Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In all my Dr visits this week, one of the questions they've all asked is if I've had any previous surgeries. I have. A tubal ligation and an emergency Appendectomy.

There have been several appendectomies on my Dad's side of the family. Dad's uncle Harry, died of peritonitis which was caused by a burst appendix. The family blame his death the Dr because he kept telling Uncle Harry that it wasn't appendicitis and refused to operate until it was too late.

That was in the mid 1930's. Uncle Harry left his bride and his family who loved him very much. My Dad is named after Uncle Harry.

Shortly after Uncle Harry's death, my Dad's older brother, Glenn, developed appendicitis. He was 2. I've heard repeatedly the story of Grandad driving with Dr Robb (who was not Uncle Harry's Dr.) frantically trying to get the Dr to his little boy. Dr Robb made Grandad slow down so they could get there safely. I'm pretty sure that Uncle Glenn's appendix also burst. I know they almost lost him too. How scared they must have been; knowing that they'd just lost one family member to Appendicitis, and knowing they might lose another...a baby at that.

My Dad also had appendicitis when he was a young teenager. His did not burst; he recovered quite easily.

My Grandma often related to me how she'd test her kids for appendicitis. Grandma said that if the kids complained that their stomach hurt, or their right side, she'd slap the bottom of their right foot. Not hard, but just a nice slap. If it hurt in the side, and not in the foot, then the child had appendicitis and it was time to get them to the Dr.

I always thought that was an old wives tale, and that there was no way her test would actually work...until I had appendicitis.

See, Kev was out of town. He and Miss Kat were in Colorado visiting family. For some reason, I couldn't go, so Andy stayed at home with me. On Saturday, we went to lunch with my friend Monica and her little boy. We gals had the same chicken for lunch. That night, around 1 a.m., I woke up with a stomach ache. So I went to the bathroom, decided that maybe my chicken was bad and went back to bed, trying to go to sleep. The pain got stronger. Two hours later, I decided that I'd had enough; so I called Monica, hoping that she was up and in pain too. If she was, then I'd know it was the chicken. If not, well, I was afraid it might be my appendix.

So I called...and woke her up. Which meant it wasn't the chicken. Since she was now awake, I asked her to drive me to the emergency room and asked if Andy could stay with her husband and son. Bless her heart, she came right over. She knew that if I was wanting to go to the hospital, I was really hurting. By this point, I could not stand up straight. It was the worst pain I'd ever felt. And, I have a very high pain tolerance, so it hurt.

So we get there, and the Dr on call was Jeff, my former student. Not exactly who I wanted to see because 1. he was fresh out of medical school and 2. he was my student... But, at this point, I really didn't care. I hurt!

So he did the question thing, where does it hurt, blah blah blah...and it really didn't hurt in my right quadrant, it was a more central pain. So, they did a sonogram, and other tests and then Jeff did a rectal exam (oh, yeah! my student is now sticking his finger up my butt...lovely.) But they still didn't think it was my appendix. So I jokingly told Jeff of my Grandma's test.

To humor me, he slapped me on the bottom of my foot... Let me tell you this, if I could have come off that bed and smacked him up the side of the head, I would have. That hurt. Not my foot, but in my right side! A sharp piercing pain. Holy cow, it hurt! Don't know if Jeff was converted, but it certainly made a believer out of me.

I have no idea who taught Grandma that test, but it worked for me. And, I have carried on the tradition. If my kids complain of their side hurting, or a stomach ache, I tap them on the foot. So far, so good, no more appendicitis. And I am very confident that I'll be able to diagnose it if I ever need to. Which goes to prove, you should always listen to your Grandma.

Thanks Grandma.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This week

Well, I've been poked, prodded, measured, examined, questioned. They've taken my blood and my urine. I've been x-rayed and sonogramed.

Diagnosis: I'm not normal.

I could have told them that...without all the tests and the cost.

So, next step...I'm having a D&C this Thursday.

