Worst MRI EVER

Today I had to go in for an MRI.  Now you all know my health scare back at the beginning of 2022 where they found a brain mass and I had brain surgery to biopsy it.  Fortunately, it was benign which means it’s not cancer, a real concern to me since I am a cancer survivor and my mother died of brain cancer.  You can read about all this here on my blog if you type into the search engine on the left of my blog.  I’ve detailed my cancer and health journey pretty extensively.

Naturally you would expect checkups to the brain to see if the mass has grown, is moving, or if it’s standing up to be counted.  Well, I’ve since had several trips to the Emergency Room and I had my three months checkup.  It has affected my attitude towards telling my doctors how I’m actually feeling as I don’t want to go in anymore, I don’t want them to stick me with a needle anymore, I’m in pain and they aren’t fixing it anymore.

In June, six months after the surgery I began to experience dizzy spells.  At first it was just the morning thing, you sit up, you go to stand up (not necessarily suddenly) and you feel dizzy, like woah.  Well, this got steadily worse and then I discovered I could bring them on myself by laying back down, bending over, etc.

I was due to have another MRI in November as part of my check ups but because of this dizziness they scheduled the soonest one which was today in August.  Now, because of the fact that it is a brain tumor, they have to do a closed MRI to get the best picture of it instead of an open MRI which has a bit more wiggle room.

Those of you who know me, know I’m a big woman.  Even when I slim down, I can’t hide the fact that I have shoulders that are built for football and I don’t fit in the closed MRI like a normal person.  They literally have to shove me in there and it hurts!  Today was no exception.

I have had many MRIs over the years with my cancer and other health concerns and today was one for the books (pardon the pun). 

I do not blame the health care personnel but damn, my appointment was scheduled for 7:45am, and because they got into their heads that I’m a hard stick, they called and rescheduled it for 6:45am.  I’m a night owl so it only made sense (to me) to stay up and sleep afterwards.  So, I was going in sleep deprived (my own fault, but I was worrying), hungry, and anxious.  For some reason this appointment was causing me to have a LOT of anxiety.  Given what I’ve been through, no wonder why.

With all the chemo and many times I’ve been stuck over the years my veins have scarred over, shrunk, and now hide from the personnel attempting to put in an IV.  This MRI required that they have it with contrast to see the difference in my brain and clearly see the tumor.  I react to that contrast.  It’s not an allergic reaction like you would assume, it’s more of a physical reaction.  In my case, because my shoulders are scrunched painfully in the tube, my neck stiffens up just as painfully.

Today they stuck me five times with the needles to get the IV in successfully.  The first gal, even blew my vein.  I’d just gotten done telling her the tale of how they blew my veins twice the last time and it took three months to heal from that.  Btw, you can still see the bruising on my arm from that time three-months later!  Yes, and I’m not exaggerating!  She was most apologetic but I was just trying to get through this.  I knew my being angry over it and the fact that I was tired and hungry wouldn’t help her do her job.  I really kept myself calm.  She decided after her second stick to call in an RN and if that didn’t work, they were going to do an ultra-sound stick (which I had back the last time I was in the Emergency Room and they blew my veins then!).  Fortunately, after three more sticks, the RN got it and it was a success!  Or, so we thought.

The techs were really concerned when I told them I react to the contrast, asking me the same questions I’d already answered, which is annoying but hey, they weren’t there and it was, at least, noted that I react to this stuff.  They always assume it’s an allergic reaction, they blow me off when I explain it’s a physical reaction. 

Another thing which was annoying me is I’m a chatterbox during these things, part of it is nerves, part of it is that I don’t go anywhere so when I’m out in public, I tell stories.  They cut me off each and every time and not just one person but everyone I ran into this morning.  To be honest, it hurt my feelings.

Finally, I am going into the tube and I did tell them I don’t fit.  Broad shoulders get beat up going into these small, narrow tubes.  It’s no wonder people develop claustrophobia to these things.  I haven’t … yet.  My shoulders do best when I can bring my arms in across my torso so they are ‘pulled in’ and away from the sides.  Nope, they insisted I keep my hands and arms at my sides even though I told them it wouldn’t work.  Sure enough, they hurt me to the point I had to say something as I was jolted side to side into the tube.  They pulled me out again on their automated bed, again squeezing my shoulders against the sides.  Removing their cushions lo and behold when I pulled my arms across my torso a bit, I fit, if uncomfortably. 

Now, you have to lay there through the various scans for forty-five minutes.  Normally, I don’t mind that as I just day dream, um, er, I mean work on a story.  Seriously folks, authors day dream to make their books happen and I’m guilty of that.

They put my head in a cage, which I knew, since I’d gone through this a couple of times already.  I’m a bit OCD about things so, since I could see myself on the mirrors, I made sure my head was aligned to the center.  Thank goodness my nose is straight!  Then, I lay there, thinking about my stories and such.

However, this story isn’t over.  The doctor had ordered contrast with this MRI as I mentioned before.  Once they started pumping in the contrast I yelled out in pain.  My thought at that exact moment was it was too bad I couldn’t scream (I’m not a screamer for the most part, but then, that’s a conversation for another blog).  All I could do was shout out that it hurt, squeeze their little bulb to notify them that something was wrong, and keep shouting that hurts! 

They pulled me out again, banging my shoulders in the process as I tell them my arm is hurting.  It wasn’t just hurting at this point, it was agony.  They don’t remove the cage and I’m trapped there on a bed.  All of my body has stiffened up at this point and my shoulders, which were already hurting, my neck which was stiffening, everything is hurting.  My legs, which are exposed due to their gown (I refused to remove my underwear even though they ‘suggested’ I do so, apparently some synthetic materials these days cause burns with MRI’s and other scans) are restless, twitching, something I had to fight against laying in that tube for so long. 

