The First ER visit of my 30s

First off, I had an awesome birthday. And an awesome time Saturday at the #SLCTweetup. Sunday was a tough day.

The morning started out in a wheezing coughing fit. I went to urgent care as soon as they opened. After a quick exam, a listen to my lungs, chest x-ray, and review of my health history, the doctor diagnosed me with “bronchitis with reactive airway inflammation.” He gave me some narcotic cough syrup for the cough, and Advair to restart my maintenance asthma regimen. I spent the day in bed, coughing and wheezing. It felt like my chest was on fire.In the early evening, Taylor and I were laying down and talking. To ease my shortness of breath, I took another puff of Albuterol, which set me off in a coughing fit. After coughing so hard that I couldn’t control bodily functions, my breathing was sporadic enough that Taylor hauled me off to the ER. 15 minutes later, I stumbled into the Mountain View Hospital ER waiting room, with feet numb from lack of oxygen. The ER staff pulled themselves from the Super Bowl, plopped me into a wheelchair, bypassed triage, and took me to bed. They helped me peel off my clothes, dressed me in a gown, and started my examination. My pulse-ox was at 91 and I had a fever of 102.5*. Within 45 minutes, chest x-rays and nasal cultures were done, breathing treatments and steroids administered, and I was finally feeling some relief. They confirmed that my illness was not caused by influenza or H1N1, and concurred with the earlier diagnosis of bronchitis. They gave me a prescription for Z-pak, and told me to get lots of rest. I was in and out in 2 hours. That’s the way an ER visit should be.

Sounds dramatic? To be honest, I’m used to all the lung drama. I’ve mentioned my “organ recital” of medical history in a previous post. I’ve talked about how I got pneumonia after an accidental spray paint inhalation. I’ve talked about how I was “poisoned” at work from inhaling an industrial strength aerosol chemical. If something you can breathe in exists that can make you sick, I’m susceptible to it. This nasty Utah inversion air? Makes me sick. When I say I’m dealing with “SOB,” I mean shortness of breath.
I’ve had asthma since I was 11. I have sleep apnea. I’ve seen pulmonologists in 4 states. I have tried most of the inhalers on the following chart:
But as I went through my old posts, I realized that I never blogged about my biggest lung condition of all, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. ARDS is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting into the blood, typically resulting from trauma or sepsis. I survived it after three weeks on a ventilator. Would anyone like to hear my story?

20 Things I Didn’t Expect This Decade

1. I didn’t expect to find out I was pregnant at 19 (at least I was married!)
2. I didn’t expect to have complications with Rosie’s delivery, which left me on life support for 3 weeks.

3. I didn’t expect to get divorced
4. I didn’t expect my ex-husband to go to prison

5. I didn’t expect to meet my (2nd) husband on the internet. Thanks !
6. I didn’t expect to attend 4 different college and STILL not be done with my bachelor degree

7. I didn’t expect to own so many cars

8. I didn’t expect to “go under the knife,” but I’m glad I did

9. I didn’t expect to live in 4 different states (Utah, California, Michigan, Georgia)

10. I didn’t expect to develop sleep apnea or PCOS

11. I didn’t expect to go into so much student loan debt

12. I didn’t expect to develop a love affair with all things BBQ

13. I didn’t expect to be in a hurricane

14. I didn’t expect to fly on an airplane so much

15. I didn’t expect my dad‘s leg to be amputated
after a horrible car crash
16. I didn’t expect to own so many tech devices

17. I didn’t expect so many gray hairs so young

18. I didn’t expect 80’s Pop Culture to come back with such a vengeance

19. I didn’t expect to go to so many concerts

20. I didn’t expect to become a Diet Coke-aholic

P.S. What exactly has this decade been dubbed? The “Noughties?” The “Aughts?” The “Tenties?” The “Milennial Decade?”

