Foot Note

Aug. 23rd, 2011 09:23 pm
nohanii: (Default)

 I don't think I've said anything about this before, but I have bad feet. Or rather, foot. Specifically, my right foot.

This all started about six years ago. I had just gotten back from an orientation trip to UCI and I was utterly exhausted, so I took a nap on the couch. And woke up in the worst pain of my life.

My right foot exploded with agony. It felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer and furiously shattered every last bone in my foot. I couldn't do anything; I couldn't even touch my foot. All I was capable of was holding my leg around the knee and wailing. Kelly ran over, full of concern. Nothing like this had ever happened before. They* tried to touch my foot to examine it and attempt to find out what had happened, but I shrieked and yanked it away before they could get near it.** They was so worried that they very nearly called 911, but then the pain started to pass. A few minutes later, it was like nothing had happened. There were not marks on my foot -- no sign of trauma, no spider bite, nothing that would explain what had just happened. I think we shrugged it off as a fluke and tried to forget about it. Until it happened again.

One podiatrist said I have falling arches and made orthotics for me. Another noted a bone chip near the affected area, but said nothing about my arches. He wanted to do surgery to remove the chip. I consulted yet another podiatrist, who told me the surgery was just to make me feel better but likely would not resolve my problem. No one could convincingly diagnose the issue with my foot.

So I did what I could. I wore supportive shoes with customized orthotics, I avoided heels, I tried to baby my feet. Nothing seemed to help. These attacks have continued on and off since that first one 6 years ago. Sometimes I will go months between attacks, other times I get them several times a week. I've learnt to deal with it and wait it out. Stay calm, massage the foot, try to relax and go back to sleep.

Interestingly, this only ever happens while I am asleep. I have never once had this occur while I was awake. Wearing high heels, especially after wearing nothing but sneakers or lower heels for a while, seems to be a good predictor for an episode.


I had a dream several mornings ago in which my foot hurt horribly. It was so bad that I sought out a friend who would do anything to help me. That friend, for whatever reason, was Gabe. After what felt like hours, I finally found him and pleaded with him to help me. He reluctantly agreed.

I don't know where we found it or if I already had it, but we got a big, curved knife and, without any anesthesia, he began to cut in to my foot to remove the affected portion.

Then I woke up.

Usually, the pain is bad enough to wake me up. I had never before had it actually invade a dream. Especially not to the extent where my response was to hack into my own foot to cut out the broken, poisoned, necrotic tissue.


*Kelly is my sister, but they doesn't identify as female. Nor does they identify as male. Their preferred pronoun is the singular form of "they." This might seem a little awkward, but they are entitled to this and I am attempting to work it into my vocabulary for their sake. They's lucky I love them so much. :) (Side bar to Kelly -- am I using these right? Singular they feels weeeiiird.)

**Pain doesn't usually make me cry. Even when I nearly broke my wrist earlier this year, I didn't cry. When the cat attempted to amputate my finger, and I didn't cry. My normal reaction is "EFFFF..." then I hiss and hold still until the pain passes. I hardly ever shed tears due to physical pain. So when I do cry because I am in pain, that means that I am in absolute agony.

nohanii: (Default)
I don't think I could love Dan more.

I was fairly anxious to bring up my lack of vet school ambition and upset with myself for failing in this endeavor, too. I thought he would be annoyed or exasperated with my inability to make a decision and stick it out. But no.

He listened to my concerns and fears. He listened while I ranted about what is wrong with the veterinary profession and how I wished it was different. He listened while I listed all the things I didn't want to do.

And you know what? He understood completely. He said he didn't want me to "stick it out" and do something that other people think is ~*awesome*~ only to end up being miserable. He just quietly stated, "I was thinking recently that vet school wasn't for you." It was entirely non-condescending, just a simple statement of fact that he thought I wouldn't actually be happy as a veterinarian. He's concerned about some of the same things that I worry about. He wants me to be able to be me, not just my job. He knows I want to travel and have fun, and he wants that for me.

