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What Katie Couric DIDN’T show us…

9 Jun

Time for Ye Annual Colonoscopy. Which always gives me flashbacks to Katie Couric being heralded for being so brave and broadcasting hers. She makes it look simple – which the actual procedure is. What she didn’t spend much time on (and why the procedure has a bad rap) is the prep.

The face of excitement.

The face of excitement.

Since I’ve ranted about the entire experience before, I won’t bore you with a redundant entry. Instead, I’ll just share a few quick updates and observations from this year’s scope. Note: this post may be a bit too much information for you if colons (and their functions) make you squeamish, so you may want to skip it. I consider it a Public Service Announcement for people who must also undergo this procedure.

First – surely they can do better than the 3 Liter jug of GoLytely they prescribe as part of the prep. In fact, I happen to KNOW they can, because about 10 minutes after I started drinking it on Monday night, I had multiple people ask why my doctor hadn’t prescribed the new 1 Liter option that apparently everyone but me is using. My short answer: because he is a sadist. My more considered answer: I probably earned it because I ate an entire bag of popcorn before my last colonoscopy.

Second – I finally figured out a method that makes the prep a wee bit less traumatic. I took the entire jug, a tumbler of ice and a lemon lime Vitamin Water to the loo with me. I normally would NEVER advocate eating/drinking in a bathroom (unless you are in the bathtub with a book), but this method both reduced the amount of wiping needed and the constant “I’m about to shit my pants” feeling that are hallmarks of the prep.

Ready for it? The trick is to sit ON the toilet while pounding the GoLytely so it can just shoot through you. Break it up with a few sips of Vitamin Water so you don’t throw up from the horrible taste, and VOILA – you will be done with the GoLytely in one hour and out of the bathroom in 90 minutes. Using this method, I was actually able to crawl into bed and get six hours of sleep before the second round of GoLytely hit.

Also: I draw a face on the jug so I can feel as if I have a companion there in the trenches with me. It happens to be my enemy, but a companion nonetheless. I think the word is “frenemy.”

GoLytely Face - (c) 2015 pithypants.com

Third – because I am too cheap to take a cab, or too hell-bent to get my 10,000 steps in, or too stubborn in general – I decided it was a good idea to WALK the 1.25 miles to my appointment. This, only three hours after completing the GoLytely. Let’s just agree: probably not the wisest decision. I arrived at the office making a beeline for the bathroom before even checking in. It was my way of playing, “Guess What I’m Here For” with the other patients in the waiting room.

Fourth – turns out, doctors don’t find it funny when you quip, “Guess I’ve flatlined” when they remove your heart monitor and the bleeps turn into one long BLEEEEEEEEP.

Fifth – if I were a nurse, I’d want to work in the recovery room. Because people coming out of anesthesia must say some pretty hilarious stuff. I can’t remember the FIRST things to come out of my mouth after they woke me, but I do remember some of my early sentences being, “Tell me, did I make a big mess in there?” and “Remind me, do I need to fart or something so you can spring me from this joint?” And I really wasn’t trying to be funny. I can only imagine what’s on “best of” reel.

Sixth – everyone should have a sister like Alicia. I went to bed relatively early on Monday night, having completed the first half of the prep and hoping to sleep as much as possible before Round Two commenced at 4am. When I woke at 4am, I found that she had filled my Facebook Feed with anything funny she could find on the topic of colonoscopies – just so I’d have some early morning entertainment to get me to the finish line. Example:

Someecards.com

Finally – everyone should have a partner as awesome as Alan. Not only was he there to collect me and whisk me home at the end of the procedure (helping me navigate since I couldn’t quite walk straight), he showed up with two juices and a box of chocolate bon bons for me to snack on immediately since he knew I’d be thirsty and starving.

Even better – as we walked up the sidewalk to my building and I said, “Um, I think I might be leaking – can you see anything on my skirt,” he just said, “Here – let me walk behind you,” instead of directly answering the question on the table. That’s a keeper, folks!

Poked, prodded and probed – all in all, I’d still say I’m a pretty lucky lady.

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Is there a doctor in the house?

25 Jan
Image Source: https://www.recruiter.com/i/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/CURIOUS-INTERESTED-CAT-DOCTOR.jpg

“What seems to be the purroblem?”

