Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Futher proof that our wedding was THE event of 2006

Woot woot! Our wedding planner (and also good, good friend), Joe Wilson, and our wedding venue, The Foresthouse, both won the KCRA3 "A List" viewer awards in their respective categories this year.

They both deserve the praise and the recognition - they made our day the rock-roarin' party we had always imagined.

Congratulations both of you!

Joe, me, and Hubby on the big day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Going public

Although you say it to their face often, sometimes you feel a visceral need to announce to the world just how much you love someone and how wonderful they are - you know, to give it gravitasse.

That's how I feel about my Hubby. For many, many reasons that most of you know and many more that you don't, he's just the most wonderful person I know. Oh, and yes, he's pretty hot too! ;o)

Monday, April 28, 2008


Summer has arrived suddenly here in Sacraghetto. Yesterday temperatures nudged 90 degrees, highlighting the woeful inadequacy of our air conditioning system. I swear, I could blow cooler air harder than that unit. We finally succumbed to turning it on when the temperature reached 80 yesterday and one hour later the temperature gage said 83. Yes, that's right, it went UP. Even this morning at 4:30 as I headed out to the gym, the thing was grinding along with a net cooling effect of only 79 degrees. It was 53 outside but still 79 in our house. Nuts.

Fortunately, when we bought the house, we purchased a home warranty that covered a/c. So, with the forecast predicting more 80+ temps, we're going to be calling them today.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting personal

Looking at my posts in the last week, it seems it might be time for a personal update. Hence, this is a long one.

I haven't felt much like posting much of anything in the past seven days (aside from my AI rant) for a number of reasons.

Let's start with WORK

I've been pretty tired at the end of the day and the last thing I've wanted to do is bury my head back in a computer on my personal time. Work is very busy right now. Incoming inquiries have picked-up and, at the same time, I'm pro-actively prospecting for new business for the first time.

In the first year of this job I was really getting the lay of the land: organizating, creating systems, contracts, marketing pieces, understanding the customer etc... Virtually all the deals I closed were a result of incoming inquiries either from word-of-mouth, web-searches, or customer referrals - in other words, passive business. This was great because we still had a killer year but, obviously, the job of a sales director is not to sit and wait for the deals to find you, you have to get out there and find the deals.

So, this year I have some sales goals, and I gotta meet them. Unfortunately, the first quarter of the year was taken up with getting a new CRM program online (CRM = customer relationship management) which would enable me to automate a lot of the lead tracking and follow-up so I could effectively manage more leads at one time. In addition, the same program helps us to manage existing customer communication and data (the other 1/2 of my job) so, as a company, we can all work from the same set of information. Researching the program that was right for us, test-driving different products, speaking to sales people, and then eventually getting the product online, customized, all our existing customer data in there, all my leads in there, and then setting up e-marketing materials in there... all of this took a heck of a lot of time. And at the same time I am dealing with incoming inquiries AND trying to create content and web pages for a customer support site.

Fortunately incoming inquiries dipped to virtually nothing in the first quarter, which enabled me to get some of this stuff done. Unfortunately, when it was done, I had nothing serious in my sales pipeline. Hence, yesterday, I closed the first deal I've closed in almost 3 months. What a relief - for me and the team! Incoming inquiries have also picked up and I have some seriously good leads in my pipeline now. But it all adds up to work and at the end of the day I'm too tired to rehash my day or whatever else is going on with me in a blog post.


The weather here is beautiful in April and May - mid 70s, sunny, clear, and a slight breeze. Because of this, the last thing I've wanted to do is to sit inside and type on a computer, or even just have my head looking at a computer screen (because of course I could take my laptop outside.) When I'm done with work I want to sit outside and play with my dogs, or just enjoy the sounds of frogs croaking or birds chirping or the wind in the trees. Also, when Hubby gets home early enough, getting out on our bikes has become our new favorite (and most importantly free) thing to do after work. When the weather is like this, the last thing I want to do is sit and write about life... I want to be out there living it.

Full HIP disclosure

I've been waiting to post some info on my hip because I wanted to pull together a number of different things that are going on, and summarize them in one post vs. blabbing about things that may or may not be true or surmising vs. knowing.

