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All posts for the month August, 2014

We’re Going On An Adventure

Published August 29, 2014 by Malia

I should be sleeping right now, but I’m very VERY awake.  Tomorrow night after work (or rather, today after work, since as I write this it is technically tomorrow), the boy and I are headed out on an adventure.

To see the mountains.

Or possibly the smog.  (But not the Smaug…seriously, December can’t get here soon enough!)

It was pointed out to me tonight that I had forgotten how much smog there can be in Denver.  Having not been there in almost a decade, I don’t really know what to expect.

Having not lived there since I was four, finding our way around is going to be it’s own special adventure.

I’m so excited to get out of Omaha, to get out of Nebraska.

I’m also a little bit nervous.  I’m nervous about the boy meeting one of my very dearest friends.  It’s always a slightly nerve-wracking experience to have your friends meet your boyfriend.

It’ll be a quick trip, but I think it’ll be fun.  And crazy.  And awesome.

And I really need someone to reassure me that Casa Bonita is still just as much fun and just as magical now as it was when I was a kid.

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Puberty According To Batman

Published August 26, 2014 by Malia

I love the 1960’s Batman.  It’s fun, it’s campy, and it taught good lessons about how to be a decent human being.  What more could you ask from a television show?  Among the many gems that can be found in Batman, this might be my favorite…

Really, the only thing missing from this scene is Batman stating that he’s going to give Batgirl a “whiff of Batgas.”  (Watch other episodes, that’s exactly how he says it.  I could not make this up.)

A Little Knowledge Is Not Only Extremely Dangerous…It’s How I Can Be 100% Certain I’m Mortally Wounded

Published August 25, 2014 by Malia

If you’ve ever been on WebMD (or really, anywhere on the internet), you’re probably aware it’s only a short matter of time before you come to the conclusion that you have somehow contracted Dengue Fever and Lyme Disease and have an inoperable nasal tumor that is going to grow into your brain causing you die in 24 hours from dehydration and lacerations.  I discovered years ago, in tech school, that when constantly learning about diseases and parasites and such, it was extremely easy to convince myself that every time my nose itched I must be dying.  I think it’s human nature to be a bit of a hypochondriac.  Some people take it to the extreme…

 

…but most of the rest of the world doesn’t let it get too out of hand.

Last week was a roller coaster of real and imagined pain and illness.  I was sick early on, but it was only one of those 24 hour bugs.  Then, there was a situation that took place that sent my stress level through the roof, and basically left me having tons of panic attacks and finding it difficult to function.  I’m not terribly proud of my inability to handle stress like a balanced human being.

However, while all this was going on, I started noticing a pain, that I was definitely not imagining, coming from my foot.  It started as just a bit of an ache.  I didn’t think much about it, other than blaming it on the fact that I’m getting a bit older, and with age comes new aches.  By Sunday, though, the pain had actually gone from achy to quite sharp whenever there’s pressure on my foot.  So, I’ve been wrapping it, using my awesome bandaging skills (this is something I should put on my resume, because I really do have fantastic bandaging skills).  It really does hurt, but where the pain is stemming from, even if I did go to the doctor, I’m pretty sure they’d tell me to take ibuprofen, wrap it, alternate heat and ice, and  try to stay off it.  I don’t need to spend big bucks to get told to do what I’m already doing (and yes, it would still cost me even with my health insurance).

So, for now, I’m just going to grit my teeth and do my best to try to let my foot heal.  Thanks for letting me whine (I’d offer cheese to go with the whine, but I’m too lazy to make good on the offer).

Dear BBC America

Published August 23, 2014 by Malia

It’s been a crappy week.  A really crappy week.  A week I sincerely hope I never ever have to experience ever again.

Sure, there were moments that weren’t so bad.  Like getting to watch Sharknado 2.  That was pretty fantastic.  It also rocked that the boy spent a considerable amount of time hanging out with me, and he didn’t ever press me to find out what exactly had happened to make my week such a disaster.

