SPOONIE OR SENIOR CITIZEN?

Let’s play an exciting new game called:

SPOONIE. OR. SENIOR CITIZEN.

First up: the kitchen pantry!

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Whoa nelly, that’s a lot of vitamins! So? Spoonie? Or Senior Citizen?

Next: the bathroom cabinet!

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Miralax! So much miralax! What do you think? Spoonie? Or Senior Citizen?

Third: the shower!

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Interesting, a stool! That seems to suggest Senior, but it could still be a Spoonie. What do you think?

Next: do they own a SMTWTFS pill box?

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Oh man, this one is still up in the air folks!

Finally: the jewlery box.

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Oh man, this is a real doozy. A medical alert bracelet is very senior citizen BUT it’s kind of trendy and cute– a spoonie, perhaps?

Spoonie or Senior Citizen? The world may never know.

There are no winners in this game. Only losers.

Guest Post: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastpumping

Hey everyone! Today I want to welcome Natalie from MaternityAtHome.com! She’s got some great info here on breast pumping, which is great general health info but especially important for chronically ill mothers who may need to pump in order to stay on a medication schedule or accommodate a sick day or hospital stay. Check it out, and be sure to visit her blog and show her some love!

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastpumping

Motherhood is a perplexing but otherwise extraordinary experience for most women. There are so many things you need to do, and attaining the knowledge for each and every thing is just something that will elude you.

One scenario that almost always plays out after giving birth is the choice between breastfeeding or breastpumping. They both have their pros and cons, but there are some hidden gems within pumping that most new mother’s don’t know about and that might just push you towards making that decision much easier.

With that said, let’s take a look at 5 things that you likely don’t know about breast pumping and how they affect your daily life as a new mother.

  1. You have more time to rest: Breast pumping is not just for the on-the-go mother who is limited by a career. Stay-at-home mothers can also reap the benefits of breast pumping too. New mothers need their me-time, and a breast pump can be the perfect solution for racking in those extra minutes of sleep, or chores around the home.

    By using a breast pump that is actually good, stay-at-home mothers can rely on their stock of breast milk to ensure a well-fed newborn. Having a supply of breast milk is also especially important for premature babies or multiples, who may require extra attention in the home.

  2. Others can connect with your baby too: Using a breast pump can give your loved ones a chance to connect with your baby as well. Breast pumping can give you the rest you need, but can also be a way for your significant other, or other family members to develop a healthy relationship with your little one.

    You will appreciate the small acts of kindness others show by helping you with feeding! Imagine the happiness your baby will be bringing to yourself, and those around you. Your bundle of joy can bring happiness to everyone.

  3. You can monitor a baby’s eating habits: This is another major benefit of breast pumping that you may not have known. Every baby is different, including your soon-to-be newborn. It’s important to keep track of how often and how much your baby is eating and growing on a daily basis. The amount of milk each mother can store varies from woman to woman. By using a breast pump, you can actually monitor the intake of your baby’s feeding frenzies to their smaller snack times.

    Breast pumping and feeding your baby this way will give you the most insight on how your little one is doing. Don’t become frustrated if eating patterns you have found begin to change, this could be a good sign your baby is growing and on track to start solid foods.

  4. An emergency supply can be a savior: In rare instances, after surgery, while taking medications, or during illness, you may not be able to breastfeed. You should find out all of the information you can from your doctor, to continue to breastfeed when you or your baby is sick. Having expressed milk saved in the freezer for unforeseen circumstances will help you and your baby immensely.

    While this may not be a common occurrence, having a mother’s breastmilk on hand can be more nutritionally beneficial than relying on formula in times of need. Breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

  5. Breast milk is healthier than formula: Breast milk vs. Formula…many new mothers struggle with the idea of giving their baby breast milk versus formula. While formula is a quick fix for those who may be unable to produce enough breast milk, using a breast pump can build up a supply of vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies your baby needs from your breast milk!

    There’s a long list of benefits your baby can receive from your own breast milk, and as a mother you have a unique formula perfect for your growing baby. Nothing can compare to the beautiful benefits of a mother’s own breast milk, and a breast pump can be the perfect solution for having all your baby needs right at your fingertips right when your baby needs it.

There you have it. These 5 things really make breast pumping an appealing option for new mothers over breastfeeding and formula. When it comes to your baby’s health, it is better to stay natural and give them that has worked for thousands of years, so breast pumping is the ideal in between option that takes advantage of both breastfeeding and using formula.

