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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.
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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!

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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.
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This weekend was awesome and awful at the same time. On Friday, we were "warned" via a note in the kitchen that my grandparents might show up on Saturday for Grandma's birthday. So Geena and I cleaned the house - swept the floors, mopped, cleaned the bathroom, straightened up the common areas, everything. We literally gave up our trip to Half Moon Bay together to clean the house. And guess what? My grandparents never showed up that weekend. I am highly annoyed. (More on this later, as it involves much cause for GRR.)

In which I ramble )


That was rather long-winded. Kudos to you if you read it all!


Extra kudos if you recognize where "I prefer "death retardant specialist"" comes from.
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So I got a call from my doctor's office. Apparently, my health insurance won't pay for my last visit -- I had to get my white blood cell count re-checked a month and a half ago after a latent infection. Now, I know I'm covered. I've been having problems like this since I was re-admitted for coverage in June. I called the insurance company to talk to them about it. They pulled up my file and said that yes, I am covered. They directed me to call the Human Resources department of my father's company to make sure there wasn't a problem on their end. I called, gave them my information, and they confirmed that, yes, I am covered on their end as well. Next step, I called the doctor's office back and told them what I had just gone through -- both the insurance company and the HR department confirmed my coverage, so it had to be a problem on their end. I told them they needed to call the insurance company for confirmation, because this was obviously their problem. There, problem solved.

Right?

Nope.

They called me back a half hour later and left this message:

"I think there was some confusion on the information umm that I--we had exchanged today. Pretty much when I called this morning to check the status of  a claim for your uh visit on 7/14 I had informed you that the claim is on hold because the insurance the insurance is requiring a full-time student status. You do show you being covered on the plan, being an active member on the plan, but umm they won't process the claim regardless of your eligibility because they want to know if you are a full-time student which you had stated that you had graduated last year or at least early this year.  And so umm the insurance, they are not going to pay the claim because of not being able to show that you are still a full-time student. That is the information I that was given early and also I called them just now. It's not a matter of being eligible, but it's a matter of proving your full-time student status, and since you graduated, they will not be able to pay for the service."

So essentially, I'm eligible to be covered but I'm not covered because I'm not a full-time student, so I;'m ineligible? What? Methinks the insurance company needs to train their employees again. I am correct in thinking that the healthcare bill passed by Congress several months ago extended a parent's medical plan to cover and child of 26 or younger, regardless of student status, yes? We went over this months ago. Our insurance decided to be responsible by implementing this particular bit of reform with the new quarter (which started in June, I believe) on an opt-in basis. We opted in.

So why is this so hard to get right?
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It started yesterday. I had a superficial pain in my chest, just to the left of center. It would throb a bit, disappear, then come back a few minutes later. That's how it was all day, gradually becoming more and more constant at the day wore on. I made beef and barley soup (which turned out to be barley soup with a few chunks of beef and other stuff... oops) for dinner, but I couldn't eat it. It hurt to swallow anything even the slightest but chunky. It wasn't like strep throat pain either -- I've had that a few times so I know how it feels. No, this was the same pain you get when something is lodged in your throat, except it's in my chest. I also feel it in my spine directly opposite the feeling in my chest, but not in between. My breathing is entirely unaffected. My temperature is either normal or below normal (thermometer says 97.2 F), so I apparently don't have an infection. I had a headache yesterday, but that's not unusual. A heating pad on my spine seemed to help last night, but it doesn't feel like it's helping now. This morning I feel a bit shaky and a little queasy, but that could easily be due to not eating nearly enough last night.

