Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hanging in there -- kind of

Thanks for your notes. It's been about five days since I've felt really well. I am guessing I've been plowed by the Norovirus -- the fancy official name of the stomach bug. Some days I'll start feeling better, and I'll take a chance and eat something. And that can be a serious error in judgment!

I've not gotten much sleep -- this thing seems to like to attack me in the wee hours of the morning, and with a vengeance. So, interrupted sleep, lack of food, lack of appetite, lack of energy -- makes daily life a little more difficult.

There's nothing that can be done medically, so I guess in a day or so this will have run its course and I can start recovering. I left work early today to try to get some rest, and it was nice actually getting to sleep for a couple of hours this afternoon.

One thing I worry about is how it all affects my blood sugar. I've tried to keep some sick day supplies on hand as recommended in the diabetes education classes, just to keep from going completely haywire.

Last night I covered a police department appreciation dinner -- the chief had invited me and gave me a free ticket for the dinner. I have a lot of respect for the department and was happy to cover the dinner. It was a great meal, too, but I could only eat a small portion and still paid for it all night. They had ham -- one of my favorites. And it was a HUGE portion. Oh well, can't win them all. I was happy with what I could manage, for a while. LOL.

Anyway, enough of that. I still haven't gotten my car in to get it repaired. I'm making myself a note to get started on that tomorrow. The insurance company part is all taken care of. I just need to take the car in to have them see what work they have to do, then schedule a time for them to do it and a rental car during that time.

I'm also planning to go to Tulsa on Saturday to meet up with some old friends from my previous handbell choir at a bell festival. And I'm thinking of renting a car over the weekend for safety's sake -- don't want to risk having some hidden damage become suddenly apparent on that trip. Ideally, of course, my car would be in for repairs and I could just have the car over the weekend while the insurance covers it. Is my luck that good? We'll see... But weekend rentals are not horrible at any rate, in my experience.

I'm happy to report my schedule this week has not been as heavy as last week, when I worked 55.5 hours (another half hour would have made 7 work days!) I guess I picked the right time to be down sick.

I'll be very happy when the weather starts to get milder. In another month, we should be getting our first hints of springtime weather. I have great memories of flying kites on St. Patrick's Day. Boy, would that be fun!

OH! Speaking of fun -- my fun assignment yesterday was covering the opening of a new playground at one of the elementary schools, built by the PTA parents and community volunteers! Wow! Talk about excited kids! I was up taking pictures from the top of the fort, and a preschool girl grabbed my hand and said "Teacher, you need to slide too!" So down we went, together, on the double-wide slide. Wow, was it fast! I think I aggravated an old tailbone injury though, as we came to the end. I didn't realize it until I was trying to get out of bed in the middle of the night.

Here are the kids saluting the volunteers who built their playground:


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dropped Out

Today was a drop-out day for me. I have not left the house and don't plan to this evening.

I've been hit with a stomach virus the past couple of days and have lost most of my energy. I had to work yesterday, and I was able to have dinner with JT last night, which was very enjoyable. But that's all I can manage until I start feeling better.

I've slept late; I've read a little. I heated up a frozen box of something or other just so I could say I tried eating something. And I'm trying to get some laundry done.

My house is a pigsty, and so it will stay for a while, despite my best intentions. I can't even believe it's almost 6 p.m. on Sunday. I wish I could just jump up, do a load of dishes, vacuum and dust and scrub and pronounce the house clean. Yeah. I'd need Samantha Stevens' nose to do any of that, nice as it may sound.

Guess I'll head out to the garage to see if it's time to do the laundry flip-flop yet.

I hope you all are feeling better and more energetic than this. I'm just glad it's not what I'd call the full-fledged flu. I keep saying I refuse to get it -- no matter that 2 of the 9 people in my office have already succumbed and a third is likely down for the count too.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A prayer

Make us what you will, Lord, and send us where we are to go. Let us be vessels of silver or gold, or vessels of wood or stone; as long as we are vessels of honor we are content.

If we are not the head, or the eye, or the ear, one of the nobler and more honorable instruments, then let us be the hands, or the feet, as one of the lowest and least esteemed of all the servants of our Lord.

Lord, place us in your kingdom in the roles you have designed for us.

Lord, make all of us your servants.

In exalted places, or humble places.

Let us be full; let us be empty.

Let us have all things; let us have nothing.

We freely and gladly embrace our places in your kingdom.

(from the Wesley Covenant Service)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bad night

I think I totaled my car tonight.

It was about 9:30 p.m., and I was driving home after a meeting in the university town about 40 miles south of where I'm living. I got within about 10 miles of home when I hit an icy bridge and lost control.

I think I hit (or probably nearly hit) the left side of the bridge. Then I spun and hit the right side of the bridge squarely with the front of my car. I bounced off it, and was facing the left side again when I stopped, only to see the SUV that was behind me spinning out and basically repeating my path. I knew it was going to hit me, so I turned my head to keep from tensing up as it approached. No sense inviting pain, I figured (or not. I didn't have time for conscious thought, but I know I didn't want glass in my face if the window broke.)

