Monday, June 29, 2015

You know what's fun?.... Alcohol.

The last time I went to see my Neuro, I forgot to ask him if it was okay to drink with the meds I am on.  So I figured I would ask him at my appointment last Wednesday.  However, I got so distracted with the great test results that I forgot.

I was at home after the appointment and was getting dinner ready.  I was standing in the pantry and it just dawned on me that I didn't ask.  CRAP!

There was no way I was going to wait until my October appointment for an answer, so I got on the phone and called the office.

Let me assure you that there is no way to call your Dr. asking about meds and alcohol without sounding like a raging alcoholic.  Add to that the sense of urgency in my voice on the phone and I really didn't come off well.

Regardless.... good news.  No interaction with moderate alcohol consumption. Suhweet.  I almost sprinted to the LC.

Friday night was the Paulet shindig.  Les and Nick host a costume party twice a year, summer and winter.  It is always a blast.  Leslie does it UP! There is prizes for the best costumes, a full on food spread, the whole house is decorated up.  The theme for this year was pirate, which is easy for guys, but not so much for girls, so instead I decided to go as a bar wench.

Leslie works at the LC in Steinbach and always has a huge selection of wine on hand.  She poured me a glass of my favorite Moscato.  It was a symphony of flavors and arguably the best glass of wine I'd had in a long time.











Saturday night we went to a football BBQ at our friend Dave and Beth's.  Dave is a Rider fan and so the rivalry and trash talk just flow all evening.    Always a good time and even more so since the Bombers won.

We left their place around 11 pm and headed home.  When we got home, our neighbours, Dave and Sophie were sitting out in their garage having a drink and called us over.  They are really great people and so we ended up hanging out with them until 2:30 am or so.

So... Sunday was a big sleep in that's for sure.  The goal for Sunday was to get the garage cleaned out.  We had lofty goals of parking the truck in the garage, but since the truck is so big, EVERYTHING has to be moved from one side of the garage and even with that we only have a foot or two clearance front and back.

Why is it that everything in a garage is always dusty and gross. Blech.  But we got it done.

After dinner, Zach and I decided to go on an epic bike ride around St. Vital.  We did a bunch of the trails in River Park South and then headed over to Royalwood to do their trails.  We finally ended up on what I think was called the Louis Riel trail before we headed home.  It was such a nice night.

All in all, a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sigh of relief

Today was the day.

MRI results day. I have spent the last few weeks going over and over this day in my mind. To stop myself going down an anxiety spiral, I would visualize how I wanted the day to go. Walking up to the building, getting on the elevator, sitting down in the waiting room. I was like an athlete prepping for the big game.

It was a test in patience. I had to wait a long time for my appointment and when the Dr. called me in he spent a really long time reviewing my file.

This is something he always does of course, but maybe it was just that for me today was so important, the wait was excruciating. I could actually see my necklace shaking because my heart was pounding.

"Let's just pull up the MRI results....
Hmmm... Well, you have a brain"

While I appreciate humour as much, if not more, than the next person, today I was not in the mood for stalling. But I bit my tongue before some snarky remark could spill out of my mouth and instead I just smiled (in what I hope was a sweet smile and not a cranky one)

"MRI Looks fine"

..... And.... Cue breathing.

It wasn't until I heard the word "fine" did I realize I had been holding my breath.

I just felt gratitude. Waves of gratitude that this test had a good result. What is means now is that as far as we can tell, there is no identifiable cause for my epilepsy. This is very common. Most epileptic people cannot find the root cause. So I will continue on the meds. Should I have a seizure, we will then look at dosages etc.

Everything was on pause until we got these results. Now I can look forward.

Wonderfulwonderfulwonderfulwonderful

When I got home Zach and I went for a bike ride. For the first time in weeks I was actually relaxed. It had been occupying every thought of every day and it was freeing to release it.

On the way home, we heard a car honk. My friend Debbie was driving by. She stopped and we chatted. She could tell instantly that I had got good results. She just smiled and said, "I knew the second I saw you. I could see it in your face".

