Syria: My Take on the Bashar and Asma Hot Mess

September 17th, 2013
Bashar Assad

Bashar Assad, Leader of Syria by FreedomHouse

I don’t mean to raise ire, I don’t mean to offend (at least anyone intentionally), but when insomnia hits as it does every night at around 3-4 am, I generally ask myself, “What do I want to research today?” The lucky winner was this time was Syria.

I had read some time ago about a Asma, the beautiful first lady of Syria who had been raised in London who was apparently married to a turd, and frankly I stopped right there because I was offended that she didn’t take her royal British self and show him some manners. She declared that her husband, Bashar al-Assad, was quite misunderstood. Firstly, he really had no interest in being a turd–he had been thrust into the position when his brother had died. His dream had been orthodontia. Kind of like that guy from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, but with a rather violent twist. Like, if he torched the Island of the Misfit Toys, or something. Anyhow, I digress…It appeared that WE didn’t have the whole story. And frankly, I left it at that because the nurse called me back and I put down the magazine, and didn’t think much more of the situation (except that I thought she had lovely hair in the picture).

Fast forward and frankly in the words of the immortal Ricky Ricardo, ‘Lucy, you got some splainin to do.’

For the politically ignorant (me), I am going to break down the Syrian conflict into a few brief sentences. Stick with me as I will attempt to tie it together with a pretty bow of cohesiveness at the end and provide a final discourse to top it all off.

  1. Bashar al-Assad takes over as president from his father, Hafez.
  2. Bashar really just wants to put braces on kids. Sorry buddy. Dream squashed.
  3. Bashar lifts some restrictions on people of Syria so they gain access to global communication. For example, they found out we landed on the moon or something like that.  People are happy. People are also really pissed.
  4. Education and enlightenment breed malcontent–remember when the Bible was printed with the Gutenberg Press? It caused quite a stir.
  5. Military factions form ad nauseum which seem like something from The Life of Brian. The Free Syrian Army, Muslim Brotherhood, SILF, Jihadist’s and an even meaner group who will not be named. They sometimes will work with one another and to varying degree’s they hate us but they’d love our weapons. It’s kind of like when pageant moms are backstage and one of them runs out of hairspray. They’ll be super nice so they can borrow some but then stab you in the back the moment they drain your can of White Rain. Unfortunately, they use real knives here.
  6. Everyone from #5 wants to boot the shoulda-coulda-woulda orthodontist turned turd. And by boot, I mean kill. At least I don’t think I am going out on a limb here.
  7. Babies, women, young children are killed, or terribly hurt, in the process.
  8. Americans don’t like sitting by idly watching pricks.
  9. Even when they’re fighting amongst themselves.
  10. ESPECIALLY when babies, women, and young children are involved.

My ‘ah-hah’ moment at 4 am was that when we were fighting our civil war in 1863 I didn’t read about the world hold a collective sign and cry themselves to sleep for four years while our babies blew each other up.  I didn’t read about outrage across the ocean at how we treated and addressed property (aka slaves, aka human beings). I am grateful to live in a land where somehow our hearts have softened enough that we want to be the caregiver to all of the other nations. I am grateful that when we see innocence taken we feel a protective commitment to lead the charge. This is the part where I will refrain from talking about Israel, or oil, or boost poll rankings. However, I am torn at the idea of sending more of our babies to fight against someone else’s. I don’t care if our’s are 18 or 28 and dressed in the uniform of a US Soldier–they are still someone’s baby.

My understanding of the region is that they have a different idea of peace than we do. While we revere and cherish this life and drag it out as long as possible as a dramatic second act, religious militants, or just militants, see no problem cutting the second act short so they can move onto the third act and collect their virgins. This is not to suggest that peace loving Arabs do not exist, it’s to suggest that peace loving Arabs don’t make news. To suggest that we should have a say in the outcome of this civil war when it appears all sides share a slice in the pie (and the flavor is crazy ala mode) is ridiculous.  Perhaps let the fighters fight and the lovers love.  If we want to put our money where our heart is then why don’t we creatively finance a Peace Plan to protect those who want to get away from the action? Don’t tell me it can’t be done.  We run an entire country ON NO MONEY.  Had well-meaning, but ignorant, governments had influence on our civil war the outcome may have been entirely different.

And short of being ridiculous, have we thought about providing some air-conditioners and trees over there? I mean, I would be nuts if I live in the desert without trees too. You can’t tell me this type of mayhem would happen in balmy California where the weather is mild and the palm trees grow?

Oh, bad example.

Boat People are Happy People

September 4th, 2013
happy boat people

Have You Ever Noticed How Happy People Are on the Water?

Last week I went on a boat and it was marvelous.  I’ve decided that from now on everywhere I go, I’ll be traveling by boat. Granted, this limits my destinations but I’ll be happier by far wherever I do end up. It may just be the bathtub but I’ll have a smile on my face.  What I discovered about boat people (and my husband wanted to add motorcycle people by extension) is that they are always waving. Waving and smiling as they pass one another.  After my shoulder was cramped by all the waving exuberance I was experiencing it occurred to me that car people aren’t getting this type of joy out of life. Walking people occasionally experience this merriment but for boat people it’s a fact of life.  I want to be one of you. Daily.

I’m not even picky about what type of boat I have. You can throw me in a speedboat, a woody, a windjammer or even a dingy and I’ll be perfectly content waving my heart out.  I’ll even figure out how to wave from my open bow kayak if need be but basically what I’m realizing that I need fresh air, movement on water and money for a recreational activity. And a lake. For what it’s worth I started thinking about the boat people living in the bays if Taiwan etc etc and I’m not sure they’re as happy as the boat people on Flathead Lake, Montana so that’s why I added the “movement on water” qualifier- I just wanted you to know that I had been thinking about them. I’m not convinced they’re waving while they’re eating rice and stinky fish.

So while I was waving to the left and right and feeling like a pageant princess sans satin dress and vaseline on my teeth I got to thinking that we weren’t really waving because we were on a lake, we were just shaking off the cares of the world with our hands in luxury. And then I was thinking that everyone should have that opportunity and I started thinking about how much nicer all the terrorists would be if we just took them on some boat rides? Especially drinking a nice cold coke. And eating a doughnut. Lap. Of. Luxury. And then I was like “Why are we spending so much money on rent and utilities for the United Nations building when all we really need are some paddleboat rentals? Good hell!”

I’m not sure why nobody has thought about this before and by ‘before’ I’m not referring to all those boats in the South Pacific that were pointing at one another with big guns on their decks circa 1942-45. I’m referring to a little global retreat in the woods (and for all of you who are so pro New York we can shove it up there still) kinda like summer camp for grumpy misbehaving kids but more for adults who blow each other up.  We can invite all the world leaders who have killed at least two people in the last year and they can do projects like boondoggle, sand art and canoe races.  Woodburning and archery will be banned.  At least for first years. I am hoping that after year one the commotion of how fun Camp Yammamucca (I don’t know…it just came to me) is will spread like peaceful wildfire and they will be clamoring to get in.  I would like to volunteer to be the troop leader of tent number #2 and I will take the Syrians. I know, I know. I get bonus points.


Feminism 101

April 12th, 2013

I just got through reading several op ed pieces  So Tired regarding women in the Mormon church etc etc etc.  It gave me some inspiration to write.  I’d just like to say that I’m not a feminist; I’m an equinist (and yes I made that up). I think idiots come in both genders.

Before you start recounting stories of Susan B. and her march for equality let me tell you a bit of my background. I come from a family of: German’s, Protestants, Muslims, Gay’s and an atheist or two…Some Thanksgivings it was a friggin Model UN.  Drunk German’s, rowdy protestants (ok, we know that’s an oxymoron), constant and I mean CONSTANT talk about Palestinians and the Jews and then for good measure my Uncle would throw in an anti-God or anti-Mormon comment  every now and then. And don’t even get me started on the time Meg was a flower girl at my Aunt’s wedding. To another woman. So before I’m labeled as narrow minded and ‘born and raised in the Utah bubble’, I’ll let you know that my bubble was broke about the time I was three. Which was about the time I started sipping the beer off of  rim. Don’t worry, I didn’t start on any hard liqueur…until I was about 10 and that’s when Oma and I would take dips in her bottle of Cognac with our fingers. Just a little dab now and again as some sort of bonding experience only a girl can have with her Great Grandmother. We’d follow it up by cigars. JOKE! Seriously people….I did have standards.

So, I was reading with real intent and trying to keep my brain open for a bunch of ‘ah-ha’ moments as I read about how women want more clout in the LDS church and then I read with one eye open and kinda squinting for that matter as someone wrote about how they don’t have time to fight on the front lines or play football- they’re just glad to be a Mommy. I’ll be honest and say that I have no desire to enter this arena and fight for either side because I think they are both doing a disservice to their cause but I’ll remark on that later.

In my mind, the greatest force behind a women’s movement is the men they choose to associate themselves with. If you’re hooking up with a tool then you can rant all you want about wearing pants to church but in the end you are still HOOKED UP WITH A TOOL. I’ve been around the block (albeit a small block) enough to recognize that men who put their women on a pedestal of respect, admiration, loyalty, devotion etc ad nauseum are usually (I said usually- not always)  not the ones crying for equality.  They are too busy being taken on weekly dates and showered with love to worry about who gets to talk in church on Sunday and who is giving the opening prayer. They just don’t really give a rats arse.  It’s not that they are feeble minded or love wearing pantyhose- it’s just that trying to topple the Patriarchal world in which we live is just not on their to-do list.

