Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Power of Pharmacology

Pharmacology[fahr-muh-kol-uh-jee] noun
the science dealing with the preparation, uses, and especially the effects of drugs.

I've been pretty heavily medicated for the past couple days. I had a massive infection in my throat that affected the lymph nodes in my neck on the left side. The swelling was unreal and seriously painful.  Luckily, my wonderful husband pushed me to see a doctor. I was ready to cancel the appointment because I didn't feel safe driving and he came to my rescue. He drop all his work stuff and rearrange his schedule just to get me where I needed to go. Shh...don't tell him, but I love him more than he could ever know.

The doctor put me on an antibiotic instantly. Then, as almost an afterthought, he decided to give me a script for Prednisone too (for the swelling.)  I could feel my anxiety kick in immediately.  I've know a few people who have taken steroids for various illnesses and I have some memories of the side-effects. To be perfectly honest, I have a paranoia about serious pharmaceuticals. At various times in the past, doctors have given me assorted scripts to sample and see if they helped with health problems. I would fill them, take the little sacks full of pill bottles home, read the warnings and potential side effects and be too scared to take the meds.

Yep. They may have helped, but I was so freaked out by what might go wrong, I couldn't take the risk.

What did I do this time? I didn't look at the sheets that came with my prescriptions at all. OK, that sounds even worse. But I knew if I read the sheet for Prednisone, I wouldn't take it. I am sure of that. I just did what the doctor told me. Take with food, 3 doses a day for 2 days, 2 a day for 2 days and then 1 a day for 2 days.

Day 3 and I am feeling pretty darn good! Better that I have felt in a really long time. I am starting to realize that the steroid is having more far reaching effects than just the swelling in my neck. I have swelling in a LOT of other places on a daily basis. It's all gone. My hands, wrists, knees, back, hips...I've been in so much pain for so long, it feels odd to be able to stand up without having to supress a cry of agony.  I also have a new pain in a weird spot on my lower back. Not sure what that's about. Probably internal swelling from my ongoing female issues going away and my internal organs rearranging themselves again. Things shifting and falling into new positions. I hope when all the swelling comes back in a few days, that this new arrangement works out ok for me. Could get interesting.

So now I am thinking about reading the sheet with the side effects just to see if I would have freaked out. I'm curious, ok?  I'm also sad that these benefits will only last for a couple more days. I know long term steroid use just isn't feasible. They go from being good to being bad for you. Liver damage and stuff, if I remember correctly. Remember, I haven't read the warnings yet. I'm just babbling from memory.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy feeling better. If the hurricane (Irene) didn't have us stranded at home, I might actually feel up to going somewhere and doing something fun.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


No one would ever mistake me for anyone with any kind of "style" or fashion sense.  Seriously.  If it's made of cotton and will survive my washer and dryer intact, I'll wear it.  Tyler is the same way. If it has the word "sweat" in the name, he is a fan.  Max, on the other hand, cares about what he wears.  He isn't rolling his eyes at me yet when I lay out his clothes, but I can see it coming. He will smile at me, shake his head, sometimes say "Oh Mommy..." with that tone that says "You are hopeless but I still love you..." and will dig through his basket of clean clothes for something entirely different.

So yesterday morning my Mother gave me a call. She'd been shopping for back-to-school clothes for Max. (She may have bought some for Tyler too, but she wasn't as excited to tell me all about this latest sweat suit I guess.)  She spent at least 30 minutes telling me all about the adorable outfits from Baby Gap but she was particularly excited about this puffy vest. I think I can picture what she was talking about, but let's see if the website has it:
OK. Based on her gushing, I think this must be it. Cute, right? I'm sure the shirt and pants she got to go with it really make the outfit. Will it get the Max seal of approval? Gosh, I hope so. My mom will be crushed if he doesn't like her taste. heh heh. Max is lucky he has his Nana. They can go shopping together!

Now we come to the part where I talk about what is REALLY on my mind.  If you are a long time reader of my blog (back to the AOL days) you know I had a lot of trouble with bullies in my youth. One thing they used to love to pick on me about was my fashion sense. Back then, I didn't buy my own clothes, my mother did. Because I was growing so fast, she couldn't see spending top dollar on trendy things. My back-to-school shopping was done at TJ Maxx, Sears, Marshalls...yadda yadda. I was the "Kmart Blue Light Special" girl from way way back.

Did I want those trendy things? Oh yes. With every fiber of my being. Why? Because a lot of the other girls wore them and I wanted to fit in. Desperately. I sort of wanted to be noticed by boys too, even if the idea scared me to death. Long story short, until I put my foot down and started shopping for myself with my own money, I was stuck.

Having been stuck in the fashion zero hell of my middle school years, I am now highly sensitized on certain issues. Do I think Max is going to get comments about the fleet being in port or that his new vest looks like a life preserver from his fellow pre-schoolers? Probably not. Four year olds don't roll that way, generally. (Anyone get that Back To The Future movie reference there? Anyone?) I do, however, have my worries for when Max is older.

I've seen a LOT of TV commercials lately with various stores advertising their back-to-school clothing lines. Kmart's ads in particular have been standing out for me. Kick me if I'm wrong, but I think the clothes in their ads are super cute!  So here is my question...if you DO buy your kids clothes from Walmart or Kmart, do they feel the need to keep it a secret?  Does this bargain mart shame only strike the girls or do the middle school or high school boys also feel the pain?  Does anyone care anymore where the clothes come from or is it a regional thing?  Maybe in school where you have a broader ratio of rich vs. poor?

I think most folks in our town are in the same general socio-economic class. We shop Walmart without shame and occasionally splurge at the mall after the tax return comes back. But there isn't really anyone around here I would classify as "rich" or "snobby". Not that I have met, so far. Sure I know a couple of the Moms watched Sex in the City and Project Runway so they speak "Prada" with some authority. They have designer purses that cost more than my whole wardrobe. But they aren't snobby about it. Not to my face. And they have nice kids. Kids that don't strike me as being the ones to one day cut Tyler down for wearing his favorite holey sweat pants.

Am I worried over nothing? Maybe. I am certainly starting to worry too soon. I tend to do that a lot. Max is only 4. His Christmas wish list is already 12 pages long on Amazon, so you can tell we haven't instilled in him the realities of our limited income yet (Santa doesn't deliver toys for free anymore kids, not since his toy biz went global.)  The reality is, maybe he can get one outfit from Abercrombie, but the bulk will be from Kmart or Walmart.  I hope my little fashionista can accept that cruel reality and make the best of it.