In a few seconds I felt the collision. When I looked back I saw that she had hit me with the butt-end of her car. She had made a 180 in the few seconds I wasn't watching. When she hit me, we both wound up facing the way we had just come, and somehow or other I was in front of her at this point, off on the far shoulder.

I grabbed my cell phone and reached a police department in another town; I was able to give the dispatcher enough info about our location that she was able to get the Highway Patrol there in just a few short minutes.

The trooper had me get in his car with my license and insurance. He wanted to know if I wanted him to work the accident or just do a report for insurance. I didn't know what the "right" thing was. He said, Well, if I work it, you'll probably be the one to get a ticket." I asked why, since it was caused by ice that wasn't apparent to any of us. He said "Because none of these other cars is having a problem driving across the bridge." OK, right after we collided, a third car also hit the bridge but kept driving. And lo, as soon as the words were out of his mouth, two more cars collided right in the same place. When I got back in my car, just as he was returning my papers to me, two more cars collided. He told me I could go, and I said I would, just as soon as it was clear for me to turn around. He said "I thought you were southbound." NO, trooper, I was northbound. That's what I've been telling you. The ice -- the spinning.... He corrected the report. And crash, two more cars collided.

I headed north, and at the far end of the bridge (the end I hadn't made it to yet) there were two more cars down in the ditch with big hunks of bumpers or fenders or something on the road. And here came another car which promptly bounced off the bridge right as it passed me.

( got another quarter of a mile and there was ... you guessed it, two more cars that had collided.

It was NOT a good night. I felt blessed that I was alive and that my car was still driveable.

It is a 13-year old car with 153,000 miles on it. I expect the insurance company will total it. Just at first glance, though, most of the damage seems to be confined to the driver's side door and the front bumper. I'll have to have it checked for other damage, of course.

The SUV had a broken tail light. And that driver's license was suspended.

I'm fine. I feel no pain at this point and the adrenaline shake has stopped. It's nearly midnight, and I might be able to sleep in another 30 minutes or so.

Funny. On the drive down I was just thinking that I'm sure not in a position to get a different car just now. Guess I might have to rethink that, like it or not. I sure have loved this car. I got it for my 40th birthday and it has served me so well.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I just found two big plastic bags filled with my favorite winter clothes -- one bag of just sweatshirts and sweat pants; the other my very favorite sweaters! I've been wondering where they were. Turns out they were "hiding" in my "spare" room/office/reading room/Lord help me! space.

I'm so happy! This is better than Christmas or going shopping, because I already know I like all these things! Yahoo!!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

I Am Diabetic

I had been planning to do this essay about being diabetic, but hadn't had time to set up and shoot the photos. In response to Tech's comment on my bread-making post, however, I've gone ahead and gotten it together.
Tech's post about diabetics limiting bread was not mean-spirited. We're in this battle together, so it was definitely a thoughtful question. Of course I promptly told him to shush it, because, well ... I like bread.

However, I don't want to imply that I'm careless enough in my diabetes management to disregard sound nutritional advice. Quite the contrary. Tech and I have both gone through diabetes education classes which are very intense and cover a huge range of information. One of those areas is nutrition, of course, and we learn how important it is to control (not eliminate) carbohydrate intake.

I am allowed seven servings of carbohydrates each day. Each serving is equivalent to 15 grams of carbs. Learning what a "serving" is is an ongoing education. I learn to read food labels. Other people may be watching fat intake; I have to watch that AND carbohydrates.

So, no, I don't want to give you the impression that I ate the whole thing last weekend when I made that great loaf of bread. I did not. Granted, I did not treat it with scientific precision when I did eat it. I guesstimated, and I knowingly overdid it, a bit. I enjoyed a splurge.

It would be one thing if I splurged on candy bars. Or potatoes. (Potatoes REALLY can send my blood sugar sky-high faster than candy!) But this was good-quality, whole grain, fresh bread with no preservatives, which I made myself. I did eat it with some moderation. I even have some left, if you can believe it.

OK, so what DOES being diabetic mean in practical terms in my daily life?

The biggest thing is that I test my blood sugar every day. Or nearly every day. There are times when the day is over before I get it done. That's OK. I still keep track of it several days a week, and I try to test at different times so I can see what might cause my numbers to be off track.

Here's what this new health routine looks like. Don't worry, I'll warn you before we get to anything that might make you queasy.

This is my testing kit. It includes my meter, a bottle of testing strips and what I call my "poke 'em stick." Other people call it a lancet. There's also a pocket that holds a log book so I can write my numbers down and study them over time.

Here's the meter. You can see it fits nicely in the palm of my hand.

Here is a test strip. It's some sort of a hard plastic which has a capillary channel through which the blood activates an electric signal. Somehow there's some hocus pocus built into this thing which lets the meter know how much glucose is floating around in my blood. Cool, huh, that a little thing like this can tell us so much.

The test strip goes into the top of the meter, turning the meter on.

