Refocus

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Update: My dad is out of surgery.  They said his gallbladder was distended, but everything else looked okay.  They took some biopsies of things and we'll have more information later this week.  Thanks to all for the thoughts and prayers, they truly carried me through the day.

(Original Post)
Instead of boring you with today's grad school/class switching calamities (which trust me, I could, for hours and hours and hours), I want to switch gears dramatically and ask once more for your encouragement, good thoughts and prayers.

My dad's colonoscopy came back wonderfully clear on Wednesday, however, he is still having surgery tomorrow.  The plan is to remove his gallbladder and then do some significant looking around to make sure there's not anything else going on.  His doctor is unsure about whether the gallbladder is the real cause of his problems since they've been so dramatic and since the earlier tests indicated that his gallbladder was fine.  I guess there's some questioning now about whether the non-functioning gallbladder is a cause or an effect of these problems.  

As of today when he was weighed at his pre-op appointment, he's lost a total of 35 pounds (off his 175-180 pound frame) since the last week of August and if the surgery doesn't make a big difference in his ability to hold down food he'll have to receive artificial nutrition, which he's VERY against at this point.  

So if you could spend a few minutes tonight (Sunday) or tomorrow (Monday) thinking good thoughts for my Dad, for this surgery and for his ability to heal quickly, I would greatly appreciate it.  

I'll update when I know more and have access to a non-school computer.

Daring to Dream

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First, I want to sincerely thank everyone who commented on Thursday's post.  I will count all 30 towards my donation, even if not quite all of you made it in the time limit.  Charity shouldn't have a time limit.  I haven't yet decided how much I can donate (more than 1 dollar per person for sure!) without bankrupting myself.  I know the size of the donation doesn't count, but I'd sure love to give them a good amount.

_______________________________________________________________

I have spent a great deal of my day doing work, but during one of my few breaks I checked my email and had a piece of mail from one of the graduate programs I applied to.  The email essentially listed all the ways I was unqualified to be an applicant and asked me to clarify or defer my application a year.  

I was able to defend all but one of my shortcomings, but right now it appears that a one-unit lab is going to prevent me from being considered for the program next year.  ONE UNIT.  I can't take the class because I'm already taking 4 labs (and, as of that email, another upper level biology class, crap crap crap crap) in the spring and will be at school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, and oddly, they don't offer the lab on a Friday or Saturday.  I've looked at several different schools, and well, I'm screwed.

So basically my current greatest fear, that is, not being accepted into any programs, is appearing before my very eyes.  One unit is preventing me from being considered an applicant, and I can only imagine that this is only the first time of many I will encounter this problem, since the lab is a prerequisite for virtually every program.  

I have worked remarkably hard since January of 2007 to get all these classes finished in time for this application process.  I've created a plan, mapped out my future and now it seems impossible.  

The program I'm applying for is 3 years long and Slappy's first residency is only 2 years.  It means that if his second residency is in a different location that we will have to live apart for a year.  If I get rejected from all 22 programs this year, it means reapplying next year and the prospect of living apart for 2 years, or deferring the application for another year, which might require me to retake some college courses because they EXPIRE.  

Furthermore, this is my last year of teaching, no matter where we live or what happens with these applications.  Teaching is not something I can or will do any longer.  It's simply not what I want to do with my life and I will not subject myself to something that makes me so unhappy.  However, I'm not qualified to do anything else, which creates a whole new problem.

So you can see my fear.  If I don't get accepted into a program, I have to re-tool and re-think a lot of things, am out a TON of money from the applications (GRE score reports are 20 dollars per program), and I have to spend another year preparing myself for my real life, which is endlessly frustrating.  

I want so much to be at a point in my life where I have a job I enjoy and I can just do that job (rather than that job, going to school, filling out applications and observing for 3 hours each day after work).  But it seems like that dream is just that, a dream.

Continued Gratitude

Friday, November 28, 2008

(I'm gonna be really honest and say that I'm basically just writing today to keep myself from failing at NaBloPoMo.)


If you haven't read yesterday's post and commented (each comment = donation to St. Jude!), please do that before midnight tonight.  

Come on kids, bankrupt me!

Overflowing Gratitude

Thursday, November 27, 2008

When I saw earlier this year that Thanksgiving fell on November 27th, I couldn't help but smile a little.


On November 27th last year, I woke up to my alarm at 4am, scrubbed my body with hospital grade anti-bacterial soap, loaded up a suitcase and rode in a car to the hospital in the pitch blackness of early morning.  From there I had an IV placed, I chatted with my parents who both looked like they might both burst into tears at any second and finally I was rolled into pre-op.  I found myself cuddling a stuffed animal in a way I hadn't since I was a young child.  I found myself terrified.

Sometime before 6 the anesthesiologist asked me count back from 10 and then I woke up, 6 hours later, in a different room, with 13 staples in the back of my head.  An outside reminder of what had been done inside.  But soon thereafter I saw my parents and my husband and I knew that I was okay.  I was breathing on my own, I was alive and everything was alright.

There could not be anything more fitting than to have Thanksgiving fall on the one year anniversary of my brain surgery.  Many of you have asked recently if I regret having the surgery since the headaches re-emerged.  The answer is no, I do not, for even an instant, regret it.

I had 8 blissful months without headaches.  After 2 years of having them at least several times a week, 8 months without any was literally like a dream.  I forged friendships with people on the internet and in real life, people who lent a helping hand and cared for what happened to me.  I have learned a great deal about myself in this ordeal.  

As I type this, I have a thundering headache that could defy laws of physics and of narcotics, and yet, I am thankful.  I had the resources, insurance, family and friends to allow me to have 8 months of pain-free living and I am hopeful that soon I can resume that life.

Because of this surgery, I was able to finish planning a wedding without pain.  Because of this surgery, I was able to be a part of my wedding and enjoy the entire day, without pain.  Because of this surgery, I went on a honeymoon where I didn't have to cancel a single planned event for a headache.  Because of this surgery, I got enough of me back to rediscover the person I am and to want fight to keep her here, even as the pain creeps back in.  

I am thankful for so much that has happened in this past year.  For the pain, for the painlessness.  For the love and the friendship.  For the good news and bad news.  For the frustration and support.  I am thankful for what I have learned, even if the hard way and for the lessons I will continue to receive from this experience.

Everything that has happened this year has brought goodness into my life and I cannot find strong enough words to say how remarkably thankful I am for that.  

So I'm going to try to do it with actions instead.

For every person who comments (anonymously is fine) on this post before Friday at 11:59pm with at least one thing they're thankful for, I will make a donation to St. Jude's Research Hospital.  I can't give back directly to the doctors, surgeons, and nurses and who gave me back my life, but I can help those who are fighting harder battles, who are struggling more than I'll ever understand. 

I know you are spending time with your families, but please take the time to leave a few words and know that those few words, that expression of gratitude, will be transformed into a tangible form of thanks.  A donation to a place that needs it more than you or I.  

Thank you, to all of you, for being here, and for sharing in my story, in my new life.

The Boocedure

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So obviously I survived the boob procedure (If you're new here, first, let me apologize for the fact that you found your way here on my boob post (I like how I made that singular, as if I haven't written about boobs 20,000 times).  If you want to know what is going on, I highly recommend clicking here or here and reading that first.  Not that there won't be humor found in the story without knowledge of why it's happening.  If you're sick and cruel like that.) 


Note to one and all, if you're not into boobs, come back tomorrow.  I have a very special Thanksgiving post prepared.  I know you're all spending time with your families, but some of us aren't, so keep us company at least come by on Friday.

Anyways, back to the boob procedure, or boocedure

The doctor began by drawing all over my boob and then draping me so that the field would be sterile.  At this point, the nurse took a picture, to which I said, "this better not show up on the internet" and absolutely no one laughed.  I swear to all that is good and sacred, my frankenboob* had better never show up on the internet.

(*I called it Frankenboob to Slappy last night and he looked at me and said, "no honey, it's not Frakenboob.  It's Frankenboob's monster."  Asshole.)

After a good cleaning she brought out with what seemed like a HUGE needle and my useful husband made sure that I knew it.  The doctor reassured me that just the middle part was large and the needle was small.  And that perhaps I should throw my husband out.  I did not.

