Thursday, December 26, 2013

Obligatory New Year Resolution Post

Every year my resolution is the same;  I resolve to work out regulary, lose weight, and get healthy all around.  Every year I start out well and in no more than a few weeks all returns to it's normal gain-lose-gain-lose roller-coaster ride.  Well this year is going to be different, damn it!

I have just a tad bit more incentive to get healthy this year.  After two years solid of chest pain caused from a combination of GERD and coronary artery disease, I had a triple bypass back in October.  So, yeah, I think it is a very good idea to eat healthy and exercise reularly.

So, how do I go about actually sticking to my resolution?  For starters, I wrote down a workout routine and posted it on my bulletin board so I will see it everyday.  Secondly, I thrive on variety, so I have six different workouts planned, one for each day.  The seventh day I shall rest.  I will also be keeping a record of my weight, which I will be checking once a week.

As for food, the household has been decent about only having "healthy" foods in the house...except for on what we call "Fat Sunday".  So, as long as we can all be good, it will all be good.  I have only had fast food three times since my surgery, and even then I didn't eat all of it.  My appetite and preferences have changed (for the better) since surgery.  I hope it stays this way.

I think if my friends and family can be supportive as well as holding me responsible for my resolution, it would help.  I would love to hear things like, "How's the resolution coming?",  "You're looking good!", and "Don't eat that, you fat pig!"  would be nice.  OK, maybe not the last comment, it would probably make me sob into a tub of ice cream.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

...And Two Months Later...

Today, December 18, 2013, marks two months since my surprise heart surgery.  I am doing well, everything is healing on schedule. I don't think there is anything new to report.  I saw my surgeon for the last time on December 6th.  From now on I will be working with my cardiologist.  I have an appointment with him on January 2nd.

 If I were to complain about anything right now, it would be the same two complaints I have had since the beginning, I have extreme exhaustion very easily, - I don't think I can find words to adequately describe what I mean by "easy exhaustion".  Imagine yourself casually walking through your house when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, you feel as if every ounce of energy is stripped from you...right down to the bones!  It is as if you could just lay down where you stand and sleep for hours.   And I am still constantly frustrated over being on restricted activity. I want my independence back! Oh, God, I NEED my independence back!

A new complaint would be the aching I feel in my shoulders and collar bones. I was warned I might experience some aching in the shoulders, and I have been feeling it on and off a bit since week one.  However, over the past week I have been feeling the ache more frequently and to a more painful degree.  I attribute this pain to muscle ache due to exertion and healing. Since it is usually worse later in the day and especially at night when I lay down to sleep, I am apt to believe this true.

The only over-the-counter pain medication I am allowed to take right now is acetaminophen, which is worthless to me.  For some strange reason acetaminophen (Tylenol) has never been effective in relieving ANY type of pain I have experienced. It doesn't touch the pain at all.  Instead, it makes me extremely drowsy.  I suppose since my pain is at it's worse at night, I can try taking the Tylenol and letting it make me drowsy enough to sleep through the pain.  Sounds legit.  :)

Don't misunderstand me here.  To have had major heart surgery and two months later only have three complaints, I think I'm doing pretty good!  Oh, and a bonus, I have been working hard to eat healthy and have lost nearly twelve pounds since surgery.  :D 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Unsolicited Advice About Cats

There are dog lovers and there are cat lovers.  Well, it doesn't end there, there are also animal haters and animal lovers.  What I intend to talk about here are those of us who love cats and how we are baffled by those who don't care for the feline species.  Yeah, I know, it is just horrible and freakish to not love our little pussies.

What I have found is that most persons who don't like cats just simply do not understand them.  Some people tend to think that cats are selfish, solitary, wild, snobbish, destructive, demon creatures.  They want to believe that cats are supposed to act like dogs but just have a screw loose or something.

What I deduce from non cat lovers opinions is that they don't seem to understand that cats speak a unique language and we must learn how to speak it back.  Most cats, when understood and communicated to properly, are the most loyal, lovable, cuddly, comedic, and nurturing creatures.

Of course cats can be destructive, evil monsters.  Any animal can when treated improperly, even dogs.  When you take on the responsibility of owning a pet, any species, you must learn (preferably before you bring it home) how to train and care for it properly.  If you can't handle this species, then find a more appropriate one for you.

The biggest difference between dogs and cats is that dogs are happy to learn enough human language (verbal and sign) to be a "good dog".  Cats do the same, but they expect us to return the favor because - and this is the big difference- after all, humans and cats are on equal ground!

Allow me to explain each of the main misconceptions about least from my own experience...

1. Cats are selfish - Absolutely not.  Cats, when happy and feeling accepted and accepting of their home and family, will hunt and share their spoils with the family.  They also are very cuddly and give as much rubs as they receive.  Most cats prefer to play with their toys with family. Cats prefer to snuggle and sleep with their family. Really, a cat that exhibits selfish behaviors is probably insecure and unhappy in the home.

2. Cats are solitary animals - Wrong again.  Yes, many cats are just as comfortable being left alone as they are being with the "pride".  In my many years of cat ownership (of many cats) I have yet to meet one cat that preferred to be alone ALL the time and just couldn't stand being around other animals or people.  Cats can sometimes become nervous when there are a large amount of people (especially strangers) around.  Wouldn't you be worried if you were surrounded by a bunch of giants?  But when a cat is happy and content at home, they will love to be in the mix of things.

3. Cats are wild animals - This is a common misconception.  Cats are domesticated animals, this is why there is a word for wild cats, feral.  Cats can survive on their own and it is probably the fact that they can hunt prey and can be unruly when improperly trained, that most people call them wild.  But cats are specifically bred to live with, and be companions to, people; wild animals are a danger to humans.  A happy and well trained cat posses no danger, only love and boundless joy. 

4. Cats are snobs - Just because they are somewhat independent and don't always look at you when you talk to them doesn't make them snobs.  Yes, you can train cats to do tricks.  How do you think they get cats to do tricks on T.V.?  Really, it's all in how confident and secure they feel with you.  Dogs obey and learn because all they want to do is please their master.  Cats obey and learn when they identify their human with comfort and security.

5. Cats are destructive - Like an untrained dog can and will destroy your property, an untrained cat will do the same.  Many people think that owning a cat doesn't include training; they assume cats can't be trained, that they are wild, independent creatures.  Wrong, cats can easily be trained, just not in the same way as a child or dog.  This is where it is imperative that you learn and speak the language.  Might I recommend the book, Is Your Cat Crazy? by John C. Wright  .

6. Cats are possessed by demons - You might think so when you see them frightened, angry, or even in a very playful mood.  Again, when cats are not happy and secure, and are not well trained, they can exhibit awful behaviors.  You might have owned a cat that attacked you seemingly out of the blue when you were petting it, or walking down the hall.  Maybe the little monster hissed, yowled, or ran rambunctiously through the house at three every morning.  These are all behavior problems rooted in insecurities and poor training.  They can be fixed, for the most part, easily.  Again, I recommend the above book. 

The above photo is of my cat, Macie, napping with one of her toys.  Taken December 13, 2013.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Unspeakable...Speaker?

We all have one, a piece of us that stays hidden deep inside.  A small little piece that fills up but no matter what, stays hidden, and tight, and buried deep inside. 

It can be beaten, threatened, tortured, but no matter what it will never give in.  Some may call it the unspeakable bellhop.  No matter what, he will never tell his deep dark secrets.  Some may call it the unspeakable baker.  No matter what his recipes are his and only his to know.  Or some may call her the unspeakable speaker.  This one is rare, I suppose.  This one is mine. 

As you all know, I love to write, especially about me.  And if you've read my blog, or maybe you are a friend of mine on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or even a friend or family member in real life, you might think you know all there is to know about me. Think again, my husband doesn't even know all of me...and he knows the most.

