Category: Health/sickness

A Sick Winter

Hey you guys!  How are things going? I just wanted to give you a little update. I wish I could say things have been rosy and perfect but unfortunately I’ve been pretty sick recently. In fact, this entire winter I have had a cold in one form or another.  This is a problem for a person that does 5+ podcasts a week (this week I have 7!). Fortunately I have not lost my voice all together but it has been challenging. I was really bummed because this last weekend I was scheduled to go to the Tumbleweeds Film Festival but I was too sick. I managed to push through Sundance but since I had a cough this time I didn’t feel right about it. I think it is super rude to go to the movies if you know you will be hacking throughout it. Plus, I felt miserable so what’s the point?

It really has been a tough winter for me. I think part of it is the inversion has been very bad and that puts my sinuses at risk for infection and viruses.  The worst thing is when you are coughing so hard that your chest starts to hurt and it feels like you can’t breath. I am also very mucusy and going through a box of tissues a day. My nose is raw and chafed from blowing it so much. Fortunately, my job has been super understanding and kind with helping me get better, which I am beyond grateful for. Even so, I wish I could take a weeks off to 100% get better and finally lick this infection.

I am just glad I don’t have kids because that would be so stressful while being sick. Plus, I’m glad there is Jamba Juice just a hop away. Caribbean Passion is my fav with immunity whenever I get sick. I also watched Happy Feet which is my traditional sick day movie (it’s dancing penguins. How can you be uncheered by that?)

Even while sick we have been plugging away at the Hallmarkies podcast and I’m very proud of our efforts. It’s entertaining, fun and people seem to really like it. Please check it out even if you don’t like Hallmark movies! (We are very charming. You don’t want to miss it)

Rescued

rescued1This week I was rescued.

I know some of you follow me on social media so you know I have been and am extremely sick. Particularly Sunday through Tuesday I was some of the sickest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I couldn’t breathe fully, was coughing non-stop, very congested (went through a box and half of tissues in that time), wheezy breathing, body aches and lots of awfulness.

You might not know because I am so public and bold but I actually lead a fairly lonely life. Most of that is my choice.  I work alone and I am unmarried. Most of my good friends have moved away from me and so I rely on book clubs and other monthly events for socializing and real-world contact. The Summer is better because I meet friends for swims quite a bit. Anyway, my family doesn’t live by me either except for some cousins and my Grandma.  My parents are moving here which will be nice and my brother was going to school for Fall/Winter but for the most part I am alone.

Normally I am fine being alone but when I get sick it is tough. It is especially so when I am this sick. It was painful to breathe let alone cook, clean, drive or do anything else. So I was pretty miserable (as my twitter followers can attest to!).

Finally Tuesday morning I had slept about 2 hours in 3 days and I hit my low. I called my Mom and sobbed but it was the weird halting coughing sob where she couldn’t understand a thing I said.  I told her I wished I could fly her out to take care of me. For once in my life I needed help. I couldn’t do it alone any more. I was just kind of venting but I really was at a genuine low place.

However, I’m a pretty independent person so I think she knew it was pretty bad. To my shock a few hours later she texted me ‘I got a plane ticket. I will be there 7:30 tonight”. I couldn’t believe it! She was coming to rescue me. She wouldn’t normally be able to do such a thing (she still has a child at home and is in the middle of a move and is Relief Society President at church) but it just happened where it could work out.

I’ll never forget this thing she has done. I can promise you that. When I’m old and feeble and she’s long gone I will talk about the time my Mother flew across 4 states at a moments notice to rescue me.

My friend who does not have a relationship with her mother (a very toxic woman she’s better off not having in her life) made a very powerful comment:

“This post makes me happy. I’m glad you have a parent who will come help you. I’m so glad you don’t take that for granted. While I hate that you aren’t well, I am glad you got to feel the love of a parent in action.”

It really is true.  I am not someone who has a ton of love in my life. I do not have a great partner or spouse. I have never really been romantically in love. And I have no children to understand that love. I understand friendship and treasure those relationships but it feels good to know I’m a girl who is loved by her Mother. Loved enough to come and rescue me.

It made a big difference too.  I went and saw the doctors in the morning, which I wouldn’t have done because I went to urgent care on Sunday.  They did blood-work and an x-ray because they were concerned about the wheezing. He gave me a steroid that has helped a lot with the coughing and a new antibiotic. The difference between today and Tuesday is huge.

