Tuesday, December 30, 2008

starting fresh

All the blogs I read about this surgery always seem to stop after a couple of weeks, which is frustrating because that was exactly what I wanted to know about- how does the recovery go? What stages are there? Does the feeling-better happen incrementally, or all-at-once overnight? My guess is that the blogging stops because things start to get better quickly and there's less to kvetch about. So, good news!
I am feeling better, and happier, and more confident about being out in the world- I can drive again, and wear more regular clothing, and stuff like that. But there is still some soreness and this new experience that they call "zingers" which has something to do with the nerves reconnecting or firing off or something, ultimately it is a YOUCH kind of pain, gone in a second but leaving an impression!
So I'm edging back toward normalcy, and January looms large- lovely January where all things begin again, fresh starts and new opportunities, great promise ahead. This year's theme, "transformation in 2008-tion" will be done (and done well, thank you very much, and a new theme is needed. Hmmm. Scott and I have been toying with "yours and mine, lookin' fine in 2009" but I don't know yet. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We're home again, home again, jiggety-jig, after a satisfying and fun Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Mass at our parish was wonderful, and everyone was gracious with their quick glances at my new renovations and the weird backward hugs I offered. After Mass we headed to Maine where we finished up gift preparations and hung out with my sisters in their house, which is a sanctuary of comfort and, well, joy. And that's all year long- not just at Christmas.
This morning we were treated to a tooo-good breakfast and I got some VERY cool gifts! After great food and fun with family and friends, we are back in our living room eating the chocolates out of our stockings. I'm wiped out from being a post-op trooper all day and ready for bed.
Now that's what I call a Christmas. Hope yours was as good as ours!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Back Atcha

Today was a big day for me! After the lounging of this morning, we got ourselves up and out- got most of our Christmas shopping done and bought a few treats for ourselves! I felt good, and outside of twitching like a domestic abuse victim whenever anyone made a sudden movement near my midsection, I was pretty smooth.
After Christmas shopping, we hit the grocery store and then I cooked a pretty darn good dinner. I did some good cleanup and was even a little productive. My back is a little achy and I know I'm going to sleep well tonight (in my bed!) so I'm feeling good about this day. Tomorrow I'm going back to work, and looking forward to that too. My brother recommends that I carry a cake around in my arms all day to fend off huggers- not a bad idea! Tomorrow is Mass, Youth Ministry swap party, and Lessons and Carols. Yer typical December Sunday at church. Can't wait!

comfort food

It is still snowing here! It started yesterday right on (amended) schedule, and the wind howled and the snow... snowed. We had everything we needed and snuggled in for a great snow day. There is a difference between sitting on the couch all day recuperating, and sitting on the couch all day with the snow howling outside. We had a fun day of not-much-ing, listing to the wind and the plows scraping by.
But today, even though the flurries continue, we have chores to do and errands to run. I'm afraid I've been a little lax on the Christmas shopping, what with being holed up here, and Scott's been busy too- so there's still some last-minute scrambling to do. You wouldn't think it, but in a way things get a little easier for faith formation staff around Christmas time- all the prep work is done, and corps of volunteers are in motion, and any faith formation programming is on hold till after New Year's- so for me, it's a matter of showing up and reveling in the great community of our parish... and then hitting the road to Maine.
I've got a craving for comfort food and warm pajamas. Maybe we'll just snuggle in juuuust a bit longer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

back to real life

I'm just back from the post-op appointment. They took out some stitches and removed and then reapplied some tape and dressings. The discomfort is so much psychological that it's almost hard to determine what is pain and what is panic. The doctors are so breezy and positive that it feels a little like I'm doing it wrong. But, all in all everything looks good and the healing is coming along fine and I'm glad. I'm cleared to go back to work Sunday, and cleared to do a bunch of other stuff too, as soon as I feel ready.
I can't believe it's been a week and how much has changed in that time. It feels impossible to me that I'll be driving again soon, and that everything will go back to normal in my life. I made an appointment with the surgeon for 4 months from now, which is APRIL, for the next follow-up. For some reason, April being four months away blows my mind.
While I was waiting for the doctor to come in today, I was remembering the 6th grade when I broke my nose (I was eating a twinkie, jumping from boulder to boulder in a rest area when I tripped and fell face-first into the next boulder). I was remembering, specifically, being back in school a couple of weeks later- still looking bruised and bumped but feeling just fine- I remember catching the eye of some other kid in class and mashing my nose with my finger- it looked like it should still be very painful but felt fine. The kid cringed and told me to quit it!! I thought about that moment today and thought that maybe soon everything will feel fine.
So, soon I'll be back in action, deterring hugs and sitting up straight!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


