Airing Dirty Laundry

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Another day . . . January 31, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,me being a whiney brat — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:18 pm

 . . .another trip to the doctor.  Another (different!) kind of antibiotic.  And BONUS!  Cough syrup with codeine!  Someone’s gonna be sleeping REAL good tonight.

I woke up this morning severely congested and with a very attractive hacking cough.  Since my company does not believe in the concept of sick time (THAT’S a topic for a whole other post!), I dragged my sorry ass into work and sat here and coughed and hacked.  After much deliberation and arguing with myself over whether I am a hypochondriac or not, I went back to the doctor’s office.

She gave me a breathing treatment, which seems to have helped a lot. A few nips of the cough syrup and I’ll probably be out like a light.

The one thing that concerns her is that I still have a fever.  Last Monday my temp was 103 and today it’s 101.  I have no idea what it was in between then and now, but I feel the same, so I’m guessing it’s been around the same.  I haven’t  had the chills, but I have gone through veryhot/very cold stages.  Running around like a maniac all over the country will do that to you, though.  But this weekend?  I may not get out of my pajamas.


I should have gone to medical school January 29, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,me being a whiney brat — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:31 pm

What a whirlwind 2 weeks.  This past weekend we went to a wedding in New York City and then on to New Jersey to visit Mike’s aunt.  The weekend before, I was in Phoenix at a swanky spa with 14 fabulous ladies for a great winter getaway.

 Sounds absolutely divine, doesn’t it?

It was, except for one nagging little detail . . . .I’ve been sick for two weeks now.  Not just the sniffles, either.  We’re talking mind-numbing, barely shuffle through the day sick.  The weekend in Phoenix–a blur.  Except for the landing where I clutched the arms of my seat and cried because my ears hurt all the way down to my collarbone.  Last Monday I went to the doctor and was told I have bronchitis, strep, a double ear infection, and please pay your $15 co-pay on the way out.  A monster dose of antibiotics put me among the living (barely) through this past weekend, but I still have the earaches and the sore throat.  So I called the doctor and was told that what I have is probably viral since the antibiotics didn’t knock it out of me.  So they gave me MORE antibiotics (?) and told me that if I’m not better by next Monday that I should see an ear/nose/throat specialist. 

The kicker is when they ask at every appointment and during every phone call if I’m allergic to anything, I tell them every single time that I have a really bad reaction to E-Mycin and, well . . .that’s it.  I have no other allergies to anything.  So I tell them that there is one thing in the world that I can not have, and guess what they gave me?  Azithromycin, E-Mycin’s twin brother.  The rationale?  I would only have to take it for 5 days and my reaction to it shouldn’t be “that bad.”

So I dealt with the rash (Hello, sleeveless dress that I wore to the wedding!  Look at this fine rash I have for you to display so that I look like a leper!).  And the diarrhea (yes, Mike, I have to go to the bathroom AGAIN!).  And the dizziness (Let’s circle the Newark airport for 30 MORE minutes in turbulence!).  And now you want me to take MORE antibiotics even though they will do nothing to combat a virus? 

Something is telling me that I should have put more thought into the decision of making one of Mike’s old bar-league softball buddies my primary care physician.


I would get so much more done if I would stay off of Goodreads January 17, 2008

Filed under: secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:40 am

I am addicted to this website.  Help!


Awww, you guys are making me blush . . .

Filed under: hair — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:20 am

The best compliment that you can get from a hair guru?  Is that you appear (key word, folks) to know what you’re doing!

Thanks, Whoorl!


Get out, gout! January 15, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:35 pm

Three years ago, Mike and I went on a family vacation to the Outer Banks with his dad’s side of the family.  There were 30-some of us in a big beautiful house, far far away from civilization in the 4-wheel drive area.  While we were there, we got to spend some quality time with his relatives from far-away lands, such as Florida and California.  Some of these relatives I had met before a number of times, some only at our wedding, and some never at all.  It was a great trip, because of the time spent with family, but it was also great because we learned all about gout.

