Saturday, December 30, 2006

Turning the corner

I think I may (knock on wood!) have turned the corner, in that at least I don't feel as bad as I did yesterday, so maybe I'm on the upswing. I seem to have developed a nasty-get-that-girl-into-viral-isolation hacking couch, and my tissue box and bag are my constant companions, and I'm still needing an hour's nap for every hour I'm awake, but I'm rather pleased that I don't feel any worse. I even perked up a bit at the thought of maybe going to Costco with Jodi, but it didn't take long for me to realize a.) it's Saturday of a holiday weekend, are you inSANE? and b.) the ten-minute phone conversation exhausted me and wore out my croaky voice enough.

I'm more well-equipped now too. I have many boxes of soft poofy tissues, many gallons of beverages in the fridge, some gorgeous raspberry sorbet, and MTV is re-running a marathon of the Road Rules/Real World Challenge. Dude. The only thing better than an MTV reality marathon is being sick enough to justify watching it since your brain is already mush. And I've got the funniest movie evAH, Wedding Crashers, starring one of my boyfriends, Vince Vaughn, and the Sims for amusement. So, call the sick line, I'm not going to work anymore and I'm calling in sick from life. At least for the weekend. Because come Monday morning, I think I'll be handed my discharge papers from the Sick Couch. I guess I'd better be ready to get ready to leave the country. The country, the continent, the time zone, yaddy yaddah desertcakes.

And now, it's dinner time at the Last Meal in the Country Cafe. Tonight's special: Velveeta shells and cheese. Dude.

Low Bentham

I feel guilty not having any photos posted lately, because I know, dear reader, that sometimes you just feel like looking at the pretty pictures instead of reading someone's droll words. I'm still figuring out this whole mac thing, and iPhoto, and so I haven't been able to upload any new pics. Or rather, the photos are all on the computer, I'm just having trouble organizing and finding them. So, for now, you can look at this photo of the village of Low Bentham in Lancashire, northwest England. It's where my parents lived for six months in 1996, while I was living an hour south in Lancaster. My dad recently put this photo on his flickr site, and I haven't ever seen it before. It gave me a twinge of homesickness.

Speaking of sick, yes, I am, thank you for asking. As a BMT and PICU nurse, I take care of some very sick people. People in varying degrees of organ failure, people with their mouths and esophagus ulcerated and bleeding, people with blistered skin falling off their bodies, people requiring constant infusions of pain medication, people with cancer, people who are dying. Therefore, sometimes I find it hard to complain about or even mention being sick, since I am obviously pretty well off compared to my patients. But jeeeeezus christ I feel like ass. Like a shitsickle warmed up and refrozen. My throat is scratchy and sore, my neck aches from swollen glands, my nose is blocked up and intermittently, my eyes are red and itchy and teary, my entire head is throbbing like it's caught in a vice, and my tummy is rumbling and nauseous. Today I felt a lot worse than the day before, so I'm hoping today was the low point and I can only get better from here.

I'm glad I'm single and I live alone, so I don't have to brush my hair or worry about how grody I sound when I cough. But being single kind of sucks because even though I'm a walking Sicky McFugliness, and I've called in sick from life, I still have to empty my own dishwasher and walk the dogs and go buy my own tissues with lotion and A & D ointment (for my raw, chapped nose. Don't laugh. I'm single and I can have a shiny red nose if I want. See the vicious cycle here?) Sure, a few well-meaning friends ask how I am and if they can bring me anything, but I can't really ask them to do the things I really want, like empty my dishwasher, or put the kettle on for the hot water bottle while you're up, can I? Plus I can hear the audible relief in their voices when I tell them I don't need anything, but thank you, and they are so relieved they don't have to venture over to the Sick House, risking their own health and eyesight upon glimpsing red-nosed-messy-haired-hacking Rosebuttons. I know how it is.

In other headlines from the Sick Couch, my fancy-ass graphite grey T-Mobile moto razr phone thinks its too good to accept text messages from Verizon phones. I can send and receive calls, and send texts, I just can't receive any. This may prove to be a bit of a problem considering my two friends have Verizon phones. And also considering I much prefer texting to speaking on the phone as a method of communication. Ugh.

The darling Matrix is back from the dealer's, although they were too busy to wash her inside and out so they "owe" me a wash. So, $165 later, she's happy and running great, but still a dirty lil' mofo.

I think I may still be covered under my previous health insurance, so instead of crying and beating myself up for not realizing this sooner, and instead of being pissed off that it's a freakin' holiday weekend and everything is shut (didn't we just have a freakin' holiday weekend? Get back to work, lazy America!), I shall take a deep breath and plan to get my headache meds filled as a three-month supply next week. Cross your fingers on that one.

