I have a few updates, but I'm really really REALLY busy right now with everything, so an official update must wait. On the bright side, Easter break starts Thursday after class so I'll have time to write around that time.
On a side note, I'm really addicted to the map -------------->
that shows where my visitors are from. It's pretty cool!
This morning, I went and supported a fellow sorority, Kappa Delta, in one of their national philanthropies. They host a 5k/Mile Fun Run to raise money for a local Children's home and for the Prevent Child Abuse America. The 5k is a serious 5k because it's very hilly. Not my style. I also haven't run in a while, and I didn't want to attempt something so.... legit. So I ran the 1 mile fun run! It's actually 1.25 miles. I'm not sure how fast I ran it, but I did well for not having run in a while. I was really proud of myself. I had a little motivation on the last 1/2 mile...
Before I continue, you need a little history. You know those Easter Bunnies that sit in the malls to let little kids take their picture with them? Or the mascots that run around at football games and hug you even if you don't want to hug them? Or the clowns? Or the Santas in the mall? Well, I'm scared of all of them. I'm less wary of my own college mascot, but I still won't run up to him or anything. Also, know that my favourite branch of the military is the Marines. Ok, moving on.
The 1 mile run was around a lake, so it was somewhat curvy. I came around a curve a little over half way done and I saw him: the Easter Bunny. Walking against the runner's direction clapping for people and giving high fives. I had no choice but to pass him. I picked up the pace and ran past him, giving him a slight smile and a nod. Sigh of relief. Until I heard it: footsteps running behind me. I turned and looked, praying it was just another runner, but no... it was the Easter Bunny and he was chasing me!!!!!! I kept going and he caught up pretty quickly, unfortunately. I pretended to play it cool, smiling at him again. I can't even begin to tell you how creepy it was. I took another good look and I noticed something new: showing through the white/pink skin was a USMC (United States Marine Corps) shirt. My brain didn't know how to process that. Was it a Marine in the costume? Did the Bunny eat a Marine? Should I fear Marines now or love Easter Bunnies?? I let my mind wander to thinking about how heavy the head part of the costume must be. So I said something, "That's impressive." The bunny just looks at me. So I clarify. "That's impressive running with the costume on. Especially with the head part." The bunny looks at me again (remember we're still running!!). Then, the Marine inside pulled the head off!!!!! And it was Jon, my Big Sis's boyfriend!! My mind/heart could rest at ease knowing that I was safe. He ran the rest of the race with me, with the bunny head on, and every person with a camera took a picture of us at the end of the race. So there's proof! I'll find one of those pictures and put it on here later.
Yesterday, I went to a charity crawfish boil. (Look at me and my philanthropic self) The March of Dimes was having a crawfish boil where for $20, you get 5lbs, corn, potatoes, and a drink. The boyfriend and I bought 10lbs. We ate 5 at the event and 5 back in my apartment. We waited around, eating the first 5, to see some friends of mine I knew were coming.
Also, yesterday was the day that the Union Board list for interviews got put up! My name was on the list and I'm pretty excited about it. I have an interview this Thursday (April 1st) and we'll see if I make Union Board.
I have been feeling sick off and on since Thursday. Let me just say that this is getting old pretty quickly. I'm taking all of my medicines, eating lots, drinking both water and Dr. Pepper, getting sleep, etc.... and yet, I feel sick daily. I called Mom and she thinks it's probably a sinus infection and the nausea is from sinus drainage, which is common for me. But another sinus infection? Ok sinusitis, I know you're there! No need to keep causing me problems! lol The only reason it doesn't feel like a normal sinus infection is that my nose isn't stuffy/runny. Maybe the headaches replaced the gross nose stuff. Not sure. All I know is it's bothersome. But there's no time to stop and go to the doctor yet. If it persists and/or gets worse, then I'll make time. But right now, I'm busy with school, social, sorority, spiritual, and sleep. The 5 S's.
So after my sinus surgery (which was almost exactly a year ago), my sinuses were empty, happy, and not painful.
Now the headaches have returned. With a new annoyance- nose bleeds.
My first thought was that I had a growth spurt and I was in the nose-bleed range of height.... haha just kidding. But seriously...
