Friday, May 22, 2015

Finding Beauty Friday: Hands2Help

    After the A-Z Challenge last month Amanda and I decided to get back into blogging regularly. One of my days is Finding Beauty Friday. I was a little unsure what I would feature but last weekend I saw something that I thought would be perfect.

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 One of the blogs, Confessions of a Fabric Addict that I found during the A-Z Challenge hosts a challenge each year called Hands2Help where quilters make and donate quilts to charities. The three charities featured this year are:
Layers of Hope Quilting 911 - Quilts are donated to victims of disasters.
Happy Chemo - This organization makes care packages that includes quilts for people who are getting chemo treatments.
Because You Matter - Quilts are given to children who are going through tough times so they have something to snuggle up to.

The Hands2Help page has more information about each of the 3 charities. Over the first 4 years they have been able to collect over 400 quilts for these organizations. The organizers have some prizes to give away to some of the quilters who participate. Sadly I didn't find out about this challenge until it was almost over so I am unable to participate this time but will definetely be part next year. It is great to see that so many people are willing to share their talents, time and money to people they have never met. I hope they meet their goals and enrich the lives of everyone who receives their generous gifts.

Have you ever been part of an online challenge like this? 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

His and Her TBT: Deadly Animals in the Water

Angela at The Teacher's Desk 6 is hosting a Throwback Thursday linky party. The rules are simple - choose a previous blog post and re-post it. 

http://teachersdesk6.blogspot.com/2014/07/throwback-thursday-memories.html

Sean loves writing blog posts about the differences between living in the U.S. and living in Australia. The theme of our A-Z Challenge this year was Australia and all the cool places to visit there. I love these posts too because it is fun to compare and contrast the cultures, lifestyles, stores, language, etc. Last year, he blogged about some pretty deadly Australian sea life that we do not have in the waters off our coasts. Enjoy!

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It is pretty well known that Australia is home to some of the most unique animals in the world. It is also home to many of the deadliest animals as well. It sometimes seems that if you watch a nature program on TV you sometimes think that the country is just crawling with them and its only a matter of seconds before something bites or devours you. The truth is that although many of Australia's animals are quite deadly they are normally afraid of humans and you have to do something pretty silly to get attacked. 

   Today's post looks to the coastline of Australia and will highlight some of the nasties that could await you in the water. We will skip the sharks for now even though they do earn an honourable mention, but there are not very many unique species of sharks that live exclusively around Australia that are known to attack humans. Below are a few of Australia's marine creatures that are best avoided and left well alone.

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Blue Ringed Octopus: These little guys are usually found in rock pools along the beach and small enough for a child to pick up. When left alone they often blend in with their surrounding but if they are provoked or feel threatened they will display bright blue rings. If you happen to try and pick one of these little guys up you will likely get bitten and you may not even know as the bite is often painless. Should you get bit you will need to seek medical attention immediately as the venom is very deadly and total paralysis will set in within 10-15 minutes. Breathing will stop within this time and if assisted breathing is not administered death will soon follow. If a bite victim can rushed to a hospital and placed on an artificial ventilator they will likely recover fully as the effects of the venom are usually gone within 24 hours or so. If left alone these guys pose little danger so feel free to look at the pretty blue rings but do not pick it up for a closer look!

Box Jellyfish: These guys are next to invisible in the water and can provide a sting that is more painful than anything you have ever felt. Found in the tropical waters of northern Australia they are so dangerous many beaches are closed to swimmers during the Australian summer. It is one of the larger jellyfish and the bell can be as large as a man's head and the stingers can trail for several feet. Even when dead jellyfish or detached stingers can provide a painful sting. The venom is deadly and has been responsible for the deaths of at least 80 people in the last 150 years. If stung the recommended remedy is to flood the sting area with vinegar as it helps detaches the stingers from the skin and to seek medical attention. Its definitely best to check with the locals or heed the warning signs before heading into the waters in the tropical areas of Australia.

Stonefish: Thankfully these guys are rare but they can deliver a nasty surprise to anyone unlucky enough to step on one. Found along the coast of the top half of Australia, Stonefish are found partially buried in the sand. They do this to camouflage themselves from their prey but sadly this makes them impossible to see. They often will not move even if someone is about to step on them so it is recommended to wear good water shoes and tread carefully. The danger comes from a row of venomous spines that run along the top of the fish that is activated when someone steps on the fish. Although it is not as deadly as some of the other creatures around Australia's coastline these guys will do a number on the bottom of your foot and will make walking quite painful for many days. If you happen to step on one it is recommended to sooth the pain with hot water and to seek medical attention.