 

I’m sick. I think there’s a chance it might be the flu, but I get irritated by people who self-diagnose incorrectly, so I’ll just tell you my symptoms and let you decide what I have:

  • Fever ranging from 102 – 103.5 for 24 hours, then in the 101 range for a day, now back to normalish.
  • Achy, like someone worked me over with a ball-pein hammer while I was sleeping, including in my ears, across my temples, in the back of my neck, in my hips, and in my ribs.
  • Sneezy, snotty nose and nagging, hacking cough
  • Splitting headache, exhaustion, fatigue, lack of appetite

Oh, and it seems that everything I read/watch/listen to makes me cry. (Don’t even try to tell me it’s PMS. It’s not.)

Now that we have that covered, here are a few snippets that capture the last few days of ceiling-staring:

Musings of the Ill…

ONE: Nurse or Saber-Toothed Death Watch Attendant? 

Miss Moneypenny makes a good nurse… I think. At least, she’s made a point of staying within arm’s reach (either on my lap if I’m upright or snuggled next to me if I’m lying down)  since I started feeling crappy. This could be seen as sweet, but because I’ve heard one too many stories about cats who live in nursing homes and have an uncanny habit of sitting watch for people who are close to death, I’m not entirely sure what to think when I wake up and find her gazing at me. Some part of me does wonder if she’s silently willing me to die.

TWO: Call and Answer

The acoustics in my apartment building are a bit challenging. Built in the early 20th century, I’m convinced the walls and floors are only one fiber more solid than paper. As a result, I can stand in my kitchen and hear my neighbors end-of-day debrief while they cook dinner. (Lately it has included a lot of f-bombs and the word “idiots” when the guy describes his co-workers, so I suspect he’s not long for that job.) And the two year-old below me? I know when nap-time is just not going to happen based on the tantrum that wafts through my floorboards.

This week I’ve been on the other side of it, broadcasting coughs and sneezes for the masses. I hadn’t realized how out of control it had gotten until – after a particularly gripping hacking jag – the silence that followed was met with a neighbor yelling, “Thank God!” No idea which neighbor, but since there wasn’t a key sporting event on TV, I’m pretty sure his words were for me. Upside? If I get into trouble, I know I can summon a neighbor if I shout loud enough.

THREE: Ethics Exam

We are forecast for a major storm this week. I have not left my house since Wednesday. I am down to one roll of toilet paper. Do I:

  1. Try to persuade Alan (who is also sick with the same symptoms) to come to my house and bring a package of toilet paper.
  2. Use InstaCart and pay $8 for what should be a $4 purchase – assuming stores even still have any in stock, given the forecast.
  3. Muster enough energy to go next door to Starbucks, purchase a tea, use their bathroom and take a roll of toilet paper to get me over the hump.
  4. Stop eating solids.

FOUR: Things I Have Actually Googled

  1. How do I know if I have the flu
  2. Dangerously high fever range
  3. Death watch cat
  4. Shows like Downton Abbey
  5. How much Tylenol in 24 hours
  6. Can pets get the flu from humans (answer: yes, apparently)

FIVE: It’s called “Zoonosis”  

On that last point… while Miss Moneypenny has been a great nurse, zoonosis (transmission of human diseases to animals) might explain why I’ve woken up to the not-so-calming sound of her barfing every morning since I got sick. I like to think of her as an overly committed professional, kind of like Marie Curie. “It’s not worth it,” I tell her when I hear her starting to rumble in the mornings, “You’ll never win a Nobel Prize.”

In other news, anyone who owns a vicious dog might want to consider naming it Zoonosis so you can trickily both accept and deflect blame if it ever kills another animal. Imagine how it would play out:

“Your dog killed my chinchilla”

“ZOONOSIS killed your chinchilla.” 

“No, your DOG killed my chinchilla.”

And repeat.

 

Back to bed for this girl. Here’s hoping you don’t get what I’ve got. If you do, blame your pet.

PS: I don’t have the energy to proofread or spellcheck this, so if there are errors: you’re welcome.

So, this is a milestone. GULP.

30 Oct
Little baby me with my adoring big sister - who would later dump me out on my head.

Little baby me with my adoring big sister – who would later dump me out on my head.

Happy birthday to me! Today marks 40 years on this fine planet!!!

How lucky am I? Answer: Very.

A year ago I launched my 40×40 – a mini-bucket list of things I wanted to do before I turned 40. So… how’d I do?

If you know me, you’re probably thinking, “With her undiagnosed OCD, it’s a given that she meticulously did every item on the list.” And if you’d made this wager in December of last year, the odds would’ve been in your favor.

But then this thing happened: I started the Georgetown University Transformational Leadership Coaching program. And I was, as they say, transformed. I loosened up a bit. I stopped riding myself so hard. I gave myself permission to only honor the commitments that served me – and eliminate or renegotiate the others. That right there was worth the cost of tuition alone.

