Archive | June, 2012

Unit of Life

30 Jun

Why are there so many organelles?!

You would think I would have memorized their structure and function at some point.  I have taken:  Multiple semesters of high school science, basic biology (twice b/c of transfer credits not being honored), biochemistry, animal physiology, genetics of plants and animals, neurology, and even cell biology (twice, again due to transfer credit issues).  As a side-note:  You can see how non-transferable credits are bogus and costly.

Though they look familiar and the information comes more readily, I could not, from memory, draw a cell with all of its organelles and label what each one is responsible for.  Here I am (again) trying to review and memorize the material before we fly through it in the introductory anatomy phases.

I intended on making myself an index card with a picture on one side and the functions on the other–but it takes an entire notebook page.  Well, 3/4 if I write all tiny.

Maybe this time I’ll finally get in into my brain permanently.

Cord Confusion

29 Jun

Obviously when I run I need music.  And I have the most awesome ipod ever-“Sunny-Pod.”  It’s a 8 or 16 GB capacity, thin, gold ipod with a (free) engraving that says, “To see sunshine, you must weather the storm.”  LOVE.  Also, it has a pedometer, and a stopwatch that will capture my splits.  My ear buds that go with it are noise canceling–and work perfectly too.  Even riding Seattle’s bus system, I could only hear my relatively quiet music, not the chatter, engine, and city noises.  The music set-up:  So Awesome.

The only thing that is not awesome is the cord.  I stick the cord under my tank/tee and either tuck Sunny-Pod into my waistband or a pocket if I have one.  More ecently, I have preferred holding SunnyPod in my hand to keep an eye on my time, to change the song if it’s not optimal, and to adjust the volume as necessary.

BUT if SunnyPod is tucked away the cord gets caught in my arm swing, and the cord slips down my shirt so the buds start to pull out of my ears, so I’m wasting time by constantly tugging the cord up out of my shirt.   And when I’m holding SunnyPod in my hand to get my time, capture splits, change the song, and control volume–all things I want to do–the cord feels too short.

My shirt makes the cord go lower and my natural arm swing is just a bit too much of a stretch–it pulls the buds out of my ears.  I feel like a shorter shirt might help me run with SunnyPod in my hand without unnaturally shortening my arm swing to accomodate.  And I know you’re thinking maybe I should just run in my sports bra–but I would be mortified.  It would make me feel too exposed and too much like a sorostitute.

Facebook friends suggested pinning or taping the cord.  But one–it seems a lot of work every time I run, and two it sounds uncomfortable.  Sweating, pulling, taking it off–sound like 3 problems with that method.  A blue tooth cordless option would be ideal, but it’s expensive, and I think I’d have to give up my noise-cancelling ear buds.  Maybe for the longer term.

Once I had an arm band, but many things are wrong with that:  A)  You can’t constantly see the stopwatch or capture splits without breaking stride.  B)  If volume in songs is drastically different it takes some doing to adjust it.  And have you ever had a really quiet song followed by a SUPER loud one?  Torture.  Hearing aids are not very sexy when you’re 30.  C)  The resulting tan line is ugly and unsymmetrical.  D)  The arm band gets all sweaty and yucky.  I never did figure out how to really get mine clean without compromising the closure on it.  E)  Worst of all-the arm band eventually stretches.  The first one I had started on my wrist, stretched to bicep size, went to my ankle, and when it stretched to the size of my theigh I ditched it–I don’t need a belt!

And I am NOT willing to run sans music. What’s a girl to do?  Any ideas out there?  Do I just need the patents to catch up with my problems?  It shouldn’t be so difficult to come up with a feasible solution. . .

Rabies–from organ donations

28 Jun

As if people who need an organ in the first place didn’t already have enough problems, right?

I wouldn’t worry for myself since 1) I do not need an organ (yet) and 2) I’m vaccinated for rabies.  True story.  Thanks, Saint George Veterinary School–this is probably the only good thing to come out of that terrible situation.

