Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"It says "crazy" here on your chart..."

I am so sick. Sick, literally, and even more sick of those that call themselves doctors, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, etc. I have not been sick in a year - with the exception of woman's issues and migraines - I have not been to the doctor since exactly this time last year (during the ice storm) to be diagnosed with all but pneumonia.(And it took TWO trips to finally get some help - more on that in a minute...) And here we are again. I would like to humor myself to think I know a little bit more than the average bear when it comes to anything that ails the human body because I've had a lot of them. I was a relatively sick little child and I was fortunate to have a great doc that explained everything when I would go see him growing up. I know how a cold differs from a sinus infection because of his highly sophisticated narrative of each. I know the difference in a viral and a bacterial infection. I know what happens to the blood vessels in my brain when I have a migraine because of his simple yet technical diagrams. I know I am 95% more likely to get an ear infection than most people because my tonsils stay 95% more inflamed than most. In so many words, I'm relatively well-versed in medicinal knowlege, at least for my own body. Since moving from Glasgow, I am not able to visit afore-mentioned doctor for obvious reasons. I didn't have much trouble adjusting to other doctors while I was in Bowling Green, but since moving to Elizabethtown, I've literally had nothing but trouble.
I have learned that I am hyper-sensitive to barometric changes, weather fluxuations, and temperature variations. Such weather phenomenons can trigger migraines, endless sinus and allergy problems, mood swings, and even affect my lovely battle with IBS. I've learned to deal. I have plenty of homeopathic, prescription and over the counter remedies to help just about any ailment, so I've got my bag of tricks ready for whatever hits, for whatever reason, but especially when the weather changes. I know my body very well and listen to what it tells me. I know to rest when the seasons change. I know to drink more than enough fluids to stay hydrated during weather episodes to help prevent anything from getting clogged, inflamed, or blocked. And I know to move around enough to get my blood flowing and promote my body's natural health defenses. I am a great hand-washer. All in all, I know what I need to do to stay healthy and usually do a darn good job of it. But when I need help, I need help and I need it fast. Elizabethtown health care providers just don't get this. They don't understand that I know what I'm doing - that it's my body and I take pride in it, flaws and all. That it takes a lot for me to even GO to the doctor for the risk of catching something worse while in the waiting room. That when I begin showing signs of a real illness, I'm going to need help fast. They just don't get it. Case in point: Right after Michael and I got married, I came down with a sinus infection, went to the doctor after 4 days of self treatment, and the doctor was already writing a prescription while he walked into the room. Had Michael not been with me, he wouldn't have believed me. He didn't examine me. He didn't ask me any questions. Just handed me the slip and left. Shockingly, a week later, I was forced to go to an urgent clinic for diagnosis of a terrible sinus infection, double ear infection AND bronchitis. Being the nosy posy I am, I decided I would ask if this could have been prevented and this doc said, "absolutely - if you had been given a steriod shot and the correct prescription." SHOCKING. Now hear this: this has happened to me 7 more times in the last five years; 5 times with upper respiratory issues, 2 times with kidney/bladder issues. I'm not even kidding. I have tried different doctors, with hope that this craziness would end. I've tried naturalists, nurse practitioners (I had good luck with them in BG), and specialists. Nothing. They all do the same thing, and I wind up on the phone crying to my mother a day or two later because I'm still sick and no one will help me and I end up either having to trekk to Glasgow to see the only real doctor still alive or I go to the hospital and wait 17 hours to at least get some decent drugs. And it's happening AGAIN.
It doesn't take a genius to notice the major changes in the weather over the last couple of weeks. Well, this past weekend, I noticed I was little more phlegm-y than usual so I rested, took a few more vitamins, and hoped for the best. Monday I lost my voice, but still didn't feel terrible and had no temp, so I kept truckin'. Tuesday morning I had NO voice, started feeling run down, so I came home from work to rest, figuring I had a cold (virus) that had settled in my throat and I just needed to give my body time to heal. No dice. By Tues. night, I was running a low temp and feeling pretty rotten, even with all the phlegm-fighting drugs I had been using. Wednesday when I called into work, I was instructed to go to the doctor (you know, because it is not allowed to miss work just to rest or when you're contagious with a nasty cough...) So, like a good little employee, I haul off to the doctor in 20degree weather just to be told I have a cold virus causing pharyngitis, to take Advil and to keep taking Mucinex-D (even though it's clearly not doing it's job, a topic that was discussed at the beginning of the visit) and (here's the kicker) to come back on Monday if I didn't feel better by the weekend. I even asked about getting a shot, which got me this response: "If I felt like you needed a shot, I would give you one. You don't need it." Nice. Intimidation achieved, Ms. Physician's Assistant, you're clearly the boss. It gets better. I was released to go back to work TODAY (again, contagious) and the note that I got has the wrong name - the check-out lady wrote the PA's name as the patient name. Really? Did I come to the Twilight Zone society or a doctor's office...
So here I sit tonight, completely unable to breathe from my nose, with a horrible sore throat and excrutiatingly painful cough, sick to my stomach from all the draining phlegm (sorry, gross) and I'm expected back at work tomorrow. Great.
Does all of this seem ridiculous to anyone else??? I'm so fed up! Because I'm a nice person and do respect those who are there to "take care of the sick" I can't just walk in to every appointment and be like, "Look, I'm not doing this run around again. Here's what I've been doing that isn't working, here's what YOU need to do, and we'll all be happy." I just can't do that. But I'm getting close. I can't afford two copays every time I get sick. I can't afford to continually buy useless meds, just to have to buy more meds when I finally get a valid diagnosis. I can't continue to miss several days of work when I'm just trying to get better!!! Why is this so hard to understand?!
Forgive my rantings - but this has gone too far. I'm not a stupid person, even though out of respect, I play the idiot at my doctor's visits. I just don't know what to do. I feel like Elaine on that episode of Seinfeld when she keeps going from doctor to doctor and they all write "Crazy" at the top of her chart. That's me. Crazy Elaine.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Praising God

