UPCOMING EVENTS: Hartford (RI) marathon, Newport (CT) marathon in October,
Soldier (GA) marathon, Pensacola (FL) marathon, and Pilgrim Pacer Marathons (KS) in November

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Monday, October 27, 2014

That's what she said.

Dear Diary,

I have pictures. Lots of them, but since the big apple update Blogsy has been a struggle. So, I've put off posting anything since I can't upload pictures. Guess I'll do a lo-fi version.

For the past couple of years I've been struggling with the persistent feeling that time was running out. I have clinical depression, and I've spent the past six months fighting it with more running and setting more goals for myself. For the past two months, in particular, I've really been enjoying NOT BEING DEPRESSED. Feeling like I have all the time in the world, so, what shall I do with my shiny new life?

Every morning when I run, I come up with things and think, oo, I should write about that! Then after I've finished it's gone....all gone. Except for one: Yesterday I reached the collision of my worlds when I was nearly at the end of my run and realized that the glasses I thought I'd forgotten were on my head. This is the only thing that I've been able to remember--just this, that I was doing my weekly 2-mike run for time, with my glasses on my head, wishing I could see.

My weight has held steady at about a 17-lb loss. Last week I ordered some pants of a certain size. The smart, logical part of my brain said, you are swimming in those 12s. But the fat woman inside of me--yes, it's true, there's a fat woman inside of me struggling to get out; it is she who tells the man behind the counter that we would like an 8 piece fried, thank you. It is she who passes by mirrors, afraid to look. It is she who said, those 10s will never fit, you fat fuck. They won't even get up your hips. You wasted your money. And that medium? Forget it. You are, and always will be, an XL, or when you're really dehydrated, an L.

That's what she said.

But she was wrong. They did fit. Along with other things that have happened I have decided to pretend that the year on my birth certificate is, after all, an error. I am not 49. Why, yesterday, I ran a 10k that was my second fastest time ever! I am not really 49.

This is what 49 means to me: Fat. Tired. Pantsuits. Breathlessness. Giving up. Wishing I'd gotten that degree. That was the model that was set before me.

Last week, I was doing 20" box jumps, which were alternated with front squats while holding a 95-lb weight. That was three days after running a local half marathon.

The week before i did the box jumps, I walked in and took the Graduate Record Exam without preparing for it, and I didn't suck. That was three days after I did back-to-back marathons in Rhode Islands and Connecticut.

And the week before that, I asked three people I knew professionally if they would write letters of recommendation for me, ordered transcripts, and completed my online application for a PhD program.

I am not 49.

You are too old to do this. Too old to start something new. You'll be a member of AARP before you get your degree. That's what she said.

As for the example I'm setting, well, my 30-year-old son told me, somewhat wearily, you've set the bar pretty high, mom. Well, of course I told him, live your life, don't live mine. But inside, I was happy that he saw a different vision of 49 than I did.

I don't know if I'll get accepted into graduate school. After all, I didn't study for the GRE and I don't know if my scores are good enough. I don't know a lot of things. But I do know this: i am not 49.

...

 

 

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday thirteen.

Dear Diary,

13. Cheat. Last week Korbie flipped through my diet log, reading each page. He stopped at one.

I'm pretty sure "1 cup of fried potatoes" wasn't on the meal plan.

I will create myself.

He continued reading. Cake? What's up with all the cake?

What's up with the cake? I'll tell you: An insurance company denies services for a kid, and to get back at them, I have chocolate cake. That'll show 'em! Makes perfect sense.

right?

Anyway, I changed my flavor of morning and afternoon Protizyme to 'Chocolate Cake' so that maybe it would help me avoid the trays of donuts and sheetcake.

12. Experimenting. Now that the first month is past, he's tweaked my diet to see what I burn more efficiently, carbs or protein. Every other day, now, I do two things: 1) add 10 minutes to my daily 30 of cardio, and, 2) on the same day, cut my afternoon carbs in half and my evening carbs completely (I still eat a huge cup of cooked oatmal every morning, and 3) on the day if my "cheat meal" that's the day I don't exercise. For now, Sweet Baboo and I decided this day would be Monday. If my weight loss slows down, we'll know that maybe I do better with more carbs. If it speeds up, we know otherwise.

11. Success. In any case I did lose weight this past couple weeks, which is A-MAY-ZING because, after all, we were in Boulder and I did not eat as healthily as I should have. I ate better than usual, however, and at the end of week five with Korbie I've lost 11 pounds.