Getting vaccinated was a requirment for me to even get on the island, but it wasn’t easy.  Mizzou vet school gives all their vet students the vaccine as part of their tuition.  Since I wasn’t admitted to THEIR program, they didn’t want to share.  I think there was a rabies vaccine shortage in 2008-2009 when I was trying to get it.  So I had to jump through a lot of hoops.  The vaccine itself requires 2 boosters a certain amount of weeks apart (2 weeks each?).  So getting all of it to work out with my woerk schedule also took some doing.  The worst part was EACH shot (x3) was $250.  Out of MY pocket.  The school required it, but did not pay for it, or even offer it.

So long story short, I’m vaccinated against rabies.

Straight from the CDC:

The organ donor was an Arkansas man who visited two Texas hospitals with severe mental status changes and a low-grade fever, according to the MMWR. Neurologic imaging revealed brain hemorrhaging that later caused the man’s death. He was screened according to local organ donation regulations and passed. Rabies testing is not a part of routine organ donation screening.

The donor’s lungs were transplanted into a person at an Alabama hospital who died of complications during the operation. The donor’s liver and kidneys were transplanted into three recipients at Baylor University Medical Center on May 4. Between 21 and 27 days after the transplant, all three recipients developed neurologic symptoms, and later died.

Physicians from Baylor said that it is not uncommon for transplant recipients to experience neurologic symptoms as a result of blood flow problems, medication, or infection. But because the exact causes of death for the three recipients were not identified, specimens were sent to the CDC for diagnostic testing.

Testing by the CDC confirmed the rabies diagnoses, and found a strain of rabies common in bats that live in the area where the donor lived.

After receiving those results, officials at Baylor initiated an investigation to determine whether any other patients had received organs or tissues from the rabies infected donor, said Dr. William Sutker, the chief of infectious disease, during a press conference. Through that investigation, Baylor officials discovered that the fourth patient received a liver from another donor and part of an artery from the rabies-infected donor around the same time as the other three patients. Dr. Sutker said the patient died around the same time as the other patients.

Transmission of the rabies virus during an animal organ transplant is far less likely, Dr. Rupprecht said, because the organs come from a controlled population.

“It’s the one situation where the control measures in veterinary medicine may be tighter than those in human medicine,” he said.

Though it would be impossible to screen human organ donors for all possible diseases, officials from the CDC say the benefits of organ transplantation far outweigh the potential risks. Daniel Hayes, an organ transplant expert at the United Network for Organ Sharing, explained during a CDC teleconference that, though there are an estimated 40,000 cornea transplants in the United States each year, only one case of rabies transmission has been reported. Last year, there were more than 25,000 organ transplants and no reported cases of rabies transmission, he said.

“So, I don’t think that such a rare event should trigger any kind of widespread panic or reaction to do testing for a disease that is so infrequent,” Dr. Hayes said.

On average, there are one to three human cases of rabies in the United States each year, Dr. Rupprecht said. He attributes the low number of cases to the work of veterinarians, public health professionals, and professionals in emergency rooms, and to the biologics available.

And in an effort not to write lazy posts, more links so you don’t have to do any extra typing:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5326a6.htm

http://articles.cnn.com/2004-07-01/health/rabies.organ.transplant_1_organ-donor-rabies-spread-rabies-tests?_s=PM:HEALTH

Whoa.  Thanks to my boss for sharing this news with me.

The elusive (for me) 8 min mile

27 Jun

You already heard about those strange cramps in lower belly that occur when I run.  What I neglected to say was–I have stopped being lazy (momentarily) and started running consistently!  Yay me.  I started doing it because it helped Cool’s depression to exercise.  And there is no chance Cool was going to exercise if I didn’t.  So we went.  And it was is so difficult to ignore the crummy weather, get dressed, and get to the track.

