Friday, October 2, 2015


Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Dear Life,

You've been super crazy this week, but I still wanted to take a few moments to comment on the world as I see it.

I fully recognize that writing almost makes me a traitor. I see things, hear things, and then I'm sharing it in print. If I was nicer, more afraid of karma, or not utterly thrown into fits of laughter over many of these things, I probably would keep them to myself, but you see, I really think it's more of a public service to learn vicariously and discuss these things openly. Actually, a few days ago, I was talking to a lady at my workout class and the whole bloggy blog blog thing came up. We talked about some of the features and stories. I watched this look of terror come over her loverly face..."aren't you nervous about writing like that?" Honestly? No. When I write for you, Life and friends, it's like I'm talking to you. Which is cheaper than therapy. Now, if you needed me to format my thoughts, and articulate this content much like a graduate mid-term paper with APA citation, etc...I think I would be significantly LESS successful in keeping you interested. My rambling is much more fun (you're totally right, i should let other people tell me it's more fun).

So, peeps, here's the deal; I don't know why/how/what/where/yoo hoo it happened, but I've managed to come to the point where ALL THREE of my children (bless those of you with more) need ALL of their appointments (physical, dental) at the same time. Usually, I try to orchestrate them close to their dates of birth (so that I can actually keep up and not be buried by appointments, leaving early from work, taking them out of school and running around), but not this year...which makes it interesting because I have to get mine done, too. I think it was because of an insurance change...but it doesn't matter.

First, with all of this appointment circus talk, may I preface this post by saying that I'm so glad that I had the foresight to enroll in an FSA. If you don't know what that is, but you have kids and you use your (medical/dental/prescription/vision) insurance, I would HIGHLY recommend seeking it out, talking to your HR professional, etc. It'll save you money and come in handy during those moments when your kid needs, oh, I don't know...a broken arm casted, or something super fun like that, which you're probably never REALLY prepared for. If you do it right, you won't have to deal with waiting for your next check to donate entirely (though not without tears) to the Emergency Room. Swipe your FSA and worry less.

Second, it's interesting that it always seems when I need a breast patty-cake or a fun-pap, it appears like many in my circle of friends are also prepping for this mild form of (willingly (kinda) endured) torture. It's nice, because afterward, we can commiserate, and make snarky comments, but really inside feel truly grateful for prevention and that everything is good thus far.

Third, I am a question asker. I know you couldn't tell, but I'm admitting - questions are my thing. I meet new people, I like to ask questions. Not like, probing questions all the time, and NO, I'm not that annoying passenger on a plane that interrogates you. I usually will engage if someone starts a conversation. OR, I admit that if I'm REALLY curious, I will initiate a conversation. Knowingly. Respectfully. Because I want to take a nap, too, when I'm on a flight. But there have been MANY an instance where a single question has opened a flood gate of that time, when my man and I went to a concert and he went to grab a drink. I don't know why I stayed in my seat, but I did. I think it was a crazy cramped venue and having an extra person in the line was like an exercise in clown-car contortion. So, yeah, I stayed. The guy sitting next to me was with a woman and he struck up a conversation - wasn't Lisa Lisa amazing? She looks SO good...and off we went. By the time my guy got back (10 minutes MAX), I knew a few things, like the fact that this guy was from Lancaster, and worked in the defense field, and had two children (ages 11 and 7), and had just finalized his divorce, and was there with his sister because he's been kinda depressed about the whole thing, I mean, they had been high school sweethearts and they built their dream home together and then after that was done and their kids weren't little little they realized that they weren't really connected any longer, and he thought the right thing to do was to give her the house so that the kids would have a home, but wondered if they would ever forgive him for making a decision like this, because he would never make it out to be about her. I learned only a few things. Nothing deep. But my man came back and looked at them, looked at me, and knowing that this kind of thing happens to me more than a little, rolls his eyes and says, "AGAIN?!?" hee hee...sorry, babe.

Anyway, returning to the context of my post, I like to ask my doctors lots of questions...not always about MY things, and not always about applicable scenarios, but rather, random (who me?) things like "so, what is this really-long-named-diagnosis, what does it meeeeean? what is the medical term for fear of red, fuzzy, blue lipped worm dogs? have you ever seen this particularly gnarly situation before?? What is the ABSOLUTE WORST infection you've ever seen? When you were in med school, what was the hardest part?" My doctor will indulge me with a short "i don't know", "yes" or "no" or "i don't remember, i've blocked those memories" which then flow charts into a different series of medical war story inquisitions. Now, I know my privacy laws, so I would never ask for grusome specifics (just inflate them in my mind and imaging screaming), but I know how to ask in a way that is broad and vague enough to get me to just grossed out or morbidly fascinated.

