Saturday, September 24, 2005

Medical Clearance, Wisdom Teeth, and a trip to the Emergency Room

This Monday, September 19th to be exact, I recieved a letter from the Peace Corps giving me medical clearance!!! This is a huge step in the process and one that usually takes the longest and is the most difficult to achieve. The reason for this: the peace corps examines EVERYTHING in your medical background to ensure that there will be no problems in the 2 years while you serve. My clearence does have one condition. That I be near psychiatric help if need be. This stipulation comes because I have been on Paxil 3 times in my life, most recently in 2002 when I accepted my first teaching job at Morristown (go Yellowjackets!) a week before school started and accepted the lead role in Jekyll and Hyde. I knew I was going to be in a stressful situation so I had my mom call our family doctor to prescribe Paxil in an effort to help me get through a difficult situation. I was on the medication for about 3 months. There was no psychiatric counseling either before or after. I didn't even go to see the doctor for crying out loud. I just needed the drugs. They had worked for me in the past and I knew that they would work again to get me through a tough spot. If you are looking into joining the peace corps here's a big word of advice: be careful what you list on your medical history. If you struggle w/ depression and have serious bouts and have thoughts of suicide, then yes, you should disclose that. You could do yourself more harm than good if they place you in the middle of Africa and you are DAYS away from getting you counseling or meds. But on the other hand, if it wasn't a BIG deal, if you were only on anti-depressants because you were in a rough situation (relationship breakup, school, career, family, etc) just be aware that the PC will THOROUGHLY investigate. So make sure it's a big deal before you list it. October 8th. If i haven't recieved my formal invitation by then I probably won't leave until next spring. The PC has 'windows' throughout the year when they send people and when they don't and the spring is the most active time, winter the slowest. I'm still waiting on a decision from my brother Andy as to whether he will live in the house until it sells if I leave before I have a buyer. I also ran into Bobo the other day and he suggested the possibility of he and Jennifer moving in for a time until it sells and they can find a house of their own. In the mean time, I'll just pray that it sells before then. I've had several lookers, but no buyers. I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday. My dentist suggested I get them out, but what i found out this week is that it is manditory for PCVs to get those out before they leave. I had all 4 removed and had it done at the IU Hospital in Indy. The process wasn't bad, the top teeth came out easier than the lowers. It was mildly uncomfortable but overall not bad. The real drama started that night. My mother called and asked if I should be home (in Rushville) so someone could keep an eye on me for 24 hours. "I'm fine, Mom. I feel great. I'll be ok, trust me." I ate soup, yougert and icecream while i watched "My Best Friends Wedding" and then went to bed around 8pm. At 10:15 I woke up and went down stairs to get some gauze. I could tell I was still bleeding and swallowing blood, so I wanted to try to get that stopped w/ some gauze. I stopped to go to the bathroom while down stairs and started to feel light headed. I get that way if I get up too fast and I didnt' think much of it. I put my hand on the wall because I could feel myslef getting dizzy. It was getting worse and I could feel myself blacking out, so I went down on my knees and then immedialtly I laid flat on the lanolium floor, head spinning, sweating profusely, unable to move or speak. I was FREAKED OUT! Mark, my roommate, wasn't home. My phone was upstairs. All i could think was that I needed help and I needed it now. I faught passing out but I could feel my body shutting down. "Get upstairs! Get to the phone! Call 911!" Thoughts that raced through my head. The lanolium felt cool and good agains my burning skin. I mustered up strength and turned on the fauced and splashed water in my face and then went immediatly back down to the floor, knowing i didn't have enough strength to get up the stairs. I barely had enough to stay awake. I laid there for what seemed like a few moments and then decided that my only chance at getting help was to force myself to get up the stairs. Maybe i crawled, maybe i walked, i don't remember, but i made it to the stairs, where i collapsed again. Rested for a few and then decided I MUST get up there. I prayed, "God, help me! Just help me! I need Your strength now for mere survival." I lugged up the steps and into my bedroom crashing onto the bed and grabbing the phone. I must have hit my hed on the bedpost because i had a small pool of blood on my sheets, but I didn't notice. I was too far gone. I grabbed the cell phone thinking, "i just need to dial 911 and give my location." I pushed the buttons and noticed i had dialed 9-1-1-1 instead. Cleared the phone and dialed again. "Where is your emergency?" I gave my address. "What is the problem?" "Need an... ambulance. About... to pass out" I could feel my strength starting to come back but i was terribly weak. I wanted to get the front door unlocked for the EMTs so I gathered up strenght and made it downstairs and unlocked the door. Upon arriving they started asking me questions. "what's your name? what happened?" They took my blood pressure which was something like 45/65 and my blood sugar which I think they said was 58. Both very low. They got me on a stretcher and wheeled me out to the ambulance. Hooked me up to an IV and started me to the hospital. I was feeling better by then but still very exhausted and weak. Upon arriving at the hospital I was very cold. I had been there 5 minutes when I saw a big guy in a blue shirt and glasses walk by. "Bobo!" I yelled out. It was my good friend Jason Cain who was a volunteer fireman in Mays. He looked at me funny, asked me why I was there and I did the same. I guess there was a volunteer fireman who had a brain tumor and he needed to be transported to Indy and he wanted his crew to transport him. Bobo asked if I wanted him to call my folks and I told him to go ahead. My dad and brother came in around 1:30am to take me home (Rushville). The prognosis: Vicodin. Though I had taken the prescribed amount, because I'm such a light weight and a runner which means my pulse is slow anyway, It was too much for my body to handle. It wasn't an alergic reacion, but i haven't taken any since. It was very scarry. To be home alone, away from a phone, unable to move or cry for help. It made me think of the elderly who break their hips and wait for hours/days for help. It made me think of Africa and what would have happened to me if this happened over there?? I'm fine now. Weary but fine. More conscious about what I put into my body and more thankful for God, friends and family who are always there, especially when I need them.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Long Haired Hippie

