Saturday, February 19, 2011
As an educator in Illinois who is fully aware of the atrocities that can happen to public employees, I am totally dumbfounded at the state of affairs in Wisconsin. My grandfather fought hard and sometimes violent battles during the turn of the century for laborers to have the right to collective bargaining. In one fell political swoop, Governor Scott Walker is trying to steal that right from anyone in the public arena who didn't support his campaign and I am horrified that he has made such an obviously biased move as this. By taking police and firefighters who supported him out of the conversation, he has made this an act that is singling out anyone who didn't back him as a candidate and dissolved any credibility in his actions. As I have been ill today and catching up on the news in my neighboring state, I am feeling disbelief that this has gotten this far. I am so glad that the police and firefighters are there along with the teachers and other public employees stating that they will not allow this divide and conquer mentality. I am so glad to see families who support the good people who work hard to keep Wisconsin such a lovely place to live so visible. I am glad to see educators joining with road workers and nurse's aides and other affected people. I am proud of the educators from IL who are there to support you as well.
I am certain that you are all uncomfortable with the press and the situation that has caused this. I am equally certain that it is a difficult time for you to lose benefits with the recession hurting everyone--but you have come to the bargaining table and offered to play nicely with the political bullies who aren't playing nicely at all. I read the support that you have been given from the White House (although my husband is a Federal employee who is now living with a wage freeze that wasn't bargained for either, so I am unsure of this trend.) I am proud of you for being professional, caring people who have learned from Dr. King and of the value of peaceful demonstrations. I wish you success in maintaining the fair, and equitable right to bargain collectively that is the mainstay of fair employee treatment.
I am nervous that your situation is the beginning of a frightening political trend to destroy the system that my grandfather worked hard to help establish. The middle class workers in this country deserve better than we typically get. Best wishes to you all, whether you are in Madison or at home. I hope this works out in support of the hard working educators and state employees in Wisconsin.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I now understand why my mood has been off. After going through lots of information and a few more tests, it turns out that I have pneumonia. I have patches in both of my lungs and it is a bit of a surprise why I haven't been feverish or had other symptoms besides some shortness of breath the past two days when I was working out at the pool. I found that to be a bit odd, but since I was working out, I reasoned that it was because I was pushing myself harder to have a better level of cardio when I was water jogging. My doctor wanted me in the hospital, but after having spent some recent time there with my daughter and having all of my memories of why hospitals are bad places resurrected, I declined. I promised to take my meds and get some rest here at home. I promised to let him know how I am doing in a few days and I will schedule my follow-up appointment.
I got info from my PCP that my stress test came back within normal limits, so even though I couldn't get information from the cardiologist, letting them know I was going to see my regular doc must have pushed their buttons to share my report in a timely way. He wasn't concerned about my kidney function and explained that for someone my age, those numbers were all within normal limits. I do need to add some iron to my vitamin and minerals each day, I have had to do that before, but generally it was either after a surgery or when I was pregnant. I guess that when you watch what you eat so carefully, it is hard to maintain some nutrients when you have my body. He also has referred me to a back pain clinic affiliated with his medical group. I will have to gather my records from the other guy and share them with them--but it will give me some fresh eyes to look at things.
IO ran into my pain doc at the hospital--I was there for a CT scan of my lungs and some more lab work and he also recommended another back doc for me. I am sure this guy is good, but he is part of the group I use and I want those fresh eyes on me. I am glad to know that there is a guy that is part of my ortho group who is "a great guy who goes to my church and leads boy scouts" that I have access to. My pain doc said he can also help me with a couple of other issues, so as soon as I am over pneumonia, I can move forward in dealing with my back. I wish that I could have gotten his help with this, but that saucy nurse in the pain clinic doesn't make it easy to have access to the one doc who will move mountains for patients. I think she hates the amount of work he sends her way or something.
