Thursday, March 26, 2009

Medical update and miscellaneous

Yesterday was an unusual and event-filled day. It started out with me calling in to work, as I have been doing basically this whole month because my digestive tract just isn't cooperating and/or getting any better. I had a couple unexpected but welcome guests from church, one being my friend Stacy. Stacy volunteered to run some errands with me and even treat me to lunch.

We ate some delicious soup and sandwiches at Panera, which I've wanted to check out since moving here. And we each spent way more money at the grocery store than either of us was planning. I picked up some acidophilus capsules, which was recommended to me by my doctor.

Then I talked to my supervisor to give him an update. I wanted to let him and the company know that I'm not just flaking out on them but really am sick. The problem is that I don't feel sick enough that I shouldn't work at all. I just feel too sick to do my specific job. It would be quite inappropriate for me to put someone on hold to go to the bathroom 2-4 times during my shift. And since I spend all day at work on the phone, that's a problem. I wanted to double-check with him about putting people on hold, because a part of me was hoping he'd say it would be okay for me to do that if needed. But it's not. So I'm still off work for the time being.

I told him that I'm typically feeling okay around noon until evening. I asked if I might be able to pick up some hours during that time. He said he would email his supervisor today and get back to me on that. So hopefully I'll hear something from him soon. However, when I got home from running errands, I wasn't feeling okay during that time frame. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I do need to let him know that maybe that's not the best idea (assuming the company I work for is okay with me working during that time anyway, that is).

I got my referral letter to a GI specialist yesterday, so I called to set up an appointment. After getting a busy signal twice and then being put on hold for several minutes, I was told the first available appointment is in May. So I scheduled it, but I'm betting (hoping) that I'll feel better by then and may very well just cancel the appointment. Looks like it's up to my body and the acidophilus to get me back on track. And maybe I won't ever know what's wrong.

In other news, Joe had a friend who would often make snide remarks to emails Joe would send him. He'd tell Joe that the jokes weren't funny and would be a douche about the way he said it too. And he'd send his thoughts to everyone Joe sent the email to, which often included me or was just me. Now, Joe is much better at controlling his temper than I am. He would just ignore these snarky comments. I would read them and then delete them in disgust. But on Tuesday, this person sent an email that really bothered me. I had difficulty sleeping Tuesday night as I thought about all the different ways I could and wanted to respond. I kept thinking, "I doubt Joe will say anything, but I know this bothers him. It hurts. And it hurts me to see someone treat him this way." I had talked with Joe about the comments his friend had made, and so I knew that I wasn't the only one who had taken things that way.

So I decided to email that friend yesterday. I requested that if he planned on continuing to talk to Joe in that unnecessary and rude way to please leave me out of the email. He responded with a rude, condescending comment to me. I responded as nicely as I felt I could be while being firm in my intentions. I was met with a criticism about my character, and so I called him out on his passive-aggressive, condescending, immature, belittling behavior and said I was done with the conversation.

Well, he didn't want it to be over, so he shot back another comment that equated to I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I and said in so many words that I should talk to Joe before giving what I interpret to be Joe's opinion. His defense was that he has always treated Joe like that. First of all, I didn't write to him about anyone's perception other than my own. But secondly, I DID talk to Joe before I emailed him. So I again reiterated what my request was and stated it was based on my observation of his tone.

I had let Joe know about the interaction by that time by forwarding him the email chain. His friend decided to bring Joe into this chain after my last response, and there was some back and forth between the two of them while the women from church were over that basically led to Joe's friend ending their friendship after saying Joe hadn't been a friend to him for years.

I feel so bad that Joe had to go through this. It reminded me of when my relationship with my once-best-friend ended. Even though the friendship had run it's course and neither of us were getting out of the relationship what we thought we should, it was hard. So I am sure that Joe is having a tough time with this. He talked with a co-worker about it yesterday to get an outsider's perspective, and his coworker was very upset about the exchange, saying his friend was being rude to both Joe and to me. So Joe and I feel confident that we were honest and as objective as we could be about things.