I will now address the women who have energy to spare. Bless you my dear Sisters. I am grateful that you are married to a good man who treats you like a Queen and as such, you have some extra energy and fire to address all of the tools your neighbors are married to.  I too roll my eyes when I hear that she has no clue how to log into their bank account or how much their mortgage is actually for. I am in absolute agreement that the next time he says he can’t help watch the kids because he’s too busy advancing levels in Zelda we should club him like a baby seal.  Let’s sign her up for some woman power classes (which are not like couponing classes except in encouraging aggressive behavior).  You say you want to wear pants to church? Go for it. My Grandma wore pants to church on a semi-regular occasion and as far as I am aware Hell did not freeze over.  Granted, we were Presbyterians so we thought that Hell may have been freezing over for some other religion but we were too busy with coffee hour after church to take considerable note of it.  I, for one, have worn pants when I have attended Candlelight Christmas Eve Service and I don’t think God minded one bit. He was just glad to have me there. He’d like you to come with me this next year…he’s missed you.

Now I’d like to talk about the idea that women have no desire to play football or fight on the front lines or be a Prophet. Well, how many women did you ask? I for one love the idea of concussions, torn rotary cuffs, cauliflower ear as well as the idea of shooting my enemy with a semi-automatic weapon at close range. Don’t even get me started on the idea of collateral damage…. and as for being a Prophet. Well count me in! I’d like nothing more than to wake up almost weekly in anther hotel room and always be on my best behavior. Loads of Joy. Loads. I am especially resentful that I haven’t been fed dog or snakes and had to pretend that I like the taste. Damn men and all their fun. (Ok, when I was 12 I had a football. Granted it was Nerf but I can throw a mean spiral. Mean= doesn’t ever go where I want it to.)

My husband and I were discussing the impending zombie apocalypse and after about 20 minutes (and yes I am serious) I was fairly convinced that we had reached the next level in our relationship.  He was willing to die for the family (although he contests that he’d have no problem staying alive) and I was then second on the chopping block having had to take the lead as he’s dead and it’s my job to care for the family.  I have no problem taking head shots to zombies if the lives of my children are on the line. I have rehearsed it enough in my head that I would have no problem taking a head shot of someone who was in my home hurting my kids. However, I also have no desire to fight on the front lines but if need be I’d be there. I’d had to take frequent rests for my heart problem but damn if I didn’t do what I could to protect our great nation.

Switching gears here, stay focused…..

My Grandma considered herself a feminist and I’ve read some of her school papers from when she was a girl in 1940 and she was a force to be reckoned with. She was a woman of many talents as most of the men had gone to war and that left the women in charge of learning how to run a farm as well as household.  I don’t envy her responsibilities or many women like her who also worked in the munition factories or held down full time jobs as well as the burden of being a mother while their husbands were away at war.  Those are the true feminists in my book.

My thought is that women who are self proclaimed feminists do a disservice to their cause when their anger and venom is heard more loudly than their ideas. My thought is also that women who are self proclaimed anti-feminists do a  disservice to their cause when their platform consists of variations of the theme “We are like yin and yang and girls don’t want to be combat veterans or hold high ranking church offices.”  There has got to be a middle ground.  Is it impossible to figure out what universal laws are protective of human liberty and dignity while at the same time accounting for our differences in how those laws should be expressed in a society or religion?

To be honest, I wish we would be able to unite against a common enemy, take that passion and let it fuel our love towards one another. Yes, yes…I know what you’re thinking and I’m in absolute agreement.  BYU should not be allowed to play in that ridiculous sports league where they basically play against no-name colleges and/or really good private Catholic schools. I can’t even feel good about taking cheap shots at them. Something has GOT to change.

Bruce Jenner, What Did the Kardashians Lace your Wheaties With?

March 6th, 2013

What?! Explain to me why my kids wait until I have picked up the phone to initiate any type of bonding? “Mom, I’ve really got to talk to you.  Now is when I want to pour my heart out to you. Now is when I want to show you my poem. My artwork.  Can we talk about religion?  What do you think about _____?  Can you explain to me what the different pedals on the piano are?”  I can be alone bored for 6.5 hours and at the strike of the next minute when Comcast calls to tell me my check was lost en route to India or I’m getting the latest dirt on one of my cra cra relatives (and don’t worry I didn’t expose anyone because that definition still leaves the field wide open.  And I mean WIDE open) I’ve got three kids circling my bed like bees to a honeycomb.  It’s almost creepy. It’s definitely obnoxious.  Can’t they love me during normal mom hours and give me some space after 9 pm?  Or can’t they even wait to make sure I am fully dressed until they rain their love on me? I’m convinced they hover by the door until they’re sure I’m comfortably ignoring all signs of life outside the room and then they wait for the phone to ring, they make their singular knock (and in the Childrens  Rulebook they don’t wait for an answer), walk in and just start their motor mouths a runnin’.  Mr. Card keeps telling them that he’s going to be ‘buck nekked’ one of these days and they’re in for a shocker- he thinks they’re joking.  I do not.

Rant #2: My husband could be a polygamist if you could be married to a woman and a smartphone.  In his defense, he lets me know via his talking in his sleep that I’m still the number one preference…at least I think that’s what he said. It sounded something like “Siri….I love you so much.” And I think Siri sounds a lot like Julie doesn’t it? (Mr. Card, this is just a little ribbing. It’s not your fault you married a woman who doesn’t even know how to turn on our TV. Granted, in the olden days we only had 1 remote. With like 10 buttons. And a VHS.) On the upside, I rarely watch TV anymore. I just think about episodes of Little House on the Prairie that I can remember and close my eyes at the same time and it’s basically the same, it’s just not in HD.

Rant #3: Bruce Jenner, what the hell were you thinking? Did I actually read that you’ve been married to that woman who spawned those Kardashian brats for 21 years? Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t you go to the Olympics in running? From the photo’s I’ve seen of you in the press, it appears you still have your legs so I’ve just got to ask: Why haven’t you used them? TO RUN AWAY?  Bruce, this isn’t rocket science here, you don’t even need a fancy car with a Hemi, you just need to stand up and Forrest Gump it and you’re done with this pack of cra-cra. No amount of money is worth this, no front row seats to your LA Clippers games are worth this so unless you enjoy seeing your depressed, forlorn mug smashed on trashy magazines rather than Wheaties boxes, you’ve got to put on your Reebok’s and man up. We’ve got some extra room at our home and if you’re into technology I’m sure Mr. Card can teach you how to use a smartphone or IPAD or Mac computer or PC (although he really is disgusted by those) and you’ll get along splendidly. Two of our kids have joined track and maybe you can help at their school- kinda keep a low profile for a while and reclaim your dignity while we nurse you back to health with love and acceptance of that ridiculous plastic surgery job you got per your evil Kardashian wife (gag may I say) .  Also, since I’m not doing so well physically, you can be in charge of laundry and dishes so you don’t feel like such a mooch.  It’s what Steven Covey called a ‘win-win’ situation.

Rant #4: Not so much a rant but more of a “Why me?” Why was I born in Utah- land of the arid and dry rather in Louisiana where I could have been precariously placed (perhaps already in the hospital nursery) alongside one of the Robertson boys. Maybe we could have grown up catchin’ fish, huntin ducks’, eatin’ crawfish and maybe, just maybe, I could sit at the foot of Paw Paw and Uncle Si and listen to them spin tales of mystery and awe…. but alas I am here. In the desert. With the dirt and some jackrabbits.  Luckily Mr. Card has facial hair and owns a gun and he is constantly irritated with the government and he’s a good solid Christian so he’s practically like a Robertson boy as it is.  He’s also one to buck conventional anything so that makes him Robertson material as well.  We just need our own Dynasty, more camo clothing, more acreage and a hellavu lot more money.  I’m blessed in that the Silverback of the family has wanted to maintain a Hanson compound for years to escape the idiots invading civilization and Mr. Card was just tickled pink to hear this plan. Unfortunately for us, the idiots happen to be actual citizens of the United States…..opinion only…opinion only…… Wink

Rant #5: Hard water and the havoc it reaks on my glass shower door.  Trust me when I tell you that I have Googled every concoction known to mankind and it’s all a load of crap. Nothing works long term to keep  the hard water stains off of my glass enclosed shower.  And if  you’re wondering, no, we don’t have a water softener and yes, I realize that would help but I wasn’t in the mood to plop down almost three grand for one. For those of you who are piously sitting there “tsk tsking” me with a “well, you should have purchased a softener and we wouldn’t be having this conversation” I’d like you to say that to my face and I’ll take your face and show it to my shower door. Then I’ll cry and hopefully you’ll feel bad for making fun of a woman who just wants shiny glass you pompous water softener snob. Too Sad

For those of you who read this blog, I’d love to know what you’ve done for any hard water glass issues and if you tell me “use vinegar” then keep that to yourself because I”VE TRIED IT!!

I’ve tried: CLR, Magic Eraser (to rub the vinegar around), scouring pad, soft scrub, after shower spray.  My next purchase is going to be from China because I hear you can get illegal powerful magical stuff that works on anything.

Dr. Julie Card, Fake Doctor Practicing Without a License

March 2nd, 2013

Advance Notice: This is absolutely the most boring blog post yet and I make an oath that next time I’m discussing Duck Dynasty only as well as my dislike for the Kardashian family. Period.     