Mike’s uncle Denny, from California, has gout.  In great detail he explained to us the causes, what aggravates it, how it feels, and how to treat it and live with it on a daily basis.  I was shocked at first.  Only old people get the gout, right?  (And I love how it’s always “the” gout.  Maybe it should be capitalized.  The Gout.).  But Denny was probably only around 50 at the time, if even that.

A month later, I had a great birthday trip planned for Mike and I to drive to Norfolk, VA and see the remaining members of The Doors with Ian Astbury from The Cult in concert (non-refundable tickets, of course), along with a non-refundable hotel reservation, dinner at a swanky restaurant, and backstage passes (you guessed it, non-refundable) for after the show.  A few days before the trip, Mike woke up in utter pain, saying his toe hurt.  Whatever.  Hours later, he was almost in tears and could barely walk.  A few hours after that, he was even worse.

It was The Gout.  And thanks to Uncle Denny, he knew what it was even before going to a doctor.  Once again, don’t only old people get The Gout?  Apparently not.  Mike had just turned 33.

To top it off, there are only a few prescription medications that can be used to treat gout, and Mike had an allergic reaction to the one he was given.  Ever had severe diarrhea when you can barely walk to the bathroom without help?  Not pretty. 

So hours of internet research later, I ventured to GNC with a list of herbal pills that he could take–not as immediate pain relief, but to lessen future attacks.  He’s pretty good about taking them, and for the most part they’ve worked.  The most important thing is to watch what he eats, cut back on alcohol consumption, and stay far away from any aspirin-based product.

Needless to say, we never made it to the Doors show.  The Gout also prevented Mike from running in the Indy Mini last year.  It’s debilitating, not curable, and painful to even watch.

Mike woke up a few days ago with a pain in his ankle that felt like the beginning of The Return of The Gout.  He’s taking Advil by the handfuls, but it’s still there, and getting worse.  Here we go again.

One of the risk factors of gout is genetic.  I’m blaming Uncle Denny:

two peas in a pod

It’s all in the genes.



Filed under: meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:49 am

At 4AM, Giz trounced onto my pillow, purring madly and acting just like her old self.  Knowing my alarm was going to go off in an hour, I stayed awake as much as possible, not wanting to miss a minute of being with her.

It’s been a month since she’s made it up the stairs, up the pet stairs, and into our bed.  After years of her sleeping on my pillow, I’ve missed it.  She did make it up the stairs once last week, but not as far as our bed, which is VERY high–I’m 5′ 6″ and have to hop up to get into it each night.

Maybe my panic over her health was totally an over-reaction.  Maybe the subcutaneous fluids every other day instead of once a week are doing her a world of good. Maybe the antibiotics we’ve been giving her twice a day for almost a week now have cleared up whatever problem she had, and it isn’t life-threatening, as I originally thought it was.  Our vet, who MUST have noticed my near-hysteria, gave me the impression that the end was near in a gentle, do-not-go-nuts-on-me-lady kind of way.  She wouldn’t even vaccinate Giz because she said it would be too much of a shock to her system.  My interpretation was “You’re already spending a ton of cash on all of the tests we’re doing.  Don’t add any more expense; she’s not going to make it much longer.”

We fooled that vet, didn’t we, Giz? Welcome back, Gizwig.  You can sleep on my pillow any time!


Bootcamp–day 1 January 12, 2008

Filed under: hungryhungryhippo — airingdirtylaundry @ 5:26 pm

My friend Andi just moved into our neighborhood.  Although I’ve known her for close to 15 years, I’ve never actually worked out with her or been trained by her.  She offered to hold a bootcamp class for those of us in the neighborhood that are willing to give it a try, and I immediately told her I was interested.  I’ve been spending some quality time with our treadmill recently, but it’s just not enough.  I need someone to push me.

