Thursday, June 30, 2005

Phlegm, blood, and pee

Update on illness: It's moved out of my sinuses, and into my ears and chest. I saw the doctor today, and he put me on a prescription cough syrup with decongestant. We're unsure whether or not it's viral, but with the weekend coming up, he wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic. He told me to hang onto it for a couple of days and see if the stuff clears up on its own.

Update on surgery: I have my appointment with the Red Cross to have my blood drawn. I was told by a doctor in the bariatric surgery department that the need for a transfusion for the procedure I'm having is only about 1-2% likely, and even with my medical history and past surgery, the probability is only bumped up to about 3%. She told me that it was still a reasonable precaution to have one unit of blood drawn. So, my appointment is July 13th at 9:15 AM. That gives me plenty of time to recover from this respiratory nastiness, and plenty of time to build new blood after the unit is drawn.

I'm sad that they won't use my blood on someone else if they don't use it on me. I am indefinitely deferred because I've had a splenectomy and because I've had Hodgkin's Disease. It's a shame because I'm the kind of person who would donate regularly.

Update on bathroom ceiling: I don't think I posted about this before, but our bathroom ceiling used to leak massive amounts of water all over the floor because our upstairs neighbors have the shower running All The Time. We called apartment maintenance and they "fixed" it, but we think they just replastered the ceiling. We've been watching the last few months as the same spot has gradually discolored and warped.

Last night, I woke up at 3 AM having to pee. I had to pee because I was dreaming of running water. I was dreaming of running water because our bathroom ceiling was leaking profusely. I grabbed a big heavy towel and threw it on the bathroom floor, used the can while trying to get rained on as little as possible, and then woke my husband up. He looked at the torrential downpour, told me he'd call maintenance in the morning, and went back to sleep. I went upstairs and knocked on our neighbor's door for several minutes, but no one answered. I came back downstairs, knowing that I would not be able to sleep while it was raining in my bathroom, and went to check on the status of the leak. Luckily, it had slowed to the moderate drip that we had seen during the last series of bathroom leaks. I conceded that nothing could be done, and was able to sleep.

Maintenance is coming tomorrow. Damn my upstairs neighbor for putting us in a position to have maintenance in our apartment. Now we have to clean and stuff.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


My supervisor came to me with another error I made. It was a different page with a different item, but it was the same type of goof I made before. I sat there, numbly wondering how I could goof again (on the same issue!) so soon after being told about my other goof. I apologized and promised to be more careful. My supervisor walked away and I continued with my work, all the while chewing and rechewing over the question of how I could have blown it again.

A thought occurred to me. I went to my supervisor and asked what date I had made the second mistake. It turns out that it was on the same day as the other one. Whew. I still feel dumb for making the mistake in the first place, but at least it wasn't after the problem was pointed out to me.

Update on my illness: My tonsils are not quite as huge today (possibly due to the drinking of hot tea and then mass quantities of ice water) but my sinuses are draining some scary looking crud. (Yeah, I'm one of those people who checks out what the stuff looks like. I'm keeping tabs on what my body's producing. I'm like a very responsible factory foreman.) It's got texture and various colors, and even some blood. I'm seriously scared of it. It looks like it could sprout legs and come and get me. And it breeds in my sinuses!

Update on caffeine: I have been a perfect angel about giving up caffeine. There is a bottle of diet Pepsi that we got without warning with food delivery like 2 months ago, and I have not even so much as cracked the cap. Today, however... well, I forgot to bring herbal tea bags with me, and I wanted a hot drink to soothe my throat. I allowed myself some tea, but only kept the tea bag in it for as long as it took to fill the cup with hot water and walk to the trash can. It tasted glorious.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Craftiness, snottiness, and cuteness.

Remember how I said that I love craft stores? Well, I think I'm in trouble. I've just been trained on a new book. It's almost solely arts and crafts supplies.

I'm feeling so sick. We went over to the in-laws' place and they were sick. Now I am sick. My head is stuffed with fiberfill. My tonsils are larger than my feet. I want to die, but that seems like too much work.

Willow has discovered the joy of bellyrubs. Now that she has made this discovery, she wants them all the time. The other day, she used her soporifirays to make me fall back to sleep after I had turned off the alarm. I was consequently late for work. My husband had a little chat with her that night and explained the importance of not making mommy late for work. Since then, she has not cuddled in bed with me in the morning. This denial of cuteness was also unacceptable, so my husband had another talk with her and explained that she can cuddle with me as long as the alarm is still on snooze. She doesn't seem to understand the distinction, however. Stupid cat.

