Last Things Before Travel

Tessie on a shelfOne last small load of clothes is in the dryer, the dishwasher is churning away, American Idol (“Girls Night”) is on TV, and my kitty is curled up on the stool next to me to be petted. I’m mostly packed with only my bathrobe, hair dryer and brushes to add to the suitcase in the morning, unless I forgot something.

I did stop at WW on the way home from work, in spite of that box of peanut brittle – or maybe because of it. I couldn’t leave for Chicago without facing up to the music of what I ate. And, of course, I was up. Again. The only good things about that are that it wasn’t a surprise and I know what happened. I guess those are really good things, actually.

The difficult conversation didn’t happen today, either, and now it’s delayed until after my return. I’m going to try to just leave it behind when I go jetting off in the morning. This weekend is about spending time with friends. I’m not even taking a laptop so won’t be blogging until I’m back. Stay out of trouble!

Stress Eating Peanut Brittle

Peanut BrittleWhen I am stressed, I eat. I have a difficult conversation coming up with someone that I’ve already had to put off several times – for good reasons, mind you, but the delay is just making me more stressed. Though the Friday and Saturday snow days were really a treat and did rest my spirit some. And I had those scones at home already.

My food is complicated by the fact that I’m going away on Thursday for a few days in Chicago. Part of my pre-travel eating involves making sure I don’t have food going bad in the fridge so I’ve learned to be very careful about buying fresh foods or making copious quantities of food I won’t be here to eat.

This doesn’t excuse buying peanut brittle or eating the whole box, though it did take me 3 days to do it. I love peanut brittle and haven’t had it in a million years. It’s nothing but pure sugar with some nuts which is why it’s so yummy. And will rot my teeth. Good thing I finished up all the decent size pieces – those little nibbly bits with peanuts got tossed.

For a brief minute this morning I contemplated signing up for a trip to China next fall (until I woke up and realized that it was too much money for something I never really thought about doing and can’t afford to do anyway). But I do admit that one bit that loomed large was the problem of stuffing myself into a plane seat to fly for some 24 hours to get there in the first place. I drank water while I contemplated rather than eat sugar. And I decided not to go, but not because of the plane part.

I admit, though, that I really hope the conversation happens tomorrow so I can move on. I have WW tomorrow night after work and before packing which should help me see the consequences of my stress eating and wipe the slate clean before the trip.

Thanks for your concern about my foot and my knee. I don’t think anything is broken or infected – I’ve had these pains before and did some research. The foot is probably because of pronation and the need to wear my orthotics to keep the foot properly aligned. The knee pain is the result of degenerative joint disease and the joint warmth and stiffness are a result, especially after overdoing. Or walking funny because the foot hurt. Or both. In any case, I see my primary care doctor a week from today for a physical and both will be on my discussion list.

Back to American Idol. The boys are singing tonight and the pitch problems are driving me crazy. I would much rather listen and critique than imagine being up there singing but still, it’s entertaining even when it hurts the ears.

Health is Relative

Medical logoBetween my balky knee and a pain across the top of my foot, I’ve been lurching around and walking a bit oddly today. Okay, very oddly. The knee is hot to the touch in one spot and isn’t bending very well. The foot has been shooting hot pain when I bend it to take a step. I thought that was because I had the shoe tied too tight, but now it’s doing it at home when I’m in my slippers. My arthritic toe on the other foot is swollen and unhappy.

But all it took was a phone call with my parents tonight to put my stuff in perspective.

My aunt is in the hospital with kidney problems, sky high blood pressure, and some mysterious other things that aren’t clear to us or the doctor. Her daughter, my youngest cousin, is facing cardiac catheterization to address continuing medical problems related to throat cancer – and they have no medical insurance. Their company dropped them like a hot potato when they missed a payment, probably glad of a reason to not continue carrying someone who is incurring such high expenses.

I have so much. I have insurance with generous coverage and minimal copays. I have access to excellent doctors and hospitals. I am generally in good health with prescriptions to help with the ongoing medical conditions such as sleep apnea and arthritis. I have the money to pay for what I need, with a comfortable home and a good job.

I’m not close to my aunt and cousin but they are family and will be in my prayers, as I also give thanks for my many blessings.

