My day started with a nice text message from Ivan wishing me a happy birthday. Thank you, Ivan. I don’t know you and it’s not my birthday, but it was a pleasant sentiment non-the-less.
I just read a news report stating that cigarette packets in Britain will soon be covered with pictures of throat cancer, rotting teeth, and a corpse in a morgue. What great marketing! I’m sure the fad will soon catch on here in the American market. I wonder if they could cater to the juveniles in a particularly endearing way somehow… Any ideas?
Friday begins like any other day. I get up, eat breakfast, check my e-mail, and get my daughter up. Inara, the baby who had had a fever for the previous five days is cheerful but covered in a full body rash. Wonderful. The afternoon finds us at the Doctors’ office receiving the non-troubling diagnosis of Roseola. Not a problem now. Once you have the rash, you’re no longer contagious. It’s nice how that works out. During the day, my head starts aching, but really, what’s new, right?
Saturday morning at 12:30 finds me laying with my head in the toilet with a full blown migraine. Oh, well. I’ve averaged two of these a year since I was six and once they get this bad they only get better. An hour later I’ve managed to fall back asleep per usual. I wake up with the baby at 4:30 just to make my way back to the toilet. From here on, that which went down will quickly come up. Pleasant. Baby goes back to sleep and I move to the couch. The thermometer shows an elevated temperature that explains the uncontrollable shaking.
The next morning came and my personally anticipated death did not. Always a good omen. Erik suggests going to the doctor’s office. I’m no dummy though, I’ve watched more than my share of ER and know what happens to the saps who show up with fevers, headaches, and uncontrollable vomiting. Thanks, but no thanks, Kemosabe. We strike a compromise and he phones the on-call nurses. They are traitors and recommend he take me to the clinic right away. Sigh.
I make it to the clinic where all the Nurse Practitioner manages to do is agitate my headache. She recommends that we go to the emergency room as she can’t give me any fluids or administer any of the “tests” they may need to run to rule “certain things” out. Just say it already! I’m not a child! I know what you’re alluding to! I watch all the medical dramas! For criminy.
We make our way to the University ER. As Erik drives I ask him to promise me that if I ever die from a doctors stupidity that he’ll sue their asses so he can stay home and raise the kids. That’s the type of thing I think about at moments like these (and at random moments in between). What are you talking about he asks. Just promise I demand. Don’t worry I says. I take that to mean “okay”.
The hospital just finished a remodel which is great, but the whole wailing waiting area is windows and the sun is shining its brightest. This isn’t the best for those of us with RAGING HEADACHES, but I get admitted fairly quickly. Nurse B shuts off half the lights in my room and I find myself willing to trust her as a woman of goodwill.
I’m thirsty… so thirsty. Nurse B draws blood in a momentary act of ill will and inserts an IV. I refrain from fainting and view the moment as a personal success. The doctor (very nice lady) explains that it’s very likely I have viral meningitis and they may have to run a test to rule it out. Am I familiar with the way a spinal tap works, she asks. Finally. It’s out in the open. The dreaded/dreadful spinal tap. It’s no longer the elephant in the room. Yes, I tell her. I’ve watched so much ER in fact, I can correctly diagnose people on other TV shows. Not kidding. She smiles and says not to worry about it yet, but to start thinking about whether that’s the course of action we want to take. I tell her the only reason I’m willing to even consider it is because I’m a wife and mother. If it was just me, going home and dying would most likely be the recourse I would choose. Again, she smiles, and she and her student nurse whisk out of the room.
As I’m lying there blissfully re-hydrating, when a bat out of hell another nurse comes flying in to tell me she’s taking me to CT. I’m sorry, what? That’s actually what I said in my sweet, disoriented drugged up way. You need a CAT scan she says to me, the uninformed dummy. Oh, yes. That sounds reasonable. My mom’s had her share of those for her migraines, so why not. As she wheels me away, I tell my loyal subjects husband and daughter I’ll be right back and not to worry. I tend to feel very regal when I think I’m dying.
In the CT room it takes the blustery nurse and the new grandmother nurse a good five minutes to get all my earrings out. I couldn’t assist since the IV prevented my hand from reaching my ear. It was a sad moment for me because I knew I wouldn’t be able to put them back in within ten minutes and that meant my conch piercings would close up. Yes, that fast. I loved them. (moment of silence) The scan itself was quick and painless and I was back off to my room and my waiting family.
