Monday, March 31, 2008

I did it!

My first post-surgery bike ride!

Hubby and I cruised (and I mean cruised) around the neighborhood for a good 10 minutes. It was easier than I thought. There were some moments of groin-pinching (which the PT gal said I shouldn't be afraid of since I'm not doing any damage) plus a slight incline I didn't get to the gears in time for and ended up having to get off and walk, but otherwise a breeze. I can't believe I got back on my pretty bike so soon!

The crunch and crumble

That's what my hip joint did today at PT. It was less 'ouch' and more like nails down a blackboard.

Who knew (clearly not I), but the directions on my PT prescription for "scar mobilization" actually meant just that - moving my scars around to avoid 'the bumpies' as my PT person calls them. You push them up, you push them in, you push them to the side... it's like the Hokey-Pokey for scar tissue. It was sore but not unbearable, especially since I was motivated by her chat about how the flesh beneath my holes was getting lumpy/knotty and the prodding would help them lay flat when they healed completely. Aparently the first 4-6 weeks after surgery are critical to mobilizing the scar tissue both externally and internally, before everything sort of gets "set" and harder to maneuvre.

I MEAN... THANK GOODNESS I went to PT @ 2 weeks!!!! I KEPT TELLING HUBBY that there HAD TO BE things PT could do for you post-surgery that didn't involve them being able to twist yourself into a pretzel. Yet again, I am right. It's sickening, isn't it!?

So, aside from scar mobilization I have some swelling still in my thigh and groin that I need to take care of with some ice. I can sense it more than see it from my perspective but, aparently, it was like completely obvious to them once I was laying on the table. Huh. The swelling (both that we can see and that is deeper in the joint) is causing some limitations in my range of motion (ROM), so we need to work on that from the inside out also with some pretty tame ROM exercises and stretches. She also moved my leg around a bunch, to try and loosen up the tendons, tissue, and muscles in there, which was where the heinous crunch-and-crumble came in. There's nothing like feeling as though your femur just ran over a gravel pathway located in your hip socket. Lovely. Fortunately, she had the good sense to keep me talking the whole time so it was only on the periphery of my consciousness.

Then we did some electronic pulses coupled with some ice on my thigh and groin, practiced some stretches, and that was it.

Amazingly, my range of motion improved just in that hour! We all saw a big difference from the time I came in to the time I left. PT ROCKS!

My homework:

- Hokey-pokey massage my scars 2x per day
- Hamstring stretches
- Some thigh mobilization through abduction and adduction whilst laying prone
- Some kneeling stretches for the front of my groin (which felt mighty good, I might add)
- Biking 2x daily... yes, on like a regular bike and everything. Whoooeee!
- Occasional swimming (the front-crawl type... grrrr, I'm a breast-stroker)
- Icing 2x a day

My next appointment is Wednesday and thereafter I'll be going 1x per week.

Tonight, I bike!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I showered!

JoyShower_March08 082

As you can see from the above photo, I didn't mean the wet-and-splashy kind of shower.

Yesterday I threw my first baby shower, for my friend Joy. Her second child, a son (without name - other than her 'affectionate' nickname "lump-o-meat"), is due in about a month.

I just love throwing parties. There is nothing better than looking around once everything has got started and seeing people whose company you enjoy, appreciating the work you've put in on their behalf, as well as having the opportunity to chat with all of them in one day/night.

I think I get this from my parents, whose annual Christmas party was a mini-legend in their circle of friends - everyone knew that when Barry and Pauline threw a party, it was going to be done right. The food would be good-and-plenty, the bar stocked with everything you could wish for, the company dressed-up to the nines and stimulating, the music pounding, and everyone would dance the night away to a mixture of classic East-End post-wartime songs ("Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree...", "Knees up Mother Brown") and current sugary pop songs (think Tiffany's "I think we're alone now"), mixed by your truly. These days, sadly, people rarely dance at at-home parties any more but that doesn't mean I can't have food and drink a-plenty!

So, of course, when my friend Joy got pregnant again, I jumped at the opportunity to host her shower. I threw all caution to the wind and decided that, come surgery, crutches, or canes, I was going to do this no matter what. At the time I had no idea what kind of physical mobility I was going to have just 2 weeks after my surgery, or if I would even feel up to the preparation, so I also enlisted the help of Hubby, who (bless him) agreed instantly to pick-up whatever slack my post-surgery body left in it's party-prep wake. And boy was I thankful for that. While I was busy cooking up a storm, Hubby was vacuuming and cleaning floors, and even had time to make some Sunrise Punch. I also have to recognize him for helping with my first diaper cake; he not only helped rubber-band lord knows how many diapers, he began the assembly process for me. How many husbands do you know who would do that!?

I was pretty impressed with my first diaper-cake attempt... whaddayathink?

JoyShower_March08 011

Anyway, everything seemed to go swimmingly. My breakfast strata turned out well, my scones weren't bad, my cupcakes were decent, and my party-game went over well. SUCCESS!

If you're interested, you can see more pics here

After the party I was pooped, though. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. So I gave myself permission to leave the majority of the clean-up until later (as it turned out this morning), changed into my sweats, jumped on the couch, covered myself with a blanket and two dogs, and watched Oxygen channel chick-flicks until Hubby arrived home that evening. It was a deliciously indulgent afternoon.

Today it's clean-up and laundry. Tomorrow it's Monday and the first day I'm going to resume my pre-surgery routine. I'm off to the gym first thing to do some upper-body and core work. I've already moved back up into my office for work, the house is back to it's usual arrangement, and it's almost as if the surgery never happened.

Overall, I couldn't ask for more so soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Professionalism personified

Today I received a professional inquiry at work from a real estate broker whose email address began with "theassman". Meanwhile, Hubby tells me he is working with a real estate agent whose email address begins with "IOUGod4Life".

Welcome to the world of real estate people. AKA: Idiots pretending to be professionals and ruining it for the rest of us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Seam free and ready for PT

There they are! The triplets.
(Like the little bit of lacey panty peeking in from the side?)
Sorry if you didn't want to see that. This is my blog and, well, I get to decide what's TMI.

This morning I got my stitches out. Not nearly as bad as I thought, although I freaked-out a bit when I saw them just before they were removed - they were much bigger than I thought. Also, the skin was growing over them a bit (a fact which Hubby had failed to mention in his bi-weekly wound checks.) The nurse did the undoing (not the surgeon, so no need for the 10-paces at dusk between Hubby and Dr. Glib) and she was very gentle. Mainly I suffered from squeamishness rather than pain; the feeling of her tugging on the stitches was enough to make me woosey.

Anyway, it's done now and all you people who told me it wasn't going to be a big deal can coo over how "you told me so". Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Aside from the stitches, the surgeon seemed to think I was doing well. My range of motion is pretty good, or at least he seemed impressed. Everything I described to him - the occasional, out-of-nowhere stabbing pains in my thigh, the blood popsicle (yes it's still there), the numbness, and the pinching in my groin - were considered 'normal' or 'expected'. Since different bodies disburse blood differently, it could take as much as 2 months for the popsicle to go away completely. Blech. Ditto for the nerves/numbness. Ugh. Aparently, I can blame the timeline on my genetics. Finally, I get to blame my parents for some of this! I was seriously missing that inner angst.

Also, I got my PT referral. Yeah! I'm so excited. I got exactly what I want (when don't I, right?) - PT 2 weeks after surgery. Everybody told me pre-surgery I was being too impatient, wanting to run before I could walk (quite literally)... well, now's my opportunity to coo and say "I told you so." (Ok, this makes us even.) My first appointment is Monday lunchtime. I can't wait to get this thing on the mend. After Monday, I have the feeling that my range of motion and strength will come along in leaps and bounds. I'm considering Monday as the first day of the rest of my life. Whooooooooeeeeeee!

Other than that, my current status is that I'm walking with a slight limp still (sometimes it's better than others), I've tried driving but it seems to tweak my groin, and I still wake up in the middle of the night with an aching back, wishing I could lay on my side. I'm guessing this is all good practice for being pregnant some day. God help me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Making real moms mad?

This past weekend I decided to indulge my occasional need for a little celeb gossip by purchasing a copy of the latest People, featuring an **!Exclusive!** of Jennifer Lopez and her brand new twins babies on the cover. This lunchtime I read it and found myself both mildly amused and frustrated.


The cover teaser: "Twin Bliss" and "Intimate photos at home (and in the nursery!) with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony and babies Marc and Emme"

OHHHH MYYYYY GODDDD! No way! Groundbreaking journalism! TWIN BABIES IN THE NURSERY NO LESS! However did they get the Lopez/Anthonys to agree?

Then of course there's the "Twin Bliss", which just makes me laaaaaaf. Most of the mothers I know are knackered from one baby, let alone two.

Which leads me to...


Now, I don't know (because I'm not a mother) but I have to imagine that mothers reserve a special kind of irritation for these kinds of magazine features.

