Alanis and Mama Sox

So, I kind of dropped off the face of the earth with American Idol, but I was voting for Crystal from day one.  I am very glad that Lee won – with each week, I became more fond of him.  Deana always like him, but I still think that Crystal is a better singer.  But we all know she will get a contract, and I am happy that Lee got a break as he IS a great performer.

In any case, I did enjoy the finale.  More videos to come, but my favorite was Crystal and Alanis singing together!  Enjoy!

Why I Love Rush Limbaugh

Hey, that got your attention, didn’t it?  I haven’t decided yet if I REALLY want to write about Rush, however!  More like I want to see how much affect having his name in my subject and tags bring people to my blog………appaling, I know!

You see, I have been exposed for years to Mr. Limbaugh, indirectly.  It started when I was in my late teens/early 20’s when my Dad made the switch from Democrat to Republican.  All of a sudden the world became clear as Rush would explain how very screwed up the Democrats were.  This did NOT boad well for my paternal Grandma, who was a Democrat until her dying day.  But it sure seemed to add some pizzazz to family discussions!  And for that, I am thankful.

Keep in mind, when I married and became active in my church, I switched from Democrat to Republican, too.  There are still many ideologies that I like about the GOP today.  But back then, it was because I believed, to be a Christian, you needed to be a Conservative Republican.  And of course, I also needed to be what my Dad was.  When I turned 18 and registered for the first time, my Dad was a Democrat, and therefore, so was I.  And when he switched… get the drift.  Add the hubby and the church, and it was a foregone conclusion.  I remained a Republican until this last Presidential Election……..

“Ah,” you say, “you’re one of THOSE people who voted for Obama?!?!!?!”  Yes, yes I am.  Do I expect Obama to make as many changes as everyone around me?  No.  I have lived long enough to know that one person, especially in our government structure, can’t do everything and quickly.  Do I expect Obama to be perfect or that I he will please me with every decision he makes?  No.  I didn’t have that expectation for GW either, and he didn’t let me down.  And yes, I voted for Bush Sr, and GW both terms.

But I’ve got to admit, while I have never been an idealist who thought our government officials really REALLY cared about us, as I’ve grown older, seen the world a bit, and started thinking for myself, I realized I am not that close to the ideology of the GOP.  Again, there are still things I like and reasonate with……but I don’t know……those years of hearing from my Grandma about how the GOP is more aligned with corporations seems to make sense.  Not that we can really make the ideologies so very simple, but I can share without beating up on anyone that I am more socially concerned for others, want to pay my taxes to help my community and country, and wish corporations (in general) would pay a bit more as well.  But I don’t want to get into the whole economic junk, or how spending is out of control (which is has been since GW’s first term and continues today).  Basically, I believe both parties are very good at spending our money, it’s just that IN GENERAL they spend money on differet kinds of things.

Anyway, back to Rush.  I seriously don’t know why so many people love him.  I mean, everyone likes to have a tough guy in their corner.  I get that.  I even respect it.  I also believe Rush, and everyone else, have the right in this country for free speech.  I also admit that Rush brings in a lot of cash to himself and his sponsors for implementing this right day after day.  And I don’t want to suggest that what he is saying, or those that like him, are wrong.  I understand clearly that people are different, have different views, and heartily believe that this truth is much of what makes this country so awesome!  So please hear that I am not suggesting he should shut up, but I AM saying, as an individual, I just don’t get his popularity.

I have listened to him on and off over the years.  I do believe he’s very intelligent.  And I believe he makes some good points.  But most often, he promotes anger and does nothing to help our government, which is wired to waste time arguing ad nauseum, get along.  He is usually “preaching to the choir” – talking trash about people to people that already don’t LIKE the people he’s talking about.  And that’s fine – you see that in most churches every Sunday.  But what I CAN’T explain, is when he makes those crazy statements like the environmentalist caused the BP oil spill to get attention about global warming or whatever.  What?  And people buy into that?  But hey, I have to give it to him – he is great for the income stream to himself and his sponsors……..I am sure the publicity alone was golden for him.  But hey, again, say what you want Rush and God Bless You – you are an American and I respect that.  I respect your right to say what you want.  I just pray that more people stop just listening and knodding.

