Can You Make Me A Promise? Please?

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Pretty please?

Can you promise me that you will stop yourself from judging and confronting a person who is parked in a handicap spot with an official handicap placard, because they do NOT look handicapped?  Please?

Yes, there are some people who may be taking advantage of the ‘system’ and they should be reprimanded.  But, don’t take on that role.  You are not the handicap police.  Step away from the situation because the majority of the time that person IS legitimately authorized to have that placard.

You just don’t know.  You have no idea what the situation is.  You have no idea what lays underneath that healthy looking façade.  They look fine to you, but maybe they are not.  Pain is invisible.  You just don’t know.  Don’t assume they are faking it.  Let it be. Let them be.

I have been stared down, laughed at, chased, verbally assaulted and judged too many times.  More often than I care to remember.  I have a handicap placard yet, I look fine.  I dress nicely. I wear bright lipstick.  My hair is neat.  I don’t use a cane –  at the moment and I am not limping – today.  So, I MUST be faking it, right?  I just want that parking spot right in the front. 

What the idiot staring me down last night and ready to pounce and yell at me didn’t see, is the pain I am in.  That my cervical stenosis is causing pain radiating from my head to my lower spine.  That my feet are deformed and it hurts to walk.  That my wrists are swollen.  That I am desperately fighting the debilitating fatigue in order to go out and live.  He assumed I was faking it.  He checked the placard.  He gave me nasty looks.  He judged.  Without knowing a thing about me.  Nothing.

So please promise me my friends, that you will stop and think.  That you will not rush to your own unfounded conclusions that this person parking in a handicap spot is abusing the system.  Don’t try to be a hero and save the world by “getting” them.  Although your vigilance is appreciated, 99% of the time, your assumptions will be wrong.  

You just don’t know.

Thank you.

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What Happens in Vagus…Stays in Vagus

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(I’ll show you mine if you show me yours)

I have one.  You have one.  Your mom and dad have one. Your sister, friend, boyfriend, worst enemy.  Even your dog and pet monkey have one.

The same way that, Everyone Poops, everyone has a Vagus (actually two, one on each side).  And I’m not talking about wheatgrass juice or fancy sun glasses.

I am talking about the nerve. The Vagus Nerve.  Take a look at where this baby is:

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It is the longest cranial nerve and is responsible for the function and regulation of several bodily systems such as the heart and digestive tract.

It is also the nerve used by many martial arts experts to subdue (or kill) their opponent.

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Like Spock doing the vulcan nerve pinch on “redshirt”
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I experienced over stimulation of my vagus nerve when I had a medical professional try, Myotherapy on me for my arthritis.  It was not pleasant let me tell you, and I almost fainted. 

It is quite the interesting nerve.  Why do I care?  Why should you care?  Because, this nerve is the explanation to my life long problems (some of them, at least).  And you care about me, right? A little?

You see, I have been fainting all of my life.  Not so much as an adult because I have learned to control it (for the most part).

It all started when I was about 9 years old.  The first time, I remember standing in the kitchen helping my father make a soup.  I was stirring the pot and next thing you know, I was down.  I awoke to his desperate and very loud screams for my mom to come help.  My parents laid me down on the sofa and my mom gave me some orange juice to drink to get my sugar up.  The juice worked and soon I was up and about but feeling very irritated and moody for the next hour or so.

Another time, I was getting my cast removed from my left wrist which I had broken a month prior.  Unfortunately, the doctor who set the cast was drunk at the time (I know, we should have sued) and so they had to re-brake my wrist and put a new cast on.  When the first cast came off and I took one look, I was down for the count.  Prior to fainting, I felt hot, sweaty and nauseous and could hear a ringing in my ear.  I was very irritated and upset for a long while after that one.

There were many other times.  Particularly, when I had to get blood drawn or while sitting in a dentist’s chair getting my wisdom teeth pulled.  I made quite the scene on that day.

