, we found that they often sat on the counter where they were unwrapped gathering dust for a week or more.

Don’t get me wrong, they loved unwrapping and squealing at the surprise inside. But the getting was way more fun than the keeping. Especially the responsibility of having. to. put. them. away. (cue torturous sounding GROAN)

So, as Orange parents trying to be tuned into what our kids REALLY want, we put on our thinking caps.

One day when I was wishing I had a third or fourth ear to listen to everyones’ days all at once on the drive home from school (yet another “gift” we give to our children…more on that one later…) I got an idea.

I ran it by Dan who thought about it for a few minutes–just because making it happen x 4 would mean a little bit of planning in advance and definitely some sacrifice on our parts. But in the end we decided it would be oh so worth it.

10155973_10154104276130161_2068209213174261056_nOur eldest daughter was about to turn 9. One of those “weird” ages…when they’re too old for Barbie, yet too young for things like tattoos or a car. She already has a bike and a scooter, a microphone with a stand and speakers people, about 437 Beanie Boos and an old iPhone that she uses for educational apps at school. What more could this girl want?

This where the plan came into play at just the perfect time. Dan–being the graphic designer–put together an awesome certificate. And not just any certificate…no “free hugs” here, baby!

We weren’t exactly sure how it would go over as we usually wrap the “biggest” or “best” present of the birthday (which is usually from us) in gold wrapping paper. This year, it was gold wrapping paper in the shape of a wonky, origamically challenged envelope…not exactly visually stunning like the large, easy bake oven or Barbie castle boxes of yore.

Our sweet birthday girl opened the envelope as Dan and I held our breath waiting for her reaction.

Granted, she is our drama girl, but her reaction was good. I mean, Oscar nomination good.

She squealed and could NOT stop talking about when we could plan to go, when she could skip school and have us all to herself, where all we could shop and spend her birthday money, where we should go out to eat, what music we would listen to, what she would wear, which Beanie Boo she would bring along with her in which purse. It was game ON, high five, in the bag, best present ever, baby!

Our other kids looked stunned that something in an envelope could be the object of such delight to their sister…and provoke such a sense of envy…they wanted a skip and shop too.


SKIPANDSHOP We did the same with our next child’s birthday, our younger daughter. She was in. her. glory. until she had purchased the 3 items she wanted to buy, then she simply wanted to go home, assemble and play with her new toys in our presence with no distractions or need to share our attention with other siblings. So. Relaxing. What a gift…not just to her, but we found it has turned out to be a gift to ourselves as well!


Liam Skip and ShopOur firstborn son just turned 11. And he does NOT like getting gift cards or money.  So we were a little nervous that our #winning streak might be interruption on this one. We made sure to purchase gifts in advance that he could unwrap…which was nothing more than copious amounts of Lego sets. All of which he assembled before bedtime on his birthday night.

We had to think a little harder about his “skip n ______” day, but I had my antennae up for just this reason. When he mentioned watching Captain America with a friend this past summer and that a few friends at school had seen the new movie and in a store he pointed out an UnderArmor shirt featuring Captain America and said, “he’s my favorite hero” (<–kid of few words, so when he speaks, we listen), I did the math. He received a “skip n watch” to go see the new Captain America movie in the theater. On a school day.

He expanded the experience by suggesting we get the first Captain America movie from RedBox to get Dan and I up to speed on the good Captain’s origins before we head to the theater to watch the “new” one–knowing my introvert he just doesn’t want to answer all my questions during the movie in the theater, but he also is one for “the whole series”.


I love how my kids are transitioning from “stuff” to “experiences”–making memories and helping make that really hard-to-get one-on-one time with parents-of-four-kids a reality.

What are some creative ways you do or have heard of to intentionally have fun over time with your kids?

Free writing: terrible parenting, tears, tissues, and the true meaning of Christmas

I just had the sweetest moment with my youngest child, the one who hasn’t asked Jesus into his heart yet. The one I’ve been praying for those solid walls around his heart to let love in and bring crashing down …yes, that one. And I might have been the catalyst to almost breaking his heart along with those walls tonight, but for God’s grace.

I didn’t have a stellar parenting day today. I snipped and snapped at my kids. Impatience abounded and my tone and my words were more biting than a wind off lake Michigan in the dead of winter.

I was downstairs at my computer trying to sneak in a little after-dinner work while the older kids were reading and the youngest was in bed. A “sigh of relief” time of day. Until I heard a very loud and suspicious “crash” noise come from the upstairs bathroom.

I sighed and mounted the stairs, my anger and frustration building with each step up. After bursting into the bathroom and asking in an accusatory and totally guilt-riddling mommy voice, “did you need HELP with something?”, two little brown eyes refused to meet mine and a little voice stammered, “I was just going to the bathroom.”

