Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coconuts over coconut reef

Yesterday we spent the day on Amelia Island and cruising the sights and shops of Fernandina Beach. What a beautiful day it was for us courtesy of Mother Nature. Today though, Mother Nature has presented us with that type of day in which you blog about what a beautiful day it was the day before ... ah yes, that glass is surely half full.

We live in Jacksonville, Florida. So, that drive to Amelia Island can be quite breathe-taking and stimulating. I love nature, sand, beaches, and water and other beauties of Mother Nature. It was a invigorating drive up the A1A coast of North Florida to our day's destination.

The four guys got in a great day of golf thanks to hubby's most handsome golf pro cousin, eligible single bachelor Clayton. An aside: later that evening, we stopped at the Sand Dollar on the way home. Yikes, they really need a parking valet for that creative parking lot! Oh, and I do hope Clayton is able to hook up with those nice young ladies we talked with there.

So, the guys are off golfing and us gals hit the shops of Fernandina Beach. We first hit two huge flea market type stores -- no names to be shared as the second one! Woo-hoo was that ever a smelly store. Good grief shop owners, please do not bring those horses which pull the carriages into the store. Polly and Barb protested hugely that they wouldn't go into that stinky store. Me? Well, I put my finger under my nose and walked every aisle. But, I could only take so much. We continued on our journey, continually protesting, "I smell horse!" I sure hoped that I didn't smell like a horse.

I've not done much store-shopping over the past few years because I've become so internet-driven. However, I did make time to try on a few different dresses at several shops. In trying on that first dress, I discovered a brand that I was unfamiliar with, coconut reef.  The dress fit quite snugly; I liked it that much I would have bought it, but there was no room for shrinkage; so I let it go.  Today I did a Google search for coconut reef but could NOT find that very dress I liked so much.

So, if you know anything about the coconut reef line, or you see any of those dresses from that brand, please give me a holler!  TYVM.  Oh, let me give you an idea about that particular dress I liked so much!  It is a black sleeveless artsy sundress.  It is cut in an A-line with a large, flouncy ruffle at the hemline that rises up in the middle to reveal a view of your in-shape legs.  I didn't think the ruffle continued onto the back of the dress.  The artsy part was artwork on the front of the dress, along with some beady embellishments.

Hey, I am coconuts over coconut reef -- so please keep me in mind if you find that brand.

On to the next fabulous find!  It was at The Gauzeway that I found another cool dress that I liked.  The brand is Maria de Guadalajara, "the new look of old Mexico."  I had selected two different styles of the 100% cotton gauze dresses to try on.  I wasn't wild about the ruffly purple wrap dress as it had too much going on.  I next tried the sleeveless, long A-line dress that had a hint of ruffle on the shoulder straps.  "BINGO!" I said.  I had grabbed that same style in another color and tried that one on too.  "OMG" I thought "I simply must have both of these dresses in the same style!"

I found my shopping buddies Polly and Barb and told them something like "I was one with that dress!  It was something spiritual ... I felt like a flower child ... I must buy that dress!"  I returned to the 30% off sales rack and spotted the dress in yet another color!  Holy moly batman!  I bought three dresses of the very same style from the Maria de Guadalajara, "the new look of old Mexico" brand.  That's a wow for me and I do think a first.  How many of you ladies would do that?  You know, you find something you like and decide one is not enough?  Oh, a special shout-out for The Gauzeway personnel.  I asked, "Is that you best price?  You know considering I'm taking 3 of these?"  Nice surprise that it was 35% off.  Thank you very much.

If you find yourself on Amelia Island, you must spend a few days touring the shops of Fernandina Beach.  Who knows?  You just might find yourself a couple of new brands of artsy clothing and resort wear.

P.S. I was just searching Amazon for Modern Kiwi and don't you just know it? Life is Good!

Hey Polly, Barb, Andy, Dave, Clayton ... you all.  Life IS Good!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cruising for a bruising

This afternoon, I guess you could say in a sense that I was "cruising for a bruising" in that I was cruising or doing a variety of Google searches to see what I could find on bruising.

Yesterday we had dinner with some work associates. During dinner, I had no indication that anything was out of order with one of our associates. She was wearing a long white blouse over her purple sleeveless turtleneck top. It was time to say our goodbyes and that's when someone asked if I had seen her arms. "Huh," I asked, "what's wrong with your arms?" Well, let me tell you that I saw something I have never ever seen!

Holy moly batman! Our friends arms were discolored intensely with blues and purples of massive bruising. "OMG!" I exclaimed, "what did you do to your arms?" Actually the OMG was really something else, but this is a G-rated blog. You know what she said? She was golfing!!!

What in the world does golfing have to do with extremely discolored, bruised arms??? Oh, it was earlier at dinner that she DID ask me if I had considered again taking up the game of golf ... at this time ... NO!!!!!!!!

