Thursday, April 27, 2006

Friday's Feast - Internet-free Edition

Yes, I'm neglecting the blog, but I don't have Internet right now. I present a very delayed Friday's Feast.

List 3 things you keep putting off.
1) Refilling my migraine medication
2) Packing
3) My credit card bill

What do you feel is your greatest responsibility?
Trying to stay healthy physically and mentally

If you could have starred in any movie, which one would you have wanted to be in and why?
This is a tough one. I'd like to pick something Oscar-worthy, but I think it would have been really cool to play the lead in Underworld. Kate Beckinsale trained so that she wouldn't blink when she shot guns, which is a natural reaction. And here you though Keanu did it to look cool. Really, he just couldn't keep from blinking.

Main Course
What is an expectation you had as a child about being an adult and, now that you are grown up, you realize you were wrong?
That I would get married at age 20. What the hell was I thinking?

When was the last time you had your car serviced?
I had the radiator replaced last summer. I don't take it anywhere for oil changes.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I'm Going to Try This My Way

I had a weird day. On my way to work, the car in front of me spun out across three lanes of traffic and ended up beyond the shoulder in the grass off 24. Yes, I stopped and made sure she was OK. I was really shaken up by the whole thing - I can't imagine how she was feeling.

While I was pulling pastries at work, there was a fight (fists and all) in the Chili's parking lot between a screaming, cursing woman and some man who apparently stole her car. In Smyrna. At Chili's. Yes, I think it's odd, too. I hate that I missed it, because it was quite a scene from what I hear. The chick got arrested (onlookers agree she clearly started it), and the man sped off in her SUV. What a world.

I came to a decision on my way to work, one that I'm sure will be unpopular to some. I've opted to refuse medical treatment about my Pap smear. On my way to work I got a call about a late bill from some past MRI or CT or something, and it's not the first time. I know my parents have problems, and I know most, if not all, are money related. I can't help but think that all of my medical bills sure aren't helping.

I can't watch my family fall apart. I'm 53 miles away, and it's tearing me apart at this distance. My therapy is going to cost me, and I KNOW there's something up with my head. I'm not all gung-ho about having some scope all in my cervix when it's probably going to yield nothing.

Statistically, I don't have cervical cancer. Most of the time, abnormal Paps aren't because of cancer. I'm going with the numbers on this one. I haven't had cancer yet, and they sure have tested me enough.

I know the argument: What if it's cancer?

OK, first off, I wasn't allowed to speak in hypothetical terms while growing up. I think that did me some good. Second, cervical cancer would take a damn long time to kill me, and I'd show other symptoms eventually, and, truth be told, I'm not sure I'd want to know. I'd rather think I were healthy.

No, I don't have a death wish. But, lately, I don't have too much to get all excited about rolling out of bed for, so I'm paralyzed with not caring. A colposcopy is expensive. Paps every three months are expensive. I did better handling my aunt's cancer than I did handling my dad leaving. My parents' situation is mostly beyond my control, but I can at least avoid adding more debt. I'll take my chances.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pilates: Crucify the Fat!

I've decided to leap head-first into the realm of the inappropriate with that title.

I had Pilates to day, and it kicked my ass. I think I grabbed 3-pound weights instead of 2-pound weights, which doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but after the intermediate ab series and the leg series, my body was screaming that I'd forsaken it. I also got applauded for returning to class (I'd been lost in doctor appointments and therapy for the past few weeks).

I should add that a few nights ago I prayed, for the first time in a while. It kind of boiled down to having no one else to talk to, but it wasn't a last resort. I made my peace with God. And I cried a little.

The home front is still tense: My mom and dad aren't speaking yet. No word on how all that will pan out, but I still talk to them both. My dad is more concerned with my health lately.

I get to have Pap smears every three months now. I can't wait. Serioualy, what's my gyno's obsession with my uterus and it's surround parts? I mean, I get that that's his job, but, really, it's odd.

This just in: I'm intelligent. At least, according to my therapist I am. She commented on my using humor as a defense mechanism and said that was a sign of intelligence, as it is often considered the highest level of defense. Neat!

