Tag Archives: Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack, the Sequel

26 Oct

This is  a continuation of yesterday’s thoughts. You should probably read those first before you read this one, if you can stand it.

So, I did all this research on the parathyroid hormone. Apparently, if your PTH is out of whack, then you can experience a range of symptoms from feeling run down, sleeping poorly, irritability and a decrease in memory. Irritability? Really? Wow. I started thinking back to my teen years, living at home. I could have had a problem that goes WAY BACK. I started composing a letter to my parents in my head:

“Dear Mom and Dad-

You asked me to keep you informed on all the testing, etc. that my doctor is doing regarding my XLH. I just wanted to let you know that I had my blood drawn yesterday to test my Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels, which regulates the calcium in your blood. The parathyroid can affect your mood, apparently, and if it’s out of whack, one can feel depressed and even irritable. I just thought you might want to know this so that when you think of those days when I was a grouchy teenager, maybe you can cut me a little slack since it may have been due to a parathyroid problem. I couldn’t help myself and I hope you’ll forgive me for those several years of being in a foul mood (especially around you, Mom, since you were a stay-at-home mother) and the occasional foul mood that I have been in since that time. I’m sorry. Love, Banjogrrl.”

Then, I thought I should probably share this with my brother and sister, too, to keep them in the loop. So, I composed this letter to them in my head.

“Dear Sister and Brother-

As you two may or may not know or even care, I am getting some blood work done occasionally for my XLH. Google it, in case you forgot what it is that I have. Anyway, although there’s the possibility that my parathyroid hormone is out of whack, which can cause problems like irritability and anger management issues, I am not going to be one of those people that uses a medical condition to explain their bad behavior.

I know that I , your older sister and the boss of you, was often irritable with the two of you when we were growing up. It was definitely not due to the XLH or the parathyroid hormone or any other medical or physiological issue. I was irritable because YOU TWO simply got on my last nerve. Sister, I grew so weary of being asked to play Barbies or play house, when you knew good and well that what I really wanted to do was ride bikes and pretend that I was on a killing mission with my plastic machine gun or bow and arrow or cowboy pistol. That is simply not an arena for Barbies! And, Brother, I just got plain sick and tired of you always stealing my bicycle. I regret that I taught you how to ride one. What was wrong with you? It was a girl’s bike with a banana seat and an awesome sissy bar, and yes, tricked out with playing cards attached to the spokes with clothespins, but DUDE! It was my bike and NOT yours for the taking. Y’all don’t get on my nerves now, because, #1, I don’t have to live with you and #2, the pressure of being the boss of you is now gone since I am not stuck living with you. You just don’t know the pressure I felt. It was palpable. But, I love you anyway and I forgive you. Love, Banjogrrl, the boss of you emeritus.”

I felt pretty sure that when I got the results back from my blood work, the PTH levels would confirm my suspicions that I was going to have to work even harder than the regular, normal person to not be irritable or grouchy. So, the nurse called me from my doctor’s office and said that she had the results from my lab work. I braced myself. “Your Vitamin D is now at 31 ng/mL, which is up from 26 ng/mL and your PTH is NORMAL, right in the middle of the acceptable range.”  WHAT??? Okay, I had a little mini-celebration that my Vitamin D had budged from it’s chronically low level to just above the minimum needed, which is 30, but my PTH was NORMAL??? She continued, “Please call to schedule a retest in 6 months because the doctor really wants that Vitamin D level to be even higher.” Yeah, yeah, okay, I’ll call.

But, NORMAL PTH? My grouch theory is completely wrong. Oh dear. I suppose I can attribute my teenage grouchiness to those OTHER hormones, but what about my grouchiness now?

I Googled “middle-aged woman symptoms irritability.”

The top results were all about menopause. I am sure most of you guessed this already. Sigh.

I’m going to go eat that last box of Cracker Jack. My dad can go buy his own.

Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017


Cracker Jack*

25 Oct

On Monday, I had to go to get my blood drawn. My doctor wanted to do another follow-up on my Vitamin D levels, since it still had not reached the minimum necessary for good bone health at the last check. This time, she also wanted to check the parathyroid hormone (PTH) level.

