Thursday, January 31, 2008

I hate the hospital

In my last post, I believe I mentioned that I sometimes worried that my panic attacks were actually something worse. Well, turns out that they were.

I didn't feel well Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. My 'panic attack' didn't go away completely and I was still in pain. It got much worse again on Monday. I couldn't make the pain stop; no matter what I did it kept getting worse. I mean, I was doubled over in pain and crying. My grandmother decided to take me to the emergency room. I figured that I'd probably just get some medication, and maybe have to start paying for a prescription for the attacks. Boy, was I wrong.

After sitting in the waiting room for nearly five hours, they took me in the back. I'd had an EKG, and the doctor came back and said that looked fine, so he didn't think it was anything with my heart. They kept me on a heart monitor, took a chest x-ray, and then a bunch of blood samples for tests. By this time, the pain was pretty much gone, and I was wondering why they didn't hurry and write me a prescription or whatever, so I could go home. And eat, as I hadn't had eaten that day and by this time it was nearly 11pm.

Finally, the doctor comes in, and tells me he has the results of the bloodwork. "Your liver results are abnormal, your gallbladder results are abnormal, and your pancreas is extremely abnormal. We're going to admit you." And then he walks out. What the hell? Nice bedside manner there, Doc. I started freaking out, understandably, but a few minutes later another doctor came in and explained things more fully.

I had
pancreatitis, or an inflamed pancreas. One of the enzymes produced by the pancreas should be, under normal circumstances, around a level of 40 units (or slightly more). My pancreas was so inflamed, however, that my levels were at 3100. That in turn was causing some slight issues with my liver, causing those abnormal readings. No wonder I was in so much pain. Anyway, the doctor listed a number of potential causes, but said the most likely scenario was that I had gallstones. If a gallstone got stuck in the ducts connecting the gallbladder and pancreas, that would explain all of my symptoms. After I explained that I'd had these for years, the doctor decided that was probably what was wrong, and if so I'd need to get my gallbladder removed. At any rate, I was being admitted until my blood was back to normal, at the very least.

So they get me upstairs and into my room. By the time I'm done with all of this, it's after 2am. They won't feed me, because that's the best way to get the inflammation down. No food for a day or so, and then nothing but clear liquids. I was quite pissed off, but at least I'd already had a day without food. I barely slept; they of course woke me up every hour or so to either get my blood pressure or a sample. Around 8, I had to go get an ultrasound done of my gallbladder and the surrounding area, so they could figure out whether gallstones were the cause. They finally fed me when I got back to the room, though I got nothing all day but disgusting watery broth and Jell-O.

Got a roommate later that day as well, named Linda. She was awesome. Seriously, she made my stay so much more interesting and tolerable. For the most part I just laid around. Stephen (my doctor, and family friend) came to see me in the afternoon, and told me the ultrasound results showed gallstones, and that they were going to have to operate. He thought they could put it off a few months if I wanted, since I won't have insurance until I graduate and start working again in May. He sent the surgeon to see me though, and no go on that. Hell, the surgeon was ready to sent me into the OR right then. Luckily though, it was booked. I'd just eaten, even if it was broth, and probably would have gotten sick from the anesthesia. Plus, I hadn't seen my family yet and was in no way ready to just go get cut open. Made arrangements to go in the next morning.

Surgery went alright, though of course I was freaking out. I hate being put under for anything. I was out before they even got to the anesthesia part though; I was so exhausted that the drug they give you to relax you put me right out. I had a laproscopic
cholecystectomy, which is where they make a number of small incisions, inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide, and use a camera to see what they're doing. They pull the gallbladder out that way. While it hurts like a bitch, it's not as bad as having open surgery. The recovery time is also much faster, with less chance of complications, and I won't end up with a massive scar.

They had me up and walking shortly after the surgery, as that's apparently vital to getting all of that carbon dioxide out of my system. My surgeon prescribed me no pain medication at all, but the nurses took pity on me and gave me morphine for the rest of that day and overnight. I'm glad, as it still hurt quite a lot even with the morphine. The rest of that day went pretty quickly; I had a lot of visitors and phone calls, and watched a couple of movies with Linda. Fell asleep early too.

