Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chillin' in the ER

12:37 p.m. - Having worked nearly eight years in medical and veterinary industries, I'm sure I'm suffering from Medical Student Syndrome.

My mom has had a sudden attack of lower right quadrant pain (just listen to me and my fancy lingo), and I insisted on bringing her here to the ER of a local hospital. This is where we will sit and wait (for several hours, I'm sure) until we're able to see a doctor. My tentative diagnosis is for appendicitis. Or a kidney stone. Or maybe it's a bowel obstruction complicated by diverticulitis of the colon. Then again, it could possibly be gallstones or Ebola. (Okay, maybe not. But still!)

1:02 p.m. - My mom's pain is intensifying and coming in sharp waves now. I go back up to the admissions desk to give them an update, and the male nurse tells me they're doing some shuffling to find my mom a bed.

1:10 p.m. - I'm thankful for the welcome distraction of cute medics periodically bringing in patients via ambulance. It's all about the uniform, I tell ya.

1:43 p.m. - Still in the waiting area, a lab tech comes to pull some blood from my mom. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they call her for an x-ray or an ultrasound.

2:17 p.m. - Not having had anything to eat or drink since breakfast, my stomach is growling as I eye the vending machines across the room. If my mom was allowed to eat at this point, I would totally spring for some pretzels right now.

2:33 p.m. - At last! A bed is available! We're transported down the hall, and my mom is instructed to put on a hospital gown. She feels better now that she's able to lay down for a bit.

3:03 p.m. - My mom tells me I look hungry and insists I suck on a mint from in her purse. I reassure her I'm fine.

3:20 p.m. - A nurse examines my mom, and I'm convinced she has appendicitis. Or that bowel obstruction I mentioned.

3:32 p.m. - The doctor arrives! She examines my mom and asks if she's had any previous surgeries. I tell her no.

"But what is this scar on her abdomen?"

Scar? Shwaa?
Okay, so the scar is really peculiar, and the doctor isn't 100% sure where it came from. We find out that my mom had her tubes tied after I was born, which is news to me! (I'm always the last to find these things out. Like when I was around 12 and found out my mom had a twin. WTF?? But that's another story for another time.) Ahem. But, yeah, the scar is strange, and we can only assume it's from her tube-tying.

4:02 p.m. - The abdominal x-rays are complete. And I've changed the diagnosis to inguinal hernia.

4:30 p.m. - Again, my mom insists I eat a mint. Do I really look that bad??

4:55 p.m. - Feeling 10 times better than she did when we came in, my mom just wants to leave. And we agree that we're totally breaking into the Halloween candy as soon as we get home.

5:00 p.m. - After having sat in the same cramped position for so long with my legs crossed, I'm sure the pain in my lower limbs is a blood clot.

5:05 p.m. - The doctor returns and informs us that all tests appear normal. Final diagnosis: abdominal pain of unknown cause.

"But at least you now know about the scar!"
7:00 p.m. - My husband is thankful we left some Halloween candy for him to hand out to all the little trick-or-treaters tonight.

7:30 p.m. - Having gone several hours without any significant discomfort, my mom is relieved that she is going to be okay. I, on the other hand, am frustrated that we may never know the cause of her excruciating pain today.

 After all, I was sure I had it at hernia. Or Ebola.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pat, I would like to buy a vowel please.

I caught Vanna White on Live with Regis and Kelly the other morning, and from the outside looking in, it appears she's got the best job ever. In order to produce one month's worth of Wheel of Fortune episodes, they do all their filming in only FOUR DAYS. 

Can you imagine only having to work four days a month while still getting paid enough to live comfortably in southern California...??

In my next life I plan on graduating top of my class at Letter-Turning School.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is it time for my cleansing yet?

This past Monday night I hosted a Girl's Night potluck dinner at our home, which involved myself, four girlfriends from here in town, and another old friend (Juliana) who came up from North Carolina along with her two young daughters. I had been wanting to do this earlier during Juliana's five-week visit, but to be quite honest, I was a little intimidated to have her over here again because everything in our home is toxic.

Yes, toxic.

Shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Abby, Juliana discovered Abby had an allergy to soy products that was making her sick. Since then, Juliana has done a complete overhaul of everything they eat or bring into their home. No more beef, pork, or dairy.  No splenda or aspertame.  No distilled water. No medications other than all-natural supplements. No vaccinations. And no grocery store-bought chicken (she instead buys it over the Internet from a supplier in Minnesota).

Her list of blacklisted items is long, and I'm afraid it contains nearly everything that can be found in our fridge and cupboards:

- canola oil (contains soy.... apparently you're better off using coconut oil)
- sugar-free gum & diet pop (each contains aspartame)
- George Foreman Grill (made with teflon)
- Splenda (contains chlorine... Stevia is an ideal alternative)
- toothpaste (contains fluoride)
- water distiller (completely bleaches the water of all its nutrients)

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I have to admit, I envy Juliana. She's done a ton of research about what to eat and how to prepare it, and she's in fantastic shape. (She even blogs on mercola.com). Just being around her and her daughters has motivated me to improve my lifestyle, but I can tell you right now there's no way I'm giving up the water distiller. Or the George Foreman Grill (seriously, my husband would leave me).

I want to make improvements, but where to start? If I really (and I mean really) took a look around, nearly everything would have to go, and having to start from scratch with entirely new products and techniques is an overwhelmingly daunting and mind-boggling task for me. I'm just not ready for the complete overhaul, so I think I'll start small. Baby steps, if you will.

Having said that, anyone know where I can pick up some good coconut oil and some Stevia??

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Life after the army

Three years ago this month, my husband received an honourable discharge from the United States Army, and since then -- thanks to his Veteran's benefits -- he has been attending school at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The ultimate goal is that, in two years from now, he will be teaching English or social studies at the high school level. And that can't happen soon enough.

The transition from soldier to civilian was difficult in and of itself, but having to watch my husband go through university at the same time has been truly painful. Maybe it's been hard for me to watch him because he's older than most of his classmates and he can't always relate to them. Maybe it's because he's been forever changed by serving in two combat wars. Maybe it's because his lifestyle now is so different than it was for the eight years following high school. Or maybe it's because I remember what it was like to be in university myself and I can't stand to watch him have to endure it now. 

Yes, that's definitely it.

The endless research papers and group projects, the memorization of often-useless facts, the all-nighters and early-morning classes -- I don't miss it in the least!

Sure, I miss the overall atmosphere of just being on campus -- the learning, the friendships, the hope for a bright future that  was yet to come -- but I don't miss the stress involved with being a full-time student. I like coming home after work and being able to leave it all behind until my next shift. Being a full-time student is worse than having a full-time job. You don't get weekends off. You don't get evenings off. It's like you're working 24-7. You're constantly involved in projects. You never get a break, and they don't pay you for your effort.

In addition to full-time school, my husband works two part-time jobs. Honestly, I don't know how he isn't losing his mind. Okay, so I do know.

He's got a wife that's willing to cook for him and pack him lunches. And, oh yeah, kick him squarely in the rump when he needs a little extra motivation.

He'd be lost without me, I tell you. It's like he never left the Army after all -- he just got a better-looking commanding officer and a permanent change of station to about 600 km north of the 49th.