Pneumonia – Round Two

You may or may not have known this but I spent last Sunday at the ER because of pneumonia. This is my second brush with it. The first time was in December 2014. I was so glad when I managed to get through this last holiday season without pneumonia because I’d heard that after you get it you become predisposed to it. Now that I’ve had pneumonia a second time, I see what they mean.

I hadn’t been feeling well for a while but I didn’t realize how sick I really was. The problem with me is I’m such a workaholic that I tend to overestimate my health and underestimate how sick I am because I hate missing work. I’d been traveling a lot for work the last few weeks and so I thought I was just exhausted from all of the traveling but I did think it was really weird that I was running out of breath really quickly.

For instance, just getting on and off the plane was making me out of breath. And, when we were at Laclede in St. Louis and we had to walk across the street to their other building, I also felt out of breath. It seemed really strange to me that I was constantly running out of breath.

Because I’m a crazy person who doesn’t like missing work, I pretty much continued on like normal. We arrived back from St. Louis late on Wednesday night, and then I worked for about an hour before bed, and I got up early the next morning to be in Topeka by 8:30 AM the next day. I could have taken the meetings via video conference but (a) it’s better to attend in person and (b) the customer relations and key accounts group had a very important quarterly meeting (it was a celebration of Coleen’s retirement and Terry’s final one). I wanted to pop in for that even for just a few minutes.

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Here’s a selfie of Coleen and me. Don’t mind the raccoon eyes. It was kind of an emotional meeting. I don’t think I was the only teary-eyed person there.

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Anyway, I wanted to be back in Wichita by 5:30 PM to make the PowerGEN mixer but I didn’t end up leaving Topeka until after 3:30 PM. We still had to take care of the dogs and return the company car back to the office so Brian and I didn’t make the mixer until 6:30 PM or so. I’m so glad we went though because it was a great turnout.

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I went to work on Friday but it was a blur, probably because I was so out of it. Fast forward to Saturday… After teaching my Zumba Fitness class on Saturday morning, Brian and I had lunch at Asian Bistro because I felt like pho would make me feel better. The broth usually helps to open up my chest and soothe the congestion.

I really didn’t feel well so I went to bed in the “sick room” immediately after we got home from lunch. Slept in the “sick room” instead of our bedroom because Brian had stripped the bed to wash the sheets.

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BTW, the “sick room” is the guest bedroom next to our office which is the room that grandma stays in whenever she’s with us. Jenni also stays in this room on occasion. It’s the room with the most comfortable bed in the house. I’m calling it the “sick room” because it’s usually the room I end up in whenever I’m sick. The last time I had pneumonia, I stayed in the “sick room” for a few days. Brian put one of our cameras in the room and just kept a watchful eye over me.

But I digress… We had it on the calendar to clean the living room, dining room, and kitchen this weekend because our neighbors Jim and Karen would be staying with us on Monday night. Since I was sick, I was completely worthless and of no help to Brian. Brian did all the cleaning himself. He even did the laundry, which is my job. He did all of this while I slept in the “sick room.”

He did check on me a few times and determined that I wasn’t running a fever. After doing housework, he spent the rest of the evening playing video games downstairs (I can’t complain; he earned his video game time that weekend) until I got up to move to our bedroom and was finally ready for bed.

I pretty much spent the entire day on Sunday in bed while Brian did errands and mowed the lawn. I did get up briefly to eat lunch (Brian made us ham sandwiches) but then wen’t back to bed. Later in the afternoon Brian took a shower and was getting ready for bowling. I really wasn’t feeling well and so I just slept the entire time without showering even after my Zumba class on Saturday. That’s gross, I know. I smelled bad and was feeling gross so I decided to get up and shower also. I ended coughing violently while in the shower and vomitted my lunch (in addition to the ham sandwich, I had BBQ flavored potato chips, chocolate cake, and ice cream) so you can imagine how putrid and brown the shower floor was. It kind of looked like I pooped a diarrhea poop in the shower. But I was grateful it was just in the shower because I was able to wash all of that gross stuff down the drain. The violent puking shook me so much that my head hurt. I really didn’t want to go to the ER but I didn’t want to miss work this week so I finally caved and asked Brian to take me.

