Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Yes, I'm talking about time!! It seems that things have been as I predicted in my previous blog and I have not had a second of rest until now--and here, before dinner of a nice slow cooker pork roast with veggies and warm bread on the side.
That PET stress test was a nasty little ordeal yesterday. I went through the gal having trouble getting my IV in place. After trying a couple of times to get the thing in, I had the ceremonial request not to look if blood bothered me as mine squirted all over me and my clothing and everywhere--but she got it. This new stress test was shorter in time but more uncomfortable with one long 40 minute scan. The rubidium was pretty horrid and I was too uncomfortable to be able to cry. I found their periodic warnings of how much time was left to be frustrating and when I finally got to get out of the machine, they wanted to take off the patches and take out the IV, but I have done enough medical stuff to know to tell them to simply let me sit up first. My poor back, flat on a hard table is not a good thing for 40+ minutes.
They finished so quickly that I had to wait 40 minutes for my ride. I got some paperwork for school done so that was nice--along with a small meal after fasting for so long--a power bar and a half banana and a bottle of water perked me up along with my pain meds and tens unit. I went over to physical therapy from there and had my doctor's appointment after that. This was not time off work for leisure.
I was sick after all of that and tried to get a nap, but pain of every kind would let me really rest or sleep--tears came and they flowed freely. The entire night was like that and this morning was equally rough. I got my act together and went to work. Children have been crabby and uncooperative all week, and today, my patience wasn't there for them. I was kind of glad to have an early dismissal day for a staff meeting and I treated myself to a couple of small cookies at the meeting as well. It is so hard for me to understand that I can have a treat once in a while that I always have to check my food journal and see that things are okay. Since my lunch was veggies and fruits, I should have known that they were okay for me.
I am heading for the pool now--and I am hoping that I get pain relief there. I am trying to make this tough week manageable, but if it takes a bit of crying and not being as accommodating, I think I am going to do so.
Time to get ready to go--I wish it wasn't staying between 2 degrees and -9 around here. That would help me a lot and I'm guessing it would help the kids at school to be more pleasant as well.
Gentle hugs to everyone,
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
It is no surprise to those of you who keep up with my antics that I am pretty busy, but I have been thinking about the value of rest--not only sleep but having some good old-fashioned "down time." I am guessing that others who might read this think that this is not a worthy topic here on Spark People and I just read a daily blog by Women's Day about obesity that points out part of the issue is that people don't move enough (along with eating too much and many other issues!)
However, this week--and I knew it coming into it--is already pushing my buttons. I am awake now because my pain meds wore off at the same time that my sweet basset decided to reorganize the way she was sleeping on top of me (after somehow that crazy girl managed to turn off the heater in the family room where I sleep in my recliner.) If you know anything about the size and anatomy of a basset, my Lady is a big girl weighing in at about 58 pounds and she is long and obstinate. She likes the idea of lying on my lap and of lying on the top of my heated blanket. Anyway, when she wakes up, she walks in circles and rearranges everything and when what she is rearranging is me--well, it isn't the best experience.
However, I digress--silly girl is now pouting behind my recliner.
Sunday is usually my day "off" from my hectic world but this Sunday was very different. After church, we had a nice luncheon for the "Souper Bowl of Caring." It is a nice way to collect donations for the food pantry that our church houses--people bring cans of soup for the pantry and leave monetary donations for a so-called "light lunch." I call soup, sandwiches, all of the fixin's and a spread of homemade cookies a bit more than light. I had an awesome bowl of vegetarian chili, yummy. I love luncheons at the church because my kids can eat such a variety of things that I simply can. I went from church to the fitness center with 2 of the guys to get my pool time in. I knew what was coming on Monday, so I needed to get there. After that, I got home, organized some and got the kids to fix dinner and went to school (yes during the Super Bowl--sorry, I don't do football) to work on my National Boards writing--I was too busy Saturday to do that. I spent over 3 hours writing when I realized that I had misread the page instructions and most of what I did is too generic and needs a major overhaul. I tried.... I got home around 9:30 and got ready for Monday.
Monday was simple enough--I tutored before school, taught all day, tutored after school and had two parent education sessions at 4:15 and at 6:00, leaving work at around 8. I had written in my journal that I was going to go to the pool after all of that, but my body was crying uncle and I knew I needed to get home and have some dinner. I did get in 20, 565 steps yesterday--so I was anything but sedentary which could explain what my back pain was about.
