Archive for August, 2010

Man!  I’ve only been in the “medical machine” for about two weeks, and already I feel like my blood pressure has risen several points.  It’s like you enter as yourself and, as you get poked and prodded and ignored and ignored some more,  you can feel yourself shrinking into some pale, insignificant medical commodity. It’s not a good feeling…

Anyway, in my short time dealing with all these medical issues, I’ve already learned some lessons.

1) I think someone could actually DIE in the waiting room and nobody would notice. The practice I go to serves many doctors and thus has a huge waiting room full of sick people.  When I went to see my doctor last Monday, I arrived at 10:50 for an 11:00 appointment.  Time passed and nurses came out and called various people until all of the people who came in with me had been called.  I began to feel like the little kid in grade school that has B.O.  Time passed and still I waited.  Finally, at 11:30, I got up to check with the women at the desk and at that moment, a nurse (or medical assistant) came out and called my name.  Considering I hadn’t been feeling too chipper when I arrived, you can imagine how I felt by this time!

2) You could die in the patient room, too! Once they pop you in there, you’re out of sight, out of mind.  They just want to give you the illusion that you’re progressing.  Again I sat and waited.  I heard doctors on both sides of me come and go.  And still I waited.  And felt ignored.  For THIRTY LONG MINUTES!  In case you weren’t counting, by then I had been there over an hour without seeing a doctor.  That doesn’t exactly make you feel special, let me tell you!

3) Not all nurses are “angels of mercy.” I don’t know if the woman who works for my doctor is a nurse or medical assistant, but I do know that I’ve never seen her smile.  When she calls you from the waiting room, she doesn’t greet you or make chit-chat.  It’s like she has this gigantic chip on her shoulder and she’s just waiting for you to knock it off.  Lovely.  You’re already feeling bad and she makes it worse. I always feel like I should be apologizing for putting her to so much trouble.

4) Beware of leaving voice mail messages! You’re often told to call the office for something and the switchboard directs your call to a certain department.  If a human being doesn’t answer, you’re doomed.  I called one department three times in two days and left messages which never got answered.  Do they think they we do this for fun?  When you’re having health problems, being ignored makes you feel so alone and helpless.

5)  No matter how grave or important the news, you’ll get it from a nurse. The days of Marcus Welby, the old beloved family doctor who really cared, are D-E-A-D.  It’s “Hello, this is Dr. X’s office calling, he wants you to get your head amputated in the morning.”  Or in my case, “Yes, Dr. H would like you to get a head and orbits MRI as soon as possible.”  And, on Tuesday, “This is Dr. M’s office.  We got your thyroid blood tests back and you DO have Graves’ Disease.  Congratulations!”  (Okay, she didn’t say congratulations, but she didn’t sound too sorry, either.) Then she went on to say he wanted me to see an endocrinologist and was calling in a prescription.  What?  Why?  How?  I got no details, no explanations.  I feel just like a little lab guinea pig.  And the human touch?  Forget about it!

6)  I guess the overriding lesson I’m learning is that most of these people don’t really care about me as a person. They’re just doing their job and I’m just a piece of meat they have to process and move on down the line.

Do I sound a bit depressed?  Duh.  I’m more than just a piece of meat.  I’m a sweet, funny person who deserves better!  Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.


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Why is it that the more annoying something or someone is, the more it turns up everywhere we turn?  One place this theory is proven over and over is in television commercials.

Right now my favorite commercials that I love to hate are these stupid Old Navy ones that feature a bunch of talking manikins or, excuse me, “Modelquins.”   What marketing genius thought that one up? They have different commercials featuring these dummies for Christmas, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, you name it and they’re starting to get on my last nerve!

Is it just me or do these talking manikins creep you out?  I mean, seriously!  One of the most eerie and thought-provoking episodes of “The Twilight Zone” featured a woman who tries to escape a store only to discover at the end that she’s a manikin.  That stayed on my mind a long time.

And here’s Old Navy letting loose a whole army of these creepazoids!  Go figure!

And while I’m on the subject of commercials,  I’d also like to know what made Jamie Lee Curtis become such an Activia yogurt fanatic.  Hey, Jamie Lee!  I love ya girl, but regarding this yogurt thing, you’re starting to become like those Hare Krishnas who used to buttonhole people at the airport!  Back off, woman!  Every time I see you on a commercial, you’re trying to jam a spoon down someone’s throat.  And if that wasn’t enough, now you’re pushing a video camera at them so they can record their “Activia Journey.”  Come on!  We don’t want to see anyone’s yogurt journey, trust me!  Go back to making movies…please!

Another ubiquitous face I wish would just go away is that of Jennifer Aniston.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I am so very sick of seeing her smirky face on every talk show and magazine around.  I keep hearing her called “one of American’s most beloved celebrities.”  Well, not to ME she isn’t!  I’ve been sick of her ever since Brad Pitt got rid of her and she went on Oprah to try to boo-hoo her way into becoming an object of sympathy.  If she hadn’t snagged Brad Pitt when she did, she would have faded into obscurity where she belongs.  As it is, she’s become a publicity whore and I must say she’s good at it.  After a string of terrible movies, she still manages to stay in the spotlight.  I’m sick of her.  Go away!  Go back to your “Friends!”

