An update of a general nature. Because, “Yoooouuu asked for it!”
More than you ever wanted to know about my physical health.
So I mentioned previously that I’m weaning myself off of the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Welbutrin is something that’s able to be quit cold turkey, and I haven’t experienced any ill-effects because of its lack. I’m ramping down the Effexor – arguably a much more difficult drug to start and to quit. The tremors (“doy”) and night sweats are decreasing, but the anxiety is increasing a bit again. Though that’s probably due to my natural reaction to the anticipated holidays and travel to Vancouver. I sometimes wonder if I’ve chosen the absolute worst time of year to stop taking an anti-anxiety med, but I figure, hey. What better time to test my tolerance than now?
Today I had Session II of my annual physical exam. Two days scheduled over two weeks. This whole ordeal just got much more complicated. Instead of just the usual JOY of female necessity that is our annual, I got to go through this whole procedure. First there was the drawn blood – like, six vials. Yarg. Then there was the pulmonary test to prove that yes, I still have asthma. Then there was the bone density test in which I placed my foot into this machine and it pressed on my heel. Then there was the test to see if I could aim my pee into a cup. THEN I had a vision test in which I successfully read the very last, eeny-weeniest line for my left eye, my right eye, and both eyes. I felt totally Bugs Bunny, reading the “Printed in Walla Walla Washington” off of the eyechart.
And then (“No more ‘and then’!” Spot the reference and win my everlasting respect…) there was the hearing test, which took forty minutes. They put these pads in my ears and pressurized my skull (“That’s my skull, dude!” Different reference to spot…), then did pure tones, speech recognition, Otoacoustic emissions (fancy!), discrimination loss, asymmetric, and tympanometry (the headset on my forehead hurt like a mutha) tests. It was all done via a computer program and a touch screen. So, being the nerd I am, I was pretty entertained.
Today was the discussion with a nutritionist, who went over some of my bloodwork results. My cholesterol is high, mostly because my “good” cholesterol is driving up the total number. HDL = 81mg, LDL = 105 mg, VLDL = 41 mg. But I still got the “eat right/exercise” speech. I told him about how, since my gallbladder removal and subsequent realization that eating healthy prior to its demise did NOT prevent gallstones, I went slap-happy with the pancakes and potato chips. He called it a “food tantrum”, which is pretty much a dead-on description of my attitude toward eating over the past few months. My triglycerides caused him some concern, being at 207 mg when the normal range is 0-149 mg. Since my blood sugar is so very low (69 mg), we have deduced that alcohol intake is probably the culprit, and so I should Cut Down. Pooh. As far as exercise is concerned, my mandated goal is to work out 45 minutes, five times a week. Which I knew I needed to do before he told me, so I guess loading on the guilt will only further my motivation.
Have I mentioned that I’m doing the 2006 Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day? Hello, fitness motivation, much?
Every other indicator, as discussed with my doctor, is normal normal normal. With the exception of a mild case of hyperthyroidism, which is low at .295 uIU/mL, when normal range is .350-5.5. We’re going to re-test and if it doesn’t go up she wants me to get an ultrasound. PLUS, I get to have my very first mammogram! Hooray for me! Leaning heavy on the “not” side of that statement, I am. Then I got the “you’re going to feel a little pressure” part of the exam, during which I was tempted to ask her, “Do they teach you to use THOSE EXACT WORDS in medical school? It can’t be a coincidence that you all say the same thing. And, being a woman yourself, did you ever believe that line of bullshit?”
Upon going over the results from the rest of my tests, I discovered that my hearing is perfect (much to Calvin’s surprise, I’m sure), and my vision is 20/20 on all counts. My doctor still wrote me a note to get a bigger monitor at work, though. Headaches and squinting still count, even if you have 20/20 hindsight. My bone density is off the scale on the positive side (insert joke of choice here – a) “bone” density from a male perspective; b) “density” from an intelligence perspective). Positive +0.9, when anything above a negative -1.0 is considered good.
THEN I got an “I Survived my Wellness Exam” T-shirt (I shit you not, shall I wear it to my next grocery shopping adventure?), a portfolio with all of my diagnostic information, and a coupon for discounted massages and vitamins. It may have been quite the process, but I think I really like this new “wellness” mantra of theirs. I’ve been going to the same practice for years, and they’ve been getting more and more “holistic” every year.
Today’s Honey-Do List
- Kill the Monster Cricket that is in the lizards’ cage before I leave for work, or else it may eat the lizards. (I was not able to find it. Calvin called at about 3:00 to say that Flower tried to eat it, after he had half-killed it and then got distracted with a phone call, and she nearly choked.)
