Category Archives: Health

Warning. Do not try this at home. Or anywhere else.

Yes, I realize that it’s been a while since I granted you all the benefits of my fake medical expert advice.  Sorry.

It’s just that poop news has been rather crappy lately.  What’s a specialist to do?

So for this post, I’m going to go out on a ledge.  Write what I don’t know.  Venture into a whole ‘nuther area of specialization.  I feel qualified because this area of specialty is in the same, errrr,  ball park.  Geographically speaking.  Certainly based on adolescent conversation, anyway.

You see, I read an article recently that inspired me to post after a pretty long hiatus

Doctors warn women against putting wasp nests in their vaginas

Now I don’t know about you, but this particular insert isn’t one I’ve personally ever considered.  Maybe I’m just weird.

To be fair to the women who have done this mind-bending medical procedure, the procedure does not involve vaginal insertion of a wasp nest that looks like this one, with buzzing wasps going in and out:

Wasp nest.jpg

Image by ABC Wildlife

On the other hand, maybe something buzzing and going in and out is the whole idea behind the procedure.  But I digress.

Actually, the procedure involves ground up wasp eggs called “galls.”

170601-wasp-nest-vagina

This is a Getty Image, copied from the article

These are Oak leaf “galls” in case you want to make your own.

Galls are wasp larvae, left on the bottoms of oak leaves.  They are ground up and inserted into the vagina to tighten it and to cleanse it.  Okay …

As a fake medical expert, I think I  can safely say that this sounds like a particularly shitty idea.

You know, it never occurred to me that there might be a need to warn women to not put wasp nests, even ground up wasp nests, into their vaginas.

Then again, I never thought it would be necessary to tell women to not vote for a man who believed he could grab their vagina because he was famous, either.

My bad.

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Why No, Thank You

The art of letter writing is dead, and it makes me sad.  Whenever I read history or biography, I think of the loss to mankind and to history of all of the letters we never exchange — emails aren’t the same.  And even still, it is likely that only Hillary Clinton’s emails will be kept.

Greeting cards are few and far between too.  I used to love to spend time searching stores for just the right one with just the right message.  Today, though, good ones are hard to find, and it just never seems that I can get to one of the three stores left in the continental U.S. that sells good ones when I need one.

Thank you cards too.  I once read that the key to George H.W. Bush’s success was that he always sent thank you notes.  But nobody ever sends those any more.

Or so I thought.  But today I go this in the mail:

Thank You Georgetown

A thank you card from the hospital where I let them shove tools up my butt. Inside it thanks me for letting me have them abuse my body.  (Or something like that.)  Not something you hear of every day.

You see, on Wednesday, I had my annual tuneup, a sigmoidoscopy, performed in the hospital so that Dr. C can check out the plumbing.  They aren’t really so bad, and they give me good drugs so I’m asleep and wake up refreshed.  I usually feel quite good afterwards in fact.

This time I felt even better, though.  Because my doctor told me that she thinks I’m in remission!  That means no active disease!  Whoo-hoo.  Even without a poop transplant or drinking worm larvae.  Cool.

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Have You Thanked a Nurse This Week?

As a professional patient, I deal with nurses regularly.  And believe it or not, just yesterday when I was having something embarrassing done to my butt, I remembered to say thank you to the nurses who helped me.  Well, except for the one who was there when I woke up from anesthesia.  I think I said something weird to her, but I don’t think she’ll recognize me with my pants on.

Anyway, it’s National Nurses Week.  Say thanks, now while you’re feeling good.  Because usually when they’re helping you, you don’t feel so good.

And I’m rerunning this post.  Because I can.  And to say thanks, again.

***

Nurses, The Beauty of Seamless Teamwork

Naturally, I was just settling down in my recliner for a nap when the commotion started.

Yesterday I had my Remicade infusion in the outpatient infusion center at the hospital.  I was in one of my favorite spots — near the nurses station and the bathroom.  The room is a bay of about 15 vinyl recliners designed for easy cleaning.  Unfortunately, once the leg rests are up, getting out is nearly impossible.  That’s why I like being by both the nurses’ station and the bathroom.  No need for a change of clothes.

