"When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky"
-Guatama Siddharta

Over and under and up and down...sunshine and thunder...a laugh and a frown!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sugarnomics!

5/28/11
Today I ventured out to a new eatery called Sugarnomics. This place was fantastic!!! For lunch I had a grilled cheese (3 different yummy cheeses) and peppered bacon sandwich. The beverage was called a Milo Dino and it was amazing. Dessert was salted caramel chocolate cake, and a mint brownie to take home for later. It's my birthday I can splurge today. Tomorrow I will be attempting to work some of that off!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Milo Dino


I realize my reading has been slack...I'm working on it. It's tough to read when one eye isn't functioning properly!

Books Read: 
Russel Brand's Booky Wooky
The Last Ridge

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guam Sunsets...

5/25/11

I finally dedicated some time this evening to capturing the beauty that occurs almost nightly in the sky...enjoy!













Monday, May 23, 2011

Spam-tastic!

5/23/11

Much like in Japan, Guamanians (or perhaps their Japanese tourists) are fascinated with Spam. It's basically considered it's own food group. I thought that Spam came in a single flavor/variety. Upon entering the largest KMart in the world (conveniently located across from my hotel) I learned differently...

Holy Spam!

My favorites: Spam Island (special edition), and Spam Bacon


Doctor's Appointment with the Prisoners

5/23/11

Today I had a follow up with the ENT specialist. He was a bit more personable, although still didn't provide much information. I had to ask the tough questions, like "does it look better", "has the condition of my ear canal improved?"

So, there is slight improvement, however at the 2 week mark with these antibiotics if it has not fully recovered (and fingers crossed the Palsy gone away) then his recommendation is the surgery/drain insertion. He said the flight home would be miserable without it. I'm almost willing to take that chance!

On my way out of this lovely establishment I walked straight into a group of prisoners and their prison guards. Everyone has medical needs right? Only difference is they are getting theirs for free while I'll be paying for mine for many years. Such is life. Makes you wonder just what kind of "quality" medical care you are getting if the establishment is also one that serves the incarcerated. Not like the top docs in the world are treating criminals.

On an even more positive note, I'm one day closer to departure :)  There was a beautiful rainbow today (and lots of rain).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

WW II Tour of Guam

5/21/11

Today I went on a WW II tour of Guam. It was an all day affair, which wouldn't have been bad had I been on a bus with air conditioning the entire time rather than standing outside for the majority of it in the heat of the day. Oh and hiking through the insect ridden jungle with 3000% humidity (while still sick and on 2 different very strong antibiotics) was probably not my favorite!

There were lots of cool things about the tour, got to see several caves where the Japanese hid out and attacked from.

My favorite part of the tour was the discussion of the War Dogs. Literally dogs that were trained and utilized throughout the war. These dogs are credited with saving hundreds of lives because they could alert the Marines about the Japanese approaching long before they ever arrived. There is a cemetery here on Guam for the War Dogs who were casualties of the war, unfortunately that was not part of the tour.

I saw all kinds of creepy crawly insects along the way, even some that could kill me!  Check out the slideshow!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...

5/18/11

So it's only fitting that I've been reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day all week to kiddos...today turned out to be my very own day of that sort.

So it was ENT specialist appointment day (yay). I should preface all of this by saying I'm a huge baby, I hate doctors, I have severe anxiety, will cry at the sight of a needle, and didn't attend a single doctors appointment by myself until it was just impossible to have my mom come with me (i.e.-college and she couldn't make the commute for an annual checkup. When I was about 23.)

I put on my big girl pants and drove to the appointment. Upon arriving was informed that they hadn't contacted my insurance yet so I would have to pay 20% up front (not like my crappy insurance will cover much if any).

I go to use the restroom pre-appointment only to find that someone has defecated in the trash bin DIRECTLY NEXT TO THE TOILET. They then proceeded to discard all of the paper that they used to clean themselves up into that same trash. The smell was pungent and I instantly started to gag. Then puke.

On to the appointment. The doctor was not so friendly, not so forthcoming with information (like say what the hell he was doing in my ear), and didn't provide me with that miracle cure that I expected!

The appointment went a little something like this:

There was something jammed into my ear, some sticking, some swabbing, some kind of rinse/flush, then something that hurt like hell and caused me to initially tear up. When I regained composure thinking he was done, he did it again but worse, instant tears. I do know that he took some kind of culture to be sent to the lab.

Next up was the nose. He sprayed some expanding gel into my nostril then proceeded to put a lighted scope into it that went all through my nose and then down my throat. About halfway through my nose he indicated that the spacing was tight and to just "breathe through it". It was all I could do to not kick him in the balls and tell him to "just breathe through it". Imagine jamming a pencil through your nose canal when really only a toothpick fits. That's what it felt like. That gel was bogus and only numbed my throat making it feel like I was going to then choke and die.

