Category Health & Medical Tidbits

Beating the Odds

The odds of winning the last mega-millions big lottery that was all over the news were something like 1 in 176 million chances of winning. That’s pretty long odds, right there. Yet, ever hopeful, people buy tickets to the lottery every day. Why? Because human beings seem to like playing the odds. One of the reasons hang-gliding and mountain climbing and even something as simple as roller coasters are so adrenaline pumping and exciting to people is because there is a risk of death (or at least serious injury), however small, that comes with the rush. If there were nothing to fear, there would be nothing exciting about it. You get excited because you faced risk and death, and you win… you survive. You beat the odds while staring them in the face.

We play the odds all the time: every time we get behind the wheel of the car (sober or not, driving or not), we risk death. Every time we take a new medication from a doctor that we’ve never taken before, we risk death. Every time we walk out our door, we risk death, and just staying in and doing nothing risks death in a different way. After all, did you know that more people die from accidents and injuries or illnesses that happened in their home than all other crimes and causes of death combined? Most of us, if we die, are going to start that process in the relative safety of our own homes.

The point is, we are constantly at risk of death, every one of us, and yet somehow we function every day in spite of it. We are gamblers, human beings are… yes, we are. We play the odds. We hope for the best, even though we know the odds are stacked in favor of the house, because we know, deep down, that someone is going to beat the odds. We believe, with prayer and fantasy, that we will be that someone.

And sometimes… we are. Or as my uncle said to my mom once–and you’ve probably very likely said it before yourself: Someone has to win the lottery. Might as well be me.

And yet, in the end, we all die. Every last one of us is going to die. We can’t escape that eventuality. But some of us die sooner than others. There are reasons for that. We don’t all get to live a good, long life and slip into the next plane of existence quietly in our sleep. Blessed are those who do.

BEATING MY OWN ODDS

I’ve been doing a lot of reading ...

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It is All in How You Look at It

This past year, with my health issues, I’ve been through a lot. Sometimes, I don’t give myself credit for how much I’ve been through, because I’m so focused on getting better, feeling better, staying alive. Every now and then, something will happen, and it’s usually some little something, and I’ll be reminded of just how bad things really were, and sometimes, perhaps, still are. This isn’t a negative post. Stick with me here. See, I guess I don’t usually see things as being as bad as they are. Part of this is my positive attitude (though admittedly, sometimes it’s hard to stay positive), and part of this is because, when you’re going through something, you just keep going through it. There’s really no other choice besides death, and I just simply don’t consider that an option...

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I Shaved My Legs

A few years ago (like, oh, I dunno, fifteen years ago or something, but when you start getting old, that’s a ‘few’, really, it is) I worked as a crisis hotline volunteer for the Odessa Rape Crisis Center. In order to do that volunteer job, I had to go through a 6-week training class they offered, with a big notebook full of information and such. During that training, we were taught how to answer the phones, how to talk to rape victims and what to do in emergency situations. We had notebooks and classes and we did scenarios and pretended to be callers and phone operators and all that stuff.

I don’t honestly remember much about the entire training, but there was one part that really stuck with me. They had a girl who was working as a rape crisis advocate at the time come in and talk to us. She stood at the front of the room and told us that she was a rape survivor. She talked about how she had felt, how depressed she got, and how in the middle of the night one night she called the rape crisis center and how helpful they were to her. When she finally was able to move past her trauma, she decided to volunteer too, because she wanted to give back to someone else what the center had given to her.

What she said to us was that she knew she was going to be okay when she went to her counselor and said, “Guess what, Nancy? I shaved my legs today!”

It’s not uncommon for rape victims ...

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Frustration, And More Frustration

Carnival Cruise Lines Can Suck My Big Toe

So, the first thing that happened, and I’ll be writing more about this in the future, Carnival Cruise Lines decided that my bilateral massive multiple pulmonary embolisms and the both extremity cellulitis infection that left me with open wounds and abscesses on both legs was not ‘worthy’ of being given an exception for cruise reimbursement. We asked not for our money back on the cruise, but rather, we asked that they simply give us a credit for the cruise–for which they were, by one of their own employee’s admissions–able to rebook our cabin. We intended to use the credit on a future cruise, during which we would have spent more money than the credit we had with them. But Carnival Cruises decided we were not important enough as a customer to keep our business and held firmly to their ‘contracted’ agreement, and refused to refund or credit us any money in their special ‘consideration’ department.

Well, let me tell you what that means for me: I will never, EVER cruise with Carnival again. I also intend to make sure everyone I know hears just how ‘unvaluable’ Carnival thinks its customers are. We lost $2000 during a time when because of the health problems we could have really used that money and we never even asked for it back – we just wanted a credit so we could take a cruise at a later date when my wounds had healed and I had recovered some. I could have really used the vacation.

I hear Disney cruises out of Port Galveston too, as do Norwegian and one other line. When we’re ready to cruise later in the year, anyone but Carnival will get my business. If you plan on cruising, keep in mind Carnival will provide you with the best customer service as long as they are still trying to get your money. Once you’ve parted with your money though, they took weeks to even answer my request and then very blanketly denied the special consideration with absolutely zero explanation other than they didn’t want to honor our request, so sorry, buy trip insurance next time. Well, if anyone had offered us trip insurance, perhaps we would have.

If this matters to you at all, don’t cruise with Carnival...

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Sleep Study Results

I mentioned I would post the results of my sleep study the other day too, and I never did do that.

