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12/31/03
Happy almost new year. I was right - I celebrated by going to see Return of the King again. Even better the second time. I was going to go out, but the movie got out at 10.50pm, and I didn't want to get caught in traffic with a bunch of crazy, drunk people, plus this cough hasn't gone away just yet. Better to stay in and watch people freeze their butts off on TV.

Anyway - resolutions. Quit smoking, pass nursing 3, eat healther. Oh what am I saying - drink more, exercise less. Nah, the first set is good.

later on 12/30/03
I guess the bad (good?) thing about being off for nearly two weeks (including the fact that I haven't worked since the 24th and I'm not scheduled to be back on until the 8th) is that my sleep is all screwed up. Given the proper situation, I could spend eternity in bed with the kittens, a few good books, and a nearby bathroom. Who needs to move? So, given this spate of free time, I've been sleeping a lot. Mostly to just rest and recover from the bronchitis/flu combo that knocked me out, but also because I don't get nearly enough sleep during the school year. So this past week I've been sleeping late, napping in the afternoon, and staying up reading into the night.

Example: it's 4am, and I'm just getting to my email now.

12/30/03
Sheeba and I took a trip to the "v-e-t" today, and he said she's doing better. He gave me more antibiotics for her, including a topical cream for her chin, and I have to bring her back in two weeks for another checkup. I'm worried because she's lost about a quarter of her body weight and has become really out-of-sorts since she was declawed (I am opposed to declawing, btw, Mom is pro-declawing). Anyway, she's been spending a lot of time curled up on my pillow, sleeping.

This is the first year in a long time that I haven't had definite New Year's plans. I'm not feeling too social, so I probably will just stay home and watch more hobbits.

My finger has stopped throbbing, thanks to the ibuprofen. And I can actually breathe better today, so things are looking up.

12/29/03
Oh I am feeling much better today. Yesterday was a half-day asleep in bed, with a break to read the Times and watch Pirates of the Carribean, and today I'm actually up and awake and showered and clean. It's also warm-ish out today so I opened the screens in here to get the sick air out.

12/27/03
Saturday: spent day in bed.

Sheeba did the same thing. She's still sick, too, and she goes to the vet on Tuesday.

later on 12/26/03
Other things I did today:

And otherwise, I am lying in bed doing nothing. Which is fine with me.

12/26/03
I was trying to think up a good header for this entry...

When we last saw our heroine...

Truth is stranger than fiction...

Beefy granulation tissue, yum.

Why can't I have a normal Christmas like everybody else?

So I coughed and wheezed my way through Christmas Day with Dad and Ann yesterday, and then fell into a much-needed nap for the rest of the afternoon. On my way back to NJ, I looked at the clock and said, wow cool, I'll be home just after midnight. Then it's a dose of generic Robitussin and back to bed.

Alas.

So I was driving over the turnpike bridge near exit 14A, and the road wasn't too crowded, when the car ahead of me swerved out of the lane and over to the left. I didn't see what he was swerving to avoid, and instead drove right over a suitcase that had apparently fallen off the roof of a car a little ways ahead. Well, not apparently - the owner of the suitcase (not tied properly on their roof) was pulled over in the shoulder, so I slowed down and asked if they were alright and they said yes. So I drove on, but didn't go much further, because the car started vibrating like I had a flat tire. So I pulled over about a half-mile further down the road to look at it. Another car pulled up behind me and the driver came over and said he had seen sparks underneath my car. So we got out our flashlights and looked underneath, and sure enough - the run-over suitcase had gotten entangled in my axle. The other driver directed me to reverse until he could see it loosening (the suitcase, not the axle), and together we pulled the bent, mangled frame out. I wished him a Merry Christmas and got back into the car.

Which is when I noticed that my hand was dripping blood. I don't mind other people's messy injuries, but my own tend to freak me out. So I grabbed some tissues and put the light on and applied pressure, and started driving again. Called Mom (who is, I'm sure, tired of getting calls involving me and the ER) and told her I was coming down to have it looked at. It was still bleeeding pretty heavily when I got there, but after washing my hand off, the only laceration was from a centimeter-long gash on my left middle finger. So I went to see Nurse Geri in the ER and she said it would probably need stitches, and that there were five people ahead of me. I went back to the second floor and showed off the wound to everyone.

Anyway, it was something like 4am when I was finally seen and stitched and given my tetanus shot, and now my finger is wrapped up like a mummy. I have to get the (three) stitches out in a week to ten days, and it's a good thing I'm already on the antibiotics for the bronchitis (which has not let up, I am coughing up a lung).

So, since I am a hotbed of infection - upper respiratory infection, open wound - I think I'm going to call the supervisor and volunteer to take off Sat-Sun-Mon unpaid, because I am in no shape to even get out of bed.

Ah, my eventful life.

