Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Open Letter to my Senator, Congressman, President

On Friday, after having a good 6 inches of my hair chopped off, I discovered a worrisome mole on my left shoulder. It was worrisome enough that last night I started a massive search for affordable health insurance. 30 minutes into my search, I was looking for any health insurance that would take me. Did I tell them about the obviously cancerous (yes I'm a hypochondriac) mole on my shoulder? Nope. What's made me unacceptable is the fact that I went to rehab 2 1/2 years ago. I almost find it ironic that the first company that rejected me doesn't even cover alcohol-recovery related care, but rejected me flat out without asking further questions. Meanwhile I have a certain family member who drinks like a fish not to mention other unhealthy things and was accepted right off. So I tried that company. And at least they let me explain (over and over)about my course of treatment and lack of drinking since. We'll see in a few days if this makes a difference. If not, in a week I will be eligible to apply to Colorado's state-run health care, which accepts "high risk" people like me. This reminds me of the time that I couldn't get in accepted to rehab without calling in a favor. Maybe I am high risk. Because seriously, do you know anyone else who got rejected from more than one rehab?

The point of this rant, before I got sidetracked by my pity party, is that there is something wrong with the health care system. I shouldn't have to get married to get insurance. I also shouldn't have to resort to back alley surgery by a friend who took anatomy a few years ago. Will Obamacare fix this when it kicks in? Doubt it. Will that be too late for me because the cancer will have eaten through my entire body by then? (I am NOT melodramatic!) Probably. Eh, so for those of you with health insurance, do a mole self check. And if you see something that looks like the bad picture column, see your dermatologist. This has been today's Public Service Announcement. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why I Should Not Give Blood

It has been pointed out to me that it may be a bad idea for me to give blood. I think the people who say this are overreacting. Something traumatic only happens every other time I donate.

One of the flight attendant rules is that you can't fly within 72 hours of giving blood. So for most of the 4 years I flew, I saw giving blood (and having over 72 consecutive hours off) as a lost cause. But right around Christmas I got 4 days off. So I headed to Bonfils to do my good deed for the day. Everything was going just fine until she put the needle in. Then, all hell broke loose. The needle must have slipped because blood started shooting EVERYWHERE. I get a little squeamish about having my blood on the outside of my body so I looked away and gritted my teeth against the revulsion of having my hot blood running down my arm and dripping off my fingertips.

When that sensation finally ended I dared to look back. And I saw 2 techs covered with blood - my blood - as was the machine that shakes the blood around as it comes out, not to mention the huge puddle on the floor. Just then, a man walked around the corner to donate and did a massive doubletake at the carnage, but continued in to donate, god bless him. After they got all of the blood cleaned up, they proceeded to take the donation out of my other arm. Which made me rather lightheaded considering the amount I had already donated to the floor. Which brings me to the last time I gave blood.

The donation itself was uneventful. It wasn't until the next morning that the curse struck again. I hopped up off the couch to help the boyfriend clean out his closet. Next thing I know I'm coming to on the floor, my shoulder and head hurt like hell and the boyfriend and cat were standing over me looking worried. Apparently I passed out (stone cold sober - which led to quite a few jokes at the AA club later that day). I injured my shoulder in some manner. My best guess, due to lack of insurance is I did something bad to my AC joint and possibly fractured my clavicle. It's almost ironic that I study radiography and am in an x-ray lab at least once a week yet cannot afford to have an x-ray of my shoulder. Aaaaaanyway, after about 3 days in a sling and a nearly 2 week break from strength training, I decided I was fine.

And about 5 weeks later, I am fine. Except when I lay on that shoulder. Or do certain chest and shoulder exercises at the gym. But I have nearly full range of motion with that arm. And the giant goose egg on my head went away pretty quick. Who keeps a metal briefcase on their living room floor anyway? I've just made my next appointment for next Friday, which should be uneventful. Because it's only every other donation that's notable.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jury Duty

So today, bright and early, I headed downtown Denver to fulfill my civic duty. Thanks to my iPhone GPS, I got there early(only had to turn around once and that was because my iPhone GPS erroneously believed the parking garage to be on the wrong side of the street. )

I was called in the second group and seated second to last in the spectator seats in the courtroom. There was then a couple hours of crushing boringness. Needless to say, I didn't even get anywhere near the jury box to be asked pertinent question about how I feel about frivilous lawsuits and various insurance companies.