Some guy on animal planet was wrestling his third crockodile of the day when the doctor and her shadow returned. Well, what do we think, she asks. I think I haven’t slept in 48 hours and I don’t want anyone stabbing a giant needle into my spine, that’s what I think. But I don’t say anything. Erik asks all the responsible grown-up questions and she gives reasonable answers to all of them. There’s a minute of silence and she poses her question again. I just stare at my Erik. She asks if we want a moment to discuss it and he says yes. She leaves. He asks me what I think. I say I don’t know and try not to whimper. He asks me if I’m too tired to make this call and I say yes. She comes back in. That was a fast minute. Rik says go ahead and she leaves to get her supplies.
Erik and Inara leave to avoid being traumatized. What about me? I’m traumatized just by being left alone! Doesn’t anyone care about that? The doctor and her disciple return and “get set-up”. The doctor is chatting about I don’t remember what as she explains what’s going to happen to me. I lie in the fetal position facing away from her wishing for Amanda to be there holding my hand as she was when I got sutures after Nara’s birth. All the sudden I panic and ask the lady doctor Are you the one doing this? Yes, she says. She reassures me that her student is only helping her keep herself sterile and then she’ll be leaving. Okay, I sigh. I’ve had enough students work on me for one lifetime.
She tells me the spinal tap should feel like going to the dentist. She doesn’t know how I dread the dentists’. She says it should sting a little when she gives me the numbing shots, but that the actual tap should just feel like pressure. I know she’s lying cause that’s the same lie my dentist uses.
The part about the numbing shots stinging was of course an understatement and I think for the second time in five minutes how it should be mandatory for medical students to get a spinal tap before they graduate. My Uncle once told me cops have to get sprayed with pepper spray before they can use it so really, it’s only fair.
She starts to do the tap and for a moment I think I may have overreacted. That thought is quickly replaced with a yelp. Does that hurt she asks. Do people yelp when it doesn’t, I wonder? Out loud I say that I have a very low threshold for pain when I’m exhausted. She says let’s keep going and see if it gets better. What kind of dumb idea is that? She keeps going, it doesn’t get better. Ow, ow, ow! I fight back tears as she withdraws the dagger needle and promises me another numbing shot. As my head continues to pound I pray for death.
Do you have kids I ask. Not yet she answers. My back burns momentarily as she fulfills her promise. My husband is a lawyer she volunteers. What kind? I’m not really sure, she says, the kind that’s of no use to my friends or family. I smile a wane smile at the wall. We’re in she declares cheerfully. I hadn’t even felt her start. If only she’d given me enough numbing medicine from the start this part would have been a bad dream versus a nightmare. Oh, well, what’s done is done.
Lay on your back for thirty minutes to avoid a headache due to the tap she says as she leaves the room. My family returns but I send them away to find lunch. The newest batch of painkillers are taking affect and I want to sleep.
An hour later I am awoken to be told I don’t have viral meningitis. What a waste I think. There’s nothing they can treat. Erik says that’s great and Inara wants to nurse, but she can’t. They all go away again and I slip back to sleep. An hour later I’m discharged. I’ve had two packs of fluids, anti-nausea meds, maxed out the painkillers (that didn’t do too much anyway) and received clean test results. They mention in passing that my sinuses are full. Thanks for telling me. If I could empty them like sand from my shoes I would.
I sleep off and on for the rest of the afternoon. They gave me some apple juice before I left the hospital and that stayed down. Sarah brings us groceries: fresh foods full of electrolytes. Seeing that the cashier tried to charge us $70 for a watermelon brought some needed entertainment. I go to bed early and wake up to pee at 11. Erik is still up working at the computer and asks how I feel. I think it’s gone I say with relief and head back to bed.