Here you are as a mere-mortal new mother, eeking out the measly weeks you get of paid maternity leave, holding your eyes open with toothpicks, and barely having the energy to run a brush through your unwashed hair. Make-up is a luxury hidden somewhere under ten packs of diapers, your boobs are leaking like a broken sprinkler pipe, your belly could be mistaken for Jello pudding, and you exist almost entirely in drool-covered sweats because your pregnancy clothes no longer work and your regular clothes probably won't fit for another few months. Your perfume has been swapped for the smell of warm milk and baby puke, your 'got it together' persona has crumbled under a constantly cresting wave of hormones, and there's no amount of Febreze that can eliminate the smell of that doozie of a diaper you just changed.

(How am I doing?)

Finally, your baby nods off to sleep and you settle down on the couch for a rare moment of "me" time, with your trashy-mag, "People". And what do you see? Jennifer Lopez, glowing with airbrush perfection, staring back from the cover, not an eyelash out of place.

Worse still, you open the magazine to read more about this new mother's experience only to find more beautifully posed shots of the Lopez/Anthony clan, dressed in their Sunday designer best - Jennifer with her perfectly pedicured feet, the babies clad in cashmere, Marc dutifully feeding his son (and looking to all the world like he also had a recent pedi), looking at eachother so goo-eyed you'd think they just got through conception not birth, and laughing as if they didn't have a care in the world.

Further insult to injury comes from such clueless comments from Ms. Lopez as:

"I know I'd love them intensely and passionately enough to stay up for the first three days after giving birth, just because I wanted to keep staring at them."

She says this like it was a choice.

Morning Sickness? "None" and, according to Marc, " cravings," either. "I had one of the best pregnancies ever."

Ahem. Getting irked yet, moms?

Re: the birth: "No [complications]. It went very fast."

Stay calm!

On, losing her famously hot bod - did she worry about losing it? "I gained a good amount of weight, which I was focused on because twins can soemtimes have low birth weight. I gained 45-50 lbs, a lot for my frame, but for twins it's right on."

Now I respect her for taking care of her babies but this has to be much easier to get onboard with when you know you can just run back to your celebrity personal trainer after 6 weeks.

But worse... she continues....

PEOPLE REPORTER: And after they're born, you lose a lot of that.
JLO: "So much. It's amagzing how your stomach just goes "Boop" and it's this jiggly mass. It's funny."
PEOPLE REPORTER: Do you care about getting your old shape back?
JLO: "Not right now. I even play with my little leftover belly, you know?"

I'm guessing most of you new moms DON'T.

Then, to seal the coffin, she continues to tell us how she plans to enter a triathalon in September or October.

The only telling comment in the whole article that reveals just why JLO seems to be living the new-mommy life through rose-colored glasses...

PEOPLE REPORTER: How is Marc on diaper duty?
JLO: He's the best. He puts the help that we have to shame.

Well, that just about sums it up, doesn't it?

I give all you new Moms permission to buy a copy, pin it to the wall, and lob dirty diapers at it.

How many weeks before I can do this, d'you think?

Don't send a lame eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Can't see the movie? Click here instead.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Foresthill Easter Egg Hunt

Easter 2008 054

As I previously blogged, yesterday Hubby and I headed up the hill to spend Easter with the family. We had a fabulous time, hunting for Easter Eggs with our niece, Adah, eating yummy honey ham, and playing outside in the beautiful weather. Adah is quite the little girl now, gadding around on her own and learning new words every day.

Hubby busied himself by indulging his inner pyromaniac and threatening to burn down every tree in sight. Fortunately, disaster was averted but we all wound up smelling like smoke.

Easter 2008 069

As for me, hip did GREAT. My leg has felt good enough to walk normally but for some reason it's felt 'longer' than my other one and so I've been sort of hobbling or limping. I've been spending a lot of time focusing on what my left leg is doing that my right is not and trying to emulate that muscle motion. Yesterday I stood in one spot for a while and gradually placed more and more weight on my operated leg. The net result was almost normal walking yesterday. I stood up after a rest on the deck and, wouldn't you know it, walked away and down the stairs almost as if I'd never had an operation at all. COOL BEANS, eh?

For more Easter pics, click here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying time with family and/or friends. If you're in California, enjoy this beautiful weather. If you're elsewhere and the weather is miserable - ha ha! I mean, sorry. Hope your Easter's fun anyway.

Hubby and I are heading up the hill to visit my mother-in-law. She's cooking ham, peas, brocolli, and scallopped potatoes. Yummm.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Last night SUCKED.

Going cold turkey on pain meds is not a good idea. This I discovered last night when I barely got any sleep, was hot-and-cold all at once, couldn't get comfortable, felt irritable, kept waking up, felt like crying without knowing why, my arms ached, my back ached... all this on top of dealing with the pain in my leg (which I've, up until now, been protected from). Burning, throbbing, prickling... all at the site of the hematoma and stitches. What made it doubly worse was that I couldn't move positions; I'm still pretty much relegated to lying on my back, since lying on your side is not advised this early on. The pain I probably could have handled but the irritability and discomfort on top of it all just was too much to bear.

Idiot that I am, I fell victim to the stigma of taking narcotics and started to feel guilty or worried about taking/needing them and, with mant hurdles already overcome in the last week, this was one of the few I had left. This, of course, is thoroughly ridiculous because the only person who knows what I need is me: what's right for someone else and all that. I have never denied that I have a low pain threshold. Plus, I firmly believe that alleviating your pain to a level that is bearable for you, enables you to recover more swiftly, keeping your spirits and energy up, and giving you the opportunity to move around and develop strength/stamina without excrutiating pain. If that can be done without pain meds, great, but that decision should be made based upon your pain threshold not based upon any stigma or guilt about taking them.

I was reminded of this when reading some information I received about pain meds, post-op:

You are taking narcotics because you hurt. When your pain from surgery decreases, your need for the pain medicine will decrease. The fears you or your family may have about addiction could:
• Prevent you from taking pain medicine.
• Result in you "holding off" as much as possible between doses.
• Result in taking lower doses of pain medicine when you still hurt.

All of these result in needless suffering. Unrelieved pain robs your energy and takes away important time you could spend with your loved ones.

• Addiction rarely happens in patients taking pain medicine to relieve post-operative
pain (less than 1% of patients)
• Most people are able to reduce and/or stop pain medicine when the pain decreases
and/or disappears.

Anyway, I learned my lesson at about 4am this morning. For about the hundredth time, Hubby reminded me that narcotics should be decreased slowly and not stopped abruptly. He told me that, even if I was in danger of addiction (which he highly doubted, especially given my indomitable will-power in just about every other area of my life), that I had friends and family around me who loved me and wouldn't let that happen to me. He told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was going through were needless, that I could, would, and should get off the meds but properly and when the time was right. Then he gave me half a pill and, blissfully, I got 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

The one good thing about my little experiment is that I've learned that the level of pain I have right now is not excrutiating and could probably be managed with another type of OTC pain killer. So, all I need to do now is to wean myself off the Norco slowly and sensibly.

Again, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have Hubby as my husband. The last week has made me love him even more than I did before, if that's at all possible.

He's been impossibly supportive both physically and emotionally. He's changed the dressings to my wounds every other day, putting up with my squealing and squeamishness (I still won't look at the wounds). He moves me and my entourage of books, laptops, blankets, pillows, remote-controls, phones, and drinks around the house, so I can sit/be wherever is most comfortable at the time. He put on my socks when I couldn't reach down that far (although this wasn't his most accomplished skill, I have to say). He cooks for me, cleans around me, and watches whatever I want on the tv (ok, he does the latter all the time but he deserves the kudos anyway). He stays in when I want to and takes me out when I want to. He does thoughtful little things like setting out a mug and the sugar next to the kettle, so I can easily make myself a cup of tea during the day. He takes care of the dogs. He's listened to me as I talk myself through and out-of one of the many, sometimes irrational, little freak-outs I've had pre- and post-operatively, never tells me I'm being stupid or to snap out of it, yet always manages to offer words of comfort or logic, as needed. Not once has he made me feel as though I'm a pain or taking up too much time.

I truly am a very, very lucky girl. Thanks Hubby. I love you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Off pain meds. CHECK. Off crutches. CHECK

Today I went off my pain meds. This morning I just decided that the only way to find out if I actually needed them was to stop taking them. So far it's been 9 hours since my last one and I don't feel the need to take another. I have some soreness in my right thigh, related to my previous post, but otherwise appear to be pain free at this time. Of course, these things take 24 hours to get of your system sometimes, so the book is not entirely closed.

Along with the realization that the meds were not obscuring any major pain, I was able to properly assess how much weight I'm safely able to put on my leg. I've been basically walking all but normally but have remained a little cautious about putting all my weight on my leg and so have been sort-of using one crutch. Honestly, today I realized I just don't need it. I can walk 90% normally without it. So, I ditched it. It's not an ego thing, so if I find that the situation re: pain and stability changes, I'm happy to pick up the cane or crutch again. I just don't see why I should pretend to hobble around when it feels perfectly normal to walk again.

Now, if I could just resolve the issues with my two nerves: my pudendal nerve and the blood popsicle which could or could not be damage to my lateral cutaneous nerve. Damage to the pudendal is most often transient, as a result of traction, but the lateral cutaneous (where the numbness and swelling is) can be either transient or, in some cases, permanent. This would be a result of the actual procedure damaging the nerve. Unfortunately, I don't think there's anything I can do to speed the process along in either cases.

