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Drumroll Please…

Published March 24, 2018 by Malia

To quote Professor Hubert Farnsworth, “Good news, everyone!”

I had my fasting blood drawn this morning and after several stabs…

(That’s four, four painful sticks of a needle. I’m a nightmare draw.)

…my blood was drawn. And this afternoon I got the result of my A1C (and of my chem 14, but I wasn’t nearly as anxious about that result).

At the end of December, my A1C was 10.2. That was the A1C that got my surgery cancelled. The A1C that legit scared me.

I’m pleased to report that as of this morning, my A1C is down.

It’s not 9.5.

It’s not 8.5.

Wait for it…

….

It’s 7.8!

You have no idea how excited I was to see that number. Especially since I know I didn’t apply myself nearly as much to the getting healthy process as I should’ve. But, as much as I blame the flu for me falling off the wagon of eating right and logging of food & blood sugar numbers, I’m thinking the flu actually deserves my thanks. See, I spent almost all of February sleeping, and when I ate, it wasn’t tons.

Now, I just have to try even harder to be good.

The only bad news? I’ve lost no weight. Zero. So, I’m sure that’s not going to thrill my doctor, but she should be happy about that 2.4 point (really hoping my mental math is right) drop of my A1C, right? Hopefully, this’ll keep me from having to go on insulin. Plus, since I’m below 8.0 my ob-gyn is going to be willing to consider doing my surgery again!!!!

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Thoughts I’m Having Currently…Part 1

Published December 18, 2015 by Malia

1. If I sit almost completeky still, and only move my fingers, my pain level is only about a four. 

2.  Waiting for the doctor’s office to call with lab results is a sucky nightmare.

3. 

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He’s fast asleep, pinning my legs, which helps a lot with that whole sitting still thing.

4.  Star Wars tomorrow.  if you don’t like Star Wars, I feel sad for you, but won’t stop liking you.  (but I may start practicing Jedi skills in your direction…”You want to watch Star Wars…You will like Star Wars…“)

5.  Typing a post out on my phone isn’t terribly easy, especially since I turned off auto-capitalisation.

6.  Eek…just barely shifted my leg and the demons in my abdomen are trying to decide if they’re going to upgrade the level 4 to a level 5. 

7.  LOOK AT THE PRECIOUS ANGEL BABY!

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8.  Wonder if I can use my Jedi powers to fetch the ibuprofen…

9.  nope…

10.  Crap, this means I have to get up…

11.  I shall return…

I’m not Goofy, but I might be Pluto?

Published September 17, 2014 by Malia

Hello Internets.  So, I promise I’ll continue the travelogue on my next post.  For now, though, consider it on hiatus due to Satan Pox.  What’s Satan Pox you ask?  I think I may have mentioned it before, but in case I haven’t, Satan Pox is the name I have bestowed on any really unpleasant illness I get.  This current round of Satan Pox is the worst round I’ve had, as of yet.  I should be sleeping, I want to be sleeping, but there’s this whole I CAN’T BREATHE through both nostrils thing that has got me in an unpleasant headlock.

Seriously.

I spent last night doing the routine of, “I can’t get comfy in this chair.  I need to pee.  Since I can’t sleep in the chair, maybe I should try the couch.  I can’t sleep on the couch, and now I need to pee.  AGAIN.  Since the couch isn’t working out, maybe I should try the chair again.”

Lather, rinse, repeat.

ALL.  NIGHT. LONG.

It’s been more than a little frustrating.

And for those who are sitting there wondering why I haven’t just gone to the doctor, I’d like to point out that even with insurance going to the doctor still costs money, and I don’t get paid until Friday.  So I’m just laying low and taking cough/cold/flu syrup until I go back to work tomorrow.

So, I’m tired, I’m cranky, and I’m more than a little hopped up on Nyquil.  True story, earlier today I was talking with mom, and I randomly began quoting Gravity Falls, “Lick that elbow!  Lick that elbow!  Sometimes I wish I had kittens for hands.”  To which mom replied, “I think you might be a little goofy.”  And I shot back with, “I’m not Goofy, but I might be Pluto.”  I think I proved her point, more than my own.

And since I’m being all delightful and cough syrupy, I want to know if I’m the only girl in the world who is not currently smitten with  the photo circulating of Benedict Cumberbatch recreating the Mr. Darcy Pride and Prejudice scene?  For some reason, I find the picture kind of creepy.  I don’t know why, either.  Judging by the things I’ve been reading, apparently I’m kind of alone in this feeling.  

