August 2009 Archives

My Sleep Study Experience

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Last night I finally went for my sleep study test.  I am going to describe in detail what it was like (for me) in case anyone else wants to know what it's really like. (Consider this a warning that this story won't be interesting to everyone). I am sure the tests/experience vary for person to person and from place to place but here is my experience:

6:30 PM
I was asked to arrive at 6:30 PM. I was a little shocked and worried about this because -- what the heck were they going to do to me between 6:30 and bed time? I usually eat dinner around 7PM or so my boyfriend ended up taking me to subway where I got 6" sub (meatball marinara) and a bag of chips (classic baked lays) to take with me for later. The chips turned out to be a very good idea.  My boyfriend wasn't hungry so he sipped an iced tea while watching me eat. He dropped me off at the clinic and we arrived at 6:20. I stalled for about 5 minutes and went in at 6:25. I went up to the second floor and hit the little doorbell-like button. I was greeted by a very friendly woman not much older than myself who had pretty blond hair and appeared to weigh no more than 100 pounds. She was a technician and her name was Kerry. She took me back to my room and got me situated. She told me to just hang out and get comfortable. So I laid down on the queen sized bed and turned on the television. At this point I already felt nearly all of my fears disappear. They just lifted off my shoulders and dissipated upwards into the air. What I was so worried about to begin with, I have no idea. I immediately sent a message to my poor boyfriend who drove off as I was nearly in tears.

I did have a minor panic attack when it took me somewhere around five minutes to figure out how to use the remote control, but I did eventually win my little battle with technology.

7:30 PM
Kerry popped back, asked how I was doing, and told me to get into my sleeping attire. "I'll be back in a little bit and we can hang out while I get you all hooked up!" she said.

7:50 PM
Kerry came back again and started getting me all hooked up. We watched Seinfeld and I learned her life story. Not her entire life story, but we talked for an hour and I learned a lot. Yes, it took an hour to get all the electrodes and gadgets attached. Nothing was painful but it was a long process. I didn't could but there were maybe 10 or 12 electrodes attached to my scalp, and 4 or 5 attached to my face. It wasn't the same simple process that I've experienced before with an EKG where they just slap a couple of circular things on you and that was it. Each electrode had to placed in a certain spot (a measuring strip was used to determine the right spots). And each of the little electrodes needed to be filled with some sort of fluid and some sort of cap put on it. She also put 2 patches on each leg which were attached to two wires which ran up underneath my clothes all the way up to my shoulder. She also attached a "snore microphone" on my throat which didn't record sound, but just measured vibrations caused by snoring. There was a belt put around my abdomen and a belt around my chest to measure breathing and sleeping position.

I want to share a short little anecdote that Kerry told me while we sat preparing all the electrodes. Seinfeld was on the t.v. and I asked her if she ever watched. She said she did and then mentioned a patient that once asked her to take his picture posing on the bed as George posed in that one episode. You know -- like this. It went on for several minutes. He wanted an all-out photo shoot, not just a quick snapshot. She added that he was not attractive. And one of the strangest individuals she had ever met.  I could not fathom doing something like this at a study like this.  To each their own, I guess!

9:00 PM
I took a couple of pictures of myself on my phone all hooked up and sent them to my boyfriend. Also mentioned how incredibly nice and comforting the tech was.  She had a wonderful personality, and was great at her job. 

America's Most Wanted on t.v. Probably not the best choice just before sleeping...

10:00 PM
It was time to finish the last of the hook-ups and try to sleep. She added an airflow sensor (like those oxygen tube thingies with the 2 little prongs that go up your nose, but it measured air flow and temperature changes rather than shoot oxygen into your nose). She added something called an oximeter probe that looked like a think band-aid over the pointer finger to measure oxygen levels in the blood. There was some sort of red light glowing underneath the beige colored bandage and when the lights went out all I could think of was "E.T. phone home!" She attached everything I was attached to into the wall and I was now stuck. If I had to go to the bathroom I had to call out to be unhooked. I was told I could bring any medications I used for sleep and so I took an Ambien. She asked what time I usually woke up to determine wake-up time. I sort of chuckled.  She said the latest they woke people up was 6 AM, so I said that would be fine.

10:30 PM
Kerry went to the other room and tested the intercom system.  She also had me do a bunch of things to confirm that all the equipment was working properly.  She had me do things like lift each leg, cough, take a deep breath, blink five times, move my eyes to the left, to the right, etc.  I turned out the lights and texted my boyfriend Goodnight. I tried to sleep.  I could feel my heart racing (for really no reason other than the pressure to sleep, I guess) and was worried that it didn't bode well for sleeping.

