Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Current Health Status

Three months ago today I was discharged from the hospital after being admitted for metabolic acidosis and severe dehydration.  In the weeks that followed, I ended up back in the ER for fluids, rapidly changing blood pressure readings, and was admitted for a second time just over a month ago.  I dropped close to twenty pounds in that time and spent more time sleeping than awake.  Through this whole thing, I experienced a level of frustration I had never quite experienced before.  There are previous blog posts about all that and, quite frankly, I'm worn out from trying to explain myself.

On November 4th I had the absolute displeasure of seeing an endocrinologist.  I won't recap that.  Again, on the blog for your reading enjoyment.  So, last I posted about this, I mentioned that I had some lab work done.  The endocrine doc was pretty confident that everything would come back normal.  The lab results were posted and everything came back within normal limits, except for my ACTH levels.  In the weeks to follow, I received a letter from the doc.  He mentioned my insulin test results and seemed to be pretty proud of himself that they were indeed normal.  No mention of the ACTH results.  A phone call to his office was never returned.

In addition, I was referred to a nutritionist.  I saw her the same week I saw the endocrinologist because they all still think this is nothing more than an eating disorder, so a nutrition therapy referral was only appropriate.  I was lectured on the lack of protein in my diet, but was still able to prove through food records that I was not starving myself.  She put in a note to my doctor that she wanted my iron and some vitamin levels checked.  That was November 6th.  The lab orders still have not been put in and I have no more appointments scheduled at this time.  Not that I'm going to complain about this because I did swear off needles for the rest of 2013.  I am certainly no wimp when it comes to this stuff, but enough is enough.

As far as how I'm feeling, I have felt amazing the last few days.  I worked 81 hours in two weeks and it was the first time since this began in August that I have not missed any work due to illness.  I can tell I have put some of the weight back on.  Not all, but my clothes are starting to fit better.  Unfortunately, the better I have felt, the more I've been doing and I have realized how much muscle I have lost because simple activities are making me incredibly sore.  If this is the end of whatever this was, I certainly have a long way to go to get my body back to functioning at the level it was a year ago.  Like I tell the patients I work with, change doesn't happen overnight.  This wasn't a few days of the flu, so it's going to take more than a few days to bounce back.  And, I have been told I have the patience of a saint, so it's all good, right?

From the research I've done on ACTH deficiency, depending on what the cause is, this may not be over.  I have seen how fast I can go from top-of-the-world to can't-get-my-butt-up-so-I'll-just-complain-on-Facebook, so I know this current "high" could be short-lived.  I'm still checking my blood sugar "as needed" and occasionally check in on my blood pressure and heart rate.  I haven't been seeing the extreme numbers that I have had and I've only had my blood sugar in the low fifties twice in the last two weeks.  It's still a struggle to stay hydrated, but sadly I have become used to that.

It has been over a month since I've had to go in and visit all my friends in the ER.  I'm going to try and keep this trend going.  As a matter of fact, I wrote a letter to Santa and told him that all I want for Christmas (aside from the compression socks and motorized scooter) is to not have to go back to the ER/Urgent Care/Express Care for a LONG time.  I believe in you, Big Guy, so don't blow it!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Melissa's Christmas List

Someone asked me about my Christmas list and it isn't even Thanksgiving, yet.  I can't remember the last time I had a "Christmas List".  I love the holidays, but I'm not about the presents.  (I'm all about the egg nog, cookies, and spoiling the kiddos!)  Thinking about the year I have had, I thought about some things that I could put on my Christmas list this year.

Because every 31-year-old elderly woman needs a drawer full of these.  Not to mention, my list would be completely naked without them.  


Because every 31-year-old woman who is not diabetic needs to have these on hand at all times.  Hopefully Santa's elves are good at making these because he'll have to sell Rudolph to pay for a pack of 25.  They aren't cheap.  Nor are they something someone would open on Christmas morning and be so excited that they leave a yellow puddle of joy behind.  Except for Melissa.  She'd do that.  


You should not get someone test strips for their blood sugar without stuffing their compression stockings FULL of Kit Kats.  Christmas isn't Christmas until someone's blood sugar is 450 and they are passed out on the couch with A Christmas Story playing in the background.  

I have come to realize that I just can't have compression socks without some sandals to go along with them.  The socks are probably slippery and I've already been in the ER five times this year and I don't need any broken bones to add to my list of ailments.  