Yeah, disaster is a pretty fair summation of the week.

So, that brings me to the point of all this…

You chose this weekend to premier the new season of Doctor Who.  Not only the new season, but the new Doctor.  This is incredibly exciting!  Knowing there’s new Who to look forward to has helped me get through the week.

So…no pressure…but…

Please Please PLEASE let it be awesome and amazing!  Please don’t break my little Who loving heart!

Like I said, it’s been a crappy week.

Love,

Me

Did You Actually Go To Medical School?

Published August 16, 2014 by Malia

When I was in elementary school, I remember classmates circulating a story about a man who had gone in for surgery, and when he woke up he was missing a leg.  Depending on the person telling the story, he either lost both legs, or an arm and a leg, or both legs and both arms.  I’m pretty sure that at some point, in some telling of the tale, he woke up as the Headless Horseman (and was probably missing all his limbs as well).  I learned two things from this, A. Kid’s imaginations are kind of a gruesome playground, and, B. Don’t have surgery, because the doctor will mix you up with another patient and you WILL die (sans all limbs).

When I was in vet tech school, I remember sitting in surgical procedures class, and having a teacher tell us that it was super important to count all your gauze pads-and anything else that came into contact with the patient-before the patient got stitched up, because you didn’t want Fluffy coming back in for having a sponge left inside her accidentally (and having a severe infection from the foreign body).

You always hear stories like this, and I think on some level I didn’t quite believe them until a few years ago when my grampa was staying at a rehab center after surgery.  Two days before he was due to be released, the nurse gave him another patient’s meds.  Turned out that the other patient was taking high levels of morphine.  I’ve always hoped no one got my grampa’s meds, because he was taking large quantities of Coumadin (a blood thinner, for those who aren’t familiar with it).  Grampa ended up back in the hospital for a few days, and his release date got pushed back another week.

All of these things were enough to make me a little nervous about healthcare, but it wasn’t until I started working at the lab that I truly got scared of healthcare.

Now, let me just point out that there are absolutely amazing and fantastic nurses and doctors out there.  My goal here is not to bash, or cast out a net and say, “All healthcare professionals are this way.”  There are people who truly know what they’re doing and do an excellent job at it.  However, in the last year and a half, I’ve started to wonder how many of them there actually are.

I really love my job.  The work is interesting, and I’ve learned far more in the last year and a half than I ever learned in school.  I work in a medical reference lab.  We’re responsible for running tests that doctor’s offices and hospitals can’t run in-house.  I don’t personally perform any of the testing (I’d need a medical lab tech degree for that, and all I have is my vet tech degree and training as a phlebotomist), but I work in the processing department.  Instead of a long drawn out explanation, just think of it as a combination of quality assurance and client care.  I seem to spend a fair amount of time on the phone with clients, and for every call that is smooth and easy to work through, there seem to be about twenty that make you wish you were having a root canal instead.

For example, recently, I had to call a stat result to a doctor.  Not only did this doctor have zero people skills, but when I told him what I was calling about, what the test was, and what the result of the test was along with the normal reference ranges, he said, “I don’t understand what that means.”  It was all I could do not to reply, “You ordered this test!  This is your patient!  What do you mean you don’t understand?!”  Fortunately, it wasn’t a very unusual test, and after about five minutes I was able to explain it well enough to him that he seemed to have grasped whatever it was he didn’t understand.  I hung up the phone and just sat there feeling pity for his patients.

The thing is, those kinds of calls are not out of the norm.  A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers had to call a nurse because a specimen was received that had to be protected from light and frozen within 30 minutes of collection.  The specimen arrived frozen, but unprotected from light.  The nurse didn’t understand the problem, because she had gotten the specimen in the freezer in the 30 minutes.  My co-worker then had to explain that the specimen also needed to either be wrapped in tin foil (not only does it protect the specimen from light, but it protects it from aliens as well), or put into an amber colored tube.