11:00-ish PM
Sleep! After some tossing and turning and getting used to all the equipment I fell asleep. I woke up once in the middle of the night. I'm not sure what time, but I fell right back to sleep.

6:30 AM
Kerry came in and woke me up. Surprisingly, I had no trouble waking up. Normally no matter how hard I try I cannot get out of bed before 8 AM. She unhooked everything and put what seemed like bottles of grease in my hair to detach all the electrodes. It didn't hurt, but was pretty gross. It only took about 15 minutes. I wasn't planning on showering before I left but my hair was SO disgusting I had no choice. I asked Kerry if she had any information she could give me about what happened during the night. Disappointingly, she said there were a few things but she didn't really see anything significant. She said I didn't really snore and that my legs didn't appear to have any unusual muscle movement and my oxygen levels were good at around 90%.  Or maybe she said above 90%?  It was early.  I'm not sure.

7:00 AM
I called my boyfriend about 7:00 AM to come pick me up. I went to the lounge area and had a plain bagel with cream cheese and a small bottle of apple juice.

7:20 AM
My boyfriend arrived and I breathed a sigh of relief as I got into his car. It was over. I actually slept. I survived (not a surprise, really, but for some reason seems notable).

So it appears I still may not have any answers as to why I am feeling so crappy all the time.  But at least I have ruled out a handful of additional possible causes.  It is going to be a long 9 days waiting until my official follow-up appointment with the doctor himself on the 8th.

If you actually made it to the end of this post, kudos to you!

Big Day

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Tomorrow is a big day.  At least in the world of Erin.  Tomorrow is my overnight sleep study.  I am maybe, kinda, sorta, just a little bit scared shitless.  Like I said in my previous entry on District 9, I am a wuss.  Really, it is a big day because I could potentially find out what has been making me feel increasingly unwell over the last 2+ years.  It could have a huge impact on my current quality of life.  I am scared that I won't be able to fall asleep and so they won't be able find anything.  I am scared that they won't find that I have some treatable sleep disorder and that I will still have no answers and continue to struggle and search.

Yesterday was also sort of a big day.  The following is an excerpt of an e-mail I received yesterday:

"I love you.

I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

I don't think there is much that will make a girl's heart melt faster than that.

Poem: I'm Sorry

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This is a poem that I wrote a long time ago -- December 2003.  I'm posting it now because I'm feeling, well, a little sorry...

I'm sorry I'm not what you want me to be
I'm sorry that you can't see me for me
I'm sorry for all those stupid things I said
I'm sorry I can't get you out of my head

I'm sorry for all the things I never did
I'm sorry I acted just like a little kid
I'm sorry that you broke my heart
I'm sorry that you let us fall apart

I'm sorry I didn't put up a fight
I'm sorry I couldn't do anything right
I'm sorry that you saw the worst of me
I'm sorry for all the things that made you flee

I'm sorry

District 9

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I went and saw District 9 with a couple of friends on Saturday night.  I really didn't like it.  The best part by far was the buttered popcorn I got before the movie started.

I didn't know much about it before going to see it.  I knew it was sci-fi and involved aliens.  I am a moderate fan of science fiction and a friend really wanted to see it so I went along.  I also hadn't been to the theater in I can't remember how long so I was looking forward to going.

About 1/4 of the way through I covered my face with the napkins I had acquired with the aforementioned popcorn.  It remained covered through the majority of the rest of the movie.  I found it far too grotesque for my liking.  It was definitely tough to get through and not for those with a low tolerance for blood and guts and mutilation.

I suppose I'm a bit of a wuss, but for the first time ever I was relieved when the credit started rolling and I could leave the theater.

I don't like strawberries

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I don't really like strawberries (I know, I know), yet the picture above is from my container garden.  I do like strawberry flavor (in yogurt, candies, pies, etc), I guess it's just something about the texture of the skin and the little seeds that I just can't get past.

When I was buying plants and flowers in early spring, on a whim I decided I had to have a strawberry plant in my garden.  I had pictures in my head of make rhubarb pies and crisps with homegrown rhubarb AND homegrown strawberries.   I'm not sure what I was thinking because one plant would probably not get me enough strawberries for much of anything.  I just had to have it though and wanted to see how it worked out.  Right after I bought the plant, and before I had a chance to get it in the ground, someone told me not to plant strawberries.  They grow like crazy with their underground vines and take over the entire garden.  So I decided to just put my one little plant into a container and stick it on the side of the house.  Most of the spring and all summer up until a couple of weeks ago not much was happening.  The plant itself looked good, but there was nothing in the way of fruit.  Pretty much all of the rhubarb has passed, which of course means it is now time for the strawberries to come. 

