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: 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…

rockabye redemption

imgresMy  5 1/2 year old son asked me to sing him a song like I used to when he was a baby. We adopted him at almost age 2, so there aren’t as many baby rocking songs or memories as there were with my older three children.

It just so happened that my oldest daughter wandered into the bedroom during this nighttime routine, so I asked big sister to pick one of her favorite “baby rocking” songs for me to fulfill his request.

She chose “Rockabye Baby”.

I folded my 40 pound son up like an acordian to get him into my arms and began crooning and swaying.

I never do anything by the book and always try to add an element of fun to what I do. So of course in the song when we get to “the cradle will fall”, the “baby” is jostled, faux dropped and jiggled til there is copious giggling as we crescendo to the super silly, vibrato-filled finale of “cradle and aaaaalllllllll”, which ends the experience.

After catching his breath from giggling, my chocolate-eyed boy asked, very seriously, “but mom, who will save me? you have to finish the song and say who saves me”.

My jaw dropped open, but I couldn’t utter a word. On the inside, I was jumping up and down shouting “Yes!”, as epiphanies lit up like fireworks inside my head.

There’s something in each of us, not matter how young, that longs for redemption. 

Something groans inside our beings that won’t let us settle with a story that ends with a baby falling out of a tree. Something pokes us from the inside that won’t let us get comfortable on our pillows and jilts our peace not letting us settle for “well, that’s the end of that.”

You see, my little guy, he can’t live without knowing that something or someone comes along to save Him and finishes the story properly. He’s not content with falling out of a tree and being left there on his own with “The End” stamped on his forehead.

I pine for this for him. I long for this for him. I pray for this for him. For that moment when the he hits the ground and realizes that he needs someone to save him. To pick him up, brush him off, and tell him it’s not the end, but rather that it’s just the beginning.

lettuce into boogers

imgresToday at church I had to turn lettuce into boogers.

The teach was from James 1:22-24. The passage where you look into a mirror, and if you walk away unchanged you are deceiving yourself.

The storyteller did a fantabulous job of using a square of green construction paper to act out having a piece of lettuce in her teeth, looking in the mirror, seeing the lettuce, and choosing to leave it there. The lesson was great, I totally got it and was even tearing up a little bit feeling convicted at the words she was saying.

BUT when I got back to my small group and placed a little compact mirror in the middle of our circle and asked, “so how does this mirror remind you of the story you just heard?”


Blank stares.

Shrugged shoulders.

“I didn’t understand what that story was about…”

My mind started whirring…how can I explain this in their language and at their level so that they will “get it”?

OK. So, you won this big award, and you’re on your way to the ceremony where you will have to go on stage AND  you’re going to get your picture taken. You want to make sure you look your best, so you go into the bathroom and look in the mirror.

There’s a big, giant, gooey, green booger hanging from your left nostril. You see it, and it’s gross. Do you want other people to see you with that booger?

NO. Of course NOT! So you get a tissue, and get rid of it before you head out to your ceremony and get your picture taken.

Now, if  YOU ever looked in the mirror, saw a giant disgusting booger hanging from your nose, would you CHOOSE to leave it there and go about your life?  (They all shouted “ewww! No way! Gross! Of course not!”)

Well, why not? (Their replies: “That’s embarrassing  You don’t want people to see you looking like that. Boogers are disgusting. No one wants to be seen with a booger hanging out of their nose. That’s just gross, Mrs. Jenna.”)

You’re exactly right. And now you’re starting to understand what this passage is talking about. If we want people to see us at our best, then we need to check ourselves in the mirror. The “mirror” is God’s Word. We have to be reading it to see what we’re supposed to look like, or how we’re supposed to be living.

If you read, “Do everything without complaining or arguing” (Phil 2:14) and groan, roll your eyes, and say, “but I don’t WANT to” when your mom asks you to do your homework…you are choosing to walk around with that big, ugly, gooey, green, nasty, slimy BOOGER hanging out of your nose.

My girls seemed to get it a little better than the lettuce analogy. And they were pretty grossed out at the thought of walking around with a crusty snot on their face. 

Not exactly sure it’s parable material or that I’ll be invited to take a pulpit any time soon, but I think I was able to get the message across today. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be making a booger analogy in church…

I know I was convicted by today’s passage and lesson–the lettuce illustration got my attention, but the booger one just really took it home for me. And if I really take a hard look in the mirror, I’m pretty sure I’ve got some boogers I need to get rid of. You?

Stories from Orange: things that divide

Although I only got to see Dan for about 4.3 minutes this morning, he was bursting with stories to tell me about people and interactions he’s had so far at the Orange Conference.

One story that he started to tell was about one of his friends (I’ll call him “Joe”) who has been through a bit of a rough patch lately. One of the thorns in that rough patch being his employer: the church.

Joe’s church runs a Christian school, but Joe’s children attend public school. The senior pastor decided he wanted all church employee’s kids to attend the church’s Christian school.

Joe and his wife had already decided that the best thing for their kids in the coming school year would be to do a mix of classical education via the public school combined with homeschool. Joe communicated this decision to the pastor and told him that if the church forced the Christian school enrollment issue, Joe would have to resign. The pastor reneged, and said he was uncomfortable with but had to respect Joe’s family’s decision.

This story immediately took me back to high school. After my freshman year, we moved from New Jersey to Colorado, where I attended a Baptist church on Sunday and a charismatic high school Mon-Fri.

Although I was easily in the top 10 percent of my class for academics, was involved in extracurriculars and leadership at the school, I was not inducted into the school’s honor society. When I met with the principal of the school to ask why I had not been included in the honor society, he told me it was because I did not speak in tongues.

I totally I feel for Joe and his wife. I groan because I know what it’s like to live a life that doesn’t fit into the “rules” or “policies” someone else has set, and having to suffering the fallout from them. I understand. I hurt. I’ve been there. And I hate it when we do stuff like this to each other in the body of believers. And I say “we” because I’m a rule-maker  too. I love policies and procedures and for everyone to fall in line and stuff themselves into neat, little boxes.

But I’m learning more and more that Jesus came and blew it up for people like me who like making up rules. He took all the laws and policies that people were making and shocked us all by doing the exact opposite. Instead of creating his own playbook, he took away the regulations and made a level playing field for everyone. In an unexpected and completely genius move, He changed the game and set everyone up to be successful just as they were instead of laying trip wires to keep people in line.

I recently studied Ephesians, and I’m realizing for the first time just how important the “we’re all on the same team” mentality of Ephesians 2:11-22  is in this game of life. When we engage in petty arguments, quibble and quarrel–just like they did in Paul’s time–we’re actually generating fodder for Satan to use against us to trip us up, frustrate us, divide us and take our energy and focus off the prize of living our lives all to the glory of God.

As I listened to Joe’s story, I empathized, then I immediately prayed for Joe and his wife and the pastor in this situation. That they’d see past the petty in order to focus on the greater call of God’s kingdom.

Are there things in your past or present that could be considered petty quarrels and quibbles that are distracting your focus from God or compromising your/the Church’s testimony? What have you learned? What will you do differently when the next “challenge” comes?