Monday, October 01, 2012
I have spent the weekend trying to get over the soreness from my injection and body, organizing my thoughts, and getting a plan for the remainder of the year with the three pending surgeries that will certainly drive my life beofre New Year.
I need to start with this week. I finished my progress reports except for some fo the data I inadvertently left at school on Thursday. I will be able to get that on the progress reports in no time and then get the copies made equally quickly, especially with our new secretary who offered to help me out. She has been so sweet!! I also did some work studying for my big exam on Wednesday--that will need a lot of attention between now and then. Finally, I have a bit of a thought for my IGP which is the first part of the way that our Illinois teacher evaluations are changing into a two document that is a lot of time-consuming teacher work. Anyway, I will be ready for parent teacher conferences in the last half of the week--and I am looking forward to our two week fall intersession. That is a nice gift when the weather is still lovely!!
However, I have some other things on my mind... One is my weight loss plans--I am at 23 more pounds to lose to meet that goal of 30 pounds I had before my hip replacement surgery. I cannot do that by December 17, so I am revising to 12-13 pounds by my surgery date which will leave me at meeting a 20 pound loss before the surgery which is still helpful. It will also help me to manage holidays as wel as I did my birthday without overeating or under-exercising. I need to heal from this procedure without any weird issues, and that is why I set that goal of a 30 pound loss. It also matched getting my BMI in sinc with my new, reduced height, lol.
Finishing my class is on my list of things to do for this time frame and if I need extra time, I know that my professor will work well with me. I also have the idea of a 6 week recuperation period on my mind. One issue is that I don't have enough sick leave to cover that time, although some of it will be the holiday break. I am going to check into my options--but part of my sick leave will be needed for my pre-op appointments and for my cataract surgeries. Our family will have a hard financial time at a tough time if I cannot get this worked through. I will make contacts in the light of day... I also learned that my principal will push for a sub and I need to find one with a reading background who will work for me rather than some of these people she has found in the past who just plain don't get what I do. I also have a phone call to make in the light of day...
My last big need is to work out the holidays. I must have everything holiday related taken care of before December 17th. That includes meals, shopping and wrapping, cleaning, and decorating. This will definitely include some sharing of duties and passing them on to my older children. I need to think through who will help with what the best. I am lucky enough to have a houseful of good kids who have been through a lot of this with me in the past, but this time, we have time to plan rather than an emergency thrust upon us at the last minute.
Now that I have said all of this out loud, it seems pretty manageable now. I am glad that I decided to write this all out. I have some ground work to set, but I can do this! Thanks for helping me out--if I hadn't thought of this blog, I might have stayed at a high anxiety level which would have prevented me from dealing with this week. That's enough for now...
Thanks for all you do for me and for other Sparkers. You are the best!!
Saturday, September 29, 2012
I guess my description of my day off of work should start when I took my new Bunny, Digger and left on Thursday afternoon... I went for an appointment with my therapist who constantly reminds me that I can't do everything for everybody and that when I am so over-committed to everyone and everything, that I don't have enough energy to deal with my pain and the effects of my arthritis issues. It was a nice afternoon because Mitchell acted as my chauffeur and we chatted about everything including a lot of shop talk, and we got caught up in each others work and personal lives. He took me to Weight Watchers and I did a rare thing, not staying for the meeting. I did lose another pound, so I have 27 of that 30 left to go. YAY, I am making nice progress after a rocky start. I sure missed a big Weight Watchers beginning los, but I think that is because I have never totally been off plan--just happily maintaining my big loss. Anyway, I am pleased to lose an average of 1.5 or so pounds a week since I really got working at this again.
I went from WW right to the QCAIR meeting that I promised our church's outreach director that I would go to. That acronym stands for "Quad Cities Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees." That is the organization that Michael is acting director of since he retired. It was a good meeting that began with a poetry reading in Tagalog by a Filipino immigrant. They are working hard to become a solvent organization. After that, my husband came for me and took me to the pool.
