Monday, December 20, 2010

And the craziness continues

Yeah, that's right. At some point in my life, I wished for something other than boredom.  Guess what folks. Be careful what you wish for...

Since moving a year and a half ago, life has picked up and it hasn't slowed down. Work is busier than ever (and crazy too).  As a general rule, I work overtime and on Saturday's during the summer for another department. Usually, once the busy season is over, things slow down.  Well, I'm still waiting for that to happen and the busy season was over three months ago.

When I'm not working on Saturday (or the occasional Sunday), I'm running off doing something else.  I'm not really sure what that something else has been, but I promise you that I've been running around doing something.

Holidays have never been my favorite time of year. Past holidays, for me, have been plagued with disappointments and heart ache.  I'm trying to remind myself that I've let the past go and I'm moving forward with a better attitude and better insight on how I put myself in situations to be let down.  Sadly, I think this has had an affect on two things:
1) I'm numb to feeling things.  I've taken on that "I just don't care" attitude.
2) I avoid things that will make me feel.

Case in point - My sister and I haven't spoken in almost two years. (For the first six months, I didn't realize she was avoiding me.)  When first learning that she had this issue with me and/or my life, I really just didn't care.  That hurt her feelings. My responses to her were uncaring and, probably, unkind.  Recently, I fueled the fire by, apparently, sending a non-touchy-feely birthday e-mail which sparked more anger/hurt from her.  Her response, I thought, was immature.  When I responded to it saying so, she left me this long dramatic voicemail.  My response, I REALLY DON'T CARE.  She says she's offered to get together and discuss the issue. Me, I'm thinking, nah. Let's not. I'm not up for a sit down and let's cry our eyes out together. I'm not changing my mind. She's not changing hers. I'm not going to stress out and get all emotional over someone else's disapproval or opinion over what I do with my life. Even if it is my sister.  I really just don't feel like I have any emotion to give to this situation or any other situation in life.  I honestly feel like my emotions are tapped out for life.

This is just one example. I have more. My point is, I'm beginning to feel like I've done a complete 180 and have gone to the extreme opposite end of the codependent spectrum in regard to my emotions.  That can't be good!

In more exciting news, I became a cat owner.  I cant' believe it. I never wanted an animal.  Too much work.  (If you know me, you know that I don't like to put too much effort into a whole lot.)  It was a con-job this whole cat thing.  But whatever. She's effin cute and I can't help that I've become obsessed with taking pictures of a cat.  I hate that.  I hate when people become obsessed with their animals or kids. (I know. That isn't nice, but some people forget themselves when they have kids. Just sayin.  <--See, I have complete disregard for people's feelings these days too. That's so not me.)  Anyway, pics of the kitty cat Bali:
This is when we first brought her home. She was so tiny and sweet.

She spends a lot of time sleeping in weird positions like this.
video
And just an example of how I can't keep up with the crazy little psycho. 

Did I mention that she likes to bite?  And attack your face?  No?  Oh, yes.

Alright, I'm off for break. No internet for two whole weeks!  How exciting is that? I was hoping for peace and relaxation, but my weeks are quickly being filled up with running here and running there?  Did I mention that I'm tired of being the one to go to people?  No? Well, we'll save that gripe for another day. =)

Merry Christmas people! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Out of Network & Out of Pocket


 Photo courtesy obraprima

When I was younger, my family doctor was the same doctor who delivered me…and my mom…and her mom.  Needless to say, my doctor passed away before I was a teenager.  Since then, I haven’t had a real family doctor.  I never needed to see a doctor much so I suppose it didn’t seem like a big deal then.  When it came time for me to need a doctor for regular physicals and things, I didn’t know where to begin.  I still don’t.

As I came of age and had a job where I finally had health insurance, I randomly selected a doctor that I knew of because he had done my dad’s colonoscopies.  This doctor was a DO, which meant nothing to me then, and practiced gastroenterology and internal medicine.  Fine. Whatever. I didn’t care at the time.  I really didn’t know what to look for or how to find a doctor. I just needed someone to give me a physical, keep my prescription for birth control current and see me for the occasional illness.

Of course, I was rarely ill and, when I did go to the doctor, I never actually saw the doctor. I saw the Physician’s Assistant. That was fine because the PA was a woman and I am much more comfortable seeing a woman for my womanly issues.  It was fine, at least, until the PA made a few remarks that made me very uncomfortable.  I was having a chronic problem with yeast infections. I was having one at least once every month.  When I inquired about what could be causing them, she said something about how the only two things could cause chronic yeast infections: diabetes and HIV.  Talk about scaring the hell out of someone…and for no reason. It wasn’t until I went off of the pill that the real culprit came to light.  It was, in fact, the pill cause my problem!

In recent years, I’ve made an attempt to find a doctor closer to work.  It makes sense to be able to leave work and drive 15 minutes to the doctor at any time of the day rather than trying to drive 45 minutes one way and fitting in a doctor’s appointment either in the morning (beginning of the day) or afternoon (end of the day) which never seems possible anyway.  But how does one pick a doctor in a town they are only vaguely familiar with?  By asking friends and coworkers, of course.

This led me to my last doctor who was ok, at first.  Then she started giving me life advice and telling me how to sort out my life and which decisions I should be making based on her own beliefs and only bits and pieces of my life story.  Thank you, but I’ve already seen a shrink for this.  There are also issues that I have been having that she had no idea how to fix or what to do.  She said to me, “I know that your issues are hormonal, but I don’t know what to do for you.”  It was probably a blessing in disguise when she sent all of her patients a letter saying she was leaving her practice to go explore opportunities at the local hospital.

At this point, I had had enough. I just wanted someone who wouldn’t look at me like I have two heads or three eyeballs when I say I’m having hot flashes!!!  Based on the advice of my friend/landlord, I went to see a doctor who is a D.O. and is also dedicated to holistic healing.  This doctor doesn’t accept insurance and, thus, is considered out of network.  Because I was/am desperate to find someone who will help me, who won’t make me feel like I’m crazy, and who can offer some kind of solution to my problems, I decided to give it a whirl.  

