Category Archives: health

When Sharing Crosses the Line

You know, they say best friends share everything. Well, my work bff Clara took that saying just a little too far and shared her sickness with me. I ought to serve her right and stay home from work tomorrow so she will have to do my job and hers.

Except I can’t really stay home tomorrow. I left work early Friday because I felt sick, and the week before that I was off because I went to Chicago. And next week I’ll be going to Michigan. Plus, all this taking off and spending money on trips means I need all the money I can get–that Michigan trip has been expensive as hell to plan since it includes an expensive-@ss football ticket, an expensive-@ss hotel room, plane tickets, a shuttle from Detroit to Ann Arbor (and back) and will eventually include food costs. Seriously, if I told you how much I have spent so far, especially if you’re not a sports fan, you’d think I was nuts (if you don’t already). Alas, this is the price you pay for being a diehard fan and a loyal alum–especially one who lives in a totally different region from her team/alma mater.

So, I will be dragging it into work tomorrow morning, probably getting more people sick like Clara did with me. That Michigan trip is so going to be worth it–I really can’t wait, and I’m glad I got sick now and not then since I knew it was coming, despite trying to avoid it. I always get sick around this time every year, July-August-September. I’ll never forget being sick on the first day of class in law school my first year of law school, and you can’t miss the first day. And last year I was sick the first weekend of college football/labor day weekend, when people at work acted as if I extended a 3-day weekend into a 4-day weekend merely for the hell of it. No, I was being tortured by mucous. Oh, and of course there was the bar exam debacle…well, let’s not talk about that one.

Man, I tell ya–when you’re sick, you just want to be in bed, take meds (depending on whether you’re one of those people who does or one of those weirdos who refuses to take them), sleep, watch TV (or in my case, play music all day, as I’ve done all weekend–TV is taking too much focusing). And doesn’t it always feel as if you’re either being burned alive or frozen to death (unfortunately for me, I prefer “frozen to death” but am dealing with “burned alive” and the sweaty yuckiness that accompanies it)?

‘Tis the season for illness, so steer clear of that hacking, sniffling co-worker who felt the need to bring his/her @ss to work anyways.

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And the Results Are…

So, I finally got the results back from the ultrasound on my thyroid. I have a nodule and a cyst, but they are both tiny. Since they don’t seem to be causing pain or issues with swallowing or anything big, apparently I’m supposed to just go back to the specialist after some time so I can get another ultrasound done and see if they’ve grown.

My mother came with me to see the specialist, and she was not that happy with him. She doesn’t really like his demeanor, and I know what she means. But she wasn’t happy with what she heard about my first visit to him a few weeks ago when he told me my throat was irritated but didn’t really do anything about it, and then he didn’t check it again today. She doesn’t think her ENT would have just left it at that–he would have examined my throat further. Now, thyroid nodules can cause issues with your throat and voice. Like I said, I don’t have issues swallowing, but something is definitely different with my throat in terms of how it feels, my voice sounds a tad different and I have a random cough when I otherwise don’t feel sick. This has been the case for weeks. And I don’t know where the nodule and cyst are located in relation to my throat. I wasn’t shown any pics from the ultrasound or told about location, but I’m not sure my ENT had that information, either. All the information he gave me came from someone else, some other doctor who analyzed my ultrasound, and the recommendation from whomever that was is for me to get another ultrasound done after a while to check for growth.

My mother thinks I should go to her ENT to have him look at my throat. If it is still irritated, it would have been irritated for at least three weeks or so, and that doesn’t sound normal. Maybe I should go her ENT, because I have been exhausted lately and I know that sometimes goes along with throat infections. For example, all I feel like doing on Sundays is sleeping–which is exactly what I did one recent Sunday, whenever the last one was that Michigan didn’t play a basketball game–and today I really could have slept all day. I made myself get up around 9am because my favorite sports talk show was coming on, and I never get to hear/see it anymore because of work, plus I would have to get up around 10am anyway because of my doctor’s appointment. I sat in the waiting room at the doctor’s office trying to stay awake, yawning incessantly. My mother and I went out to eat after my appointment, and then when I got back home I just wanted to go to bed. I seriously don’t know how I make it through work when I go, but I think all the adrenaline of dealing with constant tech problems keeps me awake.

Last week I realized that “hating” my job might not be all about the work, especially since things have changed a bit after I spoke with the recruiter who placed me at my job about how difficult it is. It has still been challenging, but I just seem to be handling the challenge better and don’t feel as much like I don’t know what I’m doing. Of course, now that I’ve written that, my job will get rough again! But I get up miserable in the mornings, and I realized last week that I’m miserable in large part because I’m so tired in the morning. You see how it was a struggle for me to wake up at 9am today. Well, when I go to work I have to wake up around 7:30am. When I first started this job, I loved waking up around that time. I used to have to get up at 6am for the job I had before this one, and getting up a full hour and a half later was significantly better.