But we dragged ourselves.  Once I began running, I soon had a goal (more in a second on this).  And once I had a goal–there was no stopping me.  Though it is still SO hard to get my britches out there–especially during Washington’s June-uary clouds/wind/rain.  Side-note:  Why is Spokompton the coldest place in the ENTIRE country, 2nd coldest on the continent (after Canada’s Calgary), and cooler then Siberia?????!!!!!  I feel it’s a personal affront, and it better be warm for my birthday in 11 days.  But now I’m WANTING to do the running part, and I’m actually mad if the weather interferes.

As a bonus, running makes me feel good.  It gives me good endorphin immediately afterward, makes my body feel better, and gives me a clear and (more) positive mind long-term.

It just might be the running that allows me to feel OK about my new summer work schedule.  I’ve actually been pretty upbeat about the whole thing–I think thanks to the exercise.  I always have felt better when I exercise–it’s just hard to find/make time to do so.  Especially when I’m tired and stressed.  Which is, ironically, when I need it MOST.

And my body is getting toned.  And I’m so excited I’ve been losing some weight as a result–which I will tell you about, blog posse’.  Though I’m really stoked about it, that’s the sort of thing that NO one wants to hear about.  And since I’m already petite, they might even give me a rough time about it.  I had love handles, a belly, thighs–I may have been thin, but everyone has their trouble areas.  I see nothing wrong with losing some fat–and you KNOW I still eat.  Actually, running lets me eat about 2,000 Calories a day, and still lose weight.  14 pounds since November!!!  Though I fear the majority is in my chest area, as somehow I lost 2 or 2.5 inches in my bust (we measure for Cool–she gained 35 pounds over the winter).  I have not weighed in the low hundreds I think since before my Sophomore year of high school–and maybe even before that–I can’t quite remember.  So it’s a nice side effect of trying to reach my running goals.

Back to that:  I’m going for a mile in 8 minutes.  It feels FAST.  It is so, so, so hard for me too!  I feel like I don’t have great running form.  I know my 400 meters are not nearly fast enough on their own, let alone several of them in a row.  And the major obstacle = my mental perspective.  Mental strngth seems to evade me.  This may be true in life too.  And it certainly pays to think positively and have strong mental configuration during a run–and when faced with challenges in life.  During that mile, it is all about your mind the whole time, but on lap 3, and when you’re supposed to kick it up a notch on that last lap and especially at that last 200 meters.

At any rate, that’s my scene lately:  Sleep, go to work, study some anatomy, run.  Hence my fairly boring posting as of late.  Anyone with any running/mental hints–I’d appreciate them!

Money or Happiness?

26 Jun

It seems as if you don’t get both.  And right now it seems to me like having money would BRING happiness.  It would sure be nice to be able to buy things on a whim, eat what I want, get a gym membership, pay for school and textbooks, stop working. . .  I’m seriously jealous of the people that are able to live like that.

That will never be my life.

I know that I will never have an overabundance of money.  I will always have to watch my finances and worry about some unforeseen expense ruining me.  I’ll never have a house, and I’ll never travel Europe.  My Triple A membership magazine gave discounted pricing for a cruise to Italy ($7K+) which I had never before even fathomed.  Not that I really want to do either (except maybe the cruise to Italy, because the bathroom situation would be OK)–but I couldn’t afford it if I did want to.  Which I don’t know if it’s easier to know these things now so I don’t have all this false hope that it could happen for me one day.  Or if it’s just disappointing knowing that will never be something I can have/do.

It’s hard to see that far ahead.  I WISH that I could have enough money that at least I could be comfortable and not worry all the time.  Not super-rich, or even rich, but at least have enough that it wouldn’t be a serious pain in the ass to do something simple–like laundry.  This coin-op, out of my house stuff, like seriously sucks.  One day, I just want to be able to be in my cool loft, see an occasional concert, and eat really yummy food always.  And maybe go to Australia.  And that cruise to Italy–because who doesn’t want to eat some serious carbs and drink awesome wine?!

I want both, really.  I want stability, ability to pay the bills, but a healthy psyche as well.  Right now, I feel like I don’t have either.  I WISH I could be confident I could get another job where I wasn’t miserable/stressed/resentful.  If such a job even exists.  But I’m afraid.  Fearful I won’t find anything.  Or that I’ll get into a worse situation.

