Tag Archives: medicine

The Cold that Keeps on Giving

We are sick.  Every one of us in the house has some form of a cold.   That means that we have been going through kleenex, well, like kleenex.

I should have bought the ones with lotion...

I should have bought the ones with lotion…

It’s funny, though, because we are all trying to treat it differently and having varying degrees of success.  It amazes me how the common cold just messes with people in so many different ways.  Science is cool.

The Husband is relying on his four-hour generic brand of mucinex.  It seems to work for the congestion but he is not taking anything for his cough.  His cough could wake the dead.  I’m not even kidding.  He wakes up in the morning and it’s an ear-piercing cough that just keeps going to the point that I find myself wondering if I need to call him some help.  He insists that the mucinex is all he needs.

The Daughter is too young for most medicines and the pediatrician said to let her cough it out.  We do use the vapor plugs and steam.  At night, we can give her delsym so that’s good at least for sleeping.

These things make the whole room smell like vapor rub without the mess!

These things make the whole room smell like vapor rub without the mess!

The Mother is using a combination of Tylenol, mucinex, and cough drops to fight her cold.  Though she seems to have had it worst and is trying her best to just get lots of sleep and stay hydrated.

As for me…I’ve been sick since Christmas eve.  First, I got a cold that turned into laryngitis, then it turned into that bronchial thing that required a massive dose of amoxicillin for 7 days.  That was fun.  So that cleared up but I never quite shook the cold.  So these past two days, the cold has been back full force.  Fun times.  I’m treating this lovely cold with Robitussin multi-symptom cold and Tylenol. It seems to be working which is good.

The past two nights, we all agreed that we should try to eat some spicy foods to help burn it out of our systems.  Last night we splurged with buffalo wings from the Nines and tonight was jambalaya.  I don’t know if it made it better or worse.  I just know that I cannot wait for this winter sick season to be over!

So worth the extra points to be able to breathe for about an hour or so after eating them!

So worth the extra points to be able to breathe for about an hour or so after eating them!

Today was nice though – a balmy 50 degrees and even with the ridiculous wind gusts, the fresh air felt so good.  The sun was warm and I almost forgot that it was January and that Monday is supposed to bring a few inches of snow.

The common cold always seems to elude a sure-fire cure.  I wish there was a way to just get rid of it after a day.  But as the saying goes, “If wishes and buts were cherries and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas!”

What do you like to do when you are battling the common cold??

 

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Fears of the Flu

I was bad this year.  I have yet to get my flu shot.  Is it too late?  I hope not.  Though I don’t know that I can get it with this upper respiratory thing that is currently waging war against my immune system right now.  Brother #3 apparently has the flu.  He was here on Christmas.   I have been washing my hands like a maniac because of my own germs but man, I do not want to get the flu.

I do not want to be spreading this around...

I do not want to be spreading this around…

I know that after I finish fighting this cold, the first thing I’m going to do is go get my flu shot.  That’s a number one priority!

Here are some tips from the CDC on how to avoid the flu this season.  Some are common sense but they are all very smart and important tips to avoid the lovely flu virus.

I hope you all stay healthy this winter because even this cold, the one that has currently stolen my voice, is so very not fun to deal with.

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September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Every month seems to be an awareness month.  A ribbon of color is placed somewhere and people talk about it for a week or so and then the awareness fades.

For me though, this month’s cancer awareness is something that hits home for me on a few levels and that is why I talk about it a lot to everyone and anyone who will listen.

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.  This month focuses on women’s cancers: Ovarian, Cervical, Uterine, Vaginal, and Endometrial Cancer.

Let me tell you why this particular month is important to me.

When I was four months pregnant, it was time for my annual PAP.  They took the swab and sent it off.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I had always had normal test results.  I was more focused on my pregnancy and all the other things going on in my life at that time.  When I got the call that there were some abnormalities, cervical dysplasia to be exact, I didn’t know what to do, what would come next, or how this would change my life (if at all).  These cells themselves are not cancer cells, but when left untreated, they turn into cervical cancer.  Early detection of these cells is the most important thing and is what saves hundreds of women’s lives every day.

I was really scared.  I was pregnant and things were not 100% ok.  Thankfully, I had a great OB/GYN and she and the rest of the doctors at the practice were fantastic.  They helped me get through my pregnancy (which was not easy since I ended up with pre-eclampsia) and two months after I had my daughter, I had to have a colposcopy.  Not really knowing how to talk to someone about this or even knowing anyone who had gone through this, I was terrified since I am the kind of person who gets afraid of the unknown.  I went to the colposcopy procedure, completely nervous, afraid of the potential pain, the side effects, the recovery.  Luckily, the procedure wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, just a little mild discomfort but no real pain.  It was over relatively quickly.  The doctor did the biopsy and then the waiting game began.

Those days, waiting for the results, were the longest days ever.  They were most likely compounded by being a new, sleep-deprived, emotional mom but let me tell you, those days sucked.

