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...like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves

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for the insanity that was briefly posted here the other day.  thankssomuch.  bye.
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Here's a meme I'm taking from Rachel. Basically, you shout 'WORDS!' at me then I reply with five words that I think are related to you somehow. You then have to post those words and an explanation of why I might have said them about you. Here are mine:

Biology-- Well, this one is certainly easy. I'm the bio-geek friend, the one who just can't shut up about bacteria and viruses and mosquitoes and whatever else I learned about this week. When it comes to academic interests, I certainly don't do them halfway.

Rain (Playing in)-- One beautiful afternoon at the academy, Rachel and I, stressed and tired and certainly leaving behind important work of some kind or another, went out and played in the rain.  A downpour, if I remember correctly.  Rachel lost her glasses, we both got very muddy... and we both still reminice about that afternoon like it was magic.  And I guess it was.  It was just one of those times when you realize you've never felt more alive.

Psychology-- Another "well duh" moment here. I've always had an interest in how the mind works, largely because it really cuts right to the core of what makes us who we are.  Its partly about my ill-fated narcasistic quest to understand myself, of course.  But it's also comforting to understand the little quirks of humanity, based in our evolutionary history and simply our status as physical beings, that account for so many of our pitfalls but also our best moments.  Depressing, at times, to know your limitations, but mostly it allows me to have a little more compassion towards both myself and others when we make mistakes, and that allows me to have a little more faith in humanity.

Strong-- And now we get to the hard stuff.  Why does Rachel think of me as strong? I think it has much more to say about her character than my own, actually.  I look at my life, particularly the last few years where every time I start to feel like I'm doing well somehow I manage to get knocked back again, and I see a mess.  Rachel sees strength.  That compassion for people in spite of their flaws, or maybe even because of them--Rachel has so much of it.  And while I sometimes think of it as an innate quality, I don't think that gives her enough credit.  Rachel gets annoyed and frustrated with people just like anybody else, but somehow chooses to focus on the good stuff.  I love her for that.

True-- This one is hard enough for me that I had to do the old looking-it-up-in-the-dictionary trick.

True

<a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/lunaWAV/T05/T0538400" target="_blank"><img src="http://cache.lexico.com/g/d/speaker.gif" border="0" /></a> /tru/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [troo] Show IPA adjective, tru⋅er, tru⋅est, noun, adverb, verb, trued, tru⋅ing or true⋅ing.
–adjective
1. being in accordance with the actual state or conditions; conforming to reality or fact; not false: a true story.
2. real; genuine; authentic: true gold; true feelings.
3. sincere; not deceitful: a true interest in someone's welfare.
4. firm in allegiance; loyal; faithful; steadfast: a true friend.
5. being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something: the true meaning of his statement.
6. conforming to or consistent with a standard, pattern, or the like: a true copy.
7. exact; precise; accurate; correct: a true balance.
8. of the right kind; such as it should be; proper: to arrange things in their true order.
9. properly so called; rightly answering to a description: true statesmanship.
10. legitimate or rightful: the true heir.
11. reliable, unfailing, or sure: a true sign.
12. exactly or accurately shaped, formed, fitted, or placed, as a surface, instrument, or part of a mechanism.
13. honest; honorable; upright.
14. Biology. conforming to the type, norm, or standard of structure of a particular group; typical: The lion is a true cat.
15. Animal Husbandry. purebred.
16. Navigation. (of a bearing, course, etc.) determined in relation to true north.
17. Archaic. truthful.

Well, I'm certainly not true in the sense of being based in fact, exact, precise, or proper.  I can't say reliable quite fits either.   I hope though that Rachel sees me as a true (loyal) friend, and also genuine and sincere. Things I try to be anyways.

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Want to know what my five day hospital stay cost before insurance?

$17,806.80

Not joking.

The CT scan alone was more than $5000.

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Told my parents about travis & i moving in together in the fall.

Nothing exploded and I am obviously still alive.

I'm also still on speaking terms with all parties involved.

And I managed to [mostly] hold off the tears until I was off the phone, thereby maintaining some measure of self respect.

It feels pathetic to call this victory, but I'm excited anyways.