Of course I spoke too soon. Most of the night is spent on the couch sitting up with the heating pad and a cold washcloth trying to get comfortable. Sunday isn’t enjoyable to say the least. Anxiety starts in. Is it going to end before Erik has to go back to work? Am I turning into my Mom? Do I have week long migraines to look forward to? I was tired of sitting and laying. I had to move. I go outside and pace. I talk to the neighbor about a dog born without front legs who learned to walk on his hind legs all the time. Inspirational, no? I try to get a hold of my chiropractors home number but no one returns my calls. Erik and Inara come home from running errands and we all go for a walk. Amanda comes over for a quick visit on her way back to Des Moines. Where was she yesterday! She brings me gelato. We all sit on the kitchen floor and talk, enjoying the momentary reprieve from my agony.
I wake up at three sure that my neck just needs to be removed and all would be fine. Take it, just take it! I wander around and flop all over the couch like a dying fish on a dock. Could it really get any worse? I go and wake Erik up. Misery loves company. I’m dying I announce. I can’t get comfortable I cry. Calm down he tells me. Don’t get frantic he says as he pins me to the bed. I pant and try to calm myself. I decide to treat the pain as I would a contraction. I embrace it and let it flow over me. I start thrashing. I’m up on all fours rocking, rubbing my head on the bed moaning. I know Erik is concerned for my sanity, but I’m only concerned about my surviving the night. The pain is growing more intense by the moment.
A bath, I say. What? Do you think I should take a bath? Maybe that would help, I whimper. He gets up and draws a bath. As I sink into the water and it flows around me he goes and finds candles to I don’t have to face the lights. My Erik places the candle on the floor out of sight and sits it the folding chair he has brought and just waits. I remark how much lighter my head feels underwater. My stomach turns as the water cools. He leaves when the baby cries. The water stops helping. My blood is rushing in my head pounding, pounding. I sit up. The pain is too much and I vomit in the bucket he brought with the candle. I hear Inara asking for me and I vomit again. The pressure lessens.
I get up and nurse my daughter as we watch the sunrise through the blinds. I put her back to bed and grab a bag of frozen country potatoes as the pain rises again. Maybe I can numb it out. I prop myself up on the couch with my pack and my caring husband props himself up on me and sleep comes if only for an hour. Erik crawls back to bed. I stay on the couch as frozen in place as my bag of spuds had been an hour ago. If I don’t move, they are still cold enough to help me manage the pain though not cold enough to bring the release of sleep.
Two hours later finds our family trio in the chiropractors office. My face void of emotion as I sit awaiting my turn. Hope grows in my discouraged heart as my turn comes. The Chiropractor looks at me and at the bucket in my hand. I don’t do vomit he says. No promises, I say, laying down on the table. What did you do to yourself he asks. I don’t know I reply as unexpected tears well up in my tired eyes. I don’t do crying he adds. I think, as long as you do my neck I don’t care what else you “don’t do”. Out loud I just promise to try not to.
We move to the chair and I return to my silence, staring into space. The doctor makes a comment on the great chaos that is my neck. As if I didn’t already know. This isn’t going to feel good, so I’m just going to go ahead and do it he says. He didn’t lie. It doesn’t feel good. He adjusts my neck in one direction and it’s like a big wave crashing against the rocks. He turns my neck the other way and the waves are calm. Yahtzee he exclaims. Immediate relief. I look at my bucket and know I will not be needing it any more. Yahtzee.
It will take another two days for my mystery fever to leave and another visit later on in the week to the chiropractor to solidify my necks new found lease on life. I will go to bed early that night and lie awake for two hours from the sheer glee of knowing I could sleep if I wanted to. Soon, it will all just be a bad memory. I lay in bed thinking back through the preceeding days. Looking for the beauty from the pain. I find it and I sleep.
First off, sorry I haven’t been writing more. I think my brain suffers more than you do though cause it’s bursting with information it wants to share! We’re trying to get the condo ready to put on the market so that’s what I’ve been working on in my overabundance of free time. I hope to be able to write more regularly again soon!
Okay, on to some random facts…
*Giraffes sleep only two out of every twenty-four hours. I think that’s why they use their heads as weapons: cause they’re too tired to remember what a headache it will result in!
*Doctors at the UofVA just finished up a study on bees and pollution in an effort to figure out this colony collapse disorder nightmare. One thing they discovered according coauthor Jose D. Fuentes is that “Air pollution destroys the aroma of flowers by as much as 90%.” Suck.
Speaking of bees, I told Erik that I want to have a bee hive in the yard when we buy a house. He’s in no way keen on the idea cause he’s convinced people will get stung. The next day I discovered that bees are nesting in the siding by our door on the patio. I was pretty amused.
