Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I'm guessing that it would be no surprise to you that I am doing far better than anyone expected. I had a lot of trouble with my back yesterday and last night. I simply do not lie down flat. That was something that I have had to explain to each and every staff member here starting in pre-op. They were terribly kind to me and those folks caught on quickly. I have to say that I love, love, love those heated blankets they provide. They even gave me one behind my back since I don't lie back.
I had to wait a bit extra for them to clean the OR. My ortho and my pain doc/ anesthesia had a morning full of surgeries and it would seem that I was number four for their tag team. Dr. F, my pain doc and I talked about how he was going to manage me and how I have had a few procedures where he couldn't give me an epidural because of how tight my spine is and because of the metal that holds it together. He had a plan and it worked great. My epidural was about halfway down my back, not anywhere near the lumbar area. It worked great. I was even awake for part of this surgery--although it wasn't a lot of conversation between us. In the big picture, everything went according to the book this time round.
While I was in recovery, my back took center stage over my hip with spasm after spasm after spaasm, That earned me a couple of shots of morphine. It eventually worked some. They helped me to get my bed into a 90 angle so I was sitting as good as possible. I got to my room around 3:30, after it was cleaned. I have a private room (yay) with a lot of space. Sometime they brought me dinner--baked chicken, broccoli, mashed potatoes and gravy, apple juice,mandarin oranges, 2 cookies, a slice of whole grain bread. I gave them back their potatoes and gravy and I cut the chicken breast into 2 servings. For dinner, I ate half of the chicken, broccoli, 15 grapes that we brought from home, apple juice, and the mandarin oranges. For my snack that night, I ate a half of a chicken sandwich, 2 clementines, and 2 fiber one cookies that I brought. Unfortunately, I ate those two sugar cookies around 3 AM cause my tummy was growling and I couldn't get to my bag of fruit. I also took a walk to the bathroom twice last night but they wouldn't let me go any further.
My most difficult time was around 4:30 this morning. I had to go to the bathroom, but she went into the hallway for all of 6 seconds and couldn't find anyone to help. She insisted that I use the bedpan. My body went from urgency to total refusal when I got on the pan, my body gave up the entire idea. I sat on that thing for about 25 minutes and then she told me that I needed to get up and sit in a chair. (???) She called someone on the phone in her pocket who came fright in. Once I was standing, I asked to go to the bathroom. When I sat down in there, my body got busy and did what I needed. Grr-rr. I am going to have to be pushy and assertive for what I know I need.
They brought me to a chair and brought my breakfast. I had 2% milk, corn flakes, a western omelet (yuck), apple juice, and a muffin. Hmmmmm??? I gaver them back that omelet, I ate grapes, mandarin oranges, and apple juice for breakfast. I am holding on to the cereal,milk, and the muffin. The physical therapist and occupational therapist came in and let me walk to the hallway and back. They will both be back later--one to get me walking more and to learn about the "No No's" to this process while the other will be here to teach me how to do things like putting on my shoes and socks. They both are astonished by how well I am doing. I attribute it to my daily workouts at the pool.
I am tired now and have a bit of a headache. I'm going to finish my breakfast and my (yuck) mandatory miralax, and then maybe nap a bit before I finish sparking. I'll be checking in sometime, somewhere here! Take care of yourselves!!
Monday, December 17, 2012
We are loading the car as I type to run a couple of errands beofre I have to be at the hospital in just over an hour. I will then have to register again and go through the endless paperwork, my surgeon autographing my hip and another sticky cleaning, and so on... before my 11:45 surgery schedule (if things are on time.)
I have two Christmas gifts left to buy, many that are coming in the mail, and everything wrapped that I have purchased and received. I have an entirely messy house and a very sick husband. It has been quite a week.
Everyone is waiting on me--it is time to go!
