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Light Peeks Through the Darkness


aurora-borealis-aurora-borealis-10324489-1280-848

Yeah.  I’ve got stuff to be grateful for.  If you read some of my recent posts, you know that I’m between a rock and a hard place trying to find a job.  The rock in the hard place is me.  The hard place is between two circumstances of life.  Job vs. Jobless.

JOB:  Trying to be short on the back story, we live without any income and without pubic assistance. It’s getting down to the point of not knowing if we can make the rent next month. Tight and Tough.  I need to find a job for money and possibly, if I can manage it, health benefits.

JOBLESS:  Being jobless would mean that I’d have all the time in the world to advocate for my son’s education. It’s been non-stop and has spilled over into the summer.  I thank God that I am not working… and feel guilty about it.

GRATEFUL:  I’m so grateful for the free time I have to do that advocating thing.  My boy has been thriving at his school and I feel so grateful for every single person at that school who works with him.  It seems that next year he will be pulled out of this school, and away from all the people he knows and who know him.  I’m so grateful that I have the luxury of being able to jump right on this thing and I’ve been talking to people, and wrote a letter to request they make an exception for him.  See, they decided to build another school in our area and needed to fill it up.  My son was not moved to this new school, but to a school in between OUR school and the new school.  I guess what it is, is that I don’t want to take that chance and risk all the progress we’ve made, and start over at a different school.  SO MANY changes for him to deal with, and so many people he will never see again.

It’s just too God damned much.  Also, we fought for things at that school like forming a social skills group, a Lunch Buddy group, both of which are designed to teach the kids appropriate social behavior and create scenarios where they have to interact with one another.  They’ve gotten older students in the school to help out with this.  It’s HIS community.  Also, we, the parents, have been able to successfully work with the professionals at the school.  We’ve been able to, I think, change how they see the autistic child.  We’ve seen progress in this area, and though they really need to finance this, they are actually suggesting/urging to their professionals to take workshops in autism.  That’s a big freaking step.  I’ve talked to them about how the kids get labeled and how they had, indeed, labeled an incident incorrectly because they were not familiar enough with what autism is.

They know that we are involved parents.  We care.  We volunteer.  We support them, take their advice, they listen to us and sometimes take our advice on how to handle our son.  I mean, it’s been working!  We’re a team!  Keep calm. Yeah, I know. So can you see how grateful I am that I am jump on this right away?  If I were working, I wouldn’t even know about this switching of schools until I got the letter right around a week before school starts.  I’m so grateful for the professionals at that school who have listened to me and have spoken to me.

Aside from the above, and of which I can go on and on, another thing I wouldn’t be able to do if I were working would be taking SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network) workshops.  I’ve been learning a lot about our rights and the laws.  I am still learning how to approach IEP meetings and interacting with the professionals at school in an effective way, a non-threatening way.  Anything having to do with advocacy for the special needs child.  Just being exposed and networking with the professionals and other mothers has given me more confidence than I ever thought I’d have.  I’m more assertive which surprises the heck out of me and I like it!  Another thing I’d really like to do is bring the awareness up to education of the school professionals and also the school body, the neurotypical kids. Ignorance breeds fear.  Fear breeds violence.

So yeah.  For right now, I can see some light in the darkness… and it’s pretty amazing.

Desperate Housewives? Not THAT Desperate!


paint-variety-colours-pretty

I’ve been feeling very sluggish lately and I’m realizing more and more that my emotional state is the culprit.  I really don’t want to come off as a complainer, or negative person; but what I do want to do is explore what the heck is going on in my head.  Isn’t this blogging stuff supposed to be about that?  Our deep thoughts?  Anyway, don’t really think anyone who knows me actually reads my blog, so I’m safe.

Well, when our son was born I had to quit my job after trying to get them to let me either work from home or as a part-time employee.  Yes, I feel that I have to interject that part–the effort I made to keep my employment in some form or another.  That makes me feel better and that my intentions were not to become a deadbeat.  What a conflict of emotions.  It was ingrained in me while growing up that I was going to be a wife and SAHM (stay at home mom).  It was the 1970’s and that’s what most women did.  If they were working, when they had their babies, they quit work and stayed home to raise the kids.  My time was a time that was this was still socially the norm, yet little by little women were making headway in the workplace.  While attaining “careers” but still a rare breed.  High school career day did not feature any careers for women aside from secretary.  Ah, I’m blubbering and you get the idea.  The other side of this is that I needed a job to make me feel valuable and useful, financially.  Socially, if you do not have a job, you’re a worthless, lazy deadbeat.

So, I’ll start off by saying that I “know” that the work of the mom is THE most important work that anyone can do.  It’s your job and responsibility to raise and teach your children to grow into GOOD people.  Caring people, compassionate, smart, loving, giving, resourceful, and SUCCESSFUL, self-sufficient, independent people.  In our case, “independent” and “self-sufficient” are particularly important.  So.  I know this…..