In general, as you know from my gleefully boasty-posts, I have been recovering at warp speed. I've beaten almost every timeline or expectation for recovery that was set pre-surgery and, for the most part, am back to doing all the things I did before I went under the knife. It's been just over 6 weeks at this point and, all things considered, I am very happy with how fast I've regained my mobility. In fact, I came along so quickly that my Physical Therapist "graduated" me two Wednesdays ago, after only three 30 minute sessions.

Now I know what you're thinking: Wow, this is great! You must be so happy!

Well, let me give you a little reality check: despite having gained back a decent range of motion for the average person, I still have the same pain in the same ranges of motion that I had before the surgery (actually a lot worse), don't have back the full range of motion I had before the surgery, and am still popping like a nuked bag of Orville Redenbacher.

Aparently my HMO PT only covers getting me back to functional, not getting me back to optimal. Within my network, in terms of post-operative care, that is the goal. The PT even told me that the pain I am experiencing may be "in the joint" and may never go away. Ditto the clicking.

Well, I gotta tell you, I may be in my dreaded 30s where everyone tells you things are supposed to start going down-hill, but I aint ready to concede any level of pain, flexibility, range of motion, strength, or ability. I eat right (mostly), I don't do drugs, I exercise regularly, I moisturize, and aside from this hip thing, I consider myself to be in excellent health. I take the time to look after myself and I see the results of that every day. "Graduating" for me isn't walking without a limp, it's seeing not only an improvement from pre-surgery to post-surgery me, but also working back to where I was pre-injury - which for me was better than the average person of my age. Otherwise, what was the point of the surgery, right?

So, as is pretty typical for me, I took matters into my own hands. I Googled "sports physical therapists Sacramento" and started calling around. My goal was to find someone who worked with active people, athletes, getting them back in shape after injury or surgery; an expert who would spend more than 30, interrupted minutes with me, would evaluate me week-to-week, perform some hands-on manual therapy, and have a higher goal for my recovery than for that of a 60 year old woman post hip replacement.

And I think I found him.

Eric is a partner in a physical therapy practice about 10 miles from where I live. Both he and his partner, Chris, have degrees in kinesiology, are licensed physical therapists and personal trainers. I had my 90 minute evaluation with Eric on Monday and immediately started to feel like there was hope for a more complete recovery. He spent the entire 90 minutes with me (no jumping between me and the 2 other people cloaked away in a private room getting ice or ultrasound therapy) and managed to identify some specific problems that are causing my pain:

1) Yes, my IT band is still extremely tight. This is causing the pain around my knee joint and outer hip/thigh in lateral planes of motion. As we know, this can be worked out through manual therapy, massage, some exercises, and some stretching.

2) I also have a tight psoas muscle. The psoas muscles lie behind the abdominal contents, running from the lumbar spine to the inner thighs near the hip joints. (More explanation here, if you're interested). Prescription here is stretching again.

3) I still have swelling in my joint from the surgery. Must not forget, despite appearing to most like I never even had a surgery, I'm just 5-6 weeks out. My body is still repairing itself. The swelling is, of course, preventing full, unobstructed range of motion in my joint and, is in itself, probably painful. Solution? Ice. Still! 5-6 weeks later. Ice!

4) I probably have scar tissue from the surgery in my joint that is preventing my femur from sliding around smoothly in there, meaning that when I pivot I'm still impinging the femur against my acetabular (the edge of the hip socket) resulting in the pain feeling a lot like the initial problem I had surgery to cure - acetabular impingement. Range of motion exercises and some stretching that forces my femur to move within the socket is the solution here.

5) I have weak gluteal (butt) muscles on the right side, probably a result of not really engaging them while being 'injured'. Any weakness in one muscle obviously causes compensation in related or opposing muscles. The related and opposing muscles to the gluteals? The psoas and the IT band!

Aha! It all starts to come together. And it should for a $100 evaluation visit and $80 an hour thereafter. Yes. Ouch. Getting back to optimal health is going to be expensive. Hence, I need to close some more sales!

