Willkommen Sie meinen Blog

Welcome to my Blog, I'm glad you stopped by. I thought a little introduction was in order after I reviewed some Blogs of others and didn't have a clue what it was their Blog was about even after reading the last several posts. Not that it matters, if you like what I write, read on, if not, no harm no foul.

I began writing again after one of my grad classes last summer inspired me to do so. It was a class on the world famous author, Stephen King and it was incredible. In 2011 I received my Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. My undergraduate degree is also from UNCW in Sociology with a minor in Gerontology which I obtained in 2005.

A lot has changed since I began writing this Blog in 2010. I am rediscovering who it is that I am and what makes me happy. Feel free to read through from the beginning and see where I have come from and continue to follow along as I begin a new chapter in my life, one that proves to be interesting and filled with exciting challenges that I can't wait to share with the World. So for now, "Das ist Leben"...this is life!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Compulsive Eating is often caused by a lack of sex...

This is an excerpt from my HCG diet "manual" and is very interesting. It makes sense if you think about it...overweight women are more likely to eat compulsively, maybe it's because they aren't having enough sex. What if they are married and their husbands no longer act attracted to them? I'm not saying it's an excuse but if a woman is already overweight and she isn't getting "any" she is more likely to turn to food for "comfort" or "love." It sounds spot on to me!

Compulsive Eating 

No end of injustice is done to obese patients by accusing them of compulsive eating, which is a form of diverted sex-gratification. Most obese patients do not suffer from compulsive eating; they suffer genuine hunger - real, gnawing, torturing hunger - which has nothing whatever to do with compulsive eating. Even their sudden desire for sweets is merely the result of the experience that sweets, pastries and alcohol will most rapidly of all foods allay the pangs of hunger. This has nothing to do with diverted instincts. 

On the other hand, compulsive eating does occur in some obese patients, particularly in girls in their late teens or early twenties. Compulsive eating differs fundamentally from the obese patient’s greater need for food. It comes on in attacks and is never associated with real hunger, a fact which is readily admitted by the patients. They only feel a feral desire to stuff. Two pounds of chocolates may be devoured in a few minutes; cold, greasy food from the refrigerator, stale bread, leftovers on stacked plates, almost anything edible is crammed down with terrifying speed and ferocity. 

I have occasionally been able to watch such an attack without the patient's knowledge, and it is a frightening, ugly spectacle to behold, even if one does realize that mechanisms entirely beyond the patient's control are at work. A careful inquiry into what may have brought on such an attack almost invariably reveals that it is preceded by a strong unresolved sexstimulation, the higher centers of the brain having blocked primitive diencephalic instinct gratification. The pressure is then let off through another primitive channel, which is oral gratification. In my experience the only thing that will cure this condition is uninhibited sex, a therapeutic procedure which is hardly ever feasible, for if it were, the patient would have adopted it without professional prompting, nor would this in any way correct the associated obesity. It would only raise new and often greater problems if used as a therapeutic measure. 

Patients suffering from real compulsive eating are comparatively rare. In my practice they constitute about 1-2%. Treating them for obesity is a heartrending job. They do perfectly well between attacks, but a single bout occurring while under treatment may annul several weeks of therapy. Little wonder that such patients become discouraged. In these cases I have found that psychotherapy may make the patient fully understand the mechanism, but it does nothing to stop it. Perhaps society's growing sexual permissiveness will make compulsive eating even rarer. 

Whether a patient is really suffering from compulsive eating or not is hard to decide before treatment because many obese patients think that their desire for food - to them unmotivated - is due to compulsive eating, while all the time it is merely a greater need for food. The only way to find out is to treat such patients. Those that suffer from real compulsive eating continue to have such attacks, while those who are not compulsive eaters never get an attack during treatment.

I'm no doctor but it sounds like we should all be getting it on regularly!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One week down, two more to go

It’s been almost three weeks now since my surgery and I definitely feel better, not healed completely, but much better! I even drove my car yesterday for the first time! Only 19 days post op!!
Reception desk

I live in "Klinik 2"

Floor "E" lounge area

I survived my first week in this German rehab facility and I’m so thankful that I get to go home on the weekends; I doubt it would be as easy if I had to stay here the whole three weeks. Although, my girlfriends were going to come visit me it that was the case and we would have had a blast. 

