Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Of biopsies and such

Remember that little lump I found in my right cheek the last week of December? Well, it never went away with antibiotics or steroids so the ENT did a CT scan. It only showed up in one frame of the CT and didn't show that it was attached to the parotid gland or anything else for that matter. So she decided that I needed a needle biopsy or, more accurately, a fine needle aspiration. Thus began the pursuit of a pathologist in my insurance network.

The doc's office had no luck as there were only two listed - one was no longer in business and the other was actually an opthamologist. My ENT doc insisted that it must be read by a pathologist so she was starting to make noises about my going out of network to find one. Well, at that exact time was when E lost his temp job so I put the brakes on the whole thing because I can't afford to pay full price out of pocket.

On Tuesday of this week I saw my primary care physician and she fussed at me for not having that biopsy done yet. In fact, she made me pinky-swear that I'd have it done right away. She said that the insurance company had to contract with someone to cover me or I could sue them. So yesterday I got on the phone with them and, miracle of miracles, they had two new names of pathologists for me. I called the ENT's office and they set me up to have the FNA at 7:30 this morning.

I was there all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7:30. When the pathologist walked in and I told him that the mass was inside my mouth, he said, "Oh, I don't do anything inside the mouth. You'll need to see an oral surgeon." I must have looked utterly shocked (and I was) because he said for me to hang around a few while he called my ENT to get this straight. After nearly an hour, he came back with the news that I was to be at my ENT's office at 1 pm today and he would be there as well. The ENT was going to do the FNA and he would be there to gather and read the slides. Talk about the run-around!

Finally, at 1 pm this afternoon we all gathered in the ENT's office for the procedure. I just love having two doctors around that don't know each other. Every time one left the room, the other one rolled his/her eyes. After lots of posturing and feather ruffling, my ENT sprayed my mouth with the most foul tasting crap to numb it. The stuff tasted like rotten bananas. That's right - this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Then she stuck the needle into the mass (Dixie, here's where you need to avert your eyes and skip to the next paragraph) and began to bounce it around 6 - 10 times. I thought it was going to come through the outside of my cheek during a couple of those bounces. Quite uncomfortable. As is my luck, she didn't get enough of a sample the first time so she had to do it all over again from the B-A-N-A-N-A-S to the bouncing. Bleh! I'm glad it's all over now.

The pathologist took the slides, quite please with the amount of the second sample, and headed off to his lab to read them. Before I even got back to the office, my ENT's nurse called to tell me that there is no malignancy and the cells all look pretty normal. The pathologist is going to let them grow in the culture but they don't expect anything abnormal. The decision is that nothing further will need to be done.

Bless my ENT's heart - she truly is very nice. She had the nurse refund my co-pay as she said that I'd been through enough today. [vbg]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gearing up for Mardi Gras

E's sister Sue is flying in from Utah on Friday afternoon. This will be her fourth trip down here and her first that coincides with Mardi Gras. She's pretty excited about seeing New Orleans during Carnival.

I've attended every Mardi Gras for the past 25 years except 1988 when I was in the middle of the police academy (and, boy, was I ticked that we didn't have the holiday!). In our younger, wilder days my friend Lin and I would pack up and head out on the Thursday before Mardi Gras day and return on Ash Wednesday. We'd stay and M & D's and hit every parade we possibly could. There have been years that we saw 20 parades thanks to M. She was raised going to lots of parades so she knows exactly where to catch parade A so that we have time to run and catch parade B, etc. I promise you that there's no way I could keep up that kind of pace now.

There were also years that we piled as many of us as we could into M & D's place. One year there were 10 of us sleeping in their one bedroom apartment in Algiers. It was cramped but we sure had a great time. That's the year that my sister and BIL came with Lin and I. I drove a Toyota Tercel and it was so crowded thanks to the luggage and the beads. K swore she was hyperventilating in the back seat. [vbg]

Now that E and I live in Baton Rouge we drive back and forth to the parades we want to attend. Gone are the days of sleeping in sleeping bags on M & D's floor and trying to break last year's record for number of parades we attended and bags of beads we caught. Now I'm only interested in attending a handful of parades, including what I call the "big 3" - Endymion, Bacchus, and Orpheus.