Anyway, as I was settling down for my nap with my curtain partially drawn when another patient walked towards me from the other end of the corridor.  As she neared the nurses’ station, she looked up at the ceiling, and I saw her legs buckle, her arms flap out birdlike, and in slow motion she started to faint.

Luckily for Mrs. Smith, a nurse was there to catch her.  That nurse, Brittany, called out for help, and I then witnessed one of the most professional exhibitions of teamwork I’ve ever seen.

Google Image

Google Image

Immediately, Molly, my nurse ran to help, calling out, calmly for assistance, and specifying the location.  Brittany and Molly gently lowered Mrs. Smith to the floor, with Molly saying “Mrs. Smith, open your eyes,” repeatedly

Other nurses went different directions towards strategically located equipment which was quickly and efficiently brought to the aid of Mrs. Smith.

Within 1 minute, Mrs. Smith had 6 nurses as well as equipment protecting her privacy surrounding her.  Each nurse had a role.  Molly got Mrs. Smith to open her eyes, then to squeeze her hand, then to speak.  Another nurse contacted the ER to send EMTs with a gurney to get Mrs. Smith to the ER.  Another started her on a fluid IV while still another nurse took an EKG and yet another set up and constantly monitored vital signs, calling them out to the team.

Within 4 minutes, Mrs. Smith, awake and groggy, was wheeled out to the ER with Brittany, the nurse who originally caught her fall, holding her hand and walking with her.

*****

I can honestly say as an expert patient, that being sick sucks.  Often we grouse at our doctors and nurses and other caretakers.  We bitch about the hospitals, the costs, everything.  Because we don’t want to need these services.

But, like Mrs. Smith (not her real name), I’ve been in need of help before.  And when it’s you on the receiving end, it’s hard to appreciate the artistry.

I saw a the most amazing demonstration well-trained staff of caring professionals.  I have a lot of faith in my healthcare professionals, but it was fascinating and wonderful watching when I’m not on the receiving end.

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How I’ll Protest the AHCA

It’s all been said already.  The GOP bill, TrumpDoesn’tCare, sucks.  And frankly, I am unable to find the funny in the fact that the current leaders just sold us down the River Styx, on our way to hell.

I feel it personally, deeply.  I honestly fear for the future of myself and everybody like me with a preexisting condition.  Everybody with a chronic condition that requires expensive medicine.  Mine costs $26K every six weeks.  Over the 5 years of the “pool” the GOP added to the AHCA, I’ll use $1 million just by myself.  Because of poop problems.

Folks keep telling me that I’m over-reacting, that this bill will never pass the Senate.  And that’s true.  But I have no faith that the Senate version will be much better, only different.  After all, it is run by the folks who literally stole a supreme court seat.  Does anybody really believe that these guys will do the right thing?

So clearly there is only one response that I have to Donald Trump and the House GOP.

If you hear about somebody doing this at the White House or on Capitol Hill, just pretend you don’t know me.

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I Can Change The World!

It will come as no surprise that I would personally love to save the world.  But like most folks, well, I just couldn’t figure out how.

 

When the Women’s March happened, my hopes dwindled.  How could I save the world and still be within reach of the bathroom?  Ditto all the other spontaneous and planned demonstrations that have taken place since January 21.

But then I learned that Yes. I. Can!  Really!  I can save the world from climate change single-handedly.  Really!  Me!

You can’t though.  Sorry.

You see, I just read this article that says that the city of Portland, Oregon has come up with a terrific way to produce electricity through poop.  And pee.

I can do that.  In fact, I often can’t NOT do that.

It’s true!  They installed toilet turbines to generate power with every flush.

I volunteer to power the East Coast.  Except for the White House and Mara Laga.  Because I don’t give a shit about Trump.

 

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Annual Tune’s Up

It’s that time again.  I’m gonna make you listen to this song:

Yeah, you guessed it.  It’s my birthday.  I am, not surprisingly since I have been blogging under the stupid blog name FiftyFourAndAHalf for 5 and a half years, well, I’m older today.