New Career Direction

So. I’ve been unemployed for 4 months now. I search job postings diligently, and there’s just not a lot that I’m interested in applying for ($8/hr Kmart part-time cashier, anyone?) I’ve got mad skillz…the whole gamut of medical administrative experience (billing, insurance, transcription, scheduling, front and back office, database management, composing correspondence, terminology, medical-legal procedures, credentialing, executive meeting management, etc) I’ve enjoyed the last 8 years that I’ve worked in the medical field, and don’t plan to stray too far from it. As I’ve struggled in this journey for work, I’ve been REALLY enjoying the time I’ve been able to spend at home. It’s gotten me more interested in stay-at-home career opportunities. I’ve had a nagging desire for about 6 years to get certified as a medical coder. I have some coding experience, but not enough to get a job. Through the encouragement of some old coworkers who code, I’ve decided to go for it. Yesterday I signed up for the Inpatient/Outpatient Coding and Medical Billing course. If I work at it full time, it should take about 4 months. I know I want to finish my bachelor degree, but I’ve strongly felt that now is not the time for that. It’s time to get a career skill that is more professional and portable….and one that will get me earning money faster than a bachelor would. So wish me luck, in a few months I’ll have the CPC credentials after my name.

Catching Up

Is it September already?!?

Thanks to all who wished me well in my recovery of pneumonia. I’m doing much better, and I’m almost back to normal. Just don’t mind me when I break out into spontaneous coughing fits.

I took two trips to California in August. I attended my twin nieces’ first birthday party, spent some time on the beach in Ventura County, reconnected with friends, relaxed, spent time with family, and ate some really great food. No trip to California is complete without visiting some of my favorites…El Torito, Jack in the Box, La Tolteca, BJ’s Pizzeria, Legends Diner, and smoothies from Juice it Up.

Taylor is FINALLY done with school. He successfully completed the algebra course that’s kept him from his diploma for much too long. He’s sent for his transcripts and applied for graduation from Utah Valley University’s Global Aviation program. He won’t be able to walk for commencement until spring, but he’s very relieved to say he’s done with school before his 30th birthday (which is in 3 weeks). To celebrate, he was able to bust open his new XBOX 360. We purchased it months ago on a killer sale, and he faithfully kept the box sealed until he passed his final. Next week he’s going on a hiking trip to Yosemite with his cousins, a desire he’s had for many years. And did I mention that he turns 30 this month?

Rosie started 3rd grade two weeks ago. She likes her new school and rides her bike almost every day. She turns 9 next week and is obsessed with her birthday. I don’t think we’ll do much of a party for her this year, but that hasn’t kept her from obsessing about it for the last 8 months.

Overall, I’m doing better than I have for the past few months. I’ve struggled through a “major depressive episode” that has been an experience unlike I’ve ever had. I’m working with a great counselor and getting regulated on some meds. I’m still living life day to day, but I’m feeling more hope. I’m back into the job search, but it’s been frustrating to see the lack of opportunities and low pay scale(especially in Utah County) I’m pretty sure I want to stick with administrative positions in healthcare…but I wouldn’t mind a change either. I miss the security of earning a regular paycheck and helping provide for the family.

As odd as this may sound…I’ve been missing Michigan. I was unhappy for much of the time we lived there, but recently I’ve been thinking about the friends I made there and how beautiful it was last fall. There’s been rumors about displacements within Taylor’s company which might move him back to Detroit, or possibly Memphis. It would be a good thing because he’s flown so few hours on reserve this year in Atlanta. If he’s ever going to upgrade to captain…he needs to be flying a more intense schedule. We’re sad that we’re living apart, but there’s a sense of stability I’m feeling in Spanish Fork that makes me wonder if we’re supposed to stick around here for a while. It breaks my heart that Rosie’s already on her 4th school in 3rd grade. Unfortunately, that means that Taylor and I will have to live apart for an undetermined amount of time. It’s not preferable, but we’re making it work.

