Spring: Blog Refresh & My Spring Standoff

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Smile Makers / Uncategorized

Welcome to Spring.  I’m pretty glad to see it.  Look, don’t get me wrong; I LOVE winter, but even I thought it was a long winter.

purple eyed grass

**Sidenote: what do you call these purple wild flowers?  Where I grew up they were always called Purple Eyed Grass, but my husband grew up knowing them as Soldier’s Spears.**

I wanted to switch up the design of my blog a bit.  (Note: I don’t make money blogging, it’s all for my health and for your health. I didn’t want my blog to be covered with ads that you had to scroll through or click away from.) On that note, if I ever get rich from blogging someday, ha ha, the first thing I will do is hire a fancy designer person to do what I want with my blog.  It is all so confusing and hard for me.  I don’t speak CSS language.  I just want it to be laid out in a way that it is easy for y’all to find whatever it is that you are looking for on that day.

I have to believe that the Pioneer Woman isn’t sitting around struggling through themes and widgets and menu layouts.  I bet she has a person, or even a team.  I’m not high maintenance.  I don’t need a team, just a person probably.

Anywho, I thought it would be fun if my main picture was something that I created and I do love this painting and what it means to me.  I do hope that it is a tiny bit easier to navigate now at least.

If you are viewing it on a computer all of the different categories should be listed across the top.  In the top left corner there is a plus sign that if you click on it will give you a search bar (so if you know I posted something about the alpha tryptase gene and wanted to find that article again, you could search for it).  It will also list the titles of my five most recent posts.

If you are viewing my blog on a smartphone, the plus sign in the top left corner should bring up the category list.  That way, if you only enjoy my ‘funny farm life’ stuff, then you can go right there.  There’s also a search bar below the category list.

blog makeover

Hopefully this is a tiny bit easier to navigate.

Moving on to being a grown up and my deep internal battle.

Look, it’s hard to be responsible.  I don’t care for it.  Last year you might remember that I tried to handle doctor calls and insurance calls before my coffee as a way to bribe myself to actually make the calls.  IT DID NOT GO WELL.  So I’ve learned I can’t use coffee as a bribe.  I also learned that you can’t swear on the phone with a doctor’s office.  It was a day of learning.

I have a new plan now.  Here’s the thing: I changed dental insurance coverage to my husband’s because it is so much better.  This means that I need to go to a new dentist (which is fine), but more importantly I know what they are going to say.  They are going to say that I need to have my wisdom teeth removed, because that’s what my last dentist said.  I would rather not.

Or… as my family and I usually say… I’d rather play half game. 

If you aren’t familiar with that little reference and want to be, I included this little clip for you.  Plus you can burn a few calories laughing.  You’re welcome.

Ok, so anyways, I’d rather play half game (still get the whole snow cone).  I know that with wisdom teeth removal nothing usually goes wrong and there are rarely complications.  I just know my body.  She’s so dramatic.

So, this is my brilliant plan that I have developed.  It’s time to get my hair done.  My hair girl is amazing and I always leave feeling fabulous.  I need a little trim, but mostly the grey is very visible.  I am so ready for fresh color!  I have decided that I can’t call and make my hair appointment, until I first call and make my dentist appointment.

Feel free to steal my brilliant strategy.

My hair is getting rough though.  I’m past due.

So, that’s my spring standoff.  I’ll let you know when I break down.

Stay strong, friends!

Goats Don’t Get a Lollipop or a Sticker

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Funny Farm Stuff / Uncategorized

So unfair.  It’s hard to be a goat on doctor day, but there is one plus; the vet comes to your house and you don’t have to go out.

Earlier this week our goats had their yearly checkups.  They were very interested in what the veterinarian had and what she was doing until it involved poking them.

goat vet

We are thinking about breeding Maizy, which means that all three of the girls need to be tested for CAE so that we can say we are ‘certified herd free’ for CAE.  CAE stands for caprine arthritis encephalitis.  It can cause weakness, swollen joints, muscle atrophy, and death.