I used to counsel people who were attending an online school. One of the things the company required us to discuss with new students was to be careful of their tone in emails/posts. You may not mean something, but sometimes because the way you say it, your message comes across differently than you'd intended. I was glad to hear that Joe's friend did not mean offense with his response (as he said he didn't), and I told him that. The lesson I learned through all this is not to hold something in if it bothers you. Either confront it or let it go. Otherwise, like a gaping wound, the infection will fester and cause far greater damage than it would have, had it been dealt with in the first place.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Joe and I have been married for two years now. On one hand, it doesn't seem like it's been that long. But on the other hand, I have a hard time remembering life before Joe.

We're happy and things are going well for us. We love each other more and more every day and get closer and closer. We enjoy spending time together watching movies or TV shows, playing games, or doing whatever together, whether it's cooking or cleaning or talking or laughing or something else.

I love you, Joe. Thanks for sticking with me. I look forward to spending forever with you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I can stop trying?

I have had a lot of time to fill, being off work so much this year. Well, in boredom, I stumbled upon the Game Show Network. I have watched some episodes of shows like Pyramid, The Weakest Link, Family Feud, and some I'd never heard of before like Lingo and Chain Reaction. It sounds like I'm watching tons of TV, but I'm really trying not to.

Anyway, I was watching an episode of Family Feud last week, and a topic on there really bothered me. It went something like this: "Name something a woman doesn't have to do anymore after she gets married."

I was thinking of things like pretending to be interested in what someone is saying on a bad date, having DTR (defining the relationship) talks, going to a friend's wedding solo, spending weekend nights alone in front of the TV with Ben & Jerry's feeling sorry for yourself, flirting in a desperate attempt for some attention/affection, etc.

But the answers were much different. They were things like: cook, clean, wear makeup, work, exercise, etc. What??? Maybe I'm wrong, but now instead of worrying about myself, I have to worry about what he's going to eat too. I don't eat out every meal, or even half the time, so I'm cooking just as much, if not more, than I was when I was single. And cleaning? Are you kidding me? Instead of doing my own laundry, now I'm doing laundry for two. And instead of just having to clean up after myself, now I have to clean up after two. Wearing makeup? Yeah, I was never that big into it, except when going out somewhere nice. Otherwise, I'd just throw a little bit on to try to even out my skin tones or something. So there's no change there. Work? Yeah, because all men do is take care of the women of the world who sit around at home or volunteer. You don't think stay-at-home moms are working??? My mom worked SO hard with us! And when you're chasing kids around, driving them to various appointments, cleaning, cooking, etc, don't you think that's a form of exercise?

Anyway, the feminist in me was very upset about the sexist and untrue stereotypical answers. I started to think about the things men stop doing after they get married. Here's my top ten: (Disclaimer: this is in jest more than serious)

1. Cooking
2. Cleaning
3. Being discreet about nose picking, farting, and other bodily fuctions that are less than appealing
4. Planning things
5. Remembering important dates of friends and family members
6. Grocery shopping (if he ever did that in the first place)
7. Buying toiletries and other necessities
8. Going on dates
9. Pretending not to be selfish in physical/sexual relations
10. Taking proper care of hygiene

What would make your list for men and women?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I went to the doctor's office yesterday after being sick about 2 weeks. I had to get a note for work, but I also wanted to figure out what's wrong. It seems like it's been one thing after another all of 2009, with a few days respite in between.

I have to collect and turn in a stool sample (I'm so grossed out just thinking about doing that) and get my blood drawn today. They're going to run a bunch of tests. Apparently there was an e. coli outbreak in my city sometime in the not-too-distant-past that I just heard about Sunday. And so I'm paranoid about it being that. But with all the salmonella news, my doctor wants to rule that out as well. Or it could just be some other kind of bacterial infection. Whee!