My initial visit was one full hour with the doctor and $425.  It wasn’t what I had experienced in the past as a typical office visit. No one weighed me, took my blood pressure, took my temperature or looked in my ears. I arrived a few minutes early and the doctor herself called me and took me back to the room.  There was no waiting and there was no one else in the office waiting to be seen.  She sat in a chair and I sat across from her. She said to tell her what was going on. I explained my main issues being that I feel like I’m having hot flashes even though everyone says I’m too young.  “In fact”, I told her, “I’m having one right now.”  She asked me to show her where I was feeling hot and I did. She said I was indeed having a hot flash!!! 

I explained more about the issues I was having - anxiety, panic attacks, I was edgy and not able to sleep, not being able to focus, fatigue, a chronic no-apparent-reason rash, weight gain, loss of libido, night sweats, some serious acne, a serious sensitivity to smells and perfumes, and digestive problems.  After listening patiently to my problems and my theories about what I thought caused some of them, she told me there is definite potential for a hormonal imbalance. She explained to me and drew a diagram about how our hormones work and are created, what affects stress can have on the production of different hormones and how things can be thrown off kilter.  When it was all said and done, she had given me a full prescription page full of labs that needed to be done, a 24-hour urine home analysis kit to check for toxins in my system and a suggestion for a natural antihistamine for my scent sensitivity.

I left that office beaming.  Even though we didn’t know exactly how off kilter my hormones were and I had to wait at least a month to find out, I had to drive 45 minutes one way, AND it cost me $425 of my own money, I was ECSTATIC!  Someone believed me! Someone actually thinks that there is something we can do to fix me!  (I actually ended up waiting six weeks to see the doctor again.  My blood tests had to be done in a three day window within my cycle.  Apparently, my cycle was off (another issue) and it takes two weeks to get the results from the tests.)

My second appointment was all of fifteen minutes.  Again, I was the only one in the waiting area and the doctor herself greeted me and took me to the room.  She showed me my test results and explained everything to me.  All of my hormones are out of whack and my testosterone levels were “the lowest of any woman I have ever seen,” she said.  I also had toxic levels of lead in my system. Kind of creepy, no?  I walked away with a page of instructions and my prescriptions were called into the super pharmacy that compounds their own medications and then mails them to me!  In the morning, I take 6 pills to “get the lead out”, 1 DHEA supplement, 6 drops of vitamin D that amounts to about 2500 times the daily value, and I slather on a testosterone gel.  In the evening, I rub in a progesterone cream. 

It’s too early to notice a change, but I am so excited to be doing something. I am excited to know that I’m not crazy. There is something out there to help me.  I want to share my doctor with all of my friends who are having issues that no one else can seem to solve. 

The medical profession is frustrating to me in so many ways.  So many of my friends have issues that there is no real solution for. Everything is a try this and see if it works approach.  If that doesn’t work, we’ll try something new.  My friend’s issues range from migraines and insomnia to epilepsy and chronic depression.  It’s so frustrating. And finding a doctor, a good doctor, is so very hard. 

Anyway, if all goes well with this hormone therapy program, I would love to recommend this doctor to anyone.  The initial cost seems like a lot.  Of the $425 initial visit, which I did turn in to my insurance (the doctor’s office gives you a medical billing form to help with that), $236 of it was covered by my insurance.  That, however, did not even cover my $250 out of network deductible.  (It’s sad that extremely good money is paid for insurance and you can’t see any doctor you want and have it covered.)  I am still waiting to see how much of the second visit will be covered.  But the doctor only makes you come see her when it’s absolutely necessary. She is having me check in around the two week mark via email.  If I have questions, I can call or email (which I have done).  If something isn’t working, email.  She makes it clear that she’s not there just to take your money.  She wants to help you and is willing to help keep the costs down and work with you in a manner that works for you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blogger editor

Well, I published the previous post and blogger isn't letting me go back and edit it so I can finish it.  But it's long enough. You get the idea.  =)

Monday, September 20, 2010

C25k Plus

For the last six weeks or so, I have attempted to incorporate regular exercise into my daily routine.  I, like many people, struggle with making/taking the time to exercise.  Since moving, however, I have had exclusive access to workout equipment including a treadmill, an exercise machine that does everything, weight benches, dumbbells and an incline bench.  So, I told myself that there is no real excuse for not getting off my butt and getting moving.


My initial plan was to exercise with My Friend five days a week. We were going to alternate equipment on alternating days.  On Day 1, I would use the treadmill while he used the machines and weights.  On Day 2, I would use the machines and weights while he used the treadmill.  And so on and so forth.  That was the plan. Of course, the plan didn’t work out like I had imagined it would.


My Friend realized that he is used to having a spotter when using weights.  He found himself doing a set and then sitting around wasting too much time during his rest in between sets.  Whereas, if he had a spotter, he would do a set, his spotter would do a set and then they would switch back and forth giving adequate rest time while not wasting time.  He also prefers to do more treadmill work which causes conflict because we both like hitting the treadmill each time we work out.


 The plan I had for myself was to follow the Couch to 5K plan three days per week and then weight train on the off days.  I found myself conflicted regarding this because I like to weight train and do cardio together in order to burn more calories.  (Thank you Jillian Michaels!)  And, I have found in the past that my legs benefit from a good days break in-between running.


So, the last six weeks have been a trial and error type thing until we could get into a routine that we both liked. Unfortunately, My Friend caught a wretched cold about two and a half weeks ago and hasn’t come back to working out with me since.  Though I enjoyed the idea of working out with a partner, I don’t mind going it alone.  I actually prefer it given we both want to use the treadmill. Now there’s no waiting or fighting over it.


My workouts got off to a rocky start. The first week that I started, everything in life just kind of blew up. My Friend had someone quit at work so he was having to work a lot more and a lot later to cover for this person.  We were house-sitting as well and some other odd things came up. I got in two workouts that week and then had three days of nothing so I gave myself a full week and started all over again.