And, for what it’s worth, I say the same thing for the Dem or Progressive radio hosts as well.  Just because someone says something that you agree with, doesn’t mean it’s right, accurate, honest, etc.  I wish more people would approach each agenda, item, or issue with fresh eyes and research it as unbiased as possible.  I try to do that and sometimes fail.  But I try.  And I especially do it if someone tells me that “all the church” or “all the democrats” or “the majority” is for it.  Yeah?  Well, you know what?  I am going to take a minute and actually RESEARCH this before I decide what my opinion is!  I am not going to vote on it just because “everyone is doing it”.

And for those of you who like to blame people for voting for Obama – shame on you!  Again, I didn’t think he would save the world, nor did I or do I trust ANY politician to be 100% agreable, honest, productive, etc.  But this country was founded on election by the people, and the majority voted for Obama.  I believe it’s very unAmerican to say stuff like “shame on you for voting for Obama – he’s the reason this country is so messed up!”  To me, it’s like saying, “shame on you for using your Constitutional right to vote!  DOWN WITH THE CONSTITUTION!”  Although, if you really don’t like Obama, I wouldn’t mind you saying, “I really don’t like what Obama is doing.  I think many problems have been created by his position on {enter issue here} and it’s very frustrating.”  Yeah, voice your concern – I respect that.  But don’t beat me and the majority up for voting for him.  Please.

Okay, so this random post evolved as I sipped my coffee this morning.  Not sure where it came from.  But I appreciate your comments!

Gina OUT!

Gina’s Trip to McDonald’s

So yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment at 9am – it took over 2 hours, so I decided to save time by eating in the car on my way to work instead of getting there, making my lunch like I usually do, etc.  Plus, since I hadn’t had fast food in about 4 or 5 weeks, I’d figured it would be okay……

For my plan to work, the location needed to be close to my doctor’s office, because it didn’t make sense to get something next to work right?  Since I didn’t really know the area where I was, I decided to stop at the first fast food location I saw.  It turned out to be McDonald’s.  No problem.  I pulled in, ordered my Quarter Pounder with Cheese combo with Diet Dr. Pepper, and waited my turn.

First irony – over $6 dollars for McDonald’s?????  Are you SERIOUS?????

Second irony – while I was waiting in the drive thru for my food, I noticed a delivery truck next to us.  A man was standing there with a tube coming from his truck, attached to a spout that was in the ground – very similar to gasoline trucks making deliveries of gas to an Exxon or 76 Station.  Upon closer review, it was an OIL delivery truck.  The oil they cook with or use in their products.  One was called “McDonald’s Oil” WTH????  And he was standing there a LONG time!  And I also noticed there was one hose for “waste”.  My appetite diminished a bit.

Third irony – I recently watched a movie about the massive food production called “Food, Inc.”, and I found out some disturbing info (check out the ISSUES link for scary details!).  It showed how additives to the meat to make it more addicting, filling, and fattening.  Not to mention there are like 50 cows mixed into one patty or something.  Blah.  Or that they soak McDonald’s french fries in sugar so they come out golden and taste SO GOOD.

By the time I get to the window to get my food, I am wondering why I thought I’d enjoy this.  And even though the Quarter Pounder was freshly made (my trick, say “no pickles” so they have to make mine fresh), it was still just “okay”.  And the fries?  I really didn’t like them.  Seriously!  One thing in life I always thought would remain would be that I loved McD’s french fries!  Even the soda, since I pretty much just drink water now, was like “eh”.  Sigh.

It IS kind of cool that my palate has change to more fresh, healthy eating.  Or I had an off day.  But bottom line, I will stick to my garden and fresh food, thank you very much!

Gina OUT

I Forgot About the Narcotics! And Other Things You Probably Don’t Need to Know.

So my trip to the hospital – I forgot to share my tripping drug experience!

As I may have mentioned earlier, the pain I had experienced was annoying but I didn’t think it was dibilitating.  I deal with some level of pain most days.  However, then the ER offered to give me narcotics for the pain, I was like “sure!”.  I figured I should get the most service for my co-pay, you know?  So my ER RN Christy warned me that the drug would probably make me feel a little loopy.  I was like, whatever – I figured she was just being dramatic.  She started pushing the drug into the IV in my right arm and I was like, “bring it”.

