The Drink

(NOTE: If you think you are an alcoholic, please seek help. This post is not meant to poke fun at anyone who has a serious drinking problem and needs help quitting.)

It’s no secret that I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy getting drunk and I most definitely do not enjoy a hangover, especially at my age. But I do enjoy a glass of wine. It is a part of my nightly routine. You know, like brushing my teeth and washing my face, except more fun.

My problem is it’s not just one glass of wine. It’s two or three. And if I’m going to be really honest, sometimes it’s four. I know my limit. I know when to stop to avoid the dreaded hangover.

Before the pandemic, I made a “no drinking on a work night” rule for myself. I stuck to it for a while. But true to form, I gave up and gave in. I am a social creature and love to hang out with friends and it was always the “let’s meet Tuesday night for pizza and wine,” or something like it that would undo me.

And then the pandemic hit. No more Tuesday night pizza and wine with friends. I may have not been physically with them but my brain didn’t get the memo. Also, the Happy Hour Zoom and Houseparty calls did not help.

It seemed to be the trend (it took me five seconds to find out that alcohol consumption went up by 78% in 2020). That was a trend I could get behind. It was the perfect excuse to drink every single night if I wanted to. After all, everyone else was doing it, so it must be ok.

image courtesy of @ marriage.meme

After about seven months I decided the drinking was out of control, so I reinstated my rule of “no drinking on a week night.” I was tired of being “off” the next morning. Exhausted and groggy and full of regret. After all, I was doing so many great things for myself like eating right and exercising. Alcohol didn’t seem to fit in with all that.

On October 5th I stopped drinking during a weeknight. Again. But this time it stuck.

Also, I did a little research. Apparently, one glass of wine a day is fine. It even has some heart healthy benefits. But more than that? Not so much.

Did you know eight alcoholic beverages a week for women is considered heavy drinking? Me either. During the early months of this pandemic, I was probably drinking close to twenty drinks per week.

Do you know what else drinking can cause? High blood pressure, liver disease, cancer, and memory problems, just to name a few. Bottom line is drinking did not fit in with how I pictured my current and future self and I desperately needed to make some changes.

Enter “The Empowerment Experience” Stage Left. It’s run by a pretty badass woman and made up of some pretty badass women. And for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s a “course” that basically helps you to get your shit together. I know I could have backed off the drinking on my own eventually if I pushed myself (maybe), but this group really helped me to commit, be accountable, and sit through discomfort.

Every week we choose one challenge for ourselves. It doesn’t matter what it is. Making the “no weeknight drinking” rule held me accountable. We check in with each other every single day. Some of us have a little setback. That’s life. Sometimes we take two steps forward, and one back. My point is I truly believe this group is what made me want to finally make it stick.

But I still had the issue of the weekend. I was treating them like a free-for-all and for all the work I did during the week, I just reversed it by the time Friday night arrived. So, I did something I never in a million years thought I would or even could commit to.

And it’s call “Dry January.”

I never thought I could do this. I have learned how to sit through discomfort. Nine times out of ten, the feeling of wanting a glass of wine passes.

So far it has been eleven days. That included two weekends and even a very small, safe gathering with a few girlfriends, and I am happy to say I haven’t had anything but tea and water. Oh, and a little sparkling white grape juice.

Every morning I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to face the day with no regrets.

I do not typically do affiliate stuff. It’s just not my thing. But this is something I really want to share because it works and I feel very passionate about it. Otherwise, I would not be here talking about it.

If you are in need of a change in your life — it could be anything from needing to exercise more to losing weight and anything your heart desires in between — and are ready and willing to put in the work, this program is for you. Unlike my “morning after” you will have no regrets. (Click on image below to get started — you’ll be glad you did)

The Empowerment Experience

229 Minutes

That’s how long I was sitting in line to get tested for Covid-19 this past Saturday. 229 minutes. For those of you who don’t feel like doing the calculation, or if you’re like me and are not good at third grade math or just don’t have the ability to run numbers in your head as quickly as Sir Isaac Newton, that computes to three hours and forty-nine minutes.