Ok, my whining and complaining is done for now. Carry on as you were.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Ugh...still sick, reporting from the couch. Yesterday I got a brief and sudden spurt of time in which I wanted to clean and organize around 4pm, I'm hoping that hits again today. Until then, I want to do nothing more than lay on the couch, watch bad TV, and not stray too far from my tissue box.

I thought I had more to say. But I don't. Time for a nap.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Any chimp can play human for a day...

Just a cool line from Rilo Kiley, my latest favoritest album.

So the days count down, until I leave the country. I've done a few things, but I feel like the time is ticking by and nothing will get done.
Here's what I've accomplished so far:
  • bought a new mobile phone (quadband, GSM)
  • cancelled my previous mobile phone contract, because I couldn't use that phone outside of the US or Canada
  • made an appointment to get my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed
  • made a doctor's appointment
  • suspended my cable TV and internet service (I'm using my neighbor's wireless service, and the cable won't be officially suspended until the day I leave. Live without my DVR? Are you kidding?)
  • bought a converter/adapter kit for electrical thingies
  • Saw Night at the Museum (okay, not exactly necessary for going abroad, but definitely necessary for my sanity)
  • made an appointment for an oil change and check-up because my car's "check engine" light came on this morning
  • balanced my checkbook and realized I can't afford the oil change, hair cut, brow wax, or new clothes until I get my paycheck advance from my foreign employers
  • found out I probably don't have health insurance coverage after this month
  • found out that I won't get my paycheck advance until I get to London
  • bought lots of tiny travel things and generic OTC meds for my first aid kit to take with me
  • Had to use some of the Airborne and zinc lozenges and cold medicine already for the runny nose and itchy sore throat that I have now
But anyway, somehow I guess everything will get done. Somehow I'll pay for what I need to pay for. And somehow I'll get to London.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Boxing Day to all!

This is Ted and Stinky Duck, looking on sadly as I ignore him while I play with my new favorite toy, my wee Macbook. Photo taken by macbook itself. That's my leg on the left, you might recognize me by my polar fleece uniform that I am wearing in order to couch surf in the utmost style. And yep, I lists and lists of things to do before I leave the country in two (eek!) weeks but today I am being lazy and recovering from my 60 hour work week. I might nap now, then shower and go to Target and then the Verizon store in order to investigate the possibility of buying a cell phone that I can use in London and SA. Wish me luck. On the phone search, that is. Not so much on the napping or Target shopping, I do pretty good with those activities :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Happy and merry Christmas to you and all you love!

Oh. My. God. I just worked. 60 hours this week, five days in a row. Three days in the PICU, two in the hem-onc ICU. Today, at the eleventh hour (actually, the 57th hour, but who's counting?) my patient turned his stable, perfusing sinus rhythm into an atrial flutter, two-to-one conduction. Which means that his atrium squeezed about 300 beats per minute, and the ventricles squeezed 150 times per minute. That's pretty fast if you're my 100 kilogram 62-year-old male, and not my 5 kilogram 9-month female patient. An EKG was done, cardiology was called in, and excitedly decided to cardiovert the patient. They were super excited because he was already anticoagulated thanks to coumadin treatment for an aortic valve replacement ten years ago. It's not advisable to cardiovert the heart of a patient who may have been in this unstable atrial rhythm for a while without anticoagulation, because there's a risk they may have formed a clot in the atrium which would then be sent elsewhere in the body, plugging up important spaces in the lungs or brains or whatnot. Anyhoo, we sedated the patient, shocked him, and finally started an amiodarone drip which actually converted him. What I'm trying to say is that the last few hours of my excessively long stretch of working were filled with much too much activity and business and now I am so freakin' tired. And I have no idea why I'm telling you all about cardioversion instead of sitting back and watching the BBC and letting my brain melt away.

Santa decided I was a good girl this year, because a shiny white Macbook showed up two days ago on my doorstep! It is just so cute that I invited it inside and I think I'll keep it.

More later, as I recover. So, to sum up, in case you're wondering, working five twelve-hour days in a row sucks a lot.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Main Street, Yemen

If you know where this line is from, you are awesome: "When we get to Yemen, can I stay with you?"