He never explained what the gel was, so after the procedure I started to freak out because my throat was numb, I thought I was having an allergic reaction and going into anaphylaxis.

Possibly the worst part of the appointment was the news that he did share with me. He gave me two new antibiotics, both very strong. He also gave me a prescription for Prednisone in the event the Bell's Palsy gets worse. But here was the punch in the gut; he said that if the antibiotics don't start working on it that I will have to have a day surgery that would consist of him cutting inside of my ear to drain it (drain what I have no idea, my brain matter, the infection, who knows) maybe he said put a drain in. Honestly I stopped listening when he said that they locally numb the area but that it's quite uncomfortable. I thought today's appointment was quite uncomfortable so I think he and I have differences in opinion on that matter. I have zero interest in letting good old Dr. Kevorkian at my ear with any kind of cutting device.

So I finally escape the torture chair and head out to the office to pay/runaway...and I'm handed this hazard bag that contains a test tube looking thing with my "culture" lab specimen. Apparently here in Guam you take your own items to the lab. I proceeded to do this and pay again.

I have a follow up appointment Monday morning and to be honest I could puke thinking about it. Whatever he did today was so painful I'm just hoping to not have a repeat.

I then had to find a pharmacy to fill these prescriptions that I was given. The lady at the doctor's office was less than helpful with that, she said, "you'll have to find one that takes your insurance, so I suggest calling them" (perhaps she should have called them 3 days earlier when I initially faxed my insurance card to her...) With no help from her I found a pharmacy, that took my insurance, and gave me my drugs. I hope to experience NONE of the side effects listed.

So yeah, today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Healthcare in a (semi) foreign country

5/5/11

Let's start off on a festive note, Happy Cinco de Mayo. Unfortunately I was not celebrating in a joyous fashion, you know the kind they advertise on the radio with margaritas, music, and other such happiness.

For the past 2 weeks I have been pretty sick here in Guam. Knowing that my insurance 1. sucks and 2. certainly wouldn't cover something that isn't in "the lower 48" I resisted and resisted, convincing myself that I was getting better, and I honestly thought I was. I cycled through an array of symptoms, sore throat, congestion, no more congestion but my glands swelled up looking like I had golf balls in my throat, back to congestion and a seeming upper respiratory infection, to finally a few days ago when all congestion was slowly going away, all swelling was going down, and I FINALLY thought I was in the clear.

Enter Wednesday (that bitch of a day that I don't like even in full health). During the work day I started to get some pain in my right ear, and some hearing loss that appeared to be because of some ear congestion, it continued and increased throughout the day. By 2am Thursday (today) I was hearing what sounded like congestion breaking up in my ear followed by "drainage" (I'll spare you the details but I assure you it's not pretty). To start the drainage was pretty minimal. By morning my ear was still, draining, and the substance was mostly blood. Let me tell you about the level of panic you hit when you have blood coming out of your ear dripping down your face. OK, enough details I know.

I went to work and the pain was excruciating. I probably shouldn't have operated a vehicle, I could barely function (and this was doped up on my highest allowed dosage of OTC pain meds). I had to keep a cotton ball in my ear to absorb the "drainage" and to prevent blood from running down my face from my ear.

Yes, this was definitely enough to convince me to go to the medical clinic.

Now, when you are living on an island (a very small one at that) your options are pretty freaking limited. Something I've seen all over the world in my various travels has been the Seventh Day Adventist Clinics (SDA). This was my destination today and I must say, I have no idea what SDA's are (aside from being religious) but if they could cure me of my agony they might have made me a believer. Might.

Price wise it was VERY reasonable. I probably would have maxed out my credit card to stop the ear bleeding and severe pain.

Here is what I learned. I have a ruptured eardrum. She said it was so bad that she couldn't even see my eardrum when she looked in my ear with that ear device that they use (also because of the excessive amount of "drainage").

She told me that the rupture was caused by a very bad infection (from being sick), but that it is very rare to get a rupture like that (usually they are caused from flying or scuba diving when people can't equalize their ears)

So, she gave me a prescription for some strong antibiotics and told me to definitely take Motrin whenever I had pain (can I get an IV drip please)

So for the same day/walk in appointment, the meds, and my relief it cost $105 (since of course they didn't take my lousy insurance)

Not bad at all. I hope my eardrum gets itself together, starts repairing, and by all means stops draining. Going to work with a cotton ball in your ear (that occasionally becomes saturated in blood) is not the most awesome thing I've done all week. Or maybe it is...

Here is a generic pic of a ruptured eardrum