For now I just have to wait.  More.  And I’m just terrible at that!

The Mystery Cramp

25 Jun

Lately, I have been attempting to run an 8 minute mile–something I have never achieved (at least that I remember) in all my years of participating in track & field, PE class, and an assortment of 5 and 8 K run/walks.  I was a sprinter, then pole vaulter back then.  As such, I have been pushing myself as never before.  See, I ran a lot, and felt like I was going as fast as I could, but when I passed the end point I would recover almost immediately.  Which is a sign that I could have gone faster/farther.  So I never (OK, rarely) mindfully slacked off, but I also didn’t push myself until it hurt either.

Running is pain.  Without it, you’re just jogging.  And without the pain, you won’t get better at it.  Running is SUPPOSED to make you out of breath until your lungs scream, your core muscles burn, and your legs super-tired.  You’re not really pushing yourself if you feel 100% fine and normal after a run and the next day.

This is not to say I’m going out and pushing too hard or too fast to the point of injury.  I’m no dummy–and have the opposite problem as most people do.  I need to increase my mental endurance, because it’s the mental battle that is the most difficult thing to overcome when running.  More on that in a later post.

This post is about a weird cramp I get toward the end of my first mile or maybe after I’m finished running and am walking my cool down laps.  And before I get into detail I should mention I don’t think I have any female-type reproductive anomalies, because I JUST donated my eggs as late as 2009 and those people go over you with a fine tooth comb.  In addition, this is mere curiosity I have absolutely NO intention of seeing a doctor about this.

The description:  Sudden onset of pain in the center of my lower abdomen.  Very reminiscent of menstrual cramps–but at the wrong time in my cycle.  The pain is crippling, making my respiration increase, sweat increase, and surrounding muscles go tense–a typical response to any pain, I think.  This pain will come and go in waves, also like period cramps.  It feels sort of like a side ache, but not in the side, and sharper.  Raising my arms does not help.  Nor does any attempt to control my breaths.  It doesn’t feel like any sort of GI upset (and [TMI alert] I’ve felt like vomiting AND having diarrhea during runs before) that is common with 40-50% of marathoners.

It is not the type of pain that would prompt me to take an Ibuprofen–which I would (and do) if I even have a HINT of a headache or shinsplints or any type of menstrual cramp.  But this pain does not feel like it will stay in the same way you know a side-ache will go away soon.  The only thing that gives any sort of relief to this weird cramp is pressing on it with my fingers (very little relief) or sitting down.  Then, the pain disappears as suddenly as it came on.  I sometimes even run another mile as if nothing happened.

I looked online and saw that a lot of women have experienced this mystery pain.  I didn’t see a post by a dude, but I didn’t search every corner of the WWW either.  No diagnosis and therefore no definitive solution were ever presented.  Theories of dehydration, some sort of fiber/nutritional thing, and lack of adequate warm-up were on discussion boards. 

So I’m not sure what it is or what to do.  I’m pretty sure I’m having it every time I run because this is the first time I’m pushing myself.  And I’m still going to continue running with or without the freakish cramp.  Maybe someone out there can provide answers. . .

Pintrest a.k.a The Devil

24 Jun

The mother of time-suckers.

I knew better then to sign up.  But I have, and now it’s ALL over.  This sort of categorization is right up my OCD alley.  Once I begin, I can’t stop searching for new pins and organizing them onto the appropriate boards.  But they look so good!

Besides the time-warp aspect, I am finding really awesome ideas and plans for the loft I want in the future.  And I’m not quite sure it if makes me excited about my future, or just makes things look bleak b/c probability of these pins becoming reality seems small right now.  I guess I’ll take the former for mental health reasons.  Also, I’m pinning/dreaming for some sort of reception or house-warming party.  And a procuring a lot of quotes–which I have always loved.

