I have had a crazy week. While I have a handful of articles I have been writing on that are not ready to be published yet, this week calls for yet another personal post. This one is going to be long, but it has been a long week.
More randomness for you today…
A Visit to the Surgeon…
This has been quite a week for me. It all started last Thursday, July 17th, when I went to see a surgeon to evaluate my infection. As mentioned in my previous post I said might have to have surgery. I have an infected lump under my skin in my armpit. After examining me, the determination has been made that I will need to have surgery to remove the infection.
The back story behind this started last August (in 2013) after I had bought a cheap razor and attempted to shave the area. The razor was very cheap and the blades did not cut the hair but it did cut my skin. The very next day a large lump was present, and having no health insurance at the time, I just let it be. Come January, when I got insurance, it had been an open wound on my body for a few months and was bleeding every day and constantly getting horribly infected. After the last few months of trying to treat this, my doctor sent me off to the surgeon.
What I have is called Hidradenitis. I have never had this before, however the surgery should take care of the situation. The surgeon said it will take a month or more to heal up after the section is cut away.
I will just say right now I am terrified of surgery, especially surgery that involves cutting away parts.
That surgery will happen in early August, almost a year after this whole mess begun. I have a really nice surgeon, he is really very smart and very kind. I have faith in him and I believe this procedure will go well and things will be fine.
The Next Day…
Friday evening I got really sick. I was just fine most of the day and then suddenly I came down with severe nausea, stomach pains and head pains. I had no appetite. I chalked this all up to my infection. Having an open infection on your body can get into your blood stream and make you feel sick. So I just weathered the situation.
The next morning I woke up at 04:30 and felt even worse. I eventually vomited and had several sessions of dry heaving. My body evacuated everything it could in all ways that were possible over the course of the day.
I felt dizzy and nausea and my stomach pains did not go away, even after vomiting. I started checking my food and what I had eaten the previous day and really I could not find anything. I started to think I must have contracted something from someone in the waiting room when I went to see the surgeon.
There was an outbreak of Listeria along the west coat, including in my city. This is a kind of food poisoning that comes from factories when food is not handled correctly or there is some bacteria on the equipment that is infected. I checked my fruit against the lists I found online and none of my fruit was infected.
However, I had neglected to remember that a family member had given me some of her fruit. A few days later she got a call notifying her that she had purchased infected fruit from the local Costco.
So at least the mystery was solved, I had gotten Listeria from the infected fruit. I do not usually get sick too often, but when I do it is pretty bad because I have a weakened immune system.
My sickness continued through the weekend and only Monday afternoon did I began to feel a bit better. Though even now, a week later, I find my stomach to be a little sensitive on some things and I have had some bouts of unexplained nausea.
Another Doctor Visit…
On Tuesday I had to visit another doctor, a Dermatologist, for a life long skin condition that I have recently decided I needed to find some way to get under control.
I will note I have had amazing luck with doctors in this town. I have found the nicest most caring doctors I have ever had in my life here.
It would seem my luck with doctors in this town had come to an end because I got the rudest, most disrespectful doctor I have ever had in my life. He expected me to be the expert, to know what he knows and to use the internet to doctor my problems. Seriously if I wanted the internet to treat me I would not have spent the time and money to go see that doctor. Unfortunately, the internet cannot write me prescriptions, so he was forced to actually do his job even if in the most bare minimum.
When did it become the patients responsibility to become the doctor? I had done plenty of research online, however I did not know all of those long 20 letter medication names. I am not in the medical industry and really that is his job to know that stuff, not mine. Certainly they earned those degrees and get paid huge amounts of money per hour to actually… do their job? I can look up symptoms online all I like, but the internet does not replace a real educated medical professional. Hence, that is why we have doctors.
When I was done there, I had to make another appointment and at that time I had the front desk change me to another doctor for my next scheduled visit. I will not put up with disrespect and outright rude behavior from anyone. I am a person and I deserve respect. I am no longer in the situation in my life where I let others walk all over me like certain people in my past have done.
Wednesday at 15:30 I was on the computer writing out a blog post. I had been working on that post for a while and was determined to publish it by end of day.
The house was quiet, I had no music on, everything seemed absolutely normal for the moment. The wind was blowing outside, it was a little cold for a summer day, but it felt like just a regular day otherwise.
At 15:45 the power flickered once and then went out and everything changed very suddenly. There was no warning of this oncoming storm. It just happened instantly, like a light switch being turned on.