Another 6 days to my first post-op appointment. Even 2 weeks seems too long now. I don't know what they were thinking with 3 weeks. I really just want to get checked-out, properly assessed, and sent to PT at this point.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anyone for a popsicle?

Back to work today.

In true form, last night I developed (or just noticed) a new "symptom" ready for my first day back: I have a 3" x 1.5" bulge on my right thigh, located laterally across from one of my holes.

It's fairly defined in that you can run your hand up my thigh (oooo laa laa) and you can feel the beginning and end of it, and it's not squishy like normal swelling, it's quite firm. There's no discoloration - it's not red and it's not blue/black like a bruise. Therefore, we (Hubby and I) diagnosed swelling and last night Hubby suggested I ice it to see if we could get it down. But this morning it was no better. It's slightly sore but not excrutiatingly so (at least not with the narcotics flowing through my veins.)

Today I called the surgeon to see if I should be worried and he told me (in that glib, casual tone he has) that I probably have a cup of blood sitting under there, waiting for my body to flush it out. He said it like I had a cup of tea sitting on my coffee table, waiting for me to drink it. But cups of tea don't make me feel woosey... this DID.

So, I have internal bleeding!? Well, yes, and no. It's blood from the surgery trapped internally between layers of flesh, so strictly speaking yes but in the way that we normally think about internal bleeding no. (Yeah, semantics makes it feel all better.) He said that the hole it's closest to is the one that they spent the most time 'in', 'jabbing around'. OMG, how I didn't just collapse right there I don't know. Hubby said thatw this made sense since he could 'tell' that this hole had been worked on more. I don't even want to know what it is about that hole that gives off that impression, I still haven't even looked at my holes and have absolutely no plan or desire to until at least the stitches come out.

Anyway, now I'm freaking that I've been icing this 'blood' under my thigh tissue. My skin was cool to the touch and I pictured there being a blood-flavored popsicle sitting under the flesh on my right thigh. So, now i'm warming it up a bit, to see if that helps redistribute it. God, I feel nauseous.

Hubby also suggested lightly combing it tonight, to encourage it to make it's way through my system. This is a technique he learned in his baseball days and I have no idea if it will work on my blood popsicle but I'm willing to try it.

So, tonight, we'll add yet another first to our marriage: we'll comb my thigh.

Also during my conversation with my surgeon, I mentioned my stitches (because nobody else at the hospital ever thought to mention them to me.) I asked if I would be getting them out at our post-op appointment next week and he said I would be. Yay. NOT. When I told him that I was not looking forward to that and asked him if he would be gentle with me, you know what he said? "No, I want to draw tears."

He thinks he's funny, I'm not getting the humor. So, I told him my husband would be with me and he would beat him up if he made me cry. (Hey, I never had a brother and so this was my first opportunity to use the trusty ole 'be nice to me or some man who loves me will kick your ass'). You know what he said to THAT!? "Is that the same guy I met after your surgery? I think I could take him. I could kick his ass."

What, now he's slighting my husband's masculinity? He who impersonates the slightly-schitzophrenic-Vincent-D'Onofrio? He does not know who he's messin' with. I'll beat him around the head with my blood popsicle!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I lied!

Boy did I get good sleep last night. So good I could barely pull myself out of bed this morning. The good news is that I feel great! I did my bed exercises before I went to sleep last night and woke up feeling fairly limber.

This morning I had Hubby bring down my dumbells so I could do some upper-body strength training and just did some dumbell curls, extensions, chest and shoulder presses. I also did my standing leg exercises. Everything felt good and I can almost get my knee up to waist level - that and the side leg raises are the hardest ones. I can definitely see an improvement from Sunday to today already, however! So, I lied. I'm not exactly taking it easy today.

Tomorrow I'm back to work, so today I'm going to enjoy reading more of my book as well as watching crap tv. I was only gone 5 days so hopefully I didn't miss much. I also have my friend, Mala, visiting for lunch today. She's my first non-family visitor and it will be nice to hang out and chat for a while.


Monday, March 17, 2008


I can tell I walked and moved more today because I'm stiff and in a little pain tonight. Just feel "tweaky" from groin to toe. Holes are also feeling a bit sore, probably as they're healing and the skin is tightening up. 5.5 hours between painkillers still, though - I'm still eeking it out. Tired tonight. I think I'll take it a tad easier tomorrow. Nite nite.

Puppy Pile

To avoid toppling their unstable mommy, the puppies have been relegated to the back yard.
Here is a photo of them luxuriating in the sun on our deck - so hard done by are they.

The apples and pears

More "firsts" abounded last night, making my sorrowful goodbyes and series of "lasts" before the surgery seem somewhat pitiful.

First, when Hubby was out at work and I was forced to fend for myself, I realized it was actually much easier to get around on one crutch vs. two. Two crutches are more unwieldy and pretty much made me more focused on how to coordinate or avoid hitting stuff with them, rather than zeroing-in on what to do with my leg/hip. In addition, both of my hands were tied-up, meaning there was no way to take something from one room or surface to another: I couldn't make myself a cup of tea unless I drank it where I made it, or bring in an oatmeal cookie to munch on while I watched movies. Finally, I realized, I wasn't really 'using' the one on my right side - I just didn't seem to need it - so, I ditched it for a few minutes to see how it felt. Again, it felt better, more stable not less. I tried the cane instead (which would seem to make sense if I've dropped a crutch) but I didn't feel as supported or stable. Decision pretty much made there. So, I'm down to one crutch and walking relatively normally overall. Small, slow steps but toes, knees, hips straight ahead, with barely any limp. Yipee!

Last night, after Hubby got home, I decided I wanted to see if I could get up the stairs (hence the title of this blog: apples and pears are cockney rhyming slang for "stairs"). Since there are 13, unbroken stairs between the top and bottom floor of our house, I was pefectly prepared not to make it all the way up but I wanted to try. In the afternoon I did some research on proper crutch/cane technique for climbing stairs on the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website and my plan was to test their tips on 4-5 stairs up, then down, to see how it felt, Hubby standing by just in case. So, after dinner, we geared-up and I nervously followed the instructions I'd printed up from the web. I was prepared for pain, stiffness, and (especially on the way down) instability and feeling top-heavy. However, it was surprisingly easy. So easy, I was a little miffed, as was Hubby. As I reached the bottom stair without problem, we both looked at each other and sort of mumbled, "Huh." Like, who knew? We'd really built this stair-climbing thing up to be a monumental task and it seemed like it really wasn't going to be.

So, after initial reconnaissance, the plan was hatched: we would get me up the stairs approximately 30 minutes before scheduled bed time, I would take a shower (whoeeee, my first since the op), get in my PJs and.... wait for it... SLEEP IN BED! Hubby was practically giddy with anticipation - this could mean he could also sleep in bed for the first time since the surgery. No more cricked-necks from the couch for us, baby!

The plan went really well. Getting up the stairs was slow but not physically painful or taxing. Showering was a little harder, even with my cool 'spa-seat'. Issues came up like: how do you get your own pants off when you can't bend down to pull them off and can't lift your leg high enough to facilitate, or where do you put the crutches once you've got yourself in the stall, and how do you reach over to pick up the shower gel from the floor? But generally speaking it wasn't too bad and it was certainly nice to have warm water flowing all over my body. Then Hubby got me set-up on the bed with my books, pills, a hot chocolate, the remote controls, blankets, heating pads, and a bevvy of pillows large and small. It was delicious, laying there on my comfy, cozy bed - a place I didn't think I'd see for a couple of weeks at least.

I also started doing some post-op exercises that were listed on the AAOS site for patients who had complete hip replacement. They were bed exercises that were recommended immediately following surgery to help ensure good circulation and avoid muscle stiffness or atrophy. I had found them when looking for crutch and cane techniques. (Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?) Before you start worrying, the exercises are very mild, done whilst laying on the bed and, again, designed for patients with total hip replacement immediately after surgery. Given then my op wasn't anywhere near as drastic, that it's been 4 days since my procedure, and that I found the workout on a reputable site, I felt very confident that they would not hinder my recovery. However, I was prepared to stop if anything hurt or felt funky. I also had Hubby standing by to support the movement with the first few reps, to ease me in slowly. They weren't exactly easy, especially the one involving abduction of the leg (I was nervous about that) but I did them and felt pleased I was able to. I'm going to do them every night before I go to sleep now. Hopefully they will help me be in good shape for PT in a week or so from now.

Sleeping in bed was wonderful for both Hubby and I. You would have thought you'd just put us in the Queen's rooms at Buckingham Palace, we were so giggly and excited to be back in bed for the night. Not only could we actually sleep next to each other again (something we missed) but we had more room, AND I was closer to a bathroom, meaning Hubby didn't have to get up to clear the way for me during the night. Talk about win-win all round! We could barely force ourselves out of bed this morning, it was so comfy-cozy.

But we had to get up because this morning we had our appointment with the tax consultant at 8:30am.

