Wednesday, August 30, 2006
And yet. I cannot sleep well.
Maybe it's the weirdness of sleeping on the second floor, something I haven't done in a few years. Maybe it's the new matress, a humongous birthday cake confection of engineering miracluatude. Maybe it's that we now face East, or that the air is thinner, or that it's fall, or. What-the-fuck-ever, I'm not goddamned sleeping. And can you tell? I'm sick of it.
First it was not falling asleep, which, well, awesome. But, see, me being a school teacher meant I could cheat on that a little bit, because I had fuck-all to get up for, so, well, I wouldn't. Then it was waking up in the middle of the night, but again, see the phrase above that contains "fuck-all." Oh, and naps rock, and are fun, and easy.
Now, however, my body and brain are uniting to put me through hell. Because, see, I'm a teacher, and it's fall. Which means I have to haul my ass out the front door at, oh, 6:30 or so. That'd be ante meridien. As in ay-mother-fucking-em. So I can't cheat. And now my body and brain are saying, well, self? Even if you manage to fall asleep, we are going to wake up! With perpetual brain motion! At 3:30! And then we'll keep thinking! And thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and... then it'll be 4! And then 4:30! And we won't let you give up hope of falling back asleep until 5:41, at which time you'll realize that even if you fell back asleep, it wouldn't even count as a nap because you need to get up in less than twenty minutes!
And then! Exclamation point! I get to go to work where I had a meeting on the attendance policy and then one on our new technology, and then one on the school internet, and then one on senior projects, and then one on AP classes, and then one on geometry and then! It was 3:00 p.m. and I could go!
I'm determined to stay awake and not nap so that when I go to bed, a dried-up husk of my former self, I will actually fall asleep and then maybe I can stay asleep and then maybe the millions of little tiny worms that are boring tunnels into my brain will leave and I can think without hurting again. Maybe.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I've been nervous, so so SO nervous, that I've bitten off more than I could chew this year. I'm teaching AP Statistics and dear Lord, there's so much involved with this that my eyes are turning into dizzying little pinpricks. I've been trying not to think about it, because every time I do, I get this Queasy Stomach of Impending Doom. Students come back on Tuesday and I had really anticipated being so much better prepared than I am. I mean, really. I had planned on planning out the entire year this summer.
Instead, I've seen all of season 1 of The Closer, of Grey's Anatomy, and of Battlestar Galactica. Not to mention, kept up entirely with Project Runway and all of the reruns of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
This week, the teachers returned. The first week teachers go back is a week that's half filled with BS anyway. Defining vision statements. Naming goals that will never be revisited. Learning a new attendance policy that will subsequently be ignored. The usual politics. (Hence my original plan to set up my lessons over the summer. Sigh.) And for the past two days, that has been what the days are like. I haven't exactly been focused myself. The time where we are allowed to work on instructional planning, I've been dizzy trying to set up my room, figure out where I am, and I've been so overwhelmed with the start of the new year that it's hard to settle down and finish something through to completion.
I've made lists. Copies To Be Made. Things to Find Out (can students download calculator stuff from school computers? Where can students get free tutoring?). Things I'd Buy For My Classroom If I Had Money. What Lists Do I Need To Make. Where Have I Put All My Lists. That kind of thing. I'm a listomaniac. Listaphiliac. Whatever.
But today, I've gotten the feeling that this can happen. Maybe it was finally submitting my first worksheets to the Print Shop. Maybe it was finally getting down on paper my first week's lesson plans. Getting things revved up to go, I feel like--this is happening. And I'll be fine. Or, if not fine, at least unfine for a limited time.
So, if I'm not hopeful, I'm at least hopey. In a conservative, estimated kind of way.
Monday, August 28, 2006
That was Saturday night.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
My favorite gift of all time is the gift I gave Andrew the day we got married. To someone else, it might have seemed odd. But what happened was this: Andrew had just started a new assignment with a client. One of his first in a high-rise, a fancy-pantsy high-rise. The kind that comes with art collections. And the art hung across from his cubicle was something he described to me more than once. "I just love to stare at it," he would say. So I called the main switchboard for the company, asked to speak to their art curator or art archivist, whatever they had. When I reached her, I described what Andrew had described to me and asked for her help. She was able to help my find a copy of the print, which I got framed. It hangs in our kitchen right now. He cried when the bridesmaids delivered it.
