Sleepless Nights Approaching Surgery

For the past week or so, I haven’t been sleeping well.  My nights are filled with stressful dreams that leave me exhausted in the morning.  There are two reasons for this.  Unfortunately, the solution to the first reason is, in fact, the second reason.

Let me back up a bit.  I’ve always had a problem breathing through my nose.  One nostril seems perpetually stuffed up.  Almost twenty years ago, I had surgery to help correct this.  Unfortunately, one of the big helps would have been fixing my deviated septum and the insurance company at the time deemed that "for cosmetic purposes only" a day before the operation.  While the surgery (cutting my noses’ turbinates) helped, my problem just got worse over the years.

These days, I live with a near constant pressure in my nose.  It will often feel like it is about to stop but just keeps going on.  Medicines don’t help and it is affecting my sleep.  (Though my sleep study found that I have a normal sleep pattern.)  I’ll often wake up after a good night’s sleep feeling tired instead of well-rested.

My doctor finally decided to give me a CAT scan and immediately saw the problem.


TechyDad's CAT Scan

For those who can’t immediately read CAT scans, here is a marked up version:

TechyDad's CAT Scan Annotated

My right nostril is a lot narrower than my left nostril.  My doctor informed me that this is because a structure in my nose tried to form a third breathing passage instead of what it was supposed to form.  (Three nostrils with only two openings – Worst. Mutant. Superpower. Ever!)  This pushed the left side of my nose over to the right side, narrowing that passage down.  Once any irritant is added to the mix (allergies, cold, etc), that passage goes from "narrow stream" to "completely blocked up" very quickly.

The good news is that this problem is fixable.  I’m scheduled to have surgery at the end of this month to take care of this issue.  Much like JSL’s surgery, I’ll be put under while the doctors perform various procedures.  This time, insurance is covering a deviated septum operation.  Hopefully, this will open up my nasal passages and allow me to breathe easier.

Which leads us to the second reason why I’ve been unable to sleep well:  Anxiety.

As the surgery date approaches, I’m getting more and more anxious.  I’ll admit that I like being in control of situations.  Being out of control scares me.  Being put under anesthesia while people slice into you is about as far from "in control" as you can get.  Add in that my brain keeps coming up with bad things that could happen and my stress levels are rising day by day.

I know, intellectually, that this is similar to my fears about flying.  Completely overblown and thanks to various shows/movies depicting surgery (and air travel) as something that regularly goes wrong.  After all, a completely uneventful surgery that goes as planned or a flight that doesn’t even hit horrible turbulence are just boring when depicted on screen.  Still, my fears aren’t listening to my intellectual retorts.  They just see "big scary surgery" looming ever closer.

As much as I’m dreading Surgery Day, I’m also hoping it gets here quickly so it can be over quickly.  Then, hopefully, I can actually get a good night’s sleep.

When Parenting, Exciting Can Be Bad And Boring Can Be Good

Digital_Thermometer_7094 (6) SmallOn Friday, I was feeling the End Of The Week Blues.  That moment when you wish that you could whip out a Universal Remote Control and hit fast forward until the weekend arrived.  I was craving a little excitement outside of the office.  I tweeted "Is it the weekend yet?"

I should have known better.

No sooner did I tweet that than I got a call from B saying that JSL was running a 101 fever and she was picking him up from school.  Yes, it looked like we were in for an "exciting" weekend.

JSL has had five febrile seizures (including one where he stopped breathing, turned grey, and required rescue breaths to start breathing again) so any fever is a dangerous and scary prospect.  We gave him medicine and his temperature stayed at around 101.  (It’s quick fluctuations in temperature that cause febrile seizures.)  We could tell he wasn’t feeling good when he turned down macaroni and cheese (his favorite food) for dinner.

That night, he slept in our bed so we could monitor him and quickly help him should his temperature rise.  At around 2 in the morning, he woke up complaining that his stomach hurt and he felt like he was going to puke.  I helped him to the bathroom but it became clear that something else was up.  I asked him if he was hungry and he said "yes".  We got him to eat a rice krispy treat.  Sure, it’s not the healthiest thing, but it was easy to feed him at 2am and gave him a quick shot of sugar.  (We correctly guessed that low blood sugar + hunger was mistaken for "gonna puke.")

