Ready or not, here it comes

Image from liver.stanford.edu

The time has arrived: My parents are moving to San Francisco in a couple of weeks so my mom can get her liver transplant. The news is great but overwhelming.

The docs basically told her she needs to get down there ASAP because her cancer tumors are growing and spreading throughout her liver (at least it’s not going beyond her liver). At they rate they’re growing, she’s at risk for not qualifying for the transplant at all if she waits much longer.

Rather than waiting in Washington to hear if they found her a match, the docs said coming to San Fran now will increase her chances of getting a liver faster. She just returned from a check-up in San Fran last night and has plans to be down there again in about two weeks – that is, if her and my dad can get housing arranged. They’ll probably end up living there for three months.

I’m glad they have a bit more notice to move down now – planning a move in two weeks will be way easier than waiting for the call here in WA. If she waits here, she would only have 24 hours to hop a plane, move her life, and get a transplant. It’ll be a little less nerve wracking to drive a few miles to the hospital rather than fly two states over at the drop of a hat.

My sisters and I will wait until my mom gets the call for the transplant before we fly down. I have to admit, this is all sort of surreal. We’ve been talking about this transplant for two and half years. The anticipation has been quite a roller coaster ride. Even though she needs this and it will prolong her life, it’s still scary. I can just tell my parents are overwhelmed with all of the decisions they’ll have to make over the next few weeks. I’m offering to assist however I can. But right now, we’re playing the waiting game.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but San Francisco may save your life.


Writing, Dogs, Easter...yeah

I'm going to see Water for Elephants tonight. This only seemed fitting. Image from here. 
What a beautiful morning! The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I felt obligated to enjoy my cup of jo on my back porch with my dog. He sat at my feet while we both gazed at the beginning of the Cascade mountains. I wish I could wake up that way everyday. Even the most tried and true pacific northwesterners are starting to get a little weary of living in Waterworld. I am more than ready for some sunshine and what a great way to wake up on my extra day off this week!

So a few things to update you on:

- I got bit by a dog again. I'm sick of re-telling the story so I'm just going to leave it at, "Yeah that kinda sucked."

-I won first place for the Washington Press Associations writing contest in the category of Social issues, religion, minority affairs. I wrote a story about man who goes to Ghana each year to do service work. He was so inspiring and totally had a grasp on what his purpose was in life. Writing human interest stories is my passion, and it felt good to get recognized for it. Normally I get stuck with invigorating stories about benefit packages and business initiatives - you know, the ones everyone skips. One of these days, I will make a living where I genuinely care about everything I write. 

-I got picked to write a guest post for my fave blog AndThenSheSaved! I've blogged about this site before, so you should check it out if you haven't already. I found out about it after seeing it featured on CNN. The blog really kept me motivated as I was paying off my credit card debt. Even if you're not struggling with bad spending habits, there are still some great money-saving ideas that anyone could use. It is a true snapshot of our consumerism-obsessed lives as Americans, so you can read it just to satisfy your inner sociologist. 

-My boyfriend and I are hosting our very first holiday dinner! I feel so adult! For Easter, he's cooking a prime rib, and I'm going to help with sides and make an apple cobbler. His parents, aunt, and my grandma and cousin are coming over. I'm excited! I can't wait to have a bigger space so we can host even bigger holiday dinners. One day! 

-Last year, the Easter bunny laid a puppy for us, so I wonder what kind of surprise we'll get this year...hopefully whoppers are involved :)

Anyway, I wish you all a fabulous weekend, and have no life lesson to impart on you today that adequately sums up my schizophrenic update. So with that, I bid you adieu! 


Hips, Crooks and Cash

Trust me - I'm a doctor.
 I just called out my physical therapy office on a billing error and saved myself from paying $250. I love when that happens – unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often enough. Speaking of medical bills, we’re still trying to figure out what the heck is going on with my hip. Yup. STILL.

I’ve had three months of physical therapy, two different kinds of MRIs and a horribly painful Novocaine injection and the doctors are still scratching their heads. Not to mention, even though I have awesome insurance, I’ve already paid at least $600 in out-of-pocket medical expenses for these tests and treatments. What an expensive little experiment they’re doing.

Anyway, the last I heard is that even though I did experience pain with the Novocaine injection (like “I feel the damn needle hitting my hip bone and I’m going to deck you” pain, which later became “I cannot walk it hurts so bad” pain), they still suspect a cartilage tear in my hip joint, though nothing they’ve tried is conclusive.

When the doc gets back from vacation (must be nice) they’re going to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon, who I hope to god figures this out before they start cutting me open for more medical experiments. Didn’t I blog about needing this referral oh…in February? They sure care about their patients being in chronic pain.

