Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Day Is This??

It must be Thursday, because all of the green trashcans in the neighborhood are set out on the curb.

Lately, every day looks and feels the same to me. The only difference the weekend provides is Tom's company, and he keeps The Dude out of my hair for a few hours while I work on Lily's quilt.

I suppose I should start with an explanation of my absence. First, computer problems. My old laptop got a virus which, even after its removal, left corrupted and missing files in its wake. I am now typing on a brand new laptop. It's exceedingly fast. I can even run my virus software while I'm working, surfing and creating, all at the same time, without any noticeable change in performance. Amazing. The only thing that is a little problematic is that I don't know all the keyboard shortcuts, but somehow I keep hitting just the right combination of keys in perfect sequence and wind up inadvertently deleting half of what I've written. And I can't figure out which combination of keys I hit in order to prevent the disastrous result. So I keep doing it over and over again. So far, while writing this post, I've done it three times. So now my typing is slower and much more deliberate...and, of course, it's driving me crazy.

Second, I've been hiding. Also quite amazing since I'm usually "out there", writing about whatever comes to mind and providing way too much information. Sometimes there are things I wish I wouldn't have written, but usually it's too late. It's published. Someone's read it. Just move on. Other times, I wish I had said more, given more explanation, better clarification, but I think Oh, well. Maybe next time.

So...a few weeks ago Tom talked me into going to the doctor for a physical, my first in about 4 years. The morning of July 6th at my doctor's office, Nurse Sandy drew blood. A couple of days later she called me with the results. Cholesterol high (no, I refuse to share the number). Also something about high blood glucose numbers. She told me to come in the following week for another fasting blood glucose test. I didn't go. I put it off for several weeks, but finally acquiesced to Tom's constant insistence and went in last Wednesday. More blood drawn and concerns about the possibility diabetes were revealed. Hugs, "don't worry", "love you's" were exchanged, but I was terrified anyway. A phone call from Nurse Sandy two days later..."Terri, I have good news! No diabetes!" But the blood glucose is still higher than normal by about 20 points. "Get to work, Terri! Love you!"

I love my doctor and her nurse. Dr. Anne has been our general physician for about 13 years. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found her.

In 1997, I had what I refer to as an "episode." I went to work one morning, but I was feeling kind of weird. I've had a heart murmur for as long as I can remember, but I usually don't "feel" it unless I am extremely fatigued. I wasn't feeling particularly fatigued that morning, but it felt like my heart was skipping beats and I thought my blood pressure was high, even though I'd never had blood pressure issues before that. After a morning staff meeting, I decided to go downstairs to the campus health center to have my blood pressure taken. When the nurse took my blood pressure she said I needed to see my doctor "today." My blood pressure was high, 225/90ish, and she was concerned about my heart murmur.

My doctor was a guy just a little younger than me, practicing in the little rural town where I lived. I got an appointment before noon, he checked me out and gave me a prescription for high blood pressure medicine, but he also did an EKG and decided to refer me to a cardiologist. He said I had a blocked something-or-other and now I was scared.

I asked around about the cardiologist and everyone said he was the very best in Arkansas, so I felt a little reassured, but I was still scared.

My visit to the cardiologist was an eye opener. As he read the referral from my "doctor" he shook his head and said, "Oh my, we haven't used that term in 15 years," referring to the "diagnosis" on the referral sheet. My immediate thought was, OMG!! 15 years! My doctor hasn't kept up with new developments in medicine for 15 years???

After the tests were completed, the cardiologist didn't find any blockage, just the heart murmur. And I went looking for a new general physician. I asked everyone I knew. I heard stories like: 1). My friend's doctor took a biopsy of a lump on her head and a few days later she got a letter ~ a freaking letter, people!! ~ telling her it was cancerous (check that doc off my list), 2). Another friend had a little girl who was sick all winter. She'd take her daughter to the doctor every couple of weeks, the doctor would write another prescription for the SAME antibiotic and send her on her way. After about 8 weeks of this, my friend finally had to demand the doctor change the medicine! 3) A co-worker's husband was seeing his doctor for high blood pressure. The doctor first prescribed one medication, then another, then a third and then a fourth, but her husband just kept getting worse and finally one day he collapsed at work and was rushed to the hospital. When he got out of the hospital, his general physician was on vacation, so he saw another physician in the same practice...Dr. Anne, an internist, now also my physician. She reviewed his medical history, ran a battery of blood tests and took him off all but one medication. A week later, she ran more tests, tweaked his medication a little and another week later she did the same thing until his numbers were normal and he was feeling well.

Okay, I think I'm at that "too much information" threshold. My point is, I love my doctor. She is extremely thorough and talks to me like I'm an intelligent and grown-up person and she doesn't put up with any of my avoidance crap. She sends us a Christmas card every year, with a photo of her kids, and signs the card "Love, Anne." I get a hug when I come into the office and another when I leave and "love you" is the parting phrase. I know. I'm an emotional sucker. But I know that she cares and would do whatever necessary to keep me healthy and happy.

Now it is time to work on bringing those numbers down. A change in diet. Exercise regularly, not sporadically. We all know the basics, but some of us don't do what we are supposed to do. One of those "us" would be me. As Sandy said, it's time to get to work. I just wish it didn't feel like work.

So what else is on my mind? Just a little bit more. Tom's work has picked up some, but not a lot. I still hyperventilate when it comes time to pay the bills. It's been a long year and there's not much left in savings, but I still try to set some aside, so far with little success. I suppose, though, that we are luckier than most. At least we are able to pay our bills on time. There are many people who cannot.

The house down the street is for sale. It's bigger than ours and was remodeled recently, but their asking price is more than $10,000 less than what our house appraised for almost four years ago. Gulp. That is definitely not good news considering our plans to move. What is it with our real estate karma??

And have I mentioned the weather yet? I shouldn't constantly complain about the weather, but I do anyway. I have a niece who lives in Texas where temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees for weeks at a time. Ours has been something like 90 days above 90 degrees, with over thirty days of 100+ temps. But, we've had some's been down into the low to mid 90's...but the humidity has been especially horrible. Today, with a little drizzle and a predicted "cold front" coming in from the north, our temperatures haven't reach 80 degrees yet and low temps in the high 50's is predicted for the long weekend. I'll be opening the windows for the first time in months.

I've been pretty much pinned to my house the last few days. Our local utility company is upgrading our underground electrical stuff along our back fence, but has to hook our lines up to the new ones so they are in and out of the back yard. Both back yard gates lock, so I have to be home to open them and keep The Dude from getting in their way. Now that it is raining, I don't know how long this will go on. The were supposed to finish today, but I don't think that is going to happen. Hopefully by tomorrow they will be able to finish. But, honestly, I'd rather be homebound and enjoy the rain than have to deal with more hot weather. I am ready for fall, a cool breeze on my face, long sleeve shirts, long pants, UGG boots and a cup of hot cappuccino.

Well, I suppose it is time for me to hit the treadmill...although I'd much rather be doing my power walk on a breezy beach....

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