More good news there, too. Our tax guy recommended we file married/jointly this year as it would reduce my effective tax rate from 28% to 15%. Um, like... WOW! He also gave us some tips on how to use the townhouse rental to it's full decuctible advantage in '08. The only disadvantage, of course, is that instead of me getting a fat refund this year, my refund and Hubby's taxes (which he pays at year end, being self-employed) may cancel each other out. Either way, it's a better financial outcome for us and will help us pay for our upcoming trip to Jamaica. Woohooo!

The only bad news about visiting this guy was that he didn't have a bathroom in his office. It was one of those business parks where several suites share a common bathroom and you get a key to access it. When the receptionist began to describe the walk to the bathroom from their suite, I had to shake my head - I'm doing well but there was no way I could walk that far in one go! It was bad enough they were on the 2nd floor without an elevator. Oh well, my adjusted tax rate made up for having to cork it for 30 minutes.

Back at home now and excited about a day relaxing in front of the tv, watching some chick-flicks. I still get the occasional wave of sleepiness come over me and I plan to indulge it perhaps once today and again tomorrow. I'm back to work on Wednesday, so I'm resolved to enjoy what's left of my medical leave.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

A note about new comment rules

As you may or may not have noticed, I have put in place the comment verification process for my posts moving forward.

I know this is a pain in the butt (because I hate it when fellow bloggers make me do this too) but I've done this in response to a bogus comment from an unknown person on my previous post. The comment contained links that appeared to facilitate phishing and/or the distribution of a virus or spyware on your computer. I have reported the offending comment and user to but wanted to explain the extra precautions.

Thanks for going through the extra step to share your thoughts on my blog. I hope it doesn't deter you.

Speedy Sunday

They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I much prefer my own version: when life gives you a bum hip, terrorize post-church-going shoppers on an electric shopping cart.

Yes, this is me in Raleys this morning, zooming down the aisles for the weekly shop. The entire outing was wildly entertaining, from the way the cart cornered like a Mini-Cooper on The Italian Job, to the quizzical looks of standing shoppers - yes, people seemed to be wondering whether this laughing, hell-raising, 33 year old, was really immobile enough to warrant hogging an electronic shopping cart from some old granny who probably 'really' needed it. Others, still, looked mildly annoyed as they rounded the corner of an aisle, only to see me blocking the way (and I'm sad to say that I recognized myself in their impatience.) I was even challenged to a race by a similarly spunky middle-aged man on another electronic cart. I declined to rise to his challenge, given my cart was full and his was empty - hardly a fair match-up!

More than anything, however, I realized how self-absorbed the majority of us are while shopping. While I was hypersensitive to rounding corners, making my way around displays, and 'pulling out' into the main shopping lane, most people are so busy on their phones, scolding their kids, or reading the calories on food labels that they don't watch where they're going. They back-up without looking, try to get around you without warning and then tutt when you unknowingly block their way, or park their carts in the middle of the aisle while they silently deliberate the merits of Campbells or Progresso, completely oblivious to you waiting to pass. As I said, I'm ashamed to recognize myself in some of their behaviors, and henceforth intend to be a more considerate grocery shopper.

I also have a new sympathy for those people who have no choice but to use the electronic carts for their shopping and who must shop alone: it left most of the shelves entirely inaccessible either in height and/or depth, the aisles were too narrow to get more than me and one other cart through, there were too many obstacles in the form of inconsiderately placed promotional displays, and there is only one check-out lane wide enough for you to get through. So, for as much fun as it was to zoom around on my electronic cart today, I can imagine the novelty wearing off fairly fast.

Fortunately for me, the Dove anti-perspirant was on one of the bottom shelves.I also had Hubby to help me get to the upper shelves, but most people shopping alone would be forced to decide their weekly menus based almost entirely on accessibility.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Super-social Saturday

Today was my friend, Kim's, son's first birthday party. When I knew I was going in for surgery, a few days before the big event I promised myself that I would aim to be there. Although I knew that it was entirely possible that the last thing I wanted to do 3 days post-op was attent a kid's birthday party, I also wanted to have a goal and a little something to look forward to.

In the days before my surgery and as I thought about my recovery, I daydreamed of arriving on Kim's doorstep, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, further proving that I am a woman made of steel. I pictured my triumphant entrance as everyone gasped and said things like: "Ohmygod! You only had surgery 3 days ago? You look wonderful!" and "Wow! I can't believe you recovered so fast." In return I would smile smugly, basking in the fact that I can indeed 'pop-up' out of any illness, hip-surgery included. Just call me invincible! (This is a family trait by the way - blame both my mother and maternal grandmother for this.)

Of course, deep down, I had only the faintest glimmer of hope that any of this would actually come to pass. Realistically, I saw myself, at most showing up for 10-15 minutes through a haze of pain-killers and pain, just to prove a point and retreating home for a long nap feeling a little defeated.

Rarely do your daydreams come true quite so literally. How wonderful it was to show up to little Hudson's birthday party feeling great and looking practically normal. How fantastic to feel so good that I stood for almost 3 hours (without pushing myself) chatting with friends and co-workers. Of course, I can attribute much of my euphoria and lack of pain to my pain meds (which I continue to use) but still, even with that taken into account, I didn't expect to feel so good.

The above pic is me with my co-worker, Wuri, and her daughter, Veronica. Pretty normal, huh?

NONE of this, however, happened without some considerable work on Hubby's behalf. From 9am this morning through to 11:45am when we left, Hubby was 100% devoted to the pre-part prep of yours truly.

Everything I do right now requires his help, since I am unable to both move myself and needed supplies - it's one or the other, since both hands are on the crutches. First there came the washing of the TV bod, then the washing of the TV hair, then the make-up, then the hair styling, then the dressing. I'm tellin' ya, it was a full-time, all-hands-on-deck task. Thank goodness I work from home and need this kind of sprucing up quite rarely.

The process was made more difficult due to the fact that I never really thought I would be well enough to go. So while I had prepped for and basketed all my needs downstairs in the living room pre-surgery, I had not accounted for things like make-up, blow-dryer, jewelry, shoes, etc... My expectations re: my recovery were clear by the piles of sweatpants, sweaters, fluffy socks, and zit cream. So, in order for all of these other things to materialize at my side, I had to list my needs specifically to Hubby (inc.. such details as bottle shape, size, color, brand), tell him where the things I needed were upstairs (when I could remember), and plan for things like where and how to sit, where to balance mirrors and brushes, where to plug in lights and blow-dryers etc... Again, everything required a "honey do". Stepping up to the challenge yet again for a 4th day, Hubby did a stellar job. While it took us a couple of hours and resulted in the house looking like a bomb had gone off in it when we left, I managed to leave the house looking relatively coiffed.

And no, he's not available for rent. ;o)

This afternoon we watched a movie together: the 'uplifting' 28 Weeks Later. If you haven't seen it or it's sister film, 28 Days Later, it's a bit gorey but I enjoy it mostly for the fact that it's one of the few disaster movies that actually considers England/London important enough to be the first place to get destroyed, in this case, by a killer virus. Usually, when the world is about to end, global warming is going to drown us, or aliens are going to blow us up, the process starts in New York or L.A. Sadly, in this film, the U.S. military came to save poor ole London from itself. Sigh.

Tomorrow's planned adventure is a trip to the grocery store, including a ride on the motorized shopping cart. Tee hee! Hopefully we'll get pics of that!

Still backing slowly off the meds. Today I managed to go just over 5 hours between doses. The main thing I'm noticing at the tail-end right now is a growing tightness especially on the inside of my hip/groin area. If the meds manage to keep this down and allow me to be comfortable, building strength and stability slowly, I'm happy to keep taking them for now. I am beginning to notice the light-headedness they induce, since I'm more clear headed as they wear-off, so I'm still motivated to get off them as soon as it makes sense.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fun-packed Friday

Ok, maybe that was overselling it a bit but it has been as fun as any Friday 2 days after a surgery can be.

As you can see from the bright-and-peppy TV of the previous post, I felt good this morning. I had a good night's sleep and managed to give myself a decent wash in the downstairs bathroom, not without the aid of Hubby I might add. As pathetic as this may have sounded to pre-op me just a few days ago, it's actually been fun to spend time with him and have him look after me. There is humor in the basic things we've been forced to share in the past few days. Moment-by-moment I am reminded (although I always knew it before) of what a wonderful relationship... friendship... we have and how I just plain enjoy who he is and spending time with him.

Hubby got up and brewed some coffee, then made me oatmeal with glazed walnuts and bananas for breakfast, getting my day off to a yummy and healthy start. Then, somehow the morning passed, doing what exactly I've forgotten. I seem to remember Hubby working a bit from his laptop and me mentally checking in-and-out of such intellectually stimulating Travel Channel shows as "The 10 Sexiest Beaches" and "Top Ten Owned Islands". Then there was a lunch of 1/2 a turkey sandwich lined with English Branston Pickle, and a bowl of low-sodium beef barley soup.