I started with Week 1 of the Couch to 5K program.  After each session on the treadmill, I would do some weight training.  My favorite moves consist of the following:

·       Lunges with bicep curls with 5 lb dumbbells (moving up to 10 lb)

·       Side Lunge with Anterior Shoulder Raise with 5 lb dumbbells

·       Overhead Tricep Extensions with 10 lb dumbbell

·       Tricep Kickbacks with 5 lb dumbbells

·       Chest Fly with 5 lb dumbbells (moving up to 10 lb)

·       Standing Leg Extension with Shoulder Press using 5 lb dumbbells

·       Should Shrugs with 10 lb dumbbells

·       Sit-ups on the incline bench (2 sets of 5)


Most of these exercises come from Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred dvd.  (I heart Jillian!) I also have to share that I had a bit of a misadventure doing sit-ups on the incline bench. Being a smartass, apparently, I executed 3 sets of 10 sit-ups on the incline bench during my first week of exercise.  I couldn’t rotate my torso for two weeks.  Standing up and sitting down without the support of my arms was torture.  I even gave it another week after that to make sure I was fully healed.  Now, I take it easy eeking out two sets of five.  They say you can’t do much harm to your stomach muscles, but au contraire, mon frère.  Really!  It hurt! Like hell!


I’m also taking it easy with the whole C25K thing.  I’m the kind of person that likes to be good at something before I move on to the next level or the next stage.  Instead of immediately going from week 1 to week 2 to week 3 and so on, I’m doing each week of training for two weeks.  I just finished my second week of week 3 and started my first week of week 4 last night.  This gives me time to build up a little stamina. It gives me time to get bored of something before I move on and I have a better feeling that I will be able to accomplish the next week.


Going in, I already knew that I liked to run. I don’t love it, but I like it well enough to do it.  I had never run on a treadmill though. I had only run outside. At first, I didn’t think I’d like the treadmill. There’s very little margin for error when it comes to footing and timing. You have to keep your feet moving. There’s no real cheating (which is good for me) unless you step off to the side.  I really have to make an effort to pay attention and keep my eyes forward otherwise I’m likely to veer off to the side and that is a tooth loss waiting to happen. 


The benefits that I have found when running on a treadmill as compared to outside is that the surface is smooth and consistent. No worrying about stepping in a hole or on something and twisting your ankle.  No worrying about someone coming up behind you on a bike or having to pass anyone.  You can maintain a consistent speed which I have found to be much harder when running outside.  You can track your speed and distance easily. 


I’m sure that, should I ever want to train for a race, it would behoove me to train outside or on a track. From what I can figure, and I have done zero research on the matter, there is a something lacking in treadmill running.  When you run outside, you have to use your legs to push yourself forward.  When running on a treadmill, you really just keep your legs moving while the belt moves for you. There’s no real force to keep your body moving in the forward motion.  Like I said, I’m not expert on the subject but this is what I think about when I’m on the treadmill needing something to keep my mind off the monotony of running.


The main purpose of my exercise endeavor is to try to have a healthy body.   My doctor once said that the only fountain of youth out there is exercise and I buy into that school of thought.  I wouldn’t mind toning up and losing 7-8 lbs either. Though, I do know enough about exercise to know that three days per week probably isn’t going to cut it if I want to lose weight. It will help me maintain my weight, but not lose it necessarily. And given that I only have 7-8 lbs to lose, it may take a lot more work to lose than if I had 100 lbs to lose.  I don’t own a scale so I couldn’t really tell you if I’ve lost weight or not. I did notice that my pants are a little bit looser, but it may be a fluke too. (I don’t want to jinx it.)  I would like to work up to getting exercise 5 days a week since we are planning another trip to Cabo San Lucas in about six months. So I have six months to get in shape. =)

So far, I’m enjoying my workouts. I usually have a Friday-Saturday break making my Sunday a great running day. My legs are well rested and I am eager to get back at it.  (I find my calves to be my biggest obstacle – always tight and always burning.)  Usually the second day, Tuesday, is the roughest. I’m tired from work, my body isn’t as rested and I am just dreading hauling my butt to the treadmill.  By Thursday, my third day, I feel accomplished that I made it through another week.  I am pretty proud that I’ve kept up the pace and kept going. I hope, again, that I’m not jinxing myself.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Way. Too. Busy.

The past several months have been extremely busy. I don't mean to complain about being busy. That is not my intention. I make it a point not to complain because I moved last year, in part, to have a life.  Or more of a life, anyway.  But it just isn't my personal life that is busy.  Work has been so crazy busy for several months now that I barely have a chance to catch my breath or to look ahead at what is to come because I'm still looking back at the whirlwind of the last several months. 

Everything remains overloaded. My work email has 129 unread emails, my personal email teeters on 200 unread emails and my Google Reader is lingering around 920 unread items.  I try to keep up, but end up sending brief, cold responses out to co-workers and friends instead of carefully communicated or caring messages.  I have missed important dates like the birthday's of my best friend's kids and baby showers.  I'm tired and cranky.  And I haven't had a chance to enjoy the summer at all.  Although, summer is always a busy time with the overtime that I try to put in.  This summer feels as though it's come and it's going fast and I haven't had time to sit outside and take in the fresh air, listen to the birds sing, marvel over the beautiful green trees and grass, or go for a boat ride on the lake.  I miss my family, I miss my friends and I miss just being able to sit and enjoy the quiet.

Things with My Friend and his personal issues keep us very busy too.  If it's not one thing, it's another with his situation. And you never know when it's going to strike.  Just when you think things have calmed down, you realize that that was just the calm before the storm.   

I'm hoping that as the overtime comes to an end, things will slow down.  Then again, I've been thinking that things will slow down for months now and they just keep picking up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Home Invasion

First thing I usually do when I get home from work every day is change into something comfortable. So Thursday evening was no different. When I got home, I headed straight for my bedroom to change my clothes. As I was taking off my necklace, I noticed that my little decorative bowl that I keep change in looked like it was missing a lot of change. Instantly, I accused My Friend because he is always teasing me for saving pennies (along with everything else) as his change jar only contains silver coins. He keeps telling me that he is going to take my nickels, dimes and quarters and leave me just the pennies. Although, I thought it was odd that, if he was going to take my silver coins, why would he leave some and only take a few. But who else was there to accuse?


For a little while, we bantered back and forth about the whole thing. I kept saying that I felt like I was imagining things because who would come in and take anything. We were pretty sure that the folks who work on the property wouldn’t risk it because they would be cutting a great tie by losing their job there and they are all good, honest people. My Friend kept asking if I wanted him to go say something to the landlord, who just happens to be his dad. I hemmed and hawed about it some because I really didn’t want someone to unnecessarily be accused of something. Ultimately, we decided to let the landlord know which turned out to be a good move.