10. Changes. I was feeling a little tired of my straight hair doing nothing sitting next to my face, so I went on Angie's list and found a salon 5 minutes from work. Maybe I love my hair now. Or maybe I think it makes me look like my mom. It does have a highly redeeming quality: after my morning run and shower, I blow dry it without touching it. That's right--i just move the dryer back and forth across the back of my head, and it dries, just like this.

The big giant glasses were just for fun.

9. Over it. FINISHERPIX, who I imagine has edged out D.N.F.PIX, was kind enough to send me a link to my FINISHER pics! That was pretty amazing, considering that the last pictures on there were of me on my bike, and I did not finish.

Anyway, after I was pulled from the course, I enjoyed watching people finish. I truly did. And I felt...nothing. No wistfulness, no pangs of regret, no wishing I was running down that chute. Just nothing. I think I'm over Ironman.

8. Training. I'm now training for the two marathon doubles I have coming up, one each in October and November.

Running this week was tough. There was a stiff (> 20 mph) canyon wind that blew straight into my face or across me. It never seemed to be at my back. I was winded and slow and heavy. But I did it. Every day. On Thursday, I was rewarded with a beautiful still morning and a run somewhat faster than what I'd done so far.

7. Apps. I am using RunKeeper and I love it. It talks to me over the music on my phone, which is always in the back pocket of my RaceReady shorts. Hands and wrists free, I run to music, and every five minutes it gives me elapsed time, pace, distance. It also loads the calories burned automatically into my LoseIt! App.

6. Angry eating, part II. I had two episodes of self-assertiveness that I think may be the first step in overcoming my angry eating impulses. First, i have always been intimidated by insurance companies. But this week, I stood up to them. And they backed down. Second, when talking to a case worker who had steadfastedly refused to take any responsibility for a kid who is a ward of the state, I told him, get in your car and come pick him up. He tried for two days to get out of it, suggesting I put a mentally ill juvenile on light rail and a bus, until I finally said, we don't put children on buses, or trains, or in cabs. He's your responsiblity, and you are his parent. Come pick him up and take him to his placement. Now. And he did.

Those felt amazing. I don't always have to let people have their way to be nice. I can be firm, polite, and still get my way. Kewl! And then I didn't feel like I needed a piece of cake to prove I was in charge.

5. Ouch. Sweet Baboo broke his big toe. The ER doc said it's broken all the way into the joint and he needs to be off it completely, on crutches, for twelve weeks. The podiatrist says it's not broken into the joint, and hey, just do whatever doesn't hurt too much, and it will probably be healed in eight weeks. The podiatrist is a runner, i should mention. It's like a cult.

4. Mentoring. A former coworker, very young, just did her first few 5ks. She loved them. And then yesterday she emailed me and said she was bored with 5k, thinking of doing a triathlon, do I have any advice?

So, I like, uh, sent her links. Lots of links. Turns out, she LOVES open water swimming. You'll do well, grasshopper!

3. Training plan. I have a new run training plan under development. It includes a couple of marathons, but mostly local 10K and half marathons. I find that I work harder in the local races than just a long run.

2. Strength. I'll be working on power, speed and strength this fall on Wednesday and Thursday nights at the No Limits Fitness Company, a small, private, woman-owned gym in Albuquerque. I started working with her back in April, and I've enjoyed it quite a bit. She's going to be helping me get ready for the Senior Games in 2015. So far, "getting ready" seems to involve a lot of DOMS. DreadPirate uses her too, and we refer to the exhaustion as having been Kathleened.

1. Weight. I'm down to about 163. It's the first time I've seen this number since 2012, i think. When I started my job at the hospital in 2012 I was at about 150 or maybe 155. I then out on about 20 lbs, partially because I started sitting all day, partially because I stopped training regularly during 2013, and partially becuse I got into the whole, "fuck this, I'll eat whatever I want" Mode. I'm working my way back. Not because it's a number. Because I'm happier when I take up just a little less space, and when there's less of my to hault up and down the hills.

...

 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

It's all about the bike.

Dear Diary,

After about fortyish miles of Colorado countryside at an 11 miles per hour pace, I found myself nauseated in the heat and staring at another big-assed hill. It was 12:39. I had 51 minutes to get 17 miles, which was highly unlikely. The guy that pulled my chip apologized, but it was inevitable. They pulled my chip and those of the four people ahead of me. One of them, like me, was happy to take the ride. Another one had been in a bike accident with another rider, one sat silently trying not to cry at having failed her first attempt at an Ironman, and the fourth stewed silently, angry that they had pulled her chip,after she failed to make the cutoff by more than 10 minutes.