I heard thunder very loudly outside and the winds started up hard. The house strained against the winds. It got very loud outside, the noise was violent. I have been through many storms in my life here, but nothing sounded quite like that.
I got up and looked out the window and I was not quite sure what I was seeing. There was this wall of grey and brown flying past, cutting off part of the backyard. I could not see past the wall. It took a moment for it to settle into me that I was in the eye of a tornado and seeing the edge there.
It was horribly loud outside, things were moving on the patio, stuff was flying everywhere. The house was lurching and straining against the wind and I could just hear it and that’s a sound I have no description for. I had this sincere worry that the roof would be gone when things were over. I have never been in a tornado before, but instinctively I knew that is what was happening. I had no idea what to do. I was in the safest location in the house that I could be in. There was nothing I could do except hope that everyone and everything would be safe.
All I could do was stand at the window and watch and be weary for any flying debris. Luckily I have a deck overhead so it was taking the brunt of the chaos, as I could hear things moving and crashing up above.
I was all alone in the house when this happened. I had tried to call my family but the phone networks were not working, nothing was working.
It rained, then it hailed HUGE balls of ice.. and rained again and then stopped and nothing but the wind kept up constantly. It was like watching a rainbow of weather happen over the course of mere seconds, back and forth changing from one moment to the next.
Eventually the precipitation stopped, but the wind stayed strong. The grey wall of dust in the backyard disappeared. I could finally see beyond the yard, so I knew it was stopping.
One final rain occurred at the end there, but was over fast and things started to slow down.
I went upstairs when my grandparents arrived. They had been at my mothers house and had been driving on the roads when this hit. They were safe and well, thankfully.
We went outside and saw that parts of the roof here were flung into the street, neighbors were returning pieces of the roof, which is kinda humorous now but at the time disturbing. When the neighbors had looked at the house during the storm the shingles were standing straight up during the winds.
We also found in the backyard two of the trees had been damaged. One of the trees had lost some limbs. Large pieces lay in the backyard just under the tree and some other limps had been thrown into the front yard. A bird’s nest was found laying in the yard, one small little egg remained. The poor bird was long gone and the egg would never hatch. We put the nest back in the tree, but we know the bird will never return.
The other tree, next to the house, had been partially uprooted. The roots had formed this huge lump in the surrounding grass and some of the roots broke through the grass and were protruding out. The tree had hit the house, bending the edgy thingy (technical term, I’m sure) for water drainage and hit the roof, but it did not fall onto the house. Somehow, by some miracle, the tree managed to stay rooted strong enough into the ground to only hit the house but managed to keep standing mostly.
By this time my phone was dead. It had almost no charge when the power went. I had quickly sent a couple of texts and let it die. That was only a half hour after the storm passed through. I got no replies from anyone and figured the service was down completely. I have learned the lesson I need to keep it charged better.
My grandparents went to my moms house shortly after arriving to make sure she was okay. Funny enough, my mom was getting in her car to check on them when they arrived. My moms house is fine, but the pool is filled with tree branches and is a mess, but nothing that can’t be cleaned up.
My grandparents came back and we talked a while. Whenever the wind ripped through every few minutes, the tree would sway and touch the house. For several hours we were concerned it would destroy part of the house. We could do nothing at all about it but wait.
Watching that tree sway and hearing my grandma be so upset caused my blood pressure to rise and I felt a panic attack starting in. For some reason I was numb with shock before that moment but hearing my grandmas voice so upset shook me hard. She had my grandpa to hold her, so I told them I had to go downstairs and start unplugging things.
I did unplug things, but mostly I had to lay on my bed and try to balance my own internal chaos so I would not freak out. I did not need my own emotions to make the situation worse for anyone else. I did eventually feel inner peace as I heard the wind start to calm.
After a while left the bedroom and sat on the couch in the main room. I opened the door. Washington always smells beautiful after a good rain here, so I just let the air flow in for several hours. I lit the candle that a dear friend gave me and sat on the couch and just listened to the remainder of the storm. The winds kept up and of course they were pushing into the house, forcing the tree to hit the house each time. However, the wind had lost some power and it was no longer such a worry it would fall onto the house as the evening went on.
So for a while all I did was hang out and listen to the storm. The radio station said that 65,000 people were without power, homes were devastated by falling trees and people were injured by falling branches and some trapped in their cars. Many people were left homeless, a trailer park got hit very hard, many families left without a place to live.
