Monday, July 23, 2012
On Saturday I went stand up paddleboarding with a handful of the San Diego Spark Team. Talk about a fun day! I'm so glad I got to go and spend an afternoon with such wonderful people. Especially since I've been feeling so down in the dumps lately. Here are a few photos of the fun!
Easiest to start on your knees until you get the hang of things. Also, this was the "wake zone" and we were paddling our way to calmer waters.
Got the hang of it! It was actually really fun and not nearly as difficult to maintain balance as I was thinking it was going to be. I'm actually in the wake zone, going against the current, in this section. Buff arms after this!
Members of the San Diego Spark Team! So much fun and, as always, the best company EVER!
Afterward, we went to a restaurant and had sushi. It was a nice, healthy way to end the outing. I enjoyed every minute of this adventure! And thanks to Felicia for manning the camera(s)!
Speaking of being stressed/down in the dumps... in my last blog I forgot to mention ONE MORE FINANCIAL STRESSOR! How could I forget? I guess my list is pretty long... easy to overlook. At some point during Comic-Con, I lost my driver's license. Or it was stolen. Really, I have no way to verify either happened. All I know is, my license is gone. The bus depot doesn't have it. And I can't for the life of me find the Lost & Found info for the convention center. So, it'll cost me $26 to replace it. I guess I'll be waiting to do that until next month. Not that I'll have more money then, 'cuz I really won't. ARGH!
Anyhoo, all my paperwork and stuff is going to be mailed off tomorrow for my DSS practicum. That's one stress about to be taken care of. I went grocery shopping today and loaded up my fridge with lots of healthy yummies... fruit, veggies, lean meats... And I have some meal ideas to get me through the rest of the month at least.
So, if you're the praying sort, please keep me in yours. If you're not, send me some good thoughts/vibes. For those that have been checking in on me and encouraging me and offering to be a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen, you are so precious to me and I appreciate it so very much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Friday, July 20, 2012
So, the last few status updates here on SP haven't been too terribly chipper. Obviously that's out of character for me. I consider myself to be a stable, cheerful, optimistic individual that experiences the usual ebb and flow of human emotion. You know, what is considered "normal" (although I don't think I am by any means!)
This month started off really great and then took a really ugly turn for the worst. My grandmother had thrown a few extra bucks my way and I got a bit of an extra tax refund back, so I had a little bit of a money buffer zone. I was planning on doing some small, but fun, things for myself since I'd been cooped up from recovering from surgery and I know next semester is going to be loooooong and very, very busy. Basically, I was just going to see a bunch of movies at the theatre that I was excited for. That's pretty rare for me. I wanted to see Brave, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Magic Mike, Ted, The Dark Knight Rises, and more.
Also, I had Comic-Con this month. WOO! Once again I got chosen to be a volunteer and I could write a whole series of blogs about the fun I had all weekend. Sitting through panels of my favorite shows, identifying cosplayer's costumes, camping out next to the convention center overnight, spotting celebs in the crowd, donating blood, free schwag, and so much more! In fact, here's a few photos...
Walking Dead panel (one of my favorite shows!)
Inside the Frankenweenie graveyard
Maybe I'll post some more later. Anyway, for 3 hours of work a day, it was well worth it. I had an absolute blast.
But, the first sign of money trouble ahead came with an email sent to me the late afternoon of July 6. It was from the program director for the DSS program. Suddenly, "they" decided to make a bunch of deadlines for everyone to get their paperwork in. The only requirement prior to this email was that it was done WELL before school started. So, I was planning on getting my physical and TB test done around the first of next month. Well, now I had only 20 days to get that done. Also, there was a new policy instituted for a drug test and background check. That had the same 20 day deadline. And it cost me almost $70, out of pocket... and we won't be reimbursed for it. Knowing I had some money cushion, I just sucked it up and paid for it. Then, I have a doctor's co-pay for my physical. $25... ouchie. Then, I had bloodwork ordered from the doc because apparently last time my cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels were "creeping up" and she wanted to check them again to see if they've gone back down to more normal levels. Oddly, I wasn't told about that before. So, that was an unpleasant surprise. Turns out I had a "small" balance at the lab (I'm guessing something having to do with my surgery) and they wouldn't do my bloodwork until I paid it. So, luckily, I had a tiny dab of space on my credit card and paid it. Another $60 there. All of this is just for a practicum class- 2 units- to get my DSS certificate! Geez! (Not to mention books, a lab coat, and "professional" clothing I'll be having to buy, too. Don't get me started!)