Also, in Things That I Think Are Funny: While in B'ham this week, my dad told me about a news story involving a holiday display on someone's yard with a nativity scene. Someone stole the baby Jesus out of the manger, as often happens. Those baby Jesi must have a high black market value. Anyway, the family replaced the baby and it was stolen yet again. So, the family replaced the baby one more time. And yet again, it was stolen. However, this time, they found a note in its place. The note read: "IOU two baby jeez"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

London calling, part two: The electric bugaloo

My dilly-dallying from a few days ago about "do I keep the apartment / do I put it all in storage" has been solved, by powers beyond my control (thank you, "Dangerous Liaisons," for my all-time favorite excuse). Turns out, THEY would like me to come to London on January 8th. Okay, fine, sort of short notice, but I can do it. However, I cannot (and will not!) pack up my apartment and move it all to a storage unit in about 20 days, while working and trying to tie up every other loose end in my life. MAYBE it's possible but I sure don't wanna do it, so I'm not gonna. Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to buy a ticket to London. From there I will eventually make my way to Saudi Arabia, and I will be chillin' in the desert for a few months...maybe until May. July, at the LATEST. But it all depends. On you know, trying to live in 120 degree heat, wearing an abaya and a niqab, eating rice and lamb, all that stuff. And over the next 20 days, I must buy an airline ticket (yes, I will be reimbursed!), a laptop, new clothes (on the more modest side), cancel my utilities, change my address (to where?! I don't know yet...), make copies of my passport, organize and file my papers, visit my doctor, load up on my prescriptions, buy oodles of dog food...sheesh, there's way more stuff. Oh yeah, tell my boss I'm leaving. That's a biggie. On top of all that stuff, say good-bye to my family and friends and my wee precious niece and my dogs and try really hard not to cry every minute of the day because it would really hinder my plans of getting all this stuff done. Each time I picture saying goodbye to the dogs, I well up. I'm going to be a mess.

The weirdest? Thinking that I won't be wearing pants or driving a car for so long. I have so much more to say about this bizarre adventure I'm about to embark on...I think in the near future I will start another blog devoted to it...and I think I will call it Arabian Nightshifts.

Now, back to knitting tiny things. Distraction is a wonderful stress reliever.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A very Buttons holiday

Greetings from my favorite holiday getaway, Bellingham! Since my actual xmas weekend will consist of 60 hours of taking care of sickies, I'm spending a few days up here with my wee family. Not wee as in Roloff wee (dude, I love those guys!), but wee as in just me, mum, and dad. Well, and three small dogs. But anyway. So far it's been lovely, and we are "celebrating" in true Buttons family fashion. There is a wee tree, Norfolk pine, with a few wee gifts underneath. Our holiday meal tonight was Japanese, following by a driving Tour of Lights with appropriate "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" and lots of excitement over the dancing Santa. The slowly moving electric light-up reindeer, also appropriately creepy for the holidays, were our second favorites. Then we all curled up under blankets with a couch and a dog apiece, and watched Sense and Sensibility while mum did her crossword, I knit, and dad read the latest New Yorker. With our cups of tea and biscuits, of course. Tomorrow perhaps we will open some gifts and then head off to a matinee. Ahh, good times.

I promise to show you photos of this years' woolie gifts and the warm and toasty recipients, as soon as pressies are opened tomorrow!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Blow me away

So last night it was a bit windy here in Seattle. If you were actually in the Puget Sound area last night, you'll know that statement is the understatement of the year. I was having trouble sleeping anyway, probably because a.) it was night time, and I'm noctornal, and b.) my afternoon nap was too late in the afternoon. For some reason, the wind was way noisier in my bedroom than the living room, so I ended up on the couch with the doggies, sort of half-sleeping, and developing a headache. So I called in sick for my shift today and went back to sleep until 10am. When I re-awoke then, I was dismayed to find my cable TV and internet were down, although I fortunately did have electricity, which is apparently more than a lot of Seattle could claim. I spent a very lonely and quiet day watching movies and reading and knitting. To be completely honest, it's fairly close to how I usually spend my days off, except for the fact that since I couldn't watch cable TV or check my email or pretend to shop online, I was itching with boredom. But now the cable is back, and lo, there is nothing on worth watching. And no emails of any interest, and surfing the internet sounds boring. I'm such a brat.

I have a bit of a housing dilemma. I have to move out of my place when I go...well, over there. So naturally I'll have to give up the apartment, although I adore it, and it's perfect for me and my wienie kids, and I don't want to rent anywhere else. I have to move all my stuff into storage, then when I get back, I have to stay with my parents or friends until I a.) buy a house and move into it, or b.) find an apartment and move my stuff into it only to re-move again in a few months when I finally buy a house. This plan sort of sounds reasonable on first glance. But it is complicated by two very important points: I hate moving. I hate packing, cleaning, moving, everything. I don't so much hate the unpacking part of it but that's not really the point. And in this plan, I have to move twice. Maybe three times. And secondly, I can't stand living with other people. No matter who they are, I hate sharing my space. I wish I could just return from...over there and go house shopping, pick a place I like, and move into it, all within a week. The only other alternative to this plan is to keep my apartment, keep paying rent on it and not move my stuff out, and it will be here, waiting for me when I get back, then when I find a place to buy, I'll move then. Unfortunately, that lovely plan is a bit more expensive than renting a storage locker and sucking it up living with friends or family. Ugh. Did I mention how much I cringe at the thought of having to put on pants to go to the bathroom? Or not being able to watch what I want on TV all the time? I know, I'm a brat.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What I learned today

1. Baby-sitters are allowed to break some rules. Despite what so-called child-rearing experts say about making the baby fall asleep on their own in their little cribs, sometimes a sleepy warm baby on your chest is enough to make you fall asleep yourself, and share a lovely nap with the baby. I had the best of intentions of getting up to put the blinky-eye-rubby baby into her crib to sleep, but well....

