And everything aligns against me.

Isn't it lovely that during the exact time that I'm discovering I may have a heart condition... and the doctors are trying to pin down a diagnosis... I'm having the busiest week of my entire year?

3 Midterms, tons of papers due, random assignments, teaching classes, work... now compounded and severely complicated by the fact that I have to miss multiple classes for urgent doctor's appointments.

It's also hard to focus on school when you're concerned about your health.

Sometimes you get to swim with the current, and sometimes you have to swim against it. As long as you don't tire out and drown, it'll just make you stronger.

I'm a pretty damn good swimmer.


And the doc says...

Went to the doc this morning. BP was still 140/80. From what he told me that only thing he heard upon auscultation was an innocent heart murmur I'd already known about. Here's the EKG:

Doc said there's nothing blaringly abnormal, but a few funky things that he's not completely comfortable with. He mentioned some similarities to Wolff-Parkinson-White because in his opinion the QRS complex looked barely stepped-off but he said he may have been imagining that (I think he was), and that I have a relatively short PR interval but not short enough to be a huge concern.

So I've been referred to a cardiologist who I'll be seeing next week.

What the hell?

"140 over 78," the phlebotomist said, as if it were normal.

"What? Are you sure about that? I usually run about 110 over 70," I replied, obviously shocked.

"Probably just nerves," he brushed my concerns off and continued to set me up for the blood donation.

Nerves. I've donated blood and been stabbed by fresh IV students so many times that getting poked (especially by someone who has actually done it on a human before) is really no big deal to me at all. And if it was nerves... why was my heart rate normal? I shrugged it off and blamed it on his poor BP skills.

The next day while we were teaching the SAR probies how to take vitals I had my friend, an EMT, take my BP. I was in my element. I couldn't be more relaxed being at my second home around my second family working on something that I love... there was no possibility of "nerves" interfering with my vital signs here.

I watched the little arrow fall as he took my BP... "that was early..." I thought to myself when I felt my pulse return with a vengence. He made a strange face and said "Yeah... it's about 140/80."

"You're just fucking with me."

"No. I'm sorry. I swear it's 140/80."

"Shit. Shit shit shit shit. What the hell? What's wrong with me?"

I knew he was right... I could feel that it was high while he was taking it. The probationary members, not really understanding what this blood pressure business is all about yet, shifted in their seats uncomfortably and smiled nervously.

I'm a healthy 18-year-old, in better than average shape that's consistently had a BP of 110/70 for the past year - as recorded hundreds of time due to being in an EMT class and other medical-ish classes. Until now.

Then I started thinking (probably overthinking) about other stuff that's happened lately. The sporadic episodes of palpitations and sharp chest pain that I attributed to innocuous PVCs related to my screwed-up sleep schedule and stress. The innocent heart murmur.

I'm calling the doctor today.


Lovely Random Acts of Kindness

Late at night in the parking lot of my apartment building after a long hard night of mini-golf (which turned out to be more of a full contact hockey game) and a movie with the boys, I gathered all my crap from my car. There was a lot of crap to be taken: my big ol' pack, my big ol' boots, my purse, my SAR uniform and a book. I found places on my arms and in my hands for everything and started for home in a half-asleep cold-medicine daze.

I dumped everything on my bedroom floor so I could open my snail mail. Check my email. Check the news. The usual. After about an hour I realized that I should probably hang up my uniform, which I had carelessly tossed on the floor when I got home. When I went to do so I made horrifying realization. My uniform shirt was not there. I looked all over the house, but it was not there.

Because I distinctly remembered draping it over my arm at the car I immediately went to go retrace my steps to the car. The whole time I was freaking out... it sounds so weird but I am attached to that shirt. Not only was it sorta expensive, but I've had it since I joined the team and it's been on my back through everything. Not to mention the little green notebook I always keep in my breast pocket, that I've also had since I joined SAR, that is falling apart and only has about 20 pages left, but has a list of every phone number I could ever possibly need inside.

I made it to my car without finding my shirt. There's a bar on the 1st floor of the building so there's always people walking around the parking lot. I began to think someone had just picked it up... which really freaks me out. Now I'm angry, worried, and concerned... imagining some drunken moron doing god-knows-what wearing my shirt with my star of life patch and my notebook and my agency's patch and my nameplate on it. I'm sure any person who wears such a uniform can understand why I was so worked up over this possibilty.

Defeated, I started heading back home when I noticed something draped over this sign in a kinda-obscure kinda-not place right up against my apartment building. And of course, it was my uniform shirt. Whoever placed it there chose a perfect location.... somewhere that people just passing by wouldn't really see... but a person going into the apartment complex and looking aroudn would. They also took care to hide the patches from view, making it look like just any other plain ol shirt.

I really wish I could find the person who did this for me and thank them. We need more of that kind of anonymous courtesy in the world today.



For me, the question has never been "why are we here?" As someone with agnostic and existential tendencies, the lack of an answer doesn't bother me in the slightest. I don't need someone to hand me a purpose in life. I really don't give a damn why, if for any reason, we exist.

I'm much more curious about why life is so driven to make more of itself and persist. Yes, this question is somewhat related to the generic "why are we here?", but this is more a question of biology rather than philosophy.

At the most fundamental level our genes are pushing us to stay alive and reproduce. Thanks to genes our cells divide, specialize, grow, function, die. Which eventually guides us to eat, drink, fight, fuck, sleep, repeat. There's general bio in 3 sentences for you.

Life, at it's core, is a pretty simple concept. What blows my mind is that every organism from bacteria to human has the drive to live and make more life.


First day at the OB GYN clinic...

I don't think I'll have any desire to have sex again for about 10 years...

You know what though, it's good experience to have, there's a lot of openings in the OB GYN field. ;)

Any weird insecurities I've had about my own genitalia have now been erased.

The place is oozing with estrogen. It's quite a change of pace from my usual gang of SAR buddies, who are all men.

The area of the clinic that I work in exists solely to educate new OB GYN interns and medical students, so there are no nurses. Just medical assistants (my position), attendings, residents, and med students. This is great news for me because a. it's a teaching environment and b. I do a lot of "nursing" work - like intake, history taking, blood draws, Rhogam injections, instrument passing in procedures, discharge, etc.

I really like it though. Great patient care experience. The staff is awesome too.


How to Prevent Air Emboli, by a Crackhead.

Man tries to amputate own arm at Denny's
Associated Press

"Police say a man tried to cut off his own arm at a restaurant in Modesto, Calif., because he thought he had injected air into a vein while shooting cocaine and feared he would die unless he took drastic action.

Authorities say 33-year-old Michael Lasiter rushed into the Denny's restaurant late Friday and started stabbing himself in one arm with a butter knife he grabbed from a table.

They say that when that knife didn't work Lasiter took a butcher knife from the kitchen and dug it into his arm.

Police Sgt. Brian Findlen says Lasiter told officers he thought he needed to amputate his arm to keep himself from dying from the cocaine injection." click here for the full story.