Saturday, August 24, 2019

Adulting, Part the Third (Now with Pictures Added!)

Cocoa says "hi"
I beg your pardon, is that your colon or a rose garden?

Purty, innit?

Smokey says "whut?"

yes, I know I'm cute and sassy, but...
It's So Short!

Adulting, Part the Second

Yeah, this is sort of a continuation – maybe I’ll get through the whole week of adulting! Monday was, of course, the MEDICAL adulting – the dreaded colonoscopy.

On Tuesday, I was booked for work! #WooToTheHoo! I drove deep into the heart of The Valley (fer shure, not “of Death”) to park in a church parking lot and then get shuttled to a grocery store where I’d previously worked on an episode of Barry.

They had asked for lots of BRIGHT clothing options, but hadn’t indicated a season, so most of us were dressed for the current season – HOT weather. When the wardrobe gal looked through my stuff, she was really only happy with my maroon jeans and hot pink sweater. I should also have grabbed my denim jacket out of my car, but I forgot (because it’s not quite “bright”). Oh, well.

I’d cooked some bacon the night before, because it was an early call time a decent distance away, and having just come off my colonoscopy, I wanted to be sure to eat keto again, once I started eating again. Not that I needed my bacon – there was definitely something appropriate at catering, but I did eat my bacon, so I’d have an empty to-go container for lunchtime! #TheyThrowAwayTheLeftoversSoImHelpingByTakingItHome

We were working inside the grocery store, so I was glad to have my thermal mugs of tea and my hot pink sweater. The work was easy, and I’ll just say this here: Peyton Manning is as sweet and funny in real life as he appears to be in the plethora of commercials he’s currently starring in.

Tuesday was a longish day (ten hours), and they didn’t break us for lunch right away, so we got five meal penalties. Which means it’ll be a nice fat paycheck. YAY! #IAmAMoneyMagnetThankYouThankYouThankYou

On Wednesday, I was home, shopping the Ikea website for a specific sleeper sofa we’d agreed was #TheOne. I’d tried to order it online over the weekend, but the website had indicated it was out of stock. So, back at it on Wednesday, there it was, waiting for me, with a $20 savings on shipping from the website vs. at the store, BUT we’d have to wait until the 29th to get it! ... and was I interested in applying for a rewards credit card with an instant rebate, or possibly the Ikea Projekt card, with 6 months at 0% interest? Decisions, decisions! What a quandary!

So, I found where Stephen had stashed his credit card that we’d agreed we’d use (just to keep the account active), and I drove to the store. I marched my ass straight to the help desk at sleeper sofas, placed my “order”, and then marched my ass straight back down to the cashiers. None of my normal “getting steps whilst meandering the lovely large warehouse” for me that day! I was on a mission!

My adulting for Wednesday was buying a couch, y’all. And making sure that if I got booked for work, Stephen would definitely be home in the 1 – 5 window The Next Day to accept delivery. And then later, Wednesday evening, I went to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation to volunteer for a screening of John Travolta’s new movie. It was horrible, y’all. It was BORING. And for some reason, this audience full of actors kept laughing at JT’s autistic character’s faux pas(es? No, I don’t know how to pluralize a French word)! I left before the Q&A, to discover a large group of people staking out the only entrance to the parking garage, hoping to get JT to sign their paraphernalia. It was very meta. Obviously, none of them had seen the film I just watched. #UGH #IGotThis #AdultingMightSuckButSometimesWeJustGottaDoIt

On Thursday morning, I gave myself a haircut and touched up my color. I wasn’t the last one to use the Wahl trimmer, though, so when I looked for the two guards that were paired in the case, I didn’t look closely. I cut my hair too short, y’all! Yes, it’s cute and sassy and I still look good, but I no longer look like my headshots because I cut my hair too short, y’all! I normally use the 1” guard around my back and sides, and the 1.5” guard on top. Because Stephen used the trimmer set last, he’d paired the ½” with the 1”. And because I didn’t look closely, we are #BothToBlame for me cutting my hair too short, y’all! #AdultingIsHardSometimes

On Thursday afternoon, The Sofa Arrived! So, over the course of 3 hours, we both perused the pictorial Ikea build instructions, and then we built a lovely sleeper sofa. The last time we bought any real #Adult furniture, Smokey immediately peed on it to mark it as his and also to help de-gas the #NewFurnitureSmell, a.k.a. formaldehyde. To prevent that happening this time, we saved all of the big plastic wrap that the big pieces were packed in, and we kept the old futon mattress after carrying the futon frame downstairs to the alley.