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My body responded to the combination of my first day back at my running class, running on 3 hours sleep, and the need to work on a really hard biology homework assignment that it is officially a full week late now, by hitting me with a massive wave of exhaustion that actually got me to fall asleep before 9pm. So now its two in the morning, and I'm awake, but not quite awake enough to be useful working on my homework. Argh.

So, I figured I'd update here, since I haven't in roughly forever.

First order of business, I think everyone knows this through facebook, but I was in the hospital for 5 days last week.  I was there for a kidney infection, which is the same thing that I went to the emergency room for last summer.  Except, last summer, I actually had a UTI first that apparently wasn't gone at the end of my run of antibiotics, so it came back and hit my kidneys.  This time, no such warning.  Healthy Keely Sunday, slightly sore back Monday and Tuesday, really sore back Wednesday, mind-boggling pain Thursday. 

One would think that I would have recognized the type of pain before it got quite so agonizing, but one would be wrong for two reasons: I am stupid, and I am a master of self deception.  I woke up a bit sore Monday, attributed it to sleeping funny.  Had really hard workouts that made my legs absurdly sore in both my exercise classes on Monday and Tuesday, so I assumed that it was reasonable for my abs and back to also hurt after that.  And I just really, really didn't want to believe I had an infection again, because I'd been doing everything I'm supposed to do to prevent getting one, so this means that despite my best efforts, it can happen anyway.

But anyhow, it was a painful, and at times very frustrating---I was there longer because the first antibiotic didn't work, because I had multiple different tests done that ultimately did nothing to answer the question of why a usually healthy 20-year-old is getting severe repeat kidney infecttions, and because my blood oxygen level was low two nights in a row. 

The blood oxygen thing really freaked everyone out--they check your vital signs every few hours, including in the middle of night.  The blood oxygen thing is just a little clamp that goes on your finger, its relatively unobstrusive and I was still half asleep when my nurse started freaking out and practically tripped over herself trying to get to an oxygen tank in the room to set it up and stick tubes on my face.  No one could come up with any real explanation for that-- respitory suppression from morphine or conversely from pain preventing me from breathing deeply, as well as fluid in my lungs, were both suggested.  But while I did have a little fluid in my lungs--they actually managed to OVER hydrate me because I was on an IV constantly but also drinking water myself because I was incredibly thirsty, and oh yea, because I was told to--and while I had been in some pain when I woke up, but on morphine earlier in the night, it was clear that none of the nurses or doctors were comfortable with those answers.  They could just not get over the fact that I was TWENTY and my blood oxygen percentage was down to 60-something.  In a 20 year old, blood oxygen should never ever ever be below 90%, and for anyone 60-something is really-not-good-low.  Granted, they got me oxygen fast, and my numbers came right back up as soon as I was on it for 30 seconds or so, but still, what the fuck?  But they'd gone through everything they could think of and the day after my numbers were fine without the tubes in my nose, so everyone tried to write it off as a freak combination of the proposed factors and leave it at that. 

Except then it happened the next night, after my lungs had been declared clear and my pain had become manageable with vicodin rather than vicodin and morphine, so I hadn't had morphine in almost 24 hours.  So there went everyone's explanations... except again, I was fine during the day.  Sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing in the middle of the night, was suggested, but its almost always associated with snoring/loud breathing/startling awake at night because you stopped breathing, which the person with apnea doesn't tend to notice but partners often do.  I've never done any of those things in my sleep.  Unless you start trying to wake me up and talking to me at the same time, in which case I will often start talking to you as if you are in my dream, which my boyfriend finds hilarious, I'm a very quiet sleeper. 

So, puzzled, they decided to keep me an extra night and monitor my blood oxygen levels all night long to see if they could figure out what was happening.  I didn't really get how this would technically work, as they couldn't just let my numbers stay in the 60's or 70's if my machine started beeping, so they'd have to end the experiment and put me on oxygen for the night, but whatever. But it didn't happen again.  I was perhaps on the low side of normal--low 90's a few times, rather than the 97/98 that is normal for 20-year-olds--but nothing crazy whatsoever.  Which was kind of good, because they let me go home the next day, but kind of frustrating-as-fuck too, because they gave the same explanations for the second night as they had for the first even though none of those conditions applied anymore.  So essentially, we don't have any clue why it happened, and for all they know, the night without it happening could have been the freak occurence. For all anyone really knows, I could be failing to get oxygen in my sleep, which is, I don't know, kind of essential for um, life, and especially my brain, which, though it can be a pain sometimes, I generally rather like having.  The doctors seem to be fine with writing it off as a freak event, so I've tried to be too, but it kind of weirds me out.  Even if I only do the stop-breathing-enough-to-have-normal-amounts-of-oxygen thing when I'm really sick or in pain, isn't it still a little bit scary, especially if, as I was told about five bajillion times, that just does not happen in normal 20 year olds?  Argh.

