Archive | January, 2014

As Promised!

31 Jan

I’m all here, and my heart-is in it.  Here is my January goal-progress and my focus for February.

rainbow cloud 1

Maintenance Goals (from 2013):

-floss daily.  I managed all but 1-2 days.  It’s currently on my procrastination list to call the dentist to get a cleaning.  I’ve been putting it off primarily b/c I HATE!!!  making phone calls.  Also, because I need to make sure I have the $$$$.

drink water.  I have been relatively awesome!  I take vitamins every day after I run my mile, so this gets me 2-4 glasses right off.  And I’m still trying to remember at work.  I still have to grow this to more frequent.  I’ll try to average 6 glasses instead of 3-4.

read for pleasure.  On most school nights I do this–can you believe I’m still working on the same book I started in August!!!  It’s a big one.

weekly massage.  Nope.  Between ambulance and medical and coldness and tiredness this hasn’t been a thing.  Maybe in the month of love?  Oh yuck, I can’t even joke b/c I’m so annoyed by Feb.

abstain from drinking.  Haven’t had a drop.  And mostly I don’t think about it.  I was disappointed when we found ourselves downtown at night.  I guess it’s a routine that downtown=drinking.  And Superbowl is awkward because I don’t want to put myself in a bad situation amidst a lot of drinking.  But without TV, we’re hard-pressed to see our home-state and future-state teams play.  Hopefully, the internet will pan out.

study habits.  I think I feel worse about this then I’m actually doing.  And I think that comes back to former drinking habits.  In the past, I really had to maximize every (sober) second with work, class, and study.  Now, I just suddenly got more time and I’m not used to it.  So when I have down-time during the day I feel like I should be hitting the books–but I have that time because I’m not spending any time hitting the bottle.  In Feb–just make sure to devote the time AND do it with whole heart.

VBOK, and since this is becoming long, a quick and dirty run-down of 2014 goals:

January=fitness.  I ran a mile first thing in the morning for 30 days in a row!  Vitamins/minerals were consumed daily.  I also ate many apples throughout the, and made an attempt to pair yummy meals with a fruit of veg (that needs more work).  Feb= work on some time goals on the treadmill + find ways to keep it interesting.  Work on adding MORE produce.

Feb=have gratitude; say nice things.  I worked on half.  I put 6? items in my positivity jar, and every night before bed instead of worrying, I went through a list of everything I’m thankful for.  I liked that a lot better.  Next month, I’ll try to notice even more positive, and give a couple complements.

March=straighten out sleep.  I’m not sure why my sleep is all messed up.  I was very strict about my bedtime all month.  But I’m still wakeful from midnight-2:30.  And often I wake up tired.  I need to mind the caffeine in Feb and maybe that will fix it.

April=save $$$.  I spent a (relative) lot, but remember I no longer buy alcohol and only rarely eat at restaurants which were (also relative) large past expenditures.  I DID pay off my entire credit card after carrying a balance for 9(?) years!  Happy day.  And I will never, never, ever put tuition on my credit card again.  Now, I’ll save money in payments and bank fees that I can save for CO in Feb.  I think so it feel like something, I’ll mark an envelope with something we will need and put that amount inside ie U-Haul $1100.

May=volunteer.  Cool and I are going to do Habitat for Humanity when it gets warmer, I asked my advisor about volunteer opportunities, and I signed up for a project in April.  I’ll keep looking for more during Feb.

June=Cool.  January was a mixed bag, what with the health stuff.  I did indicate a LOT how proud I was of Cool’s mentality in regards to treadmill and snowboarding.  In Feb, I will try to resume the daily complement, and try to be more affectionate.

July=my appearance.  Ugh.  I don’t feel great about this one.  I did wear jewelry a few times.  A few.  I forgot to try my contacts again.  Suddenly, my hair became straggly, but I don’t want to get a cut for fear Rusty needs a new transmission.  Makeup is not as important to me as treadmill/internet.  Feb is back to square 1:  wear jewelry at least twice a week, makeup & contacts one weekly.