On Sunday we'll head to the Westbank to see M & D's parade - the Krewe of Adonis - followed by the Bacchus parade that evening. Monday we'll head back for Orpheus, which is my favorite parade.

Remember that [em]Friends[/em] episode where Ross and Rachael talk about their list of celebrity "freebies"? In this episode they each got to carry a list of five celebrities that they would consider being with as an exception to the no flings rule of their relationship. Well, E and I each have a list of one - his is Gwen Stefani and mine is Harry Connick, Jr. Harry founded the Krewe of Orpheus in 1993 and has often returned to ride in the parade. One year his float was stopped in front of us for a full 15 minutes while he sang. It was heaven I tell you. Last year Harry was supposed to be in the parade but he stood me up. This year with all the hurricane stuff I would think that my Harry would make it his business to be there. If he stands me up again, we're through. [wink]

I've taken Monday and Wednesday off so that I can attend Mardi Gras without interruptions. It's going to be loads of fun and even the weather is supposed to cooperate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Somebody Gold Medal me

The cap is finished! If I can get it off of E's head long enough this evening, I will have photographic proof to that effect. I thought for sure that I'd messed it up in the last seven rows because the pattern gets a little wonky but it looks great. E swears it's the best cap he's ever had. [vbg]

After I finished it, I managed to get 18 more rows of the Wavy scarf done. This makes only 53 more rows to go. I'm thinking I'll finish before Sunday and will really feel like I deserve that gold medal.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Because I'm lazy today

Stolen from Poppycede:

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Pretty accurate. Hmmmmmmm...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Knitting Olympics Update

The cap will be finished tonight. E just informed me that my #10 double pointed needles just arrived so I'll be able to get the last seven rows done this evening.

On the Wavy scarf front, I worked about 15 lines last night and figure I have about another 69 rows to go. I'm going to work my tail off to get it finished before the closing ceremonies.

I love this. It's making me accountable to a deadline so I'll get something done for a change. I tend to be the world's greatest procrastinator.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I am a Dot Com.

Yes, it's true. I've finally joined the ranks of the internet savvy and have purchased my own domain. You may now find this blog by simply going to www.barefootcajun.com.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympic Event #1

Either I overestimated the difficutly of this cap project or I totally underestimated my knitting skills because I'm whizzing through this cap. I will admit that getting it cast on was a bitch but that was my fault. The pattern calls for a 16" circular needle and I couldn't find one so I bought two 32" thinking I could knit in the round with two. Well, that was a disaster. I tried casting on four times Friday night during the opening ceremonies before I just threw the thing aside in disgust. I was able to find a 16" needle on Saturday, cast on and get going with no further problems.

The pattern is only 54 rows. I have four rounds of eight rows before the decreases begin. I've already done two in just a couple of hours. I'll be ready to begin decreasing probably tonight but I haven't been able to find a set of size 10 double-points yet. I have E out searching as I type. If he can't find them, I'm going to have to order a set.

Since this pattern seems to be much less difficult than I had imagined, I have further challenged myself to finish his Wavy scarf as well.

Happy Knitting, Y'all!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's Official - I'm a Dufus (or why I should have stayed in bed)

It all started yesterday afternoon. I had an appointment to be tested for allergies. I already knew I had allergies and knew several things that I was allergic to. I finally broke down and had the official test because my allergies have been getting worse these past couple of years. Currently I have a dry cough that just won't go away and it's allergy related and waking me up at night. Couple that with a constant nasal drip and you'll understand where I'm coming from.

So yesterday for nearly two hours I watched as a nurse injected me with allergens 85 times in both my upper arms. (Dix, I hope I didn't just make you pass out) When all was said and done I found out that I'm allergic to all the dust mites, all the molds, marsh elder and goldenrod, American elm, Virginia Live Oak (that's great for a girl who lives in Louisiana where this is the most prolific tree), Eastern Cottonwood, cockroach dust (may I just insert an Ewwwwwwww! here?), cats and dogs.