Now a lot of my thought process in the morning is about simply not wanting to get out of bed and being so tired. I mean, I had a day at work last week that made me feel as if I might actually be starting to like my job, and, still, the next morning I completely did not want to get up and go to work. Sometimes I just want to pick up the phone, call my supervisor and say I’ll be an hour or two late, then go back to sleep. I’m late for work every morning nowadays anyway because I spend so much time in the morning sitting around in a fog. Since I can’t stand coffee, I’m not one of those people who gets up and heads straight for the coffee pot. So I don’t have anything that gets me going in the morning–the closest thing is the sports talk show I turn on in the morning, and I couldn’t do that last week because my DirecTV DVR quit working and I had to wait for the replacement DVR to come (I mean, there were other ways to do it if I really wanted to, but they would have made me even later for work trying to set up one of those ways).

I want DirecTV to burn in hell, by the way.

Either way, that’s it for now on the health front. I’ll think about going to my mother’s ENT.

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The Quadruple Whammy–Work, Health, Sports and V-Day

Last week I visited one of the specialists to which I was referred by my doctor after blood tests came back normal for my kidneys, liver and thyroid. He examined my neck, as well as took a look at my throat. My neck did seem swollen to him, but he didn’t feel anything. The interesting thing to him was my throat–he said it was red and irritated, and he asked if I had a sore throat. I was a little surprised to hear that my throat was irritated because it wasn’t bothering me. But for several weeks I have had a cough, even though I haven’t been sick. It does always feel as if there is something in my throat, and my voice is slightly more raspy, like it gets when I talk too much or yell too much. Both doctors I’ve seen have asked if I have issues swallowing, which I don’t.

So my specialist decided that I should have an ultrasound done on my thyroid, and he had me make an appointment with one of the ladies in the office so that I could go to another facility for the ultrasound. I went and had the ultrasound done today, and I will have to go back to my specialist to get the results when they come in. The lady performing the ultrasound took a lot of pictures on the side of my neck that is swollen. I am not totally sure how much information she had about the issue. The sheet that I saw that was faxed over to them only said “thyroid nodule” on it (other than my name, the procedure and such)–it didn’t mention a side, and she didn’t spend time looking at my neck or anything. So I thought it was interesting that she spent a lot of time on that side and took a lot of pictures vs the other side of my neck.

I had to talk to my supervisor a little bit about what’s happening since I have to leave work all the time to see doctors and such, which is something I didn’t want to do. I just don’t really want to talk to most people about this, especially not people I’m not close to. I have friends who don’t know about this and probably won’t find out without reading my blog, unless it gets serious. My co-workers don’t know.

I did call the recruiter at the employment agency that placed me in my current position and told him about it so they’d know I’m taking several half-days and taking other days off. It’s weird, but I also used this news to ease into talking to my recruiter about not being in love with my job because I really was uncomfortable with having to tell him I’m not liking my job. But I’m to a point where I can’t just keep telling him that everything’s fine at work.

He was really cool about it. He basically told me he has gotten calls from just about everyone he has placed in IT positions where I work about how overwhelming the job is and kind of said the same thing they said about it taking months to get the hang of it. I told him that I question whether or not I can really tolerate not feeling like I know what I’m doing for 6+ months but that I planned to do so. I also told him that I have learned that this is how tech support jobs are and that they’re not for me because of that. I love repairing electronics because I can be left alone with them to just do my job. So we’re probably going to wait a while and then see how I feel and if I want a different kind of position.

So I think it has taken approximately two months for the love affair with the extra amount of money I make on this job to end, and now it’s getting more towards thinking, “Okay, this is too stressful.” People at work tell me it takes months to grasp the job, but I think about the tech support job I had before where I never truly felt like I grasped it. It got easier in a lot of ways eventually, but I definitely ended up in uncomfortable situations more often than someone like me can tolerate. I’m just one of those people who always likes to have the answers, always likes to be the best and never likes to look stupid or say “I don’t know.”

This is where I am right now–lots going on in my personal life as well as with my career, and I haven’t even touched on relationships or the fact that I am successfully acting like Valentine’s Day is not around the corner (for the most part, I completely forget about it, except now there are more and more commercials about it). Frankly, I’m depressed right now, but you won’t believe why. The order goes something like this:

1) My team just got smoked in college basketball. I never turn games off. I sit and watch my team lose from start to finish when it happens, but I had to walk away from this game. I am staying away from sports networks, articles, talk shows, etc, at least for the rest of the night, which is unusual for me, but I know they will talk so much about this game. I was not depressed before that game. People who aren’t into sports don’t get it, I know.

