Monday, January 30, 2006

Stupid Human Tricks

New gadgets can be cool. Over the weekend I got what I needed to make a German cucumber salad, with a creamy dill dressing. A few months ago I also bought one of the veggie slicers from Pampered Chef. You know the kind where you can place it on top of a bowl and cut away. It has three or four different blades for all sorts of slicing and dicing.

Sunday night I pulled out the stuff and started cutting things up. Well this stupid human had too big a chunk of cucumber and the special gripping tool slipped. Yep, I sliced off a quarter inch of my left middle finger. I tried just sticking my finger in my mouth hoping that it was a small cut, but that was a pipe dream. After about ten minutes of cursing and cussing like a sailor the bleeding stopped. I was able to finish my salad (after cleaning the mess off of the slicer). Thank goodness nothing yucky ended up in the bowl or I would have had to throw it all away.

The worst part of this is work. Typing hurts like hell and did you know what finger hits the most common letter in the English language? Yep, the letter “E” is keyed with your left middle finger. Oh and lets not forget me trying to brush my teeth, floss them, button the cuff of my shirt, unbutton my pants and writing. All of these things require the use of my left middle finger…damn this sucks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It all comes in fours

Yes dear, this is much better than fighting with the Patient Rep. I was tagged by American in Italy
in a 4 thingie, dingie…

Four jobs I have had:

1. A Waitress (and I was pretty good at it)
2. A collections agent (it lasted 3 months, I hated every minute of it)
3. A loss prevention officer for JC Pennys ( I made an arrest too!)
4. A member of the Human Resource Community (Still am)

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. Better off Dead – Lane’s mom is my mom down to the improvising on the food because the pages got stuck together.
2. Gross Point Blank – I am in lust with John Cusack and the fight scene he does with Benny the Jet in the high school rocks! Check out the height on that round house kick!!!
3. Monter’s Inc – “KITTY!”
4. Miracle on 34th Street

Four places I have lived:

1. The East Bay, CA – The Rents rock most days
2. Hayward, CA (sucky roommates – did you know mold can be pink?)
3. Ft Hood, TX – Employment opportunities were nil
4. Ft Lee, VA – Loved it, loved the job, loved the place, loved it all

Four TV shows I watch:

1. Charmed – Its about San Francisco, it’s a great glimps of home
2. Buffy – I was an avid Buffy fan
3. CSI – Las Vegas, I so want to go back to school yet again and become a forensic scientist
4. ER – I still watch it even though I am not even sure how far behind we are over here.

Four places I visited while on vacation:
1. Block Island, RI
2. Vatican City, Italy
3. Madrid, Spain
4. Cairo, Egypt

Four websites I visit Daily:
Well since my PC was invaded by my boss while I was out enjoying R&R, I don’t visit much anymore! I have dial up at home and it takes for ever….poopy ass boss lady just looking for trouble (ha, ha couldn’t find a damn thing either!)

1. (I check my emails from work)

Sadly, that’s about all I can get to!

Four Favourite foods:
1. Sushi – I will be so sad when I am pregnant and can’t have most of it
2. Pizza – There’s the great place in Berkeley called Zachary’s. They make deep dish pizza and I love it
3. I miss In & Out so I will just say their whole menu
4. La Ulitmas – Best Mexican food! Its in Danville, CA and Walnut Creek, CA – Yum! (And can you tell I miss home right now??)

Four places I’d rather be:

1. Not in this damn cold weather!
2. Cuddled up in bed with the hubby so I can complain that it’s too damn hot!
3. Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands – anywhere warm and with sun
4. Retired and at our desired home place of Virginia

I won’t tag anyone as I have stated before, that someone complained. I did enjoy the momentary distraction though.

Na, Na, Na, Na...hey, hey, hey...goodbye

I nearly broke through the ceiling while jumping for joy! Code Pink this goofy assed group of chicks supposedly supporting the solider has been protesting outside of Walter Reed for a while now. Everytime the wounded come back from their night out to dinner they get faced with these knuckleheads. The soldiers need time to heal without facing the rantings of a bunch of nitwits.

