Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures with Shoe Dog

Further adventures with the FHS.....I went in for my endometrial biopsy yesterday.  This is where a soft "pipelle" is inserted into your uterus and a small tissue sample is extracted.  No big deal....except when you look at the length of this "pipelle".  The doctor held it up to show me that it was flexible and soft....and incredibly long.  I asked..."Hmmmm....are you going to biopsy my thyroid?  If so, there is an easier way to get there!".  He chuckled, told me to lay back and relax.  Relax....It would have taken much more than 800 mg of Motrin to help me relax.  They should only do these things after serving a glass of wine....or a bottle.
My labs came back normal except iron levels.  Very usual.  Iron and I have a very aversive relationship.  I decided to look and see if I had any already before buying some.  I did.  I can date when my last three iron levels were taken by the expiration dates on the iron bottles.  Two were outdated by at least a year.  They all looked like they were missing about three pills. 

I'm determined, though.  I grabbed the one bottle that was still in code and swallowed a pill.  I immediately felt my entire GI system shut down.  Just usually takes three days for that to happen.  Hmmmm....seeing a pattern!

I went to Road Runner Sports for the 3-Day Clinic yesterday, also.  We took turns being measured for better fitting sports bra's and jumping on "Shoe Dog" to assess our gait and arches.  I jumped on the treadmill and then was able to watch a video tape of myself walking.  First, let me tell you...I will never be a foot model.  Wow....I need a pedicure.  I also stood on a pressure pad and discovered that 1) I can't tell left from right when asked to move over....and 2) I have a heck of a lot of pressure pushing down on my heels.  From the looks of the graph he showed me, my toes are actually air born as I'm walking.  Or it could just be that there is a heck of a lot of weight on those poor puppies. 

The bra fitting was the worst for me.  My friend, Cyndi, actually walked over and asked if I was OK.  "Why?" I asked.  "You look really, really uncomfortable, is she touching your chest?"  "Who cares about the chest....I just can't stand being touched by the measuring tape!"  I was then handed three bra's and taken to a dressing room.... or more like a dressing stall.  One with a top opening and a bottom a store full of people....that I was supposed to be topless in.  I dressed right next to the door.  What if some 7 foot tall guy walked by?  He would walk by, look in, scream in fright and remain single for the rest of his life!  I think all bra fittings should be in an actual room.  I don't see myself repeating this whole scenario....I was almost having an anxiety attack in there!

I didn't buy anything but will be returning to purchase some shoes.  I will be sad to take off my Sketchers...they are the most amazing shoes EVER!!!  But I can't see myself walking 60 miles in them.  I will continue to train in them for a while but will need to buy some grown up shoes when I start walking further.  I still wear them for shorter walks...and to work on casual Fridays.  Life is good....tomorrow is Friday. we come!

Love to you all!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Following up with FHS

I visited the doctors office today.  I have never understood why they take my blood pressure after taking my weight.  But then I've never understood why the dentist always says "your gums are bleeding" after they poked me with a sharp instrument either.  Go figure.  My blood pressure was high.   We did it again.  It was lower...I think it was because I had meditated the number on the scale out of my head.  Ignorance is bliss....and does not have hypertension. 

I made the appointment with the doctor because I have had periods of Fuzzy Head Syndrome.  FHS can be caused by a variety of reasons, apparently....none of which are easy to distinguish. 

Trying to describe my symptoms caused my doctor to tilt her head like a Cocker Spaniel at least twice.   "Tell me your symptoms"
"I am having problems concentrating and it feels like I'm a bit drunk most of the time." 
"Is this a problem for you?"
 "Only if I'm expected to do anything...which is primarily every moment of the day." 
"'re dizzy?" 
"No...not really dizzy.  It's more like...hmmmm....fuzzy headed."
"I'm not finding that as a diagnosis..."
"I also have some of those little swimmers in my vision"
"Do they bother you?"
"Only when they do the butterfly's kind of distracting."
"I'm still not finding a diagnosis in the computer...any other symptoms?
"I have some pressure behind my left eye."
"That I can work with...let's call it a head ache."