All of Eric's diagnosis was proven true when I had my 6 week follow-up with my surgeon this past Wednesday. He reassured me that he was confident that everything, structurally, had been taken care of in the surgery. It is very unlikely, he says, that there is any structural reason behind my remaining issues. I told him about my experience with the initial PT and he didn't seem surprised and, while he also thought it sucked that I had to pay, agreed with my course of action in finding a private therapist who could work with me on the remaining issues. I told him the new PT's diagnosis and he felt it made sense also. However, he does want to see me back in 4-6 weeks, perhaps for some x-rays at that time, just to be sure.

So, that's where we're at. Despite having health insurance it's going to cost me $320 a month to get back into shape. It's a lot of money but it's also non-negotiable for me.

So, that about sums it up. This took way too long to write and it's already half way through my Saturday morning. I've got a laundry list of chores to do, including laundry itself, so I'm outta here....

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jesus did it

I have a theory about last night's American Idol results: Jesus voted off Carly Smithson.

There was Hubby and I last night, sitting in front of the tv, giddy with glee in our hearts because this time we were certain, without a doubt, ready to bet our last dime, that either emotional-wreck Brooke ("e-wreck") or dredlocked-stoner Jason Castro ("dreaded-J"), would be voted off this week after their terrible performances on Tuesday night. For those of you who missed it, Brooke forgot the words and made the band start again (the second time she's done this), and Jason murdered one of my favorite songs of all time "Memory" from the musical, Cats - and it was a bloody, ugly murder at that. They were, both of them, trainwreck performances.

As I was getting my hair cut last night pre-show, I conceded to my hairdresser that Brooke may get the sympathy vote but that only left the way even clearer for Jason to get the well-deserved boot.

And then Carly Smithson and Syesha Mercado were dumped in the bottom two and asked to sing again. Which is when it hit me: middle America thought Carly Smithson was blaspheming all over their tv set.

No sooner had the words Jesus Christ come out of her mouth than I knew it was the end for her last night. Without the context of the show (which I'm sure most people who are voting have either never seen or, most likely, never even heard of) it sounded like our Irish girl was cursing (or at least the American/religious interpretation of cursing) all over the stage. Of course, it doesn't help that the song has a rock-type vibe to it and that Carly's vocal influences stem more from Heart than the local church choir.

On Tuesday night I didn't get it - which is not unusual for a Brit who spent her whole life using "Oh God!", "Jesus Christ", and "Hells bells and buckets of blood", as 'acceptable' substitutes for the 'real' four letter swear words - but once she was announced as being in the bottom two it was as plain as day.

The only other possible explanation for last night's voting results was that a good portion of the country are either tone deaf or completely deaf. It's just completely unfathomable that two great voices would get no votes while E-Wreck and Dreaded-J continue on for another week.

Foreign commercials are so entertaining

Why can't we have more ridiculousness like this on our tv? It would at least make the bazillion commercial breaks bearable.

Thanks to Dooce for the vid find.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My coffee drink

Ooh... somebody's wearing their classy pants. You're not extravagant or show-offy, but you appreciate having nice things, like a designer mug instead of a disposable to-go cup. You're calm and confident, so you'd be perfectly comfortable ordering coffee at a sidewalk cafe in Paris or at a restaurant that's so fancy they don't even put the prices on the menu. No matter where you go, you won't let anyone intimidate you -- you demand respect.

That's a crock of **it

Just listening to George Bush's speech to welcome the Pope and I heard him say (and I paraphrase): "The way you measure a great nation is by seeing how it's people treat the needy and most vulnerable among them."

Pah. Tell that to the people in New Orleans or the 47 million Americans who live without health insurance or the 11% of all children lacking coverage or the 36 million people living under the poverty line or the 50% of African American students who drop out of high school. Meanwhile we have a President who gives tax breaks to the rich while sending billions of dollars across the world to wage a war to protect our oil interests.

Yep. That's a measure of a nation alright.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Destructojaws likes hot sauce

Today my dad came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea to help me put a stop to Maggie's destructojaws.

Rather than getting better, our puppy Maggie has actually got worse as the months have rolled on. We now literally cannot leave anything on the floor on any surface she can reach, when we are not physically present or she will steal it, hide it, chew it to pieces, and digest it. It's not just when we leave her for long periods either, she'll do it while we're in the room and thinks we're not looking, or when we leave the room momentarily to go to the bathroom or something. We're at the end of our tether with her as she has literally ingested hundreds of dollars worth of shoes, clothing, books, electrical components... you name it, she'll eat it.

