Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Marta's had a blood test today: it went very smoothly, despite my mama's great fears.

The nurse came to our apartment at 8:30 a.m.; I had to hold Marta's arm and I didn't do it right because I wasn't completely awake yet; Marta cried just a little, and it was nothing compared to the way she almost always cries right before eating; two minutes later, she was smiling again at that favorite toy of hers, the yellow duck in a silly hat, who plays you a sad tune if you ask him to.

I'm glad Marta isn't old enough to make use of my mama's emotions and end up dramatizing such a harmless procedure.


The really tough part of it was getting some urine from Marta. They told me to put a little bit of cotton into her diaper and then squeeze it out into the container; no more than 20 mg is needed, the said. Well, that sounds easy, but it's not.

We had our first massage yesterday, and Marta peed it all out then, on the table. After the massage, she slept really well, which wasn't very helpful, either. Cotton is a very good absorbent - too good, I should say, for there was nothing to squeeze out really for the five or six times I checked throughout the evening and at night. At 6 a.m., I happened to have the container in my hands the moment Marta decided to pee, so I did catch a little, and - that was it. We fell asleep till 8:30 a.m. and I dreamed of a sufficient amount of Marta's urine, a very happy dream, but then, when the nurse arrived, I was quite disappointed that it had just been a dream. The nurse said the amount I'd collected was okay - not enough for just one part of the urine test. Right after she left, Marta peed happily on the changing table the moment I took off her diaper.

(Oh, and we don't have the 'changing table' - we change Marta on top of the washing machine. And the word 'container' isn't the best choice, either: a rather tall glass can, which used to have strawberry jam in it, with the label still on, is all we had, and I just sterilized it before using it. The nurse wasn't surprised, of course.)


The nicest part of it was that we didn't have to carry Marta to the shitty clinic on Ploshcha Tolstoho for the blood test - there's now a paid option, not related to the state clinic: a friendly, neat nurse comes over with all that's needed for the procedure. The test results will be delivered after 5 p.m. today. It costs 60 hryvnias (approximately $12). If I decided to wait till tomorrow evening, I would've saved 10 hryvnias ($2), but we have our monthly checkup tomorrow, so I was in a hurry.

(The massager is also a very sweet young woman - whose daughter is 9 years old, though - from the Orthopaedy Institute. She charges 50 hryvnias ($10) for a session that lasts about half an hour. Marta didn't love all of it, but was pleased overall.)


We need these tests to determine whether Marta can have her vaccinations. At least, this is what I assume they are for. My mama is terribly worried about the vaccinations, too, having read a few scary articles in the local papers. It's time for the DTaP shot (AKDS in Russian), and I hope it'll go well for all of us, including my mama.

Any advice and encouraging stories are very welcome.


As I was writing this, I was feeding Marta at the same time and listening to NPR.

Two pieces about mothers: an interview with a linguist who's written a book on "mother-daughter speak," and a very moving essay by Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center - There Is No Job More Important Than Parenting.

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