Aug=Worry Less, Thank more.  I really like this one!  And since it’s so much better, I’ve tried to stick to it.  I’ve actually tried to cut worrying out all-together, which is sometimes successful.  Feb just keep practicing and re-train my brain.

Sept=make a list, grocery shop, cook ahead.  Not great.  Sunday is our shopping day, but those were Summer Begins 2013 077snowboard lesson days so things got a little messed.  Feb we need to be better–and add go through the fridge daily to save food before it parishes.  I hate throwing things away!

Oct=don’t over-pluck.  I did grow out my eyebrows.  But it just made me remember why I overpluck them in the 1st place–they are long, thick, UNshapely, and unruly.  I truly hate them.  In Feb, I’ll look into shaping them (but not over-doing it).

Nov=Increase eye contact.  I intended to do this in Jan, but it usually doesn’t pan out.  Maybe because I don’t trust most of the people I come in contact with?  Who knows?  But it’s still fully unrealized.  Feb means start from scratch.

That’s all!  There is my progress, my future, and (thankfully) that 31st resolution post of January!

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The BiPolar is Catching

30 Jan

I’m excited and happy and stress-free.  Then I’m anxious, stressed-out, and guilty.  That’s my scene as of late, and I’m surprised Cool hasn’t slipped me some of her meds.  Oh that would require her to remember to take them heself. . .  All joking aside, I think I got on some sort of [sleep-disruption–>caffeine–>sleepless] spiral.  You know how those two feed each other.  I have to get it straightened out!

Also, blogging every day during school is too tall of an order for me.  There is just not enough time in a day for all the things I want to accomplish.  I will be relieved when January is over so I can legit break-the-chain and have a few rest days.  Also, it’s been difficult to stick to goals/motivation/trasnsformative/resolution topics only.  I may have stepped a toe on the line a time or two, but I did it for the most part.

Maybe I’ll do another list for time’s sake:

*It has snowed a bunch in the last couple days.

*My 4×4 (the physical shifter) will no longer go into one of the 4×4 settings.  It will now only do the low-speed if I want 4×4 at all.

*This makes driving stressful–it’s either get pushed around by kamikazi-crazies annoyed I’m under the speed limit, or slide around/get stuck.

*I’m nervous about the potential cause–are we talking a few bucks for a shifter-fork-thingy or over a thousand snow(before labor) for a new transmission?!  I cannot be without my car!

*Cool can’t either.  I had to brave the evening commute reckless drivers and take her to work for the last 2 days.  Then pick her up at midnight.  Before getting up in the 4AMs to go to my own job/school.

*Sometimes I feel great about studying.  Sometimes I feel lazy/awful and extremely guilty.  It has been very hard for me to find the motivation to push through with what I feel is the appropriate amount of effort.

Fall finals 123*I’m not sure if I’m just nervous because everything has been school, study, work, sleep, repeat in the past and now I’ve added some fitness and recreation–or if I am in fact.  Slipping.

*I’m trying to study very hard but in short bursts, then be kind to myself afterwards.  Hopefully, things will balance.

*I went to my school’s writing center for help on my CV–and the dude didn’t know the story.  Didn’t know about CVs, had a 2 page personal resume, didn’t understand my program or what the standards for my applications might be–and wasn’t affiliated with my school or our partner school.

*I hate going to things where I feel my time would have been better spent elsewhere–this goes for 5 hours of no appointments at work too.  All I can think is–what a waste.

*Now, I don’t know where to turn for CV guidance.  The professors in my program would be most helpful as a resource, because they’ve written and read CVs, know what schools are looking for, and sort of know me–but I really don’t want to deal with their major meeting-aversion stuff.

*Are these bullet-points or mini-paragraphs?  Am I saving ANY time?

*Let’s see.  I intended on writing a 2013 countdown type post about the top albums put out last year.  But I DMB africawanted to post in New Year’s Eve–as is customary.  I’m not going to be able to finish it in January even–maybe next month?  Maybe why bother?