So it is through that new lens that I present my final scorecard for the last year’s 40×40.

  1. See the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. YES. As long as “from an airplane” counts.
  2. Try sushi. NO. To quote George Bush: “Just couldn’t do it…”
  3. Attend Nerd Nite DC. KIND OF. I tried – repeatedly – but it was always sold out. The winning twist is that because it was sold out, I ended up discovering and attending “Story League” which was completely up my alley. (You might just hear of me competing in it as part of my “40 AFTER 40.”)
  4. Become a certified coach. YES. And it was so much more than I bargained for. I’d considered applying multiple times over the last ten years, but finally pulled the trigger last year. What a great reminder to stop putting off the things that you’re interested in.
  5. Take a “Girls Trip” with my mom and sister. YES. And it was more than just a girls trip. What a blessing to get to spend time with my two favorite women – while seeing some amazing sites.
  6. Practice yoga every day for one week. NO. When I joined a gym so I could access a pool for the swimming goal on this list, I discontinued my yoga studio membership. As a result, I got a bit lazy on the yoga front, but it’s rotating back in.
  7. Take an official walking tour of DC. YES. In fact, I took two and learned a lot about this city I’ve called home for the last 18 years. Including where manure used to flow. And still does.
  8. Find the doors at the O Street MansionYES. Well, we found SOME of the hidden doors, but not all of them (perhaps in part because the place deserves to be featured on “Hoarders”). It provided a great bonding activity with two of my new classmates from Georgetown – and reminded me why I can’t handle pack-rats.
  9. Explore wine country with Alan. YES. We had a blast and covered a frightening number of miles (and bottles) on this trip – from San Fran to Pismo Beach and SLO to Napa and Sonoma. And we may or may not have flown two cases of wine home with us.
  10. Completely avoid Diet Dew for one month. YES. TIMES TWELVE. I did the Un-Dew. And I’ve stuck with it. I stopped drinking it on my last birthday and have only had one per month (if that) since. And I haven’t switched to another variety of soda, so I’m slowly purging the Aspartame from my body. Whew.
  11. Get a library card from the Library of Congress. YES. It was a process, but I now can peruse the stacks at will. Just don’t ask me how many times I have actually cashed in on this privilege.
  12. Sponsor one classroom project each month on DonorsChoose. YES. Over the last year, I sponsored some amazing projects for the public classrooms in this country. From hatching butterflies and harnessing rain water for a community garden to equipping an entire classroom with copies of “Wonder” and buying a library college-prep books – I helped students in our most impoverished communities know that someone was rooting for them (and willing to invest in them). If you don’t already give to DonorsChoose.org, I highly recommend it.
  13. Go Facebook-Silent for two weeks. YES. Read the post. I might do it again. And again. And again… Starting now?
  14. See an exhibit at the Phillips Collection. YES. Alan and I went to a “Phillip’s After Five” event and saw a “Mad Men inspired” exhibit from the 50s and 60s. There was also a DJ, some random food, and conversation with strangers that involved hiring a stripper for an octagenerian on life support. We may or may not do it again.
  15. Make a Halloween costume. YES. Just don’t ask how many times we got to wear them. After all – today’s my birthday and we only have plans to wear them to my office party this afternoon.
  16. Find a StoryCorps booth and record a story. Ideally with my dad. NO. Nevermind that we didn’t figure out what our story would be (though I’m pretty sure we’d have good fodder for the Booth), the real challenge here was finding a location and time to head in for an interview. It’s kind of like winning the lottery. Fortunately for me, my dad is a master diarist, so I have plenty of his history captured for posterity.
  17. Get professionally fitted for a bra. YES. You know I did. And I learned that my breasts are the ONLY reason I’m not a professional golfer. Well…
  18. Get a new driver’s license. NO. But for a fantastic reason: my current license is good for TWO MORE YEARS! Boom! So why would I go willingly sit in the DMV to get a license with a photo that makes me look older? Right… I wouldn’t – and didn’t!
  19. See the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. YES. Multiple times when Alan and I were touring California last fall, though the most spectacular was probably in Pismo Beach.
  20. Send one handwritten note of gratitude to someone each month. KIND OF. I sent more than a dozen thank you notes (and not just in response to things I received) but they weren’t paced by the month. In fact, I took the February “Month of Letters” challenge and sent a handwritten note each day of the month – many of which were unprompted thank you notes. So I consider the spirit of this one fulfilled.
  21. Record a podcast with my friends. NO. Mainly because we’re too lewd to hold jobs if we do it – and too disorganized to meet at a house instead of at a restaurant on the fly. This WILL happen in the next year – even if no one but us hears it. (Looking at you, Al, Heddy and Shawn.)