And you thought my "your mom" jokes were just inappropriate. Your mom's in MENSA! OK, I'm done now. And sorry for the sporadic blogging - I'm Internetless at the moment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"I need you to hold on to while this part of me is dying" OR "Did daddies really never go away?"

As promised, the depressing brooding post. I'll try to keep the teenagerish moments to a minimum, but no promises. And, in order to read on, you must swear on whatever you think is holy that this blog will not be discussed among non-readers. I just need to get this out in the open.

I went home last weekend, only it wasn't home anymore. My sister was kind of in a weird mood, and my mom was at the race, and my dad wasn't home. My mom came back. At about 9:15 that night, she told me what had happened: My dad had been gone since Wednesday.

Anyone who knows me knows how close my dad and I are. We talk on the phone pretty much every day. We e-mail each other, we drink Jack Daniel's together, we hang out. He'd come by and left notes saying he was OK, but he wasn't there. They'd had an argument, and he left. I know my dad - he and I are a lot alike. When we're upset, we like to take ourselves away from the situation until we can be objective about it, so I know why he left.

My mom and sister hadn't heard from him other than the note he left, and, of course, they asked when I'd heard from him last, which was earlier that day. In fact, I'd talked to him every day that week, and I understand why he didn't mention anything, because he knows all I've been going through and probably didn't want me to worry about something else I couldn't do anything about.

Seeing my mom like that was hard, seeing my sister like that was hard, and not seeing my dad Saturday was hard. He came home Sunday while I was at work, but he and my mom hadn't talked yet - he's giving her space. My sister isn't really talking to him, either. I, naturally, went upstairs to the bonus room to watch TV with him Sunday night. He told me about everything, which I appreciated. It still doesn't feel right, though.

I have this place in Murfreesboro where I have some shit. I have this place in Hendersonville where I have some shit. But I don't have a comfortable, safe place anymore. I don't really have a home.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Cooter Scopin'

It's official: I had an abnormal Pap smear. I kind of figured that out when they called me instead of sending me the card in the mail telling me everything in the nether regions was fine and dandy. I'm not fine, and I'm sure as hell not dandy.

It's sad that I've been preparing myself for this for as long as I knew what a Pap was, yet I still wasn't ready for it. I think I said something like, "Oh, fuck." That sounds like something I'd say.

I'll soon be scheduling a colposcopy or something equally hard to spell and pronounce, and then my gyno, who is already far too familiar with my uterus due to that pesky surgery a few months ago, will go diggin' around with a scope. I'm hoping it's still something they'd determine precancerous and not cancerous, but one can only dream.

I explained all this to my therapist, who noted that every time I come in, I tell her all these terrible things that have happened to me (really - it's ridiculous; it gets worse and worse every week, and I always think I can't top it, but I do), and I do so with little or no emotion. I told her it was the simple matter of if I let myself actually feel everything, I'd never stop.

Then, Saturday night, everything went to hell. More on that later.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm Not Homeless and I Don't Have Lymphoma!

Well, aren't those two gems of knowledge enough to brighten your day?

Today, I had one of my first good days in a few weeks. I woke up, took care of some stuff, found an apartment, and had a Blizzard.

My apartment is a really cool one-bedroom that reminds me a lot of the one my sister had her last year of college. I'm really excited. Here's the other thing: I might get a kitten. Of course, there is a catch - I can't take her yet (pet deposit stuff), and she needs to be somewhere for the next two weeks until I can. So, any of you out there want to board a sweet little kitten for two weeks? I'm going to call the vet at home to see how much it would cost to board her there and get her her shots.

Oh, and the surgeon doesn't think I have lymphoma! I'm supposed to go back in a few months to have another CT, but at least they didn't cut me open and biopsy me right there.

The next blog will be dedicated to this one. Anyone care to guess what it will be about?

Happy 21st Emily!

Breaking and Entering the Legal Way

I locked myself out of my house today.

I was trying to get to work early to start tips because we had to work the Hendersonville store tonight, and I wanted to make sure I was done with time to spare before we left.