We've tried beating the hell out of her when we catch her, which clearly hasn't worked since (although she is chargrinned at the time) she continues to go back for more with gay abandon. We've tried exchanging the wrong item with a toy of her own, which works while we're in the room but is abandoned when we take our eyes off her. We've tried giving her different bones each day to chew (positively channeling the chewing desire) but she just takes them into the yard and buries them. We've tried giving her differently textured toys, which again works for like a day and then she gets bored of them. Nothing seems to work.

Because of her destructiveness, although she is almost a year old, she is still relegated to only one room in the house and Hubby and I spend our day impaling ourselves while stepping over baby gates just to get in-and-out of the family room and adjoining kitchen. (Yes, this has been great for the hip.) Although we try our best to leave everything out of her reach, we're not perfect and occasionally we slip. For instance, today it was one of Hubby's baseball caps, which he left on the top of the patio table.

Our next stop is an expensive trainer, so you can imagine that I'm ready to seize upon whatever cost-saving bright idea comes my way before I have to resort to this. Either that or this dog is going to the pound. (See, you think I am kidding.)

Dad's idea was to put something hot (like mustard or hot sauce) on something that that wasn't valuable but that we thought she might steal, leave it out in a precarious place (so, like anywhere), the goal being aversion therapy. Maggie would get a burning hot mouth and decide this whole stealing things was a bad idea.

Sounds like a good idea, I thought, so this afternoon I decided to put it to the test. I grabbed an innocuous, decorative, square of soap wrapped in a box, and a plastic covering. I placed a generous dollop of hot tapatio sauce on top (something so hot even I can't eat it) and I left it on top of the side table in the family room. My plan was to check on it every 10-15 minutes but work got in the way and I finally made it down the stairs 45 minutes later.

And what did I find?

The plastic wrapper. Licked clean and no sign of the box or soap itself.

Obviously having got the taste of delicious destruction, she had then progressed on to the trash can, where she pulled out several pieces of rolled-up tissue, leaving small pieces all around the family room and kitchen.

I looked at her to see if there were any obvious ill effects of today's forbidden snacks but so far she seems unaffected. Shame. A little vomiting and diarrhea might teach her a lesson.

I hate this damn dog.

(Again, you think I'm kidding.)

Growing Younger

It appears that my mother may be 2 years younger than she has been claiming most of her life.

This is quite some feat, considering women "of a certain age", when lying about their latest birthday, don't usually add two years to the total. Not so, it seems for my mother, who has been claiming she was born in 1946 on just about every record I've ever seen but now, in going through some legal records (birth, marriage certs etc..) it seems she was actually born in 1948.

How did this happen? You ask. Weeeeeeeeeeell, although Mummy dearest would claim otherwise, after a 45 minute phone conversation with her today (when she asked me not to blog this BTW - tee hee hee) the only thing I can deduce is that she simply lost count somewhere between 1969 and 2008.


In all fairness, I shouldn't put all the blame on her shoulders. My grandparents were alive when she celebrated her 30th and 40th birthdays and didn't raise any red flags, ditto for my father - although he mistakenly believed his birthday was in 1945 instead of 1946 until he was about 40 years old, so nobody was expecting very much from him.

So, as you can imagine, Mum is absolutely frothing at the bit to celebrate her 60th birthday a second time this year.


Monday, April 14, 2008

America's Motto

Stephen Levitt, the author of the best-selling eceonomic-come-social commentary on America, Freakonomics, challenged the readers of his New York times blog of the same name, to pick a 6-word motto for the United States.

He was, supposedly, inspired by the apathetic attitude of my countrymen to create a universal statement about what it means to be British - summed-up, I believe, by the winner to a Times contest, that read: “No Motto Please, We’re British.” or, my favorite, "At least we're not French." The latter would have got my vote, but not because I hate the French (which I don't, it's just those snobby Parisiens). The reason I thought it was perfect was because, in that uniquely English way, we managed to state a positive through a negative, avoid the opportunity to say anything grandiose about ourselves, and seize the opportunity to take a stab at our neighbors... and all in just 5 words. Classic.