Just think of a time when, say, you built something or someone up so much and had all these visions of how great things were going to be and then the moment you realized it wasn’t going to be that way. That moment was tonight for me with my team this season. I decided I’m not going to go to the Final Four in Atlanta–they won’t be there. We’ve got a good month to go in college basketball yet, but I already can see this. I was going to wait on the results of my ultrasound before I made any changes to my plans to go to Atlanta in April, but now there’s no reason to wait.

2) My job. Just the normal “I have to go to work in the morning” dread, but it played a role in my turning the game off. I figured that I spend enough time being put through garbage during the day without forcing myself to sit through garbage in my spare time in the evenings. I try to be a real fan and not just be there for the wins, but I’m realizing after sitting through 3 losses in less than two weeks that this crap should only go so far when you have other schitt going on in your life that makes you unhappy.

Right now I’m not even worried about my ultrasound but still, for some reason, can’t bring myself to talk about it with anyone I know other than my mother and the two people I told for work-related reasons. That’s why I haven’t posted more about it until now, and even with this post it took inner prodding to go ahead and write it. I don’t want to think a lot about it, at least until I know something.

Hope you enjoyed reading about another person’s bullschitt, if you did–thanks, hahaha! 😉

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It Turned Out OK Before

Got my test results back today from my thyroid, kidneys and liver, and everything was normal. So that means my doctor was right in thinking my thyroid is not the issue with why my neck is “puffy” on one side. The nurse who called me reiterated that the doctor wants me to see a specialist and asked if he had already given me referrals, which he had. So I went ahead and made an appointment with a specialist I saw a couple of years ago who happened to be on the list of referrals. I’m going in next week.

It does concern me a tad that the problem isn’t as “simple” as a thyroid problem that can be resolved with medication, but I’m not particularly worried right now because today has been a fairly good day. I’m not thinking about all the possibilities. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens when I see the specialist.

Even so…my mother asked me after my doctor’s appointment last week if I was worried, and I said no. She should know better than that. When I was in the hospital in 2010 for nearly a week having my liver treated and then having surgery, I was never scared. When I had my surgery, I went to the emergency room first and just walked up to the desk and told the person there what was wrong. And he was like, “How do you know?” I shrugged and said, “I’ve been here before for this.” I should have had surgery a long time before I did, and I think that played a role in my liver getting infected. But telling him I’d been there before for the same thing got me seen immediately, unlike the first times I’d been there. I was first actually wondering if they’d let me go so I could go to work that evening (which was why I waited so long to have surgery). But then I found out about the liver infection and there was nothing I could do but let them admit me to the hospital.

It’s a good thing I went to the emergency room of my own free will or else I wouldn’t have known about the liver infection. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror that day to check for jaundice, which was on a checklist I’d been given months prior by a surgeon I’d seen and which would alert me that I’d need to go to the emergency room for emergency surgery. I didn’t see anything wrong but just had been in pain for 12+ hours and was tired of it.

Mainly, that experience was annoying and everything leading up to it was just physically painful. In the hospital, the staff was great, but they wouldn’t leave me alone. They also had me hooked up to so much crap that even before the surgery it was tough to just go to the restroom. And every time I tried, someone would rush into my room because they were alerted that I moved. I couldn’t sleep, either, for nurses coming in the middle of the night to give me medication and draw blood.

After the surgery, it was a good thing I wasn’t in pain (except for immediately after the surgery was over) because the painkillers they were giving me through the IV made me ill. They switched up the painkillers when I told them this, and they still made me sick. So I just quit pushing the button to receive any doses through the IV. Painkillers never made me sick on any of my trips to the emergency room or with any of the prescriptions they gave me, so maybe it was just the way it was being administered to me. Anyway, so I had the worst headache ever while I was in the hospital because of that, and all the nurses would give me was Tylenol because of my liver…which means my headache never went away.

So, yeah…annoying, but not scary. I think everyone I told or who knew I was in the hospital was more scared than I was.

So far, my mother seems not to be worried, and that’s what’s amazing. I’ll have to ask her how she feels. For my part, though, the news today was just not exactly what I wanted to hear, which I know sounds weird considering everything was “normal.” But that just means this isn’t over, and now I’m possibly waiting to hear something worse in a couple of weeks.