There is a part of me that longs to scream out to the world, but I don't let it.  I call myself an open book, but lets face it, no one is an open book.  We all have deep dark secrets that we would never let the world know.  We all have things we are afraid to open up about for fear of ridicule, or even worse, for fear of those we love using them against us.

I have always been extremely independent.  I find it very, very difficult to depend on others.  "If it needs to get done, it's best if I do it myself", has always been my motto.  People will let you down, but what's worse is, we must all carry our own weight.  I have always believed this (see again my motto).  I don't know how many different ways I can say the same thing.  I don't like having to rely on others for things I can, and should, do myself.

This fierce independence has proven to cause me a great deal of pain and suffering lately.  It all started about...oh, I don't know...a few years ago.  My husband and I had to go down to one car between the two of us.  What this really means is that I have no car at all because my husband, being a typical man, insists on driving 100% of the time, leaving me with zero transportation...unless he is there to drive me (or I find a friend to give me a ride).

I have never gotten used to the no transportation conundrum.  But now I have another problem to deal with.  I had open heart surgery back in October and as a result I am on very strict restrictions while I heal.  This means yet more of my independence is stripped away.  I am like a naked baby lying on the floor unable to clothe myself whilst all the world watches and takes pictures of my little pee-pee.

What does this little story about my loss of independence have to do with the unspeakable speaker?  Everything!  One of my deep dark hiddens has been ripped out of me and displayed for all to poke and prod and use against me. 

Don't worry, though, I have plenty more hidden in the endless well of the unspeakable speaker.

Is there a lesson to be learned here?  Hmmm, maybe.  Even though one of my deep dark fears came true, I am still here, still alive, still strong (although I don't feel as strong).  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sex, Menses, and Nudity

What's been going on since my last recovery post?  Not much, everything is going well.  I'm feeling close to normal.  I will point out a few things about my recovery that I didn't mention in previous posts, though.  The following can be considered private or touchy material which is why I originally didn't mention some of them.

1.  Although my libido is healthy and rarin' to go, my husband is scared of hurting me.  According to the doctor I was fine to have sex, as long as I felt up to it, as of two weeks post op.

2. I have always been a very vivid and active dreamer.  I always remember my dreams, but for almost a month after surgery I rarely remembered a dream.  This may have been because my sleep was so broken, but I'm not sure.

3. My November period was nearly two weeks late.  This is a common occurrence after major surgery.  Your hormones get all messed up and it can take some time for things to get back to normal.

4. For about three weeks after surgery, food tasted off, almost like it was going bad.  Not all food, just some things.  I'm not sure if this was because of some medication, or more likely because of the pinched occipital nerve in the back of my head which can cause some numbness of the right side of the face, which, I assume, can effect the taste buds on the right side of the tongue?

5. One of the main things I missed for over a month was the simple act of picking up my cat and cradling her in my arms like an infant as I walked around the house.  I wasn't allowed to pick up anything over five pounds for the first two weeks and anything over ten pounds until week twelve.  Although as of today I am only on week five, I started picking her up...she's not much more than ten pounds.  I only lift her up into my lap, I don't carry her around, yet.

6.  For about a week and a half after surgery I could see better without my glasses, but then my vision went back to the way at was before.  I have no idea why this happened.

7.  For the first three weeks post op, I had some random mood swings.  Most often when these happened it was a sudden burst into tears for apparently no reason.  Other times it was anger or, more accurately, frustration.  This is normal after major surgery and usually clears itself up within a few weeks.

8. One of my medications has manifested in me an annoying side effect, restless leg syndrome.  Thank goodness it is a mild version and only bothers me for up to two hours after I take my pill.  Another annoying side effect of one of my medications is a runny nose.  It is a very watery running and can happen suddenly at any given moment.  One minute I'm fine and the next it is like my faucet starts to drip!

9. I have found that I am one of those people who have no qualms about displaying my war wounds.  I am by no means proud of them, but I find no shame or embarrassment in them.  These scars are part of who I am, and if anything, they are a story for the whole world to see: "This woman has been through a lot, and now she is stronger for it."

10.  It is hard to stay down.  I am supposed to rest a lot. Yes, the doctor says I need to walk and get some very mild exercise (20 minutes a day of walking) but I need to rest a lot. I just can't sit on my ass all day!  I've got shit to do, man!  I may not be an athlete or super active, but I get way too antsy just sitting around "healing" all day. 

I see the doctor again on December 6th, we'll see what he thinks about how my healing is going.  In my opinion, I'm doing great.  I feel good, not near "normal" yet, but better than I was.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

White Trash Double Magical Beach Wedding

Weirdest dream ever.

In a small town in Maine lived a group of people who, over the generations, had become a very tight knit community.  This community had little money, education, or teeth, but they were deeply religious and had each other.

Missy Jane loved Edgar Jay with all her heart, and Missy's cousin, Mary Jo, loved Jimmy Ray with all of her's.  The two couples could not marry, though, because the mystical spirits would not allow it.  No one knew why the spirits got angry every time the question of these two deeply in love couple's marrying came up, but they did.  The sky would turn dark, the wind would howl, and sometimes members of the community would fall ill.

One Sunday, right in the middle of Pastor Billy's service, Missy Jane came crashing through the doors of the First Southern Baptist Church of Our Saviour Jesus Christ You Dad-Gum Know It yelling that she had found a way.

"Look! Look!  I found a way to git us hitched!"  She hollered as she ran to the front pew where sat her love Edgar Jay.

In Missy Jane's hand she held a locket.  It was an old locket, silver with etchings of a fox surrounded by tall grass.  When Missy Jane opened the locket, it was empty.

"What about it?"  Edgar Jay asked, confused.

"If we go and get married on the beach and put some sand in here and keep it forever, we can be married!"

Edgar Jay looked at his love with an expression of doubt.

"As long as the sand stays in the locket here, we can stay hitched without angering the spirits."  She smiled big.

"OK, well how in hell we gonna git the whole town to the beach?"  Edgar Jay asked.

"Yeah, you now Jimmy Ray can't travel far seeing's how he's so big."  Mary Jo spoke sadly as she looked to the back of the church to the only spot her man could fit.

"We'll do it at White Sands beach, it ain't pretty or big, but it's less than a mile from here."  Missy Jane explained.

That very day the entire town packed up their trucks and campers, stayed dressed in their Sunday best, and drove out to the beach to marry the two couples.  Just before the ceremony started, Missy Jane took a pinch of sand from the beach and placed it into her magical locket and closed it up forever.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm good, I'm good

*As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it: 

It is time for another update on my heart surgery recovery.  I'm thinking this one will be short because there really isn't much to report.  All is pretty quiet right now.  This is a good thing, I think.

I have not been in contact with my doctor in a couple of weeks.  He had asked me to call in and report my blood pressures and how the swelling in my feet had been doing.  When I called in, of course, the nurse was the one to speak with me (the doctor is always in surgery).  She took a note that my blood pressures had been creeping up and the swelling in my feet was going down, and said the doctor would call me back later that day.  He never did.

I went in to the office three days later to drop off some paperwork for disability, and while I was there I also took the opportunity to drop off a detailed list of my blood pressures ( which were now slowly dropping again).  I happened to cough while I was there and the nurse was concerned that I still had a cough after nearly a month.  I told her it was a dry cough and quite persistent.  She didn't say anything but her expression was one of mild concern.  She finally asked if I was still using the breathing toy to exercise my lungs.  I am, and am getting stronger, but the cough persists.

As far as problems or, more accurately, irritations go, I am still having trouble with the pinched occipital nerve on the back of my head.  It sometimes feels like it is getting better, but at other times feels as if it is just as bad as ever.  I feel as if the back of my head is deeply bruised and so very sensitive to any touch.  Also, sometimes the right side of my face goes slightly numb and I get a sharp pain behind my right eye.