*Sloths in the wild sleep nine and a half hours a day. Sloths in captivity sleep up to fifteen and a half hous a day. What bums!
*Over a 28 day period, your vinyl shower curtain will leak 108 potentially harmful chemicals into the air according to the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice. That’s what that crazy smell is when you open the package on a new shower curtain- you know the smell I’m talking about! It’s a bunch of chemicals from the PVC. If we don’t drink out of bottles that have been warmed and cooled anymore, why do we steam a big sheet of it right next to our naked bodies? I’ll tell you why: cause the alternative is to use a heavy cotton or bamboo cloth curtain instead and my dear husband is none too keen on that idea either.
*Another study, this one published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, has finally cleared 100% fruit juice of the “making kids fat” reputation it’s carried. Turns out it’s only those not 100% juices, you know, the ones with added sugar, that are the real culprits. Go figure.
*Garlic works better at lowering your cholesterol than even Lipitor. Hmmm… God’s knowledge vs. Man’s knowledge…
*I have now put 43 bins worth of stuff in storage and because of the small space we live in it feels great!
What Do You Know? Please Share!
*If your diamonds are dull a soak in a dish of vodka can resuscitate them. Hooray!
* Okra (serious yum) should be eaten immediately after picking it. If it’s put in the fridge it can turn an ugly black and get a nasty slime. So eat it or freeze it, ya hear?
*Need to lower your blood pressure of relieve tension? Looking at pictures of nature has been known to accomplish just that in five minutes or less. Better yet? Take a walk outside. Hello, cooler weather!
*Americans spend an average of two billion dollars a year on candles. I wonder how many lives could be saved with that much money…
*Broccoli is purple or white. The stuff you buy at the store is mislabeled. The green stuff is a veggie named calabrese.
What Do You Know?
What Do You Think Of My New Look?
In honor of my 100th post I will be following in the footsteps of my good friend Sarah and share 100 random facts about myself. I wasn’t sure I would be able to think of 100 things but then I remembered fact number one stopped worrying.
- I tend to share a lot of info fast at the beginning of relationships if I really like you. Not much is considered sacred.
- I have five younger sisters and two younger brothers.
- I have a five year old nephew named Tucker.
- My husband and I shared our first kiss at the altar.
- I could easily eat half a watermelon every day.
- I saw Knight’s Tale in theaters seven times. Don’t judge!
- I moved 19 times before turning 20.
- I gained 49 pounds during my pregnancy.
- I have lost 56 pounds since my pregnancy.
- I tend to only have two to three really good friends at a time.
- I think all mothers should be able to stay home with their children for the first five years paid.
- I love giraffes.
- I own over 60 cookbooks.
- My friend April and I once drove from Chicago to Bloomington just for Godfather’s Pizza.
- I once drove from Chicago to Ames, IA in under four hours.
- My first boyfriend was a kid names Matt at my daycare when I was three. He was “going with” at least three little girls at the time. We would take turns sitting on his lap. Yep. Heavy stuff.
- My mom took me to the Return of the Jedi when I was ten days old.
- I have eighteen year old twin sisters who are six feet tall.
- I asked Jesus to be my Saviour when I was four years old.
- I read approximately 900 words per minute.
- I still have most of the friends I made when I was five.
- I have a hierarchy of relationships: my “world”, my good friends, my friends, acquaintances, people I love because God has told us to love everyone. Um, yeah. I’m a bit of a social snob.
- I completely and utterly adore my in-laws. They could not be better for this family if I’d hand picked them. You know why? Cause God’s hand picking is way better than my own. :) He done good.
- I get motion sickness on carousels.
- I am an introvert. Ha! I had you fooled, didn’t I? It’s true though.
- Erik and I dream of one day living on an acreage with a big garden, some chickens, and a goat or sheep.
- I tend to have a heart for sheep who are wandering from the flock. Maybe because I’ve been there.
- I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner in my hair since Luke and Holly’s wedding in May. I don’t miss it.
- If I could meet one Hollywood celebrity it would have to be Angelina Jolie. I want to tell her how to find what’s missing in her life.
- My upbringing trained me to act the part of an extrovert. Thanks mom.