This is true. I don't have the greatest poker face. It's pretty easy to read me. Some would say this isn't a great quality, but the way I look at is, at least you know what you're getting.

...And at the moment you are getting one certifiably happy woman.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Flight of the Bumble Bee

I get up at the same time every day. It may take me 2 alarm clocks to do it, but I get up.

My alarms go off within 5 minutes of eachother, so if I hit snooze on one the other wakes me up.  I sometimes get disoriented when I first wake up and can't tell which alarm is going off, so I just shut off the one I think it is.

I must have done that this morning, but I shut off both instead.  Which means there was nothing to wake me up.

Logan came bounding in this morning at 7:35 am and nudged me awake.  HOLY MOTHER OF CR*P!!!













Shook Zach awake and ran downstairs.  Threw the lunches in the backpacks and told the boys they would have to fend for themselves this morning.  Logan grabbed a handful of granola bars, a banana and a juice box and he was out the door.  Zach made himself some waffles and he was off.

I ran upstairs and had a shower; mentally decided on a outfit while I shampooed.  Hopped out, dressed and attempted to blow dry my hair.  There was no time for "styling", so I had to resort to a black hair band thing that would allow the inevitable curls to look somewhat presentable.  I quickly drew on some eye liner, grabbed a to go coffee and was running for the bus.

I caught my regular bus which is a freaking miracle as my bus comes at 7:59 am.   In 25 minutes, I got my kids up and ready for school, showered, got ready and was out the door.  In the land of me that has to be some kind of record.

Got to work at 8:57 am only to realise I had a meeting at 9 am. Grabbed a notebook and was off running for the elevator.  Made it to the meeting on time.

Nailed it.

Blur

Last week was an absolute blur.

We were beyond swamped at work.  Getting into the details is not necessary, but I was putting in some mad hours.

I almost completely forgot that it was Logan's birthday party on the weekend.  I had done zero prep. Ordinarily I go all out, making cupcakes, decorating etc.  But this time I just didn't have time.

That being said, it isn't Logan's fault that I was working and it isn't fair that his party should suffer.  So, Friday night after work, I was in the birthday ZONE.  I ordered a cake, hit Costco for pop/chips/plates/birthday paraphernalia,  hit up bulk barn for treats for the goody bags.

Saturday am, we were a go.  Picked up Logan's friend Seth on the way.  The party was at Glenwood community center.  It's a pretty sweet deal.  For $84 you get 2 hours in the gym, they set up the hockey nets/tables and you get access to the kitchen.

I knew Logan had invited kids and I had got some RSVPs, but I didn't really know how many to expect.  Some kids had told Logan they were coming, but I didn't hear from their parents.  Well, everyone came.  EVERYONE.  We had 15-16 kids, I don't know exactly because it was hard to count all the moving heads.

Party went as follows:  Hockey- Drink/veggie/fruit break - Hockey - Presents/Drink/veggie/fruit break - Hockey - Cake - DONE.

I think this is the kid type birthday party we will have.  The boys are getting older now and it's just time.

After the party, Logan had 3 friends to sleep over.  The kids he chose, are super well behaved, polite and awesome.  Love them.

But like any good party there was some drama.

Logan has an instagram account.  For the most part, it's just him and his friend posting goofy pics. Logan posted two pictures of him and his buddies from the sleepover.

One kid who came to the party, but not the sleepover was annoyed that he wasn't invited to the sleepover and called Logan mean.  He then posted a comment on Logan's picture that said "they don't even like you".

Nice kid, real nice.

Logan was justifiably pissed off.  So he retaliated.  I don't condone it, but I get it - if that makes any sense.  The kid just turned 10 and hasn't mastered the art of biting his tongue.  He went on this kids instagram account and made the comment "You're just jealous you didn't get invited.  Just admit it"

Ok - not happy with him for doing that.  But this is where it got kind of ugly.  This kids Dad is able to see his son's instagram and saw Logan's post.  He replied "That's really mean Logan!" and "You don't need friends like that"

Sigh

Logan has a private account, so this Dad wasn't able to see what his kid had posted first.  You could tell by Logan's comment that he was replying to something, but I guess this Dad didn't notice it.