I was discharged this morning, and slept the majority of the day. I've felt awful for the most part. Over the counter Tylenol doesn't do much. I've been making sure I walk around and do the stupid breathing exercises, and I talked to everyone and hopped on the forums to answer the big thread of everyone posting their get well wishes. Other than that I've either been sleeping, reading, or watching movies. I have a feeling that's all I'm going to do through the weekend at least.

To be honest though, I need to get working on school stuff. My mom emailed all of my professors, and they're being understanding and saying they'll work with me to help me catch up. I'm not going to contact them until Sunday or Monday though. I'm doing what work I can over the next couple of days, but concentrating on recovering. Then I'll get in touch with them when I'm ready to really get back to work. It's going to be a real pain to catch up. What's ironic is that two of the classes I have are ones I dropped last January whenever I broke my finger and needed surgery on it. That's not an option for me this time though. I'm graduating no matter what.

Another thing. I can't believe that I thought I was dealing with panic attacks for seven years now, and all this time they were actually something else. I guess I understand how it happened. I didn't have any of the big symptoms of gallstones or pancreatitis. I wasn't jaundiced, the attacks didn't happen whenever I ate or mostly at nighttime, etc. And a lot of times I could calm myself down and they'd seem to stop, which was probably coincidence but reinforced the panic attack diagnosis. But still. If they would have figured this out years ago I wouldn't have suffered for so long, and I would have had it taken care of when I still had medical insurance. Oh well, I am grateful it's been taken care of now. At least it's over before it got even worse.

I think that's it for now. It took me all day to write this much, since I'm only on the computer for very short periods at a time. If I missed anything I'll add it in later, though I probably won't be on for a few days. I need to rest. And just a side is my currently reading list absurdly long. I didn't take any books into the ER, so I started a bunch more, since my mom and Danielle were nice enough to bring me some to keep me occupied. I'll need to try and finish a few while I'm recovering.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I had an anxiety attack Thursday evening, around 5pm. First bad one since July, when I was at Pat's. It lasted all damn night. I woke up at nine Friday morning feeling fine, but after I'd been up for a little while I realized that it wasn't gone completely yet. Ended up going back to bed, and didn't get up until after 1pm. I think the only reason I even got up then was because I had two papers to write for Advanced Accounting Issues. Managed to get those done at a reasonable time, but I'm not sure how good they were. I'm not used to writing memos and business letters so I'm hoping I did them correctly.

God, I can't stand getting these things. I should be grateful that they're so few and far between, instead of happening four or five times a week like they used to. But still, I just with they'd go away. Most times they aren't caused by anything in particular, that I can tell. And they always worry me in that case. I get nervous that they're something worse. I'm just being paranoid. It's late and I'm out of it.

I'm still not feeling that great. I'm not tired, probably since I slept so much. I haven't managed to get anything else done though, work-wise. I wish I could; I just realized how slammed I am with schoolwork. It seems like I have something due nearly every day for the next couple of weeks. I have assignments and exams for both my regular accounting class and Quickbooks due when I'm supposed to be in Philadelphia. Other than that, I've got to catch up in my writing class and get through the next section of Advanced Accounting Issues. I have two weeks for that one, but I've glanced at the assignments and they're going to be much more difficult this time. Oh yeah. And learn four chapters of tax law so I will be ready for that exam.

And instead of doing any of this work, or even trying to get it all organized so that I can complete it all without going nuts, what am I doing? Staring off into space, writing here, or watching Lost. Figures, haha. First thing tomorrow though, that's what I'm doing. Setting up a schedule for myself for all of this work. If I can figure out a way to get the accounting and Quickbooks done early, which shouldn't be too much trouble, then I have to figure out Avenue Q. Hmm, and I should probably test my laptop battery to make sure it still holds a decent charge, so I can take it on the train with me on the way to Philadelphia.