The tech is rubbing my arm where the IV went in causing the needle to hurt me more!  Turns out they not only blew a vein today but they blew the IV!  The damn thing was administering the contrast not into my vein as it was supposed to, but out under the skin.  While I was trapped there on the table (it’s like a moving slab you see on CSI, shudders), he administered saline and kept rubbing.  The immediate pain subsided and he’s like, “I think we got enough contrast into you to continue with the scan.”  I just wanted to get the hell out of there so I agreed.  I was being very careful not to show my anger but I could sense my face was telling them without my words.  I could do this; I could bear up under the pain.  Every friggin’ joint hurt at this point.  He pulled out the IV which was a relief, and ripped off the tape (ouch), rubbing it all and bandaging it up a little too tight.

When they pulled me out after the last five minutes and told me I could get up and go, I could not rise up off that slab.  My back had seized (I have two herniated discs and two bulging ones from when I sprained my back years ago.  It’s permanent, it’s painful, and it affects other things).  They had to literally pull me into a sitting position with, you guessed it, my sore shoulders and arms.

They explained what happened and I made them explain certain words.  I was tired, I was a wee bit ‘cranky’ shall we say, and my brain wasn’t computing.  I know it annoyed him to use certain words (which I did know, but couldn’t think about the meaning) and I made him explain them to me.  They had me sign a paper acknowledging that he had explained what happened and how it should be treated.  I get that, covering his backside.  I don’t blame him, I really don’t, but I’m sick of my procedures always going wrong.

Driving home, it was still so early and I was tired, out of sorts, probably should not have been driving myself. I got home and slept most of the day away (I hate that by the way, feel like I get nothing done).  My arm has a swelling from the procedure.  It’s about 5-6” long, about 3-4” wide, and about an inch high.  It’s grotesque.

I made it very clear they aren’t getting me in again any time soon.  The guy didn’t seem to understand that I was talking about future procedures.  He thought I meant about doing this again today or something.  S M H.  Seriously, I am so sick of the drama of medical procedures and the beating my body took today.  Now, I await the results.

Lied

She was angry.  She was fed up.  It was time to take justice to the justices and other politicians who weren’t doing their jobs, especially the ones who had lied to obtain their positions in our political system.  They’d forgotten that they were public officials and answerable to the American people.  
She wasn’t the only one who had thought to vote them out, but that wasn’t working anymore.  It was time to instill fear in those going into politics who had used their position of power in order to line their own pockets.
There had been a time where being a public official, going into politics, had been an honorable thing.  That time was past and there was no integrity in politics.  She was about to do what she felt was the honorable thing by removing these sycophants from the system.
 
While the events in this book may be similar to actual events, all characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely intentional.

Available now on Amazon and coming soon to other outlets.

Nervous

I have a book coming out (imagine that!) that is making me very nervous. I didn’t even WANT to write it but talking with friends about the times we are living in, I realized how angry we are, how much we want positive change, and how desperate we’ve become.

Then, I got to thinking, what if someone made the effort to make these changes, not in a positive way, but in a way we’ve all been thinking, even briefly. Then, I thought, no, this won’t be well-received, they’ll think I’m a psycho for having written it, it won’t go over well and I’ll get slammed in the reviews.

Then, I had the thought that if some of what you write doesn’t make you nervous, doesn’t upset the readers now and again, then maybe we shouldn’t be putting all the ‘happily ever after’ out there either. After all, life isn’t about a bed of roses or wearing those rose-colored glasses. Real life can suck and fantasy life, which is what this book really is, a fantasy about correcting the injustices, should be delved into now and again, even if it’s dark.

The thing is, I am NOT a political person. I can’t STAND politics. This book isn’t really about politics, and yet, it so IS!

This story is about a killer, someone who has come to the end of her line and is willing to step over it and take action. All the thoughts of a lot of people who just wished they could make this change and would never do it, just a random wish, and she does it. The idea is scary as hell that someone would actually do this horrible thing, and get away with it, and yet…as one of my Alpha readers stated, it’s cathartic.

I’m not sure I even LIKE the story which is odd since I obviously wrote it. But, it’s one of those things where you couldn’t get it out of your head and had to write it to exorcise it from your psyche. Thanks for being my therapy group and reading it when it comes out in the next month. It’s a timely novella for current events, and perhaps it will heal your soul a little in these troubling times too. Look for it!

~K’Anne

What I did last week

Okay, I know some of my followers are SICK of seeing foreign translations of my books. But, I’m so proud that they are out there for others to read and enjoy, I have to give each of them a shout-out in each language they are translated into.

Most of you know I couldn’t possibly do all of this myself and I will admit I’m using a platform that allows several translators to work simultaneously on various books at the same time.

But, last week I took the translations of two books and the short stories and novellas contained therein that were already translated and broke them down into the individual short stories and novellas to publish separately. The platform doesn’t allow me to do it there, so I used my own publishing company to do that.

It’s a time-consuming process as I don’t speak each of the languages and do sporadic checks to make sure of some of the titles, the occasional word here and there, etc. Then there is the formatting, and believe me, something gets lost in translation there! Then, there are the covers. It’s a good thing I have over a decade of publishing under my belt and know how to do all that so well. When I am finished there are at LEAST 18 different platforms that my foreign translated books (English too) are out on in the world. How amazing is that?

So please, bear with me as I blog about EACH and EVERY one in the coming days. Ignore your foreign-sounding ones as you get the emails or posts about them if you aren’t interested in them. I’m sorry for filling mailboxes, but I’ve actually picked up quite a few followers who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc. I think that is so cool! How amazing that a writer from WisconSIN can reach someone in these far away countries with her stories?