So I’m sitting on a new couch that’s wrapped in plastic and has an additional big cushion that still smells like us and the cats. It’s quite stylish, yo. No, but seriously, #SometimesAdultingIsThinkingAhead

On Friday, I unfolded the couch and set the loose cushions on chairs just outside the front door to help them de-gas some more. They’re supposed to air out (and fluff up from their vacuum-sealed bags) over the course of 72 hours. I figure, better to do that in actual air, rather than in the storage cubby in the sofa. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention. #TheSleeperSofaHasStorage #W00tW00t!

Then, before I left to volunteer at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Emmy-Nominated Stunt Panel (a much better night than Wednesday!), I tossed ONE cushion, all three covers, a wet towel, and a bunch of dryer sheets into the dryer and allowed it to run on “no heat – air dry – fluff” while I was out, put the other two cushions back in the storage, re-folded the couch, and put the chairs back under the table. Stephen won’t know all of what I did yesterday until YOU do! #ImSneakyYesIAmButTheCatsKnow

And That, My Friends, is why I won’t do two shows a night, I just won’t. No, that’s not what I wanted to say here. And That, My Friends, is my week of Adulting. What #FunNotFun things have YOU been up to?

I know you want 'em, so pictures will follow, in Part the Third!

Adulting, Part the First

I want to talk about the stuff you deal with as you grow older. On my birthday this year, I received notification in the mail that I was once again eligible for SAG-AFTRA health insurance. It has/d been a decade since I last had SAG health insurance, and in that ten years, I haven’t been unwell or unhealthy, but I have missed having the fantastic coverage that my union provides. When I was first deemed ineligible, it was because we still had two actors’ unions, so I was dividing my work time between them, and not earning enough money or days on set with either one to be eligible. In the last ten years, we’ve merged not only the two unions, but also, recently, the health plans. YAY.

So I got my eligibility notification on my birthday in June. #HappyBirthdayToMe! I completed my paperwork as soon as I could and paid my first quarter’s premium so I could start using the insurance in July. I’m not unwell or unhealthy, I remind you. But when you finally have good health insurance again after so long, you make an appointment for a wellness exam. For a woman over 40, that means a PAP smear, labwork, and mammogram. For Stephen, it means... what? I don’t even know. Vitals? A prostate exam? Anything else? I doubt it.

Also, for everyone over 50, it means a colonoscopy.

Back in 2017, I had insurance through Kaiser. It wasn’t bad coverage, by any stretch of the imagination. But for whatever reason, I lost my eligibility for that as well, and when they “prescribed” a colonoscopy back then, I got as far as picking up my Rx for Gavilyte and scheduling the procedure ... but then I cancelled the procedure, and just stored that big ol’ bottle of powder for... awhile.

Fast-forward to July of this year. I had my PAP and all my bloodwork. I got referrals for dermatology (per my new Primary Care Physician, I “have a lot of moles”. Yes, I do. So what?), mammography, and that dreaded colonoscopy. I’m supposed to follow up with each doc to schedule the necessary whatnot.

The colon doc’s office didn’t wait. They called ME. They tricked me into a consultation, saying there was a “chance” I might not even need one, if I wasn’t in any of the risk groups. Guess what? I’m over 50. That’s a risk group. So they scheduled me for the dreaded procedure for Monday of this past week, and sent me home from the consultation with a plethora of “pre-op” instructions. Stop taking all NSAIDS five days before; eat low-fiber foods (meaning NO nuts or seeds) 3 days before; go on a clear liquid diet plus colon prep 1 day before. Stay hydrated. Dress warmly for the procedure. Buy the new Rx for colon prep. Etc.

I followed “the rules” pretty closely. My original appointment was set for 1 p.m., but that got pulled in earlier to 12:15 before I was completely aware of the change, so my “day before” wasn’t quite a 24-hour period. It was close, though. I went to buy the new Rx, just in case it was “easier” than the Gavilyte I already had, and also just in case the pharmacy would buy the Gavilyte back (it had another year or two before it “expired””, since I hadn’t mixed it yet). No dice. CVS Pharmacy hadn’t filled the original Rx, so any return would have to happen at Kaiser. Also, my insurance wasn’t covering enough of the cost of the new prep, and it would have cost me a hundred bux. For a yucky prep for a procedure I didn’t even want to have! No thanks!