This morning, I started out at Eye Surgeons. This is a wonderful set of doctors who give a great deal back to their patients and the community. We met up with them when Megan was a baby and needed treatment for strabismus and amblyopia at 18 months old. They did amazing work with that little stinker--she tossed one of her earliest pairs of bifocals out of the car and I drove over them unknowingly. That was an awful thing--those little bifocals cost almost three hundred dollars a pair and we sure couldn't afford that as youngish parents. However, they continued to help her and the rest of our children out over many years. One of their claims to fame is that their pediatric opthamologists is married to Lisa Brothers (Arbisser) daughter of Joyce Brothers, one of the earliest TV talk show docs.
The news with my vision is that my right eye has deteriorated substantially while the left one is not good but holding its own. After all of the medical information that was needed, we decided to do my first cataract surgery on October 17. Barring any issues with that procedure, my left cataract surgery will be done on November 1.
From there, I went to see my orthopedist. I started there by having my shoulder x-rayed. I saw my ortho's intern to start with and he shared my x-ray results with me and did a partial check up on my shoulder. It turns out that there is a large area of calcification on two of my shoulder tendons. He discussed the benefits of an injection and we talked about my hip. He then went and got my ortho who gave me a shoulder injection and who explained that my shoulder problem can recur, but won't need any surgery. I then talked to him about my hip in detail and we decided to do my hip replacement surgery on December 17. I also found out that the nursing staff hadn't contacted the radiologist to do my injection which should hold me over until then--and that my pain doc can do that procedure. I hope to get it in next week. I also found out that I got longer benefit fromt he first one than most people do.
Tonight, I am having a great deal of pain in my shoulder where I had the injection. I am icing it and have taken all of the pain meds that I am allowed for the next 4 hours, so I am suspecting I will have a tricky enough evening. However, I have a plan and I am going to need to change my goals here because there is no realistic way I can lose 23 more pounds by December 17. I hope to lose an average of one pound a week--so I hope to lose 12 or 13 more pounds by the time we do this big procedure. I will do my best because it will make recovery be a lot better and it will also keep me on target during the holidays with all of the eating then.
It has been a pretty productive day and I am glad that I have some answers and some medical support and plans. I will plan on a healthy new year without all of the problems I had this past year.
Take care everyone!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I do really need to get better at patience. I got a phone call from my doctor at 1:00 this afternoon. He is contacting the radiologist to schedule my next hip injection ASAP. He also had a cancellation on Friday at 1:10 and will be seeing me then to evaluate my shoulder. By now, I know that I have an "A-Team" of doctors--my pain doc, my ortho, my rheumy, and my PCP--and these 4 guys all give me good answers and take care of me. Other docs and most of their nurses are not exactly my "A-Team," and I have to find my way past them to get what I need. It is frustrating though, to have to work my way around some of these other people to get to the doctors. I do listen to what they tell me and I understand my diagnoses and care plans. Whew, I am sure glad that the treatments for my back didn't interfere with the plan for my hip. When I see my ortho on Friday, I may talk to him about doing the replacement during the holidays. I will not be able to wait until the end of the school year because the injections aren't lasting more than three months--so this will need to be my new plan. By getting it on the calendar now, I have time to really get ready for it.
Today was a day of problem solving for me as a teacher and a professional in the community. I had to go to work early for a meeting where we worked on plans for two of the children I see. Both have a myriad of complicated problems and the team I work with did a good job of branistorming and coming up with positive plans for both of these very different children who are not having academic success. After that, I got my daily dose of morning duty--I was late, but I did the job that was given to me.
After school, I went to the park board office and I met with one of the board members and the building director about the fiasco that went on during the summer program. I shared the letter I had written with one of them who hadn't seen it and went over some of the details, but then we spent a good deal of time discussing how to fix the problems. That is my wish--not to end the program or anything even like that, but to make it better. I did learn that they are resisting the funding sources desire to make academics a big part and want to keep it recreational in nature. I don't know if we can get both sides together--but without any funding in the great, very broke state of Illinois for summer school and academic support, we need this program that caters to children who really need a quality program with competent care-givers and role models. That group of people did not fit either category last summer and the gal that they really like who was in charge of them did not do enough supervision in order to "fix the problems." However, I hope that by reaching out to them and offering my ideas and my help, that they will use anything I suggested and work towards taking this to a new and improved level.