I met with Dr. J this week. He’s a specialist.  It generally takes months to see him but through, what I like to consider, divine providence, the MG (Mean German and quite frankly you’ll just have to read prior entries to get the full oomph of why we call her that) got me in within the week because as we know you do not mess with a MG.

He was all that I had hoped him not to be and more.  I had heard that it’s difficult to get into the auto-immune club and frankly I have better chances getting into Harvard or even wearing the green jacket signifying that I’ve won a certain amount of golf championships than I do getting into his club if he’s the gatekeeper.  There was no way he was going to let me be a pledge. No way in hell. Even if I had agreed to run across the cancer or Parkinson’s disease frat or sorority house naked and half drunk he just wasn’t going to do it.  You see, from what I’ve read on various blogs and forums they like to keep their club’s numbers down. Statistics show that the number of people being diagnosed with auto-immune diseases has skyrocketed within the last decade but for some reason the rheumatology community (doctors who specialize in auto immune diseases) is very very leery to allow you to be in their club and would rather you go away (or more like be wheeled away because you can’t even walk you’re so impaired) until you can perhaps crawl back using what little strength you have left, barely breathing and then they they will embrace you with open arms.  “You have now proved yourself true.  Come into our arms. Oh, actually, let us get down on the ground because we see that you can’t actually get off of it.”

Granted, this is my perspective based on my interaction with Dr. J as well as a number of blogs and forums I have read from sufferers around the country who then go on for second or third opinions with actual doctors who they first verify have a beating heart and they then get the help they need.  I’d love for you to tell me stories you or your family have had with doctors whose hearts have been cut out prior to them entering the room with you. No really, I want to hear them because I can’t be the only one who wants to charge them for my valuable time.


“Ok Doctor, here’s the deal, if you strike me as an idiot or if by the end of this first visit we determine that my ACT score was higher than yours, I remember more stages of mitosis than you do or you don’t even remotely try to validate that I feel like sh** then I not only want my copay back but I am going to double it? Does that sound fair because it does to me.  Additionally, if you look at me like I am taking up valuable time that you could be using on the golf-course while you bill me $280.00 for your precious 30 minutes because you’re a ‘specialist’ then I’m going to charge you an equal amount because I’m a ‘specialist’ as well.  I’m a specialist at knowing who’s a tool of a doctor. Kapeesh?

So I wanted to rant about why I didn’t like Dr. J and why I want to admonish others to advocate for their own health.  Back in the day when I was young and the liver spot on my cheek was just a dot waiting to make it’s appearance on the stage of life, I was 13 and reading Freud’s ‘Interpretation of Dreams‘. Primarily because I was an uber-nerd but also because I had dreams of becoming a psychologist, I’d wander around asking anyone about what they had dreamt about last night and then using my trusty diagnostic manual (Freud’s book), I’d give them the low-down about what that really meant.  “Oh, you dreamt that your mother was riding an elephant to the grocery store?  Well, it’s obvious you want to kill your father and marry your mother because you secretly love her.  I’m sorry to have to break it to you like that but at least now you know the truth.  Have fun in 6th period.”

 And I’m pretty sure from there it just got worse as I love the psych field as well as the medical field and found myself volunteering at the psych hospital when I was 14 (and no, this is not typical but my Aunt was a psych nurse so I would go with her on her weekend shifts).  I end up graduating in Psychology but also work as a medical clerk at LDS hospital and on my lunch breaks I do what most closet nerds do- I read the latest issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).  I worked in the clinic with all of the physicians that were coming from the University of Utah and frankly what I saw pissed me off.  Certainly there were some outstanding young doctors but by and large, they were just like you and me except they were able to pass their calculus class. Well…except that’s where they weren’t like me.  I had thought about trying to go to med school several times but frankly, I can barely add 2 + 2.  My geometry skills are par, my pre-calculus skills are uuuhhhhh, and the only reason I got a C+ in Algebra 3/4/5 is because of Mark Lockman and a really stupid teacher.  And yet, isn’t it funny that when the kids need help with their Geometry I can NOW get the answers RIGHT? What the crap is THAT ALL ABOUT?

Frankly, I’m calling Mr. Whitman from 9th grade and I want a re-do on my tests because I’m sure I could do better than a B-/C+.  For all of you out there that are wondering how smart doctors are, I’d like you to rest at ease. While I worked at the clinic, (and this is no lie nor exaggeration) I asked EVERY ONE of them what their ACT scores were as well as their grades in high school.  Granted, I worked in the clinic in 1997 and I’m aware that competition is much different these days so  you can assume that doctors older than this are just dumber (well really, can’t you?). In 1997, the physicians that I worked with that were in their 3rd and 4th year of residency and had ACT scores of between 25-29.  Their high school GPA was between 3.7-4.0.  When they had no clue what was wrong with a patient they would congregate in the backroom with their pocket reference manual and look up stuff.  And then the savvy nurses would give them pointers. Wink  I’ll tell you what’s wrong with this picture.  Under those qualifications, I should have been a doctor and then, at least, I could be taken seriously now.  I have a friend, Dr. Baker (shout out to Amber) who fairly recently graduated from PA school and the minimum qualifications to enter school are incredible.  Doctors these days who are entering school are expected to be five notches above what they were ten and twenty years ago.

 Two weeks ago when I had the fortunate experience of being at the emergency room and having Tatum Channing’s doppledanger as my ER physician, I was astounded at his knowledge.  First, he looked 17. Second, he was the first physician that even had heard of POTS (my first diagnosis that has to do with my heart not working correctly if I stand up) who is not a cardiologist. Third, well…duh..I won’t even say it but I’ll tell you that it ended up in Mr. Card telling me that I was fawning over my doctor and batting my eyelashes and I told Mr. Card that my eyes were just dry and that’s why I was blinking a lot.  Which is true as documented by my cracked corneas so there Mr. Card. I only have eyes for you- cracked ones at that.  I attribute it to the fact that these young bucks are charged with having to ‘know their stuff’ because the white coats aka Dr. J are hanging out on the golf course resting on their five iron and their laurels.

Let me get to the core of this problem and how it may pertain to your life and not just my pity party.  I know enough about how my body should run to know that something is not running properly.  When Dr. J calls me and says “I don’t think you have sjogren’s” I can say with firmness (also being friendly) “well I think you are wrong and here is why…

*This is kinda- mostly-ish-fairly verbatim:

“From what you discussed with me the other day, it is apparent that you don’t believe there is any legitimacy in any lab that is run by labcorp, is that correct?” (He also thinks it’s just coincidence that I can’t breath, have cracked corneas and can’t walk and no, I’m not joking.)

“Well, yes, that is true.  I don’t think their labs are sensitive enough.”  In his defense, he did say more but frankly, I have no desire to write it, he let me know that you can’t have sjogren’s if you have a negative ANA even if  you have a positive SSA which is frankly not true but I won’t bore you more than I have…

“Ok, so I am aware that he ANA lab run by ARUP was negative although both ANA labs run by two different testing facilities of  labcorp were positive but that is beside the point right now.  You also ran the SSA correct and even by your ARUP standard it is positive, is that true?”

“Yes that is true but if your ANA is negative, it doesn’t really matter if your SSA is positive because you see, the ANA is like finding out of there is a car in the garage and if there is no car in the garage then it wouldn’t matter what make and model it was and the criteria for being diagnosed with sjogren’s would include a mucosal biopsy and frankly, if you insisted on having one I am fairly certain it would come back negative and it would be an inconvenience of your time and money.”

“I’ve already had the biopsy and it was positive.”

“No you haven’t.”

“Yes I have. Dr. Sondheimer did it and you should have the results. I know he sent them to you. Remember, I told you I had one the other day when we had our appointment? I told you it was positive for inflammation.”

“You must be mistaken, you haven’t had a mucosal biopsy.”

“Oh, I think I have. He cut open my lip and actually I was having a bit of insomnia this morning and was reading a bit from Rheumatology today, that is your organizations monthly magazine and there is a new diagnostic criteria from which sjogren’s is diagnosed and there are three criteria that need to be met.  A person needs to have two out of the three.  They need to have a positive SSA or SSB or a positive RA factor or a positive lip biopsy or a lacrimal tear stain with a certain number. And I meet all three. I shared with you the information about my cracked corneas and let you know I had the information about the tear stains, you should already have the biopsy regarding my lip and even by your own ARUP labs as well as both Labcorps facilities my SSA antibodies are elevated as well.  I know it’s a moot point because you don’t trust Labcorp but my GP also ran additional tests and several more came back abnormal.

“Well see, that’s the problem with people who go seeking for information on the internet….”

“Dr. J, in my line of work I try to help people and when I believe in them I will move heaven and hell to help them and I would imagine it is somewhat the same in your industry. I don’t believe that you have a vested interest in helping me because I don’t believe you believe in me and if you don’t believe in me then you won’t help me find out what is wrong.  It doesn’t seem a coincidence to me that my corneas are cracked, I can’t breath, I can barely walk, my lip biopsy is positive, my mouth is dry and my SSA levels are raised but you seem to still think that I don’t have an auto-immune issue. If you can’t get behind me and my cause then it would make sense that we need to part our ways and I can find a doctor who wants to help me.”