When we got to the ER, they found I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and gave me a breathing treatment which helped tremendously. They also checked my temperature and got 100.4 which was a surprise to me because Brian told me that I didn’t have a fever.

When the nurse left, Brian was like, “You should ask them to take your temperature again because you could be hot from just getting out of the shower.”

They got 100.7 the second time around. I had a fever after all. I guess no one is perfect. LOL. As wonderful as Brian is, he isn’t a doctor.

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Anyway, I got the same ER doc this time that I had the last time when I had pneumonia but he didn’t remember me. I suppose enough time has passed and he does see a lot of people (or I’m simply not that memorable). The crappiest part about the whole ER visit was that they had to stick me seven times to draw blood and attach my IV.

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The whole getting blood drawn bit is always so traumatic because my veins never want to cooperate. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been through it, I will never get used to its unpleasantness.

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Brian figured that I would have some massive bruising as a result. He was right. These are what my arms looked like after five days. Even today the bruises are still there. I know that the bruises will eventually go away but it’s taking a while.

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The crappiest part about getting pneumonia over the weekend is that we missed Rune’s birthday celebration on Saturday and Jay’s birthday celebration on Sunday. I didn’t get to teach my Sunday Zumba class (huge thanks to Charis for subbing) and we missed Tulip Time at Bartlett Arboretum and the season opening of Old Cowtown Museum. We obviously missed bowling because we were at the ER instead. And, I also missed spending time with my little sister. I hate being sick because I always end up missing out on so much stuff.

The ER doctor prescribed some good stuff. Besides the breathing treatment, they gave me some steroids through my IV. I also got some strong antibiotics. It sucked that I’ve been on medication all week (just finished my last one yesterday) but I think it really did help because I’m feeling tons better. I could tell I was feeling better because I actually managed to have a great time while I was away on business this past week.

Check back in a few days for a recap of my most recent work trip, which I consider to be my best work trip ever.

Poolside Massage, Anyone?

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Jocelyn worked on both Brian and me. She’s one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic massage therapists we have ever met. Super nice and friendly. I highly recommend requesting her if getting massage services at the spa.

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Our poolside massage was complimentary for booking the club premium package. We thought it was a really good deal. But it’s only a good deal if you take advantage of all the perks such as the free poolside massages, unlimited wifi for multiple devices (that is, if you want to stay connected), room service etc.

I have read reviews online from people who say that it’s not worth paying the extra for club premium but Brian and I really found it worthwhile. Club premium guests get the best rooms on the property. From a couple of people who absolutely loved the room that we were given, we think that alone was worth the difference in price.

The club premium lounge isn’t really anything spectacular but it’s less busy than the regular client services desk. The ladies are all very friendly and helpful also. You wouldn’t think that you’d need that much assistance throughout your stay but you’ll have to make dinner reservations and club premium guests supposedly get priority.

You also have access to a couple of restaurants that are not available to other guests unless they pay extra. And, you have access to the hydrotherapy section of the spa throughout your stay.

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Speaking of spas, the facilities at Barceló are top of the line.

Check out this amazing relaxation room where you get to hang out before, after, and between treatments.

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The spa has several treatment rooms just like these.

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We’ve been to many and few can compare to their treatment rooms. Almost every room had a private pool.

They also had outdoor massage beds. The downside is that these are right by the main pool at Palace Deluxe so it’s not really the most peaceful or quiet place to get a massage despite the privacy fence. You can still hear people (and their kids) yelling and screaming in the background.

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The spa is connected to an amazing fitness facility that rivals the best gyms in Wichita. Plus, you can’t beat the view.

The walls are glass so you can enjoy the view outside as you workout, which also allows lots of natural light into the workout areas. Imagine doing yoga in this studio.

The health and wellness facilities at Barceló are amazing. If I had one complaint it’s that it’s at the Palace Deluxe so you have to either walk a long ways or take the Barceló train to get there. And, Palace Deluxe always seems so crowded which can be a turn off if you want to relax. Once you are inside the spa, the noise dies down except if you’re outside in one of the private pools or in the outdoor massage area. That would be my one complaint about the spa/fitness center.

Other than that it’s a fantastic resort amenity that is not to be missed. You’ll have to check it out at least once during your stay.