But whatever.  For all that talk, the hospital was mostly boring. The first night was unpleasant, as apparently the fact that I was no longer crying and/or screaming when the doctor finally saw me almost four hours after I was admitted (I'd been to a doctor before the hospital, so we already knew what was wrong, but the doctor taking that long was still really fucking annoting) was enough evidence that my pain medication was sufficient that even me asking for more apparently fell on deaf ears.  Yea, when I had both my full vicodin dose AND my full morphine dose in my system at the same time, the pain was dulled enough that I could sit up in bed and stop being visibly in agony, that only ever lasted for about half the time between morphine doses--the doctor just happened to catch me during my first "good" hour.  Gah. I know they have to watch for drug-seeking-behavior or whatever, but god, being stingy with the pain meds in an obviously really sick (and REALLY tired) patient that you've seen for less than 15 minutes really doesn't seem fair.  But anyhow, I didn't sleep at all the first night because the pain pretty much made that impossible.  When someone came into my room brightly declaring "good morning!" as she came to stick me for a blood sample, I almost actually threw something at her.  I haven't FUCKING slept yet lady, and I can't get anyone to give me more morphine for another TWO HOURS, so you can seriously shut the fuck up.  The first full day in the hospital was mostly the same way, with the pain getting really fucking annoying for awhile between every set of pain meds, and with me feeling like a fucking addict because I wanted to be numbed enough so I could fucking sit up in bed.  But by the time the doctor rolled around again, again very late, the amount he prescribed was working at the time.  And I did manage to sleep that night.  Not much or well, but sleep none-the-less.  Thankfully, the third day I had a different doctor who happened to show up during one of my WORST moments, and when I tried to describe to her the pain I still had, I actually started crying without meaning to. So my morphine got bumped up just a hair, which made the rest of my time there much more tolerable.

Through all this crap, Travis was next to me almost constantly.  He even slept in a chair in the hospital room and dealt with talking to my parents so I didn't get woken every time my neurotic mother wanted to check on me and wasn't bothering the nurses to do it. He was there with the nurses obnoxiously pushing me to eat, which meant I did eventually manage to force down some mashed potatoes, jello, ice cream, and fruit while I was there, despite the fact that it took high doses of nausea meds to make that even remotely possible. (Oh yea, nausea.  Turns out pain that bad/bad infection = feeling like you got kicked in the stomach.  Hard.)  He was amazing, as were many of my nurses (particularly two of the night nurses who refused to take shit from anyone about anything, never doubted me or made me feel bad for asking for pain meds, and who spent time chatting with me and travis a couple of nights while we were waiting for the evening round of meds/vitals/etc to end for long enough to get some sleep.) 

OK, so I started out writing this intending to tell you the whole hospital thing wasn't that big a deal, that I was mostly drugged up and sleeping, and that I really was fine while everyone was worrying about it.  But actually, though I'm absolutely fine now, swear to god, the hospital really, really sucked.  The first three days I was grateful for my morphine, but still in pain, and the tests were obnoxious/scary/painful(guess what? When your kidney is inflammed as hell because it's infected, it really, really doesn't feel good to have someone pressing into your side trying to get a good picture of it on an ultrasound.  Which might be why typical practice is to wait before the patient is a bit more recovered before doing such a test). The last two days were better during the day, as I really did mostly sleep/drink water/chat with nurses/watch tv, but they were still rather scary due to the blood-oxygen mess and the fact that until the last day I was still cycling through antibiotics trying to find the one that worked best.  My main point for the post remains somewhat the same--I mostly wanted to update people while telling them I'm really FINE now, which is true, but obviously I had a bit more ranting to do than I thought.  Feel free to ignore it, really, I'm all good now.

