21 September 2023

My Signature Color - It's Not What You Think

 Quite a while ago I realized that I didn't know what my friend's favorite color was.  I thought I had an idea but I was wrong. After some thought, their reply was "I don't really have one."  

This makes sense, I guess, because we're not seven years old anymore.  Also if you have a brain like mine, there would be categories: clothing? cars? interior design? flowers? There's too many colors to just, like, choose only one.

Then I realized that I really didn't have a favorite either.  For a long time as a child I said blue.  I don't know why other than the supposition that it was the favored color in the household I grew up in.  Then as a teen I would say black, partially because shock value but also I liked it.  

Honestly, my favorites really do depend on what the color is on.  I'm still a big fan of black.  There is a black house paint color that I love. I like black cars. My favorite hoodie is black. I wear black every day. But I don't like black fixtures or interior design. 

Years ago Kevin asked if I could wear an actual color other than black.  My compromise was purple because there are darker shades that are black-adjacent. Also, I like purple.  But it also wasn't a color I was particularly drawn to overall.  It was just a color that I chose to like.

When I redid our bedroom, I bought a bohemian quilt that is orange. Then I painted our closet orange. I realized that I started to gravitate toward orange. The living room curtains are bright, multicolored and featured orange. This spring when I bought all the flowers, I noticed that I liked orange flowers the most.  

I realized: omg, my favorite color is orange!  I like it on just about everything.  Well, not exterior house paint necessarily but overall I like it.  

Or...maybe I do...

My niece has bright orange Chuck Taylors that I love. Halloween decorations are second to Christmas. I bought myself an orange Yeti cup for my tea. My favorite dishes I inherited from my mother-in-law are orange carnival glass. My old work color was persimmon. If I think about it, orange is a theme in my life.

 Kevin is one of about three people who look good in orange.  He has to wear high visibility shirts/hoodie/jacket for work.  I've borrowed his hoodies before when I'm working outside or going on walkies on dark PNW days. This then triggered a memory from when I was really young.

My paternal grandma spoiled me while she was still alive.  She didn't have a lot so "spoiling" would be stuffies, trinkets, candy, clothes.  I was about five, I think, when she bought me a coat.  I remember I went on a car trip with her and she bought it. 

I loved it, because I chose it. I didn't have to wait for it because usually my clothes were purchased on lay-away (no judgement), and I didn't have to base my choice off of what my brothers were getting or what my mom wanted.

It was quilted, had white fur-ish collar and lining.  It was BRIGHT ORANGE.  Like really orange.  I loved it.  LOVED it.

Make this coat bright orange:

Like this. Combine these two coats. Make it a 4-T, probably 

Again, I loved this coat.  I was so excited to take it home.  It was in August and I wore it home in the car. (a Datsun station wagon, traveling from Eastern Washington back to Western Washington)

And...my mom hated it.  HATED IT.  I remember she was angry that my grandma bought it for me.  Because that is a reasonable reaction. *shaking my head* I don't remember why.   I just remember anger.  Maybe it was the color or it wasn't the right size or who even knows. I just remember anger.

The reason I tell you this horrible story is that's where I learned that Orange wasn't an acceptable color to be your favorite color.  So here I am fifty years later, saying Orange is my Favorite Color.


 So, mother-effing depression leg-swept me for about two weeks.  SUPER FUN.

And no, I wondered this too: it's not grief.  Well, not all of it. Although that is mixed in there with good measure. Perhaps it's the Fall Ennui happening a little early.  I don't know.  I do know that it's exhausting.

I've had a few days where my brain is all "Oh hey, I'm going to fully function today. What did I miss?" Then I'm trying to "catch-up" on things that were put aside only to have it last a day or two.

I'm working on healthy coping. Ignoring it doesn't work, except sometimes. I worked from bed one day while NCIS played endlessly in the background.  I made sure to do my stupid little mental health walks but I did skip a few days.  I switched off the country music for a while.  I tried to eat on a schedule but this is where I say that effing test messed up my body and I just now started feeling physically normal this week.

Kevin is in his own feelings because: dead mom and he knows I'm in the dark and twisty place.  He tries but he knows that only time will fix either of us.  So he doesn't comment if I randomly start a project or buy more flowers or forget things or have the music up loud or am watching documentaries at midnight.

Because time is the only thing that is going to fix this.  Time to heal, time for my body and brain to rebalance. Time to just be.

