Friday, April 17, 2015

My Night In The US Naval Hospital Okinawa Emergency Room

If you follow me on Instagram (@theyoungretiree) you will know that I've been sick for about the last 6 weeks or so. I've had strange abdominal discomfort mixed with pain that comes and goes. It started off light and just felt like strange fluttering palpitations. So light and sporadic that I actually wondered if I could be one of those women who suffer from an assortment of ailments (PCOS, obesity, hormonal imbalance) and didn't know she was pregnant! My first step was a pregnancy test, my most recent step was a night in the emergency room.
When I took the pregnancy test, it came back negative, as I was pretty much expecting. There was still a sliver of hope in me it could be a false negative since I had a slew of symptoms that matched pregnancy symptoms. I called the base clinic to make an appointment with my doctor. A week wait. I got in and blood work was ordered to check for obvious things. Best case scenario my doctor was thinking I was diabetic. Worst case in my head was cancer or an emergency surgery while Gene was off island! They have to send most of the labs back to the States, but from what they could process here at the clinic I was in the clear for diabetes, but suffering once again from a wonky hypothyroid.

I was referred out to Radiology at the hospital for ultrasounds to try and see what was going on in my abdomen. A two week wait from making the appointment. In the meantime I'd been dealing with nausea daily and consistently, along with sharp abdominal pains that came and went, daily, no matter what I did, that were getting worse. Last night I was sitting down, gearing up for my latest "Once Upon A Time" fest when the sharpest pain to date struck. I felt like I was being stabbed in my side. I knew I had to go to the emergency room and possibly face emergency surgery all by myself. So I did what anyone would do: I packed my hospital bag and drove down to the ER.
Me "Emergency Room Essentials" that I packed were: something to eat during long wait times (I took almonds and almond butter), my iPhone & iPad along with a charger, a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, a change of clothes (I packed athletic shorts, a sports bra, and a tank top), a nightgown (should I be admitted, at least maybe they'd let me wear my own?), and socks with little grippies on the bottom (you know, in case I'm walking around the hospital room barefoot should I be admitted). I guess I hoped if I went prepared to stay, I wouldn't have to!

I was taken back into the ER almost immediately. Anyone who has ever dealt with Navy Medicine, or any ER for that fact, knows I was thinking I was in for a LONG wait! They took me right back, and got me right into a little curtain room. The doc ordered more lab work and the corpsman prepped me with an IV should surgery be coming up. Those snacks I packed? Worthless, since I was told I couldn't eat anything until surgery was ruled out.
The IV was such a fiasco. I mean, the poor kid who did it must have been brand new, and then got me? I don't do blood or needles. I just don't. Run through electric wires for Tough Mudder? Sure. Sit and get 4 tattoos? Alright. GET AN IV PUT IN?! Bring on the hysterics. It was bad, and made worse by the situation. I still have a bruise on my left arm from the kid who lost my vein about a teaspoon of blood in last week. This kid went after my right arm, inside the elbow. I felt him stick the needle in, I shed a few tears, and then I felt him wiggling the needle around looking for the vein! NO- YOU FIND THE VEIN FIRST! I couldn't breath I was so scared so he stopped to coach me through breathing and to find a new vein. This time, he found one on my hand. I'm sobbing hysterically, trying to maintain steady breathing, and feel something on my hand.

"IS THAT BLOOD RUNNING DOWN MY HAND?!" I asked him in a panic.
"Oh, don't worry, that's a good sign!" he assured me.

I'm no phlebotomist, but I'm pretty sure that's not how this works. That's not how ANY OF THIS works!
He got the IV in, I was given zofran for my nausea (which instantly caused worse nausea!) and some very strong pain meds that made me immediately loopy. I waited for my turn in X-Ray since a bedside ultrasound showed nothing. I was wheeled down to radiology, had an amazing tech take three x-rays, was wheeled back to my curtain room, and read and waited.

