One ear, two ear…

Red ear…

low quality cell phone picture of right ear, caucasian woman - "red ear syndrome"?


Not red ear.

low quality cell phone picture of left ear, caucasian woman - normal colored ear


I can’t figure out what does it although I haven’t exactly made a careful study of it.  It’s not just from the cold. Otherwise, both ears would be red. In fact, if it were from the cold, my left ear, rather than my right, should have been red since I smoked on the way home this evening (about 30 minutes before red ear time) and had the driver’s window cracked…so cold air on my left side.

Eh, for now I’m going with it’s the Irish complexion…we flush easily. Or maybe today my ear is just being festive for valentine’s day. I hadn’t really thought about valentine’s day except that on my return to work – to my office really – I came upon valentine’s day computer decorations perpetrated by one of my student workers, which reminded me. All shift. One of the ways we decorate work areas is by putting thematic backgrounds on the desktops of the computers. We’d done Fall/Back to School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, then it was finals and everyone was gone and I was busy so actually it had been Thanksgiving for a while.  I figured we’d go with Winter for a while, then maybe go to Spring-time photos.  But no.  The student worker had decided to go with a valentine’s theme. Everywhere. These images were animated on at least some of the computers, including those with the big ol’clunky flicker prone monitors.  “Holy shit _____!  Did you put this on?!” I asked with only slightly (comically) exaggerated horror.  “Haha, yeah.  Too much?” she asked.  I was going to take them down but then she mentioned that one of the guys from IT didn’t like the one on the presentation computer, i.e. the computer my boss will have to use at the next meeting I’m not allowed to be at to project her various snooze inducing documents onto the screen at the far end of the meeting room/aka my office.  So…what to do? I think I’m going to leave them all up for now.  They can come down after the meeting.  And I for one think my boss’s presentation will be enhanced by a cute little cuddly wuddly cartoon animal jumping up and down with a joyful and very pink valentine’s day message.

back to reality

First day back to work today.  I stopped in on Friday to get my parking permit only to find out that HR hadn’t forwarded the documentation as they had said they would.  Lovely.  So I get to run around when I get in today.  Ah, there’s compliance and then there’s compliance, right?  And I know my employer’s approach to this based on what my boss said of another temporarily disabled employee who needed a ground level office accommodation for a broken leg – I was instructed not to get her everything she needed because my boss was hoping that the employee would give up and just go back to her office when she realized how inconvenient it was to work in the temporary office space.   Yes, that’s a little nugget I’ve been kicking around for a while now.  I was horrified when boss lady did it and I remain horrified.  Talk about creating a hostile environment.  But HR is non-responsive to this sort of complaint, I know from personal experience that their involvement only makes things worse.  They do not take this sort of thing seriously at all, unless regarding the complaining employee as a trouble maker falls under “taking seriously”.

So, wish me luck today and in the coming weeks at work.

not welcome

You know how in your WordPress dashboard you can see what the search terms are that brought people to your blog?  Get a load of this:

screen shot of "top searches" for blog traffic, underlined in red are "how to fool a doctor to get on disability" and "how to trick your doctor to upping your pain meds"

are you fucking kidding me?!

Gaaaah! What the hell is wrong with people?  See, this is why I think I am not actually a pessimist or a cynic…Because things like this actually surprise and dismay me.  If I were truly a pessimist, if I actually thought the worst of people, I wouldn’t be so taken aback to see shit like this.  Someone is sitting out there, probably at work, googling crazy shit like this.  And it’s thanks in no small part to assholes like this that medical providers are so unfortunately quick to make rather nasty assumptions about patients.  Oh I know that there are provider characteristics at play too, but I’m sure that there are people out there who are not dicks but who have had one too many dealings with a scheming, foul fuck.

You’ll have to excuse my extra spicy language today.  I’m in a rotten mood – I spent the day yesterday waiting for HR to get back to me on what should have been a relatively simple request but which they managed to confound and tied up in a morass of misapplication of ADA, all of which confounding was triggered by the kind of suspicion that is justified by the existence of the sorts of assholes who google ways to pull off various medical scams.

More on that later.

