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Cat Pee, Frayed Nerves And A Trip To the ER!

Howdy all! Checking in from snowy South Carolina. Yes, I said snowy. Well, actually today, it’s quite nice but yesterday Casey and I were pretty pissed when we came out of the early bird sale at JC Penney and walked headlong into snow! Of course, it was just some flurries – not even close to what we barely escaped in New York. (Good Enough Mother resisted the urge to say, “I told you so” to the kids who wanted to leave on Sunday, which is when the storm hit hard and fast).

For our Christmas break we headed out Thursday morning, and in spite of our best-laid plans (our aim was to be on the road by 4:00am) we didn’t leave home until 4:45. At 4:47 the cat pissed all over Casey, her blanket (and her laptop, though unbeknownst to us at the time). Still, we had reason to be excited for this trip. That’s because we’ve just traded in my little car and bought, The Family Roadster! So we headed south in a scene not too dissimilar from this one.


Okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration but this is what it looked like inside the Yukon.

When we got the car, I labored under the delusion that Casey and Cole would have a bench all to themselves, there would be no arguing about whose blanket was invading the other’s side of the SUV, we wouldn’t be so exhausted when we arrived and so on. Ahh, the power of delusion. I looked in the backseat and there was Casey, wedged among the vacuum cleaner, the Christmas gifts and the cat litter that Izzy refused to use. She looked like she was in the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat! Poor girl. Cole didn’t have it much better as the 85-pound dog was taking up more than her fair share of space on his bench. And farting.

Though we left early, traffic was abysmal! Think of the worst traffic jam you can. Multiply that by 10 and repeat at least six times. We lost an hour and a half because of the traffic alone. By the time we got out the car we were as happy as those Chilean miners to finally be free. Every single nerve was raw and you know there’s no cure for family frustration except time alone. So we all retreated to our corners…

And then the big day arrived! Casey and Cole, bless them, heeded their parents warning not to come out of their rooms until 9 am. That’s the time the gift-wrapping, or shall I say gift UNWRAPPING orgy began. I always felt it a little cruel to make the kids take turns unwrapping their gifts, just so the paparazzi (i.e. mom) could get their shots. But that is precisely what we did and it damn near killed those babies. But in the end, everyone got what he or she wanted, including Olivia who decided the shortbread cookie ornaments were far tastier than that low cal kibble she eats everyday.

Oh and remember the 12 year old boy, who wrote an eloquent letter stating why he deserved a Les Paul Guitar?  Yep, you guessed it.

I gave Buff a round of golf and a nice pair of slippers. He gave me a poker machine and these full on terry cloth pajamas with feet and a hood. Not the best idea for a peri-menopausal woman but what the heck.

But guess what else I got? A trip to the Emergency room!

Let me explain. In yet another inescapable reminder that I am getting older, it turns out I’ve developed acid reflux. I was only very recently diagnosed and forgot my medicine at home. What the heck, it wasn’t too bad and definitely not unbearable. Until Christmas day. See, the day before I ate a HUGE meal with Casey – meat, carbs, cheese, the whole shot. I felt like crap that night and even crappier the next day. After the gift opening was over, I went to lie down. If I were a betting woman, I would have put money on the fact that I was having a heart attack. Shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, pressure and on and on (it bears noting that heart disease is the leading killer for women – and symptoms for women having heart attacks are very different than they are for me. Read more here. Coupled with family history (my father died of heart disease at 59) and my own high cholesterol that I am working on reducing I knew there was a certain degree of risk. But I’m going to tell you, I was so confused. I vacillated between do I call 9-1-1 or go to the ER? What if it’s nothing? I will have troubled everyone for no reason. Buff told me all I needed was rest but what if I was doing irreparable damage to my heart in the process? Ultimately I decided to have Buff take me to the Emergency room in Charleston.

After an EKG and some super duper test where they inject dye into you and take a look at your arteries and heart, I got a clean bill of health. Actually the doctor said it was exceptional, no sign of blockages or tears. No sooner had he said that, I felt the vice grip around my chest loosen about three times. WHEW!

Buff and I drove home in relieved silence and it was just enough time for me to embrace the fact that it’s time for things to change for real.  I’m closer to 50 now than I am to 45. I have a family history of heart disease. I have high cholesterol and I am carrying around about 12 pounds too many.  God blessThe Angry Trainer but he can only do so much. He can lead this horse to water and he’s done an amazing job, but this mare is going to have to meet him halfway. So now is as good a time as any to commit to making real, substantive changes in my fitness routine. It’s not about being a smaller size or fitting into those great new jeans. This is about being around for a long time for my family and living better in the process. Won’t that be the best gift for everyone?

How about you, is there something you want to change in your fitness or life? What will you do and how will you stay motivated?  And how was your Christmas?