Sure the medical care is nice but I think the love helped too.

I’ll keep you guys posted on how my recovery is going. Hopefully I don’t have pnemonia or something like that.  I am also soooo thankful to my boss for being wonderful through all this. I am incredibly blessed woman.

I hope you all feel loved and when you are in need of rescue someone is there.  Sure love ya!

Someone to Take Care of Me

calvin and hobbes sickToday I am sick. Coughing and coughing. I have to say it is at moments like these that I wish I had someone to take care of me.  It might sound crazy to miss my Mother when I’m about to turn 35 but doesn’t everyone miss their mothers from time to time?

I think it is more than that.  It is that sense of someone having your back and taking care of you when you are unwell.  Most of us as adults, married or single, don’t have that.  It is probably the part of childhood we all miss the most.

It makes sense when you think about it because we are taught to be independent and strong but when we are sick that facade is gone and we are back to being needy and in pain.  Plus, I am usually very tired and worn out when I am sick.

calvin and hobbes sick2

I’m just grateful I don’t work in accounting any more so I can take the day off and get better.  In accounting it didn’t matter how sick I was.  I still had to work every day.

But I still do miss being taken care of.  On my mission I used to have these fantasies about my Mother taking care of me.  I was so tired and worn out the entire time that it was something I would dream about.  Ha! Not that much has changed.

Can anyone relate to what I am talking about?  Do you ever as an adult wish you could get taken care of?

 

Sorry Been Sick

coughingSorry I have let it go 5 days between posts.  I’m never sure how that happens! At least this time I have an excuse.  I’m afraid I have had a wicked virus and been quite sick.  I don’t have the strongest immune system and it seems like every year or so I get a whopper of an illness. My whole family is not the strongest when it comes to our immune system.  It is probably partly due to going 48 hours without sleep in New York City but it was worth it.

Some people are what I call high output people.  They seem to be able to accomplish so much and do things like all nighters without it phasing them.  I never could, even when I was in college.  I’ve done all nighters by accident with my insomnia but that is a completely miserable experience and it is hard for me to function.  What is amazing is people who can go, go, go without it wearing them down.  I get sick every time.  Oh well!

Luckily I have a job that I can easily do while sick and that’s a huge blessing.  I also found a new doctor that is covered by my insurance and had a very positive experience.  He prescribed me the biggest pills ever and seemed very attentive.

pillsI did keep up my movie reviews so make sure to check out the movie blog including my review of the new Dreamworks film Home.I also have been doing some fun videos on the channel including a collaboration with an awesome youtuber from London and my favorite movies when I’m sick.  If you aren’t subscribed to my movie blog and my channel please do.  I think you will really enjoy the content and it will be worth your time.

So let’s hope I can kick this illness and be at the top of my game again.  Hope you are all healthy and illness free.

 

Upstairs Rachel

Hi friends!

I just wanted to give you guys an update on my knee.  This week was huge! I saw improvement everyday and I was very good about staying off my knee as much as possible.  I even had a ticket to Wicked today but didn’t want to push it so I sold it to a friend. 

It’s weird I feel secluded from the rest of the world.  Like I’m in some kind of tunnel or bomb shelter.  I see my roommate and visitors and interact with others (including work) online.  It’s amazing how quickly you can cut yourself off from people.  It is also amazing how quickly the human brain gets used to a new routine, a new way of doing things.  Staying upstairs for days feels oddly normal.

So, what have been doing to keep myself busy upstairs?  Well, a lot of work which has been great.  I met some of my coworkers when they were here for the OR Show and told them some of my ideas for youtube and they loved it!!  They liked it so much they asked my boss if I could participate in a conference call on Wednesday and share them.  I made a power point presentation explaining my ideas and it went great!!!

We’ve been working on this spreadsheet project at work which is fine but I’m really excited to do something a little more creative so hopefully that will be starting after the presentation.

I’ve also been having fun diving into my old VHS collection because my friend Sharla is moving to Malaysia and she sold me her collection and her TV/VCR combo.  I watched Aladdin and Snow White on it.  So fun.

aladdin snow white

I think I had built it in my brain there was a huge difference between VHS and DVD/Blu-ray and there is but not much.  I was surprised how long it took to rewind.  Seemed like forever.