So much to do, so little time. Here's where that goal of managing my time better is going to come into play. Hopefully I'll manage to work it all in without losing too much sleep.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So, the friend I mentioned last night. Yeah, got yet another call from his creditors today. Apparently, a different one from the one who has been calling the past few months, but I'm not sure on that. If it is though...geeze. How many loans and such does he have? And on how many of them did he use me as a reference without even asking or informing me? Not that I would have said no, but it's common courtesy to ask. But no, I don't even have it mentioned to me at all until creditors start calling my personal cell phone at all hours of the day looking for him.

I'm pretty fed up with the situation. I certainly don't feel this person is a "good friend" of mine anymore, and he should stop pretending otherwise. I'm not going to cut off contact or anything; I enjoy talking to him and he's fun. It used to be more than that, but it's not now, and hasn't been in quite some time. He lies to me about important things without any hesitation. He'll keep intricate lies on top of lies going for months rather than just be honest. I clearly can't trust him at all, and who knows what else he's lied about, aside from the things I've accidentally discovered? He doesn't really let me know anything that's going on in his life, and rarely knows much about mine.

That's just not what a friend is to me. Hell, I know people I only talk to online that I can trust more than him, and who know more about me and where I am right now in my life than he does. Who ask about school, or the job hunt, or messaged me to see how I was when my dog died. Any one of these people would be considered better "friends", even though I haven't known them for as long or don't hang out with them in person.

Eh, enough of that rant. If I keep going I'll just start repeating myself, and I have more work to do this evening. I've gotten a lot done so far though, so I might be able to quit at a decent hour and get some writing in. That'd be nice; I still have yet to go back to my Nano novel. Hopefully I get to write some of it later, or at least open it and read through it (and see how horrible it is) so that I know where I'm going with the story.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So tired

It's my own fault, really. I shouldn't pick up a book and start reading at 2am. It's inevitable that I will keep telling myself, "one more chapter," until suddenly it's nearly 6am and I've finished the entire book. Oh well!

Not much has been going on lately. I've had a couple of really productive days with school. I need to keep this up until the end of the month, hopefully, so I can get through my first big group of exams. I'm worried about my tax law class; I'm nowhere near where the professor says we "should" be right now. Our first exam isn't up for another two weeks yet, so hopefully I will be good to go by then. The material is difficult for me, but I can't afford to mess anything up this semester if I want to graduate.

My other classes seem fine so far. Quickbooks is easy now that I figured out how to make the online program work, plus it will be over in another three weeks. Writing is a pain in my ass, but not difficult. It's just annoyingly time-consuming. I have one of those professors who seems to think his is the only class I have to worry about. Accounting isn't bad. Still have the wrong book, but I've got a study guide for this half of the course so I can actually do practice problems for the chapters. My advanced accounting issues class...well, we'll see. I have the first of my reports due on Friday. I don't think the class will be that difficult as long as I continue to put the time in and complete all of the work.

In more personal news, I found out a good friend of mine has been lying to me for quite some time about a number of things. Mainly being in some fairly serious financial trouble. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. I'm not mad that he's having the trouble. I wish he'd confided in me, but it's not my choice to make. Lying to me though? Bleh. I'd care a lot less if he just hadn't brought it up, or maybe downplayed the seriousness. But like I said, it's the lies, right to my face. Talking about trips and stuff like everything is not only fine, but going really well. And I've also been dragged into the middle, getting calls from creditors looking for him, and he didn't even have the decency to tell me the truth about why. Not to mention he still hasn't come clean to me, and probably has no intention of ever doing so.

Haven't done anything about it. Don't know that I will; it's not really worth it. I just have to realize that this person really isn't the wonderful friend he claims to be. Otherwise he wouldn't show me such a utter lack of respect by lying to me and pretending to be someone he isn't.

Sorry for the bit of a rant, but I needed to get it off my chest. Liars are among my biggest pet peeves, and this sort of thing has happened with the two of us before. I'm just unsure what to do, and wondering where I draw the line. I don't want to lose a friend, but at the same time, do I really want a friend like that?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Goals Update 1

Don't have a lot of time at the moment, and I really don't know what to write about anyway. But I figured I'd post how my goals are coming along so far, since I've had a couple of weeks to get started on them. I'll probably do an update post like this 2-3 times a month so I can keep track of my progress and figure out which goals I'm accomplishing, and which need some more work.

