Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's see if I can do this twice

National Blog Posting Month starts this Sunday. I signed up last year and did manage to post every single day in November.

This coming November looks to be a little bit busier than last year. Thanksgiving dinner is being held at my house for the first (and, if I go completely mental over it, maybe the last) time. There's a bit to do to get ready -- stuff I kept putting off all summer, knowing that I really needed to do it and also knowing that I need a deadline breathing down my neck before I can kick into high gear. I'm already feeling a slight twitch around the eyelid when I think of all the stress to come. So I probably shouldn't be wasting my time trying to post every day in November.

I just signed up to do it, though. What's that old saw? You want something done, give it to a busy person (*Juvenile snicker* I almost typed "busty person." I crack me up. It's not very difficult to do, as you can see).

So anyway, come! Watch me lose my mind in November. It should be fun. Or informative. Or something.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

High as a kite

...the cat, not me.

I'm beginning to notice a trend. Every time I take vacation, the cat winds up at the vet. Yesterday afternoon, I was watching TV in the living room, and she came downstairs to get a drink of water. I noticed as she was going back up the stairs that she was only using three feet.


I chased after her, retrieved her from under the bed (another uh-oh. Why is she hiding?) and made her walk for me. She wouldn't let the back foot even touch the floor.

And so, it looked like we were off to the vet's. I called and managed to get the very last time slot available on a Friday afternoon. It wasn't the vet we usually see, but I didn't really care. This woman felt all over both Lolly's back feet, massaging and stretching and probing with her fingers to see if there was one particular spot that hurt worse than the rest. Lolly didn't cry out or flinch or anything, just showed a general desire to get away. Then the vet checked her back. Nothing wrong there either. There was a little bit of swelling with the boo-boo back foot, but that seems consistent with her diagnosis: she thinks the cat has sprained the flexor muscles in her right back foot. She thinks Lolly probably jumped off of something and landed wrong.

The vet gave me some pain killers to give the cat, (in liquid form. Hurray, now there are two syringes to keep track of!), and if things don't improve I'm to bring her back for an x-ray on Monday.

Things are improving. She's putting some weight on it now, though she's still limping. When she walks at all. This stuff works like morphine, the vet said. The cat spends a lot of time either asleep or looking stoned. Seriously. She sat here on the sofa for the better part of the evening with pupils as big as saucers, limp as Frieda's cat (from Peanuts). That was just after I gave her the meds. She's more alert and active right now. She just walked past me as I typed this, and the limping is much less pronounced than it was earlier in the evening. Partly pain meds, partly healing, I hope.

Silver lining, though -- my usual vet had said something about trying to make the cat gain some weight. It's hard to do. She'll only eat as much as she wants and then leave the rest. We're making some progress, though. She was 7.5 lbs last visit. Yesterday she was 8.3. Huzzah!

Truth in advertising

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Walk it out

I've started to use Brizzly to keep track of my Twitter feed. It's still in beta test mode, which means I had to be invited to join. I'm hoping they get out of beta soon. I like it lots, and I think other people will, too. It does things I wish Twitter did, like expanding the links someone sends me, or if the links are to photos inserting the photo along with the tweet. It refreshes automatically. It tells me which of the people I follow are also following me. I am not limited to the last 20 tweets on a screen.

I know this is all blahblahblah to people who don't use Twitter, but if you do and you want to try Brizzly, I have nine invitations left to join it. Gimme a holler in the comments box & I'll send you one.

Today, though, it's been up and down a lot -- Twitter's having issues with client feeds, or something (I know, I'm hot when I talk tech. If I knew what I was saying, I'd be even hotter, right?). Here's the notice they put up, accompanied by this hilarious (to me, anyway) link to a YouTube video:
Twitter's having trouble serving their tweets to other clients. So Brizzly may be temporarily unavailable. We'll be back when they're back. Maybe this is a nice time to stretch one's legs?

Whoever came up with dubbing a Fosse routine to hip-hop? Genius.

And now, since the sun's out and I'm on vacation (woo!) I'm gonna take Brizzly's advice and step awaaaaay from the computer for the rest of the day. Well, afternoon. Well, couple of hours.


Enough of the heavy medical-type stuff for now.

A few weeks ago, this YouTube video was all over the internet. It got me interested in the two musicians who put it together, and I've gone back to their site a few times to see what else they're doing.

They call themselves Pomplamoose. In their recordings, they play or sing all the parts, then mix everything together. It looks like their studio is somewhere in their house (in San Francisco). They've done a bunch of covers (like the one of Beyonce's song cited above), but they write and record their own songs as well.

Of the covers, this one's my favorite so far:

And of their own music, this is my favorite:

Hurray for fun, creative people!

Time for a change

Editorial note: Wrote this 2 weeks ago. Forgot to hit "publish"

So, it's October. It's time for me to go get meds for my allergies.

Last time I went, my doctor did something that really bothered me. It started after she'd given me a sample of Nasonex to try along with prescriptions for the drug I needed for my bronchitis and the Allegra and the inhaler I normally get. Nasonex is a topical medication that you apply to your nose, it's supposed to suppress allergies. Worked wonderfully. My breathing was great.