So here’s what the doc said on the sleep study:

I have mild to moderate sleep apnea, with about 30 apnea episodes over an almost eight hour sleep period. However, I had nearly 80 hypopnea episodes over that same period, meaning about 50 of the hypoxic times had nothing to do with obstruction or apnea, but rather, with an underlying pulmonary condition that should be ‘correlated clinically’.

Around 10pm, about an hour into my sleep cycle, I dropped sats to 85 and stayed there for five minutes. The protocol is to start oxygen if that happens, so he started me on one liter per minute, but it only came up to 86, then moved me to 2 liters per minute, and even then, I spent over 90% of the night with my sats below 90%. Remember, now, anything below 92% can cause organ failure or damage.

So yes, I have a sleep disorder, based on a pulmonary condition, but we don’t know what that is yet… or at least, they didn’t. We kinda do.

The pulmonologist was convinced the...

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Bittersweet Birthday

The title is a bit misleading in that I’m having a great day all said and done, so this isn’t really a rant or a whine about anything bad in particular, but more a wistful nostalgia about the year that’s passed and how things have changed so quickly in my life. My family wants to take me out to dinner, someplace upscale and fancy, which is how I love to dine – I’m a gourmet food junkie – but I honestly am sitting here thinking, “Man… it takes so much energy to get dressed up…” I mean, who wants to be exhausted and in pain on their birthday dinner? So part of me wants to just stay home and part of me wishes we were rich enough to hire a gourmet chef to come here and cook for us.

There was no breakfast in bed by the kids...

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Think About What You Think

What do you think when you see someone using one of the electric carts in a grocery store?

There’s a reason I’m asking.

I want you to be completely honest with yourself, and I’m not asking anyone to reveal anything to me or this blog or anything, but if you want to put your responses here, that’s okay with me too. I figure I’ll either get a lot of comments on this one or I won’t get any on it… sometimes people LIKE being honest, too honest, and other times, they prefer no one know the demons that lurk inside the mind, the words we don’t say, but each and every one of us thinks.

I have done it too… not only about this instance, but also about other things. We judge. We don’t mean to. Many of us don’t want to. But we do. We have to...

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Babbling

Well, it’s been about a month since I got out of the hospital this last time. The first time I was in the hospital, they probably let me go home too soon, and the second time, I felt they I needed out of there faster than they let me go. I had a minor surgery the second time, I was overall feeling much better and was more than ready to leave. I still have shadows of bruises from the first hospital stay and still have very purple dark bruises from the most recent one on my arm.

The other day, Lynn was pulled over for speeding. The cop asked if there were any reasons why we were going so fast, in such a hurry. Said, “Nope, just running late for a doctor’s appointment.” Made some comment about the bruises and how I was just waiting for them to poke me. Then there was a joke about Lynn beating me up and leaving bruises on me. The cop laughed out loud and said, “You know,” pointing to the mic on his shoulder strap, “that was all just recorded and the folks downtown can hear it…”

His eyes were sparkling and he was joking with us. You know, cops don’t always LIKE to give tickets. Not his fault Lynn was speeding, right? He was super nice though. I said very loudly, “No, she really didn’t beat me. Promise. I… I… uhm, ran into a wall, yeah, that’s it!”

He laughed again, and I figure someone downtown was laughing at some point if they listened to ...

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Biting My Tongue

Okay, so you all probably know what ‘biting my tongue’ means… usually, it means that you’re trying not to say something that you know might not be taken well by someone else, or else, someone has upset you and you’re biting your tongue so you don’t snap back at them. Well, both of these are probably true for me at some point or another through this health ordeal I’m going through, but in this instance, I intend to talk about biting my tongue quite literally.

When I first started writing about my health issues, I knew that it was either going to be an all or nothing type of thing. I was either going to be honest about what was going on with me and share most everything (barring others privacy along the way), or I was not going to share much at all. So that means that sometimes the things I have to share are a bit ugly, embarrassing or awkard. That’s what I have to share today, some awkward and slightly embarassing things, but I think that it will help others who are also experiencing these things to realize they are not alone, not crazy, not gross, ugly, nasty or whatever else you might attribute to these awkward things.

Death and life and health are all messy things...

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Hospital Update & More

Okay, so I’ve been in the hospital now since Wednesday, I think. I feel like I’ve been here forever. I think about people like my good friend and Ninja Warrior Writer Rissa Watkins, who had to spend over a month in the hospital for cancer treatment, and I wonder how folks handle it. I’m going absolutely stir crazy. The last time I was in the hospital, back in September, I was in for 6 days. But I felt so lousy then, I mostly slept, ate, slept, moaned and whined, and slept. But this time, I’m not feeling as bad… I’m sicker in one respect but feeling better in another, so I’m stir crazy. All they will let me do is sit in bed and watch TV. Well, I never watch TV at home… at least I have the computer, which is an absolute life saver for my sanity.

Plus, having the computer keeps me connected to you all… which, in case none of you know, means everything to me. I mean, literally, everything. Reading your comments here and on Facebook and on the forum actually make me feel better emotionally and brighten my day. You guys have no idea how much it means. Also, being able to hear stories from you guys of yourself or people you know who have tried the things I’ve got coming up helps too. I’ve been reassured that the Versed and Fentanyl sedation for the procedure I’m going to have on Monday will be super easy for me and I won’t remember a thing. Yay!

QUICK MEDICAL UPDATE – (yeah, right, like I can write anything ‘quick’)

So here’s the rundown:

INFECTION: The infections, cellulitis, in my legs that you guys might or...

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