I asked the girl next to me, who is very young, if she would try again. She nodded. "Good for you," I said.

It was a new experience for me, being pulled. I've never been pulled. I've always just squeaked by with those cutoffs, but let's face it, it's an Ironman. It's all about the bike. Considering I haven't really trained for it, I'm surprised I got as far as I did. The ride back, in the shuttle, was a tense silence. The driver kept apologizing. I felt bad for him. I've been in races where you didn't get a ride back, or worse, you sat in the back of a pickup for the ride back. I thanked him for providing this service.

Now, the only way to get to where my bags were was to walk the same walk as the triathletes who had just gotten off their bikes. Hoards of people shouted at me as I walked by. WHOO! Good job number 1180!

That was a long walk. Yep. Awkward.

I loaded up bags and bikes and went to wait for Baboo to finish. I got a little lightheaded doing that.

During the ride back, and while I waited, I had pondered this experience, this 'being pulled'. I came up with some great truths.

1) this is a natural consequence and a lesson I needed. I didn't train. This is what happens when you don't train. You suffer, or you don't finish, or both. It's a miracle that I finished the swim.

2) Being pulled is not the end of the world. I've been anxious about it before, but it's not that bad.

3) I've said it before, when you try extraordinary things, things outside your comfort zone, sometimes you will fail.

4) Having said that, I have completed two iron distance triathlons. Hard ones. I'm good.

Oh, and one more thing:

5) I really, really, really really hate cycling.

I accept that we have roles to play. Mine is not necessarily to always win but to try. If someone tries something extraordinary, something outside of their comfort zone, because I did it, then that's a good thing.

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, August 01, 2014

Boulder.

Dear Diary,

This morning Sweet Baboo and I had a short run and then headed for Ironman Village to pick up our race pack. We are expecting perfect racing conditions on Sunday but it rained all yesterday afternoon, night, and into this morning, so the grassy field next to Boulder High school was a wet, sloppy mess.

For this race they gave us a backpack and a small bike multitool kit. And there were a few changes since the last time I did this one...no number on the bike, just our body markings and the stickers all over the bike. The race number with my name on it will be worn during the run. There are TWO bike claim stickers, so Baboo and I can each have one.

I'm busy packing my bags. Korbie has directed me to eat solid food throughout the race. Not a lot, just enough to keep something in my system. I've done this during ultras but not during an iron distance race. It will be interesting. I think it might help.

I'll be wearing my bike shorts and tri top Under my sleeveless wetsuit. I have corrective goggles, and anti fog stuff for them. I am to eat one of my protein bars about an hour before i swim. It may be as cold as 50 degrees (air temp) at the start

Bike bag: my pointy alien head race helmet, mountain bike shoes, regular cycling socks, Sportslick, and a ziplock bag containing my noon thyroid medication, four protein bars (one i am to eat IMMEDIATELY) and a couple of gels.

Bike special needs bag: i'm not preparing one. I'm too paranoid of not making the cutoffs, I will ride as continuously as i can. A small red bull will be de-gassed Saturday and go into a small bottle on my bike. I have to reach mile 56 by 1:30 and 86 at 3:30 and be off the bike by 5:30 pm. This is a source of great anxiety for me since I'm such a crappy cyclist, and because: hills. I will not be carrying a hydro pack. It's too unweildy and adds weight. I am worried about the possibility of an afternoon thunderstorm. I'm supposed to have a protein bar every 2-3 hours.

Run bag: underarmour mesh running shirt, raceready shorts, injinjis, and Newtons. Another packet of bars and gels and another degassed red bull. I'll be switching from corrective bike goggles to lightweight transition lens glasses and a hat. I have to be at mile 12.9 of the run by 8:50, turnaround at mike 16.5 at 9:40 pm. The third run cutoff is Boulder high school at 22.7 at 11:15 pm. Unless I'm injured or throwing up, i'm not worried about the run cutoffs. Protein bars every 2-3 hours. Headlamp, because, lets face it. I am not a pre-sundown kind of girl.

Tomorrow, I'll take Danger Kitty to the t1 area.

After that, it's over but the sweating, crying, and swearing.

...

 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On progress, and finding my way.