As you’ve seen from the reblog I’ve also started a new blog I’m very excited about.  If you like what I’ve said on this blog about movies please follow me on http://57disneyreviews.wordpress.com/  as I watch all 57 Walt Disney animated films (there may actually be 62 depending on where I draw the line). 

I already have posts on Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia.  I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. The melding of mediums in animation is just amazing.  I love it.

I also couldn’t help but do some shopping upstairs ala QVC.  I know what you are thinking but I sincerely like what I bought.  So cute!

qvc2
these shoes are made out of neoprene (the wetsuit material) and they are great and so cute!

qvc Aside from that I’ve been heating up microwave food, still filming my videos, watching big brother, listening to podcasts, getting my manga read for my next Adventures in Reading, resting, and heading downstairs once a day.  It’s a very exciting life!

I was pretty frustrated last week but am feeling positive today so hopefully next week I’ll be close to as good as new!

It certainly does make me grateful for all those times my knee does work without pain.  It also fills me with even more admiration for my Mother who went through bedrest for 4 of her children.  I can’t even imagine how hard that would be for months and months.

It has been a tough time in many ways but also a chance to think and be reminded of how many wonderful people I have in my life.  How many people all around the country are praying for me and anxious for my recovery.  How many people have been by for a visit or to offer assistance.  It’s humbling to need service but a good experience too and I’m so grateful.

I was very sad to miss out on the Deer Creek swim on Saturday but I went out and finally tried the Bake 360 brunch menu.  So delish!  Thanks to Emilee for helping me do that. 

bake 360In the end I’m just grateful for this time as Upstairs Rachel but also ready for it to be over.  Please continue to send those prayers. 

Love you all!

 

Missing My Race

Friends, I feel sad.

I’m still in a lot of pain but that has become fairly normal.  What makes me sad is missing my race.  For the last 3 years the Deer Creek Open Water Swim has been one of my favorite things to do during the entire year.  I looked forward to it like Christmas, maybe more so, and now it is out of the question.

I was able to sell my spot which is good but it is still a serious bummer. I was just reading a post on facebook and it all sounds like so much fun.  I guess they have awesome finisher medals and are doing the kayak raffle again.  I’m sure they will get a good turn out like last year.

If there was any way I could do it I would, but I can’t even stand straight right now.  Moving my leg hurts let alone kicking in the water.

That’s it. I’m just sad.

But there is a lot to be grateful for. I’m grateful for good friends who have been so supportive.  I’m grateful for all the prayers from family, friends, and my internet community. I’m grateful to anyone who has given me a ride or helped me out especially my friend Stacia and my roommate Regan.

What do you guys think I should do Saturday instead of just stewing on my missing the race?  I don’t have many options and everyone seems to be busy.  Any creative ideas?

I remember thinking in June that my life was going so well and wondering how long it could all last.  Well, July threw me a curve ball I wasn’t expecting.  Sometimes that’s the way life is. The Lord builds you up so you are ready for something hard (and I realize in the grand scheme of things my hard thing isn’t that hard but still it’s been tough for me).

I just wish I could swim in that race…Sigh.

On to next year!

Injured Routine and Microwaves

This was just too perfect!
This was just too perfect!

So I injured my knee on the 18th and came home from California on the 23rd. So that means we are going into 13 days injured, 9 days at my house.

In that time I have basically adjusted to living upstairs like some kind of hermit, trying to move my leg just enough.  I’m admittedly sick of microwave food but it is better than nothing.

I have gotten to the point where I go downstairs once a day and then work there for a while and then come upstairs.  It is tough going though and very painful .

The doctor said it looks like it is a torn or strained MCL and we will know more next week after an MRI.  It’s still very painful but improving each day too so I’m optimistic.

Sadly though I will not be able to do the Deer Creek swim.  😦 .  I’ve done it every year since 2011 and am very heart broken to miss it, both for the athletics and the social atmosphere. Will have to wait for GSL in 2015 for next race…

What is interesting to me is with this strange life I’ve already developed a kind of routine. Wake up, nuke some breakfast, work, nuke some lunch (or a lunchable), and then head downstairs slowly, work down there, get a ride to the mail and bank and then eat dinner downstairs and slowly head upstairs.  It actually has begun to feel kind of normal which is strange.