These are just some of the dangers along the coastline of Australia. Although they are out there most visitors to Australian beaches never encounter any of these creatures. I did see a Blue Ringed Octopus in a rock pool when I was fairly young and a dead Box jellyfish a few years later but knew enough to steer clear of them. As long as you take the proper precautions you should have an safe and fun time.

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Pretty crazy, huh? Which one do you think is the craziest/weirdest/most interesting? For me it is definitely the stone fish. That little guy seems intense!


Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Her Vein Closure Update

On St. Patrick's Day, I had a vein closure done on my leg. I talked about the procedure, why I had it done, and what exactly a "vein closure" is back in March. Check it out for the backstory.

Last week, I went back to my vascular surgeon and we talked about how I am doing and all that is going on still with my leg. Here's an update:

-The redness in my leg, around the injection site and along the vein, is gone. Whoo! I found out that at the injection site, the vein is only 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) from the surface of the skin. No wonder it turned red - 120 degrees of heat that close to the surface makes the redness make total sense.

-All the bruises around and along the vein are gone. The injection site is still visible, but the rest of that area of the leg is back to normal.

-The vein is completely closed. No blood flowing through it anymore. In about one year, it will be absorbed into the surrounding tissue. Right now it's just hanging out, enjoying the retired life.

-My ankle still swells and the foot/toes will turn red, but not nearly as much swelling as before and not nearly as red as before. He found some reflux (another bad valve) in the deep vein system, but there is no fix for that. He said we hit a triple (not a homerun) and that, because of the reflux in the deep vein, there is no way to have a home run.

-I'm so grateful that I had this procedure done, even if I can't have a home run. A triple is still a huge improvement from where I was before.

I asked him several questions that I had kept on my phone over the last month. Here's what I asked and what he said.

1. Can I ride roller coasters? Those ride signs say not to ride if you have medical problems, etc. and I thought with the way the ride seats are built, it could potentially be a problem. He said I was free to ride all roller coasters that I wanted to ride.
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2. Is it safe to get pregnant? Sean and I stopped all attempts at getting pregnant because we wanted to get this stuff dealt with first. The doctor said we are good to start again and he wished us luck. *fingers crossed that God is ready to give us a baby*
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3. Is it normal to have varicose veins popping up near my ankles? The short answer from my doctor was yes. He said I am likely predisposed to them due to the circulation issues I have and if I continue to wear my compression hose it will help. 
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4. Is it normal for varicose veins to hurt? Again, the short answer was yes. He said that the varicose veins that are near the vein he closed will likely reduce in size and pain. There is a procedure that he can do that will do away with the others, so that is something to think about in the future.
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5. What exercises should I do/not do moving forward? He said that doing dead lifts or heavy weights would not be good, but I can do all manner of cardio. In fact, he encouraged me to do cardio since I have the reflux in my deep vein. He said that there are two ways to help my vein work, wear my hose (which I do daily) and exercise. Talk about motivation!
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6. Am I able to travel by plane to Australia? When you fly for long distances, there is a risk for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) or blood clots in the leg. I was worried that he would tell me that I could not travel to Australia because the risk would be greater because the deep vein was now doing more work. He said that there is a greater risk, but I should still feel good about going. He said for me to wear my hose and take an aspirin the day we fly. I am nervous now because my anxiety likes to play up a lot where blood clots are concerned. I am hopeful that when the time comes to travel, my nerves and anxiety will not get the best of me and all will be well. 
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It was a great meeting with Dr. McKenzie and I am so grateful for his patience and insight. I will continue to wear my hose, exercise, and try to get healthy. I know this will help. I go back to visit Dr. McKenzie in one year and I am hopeful that this is the last vein closure I will need to have.

Happy Hump Day,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

His: Living in America - Speed Limit Signs


Many of the road signs in America look very similar to the ones in Australia that is not the case with speed limit signs. The ones in America are black and white and in miles per hour. In Australia it is a number in black with a red circle around it and is in kilometres per hour. I found it difficult at first to see the speed limit signs in America since I was so accustomed to looking for the signs with the big red ring around them. After several years I got used to the black and white signs but I do miss the ones in Australia.

Most highways in Australia have a 100kph/61mph speed limit or 110kph/66mph on more rural areas and freeways. Speed limits in towns and cities are lower and range from 50kph/31kph to 80kph/50mph. They do seem to change the speed limit a lot in towns and cities so it is important to pay attention so you don't get a speeding ticket. Below are a few examples of the speed limit signs in Australia.

In addition to speed limit signs the speed limits are also on the roads in many places. 

 110 looks impressive to people who are used to mph but it only translates to 70mph.

 Better not speed in this area or you will get a nasty surprise in the mail box.

Better obey the speed limits,

or you may get a visit from the boys and girls in blue.

Do you prefer the Australian speed limit signs or the American ones? Do you have different ones where you live?





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