Dear Diary,

I've done a lot of ultra endurance stuff since my first full year of multisport in 2005-2006. I enjoy knowing I had done them, but often I did not enjoy doing them. Most things I did because I love spending time with SB, and so do things to be with him. I haven't focused on any one thing to do because I like it and I'm good at it.

I joke about my lax training, but there have been ultra events that I trained well for in order to struggle to the middle of the pack. How do you know you're not cut out for ultras, say the folks who are several inches shorter and forty pounds lighter. How do I know? Physics. Oh, also the fact that I don't like them, don't look forward to them, and have started to hate the shit out of them. Increasingly, my goal in completing one was simply not to cry. I love crewing them; i love the ultra community. But when I ran ultras, If I was happy afterwards, it was because it was over. Thank fucking God. Now go get me a pizza so I can gain 10 lbs despite a 5000 calorie deficit.

All athletes.

Increasingly, I've tried to distill what it means for me to be an athlete, and become resentful of continuously doing what I'm not good at and don't enjoy. There comes a time in any relationship when you find yourself frowning and dreading the prospect of that next meeting, and that's when you realize that the relationship has run its course.

I feel energized by my 3-5 mile runs on trails in the foothills in the mornings before work - I come down all flushed and sweaty and happy. I like short, (occasional--marathon.

As for what I'm good at, well, I stay leaner when I'm not continually doing long distance training. I've had two different fitness coaches tell me that I would be good at weight-lifting. I know that when I start working out my heart rate takes about 400-800 meters to really jump up there, which suggests short bursts of speed. I'm medium-sized, with a medium build, and I tend to put on muscle easily. In short, i don't think I'm physiologically built for ultras. But more importantly, I don't like them. So...

For now, I might still do the occasional 50K here and there, if it's in a pretty place on a beautiful trail, like the Pacific Northwest, but fuck all those high-altitude mountain runs where my fingers turn grey and I worry about cutoffs and wish I had more oxygen. I've decided that I want to feel good about myself and have fun with what I do, even if It means seeing less of my tiny, lightweight ultra-running family.

...

 

 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Things that go Bump, in the day.

Dear Diary,

These things do not scare me.

Zombies.

 
 

Zombie wrestlers.

 
 

Bad zombie movies.

 
 

The kitten's just here to get your attention.

 
These are the things that scare me:
This, most of all:
 
This, somewhat:

 

And especially this:

Yes, I have a BIB number. There it is.
((Shivers))
...

 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reprogramming my eating. A Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13. Eating. Coach Korbie sent me my first week's meal plan. It's similar to Baboo's. At first glance, it looks preatty austere. The longer I looked at it I thought, hey. i can do this. I cook! I have an herb garden! There's a Costco four miles from here!

I started the new plan on Thursday.

12. Shopping. I hit Costco Saturday morning and bought some yummy mushrooms and lots of salad stuff, too.

I set this up for me and Baboo--behold, the omelet station:

The eating is easier after the Costco trip. I bought all the stuff I needed, in bulk. I added chicken bouillion and no-salt organic seasoning when making the brown rice and it's AWESOME. A cup of green beans turns out to be a lot. I'm stuffed at night.

11. Gasp. Thursdays are Kathleen days, and Kathleenis helping me work on a fear of hypoxia that has caused me to to back away from high intensity training. Three-quarters into the workout, things got a little hypoxic and my brain screamed, STOP!! It was burst of panic that went off in my brain, like that moment underwater when you can't hold your breath for one more second and you MUST take a breath. Then today, she did it again.

10. Fuckers. MAt noon one of my coworkers breezed by my office Hey Misty, there's sheetcake upstairs! Well, FUCK! there is ALWAYS sheet cake upstairs. I had to start working in a hospital to learn to eat some seriously bad shit. I ignore her and eat my almonds.

9. Buying happiness. There's something to be said for the power of the buck to get you started. The nutritionist is not cheap. That's also a tennant in psychotherapy--clients should always pay something; they're more likely to invest in it.

8. Yum. The protein powder on my diet is called Protozyme, and it comes in a flavor called peanut butter cookie. It's in my afternoon and morning snacks. I'm losing my cues to eat crap.

7. Reprogramming. I'm reprogramming my eating. Heavier in the morning, lighter at night. I'd worked my way back to eating fried chicken, popcorn soaked in butter, chocolate, donuts offered daily at work. I find myself rethinking shortcuts now, like a little dusting of unsweetened cocoa on my almonds.