At around 2pm, however, the dreaded time came - time to change the dressing on my holes! After making Hubby run through the process like preparation for a military coup, I hunkered down on the couch, hugging a pillow for dear life, and bared my buttocks. Then followed a process of poor Hubby gingerly picking away at taping and dressing, and a strange moment of pain mixed with tiggling as we negotiated some dressing stuck to my groin and inner thigh (both of which are very sensitive even under normal circumstances). Although I made a meal of it, yelping and groaning like an abandoned puppy, Hubby did a stellar job of cleaning me up and now, replacing the scary looking 6x6 blood-soaked gauze. are 3 relatively-tame bandaids. I guess I have some surface stitches after all (something the surgeon did not mention) and so I suppose these will need to come out at some point? Who knows, nobody ever mentioned anything at the hospital. I hope they just dissolve or something but Hubby seemed to think they weren't the right type. Groan. Something else to look forward to.

Anyway, getting through this made me feel much lighter - both metaphorically as well as physically. My leg is literally 4 inches narrower without all that gauze and taping! So , to reward myself, we took a trip to Starbucks. This time I actually got out of the car and we enjoyed our coffees sitting in the store, like two regular people, as if one of us hadn't just had a surgery less than 48 hours before. How cool is that? My progress is so far thrilling, even more so since I'm not pushing or forcing myself to do anything.

This evening, Hubby continued his culinary caress by delivering a candle-lit dinner on tv-tray - Teriyaki chicken, brown rice, and steamed veggies. It was delicious and nutritious! Again, my Hubby is quite literally the best a girl could wish for.

Also, I started to back-off my pain meds a little today. Instead of taking 2 pills every 4 hours, we're up to 4.5-5 hours now. It gets pretty tough toward the end but I'm planning to keep stringing it out as long as I can, then eventually go down to 1.5 pills, then 1, and so on.

Surgeon's office called this afternoon to reschedule my follow-up appointment. Instead of being 3 weeks out from the surgery, it's going to be 2 weeks - so the 26th. Hopefully I'll be off to PT at this point too. My co-surgeon said to me that I could be doing 10 minute stints on the eliptical trainer and recumbant bike as early as this. I'm being a good girl and staying on my crutches even though I could probably switch to a cane already, eagerly anticipating proving my worth for a PT referral at this appointment.

Tonight I'm pretty zonked. I'm going to sleep well I can tell, and am looking forward to another day of positives, progress, and spending time with Hubby.


C'mon over!

People have been asking if I'm up for visitors and the answer is "yes!"

Please shoot me an email if you'd like to come over. The only 'price' I exact is that, if you're coming for lunch, you must bring food and it must be healthy. Hee hee.

Hey there!

All cleaned-up and taking a quick stroll out my front door to enjoy the unexpected sunshine. It was supposed to be rain and thunderstorms today and yesterday but instead we've had partly cloudy skies, punctuated by brilliant sunshine.
Today's big hurlde is changing the dressing on my holes. Loverly.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bloody Hell! (Warning for the sqeamish!)

Or, as we Brits also like to say: "Hells bells and buckets of blood." (Serious kudos to anyone who can tell me where that came from and sorry to Joy for all the h words... the moment requires.)

Right after I blogged that I didn't think my bandage would make it through 2 days, I got up to go to the bathroom only to be confronted with blood streaming down my leg. The banages were soaked and it was leaking through my shrink wrap. Um... ewww... and YIKES! I am not good with blood, as you're no doubt guessing... I was freaking out but in my own internalalized sort of way. Thankfully hubby has no such problems (or if he does, he's doing a stellar job of hiding it) and came to the rescue with some additional stuff to put on top but, in hindsight, it was just a little comical because every time he tried to clean it up to put the new bandages on, more blood leaked from somewhere else. How I stayed calm and didn't faint, I have no clue - I did feel a little lightheaded and was hyperventilating slightly.

In other news, I managed to pee on myself a little last night. Another highlight in the depridification of me (hey, if W can make up words, so can I.) Obvy it has something to do with my numb.... whatsit... but it was clearly the lowpoint of my marriage as Hubby had to help me out of my blood and urine spotted pants. I'm praying things get better in this department as the thought of resorting to Depends is really not something I want to consider on top of everything else right now. (Hubby proclaimed this was all a real turn-on but admitted it was better that this happened several years into our relationship and after we got married.)

In terms of sleeping, I think we did... on-and-off. Since I have no compulsions about taking pain meds, especially in these first few days, we set our alarm to wake us up every 4-4.5 hours. Inevitably, waking up also meant another trip to the bathroom, so all-in-all what should have been a quick pill-popping session, turned into a 15 minute outing.

Then there was getting comfy again. I have a tendency to tell Hubby that I'm ok before I've actually taken time to consider the real answer to that question. So, he would just be settling down on the couch again, and out would peep a: "Do you think it would bleed less if I raised my leg up on some pillows?"; or a "Do you think I'm shivvering because I'm losing too much blood or because I'm cold?". There were others but I can't remember them all. Hubby says his favorite was: "I think I just peed on myself." Yep, that would be the winner. Poor guy. In my defense, I figure I'm a dependent in-training: I'm not used to having to really consider how I'm doing in order to communicate my needs clearly to someone else. Who knew but this is going to actually take some practice!

Pain is mostly under control but I've started to get pain from the incision site - the burning I was expecting initially. The meds seem to knock most of it out but I do have two open-wound holes in my upper thigh, so a little soreness is to be expected. Again, I am not looking forward to changing this dressing.

Movement is ok so far. I'm able to move my leg enough to get on and off the armchair and I can put a little weight on it to get up and down the stairs (just the 2 small ones through my family room) for the bathroom. There's no pain so far when I put pressure on it but I'm taking it slow and feeling it out conservatively - I'm giving myself at least 48-72 hours before I try anything new (and by new I do not mean radical.) I just want my body to recalibrate from the shock of the actual surgery first, before dealing with the residual issues of movement, stiffness and pain. I'm glad that I feel ok with giving myself permission for this - that may sound like a strange statement but to me it means everything and is a good omen for what is to come, I think.

Now, if we can only get the bleeding to stop. Hubby seems to think it has but it did already seep through the second layer of bandages... no more leakage yet, though. Just the thought of what's going on down there is enough to send me into mini panic attacks every now and again, so the key is distraction, distraction, distraction. Hence, this may not be the only long-winded post of the day. Again, sorry... I'll find something else to talk about next time, hopefully.

Hubby will call the surgeon today to ensure the bleeding and numbness is normal and to check on things like icing the area since my thigh is still quite swollen.

About 30 mins to my next meds, so I'm going to sign-off here... need some mental space to deal with the pain that resurges.

So, until later...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

A semi-lucid report from my recovery armchair

Well, hello folks. Welcome to "the other side", as it has become known here in the TV household. Obvy, the good news begins with the fact that I am alive and the fact that they did not lop off my fingers by mistake. (Because, you know, hips... fingers... so easy to get mixed up.)

I'm on pain meds but am essentially lucid at this point (or at least I think I am - whether this blog translates as such in the morning, I guess I'll find out.) No vicodin for moi, my cocktail of pleasure is Hydrocodone (generic for Norco), which Hubby reports, as I write, as a new version of vicodin with less acetamenaphin (sp?). I'm a little spacey but overall seem to be less of in a fog than I was a few hours ago - hence I figured now was as good a time as any to blog a status update for those of you holding your breath for one. Um, yeah, right.

So, from my super-cozy (ok, relative for someone who has just had her leg pulled out of joint and her bone shaved down) position on my red armchair, here is the rundown...


Which is a very good place to start.

My day started off well enough, given that I was immediately at a loss of what to do with myself - no coffee to make or drink, ditto breakfast, and 4 long hours before we had to head to the hospital. I did a yoga video, which was great distraction and a good way to calm my mind, took a shower (shaving all the important bits - can't have the surgeons playing with fuzzy legs), and then Hubby and I went on a long walk around the neighborhood. Luckily the weather was very cooperative - sunny and mid-sixties.

Calls of the morning included my sister-in-law, whose birthday just happened to be today. In a demonstration of just how out-of-sorts Hubby was, he managed to talk to her and hand the phone over to me without even remembering to wish her Happy Birthday. Of course, he was mortified when I (the freaking out patient) remembered. Haha, I thought that was pretty funny. I also got (but missed a call) from my friend, CJ, who left loving wishes with my voicemail and ever-so-touchingly proclaimed that she too was fasting all morning in solidarity with me. That brought a tear to my eye. Of course, I also spoke with Mum, who I think was more nervy that me. It has to be hard to be 6000 miles away from your daughter in these kinds of situations but I know she would be here in a nanosecond if I asked. I'll see her soon, I'm sure, when I'm more mobile and can walk long enough to go on one of our mammoth shopping trips!

Shout-outs should also go to my friend, Mala and 'e' of The Gerli Life, who called the day before plus blog-mate, Urban Koda, who sent words of encouragement through a blog comment.

All-in-all, I felt (feel) very lucky to have such wonderful, loving friends and family to support me through this. Thank you everyone!

Then it was off to the hospital.