*We made tacos for lunch today.  I thought they were one of my ultimate favorites.  BUT for whatever reason Grocery Outlet never, never, never has taco seasoning, and it’s not worth going to another store for that item alone.  So we seasoned our own beef.  Who knew?  It’s the taco packet that makes or breaks that meal for me?  I was severely disappointed.

*I’m probably not supposed to say anything about this because of super-scary HIPPA laws, but I transcribe some utterances for my independent study.  And I’m excited I have one with an African-American English Dialect that is already humorous and I’m excited to begin on it.  Secondly, I think my tiny-tron of this morning has a BM at the end of the recording.  I had to transcribe all utterances and noises–I was mortified.

*I’ll write a for-real post tomorrow.  Hopefully something to see where I am on January/2014 goals and set up a plan for February’s focus.

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How to Keep Utilities Down

29 Jan

Use less KWH, obs.

Here’s some things we do to limit our consumption and avoid turning our whole paycheck into our monopoly-utility company:

Turn things off/use less

-when you’re not in a room, when 1 will do, or if there’s sun–>shut off the lights!

-shut off your computer/TV.

-unplug things that aren’t regularly in use

-use cold water to do things (when possible) & turn it off between tasks if possible.

-if you wanna be extreme–don’t flush pee.

We (OK, I) Winterize

-I put plastic over the (single-paned, drafty) sliding glass door and window.  This is a MAJOR pain, and I usually have vast amounts of frustration, tantrums, and melt-downs during the tedious, horrible process.  But, the temps stay substantially more regulated, and things maintain MUCH longer.

-And a note:  Remember to take the plastic/tape off while it’s still chilly outside in early spring.  It’s a real Bit(h to get dry, old tape off windows–which you inevitably have to tape over somewhere, (despite every effort not to) in order to seal it off.  I spent countless hours scraping old tape reminants off my renter’s glass with a blade = super-sucks!

-I also hang blankets over the front of the slider and window.  Except for a piece I can see from the treadmill and my study spot.  It would keep it even warmer, but I derive much joy from seeing my ducks/geese on the river.  Just don’t forget to take them down and wash them once or twice mid-winter, or else they will mold and destroy the only quilt your grandmother sewed specifically for you.  Major bummer.

-Put blankets (or old clothes in a pinch) on door thresholds.  Our sliding glass door is not installed properly, and we get a huge draft between the metal railing and the carpet.

We don’t use our apartment’s heater or AC (At all.  Ever.)

So how do we stay warm in winter, you ask?

-We dress in layers:  Sweats, socks, +/- beanie.  All the time.

-We have an electric blanket, goose-down comforter, and many blankets on the bed.

-We move around to increase metabolism (and heat).

-We warm up from the inside out:  Drink hot beverages, eat warm foods, ingest spicy food to rev up the metabolism.  I’d like to say we avoid cold foods, but we love ice cream, and Cool needs ice in most drinks.  That’s NOT a good way to stay warm.

-We huddle/snuggle.  With each other and the cats.

-Our electric throw blankets are cheaper then heating the entire apartment and keep us super-toasty!

-Ok, we do use space heaters.  BUT only in the room we are in at the time.  And set on a threshold of 60F.  So they only turn on when the temp drops below that level, then shut back off.  Also, we have the kind of space heaters that shut off if they fall over–for fire-safety with pets.  Also, between my day schedule and Cool’s night schedule one of us is home 24/7 to monitor for hazzards.  This is not so good for decreasing utility use.

-In the bathroom, we put in an infrared light–which is magical and awesome.  Instead of dreading chilly winter showers, I look forward to basking under the heated light.  And it’s only on when we’re IN bathroom–no more pre-heating a whole room before a shower.

-Also, to make showering warmer (and be aware of water consumption) we close the tub-drain.  The hot water puddling around the feet, keeps the ankles warm–and therefore you’re entire body warmer.  Also, it’s a good way to know if the shower is too long = deep water.

