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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not Quite the Medical Test Result I was Expecting!

WARNING!  Some graphic girl-type topics are discussed in today's blog. 

TODD!  You've been warned!












Good afternoon!
So, as some of you may know, I've been having issues with my iron levels for the last several months. My doctor has put me on iron supplements since before Thanksgiving, but the only real change has been that I've dropped almost 20 pounds due to constant nausea.

That's the good news.

Yesterday I went in to find out the results of yet another blood draw. Now, my doctor is sort of like one of those holiday movie elves who are cute in a sort of elfish way, and they're short and talk with a "voice on 45 RPM" tone.  (Older folks are going to get that, the rest of you think "Alvin and the Chipmunks.")  Anyway, Doctor comes in with my results (on a laptop because that's what they all do
"...and if I can't be a dentist, I want to be Sarah's doctor!"
now), sits down, and starts talking really, really, really fast about medical terms I don't completely understand. (In spite of all my years of never missing a single medical based TV show.)  He sort of angles the screen in my general direction, as if I'm supposed to be able to read the screen (I can't) and he starts asking me about my menses.

Now, first of all, "menses" is such a throw-back word.  I mean, the word "Menses" make me think of my grandmother...and now also of my elfin doctor.

I explain that my punctuation has been sort of like a clearing house "everything must go" sale.  I figured the crimson tide was due to me being almost, but not quite, at the end of my monthly punctuation essays, and so Mount St. Helen's I was experiencing was not a big deal.  (BTW, anyone searching the internet for news on Alabama is going to be a tiny bit disappointed in this blog.  Roll Tide.  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

Apparently it is.

See, Santa's helper explained, there are two reasons someone is anemic (which I guess I am).  The first is lack of absorption.  My test levels are ridiculously low in that arena, but they are within the spectrum of normal. (looking at the numbers, it's like saying "Scoring one field goal in an NFL game is as normal as scoring five touchdowns." I'm on the board...but really, there's a lot of room for improvement.)  So the next thing Dr. Elf looks at is output.  Where is the iron going.

I can answer that.

My daily constitutional has taken on a rather...um...let's call it a sexy jet black appearance.

Hey, I warned you!

Anyway, Dr. Elf figures my iron release is far too much given the fact that my menses  (who else is giggling...just me?)  is such a drawn out Vesuvius.  So...he has decided that while we are going to search for bleeds and pollops in the gut and butt (endoscopy and colonoscopy scheduled on the same day, lucky me...and oh yes, there will be blogs!) we are also going to send me to a GYN specialist to...and I'm not making this up...

PUT. ME. ON. BIRTH. CONTROL. PILLS.

People at my church who are reading this are either laughing or swearing off my blog at this point.

Yep, a woman who got her tubes cauterized twenty years ago, and who is maybe a year away from menopause (BRING IT ON)  is now going to be put on the birth control pill to regulate my punctuation so that I am no longer anemic.

Now I realize (my adult children felt the need to inform me of this because I used to be on the pill back in the Dark Ages...you know, before my adult children were born, and therefore before time began and therefore before anyone intelligent was around) that the pill is out there for so much more than preventing pregnancy.  And Dr. Elf quite simply did not understand why I was laughing so hard when he told me this. I know, it regulates hormones and all that.  I get it.

I just think the idea of being on the pill is so funny.

I was laughing right up to the time I had to talk to the colonoscopy lady about prepping for that....

Stay tuned.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dear Target: If you want to sell groceries...maybe be better than the local gas station.

All I wanted was a half gallon of skim milk, a box of Shake and Bake,  and a DVD copy of "Hacksaw Ridge."

That's how my daily foray out into the world started yesterday.  I've made a point lately of making sure I have some kind of errand I have to run, no matter how small, to force me into real pants and eyeliner every day.  Do I use more gas than I used to?  Yes, but before you judge, ponder this:  I've owned my car now for two years.  I've put on less than 12,000 miles in that time.  So yeah, I'm going to allow myself a short run out of the garage every day.

Anyway, yesterday's errand was simple:  Find a DVD only copy of the movie "Hacksaw Ridge"  (I realize that if you get the blu-ray you get a DVD and a digital copy and then there's the 4K HD copy with the blu-ray/dvd/digital, but frankly, I only need one copy of a movie for my collection and I prefer DVD...and I really prefer DVD prices.) and a half gallon of skim milk.  

Literally the "Where's Waldo" of the grocery world.
Since my foray to Walmart the day before came up empty for the DVD, I headed to Target yesterday.  I knew that, even though this wasn't one of those Target Greatlands with the full on grocery section, our local Target had a good grocery selection and finding Shake and Bake and a half gallon of skim milk shouldn't be a problem.  I found the DVD right away and felt confident that I'd be walking out the door within five minutes with the other two items.