The other really annoying thing about Satan Pox is that it is giving me weird memory lags.  Example, that last sentence, I forgot what I was typing for the better part of almost 2 minutes.  Then there was last night, where I suddenly had this need to go into a different room, and something in my brain was telling me that it was super important that I go into the other room.  I got there, stood there for the better part of four minutes trying to figure out why I was in there and why it was so important.  I then gave up and returned to my chair.  I still don’t know why I was in there.  Maybe it was the Silence.

And I now realize that there is not one person reading this who isn’t more than a little confused.  Or maybe I’m the one who’s confused.

Bottom line: Don’t get Satan Pox.  It’s super annoying and painful.

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).

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.

The Tail of a Cat

Published February 12, 2013 by Malia

Shortly before I turned 5, my family moved from Denver to a little town in southern Illinois.  We took a long two cats, Gracie and Marshmallow, some gerbils, and some fish.  Not long  after we settled in, the neighbor’s cat came around to visit with her kittens.  She did this everyday for a couple of days.  It was late fall, and the weather was turning cool.  Mom couldn’t stand it, and she started leaving out food.  Pretty soon, the mamma cat stopped coming, and only one little kitten remained.  Somehow mom and I convinced my dad that we needed to take the kitten in.  So, into our lives came a third cat, which in my 5 year old wisdom I named, Andrew George Mittens the Third.  Andrew came about because at the time I was convinced that “Andrew” was simply the greatest boy name in the world.  George was attached because our cat Gracie was named after Gracie Allen, so I thought it was appropriate to name the boy cat after George Burns.  Mittens was because he had little white paws that emerged from his tabby coat.   I didn’t quite comprehend the fact that “the Third” referred to line of descendants.  I just thought it fit since he was the third cat we had at the time.    Anyway, Andrew, George, and the Third rarely got mentioned, and he came to be known as Mittens.

Mittens quickly grew from being a tiny pathetic kitten, into a bit of a behemoth.  He remained this for as long as he was in my life.

The first year I was in 4-H, I decided to spend the year preparing my cat to be judged at the county fair.  Owning him was as close to owning livestock as I was gonna get.  When I took him to the fair, I had to take him up to a panel of judges which included a veterinarian.  Things didn’t exactly go smoothly.  Mittens decided it was a good time to hiss and be generally unsociable.  My mom ended up coming and holding him in place.  The vet was terrified of him.  I think the fact that I wasn’t scared of something she was, is what got me a blue ribbon.

We discovered, one day by chance, that Mittens could be called by the sound of hysterical crying.  We were watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, and Mittens was nowhere around.  In the episode, Nellie Olson started fake hysterical crying.  Out of nowhere, Mittens lumbered in desperate to check on mom and I.  He was certain something was wrong.  He never failed to come when I was crying.

When I turned 9, I had a really bad case of pneumonia.  It actually hit a few weeks before my 9th birthday, and lasted until the middle of February.  I missed the better part of 3.5 months of 3rd grade.   The night I was at my worst, was the day we had gone to the doctor.  The doctor prescribed me meds, and told my mom that if I got worse, I had to be admitted to the hospital.  That night, mom sat on my bed and pleaded with God.  To say we were poor would be an understatement, and there was no way we could’ve afforded a hospital trip.  All that night mom prayed, and like he had from when I started getting sick, Mittens sat attentively on the foot of my bed.  I did start to slowly get better after that night, and didn’t have to go to the hospital.  Two weeks later when we went to the doctor for a check-up, he was in shock.  He told my mom that he had thoroughly anticipated that I would be in the hospital the night of my last visit.  He also told her that he had expected that I would die in the hospital.

Mittens lived with us, and saw me almost all the way through my teenage years.  He was fat, and precious, and crabby, and wonderful.

When I was a freshman in college, I was living several hundred miles away from home, and things at home took a bad turn.  My parents moved, and they couldn’t take Mittens with them.  So, he went to live with a neighbor.  He was really old at that point, and not in the greatest health.  I never got to say good-bye, but I think (or at least I hope) that he somehow knew that we loved him and didn’t leave him willingly.

I’m sure he’s gone on to kitty heaven by now, but I hope he knows how marvelous and how precious and how important he was in my life.

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Pillow Talk

Published January 24, 2013 by Malia

My bed is cold.  Every.  Single.  Night.  My bed is lonely.  Every.  Single.  Night.  I’m surrounded by pillows, but you know what the problem with pillows is?  Pillows never ask you how your day was.  Pillows just lay there in various forms of flatness, and are silent.  In fact, if my pillows start talking, I’m pretty sure I have bigger problems than just having a cold, lonely bed.  My point is, on some levels being in my late 20’s and single truly has it’s downsides.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I greatly enjoy some parts of being single.  I love that if I want to go hang with friends, I have no worries about if I have plans already, or if my friends will accept my boyfriend into our group.  I love that I can be pretty selfish when it comes to my money.  If I want to buy a book or movie or video game (although, I’m pretty sure most guys don’t care if their girls buy video games) and I have the money, it’s no big deal.