So... ahem ...exactly. Boastful, chest-pounding, and inspiring statements of national pride are not exactly the British "thing". (Perhaps, the winner was perfect after all.)

Anyway, back to my other home, the U.S...

In this blog post in February, Stephen Levitt made his challenge, and here is the winner and some notable entires.

For those of you who can't be bothered to click through, here the most voted-for 6-word motto:
Our Worst Critics Prefer to Stay.

And here was I thinking that Americans would be better at this chest-pounding thing!

Do you have other ideas? I challenge you, my creative readers, to give me your 6 word motto for the U.S. (and/or your home country).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Welcome Gabriel Fong

Gabriel 103
Originally uploaded by Travel Vixen
My friend, Joy, gave birth to her son yesterday. Gabriel joined us at approximately 11:30am yesterday and weighed-in at 6lbs 15ozs. Of course, being the busy-body I am, I launched myself upon the new mom this afternoon to hear the horror stories of a c-section as well as to do the fun stuff - get baby cuddles! Gabriel is absolutely perfect with perfect little, pouty lips, great skin, and good lungs!

Congratulations, Joy, Jenson, and Noelle!

Friday, April 11, 2008

America got it all wrong. Michael Johns is ALRIGHT!

Oh the travesty! Michael Johns, the hottie from down-under with a voice that makes me swoon, was eliminated last night on American Idol.

Although I didn't expect him to win (I think that has to be reserved for the all-around, amazing talent of David Cook), there is no way I would have eliminated him before some of the witless wonders still remaining on the show. For instance:

  • The country whiner, Kristy-Lee Cook who is off-key 90% of the time and who, when on stage, looks like she's got a stick up her ass.
  • The dreaded-dreadlocks of the whispering wonder, Jason Castro, whose limited vocal talents maxed out weeks ago and whose face alternates between stoned and in-pain when he sings.
  • And the oh-so-freakin' annoying, Brooke White, whose sugar-sweetness and heart-on-her-sleeve emotionality is just too sickening for me and Hubby to watch. Oh, and yes, her singing SUCKS too - in the groups numbers on Idol Gives Back the other night, we could hear her through the chorus, flat as a pancake. (Which is the only way you would hear her in a chorus, since her voice has the power of of a 1970s Citroen)

Sniff. I hope he gets a recording contract real soon so these three can attend his concerts when they dissapear back into obscurity.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The trouble with working from home...

... is that you are your own entertainment, source of conversation, admin, support, and... IT PERSON.

Today, inexplicably, my router punked out on me. Working fine, excellent, no problems, I'm jamming away and then... nothing. Can't connect to the internet, can't get emails. This was 4pm. It's now 6:20pm and I JUST finished call #3 to various inept technical support people (first the ISP and then the router manufacturer) and just got connected to the web. For the 2.5 hours of my life I wasted talking to a robot in Bangladesh, I paid the princely sum of $32.95. Granted, I now have internet connection but, in all fairness, they just repeated the exact same steps I had already done 2 hours prior, only it took them painstakingly much longer. (Yes, I know, "exact same" is terrible, redundant English but the double emphasis seemed appropriate.)

It never ceases to amaze me that you can go through all the steps you've learned over the years as a self-taught PC-fixer and then the minute you get on the phone with a dedicated IT person, they go through the same steps again and hey presto it works. I swear to God, it never fails.

However, I should be congratulated for not having punched-in any motherboards this evening. I was the bastion of calm and politeness, even when I was forced to listen to the tech person describing step 4 of the process they wanted me to go to, when I had already moved to step 10.

Having done it myself once, again with the ISP person, then with the ISP escalated support person, and then the router manufacturer tech person... by the time I got to the dude who wanted $32.95 to go through the same process, I should have been the one charging him for the support. Come to think of it, as I don't utilize the company's in-house tech-support, maybe I should ask for extra $$ for saving their resources for more productive tasks?

So, for those of you who bemoan having to get up and go to the office every day to earn your monthly wage, take heed in this experience. The next time you call your IT person to fix your misbehaving computer, think of me.

I'm off to respond to the emails I couldn't get at 4pm...