It seems the doctor ordered over 9 tubes of blood [oh, good thing that wasn't my doctor eh?] I wonder if he was trying to drain the blood from the bruise? OK, I think not, but just thought that was a lot of blood to be drawn.

So, my cruising for a bruising today directed me to blogging about it. Boy oh boy is it ever difficult to find straightforward answers to such medical type questions! I found this one site that seems to want to rule out wrong diagnoses ... but I was getting lost with all the gadzillions of links.

I guess arm bruising -- symptoms and diagnoses -- would be a good topic for a Squidoo lens???

I'm hoping that our friend and work associate will be OK, but it got me thinking ... what in the world would cause so much bruising from a sport that she loves? Let me say this again! "Holy moly batman!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Get the stress out

This past week, I had a follow-up doctor's appointment to tell my doctor, "Uncle!"  Yes, it was a "Uncle" to admit that I probably will not be having much success with the go-it-alone, holistic approach to my attempts to lower my blood pressure AND lower my astronomical cholesterol numbers.  When the doctor first asked me more than a month ago, about whether or not I've "got stress in my life?" I thought, "well, YES!"  But I never really realized just HOW that stress was impacting my health!

Did you see my blog post about Sherry Holder Hunt? I knew Sherry through Squidoo as a fellow lensmaster. She was a beautiful and talented lady; she was a remarkable artist in addition to being a fine writer. Did you see that Sherry was ONLY 48 years old; she left us much too soon, before her time, on April 9th due to a massive heart attack.

Again, I want to say this, “It's been reported that Sherry "might" have suffered additionally from stress in her life.” I don’t know that you need to hear it from a doctor, but don’t we all know that stress can put you at risk! Stress can put you at risk for a variety of health factors; unmanaged or untreated stress can cut a beautiful life short. Need I say MORE???

OK, I’m sitting here studying MY recent VAP Cholesterol Test! Oh dear me!

Total LDL-C Direct = 174 [<130 is suggested] = +44
Sum Total Cholesterol = 250 [<200 is suggested] = +50
Total Non-HDL-C = 194 [<160 is suggested] = +34

Total APOB100 Calc = 122 [<109 is suggested] = +13
Real LDL-C = 150 [<100 is suggested] = +50

You see, I had the “normal” cholesterol blood test prior to the ordered follow-up VAP Cholesterol Test. The day that result came into my doctor’s office, they called me to say I needed the VAP. Then when the VAP results came in, they were even HIGHER than the prior test.

WAKE-UP CALL.

I had thought I could do a life style change and not need medications. However, I was already facing ongoing PT for my hand injury of December 9, 2009. Then, I suffered an injury to my other arm after the follow-up blood test. The doctor diagnosed the condition as a most unusual case of tendonitis in my forearm for the blood drawing event. OK, UNCLE! I told the doctor that I didn’t think I would be able to naturally bring down my cholesterol numbers and reduce my accompanying high blood pressure.

So, I am now on two different meds to deal with the cholesterol and blood pressure issues. I am strongly trying to reduce a huge amount of stress in my life too. Additionally, I am trying to effect a life-style change that will be a complement and give me a synergistic type of improvement in my health.

A lot less time ON THE COMPUTER; more time outside and specifically more time for EXERCISE. SO??? What did I go out and buy? Say hello to Skechers Women's Shape Ups - Strength Fitness Walking Sneaker!

I bought a pair of the black ones from my local mall shoe store. There was a helpful young lady, Samantha, who actually told me she was wearing a competitor’s shoe although she also liked the Skechers brand.

Samantha said that the shoes run true to size, and I would agree. She also showed me the Shape-ups Instructional DVD that comes in the shoe box. “It’s recommended that you watch this DVD first,” she said “and that you ONLY do 20 minutes of exercise the first time you wear the Skechers Shape-ups.”


Me? I’m just happy I’ve got my first pair of the Skechers Women's Shape Ups - Strength Fitness Walking Sneaker! I’m actually studying the line of Skechers and see a couple more pairs in my immediate future.

OK … time to SIGN-OFF as I really should get my exercise program kicked off. Hey, YOU! Let’s KICK SOME BUTT!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

An artist in heaven

Many of us, who are Squidoo lensmasters, got to know a beautiful and talented lady named Sherry Holder Hunt through her Squidoo lenses. What Sherry's Squidoo profile says about her: "a member since May 30 2008, has rated 675 lenses, favorited 392, and has created 41 lenses from scratch.

Sherry was a remarkable person who just happened to be an artist in addition to being a fine writer. Sherry was ONLY 48 years old! 48 years old!!! Sherry left us on April 9th due to a massive heart attack.