JSL said he felt better and fell asleep.  B fell asleep too.  I lay there trying (and failing) to fall asleep, mostly worrying about JSL.  Then, just as I was getting to sleep, B yelled my name in panic.  I shot upright expecting to see either JSL seizing or something seriously wrong with NHL.  As I shot up and asked "what?", I saw JSL sleeping soundly next to B.  B woke up and informed me that she had had a nightmare about being in trouble and unable to yell for me.  She finally tried so hard to yell that she yelled in her sleep.  Needless to say, I couldn’t get back to sleep after that.

Thankfully, JSL got better after that one day and night.  The next day, his temperature returned to normal and no other symptoms manifested.  Any fears I had about JSL having the flu or another serious illness we proven wrong.  (There really was no sign that JSL had the flu to begin with, but I can’t help it… I’m a worrier.)  Most of all, I re-learned two parenting axioms that I tend to forget.  One: When you are parenting, exciting can be bad and boring can be good!  Two: Never ask The Universe for excitement without specifying exactly what kind of excitement you’d like.

NOTE: The "digital thermometer" image is by Alvimann and was obtained from

The Easiest Way To Save A Life: Give Blood

IMG_20120909_112118On Sunday, I was exhausted from being up until 2am.  Still, an opportunity presented itself.  There was a blood drive going on and I decided to donate.  Now, I’m no stranger to giving blood.  I’ve done it before.  I’ve even blogged about it.  Still, this is an important subject so I figured I’d blog about it again.

The whole process of giving blood is easy.  When you arrive at a blood drive, you’ll be asked to sign in and will be given some information about blood donations to read.  When you are called, you then go to a private area to be asked a few questions and some minor medical tests performed (blood pressure, pulse, etc.)  The worst of these is the hemoglobin test where a finger is stuck to get a drop of blood to test.  Even this only hurts for a second.  When the tests are over, you will be left alone with a computer to be asked a series of questions that might affect your eligibility to donate.

IMG_20120909_112310Once you are done with these, the donating process begins.   You will be escorted to a cot for you to lie down on and some kind of squeeze ball (or in my case horse) to compress.  (This helps keep the blood flowing in your arm.)  Your arm will be cleaned with iodine (to prevent any infections) and prepped the needle stick.  Even though I’ve given blood dozens of times, I always look away for this just in case I flinch.  There’s a sharp pinching feeling but it quickly subsides.  Soon enough, you are filling up the bag.

bloodWhen you’re done (about 10 minutes later), they fill a few vials (to be used in tests to ensure your blood is clean) and then the needle will be removed.  (This is entirely painless, actually.)  You apply pressure and raise your arm for a few minutes, get a bandage put on, and then carefully get up.  Finally, you go to the snack table where you dine on cookies and juice (the extra sugar and sitting still helps prevent you from getting dizzy).

Once that bag of blood leaves the donation center, it can be used for three people.  For a mere half hour to hour of your time, three lives can be saved.  Since you can give blood every 8 weeks, you can theoretically save 18 people a year.  However, it always seems like the blood supply barely covers the donations needed.  44,000 donations are needed every day.  That’s 16 million donations a year.  According to the Red Cross’ Blood Facts and Statistics Page, only 16 million are obtained per year.  This means that the slightest fluctuation in our blood supply could mean people dying for lack of a blood transfusion.

IMG_20120909_114725_rotatedSeptember 11th marks a day when a horrible act was perpetrated.  However, it also marks a day when the world came together.  When people joined as one to try to help those who were hurt.  Over the years, divisiveness settled back in as is human nature.  However, let’s rekindle this spirit of helping one another and keep it alive.  Do something that will save the life of someone else.  Someone that you don’t know.  That someone could be black, white, Democrat, Republican, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, etc.  The thing that matters is that they are human and your blood donation could save their life.  Go to and make an appointment to give blood.  Go save some lives.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post.  This post is purely my own opinion.

Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Week 4 Diary and Giveaway


This week, I tried out Your Shape Fitness Evolved’s Humana Health series: Strengthen Your Heart, Active Kids, and Aging With Grace.  Each of these is targeted to a particular demographic/purpose.