1. Finishing my degree. School has started, and I'm finally getting into the rhythm of classes. I still have entirely too much work as far as I'm concerned, but I'm keeping up with it fairly well so far. As for getting a job, I've got a friend who works in accounting who is going to ask around and see if she can find people hiring in the area. I've also found a few opportunities through my school's career services, so I'll probably try for everything I am even remotely qualified for.

2. Continuing my education. Have tried to figure out schools I could go to in the fall, but it's been hard. Pitt apparently doesn't have a regular accounting degree at the campus near me. Which leaves me with a bunch of private schools that cost $600-700 a credit, unless I care to commute an hour each way somewhere else. So I'm really not sure what to do there at this point. I may have to wait until I start working and see if I can get any kind of tuition reimbursement. I just hate the idea of having to put it off.

3. Finish my Nano novel....yeah. I haven't even touched it yet. I really need to get back into working on it.

4. Nano 2008 obviously isn't a factor yet, as it's not until November. I may plan it out a bit, but I'm not worried about that until at least the end of the summer.

5. Playing flute and piano. I've played my flute twice so far. Not for very long either time, just relearning some scales and basic stuff. There's not much more I can do until I find or order some music. I also called my mom and asked her to find my keyboard, but haven't heard back from her yet. I'm hoping she finds it so I can practice and get into piano lessons by summer.

6. Write every day. Haven't done well with this either. This is the one goal I really want to improve on.

7. Updating this blog, etc. I think I'm updating about once a week, though it might have been a bit more since my last post. Happy with that so far. I haven't gotten to my journal again yet, but I will. I have been doing my morning page things the last few days (from Julia Cameron's The Vein of Gold), which is good. That's about all my hand can take right now though, especially with needing to write for school.

8. Let other people read my writing. Would have to actually finish some of my stories to accomplish this one, but I'm still planning on achieving this goal.

9. Exercise three days a week. I've exercised about six times, so I'm getting there. Not where I want to be yet, but better than I used to be. I'm happy with how this is going so far.

10. Read at least 52 books. So far I've finished 8, so I'm quite far ahead on this one. I'd really like to get closer to 100 books if I can, so we'll see if I can keep this pace throughout the year.

11. Take some trips. Think I'm going to Philly to see Christian (and Avenue Q!!!) in a couple of weeks. Have to finalize that and hope the damn Amtrak people don't go on strike on the 30th though. I've worked out some more of the details for DO as well. I've got the room and roommates taken care of, now I just have to figure out how long I'm staying so I can get the money together.

12. Languages. I've found some good sites for Japanese, and a couple of people who said they'll help me out. I've also got a few books to look for. If I can find one for a decent price I will get it soon, if not I'll stick with the sites until after I'm back from DO and don't have to worry about money so much.

13. Physical therapy for my hand. I have actually done this, every day. I'm already noticing a bit of improvement, and I'm thrilled.

14. I know I didn't have a 14 before, but I'm adding it now. I need to learn how to manage my time better. As it is, I am getting the schoolwork done that I have to, but I'd like to be further than I am. Also, all of these goals I've had issues with, like the writing and the exercise, I would be fine with if I just had more time to spend on them. I spend plenty of time messing around on the Internet, or chatting with people on MSN. I need to find a way to spend at least some of that time more constructively. I'm not exactly sure how to do that, but for the next week I'm just going to wing it. Maybe just consciously thinking that I have other things to finish, or that I need to work while chatting, will be enough to make some progress. If not, I'll figure out whether I need to limit my Internet, or what else might work.

Alright, enough for tonight. My small update post ended up being longer than I expected. Time to get back to work.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

School >_<

Today was the first day of classes. I knew going into it that it would be quite difficult. It is my last semester to complete this degree, after all. But honestly, the amount of work I have already is absurd. I've got three chapters of tax law to learn the next 2-3 weeks, which cover 9 completely different types of problems and tables. I've also got to get through the first seven chapters of another book and write two reports, by the 25th.