Well now they can! Code Pink failed to renew their protest permits and some patriotic Americans snagged 'em!

I could just kiss Concrete Bob!

H/T Andi's World

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A second opinion

Well the last three days have been a ball. Sunday started with not feeling well, cold, and a slight sore throat. I left the house to treat me to a movie but spent the rest of the time drinking tea covered in blankies on the couch.

Monday was horrible, I had become sick. Same symptoms as above but worse. I called in sick from work and called my PCM for an appointment. One of my coworkers in the building avoided the doctor for too long and was recently diagnosed with strep. Since I can’t really swallow I thought I’d better go see him.

I was told that it’s much harder for me to get strep since my tonsils are gone (yeah me) but they were going to test me anyways since the coworker ended up being hospitalized for taking so long to be treated. In the middle of the appointment my phone rings and I answered it. It’s the OB/GYN folks trying to make an appointment for me the next day. I told her that the tech was here to swab my throat and can I call her back in 20 minutes. Well the pissed off switch in me turned on and I started to cry. I apologized to the tech, took a couple of deep breaths and gained an ounce of composure. She asked what was going on, gave me a little info on the coloscopy that OB/GYN wanted to do and then took the swabs. I asked if my PCM could come back in so I could talk to him about this.

About ten minutes later, I am talking to the PCM. I tried to keep the tears at bay, went through my pros and cons and asked him which doctor he would prefer me to see. He never really gave an outright answer (He may not be able to) but he worked with me on the pros and cons and what it was that he expected to be done at the exam. In the midst of my explanation I called the OB/GYN an ass a few times, but decided that I wanted to see him and not go off post. (I was looking to give him a piece of my mind).

When I cancelled my appointment off post, the Tricare rep had mentioned that I was not the only person to complain about the department. She also gave me all the things I needed to do should I need to request a second opinion. I went home and slept on the couch the rest of the day.

Today isn’t any better on this cold. Every time I cough my right inner ear hurts. I eat Dayquil tabs like candy. I ended up calling in sick again and slept for as long as I could be fore my appointment.

OB/GYN apparently has been evicted from their normal section in the hospital. It’s not right on the directory and they are shoved into a small recovery ward in the middle of no where. While walking into the waiting room I almost ran over a doctor and then sat down. My triage was completed by a LTC. Yeah, not sure why but they said something about computer problems, they were behind, etc.

My triage doc runs me through what a coloscopy is, how it works, what to expect, etc. I sit patient half naked under my sheet waiting for the man who’s been pissing me off for the last six weeks. Wouldn’t you know it, it was the doctor I almost ran over in the hallway with the baby face and big friendly smile. He apologizes for the room as they were evicted from their normal location. He then tells me that he may not have to take a sample at all but wants to see the dark spot my PCM is talking about. Now boys and girls when my PCM talked to me he said a lesion, but a dark spot is different from a lesion, very different. I lie patiently, happy that he is talking out loud so I can hear what he’s thinking. He finds the spot and says that he thought it was just dried blood, but it was gone as he had wiped it off. Really annoyed and totally embarrassed that I made such a stink over a dried bloodspot, I started to wiggle up and out of there. Apparently he wasn’t finished and started messing around with what I don’t know. He then warns me that he has to make me uncomfortable (like I am not already?) and he was right. I used a couple of deep breaths and he starts talking again.

Now I have got to tell you that hearing “This is so cool! I haven’t really seen this before.” coming out of your doctors mouth is just well, not very reassuring. I have a small hole in my cervix, which appears to create a second or another small chamber of my uterus. The man is jazzed because I am a medical anomaly. How frickin’ special am I? Let’s put me in a tent and charge $20 to see the girl with two uteruses at a carnival. This soo doesn't help my self esteem being abnormal anatomically, it just makes me weird.