So she stabbed me a bunch of different times to numb all the depths of my boob.  The shots weren't terrible and since they've now worn off, I'm remembering just how freaking awesome they were.  After numbing it down all the way she starting a very subtle cutting.  Honestly, I wouldn't even know that she was cutting if she hadn't put a MIRROR across from me.  So I got to watch the entire event.  Dear Doctor: do not put mirror in the procedure room of the office.  Thankyouverymuch.

So after hacking out of what we imagine in scar tissue (I got myself engrossed in a conversation about dentistry with the nurse) and cutting open the sides of the boob hole, she began the stitching.  The part I thought I would be freaked out about by the most, ended up being totally not bad at all (I know you're all shocked at my over-exaggeration).  We didn't ask how many there were in all, but I'd wager about 8 bright blue stitches to close the hole properly.

I have to go back on Tuesday afternoon to have her look at it, but the stitches won't be coming out for a while.  Which means quick showers, no baths.  And sports bras again.  And no alcohol, advil or aleve.  

Slappy and I had to shake on a hitting embargo because, well, we hit each other.  Not in the spousal abuse kind of way (mostly), but like he's obnoxious, so I hit him.  And he does not like being hit, so he hits me back.  This cycle repeats every time he's obnoxious, which is like 30 times a day.  However, Slappy is not reliable when it comes to not hitting me in injured places.  He's already messed with it twice ("accidentally").  So we made a deal where I wouldn't hit him and he wouldn't hit me.  And um, internets, my husband is freaking obnoxious.  I never realized just how often I had to hit him for obnoxiousness until I couldn't.  It's a lot.  Just so you know.

Since coming home from the boob doctor I've eaten lunch and then taken a nap.  I went to sleep with a totally numb boob and woke up with the boob of fiery pain.  So I'm going to go find a non-Aleve way to deal with that.  Right now I'm thinking of manually cutting off the nerve between my boob and brain, but I'm sure when my husband wakes up he'll have some other helpful suggestions.

Things I've learned today*

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1.  If there is any food you don't want to choke on, it's Flamin' Hot Cheetos.


2.  If you were to consume Flamin' Hot Cheetos, you should wash your hands before taking your contacts out.

3.  If you continue to buy and consume ENORMOUS quantities of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, you may not bitch about gaining 5 pounds.

4.  Eating massive quantities of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, nearly choking to death on them and then burning out your corneas with the FHC dust will not help you get past the fear of having boob stitches put in (tomorrow, gah) while conscious.  

Not even one little bit.

*(edited to add) 
5.  That my father is having a non-scheduled colonoscopy tomorrow to rule out non-gallbladder related issues and is having at least his gallbladder removed on Monday.  The fact that they're insisting on doing the colonoscopy on such short notice makes me worry that I'm not getting all the facts.

6.  That I'm a jerkface for obsessing about boob stitches.  Nothing like a good heaping portion of reality and perspective to make you feel like an ass for whining about stitches.

Not false hope

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today was the new neurologist appointment.  The second opinion appointment.  The extremely long awaited appointment.  The I-was-so-nervous-I-had-dreams-about-showing-up-naked appointment.  Sorry, I'm done now.


I showed up 10 minutes late because I forgot to grab my MRIs this morning and realized that it would be fairly worthless to see a neurologist without any imaging.  After breaking a multitude of driving laws (that's not including my expired tags (I have the new ones, I just keep forgetting to put them on) or total lack of a brake tag), I got from work, to my house, to the doctor in under 30 minutes.  Yes, I am impressed with myself.

I waited very briefly (one of the benefits of arriving late?), and was taken back.  And get this y'all, he did a neurological exam.  Holy shit.  Who knew neurologists did this?  My fired former neurologist didn't, um, like ever.  Everything was essentially fine (still have the upward Babinski, still have no grip strength in my left hand) so we talked about the headaches for a while.  He indicated that having headaches for 9 weeks is unacceptable.  Who knew?  

He looked at my MRIs himself (again, practically revolutionary compared to the former neuro) and said that the one thing he observed is that unlike a lot of people who have the chiari surgery, my cerebellar tonsils haven't lifted up at all.  It's not the main goal of the surgery, but it happens in a number of successful surgeries and didn't in my case.  

I also have a large accumulation of CSF in the back of my head, which may or may not be why my tonsils haven't retracted, and which isn't completely abnormal, just something to watch.  He's ordering all my previous MRIs to compare and even my EMG test results because also, the fact that I still have no grip in my left hand is also of apparent concern.  Again, I say, who knew?

So what we're doing is trying another prophylactic headache medication called Neurontin, similar to Topamax in the mechanism of action and the way you taper up, but of which the graduated dose is so large it could tranquilize a seizing elephant.  It is also supposed to have far fewer side effects, which is good because oddly, I don't want to have to buy a new car battery for leaving my headlights on 400 days in a row.  He also prescribed Fioricet, which is a mix of Tylenol, caffeine and a tranquilizer (hello!), and which is supposedly wonderful.

I am going back to see him in January to see how things are going, but have been warned that the Neurontin takes a while to work and to not expect any miracles.  He's going to track down all my records and see if he can't come up with some sort of reasonable differential diagnosis for why I've been in pain for 9 weeks.

I know I swore I wouldn't get my hopes up about doctor's appointments anymore, as it has only led to great disappointments, but well, I'm hopeful.  And I can honestly say that in the last 9 weeks, moments of hope have been few and far between.  

Here's to hoping for more hope.

Naturally

I actually thought to myself today (because I'm possibly the most arrogant and self-centered person ever), boy, I hope Bossy doesn't link me on her "Virtual peek at other bloggers" window in the next few days because seriously, my blog is sucking wind lately.


Which means naturally I'm there today.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm uber-grateful, but if you're here for the first time, please come back later tonight/tomorrow when I'll write something more entertaining witty interesting thought-provoking, um, wordy.

My husband is home

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And thus, this is my blog today.


(Not to worry, he'll be leaving again tomorrow and tomorrow is my new neurologist appointment, so I'm sure I'll be back to my regular ranting and raving all too soon.  But not tonight.)


Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So the reason I am trapped in endless hell chaperoning 16 teenage girls at a hotel is because today marked the end of our sport season with the super-big important championship meet.

For the sake of not having to refer to it "the sport" in such vague terms (since I can't really disclose the specifics) let's call it, um, horseshoes. I coach the varsity horseshoe throwing team for my school and this weekend was their last meet of the season, the championship meet.

It took 3 hours in the car (3 blessed hours where I wasn't allowed to drive any teenagers due to liability issues, it. was. awesome.) to get here and to be honest, the proximity to Texas is quite disturbing. The city itself is fine, the hotel is sketchy as hell.

And so last night I had to arrange my 16 horseshoers into their hotel rooms, sit in the hallway from 10:00 to 10:45 to get them to bed because we all had to be up at 6 to get to the horseshoe championships. Important piece of information: I am not a morning person. I do not want to talk to anyone in the morning, especially not teenagers. I told one of them that if they didn't get out of bed and dressed in their horseshoeing uniform right. that. second. that they would be thrown out a window. I am also dramatic in the morning. The teenage drama is contagious.

So the other important thing is that our school's horseshoeing team has won the championship for the past several years. The past several years where I wasn't the coach. And so I took over this year and, well, we didn't get 1st. We didn't get 2nd either. We did have a great championship minus one horribly bad call (imagine a horseshoe clearly being around the post and having someone disqualify the thrower for wearing the wrong color socks. And then when the coach calmly protested the ridiculous disqualification being told that she couldn't protest a "judgement call." Um, aren't all referee calls "judgement calls?" So why the hell do you have protest forms at all?)

Regardless, it's not about winning and we're very happy with how our horseshoeing season turned out. And more than anything else, I'm just so freaking happy that it's over, I don't care about anything else.

So if you'll excuse me, I have to go corral the remaining 12 horseshoers (4 left already!) into rooms so that the people in the hotel (besides me) can get some sleep.

And also, Slappy comes home tomorrow. The level of happiness related to that is indescribable. He's leaving again on Monday (coming back Tuesday night), but even just a half a day of Slappy after a month without him is totally AWESOME because I have missed my husband something fierce.

