Welcome To Allergy Season

allergy-sourceThe past couple of days I haven’t felt so well.  It began early Tuesday morning.  I woke up with a horrible sore throat.  I hoped it was just the result of sleeping with my mouth open, but the pain didn’t go away as the day wore on.  Even taking Sudafed, ibuprofen, and throat lozenges didn’t help.

The next day, the throat pain had minimized, but in it’s place was a bad cough.  (Yes, just like NHL’s.)  The coughing was so bad, that I began to feel nauseous.  The day after that, the coughing remained, along with congestion and some trouble with my balance.

I believe I know the problem behind all of these symptoms:  Allergies.  The flowers are in bloom and with them pollen levels are rising.  We’re in the midst of what I like to call "spring snow."  Big white bundles of pollen drift through the air like a snowstorm.  It might look pretty if it didn’t wreck such havoc with my sinuses.

Do you suffer from allergies?  How do you handle it when the pollen attacks?

Sleep and Fear

I really need to call the doctor.  And, unfortunately, I don’t mean a time travelling Gallifreyan with a blue box and a sonic screwdriver.  (Though meeting one of those would be nice.)

For the past few months, I’ve been tired. It seems that no matter how long I sleep, I still feel like I haven’t slept at all. I’ll spend an entire night having dreams that tire me out, and wake up feeling like I haven’t slept at all.  What’s more, B has mentioned that I’ve been making noises in my sleep like I’m gasping for air.  She also mentioned that I’ve been kicking a lot.  We’re fearing sleep apnea.

So, like I said, I should see a doctor.  And yet, I delay.  Part of it is that money is tight so I prioritize everything and everyone else above me.  I rationalize that this can’t be that serious so why spend money on it?  That money can go towards repairs we need to make on the house or on items we need to buy for the kids.

Of course, if I’m being honest, there’s another part of me that’s not addressing this because I’m scared.

I’ve always had trouble breathing through my nose.  Years ago, I had an operation to get my turbinates cut back.  I was supposed to have a deviated septum operation at the same time to help my breathing, but the insurance company denied it.  (They claimed that part was for cosmetic reasons only.)  Still, I went through with some of the surgery.  Going into surgery was fine.  Waking up with my nose plugged up and a tube in my throat wasn’t.

Years later, after a horrid bout of nosebleeds, I had my nose cauterizedTwice.  The nights I spent awake because my nose was swelled shut and the dripping felt like it was going to close my throat off as well was horrid.

Obviously, neither experience is one I’d like to repeat, but I’m afraid that the doctor will tell me that surgery is needed.  I’m afraid that it will cost money we don’t have.  I’m afraid that I’ll end up spending long nights exhausted but awake thanks to the after effects of the procedures.

I’ll call the doctor eventually.  I know I’ve got to stop rationalizing and avoiding.  When my kids are afraid of something, I challenge them to face it head on because things are rarely as scary as our minds make them out to be.  However, when confronted with a frightening prospect, I avoid the situation just like they do.  So I’ve got to summon my courage and make the call.  Not for me, but to show my kids that they need to see a doctor when something’s wrong and that they need to face their fears.

NOTE: The "Emoticons: Sleeping face" image is by nicubunu and is available from OpenClipArt.org.

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 http://www.redcrossblood.org/ 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.

Aloha Friday: Medical Avoidance

As I mentioned yesterday, I tend to avoid getting medical attention for myself.  It isn’t a macho “I don’t need no stinkin’ doctors” kind of thing.  Instead, it’s more of a “I need to do all this stuff for everyone else, how can I take time out to see the doctor/take medicine?”  Sometimes it’s also a “We have so many expenses, how can I spend more money at the doctor’s for me?” thing.  If it’s something serious like antibiotics, I’ll take my medicine on time and if I have a fever, I have no problem going to the doctor.  It’s the little things (insect bites, allergies, nose bleeds) that I avoid seeing a doctor about or taking medicine for.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Do you avoid seeing the doctor or taking medicine because you are too busy doing things for other people or to try to save money?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #105

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