She was actually very thorough, which helped my anxiety.  I did not win the genetic lottery.  My mother had multiple strokes and my father has suffered a heart attack and quadruple bypass.    My biggest anxiety comes from those little mother's strokes primarily stemmed from occipital lobe or vision center. With my family history, they have decided to do a CT of my noggin and some labs.  We discussed doing a MRI but the thought of a bunch of contrast going through my brain was not sounding appealing.  I'm hoping that the labs come back with something simple like - your iron is low and you just need supplements....and some Metamucil.

I was also referred out to the OBGYN for a follow up.  They plan on taking a tissue sample tomorrow.  This does not sound fun.  They began that conversation with "you may want to take 800 mg of Ibuprofen before you come tomorrow".  Any time they are telling you to preload pain killers, you can assume the worst.  I'm hoping that my fuzzy head also proves to have fuzzy pain receptors.  At least I would get a positive out of it!

My biggest fears go to two different realms.  1) You have something seriously wrong with you and there is nothing that we can do....or...2)  There is nothing wrong with you and there is nothing we can do.  In either case, I will be stuck with this fuzzy headed euphoria that is making doing homework a bit challenging.  Studying nursing theory with a clear head is challenging.  Trying to do it while your having problems concentrating is murder.  I start reading and then....Squirrel!.....ok....back to reading....."Shiny thing!!!"....Arghhhhh.....reread the passage .....and...."Hey, is that synchronized swimming?".....Forget it!!!!!  I'm five weeks in and have two more papers to write.  The last one is 17 pages.  If I have a tumor, please tell me before week nine so I don't waste my time!

I'm sure that I'll end up finding out something simple but I'm glad that the doctor took me seriously.  She was very attentive and shared a variety of possible causes.  Now it's just following up with the diagnostics and putting together the pieces.  It's not all bad, though.  For now, if nothing else, I'm spending less on wine! 

Love to you all!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Age is a State of Mind?

It has happened. I am officially old. I'm sure of it. H0w do I know that I'm old? I am making references to things that my students have no idea about. They look at me with quizzical faces thinking, "I'm sure it was that way when you went to school...but....". Take Erma Bombeck as an example. She was the sum of all wisdom when I was growing up. I enjoyed her writing from my teenage years long into adulthood. She made motherhood laughable when you felt overwhelmed or inadequate. She assured you that you were not alone in your misgivings about your offspring; she confirmed that all teenagers are actually alien beings. There is a generation now that has never read her books, her column or even knows that she existed. They get their humor about family relations from shows like South Park or Family Guy. Lord help us. Wow - that comment alone aged me about 10 years!

Aging is not all that bad to me. I have more confidence and security in myself in my 40's than I ever had in my 30's or 20's. I feel that I have earned every wrinkle, laugh line and saggy body part I'm now afflicted with. I have red hair from a box and own a Bible that an entire row at church can read from. I believe it is about 48 font. I wear glasses when doing close up work and now have a big issue with personal space. Its not that I don't want to be close to you...I just can't see you if your right in front of me.

I fell asleep last 9pm. This is coming from a woman that worked noc shifts in her 20's and double shifts most days in her 30's. Even four years ago, I was working 40 hours at Kaplan, then heading to the Hospice agency to do Telephone Triage for Friday and Saturday nights. And now I'm asleep at 9pm? Are you kidding? Whats next? Eternal rest?

I've noticed also that everyone around me looks younger. I'm convinced that Matt's last doctor in the Pediatric urgent care was only 18. I think he still had acne. My doctor was at least 21 - and he does card tricks. Matts orthopedic surgeon looks old enough to be a doctor...fortunately, since he's allowed to cut people open. (on a side note, he's phenomenal and we're fortunate to have him!)

So age is catching up to me. If Dementia is knocking at my door, age is peering in my window. I try to shoo her away but when I'm not looking, she puts AARP initiations and fliers on purchasing Burial plots in my mail. She has also done some serious damage to my mirrors as when I look in them, I can only see my mother.