Stay Cool

-take a cold bath/shower

-soak your feet in cold water

-pour cold water over your wrists

-put a bag of frozen veg (or an ice pack if you’re fancy!) on your forehead/neck/wrists/feet/ or stomach if you can handle it.

-eat or drink something cold

-wear your skivvies.

-go to a lake or pool (or the mall or a theater)

-don’t use the oven.  Or the dryer, dishwasher, anything that uses electricity b/c it will create heat.  If you must–wait until early morning when the temps are at the lowest point.

-exercise in the early morning too.

-acclimate.

MMM, there’s probably some more tips we utilize, but it’s getting past my bedtime (and my 4×4 and I have to pick up Cool from work at midnight) so I’ll leave you to brainstorm more ways on your own.

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Mental Weakness

28 Jan

That title makes it sound a lot worse then it is.  But mental strength and “heart” are the keys to success.  And the big goals are accomplished by doing the little steps repeatedly.  And I only sort of am.  I need to really gear up if I’m to keep on the right track.  I need to remember my motivating factors, then dig in and get it done!

Wetterhorn Peak

Treadmill.  I have officially run 1 mile first thing in the morning every day for 27 days in a row now!  But that’s not enough.  This morning I intended on increasing my speed every min for 1 mile distance.  BUT when I got to 0.7 miles, I felt tired (was not mentally strong) and slowed my pace back down to 5.5 speed.  Then I was mad and regretful with myself because I knew I could have done it–I had more in the tank when I finished.

With school, I have been making the new flashcards and study sheets, but I have not devoted more then an hour a week (if that) to outlining the last 2 partial chapters in the textbook, and I’ve barely studied my aids at all.

So today!  I am going to eff around on the internet just a bit longer so I won’t feel distracted.  Then, I will buckle down and hot my books hard.  Break the studying into manageable chunks, do just 10 more min when I want to stop, and use my mental strength and whole heart to catch up, study up, and even get ahead.  And tomorrow, I’m going to focus my mind on that treadmill and finish out my running intention, no matter how tired my mind tells me I am.

Oh, and I will post some sort of motivational quote on my Facebook so I will see it–with a picture of Colorado to remind me where I want to go.

Steamboat Springs starry sky

 

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Don’t Pour E-Drink into Glass

27 Jan

energy drinks

It looks weird in color.  Like the chemicals that they are.  I never want to see a Windex-color, cloudy lavender, or weird, bright combinations that closer resemble what’s under my kitchen sink than anything plucked from a crop.  And when seeing it–you actually have to be conscious that it’s poison.  I have no allusions that it isn’t terrible for you, but others must:

http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/energy_drinks.php

When used occasionally, energy drinks are not necessarily bad for you, but they shouldn’t be seen as “natural alternatives” either. Some of the claims they make like “improved performance and concentration” can be misleading. They are marketed as dietary supplements, and the FDA does not approve or review the products before they are sold. Some energy drinks have no caffeine but instead use the stimulant guarana, which is the equivalent of caffeine. Others may say that 1 can is 2 servings so you have to calculate the correct amount of caffeine.

This site also provides some interesting info about alcohol + E-drinks.

As such, I think it’s a good idea to clean up school food/bevs.  But ALL of it.  The vending machines, soda, energy drinks, sports concessions food, and fundraising items.  All of it should go.  The school lunches could do better as well–pizza obviously shouldn’t be counted as a serving of veg.  But the corporations are not excited to give up their toe-hold on educational centers.  They have a captive audience, these children are establishing LIFELONG health habits, so they are garnering long-term consumers.  And the school like the partnerships too–they are getting gyms, sports fields, and sponsorships for GOOD things.