08 September 2023

See You in Seven Years Because You Suck. Also: Benign

 So, two things then I'll be finished talking about this whole thing. Because, I would like to forget this forever.

Also, evidence to the contrary: I am telling all y'all about this so no one has unpleasant surprises. Not at all intended to deter anyone.  I mean maybe it isn't shared how difficult prep is because it's already difficult to get people to do the screening.  Well, here's a crazy idea: make it less awful. Make it not take almost a full week to prepare for. Okay, I'm done yelling. Probably.

A listicle:

  • I had the Sutab prep and that's the harsh one.  The other pill and fluid combination is reportedly less harsh.  
  • If you have just the fluid one, put ice in it.  Or alternate Yukky Fluid and Alternate Drink.
  • Advocate for yourself.  Call the clinic if you feel like I did. 
  • Reddit has an entire thread and more about this procedure. It listed some good suggestions
  • As Swistle reminded me: "As they say in My Fair Lady, “listen very nicely and then go and do precisely what [I] want.” 

I still have mild discomfort in my abdomen.  What I mean by that is that the abdomen is tight, not squishy like the Pillsbury Doughboy.  It feels pressurized and sore.  Not like a tummy ache, not like indigestion. 

The clinic says it's 97% air and the rest is trauma and/or readjustment. It feels like it took a half a tank of air to do the procedure and they used the full tank. The nurse said to take a long walk and that didn't really help but here we are.  I've since taken Lucy on two additional walks and I haven't noticed a difference.  As soon as I eat, it feels like I lose progress.

In desperation, I did a search and  the internet said tea and a hot water bottle so I feel like an old Renaissance woman convalescing on her fainting couch.  It does feel like doing this has helped.

More importantly, the three polyps were benign. Not cancer or even pre-cancer.  So that's the goodest news.  It does harken a little "I did that for nothing" though.  And yes, I know those needed to be removed and still.

During the follow-up call, the nurse said it's up to the doctor to determine five or seven years before this test is needed again.  I replied "So, seven years then" and she laughed but corrected me.  I was emphatic that seven years is the plan.  Because she is not the boss of me.

Then I shared the horrible prep reaction and she did a little tut-tutting which felt a little like "Was it really that bad?" and I persevered. I explained that one shouldn't be lying on the bathroom floor at 2 in the morning thinking about going to the E.R.  That I broke my foot off of my leg and was all "I have THINGS TO DO. FIX IT"  I am a stoic.  Believe people when they tell you.

Taking a different approach, I asked that style of prep either be reduced to half or to a child-size dose OR not at all.  She did agree to that. I explained that the first dose did the trick, there wasn't a need for a second dose. I mean, not to be gross but it's OBVIOUS.  She mentioned that it would be a shame to have to do the test again because the "clean-out" wasn't completed. I repeated again that it was obvious that a second dose wasn't needed.  Trust people when they tell you stuff.

Anyway, I asked her to add a note to my chart with glitter and highlighter and she agreed. Then she said something about "Mention it, if you remember next time" and I was all "OH I WILL REMEMBER"


Oh, and now the doctor has really said five years so SEVEN YEARS it will be.

Also, it is the hope that in those seven years, there is a less invasive way to conduct this test. Already there is the at-home test and with technology changing every day, hopefully it will be like an x-ray/CAT scan/MRI/magic wand that doesn't violate your body kind of thing.

Poor Kevin has heard "FUCK THIS TEST" at least twice a day for a week.  Poor guy.  About day three, I think, I made him place his hand on my abdomen to feel that it was tight as drum.  He said to call the clinic but because I have such fantastic luck, it was a three-day weekend. The situation didn't feel like it was worthy to call the on-call doctor.  I had resigned myself to a "My life is ruined" mindset until one day I wake up and my body isn't staging a revolt.

Because, honestly, I've lost almost two weeks for this test.  The first 3-4 days of clean eating that gave me a stomach ache, the 24-hours of prep, the day of the screening, and now Day 7 of being uncomfortable.

I can look forward to feeling better and not thinking about this for another seven years.  NOT FIVE.