Nearly four hours to receive a covid test. It takes less time to run the Boston marathon. Or to take a round trip flight to Wisconsin from New York. But don’t take a trip because we are in a pandemic. You probably shouldn’t do any marathons either. This pandemic is a killjoy.

I could have saved myself four hours

Long story short, I wanted to be tested because Friday night I felt like I was coming down with a cold and woke up Saturday morning congested and headachy and exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that renders you incapable of doing anything outside of rolling over.

I also had a dream that a friend’s cat was talking to me.

I know many people who came down with the dreaded ‘rona and it started out the exact same way…cold-like symptoms and weird dreams.

Unfortunately, there was not one single appointment at a local walk-in clinic or pharmacy inside of 72 hours and my PCP doesn’t have weekend hours. My only option was one of those places you see on the news where the cars snake around for what seems like miles.

Every time I see this madness on the evening news I am astounded. It always reminds me of one of those apocalyptic movies where people are trying to get out of dodge en masse. I swore that would never be me. But there I was. Stuck in a line of cars, but without an apocalypse or zombie to be had.

What does one do for four hours while deliberately waiting for someone to shove a ten-inch Q-tip up your nostrils?

In my case, I spent an hour talking on the phone with my parents, did a little Facebook scrolling, texted some friends complaining about the injustice of it all, and enjoyed a little people watching.

In 229 minutes I saw a car overheat and get towed away, I saw a man walk up the long line of cars with a red gas can. Not sure if he was selling gas or if he just simply ran out. But darn. That’s not a bad side gig.

I myself only had a quarter of a tank of gas leftover from when I filled my car in September, so it could happen. There are stranger things. I mean, I was willingly waiting in line for 229 minutes to have my brain tickled. Saturdays sure aren’t what they used to be.

Where was I? Oh yeah, people watching.

I watched the teenager in the car in front of me get out of the vehicle, walk down the hill, and come back with food an hour later.

I saw a man get food delivered to his car. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that. I was so hungry by the end of this, I was close to exiting my vehicle and start grazing on the fir tree to my right.

I did panic a bit when I realized that if I had to go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t be able to. Turns out there was a bathroom at the three hour mark, but it also turns out there was a note on the door. Not sure what it said because I couldn’t see from my vantage point, but my guess is it wasn’t, “Welcome all who could potentially be infected with the Covid-19 virus, please come on in and sit a spell so you can continue to spread your germs all over the universe.”

After three hours, one of the nice volunteers came up to my car to scan my online registration, thanked me profusely for doing so, and stuck a Post-It note on my windshield with my test number. She told me I was almost there with “only” about another hour to go.

When I got close enough to see the front of the line, I started timing how long it took for one vehicle to get through the actual testing area — anywhere from a minute and a half to two minutes. When I pulled up, I was done in well under a minute.

In other words, register online for these things if you can, people. It will save a lot of time for everyone.

The lady who administers the test and looks as if she is going to do a mold remediation on you instead of a simple nose swab, greeted me with what I could gather was a smile on her face even though she was working her butt off in the wind and cold all alone to test 400 people. I appreciate her.

But I wouldn’t blame her one bit if she lost her mind and ended up shoving that Q-tip all the way to the temporal lobe and killed us all. Wow. That took a turn. I’ve been watching too much Netflix. Maybe Disney Channel would be a better choice.

The Verdict: The specimen that was collected from the deep recesses of my face on the end of that ten inch Q-tip has determined I am Covid-19 negative. Should have done the cover test (see meme above).

COVID-19 Random Thoughts – Self-Quarantine Day 7

I thought I was done talking about this, but I’m not. I’m never done talking about anything. Just ask my family and friends. I bet it takes all the energy they have to not throw tomatoes at me during a movie. I feel the need to give commentary even when not wanted. Or needed. Is that the same thing?

Today my day started with making a smoothie and putting a wooden spoon into the running blender. A friend suggested I strain the wood-splintered smoothie, which I proceeded to do…right into the sink. How was your day?