I’d really like to focus on my current day-to-day living.  We are barely getting by and where it shows the most is with the food we buy.  I love to cook and I love to cook with fresh everything, meat, veggies, cheese, and fresh spices preferably grown in my own backyard.  Well, I can’t do any of those things now and it hurts me in every way.  I love fresh ground coffee. I loved going to farmer’s markets in the summertime.  I loved that occasional purchase of something totally different to what we’re used to buying.  I know that hubby loves doing this, too, but we’ve long since stopped the extras and stuck with the bare necessities.  What used to make me very happy was just going food shopping.  Now, my hubby does that shopping and while I know that he’s trying to save money, the stuff he buys is not very healthy.  I keep quiet because I know that he’s trying to do the best he can with the money (or credit) he has.  Without getting into specifics, we are buying cheap.  We practically purchase our food on a day-to-day basis, which means I cannot cook the way I want to cook.  Heating up freezer food is not my idea of cooking and, indeed, it is NOT cooking at all.  No leftovers to create another meal.  No divided servings in the freezer from cooking a lot at once.  No real ingredients on hand to put together something delicious at the last minute.  Oh, but I can say that I did just that only yesterday.  I made an awesome white bean dip with beans, mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes left over from March, a bit of left over sour cream and spices that have been in my cupboard, and a bit of honey.  I made a meal out of that for myself and dipped pretzels in there.  Believe it or not, it made me forget.  It gave me control over the food.

Last year I took a canning class and I was so set on canning blueberries or whatever presented itself when I had the extra money to buy the ingredients.  Well, it didn’t happen for the blueberries and not sure when, or with what I’ll be able to do this magic of canning.  It’s a bit depressing since I did make sure to get all implements of canning last year, especially for the jellies, jams and preserves.  What I did manage to can was about five jars of honey mustard.  It came out thick, pastier than expected but then again I did “tweak” the recipe and so I had to deal with the result.  Still, it tasted great and I was very happy with that batch~!

So, it’s not only about the food.  It’s about the skyrocketing costs in gas and tolls, and the ability, or non-ability to bank.  I do not have a bank account or even a credit card of my own.  Don’t cry for me on that one because I am glad that I don’t have a credit card, but miserable that I don’t have a bank account.  TOLLS.  $28.00 in bridge tolls alone to visit my brother out on Long Island, NY, from Elizabeth, NJ.  Same goes for Brooklyn, NY, my hometown.  The Port Authority should be ASHAMED of themselves!  So, what do I tell my family and friends when I say we can’t visit?  It’s a bummer.  I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a mere few miles away, and I can’t even visit there.  I drive myself crazy trying to combine activities on trips, but that’s really not fair especially the last minute plans.  It’s also about worrying about conserving gas and I end up not going out at all to meet up with friends.  Our, or I should say MY lifestyle has changed so much and it’s not even like I’m used to luxury.  Never had that, but I always managed to do something stupid to make myself feel like I’m doing something special.  My old tricks are not effective any longer and so, I’m feeling a bit depressed.  When I think of “luxury,” I think of going out for dinner at a nice restaurant, maybe take in a movie. Oh, and that diamond ring, earrings and necklace!  (Ha, a leftover sentiment from my last post, Dream Home, Dream On.  DH and I have given up on date night, let alone spring for a vacation.  We probably don’t need a vacay since we’re not working, right?

DH is doing the best that he can.  He finally got his degree and even substituted five days the last week of school.  However, he is now finding out what I’ve known all along… that there are no jobs out there.  I have sacrificed the skills and experience that I have, professionally, and applying for supermarket jobs, preferably for overnight, or late night.  I realize that this is needed as DH really needs to work daytime and I can comfortably work nighttime.  DH has applied several places and has not received back a whisper of interest.  This is definitely depressing, especially since we really need health insurance.  Nobody is offering health insurance these days.  Yeah, and on that topic, I really want to know if the president and congress will give up their gold card health insurance plans and put themselves on Obamacare with the rest of this country.  Congress!  That’s a whole other disgrace~!

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I might paint a pretty awful picture, and I tried not to get “complaintive” with it.  When I think about it, I’ve got to be grateful for what I do have. What we do have, at least for this month, is a roof over our heads and an air conditioner that works. Maybe we should start really worrying when we can’t get provide the basics for our eight year old boy. Also, if I were working, I’d never have adequate time to advocate and prepare for his educational needs.  I’d never have the time to research and go for training on Autism.  So what the HECK. Something’s got to give.  Unfortunately, I can’t get paid to advocate for my child.  I’d love to feel free enough to devote my time for what I think is truly important–my son’s education.  If I were working, I’d never have found out, as soon as I did, about the school district re-drawing the school borders, effectively kicking my son out of his present school and into another one.  So, this week I had the time to research into that, make and keep an appointment with our principal, then write and hand deliver a letter requesting they make an exception for my son and keep him in his current school.  HO LY Crap!  Counting my blessings on THAT one.

