Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Have a heart

So, I got to experience something last week that I've never experienced before: I got to spend 24 hours in the hospital. I've visited plenty of people in the hospital. I've taken plenty of people to the ER but I've never been to the ER nor have I ever been admitted into an institution of medicine.

I went to the doctor on Thursday with chest pains. I really thought it was my lungs...that I had some type of chest congestion.
She had her nurse do an EKG and it was abnormal. My doctor FREAKED out. She kept asking me tons of questions about my medical history (none) and my age (too young) and how I felt right then (scared shitless).
She finally fessed up and said that it looks like I had a heart attack.
Well, I nearly had one right then. A heart attack???

So, she wanted me to go to the emergency room and wouldn't let me drive. I called my mother who sounded surprised but not too scared.
After I hung up, the doctor came back into the room and said "Call her back and ask her to meet you at the hospital, we're going to send you by transport." aka ambulance.
So, I called her back and my mother said something like "Oh HELL no. Do you have ANY idea how much ambulances cost??? Tell her I will be there in a few minutes!".
I did what my mother told me.
The doctor relented but told me to sit down and not to exert myself. I thought to myself, "Lady, I was chasing dogs last night!".
But I sat down and thought about what the hell was going on. A heart attack? Am I going to die?
The look on my doctor's face really scared me. She looked completely confused. You NEVER want your doctor to look puzzled or confused.

The rest happened so fast. I go to the ER, they're waiting for me. I do an EKG (which was fine), get into a bed in a little cubicle, get hooked up to a heart monitor, stuck with a giant needle and interrogated by my ER nurse and doctor.
Then, before I knew it, I was being wheeled down the hall for a chest x-ray and a CT scan.

Listen, no one ever told me this and I think it's important to know: When you get a CT scan, they will inject some dye into your veins. It will make you feel warm inside...I was warned about that. But I wasn't warned that it will make you feel like you've peed your pants. I was laying on the table and suddenly I felt it. I thought "Oh my God. I am 30-something and I just pissed my pants in public!!!"
The dye wore off in minutes and I realized that I didn't have an accident but when I told my sister about the CT scan she asked me if I felt like I peed my pants and then suddenly people in the room were talking about their experiences!
Why isn't this common knowledge???

While still in the ER, I was told my blood tests were good, EKG was good, x-ray and CT were good...I was good. But they were still admitting me to check for cardiac enzymes every few hours and to monitor my heart during the night.

This was all very weird. My sisters showed up, my best friend was there in the ER with me along with my mom. My goddaughters came to visit that night too.
It was like a big party and all the nurses laughed when they'd come into the room and it was filled with people.

I have lots of funny little anecdotes about my hospital stay but I'll write about those later.
So far, we have NO idea why I was having chest pains and PVCs.
But I learned two things from this hospital stay:
1. After the tests in the ER and the echo-cardiogram the next morning and the CBC, I am pretty damn healthy.
2. I look like I'm in my 20s. Every single nurse, doctor (GP and cardiologist) and tech that came into my room would say, "How old are you? Twenty....?" and I'd answer "37?" and then I'd get a lot of "OMG" and "No way". It was very flattering but after a while, I'd start to feel a little if I should be ashamed for looking so young. I felt especially embarrassed when my older sisters were rolling their eyes behind that person's back!

I still don't know what's wrong with me but I have lots of appointments with specialists next month so surely someone can figure it out.

But I left the hospital with the knowledge that my heart looks great, blood work is good and I look like a spring chicken!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Reading Resolutions Challenge: Progress Check

Believe it or not, I think I'm doing pretty well.
I've read 4 books from my TBR list, which is great for me.  I get too distracted by new books that I tend to stray from reading lists I make.
I know I said I would TRY not to buy so many books, but that didn't go as well as planned. 
I've purchased 12 books since I began the challenge.  That does seem like a lot but somehow I feel I've cut down.  I've never counted them like this though.  Wow.  12 books in 6 weeks?  Just wow!
Ok, so this progress check was a good eye opener. 
I have been reading more book blogs and trying to comment more.  I'm actually kind of shy and for some reason my shyness comes through on the internet too.  That's a little weird. 
I have found more time to read, also.  I've given up certain shows on TV and have used that time to read more. 
Being sick really cut into my reading time, though.  I just can't seem to concentrate on anything when I'm sick so I filled that time with movies and sleep.

I've also decided to add 30 minutes of exercise a day so I have to decide if that's going to cut into my reading time or my TV time.
I should just quit my job, then I'd have time for everything. 
I'm sure I'd get a lot of reading done in my cardboard box!