So I just got out of the shower, and I'm completely exhausted. Now I'm back in my familiar chair in front of the tv, trying to decide what to do next.
Tomorrow's my post-op appointment, and I imagine they'll be telling me I can go back out into the world, back to work, etc... in a lot of ways I feel really ready to leave this house, to help out around here, etc... but in some ways I'm not. But I'm trying to have a good attitude and feel optimistic. Today I got an edible arrangement from the staff at church, and a couple of cards, which seems so weird since I opted into this surgery... but so sweet. One of the cards is from a friend of my mother's, who I have met only once or twice. She wrote "your Mom told me you had an operation. You did something I wish I could have had courage to do years ago but never did. I congratulate you." How about that??
So I'm going to take it easy on myself today. No guilt at how messy the kitchen is, no wistful wishes to go out and play in the snow, just one more day of R&R, and a lot of fruit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is this, day 6? Yes! Day 6...

Scott has very sweetly come down with a nasty cold, and that means I've had some company yesterday and today. He's very generous. Having him home makes the days go so much faster, and much more pleasant. I'm feeling like I want to get up and do more stuff, but there's not much I'm allowed to do, like lift anything. This seriously limits the kind of activity I can attempt. But also, today I feel weirdly lightheaded and super-super sensitive, at my surgical... locations. So I'm sidelined either way. I guess it'll give me time to do some of the psychological work of healing. I'm starting to feel lazy and wonder if I'm doing this recovery thing right, but I guess there's no real way to measure. Really, though, it seems like every day I'm kept from doing anything more than tv-watching by some quirkiness- blurry vision from a medicine, light-headedness, overwhelming sleepiness... I'm being very very un-productive, and starting to worry about how near Christmas is, suddenly... yikes.
Last night I found the perfect position for sleeping on the loveseat and it was snooza-heaven. I miss sleeping with Scott, though. I'm not sure how much longer this will have to happen- my post-op appointment is this Thursday so hopefully I'll have some solid answers by then.
Going back to work feels very scary for me, as does going out in public, riding in a car, going to Maine for Christmas, going to a wedding, going to New Year's Eve parties, going shopping. It's very frightening stuff for me right now. I hate having fear in my life, I hate to be afraid, it's not my style. I'm looking forward to a time coming where I can feel less afraid. I am thinking dreamily of January, when everything will be different; new classes, Scrubs and LOST back on tv, I'll be much more healed, tax returns coming... it seems like it'll be so nice. Oh, and new things to blog about, beside my body. January. Jannnnnnuarrrrryyyyyyyyy.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

day 5

Yesterday was a long day, and I was feeling very discouraged- friends called but I didn't pick up the phone because I couldn't think about what I could say to them outside of "this sucks!!!" I woke up feeling more swollen and sore than I had the day before, and had a long day of missing Scott and missing a great day at the parish. It's a great problem to be working at a parish where I'm sad to miss a Sunday, but still, yesterday it was added pain.
So I spent the day praying that time would pass quickly, and trying to sleep. The night before had been impossible, with my right leg going numb and waking me up every half hour or so. I finally moved to the love seat, despite the added danger of a pounce-upon by the cats, and had lovely naps throughout the day.
When Scott got home, he was sporting a sore throat, but he sweetly held onto me while I fell apart, feeling ugly and discouraged. We both slept on the couches in the living room, and I woke today praising God for a full night's sleep. Today Scott's staying home to fight off his own cold and I'm thrilled to have a whole day with him, sick or not. Today I'm going to be a brave soldier. Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

day 4 misery

Rough night last night- I'm still sleeping propped up, because I'm supposed to- but also because it's the best position from which to fend off affectionate advances from the cats. But my rear end is seriously suffering from this constant position, with numbness and discomfort constantly waking me up. It's frustrating because I'm sooooo tired, and know that if I could just get to sleep, I'd sleep a heavenly, refreshing sleep.
So I'm starting day four in a cranky, overtired state of mind. I need all this to happen much, much more quickly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The hostess with the least-est