Have a great day, and if you haven’t already, check out my website for the book of your choice, in the language of your choice! With over 125 books out there, I’m CERTAIN there is SOMETHING for your reading (and listening) pleasure! ENJOY!

Book Passport

So I had this idea. I made the initial mock-up and then passed it around to a few friends, getting their feedback, input, and ideas. It mushroomed from there because I have a tendency to overdo. That’s okay, because then you, my readers, benefit.

Introducing the Book Passport!

It’s a great way in which to write down your favorite books, where you went with them, and notes about them. Keeping track of where in the world you’ve been by some of your favorite authors is fun!

The project came about when I saw a meme that many people responded to. I thought, why not have a book ‘passport’ that would help you remember all these key things. It wouldn’t have to be that big, it’s the same size as most paperbacks, much thinner, and you could ‘collect’ these passports in different colors as you fill them up. I can even ‘personalize’ ones ordered directly from me with a ‘stamp’ or two as well as my autograph. You could collect autographs from your favorite authors and they can see how much their book(s) meant to you and why.

Now, I only made ‘one’ color for the Lesfic and Sapphic ones, but, if you email me, I would be happy to add the other colors that you need. It just sucks that Amazon is taking a week on publishing them once I’ve hit the publish button! So, patience is a virtue on that score ~ AND you ALL know once I’ve hit publish, I’m not THAT patient!

While I was at it, I thought about the rest of the population and came up with some others…

What do you think? Should I come out with ones that read: Gay Fiction Book Passport too?

In the meantime, here is the description on Amazon:

Where do you want to go today?
Take a moment to write down a favorite book and where you went with it.
Room for 100 books that you have read and want to write notes on.

Features:

  • 20 pages of lists (100 total) to see your books & notes at a glance
  • Pages to write your reviews, notes, or thoughts about books
  • Beautiful paperback cover with faux leather-looking glossy design
  • Cover available in multiple colors
  • Travel size – take it with you anywhere you go!
  • 6 inches x 9 inches

And here are ALL the links to those already published:

Women:

Blue with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCVYS1G

Blue with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCQSGPG

Burgundy with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCW3KS8

Burgundy with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCSWPDC

Black with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCYPBFP

Distressed Leather with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCX81HB

Distressed Leather with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCYBCDF

Green Leather with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCQSGTC

Green Leather with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCYBCFJ

Red Leather with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCSPSXL

Red Leather with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCX7M7Z

Purple Leather with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZHKVF4H

Purple Leather with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZCJNDHV

Gold Leather with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZCCLKFK

Gold Leather with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZCS963W

Men:

Blue with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B14BCWK2

Blue with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B14PTN6M

Girl:

Blue with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B144HMHM

Blue with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B14RT6P1

Boy:

Blue with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B14RT6NZ

Blue with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B17TVB3N

Lesbian:

Blue with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B14HZYX6

Blue with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B14RT74V

Sapphic:

Blue with Black Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B148DBSB

Blue with Gold Silhouette: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B18NP1ZR

Now, keep in mind these are ALL Paperbacks and it wouldn’t make sense to make them as e-books since you couldn’t write in them! I hope you find my idea just as clever as my friends did and enjoy using them.

Criada en el Outback (Outback Bred in Spanish)

Melissa Lawrence nada en tierra en Australia. No tiene idea de qué esperar después de escapar de sus captores. Desde que se convirtió en Mel Lawrence, descubre que sus intereses se están expandiendo más allá del papel de “mujer de medios” que la habían educado para aceptar. Después de encontrar a alguien que le enseñe cómo convertirse en pastora, lleva un rebaño de ovejas al interior de Australia. Nunca imaginó que encontraría una pareja, una tierra que la desafía y una vida para la que sintió que fue criada.
Disponible en mi sitio web con todos los enlaces.

Emergency Room, again

Well, yesterday didn’t go as planned.  What I planned to do was to listen to a couple of audiobooks for errors to get back to my narrators on any fixits that needed to be done.  What I did instead was slept almost ALL day and then noticed my stomach was hurting, and hardening in a spot by my ribcage.  I turned over, slept some more (no kidding) and woke to find that the spot had grown.  I decided the pain, which was BAD all by itself and excruciating to the touch, warranted a trip to the walk-in.  The walk-in suggested I go the E.R, insisted actually.  I whined about that one!  I’d been to the E.R. twice this year already.  One bad trip, one fine trip…what was this one going to entail?

I drove myself across Wausau to the hospital.  Glancing at my gas gauge I worried about running out of gas with prices being so high.  Still, DOC didn’t let me down.  Even ‘my’ parking spot was open and waiting for me.  They were turning people away at the door.  You can only have one person come in with you.  I had no one with me.  They got me signed in and directed me to the waiting room.  I have never seen that waiting room that full (based on these three trips of course).  I’d been there before but I don’t remember what for, it wasn’t an E.R. trip and even then it was never this full.

I almost had to wait for a seat, but they called someone right before that and I found a seat, and waited, and waited, and waited.  Now, I didn’t mind waiting, they had TV on and I never have seen the NCIS type shows.  I know what they are, but I never watched them.  In fact, I haven’t watched TV in twelve years.  I catch shows now and again on line, but even that interest wains after a while.  The EMT came looking for someone and they always mangle my name.  He came back half an hour later looking for that same person, again it could be my name but he didn’t use my last name and I wasn’t sure.  After another half an hour, I went up and asked and turned out he had gotten the name wrong, but it wasn’t me.

