Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Make that FIVE prescriptions!

I guess my daily yogurt regimen wasn't sufficient. :(

Monday, June 20, 2016

Four Prescriptions and One Perforated Ear Drum Later...

Sorry, another update about my boring health. But things sometimes get a little dragged out.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about getting sick in Yellowstone the moment I arrived and trying my hardest to stave off illness with every good health habit and home remedy I could conjure. I finally yielded to coming home a week ago today and promptly set to using the two antibiotics I was prescribed. I slept. A lot. I rested. I still haven't told my presidency I'm in town. I laid low. And progress has been made. I can swallow with ease and without pain (practically convinced myself I had throat cancer or something...could not believe the degree of pain). My swollen glands are no more. Both infected eyes have cleared up nicely. It's just that my left ear is still bothering me and I didn't want to drive four hundred miles away from the doctor only to have something flare up, so I went back to see him today to ask if I'm "good to go." Nope, I'm not.

My ear drum ruptured. That explains the hearing loss and the time it will take to clear up. Although I'm almost finished with the oral medication, my ear is still showing infection, so he prescribed EAR drops along with a nasal spray to help my Eustachian tubes along. This nasal spray...I have to use it daily until after I return from Virginia!

So off I went to the pharmacy to get my meds. I don't think I mentioned in my earlier post that last week, the oral medication was covered by insurance, but the eye drops were not. The eye drops were $10 so I went ahead and got them because, hey, both eyes were infected and yes, I needed help with that. I mentioned to my doctor today that the eye drops last week were not covered by insurance and his jaw hit the floor. He was, in a word, incredulous.

So today at the pharmacy, I asked, "Are both of these covered by my insurance?" They said they were. I saw the nasal spray and then I saw EYE drops. So I mentioned, "Um, I was prescribed EYE drops last week...and now I need EAR drops." The pharmacist explained that the insurance companies won't let the pharmacy fill the prescription as EAR drops, so they dispense the same exact medication as EYE drops. He said, "Don't worry, it's the exact same stuff and you will put it in your ear." Okay...

So I brought the stuff home and looked at the directions. It said to instill 10 drops into my left ear once a day. I thought my doctor said one drop, not ten drops, but then I assumed that because they are really EYE drops, in order to work as EAR drops, I needed 10 drops, not one drop. So I put them in and promptly fell asleep. I got to thinking about it when I woke up and called the pharmacy to double check. They agreed that 10 ear drops sounds like too many, so they checked the order from the doctor and it did indeed say 10 drops. So then I called the doctor's office and they said, "It's supposed to be 1 drop per day." Great. I had already instilled more than a WEEK'S worth of ear drops in my ear. I hope I can hear when this is all said and done!

Also, the nasal spray? It's just Flonase. But my doctor said, "You can get this over the counter, but it's cheaper if you get it as a prescription."

Really?!? How many games do we need to play in the medical world? We won't cover these eye drops but we'll cover those eye drops, even though you're not really using them as eye drops. And we'll give you this medication for a lower price because you're buying it the hard way instead of the easy way.

And the doctor said he needs me to hang around here for a few more days to rest. He's concerned about me making these elevation changes with my perforated ear drum and child-sized Eustachian tubes. And so I wonder if I'm supposed to be accomplishing something else during this long sickness. Is there a purpose to my being separated from my husband even longer? I'm perking up a bit more each day, but it's not like I've been reading with wild abandon or working out or doing stuff for school (or church, or anyone). I am strong enough to sit up to the computer and put my sorry little details out there for the world to read. Now on to something more productive. Like laundry.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Forest Bathing With Dad Before Forest Bathing Was Cool (SHINRIN-YOKU)

Happy Father's Day, Dad! (He'll never see this.)

There's this new trend sort of coming from Japan called "Forest Bathing." I forget how they say it in Japanese (I found it and added it to the bottom), but the Japanese people do revere the natural world. It's not literal bathing with water, rather, it's the whole idea of immersing yourself in the forest or any other type of nature to relax and rejuvenate. Yeah? Well, our family has been doing this before we knew it was "a thing."