The greatest birth control in the universe:

Friday, November 21, 2008

spending Friday and Saturday night in a hotel as the sole adult responsible for SIXTEEN teenagers.

It is amazing to me that teenagers survive to the age of 20 with the sheer volume of DRAMA that rules their lives. I swear I was never am not, okay, so I'm totally this dramatic. But I've earned it.

That desire to have a bunch of cute little babies? GONE.

The Middle Path

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So the boob doctor (yea, I'm gonna talk about boobs again, avert your eyes if you're offended) was interesting today.

I did not walk out with the worst-case apocalyptic verdict I was worried about, but I also didn't walk out completely unscathed. Not that I thought that was even remotely possible.

The manual and ultrasonic molestations revealed a whole lot of bumps in my right boob. Lots and lots of them. However, the doctor is very certain that they're all benign fibrocystic junk due to too much caffeine (boo) and chocolate (gah!). She's told me to cut the caffeine to one drink a day and the chocolate down as much as possible. Surely she means AFTER Christmas AFTER the mint m&ms are no longer available. Surely.

The other thing is that I had to schedule another small surgery procedure for next Wednesday. You see, when they did the quandrantectomy, there was this big gigantic SNAFU known as the seroma, where in my boob leaked profusely for like, um, 2 months. The problem of the seroma, besides the fact that I had to wrap my boobs in an ace bandage for my wedding day and wear a waterproof bandage every day of my honeymoon and keep it packed with gauze for TWO MONTHS, was that the incision healed with, well, a hole in it. My boob hole.

I can only imagine the new keyword search hits I'll get from that sentence.

Anyways, the boob hole (I think I might start using this as a name for people I don't like- you're a boob hole, heh, it works) is a problem because it will interfere with my ability to breastfeed and because it's creepy. So on Wednesday the doctor is doing an in-office procedure to fix it. I rather intentionally didn't ask any questions because I don't want to know what this is going to require. I've never had stitches while conscious and I just don't see how the boob hole is going to get closed without them. Bah.

Yes, I realize it's completely crazy that I've survived brain and invasive breast surgery and am still totally freaked out by having stitches placed in a doctor's office. We've firmly established my mental instability. So now I'm going to retire for the night with a book and less with my computer because otherwise I'm going to google "boob scar revision" and drive myself (more) crazy.

I know, that really just doesn't sound like me at all.

Is it still paranoia if it's happened before?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today was my anti-doctor day, but tomorrow is going to be another fun doctor-filled one.

After a blissful few months off from the worries of the boobs, I have to go tomorrow for my first semi-annual breast check. For those new to the site, I'd recommend reading here or here or here, but essentially, in April I had surgery to remove 1/4th of my right breast (after a previous biopsy of the same area a year and a half before) and it revealed typical and atypical hyperplasias, which means that my risk of developing breast cancer is four five (apparently I've blocked some of my old research out...oops) times greater than the average woman. It also caused the most fiasco-esque medical complication I've ever had involving ridiculous draining boob. On my wedding and through my honeymoon. It, in a word, SUCKED.

So, anyways, the way we're dealing with this is to molest my boobs with an ultrasound wand as my doctor said, "every six months until we find something." Yea. So tomorrow is that.

In all honesty, with the headache and the sinuses and then the foot, it had been the farthest thing from my mind, however, now, the night before, I'm suddenly terrified. The last time I went for a check-in (post biopsy) with the boob doctor I walked out with a surgery date. I kid you not. And so I'm suddenly paralyzed by the fear of what tomorrow's appointment might hold for me.

Will they find anything? If they find anything, what will we do this time? What if it's worse? What if we can't tell? What if they make me play the "wait and see" game with a spot? What if, what if, what if.

I know I seem like I'm being paranoid and excessively worried, but I can't help but wonder if it's really paranoia when it's happened before. Because frankly it feels a lot more like deja vu.

The Chronicles of Irony: Chapter 10,000

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On day 2 of my New Orleans doctor tour, I met with the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and foot doctor for various follow ups.

This is actually the 2nd follow up (or 3rd?) for the sinus thing. Last time I was in, they looked at a CT scan and decided to put me on 10 days of steroids, which aside from causing some wickedly painful heartburn/indigestion, apparently did nothing. Or at least that's what the x-ray of my sinuses showed. What.ever.

So, because of my non-compliant sinuses, the doctor determined he wanted to do a scope. Like right that second. So he sprayed numbing stuff up my nose, stuck the scope (which is bigger than anything going in one's nose should be) and started recording. His reactions were a mix of delight and wonderment. "I've NEVER seen a turbinate that big. WOW. I'm taking a picture." And then he switched to the other side. "LOOK at that polyp. It's huge. Whoa, it goes from there to there! I'm taking a picture of that too."

He went over the video of my nose innards after and showed that my turbinate (not sure how to describe this to you, but everyone has 3 in each side of their nose) is so big it has actually developed an entirely new sinus. Which I think is very evolutionary of my body, if I do say so myself. Apparently its hugeness has caused my septum to deviate like a lot, which is not so good. And on the other side I have apparently the mother of all nose polyps. He doesn't know why it's there, just that it's like medical journal worthy.

So let's recap- the one thing that's not causing me any pain or problems, my sinuses, are super-duper fucked up. Oh, the irony. We can't figure out what's wrong with my head, but we can come up with a laundry list of sinus issues.

He said that for someone with these problems who was symptomatic, he would recommend surgery very soon, to remove the extra sinus, the franken-polyp, realign my septum (nose job!) and drill holes in my sinuses to drain better. BUT and this is a crucial but, since I'm not symptomatic, I don't need to. Apparently some day I will (unless I make it a point to never complain about sinus pain!), but not today. I have to go back in 8 weeks to double check that I'm not in pain and basically, that's pretty much it. I would call the experience painless, but having a hard plastic tube shoved up each of my nostrils, was actually rather spectacularly uncomfortable.


Then I went to work, then I went to the foot doctor.


I had to tell the doctor that, due to my own stupidity in walking badly to avoid hurting the big toe bone that was hurting, that I hurt the part that was not hurting. I'm now having the same pain on the inside of my foot (just below my big toe) and also a TON of pain on the outside of my foot (the bone in the foot that eventually connects to your little toe) because of a misstep in my room the other night (note to self: clean room). Like, in the very place I broke it several years ago. I expressed my concern and they did a new x-ray.

Now, last week the x-ray came back normal and the doctor thought it was most likely not a fracture, though he didn't rule out the possibility. On today's x-ray there was a change in the bone density, indicating a HEALING FRACTURE. Hello vindication, I am not crazy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy that my foot is broken, but I knew it was broken, so it's nice to have those suspicions confirmed.

On the other hand, the little toe of my foot looks normal on the x-ray. He was doubtful that it was possible that it could be broken (he sited some freaky bruising as reason to believe it's a tissue issue not a bone one, which I tried to explain was exactly like the last time it was broken and he looked at me like I was crazy), but since I have to come back in 2 weeks for a new x-ray anyways, they'll keep an eye on it then.

However, the confirmation of the initial stress fracture means we have to actually take it seriously and do the boot thing for at least 2 weeks. Gah. I hate the boot. Mega-loathe it, but I'll do it, because I want this to be over with. If in 2 weeks a fracture shows up on the outside of my foot I'm going to lie down on the floor and weep from the irony of breaking my foot in trying to avoid walking on another part that was broken.

And now begins the 2 weeks of answering "what did you do?" (or its much meaner counterpart "what did you do this time?") and having to come up with a better story than, I didn't eat in college and now my bones break at will. That one is almost always awkwardness inducing.

See, you feel more awkward already.

Tomorrow, a break from doctors. Thursday is for boobs and teh crazy. The fun never freaking stops.

Shake, rattle and (en)roll me in therapy. As long as it's not biofeedback.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So I went and did the official bio-feedback therapy today. Holy crap was that both the strangest experience of my life and a HUGE waste of my time.

How huge? I'm so glad you asked. (For reference, her words are in italics, my words are in quotes and my internal monologue is in parentheses).

The appointment began normally enough. I was called back promptly by a woman who, if I had to guess, is from the same area of the world as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Hello, I'm [name, which I don't remember]. Why ahre you here today?"

