Branching Out is Back… with a PSA: Get Yourself a Shingles Vaccine

There are too many new things out there that I want to try, from recipes and restaurants to tourist spots and theatrical shows. Guess I’m going to have to continue my adventures of the new and novel into 2016!

Let’s begin this year with a GREAT tip on a new experience that I recommend you DON’T try: Shingles. This is not fun. Luckily, it’s a super mild case that is only annoyingly itchy and stings a bit… and on my leg- NOT my face (dangerous!), NOT horridly painful (thanks be to GOD). Did I mention how lucky I know that I am? And thankful??

What’s Important to Know

  • If you suspect your bug bite is not, in fact, a bug bite (like I did), see your doctor right away- shingles symptoms and duration can be lessened with anti-viral medications (I waited five days… dummy).
  • Wondering if any topical sprays or ointments help with the pain? I did too, here’s what I found than helped… only one thing- Solarcaine Aloe Extra Burn Relief Spray, or it’s Generic Store Brand Version. I think it is the pain reliever “Lidocaine” that is what makes it help.
  • Shingles aren’t exactly contagious, but if someone who has never had chicken pox comes into contact with the blisters on an active shingles outbreak, it can cause them to contract chicken pox. Talk to your doc to know for sure!
  • Friends are saying that they know kids as young as two-year-olds who have had shingles, as well as others in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Just because the commercials show retirees talking about the shingles vaccine doesn’t mean that they have cornered the market on this painful condition.
  • I still don’t understand if I can get another outbreak of shingles… some websites say yes, others say no… I’m going to ask my doc if she will let me get the vaccine early (I’m not quite 49 and the recommended minimum age is 60).
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The ONLY spray or ointment that helped with the pain is this one with Lidocaine.
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None of these topical treatments helped with the itch and pain EXCEPT the spray on the left- CVS’s generic version of Solarcaine Aloe Extra Burn Relief

So, here’s your Public Service Announcement: ask your doctor about whether or not a shingles vaccine is right for you. Really really REALLY.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking For a Break, a Healthy Break- Please?

…because my family is three for three now, and it is really getting to be annoying.

“The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick.”
GK Chesterton

The Husband and I were excited to attend Family Week and spend time with The Girl. It had been six weeks since we dropped her off at the university where she has chosen to spend the majority of her time (and our money, ouch!) for the next four years. The Boy came along, too, excited to see college life in full swing and eager to tell all who ask how much he doesn’t miss his sister, best friend, and general partner in crime. Liar.

Can we once, just once, set foot on this college campus without major illness?

First visit, norovirus hit our family- insulting as we weren’t even cooped up on a cruise. If I’m going to have The Cruise Ship Bug, can’t I at least get it on a luxury trip? Next visit was move-in day, and an anxiety attack hit one of us in a bad way. Now, six weeks later, we are visiting and The Girl is not recovering from a nasty cold as she thought but instead is cultivating a nice case of bronchitis. Family Weekend became Urgent Care Trip Weekend and Pharmacy Fun Day.

Who better than your mamma to spend the weekend with when you are away from home and quite ill?

And, it was awfully nice of her to share her creeping crud with her father.

Navy Bay Bridge Run

IMG_0832 (1)I did it! I ran across the Coronado Bridge on Sunday morning with about 10,000 people, The Boy and The Husband. The Boy ditched me immediately after we crossed the start line, but is forgiven because he had a finish time of about ten minutes better than me, so, good on him.

While this was for a great cause, and I had a great time running with our neighbor’s SDG&E team, these runs with the 5 a.m. wake up times cause me to seriously to question my sanity… or at least decision making abilities.

We ran across the bridge with a reservist who told us about his five tours on active duty, and dozen more as a reservist. He had speakers tucked in a backpack playing military running cadences for the group’s motivation- it sure helped me get up the bridge. When asked, he suggested that civilians who are interested in donating time and treasure to returning soldiers should look into the Wounded Warrior Project for a reputable organization to guide us.

IMG_6596IMG_0838Before we actually hit the Coronado bridge, we passed a mariachi band playing for the throng, but on the other end of the bridge was the Navy brass band to help us finish- what a great way to wrap up the run!

IMG_0830This honorable man ran the four plus miles in full gear and holding the flag. He wasn’t the only one I saw running with a flag and gear, either.

From the home page of the Navy Bay Bridge Run you can read that “this annual Navy-hosted event includes the public in raising money for the Navy’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs.” It was an honor to run with these men and women on active duty, reserve and retired status, and all us civilians pitching in a tiny bit to bring attention and funds to America’s navy personnel. An honor and a privilege.

Big Goal Reached- First 5K is the Hot Chocolate Run!

Me peeking into the photo, about to run...
Me peeking into the photo, about to run…
Why wouldn't you learn to run if at your first 5K they hand out chocolate at the halfway mark?!?
Why wouldn’t you learn to run if at your first 5K they hand out chocolate at the halfway mark?!?

Holy cow, this was fabulous! Especially since my Official-Running-Coach-turned-Official-Chauffeur joined me… can’t beat that at 5:30 in the (fill in your preferred explicative) morning. “Yes, dear. Drive me to Padre Stadium at the crack of dawn, thank you.”

A supportive spectator along the way is WordPress blogger and Jubi Kitty teileifortunes.wordpress.com. Hi and thanks for the kind words!
A supportive spectator along the way is WordPress blogger and Jubi Kitty teileifortunes.wordpress.com. Hi and thanks for the kind words!
More awesome supporters, cheering on family and more..
More awesome supporters, cheering on family and more..

