Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Medical Update

Looks like surgery on May 20 for gallbladder removal, and possible hernia repair.  The hernia is giving me more trouble these days than the gallbladder, so as long as they’re both taken care of, I’m OK.

I’m really not OK about surgery.  It’s a scary proposition and I don’t think anyone looks forward to it.  I’m not a big fan of hospitals, I hate IVs with a totality that is frightening, and I don’t always respond well to the drugs they give you.  Not to mention the food- is there anyone who likes hospital food?  I think not.

I’m supposed to check in at 8:30am, surgery at 10:30am, then they’ll keep me overnight and send me home the next morning.  The scheduler called it a “23-hour admit” which I guess keeps the insurance company from invoking a full admit for more than a full day.

I told my Man he could just take me to the hospital in the morning, and go on to work for the day since there would be nothing for him to do at the hospital.  He seems to think he needs to be there all day, which isn’t really necessary.  He works all of 15 minutes away, and his boss is more than flexible if he needed to leave early.

What is it with people feeling like they have to come see you if you’re in the hospital?  If you’re there these days, it’s likely to be for something serious, and you won’t be up to visitors.  I know I hate people showing up to visit me anyplace if I’m not expecting them.  At the hospital, I won’t look halfway decent for sure, and I hate being seen like that.

So far, my husband is insisting on being there all day, and my business partner wants to come up too.  Add to that my mom, who’ll likely insist on coming up (but maybe not, she hates hospitals even more than me) and then my kids will want to come by that night after school is out.  Hopefully, they’ll all just stay home and send their good wishes instead.  I’m really just going to want to get it over with.

Am I being unreasonable?

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Misunderstood

I posted a diary today at Daily Kos that I thought was funny.  It featured a photoshopped photo of Hillary Clinton wearing a revealing ball gown that was actually worn by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  It was a really great dress, but the cleavage was rather remarkable.  When I saw the original photo, my first thought was, “Hillary Clinton would never wear something like this, and it’s cool that Merkel is comfortable enough to wear it.”   Then I thought it would be funny to put Hillary’s head on the photo- my husband the photo shop master did a great job.  In the diary post, I even included the original photo of Merkel.

Well, no one really got the joke, and I got flamed terribly.  Demands to delete the diary were met, and people really got their noses out of joint.  And that bothers me.

I still don’t know if people viewed it as anti-female, or objectifying, or maybe they’re just so serious that a post about fashion is offensive to them.  Whatever.  They were just furious, and demanded it be taken down right away.  Frankly, I was embarrassed I’d posted something that upset so many people.

My point was, Hillary is running as the “female” candidate.  Yet her clothes do very little for her, and make her look more like a small man.  I don’t understand why people would be upset at the idea that a serious female candidate could embrace her female identity and body image and celebrate dressing like a woman without being seen as losing ground, or making themselves out to be sexual objects.  Of course, I’m not saying that a women should dress in a revealing way, but on occasion even serious women like to remind themselves that they’re beautiful, at any age.  Angela Merkel is clearly comfortable with her body image and her fashion choices, and I don’t believe the world sees her as less serious, or as less of a leader.  It’s too bad Hillary isn’t comfortable with her body image in the same way.

That makes me wonder what message that sends to girls interested in politics.  That women have to give up their feminine selves in order to be successful?  That the only way to be successful is to dress like a man, pretend you don’t have curves, and refuse to acknowledge your considerable female power?  Surely we’re more evolved that that by now.

What the pundits don’t address is that Hillary’s fashion sense does speak to voters- some negatively and some positively.  This could possibly be a reason why she polls best with over 65 women than with under 30  voters- her style of dress sends a specific message to them, and it’s not always good.  I have yet to see her in something that is not a pantsuit of some kind.  It’s getting boring.  She is in a rut.  I have yet to see a dress, skirt or even casual clothing.  Jeans, anyone?   The clothes one wears is an outward indicator of what a person is about.  For women, that is particularly true- you send others a very clear message about what you’re about by what you’re wearing.

Hillary’s look spells rigidity and follows a formula too often.  There is little creativity involved on her part, little personality displayed.  The colors she chooses also show she doesn’t pay close attention to detail, and relies on others to tell her what’s best.  Why else would she wear so much yellow so often?  Remember that shiny orange mandarin collar jacket she wore to a debate early in 2008?  It was terrible, and made her look ill.  Then, in the PA debate, she lectured Obama on working class folks while blinding the audience with diamond earrings that must have been 2 carats each.  Certainly a mixed message if you ask me.