Here are the awesome things about jury duty:

1) the reporter from CW2 "the deuce" got picked for the jury

2) the "which jurors will be removed by challenge by which attorneys" game the woman next to me and I played for about 45 minutes. We only missed 2 because we did not foresee that both sides were trying to get as many women off the jury as possible

3) the plaintiff looked like a total douche and his lawyer informed us in a roundabout way that he now has sexual dysfunction due to an alleged work-related injury and allegedly botched neck surgery, though that didn't stop the plaintiff from making out with his girlfriend in the courtroom during every recess. Douche.

And on my way out, I was waved down by an adorable hippie boy who wanted me to join Greenpeace. He went into his spiel and I was all wait, wait, you had me at "save the rainforest and orangatans; where do I sign?"

Monday, July 26, 2010


I just got off the phone with the unemployment hotline. Again. This time my hold time was about 45 minutes. That gave me enough time to study for 30 minutes on the treadmill, take a quick shower and study some more. Not quite enough time to repedicure my sorry looking toenails though.

Aaaanyway, I talked to a lovely woman named Sharon. I'd like to take a quick second and say really nice things about the customer service skills and pleasantness of the two people I've talked to on the unemployment hotline. I'm pretty sure they deal with negativity all day and they really were delightful to work with. Now back to the story. So when I called last Tuesday I was told that it was in the hands of the supervisor and should be resolved imminently. I just realized most of you don't know the situation. When my base closed at the end of April I became eligible for unemployment. Since I started school May 3, my eligibility was questioned by the unemployment powers that be. At the end of June I had an appeals hearing where it was decided I was eligible after all. It's the end of July and my status is still POSTPONED and I have received no money.

I called back today, since it had been a week. I was told since it was an amendment instead of a reversal it had to go through a different department for which I could not be provided contact information, though a supervisor could call me back in about 48 hours. I was not thrilled with this recourse and asked Sharon if there was anything else I could do. She put me on hold to talk to her supervisor. As I was on hold I mentally composed the expose I was going to send to 9 News about the broken unemployment system in Colorado.

When Sharon got back on the line, she informed me I should receive a letter of decision by the end of the month. I read her the letter of decision I had received at the end of June. She was stumped but did what she could, which involved putting me on a list for the supervisor to call me back(in 2 days)and assuring me the supervisor was on it.

Stupidly, I am once again hopeful, though skeptically hopeful, which feels like an oxymoron. Now I'm going to put the finishing touches on my 4th Step and paint my sorry ass toenails.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Life as I Know It

If courage is being afraid of something but doing it anyway, is there a word for being lazy but doing stuff anyway? Because that pretty much sums up my life lately. In the past I was never willing to admit, even to myself, that I am lazy. It's a very shameful thing to be lazy in my family and America in general. So I'd hide the laziness under overachieving. But now, in order to live my life successfully, to achieve the goals I've set for myself, I actually have no time to be lazy. I get up early and go to school. After school I study. For hours. Then I work. Then I work out. Then I have a few hours to sleep before it starts all over again. Tomorrow I have an entire day off. I can lay around all day and do absolutely nothing. But I know that won't happen. I'll go to a meeting and the gym where I'll study while I do my cardio. Then I will put the finishing touches on my research paper, make a lot of flashcards and study some more. I may even work on some end of semester projects. So I guess "day off" is really a relative term for me for the next couple of years. It's a really different life from laying around in hotel rooms for hours on end.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Profoundly Happy Most of the Time

My life is really good. And I honestly believe that's primarily due to the fact that I quit drinking, found my way to AA and made my sobriety a priority in my life. Let me explain.