I did verify that the insurance was definitely covering the procedure 100%, though. If my co-pay had been, say, enough to meet my deductible, I’d have cancelled that thing AGAIN. I’m telling ya. I’m healthy! Much to my chagrin, the procedure is covered 100%. #Dammit

So now it’s the weekend before (stick with me, it's currently the weekend following, but in this tale, it's the weekend leading up to it), and I’ve altered my diet, I’ve arranged for a ride, I’ve confirmed the appointment, and I’ve mixed the Gavilyte. On Sunday, just under 24 hours before my procedure, I start drinking the Gavilyte.

Here’s what everyone tells you about colon prep: it’s a lot, and you WILL spend that day before in the bathroom. It’s a laxative, you see. A prescription-strength laxative. The idea is to CLEANSE your colon before they stick the tiny tube up there. They do tell you that it tastes yucky, but that’s all they’ll tell you.

Here’s what no one ever tells you about Gavilyte: it doesn’t take effect until you’re a few glasses in. Once it takes effect, it works almost like clockwork, depending on how quickly you can down it. It tastes like... badly mixed Country Time lemonade... thick and syrupy and vaguely lemony and vaguely artificially sweet... even though it LOOKS like water in that gallon jug! As you drink it, the gallon jug has miraculous refilling properties. I like-to-never finished that damn thing!

Well, actually, I didn’t. I got more than ¾ through, past the point where I was “pooping” brown liquid, then thick yellow bile, then clear yellow liquid. There was NOTHING solid left to poop. I mean, towards the end, the pressure to poop LIQUID meant I became a human soda stream. I kinda decided that after the procedure, I never wanted to poop again. Ennyhoo. Enough toilet talk.

On Monday, my friend Cheyanne gave me a ride in, and sat in the lobby area, working on her screenplay or whatever whilst I was whisked into the medical areas to undress down to a gown, verify that I was who the paperwork said I was, and receive my IV for the sedative. Not too long after that, the doc showed up to ask me the same shit, and then they wheeled me into the OR. I was introduced to yet another nurse, whose job it was to monitor my vitals. Before they administered the “Twilight” sedative (I’d be awake for most of the procedure and could inform them if I was feeling any PAIN), the first nurse noticed that my heartbeat was irregular. Say, what? The doc asked her if it was a “regular” irregularity or an “irregular” one. I joked that it was because I’m a musician – saying it was my percussionist soul taking over. No one got the joke, so I remarked that maybe it was due to this being my first procedure of this type (i.e. nervousness)? The doc either concurred with that sentiment, or overrode the nurse’s concerns, because he had her administer the sedative. Shortly after its administration, I was feeling the effects, and my heartbeat regulated, so... good call, doc!

I watched them weave the camera through a very foldy rosefield, and when they discovered the one polyp, they removed it before I even saw what it looked like! I did see the four clips they used to seal the wound they created by tearing out the polyp. Shortly after they installed the four clips, they were pulling the tiny tube out and unhooking my IV and wheeling me into the recovery area, where they offered me a juicebox.

Yes, I’m pretty strict about my keto, but I hadn’t eaten anything (solid) in close to 48 hours, so I was willing to consume a few carbs. Also, I was probably dehydrated, so I sucked that bad boy down. 

Then they sent Cheyanne in to sit with me for a few, and then they sent her to get the car while they transferred me from the bed to a wheelchair, and rolled me to another waiting area to receive her phone call (we had parked in a free shopping center lot, about a block away - NOT paying for parking on top of it all!). While I waited, I had another juicebox and a few packets of graham crackers – yum!

Cheyanne had gotten my postop instructions, so when she called to say the car was there, they wheeled me down and put me into her care. Next stop, Poquito Más! They had instructed “nothing too greasy or spicy”, so I got the grilled ahi on a small bed of white rice (yes, more carbs!) and felt much better.

That's some adulting, y'all. Have you had the dreaded colonoscopy? Were your experiences similar to mine? Better? Worse? Did you get pictures of the inside of your colon? Do your pics, if viewed quickly and out of focus, look like a field of roses?

Part the Second coming soon!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ManOhMan, has it been AWHILE!

