Archive for December, 2008

Bad bad blogger

Okay, I admit it. I’m a bad blogger. I have had internet access and I haven’t updated the blog. It’s just, I think, that it takes more brain power than I had. Facebook status updates – one line – those I could handle.

So, I’m home. I have 55 staples in my main incision, the one that runs fr0m above my belly button to right into the girly bits, and a mere 15 closing the hole that used to be where my stoma was attached to the outside. The surgeon also sewed up two hernias – one running almost the whole length of that main incision and one under the stoma. This makes for one sore belly.

I was very nervous about the period right after surgery. In past surgeries, I’ve woken up with great difficulty (not even counting the coma) and found that very unpleasant. This time, it was like waking up after a nap. I felt quite perky. It certainly helped that I had an epidural, freezing me from ribcage to upper thigh.

This is a brilliant painkilling intervention. I could walk, but felt very little pain the first three days after surgery, nicely numb. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the thing in forever and I’ve felt significantly more pain since then.

Another fear I had was that returning to the hospital would bring up very bad memories. My experiences in the ICU and general surgery floor during my last hospitalization have still haunt me. Being unable to do anything for myself, being totally depended on the nurses for even so much as a sip of water, have left me with unending gratitude to have regained my mobility and autonomy, and I did not want to be placed back in that position.

Fortunately, it didn’t turn out badly. My previous experience instead made me comfortable with asserting myself in a  hospsital setting, and simply with hospital routines themselves. One nurse, in particular, taught me how to do everything for myself that I could and to assert myself with nurses.

By the second day, I was raiding the linen shelves for the gowns I liked best, towels and wash clothes. When the IV beeped for attention (as it frequently did), I knew how to silence it until the nurse arrived, and if a nurse did not arrive in a reasonable time (I gave them half an hour), I’d unplug the IV and go to the nurse’s station to find someone. I also refused medication, something I would never have had the nerve to do without my former experiences (and, it turned out, the medication I refused was not something my surgeon wanted me to have anyway).

The one distressing thing was the horrible, horrible food. Thank goodness that was a small part of the hospital saty. On the first day, I was allowed ice chips. Day two, my diet options doubled to ice chips and tiny sips of water. Day three, jello was added. And that is where I stayed until I rebelled, refusing to allow any more jello to cross my lips. Yellow jello for breakfast, orange jello for lunch and red for dinner.

By the last night, I was allowed soft foods, so the kitchen sent up a chicken sandwich. Chicken is not a soft food. I made myself a piece of toast in the kitchenette they had.

I was freed last Friday, a week after surgery. Things are going very well at home, and we are preparing to go up to the cottage for a week or so. We’ll be there in time for our traditional Christmas Day tubing adventure – although I think this year I’ll pass on the tubing.

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Here we go

I am due at the hospital at 6 am, so I can sit around on my ass until surgery at 8 am. In the the next four hours after that, my surgeon will slice me open, unplug the one end of my colon that is poking out of my belly, find the other end which is just hanging out in there, ‘freshen up the ends,’ and stick ’em back together. No problemo.

I have just spent the last day and a half cleaning out the pipes. I had to drink 4 freaking liters of this salty watery shit. And eat nothing else. Yesterday, I ate some grapes and some toast, then stopped eating around 2 pm yesterday. Now by this point, it just like pouring water right throught the pipes, scrubbing out the edges.

I’ll be in the hospital for a week and we hope that when i get sprung, we’ll head up to the cottage for a couple of weeks, where I will recline on the couch and watch the snow.

If I get internet access in the hospital (which I’m really hoping for, since it is pretty much akin to oxygen by now), then I’ll try to update. Otherwise, you, my faithfull readers, will just have to hold tight until the second week in January to find out if I make it out this time without pulling some drama queen coma move. Of course, since I know most of you personally, that’ll really kill the suspense on the whole.

So, be good. Have fun with the holidays. Don’t get too stressed out. Relax. (I think that’s the ativan talking.) Ciao babies.

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I am trying to write a real post, but life – the life in which I must get all my shit together before going under the knife on friday morning, keeps internening.

But I also been knitting and am now working on a lovely shawl using lovely urguay stuff with lots of pretty colours. It pushes aside the angora thing and the warm mitts I must have and even knit one pair and found a tiny flaw that bother me enough start ripping, but my MIL went insane over that and took them from me. The next pair were intented for her anyway.