Sometimes, though, those moments of inspiration don't quite match up to either the occasion--like finding a Christmas gift in March--or they don't match up to my wallet. Like finding a $300 gift for a friend. (Or for anyone, for that matter, right now.)
Which is why I'm so excited about Andrew's birthday this weekend. I think I did it again. I don't think he expects it. And I hid it, really well. I can't wait to give it to him. I really really think he'll like it.
Friday, August 18, 2006
While I embrace all sorts of different lifestyles (don't eat anything with eyes? Good for you! Eat everything organic? Smart! Won't get in a Demon Car? Bike everywhere? Handmake all your clothes? Won't use a telephone? You get ON with your bad self!), to be quite frank? This is not one that I can ever really picture myself sustaining for long term.
There was a time when I lived by myself in Chicago when I didn't get cable, which in Chicago is almost the same as not watching TV. And considering my favorite shows aren't on network TV, I did essentially that. So I know I can. I just don't want to.
Case in point: by some magical stroke of luck, I saw that Netflix had the season premier of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip available. Popped that to the top of my queue and kept it a secret so that when I went to visit Emily, I had a nice little surprise.
Dude, it was way more than that. This TV show--now, given, I'm only going from the first episode--is smart. There are already four characters I intensely care about, one I'm fully prepared to hiss whenever he comes on screen. There are other side characters that I'm excited to see develop. It satisfies the Feminist Rules of Entertainment I read somewhere (1. Is there more than one woman? 2. Do they talk to each other? 3. About something other than men? Think about it--those are great rules. And should be so easy to satisfy. And yet so rarely are.) And Teh Funny! So much of Teh Funny that I get jazzed thinking about it on weekly. Watching it with Emily was awesome because we'd pause it and talk about it and giggle about it and squeeeeee together and I've missed having a show like that.
I can't wait to watch this more. And that is precisely why I couldn't give up my TV.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
We had a hole in our roof--and no roof at all in some places--almost all of January and February.
Portland city codes required them to do some additional work in the basement because apparently we were missing a load-bearing wall (oops!).
The sinks, which were supposed to be so easy, required specialty drains, which we didn't find out until, oh, the day we were installing them.
And on and on and on and...
Until today. The last day some one is going to ring the doorbell at 8 a.m. I can hear his drill as he's putting in the final outlet cover.
We have lamps. Sinks. A toilet (did you know toilets don't come with toilet seats? Yeah, I didn't know that either. Until, of course, the day we installed our toilet.). Doors. Windows. Walls.
It's done. Eight months later. We have a new bathroom and two new bedrooms.
Dear sweet jeebus. It's done.
Monday, August 14, 2006
But I want to gether my thoughts in case someone finds this site by googling--and as a reminder to myself
Good things to do before you get your abdominal myomectomy:
- Get your ab muscles as strong as you can. Seriously.
- Get a bikini wax. You don't have to do a Brazilian or a Pamela Anderson Special or The Airplane Runway, just get those top two inches ripped out. Which sounds painful, but is even easier than an eyebrow wax. And SOOOO much better than having to deal with shaved regrowth and chafing. Trust me. Chafing. Bad. Really, really bad.
- Plan nothing for at least two weeks after your surgery. And I mean nothing. Not a movie, not entertaining friends, nothing. If you're up to it, great, you can schedule it then, but otherwise, you don't know.
- Get more than one pair of drawstring, super loose pants.
- Get some granny panties one size too large. Make sure that waistline is within a couple inches of your bellybutton. Trust me, you'll be grateful.
- In fact, here are things you should have at home:
- Ice packs. Little, about the size of your hand, is fine.
- Gauze pads--lots. Seriously.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and cotton balls.
- Paper medical tape, the kind that doesn't hurt (as much) to pull off
- Lap desk. You are going to be much more awake than your body. Lap desk means you can have your laptop in front of you while you're on the couch/bed.
- Super understanding family member(s) and/or partner.
- An updated Netflix queue.
When you've got the surgery, here's what I learned about What To Bring and Do at the Hospital
- Don't bother with books. Your attention span won't be long enough to read those things we call words. And paragraphs? BWHAHAHAHA. Magazines with pretty pictures? Excellent choice.