Oh, fourth, I admit to being sick and twisted.

BUT, there have been times during my life when people have divulged that they have done things or thought ailments were medically related, but found out later that they really weren't. This, Life and friends, is the purpose of my message today. I'm just going to tell you the stories. I'm not going to comment judgingly...well, not a whole lot. I don't think you're going to need me to. You're welcome.

#fake heart attack
Once upon a time, one of my friends and I were at a concert with a larger group of acquaintances. We had fully anticipated this gig. Everyone was happy and excited. Many had gone to lengths to dress to the nines, including my girl, Marci (hereafter, referred to as M). She was wearing a way cute outfit that didn't leave much room for silly things like keys or money or the imagination, let alone a phone. So, she decided to be resourceful and stick it (phone) right down under the front clasp of her brassier. The night went on. The band was uh-mazing. We laughed, we danced, it was incredible. I did notice, however, there were moments during the night when M would stop a little mid-dance, mid-jump, mid-laugh. Then, she would kinda go on like nothing was wrong. Hours later, on our way back to the car, she kinda freaked out. "I don't know what's wrong with me!! I swear I'm having palpitations! I don't know, they just kinda come and go off and on. I think I need to go to the hospital."

She wasn't in any pain, at all, but when someone talks about potential heart issues, you err on the side of caution and go, quickly. So, it's late. It's me, another friend and M in the way-fun-wish-I-could-stay-here-forever-but-not-really Emergency Room. She had told them about the palpitations and they admitted her right away. They had allowed us to go with her wherever she wanted us to go. They asked her the series of questions: how old are you? 24. Do you have a history of heart complications? No. Does anyone in your family have a history of cardiovascular issues? No. Were you taking any recreational drugs this evening? No. Anything to drink? No. And the doctor offered to take some tests as a precaution. That's when she kinda sat up straight, and her eyes got big, and that's also when she put her hand to her chest...and could feel the rounded corner of something...and suddenly realized that her phone had traversed the divide and had kinda wedged itself under her left...and in that instant it occurred to her that the whole palpitation issue was really her phone ringing and text alerting her randomly throughout the evening...that she couldn't hear...because her phone was on vibrate.

And the doctor looked at her wearily and seriously told her: next time, you should probably just take a bag.

#non-related ailments
Sometimes children (teenagers, in this case) get the wrong impression about things they learn in health class or biology. They talk about learned subjects, and may not understand what's really what. In this example, my young brother (then 14) had a friend who was CERTAIN that hemorrhoids and HIV were directly related. One ailment FOR SURE meant the other. To this day, (now 18, and a freshman at an ivy league) said friend stands by this association. No pun intended.

#varicose veins
I have a super fit darling of a friend. She's always been about physical manifestations of health and being really mindful about what the body is saying. When your nails have white irregularities, it may mean a mineral deficiency in your eyeball, or when your skin is too dry/too splotchy/too, I don't know, pore-ey (whatever) it always meant something that your spleen was shedding, or something like that. She was usually very instructive in these comments. You know, she was in a much better position to advise as a Super Fit. The rest of us were, as I said before, more pregnant-like...even after our children had been 5 years ago. It was really annoying, actually, but you love your friends. And then karma strikes.

One day, I could see that she was visibly shaken. She didn't want to talk about it initially. Then later that day, she asked me if I had experience with (whisper) varicose veins. Huh? I was like 26 years old. No, I didn't have any experience. I think some women in my family had started seeing them, but we weren't freaking out over them. I think they just used that leg foundation stuff. No harm, no foul. She had ONE. (Carmina Burana plays loudly in the background as model-like women sob and wail, pull their hair, and gnash their teeth in agony.) She was sure that it meant something heinous. That her blood vessels were trying to make their way to the surface as some clear indication of a potentially early, but perhaps slowly painful death. It was bad over-dramatization. Korean soap operas could not compare to the level of showmanship embodied in this display. I didn't know how to advise her. I mean, one was small. It was like the size of a finger nail. It was red. It was low on her leg. It wasn't a big deal to me. I could only patiently empathize with her. But she did some truly remarkable freaking out...

It turns out her small child had found a red ball point pen and drew on mommy while she napped on the couch. (Carmina Burana abruptly halts with a records scratch as model-like women look around at each other and trying to regain their composure.) Wow. Get a grip. And maybe take the loofah to your 'varicose vein'. It's called EXFOLIATION. And a SHOWER. Try it. You might like it. It may also help you relax a little. Maybe.

Be well, peeps.

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