Have a great day--The hospital has WiFi and I have my laptop. We'll talk again soon!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
I'm an absolute bundle of nerves. It has nothing to do with my surgery and everything to do with everything going on around me. Children at school were unbelievable this week in our building--and when I checked with teachers in other buildings in our area, I heard much of the same from them. A few things that added to our mess included the holiday show Tuesday evening, Santa's workshop on Wednesday and Thursday that turned into Thursday and Friday because the principal was out sick on Wednesday, the principal being sick, a deluge of assessments because the term ends next week, and a "Just Dance" party on Friday for all of the kids who didn't have referrals. (I think teachers don't write referrals to keep kids in the party which really defeats the purpose.) Anyway, I am thinking it is wrong to do important assessments at the end of the term when all of the holiday things are taking place and children are not focused and I am thinking that maybe it is time for the school to do less of things like Santa's Workshop so that we aren't adding to the extreme behaviors going on. (On a sidenote, I didn't find out about the disaster in the Connecticut school until the end of my day yesterday, so I am guessing that that wasn't a part of our issues. It is scary to think that each of us in a school become targets like fishing in an aquarium for any nut with a weapon. I am so sad for all of the people who are grieving and traumatized over those extreme events yesterday and I am including them in my prayers.)
Highlights of my week included three doctor appointments. I am having vision issues with my eyes not working together to take advantage of the monovision I was given with my cataract surgery. I'm back to bifocals, but I need them and am looking forward to not reading with one eye closed these days. Dr. C didn't say "no" to me working half days in January, but he didn't say "yes" either. It comes down to how I am doing. That makes sense to me. I did have a big rush to have to have another urinalysis and didn't find out until yesterday if it was free of bacteria. I was told that if the bacteria was still present, it would cancel my surgery. That was a bit nerve-wracking. anyway, at 2:00 yesterday, the hospital finally called with that information and my surgery time. I have to be at the hospital at 8:30 Monday morning and my surgery will be at 11:45. It is a 1.5-2 hour procedure and I will probably be in the hospital for 3 days. The insurance approved 5 days, which surprised me since they usually go less than the doctor wants. He spoke of me recuperating either at home, in rehab, or at a nursing home. Eeeek--I did time in rehab after my back infection and that place made me cry. I cannot see me being anywhere but at home for Christmas.
Then--our professor's department chair scheduled an emergency meeting for the staff at the same time as our final on Wednesday. She couldn't find anyone to give the exam, so it got turned into a "drop-in event" on Thursday between 3-7 when she could be there. That freed me up to go to the kids' band concert on Wednesday which was nice. Thursday, which was supposed to be my casual day, turned into a nightmare. Floyd came to pick me up and asked me to "call the doctor." He has only asked me to call the doctor one other time since we have been married. He was wheezing, feverish, and had a sore throat. As I described his symptoms to the nurse, she told me that he needed to go to the ER. I had to get to school--so my husband took me to my exam and the kids met him at the hospital and one of them came to meet me. When I got to the ER, the place was jammed up with every chair full and people sitting in wheel chairs and on the floor. When they finally called him to go back, there were beds in the hallway with people on them. Anyway, after a f.5 hour wait, it turned out that he has viral pneumonia and influenza type a. The doc was surprised because he said most of the patients they are seeing have had type b. Anyway, that means that a) I have to keep my distance from him and b) He won't be able to come with me for my surgery because there is a 5 day period that you can be contagious and they sure don't need that at the hospital. There also was nothing that they could do with this being viral in nature, so he got prescriptions for Tamiflu and a cough syrup with codeine--and he made a promise that next year he would get a flu shot. (He has always said that flu shots make you sick. Hmm, I have had one each year for the past 15 and haven't had the flu in 15 years except for some of the intestinal stuff that has been passed around once in a while..) I did stop on my way to the exam to weigh in and was thrilled to have lost 2.4 pounds. That covered the .8 that I gained last week and left me 1 pound away from my goal for surgery--not too bad. That leaves me 11 more to lose after my surgery to be at that "new goal weight" I have been working on.
Tuesday night was my late night at work with Marissa. We created literacy bags as holiday gifts for all of my kids. They had a little toy or two, a candy cane, three books, a Nickelodean magazine, and a Family Fun magazine for each of my students. I also wrapped several more Christmas gifts. The kids were sure excited over their gift bags. I also worked until almost 8:30 last evening trying to prepare for being gone. I was tired and teary eyed when I left. I am not done--no lesson plans yet, I was given a bad surprise. The principal emailed me and told me that the gal I chose couldn't be my sub if I worked half days, because she lived so far away. I called her to check on that and found out that she wasn't going to be able to get her paperwork done in time because "Iowa" was switching over their system and nobody could get their transcripts until sometime after New Years and there wouldn't be time to register her as a sub in IL. Great, now I am back to not knowing who might work for me--AGAIN. I will let the people down town help me next week when they weren't planning a sub for me anyway.