So we brainstormed together. I need a job when I move to LA. I'll be applying to neurobiology research labs as well as retail places and Starbucks. I'm going to try to set myself up as a neurobiology tutor, or maybe even try tutoring organic chemistry. And, since it appears that I have some talent for creating costumes, I'm going to attempt to make costumes on the side for some extra cash. Hopefully I'll wind up with a steady job that allows me to tutor as needed and still costume. That way I'll have three sources of income and hopefully have plenty extra after paying rent and utilities to be able to stockpile savings or do fun things every once in a while.

Dan even said that I don't need to worry about finding a job with a fantastic income. As a professor involved in research, he should be more than able to support the two of us, so he wants me to find something that I will genuinely enjoy. Until then, I just for sure need to be able to pay half the rent on our home, which is looking like it will be somewhere in the $500 to $750 range -- each! That's $1000 to $1500 a month, for a studio apartment! (Compare that to sister Kelly's $375 for a single bedroom apartment in Iowa, or her $500 for a three-bedroom house. I am clearly in the wrong state for cheap housing.) Welcome to beautiful, sunny, expensive California! Granted, I could get a one bedroom apartment for around $800 a month, but that's in Compton. As in, walk out of your house and get shot, Compton. Yeah, let's not do that.

Anyway, point is, Dan is beyond amazing. He's fantastic, and caring, and so completely wonderful, and I love him more than anything.
nohanii: (Default)
Dan and I are going on a cruise (!) in two weeks. Dan starts orientation at UCLA in 3+ weeks, and graduate school the week after that. At some point, Dan (and I!) has to move to the region around UCLA. That would require actually having an apartment. Which we don't. Oops.

Graduate students get paid to go to school, do research, and TA; grad school is basically a prolonged training period. So, Dan has a built-in job with his schooling. Me? Not so much. Dan's income alone will not allow him to cover the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in LA. I have very little real, valuable training that would enable me to land a good job with decent pay. And I have no real idea where to find work, since I don't know where we will be living and I likely won't have a car, at least for awhile.

So, let's revisit:
- Moving in under a month. No apartment yet.
- Need to pay rent for said mystery apartment. No job yet.

Yeah, we plan these things reeeaaaal well.
nohanii: (Default)
lulz, I just got an email from Light of Knowledge -- you know, that place where I tutored English to Chinese kids who drove my bonkers every day? It sounds like they think I'm coming back to tutor again this fall. And that makes me chuckle.
nohanii: (Default)
We just found out that my dad's second cousin was a SEAL in the helicopter that was shot down.

That's just... Whoah.

I don't know what to say.

Edit: Dad says he didn't know Jesse, never met him. Still -- it's in our family. That hit much closer to home than I ever would have suspected.

Edit 2: Jesse was with SEAL team 6, the team that took out bin Laden, one of the best of the best.

nohanii: (Default)
My finger doesn't want to work.

...okay, have the story )

On the plus side, I've discovered that I have a titanium stomach. Augmentin commonly causes GI upset, vomiting and diarrhea. I have not had a single symptom. Kat (one of the techs) even compared me to a Labrador -- they'll eat anything and everything and not have a problem. I am ridiculously proud of my stomach.
nohanii: (Default)
I am once again re-evaluating my "life goals."

I don't really feel like I have a real, vested interest in anything. Pretty much other than wanting to have fun, travel, take photographs, and learn more about neuro, I've got nothin'.

I feel like going to vet school would be a mistake because my one true academic interest is neurobiology.

But I feel like not applying to vet school would also be a mistake, because what if...?

But if I apply and end up not going, then I've wasted a ton of time and money on the GRE and applying and and and.