It’s a real problem

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/10589183/Banning-Red-Bull-Monster-energy-drinks-from-schools-Why-not-Coke-Sprite-and-Fanta-too.html

They are in fact energy drinks, the market for which is growing fast. Since 2006, the UK’s consumption of these beverages has more than doubled to 475 million litres. That’s around 7.6 litres per person, and coins in £1.4bn for the producers of the newly declared public enemy.

compromising more than 45 per cent of the soft drink market. Energy drinks represent a paltry 3.3 per cent. . .  On a per person basis, compared to the seven or so litres we each poured down our gullets of energy drinks last year, we each sloshed 102 litres of the fizzy stuff through our systems. 

 

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I Got Nothin’

26 Jan

I am too tired and distracted to write a proper post. BUT I don’t want to break the chain. I’ve posted every day this month and only have a week left. So here’s a quick list of randoms:

*usually I make list with a dash, but I thought as asterisk was more festive.
* We went snowboarding again today–Cool did AWESOME.
*I fell on my butt so hard it made me see stars and I thought I might puke–all in a day’s work.
*Helmets should be mandatory.
*When a pass says rental all-inclusive–helmets should be a part of that.
*Helmets should not be an additional $8 to rent outside of a package deal.
*TMI warning: If you get a big, tender red zit–you ought to be able to relieve the pressure. It’s not fair if you can’t pick at it. . .
*Superbowl is an alcohol-centric event, and I hate that.
*I feel it’s a great omen that my current state and future state are playing–and it would be a sign if Broncos won.
*I really don’t follow FB, because I feel like it takes funds/fans from other sports, and women’s sports.
*I decided DMB’s Warehouse (exclusive fan/membership club) is kind of a rip-off. You don’t get much for the $35.
*It’s disappointing though because that’s one of the only ways to win a meet & greet w/the band.
*My Dad got a new hearing aid–on his own accord.
*It’s the mini-RITE and my Dad loves it because he’s addicted to everything digital–I think he’ll LOVE it!
*I am so excited and jealous for my parents’ vacation: A trip to every tribe in MT and visit to Wounded Knee and all that historical stuff in the Dakotas.
*I can’t wait to see the trinkets my mom gets from said vacation: 1 item from every tribe.
*There were a lot of tiny-tot kids on the slopes today, and it’s adorable to see little ones ski/board like pros.
*I feel tired and behind if I don’t get to sit in my jammies, in my house, for a majority of one weekend day.

On that note, I think that’s good enough for today. I’ll try to write actual-posts tomorrow!

Winter Sports: Its All About Heart

25 Jan

The Blog I Write Stuff In

So last night I had taken off of work to go ice skating with my mate. We got in free because it was WSU student night, and she is a student there. I was optimistic about it, I thought I could learn how to ice skate or at least get around without falling. Wrong.

At just about every opportunity the ice scared me and I hugged the wall. Laurel tried to show me how to pick up my feet and ‘walk’ on the ice, and I just couldn’t do it. The fear over rode the optimism and I was scared I’d fall and break something. I mean, ice is hard.

Once off the ice I could walk on the regular ground just fine with ice skates on. But ice is so… whats the word… slippery! if ice could just calm down a little it and be slippery but like NOT…

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And the Cause of My Fatigue Is. . .

24 Jan

Coffee. The caffeine in it more specifically.

espresso art

I didn’t know which factor in my new lifestyle had made me feel better, so I attempted to repeat EVERYthing from the day I finally felt good. Including nixing my daily cup(s) of coffee. Then, today I suddenly had 12oz of coffee–and I feel that relentless, overwhelming fatigue.

Here’s why [A]:
coffee teddy-caffeine is a stimulant. It releases adrenaline from adrenal glands which then gives you an artificial energy boost. But your neurons can only fire so much before getting exhausted so it sets you up for a big crash. And it’s an additive effect, which is why people get tolerant to caffeine and need more and more coffee to feel the same energy.

-This is the most interesting point I found:  It dampens insulin sensitivity. So the body coffee elephantwon’t recognize sugar in the bloodstream to utilize for energy production.  Which makes sense to me.  I thought maybe I had gone diabetic.  Becuase I knew the fatigue I felt wasn’t the same as a hypoglycemic crash, but it felt related.  And symptoms were somewhat relieved immediately after exercise or after I ate an apple.  [1, 2,  ]

coffee bear-It contributes to anxiety and also disrupts sleep. Which can also add up to tossing and turning and ruin the next day.  I should have listed this toward the beginning, because it’s obvious.