When I first returned home from the hospital, I experienced a rash in my armpits and groin area.  I had thought it was because of chafing, but then, despite thorough cleaning and drying, it became more moist and smelly.  I treated it with clotrimazole cream and that seemed to slowly take care of the issue.  Even though my pits and groin are good now, I have developed a rash under my left boob.  I don't know why I am getting these rashes, I am bathing normally ( no more sponge baths) and am sure to dry thoroughly. My mom tells me these things can be a normal occurrence after major surgery.

I am starting to have more sensation in my chest now.  Since the surgery, my chest, along the incision, and inner halves of my breasts have been completely numb.  This is a good thing since without the numbness I am sure I would have experienced a whole lot of pain.  Every now and then my incision feels powerfully itchy and I have to resist the urge to scratch.  Also, sometimes I get sharp shooting pains in my breasts and along the incision or in my shoulders, but they only last a couple seconds and then are gone.

The incisions on my left inner thigh, where they took one of the veins, have been sore and feel bruised.  This is simply because of the location.  I am a chubby woman and so you can imagine the rubbing and pressure these incisions have to endure whenever I walk or lay down on my side.  They are healing very well despite the abuse, though.

Speaking of weight, According to my bathroom scale, I have lost a total of ten pounds since surgery.  I am thinking this is because of the healthier diet.  I am disappointed that I haven't lost more, though.  But I have to take into consideration that I am on restricted activity orders.  I walk around the house a lot and do very light activity, but can't do anything close to even mild exercise.

Sleeping is much better these days.  I can sleep comfortably on either side now and  have even found that I can, for short stints, sleep flat on my stomach!  These are my natural sleeping positions so sleeping is very comfortable and restful now.  The only problem is when I need to change positions it takes me a good minute just to roll over because of the stiffness and soreness in my chest.  I am still healing and far from back to normal, so I still need to be very careful whenever I move.

My energy level has sored in the last week and a half.  I still have to move slowly or else I get short of breath.  I still get tired easily, but I can do much more before I get to the point of needing to sit and rest, or take a nap.  Like I have said, I am far from being back to normal, but I can see and feel improvement everyday.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Faint Drowning with Acid

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

I suppose it is time for another update on how my healing progress is going here at home.  I had heart surgery, a triple bypass, on October 18th and have been home since October 24th.  I have already written about my first several days home, so this update will pick-up from there.

On Tuesday, October 29th, I had to get some blood-work and a chest X-ray done in preparation for my first post-op exam.  My husband drove me to the lab in Selma at 6:45 in the morning.  He had to get to work so he dropped me off all on my own.  Here I was, weak and exhausted already and the day hadn't even gotten started yet.  I stood third in line with my cane, heart pillow, and purse, all of which felt like they weighed a combined fifty pounds.  Thank the gods that I didn't have to stand too long and the blood-work was done quickly...even though they had trouble finding a good vein.

After the blood-work, I was supposed to wait for my mom to show up and take me across the street to the hospital to get the chest x-ray done.  But I was in and out of the lab so quickly, I thought I could walk across the street easy enough and mom could just pick me up there.  I'm so smart, aren't I?  The short walk across the street and through the hospital parking lot (it is a small, and I mean small, hospital) would have taken a healthy person all of three minutes, It took me probably close to fifteen.  By time I got to the waiting room I was so exhausted, and several people asked me if I was OK.

I called my mom and told her where I was.  She showed up less than five minutes later.  My doctor had forgotten to put a reason for the x-ray on his order so the hospital had to call his office for a new one.  Of course, his office didn't open for another hour, so mom and I went home and had breakfast before returning to try again.

On our second try everything went smoothly except that there was a lot of walking involved and  I was exceedingly exhausted and had to stop and rest every few steps I took.  My mom was concerned about this.  We thought at first that it was the fact that I had been doing so much walking all at one time so soon after major heart surgery.  She bought a blood pressure monitor before we went home, just to be safe.

When I got home, we checked my blood pressure and it was low.  A healthy blood pressure is around 120 over 80.  Mine was 88 over 65, very low.  This explains why I felt so tired and why my vision was going dark every time I stood up.  I called my doctors office and told them what was going on.  My doctor was in surgery so I had to wait for him to call me back.  When he did, he lowered two of my blood pressure medications and told me to keep monitoring my blood-pressure.

On Friday, November 1st, I went in to see my doctor.  They removed all the staples in my chest and leg.  I never did count how many staples there were.  The lab had not sent over the results of my blood tests, so the doctor could not review them with me.  He did look at the chest x-ray and found that there was quite a bit of fluid on my lungs, which would further explain my breathing trouble and exhaustion.  He immediately set up an appointment to have a thoracentesis done at the hospital.

Mom and I went over to the hospital and didn't have to wait long to get in for the procedure.  They first did an ultrasound of my lungs and found that the right lung had a lot of fluid and the left lung didn't have very much.  This perplexed me a bit considering it was the left lung that was giving me the most grief.  The next step was to clean the area on my back (upper right side near my shoulder blade) and then stick me with an injection of numbing agent, and then another deeper one.  Then they took a rather large gauge needle and stuck in between the ribs and deep to the lung.  On the back end of this needle was a long tube connected to an empty bottle.  They squeezed the bottle and that caused a suction.  They ended up removing 500 ML of fluid from my right lung.  They didn't do the left side for two reasons:  They never do both sides on the same day, and there wasn't enough fluid on the left to warrant the procedure.

After the thoracentesis was done, they did an x-ray to make sure everything was clear.  Within ten minutes of the draining, I was already feeling so much better, I could breath easy again!

In the days that followed, things were pretty uneventful, I suffered a lot with stiffness and soreness, especially in my neck and back and chest.  I had some trouble with swelling in my feet and ankles, but it slowly subsided.  I also was having trouble with high blood-pressure now and then and had work with the doctor to adjust my medications.

The worst of my complaints was my neck trouble.  This actually started while I was still in the hospital.  My neck was stiff and sore as if I pulled a muscle, which is quite possible, and the back of my head was numb for over a week.  When the numbness subsided, the oversensitivity set in.  It felt constantly as if someone had poured acid on the back of my head, and if anything touched it even slightly, it felt like I was being stabbed by a million little needles.  sometimes, the right side of my face would go slightly numb and I would get a shooting pain in my right eye.  The doctor said it was damage or inflammation of my lesser occipital nerve and should go away with time and moist heat treatments and resting my neck.  It did, after several months.  It got better, slowly, like everything else.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Healing Home

*As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it: 

After a little over a week long stay in the hospital for surprise heart surgery, I was sent home to recover in as much comfort as one's own home can provide.  The release date had been changed twice due to complications with my disobedient heart.  But the day finally came and I was on my way home!

I was put in a wheelchair and sped at almost a running pace down to the valet parking area. You should have seen my husband trying to keep up with this guy; I swear he thought it was a race or something.  Once in the car, I sat in the front seat with my trusty heart pillow between my chest and the seatbelt.  Every little bump on the way home was a reminder of how fragile and uncomfortable I was.

Once home, I was excited to search for the "cherry" spot.  Everyone who has ever been sick or injured knows what I am talking about.  There is one spot in the house, be it a spot on the couch, your desk, bed, etc., that you find the most wondrously comfortable and will rarely leave until you are well again.  It took a little while, but I found that there isn't a cherry spot for me this time. My body has been through so much, and the fact hat I can't sit ( or lay) in one spot for very long makes it impossible to have just one good spot.  I found that there are several OK spots, but no cherry spot.

The half hour trip home, plus the flu shot they gave me just before I left the hospital, left me exhausted by time I got home.  I fell asleep on the couch, but not for long.  I can't sleep for more than two hours at a time since the surgery.  I get too achy and wake up and have to get up and move around.

