Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why be hateful?

Hate is a flaming arrow that burns its target and singes those along its trajectory.

It's the pointless comments that astound me.  I don't understand why would anyone go on Facebook or Twitter or someone's blog just to post a vicious comment.  Or to post those remarks as a comment on a shared friends's Facebook post where they would be less easy to avoid.

There is effort involved.  It is not just the spur-of-the-moment, foot-in-the-mouth comment.  Those are bad enough.  This is an intentional, willful, deliberate action.  Why?

The remarks were not directed at me.  But when reading them, I caught my breath, almost as if they were.  My heart raced.  My head pounded.  I imagined how I would feel if I was the target.  I am caught in the arrow's trajectory.

Written or verbal - why say something unnecessarily hurtful?  Yes, sometimes words hurt but still have to be said.  It is the intent that matters.  These are the words spewed forth to wound, to slash, to cow, to intimidate, to make the speaker feel superior and righteous and in control.    

Words are meant to enlighten, to illuminate, to allow someone else to dream or visualize.  They are meant to encourage, to comfort, to share.

Words should not be hateful.  It isn't necessary.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Random thoughts

Here are some of the random thoughts I've had over the past couple weeks:

Why does Sara Lee put a slotted plastic clip on their bagels, but a twist tie on the loaf of bread?  Is there some significance I am missing? 

I find it interesting that dogs are "pawed" just as people are "handed".  My Peanut shakes with her right paw.  Angel shakes with her left paw.  Is this an innate trait or something learned?  I taught Peanut and I am right handed.  Angel's prior owner was left-handed.  

I have 4 identical terra cotta planter bottoms that I use as bird baths.  The 3 in the sun develop a fluffy orange mold or growth.  The one in the shade gets a dark green, slimy mold.  Same container, same water.  Just sun versus shade. 

 One (or maybe one at a time) of the hawks in the electrical tower screeches for long intervals during the day.  Am I anthropomorphizing when I feel this sounds like a distress call?  She sounds like she is missing her mate or a child.  Maybe it isn't even the female. Maybe it is just a territorial declaration.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some medical clinics WANT you to be frustrated

I had an endiograph scheduled for 8 am.  At least I think that's what it's called.  I swallow barium and they x-ray me swallowing.

It was requested that I get there at 7:30 to do paperwork.  The paperwork took no more than 10 minutes.  That left me with 20 minutes to kill which I happily spent playing word games on my phone.

Up to this point I am reasonably content.

Promptly at 8,  they took me change into a hospital top.  My belongings, including my phone, were safely locked away.  I am now sitting in a much smaller waiting room with no games but with magazines to flip through.  Of course, the room was dimly lit and my reading glasses are locked away with my purse.  I did manage to entertain myself with the photos in the magazine.

Not as content now.

The nurse came at about 8:15 and took me to the x-ray room.  Cool, I think.  Fifteen minutes after the hour isn't bad.  I then proceeded to wait in a cold, even more dimly lit room for 20 minutes, with no phone games and no magazines.  This room did have a clock, that I could watch ticking slowly by while no one came to perform my tests.

I am getting agitated and frustrated by this time.  I had just decided to go find a magazine when the technician appeared. 

Do the people who design these tests even think about the people taking them? 

First they gave me some crystalline barium to drink with only a little water.  That wasn't bad, kind of like drinking undissolved sugar in water.

But next I had to drink some really thick barium solution while they x-rayed me.  It was like drinking flavorless pudding.  Is there any reason flavor couldn't have been added?  I nearly gagged.

Thirdly they gave me a large tablet of barium to swallow.  Now, large pills getting stuck in my throat is the reason I am here.  I asked, only partly joking, if they had paramedics on call.

Throughout this, the nurse is being somewhat sympathetic, while the x-ray technician is the opposite, condescending and impatient. He says the pill isn't that big and I shouldn't have a problem.  (The last one I choked on was a Tylenol, for crying out loud.)
To me, it felt like the pill paused halfway down, but did complete the journey.   The technician, "See it went down with no problem."  Like I said, condescending.

Finally, they had me lay on my stomach and use a straw to drink a thinner version of the barium while I was x-rayed.  The taste made me gag and the nurse thought I was choking.  At least that ended the tests. 

I got there at 7:30 and waited until 8:30 for a test that took 6 minutes.  Apparently my time and comfort is of no consequence to them. 

I've been to "test mills"  that are punctual and considerate.  This one was neither.  I left feeling queasy from the barium and infuriated by the treatment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't kill my illusions

I had a bathroom conversation recently that still irritates me. (No quotes because I don't remember the exact words.)

I walked into the bathroom at work and a woman was wiping her leg off and grumbling.  I asked, What's wrong? She replied, I got splashed by the toilet.