I like that--it may become my new mantra: I am taking me to a new and improved level. I am losing weight regularly and I am planning my hip replacement which will both take me to a new and improved level. I am also seeing the eye doctor to plan my cataract surgery--hopefully within the next couple of weeks for my right eye, with the left one to follow two weeks later. Wow, I will be able to see again soon. We will get to the bottom of my shoulder issues the same day and we can get organized for caring for this hip. For any of you who know pain, you will really understand this next statement. For those of you who don't know pain, I am so glad for you and want to gently remind you to stick with your spark goals and take care of yourself so you don't get to this place if at all possible. I have been having that severe, nasty pain that makes me want to vomit. I cringe when I sneeze or cough or yawn because I feel pain down in my hip and shoulder, and I avoid taking any deep breaths because I know where I am going to feel it. This type of pain takes over your life and functioning in so many ways that it gets a life of its own. I am more than ready to get rid of it and get back to my regular back pain that gets its biggest relief from my regular pain meds and my workouts at the pool. Right now, I do my best at the pool, but it isn't too enjoyable because my hip is not cooperating with me.
So, Wednesday is my day to regroup. I need to get caught up on my homework and reading, my report cards, and the confounded, complicated new evaluation plan for our district and state. It is a time-consuming plan that requitres two years of work with an improvement plan and goals that will help me to be better at what I do. I don't want to sound arrogant, but I have done the National Board Certification process and the same renewal process and that is where it takes you. I think I am pretty competent and that makes this new evaluation model very difficult and time-consuming. That is why there have been teacher strikes and issues in our state. They have not been over salary or pension or insurance and perks, they have been over an evaluation program that takes time away from people who do not have enough of it as things stand. An evaluation is supposed to be about somebody in charge "evaluating" one's competency and ability at doing the work they were hired to do. I have to have the first document completed, along with a follow-up interview with the principal, by next week. I am not anywhere near there, not even close. My weekend will be about studying for this first exam in my class and preparing this document. Wednesday will be about doing my progress reports. I have switched to the checklist format fromt he far better anecdotal records because with 68 students, I just do not have the time to write all of those up. I think they give parents a far better picture of their child and how they function as a reader, but i cannot get them done. I will try to write up some helpful comments that are generic for each grade level with tips for the parents to go along with the progress report form I am using this year. It is not the perfect plan, but there are limits to what I can do.
"There are limits to what I can do." should be my second mantra. I get it, I just don't quite get how to do it when I have such an important job to do for the students who are not having success in their classrooms. There are many layers for these kids that involve their regular classroom, their family situations, their peer groups, and a multitude of real-life situations that most adults have never dealt with. I cannot fix those things, none of them, but I can do a lot of other things to make their time with me and at school a better time with the security of a caring , understanding adult who is there for them. I think my time is far better used in that direction than the complicated evaluation system which puts all of that on my back rather than on the backs of the people in charge who should know if I am doing my job.
Right now, I am going to take a few moments and just feel relief that I am going to get help for the non-stop pain I am dealing with. My shoulder is killing me as I type. How is that for a really off-the-wall description of my current functioning.
Take care, my friends!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
That doesn't seem like something a teacher should admit, does it? I am pretty good with the kids at school and my own "little darlings." Actually, I do often wish that I was a bit more patient with the ones I gave birth to, but I have grown to realize that the more invested I am, the harder patience can be. It is definitely hard to watch an older child make a bad decision, but unless it is a life threatening or destructive thing, I do know I have to keep myself quiet so that my kids can grow up and deal with the important things in their lives. It can be hard though, but they are not "younger versions of me" and need to gain their own experiences and knowledge. Sometimes "messing up" is the best teacher of all.
I can be patient for some of the good things, like waiting to open a gift. However, sometimes when I get a gift for one of my family members, I cannot save it until their birthday or Christmas like I intended and I give it to them early. I really need to develop my patience there. I did a good job with my husband's birthday presents and he really was surprised--I got him a set of chrome hubcaps and a new spare tire for his little car. Yay, I finally got him something that he likes and can use--and will use. I don't always get his gifts right. That was nice and we got him an ice cream cake for his birthday treat. He didn't actually get his birthday dinner because he put a nice pork roast in the slow cooker this morning and he cooked the rest of the meal.