(Probably not the thing to say to a proud white coat but I’m sick of white coats)

“Well Julie, I think you are being a bit harsh. I’ve spent a great deal of time on your file today and had a long conversation with Dr. Timmons (my primary care physician) letting her know the route I think you should take. I just don’t think that your path leads you down the road of rheumatology.  You’re entitled to get a different opinion but I think you are going to be highly disappointed….”

blah blah blah.  He didn’t have my chart in front of him. He couldn’t’ say what any of my labs were, he didn’t validate any of the past labs.  I wished him well and our paths parted.  About an hour later I got a notice on my email that I had a new post from MY CHART which is the University of Utah’s system that gives you updates on when labs and tests post to your account.  I had to laugh my pathetic new smokers hack kinda laugh because ironically it was my pathology report of my lip biopsy. As fate would have it, it was done by ARUP, Lab of the Most High, and even if Dr. J hadn’t gotten the preliminary copy, I know that the official copy is sent to him because I had requested it  and in case you are wondering… I did indeed have a mucosal biopsy and yes, it showed all it needed to show.  It tested positive for the number of lymphocytes  I need to have for the disease he says I don’t have as well as atrophy of the tissue.  More than that, it tested positive for something more important.  It tested positive for “Julie, I know I was right and I wasn’t going to back down even though he has his MD.”

I know this has been long winded but the point being, we’ve got to become educated about what our medical right and responsibilities are.  When is the last time you understood what your lab results meant? When is the last time you got a copy of what was in your medical file?

 There were actual ERRORS in my chart.  And not just one. Or two. Or three..  I just transferred to the U of U and there are ERRORS- it was news to me that I have Inflammatory Bowell Disease or have had a tumor in my bone. No wonder I feel so horrible ….;)   

Food for thought: If we don’t take responsibility for our health, then people like Dr. J will, is that what you want? Dessert for thought- who wants to go to medical school with me because this is getting ridiculous…. (Is anyone out there a math tutor?)

Cheekbones, Apples and Trucks- A Few of My Favorite Things.

February 23rd, 2013

I usedtacould (say it fast) give you laundry list of all of the wonderful highlights of life, of Mother Earth that would make me giggle with delight.  Topping the list or at least making it right after God, Family and other touchy-feel-good-supposed-to-say words would be my truck.  That baby has been there for the last 7 years and for all of you who had lived with me through the divorce, you know that he/she (I had never really decided the sex of said truck unlike my gun which was instantly a man named Walther) and I had a relationship akin to a man and his dog. Have you seen ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’ or better yet actually read it? In the olden days, we had these things called books and they smelled kinda like a barn and you turned pages and I sat and leafed through the last hundred pages while Billy had to watch the demise of Dan and Ann (his hounds) and I cried like a baby unabashedly wiping the snot all over whatever shirt happened to be on me at the time.  This last week, I had to wipe the snot once again as I said good-bye to my true and trusted baby. My truck.  You see, I knew it would happen, I knew heshe was getting old but I didn’t think it would happen like this.  She’d gotten me through the Mountain of  Hell remember? Saved my hide on more than one occasion when I perhaps had gotten myself in a bit too deep of mud. On another occasion, granted, it was the one time she disappointed me and I had to actually call a-gasp- man for help.  Luckily, that man was a gentleman I had just started dating and it was with head hanging that I dialed only after I called every other person I could remotely remember the phone number of.  I think I even called Oma Uschi in Germany…. Luckily, Mr. Card was more than happy to rescue the damsel in distress and her two girls who had gotten themselves stuck in about two feet of stinky Utah Lake Mud Water and that, my friends, was the first time Meg and Grace met their brothers Sage and Connor who ended up getting all stunk up helping get my truck unstuck.  I guess it was revenge time now that I think of it…..

I’m lucky my boys are alive. No parent should get the call “Julie, I just totaled the truck. I’m sorry.” However, as I told him later, I much preferred him calling rather than a policeman calling letting me know the truck was totaled and my boys as well.  PS: If you haven’t talked to your kids about the absolute dangers of drowsy driving- take this as a firm command from a mother who could have lost her two boys- PLEASE KICK THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR KIDS IF THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND THE DANGERS OF DRIVING ON TOO LITTLE SLEEP.  *I mean kick with words of love

It had tipped on it's side and sprung back to life momentarily.

It had tipped on it’s side and sprung back to life momentarily.

And before you want to be a well-wisher and say “it doesn’t look so bad” trust me- in real life it does.  Both wheels are off the axle  you can’t open the door, front windshield is cracked (you can’t see that because of the glare),driver window is hanging pathetically,  back window is shattered and it cried out in a low hum although I think that may have just been the engine about to blow.  On the upside…

now that we don’t have a vehicle that fits the whole family it really motivates everyone to do their chores because that’s the only way they can come anywhere. The first three who are done can come. The rest are locked in the house.

My sweet husband and I went to visit The Silverback last weekend in an effort to get away from the stress (yes, that’s the weekend when we got the “I totaled the truck” call. Ironic isn’t it.) So, besides the fact that my husband is just so cute and cuddly, I like the fact that he indulges me while we drive.  This new illness has been in interesting one (code for: hell) and last Saturday life screwed me big time. I can no longer eat apples.  Yup. You heard it.  Injustice of injustices.  I’m not sure which ruined my Saturday more- apples or my truck but at one point I think it was a toss-up.  It appears that because of my lack of normal saliva  it changes the taste in foods and apples now taste like they’ve been sprayed with agent orange. I took a bite, thought that he had poisoned me to get the life insurance and spit it out.  He insisted “you just need to cleanse your pallet.”  Fine. Whatever.  Drink drink.  Another bite.  Holy crap, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?  Obviously, as any wife would insist- I made Mr. Card take a bite.  He did.  And he said it tasted fine.  I grabbed it back with disdain.  I took another bite.  %&$@@*#(. ARE YOU SERIOUS? THIS TASTES LIKE  and if you know me, you can fill in the rest because I am not happy with the end result.  Surely this is some cruel trick by the apple Gods. But alas, it has gone farther than that for the very next day when I asked to try some juice (cranberry of course), much to my surprise I was taken aback by the very same flavor demonizing my buds.  I felt like the Job of juice.  And apples. Damn.

Next rant: It went something like this, “Lance, have you seen my cheekbones lately because I have misplaced them?” You don’t get an opportunity for a full length mirror very often so this was my reality check to see that not only had I misplaced my cheekbones but apparently my knees had followed suit. “Lance, will you please look at this….where are my kneecaps? These aren’t my knees…these are the knees of 255 pound Julie…..not today Julie…..something is wrong….”  To know Mr. Card, you need to know that I generally start having deep discussions about 7 am and anything before 11 isn’t going to get the kind of response I’m looking for so I got some sort of a mumble like “hmmmm…cheek….bones….knees….see em….”  Lots of help he was.  It wasn’t until he told me later that I looked like Tom Hanks at the end of the movie Philadelphia that I knew he was buying into how crappy things were getting.  Granted, he still gave me a hug and kissed me on the forehead and told me I was beautiful so all was well in the world.  However, things aren’t well.

I listened to a talk yesterday from a leader in our church about discipleship and he made an interesting point. I consider myself a religious person and rely heavily on my faith to sustain me through my trials and my joys as well.  He said that true disciples who walk in the footsteps of Jesus will always end up walking into the Garden of Gethsemane.  Have you walked in the Garden in your life? Have you walked there more than once?  To be honest, I thought I had taken a trip in the Garden several times but it would appear I had only taken a guided tour around the outskirts.

I am a fairly crusty, ornery, jaded,non-trusting, controlling, really like a clean house really really person who has a lot of other character deficiencies that I need to work on.  Honestly, one of my worst traits is my need for control and I could write a novel about why I think that’s the case but ironically, I’m in a place now where I have absolutely no control except how I respond. I thought I had done my time in bed with the pregnancies of Meg, Isaac and Grace and then the post-hysterectomy/uterine abscess from hell but apparently Life has different plans for me right now.  Perhaps I haven’t learned my lesson ;)

Lesson’s I Suck At:

1. Dirty Laundry is OK.

2. Dirty dishes are OK.

3. Kids with stinky hair are still lovable. Really? Fine then….

4. When the plumber comes over, he doesn’t care if the basement is clean. Even if you do.

5. You don’t need to go all Nazi OCD if you find a piece of paper in the regular garbage can.  The recycling Gods will give you a pass.  At least this time they will.

6. Somehow, someway the bills will get paid, the kids will eat, your husband will be there and the dog will still be alive even if you do run out of dog food.

This last week I decided to become an overachiever in the auto-immune industry.  I got a call from the doctor this last week to let me know they’re not ruling out  lupus as well as sjogren’s as well as a connective tissue disease and the heart condition.  Luckily, the heavens opened and my file was reviewed by the Rheumy department at the U of U and I am being scheduled to see the specialists- no small miracle I tell you.   I could be a triple medal contender.  It gets very confusing when you’re looking at auto-immune antibody testing because you have a bunch of ANA, RNP, SSA, ZZTOP acronyms and frankly I just know that if I walk to the kitchen and then upstairs we’re in trouble. Back to Tom Hanks, on the bright side Tom Hanks is very well respected in Hollywood and he has a lot of money so I’m trying to embrace his backhanded compliment while I walk in the Garden for a bit.  Sending my love to all of you today.