Oh and the Vicks hot steam humidifier with added menthol scent is AMAZING. So is the footspa that Pete and Corrie sent to Mom. And the assorted bubble bath beads and creams and B&N gift cards and goodies that filled my car up yesterday. I am off to pamper myself and try not to cough on the kitties.

12/25/03
Merry ... ah-choo!

Then again, instead of going to Dad's after work, I could spend the last two hours of work in the ER because I couldn't breathe without pain. The ER doc said it was the same bronchitis (he took another chest x-ray to compare) with a mild not-covered-by-the-flu-shot flu on top of that. So he gave me a prescription for Levaquin (antibiotic, better than Zithromax), and the ER nurse told me where to find the nearest 24-hour pharmacy that would actually be open on Christmas Eve.

So I drove thirty minutes to East Brunswick's Walgreens, only to wait in line for another half hour and be told that my insurance plan isn't accepted at Walgreens. Erg. Well, at least I stocked up on generic Robitussin and bought a new thermometer, too (I was running 102.7 in the ER, down to 99 today).

So I called Dad and said there was no way I was driving in last night because I was just too exhausted and coughing and sneezing and wheezing and achy - all of the seven dwarfs of being sick. I suppose it wouldn't have mattered tho, because with all of the dripping and expectorating, I didn't get any sleep last night, just tossed and turned.

So anyhow, now it's Christmas morning, 11am-ish, and I'm showered and medicated and feeling a little better, so I'm off to the city now.

And on a completely happy note - congrats to Jen. Sean, who she's been seeing since I guess she moved back to Pittsfield, proposed last night. It's one of those "out of the blue" but not really things, since I think she expected it to happen one of these days and the ring was picked out already. I've already told her I will NOT wear pink taffeta.

12/24/03
Happy Christmas Eve.

Speaking of Eve's, we went up to see Eve and baby William (aka the cutest baby in the world) yesterday. He's adorable, and she looks great. It was a gorgeous day - 50-something degrees out, so I had the top down on the car.

After that, I napped, went to get my haircut, and then Mom and I opened our gifts (since we're both working today and tomorrow). I'm heading to Dad's after work tonight, so we can celebrate Christmas in the morning (before I have to come back to NJ to go back to work).

And I stll feel crappy - chest all congested, coughing up a lung etc. If I see my doctor at the hospital today, I'm going to ask about stronger antibiotics. I don't think the Zithromax did anything.

12/22/03
Ooh, bonus. Our teacher finished up her lecture today ("I only have an hour left, do you want to keep going so you don't have to come in for an hour tomorrow?") and today was our last day of class until Jan 6th. Sweet.

later on 12/21/03
I am so full. Did I mention that the night shift can really cook?

12/21/03
I went to the city Friday night after work, so I could spend Saturday doing some last minute holiday shopping. Alas, I stayed at Marie's until an ungodly hour, and slept until 1pm on Saturday. I did manage to do some shopping - altho the crowds are just crazy. I picked up a few things for the kitties, too. I'd been - I mean, they'd been - ogling this water fountain bowl that looks like a mini sink, and since they love to drink from the faucet, I thought it'd be great. So I went to Petco and bought it for them. I can tell right away that this is going to provide hours of entertainment for me, as I watch them try to figure out what to do with this water bowl.

Also at Petco - they have so many kitties that need homes. And every single SPCA has many cats and kittens that need loving homes. So go adopt a cat. Or a kitten. Or two. Or three. Take them home. Love them. End public service announcement.

I also made it up to the (also crowded) Grand Central Station holiday bazaar, where I found a few cool things for people on my list.

Went back to Union Square to meet up with Steve for Naked Boys Singing, which neither of us had seen. Totally fun. We had dinner across the street at Pennyfeathers, and the food was amazing. After the show, I drove Steve back to where he had parked, and then went to Marie's to drop off Christmas/Hanukah/Birthday presents and just hang out.

And now - I am home. Tonight is our annual night shift holiday party for the folks from the second floor. Everyone brings a potluck dish, and since the floor encompasses the USA, the Phillipines, Thailand and India, we get a smorgasbord of dishes. Can't wait.

12/19/03
This not-being-able-to-breathe at night thing is driving me nuts.

12/17/03
And hey, Dad has bronchitis, too. I am not alone.

later on 12/16/03
Had the chest x-ray. It's not pneumonia, it's bronchitis. I'm heading to the drug store to pick up whatever I'm taking for that. I guess I can disregard the rest of my pain meds then if the antibiotics will help.

12/16/03
I just got a spam email for "self-stirring coffee mugs." I'd have to say that's a fairly useless invention. But now I know what to get Dad for Christmas (just kidding, Dad, I'm sure you already have one!).

Tomorrow is Return of the King - I absolutely cannot wait.