Our health care system is full of crooks. Just like our government.

Until then, I’m still hanging onto hopes of being able to run pain-free one day. So far, no one has told me it’s not a possibility.

This week, I began “Operation Be Less Fat” which I can’t say has gone completely well – I baked some oatmeal cookies on Sunday that seem to keep calling my name even when I’m completely full. But I have been consistent in going on long walks with my dog after work. You gotta start somewhere.

Today, I am going to try to hop on the elliptical again to see if that hurts. I’ve gained about 10 pounds and a dress size back since my injury and it totally sucks. Good thing I kept my fat pants.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but god help you if you break or tear anything else.


An Encounter with Shiba Inu Enthusiasts

Prudence's baby photo (found here).

For those that know me (and those that don’t) it’s pretty obvious that I’m crazy about my dog Bowser. I’ve been teased for the organic, grain-free dog food he eats and the abundance of toys you’ll find littered throughout my house. I’ve owned up to being a crazy dog lady.

But I recently met my match.

A few weeks ago, I went to my very first Shiba Inu Enthusiasts Club (I know. Keep laughing.). It’s basically a Shiba Inu play date at a dog park, and nothing more (okay? gawd.). I thought it would be interesting to see how Bowser interacted with his own breed and to see all the cute little Shibas running around. But what I really got was my first taste of true crazy dog people.

Within the first few minutes of being there, one grown Shiba attacked a little puppy Shiba. Bowser was really sweet and went over and started licking the trembling puppy who was hiding underneath a bench.

That’s when the big ring leader of the Shiba clan emerged from her self-imposed throne. She marched over and bitched out the owners of the attacking adult Shiba. First of all, I agree that the dog shouldn’t have bitten the puppy, but what the hell is a 13-week puppy doing at a dog park in the first place? At that age, they’re not even completely vaccinated and could contract all kinds of diseases. They really should be socializing with other puppies or at least dogs their own size.

The ring leader lady, whom I’ll name Prudence, promptly asked the couple to leave and kept saying, “This is no place for aggressive behavior!” When the couple tried to calmly talk to Prudence about it, by saying things like, “I appreciate your comments-“ Prudence only began to yell, “No you don’t! You don’t appreciate anything I’m saying!”

It got really awkward amongst everyone in the park. The couple left with their Shiba and  big Prudence slowly rotated to face the crowd of onlookers. “EXCUSE ME! CAN I GET EVERYONE’S ATTENTION?  THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO CORRECT AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR. WE’RE ALL HERE TO HAVE FUN. I WAS TRYING TO BE SO, SO NICE TO THAT COUPLE AND THEY WERE JUST A COUPLE OF SMART MOUTHS - ”

Smart mouths. As though they were her children. That’s when I stopped listening because Bowser was promptly taking a dump in the corner of the park. These snarky people were totally getting on my nerves.

After that, I was speaking with the owners of the victimized puppy who decided to stay at the dog park while keeping the puppy in their coat. I talked to a few other owners – some seemed nice, others more psychotic than Prudence the ring leader.

I felt like I stepped on to the set of Best in Show, except it was real life. This wasn’t some dog show mockumentary – this was dog owner hell. I left asking myself, “Am I really like that?”

But it gets better. I happened to be leaving at the same time as Prudence who stopped me and said, “Ooooh I like the coloring on your Shiba. What’s his name?”

“Bowser,” I replied. “I like yours too.” Noticing it had an odd, dark patch of hair on its back, I asked, “Oh did your Shiba used to be a bit darker? My dog lightened up a lot after we got him, too.”

“NO. It’s a RED. SHIBA.” Apparently my question stressed her out. Being a bitch really was completely effortless for her.

“What’s his name?” I asked.

She goes, “IT’S. A. SHE. MY SHIBA. IS. A. SHE.” Apparently these questions were just about to send her over the edge.

“Sorry,” I said without meaning it. “What’s HER name?”

I don’t even remember what she said because I really didn’t give a shit. “I’m not really a witch you know,” Prudence said to me – she must have sensed my apathy and lack of desire to ever return to her circus of psycho dog owners. “But those people really shouldn’t have been bringing their aggressive dog here.”

Really? She was still trying to get people on her side of the whole damn dog fight? Her dog wasn't even involved! I felt like it wouldn’t have been a stretch for her to ask everyone to grab a pitch fork and chase the couple with the aggressive dog out of the damn city. This was starting to get medieval and I’m just not cut out for that period in time.

Needless to say, that will probably be the last Enthusiast Club I go to – unless I’m lacking material for another juicy post. I’m happy sticking to the regular dog parks where people stand around and ignore each other.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but stay away from any club with the word “enthusiasts” in it. It translates to “mentally ill.”