I have intentionally avoided:  Food, DYI, crafts, art, and animals because I know that is a Pandora’s box.  I would never leave that vortex once I entered. . .

But looking at all those quotes and seeing all those buff bods made me go run 3 miles (more on this in a coming post) yesterday afternoon.  Normally unheard of on a Saturday when I’m very tired from work–so I guess it’s not ALL bad.  Except, by focusing on the Pintrest silliness, which is just shopping without spending, money–it is taking time away from more important activities.  Reading and outlining anatomy, studing anatomy vocab flashcards, reviewing the organelles, writing my anatomy paper on ALS, practicing dysphagia recipes, writing blogs, reading for enjoyment (while I still can), running or at least doing the Wii, cleaning–pretty much EVERYthing else.

Maybe I will set a time-limit for myself to keep time-wasting to a minimum.  Yes, that’s what I will do!  Tomorrow 😛

Who Holds the Cards?

23 Jun

In a job–it’s mostly the employer.  Why do you think so many people aspire to be their own boss?  Sure, I could get a job almost anywhere my resume’ (and luck) allowed, but the rules AT the job–completely out of my control.  Employees are completely dependent on the whims of management.  It’s not as if I think work should be a democracy–that’s not it at all.  I think being wholly dependent is a bad place to be in.  I have never liked being up against a wall.

I was upset when my boss yanked away my insurance and changed the number of hours required to be a full-time employee (just for me?) seemingly instantaneously.  And it wasn’t really losing the health insurance–though lack of notice was crappy.  I never really used it anyway:  My wisdom teeth were paid for using Care Credit.  And the one medical thing I use–dentistry–not covered.  At all.  More on THIS in a later post.  So losing something I never used (or wanted) in the first place didn’t matter all that much.  Though maybe I should bite the bullet and hurry to get a new pair of frames since the last time I got glasses was in 2008.  Luckily, I was smart enough to get a huge supply of contacts while living in the (cheaper) Midwest, so I still have plenty of those. . .

Back to the injustice:  It wasn’t really the amount of hours to be considered full-time I had a big problem with. . .  Though I can tell you I will be unhappy if EVERY employee does not have to adhere to the new rules.  If someone doesn’t work the NEW amount of full-time hours, yet still gets any of the perks (vacation) of full-time it will make me irate.  It shouldn’t always just be me getting the short end of every stick around there.

What made me upset was more the realization that the Employee Manual was just an empty symbol.  This new decision, reached on short notice, rendered every piece of information IN the manual meaningless.  This deviation showed my employer would jerk us around at will.  Don’t get me wrong I knew she could, but I thought the Employee Manual offered some guidance/expectation/and security for both sides.  Because somehow employer/employee relationships seem like a war–or at least strategic game.  We are made enemies by forming the management/subordinate relationship at all.

But I spoke my mind.  Though confrontation makes me uncomfortable.  And when I get heated, tears come annoyingly to my eyes making me look like an unstable, overwrought ball-sack (thanks mom) and I HATE that, because it always happens when I feel strongly about something and want to convey it in a clear way.  Which that last run-on sentence was not.  Clear, I mean.  So I got (annoyingly) teary, but held my ground.

And surprisingly my boss not only listened to my concerns, AND reconsidered the timing of the changes, BUT also said she supported me and would listen (and has in the past) to my reasonable concerns.  She went so far as to tell me I wouldn’t get fired.  Which was surprising to me.  And I suspect untrue as EVERYone has their limit of what they are willing to handle (I know I do).  It isn’t like I think my boss would purposely go out of her way to screw me over–but I know she might do it unintentially.  Or because I’m last on her employee-priority list.  If it came to me and someone else–I know she’d chose everyone else’s will over mine–mostly because this has happened before *cough-summer schedule*

So that’s the newest story.  Which makes me all the more excited to accumulate all the education I can, so I can climb higher in employment, make more money, and move out of here.