I love animals, but really, if they're not well behaved they tend to piss me off fairly quickly. And I'm interested in health -- or at least some aspects of it. Working with animals and health were the original draws for me, but there's a lot about the veterinary profession that is undesirable to me. Aside from the long hours and little time off, there's mountains of paperwork, euthanizing animals, and often seeming to cause more pain and harm than good. I don't like the fact that we often hold animals down and force them to endure procedures that are bewildering and terrifying or even painful to them without even being able to provide intelligible explanation. I don't care for the idea of cutting into a live animal, even to help. I don't like that we aren't able to help patients due to lack of knowledge or treatments, or worse, lack of resources to fund treatment. I don't like idiot clients who wait five months to have their pet seen when it's obvious the animal hasn't been doing well. I don't like the supremely stupid clients who don't follow instructions and then wonder why their animal isn't getting any better. And I really don't like the clients who take the time to see us for something completely treatable, only to complain about the expense and turn down treatment options and let their animals suffer.

I don't like my current work -- it's mostly easy, tedious chores that I could have done in high school, or even in middle school if I'd been allowed. I can't imagine actual tech work is much more interesting. I've seen what they do -- they spend the majority of their time doing appointments, simple procedures like blood draws and vaccinations, more technical procedures like dental work, or paperwork. That's pretty much it. The vets.... pretty much the same, but with surgeries and the like piled on top of that.

In short, the reality is far from the ideal many young people have when they say, "I want to be a vet!"

The question now is... If not vet school, then what?


Aug. 5th, 2011 12:21 am
nohanii: (Default)
So last you guys really heard, I was studying for the MCAT to apply to med school.

Yeah, about that.

Long post is long )
nohanii: (Default)
I don't even know if I *want* to go to vet school. I don't know if I ever really wanted it. I got a BS in biology, I like animals, and health tends to interest me, so vet school seemed like at least a semi-logical plan. A bit better than medical school, at any rate. But I look at the vets at my clinic and I see them working 60+ hour weeks with next to no vacation time, and even when they DO go on vacation it's to a veterinary conference. The vets I know have no family -- with 10 to 12 or even 14 hour days, it's a combination of not having the time to devote to raising kids and not really wanting them in the first place. Even with the insane amount of hours that these vets put into their work, the clinic is barely scraping by. They're good vets, but the economy is still in the toilet so people don't want to spend any money that they don't have to (though I guess that is par for the course). Even in a good economy, they aren't paid near what they are worth.

I don't want my life consumed by and entirely defined by my work.

I know that I want to be with Dan, forever. He is an absolute treasure and a blessing and I honestly don't know what I would do without him.

I don't want to be a full-time stay-at-home mom for the next 20 years. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not my cup of tea. I want to do something beyond that that will positively impact the world. Raising the next generation to be good citizens doesn't feel like it would be enough.

I want to go out and *do* things and see the world and experience everything I can. And I want to do all of that with Dan.
nohanii: (Default)
I don't know what to do with my life.

I wanted to go to medical school for neurology, but studying for the MCAT drove me crazy.
I wanted to get a PhD in neurobiology, but I hate research.
I wanted to go to vet school, but that might mean giving up everything else I want out of life.

If I go to vet school, it will mean being 400 to 3,000 miles away from Dan for four years. It might mean that we don't make it as a couple. Even if I get through vet school and we marry, it will mean 12 hour work days. I will have next to no life outside of work. When will I have the time and energy to make a family? When will I be able to do everything I've dreamed of doing outside of work?

If I don't go through with vet school, what will I do with my life?
nohanii: (Default)
If I had a chance to go back and change one thing in my whole life, I would tell myself not to let to my mother talk me out of it.

I wish we were married already.

Car Update

Dec. 15th, 2010 09:53 am
nohanii: (Default)
On Sunday evening, I went to Kohls with my parents to get some Christmas shopping done. On the way there, the subject of the cars came up. Dad wondered aloud why I don't just drive the new Civic all the time. I responded, "Well, is it yours or mine?" It's pretty obviously not mine, considering their zomg look what we bought! attitude upon returning home with it, as opposed to a surprise! presentation.

That opened up the way for me to talk about my feelings regarding the whole car situation. I've been trying to find an opportunity when we were alone together and Mom and Dad are awake, alert, and relatively stress-free. That night seemed rather favorable.