Today, I have to do about a dozen errands before I get to the pool. I received a gift in the mail for one of the boys that was broken and I need to get it to UPS today. they have already sent another, so things should be okay for him. I have a few things left to buy, including a pair of slippers to take to the hospital. I also have lunch with my best friend and of course, time in the pool. I hope to come home and catch up on sparking and doing my Christmas cards when I am done there. It should be a busy day, "sans" my husband who can keep his lousy germs to himself. I do feel bad for him, but I don't dare to pick up any of what he is has.
That's about it--I didn't get my report cards finished because I didn't get scores from everybody. I did my part and found somebody who will fill in the missing scores, make copies, and distribute them for me. Thank heavens, I didn't have time to finish them up even if I had gotten the scores at the last minute. It was a wold and crazy week.
Take care--and find a way to enjoy the season instead of rushing through it like I have been doing. Next week will be my time to heal and to sit back and enjoy cards and visits with my friends and family. I am looking forward to be forever rid of this ugly hip pain that is increasing with each breath I take.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
It's been a really busy, tough week for me and I am ready for a bit of down time--but I don't get too much of that. My exam is on my mind. I have a lot to do to be ready for it and that will be my big focus over the weekend. I also have to complete my report cards before the end of the week and that is my other big priority. It will take a lot to finish both of these items and I know I will do it. I almost am looking forward to the end of the coming week and having all of this pressure off.
I saw my primary care doc this week to get my surgical clearance. He was really attending to the details of my pre-op labs and interviewing me. He actually shook my hand over my weight loss. That was a special moment and a rather unique one in my life. Doctors have fussed at me about weight over and over again in my life, so this kind of thing is really unusual for me. The all-too-familiar part of this story is that my urine specimen had bacteria, so I got a prescription for antibiotics to clear that up so that I could have my surgery. I also got a letter from my ortho with directions and he now routinely puts his joint replacement patients on ferrous sulfate three times a day. Iron has a nice side effect for me (and many others) which is constipation. Between the stress, the antibiotics, and the iron--I think I can explain my weigh-in this week. I gained .8 of a pound. This really made me feel pretty sad. I don't think I will make the new goal I set for myself.
I analyzed my food journals for this past week and I am really guilty of one thing that probably contributed greatly to my gain at the scale this week. I haven't been eating enough. I have been so busy that I haven't been eating more than fruit a few times a day and dinner on most of the days this week. I certainly know better than this, but I also have worked hard to eat carefully. I eat planned meals and I don't eat while I am working or using the computer or doing homework or any other activity. Since I was so busy, I ran out of time to do everything and I ended up not eating all of my planned meals. I will have to do better this week.
To top things off, I'm reeling right now from an argument with my husband with my husband last evening. We don't argue, so I don't much know how to handle this or move on right now. In the heat of the argument, he said something that was unforgivable as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to be inflexible and rigid, but I deserve an apology and he may be too stubborn to give me one. I sure don't know where this will go, but maybe after sleeping, it will be far less intense.
I finished my paper in time to get to my class 15 minutes late on Wednesday. I spent Thursday and Friday working on paperwork. I wrapped Christmas presents after school last night and went to the pool, the one thing I cannot give up because my pain levels go up dramatically without exercise. I will start studying again today and I need to do a bit of shopping for both groceries and a few gifts. I will also work on organizing my report cards and filling in some of the "blanks" today and tomorrow. I have doctor appointments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after school along with that exam on Wednesday. That gives me Thursday and Friday to get the rest of the data for my report cards gathered, to collect the books that my kids take home each night, and to organize their gifts (trinkets and a book or two) from me. I can complete their report cards over the weekend and someone in the office can copy them. I will have the weekend to make sure that I have finished everything for my family for the holidays. I need to figure out baking and cooking plans and I need to move all of the Christmas gifts from my classroom closet to one of the older boys' apartments. That should take care of that.