And finally, there’s Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted last week of lying to the FBI.  He had the audacity to show up at Chicago’s Comic Con and compare himself to a superhero!  And if that weren’t bad enough, he charged $80 for each photo taken with him and $50 for each autograph! Who does this joker think he is?

I originally found out about him when he appeared on “The Celebrity Apprentice” last year.  Initially, he came off as a nice guy.  But, as the show progressed, we learned that he is completely computer illiterate and was incapable of being a project manager.  When it was his turn, he turned all the work over to Bret Michaels.  And this man was a governor?  All he was really good at was talking.  Once started, it was impossible to stop him.  He’s a bore.  And  for him to be walking around acting like some hero just gets my goat!  I do hope there’s a retrial and he gets what he deserves.  Meanwhile, Rob, go away!  Just go away.

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I’ve had so much going on lately that I’ve had to force myself to slow down and remember that normal life goes on.

I do have three little things I wanted to share with you today.

First off, last week I had been noticing that my iBook laptop charger/ac adapter had been getting wonky lately.  The little light that shows it’s working would go off and I would have to twist the cord “just right” to make it come back on.  I had heard stories of how Apple had really dropped the ball concerning these chargers and that most owners eventually had to replace them.  Consequently, on Tuesday I ordered a replacement non-Apple one which was to come in this week.

Well, Friday morning I went downstairs for my first cup of coffee, brought it upstairs and crawled back into bed to check my email before getting up.  I noticed the charging light was off again, so I wiggled it and thought I saw a spark come out of it.  While I was still absorbing that, a tall, thin orange FLAME sprang from the thing.  IT WAS ON FIRE! I quickly put out the flame and pulled out the adapter.  Whoa!  This was no joke.  I usually keep the iBook under my bed when I’m not using it.  I shudder to think what could have happened.  I took a picture of it before I threw it away.  Bad charger!  Bad, bad charger!

Second, on a day when I felt that maybe God had been ignoring me a bit, I went out to water my hanging plant on the porch and found this:

Coincidence?  I think not.

And, speaking of God, here is what I generally see when I go out to have my morning talk with Him.

How can I ever feel truly alone in the presence of such majesty?   I mean, really?

I guess that’s it for now.  Be happy.

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The Power Of Words

Times are changing, and what with texting and tweeting, where people don’t even bother to spell out entire words, I fear there’s fast becoming a loss of appreciation for well-crafted writing.

The pen truly can be mightier than the sword, but the sword is faster and requires less training and too many people today rely on four-letter words to get their meaning across.  But, oh!  There’s nothing like a heartfelt, eloquent love letter or a wickedly sarcastic insult to illustrate your point, which brings me to today’s post.

This has been circulating around the Internet, but, in case you haven’t seen it, here are prime examples of when insults had class.

When Insults Had ClassThese glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:
She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”
He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”
“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”  Clarence Darrow

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..” – Oscar Wilde

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go..” – Oscar Wilde

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

A little better than those four-letter curses, aren’t they?  I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!_

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The Results Are In

Because of the concern shown by so many of you regarding my double-vision/MRI situation, I decided to move a post I had scheduled for today and give you a brief update instead on what I know so far.

I had the MRIs on Thursday and was in the machine for one hour!  That’s being completely still for one hour.  (I think my next gig will be auditioning for the role of corpse in vampire movies.  Seriously, I was that good at holding still! )

And, because the people in my eye doctor’s office are very caring and considerate, they got the results to me Thursday afternoon so I wouldn’t have to wait all weekend.

First of all, the GOOD news.  It showed no masses or suspicious lesions, i.e., no brain tumor or cancer.

The not-so-good news is that the MRI showed enlargement of muscles in the back of my eye, consistent with Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune, thyroid-related disorder. The doctor said I also had Graves’ Opthalmopathy, since it is obviously affecting my eyes.  In Graves’ Disease, the thyroid is overactive, producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones and thus creates a serious metabolic imbalance.  They got me an appointment with my internist on Monday at 11:00.

Naturally, after hanging up the phone, I grabbed my computer and thoroughly researched this disease so that I will be well-informed on Monday.  From what I can gather, there are three basic treatments.  (1) hyperthyroid medications  from which there are two to choose, which are supposed to stop the hyperactivity and balance the metabolism.  (2) Radioactive iodine, which is swallowed in a capsule and is supposed to kill off (yes, kill off!) your thyroid.  Or, (3) Surgery, in which the thyroid, itself, or a piece of it is removed.  Guess which one I want?  I mean, hey!  I may be angry at my thyroid right now, but I’m not sure I want to resort to murder just yet.

The thing is that my eyes are what I’m really worried about.  And I don’t think the doctor will be able to do anything about them on Monday.  I know that he’ll have to test my thyroid levels with a blood test and then we’ll probably have to wait for the results.  I don’t even know if the medication can fix the problem, although I’m praying it can.  That would be the best of all possible worlds.  When this thing gets too far, people can actually lose their sight, so you can imagine I’m a bit desperate at this point.