So, here goes my Coronavirus Random Brain Dump:

  • Most restaurants and bars are shutting down across the entire country. Think about the enormity of that. People aren’t gathering anywhere (except Florida beaches but I don’t want to talk about it). It probably hasn’t been this quiet since Columbus didn’t discover America.
  • Less cars on the road equals better air quality. Less pollution. Less gas being used. Less mileage. Longer car life. Has anyone seen the pictures from Venice? Soon enough the Hudson River will be safe enough to drink from. I mean, I know Venice doesn’t have cars. Potato Potawto.
  • Toilet paper is something I will never again take for granted as long as I live. At least until September, anyway. If I run out of it, I don’t know what I’ll do. Wiping my backside with moss really doesn’t do it for me. Growing mushrooms out of there isn’t a trend I would be too keen on participating in. Mushrooms may be hard to find right now, but I’ll take my chances.
  • This event is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I have been feeling squirrelly since day two. Please send help. Just send it in a hazmat suit.
  • I’m getting so conditioned at practicing social distancing that when I see characters on television hugging or standing close in a group, I scream at the screen, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SIX FEET, PEOPLE! SIX FEET!!!”
  • I haven’t seen this many kids outside playing and riding their bikes since I was twelve.
  • I think I have tennis elbow by repetitively looking at Coronavirus memes on my smartphone.
  • I really hope the virus outbreaks shrink as much as my pores have from not having an opportunity to wear makeup.
  • If I don’t start shaving my legs soon, there WILL be mushrooms growing. Moss not needed.

That’s about it for today. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do what they are doing on TV. Or in Fort Lauderdale. For the love of God, practice social distancing. Thank you and have a nice day.

Friday the 13th Part XII: The Coronavirus

The shelves are empty. People are fighting over a roll of toilet paper. Schools are closing. Events are being cancelled. Businesses are locking their doors.

It almost feels like we are hunkering down for the blizzard of the century. And it’s not limited to my little part of the country. It’s everywhere and widespread. The entire world is in on this.

The…Entire…World.

Only it’s not a snowstorm. It’s a really bad “B” movie with zombies and aliens, and we can’t get away. As the wise Pat Benetar once said, “got nowhere to run, got nowhere to hide.”

You can’t trust anyone. People are feeling crazy, losing their minds. The National Guard has been called into some areas. They have shut down roads. People are quarantined — not allowed out, not allowed in. There’s mass hysteria. There are no supplies to speak of because we were fools and didn’t listen to the “Doomsdayers.” And to top things off, it all came to a head on Friday the 13th in the United States. The only thing we’re missing is Jason.

Random Jason pic and random mask pic from Google. Creds for putting them together goes to The Kid.

Except it’s not a movie. It’s real life and we’re all living it. Although there are no zombies, there are aliens. And it comes in the form of a virus.

I have washed my hands so much the skin is peeling off. I haven’t touched my face in so long that I forget what my face feels like. If I accidentally touch a door handle with so much as my pinky finger, I get completely disgusted. I run to the nearest sink or hand sanitizing station before I do anything else. Repeat ten thousand times in what seems like a ten minute period because people touched the sink. See the problem?

I’m usually not an alarmist when it comes to this stuff. I really am typically not that fearful. Hell, if I didn’t have a husband with asthma, I might take advantage of the $65 round trip flight to sunny Florida.

But I do have a husband with asthma and there are people out there who don’t have strong immune systems. We also have to worry about our elderly. Therefore, we need to act responsibly. I need to act responsibly. Even though acting responsibly is just about one of my least favorite things to do.

Although at times this all seems a bit extreme, I will order my *groceries online, make sure I have enough wine to last through an apocalypse, and remain calm.

Are you calm? I’m calm. Oh, where did I leave that damn cork screw?

*I tried to order my groceries online except there was a week-long waiting period for a delivery. Instead, I weathered “the storm” and was able to get what I needed. I had to leave the house before the sun was up and be amongst the zombis…err, other people…but I survived. Well, maybe. I won’t really know for another 14 days.




A Year With Not Your Average Fitness

One year ago today, I wasn’t exercising at all, I was lazy, and a major couch potato. I was the textbook definition of that word that I hate most: Sedentary.

