Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Overused Words

My close friends and family know I have a large vocabulary, and a deep love for expanding it. I think spelling is fantastic but I have a deep dislike for trolls that have committed their life to correcting other people's spelling. I know I make grammatical mistakes, so correction would be hypocritical. Therefore I try my best not to harp on the spelling of others (unless I can't even understand what the original message was). 

Even though I pride myself on my restraint, there comes time when I allow myself to gripe about the state of vocabulary these days.

Our language is not only filled with incredible words, but outstanding synonyms to all those words. So when I see an overuse of a certain single word, I'm slightly peeved. Can't we find creative ways to explain things? By now I'm sure you're already thinking about words that get overused. At least, I hope you're  already thinking about words that get overused, because I don't want to some kind of weirdo.

Here's a short rant on words that need to take a long vacation. I'll even supply some substitutes.

Epic. Used in everything ranging from the coolest stunt you ever seen a person do all the way to that one time when you tripped over the coffee table but caught yourself before totally face-planting AND THE CHEESE DIDN'T EVEN SLIDE OFF THE CRACKER IT WAS EPIC OMG.

We have done this classy word an extreme disservice. "Epic" deserves more. It needs to be reserved for truly unbelievable things, like the construction of the Hoover dam.

Excuse me, but DAM!

As if water-holdery wasn't enough, there is a two-lane bridge on top of that colossal structure.

You run all the way through a pouring rainstorm only to find you've locked your keys inside your car. Your friends go "Haha, epic fail man." What word are they going to use when they visit something truly awesome?

Shawn's Synonym Suggestions: outstanding, unbelievable, miraculous, unprecedented, legendary, and remarkable.

Awkward. This word mainly gets overused by teenage girls, so it's not as widespread as the 'Epic' Epidemic. I don't quite know where this trend has come from, but I'm slightly miffed by it.

Tween 1: "I love orange juice. It's so orangey and juicy and good. It's my favorite."
Tween 2: "Eww, nasty. Orange juice is definitely NOT my favorite. Apple is better."
Tween 1: "..."
Tween 3: "Awk-waaarrrrdd".

Tween 1: "Oh, look, there's Tween 2. She's wearing that scarf again, after I told her it totally looks silly. Now she won't talk to me, but I have to sit by her in biology."
Tween 3: Awk-waaaarrrrdd".

Shawn's Synonym Suggestions: unnerving, embarrassing, worrisome, heebily-jeebily.

Legit. This is not a word. This is a butchering of the excellent word "Legitimate". It's pronounced "Lah-jitt", and depending on how EPIC the situation, more emphasis is placed on the second syllable, until people are practically spraying you with saliva telling you how awesome their weekend was.

This moose's weekend was EPICALLY LEGIT.

Shawn's Synonym Suggestions: credible, prime, authentic, valid.

Those are the choice few that come to mind, and I promised my rant would be short, i.e. brief, momentary, fleeting.

That doesn't mean I won't revive this subject on a later date, though. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Curious Body Ailments

Lately I've been having minor difficulties with the life-support system that God gave my soul. I went back and inserted the word "minor" in there because I didn't want people to think I had contracted a contagious strain of cancer or stubbed my pinky toe on a dresser. Nothing serious like that. In the past few days I've been having difficulties regulating the amount of sugar in my blood, which is a nice, scientific way of saying that I'm HIGH ALL THE TIME. Not in a drug way, but in a high blood-sugar way.

A normal-type human with a normal-type pancreas doesn't need to worry about this sort of thing. The body regulates your blood-sugar content to a very close range, which is between 80 and 120 mg/dl. (Milligrams per Deciliter). The pancreas does all that like a well-timed machine, bossing the body around and getting things done. You never notice the operation of your pancreas. Since the day my pancreas said "Screw this! I want to be a lump of lazy organic material.", I've had to regulate my blood-sugar content with insulin. Less insulin, higher sugar content. More insulin, lower sugar content. The irony that I'm HIGH ALL THE TIME because I don't take ENOUGH drugs is not lost on me.

Pancreata. Ya just can't trust 'em.

But I've really, really simplified it. See, you can't just say, "I'm gonna take all the insulin, and my body will use it when it needs some." Nope, you must accurately discern how much your body needs based on current blood-sugar content, amount of activity you may or may not be participating in for the next few hours, and most importantly, food intake. So it's a tricky wicket all around.

My target blood sugar range is between 80 and 150. 80-120 would be super nice but it's extremely easy for blood sugar to vary. Sometimes I feel like my blood sugar goes up when I walk past a sugar jar.

Too much insulin, I risk going low, or Hypoglycemic. Too little insulin/too much sugar, I risk going high, which is Hyperglycemic. I can just imagine the meeting of important Latin scholars and doctors.