“Ex-CUSE me?”, I spat.

His tenacious eyes met mine and we did the familiar dance of the stare off. Whoever flinched first or broke gaze, lost.

He never broke gaze, but he did finally murmur that something must have fallen in the tub.

I interrogated him ruthlessly, as if I were investigating a murder–my eyes furtively seeking the corners of the tub to verify the information about the shampoo bottle that “fell in” by itself. After verbally circling each other for a few rounds, I finally had him cornered, trapped, where he had to either admit he had done something wrong, or push my button one last time and see if I would crack and flip my lid like I usually did. He chose to tell me the truth… head bowed, eyes firmly planted on the ground, murmuring, “I did it. I pushed it into the tub. I was going the bathroom at first, then I pushed it in.”

I wanted to scream and shout and lecture. That’s my usual go-to “rut”. But strangely, I bit my tongue and thanked him for being honest…although I did throw in the jab of “but if you  need to go to the bathroom, es-SPEC-ially after you’ve been put to bed, you need to go quickly, then go right back to bed, no playing? Right? Do you understand me?” The whole time I was laying on the guilt, I was also cringing because I hated how I sounded, but it just kept coming out.

I put him into bed and told him I loved him, kissed his cheeks, patted his fuzzy head, and affirmed that he was my boy, whom I loved very much. My handsome boy, my helpful Kindergartner, my son, who tells the truth and can be trusted.

I tucked him into his warm bed and left the door open a crack. I scuttled around doing a few last things upstairs, then inspected the bathroom once more to see if he was really telling me the truth about the shampoo bottle or if it could have just fallen in by itself when I heard the sound of muffled crying coming from his bedroom. They were broken-hearted little boy sobs, and they were awful.

I walked back into his room and the room fell silent. “What’s wrong, why are you crying?” I asked. He held his breath and tried to pretend he was asleep.

I walked over to his bed and asked again. Still, no sound, feigning sleep. This time I put my hand on his arm and said his name, which felt and sounded so awkward, because this was a dance we had never done before.

I picked him up, cuddled him in my lap and kept asking him over and over why he was sad? Why was he crying? What is wrong? What’s the matter? My voice getting softer and my own heart breaking a little more with each unanswered question.

My solid as a rock little guy would not crack. I remembered my days of locking myself in a bedroom while my poor, persistent father would stand outside the door cajoling, never giving up, asking the questions over and over, gently repeating my name until I finally let him in and told him what was breaking my little heart. I did what my dad had to do all those years ago, and I kept trying.

Finally, he took a deep breath and inaudibly answered. I had to ask him to repeat himself, and it was still a whisper so quiet I couldn’t hear. “One more time, buddy, I don’t know what you’re saying.” Then the crocodile tears poured out of his eyes and his voice shuddered as he burst out, “it’s because of the bad choice I did”, and wrenching sobs of release ensued.

“Oh, buddy. I forgave you for that, you don’t have to think about that any  more. You don’t need to worry or cry about that because it’s all gone.”

And then…I got to witness to my son. And tell him the story of Jesus, through my own shaking voice and my tears dripping down my cheeks and plopping onto his head.

Trying so hard to use the words he would recognize from church, from our Bibles and storybooks, from our everyday life that would speak to his heart.

It was the most precious moment I’ve ever shared with him. And it was awful, because I started it all with bad parenting and my own “sin problem”. And I had to admit how only about 15 minutes before this incident I had yelled at his sister, I had made a bad choice. Even with Jesus in my heart, I still struggle with my sin problem. But that because I have Jesus in my heart, He helps me realize it when I make a bad choice, He helps me say the hard “I’m sorry” words to help make things right again, and then forgiveness comes and we are made right again. And God… And Jesus… And Christmas…And the Cross…And the Grave…

And after I was all done, he said he was still feeling sad.  I told him it was okay to have sad days, that in fact, I was having a very sad day today, too. I said, “let’s be sad and cry together.” So we got some tissues, and as we began to blow our noses. Then we began to giggle. Together. We blew in funny rhythms and giggled all the more. And the sadness went away with the tears and the tissues.

I asked my son if I could pray for us, and he said yes. I curled him up in my lap one more time, because I don’t know how much longer my fast-growing 6 year old will allow so much snuggling. And I prayed and thanked God for Christmas, for sending His son to take care of my sin problem. For sending me MY son, the one snuggled in my lap that I love so much. And for giving us hope and laughter, and hopefully a good night’s sleep.

And for this and all the words between the line of these words, I am beyond thankful.