Afterwards, we talked in his makeshift office. I am going in for an MRI. This will determine exactly what I have, if there is a tube that goes to it, if I have one or two functioning ovaries, and if it needs to be removed. Since I had him as a captive audience, I asked all my questions and was given a complete answer. Other than this little freak show, I look healthy. There are no abnormal spots, nothing that looks cancerous and my cervix is strong and would not be a concern about carrying a baby to term second little hole and all. He also apologized for the going back and forth on whether he would see me. He stated that because it was a dark spot and not really a lesion and the labs were normal he wasn’t concerned (of course my doc said lesion so I still feel the idiot). I pointed out that my PCM doesn’t do this everyday and that’s why both my PCM and I wanted someone else to take a look. He agreed and said that once he thought a minute he figured there would be no harm in looking and had his staff call me. Thank you for using your head, just wish it hadn’t taken a six weeks to do it.

I am now waiting for my consult for the MRI to go through, I will have to go off post more in likely but either way it’s going to be a wait. Once those come back I go and see him again to see where we go from there. All in all he is a pretty good doctor and I am his new pride and joy – the girl with the strange hole in her cervix. I never liked being the teacher's pet in school, can't say I am all that thrilled about being one now either.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Failure to respond

The last time I spoke to the Patient Rep, I was informed that the doctor should call me back in the next day or two (10 or 11 Jan). At the end of the week when I had still heard nothing, I called her and was forced to leave a message.

A week later she finally calls me back(today). She read part of the doctors email that said he was waiting on test results (the first time round yes but not the second after my doc insisted I still see him), that the results were insignificant therefore I didn’t need to be seen and I shouldn’t have been given the off post consult the Airman snuck in for me. I was also told by the Rep that this doctor hadn’t called me yet as he was working nights. She again said that I should not have been dealing with the front desk clerk and I got a little heated. I told her that the doc shouldn’t have let her either. He should have been speaking to me. I have questions that the clerk can’t answer. She’s not the medical professional here. I have a lesion on my cervix, but the results are insignificant – so what the hell do I do now? Begrudgingly she said he would call me today. It’s now 21:00 and I haven’t heard from him.

Yes I have my off post consult, but that’s not the point anymore. He was unprofessional by sending a front desk clerk to give me medical information and advice, he is irritated that I have the off post consult which is just another form of denying me a second opinion which as a patient under Tricare I am entitled to, he’s behaving unprofessional again by blowing me off as a patient requesting to speak to him with excuses of working nights and just ignoring the Patient Rep’s request for him to call me, and he actually told the Patient Rep that my PCM should be calling for the consult not me -which my PCM did do, he put in the consult and a second consult as well (yeah well go argue protocol with my PCM – I am doing what my PCM said to do, where the hell is your hypocratic oath because you are missing a few concepts here).

I want to speak to him directly. I want to know for a fact that he was given all of the information about me and then hear his medical justification for denying my consult. I want to know why he is not accommodating me in my request for a second opinion when I as a patient have the right to request one. I want to hear the follow-up care I should have received two weeks ago when I was told I was fine apparently even with a lesion on my cervix. I have had it up to the brim with this line of crap. I want to be treated with dignity and a little respect, not dodged like a leper. I deserve that much, damn it!

UPDATE: The more I thought about this tonight, the more I think I need the name of someone above both of them. It’s obvious that he is ignoring the requests of the Patient Rep and I bet she has a boss. If her boss can’t help me then I guess, I need to go to IG. If there is no response by Monday night, I am done talking with Patient Reps; I want to talk to someone with stars on their epaulets. I think I have been more than patient as this issue has been going on now for over a month without a resolution.


Well I think this one is about as good as the stupid human trick I did yesterday. A friend asked me if I saw her comment on my blog. I couldn't figure it out, no one has said a thing in months. Then some thing about needing approval was said. I went looking and found out I clicked on the approve comments radio button. I am a Dunderhead! There were like 30 messages in there all waiting to be approved. I knew I shouldn't have let my hair dresser put those blonde streaks in last month!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

If I find one grey hair on my head, I' gonna....

kill you two, so help me.

