Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Adventure

First, let me say, "Thank you," to more people than I can name. Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words, your thoughts and prayers, and your concern for my health. I have such a large circle of friends - I feel so blessed.

Tuesday last week, thinking I was having another kidney stone, I went to my urologist. They examined me, gave me a prescription, and I went home. The pain killers that are normally effective with kidney stones, weren't working at all. When my dad came to check on me, I said, "I think I need to go to the ER."

I told them the same things, thinking that I was having an unusually difficult kidney stone. In fact, with all the kidney stones I've had (14 I think), this pain was beyond anything I've ever felt. The ER staff was great throughout the whole process. After some CT scans, they discovered there was no kidney stone. Instead, there was a bleed in my stomach muscle - the rectus abdominus to be specific. My blood had gotten too thin and one of the blood vessels had sprung a leak (I'm pretty sure that's a medical term). There was an 8x18 cm pool of blood, and that was causing the pain.

They immediately counteracted my blood thinners, started fluids and platelets, and moved me to ICU. It was a really difficult few days - really difficult. After some more scans, they discovered I still have a blood clot in my leg, and now I have one in my lung. Since I was off the blood thinners, clots became a big concern, specifically the one in my leg. To keep that one from moving into my lung, another doctor inserted a VCF (vena cava filter). I now have platinum in my body, and as everybody knows, platinum is better than silver, gold, even titanium. Platinum makes me a much more impressive and valuable person now.

On top of everything else, while I was in the ICU I experienced a really high heart rate. Several times it raced to 180 bpm. The staff was very concerned, and I'm not sure they ever figured out exactly why it was happening.

After one more night in a regular room, I was able to come home on Friday. It felt so good to get out of that hospital. Don't get me wrong: the staff was great. The doctors, nurses, and aides were caring and kind. I appreciate all they did. Hospital beds, on the other hand, are horrible. There was no position in which I could be comfortable. I basically got no sleep and no rest for three days, and almost no food during that time. I had no appetite.

But now I'm home. Today for lunch I had some saltine crackers and applesauce! I can't say it was delicious, but it was nice to eat again. And I can't even describe how nice it is to sleep in my own bed again, with my own king size pillows, and body pillow, and a room without any hospital sounds.  It's going to take some time to catch up on my sleep deficit, but I'm working on it.

Next week I'll be making appointments with several doctors, to follow up on the adventure. My prescriptions will have to be adjusted, but I will get back to normal. Next week I'll also start figuring out how I'm going to pay for this adventure. I can't even imagine how expensive this will be. ER + ICU= $$$$

The new prescription for blood thinners is nearly $400 for a 30 day supply, instead of the $10/month I have been paying. There are some options that will need exploring and I know everything will work out.

I could not have made it through this without the support of my family. They give so much to me: time, energy, transportation, funds, caring, love and so much more. They almost all came to visit me in the hospital. Janae, my niece, didn't come to visit, but that was so selfless of her. She has a cold and I have a compromised immune system, so her staying away was the best thing.

Throughout this ordeal I was reminded of something. I'm definitely an emotional person. I've known that for a long time, but I don't always remember it. When I get fatigued, my emotional regulation weakens. When mom, dad, Susan, Steve and Pastor Grant walked in to pray for me, I almost lost it. It was just too overwhelming. Since coming home, it seems to have gotten ... more so. Watching anything online - tv show, commercial, video - anything that is the least bit cute or sweet or sad or happy, I'm overcome with emotion, ready to cry. I don't know exactly why but I've learned it's better to just go with it and not try to control it.

Again, thank you all for your caring and love. I am truly blessed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What Rivers Mean to Me

Outdoor Idaho does so much for photography in Idaho.

  1. Their shows are always produced so well, as evidenced by literally hundreds of awards
  2. They host a monthly contest on their Facebook page. Each month, for years now, photographers around Idaho have posted images to their page. The best images of the month are chosen as the Iconic Idaho photos. There are some really talented photographers here in Idaho, and Outdoor Idaho helps promote photography in Idaho.
  3. Outdoor Idaho solicits photo essays from their friends. I wrote and submitted an essay about what rivers mean to me, which is now published on their website.

After publishing my book, which was two years ago, I haven't done much writing. I've written a few things here and there, a blog entry or two, but nothing that requires much thoughtful consideration (as evidenced by how this blog sometimes rambles). I decided that in order to be a better writer, I obviously need to write more, and more intentionally.

As an adjunct professor for the NNU counseling program, I've been doing site visits at internship sites. I observe the intern in a session and evaluate them according to a rubric. I added a written summary of my impressions of each intern. It was an interesting exercise for me, to learn how to articulate each intern's strengths and weaknesses, without repeating myself in every summary.

I've been writing book reviews for the Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) Counselor's Bookshelf. The reviews are limited to 2500 characters, so I have to be clear and concise while still summarizing the value of each book for counselors. That's been a good writing exercise also.

I even wrote an essay on leadership for CSI. The entries will be evaluated and judged, and there will be a winner chosen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I even wrote a short story for the Boise Weekly contest - super short in fact. The story has to be exactly 101 words.

I have several ideas about future books, but those will be a long time in the making. I'll let you know when the next book is available.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Award Winning Tomatoes

Back on October 3, I participated in the Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. There were several Boise walks; I chose the walk centered around the Capitol building in Boise, which has a farmer's market close by. Even though I've been to Boise on a lot of walks, there's always something new to photograph.

Each walker submits one image to their local leader, who then chooses a winner from the local group. This was the image I submitted.

Paul, our local leader, chose my image to move on to the next round. In the next round Scott Kelby chose from among all the winning images (about 1000) to find his top ten images, and a grand prize winner.

Surprise of surprises for me - this image made the top ten! I think it demonstrates that interesting photos can be found anywhere, even on a table top at a farmer's market.

The rest of the winning images can be found here.