My flexibility was so bad I would wonder how I was going to do something as simple as push myself up from a sitting position. Time and time again I put off going to the gym in favor of going home and relaxing because I had a bad day and “deserved” it.

I drank something alcoholic every single night of my life and woke up every single morning groggy and with a bad attitude. I basically didn’t care about anything. I wasn’t depressed, but I wasn’t happy either.

I ate all kinds of bad crap. I hardly ever ate a vegetable. I suffered from high cholesterol and terrific heartburn, but I didn’t seem to care. I liked to eat and dammit I ate what I wanted with the reckless abandon of a teenage boy. My weight was the highest it had ever been and was climbing.

I fought with my closet every morning over what to wear, which inevitably made me late for work. I never packed a lunch, prepped a dinner ahead of time, and more often than not I’d go to the grocery store with a list in my head and not on paper. That never ended well and often required me to hit the store again because I forgot something.

I had no good habits. I never wrote which is something I adore. I was addicted to my phone and social media and would choose that over doing something else that I adored: Reading.

I never planned a thing in my life. I flew by the seat of my pants because that’s the kind of person I said I was. The problem is, it didn’t work for me.

A year later I exercise and stretch consistently. I wake up early to do yoga most mornings. I eat right and track my food. I have developed so many habits that not only work for me but have helped to improve the quality of my life that include simple things like packing a gym and lunch bag and picking out my clothes the night before.

I plan out my exercise and meals. I even plan out when I’m going to write and read. I go to bed early to be sure to get a good sleep and wake up before the sun comes up with no problem.

When I think back to that girl I was a year ago, I feel bad for her. I no longer think of exercise as a chore but something I actually look forward to. It’s something I do to improve my life, my flexibility, my mind, and my body. My mindset has changed from being irritated that I need to exercise to wondering how I could ever not do it.

In the past year I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol, and have controlled the terrific heartburn. I have learned about self care and how important it is. Today, I almost want to say, “I don’t even know who this person is.” But I know who this person is. It’s ME. It’s who I always was. I was just bogged down with negative thinking, laziness, self doubt, and no self control.

Is it perfect all the time? No. I’m human. But the difference is now I just pick up and continue on. Instead of throwing it out the window and starting again “on Monday.” Or worse yet, “next month.”

But I did not do this alone. I joined a fitness group online. This group of amazing women, run by a badass instructor, helped me to achieve what I thought was unattainable.

You should join me in the war to combat unhealthy living. It’s really pretty awesome. I would not be here saying this if I didn’t see with my own eyes what it did for me.

You don’t have to be a mom or even have young kids still at home. It turns out, that was really just an excuse for me to not take care of myself. Being an empty nester for 3+ years didn’t change my attitude.

Until now.

I’m sharing because we all deserve to take better care of ourselves. Also, the deal is amazing. And no one loves a good deal more than I do. Also, I’m cheap as they come, just ask DH.

The next course begins on January 13, but the cart is open now.

So, who’s in? (Click the link below for more information)

https://susie-johnson.mykajabi.com/a/20946/boTVei32

Who Even IS Luke Bryan?

Yesterday after work I went to the gym like I do and I saw a friend down there exercising. I went over to talk to her and in the process, lost an end of the rubber earpiece thing that attaches to my earbud.

I dropped to my knees frantic to find it. I retraced my steps all the way back to the locker room. I wasted a good ten minutes of exercise time because I was desperate not to listen to the music the gym was playing — country.

If you know me, you know I am the absolute opposite of a country fan. I would rather listen to Ben Stein on repeat for a month straight than be forced to listen to country music.

Unless it’s old school like Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline. Does this make me a hypocrite? I think not. There is a VAST difference between yesterday’s country and today’s. There just is, so don’t try to fight me on this.

Most people in my life enjoy the stuff. I have countless friends who love it. DH’s family — every single blessed one of them — seem to only listen to it. It is on every one of their car radios, and playing at every single bleeping family event.

A few years ago, two of my sisters-in-laws and a couple nieces even drove me to Tennessee in the hopes of a massive conversion. It was country music everywhere, all the time, for a week straight.