Job 16: On Comforting Friends in Hard Times

I try to read the Bible every night (though this has really fallen through since Baby arrived) ((same with posting here on a regular basis)) (((you might have noticed))). And something in the book of Job really stood out to me.

If you have a chronic illness, physical or mental, you’ve probably had well-meaning friends try to offer advice on how to get better. And you’ve probably heard it at just the wrong moment or in just the wrong way, and felt hurt or annoyed. You, after all, live with this every day. Don’t they know you’ve done research and tried lots of things? Don’t they know you’re trying to get better? Why can’t they just listen and comfort you in these hard times?

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Job did have a sort of illness – he was covered in painful skin sores. But that’s really the least of his many problems. See, Job was a good guy. But Satan argued to God that Job was only good and faithful because he had a comfortable life. So God allowed Satan to rough Job up a bit to prove he would remain faithful. Job lost his children, all his worldly possessions, and his health in one day. And he wasn’t all “God giveth and taketh away” about it either – he was sad, and he was pissed! Most of the book of Job is him cursing the day he was born, yelling at God, and yelling at his friends.

And that brings us back around to where I started – well-meaning friends. What did Job’s friends have to say?

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Well, they tried to figure out what Job did to deserve this. I mean he must have done something bad, right? Clearly this was a punishment. Victim-blaming is as old as the Old Testament. Have you had anyone suggest that you somehow brought your chronic illness on yourself?

They also hypothesize that Job’s dead children probably brought their deaths upon themselves, and say that Job’s lucky his punishment wasn’t worse because he probably deserved something much harsher. Thanks guys! Very helpful.

So here’s the verse that stood out to me:

“I also could speak like you,
    if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
    and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
    comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
    and if I refrain, it does not go away.

Surely, God, you have worn me out.”

-Job 16:4-7

I’m sure we’ve all wondered what we would say to someone with our illness if we were healthy and had never experienced it. We all hope we’d refrain from offering that well-meaning advice about what they should or should not have done to get themselves into that situation. We hope we wouldn’t “make fine speeches” or “shake our heads.” We hope we would encourage them and comfort them. But there’s no way to know.

And I’m sure there have been many times when you thought “if I speak, my pain is not relieved, and if I refrain, it does not go away.” Blogging feels that way sometimes. Here, I try to offer comfort, encouragement, and catharsis. But does it make me better? Does it matter at all?

You Make Me Tired

“God, you have worn me out!”

Well, back to Job’s story. After arguing with his pals for a while, yet another well-meaning friend arrives with even more tsk tsks and unhelpful advice. And Job is wondering out loud about life, the universe, and everything between occasional outbursts and his freaking annoying friends. But he never says “God, I hate you!” or “There must not be a God!” or anything accusatory. He cries out to God about how hurt he is, how angry, and how sad. But he passes Satan’s test.

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And while he’s tearing his clothes and crying and yelling and his friends are still trying to explain how he kind of deserves all this, God literally parts the sky and goes “SHUT UP, YOU GUYS ARE THE ACTUAL WORST.” Then he takes Job aside and asks him some rhetorical questions, using them like a kind father to explain how little Job understands about life, the universe, and everything. Job agrees, and again, never says anything like “well if I were God…” or “I don’t think the universe should be this way!” He simply acknowledges that he is small and knows little.

The God goes back to Job’s well-meaning friends and is about to really let them have it, but Job jumps in and says hey, they’re also dumb little humans. And he can’t hold that against them, and he asks God not to hold it against them either.

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So here’s two things to take from this:

If you have well-meaning friends who have tried to tell you you’re not working hard enough to get better, or that you wouldn’t be sick if you hadn’t x, y, or z, remember that they’re just dumb little humans. Think of life, the universe, and everything that you don’t understand, and empathize with their stupidity and ignorance.

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And also remember that God empathizes with you. Any moment he might be ready to open the sky and really tell those well-meaning people off. He feels your feels.

And if you’re not of the Christian disposition, I hope you take something from this story as well. You’re not alone. These well-meaners are as old as the mountains, and generations upon generations have had to deal with this crap. You don’t understand everything either, and all us humans just have to muddle through life, the universe, and everything together.

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I’m going to end this with the benediction my church ends each service with, because I think it’s a beautiful blessing to send someone off with.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord look upon you with His favor, and give you His peace.”