The fact that I've always felt comfortable in the out of doors is a blessing I received from my father. His gift to me when I turned five was a tent. He bought me snowshoes when I was a little girl, the old fashioned beaver tail kind. He took me hunting with him, teaching me how to stay downwind and move stealthily through the snow. He signed me up for Hunter's Safety the minute I was old enough. He bought me hiking boots. He taught me how to bait a hook and yell "FISH ON!!!" when the bobber disappeared beneath the surface. He taught me how to shoot a rifle off the back porch. He taught me how to let a horse know "who's boss." He tanned deer hides for us to use for dress-up. If one of his taxidermy trophies arrived in a big shipping crate, he would haul that wooden crate a little ways into the woods for us to use as a fort. He took a trip to Alaska once and brought back some pretty rocks he found and then tied up in a red bandanna as a present.

Once, when he worked at Sky Top Ranch in Montana, I went to visit him, but the gate was locked and I didn't have the code. I believe the driveway was a mile long gravel road, but Dad had told me about a trail he built himself from the gate up through the woods to the ranch house. I noticed the trailhead and decided to try that rather than walking up the gravel road thinking it would be shorter, although more steep--a new view. While I was hiking, he had returned to the ranch and saw my parked car. He drove through the gate thinking he would come up on me walking up the road. When he arrived at the house, he assumed I had beat him there and was waiting, but the dogs weren't indicating anything. As I emerged from the woods and made my way across the open area while approaching the house, the dogs noticed me and started barking and coming to investigate. Soon, especially after I called them by name (Heidi and Cody), they started wagging and escorting me to the house. Dad was a little surprised that I had a chosen to hike up on his homemade trail rather than wait for him, and was further surprised that I had the confidence to try a trail by myself that I had never hiked before, in the wilds of Montana. I was surprised that he was surprised because after all, THIS was the man who helped me to feel so comfortable in the woods. Dad was the All-American mentor for Forest Bathing!

And obviously, this whole idea of playing outside has been a blessing throughout my life. Ken wasn't sure I was serious when I talked about how much I loved hiking and camping until he passed me on the Silver Lake trail on one of his days off from the cave. I was with my roommate, Sue and had no clue that he and some other rangers were out hiking. This whole outdoorsy thing has kept me more active than I would have been normally. Growing up outside gave me the confidence to get hired as a National Park Ranger (and move rattlesnakes). I'm still a chicken much of the time, a very cautious chicken, but I have more confidence than I would had I not been raised by this man. It has given me myriad amazing experiences and teaching opportunities. It convinced my husband that if he married me, there was a good chance I really would continue to camp and hike. And this whole forest bathing thing has turned my heart to God, thanking Him and the Savior thousands of times for such wonderful handiwork. I'm sure my dad had no idea what the future held when he bought me tents, snowshoes, fishing poles, horses, guns, and hiking boots, but I am SO GLAD he did!

Thanks, Dad! Love you (Archie Bunker tendencies and all)!

This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, the medicine of simply being in the forest. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What a Difference a Month Can Make

I don't know that I'll keep doing this, but I just wanted to compare how the place looked on 12 May to how it looked on 12 June. Daylight stays longer the farther north you live in the summer and at 7800 feet elevation, things only have so long to get their jobs done--plants have to grow and pollinate in a short amount of time. So...just a few comparison photos.

Centennial Summer!

So I finally made it up to YELL on Wednesday 8 June after my presentation at BYU on the evening of 7 June. And now I'm home again. It was a great five days, yet miserable, due to illness. I did get to attend a couple of my ranger's programs, including his new Centennial Program. I also got to meet up with Loretta and her husband--they came to Ken's evening program and stopped by government housing the next morning.