The desk clerk came out and brought me a cup to get a urine specimen.  Everyone in the waiting room watched as I got up to go to the bathroom.  Small town, I guess.  I managed to fill that cup and carefully screwed on the top, wiped down the cup, washed my hands and flushed.  As I carried the cup back around the waiting room to the desk, I didn’t notice that it was leaking.  It left splotches the entire way from the bathroom, through the waiting room and hall, to the desk, down my jeans, in my shoe, to leave a puddle next to me.  I was so humiliated once I realized as she asked for the specimen and I lifted my hand to hand it to her and find it empty but the last of it leaking into my hand.  Everyone in the waiting room heard too.  She asked for another specimen but I was like, not now.  She gave me an empty cup, sigh.  She asked me to go wait in the waiting room again.  Two people cringed away from me, no kidding, sigh.  I waited, and waited, and waited some more.

Finally, they called me and the EMT explained there had been six people before me.  I said I saw they had been busy but I wasn’t going to complain, I’d done that the first time I came there and got chastised for it (on line).  He left me in a meditation room, like huh?  They were using it to draw blood.  I waited, waited some more, and waited still more.  The phlebotomist came to draw blood and I directed her to my only good vein on my left arm.  The others are full of scar tissue from when I had chemotherapy so long ago.  No problem, I filled those five vials in no time (but five??).  Then, she directed me back to the waiting room.  Two people cringed away AGAIN, like really?  I didn’t stink, the urine had almost dried on my pants, and it’s humiliating that they knew that I spilled that on myself, but to cringe away like they were going to catch something.  Cooties maybe?

Then they called me to go back, asking questions (the same ones I’d answered with each interaction).  Name, birthdate, and why was I there.  They took me back to a room in the E.R. and introduced me to my nurse Dawn.  She had the pretties purple and white streaked hair and I told her so.  We women should stick together and compliment each other.  She asked me to change into the gown and take off my sweatshirt, blouse, and bra…the gown was too small and pinched my shoulders together much less across my breasts.  Meanwhile they hooked me up to the automated blood pressure machine (God, I hate those things), the pulse thingy on my finger, and the doctor came in.  Seemed like a nice guy but it would be the last time I saw him all night.  He said he couldn’t give me pain meds because I had driven myself, unless I had someone to pick me up (he asked hopefully), but I said no and he didn’t give me that, or the antacid that he had been considering (I don’t understand that either).  Then I waited, and waited, and waited some more.

A woman came in with a funky machine, she claimed it was to help her find my vein.  I pointed her to the one where they had taken the blood, explaining about the scar-tissue.  She poked me with wand and then with a needle, and again, and again.  After I counted five tries, I said that was enough (the pain was making me jump and clench my stomach muscles where the original pain was) and to get someone who could find a vein.  I was not happy.  I’d been gritting my teeth and pressing my nails into my hands.  Not only did my belly hurt, but now my arm.  The incessant beeping of the blood pressure machine, which seemed to be faulty, was driving me nuts.  My nurse Dawn came in to check on me and I asked her the name of the previous woman who also happened to be named Dawn.  I said, don’t let her in here again, she doesn’t seem to be able to put in an I.V.  She smiled and left me.

In walked a young man (I’m getting so old; they look younger than my kids!) and he too had the same machine as that Dawn.  He started messing about, trying to find a vein in my right arm.  He said my veins were deep (that’s a new one) and then Dawn walked in to ‘supervise’ him.  It took him a bit and it hurt almost as much as her searching around but he got it.  The thing was, the entrance point hurt and they kept assuring me it was in right.  That didn’t seem to stop the hurting though!  They kept telling me, we need the I.V. for fluids and if you need contrast for the scans.  Sigh.

Then another chick came in with an ultrasound.  Those things have changed over the years since I had kids.  The only thing was she had to press, on my stomach, right where it hurt!  And boy did she press hard.  I stopped her after the first few presses because it hurt so much.  She stopped and looked at me incredulous.  Well, if she didn’t press, she couldn’t get the ultrasound.  Um, no shit sherlock, but it hurts if I touch it, your pressing is going to make it worse!  I didn’t say that but I was thinking it in that moment.  Instead, I’m like, well go ahead.  I’m sure the eyes streaming down tears as I gritted my teeth and pressed my nails into my hands went unnoticed.

After she did that the incessant beeping of the blood pressure cuff was driving me crazy and I ripped it off and threw it to the floor.  They didn’t turn off the alarm, but they did ignore it fairly well. 

They finally came to take me to get a scan.  By this point I’d gotten a headache from my blood pressure going up so high with all this.  I also was starting to feel nauseous.  Neither of those symptoms were present when I came in.  As he whipped through the corridors, I became dizzy.  When we got to the cat scan room, he asked me to take out my phone and wallet (metal) and drop my pants for the scan.  The gown barely covered my torso, it certainly didn’t cover my lower extremities.  Good thing I put on clean underwear like Mom always said.  Ah well, they are medical personnel and professionals, right?  I was fine until they put in the contrast which always makes me a little ill.  It went quick though and I was pleased about that.  Until, his assistant came to help me up and out of the machine.  He looked to be 22 years old and here I was with my pants down, literally.  He watched as I bent over in the too tight gown to pull them up.  No embarrassment there, right?  Then I looked down to where I had lain and saw blood on the sheets and looked down at my I.V.  No wonder I was still hurting, it was still dripping blood!  I asked about that and they blew me off.  They wheeled me back to my room.

I get back to my room and I’m waiting and waiting again and the nurse Dawn comes to check on me and ask if I can give them a pee specimen now?  Well, after that contrast which gave me the expected hot flash, I was certain I could give her one.  I didn’t disappoint, I overfilled that cup.  Yuck, nothing like peeing on your own hand.  I cleaned up after screwing that lid on tight!  Then I went back to my E.R. room and sat which felt better than laying down after all that time.  She took the specimen and labeled it but then came back, insisting I lay back as she attached the cuff again.  She wasn’t gone five minutes and that thing errored out again.  Meanwhile she had given me what I assumed was saline in an I.V. drip and had to hook up a pump.  It didn’t want to work and she had to bang on it, no kidding.  So I lay there for another hour as the beeping of the blood pressure cuff, which wasn’t working, continued.  Then, the saline was used up and that thing started beeping.  Talk about torture.  Not like I wasn’t focusing in on the dust and dirt on the ceiling, the beeps of the machines, the conversations from the nurses’ stations and those in other rooms I could hear.