I am glad to start to have some answers and I expect to get myself back. I always feel a bit foolish after there is a big reveal that I have been harboring some big health issue that I should have realized I had. However, when you deal with as many things as I do, it is easy to overlook some "discomfort" along the way. This may have been adding some to my back pain as well. things get a bit blurry for me.
On another note, I am not sure that I have shared that our home is out in the "country," far enough out of town to avoid a lot of traffic but close enough so that we can get to stores and services in a half an hour or so. We don't have access to many of the amenities that people in town have which include paid garbage pick up, city sewage and water, or buses other than school buses. It is a great area to be in and can be the best of all worlds, but there are times, like when the car is down, that it makes things a bit tricky too. The payback comes when the weather gets nice. We have a lot of space for a wonderful garden and six acres of land for our family to enjoy in so many ways. I am sure looking forward to spring!!
Friday, February 18, 2011
I've been way too busy. No shocker in that info, is there?
I am not feeling like myself these days, don't know if it is medically based or what, but I am jumpy, sore, tired, grumpy... I don't like it and it takes energy and time that I don't have. Every little stress that gets added to my plate makes it worse. (Our car broke down on Wednesday and we are trying to manage everything with one car. That shouldn't seem tough and I should be glad for what we have, but we have 5 working people in our family and one son in college and a daughter in high school with so many extras that she requires a lot of transportation. Add to that that I have physical therapy 2-3 times a week and my many medical appointments along with Megan's new similar status with "Coumadin clinics" and multiple appointments with specialists. Also, her update is that she is the same as she was. The clot in her lung bothers her frequently and she has trouble being active, the coumadin levels seem to be random and they change the dose weekly at the least. She takes one dose on a couple of days, another on a couple of days and another on the three remaining days. I am glad that she is young and not me, because I couldn't keep up with that. However, I am grateful she is alive and this episode was almost a miracle in disguise because it was caught and she is under medical care.)
Today is going to be strange. We have a half day training day, the kids get out at noon. Most of the staff goes out for lunch but that is valuable time for me to get some things done and that is a gift to me. Then we are having some kind of staff meeting and chances are that nothing will pertain to what I do--I am kind of an isolated island around here. Everyone wants more of what I do, but nobody can quite see that I am doing more than anyone should be trying and that I really have no resources to help lighten the load. (OK. I won't whine--I have a job which is something that plagues many good people including a couple of my sons who have really tried hard to find work, even entry level, rinky dink jobs. I also have a job that I am well-trained for and am very good at and suited for. That is not always the case. However, my needs and issues are very real....)
I am leaving early today for my appointment with my PCP. I wish that the people who do lab work would have let me send the report straight to my doctor, however when I requested that the tech told me that they aren't allowed to do that anymore. Apparently patients were requesting that sort of thing and there were doctors who were complaining about reports they are getting and that they didn't order, so the only alternative I had was to have a copy sent to myself. My PCP wants everything, I have a really good guy who is detail oriented. As an update and an interesting comment on my back doc (who if you haven't guessed, I have lost my faith in for anything except surgery that he is quite competent and skilled at, and interested in)--I found out when I talked to the nurse at my PCP's office that my back doc did fax him that report. That means that something in it bothered him as well. Anyway, I will find out today.
After I get to the doctor and get his take on what is up with my body, maybe I can get a handle on why I am feeling like this. It is a 3 day weekend, but they scheduled my total body scan injection at 6:15 AM on Monday which takes away that possibility of a little extra sleep and the real perk I get from holidays.
Oh and my computer issue is in the clicker with the mouse pad. I am going to have to put it up for repair, but my son taught me how to scroll with the buttons (Silly me, I have never done that....) and I can do almost everything that way. I may look for a mouse to add on as well. Our good machine is also in the shop--another stress.
The snow is all gone, but I think I heard that after a big rain, winter is coming back to us. We haven't had sunshine with this warmer weather the past few days, just fog and overcast skies.