The next ugly thing to come up was the first day I volunteered at Comic-Con. I was working in the afternoon on Wednesday. I hadn't had a chance to eat anything at that point, so I was chewing some gum while handing out the iconic giant bags and schedules. Suddenly, my gum got crunchy. I was like... "Hmmmm... gum isn't supposed to be crunchy." Turns out I a) lost a filling in one of my molars or b) chipped/crumbled said molar. Either way, it left a gaping hole in my tooth that, thanks to my packed back-to-back schedule for the con, I was not going to be able to take care of until Monday. So, first thing on Monday, I call and get a quickie appointment since it was considered an emergency. They do some x-rays to find out the dealio is and I'm informed I have "a lot" of cavities... many on the verge of requiring root canals and need to be taken care of ASAP. It has been a while since I've been able to take care of my teeth like that. I used to be very vigilant about it. Then I stopped having insurance. Boo. Well, needless to say, the "down payment" for my dental treatments took up the remaining money cushion I had. And will take up all my grocery money AND THEN SOME next month for the remaining few initial payments before becoming lower monthly payments. That I'll be paying for the next 17 months. Woo.
On top of financial stress, I've been troubled by a few other things. My fingers have been really stiff and sore in the joints lately. I wouldn't be surprised if I had rheumatoid arthritis thanks to all the RA medication commercials I used to make fun of. The narrator always made it sound so dramatic. And he never said it out: rheumatoid arthritis... he always said it R-A. Karma, man.
And one of my roommates and I (and the other roomie) aren't getting along too well lately. The two of us feel the third is being a bit selfish and inconsiderate when it comes to things around the house. Last night when we got home from the grunion run we attempted (with marginal success) we found one of our living room blankets just thrown haphazardly on the floor. I just washed that blanket THAT DAY and the floor over there has not been vacuumed in I don't know how long. So not cool. This is also a regular occurrence, not only with the living room blankets, but also the throw pillows on the couch. Why the floor seems to be a good place to throw those, I'll never know. The floor is filthy and that's just plain ol' NOT WHERE THOSE BELONG!!! And the roommate doesn't wipe down the kitchen counters when it's crumbed up from making food. And this roommate scolded me for something like I was a child. It was something I did because of my tooth emergency and the roommate had to rearrange some social plans to accommodate. So sorry the gaping, painful hole in my tooth was so inconveniencing for YOU. Next time, I'll ask my body to not have any more emergencies so that you could easily go hang out with your friends. The two of us roomies are starting to feel the resentment grow with the third one. And at this point, I don't know what to do about it. I'm too pissed off to have a calm, rational conversation with the other roomie, so I dunno.The third roomie doesn't like confrontation, so I doubt I'd have any support there.
Despite all this, I've been trying to stay on some sort of healthy track. For Comic-Con I packed healthy snacks- fruit, veggies and dips, cashew butter and jelly sammies on wheat, homemade trail mix, pretzels, etc. I drank lots of water (and coffee!), so I tried. I've been keeping relatively active with just normal household activities, but I'm pretty ready to get back into an exercise routine. This Saturday I'll be going stand up paddleboarding with the members of the San Diego Spark Team!!! Thank goodness. I need to do something fun and healthy with some great company.
I wish I had cash so that I could do some fun stuff later in the year. I wanted to do the Iron Girl 5k and the Color Run, which are both in November. But, if my financial situation remains unchanged, I won't get to do ANY 5k's this year. I've only done one total. I want to do more and have fun. Oh, well.
So... we'll see where the next few days and weeks take me.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
As in, I'm kickin' ass... in the healing department. I mentioned not too turribly long ago that I had busted open (while shopping at Target, no less) the day my staples came out. Happy to report I have only a bit of scab left before my skin is totally fused together and ready to leave a hideous, Frankenstein-like scar instead. There's a possibility I'm being a little dramatic. Regardless, I'm happily healing and am almost normal. I still have some soreness around my bellybutton (under the surface) which is where they rammed a camera up to my chest. The gnarly almost-healed incision still gets sore if my shirts are rubbing on it for too long. And if I'm laying on my side and my skin stretches a little too much, I'll feel some soreness.
My appetite is what I'd consider normal, but not MY normal. I'll explain: I've been eating multiple small meals during the day instead of major meals. I like this a little bit better to some degree, but my normal is 2-3 big meals and 2-3 smaller snacks. All told, I'm sure I've been eating normal amounts of food, just spread out more. I haven't been tracking, so I don't rightly know.
My energy level is a little different. I still find myself tiring fairly easy, although I'm growing impatient and would like to be back into some sort of active routine. I know that because I've still got some belly soreness that I'm not ready for a full-blown routine, so maybe I'll start with something small... like walks or easy hikes or something. I'm able to do chores around the house and tend to my garden, so already I'm getting somewhere with this energy building. I need to exercise (ha!) more patience. I'm a pretty patient person until things start to drag on, and right now it feels like things are dragging on.