-Caffeine is dehydrating. So the same factors that make you feel so scummy with a coffee celestalhangover are at work with too much coffee. When your cells are all shriveled up, you feel tired and listless.

A]  http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/06/13/ten-reasons-to-quit-your-coffee/

1]  http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/2/399.full

2]  http://www.marksdailyapple.com/coffee-and-insulin-fat-and-post-workout-meals/#axzz2rMasNyBK

coffee art 2

Coffee is one of my favorite things, and the one item I consumed every, single day for the last 2 years.  Maybe 3–I know that because the Lose-It calorie site tracks that.  And I was very against giving it up.  What would I drink if BOTH my favorite beverages were out of play?!  But once I didn’t have time in my morning routine for it anymore, I felt loads better!  And yesterday when I had it–I felt miserable.  And my sleep was light, restless, and terrible last night.  So I guess it will be a special treat only and in very small quantities.  Goodbye, morning coffee.

 

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Snowboard to Backboard

23 Jan

This is more the bipolar part of the story, then the finale of a snowboard injury.  The whole episode was really caused from mental illness/medication stuff, not actual injury.

We got to emergency after another hour–and in that hour I got more and more exasperated.  My Sunday study time was gone, work preparation time taken away, and my relaxation time now impossible.  I could also see our financial resources disappearing with each medical act. At that point, I didn’t have any sympathy for Cool, because I was certain the ambulance and emergency were unwarranted.

I have cut out the meat of our discussion (which I had detailed at first) because it just made us look bad.  I’m OK with sharing what may be construed as unfeeling, unsympathetic quotes from myself.  I’m not ashamed, and I stand by them.  But I don’t want you to think Cool is some sort of loser, crazy, or $hithead.  It’s not that way–there are just extra considerations when working with a mentally ill person.  She thinks and reacts differently then most people.  And so some of our relationship is me trying to explain why it’s sometimes impractical or detrimental to her or US.  But to you–it would just seem lop-sided and portray us in a certain light that I do not intend.  So I just skipped it and sort of jumped into the next paragraph.

It seems mean way to be, but you have to understand–I suffer the consequences too. We are always dealing with bipolar issues, anxiety, irritability, medications, responsibility, extreme situations because of highs and lows. All the time.  I want to convey that day in day out with a person with mental illness requires patience, constant monitoring, coaching, vigilance. And that can get tiring–who wouldn’t be exasperated when things like this spiral all the way out of control? I guess that’s just part of mental illness. And I hardly ever think of Cool as a mentally ill person, she’s just Cool to me. My mate, and I love her. But the anxiety/bipolar does have an impact.

And it was difficult for Cool to SEE how this happened or take any responsibility in the matter.  Which is frustrating.  She told me, the doc at the ski hospital tricked her by saying I had agreed to the ambulance–which I never had–so she hadn’t fussed and refused treatment.  Reactions need to be much different next time, and we formulated a plan to avoid THIS.

Cool gave her pain as a 5 and took some pain relief. She was taken to x-ray for a long time. An hour after the initial pain score, Cool said her pain was still at 5–unchanged. Her wrist had recovered–because it had only ever been normal fall discomfort. The PA came in–x rays were completely normal. Cool was fine. She was cheering for football the next hour. In the morning when I asked how she felt and she said her. . . HEELS hurt. Not even part of the big emergency injury–but that’s Cool for you. Welcome to MY life.

I AM happy that Cool is still going to snowboard. She will get back on the horse, so at least our non-refundable EZ-123 package won’t be wasted. And we practiced what she would say next time she took a fall: Are you OK, are you hurt?! Cool says, “I just need a minute.” And she sits on the sidelines, gives me a hand signal, then together we can assess if she’s just being a wuss or if she’s actual-hurt. And if she is, I’ll drive us home where we will decide if the injury needs IBU and ice or if we need to involve diagnostics and doctors. Things will go better this weekend!