The twelve steps, in my opinion, are basically a guide for life. When I was drinking I wasn't really a productive member of society. By that I mean I was a taker and I was a victim. I didn't add much good to the world. And I was so pessimistic. Though I always said, 'I'm not a cynic, I'm a realist.' The truth is, I wanted the world to suck, so it did.

Then at the end of April 2008, I drank myself into a corner. I went to rehab to save my job. Turns out I'm actually an alcoholic, though it took a while for me to really accept that. But once I did, I got a sponsor, and with her guidance, I worked the twelve steps. And they have completely changed me. I don't want to be miserable anymore. And, to quote one of us, I am profoundly happy most of the time. If I wasn't, why would I want to be sober? At least when I was drinking, I could block out the pain I created while I was drinking. But working the steps removed the source of the pain, so there's no need to escape anymore.

Is everything perfect? No. But I know how to deal with life in a way to make most situations better rather than worse. Do I do this perfectly? Not hardly. I would still really like things to be the way I want them. But again, I can deal if they're not, sometimes with more grace than whining. I'm working on making the whining period shorter.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Open Letter to a Jail-bound Starlet

Sure, a jail sentence seems like a bad thing. But this could be a great opportunity for you. Let's just say, hypothetically, that you have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. A brief stint in jail will get you away from the bars, the clubs, your friends, your family. You can focus on yourself without all of the distractions. You can figure out what brought you to your present circumstances. Sure, you can blame others and make excuses (but that doesn't really seem to be working anymore) OR you could take responsibility for your choices and actions and make a few changes in your life. Because, I've learned it's true what they say: if you keep doing what you're doing, you will keep getting what you're getting, which at the moment, is jail time and lawsuits. If that is your goal, by all means continue, but if it's not, you have options.

Here's something that helped me: When I went to rehab, I didn't think alcohol was my problem. I had a lot of problems, but drinking was separate. I just liked to have a good time and be social. I don't know when "having a good time" became throwing up, falling down and passing out in random locations every night. I don't know when "being social" became drinking alone at home watching the Disney channel. It doesn't really matter. The one thing that became perfectly clear to me was once I started drinking I couldn't stop until I was unconscious and I had zero control over the events that followed. And you know all that bad stuff that kept happening to poor me? It stopped happening right around the time I quit drinking and started working the steps. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Home, God and Country

I was lucky enough to spend the holiday weekend in Missouri with my family. The boyfriend was lucky(?) enough to come with me. I actually enjoyed myself despite the heat and 10,000% humidity. How humans can actually live there is a mystery to me. The positives of Missouri include: legal fireworks, homemade cobbler made with local fresh picked blackberries, and homemade ice cream.

Short detour re: the ice cream. My health-food and exercise loving parents are now living in the land of the super big gulp and pie at every meal. Consequently, they tweaked grandma's homemade ice cream recipe a little to make it nonfat. We made some and took it to an Independence Day party yesterday and people loved it. It's the most amazing nonfat ice cream ever. Tastes just like real ice cream, only a little fluffier. We could be Ben & Jerry for the health conscious crowd. We'll be billionaires!!!
Back to reality, while around my house it's a passive aggressive scavenger hunt, it was a scavenger hunt of a different kind in Missouri. God bless my right wing family.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Passive Aggressive Scavenger Hunt

It appears the roommate is not over it. Before she left town for the holiday weekend, she labeled random things in the kitchen. This has turned into a pretty entertaining game. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Before my girl roommate was my roommate, she was my friend who was dating my roommate. They've had a tumultuous on/off relationship for the past 2 years, basically as long as I've known them. They are both my friends, so whether they were on or off, I never took sides. Just call me Switzerland. Last week, Germany started bombing Switzerland out of the blue. It's hard to remain neutral when being attacked. I can't say I'm totally impartial because I'm hurt. But rather than attack back, I've given her space, and then yesterday, offered her my continued friendship, which, she doesn't seem to want. I can't make her like me. I can't make her treat me well. All I can do is continue to treat her as a friend and maybe she'll eventually realize she's the only one fighting. I can hope.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rainbow Connection

I love the last Saturday of the month. That's birthday night at our club. We all get together and potluck and listen to people celebrate years of sobriety. Nothing cheers me up faster than listening to success stories from people like me. That's where a lot of my hope comes from. A little over two years ago, I thought I was irretrievably broken. I had no hope that anything would change, let alone get better. But everything changed and everything got better.

