January 21, 2009

Today's Challenge

If you choose to accept it, is simple.

Take a day and try to do as many mundane/routine tasks as possible using your non-dominant hand.

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Included in that list of things to try:
  • brushing your teeth
  • wielding toilet paper
  • pouring whatever morning beverage you partake in (coffee, juice, tea, water, milk)
  • drinking whatever beverage you partake in
  • spreading butter/jam/peanut butter on a slice of toast
  • zipping your jacket

And the best part of all? Try doing the following with ONLY the non-dominant hand
  • putting your contacts in
  • changing your underwear
  • pulling your hair back into a ponytail
  • tying your shoes
  • washing your hair
  • shaving (I was only brave enough to attempt my armpits and just let me say that it's really hard to shave your left pit with the razor in your left hand)
  • applying deodorant

I was too tired to even try anything such as actually styling my hair, putting makeup on or wielding anything that could be dangerous (i.e. kitchen knives). There was a serious lacking in motivation too but it sounds better to mention the fatigue first. For all you know, I could make sure to be properly coiffed and beautified at all times, no matter my personal state.

Truth be told, there's just something about having an IV in the crook of the elbow on your dominant arm that really makes life challenging.

Oh, yeah! Don't forget to try to take a picture of said elbow only using non dominant hand. One hand only. So you must hold the camera stable in your hand and push the shutter button as well. Turn off the flash as you're so close to the object that it washes everything out, thus making you hold incredibly still to compensate for the slow shutter speed.

And no, for those of you even thinking about FORMING the thoughts. KT is NOT going to be a big sister. This is not some creative way of saying that hyperemesis is once again kicking my oversized butt.

January 20, 2009

Conversations Through the Fog

As the lortab fog settled in around me this morning, I caught bits of the following conversation. Perhaps my drug induced state made it funnier to me that it really was.

KT: *ring*, *ring*

C: "Hello."

KT: "Hi, Dad."

C: "How are you?"

KT: "How you doing? Whatcha up to?"

KT: "I'm okay."

C: "Good. I hear you have no pants on."

KT: "Yup."

C: "How come?"

KT: "Because."

C: "Because, why?"

KT: "I peed."

C: "Oh, really. Was it a good pee?"

KT: "Yup. Talk to you later. Bye."

Don't worry -- Dad was on parenting duty today to allow me to enjoy the lortab. They were sitting here playing with the old cell phones.

January 18, 2009

3 Needles and a Cup

After all of the urine sample excitement on Thursday, the nurse practitioner prescribed me a run of the mill antibiotic for the bladder infection, told me to drink lots of fluids and sent me on my merry way.

Friday I woke up with a dull ache in the right side of my back. No biggie -- lugging 30 pounds of a toddler around lends itself to random back pain. I figured I'd just torqued something wrong and would feel better after some ibuprofen. By Friday night the pain had gotten considerably worse and I crawled into bed with the heating pad shortly after C got home from work.

I knew that this week had been a doozy and was hoping a good night's rest would make me feel better.

Nope, not the case. I woke up yesterday even more sore than the night before and fighting a raging migraine. By 5pm the headache was gone and the backache seemed manageable. I forced myself to shower and accompany C and KT to dinner with some friends.

As the minutes ticked by, the pain intensified. I took deep breaths and tried to find a comfortable sitting position that eased the discomfort. Nothing I did, no way I moved helped. After 20 minutes in the truck (and only 5 minutes from our destination) a wave of pain unlike anything I've ever felt washed over me. As I tightly gripped the doorhandle, I told C to pull over immediately. In 23 degree Idaho weather, as cars whizzed by at 65mph, I steadied myself against the cold metal of the pickup and wretched.

Without much prompting, C turned the truck back towards town and called to see if the Urgent Care clinic was still open.

A quick physical assessment, a blood draw and a much more uneventful urine sample later- (the wee one stayed in the exam room with her father)-it was evident the antibiotic from Thursday was not working. The infection had spread to my kidneys.