- Call the dealership and find out why they haven’t gotten in a part they said would come in three weeks ago. (Meanwhile, I get to speed and have an excuse – my speedo is pegged at 120 mph.)
- Call Marie’s school and excuse her for an absence I forgot to call her in for from last week.
- Transfer debt from one credit card with a nasty APR to a credit card with a significantly less-nasty APR.
- Call the insurance company and find out if roof damage is covered on our policy (no emergency, just stuff done over time).
- Re-arrange my auto-payment with Dish Network. I had to cancel my debit card because I misplaced it. (A search through memory and an adroit phone call to the bank revealed that the Taco Bell Drive Thru Dude neglected to give it back one night last week during a munchie run.)
- Track down the paperwork for Marie’s truck alarm, which is acting squirrely.
- Confirm Whistler reservations (this one doesn’t really count as a Honey-Do, since I assigned it to myself).
- Buy media mailers so I can finally get out the CD’s (also self-assigned, though I’m sure Calvin would have reminded me to do it if he had thought of it).
- Balance the checkbook (self assigned, and done, and sad).
- Order a vest, silk longjohns, winter boots, and turtlenecks from Old Navy and LL Bean (joyfully self-assigned).
- Reschedule lizards’ vet appointment for Saturday. (Flower’s still brown and doesn’t seem to be growing, I think it’s worms.)
- Confirm that upcoming FedEx delivery of lizards’ vivarium does not require a signature release.
Dude. I am a MACHINE.
Project: Feng Shui
One of my co-workers says I am now sitting in Martha Stewart’s recliner. Or, really, Martha Stewart’s Office Chair. Seeing as I’m spending so much more time in this 6×9 haven that is my cubicle (a small but tolerable down-side to my change in jobs), I decided to make it more comfy to my spirit. And my bottom. So I went onto that wondrous website-o-crack that is Overstock, and ordered me some loot. Two Moroccan Tea Lamps, on either side of a small battery-operated water fountain (which will remain off since the motor is louder than the sound of the water). A fake potted plant of fake potted orchids – yellow. A country-style quilt (draped over the back and seat of my chair) with a pair of matching throw pillows (stuffed along the arm rests) – hence Martha’s throne (okay, so I upgraded). And a small area rug which I will use as my welcome mat, yet to be delivered.
The people at work? They either hate me or they love me. There is very little middle ground, I think.
Thumper, Flower, and I had an adventure last night! (Oh, sorry, I should say that in the writing of this, it is now the 17th. “Leeet’s do the tiiime warp agaaain!”) Okay, so none of us really regarded it as an adventure. I speak for my lizards, even though I couldn’t really tell if they were enjoying themselves or not. Very good at hiding their feelings, these little critters are.
ANYway. Remember how Calvin told me to kill the big cricket, and Flower ate it? Well, she started displaying signs of “gaping” – that is, breathing through her mouth, which is a sign of respiratory distress. I discovered this the moment I walked in the door after work. So I called the vet, and he said that the cricket’s spines (Who knew they had spines? I ask you.) may have punctured her esophagus or stomach. OR she could just be so full that her stomach was distending her diaphragm (whenever I spell that word, I sound out “die-uh-frag-um”), thereby making it hard for her to breathe (“I got a pain in my chess… an I can’t breaf!” I’m all about the reference spotting today). He recommended that I bring her in for an examination, to see if we could do a cricket-ectomy. He offered this parting reassurance: “I’ve seen them overeat like this, be fine for a couple of days, and then just keel over dead.” Nice.
While Calvin chorused, “You’re going to spend money to take an animal to a vet that we could replace for thirty-five bucks?” I placed the lizards in a carrier with a warm, damp cloth, wrapped it in a towel, and put it in a bag (an American Eagle tote-your-loot-home bag, in fact). I then got BACK in the truck, 10 minutes after vacating it, put the lizards on the floor and directed the heat toward them, and drove 20 minutes to the herp specialist. I figured I’d take both of them since I had an appointment on Saturday to get them de-wormed. Two lizards, one rock. Or something.
I spent about fifteen minutes in the lobby conversing with other pet owners, and then was shown to an examination room. Where I cooled my heels for an HOUR before I was seen. Actually, I shouldn’t fuss about it. I was an emergency walk-in appointment, and this particular vet had his hands full last night. Plus, I had my latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine – their 35th anniversary issue – so I was well entertained. Only, I kept pausing every three minutes to peer into the carrier and make sure Flower was still breathing. She was VERY flat and had an, “Oh, God. I ate too much turkey,” look to her. Plus, she was more brown than I’d ever seen her. I had no idea they could change colors this dramatically, but the browner they are, the worse they’re feeling.
