a world of ow

So I bet you will be SHOCKED to hear this, but health problems don’t just disappear if you ignore them! I KNOW, right? It’s been like a year since I had The Pain (you may remember The Pain as having been diagnosed as ovarian cysts, and then re-diagnosed as you’re really annoying and should just go on Prozac to be more malleable, and then re-diagnosed as an ulcer, and then un-diagnosed as an ulcer because my innards look great, isn’t that good news? And then I ran out of health insurance and also it didn’t hurt for a while so I decided it was fine). WELL, The Pain, it is back. With a vengeance. I thought I was dying yesterday, and that’s not hyperbole. I actually thought something important had ruptured internally and that I would die of it, which would have been a relief because OH MY GOD THE PAIN.

It only lasted about two hours. Only. Then The Pain turned into just regular old non-capitalized pain, which is where I am right now. Hurts to move, hurts to stand up, hurts to cough, but if I’m very still it’s kind of OK. I’d complain somewhat more vociferously about how my entire abdomen feels like someone beat it up, but since I’m not writhing on the bed in acute agony I figure I ought to be pretty grateful.

Pain is stupid. Why couldn’t I be one of those creepy people who you can poke with knives and they don’t even notice?

So, to recap: in the last month I’ve had a nasty cold, two migraines, a two-hour Pain extravaganza and also my left wrist hurts like whoa for no discernible reason other than HA HA your wrist hurts.

YOU WIN, November.

UPDATE: I went to the doctor, who sent me off to have a CAT scan. So, see, I’m not TOTALLY dropping the ball here.

UPDATE #2: The CAT scan said (CAT scans talk, you know) that I do NOT have appendicitis, and also that I DO have ovarian cysts, and also that the ovarian cysts did not cause The Pain, because of reasons. HOWEVER, new Kaiser Doc is an internist & will be doing ACTUAL TESTS to figure out what IS causing The Pain. So yay. Ish.

in like a lion

March, man. March is brutal. For one thing: the weather. Last year at this time it was temperate and beautiful. Sandals were worn. Skirts.

This year? Rain and more rain, with high temperatures barely cracking 50 degrees.

So maybe I can blame the weather for the fact that I am totally lagging on my second Health Month.
health month march stats

Don’t let the points fool you: I’ve healed myself twice (and Not So was kind enough to heal me once as well) so technically I should be barely scraping by at around 5 points.

Surprisingly, it’s the little things that are catching me out – flossing, for example. Some nights it’s just too much, you know? Cooking dinner four nights a week – well, some weeks we’re doing a lot more takeout than others, is all I’m saying. (It’s a good thing I don’t have a ‘clean the house’ rule, too. Seriously.)

I’m not as motivated this month as I was last month and it shows. Shockingly, being sick for three weeks (and then having a sick kid) kind of takes it out of you! Not to mention the fact that we’re doing a huge lifestyle restructure, which is good – very good – but not unstressful.

There are a few things lurking on the plus side, though. Sugar, for example. Sticking to the three-days-a-week rule this month? A breeze.

And since I’ve been forcing myself to floss (almost) every night, my gums have been a lot happier. It’s like every dentist I’ve ever had knew what they were talking about! Crazy.

Maybe the trick is to not load up on rules. Incremental changes are the way to go. I’ll keep that in mind for next month, when I – oh, who am I kidding? I’m going to do what I always do: vastly over-estimate the amount of time and motivation I possess and then feel horrid when I don’t accomplish everything on my list.

Join me next month! It’ll be like a slow-mo train wreck. You know you want to.

obamacare can’t come soon enough

A couple of weeks ago the kid was sick. Not sick like sniffles and cough, or even sick like yarfing all over our bed (which, WTF, kid? Mama’s lap is the only place suitable for vomit?) – he was sick with a fever, and fevers mean trouble.

I mean, right? Beth in Little Women dies of a fever. (Was I supposed to spoiler tag that? SORRY, EVERYONE WHO HAS NOT READ LITTLE WOMEN BUT WHO ALSO READS MY BLOG. Beth dies, and also Amy is a bitch.) The Velveteen Rabbit gets set on fire, because of a fever.* Helen Keller. BLIND AND DEAF. Why? FEVER.