4 week hip update

Can you believe it? Yesterday marked 4 weeks since my hip surgery. While most of you probably feel like it was just yesterday (considering I haven't exactly been silent on the subject in this blog), Hubby and I were talking last night and agreed that it feels like months ago. This is a good thing by the way because it means that the pain, discomfort, and worry seems worlds away. Already the sharp edges have been blunted in our memory. The human brain is wonderful isn't it?

So where am I at right now?

Well, here's the good: I'm walking almost limp-free; bicycling at the gym and around the neighborhood for 10-15 minutes at a time; squatting and doing walking lunges; my scar-mobilization is going well and all I'm left with is 3 small pink lines on my upper thigh; the numbness in my "bits" is gone; my blood popsicle is going down; and I've gained-back a good 80% of my pre-surgery range of motion.

The other stuff (not necessarily bad... yet): The clicking I had pre-surgery (and that I partly did the surgery to alleviate) is still there through the same planes of motion; the skin/flesh of my thigh is still pretty sore and I still have a numb spot on my outer thigh; my IT band problems seem to have returned; I can't sit down for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time; and I have pain in my hip joint, radiating around my knee in a certain plane of motion only while weight-bearing.

The latter is the most concerning to my Physical Therapist. At first she thought it was tight hip-flexors but I've been doing those exercises and the only way I can reproduce the pain is when standing/weight-bearing and at the same time have my leg behind me (like when pushing off from a long stride) or when standing on one leg, engaging my glutes, and leaning slightly to the side.

Lay me on my back, on my stomach, kneeling on the floor to do a hip-flexor stretch and I'm like a damn rubber band. Yesterday at PT she had me in the most bizarre position, laying on my stomach as she knelt behind me, putting my knee on her shoulder while pressing down on my pelvis to ensure my hips remained square and in contact with the table. She was trying to "get to" the place where I'm feeling the pinching but no matter how high she went, it wasn't replicating the pain. I got an awesome quad stretch and seriously impressed her with the flexibility of my lower back (yay yoga!) but it didn't address the issue at-hand.

It could be partly the IT band (because of the relation to knee pain) but after eliminating every normal hip flexor stretch she knew, my PT pulled a face of concern and said it could be joint related. To which I asked, "That will go away right?" And to which she shrugged and said "I hope so."

Real comforting.

So, my biggest concerns right now are:

1) My numb patch on my thigh is not going away. There's a chance this could be permanent (ack), although I've got another month for it to 'clear up' under normal prognosis.

2) The clicking I wanted to get rid of is back and I've been told it may never go away. Um what!?

3) The new pinching pain I'm feeling and that I didn't have pre-surgery, may be joint-related and may signal something still wrong in there. A new something.

Ok, ok. It's like 4 weeks and I get that the jury is still out... there's still healing to be done by my body and I am absolutely going to give it time. I totally see that I am a lot further along than I expected (or than was predicted), overall I'm impressing my PT with my progress relative to my timeline, and I'm not in a ton of pain. BUT I'm going to be REEEEAAAALY PISSED if I end up in the same place I was pre-surgery but now with a new joint pain and a numb spot on my thigh. You can see how, if you went through all of this, you'd be slightly concerned too, right?

But then I've been concerned about a lot of things related to this surgery that wound up not being anything to fret about. So, I'm not going to focus on it. I'm going to do everything I can to get better, keep-on keeping-on, and reassess 4 weeks from now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I wish she would keep her "views" to herself

Do any of you watch THE VIEW, the daytime all-women talk show? Since I work from home I often have the tv on in the background and neglect to change channels after Good Morning America. Inevitably, this leads me to subject myself to the journalistic delights of Sacramento & Company and, shortly thereafter, the occasionally amusing chit-chat and cat fights of The View.

For those of you that don't watch, there are five women co-hosts who spent 90% of the show bantering between them about the issues of the day. This is the same show that Rosie O'Donnell got so famously booted from last year, ditto for Star Jones. The chief matriach of the show is Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg is the comic relief, hired to replace Rosie O.

Most of the crew are pretty left-of-center in their views, although I'd place at least 2 of them somewhere closer to dead-center. But then there is Elisabeth Hasselback.