For those who cry foul that women get judged more on clothing choice than men, tough twinkies.  That’s the way it is, and it’s not likely to change.  I believe in equal rights, and I fight for women to be treated equal to men every day in my work.  However, I don’t believe that I have to give up my love of a great handbag or interest in fashion (even though I can’t wear any of it) in order to support women’s rights.  I choose to have both, and that choice doesn’t make me or my work any less relevant.  I happen to like being female, I like having more clothing options than men (neckties anyone? Yuck!), and I like to look nice to please myself.

Of course I am not a Hillary supporter.  I was originally for Edwards, and when her dropped out I chose Obama.  I haven’t looked back since.  As a woman, I’d love to see a woman in the White House in my lifetime.  I just don’t think Hillary is the right woman for this time.  Obama is clearly the best choice for a number of reasons, and I hope he wins.

Tests are back

And they’re all good.  No odd bacteria, no cancer, no sprue.  I was pretty sure nothing would be cancerous, but I was really worried about the sprue thing, even though it was highly unlikely.  The thought of enduring a life void of gluten in all it’s forms was unthinkable to me.  No more bread, pasta, cookies, cake, brownies, etc.  My god, what would I do?   I’d rather eat pizza than rice cakes any day.  At least I don’t have to worry about that.  Now we’re waiting to see if they’re going to take out this damn gall bladder once and for all.

Introspection? Nah…

Got this from my friend ewok1993- check the blogroll over there>>>>>

I am a year older as of yesterday.  Time is marching on.

I want to get our house sold, get moved in to the new place and get my mom settled

I have a new camera that is so teeny tiny, it surely must belong to Barbie.

I wish I had unlimited time and dollars to help as many people in the world as I could.

I hate people who oppress other people.

I fear too many things, but I put on a brave face most of the time.

I search for belonging and acceptance.

I wonder what my kid’s lives will be like in 20 years- what our lives will be like in 20 years.

I regret not taking more chances when I was young.  There was so much more I should have done.

I love my family, my house, my friends, where I live, what I do (most of the time), and food.

I always need to be sure there is enough toilet paper in the house.

I am not going to run a marathon in my lifetime.

I danced from the time I was 6 years old until my sophomore year in college.  Suffered an injury and never danced again.  I still miss it.

I sing in the car when I remember I can listen to something that isn’t NPR or talk radio.

I cry too often at stupid things and stupid times.  I wish I had better control over that.

I write tentatively, and want to be more sure of myself in my writing.  I want to be OK with making a strong argument or opinion on paper and not worry about it coming back to haunt me.

I won a queen sized bed in 1989 in a department store drawing.  It was a great bed while it lasted.

I am confused about why it is so difficult to hold the Bush Administration accountable for anything, when it is so well documented that they have broken so many laws.

I should get healthy.

Last thought before I go to sleep… I think about what’s going on the next day, and then I often say my childhood prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep”, and bless all the people I love, even the ones who pissed me off that day.  Sometimes it puts me to sleep, and sometimes I can talk to God about what’s making me nuts that day.  And then sometimes I can’t sleep at all and I have to start over again.

There, now was that so bad?

Today’s Hospital Procedure

I had to stop eating by 12 midnight last night per doctor’s orders, even though I couldn’t eat another bite after dinner at 7pm.  A 6am check in time awaited me, mocked me, bullied me into not going to bed until well after 1am.  I couldn’t sleep.  When I did, it was fitful and light.  Getting up at 5:20, getting dressed in pseudo-pajamas/sweats, trying to make my hair look halfway decent and leaving the house sans makeup, wedding ring and any other jewelry are all things I just don’t do.  “You’d better not make fun of me,” I warned my bleary-eyed husband.  I recalled when he’d had his carpal tunnel surgeries last year, I got to see him “on drugs” before they wheeled him into the OR, and he was waving his arms around like he was having an acid trip at a Grateful Dead concert.  Since he’s the most straight-laced person I know, it was fun to witness.

We arrived at the hospital at just a few minutes after 6am.  The place was deserted.  I knocked on the registration counter to see if someone was around, and a woman from the Admitting cubicle prairie-dogged up and directed me over to her desk.  She checked my ID, insurance card and attached a plastic ID bracelet to my right wrist.  Off we went to the Procedures department.  “They’d better not be mean to me,” I told my Man.  I was sure someone would make some nasty comment about my weight, or something similar.