So as you can imagine, I was a little bit, shall we say, concerned. About the fever.

But here’s the other thing: we don’t have health insurance. We haven’t had health insurance since the Poorpocalypse of ’10, when all of the money in the world spontaneously decided to opt out of being part of our income. So instead of fretting to an advice nurse, I fretted about on the internet (which, I hasten to point out, sort of universally said that unless his fever went over 106 for any length of time it was probably ok) and felt like the World’s Worst Parent while fever-kid lay on top of me and was feverish and also I couldn’t work. True story.

And of course if his fever had gone over 106 or if it hadn’t gotten better after five days we would have brought him into urgent care immediately, or possibly faster than that. The money part of it wasn’t the issue – the accessibility part of it was. If we’d been card-carrying insured people, I probably would have brought him to the doctor, just because I could – and the doctor would have checked him out and given him some Tylenol and told us to get some Pedialite and bring him back if he got worse. Which is what we were doing already.

It would have made me feel better, being told that we were taking the best care of him that we could by an actual M.D. instead of Dr. Google.

But we pushed fluids and encouraged naps and snuggled with him nonstop and the fever broke on its own, finally, and the kid perked right up and was running around like a crazy person again. So looking back, we did just fine.

But it still bothers me. I dislike the feeling that I was making a choice – the choice to wait it out and see if he got better – based on the fact that we didn’t have insurance rather than any deep-seated belief that the kid was going to be fine.

And he is fine. But UGH.

*It is possible that my memory of childhood classics is a bit hazy.

Recap: February Health Month

Sooo-o, I managed to make it through February. Barely. Let’s take a look back, shall we?
February Health Month

I managed to follow my paltry two rules meticulously until the last three days of the last week. Screw it, I thought. I’m stressed and cranky and having a breakdown or whatever.* I can do better next month. So I had dessert. Two days worth of dessert.

But a weird thing happened: after two days of sugar, I didn’t want any more.

Which is so not a thing I ever thought I’d say.

Anyway, the stats:

Health Month Progress Graph

You see that dip there at the end? That was me, stuffing my face with ice cream sandwiches and my first Snickers bar in a month. (And the climb on the very last day was me nursing a wicked sugar hangover.)

But! Despite falling off the wagon for the last couple of days, I still got my badge:
Health Month Badge

Isn’t it pretty and shiny?

I’m playing again this month; you can follow along here. Sign up for next month while you’re there! You can even be on my team. Maybe.


Changing habits, one badge at a time

The entire concept behind Health Month is pretty excellent: make changes to your patterns and habits by making it into a game. You get to set rules and then win points every day for following them. You earn fruit, and if your Life Points get too low, you can replenish them (or someone else’s) by using your fruit. And then at the end of the month, if you’ve followed all your rules, you get a FourSquare badge.

I probably don’t have to tell you how intensely I covet the FourSquare badge.

Health Month was created by Buster Benson, the same guy behind the fantastic 750 Words, a site that encourages daily writing by creating challenges and giving badges as rewards. Health Month is a similar setup, only with lots more options. You can totally customize your goals – anything from “Sleep More” to “Exercise Daily” to “Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup.” There’s even a wheel you can spin to add to the random aspect: sometimes you get extra points, but occasionally you lose points. It’s all part of the fun!

Since I’m just starting out, this month’s rules are pretty basic: take a multivitamin every day (easy) and only allow myself added sugar 3 days per week (…not so easy). The idea is to make incremental changes rather than major lifestyle overhauls.

And, two weeks in, it seems to be working. Despite the fact that I crave cake like no one’s business, I am kicking ass at Health Month.

my Health Month wall

That said, next month I plan to really bump it up. It should be pretty fun to watch, so if you have any interest in making any changes to your habits or diet or whatever, you should sign up for next month too! Make sure you add me as a friend so we can keep track of each other’s progress, or throw fruit at each other, or whatever.