I have a great husband, beautiful son, and I am so very proud of both of them.  I wish that I could get rid of this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, but I can’t.  It’s with me day and night.  I postpone waking up in the morning for as long as I can.  My doctor says that stress is not good for me right now and I look at him and wonder why I came to see him in the first place.  No way this stress is leaving any time soon, but you can be sure that when my son wants a cuddle, I will give him the best cuddle I can give.

Preparing Well For Platelet Donation


So, yesterday I donated platelets at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, formerly known as Rahway Hospital in Rahway, NJ.  Personally, I will never accept it as RWJ.  I really don’t like it when they rename streets, buildings, schools, and yes, hospitals.  So much of the history is lost when they do that and it upsets my stomach.  I had stopped going to the hospital in Rahway because I didn’t like the treatment I got there past few times, and yes, maybe I was moody those days; but compounded by the dreary atmosphere, antiquated equipment and the overall dirty, dim look and feel of the room, I had decided to change my donation place to another location.  Humph.  A lot of good that name-changing thing did for the Blood Donor Room.

Anyway, Marty at the Blood Center of New Jersey called last week and asked if I could do it and though I hesitated, I agreed to donate there yesterday.  I hadn’t donated since September and I was due.  In October I suffered some nerve damage from getting the flu shot and stopped my donations because they come from the same arm I get pain in.  It’s not just laying there during donations.  You need to keep track of the “draws” and “returns”, and during the draws, you need to squeeze a stress ball to keep the pressure up.  Otherwise what will happen is that the alarm will go off and there will be a problem.  An important problem.  Squeezing the ball keeps the blood flowing and prevents it from slowing down too much or stop altogether… NOT good.

Platelet Fact:  Cancer, transplant, trauma, and open-heart surgery patients require platelet transfusions to control their bleeding.

I don’t like to say no to Marty.  He’s always been a nice guy to talk to and one time sent me a little platelet guy.

Platelet Guy

Though I’ve always been committed to donating platelets, I’ve not always had a pleasant experience.  It took me a few times in the beginning to get used to it; and one very specific time that I got sick from it.  Not sick, sick; but I felt horrible.  THE  most important thing you can do for yourself is to drink plenty of water before and after your donation.  Keep hydrated–very important.  The next, if not more important thing to do to prevent getting sick is to eat very well before your donation.  What I mean by that is that you need to build up your iron and what I do is eat generously, but not over eat, a nice steak, go easy on fats and dairy.  I usually do a london broil a couple of days before donation, night before, etc.  On the day of donation, you simply MUST eat well.  By that I mean you must eat like a human, and not a rabbit.  Eat healthy, but EAT.  Yesterday for breakfast I actually ate a beef filling I had made out of chopped beef, onions, vegetables and tomatos and water.  It was left over from a sort of beef pot pie…. individuals ones encased in pie dough.  Then two hours later I ate salad, a beef empanada, rice and water.  THEN, about a half hour before my donation, I ate a ham and cheese sandwich on a bagel with water.  My stomach did not get upset at all.  This last meal was eaten in the hospital cafeteria, which is probably the only redeeming value of donating at this hospital.  A place to relax in.  Oh, another good point.  I always go to my donations early.  Early enough so that I can relax sufficiently so that my temperature has a chance to settle down.  Commuting to my donations always elevates my temp. and I’ve been rejected just because of that in the past.  Oh, and don’t drink hot beverages right before donating as that will elevate your temp, as well.  Something I never thought about.  Something I never thought about, but is important is to take the time to sit and eat those cookies and sweets they offer you after donation.

Notice for Diabetics:

This is the one time you may indulge in sugary things.  Just here at your donation place.  You sugar levels will be lower and simply put, you need this.  This does not mean that you can eat cookies for the rest of the day, just now, here after your donation.  Just one, maybe two servings… but that’s it.  I am diabetic and I do not drink the juices, but I do have one oatmeal cookie and cream sandwich and I take a pack of pretzels and water with me for the ride home.  Of course, everyone is different.  These are the things that I’ve noticed at work for ME.

Okay, so in review:

  • Eat meat, preferably a good steak a day or so before platelet donation.
  • Eat generously day of your platelet donation.
  • Keep well hydrated all the time, but most important in the days before donation and after.
  • Try to eat something right before your donation.
  • RELAX.  Get relaxed and stay relaxed.
  • Avoid hot beverages right before your donation.
  • Take advantage of the cookies!  Take a minute or two for guilt-free treats.

This morning I slept like a rock and rolled out of bed on the late side, 8:00am.  Usually, I wake up with the normal ruckus of the morning.  Not so today, but that’s a-okay.

Keep on Truckin’


My sister had this exact same poster on our wall when we were kids.  Ha… Never thought I’d see or think about it ever again… but here I am, doing just that… but only for a little bit.  I needed a good title for this post, and while I’m not so sure it’s a “good” one, at the moment it’s ringing my bell with echos of “Truckin'” by the Grateful Dead.

“Truckin, like the do-dah man. once told me youve got to play your hand
Sometimes your cards aint worth a dime, if you don’t layem down”….