The staff was AWESOME. Everyone from the nurses who helped me, to the gal in radiology, to the corpsman (even the IV one who didn't slap my dramatic sobbing self). The doctor who helped me was great. Sadly- they couldn't find anything. I mean, don't get me wrong- that's great news! My liver is fine, my gall bladder is fine, my pancreas is fine! There was thankfully no emergency surgery and I was discharged around 1:30am or so. But now I sit and wait to get in for my ultrasound appointment next week to see if they see anything, and if they don't, I will be going to a GI specialist to see what could be causing me this constant nausea and this pain.

The best news is: Gene will be back for the ultrasound, so heaven forbid anything goes wrong, I won't be alone! I think I'm in for an awfully long road ahead, with several appointments and tests, where I will try my best to never say "I was on WebMD and saw _________! Maybe we should look at _________ and test for ________!"

If you are in Okinawa and ever need emergency care, based on my experience, you're in good hands with the folks at the US Naval Hospital!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Once Upon A Time // What I'm Watching

Back in 2011, when Once Upon A Time came on television, I watched maybe the first three episodes. In the event you haven't heard of the show, it's a spin on fairy tales. The Evil Queen from Snow White casts a curse on all of the fairy tale lands and characters, and they end up in Storybrooke, Maine, without a clue as to who they are. The show flips back and forth between their Storybrooke lives and their fairy tale stories.
Screen Grab from Netflix.
There is a little boy who lives in Storybrooke, Henry, who believes all of the townspeople are fairy tale characters. He leaves the town to go to Boston to track down his birth mother, Emma, who is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, sent away from the fairyland before the curse happened, She is the savior who will break the curse, bringing back the memories of all the townspeople from before the curse, so that they know who they really are.
Cast: The Huntsman/The Sheriff, The Evil Queen/Regina, Snow White/Mary Margaret, Prince Charming/David, Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, Henry, Emma 
The show starts off pretty basic: Henry was adopted by Regina, and Mary Margaret is his school teacher. Mary Margaret gives him a book of Fairy Tales and Henry pieces together that they're not just stories- the book is filled with the history of the townspeople! Emma, or course, doesn't believe him but plays along until she discovers it's true.

I have a love/hate relationship with the show and have stopped watching it twice now since starting recently. I'm so deep into it now, though! SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD! (can they even be considered spoilers this long after the show aired?) I'm in season three and can't stop!

The curse has been broken, Henry is abducted. His father gets shot trying to save him and falls into a portal back to the Enchanted Forest. Everyone thinks he's dead. Hook takes Mr. Gold, Regina, David, Mary Margaret, and Emma off on an adventure to find Henry in Neverland!

I guess I'm not supposed to, but I really like Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin and Capt. Hook! They're villains, but they weren't always that way, and I think they could be nice if love found them and they opened themselves up to it! Mr. Gold is finding love with Belle and Hook is on the path to fighting for love with Emma!

One of the things I like THE BEST about Once Upon A Time is the casting! Every single person really becomes the iconic fairy tale character! I could probably write an entire post comparing what my mind sees as the character and the casting hitting it right on the head! There has yet to be an actor/actress I've been disappointed in or would have wanted cast differently! Can I just say: Ginnifer Godwin makes a perfect Snow! Everything about her screams perfection with every episode! Not to mention: Colin O'Donoghue is the pirate of my dreams- like, seriously? I'd run off with him if he ever pulled into Okinawa!

Sorry, I actually have to go watch a few more episodes this afternoon- I can't even believe I'm writing this instead of sitting on the couch glued to the next episode! I'm in deep- send help!

