Feb 21, 2012

Appendicitis

I am very happy to be celebrating my birthday this year. I was admitted to the hospital late Sunday evening. The doctors in the ER at SMMC are amazing. I was given a physical test, then a cat scan, then my appendix was removed. I stayed in the hospital overnight so they could observe me.

I was so shocked when told I have appendicitis that I asked the doctor if I was dreaming because of the three morphine shots they gave me. Unforgivably, this was no dream. I then said something surprising while the doctor started to discuss the next steps. I don't know what he really was talking about at that time and told him I needed a moment to adjust to this new reality. A year ago, I wouldn't have stopped him. I'm proud of being assertive.

This is a bad bacterial infection. The meningitis is connected only because the meds for it reduce my immune system. One of my brothers asked if the meningitis and appendicitis were connected. The meds for the one increased my risk for anything. Appendicitis germs were able to get me first. I think I need to see about ways to improve my immune system.

This was also my third hospitalization for anything related to the meningitis. I am very sore and tired, so going to sign off for now. Feel free to ask any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy! Don’t forget to Subscribe to my RSS feed!

Feb 9, 2012

Traditional Thursdays

The recent media frenzy, which I guess I'm adding to, around the court ruling that prop8 isn't right has been crazy. I see other Catholic and Christian bloggers commenting on this topic. They have been using some very harsh language.

I've always viewed harsh language as too strong and immature for myself. Swearing does not add anything to my impression of others. In fact, cursing is what will make you lose respect in my eyes. I've worked in a variety of professional jobs. The language in each office and field location have only used appropriate language.

When you intentionally use foul language, you only show how uncreative you can be. I disagree with the heartbreak over the failure of prop8. I am celebrating the success of the view that marriage is more inclusive than just the strictly narrow view of just a heterosexual couple. I would love to be able to marry my sweetie. Right now, the law is against us being able to do that. Civil unions in Vermont and Massachusetts marriages not withstanding, marriage is still a privilege for my brothers but not me.

I have been married to a man before. That relationship was not healthy and ended in divorce. I learned my sexual orientation through that process. I believed the idea of saving your sexuality for marriage. I never expected to find that my sexuality was different than that of others I knew.

Growing up on military bases, no one would ever talk positively about gays and lesbians. There were no examples. This was pre-Ellen's show where she came out. This was back in the day of the original Star Trek being in reruns and the Star Trek Next Generation on television. There weren't any role models of sexuality other than heterosexual that I saw.

All conversation in high school was vaguely negative about gays and lesbians. Matthew Shepard was not to die for another five years. That's the kind of environment I, and many others, grew up in. Even after coming to terms with my own sexuality, I didn't let too many people know. I wanted to stay safe as my mom put it. I didn't go many places after dark except to go to and from work.

Even at work, I was not immune from crass treatment by others. A few winters ago, I was working the late second shift at a major retailer. My car was park near the building and was in view of the doors and cameras. One night, I went out to my car and got it cleared of snow. Got in to wait for the heater to warm up before leaving. Started the windshield wipers as it was snowing and melting on the front window. That's when I realized someone had done something to my window wipers. I got out, walked over to the passenger side. A dirty condom was covering the tip of the wiper.

I was suddenly enraged, angry, scared, and disgusted all at once. I used a pen to lift it off the wiper. Took it into the store. Dumped it in the trash. Asked my coworkers to call over the night manager. He looked at it was sickened too. He looked at the tapes of the night near my car. He said there was nothing that was discernible on the tapes and nothing that could legally be done. I'm still not sure of whether he did or didn't look at the tapes.

Later that winter, I was let go from that job as the winter hours were reduced after Christmas. I also had stood up for a lady customer who was told she couldn't go in the women's restroom because she was a man. This was someone with a marine haircut, but very obviously a woman from the front. I emailed store management about the rudeness of the employee. I asked if there was some kind of sensitivity training that all employees could take. I didn't let it go. Less than three weeks later, I was let go because of the Christmas rush being over.

That particular retailer didn't want me to go to the hospital when I burned my arm on the air compressor that had a short in the wiring. I told the highest ranking member of management that I was going to report the injury. He said I couldn't and refused to allow me to go to the hospital. I was accosted by my manager and another manager and told it would cost $14,000 if I went to the hospital. I have no idea where they got that number. But, it didn't lead me to not go to the hospital.

The ER staff thought it was bad enough that they gave me some Vicodin then and a script to get more later. When I told yet another manager I had been to the ER, she asked what they did. I told her that they gave me medicine and did basic first aid. She looked at me weirdly and implied that I just wanted the pain medication. It wasn't fair working for that employer.

Now, I'm healing and trying to get to a day with no headaches at all. I'm not sure if that is possible. The doctor said some people have langer than twelve months of pain from getting meningitis. That sometimes the pain can last till fifteen to eighteen months after contracting the disease. That is not encouraging news!

