Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Heart My Liver


Well, sometimes God just yanks you into something you don't appreciate until someone pulls out the i.v. and lets you put your shirt back on.

See, in the wee, small hours of Sunday, I woke up feeling like a knife-y thing was coring my heart like an apple.  I did the appropriate "systems check" deal - no numb arm, no achy jaw or neck, no nausea.  I couldn't remember if  "feeling like you swallowed an auger and it is now trying to exit through the spine" was a symptom of heart attack, but it didn't seem likely, so I just decided to lay there and think for a minute before doing anything extreme . . .  like asking for help from the doctor asleep next to me.

I couldn't come up with a definitive diagnosis, so I thought, "Well, do I have a gut feeling I'm going to die soon?" (I wonder this a lot.) Because I know God WILL give me a warning.  Sure, we don't hear of that happening a lot, but it's ME.  I just KNOW I'll have a peaceful feeling and enough time to gather my loved ones around for a pep talk.  So I was reassured when I didn't get the "You have 4 hours," and when the pain left in a few minutes, I fell asleep.  Then BAM!  Here we went again with the coring and boring.

More thinking:
"I'm not burping up the 2 cups of gummy bears I downed while watching episodes of Community before I came to bed, so it's not reflux . . . "  Then, when the pain got to a "9" I thought, "If I start to get really woozy, as I'm passing out I'll smack Mark and he'll wake up, instinctively know I'm dying and will start CPR & bring me back."    I have no idea why I thought that would be an okay solution and that we'd all just have a big laugh about it later, but that scenario played out a couple of more times until I finally fell asleep.

Some time Sunday afternoon I started wondering if I'd been a tad silly.  All of the information that I gleaned from the professionals - web md, google searches, and family members - implied that I had missed a great opportunity to be saved from a heart attack.  So I thought I'd drop my doc an email on Sunday night to ask if he'd like me to get some tests. Clearly, my less than hysterical approach was not okayed by Big Pharm, as my doc's Monday morning reply was  "go to the e.r. asap."  I took that to mean, "Meh.  It's probably nothing, so enjoy Candy Crush for the rest of the day."  

My big mistake was telling Sidney what the doc said.  She went into full Defcon 5 mode and was giving me worst-case scenarios, telling me how hard it would be for everyone if I died, and threatening phone calls to friends.  Stuff like, "If I call Debbie, she'll come over and we'll hog tie you and take you in."  (She actually dropped several names of women we know. Let that be a warning to anyone who thinks it's a peachy idea to let their children make friends.)  After waffling for a couple of hours with "Okay, let me get dressed"  then "Nah, I'm okay" and "Well, my chest DOES feel a bit tweaky" I decided that Sidney would stroke out if I didn't make a decision.  So I got dressed ("You couldn't find those underwear last time we went to the e.r. either, Mom!") and off we went.

The good thing about going to the e.r. with chest pain is that a nurse swoops into the waiting room within 90 seconds - the pee left on the chair by the last person doesn't even soak into your jeans -  summons you to the place where, lets face it, lots of people die,  and practically has e.k.g. leads on your chest before the door closes behind you. Because nothing promotes healing like someone using tiny sharp, sticky things as an excuse to grope your breasts.  Guys have a totally different, pleasant experience with e.k.g. leads but they get payback with catheters, so if you're a man, just think, "OW!"

To make a long story less long than if I wrote about the full 6 hours I was there, I'll summarize:  My heart is fine, my doctor looked amazingly like "The Dean" from Community and my liver is a mess.

Still no idea why I had chest pain, but the knowledge that there aren't many more organs that can be removed from my body without serious repercussions has moved me to the point that I'm okay with meeting some new medical professionals.  Especially since they will have no excuse to handle my breasts.  
















Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It took forever, but it was worth the wait.