  1. Gayle Mahoney

    December 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Sounds like a VERY memorable Christmas!
    I am certain that in the future Cole will say this was his best Christmas gift ever!
    Just hope the cat doesn’t pee on it on the way home 😉
    A VERY Happy New Year to the GEMsters!

  2. america

    December 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    That was yes a Very momorable Christmas…HOW DID U FORGET YOUR MEDS…WOMAN…!!!! Extras esp after the lost baggage mess u had… anyway I”m happy that u werent having a heart attack and its better to go and get things checked out vs waking up dead…OK…
    I plan on taking my lunch almost everyday to work, trying to work on ending my bachlorette status (no prospects either) and yes I will try to lose some weight. I’m also adjusting to being a GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER (SON IS IN TOWN) and the things I would trip about i’m like OH WELL, IF U DONT WANT TO EAT…DONT …I WONT BE HUNGRY…FOOD IS IN THE FRIDGE..and I must say its working out well for me..anyway…Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YRS :-)…PS I’m mad that u can get the cat to ride in the car WITHOUT SCREAMING FOR THE WHOLD DAMN TRIP… 🙂

  3. Suzanne

    December 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I am carrying around big time GEM guilt at how angry I am with my 10 year old daughter that she didn’t wait for my husband and I to get up, and didn’t want to risk waking US up on Christmas morning so she went ahead and opened up all of her gifts by herself. I know she is only 10 but it’s the #1 thing I look forward to on Christmas…
    Oh well….
    I am glad to hear all is well with you Rene. I have that hereditary cholesterol thing. I really don’t want to take Lipitor if I don’t have to- my joints ache enough without it , thank you very much… but a GP recommended taking Niacin every day. Although the dosage is eluding me at the moment but I am sure you can google it.
    I actually did get one nice Christmas surprise though! Turns out AT&T was charging us all of these illegal fees at my dance studio and without even knowing it I was part of some class action lawsuit. 2 days before Christmas I got a $1200 check in the mail! Now I SHOULD have put it toward my daughter’s tuition or my car insurance but instead I went out and bought an iPad, dammit! I DESERVE THIS iPAD! Don’t I?
    Can’t wait to hear what New Years brings…. hey- aren’t you glad you avoided Snowmageddon??

  4. Irene

    December 27, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Boy I am really glad Cole rec’d his present…we were rooting for him…Glad you are okay…we cannot have g.e.m. out of commission…no way!

    We had a really great Christmas this year…besides my hubby wrapping my present in beautiful paper and taping it with duct tape all went off without a disaster….

    Funniest expression while opening gifts went to our youngest…While opening up his gumball machine, (he is 3 by the way) he exclaims, “Santa got me that at Kmart!” Oh, Lordie bee…kids can say the darndest things.

    As far as the new year…yep…time to get the junk out of my trunk…am going to concentrate on cooking healthier, and incorporating some exercise into my routine…(this is gonna be hell)

  5. Rene Syler

    December 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    LOL love it.. you didn’t hear the 10 year old in there and the wrapping paper? Well, it will make for a great story when she has her won kids! BTW, the ER doc told me that they all are only cholesterol lowering meds as they also have been shown to help with inflammation. Gonna do more research but I think this is my lot in life, ya know?

  6. Danielle

    December 28, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Our teenaged kids and nephew got into the gifts early one year, too. They opened everything after midnight on Christmas Eve, but I had to get up at 3 a.m. to check on the turkey. I noticed there was hardly anything under or on the tree, so I went to the game room where they all crashed (with gifts in warm embraces). I stole the gifts ala The Grinch and hid them!

    The next morning, the Honey, the In-Loves, my Mom and I all opened our gifts and “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” over all we’d gotten while they sat in shocked silence, too afraid to ask where their items were. Finally the Honey took compassion on them and made me give everything back.

    We’ve not had that happen again since.

  7. carol

    December 29, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Rene , I had the same thing happen to me in the fall while on vacation. I had eaten fast food all day while driving, got stuck in a couple of traffic jams, and was traveling with my 3,4, and 5 yr old grandkids. When i went to bed that night I thought for sure I was having a heart attack, same symptoms you were having, I ended up waiting till the next day before going to the hospital and ended up being admitted for 48 hrs before concluding that a combination of bad food and stress had sent my acid reflux into over drive. The docs told me that the symptoms are very similar and it’s better safe than sorry.At least I was able to enjoy the rest of my vacation knowing that I wasn’t about to drop dead with a heart attack!

  8. Rene Syler

    December 29, 2010 at 8:33 am

    It’s such a scary thing, isn’t it, Carol? Almost immediately after the ER doc told me my heart was fine, the vice grip around my chest released. Fear and anxiety are a powerful combination. Needless to say, I have exercised only once while here, instead undertaking a painting project! I have eaten slightly better. I keep reminding myself baby steps, baby steps!


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