  22. Learn to change my bike’s rear tire. YES. Learned from YouTube. Attempted in real life. Not that difficult – though I’ll probably freak out and forget how when I need to do it in real life next summer.
  23. Write 50,000 words toward my next novel. NO. That’s on the list for 2015.
  24. Complete a Century Ride. Preferably with my sister. NO. But I flew a shit-ton of miles in an uncomfortable seat to meet my sister in Italy. Does that count?
  25. Learn why ziplines are so hyped. NO. Still clueless. Our weekends got away from us, but it will happen – when we next go camping near one. In the meantime, I plan to just leave my zipper down occasionally and see why that’s so hyped.
  26. Review the books I read on Amazon. KIND OF. I reviewed A LOT this year – like the books I read, the apartments I stayed in, the restaurants I ate in, etc. – but I didn’t do it on Amazon. So check me out on TripAdvisor or Audible and you’ll see that I have quite the collection of reviews – and people who argue with them.
  27. Swim 50 miles. Not all at onceYES. This was the BIG ONE. And I did it. Don’t ask me how many laps I’ve swum since hitting this goal. (Hint = none.)
  28. Roast an entire chicken. YES. And once I realized how easy it was, I hung my head in shame – and roasted a bird each week. Seriously – why did this take me so long? And how many other simple things are out there that I haven’t tried because I’ve made them more difficult in my head. (Stay tuned for 2015, when I build my own rocket pack and travel the globe.)
  29. Compliment a stranger every day for a week. NO. I attempted this and got crazy looks. I definitely complimented more strangers than I usually would, but I didn’t do it for seven days straight.
  30. Volunteer for a cause I care about. KIND OF. This is still a biggie because I’m passionate about so many causes. This year was a bit nutty, however, so I sponsored a lot but didn’t necessarily participate. Earlier this month I did participate in the Alzheimer’s Walk (and I raised $1,500 for the cause!) but that still doesn’t feel like volunteering. Next year I’ll do better.
  31. Declutter my friendshipsYES. And in the process, I’ve realized how many truly great friends I have. 
  32. Do an inversion every single day. NO. I still think it’s good for you – I just struggle to remember to do it. And let’s be honest – I didn’t do it the first day after my birthday last year, so it was a lost cause, mentally.
  33. Update my resume. KIND OF. I updated it – then took on a new role. So now it’s out of date again. But it was still a good exercise in seeing just how much experience and how many skills I’ve acquired since joining my company.
  34. Help Alan have a good 40th year. KIND OF. I should rephrase this, because – despite my intentions of being awesome to Alan, he ended up being more awesome to me. As just one example: He didn’t complain when I scrapped our vacation to go to Italy with my mom and sister – in fact, he stayed at my place and cat-sit Miss Moneypenny.  I think I need to help him have a GREAT remainder of his 40th year.
  35. No candy for a month. YES. Of course, I chose February because it is the shortest month. Even so – did you know that by gutting candy, I didn’t lose a single pound? That wasn’t my goal, but – given the quantities of sugar I consume – I would’ve thought that’d be a natural bi-product.
  36. Host a scavenger hunt. KIND OF. It’s a bit of a stretch to even count this as “kind of” because I technically did not host a scavenger hunt. However, I did organize a series of puzzles and games so that my dad could be an armchair traveler and have one envelope to open each day we were in Italy.
  37. Break a rule. YES. I actually realized that even though I think of myself as rule-abiding, I break rules frequently. The most common? Jay-walking. I actually got yelled at in Boston this year for jay-walking in front of three cops on a street corner.
  38. Provide free sales coaching to someone who tries (poorly) to try to sell me something. YES. After months of receiving horrible emails from a salesperson who clearly didn’t understand my role or what my company does, I wrote her back a very thoughtful response, including feedback on what would’ve been a more effective way to grab my interest. I can only assume she applied that feedback and became wildly successful, because I never heard from her again.
  39. Contribute to Wikipedia. YES. Actually, I learned something. After creating an account so I could contribute to Wikipedia, I learned that the kind of contributions they want people to make are generally editing or fact-checking, rather than straight-up authoring. That explains why there’s no entry for “pithypants” on Wikipedia – yet.
  40. Go camping. NO. I can’t believe this one didn’t get accomplished. I love camping and used to do it all the time. But it’s tough to get all the variables in alignment – it has to be a weekend when Alan doesn’t have the kids, the weather has to be dry and warm – but not too warm, and we can’t have plans that tie up one of our weekend evenings. Next year this will happen, because I miss the smell of wood smoke.