That comes to my next issue. I am having to wait until Tuesday afternoon to hear from my ortho. The nurse wasn't good with me on the phone today. She told me that I wouldn't be able to get my injection (in my nasty sore hip) as planned because the two SI injections I have had from my pain doc are the same medication and that means I have to wait fro three months from the last of those for the treatment in my hip. Hmm, I could have had another of those in early September, but I chose to wait so I could have one towards the holidays if I needed it. I can have three of those in 6 months. I thought that those were specific to the joint they were put in, but our school nurse told me that they are systemic and although most of the medicine stays int he area of the joint it is put in, some does travel a bit. She also confirmed that she has had the same injections every 2 weeks from her docs. As I got more and more upset (given my current pain levels,) I told the nurse that they might as well schedule the replacement then because I cannot stay at the pain level I am at for three more months.
Then, some reason set in and I asked if I could please leave a message for my doctor. I need my left shoulder checked anyway--and it is my guess that he will give me an injection in it to reduce the inflammation. I want to hear from him what I need. My pain is at the level that it is making me feel nauseated and like food will make me vomit. (Sorry for that graphic description, but when pain is like that, it is extreme.) I am not happy and am having a hard time functioning. Swimming is hard as is walking in the water--that is my "me time" as well as my exercise.
So, I am trying to be patient as I wait for Tuesday afternoon to hear from my doctor. If I don't get the call on schedule, I will call my pain doc and the radiologist who gave the injections and ask them. At the very least, maybe my pain doc can change my meds for pain and breakthrough pain that aren't managing this. I am in trouble--and when pain takes over my world, I don't do well with much of anything else.
Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!
Sunday, September 23, 2012
It's been an incredibly busy week and as I muddled my way through a lot of work, several successes, several issues, my birthday, and a whirlwind of activity, I am back trying to make a decision as I am barely coping with excessive pain. I cannot understand how I, as an intelligent and competent woman can be baffled by my body like I am. The pain I am experiencing is doing just that.
Pain is my issue now and that is what I want to talk about and hopefully get a bit of advice on dealing with it. Most of this started on Thursday and is building its way to an obnoxious crescendo. I wish I had a clue when it would peak. Half of the pain is my right hip--the one that needs a replacement. I will call my ortho to set up my second injection on Monday. This makes me quite sad because it is unlikely that I am going to be able to hold out until the end of the school year for the surgery this way. I have two more injections that I am allowed and it is just over 3 months since I had the first one. If I follow this pattern, I will need the third injection in December or January and that means I will need the surgery by March or April--or the pain will be out of hand with no possible treatment.
The other pain I am trying to cope with is quite odd. It started Thursday in my left shoulder moving into my upper arm where it is squeezing it hard and then radiating down into my right wrist and it throbs. It is intense and I even cried a bit earlier tonight because of it. I thought it was due to the weather change we had at first and then I tried to blame it on my fibromyalgia. However, I am thinking it is the same out of control pain I have had on two other occasions due to some sort of nerve damage. It is sickening and I need to figure out what to do about it. I know what happens when I try to figure out which doc and so on--I have to make multiple appointments one at a time and then wait until each one sends me to another. If anyone has an idea how I can circumvent this system, please let me know. I am considering an Er visit tomorrow that will likely take 4-6 hours. There's no fun in that and only a half a chance that they will get me to the doc I need. They will possibly give me some sort of pain meds and then x-ray/ That won't show anything broken, so they may do something weird like a splint and will possibly send me to a doc--maybe my ortho. I think it needs an MRI and possibly an EMG to get to the source of this discomfort. If I was a doctor, I might have a better guess.
As for my week... On Monday, I had a meeting after school before I went to the pool and went home. On Tuesday, I went to an elementary school and recorded two interviews with ELL children for an assignment in my class. I went shopping to buy some treats for the staff I work with along with 10 pounds of ground beef and seasoning. I made taco meat and brought the dessert for the mandatory Wednesday meeting that I had to leave at 4 to make it to my class. Everyone else had to stay until 8. It was the third of those. I provided the meat and dessert while the principal provided the fixings to go with it for a taco bar. I got it cooked up and took it to school with me on Wednesday. I also got a big cookie to share at my class.