So the first step to getting better is finding out what's wrong. My doctor explained that if I have one thing and take antibiotics, it might make it worse. So they're trying to figure out if they can identify what it is before recommending a course of treatment.

I have worked ONE day so far in March. I got a doctor's note with a tentative return date of the 23rd. I checked my work email yesterday and noticed that I have to work an extra 10 hours the month of March as well. So when I get back into the swing of things, I guess I'm really getting back into the swing of things (whenever that might be)!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What should I get...?

I have been thinking quite a bit for about a month, give or take, about what I should ask for from my husband for my birthday. He was SPOILED beyond belief on his birthday, so I expect the same in turn. But when I think about some big items I want, I can't make up my mind. So I was hoping maybe you could help me with this decision.

One thing I really want is a massage. I've already told him that. I've only had one professional massage ever. But I wouldn't mind a massage from his cousin who is in massage therapy school over something professional (cheaper too!).

I broke my laptop a while back. I miss it dearly. I have been thinking about getting another one, or maybe a smaller notebook that would feel more portable. I originally got my laptop with the main purpose being for writing. I ended up using it for a lot more than that. It wasn't too expensive, and I don't think I need one that costs a whole lot since I have a desktop. But it's nice to have that portability.

Or I was thinking that a massage chair might be nice. Or maybe just a massage chair pad (that'd be cheaper).

Or a trip to Arizona before it's too hot there. That'd be nice for both of us, but I don't know if he can get time off work. Plus it would be pricey. Or I could go over a weekend while he's at drill in April.

Or an elliptical machine or a treadmill. I'd prefer an elliptical machine because I have bad knees, but I know he likes treadmills more (and I've heard they work your body better), so I'd be willing to get something like that as a compromise.

Or a punching bag. I've wanted one of those for a long time. I don't know where we could hang it, so we'd have to get a stand or one that goes ground-up versus a hanging punching bag. I want one that is at least fairly resistant and fairly heavy versus a hand bag (I think that's what they're called).

Or maybe a spa day and overnight in a nearby hotel. Maybe we could do a mini Portland vacation.

Or maybe a new stereo for my car. That is long overdue.

I let him buy himself a car stereo. He got a good deal, but it was still fairly pricey because of the installation costs. Then we took an overnight in a hotel in Bellevue and went to a nice dinner. And I got him a book and video game also, I think.

Decisions, decisions. At least I have time to make up my mind.

I feel like The Biggest Loser

I've never watched the show The Biggest Loser before this season. What drew me to it? I honestly don't know. Perhaps it was this season's theme of "couples" that drew me in. Most "couples" aren't actual couples but relations. Still, it was nice seeing the husband-and-wife team (they were the first kicked off) and the future-husband-and-wife team (they were the second kicked off) on the show. It gave me hope. I don't look at my husband as "fat" or anything, and he is in pretty good physical condition (thanks to his job and the army). But let's be honest... we could BOTH stand to use a few lbs or more (much more in my case). Yet I find it hard to do when around him. It's not that he purposely sabotages me or anything, but we both love junk food... he's a bigger salt guy and I'm a bigger sweet gal, but we both have more than our share of both.

So I watch these people who started out about my same weight (or close enough, anyway), and they're losing weight and I'm still thinking, 'this person has a way to go still' and they weigh less than me. Yes, I have a way to go myself.

And this week's episode really hit home to me for some reason. There was one team, clearly superior to the other and overly cocky. I was rooting for the other team kind of secretly, because I like rooting for the underdog. And the cocky team won. They won a challenge and a reward, and they still ended up winning after being gluttonous for 24 hours during that week. Then the always-losing team had to vote someone off. Last time they had to vote someone off, they sent their strongest player home. Dumb move. Dumb, dumb move. This week, they sent another very strong player home. Dumb move. But why? Well, because 3 of the team members had been on a team since the beginning, and they refuse to vote against each other. One is a mother-daughter duo, so of course they aren't going to vote for either of them, but the third person is a man whose lack of weight-loss has resulted in his team being up for elimination TWICE... he is CLEARLY the weakest player there... yet he is still there. He should've been sent home when the teams were re-formed.