**This is where I say, again, this is a necessary and important screening.                                          Don't skip it because of anything I said and be prepared instead**

03 September 2023

Chicken Soup with Rice - September

(this one was always my favorite page)


02 September 2023

A Very Necessary Screening Part Two or aka EFF THIS PREP

 Okay, so now I've completed the screening.  It's fine, everything is mostly fine.  It just turned out more than I had planned or expected.  To tag onto Swistle again, I agree that it's important to share these experiences so no one is left surprised or scared or upset.

The second alarm went off at 4:00 pm to take the first doses of the pills.  I was working and was wearing my headphones.  I left them on, marched out to the kitchen, and dumped out the pills.  I set the stopwatch on my phone and started the process; pill/water/pill/water/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/pill/water/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/pill/water/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/PAUSE/pill/water/did a frustration dance/pill/water

The meds provide a 16 oz plastic bucket for the water portion.
I opted for a 20 oz. water bottle, knowing I didn't have to drink all of it
and bonus of not being made to feel like cattle lapping from a bucket.

I didn't look at the pills while taking them, I didn't want to be daunted because TWELVE. Instead, I just focused on the television or the window or Lucy and got them down.  I can't guarantee I am going to be this successful at 2:45 tomorrow morning though.  It is A LOT.

And now we wait for the...er...ummm...fireworks.  I still have four ounces of water to drink but I also took two bites of watery jello because I suspect that my stomach is also not going to be my friend as  I rarely take medicine. Let alone twelve pills at once.....

Annnndddd....as predicted, I got nearly done with the water portion and hurled.  I phoned the clinic and they said to a) take the next set slower and b) take the second set EARLIER.  FML.  However, I was concerned that I would have to start all over and so much NO.

Then shortly after that adventure, the intended effect began and I was surprised at how long it lasted. For not eating since 8:45 am this morning (it's now 6:00 pm) and eating very little over the past three days, it went on for so long that I was anticipating seeing aliens and lost socks.  But I knew this was going to be the case so no panic, just kind of sad resignment.

Now it's subsided and I have to "eat" which is chicken broth and my soupy jello.  Chicken broth is not the worst thing ever. Nor is it something I will now include in my diet.  Nor is lemon jello, lime isn't terrible but will remain on stand-by for medical procedures.  And of course, the never-ending water bottle.

This is where I say that for me the level of discomfort went from uncomfortable to unbearable and back again, multiple times.  I told Kevin that I'm never doing this again.  He tried to placate me and I said I MEAN IT.  I wasn't just pouting.  Justification for said pouting in a few paragraphs.

It turned out that I was awake most of the night. Kevin went to bed with Lucy and I watched television and drank water.  I eventually fell asleep, just to be awakened by the second Take Your Pills alarm.  I took my time taking them as advised and still it was a miserable experience.  I could barely take any water afterward so I couldn't remotely achieve the 32 oz. over one hour.  Luckily, my symptoms were showing that I didn't need to worry, I'm guessing that was because I had worked on so much water/clear food intake earlier.

This is where it went sideways.  I am allergic to Sulfa meds, they make me violently ill.  I honestly thought that I was having an allergic reaction.  My stomach hurt, all the rest of the digestive tract hurt, my kidneys hurt.  I was laying on the bathroom floor thinking I was going to have to wake up Kevin because something was clearly wrong. 

Finally I made it back out to the couch, fell asleep and slept fitfully for two hours, maybe.  Kevin woke me up just prior to the final alarm.  I was still feeling sick - nausea and pain, still "symptomatic" and now emotional like an overly tired child.  I slept in the truck on the way down then had to check my attitude at the clinic.  Because they don't deserve any wrath for something that isn't under their control.

Kevin's treading lightly at this point, not making eye contact.  Because he's never met a stranger ever and he has the face that read "Talk to me" he struck up a conversation with an older couple behind me which veered into wills, dnr's and prepaid burial plans.  I'm thinking "Can we just...like...not right now?" 

The check-in process was quick and we waited one minute before they took me into pre-op.  The one happy thing that happened is one of my favorite local artists had art on the walls.  

Ben Mann - photo nipped from his website

The nurse was a little younger than me and was my favorite kind of medical professional: kind but direct.  She listed out what was going to happen step-by-step.  She mentioned sedation levels and I told her "I don't want to remember any.of.this.ever"  She nodded assuringly and said "We can do that".  

So, now I'm waiting and I hear the patient in the next cubicle.  She sounded like an older lady with a complicated health history.  She seemed very familiar with the process. A different nurse was doing the check-in process and she asked how the prep went for her.  She had the EXACT same issues that I had, including the considering going to the ER.  