- Don't bother with makeup, unless it's moisturizer. You won't care what you look like. However, something like those pre-moistened Dove wipes would have rocked. And deodorant. That would have been nice too. And a kerchief for my hair.
- I loved having my laptop at the hospital, but I really only used it the second day.
- Cell phone and charger. Good for alarms (when do I get my next dose of morphine?) and the ring on your cell phone is so much less jarring that then ring on the phone in your hotel room.
- I had a hard time getting my pain meds on time. My mistake? I kept calling the nurse's station. Get your nurse's pager number. Muuuuch more efficient.
- Appoint a trusted friend as gatekeeper. Let everyone know that you'll be updating her as to when you can/want to have guests. Both Andrew and Em did this, fantastically. (I know, that's two, but considering Andrew was in my room every moment he wasn't at work or at home walking the dog, he wasn't always easy to get ahold of) That way, folks felt like they could call and stop by but didn't have to bother me. And then you only have to update one person if you feel like ass reheated.
- If you're in doubt--stay one more day at the hospital. I thought I'd stay one, I ended up staying two, and it was the best decision I made.
- Best thing I brought: I brought slip-on flat clog/mule shoes for leaving the hospital. You can't reach your feet, but sliding on those Uggs made me feel mildly human.
Once you get home...
- Family visiting to help can make all the difference. Remember--they're here for you, not as guests. You should feel free to sleep whenever you need to. If they can't handle it, they shouldn't be there. Have a friend or your partner ready to intervene if it turns out that they are causing more work than they're saving. My parents here kept me sane for those first four days.
- Remember that updated Netflix queue? Even better if it's something like Season 1 of The Closer. Short, 47-minute intervals, you can come back to it later, perfect.
- Your body will get way more tired than your brain. We rented a wheelchair, and it was perfect because I could go out for an hour or two--which, let it be noted, would wipe me out, but it was SO much better than the brain rot of the inside of my house.
- If you're not sleeping well because of the pain, tell your doctor. Get Ambien or Lunestra or whatever. Don't worry about addiction (unless you already have prescription problems). You won't be on it long enough to matter, and seriously? This sleep is the most important sleep you've had in years. Your body needs it.
- Walk. Stand. Do it in little bits, but as soon as you can. Focus on your posture. The temptation is to start walking bent-over because MY GOD THE PULLING. But if you start doing that, you start healing that way, and it will only hurt more when you DO start standing up straight. Focus on your shoulders back and down, your butt tucked under, a string from the top of your head pulling you up like a marionette. Gently, feel yourself stretch out. It'll hurt, but it'll hurt less every day. You're going to pay WAY more attention to walking and posture than you ever did before, because if you let your subconscious rule, you'll walk like an 80-year-old woman with osteoporosis. If it hurts too much, talk to your doctor and get the pain meds you need to stand up straight. It'll be worth it.
- Watch your wound. I got a surface infection, I have NO idea how. The signs were redness from hip to hip, it was hot to the touch, and I had a fever. If these start up? Doctor's office. NOW.
- Then there's the drainage. This may or may not happen to you. So much grossness, but way more scary than actually dangerous or painful. If you start leaking this clearish-bloodyish fluid, that's what it is. If it's pus or cottage-cheesy, that's apparently a worse sign. Just keep the wound clean (that's what the hydrogen peroxide and the million gauze pads are for) and go in for your follow-up appointments.
- When you go in for your appointments--if you don't know what a word is, ask. Ask ask and ask again. Even the best doctors start using fancy pantsy words that translate really easily to English. "Serosanguineous" is a word Dr. Doogie, my doctor, dropped on me when I was having the gross leaking episode. What's that? Oh, clear bloody fluid. Why couldn't he say that? Because he went to a jillion years of med school. I'm a smart girl, and he started using words like "seroma". What's that mean? Basically, a gap that developed under my incision between the skin and the layer just below the skin. Couldn't he say gap? No, he says seroma.