 

So what’s the tally? 22 clearly completed? 7 kind of? 11 scrubbed? Whatever the count, I’m considering it a win. I had a great year and my list did exactly what I’d hoped it would: it prompted a bit of reflection and a greater reconnection with my friends and family, my curiosity and creativity, and my health.

As I look back on the first four decades of my life, I feel grateful to all the splendid people who have made my life so rich. I am one lucky lady.

Thank you, Self.

18 Mar

The other night, I noticed that I have a tendency to sit in my chair at the end of each day and offer thanks for something kind of ridiculous. Unlike the profound moments of gratitude that make people teary-eyed, my nightly acknowledgement of thanks usually focuses on something very tactical and that makes me happy in a small way.

I’ve noticed it enough that I thought I should try to document the habit to see what patterns emerge. So apologies in advance, my friends – but since this blog is kind of like a journal – you’re going to get a front-row seat to my gratitude, which will manifest itself in VERY SHORT POSTS capturing my nightly thank you notes.

(Feel free to tell me what YOU are grateful for too – even if it’s just that your tongue has bumps on it. And yes – that’s actually one of my mine.)

So with no further ado, here’s my first note of gratitude:

Image Source: pithypants.com 2014

If a tree falls and no one posts about it on Facebook, does it mean it really fell?

4 Feb

Image Source: http://media1.annabrixthomsen.com/2012/07/If_a_tree_falls_in_the_woods377Detail.png

Two weeks ago, I entered Facebook Silence. Or at least, that’s what I called it when I decided there was no time like the present to tackle the “Two weeks without Facebook” challenge from my 40×40 list.

For people who don’t have Facebook, that entry probably earned an eyeroll. But for those of us who check Facebook multiple times daily and feel like it’s our connection to people outside our immediate sightline? It seemed daunting.

I’ll admit, if I hadn’t deleted the Facebook app off my iPhone, I would’ve blown my resolution the day I started. I posted my intention to go dormant on a Sunday night, then – when I woke on Monday – I started my lazy wake-up routine. I don’t run my furnace at night, so I wake to chilly air and usually spend a bit of time lounging in my bed, reviewing emails on my phone before I can muster the courage to run to the shower. If it’s really cold, I’ll buy more time by flipping over to Facebook to see what people posted while I was sleeping.

That Monday, it was exceptionally cold, so when I finished the emails, I instinctively went to check Facebook. But my smart self had remove the app from my phone before I went to bed. Instead of a blue square icon, my phone simply had a blank space glaring at me. I briefly wondered what I’d committed to. Then I wondered if my Facebook usage bordered on an addiction. Then I showered. Image Source: http://media02.hongkiat.com/facebook-addiction-signs/facebook-addict.jpg

That first day was a series of realizations… not only that I used Facebook as a crutch on cold mornings, but also that I’ve become accustomed to checking it quickly as a way of mentally shifting gears between projects at work. More than once, I found myself landing on the login page, catching myself before I entered my credentials.

I hadn’t declared an outright ban on all social media, however, so I’d dip into Twitter daily and post something. I’ve never been much of a tweeter, and this two week period helped me figure out why: Facebook feels like more of a conversation. Twitter seems like a bunch of people just blurting things and occasionally responding to each other. Perhaps a bit like a Tourrettes conference. Also? It turns out I enjoy the photos people post on Facebook – even if they’re usually of children.

So while I bounced over to Twitter periodically, I’d wager that it held my attention for no more than five minutes a day. It kind of makes me wonder why I have four Twitter accounts. (I guess I did a land-grab early on? Beats me.)

I will say that this experiment DID help me reclaim a staggering amount of free time, so I definitely plan to restrict my Facebook usage moving forward. But I also found that I missed out on key events and had to learn about them second-hand, which I didn’t like.

Thankfully, Alan texted me when my friend announced the birth of her baby via Facebook. And it was from overhearing people in my office talking that I realized one of my work friends was stuck on a bus in Atlanta for 24 hours because of the snow storm. Trade-offs, I guess.

In any case, it was liberating to unshackle myself from Mark Zuckerberg’s three-legged race for a week. And it was a stroke of genius that my dormant period coincided with the Super Bowl. Because who has time for that?