Thursday, November 29, 2007

Don't be a BLY

A busy day... I spent a few hours meeting with three of my friends to discuss stuff related to their jobs/businesses. During yoga, a guy in my class appeared to have suffered a heart attack, and I helped convince him that his symptoms were serious and that he needed to go see a doctor immediately. I also had to go get blood drawn for one more test. (Let's see, this makes the 4th time I've gotten stuck in the arm in just 4 weeks. I'm not really enjoying this mutant thing, and neither is my insurance company.)

I arrived at the testing lab at 3:30, and sat in the unattended waiting room for 15 minutes before someone came out to see why I was there. I presented my script for the testing, and she immediately starting looking for reasons why she couldn't draw my blood, mostly because she said that the office closes at 4pm. (Nevermind that the company's brochures and the signs in the waiting room all state that the office hours are 7:30 - 4:30.) First of all, she looked in a reference manual and found that one version of the test required fasting for 12 hours. I told her that my doctor's office hadn't mentioned anything about that. She double-checked the book and found out that there was an alternate version of the test which didn't require fasting. She called my doctor's office, probably hoping that they wouldn't answer, but they did. They said that I didn't need to do the fasting version of the test. Finally, she settled on the idea that the sample would require "immediate" processing, and the next courier pick-up wouldn't be until 7pm, so she said I'd have to go to a different office to have the blood drawn and collected in a timely fashion. It didn't seem worth having a debate about the definition of "immediate" processing, so I got directions to the other office and went on my merry way.

Things got even more aggravating on my way out of the parking lot. When I came to the end of my row of parking spaces, I was preparing to turn right, into the exit lane for the parking lot. As I was glancing over my left shoulder, checking for cars moving toward the exit, I heard a car horn and instinctively slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting a very expensive Mega-SUV, driven by a woman with an attitude as big as her vehicle. (She had just turned right into the parking lot from the street.) She was actually in MY lane, but apparently it's MY fault that her Land Yacht is way too big to navigate a normal turning radius. Obviously, I must be the idiot in this situation, because she actually rolled down her window to scream obscenities at me.

So the moral of the story for today is: Don't be a Bitch in a Land Yacht.

(Thanks for letting me vent.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's Official: I'm a Mutant.

More specifically, I found out yesterday that I have compound heterozygous (C667T and A1298C) mutations for the MTHFR gene. These mutations cause a thrombophilia (blood clotting) disorder. So now I've got follow-up appointments with a whole host of doctors, including a hemotologist and an endocrinologist.

There are a couple of reasons why finding out that I have this mutation is actually good news:

  • It explains the significant medical issues that I've had this year, which have caused anxiety, depression, and grief for both me and my husband. So as weird as this may sound, it actually comes as a huge relief to have some sort of definitive diagnosis, because now we have hope that things can be better in the future.

  • The condition is treatable, and the treatment is pretty simple and very effective-- I'll just have to take baby aspirin and extra supplements of folic acid, B6, and B12 for the rest of my life. (I may also need heparin injections, but not all the time.)

  • By finding this out now, I can significantly reduce my risk of having a thrombosis, stroke, or heart attack later on in life.

  • Since it's an inherited condition, my family can be tested for it as well. And if turns out that some of them are "mutants" too, then they can also reduce their risk of having thromboses, strokes, or heart attacks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


SmartCars are coming to the USA!

I've been fascinated with SmartCars since I saw them in Italy a couple of years ago. When I first saw them zipping around the streets of Rome, they reminded me of the Friends episode where Rachel adopts a hairless cat, and Joey just keeps saying, "It's not a CAT!" Because, really, a SmartCar is not a CAR. It's more like a Vespa built for two, or a golf cart on steroids.

I think a big part of their appeal is that they're just so darn happy...

Obviously, SmartCars are meant for urban life. Since they're only as long as a normal car is wide, they can park in a parallel parking space with their nose against the curb. To really appreciate their size, you have to see them in context. This SmartCar is parked next to a Nissan Micra, a sub-compact economy car:

But don't underestimate their ability to get-up-and-go! We were doing 145 kph (90 mph) on the Autostrada when a SmartCar strolled past us. (I suspect that many Italians have found ways to circumvent the speed-limiting controller.) SmartCar convertibles are also available, and they also make a snazzy little Roadster.

I've been rabidly anti-SUV for more than 10 years now. (There are so many good reasons why I hate SUVs that I'm not even going to begin to list them here.) So I'm not even upset about gas prices jumping above $3/gallon. I'm just glad that people may finally be thinking more seriously about buying smaller cars! Happy day!