Strengthen Your Heart had me moving with squat punches, knee-up punches, tap backs, jumping jack punches, kick crosses, jab knee-ups, dumbbell squats, goblet squats, and triceps skating.  All of these workouts burned 49 calories.

P1070513Next up, I tried Active Kids which is targeted more towards the younger set.  Though I did these by myself, I could picture my son doing the squat kick combos, knee-up punches, shuffle cross punches, front kick punches, squat punches, jab knee-ups, combo arms switches, jumping jack punches, and kick crosses with me.  This workout wound up burning 56 calories.

P1070517If Active Kids is aimed at younger folks, Aging With Grace is geared towards an older crowd.  This workout wasn’t strenuous but still managed to burn 49 calories using step touches, knee fronts, tap backs, Z-Steps, Open-Close, squat punches, dumbbell squats, scaptions, and braced squats.


You could win a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved. Simply post a comment to this blog post. You can enter multiple times by leaving one comment in each of the posts of this series: Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. When my five week series is finished, one commenter from across the five posts will win a copy of the game from Ubisoft.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved by Ubisoft and financially compensated for this Clever Girls Collective, Inc. campaign. In addition, I was loaned an XBox 360 and Kinect for the duration of the campaign. The opinions expressed above, however, are my own.

Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Week 3 Diary and Giveaway

IMGP4764_thumb1_thumb This week, I tried out Your Shape Fitness Evolved’s boot camp, cardio boxing, yoga, and hip hop dance.

On Monday, I began with Cardio Boxing.  I ran through a complete sequence: Learn It (16 calories burned with punches and kicks), Push It (A) (18 calories burned with jabs, hooks, and upper cuts), Push It (B) (18 calories burned with side punches and kicks), Own It (18 calories burned with a little bit of everything) and Attack It (48 calories burned with all the previous workouts and 4 times the workout time).  Of note, I hit 97% of the workouts in Own It.  After Cardio Boxing, I figured I’d cool down with some Yoga.  I burned 19 calories in Develop It (A).  I found that some of the Yoga poses just didn’t work with the small size of my room.  The total calories burned was 137.

P1070431On Tuesday, I tried a few different workouts and wound up burning 111 calories.  First, I tried Boot Camp: Push It.  Thought I burned 15 calories, I found this way too intense of a workout.  (Especially coming right after having a big Valentine’s Day dinner.)  Next, I figured I’d test out Hip Hop: Learn It (A) Class 2.  (I had tried Class 1 before this Diary series.)  I burned 23 calories with this.  I found this workout nice, but not my style.  I’m not really a Hip Hop kind of guy.  (I’m more 80’s rock than Hip Hop.)

With these eliminated, I went back to Cardio Boxing and tried Learn It Class 2.  I burned 20 calories with this.  Though it was much more complex than Class 1 was, Cardio Boxing was definitely more my style.  Next up was Push It (A) for 22 calories and Push It (B) for 15 calories.  These picked up the pace on the punches and kicks.  Finally, I went back to Yoga for cool down.  Develop It (B) burned 16 more calories.

P1070445Finally, Wednesday arrived.  Though my arms had been sore all day, I returned to Cardio Boxing.  I warmed up by repeating Learn It Class 2 and burned 21 calories.  Next, I jumped into Own It (A) to speed up my routine and shed another 22 calories.  Then, it was time for Attack It (B).  This 11+ minute workout burned 58 more calories.  Finally, I cooled down with Yoga’s Develop It (C) for 24 more calories.  I considered finishing off the category with Develop It (D), but noticed that this would take about 23 more minutes.  I just didn’t think my body would last through this so I stayed with 125 calories burned.


You could win a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved.  Simply post a comment to this blog post.  You can enter multiple times by leaving one comment in each of the posts of this series: Week 1, Week 2.  When my five week series is finished, one commenter from across the five posts will win a copy of the game from Ubisoft.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Your Shape Fitness Evolved by Ubisoft and financially compensated for this  Clever Girls Collective, Inc. campaign.  In addition, I was loaned an XBox 360 and Kinect for the duration of the campaign.  The opinions expressed above, however, are my own.

1 2 3 10