Jewel has been shadowing me for the last two days. She normally goes off on her own to sunbathe and nap, but she's been unusually persistent with her attentions. She follows me around wherever I go in the apartment -- she usually does this to some degree, but it's like she doesn't want to let me out of her sight right now. She snuggled with me all night. I woke up with her curled up near my belly, when she normally puts herself by my feet. Currently, she is napping on my computer (yay for warm air vents?) instead of her preferred position in the sun on the rug in my bedroom. Seriously, she'll wait for the sun to come out everyday, but not today. She's usually not on my computer until the evening, when the sun is no longer shining onto a napping place.
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My shoulder feels like it's burning. Started about an hour ago and I have absolutely no idea why. Moving it doesn't hurt any more than normal. There's just a burning sensation starting at one of the scars on the front of my shoulder boring into the joint and down the arm itself. I don't see any bites, I haven't been near any poisonous plants, and I haven't put anything on the skin lately. Any theories?
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I am really, really, really tired of hurting almost every day. It's nothing really major, but it's still annoying. I've been trying to fight off a headache for several days now, but it just won't die. I've tried taking Ibuprofen, drinking tea for caffeine, and getting a massage from Dan. Nothing's working. Last night it was so bad that I actually had light sensitivity. That made driving home from Irvine at 8pm pretty interesting. I still have some light sensitivity. Looking at the computer screen hurts, though looking at everything, even closing my eyes, hurts, so that might just be the headache. This is strange because I only ever develop light sensitivity when I'm getting a migraine, but this is most definitely not a migraine. Freaking tension headaches. I'm pretty sure I know why I get some many headaches, but there's nothing I can do to solve the problem. Essentially, my neck bends forwards instead of backwards (stupid soccer injury, grr) and that puts a lot of strain on the muscles throughout my neck and shoulders. That causes them to tense up and form ridiculously persistent muscle knots. If one of those knots happens to be at the base of my skull, WHAM, tension headache. I can feel a huge amount of tension emanating from that exact area right now. It's like it's wrapping around my head and squeezing.
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So I am two weeks into this dieting thing. I started off at 117.3 pounds on Thursday 8/6. As of Thursday 8/13, I weighed 118. Yesterday, I weighed in at 117.5 pounds. ARGH. It's been two weeks. Two weeks of restricted, 1300 calorie a day food intake and working out hard 3-6 times a week and nothing has changed. I went to the gym twice yesterday. I may have lost a little excess fat off my waist, but that's it. Dan said this diet was supposed to help you lose 1 pound of fat a week. I've gained weight. I just want to be around 110, is that too much to ask? I'd be really happy if I were able to lose some of that weight from my thighs and boobs -- finding 32DD bras is pretty much impossible. Can I go back to 32C? Or even 32D? Please? I'm sure even that little change would be a big help.

*Okay, maybe not 110. I checked, and for my height, 110 gives a BMI of 20.45, which is considered underweight. I want to be 112, at most (BMI at 112 is 20.82, considered average). I'm currently about 177.5  117.5 pounds, with a BMI of 21.84, also considered average. WAIT, according to a different site, I  wouldn't be considered underweight until I'm about 100 pounds, so 110 might still be possible and healthy.

**I swear I'm not anorexic or bulimic or anything like that. I eat enough, and I eat healthy. No bunging, no purging, no exercising to exhaustion. I just don't like having rolls of fat when I sit down or thighs that rub together when walking.

Edit: 117.5 pounds, not 177.5!! Whoops!

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Grandma went home last night!

"Home" is not a care facility or a hospice, but a house home with one caretaker in charge of three or four patients. She gets a lot of one-on-one time with her caretaker. A nurse and physical therapist will be coming in soon to check on her: the nurse to check her overall health and make sure she doesn't develop any infections where the two IV/catheters were, and the therapist to help her work back up to her normal physical activity after spending five days confined to a hospital bed. Mom's under the impression that the bleed did some good; Grandma's talking more than she did before, and in complete sentences, too, at least some of the time. She also gets flashbacks and uses words that she hasn't heard or spoken in a long time. Mom's heard her use throwbacks like "smart-alec." Grandma also seems to be more responsive now than she was before, at least for Mom and Aunt Jan. She's more willing to eat now, too. It usually takes an hour and a half for Rosalie (I think that's her name) to feed Grandma, but Mom and Jan managed it in half the time. Let's just hope these improvements last!