Now comes the poke 'em stick -- er, lancet. It is spring loaded -- I draw back the trigger, and when I place it against the heel of my hand, I push the trigger and it launches the lancet. You big burly types that get faint at the notion of b-l-o-o-d may want to put your head between your knees right now and scroll past the next couple of photos.

I use alternate site testing -- what's that? It just means I do not stick my fingers! I'm so lucky to live in a time when finger-sticking is just one option for diabetic testing. I test on the heel of my hand, where there are lots of capillaries, and it does not hurt one bit. I promise you, I hardly feel it. No pain. This is good.


See? It was done in less than a second. Now I have a teeeeeeny tiny drop of blood on my hand, and I take the meter and the test strip to the drop and let the test strip siphon it into the meter. (Actually, the blood stays right in a tiny area of the test strip, probably less than 1/8th of an inch long, where all the electronic wizardry happens.


See? Not bad.

OK, guys, we're through with that. The machine counts down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then it tells me what my blood sugar level is.

LOOK!! It's good tonight. My level is 122, before I eat supper. I like that number.


I really like it because it was "eat like a Barbarian day." I had a huge and nutritionally improper breakfast, but it was cold and I was whiny and we ordered out at the office and I went to pick it up out in the cold.

And then at lunch we had submarine sandwiches. I ate mine without the bread, just snacking on the protein fillers. Plenty of yum, zero carbs.

Here's another component of my health care. I take a diabetes drug called Metformin. One pill, twice a day. It's a $4 prescription at Wal-Mart, for which I am truly grateful.

So there you have it in a nutshell:
1. Count carbs and eat a well-balanced, studied diet.
2. Don't eat the whole loaf of bread, even if you really like it.
3. Test blood sugar daily.
4. Take medication as prescribed.

In addition: Drink lots of water. This is really important for diabetics and is really good advice for everyone who is a human. Get exercise. It helps control the release of glucose into the blood stream. Get plenty of quality sleep. It's good for you and it feels really, really good.

And if you have diabetes, be grateful. It is definitely a manageable disease and you could wind up being healthier for it. Take a good diabetes education class and learn how to manage it and take good care of yourself.

The e-mail meme making the rounds

I'll jump on this bandwagon, too, since it seems to be getting around so quickly.

1. What is your occupation? City government and education reporter. Also domestic diva in my own mind.
2. What color are your socks right now? Oh thank goodness, those ARE socks! They are black. For a second I thought I had gangrene.
3. What are you listening to right now? The pinging of the floor furnace as it cools down.
4. What was the last thing that you ate? A cube of cheddar cheese.
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Oh yeah, baby.
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Plaid.
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Indirectly, it was the police PIO. I actually had my co-worker call for me because I was closer to her desk than mine. Yeah, lazy.
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes. Only I had to pick it up off of Tech's blog.
9. How old are you today? 52 years, 10 months.
10. Favorite drink? Diet Coke. Or, as my co-worker calls it, "FAKE SUGAR!"
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Do I hafta?
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Oh, yes, yes. But that's all behind me now. I've been the gamut from blonde to burgundy. Now I embrace the gray.
13. Pets? Are nice. Wish I had a doggie.
14. Favorite food? Is there only one favorite? Because I sure seem to like a whole bunch of it.
15. Last movie you watched? Can't remember, it has been so long.
16. Favorite Day of the year? Oct. 15. No reason.
17. What do you do to vent anger? I mouth off a lot. I try to keep it in the shower, but oops, sometimes I slip up and say things at inappropriate moments.
18. What was your favorite toy as a child? My dolly Mary.
19. What is your favorite season? Fall!
20. Hugs or kisses? KISSES!!! (because it's hard to kiss without getting a hug in there too. I like both and will steal if necessary.)
21. Cherry or Blueberry? Cherry.
22. When was the last time you cried? Probably in the past few months, missing my old house and friends.
23. What is on the floor of your closet? Hmm. You know, I'm not sure. I haven't unpacked that stuff in the laundry basket to see what it is.
24. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Juan, since grade school.
25. Favorite smells? Sheesh, can't we narrow this down a little? Puppy breath, a baby's neck, food in the smoker, Picasso Paloma perfume on a hot summer night, Yankee candles on a cold winter night, pot roast cooking with rosemary and thyme....
26. Who inspires you? Mo Anderson, who went from being my grade school music teacher to the CEO of Keller Williams Realty.
27. What are you afraid of? Spending my life lonely.
28. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheeboogie, cheeboogie, cheeboogie, Pepsi.
29. Favorite car? My 1995 Honda Civic, duh. That's why I've kept it so long!
30. Favorite cat breed? Someone else's.
31. Number of keys on your key ring? Dunno, and it's in the other room. Only three that matter any more.
32. How many years at your current job? Let's see, what is 8/12ths - three quarters of a year.
33. Favorite day of the week? Saturdays and Sundays, on weekends when I do not have to work. Working 6-day weeks sucks.
34. How many states have you lived in? 1, unless you count a two-month stint in Manhattan.
35. Do you think you're funny? I'm freakin' hilarious! Trust me on this if you can't tell.