We checked into the Ambulatory Observation Unit (probably means about as much to you as to me unless you've done this before or work in a hospital) and got assigned a curtained-off spot with wheely bed right away. I changed into my ever-so-sexy, butt-revealing blue gown and had all my vitals taken by the nurse. For the first of what seemed like 100x, she had me confirm my name, my DOB and the surgery I was getting - I was all like seriously, who would want to pretend to be me just to get this surgery. Heck, if I could pretend not to be me today, I would!

Shortly after this, my Mother-In-Law, Rosie, arrived. I wasn't expecting her so early and was really thankful to have her there to keep both Hubby and I talking and thinking about other things. I felt really special because I was the only one there with somebody by my bed side, and how cool that one of those people was my mother-in-law? Most people hate their mother-in-laws but I couldn't have been happier to see her face.

The next bit falls into the bad, so I'll skip to... Waiting in the recovery room for the anaesthesia.

While waiting, one of my surgeons (the one who was helping not the one who I'm listed 'under') came to say hi. He remembered me from 3 years ago when I was originally his patient, and tool some time to talk to me about what was going to happen. Give that my current surgeon has never done part of my procedure arthroscopically before and this guy does it all the time, this had a significant effect on calming my nerves.

One of the good things I got out of him was that he usually sees his patients 10 days after surgery and sends them to PT right after that. I told him I didn't have an appointment with my surgeon until almost 3 weeks out and he said he would talk to him to get it moved up for me. Maad amounts of cool! We talked about him being as conservative as possible with the goal of me being a normal, active 33 year old again, who skis, yogas, and hikes. He listened, seemed to really 'hear me' and told me not to worry. I felt immediately better. He also suggested that I try to stay on the crutches, with weight-bearing on my affected leg as tolerated, all the way up to my next appointment with the surgeon. His experience was that those people that listen to this advice progress through physical therapy much better than those who try to push themselves in the first 10-14 days. Given that I now have the "bone"(pardon the punn) of a closer appointment with an expressway to PT, I promised myself right there and then to listen to his advice. Two weeks sucks but is entirely tolerable.

When the time came to be wheeled into surgery, the anaesthesiologist started with a light (so he said) sedative. We picked up my possy (2 surgeons and very nice surgical nurse Sherry) and headed out. Along the way, my surgeon attempted to mess with me by talking about all the great meals he's eaten in the past six months. Are you kidding me? I instructed my nurse to smack him with my medical chart, which she did, although I was careful to point out that she should avoid arms and hands... we needed those!

The surgical room was a bit funky - there were so many pieces of equipment seemingly strewn around the room haphazzardly, I felt like I was in a machine graveyard! The bed I was moving to was a whole other thing entirely. Because they needed to be able to get to my joint and manipulate it freely, it was missing the bed-bit in a number of odd spots, and had lots of weird-looking metal contraptions sticking out of it. Actually, it looked more like a torture device! Anyway, they popped me on that thing and... that was the last thing I remember. I don't even remember them admistering the anaesthetic. Wow, that was some 'light" sedative.

Skip to... recovery. Not much to say there that falls into "good" except for the fact that I wasn't nauseous and I had, aparently, already peed (the thing I needed to do to get me out of there and back up to the Ambulatory thingumy bob).

Skip to... now. Pain mostly gone (except for the expected), head mostly clear, negotiated the trup to the bathroom twice already... cool beans.

Thus ends the good.


OMG! I wasn'r expecting my IV to go in until it was time to be knocked out. That's been my experience in the past and so I wasn't even thinking about it because it's usually like, stab, burn, trickle, sleep - no time to think about the tubes in your hand. But this time I had to have the IV hooked-up in the Ambulatory area mainly because they were going to give me 'breakfast', or a white fluid that masqueraded as breakfast. Thus started the process of finding a suitable vein, which ended up being in the oddest of all places - on the inside of my wrist, down from my thumb. It didn't look like a likely candidate to me but I guess the nurse knew better. In short, it hurt like hell going in and Rosie and Hubby's faces during the process weren't encouraging. Worse still, I looked down when I thought she was done, only to see the thing actually in my arm (something, for sanity's sake, to be avoided at all costs.) A little more freaking out ensued until she covered it with tape but still I was left with the thought that I had to sit there, for who knows how long, with this thing in my arm. I was not a happy camper!!!

Skip to... an alarmingly fast move into the recovery room for pre-surgery prep. It was like, waiting, waiting, waiting and then, suddenly, full speed ahead. Even Hubby looked surprised and a little panicky - this was where I left him and Rosie behind. This was one of the hardest parts of the day, knowing I was on my own from thereon out. I had a really nice 'cheauffer', however, who distracted me by telling me all about her lying, cheating, husband and her pending divorce. Somehow it happened that I was telling her it would be ok. Typical.

Skip to.... waiting, waiting, waiting for my surgeon to show up. Yep, that's right he was late! He gets some leniency because we were in a hospital he doesn't normally operate in (due to my co-surgeon who does all his procedures there) and because there's a lot of construction going on and parking's a bitch, but in total, he made us all cool our heels for 40 minutes!

Skip to... waking up in recovery. OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEE! OMGOMGOMG! It really hurt and it wasn't at all the type of pain I was expecting. I was expecting burning, sore, incision-site pain with some other pain on movement. But what I got was an unrelenting, bone-grinding, deep ache. Did not dig this at all. The nurse pumped in some painkiller and knocked a little of the edge off but that didn't last very long. Back in Ambulatory, they gave me a couple of those Norco things but they didn't made a blind bit of difference, even after 45 minutes. My pain level was definitely up around an 8 or so and I was not handling it well. I was in so much pain I couldn't even cry, so much of me was focused on dealing with it. So, I turned to yoga - all I had left. I grabbed a pillow, hugged it into my chest, buried my head and began long deep breathing. Amazingly enough, I managed to breath myself to sleep (on and off), giving me the space I needed to compartmentalize the pain and give the pills a chance to work. I still wound up at around a 4 or 5, but that's like 1/2 of where I was before!

Finally got my crutches delivered and my wheelchair arrived so, before we knew it, it was time to go. It was around 6pm. Not too bad for a 2pm surgery!

Skip to.... being home. Time to do the first bathroom visit. And here is where I get to the most alarming and most unexpected part of this recovery process. I can't pee. At the risk of delivering TMI, my ladies bits are somewhat... um... numb. Fortunately, the co-surgeon had warned me of the possibility of some transient numbness in that area because of the proximity of those nerves to the hip joint. However, he had not been as specific as to explain that peeing may be an issue. I mean, I have the urge, I know it's there ready to be released but... I can't make it come out. Eventually it just sort of, trickles out in spurts but it's not a normal process. This is just the weirdest development. I'm not freaking out... yet... but I'm not digging it at all. Prognosis for how long this will last? Could be 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months. Let's hope not the latter. Yikes. Weird, weird, weird.

And yes, folks, I've lost all ability to be coy. You read the blog, you accept the TMI disclaimer by default.


Blood, blood, blood! My dressing ia literally DRENCHED in it. On top of the dressing is some sort of super-sticky shrink wrap which prevents it from bleeding all over everything but it is not a comforting or pretty sight. Being squeamish, I have been offering up my bloody hip for Hubby's inspection. He seems unalarmed and, as long as that continues, I'll probably manage some semblance of the same. However, we do need to change the dressing in a couple of days (the way it's going, I'm surprised they think it will last that long.). I just can't see that whole process happening without a sedative. Thank God for Hubby but still, the thought of even exposing holes in my hip is panick-inducing at best. One hurdle at a time, I guess. One hurdle at a time.

Well, it's almost 10:30 and I'm feeling a little tired. I'm going to sign off for now and will probably update y'all tomorrow once I get the lay of the land. With a bit of luck I might even be able to find something other than my hip to blog about. We'll see what we can do over here in TV land.


Top Ten Things You Don't Want to Hear Before or During Surgery

1 Don't worry. I think it is sharp enough.

2 Let's hurry, I don't want to miss "CSI"

3 Damn! Page 84 of the manual is missing!

4 Everybody stand back! I lost a contact lens!

5 Hand me that...uh...that uh.....thingie

6 Better save that. We'll need it for the autopsy.

7 "Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness"

8 Whoa, wait a minute, if this is her spleen, then what's that?

9 "Ya know, there's big money in kidneys. Hell, she's got two of 'em

10 Come back with that! Bad Dog!

See you on the other side, folks!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

T minus 22 and counting

Just 22 hours until my surgery.

I'm due into the hospital to check-in at 11am tomorrow morning and scheduled for surgery at 1pm.

The worst part, prior to that, is the no eating or drinking anything (including, for heavens sake, water) after midnight tonight. What with the nerves, I'll be surprised if I don't throw up pure bile before I get on the operating table. Hubbie and I are going to go to Denny's at 11pm tonight to get something in my stomach as close to the deadline as possible, to try and avoid that situation. Good ole Dennys. At least I'll have the fun of eating whatever I want (hash browns!), knowing that it's going to be 12-24 hours before I probably get to (want to) eat again. It's the small pleasures at this point, you know?

Today was my last morning at the gym. I wonder when the next time I see it will be? E of Gerli Life seemed to get back there at about 6 weeks if I remember rightly. Of course, our paths and timelines will be different, but that puts me at April 22nd-ish for a triumphant return.