The absolute best time I fainted involved…a boy and a diet.  I was in high school and was trying to decide between two boys.  One of them I am now married to but at that time, I chose the other.  We were outside enjoying the stars above, standing up leaning against his car.  He leaned in slowly for the kiss.  That kiss sent all kinds of signals to the rest of my body.  My legs felt weak, I got dizzy, nauseous (sorry guy) and down I went.   When I came to, he had placed me in the back of his station wagon and was sitting next to me, while his buddy drove the car to my house.  

My parents panicked at first but knew I hadn’t been drinking. It was just me fainting, yet again.  This boy soon spread rumors about how powerful his kiss was and the effect he had on me.  I didn’t want it going to his head so I informed him that I had been doing the Scarsdale diet and had not eaten much and that is why I had fainted.  I kinda burst his bubble, oh, and I married the other guy.  

Well, this whole condition is called, Vasovagal Syncope.  A person who is predisposed to this condition, usually will react to a specific trigger before fainting. This response to a trigger will affect their heart rate and blood pressure and therefore a lack of blood to the brain, thus…thump.

The triggers can be things such as standing for too long or getting up too quickly, stress (but I’m never stressed), arousals or stimulants (so, it was the kiss after all!), the site of blood (duh), extreme emotions, heart conditions and the list goes on and on.

Although I have not been medically diagnosed, I was diagnosed by my sister (she plays a doctor on tv) who is married to a cardiologist who confirmed her suspicions and most importantly, helped me figure out the other vagus nerve issue I have.

Remember I was saying earlier that everyone poops?    Well, this is a problem for me.

We are talking, Defecation Syncope, people!  Even the recommended links feature below couldn’t find a link to this condition. Yes, you read correctly.  Now stop laughing and hear me out.

I often feel dizzy and utterly exhausted from a BM (I said, stop laughing.) Like the type of fatigue where I am worthless for the rest of the day (well, that’s me everyday.)  I have to lay down and sleep for hours.  This is different from my usual chronic fatigue due to my RA (Wow, am I a basket case or what?)

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Yes, but does everybody faint after they poop?
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You know how one can feel a “high” or “pooh-phoria” after a movement? Not me, never. Well this is because during defecation, the vagus nerve gets stimulated and one can experience euphoria and ecstasy (God I hope my Mami does not read this post.)

During this “process”, your blood pressure drops and so does your heart rate and if you are sensitive or suffer from Defecation Syncope (I swear it exists), it can cause  you to pass out or become extremely fatigued.  I have  yet to faint from this shitty condition, but my husband is always on high alert.

Like I needed one more thing to add to my list.  Did you stop laughing yet?  Look it up if you don’t believe me.

To end on a good note and flush through this information, I will tell you two last fact about our new friend, the vagus nerve.

Stimulating this nerve can help stop the hiccups!  By causing another sensation, the brain is tricked into thinking that there is something more pressing than hiccups and so the hiccups stop.  

Remedies like drinking cold water, eating a spoonful of sugar, stimulating the back of your throat and throwing up (I am not throwing up to stop my hiccups) are vagal stimulations.  Who knew?

In conclusion, the last vagus nerve fact I will share with you is one in which research has shown, that women who have had complete spinal cord injury (I don’t wish that on anybody), can experience orgasms through the vagus nerve which can go from the uterus and vagina to the brain (I wish that on everyone.)

Well, I may have told you a little TMI so remember that, What happens in Vagus, stays in Vagus.

Bad Days -Good Days A-Z

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“Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.

Bad Days:

Arthritis was never invited

Bone Spurs were never my thing

Comfort is hard to come by

Depression always slips in

Empathy comes in rare moments

Fatigue decides she’s in charge

Gambling with medical cures

Hoping the day will come

Images of painless days

Joints magically healed

Knuckles inflamed and on fire

Lungs filled with fluid and pain

Motion is what I strive for

Napping is what I need

Oxycontin becomes my friend

Puzzles become my game

Quietly enduring the aches

Refreshments to numb the pain

Stiffness is lurking near me

Trying to ruin my day

Useless I now become

Vertical I cannot be

Wondering when it will get better

X-rays reveal the unwanted

Youth has been ripped at the seams

Zero relief is in sight

Good Days:

