Saturday, April 21, 2012

Draw Your Weapons

The other morning, I was on the phone with JD while he detailed a particularly grueling work night.  He told me about a call he went to where he and the other officer he was with drew their weapons on a guy as he came out of his house. 

"Wow," I replied. "That's big.  You never have to draw your weapon."

There was a pause.

"Jenny," JD began in that sympathetic tone you use when you're about to break someone's poor, naive little heart, "I draw my gun at least once a week."

"Oh," I replied as my heart sank a little.
What was I thinking? JD works in the most dangerous part of the city. Of course he's drawn his weapon more than once or twice.

(As a sidenote, remember that drawing does NOT equal firing. But yes, if some dude comes charging out of his house in a rage, the police are going to have their weapons drawn until they know what they're dealing with for sure.)

I was under the assumption that JD told me everything about his work day, mostly because I didn't think he could keep secrets from me. He always wants to tell me when he buys me a gift (waiting till my birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, or whatever event we happen to be celebrating is torturous for him). He forgets when people tell him those "don't tell anyone but..." pieces of info and lets the secret slip the next time the topic arises. Naturally, I assumed he's been sharing every significant work detail with me all along.  As it turns out, when it comes to his work, he can keep secrets because he wants to protect me from worrying.

The bad news is, he can hide things from me after all.  Crap.  The good news is, I know he's always on top of his game and whatever the city decides to throw his way.  It sounds scary, but I'd rather have a husband who's prepared to do what it takes to come home every day than have a husband who is so busy giving people the benefit of the doubt, he never comes home again.

In other news, he kicked in someone's door last night to save a woman who was screaming for help. Just another day at the office....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Puppy Parent Fail

After months of testing various hypoallergenic dog foods to cure Boyd's recurring ear infections, JD and I finally decided to try to get a second opinion from another vet.  We researched vets in our area and found one that has good reviews.  JD was sold when he found out the local police department takes their K-9s there (I mean, if the police do it....)

The vet asked about his symptoms, if he'd been sneezing, coughing, shaking his head, scratching his ears, and/or licking his paws.  She took a sample from his ear and examined him.  Imagine our shock and horror when she concluded that it was NOT, in fact, food allergies.

"Only about 15% of dogs have food allergies," she said.  "And if you've tried several kinds of foods and the infections keep coming back, it probably has nothing to do with his food."

She looked closely at his paws and discovered open sores- SORES!- in between his toes (do dogs have toes?)  She concluded it's probably skin allergies caused by an environmental allergen.

I almost started crying; I felt SO horrible.  All along, I had nagging feeling it wasn't food allergies.  It just never made sense to me, yet I took the old vet's word without a second thought.  And when JD mentioned he'd been licking his paws, the old vet barely glanced at his paws, and I never questioned it.  So Boyd has been miserable for months, and it was our responsibility to do more for him.

A parent's job, whether it be canine, human, or otherwise, is to be an advocate, and I had failed miserably.  I didn't listen to my gut, and Boyd had suffered.  We kept doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results (isn't that the definition of insanity?)

I guess I need to try to take the lessons and good that came out of this.  First, we have Boyd on 3 medicines now that will hopefully help heal his ears and the sores on his feet.  Once we get those symptoms under control, we can start prevention by giving him antihistamines or small doses of steroids daily.  Also, since we no longer have to feed him hypoallergenic dog food, we can start giving him the sensitive stomach formula again, which is cheaper and prevents his nasty farts.

I'm really excited we found a new vet (we will be switching the other 2 pups there as well).  It's less crowded, which is good for multiple reasons.  Not only did the doctor have more time to spend with him, ask questions, and fully understand his symptoms before diagnosing him, but getting him in and out of there was a breeze since there were no other dogs in the waiting room.  This visit was free of his infamous dying pig squeal!  The doctor was great and she provided a lot of helpful info for us to read about pet allergies.  She also made several suggestions on how we can help manage and prevent them going forward.

Finally, I guess I have to take this experience as a lesson learned.  Trust your instincts, and advocate for your pets/children/whatever.  JD and I don't have kids yet, but we'll get there eventually, so it's good to learn these lessons now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Apple a Day...

Like a lot of people, I really don't like going to the doctor.  Some people don't like it because they hate being poked and prodded and/or they're afraid the doctor is going to share scary news with them.  I'm really lucky because I have good genes and am generally in good health.  I don't get sick very often (probably because I don't have kids to bring home germs yet), and when I do, it's usually just a mild cold.  So I don't see much point in going to the doctor just so they can send me home with unnecessary meds and an otherwise clean bill of health.

However, last week I got blindsided by a bug that kept me out of work for 2 days (also unheard of for me- JD said "I don't think you've taken a sick day since I've known you!") and left me feeling so awful I didn't even want to get out of bed.  At first it seemed like a really intense cold, but my in-laws told me they'd all had a really nasty upper respiratory infection and I might want to get it checked out.  That combined with really bad chest congestion (I'd never really experienced anything like it before) made me decide that it may be some kind of bacterial thing and it might be worth seeing a doctor.