I spoke to Logan and got him to apologise.  However, I kind of felt Logan was entitled to an apology as well.  Since I know this kids Mum, I texted her.  I explained that Logan was WAY out of line and that we spoke to him and had him apologise.  I then mentioned that Logan was frustrated because of the comments her son had made.    She had no idea her son had made any comments - so it was good in that she became aware of what her son was posting online.

What in the actual h*ll?  This online stuff is crazy.  At least when I was a kid, if someone at school was being a jerk, at least you could escape for the weekend.  Now, it's in your face all the time.

In the end, Logan understood that what he did was wrong and that there would be consequences at home (grounded etc).  However, we made sure to tell him that he can always come to us and we will back him up provided he always tells the truth.

Sunday the kids all went home around 11 am or so.  What then followed was a marathon Orange is the new black session.  I made a nest on the couch which enabled me to not have to get up 5 solid episodes.  I make no apology for this.  After this week/weekend, I earned some quality veg time.





Thursday, June 4, 2015

MR...I am going to be so tired tomorrow.

Last night was my MRI.

I'd been waiting about 5-6 months for it.  As horrid as that wait was, the last little bit went by quickly.

My appointment was scheduled for 10:30 pm. Yes. PM.  When I got the letter informing me of the appointment, they ensured to highlight the PM.  I would imagine that many people would think it was a typo and come at 10:30 am.

The good thing about this time is that I didn't have to miss any work.  But the downside is that I know it was going to take some time and when I got home it would be late.  So I decided to work from home today.

I was in conferences all day yesterday, so it was nice to get home and throw on some jeans and have some supper with the family.  I thought I would check the appointment sheet to double check the location.  Good thing, there were some added instructions.  No eating/drinking for 4 hours before the appointment (So much for supper!) and no metal on you at all.  Not clothes, jewelry, hair ties... Nada.  When you stop and look at your clothes, it is actually hard to find!  Jeans have a metal button/zipper.  In fact, most pants have zippers!  In the end, I found a striped maxi skirt and a tank.

Beth (my amazing wise cracking friend whom I adore) picked me up at 9:30 pm.  She dropped me off at the door and set off to find a free parking space.

Once inside, I went to the check in desk.  I filled out the necessary paperwork. Lots of questions about metal.  Do you have piercings? Medicine Patches ?  Implanted metal devices?  Tattoos?

Welp.  I have tattoos.  Three to be exact.  Frick.  I checked off the box for tattoos and tentatively handed in my forms.  Receptionist didn't seem overly concerned, but I really got the impression that she has done this thousands of times and was on complete autopilot.

I was called in and ushered into a well worn blue vinyl recliner.   The nurse looked over all of my responses and wasn't concerned in the slightest.  I made sure to mention about the tattoos.  I didn't want to get in this machine and have my skin ripped off or something.  Think I am exaggerating? Check out this video of metal in an MRI.  It is scary as h*ll.


I found myself mentioning any possible metal... "I have fillings!", "My bra strap has metal hooks!". The nurse (who has clearly been asked about this quite a bit was unfazed.  Apparently bra straps are fine, which confused me a little, but I figured she would know.  The tattoos they are concerned with are the old ones from 25 years ago when they used lead based ink.   I was in the clear.

It wasn't mentioned on the form, but apparently for my MRI, I needed to have some dye injected to take certain pictures.  Doesn't that sound lovely.

Dye injection meant an IV. Not a big fan of those.  You have some nurses who are amazing and tap your veins and you don't feel a thing.  Others do not have the same finesse and it feels as though they are shoving shrapnel up your arm.   On a scale of 1-10 (10 being kissed by butterflies), I'd give it a 4.

I was given a hospital gown, although thankfully, I didn't have to go completely alfresco, I was told to wear it like a robe over my clothes. I was a sexy beast.  I was then ushered into another blue chair to wait again.  Whether it was my nerves or not, the wait seemed to take forever.