Also, I did a three hour stint in uniform at the front desk and that is always a guaranteed fun time. The rangers themselves are hilarious and then there's the general public. I helped to swear in several Junior Rangers, I gently guided three twenty-something dudes toward the whole idea of securing lodging before they climb all the tall steep mountains they had in mind, and I assisted a family whose autistic son grabbed and threw his younger brother's prescription glasses at a resting bison near a thermal feature called Mud Volcano. He didn't care for the smell of the place and had a little freakout. Rafael asked Owen if he'd like to go on a little glasses retrieval expedition, because this family from California wanted their younger son to be able to actually SEE the rest of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks, and Owen accepted the assignment. He climbed over the side of the wooden fence while a visitor held onto his hand/wrist/arm and leaned off the wooden structure with the stick/grabber-tool they keep stashed out there for such purposes (the bison had finally left) and retrieved the glasses--which had been rolled on, stepped on, and otherwise bent out of shape. This was after Owen had radioed in for more information about the precise location of the glasses (because they weren't visible...no wonder, after the bison had rolled on them burying them in mud and dust). I went out to the parking lot to ask the waiting family for more details and fortunately the dad had both photos and video of the place so that we could tell Owen it was slightly to the right of the sign that had the name of the thermal feature and about eight feet back. I tell ya, visitors have no idea about the amount of manpower that goes into helping them sometimes. But we all like to keep the SERVICE in National Park Service! Oh, and I received a report of someone smoking weed in the vault toilet near the warming hut. One of the rangers said, "Of all the land here in Yellowstone with miles of trails and 80% of it covered in forest, WHY would you smoke in a vault toilet?"

So I got this really painful sore throat. I tried pushing liquids, soups with vegetables, and getting lots of sleep. No improvement. I tried calling the Lake Clinic which is just a mile from government housing. Yeah. An office call there starts at $200 and goes up. I decided that for less than $200 I could drive all the way home to my own doctor, get a prescription, and rest in our home with all the amenities. I hated to leave my husband, but sometimes you just have to take a timeout.

I believe I pushed myself too hard with all the end of the year obligations at school, summer collaboration, my final project at BYU, and packing for and moving to Wyomin'. Something got to me and I sometimes wonder, "Was it a germ on the handle of the gas pump at Boozer's in Idaho?"

I left the park and drove to just outside of the boundary in Montana where I could get cell service again. I called my doctor and made an appointment for 3:15 that afternoon. Drove straight there (with a couple of bison jams as photographed...a lot of little red dogs were slowing things down by nursing in the middle of the road...such good bison moms) and was informed I had bacterial infections in both eyes, one ear, and of course, my throat (swollen glands in my neck, painful to swallow, all the nasty). He emailed a couple of prescriptions for antibiotics so I headed for the store and claimed my meds along with some fresh food since our home was "closed" for the summer. I went home and filled myself up with those marvelous antibiotics and went straight to bed. That was around 5:30 p.m. on Monday. It is now Thursday morning and my suitcase is still in the trunk of my car. I'm starting to perk up, so I may just retrieve it today--big goals on the horizon.

I promised my doctor I really would be able to rest and sleep and focus on healing because nobody knows I'm here. I didn't tell my presidency or anyone. Only my husband has been checking in on me. I know I've been really sick because I haven't felt like reading. Just sleep, sleep, sleep, a little Facebook, a little Candy Crush, a little television, and more sleep. I also got around to showering last night.

That's how I kicked off my summer vacation 2016. Meanwhile, the ranger has been texting me great photos of all the stuff he's been seeing. And when we talk at night, I tell him the latest tv news because it takes a little longer for some news to reach Fishing Bridge. And he said the sweetest thing the other day. He drove to Cody for groceries and took the long way by driving Chief Joseph. He said, "It was pretty and stuff but it wasn't very fun because you weren't with me."

I'm coming, Honey! Just as soon as I'm able.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Surprise Messages on Voicemail

By the way, I'm pretty sure my next post will have photos in case you're tired of all my boring old words.