I guess I have been thinking back on it like it isn't a huge deal partly because at the time, yea, I was frustrated and in pain, but I mostly just accepted what was happening and let people take care of me.  Because when you're that sick, you honestly don't have the energy for much else.  I bitched about my stingy-on-the-pain-meds doctor (according to the nurses, I'm not the first patient he's done that to), but I spent probably almost as much time annoyed at silly things, such as the fact that I was reminded about a million times a day that I was 20 years old and therefore shouldn't be there. 

Apparently at twenty years old you shouldn't: be trapped in the hospital for almost a week with an infection, get multiple severe kidney infections in the space of a year, have any problems with blood oxygen levels, or have veins so tiny and fragile that it took three nurses a total of six tries to get my first IV started.   I understand that the nurses weren't used to seeing people my age sick like this, and that I was on a floor full of old dialysis patients, which made my age all the more remarkable, but by the end of the time I was there I found myself clenching my teeth to prevent very bitchy responses to these comments.  For example: "I GET it, at twenty years old I shouldn't have this infection, shouldn't be here, shouldn't be seemingly having a new problem show up every two seconds, and shouldn't have the veins, as you so kindly put it, of a "90 year old woman."  I also shouldn't need two different psych meds daily + therapy to keep my shit together, but I do.  I already get that life isn't fair.  Now can we stop talking about how much my body sucks?  I know I'm twenty and I SHOULD be a big girl, but frankly it kind of scares me talking about how goddamn broken I am.  I also work rather hard to convince myself that my life DOESN'T suck, and you're really not helping with that right now.  Oh, and it's just getting really, really old."

The other consistent annoying response from doctors/nurses/technichans is the "Oh, so you're a Microbiology major.  Therefore you understand what I'm saying and I don't have to explain it/are excited about talking about the e.coli trying to eat your fucking kidney."  I did like not being treated like a retarded, but I'm sorry, no matter how interesting I find infectious disease intellectually, I really don't enjoy talking about it when its a personal reality in the form of a stabbing pain in my back any more than anyone else in the world would.


-------Ok, breathing now.  Rant over.-------

So yea.  Last thursday I returned to classes, and by this thursday I will be 100% caught up and life will be back to normal. I've gotten a lot of support/sympathy/breaks from most of my teachers/bosses, which I suppose I should expect when I say the words "I've been in the hospital," but frankly, it still kind of takes me a bit by suprise. I'm used to having the kind of problems that suck and really do interfere with school, but which you can't exactly get out of an exam or call off work for. Its a bit hard to explain to a teacher "yea, I didn't study for the exam because I... was busy curled up in a ball hating myself and my life/was busy bawling because my mother threatened to disown me/was busy withdrawing from my medication because my mom can't figure out how to stick a goddamn insurance card in the mail."  I know that sounds awful, and obviously my life isn't always like that, but regardless, when I DO have a problem that interferes with school, I'm rather used to dealing with it quietly.  I certainly appreciate all the help and sympathy that I've gotten in the last week, but I'm kind of weirded out by people constantly asking how I'm doing.  And I'm almost even bitter.  I want to explain to people how very, very, fine I am.  I want to tell them, yes, I was really sick and it really, really sucked. But it was something that sucked that I got to lay in a bed and be taken care of while I recovered from it.  It was something I could take a pill (or in this case, an IV, but lets not be picky) and have that 100% fix the problem.  I still wouldn't exactly wish this mess on myself or anyone else, but frankly, this is a hell of a lot easier than what I'm used to dealing with, because there is an answer.

Gaah, I sound so melodramatic.  My life is pretty damn good these days if you leave out the hospital visit, so I really have no right to be whining. It's just kind of weird to be acknowledged for something that I didn't have to do anything to actually solve--just LAY THERE and be useless and rest, when I've worked my ass off to deal with a million other things that 90% of the people I deal with day to day don't know anything about.  

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so. I was going to talk about more than the hospital, but I'm a bit long winded tonight (i apolgize), and I should be getting back to bed.  I will hopefully write more in the near future... but for now, I'll just say that even with the sudden interruption, life is really damn good this semester.  Good assortment of classes that means I never really have a  week full of horrible exams, working out almost every day, which makes me feel awesome, seeing friends slightly more than I usually do.... It's all been pretty fricken awesome. So next time, the post should be a bit more cheery, or at the very least less whiny.  But thanks for letting me get it out of my system.



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