The dog allergy isn't a problem because both the Bichons and the Peke-a-poo are non-shedding, non-dander dogs therefore making them hypoallergenic. However, the cat is an issue. Here lately I've had to shoo poor Omar away when he's tried to curl up next to me in bed because he makes me cough. The nurse asked if I planned to get rid of the cat and I just glared at her. He's 16 years old for Christ's sake and I've had him since he was six weeks old. If he hasn't killed me by now I don't think it's going to happen. I did tell her that when he's gone we will not get another cat, at least for a while. It has less to do with my allergies than with being ready to live without cat fur all over the house and a stinky-assed litter box.

The other bad news is that since I'm allergic to all the molds, I need to watch my intake of aged cheeses!!, mushrooms!!, vinegar, sour cream!, beer, wine, brandy, gin, vodka, rum, and whiskey, ginger ale and root beer, meat or fish more than 24 hours old, sour breads and other foods made with yeast, soy sauce! and tofu, tea!!, chocolate!!!!!, dried spices and for some reason Coke!!! (but Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and Orange are ok??). I just had sushi for lunch dipped, of course, in soy sauce and danged if I didn't start coughing afterwards. Shit!

I now have to decide if I want to start taking allergy shots for the next three to five years. I guess it's all going to depend on what the insurance company will cover.

But wait - it gets better.

After all that lovely news, I was walking out to my car in the hospital parking lot and a friend of mine, who happens to work there passed, and honked at me. As I looked up, waved, and called "hello" to her, my right foot stepped off the sidewalk into a small hole, causing me to bust my ass on the sidewalk. Fortunately, I landed on my "good" knee rather than the "bad" knee I landed on at a different hospital a year ago in January. I skinned the top layer of skin off and bruised the hell out of it but I didn't manage to tear anything, thankfully. It's black and blue with a big red scrape and a bit swollen and I have a nice black and blue knot below the other knee where it hit the ground. I'm a bit sore from the jar but I'm ok. Nothing an ice pack and time won't heal.

But wait - there's more.

I leave there and drive the two blocks to Buffalo Wild Wings because it's trivia night and I'm meeting the group there. Now I happened to be wearing my only pair of jeans and they are at least four years old. With E in and out of jobs over the past few years, new clothes come only in emergency situations. I had noticed that the jeans were starting to wear out and actually had a little hole above the back left pocket. I'd ordered two new pairs on Sunday and they're due to arrive tomorrow. I figured that in the meantime I could wear them as long as I had a long shirt on. Back to BWW - Since I really had to pee, I ducked into the ladies' room. As I'm pulling those jeans back on, the button comes off in my hand. Double shit!! I dug around in my purse to see if I had a safety pin and of course I didn't. But I did have a keyring that had a screw opening very similar to this one that has amy eyeglass repair kit on it. Yep, you get the picture. I spent the rest of the evening playing trivia with my jeans held together by a keyring with an eyeglass repair kit dangling from it. Classy, huh? Thank God for the long shirt.

Life actually got better as the evening wore on. I managed to win the Mini Six game for the second week in a row and E won the Showdown tournament game with a very high score. We were on fire last night.

I began to believe that my dufusness was behind me until I went to pee this morning and realized I'd put my underwear on inside out. I swear to y'all I'm going to bed as soon as I get home.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Joining the Olympic Team

Of knitters, that is.

Yarn Harlot is rounding folks up to participate in the http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/olympics2006.html.

On February 10, I'll be casting on the Cable & Rib Cap from the Knitting Pattern A Day Calendar 2006 (January 30th). Sorry I don't have the exact pic to post but I couldn't find the pattern anywhere online. I've posted something similar below. I've never done a cap, cabling, or knitting in the round before but the pattern looks simple yet challenging enough for me to try. It'll be for E and will coordinate with his Wavy scarf that I'll finish some day.

Finishing a piece in 16 days will be a challenge for me because I don't sit and knit as often as I'd like. I'm hoping this will get me into a habit.

The pattern is very close to the pattern shown here:

I'll be using Patons Classic Merino Wool in the Dark Grey Mixed shown here:

I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Just got this blog cloud. Thanks to DixiePeach for the link.

Cool, huh? What great memories this stirs.