Blessed By Grace…and the Other Five As Well

February 13th, 2013

I’ve been fairly silent lately and perhaps that’s a good thing.  I’m sure the world can do just fine without the rantings of a crazy woman. What’s intersting is that when I started blogging again I really “felt” it.  I had gone a whole year without nothing to say and then all of a sudden BOOM it started flowing. Like a mad river and just for me.  See, I don’t blog because I think anyone really gives a rats arse what I have to say, I blog because for me it’s free therapy and I had this vision about getting stories of women who had done incredible things, made incredibly brave decisions and making their stories known so I could draw from their power and inspiration and then it happened.  My own life just kinda went to crap.  I guess sometimes that’s what happens.  Is that what is called rolling with the punches?

I’m in that phase right now where I peruse Facebook and all I see is pathetic drivel about ______________(fill in the blank with random crap that means nothing to you at all).  I haven’t visited Pinterest in about two months. I haven’t walked the mall in eons. I don’t even care that my bedding in the master room is ugly anymore.  To top it off, I need a haircut and my color has grown out to the point that I look like I might as well be wandering Wal-Mart in my sweats and Birkenstocks stocking up on beer and potato chips.

Last month was hell. I lost two of my oldest and thought to be dearest friends because they let me know that in their eyes they thought that my medical issues were too crazy to be believable.  They needed to detach with love.  In love they let me know that they weren’t buying what I was selling and recommended I get counseling. How could someone have so many maladies? In their eyes it was simply not possible. Add to that all of the junk of blending a family and it’s a Ice Cream Sunday which includes flavors of crap and psychosis.  No sprinkles please but certainly add nuts. Lots of nuts.

Have you ever had a situation where those around you doubt your credibility? How do you handle that? Do you start to doubt your sanity? I certainly have. I have withdrawn and questioned my own character. What in my personality or dealings with my fellow men has created doubt in two people who I thought knew me intimately? How have I handled others who were in similar situations? Do I trust blindly? (No)

Grace, my eight year old, has stepped up to the task of being the angel who I knew she was sent to be.  On days when I have looked neigh unto death, she brings me notes in the morning, surprised Lance and myself with a surprise trip to the coast and Paris complete with exotic meal.  She swam on the beach for me and looked for seashells-albeit it was in the tub and she stole the seashells from under Meg’s bed but whatever, we’ll give her points for creativity- and she did end up overcharging us for the meal and ran away with five bucks when the tab originally said “pay with a hug” but we’ll forgive her for that as well.  Her current MO is breakfast in bed for me every morning as well as little cards, the most recent included a five dollar bill and a note which read “I think you need this. I want you to be happy because if you aren’t I can’t be. I love you. Please snuggle with me. Love  Grace.”  Bless her heart.  She had overheard a conversation about medical bills and the fact that I’ll be selling one of the kids or one of my kidney’s…whichever sells first (although Lance tells me that in my case, I need to keep a kidney because knowing my luck we shouldn’t roll the dice) so I’d like you to know that one of the oldest is for sell and they have some meat on their bones and are fairly solid workers kinda.  Sorta. If you give them a phone. And Ipod. And raman. And leave them alone. Nevermind, we’ll just set up a payment plan and keep them, it’s easier that way.

You hear stories about families banding together when one person gets sick and everyone pitching in, rallying around and it becomes some sort of Disney movie.  I’ve got news for you.  That happens for about…..three  months and then the kids are like “are you friggin kidding me? So you’re telling me that you are STILL SICK? And you are STILL wanting us to clean the kitchen EVERY DAY AND do laundry?”  Somehow in all of the Disney movies, they seem to leave this part out. Go figure.  So, this is where it comes in very handy to be filthy rich, hire a maid or Maria Von Trapp to raise the kids so you don’t have to work a day job and continue to harass the kids and lay in bed and ring a bell.  Currently we have the bell.  We also have the bed. That’s about it for the moment.  Oh, we also have cute kids and when you line them up they basically look like they move up in height so that looks similar to the Von Trapps except their mother was dead and not just looking like death warmed over.

To be honest, my dear children have graced me with their kindness in great ways and it is unfortunate that usually through trials  we see the serving side of one anothers humanity.  If only there was a way to tap into the soul sans affliction and draw out the divine nature of man but usually it is through that affliction that our nature is chiseled, ground down into a finer specimen of what we are sent here to become.  Unless, that is, you are me.  If you are me, you are just grumpy wondering who left the dishes in the sink.  Damn.  At this rate I’m going to live forever.

So, I bet you’re wondering if I’m nuts eh? (sure, that may have seemed a little off topic but I was planning on coming back to it at some point in time and I didn’t have any subtle way of approaching it.) Well, two days ago I got a call from Dr. Sondheimer who is a dermatologist I went to by accident but that’s a whole different story which basically includes:

called the department at the University of Utah for auto immune diseases, Dr. Sondheimers secretary was confused, booked me an appt, Dr. Sond only sees skin patients, he sees me because he’s not a d-bag like the doctors at IHC, he runs tests even though he perhaps thinks I think that I’m a know it all because I do way too much google research in my spare time but I’m sorry after I’ll I’ve been through I should basically just be given an honorary degree because I don’t trust doctors.

AND… he tells me I have an auto immune disease. Sjogren’s Syndrome. It appears from what I can tell that I’ve probably had it for almost 20 years because of some of the bizarro medical stuff I’ve had. Generally people have dry eyes and a dry mouth if you’re lucky.  And then there’s me.  We won’t get into my recent symptoms because you’ll just want to send your condolences and I don’t need the pity party but my unsolicited advice for the day is

listen to your body and don’t listen to your ignorant friends 

*bumper sticker coming soon

Mr. Card will take me to get tested for lymphoma next week- almost a date but not quite as it includes a biopsy of my cheek (mouth not butt) in case you were curious.  So, in the spirit of true voyeurism, I thought that since I am a sharer and since you may know of people in your life who suffer with health issues and who have doctors in their life who SUCK, I’d like you to keep  your eyes and ears open for inspiration.

I’m going to share some of the symptoms (changed my mind) because they say Sjogren’s is highly misdiagnosed and perhaps someday something will ring a bell for someone you know:

Dry Eyes (my eyes started burning so bad I couldn’t put contacts in and even saline solution felt like it was burning), Dry Mouth (end up with lots of cavities but I always thought this was because of medication I was on), Weird sunburn reactions (I get convulsions from sunburns and it is not a pretty sight and if you put benadryl on me it goes even more downhill), chemical sensitivities (I have more allergic reactions to medications than you can shake a stick at- I am anaphylaxis to benadryl and percocet and have multiple drug allergies and recently after my tailbone surgery we found that I an narcotic resistant which means they don’t work on me anymore.), stomach problems (I’ve suffered from stomach problems since I was young but was told I had IBS but currently I am bloated and have lost 9 pounds in 5 weeks by doing nothing), disc disease/arthritis (bone spurs in my neck/lower back/tailbone/foot) and currently the arthritis is bad enough that they’ve done two RF ablations where they burn the nerves in the last four months but they didn’t work, kidney problems (not sure if I have this although I’ve had 2 kidney stones in the past and for the last two months on/off I’ve slept with a heating pad because my kidney’s have hurt), neuropathy (numbness and tingling in my toes, fingers and tip of my nose and this is due to nerve damage),  pain across my neck/shoulders/back (I really have no clue as that could be from oxygen depletion or from nerve damage), arrhythmia, partial complex seizures, basilar type migraines, vasculitis (I’ve had a blood clot and I think this is what I had when I was thought to have had a stroke 8 1/2 years ago.  It is actually an inflammation of the veins and I couldn’t walk or talk for a month.),  current swelling of hands in the morning, recurrent sinus infections ( I ended up having sinus surgery because I couldn’t get rid of them), recurrent UTI’s (don’t worry- that was years ago, I’m all good now.) diaphragm spasms (this has only started happening in the last month and a half and frankly, I don’t care for it at all.)

*I am not a doctor, this is not advice, this is just a list of my symptoms past and present. If you suffer from these, it sucks to be you. ;)

 You might as well put me out to pasture and shoot me right now.

Looking over the list, what strikes me as interesting is that I don’t actually consider myself a sick person.  I’ve been dealing with most of this stuff most of my life and this is just me. This is my body. Except for the seizures and migraines and the neuropathy and the cardiac problems this is the same ol’ me and I am grateful for the body that God gave me because it has gotten me through the birth of my babies, through all the living I have done and through the hell I have gone through.  It truly has been my temple and I love it.  As messed up as it is, I have told Lance that if the good Lord had wanted me back home, he’s had plenty of chances to take me and it would appear that he doesn’t want me yet.  You know when you hear about those women who die in their early years they are always the ones who have their homes decorated with flowers and vinyl lettering and birds tweeting around their heads while the woman is singing and sewing and baking bread for the neighbors.  Guess what I’m doing? Not. Any. Of. That.  I’m as safe as it gets.  I’m not sure he’s convinced but I am.

Alright, I’m signing off for tonight and sending my love and prayers to all of you and for whatever hardship you and yours are going through please know that your aches and pains are valid, your suffering is heard and God is real.  Amen and goodnight.

MOVE OVER…I Am The Original Catfish

January 18th, 2013

UHHHH….Excuse Me….What the Hell is Going On? I like the fact that some by-speckled documentary filmaker seems to have his own MTV show because he just happened to get into a relationship with a freakishly weird old woman and now he’s on ESPN offering his help to  the crying angry Poly. Named Manti.