The vet said that the safest and easiest place to draw blood from a goat is the jugular.  I was shocked and surprised, but not near as shocked and surprised as the goats were.

The girls also got their yearly CD&T (clostridium perfringens type C and D and tetanus) shots, which only took a couple seconds each and they were more than happy to run off after they were assaulted.

goat vet 2

goat vet 3

goat vet 4

While we’re talking goats, I thought I would mention a little bit more about them.  People ask all the time what they eat.  In the winter they eat hay and grain.  In the summer they eat weeds and grass and still get grain in smaller amounts more as a treat.  They also love kitchen scraps.  They eat bread and almost any fruit and veggie scrap.

goat veggies

If you leave a coffee cup down low any of them will drink it.  Tilly will drink whiskey if it is left unattended near her and Bailey apparently drinks beer if given the opportunity.

bailey beer

It was easier and quicker than I thought it would be.  A little goat yelling and one of them did run off with the stethoscope at one point, but other than that it was a success.

 

Pretend Good News

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Big Medical Words / Uncategorized

Don’t get your hopes up.  This isn’t actually good news; it’s just pretend good news.

I got my first denial.  In a way I feel like I fit in a little bit more better with my other chronic illness friends now.

Yes, I still have social security disability.  I was working to also access my retirement fund since they have a ‘disability retirement’ option.  Since I’m fully disabled according to the social security people, I thought this might be easy.  Silly me.

In order to apply for this I had to have several specialists fill out a five page document and also provide all of my previous medical records and test results.  I also had to gather my hospital records and over 200 pages of physical therapy notes and records.  I had to pay to fax several of these documents and also pay to mail large priority mail boxes of documents.  Oh and not to mention, I had to fill out a 25 page form answering hundreds of questions.

I read the forms that the doctors filled out before I mailed them back.  If I remember I think I even posted one of the answers here.  My neurologist wrote “no potential for recovery”.

Well, evidently the way that they decide if I qualify for disability retirement is by sending all of my medical records to a different doctor, who I have never seen.  Here’s where the pretend good news comes in.  In doctor Guzzo’s opinion, I’m pretty much fine.  Oh thank goodness.  I’m relieved because this pretending to be sick all the time was getting pretty boring.  He says I can do pretty much any job as long as it’s not heavy lifting or climbing ladders.  What a relief.

I guess the biggest reason that this is a slap in the face is because I REALLY WISH I could work.  I have dreams about dispatching.  I miss it all the time.  Some days I pretend I have to work and even just try to get ready in a reasonable amount of time.  I usually end up in bed and very ill.  I think up ideas for blogs, but sometimes it is two or three days until I am actually well enough to type it out.

Dr. Guzzo,  I wish you were right.  I wish I could go to work.  But unfortunately, I’m going to have to side with my doctors who actually treat me and even let me do a trial of working 4 hours after I begged and begged for it.  Since it ended with me in the hospital, it was a pretty clear fail.

Even if I did get approved for disability retirement, the amount of money per month I would get, PLUS what I get for social security disability is still less than what I was making when I could go to work.  That’s even including my two-cent raise I got a few months ago.

No, I’m not complaining.  I’m just explaining some of the frustrations.  I can’t work up to a raise or a promotion.  There is no overtime I can put in for when I need a little extra cash.  Please don’t take me pointing this out as me being ungrateful for the compensation I am provided.  That is not the case.  I am incredibly thankful, but I do think it’s worth noting these points as some people may not think about these little things.

So I’m going to take the high road.  I’m going to whine and pout a little bit for a few more days and then I will start the appeal process.

There are a lot of things to smile about.  I’m off to go do some smiling right now.  You should do the same.