A Written Spoonie Experiment Review: Peggy’s Turtle Song

So. This blog has been basically dead and empty for….an embarrassingly long time. I’ve had a sort of perfect storm of good intentions and too high expectations. I’ve been working on three things: a book review (I’m about 2/3 through reading it), a review of an awesome health tool from The Allergista, and a Spoonie Experiment video review. And sorting through a few guest posts and interviews. The problem is that each of these things take a lot of time to prepare, and I had nothing to fill the gap while I prepared them.

So I’ve decided that henceforth, Spoonie Experiment reviews will be written instead of being videos. I was going to (finally) film today, but of course I have a cold and can barely talk. And when am I going to have time to film again? Between my almost one-year-old (what??) and working from home and LIFE in general, filming these reviews just isn’t sustainable. Plus I don’t think the videos have been all that popular with you guys. If there was a high demand, I’d find a way. Because I love you.

Anyway, long story short, I’ll try to plan better in the future and here’s a review and analysis of another King of the Hill episode!

This one is called Peggy’s Turtle Song, and you can watch it here:

So the story begins with Bobby in a situation I am all too familiar with: the guilty pleasure of eating terrible breakfast cereal. I freaking LOVE cereal. I try to eat “healthy” options from time to time… but right now my pantry is full of Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops. I am addicted.

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Anyway, enough about my problems. Bobby starts the day with three bowls of cereal and is flying on an epic sugar high. Under the influence, he acts out in school and winds up in the school nurse’s office where he is promptly diagnosed with ADD.

Now sure, this is played for laughs but I do think ADD is way over-diagnosed in this day and age. And it’s not that I don’t believe it exists– my best friend has ADHD– but I do think that kids today are over-medicated and over-diagnosed with behavioral and developmental disorders. They’re growing and learning, each kid is different, sometimes they eat sugar…

Right. So back to the episode.

Hank: “Why has no one mentioned this before?”

Nurse: “Very few people have access to the pamphlets I do.”

The very first thing the nurse suggests is medication. Again, the hastiness is played for laughs (plus we’ve only got 23 minutes to get this story told), but it’s a joke that kind of flies by because that’s how healthcare in America is. There’s medicine and alternative medicine. Anything that’s not a chemical drug falls under alternative medicine, and everyone knows alternative medicine is for hippies. We’re conditioned to expect a pill every time we talk to a doctor. So it isn’t all that farfetched to think a boy might be put on medication for ADD after one day of acting out in class.

The only alternative is a “special school.” So Hank takes home a stack of the aforementioned pamphlets and tries to pick a medication while Peggy worries that this is somehow her fault. So, with all the best intentions, Peggy decides to quit her job and “devote herself full-time to being a mother.”

Now, I know I haven’t even been a mother for a full year yet, so maybe I’m not qualified to speak on the subject, but I don’t think Hank and Peggy are being helicopter parents or bad parents in any way here. They trust in their doctors and they’ve done a little research of their own and they want to do whatever their son needs. That’s all awesome. I’ve had enough experience with doctors to know not to trust everything they say and that they don’t always have the best information (or your best interest at heart). If it were me, I’d have done a lot more research and sought out more opinions. Not that that’s easy, since most doctors have a wait list of months for new patients.

AMERICA!

So Hank has a talk with Bobby about is “rare disease in his brain” and tells him that even though they’ve always taught him to “never do drugs,” he will now be taking medication after every meal.

The show is such a great commentary on this situation that I really don’t have much to add. Underappreciated genius, thy name is King of the Hill.

The next morning, Luanne speaks very slowly to Bobby, asking “Do you know me?” Now even though the show is obviously implying that Bobby doesn’t actually have ADD, this is nonetheless a great example of what people have to deal with after a diagnosis. When I was diagnosed with anxiety, I had people ask really delicately “…are you…okay?” As if a diagnosis drastically changes a person overnight. You know, because they didn’t really have ADD/anxiety/whatever until a doctor made it official!

Public service announcement: people with illnesses are as normal as they were pre-diagnosis after they get a label.

“In a half hour or so, you should find yourself real interested in stuff that would normally bore the pants off you.”
-Hank Hill

Another public service announcement: Pills aren’t made of magic.

But they are powerful.

As Bobby soon finds out.

On the bus to school, his speech is slower and he hears a loud grating noise – a fly on the window rubbing its legs together.

