Home stay

My two-week Spring Break is just about over. Only four more sleeps – and two of those will be weekend sleeps, so they don’t really count as vacation time.
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Obviously I didn’t go away anywhere. I haven’t been away during Spring Break for years. I believe the last time was when DD was 6 or 7 and her dad and I took her to Palm Springs. Or maybe it was Disneyland. I don’t quite remember which trip was which. DD is now 27, so it was more than a few years ago, and I am also of an age where I don’t always remember everything perfectly.

Anyway, at the time, I recall thinking, Hey! This going away on vacation for Spring Break thing is cool! It’s pretty nice to go somewhere mid-year and possibly come home with a tan! So what if everyone else on the block is doing the same thing and everywhere you go is full of tourists? So what if the airlines and hotels jack up the prices for the entire month of March? I like this!

But somehow, I’ve never done it again.

It’s not like I totally waste my two weeks off, though. I usually am fairly busy: last year I painted a bunch of walls in my house, the year before that I had my kitchen redone, and the year before that I was mostly at the hospital with my mom who’d had a small stroke. This year, my Spring Break ended up having quite a health and wellness focus, what with all those small issues and the resulting medical appointments I’ve had recently. But I’ve still relaxed a lot, had some fun, and recharged my batteries. I’ve taken care of myself these two weeks, and I’ll be ready to face the working world again with energy and enthusiasm come Monday morning.

But I’ll also be feeling kind-of down come Monday morning- not because I’ll be back to work, but because I won’t have any amusing little holiday stories to share. What could I actually say? “This funny thing happened while I was at the doctor’s office last week …” really doesn’t have the same appeal as “You’ll never believe who we saw when we were having dinner at this cute little cantina we found near the beach in Puerto Vallarta!”

You know what? I’d REALLY like to go away next year for Spring Break, if only just for the story-telling possibilities!

Playing doctor (and dentist)

This getting older stuff sucks. I mean, it truly does. It’s better than the alternative, yes, very much so, but it still sucks in a rather big way.

Since the beginning of January, I have had – count ‘em – NINE medical/ dental appointments. There are THREE more scheduled through to the end of April.images

Then there is my ageing mother who broke a tooth off at the gum line in mid-February, so during the same time frame, I have already had to or will have to accompany her to THREE appointments with a dental surgeon to get this properly dealt with. There may be more with the surgeon, plus she’ll need to visit her denturist to get a fake tooth added to her partial bridge once the broken tooth is extracted and the wound all healed up, but I’m not sure yet. She’ll let me know once she’s figured it out, I guess.

To be fair, some of my own appointments have been scheduled things, such as a regular visit to the dentist. I didn’t foresee having a bloody cavity though – I haven’t had a cavity in like a decade! It was small, and it was underneath a filling that probably dated from the seventies, but I still had to make another appointment and get that done.

I have also had a couple of pre-arranged visits to a vein clinic, where I am undergoing sclerotherapy for the spider veins on my legs. The doctor injects the offending veins with a solution that causes the vein to collapse, so the blood that has pooled inside is reabsorbed by the body and the spider veins eventually disappear. It’s not SUPER-painful, but you do have to keep the area wrapped up with a tensor bandage for two days. When you take the tensor off, there are bruises that last five or six weeks – but then those unsightly little red veins are mostly gone, too. I think I have had these ugly spider veins my whole adult life (yay genetics!), and I have been fighting them for something like twenty-five years. Every five years or so, I get fed up because new ones keep popping up, so I get a referral to a vein specialist from my GP, and have a few treatments, six weeks apart.

This week I had a quick visit to the hospital to get a small mole on my back removed. That mole had been bugging me for a while, mostly since it kept getting irritated because of where it was on my back. I know that you’re supposed to keep an eye on moles, to note any changes that could possibly indicate cancer, but that’s really hard when the thing is on your back so you can only look at it with mirrors. So I asked my doctor to just get rid of it. But now I have to go back to my doctor next week to get the stitches taken out. I hadn’t anticipated that – I’d assumed that they would be dissolving stitches, like when you get your wisdom teeth out.

The thing with my eye was unexpected, of course – especially the laser repair to my retina! So far, that has made me have three appointments with various eye professionals. I have one more appointment tomorrow, where the retinal specialist will examine his handiwork one more time. These people are nothing if not thorough, for which I am quite grateful, because, hey, this is my EYE! Still (and I mean this in the nicest possible way), I hope to not have to see them again … till my other eye decides to suddenly detach its vitreous gel from its retina and I can start the process all over again, I suppose.