Arapahoe--rooster tails

 

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Things. . . Snowballed

22 Jan

I’m so funny–did you SEE that pun?!  But Sunday, I wasn’t really laughing.

thumbs up posterCool found an article about an EZ-123 pass in the area.  Four different ski resorts were participating and you could choose the one you wanted.  They offered, 3 lessons, WITH rental of all equipment (board, boots, bindings, goggles, helmet), and 3 lift tickets good for the whole day for just $79!  I thought that was a steal, considering the times I went snowboarding at the Tahoe resorts were in April (post-season, when snow wasn’t optimal) when lift tickets were discounted.  And lessons–forget it!  Unless you were with 4H or something, lessons were impossibly expensive in Tahoe, so I only had 1 ski lesson when I was 9 years old and part of the 4H ski club.  And when the rental places were hungry for ANY business after the season was virtually over, so you paid substantially less.  But still WAY above the deal Cool found.

And we are trying to get involved in a more healthy, active lifestyle.  And planning on moving to snow-sport Telluride ski resort mtncountry, Colorado.  And I’m trying to have a little fun in my life instead of all school-work-prepare drudgery.  So I was for it!  And I had a total meltdown on Saturday after work, which made Cool have a bad day, and that caused US to be completely out of sorts.  So we needed some fun on Sunday, and planned on going to the 10:30 AM lesson.

They want you to be there an hour early, and somehow we were running a little behind.  So we arrived in a sort of rush to make the class (you remember my lateness phobia).  We paid, got our passes, and were told to go to the last door for our rentals.  They fitted our boots and handed us the snowboards, and we hustled to the learning center.  Everyone else had goggles, and some had helmets.  I don’t know where they got those or how we missed them, but oh well–we made it.  And in Tahoe, helmets aren’t really a “thing” I guess because my friends and I never wore them, we didn’t wear them with elementary 4H, and I don’t think I ever Steamboat Resort skisaw ANYone on the slopes wearing one.  So though it seems like a safe thing to do, I wasn’t alarmed that we weren’t wearing helmets. . .

Our lesson had 12-15 people, mostly kids.  And kids learn quickly, have no fear, and jump right back up if they fall.  So it’s not a fair comparison to adults.  And I’ve never had official lessons, or really snowboarded, but I went 2-3 brief times with friends growing up, so I’d at least been on the snow–so I wasn’t a fair comparison either.  Cool struggled.  As you do as a 30-something learning a new physical task.  She needed to go slower, but she didn’t do any worse then expected for her very first time on the snow.  These things require practice, patience, heart–and good humor.

I was caught in between–trying to follow the speedy class, but also wait for struglasaurus-Cool.  The instructors Easter 015kept telling me to do whatever, but I had to hang back and almost disobey because Cool would be waaaay behind and not know what we were supposed to be doing.  So I was pressured to be a fair bit below her on the hill.  And she crab-walked down one time, did some falling and crawling, so it wasn’t alarming to see her crumpled when I looked back at her.  But she might be hurt?  Cool normally has a very low pain threshold, and her anxiety kicks in making her a little bit of a hypochondriac.  So I figured she was just being a baby about a normal fall.  Or tired.  Or slow to get up, or frustrated and giving up or something.  I tried to motion to her with thumbs up vs thumbs down, but she only half-way responded.  And she was too far away to be certain what gesture she returned.  And one of our instructors looked to be talking with her, so I figured she was receiving some coaching.