It’s hard to watch things end, especially when they involve people that you love. I am in a state of quiet bliss, only a few days left and my husband, the man that makes me laugh, the person that I miss most in life short of my parents and brother will be back home. I should be completely lost in my state of euphoria, but for the past few weeks I have had to watch a relationship of nine years come to what I see will be a very, very bitter end.

Every relationship has their dumb mistakes, the errors in judgment, etc. Because I am friends with both parties on an individual basis and not just as a couple, I won’t place blame other than to say they at this point they each could have done some things better. I guess that’s a luxury I have being on the outside of the relationship looking in. Hindsight has always been 20/20.

I guess I am just frustrated and saddened by the whole situation. I can’t fix it, I can’t wave a wand to make all the emotions come to an end, and I can’t seem to get anyone to completely listen to what I am saying either. Instead I just get stuck watching the two of them, inflict pain on each other (intentional, unintentional or otherwise). I almost wonder if this isn’t similar to the feelings a child might have while watching their parents duke it out during divorce. It really makes you feel so unempowered and useless at times. Not to mention the few times I’ve wanted to smack both of them right in the back of their heads and tell them to cut it out and just go about their business.

But maybe this repetitive thrashing of each other is their way of going about their business. Maybe this is how they will work their relationship to an end. (Lord, I hope not) Either way, I’ve said all that I can say and now the only form of help I can offer is to listen.

It’s tough to be sane in an insane world. I am truly grateful for what the world has given me, and thankful that I see exactly how lucky this little chickie really is…only 58 more days to go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Alabster Twins

By now on my Egypt trip, Ash (the guide) and I have become family. He adopted me as the little sister he has never had. It probably helps that I carried around almost 10 grand of customized jewelry for him since I was the only one with a backpack. Either way I now have family in Cairo should I ever need them.

Like any trip of this kind we are usually taken to the shops where you can get quality merchandise at a decent price with the kickback going to our guide. I know some people complain about that but you honestly have to take most of it on faith. The guide knows if he takes you to an overpriced store, we as clients will never go back with him again and tell everyone that he was unfair. I watched several people go out on their own to buy things that were quite costly only to find out that gold Nefratiti pendent they got wasn't real gold but was silver painted with gold leaf. I knew from Morocco what to buy with him and what to buy on my own.

So here we are in the Alabaster shop, just outside the Valley of the Queens. While we went through the product demonstration, I eyed a piece back behind the owner's counter. It was an earthy green colour vase that was like a cutout, like how you take a piece of paper, cut out bits and it opens to make a snowflake. I am fascinated with the scarab, yes the dung beetle, but figured that I should look around instead and buy something more "pretty."

I then went and looked at the embalming jars. I think it's rather entertaining that they would take bits of your entrails and place them in the jars. I don't know why they intrigued me, but I guess I figured it would make for a great story down the road when people went looking at our stuff. I couldn't find a complete set of the colour and size I wanted so I gave up on those too.

Almost everyone has finished and I have circled the store at least twenty times, not able to really find anything that kept my attention any longer than that green scarab vase. Finally I pick up a green scarab paperweight and brother whispers in my ear, "No sister those are the cheap gifts look over there." I wander off to another section and find a white, opalescent one instead. I then decide that I don't care that it's a bug and go and pick up the green vase. Lastly I pick up this little blue vase, that was unique in shape and good colour and wander towards my brother.
Image hosted by