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Why I Needed A Day Off, And Why It Didn’t Go Well

Note: Thought I’d published this a long time ago, but, of course, WP decided to act silly that night. Written Jan.28, published Feb. 6

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that if my lazy co-worker was going to constantly come up with excuses to take off work or leave work early, then I was going to do the same thing.

So I took a day off this past week, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The past week was horrible at work, as I think the previous week was, as well. Instead of it feeling like my new job is getting easier, it actually seems like it’s getting tougher. And that’s taking me to a point where my patience runs thin.

To top off the crappy week, my supervisor called a meeting that seemed an awful lot like one of those “you’re doing a good job, but…” and then insert a laundry list to the contrary. Two things in particular pissed me off…maybe three things:

1) He’d already sent an email about this “mistake” we’d all made earlier in the week, and then he brought it up again in the meeting. According to him, he’d asked us to give him some information over email and none of us followed instructions. He kind of lectured us about this, twice. Now, in my opinion, if none of us followed instructions, then maybe he needs to question how clear the instructions were instead of automatically saying we didn’t pay attention to his email. I’m still not sure what he’s saying we didn’t do. But just as if an entire class full of students is failing then that means the teacher needs to look in the mirror…just sayin’.

2) He told Lazy Tech and I that we still go to other techs for help too much. LT has been working there for about four months, and I have been there for two months. I don’t perceive LT as going to other techs that much, so I feel like this was really directed at me because I do ask a lot of questions. Now, I had been told by both LT and that geeky tech who thinks he’s cool that I should ask questions instead of just doing things and doing them wrong.

Frankly, going to other techs a lot two months into the job wouldn’t be necessary if they’d actually train new hires. And this was my problem with my last employer, but there are far more things to learn/know at this place. It’s not a matter of knowing things about computers; it’s that they have their own programs that employees use, I haven’t heard of half of them and don’t know enough about most of them at this point to help employees with the questions they ask. Having me come in and get thrown into the job on day 2 with the “training” being running after people to ask them questions is not training. And if that’s how you’re going to play it, then you can’t say, “You’re going to others for help too much.” It’s completely ridiculous, and it takes longer to learn information that way. The geek who was supposed to train me told me it takes six months to really feel comfortable with that position, and another tech told me it takes a year to really get a grasp of all the stuff you need to know to do that job. So, this just makes me feel like my supervisor is either unaware of what my position is like or he has unrealistic expectations even after knowing what it’s like.

3) He gave LT and I the “we’re a team” speech. And I’m not sure of all the reasons why. He mentioned that other techs who worked there before us communicated more with each other about the work. LT is not going to do anything like that because he’s lazy. If he’s going to do anything, he’s going to do it fast and then move on. He’s not going to spend time discussing unless it’s necessary. And then when I try to talk to him about things, he doesn’t really listen or respond because he’s too busy on Facebook. He leaves emails for me to do while I’m already busy, with the excuse that it’s stuff I need to learn, while he’s on Facebook…and then he’ll IM me telling me not to ignore those emails or wondering why I haven’t done them yet when he could have answered them an hour ago.

That geeky tech kind of pissed me off earlier in the week, too, because he basically told me I should have done more to help someone instead of sending a tech to her cubicle. And I was in the middle of a whole lot of stuff, some of it I didn’t know how to do, with LT sitting at his desk having fun on his laptop. So I just let his geeky ass know, “Hey, I’ve got all this schitt on my plate while LT is over here on his laptop.”

I very much suspect that this got back to my supervisor and that this is part of the reason we got that “team” bullschitt laid on us. It’s not going to make any difference. But another reason I think the geek told him about that is because our supervisor also announced that we can’t use our laptops at work anymore. And that’s good and bad. The “team” speech is not going to affect LT, but I wonder if he’ll do more work now that he won’t have his laptop. Part of me just feels like taking away laptops doesn’t matter if you’re not going to tell people they can’t have their cell phones out, as well. Cell phones nowadays do almost everything laptops do.

Plus, if I know LT as well as I think I do, all this means is he’s going to be up and away from his cubicle running his mouth more often. I was thinking about it the other day, too, and he might think the way he runs his mouth with everyone makes them like him…but it doesn’t. Everyone at our last job disliked him because they knew he was lazy and unfriendly with customers. I was surprised when even the guy who trained me said he never liked LT, saying that he always seemed annoying. I think the same thing is starting to happen at our new job. He does act semi-needy with other guys.