Lucky me got to drop my drawers and was stuck in both cheeks -- 1 needle poke for the antibiotic and 1 for the zofran to stop the vomiting. One benefit was that the pain in my a$$ from the antibiotic helped to take my mind off of the back pain! Small victories, I suppose. 3 prescriptions and over an hour later (Walgreens SUCKS at 8pm on a Saturday night) and I was settled back in my own bed and feeling somewhat better.

I've been instructed to rest, drink lots of fluids and go back to the Urgent Care this afternoon for round 2 of the antibiotics. Thankfully, this time I have a nice reserve of lortab in my system.

January 15, 2009

A Motherly Request

Dear Doctor:

As a concerned patient in your incredibly busy practice, I imagine that this letter were be glanced over and promptly discarded in the biohazard container for disposal. I feel though that the absurd money that my insurance company doles out to you allows me to send this correspondence.

Let me preface this by saying your office is beautiful. One of the nicest doctor's offices I have ever set foot in. The furniture is beautifully upholstered, the granite counter tops at the reception area sparkle under the recessed canned lights and the fresh flowers are always a nice touch. I always feel as though my scuffed tennis shoes and over worn blue jeans are not up to par for a visit to your establishment.

The bathrooms though are really the piesta de resistance. The exquisite tiled floors, the hardwood cherry cabinets and changing table and the beautiful shiny fixtures! Oh, the fixtures! None so intriguing as the eye catching levered door handles in distressed rustic pewter. Any door hardware connoisseur would quickly appreciate the beauty in such a piece.

What a wonderful, comforting environment you create for your patients as you require them to provide specimens for you! What thoughtfulness!

Urine samples are not at the top of my list of fun things to do on a Thursday morning. Or any day of the week for that matter. I understand your need for a "clean" sample though so I comply with your request. I've worked quality control in the past -- contamination is a serious issue. So I dutifully prep everything the way it should be. I write my name on the specimen cup with the super fat sharpie marker, wash my hands, tear open the "prep" pad and unscrew the lid on the cup.

As I begin undoing my belt I warn the small one that she needs to stand nicely on the scale until mommy is done.

I steel myself for the coldness of alcohol wipes on my girl parts and the barrage of questions that are about to spill past the lips of a child. As I position the cup for collection and focus on my aim, out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of movement as she heads for the door.

That beautiful, shiny levered door with only a push button lock! Oh, God!

As sweetly as I can, I hiss at her not to touch the door handle and to get back on the scale. With one eye I'm trying to watch her; the other is trying to oversee the ever so delicate procedure that has dictated the need for the appointment at the office to begin with. Heaven help me if I pee all over myself! The thought flashes through my mind as her hand reaches for the lever. There's no way I can stop midstream and if I dump this sample I'm toast. There is no way on this green earth that I can endure this pain again within the next 30 minutes. Mind you, I'm there for a bladder infection and even the thought of trying to pee makes me feel as though I'm pushing shards of glass through my bladder and urethra.

Do I grab the child, foregoing the needed urine sample before she can get it unlocked? Or do I continue on my merry specimen collecting ways and pray with all my quickly beating heart that no one is standing on the other side of the door when it swings open?

I look down frantically and hope that the 1/4" in the bottom of the cup will suffice, set the cup hastily on the floor out of harm's way and lunge for the door. All while trying to keep my nether regions scantily covered by the hem of my shirt. There is no time to cover myself completely. As my knees straighten, I hear the deafening click of the lock unlatching and see the door begin to push outwards. I can feel myself go white with dread and red with embarrassment all at once.

The sliver of light between the door itself and its jam widens quickly to about an inch and then stops! By the grace of God I am saved! Hallelujah! Well, actually by the grace of your nurse who could overhear the conversation and quickly got her foot in front of the door as she heard it unlock, I was saved!

As a mother of a curious toddler, I plead with you that retrofit your beautiful restrooms with deadbolt latches at chest height. Or just deadbolt latches in general. Yes, I understand that it will detract from the elegant look you are trying to achieve but I promise it will increase customer satisfaction considerably. Your office is frequented by women -- many with small children -- so I imagine that I'm not the first to have felt the color drain from my face as that latch was popped free. As uncomfortable as trips to your office can be at times, I would prefer to not expose myself to innocent people in your beautifully decorated hallways. I would imagine that they prefer not to be exposed to my femaleness in all its glory either.