A Quick and Dirty I.Q. Test

Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Average


Monday, June 27, 2005

Proffreedimication part 2

I made some passing comment about how I'd blown it, and I was immediately told by about 5 different people that I was being silly and that it wasn't that big a deal. Also, I was only one of several people who looked at the page after the problem occurred, so it doesn't all rest on me.

I feel better. I still would have preferred to have left my temp assignment with them believing me the best thing since sliced bread, but I think I'm still appreciated. Hopefully when I am done recovering from my surgery, I will still have a pretty good chance of getting a permanent placement here.

Speaking of my surgery, I finally remembered to call and see if I can have some of my own blood drawn in case I need a transfusion during surgery. I was directed to call the blood bank, at which point I was directed back to my doctor to have an order written. I spoke with Jill in the bariatric surgery department, and she is going to get it all arranged for me and call me back.

The person at the blood bank told me they generally draw about 2-3 units for that type of procedure. That's a lot of blood, isn't it? Maybe that would be a viable weight loss option. Just keep taking blood away from me.


Well, I made my first big goof at work. *sigh*

They do several different versions of each catalog, and drop them at different regions. For each version, they change the prefixes for the items, so that when an order is placed, they can track the region and build their statistics. So, each version has to be proofed, but in a less intensive way. The proofer is supposed to look at the prefixes, make sure nothing has moved around on the page, make sure the images are all the same, and check all the copyright marks to make sure they didn't revert to ASCII.

Because I sit right next to the person who builds the packages for proofing, and because I have only been trained on a limited range of books (yeah, some of the rules change from one book to the other, though they all pretty much sell the same thing), I was the one who looked at most of the versions. Well, I missed a very important thing. Apparently there was an error of some kind that caused some text to move over a bit, which caused the price to be pushed to the next line, which moved it under the next image down. So, for one item in that run of catalogs, the price is essentially missing.

They printed tens of thousands of these before the problem was noticed.

So my record has been blemished. My supervisor tells me that worse mistakes have been made, and that they're still going to use the catalogs, and that I'm not in trouble. However, I still feel horrible, and I'm not as confident that I will be able to get a permanent position here now. Tracey tells me that I shouldn't worry about it, but I'm a worrier. Not worrying about stuff like that would be like not blowing my nose when it's runny.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Jess is a tired monkey

Why is it so much more difficult to gather up the gumption to go to work on a Saturday?

We have a Tuesday deadline for the catalog I'm proofing, so I offered to come in on Saturday and take the time off on the following Friday. (I would do overtime for the money, but they don't want to pay time and a half at temp rates.) So here I am, finally awake after hitting snooze eleventy billion times, and still dragging my heels about getting ready.

Man, I'm not even sure I have anything clean to wear. *sigh*

Back on the MMORPG note, I wrote the backstory for one of my characters. It turned out darker than I expected.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Michael and I are coming up on the 2nd anniversary of our first date. For most married couples, continuing to celebrate the anniversary of the first date is a bit silly. However, I think that July 2 is possibly a more important anniversary than our October 23 wedding anniversary.

For one thing, we didn't do the whole church-candles-flowers-cake-champagne-photos hullabaloo that most people do. My mother, my sister, and the judge's wife were the only ones present who were not direct participants (though mom and sis were our witnesses). Then we went to a nice restaurant afterwards. It was certainly a huge milestone in my relationship with Michael, but not much was changed because of it.

Our first date, however... that was life-changing. Michael and I fell in love that day. I knew then and there that my plans for moving back to Ohio were no longer going to be carried out. That's huge. That was the day that we gambled and won. That's something worth celebrating!

True, now that we're married, Michael and I put more effort into the long-term stuff that unmarried couples might neglect. While I am glad of that, I still don't think it's as much a cause for yearly celebration as is that day when we found that we struck sparks from one another.

For these reasons, I am looking forward to our planned anniversary event of bringing home live lobsters and cooking them on the 2nd. I've also purchased a present for Michael, which I think he will very much enjoy. (I'll tell you what it is later, in case Michael reads this before then.) I will tell Michael that I expect some sort of token gift on that day, as well.

Of course, we're still celebrating in October, too. I'm greedy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

MMORPG Addiction

My husband and I cancelled our City of Heroes account a few weeks ago. We just weren't playing it anymore. I mean, Michael had fairly rarely played it anyway, but even I was no longer playing for 3-5 hours a day. Sounds like I was making progress in my MMORPG addiction, right? Wrong.

We stopped playing CoH because we became addicted to World of Warcraft. Like with CoH, Michael still plays significantly less than I do, but I play a LOT. WoW makes time die.