My mood could be caused by a lot of things. Thanks for your support. It is time for me to go to work, my before school student is here now!! It's his birthday and I have a card that I know he can read.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
As a teacher, I don't let kids use that generic word "stuff" in their writing, but right now, it's the best I can come up with.
After struggling to get to a phone and get the back doc's office moving, they have scheduled my body bone scan for Monday morning at 6:15 AM. That's a lot earlier than I like, but since it's a holiday, I won't have to miss work this time. The doctor ordered lab work at the same time and I am waiting for the school nurse to come in and take a peek. I have a copy because the lab wouldn't send it to my regular doctor, so I got my own copy for him. When I called the back doc's office, they checked to make sure who my regular doc is because they want him to see it. There are several things earmarked, but the statement "Persistent reduction in estimated GFR... defines Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)" My GFR was 54.81 and the cut number is 60. BUN and Glucose were high, but this is listed as a fasting test and it was not. (I did it at 5 PM after working all day and I may have had a snack before I went, I can't remember. My glucose was 103 and I don't think that is a worrying number. I had a lot of numbers that were low as well--hematocrit, hemoglobin, WBC, RBC, Platelet count--but I donated blood about 3 weeks ago--duh. ALT was low too, but I have no idea what that was. I do think my doc needs o see this and I am going to get it translated for me and then carry it over to him.
I haven't heard results from my stress test yet and that also is on my mind. I think that they must have gotten okay results by now--it was a week ago yesterday--or they would have called me. If the results aren' good, he told me that I need and angiogram. I'm counting on my healthy habits to have managed that for me.
Anyway, my back hurts a lot. My shoulder is getting better each day, but is still under the doctor's care. I may have some other health stuff going on, but I don't know until I se a doc who gives me straight answers.
For now, I need to get to my last reading group of the day. Wednesday is an early student dismissal so we can have meetings. Yippee.
Take care everyone.
Monday, February 14, 2011
I'm taking a writing break from my National boards renewal to bask in the quality of today. I had quite an interesting day, no doubt about it.
The first thing that happened was my early morning tutoring student came and brought me a lovely flowering plant. I was surprised at that and it made me cry a bit. I never expected anything like that. Later on, I went to my mailbox and our principal had given everyone a small box of chocolates. One of my older students came a bit later with a similar box of chocolates. (Those are quite tempting, but as of this writing, they are sitting over there unopened.)
My principal came in this morning and I mentioned my overload of work--and the possibility that I was going to cut some students out of my program if I couldn't get some support. I am trying to connect six computers to ethernet cords for the kids to use the program that was "given" to me to use. It is a nightmare beyond anything that you can imagine. I ask for someone to look up phone numbers for me so I can call parents but they are "too busy." Well, if I cannot get some help like that in my program, maybe I am going to have to change the program. Later in the morning, she came and helped me with a problem that I have been having with a couple of children simply returning books and doing their homework. It was a step in the right direction at least.
Around 9:45, I received my favorite valentine gift of all time. My daughter is in her high school madrigal group and they came to my classroom. She presented me with a rose and they sang for me. It was so beautiful and I stood near my daughter to hear her beautiful soprano voice. It was so touching and my husband knows that this kind of gift means the world to me. (I got him a new air compressor which he has been wanting for some time--not quite as romantic as being serenaded, but it is something he will enjoy a lot in the coming months.)
I have received several cards and lollipops and other treats. I'll share those with my family. It has been a day of gifts that I wasn't expecting. The flowers look so pretty over there with my poinsettia that is losing its touch. I think I'll snap a quick photo for all of you and I'll share it below.
Hve a special valentine's day. I hope that someone shows you their love and affection in a creative way. It doesn't have to be with expensive gifts--love is love, no matter how it is shown.
These are my valentine gifts--I wish I had taken photos of the kids who came and serenaded me, it was so awesome to have them all so close with their beautiful voices!!
This is my busy writing space--I am gathering data from many sources to do my renewal project.
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