I personally have not experienced drugs like Ritalin, but I have felt my perceptions change under the influence of different drugs. When I was first put on anxiety meds, it was from a gastrointestinal specialist and he just kinda said this might help. I believed him and agreed after minimal research– just like Hank and Peggy. And after I had been on it for a little while, I still didn’t feel much different, so he upped the dose. I found myself feeling very numb. I would hear sad stories on the news and think “that should make me feel sad. I should feel something about this.” but I just didn’t. I started noticing that things I usually got excited about seemed boring as well. It was like someone had just turned my emotions off.

Drugs are crazy, man.

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Peggy starts to go a little nuts being a stay at home mom. Bobby is strung out on meds all the time, commenting on the tiny, mundane details of life. Luanne says she wishes she could take “miracle smart pills” too.

That’s another great, subtle nod at how people react to a chronic illness in a friend or family member. I’m sure you’ve heard similar things: “I wish I got to stay home from work!” “It must be nice to take naps.” One I hear a lot is “now that’s a problem I wish I had!” when they hear that I’m underweight and have a lot of trouble gaining weight.

Yup. Being unhealthily skinny is pretty in right now I guess. But would you want all the problems that go with it? Because it sure is easy to only see one detail and miss the big picture.

From here, the episode focuses on Peggy’s stay-at-home-mom problems, which I’ll keep my comments on to a minimum. I am a new stay-at-home-mom myself, but this isn’t going to turn into a SAHM blog, I promise. 😉 Needing to fill her extra time, Peggy starts taking guitar lessons and writes a song about a turtle – hence the title of the episode.

Bobby’s story is the subplot, but even with minimal screentime this episode captures perfect snapshots of things everyone with a chronic illness can relate to. Over dinner, Bobby interrupts the conversation to groan “when can I take my next pill?” Peggy tells him not until after dinner. “I’m going to take a little nap. Paying attention all day really tires me out.” responds Bobby, before falling asleep with his eyes open.

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I know those feels, Bobby. I know those feels.

So later on, Luanne is talking to Bobby about her problems at beauty school. She says she tried to figure out why she’s doing poorly on exams, but she gets bored just thinking about it. Bobby realizes she must have caught his ADD. “I know when, too. It was when I sneezed in your face.”

“I don’t remember that…”

“Well… you were asleep.”

For any yahoo answers people who wound up here by mistake: ADD is not contagious by sneezing or any other means.

Anyway, angry and desperate to do well in school, Luanne snatches Bobby’s pill and takes it herself.

Later on, at Peggy’s concert, Bobby is really just a background character but he’s the old Bobby we know and love. On the drive home, Hank comments that he really noticed an improvement in Bobby’s behavior today. Bobby sheepishly admits he didn’t take his pill today. His parents asked why and he said Luanne needed it really badly. And anyway, he just couldn’t take the rush anymore. He tries to describe it but eventually it just degenerates into shuddering.

When the family gets home, they find Luanne in the front yard trimming the shrubs into different shapes.

“Welcome home! I cooked you brunch and I tuned your car and I fixed your mower and I ate the brunch.”
~Luanne

After seeing this wild display, Peggy suggests they do some more research on those pills.

Even as a subplot, King of the Hill not only captures these struggles and situations really well, but it even has a few lessons. The biggest moral of the story is to do your research, and read more than the information your doctor gives you. Get a well-rounded education from multiple sources on any medication or diagnosis you get. It doesn’t matter if you’re not scientifically inclined or if you think it’s boring. In the end, it’s your body and you’re the one who’s got to live in it– NOT your doctor! So do all you can.

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I want to apologize one more time for taking so long to post something. Our first Christmas with a little one has been crazy and it’s still over a week away. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of cool things in the works for you guys, and I’ll be posting again soon.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Baby’s First Halloween: The Solo Family

Hey guys, h-how’s it goin?

Yup. Yup. America sure is… doing things.

Say, it’s been over a month of radio silence here on Do I Look Sick! What’s up with that?

Shhhhhhhhhhhh just mute CNN for a minute you’re not missing anything.

WELL I’ve been seeing a new doctor! Actually, I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for the first time ever and I have a lot to write about that. But right now, there’s something much more gravely important we need to talk about.

THAT’S RIGHT, HALLOWEEN, THE GREATEST.

I’ve been excited about family halloween costumes for years. Our debut family costume was the Solo Nuclear Family, a reimagining of the family life of Han, Leia, Chewy, and Ben in the Star Wars Universe. (spoilers?)

Here’s a bunch of adorable pictures, enjoy!