I Might Have OD'd. . . on Fiber

Wasn't feeling that great last night. In fact, it felt a lot like the way I felt a couple days before I wound up being sent to the E.R. I decided to hold off on eating anything but a few crackers at lunch today to see if things eased, but I was still feeling the same by the end of the school day (which ran later because it's Meeting Day every Thursday).

Called the doctor's office. Got the answering service because it seems they closed the office early. Might've had to do with the weather. Drove home waiting on a call back. I thought I was going to hear from the doctor on call (who coincidentally was the one who sent me to the E.R.), but my doctor called. I was convinced I needed to go back on antibiotics--although secretly I was terrified they'd just say forget it and send me to the O.R.--but he was adamant nothing could be done unless I had a CAT scan.

Two in one month? No, thank you.

Finally he just told me to call the GI doctor who treated me in the hospital, also whom I'm scheduled to see at the end of October. So I did, and again the office was closed, so I waited about 45 minutes for a call. In the meantime, I canceled The Cat's trip to the vet to get her annual shots and after I told the office I was about 85% sure I was headed to the E.R.--which I really thought I was--they were very understanding about the cancellation.

The GI doctor was very nice, even if the call sounded as if he were in the middle of a sports bar, and reassured me it might just be a little spasm kicking up. I might have caused that, he told me, after I told him I had moved to the high-fiber diet. (I wanted salad really badly last night and had raw cauliflower. Probably too much too soon!) All I needed to do for tonight was pick up an antacid at the drugstore and consume only clear liquids for the next 24 hours. After that, I should check in with him because he's on call all weekend.

So out I went once more into the windswept pouring rain that's soaking the area--not to mention the carpet under my air conditioner, but that stupid leak finally got fixed while I was at work--and picked up what I needed. Had some chicken broth for dinner, the remainder of which will go to school with me for lunch tomorrow. Whoopee.

Things have calmed down, although not completely, but here's hoping that even if it's rainy and gray in the morning I'll be a little more in the pink.

However, part of me still wonders if somehow The Cat had something to do with stirring things up so she could avoid the vet tonight.


Avoiding the Subject

All I want to say about school right now, because IRL it seems I get asked a million times--particularly as an effort at small talk by my new co-workers--some form of question about how things are going at school for me. . . It's a new job. It's a major adjustment. There are things I love, there are things I'm not sure I like, and there are things I can't seem to keep straight and are frustrating me to no end.

On top of that, I just heard that (1) one of my great-uncles, who hasn't been in good health for several years now, suffered what was probably a minor stroke last week and there is confusing info about prognosis, hospice care, etc.; (2) on the other side of my family, my late great-uncle D's half-brother passed away. I'm not related but I knew who he was and he meant a lot to my cousins (particularly my cousins who accompanied me to L.A.) so that's a bummer.

With that out of the way, let's talk about things I like.

CCR's pretty scarf/neck-cozy.

Heather King (who I am 95% sure wrote great reflections in Living Faith at one time, and who as I learned from Amy Welborn is now blogging) offers a thinking writer's response to a magazine's bizarre demand in exchange for mere consideration. (Don't be put off by the Sacred Heart photo at the top--she's cool.)

Top Chef's Just Desserts. Which is on now so I'm going to watch it and be happy.

Hope you are happy, too.


Found My Camera

I came back with about 70 photos from my trip to L.A. That probably doesn't sound like much, but when I think about it, our "totally tourist" days were Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday (which was the last day for me, because I had a flight back to Philly first thing Thursday). Monday we chilled out at the hotel pool and Tuesday we spent the day at the studio.

The above photo is from that Wednesday and is the last photo I took. We spent most of the afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard--we had been there briefly on Saturday, but Wednesday my cousin was meeting up with a high school buddy who wanted to meet us there. I bought souvenirs for my family and took photos (obviously) but for the most part I was pretty much just thinking about coming home. I was a bit fried by then.

I snapped the photo below from the car as we were leaving the San Gabriel Mission, most of which we didn't get to tour because we arrived about 15 minutes before closing. It still strikes me as strange to see a wedding on a Sunday, but maybe it's more common on the West Coast. Let me tell you, I lucked into that shot because we were stopped at a red light and traffic was coming and going around the curve of the road.