At last it was my turn for the big giant magnet.  The soft spoken blonde nurse went over all the same questions.  I again reminded her about the bra straps, fillings and tattoos in the off chance that the other nurse wasn't really listening.  All clear.

MRI machines look very space age. It is a giant machine that kind of looks like a front loading washing machine.  You hop up on this platform and lie down.  They give you ear plugs and pack the side of your head with the white hospital blankets.  Next is these brackets that keep your head in place.  Cozy.

After they brackets to stabilize your head are up, they cover your eyes with a towel.  I think this is to avoid claustrophobia because the next step is a plastic cover over your face that comes within an inch of your nose.  But if you can't see that, it isn't freaky.  I imagine opening your eyes and seeing something that close to your face while being inside a giant magnetic tube would be unsettling.

Here is where things got amusing.  If you read my blog or know me in person you know that I am hearing impaired, not exactly deaf, but impaired.  Now, imagine me with earplugs and my head packed in blankets. I wasn't exactly hearing any pins drop.  I was slid into the tube.

The nurse was telling me what was going to happen.  However, I couldn't see her because of the aforementioned abundance of paraphernalia enveloping my head.  After saying "Pardon me?" a few times, I gave up and said, "I know you're speaking, but I can't hear anything.  I assume you know what's going on, so unless you need a specific response from me, I'm ready to roll!".  It was at this point that I felt a icy cold sensation flow up my arm followed by an immediate urge to pee.  I surmised that she had been trying to tell me she was about to inject the dye.

She had told me before I got in the machine that it would take about 25 minutes.  "Try and relax, stay still and don't cough".  Do you know what your body wants to do the second someone tells you not to cough? Yeah.... cough.  I spent the next 30 minutes trying to supress the urge to clear my throat.

Initially, there was a soft humming noise.  This isn't so bad.  Apparently, the machine hadn't been turned on yet.  Once it did, holy crap.  It was LOUD. I was immediately grateful for all the ear protection.    The ear drum shattering humming/shaking would last for a few minutes, then stop, then repeat.  The humming changed pitch as the test went on, some low, some high, some that shook more.  The last one vibrated so quickly that it made my nose tickle.

Lying in a machine like that for a half hour with no hope of taking a nap is a strange experience.  Your mind wanders in all sorts of directions.  When you think about it, it's very rare to have any opportunities to be completely alone with your thoughts.  Work, relationships, children all seem to want your attention.  But for that half hour I got away from all of that.

And just like that it was over. I was rolled out of the machine and head gear dismantled.  The nurse assured me that all had gone according to plan and the pictures turned out well.

I collected my belongings from the locker and headed out into the waiting room to see Beth.  Beth is a nurse, so as we were walking back, I had a few questions for her.  I knew that they were ignorant questions, but I am an accountant and about as far removed from the medical profession as you can get so I had to ask.   I had figured the cold sensation being the injection of the dye, but the sudden urge to pee was odd. She said that was completely common, along with some nausea afterwords.

My next question was about the dye.  It is like eating a beet?  Do things change color over the next few days.  Beth giggled and told me I was an idiot.  In this case, your kidneys step up, dye should be completely out of my system in a day or two, but I won't notice any changes.

I think Beth was the best person to take me to this appointment.  I needed someone who wouldn't let me indulge my anxiety about the test and instead would make me laugh.  She did.  Lots.

I got home and immediately realized I was starving.  I reheated some leftovers and watched a bit of TV.  It was around 1:30 am at this point.  I was too wired to sleep, plus my stomach was rolling a bit from the dye.

Results will be ready in a week or so. I have an appointment at the end of June with my Neuro, so we'll chat about it then.

This whole epilepsy experience has made me realize that some things are just out of your control. As difficult as it is and as scary as it is, you can't let yourself go down an anxiety spiral.  All you can do is take a big breath, send a memo to the Universe that you'd like it all to be okay and just let it go.





Monday, June 1, 2015

Grass

I have been living in mud for 10 months.

Lots and lots of mud.