Did it help?

No. In fact, I believe it pushed me even further away. Which is as possible as pigs sprouting wings.

I know what you’re thinking. Especially those of you who love the stuff and can’t see where I’m coming from or are insulted by my little anti-country music rant.

You’re thinking, “Suck it up buttercup. Everyone else likes it, so you need to join the club.” And to that I would ask the question my dear parents bestowed upon me every single time I wanted to do what everyone else was doing.

If you told me to jump off the Brooklyn bridge, would I?

No, I would not. Because I know jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge would most likely kill me. And so would listening to country music.

After enlisting the help of my friend and the gym trainer, it couldn’t be found. Finally, I threw my hands up in the air and gave in. I wasn’t going to go home because I couldn’t listen to my own music. I wasn’t going to abandon my daily workout because I was going to be forced to listen to Today’s Country. No.

I had to put on my big girl spurs and get to doing my thing.

There are two types of people in the gym: the ones who workout to the music de jour. And the ones who listen to their own music. I never understood how anyone can workout without their own theme songs, but who am I to judge? It’s what makes the world go ’round, right?

To each his own.

One thing I discovered about myself yesterday was that music is a very large part of setting myself up for the energy and the motivation to exercise and to exercise hard.

Was my workout up to par yesterday? No. I was cranky and severely annoyed. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t feel like exercising. I did it, but I wasn’t happy. I even got off my elliptical 1.3 minutes sooner than usual because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Also, the blood running out of my ears was making a mess.

I have gotten to a really good place in my relationship with the gym the last few months. I have worked hard to create a habit that I actually enjoy. I have worked hard to get to a point where when I enter the gym, I don’t curse, make ugly faces, and sigh deeply over the fact that my body — inside and out — isn’t perfect and that I even have to spend my time doing this thing called “exercise” at all.

You know, kinda like the fact that spinach and brussel sprouts can’t taste like Big Macs and donuts.

My earpiece thingy may be lost forever, but I will replace it, cement it where it belongs, and never, EVER be without my own music again whilst at the gym.

And if there is a freak incident and it does happen again? I will have a back-up. On top of a back-up. On top of a back-up. On top of a…get my point?

The Gym Bag Blues

Have you ever embarrassed yourself so badly that you aren’t sure how you can ever recover? For me, there are too many such moments to count. But my most recent incident makes me either want to put a bag over my head or lock myself in the bathroom for life.

Dramatic? I think not.

I started making exercise a habit of mine earlier this year. It was a New Year’s Resolution that actually stuck (I also joined this amazing online course that helped to seriously motivate me, so I can’t take all the credit).

As a woman in her 50s, I was really starting to see and feel things happening to my body that I did not want to see and feel. Bingo wings and a behind that practically hits the back of my knees are just two examples of phenomena that have occurred.

Add in tight hips, pain in my lower back, and the inability to stand up from a sitting position on the floor. The latter makes me want to give up and stay there until I die because it would take less time.

After a year with my current place of employment, I finally started taking serious advantage of the free gym. I am now an active member and go just about every single work day.

Note to self #1: when you go to the gym nearly every single work day for nine months, you might want to make sure your gym bag AND gym clothes are fresh.

I started noticing my gym bag was a little ripe a couple months ago. I thought it was my sneakers, so I started throwing them into a plastic bag. Problem fixed?

No.

And then I realized something.

It wasn’t my sneakers.

What happens to clothes that you hard-core sweat in almost everyday? They start to take on a life of their own. I wish I could be one of those cute, perky girls who barely breaks a sweat and when she does, she still smells good.

But I’m not.

I stink when I perspire hard. It doesn’t matter how much deodorant or body spray or baby powder I use.

Last Wednesday (I remember the exact day because I have PTSD) I pulled my workout clothes from my bag and oh.my.dear.god. The odor that hit my nose was akin to something the cat dragged in.

But because I really wanted to get in a workout I put them on — against my better judgement — and went and did my thing.

Note to self #2: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT turn on the wall fan that is behind you when you know you smell like Fluffy’s latest conquest.