As I prepare to leave my disorganized house once again for a hospital stay, I need a public declaration: the yarn insn’t a sign of a hoarding complex. Apparently, will I was Napping, well-intentioned people came into my house and saw that I’d forgotten three visits in row to Costco that we already had SOS pads, so now we have MANY in the storage room. And then they looked in a few other closets and found much, much, much yarn, several half on their way to … something. They decided I suffer from an actual clinic illness called hoarding, which normally brings to mind old ladies with 58 years of the newspaper stacked in the kitchen. But hey, different definitions, I guess.

If you can’t or won’t believe me, go ask the Yarn Harlot, who has written extensively on the phenomenon and actually is published. It’s a knitter thing, not an OCD things.

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A side bonus of working at my kids’ school is that I get to see all the cool events that go on. Today, two Canadian Olympians, a runner and an alpine skier, came in to talk to the kids.

The kids loved them. They found the men completely enthralling. It was fascinating to hear about what goes on behind the scenes when training for world-level competition.

The runner told about how he played hockey as a kid, determined to make it to the NHL. Then, when he turned 14-years-old, he noticed that the other boys were starting to grow a lot bigger than he was, and hockey was not in the cards for him. He is a small, thin man. And how can a small, thin man compete? Running, he decided. Once he started running, he decided to become world-class. Running, at the very least, was going to get him a university scholarship. So he want home and write those goals on his ceiling, so they would be the first thing he saw when he woke up. That’s a kid with determination.

He passed around to the kids his one of gold medals and a running shoe.

The other guy, a skier, told the kids about how he broke his leg and had a cast to his hip for 2 months, and when he got it off, how hard he worked to get back into shape.

Both men told the kids about being determined and not giving up and having a goal and working as hard as you can to achieve it. They were downright inspiring.

Well, they were inspiring to me, anyway. I wondered whether the kids got the same message I did. So I asked Maya what she learned from their presentation.

She first said, “Learned? What do you mean learned? They just told us about their lives and medals and stuff.”

I said, “You must have learned something. Didn’t their stories tell you something?”

She said, “Well, that one,” she gestured to one of the men, “hated school when he was there. He never did his homework. And yet look – he still made a success of himself!”

Isn’t that great? The message my kid got was that school and homework doesn’t matter for success! Yay!

Actually, I’m kidding a little. The truth is that Maya knew exactly what I was looking for and found it amusing to twist the message to torture me. But it was still funny.

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When I was 14-years-old, my parents rearranged the living room furniture. This meant that once Christmas arrived, they put up the tree up in a different spot than the year before.

I threw a tantrum. I had a big old teenager fit. It was wrong. They are ruining everything. Why were they doing this to me? My parents understandably told me that they were sorry, but the tree couldn’t go in the same place as last year and could I just please explain why this was so important?

I couldn’t. I don’t know why I couldn’t, because I clearly remember sitting on the couch sulking over exactly what the problem was. I just could not articulate it.

The year before, I developed appendicitis a couple of days before Christmas, and spent Christmas in the hospital, recovering from surgery. It was a grungy Christmas day, with brown grass where snow was supposed to be and freezing rain much of the day. My parents brought my brothers to the hospital for gift-opening and I didn’t feel like I was really missing out hugely. I had a TV to watch all the time and nice pain shots and lots of books to read.

But part of the reason it didn’t bother me too much was my belief that I could just do it all next year. So when I was 14, I saw that Christmas as my replacement Christmas. It wasn’t the next one, it was the replacement. And just how could it be a replacement if it was different? It had to be the same!

I never explained that to my parents and they were left to chalk it up to crazy adolescent hormones which, no doubt, were also in play.

I was reminded of this when I talked to my folks a couple of days ago and they told me that this year they have decided not to bother with a Christmas tree. At all. No tree. Can you believe it? Isn’t there some sort of rule that if you celebrate Christmas, you have to put up a tree?

I was shocked and briefly outraged. When I converted and gave up the possibility of having my own tree, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I could always go over and help decorate my parents’ tree. And, since the kids were small, I have always taken the kids over to do just that. So how could they just up and bail?

Then I realized that, really, it just doesn’t matter. I actually don’t care if my parents have a tree or not. Christmas, for us, is about hanging out with the family. Small gifts are given, which adds to the fun. But for my kids, the tree, Santa, reindeer – it all belongs to them to do with what they wish. And if they wish to skip the tree, so be it. Oh my god, I’m growing up.

I am going to kind of miss the old ‘tinsel: tossed on in a clump or placed on one strand at a time’ argument. Stopping the dogs from eating the ornaments broken when Boo drops them won’t be missed, though.

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