...after surgery, I was told to do the sinus rinse twice a day plus Asteline and Veramyst. And I did for a while, but it got to the point where every time I would do the sinus rinse, I would get a nose bleed. Like, I would blow into a tissue after the rinse and where there should be green/clear stuff, it's all red, and a lot of it. This bothered me, so I stopped. I still do the rinse from time-to-time and I still get nose bleeds. I now also get nose bleeds randomly, like a few minutes ago when I coughed too hard. I'll wake up with them sometimes too. The sinus rinse produces pretty lengthy bleeds while coughing and other "random" ones are short lived.
I'm not sure what to do about this. Ignore the bleeds and keep going? I usually don't get anything else out of my sinuses because I get so freaked out, so I can't blow as hard. Do I stop and let my sinuses fill up again? I really don't want surgery again... I go to the doctor in about a month (already??!) so I'll ask then too, but if anyone has any advice, I'll gladly take it.
I still do the Veramyst regularly, and the Asteline "as needed" (which is what my doc told me to do last visit. It makes me really drowsy and dizzy for a minute or two.) but it doesn't feel like it's doing anything anymore. I'm using the Asteline more regularly in hopes that it will do something to help!
Is it just me or do all you CFers out there deal with the frustration of leaky nebulizers??! Seriously, it's driving me nuts. I can't tell you how many times I've been embarrassed to turn in homework because of the "water" droplets. Albuterol and TOBI are the worst with this. Time to discuss each one:
First, I want to start with the really cool travel compressor. It's not bad about leaking, but I just wanted to point out how awesome it is. Ta-da!
TOBI. Ugh, my least favourite . When it does the condensation thing, it drips from the blue flap. Otherwise, it leaks from the crease where the mouthpiece meets the "body", no matter HOW tight you make it.
So this one is a little different than the one I have, but not by much. It leaks where the top and bottom screw on. Sometimes, really badly. Like tonight. My other complaint is that they didn't make the piece where the tubing attaches long enough. Very vulnerable to the hosing popping off. Scares my puppy every time.
Not terrible, I don't think. I only have one of these. Seems pretty standard amount of leakage I guess, where the top screws on to the bottom.
This one is the WORST!! And I have a ton of them. But at the connection point of the top and bottom, it's a river of albuterol flowing out.
Sorry the picture is so small on this one. It's an older and the only picture I could find was this size! This neb, by far, is my favourite. It leaks very little, if at all, but is so much larger than the rest, it probably wasn't money-efficient to keep making them. And they take up a lot of room in my drawer of nebs. But it's a good 'un.
I wonder if it has something to do with the method of cleaning the clinic has told us to follow (based on what they said is CF regulations). Or if the manufacturer's have gotten lazy in design and figured a drop or two of medicine leaked isn't much? Or if the compressors we use now are too strong for the nebs? Who knows, but I will continue to set down a sheet of paper to catch the drips of medicine so I don't have to get a paper towel later....
I have nominated and awarded myself the "Best Pill-Taker Without Anyone Else Noticing" award for my performance last night.
I am jammed in a car with 5 other people so we can all go to Taco Bell at about midnight last night. We get our food and pack in the Taco Bell parkinglot to eat. I'm smooshed between two of the three other people in the back seat. The back seat, facing the front, is Sarah, me, Bethany, Scotty. The window next to Sarah is opened so we have some light, some air, and less Taco smell living in the car. I decide to eat first because it would have been impossible to get my pills out with so much food in my lap. So after I finish my 3 crunchy tacos, meat and cheese only with Mild sauce, I whip out 5 of these babies:
(ok just kidding. Sometimes they feel this big, but I'm just joking.)
Actually, I just did a little sizing up, and those pills in the picture are exactly half the length of the actual enzymes. Hmm.
Anyway, I digress. So I pull 5 of those out of my pill bottle that lives in my purse, and take them one at a time. Somehow, probably based on years of experience, I managed to do this without anyone knowing and without trying to hide it! I wasn't being all secretive. I was just getting something out of my purse, simple as that. And yet, no one saw. And this is why I'm giving myself that award.