Did you get into Once Upon A Time?
Who's your favorite character?
(I'm actually looking forward to seeing how the Wicked Witch comes into play! I saw her in an image search and am curious to see how they integrate that story in! Of course, I saw the ruby slippers in Mr. Gold's shop too, as a portal! I am also excited to catch up and see how they use Elsa in the fourth season! There have been mixed reviews, but I really liked 'Frozen' and hope it's good!)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Take A Look At Me Now

Thanks to the app TimeHop, I've been enjoying looking back at how my life was changing five years ago this week! I was scared out of my mind, moving away from home to California to meet Gene when the ship pulled into her new home port! I remember leaving home and landing in San Diego like it was yesterday! Everything was new, and exciting, and absolutely horrifying! I couldn't wait to meet my brand new husband at the pier coming home from what would be the only separation the Navy would put us through, hahaha! Thanks to this app, which shows you things you've posted on your connected social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc) I've not only enjoyed seeing how far I've come, but gotten to make funny connections to particular days in my history. Let's take a look at April 10th (which I think was mostly April 9th back in the States):
Back in 2010, I had been in California for something like 2 days! I was staying in Coronado, waiting for Gene to get there. I had never been to the west coast and couldn't believe I was going to be living there! I typed in "In and Out Burger" into my GPS to try and find this iconic west coast food. West Coasters: I KNOW, and I'm sorry.
Luckily, a friend from college let me know they were "In N Out" and I found one the next day, in a shady neighborhood, that I couldn't get out of quick enough! My San Diego adventuring wasn't done though. I was stunned when I pulled into the Target parking lot and the store had a Spanish Tile roof! I mean, I was shocked enough that I took a picture of it and remember calling Nan as soon as I got back to the hotel to tell her all about it!
 The best part about TimeHop is it shows you things from 5 years ago, 4 years ago, 3 years ago, and so on- every year you posted something, it will show you! So it was funny to see that five years ago I was trying to find this "In and Out" burger place, and then four years ago I was taking Nan for her first In-N-Out burger! Can I pause briefly to admit I was never a big fan of In-N-Out, but would cut someone right about now to get a double, double with cheese and grilled onions, protein style, with a Neapolitan shake?! West Coasters: I KNOW, and I'm sorry.
Three years ago, I was being a nosy neighbor, watching horrified as the Marines across the street were being packed out for their PCS! I remember talking to Nan on the phone, in horror, wondering if this was how Marines were always moved or if they were being packed in crates for an overseas move. I told her I never wanted to be moved like that! I am pretty sure I even commented about how happy I was we would never have to move overseas and experience something that crazy!
Two years ago, we had become proud Southern Californians, with our second year of season tickets to the Padres. We got to go to their Home Opener and celebrate our team, in what had become our new home! I had driven in and out of the city several times over and San Diego was the place I called home, and couldn't even believe I was that girl who landed in this new and exciting place!
Looking back on the last five years I can't help but think: "Look at me now!" April 10th is the perfect showcase of how my life has changed in the last 5 years. The adventures I've been on and the road ahead that is going to be wild and wonderful! Gosh, I better get out there today and add something amazing to the timeline for this year!

Do you TimeHop? 
What have been some of your favorite memories to see?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Selfies with Princesses in Ariel's Grotto at Disney's California Adventure Park

Before we went to Disneyland, I was nervous. I've written several times about going without kids and how I didn't want to be the childless couple walking around being creepy, standing in lines kid-free being awkward, and having my picture taken with Minnie missing a child. "Everyone has a Disney side" is the slogan in their commercials right now, and it's true- We got to Disneyland and we completely regressed back to the childhoods we didn't have.

This was especially true when I discovered there was a place - Ariel's Grotto - where we could go for a set lunch and meet several princesses! It wasn't one of the Character Dining experiences we'd previously planned on, but c'mon- there would be PRINCESSES! Princesses aren't for every little girl, but Disney Princesses and my "fairy" Godmother (Nan, she is my actual Godmother!) helped me get out of my childhood alive. I related to them before their transformation- abused, living with a wicked family, trying to escape any way they could! Then, my fairy Godmother saving me and finally meeting my Prince Charming made me feel like a Disney Princess, you know, just without the whole Royalty thing!