After about 20 minutes on the elliptical, the man on the machine in front of me turned around and gave me a look. Then it hit me. About as hard as it hit that poor guy.

People could smell me. After about another two minutes, he moved along. The paranoia in me was running deep. I stuck my face down into my shirt and inhaled. Even though I already knew. I knew like I know my own name.

Note to self #3: If your own stench makes your toes curl, then you’ve got a problem, Houston.

I finished my workout and high-tailed it out of there, although it was a little too late.

I should have gone home as soon as I took those clothes out of my bag. These are people I see in the halls at work.

All.the.time.

Needless to say, I spent the better part of last weekend de-stinking my gym clothes, gym bag, and sneakers. Although I feel more confident I won’t smell too badly anymore, I’m afraid I have stained my reputation (pardon the pun).

It’s too late for me, but it may be not too late for you. Below are some tips to stay fresh as a daisy, although you most likely have more common sense than a goldfish than I do:

  1. Hang your workout clothes to dry after the gym. Because putting them into a hamper wet is just asking for it and is the beginning of all your problems.
  2. Speaking of hampers, keep these clothes in a separate one. Or a bucket. Or the garbage. Burning them is also an option.
  3. Before you wash them, turn them inside out. For obvious reasons. I, apparently, am not familiar with Captain Obvious.
  4. Do not put them in the dryer ever. Heat + Odors = Disaster.
  5. Wash them with a 1/2 cup of vinegar sometimes. Vinegar, the Miracle Liquid. Good for everything from a sore throat to washing your windows.
  6. Wash your gym clothes separately from all your other clothes, in cold water, and detergent specifically made for said clothes. This is not the occasion to try to save time. Or water. Or electricity. Or soap. This activity will not help to reduce your carbon footprint. But it is reducing pollution, so take your pick.
  7. Store your sneakers in a bag that is vented, hanging from the outside of your gym bag. That person walking by you will not appreciate it, but he will just have to take one for the team now won’t he?
  8. Drop a couple dryer sheets in your gym bag. By a couple, I mean fifty.
  9. Spray your sneakers with some kind of odor refreshing spray. I picked up Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X. The can is already half empty and I bought it three days ago.
  10. Repeat all of the above for as long as you live or suffer the consequences.

So, my friends, there you have it. Some words of wisdom from the apparent not so wise. I had ten ways to get it right, and I didn’t even get one. I was never a good test taker.

Now go live long and prosper, exercise almost everyday, and stay odor-free. If you can’t stay odor-free, just don’t turn on the wall fan.

A Bloody Apocalypse

Did you ever have a nose bleed that was so intense you were sure you were going to bleed to death?

Last week I had nine such nose bleeds. This whole bloody nose thing started around the beginning of the year. It started out slow and steady, but was getting worse. It seemed to be a growing trend in my life. One that was very unwelcome.

Last Wednesday I was taking an exercise class during my lunch break. I felt a little something running down my nose, but I thought it was, you know, snot. Because that happens when I exercise a little too hard sometimes.

It was not snot. And before I knew it I painted my little section of floor with the red stuff. It’s amazing how bright it looks under those fluorescent lights.

It was gross. Not to mention embarrassing. The nurse’s office happens to be in the same area as the gym, so I decided to take a walk over. My thinking was she could give me some tips on how to stop it.

She reached into her drawer, pulled out two tampons, and shoved them up my nostrils. Just like that. I remember making a comment that I hadn’t used a tampon in years, and then I laughed and laughed at the absurdity of it.

It took forty-five minutes for the flow to stop. Apparently, the old-fashioned way of tilting your head back is a no-no. Something about giving you an upset stomach.

The nurse also mentioned something about drowning. That certainly would be an interesting obituary.

I find the old-fashioned way to be much more controllable and less time-consuming. If I were to tilt my head back, that bad boy would have ended in a short few minutes.

Credit goes to The Kid for making this picture a little less disgusting for your viewing pleasure.

But who am I to go against modern medicine? And besides, drowning is one of my biggest fears.