So, with an intro like that, you might be able to guess what this post is about, but not really.  Last year, I think it was, I decided to cut the shit and acknowledge that I need to get myself some exercise.  That was the first step.  I’ve always been overweight, but now that I’ve crossed over into my fifties, I realize that I’ve got to at least get some steady (not crazy, mind you) exercise… just something to get and keep my metabolism going in the morning and chuffing along all through the day.  I could never jog or run, or do aerobics, but I “love to ride my bicycle, I love to ride my bike.  I love to ride it where I like”.…  SO, I gathered up all my courage to slap down an ungodly sum of American dollars to purchase a Cannondale Comfort 5 in RED.  I don’t have any regrets.  I knew from the start that I wanted a new bike and that it needed to be strong enough to support my weight.  I needed a comfortable seat for my ample behind… and well, I just wanted to be sure that I did everything I could so that I had no excuses to abandon my new endeavor…. and though I really hate to wear it, I’ve decided to be a good role model for my son and wear a helmet.  You can’t be too careful, you know.

I am in total love with my bike, sorry Jeri.

I am in total love with my bike~!

Last year I started out pretty good, then stopped for some reason, though I forgot why.  Now this year, I was all gung ho but the weather has been horrible right from June.  Now, in August and out of the clear blue, DH asked if I wanted to go riding with him.  I jumped at the chance even though I was one breath away from asking him if he wanted to go to Target with me… oh well, Target will always be there.  So, for the last three weeks or so, we’ve been riding around two to three days a week.  Riding to the local park and then doing laps around the track.  I started out doing 2, then 3, then 4 laps… making sure I do one extra lap each day in an effort not to overdo it… as I’m prone to do and usually sabotage myself with injuries to either foot or back.  On that day, upon stopping after 4 laps, my legs were too wobbly to hold me up after putting my foot on the ground… so over I went and fell into the grass.  You would think that this would not be so bad, but it was a really deep scrape and I could only sit there with it bleeding down my leg as I had forgotten my water that day.  Oh well, at least I did my four laps.  So, I missed our next planned day… then the weekend came… then, on Monday, I had a platelet donation appointment and didn’t go out again, then my Father came for a visit on the next day, Tuesday, and I didn’t go out again.  While making dinner that night, I sliced my middle finger with the veggie peeler…. I’ll be considerate to you folks and just say it was a relentless bleeder.  The rest of that week, las week, I didn’t go riding for fear that I was going to do something to upset the healing process as there was a flap that needed to remain in place… Well, just say I was afraid for that reason.

Now comes this week.  Well, if I can type with my finger, which I’m doing, I can certainly go for a ride.  HA.. I was going to insert a pic of my sliced finger, but that would be tasteless and besides, it’s not as gross as it was a few days ago.  While we were out today, I was trying to decide whether to forgo doing that extra lap because of my extended absence; but I decided to go through with it and was successful AND I didn’t fall off my bike after.  I was so glad that I went because you get to recognize the “regulars” at the park, whether they are jogging, walking or just plain out there with their kids enjoying the day.  Wow, when I first got there, two people greeted me, then after I had stopped for my break, this guy who walk and jogs gave me encouragement as he passed by… so nice of him.  He said that the hardest part is getting started and he said that, “I’m there”… wow… I’m wondering how good of a  judge of character he his.  I’m hoping he’s a really good one.  I’ve also been encouraged by the words of my nephew.  It was last year and he said, “You get hooked on the feeling of feeling good”… Oh I messed that up.  It was something like that because I was commenting on how much better I felt and he said you get hooked on your body feeling better… ugh, can’t get it.  I’ll leave it in.  But really, there’s no other feeling like getting energized from doing exercise…. Not sure if I’ll expand and get into other forms of it, but I did always like stretching and flexibility stuff.  I was always more flexible and could do more than my contemporaries despite the fact that they were WAY skinnier than I was…. heh….. HA~!  There is absolutely no category in my blog to cover exercise and I think I’ll keep it that way for now.  Commitments get me nervous.  I’ll list this under “health related”.. or something like that.

In closing, there is so much I still want to write about but those topics have nothing to do with the above.  I’ll be getting back here soon with the latest on my knitting and something else that escapes me right now… ugh just like me.  This is the way I roll…. sometimes I stall out.

Sometimes the lights all shinin on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.

 

My Apheresis Donation


Temp:    99.0

Pulse:    96

Hemoglobin:   13.9

Blood Pressure:   128/94

I was pretty impressed with my hemoglobin count.  Wow.  Last year it was at a high of 14.0, this year I’m not eating a lot of red meat, which is what they say is the best source of iron and for donating.  Red meat is starting to disagree with me, so I’ve drastically cut it down.   I think the only red meat I’ve had in the past few months was one hamburger this past Sunday.  Still, I’m not saying that it’s the best thing to do; not even sure that it’s the best thing for me, but it is what it is.