We conversed at length about my medical history and she said she just wanted to evaluate my "muskles" and soft tissues today and then we could develop a plan. So the first thing she does is stand behind the chair I'm in and starts whoorling my head around in circles.

She does not tell me what she's doing, she doesn't say to relax or to oppose her, she's just slow-motion whiplashing the shit out of me. And continuing to ask questions THE WHOLE TIME.

"Do you see how tight you are here? See how your neck won't go any farther?"
(Perhaps it's because I'm trying to talk and because, oh, I don't know, a surgeon removed part of my top 2 vertebrae and my head is physically incapable of moving that way)
"Oh, yea. I see what you mean." (The first lie of many).

She then asked to see how I usually sleep at night. So I grabbed two pillows and laid down.

"You ah so guarded. Look, you're legs are crossed when you lie down." And then she grabs my knee and starts wiggling my leg. Like just wiggling it back and forth. I'm expecting her to stop any second, but she keeps this up for several minutes. "I'm just going to stop the status quo. I'm going to interrupt it. We need to change your body."
(Stop wiggling my fucking leg. Seriously. This is not going against the status quo, this is being obnoxious. How does my thigh fat jiggling help my headache?)

"You ah too controlled. You need to let go. I'm going to leave your leg here. Don't move it" And then she left my left leg hanging awkwardly off the bed.
(What. the. fuck.)

And then she moves up and starts, with one hand on either side of my boob, smashing my ribs. "See, even this is tense"
(THEY ARE MY RIBS. I rather like them to be tight actually. I pride my ribs in their ability to not relax and crush my innards. And seriously, you are a little too all up in my boob grill right now)

And then she starts attacking my breastbone. Like CPR, just much faster. Like if you wanted your heart to beat 200 times a minute, which oddly, I didn't. First with one hand, then with both. I'm literally seeing spots because seriously, you don't make a heart beat that much if you want the person to stay alive.

And then she gets to my head and the real party begins. First she's just like finger molesting me all over. Neck, head, ears, cheeks. And she finally gets herself situated where she's stretching my neck with one hand and pinching my ear (I shit you not) with the other.

"Imagine my fingers going in farther than they are"
(hahahaha. ha ha. hahahahahahahahaha. Katie, pull it together. Be mature. Close your eyes and think of sad things and you'll stop the laughter. Sad things, um, missing my husband, homeless people, dead puppies. Yes! Dead puppies. Dead puppies, dead puppies, dead puppies.)

"You ah too detached. You need to focus."
(I am focusing. On dead puppies. Trust me, I'm focused.)
"Okay." So I opened my eyes and just continued to think about dead puppies with my eyes open.

Then, out of the blue, she was thrilled. "Yes! Yes, this is what I want!"
(Holy shit, what did I do? Did I lean into or away from the stretch? Did I make eye contact? Gah. I have no idea.)

"You felt that just now? How does it feel- better or worse?"
(SHIT. Which answer does she want? Shit shit shit. It feels like you're ripping my head in half. So, let's see...)
"Um, better. I think that feels better."

"I told you it would."
(Nailed it.)

And this continued for 30 minutes. Me, lying on the bed with one leg hanging off the side thinking about dead puppies, her contorting my neck, pinching my ears or neck flab and alternately commenting on my detachment and involvement throughout the process.

At the end she says, "Now, don't you feel better? We got a lot of work done today."
(Fuck no I don't).
"Yes definitely."
(Lie number 10 trillion)

"When do you want to come back for your next visit"
(Never)
"I'll call tomorrow to schedule my appointment. I don't have my calendar with me."
(Lie. I won't call and I did have my calendar)

And then I walked out, never EVER to return again. Frankly, I'm just concerned that I'd require a whole new therapist for the dead puppy issue and I really don't have the money for that intervention.

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Sunday, November 16, 2008

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(Blurry image courtesy of my phone. And how 'bout let's not talk about the fact that one of those bags is pretty much gone already, mkay?.

The box is overrated

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I got these in an email and they made me laugh hysterically. That is either due to the fact that I am a teacher, or the fact that I have the lamest sense of humor ever. Or some sort of compromise therein. But look, I blogged on Saturday! Not about my health!


Failing Exams with Style Humor

Because no teacher can argue with religious beliefs.
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(In case you can't see it, it says: "Explain why phosphorous trichloride is Polar" Answer: "Because God made it that way.")

Freaking elephant. All up in that physics.
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Did my husband write this one?
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The limit to following the directions.
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Captain Obvious
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Does anyone else think that this one looks an awful lot like the first one?
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("Sea salt is commercially obtained from sea water by the process of evaporation and crystallization. The main component of Sea Salt is sodium chloride. What type of attractive force or bond holds the sodium ions and chloride ions together in a crystal of sodium chloride? Answer: "James Bond")

Things I'm not talking about*

Friday, November 14, 2008

-The fact that I screwed up my foot mega-a-lot last night by being a total idiot. Holy. shit. the pain.

-The fact that my head has been especially relentlessly hellacious the past few days.

-The fact that my students have been especially relentlessly hellacious the past few days.

-The fact that I still have 9 grad school applications to finish.

-The fact that I haven't seen my husband in 19 days.

-The fact that I won't see my husband for 9 more days.

-The fact that he's leaving again the day after he gets back.

-The fact that he's leaving again less than a week after he gets back from that trip and will be gone for 2 weeks.

-The fact that I have 5 doctor's appointments next week.

-The fact that my specialist co-pay is 45 dollars.

-The fact that I have gained 5 pounds in 2 weeks. What. the. hell.

-The fact that the list of things I'm not talking about is longer than the list of things I am.

*Edited at 10:17pm to add: The fact that I've developed a raging UTI in the past 3 hours (naturally, a Friday night) and my stockpile of Bactrim and Cipro both expired in August.

8 Weeks

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My head is in a bad state today. Rather extremely bad.

So bad that I taught my last class entirely in the dark.

I used a projector for the first part of the class, but then just never turned the lights back on when I was finished. Ironically the light wasn't making my head hurt, but apparently there's an unwritten rule where students are more quiet when the lights are out, and not having to tell them to stop being (insert kinder synonyms for "loud idiots" here) or to keep their volume down, was better than any pill in any drug store. I think my ability to have compassion is starting to suffer some.

In case you weren't keeping track, today marks 8 weeks of headaches. I will admit that there have been some good days in those 56 days of hell, but the vast majority of them have not been. 8 weeks is a long time to deal with this, in fact, it's about 7 and a half weeks longer than I am capable of handling, in case you wondered.

And so, rather than trying to be profound or witty or thought provoking tonight, I'm just going to be finished. Because that's really all I can manage today.

On Racism

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I, like many of you, woke up today to a story about a woman who was murdered after backing out of a KKK initiation. I've since read another article about a boy suing the KKK for a severe beating he received by Klan members and frankly have not been able to get those stories out of my mind all day.

Reading these articles makes me want to bury my head in the sand and go back to being blissfully ignorant of the activities of groups like the KKK, but try as I might, I haven't been able to. I guess in some ways I am thankful for the news for making me think about this, for making it attention worthy.

Last week, we elected an African-American president. For days after the results were announced, I walked around on a cloud of happiness because, you know what? My children will never ask me why only white men can be president. And that? That is amazing. It's something I didn't get as a child, but it's something I got to change, something I got to be a part of.

But while I was experiencing this honeymoon of happiness after what I felt to be a wonderful victory, both politically and in terms of social progression, other people were coming out of the woodwork and showing just how far we, as a country, have to go to reach the tolerance that Obama's victory could've and should've underscored.

I do not understand how anyone, in the year 2008, can be racist. I don't. I understand hundreds of years ago someone who was an "authority" on anthropology gave a "scientific" explanation of the superiority of white people, but that was hundreds of years ago and we've since disproved every single claim. There's absolutely no excuse for racism today.

I don't want to hear bullshit about it's how someone was raised, or where they came from. Those are the worst excuses for intolerance. If you know you were raised under a false set of beliefs, then do something about it. It's not as if by growing up in a generation that encouraged racism you are now bound to be racist. Choose to be different. Choose to be better. Because that's what it is, a choice. People who belong to groups such as the KKK choose ignorance and hatred.

