16 February, 2011

I took off a couple hours from work yesterday to go to the neurologist. The doctor asked me a bunch of questions and did a little exam (shined light in my eyes, hit my knees with a hammer, made me walk in a straight line, etc.) He took a look at my CT scan and informed me that my symptoms could mean a few different things, but are most likely due to a complicated migraine attack. However, I could have had something called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a little more serious. So, just in case, they are going to continue testing. So, I had my blood drawn... again. It was the third time in one week! And you know those little tubes they put the blood in? Well this time, they took fourteen tubes worth! Oh how I hate needles! But hopefully this was the last time I'll get poked for awhile. So over the next couple of weeks, I'll have some more testing done (an MRI, an ultrasound of my heart, and some other stuff). I'll go back in six weeks for the results, so pray that they're good!

13 February, 2011

Oh boy, I have so much to say, I don't even know where to start... I'm just going to let you all know what has been going on in my life lately...

On Sunday, February 6th, I was at church and started to feel very lightheaded. Our pastor had asked the entire congregation to come forward for prayer. We were all holding hands and kneeling at the altar, and I thought I was going to pass out, right there in the middle of the floor. Luckily, I didn't. But when the prayer was over, I headed downstairs to the kitchen to drink some water, thinking it might make me feel better. Instead, my vision started getting fuzzy. I had a huge blind spot. And I felt terrible! I was all dizzy and my heart was hurting a bit. So I went home and laid down for several hours. Eventually, my vision returned and instead, I got a terrible headache. After awhile, I took some Advil and mustered up the strength to go to our neighbor's house for the Superbowl.

Ever since then, I've felt very weak and lightheaded, and have had several little headaches. Since I still felt bad on Wednesday, I decided I should go to the doctor just to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with me. I went to a clinic near our house. The doctor was really nice. I had my finger pricked and found out my hemoglobin levels are normal and I'm not diabetic. So that's a good thing! The doctor had my blood drawn for some tests. She told me to come back in two weeks for the results, but to go to the hospital if I felt any worse or had any chest pain.

The next day, I went to work like normal. Around noon, I started feeling a lot worse and had chest pain. I felt very lightheaded and my arms and legs were all tingly. So I heeded the doctor's advice and went to the emergency room. My coworker Colyn drove me and stayed with me most of the time, which was much appreciated. Our city director Caz was also with me for much of the time. When I got there, the made me sit in a wheelchair. Colyn drove me around the waiting room, making race car noises, to make things a little more fun. I had an EKG and had to pee in a cup, which is always exciting... We waited for about two hours before they finally brought me back to my own room. They made me wear one of those terrible hospital gowns and lay down in the bed. I was all hooked into a machine that was connected to me in seven places and measured all sorts of things, including my heart rate and blood pressure, which were both abnormally high. Every once in awhile, the machine would come to life and take my blood pressure. We did a lot of waiting and and TV watching, even though there was no sound. After a while of waiting, I had my blood drawn and was taken to get two chest x-rays. I waited about six hours before I was finally allowed to drink a glass of water. About an hour later, the doctor finally came in to see me. She was sort of mean and asked me what had happened. She told me that all of the tests had come back fine, so she was ordering a CAT scan for me. She left and a few minutes later, the nurse came in to check me for dehydration. Of course I was dehydrated, because I hadn't had any fluids for several hours, so I had to get an IV. It was so painful! Then, I went for my CAT scan. About an hour later, the doctor returned to tell me my CAT scan was normal. She told me she thought these symptoms were complications of a migraine attack. She prescribed me aspirin and recommended me to a neurologist for a follow-up appointment and some more tests. So I left the hospital ten hours later, feeling the same as before.

They hadn't found anything wrong with me, so why did I feel so terrible? I know it's probably a good thing that all my tests were normal, but I sort of wish they would find just something a tiny bit wrong. Today I feel better than before, but definitely not all the way better. I'm scheduled to go to the neurologist tomorrow (Tuesday), so hopefully that goes well! I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, your prayers are appreciated :)

Just hangin out in the ER...

Ok, now for another story... about bedbugs. My roommate Maureen was getting several bug bites and we finally realized they were from bedbugs. Our house had been treated right before we got there in September, but somehow the little critters had returned. Our landlords were planning on foreclosing on the house right after we moved out and didn't think it would be worth it to spend $1000+ on treatment or new carpets. But we didn't want to live with the bugs. Even worse, we didn't want any of our neighbors to come over for dinner and end up bringing some bedbugs home with them. So, the best option was for us to move. It was a tough choice because we are trying to live in solidarity with our neighbors. Even in the context of Mission Year, we have the resources to move when we have problems. This is a luxury that our neighbors cannot afford.

Nevertheless, on friday, we packed up all of our belongings and moved them one street over to our new little house. To make sure we didn't bring any bugs with us, we had to wash all of our clothing. We spent about two hours and $53 at the laundromat, but are now nice and clean! It took us two entire days to move everything, wash all our clothes, and get everything put away. We are now all settled and, even though this house is a little smaller than our other one, it already feels more like a home. It even has a compost pile and room for a garden!

So, to say the least, I had one hectic week! I hope yours was much more relaxing!
With love, from Atlanta

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!!

Emily reconstructing the bunk beds

Our chaotic living room, full of furniture

Our kitchen full of dishes and food

07 February, 2011

So, I took my test last Tuesday. Sitting in a cubicle, looking at a computer screen for three hours wasn't all that different from work, but was much more stressful. Because it was a computerized test, I got my scores back immediately. I did really well in the math section, though that isn't really relevant to the programs I'm applying to and will hardly help me to get in. I thought I did poorly on the verbal section (the section that actually counts). I felt terrible and was sort of freaking out during my entire walk home. But I later looked up scores online and found out that I actually did pretty well! So now that my test is over and one application is complete, all I have to do is submit my second application and then wait to hear back from the schools.

On top of all the graduate school stress, I've started a new community service site! It's additional to the Georgia Justice Project, so I'm gonna be a lot busier than before, but I think it's worth it because it will be working for something I'm extremely passionate about -- the environment! The organization I will be working with is called Green My Hood and it deals with environmental issues in my neighborhood. Please visit the organization's website and read the informative article (posted on March 18th) about some of the heartbreaking effects of environmental racism in my neighborhood. You can read it here.

The first project I am helping out with is a beautification project. Our neighborhood is home to a huge automobile impound lot, which is surrounded by a giant, ugly green fence. Green My Hood is working with the owners of the lot, the South Atlanta Civic League, a professional artists named Totem, and members of the community in order to get a 661-foot-long mural painted on the fence. This will be the largest mural in Atlanta. It's really exciting to be a part of this and I can't wait until it's finished! I'll keep you guys posted about it.

I'm really excited about what God has been doing in me and through my Mission Year so far. The poor are being cared for, relationships are being developed, and the Kingdom of God is being built! But Mission Year can't continue to spread the love in some of the most under-resourced neighborhoods in our country without your help! I need your help to continue strong in my ministry here! So, we are doing a love drive for Mission Year during the week of Valentine's Day! Please show me some love and consider making a special contribution toward my Mission Year by clicking here. If you donate $50 or more, you will get an awesome special-edition Love Drive t-shirt! Thanks for your love and support!

From Atlanta, with Love