Elisabeth has been with the show for a few years and her dubious pedigree for the job includes being one of the final four in one of the 60 billion Survivor shows. Elisabeth is the token Republican of the show and she drives me crazy. It's not so much that she's Republican (although under normal circumstances this would be enough to turn my nose up) but that she espouses her right-wing views like a rock-star groupie, rapt with adoration for the Bush adminstration and just about any action taken by someone who leans slightly to the right. The right wing can do no wrong in her eyes. She grabs skewed and seemingly ridiculous facts to try and support her ill-informed and ignorant opinions, she's beligerant, and she's not very smart. I have no idea what she's doing on this show but I wish they would get her off.

Nothing gets my goat more than someone who runs their mouth off without knowing what they're talking about. Case in point today, Elisabeth tried arguing with Barbara Walters about the success (or not) of the surge in Iraq. Ms. Hasselback asserted to Barbara (who I consider eminently better positioned to express an opinion on the subject) that (and I paraphrase only slightly) the surge was an exercise in political and military brilliance that would be studied for decades to come.

Um, huh? Is she studying the same surge? Tell that to the families of the 4,000 service men who have been killed and the 40 or so each month who continue to be killed over there. Or to the servicemen themselves who try in vain to train a home-grown security force that is well recognized to be easily corruptible, and with a sticking-rate of about 10%. (My source: NPR) Or, to the Iraqis themselves who live in a war zone, fearful for their lives, and exasperated with their ineffective government.

It's not that I think there shouldn't be a balance of political views on a show that frequently discusses political issues. Just that the person should be well-informed and rational in their presentation of the issues and their opinions.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Checking out the local hospitals: Step 2 - Kaiser

So today Hubby managed to turn the tables on me. At 2am this morning I woke up to find that he had been vomiting for two hours already. By 4am he was dry-heaving every 20 minutes. By 6am it was both ends and I was done - we were off to the emergency room.

6.5 hours, 3 liters of saline, a narcotic, and a 'send you loopy' anti-nausea med later and we managed to re-emerge into the world.

Cripes, what a morning! It was pretty worrying there for a while because he was dehydrating rapidly, the nausea was overwhelming, and then the shivvers and joint-pain set in. I remember all this acutely because I had something similar right before Christmas in 2006. Fortunately I got myself to the urgent care facility right as I started vomiting and they stabbed my right butt cheek with some anti-nausea meds. Hubby said he knew I had to be really sick because I didn't hesitate in pulling down my pants and offering my buttocks for the on-duty doctor and his big ole needle. Any day I beg for the needle is a day you know I'm not doing well.

Unfortunately, Hubby went longer before they got him the anti-nausea meds. Although we got there at 6:30am and nobody (and I mean nobody) was in the waiting area, it took them 3 hours to get us a doctor. The nurse came in and got him started on the saline solution but no meds could be administered until we saw the doctor. Let me tell ya, it was a looooong three hours. And wouldn't you know it? The minute I went downstairs to get a coffee, he comes in! Boy, was he worth the wait though. This was one hot ER doc, not out of place on the TV show itself. Even Hubby, between shivvers, had to admit that was one good looking guy.

The wait was made even longer by the sad plight of the old man in the room next to us. He was clearly in a bad way when we came in. He had fluid on the lungs and, judging by the conversations between nurses, had been dealing with chronic illness for some time. As they were about to treat him, he said "I just want to die," which stopped the doctors and nurses in their tracks. Obviously, now they had to confirm what they heard and validate what he meant. So they set about questioning him to ensure he was of right mind (What is the year? Who is the President?) and then asked him whether he meant that he didn't want them to intubate or resussitate him if needed. It seemed that that was, indeed, what he wanted. The sad result was that the doctor told him he was probably going to die. They tried to get him to let them call a relative but he refused. He had nobody with him. The nurses continued to pursue calling his wife and son and eventually, just before we left, he agreed to allow them to call his wife but refused his son.

Gosh, what a sad state of affairs. You just have to hope that, if you're ever old and thinking about saying goodbye, the people who love you will be there by your side without question, request, or reservation. I can't imagine anything worse than being alone in that situation or, sadder still, feeling that there was nobody you wanted to be there with you.