I started by looking for the Shake and Bake. Now, the location of this item varies from store to store, but generally I find it next to the bread crumbs or the boxed stuffing.  So that's where I started, looking for bread crumbs and boxed stuffing.  I figured this is the item what would take me the longest time...it always is...but still, I KNEW I'd be out the door shortly.

FORTY MINUTES LATER I'd combed every aisle of the grocery section and came up empty.  No bread crumbs. No boxed stuffing.  (But, there were FIVE different brands of baking Stevia and TWO SOLID SPACES for "ice cream salt."  I don't know how many people in the Waukesha area are making their own ice cream, but I guess the local Target is ready for them, should there be a run on ice cream salt.)  No Shake and Bake.  Forty minutes of studying each shelf...including the snack shelves Where I had to exercise the hardest of hard hearts because I hadn't had lunch yet and I craved pretty much anything on the FOUR AISLES of snack foods.  (On a side note, at least I got my steps in!)

Well, I mentally went though my cabinets at home and I realized I had a product that would serve as a covering for the chicken breasts I was making.  So I gave up on the Shake and Bake and went to the dairy cooler to get the milk.

Now, granted, this is a completely suburban American thing, but when I go to a big box store's milk coolers I expect to find, you know, MILK.  Imagine my surprise...no half gallons of milk. Not many,
anyway, and only TWO on the skim milk shelf...and THOSE WERE EXPIRED.  Yesterday being the 22nd, I checked the dates on both containers...both were expired.  Granted, I'll drink milk that's past it's due date if it's in my house, but I'm not going to BUY it that way.  (I have my pride.)

So...movie in hand...but no Shake and Bake and no milk.. .and this from a very large national store that makes a point of trying to compete with Super Walmarts and other grocery chains.

I got back into the Cube and was about to head home when another thought struck me.  I wanted to get a lottery ticket (because I enjoy throwing my money away like that) and the nearest Kwik Trip was on my way home.

For those of you not familiar, Kwik Trip is a gas station chain based in La Crosse, WI.  They have, in the last ten years or so, become a gold star in the convenience store world offering a wide array of coffees, beverages, hot food, and some really solid pizza.  I worked at one for a month.  (Yes, a
month...too physical for my crippled hands.) and I can tell you that the idea of expiration dates is one that is a big deal at Kwik Trip.  They sell NOTHING that's less than two days BEFORE it's due date. They also produce their own line of milk and bread, among other things.  They also sell fresh meat.  (I love telling people I got the steaks from the gas station.)

Oh, and they have a teeny, tiny, three shelves of dry grocery items that aren't snack foods and candy.

I headed to the gas station. And what to my wondering eyes should appear?  Non expired skim milk and yes...SHAKE AND BAKE.

I found Shake and Bake in a place that devotes MORE space to bubble gum than it does to dry grocery items.  

So, hey, Target?  If you really want to get serious about the grocery game, here's a tip:  Maybe offer less nonsense and more normal items to the shopping public and also, try NOT selling expired milk.

I'm no business major...but I'm thinking that's just a solid business idea to follow.


Oh, and ask for "Hacksaw Ridge," WHAT a great movie!  Enjoyed it thoroughly along with my tall glass of skim milk and my chicken breasts covered in Shake and Bake.  A good night all around.



Well, except I didn't win the lottery.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Remembering medical cures from "The good old days."

Good afternoon!


It's been a busy couple of weeks here, which is why I haven't blogged in almost 3 weeks.  Well, that and I continue to be under the weather with some sort of mystery ailment that's an interesting combination of exhaustion and insomnia.  Not great for the blogging, but very good for napping while binge watching reruns of "The Middle" on my DVR.  (Which is like watching my life's story...which is sometimes exhausting...and you see the evil circle of life I'm in!)


Anyway, I WAS going to blog today about some changes I've been going through.  (No kids, your body doesn't stop changing once you hit that magical age of 16.  Nope, you just level off for a while and then when you turn 45 it all sort of starts to roll downhill. and no, I'm not talking about menopause...yet.)  Most notably, how my leg hair has, for the most part, disappeared and reappeared as facial hair.  I haven't shaved my legs in a while, and it really hasn't mattered...except for one weird alien hair that's about four inches long and lives on the back of my left knee.

But I'm not going to talk about that.

Instead, my good friend Shayna and I went to a movie a couple nights ago  (we saw "An Affair to Remember" on the big screen. So worth it!) and the subject of medicine we took as kids came up. Now, I'm a bit older than Miss Shayna, and I realized while we were talking that I'm sort of survivalist miracle, given the medical treatment my parents did, and didn't, provide for me.

It started with home remedies.  You know, stuff your parents use that's not really medicine, but acts like it, so it's good enough?  Where do I begin?  Oh, yeah, my teeth.