The problem was the dear nurse wanted to call an ambulance. Visions of me laying on a gurney with two bloody tampons sticking out of my nose, being wheeled through the corridors of my place of employment in front of all my colleagues put a fear in me so deep I had to revert to begging.

She must have felt bad for me because she eventually backed off with the ambulance threat. But she did make me call my physician, who was none too happy to be pulled away from a patient so she could tell me to call an ENT.

Duh. Ears, Nose, Throat. “Nose” being the operative word here.

I finally made it back to my desk and called the ENT, but was forced to leave a message. Eh. That’s ok. Maybe it wouldn’t happen again. Dumb thought, seeing that this is a growing trend, not a descending one.

Except it did happen again. The following night. That time it took over an hour for the flow to stop. After I spit out a blood clot the size of a newborn puppy, I decided it was time to do something about it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I lost enough blood that week alone to save a small army of really big men.

I was able to get in to see the Nose doctor from the ENT establishment. One quick look up my left nostril confirmed what I never even thought of — I had a broken blood vessel. I’ll be honest with you, visions of something dark danced through my head. Because that’s just how I roll. Yet another instance of when I started to plan out my funeral prematurely.

Interesting fact: Only 6% of the 60% of people who experience nosebleeds, suffer from a broken blood vessel. I’m not sure if I should play the lotto or lock myself in a padded closet.

I am not ashamed to admit I was a tad nervous about the procedure. I felt my blood pressure start to rise. I told myself that I gave birth naturally, so this would be a walk in the park. But the good doctor put some numbing solution up my nose, and carefully got to work with repairing the broken vessel, making it as painless and comfortable as possible.

Ten minutes and $900 something later, I was good as new. You know, if it took. Because sometimes “it doesn’t always take.” Perfect.

Before I left, he told me not to blow my nose, exercise, or really exert myself in any way for a few days. He also explained what to do in the case of another bloody nose.

You know, in case that $900 procedure didn’t take.

“Pinch the nostrils and lean forward.” Which prompted this conversation:

Me: What about tampons? That’s what I’ve been using.

Doc: Sure. You can put cotton up there. That’ll work.

Me: No, I mean tampons.

Doc:

Me:

Doc: You mean, as in vaginal?

Me: Uhh, yeah.

Doc: Oh, ok. So, you split them in half first. Sure, that does the job.

Me: No, actually. The entire thing. I put the entire thing in my nostril.

Doc: (jaw on floor)

And that is how I taught my doctor a new trick. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m thinking I should get at least some of my money back. I mean, that was a pretty good tip. Even if it really came from the work nurse. But I won’t tell her, if you don’t.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday. I’m not shy about telling my age. I was never one of those people who felt the need to lie about it. I don’t judge you if you do, it’s just not my thing.

At the writing of this post, I turned fifty-two precisely seven days, one hour, and twenty-seven minutes ago (my mother makes sure to remind me of the exact moment I entered this world, giving me as many gory details as she possibly can short of an actual reenactment).

I’m also not gonna lie and say I embrace my age. I think I’ve gotten better over the last few years about it, but I’m not quite there. I’m not sure I ever will be. I mean, how do you embrace something that keeps going up, instead of down? Unless we’re talking about the stock market?

The last time I checked, going up in this case means we are just closer to death. I know that sounds morbid, and it is. I have been worried about it since I was a kid. My obsession with time and it’s uncanny ability to move forward like a pig with its tail on fire is probably as healthy as telling Mike Tyson his tattoo is stupid.

I know it’s “just a number,” “you are as old as you feel,” and “it’s better than the alternative.” And for the most part I agree with all of it. Except the part where I’m fifty-two. And, well, getting older.

Heck, I should appreciate the fact I wasn’t a woman living in the 19th century. I’d be at the end of my life by now. If that doesn’t scare me, then nothing will.

Except my age.

Might I remind you Luke Perry died last month from a massive stroke. He was fifty-two like me. He didn’t get run over by a bus, or was in a plane crash. He didn’t suffer for months or years from cancer. He had a stroke. At fifty-two years old. And it’s freaking me out.