What a moral dilemma these doctors and nurses face in these situations. This man was in a lot of pain and on a lot of pain meds. How do you make the determination that he is or is not of right mind to request an on-the-spot DNR? On the flip-side, it had Hubby and I wondering what happens when a patient with a DNR on file comes in and, at the penultimate moment, requests that they ignore the DNR? I'm sure there are procedures and policies in place for this but I can't imagine that there isn't some level of subjectivity involved. That, at least, was clear from the number of different ways in which the staff continued to probe him about his wishes

Hubby is doing better, by the way, but the nausea re-emerged late this afternoon. Luckily they sent us home with meds to plug up every possible leaky hole

In other news, while it's 72 degrees here in Sacramento, it's SNOWING in England. My parents rarely get snow as it is but snow in April is almost unheard of. Here is the pic to prove it, however.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Here he is

I was browsing through Sacramento Magazine while drinking my coffee this morning and who did I see in the medical ads section? The guy who gave me the popsicle, aka: the black Vincent D'Onofrio.

Ok, maybe that's a little harsh; I mean, I'm doing very well and so far I would consider the procedure to be a success (the jury will remain out until we can determine how much of my former mobility I'll actually get back but it's looking good so far.) I also have heard great things about this man from other people who supposedly know. So, credit where credit is due.

Anyway, it was just weird to be flipping through and to have his face smiling out of the pages at me. I wonder if that's one of my x-rays he has on the wall beside him? Perhaps my hip is.... famous!?

In other news, I guess Sacramento isn't the ghetto of medical options that I imagined it to be. The hospital where I had my surgery done, Mercy San Juan, was (for the 2nd year in a row) named one of the Top 100 Hospitals by Thomson Healthcare, who has been doing their annual survey for 15 years. It was "the only California hospital listed in the “large community hospital” category" - whatever that means. Inclusion in the Top 100 means that a hospital has high survival rates, keeps more patients complication-free (hello! blood popsicle and numb woowoo!) and attracts more patients – all while maintaining financial stability.

Well, whooda thunkit? Little ole Sacramento.

I can tell you one thing they can't have taken into consideration: PARKING. Parking is a nightmare at MSJ. They're expanding the hospital and the construction has taken up a lot of the regular parking spots. For my surgery we had to valet the car because it's just about the only way to get parked in less than an hour. It's also one of the reasons why Mr. James was 45 minutes late for my procedure - I don't think the surgeons/staff can use the valet so I think they have to park off-site and be shuttled in. Cripes; that's great in an emergency.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Am I getting OLD?

One of the nifty things about DirectTV is that they stream some of the XM radio stations on their upper channels. Being fairly miffed with the constant repetition of 10 songs and obnoxious ads on commercial radio out here, I have found myself tuning in more and more to XM via DTV. Plus, it has the added advantage of being on every TV in the house, so (unlike my iPod) I can turn on all the TVs and have the music follow me around the house.

Today I found myself tuning into "90s on 9" (a frequent favorite of mine along with reggae on "The Joint" and R&B on"Suite 62") and upon hearing LFO's "Summer Girls", the dreaded thought went through my head that signals the beginning of my mental decline: "Why don't they make songs like this anymore?"

Immediately I recognized that I was standing on a precipice, dangerously close to landing in the land of discontented maturity. What next? Yelling at cheeky teenagers or rolling my eyes at the latest fashion trend? WORSE STILL... complaining about taxes and (God forbid) voting REPUBLICAN!!!???

This has to stop before I sell my soul to the devil (aka: the RNC). I'm changing the channel to XM Hitlist where Timbaland and Timberlake can ressurect whatever's left of my youthful spirit.

Got a raspberry in my pocket, what am I gonna do?

It's an odd morning.

I put my hand in my robe pocket this morning and felt something cool and squishy. Blech. Turns out a raspberry dropped in my pocket this morning while I was making breakfast. I was so grossed out that I jumped around the kitchen squealing (yes, I can jump around.) Hubby found this wildly amusing.

Also this morning, the water company are doing some work on our street and have shut off the water for 6 hours. Of course, I had no desire to hit the ladies room before the 6 hours started, but now...

I feel a stint of working at Starbucks coming on today...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

To the guy doing my wife

Aparently this is a real Craigslist posting from Omaha, NE. It gave me a Tuesday morning giggle.



(p.s. The title of the post is a link to the article)
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