I don’t remember the name of the drug, but as it moved up my arm I felt a warmth.  And suddenly my head started feeling different.  The best way I can describe it was layers of velvet were being placed over the layer of my brain.  As the room changed shape (even as I laid there with my eyes closed), I pictured the red velvet layers get thicker, making it harder for signals to escape to my mouth, to my limbs, etc.  However, my thoughts were very lucid.  It was totally trippy.

This experienced lasted about 3-4 minutes – the strangest period of my life – and then I tried to articulate them to Deana, who had been watching me “trip out”.   She now says that I was a bit druggy when I tried to explain it.  But also another huge thing happened – once the pain in my gut was gone, I realized how very badly it had hurt before!  I have said I have always had a high tolerance for pain and thought, “well, how do you really know that, Gina?”  Now I KNOW I do because, well, it was bad!  But I also have to admit that now that I have had drugs, I also seem to have less tolerance when things start hurting again.  Ah, the irony.

Most of my early days in the hospital, I had an IV in each arm.  I can’t really say how that happened, something about they couldn’t get blood out of my right arm so tried my left, and then used it for an IV later.  I DO know that every time a new nurse or tech would come in, they’d say, “you have IVs in both arms?”  I love rhetorical questions.  Anyway, this is very bothersome, if you didn’t know.  When you have an IV, you can’t bend your arms – for me, it was because the IV alarm would go off and the only way to turn it off would be by the nurse.  Further, it hurts like hell!  Secondly, you have these tubes running from both arms and they get all tangled and pull and that hurts too.  Finally, it makes it very difficult to give blood when both arms are taken, so the techs were forced to get creative.  They often used my hands until the bruises made it impossible – we’re talking 10+ times on each hand.  Never mind going to the restroom – DRAMA!  Do I sense a hint of complaint?

One very cool thing about medicine is how, well, amazing it is.  When I had my CT scan, I received an iodine IV right before.  I don’t know how, but the iodine went to my abdomen and the heat was weird.  How did it know to go there?  Amazing.

Okay, I am going to go again.  You get the drift.  More later.

More Cool Things About Baylor

So instead of having yucky hospital food delivered three times a day, maybe right before a procedure or when you’re sleeping or whatever, Baylor does things differently.  They have “room service”; you call them when you’re hungry, order off a menu, and they deliver your food when you order!  They also have specials for family, too – $10 an order, order whatever you want.  Want yogurt?  $10.  What two hamburgers?  $10.

Now, at first I could only have clear liquids, and then ANY liquids including cream of wheat, ice cream, and the like.  Let me tell you, Cream of Wheat never tasted so good!  Sunday late morning I was allowed all food and that rocked, too.

The other thing I thought was cool was the handhelds the techs used.  Each time they came for blood (which was every three hours – I have bruises all over!) they would use the handheld to scan my bracelet.  It was very high tech and I loved it.

I was a little disappointed at how low tech the non-blood tech’s equipment was, however.  Old fashioned thermometers that go under your tongue, even if digital?  Seriously!  At CareNow they have these wands that go across your forehead!  But it was still okay.

One thing I DID NOT understand was on Friday and Saturday, housekeeping came in after 9pm to empty the trash and sweep the floors.  HELLO!  Sick people need sleep!  Especially when they take your blood every three hours!  And then today (Sunday) housekeeping comes in about an hour before I am released and totally mops the floors, etc.  HELLO!  I know they have to clean it again after I leave, so why do it when I am trying to get my paperwork done and the nurses have to disconnect my IVs and such?  That was poor planning.  But the staff was nice.

The nurses at Baylor rocked, though.  When I would be with my Mom or other family members in the hospitals, the nurses really seemed put out if you needed something.  Not so at Baylor.  Instead, they truly seemed like they loved what they did.  While some RNs were better than others, all were pleasant and cheerful.  All were responsive.  And as someone who doesn’t like being at the mercy of IVs or people, I really appreciated that.

That’s all for now.  I have moments where my mind races and I start writing, then I get sleepy again!  And now I am back to sleepy!

Gina OUT.

