Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The past 6 Months

I don't know if I mentioned this at all before, but ever since January I have been in and out of the hospital dealing with gallstones.  It took a very long time for doctors to narrow down what was causing my pain- my first attack lasted more then 8 hours, I was up at 1am, my dad said it was the flu and told me to sleep, but I couldn't lie down, and by the time my mom agreed to take me to the hospital, I had to go to work.  I was no use to my managers, however, so they sent me off to urgent care. (I am scared of hospitals and wouldn't go there alone.)  The doctor that saw me at urgent care was surprised I hadn't gone to the ER, but she gave me a pain killer shot and sent me home after ordering an ultrasound for me, I was relieved to be pain free! (If you've had gallstones, you know the pain feels like you may die-I have a high tolerance for pain, which is what set me off to really worrying about this)

After multiple trips to the ER-getting CT scans, ultrasounds, etc.- they finally declared that I had gallstones and said I needed to have my gallbladder removed.  Mid-February I had the Lapriscopic surgery to have my gallbladder removed.  The procedure should have taken 45 minutes or so according to my surgeon, but it took two hours because no one actually knew how bad it was.  He said he had to 'figure out the anatomy' because my gallbladder was so full of stones.  My recovery took a little over a week, and I thought I would be home free- I went back to work, continued karate training, etc.- my doctor even said that should be the end of it!

At 1am on Easter, I again woke up with the severe pain that I knew to be related to gallstones, except now I didn't have a gallbladder!  I tried hot showers, rubbing the spot, anything I could think of to try to ease the pain. (I don't really take painkillers unless really necessary)  I finally went and woke up my dad who gave me some Percocet (I was prescribed painkillers after the surgery, these meds came back up when we got to the hospital...), hoping that would work.  After 30 minutes I was still in pain, although very drowsy from the medicine, so my dad took me to the ER. (it was around 4am....I battled hard, I really don't like hospitals.)  They said I had Pancreatitis, an MRI showed that some stones were caught in my bile duct which was causing a blockage at my Pancreas, so they admitted me so I could have an ERCP on Monday.  This procedure should have taken 30 minutes, but also took 2 hours instead because there were MANY stones caught, and a lot of them wouldn't come out.  The doctor told me the stones had been in there for years, and they placed a stent to try to loosen them.

The stent had to stay in for 2 months.  After several trips to the ER for pain from the stent, I realized I would just have to live with the pain for a while.  It wasn't constant (not that I could feel, anyway), more like spasms where the stent was, but the spasms were severe when they hit.  I tried to continue with work and training anyway.  I wasn't allowed to lift heavy objects, I took it easy on my training, it was not a fun two months.  May 30th I went in to have the stent removed along with the other stones.  I cried tears of joy when they nurse told me they had gotten everything.  My family took me home (ERCP is out-patient surgery) and we sat down to watch a movie.  Suddenly I was hit with terrible pain!  Sudden and sharp and sickening, so my brother called the doctor at the hospital who did the procedure and he said to bring me back.  The people at the ER said they thought it was latent Pancreatitis and sent me back home.  The next day I had a fever and chills so my mom took me back to the hospital around noon...we waited for 2-3 hours before they could see us.  (the pancreatitis call wasn't too far off- my urine was pretty orange while I was in the hospital, but went away with antibiotics)  Made everyone in my family angry since I had just come from surgery the day before.  My temperature was high, they guessed infection, they wanted to go back in to look but I had been drinking gatorade and water so they could get an IV in me (I'm a 'hard stick').  They kept me in all weekend long, no pain medicine would work, nothing would even knock me out now.  By Monday I was very tired, they did another MRI to see what was up, and they found some stones that had been missed because they fell further into the duct, so they went in again to get them out.  Tuesday I was finally allowed to go home.  I feel like things are starting to return to normal, but the place where my stent was still spasms sometimes....

My Sensei was very sweet, she knew I didn't want to be there, and she was worried that I wasn't getting the best help possible, like the doctors were just trying to make money, so she kept offering to come to get me and take me to different hospital.  She found a great GI doctor for me to go see, so I went to him for a second opinion once I got out.  Hopefully he'll find anything that was missed, or find out if there was a different problem all together.  I really want the spasming to stop, but for the most part I feel back to normal.  I think I'm forever on a low-fat diet, I've lost a lot of weight with all this. (Probably 20~ pounds, may help that I didn't quit karate through it all...)  I know I won't be returning to the same hospital again, I'm going to go to the specialist doctor for this from now on, I think a new set of eyes will be useful.  But I really wish sending files to other doctors was easier!