 

 

The Last 10 Books I’ve Read

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Books & Entertainment / Uncategorized

Hello friends.  Sometimes it’s fun to find out what everyone else is reading.  I thought I would share with y’all the last 10 books I read.  I’ll start with the oldest and move down to the most recent and perhaps it will inspire you to get a new book for Spring.

library card catalog

10- Original Sin By: Beth McMullen

Image result for book spy mom

Just a lighthearted spy tale.  I prefer a little more intense spy books usually, but then again I don’t love the level of descriptive violence that usually comes with those.  This was a fun read though.

9- The Best of Me By: Nicholas Sparks

Image result for book the best of me

Tom started reading me this book while I was in the hospital.  Well, really it was while WE were in the hospital because he was there with me, by my side, the whole time.  I prolonged finishing the book for as long as possible because I knew Nicholas Sparks would make me cry.  That guy.

8- J.R. By: Jeremy Roenick

Image result for book JR by jeremy roenick

Another glimpse into the NHL from another time.  Jeremy Roenick is not even close to my favorite person, but he unabashedly says what he really thinks and that is so rare that I admire it and therefore wanted to read his thoughts and opinions.  He doesn’t tiptoe around past scandals or try to be politically correct.  He’s honest and I enjoyed this read more than I thought I would.

7- It’s Not Ok By: Andi Dorfman

Image result for book it's not ok by andi

Ok, it’s a little embarrassing to admit that I read this book.  I get it, she’s not a ‘celebrity’ and she was a bachelorette on the TV show The Bachelorette.  Sure, sure she was probably manipulated by the producers and things were probably scripted, but either way I wanted to read her opinions about how things went down on the inside.  How much of a clothes budget do they really get? What really happens in the fantasy suite?  What did Juan Pablo do that was so offensive?  Surprisingly, though all of those questions got answered the book was much more about a girl just going through a breakup.  Sure, a semi-celebrity going through a breakup, but it was raw and honest and real and I am pretty sure I’ve lived each of those moments along the way.  I could easily relate and I enjoyed the book.  By the end I was rooting for her.  Consider me an Andi fan.  I just read that she is writing a second book.  Judge all you want, but I’ll probably read that too.

6- Skipping Christmas By: John Grisham

Image result for book skipping christmas

I am who I am.  I don’t know why I enjoy this book so much but I tend to read it almost every Christmas season.  The movie Christmas with the Kranks is based on this book.  It’s just a happy lighthearted quick read.

5- Mr. Hockey By: Gordie Howe

Image result for book mr hockey

Gordie Howe is a legend in the NHL and in the hockey world as a whole.  Reading his story was interesting in many aspects.  Seeing how much hockey has changed and the points that remain the same this many years later.  Reading about his injuries and treatments.  I was even captivated by just reading about how he grew up in the great depression days and just how little they had.

4-Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man By: Tim Allen

Image result for book dont stand too close to a naked man

This is just a silly and funny light read.  I enjoy Tim Allen for many reasons and this book didn’t disappoint.  His opinions of men and women and cars somehow took up three hundred pages.

3- The Murder House By: James Patterson

Image result for book the murder house

Few compare to James Patterson when it comes to a thrilling read.  This book was another that was hard to put down.  It moved quickly and was not easy to predict.  It is in typical James Patterson fashion- so expect a little violence, a little gore, a little sex and a lot of mystery.

2- Troublemaker By: Leah Remini

Image result for troublemaker book

This was an immensely interesting read for me.  So much of scientology is kept private which made this book more of a tell-all.  Whether scientology interests you or not, this book does bring to light a fierce and courageous decision that Leah chose to make and the fallout she faced after.  It was a pretty quick weekend read.

1- The Girl on the Train By: Paula Hawkins

Image result for book the girl on the train

Long ago I saw Reese Witherspoon post something about not being able to put this book down.  Tom got it for me for Christmas and I just finished it today.  I think I started it four or five days ago.  It was definitely a page turner and hard to put down.  Interesting, surprising, maybe a bit of a thriller.

 

What have you enjoyed recently?  What should I read next?