6. Grind. Friday I rode into work, which is essentially a four mile roll downhill. It's refreshing. I don't even break a sweat.

Riding home is not so refreshing. But. I've made progress on this particular ride. Also, the bike is much more comfortable than it used to be. Maybe it's because of leg strength.

5. Purge. This weekend I'll be getting rid of stuff in the pantry. I used to have a rule about no comfort food in the house. If you wanted it, you had to go out and get it and pay full price instead of making it at home, but over the past couple years the house has become home to butter.

4. Heavy mornings. The new eating plan includes a giant scoop of oatmeal and an omelet in the morning. This is a lot for a non-breakfast gal. After some experimenting, I discover that the oatmeal travels better than the omelet. And miracle of micracles, I'm not roaming the halls for donuts. I'm too full.

3. Light evenings. I've discovered fat-free vinegrettes for my Big-Ass Salad. Night meals are a salad, chicken or fish, and sweet potatoes or brown rice. Evening dinners are super light, but it's okay. I'm not even hungry when I get home,

2. Data. Week 1 nutrition breakdown, per day.
1. Results. End of week 1 weight: in the morning, stark naked and after I went to the bathroom, i'm 7 pounds down. In the afternoon, when I'm bloated and wearing my clothes at Korbie's, I'm 4.5 pounds down. Either way, I've dropped. My energy level is high. I feel good.
Then Kathleen reminds me, 17 days to Ironman Boulder.
Good feeling's gone now...

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cliches

Dear Diary,

I found this little video on YouTube about one of my heroes, Ernestine Shepherd, who says,

"age ain't nothing but a number."

Yeah. Put that right up there with,

"you're only as young as you feel."

Ernestine didn't start weighlifting until she was in her fifties. She didn't start bodybuilding until she was 70. Now, as I approach my 50th birthday, cliches have meaning. Since I started weightlifting last year I feel better than I did at 30, no joke. I feel strong and healthy and young. I get it now.

A few weeks ago at work I was at the doctor's and at the end of the visit he said, "Oh, by the way, your heart isn't enlarged." I almost cried. I have spent the last two years feeling time might be running out, mainly because my mother was diagnosed with an enlarged heart at age 53 and died at 61. She spent most of her life morbidly obese and refusing to exercise. Most of the members of my family have died. Alcoholism, refusal to exercise, smoking, suicide...it's all there, buried in my genes. Even my children don't really exercise and are starting to look and act old.

Easily carrying two full bags.

Recently my sister, age 58, shared with me her rapidly declining health. She's 9 years older than I am. She LOOOOOVES making chocolate cakes, and she's good at it. When I visited last year she didn't look healthy. There was no glow, she's put on a lot of weight, doesn't exercise, and is stooped over. She refused to go DOWN a HALF flight of stairs while carrying a lightweight basket and insisted her husband pull the car up curbside. When I hugged her goodbye, I begged her to take care of herself.

Now, she tells me, her teeth have suddenly started decaying, and she's had to cap them. She has unexplained hives and itching, "and I'm anemic. I'm not sure why I eat all kinds of food with iron."

Then she commented, "getting old is not much fun."

Well, I call bullshit. This isn't getting older; it's making crappy choices. That comment also made me sad, because. I wonder how long it will be before I'm the only one left in my family.

I used to look at people like Ernestine, and while I found them inspirational, I defnitely saw them as The Other. The Other are those people I saw as inspiring, but that I believe are exceptional. There was something about them to learn from but I could never do what they do. For me, fitness was about treading water, not really being competitive.

City of Lakes Triathlon, June 2014

But now, after a year of weight-lifting, I'm thinking, why not? My life has been a series of improbabilities. I became an athlete at age 40. I started a new career at 45. Next year, I turn 50, and recently told Sweet Baboo, "I didn't think I'd feel this good at fifty."

Thanks to the gorgeous man I married who introduced me to athletics, I feel like the universe has handed me a few extra decades to play with. There's lots of stuff I haven't tried, and some I've dabbled with. I'm stocky, and I'm strong, and I think I could be fast if I focused on that. I'm kind of burned out on ultras, but I love running marathons. There's a place for me to excel, and I intend to have fun finding it.

So, I've been training with Kathleen at No Limits Fitness since May. We're working on improving my strength and level of intensity, especially the problem I have where I get panicky from having to breathe too hard.