At least I know now and can try to work towards getting the headaches controlled. Currently, I'm on a month of extended medical leave from my job. If I am not able to go back to work at the end of this month, then I will be let go. I really hope that I'll feel much better by the end of the month. I'm not confident, but am hopeful. I mean its only twenty days. I doubt there'll be a big change in twenty days.

Miracles do happen. I am alive, and that is a miracle. I love God, family, and friends, including myself. Love is a miracle. I could have passed away in September, but like my mom, I'm a fighter for my health. I also have had a ton of people praying for me. Perhaps, my being sick is drawing them closer to God and Jesus. I hope that is the case. I can't change being sick, but I can hope that others are deepening their relationships with each other and with God.

Anyways, this has been one wacky post. Started with homosexuality and prop8, went through some tough times at a work location, and winded its way through religion to the end. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, even though I may also be scared of what it can hold. But, I can't influence the future so why be afraid or worried about it, huh?

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy! Don’t forget to Subscribe to my RSS feed!

Feb 8, 2012

Wednesday Wowzer!

So, I totally love puzzles and would like to start having a weekly puzzle. I'm thinking of something like Google's scavenger hunt, but weekly not daily.

Wednesday WowzerQuestion: Who was the first person to use Pavlovian conditioning? I will give you a hint, it wasn't Pavlov.
Answer to be posted next Wednesday, that means you have all week to figure it out. And, to qualify for the prize you must leave a comment to this post.

Feb 7, 2012

Brain Power Update




Picture can be found @ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/brain/

Been feeling a bit better. I saw the doctor recently and learned that there are two types of medications for headaches, abortive and preventative. All the pain medications are abortive, and able to cause rebound headaches. Preventative medications space the headaches out so I have more days that are noticing but able to function, as opposed to being on my back in pain.

The preventative medications take time, but the doc could tell mine was already working, as a side-effect of it is extreme thirst. If I don't have something to drink every five to ten minutes, I'm parched like I've been in the desert for a month. So, at least my drinking water like air showed him my body was getting used to the new medication they had put me on while in the hospital.

He mentioned migraines, and I asked him to clarify the difference between migraines and regular headaches. He noted that with migraines the pain is on one side of the head, flashes of light could happen, nausea, and that a cold, dark room and sleeping it off is what usually gets rid of them.

The meningitis has left scaring and inflammation in my lining of brain and spinal cord. This scaring and inflammation is the base from which headaches grow. Migraines growing in that kind of environment don't go away on their own. And, they are more frequent because of the damage done to the meninges.

I let him know that I was having one currently. He wanted to know how frequent they had been prior to the meningitis. Usually, I had had one about every three months. Now, I have had two within two weeks. Before, I would sleep them off, waking in the morning a little sore but a lot better, take a couple of Advil, and they were gone. Now, as he put it, I don't have that luxury. Instead he's put me on a targeted migraine medicine. It's the first time I've been on one.

It knocked me out last night. We had company over for game night. I had to excuse myself at 7 so I could go to bed. I wish it hadn't done that, but can't control that, so won't worry about it. Everyone was fine and the company stayed for about an hour after I went to bed.

I tried praying the Rosary as I do before sleeping. I only got about a fourth of the way before I started dozing off and not making sense. I think I was praying for hamburgers to see Morticia at one point. Anyways, I figured God understands and knows what's going on, so I put the prayer beads away and slept through to this morning.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy! Don’t forget to Subscribe to my RSS feed!

Tuesdays Etsy Shop Update

I have been working on the publicity side of the shop this week. That being said, I haven't had time to upload more items. I plan to do that when the weather is sunnier and my head isn't hurting so from these migraines. The weather needs to improve, so I can have good light for the photos. My head needs to improve so I can bend over while arranging the items for the photo shoot.

If you would like to interview me, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you. I am always looking into books on how to grow your business and improve your experience as an entrepreneur. I am also always looking for folks who want to have hand knits customized to their liking.

I like how the Etsy shop has an option for requesting custom projects. I like to know the things like size of the recipient, inches or centimeters work. I like to know the colors you are interested in. I like to know what shapes are best for the recipient. If it is a sweater I'll want to know how long from armpits to desired length, neck to desired length, width between shoulders, length of arm to wrist or desired length, neck/head circumference, and what kind of neck shaping, eg crew neck, v-neck, turtle neck, mock turtle, scooped (how deep?), square neck ....

The list of possible questions could go on forever. About the customization process, I would ask questions based on the initial information you were to give me. A lot would depend on what you had said, and what I'll need to make the sweater, as well as how easy it is for you to get measurements. I have built sweaters based on general sizing before and on actual sizing. The actual sized ones are able to fit better, and less likely to be given away after one or two wearings.