Um. Excuse me. I think we are forgetting something. I am the original catfish. I am the one to help Manti. I’m the one who took Howard the lying cheating “I just forgot I was married while I carried on with Julie for six months and pawned off my daughter as my niece and told you I was a Royal Marine which I still said I was after you found because you are clever and sent you you tube videos of missions I supposedly went on and told you I was going to move to Chicago so we could decide if we wanted to continue things and see if we wanted to get married and sent you numerous picures of my ‘niece’ and talked to you every day and even had you talk to my friends- some of who were in on this and some who weren’t and then got mad at you when you would ask questions to make you feel bad and then would pretend that that I was my cousin Allie and even videocam with you and I would mix fact and fiction and still to this day I’m sure you are trying to figure out what is truth or not and in the end I told you I loved you and that I was just confused” Millner and told him to rot in an everlasting hell  along with some other choice words that happen to start with the letter F, S and that’s about all I can remember right now. Oh, and with a name like Manti I want to point out that I am LDS (except I put that on the shelf when I used those words that started with the F and S) so we could have a prayer before we talk about how to heal from the experience he’s just gone through…

And then of course it all worked out in the end because God brought Mr. Card into my life. And then I got heart problems. Not like the love kind although I obviously have those too but the real kind. I’m talking the kind where I have have a tube shoved  in my nose giving me continuous oxygen and a woman standing over my bed giving me instructions in a stern voice all the while letting me know she’s not happy that I am home alone during the day and asking me if what happens if I leave the stove on if I have one of my spells and Dr. Dahl showing me how to hold my body in bizarre kamasutra positions which promote blood flow to the brain (nothing kinky here this is a PG site). Dr. Dahl is the cardiologist who was brought to me by Dr. McDreamy the assistant cardiologist. I have no clue what McDreamy’s name really is and really don’t care but he was just so nice that I”m sure he’s new in the profession because he actually sat down and asked questions and used his ears to listen and talked in completed sentences. This besides the fact that he smiled, shook my hand five times and made direct eye contact lead me to believe he hasn’t been turned to the dark side. Yet.  I am going to put him on the prayer roll ASAP. Dr. Dahl  keeps using words like “rare and unique” and “I don’t usually deal with this” and “you’ll have to see my partner because we just don’t see this problem very often” so when I quiz him about why they don’t see ‘this problem’ very often he says: it’s because it is rare and unique. Thank you Captain Obvious. What I mean is WHY?  He tells me it is because they don’t see it very often.

Definition of a circular conversation: see above.

I have what is called POTS. If you want to feel depressed on my behalf follow the link:

Additionally to this load of crap, I have somehow screwed up my ability to breath or breathe. My phrenic nerve controls the diaphragm and it keeps having spasms and I stop breathing. In the scheme of things, it could be worse.  I have a laminated list to remind me of that. Number 1 on the list is being a conjoined twin. Number 2 is being a Jew because they’ve really had a load of crap happen to them in the last 2000 years. As luck would have it, my Oma Lina and my Oma Haderek come from Ashkenazic Jewish heritage so basically this means I’m screwed.  Really right now I think I can’t spell correctly and I’m sure there is some sort of medical condition for that as well besides stupidity but I can’t remember that either.

Ok, I had to take a bit of a break to GO TO THE HOSPITAL VIA AMBULANCE AGAIN but now I’m back. NOTICE TO SELF: I hate doctors (except my dear ol’ neighbor and Dr. Timmons) and today was no exception. I don’t even want to get into what happened today except to say that when they release you and say, “We would never release you if we thought this was a life threatening situation” and you look at your husband and look back at back at Dr. McIdiot and say:

“Really, well then next time when I stop breathing and my diaphragm doesn’t work, I’ll be sure to make sure that I keep NOT BREATHING THE ENTIRE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL FOR YOUR SAKE SO YOU CAN MAKE SURE THAT THIS ‘SENSATION’ I am having is legitimate. Oh, and next time why don’t you call the doctor who admitted me in the first place because she seemed to think it wasn’t just a ‘sensation’ when she saw it because she was scared enough she wouldn’t let me leave her office but admitted to me to the hospital immediately and why don’t you look at the cardiac notes from yesterday and just because you have never seen phrenic nerve damage that leads to diaphragm spasms doesn’t mean it doesn’t  &%*(@#(*$ exist and I hope that when you read my %*$(@$&* obituary you feel good about releasing me and (I vaguely remember looking at Lance and saying) get me the %*@#(*%& out of here and I hate all doctors and maybe you can tell your neurologist on call that that she can Google breathing pacemakers because I did,  so just because she has never heard of them Google has and so have I.” or something like that….

This segways nicely into how I got diagnosed with my actual diagnoses of POTS and Autonomic Insufficiency yesterday… so I went to my sweet Dr. Timmons (who I love) over at IHC in Saratoga Springs (and yes that is an endorsement and not even a veiled one at that) where I had one of my ‘sensations’ (gag) and my oxygen saturation went down to 84 (which is only a good number if you’re trying to get a suntan and then lo and behold I’m on my way to the hospital and then I’m hooked up to brain and heart probes and yada ,yada, given some cranberry juice (which has nothing to do with the story but I just really like juice when I’m at the hospital because I’m usually too cheap to buy it but if I’m going to be paying like $25,000 for a visit, I figure “what the hell”) and then they’re going to discharge me Thursday morning and I’m standing up while the neurologist (brain doctor) starts talking to me and explaining all of this stuff and I’m nodding and he’s trying to sell me swamp land in Utah and I’m nodding and thinking “wow, I hope I get some with gators” and finally he leaves and I lay down and the oxygen returns to the brain and then I’m like “what the hell did I just agree to? I’m not leaving here.”


POTS patients hallmark symptom is that our heart rate rises just by standing up. My heart rate will jump 50 beats within 20 minutes just by standing up and looking at a fly on the wall. In case you are wondering- this is not normal. Both the fact that it jumps 50 beats and the fact that I have nothing to do but look fly’s. Some of my other triggers are heat, stress, sleep deprivation, lack of food, illness, trauma, surgery, blah, blah, blah.  Well, I had stayed up until 3 am so I could make sure to have some good episodes to record. Additionally, I didn’t feel hungry so I had barely had any breakfast or lunch.  So, after I took a long hot shower to get the brain probe glue out of my head (mistake number uno), and hung out in front of the mirror for about oh, like a hundred years combing the residual brain probe glue out of my wet hair (mistake numero two), and then decided that I looked a bit frumpy so I wanted to flat iron my bangs (yeah…I’m serious…mistake number three), then I looked out the window for a while- I mean, I was on the fourteenth floor and had an incredible view- (mistake number four) and by then I was good and oxygen depleted. So what’s a woman to do who has talked her husband into leaving her alone at the hospital and who only has about five brain cells working at full capacity?  Something like this:

1. Julie takes the pulse ox (machine that records oxygen saturation and pulse rate and sticks it on her finger) and unplugs machine from the wall.

2. Julie waits about 20 seconds to make sure the alarms start to sound (which means her pulse has gone to about 120-135 and then she starts her march towards the nurses station. S ….l…o…w…l…y…so allllll can hear

3. The nurses are doing what a lot of nurses do (not ALL nurses but a lot). They are huddled together talking. Finally one of them turns around because the alarm on my machine won’t quit. It is the heart rate alarm. By now I am shaking. I imagine I don’t look well. Plan is working.

4. “May I help you?” says nurse who is busily looking back and forth at me and the machine.

5. “Do you see this number” I say as I point to the 130 on the machine. By now all the nurses have turned around. The alarm hasn’t stopped. If a heart rate is above 120, the alarm sounds. “They want to release me today, as you can see, this is a high number and I’m not sure what you think but there appears to be a cardiac problem and I don’t think this is a good idea, what do you think?”

6. Nurse “I Don’t Want To Get Involved” tells me that I should go back to my room and I let her know that I am planning on standing there for just a few more minutes because by then I plan on passing out in the middle of the hallway to prove my point. She does not like this idea. I am shaking a bit more. I am hunched over a bit more. I imagine I look like death warmed over. Plan working me thinks.

7. She highly encourages me to go to my room. She’s going to get my nurse. Nurse Roxana (who by the way loves me and doesn’t think I look 38 which is sweet because I’ll be honest, I really look like hell right now) escorts me back letting me know that the cardiologist is coming to see me. I hit the bed in time to have one of my sensational episodes where my oxygen gets down to 78 (my new PR and since I’m not a runner this is the only way I can have a PR so don’t judge) and Roxana strokes my head and encourages me to breath (which I can’t because if I could I would but that’s ok, I appreciate the encouragement. We all need encouragement.) She bans me from leaving the bed after that and she is the one who brings me Dr. McDreamy who brings me Dr. Dahl and my diagnosis of POTS and Autonomic Insufficiency. (see how the circle of cardiac life happens eh?)

8. They release me with oxygen and a pill and let me know that I’m a lab rat and give me looks of “I’m sorry this has to be you.”

I give them looks back of “Don’t worry, I’m part Jewish and our people haven’t been wiped out in 2000 years, I’m not about to be wiped out now. “

Brain Probes Give a Girl Perspective

January 17th, 2013
Mr. and Mrs. Card

Mr. and Mrs. Card

If I was to die right now, would my contribution to my family have made enough of a difference that I could rest in peace? Sure they would cry at the funeral and fuss about buying nice flowers but often that’s more about guilt rather than the quality of life a person leads.  If funeral flowers were purchased based on integrity of life, how many more dandelion sprays would we see at cemetery’s rather than calla lilies and roses?  See, when you spend a fair amount of your day Googling your symptoms and most of the prognosis’s end in the words “poor outcome” you’ve got to start thinking of what kind of an ass you’ve been to your kids and for that matter mankind in general.