I last checked in with y'all at the End Of May. Which means we didn't chat at all about my birthday in June (and I am usually #VeryPersistent in reminding people that my birthday is coming up, and asking everyone #HowDoYouPlanToCelebrateMe?)... we missed the review of my Hollywood Fringe Festival experience (just no audiences to speak of, and a lackadaisical cast)... we missed my re-acquaintance with my old friend Stephanie... we missed the two earthquakes we had on-or-about Independence Day... we missed me replacing my laptop-that-became-a-desktop-when-I-killed-the-screen... we missed my full weekend of bemoaning the loss of a decade or more of emails, some of which were probably #ImportantShit... we missed Daddy moving from Florida to Colorado (with my sister)... we missed Max's severe car accident that she is still recovering from... we missed my building of a new-for-me website (I think, maybe?)!

Currently, we have a weekend houseguest sleeping on our futon and attending acting classes with me. She still has employment #WayFarAway from "the industry" (showbiz), so mostly, she's only here on weekends. She's looking for more industry opportunities, so this couch-surfing could become #SlightlyMoreSemiPermanent, at which point she'll contribute to groceries or utilities or rent or something. We've learned from our previous houseguest leech not to become doormats!

So, because of the futon being a bed more often than it used to be, Stephen and I are looking at replacing it. He'd been researching mattresses for it, because there's honestly nothing wrong with the frame. But he's having no luck with that, so we're considering dropping about 500 on a new sleeper sofa from Ikea. We like the size; we like the "sit"; we like the "lay/lie down" (YES, I'll nitpik your grammar, but even if I look this one up, I'm not going to remember which one means "recline" so STFU!); we especially like the color! ... HOWEVER...

Stephen's laptop just crashed one too many times, and he's replaced it. But we were unable to rescue his novel, among other things, from his hard drive, which means it's currently being diagnosed by professionals. We have no doubt that they'll be able to rescue all of the files he needs, but in the meantime, we get to wait to see what that's going to cost us. It's not that we can't "afford" the 500 for the couch... but we do have to be responsible, don't we? Budget for shit that's nonessential? Right?

Speaking of diagnoses, I HAVE SAG-AFTRA HEALTH INSURANCE AGAIN! I got the notification in the mail on my birthday, which was the absofuckinglute best happy birthday celebratory dance at a mailbox I have ever had. (Hashtag AbsoFuckingLute)... so I had my general wellness exam for zero dollars and zero cents in July, and because I am #AWomanOfACertainAge, I also have to have some follow-up testing. Pray for me this weekend, when I will be fasting with tea and other clear liquids, to be put under on Monday with "Twilight" anesthesia whilst the doc pushes a tiny tube up my rectum so he can shine a tiny light on my innards, watching on a tiny camera to see if there are any polyps, and then grabbing them with a tiny grabby thingy for testing. The chance of there being at least one polyp is 50% (or did he say 1 in 50, a.k.a. 2%?). The chance of any polyps being pre-cancerous is 25% (or, again, was that 1 in 25? or 4% of the 2%? OOF. I'm good at numbers, but now I don'r remember what he said a week ago). Ennyhoo. I'll come out of the "Twilight" sleep a bit loopy, so I have to have a ride home. They will NOT release me to drive or take a Lyft or a bus or anything on my own recognizance! Luckily, my friend Max works just down the street, so she can probably let me hang out in her office or break room for the hour or so it takes me to truly recover. If that Dx is "clear", then I won't have to undergo that procedure again for ten years. And in the meantime, it doesn't cost me a dime, because I HAVE SAG-AFTRA HEALTH INSURANCE AGAIN!

Still have to get my skin checked out by a dermatologist and the girls squished by a mammographer. Yay. :-/

Also. Since beginning my Ketogenic Lifestyle (TM), I have lost twenty pounds (I was only shooting for ten), 3" off my waist, nearly 3" off my hips, and ~1" off each thigh. I've been very hit-or-miss with the daily yoga, but I know that when I was doing it more regularly, my arms and core were gaining strength. I've also been very hit-or-miss with my swimming at the Y, but when I go, I do up to :30 of laps, with just a skosh of treading water (the ol' gang isn't there anymore, so I don't have a social hour, it's just swimming). I did replace my waistband-wearable non-Fitbit thingy with a wrist wearable Disney Princesses (kid's) one, also NON-Fitbit, because I am anti-brand, for the most part. I like it. It counts my steps (10k per day IS a regular thing for me) and tracks my sleep, and lets me know if I've been still for too long (although it counts puttering around in the kitchen as stillness), and then if I have a total of one hour or more of activity in the day, it takes me on an adventure with Ariel and Flounder. It's cute.

So I'm currently catching you up while I make chocolate gelato, Keto-style. It's soooooo gooooood!

What have you been up to, since last we ... spoke (?) ?