Apparently, one of the guys who works on the property had spotted a young man earlier in the afternoon walking down the driveway at which point the young fellow was told that he was on private property and was instructed to leave immediately. The young man had indicated that he was leaving but that he had just run away from home.

At this point, it was decided that the landlord would call the police just in case the guy decides to return at some point. Meanwhile, My Friend and I are in our apartment hashing out more oddities that were previously dismissed. For instance, when My Friend got home from work, he found a cup with Kool-Aid in it and Kool-Aid splatters all over the kitchen counter and floor. He assumed that it was messy me (granted, I’m messy, but not that messy) and cleaned up the spills and went about his business.

As we stood there in the kitchen discussing this, My Friend opens the refrigerator to find an empty pitcher with just a splash of Kool-Aid in the bottom. He’s like, “I thought you did this too.” Nope. Apparently, the kid who entered our home did that too. Not only did he take half of my change from my bowl (which had coins from my trip to England), but he drank the Kool-Aid out of a cup that I had used the day before, put the empty pitcher back in the refrigerator, spilled it all over, rummaged through the freezer taking a full bag of Taquitos and placing frozen hotdogs from the freezer in the refrigerator (which we joked about saying he planned on coming back later), rummaged through our pantry cupboard and took food from there and stuck his hands in bags of things and ate from them too.

Ugh! It was so nerve wracking. Of course, there has been great discussion about locking the doors now. At first, when we moved in, I was bothered by the fact that we couldn’t lock the doors (the landlord doesn’t have a key and has never locked the doors), but I let it go. Until now. The landlord insists that we still don’t need to lock the doors as the police office indicated that the kid who invaded our home (and another single ladies' home that same day) was a foster kid from down the road who was about 18 with a 3rd grade mentality and is “harmless”. This kid is said to not be able to have sodium because too much causes him to have heart attack-like symptoms. Since he is not allowed to have certain foods, he goes into other people’s homes and eats whatever he wants.

Regardless of this kid’s harmlessness, he still invaded my home and went through my things. All of which is nerve-wracking for any person. You feel so out of control and debilitated because there is nothing you can do. What is done is done and what is gone is gone. For someone who is co-dependent and depends on controlling certain aspects of their own life (even though there has been lots of therapy to learn to let go of some things, there are still things that drive me crazy when out of my control), this has been a very traumatic event no matter how minimal the damage.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Small, small world

Monday night, I arrived home from work and noticed a familiar looking baby blue Ford pickup in my driveway with what appeared to be either a power trowel or rototiller in the bed.  I pulled up, parked my car and veered out my window thinking to myself, No way! There's just no way.  I quickly made my way inside trying to remain incognito.

Once inside, My Friend asked me what the matter was. I promptly asked him who that truck belongs to. He said he didn’t know the man’s name, only that he was very drunk and the man was with someone (Jim) who works on the property that we live on. Jim has permission to use the boat on the lake that is essentially in our front yard and, so, Jim and this man were out fishing. I immediately started with the questions: Does the man have a scraggly beard? Is he really skinny? Is he wearing a baseball cap? A t-shirt with a front pocket? Yep, yep, yep and yep. And has teeth are a bit funky. That’s it.  The baby blue with a trowel in the back was a dead giveaway. I knew it, though I didn’t want to know it. Right there before my eyes, fishing in my front yard was the Boy Left Behind’s uncle.


So, I hid. For like two hours. Not because I don’t like Uncle G, but because once Uncle G knows where I live, then so does half of the county left behind as well as the Boy Left Behind. And, just because, I don’t want anyone to know that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gee Willikers

Well gee willikers! It sure has been a while since I’ve written anything. I was afraid that might happen. I’m not a writer. I don’t even like to write. Putting coherent sentences together for other people to read and make sense of is a lot of work for me. When it comes to putting a lot of work into something, you can guarantee that I will be looking for something easier to do. That said, I’m still going to try to give this blogging thing a go. Even if it’s only to keep a few friends in the distant regions up-to-date on what is happening in life. As if it’s that interesting… Ha!


So what’s been happening? Well, I went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico back in March (omg…I just wrote May and had to look at my calendar to make sure that was right and it so wasn’t. It’s been a long time.) I had a great time. I went with two other ladies that I barely knew then. There was a wee bit of drama, but I had a great time despite that.

Dancing
Having fun dancing at Cabo Wabo!

The look
More Cabo Wabo fun!

Woo hoo
Dancing at El Squid Roe (every place has a pole to dance on there).

In the cage @ Cabo Wabo
Cabo Wabo

Parasailing
Parasailing

At Cabo Wabo...ha!
Um, Cabo Wabo =)

Mexican chickens
Mexican Chickens

View from room
View from the room

Whale
Whale watching

Since returning from Mexico, I had really been struggling with the whole Boy Left Behind issue as I said a while back.  I ended that post, I think, with the idea that I was dealing with it ok and moving forward. That was a lie. At the time, I may have been trying to convince myself that it was the truth, but it wasn’t. Truth be told, I actually had sent BLB a text while I was in Mexico. It wasn’t anything that I kicked myself for afterward. I said something like, “I’m in mexico and we girls were out on the town and I saw a couple tonight that reminded me of you and I when we were younger. The good old days. Just know I don’t expect you to respond. Just sayin. I hope you are doing well.” I won’t lie. I was intoxicated, but I also knew what I was doing. And it was the truth.

BLB is a great dancer and I used to love to dance with him. It was one my major attractions to him. The problem was, he loved to dance with all the women. At any rate, when we girls were out that night, I saw a young couple whose chemistry was very apparent as they danced together and held each other all night long. That was BLB and I back in our younger days. Oddly, or so I thought, BLB text me right back saying “Maybe you should warn them =).” The joke between us has always been that we are each in love with someone we will never be happy with or without. So that’s what I text back, “You’re funny. Warn them of what? Falling in love with someone they will never be happy with or without?” His reponse, “ Either/or!” And that was the end of the conversation.