But that's not what hit home... the thing that hit home to me was the fact that the person who was sent home had worked her BUTT off that week because she was going head-to-head against the strongest member of the other team, and she was worried about losing to him. She did. But she didn't just lose to him. She GAINED weight. In that week of her eating healthy and working out hours each day, she gained 2 pounds.

Her team and trainer were clearly shocked when she was weighed. She was devastated. And then the explanation the trainer gave was that she was very stressed that week. Stress.

Knowing how stressed I've been and how sick I've been and how irregular my periods have been and how my mental health has suffered and how my motivation is low and my cravings for comfort food are high and how sore my muscles have been and how messed up my sleep has been was not enough for me. SEEING how stress effected someone else who WAS not sick and DID not have some of the other issues I have right now, however, was enough. It hit home. Stress can take its toll.

Yes, I've KNOWN stress was probably a major cause for some of my ailments, if not all of them. And I've HEARD that thrown out as an explanation by doctors, friends, family, etc. And I've read articles and articles and lots of information about how to manage stress, but I just can't seem to find the real answer for me.

I mean, if your job is super stressful, maybe it's time to find a new job. But when that job hunt lasts for months and months and ends up turning into 2+ years of looking for really suitable employment-- something that REALLY matches your personality and skill set, THAT's even MORE stress.

I made a list a couple months ago of my stressors. Then I looked at what I could control and what I couldn't control. I've been trying not to stress about those things outside my control and focus on those things that I do have control over. But "don't stress" is easier said than done, and looking for a job is just an example of me working to change things within my control that may have added to my stress levels.

Now instead of skipping just about every other period, I've lately been skipping two in a row. Now instead of feeling sick one or two days a month, I'm feeling sick all but a handful of days each month in one way or another. I've had 3 colds, each lasting several days or more, in the past 2 months. I've also been sick to my stomach, had migraines, digestive problems, and other illnesses.

So, what I'm doing isn't working. And I've learned that eating well and exercising may help to an extent, but that's not going to solve my problem either.

I think the next season The Biggest Loser starts, I'm going to start with it and go on their website and try to follow along. I thought about enlisting my husband or a sibling or friend as support. But if they aren't there, at least I won't feel like I'm doing it alone. My "couple" will be me and the Internet. But in the meantime, I'm not giving up!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Novel Idea

I was in bed but wide awake the other night, thinking about all the stories I could tell about working with adults with serious mental illnesses. They were kind of like my children in many ways. They needed support and guidance, and I was paid to help them in small but often memorable ways. Sometimes I felt like a glorified taxi driver, but sometimes I was able to see them accomplish something big or help them get through a tough time, and that job was very rewarding for me.

I started thinking about that job when I was comparing it to my current job. Yes, I still work to help people improve their lives. But a big difference is that I don't get to see the results of my individual work the way I did in that and some other positions I've held. Seeing results is important to me. Too important for my soul to go without. That's why this job I have right now is becoming so difficult for me.

Anyway, I thought that maybe I could write a novel (changing personal information for privacy and protection sake) about some of my experiences with adults with mental illnesses. I think it would help people get a little insight as to what it can look like for someone to have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, and other serious mental illnesses. I know having that job and experiencing the things I did opened my eyes up in ways I never could have imagined.

Sometimes I can be overly critical of myself and others. But I do know that I am here on this earth with talents and abilities given to me to help bless me and others. I'm grateful for the things, material and intangible, that I have been given and the compassion I gain with understanding. I think a lot of the judgment we place on each other comes from a lack of understanding, and so that job was a great blessing in my life.

If I wrote a book like that, would the subject interest you enough to read it? You can be honest.