In a very non-humorous way, let me explain what has been going on and if it doesn’t make sense, bare with me that I am off of oxygen, sleep deprived and am trying to induce a seizure while I sit here in the hospital trying to get my money’s worth.  I haven’t posted on Facebook much in the last while, haven’t posted consistently on the blog and that’s because my brain hasn’t  been working. After my tailbone surgery, I started having what appeared to be tonic clonic or grand-mal seizures that were uncontrolled. Many days were spent in bed fully exhausted not even able to bathe because even the heat of the shower would induce another episode. Dear Lance has been a trooper but I think he is even feeling the weight. I don’t see my husband “lose it” for lack of a better word but I told him that I needed him to go home and leave me at the hospital.  I told him that there was no purpose in him staying here if the main reason was to  do everything in my power to induce seizures- which means give myself oxygen deprivation by increasing my heartrate so I’ll end up passing out or my new form of excitement- some sort of diaphragm spasm where my diaphragm quits working and I can’t breath. It generally happens as a result of tachycardia (rapid heart rate which is not caused by exercise) but I’m lucky enough that I really don’t know when it will happen…like at the school board meeting last night….or at Mimi’s Cafe…or COSTCO…or the Timp Freeze…or at Noodles and Company…you get the drift.

I don’t share this because I want your pity nor do I want your congratulations for enduring anything.  Not at all. In fact I feel quite blessed. I have a wonderful husband, we live in a wonderful place, I have a family I love, I have a firm faith and I have double medical coverage.  I share this because a little over a year ago I felt perfectly healthy and one day after I had the flu, everything changed. I went from someone who was often dancing in the  livingroom to being rushed to the hospital because I had passed out and ended up being unconscious for five hours and that is when the nightmare began.  Sometimes life just throws us a curveball doesn’t it? We’ve just got to be prepared with the right mit to catch it in. I couldn’t imagine having any other spouse to support me through what I’ve been dealt with this last year. He has been my rock. Besides my reliance on my faith, my husband is stalwart. You know you are loved when your husband threatens to throw a doctor out of a seventh story window if they don’t figure out what is wrong with their wife.  It made my heart flutter just a wee little bit….although that could have been a murmur now that I think about it.

Perhaps this is a gift from God? Perhaps this is an opportunity for me to fine tune my character. This could be my game changer.  Now when I say “fine tune” that may lead you to believe that I am going to need small grit sandpaper to knock off those last remaining rough edges because I’m so close to exaltation I’m only but a small cloud away from knocking my head on the pearly gates.  If by small grit what you are envisioning is sandpaper that Paul Bunyon would use to carve out the Grand Canyon then you and I are on the same page for two reasons: 1. You realize I am way messed up and I should live to be 1000 for all the crap I need to fix and 2. You hail from the Midwest or are descended from the Midwest and revere Paul Bunyon like any true American. God Bless You. We are almost extinct.

Julie’s New Gameplan 2013

1. Don’t die.

2. Maximize 401(k) contributions for Lance and myself

*If you are not familiar with the tax benefit of a 401(k) or 403(b), please talk to your HR advisor. Vesting schedules generally range from immediate vesting to a five year schedule and most companies will match your contribution up to 4%. This is free money people. This announcement was brought to you by the braintrust of Mrs. Julie Hanson Card Bankers Daughter Ex Banker Herself Who Probably Learned This In Utero.

3. Be nicer. Especially to jerks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be nice to a little old woman, it does take a Saint to be nice to a specific person I am thinking of in my head that shall remain nameless. Do you have one of those in your head too? Does that person almost make your head explode? Well, how about we just put that person in our little worry box and close that box and lock it and throw away the key? (Note to law enforcement officials: This is symbolic only)

4. Watch more Duck Dynasty and try to get adopted by Paw Paw Phil Robertson because I am damn sure he would love me if he just knew me. Mostly because I promise I would skin a bullfrog if he wanted me to and I’m not afraid of hard work and I love birds and I don’t consider myself a yuppie unless you count my uber awesome Michael Kors purse with matching wallet but that wasn’t really my fault that was the Silverback of the Hanson Clan  John’s fault because he didn’t want me to feel bad that Mean German and Kris had one well actually Mean German has like 5 but I said I didn’t want him to spend the money and he was getting all “up in my grill” and giving me his Norwegian angry look so I was like “Fine, I’ll take this red one if I must” but besides that and the fact that I prefer to fly first class and enjoy Europe immensely I really like the woods. Oh, and  Johnboy (that’s what we prefer to call him when we’re not referring to him as The Silverback)  wants to buy land and live off the grid because he’s sick of all of the idiots he has had to deal with and he has a fair share of guns and ammo and lots of cammo and only buys his clothes at Cabela’s and the Harley store so he’s practically like Paw Paw Phil anyhow so it’s kinda like we’re like the Robertson’s anyhow except Johnboy wears a Rolex and rides a Harley on the weekends. Additionally, Johnboy is often sending Mean German property listings and for several years has been referring to what he terms as “The Hanson Family Compound so we can get away from the idiots” and although she rolls her eyes, I’ve decided she just hasn’t met enough idiots yet to make the idea enticing enough.  Paw Paw Phil would be in agreement if he saw the type of property Johnboy was pitching to Katherine (as he calls her as that is her given name) as the acreage is large enough that I’m sure it would hold several duckblinds.

5. Get a portable oxygen container. There is something to be said about the craze of Oxygen bars of the ’90′s but there is even something more exciting about the mass of old people who walk around with their little oxygen bottles with them.  Anyone who has oxygen deprivation on a regular basis  understands the frustration of walking into one room, wondering why you are there, staring into space, looking around, folding some clothes that you see lying on the bed (are they dirty? do you even care? do they even belong to anyone in this house? who knows?) , passing out, regaining consciousness and forgetting that you don’t have pants on.  Oh, that doesn’t happen to you? Well nevermind then….

6. Sending out more “thank-you emails and letters of appreciation.” I’ve got to work with what I have and frankly, I have about 20 thank-you cards sitting in my office and if I write those out I will probably die. No really, I will. I tried to visit a friend several months ago and walk to her home. An ugly vicious dog ran out (ok, maybe it was just ugly) from the garage and scared the ever living crap out of me, made my heart rate jump through my eyeballs and sure enough, the red-necks got to watch Mrs. Card hit the pavement and lay there for a while. Thankfully, it was a lovely summer day and Mrs. Card had a nice nap and when she did regain consciousness and hex the rednecks to hell, she picked herself up and merrily walked past them to her destination.  Point being, scratched up knee and pride aside- wouldn’t someone rather receive a lovely email from you stating your thanks or appreciation or love or everlasting stalking behavior than nothing at all?  Just do something. Stop thinking you have to give them the world- just write a damn note and press send. Do you realize how many batches of cookies I have made for others? Do you realize how many batches of cookies I have actually given to others?

Julie’s Math Lesson for Today*:

Batches of Cookies I’ve Made For others:  57

Raw Cookie Dough Batches I’ve Consumed out of those Batches: 35

Cookie Batches that Have Made It Out of the Oven For Others: 22

Batches that the kids or myself have eaten or Mr. Card: 11

Cookie Batches that have actually made it to their final destination: 11

*Please note that this is probably a gross overstatement as I’m sure that I’m not counting how often I’ve put cookies in baggies, put the baggies in the car and then forgot to bring them over to someone and then the kids find the baggies and eat them like they are a starving wolf. So basically, if I’m honest, in 20 years of being an adult I’ve probably brought 5 cookies to deserving needy people. Ever. What I’m saying is EAT YOUR OWN COOKIES, SPREAD LOVE VIA EMAIL RATHER THAN NO LOVE AT ALL.

7. I’m sending everyone I know the KLOVE challenge.  Find KLOVE on 107.5 in Utah or Google Search KLOVE for your local listing and try listening to it for 30 days straight. Mr. Card was the only man I found through all of the men I perused that wrote that he listened to Christian music and he was also the only man who treated me with the utmost respect among other things.  Mr. Card let me know a long time ago that he “traded in Queensryche for Jesus” and bless him for it.

Offtopic entirely because I’m not on oxygen (which is bizarre because I’m siting in the hospital with more wires stuck in me than a computer but no oxygen…..huh???)

What happened to all the 7-11′s and the popularity of the slurpee?

Does anyone remember drinking TAB when they were little?

I have an excellent recipe for homemade mascara on my Pintrest board if anyone is interested FYI- cheaper than MAC.

Am I the only one who abhors police drama TV shows?

Back on topic now…

I keep telling Lance that I’ve got so much to do in life that if God had wanted me there are so many opportunities he could have used to take me and this is just a bump in the road. Bumps give us perspective and what is nice is that often if we are wise we can gain perspective from others bumps (HINT HINT).  I don’t see me going anywhere soon, not Heaven or Hell. I see me going home and making some cookie dough.




I’m a Duck Dynasty Lovin’ German Super-Hero

January 5th, 2013

Mr. and Mr. Card

Not that becoming a rogue Mormon is a resolution, it’s more of a fact.  And now that I think about it, I’m not so sure that we’re “rogue” but more like old and cranky. And now that I think about it a bit more, we’ve really got to strike while the iron’s hot so to speak and take advantage of any day when I’m bathed and conscious. This last Saturday Mr. Card and I eloped to the LDS Mount Timpanogas temple to be sealed as husband and wife.  All by ourselves.  Kind of romantic.  We topped off the day by getting take-out at his favorite Mexican restaurant, Costa Vida and watching Paint Your Wagon (which if I may include a rousing endorsement of this epic film- consider it done!)