I also started this past week working with Korbie at Training Innovations to get a handle on my nutrition. In his office, I find my gaze drifting up to the pictures of the female physique competitors he's trained, posing on a stage, some of them my age. "I don't think I'd ever be able to do anything like that,' I said.

Korbie chuckled. "Neither did they."

I still have one last long distance race, Ironman Boulder, to tackle in less than a month. And then of course, the inevitable question:

I wonder what else I can do?

...

 

 

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Numbers: a Thursday Thirteen.

Me, at six

Dear Diaries,

1. SIX. Does anyone being six? I have a vague recollection of being given a Barbie, which was boring and stupid and was immediately put in all manner of peril for me and my friends to rescue. I wore Sears Tuffskin jeans, which made climbing trees easier. I was loved. The world was a safe, predictable place. That was pretty much my world.

I ask you to hold onto the idea of being six for a moment while I share a little about where I work.

2. FOUR. In the state of New Mexico, there are four acute-care hospital units where children under 18 go when they are out of control, psychotic, or suicidal. There used to be more, but nothing is more non-profit than children’s behavioral health, so they’ve all shut down, until just four are left, for a state of over a million people, a state with the seventh highest youth suicide rate in the United States.

3. TWO. In New Mexico, only two of the four acute units are non-profit. Both in Albuquerque, each takes patients from Albuquerque and most of the rest of the state.

4. TWELVE. We have twelve beds total, on the unit.

5. SIXTEEN. We would like to have sixteen beds, but that requires remodeling. Re: above and non-profitability of children’s behavioral health. We make enough to pay the bills. Nothing's left over. Every corner than can be cut has been cut. Most of the children we see live well below the poverty level--New Mexico has the second highest child poverty rate in the nation. Many are in state custody, having been abused, and many have mental retardation, or autism, or both. Every staff member in the unit has bought toys or other supplies out of the their own pockets.

6. ONE. We are the only private non-profit acute psychiatric unit for children in the state. The other non-profit, a university medical sciences center, sends us kids they don't feel they can handle.

7. ONE. I used to be puzzled as to why a major state university health sciences center couldn’t handle a pediatric behavioral patient. Then, one day as we were considering whether to take a patient who required one-to-one staffing, I realized that we needed only to consult one suoervisor, and then a staff member is called in, usually within one day. I suspect that at this other, university-affiliated hospital it requires several requisitions, forms, and an act of the state senate to get more staff.

8. EIGHT. The entire hospital system I work for is run by a foundation. They use extra money to build other hospitals, and now there are eight.

9. EIGHT. I have an ER list set up on my computer that gives me the ages and reasons for being in the ER. No names—just age and reason for being in the ER. It keeps me prepared for possible admissions, because I alone on the unit am the therapist, social worker, and insurance reviewer.

10. ELEVEN. Eleven people are on the board of trustees. Every year they hold a major fundraiser, which benefits some part of the hospital. This year, they chose our unit. The benefit is held in August of every year, and includes a fancy sit-down dinner, comedian, silent auctions, and raffle. Here’s a link.

11. SIX. Remember six? Last week I received a call from a local therapist asking me if I could do a suicide assessment on a six-year-old who is in child protective custody. This child is in treatment foster care and had been hoarding knives and threatening to kill himself. I told the therapist to take him to our emergency room for an evaluation.

12. SIX. Before I left for the day, I consulted the ER list to see if any six-year-olds had been brought in. There was, indeed, a six-year-old who was in the ER for a suicide assessment.

13. In fact, there were TWO.

...

 

 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

things to do in albuquerque when you're bored. Thursday 13

Dear Diary,

13. I love playing "Plague, Inc" and naming my virus after people I don't like. The popups and notifications are often entertaining.

12. For the past couple months Himself has gone to military trainings. I had plans while he was gone to eat lightly, nibbling on greens and fish. Lots of fish I ate. Greens, too. And, lots of popcorn soaked in butter. Urp.

11. Despite this, I lost about 6 lbs, owing to finally getting real and tracking my daily intake. Loseit! may be the 58th different app I've tried, but so far, it seems to be well-geared to my metabolism.

10. I've started working with a trainer in May while Baboo was at training. She really pushes me, in a way that I won't let anyone else get away with, once a week. Today, while doing a deadlift-dumbell push press-kettle bell swing combo, i got sweat in my eye. SWEAT. In my EYE. I've never had sweat in my eye before. Working with her I discovered I've been afraid of breathlessness and burn. Remember, I. Am lazy.