Recent guilty pleasures: chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, Dooce, Hulu, melon Hi-Chew, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Connie and Carla. Oh, and I made the BEST batch of my banana bread ever this week. I want more…mmmmm!!

Deja Vu

The majority of the last few days have spent packing like a maniac. Yes, you heard that right packing. I’m moving again. And I was just there six short months ago, preparing to move from Michigan to Georgia. It’s like deja vu…the same stress, the same mad box collecting, the same sorting, the same stuff..but this time it’s without all the same excitement. A variety of circumstances have occurred over the past few months – healthwise, employmentwise, moneywise, etc – necessitating a new living arrangement. All our stuff is going into storage here, and we head out on the road with a car full of things this week.

Rosie and I are moving out to Utah for an undetermined amount of time. We have offers for a free place to stay, and will be living in a home in Spanish Fork. We’ll also be spending a lot of time at my parents’ house in Lehi. I’ll be using this time to get my health back in check, spending time with family and friends, and figuring out the next step. I’ll then be looking for work, both in Utah and Georgia. Hopefully an Atlanta job will pan out, and our family can be back together soon. Taylor will be moving into a crashpad with some other pilots, and he’ll fly out to Utah whenever he can. We’re so sad that our family will have to live apart for a time, but we’ve got to do it.

Thank you for all of your kind comments over the past few weeks. Your concern and prayers mean so much to me. I’ve been feeling down for quite a while, and I tend to withdraw when I’m struggling. I hope that things will be looking up for our family soon. And in the meantime, I have all my favorite things about Utah to look forward to.


My family will be going through some difficult changes in the upcoming weeks. To say that I’m feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. Plans seem to change daily, and I pray that the decisions being made will work out for the best. I know there are no easy answers. I know it will probably get worse before it gets better. I am grateful for a loving and supportive husband, a sweet and empathetic daughter, and all my other friends and family that have helped me through the past few weeks. I know I can get through this.

One of my favorite songs is “Why Georgia” by John Mayer. The lyric that always gets me is “I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life…am I living it right?”

Am I living it right?


I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my online life was taking up way too much of my time. Instead of doing important things around the house, I was reading blogs or chatting on Facebook. My energy level has taken a dip, and I just can’t keep up with everything anymore. I have a lot of online friends that I love, and will miss the level of involvement I’ve previously had…but for now I need some time on the sidelines. I need to spend more time on my health…exercising my body instead of just typing. Sitting and enjoying meals instead of snacking at my laptop. Going to bed at a decent hour instead of chatting so late I had to prop my eyelids open. In one phrase: it’s time to simplify.

Fret not if a week or two goes by without a post. It means I’m spending time with my family, or exercising, or getting the rest I need. I’m sure I’ll eventually be back to blogging on a consistent basis.

As Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band say:

Well I say what the hey
I got bills to pay
I work all day I got no time to play
And once more knockin’ on my door is a tax collector
And I’m going see,
There’s too many bills
Too many pills
To many features and too many frills
No money
Too many things to buy
Too many ways to split the pie,

I got to simplify

I got to smell the flowers
Enjoy the ride
I got open up my eyes
And see what’s outside
All the things I miss each day
‘Cause I’m drivin in the fast lane
And it’s makin’ me insane
And I don’t wanna be that way
I wanna be free today
From the responsibilities it brings

Excess distress
I got to enjoy more
And stress less

I got to simplify
I got to simplify
My life I say simplify
I got to simplify

Well that’s great, I’m late
‘Cause I’m always in a hurry for a meeting in the state of confusion
A delusion
An illusion
I’m takin’ much too far
I’m always livin in the future or the past
Time flies to fast
I got to make it last
So enjoy it
Relax, chill out
Just give it a try

I say simplify
I got to simplify
My life I say simplify
I got to got to got to

(PS I still plan to post about the ATL PWC meetup, I just haven’t had a chance yet)