Let the insanity begin!


hospital signWow… I can’t believe it. Nursing classes start on Tuesday. And I’m already behind. I’m kicking myself for not getting my butt to the doctor sooner about the chronic headaches I was having all month. I honestly thought they would resolve well before now. But at least with some medication, I am able to focus. Better living through chemistry!

So much of the initial stuff is comprised of material I already know. Still the review is good. The way I learn material is going to make for a long semester,though. Not only do I need to read the material, but I have to rewrite it in notebooks, often in some informal outline type of way, and then rewrite information as flash cards. It’s enormously time consuming, but after 2 degrees, I already know how my brain works.

What I’m afraid of is underestimating the difficulty of the material… the flip side being is that I freak out and wind up with more of the chronic tension headaches I developed this month.

Balance.

Breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

That’s what my yogi friends would say. And I’ll figure it out. I’ll find my stride and get through this. The rewards will be worth it in the end. Ultimately, I’ll be doing what I’ve always wanted to do: helping patients, playing detective, helping people become their best possible selves. I want to be the NP people go to when they need a sense of hope. I want to provide a space that will make them feel safe, accepted, and heard. I’m almost tingling with excitement!

 

Don’t Assume

So in my last post, I gave away the fact that I’m passionate. Italian and passionate. The two go together like hand in glove. So when someone starts telling a friend of mine that the key to her happiness is more exercise and a better diet, because so much of rural living is unhealthy, my feathers get ruffled a bit. I feel judged before I even walk outside my front door – the front door of my home set in rural America.

What will you see if you look at me on the street these days? An overweight woman in her forties, whose gait isn’t always the most steady or most proud. And I know I’m being judged by that gait, and my size, even if it’s just a “poor thing (or the ever popular ‘bless her heart’), if she’d only lose the weight she wouldn’t be walking funny.”

And their assumptions would be so wrong.

I used to be active. I used to hike. I used to ride horses. I used to run and dance and even tried my hand at martial arts. I am the mother of one, and we used to go to the park all the time when the weather was nice. I wasn’t *always* like this. But then again, I wasn’t always sick.

But I’m being judged anyway. By people who have no idea who they are looking at. They didn’t know me before, they don’t know how much weight I’ve lost already, they just assume I’m popping ho-ho’s all day long. In actuality, I dare any of those people to write down what they eat in a typical day and what I eat in a typical day. Hands down, I can tell you I put more whole foods in my diet than they do. Why? Because I already *know* that my diet effects my health. I know that if I indulge in a half cup of ice cream my pain levels are going up the next day. I know that sugar increases inflammation, and I avoid it. I also can’t take anti-inflammatory drugs like they can when they are achy because those drugs wreak havoc on my digestive system.

So, dude. I’m glad that you’ve changed your diet and you visit the gym and that you feel so awesome you just want everyone to know all about it. But before you even begin to tell another person what they need to do to get healthy, I’d like to see your qualifications. And then I’d like you to sit down and take a medical history of the person you’re preaching to. Obesity is a complicated issue. It’s not always as easy as cutting back the calories and going for a run. And happiness isn’t just about weight.

Hops off soapbox

Sometimes you just get tired of the fight

In one of the Lyme boards I participate in, there is a discussion about a certain Chronic Lyme patient who committed suicide in recent days.

It’s tragic. But I get it.

You get tired of the fight. You get tired of “managing spoons.” You get tired of defending yourself to people who will never truly understand, and sometimes that includes medical professionals.

And so you just give up.

I’ve been there. I’ve been so frustrated at times that I just wanted to throw in the towel, and be done with it. You’re frightened, and tired, and probably close to broke (if not there already) that suicide seems like a peaceful alternative.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I still have family who love me, and husband who busts his butt keeping us all above water. I can still afford treatment (at least some of the less expensive treatments – have you priced a month’s supply of azithromycin lately???)

And so as one of the lucky ones, I feel it’s even more important to give back, pay it forward, and keep fighting. Because when I kick this thing (and by kick I mean I’ll be happy to keep it under control if complete remission isn’t in the cards), I know I’ll be on the other side of the examining table, and will hopefully be able to help patients before they reach the point of giving up. I want to be someone patients know that I’ll do everything within my power to help them heal. I want patients to know that when no one else is listening, I *will* be. I want to stop one more untimely death…

Idealistic? Probably. But I’m guessing it’s these ideals that will push me past mental, emotional and physical obstacles in my own battle, and through school. So I’ll cling to them, at least for now.

In the meantime, H, rest in peace.007

Just the facts, ma’am…

photo (4)

Wow. Just wow. Sometimes you just have to smile, and slowly back away from crazy. Especially on the internet. More on that in a moment, but to set the stage…

I get that Lyme disease is a controversial issue. I’m living it. I’m living with the fact that doctors ignored my complaints for years. I’m living with the fact that my doctor who *is* finally treating me can only do so much before she starts attracting the attention of insurance companies who don’t want to pay costly treatment. I’m living with the judgment of people around me because I “don’t look sick.”

But conspiracy theories? C’mon. You’re really just going to have to forgive me if I don’t buy into them. And I’ve heard so many. From the explosion at Plum Island to contaminated vaccines. So when a person decides to post link upon link upon link to “articles” (and I use that term loosely) on the web proliferating these ideas, it’s going to get my attention.

And so I start asking for some real sources. Peer reviewed articles. Scholarly journals. I’ll even take a link to a more mainstream media source like The New York Times.

So I get into this discussion with some chick on Facebook who is obviously offended by my inquiries, and after giving me only more links to articles, she goes on to defend herself by saying she’s testified before the US Congress and has been published in blah blah countries on blah blah continents. So she gives me a link to her blog. Well yippee. I have one, too. But I sense her getting hostile, and I decide this is not an argument I’m going to win because fanatics are, well, fanatical. So I back away. I make comments like, “well, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” and “thanks for the link to your blog.” But in all honesty, what I really want to say, “you still haven’t shown me a single reputable source for any thing you’re saying, and that all the ‘publishing’ you claim to have done is on the internet.” I did a preliminary search for every single one of her “publications” in the college’s academic search engines I have available to me, and neither her name nor the publication titles appear anywhere except google. And again, it’s an internet article.

The very first course I took as I restarted my education was on the evaluation of sources for meaningful and verifiable information, and internet sources was included in the discussion. And so again, you’ll forgive me if I look at things like this with a skeptic’s eye.

So why do my panties get in a twist about this stuff? Because when fanatics go around screaming about conspiracies, and get even the least bit defensive about their sources of information, it makes ALL of us suffering look bad. It makes us ALL look crazy.

I get being passionate. I’m passionate. Hell, I’m Italian. We’re known for our passion, our tempers, and our cooking. But passion has to be curbed by a certain level-headedness. Otherwise, you just look like a nut case, and you’re defeating yourself before you ever really get started.

That said, if anybody has some solid articles, please, pass them along. 😉