Ignoring the Oscars

Oscar statueThe Oscars are on and I couldn’t care less. I watched Jon Stewart’s monologue but that’s the only thing that remotely interests me. Can you tell I’m not a movie person? I rarely go to the movies to see new releases when they will be out on pay-per-view in no time, for less and more conveniently. The things I do go see don’t get nominated for awards. So I know that the movies that are celebrated at the Academy Awards are usually things I know next to nothing about – unless George Clooney is involved.

Instead I’m flipping back and forth between HGTV and Food Network, aka the Food Porn channel. I love watching the experts show people how to stage their houses to sell better, even though I don’t have a house and am not selling or buying anything. Everyone should know by now that the keys are neutral colors and style, declutter and remove personal items and a lot of extra furniture, fix things that need mending, and spruce up the outside for curb appeal. See? I could have my own show.

Food Porn is addictive and I especially enjoy the personalities cooking with all their olive oil and butter, making rich and exotic fare fit for celebrations. Dinner at my house doesn’t exactly qualify for that but I don’t find that I want to eat everything on screen. Au contraire: seeing how much butter goes into the batter for good scones make me aware of how much those don’t need to be part of my menu.

Ellie Krieger is one of my favorites. She is a registered nutritionist and her foods are both very healthy and flavorful. Someone on the Television Without Pity boards said, “I like Ellie. Her show is like watching fish in an aquarium. She is relaxing and lowers your blood pressure.” That may sound boring but it really isn’t.

Ellie uses fresh foods and explains things about why certain things matter in choosing ingredients – things that are not necessarily obvious. Another Television Without Pity LogoTWOP poster said, “She went to the grocery store and pointed out that sugar free and low/no fat isn’t always a better choice than real food, and that you can have real anything as long as they’re used with portion control in mind.”

TWOP is one of my fav sites and there are forums for discussing everything you could possibly see on TV, from prime time network shows to reality shows (competitive, how-to, and candid – who knew there were genres of reality?) to cooking to sports to shopping to news. All loaded with snark. Each board has a moderator to make sure things stay within acceptable guidelines, but there is a lot of leeway and it can get heated.

It’s fun, though, and I guess it shows that I’m far more a child of TV than of the movies.

I Need a New Sleep Study

King Tut in a CPAP maskSleeping isn’t what it used to be and I’m afraid that I need to have a sleep study redone to see if my CPAP machine needs to be adjusted. I’ve had two sleep studies, both while living in Boston, but repeating the experience isn’t high on my happiness list.

The rules of thumb for having a new sleep study are:

  • return of symptoms (snoring, apneas, daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, etc.)
  • gain of 30 lbs or more
  • loss of 30 lbs or more

Unfortunately I can report that I’ve definitely gained more than 30 lbs since my last study and those symptoms are definitely back. Well, I don’t know that I’m snoring since I sleep with my mask and CPAP machine every night – and there’s no one here to hear me except the kitty and she’s not talking. And I can’t count my apneas because that’s not something you can tell yourself. My machine does have a little computer and collects that information so I’ve requested a computer smart card that will read it and report the results back to the doctor.

I do know that I’m having a lot of trouble waking up in the morning and my energy level is low. I’ve also noticed that I wake up quite a lot at night even with the CPAP, which didn’t used to happen. When I first got the machine and was able to wear the mask all night without ripping it off (which took some time), I woke up every day ready to hit the road and had energy to burn.

The test doesn’t hurt but it’s awkward and disruptive. The sleep technicians spend an hour hooking you up with dozens of wires and leads stuck all over from your scalp, face, chest, back, and legs. Then they tell you to “sleep normally” which is not easy to do when you tangle yourself up in wires when you move.

My last study was skewed because the sleep center forgot to tell me to stop using my CPAP and taking my sleeping meds for 7-10 days before the study. I can get by for a day or two without the CPAP, though my sleep is splintered. But more days and without my meds — I can’t imagine how I’m going to do this. Because I didn’t the last time, though, the results weren’t quite accurate, although the test wasn’t redone.

I have a physical scheduled in 10 days and will tell my doctor then that I think a new study is needed. Yale has a Center for Sleep Medicine with three different sleep clinics but it can sometimes take time to get scheduled for a study even after they decide you need one. It will be even longer if I have to meet with a sleep doctor first. I’m getting sick of the doctors and I haven’t even seen one yet!

Image featured on the CPAPUsers Yahoo Group page.  If you have sleep apnea, I definitely recommend joining for support and ideas.