So, I got to Rahway Hospital, otherwise known as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  I really dislike it when they change the name of hospitals.  My husband was born at RAHWAY hospital. I know, I’m being irrational but there is so much history there and they go and change the name.  I digress…

Anyway, got there early and headed for the cafeteria for the Seattle’s Best coffee they serve there.  What I should have done was have something to eat (and you’ll see why), but I only had 15-20 minutes until my appointment.  They also have free wifi, and I’ve been known to publish posts while sitting right there.  Getting there early allows my body a chance to settle from the drive, as well.  I’ve been rejected from donating before because of my temperature being a little elevated.  By the way, having coffee right before having your temperature taken does not help at all.  Luckily, I brought from home a large water bottle of iced tea I started to guzzle when the technician reminded me that hot coffee = a no no.  Yes, I was being difficult.  Apparently, a lot of donors were being “difficult” that day.  At least she was laughing.

Everything seemed as normal as I remembered it, and I was able to give double units of platelets.  What I didn’t realize is that because it was approximately  a year since my last platelet donation, this time was like my first.  The body sort of gets used to it with time, and by that I mean this:  Your initial donation usually has, um, side effects, and everyone is different in this.  The most common thing to happen while undergoing the procedure is a tingly feeling in your lips and face.  For this, they give you TUMS, calcium supplements, which really does alleviate that feeling.  When donating, they use an anticoagulant such as sodium citrate.  A very good post with information is here.  I had a very good  phlebotomist this time and was reminded of the time at a different hospital when the phleb. messed up both of my arms and I could not donate at all that day… got me really mad because it was quite a drive for me during the end of the day commute craziness.

Everything went along pretty normal, and I went straight home.  Don’t think that after this you can go on ahead to a lively evening of fun, or even of just being out.  Again, everyone is different, but I get very tired and need to rest for the rest of the night.  What was different for me this time was that I really got sick.  I can’t say I was dizzy, but I was nauseous and had a headache to the point that I thought I was going to toss whatever cookies I had in me, but didn’t.  This persisted on into the next day (yesterday) and again, this morning still had a slight headache, but a cup of coffee fixed that right up.  Now, I don’t want this to discourage anyone from donating component blood, but I felt I should document it here because I really think that it’s due to the possibility I didn’t eat well enough before my donation.  Like I said before, I’ve not been eating a lot of red meat lately and for lunch, the meal right before my donation, I just had chicken soup and soy nougats that are supposed to have a lot of protein in them.  So, I don’t know.  Afterwards, I was so nauseous that I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything.  So maybe this should be the “CAUTION” paragraph.  Please make sure that you prepare yourself properly before a donation of platelets, or any component blood.  For whole blood they just tell you to drink a lot, and that’s important for platelets, too; but maybe because this procedure is much more involved that we need to be aware of and do more for ourselves, and for our own good.  Don’t act tough.  Don’t act stupid.  Taking care of yourself is cool.  Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you could do.

The following has not been researched:  Okay, something else I learned yesterday which was a shock; and this applies to all women out there.  I found out that if you’re not an already established platelet donor, all women are rejected from donating.  Something about what women carry and are transmitting to recipients of, I think, just platelets but really not sure.  The tech really didn’t explain it very well, so if anyone knows, please, PLEASE, let me know.  I tried to do a search, but so far getting just articles about the normal reasons women (or anyone) can’t donate like if you’ve gotten a tattoo in the last 12 months, or if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve been out of the county… etc.  You know, I don’t get the pregnancy part.  I’ve been pregnant and they still take me, albeit because I’m an established donor, but then the reasons a woman who’s been pregnant can’t give ARE pregnancy related.  Again, the content of this paragraph has not been researched…. yet.

I’ll keep ya posted.

Let’s Get Humble, Already.


I can’t seem to make the right food decisions, any decision concerning my weight. It feels like a brick wall that I just can’t seem to get around. I know all the reasons why I should get on the path to wellness, and they are BIG reasons… yet there seems to be something physically stopping me. My legs just won’t move, but my hands can still reach for the wrong food choices. I keep telling myself to just get out there already and walk just around the block… I see just how weak my legs have become though they’ve never failed me before. I’m getting older, approaching 50, and know that my body is not what it used to be…. which was very healthy, no matter what weight I was. The doctors were all dumbfounded. I guess I took some pride in that I was healthier than most normal weight people and was stronger and more physically flexible than most of my friends. That is not the case now, and I’ve got to make myself get humble and fix things…..

Peeking my head in…..


Well, this dragon is rearing her massive head again.  I’ve not had anything pressing to talk about… anything Positive anyway.  This blog started to become a complaint center and I wanted to veer off from that.  I also had/have a massive case of writer’s block ever.  Maybe it’s my life just overwhelming me again, but here I am…. AND I do have something I must talk about.  I must work something out for myself and I need to write it down.