It’s just amazing how the human body and brain can adapt to new situations so easily.

But I need ideas friends of meals that require little to know cutting, chopping, dishes or anything else with standing.  Preferably pre-made meals.

What are the best in your opinion?  What would you do if you were stuck with only a microwave and fridge for half the day? I know some of you don’t comment much but I could really use feedback in this case, so thanks.

I did get back to doing my videos today which I’m proud of.  Take a look.

I am getting kind of stir crazy because I feel fine, just in pain.  If anyone wants to come over to visit or watch a movie with me that would be amazing.

It’s interesting because I felt like my winning streak was going to die out.  I had such a great June.  On the other hand, it could have been much worse.  Unless the MRI shows a complete tear I won’t have to get surgery which is a blessing.

Plus I am so grateful to my work for being so flexible.

Anyway, please send me your microwave/fridge ideas.  Thanks!

microwave

 

On Bended Knee

Alas I have not been proposed too.

Mine is a knee problem of another sort.  Sadly today was supposed to be my last day at the family reunion but yesterday I slipped on a tub in my hotel room and twisted  my knee badly.  I was able to get out of the tub by rolling out and then hobbled to clothes.  However, when I tried to get onto the bed and lift my knee a bit my leg turned to jello and I toppled to the ground.

My poor Dad came to my rescue and had the Herculean task of lifting not so little me up onto a desk chair that they rolled down the hallway onto the elevator.

No wheelchair or bathroom mat I could see!  Badly done Hampton Inn.  The lady was very good to wait for me but I called and told them what had happened and she said ‘I will have someone come fill out an incident report’ and I said ‘could you get me a bag of ice first…(sigh. Litigious world we live in)

Nevertheless, I was in so much pain.  Worse than ever in my life.  Basically carrying me into the car and then drove me to the urgent care.  Luckily the urgent care took my insurance (even though Humana had no one at their call centers for emergencies!)

They were great at the urgent care and did 3 x-rays and gave me a shot, some meds.  According to the doctor it could take a while to heal.  I certainly can’t put any weight on it right now.  I’m honestly very surprised it isn’t an ACL or break because the pain is very strong (although the pain meds do help).

knee knee2

I have been packing the knee with ice 24/7 and resting.  Thankful for my family for taking care of me and Sam for giving up his room.  In a way it is a good place to have something like this happen because at home I would have lots of stairs and nobody home most the day to help me.

I was supposed to fly home tomorrow but I can’t even have my knee dangling and if anyone touches it there is extreme pain.  There is no way I could wedge into a little airline seat right now.  Luckily I had gotten the trip insurance and Delta let me get a credit.

I hope Sunday I am able to continue to rest so I can work a little bit on Monday.  I’d hate to get too behind after missing 3 days of work this week for the reunion.

Please send a little prayer for me that the pain will be bearable and that it will heal quickly.  It’s certainly been one of the most painful experiences of my life.  I just wish it was all for something more exciting than a shower!

It’s a real shame because I had been having a pretty good time at the reunion.  This is actually not the first knee injury at a family reunion.  My Uncle Jim tore his ACL at a Thanksgiving reunion we had in Colorado.

I guess family is hard on the knees and not just from all the praying!

Myth of a Sick Day

sick day

Have you ever had a sick day?  I don’t know if I have.  Yes, I’ve certainly been sick and yes, I’ve taken sick days off of work but they aren’t really days off, and I don’t even have kids.

Yesterday was a good example.  I woke up with a stomach ache and spent the morning emptying my stomach.  I had emailed my boss to let him know I would be out for the day.  I answered a few emails and then crashed for about 3 hours.  I have never taken naps even when I was little (my poor Mom).  Pretty much when I take a nap I know I am either sick or on a mission (only time in my life I took naps).

When I woke up I realized I had a notice on my email that estimated tax payments were due that day.  I called my accountant but was having trouble reaching them.  They had told me previously that they weren’t due until July which didn’t seem right but I was so busy with a new job that I shrugged it off.

Sick-Day

Finally I was able to reach the secretary for the accountants and the two of us were able to go through all the figures and thankfully I could make the state and federal payments online.  (The accountants got a piece of my mind don’t you worry!).