Grandma’s ER Room Adventure

Shortly after the New Year my Grandmother fell in her apartment. When she called me she said she had fell and broke her wrist. I immediately called 911 and had an ambulance sent to her apartment. When I got there the EMS were already on site and I let them into her place. We stabilized her arm and got her to the emergency room. This is where the fun started.

Normally my parents are the ones who get called, but my dad works for Boeing and he now works in Oklahoma. So this was my first time doing this and I was unprepared. Once we got to the ER they got her in a room and started asking her questions. We went through the normal ones like what how many surgeries have you had, when was the last one and so on. Then they asked her about her medications and after we went through all of those she pointed out that she can’t take a series of pain killers because she has an allergic reaction to them. Then he asked if she drank. She said she likes a glass of wine from time to time. Then he asks if she does any recreational drugs, without missing a beat she said “Yes!” I started to laugh. The nurse looked at her strangely, then she took a moment and processed the question in her head and realized what he really asked.

You see, she thought she heard “Do you recreationally drink?” And she answered accordingly. When she processed the actual question she started back paddling to correct herself. Then we all had a good laugh. It’s good when you can take a moment like a broken wrist and hip and still have a good laugh.

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Working Out at Home

Working out topless is definitely one of the perks of having your personal trainer come to your house. Except, I think it’s making us lazier. If I’m not lazier, I’m definitely a lot whinier. I’m not only heavier than I was last year, I feel like I’ve taken ten steps back. I’m way out of shape that’s for sure.

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Whenever we’re not doing a park or backyard workout with our trainer John Wilborn, we are usually working out in our basement. Brian and I got these 6 X 6 yoga mats from Amazon a few weeks ago because we figured we needed something to protect our carpets from excessive wear and the stench of our sweat. We also figured that we could use our new yoga mats for partner yoga for if we can ever make it out to one of the date night yoga events at Firefly. LOL.

Somewhat Healthy Sunday Dinner

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This was our dinner on Sunday night. I decided to put avocados in mine because I bought a ton of avocados from Sam’s Club to use for the guacamole that I’m making for Faith’s food day at work on Friday.

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My salad was super delicious. I thought it was even better than the best salad we’d ever made. Makes me want to eat more salad.

Brian said that the only thing that could have made it better is if we ate our dinner outside like we did the last time. We love dining al fresco.

Friday Errands then Dinner at Sake

Brian and I had to return my folding bistro table to JC Penney on Friday after work. I thought it would be perfect for the Bradley Fair jazz concerts, but it was just so poorly constructed that we didn’t even want to risk it. The package arrived on Thursday and we took it back to the store the very next day. This is what I get for impulse shopping online in the middle of the night. LOL.

For now we shall stick with our table in a bag, which actually worked great the other day. It’s just the right height for our backpack chairs.

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Sake Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Since we were already out and about, Brian and I decided to have dinner at Sake. The picture above is of my hibachi shrimp. That’s what I normally get whenever I go to these types of restaurants. Brian usually gets the chicken, which is what he had this time.

We lucked out and got Silo for our chef. We first met him when he worked at Sumo back when the restaurant was located on North Rock Road, in front of Northrock Lanes. That was like fifteen years ago. We don’t see him much anymore as we rarely go to hibachi restaurants these days. I just happened to have a Groupon this time around and we were already out so we went. I’m back to what I weighed when we first joined Genesis a couple of years ago so it’s time to buckle down again. No more eating out for a while. We’ll try not to anyway, except on special occasions.

Putting Things in Perspective

Brian had some chest pain yesterday and decided to schedule an appointment with our doctor for this afternoon. He said he felt like he was having a heart attack so I was worried. I wondered if we should have gone to the ER. I had trouble falling asleep last night because I didn’t want to wake up to a lifeless husband the next day, but he said he was fine. I finally fell asleep.

When we woke up this morning, I told Brian I wanted to work a couple of hours over and stay until 6 pm. (We carpool and both go to work at 7 am.) He reminded me that he had a doctor’s appointment. Thinking that he was feeling better, I told him that was fine and to just hang out at home after visiting with the doctor (our family doctor’s office is in Andover) until it was time to come pick me up.