Doctor: "Mm, yes, quite. We need to invent more words today! More words about the body."
Scholar: "How about 'Maximus'? Have we used that one yet?"
Doctor: "We used that just yesterday, on the largest muscle in the body."
Scholar: "Splendid! What are we naming today?"
Doctor: "Low blood sugar and high blood sugar."
Scholar: "Hmmm, fascinating."
Doctor: "Mm, yes, quite."
Scholar: "Perhaps we can incorporate 'glycemia'. I like that word."
Doctor: "It does have a fancy sound to it! But whatever does it mean?"
Scholar: "Well, I derived it from glucose, which is sugar in the blood."
Doctor: "I do like it when words sound nice AND make sense! But what about the high and low business?"
Scholar: "Well, it does appear that people with a lot of sugar are unusually energetic and rowdy."
Doctor: "Perhaps, 'Glycemicus rowdicus'?"
Scholar: "Mmm, sounds like we're casting a spell."
Doctor: "We wouldn't want that. Might have some people question our ability to name things."
Scholar: "Indeed. This is a posh job, and I'd hate to lose it."
Doctor: "Whatever we decide, I'm going to diagnose my niece with it. She's especially hyper."
Scholar: "Hmm...Hyperglycemia?"
Doctor: "Indeed! Quite magnanimous!"
Scholar: "That's for the high. Now the low...what's the opposite of Hyper?"
Doctor: "I have noticed that Hippopotami are quite lazy. They seem to me to be the perfect opposite."
Scholar: "'Hippopotamiglycemia' is quite the mouthful."
Doctor: "Shorten it to Hypo. Nobody will question us."
Scholar: "Good thinking! Meeting adjourned. This calls for some celebration!"

When you look up "Victory Celebration", Google gives you this.

So what is a low blood sugar? Anything below 65 is undesirable, but I've already been down to where my meter just says "LO", which is around 28 mg/dl. This is not a good place to be. The body is sluggish, unresponsive, nearing coma. It makes snails, sloths, and hippos look energetic and speedy. A common low I'll have is in the 50's, when I've either eaten less than I intended, taken more insulin than I've intended, or did some kind of physical exercise, which I never intend but it sometimes happens by accident.

This woman is experiencing some accidental exercise.

High blood sugar is anything past 160, but I don't necessarily treat highs with insulin until they are past 200. 300 mg/dl is pretty bad, and usually indicates I've missed an entire insulin shot and/or somehow devoured a crate of Snickers without knowing. So you can imagine my alarm and dismay when my blood sugar meter cheerfully beeped at me last night with the number 435 stamped all over its ugly little display. I immediately demanded a recount (since sometimes tests are a wee bit inaccurate), and my retest came up at 412 mg/dl. I briefly considered feeding tests into the machine, hoping for a nice downward trend, but 412 was within the standard deviation. But I hadn't eaten a truckload of ice cream, and I sure-as-shootin' didn't miss a shot. So I'm still a little puzzled. I devoured some delicious Mexican cuisine at the new restaurant in Kalona for supper, but the sugar content was minimal. I ate some crackers and CheezWhiz at home for a snack...perhaps there is more sugar in aerosol-ized cheese than I previously imagined. Like, 40 times more than I imagined?

I do not like to be so high. It makes me really thirsty and sometimes irritable. Jumpy, nervy, twitchy, excitable...those are facets of my personality that get noticeably prominent as I get high. Blood sugar high, I must again stress. (Because of my injections and the way my body reacts, my manfriends like to joke that I take LSD, and commonly refer to my insulin as "crack".)

"Hey guys, I found a picture of Shawn."

On several occasions, my meter will greet me with a "HI" reading. No, it is not cheerfully wishing a splendid day upon me. "HI" is any blood sugar over 600, at which your blood veins have become sugar delivery routes. Thankfully, those moments are extremely rare. They usually happen when other parts of my body are down for maintenance, like when I'm sick. Or when I visit Christian's house with his unlimited supplies of peach tea and Gold'n Nuggets.

That is the stock photo of my meter. They have no photos of "HI" or "LO" readings on their meters because that would be bad for business.

So I've been battling this high-blood-sugar trend lately, which has affected my sleep, which has made me grumpy. I guess I can thank diabetes for giving me an excuse to be grumpy. :)

After discovering the 412 reading last night, I took the proper amount of insulin and went to bed. When I awoke, I was 247 and nonplussed. Yes, 247 is lower, but it certainly wasn't the 110 that I wanted. DID I SOMEHOW EAT WHILE I WAS ASLEEP? For the sake of my sanity, I hope I did. Then at least I'd have an explanation as to why my sugar was still high in the morning.

Hmm, side note. Do you ever do research on something you've always just used, but never thought about? I just did some calculations on mg/dl. I've seen it approximately 18,992 times in my life (you can see it at the very top of the meter screen in the picture I've handily provided.) Using 100 mg/dl (a nice, round number) and converting to measurements slightly more common, I've found that it precisely equals 1 g/l, or 1 gram of sugar per liter of blood. In American measurements, that's 4 pinches of sugar per 1.06 quarts of blood. Our bodies run on such little input! Once they make a car that can run efficiently on those types of ratios, I'll be impressed.

With all this research, I think I'll test my blood sugar.

Hm, 117.

Life is good! Nothing to report.

Unless, of course, I find incriminating evidence that I DO sleep-eat. I'd report that.