When my adult teeth came in the front two were folded over each other.  My mother thought maybe we could just change nature by pushing on the front most tooth really hard with a Popsicle stick.  From the time I was nine to the time I was twelve I spent several minutes every morning pushing on that tooth, trying to get it back into place.  When I was twelve, they broke down and got me braces.  Funny thing is, I haven't a CLUE where the Popsicle sticks came from since my mother...a woman dead set against all things artificial, never bought them.  My head hurts from imagining her trading piano lessons for clean sticks.

Then there was the mystery lumps in my lower lip.  My parents were convinced I was chewing on my lip, thereby causing these two weird lumps in my lower lip.  The solution?  We're not going to the doctor...no we're not.  Nope, instead, they taped white medical tape on my lip.  I was twelve at the time, so this wasn't embarrassing AT ALL.  (This was prior to getting braces.)  I walked around with white tape on my lip for about a month before they decided to take me in to the doctor who took four seconds to say I have a benign cyst in my lip.  One has since vanished. The other one is still with me.

Today's kids are loaded up on probiotics to keep them "regular."  My mother had two special cures
for irregularity:  1)  Offering prunes as literally the only thing sweet in the house.  2) Giving us cod liver oil ever single day.  Let's break that down:  Cod:  Fish.  Liver: an Organ: Oil:  a thick, semi liquid goo, black green in color.  My brother and I lined up for that spoonful of gagging every morning.  Oddly enough, I sometimes long for cod liver oil, if for no other reason than to remind me how good things taste now.

One of the illnesses we contracted A LOT when I was a kid was pin worms. If you are not familiar with this disease you are either lucky or in deep denial about just how often you have to tell your under six year old kids to stop rubbing their butts on stuff.  Pin worms is highly infectious and is often passed, and most things are with kids, through contact with unwashed hands.  I had a friend in grade school and she and I apparently were just the dirtiest of the dirty kids and we passed those worms back at forth frequently.  (They nestle in the warm dark places, and then they itch.  So if Junior is complaining of an itchy butt, get a flashlight, go to a dark room and check between the child's cheeks.  It sounds horrible. And it is.)  Anyway, the cure, in the 70's for this was two-fold. One: clean everything as if someone with typhoid had just rolled through. So laundry is a big deal, sheets, towels, underwear, it's all got to be cleaned in hot, hot, hot water and the harshest soap possible. Then, dose everyone in the house with Povan.  (It's a real medicine, look it up.)  This was a thick, semi fluid goo that had a vile taste.  (Wait, that sounds familiar...) Bonus, you got dosed by weight.  So I, the 45 pounds disease catcher, got like four table spoons of the glop while my poor father, tall and girthy man he was, basically had to drink whole cups.  Want to know what it tastes like?  Try Pineapple Crush.  Same taste.


My parents' medicine cabinet would have shocked today's weak-kneed teetotalers.  Our cough medicine was 35 proof.  We coke syrup with CODEINE.  Oh, and of course, if we had a tooth ache, it was right to the liquor cabinet and rub some brown whatever on the pain.  Our decongestants actually cleared your head because it was chock full of all that lovely methamphetamine producing psuedoephedrine.  (We were probably all meth heads, we just didn't know it.)

And then...there was this.  See, my mother did not believe in baby aspirin.  And my brother vomited a lot and never could figure out how to swallow pills.  So when we had a fever or a headache, good old Mom turned to her number one, number one all time favorite drug:  the suppository aspirin.

This might have been a way for her to make sure we were really sick and not just faking it.  "Mom, my head hurts."  Okay, says Mom, "Let me go to the fridge and get a suppository aspirin. 

Oh, wait, no I'm feeling better!

For for those of you who don't know, suppositories are about the size of a ten year old's ring finger and go in one place...the rear end.  And since we kept them in the fridge, they were cold going in.  And then you had to lie very still on your stomach while the aspirin was being absorbed into you anal walls.  

I know some of you are cringing, and some of your are laughing.  You better be laughing. I can't possibly be the only one this happened to.

The biggest side effect of these was obvious:  any sort of backed up situation you might have going on was immediately cured once that cold goo bullet was stuck up in you. My guess is those things were expensive because I was NOT good at waiting for the thing to dissolve. My need to good was always stronger than my fear of my mother yelling at me for pooping out the suppository.  Which she did outside the bathroom door.  "You better not be pooping!  That suppository hasn't had time to dissolve yet!"

One time, and only one time, I thought about retrieving the suppository and reinserting it...but then I decided no parental scolding could be grosser than that.

In telling this tale to Shayna, I got that look of shock and horror and then a disbelieving laugh.  And my only response is...hey, you don't think I just started having stuff happen to me in my adult years do you?  

Oh no, this train was on the tracks at a very young age.


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