I am a human whose skin happens to be fairly pale. Please tell me, how does the paleness of my skin indicate any kind of superiority? I was born this way, but everything I've done with my life, my attitude, my job, my daily interactions with the world are independent of my skin color, they are my choice, my will and my decisions. Skin color has nothing to do with why I succeed in school. It has nothing to do with why I do a lot of stupid things. It has nothing to do with any life choices I make other than the fact that I cannot wear yellow without looking like I'm seasick.

(For the record, I'm ignoring the argument that I have extra life opportunities because I'm white. I'm not disagreeing with it, but it is neither here, nor there on this issue. My point is merely that what I do with my life is not motivated by the fact that I am white.)

How does the pigmentation of skin correlate to intelligence or manners or morality? I know more than my share of white people who are either extremely unintelligent or horrendously rude or farther into a gutter of sin than I even believed possible. Or often, all 3. I also know plenty of non-white people who are extremely intelligent and capable and possibly the most kind, well-mannered people I have the pleasure of associating with. Simply put, you can find an example of goodness and an example of badness in any group of people, but that is a choice made on the part of an individual, it is not a predisposition based on race, it is not a race-wide specification. It is a choice.

Someone, somewhere, somehow decided long ago that the way we look was a fair way to judge who we are and what we could be. They were wrong, and it is time for us to recognize that mistake and correct it.

It's time for parents to stop talking about people of other races as if they are innately more dangerous. It's unacceptable to me that a student told me that she was afraid to walk to her car in the middle of the day because an African-American man was standing in the parking lot. It's unacceptable to me that parents think it's appropriate to tell their kids that they can't go to a local mall because it's the "black mall." It's unacceptable that it's the year 2008 and we still allow racist stereotypes to influence our behavior.

Perhaps if we all reflect, deeply, about what it is we truly believe about race and ethnicity and what our actions say, we can help usher in a change even greater than a new president. Maybe we can be a part of the generation that ends groups like the KKK and groups who refuse to be tolerant of those who are different.

Maybe we can be the generation that truly embraces the diversity of this country and the generation that puts a stop to the hatred and intolerance that has too often plagued the pages of our history.

Breaking Point

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today was not my favorite.

It began at 3 in the morning with intense abdominal pains. At first I thought it was the cheetos, or something I'd eaten, but these were apparently not productive abdominal cramps, just the kind meant to keep one up all damn night.

Around 4:30 I went back to bed. I got up at 6:30 with the very same discomfort and wallowed around for about an hour until I had to get ready for work. It was pure misery. I still don't know what it was, but holy shit was it painful. 2 Aleve and 2 Pepto Bismal caplets seem to be keeping it at bay. Or at least until I typed that, because Lord knows it'll come raging back any minute now.

I got to work, where I dragged ass all day. I ate lunch alone because the people I usually eat lunch with went out without me (not sure if it was intentional or not, at that point and in retrospect, it doesn't much matter, it still sucked) and then taught one more class before leaving for my foot doctor appointment.

I arrived at 2:30 for my 2:45 appointment and then I waited. And waited and waited. And then waited some more. At 4:30 they called me into a room that I can only assume used to double as a meat locker because it could not have been a millionth of a degree above about 45*F. I had x-rays done and then I sat and waited 15 more minutes for the doctor to come in.

The doctor was wonderful. Very personable, very comical, and even fairly proficient at listening. My x-ray was once again normal (to be expected) which leaves us at a cross roads. We really just don't know what's wrong with my foot. I have pain indicative of a stress fracture and pain indicative of an inflammatory problem with my tendons/ligaments. Since stress fractures won't show up on x-rays until they're about 50% healed, there's just not an easy way to sort it out.

So he gave me a half-boot to wear for a week to see what, if anything improves. They'll re-x-ray it in a week and see if anything changes. The major problem here being that the boot is MUCH MUCH more painful to wear than my regular shoes. Which I told him, and he was empathetic about. He said I could wear regular shoes if needed, but to give the boot thing a try. By the time I got out to the car, I had to take it off. I'll try again, but not anytime soon. The whole point was to reduce the pain, not introduce it into a new circle of hell.

I then got in the car and got in a phenomenal long-distance phone argument with my husband (who will likely be more mad for me sharing this, but we're married and we argue, that's life) before arriving at work for parent-teacher conferences.

Yea, that was awesome.

So I met with parents for an hour and a half and then headed home. Feeling exhausted from not sleeping, pain from my foot being, for lack of a better word, totally fucked up and upset-ness from arguing with my husband. It was like a hormonally induced trifecta of unhappiness.

I determined that the only thing to be done was to pick up some dinner rather than eat cheetos food from home, so I drove to the Popeyes drive-thru, where I was met with a new menu. Why Popeyes? Why? And the one thing I can eat at Popeyes, the Chicken Etouffee, is no longer on the menu.

So I drove to McDonalds, in tears over etouffee. (Shut up, there are a lot of hormones involved in this story.) As I paid for my dinner the woman at the window asked me if I was crying, to which I responded, between big sobs that no, I was most definitely not. And then went to roll up my window to spare the last shred of my dignity. Which was of course, when my previously broken but still semi-functional window broke for good.

So now my car is parked in front of my house with the window almost all the way down (because, you know, it couldn't go all the way down either). I'm about to go outside and put a big sign on the car that says, "STEAL ME, I REALLY NEED TO FIND ROCK BOTTOM."

Alone

Monday, November 10, 2008

So being alone is starting to take its toll on me in a few unexpected ways.

Like the fact that there's no one around to tell me to PUT THE FLAMING HOT CHEETOS DOWN, and seriously, these 5 new cheeto pounds are not my favorite. Or the fact that I don't have anyone to tell me what's happening on TV when I'm not really watching it because I'm playing on my computer. I've now watched the first 20 minutes of The Office like 3 times and still don't really get the plot line at all.

Or the night time panic attacks that have become my bedtime companion.

Friday night I wasn't feeling very well and then suddenly became overcome with tiredness. Like, couldn't keep my eyes open tired, and not really that late, either. So then suddenly I freaked out. I was convinced I'd accidentally mixed pills or that I was having a stroke. I spent about 30 minutes trying to stay awake just so that, well, I wouldn't die. I'm not sure why I thought that would help, but I did.

And low and behold I woke up Saturday morning, tired, but alive. I had a re-run Saturday night, but I managed to go to sleep any way.

Last night was the worst.

I couldn't fall asleep and then when I did, I only fell partially asleep. I could still hear the show that was playing in the background (I put a tv show on each night when I go to sleep because I don't do well with silence), I could tell that I was in bed, but I couldn't wake myself up. Suddenly I had this horrible feeling that someone was in bed with me, but at the same time, knew that Slappy was thousands of miles away. I deduced, in my sleep, that a crazy homicidal maniac or rapist was in bed with me (I am nothing but rational in my sleep, by the way).

And I FREAKED out. I couldn't wake up and began shaking uncontrollably. I couldn't stop my muscles, I bit the shit out of my tongue and was convinced the whole time that there was a crazy predator in bed with me. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably less than a minute, the convulsing stopped, I woke up fully and found my bed to be empty (of which I was initially relieved and then horribly sad about, because seriously, have I ever needed my husband more?).

I went and looked at my chewed up tongue, rinsed my mouth out and then tried to go back to sleep. But, well, I seriously did NOT want to. I mean, really, why on earth would I want to do that again? I was torn between the desire to be asleep and the desire to not die in my sleep, because at the time, those seemed like my only choices. Again, with the rational.

Since I'm writing this now, I obviously did not die last night. I also didn't sleep much last night and now am so beyond tired I can hardly stay upright. How ironic is it that now, more exhausted than ever, I want to go to sleep less than ever?

Yea. I am OVER irony, by the way.

What it feels like

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've been trying to stray farther from my health issues around here lately, but this particular monologue has been swirling around in my head today, so I'm just going to go ahead and put it out here.

Lately, people are taking notice of my health.

They are noticing that I am missing work. That I have been to the doctor probably 15 times in the last month and that I'm just not the person I have been or used to be.

It's frustrating because I try, especially at work and in real life, to keep a happy-ish face on and push on regardless of what is going on. I don't talk to most of my co-workers about my health because I usually get the well-intended, but ultimately unkind replies of, "you're always sick!" or "something's always wrong with you." Or my favorite, "what is it this time?"