What a week it's been! And I say that in a much different way than I was saying it last week...
First, I must give God the glory for the wonderful God He is and that He chose to love me. I choke each time I think of how wonderfully He has blessed Michael and I through so much - big and small, tangible and intangible. We are such undeserving creatures and I am humbled at the very thought that He loves us enough to care about our most minute worries and fears along with the mountainous trials and unanswered questions that come our way. The Christian band Kutless has a song called "That's What Faith Can Do" and it speaks volumes as to what my heart feels. Here are some of the lyrics:

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

It's an incredible song, so if you get the chance, listen to it! I hope you're as moved by it as I am! Praise the Lord!

Secondly, I love it when I am witness to unexpected kindness. I was at the grocery yesterday, for TWO hours - allow me to explain the reason behind a 2 hour grocery trip when it's just me and Michael I'm shopping for: Our Kroger is being remodeled and everything has been moved; I kept getting phone calls; there are a ton of 10-for-10 sales going on; and I apparently thought I was shopping for the Apocalypse that would leave me with the ability to microwave. That being said, I was mentally and physically exhausted by the time I went to checkout. Of course, there is only one non-express lane open, so I manhandle my cart into line and rummage through my coupons to find the ones I need. Just as the couple in front of me was finishing up, I realized I needed TWO bottles of shampoo to get my $2 discount (thus getting one bottle for $.29). I knew I didn't have time to go get the other bottle, and I was by myself, so I didn't have anyone to watch my cart. And the coupon expired the next day. Oh well. I decided I didn't need a back-up shampoo anyway. Then I overheard the woman in line in front of me say, "Oh, I think it's just down there...and Fluffy is all out..." as she was peering down an aisle while the rest of her groceries were ringing up. I quickly picked up on the potential to do something nice AND get what I needed, so I asked what she needed and told her that if she watched my cart, I would go get her cat food...and my shampoo. She happily agreed and I bolted. Unfortunately, the cat food aisle and shampoo aisle are not super close, but I made good time. As I rounded the corner to our checkout lane, I noticed that she had already unloaded 1/3 of my groceries onto the still conveyor belt in the groups I had placed them in my cart!!! I couldn't believe it. I graciously handed her the cat food, she paid, and she and her husband wished me well as they left. WOW! I could have hugged her! I've lived in E-town for almost 5 years now and I would have to say that definitely makes my top 10 of the nicest things that have happened to me here. Good Etown Lady, if you're out there, thank you for making my night! She was probably from Rineyville.

I hope and pray that each of you has a wonderful long weekend! A wish for a special Happy 6th Birthday tomorrow to my sweet niece, Graycen Belle! Our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the Haitian earthquake. God Bless!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Resilience

Deuteronomy 31:8 - The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.