This took hours to figure out and the whole time I really just wanted to sleep.  I hadn’t eaten anything all day but finally at about 8 pm I stomached some crackers and ginger ale.  After watching 24 I fell asleep.

I wish I could have taken an entire day off to recover but it nearly always works out this way.  I know I am not alone in this.  In fact, I have it easier than you Mom and Dad’s who really never get a day off to recover.  I guess it’s just being an adult.

I’ve always said the only time I miss my Mom is when I am sick. I’m a pretty independent person but to be taken care of like only a mother can is perhaps the best part of childhood.  My roommate was kind to bring me some crackers but just nothing beats the sympathy and care of a mother for her daughter (even at 33 years old!).

At least with my new job hopefully the work distractions will be fewer.  The downside to accounting is there are deadlines that don’t go away if someone is sick.  Today 5 checks had to be written and it didn’t matter if I was recovering.  The mail had to be gotten and a wire had to be written.  This could not wait.

There are definitely deadlines with marketing but it seems to be a slower pace and be a little more flexible than accounting. I could be wrong but that’s just the vibe I’ve gotten so far.

I know some people have 9 to 5 jobs so when they are home they aren’t at work whether it is the end of the day or a sick day but I think a growing number of us telecommute which means there is no end to the work day, sick or not.

My favorite thing about my job is that I can telecommute.  I am by  no means complaining just talking about my life.

I guess what can be difficult is making sure you get better while still doing all the stuff that still has to be done.  What strategies have you found to be helpful? How do you guys balance work and other demands?  I’d be particularly interested in hearing from other telecommuters.

At least this was just a 24 hour bug and while I was a little tired today it wasn’t too bad.  What was really rough was this last Christmas when I was sick as a dog and had to work the entire time.  I’m sure that is why the illness stretched on for over 9 weeks.  It was brutal.

If only sick days were like this:

Heroism and Weight Loss

fat-supermanI’ve been thinking about writing this post for some time.  Everyone who reads this blog is probably aware of my distaste for weight loss in the media.  I know many find shows like the Biggest Loser to be encouraging but for me they are the opposite.

What bothers me is they paint fat people as bad, and reformed fatties as good and that just isn’t true.   As I often say,  ‘a lot of people lose weight in prison’… Losing weight is hard enough without having these types of morality judgments thrown in our face.

So that’s media but this post is a slightly different take.  I would like to talk about how we as a culture often couch weight loss in heroic terms and how this is almost never helpful.

Just the other day I was watching a show and the reporter asked the man how he had ‘overcome his heroic battle with weight loss’.  This is not uncommon phraseology for our average conversation. All of us, including myself, have used such phrases when talking about weight loss.

What’s wrong with that you ask? I mean losing weight is really hard.  Why is that not heroic?

Well, let’s start with some definitions-

Over on about.philosophy.com author Kendra Cherry asked her readers How Do You Define Heroism?  Pretty much every response is something like this:

“A hero is a person who would risk life and limb just to save people or a person. these people standout as brave intelligent and loving. these people need to be recognized”

So what are the elements of being a hero:

1. They are brave

2. They are worthy of recognition

3.  They are loving

4. They risk their own safety to help other people

It is this last aspect that is the most common thread in all the responses.  Another reader says:

“Heroism is when you act out of the kindness of your heart. Whether you’re helping someone on homework, or helping someone who got hurt, the main thing is that your helping someone who is having a hard time”

So, heroism clearly involves being unselfish and serving your fellow men and women especially when doing so is difficult.

indexHow does weight loss fit such a description?  I can’t think of any other change of appearance that is lauded in such ways.  For example, if someone gets a face lift they are often derided, criticized but I’ve rarely heard that when gastric bypass is done.  Why is one surgical enhanced change heroic and another isn’t?

You could say that gastric bypass is required where a face lift is not? Well, the research from the Health at Every Size movement would strongly disagree with that assertion, but even if you accept that gastric bypass is necessary I don’t see how it is heroic?  If I break my leg and have surgery on said leg (essentially fixing a problem in my body like GB) does that make me a hero?  No, it makes me a person with a broken leg that was fixed.

I can see no part of weight loss that involves risk to help other people. You can help people get in shape or encourage them to enter a race, but that’s not really the weight loss, that’s your service in the community and amongst your loved ones.  Anyone should be lauded who serves others no matter their size.  That is worthy of the hero label.