It scares me when things aren’t labeled, or they’re mislabeled.  It scares me when a medical professional doesn’t know that you use a lavender tube to collect a CBC, instead of a serum tube.  It scares me when they don’t know the difference between serum and plasma.  It scares me when they don’t know how to operate a centrifuge.  It scares me when I have to explain something basic to someone who supposedly has more education than I do.  It scares me when people are more interested in discussing their horoscopes, than they are in doing their job correctly.  I don’t care if you’re a Cancer, I care about making sure that the guy with cancer gets prompt and accurate treatment.

I know that mistakes happen.  I know that doctors and nurses are only human.  Sometimes, though, I have to wonder why some of them decided to work in healthcare.  Must be the great hours and the glamorous uniforms.

Oh Look, A Bandwagon…

Published August 13, 2014 by Malia

Growing up, my life was surrounded by death.  I’ve mentioned before that I grew up a pastor’s kid.   The first church my dad was a pastor in, was also the church the town mortician attended.  This meant my dad officiated A LOT of funerals.  In the four years we were at that church, I attended more funerals than most people will ever have opportunity to attend.  Then, when I was in junior high and high school, I regularly went to play Taps at veteran funerals.  (The perk of living in the middle of nowhere and being a trumpet player).  All of these experiences had a bit of weird impact on how I deal with death.  Mainly, funerals don’t freak me out, and death doesn’t terrify me.  I will admit that I can tend to be a bit callous about death.  It’s not intentional.  I have a very dark sense of humor, and on occasion I have cracked jokes that are in terrible taste, sometimes relating to death/dead people.  (Nothing beyond PG, but definitely in poor taste).

Most deaths don’t get much reaction from me.  People live, people die, more people are born.  It’s the circle of life…

Yeah, I went there…

The point is, death has been such a large part of my life, I tend to just accept it as something that happens.  When people die, I feel sympathy for their friends and family members they leave behind, but I’m afraid that sometimes I don’t feel very much beyond this about the dead person…

And yes, I do realize how horrible that makes me seem.

So, I was surprised by how sad I felt when I heard that Robin Williams had committed suicide.  I can count on one hand the amount of celebrities whose deaths have really made genuinely sad (Jim Henson, Charles Schultz, and Mr. Rogers, in case you’re wondering).

It would be very easy to sit here and judge him for selfishly giving into an “easy” out.  It would be easy to be angry that he willingly gave up a future, when there are millions who wish they could live for just one more day.

It would be easy, but it wouldn’t be right or fair.  I’m reminded of what Tolkien wrote, ““Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

I pray for those who are struggling with depression and who will witness this and think suicide might be their best plan.  As someone who’s been down that road, I can honestly say life does get better.

My heart aches for his family.  I grieve the laughs that will never be, and the talent that has been silenced.

I Have Now Seen “Sharknado” And It Totally Lived Up To My Expectations

Published August 7, 2014 by Malia

Granted, it helps that my expectations were phenomenally low.  Almost non-existent.  Basically, I was expecting a really campy movie filled with sharks and tornadoes.  Which is exactly what I got.

I have to give the boy major props here, because not only did he put Sharknado on the DVR (after I told him that there was no way I’d ever understand the subtle nuances & intricate plot details in Sharknado 2 unless I saw the original), but he actually sat through the epic amazingness/awfulness with me.

I will say that despite the many  flaws (including a complete lack of understanding of how both water and tornadoes work), and the generally bad acting; Sharknado was a much better film than most films I’ve seen SyFy put out.  However, I really would have liked more tornadoes.  Maybe Sharknado 2 will fill that void for me.

I am kind of concerned now, though, because while watching, I learned that the boy hasn’t got a chainsaw, or a helicopter, or any explosives.  I’m really not sure what we’re going to do when this totally realistic weather event hits the Midwest.