So, I calmly and quietly stated, "Three days before you came home with the car, we had a conversation. I'd requested to use the settlement money to buy a (rather new) used car for myself, like a Kia. Then you came home with a new car. I know you likely didn't mean it this way, but I feel like this is a punishment for getting my car wrecked. I feel like you are treating me like the accident was my fault."

Dad, of course, objected to the notion that he was punishing me or that it was my fault at all. I guess they just haven't given this situation much thought.

I pointed out that, unless I'm just driving to work or around town, I have to ask for permission to take a car. I also pointed out that I will not have a car when I move out (which will hopefully be soon, but no real plans yet). Yes, Mom's name was on my poor old Civic's title, but mine was on the registration.

During that five minute conversation, we came to an agreement: I get to drive the new Civic (or Acura) as long as I live here. Dad promised that I will be able to use the settlement money to buy myself a replacement car when I move out. That seems rather fair to me, though I would prefer to get my own car ASAP, mostly for the freedom having my own car entails.

I had thought that they were planning to use the settlement to pay off their new car. I have since learned that they are planning to sell the older of the two Acuras (the one I currently drive when the Civic's not available), which will bring them back down to four cars for two people, instead of five. I am much happier with the situation as is stands now with the nearly $8000 settlement promised to me.
nohanii: (Default)
(Part 2 of 2, Part 1 can be found here)

The bad:

I don't remember what I said to broach the subject of birth control. I just remember some of the first words out of my mother's mouth: “You're not pregnant, are you?” “What? No, of course not.” “Not with Dan. Whatever you do, never with Dan. He's not the one for you.”

From there, what was supposed to be a quick chat about birth control turned into a half hour long bash on Dan and my relationship with Dan:

She said that Dan “isn't a man, he's a little boy."
She said we have an unhealthy “enabling” relationship.
She said that Dan is narcissistic, and I'm his codependent.

She distinctly implied that I'm only with Dan for the gifts he gives me.

She basically said I should dump him since he doesn't like washing the dishes.
She compared my relationship with Dan to her failed first marriage to a drunk... who was possibly abusive.

Never mind that Dan is always there when I need him, that he's always willing to help, that he gladly takes care of me when I'm sick. Never mind that Dan is always there to calm me down, prop me up, and catch me when I fall. Never mind that he treats me better than every one else in my life. Never mind that he loves me more than anyone else has before.

Dan has never risen a hand to me in anger. He has no serious vices – he doesn't drink, he's not a crazy partier, he doesn't have any drug or gambling addictions. He is impossibly sweet. He takes care of me. He loves me. He helps me in more ways than I can say. I thought this was how a good relationship was supposed to be?

But no, none of that matters.

What matters is that “he doesn't fit in with the family.” He doesn't do dishes. He didn't cook for me when we lived together. We constantly “enable” each other. He's a mama's boy. His hypoglycemia can make him temperamental. What matters is that we cuddled in front of the fireplace in Washington when I was freezing cold.

I barely fit in with my family;* why would I want him to? He's quiet and reserved, and you've been against him from the get-go. We've reached a compromise – I do dishes and he rubs my constantly aching shoulders. It's win-win. He did cook fairly often, actually, but his days were a lot longer than mine even after I got a job, so I ended up doing most of the cooking while he bought a good 90% of our food because I was dirt poor. Yes, he adores his mother. So what? That translates to how he treats me. How is that a problem? The hypoglycemia is annoying, but he's getting better and we know how to work through it whenever it pops up. I would rather deal with his hypoglycemia than your issues. And, seriously? Cuddling PDA is blacklisted even when I'm freezing cold and he's trying to warm me up?

F.U., Mom.

Oh, and learn what “enable” means. Your stupid is showing.

*Excepting Kelly and Geena – seriously, I luff you guys so hard. I miss you!

nohanii: (Default)

I had that discussion about birth control with my mother on Friday. It went both better and worse than I thought it would.

The good:
Long story short, she said I could do whatever I wanted on that front. She recommended not getting an IUD since she had a horrendously bad experience with one when she was younger, and she agreed with my basic plan: try the minipill for a few months and then get the implant.