Sleep, however, was another story. I was getting maybe 2 hours' sleep a night, if any. It took me a while to figure it out, and only then because I forgot to take the Nasonex one Friday morning. That night I slept like I'd been drugged. Did the same on Saturday night, too. Sunday morning I finally remembered to take the Nasonex, and ta-dah! Insomnia.

Not only that, but my heart would race every once in a while. Like it was trying to leap out of my chest. That's fun in the middle of a team meeting, huh?

When I went back to my doctor for a follow-up a couple weeks later, I told her about the side-effect, and she waved it off.

"That's not the Nasonex. That's the Allegra."

Really? The Allegra I've been taking for ten years with no problem?

And then at the end of the appointment, she tells me she's prescribing the Nasonex, along with a year-long prescription for a 24-hour version of Allegra.

"I just told you I'm not taking that Nasonex." I said. She looked up, surprised. Like the furniture had just spoken. I described what happened again, and told her the bit about forgetting to take it for a couple of days and finally getting some sleep.

"That's weird," is all she had to say. And wrote the Nasonex scrip anyway, on the same piece of paper as the Allegra-24. I left her office feeling angry and disrespected. Granted, I'm no doctor, but I'm in this body 24/7, and I'm not a total moron. I think I might have some insight into what's going on with me.

Luckily the pharmacy I went to only fills what you ask them to. I never filled the Nasonex. And I vowed that I was never ever going back to that woman under any circumstances.

I ran out of refills on my prescriptions last November. I'd managed to stockpile a little by buying a refill every month whether I needed it or not, so I didn't have to go back to her. The medication in the last bottle expired last month. Time to find a new doctor.

A coworker recommended someone her Dad had seen for a physical. I think his own doctor was on vacation or something and this other fellow was part of the same group, filling in where necessary. She said he listened to her Dad, didn't run a million tests, and just seemed on the whole more laid-back and personable. So I did a little research.

Turns out he's a D.O., not an M.D. I've never been to an osteopath before. Wasn't even sure what an osteopath does, so I looked it up. Here's what Wikipedia said:

Osteopathy is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes the role of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. It is practised in the United Kingdom, the rest of the European Union, Israel, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Osteopathy is not to be confused with the historically related but now distinct field, osteopathic medicine in the United States.

All right. I clicked on the link to osteopathic medicine in the United States:
Osteopathic medicine is a branch of the medical profession in the United States, with some recognition outside the US (47 countries), including most Canadian provinces. Physicians or surgeons who graduate from osteopathic medical schools are sometimes known as osteopathic physicians and hold a professional doctorate, the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), in contrast to the more familiar degree, the Doctor of Medicine, or MD. The existence of two degrees leading to equivalent status as a licensed physicians is not widely known.

And later on:

Osteopathic medicine is considered by some in the United States to be both a profession and a social movement, especially for its historically greater emphasis on primary care and holistic health. However, any distinction between the MD and the DO professions has eroded steadily; diminishing numbers of DO graduates enter primary care fields, fewer use OMM, holistic patient care models are increasingly taught at MD schools, and increasing numbers of DO graduates choose to train in non-osteopathic residency programs.

Clear as mud. My aunt has been going to a D.O. instead of an M.D. for years and was happy with the woman. On the strength of that, and figuring a new point of view was probably a good thing, I called and got added to his patient list. I told the receptionist (nurse?) that I was switching doctors. She asked who I was switching from, and when I told her, she said,

"She's on the same call list as we are. That means if you're ever in the hospital, she might be the physician on call for you."

"That's okay. I doubt she'd recognize me anyway."

When I told my mom I was seeing a D.O. I got an interesting reaction. All she said was, "Oh really?" My mom's moved away from a lot of traditional medicine recently. She goes to a reflexologist on a regular basis, and I believe it does her a lot of good. She was so much healthier after a few months of treatment with this person that my Dad started going too. At one point he had a colon full of polyps, and this woman worked up an intensive treatment called a "liver cleanse" that he went through for a summer and fall. It got rid of most of them by the time his next colonoscopy came round. Impressive.

Mind you, they still use traditional medicine for things like his heart. Oh, heck yeah. Don't want to fool around with the heart. I'm with them on that one.

But I digress.

Boy am I glad I did this. He came in and sat down next to me at a table (not across from me. Side-by-side (friendly) as opposed to face-to-face (confrontational). I do the same thing when I do reference work. People accept your help more readily if you don't come barging at them from straight-ahead), and started to chat with me. Asked all sorts of questions: where I'm from, how long I've been here, what was my major in college, what do I do now, where do I first I thought he was trying to put me at ease, but then I noticed he was writing down all my answers. I guess that's the "holism" thing kicking in, huh?