Oddly enough, it's a fairly appropriate subject for today. It was Pre-Cana day at my church again but even my dad who always knows what's going on at church didn't know it beforehand. Double surprise: I ran into the Ex's cousin. . . because she's finally marrying the guy she's been going with for years. She's a lovely person--in fact she and her parents are the ones I really got on with the best out of the whole family--a very gentle personality. She's a teacher so she asked about my school, which was nice. Still, I felt that prickle of shame standing there without a ring on my own finger (see: feeling like a nobody, a year ago today), singing at the same church I've been singing for years. I did mention I'd gone to California the week before, but I didn't say why. I'm kicking myself for not asking how her parents were, but I'm presuming they're ecstatic she's engaged and dammit I felt so awkward that it just didn't cross my mind.

And maybe it didn't matter. I wished them well and that was about as involved as I needed to be. But man, that was just. . . random and uncomfortable. I'd already spent the day before, singing for a wedding ceremony at the city church, and that was actually kinda nice (plus the money I earned almost took care of one of my medical bills), but enough wedding for me for one weekend. Did I mention I had my niece and middle nephew in tow while talking to the cousin? I can't even begin to explain all the mishegoss that led to that situation. They were pretty good in church, though.

So, all in all, a weird weekend.

Anybody do anything actually fun or interesting this weekend? I need to know.


Strange Questions

We all know kids ask a lot of questions. You just never know which ones you are going to get on any given day.

6th grader: "So do you have a boyfriend, or are you single by choice?" (Yes, that was from a boy. My response: I don't have a boyfriend right now and if he knows a nice man he can introduce me.)

4th grader: "Do you think sometime we could do our work while listening to Justin Bieber?" (The look on her face said she was totally in love with him. Confirmed when she handed back her folder with love notes to him written all over it.)


Two Things I Can't Believe I Did Today

Thing #1: Taught my first formal class (of many) to sixth graders. I have two more sets of them tomorrow and I hope they are not as itchy as these guys were. One of them raised his hand in the middle of roll and asked cheekily, "Who ARE you?" Not the disciplined dreams I thought they'd be, that's for sure. But maybe the kid made a good point; I've been a no-show and the subject of much talk (she went to L.A.! For that show!) for the first two weeks of school. Maybe they'll settle down if I talk about where I've been or something.

OTOH, I enjoyed my time with the eighth grade science classes who came in for research, and the seventh graders weren't too bad, either.

Thing #2: Choked down some aloe vera juice. I've had tastier swimming pool water. However, I'm dealing with a lovely case of thrush on my tongue (probably from antibiotics, countless ginger ales to keep the antibiotics down, and canned fruit that was the only fruit allowed for the past two weeks). I also have a bit of a sore throat that probably is a mild version of what my cousin had while we were L.A. I've been too tired to fight it off, I guess. But now I am trying to kick all this stuff--and get the department of my interior back on track--with a vengeance. At the advisement of the doctor-friend of the family, I went to the Whole Paycheck store and got the aloe and some prebiotic/probiotic capsules to take. In between jet-lag naps (O.K., nodding off out of the blue) on the sofa.

Which is why I don't have any photos for you yet. Maybe by the end of the week.

I sort of haven't totally unpacked yet and I don't know where the camera ended up, but that's a mystery to solve tomorrow night because I need to go to bed.


So Much Jet Lag. . .

. . . but I had a great time in L.A.

Happy to be home, very tired, still very unsure about and frustrated by the new job, hoping to upload pictures at some point once I get to the camera at the bottom of my suitcase.

Did that trip really happen?


Almost Ready to Go

September: crazy times.

I struggled with tons of details at school today (and I wasn't feeling great so at one point it was tears-in-the-bathroom time), came home and worked on packing for CA. I hope both things work themselves out. . . eventually. Or at least before my nerves get the better of me, completely.

And I hope The Cat doesn't think I wound up in the hospital again while I'm away. My mom (who had been feeding her last week) came over with a suitcase for me to borrow, and The Cat hid the whole time. Then, after Mom left, poor kitty was trying to pry open the cabinets over the refrigerator.