The doctor called with the results that I was going to need to have a LEEP procedure.  Talk about scary.  The pamphlet the doctor gave me was nothing short of terrifying.  They talk about how they use an electric current to scrape the abnormal cells from your cervix.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  Well, let me tell you, it was not.  Anytime you need to be grounded before they start a procedure, it’s a nerve-wracking experience.  This procedure took a lot longer.  They had to numb me up and then they used this little metal loop that runs an electric current through it that scrapes the bad cells off your cervix.  The whole time, you feel this weird buzzing.  My doctor was fantastic because she kept telling me “25% done; 50% done; 75% done.  Just a few more seconds.” I really consider myself lucky because of the medical professionals I have access to.

I am glad I had LEEP procedure done and the bad cells removed.   Every year, I go and have my annual PAP and wait for the results.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous every time I am waiting for results.   So far, I have not had any abnormalities.  I am thankful every year when I get that letter with the check-mark next to that top line “Your PAP results were normal.”

Now, while all of this was happening, my aunt had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer.  I was seeing first hand what happened when this went untreated.  I was seeing the pain, the strength needed to go through the chemo, the toll it took on this active and vibrant woman.  It was so hard to not be angry that she didn’t catch this sooner and could have avoided having to go through this.  We didn’t talk about it.  It just wasn’t something we talked about.  When she lost her fight, it hit me harder than anything else I had ever experienced next to the birth of my daughter.

I think that’s partially why I feel like I need to talk so much about it.  So many women don’t have anyone to ask about these things.  So many women are afraid to ask the questions.  So many women don’t understand how a simple swab once a year can save their lives.

This Friday, I have to go in for some tests on a cyst that has formed on my ovary.  I have PCOS or Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It’s a fun syndrome that results in all kinds of awesome symptoms.  I’m hoping that the cyst they found when removing my gallbladder is just something from the PCOS but there is a possibility that it’s something more.  I’m not going to mess around with it.  I’m going to go and have the tests needed and if I need to have it surgically removed, so be it.  I’m just going to chalk it up to 2012 – the year I got healthier.

If one woman reading this gets a little better understanding of the procedures that may be needed and is a little less afraid of them, then this blog post has done what it was meant to do.  So ladies, if you haven’t been to the GYN recently (like in the last year), call their office and make an appointment.  Don’t be afraid of it.  Don’t be ashamed of it.  Five minutes of uncomfortable pressure is worth more than months of chemo.  Gentlemen, if you have a woman you love, don’t be afraid to ask her if she’s had a check-up recently.  Talk to her about it.  Let her know that you support her.  (And also, make sure you go for your regular cancer screenings too!)

Talking about cancer and the different procedures is important too.  People need to lose the fear and nerves over the different tests and procedures.  If you have had a procedure, share your experience.  Let people know how you handled it.  Sharing your story could save a life!

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Frequent Flyer Hospital Cards?

If such a card exists, I surely need one.

Yesterday was my one month mark from my gallbladder surgery. Recovery is moving right along, thankfully.  These past few days I have really been feeling about 93% normal.  That’s a big accomplishment for me!

Today started off as any other day.  I dropped the Daughter off at pre-school.  I came home and finished getting ready for work. I worked, I came home.  I cooked the salmon I took out for dinner with butternut squash and couscous.  It was delicious!

I got a pin bone stuck in my throat.

That was not part of the plan for today.  The Husband drove as fast as he could to the hospital.  We only got stuck behind one person going ten miles below the limit and one truck that pulled out in front of us.  We pulled into the parking lot for the ER and there was not a single available spot.  It was like the universe was plotting against me.  First the fish bone, then no ER parking.  So, the husband drops me off at the door and I go in prepared for a full waiting room and praying that there will be no wait.  Certainly an obstruction in the throat would bump me to the front of the line.

Imagine my surprise that I had no wait at all.  I got seen before even telling them I had a fish bone stuck in my throat and I could feel it moving.  Luckily, the triage nurse, the ER nurse, and the ER doctor could see the bone stuck in the back of my throat.  Then the ER doctor, who was amazing by the way, explained the procedure.

He had to use that tool that they use when people need to be incubated.  He showed me what it looked like and I almost died.

The one on the left is the tool the doctor had to use to get a better view.

This image might be a little misleading.  Imagine gripping that handle bar and having maybe half an inch sticking out of your fist.  Hope that puts it into better perspective.

Then he unwrapped these suckers:

I don’t know which one he had to use – either the middle or the bottom. Definitely wasn’t the top one…

He was quick about it, thankfully.  And as soon as it was out, I felt better despite how scratched my throat now is.  The scratchiness and soreness should be gone in a few days.  I think tomorrow morning the plan will be to gargle with some awesome salt water.  Fun times to be had for sure!

I really hope that is my last “I-think-I-might-die” moment this year.  *reaching over to knock on the wooden end table*  2012 just has not been my health year.  First the gallbladder, then the wisdom teeth, then the bruising of the leg/ankle, then the surgery, and now the fish bone.

Salmon Pin Bone

I am lucky in more ways than one.  First, I have fairly good health insurance and despite this year of medical woes, it would be much worse if we didn’t have it.  Second,  I live in a place where there are good facilities readily available.   Quality care is provided and given compassionately.  You are a person not just an id bracelet.  Third, now that it’s taken care of I can get back to focusing on my weight loss.  Fourth, I will be mashing my salmon before eating it for the next few months just because I can (and yes that’s a lucky thing).

So…what do you have to be thankful for today?  What makes you lucky?

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