I Begged Them To Chop My Leg Off

“Pretty please?” I asked Nurse Nick, the studly and only male nurse tending to patients in the ER that night. “Then I can start training to become a Paraolympian runner!”

Nurse Nick laughed but refused and left me and my roomie S to our own devices. Our day had been consumed by a trip to urgent care, and then the ER, to diagnose what was happening to the thing I used to call my right leg.

Let me back up a bit.

Remember how I went on a chilly, but amazing, excursion to Europe? Well it turns out that before I left, I contracted poison oak on a hike. Over the course of the trip, the rash – which I had paid very little attention to – turned into full blown cellulitis. Think mega-rash/skin infection. Very unbecoming.

Thus I limped off a 10-hour flight and straight into the waiting arms of my amazing friend.The doctors bandaged me up, gave me my prescriptions, and sent me home for the weekend to recuperate.

Thursday I called out of work sick and took it easy. Friday I went back to work, but tried to stand/walk as little as possible. By Saturday I had deemed myself well enough to spend a friend’s birthday at a Rocky Picture Show viewing until 4 AM.

On Monday, the doctor checked up on everything and said the infection looked almost gone, so I worked my usual hours through to Thursday. By Thursday, however, things had taken a turn for the worse, and a subsequent visit to urgent care confirmed the infection was back, and I had to restart all of the medications that had been driving me crazy all week. Plus it meant my fifth and sixth shots to the glutes. Yikes.

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Waiting for Nurse Nick to wheel me in for an ultrasound of my leg

This weekend, I have dedicated myself to being a model patient. I’m embarrassed to think how much I brushed off truly taking the time necessary to heal on the first round. When you’re in your twenties, you think you’re invincible. My version of ‘taking it easy’ at work meant working like I do normally, but just sitting down when at my desk instead of standing.

I was careless, and I hope you use this as a cautionary tale the next time you fall ill. Please. Do yourself the favor. Treat yourself right, inside and out, and have the courage to tell people you need the time to do so. If you do not, you will get sicker, and you will miss more work and pay more money for medications and doctors visits (which means more glute shots).

You only get one body; treat it well.

Oh, and make sure you know what poison oak is before you hike.

 

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Well, I Tried: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

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Well folks, it’s the weekend, and you know what that means! After a long week of some very non-clean eating, it’s time for another installation of “Well, I tried”. This week’s recipe is for slow cooker honey garlic chicken, from the blog Just a Taste. Here’s what I thought:

The Ingredients: For the most part, very easy to find grocery items. Once again, I tried to get everything at Target, and was successful EXCEPT for soy sauce, if you can believe it. The only thing I blinked an eye at was the hoisin sauce, but I figured it’d be a worthwhile investment if I was sure to use it again.

The gang [minus onion] is all here!

The Prep: Not too bad, actually. You whisk the main ingredients together, pour them over the chicken breasts, and voila! It’s ready to cook. The only thing that took some time for me was dicing the onion, but that’s because I don’t know how to properly do so.

** Note: I took some liberties with the recipe. Firstly, I used boneless breasts, simply because Target didn’t have any with bones. Secondly, I used coconut oil instead of olive oil – it was convenient, because I already had it. Third, I stacked some pieces of chicken on top of each other, even the recipe says this is a no-no. I had to because my crock pot is tiny, and I wanted enough to last me. Next (yikes, I didn’t think I made this many changes), I cooked it for two hours on high, rather than four hours on low. This is because I don’t know proper time management skills and wanted to eat at a decent hour. Lastly, I skipped the toppings because I ran out of money at the store.

Simmering the sauce with the slurry.

How’d It Come Out? Wow. Hands down a really delicious, flavorful recipe that yielded more than I expected it to. The chicken came out moist and tender and had really absorbed the marinade without having sat in it for too long. I promptly devoured it with some rather unhealthy potatoes from a box but hey, this is a step in the right direction!

I took this photo and then promptly inhaled the food.

The Verdict: SO DELICIOUS! A huge recommend for everyone except my poor mother, who is allergic to chicken.

Stay tuned for more recipe adventures!

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Standing Standing Everywhere, and Not a Place to Sit

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There have always been – and most likely, will always be – health crazes and fads. From early tonics that promised instant cures, to the Shake Weight, there are new trends starting every day. This time around, I’ve decided to board the bandwagon on one.

At work lately, there have been a string of my coworkers who have begun to use standing desks. It started with one guy in the creative department, M, who claimed that he preferred standing to sitting when he drew. He propped up his laptop and accouterments on some cardboard boxes and voila! A standing desk was born.

M’s desk remained homemade until work hired a new executive, who had back problems and couldn’t sit for long periods of time. And as an executive, there was no way he was going to be greeting clients with his desktop sitting on a Goldfish box. Several standing desks were purchased, along with some mats to ease the pressure on their feet.

The craze was moving along at a solid pace when my coworker, B, and I finally thought we wanted to give it a try. I

My homemade standing desk, don't mind the mess!

My homemade standing desk, don’t mind the mess!

actually prefer to stand to work – it makes it easier to dash out the door when anything arises (and let me tell you, a lot arises).

Because we were only testing the waters, we took the homemade route; my keyboard is resting on a paper holder, while my mouse is on a plastic drawer set. B’s setup involves several boxes at key heights. Luckily, the company had ordered some extra mats for us to stand on.

After a week of no-sitting, B and I agreed on a few things:

  1. Our legs weirdly feel more toned. Though in my case, I emphasized they were a little more stiff.
  2. It does make it easier to walk in and out of our office to do tasks.
  3. We don’t feel as sluggish and bloated in the afternoons following lunch

Screen shot 2015-04-08 at 6.34.45 AMSo far so good. Then B texted me the link to an article one night about the real health benefits of standing desks, versus the hype. It spells out that standing desks aren’t the magic antithesis to sitting. In reality, too much of anything will kill you, and standing too much can be painful and cause heart problems and varicose veins. Yikes.