Hubbie and I are going to go for a bike ride here in a bit... last one of those for quite some time also.

All these "lasts" are getting pretty depressing... I just want to be out the other side already at this point.

I'll blog again tomorrow before I head out, probably just to take my mind off my dry mouth and growling tummy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A mini breakthrough

Warning: this post is related to my upcoming surgery. If you're sick-to-death of hearing about it, you are relieved of the obligation to read on.

So, I've been doing some talking to myself. Since I'm not one to listen to advice from others, this is good news - at least someone has the opportunity to knock some sense into me!

I've been talking myself through my fears and concerns about my surgery, weighing what I'm feeling with whether I have real reason to fear it, and trying to understand why it is I'm feeling it - if it's not based on something concrete, what's at the bottom of it, you know?

What I've deduced is that it's all about control. And before we go on here, I'll get this out of the way: Yes, I am a control freak. Now, let's move on.

First, I am going to (reluctantly) give up control of my body (both in the short term for the surgery and in the long-term outcome sense) to a weird surgeon who acts like Vincent D'Onofrio in Law & Order, who talks about spitting in my hip joint (something I forgot to blog... maybe will later), who has never done this surgery before, and seems to tell me all sorts of contradicting things to those told by the ever-so-experienced surgeons-to-the-stars at Cedars Sinai working on 'e' of The Gerli Life. I don't particularly trust him but don't really see that I have any other option at this point. At least the other surgeon who has done this before (lots) will be there - I only wish he was responsibly for my pre- and post-op care too.

(Incidentally, I should point out that I'd probably find something about whatever surgeon was operating on me to distrust. I don't feel this distrust to such an extent that I don't want to move forward, which tells me that it's probably more me than him.)

Secondly, I'm going to have to give up control of my life to my hip and it's timeline for healing. I'm not going to be able to do the same things I can now, or if I can I'll be slower and/or in pain. Showering may be an issue for a while (sniff, sniff - poooo!), spending time with my dogs again may take some time to integrate back into my life, I don't know when I'll drive again (it's my right hip so you sort of need that leg either way - automatic or stick-shift.) I'll have to listen to the recommendations of others about when/how I can progress in my recuperation and listen to my body about when/how fast it's willing to move to the next step. I won't have control over the timeline, the amount of pain, or the help I'll need along the way.

** Pause to breathe **

But, as I attempted walking up the stairs at my house using my cane this morning (surprisingly easier than I thought), here's what I realized: What I wiill regain is the control over the overall situation and outcome relating to my hip again.

The past three years have been filled with on-and-off pain and the past few months/weeks with uncertainty and waiting. Being a not particularly patient person, the latter part has been nothing short of torture - I've been/am still somewhat completely absorbed by it. While Gerli Life was absorbed by the pain and inconvenience of the injury itself, I've been absorbed by putting into place a plan of action to address it.

Waiting is a passive status in which you are (usually) relying on someone else or something else in order to move on. But once I get out of that operating room and get my pain under control, I realized that there will actually be things I can do/control to move me forward through this time in my life. Everything I do from that moment forward puts me one action, hour, day, week, month closer to being better. Whether it's resting or exercising, whether or not the actions will be on my ideal timeline, I am at least getting back control over the resolution.

Right now, I have no control. There was nothing I could do (more than I did) to move my surgery date forward, nothing I can do to get rid of the pain altogether, nothing I can do to eliminate the fear of the many "unknowns" related to surgery and recovery... all I've been able to do is wait.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the unknowns will steadily become knowns (like them or not), and the things I can do to get better will steadily increase. My days of waiting will be over, my days of acting will just be beginning. In a way, I will be back in control of my life.

I can't say with certainty that I'll have this same sense of positivity this time next week but I can tell you that this makes me feel an awful lot better about siging myself into the hospital on Wednesday morning.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

My shrinking world

Just four days (inc. today) before surgery. Overall feeling less panicky than I did before - the sense of inevitability, and therefore acceptance, is setting in. Lots to do this weekend to prepare house and home for my disabled homecoming.

Everything I do now is accompanied by the thought of: "I wonder how long it will be before I'll be able to do this again." So glad that the weather is nice (sunny, 68) right now, so I can enjoy being active and outside.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Religion Quiz

Thanks to a stimulating debate on The Gerli Life, I was referred to a for-fun quiz that evaluates which religion or set of beliefs you are most aligned with.

Here are my results:

You fit in with: Humanism

20% spiritual.
80% reason-oriented.

Your ideals mostly resemble that of a Humanist. Although you do not
have a lot of faith, you are devoted to making this world better, in the short time that you have to live.

Un-shocking to most of you that know me, of course. Here is the link to the quiz, if you're interested.

An update on the east coast broker and a DECISION

Well, clearly everyone's standards are different.

I got an email from the broker whose webinar I thought I had bungled on Wednesday, saying that he thought I did a good job. In addition, after viewing the competitor's product on Wednesday, he still called yesterday to request a quote from us. Yay! We may still not win the game but at least we've got a couple more strikes left to get around the bases!

All of this had made me think about something I've mentally toyed with for a while - getting more practice and learning more about presentations and public speaking.

In the past 5 years I've had plenty of opportunities to put myself 'out there' with public speaking but, since I've taken this work-from-home job, I do spend much of my time mute and 'speaking' through the computer (I don't think yelling down the stairs "Shut up!" to my dogs counts).

Over the years I know that I've lost most of the paralyzing fear I used to have about speaking in public but it's still not my strongest skill. I've tried to take workshops to help me develop my presentation/speaking toolkit but have generally found that I have, at best, been closed-off to their methods (usually because I went to them when I was feeling bad about myself and convinced there was no way I was going to be good at this) and anyway unable to find a forum to consistently practice what I had learned.

Strangely, this morning, as I was preparing to write this post, I found that something had moved for me. Instead of thinking about myself as a naturally bad presenter who hated presenting and needed to learn how to get profficient at best, I found myself thinking that it would be fun (yes, this is the key word here - fun) to get more opportunities to practice and become a really good presenter. Suddenly I felt that, not only was I open to acquiring some new tips-and-tricks, but I was willing to and excited about the prospect of take advice and coaching to get there.

This latter comment is pretty big for me. Usually when I am not good at something and I know I need to get better, I embark upon a pretty solitary process of learning. I buy books, I attend classes and workshops, I take mental notes as I watch people I don't know do the 'thing' I'm trying to do (either well or poorly - both equally as helpful.) But what I have a ego-based, pride-based barrier to is receiving coaching and advice from someone I know. I'll try everything else before asking someone I know to help me.

It's not admitting that I'm not good at something - I'm real open about that - it's allowing myself to be laid open enough to someone whose opinion matters to me (someone I know) that will enable not only the giving of advice but, more importantly, the receiving. (At least I know this. I guess it could be worse.)

I realized this was true for me when the thought occurred to me that I should ask my boss (who is an accomplished speaker/salesperson/presenter) to help me get better with this and I didn't get that tightness in my chest that usually indicates a mental/emotional barrier.

So, while I did go online and purchase a book recommended by the American Management Association today (Speak to Win), I also plan to send my boss an email and ask her if she can help me grow in this specific way. My goals? Present with purpose, with confidence, and develop a rapport with the audience.

I feel good about this.

Yay! A positive post!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The carrot

I knew that, if I was going to have this surgery, I had to dangle a carrot in front of myself to get through the ordeal. I don't think most of you need 10 guesses to come up with what kind of carrot I've purchased for myself.

That's right, I've booked my first vacation this year.

Hubbie and I are off to Jamaica for the second time in June! It will be approximately 3 months after my surgery, so I should be mostly mobile and pain free and, since we've been there before, I won't have the urge to go exploring the local towns, zooming across canyons held up only by a metal wire, or climbing the face of a waterfall (which I did last time around.) This means both of us can focus on sunning ourselves, floating in the Carribbean Sea, and sampling the bar's signature cocktails. Delicious. We're even staying in the same all inclusive resort we stayed in last time - Couples, Negril. It's 100% a beach-based relaxation vacation. As the Jamaicans say: "Yeah mon!"

She did it. I didn't.

One girl scored a home-run yesterday while this girl barely managed a bunt.

She did it! :)

How energizing to wake up this morning to hear that Hillary won 3 out of 4 of yeserday's Primaries. I think it's going to be a difficult case to make for her to win the nomination still and I would hate to see her win by scraping together delegates but I'm glad to see that she's not going out with a knockout blow.

I didn't. :(

I had a pretty important sales webinar yesterday for a big broker out east and, for a couple of reasons, I sort of bungled it. It wasn't an out-and-out disaster but it definitely wasn't my best performance. I've done a lot of these things now and have a pretty good patter down - I'm definitely not the world's most gifted salesperson but I know my product and I'm pretty good at building a rapport across the faceless virtual world with my prospect. Despite these things, I sort of fell apart because, for the first time, my boss was sitting in on the webinar with me.