For a really, really long time after returning from Mexico, I struggled with thoughts of him. I can’t even recall what my thoughts were now, but I was driving myself crazy. Add that to everything else that has been going on like, when I returned from Mexico, my step-mom had been moved over to my office due to structural reorganizing. I’ve been playing catch-up, or so it seems, at work since then as well. In April, I had the LASIK surgery. In May, I started picking up a few side jobs here and there and then started working voluntary overtime at work in June. During June, My Friend and I went to Cedar point with some of his family. I attended a bachelorette party in May then the wedding in June. That same weekend, I was supposed to attend another wedding and a baby shower, but, at this point, anxiety was really becoming prevalent and beginning dictate my life. I saw my doctor, but she wanted to wait to see if it got any better…which added to my anxiety. So, during the busiest and hardest months I’ve had in quite some time, I drudged forward. I was also faced with a tough decision about whether or not to move (I’ve already moved once a year for the past four years and this was not an easy decision for other reasons). I, then, had to pack, move, paint, clean, unpack and organize. Meanwhile, I was physically ill for about two weeks. Right as I was starting to feel settled in our new place, My Friend and I began house/dog/cat sitting for someone else. Let me just tell you, these creatures are nocturnal. They play cat and mouse (or dog and cat) all night long. I am a light sleeper. Can you imagine how the two do not go well together?

Whew! Gee willikers. I am exhausted! Maybe soon things will slow up a little and I can spend some more time writing about stuff. Maybe…

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LASIK is a Piece of Cake

That's right people. You heard me. LASIK is a piece of cake!  The whole thing went down like this...

A few days prior to surgery, I received a call reminding me of my appointment.  She confirmed my arrival time of 7:15 and surgery time of 8:30.  She then reminded me to wear absolutely no perfume or anything with a strong, heavy scent as it interferes with the laser.

Friday morning, the day of the surgery, I was up and showering by 5:15 am (Freaking early, I know!).  My ride (mom and her bf) picked me up at 6:15 and we headed out for our 45 minute drive to the doctor's office.  We arrived a few minutes early and waited in the car.  As soon as we went inside, however, they were ready and immediately started processing paperwork.  I had to sign a few consent forms and HIPPA forms and I was on my way.  The nurse took me back and looked at my eyes with two more devices. She explained everything she was doing in detail and how the information she was gathering will help them program the laser to make the most accurate adjustments to my vision.  I believe one a corneal topographer which measures the curvature of the eye and creates a colorful kind of "map" of the cornea. There was also a wavefront analysis machine that sends light waves through the eye to provide an even more precise map of aberrations affecting the vision.  All of that was easy stuff.

The nurse then took me to fill out more paperwork and make payment arrangements.  Something I didn't know until recently is that they have special financing programs for healthcare related procedures.  The doctor that I went thru uses the CareCredit program.  They can set you up on any kind of plan from 0% interest for twelve months up to 13.9% interest for 60 months.  I think this is great because it is usually the cost of the procedure that is a major player in whether or not people decide to have it done.  Not that I am a big proponent of credit in general, mind you. I just think this is a great procedure and, since insurance still finds it optional and won't cover the cost, financing options makes it a viable option for people.

Anyway, we got all that set up and this nurse then took me back to a lovely lady who prepped me for surgery.  She explained everything that was going to happen in regard to medication and eye drops.  She also went over medication, eye drops and protecting my eyes after surgery.  I was given a valium to keep me calm and then a series of eye drops that included numbing drops, an antibiotic drop, and a few other drops that I'm not sure about. 

We then went into a room that looked just like any other eye exam room.  The nurse made a name tag for me and stuck it on me shirt upside-down.  She put a little surgical hat thingy over my hair with cotton pads near my ears for collecting excess drops that would run down my cheeks during the procedure and she place surgical coverings over my shoes as well.  Then, we sat and waited for a short while.
Me & mom (she looks thrilled, no?)

As I was checking out my upside-down name tag and repeating my name over and over, the doctor came in, gave my eyes a quick look, cracked a few jokes (which I thought were pretty darn funny given the fact that the valium had kicked in), and we were on our way.


The room that the surgery was performed in was quite cold. By the time I walked over to the table that you lay on, I was shivering. The nice assistants helped me climb onto the table, lay down and then offered me a blanket (thank heavens). Things proceeded quite quickly from there. They immediately started putting more numbing drops in my eyes. From this point on, I really unaware of what exactly was happening. The doctor and his assistants were very cheerful people. They talk you through everything without giving you too much detail. They even cheer you on and tell you what a great job you are doing. Your job is to lay still on that table and stay focused on the blinking light (orange in my case, but I've heard other say red). They also tell you to keep both eyes open which I found difficult to know if I was doing or not because one eye is being held open with lid holder/retainer type object and the other eye was covered with a dark object. It wasn't until I got home and watched the video of the procedure (yes, I did watch it and I wouldn't recommend it if you are squeamish and/or considering having it done until afterward) that I was able to put two and two together and make sense of everything that had taken place.

First they put this plastic looking ring thing on your eye to hold it steady while the flap is made. I felt some pressure on the eye which would normally have made me panic, but the doctor talked me through it and I reasoned in my head that the pressure isn't going to cause my eye to explode or anything because the doctor is here telling me that this is what is going to happen and it should be happening. Everything goes black for a few seconds. I believe at this point, I was placed under the machine that actually creates the flap. After the flap is made, the ring thing is removed and the procedure is repeated with the other eye. All the while, the doctor and his assistants are talking me through every single step.

After the flap is made on the eye, it is then lifted. At the time, I didn't realize that this is what was happening. The doctor tells you to focus on the light. While he’s lifting the flap with a metal instrument, the assistant kept telling me to keep focused on the light and not to let him take it away. This was a bit difficult in my mind because while he’s lifting the flap, he’s tugging on the eye causing it to move which makes it hard to keep the light in sight. Once the flap is lifted, everything becomes really blurry.

The next part of the process is the laser. It makes some clicking sounds and the assistant calls out how long it will take. 19 seconds…15 seconds….hold on, you’re doing great…13 seconds, 9 seconds…3 seconds…done…great job! My understanding is, the laser detects and follows slight movements that you might make and will pause and readjust if necessary. After the laser finishes, the doctor puts what he called glue (a liquid of some sort) over the cornea and then smoothes the flap back down with a sponge like object. And one eye is complete.

