Blogroll

When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Foggy

My writing brain is sluggish tonight. Yesterday morning started early for me; I had to beat traffic going downtown to have some labs drawn. And even though I slept in today, I'm dragging now. Thank goodness for the end to Daylight Savings Time. The day we "fall back" is one of my most favorite in the year.

When I got to the doctor's office, things were pretty quiet, unlike Wednesday afternoon, when I was there for follow-up with the new internist. The lab techs were just getting started with their preparations for the day -- filling syringes with flu vaccine, restocking vials for blood -- and I didn't have to wait to be called in. The woman with my lab orders waved me over right away and started tying a tourniquet around my arm.

"You fasting?" she asked.

I nodded. I hadn't been sure if the tests required it, but it seemed better to err on the side of caution than to have to reschedule the draw -- one of the tests could only be done first thing in the morning.

I glanced at the labels the woman had printed out for each vial of blood and noticed the number was remarkably short for what I'd seen on the day of my follow-up appointment. (The tech who had originally printed them that afternoon had advised me to wait, given the morning-only test, and have all the blood taken at the same time to save me an extra needle stick.) So -- "We're doing cortisol, anti-TPO, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D today?" I asked, just to be sure.

"Hmm? No, no, I've just got lipids and a hemoglobin A1c," the woman said. "Wait, what's your name again?" She fumbled around with her order sheet for a moment as I gave her my information. "Oh yes, I remember! The other girl said you were going to come back today to get everything done and she taped your other labels to the fridge -- "

We both turned to look at the refrigerator, whose doors were bare.

"Shoot," the woman said, untying the tourniquet. "Wait right here."

I've learned not to be surprised when snafus like this occur. Even as recently as Wednesday, there were some near-mistakes that happened -- the physician ordered the wrong test and only realized it when I asked her why she'd chosen it over an alternative that was purportedly more accurate; then the lab tech handling a urine test gave me the wrong label for the specimen cup and only realized it when I pointed out that it was for the second of two urine tests my doctor had ordered, which could only be done while I was symptomatic (I wasn't that day).

Is it just me, or does it seem like I'm having to double-check what shouldn't be mine to check in the first place?

The woman taking my blood Friday morning eventually found the labels she needed -- in a garbage can. Lucky for me; apparently, once those labels are printed, the request records leave the lab computer and go to a completely different facility where specimens are received (that way, the folks handling that step in the process know exactly what to look for). I don't know whether we would have ended up having to call the receiving facility to figure out what testing needed to be done or if anyone was even at said facility at that time of day. Either way, it wasn't going to be a simple fix.

So. I'm grateful that everything worked out in the end. I just hope the incidence of error drops in future visits. For the next set of tests, scheduled for Wednesday of the coming week, I'll be sedated -- and there's no way I can look out for myself like that!

4 comments:

TKW said...

That is a ridiculous amount of erring! Glad *you* are on top of your health care. Good luck with the next round of tests--sounds like the next batch won't be fun.

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, TKW. The next set of tests may not be fun as described from the point of view of someone with all their mental faculties in place, but the memory-wiping drugs promise to make the experience unobjectionable for me and provide hours of post-procedure entertainment for D. (The twilight cocktail apparently makes me giggly.)

Sherlock said...

It seems more and more that we have to keep on top of our medical testing people. Glad you discovered the error!

C. Troubadour said...

Me too, Sherlock! I hate having to ask those questions, but it's in the name of time and money. Ugh.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Foggy

My writing brain is sluggish tonight. Yesterday morning started early for me; I had to beat traffic going downtown to have some labs drawn. And even though I slept in today, I'm dragging now. Thank goodness for the end to Daylight Savings Time. The day we "fall back" is one of my most favorite in the year.

When I got to the doctor's office, things were pretty quiet, unlike Wednesday afternoon, when I was there for follow-up with the new internist. The lab techs were just getting started with their preparations for the day -- filling syringes with flu vaccine, restocking vials for blood -- and I didn't have to wait to be called in. The woman with my lab orders waved me over right away and started tying a tourniquet around my arm.

"You fasting?" she asked.

I nodded. I hadn't been sure if the tests required it, but it seemed better to err on the side of caution than to have to reschedule the draw -- one of the tests could only be done first thing in the morning.

I glanced at the labels the woman had printed out for each vial of blood and noticed the number was remarkably short for what I'd seen on the day of my follow-up appointment. (The tech who had originally printed them that afternoon had advised me to wait, given the morning-only test, and have all the blood taken at the same time to save me an extra needle stick.) So -- "We're doing cortisol, anti-TPO, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D today?" I asked, just to be sure.

"Hmm? No, no, I've just got lipids and a hemoglobin A1c," the woman said. "Wait, what's your name again?" She fumbled around with her order sheet for a moment as I gave her my information. "Oh yes, I remember! The other girl said you were going to come back today to get everything done and she taped your other labels to the fridge -- "

We both turned to look at the refrigerator, whose doors were bare.

"Shoot," the woman said, untying the tourniquet. "Wait right here."

I've learned not to be surprised when snafus like this occur. Even as recently as Wednesday, there were some near-mistakes that happened -- the physician ordered the wrong test and only realized it when I asked her why she'd chosen it over an alternative that was purportedly more accurate; then the lab tech handling a urine test gave me the wrong label for the specimen cup and only realized it when I pointed out that it was for the second of two urine tests my doctor had ordered, which could only be done while I was symptomatic (I wasn't that day).

Is it just me, or does it seem like I'm having to double-check what shouldn't be mine to check in the first place?

The woman taking my blood Friday morning eventually found the labels she needed -- in a garbage can. Lucky for me; apparently, once those labels are printed, the request records leave the lab computer and go to a completely different facility where specimens are received (that way, the folks handling that step in the process know exactly what to look for). I don't know whether we would have ended up having to call the receiving facility to figure out what testing needed to be done or if anyone was even at said facility at that time of day. Either way, it wasn't going to be a simple fix.

So. I'm grateful that everything worked out in the end. I just hope the incidence of error drops in future visits. For the next set of tests, scheduled for Wednesday of the coming week, I'll be sedated -- and there's no way I can look out for myself like that!

4 comments:

TKW said...

That is a ridiculous amount of erring! Glad *you* are on top of your health care. Good luck with the next round of tests--sounds like the next batch won't be fun.

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, TKW. The next set of tests may not be fun as described from the point of view of someone with all their mental faculties in place, but the memory-wiping drugs promise to make the experience unobjectionable for me and provide hours of post-procedure entertainment for D. (The twilight cocktail apparently makes me giggly.)

Sherlock said...

It seems more and more that we have to keep on top of our medical testing people. Glad you discovered the error!

C. Troubadour said...

Me too, Sherlock! I hate having to ask those questions, but it's in the name of time and money. Ugh.