Then, they were both walking down the mountain in the direction of the first aid center.  Uh oh, so I followed them in to see what was happening.  And I had to un-do my bindings and ditch my board, so I was behind.  When I got inside, 3 women and a man were securing Cool to a backboard.  Fuck!  Of course we should have rainbow 5gone back for the helmets.  Cool has a history of injury.  Her mom had been adamant that if she tried snow-sports she would break an ankle, and had tried to dissuade her.  She didn’t look terrible to me, but I wasn’t certain what happened.  I had obviously missed something. . .  The first aid was serious, I could see these people meant business.  And I frantically signed to her “money?!”  And tried to mouth, “How much does this cost?!”  But there was a lot happening and she was distracted and she said “Free.”  Which I was dubious about.  But who was I to step in and tell these people to give us a moment to discuss things?  The law does not consider me Cool’s legit family, and they could kick me out of the room all-together if they wanted.  So I had to just stand there watching and wondering and worrying.

They strapped her in, loaded her on a hospital bed, and began assessing her status.  Unfortunately, I had reminded Cool to take her 6(?) bipolar/anxiety meds before we went.  So of course, her pupils were dilated.  And her meds ALWAYS make her foggy headed so when they asked her to remember 3 items to evaluate head trauma–of course, she forgot the 3rd.  But that’s her normal.  I was still 90% certain she had just taken a normal fall–not sustained any severe injury.  And Cool is a passive petal.  If pressed strongly enough, Cool will just go with the flow, do what she is told, and think about what SHE wants or the consequences afterward.  That’s Cool’s normal as well.  So she was just being compliant, not really thinking about the finances, or what the backboard meant, or the things I was freaking out about.

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After about 20 minutes, the 12 people (this was code red stuff) began asking if Cool had any family, or a friend or something) with her.  And right away she told them her mate.  Which, is our term for US because I reject the term “partner” because it sounds too business-like and stiff.  But they apparently, didn’t know what the hell she was talking about (more ammunition for the brain damage theory) and since we are not legally-anything, she had to say “girlfriend.”  Which I HATE.  We have so much more to our relationship then mere dating.  It’s a horrible thing to have to deal with gay stigma in a crises situation.

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It made me really annoyed when they confirmed with me, “You’re her friend?”  And I was like, “Mate,” all exasperated.  The head doctor guy told me about the pupils and said Cool had complained of neck pain and wrist pain (and stomach tenderness, sore feet, as well as head-constriction discomfort) and they couldn’t rule out brain injury because of her non-responsive demeanor, pupil-size, and forgetting that 3rd word.  I tried to explain that was Cool’s norm.  This was just her personality and meds.  He said an ambulance was on the way, and immediately I said, “No, no, no, under no circumstance could we afford an ambulance ride–I can drive her.”  And he said 1)  She was on a backboard and was not getting off of it–he would absolutely not release her.  2)  He wanted to make ultra-sure she was OK (CYA) 3) tried to downplay the expense because she has health insurance.  To which I was like, what–health insurance doesn’t cover 100% and we were now looking at ambulance + emergency room + any diagnostics, not including any treatments if they were in fact warrented.  He persisted that he would not release her, but I could talk to the ambulance people and sign a liability waiver–which I said I would love to do.  But I knew I had no legal right and SHE would have to be the one to sign it.

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Then, I finally was able to get within Cool’s vicinity (since the 100 people had dispersed, and people realized I was “legit”) to talk to her for the first time.  Cool was in invalid mode, with an oxygen mask and the whole bit and I leaned in and started telling her she had to speak for herself and deny the ambulance that was on its way.  I think it was the first time she realized where this injury was taking her, and the first time money really entered into her mind.  I felt like all the medical staff surrounding us felt like I was unsympathetic–but I know Cool.  I know her hypochondriac stuff, her finances, and how she doesn’t THINK until later.  And I figured if she was legit-hurt, I could drive us down the mountain and we’d go from there.  But I also felt like I had no legal right to step in.  As Cool’s closest relative–that this incident is going to directly impact–that felt awful.

An hour after the call, the ambulance arrived.  And they loaded Cool onto a gurney and arranged for me to drive her car along behind.  I was helpless.  I guess Cool decided she wanted to go to emergency on the ambulance–and if that’s what she wanted (despite the consequences) I had no right to say otherwise.  Part 2:  Emergency.  That’s tomorrow–stay tuned.

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