I finished my third semester at BYU last night after my final presentation. Wow, that professor is a task master. I got it all done, inch by inch, week by week, and I never had to miss a single class this time, trip to Hawai'i, knee surgery, and all! And it's a good thing because I had to write seventeen papers and do three other projects on top of that. Still, I know there are other professors who demand more. I've just got so many other things going on. I enjoyed the term and the work and the professor. And I enjoy my cohort mates.

So after class I saw that I had a message. I listened to it in my car on speaker and it was Sister Andersen, our secretary at the institute (LDS Institute of Religion, from which I graduated) at the University of Montana. I'm not sure how old she is, but that was back in the eighties, so you know, she IS living in a retirement home these days and her husband passed away years ago. Her voice is practically iconic, as all the other institute folk would affirm. My face just lit up and I couldn't wipe away the grin.

"Hello, Jody Badody! It's Sister A. I'm just wondering which National Parks you'll be visiting this year--so many to choose from! I'm doing well and thought I would try to catch you between adventures. Please tell your sweetheart I said 'hello.'"

She's never met my husband. She called me once last summer to get Brother Flake's phone number. And she called me Jody Badody! Everyone should have been so lucky to have had Sister Andersen as their institute secretary (and Friday Feed chef). She has been in my cheering section all these years! So great to catch up.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Korea Seoul South Mission

My nephew just received his mission call today to voluntarily serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Oh, the JOY and ReJOIcing!

Korea was not even on my radar for him (I'm one of his "bossy pants aunts"), but I have a testimony that it's the right place for him to go (otherwise it would have been my mission right next door--Japan Fukuoka--just kidding, for those of you not familiar with the LDS Church...that was humor).

I am the very first person in the history of my family to have served an LDS mission and he is the second (his mother and I are teenage converts). They Facetimed me prior to opening the call and included me in their family prayer. Their cat, Storm, was also present ("Oh, are we having some sort of family gathering here? I believe I'll join you on the sofa," said Storm.). I am just so thrilled and excited for him! He will do great. He just graduated last week from high school!

He has studied Japanese, Spanish, and Arabic. And now he gets to study Korean!

I hope TR and I can serve together one day. It is just so, SO exciting! Missionary work is the funnest thing ever!

I read this post again this morning and decided to mention that none of this is about me, although it may sound that way. I am just so HAPPY about his mission call I can't stay quiet about it. Missions are the best!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Joy on a Spring Morning

Nope, not a nature post.

I completed my obligations with my school and school district for 2015-2016 yesterday afternoon. Then I went to Round Table. Then I found out the stake presidency is asking something more so I promptly delegated all that to my two amazing counselors. And then I went to bed after talking to and praying with my husband. Without setting an alarm.

I slept as LONG as I wanted. I made it to 5:36 a.m.! This is better than my usual 4:30 a.m. alarm. I took my time this morning instead of getting to the gym by the time they open at 5:00 a.m. I didn't start my workout until 7:00 a.m. And then...you know what?

I went to the GROCERY STORE!!! First time since May 7th. May has just been so demanding and I've barely been making it to the next deadline, multiple times daily. I grabbed a small cart and just immersed myself in the produce department. I chatted up the produce man (as I usually do) and he told me about their training (put the red onions between the yellow onions and white onions so everything is more eye-catching). I got mixed greens with herbs as well as fresh spinach. Apples, mushrooms, fresh raspberries (long gone by now), avocado, tomato, and Chobani. And more. I'm going to make soup. And this all brings me joy.

Eating out does not bring joy to me. Other people really think it's a nice thing, but it's not a treat to me. Just biting into something fresh and alive brings me joy. Chopping and slicing. Lots of vegetables. That's my thing.

And now that my Chobani is gone, I can think about books. What to read and how to spend my gift cards. For the first time in weeks and weeks I do not feel exhausted.