Your Truly,
Just Shy of Mortification in Idaho

A Decade

10 years ago today I left on a flight out of Detroit Metro Airport that substantially altered the course of my life.

It's so hard to believe that it's been 10 years since I left for Nepal. On one hand it seems like just yesterday, but yet it seems so long ago as well. My memories are starting to fade like the pages in an old novel.

Backpacker magazine had a really great spread on hiking Nepal's Annapurna Circuit in their recent issue (March 2009 -- "The Perfect Circle"). As I read through the pages on Monday night the words swam before me, blurring the text into black swirls. I could hear the clamor in the teahouses at meal times, smell the passing herds of yaks on the trail and feel the cotton threads of prayer flags between my fingers.

For the first time, I cried mainly because of the things I couldn't remember. I spent the better part of Monday night trying to piece together our trekking trip -- trying to recreate our route by leafing through journal entries and staring at maps. But there are holes. Gaps of information that I can't fill anymore. It's bittersweet.

I was so busy living that I didn't take the time to write it all down. I figured that I'd never forget. Yeah, I kept a journal when I was there but it wasn't detailed about day to day activities. I didn't write down exactly what I did, where I went, what we ate. It talked about what I thought was important -- how I was changing as a person, things that I missed from home and how the trip was compared to what I thought it would be.

I suppose that the best memories will always be ingrained in my mind and my heart. I can use what I have written to help fill in the gaps, but I'll have to deal with the holes. Such is life.

If you're interested in reading more about the trip (in case you haven't been following along for long), you can read excerpts here, here, here, here and here.

January 12, 2009

One of the Guys

The truck console read a balmy 34 degrees as the tires crunched across the ice in the parking lot. I pulled on my stocking hat, adjusted my sunglasses and zipped my jacket up as far as it would go.

As I jumped out of the pickup I was greeted by a blast of arctic air. Although the sky was clear and the sun shone brightly, the chill in the wind was enough to make you look for shelter quickly.

The breeze carried on it a scent all too familiar, yet longingly distant as well. It had been almost 4 years since I had smelt the acrid plumes of gunpowder (shotgun that is). Way too long for my taste. Like so many other things, getting out to shoot is more difficult as a parent.

Within about 20 minutes, the trap course was cleared and we were ready to go. My hands shook as I fitted my plugs into my ears. I wondered how badly I could suck in front of these guys. If they'd snicker and wonder why I even pulled my gun out of the safe.

To my left, C yelled "pull" and I saw the barrel of his 12 gauge raise in the corner of my eye. In front of us the vividly orange clay target exploded into a puff of dust.

I took a deep breath, chambered a round, and yelled "pull". As the target began its arc across the frozen landscape, I felt the familiar surge of adrenaline. I caught up to the flying orange disk with my sights and squeezed. As I ejected the spent cartridge onto the ground, my nervousness danced away on the wind with the smoke trail of ignited gunpowder.

I was back on the range. And back on my game.

I shot like I'd never taken a break. Holding my own with all 4 of the guys who stood at the trap line with me. We shot 3 complete rounds (each being 25 target/person) of trap yesterday. Each round I consistently hit 75% of my targets and was one of top 2 shooters at the line. No one could believe that I hadn't been out in 4 years. The guys in the clubhouse were trying to sign me up for league shooting this summer in between rounds.

As always, C cursed that I could "come off the couch and kick his a$$". One of the benefits to being a woman I guess.

January 8, 2009

Are You 12?

Me: "Do you really think that's a good idea?"

C: "I guess based on that question, you don't think it's a good idea. Obviously considering I was about to do it, I personally thought it was. It's only the plastic cover."

Me: "Yeah. That is soooo white trash."

C laughs and walks away.

30 seconds later he walks back into the kitchen with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. He wipes the protective covering on the Macbook and promptly slaps a sticker for the Uinta Brewing Company on the upper corner of the lid.

Me: "Did you realize that you were 12, twenty years ago??"

C: "You married me."

And he walks away while I sit shaking my head.