There were all kinds of people running or walking the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15/5K– I loved seeing the kids and parents! The DJ pumping up the crowd at the start line tried his best to keep up with congratulating children running their first race. My favorite thing (besides the chocolate) was the comments I overheard. Overall winner- the guy who asked volunteers handing out water “No thanks, I’m looking for the Chardonnay!” Close Second to the couple calling out to other volunteers and supporters with the bells and noisemakers, “Needs more cowbell!” Honorable Mention to the college girls who couldn’t believe they were there at 6:30, “That’s it, walk time, we are so not even running this!” Makes you wonder if they were just ending a long night without any sleep! You know why teen girls don’t go out in groups of three, five or seven? Because they can’t even. Ha!

Forget the goodie bag, here's the goodie bowl!
Forget the goodie bag, here’s the goodie bowl!
Ready for snarfing down hot chocolate and a banana to dip into really good chocolate...
Ready for snarfing down hot chocolate and a banana to dip into really good chocolate..

I’ve been using my family’s activities for an excuse not to do much for myself. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE the organizations, projects and competitions that my children and husband have chosen to challenge themselves. The teachers who led The Boy’s Academic Decathlon? Gold standard. Our community’s Rec Soccer? The best parents and coach. Don’t get me started on The Girl’s high school, I have several posts lined up on this blog for them alone. And The Husband’s work and biking friends? I thank God for them in particular. I just enjoy going along with everyone else’s plans and needs. You need a Helper Bee and not another leader? I’m there, just ask.

But, along with the theme of this blog, it is time to start branching out and learn new tricks for me. I wonder what next month’s project will be and where it will lead me? :oD

Happy day to you all, and thanks for reading!

New Glasses -or- At Least I Outlasted My Husband by Eight Years, lol…

So… I know I need bifocals. Gotta go through the whole appointment and frame choosing business. At the appointment, the news wasn’t as bad as I expected: I don’t HAVE to go into glasses full time, but can if I want. Interesting, no?

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…and how lovely does The Boy look in my old glasses? This is what happens when you leave your kid, phone, and personal items in the car while you step out to do something. Surprise photos on your camera when you return.
First pair of distance glasses from way back in September 2011. I really only use them for the theater and night driving...
First pair of distance glasses from way back in September 2011. I really only use them for the theater and night driving…

I decided to go ahead and get the progressive lenses since everyone who has them likes how they work IF these were their first experience with bifocals. I might as well face the inevitable! Off to Costco I went, to pick out a really cheap pair of frames since I am not planning on wearing these all the time. I’m looking for something on the loud or at least fun side of eyewear. I’m going with the “Go big or go home,” philosophy.

I’ll post an update in a week when the glasses come in. I did pick out an interesting frame for the new specks. In about a week I can look forward to tripping up and down curbs and stairs, according to my ophthalmologist, and The Husband can have fun with watching me get used to the new lenses. He’s had eight years of practice, after all!

Spiderman, Vertigo, and Playlists- Viewing Suggestions, Please?

What’s the difference between a super hero and a balance disorder? With the former, he gets Spidy Senses a-tingling, with the latter one is smacked with Spin-y Senses attacking.

First time I had vertigo, it stunk. Second time was quite a violent attack. Third time was just a sensation of an odd disturbance in the force… and once again I sense something is not quite right in them ol’ vestibular canals.

I should have a TV, Netflix or movie viewing list lined up before I become fully incapacitated, miserable, and unwilling to come up with an idea. Or move, for that matter. Any suggestions? Downton Abby and Torchwood are at the top of my list so far. Any great You Tubers that I should binge watch? All I’m good for is sitting and staring. Reading, my favorite past time, is not an option due to the position of the head. Do Not get cute and suggest Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo… not funny.

If you know anyone who is bothered by BPPV, a somewhat treatable form of vertigo like mine, here is a great doctor’s recommendation of her own maintenance- click on the picture:

Vertigo treatment option from Dr. Carol Foster MD, University of Colorado Denver
Vertigo treatment option from Dr. Carol Foster MD, University of Colorado Denver

March Project: A 5K and The Only Two Reasons Why I Run

#1. I want to have seconds on taco night, and to be able to drink wine every night.
#2. My gramma and her husband taught me two keys to a healthy, long life: Moderation and Be Active.

The Great Gramma and The Girl
The Great Gramma and The Girl

Gramma is 98 this year, by the way. She also taught me to drink the good wine, and enjoy Happy Hour- not just on Fridays. My grandmother and her husband did things that I have sworn to do as I grow older: they are the poster children for caloric restriction and eating with moderation (everything they want, but in moderation), and they had always been active. Always. Dancing, walking, aerobics, swimming, traveling. ANYTHING.

Don't ANYONE show this picture to Betty Gene! I mean it, mom and Amie, DON'T!
Don’t ANYONE show this picture to Betty Gene! I mean it, mom and Amie, DON’T!
John, in all his magical glory.
John, in all his magical glory.

At 96 she was still driving, cooking for her husband, taking care of her home, and for anyone visiting. A couple of years ago I was visiting my gramma and honestly, there was nothing that she had lined up for me to help do for her. She made me salmon for dinner and the most I could do was clear the table and help put things away.

I started running recently and have gone from hating this form of exercise to… well, not hating it. I’m logging two miles about every other day and at the end of March I’m signed up to run a 5K. Whew. A big goal for me. This month I am adding on some hills and lengthening the run to three miles. But honestly? I run because my gramma taught me that I need to move it or lose it. And I will!

Don’t ANYBODY show these photos to Betty Gene, she will KILL me, do you hear me, mom?