At this point I felt relieved and vindicated.  I'm usually the very definition of stoic and this was so not how I deal with these types of things.  The nurse returned to me and started her process for the procedure: i.v. pulse ox, blood pressure, etc.. She asked how I was feeling and I explained that I was miserable, still feeling sick and in pain. She was sympathetic but my brain says she doesn't believe me (even if she did) so I mentioned that the lady next door reported the same issues. (so much for HIPAA laws, btw)  

The nurse, to her credit, lowered her voice and shared that they had a many complaints about that style of prep.  Again, I felt vindicated and validation and also: frustrated.  I asked her to note that it not be prescribed to me again and she agreed.

She left, I napped then they rolled me back to the operating room.  I rolled over as instructed, which is actually how I sleep anyway and I went to sleep.  I remember nothing of the procedure.  I woke up to the nurse asking me if I wanted Kevin to come and next thing I knew, he was sitting next to me and it was time to leave.

It turns out that they removed three tiny polyps and sent them for testing.  Odds are it's nothing to worry about BUT - no pun intended, but funny - it now means that I have to rescreen in as little as three years, possible five.  Right now, that is a no.  More on that in a minute.

I opted for walking out instead of using a wheelchair and of course, I stumbled.  The nurse looked skeptical and I laughed "That would have happened without sedation" and Kevin agreed.  

We stopped at the starbucks to get a white chocolate iced mocha and chocolate croissant then I did the little seat happy dance to have food.  Once we got home Kevin went out to the shop because I needed space after all of that.  My stomach/internal organs were still aching but I felt like doing chores or something instead of laying back down for a while. 

Well, that found me under my desk rerouting the cords to my computer, printer, router, lamps, etc.  It also included Kevin cutting a whole in the kickplate of my desk so I could do this.  Yesterday I think I could have gotten him to do anything for me.  lolsigh.

Once that was done, I did nap for a bit as my abdomen was still tight and aching.  Kevin woke me up and asked what I wanted to do for dinner.  Also, that he had scheduled a haircut for 4:00.  My choice was snoozle on the couch and he would bring me whatever I wanted for dinner or I could go and choose which restaurant.  I felt good enough to go so we went.  We sat outside at the marina at one of my favorite restaurants, I had prawns and steamed vegetables that were so GOOD.  

Then by the time we returned home, I was feeling sick again.  I "recycled" my dinner and I have to mention that it hurt. Not the expected kind of hurt because of all the "activity" if you will - and yes, that too, but hurt then ache like before and probably where I now have little cuts or stitches.  I took some ibuprofen (as directed) and laid down on the couch.  

I remarkably slept through the night and slept in.  My stomach doesn't hurt, nor my kidneys but my abdomen remains tight and sore.  The clinic phoned to check in and I missed the call.  I phoned them back and they're closed because Saturday.  It's not enough to call the on-call but I will phone them on Tuesday.

Kevin asked how I was feeling and I said marginally better, still not "normal"  I told him that I don't see myself doing this again, it was so miserable.  He understands but demurred a little.  I explained the laying on the floor thinking about going to the E.R. and he agreed that I need to talk with the doctor.

So, now, I went and read my medical records because I'm a huge nerd.  It turns out that they used a pediatric scope.  I continually forget that I am child-sized.  Child-size glasses, child sized anything medical.  Did you just think what I thought?

I wonder if I need the child-size dosage of the prep stuff.  The wonder has merit as I was symptomatically good after my first prep.  I really didn't need a second one.  All the second one did was make it painful and miserable.

So I'll be asking THAT on Monday as well.  

With that, for me though, it's a hard pass until there are better prep procedures for this. I will do the other style of test, which I've done before, instead. I thought that maybe today my attitude about this would be different and instead I feel more steadfast.  That's how sick and in pain I felt.

While there is another way to check that is less invasive and traumatic to the body and psyche, I will opt for that.  Yes, it's not as thorough or proactive AND it didn't literally ruin my life for days.   If I have to do it, I will opt for the gallon of yukky stuff but I still will have grave concerns about the whole prep process.  

Despite all that being said, schedule your colonoscopy, it is important. It might just be me that had this experience. I'm allergic to everything, I don't take medicine usually, it could just be me. It could just be that prescription of Prep.  