One of the first things I swore I would do as soon as I got home was to take a real shower.  They told me I could as long as I didn't use hot water and I didn't spray directly on my incision sights.  And I had to be sure to dry the sights thoroughly.  I got all prepared and stepped into the shower only to find that the act of removing my clothing and stepping into the shower exhausted me too much to stand and bathe.  I have to wait for my mom to bring me a shower chair before I can take a real shower.  So I have been taking sponge baths (more thorough ones than at the hospital) in the mean time.

My daily routine is simple, I wake up, check my weight (they need me to do this so they can check for signs of water retention and other things), take my temperature (again to check for signs of bad things), check my blood sugar (diabetic), take my meds, eat breakfast, do my breathing exercises (that toy thing I talked about in previous posts), check the interwebs (Facebook, e-mail, twitter, blogger, etc.), then the rest of the day is pretty much a go-with-the-flow kind of thing.

Night time is the only time I don't look forward to.  I am so tired but I just can't sleep.  I lay on the bed and fall asleep for two hours or so, then wake up feeling achy and have to get up and move around.  I move to my desk chair with my legs up on the bed and sleep like that for an hour or two, then wake up with a numb booty and feet and have to get up and move around.  I move to the couch and sleep for a couple hours, then the cycle continues.  It is frustrating to say the least. And I feel so bad because my movement wakes up my husband, disturbing his rest.

Healing from heart surgery is serious business.  It will be months before I am anywhere near "back to normal".  They cut through a lot of muscle and bone to get to my heart, and then bypassed three arteries on my heart.  Then they sewed me all back together and I have to heal it all up.  This is why I have close to zero energy; every ounce of energy my body has is going to healing up my new arteries and the muscle and bone they cut through.  I am on all kinds of medication. Even though I am exhausted it is important that I get some exercise a few times a day (walking),  and even though it is difficult to stay asleep, I must try to get a good amount of rest. I have to check my incisions daily to make sure they are not becoming infected or healing too slowly. And I have to be aware of my overall health and how I feel.  If I were to catch a cold or get an infection of any kind right now, it could be devastating.

I have been home for four days now and am feeling a little better every day.  I do as the doctor has instructed and try not to over exert myself.  That is the hard part.  I am so independent that it is difficult to let others do simple things for me.  My mother-in-law comes over to help out and she is so nice to do so, but I just find myself feeling so weird letting her take my dishes to the kitchen or picking things up off the floor for me, or helping me to sit up from a laying position because I’m too damned weak to lift myself.  Well, that last part isn’t quite true, I am strong enough, but am under doctor’s orders to not use my arms or chest muscles, so it is very awkward to get up from a laying position without using your arms or chest.

I am sure very soon I will be feeling so much better and actually be able to sleep through the night.  I will be writing more updates as the weeks go by.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Racing Heart

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

On Sunday, October 20th, 2013 I was sent from ICU to my own private room at Community Regional Medical Center Fresno. It was a relief to have some privacy.  Especially a bathroom and not just a toilet next to my bed (not that I used the toilet next to my bed in ICU...OK, I had to, once).

I stayed in this room from Sunday evening, October 20th until Thursday, late morning, October 24th.  The daily routine was to check my blood-pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels about every four hours.  I was given medications in the morning and evening.  The medications included blood thinners, blood pressure, cholesterol, something to keep my heart rate down, baby aspirin to protect my heart, pain medication, stool softeners, and laxatives.  The first couple of days they forgot to give me my acid reflux medication, but after I was having some weird symptoms they realized it was from acid reflux and started giving the med again.

I was asked to go walking around the halls a couple of times a day.  It is amazing how fast you are up and walking around after major heart surgery.  It is very good to move around, although it is exhausting just to walk a few feet, it does help to keep blood-flow, and really helps to keep stiffness and soreness away.  By time the last day came around, I was taking 3-4 walks a day as well as getting up and moving around my room a lot.  What I mean by walks is that the floor I was roomed on is shaped like a field track, I would walk this track, I passed by maybe six or so patient rooms and three nurses stations on my route.  It wasn't a long walk, but by time I got back to my room I felt both exhausted and rejuvenated.

I was given a sponge bath each morning which felt good but inadequate at the same time.  Especially my hair, they make you use this leave-in shampoo that only proves to make your hair greasy and disgusting...but clean.  I couldn't shave and by time I left the hospital I felt like a yeti.

Whenever you have major surgery, it can take a while for all of your bodily functions to come back online at proper capacity. They measured my urine outtake which was more than adequate almost immediately after surgery. I was asked everyday if I had had a bowel movement.  It would be nearly a week after surgery before I had a bowel movement.  Part of the reason for this would be that I was not very active, part because I was not eating much, and part because of the trauma of surgery ( my body was so tense and sore from surgery that EVERY part of it was not wanting to move).

During my stay in my private room, family came to visit and it was nice to have the company and know so many people care.  I was sad to find out that children under 12 years old weren't allowed to visit, so two of my nieces and a nephew had to wait downstairs.  :(  it is understandable, though, I had just had open heart surgery and was at high risk for infection and had a lowered immune system and little children are notorious carriers of colds and flu, etc.

I watched more T.V. during my stay in the hospital than I have all year.  I paid very little attention to it, though.  I think I spent most of my time just staring out the window, thinking about everything and nothing all at once.  I had my cell phone and laptop with me and checked in on Facebook a couple times a day, but it only made me miss home so I kept that activity to a minimum.

Every four hours I had to do breathing treatments.  When you have major surgery, you are at high risk for blood-clots and fluid buildup in your lungs.  If you don't exercise your lungs and regain full capacity, you can develop pneumonia.  They gave me a breathing "toy" to keep with me at all times and use at least ten times every hour to exercise and strengthen my lungs.  In addition to the toy, a respiratory therapist would come to my room every four hours and give me a treatment to help open my lungs.  It was a mixture of medications used for asthma patients, delivered through a breathing machine.  I simply breathed in and out through this machine for seven minutes.  I hated these treatments solely because the medication left me feeling jittery for an hour or so after each treatment.

Every morning the surgical assistant would come by and talk to me about my progress.  On Monday he said I might go home on Tuesday.  On Tuesday, he was very concerned that my heart-rate was holding steady in the 110's (too high).  They decided to keep me another day and administer medication to bring down my heart-rate.  They also gave me I.V. fluids.  The next day my heart-rate was still high and I was feeling like I had a twenty pound weight on my chest.  They increased the medication and gave me more fluids and an EKG.

Wednesday evening my heart-rate had been normal for several hours.  I still had some heaviness on my chest and the feeling like I couldn't take a deep breath; not like suffocating but like I couldn't fully open my lungs.  The respiratory therapist came in and by chance we talked about my GERD (acid reflux) problem.  He deduced that it was inflammation from acid reflux that was giving me these weird symptoms.  He told the surgical assistant and I was put on heartburn meds.  By Thursday morning I felt so much better.

Thursday morning was a wonderful time.  I was told to go for a walk so they could make sure that my heart-rate was still under control. It was.  They removed the central line from my carotid artery, and took off the heart monitor, inspected my incision sights, gave me a flu vaccine, and went over all my home care instructions, medications, next doctor visit, etc.  I was on my way home before noon.

My next post will be about my first few days at home. 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Shall Pee On the Floor in Defiance!

*As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it: 

The first thing I want to say in mention of my stay at Community Regional Medical Center Fresno, is that there was not one employee I came in contact with that was not so very kind, compassionate, gentle, and professional.  Everyone from the nurses, CNA's, doctors, food servers, housekeeping, etc.; they were all wonderful and made my stay bearable.

I was in the hospital from Wednesday, October 16th, until Thursday, October 24, 2013.  This post will cover the time I spent in PreOp (Thursday, October 17th) and Critical Care. Friday, October 18th - Sunday, October 20).

