Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pollen War

Growing up in Michigan I knew what pollen was. We learned about it in Science class through the use of some really awesome film-strips. Pollen was the stuff that bees pick up as they fly from flower to flower. Pollen was the stuff that game some people the sniffles. Pollen was, above all else, invisible.

Then I moved to Georgia. Pollen, in Georgia, isn't hidden in pretty flowers. Pollen in Georgia descends upon the state in waves. It attacks like an invading army, leaving a trail of Kleenex and watery eyes in its wake. It falls from the trees in a thick shower of yellow powder that covers every available surface (inside and out) of the entire state. No one, and no place, is safe from pollen. And when it rains.... Oh you'd imagine that the rain would be great as it knocks the pollen out of the air, but you'd be wrong. When it rains the pollen puddles, and collects, and creates an oil slick on the road. It's gross. It gives everyone allergies. It means I can't use my porch until it ends. It means I have to add one more pill to my medicine cabinet. It sucks.

Right now I'm in a war against pollen...and the pollen is winning.

This awesome picture is of the pollen that I washed off my back porch

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Dead Poet Moment

I take my dog for a walk (almost) everyday, baring an RA flare or rain. Since I'm a creature of habit, as is the dog, we always turn right out of the driveway and make a circle through the woods. Well today I saw a strange dog at the end of the cud-de-sac so I decided to turn left instead. We walked through the same woods that we go though everyday but I honestly had a moment of complete confusion as to where to go once I got into the woods. It was like I was in a whole new place despite having walked that same path everyday for two years. It made me wonder if maybe we need to look at things from a new angle more often...

p.s. Bonus points if you understand the Dead Poet reference!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Teacher Tales

Every teacher has a special cache of stories that they pull out at parties (you know you do). Kids say and do some crazy things and honestly some of them are to good not to share. I was reminded of a classic story yesterday at at meeting when someone mentioned this student's name. Of course I'm not going to reveal any names, or even gender, but honestly how could this not make you love kids......

In my very first year of teaching I had a student who was a particular project of mine. I really wanted X to feel confident in their ability, and to learn to love school as much as I did (remember this was my first year, I was a bit delusional). X has a severe learning disability and was functioning far below the rest of the class, but still we slogged through it. Then one fateful day our entire team took a field trip to the local history museum. The docent who was working my group that day was a tiny old women who looked like she didn't know quite what to think about my students but she bravely carried on taking us through the history of the state. Periodically she would stop and ask the students questions and every time this ran through my head "please don't call on X please don't call on X". Before you think I'm a horrible person you must understand that this student would often answer volunteer to answer questions in class, and was called on frequently, but X's answers very, very rarely related to the question I had asked. "Why no dear, purple is indeed not a factor of 42, but good try."

Anyway back to the museum and the section on farming.

Docent: "Can anyone name one of the state's Cash Crops?"
Johnny: "Tobacco"
Docent: "Excellent, anyone else?"
Alice: "Cotton"
Docent 3: "Yes, about you dear, in the back row, did you have an answer?"
Me (in my head): "Oh dear lord"
Student X: Celery

Yep, celery. I will give X points for understanding that a Crop has to do with something you plant. And bonus points to the docent who, after a moment of stunned silence, recovered well.

It was a great day at the museum, and I'm still laughing about it years later.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Real Story

I get asked about my RA a lot so I thought to write about it and answer lots of questions at once!

I went to a Halloween party on a Saturday night in '07 dressed as a girl scout (it was awesome). The costume itself isn't significant, but the party is because I was driving that night so I stuck with one glass of wine and lots of water. The point being that I wasn't drunk and, despite my perpetual clumsiness, I didn't fall down. Still the next day my right ankle hurt and I was limping. By Monday my limp had turned into a full-fledged pain and I had a disturbingly large lump on the back of my ankle. My sister insisted that I call the doctor to see what was up, which I did a bit begrudgingly since I don't generally like visiting the doctor. My doctor agreed to see me the next day and when she saw my ankle she was stumped. There had been no apparent trauma to my leg or explanation for the giant lump. After some head scratching and a few looks in the medical textbooks she decided that my best bet was a visit to an orthopedic surgeon. An appointment was made for a week later and I headed home with a still swollen ankle, a more pronounced limp, and a little bit of anxiety over just what the heck was wrong.

I woke up on Wednesday to discover that not only was my ankle still sore, but now other parts of my body were following suit. By Friday my hands, wrists, back, feet, knees, and even jaw were also inflamed. Things didn't improve when I got a call from my mom telling me that her bosses wanted me to come in for some blood tests. My mom is a nurse at an Oncology practice, and although she told me not to worry...I did. Blood tests were run and it was decided that what I really needed was a Rheumatologist. A call was placed and I was given an appointment to see an amazing rheumatologist. The catch was that the appointment wasn't until January 18, 2009.

Now for those of you keeping track my symptoms started the day after a Halloween party. Within a week of that, nearly every joint in my body was inflamed and painful. My doctor's appointment wasn't until January 18! That left me with 2 and a half months to try and deal with my symptoms on my own. True, my regular doctor gave me a prescription anti-inflammatory as well as a dose of steroids, but overall there wasn't much to be done. Those months were not my best, and I'm sure I wasn't fun to be around. I slept very little because of the pain, and ate even less because my jaw was to sore to chew. When the day finally came for me to meet the rheumatologist I was happier than I had been in months! After a LOT of blood work, and another week of waiting for results it was confirmed that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.

48 days later I turned 30....awesome