I went outside, locking the door behind me, to get in my car to leave for work when I realized I had no keys.

I called my boss and explained my idiocy (she was in Murfreesboro picking up Missouri for work - the person, not the state) and that I might need a ride, and she said she'd call when she was done getting Missouri.

I then remembered that my bedroom window was unlocked - if only this were last year, when we first moved in and had no screens on our windows. Alas, I went next door and explained the situation to my neighbors, who were happy to laugh at help me.

She got a dinner knife, we pried off the screen, and then I raised the window and climbed into my bedroom. About that time my boss called, and I told her I wouldn't need a ride because I'd just broken into my house.

I'm disturbed that all one needs to break into my house is a dinner knife.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Surveying the Damage OR What Really Matters

I went home. My house was OK. My mom, dad and sister were OK. I haven't spoken to my aunts, uncles and cousins yet (my phone died, and all the lines there were still kind of touch-and-go), but my grandparents said they're fine, too. It looks like the Caldwell/Wilee/Jones/Irons clan survived.

I got home early Saturday morning - around 6:30 a.m. - but I couldn't sleep. My heart was beating so hard in my chest that it hurt. I'm not sure what to make of that, but I finally dozed for a bit.

I spent most of the daylight driving around town looking at all the destruction, first with my dad and then with my mom. I told my dad about the biopsy thing, and he assured me it's probably nothing.

I saw houses missing entire stories, roofs ripped off, twisted metal in the median of the road, telephone poles missing the top half which we later saw in the median, a lack of telephone poles with only dangling wires, a mobile home on its side pushed against the side of a building, huge oak trees lying down, cars looking as though they'd been in trash compactors, cars upside down, cars on top of other cars, big empty spaces where things used to be, a house completely moved off its foundation. Driving toward 109, roads were completely blocked, and looking beyond the "Road Closed" signs, we saw nothing but heaps of debris and twisted metal where houses used to be.

And all this was after many hours of cleanup efforts. Before I got to the car lot, there had been cars in trees and cars dropped on the Vol State lawn. This is all down the road a few miles from my house.

It's hard to imagine something this terrible, and it definitely puts things into perspective. I'm glad I got to spend the day with my family, and I feel very fortunate that my loved ones somehow managed to avoid being hit by all this. Cable is still out for many, and some friends of ours have been told not to expect power for four more days.

It's hard to imagine how close I became to losing someone - my dad got out of Gallatin half an hour before it hit.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Not in Kansas Anymore

Then why the fuck are there so many tornadoes?

OK, cursing Mother Nature aside, let's get serious: There was a big line of deadly storms ripping apart Sumner County whilst I was at work in the safety that is Smyrna, where the hail was small and unimpressive, as I told my DM who called to make sure we and the store hadn't been blown across I-24.

Murfreesboro got tennis-ball-sized hail, something that sounds large, scary and detrimental to vehicles. I'm glad I missed it.

Just before my shift started, my sister called me to warn tornadoes were coming. That was helpful as it came right before the aforementioned hail, but it also let me know she was OK.

We had a radio going the entire time, and I kept hearing all these dreadful things about dead people in Gallatin. My parents' house is close to Gallatin (Hvegas natives probably know this already), and hearing of the storms made me more than uneasy, especially when the phones went straight to voice mail. I deduced the lines were destroyed or all busy. Either way, I couldn't reach anyone. It certainly didn't help that my cell phone was temporarily unable to receive incoming calls.

So now, here I am, 4:42 a.m., blogging about the storm I'm about to go investigate. I'm heading to Hendersonville to my parents' house (I hope it's there - it seemed sturdy enough when we bought it), and I'll probably spend all day tomorrow calling my aunts, uncles and cousins, or however long it takes to reach them. We all live in different parts of Hvegas.

Thanks to all those who called/texted/e-mailed to ask about my family, including some Murfreesboro Starbucks folk. I'm glad that everyone I've heard from it doing well.