- Take it a day at a time. More than that, take it in four-hour chunks. Just make it to the next four hours. Even on the days when you're bored out of your gourd, when it hurts more than you can explain to anyone, when you never want to go anywhere ever again, even on those days remember: tomorrow will be better, and the day after that even better, and the day after that, SO much better. Soon, sitting up won't hurt (much). Soon, you can wear regular clothes. Soon, sleeping won't be a matter of finding the position that hurts the least. Soon, you'll throw out all those amber pill bottles. In the grand scheme of things, it'll all be Soon.
- Don't be afraid to ask for things you need. Your partner, your friends, your family. One morning last week, I called a friend who works from home. Why? I was out of coffee. I couldn't walk far enough to go buy some, and dear sweet lord did I want some coffee. She was awesome, brought over some for me, and we hung out for twenty minutes. Your friends want to help you out. Let them.
So, that's all I can think of for right now. I may come back and edit this later.
I couldn't have made it through these past two weeks without Andrew, without my parents, without Emily and Nicole and Sarah and Dave and Becca and Eryn. That said? SO much better to be in the world of the walking again.
I know this gets no sympathy from non-teachers, but I'm freaking out about the end of summer. Some of it is that two weeks of it were sucked up by the non-moving pain, and then more weeks of it were sucked up by the anticipation of the aforementioned pain, but it really seriously feels like I got nothing done this summer. I had all this time! And I did nothing! (Unless you count watching Project Runway like it's ocular crack. This includes reading Tim Gunn's blog and listening to Tim Gunn's podcast.)
So I was freaking out about this--two weeks from today the pre-school (as in before-school, not as in before-kindgergarten) teacher inservice starts up. And then I open my mail and guess what! I have two additional days of inservice! Next week! That I have to go to! Dear god!
(On the plus side--I get paid for that. So that's extra money. So that's good.)
I'm SO not ready, and I'm not even ready to GET ready.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Maybe a little poetic license, but at 4 in the morning, when one is woken up by pain? I think one is entitled.
I guess I'd thought that by now I'd, sure, maybe not be able to step right back into my Pilates routine (ha!), but be walking around fluidly like the graceful dancer--okay, at least stumbling around like I usually am. I didn't think the very act of sitting down would make me lightheaded and slighly nauseous, much less that standing upright would feel like I was asking my torso to tear horizontally from hipbone to hipbone, leaving me a bloated and rubbery upper half and a scarred and swollen lower half.
I'm trying to take it as gracefully as possible, keeping my whining here and to just before it's time to retake my pain meds. Mostly. (Oh, and by the way? If I haven't been that good or graceful, let me retain that illusion, because I've quite painfully lost my illusion of quick recovery.)
Andrew's been a champ. He's cooked. He's cleaned. He's got a clipboard where he keeps track of my ambien, my ibuprofen, my dilaudid, my reglan, my poop-ability drug (I still, btw, haven't pooped since Wednesday), my iron-replacement drug (which I'm not taking because if I'm not pooping now, the iron would put it off until October), and now my antibiotics. Some are on a 6 hour schedule, some are on an 8 hour schedule, some can't be taken within two hours of eating, and he's kept track of all of it for me. He has kept me fed and kept me drugged. Seriously, what more can I ask for? (Especially since I'm not allowed to ask for sex for another month--yay!)
So he's already my hero.
And then 4 a.m., and everything falls apart. Apparently the Ambien I've been taking has worn off with a vengence. Of course, this is the night I decided to try to make it through the night without waking up to take my narcotics. The fire! And it hurts to roll over because the fire! And it hurts to stay where I am because the fire! And the fire! I'm crying that keening wail I've developed because it involves less sobbing and therefore less torso movement and therefore less feeling like I'm about to rip apart my insides with the power of my own muscles--well, that and because it's a total hot move to pick up guys. Waking Andrew up after I promised him that I wouldn't wake him up or expected him to wake me up for another pill popping session. He tried to help pull the blankets up over me but that just caused the fire.
And here's how he is really and well and truly my hero.
He smoothed my hair back from my face. Held my shoulders, let me grip his arms with the death grip of a dying Jedi knight. He murmured nothings. And then he said in my ear, "C'mon, babe, you've been so strong through all of this. You can make it through this too."
Which was, in short, exactly what I needed to hear. I can make it through this, and for the times when I don't believe it, he does and will remind me.
Monday, August 07, 2006
I spent the past couple weeks being quietly anxious (or not so quiet, so shush, you who is about to call me on my understatement) about having my folks here. The report is: clear weather.