Around 2 pm this afternoon Brian called me to tell me he was on his way to the doctor and that he was scared. I told him that I changed my mind about working late and to just pick me up from work after his doctor’s appointment. He asked me why I changed my mind and if I’d gotten caught up. Honestly, I’ll never get caught up because there’s always plenty of work to do. I told him that I would rather spend time with him.

Around 4 pm he called to tell me that he was still at the doctor’s office. I told him that was fine because I had plenty of work to do and I would just work until he came to pick me up. I had originally wanted to work late anyway, but felt guilty about working late when Brian wasn’t feeling well. I should be taking care of him. Anyway, it was well after 5 pm by the time he got back downtown to pick me up so I got almost an hour and a half of extra work time.

I’m such a workaholic that sometimes I take for granted how much quality time I’m spending with Brian. It worked out today that I was able to get some extra work done. I’m also grateful that we are blessed with the opportunity to hang out and spend some time together this evening. However, today put things in perspective for me. I really need to spend more quality time with my husband.

Thyroidless in Wichita

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Guess what. I survived the Mayan apocalypse. Unfortunately, my thyroid didn’t. Oh, well. Although, when the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll fit right in. My scar still looks pretty wicked. I’m glad I went through the surgery, though.

When we met with Dr. Sunderland, he told us that they found carcinoma in my thyroid. It’s so small — the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen — that it wouldn’t have shown up in any biopsies. Had I been stubborn and continued to insist on saving my thyroid, who knows how much it would have spread and what other health problems I would have experienced as a result.

I may be thyroidless but I feel like a million bucks. Looking forward to a speedy recovery and a long, healthy life. ¡Salud!

Killing Me With Calcium

For those of you guys who were wondering how we ended up spending the afternoon at the ER last Sunday, here’s the story. BTW, I would have posted this sooner but it has been a really busy week.

Following my thyroidectomy, I was on a schedule of Cytomel twice a day — at 4 am and 4 pm — and then Calcium three times a day — at 8 am, 12 pm, and 8 pm. I had a prescription for Lortab which I didn’t touch because Tylenols were sufficient to keep the pain at bay. I think I only took 5 Tylenols total. I didn’t really need any pain meds because I wasn’t in any pain per se. Mostly I just felt discomfort. The way I described it to Brian is that it was like my neck was sore from a really good workout. I’ve never really needed pain meds a day or so after a really tough Group Power or Boot Camp class so I think that’s how I got by not needing pain meds after surgery. I kept joking that it’s because I’m part Viking but, in reality, I think it’s just ’cause I’m used to being sore all over.

Oh, and contrary to what ya’ll are thinking, the trip to ER last weekend had nothing to do with the “vaginal rest” post on Facebook. It mostly had to do with the Calcium. Well, that and the chest pain that I felt when I woke up on Saturday morning. It actually caused me more discomfort than my neck/throat and I couldn’t get it to go away. It didn’t help that Brian realized that I was overdosing on Calcium. The doctor had prescribed about 300 mg of Calcium three times a day but, when Brian went to the pharmacy, they sold him over the counter Citracal, which they told him was the same thing. Brian looked at the bottle which said the recommended dosage was only twice a day. Upon closer inspection of the bottle, we realized that the Citracal contains 630 mg per tablet. So I was getting twice the amount of Calcium that I really needed. We were both worried that the excess Calcium was what was causing me chest pain.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, the chest pain was still there so I called the doctor. Dr. Sunderland wasn’t available, but the nurse said she would page the on-call doctor. By noon we still hadn’t heard back so we called again. This time the nurse told us that the on-call doctor recommended that we go to the ER, so off we went.

After getting poked and prodded (again), blood tests, an EKG test, and x-rays the ER doctor determined that I was fine. The chest pain I was feeling was just normal discomfort following the type of surgery that I had. And we didn’t really have to worry about overdosing on Calcium because your body just expels the excess minerals in your urine. Your body takes what it needs and you just end up peeing the rest of it out. Who knew? Well, I think maybe I knew that already but the chest pain was clouding my judgment.