It's an odd sensation to have company when I'm in recovery mode. My hostess instincts scream "oh I'll get that for you" and "wouldn't you like something to drink?" but of course no one wants me to do anything for them, and in fact wants to get whatever I want, for me. So while I'm soaking up everyone's generosity I'm fighting an urge to feel like a lousy host.
I was sick to my stomach all morning, I think because I took medicine in the middle of the night on an empty stomach. It took me until early afternoon to get myself back on track with food and meds, and I was not a fun person to hang around with, alternately pasty and groggy. NOT my shiny, bubbly self. When they all sat down to eat lunch in the dining room, I stayed in the living room with my toast and tried to talk myself into feeling better while eavesdropping on the conversation.
But it was so nice to have people here, and I am getting into the flow of this spiritual exercise in humility. I couldn't bring myself to shower today, I completely chickened out, so Scott offered to wash my hair in the kitchen sink. It felt like pure, pure love. Afterward he combed it out gently and kissed me on the forehead, and I felt overwhelmingly lucky.
I'm trying to relax and not fret about how un-fun this process is, hoping that I feel better every day and that the days pass quickly. If I could blink my eyes and make it suddenly next Thursday, that would make me very happy. But, I'm feeling impressed with myself that I actually did this- and hopeful for the future, whenever it gets here. So, I'll try to sleep and rest as much as I can and be positive and see how things change day by day.

day 3

Today my parents are coming to visit, and Scott has to go back in to work, and most importantly in my head, today is the day I'm supposed to be able to take a shower. I'm irrationally scared about this. I've been searching the websites and blogs for some hint as to how awful this is going to feel, but no one really says anything about it, which should convince me that it's nothing to speak (or type) of. But still. I woke up trying to be all brave soldier-y but I didn't end up believing the act, so I'm just going to take it slow. I look pretty hideous, and any visitors will just have to deal with that for now.
Time for a nap.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don't read if you don't want to know!

So here is my schedule for the next few days, if all goes as it did today: wake up, take pain medicine, have a bite to eat or watch some tv, fall asleep. Wake up four hours later, take more pain pills, repeat, repeat. It's not fun, not at all. Well, the sleep is good, but the pain- that stinks. It basically comes and goes, and varies between two painful types of pain- the achy pain, and the sore pain. The weirdest thing is when I get goosebumps or something like that, woooOOOooo. My sides and arms are sore, and all of me is a little wambly. I'm not allowed to bend over, or reach, or lift anything. I changed my dressings today and everything looks really hideous, but promising. :)
The hospital people were lovely and I had a comfy bed and everything I needed. They had a tough time getting my IV in but were very apologetic. I had "socks" on my lower legs that inflated and deflated over and over and over until I couldn't take it any more. The best part of my whole night in the hospital was when they took off those socks and the IV, and gave me some graham crackers and ginger ale, to boot.
I was nervous to come home, mostly about the cats and how I was going to sleep- but the cats have been pretty good, or at least easily averted, and Scott and my brother erected a big setup of pillows that kept me propped up for the evening.
Tonight I'm home alone doing my 4 hour routine and doing okay. I feel very prayed-for, and thankful, and also just... surprised that I did this! I've been talking about it for years, and I'm really amazed at myself for going ahead and getting it done. I can't wait for the time to tick by and let me be in less pain, and start to see the changes, and get back to the life I love. I've been thinking about how great January is going to be- Christmas will be over with, my pain should be much less, I'll be starting new classes, and not least- LOST and Scrubs will come back. Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I'm at school, cramming and waiting for my last oral exam, which is not for another half hour. I have a tendency to run toward the things I most dread, and that means showing up early for things like exams and job interviews, etc. I guess it's an effort to get things over with but of course, showing up early does not do that- it only serves to prolong the agony. But hey, it's what I do. I had my other exam yesterday and the prof. said I did well, although it's a little hard to tell in the thick of things. I felt good going in, and felt good to have it done. Today's is a little different because it's only two questions, one of which I choose- and then I get back the monster paper that I fumbled through a few weeks back. I am really looking forward to this being done.
After this is all settled, I have to rush back to work and finish all the stuff that I would have done at a more leisurely pace over the next week or so, then home to pack and get ready for the hospital. Oddly, the surgery brings with it the promise of days and days of nothing but rest, and I find myself looking forward to that with happy thoughts of napping and not being allowed to lift anything. I'm missing a big and potentially great weekend at work but I think that is really highlighting how much of a rest I'm really going to be getting. Not just a rest after surgery but a rest from a crazy few days of running at full speed. I'll be jealous when Scott goes off to work on Friday, though, either way, because the craziness of this parish is happy craziness, and I love it.
So, if you've any spare prayer time, please slide me in there, and thanks to all who are already offering prayers. I'm praying especially for my surgeon! Hope she's having a GREAT day tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