Tonight as I was leaving my meeting, I saw the most amazing full double rainbow. Unfortunately, my iPhone camera was not able to capture the whole thing, especially as I was driving (good thing I didn't sign that distracted driver pledge for 9 News. I am a hypocrite no more). But I did get the picture above. I choose to see it as a good omen.

Now off to bed. I'm off to Greeley tomorrow to watch my friend Larry compete in the demolition derby. He has promised not to catch on fire like last year, though if he does, I have promised to get lots of pictures of the car engulfed in flames, unlike last year, when I was too alarmed about my friend being on fire to keep clicking away. Life events keep reminding me that I really need to work on kicking myself into gear when trauma arises.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Seriously??

Today was professionally awesome but personally kind of crappy. Let me elaborate:

I'm going through midterms at school. The scary one for me was practicum. Here's the deal: I'm going to be a rad tech, what used to be called an x-ray tech(think flight attendant/stewardess). Anyway, a lot of it is book learning in the beginning. (Want me to tell you about body tissues? Gotcha covered.) But once a week we learn how to perform various imaging procedures(from hereon called x-rays even though my prof would kill me because my p key is sticking, and I have to hit it with purpose and it's really pissing me off- there were a lot of p's in that explanation) What the hell was I talking about?

Ah, practicum. So today, to test us, we had to, in essence, perform a randomly chosen exam on a classmate. I was lucky enough to draw a wrist and stay the hell away from the dreaded wall bucky (see image at right). Long story short, I knocked that practicum the hell out of the park. This is awesome because it means I might actually be proficient at my newly chosen profession and this won't be a waste like my teaching certificate.

Now the bad. I threw myself a nice little "nobody likes me" pity party this afternoon because my boyfriend was too busy playing blackjack last night to talk to me after he had been too busy doing what the hell it is he does in Tucson all day to talk to me. Then this morning my girl roommate decided not to speak to me.

Let me rant about the silent treatment for a minute. What good does it do? How can I fix anything if I don't know what you're mad about?

So by talking to my boy roommate, I figured out what she's mad about. It's her issue. She's just taking it out on me. Which is really not okay with me. But what can I do. It has been repeatedly pounded into my head that I cannot control other people.

So what can I do? I prayed a lot last night and my behavior got better with the boyfriend. Sure the last thing I said to him on the phone last night was "fuck you" before hanging up, but I've been civil all day in our texts...after the praying. I see the logic in pause when agitated. Because now I owe him a freaking amends. I hate making freaking amends. I live my life in a way that I don't have to make many freaking amends.

As for my roommate, when she decides to speak to me, I'll deal with her. Until then, I just have to conduct myself well and pray for her. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rachel's Bitchin Blog

In honor of my good friend Nathan, who wanted my title to be Rachel's Bitchin Blog, I'll kick things off with a little negativity.

My list of products I will NOT be buying, because their commercials are so annoying:
1) Huggies diapers that look like denim. That song makes me want to kick babies
2) Anything Qwest tries to sell me because paranoid guy is even more annoying than Sir Chirps A Lot
3) Champion Windows because that woman screeches about everything

Now my random list of TV related things I love:
1) Jane Lynch on Glee...or anywhere, but especially on Glee
2) The OCD Project on VH1. Where can I get a job trying to scare obsessive-compulsive people straight?
3) Judge Judy. She says all the things I never got to say as a flight attendant and which I will also not get to say as a Rad Tech.

My public service announcement for the week:
If you plan to insert an aerosol can into your body rectally, make sure you do not insert the spray end first. That nozzle will most likely get depressed, which will result in sepsis and death.

And since I should be studying for my Med Terms midterm, here is the word of the day:
hysterosalpingo-oophorogram: radiographic image of the uterus, uterine tubes and ovaries