Tag Archives: doctor

The Bean Can Workout

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For several days it’s been just too hot here to go for a walk.  I vowed, after our ghastly winter in which it was just too cold and icy to walk, that this summer I would not complain about the heat if we were lucky enough to get some.  So I’m not complaining about that.

But of course if I’m writing I am complaining about something,  and todays topic is how sloth-like I’ve been feeling.  Only for a few days, though.  Last week I was so freaking ambitious it was scary.  I moved furniture around in the basement.  I cleaned the windows and curtains down there and vacuumed and dusted and even did a bit of painting.  I washed light fixtures and cleaned and rearranged clutter and tried not to think about how the carpet should be burned and how gross the ceilings are.  Then I imagined my grandchildren in the future reminiscing with each other about visiting and having to sleep in grandmas creepy old basement when they were young.  After that I sighed a lot and told myself the experience would no doubt build character.  Because just imagining the work involved in doing everything that needs doing is exhausting.

So, now that I’ve been sitting around for a few days resting and doing nothing except wondering what I should eat next, I’ve come up with a much better fitness plan.

I should mention my eye exam first, because I like to take a very meandering approach to getting to the point, but trust me, this is relevant.  Visual acuity was way down in my left eye and intraocular pressure was up.  My optometrist asked if my blood pressure was okay.  Well, we had just driven downtown on a Monday, so it was certainly a possibility that it was elevated. He asked me to come back early Friday morning before drinking coffee to have the IOP rechecked.  He also did a retina scan.    That Wednesday I went to my doctor to have a possible plantar wart on my foot looked at (it’s a whole other story, I know, we think it’s just a callous although she did the liquid nitrogen treatment just in case) and my blood pressure readings were high enough for her to be concerned and suggest that I monitor it for a month and keep a record.  First thing in the morning before coffee, last thing at night before bed.  I am also checking fasting blood sugar readings daily, so I suppose you could say I’m currently keeping the worlds most boring diary.

Exercise for helping to control both these things is very important.  The early rush hour trip back to the optometrist resulted in slightly less elevated IOP, normal enough retina scan, normal enough macula, check up in a year.  I also have early cataracts.  That’s pretty normal as well.  What would be even more normal is having an optometrist close to home instead of smack dab in the middle of the city.  And to give up all this “before coffee” nonsense.

But back to the exercise thing.  Finally.  I’ve lost a lot of weight since retiring and I don’t want it to creep back on due to lack of activity.  I’m way more clued in about diet and nutrition and smarter choices, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a huge leap to develop the same kind of commitment to keeping my joints from seizing up.

Walking is still the best.  Cutting the grass is equivalent to a walk.  Now for the days when I can’t make myself put on shoes and go outside, I will do a 30 minute bean can workout.  It’s actually a fifteen minute seniors low impact thing, but I’ve upgraded it slightly because I’m not ninety yet.  I found it on YouTube.  There are no doubt gazillions of these videos to peruse, but on this one I quite liked the nice young man (this is how seniors talk) who went through 10 different exercises, telling me how great I was doing before I even got off my butt to do anything.

He uses a chair in some of them for balance, does squats that don’t kill your knees, side to side steps that remind me of one of my random dance moves in high school, marching in place with swinging arms and high knee raises.  Killer stuff. I changed the wall push ups to fridge push ups because I’d rather have greasy handprints there.  Side to side twist and punch from the chin is exactly as much fun as it sounds.  But the best part was using “weights” which were actually water bottles,  for lifting and curling and pressing and whatever else you call messing around with heavy things in your hands.

I had to improvise with a can of black beans in one hand and a can of mixed beans in the other because I don’t have water bottles around when W isn’t home. Did I mention he’s gone fishing for the entire summer?  And is also looking after some things for his elderly parents on the side.  This is why the grass cutting here is all mine.

My preference in lieu of plastic water bottles is a refillable water container because there’s nothing wrong with our tap water.  I can appreciate the convenience of bottled water when it’s necessary but I think it’s a silly wasteful gimmick we’ve gone way overboard with for the most part.  I do have some bottles of Diet Pepsi in the cupboard but it’s probably not a great idea to shake those up for 30 minutes.  But the good news is it gives me an excuse to drink a couple of them and then fill them up with water to use instead of canned goods because they hold 710 ml vs. 540. And could conceivably make a bigger impact on my shoulders.  Which is where most people never think to concentrate when slimming down.