I play on the Feathermoon server, which is RP (so there are fewer jerks and gankers, but more faerie-kissing whiners). I started with a Human Rogue named Jessamin, who got to level 17 before I started another character and kicked her to the curb. I sold off all her stuff and sent the gold to my new characters. I now have a level 43 Dwarven(Alliance) Hunter named Amma, a level 27 Human(Alliance) Paladin named Moxxi, and a level 6 or so Troll(Horde) Warrior named Ishka.

Michael recently acquired a new laptop from work that is capable of playing WoW, so we started a second account. This way, Michael and I can play at the same time. We asked Blizzard to allow me to port my characters over to the new account, but they said no. However, they did say that they are considering allowing it at some point in the future because it has been requested by so many other people in our position. So that's why I created Ishka on the new account... so I can play a character when Michael wants to play his level 30 character on the original account.

Moxxi recently earned the rank of Private by playing Battlegrounds, the PVP capture the flag subgame within WoW. The Horde is much better at BG than the Alliance, because so few players roll up (why do we say we're rolling up a character when there are no dice involved? 'Cause we're geeks) Horde characters. Everyone wants a pretty toon instead. So the few Horde BG'ers get lots of practice at the individual and team strategies, and they capture the flag 3 times before Alliance can even iron out who's going to start a raid group. That's another reason why I created Ishka.

But I digress. The point is, I have not escaped my MMORPG addiction. If anything, I have been sucked in even more deeply. Currently, I'm okay with this. We'll see what's what as time goes by.

If you're a fellow addict, drop one of my characters a line, whydontcha?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Adventures in proofing

I've been temping as a proofer at a company that imports various tchotchkes and crap from overseas and sells them to housewives in the midwest. I look at a spread of two pages that will face one another in the catalog and check for problems. Some common problems include:

  • grammar issues
  • spelling mistakes
  • transposed letters (who the hell thinks "thier" looks correct?)
  • transposed numbers in upc codes
  • omitted words
  • spaces added or omitted
  • missing dollar signs
  • extraneous apostrophes (which have always been my biggest pet peeve)
  • inch marks used when rounded quotes should be used
  • rounded quotes used when inch marks should be used
  • characters like ® or © that have been corrupted into nonsense ASCII
  • incorrect prices
  • items flagged as exclusive when they are not
  • items not flagged as exclusive when they are
  • copy that's missing important information
  • copy that has incorrect information
  • copy that has too much fluff
  • omitted disclaimers
  • math issues (e.g. "50% off!" when it's really 49%)
  • gaps between images and borders
  • subjects in images facing off the page
  • images that will be cropped too closely when the pages are cut
  • list order and image order not corresponding
and so forth.

Occasionally I find something totally outlandish, like bookmarks being displayed lying on top of an open book, the text of which describes the act of snorting cocaine. When I brought that one to the book lead, she asked me if I thought anyone would really look at it. I shrugged and reminded her that it was up to her. (Personally, I wouldn't want to leave something like that in a catalog that has like 15 pages devoted to religious merchandise, but it ain't my ass on the line.) I saw the finished product some time later, and the book was the same, but the print has been fuzzed up a bit. Another interesting one would be the vinyl bendable monkeys, whose tails look inappropriate for children's toys the way they are positioned in the photograph.

One of the very awesome benefits of this gig is that the office is about 10 blocks from my apartment. I can roll out of bed and more or less sleepwalk (sleepdrive?) to work. It's pretty nice.

One of the very nasty drawbacks of this gig is that there is always candy around. Moreover, because the candy is overstock crud that the company sells, it's not very good. So not only am I tempted frequently by sweets, but when I finally give in, it's so not worth it!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Four Ounces

So, my friend ben asked me to start a whole new blog to document something huge that is going on in my life. I began to do so, and then I decided that I might as well put it here in this blog, since it's what's really-really happening in my life.

I'm going to be having weight loss surgery in July. It's a procedure called the Duodenal Switch. It's one of the five types of weight loss surgery now commonly performed. Basically, a large section of my stomach and intestines will be partitioned off and bypassed, leaving me with a four ounce stomach capacity and a much shorter intestinal tract. This serves two purposes: it will reduce the amount of food I am able to consume, and it will reduce the absorption of that food. More information about the procedure can be found at