So, age and I are becoming well acquainted. In the end, I'm OK with it. It could be worse...I could have a life full of regret. Instead I have memories of family, friends, tons of laughter and now....even more Erma Bombeck. In the end, Life is good at any age.'s 8:15pm. If I fall asleep in my chair, please someone wheel me back to bed.

Love to you all....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Who's that knocking at my door?

Dementia I knocking at my door. Loudly. I spent five minutes on Monday looking for my work badge. You know, the one with the key and fob to enter the building. The one that I had to wait three years to get. That one. I was in a slight panic while searching. My husband was very helpful. “you must have put it somewhere…” hmmm….thank you. Now, I am very routine oriented. I put my badge in my purse religiously. Every day. Without fail. Where the heck was it? And then I looked down….and found it. It was around my neck.

As a nurse, I know that Dementia is a progressive disease. It gets worse with time. I started to questions myself. Is it worse? Am I noticing memory changes? I do realize that this question has never made sense to me. If I was having memory changes…..would… I… remember… them? I started scanning back over my life. Then it hit me. This is nothing new. Ahhh, a sigh of relief. Seventeen years ago, I had a similar situation. I was at the beach with my then, three little boys. I could see Tommy and Chris playing in the sand. But where was Matt? He is the youngest…only two years old. How could he have gotten away so fast? Oh my Lord…what kind of a parent am I. Just because I have three, it’s not ok to lose one. My friend noticed my panic and started asking questions. “What’s wrong?” she asked calmly. “I can’t find Matt”, I respond, trying to keep the rising hysteria at bay. She begins to laugh, as she has so many times before. “He’s in your arms”. I look immediately to my left and there he is. Amazing. This is what happens when you are right handed. You forget you have a left arm. And apparently, whatever it is carrying. Don’t think I didn’t give him heck for not speaking up.

So, apparently, I’m ok. I am not progressing down the road to Dementia. I arrived almost 20 years ago. No problem. It’s been one heck of a journey. At some point, I’ll try to sit down and remember parts of it!

Love to you all…..

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back from Bombeck...

I am back from the Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop. Wow...what a ride. It was three days of excitement with about 350 other writers, all working with some form of humor. Now, notice, I said it..."other writers". I'm taking the plunge and calling myself one. If I learned nothing else (and trust me, I did!), I learned that I don't have to have a book on Oprah to call myself a writer. I'm still in awe of this little step.

I met some truly amazing people. I found a bit of a twin on the first day. She and I both sat down at the same time...both a bit nervous to be journalistic virgins per say. The timing was "write" and I think I made a friend for ages to come.

I also learned that I cannot walk a straight line...fortunately. While meandering up the hallway, I mindlessly pinned some poor woman to the wall! She forgave me and sat with me at dinner. She was a fabulous dinner partner who has a wealth of very solicited advice. There was a group of woman that I have been adding to my email, Facebook, etc. All writers....all just plain good people. I'm on a high. And not like the kind from my 20's. The good kind.

Erma would be proud - this was group which seemed to hold no pretentiousness seen with other professions. Seasoned writers and newbies all interacted and I don't believe I have laughed this much...ever! I don't think you can get any better than spending three days with almost 400 people that love humor. Anyone who came in introverted (or constipated as we learned was the definition) would be unable to hide out long...there was always someone new to talk to...learn from....laugh with.

The challenge was given to write at least three times a week. I'm a bit...well..."eeek"ish right now but I'm up for the challenge. As a matter of fact, this could help my weight loss. To write, I must have material. To have material, I must get off the couch. Not a lot of funny happens while watching TV. looks like exercise is back in my schedule, if for nothing else than giving me something to laugh at. Those that have watched me exercise are already chucking. Loree has been after me to join the Three Day Breast Cancer walk. It is a great cause. While my own breasts have joined the middle aged crowd and can currently be tucked in my pants if I can't find my bra, I have a deep respect for those that have taken this journey. I recently had a student who had a double mastectomy and was in class four days later, smiling and ready to face life. Incredible woman.