But, hey, first things first.  I’m trying very hard to keep a positive attitude.  I know there are a lot of people walking around with various conditions and diseases with which they live every day.   A friend of mine has Lupus.  My little sister was diagnosed with adult-onset epilepsy out of the blue.  Another friend has a blood disorder which could turn deadly, but hasn’t.   These are the cards I’ve been dealt and I’m going to do the best I can.  It could have been worse.

So, now you’re updated. And thank you so much for caring.

I’ll be returning to my regular programming with the next post before you all begin to feel like you’re studying for a medical degree.

Be happy.

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Some Lessons Learned

It often happens that when I have things on my mind, (like my recent vision problem,) I find myself  wide awake in the middle of the night thinking…just thinking.

I’m at an age now when I no longer believe in a lot of my younger idealistic notions.  Life can be a cruel mistress and every hard lesson leaves a scar.  Unfortunately I’m sometimes so naive and trusting that I have to be slapped down several times before I really “get” the lesson. And I’m really building up a lot of scar tissue.

For example, when a friend says to me, “I’ll always be here for you.  You’re the sister I always wished for,” that doesn’t really mean she’ll really always be there for me.  I’ve learned that, as wonderful as that sounds and feels and as much as I’d love to believe it, that same person can, without any warning, disappear from my life without a qualm.  It hurts a lot, but it is a lesson learned…the hard way.

I also learned that when my baby sister said, “Don’t worry.  I’ve got your back,” that didn’t mean she truly did.  It meant that she had my back until her other sisters applied pressure, and then she threw me to the dogs.  It was so easy for her to “forget” everything we had meant to each other, all the memories we shared.  I didn’t think that was possible.  I really didn’t!  Lesson learned…again.

And then there were my “happy ever after” dreams, the ones in which I’d be surrounded by loved ones in my later years.  They, too, got sidetracked, leaving me with no lover, no children, no family.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but you can’t always control fate.

But that lesson cuts both ways.  You can’t foretell the future.  Thus, a man who used to be my boss at work retired and, over many, many years has become one of my best, most trusted friends.  Another person I worked with but never knew that well, retired about the same time I did and ended up being the kind of cherished friend who has stood by me time and time again when I needed her the most.  Another friend I had hurt in the past, forgave me immediately when I sought her out and came back into my life, bringing me much joy and laughter.  And A feisty woman I moved next door to somehow magically morphed from being a neighbor into a dear friend.

So…lessons learned.  And not all of them bad.  But I guess the most important one is:  You never really know what will happen next. I guess that’s what makes life an adventure.

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Being Tested

Well, the bad news is that apparently my peripheral double-vision wasn’t caused by the medication.  The other bad news is that it must be being caused by something else.  And that, my friends, does not make me a happy camper…

My ophthalmologist has scheduled me for two MRIs this Thursday, a head MRI and an orbits MRI, which zeroes in on the eyeball region.  To say I’m not exactly looking forward to this would be a huge understatement.  Thank God I don’t have medical tests very often, but when I do, just the thought tends to creep under my skin and bring with it a sort of fatalistic funk.  So, I’m trying very hard to stay occupied and NOT think about it.

But the truth is, something has to be done.  I have a feeling this is getting worse.  It feels like I’m beginning to see more things “double” than “single” and it’s starting to wear on me.  I can still function, but I’m praying this will be something that can be fixed easily.  (And when I say I’m praying, I mean I’m SO praying!)

I’ve been on the Internet just enough to know that there are a million and one different things that could be causing this, ranging from the horrible to the relatively harmless.  So this is where my faith kicks in.  I know God loves me and He’s pulled me through a lot worse than this.  And I’m counting on Him doing it again.

Personally, I’m pulling for a pinched nerve in my eye or maybe some kind of minor infection that can be cured with pills. If it’s something like one of those, I’ll be dancing around the house like a crazy woman.  What I do know is that I don’t want to live with this forever.  I’m so tired of swiveling my head around, trying to get things to focus.  I’m tired of being in stores and feeling like a freak because everything to the side of me is doubled.  I just want to be normal again!!!!

And there’s another little trial with all this.  If the imaging place manages to read my MRIs and fax the results to my doctor on Thursday, she’ll call me with the results.  If, however, they’re busy and don’t get to them Thursday, I won’t get the results until Monday, because my doctor isn’t in the office Friday.  Talk about your exciting weekend!   Oh yeah, that would be big fun.

So that’s it.  That’s my update.  I won’t add that I cry at least once a day from just sheer frustration and sadness, because you probably already figured that one out.  I mean, I’m going on week three of this and I’m only human.

But hey!  If you can spare a moment on Thursday morning at about 10:45 a.m. or after, I could sure use a good thought or a brief prayer.  I do believe in the power of prayer and in the goodness of the people who read this blog.  So, let’s just see what happens.

Thanks for listening to me.

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