I belong in this picture and that is all that needs to be said on that.  Because I am working on a bottle of wine as I blog, I will say a bit more, though.  My scooter would be decorated like a cop car, complete with lights and a siren, and I'd pretend to be chasing these two.  The only reason I'd be a cop instead of something cooler is because then I'd have a box of donuts on my lap.  You know, just in case my blood sugar drops, I'd be ready.    

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Melissa The Mentor

The YMCA Reach and Rise Mentoring Program has begun here in La Crosse and a friend of mine is the director.  When she took the position, I told her to keep me in mind as the recruiting for mentors began.  We had our first training session tonight and I'm super excited about the program and being part of it.  At the end of the night, we were given a homework assignment.  We are supposed to engage in some sort of child activity before our next session.  It should be something that we haven't done recently.  Something that brings us back to our childhood.

I have to cross coloring off the list because I do that just about everyday. 

I am guessing that wearing my 5-year-old niece's jacket does not count for this.  
And, if it did, again... I just did this less than two weeks ago, so scratch that. 

Breaking my toys and sticking chewed bubble gum in random places is also something 
I still haven't grown out of.

Again, eating candy and cake pops isn't going to count because I do that 
on a regular basis.

I could watch a movie from my childhood, but I watch them all repeatedly.

I did not realize how many "child activities" I do until I started thinking about it while I was driving tonight.  Just before the training session tonight, I was hanging out at the library with three little munchkins at Pokemon club.

Last night, we watched "Spy Kids 4" and made mac and cheese for dinner.

A few days ago I made paper airplanes.

"Ninja Kid Run" is one of my favorite games I have downloaded on my iPhone.

When I get to pick the flavor at the dentist, it's always grape or bubble gum.

"Old MacDonald" is on my iTunes and it was playing in my car tonight.  (I should note that there were no children in my vehicle at the time.  And I did sing along.  It's a pretty cool rendition of the song, actually.)  

I haven't thrown a temper tantrum lately.  I could do that.  Maybe tap dancing?  Maybe I could find an amusement park ride that I'm not tall enough to go on.  Now THAT would take me right back to my childhood.  

In the meantime, I'm just going to play a quick round of "Ninja Kid" and call it a night.  It's been a while since "homework" has been part of my routine.  Good thing this is something I can handle.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Singlehood: The Latest Dating Disaster

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone posed the question, "Why are you still single?"  How does one even go about answering that?  If I say that's none of your business, I'm a crabby closet lesbian.  If I say something stupid like, Mr. Right hasn't come along, it means I'm a loser that doesn't get out and mingle and I'm being too picky.  When I answer, well, I have commitment issues, I am not a fan of being naked, and I like being single, it's a little too much information and the conversation turns completely awkward.

I have tried the online dating thing more than a few times with various sites.  In fact, a few months ago I decided to give it another go.  I always try to go into it with an open mind, but I don't care what the profile says or what the picture looks like, if the first e-mail/message is all lower case with no punctuation and poor spelling, I won't respond.  If how u doin is the best first line someone can come up with, I doubt I could sit through an entire first date.

So, my subscription was set to expire yesterday.  I had been e-mailing back and forth with someone and we talked about meeting for coffee, so we exchanged phone numbers.  Last night, I was snuggled up in a pile of blankets working on photo editing when I heard Sheldon from "Big Big Theory" say BAZINGA.  That's my text alert and it was a message from this guy.

It started all innocent.  How was your weekend?  What are you doing?  He is working on his master's in counseling and had mentioned that he was working on a paper.  Well, Sheldon's BAZINGA made me glance away from my computer to my phone and I was horrified to see two -- not one, but TWO -- pictures of this guy in his bathroom, full frontal nudity.  I've never deleted a thread of text messages so fast in my life.  In all of my college days, I don't recall EVER working on a paper in the nude.  Who does that?

There were a lot of thoughts racing through my mind.  Things like, do guys really think women like this sort of thing?  Which turned into, Oh my god!!  Am I supposed to like this sort of thing?  I wanted nothing more than to suck my thumb and join a convent.

Of course, I had to e-mail my oldest sister, Shannon, to let her know about her sister's failed attempt at a social life.  This was her response:

SUBJECT:  RE: Match.com Meets Craigslist

Just had my own little casual encounter. I've been on match for quite a while. Started talking to a guy...going to school for his master's in counseling. And...we have been emailing for a while and I have him my number . Got FULL frontal nude pics sent to my phone tonight.
Single for life. 
Sent from my iPhone

Lol! OMG! Don't give up...they're not all big huge perverts!  
By the way, I want to see those pics!