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Grandma can go home!

She's been officially diagnosed as having a <i>small</i> bleed that disappeared on its own. On Saturday she had some weakness/paralysis, but she's doing just fine now, so she can go home soon! On Monday morning, she kept her eyes closed all day and wasn't very responsive - she kept her answers to "yes," "no," "hmmm," and "uh-uh." By yesterday, she was completely awake and aware and responsive to her surroundings. It sounds like she's as functional as she was before this happened a few days ago. They just need to give her some antibiotics. She'll probably go back to the home sometime tomorrow.


(Mom was observing her as we were talking. Apparently, Grandma was hugging and petting someone who wasn't there, maybe Grandpa? This is fairly common behavior for her: When Aunt Yesmene (her daughter) died two years ago, Aunt Jan broke the news. Grandma's response? "What are you talking about, she's standing right there." There was no one else in the room.
)

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Mom saw Grandma while the neurologist gave her a basic function exam. Grandma had a small inoperable bleed in her brain: "a bleed that becomes a clot that gets reabsorbed." She is NOT paralysed: she can wiggle her fingers and toes and can push and pull on the doctor's arm. The neurologist says she looks pretty good. A physical therapist will stop by to check the extent of her mobility and swallowing capability. If she's as mobile as she was before this incident, she can go back to her care facility*. If not, Mom and my aunts will have to make other arrangements for her. Grandma's lucid and talking and stringing sentences together, which Mom thinks is hilarious. Apparently, this is not due the bleed but is a result of not taking her axiety meds recently.

*Grandma has very advanced Alzheimer's. We moved her out her of house to live with my Aunt Kathy about eight years ago, but she continued to deteriorate. Due to the severity of her disease, my aunt was no longer able to care for her, so they decided to put her in a group home/care facilty (not sure which) that can care for her better. I haven't seen her since then.

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I just got a call from my dad. Sometime last night, my grandmother had a deep brain stroke. She's currently paralysed on her right side and is still bleeding. The doctors don't know if they can stop it, and surgery to repair it is unlikely due to its location. My mom is on her way to the hospital right now, and my Aunt Jan is flying in from Washington; Aunt Kathy is already there. We don't know what will happen.
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I am seriously Unimpressed with Thursday. The nurse at the student health clinic did a terrible job taking my weight and overshot by a minimum of ten pounds (apparently she doesn't know how to work a scale?), talked to me while taking my blood pressure (which no nurse has ever done in the history of ever), got a very brief history of my problem, and rushed me off to another room, where she told me to take off my pants and put on a gown so the doctor could take a look at my lower back. I started to comply, even though I thought it odd. I was wearing low-rise pants, so my back was perfectly accessible just by lifting up my top. I decided, after taking off my shoes that it was a  ridiculous request and I would not abide by it. In the end, it didn't matter. My (young) doctor came in and briefly asked me about my problem. He then proceeded to poke the length of my spine and test my reflexes. He didn't find any abnormalities (thank god). He handed my a sheaf of papers descibing lower back pain and exercises and stretches that I could do to help. He had decided what was wrong before he even saw me. When I noted that I do several of the stretches regularly, and that they don't do any good because I'm too flexible, he dismissed it and told me to do the exercises. Without checking my flexibility. Then he gave me another paper for the cashier and left. The cashier is another story entirely. I arrived at the desk with the paper and checkbook in hand. The sole clerk hiding behind the glass was entering some paperwork in the computer didn't even glance in my direction. After a polite interval had passed, in which I was still resolutely ignored, I started writing out the check. Her only comment was to make it out to UC Regents. I had to ask her what the charge was. I slid the check under the glass along with the paper. She took it, again without looking at me, and continued with her work, completely ignoring my papers and the fact that I was still standing there. I had to ask her for a recept. She finally looked at me as if this were some novel idea, ran my check, gave me the receipt, and immediately dismissed me. I am completely flabbergasted at the utter lack of courtesy and customer service present in every step of my visit to the health clinic. I am currently looking for a way to lodge a complaint against the clinic. We may be students, but we are still paying customers and should be treated well, not dealt with brusquely and dismissed. UGH.