This week we’re kind of batting 5/6 days on the seizure scale (and I’m not hitting in the positive if you know what I mean). I’m not even going to get in to the multiple number per days as that seems to put Mr. Card in a bad mood however, I put somewhat of a lighthearted spin on it today after #3 and let him know that I’m not convinced they’re seizures but more of a dramatic panic attack since I’m really not used to so many kids and they were making quite a bit of noise and I had rather preferred to be unconscious than deal with the racket.  I then demonstrated how I could hold my breath and try to reenact the event but he wasn’t going for it. Rude.  As a German, we laugh at many things.  We’ve got to keep our humor, we live next door to the French. He’s mostly Scottish and they apparently have no sense of humor.  I’m supposed to return to work this next Tuesday….hmmm…been doing a lot of deep thinking on that topic….this Sunday Deena from the Ambulatory EEG office is coming to hook brain probes to my head for 3 days in the hopes that I have seizures so they can figure out what is wrong with me.  Please, no comments. Grace is concerned that it will be difficult for me to sleep and that somehow the probes will suck my brains out, I’m concerned that of all the days, nothing will happen and that I’ll just look pathetic, and my mother is concerned that “How the hell are you supposed to go to work? All you do is basically lay in bed most days?”  Tis true Mean German, tis true…”

Isn’t it interesting this social media tool?  I’d like to really see us put our absolute worst pictures up.  I’d like to raise my arm to the square and let you know that Sunday evening I’ll be posting my brain probe picture up- just so if you’re having a fat day, or a crappy day or any day that just makes you feel like your life sucks in any shape or form, you can get some joy or satisfaction from looking at me.  Merry Early Christmas/Birthday/New Years/Hanukkah, Arbor Day/Easter.  In return, I’d just like you to think of Mr. Card driving me to Dr. Butt Kavorkian’s early Monday morning with my brain probes on because I’m banned from driving so he can take a look at his young Frankenstein and write me a note for another week of disability as it wouldn’t be too professional to TRY to be convulsing during work…would it?  Think not.  I miss work. I can barely remember what I did. Do they remember me? Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of my life. Wow I miss Bo and Hope.  These are the worries of my day. Gag, I need a life.

Alright, in the spirit of setting unrealistic expectations and then feeling bad about not completing them, I’d like to discuss resolutions.  For the past 10 years, I’ve had several that are a basic carryover.

J.Card Resolutions That Actually Can Work. Maybe.

1. Increase my sewing skills (not going to happen but perhaps this is the year I remember how to thread my bobbin, I’m feeling lucky.)

2. Lose some weight, de-frumpify. (This does not include getting rid of my new hot pink Kevin Bacon t-shirt compliments of my sister because she bought one too and now we can be twinners even though we’re 3000 mile away twinners.  What’s even the bomb is that if we move our stomachs a certain way, Rhenn (cuz that’s his Footloose name duh) will smile and wink at you. BONUS!)

3. Finally convince IHC to give me my own honorary parking stall because damn if I don’t deserve it. Or I’ll even take one of your lame bricks at one of your buildings. Whatever, I’m not picky but I know I’ve sure given you a crap-load of my $$$$$ over the last eighteen months.

4. If you have more than 1 child or 1 pet or even 1 husband, you deserve to take 2 days per weeks and ignore everything within the confines of your home.  I’m not talking about pee on the floor nor vomit  I’m talking about dishes, laundry, garbage etc.  I can sanction this because I don’t do it and this leads to a little known American epidemic called “Xanax Consumption.”  I resolve to ignore everyone for two days per week, let them eat cereal (with or without milk- I really don’t care), wear dirty clothes (even underwear I guess), let them cuddle with me, only scream about letting the dog out, politely ask to turn off the lights at night (I won’t even care when they go to bed because I am just glad they’re alive and getting nutrients from something they found in the pantry…even if it’s marshmallows or canned yams), and only focus on one homework item: The all important (drumroll please) Friday Spelling Test.

5. I commit to try to not swear. Mostly. At least not out loud. It seems to be causing Grace strife and I’m really getting annoyed at being chastened by an 8 year old or by my step-children comparing me to their mothers boyfriend with comments like “well, at least you don’t swear like him….you don’t say the F word…..”  Thanks.  I guess if the two of us were put in the Thunderdome, I would hope to have some bonus points…

6. I commit to ration my intake of Kneaders Bakery goods. My goal is that the people who work at our local Kneaders will not know me by name, or for those who already know me they will forget me without me having to use some sort of Harry Potter-like serum on them.

7. I want to go on a Honeymoon with my husband. I’m desperate enough I’ll even go to Salina. Or even Orem.

8. I want to not only survive this year, I want to thrive. I want to shed any grudges I have and really embrace my life with joy and gratitude.  There are so many with so little who find such happiness in their surroundings and I want to be grateful because we have so much. So much includes an absolute stockpile of bullets for my Walther P22 so I can go target shooting in the desert before the Democrats come and confiscate my firearms. Besides that I have A LOT of brown sugar! Oh, I also have quite a few necklaces and narcotics because the doctor just kept dolling them out and since none of them work I’m practically Julieaid , or Juliegreens, or well…you get the picture.

9. I want to love my husband more, the kids more, feel more peace towards my situation, more gratitude for all that we’ve been blessed with and find ways to serve even if they have to be modified to fit my health.  This does’t mean roll me around in a gurney  this means, as much as I hate the kids getting up in my grill, I have to acknowledge that I’m not a spring chicken and if I was a spring chicken, I would be the one that was missing half of it’s feathers and probably had a second head growing out of it’s first head.  Poor chicken.

10. Keep my mouth shut. Even shutting it by 10% more would allow a vast treasure trove of knowledge to flow my way. I really don’t have that much to say.  I just am a yacker. You’ve got to get me right after a seizure and then you’ve got a captivated audience- I’m paralyzed. This would be the best time to pitch Amway or Mary Kaye or any type of MLM because I can’t complain. That being said, I highly recommend recording said conversations because I can not be responsible for anything said or any agreements entered into as I won’t remember anything and will claim the fifth. Consider this fair warning given.

10a. Journal, take it to God, take it to your spouse if you feel like that is a safe place, take it to a supportive women/mens group, find a workbook that works for you  or a 12 step book, find a counselor or life coach- whatever void your heart is prompting you to look at I’m sure we’ve all got them, where are you being prompted to look for the answers on how to fill that void?  Lance and I watched Fireproof and thought that the Love Dare was a great example on how to strengthen marriages.  There are resources all over meant to strengthen families.  Personally, before we can be strong  in a family, we need to be strong individually.

11. Unfriend anyone on facebook that you could give a fig about and that includes me. If you friended me because you wanted to stalk me for a few days, or try to figure out why I got divorced or how I got so chubby to begin with and then how I lost weight well here’s a thought: ASK.  If I am that offended, I’ll just unfriend you, If I’m not, I won’t and I’ll just answer.  So, if in the next while I unfriend you, it means I don’t really care how many farmville animals you have, don’t care that you play farkle and don’t give a rat’s ass that you love the President. Oh, and I really don’t care that you just went to your Great Aunt Sally’s pickling and preserving party.  Well, actually, I’m always up for some new recipes for pickling and preserving so I acted a bit hasty with that last remark.

12. Eat more leafy greens and that includes trying some ridiculous tea that is made from Parsley. Supposedly it works. If not, I’m throwing it down the drain.  This was Meg’s idea and I’m looking at it as a form of Mommy-Daughter bonding.

13. Be a kinder, gentler German.  You know how super hero’s sometimes get stronger when they are around different elements or weaker if they’re around others? Well, as I age I seem to become more German. It’s like my blood becomes more steel, my words become more acidic and my glare becomes more icy. It’s like I’m a superhero in my own right and these powers are passed down from generation to generation to generation.

Elements of a German Superhero

1. Housecoat (this is our version of a cape)- check

2. Packets of spices that we pickle our cucumbers in with vinegar for dinner- check

3. Ability to make schnitzel- check

4. Ability to make roladen- check

5. Ability to cut you to the core with our words- check (albeit we just think we are being realists)

6. Use of  “daggers of ice” that burst forth from our eyes when we’re not happy- check

7.  Silent laughter that leaves us breathless at human events that are typically regarded as “dark comedy”- check

*Mean German has this down pat, my sister and I still use noise. 

8. Index finger used as a wand to point out every article of clothing, or unfinished chore as I march around the house* with my housecoat and daggers of ice-check

*some may refer to this as goose-stepping but they would be wrong. And rude but mostly wrong. 

So let’s wrap this up in a pretty bow- Ultimately, I just want to live and love this year.  I want to walk around the block again. The whole block and without having to pause and fall down while the rednecks watch me convulse like they did in the fall may the rot in an everlasting pit but that’s another story and I’ve forgiven them.  I wish you and yours peace and perspective because the older I get I’m beginning to believe more than ever that with those two components we can truly take whatever our mortal existence gives us and add to that our faith and a little episode of Duck Dynasty and it’s all good. It’s all good.


Please share with me what “ah-ha” moments you have had of late so I can glean some inspiration. No really, I’m serious. Don’t just read this damn thing and go away.

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