Thursday, October 17th was a day of calm and nerves.  I awoke that morning to the sound of my roommates daughter talking to the nurse.  She was sobbing and saying things like, "I understand."  "I know everyone has done everything they can."  My roommate was an elderly woman who, if I remember correctly, had COPD, had had a stroke, and had an infected bed sore that covered a large portion of her back.  She had stopped eating and this morning the nurse was telling the daughter, in so many words, that this was the beginning of the end.  The rest of the day was spent listening to the family cry and make arrangements to send their mother to hospice care.

As far as myself this day, I was subjected to EKG's, blood-work, an ultrasound of my carotid arteries, chest x-ray, and multiple people coming in and out to talk to me about different parts of the surgery: anesthesia, all the tubes and wires that would be hooked up to me, what the surgery entailed, what to expect after surgery, etc.  Several of my friends and family showed up to visit with me, for this I was so very grateful.  I was not very nervous yet, but I wanted the time to go by faster and having people to talk to and distract me was a good thing.  The last thing that happened before the lights went out for the night was a sponge bath.  For some reason they wouldn't allow me to take a regular shower.  This was my first sponge bath ever and it felt so weird to be bathing in a chair next to my bed.  It was one of those feelings of simply being out of place and discombobulated.

At some point, they took my roommate away and brought in a new one.  Another elderly lady, this one had just had a heart procedure done, stints, I think.  she spent several hours asleep.  It was when she woke up that things got interesting.  I don't know if she was having a strange reaction to the anesthesia, medication, or if she had dementia or Alzheimer's; but she was very confused and spent the entire night arguing with everyone, refusing to stay in bed, and peeing all over the place.  Yeah...

The morning of my surgery, I woke up to my roommate still fighting with everyone and peeing on the floor.  I had no concern about this however, my mind was on the surgery.  I was now feeling the fear.  My head refused to think about anything other than everything that could go wrong.  They were about to crack my chest open!  My heart was going to be handled by strangers hands!  I cried for a couple minutes in the bathroom while my roommate stood outside arguing with the nurses and her daughter about why there was a stranger in her bathroom.  When I came out, my husband was there and I cried in his arms.  All I could think was, "I want my mommy."  And she showed up, I cried in her arms.  Then they took me away to a very cold room, they told me what would happen and then I fell asleep.

When I woke up I was in ICU.  The few days I was in ICU, I felt wide awake but now that I try to remember this time, it is foggy. the first thing I remember is waking up to the nurse and respiratory guy discussing whether or not I should be put back on the breathing tube.  Breathing was difficult, it felt like I couldn't take in a full breath, but I tried hard and they decided I was OK on my own.  I remember my brother, Glenn, sitting in a chair next to my bed.

Doctors and nurses kept coming in to talk to me and do things.  Family and friends stopped by to visit.  They all said I looked so good for what I had just been through.  When I saw myself in a picture my husband took of me, I thought I looked like death.  I was up and sitting in a chair mere hours after  the surgery.  I had bad nausea from the pain medication and it took several tries with different meds to find one that didn't result in painful vomiting. I had no appetite, ate very little, and usually threw up after.  I slept a lot in ICU, but never for more than two hours at a time.  I kept being shocked awake, as if something was terribly wrong, and it was not a comfortable experience to have just had major heart surgery, so you can imagine how difficult it was to find even the most remote amount of comfort.

When I first arrived in ICU, I had an oxygen tube in my nose, two central lines in my carotid artery, a chest tube, an IV in the back of my hand, a heart monitor, a blood-pressure monitor, and one of those finger things that measure your oxygen saturation, and a catheter.  By time I left ICU, I had one central line in my carotid and the heart monitor.

I felt very little pain while in ICU and it wasn't just because of the pain medication.  The chest incision was totally numb and the leg incisions didn't hurt really either.  I think because of the numbness, my mind couldn't "feel" the pain so all I felt that told me I was in pain was stiffness and a heavy feeling on my chest.  The only real pain I felt while in ICU was when the doctor came in and yanked...yes, I mean YANKED the chest tube out of me.  OMG, it felt like he was disemboweling me. But it only lasted a few seconds and I felt tons of relief once that huge tube was gone.

At around nine in the evening on October 20th, I was moved from ICU to a private room.  I will write about this part of my stay later.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Surprise! Heart Surgery!

 *As usual, the following is written from my memory of the events.  Some things may be inaccurate due to faulty memories.  In any case, this is how I remember it:

I just got released from the hospital yesterday.  I had gone in last week for a routine angiogram and ended up having a triple bypass.  It's always fun when you hear those words, "Surprise! Heart surgery!".  Especially since I had no idea there was anything seriously wrong with my heart.

I've suffered from GERD fro two years now and had thought that all this chest pain was just uncontrolled heartburn (the symptoms are extremely similar).  when my doctor couldn't figure out why the diet and medicines weren't working, she sent me to a GI specialist who in turn sent me to a cardiologist because I had told him the only time I get heartburn now is when I am physically active.

My first visit with he cardiologist was routine.  They ran an EKG which came out abnormal but "not bad", and he listened to my heart and examined me and we talked about my history and symptoms, etc.  At this time, he figured there was a problem but that it wasn't anything to be overly concerned about.  I think he was thinking this because of my young age, I'm 34.  He scheduled me for a stress test.

One week later, I returned to the cardiologist and they ran the stress test.  What they do is hook you up to a heart monitor and do an ultrasound of your heart while you are resting.  Then they make you run on a treadmill for a few minutes while increasing the incline and speed every two-three minutes.  The test lasts as long as is takes to get your heart rate up to max.  So the less healthy you are, the shorter the test will be. Mine lasted six minutes. When your heart-rate is to max then they lay you on the table again and ultrasound your heart while it is at full capacity.  At this point, the doctor found, "a narrowing".  He scheduled me for an angiogram.

The very next morning, I was at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno for my angiogram.  An angiogram is when they go in through either your groin artery or wrist artery and shoot dye into your heart to get a good image of the blood flow. It is a mildly painful and uncomfortable procedure, but it doesn't last long. They had not even finished the procedure when the doctor got on the phone to schedule surgery for me.  This was when I became concerned.

I went in for the angiogram on Wednesday morning.  My bypass surgery was scheduled for Friday morning.  So I sat in a bed all of Wednesday and Thursday with nothing else to do but think.  The doctor said that one of my arteries was 100% blocked and one was 70% blocked.  I would need either a single or double bypass, depending on what they found when they got in there.  I was very calm and good spirited (worried more about my cat missing me at home than the looming surgery) up until the thirty minutes before the surgery.  My husband came into he room and I just broke down crying.  Let me tell you, it is very true that in times of pure fright and crisis, everyone calls out for their mommy.  When she showed up, I hugged her so hard and cried so loud.  I was frightened.

I know you are wondering how a 34 year old woman could end up needing coronary bypass surgery.  I was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age nine.  I have never had the disease under perfect control.  Part of this was the fact that I am bull headed and do what I want; part of this is because I had no health insurance for a large chunk of my twenties and early thirties and therefore could not monitor the disease accurately.  Diabetes, when not controlled, will kill you, it will ruin your heart, kidneys, eyes, circulation, stomach, everything!

When the surgery finally came, it went very well.  It was supposed to last 3-6 hours but was over in under three.  They ended up doing a triple bypass because they found a "ghost artery" when they got in there.  A ghost artery is an artery that no longer works and has sprouted a ton of tiny veins to try to bypass itself.

I plan to post several spots on my recovery in the months to come.  I hope my experience is interesting and can help others who are going through the same thing, or just need a little information.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Playing Doctor Pinball Pays Off

I have written in the past about my ongoing troubles with GERD.  For those of you who don't want to travel back through my previous posts, I have GERD and up until today, I thought all of my pain was attributed to this terribly uncomfortable heartburn problem.  I was wrong...well, not all wrong, I did suspect that there was possibly something else.  About that, I was right.