Speaking of garden, these are some exciting samplings:
Since my last update, post-surg, I've kept as busy as possible. I've gotten to do a lot of pleasure reading, which I hardly ever get to do thanks to school. I read the Hunger Games trilogy and was completely entertained by it. I loved that little series! Although my dreams for the time I was reading all were post-apocalyptic style. Which is not cool. I also read The Help and found that I enjoyed it as well. I thought it was a slow start and I really didn't like how it ended, but overall was an enjoyable read. I read a snippet of first book of A Song of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones). I'm hoping to actually get to read the series as I enjoyed the sampling.
I did finally get to meet my lovely "niece" yesterday, which of course was the highlight of my week! Aibree is the daughter of one of my closest and best friends since I was a freshman in high school. She's 3 weeks old, and just over 8 lbs. She was so precious it was like I couldn't hold her close enough to me! I fell totally in love with her. I'm so excited to watch her grow up.
I've also been listening to some crazy music, some that would be good for exercise, some that's just kinda nice. I was never an Oasis fan and I think the brothers are total egomaniacs and just plain huge a**holes, but Noel's solo work is so much better and I've been addicted to this one song:
Total douche or not, he's a wonderful lyricist. How romantic is that lyric: Let me fly you to the moon, my eyes have always followed you around the room... I gotta get back on my hormones STAT cuz all this girliness is making me sick. HAHAHA!
The next song is quick and catchy, but makes zero sense to me and the "special" brownie trip video is just... well, stupid.
And I've been listening to the Van Morrison station on Pandora regularly. Some of the stuff they attribute to that station are kinda odd (Queen? Aerosmith? Really?).
And lastly, I've been able to update my blog (with two more already in the works). If you haven't checked it out yet, I'd like to highly recommend you do so!
P.S. I don't believe you have to sign up for an account or anything to comment, either. Just FYI!
Thursday, June 07, 2012
CAUTION: Weak stomachs should skip this one. Photo at the bottom contains "graphic" material.
Today marks one week since my surgery. It hasn't been nearly as hellish as I was expecting, which as you can imagine is a huge relief. I'm not saying its been all that easy, either. Without my mom here, I'd have starved to death and probably had infected wounds from never taking the dressings off. Possibly still have not showered, either. Her help has been invaluable.
The day before my surgery, my friend came over and gave my hair a trim. He went just a little bit shorter than it was the last time I had it done (by my request). This turned out to be a fabulous decision because I was unable to wash my hair for 4 solid days. GROSS.
The night before I couldn't sleep, but I expected that. I was very anxious. I always get anxious when I have to wake up really early in the morning in general because I'm always afraid of oversleeping or not being woken by my alarm. As much as I try to relax and calm myself, it always happens. This time, that anxiety was mixed with my anxiety regarding surgery. My alarm went off at 4:45am, but I was already awake and planning my morning. I showered with my "special" soap- I'm guessing some sort of anti-microbial something or other. Threw on my "surgery pajamas" that I also wore when I got my wisdom teeth removed, and packed a little bag for my mom to keep in the car. We arrived at the hospital and I got checked in at 6am.
I changed into my hospital johnny, robe, anti-skid socks, and mesh underwear. They drew my blood and took my vitals. Then, I waited in the pre-surg room with my mom. We walked down to get me prepped. I got to lay down on a bed that had a big inflatable "blanket" on it. It looked like one of those blow-up loungers for a swimming pool, but it pumped warm air through it. Kept me pretty toasty while they prepped me. Since I couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight, I was pretty dehydrated and the nurse was having difficulty starting an IV in me. My shriveled-up veins wouldn't yield up any juice! It finally took my anesthesiologist to jab the top of my hand (the 4th location tried) to get it in there. Finally, they wheeled me to the OR, which looked very space age and intimidating. The last thing I remember is my buddy the anesthesiologist putting on oxygen mask on me. "Here's some oxygen for you." And I said, "Hey, thanks!"
Next thing I know, I'm waking up in recovery. I remember a nurse saying something to me, but for the life of me, I don't know what it was. I also was totally unable to see anything. My eyes were so blurry. Apparently they had put some sort of lubricant in them to keep them from drying out, but it was gooey, not liquidy. She handed me a tissue so I could wipe my eyes and I just started blinking non-stop to try to clear my eyes. Soon after they called my mom in and wheeled me to my room. My eyes were still so blurry I have no idea what my attending nurse looked like. My mom said the first thing I told her was that I couldn't see anything.