I did a little reading on the parathyroid gland, and although it’s located near the thyroid, it has nothing to do with the thyroid. We have four parathyroid glands, and they’re each the size of a little pea, but apparently they have a big job of regulating the calcium in the blood. If your PTH level is either too high or too low, then your kidneys and/or bones are going to have some problems. Apparently, folks with XLH can have some problems with their parathyroid glands. I don’t completely understand how all this works, but I showed up for the blood test on Monday. They told me it was a non-fasting blood test. So, I ate my bowl of oatmeal and drank my coffee as I do almost every day.

On Tuesday morning, the woman from the lab called and said that I needed to come back in  to have my blood drawn AGAIN. Apparently, the blood-taker lady misread her manual and did not spin out and separate my blood as she was supposed to. So, they needed another sample. I felt sorry for her, really. I think she was aggravated with herself. It wasn’t a huge deal…I went back, and gave her my other arm to bruise, er, I mean, stick. I tried to cheer her up a little. I told her that when I was a little girl, I used to have to have my blood drawn a lot (because of the XLH) and that my daddy always bought me a box of Cracker Jack from the vending machine if I DIDN’T cry. Not a problem…Cracker Jack was way better than tears!

In fact, I came home and posted the following on Facebook, knowing that my dad would see this. (He may be 75, but he’s pretty hip.) I wrote:

“One of my earliest memories is when I sat on my dad’s lap at the doctor’s office to have my blood drawn. My dad promised me a box of Cracker Jack from the vending machine afterwards, if I didn’t cry. And, of course, I did not cry. Today, I had to get my blood redrawn, because the lab screwed up the sample they took from me yesterday. So, I bought myself some Cracker Jack. Since they now come in a set of 3 boxes, I am saving one of them for you, Dad! To my brother and sister: being the runt of the litter had its benefits, ha, ha!”

I was doubtful if he would remember that. But, he posted later:

“I love them; thanks for bringing this up; guess I did a few things right.”

I guess he did remember this! That was pretty cool to learn. I was a little amazed, though, at how unsure he was that he had been a positive influence in my youth. I guess a lot of parents, and adults in general, always wonder if they’ve made a difference in some young person’s life. I remember several instances of adults who said or did things in my childhood or youth that I have found to be memorable and I know helped me along the way.

#1 Age 6: “Banjogrrl, always go the extra mile. See that house right there? When I drove by here yesterday, their car was halfway out in the street, because it had rolled down their driveway, out of gear. I stopped and went to their door and told them, so they would move their car and it wouldn’t get hit by a passing car. You should always go the extra mile, do more than you’re expected to do.” That was another memorable moment from my Dad.

#2 Age 9: “TURN TO PAGE 303!!!” My math teacher always punished the entire class even if only one person was bad. Our punishment was to do the last page of the huge math book, which was the most difficult, and turn it in. I became really good in math that year. But now when I make mistake in my bookkeeping, I hear her high pitched and shrill voice in my head.

#3 Age 12: “I wish I was white. I think life would be easier.” From my friend Janeira, an African-American classmate at school. Okay, so she wasn’t an adult who influenced me, but I believe she was an “old soul” who was wise beyond her years. Before then, I had no clue that my life might be easier than anyone else’s for any reason, especially skin color. She completely changed my world view that day. In a sense, I lost my innocence about racism and poverty, power and privilege.

#4 Age 14: “Banjogrrl, you look so pretty in that dress! Green is your color!” These words came from the mother of one of my best friends. Ever since then, I have tended to favor green blouses and shirts. I always feel like I look good in them. These words came at a time when I needed a little encouragement and affirmation about my looks.

#5 Age 15: “When you sing, don’t just stick a smile on your face. Use your eyes, even your whole face, to express the emotions of the song.” From the youth choir director at my church. That was really good advice to learn at an early age. It encouraged me to really think about the songs that I was singing, rather than just spout out words in a tuneful way.

#6 Age 18: “People need 11 hugs per day to be emotionally healthy. Go hug 11 people.” These words came from my campus minister at college. I didn’t come from a “huggy” family, but I started hugging my parents and siblings more after I started college. My sister will verify that I was the first hugger in our family.

These are just a few of the words and actions that have stuck with me for a minimum of 30 years. We do have influence on children and youth. It’s up to us as to whether or not it’s positive or negative influence. Now, go hug 11 people and find some kids to encourage.

I am going to go eat another box of Cracker Jack. Thanks, Dad.

*I have always called this snack “Cracker Jacks” as in plural, not singular. However, I have now learned that the singular pronunciation is the correct one. Not that it will change what I call it, but anyway,  I thought my readers might like to know this little fact.

Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017