I wish we wouldn’t have panicked because we ended up spending almost the entire day at the ER. We were there for almost 4 hours. They had some emergency situations come in around the same time that I was there and, since I wasn’t bleeding or unconscious, I was pretty much put on the back burner. But whatever. It’s not like I had anywhere else to go. I couldn’t go to Zumba because I’m not supposed to workout for a while. My Sunday was wide open.

Anyway, I met with Dr. Sunderland on Tuesday to get my stitches out and we went ahead and brought the paperwork from the ER on Sunday. I’m glad we did because they used that information instead of drawing more blood. I really hate getting my blood drawn. I have such small veins that even the most experienced nurses have trouble. It usually ends up being traumatic for me.

The other good news that I had is that my parathyroid seems to be functioning okay which means I don’t really need to take the Calcium. Dr. Sunderland recommends that I take them anyway because I’m a woman and women need Calcium. These tablets are gargantuan, though. I was quite relieved on Saturday when we thought I was taking too much and we dropped it down to twice a day. After my visit with Dr. Sunderland, Brian and I agreed I could probably get by with just one Calcium tablet a day. Also, I graduated from Cytomel to Synthroid following this last visit so now, instead of taking medication multiple times a day, I just take my Synthroid once at 4 am and then my Calcium tablet at 8 pm. You guys probably think I’m weird because I keep such a strict medication schedule but Brian has been doing some research, and actually the doctor has said the same thing, the medicines work better when you take them at the same time each day.

Here’s to hoping that there are no ER trips or needles in store for me this weekend. Hopefully there won’t be any more surgeries for either. Blech.

The Strong, Silent type…Not!

I have always been the emotional one in our relationship. I share my feelings and don’t hide when I am upset, angry or hurt. However, when my wife had to get a Thyroidectomy, I decided that I needed to be the strong one this time. Suppress all of those emotions that I normally wear on my sleeve so that she could feel that everything was going to be OK.

What I didn’t realize was that the suppression of my emotions was going to be much harder than I anticipated. On Thursday the day of her surgery I was doing really well. I was worried but I was keeping it together pretty well. I have always been a worrier but it’s just something I have become accustomed to. With all that worry comes a great deal of impatience. I try really hard to keep that in check as well. It’s something that I have learned to be aware of and work to keep at bay. Occasionally it gets away from me but it takes a lot now. Friday evening was when my emotions boiled to the surface and reached a point that I could not hold them back.

I tell my wife everything. We started this relationship with a “No Secretes” rule and we have kept that. I fessed up and told her that I was having a hard time controlling my worry. I explained that it was hard for me to see her out of character, down for the count, not running around wanting to do so much. I always tell her that she needs to learn to relax, needs to slow down. Now that she has, I freaked out and started to worry…even miss it. She reminded me that she just had surgery, she needs to take it easy, but she was not going to let this beat her and keep her down. She wasn’t going to let this stop her from doing what she has become accustomed to doing. I explained to her that I had been researching things that I needed to look out for, things that would let me know that she was not in prime condition. The problem with this is that for every one informative post, I had to weed through twenty post of people talking about how worse off they were. The first few didn’t really worry me, but more and more posts started to wear on me to the point that I could not hold anything back. My emotions surfaced. My worry for our future started to spiral out of control and for the first time in a vary long time, I felt very helpless.

I told her all of this, crying and trying to control it all. Needless to say, even after her pep talk I still didn’t sleep that well. I even told her this morning that I may need to go back to our therapist just to try and get back on track. On the plus side, the therapist had the same procedure done several years ago. She has given me a few pointers as well as my boss and a few other friends and co-workers that I learned recently have all gone through this procedure. I actually learned over the last couple of months that this is one of the most common procedures that is done.

This still doesn’t stop me from worrying. I have learned so much over the last few months in my research. I have learned what to watch for, loss of hair, loss of concentration and memory, violent mood swings, fatigue, extreme depression, the list goes on and on. I have faith in the doctors but that still does not stop me from worrying. Honestly, I have a feeling that I will continue to worry for quite sometime.

I love my wife more than anything in the world. I just hate seeing her like this and I feel so helpless. At this point in time I wish I had the ability to heal her, give her her natural thyroid back so that she didn’t have to take any medication. I know I can’t, so my only option is to be patient, be there for her, support her as much as I can and pray for the best.

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