It all started with an article in our local paper about how it’s mandated that the BMI (Body Mass Index) number be included in our EHRs (Electronic Health Records).  Now, I’m well aware that ANYONE who bothers to do  the calculation will have access to it; but I’m very disturbed that it’s now a law.  I can see this being used for other than strictly health reasons.  I see the government allowing it to be used by insurance companies to refuse me life insurance, raise my health insurance premium, and whatever other use they come up with.  High Tech Discrimination.  Freedom at a minimum.  I definitely don’t see a positive for the individual to whom this BMI number belongs to.   For one thing the number is not fully accurate as being representative of your health.  The current way they calculate this number comes from your height and weight and not your natural body type.  (Of course I forgot the actual term for that)   According to “the” calculation, my spouse is considered to be overweight…. laughable!   Unfortunately, he just happens to be tall, sorry skinny, but tall Drake.

I went over to Wikipedia.  Check out what the Body Mass Index number was originally intended for and what it’s being used for now.  It shows how individuals who are taller have a reported BMI that is uncharacteristically high compared to their actual body fat levels. I urge you to read this Wiki article and pay close attention to “Usage” and “Limitations and Shortcomings”.

  1. It was originally meant to be used as a simple means of classifying sedentary (physically inactive) individuals with an average body composition.
  2. It allowed health professionals to discuss over- and under-weight problems more objectively with their patients.

The BMI cannot be used the same way across the board for everyone.  It’s used differently for children.  Athletes have a higher muscle mass so they need a different calculation altogether to access their fatness.  Another complication is the loss of height through aging.  There are all sorts of physical characteristics not taken into consideration and have a definite affect on this god-awful number which will become the thunderbolt of Zeus.  Again, I do urge you to do a little reading on the subject.  Don’t feel like it?  Don’t think it’s a big deal?  I can understand that because even I didn’t feel like it was necessary. We come to accept what’s handed down to us.  I’m sure that people who are healthy, fit and thin have come to understand what this number is supposed to mean to them and have accepted it, without question.   It’s a known, a given factor, something that we use as a guide post to let us know when our bodies reach “acceptability”.  “Do my pants look good on me now, dear?”   Look, seriously, there’s nothing wrong with an individual setting their own standards.  It’s their choice; but when that standard is forced upon all of us, I think we should be asking some questions… and getting some answers.

So, this prefaces some other stuff I’ll be writing about…. Have you guessed it?  Yes, I’m overweight and according to the BMI, I am obese, class I.  Ah, so NOW we know why she is talking out of her head!  Well, aside from my opposition to this whole BMI thing, another dragon has reared it’s head and it’s not going to shut up until I make a decision.  This is where ya’ll come in.  I’ll be discussing this issue here.  Writing has always been a good outlet for my thoughts and I’m hoping it will allow me to sort everything out to a satisfying result.

UP~DATE:

I’ve been asked to provide the link to the articles connecting the BMI to the law.   I apologize for not including it.  My original intention was to include it, but in my haste to publish, I neglected to link.  Thanks, Karen….

This article gives links to actual text of the law.  Hmmm 906 pages of something that is supposed to make our lives simpler.  That reporter could not find anything more than a vague reference to the BMI in the actual Bill, but found it elsewhere.  Below is a quoted paragraph from his article (and the link)

At this point, I was ready to declare the mandatory BMI screening a hoax. Just before I published this article however, someone pointed me in the direction of a document called HIT (Health Information Technology) Standards 170.302. This document purports to show Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ new certification standards for electronic health records (EHRs).

Link to article in the Examiner. com Atlanta

Here is another article I read in the Wall Street Journal that draws a correlation between this new federal mandate and what they did to healthcare with the Massachusetts universal coverage plan.

The Massachusetts Health-Care ‘Train Wreck’

Definition of Apheresis:


Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis): The process of removing a specific component from blood and returning the remaining components to the donor, in order to collect more of one particular part of the blood than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Also called hemapheresis or pheresis*.

*Pheresis: Procedure in which the blood is filtered, separated, and a portion retained, with the remainder being returned to the individual.

There are various types of pheresis. In leukapheresis, the leukocytes (white blood cells) are removed. In plateletpheresis, the thrombocytes (blood platelets) are removed. And in plasmapheresis, the liquid part of the blood (the plasma) is removed.

From the Greek “aphairesis” meaning withdrawal.

If you want to learn more about the apheresis procedure and what it does, you can find out more at the Blood Center of NJ site.  Please note there are two more links towards the bottom of the page for “learning more about the procedure” and “who needs your donation”.  You will be surprised at what you didn’t know.

Meet "the Machine"

Did you know that Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, formerly known as “Rahway Hospital”, serves Seattle’s Best coffee?  Tastes so good, especially since I broke my coffee pot a few days ago and have been boiling my coffee, you know, like in the good old days.  It wasn’t bad, but lots of grinds guaranteed in every cup.

I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am, being able to donate platelets.  It comforts me to know that this old, diseased body can still be good for something in it’s brokenness.  Well, more than that.  I’m saving a life with every donation and that’s good to think about.  This appointment also got me out of the house today, and let me tell you, the sun is HOT out there.  What a beautiful day!