My professors clearly don't want me to go to DO either. I'm supposed to be gone from March 6th until either the 10th or 11th. So far, I have a huge exam for tax law available March 6th-9th. One of my other classes has a large project due on the 7th, and two more projects due the 14th.

It just seems like so much work to me. I already have all this tax stuff to learn, and the syllabus says that students will probably have to read the chapters at least 4-5 times, just to understand all of the information. My advanced accounting class has at least one report, and sometimes two or three, due every damn week. And that's only for two classes. I have five. The information for the other three isn't up yet, which is rather irritating as well. It's the middle of the afternoon and it was supposed to be posted this morning. I'd really like to know how much else I have to try and fit into my schedule. Hopefully it'll all be up by this evening.

Was I seriously saying only a few days ago that I was looking forward to getting back, as I was bored with break? What was I thinking?

I should probably get off of here and start learning tax tables. I'd much rather go and read the last 50 pages of Nemesis, but I can't afford to procrastinate like that this semester. Especially not from day one.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Resolutions, Kind Of

So much for updating "tomorrow" like I'd said in my last post. At least it's only been a week. Ish.

I've decided to participate in the "Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge" over on the NaNoWriMo forums. I really like the idea of an entire forum of people all posting their goals and providing help and support for each other. It also gives you people to hold you accountable if you say you're going to do something. Another reason I'm posting them on here. I know that people who read this (aka Jade, as no one else does) will get on my ass about it. I have come up with a bunch of goals for myself that I want to start on this year. They aren't New Year's resolutions per se, just things I'd like to do. Hopefully I will manage to get through at least some of them.

What I've come up with so far:

1. Finish my degree, in May, and then take the two classes I'd have left to get my tax certificate. There's no reason I shouldn't complete this, honestly. I need a job too, hopefully by June (and hopefully in my field, but I'll take what I can and keep looking if need be). I'm going to start on that in the next couple of months. I already have one or two options to look into.

2. This ties into the first goal, but I want to keep going with school so I can get my Bachelor's degree, and eventually my Master's. I need to research what schools I could go to for my Bachelor's; what is within commuting distance, what classes I'd need to complete the degree, and how I could afford it. Also need to apply to whichever schools I decide are feasible. I've already started this actually, and I'm hoping to get everything in by the end of February, if I decide to continue this fall. If I decide to take a semester off, applications can be pushed back to the end of summer.

3. Finish my 2007 NaNo novel, and edit it once. Actually give it to two or three people to read, which will probably be the most difficult thing for me to do. For some reason, I'm terrified of letting other people read my writing, which is lovely considering I want to be a writer. I really need to start getting over it.

4. Participate in NaNo again in November and win for the third time. Maybe I'll actually plan a bit this year. Yeah, I doubt it. I'm usually lucky to have even a vague plot idea in my head before November 1st. I'm not the type of person who can plot an entire novel out before I write it.

5. I want to get back into playing my flute, and pick up where I left off with learning piano. Finances permitting, I want to take lessons for both, but if not, there's nothing stopping me from finding some music and practicing both on my own. I have a keyboard, and my flute needs a bit of work but it's still functional.

6. Write a bit, every day. It's not realistic for me to write like I do during NaNo all the time, but I need to get into the habit of writing more regularly. I want to get in at least 15 minutes a day. I'd like to do an hour or more most days, but 15 minutes is reasonable no matter how much work I have or how busy my day is.

7. In the same vein as 6, keep updating this blog once a week or more, and start writing in a journal again. Basically, the more writing I fit in, the better.

8. Let other people read my writing! I know I said this already, but it's a huge problem with me, and something that's important for me to accomplish if I want to try and get published.

9. Exercise 3 days a week, work up to 5 days a week. Pretty self-explanatory. I've actually got something in mind to keep me going with this, though I'm not going to get into detail. Maybe in a later post.

10. Read at least 52 books. Probably more, but I know that I can do one per week. I've got well over a hundred books I haven't read, and I want to start getting through them.

11. Try and get away for a few short trips. I can't afford anything extravagant, but I need to get away now and then for a few days. Already have two of these planned; DO in March and Otakon in August. I'm trying to get out to Philadelphia next month to see Avenue Q for Chris' birthday too, if I can scrape the money together.

