Test Prep

September 21, 2015

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So tomorrow (or today, or the 22nd, whatever) I have a heart function test. Just like the one I had in April, that was SO definitive (not). It’s an ultrasound of the heart in action. It takes about 45 minutes and measures how much of the blood your heart pushes out with each pump, called your “ejection fraction”. You want it to be something like 55-85%. Mine was 35% last time, and when I was “crashing” back in February, it was 15-20%. Scary, but I was ultimately ok, so not that scary. This test will give me a new ejection fraction number. It’s very dignified, as a woman, getting this test done. You basically get to 2nd base with a technician and their transducer thing. Hopefully they also have a sense of humor.

I’m not one for those “here’s what’s happening in my mundane life” blog posts (God I hope) but this is kind of important. Definitely worthy of the sick day taken in September. If the % doesn’t go up enough, I get to have a nice metal doo-hicky implanted in me that will shock my heart if it stops beating. Which it’s much more likely to do, if it’s not doing its thing well.

Only I have much better boobs than this guy.

Have you ever been slightly freaked out by how much you’re not freaked out by something? That part about ‘possible implanted metal and heart-shocking gear’ sounds a tad alarming… and yet during my work day today I forgot three or four times that I had to leave sub plans and prepare to take off to go to the hospital tomorrow. Duh.  I kept thinking it was going to be a regular Tuesday morning. I’ve been too busy living my nice little life to worry about this crap lately. The start of fall and the school year has been easy and fun; after one hiccup hubby landed a very nice new job (more about that later), the girls are good and life is kind of chill. Plus I honestly feel exponentially better than I did last fall, when I had no idea I was sick. It’s a blessing when you forget that you might wanna worry about something after all.

The preliminary appointment for this test was Friday and things looked good. I had kind of forgotten that they’d do another heart function test in the first place. I sort of assumed this stupid thing was winding down now. Then they switched my meds and reminded me that blah blah blah 1. I’m still a fainting risk, and now, moreso. 2. I need to schedule alarms 4 times a day to space all these meds out so I don’t faint, and 3. Why haven’t I bought a wrist blood pressure monitor to carry around yet like they told me to, just in case? Ummmm because it doesn’t match my purse? My morbid specialist guy also called earlier to reminded me “no coffee or no lotions on the skin on test day, and by the way: If you fail this it’s surgery time”.   

Dammit man, I was busy wondering where we’ll go on vacation and when the next season of House of Cards is out. Stahp. 

These guys are paid to worry. I’m gonna let them worry for me. I’m not going to say I have a good feeling about this thing, because you just don’t tempt fate like that, but…


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I Work Out

September 7, 2015

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I suck at working out. I suck at working out for enough time. And I suck at finding the time to work out.

Evening is no good. After the girls are in bed it is hubby time. Or at least couch time.  I have tried working out in the morning. My body doesn’t “do” morning. I have tried walking at lunch, at school. Cause I have nothing else to do, and returning to my afternoon classes all sweaty is so professional. All these workout plans crashed and burned didn’t work out.

Well, in case you missed it, Hell must have frozen over last month, because I joined a gym.

In August I got results back from a V02 stress test (I have “heart issues, ICYMI. Explained here.) The meds I’m on for this cause lower blood pressure and increase sweating, so I get all clammy-skinned and soaked. I know I’m sexy, you don’t have to say it. Despite having lower heart function, aerobically, or something, I worked out and breathed pretty much as a well as a normal person and have a “very good 5-year prognosis”. That does not mean I was expected to die of congestive heart failure in five years. That’s just how they say it – “How likely are you to die of this soon?” For me: very unlikely. I could resume my exercise routine now, and try to reconstruct cardiovascular strength. Wait, I had that? 

Actually, yeah, I (kind of) did. I’d done a Couch-to-5K app the whole way through, run several “virtual 5K’s” where you do the run alone and report your time (through The Fat Girls’ Guide to Running – site here) and allowed myself to be the sweaty, disgusting heavy chick at the back of the pack exactly ONCE in an actual a local 5K.

2014-05-22 20.04.11-1
Post-run, and what a lovely shade of purple I achieved.

The gym I agreed to pay to sweat at is one of the more expensive ones around, almost four times as much as the usual chain ones. My theory is that if I paid that much I will feel crazy-guilty if I don’t go, as opposed to the $10 a month that I wouldn’t miss. Included in the monthly price are several class times a week for Zumba, Spinning, Yoga, Water Workout, TRX, BeachBody, Cross-Training, Weight Lifting, and something called Aerial Yoga – which is, as far as I can tell, a Cirque de Solei-inspired method of breaking your neck. I have no plans of attending these yet. I am a lone wolf, thankyouverymuch. Also included is a personal trainer who works with you once a month to design a routine you’ll follow at the gym, teach you how to use all the torture devices weight-training and cardio machines, and switch things up so you develop different muscle groups and don’t burn out. In theory.

Actual picture of actual gym, and I actually know what to do with like 10 of these. #progress

You also meet with an R. N. monthly for a very dignified weighing, measuring, and strength-testing session. This was not as scary as it initially sounded. So far. Nor did it feel particularly dignified. The gym is extremely clean, cool, and the locker room is a little spa-esque. They play Sirius 80’s or 90’s radio. The pool looks lovely and family are welcome to swim on Sundays year-round.

I got all excited about one location near me having hot tubs. Then I remembered I'm probably not supposed to be in hot tubs. #heartcrap
I got all excited about one location near me having hot tubs. Then I remembered I’m probably not supposed to be in hot tubs. #heartcrap

Guest passes are a thing. The childcare room is big and well-stocked. And has a Game Cube so the girls get their little fix for the day. And, best of all, there are a few chubby middle-aged moms and older folks mixed in with the pretty people who don’t look like they need a gym. All this is lovely. But I seriously picked this gym for no other reason than its location, directly on my way home from workn – so I will have zero excuse to skip it and drive to Taco Bell. 

Why am I running an advertisement on the blog for this gym? (I’m not. If you want to know which one, email or message me.) But if I blog it I have to do it, right?


One hopes. The $$ per month doesn’t hurt my motivation either.  But then there’s the fine print. (And I’m not talking about the gym contract.)

Before I had kids a fellow teacher told me, as we were looking at a poorly-behaved set of siblings, that their mother was a teacher and therefore they should be better behaved. But, she explained, she left them in after-school care and went to the gym after her school day, and between doing her own teacher work after school, and her workout, she didn’t pick them up until *gasp* 5:30 some nights. This was the explanation for the kids being brats? Mommy stayed late and did her work and then took an hour+ for herself daily, so naturally the kids were suffering? I bought it, sadly. And it instilled in me enough guilt to rule that option out for years.

My kidlets are starting after school care this year, after having been home with Nana (Thank you, Nana!) in years past. So far it looks like a pretty tightly-run program with has beautiful toys, homework help, and special events monthly. The girls given me sad eyes when I came to pick them up. Yes it’s a long day. The guilt is strong with this one, and it needs to knock it off. But I am going to fight the guilt and take an hour+, several days a week, and do this for me. And my hips. I’ll get them by 5:00 at the very latest, every day. I will have taken time for myself, blasting my gym playlist (of course, and it will probably change monthly too), and I will have done cardio, a round of three sets of 15 reps on each of the 10 machines I’ve been ‘assigned’ this month, and then some more cardio. I will hopefully be renewed and ready to be Mommy all evening.

And I will be nice and sweaty.

03a80c162a5d469ecaa819974cf47ef6Oh and here’s the playlist:

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