If anyone needs me today, I'll be trying to trade in my iPhone because even though the thread is deleted, it is still contaminated.  I'll probably put on my bathing suit and take 15 hot showers.  Don't bother looking for my online dating profile.  It's GONE!  And, I will never be able to hear Sheldon say BAZINGA and not puke in my mouth.  Thanks, jerk.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Crafters Gone Wild 2013

Six years ago, the lovely ladies in my life started a November tradition we call Craft Weekend.  Each November, a caravan of vehicles, packed to the max with sewing machines, fabric, quilting supplies, knitting needles, yarn, looms, DVDs, food, and adult beverages.  We spend the entire weekend working on various craft projects, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a "crafter" to join in on the festivities.  Sleeping, coloring, cooking, drinking, or swimming all counts as being "crafty".  
This year, I made the journey up from La Crosse.  After driving to Alaska and back twice, you would think that a 257 mile trek would be a piece of cake.  Well, as I get older and grow elderly, entertaining myself on long car rides is becoming more and more challenging.  Don't worry, I still manage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Back in May, I purchased my 2007 Dodge Caliber.  One thing I don't like about this car is the CD player.  Apparently, it is temperamental and doesn't like the fact that I can spend 5 hours listening to the same song over and over for the entire trip.  My truck never minded, but my car spits the CD out when it has had enough.  When I'm driving, I tend to pretend I'm on The Voice or something and it really messes with my stellar performances when the CD just pops out at random.  Regardless of how frustrating the CD player was to deal with, pulling into the parking lot of Northernaire made the drive SO worth it.  If you are ever looking for an AMAZING place to stay in northern Wisconsin, you should definitely look into this place: Northernaire Resort           
Although this is our sixth year, for me, this is only year number five.  I did not go the first year, but now I wouldn't dream of missing out.  I don't believe I have ever done a "craft", but I have edited many photographs, did some creative writing, and spent some time in the swimming pool wearing the infamous green swimsuit that Shannon swears I've had for 15 years, but I insist it is only 8 years old.  And, yes, it is here this weekend.  And, no, there are no pictures of it up here.  Yet.  

Some of the crafters take this weekend VERY seriously.  Aunt Kathy works diligently on making mittens.  If you don't own a pair of her wool mittens, you should maybe think about investing in a pair.  They also make great Christmas gifts.  For $25, your hands will never be cold when you're out in the subzero temps shoveling or scraping your vehicle.  Contact me for more information and I can hook you up.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Crafters like pins.  At least that is what I've been told.

These are quite sharp.  I won't go near them.

Typically, there are no boys allowed at craft weekend.  We have made the exception when it comes to the children and this is Gunner's third craft weekend.  Madeline came along, too, so I found it only appropriate to bring up my favorite kind of craft: COLORING SUPPLIES!!!!
My favorite "craft" is taking pictures of little kids!

So, we took Gunner and Madeline down to the swimming pool this afternoon.  Of course, Gunner announces "I GOTTA PEE!!!!", so I took him into the restroom.  We walked in and he was so excited to see a urinal.  He pulled his trunks down and mid-pee decided he didn't want to use the urinal and relocated to the toilet, spraying down the wall, floor, and everything in between in the process.  He was so excited to get back to the pool, he slid and landed in the hot tub.  He was fine, though.

We try to keep craft weekend classy.

Christy made memorial mittens out of a sweater.  Very cool!

Woke up to snow!!!  It's like CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This little guy had to be freezing outside!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


On Monday, I had an appointment with an endocrinologist.  At the last appointment I had with my physician, I felt as though we were all finally on the same page that there is something going on with Melissa that is not an eating disorder.  Since August, I have now been interrogated by six physicians, a resident, and a PA.  The resident and the PA seemed to agree that something more was going on, while the rest have all made it very clear that they believe I am lying about my eating habits and I am in denial that this is a relapse.  So, when physician number 7 entered the exam room and reiterated that the other doctors believe this is related to starvation, I decided I am getting absolutely nowhere.

Let me take you back to last spring.  I was referred to a dermatologist for a suspicious mole.  As he was hacking the thing off my face, he asked me what I do for a living.  When I told him I worked in behavioral health in the inpatient psychiatry unit, he stopped what he was doing and looked at me with a bloody scalpel in his hand and said, "You have my condolences."  I've been told by other so-called professionals things like, 'oh I could never work with those people'.  

My impression of the endocrinologist was that he saw me as one of those people and I immediately felt as though I was a waste of his time.  I had a notebook sitting on the chair beside me full of everything that has been going on and a list of questions I had for him, but I never bothered opening it.  He had obviously spent quite a bit of time reviewing the other providers' notes and did not need much more information directly from the source.  