The second eye was just the same. I was a little more anxious during the flap lifting process of the second eye. I think because I was unaware of what was actually taking place and really worried about focusing on the light. Once the doctor lifted the flap, he said that he needed me to settle before proceeding. I immediately was able to do just that and everything proceeded smoothly from there.

I would say the whole procedure lasted less than 20 minutes total for both eyes. The video (which, unfortunately, has a piece cut out in the beginning) lasted all of 11 minutes, 55 seconds. It was painless and the doctor and his assistants made it that much better.

After the procedure, the doctor gave my eyes one last look to make sure there were no foreign objects in my eyes and that the flaps were properly replaced. They made sure I had all of my instructions and eye drops and placed some goggles and sunglasses on me and sent us on our way.


I felt great after the procedure. I was actually able to see right away. My sight was blurry, almost as if someone had smeared Vaseline on my glasses or something, but otherwise, I could actually see a good distance in front of me. On the ride home, I rested my eyes. We stopped for breakfast and I kept my eyes closed for the majority of that time. My eyes were sensitive to the light and a bit scratchy as if I had worn my contacts for a long 15 hour day and taken them out and my eyes were dry.

When I got home, I took the second valium that the doctor’s office had given me, made up a bed on the couch and slept for a good 5-6 hours which is recommended. Keeping your eyes closed as much as possible helps them heal. For my waking hours, it was prescribed one drop of Pred Forte and rewetting drops each hour and one drop of the antibiotic four times a day. By 6 o’clock, I was awake and watching tv from the couch with no problem.

It is amazing! I am still amazed. I would highly recommend discussing LASIK with your eye doctor if you are sick and tired of wearing contacts and/or glasses. The procedure was so easy and the doctor and his staff were absolutely wonderful. I can’t express enough how their attitude and caring demeanor made this experience that much better. I would recommend Rosenbaum Eye & Laser Center one hundred times over to anyone as the staff there truly played a huge part in making this such an easy and amazing experience.


**It may be good to note that this is my experience and my experience only. The details may not be wholly accurate, but are the account from my perspect and from my research on the procedure itself.

Stay tuned for more on the Post-Op appointment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let There Be Sight



I have worn glasses since the 4th grade when my teacher expressed concern because I was having trouble seeing the chalkboard.  In 7th grade, all of my friends started getting contacts so I jumped on the bandwagon and begged and pleaded with my mom to let me do the same.  For 17 years, I have been placing little plastic hemispheres on my eyeball each and every morning. Though contacts are much more convenient than wearing glasses, they are still a pain. 

Contact wearers are always having to haul a contact case and solution and glasses with them on vacation. Being extremely careful when swimming not to open their eyes under water or get splashed in the eyes.  I often take an extra pair of contacts with me just in case I lose one, drop one or one falls out. I never felt comfortable going out and making a last minute decision to stay at someone else's house because I didn't like sleeping in my contacts.  Taking a nap or even closing my eyes for fifteen minutes was always inconvenient because I would wake up with my contacts glued to my eyes.  Getting an eyelash or fleck of mascara in my eye always seemed to be the most painful thing ever. And it always seemed to happen when I didn't have any solution or drops available. 

All of these issues will be a thing of the past come Friday.  After weeks of consideration and bugging my eye doctor and his staff with a million and one questions, I took a huge leap and made an appointment to have LASIK corrective surgery.  Because we are talking about my eyeballs and my sight here (omg!), I decided to go with the most precise (and most expensive) procedure with the least amount of room for error possible - Intralase. And it is soooooo going to be worth it! 

I am very excited and very, very nervous.  I mean, we are talking about one of the most precious senses our body has.  Hence the reason it took me three weeks and a half dozen stops at my eye doctor's office to make the decision.  Now, the day is nearly here!

I have already started preparing for surgery. Monday was my pre-op where they dilated my eyes (pic above) and, again, performed another eye exam. I was given a prescription for antibiotic drops for my eyes - one drop every four hours for three days.  I was also given a packet full of information (some of the information seemed a little late...like three pages explaining what LASIK and Intralase are).  Included in the packet are instructions to prepare for surgery and what to do post-op.  I was a bit surprised by some of the instructions.

  • If you wear anything with a scent or have cigarette smoke in your clothes, your surgery may be cancelled since this hinders the operation of the laser. No scented hairspray, gels, mousses, after-shave cologne, lotions or perfumes. My-oh-my!
  • No smoking the day of surgery, before or after the procedure. Um, yeah, no problems there.
  • No eye make-up for 2 days before your surgery.  OUCH! Hello. This one hurts. But it's worth it.
  • No face make-up of any kind the day of surgery. This I can handle.
  • Do not wear any facial jewelry.  No problem.
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol at least 24 hours before your surgery. Yeah, this one really hurts too. Because, you know, I LOVE Mountain Dew.  But I'll survive.
  • Wear comfortable, casual clothing. The laser room is kept cool. No problem. Casual clothing is my favorite kind!
  • Drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your procedure. Eat a light meal before your appointment.  Well, considering the no caffeine rule, I think the water thing is a given. Check!
  • You may not drive yourself home. Please make arrangements for transportation home. Check! Thanks mom and grumpy!  Since they give you valium, I didn't figure I'd be driving. Duh.
The make-up thing really hurts. My instructions also say no eye make-up for two weeks after surgery. That is going to suck too!  Eye make-up is the most essential part of my make-up routine. But, it's going to be worth it. Totally.  Other than that, goggles are required for sleeping. That should be interesting.  No exercise for a week. No swimming, hot tubs, sauna or tanning for two weeks.  And no rubbing for four weeks.   Piece of cake. I hope. 

The countdown has begun. Less than 48 hours until my LASIK appointment.  The anxiety hasn't quite yet begun, but it will surely keep me up the night before surgery.  Though I am nervous, I am also excited about the prospect of being able to see. To see when I wake up in the morning, to see the alarm clock, to see my legs when I'm trying to shave in the shower, to see more than just an outline of My Friend's face at night, to see without having to stick my finger in my eye every morning.  The outlook is very positive. I can't wait to explore the sights with my new eyes very soon!  Stay tuned...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Going it Alone

For the most part, I have become used to going it alone. Growing up, I was always alone. After my parents divorced, my mom spent a lot of time in the bars and with her boyfriend(s) trying to, I assume, repudiate her feelings of despair. I didn’t have many friends and the parents of the friends that I did have were vastly aware of my mother’s absence in our home. Because of this, many of my friends were not allowed to come to my home.