I thought I’d take some time to talk a little bit about my experiences that deviated from the norm during these past few years.  Now, when you undergo the apheresis procedure, you can’t just lay there and fall asleep, though I’ve been seriously tempted.  When I slide into that reclining position, my body relaxes to the point of slipping into slumber.  Well, I did just that on one such occasion and all hell broke loose.  You have an active role during this procedure and you definitely need to pay attention.  There are two parts to this:

  1. Withdrawal of your blood
  2. Separation of components needed
  3. Returning the blood to your body

The nurse inserts the same kind of needle like if you were giving whole blood and gives you a spongeball.  When the machine starts to withdraw blood,you need to squeeze that ball the whole time it’s on the “withdraw”.   You can even watch a window on the machine as your blood is gathered and running through the machine.  Next, the machine signals the “return”, when your blood is returned to your body through the same port that the blood came out of.  During this time, you can relax your hand because that squeezing creates a pressure, the same kind when nurses take your blood pressure and you need to squeeze your hand.  One the withdraw, it makes it easier for the blood to leave your body; but when your blood is returning, the squeezing makes it harder for it to come back and it’s sort of running against the current, so to speak.  Well, when I fell asleep, for however briefly, my pressure was too low and that screwed up the works.  Alarms went off and the technician had to adjust the machine to accommodate the change in pressure and I had to pump that ball fast and furious to get those alarms to stop.  In the end, I was okay, but falling asleep is not really a good thing to do when you’re doing this.  I’ve learned my lesson.  One thing I’ve got to say is that I was pretty disappointed to learn that I can’t knit or crochet while doing the apheresis thang.

Every time I do this, it’s different.  Usually I am able to do a triple donation, but sometimes it’s a double.  This just means that according to your body, you may be able to donate either one, two, or three units of donations, s-a-f-e-l-y.  That is, at no risk to you or the platelet level needed in your body to stay healthy.

Oh boy, it’s almost time for me to get in there.  I’ll report more later or tomorrow.

Platelets Going Out!


Just a quick note to say that I’ve been successfully donating double and triple units of platelets. Getting ready for an appointment today, as well; and hope to write about it when I get home while still fresh in my mind.

I also want to thank those who are steady commentators on my platelet posts.  Several of them in 2006 and 2007, and I am so grateful for your interest.  I do notice that I seriously need to tag my posts and will do at least that when I get home, and hopefully I’ll feel up to it.  No reason not to, but sometimes donating platelets takes more out of you than you would think.  Nothing that a nap couldn’t help.

Anyway, I’ve got a few errands to run today beforehand, so I’ll be cutting this short.

Have a great day!

I Hate Cliches….


I was drawn to this image immediately.

The beautiful Tree Dancer.

I was looking for an image that conveyed “adversity”, but the second I saw this one, I knew that I had to use it. It can be found here at Twisted Sister’s Blog… and, BTW, I’ve got to explore this blog further, myself. Anyway, the blog stated that this pic (and others) were not hers, but had been received in an emaiil.

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Cliches. They really do rub me the wrong way. To me, using them means that the speaker either could not or would not exert the effort to come up with their own words. To me, the over usage of them has rendered them meaningless, exhausted of whatever potency they once wielded. Give me words! What do you really think, man! Anything at all swimming around in that pool your brain is sloshing around in?

With that said, get ready for musings that don’t have anything to do with the title. Perhaps I should have entitled this post, “Tangents are Grande”. The cliche I’m thinking about right now is this one: “Things happen for a reason”. There are a myriad of belief systems out there and I’m not going to try and touch upon all of them to draw correlations, so I’ll just draw upon mine and leave the line drawing to you. I am Roman Catholic, active in my church parish and serve at the masses. All… or most reference points in this post will come from there, so if you’re not interested in hearing the Catholic point of view, please “get up and change the channel”…. ha… an archaic reference to television before cable, even before…. eeeeeek! The horror…. universal remote. What a prehistoric, deprived era I come from… the 1960’s and 1970’s…. even worse, the Brady Bunch! Hey, I liked that show!

Anyway back to my original thought… yes, there was one in there a minute ago. Ah yes, it’s coming back. In the year of 2002 I had sent away for yet another weight loss program. I forget the infomercial I saw on TV, but it arrived very close to the day I was scheduled to move out of my parent’s home to live temporarily, with my girlfriend in Staten Island. My ultimate goal was to transplant myself into the state of New Jersey to be closer to my fiance (DH now). We were planning on living in NJ anyway and she offered. Her story is going to be a whole other post… sometime. My father was selling our home of 40+ years after my mother’s death. He was moving on, and so was I… and my brother. So, I decided to just pack away the whole box, unopened, and to be explored a few months down the road. It got put into a storage facility for approximately a year, then finally brought to my now current residence around July 2003. I rediscovered the box while unpacking. Finally, I opened the Fedex box, scanned the contents, then repacked it all and threw it in my closet. There it stayed until a few weeks ago.