Two Phrases that a Medical Professional Shouldn’t Combine

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Big Medical Words / Uncategorized

So I hadn’t been to the gynecologist since my diagnosis of POTS.  The reason is that I hadn’t run out of birth control yet.  That’s how they get you to go.  You have your prescription and when it runs out they say that you have to go back to see them to get your prescription refilled.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I have endometriosis (confirmed and diagnosed via laparoscopy surgery in 2010-ish I think).  The only way that my endometriosis stays under control is by not really having a period.  So I’m on a birth control right now that is FIFTY dollars a month, which is outrageous, but it also keeps away any period, doesn’t mess with my hormones and personality too much, and also therefore keeps away horrific pain.  So I pay my FIFTY dollars monthly, obviously.

As I was saying, I got to the point of ‘you have no remaining refills for this prescription.  We will contact your provider.’  This of course guarantees a phone call almost instantly from the sweet office girl wanting to get me on the schedule.  UGH.  Ok fine.

Yesterday was my appointment.  I see a very sweet ARNP lady for the yearly stuff and then I saw a different guy (who is an asshole by the way, but also a good surgeon) for my actual surgery and follow-up of that stuff long ago.  The nurse brought me back and asked if there have been any changes to my medications in the last two years.  I laugh.  Enter POTS.

I explain about my life changes in the last two years and POTS.  She is writing furiously.  She gives me my new attire and leaves the room.  I change and wait.  Sweet, sweet ARNP lady enters the room and the first words out of her mouth are, “I’ve never heard of P.O.T.S.”.  This makes me happy because she is being honest and I appreciate honesty from medical professionals.  We discuss and I do my basic speech about my autonomic nervous system.

Here comes the question.  I can sense it.  Here it comes.  “Is this an autoimmune disorder?”  I desperately want to lie.  I look up and calmly respond, “yes”, waiting for the next sentence.  “Have you ever tried the autoimmune protocol diet?”  There it is.  My least favorite conversation ever.  I choose the route of honesty.

Look, here’s the thing.  I’m not opposed to people making  the choices they want to make.  I’ve read about this extensively.  While POTS is technically an autoimmune disorder, it is SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED.  I’ve read about results over and over and while there can be some small changes, it does not ever eliminate, fix or magically cure POTS.  We aren’t talking about some inflammation here.  We are talking about the entire autonomic nervous system being faulty.  Sure, we can blame gluten for a lot of things, but I don’t think gluten is to blame here.

This is my favorite part of the conversation, the part where we guilt the patient.  “I’m just saying it might be worth it to get your health back and your life back.” That’s a pretty stinking big statement right there.

You’re telling me if I simply give up:

  • oats
  • grain
  • rice
  • wheat
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • sour cream
  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc.)
  • sugar
  • nuts

that I’ll be able to Get my health and my life back, and you’re presenting zero facts or studies to back this up relating to my specific condition.  You’re saying my nervous system will suddenly remember how to do everything if I simply take away the evil PB&J’s I’m consuming.  I just find that a bit hard to swallow (TWSS).

No, I don’t think she means any harm by this and I do think she is trying to help me the best she can.  After all, she doesn’t get any sort of kickback if I do the autoimmune protocol diet.  I think she is honestly using what knowledge she has to try to help, but for me it’s always going to sit wrong to hear these two phrases back to back:

I’VE NEVER HEARD OF POTS

and

IF YOU DO THIS DIET, YOU’LL GET YOUR LIFE AND YOUR HEALTH BACK.

If you haven’t watched this, please do so now. *Disclaimer: I am aware that there are actual health conditions which make people intolerant to gluten and in fact very ill.  This video is not speaking to those actual health issues.*

 

 

Watch My Latest Painting Come to Life

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Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Uncategorized

For my most recent painting, I did something kind of fun.  I took pictures of it in each phase along the way so you could watch it come to life.

I had a custom order and was given a picture to paint.  The picture wasn’t very bright, but had a gorgeous layer of fog in the background floating over an old church.  Like always I used acrylic paint.  The main colors I used were raw umber, titanium white, burnt sienna, black, yellow ochre, forest green, a crimson, and a light mocha tan color.