I feel bad for my physician. I’m a handful as it is already. I know she must not look very forward to my annual visit, which is in two weeks. My list is as long as Santa’s naughty list of things that bother me, and what I think they may be. Self-diagnoses is what I do best, even though I’m always wrong.

These days I do feel pretty good though. I’ve recently tried reversing the aging process as best I can without actual surgery or costly procedures. I’ve started using toner on my face, drinking less wine, and exercising.

Actual exercising. Like, going to the gym, putting on one of the only pairs of Lululemon leggings I own, and building up a sweat. Because everything is better in a pair of Lululemon leggings. My daughter said so.

I do worry about having a heart attack while exercising, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take for better health and a longer life. Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t even push my baby out of my body too hard for fear of having a brain aneurism. See how I’m growing?

So, Happy Birthday to me. Maybe next year I’ll look forty-five, feel thirty-five, and act fifteen.

I have the fifteen part down pretty pat. But I’m hoping that toner takes effect pretty soon so I’ll at least be able to say, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

I’ll let you know in eleven months, twenty-two days, and sixteen hours.

It Could Have Been the Bubonic Plague

I don’t really get sick. The last time I had a cold, which was actually pneumonia, was back in 2008 when my father-in-law passed away. Imagine having to mourn the loss of your beloved FIL while also having to stand vertically in a suit, and heels, to attend funeral services and all that goes along with it, for hours on end? Good times.

The last time I had a stomach bug is not even registered in my memory banks. When The Kid was little and brought home whatever ailment-of-the-week was from her school, I never got it. (There was the incident in Turks & Caicos, but I blame that on the water.)

So, when DH became sick last Sunday night with something that very much resembled the stomach flu, I had no fear. My confidence was in overdrive and although I probably should have stayed away, I didn’t.

Little did I know, it was too late. There was something akin to the Grim Reaper already lurking in the background.

But more on that in a minute.

As I left for work Monday morning, I asked how he was and what I could get for him because you know, I would be fine and could stop by the store for soup or Gatorade or Lysol on my way home.

Hell, I could even stop into the local Mexican restaurant for Chimichangas and double shots of Margaritas. I was feeling that cocky.

But by evening, my confidence had started to wane. There would be no Mexican restaurant stop, and although I was hungry for the leftover enchiladas in my fridge, throwing up is NOT my favorite pastime. I had enough smarts to know if I put that in my stomach it may be coming up in a short few hours. And it wouldn’t be pretty.

That was my strategy. If I didn’t eat at all and let the salad I had at noon be the only thing in my gastrointestinal tract, surely that all would have digested by then so there would be nothing to worry about.

Except somehow, no matter how much you starve or dehydrate yourself there is always something that will come out of some orifice somewhere.

And it will continue to come out until pigs fly. Which means forever. 

At one point I feared for my life. At least hourly for the next twelve hours I was awakened by a rumbling and a strange suspicion that I was about to resemble a human volcano.

I managed to text my boss at 6AM saying there was nothing that could make me get out of bed.

Except diarrhea.

By noon, I had started to feel better. I even made myself some rye toast and applesauce (half of the BRAT diet…the old Dr. Mom comes out on occasion), and sat up to watch some television.

I couldn’t wait to get back into the office the next day. There is nothing worse than feeling anything less than human.

Except at about 6PM on Tuesday, I started to feel a little feverish. Then within minutes I was shivering so badly I nearly shimmied myself off the couch. With a quick temp check — something I haven’t done for myself since I was about twelve — it seemed I had spiked a fever of 102.

So, now I sit here writing this on Wednesday, four pounds lighter, because I feel pretty good. I’m definitely back to feeling human and I’m looking forward to getting dressed and actually looking human as well.

I’m not really sure what my point is, except getting a good virus sure does make you realize how often we take our good health for granted. I swear I will never take it for granted again.

Until next week, of course.

And as for those four pounds? You can guarantee they will find their way back home by the end of Thursday.

Edited to add: It is now Monday — one full week later. And to answer your question, yes. Those four pounds found their way home. They must have left a breadcrumb trail. They sure do think of everything.