I was definitely pushed this morning!  Her basement is like a mini-gym.  She has a lot of equipment and a lot of knowledge, and is a great teacher.  I was a little embarrassed at first.  I try my best to disguise my ever-increasing weight with clothes, and well, that just goes out the window when you’re working out and jiggling everywhere and your shirt rides up and exposes the mound of stomach underneath.  But Andi immediately made me feel at ease, offered constructive criticism and encouragement, and worked every muscle until it hurt.

Once I got home, I knew I’d better keep moving, and something (perhaps the whole pot of coffee I drank!) inspired me to clean the baseboards and hardwood floors in our family room and kitchen.  My little adrenaline rush is now coming to a halt, so I’m sitting here waiting for the ache to set it.  But what a good ache it is!  I can’t wait until the next session!


Worried January 11, 2008

Filed under: meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:46 pm

Remember Giz? We took her to the vet on Monday night for a regular checkup.  I was terrified to take her.  She felt a little lighter, looked a little less fuzzy, and hadn’t come upstairs at night to sleep with us in a few weeks.  But she was still eating, still drinking, still interested in food, and still snuggly. I told myself I was prepared for the worst, although I’m kidding myself to think I’ll ever be prepared for the day that she dies.

We had given her subcutaneous fluids the Wednesday before the appointment, and although she looked as if she needed more on Monday, I didn’t want to give them to her and give the vet a false impression of her health.  They weighed her on a baby scale–5.9 lbs, down from 7.1 last year.  My apprehension rose.  Losing over a pound in a year is such a large drop, even accounting for her being dehydrated.  They took her blood pressure (which was normal), did bloodwork and told us they’d call.

We went home, gave her the fluids, and to me she seemed to be the same ol’ Giz.  She fought the needle a lot, but after being poked and prodded at the vet, that was certainly understandable.

I slept fitfully that night.  I woke up at 3:00 that morning in tears, afraid that I would go downstairs in a few hours and that she’d be gone.  Instead of going down then to check on her, I laid there for 2 hours in fear of what I’d find downstairs.  Mike woke up at one point and we talked about her and what a good life she has had and how loved she is and always will be, which calmed me down somewhat. 

I went downstairs at 5:00, and she was asleep in the living room.  I stood there watching her breathe for about 5 minutes, not wanting to leave her to go to the basement and get on the treadmill.  I was still crying.  At 6:15, I walked up the basement steps and she was sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to feed her.

Tuesday night, Mike and I slept downstairs with her.  I know you’re thinking that we’re “crazy cat people” but it at least gave me peace of mind.  Mike took the couch and I took the loveseat.  With Gizzy curled up on my chest, I was able to get a good night’s sleep (although I was a little stiff on Wednesday morning!).

The vet called on Wednesday to tell us that her thyroid level is still fine, although she is somewhat anemic and could possibly be fighting an infection.  She prescribed a liquid antibiotic twice a day for 10 days.  Giz’s kidney function is declining, although not any more rapidly than is to be expected in a cat her age, so we need to increase the fluids to 3-4 times a week.  The words “put to sleep” were never brought up, thank God.  I would have a hard time accepting that it was necessary to put her down when she’s still acting like normal, except for not coming upstairs.

We slept in our bed Wednesday night, resigned to the fact that she’s too old to climb a full flight of stairs and that we can’t spend every night on the couch.  Thursday morning I woke up to go down to feed her and there she was outside our bedroom door!  We wonder how long it had taken her to get up there, and if it was possible that she had tried to get into our bed (which is very high) and either she couldn’t make the last jump from the kitty steps up, or maybe Mike’s legs were blocking her jump.

Whatever the circumstances, I took that climb to be a positive sign.  Even still, it’s difficult to leave the house and wonder if it’s the last time we’ll see her alive.  On my way home last night, Mike didn’t answer his cell phone when I called, and all I could think was “Giz is gone and he’s waiting until I get home to tell me.”