Up until this point I had been pleasant (why get your undies in a wad over nothing you can do), but then I saw the clock.  I’d already been there for five hours!  The beeping was getting on my nerves and I couldn’t understand how they could ignore it for this length of time, not just one machine but two!  I pressed the red button.  I don’t like to do that because it’s pestering them and I really do try not to be a nuisance.  It took them over five minutes to answer, but I figured they were busy.  Another nurse answered and reset the damn cuff machine and turned off the I.V. alarm.  Then I waited, and waited again. 

At five and a half hours the pressure cuff machine alarm went off again.  I pressed the button after a few minutes of listening to that alarm and no one came.  I pressed it again and Dawn came in to reset it.  I asked what was going on as I’d been there over five hours (being generous with the time).  She said they’d been very busy.  I said I understood but c’mon, five hours?  She told me that the results from my scan would take an hour and a half…no one told me that time table!  I looked at the clock and said, fine, I’ll give ya’ll half an hour and then I’m leaving.  This is ridiculous.  Then she left and I heard her say she was going to go home if one more person complained, gee thanx, I can hear you!  Sure enough, that damn machine alarm went off fifteen minutes later, sigh. 

Nearing the six-hour mark I had to pee again.  The I.V. bag must have gone right through me.  I pressed the button so they could unhook everything and I could go to the bathroom.  I heard it go off at the nurse’s desk.  I also heard someone turn it off.  I waited another five minutes before pushing the button.  Another nurse came in and I politely asked her to unhook me so I could use the bathroom.  She very nicely complied, taking off that stupid cuff, the pulse thingy, and unhooking the now empty I.V. bag from my I.V. in my arm.  Then I sat there afterwards and waited, and waited, and waited some more.  It was nearly the six-hour mark when the P.A. came in to tell me they didn’t find anything.

Now, that pissed me off.  They had essentially tortured me for hours with their ignoring of the alarms, especially the ones in my room, and of course the pain they caused me with I.V.’s as well as the ultrasound, but they didn’t find anything?  Six hours wasted that I could have stayed at home and worried instead of in their expensive E.R. bed for what?    When I questioned her further, she said it was gastrointestinal stress or some malarky.  Like they had to tell me something and this was what they could come up with?  My eyes squinted at her and she’s like what?  I said, that doesn’t sound right.  Something is off here.  I could tell by the way her eyes darted away that I was on to something.  That is why I am certain they told me the gastrointestinal BS.  She also mentioned that she had heard I was going to leave and they had just gotten these results from the cat scan, she indicated my chart with paperwork.  Um, yeah, I believe you lady…can I go now?  She sent in someone to remove the I.V. 

As I was getting dressed, she walked in again, leaving the door open as I pulled my shirt and sweatshirt back on…gee, thanx, no privacy?  I always thought when someone knocks on a door you wait until someone tells them to come in before entering a room?  Apparently not.  S M H~

Well, I’ll be calling my GP later today, it’s been a helluva night and my stomach still hurts.  In fact, it hurts worse for all their poking and prodding.  My elbows both hurt and the bruises on the inside of my arms are going to be something.  I ache all over from the uncomfortable positions I was forced to sit in for all those hours.  I am pleased I managed to last the five-plus hours before I started getting angry at their delays. 

Now, I am not mad that there were people ahead of me.  I certainly understand first come, first serve and if there had been an ambulance of course they should go ahead of the queue.  But I had told them I had nothing to eat all day, that I was getting a headache and now acid reflux (both of which I didn’t have until after they asked about them) and still, I got nothing but a diagnosis that really didn’t seem to fit.  They just wanted me gone because I was starting to get annoyed at laying there without any results.  I get that they had to wait on others, but really was there cause to cause me more pain and in some instances agony?  I am not fond of doctors and incidents like these are why.

Today would have been my mother’s 93rd birthday

My mother was born March 10, 1929. How weird to be able to be back in the 20’s! In that momentous year, the stock market also crashed, starting The Depression which lasted years. My mother grew up during that time. I think her stories of that time and her thriftiness affected me more than I knew.

When I wrote my book: The Journey Home, I felt I had been there, during The Depression. Some of the things happening in Hawaii I based on the stories of my aunt who had been stationed there as a nurse. The main characters though were no one that I knew and completely a fabrication of my mind. Something about that era though speaks to me and I have many books I’d like to write about that time period.

Mom used to talk about growing up in those years. She was a baby born well after her parents had thought they would have any more children. Grandma claimed she wasn’t an oops-baby, but I have my doubts. Her sister was eleven years older and told her later in life that she had never liked her (nice eh?), in fact, she had resented having to take care of her as the big sister, even hated her at times. Her brothers were nine and seven years older. So, by the time my mother got to high school, they went off to World War II. By the time they came home, expecting to see their little sister, she had all grown up. They didn’t like it in the least.

My grandmother was a farm girl, now living in the big city. The Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa. Now, when I saw the areas where my mother hung out it was much better than the stories she told. The old houses quite fashionable, upscale, and the wealth of the area obvious. My mother was friends with the mayor’s daughter and my grandmother made all her clothes. She was quite the fashionable young woman, despite the fact that they had no money. Grandpa was a professional painter and supported the family that way.