On March 16, 2012 
Stephanie Elizabeth May
became our new daughter when she married Scott in the 
San Diego LDS Temple.
Lemme tell you about Stephanie -
Steph is a wash and wear beauty.  
She doesn't get caught up in fashion or wear designer clothes yet she 
could be a cover girl.  
Her wedding dress came from eBay but she looked as though she'd been
personally fitted by Vera Wang.  
She had me do her wedding makeup, but I suspect it was simply because
it's a given that women get fancied up for stuff like that 
and because she loves me.  
She doesn't wear chapstick because she believes it's addictive.
 Her biggest fashion statement is wearing one of her crocheted 
animal hats.  
Steph is brilliant.  She is one of those people who can still play while
acing all of her classes in college and pharmacy school.  
She is an amazing cook who googles Indian recipes and takes pictures of her 
favorites and posts them on facebook under 
titles like "Bread Porn."
She knows how to work hard and has spent summers sweating in the fields 
picking melons, and moving boxes in a warehouse 
with the big boys.
She is competitive and will take you apart as quickly and viciously in a 
game of Yatzee as if she was after a Super Bowl ring.  
She is funny and happy and quick and I miss her when she's gone.
But what I love most 
is that she loves my son with a fierce loyalty, and 
when I see the way she looks at him and the way he looks back
I'm grateful that she said 
"Yes."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gone too soon.

The Remains of Halloween by pietroizzo
The Remains of Halloween, a photo by pietroizzo on Flickr.

I worked so hard on my little pumpkin friend. Shaping his face with a carrot peeler and sharpened knife; sculpting cheeks and wrinkles, frowning brows, and a sneer.

Soon, a black spot appeared on his cheek and grew like a porous cancer. I thought that if I laid him on his side, the ventilation moving through his head might dry the tissue and slow the moldy growth. But alas.

As I picked him up, the skull started to cave in, and my fingers began to penetrate the fuzzy gray soft tissue beneath the skin.

I tossed him in the garbage. But first, I stuffed a kleenex into the hole on his face, dribbled on some bright bloody red hot sauce, and left his corpse for Mark to find in the morning.

Happy Week Before Halloween.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Punkin Guts.

30/10/10 - Pumpkin Carving by Bond Girly
30/10/10 - Pumpkin Carving, a photo by Bond Girly on Flickr.

Sid & I decided that this year we were going to actually CARVE our pumpkins rather than let them sit around the house until the Christmas season. So we put on one of our favorite movies, Harry Potter, and went to town - for hours. The worst part of carving a pumpkin is the fight with the messy, slimy, tangle of seeds that have to be scraped free in preparation of taking that first eye slice. Soon, the house was full of the musky-sweet scent of raw pumpkin and wet newspaper. Ya know, after doing all of that work and slopping up the goopy seeds, I find it incomprehensible that overachieving hippie earth-mother mommies (who probably give birth in the bathtub while canning peaches) will slush through that mess in order to pick out the seeds, soak them in salt, then roast them in the oven. No food is worth that. But I digress...
Anyway, I love this time of year. The trees slip on their gold, yellow and orange outfits in their last sunny fling before their brown winter strip-tease. I love the way the sheets feel when I climb in at the end of the day - cool and crisp with a hint of the cold feet to come by morning. The pressure on my toes is a reminder that the comfy-cozy warmth of the comforter is just a tug away. Soon, the smell of burning wood will season the neighborhood each evening, and the sweatshirts will come out of storage, bringing their own woodsy drawer-scent. The hot chocolate, cider, and camomile tea will be regular companions as we relax with a good book or movie.
Aaah. It's a wonderful time of year. Even if the pumpkins don't get carved.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Leilana's Peace

spring break by stoneth
spring break a photo by stoneth on Flickr.
I've been thinking about "beauty" a lot lately. Maybe because it's what I do for a living now - try to help women feel pretty at a makeup boutique in Sacramento.

Women of all size, race, age, and status come into the shop. Some know who they are and ask for what they need to complete themselves: "I just need some more of my foundation," or "I ran out of Mineral Veil."

Others come in because they're curious; they walk slowly and study the shelves, wondering at the rows of tinted powders. Maybe turning the super-sized lazy susan full of glimmering eyeshadows, then carefully dipping a finger into a pot and scuffing it onto the back of their hands.

The shy and self-conscious, hopefully asking: "Is this really as good as they say?" No mention of the acne boiling from her forehead or the dark spots that betray years of fighting the battle. But there's hope in the eyes that maybe THIS makeup is the one.

And then there are the dissatisfied, frustrated, obsessed. Pinning their life's problems onto a freckle that only they can see: "Can you cover this?" But nobody can.

I want to forget myself. To pass a mirror and skip the disgust because I'm not a size 4 anymore. To get ready for the day and rejoice that for a girl of 54 I'm still doing okay.

Even with a few spots and creases.

Please click on the photo and ready Leilana's story. And give thanks for your own peace - your reasons to smile.