So today, sweat rolled and and landed in big drops on the floor. I'm learning not to be afraid of a little burning and breathlessness. From now on marathons and the occasional 50k will be a rare ultra distance. For the most part, i'll be focusing on my short game, relatively speaking.

9. As a result of all the weight training I've put on some muscle, especially in the butt. My ass and thighs are now a size 12/14 and my waist is a size 10. I buy pants and have them taken in.

I have abandoned all hope of being described as "willowy" or "waif-like."

8. A doctor I used to work with demanded rounds at 8:30, but now he's gone. The doctors I wrote about two days ago round at 9:30 to 9:45. I now have an extra hour to run every morning, shower, and drink coffee and commute with Sweet Baboo, who works 0.9 miles from me. I'm happier and have more energy.

7. Blind Melon Kitty died. She had a defect in her heart nobody knew about until we took her to be spayed. She died on the operating table. I miss, miss, miss her sweet, blind little mole face. I raised her from a fuzzy tennis ball that Sweet Baboo found trapped, crying in a tumbleweed, near death. She followed me everywhere, except when she was in heat. When in heat, she would follow Sweet Baboo everywhere, roll around in her come-hither way and chew on his ankles. I miss her every day.

6. I discovered, while collecting miniatures for play therapy, that there are grownups out there that trade and collect MCDONALD HAPPY MEAL TOYS. Seriously. They keep them in the wrappers so they don't "lose their value."

5. There were a couple of miniatures that I just never was able to get for less than $50. One of them was a Navajo hogan. So, while Sweet Baboo was off learning how to be all psychological army guy, I made one from toothpicks, wood glue, and wood putty.

I did lots of stuff while Himself was gone to keep from being bored.

4. I also rehabbed a chest of drawers to hold toys for my office:

..
Before
......
After

3. Himself is going for training again in September. I plan to make this:

2. Himself and I, before all his training, did a marathon double in March, picking up Missouri and Arkansas. In May we did one in Indiana. I now have done marathons in 29 states. We are trying to finish 50 before Himself turns 51.

1. Coming up! Ironman Boulder (god help me) Pensacola and Soldier marathon double, Hartford and Newport marathon double, and the Pilgrim pacer marathon, and Tucson. At the end of the year. I should have 34 states completed.

...

 

 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

More on that later.

Dear Diary,

This week I decided I wasn't hydrating enough. As in, I go all day barely drinking anything. To get me back into the habit of drinking regularly, I've started drinking diet soda and flavored water to make me more likely to drink.

Cheaper than coffee.

But do you think the doctors where I work appreciate that? Noooooo. Yesterday, I walked into rounds and plopped this into the middle of the table:

 

 

 

Shrieking and hysterics ensued.

What is THAT? What's in there? What are you drinking?

Before I continue with my story it behooves me to introduce new characters: Dr. Zen and Dr. Drama.

Both are MDs, hence the unsolicited advice on my 64-ounce morning repast. Both are board certified specialists, which is why they work with me on the children's psychiatric unit.

Dr. Zen has been a child psychiatrist for decades, He's often pretty mellow, though he is not without some occasional flights of fancy. He does a lot of thinking, often for so long that he needs reminding, "we'll know what you're thinking when it's in the chart. Please put it in the chart." He haaaaates technology and is quite put out and offended by its intrusion into his life. I can't communicate with him by any other means than telephone. But when he does write his reports they are quite an entertaining read. They are a lengthy narrative containing every detail one could need on the life of a child in our unit. He teaches all the kids breathing and meditation, and spends hours with families in person or on the phone. He is much more interested in getting kids services and therapy than most. He looks a little like John Denver.

Dr. Drama really, really wants to be mellow, but he's prone to exageration and some catastrophising. He gets a bit dramatic at times, e.g., "can you call [dr. X] in [town]? I can't speak to him! He makes my ears bleed!" This said with much emphasis and some flailing, and then perhaps anecdotes. Note: Dr. Drama hates, for the record, the nickname Dr. Drama, so shhhhhh. His reports are tight, structured, clear, rarely contain adverbs but use words and phrases that frankly, I think are overly complicated. "... hit his head on the wall, causing epitaxis." (Nosebleed). Or, "several self-inflicted cuts on her left lateral iliac crest" (hip). Dr. Drama likes technology. It's not unusual to get a text from him: pls find play thrpst for 12 y.o. Fem. that takes BCBS. (Please find me a play therapist for a 12 year old girl that takes Blue Cross insurance) perhaps at 7 on a Saturday night, for his clinic patients, which is not part of my duties. And then i do, and he buys me chocolate. It's a system that's working well.