Standing desks can be apart of a solution, though, when placed into a life routine that additionally include
low-intensity physical activity. The key is to make sure you’re doing it correctly! After reading the article, B and I adjusted our setups to make sure our standing – and sitting – positions were correct.

As she and I begin week two, we’ve begun to allow ourselves to sit whenever we feel uncomfortable or tired. The key is balance, balance, balance.

Until tomorrow, when B brings in her new weighted hula hoop for us to try. 😉

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Well, I Tried: Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole

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Passion, thy name is cooking!

Seriously, though. If my kitchen didn’t heat up to 1,000,000 degrees every time I used the oven – and if groceries were a wee bit cheaper – I’d be in there every day whipping up a batch of this or that.

Cooking, as opposed to baking, has been relatively new to me. Sure, I helped make dinners at home growing up, but I lived in a residence hall all four years of college and depended heavily on the dining hall. Living on my own has thrust me into this new world of meal planning, shopping, and cooking, and I’m loving it so far. Nothing is more exciting than trying a new recipe and fervently hoping it A) doesn’t burn and B) tastes alright.

Additionally this year, I’ve embarked on a campaign to eat clean. This, to me, means less processed foods and more home cooking, using natural and healthy ingredients.

Thankfully, Pinterest exists, and has been more than obliging with providing dozens of new recipes to try. Some have been less than stellar, while others have become tried and true favorites.

Tonight, as apart of a series I’m going to call “Well, I tried”, I cooked up this week’s main dish: Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole from Olives’n’Wine. Here’s what I thought:

The Ingredients: Super simple grocery items, all of which I was able to buy at Target (I just so happened to be there shopping for other things). The only splurge was the quinoa, but luckily I had a box leftover from another recipe.

So...much...sweet...potato

So…much…sweet…potato

The Prep: Takes a bit of time. You’re supposed to grate the sweet potato into little pieces. Turns out, I don’t own a grater, so I used a potato peeler instead and turned them into little slices. It took about twenty to thirty minutes to grate down the giant potatoes I bought, AND I ended up having lots of leftovers, which I froze. Otherwise, you only have to chop the onion and the asparagus, and that’s fairly easy. The only other time consumer is cooking the quinoa (15 minutes-ish).

All tossed & ready to go

All tossed & ready to go

How’d It Come Out? Pretty good! Not a great idea for those who don’t like sweet potatoes, of course, considering that’s the main ingredient. I cooked it for 35 minutes, and that left everything softer, yet still with a slight crunch to it (just how I like it). It’s tasty, but not overtly flavorful. I started tasting it slowly, and then ended up going back for seconds and thirds.

Mmmm cheese!

Mmmm cheese!

The Verdict: Definitely a re-do recipe. PLUS it yielded tons of servings, so I won’t have to worry about running out mid-week.

Stay tuned for more recipe adventures!

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Healthy Makes It Happen

Monogram Every so often, I like to check in and make sure I’m on the right track health-wise. It can be easy to lose a little sleep here, forget your flu shot there, etc. As fall swings into full gear, I’m starting to put together a healthy checklist of everything I’d like to improve on. That way, I can spend more time sipping Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pretending it’s cold out, and less time hanging in bed with the sniffles!

  • More sleep. I’m a typical 20-something in that I don’t go to bed when I should. Forget about getting up early – I can barely get up in time to brush my hair into something manageable before work. Experts are still recommending 7-8 hours a night, but I’m barely averaging six. The Huffington Post recommends these tips for getting more shut-eye:
    • Make a rule to keep tech out of your bed, and turn off all devices at least an hour before bedtime. This means no last minute Facebook/Instagram checks.
    • Keep a worry journal. A lot of the time, I can’t sleep because I’m too busy trying to remember everything I have to do the next day. Writing down reminders, as well as things that are keeping you worried, can help put the mind at ease.
    • Stick to a regular routine. Getting ready for bed earlier in the evening – washing up, putting on PJs, unwinding with restful activities – can ready your body for sleep.
  • Health Calendar. Ever try to think back to your last doctor’s appointment, and realize it was over a year ago? Regular check ups of all sorts, from your eyes to your skin, are crucial to maintaining your health. I find it helpful to keep a running list of all the healthcare providers I should be seeing on a regular basis, along with when I last saw them and when I should probably see them next. Then I throw everything into my regular calendar with reminders.
  • Keeping up with Regular Exercise. I’ve been pretty good about making it to the gym, but lately I’ve been

    Farmer’s market berries are never a bad idea

    getting a little lax with my workouts. One day I arrived to find out that I’d forgotten to pack socks, earbuds, and a sports bra! Rather than sludge it out, I went home early. Being prepared is half the battle – the rest is up to me to create an engaging workout that’ll get me excited about exercising and wanting more.

  • Making the most of Meal Planning. My schedule is mostly consistent during the week, and because I eat two out of three meals at work, meal planning should be pretty easy. The trick for me is that when I am home to eat, I always seem to gravitate towards the less healthy options in sight. Planning what to eat in advance is a great way to make sure I’m getting a little bit of every food group – ice cream included
    • One blog I love to follow is Simply Taralynn. It’s all about healthy living, delicious recipes, and fitness. Check it out here!
  • Hydration, hydration, hydration! Drinking water is always important, but seeing as I now live in a desert, this is especially true.
    • While there are many differing opinions on how much you should be drinking a day, 8 8-oz glasses is the common recommendation. I find it easier to get a few out of the way by pairing a glass with each meal I eat.

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