It's been reported that Sherry "might" have suffered additionally from stress in her life. I'm not a doctor; I don't know personally what health factors might have impacted Sherry, but I can TELL you this ... stress can put you at risk. I really hate to think that Sherry might have had too much stress in her life. I really hate to think that Sherry is no longer with us, but is up in heaven looking down on us. I think I see her smiling! Sherry, we miss YOU!

It was from a fellow lensmaster Susan that I first learned of Sherry's passing.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death; I will fear no evil: for thou
art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies: thou anointest
my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life; and I will dwell in the
house of the Lord for ever.
Drop by and check out Sherry Holder Hunt, Artist. Her beautiful art can be found gracing many places; like Fine Art America.

"Sherry ... you were a bright star that we got to know through Squidoo. I'm looking up towards the heavens and thinking of you. Blessings to you my dear. We will miss you."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

There is no draw fee charged thank goodness!

And thank goodness there is no draw fee added to the Quest Diagnostics laboratory invoice that I just received from my first visit of March 16, 2010. That was a 2-hour morning at their facility on San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville, Florida. That was the day hubby was waiting patiently for me and finally came to the blood drawing area to find me. He said I was back there for 40 minutes!

On that faithful day, it was one phlebotomist, 2 needle draw locations, and 5 tubes of blood [pediatric] along with one urine sample.

I know, in the back of my head, I was wondering how much is this going to cost me? You know laboratory charges can vary from one location to another as can insurance coverages. So, to benefit my curious readers, I am attaching a copy of the charges for those various tests. Analytically speaking, it was over $100 per pediatric tube of blood drawn!

Here's a breakdown:
  • Cholesterol $31.75
  • Lipotrotein, direct, HDL $42.25
  • Triglycerides $31.75
  • TSH $100.00
  • Draw Fee, PSC Spec $0.00 [oh yeah!!! Could you imagine??]
  • CBC, PLT, Diff $33.00
  • Creatinine $42.31
  • Microalbumin (QN) $14.34
  • CRP, High Sensitivity $70.00
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel $49.50
  • 25-OH Vitamin D-3 $215.00
GRAND TOTAL: 629.90
The insurance discount was $553.37 leaving my payment due of $76.53.


I have yet to receive the second lab bill for the VAP test! Wonder how much that one will be? I'm thinking it will be more than $200 as I do know I should be paying $30.00 for that test.

Oh, could you imagine that there would someday be a draw fee??? How would they calculate that? Number of times stabbed; needles/supplies wasted er used? Number of phlebotomists involved in drawing that blood? Length of time it took to draw that blood?

For example, I'm thinking of the Mercedes-Benz dealership which assigns time factors to each type of job. Although your auto might be in service for 2 hours; if you have 5 different factors figures in for 5 different jobs, the time factor billed CAN be more than the actual 2 hours. Isn't that weird?

In my circumstances of having blood drawn, I could be in for an additional shocker IF and WHEN they start charging a "draw fee." Oh my!

P.S. Wouldn't it be more pleasurable to be bitten by a vampire, preferably a good-looking, in-demand vampire? Or one of Eastern European origination?  Thanks for visiting the Twilight Zone this afternoon.

A Visit from Grandma Oh My!

A visit from grandma can and should be a wonderful occasion. Grandmothers need to be a part of your family as much as possible, sharing love, wisdom and stories for younger generations to pass along to their family ... to keep the family history alive!

Well, today's visit from grandma, my grandma Julia Nagy is indeed an "Oh My!"

You see, I kid YOU not! It was in the wee hours of Sunday morning, this very Sunday morning, that I had a distinct visit from grandma. I can still visualize the start of that vision which was intermingled into a dream of sorts.

In this vision/dream, I was in another room when I heard water running. It sounded like the kitchen sink. As I came into the kitchen, I glanced to my left to see the left-side of the kitchen sink filling with bubbly, soapy warm water. And, to my amazement, I saw my grandma Julia Nagy's head, as clear as day, sort of bobbing on the top of the soapy water!  Our conversation started then and there.

That part of the vision/dream quickly changed to a vision of my grandma with a slender and lean body, oh, with her head now firmly attached off to the right side of the kitchen near the side door.

We began to talk ... but mostly I was doing the talking. As I am now relaying this "story," I am even more moved by the experience. I am quite the spiritual person, oh yes indeed. I believe in angels, and I believe that my grandma knows things about what "goes on" with our family.

I told my grandma how much I loved her and how I wished that I had told her more times whilst she was "living" that I loved her hugely and how much she really meant to me; how she influenced and contributed to "what I am." Grandma nodded her head and said, "Yes I know."

I continued on in our conversation. She said she knew about my writings on the internet and about how much I talk about her. Oh my! She knew about me sharing her Stuffed Cabbage Recipe! Yes, indeed.

... segway ...