On Tuesday I had an appointment with my GP (whom I don't care for very much, but whatever). The appointment ought to have been ~10 minutes or so, right? I was there for an hour. The first good sign was that the nurse on duty seemed amenable when I mentioned wanting the minipill. Dr. M came in and I mentioned the problems that I'd experienced with my libido over the last few years and how they seemed to be linked to taking the combined birth control pill. I explained about wanting the minipill as a trial run for an implant, then we had a break while she looked up what the minipill was and how it worked because she wasn't familiar with it. After quickly going over that information, she wrote me a prescription for Ortho Micronor, the minipill. Yay!

Dr. M also talked to me about getting the implant later on. I was thinking about getting Implanon, but she kept mentioning Norplant. Norplant hasn't been on the market in the US since 2002-2004, and Norplant II was approved by the FDA in 2006 but never actually marketed in the US, so I am confused as to what she was talking about and where she got that information. I will more than likely be going to a different doctor when it comes time for me to actually get the implant.

More good news: I picked up my prescription yesterday, and it was only $30 for 3 months! Dr. M was afraid my insurance wouldn't cover it because it's apparently not generic, but it is just as cheap as regular ole' Ortho TriCyclen. Funny thing was, I asked for a pharmacist consult since this is my first time taking Ortho Micronor. The pharmacist obviously had no idea what she was talking about, and basically just said “...if you have any symptoms out of the ordinary, call your doctor.” Thanks for the specifics, lady!

I know some of you are in the same boat as me, birth control-wise. I started taking it last night, and I will be carefully monitoring for any side effects that I won't be able to deal with. I'll let you all know how it goes!

So far so good, right?

Stay tuned for Part II to find out!

nohanii: (Default)

Today is my sister's 25th birthday! I'm bummed that I can't spend it with her, since she moved to Iowa over a month ago. We've gotten closer over the last few months, and I miss her terribly now that she's not here anymore. Still, Kelly, I hope your birthday is as good as it can be, and then some!

XOXO I miss youuuuu. *hugs*
nohanii: (Default)
I'm going to have The Talk with Mom when she gets home tonight.* ** Right now I'm leaning heavily towards getting a BC implant Implanon. My research has shown that it is rather easy to put in (about a 1 minute procedure to put in under then skin of the upper arm, kind of like getting a shot) and very minor surgery to take out; in most cases, just a small incision to remove it. This is opposed to the IUD, which is between rather and unbearably painful to have inserted for a nulliparous woman (a woman who has never given birth).

The implants are progestin-only, so that will hopefully solve my BC libido problems. I'm thinking about trying the mini-pill (also progestin-only) for a few months first to see how it will effect me before I go through with getting the implant, since the pill is very easy to quit -- you just stop taking it. According to everything I've seen, progestin-only BC methods are just as effective as the combined estrogen-progestin methods -- the mini-pill and the pill/patch/ring each have an % typical-use failure rate (0.3% perfect-use failure); whereas Implanon has a 0.05% failure rate for both typical- and perfect-use (versus the IUDs: Mirena's 0.2% failure and Paragard's 0.6-0.8% failure).

I called my doctor's office to see if they offer Implanon. The receptionist asked Dr. M, who said something about Norplant. Now I'm leery about this because Norplant hasn't been used in the US since ~2002, and Norplant II/Jadelle was approved by the FDA but never used in the US, so I don't know what Dr. M is talking about. I guess I'll find out at my appointment on Tuesday.

*I think Mom knows that Dan and I have been sexually active for years (I mean, come on, we've been together for 5 years, you'd think she'd assume that at least), but she's never said anything about it, so this should be interesting.