2. Saudi Arabia is a particularly frightening, corrupt, and fundamentalist part of the world.

3. Headache pills are worth more than their weight in gold, not only to me. When I opened my new box of pills and found only half the amount that was supposed to be there, I cried. A lot. Then cried some more because I was so befuddled by my own crying over headache pills. And then I cried some more because I was so sad that the difference between having headache pills and not having headache pills makes such a huge difference to my quality of life. As in, a life that I would like to have apart from laying prostrate on the couch in the dark trying not to breathe too hard because even breathing hurts. So I am either taking them in my sleep or there is a stupid or corrupt pharmacist out there who has my precious pills in his pocket. I'm going to call the pharmacy tomorrow to talk to a manager but I'm not sure I'll be able to do it without crying.

4. Using the deposit function on an ATM machine delays the posting of your check to your account by several precious days, causing annoying "insufficient funds" charges to be posted to your account in the meantime. Next time, walk inside the bank.

Urgh. I'm hungry. And I'm really freakin' sick of having a headache.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Back and forth and back again....

The past week I haven't really been able to see straight since when I close my eyes all I see are lists of pros and cons scrolling past. It is, of course, the age-old classic question: Should I stay or should I go? More exactly, should I stay here and continue along in my fairly comfortable if vaguely unexciting life, OR should I take off for three-ish months (depending on whether you use the lunar or the julian calendar), live on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia working as a private nurse for a foreign dignitary? Complicating the matter are the issues that I've just started a new job which I love, I would have to give up my apartment and find someone to take care of my dogs, but I would be making nearly a year's salary in those three months time. Then throw into the mix other random worries which creep into my will I get my prescription headache medicine? Will I have to eat lamb? Am I really okay with the government keeping my passport and visa while I am there, having to where a niqaab and abaya, and not laughing in public? My boss turned out to be super supportive, and said that I should go, and I'd always have a job here when I got back. Phew. My friend S offered to take care of my doggies for me, and nobody except me loves them as much as her, so double phew. My friend J offered to help me sit down and literally make lists of lists in order to prepare to go, so phew again. Then my family said uh-uh. Don't go. And other assorted things related to public beheadings and misogynistic theocracies. *screeeech.* (those are the brakes.) My family has never ever asked me NOT to do something. Well, not since I was four and I was told never to cut the cat's whiskers off again. But they've otherwise been very supportive of everything that I wanted to do, whether or not they truly agreed with me, they stood behind me. So now I'm all a-fluster and rattled again.

I'll admit, the money, whether it be blood/oil money or not, is really tempting. The carrot dangling in front of my face, promising paid-off credit cards, student loans gone, a down-payment on my very own house, a pony, is almost more than I can resist. Then there's just the whole experience of it all, the opportunity to see a part of the world and a culture that I would never otherwise be able to.

I need more headache medicine, these lists are making my head hurt.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bah humbug

Nothing like trying to do some routine errands on an otherwise uneventful random Tuesday afternoon in December to bring out my holiday spirit. However, in my case, "holiday spirit" refers to growing amounts of frustration and increasing periods of shouting at other drivers, giving people the finger, and loudly reminding people in the post office that the line started back there and they just cut in front of me. Yes, I'm that person, the person who hates the Blue Angels, and grumbles throughout the holiday season. I'm the big wet blanket, the wet weekend in Bournemouth, whichever expression you choose. Because you should have been telling those people who you are buying unnecessary, overpriced, underused gifts for that you think they're swell throughout the year, but you waited until December because Hallmark and the Temples of Consumer Greed (i.e. malls) tell you to.

Anyway, I'm a scosh on the crabby side today, something that I hope a jacket potato with tuna and corn, a movie about crossword puzzles, and some knitting will sort out. I think I'm just a bit down over the death of Elizabeth I. Okay, so I know it was in 1603, but I just watched Helen Mirren's portrayal of it last night, and it was terribly moving and well-done, so I'm just a bit down.

And also, nothing like some holiday traffic and stupid drivers to make me feel like throwing on an abaya and checking out of Western society for several months. Did I mention my latest job opportunity? I'm sort of keeping it mum until things become more certain, but I'm sure I'm already at the top of several government lists for my recent google searches alone. Stay tuned.