Arthritis does not own me

Better days are ahead

Coping is what I am doing

Dancing is what brings me joy

Easing into reality

Fighting like a young boy

Grateful for what God has given me

Healing day by day

Informed and educated

Justifying my pain

Knowing I am loved by so many

Loving them just the same 

Making the best of my life

Never ever giving up

Older and wiser by the minute

Pushing along to the top

Quietly saying a prayer

Relaxing as much as I can

Sorrow does not consume me

Tenderness fills my heart

Urging others to accept

Venom will make me regress

Words cannot express my gratitude

Xs and Os for you all

Young and alive I am feeling

Zestfully plugging along

The Swim to My 50s – 50 Shades of Scars

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Who says chicks love scars?

Yes, I went there.  I used the phrase 50 Shades of ____ in my title.  I took the advice of a blogger who gives tips to new bloggers on how to increase your traffic on your blog.  They say that if you categorize or tag the phrase 50 Shades of Grey, or something close to it, that your blog will be seen by tons of people!  Gee, I wonder why that is?  I can’t imagine that anything having to do with SEX would attract readers.  Hmm, I am going to try it out and I’ll let you know how it turns out.  

In my last post, I examined the demise of my gravity-stricken breasts.  I had to accept this fact as part of the aging process and becoming an almost 50-year old.  I can live with this; I don’t hear my husband complaining.  

It was time to continue to navigate south-east and south-west of my breasts, to my arms and wrists in preparation for the big day. Have you ever confused your upper arms with your thighs?   No?  I get confused all the time!  I look in the mirror and swear that I am looking at my arms but realize that they must be my thighs because, well, they look like my thighs!

My sister {the one with the long eyelashes} can attest to this.  For many years, we have ‘nicely’ cursed our mother for giving us her arms.  How could she pass on this family trait to us?  It’s bad enough that my father is to blame for my butt chin, but now this?  ‘Tis the reason I refuse to wear anything sleeveless.  People might think I am standing upside down and flailing my thighs!  I vow to make my arms pencil thin by September 2, 2013.  I will welcome my 50s with thigh-less, shapely arms! Gulp.

Swimming along to my wrists, I am reminded of the demon that lives inside and outside of my body.  The one I did not invite in.  The one that at the age of 26, decided to invade my being.  The not so honorable, Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease.  I have mentioned him in my earlier posts.  For those of you not familiar with RA, it is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally, attacks flexible (synovial) joints.  In other words, it’s a {sucky} chronic disease with no {f-in} cure, that leaves you scarred, deformed {yipee}, exhausted and often, disabled, but who’s counting?

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My wrists were the first victims of this vicious attack by, what’s his name? Oh yea, RA.  I will never forget during surgery on my left wrist, waking up, staring at the bright surgical lights shining down on me and hearing voices in the near distance.  I looked around and realized that the surgery was NOT over!  It was in process.  Feeling pretty loopy, I began to talk.  The somewhat concerned anesthesiologist, reassured me that I would not feel anything but that I had woken up a bit earlier than expected.  You think?  I was scared, but under the influence of happy drugs and began to tell jokes.  Not just any joke, mind you, they were butt jokes! I could hear myself telling them to my audience {two surgeons and an anesthesiologist} but I could not stop myself.  Where had I heard these butt jokes and why was I telling them?  I blame the very sloppy ragged scar on my left wrist on myself.  I must have had the surgeons in stitches with my butt jokes because they did a horrible job stitching me up and my scar is horrendous!

The scar on my right wrist is lovely.  A true work of art {in comparison}.    I do worry sometimes that people may think I tried to hurt myself since the scars are pretty visible, but in reality, the scars are vertical and not the typical horizontal scars one sees when a person attempts to hurt themselves.  And, they are located on top of my wrists and not under.  Sorry, not a happy thought.

So you see, scars do come in all shapes and shades.  All of mine have their own uniqueness and coloring.  During my next post, when I discuss my chubby arthritic fingers and my biggest scar of all, I will share some more stories with you.