My mother though, she was something special. I always thought of her as a debutante without the coming out ball. She had taste, sophistication, and class. How she ended up with my naturalist father no one could fathom. She said she found him fascinating. He was very intelligent but no common sense. My mother had common sense in spades and I think she passed that on to me (at least I hope). There really is nothing common about common sense. Her intelligence though was something I always took for granted until I got older.

When I was eighteen and halfway through my private college, Mom decided to move to California after her divorce from my father. She asked if I wanted to go with her and as the last few years had been rocky between us, I felt I didn’t really know her (teen years and family drama), I said yeah, quit college, and packed up. Over the next few years, I really got not only to know her, but she became my best friend. Later, as I started up the first of several businesses, she helped me, she also became my co-parent when my own marriage failed.

I remember being at a trade show with her and she was taking an order. The guy insisted on speaking to the owner and she directed him to me. He looked from her fifty-something-year-old self to my twenty-something-year-old self and thought she was pulling something over on him. At twenty-seven I looked about seventeen. I smiled brightly though and my knowledge of my product and what he needed couldn’t be discounted. He became a customer. I loved that moment, she was so proud of me. She was my best friend and my greatest champion.

During the seventeen years we lived together (we had bought a house together when I was nineteen, she had the down-payment and we both made the payments until later I paid the whole thing) and those later years when I got another house and we lived together part-time, Mom got cancer three times.

The first time was with her thyroid and she ended up on Synthroid. Ironically, my first bout with cancer cost me my thyroid because of the radiation therapy and I am now on Synthroid for the rest of my life.

Her second bout with cancer was colon cancer, the kind that is usually fatal. Fortunately, they found it early and did radical surgery (which I don’t think was as necessary to be that invasive) and she hated the results for the rest of her life. Still, she was still here to tell the tale (something I frequently say).

Unfortunately, Mom’s third bout with cancer was brain cancer. This was why when I flirted with that idea with my own tumor these past months, I was panicking. I even asked the doctor, is it possible that something like that is inherited? It isn’t. Mom decided not to tell anyone that she had cancer and by the time I realized something was wrong, it was far too late.

Fortunately, I had a good relationship with her, she spent plenty of time with my sons, and they have fond memories of her as do I.

About a year or two before she died in 2001 we went to Glamour Shots. Originally it was just going to be me and the boys but at the last minute she impulsively came along and I’m so glad she did. We got these gorgeous pictures together and apart and the only formal ones I have of her later in life. For Xmas that year I sent copies to all my siblings and her brothers. Her sister had died many years before from cancer.

Cancer is a terrible thing, especially when it runs in families. I’m lucky, I’ve survived having it and almost having it again (we’ll be watching that). To this day I miss my mom and here on what would have been her ninety-third birthday wish for her sage advice and gentle humor.

I still feel her now and again and have smelt her perfume when there was no reason to be smelling it in my home. She was never physically here and it’s comforting to ‘feel’ her from time to time, knowing she is checking in on me.

Happy Birthday Mom ~ wherever you may be.

Brain Mass Saga…

I really don’t know how to start this blog.  However, it’s going to be long, I may ramble a bit, so please hang in there and enjoy the tale.

As you know in my previous blogs, I’ve been releasing a lot of Spanish books.  For those who didn’t read my blog’s warning about all the releases, you will have to bear with me over the next few days where even more will be released.  I got a lot of friggin’ work done and I’m proud of it, so each and every short story, novella, and novel I got out, get’s a blog of its own, announcing its release.  More to come, because I’m working again.  By the way, this will happen again as I’ve signed contracts in Portuguese and Italian for many of these same stories.  Each and every one will get its own release announcement.  Ignore them if you don’t read that language, I’ll still be announcing them.  But, that’s for later this year.

That isn’t what this blog is about though.  I know that my friends and fans who read this, are hoping for news about the mass in my brain.  I had to wait over two weeks from the surgeon in Wausau telling me about it to get this appointment.  There were delays because we wanted the scans from last week for this ‘best surgeon in the country’ to see.  There was a lot going on in that time because insurance was involved and people kept trying to cancel the appointment for the scans.  I fought very hard to keep those appointments because I KNEW we NEEDED them for the brain surgeon’s appointment yesterday.  They were VERY important, or so I was led to believe.  Here is what happened yesterday.

I live outside Wausau in a relatively small village.  To me, it’s the gateway to the Big Woods of Wisconsin.  Lots of lakes and trees and the Big Woods was made famous by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her descriptions of it in her book by the same name.  It’s a beautiful place to live. 

However, it is a small-town mentality, and dealing with it sometimes is not easy.  After my initial prognosis and fighting to get the scans, I was told that they wanted me to go to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to see ‘the best surgeon in the country’, the surgeon that my neuro-surgeon in Wausau would see if he had the same condition as I did.  Impressive, right?  Madison is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from my village.  I usually don’t mind these kinds of drives but in the last couple of years of inactivity due to the pandemic I am finding my body has aged, my aches and pains are worse, and I’m not so inclined to take such trips.  Still, I had to go to find out what this surgeon recommended.  I did ask, a couple of times, what this appointment was about, was it a full exam that the surgeon HAD to meet me, or was it a meeting that could have been taken care of with zoom?  The nurses and insurance people I spoke with did NOT know. 

It wasn’t until the day before (Sunday) I started getting a bit nervous, after all, I’d seen the MRI scan that showed the mass in my brain.  What some of you do not know is that my mother died of a brain mass, 21 years ago.  Seeing her lose her mind, both literally and figuratively haunts me to this day.  I have a lot of regrets about that time in my life.  And, to return from her funeral that January with pneumonia myself and my son with bronchitis, compounded the whole situation.  Then, four months later I found out I had cancer, lymphoma.  2001 was NOT my year.