I'd better get them both some nice souvenirs, I guess.


Peaches & Tuna

No, it's not a singing duo.

One thing that definitely is missing from a low-fiber diet is texture. No raw veggies or fruits--but canned or really cooked are O.K. So tonight, because it's a little warm, dinner (a late dinner because I spent more time in traffic than at the family doctor's for a follow-up) was tuna mixed up with a little light mayo (my preference here but you West-Coasters know it by a different name) and some canned peaches on top, on toasted white (urk, urk) bread.

Don't knock it till you tried it. *sigh* But I do miss lettuce and tomato in my sandwich.

Other than that, not much going on. I'm simultaeously processing what happened to me last week and planning for what's going to happen in next few days. It's enough to make me a little crazy, but I'm just too exhausted for that.

I have two separate wake-up times early in the morning for meds.


Burnt Sweet Potatoes

O.K., so much for trying to do a little stir-fry with sweet potatoes and marinated tofu. My brain must not be back online yet--forgot about that slight sugar content thing that sweet potatoes have going on. I just wanted to make it feel like real dinner by cooking something up.

On the upside, The Cat tasted the tofu. And liked it.

She probably wouldn't call it meat, though.


In Gratitude for. ..

  • My mom, who late on Tuesday morning told me I should take that pain in the right lower quadrant of my abdomen seriously and call my family doctor. (And thereafter lots of visits to the hospital every day from Wednesday through today when I came home.)

  • My family doctor's colleague, who was covering for my doctor and upon observing all my symptoms sent me straight to the E.R. (I had a fever by the time I got to his office.)

  • The E.R. doctor, who not only treated me kindly but also waited prudently for the CAT scan results so I (narrowly) avoided surgery. (Rare right-sided diverticulitis trumps appendicitis. He also wrote me a note for school.)

  • The really nice nurses who were comforting and just very understanding when I was admitted with a ton of pain and thereafter rather puke-y from the heavy-duty antibiotics. (They never complained, even though with Labor Day weekend looming there were times of short-staffing.)

  • My school, for being understanding and putting me on their prayer list instead of giving me s**t (not that I ever thought they would) for missing two in-service days.

  • The medical residents/interns/students who were lovely. . . even when I had a meltdown on the intern who was poking my sore belly at the crack of dawn Wednesday.

  • My dad, who isn't big on hospital visits, for coming last night to bring me some more clothes and things to keep me occupied. (His reward: a cookie I saved from dinner.)

  • A doctor friend of the family, who called me from the road several times to check in on me and advocate for me.

  • Younger Sister, who kept texting me hilarious stuff ("Any cute doctors or murses?" I guess "murse" = male nurse!?) and cracked up when I snarked about Runway (shut up, Ivy) and consoled her at being dumped on by her friends she was taking a trip (stop being so reliable and not sucking, I told her).

  • (Updated to add) My pastor, who took time out from a really hectic day yesterday in between a funeral and other stuff at the parish (having given the parish staff off for the weekend) to call me and see how I was doing and letting me know I was in his prayers. He's a gem. Would that everyone could know a priest like that.

  • And finally, The Cat, for being a real trouper when my mom (whom she loathes) came to feed her day after day. (She stopped hissing at Mom by Friday.) Also for not trashing the apartment in her bereft state. (You better believe kitty is very clingy right now.)
The most important thing I want to stress is all this happened the day before my new job's healthcare started on September 1, so it was a good thing I had paid for my own insurance for the summer. Don't let your insurance lapse--if you can't afford COBRA, check with your school's alumni association, check the major carriers for a plan that costs even a little--just make sure you are covered if you can't pay outright for hospitalization (which most of us can't).

I hate to say it, but my mother was right--"what if something really bad happened to you in the meantime???"

I'm feeling quite a bit better now. The pain's almost gone but I am taking some serious antibiotics for more than a week. Fun times. And I'm on a special low-fiber diet. Doesn't that sound like even more fun? Especially when it's the total opposite of everything you normally eat?

They don't know why I got it. It's rare to have it on the right side, and even rarer that a 30-something got it. But all I care about is getting rid of it.

One day at a time.