ANYway, I figured that for the morning I'd better come clean and get all the recriminations out of the way. Like ripping off a bandaid.

"What I have here, gentlemen, is Diet Mountain Dew, and a little fruit punch. I'm trying to hydrate more. And some ice," I added.

The furor that followed surprised even me. I sipped my half gallon of caffeinated goodness calmly, while they freaked out.

Apparently, not fans of diet soda. They told me I'm killing myself slowly with my 64 ounces of poison in a cup. It might as well be antifreeze. I'm messing with neuroreceptors in my brain! Why can't I just drink water? With a little LEMON? Oh, THE HUMANITY! MOUNTAIN DEW IS PEOPLE!! PEEEEOPPLLLLLLLL!!!

 

The lecture and arguing over my choice of breakfast beverages lasted about twenty minutes, and then it was over. I promise to try drinking some plain water, can we get on to talking about patients please?

For the record, I am the lead social worker and therapist for a 12-bed inpatient children's unit (soon to be 16 beds, More on that later.) at a local hospital. I've spent much of the past 3-4 months months while Sweet Baboo has been at various army trainings (More on that later.) reading and studying and attending workshops honing skills in the area of CBT play therapy. I use sandtray for now, mainly.

Behold my collection:

And yes, it is fun collectiong them. I frequently find myself reluctant to let anyone, much less a child, play with a new miniature I've bought. But then. I get over myself.

Last Sunday, I did an Olympic tri, the first triathlon I've done in several years. Ugh. It was fun. Sorta. But kinda hard. I have serious reservations about the upcoming. Ironman Boulder. More on that later.

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Stuff Doctors Know

Dear Diary, 

This month I learned stuff from doctors.  Good stuff.  Stuff I didn't know, and was surprised to learn.  That doesn't happen very often.

1  Thyroid stuff

During my annual physical my doc told me my TSH count was too high.  This is always the case.  TSH is a hormone that your brain creates to tell your thyroid, Hey.  You . Go make some thyroid hormone.  Then the thyroid makes its hormone, and the TSH drops down to norma



l.  If it's high, that means your thyroid isn't working, so your brain is constantly nagging it, go make some thyroid.  Okay, I'll say it again: go make some thyroid hormone.  Go do it now.  Hey.  I'm talking to you. TSH rises.

That's why if TSH is high, it means your thyroid is low.  I already knew this.  I was diagnosed a few years ago with Hashimoto's disease, and I take thyroid hormone supplements, which get raised about twice every year because whenever they test it, my TSH is too high.

What I didn't know was that hashimotos disease, being an auto-immune disease, has flare-ups.  These flare-ups mean that thyroid will suddenly create thyroid hormone.  When the flare-up is over, more of the thyroid is destroyed, but during the flares, I have more thyroid hormone than I'm supposed to have.  Too much thyroid hormone over the short term can result in irritability or anxiety, sleeplessness, rapid heart beat, sensitivity to heat, sweating, tremor, fatigue or muscle weakness, or increased bowel movements.

I. Did. Not. Know. That.

Throughout most of my life I've been a pretty optimistic person, a little nervous from time to time due to trauma in my past, but overall, pretty happy.  Then, about the same time as my thyroid started failing, I became depressed, fatigued, couldn't get enough sleep.  At the same time, I would have spans of time where I was irritable, had trouble sleeping, etc., etc., etc.  I just chalked it up to the obvious fact that I was, indeed, going insane.

So that's thing number 1. ===============================

Thing 2: Dieting stuff.

Thing number 2 had to do with Dr. Drama, who I wrote about before and who has redeemed himself since then by being extremely helpful and nice (though I still think I could arm wrestle him).  I was mentioning during rounds that I often had trouble remembering to track my food, and he said, before you eat anything, take a picture of it with your camera phone.

Apparently this advice is already out there but I hadn't seen it.  My first thought was, BRILLIANT! So, I'm still sucky at tracking my food, but I have lots of odd pictures on my phone now.

And so this is a sampling from last week:

 

 

 




This week's sampling should be better.  Himself the Baboo is out of town doing soldier stuff for 3 weeks, and when I'm alone, I eat fish and greens, which he hates.  So we'll see how I eat for 3 weeks.

...