I gassed up my little SUV and it cost me $45.00.  Gas prices are high right now and I get that, but I had planned for this.  Money is also tight for me right now and budgeting these things is something I have no choice but to do.  I set out nearly three hours before my appointment because of possible delays.  I am not familiar with the city of Madison and knew I’d have to rely on Google maps to direct me.  Now, those of you who know me, know I have a love/hate relationship with GPS.  It does NOT like me and more often than not has gotten me lost.  Fortunately, today, it directed me to the University of Wisconsin Health Center with only one hiccup…it made me drive across the whole friggin’ town, on town roads instead of the most direct route on a highway to save time.  Every bump on the local roads, every pothole, every street light.  I didn’t mind except that whole long drive, all you have time for is to think, long thoughts that might not be conducive to good things.  But, it got me there, so I was grateful.

Let me tell you, it is impressive.  The university, the whole medical center, it goes on, and on, and ON!  It’s HUGE!   Then, trying to park, what a busy place.  I expected it, but being a hermit, it could have been quite overwhelming, it sort of was.  Then I got the first parking spot (a psychological bonus) and went in.  They would not allow me to wear my cloth mask.  Okaaaay, they gave me a surgical mask which I gladly put on to keep them happy and everyone safe.  I’ve been a big mask proponent from day one of all of this.  They were very kind and directed me to the neurology department.  It reminded me of a garden, modern, but not too modern and friendly.  But damn, people were zipping about and so many of them.  It wasn’t crowded but it was non-stop.  I was early and expected to wait a while.  My phone and reading the news was thwarted by whatever they had set up in the hospital.  Amazingly, I didn’t wait long and the time was filled by filling out a weird little questionnaire that wasn’t very impressive or professional.  Okay, it’s their place of business, I’m just visiting and I’ll do what I’m told.  They show me into an exam room.

The nurse goes to take my weight, my blood pressure, and I politely ask that she do that by hand because I always get hurt by the pressure cuff.  I have big arms, from the days where I used to work out, and all that has turned to fat and it hurts when they use an automated machine to take the pressure.  She didn’t really show it, but I could tell she was annoyed by the request.  However, another nurse told me a while back that this request was not unusual and if it’s my preference to always ask for it, so I did.  This nurse hurt me with her overinflation of the cuff, what I was trying to avoid with the automated one.  Ah well, maybe it was an accident.  She took some basics and then left me alone.  And alone.  And alone.

I am NOT happy

I started texting a friend, since that was the only thing that worked on my phone.  Letting her know what was going on.  After nearly an hour though, my patience was wearing thin.  Now, some will tell you I am NOT a patient person, I’m one of them that will tell you that.  However, in my defense, it depends on what the something is that I’m having to be patient about.  Leaving me in an examination room, no magazines, no word on how long the doctor will be, no nothing, is about respect.  Furthermore, there was some type of machinery in the next room that sounded like an oxygen pump going off continually, and it was loud.  Then, the fluorescent light above me in the room started flickering.  Guess what I was focusing on, the noise and the light.  Twenty minutes and they should come and tell you, hey, we haven’t forgotten about you, but we are aware that your time is valuable and will be with you as soon as possible.  That is respect.  That is acknowledging that your time is just as important as theirs.  At forty minutes, I’m starting to fume a bit, I’m thinking of leaving but my friend points out that I’d be spiting myself, since I fought so hard to get to this point, drove so long, etc.  Good point.  However, I didn’t say I’d leave the building, but I was thinking I would seek out someone as to why I was being treated like this? 

It was nearly an hour before a nurse came in.  I let her know in no uncertain terms how I felt about being kept waiting for nearly that hour.  Now, this isn’t my first rodeo about this type of disrespect and they always come up with, well, we have other patients, blah, blah, blah.  I am not stupid.  I’m fully aware of the fact that there are other patients and I expect to get my doctor’s full attention for the time I am with them too.  I expect they too expect to be treated with respect.  Leaving me in that room for that amount of time without a heads up as to what is going on is not respectful.  I let her know that.  For some reason, she jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to cancel my appointment right then and there and leave.  No, that was not what I was saying at all.  I calmed a bit and we both ignored the rude way they had treated me and went over their lame questionnaire, her asking me to fill in the blanks on my medical records that they had.

Since 2001 I have been very well aware of the mistakes that can be made in a medical office.  The gaps here though, in 2022 in a facility such as this, were unacceptable.  I had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2001.  I took an experimental treatment with Stanford.  All of this I have blogged about before and you can look it up in the search bar above.  I won’t repeat it all here, now.  However, they had down on their medical records that I had both Hodgkins Lymphoma, and non-Hodgkins.  There were other things that were wrong as well.  The nurse had no problem deleting some of the information but it made me think, how easy it is to delete information off my medical records.  This could be good and bad.  Something I asked her to put on there was that at no time was I EVER to be given narcotics, especially in the form of anesthesia.  I always react badly to this, and have told every medical person I come in contact with, because they friggin’ DON’T listen and I’ve been given this crap, only to be sick for days and weeks afterwards with projectile vomiting.  No kidding.  Gross, and you probably didn’t want to know about this, but it’s important.  There are alternatives to putting narcotics in anesthesia.  Some doctors are lazy and don’t want to research what they are though and narcotics are the easiest way to put a patient out.  I’ve experienced this before and suffered as a result.

By the way, those scans I had fought so hard to have done, so this surgeon would have the complete picture, hadn’t even made their way down into their system here in Madison.  Only the notes someone had compiled who had read the scans!  Wow, sure glad I made such an effort (this is sarcasm).