I guess I should be very happy I have a primary care doctor who still tries despite the existence of this sort of rotten person floating around and pissing in the patient pool.

Sweating it out, part two

When I mentioned the night sweat thing at my appointment yesterday, the surgeon mentioned possible changes in the blood supply to ovaries after hysterectomy.  So like a mini-menopause? I asked – a minipause!  Although he is adorable, and although I’ve seen things approaching emotions on his face, I have to say that I’ve met few people who do stone-faced as well as my Nordic GYN surgeon.  Apparently “mini-pause” warrants stone faced.  And “it should pass.”  I knew if I pressed for scale of “passing”, I’d get evasion.  I don’t know, maybe it was something about him or just experiences with doctors in general.  Anyhow, I went home and looked it up after yet another sweaty (but not in the fun way) night.  An unscheduled hormone hop would also explain the HUGE migraine.  Hell, my body doesn’t even like the regularly scheduled ones, so you can imagine how it would feel about “minipause” ones.

    Ovarian changes after abdominal hysterectomy for benign conditions.
    Chan CC, Ng EH, Ho PC.
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China.AbstractOBJECTIVES: To investigate any change in the ovaries, including early follicular serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level, total ovarian volume, total antral follicle count, and ovarian stromal blood flow, in patients who had undergone abdominal hysterectomy for benign conditions. 

    METHODS: Fifteen women with abdominal hysterectomy and conservation of ovaries for benign conditions and who were between 29 and 44 years old were recruited to undergo three-dimensional ultrasound examination with power Doppler to assess total ovarian volume, total antral follicle count, and vascularization index (VI), flow index (FI), and vascularization flow index (VFI) of ovarian stromal blood flow. Serum FSH, estradiol, and progesterone levels were checked on the same day. The results of the assessments were considered taken during the early follicular phase if the estradiol and progesterone levels were basal. Fifteen age-matched healthy women underwent the same assessments on the second day of menstruation.

    RESULTS: Women with hysterectomy had significantly elevated serum FSH level and lower ovarian stromal blood flow indices, including VI, FI, and VFI, as compared with healthy women. The total antral follicle count and the total ovarian volume were similar between the two groups.

    CONCLUSION: These changes may suggest altered ovarian function after hysterectomy.


certified, with restrictions

When you go out on medical leave, you need to obtain a doctor’s certification that you are fit for duty to return.  In my employer’s case, there is a section where the doctor can mark “released to work with restrictions” and the restrictions are then given below.  My doc was very nice about this part.  “Sure, just have ________ fill it out,” he said and was gone.  Ok, so ________ filled it out and I told HR, who has asked that I send in my “doctor’s note”.  Boy, I hope that they aren’t expecting more than this document or I’m gonna be kind of pissed.

The restrictions are:

  • 1/2 time for 2 weeks
  • No lifting or straining
  • Parking on same level as office
  • The first is on account of the fatigue and continuing pain. The second is standard. The third has to do with how the entrance to my building is set up. The “first floor” is actually NOT on the ground relative to the parking lot. It’s up a pretty significant flight of concrete steps outside the building. Then into the building. Then down a hall. Then up another very steep, poorly lit, low contrast set of steps. Through the lobby, then up a short flight of stairs. And then down a hall, down another hall, then my office. There is parking on the upper level, just outside my office. But it requires a handicapped parking permit and a separate key to get in. And my boss has, in the past, railed about employees accessing in this way. To the point where she’s blocked their getting a key. Between that and the 1/2 time, she’s probably not going to like this very much. Well, I’m going to try not to care how much she likes it and concern myself with compliance. One of my biggest concerns with that is that I suspect she will expect me to do 40 hours worth of work in 20 hours a week.

    Big Bad Migraine

    …from hell visited me last night.  Oh my god was it awful.  I haven’t had one like that in ages.  All squiggly sharp edged light creepers, this time in the right visual field.  My husband said “I figured this might happen with the weather changing so abruptly and you being ‘menstrual’, well hormonally.  Poor sweetie!”  “Unngh,” I said.  “That’s why I gave you the head’s up,” he added, rubbing my head.  “nnnnnrrrrrrrrr,” I said, then, “Thank you…I didn’t put it together,” and folded myself into as small a ball as I could with my head mashed into the ice pack covered pillow.