As I painted along, there were some phases that I loved, and some that I hated, but in the end I am happy with the end product.

Have a look for yourself.

I started out by laying down my basic starting background.

foggy-church-1

Next, I used a super muted grey to add in trees in the distance.  I only did the top portion of the tree on the right because I knew I’d be adding in a church to cover the bottom half.

foggy-church-4

Then I added in my first layer of fog over the trees.

foggy-church-2

Next I sketched in my church.

foggy-church-3

Then I brought my church and a few surroundings closer to the foreground to life.

foggy-church-5

I quickly fogged them right up too.

foggy-church-6

Then I started on my non-foggy foreground trees and brush.

foggy-church-7

Threw in some darker, dead brush.

foggy-church-9

Filled in some background.

foggy-church-8

A few finishing touches, and a perfectly imperfect fence. Voila!

foggy-church-10

I’m happy with my finished product.

Painting is always a fun distraction from pain and other bothersome symptoms.  And in a weird way, it’s actually a bit relaxing.  I’m glad it was my 2016 ‘new thing to try’.

 

 

 

 

Is the Giraffe Even Pregnant?

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Uncategorized

Are you all familiar with April, the giraffe in a New York zoo who has been in labor for a week with a live webcam on her?  The baby daddy, Oliver, is in the next pen and he comes in every once in a while to check on mom.  I captured it once to show you.  He visited, checked in for a minute, then got bored and had to go back to his pen to lay down.

giraffes

A few thoughts on the matter:

  • Is she actually even pregnant?
  • Over a week of labor seems pretty ridiculous.
  • It would be beneficial to maybe have a veterinarian explaining the process or even a link available to answer some basic questions.  I’ve seen people comment all kinds of intelligent things including that she is about to lay the egg.  You see, people need a little education on the matter clearly.
  • Clearly the media knows nothing because everyday they post the link with the words ‘the baby could be born any second’.  Yes, technically at some point that will be true, but it’s been incredibly wrong for the last week.
  • I saw something the other day that said they will ‘turn the camera off when she is giving birth, then turn it back on once the baby is all cleaned up’.  What? Why are we even watching this then?
  • The live stream was supposedly turned off at one point ‘due to nudity’.  I’m going to pretend this isn’t true because that is too insane to fathom.
  • Are we all falling for the biggest punk ever?  Does this giraffe even exist?  Are they wondering how many thousands of people will fall for this prank and live stream this to their house for hours a day?  Do you think there is a secret betting ring wondering how long we will keep watching this live stream?

Because I care, I did a little research for you.

  • Giraffes are pregnant from 14-15 months.  Holy cow!
  • Giraffe mamas are very good at hiding if they are in labor in order to not alarm predators of a baby on the way.  You can’t actually tell for sure that the giraffe is in labor until you see a hoof.  However, there is a telltale sign that it is much closer once her water breaks.
  • When the baby arrives it will weigh around 150 pounds and be around 6 feet tall.
  • The ultrasound equipment the zoo has is not able to tell if the calf will be a boy or a girl.
  • Daddy, Oliver, is in his own pen because he mostly is only concerned with fighting and sexing.  Mama is not interested in sexing at the moment.
  • Mom is 15 and this is her 4th calf.  Daddy is 5 and this is his first.
  • April’s tentative due date was mid-February.
  • If YouTube removes the video again, Animal Adventures has a back up plan to go live on their Facebook page, apparently.
  • Daddy will come in the pen occasionally, but male giraffes take no part in the rearing of the calf.
  • Giraffes eat hay and specialized giraffe diets, but they love romaine and carrot treats.  I  think after mama has this baby she deserves a carrot and romaine feast!

Be a friend; if you happen to be watching and you see her water break, or a hoof show up, go ahead and post THEN on Facebook to let your friends know it is actually somewhat closer to the actual birth.  That’s what friends are for, right?