So I asked Gene if we could make reservations, and when we saw they had a spot open for lunch while we were there, we booked it! I was going to get to meet some Princesses! Of course, this was 2014, so naturally, when I met them, I took selfies with them!
We met Ariel first, at the entrance to the restaurant, but I didn't think to ask if I could get a selfie with her since she was more a staged photograph that the photo pass people were taking. Once we were seated and the food was being served, four princesses came through the dining area, stopping at each table to talk with diners! We got to meet Belle, Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella!

Growing up, I think my very favorite Princess may have been Belle. She has long, curly brown hair like I did and her dress was just the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! The magical aspect of the servants being turned into objects in Beast's castle, and befriending her, absolutely captivated me. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I was so "starstruck" when I met her that I was so nervous around her! I had taken a selfie with all the other princesses, but forgot with her, and actually had to ask a waiter if it would be possible for me to interrupt her meeting other diners (read: little children absolutely in love with princesses) to get a picture with her! WORTH IT!
Then, of course, there was Snow White! She was the very first Disney Princess! She also has dark hair, like me, so I related to her a little more as a child, I suppose, because of that. I was enamored with her. She was who I picked to have my caricature done as while we were at Disneyland also!
I don't really know much about Princess Aurora! I don't know that I've ever even seen 'Sleeping Beauty' but I know her story line. It was so fun getting to meet one of the princesses I didn't know much about! She was beautiful (as were they all!), and kind, and takes one wickedly awesome selfie!
Oh, and here's my selfie with Cinderella! She was the last princess to make her way through the dining room but was so worth the wait! Out of all the princesses, I think ol' Cindy got into my selfie taking the most for me! She was exactly how you would expect Cinderella to be- she was enthusiastic, absolutely delightful, dainty and light as a feather when she glided through the dining room! She was definitely a fun princess to meet!
Poor Gene was such a trooper through my excitement to be getting to meet the princesses. I know it was exactly the last place he wanted to be during our vacation, but he never let me know it or make me feel bad for dragging him there!

To see more about our Disney vacation, make sure you check out my "Our Disney Adventures" page for a collection of links to all of the posts I have about our time at the resort and in the parks!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Weekly Health Goals // 6 April 2015

This week I have some serious health goals! I am starting another round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox this week, and am really pumped about it. I'm allowing myself a few cheats since I can't run to Whole Foods for all of my favorites, but they are predetermined cheats and only three.

Cheat One: The bacon I can get out here that is the best is still not all that great. I'll be using Oscar Mayer Selects Nitrate/Nitrite free bacon. It was added sugar in it, but I'm allowing myself two slices a day in a crustless quiche I plan on having during the detox, or with a bunless burger I plan on having once a week or so. I could go without bacon, sure, but I'm making the choice not to. It is what it is, and if that's the worst I do through the next 21 days, I'll be proud!

Cheat Two: I am also allowing myself ginger ale. I haven't been feeling too well, I've had quite the upset stomach, and I'm hoping cleaning up my diet helps with that, but in the event it doesn't, I've got one can of ginger ale on stand by!

Cheat Three: I'm going out to lunch with the Okinawa International Women's Club and dinner with a group of friends about half way through the detox. I am going to try my absolute best to keep on track and eat veggies and meats. The luncheon should be easy since it's at a buffet (I think!) but dinner might be a little harder. I plan on taking a snack of raw almonds with me and maybe some carrots and tomatoes in case I end up eating only a very little bit to keep on track. If I slip up, I'm moving past it and am not planning on ordering or eating desserts or foods I know to be on the no list!

I recorded a video blog for today! Enjoy!
Weekly Health Goals:
  1. Keep up with the nutrition part of the detox! ALL 21 DAYS! No cheats!
  2. Walk every day! I'm still at 7,500 step goal every day!
  4. Sleep well! Be in bed every night by 10! I should be able to do this if I start heading to bed around 9:30! That sounds crazy, but I'm just not getting rested sleep, so I need to up my game!
What are your weekly health goals?

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