I sure hope the Bush Administration isn't involved in this cleanup effort. OK, I had to do some kind of joke to lighten the mood.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Long Night and I'm Hungry

Well, I never thought last night would end. But then it did. Here's the stuff I can tell you mere mortals: spent the whole day on the phone (really, my battery died and it usually lasts at least three days), had ritual, talked to Tanya, got home circa 5 a.m., called my dad, talked to my dad until about 6:15, went to bed, woke up too early, lather rinse repeat. More on this later. Let's eat!

Name a trait you share with your parents or your children.
I am an arrogant card player, just like my father. And I really like liquor, just like my father. I apparently look like my mom.

List 3 qualities of a good leader, in your opinion.
Steadfast, good listener, decision making

Who is your favorite television chef?
Emeril Lagasse - BAM!

Main Course
Share a story about a gift you received from someone you love.
When I graduated high school, my parents gave me part of my gift the night before. It was the Armani statue I'd been looking to buy since I was a freshman, but I was too poor. I screamed when I saw it, and I know my dad did that. Usually my mom does the gift shopping, but this was my dad's doing.

How do you react under pressure?
Depends on the pressure and the situation. In general, I do the best with what I have, which is all that can be expected really.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You, Too, Can Blog in German OR You Knnen also in German blogging

This summer, I will take: Insurance company enterprises (only two weeks, thank God, and then is complete my insurance person under age), fundamental German I and fundamental Germans II (hell, possibly I will persons under age in it, also - I have time).

Straight ones for the hell of it, I translate this blog into German, then back to English. I hope that it is readable. None I not. I hope that you cannot represent out, what the Bumsen I meant. The collecting main is in the Italics at the lower surface.

To I (about NEVER) graduate, have I two degrees - a Bakkalaureus of the arts in philosophy with a person under age either on Mathe or German (leans me me toward to the German - I should even educate itself) and a Bakkalaureus of the sciences in Mathe with a concentration in the actuarial science. I cannot wait, in order to see, how translates.

The bad messages are I are in the category of all summers, but the good messages are not I are getanes long after noon each day. I preserve quite much work of precloses and close and avoid still that nerve-killing opening shift I since last May do not have do had.

That is quite, kids - into straight short weeks unite, reach I this one year's marking, there I the memory have open had. Woot! I am surprised, if woot translates.

My Gynäkologe decided, means chest ultrasonic more rüber to send to the surgeon, whom I see the following week. He said that, because I already see him for mine "shotty lymph nodes" - that by the way doctor discussion for "lots increased lymph nodes" actual it could examine my lump out in addition. Why not? Let us my complete verfluchten body straight biopsieren. Any leg fabric would like to take everyone?

I had to set up a plan with those doctors to payment, but I am not also ensured. What will they do? Repo my Gebärmutter?

Largest thing said to me all day (during my basin examination - always loads from the fun, promises I): „Easing it simply itself; do not press. “together this is after it laughed short up lent at me for giving sex for. Now does it ask me to relax straight if somewhat is inside there? Yeah is fair it a reaction. I had to suffocate laughters at this point.

This summer, I'll be taking: Insurance Company Operations (only two weeks, thank God, and then my insurance minor is complete), Elementary German I and Elementary German II (hell, maybe I'll minor in it, too - I've got time).

Just for the hell of it, I'm translating this blog into German, then back to English. I hope it's readable. No I don't. I hope you can't figure out what the fuck I meant. The original will be in italics at the bottom.

By the time I graduate (circa NEVER), I'll have two degrees - a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy with a minor in either math or German (I'm leaning toward German - I should educate myself even more) and a Bachelor of Science in Math with a concentration in actuarial science. I can't wait to see how that translates.

The bad news is I'll be in class all summer, but the good news is I'll be done not long after noon each day. I can pretty much work precloses and closes and still avoid that pesky opening shift I haven't had to do since last May.

That's right, kids - in just a few short weeks, I will reach that one-year mark since I've had to open the store. Woot! I wonder if woot translates.

My gynecologist decided to send my breast ultrasound over to the surgeon I'm seeing next week. He said that because I'm already seeing him for my "shotty lymph nodes" - which, by the way, is doctor talk for "lots of enlarged lymph nodes" - he might as well check out my lump. Why not? Let's just biopsy my whole damn body. Anyone want to take some leg tissue?