Later on, into high school, friends became fewer and fewer. Having my social network disrupted so many times by moving, caused a great deal of insecurity and lack of trust within me. In high school, I had one real friend that I trusted with nearly every bit of information about me. The rest of my classmates were acquaintances, if that. It probably didn’t help that, by 10th grade, I had moved again. Only this time, I was being forced to live with my dad. I was not allowed to go places or stay the night or have friends over. I can’t say that this helped me make friends. All this to say, I went through high school feeling very alone.

In the last few months of high school, I became reacquainted with the Boy Left Behind (we had dated once before when he was 16 and I 13…my dad did not care for that much). I clung to him for the next several years. I unknowingly and insalubriously clung to him as my only support. I unintentionally expected him to be my boyfriend, my best friend and confident, my father, my caregiver, my replacement for lost self-esteem, my happiness, and my reason for living. Wow! What a load to bear. He was my world because, otherwise, I had nothing. And God knows I didn’t want to go back to having nothing.

The Boy Left Behind and I had an on again, off again relationship for the next thirteen years following high school. Looking back, it was most dysfunctional. I brought my dysfunction and he brought his. At the time, I did not know that my relationship was not healthy. I had no concept of what a healthy relationship was. As I began to learn, however, our relationship began to deteriorate rapidly. Then, in June of last year, I made my final departure from the relationship. I moved away and I ceased all contact.

Since June, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster. Not because I am heartbroken over ending the relationship. Not because I have lingering feelings of doubt or regret. My emotions are tied to the fact that we have ended things before only to later bump into each other and begin again. The cycle has repeated itself so many times that I feared it would happen again. Though my mind tells me that I am a different person this time, that I am a stronger person emotionally, that my head understands what my heart cannot and, this time, my head rules. Even though I am a stronger, more emotionally mature person, I still feared the possibility of weakness and desperation.

Over my Christmas/Holiday break in December, I had a severe breakdown. I cried for days after accidentally discovering a picture of him and his new girlfriend (who bears an uncanny resemblance to me) on Facebook. I had to do a double take because I swore it was me sitting on his lap. But it wasn’t. Why knowing with absolutely certainty that he was moving on was so hard for me, I’m not sure. It isn’t like it was unexpected. He was never one to be alone. If anything, I expected him to be bouncing around between several women. But there it was in front of me on my computer screen and I was home alone with no one to reach out to and share my panic, fear, anger, jealousy, and irrational thoughts with.

I later noticed, after suffering through this turmoil alone, that I had really matured emotionally. As embarrassing as it is to admit, in the past, I would have started plotting ways to weasel my way back into his life. I didn’t want him wanting or loving someone else. I wanted to be his one and only love for all of eternity. This time, however, I didn’t want that. I knew in my head that my life was better where it was at. I knew that I was with someone who was, is and has been there for me in so many more ways than the Boy Left Behind ever could be. I knew that I did not want to get tangled up in that crazy, dysfunctional web that continues to surround him and his life ever again. And maybe it was in this process that I prepared myself for what was to come next.

In the thirteen plus years that I dated the Boy Left Behind, I always felt a strong desire to get married and have a family. And HE was always the person that I wanted to marry and have a family with. Coming from a family of divorce and rough and rocky parental relationships, however, I didn’t want to get married and have babies just to do it. I wanted to be sure that we would both work towards making the marriage one that was loving, supportive, and would last through thick and thin. I wanted to be certain, above anything else, that we would both be parents who made the effort to put our children first and to be there for and support them. In those thirteen years, I was never convinced that he would be that kind of husband or father. Because of this, I was ever-so-careful in my family planning methodology.

When my phone rang last Monday, it was my best girl friend and I presumed she was calling just to see how my trip to Mexico went. We chatted about all of that and how things were going with her and then she says to me, “There is something I want to tell you. I don’t want you to be caught off guard by someone else.” She knew of my breakdown during Christmas and she, too, has been through this with the same family so we have always had each other’s back in this regard. I instantly knew what she was going to say. Boy Left Behind and his girlfriend are going to have a baby…

I can only assume that the ordeal I had gone through over Christmas is what prepared me for this moment. I wasn’t shocked. I had actually predicted it. Without going into extreme detail into the dynamics of how BLB works, I can say that I saw it coming a mile away. I have been dealing with it quite well, surprisingly. The knowledge of the fact that the man that I wanted to share my life and family with is having a family with someone else has not left my brain yet (though, I wish it would) and I spend more time worrying about whether or not it will suddenly hit me and I’ll have another emotional lapse. I was extremely anxious over the weekend when My Friend was at work. I had nowhere to go, nothing to do and no friends to hang out with. I fear being alone. Alone with my thoughts and my feelings. I fear the takeover of irrational thinking. But this is, yet, another things I must go it alone.

Going it alone is just a part of life. It’s something, I presume, we all must do from time to time. Though many folks go through the same ordeal, it’s hard as a person on the outside to recall the feelings from the past to offer understanding to the person in the present. I am sure, too, that my friends are tired of hearing about it. Years of my self-inflicted suffering that they listened to most likely wanting to shake some sense into me and say, “Just do it already. Get over it.” I find it difficult myself to be compassionate towards others who are in predicaments that, with slightly different choices, they wouldn’t be in. I also cannot depend on my friends to be my sole emotional support. It is something that I have learned through counseling that, though others can be there for me, I cannot expect them to bear the full burden of my weight and theirs too. They all have families, lives and their own burdens to bear. Friends can offer me support, but I cannot expect them to bear the burden. Something I did long ago.

I am still going it alone. I am still struggling with the idea that the irrational side of my mind will catch up with me. But one thing I know for certain, now, is that I no longer have to worry about desperation taking over and me attempting to get him back nor would I ever give in to his attempts. Not now. Not after this. That knowledge is a bit of a relief to me. I have feared for ten months an accidental run in with him. How would react? How would I feel? I often slink into the Town Left Behind trying to go unnoticed because everyone there knows the two of us, together and apart. Now, I feel free. Free from those chains. Free to live my life without caution or concern.