Gina’s Awesome Baylor Adventure (aka The True Cost of Using Advil)

So today is Sunday, May 16th and I just had a very different weekend!  Let me go back to Friday:

Friday, May 14th, started like any other day.  I woke up to my phone going off at 5:09 am, I hit snooze a couple times, and then I finally got up to go to the bathroom.  I noticed some sharp pains in my abdomen, but I shrugged them away as I often have such pain.  However, I soon realized these were not normal pains, so much so that I decided to call my doctor.  Of course, it was too early to talk to him, but I did get hold of his service and they suggested I go to emergency to get things checked out.  But, in case you don’t know, I am accountant by trade, and I quickly surmised that I would have a lower co-pay if I instead went to an urgent care facility.**  And, to justify this decision, I LOVED CareNow out here and figured it made more sense anyway.  Because, with CareNow, you can check in online and they call you when they are ready for you.  So I did that, knowing they opened at 8am, and relaxed.

At 8:02 am I received the call, and Deana and I headed over.  I didn’t wait at all once I arrived and the doctor saw me immediately.  And the thing was, he quickly told me I was bleeding internally.  He said he was going to take some blood to see how anemic I was, and said either he was going to get me into see an internist or that I was going to emergency.  He came back a few minutes later and told me that I needed to go to emergency and that he even wanted to call an ambulance.  My face and stuttering of “but I have someone in the waiting room!” swayed him, although he did make me decide what hospital to go to and told me he was going to call and confirm I went there directly.  (And, by the way, he did……..)  Keep in mind I wasn’t feeling THAT bad, just being cautious and all.  In the scheme of things, this was not the worst day of my life and I have felt worse in recent days.

So Deana drove me to Baylor Regional Medical Center directly, arriving at about 9:30am.  She dropped me off at emergency, I walked in with the paperwork CareNow had given me, prepared to sit down and waste the afternoon on tests, but knowing I’d be okay by day’s end.  I walked to the registry window, handed the paperwork and explained I had been told I had internal bleeding, and began filling out the sign in paperwork.  Let me just say, Baylor has this REALLY COOL scanning machine for IDs and insurance cards!  No photocopies or anything!

Anyway, while the registration was still going on, I suddenly heard my name!  I looked, and there was a nurse calling me.  I look back at the woman registering me, and she says she needs to do two more things.  The nurse, however, starts raising her voice, telling me I need to come in where she was.  The registration lady finally says, “well let me get a bracelet on you and I will take care of the paperwork later.”  I go with the nurse, who immediately begins taking info.  While doing that, she mentions that CareNow had called to advise them that I was on my way.  About three minutes later, just as Deana was arriving after parking the car, they were walking me to a private emergency room!  Try THAT in California!

I will spare you all the dirty details, but Friday amounted to a CT scan of my gut and about four thousand blood tests.  I was admitted to the hospital with what doctors believed to be bleeding in my upper GI.  I arrived into my room at approximately 2:30pm.

Just a reference point – I had only had sips of coffee by this point, and due to the problems at hand, I couldn’t have anything else……even water!  And do you know, when someone tells you that you can’t have any water, how instantly you become parched????

So, the private room I was taken to was amazingly nice – better than most hotel rooms I’ve stayed in recently.  Comfortable bed, sofa sleeper, reclining chair, TV, safe for valuables, etc.  But even more impressive was my nurse, Nan.  An older woman, she made me feel right at home.  She had to ask me a bunch of medical questions, and through the course of that I mentioned I had never been admitted to the hospital before.  In fact, the closest I came was in the emergency after my motorcycle accident.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, but Nan is part of the Christian Motorcycle Association!  She gave me all sorts of info.  But better than that, she PRAYED for me before the end of her shift!  I bet THAT doesn’t happen in California!

Just so you aren’t feeling sorry for me, at about 7:00pm I was allowed to have chicken broth and ice water.  🙂

So jumping ahead again, Saturday morning at about 8:00am I had a scope put down my esophagus, stomach, and upper intestines.  The doc found a 5mm bleeding ulcer at the very end of my stomach.  That was the culprit, probably due to the fact that I live off of Advil most days.  Advil and stomachs are not friends.  And the thousands of dollars I will eventually pay for this trip will remind me that for some time……..

I am tired now, I had many more exciting things to write about.  But more later.  Ultimately, I stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon as they made sure the bleeding had stopped and my blood levels returned.  One key piece of info, they knew I have never been a smoker because of my high oxygen levels.  Ding.  And my liver is very healthy.  And my electrolytes are perfect.  But yeah, I have an ulcer.