Image result for april giraffe meme active labor

 

 

 

 

A Visit From the Priority Fairy

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Bobby Pins & Bullets / Deep Thoughts About POTS / Uncategorized

What’s that, you ask?  A Priority Fairy is someone I just made up, but I am pretty sure it could be real.  Do you ever have a moment when something just immediately strikes you and you make a huge realization, or things are just put into perspective clearly?

The Priority Fairy recently struck in my house.  Allow me to share.

One thing that has remained the same since before my diagnosis is our bedtime routine.  If I am home at the time that Tom is getting home from work and going to sleep, we always go to bed the same way.  I lay a specific way with him laying on me in a such a way that my left hand is available and in position to rub his back, which I do every night (morning) while he falls asleep.  My right hand is almost always holding my phone and scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook.  I do this while he falls asleep.

A week or so ago I happened to have my phone charging leaving my right hand free.  Tom reached across me and grabbed my hand.  As he did he said, “it’s rare to find this hand free without a phone in it”.  I don’t think he meant anything earth-shattering by the comment, but it struck me.  How in the world am I so busy or preoccupied with reading recipes and crafts that I don’t have time to hold this man’s hand?

I let that sink in for a second and I just couldn’t find any way to justify doing anything other than holding his hand.  In fact, I can’t believe that I get to be the woman who holds his hand.

I don’t really make resolutions, but I am a work in progress and I always have personal goals that I am trying to attain and maintain.

This is one of my newest goals, because after all, what an honor it is to hold his hand.

2014-10-06_00821

A few days ago, I was laying on our bed reading a story on my phone when Carter came to get me to tell me it was bedtime.  The reason he came to tell me is because he wanted me to come and read him his Boxcar children book, like we always enjoy together.  I was finishing something up on my phone when he said, “you can bring your phone if you need to, and you can send messages while you are reading to me.  Sometimes other people do that.”

My heart instantly broke a little bit.  This little man is deserving of 100% of my attention.  Again, how blessed am I that I get to read him books at bedtime and watch his sweet face drift off to sleep.

Technology can be truly fantastic, but don’t forget that the world is still happening around you and your technology.

technology

 

Health Challenge Results

comments 4
Hold My Gatorade and Watch This / Physical Therapy & Exercise

Well my six-week health challenge officially ended.

Here is my workout board I used to log my workouts.  Each little colored square is an exercise I did.  That’s a LOT for this allergic-to-heart-rate-raising-activities girl!

exerc-ise-chart

Here are my thoughts and results from the challenge:

  • I am super proud of myself for being pretty strong with food choices (I gave up coffee creamer for six weeks!) and also working out as much as I did.
  • After a couple weeks I definitely started to feel healthier and a little bit more confident with my body.  It’s crazy how much working out, even only a little bit, can do for my mood.
  • I had some days where I couldn’t do anything.  On the other hand though I had one day where I did my recumbent bike for 60 whole minutes in a row.  I felt like pretty awesome/couldn’t move after!
  • In total from my thighs, calves, biceps, hips, chest, and waist I lost a total of 7.25 inches.
  • According to my scale I lost 5 pounds.  It’s a bit odd.  At the start of the challenge my scale at home showed 140 and the scale at the weigh-in place also showed 140.  At the end my scale showed 135 and the scale at the weigh-in place showed 140.
  • According to the Inbody testing, I started at a body fat percentage and went down a little and up a little and ended at the exact same down to the tenth.
  • I also gained zero pounds of muscle and lost zero fat pounds.
  • I didn’t lose or gain a huge amount of water weight either and I stayed very hydrated overall (because water is my thing, you know).
  • Who knows what I lost for those inches if according to the place I didn’t lose water, muscle or fat?  Either way, it doesn’t really matter how well you do because their answer is “you’re doing so great you need to buy more protein or BCAAs” or “you’re so off track you need to buy more BCAAs or protein”.