And then there was the “nice” surprise of a urinary tract infection. Those sure are “fun” – if you consider having pain every time you pee, a little blood in that pee every now and then, AND seriously aching kidneys “fun”. Because my kidneys hurt, my doctor thought that the infection had probably moved up there, and she wagged her finger at me for taking so long to come in. I disgreed: it started Sunday night when I went to bed, and I was in her office on Tuesday afternoon – that’s not THAT long! Anyway, she prescribed some heavy-duty antibiotics for a week, and I felt way better pretty much the next day (yes, I finished the entire week’s worth of pills. I actually DO listen to my doctor, you know!).

So yeah, I’m kinda feeling like my body is letting me down lately. None of this was super-serious or life-threatening, so I know I’m still in pretty good health (and I also know how very lucky I am to be like that!), but it did all happen within a ten-week period. I almost feel like this is a preview of my old age! Stuff is starting to go wrong with my body, more and more often, and that’s going to take some getting used to – if it’s even possible to get used to.

Oh well. I have an upcoming hotel and spa weekend planned with BFJ, stitches and bruises and all. That will go a long way to making me feel better – as long as I don’t get massaged TOO hard in a few places!

Delayed reaction

I did have one small bit of excitement during my recent days of sickness.

Remember my eye thing in January, where the gel in my right eye detached from my retina quite abruptly, causing floaters and flashes in that eye? Remember how I had to visit a retinal specialist to determine whether or not my retina had actually been torn, because my regular eye doctor wasn’t quite sure? The specialist didn’t find any sign of a tear, but wanted me to come in for a follow-up appointment six weeks later anyway. That appointment was scheduled for one of those days that I was home sick, so I dosed myself up on cold meds, packed a bunch of tissues, and made my appearance.

The drill was the same: lots of eye drops and the accompanying blurry vision, lots of machines thoroughly checking my eye, lots of additional poking and prodding and examining by the doctor. I’d been expecting all that, so I was quite serene about the whole thing this time … in between coughing into my elbow and blowing my nose, of course.

However, this time the doctor informed me that I did actually have a small horseshoe-shaped tear at the bottom left of the retina in my right eye. I didn’t even know how to respond! I think I just sat there, stunned, and he blithely carried on to explain that if we left it, there was a 50% chance that the entire retina would detach and then I’d probably lose the vision in that eye. So the best option was laser surgery to zap together the edges of that little tear.

WHOA!!! LASER?!? YOU WANT TO PUT LASER BEAMS IN MY EYE?!? FUCK!!!

That’s what I was thinking.

But what I said was, “Um, that kinda creeps me out. I’m really very nervous about that.” Meekly. Quietly.

The doctor was just smiling reassuringly at me. I thought of another important question. “And when will this be done?” Again, meekly and quietly.

“Oh, I’ll do it right now,” he answered. “That way you won’t have time to get all nervous about it.”

So I signed some papers, questioned his assistant (who assured me that it was no big deal, that it wouldn’t hurt, that all I’d see would be flashes of bright light, that I’d be seeing normally maybe 20 minutes later), texted PG what was going on (he was my transportation for the afternoon), then sat in the laser room to wait. Yes, there was a laser room. There were three machines in there. The assistant plugged in and turned on one of them.

When the doctor returned, I asked him how long it would take. Depending upon how still I could keep my eye, between 20 and 30 seconds, was the reply. I let out my breath. I could do that! I could stand anything for 20 or 30 seconds … couldn’t I? Could I?

Turned out, I could. It truly didn’t hurt (I did have numbing drops in my eye, after all), though I did briefly feel like he was trying to pop my eye out of my head! There was a lot of poking and pressing, which was a bit uncomfortable, but nothing awful. The laser light was super-bright, but yeah, 20 or 30 seconds, in three separate blasts, and it was done. I told the doctor that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been thinking, and he told me that I’d done very very well, a lot better than he had thought I would do.

I had two final questions before I headed out to PG in the waiting room: “Is this unusual, that you would see no tear at first, then you find a tear six weeks later?” and “What are the chances of all this happening to my other eye now?”

And the doctor’s answers were: “It does happen, but only in 3-5% of the population. That’s why we always do a recheck six weeks later.” and “It’s pretty much a certainty that this will happen again, likely within three to five years. Just come back and see us when it does occur.”

Oh. Thanks, Doctor.

At least now I know for sure that I’m rather unusual in the eye department.