At the Procedures desk, I handed a nurse my admitting paperwork.  There were two neon green Post-It flags stuck to the desk that each read “Eggs!” “Eggs!”.  I never found out what this joke was about, but for some reason it made me feel better.  They took me into a procedure room right away- no preliminary waiting room first like my husband had last year.  There was a huge, red boom box set up on a counter, blaring the new Celine Dion CD.  I laughed at that.  My husband went over to see what other “musical selections” were available- Kenny G, Celtic Dreams, Romantic Classics- wow.  At least when my mom had her angioplasty last year, they played classic rock.  I didn’t say anything negative about the music to the nurse, in fact I made nice small talk about Celine and her plans post-Vegas.

I got to keep my clothes on, except for jacket and shoes, which was also a relief to me.  I was glad I’d chosen to wear a stretchy tank and loose yoga pants- they didn’t have any trouble getting under them to attach the sensor things on my chest and left side.  Then the blood pressure cuff and pulse-ox finger clip were applied.  Then the IV was started- that was the worst part of the whole thing.

The IV felt sharp at first, and I thought it was going to mellow out but it never did.  It just felt burning and sharp the whole time.  They taped it down really well, and it continued to bother me.  I asked my husband to be sure they took that thing out as soon as they could when we were finished.  It worked fine the whole time according to the staff, but it never felt right.  I didn’t want them to mess with it much either, because it really hurt.

By this time, they’d also put an oxygen line in my nose and were starting to bring other equipment into the room.  I felt trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey already, and then they showed me the size of the scope they would be using.  They showed me the bite guard I would have to wear, which wrapped around my head too- to protect my teeth and the scope.

All this stuff attached to me, I felt completely out of control and powerless to help myself.  It was a terrible feeling.  The staff had been kind so far, even with my complaining about the IV. I knew it annoyed them to no end, but they didn’t make me suffer for it, which was nice.  They did say my doctor tended to run late, and that also upset me.  The longer I laid there with that damned IV, the longer I had to feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.

The doctor arrived 15 minutes late, and they asked me to get on my left side.  I asked for a pillow to support my back, and it was brought right away.  My doc came in and asked how I was doing.  I just asked him to get this over with ASAP.  My husband told him I was anxious, and I told him to get the elephant tranquilizers and just get to work. The doc laughed, and they made my husband leave the room to sit in the waiting area.  The doc started injecting the sleepy drugs into my IV.  They really burned going in, and they kept telling me to breathe, breathe, breathe.  Then he injected a second drug, and I started feeling sleepy.   Then, I remember nothing until waking up.

I have no idea how long I was out.  I woke up in a different room, with my husband sitting in front of me.  He said it was over, and they would be taking the IV out in a few minutes.  I nodded off again, and then woke up when the nurse came in to remove the IV.  They were commenting on how it was raining again, after a few days of blue skies.  Someone started telling me they found two ulcers, did biopsies of each, and will send out for testing.  Results back in a week or two.  Doc says this might be the cause of some of my pain.  If it’s the “right” kind of bacteria, they can treat it with medicine.  Until then, double my dosage of Prilosec.

I fought to stay awake through this, and insisted on sitting up and getting dressed.  I put on my jacket and shoes with help from my Man (he’s such an angel, isn’t he?) and they brought a wheelchair around to take me out to the car.  I just wanted to sleep at home in my own bed, and I knew my Man needed to get to work.

We came home, and I went straight upstairs to bed.  Didn’t wake up again until my Man came home at lunch and presented me with a bowl of mac n’ cheese- comfort food.  I ate, fed the rest to the dog, and went back to sleep.  The kids came home from school and wanted to know how it went.  They were kind, interested and sympathetic, which surprised me for some reason.  I guess it’s because I grew up in a household where illness was treated as a character flaw, or as an outright lie.  You weren’t to be believed if you were sick.  This stems from my mom’s experience with my hypochondriac grandmother who was convinced she had the disease-of-the-week her whole life.

Anyway, I’m up now, out of bed having some tea to make my sore throat feel better, and blogging to you all.  I guess I’m most relieved to know the hospital staff on this occasion treated me with respect and kindness.  They were competent to my knowledge, and I didn’t feel disdain from anyone, including the doctor.

Now we await the test results and plans for any future procedures to get this gall bladder out of me.