I do not want to sound ungrateful to my friends and family who have helped me through the toughest times in my life. I am ever-so-grateful for everyone in my life who has listened to me, offered support, advice, hugs, phone calls, and straight-up rescues. So many people have been there for me in so many ways. I could never repay them for saving my sanity and sticking by me for so long. I know now, though, that sometimes I just have to go it alone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another quizzle

I don't put much stock in the millions upon millions of little quizzes that saturate the internet. Occasionally, though, it’s fun to indulge in a little something besides the everyday grind.


It amazes me how accurate these things seem to be sometimes. So try it out for yourself. Have a little hump day fun!


(Click on image to enlarge)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses

I am ashamed to admit that I have found myself inflicted with the "Keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome.  The prospect of vacationing with someone whose means are much more abundant than that of my own has caused me to feel inferior.  It is with great disappointment and sadness that I admit this.

In preparing for my vacation, I have found myself purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise.  I'm not quite sure how much just yet. I am afraid to look and know for sure.  I have found myself putting some of my purchases on my credit card just in case I need the cash in my bank account for my actual vacation.

This is NOT how I operate!

Usually, I give myself an allotted amount of spending money.  And, because I know myself all too well, I will put a little more in a side account for extras.  But I always have the cash to go and I always give myself a budget. ALWAYS!

With this vacation, however, there are so many unknown factors.  I have no idea what we will be doing while we are there. There are a lot of possibilities.  Many activities range from $50-$200.  I have no idea what the weather will be like. Hot during the day, very cool at night is my understanding.  But how do you know for sure how to prepare for that. One person's hot isn't necessarily another person's hot. One person's chilly may not be my chilly.  And though I am sure that the person that I am vacationing with is mindful that my means and the third persons' means are a bit limited, it still causes this bit of angst inside me.  I also have no idea what it will cost to eat while I am there. I don't know if it will be possible for us to purchase any groceries.  I have no idea how much it will cost us to get around.  There are just so many uncertainties and I do not bode well with uncertainty.  I have a tendency to try to be prepared for all of the possibilities and what ifs.

Back to my uncontrollable spending. What the...???  What is my problem!?!?!?!?  I convinced myself that I needed these things.  And a few things would have been ok.  I have outgrown my summer clothes.  Many of which I haven't worn in a year or two because most of my summer is spent working overtime.  But I have practically gone out and bought a new summer wardrobe.  Three and a half new bathing suits (one was a gift), summer dresses (one was also a gift), a cropped cardi, two pair of pajama bottoms, tops, shorts, pants that roll up to capris, a new toiletry bag, two new travel bags that are easy on the shoulders, new sandals, two new hoodies for the chilly evenings, and one of those pillow things for the airplane.  I think I have gone completely bonkers!  I am definitely having buyers remorse. Look at all this:




This is out of control.

So, the best I can do now is tell myself NO MORE!

I still cannot believe that I let this consume me. Thoughts of I can't wear the same two bathing suits while I'm there for seven days because I'm sure the Joneses will have 100+ for sure.  (And she does have 100 or so suits.)  Or, I can't wear the same single pair of pajama pants the whole time I am there. What will they think?  Or, What if we walk around a lot and do a lot of shopping, I will need a comfortable bag and comfortable new shoes because the ones I have just aren't good enough. They'll look at me like I have two heads. 

I can't believe I allowed myself to think this way.  I suppose it can go back to the self-esteem issues that my counselor constantly tried to address.  And the idea that I need to be accepted by everyone.  This just isn't so. I am who I am. I like who I am and I need to remind myself that people like me for who I am too.  Quite a few people do, actually. I know this and need to accept this.  Believe it with all that I am.

No more keeping up with the Joneses.  That's not who I am!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Traveler's Ultimate Dilemma

I honestly don’t feel that I have traveled a lot in my lifetime. I love to go to new places and experience new things. Even though I have not traveled a lot, I have been to a few noteworthy places (and some less noteworthy locations).

 
  • Baltimore, Maryland: ’92 Olympic Trials spectator - Gymnastics
  • England & Scotland: Cross Cultural Trip in 2002
  • Washington DC: Twice - once as an eighth grader and once for work
  • New York, New York: To visit the Financial District for my Bachelor’s degree
  • Chicago, Illinois: On a whim with an ex
  • Orlando, Florida: Visiting with friends though I didn’t go to Disney
  • Lakeland, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orange Park, and Naples all in Florida: To visit friends
  • The Bahamas: On a cruise
  • Atlanta, Georgia: To visit my niece
  • El Paso, Texas: To visit my ex at Fort Bliss before he deployed
  • Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana: On a road trip
  • Different cities in Ohio and Indiana: I count these on a smaller scale because it’s still the tri-state area
  • Niagra Falls: I’m not sure which side, however, because I was so little (probably 3 or 4)

 
All this to say that, soon, I will be embarking on another excursion and the same quandary still occurs as with most all of these other trips: The Bag. The non-touristy, hip, chic, carry-all bag that doesn’t hurt my shoulder to carry around for hours yet serves my multitude of purposes bag. The traveler’s ultimate dilemma.

 
Over the years, I have employed several different bags, but most of them were to just get the job done. And most of the bags I have purchased were cheap. I mean, the reality of the situation is that I am a frugal individual and have always been on a pretty tight budget.

 
After trekking through all terrains in England and Scotland for a couple of weeks, my shoulders were so sore and tired. Even after a short shopping spree, my shoulder and back are generally sore and achy from my purse alone. So I really would like to find a versatile bag with multi-functionality.

 
But where to begin?

 
Well, lucky for me my friend Shannon had already conducted a search of her own with a plethora of suggestions from her readers (which outnumber my readers by far). So I perused her archives and found a suggestion by one of her readers that I fell in love with, the MEC Right Hand Pod Sling Pack. I figure this will be a good bag for those days where we go shopping. It can hold my identification items, money, camera, and a hoodie just in case. And, since I was there, I ordered the MEC Flux Sling Pack as well for trips to the beach and my carry-on. I may not need both for this trip, but I think they will both be useful in the long run. A sound investment, I say.