If the sweater is going to be for a person who is, as we say, a little larger, or a lot larger, then there are a few special measurements that are needed. Since body compositions vary, I would need to know where the bigger parts are. So, for the waist circumference, I would need to know the measurement from each front and back of the person. The side seam of a pair of jeans works well for this. Then, just measure around the front to the other side seam, record that number and repeat for the back. If the chest is where the larger part is the concept is the same.

These are just a few considerations when creating a custom knit sweater. I like my sweaters to be about 10-12 inches from armpit to waist. I like when they hit mid-hip. Sweaters also grow in length once they are complete. I'm never sure just how much they grow, as each would depend on the stitches and yarn used. That's why I usually go with the minimum number if given a range. Overtime it should even out to the longer number, depending again on how much it grows.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy! Don’t forget to Subscribe to my RSS feed!

Feb 3, 2012

Traditional Thursday, a day late

Yesterday, I had a really bad headache. It started Wednesday night and is still with me. I don't want to dissappoint you readers, so please know I was thinking of you all. I often pray that you have good days and acceptance of what comes your way that is not changeable.

I prayed those same thoughts for myself yesterday. I also felt drawn to reading my Bible. I have a really thick Bible, and didn't feel like lugging it from the living room to my bed where I am still camped out. So, I grabbed my iPod touch off of the clock on my nightstand.

One of the apps I have on there is YouVersion's Bible app. I have a few others on there too, but You Version's is in the tray at the bottom of the screen. Anyways, I entered the app, looked at my progress on various reading plans I participate in, and eventually made my way to the actual Bible.

It opened to 2Corinthians, chapter one, verse one. I read and was amazed at what I was reading. The beginning of this book is about why God allows suffering, and let me tell ya, I was suffering. To quote from my big Bible, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ's sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings we suffer. Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement."

I was awestruck by the reading fitting so well with my current situation. I had been wondering why it has to hurt so much to heal from meningitis. Here was my answer, to be able to encourage others going through chronic pain and debilitating illnesses. This mental attitude adjustment doesn't lessen the pain I feel, but it does give me a sense of the purpose for the pain, other than my body telling me something isn't right.

After K got home from work, I shared with her how I got to the verses in question. Then, I read aloud the passage from Scripture. She had been listening, while also playing on the Internet. As I began to read the above passage, she slowly turned around and stared at me with a look of incredulity. She asked if the iPod had gone there on its own or had I searched for encouragement. I hadn't searched at all. Then, we talked about how amazing God is and how we do occasionally get answers to prayers. She then asked me who I knew that could use some encouragement. I rattled off about ten names immediately. She suggested praying for them and whatever life situations they are going through. So, that's what I've been doing this morning.


For those with inquiring minds, the list I rattled off was my folks, brothers, their associated partners, past and present, my neice, g-ma, and two sisters from where I worked. That's only a small list of those I could pray for, but it is the list I came up with and have been praying over.


Also, at this time of great pain in head, soft gentle voices and music are soothing. I have been catching up on some of the podcasts I haven't listened to since getting sick in September. One that has been particularly helpful is Among Women by Pat Gohn. The first one I listened to was called Bearers of the Good News about Catholic evangilization. There were two parts to that podcast. Then, Pat did a podcast called, What I love about the Rosary. She shared my comments on there, so it was neat to get to hear that. Her voice is very soothing, and there is a little bit of soft music when she transitions sections of the podcast.


Each podcast starts with a short monologue introducing the topic for that podcast and how the featured saint relates to the interview portion. This is followed by a 'Blessed are They're section on the featured woman saint. This is followed by an interview with a Catholic woman who works in media usually, sometimes academia, and sometimes new media. Then, there are the 'What I love about the ...' podcasts which each have a unique format.


The 'What I love about the Rosary' podcast had Pat reciting the Rosary and comments from audience members either read by Pat if they were submitted that way, or played from the recording Pat had received from the listener. My comments on the Rosary were that I love it because the Rosary brought me to the Catholic church. I had been searching for a while of different ways to come back to God. Mary and her Rosary were safe ways for me to reintroduce myself to God and Jesus. I had been angry at God for a long time because he allowed me to get married and divorced. Why not just skip that and stay single? Anyways, I eventually realized that God allowed that to happen because he gives us each free will and that I wasn't really angry with God. I still wanted to connect with God through the female and that meant Mary and the Rosary.

Feb 1, 2012

Wednesdays What's on the hooks and needles?

Today, I have a few projects on the hooks and needles. There's the crochet blanket for the Ravelry group, Bundles of Joy. Then, the sweater I'm working on for my OWL (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) in Divination, subset is Astrology, for the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup. There's also the sweaters I'm making for 18-inch dolls, like the American Girl dolls, to sell in my shop. If that all sounds like Greek to you, it is just knitting and crocheting.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Enjoy!Don’t forget to Subscribe to my RSS feed!