The past few weeks I’ve been adjusting to life without soft drinks. I’ve decided to stop using diet sodas to meet my hydration needs. I had been drinking diet sodas since college and I could easily drink 3 cans a day. Honestly, so far the only difference that I can tell is that I seem to have even less energy than before. So between the lack of sleep and the lack of diet Dr. Pepper, Nicole says I’ve been walking around in a haze. And to come clean, I have had a few drinks of the good stuff (probably averaging about one a week) but nothing near the amount that I was drinking. So I’m weaning. And this is good because I’m really trying hard to score well on my December health tests.
So far this month I have had some blood work done. Seems like I’ve been tired more than usual lately so I want to make sure nothing is amiss. I also give myself a pat on the back for killing two birds with one stone. I was at Safeway the other day and noticed they had a Vita-Stat machine next the pharmacy for blood pressure testing. I checked to see how much the test would cost me and didn’t see any slots for money or a credit card. The pharmacist confirmed what I thought was too good to be true. “No, it’s free!” I am now a big fan of socialized medicine. So I took about a minute and had my blood pressure tested. I mean what’s the downside? Here are the results:
Systolic = 132
Diastolic = 73
Pulse = 43
The downside is that I’ve learned I’m at risk for hypertension and am currently hovering in the Prehypertension range. So I need to do a little bit of work in this area. I immediately tried to work on some calming techniques as I waited in the longest line at Safeway. After I patiently waited my turn and was about to check out, an older woman steps right in front of me as though neither of us notice the line stretching halfway down the aisle. I counted to ten (in my head), let my blood pressure subside, and thought about my options: Look completely insensitive and kick her out of line or say nothing and feel guilty for not offering to help her in the first place. I opted for not looking like a jerk and said nothing.
I’m still waiting for my lab results. You might think that in this modern age of the personal computers, faxes and email, results would be able to be transmitted electronically instead of following the old paper trail. But when I called the lab to have the results sent to me or even read to me, they said they could not release this type of information to me due to HIPAA and I would need to contact my doctor. I mean is this an excuse for someone not wanting to do their job or what? How is releasing lab results to the patient, a violation of the patient’s privacy?
We spent our Christmas together, the three of us. It feels like we hit the reset button on celebrating the holidays with family. A couple weeks before Christmas, the attempt at our family Christmas photo still hadn’t come to fruition. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture is worth at least that many. So on a Sunday, with only two weeks to go before Christmas, we drove up to Dutch Flat when it was snowing and decided to take a picture. Obviously, all three of us needed to be in the picture so we had to use a tripod and self-timer. But it was snowing so hard we couldn’t leave the camera exposed. So we backed up the Jeep and opened the tailgate to cover the camera and tripod. Nicole running back and forth and sliding on the snow. Both of us trying to convince Dylan to smile as the timer counted down. Nicole tried a few different shots and we were happy with this one.
Nicole has stepped into the photography business. She has already had a few photo shoots as she tries to build a portfolio. She definitely has talent and an eye for capturing images. You can see her work at http://nicolecookphotography.smugmug.com.
As we reach the end of the 2009 calendar, there are so many memories to look back at and so many dreams that need to be formed into goals. RAAM was something I don’t think that I will ever forget. Thanks again for all those who were there along the way. My name missed being selected for the Western States run in 2010 but that might be for the best. I find it harder and harder to pull myself away from the family for a 3+ hour training run on a Saturday or Sunday. I am trying to remember to capture the moments as they happen and even try to have a camera with me for those unexpected moments. My favorite gadget addition in 2009 was my phone, the Motorola CLIQ that comes with a 5 mega pixel camera. And then there was this morning at 1 AM, Dylan woke up and I stood next to his crib as he fell back to sleep, and as I looked out the sliding door there walked a huge bear out in front of the cabin, trudging across the snow-covered street. I thought for a second I was seeing things. I looked again and the bear was still there. I half shouted and half whispered for Nicole to look out our window. If only I could have captured that moment with a picture.
On the work front, we’ve been getting ready for our major quarterly release and this means a little extra stress. Last count there are about 200 enhancements and fixes going into this release. Linda, my trusty companion on the Ascend project, has resigned. We are going to miss her as she has been instrumental on the hospital side of Ascend. I hope our paths cross again in the future. We are going to miss you.
Finally, how did I save 6 hours in a year? Well, Nicole’s Christmas gift to me this year was upgrading my Garmin 305 watch to the new and improved 310 XT. After just a few runs with the new watch, I’m hooked. Satellite acquisition is just a few seconds whereas on the older 305, I would need to stand out front with my hand over my head, perfectly still, for at least 1 minute. So if I run everyday for a year, and I save an average of 1 minute per run just on acquiring my GPS signal, I will have saved about 6 hours in a year!