I wish I could easily explain what it is to not be healthy, but I can't. Every time I write out the words, they just sound so dramatic that I end up holding the "delete" key until I'm staring at a blank screen again.

Being unhealthy is remarkably frustrating. I have to acquire a substitute to come teach/watch my class at least once a week right now. I have to plan significantly ahead and I have to get clearance from my administrators when I know more than a day in advance of an appointment. I have limited paid sick-days and everyone is very understanding, but that doesn't mean that I don't constantly feel like I'm not keeping up my end of my job contract. I feel like I'm that teacher that everyone hopes they don't have to deal with because I'm never there. I also have to face questions from my students and realize that my inability to be at school as often as other teachers is affecting their education. It is my job and I am struggling to do it.

The pain is physically taxing. Being in pain, even in a localized place, is not a local problem. Pain affects your entire body and your entire system is disrupted.

The pain is mentally and emotionally taxing. I want to be normal. I want my life back. My mom and I had a series of conversations last week where we tried to come up with what it was that we did wrong. My mother feels that she's to blame, I feel like I've done something wrong. But what was it? Surely we can trace this back somewhere. I was a normal kid, a normal high schooler, so when did this start? Why can't I regain the life I had?

The pain is limiting. Somedays I want to do things, even when they don't seem like the best idea, because it is difficult to miss out on so much. I want to go to the gym and exercise, but I can not walk normally with this foot pain and even swimming for exercise is out of the question. I want to go shopping or just get out of my house, but the combination of foot and head pain makes it just not realistic.

I hate this. I hate the sympathy that people kindly offer when I do talk about this stuff. I don't want sympathy. Please don't misunderstand me, I appreciate it and I know it's what you're supposed to do, but I want to be normal. I want to fade into the background and not stand out for my freakishness. I want people to come here and read this blog because I'm entertaining, or interesting, not because they're concerned about me. I hope that doesn't sound unkind. I don't want you to stop reading, I just wish you were here on different terms. I wish I was here on different terms.

I guess more than anything else, I just really want to remember what it's like to be me again.

Loose Ends

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NaBloPoMoDoReMe is hard. And also, I can't write the acronym unless I check it online. I am constantly referring to it as NaMoBloPo, which really just kind of sounds bad.

Hi, I'm 12.

But seriously, the pressure. Like, today, I'm going to be busy all evening, so if I'm not around to blog, NOTHING WILL BE POSTED TODAY and holy crap, then I lose. So now I'm blogging at 8:45 in the morning and oddly, nothing of interest has happened yet today.

So I'm going to tie up some loose ends:

-My mom has gone home (I just want to clarify. When I say home, I mean to California, not like heaven. It sounded a little creepy). She has a CT angiogram scheduled Monday because her doctor is not letting her put it off (which was her inclination). The official word from the doctor is 70% occlusion means surgery, so the CT will give them the actual percent blockage instead of the percentage range that the last test did. Her uncle and mother both had the surgery, our whole family just has a horrible visceral reaction to it because my grandmother died only a few months after the surgery (her death, incidentally, was not related to this surgery).

-My dad is not on artificial nutrition yet, but he's also not gaining weight, or even maintaining it. He's still losing weight. And apparently he took a page out of my book as his doctor told him to call him after 10 days and when my dad did, he found the doctor was on vacation for a week. Don't EVEN get me started on that. My sister said he looks horrible, I'm afraid of what's happening to him.

-I miss my husband (happy 5 months of marriage! I remembered first this time). He's got 2 more weeks in La-La land.

-I'm tired of coaching. But, after today, I only have one more sporting competition for the year, and then we're done done done. DONE.

-Yes, my head still hurts. No, I don't want to talk about it.

-I have a laundry pile the height of Mount Everest. It's weird how it's just not taking care of itself. It's even weirder how I'm not even going to think about taking care of it myself right now. Just. don't. care.


On the horizon: finally booking my New York trip (woot!), finishing up my grad school applications (holy hell) and sleeping.

Oh, and a doctor's appointment for my foot this week, an ENT, boob doctor (hello first semi-annual freak out fest! How I have pretended like you weren't approaching. Damn you iCal) and psychiatrist appointment next week. And then the new neurologist the next week. Because spending money on co-pays is definitely better than working to have that money in the first place.

Dear Horribly Bad Uptown Driver,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hi, remember me? I almost smashed into your car today around 3:30.

Remember?

I'm sure you do. You ran the stop sign, but instead of fully running it, you ran half of it and then decided to then STOP in the middle of the busy street I was cruising down?

Remember?

I was the one who screamed while on the phone and then had to use every single ounce of muscle and strength I had in my remarkably painfully hurt right foot to stop my car. The car that shook with anger over stopping suddenly because, hey, going from 40 to 0 in 15 feet is not a natural inertia-abiding process.

Remember?

Remember when you DID NOT make any kind of apologetic face or indicate that HOLY SHIT YOU JUST RAN A STOP SIGN AND I CAME WITHIN ABOUT 4 INCHES OF PLOWING INTO YOU WITH MY HUSBAND'S CAR? But instead you shrugged your shoulders, looked both ways, while STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION and then pulled all the way out into traffic?

Remember?

In case you don't, you'll be receiving a bill soon for the 10 years of my life I'd like back, as well as the half of my husband's brake pads that were ruined in that moment.

And also? My sanity. Remember that? Yea, me neither.


Sincerely,
The Woman Who Almost Ran Into You (Twice actually, because after I avoided hitting you and you didn't make the apology face, I was so enraged I almost smashed into you on purpose).

Stupid Magnet

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seriously, what is WRONG with me?

So today was my appointment with the orthopedist. If I wanted to be positive I'd tell you that he makes my (fired) neurologist seem like a freaking rocket scientist. If I wanted to be honest, I'd say he was the worst doctor I'd ever encountered. EVER. And friends, I've been to A LOT of doctors.

After a 45 minute wait (which was tolerable, that happens), he walks in and goes, "well, you don't look injured."

I probably should've left then. But I didn't.

He asked me what was wrong, and then only allowed me to get about 4 words out about the pain before he said, "well, if you didn't do anything, then I seriously doubt anything is wrong with it."

OY.

I then tried to explain about the 3 previous stress fractures, but was once again cut-off mid-sentence to be told that stress fractures don't show up on x-rays. Which is and is not true. Some do, if they've had a chance to start healing, but yes, I realize this, that doesn't mean that I shouldn't go to a doctor, does it? Because I was really there more for the fact that my foot fucking hurts, is swollen, is bruised and did I mention HURTS? I thought it was better to have that sort of thing checked out before 2 more bones combusted like last time and I end up spending 10 months in a mix of plastic and fiberglass. But clearly I was mistaken.

Then he said, "well, let's go ahead an x-ray it."

What? So, it's not going to show up on the x-ray, but let's x-ray it anyways? Riiiiiiight.

So we did. And then the nurse brought me back to the room and told me I could put my shoe back on. So just in case you missed that, the doctor never ever saw my foot. Didn't look at it, didn't touch it, didn't move it around or do anything to it. He spoke with me, and then sent me to have it x-rayed.

Never. saw. my. foot. Never saw that which was injured. The incompetence is just freaking unreal.

The doctor re-entered the room and explained that the x-ray was negative, so everything is "perfectly fine." He said to not take any anti-inflammatories (no Advil, no Aleve) and to soak my foot in warm water, which is possibly the most ass backwards advice I've ever heard. I told my physical therapist about that and she was flabbergasted because you know, anti- inflammatories have a tendency to UN-INFLAME things, but then again, he didn't know it was inflamed, because the x-ray was clear, which absolved him of all duty to investigate it further.

And then he told me to give it 2 weeks. If it still hurts in 2 weeks, he said he'd schedule a bone scan (which is better for catching stress fractures).

And then I was dismissed, but not before being made fun of for leaving through the wrong door. Because mocking me is totally an acceptable medical practice.

It's like every time I think I've had the worst doctor's experience ever, it just gets worse.

I'm just wondering, in your uneducated medical opinion, does my right foot look "perfectly normal" to you? (especially when you remember that there has been NO trauma?)