My room is on the other side

This way to the Cafe

Outside seating for Cafe

Small Shop/Cafe

Inside seating 4 coffee & cake

Beer, Wine, Cake, Coffee all sold here

Ice cream too

Fachkliniken Hohenurach is a very nice facility with plenty of walking trails and a babbling brook. One can spot numerous flowers, squirrels, and plenty of birds while walking around outside. The patient rooms are spacious and each have a private bathroom and balcony with a lawn chair and clothes rack. There is a TV,  mini fridge, plenty of closet space, and a pretty comfortable bed with a remote for easy adjusting.

Room Key (Schlüssel)

I'm in room "303"

View from my balcony

Even the food here is delicious and there are four menu options each day for lunch (auf Deutsch= Mittagessen) with one being a vegetarian option. Breakfast (auf Deutsch: Frühstück) and dinner (auf Deutsch: Abendessen) are usually the same light meals: breads, meats, cheeses. The only complaint I have with breakfast and dinner is the time schedule:

Frühstück-7:00 Uhr- 8:30 Uhr

Mittag- 11:30 Uhr- 13:30 Uhr

Abend 1- 17:00 Uhr- 18:00 Uhr
Abend 2- 17:30 Uhr-18:15 Uhr

Dining Room II where I eat

Dining I & Breakfast Room

I was given "Abend 2" so I get to eat dinner between 5:30 and 6:15pm and sometimes my therapy runs into this time which sucks because I am picky about my meats and cheeses. I'm not a huge fan of German meats and I don't like cheese with spices in them so I try to get to dinner as early as possible. Lunch isn't a huge deal because there is always soup and salad and your meal option is served to you. I've skipped breakfast every morning, it's too early and sometimes my therapy begins at 7:45am. I have some granola bars and beef jerky in my room if I get hungry before lunch.

This way to "Therapy"

Therapy on second floor

Building where I have PT

My daily routine consists of therapy sessions tailored to my back surgery. Each patient is given a booklet and we pick up schedules everyday from the reception desk where we have mailboxes. We meet with the doctors (auf Deutsch=Arzt) which are called "Professor" or, "chef" if they are the boss or chief doctor. 

Here is what my first week looked like: 

Monday, May 16, 2011
10:30- Warmepackung
11:30- Visit with Hr.Heisel, Prof.Dr. im Zimmer (auf Deutsch= room)
14:45- Elektrotherapie
17:30- Krankengymnastik

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
7:45- Blutabnahme nuchtern
8:15- Elektrotherapie
10:00- Massage
13:30- Relaxation Training
14:30- Krankengymnastik
15:50- Fahrradergometer
16:05- Weight Training

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
8:30- Warmepackung
10:30- Krankengymnastik
13:00- Visit with Hr.Heisel, Prof.Dr. im Zimmer
14:30- Bewegungsbad Wirbelsäule
15:30- Hydromassage (Hydro jet)
16:50- Fahrradergometer
17:05- Weight Training

Thursday, May 19, 2011
8:15- Elektrotherapie
9:15- Vortrag. Stressbewaltigung
10:30- Massage
11:30- Krankengymnastik
16:50- Fahrradergometer
17:05- Weight Training

Friday, May 20, 2011
7:45- Stangerbad
9:30- Visit with Hr.Heisel, Prof.Dr. im Zimmer
10:30- Warmepackung
12:30- Fahrradergometer
12:45- Weight Training
13:30- Hydromassage
14:00- Krankengymnastik

If the things listed above look a little confusing to you, imagine how I felt the first time I had to show up for these therapies. This place has 5 floors if you count "E," the bottom floor where we eat. Each therapy is in a different location (accept the bike ride and weight training) and in between it all we go to breakfast lunch and dinner at our designated times. The floors aren't exactly all in the same building either and sometimes I have to walk up or down stairs and then take the elevator to get where I need to be on time. I try to take the stairs as often as possible to get more exercise, even if that means going out of my way.

Here's what some of the therapies mean in English (loosely translated)
Warmepackung= Heat packs for my back, I'm wrapped up in blankets on a bed
Fahrradergometer= Stationary Bike ride
Krankengymnastik= Physical Therapy
Bewegungsbad Wirbelsäule = Group pool therapy

Waschküche =Laundry

Tea cart on every floor

Recycling on every floor

  •  Don’t assume that when someone speaks to you in English, they mean what they say. When I went to my very first massage appointment I was asked to remove my shirt and sports bra; I was told, “lay on your bottom.” Since my back is where all the pain is I pointed to my back and said “lay on my back?” The man then said, “No I need to massage your back, lay on your bottom.” He was pointing to his stomach. 
  • Get to dinner asap or all the good breads, meats, and cheeses will be gone 
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up at the stations on each floor for free. They will let you borrow one for 2 euro
  • Know your weight and height in Kilograms and Centimeters
  • Pack shower shoes and a bath robe
  • You will need something to swim in
  • Bring a German/English dictionary
  • Bring a laptop, they charge a fee, I paid 45 euro for 21 days or something like that
  • If you like to workout to music, pack your Ipod
  • Pack a 220v fan in the Spring/Summer