I shook my head sympathetically, smiled, and said, Maybe it was clean water.

Her growling answer?  It wasn't.

Me:  Well, I like to believe it is. 

At this point, she proceeded to tell me at length how she learned in chemistry class that the fluid coming out of a container is not the one being poured in, but the one being poured into.

I cut her short and said, Well, I prefer to pretend it's the clean water.  (See, I said "pretend", indicating that I know better.)

She snorts, Well that's just wrong and again launches into the elaborate description of the decades old chemistry experiment that proves her right and me wrong.

Now, if I can tell that someone prefers to believe a non-truth, I leave them to their comforts.  A wife who pretends her husband isn't a scumbag, a person who believes their child or pet is getting better, someone who believes that Santa doesn't exist, these are people who cling to their pretenses and it does me no harm to leave them be.

I think it was very rude for her to insist on "educating" me.  I like my fantasy, thank you very much.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Age restricted communities

I know they are very popular here in Arizona but I don't understand age restricted communities.

I grew up in the Midwest in a neighborhood where residents ranged in age from infant to 80.  As a kid, I benefited greatly from that variety.

The 'elderly' woman next door, who was probably only 60, babysat us while my mom went to work.  She also had the best front porch on the block.  All the neighborhood kids, and there were a slew of them, gathered on her porch when it was too sunny, or too rainy, to play outside.  We put jigsaw puzzles together, learned to tat and crochet, played cards, and just sat drinking lemonade and talking.  It was a magical place.

Having younger kids around meant I had a way to make some pocket money baby sitting.  Having older kids around meant I had someone to show me how to dress to be 'cool'.  If my mom wasn't home, I could go next door or across the street to have a question answered, or to get a cookie.

Of course, that was the benefit to me as a kid.  But as an adult, my life has been enriched by the young people who lived in my neighborhood.  Two of my favorite people in the world were 6 and 8 when I moved into this neighborhood.  Kimberlee and Colten were frequent visitors to my house.  I would not have known them if this had been a restricted neighborhood. 

I don't mind the noise of kids playing or having to watch out for bicycles in the street.  I like having the neighborhood kids come to the house at Halloween.  I don't even mind buying cookies and gift wrap for school fund raisers.

I believe our lives are better for the variety of the people in them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Squirrel Girl

Several years ago, when I started work at a software company, they didn't have a cubicle available.  So two guys and I were given tables and placed in an old conference room.  This conference room had floor to ceiling windows overlooking a landscaped area.

Squirrels came daily to eat the purple Ruellia flowers.  I took this picture one day through the glass.

I decided to reproduce the photo in stained glass.  This is my glass panel. 

I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.

For more views -

Thursday, June 9, 2011

October Hail Damage to my Car

I didn't think that any of the pictures I took of the hail damage done to my car had turned out.  But I was browsing through photos and discovered that this one actually shows the damage pretty well. 

Just imagine that the roof and the trunk look as bad as this view of the hood.

Original blog about the hail storm:
It's not just an old car to me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another day at the vet

I spent the morning at the vet specialist clinic again.  They very nicely coordinated the appointments so I could bring in both dogs at the same time.  Of course, that meant I walked from the car with 2 dogs on short leashes, carrying my purse, and Peanut's X-Rays and tried not to get dragged to the office door.

Angel had her two week post surgery followup. I was relieved to find out the stitches had been dissolving stitches.  I had feared she pulled them out.  The incision looked fine, but I expected to get a "Bad mommy" from the vet if I had let her pull them out.  The incision is just a little red and she suggested maybe a little cortisone cream to take away the itch.  And, hopefully, it will add a bad taste and inhibit licking. 

Back in 6 weeks to have X-Rays and make sure things have healed well.  I'm not sure what we do at that point if they haven't. 

Then it was Peanut's turn.  The cardiology nurse came to the first room we were in and asked a bunch of questions. But she came back and moved us to one of their rooms with their equipment.  (Only we didn't use any of that equipment.) The cardiologist talked to me at length about what problems an enlarged heart can cause and congestive heart failure when, or if, it follows.  Then he took Peanut to get an echo-cardiogram.  Angel whined almost the entire time Peanut was gone.  Fortunately, that was only about 20 minutes. 

The nurse came to get Angel and I to go to the room with the EKG machine.  The cardiologist showed me a lot of pictures and graphs and diagrams, but really, I had no idea what I was looking at.  Still it was cool to see my dog's heart beating. And there were pretty colors to show the blood flow.

All I really cared about was that despite some fluid leakage and enlargement, Peanut is doing quite well.  She had an EKG 3 years ago and I forgot to provide those results.  So this cardiologist will compare the two and see if she is deteriorating.  But she is active and alert and energetic, so we both agreed she is currently doing very well. 

