I’m traveling today, but I can’t tell you anything about it, because what happens there stays there. Yes, Cleveland is a crazy place. Just kidding — I’m really going to Akron.
If you have not listened to my first podcast appearance, Dave Denniston hosted me for an hour-long, wide-ranging talk. We recorded it in July, but it just recently went online. We discuss medicine, money, faith, and family. Because that’s what this blog is about. Click here to download it on iTunes (Season 3, Episode 40), and here to listen directly from his website.
Daylight Savings — An Invention of Shayṭān (The Devil) — And a Dance with a Demon
Since Daylight Savings hit a couple weeks ago, our house has been in disarray. Rogue Two, who finally had a good sleep schedule for the fist time in 4 years (he’s 4 years old), was completely thrown off. Months ago, in my 3rd ever blog post, I wrote about some of his late-night shenanigans (while also discussing my first mistake as a doctor). Recently, we’ve had him asleep at 8pm and waking up at 6:30-7am.
Rogue Two has been wired differently since birth, and that includes bad sleep habits that have defied every imaginable system of punishment or reward.
I recently caved and took advice that my wife offered a year ago — a melatonin supplement. I was generally opposed to the idea of a supplement for children, particularly as this is unregulated and not well studied. After little success with other methods.
It’s been a few weeks since starting, and the first night with the first dose I thought we had accidentally purchased Ambien. He’s literally fallen asleep without difficulty almost every night since starting the supplement — something he has never done his entire life for more than 2-3 nights in a row. (Note, this does not constitute medical advice for you or your family or friends! Consult your doctor before taking any supplement).
My wife didn’t say, “I told you so.” No, it was more like, “why are you so stubborn about everything?”
While he is still going to bed on time, daylight savings has screwed up what time he wakes up, as he is routinely waking up anywhere from 2am (to come into our bed) to 545am because he’s just ready for the day. Still way better than our previous problem, but not great.
Last weekend, while visiting the in-laws, I walked into the bathroom and discovered he had removed a vent cover and was putting toilet paper down the vent. This has nothing to do with sleep, it’s just emblematic of his personality.
This morning while the family was eating breakfast, he told us that he loved his baby brother, and his older brother, and his mom, and his dad, and everyone in the entire world. It was a Tiny Tim moment. He alternates between the sweetest boy in the world and a mini-demon meant to torment your soul.
Nowhere is this more evident than dance class. After months of him asking, we signed him up for dance lessons a couple months ago. He’s a free-style dancer — any beat in the background will get him tapping and twirling.
For his first lesson, I dressed him in black jean-shorts and a punk rock t-shirt. The girls in the class (he is the only boy) were wearing leotards and tutus.
The part I love the most about watching him at dance class is he really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks (unfortunately that’s also the trait that makes him put toilet paper into vents).
He doesn’t care that he is the only boy in the class. He doesn’t care that he is dressed differently. He doesn’t care when he falls down.
He goes, he puts on his ballet or his tap shoes, tells me to wait outside (where I can watch through a one-way mirror), and he does his thing.
Sometimes that means he twirls and sashays and rolls and prances. Sometimes he clogs up the dance studio toilet with a roll of paper towels and is barred from unsupervised use.
I wish we could blame the latter on daylight savings, but that happened before the time change.
It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Yes, it is benefit open enrollment time! For those of you purchasing insurance on the exchanges, you have until December 15th. The White House has slashed the marketing for enrollment and the window to enroll — don’t forget!
We will continue to use our High Deductible Health Plan — the premium to cover my family has increased a whopping 25%, all the way to ~$125/month to cover my entire family. With a only $3k deductible (though our out-of-pocket max has climbed to $6500), my current insurance plan is a phenomenal deal as it’s heavily subsidized by my employer. It astounds me that anyone at my institution uses anything else — the math rarely works in the favor of the other options.
With the $800 our employer puts towards the HSA, and then maxing out the HSA on my own, even in years I have maxed out the plan, I still save money over paying the much higher premiums for the fancier plans.
We’ve used some HSA money to pay off expenses (the budget can only take so many early in the year sticker shocks from medical bills), but we also have a decent sum invested. I’ll continue to stash money into the HSA until the GOP decides to start taxing that also.
Don’t pick your plan until you’ve factored in the deductibles and out of pocket max as well as the premiums before choosing your health plan.
Did You Read TL;DR?
In case you missed it, we had our inaugural edition of TL;DR Twosdays, in which I alert you to great content from a blogger you otherwise may not read, and content from The InterWebs you may have missed. My first one may have been my most shared post ever.
Writing the segment was fun, and also easier than the 100% original content. While most bloggers do some sort of “roundup” segment, as I am providing a summary and discussion, it takes a bit longer. The next one is due out next week.
Holiday season is officially upon us — I hope to have a post out on Thanksgiving (instead of on Friday), if my schedule allows it. Whatever holidays you are celebrating this winter, just remember, Ramadan is only 6 months away. So eat some extra Costco Pumpkin Pie and store up for later!