Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clean Bill of Health

Warning: I'm including some gross pictures in this post.  If you don't want to see gross things, don't look at the pictures, or skip this post.  You have been warned.  If you like weird medical stuff, enjoy! 

So when Drs Eva and Bill came to visit before the holiday, we were sitting around one night talking doctor stuff, and so I showed them my weird thumb.  It's always (last 5 years or so) had this dark line down the middle of it and I think it has gotten darker over time (although hard to tell).  I've asked doctors about it in the past, and no one seemed to be that interested in it.

When I showed Eva and Bill, they paused before saying anything (which made me nervous) and they suggested I get it checked out by a dermatologist.  I made an appointment for after the holidays (like two weeks away) and promptly began to freak out.

The following day (Tuesday), after googling terrifying things about dark lines down nails, I called the doctors office again to see if they could notify me if there were any cancellations before I left town.  Sure enough, there was an opening that afternoon, so I took it.

When I saw the dermatologist, she was kind of quick with me, which I didn't like since I was freaking out.  She took a look at the line and said we should schedule a biopsy to have it looked at.  I cried a little, since that's what I do, and asked her if they were going to cut off my thumb or if I was going to die (thanks google).  She said she didn't think either of those things were likely but that we should check it out.  She also made a special call to the front desk to schedule the biopsy for Thursday and not any later- this contributed to further freaking out on my part.

I was oddly a little bit calmer after seeing the doctor because I felt like someone else was in charge now.  Eva and Bill were great and talked me through what the procedure would be like.  It still sounded awful, but they confirmed that I probably wouldn't lose my thumb, and certainly no one was going to replace my thumb with my big toe (thanks again google).

When I went in for the biopsy, I was a hot mess.  A little background about me: I pass out when I get shots.  I panic the night before thinking about having to get shots.  I turn away when they use needles or other gross things on Grey's Anatomy.  I don't do well with this kind of thing.

I checked in at the front desk and the lady looked at my drivers license.  Since my license has the same picture I took when I was 16, the lady made some comment about it not looking like me.  And then she said, "Well I guess no one really wants to be you today." Thank you, for that.

I kept it together in the waiting room (barely), despite my appointment being half an hour late.  When the nurse got me in the back, the tears began.  It's weird, because I can sit there and talk and apologize for being a mess, and not move and let them do the whole procedure, but I'm bawling my eyes out the whole time.  I'm a wuss, I know, but it was kind of scary!

The nurse and the nurse practitioner who did the procedure were great.  The nurse held my hand while the NP put 4(!) shots into my poor little thumb.  Once my thumb was numb, the NP basically cut a circle out with a cookie cutter (or so he told me- I was NOT watching).  Half the circle was in my cuticle, and the other half was up into the nail. Gross.  They bandaged me up and sent me home.

Since I hadn't looked at it, I was really nervous about changing the bandage the next day.  I laid down to do it because I was fairly convinced I was going to pass out.  It was way deeper than I expected- like a mini canyon in my thumb.  Are you grossed out yet?

It took two weeks to get the results back, but the tissue was normal, so I don't have cancer!  The NP may have emailed me to tell me my toe was okay... but I later confirmed with him that my thumb is good too, so I'm pretty happy.  The weird thing is, now I have a hole in my nail.  It's so weird and fascinating!

Do you see how the nail is growing in below the hole?  And my cuticle is pretty much all better!

Anyway, I feel very lucky that I'm healthy and if I have learned anything from this, it is that google is not your friend in these situations.  Don't google- it's not worth making yourself crazy! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Holiday Party and Holiday Baskets

This post is very late in coming due to my lack of a camera cable over the holidays.  But I want to share anyway, so bear with me.

As I have mentioned, I do a lot of cooking in December.  I like having friends over to celebrate and I enjoy giving homemade goodies as gifts.  So I cook.  And I cook.  And I cook...

This year I was a little worried about throwing a holiday party because I don't know a lot of people down here yet.  I was happily surprised that everyone (except one person) was able to make it, so the turn out was great.  I think as I get older, it's become easier to steal friends from other friends.  I love going to a friend's event and meeting other cool people and then getting to hang out with them again at other things.  So this party was pretty awesome, because it was pretty much a group of my friends' friends who are now my friends too.  If that makes sense...

Eva, who was my roommate when we were teachers in New Orleans, came to visit and go to interviews for her medical residency the same week that I planned my party.  Her boyfriend Bill came too, and it was so nice to see Eva and meet Bill for the first time.

They helped me set up for the party...

oh and Mandy was there too... :P

I was pretty proud of the food table- we had a great spread!

Dana brought spinach artichoke dip and some fantastic potatoes...

and Vanessa brought an awesome baked brie.

We did a white elephant which was really fun. 

Bill tested out the finger sporks.

I ended up with a fish (and all the gifts that people didn't want, which was a bunch of them...) It was a little crazy trying to keep the cat away from the gifts (especially since there was a fish in one of them!)  Now she spends all her time watching the little guy.

I thought the party was a success!  It's so nice to be able to say that I have friends down here now!

With the remaining goodies I had and some additional ones I made the next week, I created some holiday baskets for my friends and family.  They were made up of caramels, toffee, chocolate ginger cookies, jam, and lots of love! hehe

I had a good time going to Michael's to find cute stuff to wrap the goodies in.  I think they turned out pretty well!

I'm all sugared out now!  Hope you're having a great January so far!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chickens in My Life

I recently finished The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and I thought it was fantastic.  It wasn't a nail biter or anything, and I definitely had to put it down for a few days at a time, but it really made me think.  I've spent the last few weeks months talking about it with friends and family and I just can't seem to get it out of my mind.  But the biggest thing that this book has convinced me is this:

I want chickens.

Now, I live in a city and my garden is just a bunch of pots in front of my parking spot, so I know this isn't something I can really make happen right now.  But let's just say, it's definitely on the five year plan.

This may seem like a weird thing to want, but how cool would it be to have fresh eggs everyday? I'm also super fascinated with composting, and chicken poop is a good source of nitrogen.  (Our family friends with a fantastic garden and an impressive compost system recently got chickens and the wife admitted to me, "I think Larry only wants them for the poop!")  Plus, it would be another fun pet, right?  So now I'm slightly obsessed with the idea of getting chickens.

How did a book get me on this new kick of mine?  Well, one of the farms that Pollan visits is called Polyface Farm and is run by Joel Salatin.  Salatin runs his farm so that the animals are moved around daily to keep the land, animals, and us healthy.  The farm's website explains, "We are in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture."  But my favorite part?  The eggmobile!  

From an article in Bloomberg Businessweek:
When cattle are moved off a segment of pasture, designated groups of egg-laying chickens are moved in, via “the eggmobile.” These chickens feed partly off cattle manure, and since they physically can't host bovine pathogens, they assume the role of “a biological pasture sanitation system,” says Salatin. Of all his contraptions, he is proudest of the eggmobile, which he invented 20 years ago.  
So cool! (and smart!)

In my head, I see myself getting a few chickens and having them do some weeding around my yard, then using their poop for my compost.  My own mini circle of life!

Anyway, Pollan explored some deeper questions that fascinated me as well:  Buying organic- is it a good idea or not?  To be, or not be (a vegetarian)?  And lastly, what are we supposed to eat with so many options out there these days?!

I'm hoping to cover my thoughts on these questions in some coming posts, but for now, I'll leave you with a picture of the eggs I picked up at the farmers' market this weekend.  Who wouldn't want to eat beautiful eggs like these every morning and know that they came from happy chickens?