The other spot of major disappointment with the day is in regards to the grade I received on my physiology lab report. Of all the four or so lab reports I've written in the past, I have always gotten an A-, minimum. This one? Below average. C. WTF. I requested the return of my paper and asked the professor to explain what I did wrong. His response? My introduction wasn't long enough, I didn't include enough in the methods section, I didn't fully answer all the questions that he posed us, my discussion could have contained more in-depth analysis and comparisons of the results. He said all of this without even looking, without even glancing at my paper. How he remembered in exactly what ways my particular paper failed out of the 71+ that he had to grade, I don't know. Oh, and my introduction? Was two pages long. My methods section? Any other TA would have said it was too in-depth for a lab report. The questions that he asked? Were ridiculously hard to answer. That graph I left out was never requested, yet it cost me two points. The professor has two or three different versions of the lab report "guidelines" posted, all of which contradict each other at least once. Essentially, I feel like I was expected to read his mind in order to get a good grade. His exams are the same way--a correct answer isn't enough, you have to provide more than you think is necessary. Sometimes I think he misinterprets things on purpose so he can deduct points. All in all, I am sorely disappointed with this professor. I am seriously considering emailing him to request a re-grade and include a list of reasons why I deserved a better grade. I have never ever received a below-average grade on any writing assignment, ever, so this is driving me more than a little insane.
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For the last week or so, my back has decided that it would be a good idea to mutiny. Every time I bend over, sit down, stand up, kneel, hell, anytime I bend my lower back in any way,  I get this twinge. It's always on the left side, right where my spine meets my pelvis. I've tried sleeping on my left side instead of my right, on my back, even on my stomach. The last two nights when I slept on my back and stomach, I woke up feeling fine, but it acted up again within a few hours of getting up. 

I tried putting IcyHot on the affected region, but it didn't really help (though it made my cat happy! For some reason she absolutely LOVES the smell; she won't stop licking me after I apply it!). I have a doctor apointment in a few minutes to check out my back -- and of course, it's not bothering me at all now. Figures. Hopefully the worst diagnosis will be my old mattress (I think I've had it for 8 years now?) and nothing seriously wrong with me. Fingers crossed!
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I just got back from seeing the podiatrist. The good news: I don’t need surgery! The bad news: I don’t need surgery! The “bone chip” that Dr. E found in my foot three years ago is not actually a bone chip – Dr. R found today that it is a bone ossicle, an excess bitty bit of bone that my body made, not a piece of bone that chipped off of a larger bone. Score one, Dr. R. According to Dr. E, the bone chip could migrate down the side of my foot and pinch a nerve and cause the extreme amounts of pain that I occasionally get. Dr. R said that theory was rubbish because the ossicle doesn’t move – it doesn’t do anything, in fact. It just sits there. Doing nothing. What actually causes my pain is the fact that I pronate (read: invert) my feet (mostly my right) too much. I evidently do this mostly in my sleep, since that’s the only time I ever get the pain. This extra pronation causes excess movement of the bones on the outside top of my foot, and that is what makes it feel like my foot has just been crushed by a sledgehammer. Score two, Dr. R.

The no-need-for-surgery diagnosis is good news because I am honestly terrified of the idea of someone cutting into me (even after a very not-bad experience with my shoulder surgery). It’s also bad news because I was hoping for an “easy fix” to the problem. Instead, I need a new pair of orthotics (specially made from casts of my feet) because my old ones are dead. The orthotics will help prevent extreme pronation/inversion in both feet AND, as an added bonus, help support my unstable arches and toes so I won’t put too much pressure on my second toe and get pain and swelling there. They do help, but they’re not a fix. So essentially, this is something I’m going to have to deal with all my life, unless I can stop excessively pronating/inverting my feet in my sleep.