- I have a stripe of scar tissue down the center of my forehead that serves as a personal emotion barometer. It turns bright red with strong emotion lighter red with less strong emotions.
- I miss being a waitress.
- I was in a sledding accident when I was eleven that resulted in 23 stitches on my nose and #30.
- I once broke two bones in my foot by dropping a plastic children’s chair on it.
- I was home schooled my whole life until I started college.
- I started college at sixteen.
- I never technically finished high school.
- I have lived in three states.
- George MacDonald is one of my favorite authors.
- We have the names of our next daughter and first son picked out and engraved in stone (not literally).
- I grew up in a Chicago suburb.
- I believe love is a verb.
- I was a flower girl four times.
- I’ve been a bridesmaid twice. Both times for people who didn’t really like me anymore at the time.
- I love raw honey. Love it.
- I watched every episode of Alias. Even the dumb ones (Thanks a lot Abrams).
- I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket since my daughter was born.
- I had my license suspended for too many tickets when I was nineteen.
- I don’t like living in college towns. At all.
- Christ’s example of loving leadership in the New Testament is the example I believe leaders should live up to. I believe His example is one of loving guidance versus forceful directive as a matter of routine. This is what I strive for towards my daughter as her authority as well.
- I am double jointed in my fingers.
- I am married to Erik.
- I like my husband about as much as I love him.
- My husband is a cute pretty-boy that my daughter is the spitting image of.
- The first concert that I ever went to was for Clay Cross. Yep. Old school Christian.
- The first secular concert I ever went to was at the House of Blues in Chicago and it was a personal sized set (about 50-75 people) for the Verve Pipe. Still like them a whole bunch.
- I gave up drinking bottled water. Making my dent in the landfill issue. I have been doused with water as a punishment for this.
- I love getting handwritten notes. Love, love, love. even like an e-mail is good. Words in writing that I can read over again at another time are what I like.
- I think guys can be pretty dumb when it comes to girls and relationships. Once, in high school, I had a close friend who always told me he loved me as a sister. I believed him. Then we didn’t talk for awhile and I e-mailed him and said “hi. I’m thinking about you and praying for you. I love you, Ambre” and he responds with “um, what exactly do you mean by ‘love’? do you mean ‘love, love’ cause if you do, I’m sorry that I led you on.” He goes on to confess that he did think of me as more than a friend once, but now he’s getting engaged. What?!? How to kill an innocent friendship in 50 words or less.
- I like Grasshoppers and Brandy Alexanders.
- I think the SNL “cowbell” skit is funny.
- I think the SNL “get off the roof!” skit is side-splitting funny.
- I believe the the movie “the Wedding Date” has some of the most amazingly awful lines of any romance movie ever. Here’s a gem, ” I would miss you even if we’d never met.” righhhht. Or how about “I would rather fight with you than make love with anyone else.” Uh, huh. Give that man an emmy!
- I don’t think my roommates when I lived at Gryn realized how often my morning OJ was spiked.
- I use to have a gorgeous great dane named Freya. Now she lives with Erik’s parents. Lucky them!
- I love getting mail.
- I believe that chastity should be a lifelong goal and hope to impart that to my children.
- I play guitar. Not super well, but I enjoy it.
- I have an annual Mighty Ducks Marathon with one of my girlfriends. Two words: Jonathan Jackson.
- I love fireplaces.
- I could drink hot chocolate every day and never get sick of it.
- I’ve been to Canada and Mexico.
- If I was to go back to school I would want to be a nutritionist and a naturopath. Not the type of naturopath that communes with spirits though. They scare me.
- Speaking of scares, I am scared of the outdoors after dark in the fall. Blowing leaves don’t help at all.
- I love fall.
- I wish I could eat white pasta everyday for as long as I live. Angel hair especially. Yum!
- I read the last installment of Harry Potter in eleven hours. My wonderful hubby picked it up at midnight so I could start reading when I got up in the morning and he tended the baby all day. He loves me.
- I believe the church needs to be more concerned about loving people and less concerned with visible to the earthly eye results.
- My engagement ring is a beautiful pearl. I was tired of girls always comparing carats. I didn’t view it as the measure of my worth or a wise use of Erik’s income. He picked it out on the way to propose and I couldn’t love it more. Since then he’s given me earrings and a necklace to match. I’m a lucky girl.