Benches along the walking trails

  • Anyone with a key may or may not knock before coming in your room. I always keep the door locked unless I know a doctor is on the way. My first experience with this was rather annoying. It was my first full day here and someone was twisting my door handle to come in my room. Before I could get up and walk to the door, a man used a key and was opening my door just as I met him. He only spoke German and was very rude (he ended up being a doctor.) The next time someone knocked and then used a key to walk in was the house keeper. I didn't even know there was a housekeeper. They come every day to clean the room, mop the bathroom, take out the trash, and make the bed. As I’m typing this there was just a knock at the door. I called out, “Ein moment” which means “just a moment” because I am only wearing pants and a sports bra and would have liked to put a shirt on. The door flies open and in walks a nurse. THEY DO NOT CARE if you are naked, so my advice is either also don’t care, or try to always wear something. I don’t like to close the bathroom door when I use it, it’s hot in there and why should I have to; I’m the only one in my room. Now I lock the door when I pee so I can have some privacy if someone decides to just walk in my room. 
  • Parking costs 2 euro a day in the garage. You must prepay at the reception desk and they will assign you a spot number and give you a card to slide into the entrance slot each time you drive back into the garage
  • They sell all kinds of things such as beer and wine, ice cream, cakes, snacks, German magazines, and some toiletries in the shop on the "E" floor 
  • Each room has a small safe and you get a key 
  • There is a self-serve tee station on each floor with about 10 different tees and two types of sweetener
  • There is a hair salon on the 4th floor
  • They offer in-house pedicures for 17 euros

Words to learn auf Deutsch: 
Treppenhaus=Stair Well
Rucken=Back (as in, your back)
Vortrag=Lecture (and it will be auf Deutsch)


Monday, May 16, 2011

Living with the Germans, Day II

Monday, May 16, 2011
At 0800, it's 54 degrees Fahrenheit in the lovely Bar Urach, Germany. Not too much sun and pretty chilly.

Bad Urach, Germany

I went downstairs (Learn German: "Treppenhaus" = "staircase") to the reception desk to obtain my schedule for the week, and then I took the elevator back up to the 3rd floor to my room. I entered my room just as the phone was ringing; not my cell phone, but the room phone on which I can only receive calls, not make them. I picked it up and all I could understand from the woman speaking very fast and in German, was "reception (Learn German: "Empfang" = "reception", and klinik 1." I told her I didn't understand what she meant and then asked if I needed to come to the reception desk. I made sure to ask if she was referring to clinic 2, where I am residing, and not clinic 1 which is two buildings away.

My rehab facility: Fachkliniken Hohenurach

All I grabbed was my German/English dictionary, my schedule, and my room key. I was still in my Pajamas which was a tee shirt and shorts. I was thinking there was already a schedule change for me to pick up so I would be coming right back to my room so I could change for the day. I locked my door and headed back down to the "E" floor (in Germany the first floor is actually marked as "e" and not "1." You take the elevator/stairs/escalator to the 1st floor.) Once I reached the reception area the lady there motioned for me to follow a young man who looked like a courier, he was holding DHL boxes and letters and called me by the wrong name so I hesitated to go with him. The lady again, said "go with him." I followed the guy outside along with an older gentleman and asked where I was going. He spoke to me in German which I did not understand so I said, "never mind, I'll just go." I was pissed, and cold. Once we were on the road the guy said, "you must go to clinic 1 for therapy." I told the driver I wasn't dressed for anything, I was in flip flops and nobody told me about this, it wasn't on my schedule.

"Kurmittelhaus" where I do PT

When we arrived at clinic 1 I was told to take a seat. When a nurse came up to me I was too pissed to even try to speak German so I just handed her my schedule and I said "I don't know why I'm here, I was told to get in the van." She left to get another nurse who spoke English.  After a few people looked at my schedule and handed it back to me with confused faces, I was told to just wait until this one nurse could make a phone call. I eventually was brought into a room where I had 7-10 electrodes stuck to my skin for an EKG. By this time I didn't even care what was going on. I hadn't even had time to take my pills, put on deodorant, or wash my face. I missed breakfast because all of this happened at 0800, thankfully I had already brushed my teeth.