12. There are a lot of other languages I'd like to learn. I don't really want to be great at them, just learn them to a conversational level. I've been saying this for years, and I want to actually start on one or two this year. I'm thinking Japanese, not sure what else. I might just brush up a bit on my French. Learning one entirely new language is probably enough to start.

13. Keep with my physical therapy until I can actually use my hand like normal again. I'm sick of having issues with writing and other things, just because my finger is still messed up. I've been working on it every day so far, and I want to stick with that until my finger is back to the way it used to be.

Yeah, not ambitious at all, am I? Ha. Like I said before though, these are just things I want to do. I'll be quite happy if I accomplish a few of them. Many of them I've talked of doing for a very long time, so at least I'm putting them out there and giving them a real shot.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Christmas 2007

Right, so I've finally started a blog. I intend to update it on a fairly regular basis, though I'm not sure exactly what that means. I'm hoping for once a week for now. Of course, this screen has been open in Firefox for hours and I'm just now getting around to typing anything. I'm off to a great start!

I don't even know what to talk about in here, so I figured I'd just go over what's happened in my life the last month or so. I finished NaNoWriMo, and won, with nearly 65,000 words for November. Sadly the story isn't even halfway finished at this point. I'd love to complete it, but I've had to put the project on hold for the last month due to finals and the holidays. I'm hoping to get back into writing before I start classes next week.

Finals kicked my ass. Entirely too many all-nighters. I really need to get ahead on my work more so that doesn't happen again. I think it had a lot to do with NaNo though; I word warred instead of studying far too often considering finals were right around the corner. I did well on my final grades though, so that's a plus. Accounting was a bitch, but then again I wasn't using the correct textbook.

When I finally got on break on the Wednesday before Christmas, all I wanted to do was to relax for a few days. Catch up on some sleep, reading, video games, etc. Unfortunately, I got a call from my mom Friday morning. She was crying, asking me to come over and help her get our dog to the vet. Apparently Supai had been whining overnight, which wasn't unusual, and my mom thought nothing of it. But in the morning, she couldn't even move, and she had a big lump in her stomach. So we manage to carry her to the car, and get her to the doctor. Turns out she had a gastric bubble and it had twisted. It was causing her a lot of pain, and there was nothing we could do about it. The vet said we could put her into surgery to fix it, but she'd only have about a 25% chance of surviving the procedure, and even if she did it wouldn't necessarily be fixed. We didn't want to put her through that sort of ordeal, so we had to put her to sleep. It was a horrible start to Christmas. She'd been in our family for 15 years; it's still so strange to think she's gone. I am glad I got the chance to watch her for nearly the entire month of November though, while my mom had work done on her house. At least I got to spend that time with her.

Christmas Eve I just went to my mom's house. We watched Love Actually and wrapped presents (or pretended to anyway), and gorged ourselves on frozen pizza and wine. It was a blast. I'm grateful we're finally to the point where we can hang out on occasion and have a good time, with no drama or arguing. It only took seven years, haha.

Christmas day I didn't do anything special really. It was the dinners with various family members, as usual. I got a ton of stuff, more than I'd expected. Games-wise, I got The Orange Box, Indigo Prophecy, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, and Guitar Hero III. Books, I got Ender's Game (no I've never read it, it's quite sad), along with The Shadow of the Wind, Shantaram, Apollo's Fire, and The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Mom got me some clothes and made me jewelry to match; I need to get her to teach me how to make that sort of thing. And she also got me a digital camera, which I've been wanting for ages. I can finally start taking pictures again! I'm also getting an external hard drive from my grandmother as soon as I pick one out, which I desperately need before the one on my laptop dies completely. I need to back stuff up before I end up losing it.

Alright, I think that's enough for tonight. It's nearly midnight, and I need to get to bed at a decent hour (ha, yeah right) so I can drag my ass to the eye doctor tomorrow morning. I'll try and update for the rest of 2007 tomorrow, along with my "Big, Fun, Scary Goals" for 2008.