My primary care doctor, a few weeks ago, sent me to a GI specialist to try to figure out why my heartburn was not being successfully controlled by medication and diet.  The GI specialist ordered an endoscopy.  Let me go off track here for a moment and tell you the wonderful story of how the endoscopy went.  They give you an IV and through that they give you nice drugs that relax you and help you doze off a bit.  My IV either punctured through the vein or was not in it at all.  All those wonderful drugs filled a nice lump in my arm, NOT getting into my bloodstream and therefore NOT making me relax or sleepy. Needless to say, I felt every moment and millimeter of the endoscopy.  Not a comfortable experience, but not terribly painful.  Thank goodness it only lasts a few minutes.  After the endoscopy was done, I would say about 30 minutes to an hour later, the drugs finally hit me and I slept like a baby for several hours.

OK, back to the story at hand.  The GI specialist, after hearing me explain that I don't get heartburn from foods, or when resting, and not too often when lying down anymore; but I do get it real bad whenever I try to engage in any physical activity, with no relief from medication, suspected I might have a heart problem in addition to the GERD.  He referred me to a cardiologist.

The cardiologist checked me out, did an EKG and a stress test with ultrasound and found an abnormality, "a narrowing".  So, now I get to go in and have an angiogram to find out the extent of this issue.

At least I know what the source of the pain is now and can move forward to get it resolved.

If you'll excuse me, I need to go shave my groin now.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hypersensitivity, No Bueno.

I have a lot of friends these days, and even though they all have had their moments of causing me heartache and anger, I love them all and consider my life a million times better with them in it.

This wasn't the fact just a few years ago.  From childhood until about six or so years ago, I was what you could consider a loner.  I had few friends and kept everyone at arms length or further.  Why?  It wasn't because I was shy, I have never been shy. It was because I was hypersensitive.  I took everything to heart, I personalized everything that was said or done, whether it was about me or not.  I spent all of my time afraid that I was going to get hurt, or letting myself be hurt or angered.  And there was no reason to feel the way I did, I was just being too sensitive.

This hypersensitivity was costing me potentially great friendships and experiences.  Not to mention how unhappy I was because I took every little thing to heart.  I eventually realized this and began to work to improve my outlook and how I viewed and understood people.  Not everything that is said or done is aimed at me.  Not everything that is aimed at me is meant to hurt or anger.  It took a bit of time to change; every time I found myself becoming upset with something someone said or did, I stopped and thought to myself "Think about it, are they really attacking me, or am I just viewing it that way?".  Over time my emotional and mental processes changed and I found that I was much more relaxed around people.  I actually love, and look forward to, hanging out with friends and meeting new people.  I am not easily hurt or angered anymore and life is good!

Yes, people can be cruel.  But most of the time, I have learned, they aren't intending to hurt or anger. Depending on the person and the circumstances, most of the time they are just trying to kid, have a little fun, or state their disagreement with me.  Most of the time they are just conversing and nothing more!  Very rarely are they aiming to hurt, anger, or embarrass me.   

Life is a lot easier and happier now that I have learned to not let every little thing get to me.  I have stopped personalizing, and being hypersensitive.  I am happy and I have friends I can joke with and take jokes from without getting all upset for no good reason.

I have my husband and many friends to thank for this lesson.  :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Is There a Bottom? 'Cause I Want to Stop Falling and Hit Something.

I have been depressed before, several times in my life, each caused by some horrible bad event(s).  But this bout is a new depth of despair I have never experienced before.  The feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, are so powerful and overwhelming they bring me to such a drained and exhausted point that all I can do is sit around like a zombie or sleep for ungodly amounts of time only to wake up to physical pain and fresh feelings of worthlessness. I find myself overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, fear, and sorrow to the point of bursting into uncontrollable sobs.  I just want to shut down.

I know what the causes of this depression are.  I am having to deal with constant rejection to job applications.  It's not just the pain of rejection but the knowledge that if I can't get a job very soon we will be suffering big time financially.  On top of the financial stress and the constant rejection, I have serious health problems that keep me sedentary and in chronic pain.  Just imagine not being able to do even the most common of physical activities without severe pain, and being forced to sit on your ass all day, everyday.  It may sound appealing to some, but for  me, someone who actually likes and craves physical activity, it is torture.  Not to mention the feelings of worthlessness that come with it.  I can't do anything to be a productive member of my household! 

There are so many side effects to all of these problems that I can't cover them all.  I can, however,say that they are all bad and just feed my depression.

I know what will fix this problem.  If I could get a job I would feel so much better.  But if I get a job it would cause me to be in severe and constant pain because of my health problems.  So somehow I need to cure my health problems and get a job, then all would be right with the world.  What are the odds of that happening?  I've been seeing a doctor to try and fix my health, but it has been very slow going and there is no immediate fix in the near future, so I'm screwed if I land a job within the next week or two (this is how soon I need it).   On top of all this shit, I don't qualify for disability help because, according to the government, my illnesses shouldn't effect my ability to work.  Not that I want to have to rely on anyone for financial help, I would much rather be able to work, but how well do you think you would be able to do your job if the physical part of it caused you to constantly feel like you were having a heart attack?

I just don't see an end in sight.  This has been going on for years and I am tired, tired of trying, tired of constantly working for something better that never comes.  With every little bit of good comes a ton of shit. It has trained me to never allow myself to fall for happy things, because behind every happy thing is a black hole of sorrow. I can't remember a time when I didn't have to worry.  I can't remember a time when my hard work paid off. I can't remember a time when disaster wasn't waiting just around the next corner. I can't remember a time when I had a shoulder to cry on without being made to feel guilty or worse.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Post Apocalyptic Dreams Are the Best!

I had a very lucid and vivid dream last night, here's how it went down.

In a post apocalyptic  world, the few humans still alive find themselves in constant battle with both zombies and an alien race.  Many humans live in small communities behind fortified walls, hidden from their enemies.  In one such town, the only people to venture beyond the walls are well trained in combat.  One of these groups has just headed out on a mission to find food and other much needed supplies.

The group of five- two women and three men- head for a city they have not searched before.  The city is over twenty miles from camp and it will be a dangerous and long trip to get there, but there is no where else to look, all the usual closer places are all tapped out. 

The group surprisingly encounters very little trouble on the way to the new city, a few zombies - easily taken down-  and no aliens.  When they arrive at the city it is obvious that it has been nearly completely decimated, only a handful of buildings are left standing, and even they are in bad shape.  The group heads in and gets to work searching the rubble for useful supplies.

While searching, they encounter many zombies and take them all down without much trouble.  The group finds a good stash of canned foods; fruit, mixed vegetables, chili, and refried beans.  They also find a nurses station at a high school that still has some basic first aid supplies that haven't been raided.

On their way out, they encounter a lone alien.  It is a huge one, extremely strong, agile, and carrying a gun and sword.  The group has some trouble taking down the alien, they put up a long, exhausting fight and are finally able to kill the monster.  They sustain minor injuries and lose a member of the group, one of the women.

The survivors head back to their vehicle but the loud fight has attracted more zombies and they have to hurry away or else waste more time fighting and risk attracting even more enemies.  The one woman left in the group stumbles across a litter of puppies.  The first thing she thinks is that they could make a hearty meal, but then she notices they are starving and weak.  Their mother must have been killed or taken some time ago.  She gathers up the four puppies and quickly heeds her team mates calls to get her butt in the car.

On the way back to camp the woman examines the puppies more closely and deduces that they must be husky mixes.  They will need to be nursed back to health and raised to adult hood before they can be eaten.  One of the puppies dies before they make it back to camp.