I had to set up a payment plan with those doctors, but I'm not too worried. What are they going to do? Repo my uterus?

Greatest thing said to me all day (during my pelvic exam - always loads of fun, I promise): "Just relax; don't squeeze." This is shortly after he laughed at me for giving up sex for Lent. Now he's telling me to just relax when something is in there? Yeah, it's just a reaction. I had to stifle laughter at that point.

Have You Seen My Math Major?

Woohoo! I registered for class!

When I registered for class, I noticed they finally (several months later) realized that I declared a second major, only they didn't. They thought I CHANGED my major, and they completely took that pesky math thing away. The good news? My philosophy adviser is...

DR. RON BOMBARDI, who is only the smartest person I have ever met in my entire life. I still recall my first encounter with him - he came in to guest lecture my Oriental Thought class and related Taoism to superstring theory. It blew my mind, and I remember thinking, "This hour of my life makes every dollar I've spent on my education worth it." It was also the most fulfilling and satisfying hour, and, yes, that does include every sexual experience I've ever had. What can I say? I dig being intellectually stimulated.

I'm making homemade chicken 'n' dumplins (I'm sure I fucked up the AP style on that) and trying to process the events of last evening, which I cannot blog about but I really want to. Sigh.

Odd side note: When I click "advisor" under my WebMT tab, it lists Bombardi and Kholdnyi (my math adviser), but when I go to my info, it says this semester I transferred to the College of Liberal Arts and that my secondary program is unknown.

I'm hoping this will all be solved by the pesky upper division form I should've filled out Fall 2003 during my FIRST junior year. Thank God it's still my junior year, and, thus, the form is still file-able. It's like I planned it, only I so did not. Oh, Lindsey, why didn't I listen to you when you told me years ago that that damned form mattered?

Tomorrow I get to: Go to class, go to counseling, go to patient services, go to gynecologist, go to class, go to Invitation to Initiation, go to Brink of Insanity.

Oh, and for those wondering, I still didn't win the Powerball. This time I bought a ticket, so I was ever-so-slightly more likely to win than last time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Everyone knows I'm in over my head"

Well, my MRI was normal...except for my lymph nodes. I, of course, wrote this off as something mono-related, given my stellar history with the disease, but the neurologist said I should have it checked out anyway.

I then went to the doctor, who said the only way to check them out was to refer me to a surgeon for a biopsy. First, she wanted to go over the family cancer history.

"Do you have any family history of lymphoma or any unusual cancers?"

There's some good news. Yes. Yes, I do. We have any kind of cancer except breast, which I why I'm still not concerned about that lump I'm getting an update on Thursday. However, my aunt had cancer of the glands several times, the most recent being seven years ago. The chemo killed it.

So I had to go get a disc with my MRI on it to bring to my appointment with the surgeon next week. I'm also supposed to find out as much as I can about my aunt's cancer. I'm not really sure how to bring that up.

"Hey, mom, what kind of cancer did Beth have? I don't really need to know, but I think whether or not they biopsy my lymph nodes pretty much depends on it. Oh, no, I'm sure I'm fine and not malignant."

Considering my mom didn't even know I was having the MRI, I'm not sure this cancer talk is going to put her at ease.

Fear not. I don't think I have cancer. I do think I have something, but I don't think it's cancer. Right now, I'm hoping for mono. I excel at getting mono, I'm just as good at relapsing, but I'm also good at getting over it. I've got to have killer antibodies by now. Epstein-Barr virus be damned!

"It's not a tumor!"

This afternoon I'll get to find out my MRI results. I can't wait to check out my illuminated brain. I'm excited. This is all, of course, assuming I haven't developed some weird neurological disorder since my CT last year. If I've got a tumor or something, I'm not going to be amused.

The brew sale has come and gone, and because of my excellent selling skills (or coercing all employees to buy from me - same thing, really), my boss has to take me to the Marble Slab Creamery in her BMW convertible! Woot!