It had better make this stop, or you all might be reading about my murder trial.

I'm ready. More than ready. At least we're doing something.

But, riddle me this...

I answered the same damn questions for 2 nurses and 3 doctors...all within 2 hours of each other. Why on earth can't the Dr's read what their nurses wrote down? Why ask the same damn questions over and over and over? Next time, I'm gonna say, "Hello! Read what your nurse wrote down..." Sheesh. I expect my students to read and pay attention to questions asked in class, so how come those in the medical profession can't do the same?

I realize that in the world scope of things, that Dodge City is considered a "small town". However, to's a large town, and after all the running from this clinic to that clinic and back to this clinic...I really miss my Clinic and Hospital in Colby.

Bigger facilities really miss out on that personal relationship that you have in small town clinics and hospitals. While I'm not a person who went to the Dr often, I did know my Dr, or my ARPN. Heck, one Dr I saw was a former student of mine (and boy, I had dirt on some of his extra curricular activities...) One of my ARPN's was a former colleague and the other was also a former student. I knew and trusted them. Heck, I knew their kids, parents, and extended families.

Here, the only Dr I know won't see me.

(Cause she's my cousin! Not because I'm a bad patient!)

And, the Dr's I've met...well, I just don't know that much about them, and I really don't have a strong sense of trust.

But, I am going to trust this ob-gyn on Thursday. And, he'd better come through and prove that I can trust a Dr, whom I know nothing about.

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, September 24, 2010

40 days and counting

Noah's flood lasted 40 days and then it stopped.

My flood hit 40 days today and I'm so beyond ready for it to stop.

And if your a guy, you might want to stop there. Personally, I don't care, but you guys are squeamish...

My period started the first day of college classes, August 18. Today marks 40 days. Yes, I've been to the Dr. Yes, we're doing "tests". No, nothing has worked yet. So far, the test results are all normal.

Yes I'm frustrated, angry and annoyed as hell.

You know, my period has never really bothered me. I don't mind having one, don't mind the mess, don't mind any aspect of it at all--until it hits day 40.

The most frustrating part of this is the unpredictability. Some days, I'm afraid to get far from the bathroom. Some days, I wonder if I'll ever feel clean again. Some days, I think that this will stop...and then it gets worse.

My guess is that my hormone levels are all out of wack...and that this is a part of me entering that next stage of life...but dang it's the most annoying thing ever.

It totally takes over your life...and wardrobe...

I'm tired, I'm anemic and so far, nothing has made this stop...

I now understand why so many women say "Just take the dang thing OUT." I never understood that before.

A big part of me wants to ride this out, to let my own body sort out these hormone levels and let nature run it's course. After all, not much medical research has been done on "women's issues", cause most research is done by men who don't really have to cope with it at all and who can never completely understand what it does to us. Because of that, I sometimes think that modern medicine interferes when it shouldn't. And, you know guys have their own reasons for wanting it to stop...think that has any influence on research???

A BIG part of me wants this to stop...immediately. By any means, just make it stop. Gimme some miracle drug to make this STOP cause I want to resume my life. Hell, take the darn thing OUT. I don't care if it's not a medical necessity...I don't care if the stupid, thieving insurance company won't pay...make this STOP. Cause my life has stopped...

Hunting is on hold...evening activities are on hold...some days, morning workouts are cancelled. Long trips are on hold. Short trips are iffy. I'm usually tired enough in the evenings that I'm not stitching or reading. Right now, my entire focus is on my uterus...and I'd really like to focus on something else.

40 days...

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Can you see him? Can you tell what he is?