We discussed my blood sugar being as low as 42.  In fact, just two days before I had my appointment, my blood sugar dropped to 50 only two hours after a meal.  Apparently, for someone "my size", this isn't entirely abnormal.  I may not have gone to medical school, but from what I know about blood sugar, that is abnormal.  If I felt fine with a blood sugar at 50, maybe... but I slept for over 3 hours that day.  We have ruled out diabetes, by the way.  He did suggest that I keep checking my blood sugar and if I find it is low, I should come in to have my insulin checked.  I have insurance on my car, so why not?  Actually, how about if I wait until I'm in a coma so that I know exactly what number is too low so that I can differentiate between "normal" and abnormal" ? 

He ordered labs for the following morning to check several different things, but seemed fairly confident these results would all come back normal because it sounds to him that this is all a matter of calories.  The results are not back, yet.  I do have a referral to nutrition therapy for next week and he would like me to have the dietitian send him her report.  Actually, I am kind of hoping I keel over and die before that appointment because I'm beyond sick of explaining how this feels different than an eating disorder.  I have no follow-ups scheduled with the endo doc or my physician, so I am taking that as a sign that nutrition therapy is going to cure me.  After all, Melissa, this will all get better if you just eat something.  

I put in for a leave of absence (unpaid) from work until November 30th, but have been working six-hour shifts (instead of twelve) occasionally.  At this point, HR has not determined whether or not I can continue working through the leave or not.  I entertained the idea of trying to do a full 12-hour today, but it's well past noon and I'm still in bed.  I did venture out for a cup of coffee this morning, but that was a complete disaster.  When I went to pay for my coffee, I couldn't find my check card anywhere.  I emptied my entire purse, looked through my coat pockets, called the last two places I used it yesterday, and ended up running to the bank to take out cash to go back and pay for the coffee.  I had put the check card on my lap and it was sitting right there in front of me the entire time.

Just another day in the life. . .  when I get those normal test results back, we'll go celebrate.  And by "go celebrate" I mean we'll just leave our pajamas on and take a nap until I qualify for assisted living, a nursing home, or cooler space in the morgue.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Melissa Goes to the Dog Park

Dog owners have been talking about these things called "dog parks" and I must admit, I have not been curious to visit one.  I envisioned mud, dirt, piles of doggie droppings everywhere, sniffing, drooling, barking, growling, and complete chaos.  Well, yesterday I ventured into a dog park for the first time and it was pretty much exactly what I imagined.   

First things first, I don't have a dog.  My friends do, so I wasn't just some strange creeper with a camera that showed up at the dog park on a random Saturday afternoon.  Although, it is probably much more acceptable to be dog-less at a dog park than child-less at a playground.  People call the cops on that sort of thing.  

These were the dogs I tagged along with:
(She is a girl, by the way)

I decided from the moment I walked in through the gate, God knew what he was doing when he decided not to make me a dog.  Obviously, if I had been born a dog I would certainly not be a Great Dane or a Rottweiler.  I would be a little Yorkie or Chihuahua with a bow on my head and would go home and pee on the carpet to punish my dumb owner for taking me to a ridiculous dog park.  I would be the type of dog that would enter a situation like this and cry by the gate and growl at any of the other mutts that came near me:    

The canine version of airport security?
"Okay fellas, we got a new arrival.  You know what you need to do.  Assume the position."

When I managed to stop thinking about what life would be like as a dog, I was able to really soak in the experience.  You have to be ready for anything.  At any given moment, a pack of fur balls can come charging and in a matter of seconds you can become a human bowling pin.

Or, something like this could just plop itself down next to you and want you to give it attention.  And, with eyes like that, you best be ready to figure out what it wants - AND FAST!

See.  Even the other dogs know who their superior is.  

The entire dog park experience was remarkably similar to the time I spent doing recess duty at an elementary school.  It was easy to spot the bullies, the attention-deprived, and the socially awkward.  The socially awkward of this group was without a doubt... Wookie.  I don't even think Wookie knows whether he is a dog or a donkey.  If I had my way, Wookie would forever wear a pink tutu and I'd change his name to Grace.  There would be nothing cooler than seeing that dog in a tutu spinning circles to eat his tail and sliding into walls, fences, and doors.

Poor Wookie.  The socially awkward one doesn't even care that he gets "shamed" every ten minutes for pouncing other dogs.  The sickest part is that <<gulp>> the dog is starting to grow on me.

Walk of Shame.