On the Peace Corps front, I recieved a large envelope last week in the mail. Instantly my heart skipped a beat. Was this it already? Was I to recieve my FORMAL INVITATION this soon? I had just submitted my medical clearance forms. This was supposed to take weeks, months even. It was EXACTLY what my fellow PCVs told me would arrive. A large envelope from the PC. How could this NOT be it?? I rushed to open it. Practically ripping the entire thing in half in order to get to the contents only to find that it was my dental forms returned to me with a note stating that I needed my dentist to write a letter stating that my wisdom teeth were/are sucessfully extracted. That date is set for September 23. All 4 teeth... out. The dentis at the IU Hospital, aka dentist in training asked me if i wanted sedation or a shot to numb the pain while i consciously sit through the procedure. I think back to Heather Ault. I took Heather to get her wisdom teeth removed when I was in college. What i experienced there was something I'll never ever ever forget. It belonged in a Halloween haunted mansion, or a torture chamber training center. It was an older dentist, a guy who should have been out of practice YEARS ago. I think he furnished his office with junk he had picked up from the Salvation Army when he opened in 1964. That square, 'modern' furnature. Wall decorations that looked like they would have made better gliders than art work. Greens and tans galore. She screamed. Screamed like I've never heard anyone scream before. Over and over and over and over. 20 minutes passed. 30. 40. Screaming and screaming. Sounds of someone in pain, someone who needed help. Oh, he tried to consold her. "we've almost got it" "It's almost out" "Just sit back" "Suck it up, you pansy!!" OK, so that last part I made up, but seriously I sat there, helpless, listening to it all. Finally I had to just leave. Go for a walk and pray that she was alrigth. 2 hours. That's how long he worked on a tooth that was wrapped around her jaw. In the end, she was bruised and swolen. She lost the feeling and taste in half of her tongue due to nerve damage she sustained. Come to find out this guy had SEVERAL law suits against him for mal-practice. So the dentist asked me. Sedation or a shot in the jaw. "Take it out with a ball pin hammer, whichever is cheaper." I told him... Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but at the core of me, I'm still a tightwad. On a lighter note, Mark Cain (my roommate) and I went on a run last night and some redneck in a pickup yelled at us "Long Haired Hippie"!! I havent cut my hair in 9 months and to get that shouted at me... how dare him! Actually, it made my WEEK! So, I'm an ironworker now. An apprentice actually. Putting up Tilt Wall panels in Marion, IN. The job should last for acouple of months. It's interesting. I'm amazed at 2 things: that the F word is used in many many more ways than I thought was possible for it to be used. Second, there are many things that they left out in Sex Ed in 5th grade that these guys are more than happy to share. The sad part is, I wonder how many of them have ever truly loved a woman... not that I have, I just wonder. That's all.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Simon says 'Colts'

Cory Simon is now an Indianapolis Colt! Story Rock on!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

square one

I feel like I'm right back to where I started. My brother is looking for apartments, so that means, I'm left to assume (and you know what that means), that he's not interested in taking over the house until it sells. I'm back to looking for homes for Leighla and Bear, my 2 dogs. Kathy D has had difficulty finding living accomodations that will allow pets, and I'm still waiting, waiting, waiting for medical clearance. The Peace Corps DID send me an email saying they recieved my physical, but other than that I've nada from them. I like the new job. I work my tail off and I'm earning nearly 3X what i was making before, both of which I like. I don't like gas prices being 3.29 per gallon. That I definately DON'T like. But fantasy football is getting ready to start up and that's always one of my favorite times of the year. I do have someone coming to look at my house tomorrow morning. I did lower the price on it to try to attract more lookers. Does that work for attracting women as well??