Paging Dr. Pinterest

I’m joining in with Mama Kat this week about things I’ve pinned on Pinterest and then ACTUALLY DONE! Yeah, with my Pinterest boards that’s like one in a thousand, because I pin a million different brilliant things and then forget I’ve pinned them. It’s actually supposed to be about crafts and recipes this week, but I’ll have more than enough of those posts to come. These are about health.

I’ve been trying really hard to use my health care dollars more efficiently and to not use antibiotics at all unless I absolutely need them. A month on broad-spectrum antibiotics by mouth and through an IV at home would convince anyone antibiotics are nothing to be taken lightly. Neither are steroids, pain medications, or anti-inflammatories. I’m not a doctor and not trying to diagnose anything or dispense medical advice, but these are all things that were worth a 24 hour trial for me. All worked and saved money, discomfort, and time.

URINARY TRACT INFECTION:

I’m a fifty-year-old woman who has birthed two children. I’ve worked as a nurse for over twenty years, and gone many a twelve-hour shift without stopping to empty my bladder (let alone eat a meal). I know when I have a UTI. So when I called my primary care doctor’s office, told them I had a UTI, listed all my symptoms, and asked to have an antibiotic called in I was insulted to be told I’d have to make an appointment to see the doctor. Really? I was feeling compassionate that day, so I offered to compromise. “How about I come over and pee in a cup for the nurse practitioner?” I asked. Nope, not an option. So I set up an appointment for the next day. Men rarely get UTIs, but if they did you’d better believe their staff would call in prescriptions. Even the most timid would have patients come in immediately and work them in quickly. Dr. Pinterest, on the other hand, suggested a dose of Alka-seltzer 3 times a day until symptoms are relieved. Evidently it changes the pH of the urine and kills off the virus. I cancelled my appointment, and couldn’t help but be a bit smug about it. Anyway, it saved me a co-pay and a prescription I really couldn’t afford and I never had to leave home. YAY!

SORE THROAT:

We’ve had nasty viruses going around this winter, and allergies are still acting up because the weather is so unpredictable here in Kentucky. My husband and youngest son both had sore throats, but did not appear to have Strep. Dr. Pinterest to the rescue! They gargled with mouthwash and peroxide and perked right up. No antibiotics, no long wait and large co-pay at the Immediate Care Center on the weekend.

NOSEBLEED:

This one I learned the hard way (pre-Pinterest). A heavy nosebleed that won’t stop is controlled by Neosynephrine spray in the affected nostril and pressure (thumb and index finger) just where the nostrils divide. I paid $250 for that.

WASP STINGS:

Ground wasps can take over small holes made by moles, chipmunks, and other unappealing creatures. The only way to know they have done so is to mow over or walk over an opening. My husband was allergic to bee stings as a child, so when he came in covered with stings I was frantic. I ran out to see what we were dealing with, and got stung all over. I immediately gave my husband benadryl and made him sit beside me while I hit Pinterest. Soon we were using plastic cards to swipe the stingers out (try them in both directions), and then pressing thick onion slices to each and every sting. We didn’t even swell. Thanks, Pinterest!

HICCUPS:
Here’s my own Pinterest tip: a no-fail cure for hiccups a patient taught to me when I was a young nurse. Hiccups can be quite dangerous for people who have recently had major surgery or who have chronic lung disease.

Why Ash Wednesday Falls When It Does

Ash Wednesday is March 1st this year. For those readers who really don’t care about when Ash Wednesday or Easter fall this year (or any year) this may come in handy someday as cocktail party chatter. For others, It’s a menu-planning guide, a social calendar, and a second chance at behavior modification if that whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing didn’t go so well. There are actually two calculations that are used to create Ash Wednesday.

In 325 A.D. the Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox. In practice, that means that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21. Easter can occur as early as March 22. We know that Easter must always occur on a Sunday because Sunday was the day of Christ’s Resurrection. But why the paschal full moon? Because that was the date of Passover in the Jewish calendar, and the Last Supper (Holy Thursday) occurred on the Passover. Therefore, Easter was the Sunday after Passover.

Then there is the length of Lent. From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have desired to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection at Easter through a period of fasting and prayer that mirrors the forty days that Christ spent in the desert at the beginning of His ministry. But there was one little hitch: Because Sunday is the day of Christ’s Resurrection, from the time of the Apostles on fasting has been forbidden on Sunday.

We’ve whittled it down over the years in our culture to mean “no meat on Fridays, and give up something for Lent”. So most people give up sweets, alcohol, TV, or whatever. Then they go to a big fish-fry on Friday nights! Lent is kind of a party season where I live. Every Friday night the lines at all seafood restaurants are out the door, and churches that have fish-frys are bombarded, and the neighbors complain their driveways are blocked.

But Lent isn’t really another chance to give up something bad for you. It’s an opportunity to do penance for your sins. Of course children, the elderly, the ill, and pregnant women are excluded. Since my conversion to Catholicism as an adult I’ve given up something different every year. The hardest year was when I gave up novels. I detest non-fiction. Within a week I was all twitchy and reading shampoo bottles. Seriously. I’d see a novel by an author I liked on a patient’s bedside table and the doctor I was rounding with had to practically drag me out of the room. But I realized how much time I spent reading fiction.