Anyway it will be a few days before the Pepsi bottles are ready because I try to limit my sodium and artificial sweetener intake, so it will be Bean workouts until then.  The beauty of this series is there’s nothing bouncy or heart attack inducing.  Always a plus.  You do as many repetitions as you can of each one, and go through the routine twice.  It was kind of fun!  I think I might even be able to break out in a sweat if I try hard enough!  I like the concentration on stretching and gentle movements, a combination of yoga and Tai Chi for the very lazy.

Now when I’m feeling like a slug and think a snack will perk me up, I will do as many fridge push ups as it takes to change my mind.  Hey, it could work!

Okay, I gotta go and get started on one of those bottles.  I love a project.  Maybe one day I’ll graduate to real dumbbells.  But then where’s the fun in that?

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What Happened Yesterday

Random art work unrelated to subject because the alternative was a photo of an actual human colon.  You're welcome.
Random art work unrelated to subject because the alternative was a photo of an actual human colon. You’re welcome.

It’s been a long morning for me, thanks to Lacie, the amazing alarm clock dog.  The neighbours next door let her out in the early morning to do her business and she barks her fool little head off at….I don’t know….snowflakes, fence posts, air.  I wonder why she can’t just go for a quiet pee like a normal dog and let me sleep.  But this morning was better than yesterday morning, so I have forgiven her.

Today is a good day because it’s Friday, it’s snowing, and I have nowhere to go!  And no gigantic four litre jug of vile laxative to consume!  I’m going to tell you my colonoscopy story, so if you’d like to skip on to whatever you were going to do next, now’s your chance.

For the three of you who have decided to stick around because you love old people medical stories, here we go.  I have a family history of bowel cancer, and a colonoscopy is something doctors have strongly advised me to have done to detect any potential problems.  The day before the procedure is spent cleaning out the colon, eating nothing, drinking clear fluids, feeling sorry for yourself and staying close to the bathroom.  Black coffee is allowed.  Thank God for small mercies.  For the last eight hours you can have nothing by mouth, not even water.

The first colonoscopy I had was done in 2003 and I was instructed to come back for another one in ten years.  But because of my superior procrastination skills, I was able to stretch that to twelve.  If the results are fine for this one, I may set a fifteen year goal for the next one.

The procedure was scheduled for 11:45 a.m. yesterday.  I like to be insanely early for things and W likes to be a minimum of five minutes late.  The morning started off with a dead battery in my car.  This was all my fault for not driving it enough.  And we could not take the truck because W was having way too much fun making a big production of recharging the battery and slicing a finger open in the process.  This required much swearing and a bandaid.  Then we took a long convoluted route to our destination, slowing down for green lights in the hope that they would turn red before we got to them.  There is no parking at the hospital.  Well, there is, but every parking lot is always full and we know this, but drive around through all of them just to make sure.  There’s lots of parking spaces at the mall nearby, because it’s better to inconvenience sick people than to piss off shoppers.

W dropped me off at admitting 80 minutes instead of the required 90 minutes ahead of time so that I could check in and fill out a form and sit on my ass for a bit thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong and wondering if he would make it back from wherever he finally managed to park.  I also thought a lot about food and being incredibly thirsty and how much my head was aching.  Eventually I was taken to a prep room where I signed a consent form and donned one of those beautiful back-open hospital gowns I’m so fond of.  The nurse told me to leave my socks on, because just the gown by itself isn’t funny enough.  Then they inserted the IV paraphernalia and told me to lie down and wait.  W had shown up and taken off and come back again while I studied the ceiling tiles.  He told me he went to the hospital cafeteria for soup and a sandwich.  I was going to say “I hate  you” but I didn’t because, although that is a perfectly acceptable thing to say when you’re in labour,  in this case I was faint from hunger and simply didn’t have the energy.

The procedure itself took about fifteen minutes.  The IV is for sedation.  They don’t like to give you too much because it’s a busy place and no one wants you hanging around too long afterwards waking up.  So I was sort of aware of what was going on.  Trust me when I say passing out completely would have been my preferred option.  I was then wheeled to a recovery area where I studied some different ceiling tiles until they removed the tubes and tape and let me get dressed.  Then the doctor popped by to tell me it all went well and although there were a couple of polyps discovered, he wasn’t anticipating they were anything to worry about.

Because you are not allowed to leave on your own, the nurse pointed across the room at W and asked me if that was my ride.  Normally this would not be a funny thing to say, but when you’re coming out of sedation all bets are off.  I imagined introducing him to strangers as “my ride” and thinking that was the most freaking hilarious thing I’d ever heard.  She quickly told me I was free to go.