The vet breezed in briefly to say that he’d taken a quick look at them and Flower appeared stable, but that he had to see to someone else, and would I mind waiting? Well, HECK no! So I waited some more. Another half-hour went by before he was finally able to pause long enough to talk to me. He held Flower and rubbed her belly, and said he could feel where the cricket was and that it was too deep in to, uh, get back out. So he recommended that I soak her in warm water for a few minutes each day, and after a couple of days put her in the tub and encourage her to swim and exercise. He also suggested (as did the lizard forum, when queried) that Thumper was intimidating Flower and making her stressed, and to try separating them. Since FedEx just delivered, like, eight HUGE boxes to my house today, containing their vivarium, we should be able to separate them by this weekend. Flower will stay in the tank in our room, and Thumper can stretch out in his new turf. God, how we’re going to deal with the cat screwing with the lizards when they reside in the living room is a mystery to me.
Thumper was his usual brassy, sassy, green self, so no problems there. The vet took them both in back to de-worm them, and I went back out into the lobby. Where I spent another half-hour or so talking to other pet owners. And pacing. And sighing. And snoofie-snoofieing the kitten they had in a cage out there, looking for a new home (look, Ma! I resisted!).
I got home just before 8:00, and got Thumper comfortable in the tank, and Flower comfortable to spend the night in the carrier. Then Marie called, requesting fast food be delivered to her at work for her break. So I went back out again, got food, delivered it, and returned at 8:30. Watched the rest of “Criminal Minds” (I heart Mandy Pitinkin). Watched “The Daily Show” and “Everybody Hates Raymond”. And went to bed.
This morning, Flower was a bit more animated. And not quite as rotund. So we returned her to the tank. I went home at lunch and soaked her, then soaked Thumper so he wouldn’t feel left out, caught and killed a couple of oversized crickets in their tank (go, me!), and changed out their water. I then tossed a couple of small crickets in there, which Thumper promptly attacked. I offered them a selection of figs, papaya, kale, and mealworms, set up the humidifier and basking lamp, sprayed the lizards off with the sprayer to allow them the opportunity to lap up the water off of the logs and fronds as is their natural inclination, and then FINALLY sat down and contemplated how freakin’ complicated these creatures are to take care of.
The Family In General
Calvin is good. Marie is angsty, rebellious, and emotional. So, all normal there. Lilly and Michael are not coming home for Thanksgiving, so we probably won’t see them until February when the new baby is born (another boy, in case you don’t read the blog). Our Whistler plans at Christmas are pretty much finalized, although I am anal enough when it comes to vacations that I will call and re-verify, probably next week. We’re getting a pet sitter for the animals, since the lizards and snake require daily monitoring and care. Oz will be grateful for the daily canned food, instead of having to exist on a pile of dry food for a week. We haven’t decided yet if we still want to take the dogs to the Puppy Spa That Is Calvin’s Mom’s.
My sister has joined the 24th-and-a-half Century, and has gotten a computer. Which means she has an e-mail address. Which means, with her permission, I will be copying some of our correspondence here.
Oh, hell. She won’t care. Here’s her latest, verbatim:
life is nuts…went to a party Wed. nite—a hot guy friend has a wife who sells magnets for your shoes, so that you can be at one with the core of the earth……. goes over well with a bunch of (Maine) rednecks—–could probably use them to help find beer can returnables in the ditch…….(youngest son) plays drums, (middle son) plays trumpet, (daughter) plays electric guitar——a peaceful life. (Stepson) will be home for good at Xmas, survived his THIRD tour of duty in Iraq. more in a bit. i love you… (youngest son) is trying to take the screws out of the light socket……..aaaaaggggghhhhhh!!!!!!
So this brings to mind a question: I wonder if she realizes that aluminum is not magnetic? Or, well, probably SHE does, but perhaps not the general population of Maine. All the stories you’ve heard about life there are pretty much true. And yet, I am homesick. BECAUSE of some of those stories.
She has her own band going! Just so you know, they’re more liable to be ala Alice Cooper, than say, Hanson-esque.
Okay! So, that’s about it. I’m planning a picture-heavy entry, look for that around this weekend or so.
Comments on this entry? Head on over to The Blog!