I am also seriously affected by the plane seats and my size. My ride home was better. I sat with one older gentlemen on the first flight who was of average size. I can do average size. I just can't do a double of me in the same row. They really should look at weight class when they make the seating assignments.'s a size 2...she can sit next to the 2X in row 12. Seems like it would even balance out the plane better. If all the Lane Bryant shoppers end up on one side, we could feasibly just end up circling the city.

They got it right on the second flight. Average sized male, size 2 woman, size 1X woman. We all fit. Thank God, because that was the 4 1/2 hour flight. The only problem with sitting next to a size two is realizing that she could fit her entire body in one of your pants legs. I tried to keep my eyes on my book. Since she was very forgiving of my hips being slightly on her side, I forgave her for being thin. I'm sure she has other redeeming qualities.

Ok - off to rest. I have been up since 1am SD time. It's been an energizing experience but I'm feeling my mind start to wander....Squirrel! Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flying in the Fat Suit

I'm on vacation this week. I flew to Ohio for a writing conference...a humor writing conference. On the trip, I will visit my sister also. As usual, the trip out gave way for good writing material.

I must ask...have airline seats gotten smaller over the past years? I sat, on a four hour flight, in the absolutely back row and the middle seat. My neighbor looked at me and said, "you must be up for some kind of punishment to get that seat! What in God's name did you do?" It looked for a few moments that we were going to be OK. The seat to my right was empty. Just...a...few...more...minutes...until...takeoff. I anxiously looked up the isle to see a woman that had at least 50 pounds on me pass all of the other rows...and point to the seat on my right. She checked her ticket several times, probably in hopes of some miracle number switch or maybe a terrorist attack leading to us getting off the plane. such luck....that seat was hers. I think she goosed me twice while putting on her seat belt.

Fortunately, she fell asleep on the flight as our legs were touching more than I usually experience with my husband. The poor man to my left was trying to find out why the arm rest wouldn't go down all the way. What can I thigh was in the way. I have the bruising to prove it. I tried moving over a little but would have had to spoon my right hand my son would was just a whole mess of awkward.

The second flight was heaven. Still the last row, but all to myself. Three neighbors. I couldn't ask for more. Apparently I had served my sentence with the first flight. I read an entire book between the two flights and again have learned a life lesson. If possible, take the last row. There is absolutely no pressure to jump up when the plane lands. I read the last ten pages in peace while the rest of the plane stood or tried to stand waiting for their turn to deboard. I knew I was last. It was great! I think I'll opt for that every time!

My sister has saved me about $500.00 as she lives ten miles from the conference. I am spending the week at her 150 year old house. You know, the one that is four times larger but 1/3 of the price of my postage stamp house in San Diego. It is beautiful...and huge. I love it. I guess, however, that 150 year old houses have their own issues. Like broken pipes. Like broken pipes that take over 24 hours to fix because they don't make that part anymore. lesson. You CAN take a shower with nothing but facial cleansing wipes. On someone my size, it did take half the pack but it did work. I was...clean..or at least, not dirty.

I also must add that my sister got all the cooking talent in the family. I have had biscuits and gravy, chicken and dumplings and she is preparing a Mile High Strawberry Pie for tomorrow. this is a dish from our childhood that has about 1000 calories per slice but is worth every one of them. Hopefully I packed my fat pants.

The week is off to a great start. I love being in Ohio and I spend a great night tonight meeting other writers. Actually, meeting some "real" know...ones that are published and paid. It was wonderful tonight - the energy was amazing and the people were friendly. What was I expecting at a Humor Conference? The fear of the unknown never makes sense, does it? I'll keep writing one way or another. I'm hoping to come away with some new ideas and maybe some discipline. I would like to post at least once a week. For those that continue to read what I've written.... Thank have saved me once again from becoming a middle aged alcoholic. OK, off to bed now. The conference starts at 8:00am tomorrow. That is 5:00am San Diego time....and I have not seen one Starbucks!

Love to you all!