Finally, after I see my surgeon on Tuesday, I will know what I must do for a sub. I have found a nice young lady who is just finishing her degree and who hopes to have her paperwork completed with the ROE. I have had a really tricky time to find a sub because all of the retired reading teachers I know are going to nice warm places in January--the tallies are one for Florida, two for North Carolina (one is going to the Reading Recovery conference there!) and one to Hawaii. I offered to accompany them, but that didn't seem to work out, lol. I hope to have this all resolved and I am hoping that Dr. C will let me work half time. That would keep me in charge of my room and ahead of the test scores I won't get in time to reconfigure my reading groups and student selection.
Now, it is time to have breakfast and to make a concerted effort to take better care of myself. It is no good to head into surgery exhausted or depleted. I can do this, the key phrase is to stick with the plan(s)!
Monday, December 03, 2012
I am really doing well with my weight right now and I am so excited to watch that scale moving downward. I only have two more weigh-ins before my hip surgery and I may be within ten pounds of that goal weight when December 17 gets here. This is a big deal and is enough to help me stay motivated and hold on to my momentum. Anyway, I lost 1.8 pounds this week (YAY)
It has been a busy week and the coming one will be even more busy. I have spent today at the kids' winter choir concert, selling soy candles and goat milk soap as a fundraiser for Marissa's trip to Dallas in March, at the emergency room with Megan and working on homework and studying for my final in a week and a half at every open moment today. I didn't even finish sparking because I was working so hard. I have a lot to memorize for that final and this big paper is due this week. I am collecting samples of dialogue and am short three of them because I haven't been around people either speaking in euphemisms or in gender-oppositional comments to complete my work. I have one rather nasty sample of the latter and none of the former to go along with the other 8 varieties that were part of the assignment. As soon as I have them, I have to document them in written form along with explanations and definitions. It will be a long paper, I'm afraid.
The exam involves phonetics, the international phonetic alphabet, and the way different phonemes are created with our mouths. It is a lot of memorization and I really don't like memorizing something for a test. If I know where to get an answer and how to figure it out, that should be enough. I will do my best, but if I lose part of a grade over not devoting enough time to mindless memorization, so be it. I'm back in school to learn and not to earn grades.
The kids' winter concert was awesome and I enjoyed it as always. Marissa had a solo with the women's choir this year. It was a lot different than her usual solos because it was at a much lower pitch. I am thinking that her director is helping her to expand her range in doing this. She did beautifully, but I also missed her awesome soprano range in this solo. The amazing thing is that she doesn't seem to strain to reach any notes--it is part of her ability and skill along with the passion she shows in her singing. It is far more mature than any of her same-aged peers in the choir. Micah was visibly nervous--he has such anxiety issues when he performs. The doctor who treats his Aspergers gave him a prescription of meds to take prior to performances and at least he doesn't get physically sick anymore. When I watch him squirm, it breaks my heart--but he insists that he wants to do this. It is funny because he does none of that when performing at church. I guess that is the difference in the audience for him.
I just realized that miles should be completing his auto-diesel mechanics program in the next couple of weeks. He told me that they don't get to "graduate" because mechanics programs are "different." Hmm, I think that completed an 18-24 month program deserves some kind of recognition, but I will be satisfied with knowing he did it and watching him find a position in his chosen career. He currently works in a hardware store that he loves, but it isn't a career and I jope that he will take time from his job to look for that position soon.
As for me, I have appointments on 8 of the 10 work days in the two weeks before my surgery with Fridays being free. It is going to be a whirlwind. We had a mini-wrapping party with Megan's help after school on Thursday and a much bigger one Saturday morning with Marshall, Micah, Mitchell and Laura's help while my husband was at work. I haven't quite finished my shopping yet and am waiting for several gifts to arrive that I ordered, but everything to date is wrapped except for Mitchell and Laura's gifts which I will do in spare minutes Thursday or Friday. We have the Christmas tree up and decorated.
Anyway, my countdown is here. I have exactly 14 more days until my hip surgery and that makes is 21 days until Christmas> I would like to lose 2.6 more pounds by the 17th. That will make it time for me to set a new goal--after my new hip is in place and the differences in my weight after the surgery. I will be entering 2013 new and improved--new eyes and a new hip, goal weight in sight.
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