Saturday, June 24, 2017

Took My Fat Butt to the Doctor...

Okay, ya'll. I am feeling the need to relate an experience I had the other day at the doctors' office, that has me a little irritated. And you know, if this were the first time it had happened, I might brush it off. But it's not the first time something like this has happened.

So I go to see my gynecologist for my yearly exam. He mentions my significant weight loss since last year. He mentions my metabolic disorder (in my chart). He mentions the endocrinologist who I see for my metabolic disorder, and who my gynecologist describes as "the best". He mentions my vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and asks about my progress. You know what he does then?

He tells me I need to reduce my calorie intake (without asking me anything about my diet). He asks about my physical activity, then tells me I also need to exercise more to maximize my weight loss.

You know... if he didn't know that I had a diagnosed metabolic disorder, was under treatment by "the best" endocrinologist in the area, that I recently had gastric sleeve, that I'm already seeing a nutritionist, and have lost 70 lbs... if he didn't know all of that and as a medical professional wanted to insert his advice about my weight because he was concerned about my obesity, then fine. But when you know your patient has taken proactive steps to combat the condition, is being seen by someone you yourself consider "the best", and has had significant weight loss, well... do you really think another lecture about how fat she is, how she needs to reduce caloric intake & increase physical activity, well, do you really think that's helpful? Or is it degrading? Disheartening? Insulting?

It's not the first time this has happened. In my early 20s I  experienced some breast changes that, because of my family history of breast cancer, my family doctor felt should be evaluated by a breast specialist. So I went. She never even examined me. True story. She asked me to have a seat in her office, fully clothed, and lectured me on how I needed to lose weight, and somehow this would resolve my breast issues. She literally never even looked at my breasts, let alone did an exam.

Let that sink in for a minute. A patient is referred to you, as a specialist, because of significant changes in her breasts combined with a strong family history of breast cancer. And you, as a specialized medical professional, never even examine her, but instead lecture her about her weight as if that will cure all of her issues.

Needless to say, I never went back.

Thankfully my family doctor was as appalled as I was and ordered my first mammogram. He also said he would no longer be referring patients to that particular doctor.

Don't misunderstand me, I know that obesity is a major health issue in our country. But it isn't everything. It's not even close. Nothing about my yearly gynecological visit necessitates comments about my weight, diet, & exercise, especially when you know I'm already being treated for those issues. Nothing about the changes in my breasts were attributed to my weight, nor would losing weight somehow miraculously prevent breast cancer from being a concern in my life.

The sad thing is that these experiences are nothing new, not for me, and not for millions of other Americans. Our concerns, the real medical issues that need to be addressed, are dismissed; we aren't taken seriously; we endure lecture after lecture about our weight, whether we want it or not. We hear the surprise in the nurse's voice when our blood pressure is within normal limits, and the look of surprise on doctors' faces when we tell them that "No. I'm not diabetic. In fact, my sugar trends low."

It's bad enough the things we endure from John Q. Public, but the doctor is one place we should be able to go, discuss valid concerns, and have those concerns addressed, without judgement. But it's not. It's just not.

It's really sad to think that one of the benefits of me one day reaching a healthy weight is that doctors will now take me seriously. Really, really sad indeed.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What to do if Your Cat Goes Missing

A few weeks ago my beloved cat Tucker snuck out the door around midnight and disappeared into the night. When he hadn't come home by the next morning, I became worried. Really worried. Tucker is 12 years old and an indoor cat. I envisioned all kinds of horrible things. But I also took action.

If you ever find yourself in a similar position, here are a few things you can do to (hopefully) get your beloved cat (or other pet) back home.

#1 - visit your local animal shelter.

Our shelter helped me complete a "missing pet" notice, that would be kept in the intake area for six months, so that any cats brought in would be matched against Tucker's description. They also allowed me to view all of the cats at the shelter, including the recent intakes not yet available for adoption. I was also permitted to hang a "lost cat" flier on the bulletin board in their lobby. The animal control officer that assisted me was incredibly helpful and polite, and gave me some first-hand information on what they see that helps reunite owners with their pets.

#2 - post on social media, especially Facebook.

Truth be told, I did this first, just because it's quick & easy. Create a "lost cat" post, with picture, set the privacy to "public" and share with your friends. Ask them to share. Share in local groups in your area. Post in missing pet networks in your region. Post, post, post, share, share, share. Not only is it super-easy, according to the animal control officer I spoke with Facebook is now the #1 way they see owners reunited with pets in our area.

#3 - post fliers, with pictures, in your area.

This was one of the last things that I did, mostly because the three days after Tucker disappeared were filled with summer thunderstorms. Of course. But the first dry day we had I posted fliers on the telephone poles closest to our home, with plans to post more and expand the area every day. The officer told me this is currently the secondmost way they see pets & owners reunited in our area, especially for those who may find your pet but not be on social media. Even though it was too wet to post fliers outdoors due to the weather, I did take fliers to local gas stations, veterinary offices, and pet-related businesses in my area started on day one.