The surgeon I was expecting first of all I had been led to believe was a man.  In walked a nice woman who introduced herself as my surgeon.  I was confused, but trying to go with the flow.  My first impressions about this place and the wait had not put me in an especially good mood.  I thought perhaps I should just calm down and see what was going on.  The nurse started repeating the information to the doctor, going over everything we had just gone over, and getting it WRONG!  Good thing I was there to correct her but at the same time, I felt my input was not appreciated.  Um, hello, it’s my medical care and it’s important to me!  I realize they see hundreds of patients but if you don’t advocate for your own health, your own well-being, then these people are going to make mistakes.  I’d already seen several of them.  After going over part of the information the nurse suddenly and abruptly left me alone with the surgeon.

Now, this surgeon, while she seemed like a nice person, was mumbling and that bothered me as I have to understand what she is going to do.  She didn’t do anything at this meeting.  I was getting the same meeting I’d had back in Wausau with the neurosurgeon there, but now 2.5 hours away in Madison.  What a friggin’ waste of my time and energies.  She told me she wanted to do a biopsy of the mass.  I’d already been told this.  She is a surgeon; she’s going to want to operate.  That’s what they do, don’t they?  She told me that they needed another MRI.  She’d been told I didn’t do closed MRIs because of my wide shoulders, and because it hurts.  She seemed to take pleasure out of informing me that she needed a closed MRI despite the fact that she knew it would hurt me.  Seriously?  She did explain that a closed MRI would give her a better scan, a better map of my brain.  That an open MRI ‘fills in the gaps and those gaps are blurry.  Okay, that’s logical.  Still, I couldn’t forget the pleasure she got at the idea this was going to cause me pain.  She also insisted it had to in Madison instead of having one that was convenient to my home.  Hell, the open MRI is literally 1.5 miles from my home, I could walk (except for the temperatures this time of year).

I pointed out that it was a long drive down here and asked after the surgery would I be able to drive myself home?  She asked if I had driven myself here to this appointment and, startled, I replied I had.  This seemed to bother her for some reason.  No one has told me at this point I can’t drive.  She became condescending a little and said that social services would arrange for a social worker to help me.  That they would arrange for me to be driven to and from the surgery.  I bristled at her tone and the words social worker, as though I was too inept to make my own decisions.  Her tone further bothered me, and her mumbling.  She also jumped on the fact that I’d had lymphoma in the past and seemed to think that this was a reoccurrence, causing the mass.  I am skeptical, after twenty-one years?  I don’t think so.  My confidence in this ‘surgeon’ was not there, at all.

She left me as I couldn’t think of more questions.  I did know and told her that I would think up more on my way home.  She said I could call her office.  I pointed out it wasn’t easy to get through to her office and she smiled and left, telling me her nurse would be back to schedule the MRI appointment and the surgery.  I waited, and I waited, and I waited…AGAIN!  After the way I had already been treated, disrespected even, I walked out.  Enough already. 

I called the other neurosurgeon’s office once I got back to my SUV.  It was already late in the day and all I got was a phone nightmare of press one for this and two for that.  I finally got someone on the phone who took my message, asking the name of the surgeon I was referred to.  I didn’t tell them on the phone but I felt the original surgeon I had been told I’d be seeing, had been switched.  I was promised the A-Team and got the B-Team instead.  I wasn’t important enough for them to give me the best.  The woman on the phone informed me there was nothing in my records indicating WHO I had been referred to!  WHAT?  Apparently, it just said UW Health, not the name of the neurosurgeon who they told me was the best in the country.  WTH?

On my way out of town, I stopped at a couple of stores we do not have up here in the Northwoods.  The GPS got me there no problem.  It was as I was trying to leave town for home that the familiar GPS problem arose.  This exact same problem had happened one other time in leaving Madison.  For some reason, the GPS instead of sending me slightly east and then north, wants to send me west.  I caught the error within twelve miles and turned around, the GPS was NOT happy.  I turned it off and used dead reckoning and my own innate good sense to counter it wanting me to go a helluva long way out of my way to get home.  I took highways to the interstate to head home.  Not even halfway I realized I needed to stop, not only for a bathroom break, but to gas up again, and to get some dinner.  I was becoming sleepy and it was already dark, not a good combination and I had over 100 miles to go yet.

Unfortunately, I took the wrong off-ramp from the interstate and got lost in a town, unable to find my way back to the interstate.  I wandered around for quite a while until I found the road I had originally thought I was getting off on, stopped for gas (another $31), bathroom, and then went across the street for dinner.  I sat in the parking lot to eat part of it, take some caffeine intake (soda, which I have to limit with my stomach), and to further contemplate what had happened to me.  I have to admit, I’m in shock at the appalling way I have been treated.  I did not finish my dinner, but found my way back onto the interstate. 

That amount of time is a lot of time to think, alone in an SUV with nothing to distract you.  Yes, I’m concentrating on my driving, because, you know, deer in Wisconsin are those big white-tailed deer who have a tendency to want to get hit on the interstate.  BUT, a lot had happened to me in the last few weeks including the death of friends…as I wrote in a previous blog my friend Carrie had died.  I was passing her hometown on my travels and couldn’t help but think of that and her.  Thirty-eight years is a long time to know someone.  I do miss a lot about her and the fact I can’t call her and talk to her.  A lot of regrets there.

So, this is my tale of waiting on this much-anticipated appointment.  They built it up as so important, so vital to my care, that I thought I have to get down to Madison for this.  Come hell or high water, I had to see this surgeon.  What a letdown.  It will be interesting to see the fallout in the coming days from this.  I’m incredulous at these behaviors and will not put up with being disrespected like this.

Like why did I have to pay over $70 in gas to get there for an appointment that could have been taken care of, realistically, by zoom?  Why waste five hours of my driving time for this?  Another hour in the exam room to be only partly listened to?  For this, I showered?  Shaved?  Put on a bra?  Really??

Stay tuned…