I've been preparing for this procedure for several months. This is what the surgeon required before he'd even schedule an appointment:
  • I had to attend an orientation seminar that the Bariatric Surgery staff hold every other week. This served to introduce the staff, explain the procedures, risks, benefits, and acquaint us with the pre- and post-op issues. I wish I'd had my husband attend as well, because it was a lot of information. At this point, he's probably gotten all of the information that was covered, but they did a much better job of presenting it than I could have.
  • I had to be examined and cleared by the surgeon, himself.
  • I had to get my primary physician to report that I had tried other methods of weight loss, and failed.
  • I had to be cleared by an oncologist, because I had cancer when I was 15. At this time I also had my baseline mammogram, which thankfully was normal. It was also much less painful than I was led to believe it would be. It wasn't even very uncomfortable. I had the impression that it would feel like feeding my breast through a paper-port scanner or something.
  • I had to have several kinds of bloodwork drawn.
  • I had to have Arterial Blood Gases drawn. The last time I had this done, I found it to be the most painful experience I could remember. They draw it from an artery in the wrist, which is loaded with nerve endings (probably to protect precious arteries). However, the technician who drew the ABGs this time was amazing. It ended up being less painful than the normal bloodwork.
  • I had to have a sleep study and chest x-ray, and be cleared by a pulmonologist. The sleep study showed that I have pretty severe sleep apnea. I had over 70 instances of apnea in the 5 or so hours that I slept at the study, the longest lasting for about 35 seconds. I stopped breathing for 35 seconds while I was sleeping! Crikey! I was put on oxygen at night for a couple of weeks following that. I was given this machine called a concentrator, which takes the air from the room and converts it to oxygen and runs it through water and into a cannula in my nose. I was then scheduled for a second sleep study, during which they tried different amounts of air pressure on a machine called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). I was issued my own CPAP to use at home, and I use it more or less every night. (I'm supposed to use it every night without fail, but sometimes I just don't, alright?) The CPAP during the sleep study was this big triangular mask that made me all sweaty and uncomfortable, but luckily I was able to get a more comfortable "nasal pillow" style cannula-type thing. The CPAP is much more quiet than the concentrator was, but I still sound a bit Darth Vaderish.
  • I had to have a mental health evaluation, to determine if my psyche is healthy enough to deal with this type of change in my life.
  • I had to meet with the surgeon's staff nutritionist, who covered all of the changes I would have to begin making now in order to prepare for the habits I would have to acquire post-operatively. I won't be able to drink any fluids during meals, or for 30 minutes before or after. I can't have any caffeine, because of how it irritates the gastric system and dehydrates. I'm not supposed to drink carbonated or alcoholic beverages. For a considerable time following surgery, I'll be on a liquid diet, and then mush, and then only soft meats like fish and chicken. Even after I can eat any kind of food, I'll be following a diabetic diet, in order to make sure that I am using the limited space in my stomach for the nutrients I need. I have to make sure to eat at least 60 grams of lean protein every day, and then try to fit the rest of the fiber, vitamins, and stuff into my diet. I also have to drink 8 glasses of water a day. I have enough trouble doing that now. I have no idea how I'm going to manage it with only 4 ounces of stomach capacity. I'm also going to have to give up rice, pasta, and bread, because they expand in the stomach.
  • I had to lose about 10 pounds before they'd even schedule the surgery date. This is ostensibly because the surgeon needs room to poke around, but I think a large part of it is to prove that I can commit to making such a huge change.
  • I had to be cleared by my insurance company. The practice of insurance companies dealing with weight loss surgery in the past has been to automatically decline the initial application, thereby weeding out those who are not fully committed to the process. I completely expected to have to file an appeal. However, I think that UHC is sick of dealing with all my back injuries and stuff, so they cleared me right off the bat.
I'll be in the hospital for as much as a week following the procedure, and then I will be recovering at home for 2-6 weeks, depending on whether the surgeon is able to do the procedure laparoscopically or if he needs to do it as an open procedure. He is going to begin the procedure laparoscopically, and if he runs into problems with scarring and adhesions from the surgery I had when I had cancer, he will continue the surgery as an open procedure.

The benefits of the laparoscopic surgery are that the camera can see into places he would not be able to see if he did the open procedure, and the recovery time is much shorter. The benefits of the open procedure is a shorter time on the table (and under anaesthesia, which reduces the risk of mortality), and a better ability to deal with the adhesions that are likely there from my splenectomy.

So, I have my surgery date. It's July 25th. I'm currently mostly fretting about preparing financially for the probability that I will be unable to work for two months. I think it's my psyche's way of distracting me from worrying about the pain and risk and upheaval to my life. I'm sure it will all hit me as I'm being prepped for surgery, and I'll have a stop-the-ride-I-want-to-get-off moment. Still, I am really committed to this process, and I'm very excited about the benefits. I'm looking forward to an end to back, knee, and ankle pain. I'm looking forward to being able to breathe normally after climbing a flight of stairs. I'm looking forward to more energy. And of course, I'm looking forward to looking better.

I'll continue to post as new developments crop up. Thanks for being interested.