He did say that the risk from anesthesia was mild to moderate.  Since her teeth don't seem to be giving her any trouble, I am not willing to take a moderate risk to have them removed.

All in all, a good day at the vet.  Not cheap, but good.  Apparently being at the vet is exhausting because both girls are sound asleep at my feet.

Dessicated toad carcass

Back in April I moved a broken hose reel box and found this perfectly preserved toad carcass.  I've been told it's a spotted toad. I wish I had a decent picture of it when it was alive.  I'm not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I can't bring myself to throw it away.  It is still sitting on a shelf in my garage.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pictures from Angel's knee surgery

Angel is recovering nicely from her knee surgery.  Sometimes I think she is recovering too nicely.  She has spurts where she is her old rambunctious self and I have to calm her down, without quashing her spirit.  Fortunately, for the days I have to go to work, the vet gave me a very mild sedative so she will not feel as inclined to chase the squirrel out of the yard.

Angel's leg shaved for the surgery

The shaving went across her back
The stitches.  Poor baby.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Apocalyptic story while sewing

My mind wanders in odd directions sometimes. 

As I was stitching up a tear in my car seat, I imagined another scenario involving needle and thread.

Scene - post-apocalyptic America

Dark-haired, very stern man, with beard stubble, wearing dirty camouflage jacket.  He is obviously the leader of the (unseen) rabble.  He bends over an unconscious man on the dirt floor, holding a needle and thread. 

He and I are the only conscious people in the room.  For some reason, I am standing over the two of them, watching, with my arms crossed.

Leader is sewing up a gaping wound in the patient's arm.  One stitch has gone in and he moves the needle a half an inch over to start the second stitch.

Me, mildly:  "You know the wound will pucker if you sew it like that." 

Leader, growls, trying to be intimidating:  "Who's the doctor here?"

Me, not intimidated:  "Not you.  Not me.  But I DO know how to sew."

Leader, scowling: "So?"

Me: "So if you sew it like that, the wound will pucker." 

Leader, sneering:  "So the scar will be ugly.  Big deal."

Me: "So the wound will get infected if it isn't sewn together right."

Fortunately, I finished sewing up the car seat before the Leader could task me with sewing up the wounded man's arm. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I wasn't going to die - but still..

Just when life was going great - 

 Yesterday, a little after 2 my neck was bothering me at work and I decided to take something for it.  I was out of aspirin, so I picked 2 Tylenol arthritis tablets.  Slightly bigger than aspirin, but with a smooth coating.  Went to the kitchen to get some water.  Popped in the pills and drank the water.  And a pill got stuck!

Damn!  Someone came in and saw I was in distress, but there wasn’t much he could do.  The pill was in my throat, not my windpipe, so the Heimlich is useless.  I tried to stick my finger down my throat, but I couldn't get the pill to come back up. 

A woman came in, patted my back and talked soothingly to me until the paramedics came.  Yes, paramedics.  Again.  Only this time, the pill didn’t dislodge itself before they arrived.  I ended up being put on a gurney, answering a lot of stupid questions, and being taken to the hospital.

As always, I could breathe, but not swallow.  It’s amazing how much saliva accumulates when you can’t swallow it.  My throat would convulse because of the tiny amount of saliva trickling down, which made me cough, which made me gag.

I was got mad at the one paramedic who reported that I was coughing a lot, like that was the only problem.  As if anyone would ride in an ambulance for coughing issues.   I struggled to gasp out, "No, the problem is that I can't swallow!".  By the time we pulled up to the hospital, a little before 3, the pill had dissolved enough to go down and I could swallow again.  But once you are in the ambulance you don’t get away without seeing a doctor.

Fortunately, they were reasonably quick.  I didn’t see the point in the hospital gown, but I complied.  By 4, I was out again, after seeing a nurse, a physician assistant, the doctor, and the paperwork guy.  The doctor suggested that I see a gastroenterologist and gave me the name of one.  The nurse suggested I was lucky it was a pill, which will dissolve, rather than a piece of meat, which won't.

I discovered I am not as stoical as I had hoped when I feel like I am dying.  Yes, I know not swallowing won’t kill you.  But it can be pretty disruptive.  I also got quite irritated with the paramedics for asking me to talk to them.  Talking made me gag.  When they asked for my life details, I handed them my driver’s license.  (Someone had thoughtfully brought my purse to me.)  I know it's their job, but surely they could see that talking was an effort?

I was quite grateful to the two employees that helped me, but I didn't even see who they were.  Also I was lucky I was at work where there were people around.  Another good thing was that when the paramedics called the hospital, they described me as a "young" woman. 

I now have an appointment with a gastroenterologist (one on my insurance plan) to find out why this keeps happening to me.