By the time we got to discussing what brought me here, I was a whole lot more relaxed than I'd ever been with the M.D. I told him about my allergies, and though I hedged a little bit about why I left the other doctor (I don't know why), eventually I decided to tell him that I lost confidence in my previous physician, and why. He didn't argue or agree, just nodded and kept listening while he looked up my nose and listened to my chest (at some point in the conversation I'd moved onto the exam table, but then off it and back to a chair after he'd listened to me breathe). Then he asked me to describe the worst asthma I'd ever had. I told him about this instance from a couple years ago.

He prescribed most of the same things I had been taking (not the Nasonex, thank goodness), and went to get me a sample of some asthma medication he wants me to take during October, or any time I think I'll be around something that will make things flare up (like up at my parents' cabin with the wood/coal stove). It's an inhaler with a very little bit of a steroid in it.

He came back with two boxes.

"I was going to give you this one," he holds out a box with a pink stripe across the top, "but then I remembered that they just came out with child's version that has a much lower dosage." He holds out the box in his other hand. It has a gray stripe across the top. "I was thinking that if the little bit of steroid that was in the Nasonex gave you trouble, maybe we should start you with the child's dosage and see if that works. If it doesn't, then we'll move you up to the adult's."

And the clouds parted, and the light shone down, and the angels sang. He listened to me! He heard and believed me! Hallefrickinlujah!

"It's one dose daily, and I think maybe you should take it before you go to bed, since night time is when it hits you worst."

That's true. When did I tell him that? Oh. OH! The dream. Dang, he listens with both ears!

Angels just sang another chord.

"Give me a call in a few days, tell me which one works for you and which pharmacy to call with the prescription."

And that's what I did. I'm on the child's. Didn't even open the adult's. He said to keep the sample, maybe I'll need it when I visit my parents.

It was so nice to leave a medical appointment feeling like I'd been heard.

I heart my new doctor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Standing down now

Mom called around six o'clock. I was so proud of myself for not calling her the second I got home, and then again at fifteen minute intervals until I finally reach her, only to harangue her for not calling me the second she knew something. I let my sister do that this time.

Just kidding. I don't know that Ditter did that. Though Mom told me she got an earful when she called my sister, 'cause Mom had promised to call when the whole thing was over with.

She forgot. And she admitted now that she was probably more worried than she let on. She only really noticed the stress once it was gone. That makes me feel a little better for some odd reason, cause she was kinda laughing at me a little about how fussed I was about this.

Anyway, I digress. Dad's good. Actually, he's better than good. He has a normal sinus rhythm now. The doctor says he can expect to feel more energy, and things will only improve once he gets fitted for a C-PAP machine.

Yep. Sleep apnea. Undiagnosed for at least 25 years. Probably what's been enlarging the heart and causing the blood pressure problems. Not to mention the dark circles under my mother's eyes from having to sleep next to all the snoring and tossing and turning all this time.

When she called, Dad was sitting on the sofa, watching TV and restringing a lamp.

Oh, and the snow I was worried about, the power outages I thought they would cause? My parents got flurries. We got all the snow. This morning there were 10,000 customers without power, including me. The power company's managed to get it down to 4500 customers without electricity now. They estimate they'll have everything restored by 6 pm tomorrow.

Whew. I'm feeling a bit worn out. Full day, what with worrying about Dad, getting to work late (decided not to try to comb my hair by candlelight. One hair-flip in the wrong direction and foosh! Hair-fire. There's a headline I never want to be in), and then leaving work early anyway because I was concerned about my old, old kitty alone in an unheated house. Got home, found out the power had been on for hours already, and set about making myself not call my mother.

I'm going to bed.

But hey, guess what! I'm on vacation! For a whole week! Whee!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ready, Set, Worry!

My father's getting his heart reset tomorrow. The cardiologist likened it to turning off a computer, waiting a moment, and then giving it a cold reboot. It's supposed to clear up the irregular heartbeat problems Dad's having.




I asked my Dad this past Sunday what exactly is supposed to happen, and here's what he told me:

He's going to be knocked out, put on a respirator, and then the cardiologist and his team will stop my father's heart, wait a moment or two, and then shock it back into starting again.

That? Scares the shit outta me.

It must, because I don't think I've ever sworn on this blog before.

It took a little time to absorb what he was saying and I missed an important detail. My mind was kinda occupied with the stopping Daddy's heart aaaaaahhhhhh part of the conversation, so I couldn't recall the bit where he told me when this was going to happen.

I called my Mom Tuesday about that. I wanted to know exactly when to worry.

She said the 16th, a little before 9 a.m. he'd be prepped and ready to go.

That's tomorrow.

And today? It's started to snow, and it's supposed to continue until sometime Saturday morning. It's a wet, heavy snow, sure to hang on the leaves that haven't detached themselves from their trees yet, which can cause aforementioned trees to come crashing to the ground, dragging power lines in their wakes.

Power they'll be using to stop and then start my Daddy's heart, and to keep him breathing throughout. This didn't occur to me until a few minutes ago. Thanks for that, brain. 'Cause I wasn't worried enough.

I sure hope the hospital has back-up generators.

Thursday, October 08, 2009