Today, I have to leave work early to have my PET stress test at the cardiology clinic at 12:30 which will be followed by physical therapy and a doctor's appointment. I will make it to the pool tonight and I can already feel the water absorbing the pain out of my back, ahhhhhhh) Wednesday is a simple day with a teacher's meeting after school. Thursday has me at an appointment for a meeting at my son's school at 7:30 AM and arriving to work a bit late with the rest of my day all tucked in there the best that I can and then physical therapy after work. Friday is another "regular day."
My "regular days" have gotten a bit out of hand as well starting with me tutoring before school to give a child a bit of needed help above and beyond what he was getting. In the morning, I see back to back groups of six children each at 8:40, 9:20. 10:00. 10:40 (3 of those groups being first grades which I am testing daily on sight word recognition, reading independently with at least a couple of children, teaching a phonics lesson, and doing a guided reading lesson with which is a lot of work to squeeze in my allotted time.) I have a ten minute break that sometimes, if nobody needs me gives me time to check my daily email and go to the restroom before I have a 40 minute group of 5 third and fourth graders which overlaps with my 30 minute group of 3 kindergarten students. I have 20 minutes of time for lunch and prep before my afternoon gives me 3 more groups of six--3rd and 4th graders at 1:00 and two 35 minute groups of more first graders at 1:40 and 2:15. At 2:50, I have about 5 minutes to clean up before I tutor another child after school. If my ride doesn't come, I have time to do extra work after our lesson is finished--I run copies or select new reading materials or whatever it takes to keep pushing my kids ahead. My kids are all behind their same-aged classmates, so it is my job to push them to do more than other kids have to do, that is the only way to "accelerate" their progress and help them to "catch up."
As for me, I am always on "high gear." When I can get one of my sons to come to school with me to lend a hand for a project or currently to videotape lessons as I work on my National Boards renewal, it is interesting to get their feedback. Last night at 8 PM. my son who came to school around 2 yesterday commented that neither of us had sat down the entire time. That is my world.
This week is excessive and I knew it coming in. However, I am almost always doing something in some capacity as mother and teacher. I understand the gist of the article I read here at SP today, but I am thinking I could do with a bit more "down time." I don't think I need to fidget more or be more active.
I'm a bit tired yet--I start fasting for the stress test in about 45 minutes. I am wondering if I could get in a nap sometime this morning too. It might work out, but I am skeptical.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
It was my plan to go back to Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year so I could add in accountability for myself. I know it is silly to pay for someone to weight me, but I felt my motivation wavering. I went for the first week and got the program and 2 subsequent weigh-ins. However, things got crazy and them Megan was sick and now this snow.
One thing I found was a glitch in our scales and my doctor's scales vs. their scale. I have been weighing myself here before I went there and keeping track. Anyway, after all of this time, I am still losing (2.7 pounds today on top of a nice loss every week but the one I didn't weigh in) and I am down 14 pounds since the beginning of the year.
I just looked at my "Feed" page and I also had a milestone for Spark Points and for fitness minutes. I am thinking that my weight loss combined with those items is not a coincidence. I will try to get back to Weight Watchers in the next week or so, but the one thing I know is that as long as I eat properly--and tracking helps me to do that--and I get my activity in, I am going to lose weight. It just works. I know this seems kind of simple, but it is working for me on a regular basis.
On one of my teams, there was a question posed about what we are doing for our heart since February is the month that we "go red for heart." I think the answer to that question is to do the Spark People plan. My cholesterol is in a healthy range and I am sure that eating well combined with activity is the answer.
Finally, the thing I am realizing today is that if you do the plan and stick with it--day after day drink your water,
start out with walking (if you don't really have a fitness plan in place,) and log in to SP and track your goals, get information and ideas and recipes and simply starting with a few small changes on that you will be successful. There is power in building these streaks around here and celebrating them as they grow. Not only that, but I have become a regular at the fitness center--and there is no way ever that I would have thought that would be my hobby!! As we start out around here, we just get better, almost magically.
The results are big--uh er small in another way of thinking, Another side benefit is all of the very awesome people "Spark Friends" that you get to meet around here.
Gentle and thanks to my spark friends!!