Go prepared with questions and concerns and know that it is your choice.  Use this and Swistles post as a guide to help assuage your concerns and know what questions to ask.


A Very Necessary Screening Part One

 My mother-in-law has been gone for 96 days and it doesn't feel like it's been that long.  But I know it's been a few months because I'm almost caught up on all my health exams.  (like how I made that about me?  You though "Oh gawd, she's talking about death again"  FOOLED YOU)

I had put off all my health exams for the past almost two years. Between the pandemic, the in-laws, and everything else, there just didn't feel like there was time to get them completed.  Now I only have three out of six appointments left: dentist, two-year eye surgery follow-up and perhaps the most awful routine appointment that there is: colonoscopy.

So, this is where I say that the ever-so-lovely Swistle documented her adventure on the social media last month.  We did not coordinate this, it was just a strange coincidence.

And thank the universe that she shared her information because it saved me from burning everything down on Tuesday.  I was a FULL MOOD.

Today is when the "fun" starts. This is my itinerary:


 I was feeling lucky that the doctor prescribed the meds instead of the gallon of yuck prep method.  UNTIL I see that I have to eat clean/low fiber for THREE days prior. Cue me going to the grocery store because I had stuff for one day.  BUT I'm not drinking the yukky stuff.  AND I will liberally  remind myself that "Swistle had to drink the yukky stuff"  lolsigh.  

THEN I picked up the meds and SIGH.  I almost want the yucky stuff.  TWELVE PILLS the size of a nickel, if it were rolled in half.  TWELVE.  With 32 oz. of water within an hour of taking the pills which take FIFTEEN minutes to take....AND THEN do it again six hours later, which is conveniently timed for 2:45 in the morning.  So much sighing.  And no, they cannot be crushed or cut. 

The prescribed diet is basically all stuff I don't eat because it gives me a stomach ache.  I'm guessing that I'm gluten and/or lactose intolerant or something. *eyerolling myself* Or it's high in salt.  ACK.  Then it feels like it's adding to the disordered eating that the alphabet brain does and DOUBLE ACK.

THEN Kevin came home yesterday and asked what was for dinner and I legitimately wanted to punch him in the face.  MYGAWDMAN.  I told him that he will need to buy dinner tomorrow because No.

Today I ate at 8:45 am, just prior to the 9:00 deadline.  I followed the instructions and had eggs and toast and a few bites of cottage cheese.  Then I doused myself with 16 oz. of water just for good measure.

I took Lucy for walkies because my mental health needed an adjustment and I admit it helped.  Also, I had to do it early because I knew I wouldn't be feeling well this afternoon, prior to the pill taking and most certainly afterward.

The plan is to sleep on the couch tonight but now I'm considering setting up the air mattress.  I don't want to keep/wake up Kevin eleventy times during the night. The couch has television, the air mattress would have Lucy.  (it would be in my office)  Or maybe a combination of both could work.

The saving grace today is that the clear diet allows carbonated drinks.  I made myself a Lotus drink, using blue Lotus because purple, orange, and red are banned.  I chose Blue Raspberry flavor because I don't like Apple and the Kiwi is so TART.  All the other flavors are red/purple/orange or Pineapple.

Also, now it makes sense that my m-i-l's last advice to me was about making jello.  I have two bowls made, one yellow and one green.  One I made correctly, the other one I added too much water.  It's vaguely lemon.  

Starch is not my friend, salt is not my friend. If nothing else, this has shown me that I must eat pretty well regularly.  I eat raw and frozen vegetables, I eat a lot of colors of food.  On the high-fiber/clean diet, I've had a stomach ache all week and it's not just anxiety.  Although my anxiety is at 7, probably.

This is where I say this is a very necessary screening and everyone should do it. It's IMPORTANT.

This is also where I say that Ugh, I'm so PUT OUT about this colonoscopy prep process. I mean, it's the not eating, then the meds, and no sleep because the second set of meds are at 2:45 in the morning, then the whole thing. Also, you have to have a driver which is terrible timing for Kevin to take off and the siblings will be gone (that's a whole other story)  My point is that: It really is no wonder why people don't do this test. 

I guess I'll be happy when I'm in the clear or relieved if there is something wrong and they caught it.  BUT STILL: FML  I hate everyone right now. 

And now this turned into a multiple post bloggity because Ooofff.  Everything fine, just click through to the next post.