I'm on day 2 of Spring Quarter and I can tell this quarter is going to be a doozy. My biology class, even with the same professor as last quarter, jumped up about 100% in difficulty. My psych class may not be hard, but it will be hard to focus! The room is long and narrow, and filled to the brim with students, and I'm about 9 rows back sitting behind a large boy. Not to mention I have 4 sorority sisters in that class with me. So seeing, hearing, and listening will be difficult! My chemistry class I will really enjoy. My professor moves at a fast pace, but I've seen all of this material before so it won't be bad. My math class... ugh. I don't predict it will be very hard either. The professor goes at a crawling pace for those who are taking the class for the 3rd time. No joke. And lastly, my bio lab, which I haven't been to yet. We'll see how that goes.
So about 1/2 the classes will be difficult, for one reason or another, and the other half I just have to not get behind. The most annoying part is the homework. Last quarter, I had minimal homework and it was wonderful! This quarter, I have online math homework, online chemistry homework, and the psych professor assigns stuff regularly. Not to mention bio labs being due. And while it looks like my biology class is being kind and not assigning homework, the studying will take up all of my time anyway! Unlike last quarter, each test is cumulative. Oh fun.
I applied for being a camp counselor for (mostly) under-privileged students in the area for over the summer and I got it! They assigned me to 3 different weeks of camp: one session in June and two in July. During those weeks, I'll be living on my college campus working with middle school and high school students from 8-5 every day, at least. I will be TIRED but it will be rewarding. I'm a little nervous (fear of the unknown) but also really excited. I know it will be a great experience!
Right now, I'm also filling out an application for my college's Union Board. I'll find out March 26th if I've made it through the first round of cuts or not. Then an interview. We'll see about that too!
I'm really trying to get involved more and build up a good solid resume'. I sometimes feel I have too much down-time, and I really want to be involved more!
So in 11 days, the boyfriend turns 21. How crazy!
Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, I have clearly pulled out of my depression slump. Finals + TOBI + no sleep + monthly cycle + winter weather + homesick + just the normal ups and downs of life = the depression slump. It happens, ya know? But it's a new quarter, wonderful weather, and while I don't always want to go to class (already! haha) I love seeing a whole new group of people and friends I may not have gotten to see that often previously. :]
Also! My big sis Liz chopped off all of her hair over break!! She also donated it to Locks of Love. What a sweet family we are. ;]
The mornings are the worst for coughing. I sit up, and everything drains south, much to the despair of my lungs. Loud, productive coughs rattle the room. Let me tell you, they sound gross! Haha. But that's part of being a "CFer" I suppose. This morning, I hadn't done albuterol yet, so in the shower (I'm sure you all want to hear about this... lol), I was doing my lovely coughing fits, and I spit out bl.ood. UGH. NO! I can't stand that. I've been told that when this happens, I'm suppose to chill on the exercising for about 24 hours to let me lungs heal the little capillary back up. No!! Today I was going to restart the workout routine. AND tonight are the singing tryouts for the Spring Musical "Fiddler on the Roof"!!! Both my working out and the tryouts will be later this evening, so maybe if I don't spit up blo.od again today, I'll assume they are healed and go anyways. That's probably what's going to happen.
I'm back in college-town! This quarter will be very different from the last. I am taking 12 hours (a full load on the quarter system) and on MWF, my first class is at 12:30!! How nice is that. T/TH I have an 8am, but at least it's not every day!!
Nothing too exciting or important to announce. At least nothing I can think of at the moment.
The ride to Austin was a solid 6ish hours of reading. It was amazing. I have been reading The Lovely Bones, loaned to me by the roomie, and finally finished it a few days into my Austin stay. I highly recommend it. From page one, it held my attention. Since then, I picked up Vonnegut's The Cat's Cradle. I'm a Vonnegut fan, and it's very very Vonnegut. So I'm enjoying it too.
Let's talk about job-shadowing! I followed around people at the Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, TX, from Mon-Thurs and I saw many different types of physical therapy/occupational therapy (PT/OT). I will not be giving out details about what I saw, patient privacy, but I will just note that this is a trauma hospital: I saw some crazy stuff.