The last time I went to this doctor's office was nearly 3 years ago when JD convinced me I was overdue for a checkup.  I had an appointment with one of the nurse practitioners, who sat with me for quite a while asking about my family history, my own medical history, answering questions and going over all the concerns I had.  She was fantastic.  She was judgement-free and seemed generally interested in me, my health, and my concerns.

This time, I saw one of the other nurse practitioners.  He was not so fantastic.  He reminded me why I hate doctors a lot of the time.  He came in and went over my symptoms, then proceeded to ask if I've ever had any problems with allergies.  It wasn't so much that he asked.  Of course I want my doctor to be thorough and consider every possibility.  But he got that look in his eye.  The "here comes another hypochondriac" look.  Because hypochondriacs are a particular pet peeve of mine, and because it takes a lot for me to go to the doctor in the first place, I'm especially sensitive to doctors who seem to think I am one.

I told him I hadn't (I mean, the pollen around here is awful- there's inevitably a yellow coating on everything from mid March through mid April, so I didn't think the occasional sneeze counted).

Then, he started pressing on my sinuses, having me flip my head upside-down, and doing various things that might trigger some kind of sinus pressure or pain.  "Do you feel any pain?  Are you feeling any pressure?" he kept asking.

"Nope," I replied, silently screaming, I know my own body!  I know when I'm sick and when I have allergies!  This came on too suddenly to be allergies!

Once he was satisfied that it was not, in fact, allergies, he listened to my lungs and told me there were no signs of infection.  He asked me to call back if I wasn't better by Friday.  It almost looked like he had a look of amusement on his face.  (To his credit, he didn't write me an unnecessary prescription.  I hate when doctors give you a prescription for a virus, since it won't do anything anyway.)

I left feeling worse than when I'd gone in.  Partially because I'd had to drag myself out of bed and had been up and around for an hour, but also partially because I felt like he had judged me in some way.  It's one of those things that I should have been able to brush off.  One of those things that someone else might not have noticed.  But I noticed, and that's why I hate going to the doctor.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Believer and The Skeptic

JD is a marketer’s dream.  He’ll fall for practically any sales pitch, commercial, or infomercial.  “Watch as our secret formula erases years of wear and tear on this floor, making it look brand new!” the infomercial says as his eyes get wide and he looks at me, exclaiming, “We NEED that!”

The person he does not listen to, is his wife.  Naturally.  So when I tell him, “Don’t use a fork on that Teflon pan, you’ll ruin it” or “We need to get rid of our non-stick cookware because the chemicals are really bad for you” or “eating more fruits and veggies will help prevent disease,” he brushes it off.  (Clearly, none of what I say is based on valid information; I just make it all up.  That’s what wives do.)

It took a salesman at a Saladmaster (pots and pans) party to convince him of all the things I’ve been telling him for a while.  Well, that and the fact that the pots are super expensive.  JD assumes anything super expensive is worth owning.  “You mean horses cost thousands of dollars?!  We HAVE to get one!  The dogs would LOVE IT!”

When we went to the party, we weren't planning to buy anything.  "I hate cooking," I told the sales guy.  "If I had extra money laying around, I wouldn't be spending it on pots and pans."

I guess the joke is on me.

It was about 2 minutes into the presentation when JD got that look in his eyes.  That this stuff is amazing and we have to buy it look.  I wasn't sold right away, but the more we learned, the more convinced I was that it would be a good investment.  JD will believe anything anyone (besides me) tells him.  I'm the one who needs convincing.  Here's what sold me...

1.  Cooking with these pans is healthier because they distribute heat better, so you don't need to use oil or butter.  The guy made fried chicken without any oil.  Also, because they distribute heat better, you can cook at a lower temperature, so you aren't losing all the nutrients like you normally do when cooking veggies.  There was some study where they microwaved broccoli and found that you lose 95% of the nutrients by cooking it that way.  What a waste!

2.  You can make a lot more stuff in a lot less time using a lot less energy.  He made fried chicken, potatoes, 4 vegetables, a salad, and a cake in 15 minutes start to finish.  Including prep time.  No oven needed.  No need to defrost meat.  No, I'm not kidding.  As someone who hates cooking, this was a HUGE selling point.

3.  Most importantly, they're much safer than traditional pots and pans because they're made with Titanium.  We've all heard that Teflon is super bad for you, but it turns out traditional stainless steel pots aren't that great either.  He did this test where he boiled water and baking soda in their pot, a stainless steel pot, and a Teflon pan.  The water from their pot just tasted like salt water.  The water from the other 2 pans tasted like metal.  Like, I almost threw up it was so bad.  Imagine that getting in your food every time you cook.  That can't be healthy.

4.  They have a lifetime warranty, so we'd be investing in something for life.

Now I sound like a walking advertisement for this stuff.  But I'm really excited about it, so I can't help myself.  Were they expensive?  Yes.  But they have payment plans, they'll last for life, and you can't really put a price on good health.