I guess it's a good thing my boyfriend likes strawberries  :)

Top 5 things I learned this past weekend

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I learned a few things while on my little trip this past weekend for the wedding of two friends.

  1. I am classy.  At the wedding reception waiters were walking around offering hors d'oeuvres.  I took a scallop wrapped in bacon on a toothpick.  I took one bite, and part of the wood from the toothpick broke off and ended up in my mouth with the scallop.  I had to get a napkin and spit it out.  Gross.  I also dumped part of a plate of pasta on to the floor.  Can't take me anywhere.
  2. I am smart.  The wedding was in Maryland in the middle of August.  I checked the weather beforehand and saw the high temps and humidity, yet it never once crossed my mind to bring my bathing suit so I could cool off in the lovely hotel pool.  I deeply regretted this as I had all morning and early afternoon to hang at the pool before the wedding.
  3. I am not alone in my insanity.  I was freaking out [much to my boyfriend's dismay] about which dress and which shoes to bring with me for a few days before the trip.  Turns out one friend brought 5 dresses and another brought 3.  I am kind of glad I just decided ahead of time and brought one.  It made getting ready that day a little bit easier.  
  4. My back does not enjoy 8 hours in a car.  After about 4-5 hours it started to get really uncomfortable.
  5. The minister might call the bride by the wrong name.  So might the band leader when introducing the couple at the reception.  At one point during the ceremony the minister said, "Look into Karen's eyes..."  My friend's name is Kathryn.  Everyone in attendance at the church laughed.  The band leader also called her Karen when first introducing the couple.  At first I thought it was a joke.  It wasn't.  Kat refused to go in to the reception until she got the name right.  If that weren't enough, somehow something got screwed up and the music started playing before the minister said, "You may kiss the bride".  Of course not of that really mattered because it was a beautiful wedding and reception celebrating the love of two wonderful people.


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I have been waiting for months [a wee exaggeration] for these tomatoes to ripen.  Very excited to see how they taste!  At lunch-time tomorrow I will find out  :)

In Her Shoes

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I bought a dress a while ago so that I would have something to wear for a wedding I am attending this coming weekend.  I wasn't all that thrilled with it but it was cheap and so I bought it as my "safety".  I figured I had plenty of time to come across another great dress.  Well, all of a sudden the wedding was imminent and I had no other dress, and no shoes to wear with the dress I bought.  So the other night I started looking online.  I found a couple of things at kohl's (the two smaller pics below plus a pair of shoes) and planned to go the next night to try them on and hopefully buy them.  I didn't really want to wear a black dress to a summer wedding but I still wanted to buy this classic and hopefully find something else for the wedding. 

472142_Crown_Jewel.jpg 442378.jpg

So all day at work yesterday I was anticipating going shopping and purchasing a pretty new shirt and a dress.  I should have known, but when I went to the store I wasn't able to find either of them. I may end up buying them online but I hate buying something without trying it on.

So I (really 'we', as my awesome boyfriend went with me) trotted over to macy's to find either a dress or a pair of shoes.  I didn't find a dress, but I did find some shoes.  I actually end up wearing them to work today to with a cute pair of gray dress capri pants and nice blouse.

IMG_3566.JPGCute, no?  

Turning 30, by Christina

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I came across Christina's blog, several months ago and have been a fan and frequent visitor ever since.  She has great pictures, great stories, and a terrific writing style.  A short while ago I asked if she'd be interested in writing a guest post and yesterday I had the following lovely article in my e-mail.  Thank you, Christina! 


Had this been a post about my twenties you all would be in for a real dramatic roller coaster of frightening mistakes and harrowing tragedies.

Thankfully Erin asked me to blog about my thirties and since I am only going to be 31 this fall I have little to share in the way of experience. Because of this I can title my post "Turning 30" instead of "Your 20's: Mistakes you don't want to make." As you can already guess, I spent a better part of my twenties making as many mistakes as humanly possible to ensure that:

1. I'd have it out of my system by my 30's.
2. By some freak of nature I'd manage to actually learn my lessons.
3. I could write this blog post for Erin.

Often, for me, it feels as though my 20's were insanely different from where I am headed now. A different time, a different person and a very different experience. I could go on and on until we end up with a 600 page novel, but for now here's a brief summary of what has changed for me in my thirties:

1. I like cats. I have no idea how this even happened.

2. I am called Ma'am more and carded for alcohol less.

3. As I neared my 30's I found my interests rapidly changing, specifically in men. For instance I required they not be douchebags anymore.

4. I have to exercise now and getting back into exercise is not as easy as it used to be. Come to think of it before I was 30 I didn't really even need to exercise.