Definitely been a traumatizing experience- I've been having nightmares.  I tried so hard to be strong while I was in the hospital, people go in there for a lot worse things then I was in there for, but my family was so sad, that was the worst part.  I don't care if I'm in pain, so long as I can make people happy.  I was making jokes around the nurses and everyone, but my family wasn't humored.  I know it's been hard on them too, I think my parents are kinda mad at themselves for not rushing me to the ER at the first attack and for questioning if I really needed a hospital when I had pain- but no one saw this coming so I don't blame them.  They also blame karate for everything, but I think my sensei has been the most supportive and helpful- when I would wake up in bad pain, I'd ask her advice, which always turned out to be good.  She was willing to drive an hour to come get me out of my hospital and transfer me to a better one, and she understands how tough this has all been.  My parents treat my like I'm not strong enough on my own now- clearly they see a different side of me then my Sensei sees.  Hopefully it's all over with now.  My blood tests came back normal, so that is way good!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Panera Breakfast

I love opening at Panera, I believe I've mentioned that before.  Sadly, I get a lot of upset customers in the morning when breakfast ends.  And on the flip side, I have lots of customers come in early that want soup, but that isn't usually ready until after breakfast.

Here's how it works at most of the small Panera Cafe's and why we can't do breakfast all day long (I've brought it up before, it would be nice to do. Also, I say 'most' because I'm not sure how all of our Bakeries function).  We have one thermalizer (I don't work breakfast where they make the sandwiches, so I may have the technical term wrong.)  In the thermalizer we keep the sausage, bacon, and egg for the breakfast sandwiches at the correct temperature.  But we also start heating our soups up so we are ready for lunch when breakfast ends.  The thermalizer only has so much room in it, as it sits in the counter, and they need all the counter space they can get over there.  Now, other Bakeries may have larger thermalizers, but they also probably sell more variety of soups (not all of the Bakeries get the same thing.  Corporate Cafe's sell Lobster, whereas Franchise Cafe's, like the one I work at, won't sell lobster.  They also get more soups and different pasteries)

It doesn't make me happy to tell people breakfast is over, especially if that makes them leave...but it's not something any of us can help.  My advice, if you know you want a breakfast sandwich or other breakfast item, is to call early in the morning so the egg and whatever else can be prepared ahead of time.  Weekdays we end breakfast at 1030am [open@630am], and Fri-Sun at 11am [open@7am].

However, as a Company that wants to base itself on European cafe's, breakfast is the most lacking in creativity.  I think the souffles come the closest.  Guess it's time to try to come up with some new breakfast ideas!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


As a child, I usually didn't keep a babysitter for long.  Usually they couldn't keep up with me because I was hyper-active...  My sister and her friend were the longest lasting sitters my parents had, and they were definitely my favorites!  Needless to say, I wasn't really viewed as a responsible enough person to babysit, usually families preferred my sister since she had experience.  But I recently started a weekly babysitting job, watching on of my old professors kids!!

He just turned two (the terrible twos!) and he is like a sponge!  I'm careful about what I say around him, but he picks up on things fast and always asks what something is if he doesn't know.  Last Wednesday was our first day together, and I think it went pretty well!  I apparently tuckered him out because he took a three hour nap with me, and his mom said he usually naps for one to two hours.  I was a little nervous, I have to admit, about taking him outside.  Having not been trusted with this responsibility before, I think I felt a bit less then qualified, but I feel much better now! (Though I'll still be cautious, the day was not accident free exactly)  Tomorrow is my second day with him, and I'm hoping to take him to Panera and have fun with him there!  Maybe bring some crayons and a coloring book or something to be entertained with.

I did have to convince him to eat some lunch before having a cookie.  And while I'm in the middle of this convincing attempt, little boy with eyes full of tears asking for the cookie, some men come to the door and tell me they need to dig along the side of the road...I was like 'it isn't my house, I don't know what to say'.  I'm sure they thought I was a terrible person for making this little boy cry.  I won the lunch battle in the end.  But I must admit that I don't think I've ever changed a diaper...and I didn't do it last time because I kept asking if he needed to be changed and he kept saying 'NO' (I clearly trust children to tell me the truth flat out...)  So after his wonderful nap, I convinced him (yet again i won!) to let me change him and as soon as I unsnapped his onesy(ie?), he started pooping, so I decided it was a bad time. ><  Apparently he's excited to see me, and I am surely excited to see him!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I am calling this 'Kime' because it is something I need to work on, like this blog thing!  'Kime', in Karate, is the focus or power behind every technique, which I am pretty much lacking.  On Saturday was our kyu exam, Sensei has been telling me to work on my spirit a lot more, bring some fire and excitement with me, and I really felt like I had that at the test!  I was really excited (and very nervous), but apparently my energy isn't moving up well with my belt.  So I passed my exam this time (now a green belt, 6kyu), but next time if I am lacking 'Kime' I will not pass and get my purple belt...  I'm fine with this.  In art, my professors would grade me based on where I was, not comparing me to the class or any standard, so I'm used to having the bar raised on me as needed.  Sensei says I practice and train way above my belt level, so if they want to grade me tougher too, it's probably better for me.  I don't want to compete in the class with other students, I'm very competitive and I don't think it would be healthy for me...but I can compete with my 'old self'.