On the way home “my ride” stopped at Swiss Chalet and watched me eat a huge plate of chicken and ribs and sweet potato fries, washed down with two cups of coffee and three glasses of water.  Then of course I felt sick, but also happy.  It’s hard to explain.

And here you thought nothing interesting or exciting ever happened in my life as a retired person who never starts her car.  I am so glad that today is another day exactly like that.  Even Lacie the yappy wonder dog can’t ruin it.

Art du Jour 13

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It’s more challenging to attempt some kind of expression than to draw a simply placid, pleasant, symmetrical face.

This could be the concentration it takes to whistle, or to pucker up on New Years Eve, but the fact that her eyebrow is raised and the other side of her face is frowning suggests skepticism to me.  (Really?  You seriously think I’m buying this?  Nooooo……)

Our tv guy is here. The sun is shining.  I’m off to see my ENT doctor this afternoon to give him this look if he still doesn’t know what’s up with my immune system.  Just another manic Monday.

By the way, I do have the peculiar talent of being able to raise my left eyebrow independently of the right.  The right eyebrow though won’t do anything on its own.

Have a write- happy day.

nano

Really

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Our gigantic tree dropping its leaves in at least four backyards.

Several things yesterday got me saying “really?” or even “REALLY??”  It was really that kind of day.

  • We got stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital.  There is construction going on all over this city and we are running out of alternate routes.  Everyone says it will be nice when it’s done, but construction is like housework and will never be done.
  • The nurse at admitting asked me if I hadn’t already checked in because she had me marked off on her list.  Nope, just got here.  So off she went to find my impersonator.
  • Flipping through a home decor magazine I came across instructions for kitchen art. Paint some utensils white, hot glue them (artistically arranged) to a red board, put them in a frame and hang them up. On the same page there was an ad for glass cocktail wands.  So much classier than swivel sticks.  I guess.
  • The many people around me were comparing their various wait times and how far behind things were when a nurse called me to say my doctor was running ahead of schedule.  Do I know how to pick a surgeon or what?
  • Hospital garments confuse the hell out of me.  What goes frontwards and what goes backwards with a gazillion dome fasteners and ties and elastic papery things for gawd knows what.  By the time I got it all figured out we were probably back on schedule.
  • I lost count of how many people with clip boards and check sheets asked me the same questions over and over.  I think they were all planning to meet up in the O.R. later and compare notes.
  • One minute the anesthesiologist was starting my  I.V.  and the next minute it was two or three hours later and I was somewhere else.  This is what time travel must feel like.
  • On a scale of one to ten, one being discomfort and ten being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how would you rate your pain?  I don’t know.  I hate math.  I had different levels of pain in different places – neck, throat, back, head.  I didn’t want to sound like a wimp or a whiner so I said it was a four.  Wrong answer!  No extra pain meds for you.  Next time they asked I upped it to five.  Still not high enough.  Sigh.
  • After i was declared sane enough to leave, W wheeled me down to the main entrance and left me sitting in front of the hospital directory sign while he went to get the car.  No one asked me for directions.
  • It’s impossible to keep your head still in a moving vehicle even if you hang on to it with both hands.  I suffered a thousand mini whiplashes on the drive home because we kept braking for pedestrians and red lights.  Yes I am being overly dramatic.  I believe most post op patients are.

The pain med prescription bottle says one or two tablets every four hours as needed and they gave me 30 of them.  They are supposed to cause drowsiness but I managed to have a restless night anyway.  I am supposed to leave the steri-strips in place for seven days.  They told me not to have a shower for two days.  REALLY??  That rule is already broken because our shower is hand-held and I kept my neck dry.  Fewer people will die as a result.

Now once again we wait for answers.  Follow up is in two weeks.  By then I should look less like a bus ran over my face.  Another drama queen statement.  Sorry.  I’m drowsy.  Not quite as exhausted as this topic, but close enough.

Dwell on This

Smoking and drinking during pregnancy
Smoking and drinking during pregnancy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a beautiful fall day in 1973, sunshine pouring through the campus medical office window where Lara sits with her back straight, hands folded primly in her lap, waiting for her examination results.

“You are definitely pregnant”, the doctor tells her.  “Four or five weeks along.  Do you know what you want to do about this?”

Do?  Lara tries to clear her head and imagine what exactly people are expected to do in this kind of situation.  Cry?  Throw a party?  Why does the doctor care what she’s going to do?

“Was this pregnancy planned?  Is your husband going to be okay with it?”

No, not planned, Lara tells her.  Not discussed, not anticipated.  Big surprise, really.  So much for the diaphragm as birth control.  Throwing that out now I guess.  Stupid thing.  They stare at each other for a moment in silence.