Overall, though, as the years pass and I remain single it tends to get more wearing.  I just want someone to share in this adventure of life with.

To this end I was having a conversation with two really close friends a few weeks ago, and one friend asked me if I had a list of what I was looking for.  I had a mental list, but afterwards, I realized that I’ve never written down that list before.  Then earlier this week, as I was praying that God would bring that special someone into a friend’s life, I realized that I’ve never actually prayed that God would bring someone into my life.  So, I immediately texted one of my 3 very bestest friends and asked her if she would pray with me about this.  I really don’t believe I was created to be alone.  I believe that I am alone right now, because there are lessons I am in the process of learning.  However, the desire to be married has yet to be removed (and crazy as it sounds, I’ve prayed it would be), so I’m changing up how I pray.  I rarely ask for help from anyone (even God), which is pretty wrong.  It’s not that I’m too proud, I’m kind of backwards. I don’t want to bug people or God with my needs or wants, because I feel they’re so paltry compared to people with real needs.

Anyway, since I’m not desiring my pillows to develop voices, and I’m not wanting to be known to my “niece” as the crazy cat lady, here’s my list of what I’m looking for:

1.  Not just a fan, but completely on fire for Jesus.

2.  Loves pets; sans bugs, snakes, and spiders.

3.  I don’t care if he’s a sports fan, but he needs to be okay with the fact that I am not, nor will I probably ever be a sports fan.  Also, if I do watch sports, I rarely cheer wildly.  However, I totally love the Olympics, and he will have no problem getting me to sit and watch those games.

4.  Enjoys musicals.

5.  Loves movies.  Going to the movies is something I really love doing, and I would hope that I’d be able to be with someone who not only enjoys the whole going to the theater experience, but is willing to make entertaining comments throughout.

6.  Loves British t.v. shows, especially all things “Who.”  I have always had a soft spot for things produced by the BBC.  Generally, they’re quite a bit better than most things on American television.

7.  Loves books.  Hmmm…maybe this should be a bit higher on my list.  Yeah, it probably belongs up there as number 3.

8.  Family relationships should be important.  I’m pretty much it when it comes to parent care on my side of the family, so he’s going to have to be okay with this, and willing to help me.  Also, it’s super important to me, despite my age, that he ask for my father’s permission to date/court/marry me.

9.  Wants to travel, visit museums, go to the zoo, see the world, and take pictures of all of it.  I admit I’m not a great photographer, but I really love to take pictures.  I want to be with someone who enjoys travel and photography as much as I do.

10.  Be okay with the kid thing.

Let me explain number 10.  (And yes, I’ve kind of talked about this before, and yes, it may be slightly graphic and uncomfortable to read.)

Last fall, when everything went really south, health-wise, I found myself sitting, facing a doctor who was trying to figure out how to deliver unpleasant news.  She had to tell me that it was highly unlikely that I would ever be able to have children.  To this day, I don’t envy doctors who have to tell women this.  Fortunately, for her, I didn’t go into hysterics or any of that sort of reaction.  In fact, I pretty much had already guessed.  I’d known for a long time that certain parts didn’t work right.  Parts that are required to carry a baby through a pregnancy.  Her telling me, just confirmed what I already suspected.  Now, I’ve never been wild about having kids, but I certainly thought having one might not be too bad.  I’m okay (mostly, but believe me there have been some intense discussions with mom and with God regarding the fact that there are 15 year old’s who sleep with everything and get knocked up, and yet I try to be a good kid, and not only do I have this whole nightmare weight situation, but I also have a body that doesn’t understand the basics of how to work right) with all of this, but recently I’ve found myself wondering if this will be a huge check-mark against me for guys.  It seems that a lot of guys, even good guys, are obsessed with the idea of producing babies.  I guess they need to know that their sperm can swim in order to feel like a “real” man.  I figure that if I there’s someone out there who can love me, knowing that I can’t have babies (unless a miracle takes place), then they truly love me, and don’t just view me as breeding stock.

11. Doesn’t take himself too seriously, or say mean-spirited things, thinking he’s being funny.

12.   Loves, respects, and treats me as a partner, not just someone who’s supposed to clean and cook.  In return, I guarantee that I will love, respect, honor, and be loyal.  I’m looking for a best friend.

And there you have it.  I know that we can’t always have what we want, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to be specific.