Now if I could just stand up, roll over, or sit down without losing my breath in pain, the world would be a great, great place.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
The low point is realizing you can't sit at the dinner table because it hurts so much--but getting up to leave the dinner table hurts too much to move, and you feel the tears start gathering but you don't want to cry because you know it will hurt, and everyone, well meaning, just sits there staring at you stricken because they want to help but don't know how, so you start crying and it just hurts.
But then. I took a shower this morning. It's amazing what washing your hair for the first time since Tuesday can do for your outlook.
I rolled over in my sleep last night and it didn't wake me up.
I can almost stand up straight without crying.
And I haven't even been home twenty four hours yet.
I can totally do this.
We rented a wheelchair yesterday so that I can go out today--just around the neighborhood, there's a fair down the street--because walking is still a slow and agonizing process. I think going out will do a lot for my outlook too.
Plus, Emily has promised to talk loudly in her mommy voice. "Use your words," she says. "Oh, very good!" I promised to gesticulate wildly and perhaps drool a bit. Mom wants to tie balloons to the chair.
We're all going to hell. That part is helping my outlook as well.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Dad: "I couldn't understand what you wanted."
Andrew: "Dave and Sarah are coming over at 7:30."
Mom: "We won't have eaten by 7:30."
Dad: "You don't need charcoal."
Mom: "The chicken probably won't even be done by then."
Me: "Well that's what Andrew told me. That's why Mom and Andrew told me to call you."
Dad: "Well, which phone did you call me on?"
Me, who remember, just woke up from a nap on my first day back from the hospital: "Wait a second. When are Dave and Sarah coming over?"
Andrew: "I told them 7:30."
Mom: "We probably won't be done eating."
Me: "I just got up."
Andrew: "Dave said he'd call first. Can't I just return the Netflix later?"
Me: "They're right there, can't you pop them in the mail on your way to... where are you going again?"
Dad: "Which phone did you call me on?"
Andrew: "There's only one movie here, where's the other?"
Me, holding up the regular ol' phone next to me: "This one, but I don't really have the vocal power to push it."
Dad: "No, it was phone staticy... You have charcoal anyway."
Me: "Isn't Ron Burgundy in the basement? Where we watched it?"
Mom: "Are we going to be done with dinner at 7:30? I don't think so. Should they be coming over then?"
Andrew: "Do I have to do this now? Where's the third? I really have to go."
Me: "We've lost the third. I'll pay for it. Please do it. Please call Dave and Sarah, I don't want to have them and dinner overlap. And I don't know what the deal is with the charcoal or the phone. Waaaaaaaaaah!" [tentatively hold fists up to eyes, then peek out from behind them to see if my ploy for sympathy has worked. It hasn't. Put hands back until everyone goes away.]
Recovery. So relaxing.
Boy, this next week is gonna ROCK.
I feel like a bit of a drama queen, but I want a wheel chair. The problem is that I feel much more awake and aware than my body will let me be. If walking five feet wipes me out, then there's no way I can do ANYTHING except sit on my already-sore ass. But when I sit still, I'm plenty awake. So I'm hoping I can get what my mom calls her "gimp tag" to hang from the rearview mirror and a wheel chair and I'll be able to sit still and show the city to my mom and dad.
For instance--mom and I had a great time shopping online yesterday. And then doing crosswords. So I'm hoping that we can stroll down the sidewalk festival. And by "we" I mean "they and I get pushed".
Okay, this entry? She may be a little disjointed. I've graduated to dilaudid. Another reason why getting pushed everywhere seems like a reeeeeeally good idea.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Walking is a slow, laborious chore that involves using my abdomen as little as possible. The very act of getting back in bed--slowly sit down on the edge of the bed, using my leg muscles to lower my torso, using my arms to drag my useless torso back into the bed, begging whoever is in the room to pick up my dead weight of feet and swing them into bed for me--leaves me panting.
But that's not the bad part.
The bad part is that my meds started wearing off ten minutes ago, I called the nurse fifteen minutes ago (in anticipation) and there is still no new meds for me. I am meds-less. Sans meds. Meds-free. And I'm SO not happy about it.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
It's good to know that the more things change, the more I will clean to distract myself.