I was getting things together for a yard sale and was cleaning out my closet and this box was set deep into the deep, dark recesses of a closet under a flight of stairs. I displayed this package on my table… oh, let me give details. It’s the Fresh Start Metabolism Program with Cathi Graham. There were/are tons of goodies in there, from VCR and cassette tapes, a recipe book, journal book, program manual, everything one needs to embark on an involved weight loss journey. When I put this stuff aside for the yard sale, I took out the cook book… maybe the first uncut string. I priced all this stuff at $10.00, with the intention of possible negotiations. I wanted at least $5-7.00. As you can see, I’m a terrible business woman because I am still in possession of it! Well, nobody even gave my great display a second look. Then I posted a lot of left over stuff up on freecycle and even got a response for this item. Funny how all my stuff got scooped up by freecyclers, but nobody would buy any of it…. as evidenced by my total take of $1.50. The Shame of it! I left the box on my porch and I never heard from that person again.. not even after I reposted it for a “no show”. So. what to do? The only thing I could do was tuck it away again inside another closet, my food pantry. I just couldn’t bring myself to toss it in the trash.

Okay, for those of you who do not know, since my fat-burning purchase in 2002, I have been diagnosed with diabetes after the birth of my son. I had the gestational kind that, did indeed, disappear after he was born; but a year later, it came back and sadly, and NOT to my personal credit, have not been able to my sugar levels under control. I am freaking scared and still , I cannot take control of my food life. Overeaters Anonymous will say that I have a disease and at this point, I’ve have to agree with them. The only thing that is really holding me back from doing so, however, is that I balk at making such an admission. It seems to take the ball out of my hands…. well, yes as any 12 step program would do. I somehow can’t let go of the fact that this is my fault, alone, and that I must handle fix it myself. What I will admit, though, is that while I have the reins in my hands, I’m going nowhere fast.

Okay… Let me say that for the past few years I have given up on taking any dietary program seriously or allow a glimmer of hope to seep inside… but the more I look at this literature, accidentally in my hands, the more I feel [unsolicited] like I want to give it a shot…. I mean, I can feel myself wanting to take this seriously, and being drawn to the starting line. Since I found out about the Glycemic Index, this whole prospect of weight loss got 1000x (not a typo) more complicated than it was back in the good old days when all you had to do was count calories. The Atkins diet was pretty simple and I lost a lot of weight, but even that did not last. One little wall, in the form of my mother, who thought that I was killing myself by cutting out the carbs, crumbled my resolve and I literally gave up the fight… the fight that I was winning. I got so tired of defending myself every time I fixed a meal in her kitchen. That was the closest I ever got to getting down to my “ideal” weight. I mean that in every way, mentally as well as physically. What I mean to say is that I was positive and the “go” light was on the whole time (except for the interaction with my mom). Oh, the shortened version of the back story is that I started the diet while I was still living on my own, lost weight, then had to move back with my parents. My mom thought I was starving myself…. oh man! Fast forward a handful of years, and I now observe what I’ve become. Sometimes, it’s like I’m hovering over myself, disassociating from myself… until I catch a glimpse of “me” in a mirror. Last time, I was sitting down and I couldn’t bear to see myself. What made it worse was that I was waiting for my friends to arrive so we cojld start our knitting circle. What kind of person am I, anyway? Especially now that I want/need to be alive to raise my son… I’ve got to be around at least for 20 more years, minimum…. Well, I do want to dance at his wedding, after all!

I can’t let go of the feeling that God is somehow trying to help me lose weight. Yes, this is where my faith is entering the story. Can it be a coincidence that I’ve started praying the rosary on a daily basis? Well, almost every day. I started saying it for another purpose, though. Recently, I accepted the position of Chairperson at the Rosary Society at my church. I am definitely under-versed in religious matters, specifically prayer; and I figured that I had better get myself in gear to at least keep myself honest, yeah! Another reason for suddenly making an effort was a wave of bad news that came filtering in from the lives of our friends and family. I wanted to pray for people… for real. I had so become one of those people who quickly reassured others, upon hearing of bad news, that I’d pray for them… or put them on my prayer list….. WHAT IS A PRAYER LIST? How do you do that? I am definitely NOT one who even knows HOW to pray…. something that I’m not happy about, but my form of prayer had always been more of a “feeling” experience, of projecting my intentions out to the universe… to GOD… and whose to say that is right or wrong? Anyway, spontaneous verbalization of prayer and praying for people is definitely out of my scope of talent, but seems to really be a requirement for this job; or at least that is what I believe. The last Chairperson, Mary O’Sullivan, is the absolute best at doing this. She is such a natural at it. At every gathering, every meeting, the prayers and verbalization just flow out so eloquently. Is she making that stuff up as she goes along? Maybe this should be another post… so I’ll just leave it here.

Before publishing this mish mosh of a post, I just want to say that I’ll try to update my thoughts and feelings… oh AND experiences as I go along. In the future, I’m not going to focus on any kind of storyline. I’m going to just write my thoughts. That’s not to say that I’ll abandon a start-to-finish idea altogether. I’m just saying that my focus is going to be on publishing posts and not to necessarily wait for an ending to come to me. I’ve been working on this one since yesterday and I just think I should let it go.

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