After it was all said and done I told the reception lady I needed a ride back to clinic 2 and was told to take a seat. I guess the 0900 item on my schedule was something I didn't really need to go to because it was well after 0915 before I got back to my room. I stopped by the nurses station on the 1st floor to drop off my EKG results and ate an apple before tackling the task of shaving my legs. What a Monday morning it's turned out to be!

P.S. Later today I received a call from my patient liaison, Petra, and I told her all about my morning. She contacted one of the doctors for me and then called me back. As it turns out, I really didn't need to go through all of that this morning; she said the doctor apologized and was laughing about what had happened. He said to tell me never to get in a "strange" van again, and that if I'm ever asked to do something that's not on my schedule to go see him. Would have been good to know this sooner...


One Week in Sindelfingen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Today Matt took me back to the Sindelfingen hospital at 0700 to check-in for my back surgery called, Percutaneous Nucleotomy. I was very scared and a little anxious as we waited in my room on the seventh floor for the nurses to come get me. Tricare only covers what’s called a “semi-private” room here in Germany so I had a roommate, she was a much older lady and her name was Rita; she spoke okay English and seemed harmless enough. We ate lunch together at our little two person table while Matt napped in my hospital bed.

The German hospital food was horrible; for lunch we had ratatouille on zucchini, it was bland and full of water with terrible red pasta sauce and bow tie pasta with no salt or butter. I ate my fruit yogurt and went to lay down with Matt.

Dinner was the smallest meal

The nurses came to get me at 1145 and I was asked to dress in a lovely (yeah right) gown with odd looking under pants before they wheeled my bed down the hall, in an elevator, and onto the surgery floor. I began to cry just before we entered the elevator, and it only got worse as we passed through a hallway which was under construction ; all I could see was black trash bags where the ceiling had been removed. This long hallway was rather dark and it reminded me of every scary hospital movie I had ever seen. All I kept thinking was, “I want my Mom.”

Matt was asked to take a seat in the waiting room and I was then wheeled into a room where I was given my IV by a woman who spoke very little English and acted irritated with me that I didn't know German. Three hours later I was being wheeled back out of the surgery room and back to my semi-private room.

I remember looking at the clock before I went under at it was exactly noon when I was given my IV. It was 1500 when I woke up and was given this weird sponge to stick in my nose; the nurse kept telling me it was for oxygen but it made it harder to breathe. My whole face was itchy and my back really hurt. I remember several nurses walking around the room to other people who were "coming to" after surgery and complaining about the pain. I was given several doses of something that didn't really seem to work because I kept saying I was in pain.

Later, back in my hospital room, I was fading fast after some sort of meds (or maybe it was the pain) and when I awoke Matt was gone and I had no idea where he was. When I had to pee I was given a bed pan and asked to roll a little to one side so it could be slipped underneath me. This was made it very difficult to urinate because I was propped up on the bed pan and it seemed like I was peeing my own bed, I had to turn the TV on so I could concentrate on something else and I think it still took another minute or two to allow myself to pee.

In my hospital room I had my own TV with a phone attached; both of these were hanging from the ceiling and on a rotating device so I could move it around to any position I desired. On the TV there was a nurse call button which I used quite often. I was later told that I had such a "luxury" because of my private Tricare insurance.

The nurses came by each morning after breakfast with our menu choices for lunch and dinner. I guess it was too difficult for them to try to talk to me in German because they stopped asking me what I wanted after the first day and just brought me menu option 1. I could have read it myself and understood what the menu said because I saw one laying on the table after I was well enough to walk and I was very upset that they kept asking my roommate what she wanted but never bothered to ask me. I stopped eating most of what they brought me because after a while one can only eat so much German/Swabian food.

I was in the hospital all day on Monday for blood work and to speak with the anesthesiologist, and the surgeon about my procedure. They talked to us about rehab options and we decided on an in-patient facility in Bad Urach (about 40 mins from Stuttgart) where I could stay the whole three weeks and not worry about driving to and from every day. We wanted a place that offered in-patient care because Matt would be going TAD for 5 weeks while I was under their care. I'm free to come and go as I please on the weekends but during the day Monday-Friday 0700-0500 I'll be on a pretty packed rehab schedule. The rehab facility is called Fachkliniken Hohenurach, it is a pretty popular physical therapy rehabilitation center in the Swabian Alps. Here is an English website but their really isn't much info: http://www.fachklinik-hohenurach.de/index.shtml?en_homepage

I'm very thankful that my nice Doctor, "Professor, Dr. Kessler," allowed Matt to take me home Monday evening at 1900 as long as we returned the next morning at 0700. We were able to meet up with our friends Kate and Gio for dinner at the Hendlhouse before spending the rest of the night together watching TV shows on my laptop in bed.