So, it is all the more compelling this vision/dream in that I created a specific SquidCast on April 9, 2010 The Very Best Stuffed Cabbage Rolls should be ... in which I said the following:
I am channeling a message that I received telepathically or should I say, spiritually, from my grandma Julia Nagy ... She is rolling over in her grave.

Well, isn't that particularly interesting? Grandma rolled over in her grave and paid me a visit! Oh my! You'll need to visit that SquidCast and then continue the story to that sidebar widget shown below.

A Dutch Oven for YOUR Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

And, now a word from our sponsors! If you are planning on making Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, you need a good Dutch Oven. Why not try the Lodge Logic Dutch Oven with Loop Handles! I know my grandma Julia Nagy made great Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in her Dutch Oven. While in today's vision/dream, grandma didn't talk about her Dutch Oven, somehow I think she was thinking it ... and now I am sharing that thought with YOU!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Why does my arm still hurt?

On Friday, March 26, 2010, I had a most unpleasant experience at one of the Quest Diagnostics facilities when 3 different phlebotomists took a stab at drawing one tube of my blood for the VAP test. According to Wikipedia, and others in the know, a phlebotomist "is an individual trained to draw blood."
Phlebotomists collect blood primarily by performing venipuncture ... Specially trained phlebotomists collect arterial blood samples from the radial or ulnar arteries near the wrist. --Thank you Wikipedia.

That blood-drawing experience was such a "traumatic" one for me, that I wrote about it in my blog post, When success may be doubtful.

Well, today is Friday, April 9, 2010, a full two weeks since that faithful day. I am sitting here, shaking my head, and wondering, "Why does my arm still hurt?" That's precisely what I would like to know!

And, it is no ordinary hurt either. You see that day, as the third phlebotomist took her shot at my arm, she used two tight tourniquets on my arm above the crook of the elbow.  She told me she was using two.  I would not let the phlebotomists even look at my right arm as a blood-drawing source since I am still undergoing neuro-muscular therapy for the hand injury of December 9, 2009. That's when the trunk hydraulic struts failed and the trunk slammed on my working hand and forearm.

So this third phlebotomist stuck a needle in my arm in three different and distinct locations, all for one tube of blood.  It was about 10 days earlier that I went to a different Quest Diagnostics facility to have 5 tubes of blood drawn.  This picture is from that first visit and shows two bandaged locations.  One phlebotomist tried two separate locations, getting 2 tubes from the upper part of my forearm and 3 tubes from my hand.


On this picture you will also note a red arrow ... it is roughly indicating one of the spots where I am having pain seemingly from my last visit to Quest. You see the third phlebotomist, rather than using the butterfly, "tried a real needle in my forearm. OWEEE! Boy did that hurt." They heard me let out a loud noise across the entire facility. And, I think that very needle, stuck in the wrong location, is part of the reason for why my arm is still hurting.

In the past couple of weeks, I've spoken to my hubby, my primary care physician, my neuro-muscular therapist, my acupuncture doctor, and finally my mom to tell them something is NOT right about my forearm. I've described it as a really pronounced "pulling" or "stretching" type of feeling with a "ow factor" in that forearm location indicated by the red arrow.  I've asked if they think I might have a nerve impingement, or if something else is going on.

My therapist said it would take a little time, but he thought me and my poor arm would be feeling better soon.  When I saw my mom and her friend Maureen at Easter, Maureen said she thought the phlebotomist might have "blown a vein" in my forearm.  I've mentioned to my hubby that the sensation is very similar to the feeling I had when my Achilles tendon was torn ... like a torn tendon or a tendon stretching or pulling.

I'm pretty concerned about the fact that not only do I have that weird type of pulling/stretching sensation, but there is some pain specific to that forearm location with swelling and pain at the outer side of the elbow crook with more pain and tightness and yet more pain in my biceps. I am pretty "protective" of my left arm as it has undergone a couple of surgeries to repair and later debride a pretty serious SLAP tear. And, there are 3 titanium anchors reattaching the biceps muscle to my shoulder.

This past week, I spent much time Googling to find if anyone had experienced an injury to their forearm from a visit to their phlebotomist.   I've studied the makeup of the forearm and tried to understand why in the world a needle was stuck into that place in my forearm.  I'm thinking, "it sure is looking difficult to find any vein in that spot."

Is this NOT crazy, I ask? I'm feeling a bit frustrated at the moment. I've tried to find definitive answers on the internet, but seem to be finding circular medical references. It makes me think I should be writing a very focused Squidoo lens, but now both my hands and/or arms have been impacted. I have a headache about the whole thing. This past week I stopped my therapy for my right hand injury as I need to put a lid on dealing with any more STUFF, you know!

"OMG, what am I going to do about my arm?" I asked my hubby at dinner last night. Geez was he ever frustrated with me! "You probably need to see an orthopedic doctor," he said.

"For heaven's sake!" I am saying! Oh, and UNCLE already.