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Thursday 1/23 Happy Birthday Miles (yesterday!!)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hi Everybody,

I have been on quite a whirlwind of activity lately. Right now, it is -9 with a wind chill of -30 and there is no school anywhere in our bi-state region. Our district, which is famous for NEVER taking weather days--maybe one in every five years, is now out for the second day this month. Our son's school is now out for the 6th time in the same time frame. This has been an incredibly cold winter and this sun and pool baby is NOT a fan.

Yesterday was Miles' birthday. He has been such a unique child from arriving here on the day the gulf war began--the first time they ever showed bombs dropping on TV. My husband and the majority of the hospital staff were in my room watching, watching, watching and my doctor came up and asked them all if they considered that maybe the length and strength of my labor wasn't quite right. She went and got an ultrasound machine herself and when she looked, she saw my baby trying to be born shoulders first, which cannot happen. I was wheeled into the OR for my first c-section and he came into the world as one of the most beautiful babies ever, weighing in at a whopping 11 pounds 2 ounces. He has continued to do things his own way his entire life and if I ever write a book about my family almost half will be about Miles and the remainder will be about the other 8 people in my family.

My time at Mayo was exactly what they predicted except for the broken rib. I found out for sure yesterday that that is what I've been dealing with. I was sure of that, but the x-ray didn't show it because the upper rib is cartilage and it was missed. Treatment is pain control so I don't get pneumonia. It hurts when I breathe and part of my left lung is deflated because of that. They increased my regular pain meds and I am supposed to take deep breaths with a pillow supporting the injury every hour to protect myself. It hurts to move or belch or yawn or cough or anything and feels best when my hand is cupped over it. That has kept me from doing much this past several days. I think the little pillow they used at Mayo to elevate my upper abdominal area to push up on my lower back caused it. All doctors have to do this but my pain doc uses a nice big cushy bed sized pillow. They had a special small pillow at Mayo and it hurt me Tuesday as well. they were looking to see if the blocks really worked or if I was having a placebo effect. However, my pain log indicated with both meds, the exact time of relief for the drug they gave that was predicted. Wednesday was a day to rest and clear my system of the chemical blocks. On Thursday, they did the radio frequency ablation or the burning of the nerves in the left side. On Friday, the doctor was the most chatty of all of the docs I had seen and he shared with me that the reason everything on the left hurt more and was more difficult was because the screw to my fusion was directly in the way of the procedures--anyway, he did the right side of the ablation. He also was the one who bleieved me that I was having a lot of pain from the pillow and he tried repositioning it and taking it away, but by then, it was so sore that nothing helped.

I spent Monday in the ER--my internal medicine doc sent me when I described the pain. He said that the area of my pain could indicate cardio-vascular problems or musculo-skeletal issues given the location and that it would be best to be right at the hospital, just in case I needed something done. This visit was a comedy scene from beginning to end. First, they gave me a shot of morphine, which to date was the only thing that managed this pain under my left breast. They did an x-ray but said it wasn't broken so then they checked for an infection, but the shot made it hard for me to identify the part that hurt most and I sent them about an inch and a half away from where the real problem is. (They attached a "BB" to the area to make it easy for the doc to read the x-ray.. They had four tubes to draw but there was a malfunction in the blue topped tubes and the top kept splitting and letting the blood get contaminated, spilling out. It took four draws before they got a good tube and each time these bottles broke, the needle perforated my vein. The results came back without an infection like pneumonia but there was indication of "the infection people have when they have a blood clot." The doc ordered a CT scan and the ER nurse gave me an IV for the contrast. When I got to the CT room, they tried to put saline in my IV and it infiltrated. So, they gave me a new IV on the other side and did the procedure. I didn't have a blood clot but the scan showed that my lower left lung was deflated. The hospital decided the way to treat that was to ramp up my pain meds and send me home. It was a wasted 5 hours because the pain came back and the new meds made me fuzzy bit didn't help much.

I got to work on Tuesday with a ton to do after having been gone for a week and starting a revised schedule. I also knew that I was having visitors at 9:00. One of our local TV channels--WQAD, our ABC affiliate is doing a program called "Pay it Forward"where they are honoring volunteers and people who do good things. I nominated "Mr. R," my Monday and Tuesday volunteer who is a retired teacher. He is so kind and loving, and he gives so much of himself that I had to nominate him. They had contacted me a couple of weeks before about coming and I had to hold them off a week until I was back from Mayo. They presented me with $300 to give him to "pay it forward" for all of his good works. They interviewed me and then we surprised him when I gave him the money. They stayed to film us working with students and then, they interviewed him. The kids were so excited to "be on TV" and he was so surprised. It wasn't easy to keep such a big surprise quiet, but I did. I only told the principal and insisted that she not tell anyone, including our chatty office staff. I wish all of the people who do good things can be treated like that!!