Now, I have 5 prescriptions to take and one that makes me a little drowzy.  So Gina is saying bye bye for now.

** See how Gina’s plan to save money worked out?  I had to pay THAT co-pay of $50 and will also have the emergency/hospital co-pay!  Go figure!

Remembering Sally Rivera

Sally Rivera – July 18, 1942 to May 11, 2010

Sally was Deana’s Aunt and the last remaining sibling to Deana’s father.  I had only met Sally on a handful of occasions, but she was always very friendly, VERY family oriented, and surrounded by her own children and grandchildren.  She was one of those people that made you feel like you belonged too; like you were part of the family or at least had known her forever. In fact, as silly as this may seem, she friended me on FaceBook not that long ago and I was touched.  That’s just how she rolled.

Sally had an awesome smile, was a killer card player, and knew how to laugh almost as loud as I do.  She was always encouraging others to take care of themselves, or cheering them up if things were tough, etc.  Such simplicity is often overlooked, but I am glad these images have come easily to me today.

By today’s standards, I think Sally left us too early – she was only 67 years old.  But what makes this loss all the more shocking was that we had no indication there was a health issue with Sally until a couple of weeks ago.  Deana received a call late one night from her brother Michael that Aunt Sally was in the hospital and she may have a serious condition.  About two weeks later, she is gone.  While the doctors never said there was surety that she would fully recover, the speed in which things happened has been devastating to Deana and her 7 siblings.  And Sally’s daughter and grandchildren, who have been inseparable their entire lives, are feeling this the most.  Please keep them in your prayers.

I believe I will have more to write soon, as the days progress and the stories about Sally are shared between Deana and her siblings Manuel, Jerry, Julia, Victoria, Stephanie, Andrew, and Michael.  We will all be picturing Aunt Sally being reunited in heaven with her brother (and Deana’s Dad) Jerry, her sister Julie, and her parents.  And yet, we will be reminded – as the image of the reunion unfolds in our minds – how much we miss them all.

Love you Aunt Sally.

Searching for, and Losing, The Beautiful

Some of my 2.78 readers may be suprised to find out that Deana’s beloved Canon Rebel died a week or so ago.  She probably had over 200,000 pictures on that baby!  From Denali Park, Alaska to Venice, Italy to Moscow, Russia……she covered the silly faces to the spanning landscapes to the blooming flowers and every other shot that I can’t even in all good confidence describe to you.  Over the years she has inherited the name “Papparazzi” from those of us who were “attacked” by the Rebel that always seemed to be chained around her neck.  However, even after all the complaints, she would be the first we would go to begging for a pic for Facebook or some other project.  It has been a love-hate thing.  🙂

But that’s just it – hearing that her beloved Rebel was dead was like saying Space Mountain was demolished at Disneyland.  Or Ben was no longer friends with Jerry.  Or Justin Timberlake without me.  You get the drift.  It was tragic.

Even saying that, I didn’t really appreciate the devastating facts until, well, how do I say this?  Oh heck, I’ll go ahead and be trite – you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.  Because, for the first time in a long time, I began to see all the beautiful things that Deana used to photograph all around me!  And, ironically, the prints that are still reflecting on the back of my mind’s eye didn’t make it to the digitally-safe world that Deana has ruled over for the past 4 or so years.

The flowers…….

The blue blue sky here in Texas……

The kids’ smiling faces as they played near fountains, or dashed on the field, or what seemed to be thousands of other activities.

How is it that I had somehow lost this sight when I knew Deana would save it forever?  Why was it that, now that we could not record the momentous occasions, images were jumping out at me from all angles?  And how can I even describe the beauty that I witnessed?  My words are so FLAT in comparison to the beautiful images that have been flashed into my memory.  And that is where the rub really is.

I will miss you Canon Rebel.  You were a good friend.

However, through circumstances that are very cool, she now has a Canon Rebel XTi.  Newer.  Lighter.  Faster.  Not the newest, not the best, but it rocks just the same.  And this person will try to still notice the beauty that surrounds me instead of relying on Deana’s photographic talent.  But I’m relieved that some of the pressure has been taken away!

Gina is OUT