The pain in my pulled muscle (that I don't think is a pulled muscle) is still there and has spread. Now it hurts across my side and neck and the center of my chest and I've been coughing all night. I have to pop by Dr. C's office (I told his nurse that my week is not complete unless I see her several times) to pick up a prescription for pain meds that won't knock me out like Flexeril did, and I want to ask him to write a prescription for a chest x-ray. Which I will not have done until after tomorrow because I am not missing the movie.

12/15/03
Oh, I just want this semester to be over.

That, and I want to pass it.

12/14/03
Let's see - important things first. On Friday at work, I had this pain on my left side, reaching up to my neck. So I laid down on my dinner break with a hot pack but it didn't help. Yesterday, Saturday, it was worse, and when I took deep breaths or coughed or sneezed, the pain was unbearable. So I went to the ER - normal EKG etc, and they doped me up with enough muscle relaxant to put an elephant to sleep. I'm still feeling it now, Sunday night. Mom drove me home from the ER, and the ER doc told me not to work today. She also gave me a prescription for the same muscle relaxant, but I think it would knock me out too much. Perhaps I'll save it for when I want to sleep for a week. They suspect that it was either a muscle strain (tho I can't recall anything that would have done that) or a full-blown anxiety attack (tho I've never had one that manifested so physically or that lasted so long).

What else... health-wise, I got my lab results back and my cholesterol and triglycerides are through the roof, so I need to stop eating so much pre-packaged dinner things and watch what else I eat.

The snow lasted long enough for us to shovel out the cars, and then it rained and the snow was washed away. It snowed again today, and rained again, so it's probably just really icy out.

Nothing else new. Can't wait for this semester to be over.

12/10/03
OK, upped the dosage, had my blood drawn, and now I just need to wait for the results. I hate the idea of masking symptoms with medication, so I want to rule out something physical. It's like you have a headache, and you take aspirin or Tylenol to make it go away, and it turns out you have a brain tumor and never knew it because you thought it was just a headache. Anyway.

Since we had the day off from school today, I did a bunch of little errands and came home and watched the extras on The Two Towers DVD. That took all evening. And now I'm ready to sleep. Tomorrow all I have to do is pick up my clinical assignment at 9am, and then go to work at 3pm.

12/9/03
I have the hangover to end all hangovers. But I had a fantastic time at Marie's.

Poor Sheeba, her chin is so sore with the absesses that she can't lick herself, it hurts too much. I need to find the cat brush and help her out. And boy, she does not like the cream we have to put on her face.

I'm going to see Dr. C. tomorrow to ask him about my Paxil dosage (I don't think it's working anymore) and to show him this weird itchy bump thing on my arm. I know that needed to be shared. Plus I want to figure out why I'm so out-of-it lately. All I do, when I'm not at school or work, is sleep, and I feel on edge all the time. Since we're studying diseases of the Endocrine system in school, I of course think I have all of the symptoms of each disease, so maybe I'll ask him to run a thyroid panel, too.

12/8/03
Happy birthday, Tesse!

It's amazing - in three days, we've gone from, "Oh boy, a foot of snow, how beautiful" to, "OK, my back hurts from the shoveling" to, "Jesus Christ, if I slip in the parking lot at Stop-n-Shop one more time, I'm going to sue someone!" It's quickly gone from pristine white snow to slush.

And I must say - driving with the top down and the heat on full-blast is amazing. Really, what's the point of having a convertible if you don't use it?

They let us out of class at noon today, so I used the time to go to the mall and do some holiday shopping. I bought myself a new spring coat, some white scrub pants, a plaid skirt and oh yeah, a few holiday presents for OTHER people, too. It wasn't too crowded, so I nearly enjoyed the mall. I tried to go yesterday but got lost and ended up at the wrong mall (where I live - Matawan - it's an old indian name meaning "near the mall(s)"), so today was much better.

Last night, I drove up to Tesse's in Jersey City to watch the first part of Angels in America with a few of our friends. Amazing film. Part two is on next week, so I have to ask Mom to tape it since I'm working the weekend. We had a super time last night - Tesse and her friend Amy cooked, I brought wine, we had cookies galore, and just a really fun time with friends that I don't get to see nearly enough. Tonight's the first Monday that I'm not working in a long time, so I'm going to meet up with the gang at Marie's, and drop off my presents for Dad and Ann at Dad's apartment on the way. I'm very nearly done shopping.

In the Lord of the Rings countdown: nine more days.

12/5/03
No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've just been exhausted lately - if I'm not at school or at work, I've been asleep. So here's the quick rundown.

I guess those are the biggie things going on. I'm trying not to stress about school, but the class average seems to be bordering on the pass/fail line. I'm passing, but I need to do well on the next tests to bring my average up to where I'm happy with it.

But anyway, I'm alive, I'm tired, I promise to keep the site updated more.

-catherine

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