    I do not consider this him rubbing it in (no pun intended).  He was right, 100% right.  And I’m an idiot for not taking a huge dose of migraine med when I first thought something was up with my vision.  “It’ll pass,” I thought blithely and continued acting as if nothing’s wrong.  Yeah, that’ll show me.

    code green

    This is what the kids say now at work when the boss is in.

    See, there’s a certain amount of “on call” time when they are there.  They will be needed if something comes up, but once they finish the routine stuff, they sometimes have some down time.  Unless they are out of control (which never happens more than once…I am very clear about the consequences of losing it again), I do not crack down on them to work every second they are on the clock.  It’s impossible and impractical.  I’d never get anything done if my whole day was spent thinking up time consuming activities for them.  It’s better to let them have the down time with the understanding if something comes up, they jump to.  And they do.  But in the down time, if it’s just me and it’s not going to be a problem, I don’t mind if they goof around a bit.  However, if the boss is in, it’s a problem.  Goofing around brings her running.  “She’ll find something horrible for you to do!” the kids warn each other, but then continue goofing around.  So I’ve told them that there are effectively two modes of  “down time” and the kind when the big boss is in involves being quieter.  Ok bear with me, nearly there.  So the kids said we needed a code word that I could say since often letting them know the boss is in involves an elaborate pantomime (boss’ office door is not far from our main work area).  I laughed, but it had some merit.  “Ok, how about kiwis?”  (because I was looking at one).  This works, and when they’re feeling bold, it’s “code green”…ah you know 20-somethings, they love the meta.

    And I just had my very own little code green, right here at home!  That’s right, boss lady just called me while I am starting the last week of my by the book approved medical leave to ask about the surgery and when I was coming back.  Let me be clear  – in case the above passage and text was not sufficient to demonstrate that she and I do not have the sort of mixed friend/boss relationship that allows for a call like that to be anything other than your boss calling you to harass you – this was not an ok call for her to make.  Was she deluded enough to think we have the kind of relationship where this is ok?  Nah, I dont think so.  I think it’s just more of her willful ignorance of HR policy, medical leave, disability law, labor law….the rules do not apply to her so why bother to learn them.

    I am NOT impressed.  I’ll be writing to HR just as soon as I figure out how to say what I want and need to say.

    great gift idea?

    A good friend was up to visit this past week and showed me a new site, regretsy, “where DIY meets WTF”.  It’s fantastic.  As we scrolled down the home page, we discovered – to my immense pleasure – this…the “classic uterinata”!

    picture of a pinata shaped like an anatomically correct uterus plus fallopian tubes and ovaries

    piñata + uterus = FUN

    sweating it out

    I’ve been having miserable night sweats all week!  Gah – so not only does my sleep get disrupted, but I wake up shivering and drenched.  I’ve had bouts of this before, back when I had Lyme Disease and on and off some since then (when I was on hormones for the endo).  But what the hell?  Not infected, no temps (well, no greater than my usual slightly elevated temps).  I’m not even having a lot of overheating during the day since I’m at home and can control my immediate environment right now much better than I usually can at work.  It’s a pain in the ass!

    hippy chick

    Now that I’m barely taking any pain meds (yes, that’s right, two weeks post op and the surgical pain is warranting no more than 500 mg tylenol/acetaminophen and 200 mg ibuprofen a day) I am noticing that my hips took a beating in the surgery.  Maybe it’s time to up that pain med dose again?  But I risk “rebound” headaches, even though what I’m taking the meds for isn’t a headache in the first place.  Since I’m not doing much, i.e. not climbing the many stairs necessary to get from my parking space to my office, I’ll skip the headache and just ice the hips.  But in about a week and a half, that’s going to change.

    I’m planning to ask the surgeon at my follow up to write for a parking accommodation for when I go back to work.  And here’s hoping he’ll comply.  I worry it’ll be turfed to my primary care, since the hips are a pre-surgical issue.  My reasoning is that the issue was aggravated by surgery so it makes sense for the surgeon to address it.  Fingers crossed!