So the next time my recruiter from the agency that placed me in this job asks me how it’s going, I’m thinking of just being a little more honest with him. I don’t want to tell him over lunch because I think he’s always going to invite LT to lunch, as well. And LT is happy with this job because of the money. There were things I didn’t like about the job all along, but I also understood I had to get to a point where I learned much of what I needed to know, regardless of not liking the method they use for me to learn these things. But now I’m feeling like, because of how the past couple of weeks have been and then that meeting with my supervisor, that I’m not getting the understanding or support I need, considering what they’ve thrown me into. I have never gotten the impression that I was supposed to be fluid in doing this position after two months, as cited earlier in this post. One thing I can say for my last employer is they were understanding about how difficult the position was, given that they don’t really train people on everything upfront.

I had told the recruiter upfront that this is not the kind of position I’d prefer, so now I can kind of be like, “Yeah, this, this and this are the reasons why I said that,” i.e. the lack of training you receive and how that affects you the whole time you work a position being paramount. And, of course, although the people I support are generally more tolerable than at my last job, I still would rather not have a job where I communicate with people all day long and get a few assholes every day and/or annoying “regulars” who always have the most difficult issues in the world.

Going in a bit of a different direction…

So, yeah, I needed a day off…really, more than a day off. And I might be getting another one off sooner than expected. Here’s the story:

My mother has been bugging asking me to go see a doctor. She’s always looking at my neck and saying it looks bigger on one side than the other. This has been going on for longer than I care to admit, and she has been accusing me of being one of those people who “won’t go to the doctor until it’s too late.” That’s not really true, although I probably am one of those people who has his/her priorities a bit out of order. As my father pointed out, I would gladly take off work to go to Michigan and see a football or basketball game, or even just to hang out around campus. But when they talk about stuff like making a doctor’s appointment, I say I don’t want to take off work–which is true. If I weren’t working or still worked nights, I’d have no issue with going to the doctor.

Well, to get them off my back–because my father has started joining in on this with my mother–since I wanted desperately to take a day off work, I decided to coordinate it with a doctor’s appointment. My mother has been worried that I have a thyroid problem. She has one, and so does her sister. I do have other symptoms consistent with a thyroid issue, to be honest, and when I was sick back in 2010 (yes, I know) with another issue I had a surgeon poke around my neck and ask me if anyone ever talked to me about my thyroid. She did this after she took my heart rate and found it to be abnormally fast. I made the “mistake” of telling my mother this, which she, of course, used constantly to support her position that I needed to have my thyroid checked.

So, I finally went to a doctor. And I haven’t been until now because I really didn’t think anything was wrong. When I feel my neck, it just feels like extra skin. It doesn’t hurt, there are no lumps or nodules…nothing, but it’s bigger on one side. I do have an asymmetrical body and issues with weight fluctuation, so that’s all I thought of it.

The doctor was awesome, but he kind of did as my mother does, i.e. stared at my neck a lot while I spoke to him. So eventually, he examined it. And he told me he would take blood from me and he’d test my thyroid, liver and kidneys (my liver was part of my problem in 2010…told him about that, as well as that cancer runs in my family and he wanted to know what kind). He left the room and came back eventually. I thought I was about to have a blood sample taken, but he gave me sheets of paper. Basically, I gathered from what he said that he suspects I do not have a thyroid problem; he thinks it could be something else. He agreed with my mother that my neck doesn’t look right, and he suggested that I see a specialist. That’s what the papers were for–they were names and addresses of specialists.

After that, I waited quite a while and then had a blood sample taken by a nurse who was from Michigan and, seeing my Michigan shirt, talked to me about the state, my alma mater, Ann Arbor and her family. When she was done, I looked around and, gosh, it’s like they took enough of my blood to supply half the hospital I stayed in back in 2010. I was fine for a couple of hours, and then I wanted to do nothing but fall on my face. They took a lot of blood.

Still waiting on the results, but I figure either way I’ll need to see a doctor again soon. With this doctor agreeing with my mother that my neck is not normal, plus wanting to run tests on my liver and kidneys and wanting me to see a specialist…now I have a feeling that something is actually wrong. With both my mother and my aunt taking thyroid medication, I know that’s not too big of a deal, relatively speaking. It’s easily treatable if it’s an under-active thyroid. But with the doctor telling me, “There are other things in the neck” and seeming to think my thyroid is okay, I don’t know what to expect. It’s to the point where I’d rather the test results tell me my thyroid is under-active.

Plus, I may or may not have mentioned this here before, but I have always “known” that I would get cancer. Whether or not it’s now, that is just something that has always been matter-of-fact to me. I can’t explain it, but I know how I’m going to die. I’ve known since I was a kid.

You see the name of my blog. So, I’m not worried about dying, per se. I just now have a feeling that something is wrong. I might find out it’s nothing, or it might be easily treatable. I’m guessing I should hear what these tests turned up, if anything, tomorrow or Tuesday.

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