Image hosted by

His lips part into a wide smile and his eyes sparkle, "Ah sister you have good taste, that vase is one of his best creations, not many have even bothered to notice the time and patients it takes to carve such a piece." He turns towards the salesman following me and starts to haggle on a price. I know that I can't haggle for crap solely because I am a woman. Why not let the man, who is now my brother (And who speaks Arabic) argue for me? Something was not right as he repeated the word "La", while crossing his arms in the negative fashion. (Now you know how I learn new languages so quickly, by observing.) He dismisses the man with a wave of his hand and he starts to haggle with the owner, all the while I stand there giving my best "puss in boots" face hoping they think I am cute and adorable. He tells me the price and confirms that I accept it. Once I say yes he then tells me that the salesman wanted to charge me the mandated 3% tax that Egypt charges those that use a credit card. Of course, talking with the owner that fee was waved. I am then carted off to the corner after signing my receipt so they can wrap my goodies.

I nearly died laughing when my salesman demanded baksheesh. I pointed out to him that he wanted to charge me tax why should I give him baksheesh? He wandered off came back with a few small scarabs, a very pretty green scarab, two necklaces (they had to be tossed later they were crumbling as you touched them) and placed them in my package. I counted out about $4 in ones while they were in my pocket and folded them for a thank you later.

While waiting, I noticed I was the last person in the store except for Ash. I now became the centre of attention. One man wanted me to sit on the hassock next to him and drink tea, I politely declined he then moved over a foot and insisted a second time, I declined again. Finally another man asked if I wanted a coke, I declined but knowing that if I didn't accept something I was being rude, I took a seat next to the hassock man. Another man came out of no where and asked me if I was married. When I answered yes, he asked if I had a sister. Making a joke that was completely missed; I said I had a brother but that he would make for an ugly wife. I was promptly told in all seriousness that he didn't like brothers but would love it if I had a sister. "I am sorry," I say, "I only have one brother."

Again out of nowhere another man walks up, smiles at me, takes my hand and gently places a small blue scarab in it. His eyes widen and his smile becomes gigantic as he tells me, "You will have twins soon and they will be girls." I nearly fainted. I hadn't told a soul, but we are actually hoping for twins, boy/girl twins but we want twins. I am now completely creeped out over this, but trying to maintain composure, thank him and then start scanning the store for Ash. I want out of here before they name my kids for me too. Finally my packages are done. I shake the man's hand slipping him his four bucks. I softly hear, "Salaam Ali Com" - May God be with you. I turn and say the return greeting, "Ali Com Salaam" - Also with you. (Sorry the Arabic is phonetic spelling) Ash is now by my side, and I scuttle out of the store still in utter shock at some stranger telling me I will have twins.

If we actually end up having twins I will be freaked out beyond all belief. That is just too strange to have a perfect stranger walk up to you and give you information that is quite personal. I don't think he was expecting a tip, who knows maybe he was, but either way when the twins come out I can tell them that they are the Alabaster Twins foretold in Egypt.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Where have you been?

Wow, I never knew I had been so many places. In fact twenty countries total.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

People of Egypt

I love to take photos, especially of life and of people. If I went to school for a little bit I could probably turn my hobby into a decent paying job. These are just some photos I snapped while milling about waiting to get on the bus, or walking to a monument.

Image hosted by
I snuck this photo through the bus window. We were at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings. Its about a five minute drive from the actual site, but there were some statue guards that everyone had to take photos at. Of course like any place of capitalism, a "junk shop" as I call them opened right across the road. This was a bus driver and a policeman sharing a smoke while waiting around.

Image hosted by
These guys had me laughing. They are Hindus, but were tourists actually. People were so facinated by them that they started to ignore the giant pyramids behind them and wanted their photo taken with the Hindus (like the guy seen here). They were pretty accommodating but eventually asked if they could finish taking their own photos with the pyramids before anymore were taken with them.

Image hosted by
I had to sneak this photo. This guard was watching the steps that lead up the pyramid. People were not supposed to climb on them but never seemed to listen. He would wave, yell and blow his whistle and they all acted like he must have been talking to someone else. A group of tourists asked if they could take his photo and he said no. About that time this French couple were climbing up the stairs and he started to watching them, ready to yell....that's when I snapped my photo.