I definitely still struggle a lot with sparring.  I had a lot of trouble with 'kiai' too (the shouting that occurs at certain times), because I'm scared of loud noises.  Too be honest, I think sparring scares me because I've fought for my life at least twice, and would prefer to not fight if I don't have to.  I've also never been good at knowing my own strength, so I'm worried I would hurt people.  But I will have to get over all of this, all the Sensei's seem to enjoy sparring.  Whenever we do kicks, however, I don't want to make contact, even if my Sensei is encouraging me to kick her, I don't think she'll put up with it any more though, now that I'm a green belt.  The other women in the club are advancing pretty fast!  I'm really happy for them, too!  I think they practice sparring a lot with Sensei, or just practice a lot harder now, but I have been used to kinda being soft on them and now need to step it up. (Not really soft...we're always encouraged to take it seriously so our opponents aren't overwhelmed when they spar with some one else who is very serious.)  Maybe it's also because I'm still recovering from surgery too...but I'm getting back into my regular training routine and hopefully I will be able to come back full strength soon. (I had gallbladder surgery, I had a very unlucky gallbladder.  Shocked all the doctors because I'm so healthy and I avoid food that would do this to my gallbladder, so no one knows how it happened...but it was very bad.)

I also need to work more on my kicks, especially on my left side.  My right leg is a bit weaker because I chipped the bone a while back, so I'm very careful on it when it's my supporting leg.  I can probably let that go, I haven't had much problem with it.  Mostly now I find my knees full of bruises from all the kicking practice I do...I must have bad joints or something.  Sensei thought it was from work or just being careless, but I've been keep a watch for what is causing them, and it's the kicks.  Maybe I'm doing them wrong.  I really need to work on my roundhouse kick, and keeping my toes pulled back-ankle straight on my left side for my mae-geri.  So today, after our class, I focused on my kicks for almost an hour, just trying to get them right...hopefully I will improve.

And tomorrow I start my exciting babysitting job!  Looking forward to it!  The little boy has so much energy, it's sure to be fun and exhausting!  He's almost two, and loves attention and is very tough (loves dirt, spiders, worms, etc. and doesn't whine).  I am also hoping to join a program that will pair me with a family with an autistic child so I can work with their child!  There are some things to do before I get to that, but it should be very rewarding. :]

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Bit of Bragging...

If you all read my blogs, you'll see that I like to brag...about other people in my life!  I haven't blogged for a while, but it feels right to come back on a high note starting off the new year by bragging about amazing people God has put in my life.  Let's start this thing right up!! (Note: these are not in any real order, just as they pop into my head. It isn't a ladder. Just a list.)

My Sensei- I think I bring up my sensei a lot.  Her name is Golnesa.  She is one of the most encouraging people in my life that I see on a regular basis.  She can tell if I'm upset and always has advice for anything I am struggling with. (albeit, we mostly talk about karate and technique)  I trust and respect her a lot, she's confident and knowledgeable.  Always pushes me to do my best, or better then my best!  And we always have fun stories to share.  The most country-loving city girl I know.

Michelle- One of my managers a Panera and a really amazing young lady.  She's always fun to talk to at work and quick to lend an ear if I need to talk.  The other day I came to work with my wrist injured and she had me moved from working dining room to cash.  I think she knows how stubborn I am in regard to asking for help and decided to look out for me on her own.  She's always so insightful, and very encouraging also.  Always comes in with a very positive attitude.

Ashleigh- I am always so thankful that God allowed our paths to cross twice.  She knows when to be serious and when to have fun.  Always there to listen and give advice.  Aims to please as many people as she can.  A hard worker, great example to others, and encourages other to do their best as well.  Happy to help others in their endeavors, and always has a great attitude.

Joseph- He's always there to listen to my hardest problems, and even encourages me to talk about them in the most open way possible so he can help in some way, and he will talk to me about his problems also.  Knows his Bible and gives great Biblical advice to me.  It's a trusting friendship, I don't see much of him, but our efforts to remain friends regardless of distance are rewarded.