I got to my room, a shared one unfortunately, and just rested for a bit. I didn't feel any pain or nausea or anything, so that was good. I actually felt pretty good, as I recall. My friend Kaleena came by with a gift, but I was so out of it, I couldn't really muster up enough energy to talk to her much. Then the head nurse found out my mom was from out of town and if you're in a shared room, they don't let family stay with the patients overnight. So, they worked on getting me a private room, which was secured pretty quickly. They wanted me to walk there, though, but they had just given me a dose of dilaudid (synthetic morphine) and a lot of it, so literally 2 minutes before they were going to move me, I threw up. They got a wheelchair (I think, its a little fuzzy) and wheeled me to my new room. Private bathroom, lounge-chair for my mom, and a window. I was indeed blessed.
Later that day my other BFF and roommate showed up to visit and see how I was. That whole day I only felt tired and nauseated. I ended up throwing up again for my next round of dilaudid while she was there, but she took care of me. Emptied my spew container and washed me off, so my mom could take a restroom break/food run. I stayed on clear liquids that day, but was drinking water with ease. Peeing was awkward because my abs were pretty much numb and weird. I slept really bad, mostly because I kept being woken up every few hours for the nurses to take my vitals and draw blood and administer pain meds. My mom didn't sleep much either and the chair actually bruised the beejezus out of her arm.
The next day I had jello for breakfast, but ate half a turkey sandwich and some cucumbers and fruit for lunch. No problems! I was so surprised to be eating solid foods. I was discharged later that day and went home with my further care instructions. I was finally able to shower for the first time since Thursday morning on Sunday evening. My mom removed my dressings slowly and carefully (and very patiently). Just before I was wheeled into the OR, my surgeon said they'd be gluing me shut. We were surprised to learn I was actually stapled. I do not do well with "medical stuff". I hate hospitals (all my friends know to NOT call me if they have to go to the ER) and things like vomit, saliva, stitches, open wounds, staples, etc. make me queasy. My own stapled stomach makes me light-headed and ill to look at. I think I could have handled being glued a lot better than being stapled.
My mom got me a stuffed animal- a fat cat that looks like one of my cats from the past. I call him Tubby Tabby. I've spent a lot of time on my computer, watching things on Netflix, researching nutrition stuff, compiling healthy recipes for people, and looking up grad school things. I'm eating almost normally now, with a regular appetite. I'm on vicodin which is keeping pain at bay very well, but it miraculously not making me sick. I think it's a pretty low dose or a dose that works great for me. Staying hydrated and as positive as possible. I have my post-surgery appointment on Monday and hopefully will be getting my staples removed then. I hope so because my wounds are ITCHING LIKE CRAZY! I have to remember not to scratch 'cause that would obviously be really bad.
So far no pain from eating food, but my stomach is sour so I've been downing Tums between meals. I'm guessing that has to do with the vicodin, actually. I've always had a sensitivity to NSAIDS, so why wouldn't this be much different? I can't wait to be up and back to my normal routine, or at least exercising on the regular. I'll keep you all updated.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
So, its [now] 5 days away from my surgery. Thank goodness, too. I check in to the hospital at 6am on Thursday morning and my surgery should begin at 8am. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. Actually, I'm pretty terrified. As much as I've been "Yay, I'm having surgery!" and all, I really don't WANT to have surgery. It's a necessity and if I don't do it, my condition will only get worse. So, the ol' gallbladder has to go.
Surgery is just so... weird. I hate the idea of being put to sleep to have things done to me and then I wake up feeling like s***. I think its the lack of control that freaks me out the most. Once I'm asleep, I'm in someone else's hands... They'll see me naked. They'll be cutting me open and jamming things into me. They'll be filling my abdomen with a gas so they can expand my stomach to reach what they need to (how crazy creepy is that?!?!). They'll have some massage-y leg warmer things on me, so that'll be cool! But, really, it's all just a bunch of weirdness that I hate when you're put under for surgery. Also, that possibility that I won't wake up... *shudder*
So, these next few days will be spent getting me and my environment ready for post-surgery recovering. My friend has offered to come down and help me out with some cleaning and chores, and I'll probably take her up on that.
Yesterday was a nice day. I got to hang out with a friend of mine, whom I've been friends with since my freshman year in high school. She's three weeks away from giving birth to her first child- a girl- and its been an exciting time for everyone in her life. I get to be an "aunt"!!! I'm so excited! Did I mention the excitement?
Well, my usual modus operandi is to ramble on, so I think I'll stop with the hike I took with some wonderful Sparks from my local team. I had a blast and the company was unbeatable! If you ever get a chance to rally with members from Spark where ever you are, I highly suggest doing so. Its fantastic and I've made some amazing friends on here. Seriously, my journey to better health would be incomplete without their presence and support.
Here is a photo of the journey:
Lena (BEFIT_WITHGUSTO), me, Jocelyn (WOLFKITTY), and Leah (SPRING4FAL)
Photo by random stranger with Lena's camera
I posted more beautiful and fun photos of my hike at my blog!! (That's right, I FINALLY got something new up!) You can, and I highly encourage you to, go see:
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