**Yeah yeah yeah, I know I'm 23 and all, so why should I have to talk about this with a parent? Well it's their health insurance so they're the ones who will have to pay anything UHC doesn't cover beyond the copay. That's why. If it were my policy, I would just be doing this and forget discussing it with a parent altogether. Hopefully she won't be stupid about this and it turns out to be a "Yeah sure go ahead" sort of deal.
nohanii: (Default)
Thanksgiving was both fun and a disaster and a half. My Aunt Jan lives up in Washington state, and she came up with the wonderful idea to have Thanksgiving at my parent's new house up there (oh yeah, they bought a house within 20 minutes of Aunt Jan a few months ago; they're trying to rent it out until they can move up). If we went, we would be spending Thanksgiving with Aunt Jan and cousin Kirian for the first time in nearly a decade. I love them both dearly, so it sounds fun, right?

 Wrong )

I hope all of you had a far better Thanksgiving break than I did!
nohanii: (Default)
Note: This post may be considered TMI for some, but it's my blog and I need to talk about this. If you're uncomfortable with talk about sex, just skip it

I which I ramble... )

Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do about it? What method of BC do you use now? Other than "I'm LGBT so I don't have to worry about it! Haha stupid straight people =P" (I'm looking at YOU, Kelly and Geena!)
nohanii: (Default)
Mom and Dad disappeared for hours today. When they came back, they had a brand new 2010 Honda Civic.

They gave me (or, more accurately, are letting me use) Mom's 2001 Acura. This is three days after I talked to Dad about using the settlement money from my car to buy a used ~2009 Kia, and he approved of the plan.

Their reasoning? "But you wanted the Acura!"

Yeah, until I had to start driving it again and discovered how grossly inefficient it is. Before I had the chance to upgrade to a newer, nicer, and still gas-efficient car -- one that had better than an average 22 mpg. My Honda made on average 33 mpg. Now I'm stuck with this car that really just makes me feel gross.

I understand why they thought this would be okay -- they own my 2001 Civic, not me, and I've been making noises for ages about getting one of the two Acuras. But seriously. My car got totaled. I fought to get a higher settlement than was offered. I just talked to Dad about getting a Kia with the settlement money. Then they turned around and did this.

I feel cheated. I was the one in a car crash. I was the one who lost a car. I was the one who managed to get over $700 more compared to the original settlement. They didn't do anything. They already had four cars -- four cars between the two of them -- in perfect condition. But Mom wanted a new car, and she is the one who gets what she wants.

Oh, and the kicker? They're always complaining about how oh-so-broke they are. They just bought a car for over $17,000. My settlement was $8000. They now owe ~$9000 in car payments. They just bought the Pilot last year and are still paying it off. And they're still working on payments for the Corvette that was bought ~2 years before that. If I'd gotten a used Kia, I could have bought one for ~$10,000, and owed only ~$2000 on it by using the settlement as a down payment.

But no. They went behind my back and did this.

I really honestly expected Mom to get a new car this weekend. I thought they would trade one of the Acuras in to get it. I didn't even consider that they would pull this BS, at least not without first talking to me about it. Even if they settlement isn't actually my money, I feel that they owed me that courtesy if nothing else.


Nov. 20th, 2010 07:07 pm
nohanii: (Default)

Dan bought me Rudolph and Clarice! I saw them at Safeway on Thursday and absolutely loved them. I carried them around the store like a little kid while we were finding things we needed. Dan offered to buy them for me because he's super sweet like that. THEY ARE SO CUTE AND I LUFF THEM.

Mom tried to tell me Rudolph's girlfriend is Rhonda.

She was thinking Rodney and Rhonda reindeer:

...totally different from Rudolph and Clarice!

I've been wanting Clarice and Rudolph since Dan's mom got them from Build-A-Bear a few years ago, but they were $50 each. So when I stumbled across them in Safeway for two for less than the price of one Build-A-Bear version, I went into MUST HAVE mode. If you can't tell, Rudolph's nose even lights up!

Can it be Christmas yet? Please??

PS: If while reading this you thought "Clarice? Who in tarnation is Clarice??" then I feel bad for you because you missed out on an integral part of childhood. Go watch Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Do it. Do it NOW. It's a 1964 stop-motion classic, and I am dying to watch it again. Christmas can't come soon enough!


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