The woman spends some time raising the surviving three puppies and ends up falling in love with them.  Instead of turning them into meals, she trains them to be warrior dogs and takes them on missions where they prove to be invaluable fighters and search dogs (they can sniff out food and munitions).  She gives one of the puppies to a young woman in camp who shows potential for becoming a battler, and she gives a puppy to one of her teammates, the husband of the woman they lost the day they found the puppies.  She keeps one pup for herself.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yes, it's broken, but don't try to fix it!

Why is it that the people you most want to talk to, the ones you want to confide in, are always the most difficult to?  They just don't care to listen, and they tend to just make you feel worse than you did before you opened up to them.

Like most people, I don't find it easy to talk to anyone.  The one person I want to confide in just doesn't care.

Let me give you some general advise about "dealing" with a depressed, sad, stressed out, worried, or angry woman.  This is how MOST, not all, women are.

1. Never ignore her or turn her away.  You'll only make her louder and more upset, and now, if she wasn't before, she will blame you for making it worse than it was.

2.Address her emotional state first and foremost.  Acknowledge in a caring manner that she is upset (sad, angry, worried, etc.) but don't try to fix it, at least not unless she asks you to.  Just letting her know you understand how she feels should be enough to start to calm her.  Obviously, we all know women are profoundly emotional so isn't it just as obvious that we need to address that first?  Dealing with her feelings first will help to get them off her mind so she can think clearly.

3 Once the emotions are addressed and understood then you can move on to the root problem(s).  Saying something caring but neutral like, "What happened?"  Or, "Tell me about it."  Will let her know that you care and are interested.  Don't try to fix it! unless she asks you to.  Just listen. Make sure she has your full and undivided attention.  If you wander, she will pick up on it and you will not hear the end of it.

Side note: If a woman is pissed at you, please understand, what is masked by anger is really a broken heart.  You did something that made her feel one or all of the following: Unloved, ugly, unwanted, unimportant.  For instance, if she is trying to confide in you and you don't listen, it makes her feel unloved and unimportant to you. You might as well be telling her "You are worthless to me and I don't love you."

4. Never under any circumstances should you say things like, "I told you...", "What now.", or "What did I do?"  Or anything that will provoke anger or heartache or an argument.  Really, just shut the fuck up and listen.  It will end faster that way.  She just wants you to listen to her troubles, she just wants someone to care about her.  DO NOT TRY TO FIX IT! If you just listen to what she says and acknowledge her emotions, she will usually "fix it" herself.   You are her sounding board, not her hero.

5.Keep your mouth shut until she asks you something. When she asks you something, and she will (this is why you should have been listening all along), only answer the question and nothing more.  If it is an open ended question like, "What do you think?"  then, I'm sorry, you're on your own there because the answer depends on so many factors.  All I can say is to be as kind, loving, honest, and un-provoking as possible.  Don't try to fix it! unless she specifically asks you to.  "What do you think?" does not mean "What should I do?" or "Fix it for me."  It simply means "What do you think of the situation overall, what is your personal opinion?"  not, "How would you deal with it?"  Do you understand the difference?

P.S.:  Why do I keep saying not to try to fix it?  Because the whole point for a woman to confide in you is to have someone to let her know she is loved and important in some way.  It is natural for a man to feel like he should fix his woman's problems and be her hero because that is how most men are raised.  But if you try to address the problem then, in the woman's eyes, you are ignoring her.  You see, she came to you primarily because of her emotional issues, not because she has a problem she needs fixed.  She just wants you to help her feel better by acknowledging her feelings and listening to her bitch.

It is amazing how different men and women are, and it is no surprise that we clash so much.  I am quite aware that women are screwed up naturally, but this is how we are and it ain't gonna change any time soon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stephen Colbert is evil? But I love him!

So, I had this weird dream last night:

I was excited to watch a Rodney Dangerfield tribute special where other actors and personalities were going to roast him in between a marathon of his movies.  Stephen Colbert was one of the people roasting Mr. Dangerfield, and he was hilarious.  Colbert made funny quips about Dangerfield's life and acting and even did spot-on impersonations of him.  Then something weird happened (this is a dream, of course something weird happens), Colbert got a phone call on live T.V. from his producer telling him he had to tone it down because he was outshining everyone else.  Colbert used his comedic talent to proceed with having the most hilarious argument with his producer.  The producer just went along with it and proved to be just as funny as Colbert.

This is where things got real strange.  Colbert and his producer's argument devolved from an argument about talent and skill to an argument about who was the better comedian.  "Well, I was an evil Goonie, too!"  The producer yelled over the phone. (I know, it makes no sense, but this is a dream, remember?).

The room turned dark as Colbert let out an evil, cynical laugh and stood up.  His eyes illuminated even though they were black.  Wind blew around the studio as Colbert's laugh boomed with a likeness to thunder.

Lightening struck not three feet from Colbert; four strikes.  Four teen-aged kids appeared before the man, all wearing similar uniforms; black, green, and brown military style outfits.  No weapons could be seen.  They wore no hats or helmets. 

"You will not be allowed to ruin American lives anymore, evildoer!"  One of the kids shouted.

"Let's take this discussion somewhere more private, shall we?"  Colbert brought both of his hands before him and suddenly he and the kids were no longer in the studio but on a boat in the middle of an ocean.

A look to the side revealed that they were a few miles out from the Statue of Liberty.

Before any of the kids could say or do anything, Colbert used his power to levitate one of the kids and throw him overboard.  He landed in the water with a hard splash but was able to come up quickly and tread water.

The others watched but did not take Colbert's bait to rescue their friend...until their friend began to scream out in pain.  The kids looked to Colbert quizzically.  He smirked and folded his arms across his chest.

"What's going on?"  One kid yelled.

Under the water, two small octopuses attached themselves to the leg of the boy and drilled themselves inside his leg, and then burst out.  The boy had screamed in agony as his leg was demolished from the knee down.

"Help him!"  Another kid screamed and the three teammates tried to bring him out of the water.

Before anything could be done, another octopus swam up from the depths in front of the injured boy.  This one was as big as the boy and it swallowed him whole.  The other kids watched in silent horror as their friend was devoured.

The octopus then tripled in size and went after the boat.  The kids screamed in terror.  Stephen Colbert could be heard laughing as he escaped, unharmed. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Else Have I Misjudged?

Friends come and go, it's just a fact of life. Some come, make a lasting mark for better or worse, and then leave never to be seen again; others come, make a difference, and stay. I have always strived to be a good friend to all who come into my life, it is of immense importance to me to always be the best friend I can, I'm not perfect but I try hard to be there for my friends.  Some people make it really hard, though.

I have relearned a valuable lesson over the last few months. This is a lesson I learned nearly fifteen years ago and I guess I didn't hold onto that knowledge; that, or I'm just a sucker for punishment.  People will use you, people will abuse you if you let them.  Human beings are masters at trickery, they will pretend to be a good friend only to get what they want and then leave you with a broken heart and jaded soul.

I know I sound very angry and heartbroken, but it's not that bad.  I expected all these things that have happened to happen, it was no surprise, it just seems so sad that people I care so much about don't care in return.  I've been sick and because of my health issues I have had to back off from the normal fun that I used to enjoy with my friends.  Also, certain factors have made my husband and myself need to back off from hosting so many of our friend gatherings, causing more of a distancing.  There are other things that have contributed but I do not wish to voice them here in public.

This was all made worse when a friend in the group was brutally, verbally, ganged up on and attacked in public by other friends in the group.  No one here is totally innocent; but to gang up on, bully, and publicly embarrass and crush someone, especially someone who is already down, is completely unacceptable and down right despicable. 

I know this is kind of hard to follow since I am not giving many details but the point is that I have made a huge misjudgemnet, people I thought were more or less good, have proven to be the lowest of low.