Image hosted by
This photo is priceless. Mom or brother were trying to take her baggie of cereal away and she wasn't having it. Talk about learning how to give the evil eye, she was a pro at two years of age!

Aswan Shopping....In Colour!

If you remember I promised to post some of my Egypt photos once they got here.
Image hosted by
This was one of my most favourite photos. I loved the bright blue of the indigo that stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the other spices. This is what the small streets of the shopping district of Aswan looked like at night.

Image hosted by
Here's what I was talking about when I said that the line of goods went up to the rafters. They had their wares every where from top to bottom, here and there...just every where.

Image hosted by
This was the entrance to the Aswan shopping area. They were having elections for local officials at the time, so the banners were slogans for different candidates.

Patient Rep Sit Rep

I called the Patient Rep back today. I couldn't get my complaint to fit in the ICE so I thought I'd try again. She was really nice and said that there were a few messages shouldn't couldn't understand and she apologized for not calling back.

I gave my story, my concerns and my complaint - If I have all these factors, a lesion, another doctor's request, a lump in my groin, prior HPV who the hell cares that my labs look good? What if the experience of my PCM is limited and he took a poor sample? She fully understood my concern and let me know how the process would go.

The doc will be contacted and have him review the records and the situation. She also mentioned that the Airman who put me in the deferment off post would be talked to as that's "not how the hospital works here." I quickly stepped in on that and said in her defense, I was elated that she put the deferment in because at least someone would see me. I don't want her getting ripped on when she seemed like the only person willing to try and help me.

So now I wait for the doctor to call me back. I am super glad that he will be talking to me and not a clerk. No disrespect to those that get stuck manning the front desk, but when you play the telephone game something always gets lost in translation.

I feel so just happy that this matter got brought to the surface to be reviewed and resolved. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that they don't blow me off and say it was that the clinic was full, we would never dismiss a patient like that.

So power to the little people! (hmmm, Marley's rumming through my head)

Houston, we have a go

Yeah Tricare called back, I explained my situation and I have an appt on the 23rd. So depending upon whether this doctor is a OB/GYN or just a GYN doctor I will attempt to ask the gentic questions as well.

Finally some movement on this issue, now only if I can figure out who to lodge my complaint to about LRMC's OB/GYN denial of my right to a second opinion.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Alphabet Soup

Last time I checked OB/GYN usually meant a department that could handle both services. I called Tricare today to start working on my appointment for off post to have another exam done. While talking to the Tricare rep I said the whole phrase not just OB and asked for a specific doctor. As she was attempting to rush me off the phone I asked if I could see a specific doctor was told he's not taking anymore patients at this time. Okay no problem, I can live with that.

Again she tries to push me off the phone and I asked if they would call me before making the appointment so that it doesn't happen during my period, making the PAP pointless. "What, wait you said OB. OB is for pregnant if you are having your period you are not pregnant." Even with the Ma'am I could hardly keep for getting smart with her. "Ma'am, if you'd listen and let me finish I said I was turned away from OB/GYN, they are a whole department. I am quite aware of what pregnant is, OB and GYN. This is a gynocological problem, but in the states many of the doctors fall under the category OB/GYN. Meaning they deal with not only with pregnancy but gynocological issues as well." Silence on the other end, then "oh okay, the rep will call you some time tomorrow to make the appointment." I told her thanks and to have a nice day. She didn't even ask for a SSN, but hopefully (if she spelled my last name right) they can do a name look up.

I was probably a little more snarky than was actually warranted, but I didn't enjoy being talked down to, that's one of the most irritating things in the universe. So hopefully I can get an appointment soon.

On a side note - I have not heard a thing back from the Patient Rep about where to complain or make my complaint known about OB/GYN denying my right to a second opinion. My only other alternative I can get from anyone is to file an ICE complaint. So I will have to formulate a complaint there if I can fit in into the word limits it has.