I know better than to try to keep her alive just because of my own selfishness.  I’ve had to have a lot of dogs and cats put to sleep before, and it’s a hard decision that’s made easier only by knowing that you’re doing the right thing for the animal.  But as long as her quality of life is maintained, I have no problem paying for whatever medical attention and supplies she needs.  As special as every pet is that I’ve ever had, Giz is at the top of the list.  I’m much more attached to her than I’ve ever been to any other animal.

As for this weekend, I’m sleeping in the living room.  With this little ball of fur:



See this girl?

Filed under: friends — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:58 am


She’s crazy, I tell you.  Cah-ray-zee!

This is Becky.  My sister-in-law, JLo (not the original JLo) and I went to Becky’s bachelorette party the Saturday after Christmas.  Becky is the type of person who lives life to the fullest.  Every time I see her she’s in a good mood, laughing, having the time of her life. 

I knew her bachelorette party would be a good time, and she certainly didn’t disappoint.

The night was certainly would not be considered wild by the heartiest of partiers, but it was definitely a lot of fun.  We are, after all, in our 30s (except for my sister-in-law and one of Becky’s other friends), so being able to stay up past midnight was considered wild for some of us!

The nine of us started off with dinner at Nakama, one of my favorite restaurants.  Whenever Mike and I eat there, we always sit in the bar area because he doesn’t like the heat of the hibachi, so this was the first time that I got to sit at a table there.  We had a lot of fun, a lot of good food, and I tried sake for the first time ever.  Not bad, but I don’t see myself drinking it a lot.  Actually, if I drank a lot of it, I probably wouldn’t be able to see ANYTHING!

After dinner, we boarded the limo,


which was pretty cool. Big-screen plasma TV, satellite radio, and endless bottles of champagne.  We drove around for awhile before stopping at a place downtown that was part dance-joint, part sports bar.  There was a great cover band there that got us out onto the dance floor.


The band was passing out shots, we were buying shots, and the drinks were flowing–thankfully, because I certainly can’t dance sober.  At least when I have a few drinks in me, I THINK I have rhythm!

The night continued on with more of the same–drinking, dancing, have a great time.  JLo and I were somewhat concerned about how we were going to get home that night, since my car was at her house and we had taken a cab to the restaurant.  The original plan was to take a cab back to her house and I would just spend the night there. But as the night went on, I didn’t really like the idea of the two of us being visibly drunk and then getting into a cab.  Becky overheard us talking and was kind enough to offer the pull-out couch in her basement, which solved our problem.

We took the limo back to her house, fell asleep immediately, and then JLo and I left early in the morning after she called her boyfriend to come pick us up.  We staggered out of the house, of course in the same clothes as the night before.  It was kind of weird to spend the night away from Mike and then also to wake up 1/4 mile from his father’s house!  We made our way home and I crawled into bed and slept until noon.  Noon!  I don’t think I’ve ever slept until noon before in my life!

It was such a fun time.  It was nice to have a “girls night out” and Becky and all of her friends are just such good people.  Her wedding is two weeks from tomorrow in NYC, and Mike and I are excited to go and be a part of her special day.  We wish her and her soon-to-be husband all the love and happiness in the world.


Freak of nature January 8, 2008

Filed under: daily grind — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:35 pm

Can someone please explain why it is JANUARY and it’s almost 70 DEGREES and SUNNY (OK, that’s a lie–it’s just less overcast than normal) 2 days in a row in PITTSBURGH?  I didn’t get a chance to take down our outside decorations over the weekend because I had a nasty cold that knocked me for a loop.  Leaving for work this morning, I thought, “Wow, do my garland and wreaths and Christmas flamingo look silly now.”

Santa Flamingo

What, Santa Flamingo would look silly even if it was 30 degrees and snowing?  Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

Seriously?  I could never live in a warmer climate and have any desire to do the whole Christmas decorating thing.  It just wouldn’t seem right without snow on the ground and a touch of frostbite on the tips of my fingers while Mike and I curse each other out in the front yard.  Just wouldn’t be the same in the sun.

The best thing about this little burst of nice weather?  Even the most SAD-prone grump is in a good mood today!