I have no intention of writing anyone off;  in my book once you are a friend you always will be a friend of mine.  But because of what has been happening over the last few months I don't think I can be the same friend I always strove to be.

No loss to them though, I guess, they never thought much of me to begin with. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

GERD, or better known as, "Oh, my God, just let me die already!"

I wrote and posted the following six months before I ended up having open heart surgery.  If you are experiencing "heartburn" or any kind of chest pain, see your doctor right away and have your heart checked thoroughly.  I was misdiagnosed with GERD when my problem was actually coronary artery disease. When you are diabetic, age doesn't matter!  I was only 34 when I had heart surgery!

I have a high pain tolerance; as a child I used to get ear infections and not even realize I had one until my eardrum burst (or at least was on the verge of exploding).  I suppose most of the time it is a good thing, being a Type I diabetic and having to take three injections a day and prick my finger several times a day; yeah, it's a good thing to have a tolerance for pain.  Really, the injections and prickings aren't painful in the slightest.  A better example of my tolerance for pain would be the broken finger, tail bone, and many other injuries I have had over the years that I didn't really find very painful.  A bad thing about having a high pain tolerance is the annoyance I feel toward people that have a low tolerance for pain; I just can't understand why they are being such babies.  It's just a broken bone, gosh...

Well, I can understand now what people mean by "Oh, my God! Just let me die already!"  It all started about a year ago, maybe earlier.  The symptoms began infrequently, a couple times a month with a mild pain in the center of my chest.  Being a diabetic with no health insurance (I haven't seen a doctor in about 7 years), I worried it might be heart failure.  I just buried it in the back of my mind with all the other things I was in denial about.  Quickly, but just gradually enough, it became more frequent and severe.  The pain in the center of my chest kicked in whenever I tried to do anything active, or bent over, or lay down, or ate a big meal.  The pain spread to my arms, I got weak and tired and just had to sit down, sometimes the pain even penetrated through to my back!

It was when the pain was there everyday, mild pain all day with two or three severe flareups a day, that I finally researched the symptoms.  According to the Internet (I read up on several sites) it was either heart failure or Esophagitis (AKA GERD).  Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, my symptoms fit perfectly.  The sphincter at the end of the esophagus that opens into the stomach isn't working properly and acid is backing up into the esophagus causing painful and damaging heartburn.  So, what can I do about it without health insurance?  I did everything the Internet told me to; I cut out all the foods and stuff that cause heartburn: Onions, grease, fat, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, carbs, peppers, other spicy things, citrus fruits, tobacco, alcohol, etc.  I tried to lose weight and succeeded to a small degree but it is hard to lose weight when you can't do any physical activity without severe pain.  I ate TUMS like they were candy and tried Prevacid but it didn't help in the slightest.  I ate black licorice and drank aloe vera juice, and ate foods that help relieve or prevent heartburn, with very limited results.  I finally found a treatment that worked but it has its own down sides, apple cider vinegar.  I have no idea how or why it works but it is the only thing that brings relief almost instantly and lasts for hours.  I take a shot glass and fill it half way with apple cider vinegar and half with water and shoot it down in one gulp.  After gaging for a moment I drink three shots of water to wash the taste out of my mouth.  Moments later I feel much better, but not completely pain free...

Until recently the pain only kicked in when I tried to be active or ate too much or the wrong things.  Then the day came when the pain woke me up early in the morning.  This was the first time this had happened, heartburn on an empty stomach and while I was already asleep?  On top of the strange timing, it was the most severe pain I had ever had; severe pain in the center of my chest, nauseating, dizzying, pain down my arms and across my collar bones, leg weakening pain, and even a bit of shortness of breath.  I thought for sure I was having a heart attack!

After several hours in the emergency room, an EKG, chest x-ray, blood work, a nitro patch, and some other tests and observations, I left with the diagnosis of esophagitis and hypertension.  They prescribed me Omeprazole and gave me instructions on how to control the heartburn (all the same stuff I've already been doing).  So now I am relieved that my heart is healthy* but discouraged that I may never be rid of this constant and debilitating pain.

Will I forever be frightened to walk?  Frightened of bending over?  Loathing of the one thing I used to love almost more than anything, going to bed, because laying down is so very frightening now?  Scared to eat because all eating does is cause me horrific pain?  Will I ever be able to live, walk, clean my house, exercise, again?

*I was misdiagnosed in the ER.  This diagnosis happened only six months before I ended up having open heart surgery.  Be careful, have your symptoms checked by your primary doctor.  Insist on ALL the tests.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Legacy, Not the Car

Do you ever wonder what kind of legacy you are going to leave?  I think about it probably more often than I should.  I want to be remembered fondly by my friends and family.  I want to have made some kind of positive contribution to the generations that follow me.  I'm not saying I want to leave a ton of money or be posthumously famous; I don't need people to remember me as the person, I just want to have made a positive, worthwhile and lasting impact. Whether it is credited to me or not doesn't matter.

I suppose I think on my legacy so much because I feel that, to date, I have not done anything or own anything worth while.  But how do you make the future better? How do you make a world changing impact?  Start small and hope it grows? Or go big so it can't be ignored?  I suppose I am the little type, make a change starting with me, my friends, and family.  All I can do is pass on what I've learned just by living. So,what would I say if I were to write a legacy for future generations to read?:

Do what makes you happy.  There will always be those who try to force you to live up to their standards, to do their bidding, and to live according to their desires.  Do not ignore them, for many of them have learning and experience more than your own and are worth your consideration and respect, but do not abide by them if it is not your will, your desire, and your decision.  Living by other peoples standards will only cause you heartache. 

Prove your love.  Saying the words is only the beginning, and do not say them unless you mean them.  Beyond voicing the words, always live up to your word, prove it in your actions.  If you love someone, prove it to them daily; tell them you love them, give them a hug, give them your full attention when interacting with them.  Do kind things, especially when they aren't required or expected of you.  Friends and family are the most important things in life, without them you are little more than nothing.

Stay positive. Life is hard.  Life is cruel.  It is easy to turn pessimistic.  Wake up every morning thinking positive and no matter what life throws at you, stay positive.  When we worry, or get stressed, or angry, life becomes immensely more difficult and dark.  It is good to let yourself scream and cry once in awhile, but do not ever let yourself stay down too long.  Get up, keep going, and do your best.  And always try to see the bright side...or at least the light at the far end.

Have fun.  Life is hard work.  Life is a burden.  Throw off the tie and 'hose and have a little fun.  Work hard but don't forget to play hard, as well.  Laugh, love, have plenty of orgasms, sing, and dance. When you are too old to do the wild things you will wish you had done them more.

Thank those who have been there for you. Don't be too proud to accept help because not many people are willing to offer it.  Be willing to help, there aren't many people who are.  Your true friends are those who will come to your aid no matter what the cost to them.  Accept their kindness because you need it but always recognize their sacrifice, be grateful, and return the favor.

Don't be naive.  Don't take anything at face value.  Many things are not what they seem.  Many people have ulterior motives.  Do your research and don't come to a final conclusion until you are educated on all sides of the matter.  Just because your family or friends are one religion or political affiliation doesn't mean you have to be.  Ask questions, be skeptical, but don't be naive, nor paranoid.

Don't take anything for granted. Everything is worth something whether it be monetary worth, educational worth, emotional worth; everything has some kind of worth. Pay attention to everyone and everything.  You can learn a lot if you just keep your eyes and ears open.

And finally, don't worry.  I can not stress how hard life is.  It is hard by every definition of the word. And because life is hard, I can not stress enough the importance of friends and family.  You need each other to get through life, you need the help, the support, the reassurance, and the joy, love, happiness, and fulfillment they bring.  Life is hard, but don't stress it, don't worry, your friends and family have your back.

Maybe I haven't learned that much, yet.  I hope by time I die I will have learned and experienced enough to leave something worth while to future generations.