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
There is plenty of snow here today--so much that they cannot accurately determine if we have anywhere from 15 to 18 inches on the ground because it is blowing hard. We have a predicted 4 more hours of snowfall too. My school district is closed today as is everything in the entire region and we never close for snow anymore. It has been a few years since we had a snow day, so I am reveling in the possibilities of the day--everything from writing to cleaning a closet to spending the day playing games with the kids. I have lots of choices and I am sure the activity of choice for the kids will involve their favorite electronic devices. I'm pretty sure I won't allow that choice! It is a pretty weird groundhog's day when I don't think any of them will be able to find their way out and I don't think any of them are dumb enough to come out in this weather.
I had a tough time with the neurosurgeon yesterday, and am pretty sad. They started with painful x-rays, lying flat on a hard x-ray table is tough for someone who has to sleep in a chair and the other positions were even worse. The x-ray technician asked about the apparatus in my back and was astounded to learn that he had done that because she had "never seen an apparatus like that ever before." Anyway, the pain set up my ability to deal with the doc as he whooshed into my room smiling and announcing in an excited voice that my back has "really and totally fused." Then he asked why I was there and I answered because my back hurts and he gave me his standard answer "There is nothing surgical I can do for you." I quickly asked him what I could do for myself then and tossed in that I'd like to walk 8 steps down the hall without pain or holding on my walker to keep myself upright. His mood sobered up and he told me that he understood I was frustrated and he suggested pain management. I reminded him that I already have a pain doc and then he said that he could do a test to make sure that they weren't missing something in my pelvis and he walked out of the room before I could ask about physical therapy or injections or any of the other things people do to be stronger when they have a chronic back issue. I waited (in tears) in the exam room for just under 10 minutes when a nurse brought me in an order for lab work and told me their office would be in touch with me for a bone scan. I went to check out and he hadn't even cleared me to leave so the people at the office didn't know if I needed another appointment. I looked at her and told her that I thought he was done with me.
What do I do next with this? I think I must definitely do the tests, but I think they were his way of ignoring the fact that I have other issues and that I don't want surgery. (Been there, done that and I can attest that back surgery is some of the most miserable of all surgeries to deal with.) I want to be better. I have done everything under the sun to help myself and I would like to fix the part that messes with every aspect of my life every day. For example, try helping 6 first graders around a table full of laptops who are learning to navigate a mouse like that are on MacBooks when they are clicking all kinds of stuff and it is hard to bend over and it is hard to stay on your feet for more than 8 steps. Try taking a turn to read scripture at church when I have to walk to the alter from my pew and climb 3 gentle stairs in front of everyone to get to the lectern. Try shopping or hurrying down the hallway to the restroom between groups of kids--or hurrying anywhere. I am definitely frustrated.
I don't mean to whine and am grateful for everything, but I just think my back should be better. I also think that this doctor who has operated on my back twice and knows my anatomy and the "apparatus" he put in my back should be the one to lend a hand. I have done everything I know to help myself and I need some guidance as to what I should do next and his comments about surgery isn't what I need. I will call my pain doc again, although my last visit there was the gift of the tens unit and I take strong enough pain meds. He will at least talk to me about the PT or injections as a possibility. I can also call my ortho back and let him know what was said to me, but given the fact that they are in the same office, I don't know if he can refer me to anyone who would dare say anything else or to anyone out of their office. I don't know if I can do a self-referral to the University of IA or Mayo or somewhere else or not. I don't know what is possible--but that may be my special job on this snow day.
One other thought came to me from my PT yesterday. (She watches me struggle to do my shoulder exercises, not because of my shoulder which is healing way ahead of schedule, but because I have trouble finishing my exercises because I cannot stay standing long enough.) I have lost a lot of weight and she is curious if the loose skin around my tummy area is pulling on my back and causing some of the pain that I deal with. I don't know if this is a viable consideration or not and I do not which of my doctors need to hear that question. I am not sure what can be done with that because I cannot do anymore exercise than I do and it is part of me. I do thank heavens for the pool because it is the one place I can walk and move freely in. Maybe I do have a few avenues to explore and do not have to accept that there is nothing surgical that this guy can do for me as an answer to my back issues.
I expect some of you to weigh in on what you'd do if you were in my shoes with this back issue. I think I am too much of an optimist to accept this as being as good as it can get.
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and support. I know that I can count on my Spark Family for honest and helpful suggestions.
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