- I think that families should live within 30 minutes of each other and be huge parts of each others lives. I also think families shouldn’t drive each other to the bottle. That’s not part of my utopia.
- I don’t like cats, but since my baby loves them, I’ll probably end up owning one in the next five years.
- I hate beer.
- I had an eating disorder in my teens.
- I’ve never smoked a cigarette or done any drugs.
- I once lived with a family where the dad smoked pot every day.
- I detest folding laundry and putting folded laundry away. If it wasn’t for Erik, we’d never have clean clothes.
- One of my pet peeves is when someone has done something major to someone else in a relationship, but acts like nothing ever happened. Just cause the other person never brings it up, doesn’t mean it was okay.
- I really enjoy wearing skirts, but
- I hate shaving my legs.
- I very much am not excited about the idea of camping. Very much not.
- I already have a date arranged with a friend for opening night for Harry Potter.
- I am 1/8 Native American. That’s why I have a flat face with super wide cheek bones.
- My mom wanted me to be a journalist. I think freedom of speech is turning into a joke in our country.
- I sleep under a down comforter all year round.
- I have an irrational fear (or is it?) of someone breaking into our home through open windows while we’re sleeping.
- I wish I had been born a Jew. I’d like to share that in common with Christ.
- I would love to share a huge house with another family of our choosing (you know who you are) so our kids could grow up together, we could work the land together, support each other as women, and serve God better. Unfortunately my low standards when it comes to tidiness would drive a wedge between us. Bummer.
- I wanted to be a missionary to an orphanage in the Ukraine when I was younger.
- I eat my steaks medium-rare.
- I really enjoy reading peoples comments on my posts.
* Did you know that you shouldn’t plant your blueberry bushes until they are two years old? And that for the first few years after planting them you should prune the tips of the branches come fall?
* According to a home remedy guide from 2899, “lettuce is calming and beneficial to anyone suffering from insomnia”. A book from 1906 recommends eating an onion raw before bed. I don’t recommend that one unless you sleep alone. zzzzzzzzz……
* With football season fast upon us, I though I would include a remedy for one who finds themselves a little hoarse:make a horseradish syrup by boiling the root and adding enough sugar to make it choke-down-able. Take two to three teaspoonfuls a day. Yum.
*Teen girls who have their tonsils removed have a 30% greater likelihood to be overweight later in life. Bummer.
* According to Underwood (who’s Underwood?) you’ll need one cubic foot of manure per 56 square feet of garden. Really that works out to letting your manure compost for a year and then spreading it an inch think on your plot. (found in 1,001 Old-Time Garden Tips)
*Cats have 32 muscles in each ear. Did you hear me?
* Male Indian cobras have two penises and copulation can last from two minutes to a whole day. My head is ready to explode.
What do you know?
It would seem that I am not the only one in the pack that I run with that is making efforts to make a change to wiser eating for the better health of our families. One of the ladies recently sent out an e-mail to a handful of us posing the following questions:
- Could you give me a sample of your menus for the week? I think we eat meat quite often and I’m wondering what else is healthy out there instead.
- If you could tell someone in short sentences what top three things they should start with in “turning over a new leaf” :) when eating healthy- what would they be?
- If you don’t mind- could you give me a ballpark of your food budget?
- Does that include shopping organic? Completely, just some of the time?? What items??? The “Dirty Dozen”?
- What are the top two sources you’ve found to be helpful in making your decisions? Books, internet, talking to others????
- When you need a meal/snack to be grab and go… are there good choices out there? Or do you just revert to a frozen pizza and pick up again the next day? It seems as though this takes more planning/shopping/preparing to do things this way, which I’m not opposed to. But if your in a bind- are there quick healthy options out there???
- Any other thoughts/ideas/advice would be welcome!
My last post was in answer to query numeral dos. As far as number seven goes, a blog has been set up specifically to keep this conversation going. You can find our answers to all these questions there…. eventually. We just started, so give it some time, but there are already recipes up! I will personally be posting the same posts in both locations for those of you who don’t have time to read another blog (understandable) yet are mildly curious as to what I would have answered.
BTW, over on Dish on the Dish, we all have my little pony names, so look for me as Morning Glory. :)