I didn't get released from the hospital until 2100 on Friday night, and that was only after I proved to the doctor on call that I was well enough to sit around all day in the comfort of my own home versus the hospital. I was up and walking around for two hours before she came to check me out and I was exhausted, but I couldn't take it anymore in that place. The food was terrible, my roommate was starting to annoy me, and the nurses were getting more and more rude. The German "pain" pills didn't even work and I was given this painful shot every night to prevent "Trombosis:" as the Germans said. I looked it up and it means, "the formation of blood clots," or, Thrombosis

I had been on my feet as often as I could handle it since Wednesday with assistance, and since Thursday on my own. Friday morning I took a shower by myself and even though I still couldn't bend or twist, I did a pretty good job of dressing myself...at least my bra and shirt. I was stiff when I got out of bed each morning or if I was on my feet for too long, but it didn't really matter. I felt pain whether I was in bed or up and walking around.

My sexy compression socks

When I did finally leave, I was given a few German pain pills to take home and let me just say, I gave one to Matt for a headache after we looked them up online. I was given Novalgin, and Benuron for mild to moderate pain which are both not marketed in the U.S. Needless to say, I began taking my Tramadol once I got home. No wonder I was in so much pain!

Notes: If you're going to stay at the German hospital for any length of time, make sure you bring your own towels, wash cloths, soap, tooth paste, shower shoes, etc. It's not like staying at a hotel. You will be given a bed with a German blanket and a pillow. You may want to bring your own "non gas" water and American food or snacks as well. There is a small cafe down stairs where you can buy desserts, drinks, small gifts, body wash, shampoo/conditioner, and sandwiches and ice cream but the prices for the toiletries are very high in my opinion.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home Sweet Home, Carolina

To celebrate my Mom's Birthday this year, I decided to go home to visit. I took a military Space Available flight out of Ramstein Air Base on Saturday, April 2nd and flew into Joint Base Charleston, SC; I then flew back out again on Saturday, April 16th. My Mom's birthday is on April 9th so I made it in plenty of time for a nice long visit.

Dad & kids

Mom & Me

We went to Myrtle Beach, SC for the weekend of her birthday and ate at the most amazing restaurant called Rioz. It's a Brazilian steakhouse with endless meats, a huge buffet with sushi, gourmet cheeses and a very good wine selection.

Mom, aka Birthday Girl

One of our Gauchos

"Dining in a Brazilian Steakhouse has been compared to having a well orchestrated ballet serve guests dinner. From the moment guests are seated they are welcomed to our extensive salad bar of hot and cold seasonal favorites, which features seafood and sushi. A continuous table side service of savory choices of more than 15 different cuts of beef, pork, lamb, poultry and fish will be prepared and presented by our Gauchos."

In the kitchen...it was hot!


While I was in the states, I was able to see all my friends, defend my Master's final project at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and even interview and get hired for a job back in Germany. I also ate at all my favorite places to include: Andy's, Thig's BBQ House, Flaming Amy's, Margaritaville, and Front Street Brewery.

"Big Jerk" as a salad @ Flaming Amy's

Cheese Steak

Andy's Sweet Tea 

Thig's Fried chicken , fried okra, & slaw

Thig's Carolina BBQ, slaw, & Mac n Cheese

Hush Puppy's from Thig's BBQ House

I wanted to hang out with as many people as possible without having to make too many separate plans, so I sent out a Facebook event for everyone to meet me at Duck's Grille & Bar in Jacksonville for drinks on Wednesday night. It was so nice to catch up with everyone.

The girls @ Duck's

Laura, Me, Shelly

I couldn't believe I was actually able to defend my Master's final project so I could graduate while I was in the country. It felt so good to return to Germany knowing I was finished with school!

"Master" Mandy

I really needed this two-week vacation. Living in Germany is great, and I'm so thankful to be here with my husband but I really miss everything about North Carolina. Friends and family mostly, but the beach, and the way of life in the South East just can't be beat. When you can enjoy a grilled dinner in your back yard or walk into a bar wearing flip flops, where people remember your name, and there's a hint of salt in the air...that's home.

North Topsail Beach, NC

Some day before I'm old are gray I hope to live at/near the beach once again. My husband and I love the Sneads Ferry area so hopefully there will still be some land for us in Mimosa Bay. Until then, home is wherever the Marine Corps sends us. As long as we're together, we'll never be alone.