What about athletes? Who are they serving and we call them ‘sports heroes’?  One could argue such a term is misapplied to professional athletes but I would counter that most athletes are participating in a team or cause greater than just themselves.

For example, an Olympian is certainly worthy of individual applause but also their gift of performance on behalf of their country makes it worthy of the hero label.

There are a few sports like golf that are truly individual events and then I would say they aren’t really heroes but simply exceptional.  We like them because they are good at something and we are not. Nothing wrong with that!

But I hear you saying ‘Rachel it’s so hard.  Shouldn’t we be encouraging?’.  My answer is ‘of course, we should’.  However, there are lots of hard things we do in life that aren’t really heroic.  If I am a PHD candidate and I complete my thesis am I lauded as a hero? I’m encouraged, congratulated, cheered but unless there’s a disability or something extraordinary I rarely hear the kind of language we apply to weight loss for any other ‘hard thing’ in life.

Why? Because the diet industry in America is a 20 billion dollar industry.  They want you to spend money and what better way to get someone to spend money than to either make them feel really good or really bad about themselves.  A tepid, lukewarm person never bought anything.  They have a vested interest in convincing us that we need to change and that if we make said change we can be the hero.

Now, you might suggest that I am focusing on mere semantics and poor word choice.  I would argue back that according to the Huffington Post the average American woman has dieted 61 times by the time they are 45 and that’s starting at 16 (I would start much younger- 81% of little girls in America have dieted before the age of 10).

Assuming some marginal success in most of those diets, the average woman has been the hero 61 times,  and then fallen sometimes quite speedily off of her pedestal.  Then to make matters worse 35% of women gain more than they lost on said diet.

So, now we aren’t really a weight loss villain (to use the cannon of terms) that is probably reserved for sinful foods and the companies who pedal them but we are something even worse- the fallen hero.  I mean think about what that means.  61 times the average woman not only feels let down with her own frailties but is no longer the inspirational tool for her family and friends.  I’ve felt it and I bet most of you have too.  It is devastating.

images

I actually remember one time my sister telling me ‘you can’t gain the weight back because then you wouldn’t be this person that we admire’.  She was very little and didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but is that not what all of us go through on the roller coaster of weight loss? 2012 I was at my peak of fitness and weight loss, then I had a personal crisis, chronic pain and a herniated disk in my back.  Things changed and so did my body.

I’m not making excuses.  That’s just what happened.  I felt guilty for a long time.  Like I’d let everyone down, which is insane when you really think about it.  What had changed was something in my body.  My other actions were exactly the same.  I still swam my races, I still blogged.  I still worked.  I still held book club and spent time with my friends.  I still traveled.  All of it.  I can’t think of one thing for other people I could do in 2012 and couldn’t or didn’t do in 2013.  So why did I seemingly let them down?

Because I wasn’t the hero anymore. 

That’s why this language about our bodies is so important.  It can have devastating repercussions that can make us feel like failures, and we already feel that way because of the way we look.  The language just piles on. And sometimes it is not just language.  I have friends who’s parents were vocally disappointed in them for their weight loss struggles. Instead of sympathy and encouragement they received pity and disgust.  (Luckily my parets have always been pretty good about letting me live my own life)

What worries me most is if being the fallen weight loss hero is hard for adults, imagine what it must feel like for a child who has so little control over his or her bodies in the first place?  That I do know.  I remember vividly the feeling of disappointment after diet, after diet, not only frustrated at not looking the way I wanted to, which is hard enough for a young girl, but letting everyone down in the process.  For goodness sakes, now these kids are even letting down the President.

So, in a perfect world where everyone took all of my advice what would I suggest? How would I encourage others in this hard thing called weight loss? I would treat it like the accomplishment of any other worthy goal.  ‘that’s great’, ‘I can see you worked very hard’, ‘great job’, ‘congrats’, ‘I’d love to go jogging with you’, or any number of responses without vaulting the person up as a hero because of the way they look.

What do you guys think? Have you felt like you were letting down people when you gain weight or fail to lose?  Do you think the hero narrative is helpful or hurtful?  Please share your experience, as this is just what makes sense to me.  Love you all!

heroes03capamericapostyo8