This is totally my problem, not hers. She's a wonderful, gifted person and I certainly have no fears that she'll deliver bruising critiques on my performance. BUT she's a great presenter and a naturally gifted sales person and her opinion matters a lot to me. Knowing this, my usually relaxed, confident presentation style disappeared and in it's place emerged a stumbling, bumbling, amateur who just was trying too hard.

Instead of letting the product speak for itself and confidently selling it's benefits, I practically beat the prospect over the head with our comparisons against the competitio - I'm pretty sure I came across as just a little desperate and as if I was making excuses for our product (which admittedly has some improvements to make in some areas to stand up to one competitor's product - but then it's my job to get past those). I missed benefits, I lost flow, I developed nervous 'repetitive phrases' (I can't remember what it was now but I know I kept repeating the same thing and couldn't stop), I failed to move the meeting forward and got stuck on questions.... in short I did many of the things that I critique other webinar presenters for doing.

I was so disappointed in myself. Not only did I miss a key oppportunity to make a good first impression with this client, I left my boss with the impression that I've been giving 3rd-rate webinars for the past 12 months. I know, if I was her, I would be thinking: Wow, how much more business would we have closed if she could improve this webinar?

I spent all morning being determined to pretend this was just any other webinar, that I wouldn't think about her being there, and then failed to pull it off. I hate that. And it's just plain stupid - it's a self-created phobia based upon nothing truly solid - I can do it, I've been doing it for a year, and I like my boss. What the hell is my problem!?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Done now

Done feeling sorry for myself. Vomited it onto this blog and all over you, my poor reader(s?). Cathartic. Moving on.

One week to go...

Lab Results Back

4 vials of blood later and all seems good... except I have a low potassium level. That's a new one for me. My doctor's advice is to drink a glass of orange juice or eat a banana each day.

Now that's the kind of treatment I can get onboard with.

Puppies and other Tuesday morning stuff

My breakfast burrito was interrupted this morning by a report on Good Morning America about a marine who has been videotaped apparently throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq - just for kicks. The puppy reportedly yelped all the way down until it hit the ground.

***pause to regain composure***

A poor, defenseless, inoocent puppy, killed just to create transient entertainment for a nintendo-weaned U.S. soldier.

I cried. That's right. I cried. What the hell? Sure, it's sad, but crying!!!!!? Not me. Not that there is anything wrong with a good weep, it's just that it's not something I am given to doing over something on the tv. Usually I reserve my tears for personal tragedies and frustrations. It's not a control issue (really it's not) it's just that I normally don't feel the need to cry for anything else. It doesn't mean I'm heartless - I still feel things deeply - it just doesn't normally turn into an eye-waterfall.

It's this stupid surgery, it has to be. . I think it had a lot to do with a post I read on The Gerli Life - she who is recovering from the op I'm about to subject myself to. I had asked 'e' a question about her emotional/mental state after her injury, since she had addressed a lot of the physical symptoms and processes she has been going through, but little of what the impact has been on her and her life.

What she wrote was very interesting on a disassociated level - I have much admiration for her attitude to this challenge - but on a personal level, it was more like a confirmation of what I didn't want to hear. I'm really glad that 'e' has learned so much about herself throughout this process but I just don't want to go through this process of self-reflection. It's just too much. I mean, it's just a friggin' hip for chrissakes (one part of my body) and it doesn't even hurt that much. Why can't I just have the surgery, recover for a few days in hospital, and be done with it? Why does everything have to involve this painful and frustration process of personal epiphanies?

Ok, so it may not be the same for me - 'e' and I are not the same person with the same bodies or the same lives going in - but it's the fear of it being like this for me that's really weighing on my mind.

I'm at a great place in my life right now - with my marriage, my financial situation, my job, my house, who I am... everything. I feel like I just came out the other side of a seemingly endless and painful tunnel to get here and I don't want to go back in or have to take time out of my wonderful life, to dig myself out.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Pre-Pre Op - CHECK

Today was the Pre-Pre Op. (Not to be confused with the "Pre-Op", which I already had, or the "Pre-Pre-Pre op, which I'll have on Wednesday.)

Today I had to fast for 12 hours (hell), give blood (hell), meet with the surgeon (pointless), and get a chest x-ray (a helluva long wait for a hellauva short process.) This took up my whole morning from 7:45am until lunch.

Let's see... what did I learn today as a result of my morning at the medical center?

  1. I still don't like needles and giving blood does hurt. 3 or 33... this phobia's a lifer.
  2. If I wasn't laying down I would have fainted giving blood.
  3. My surgeon is more impatient than me and is, in fact, a little weird. If he had said "So... what questions do you have?" or some other variation of that in order to wrap-up our rushed consultation one more time, I think I would have beaten him over the head with the plastic femur on the table. He also has this bizarre, almost-gay, almost a little-mad, nervous-energy, geekiness to him. He won't look you in the eye when he talks to you (disturbing) and constantly doodles on the paper covering the bed. You know who he reminds me of? A black Vincent D'Onofrio from Law & Order: Criminal Intent. This is not good - isn't that guy supposed to be borderline schizo?
  4. The waiting room wait-time is directly disproportionate to how long it takes to do the test.
  5. The sight of sick people hacking-up so much phlegm they almost choke and/or proudly displaying their swollen, mishapen naked foot, in the diagnostics waiting area SKEEVES ME OUT.
  6. Pregnancy is a scary thing. While I was in diagnostics, a young, pregnant woman and her husband walked in with worried looks on their faces and waited for their ultrasoung, silently standing against the wall, nervously twitching, and generally on-edge. I saw them go in but never come out. I hope everything turned out ok for them.

And there you have it.

Surgery is just 9 days away now. Just 9 days of being normal, active, independent me.

Ironically, my hip has been the best it's been in... forever... lately. Barely any pain, loose as goose-grease (thank Hubbie for that delightful expression), full range-of-motion... it's almost like it's daring me to think it's not worth putting myself through this 8-12 weeks of hell for. Don't worry, I'm not listening to it. I have my fingers firmly in my ears and am singing "Laaa laaaa laaa laaa laaaaa, I am not listening to you, laaa laa laaa laaaaaaa!" at the top of my internal voice.

What is WRONG with this country?

Sometimes, no matter how 'Americanized' I've become, I have moments where I realize that my mindset and values still are rooted about 6,000 miles east of here.

Two recent 'polls' have made me want to tear my hair out and wonder how on earth this country ever got to be such a 'super' power.

Fox News

Nearly twice as many Democratic voters think Hillary Clinton is "very qualified" as think her main rival, Barack Obama, is ready for the nation’s top job. (Clinton 37% to Obama's 18%). Yet, they're even in terms of who gets the actual vote.

I don't get it. We want to elect someone unqualified?

The emphasis on personality, charisma, and likeability in the Presidential elections out here is out of control. We vote for Presidents with the same criteria and gravitasse of decision as when we vote for the People's Choice Awards. We would rather elect someone unqualified because we like them, than elect someone into office who we perhaps wouldn't invite over for dinner. It's a popularity contest, which explains how we got George Bush in the first place. Why I'm surprised, I don't know.

Sacramento Business Journal

Through a new bill in the state legislature, California is trying to become the only state in the nation to guarantee paid sick days for all workers. (Shockingly, this isn't already law.)

So, the Sacramento Business Journal started an online poll to find out if employers should be required to offer their employees sick leave.

Here are the results:

  • Yes, because employees, especially lower-income workers, deserve sick time: 34%
  • No, mandatory sick-pay increases the cost for employers and hurts the economy: 58%
  • Not sure: 7%

Okay, maybe it's not the world's most scientific poll, and yes this is a Business Journal, but I was still just taken aback by the results - I seriously thought that the results were going to be the a complete 180 on what they were.

Oh, how naive I can still be at 33. (Is that a rhyme?)

Screw those lazy, sick workers... it'll hurt our bottom-line!

WHERE IS THE COMPASSION PEOPLE? Have we all forgotton how to take care of each other in this world? Is it really every man and woman for themselves?

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Oh boy, is America's name mud over there in Britland.

An American website, the Drudge Report, broke the media blackout over Prince Harry's deployment to Afganistahn, forcing him to return home. Now the American media is being maligned as generally reckless and desperate to own a story at any cost - even the cost of human life. You should have heard my parents on the phone last night!

While I think it was certainly irresponsible to put Harry and his squadron in danger just to be the first to release the story, I hardly think that The Drudge Report is representative of the American media in general. Nor am I surprised that an American news outlet (mainstream or not) is particularly thrilled about being gagged just because Harry is a member of the British Royal Family.

While we're on the subject of the Royals, I have to say I'm ticked. What started off as a 5 hour BBC Special on a "Year with the Royal Family" has been condensed into a one hour, MTV-style edited special on ABC this coming Monday, hosted by Barbara Walters - who wasn't even part of the filming and didn't interview a single Royal for the special. One year, condensed to 5 hours, condensed to 1 hour, and then no-doubt interrupted by 20 minutes of commercials and another 20 minutes of BW asserting her 'journalistic superiority' while chattering endless about something she knows nothing about, between "clips" from the BBC special, no doubt carefully selected to only include the most salacious filming. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
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