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I didn't think so either. Second opinion is scheduled with THE foot doctor in town on Tuesday.

Seriously, it's like I call a medical practice, they hear my name and assign me the most incompetent person in the room practice zip code and somehow, I still continue to think that it won't get worse.

I'm not even going to consider whether it can be worse than this because I really don't even need to tempt fate. That bitch clearly hates me enough as is.

Disappointment Amidst Victory

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Okay, so perhaps I'm not 100% finished with politics, but I'll be brief.

As someone who has been discontented with the presidential administration for 8 years now, last night was a phenomenal night to be a democrat. To be an American really. I felt proud of the change we are pushing for and I sincerely hope that Barack Obama provides us with that change. Please do not assume I am so naive to think that it will happen overnight, because I'm not, and neither are most of us who voted for Obama, but I (we) believe that in time Obama will take us in the right direction.

Also speaking as someone who has been discontented with the presidential administration, I must say how incredibly disappointed I have been by the responses of some McCain supporters. I was extremely unhappy in 2000 and 2004 upon seeing the projected winner, but I never, ever responded the ways that I've seen last night and today.

Most newsworthy include all those at the McCain concession last night who booed when McCain spoke about Obama. I'm sorry, that's just absolutely classless. You don't have to be happy about your candidate losing, but for the love of God, grow up. I am embarrassed for all of them. What an example they're setting.

And less newsworthy but still evident in my life, were the comments by some of my students today, especially in reference to their parents' reactions. One mentioned that her father is joining the "KKK train" and another said that "if I wanted to be led by a black man, I'd move to Africa." I don't know how I can hope to educate a future of America when their parents, the greatest influence in their lives, are instilling hatred.

The Prop 8 results are also devastating to me. I don't have the right words to say how disappointed I am in the verdict. A constitutional amendment banning people from a right because of the gender of their partner? I just expected more. I think we've made a tragic mistake and I fear how long it will take to repair it. I am so hurt for all those who are deprived the rights I am entitled to because they are different. Because someone said they were wrong.

And last, my freaking foot is not okay. Is now bruised, swollen and more painful. Doctor's appointment tomorrow for 11:30. Here's to hoping for a resolution to at least that particular disappointment.

Back to reality

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

While I could go on about politics for weeks, I'm going to stop the political talk for now and switch back to bitching about my health, because that's something we can all agree on. Heh.

So the latest, greatest health issue that has cropped up is related to an old problem of mine. You see, back in 2005 I broke my right foot in 3 places. I didn't fall, I didn't trip, I didn't do anything stupid, I just walked around Disneyland for 2 days and, well, it combusted. Or perhaps imploded. My 4th metatarsal, 5th metatarsal and cuboid were all broken though I walked around for about a week before getting the x-ray. It felt super good.

For 2 months I was in a boot, allowed to walk around freely and in pain. After 2 months of no healing, we switched to a full on cast, no weight bearing for 2 weeks. And then another cast. At this point it's been 4+ months, and despite great pain, swelling and discoloration, the doctor declared the fractures healed.

I sought a second opinion and low and behold, the CT scan revealed that all 3 bones were still broken. So for 3 more months (keep up, that's now 7 months) I was casted from the knee down. It smelled really great. Eventually we came to a fork. Either, we could try the very last resort, which was a bone growth stimulator worn at night (and a boot during the day) or surgery to inject special cells into the fracture site. Thankfully the bone growth stimulator worked and just 10 months after my foot broke, it finally healed. TEN MONTHS.

It was then that we figured that perhaps there was a problem. A DEXA scan revealed that my bone density was not correct. They don't have a scale for 22 year olds (that was my age at the time), but compared to 60 year old women, I was right on the border between osteoporotic and osteopenic, neither of which was good. And at 22, my bone density should've been much much higher than a 60 year old.

After many months of physical therapy, my foot returned to normal functionality. Which is where it has been until Saturday, when I got a familiar ache in the other side of the same foot. Whenever I put my foot down, I have pain. Whenever I move my big toe (at the joint between my big toe and foot) I have pain. It's starting to swell, it's starting to bruise.

THIS IS NOT GOOD. Not good friends.

I've been icing it, I've been taking Aleve and wearing non-flip-flops, but nothing seems to be making much of a difference. So tomorrow, I will break what was going to be a 2 week hiatus from doctors and see if I can't contact an orthopedist and get them to take a look at my foot. And so help me, if it is broken, I'm going to be so ridiculously pissed off, there just aren't words for it. In the grand scheme of things, another broken bone isn't much, but seriously, I'm SO ready to be NORMAL. NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL.

I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure what normal is, but last time I checked, it did not include feet that break all of their own volition.

For the first time possibly ever, I sincerely hope that I am over-exaggerating and/or over-dramatizing. That would be freaking WONDERFUL. Wonderful I tell you.

The last political post...for now

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm already feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of NaBloPoMo. But I'm not a quitter, so I will press on. With my last political post for a good while.

Someone in the (very interesting and mostly polite) comments of the last post asked who I would be voting for tomorrow. I'm sure my answer comes as no great surprise, so I'll tell you who and why.

Tomorrow afternoon I will cast a vote for Barack Obama. In a lot of ways I am incredibly excited for this election. The last presidential election felt depressing. I voted for John Kerry because I disliked him less than Bush. This time, I'm voting for Obama because I believe in him, because I agree with him on a great number of issues and because I think he's the best person for the job.

Here's why:

1) I am a middle-class teacher. Education and taxes are high on my mind and in my opinion, his handling of both of these is better. His tax plan prevents me from paying more money and taxes primarily the wealthiest. And perhaps this sounds greedy of me, but I feel that the wealthiest SHOULD be taxed the most. I don't think that the people who have billions of dollars got those billions of dollars by being a harder worker than I did. I think many did it by inheritance, luck and I'm sure many because of great intelligence. However, I've worked as hard as I can and I am barely above the poverty line. I'm sorry, but I don't think the wealthy need a tax break.

2) I am married to an almost doctor and have a crazy large number of health problems. Neither candidate's health program is without flaws, however, Obama's makes sense to me. I LIKE socialization of medicine. I think it makes sense. I also think that I shouldn't be taxed more for having private insurance if I choose to and moreover, I think that people should have to insure their children and the government should have a role in making that happen, both by providing insurance and by offering incentives for it and ramifications against those who don't do it.

3) I want religion out of my government. I don't believe that Barack Obama is without religion, however, I don't think he's going to force this country in a direction I don't want it to go. We can argue Separation of Church and State until we're blue in the face, my BA is in Constitutional History, believe me, I know my shit. Our forefathers may have been Christian, but the freedom of religion includes the freedom from it, and in that way, Athiests and Agnostics deserve the right to live in a country where Christianity or any other organized religion does not dictate laws. And I am a Christian, but it's my right to choose that. My husband is Jewish, he deserves to not have to live within a Christian country. He is an American, but that doesn't mean he has to be Christian, and there's a big difference.

4) I am pro-choice. Do NOT call me pro-abortion. Pro-abortion is negative campaigning, it's a smear tactic. It makes me sound like I want to kill babies, which is untrue and unfair. I will never, unless there is a serious medical reason (and I do not use the "dick finger" quotes (see The Daily Show with John Stewart for an explanation of that term)) have an abortion. However, I do not have the right to tell anyone else what to do with their body, and neither does the government. I cannot support a presidential candidate who tells me that if I am sexually assaulted again, and this time it ends in pregnancy, that I must carry that child to term, no matter what. I cannot elect a president that believes that if a child is impregnated by her father, or brother of another family member, in an abusive or unabusive way, that she has to carry a child to term. This is something that I believe strongly in and not something I will step back on. You can argue about the sanctity of life all you want, but no matter how you look at it, we're all hypocrites. Conservatives are pro-life but pro-death penalty. Liberals are pro-choice but anti-death penalty. Neither of us are protecting life, so it's unfair for anyone to get on a moral high horse about this. And outlawing abortion won't stop it. It'll make it less safe, more costly for aftercare for women who are seriously injured by it and it will raise another level of impoverished families.