Because I continue to believe in being transparent and REAL with y’all I will show you my before and after pictures.  Fair warning: anyone who is mean will be hunted down and dealt with accordingly.

health-challenge-1

health-challenge-2

health-challenge-3

If you look closely, you’ll see there are some slight differences in the before and after pictures.  Well, for one, Sarge insisted on being in the second set, but maybe even a couple differences past that.  Nothing amazing, but progress is progress.

Here’s to keeping with it because after all, if I felt even slightly better, it was worth doing!

Cheers to everyone out there trying to make their lives a little more healthy.  Whatever you are doing, keep it up!

Vacation Fun & Passing Out on an Airplane

comments 5
Big Medical Words / Oxygen-y Stuff

Last night we got home from a wonderful long weekend out of town.  Tom and I went to visit my brother and my sister-in-law in the Denver area.

The flight down went really well.  Just a headache, some fatigue, and some overall body pain.  Nothing horrific at all.  I spent the next day recovering and resting as much as possible because that night was very important.  That night I got to make some childhood dreams come true.  I’ve only wanted to watch the Penguins play for years and years and Thursday night I finally got to! It was magical.  It was so fun being down by the glass for warm-ups and seeing the best player in the NHL just a few feet away from me.

Ashley grabbed this picture that really truly is pretty much ‘little kid Amy’ excited about this moment!

sid-the-kid

That guy right behind me holds two Stanley Cups (one as the youngest captain ever in the NHL), two Hart Memorial Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy, three Ted Lindsay awards, several best NHL player ESPY awards, a Mark Messier Leadership award, a Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and two Olympic Gold Medals.  You may not like the guy, but you have to be able to admit that the guy knows how to play hockey.

sid-the-kid-2

sid-the-kid-3

This was a wheelchair event, but once to the sections did walk up and down the stairs.  That was tricky, especially with pain the next day, but not to worry: we masked it with delicious homemade cast iron pizza and playing games.  Oh but before that, Denver had the craziest record-setting weather of any day in February since 1859.  It was February 10th and 82 degrees.  We got to lay by the pool with a tropical drink.  By Sunday when we left it was back in the twenties and felt like winter again.

We also got to try Chick Fil-A for the first time too.  It was yummy.  Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t one here!

Sunday morning we checked another fun thing off of our bucket list by getting to go to VooDoo Donuts.  That was a delicious and a fun experience.

voodoo-donuts

We took the Sunday night flight home that left at 10:15 pm.  I got a new book and started reading it.  I was really enjoying it.  Then as we started the descent I could feel the pressure in my ears so I popped them.  This is when I passed out.  The way I’ve always popped my ears is to plug my nose and fill up my mouth with air and push.  As I did it, my vision started to move and float and fade and then I was being awakened with sharp painful pinches by Tom who said I passed out.  Evidently I passed out again.  The good news was that we were only about 10 minutes from touching down and then Tom could get my oxygen out of the overhead compartment.  Tom had already gotten me three water bottles for the flight and Mentos so I had those available.

I think the reason I passed out is because that method of popping ears is somewhat similar to the Valsalva maneuver, which I failed during my autonomic testing.  I went to research the Valsalva maneuver to explain it to y’all and saw that the way I pop my ears actually is the Valsalva maneuver, but it was tested differently in the lab.

Apparently if you pass out during the test you fail.  I just know she told me I could stop when my blood pressure suddenly plummeted during the test.  To test it, you are hooked up to lots of machines and they have you blow into a tube for as long as you can without breathing any air back in. Just take a giant breath and blow into the tube.  Then you start to see spots and pass out.

Image result for valsalva maneuver

The thing about passing out that sometimes people don’t get is that when you regain consciousness, you feel really bad.  Everything is bad.  Headache, spinny, dizzy, nauseas, short of breath, chest pain.  On TV people wake up and are magically fine.  Dramatic changes in blood pressure is incredibly bothersome, to say the least.

Here’s some proof for you.  This was me at baggage claim.  That girl looks horrible.

pass-out-flight

I’m feeling much better today, friends.  I’ll still be resting and recovering for these next few days though.  Overall, it was a wonderful vacation!