The only problem is, the orthotics cost $495 and we’re not sure if our health insurance will cover them, so I might not be able to get them. Here’s hoping!

 
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I have a love/hate relationship with the gym. Getting there is the problem, but once I'm there I'll work hard. Sometimes going to the gym is downright amusing. I love it when a buff guy is using a machine that I want, and when I get it I realize that he was doing something that I can easily do (or sometimes something easier!). Today I was waiting for the leg press machine so I could work out my calves, but the only operational machine was already taken by a fairly buff guy. I waited until he was done, then claimed it. I found that he'd had the foot pad set to 5 (pretty far away) and was only doing 180 pounds. pfffft I have it set to 3 (shorter and much harder) and do 230 pounds! bwuahahaha. This actually happens quite a lot, and it's amusing every time.

At any rate, freakout time! I just finished addressing and assembling all of my graduation announcements. AAAAH I'M GRADUATING COLLEGE IN 8 WEEKS. /endfreakout. So yeah, graduation, eh? Yeah, it's kind of scary. I'm excited to be done with UCI and be an Alumnus, but at the same time I'm kind of freaked because, holy cow I'm going to be an Alumnus. I have tons of stuff that I have to do in the very near future -- take the GRE, work with a vet, get letters of recommendation, apply to vet school... In addition to that, I recently found out that all of my health insurance drops the day I graduate. All of it. Doctors? Gone. Optometrist? No more. Dental? Ha! I have been busting my ass to get all of these things taken care of before June 13th. I just really hope that I can land a job with benefits fairly soon. 

Thursday 4/16 - UCI mental health re: anxiety
Tuesday 4/21 - optometrist re: prescription sunglasses
Thursday 4/23 - podiatrist re: foot surgery
Tuesday 4/28 - dentist re: normal tooth cleaning
...and hopefully an appointment with my GP to get bloodwork for a physical and to check my cholesterol levels and whatnot again. 
nohanii: (Default)
Okay, so. I got a call from my doctor yesterday while I was in class, so obviously I couldn't answer it. The message left on my voicemail  only said "Call us back!" So I did. The reason for their call? "You cultures came back positive." Holy crap, what??!? "Uh, okay. What for?" "A yeast infection." A) DON'T DO THAT you scared the crap out of me. Would it have been that hard to add "for a yeast infection" to that sentence? B) I don't have any symptoms, why prescribe antibiotics when it's so minor it will likely resolve itself?
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Damn my wonderful boyfriend, he got me sick. =/ It's okay, I still love him. I'll forgive him just this once.

I had a pretty bad cough yesterday and some nausea in the morning. I almost skipped school, but I managed to eat some chicken noodle soup and keep it down, so off I went. The cough screwed with my tutoring -- four hours of talking? Yeah, right. I could barely make it a half hour at a time. I had to run out and cough really hard in order to clear my throat enough to actually talk more than once. The cough pretty much subsided my yesterday evening, but last night I developed body aches. My clothes were hurting me. Around the same time, my sinuses got all screwy too. They got all swollen so I couldn't breathe through my nose AND my nose decided that it would be just grand if it was runny too. Fun times. I went to bed slightly miserable, but I managed to get to sleep pretty quickly. Of course, roommate #2 came home at 5am, banged around in the bedroom and woke me up >=o grr, but I got to sleep again okay. Today has been better, I guess, just lots of allergy-type symptoms (stuffy/runny nose and lots of sneezing) and coughing up some green gunk. Hopefully I'll be all better soon!

Good news!

Feb. 25th, 2009 08:32 pm
nohanii: (Default)
I have the bestest boyfriend evar. That's right, the bestest.

cut for talk about the vajayjay apointment )

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Catherine

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