5) I do not believe that Sarah Palin is qualified to run this country. I actually do not mind John McCain much, or at least I didn't. Recently in watching his campaign, I've become disenchanted with his actions and ideals, and his selection of Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate is one such action. She is a conservative vagina. If she were/was a man, she'd never have been chosen as the VP candidate, and to me, that's degrading to women. I'm not going to choose the Republican ticket because it has an extra X chromosome. She is not competent to run this country. All the constant reminders of her "executive experience" are ridiculous. She runs ALASKA. Even the major newspapers of Alaska aren't endorsing her for president. Is it me, or does that say something? I'm certain it can be construed as an unfair double standard, but I think that she should be spending time with her 6 month old handicapped child instead of playing up his disability for votes. And I promise you that if Barack Obama had a 6 month old son with Down Syndrome, I'd be saying the exact same thing. Now is not an appropriate time for her to not care for her family. Her daughter is unmarried and pregnant and her son is entering a world where he will have to fight to survive. I'm sorry, I think she's selfish and I don't want her running this country. And I don't trust John McCain's health to hold for 4 years. I don't think Joe Biden is perfect, but I think he's experienced and competent.


And that's mostly it. I'm sure I could get more nit picky, but you get the general idea. I am a democrat, but I vote on my own belief system and not on party lines. I am voting for Barack Obama tomorrow because I believe that his is the candidate who will bring this country to the place it needs to be. To the place it was meant to be. I think he is a leader who can get us back on our feet and moving forward again.

I hope you'll vote with me, but more than anything, I just hope you'll vote. And if my hope is not enough, I think Starbucks is giving out free coffee to anyone who votes, so there's another great reason.

Your turn. Who are you voting for and why? Or if you don't want to answer that, why am I a lunatic for voting for Obama?

Discuss.

(Same comment rules apply as yesterday. Be nice)

Proposition 8

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I no longer reside in California, but many of my personal interests do, and today I want to talk to you about one of them. Feel free to close the blog window if this upsets you, it's just my feeling on an issue and with this very important election coming up, I want to talk about it. My opinion is here, not to say that yours is wrong and mine is right, because I don't think that's how it works. However, this is how I feel and this is why.

On May 16, 2008, the California Supreme Court, not a rogue group of judges as many people have wanted to call them, ruled that the ban on same-sex marriages should be lifted. A lot of people were upset, a lot of people were thrilled and a lot of people were left wondering what to think. I had a surprising number of people ask me if it made me feel like my soon-to-be (June 8th) wedding meant anything less.

And I couldn't come up with a better response then, are you freaking kidding me? I am THRILLED that everyone is allowed the right to marry, and here's why.

Regardless of whether you like girls or boys, marriage is a right that either all of us should have, or none of us should have. Plain and simple, that's the way I feel about it. Civil unions aren't enough, civil unions to me are like separate classrooms for children of different races. And every time I hear about granting civil unions instead of legal/traditional marriages to homosexuals I go back to the ruling on May 17, 1954 in which Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren declared (in the case of Brown v. Board of Education) that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." I cannot, for the life of me understand how we can say that separate types of marriages aren't inherently unequal as well.

When I was born and as I grew up, I knew I liked boys. It was the way I was born. I have no physiological evidence, but I believe that it is the way I am hardwired. Who can honestly tell me that some people aren't born favoring the same sex instead of the opposite one? Please, show me a piece of evidence, prove to me that someone is making a CHOICE to be attracted to the same sex.

And, AND, even if they are, who the hell cares? They're not asking you to join forces with someone with the same chromosomes as you, they're not asking you to promote it, but tolerance isn't difficult, and it is necessary if we're going to co-exist in this world.

Some of the yes on Prop 8 groups are touting that Californians already voted against gay marriage and that this group of judges took it upon themselves to overturn the will of the people. We're clouding the truth here.

The voters of California did not vote to permanently ban gay marriage and they sure as hell did not vote for a constitutional amendment banning it, which is what is on the line on Tuesday. And those silly judges? They aren't responsible for the will of the people. Our judicial system, especially state and national supreme courts are there to interpret the constitution, not the popular vote. They determine whether laws are constitutional based on the constitution, not on the trends and emotions of the people.

I realize that many of you do not support gay marriage for religious reasons. I don't think anyone is asking your church to recognize these as Christian marriages, but rather just as legal ones. No one is pushing any church to start holding ceremonies to unite two men or two women, no one is forcing you to attend the ceremonies either. Knowing that other people, in love with one another, regardless of their gender, were married on the same day as Slappy and me makes me happy. That was the best damn day of my life, and I cannot comprehend why we should deprive someone of that right because we don't agree with their lifestyle. A lifestyle that, for all that we know is not a choice at all, but rather, the way they are born, the way they feel they should feel.

I also know that many of you are upset at the idea of children being raised in such households and the impact that it might have on other children and school. I cannot help but wonder what our society would be like if we were as tolerant as we'd like to think we are. Sure, we've progressed. We integrated schools, we allow boys and girls to play and school together, how about if we now let loving families adopt children, regardless of their sexual preference? Integrating classrooms seemed and was revolutionary at the time, so maybe this feels that way, but it has to start somewhere, we cannot legally deprive someone the right to be a parent unless they are unfit, and loving someone of the same gender does not an unfit parent make. It just doesn't. It does not make them a pedophile or creepy, it just makes them different and I sincerely hope that my children grow up to understand that different is not bad.

A vote of no on proposition 8 does not threaten your churches, it does not threaten your children. It might threaten your preconceived notions about right or wrong, it might go against what you're used to, but what that proposition will do if it is not stopped is prohibit freedom to those equally deserving of it as you and me. People, who like you and me, want to commit themselves, in marriage, to the person they love. People who deserve the same, not separate rights, and people who have worked long and hard to get them.


I am leaving the comments open because I encourage dialogue here. I obviously don't fully understand both sides of this argument and if you have a strong opinion, share it. If you don't know how you feel, share it. Let's learn from each other, let's understand both sides of this and let's have an adult conversation about it.

Truly, I'd love to hear what y'all have to say about it. As badly as I want this proposition to fail, I also want to understand those who feel differently. And I respect you for your opinion and applaud you for sharing it with me.

(That said, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. And unkind comments will be deleted without any warnings or notification.)

Because I'm crazy

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So I've decided to do NaBloPoMo and start right this second (even though the cat really wants me to go downstairs and feed her right now (how do I know this? Because she's sitting on my bedstand knocking pill bottles off one at a time. Subtle.) mostly because since I've got a full day planned with my mother, who is alternating between calm and understandably freaking out and I didn't want to miss the first day, because THAT would be embarrassing (longest run-on sentence ever). Without further ado, I present, NaBloPoMo.



Dear woman at the post office yesterday:

Among the things probably did not know when you gave me the condescending "You're Welcome" (as to say, that I should've said thank you but was too rude to do so) for your holding the door include the fact that I actually said "excuse me" just moments before. I did not thank you for opening the door because you were actually exiting via the entrance, and so you were not saving me time, rather, you were wasting it. And being an idiot. So instead of being as rude to you as you were rude to me, I went with excuse me and tried to just get in the door.

You also probably didn't know that I was deprived of a very large check I needed at work. Very publicly and very embarrassingly.

You probably didn't know that I was in the midst of my second cold in a month and that I've had a headache for 44 days.

You probably didn't know that I had just run around most of the greater New Orleans area to get from work, to Slappy's school to pick up papers to then run them to the Post Office to overnight them before the Post Office sent off their last overnight shipment.

You also probably didn't know that I had spent the previous 20 minutes calling Slappy incessantly because he failed to give me the address he wanted them sent to. I started off subtle with several kind texts and then starting just rehitting the send button every time his voicemail picked up. In retrospect, it's probably good he didn't ever pick up because I might have reach across the phone waves and strangled him (he made up for it, that's tomorrow's post). I eventually called his sister to get the address.

But then again, when you're so busy assuming someone is just a disrespectful young adult, you probably don't take a moment to consider that, YOU'RE STILL LEAVING VIA THE FREAKING ENTRANCE YOU MORON. So no, lady, I do not thank you for holding the entrance door so you could exit from it, and I hope you have some understanding of how close you came to meeting your maker yesterday.

And so I say, loudly and as rudely as you did, YOU'RE WELCOME for my not making that your last Halloween on earth.


(Not so) Respectfully,
Katie