'sbeen a while

FOR TODAY 12/03/08...
Outside My Window... it's dark dark dark- but there is still no snow here, just lots of wind and cold air.
I am thinking... about the big surgery- it's exactly one week away and I have some stuff to get in order before then, because I'll be out of work for a week or more afterward. I'm worried about various things at various times, but right now it's mainly how I'm going to keep Zarley off my chest while I'm healing.
I am thankful for... Scott who is the most generous, loving, patient and sweet person ever. Also, for my other cat, who prefers laps to chests.
From the kitchen... I had tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich tonight, wasn't feeling up to anything more exotic. Comfort food.
I am wearing... Jeans, the Colorado sweatshirt Scott bought me in Denver at the conference when I complained of being chilly. See what I mean about him?
I am creating... the large group opening and closings and home kits for next week's faith festivals, even though I won't be there. I'm so sad to miss this session, I think it will be a great one, very creative and good stuff! I also miss a REALLY cool eagle scout project based on StoryCorps and worship night. Sad!
I am going... to miss the NCCYM conference this year, because, technically, I'm not a YM this year. How sad!! Maybe by the next time it comes around I'll be back in the biz.
I am reading... nothing! I'm done with coursework, and now have to prepare for exams. Both classes are requiring ORAL exams, would you believe, and so next week will be Monday: exam, Tuesday: exam, Wednesday: surg.
I am hoping... that I will not get a cold or the flu before next Wed. and I think the worry is, itself, making me feel a little ooky.
I am hearing... the last "Samantha Who?" episode on my DVR.
Around the house... vestiges, still, of our Thanksgiving party from a week or two ago, plus lots of other looming chores that I will distract myself with while I'm supposed to be studying this weekend.
One of my favorite things... is crawling into bed every night, now that the flannel sheets are on!
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: The afore-mentioned studying, of course, and the afore-mentioned chores, and lots of free time to fill. I'm looking forward to it, in a way...
Here is picture thought I am sharing... this just happened, when I wanted to take a quick pic to send to Steven, in response to one he sent me. Pip was on my lap and looked up at my phone camera, and gave a big yawn just in time.


Every year when Advent comes around I remember that I have to carefully protect my heart. Advent and Christmas have been blue times for me in the past, times when alone-ness felt lonelier. It's easy to be frustrated by the commercialism that pervades every-every-everywhere, and the pressure of buying good gifts for the people who I want to treat, in a life of adopted less-than-richness, that does get to me every year. I want to buy great gifts, I want to be generous to my family and friends, but I'm just limited, is all. When the radio stations start playing Christmas music in early November, I start to feel a little doomy. So, I have to be careful- I don't listen to those stations, I don't generally decorate the house until the last minute, and I try not to get caught up in shoppers' frenzy.
But I don't want to deny Advent's existence- I want to live Advent the way I think it is meant to be lived- in quiet, thoughtful reflection and anticipation of Christ's return... so instead of turning my back to the world, I try to choose carefully what I'll watch and listen to.
Last night Scott and I went to Providence at the invitation of a young woman who is a senior at PC- she was a little freshman girl when I met her, so long and so many great conversations ago. We went to see her (hear her!) in their Lessons and Carols at the college chapel. Another wonderful young lady is in the choir, one I knew at my last parish, and it was so neat to see both of them, one behind the other in the choir, beautiful landmarks of my time in ministry.
The music was breathtaking. We sat near the choir and the organ and could swim in the sound, and sing along at full voice, where invited. Gorgeous, and a beautiful way to start Advent right.
I used to restrict myself to two CD's of Christmastime music, one being added last year: the CD our parish music groups put together. The other one and I go way back (you'll see how far if you watch this video... this is NOT the best song on Jon Anderson's 3 Ships,
but apparently the only video out there.

But this year, I'm adding yet another to the short list- Sixpence None the Richer's new album The Dawn Of Grace- just out last week, I think. It's beautiful, and I love their arrangements of traditional songs, like this one. Their Silent Night, with an echo by the guy from Jars Of Clay, is gorgeous, and makes me teary.

So, happy Advent to one and all- God bless us, every one.