This year I’m pulling out the big guns. I’m fasting for the forty days of Lent. I will take dietary supplements, but I will only consume liquids. I have a lot to atone for this year. Ask anyone. “Sweet Angie” has been in hibernation. I’m being honest, authentic, genuine with everyone. That means no filter. I suspect it comes from being in constant pain that only increases as the years pass. And probably the stress of being a breadwinner who hasn’t won any bread in several years and is thereby only a financial liability to everyone I care about.

So if you want an honest answer about anything I’m the person to ask. Just check with my pharmacy and my primary care doc’s office. Someone dropped the ball, and I really didn’t care who. I just wanted the massive dose of blood pressure medication I’d been without all weekend called in and filled before I had a stroke. I got that accomplished, but not without multiple phone calls and me spending my entire day in bed.

There are wonderful things coming up this spring! My granddaughter will be born in April, my youngest child will graduate high school in May, and sooner or later I’ll get a hearing with a judge and hopefully I won’t have to worry about keeping a roof over our heads or keeping the power and water on!

So when I get ashes Wednesday it will be a symbol of me giving myself over to God. I will fast and I will pray. Pray More Novenas will be sending out a prayer daily if you don’t have one planned. I’ll be praying for my family this year. They are undergoing a lot of change. Positive change, but change nonetheless. And change is stressful. This Lent, make a positive change for yourself!

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A Week of Wonderful

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— 1 —

I’ll be finishing up the Our Lady of Lourdes novena tomorrow. It’s one I say every year. The darkness of winter around here needs as many reminders of miracles as possible, and there’s certainly no shortage of people for whom to pray.

— 2 —

I just got home from playing with a couple of the sweetest little boys ever – I look forward to Friday nights all week! Tonight we watched come cute songs with animation on YouTube. The very first was “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee”, which took me straight back to Aaron’s daycare and pre-school years. I can see his sweet face with his little-boy haircut like it was yesterday, even though he’s a grown-up web designer with a baby girl due in 10 weeks or so. He liked the verse about smashing the bumblebee best, of course. Both my boys got my dark sense of humor!

— 3 —

Aaron’s expertise was a huge blessing earlier this week when my blog was hacked. I was beside myself because the hacker had replaced my post (a book review) with his vulgar political one and changed my password so I couldn’t log in. Aaron had set himself up a login for my blog as well as a way to access my entire computer remotely while he was in college, so it was evidently a quick fix for him. I would almost surely have had a stroke without both him and my original blog designer talking me out of my tree!

— 4 —

My younger son, John, performed with his high school’s Jazz Band this week. I wasn’t there, but my husband got great video of John’s performance, and I was incredibly impressed and proud when I watched! It’s a good thing we have a studio in the basement – I think it’s going to see more and more action. They had a guest performer – a member of the Air Force’s Band of the Golden West on baritone sax. If you’ve never seen an Air Force Band perform let me assure you: they really are the best of the best. And this guy loved John. He even high-fived him over the drum set after the song where the baritone sax was featured. That is a #proudmom moment!

— 5 —

While John was performing I was at a surprise party – for me! Three of my closest friends and I met for dinner (as we do periodically), but this time we celebrated me turning fifty (I showed off my celebratory navel ring), being an expectant grandmother, and working with these wonderful ladies for twenty-five years! The company I was working for when I was unable to return to work after my fourth spinal surgery because of constant, severe pain still considers me to be on Medical Leave of Absence, and will do so until I can finally get in front of a judge and be officially declared disabled. This means I can purchase insurance for myself and my family for the same price as if I were still working full-time. It’s hard to believe a company in this day and age could be that compassionate, but they have been. They even gave me a twenty-five year award, which I never would have expected. It was an emotional evening for me.

— 6 —

John got his official admission letter from the University of Louisville, so our next step is applying for housing. We get a discount on that deposit, thank God, but we still need to put together some money to get it done ASAP. I’m wading through possible scholarships and forwarding the best matches to John for application, and we have our fingers crossed we’ll get news soon about a really big one! John’s school counselor has been a huge help – there have been many times I’d have been completely lost without her input and suggestions. Keep us in your prayers, please!

— 7 —

I’ve gotten a little addicted to Hometalk, a daily email with several Pinterest-focused DIY/crafty projects. I’m going to have to stop cold-turkey, though. I was already really over anything that involved empty cans, empty TP rolls, or plastic cups or bottles. Then I saw an “upcycle” where someone had turned a bookshelf into a bar cart. Ponder that for a moment. If someone needs a bar cart more than a bookshelf they need to take a long, hard look at their life and their priorities. I need to take some time and better organize my Pinterest boards anyway. I discovered Pinterest early and never realized how huge it would get, so I have categories with names like “Good Ideas” and “Maybe”. Yikes.

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