Old.  Probably older than you; probably shorter than you, too.  Life just ain’t fair.  I’m older and shorter than people I can’t even see…

Today is my 60th birthday.  I’m not a big fan of my birthday, for reasons you can find here:  Still, it’s a day.  A decade.  Something to celebrate with my husband and son and good food and cake.  Gotta have cake.

And it’s something that is way better than the alternative.  Yup.  Way better.

To the handful who have been along with me since I was, actually 54-1/2, thanks for all the times we’ve laughed and cried together.  To my  new blogging buddies, welcome again.  Thank you for stopping by; I hope you stick around.

Blogging has been a wonderfully fun way to spend time over these last 5-1/2 years, and counting, cause I’m not planning to stop.  I see no reason to stop.

Because people my age are getting gross. So what else can we do?  :/

Love you guys!

 

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Only I Would Call It “Poop Week”

In May 2012, about a year after I started blogging, I came out of the closet here on FiftyFourAndAHalf.  Out of the water closet that is.  I fessed up.

I posted this:

My life is shitty.

No, no, no.  I can’t say that, they’ll think I’m suicidal.

My life is in the toilet.

Ditto.

Saturday, May 19th is World IBD Day.  World Irritable Bowel Disease Day.

That’s it!

Recently I learned about this, umm, holiday.  It is a very personal one for me.  Way more personal than I want to admit.  But of course it’s not my fault.   I blame my sister, Judy.

You see, some time in the late sixties Judy pasted a picture on the front of the medicine cabinet above the toilet in our one bathroom.

*

Little did I know at whatever tender age I was that that picture would illustrate my life.  Because in 1972, not long after it went up, I found out that I had ulcerative colitis.  An inflammatory bowel disease.  The bloody flux.  I was in and out of the bathroom and the hospital for much of my teens and early 20s.  What a blast!

Long story short, it ended up that I didn’t have colitis!  But we only found that out when a bunch of men (led by Dr. Herbert Hoover) came at me with knives, removed my large intestine and reorganized my plumbing.  That was when they found out that I really had Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s Disease, is, well, worse.  Partly because I can’t for the life of me spell it.  But also because it means I still spend way too much time in the bathroom (although I am very well read).  Oh, and it can affect the entire rest of your body.  Trust me when I say it’s nasty, and that there is no cure.  I would be delighted if that were to change in my lifetime.

*****

Fast forward to now, today, December 7, 2016.  Today ends Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week.  There will be a Thunderclap of posts, and tweets, blogs, and Facebook postings to call attention to Crohn’s and Colitis — to Irritable Bowel Disease — diseases that are often “invisible.” Because unless a person goes onto the Internet and proclaims that their life is in the toilet, well, nobody knows.  Unless perhaps if they are in the next stall.

In all seriousness, 1.6 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from Crohn’s or colitis.  These diagnoses are life changing — they cramp not just your gut, but your life.  Your life really does revolve around the toilet.

So I have a favor to ask of you guys.

You’ve all been wonderful, supportive friends, who have laughed with me about my poop problems.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Or maybe just from my bottom.

But here is the favor.

I have been working with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to get member of the House of Representatives to join the Congressional Crohn’s and Colitis Caucus.  These Representatives will, hopefully, help direct funding into research towards a cure.  To, in fact, get me (and 1,599,999 others) off the pot.

Please send an email to your Congressman/woman (you can find their information here:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/) and ask them to join the Caucus.  In fact, just cut and paste this into the email/form:

PLEASE JOIN THE CONGRESSIONAL CROHN’S & COLITIS CAUCUS!

Led by Representatives Ander Crenshaw (R-FL-4) and Nita Lowey (D-NY-17), the Congressional Crohn’s & Colitis Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress dedicated to educating their colleagues and the American public on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The Caucus works together to raise awareness, support IBD medical research, and protect patient access to care. The Caucus also works to assert the patient perspective in regulatory decision-making, including the development of a biosimilar regulatory pathway. To join or to learn more information, please contact Matthew Moore in Rep. Crenshaw’s office (matthew.moore@mail.house.gov; 202-225-2501), or Dana Miller in Rep. Lowey’s office (dana.miller@mail.house.gov; 202-225-6506).

Thanks.  You guys are the best.

be-idvisible

 

 

 

 

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