And though there was no good place in this post to state a disclaimer–>I meant to tell you, my readers, that starting soon, I will post every other day, instead of the every day (save for last Thursday, which I thought I had posted on).  I need to start getting in a school mindset and study anatomy more than I blog.

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Recycling

22 Jun

I’m dubious about how much recycling actually helps the environment. I suspect the process is more about getting people to THINK about the environment, help individuals realize what impact one person can have if they only try to do a little something (or when they don’t), and the alleviation of guilt through an attempt to take responsibility.

I don’t have any statistics about recycling (yet) so I can’t really SAY how much impact it may or may not have in the long run. I can tell you I purchased “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by the controversial Bejorn (or however it’s spelled) Lomborg and am most excited to read it. I’ll have to make that a priority before school commences in the fall.

What I DO know about recycling is that it’s a pain. Sorting it takes a lot of space in my small apartment and in the complex’s tiny trash area. Paying to take it to get recycled as you have to in Northern NV would also be a no-go.  Just ask all the people that don’t even pay to take their TRASH to the dump, instead dumping it in the desert.  When you look at problems like that (and pollution from cars and industry, water getting dirtied, chemical-resistant farming, and 3rd world country completely unethical and unregulated agriculture/industry–well, washing your recyclables seems like a minute, nit-picky first-world crises. Especially, when I’m fairly certain it’s all autoclaved and melted down anyway.

In Seattle, throwing things in the trash is criminal.  Some do-gooder will yell at you if you even think about trying it.  It was actually Seattle’s severe, libertine mentality about recycling that turned me against the practice. For one of my chores throughout my childhood was crunching cans. And though I didn’t really drink soda myself, my parents gave me plenty of cans to keep busy. Also, one of my platforms (OK– my main and only platform) when I ran for student body president of my intermediate school was starting a recycling program–which I successfully implemented and they still use today thank-you-very-much. But the levels–and morals–attached to recycling is ridiculous to me.

I have heard many, many times:

1}  Did you throuw THAT away?! With implication that I’m a shit head because that is recyclable.

2}  I have also heard–“That goes in the other bin.”  Who the eff can tell what bin or what plastic code goes where?  I mean, really, if you want the world to recycle–make it easy.  Or at least make it make SENSE. Make it too difficult and I’m just going to throw it in the trash–no question then.

3} Thirdly, I have heard grumbles about–At LEAST rinse that out!”  As mentioned above, eff you, on that.  It’s not happening.

4}  “You need to SORT your recyclables!”  No cardboard in the cans.  No lids on the glass.  No tape on the brokendown boxes.  Puh-leeze.  Again–make it too hard, and I’m just going to throw the whole damn (dirty) thing, intact, and in the garbage can.

Hate me if you will.  But I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Just One False Move

20 Jun

And it would be all over for me. I am just one step away from financial/romantic/career/*insert huge trouble here* ruin. I think a lot of adults forget when they were young and everything was tenuous. Security and control is not for the young–unless you have some sort of trust fund I would guess. You have to be established to garner such prizes as peace of mind in life. My boss informed me that my health insurance would be revoked when my new (now part-time) schedule commences in the fall. At the subsequent serious talk (which I will get into on another post) she recommended I get health insurance elsewhere. To her, life without health insurance is unfathomable. And I suppose someone who married a doctor and has a little wealth would never consider leaving herself open to disaster like that.

What she doesn’t understand is I have to choose my protection and securities wisely. Any number of incidents and I would be royally screwed. So sure, if I had some sort of heart attack running on the track I’d lose my good credit to outstanding medical bills. And if all the bones in my hand were crushed and I couldn’t work–it might mean long term trouble for me.

But also, if my apartment burned down because of a stupid neighbor, if my car broke down, or if Cool left on short notice–it would mess everything up. Any number of unexpected things would have a huge impact on my precarious life position.

So I’m happy betting on a tragedy close to home. I put my money on renter’s insurance because everything of value is in my apartment and my neighbors are really stupid. . . Hopefully my health holds out until I get a big-girl job and some real $$$$ so I don’t HAVE to gamble on security.

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