In other words, we were quite lucky.
Later that night, my grandma got us all food. They got hamburgers from Zips (best fast food in town). My mom, aunt, my grandparents and I all sat around the table upstairs and had a candle lit dinner together. I have to say in light of everything, it was actually really nice. I really enjoyed myself. I missed my aunt after all these years. She never talks down to me, she listens to what I say and she and I get each others sense of humor.
That is when we all told our stories. My mom had been outside in the garden when the tornado hit. As mentioned, there was no warning, it came on in an instant. She was in the yard and her neighbor was there. They clung to each other as they felt themselves being lifted and grabbed onto whatever they could. They watched the garbage can lid be removed and all of the trash inside pulled out and strewn over the yard.. just like that from the wind. Insanity.
They were fine though. Her giant tree in her yard did not fall. Her neighbor (the other) tried to say she should take it down. I told her she never should, that this tornado was the worst thing this area could get and it survived, that is a testament to its deep roots and it will be fine in most anything now after surviving that. She has a leaky poor roof on her house, but it did not get hit directly so her house is fine.
My aunt.. she was at Kohl’s shopping for clothes and my mom called her all panicked and she was rolling her eyes thinking my mom was exaggerating. Then she talked to my grandma and when she started driving into town she saw the disaster and realized what had happened, that this was no exaggeration. It is funny how she told the story, we were all laughing. She said when my mom (her sister) called she said “Where are you?” and my aunt answered something about needing clothes so bad and stressing over clothes. It was just funny the way she told it.
The grandparents were stuck in the car, trees all over the road, but they made it home just fine without many troubles. They got to see the havoc that the tornado had created while driving here.
So we had a nice dinner. My grandparents charged my phone in the car outside to see if I could find information online as I am the only one with a smart(ass) phone in the family. We did not find much just a lot of “power will be restored soon” type of information. The power company was calling us occasionally, keeping us informed. First it was 20:30, then 23:30. We heard from someone else it might be a week in other places. Being that we are near a local hospital, we knew we would get power soon.
I prepared to go to bed. I sent some texts to some friends, then tried to settle in to sleep. As I was laying in bed less than twenty minutes later, I heard the fridge come on and I looked up and saw the blinking clock. The power was back. It was 00:22. So I got up, tried the internet, and I found it was down. So I just went to bed to try and get some sleep.
There was word from the radio that another possible storm might move through during the night. I was deeply concerned about the tree outside falling on the house. It made for a rough night sleep.
I woke up at 05:30 and could not sleep further even though I felt exhausted. Finally around 07:00 the internet was back online so at least I could go look at the news.
Local radio up to that point had been pretty poor in reporting on the story. Radio sure has changed since the day of Ice Storm in the mid-1990’s. They all expect people to rely on the internet now. Well, when you do not have power and phones are out, most people go to their radio. So I found local radio to be very unhelpful for the most part, but KXLY did do some coverage here and there, so that was good.
A couple of hours later the removal of the tree began. My uncle had come out with a chainsaw and some ropes and other things. He and a couple of others started work on the tree. It is really too bad, it was a very nice tree. It was here when the house was bought 40 years ago.
Limb by limb carefully the tree was chopped. Unfortunately some of the very heavy tall limps hanging over the house fell on the roof and caused significant damage, including putting a large hole in the roof. Eventually by mid afternoon the tree had been cut down to a very tall stump, the limbs laying over the most of the backyard. The limbs were very tall, I was worried that it could not be removed without injuries, however the boys did a brilliant job and everything worked out.
The stump now stands some ten feet tall, but the house is safe now. Eventually it will be cut down to a stump and kept.
We found that the deck in the backyard, a very secure deck I might say, had been moved and was no longer perfectly level. That says a lot to the power of those winds.
Maybe this storm is not bad compared to anyone that normally goes through this type of weather.. but for this area, this is not normal. I saw a twister in the sky in my mid-teens here, but it never landed. That is just not normal for this city. This kind of weather is a first for me, I have never experienced it before in any place I have ever lived.
Everyone I know here is okay. Many are not okay though and I am sad for them. Crazy how things like this hit one house, miss another, then hit one more, back and forth.. such chaos. I could not live in places that this is normal.
I have surgery coming up, medical things to handle, I got through a bout of Listeria, and my home got hit by a tornado all in one week. What else do you have for me, world? Come at me, brah! :-)