#4 - if your pet is microchipped, notify the microchip company

We rescued Tucker from a shelter, so he came already microchipped, but this was the first time I actually ever needed to use their missing pet alert system. I have to say, I was impressed. I filled out the online form, submitted it, and not only did an email go out to hundreds of other owners of microchipped pets in the area (I've been getting their emails for years), but they also send out a mass communication to local veterinary offices, and even Facebook groups. In fact, one of the "Lost & Found Pets" groups that I went to post to, by the time I got on social media, had already posted the notice they got from our microchip company. For those who may be interested, we use HomeAgain*.

#5 - go out with stinky food and call your pet by name.

For cats, go out in the evening and early morning. Cats are nocturnal by nature, so there's a chance he may be sleeping the day away. If he's going to be found out & about, it's most likely going to be at night.

#6 - put your cat's litter box outside.

Statistics vary, but some claim that a cat can identify their own litter box up to a mile away. I waited until day three to do this, for a few reason. First of all, I had cleaned the litter box right about an hour before he got out. There was nothing for him to smell. Secondly, Tucker shares a litter box with our other cat, Molly. I couldn't leave it outside with nowhere for her to relieve herself. Thirdly, the rain. I didn't clean the litterbox at all the first couple of days after Tucker disappeared. On day three, when the rain let up, I took it outside and dumped it near our property line, in the direction I last saw him running. It was now nice and stinky with Molly's waste, and I figured even if it's not his, he should recognize his sister's smell, right?

#7 - don't give up hope

According to the animal control officer I spoke with, indoor cats who get lost outside, if they haven't been taken in by someone, return after 2-3 days. If a cat has been "rescued" by a well-meaning neighbor, it can be months before you are reunited.
The story usually goes something like this: well meaning person finds "lost" cat with no identification. "Rescues" said cat by taking it in. Since they are doing a good deed, it never occurs to them the cat may be lost. Surely it is a stray or its owners didn't want it or take care of it. After a few months, the cat either isn't fitting in well in the household, or they finally get around to taking it to the vet, or a friend or family member guilts them about never checking to see if the cat were lost. At that point they surrender it to the shelter where it is scanned for a microchip or matched against a missing pet report. Or the vet scans for a microchip and realizes the pet actually belongs to someone else. Or they start looking at lost pet reports or call the shelter and realize that their new pet is actually someone's missing pet.
So don't give up hope.

So what happened to Tucker? He did return home, on day four, around 11pm. I heard a faint meow, and initially thought it must be Molly, sleeping in my three year old's room. Then I realized it wasn't her voice. I looked over, and there was Tucker, peeking in our French doors at the back of the house. He was skinny, covered in burrs, and reeked of gasoline, but was otherwise fine. I'm not sure where he was for those four days, but I sure am glad he's home.

One surprising development was the amount of attention his disappearance and our reunion got on Facebook. People shared my posts all over and I was getting private messages checking on his status. So naturally Tucker ended up with his own Facebook page. My cat has a Facebook page and people are still following his story. Still seems a little crazy, but it's true.

How about you? Have you ever lost a pet? Were you reunited? What steps did you take when you realized it was lost?

As always, thanks for checking in!

*HomeAgain did not ask for a mention or review, nor have I been compensated in any way for this post. I am simply giving my opinion of a service I have paid for out of my own personal finances.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Letting People In

One of my friends kinda invited herself to my house for a play date. Not in a rude way, more of a miscommunication (I assumed we were meeting at a park, she assumed they were coming over). And I should clarify that although I do consider her a friend, we're not especially close, haven't spent a lot of time together, chatting, or what not. So not a close friend by any means.

I figured this out at 10:30pm the night before when she asked what time she should be over.

Instead of back-pedaling, backing out of it, explaining the miscommunication... 
I agreed.
I might be insane.
My house was a disaster. And not like in the way that people say when it's a little bit untidy but they want to be polite or whatever. Like a serious messy, messy did-a-tornado-hit-here? disaster. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to see my house. Actually, the last thing I wanted was to spend hours cleaning our house only to realize that it still isn't even close to "company ready", even though company is coming, ready or not.
But our pastor routinely says things about how if you keep shutting people out of your life & your home because you're afraid of being rejected based on your flaws, then you are missing out on real, authentic relationships. So I agreed instead of backing out, and I let her and her kids in.
And it was awesome. If she judged me, she didn't show it. You see, I always kind of assume that when people see my messy house they either judge me, or are relieved (you know who you are, LOL). Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a lot of people just don't care that much either way, but that's what I envision: either judgement or relief.

So we don't have people over a lot. Hardly every really. But maybe we should. Because it was great. The kids played together well, she and I got to chat almost the entire two hours, and I think we all genuinely had a great time.

So maybe I need to let more people in, literally and figuratively. Maybe I'm missing out on something great by not letting people in. And maybe if someone judges me based on my lack of housekeeping skills, they aren't the kind of friend I need in my life anyway.

What about you? Is there anything you use a reason to keep people at bay? What are you afraid of?

As always, thanks for checking in!
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