New houses don't come with landscaping (unless you are one of the fortunate few who bought their house during a landscaping promotion and got it included).  You only have a year (from final grading of your property) to get the landscaping done.

When you build in our area (and I have to assume other areas are the same, but I could be wrong), you have to prepay $1,000 for your landscaping.  If you landscape in the appropriate time frame and have it inspected to ensure that it is acceptable, they refund your $1,000 back.

$1,000 is a high enough amount that it gets people moving.  The intent is that people will do their landscaping in a timely fashion and you won't have to look at dirt lawns for years and years.

We did ours (3/4 of it anyways) this weekend.  Our neighbor to the right, Carlos put crushed granite beside his house, so we had to as well because it would look goofy to have two different types of rock side by side.  Brad got the granite dropped off Friday afternoon.  I was surprised that by the time I got home he had moved it all by himself!

We also got topsoil delivered.  Brad did most of it solo and then his buddy Dave came and helped with the remaining.  Saturday am was sod time.   Laying sod makes such a big difference in such a short time!

Here is the final product.  We are the house on the left.

What size are you?

Given that we moved to a new area where everybody is new, there is more of a sense of getting to know your neighbors than would normally be the case.

There is also practical reasons for that, discussing fence building/ landscaping etc.

However, Friday I had a rather odd encounter.

I take the bus every day.  Recently another woman has also been taking the bus with me.  Her house is on the corner of Algate/Twickenham.  There was the usual smile/nod situation for a few days until Friday.  She said "Good morning"  and then said, "I like your pants".

It was a nice compliment, so I said thank you.  However, it was her follow up question that blind sided me somewhat.  She then asked me "What size are they?"









Uh. Ok. Here is my problem with that.  You never ask someone what size they are.  Ever.  They could be a very body conscious size six, or a completely confident size 16.  You never know, so it's best not to ask.

We got on the bus and she sat beside me.  Right off the hop this put me on edge because I don't like to chat on the bus ride in.  I like to put on head phones, drink coffee and zone out.  But not today apparently.











I had a feeling that she was going somewhere with her line of questioning.  As the conversation continued she asked me some more random questions; "where did I get my pants"  and "how much did they cost".  She then dropped the bomb:

"Can you give me some of your clothes?"

Whaaaaat?  

She (she did tell me her name, but due to my deafness and her accent, I didn't quite catch it) then went into her elaborate back story.  She just moved here from Nigeria 3 months ago and is staying with family.  She doesn't have a lot of money to buy clothes and is looking for help.  Since I am about the same size, she said "It would be nice if you could help me".

She then asked for my phone number.  I asked why she needed that and she replied, "so we can keep in touch.  Don't worry, I won't call to remind you to bring the clothes".

Sweet Jaysus. It got super uncomfortable at this point.  Just a big motza ball hanging out there. However, we did manage to talk a little. What I did discover is that she is taking a 5 week course downtown to learn about immigrating to Canada.  She is currently finishing week 2.

Super.  So now if I don't bring her clothes, I am going to have more awkward encounters for the next 3 weeks.  But I also don't want to set myself up to anything either.

I asked my neighbor about it and she was of the mind set that it isn't like we are living in a rough end of town where you would expect people to be having a hard time.  This is an area where half million dollar home are common.  I mulled it over quite a bit and finally decided to giver this woman the benefit of the doubt and  bring her a few things.  I made sure to include a pair of pants however, because given her bold demeanor I had a feeling she would ask for pants if I didn't include any.

Fast forward to this morning.  We said our hellos and I gave her the bag of clothes.  It had a blouse, skirt, pair of plants and a tank top.  I made sure to mention that I really didn't have much to give her because I donated tons of things when we moved last summer. Everything I have left, I currently wear.

She was quite grateful.  But again it became a motza ball situation and neither one of us said anything.  I made sure that she got on the bus first, so that I could choose to sit by myself as I really wasn't in the mood for another bus ride like Friday.












So that's that.  I'm glad I gave her something because I think I would have felt guilty if I didn't.  But I really hope it ends there because I don't think I could handle any more awkward.
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