Cathy- A friend I pray I will always remain close too.  Cheerful and uplifting, and always puts her best foot forward.  One of the few friends I've kept from high school, and I'm very thankful for her.  Happy to listen to my ridiculous stories about mundane things in my life that I turn into adventures, but also there to keep me from going crazy.  Shares in my tears and hardships, helps me see problems from a different point of view, and a great 'partner-in-crime'.

My parents- I don't think things have been easy for them, and I doubt I make it any better, but they are always there to back me up (until I started talking about moving into an apartment ><).  They are a great example of self-sacrificing love in my life.  They do their best for me, and I am very grateful for everything they do.  They always want to know what is going on in my life and I am always happy to help them out whenever they need it.

Panera customers- Haha, I always brag about them...but, especially the other day, I kept running out of change to give to customers, and they kept telling me to just keep the change (got my drawer over, but I really appreciated their gesture anyway!)  I've also had multiple customers leave tips on the table, or try to hand me money for cleaning their table. (Not allowed to accept tips, but again, really appreciate it!)  And, some customers even try to help me clear off larger tables!
Truly, the world is a better place if we put ourselves in other people's shoes and try to help out when we see a need!  You don't just change others' lives, you are creating a heart change in yourself too.

I'm going to stop there for now, but I know I'll have more people to brag about in the future too!! (Maybe I could add more boys to that list too, haha!)  Happy New Year everyone!  God Bless! :]

Sunday, December 2, 2012

(Late) Friday Feature!

So, I know I haven't done my Friday Feature lately, things have gotten so hectic around here.  But art is my favorite thing to talk about!  So, without further excuses, I present the artist of today: Shilin!

Shilin is an artist I have followed for a while, secretly admiring her work along with the masses.  It's as though she can change her coloring technique with a snap of her fingers!  Some get worried when they think their style changes, or when others bring it up, but Shilin has mastered the art of matching her coloring technique to the type of work she is creating, yet one can always tell it's her work.  

One of the biggest things I love about her work is how she depicts her characters.  The composition, colors, placement of the characters, etc. all play together to let the viewer feel like they could interact or put themselves into the picture. (so long as she wants you there!)

There is an amazing amount of detail that goes into each piece.  

And, as I said, she knows exactly how to change her coloring style to match the mood for her picture.

Along with being a great color artist, she has an amazing web comic!  Each panel is its own piece of work and always pleasing to look at.

You can read the comic at: Carciphona

Although most of the pictures I chose are about her webcomic, she also does fanart and other personal pieces.  I admire her ability to keep up with putting out a webcomic and producing masterful works of art for her viewers to enjoy.  You can see her whole gallery at: http://shilin.deviantart.com/

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blog Lag+Skyrim!

I haven't posted in so long, very sad.  It's just been so busy trying to meet deadlines and everything.  On Thanksgiving break now, thankfully!  And managed to get a lot done today, Panera gave me a day off, so it was really nice.  And now...I'm relaxing with skyrim!

My brother owns the PS3, so I only get to play when he comes home, and we spent a good amount of time so far playing Black Ops II, which is pretty freaking epic.  It has taken us a while to get used to the new zombie maps, but the zombies are really awesome now.  So long as the box wants to help...stupid box.  Anyway, multiplayer is great on there too, so glad they included AI in this one right off the bat.  Our internet isn't good for multiplayer online.  But today he is at the Tech/UVA game, so I have been playing Skyrim.

I guess you could say I'm pretty far on my file...but there is really no way to gauge how 'far' you are.  I joined the Thieves guild and dark brotherhood, but I am tired of the dark brotherhood, for some reason I keep getting the same jobs from the nightmother, so I've given up on them.  Now I'm doing Bedlam jobs for the thieves.  I also joined the companions, and I am discovering how to remove the werewolf curse. (Thank goodness, I really don't use it, so it's pointless...but I bet the companions would split over this.  Some take pride in their werewolf side...)  ARGH DANG!  I was playing while typing and just got overtaken by a frost dragon...  RAGE!

I am thinking of making a new file...but I don't want to start from the beginning really, I just want to change my character.  And I probably wouldn't join the companions or dark brotherhood...I mean, if I had to rekill people that came back as zombies, okay, but they just regenerate.  It's like a glitch.  It's as annoying as all the seams you can see on the character meshs and map....

My favorite things to do are lock picking and pickpocketing...there is so much excitement in those.  But I wish they'd fix the water glitch!  There are so many things so be done by crossing the water... They really need to get on that.  A lot of the map is water!  Jeez...