“If you decide to terminate this pregnancy, it’s best to do it now.  You will need to let me know as soon as possible so we can make the arrangements”

Lara’s heart thuds and she moves her clasped hands up across her belly.  An abortion, that’s the option Lara is supposed to be considering, and immediately she knows that for her it isn’t an option at all.

“Oh God, no, I’m really happy about this!”  She supposes the doctor can be forgiven for not figuring out that her shell-shocked expression is an indication of joy.  And if Stan isn’t thrilled with the news that he’s going to be a parent before his university semester is over, oh well.  Lara decides she won’t dwell on that.

Because it doesn’t matter.  She is going to have this baby.  The doctor gives her a huge smile, as if to say she’s made the right decision, and tells her to come back and see her in a month.

When Stan picks her up ten minutes later he doesn’t even ask.  Laras beaming face tells him everything he needs to know.

(This is in response to this weeks Trifecta Challenge)

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Memory of a Doctor Visit

Daily Prompt:   What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.

I’m afraid my memories are not arranged in chronological order in my head, so earliest is just a label on a big box full of picture slides.  Snuggled on my dads lap playing with his overall fasteners.  Hiding behind the big green chair in the corner, quiet as a mouse, when company came to visit.  Squealing with delight when I got a little brown Topsy doll and wishing my skin could be as smooth and beautiful as chocolate.  Proudly wearing my pirate patch after getting a chemical fertilizer in my eye.  Sliding down a hill behind my brother on his new toboggan with the wind stinging my cheeks.  Falling off face first into the snow.  Being horrified when our dog ate a cupcake without removing the paper first.  Leaping halfway across the room off our parents bed to avoid being grabbed around the ankles by the monsters who lived beneath it.

The still shots of vivid memories out of context eventually progress to little videos.  Here’s the one from the bottom of the box in the Doctor Visit category.  The memory has stayed with me all this time because of the doctor office hospital smell of antiseptic clean, and because it was one of the first times I remember it being hard for me to drum up a lot of drama with such a no-nonsense mother.

***

My mother is wearing her long mustard yellow coat with the vertical black pinstripes and the gigantic black buttons.  The big wide cuff feels warm and fuzzy on my fingers as she pulls me by the hand up the snowy sidewalk covered in people tracks.  We walk right in through the door without knocking, because this is a house with a secret office where the doctor works.  I like how the bell jangles.  If we had one of those at home I’d be opening and closing the door all the time just to hear it.  We sit together on a hard deacons bench.  I know that’s what it’s called because I asked.   We don’t have one of these at home either but it’s kind of dark and shiny and not very friendly looking, so I don’t like it much.

On the wall across from us there is a big framed black and white photo of a tiny baby tucked under the covers at the very top of a gigantic bed.  It’s little head is almost lost between two puffed up pillows.  I want to know why the baby doesn’t have a crib to sleep in.  Mom tells me it’s just a picture, for goodness sakes.  The “tree” where our coats are hanging is made from the same black shiny wood as the bench, and there’s a black shiny chair here too.  I wonder if all doctors prefer dark ugly shiny things, but I don’t ask because I think the answer will be it’s just a chair, for goodness sakes.

I also want to know why it always smells so strange and funny in here, like everything has just been polished up with rubbing alcohol.  Or antiseptic, or gross mouth wash or the most disgusting tooth paste ever invented.  Mom tells me it’s a hospital kind of clean.  So nobody will get sick with anyone elses germs.  I guess it’s okay for families to share their germs, because our house certainly never smells anything like this.

The doctor pokes his head into the waiting room and greets my mother who stands up and smiles and greets him right back.  He talks to me and I stare at my feet.  He wants to know if I’m all ready for my vaccination.  Of course I’m not.  How could anyone ever be ready for THAT.  It doesn’t matter what I say, I’m going to get it anyway.

The doctor is about the same age as Santa Claus I think.  He has snowy white hair and a big white moustache, but no beard.  He wears a long white coat and he always washes his hands for about ten minutes while we watch him and I think it’s his way of showing off.  It can’t possibly take that long to clean his hands when he was just sitting at his desk doing whatever grown ups do sitting at desks.  Which looks like a whole lot of nothing to me.

Then he’s holding the dreaded needle up in the air, checking to make sure the pointy end is super sharp.  He asks me if I want it in the arm or the butt cheek.  I want to know which one hurts the most.  He says they feel about the same, just a little pin prick (what a big fat liar) but this one might leave a scar.  A scar!  Well of course I want it on my arm then.  I won’t be showing off battle wounds on my bum.

(Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

I watch as he rubs my skin with an alcohol soaked cotton ball.  I hope I won’t smell like a doctors office all day.  I turn my head and look the other way and scrunch up my face for the needle and it stings and I say OW in a whiny little voice but I don’t cry.  Because it’s already done.  And my brother will ask me if I cried and with mom as my witness I will say no I did not.  It was just a little pin prick after all.  And I’m going to have a scar!  He will be so envious and  jealous.  This rarely happens.  I will milk it for all it’s worth while I have the chance.

The doctor says to my mom that my arm might get red and there could be some swelling and if there’s any pain she can give me baby aspirin.  I love baby aspirin.  I look hopefully at my arm, but so far it looks like nothing happened.  I will check on it faithfully all day long, waiting for it to swell up and change color and hurt enough to warrant medication, but my mother just rolls her eyes and says it’s only a needle, for goodness sakes.

Once Upon a Time, Twenty Years Ago….

Today I am suffering from a serious lack of ambition.  It’s a cold and rainy day.  I’ve been to see my doctor, and I’ve shopped for yoga pants. I ate lunch.  I drank some coffee.

I’ve flipped through some photo albums to see if anything would scream “pick me!” for one of the photo challenges, and this is what I came up with.  It didn’t make a sound and it doesn’t go with anything.  But I thought all the individual stunned expressions were kind of interesting so I’m sharing it.  Plus now I get to sit down at the computer and pretend I’m doing important and amazing writing related historical family memoir type incredibleness.  Feel free to add your own big words here.


Making a wild guess I’d say this was taken in 1992.  My handsome son, yours truly wearing some kind of bizarre cowboy inspired shirt, my beautiful daughter, and W, needing a haircut. Or more sleep.  Ugliest couch in the universe.  Picture courtesy of W’s parents who could make posing for a picture into a face breaking kind of torture, where you’re all sitting there gritting your teeth thinking ‘just press the button, for the love of God.”

And of course there was no little digital screen to look at immediately – you had to wait and take your chances, hoping if you looked a complete mess the photographer would have the decency to destroy the evidence.

As we all know, that rarely happened.  But the good news is, the older you get, the better you think you looked way back when.  So you just have to say to yourself, wow – compared to a ninety-six year old, I look pretty hot!

That’s what I did.  I don’t think I’ll get any arguments.

What Makes Me Nervous

Night driving. Big dogs running free. Large bodies of water, especially the kind with large waves crashing against large rocks. The doorbell ringing when I’m not expecting anyone. Being a passenger combined with excessive speed. Little kids in shopping carts. Well, not the kids themselves, but the potentially dangerous situation they’re in, especially if their parents have wandered off and another child is pushing the cart or climbing onto it.

Talking to crazy people I guess is the worst. Because at first it’s hard to determine the degree of insanity involved and by the time I get it, the conversation is well underway and sometimes difficult to stop. A good example would be the guy who walked into the Vision Centre yesterday while I was minding my own business getting some paperwork done. He said he thought he had gotten something in his eye (I assume that would be the one he kept pointing at and blinking madly) and that this happens often in his particular work environment because there are foreign objects hurling themselves around in there. It could be dust or metal or dirt or who knows what. Did he not wear safety glasses I wanted to know. He pooh poohed the whole idea of eye protection. Not necessary when you can just wash it out. So could I do that for him. Wash it out. Where was my eye washer? I know about eye-wash stations, and we don’t have one. So I suggested he go to a medi-centre and get an actual doctor to look at it and flush out whatever might be in there.

Nope, he wanted an eyeball wash and he wanted me to be the one to do it. He had a really hard time being convinced that there was no equipment and no person, doctor or otherwise, on the premises that washed eyeballs at the moment. Then he wanted to know what I did personally to wash my own eyeballs. This is the point where I started to get nervous. Because eyeball washing is not something I’ve ever incorporated into my daily routine. So I didn’t know what to say except that I’ve never done that.

“What do you mean, you don’t wash the eyeballs? Why do you not wash the eyeballs? I only want the eyeballs washed, and you say you cannot do it!”

I think that’s the point where I just stopped talking altogether because what could I say that wouldn’t get me into even deeper eyeball hygiene hot water.

We stared at each other for a while and then he stomped off saying he would just have to go somewhere else to get it done and what kind of place was this with no eyeball washing. Phew.

And I guess that’s how I cope. Sit still, be silent, keep breathing, and wait for whatever it is to go away.

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