Wednesday was busy in its own right. I forgot to do something for my students, so I didn't tell them it was my birthday. I have been taking all of the first graders from the room I co-teach in to my room each day this week to make ABC books. When school got out on Wednesday, our early dismissal day for staff training, I went and spent 2 hours in that training and left for my class before I went to the pool. I got home around 9PM. My kids and husband got me gifts, and I was happily surprised to learn that I am now wearing jeans that are two sizes smaller than the last pair I bought. YAY!! I needed a pair of jeans that actually fit me because we had to take out all of my former, big fat jeans. I have 3 new tops too, but I think one, if not two of them are going to be too big as well. I will figure out how to solve that at some point--right now, I am postponing putting them on. We had homecoming in the school district where I teach and had a different spirit based set of colors to wear each day and that kept me from trying on anything but the jeans.
On Thursday, I downloaded my recordings of the Tuesday interviews to find out that they didn't work and got to leave work for an appointment with my therapist followed by my WW meeting. I lost 1.8 pounds and am again thankful that I didn't change a lot of my daily diet a few weeks ago. I did some math and in the past 6 weeks, I have lost 2.2, gained .4, gained .4, lost,2.0, lost 3.2 and lost 1.8 which gives me a net loss of 8.0 pounds. I now have 24.8 left to lose before I will feel comfortable to agree to my hip surgery. I do have to admit that my doc didn't suggest this or ask me to do this, I just want to be at the right BMI for my current height. I guess I am an over-achiever. Oh yes, and I don't want to forget that Mason twisted my arm while he had his friend on the phone waiting for a response and got me to say he could get a puppy. She is a sweet little thing, an Australian cattle dog Sadie. I'll share some phtos soon.333333333
On Friday, the primary grades went on half-day field trips to the local art museum. I had a few canceled classes and some sparse ones, so I finished switching out books for the class I co-teach in and I reorganized my closet a bit. I also got caught up on some things and did some paperwork. When my husband came to pick me up, I went to the pool and did 56 laps. Today, I only did 16. I barely could walk or do much of anything and of course, I had a dozen errands to do. I managed grocery shopping but I didn't do well with helping Marissa to find shoes for her homecoming. We have 2 weeks, so I hope we find something by then. Her dress is silver and white and she wants silver pumps. I just couldn't go to another store today after the four we went to.
I haven't sparked much this week because I have had little time to do much, even today. I also have had some significant problems getting a browser to work properly with SP this week. I prefer using Safari and have never had any problems until this week. (I have a Mac.) I kept getting messages that there was a "Bad Input Error. Cookies were too large to open requested link." I tried everything I could think of for a few days and got off and on a few times. I thought of the browser by the end of the week and tried Firefox. I don't much like that choice of browsers, but I gave it a try and was able to open emails and click on links. However, I get lot of error messages that tell me there is a problem with "script" and I have to give it permission to continue. It takes forever to complete tracking food or doing this blog that is undoubtedly far too long. I don't know what is up, but I hope we get back to normal and I can go to Safari and simply take care of my usual Spark activities--learning, sharing, and collecting points for a variety of things.
Anyway, I have a similar week coming. Monday is my husband's birthday--I wrapped his gifts today--I got him a new spare tire for his car (Yes, I wrapped that!) and a set of new hubcaps for the same car along with a few small items he will enjoy...) I am interviewing another student after work and I am using a different recorder this time. I have another doctor appointment on Tuesday, class on Wednesday, my WW meeting on Thursday. I am taking at least half of the day off work on Friday to see the eye doctor and to set up my cataract surgeries. I am expecting a disagreement with one of the teachers I work with because she is trying to force me into changing my student selections. Some of my kids have made nice gains, but to me, that means they are learning. To her, that means I should take those children out of the program and take other kids. My rules don't allow that and all the new scores mean to me is that if they are accurate, I am meeting the kids' needs quite well. Oh, and report cards are due to the principal on Friday because the following week is the end of the first quarter and parent teacher conferences. (I have to miss one evening of those for the exam in my class over the book I haven't completed reading.)
That's my life--and my world. My arm is really hurting and the ice is annoying. There has to be an answer. I'll find it.
Gentle hugs, one and all!!
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