I have more counseling on Thursday. I'm sure after tonight's meeting and vote, I'm going to need more than just 50 minutes.

The apartment search is on. We'll see how that goes. I may just end up moving to Hendersonville for the summer. I'd save hella rent money.

And now, for your enjoyment, some fun quotations courtesy of Overheard in the Office.

Co-worker #1: Are they going to do that thing where they make it get darker earlier again this year?
Co-worker #2: You mean Daylight Savings? Yes, I think so. I think it happens pretty much every year.

Payroll: Have you been outside today? It's getting really warm!
Employee: Yes, I magically teleported here this morning without ever stepping outside.

CSR on phone: No ma'am, I cannot get the part to you today. If I could beam myself to your house and deliver the part myself, I would. But since I can't, you will have to wait for overnight shipping.

Editor #1: Should we tell the author we lost that whole section of the manuscript?
Editor #2: No, let's not announce that we're incompetent.
Editor #1: Yeah, let's let it be a surprise.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Like High School, 80 Proof

I spent a few nights at home and got to looking through old yearbooks. I found my sophomore yearbook (the year my sister graduated), and I cried when I reread what she wrote. It kind of restored my faith in myself, at least temporarily.

Saturday night, we grilled out and then headed to the Italian Grill for some drinking and music listening. Whilst there, I had some fun with the bartender, whose name escapes me, which is a shame because he's quite attractive. I was sitting at the bar with Abigail, Chuck's four-year-old who happens to be the most adorable little redhead you ever saw.

"Can we get her a kid-sized beer? Put it in a sippy cup - we don't want her to spill it on her shirt."

He was more than amused.

Prior to going out, we called John and Linda, who were out of town, for some April Foolin'. We told them that we were at their house, using their grill, and asked if they had any beer in their fridge because "We don't want to try to pick this lock if you don't have any beer." I'm sure they're freaking out, but it was damn funny.

While we were drinking up a hefty bar tab, my mom was dancing (of course), and my dad was standing at the bar when I happened upon Michelle (our former Black Eyed Pea bartender), and Gretchen, of Hendersonville fame.

Me: "I can't take them out in public anymore."
Gretchen: "Is that your mom?"
Me: "Yes, and my dad is the Lord of the Beer."
Gretchen: "That's awesome."
Me: "I hope they don't think I'm driving. I drove last time - it's their turn."

This incited laughter from the table. My dad was wearing a shirt that said Lord of the Beer. I kid you not.

My dad has successfully caulked my car enough so that it no longer leaks in the rain. I'm more ecstatic than I can show via typing, especially because it's monsooning outside with the high possibility of tornadic activity.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

You're So Vein OR Happy April, Fools!

Well, I woke up bright and early (by my standards at least) to get my MRI. I went to the MRI place in town, and the woman said I wasn't scheduled.

"Maybe you should go across the street to the orthopedist."

Yeah, I always keep orthopedic offices in mind when I need an MRI of MY HEAD.

A quick call to the neurologist confirmed that I was at the wrong place, so I had to go down the street a few feet. I was then ready to fill out forms and wait.

I should preface this by saying I watched House last night, and in the episode, a woman gets an MRI, is injected with contrast, and her throat closes up. Neat!

So I'm in this contraption that has my head held in place so I can't possibly escape, and I'm thanking all that is holy that I'm not claustrophobic. The technician told me it would take about 10 minutes, after which I'd be removed from the large, beige tunnel and injected with contrast.

Excuse me?! I did not agree to needles - I would've had someone else drive me if I'd known that was going to happen. I explained my freakishly low blood pressure and my overall needle discomfort, so she was prepared.

Did anyone else know that contrast is really, really cold when it's in your veins? It was strange. It also made me twitch a little, so I suspect there may have been sulfa involved.

This is not an April Fools joke, but I have to say it: I didn't have a period this month. If I hadn't given up sex for Lent and if I didn't take birth control, I'd be all freaked out right now. As it stands, I'm just annoyed that birth control has made my special time unpredictable (I used to have it down to the hour naturally - go reproductive system!), yet I'm thankful I got a month off. I guess it's my reward for being sex-free.