On Monday, I followed Jeff 2 as he was on the floater shift. That means I saw neuro patients (with spinal cord/brain injuries), wound care, and mobility PT.
On Tuesday, I followed Laura as she did her PT rounds in the ICU. At a trauma hospital, you can only imagine the things I saw. It was the most exciting day for sure.
On Wednesday, I followed Shannon in the morning and Sheila in the afternoon. Shannon does outpatient PT. So if you've ever broken a leg or something, you've seen a PT like Shannon. Sheila was an inpatient PT who did similar stuff like Shannon, but for those people still in the hospital.
On Thursday, I following Sara/Gina/Missy in the morning and Lisa in the afternoon. Sara/Gina/Missy are hand therapy OT. So if you injury your hand or have surgery on the elbow or lower, that's what these ladies specialize in. Lisa is an OT. Her job is to work with your injury/limitation/whatever and make it possible for you to once again function on day-to-day tasks. Brushing your teeth, putting on clothes, showering, etc.
One part of working in a safety net hospital in Texas is that a high percentage of the people they see speak Spanish as their first language. I loved listening to the translators or the broken English/Spanish mix in a conversation that people work around to get the job done. I worked with 2 translators (which was awesome) and then most of the other therapists knew broken Spanish to get points across.
I really enjoyed the ICU work, but I don't think I could do it as a career. It takes patience, a strong stomach, a cheery personality, the ability to remain calm in INSANE situations, and being okay with a lack of structure to your daily responsibilities and never know what's coming next. I really really really enjoying spending a day there, and I could spend a long time there, but as a career, maybe not. Who knows!
So far, I still would like to do outpatient PT (like Shannon). It's a calmer environment, for sure, and more structured with the "ok, this is my 9 o'clock person, she is my 10 o'clock, no one is scheduled for an 11 o'clock" etc.. However, I would still like to shadow a Sports Medicine PT if I have the opportunity. That's has the potential to be amazing.
Aside from work, I spent time with the family. One of the most fun parts was trivia night at Pluckers. The food wasn't bad, but the company/trivia was awesome. Sure helps my opinion that we WON! lol. Here is a picture of the trophy:
Yes, that is a picture of a "Baby Sith". The winner takes it home and adds on to it.
On a final note, I wanted to give thanks/kudos to Jeff, Leah, Spencer, Laura, Chase, Shannon, Georgina, Sheila, Edgar, Sara, Missy, Gina, Lisa, Eric, Brian, Frank, Patty, Dayne, Anjea, Amy and anyone else in the therapy department I missed who was so kind to me and allowed me to tag along, ask questions, and interrupt the normal flow of things. And the kudos is because you do amazing work and I applaud you.
So my life has been about "beating the odds." Having a recessive genetic disease means I pulled the short straw of 25% on the odds I'd get CF. That's not even counting the fact that one of those is a rare CF gene. I beat the odds on my life-span when I was younger and continuing to grow up. I've beaten the odds in lots of other ways in my life too, but today I beat one that I'm particularly proud of: my winter quarter 4.0.
Winter Quarter has Christmas Break, Mardi Gras Break, MLK day, and this year we had a snow break! Breaks tend to destroy people's GPAs because they put stuff off and don't get it done. 4.0. I also beat the odds because I took an 8am class every single morning. 4.0. Let's add those two together: worst quarter of the year (lots of breaks, cold, dark, dreary, blah) with 8am classes every day (so tired, getting up early, not studying too late). The result? 4.0
Can you tell I'm proud? Because even if you can, you have no idea. I'm beyond ecstatic. I knew I did well, but I almost cried.
Feels good my friends. Feels so good.
I'll post more on my trip to Texas and job shadowing later. Still have one more day to shadow people and leaving Texas on Saturday morning. I'll post soon though.
But I just wanted to post my happy grade before then.
Did I mention it was a 4.0?
There will be a quiz at the end, folks.
What was my grade?
THAT'S RIGHT!!!!!!!!! All A's, baby. 4.0.
Wow I'm happy. :]]]
Now time for bed.
That's a lot of times I've pressed "enter" in this post.