It is less than a week into this new year - you know, the one full of promise and hope and light - and already discouragement and difficulty reign supreme. Hope and promise apparently are not synonyms for easy. It's not really that I expected the simple rolling of a date over to the next two digits would have insurmountable repercussions and reverse the past or even change current circumstances. A break sure would be nice though. Sometimes that's not what we need. God meticulously plans out how we are each to be positioned in our circumstances and it is up to us to determine how we adjust. This is the very lesson we're in the middle of learning.
With all of the messes that have already crept up, I've noticed myself thinking, "a year ago, this would have been the end of the world to me" and now, I deal with whatever it is, pray, and move on. (Most of the time.) I still have a tendency to want to wallow, to dwell. But with each issue, it does get easier to move on and head straight into whatever the next mess is, somehow hopeful that it will get better. I always joke with Michael that I must be crazy for thinking in such a way - that God can (and will) do what he promises us which is to never forsake us. That's one great promise. I personally have always felt unworthy of such promises, but that's another blog post. For now, I'm going to claim these promises and wait for better days. Beth Moore says in her book, Believing God:
"I'm convinced that most of us more readily accept the fact that God is who He says He is than we believe He can do what He says He can do. We less quickly assume that God is able - or perhaps more pointedly, that He is willing - to do what He says. Ironically, however, God can do what He says He can do precisely because He is who He says He is."
That's a mouthful, but it's true. I've never had trouble believing WHO God is, but that He will do what He says He will do, yet I have been proven this very point over and over again, and yet I still worry, question, and doubt. Shame on me. By now, I know better and need to work harder at being the believer in the God that He says He is. I need to work A LOT harder. In the meantime though, God has given us the gift of resilience. I want to walk away from each trial, large and small, with a little bit of resilience that causes me to ask myself, 'how did I get through that?' There's only one answer - because God is the God He says He is.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year


Ahh, the new beginning of a new year. It's like getting a make-over - a new opportunity to do well. The possibilities of a new year are endless and that is always invigorating. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that Michael and I are especially anticipatory of 2010 and beyond, but even with the roller coaster that 2009 had in store for us, we can name many wonderful blessings from 2009. Because of those blessings, we excitedly look forward and hope for better days ahead. Always the realist, I continually tell myself that there will always be difficult days but Michael is quick to remind me that we're much more prepared for such days than we've ever been before. That's the truth!
So, often with a new year come resolutions. Being a natural list-maker, I used to look at resolutions as an easy excuse to make an exhaustive list of everything I ever wanted to change about myself. You can imagine the disappointment when I couldn't hang on to all 72 points by February, thus a few years ago, I abandoned the idea altogether. However, after this year I felt I had some obligation to write down a short-list of things I have learned to manage in dealing with the events of 2009, not as resolutions persay, but more as a souvenir-type list of things I would like to continue on. Each one of these items came to me one busy day at work when I had to excuse myself to the bathroom just to jot them down!

Be diligent in Bible study. This will always give answers.
Pray fervently. Knit each day in prayer.
Be more thoughtful in deed. Build an ARK.
Memorize scripture. This is your daily food.
Be intimately in love with Michael. Show him every day.
Worry less. It's not worth it.
Be more social. You're a fun gal!
Journal/blog/talk it out. Don't stew.
Be less concerned with what others think. They don't care what you think.
Adopt the "less is more" and "perfectly imperfect" attitudes. It's worth it.
Be emotionally connected and not emotionally charged. There's a difference.
Respect your parents, then leave it at that. You're ultmiately responsible for your life.
Be active, and rest. Both are equally valuable.
Focus on the good, not the potential for bad. You're inviting trouble by foreboding.
Be assertive, not aggressive. You can do this.
Relish in "failure." Learn from it, then move on, smiling.
Be content. Let the little ones go.
Laugh at yourself. It relieves a lot of unnecessary stress.
Be CHANGED. This IS your next 30 years.

Sure, the list is long enough, but it's not a daily tally of tasks to complete that could soon become something else I can't finish: Reminders, not resolutions. The latter will be accomplished through daily to-do lists anyway!

One last accolade to wish everyone the best 2010 possible and that you may find peace, joy, and love all around you!

The End

My incessant need for closure has led me to post a final farewell to this blog. Blogging was a whole new concept for me when I logged on l...