Friday, February 12, 2010

....and before I forget

Carbon Diaries by Saci Lloyd

This was an ARC I got at TLA last year.  It's been on my TBR list forever so I added to my 2010 TBR Challenge
I really wanted to read this one because it was told in a diary/journaling format and I'm interested in all things journaling.  I teach teens and preteens journaling so bonus points to this one for being geared towards YA.

This takes place in 2015 and global climate change has created an emergency which prompts the UK government to start carbon rationing.
The global climate has declined so precipitously that the country has made the unilateral decision to cut its carbon emissions by 60 percent. Everyone is issued a card that tracks their allowable use of carbon for the year. This limits utility usage, travel, and purchase of anything that has been transported over a distance, including food. Laura has to cope with limits to hygiene, cell phone use, and practice time with her band and listen to lectures on reducing energy consumption. Her father's job as Head of Travel and Tourism at a local college is eliminated. Freezing weather is followed by hot drought and flooding to finish off the year. Her family initially reacts badly to the strains—her parents fight, her dad starts drinking but then tries his hand at home agriculture, her mom joins the Women Moving Forward club, and her sister, Kim, disappears for days at a time and almost dies when a cholera epidemic hits the city.
I try very hard not to get into politics so I won't argue the political merits of this book but it definitely has a message.
It's a scary message aimed at the very group that will have to deal with all this pollution and carbon addiction we and our parents created.
So, all eco-political messages aside, I enjoyed this book.
Seeing all of this from the point of view of a 16 yr old, bass playing girl in a punk rock band whose family started coming undone soon after the rationing laws go into effect is very real.
As much as she tried to stay strong as the world she knew slowly collapsed around her, sometimes she would say, "But I'm just a kid!!".
I remember feeling that way as a teenager.  It use to shock me how much people expected from a young teen.  Hell, I feel that way now!  Sometimes at work I want to say, "But I'm just a kid!!".

Good book, quick read.  Not sure if I want to read the sequel that comes out this month.  It's all very depressing and makes me anxious about the future and Lord knows, I don't need anymore anxiety! 
Pass, the Xanax please!!


Valentine's Day

Oh you all are so jaded and cynical.
"I hate Valentine's Day. It's all so commercial."

Yes, I guess you're right. And if I weren't so fucking lazy, I'd go search through my blog and find all those entries that said the same thing. I usually said that crap when I was single.

I'm still sort of single but the older I get, the more I realize that sometimes, as women, we want just ONE DAY to feel loved and special. Ok, we want two days...our birthday AND Valentine's Day.
Is that so wrong?
Besides...if you treat us right on February 14, maybe we'll treat you right on March 14.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino

Besides being busy and sick, this book was a CHORE to get through.

From Amazon:
Two women in their late 30s have been killed in similar fashion within a year of each other: Yuriko, a prostitute, and Kazue, a successful professional who was turning tricks on the side. They are linked by a nameless woman, older sister of the former and classmate of the latter, who lays out their histories and her own in a chillingly dispassionate, curiously defensive narrative.
This book is written in the point of view of four different people.  First the bitter older sister, then the beautiful younger sister, then the whacked out friend....just when you think you can't take anymore, you're hit with an entry from the sociopath murderer himself.
All four of these people are so severely damaged that I feel depressed after reading this book.  After the nameless woman reads the journals of both the murdered girls and the confession of the murderer, when most authors would make this into a positive turning point in the bitter hag's life, Kirino doesn't.

I have very little patience for irrational people.  So many times I wanted to say "So what you don't seem to fit into society?  Is that a reason to go selling yourself to homeless men in parking lots?".
Not one of these characters had an ounce of self realization and I suppose that was their downfall.
The main, nameless character was a dark, hateful creature.  She felt like her beautiful sister was the grotesque one because her beauty was so supernatural but SHE was the true monster and even worse because she justified her actions by blaming it on the weakness of others.

Natsuo Kirino seems to be a balls out writer.  If you think something is too graphic or unpleasant to mention in a novel, think again because she's going to mention it....often.

Although I was deeply annoyed by these pathetic characters, the author had this amazing ability to transform me into their dark, ugly world and I felt a little dirty when it was over.  That's high praise, indeed!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sick Time Out

I've been sick with the same thing the whole world seems to be sick with.
Today I'm not running fever but still feel pretty lousy.

When I'm feeling bad like this, the last thing I want to do is read.  If I even try, I end up falling asleep or reading the same paragraph over and over.
Needless to say, Grotesque, has been neglected for a while now.

Maybe when I can breathe through BOTH nostrils, I'll feel like reading again.