5. The value of friendship has never been more clear. I've reached an understanding that you outgrow friendships. You become mature enough to know which friends are worth letting go and which ones are worth holding on to.

6. I don't try to keep up with the Joneses because...well, I'm not a Jones.

7. I am almost always positive that clothing trends of teenagers are stupid...this includes the clothing I wore as a teenager, when I was stupid.

8. I can no longer eat 10 slices of pizza or 15 crunchy tacos from Taco Bell without consequence. See #04.

9. Life seems more settled; or maybe it's better to say that I feel more stable.

10. The one thing that has changed most for me since hitting 30 is that statistically speaking I have many years left to live but realistically speaking I am learning to live each day like it is my last.

I don't really miss my twenties and I'm very excited about my thirties...I don't want to even think about my 40's.

The weekend that started with a bang

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My work week last week ended with a real bang, literally.

I was standing at the sink in the kitchen area at work drying off a bowl I had just washed and it fell from my hands, and went crashing to the floor.  It shattered into [roughly] 1,000,000 pieces. 

I was not feeling well for most of the week and was feeling really awful late Friday afternoon.  I was feeling so tired and beaten down even though I had 7-8 hrs of sleep Thursday night.  I think what happened was as I was standing there with the dish in my hand, I closed my eyes and momentarily went unconscious.  My hands lost the message from my brain that I was holding on to something and they just let go.  A friend heard the crash that had stunned me back into reality and came to my rescue.  He helped me sweep and pick up all of the tiny little white shards that covered the entire tiled area in front of the sink, refrigerator, microwave and coffee machine.  It was a fitting end to the week I had, I suppose.

Luckily the weekend had a much happier tale than the week before it.  I was feeling better on Saturday and my boyfriend and I went to visit my parents at their house on Lake Ontario.  The change in scenery was nice.  As were the couple of beers I had, the grilled chicken and baby back ribs my parents cooked food dinner, the game of catch phrase we played [which I am not good at, and neither is my dad, but he is oh-so-hilarious to play with], and the walks along the water with my boyfriend. 

Can't the weekend last just one more day?  Please?

*****  pics from the weekend  *****


Work-Life Balance

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The other morning I was talking with a co-worker and somehow we stumbled upon the topic of work-life balance.  A good balance is actually part of our company philosophy.  I've never really been very good at this as an adult, including when I was in college.  The scale is pretty perpetually tipped towards the work side.  I consider myself to be a hard-working person.  I am dedicated.  I take a lot of pride in doing a good job.  I think I can thank my dad for this.

One thing my co-worker and I discussed was having children, and how this affected the the work-life balance.  I often think that I'd have a much better balance if I had children.  There would be something more occupying my time and mind than what was going on at work.  With or without children though, I think everyone should work to have a good balance. It makes for much happier, more well-rounded people. Yes, I am a Libra.

I think I need to plan more "after work activities" to fill my time.  I have my scheduled work time (often running longer than scheduled) and then there is the rest.  Which for the most part just gets randomly filled with random things without much planning.  It's not thought through ahead of time based on what's important to me.  Rather, it gets filled with what's convenient. 

So tell me, what is your work-life balance like?  What do you do to try to keep it as balanced as possible?

Taken Too Soon

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My heart feels a little heavy right now.

My dad called me yesterday afternoon.  He asked how I was doing and I asked him the same.  And then he said, "I'm calling because we have some bad news."

My younger sister's best friend in high school passed away suddenly on Tuesday night.  My sister and her friend Sarah had fallen out of touch a bit in recent years but were very close in high school.  She was 28, recently engaged, and had her entire adult life ahead of her.  It was tragically cut short and I am still trying to process and make sense of her passing.

The first thing I did after getting off the phone with my dad was embrace my boyfriend.  He just put his arms around me, squeezed tight, and pretty much engulfed me in his embrace as if to protect me from the sadness.  In that moment, I just felt so thankful to have him.

I don't like to think about how short life can be.  How tomorrow is not a guarantee.  But it does remind you to make the most of each day.  It reminds you to do the things that make you happy and to spend time with those you love.  It reminds you to take a step back from all the worry and stress and to not sweat the small stuff so much.  It reminds you to be a little bit more appreciative of the positive things you have in your life.  It reminds you to not take anything for granted.

My thoughts go out to Sarah's friends, including my little sister, and especially her family.       

About This Blog

Stories, advice, and random thoughts from a thirty-something female.

Many people in their thirties are dealing with common issues and concerns. Some of these include buying a home, establishing a career, starting a family, and dealing with aging parents. I will blog about all these things as well as other every day stuff as I make my way through this third decade of life.

You can read more about the author behind thirty-something blog on the About Me page.





About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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