Moving things a bit forward, I met with the principal who wanted me to plan and carry through a family reading night. I have been wanting to do an all-school reading day for 7 years and I told her that the two should happen and be connected. She finally told me that I could do the reading day too. Yay--these special days are the ones the kids will remember forever, not the lessons that we do day after day. I'm so excited. I'm in the middle of getting a schedule and have collected a team of people to work with me. (I could use ideas on a book related menu for this event...if you have any thoughts!! I'm thinking about "stone soup" and sandwiches. It's a lot to feed dinner to about 300 or more people.)

That afternoon, I was on stage, front and center as I led the school's "Title 1 annual meeting." This meeting is required by law to explain the Title 1 Schoolwide initiative and to answer questions. After I successfully did that, the next thing was our monthly parent group meeting. They are called the PTCC and they have a non-profit legal status. When they got to their new business, I presented our reading day/night activities and they authorized $750 for me to use to pay for costs such as food, door prizes or other materials for the reading night. I also got them to give us some gift certificates for their book fair for door prizes. All in all, I think Tuesday was a winning day.

Wednesday came and I got a call from my doctor--he needed to see me based on information from my ER visit. That's when I found out that I do have a broken rib. He was very kind and told me that the hospital staff had done a good job with me and that he was satisfied with their choices and care. Then he called my pain doc--and my favorite nurse actually hung up on him after he introduced himself and gave my name. He took the call out of the room and when he came back, he told me that Dr. F had said "hi" and had ok'd him changing my pain meds to the percoset so I wouldn't violate my pain contract at the pain clinic. I got back to school in time to meet with teachers who are helping with the reading day/night. I had my regular nay-sayer, but the reality overrode her negatives and we are on our way with plans.

I have a ton to do--I go to University Hospital tomorrow for a surgical consult. (It can take from 3-4 weeks before we know if the ablation is successful. I'm thinking it is a big process to go through every six months--not that I won't if it works, but I am wondering more and more about the surgical possibility. I know it is scary and will be painful00but I still know how much pain I have every day with this back.) Then I have almost a full week of school, but it will be interrupted for a day of LDC training on Friday. Then I work on Monday and will be at Mayo on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the following week. I will have three appointments at their fibromyalgia clinic, an MRI and a surgical consult. After that, I return to work on Friday, Feb. 7 and have my reading day and night on the 20th. I will be a very busy teacher--this reading day has to be outstanding with a great culminating evening with families.

I am so excited to have these things coming, but I am worried about my body getting in the way. My doc offered me time off from work for my rib to heal--but I want to do this. I have been asking for seven years to have one. I have to make it an awesome event so we can do it annually. Keep me and this worthwhile event in your prayers.

Gentle hugs,
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I would love to read your book and discover more about Miles. Happy birthday to him!

    You certainly have been through a lot lately health wise and I hope things improve soon.

    It sounds like you have some exciting things to look forward to.
    1918 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon belated to your amazing son Miles!
    The hoops you have to jump through with your health care :( I hope your new pain meds work and that this procedure will have been worthwhile.
    I am so happy for you that you finally got your reading night on the go finally! The first thing that popped to mind for a menu was green eggs and ham, who can not think of Dr.Suess?? Wishing you big success!
    They are rushing me into surgery -my arm break is not healing and there is a chance the failure of the elbow replacement forced particles into my bone and that lead to the loss of most of my bone in the upper arm. Its major risky (because of infection) surgery, having to open up the arm from elbow to shoulder and trying to get all the cement out which goes up the entire arm -he is getting another surgeon to help with it to make it go faster. This arm had deteriorated rapidly in less than a year! If I hadn't fallen and gotten the compound fracture, it probably would have broken itself, during normal activity. He said my triceps muscle will be useless as it doesn't survive a second detachment. They will have to do major bone grafting. So it was my bad luck to get a faulty replacement that lead to all this hassle. I go in Feb 3. No internet access as usual.
    You are inspiring with all you do! Do try to find ways to look after yourself!
    {{{gentle hugs}}}
    1918 days ago
    Okay.... my schedule seems light now. Praying that all this stuff does what it is supposed to and you feel better. Hugs!
    1918 days ago
    How do you do all that you do? You are so amazing. Here you are with constant joint and back pain and then the fractured rib on top of that. Teaching full time and taking care of your family and your involvement with church and community. You are so amazing and a very special person. I know you will do an amazing job on the reading program. Please remember to take some me time and rest your body and spirit. Hugs to you and praying for the treatments to finally find you a pain free life.
    1918 days ago
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