None of these are what I'd call good shots, but these are pictures of a porcupine. Kev and I stumbled upon him while we were checking out our treestands. He was on one side of the creek and rapidly went up the bank and up this Locust tree. And, while you look for Porky...check out the thorns on the locust branches! I'm not sure which is worse...porcupine quills or Locust thorns.
I wasn't about to get any closer. He was big and he had these things called quills. I've been told that quills hurt! I have to say that he moved faster than I thought he could and he climbed up that tree pretty fast too.
Several years ago, we saw two procupines up by the house. They were black. This fella was brown. Sorry my pictures aren't better, but if you want better shots of him, then you can be the one to brave both the Locust thorns and the porcupine quills.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Prairie Fire

Two weeks ago, Kev and I had run down to Mom's to work on her yard project. On our way home, we saw smoke northeast of Ashland. We knew the Englewood Volunteer Fire Department had already been on one fire that day, and we wondered if they'd get called out again...they did.

As we drove closer to home, the smoke kept getting bigger and bigger and darker and darker. There was also lightening occurring around us, and we're guessed the fire was started by lightening--always a risk on the prairie when it's dry...and it has been. We passed the Bucklin Volunteer Fire Department headed south to the fire, so we knew that it was a big fire.

We knew that any fire over here was going to be tough to put out. Lots of pastures, lots of canyons, and areas where you can't get a fire truck to, and lots of oil wells and storage tanks full of oil.

Sunday, we drove down through the area where they fire had been. It burned 4400 acres before the fire departments got it under control. I'm not even sure how many fire departments answered the call, but I know they had guys come from far western Kansas and Oklahoma. (Rural firefighters are great at helping each other out. They thrive on grass fires and get excited when they get called out.)

The day after the fire, this area got between 3 and 6 inches of rain, so it's already greened up nicely. I took these pictures on the Mt. Jesus road in Clark County--just north of Mt Jesus and just south of where we lived when I was a girl.

I did have to laugh at the fence. A brand-spankin' new fence...hedge posts...A nice tight fence...

The top of many posts were there, as were the bottoms...just nothing in between.

In a few weeks, you'll never know that a fire went through here...well, you won't unless they don't get that fence fixed!

The Mother-In-Law project

I have said repeatedly over the past 15 years that if Kev and I ever divorced, my folks would keep him and dump me. It's true, they would! Why? well, because Kev does handy-man stuff for my folks and he builds things for my Mom. See, while my Dad is a wonderful rancher/cowboy...he SUCKS at anything mechanical or...handy. Granted, keeping cattle alive and thriving is a handy skill to have, and we all appreciate it every time we take a bite of beef. But still, sometimes, it would have been nice for Dad to be useful around the house.

Last year, Kev decided that my Mom needed a disappearing waterfall. He asked her if she'd like one, and she thought maybe that would be nice, so Kev started planning on how he was going to build it. Here's the finished product: It's called a disappearing waterfall because there isn't a pond of water. The water just disappears amongst the rocks at the base. In actuality, it does go in a pond that is under the rocks and it is then pumped back up to the top of the waterfall. (and for all you cattle people out there, we're using a mineral tub for the "pond".)
As part of the project, we decided to expand her deck by the kitchen door--the door that everyone uses. Kev had build the deck years ago--at least 12 years ago. We decided to expand it clear to the cellar door so that we wouldn't have to put pavers between the two. In doing so, we were able to move Dad's grilling table up to the deck, making it much more convenient for him to get to. Dad is a pretty good welder, he built that table for a welding station and Grandpa used it, but now it's a grilling station. (The top is slate left over from a pool table. It makes for a very heavy table.)
Grass has never grown on the south side of Mom's house. So, after putting in the waterfall, we built a stone patio for Mom. We did edge it with timbers and then set the pavers. Instead of sand, we filled it in with fine, red, Kansas dirt which is closely related to fine, red, Oklahoma dirt...only better.
Here's a view of the patio and the waterfall. The area to the right, under the air conditioner, will become planting boxes. That's a project for next spring. We'll put up a retaining wall with a pathway and then Mom can plant flowers or veggies or whatever she wants to there.
It's been a long road to get this far, but we're pleased with what we've done so far. I for one, am looking forward to seeing it completely finished next summer.