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Getting back to real life has been more difficult that I anticipated.  It’s been six weeks and one day since my surgery, and I’ve been back at work for more than three weeks.  I may have hit the ground a little aggressively, but there were some things I could not help. I could not help that I HAD to go see Libby run in the New York Marathon the first week in November.  It’s not my fault that it got cancelled last year. Libby had to train twice, and the least I could do was rebook my trip.  Plus, I really wanted to go, and I needed to see Betsy and Andrew and meet sweet baby Cash.  I can’t help it that being in New York necessitates a lot of walking.  Going to New York left me in the Boot for an extra week, but I was able to get around surprisingly well, and I don’t think the extra boot walking caused any lasting damage.

I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of music this month, which I was not expecting.  The first weekend I was back in Charleston, someone gave me a ticket to the Robert Earl Keen show at the Charleston Music Hall, at the last minute, so I had to go to that.  Then Michael Franti was at the Music Farm and I went with my sweet friend Anita.  Finally, The Avett Brothers played at the Coliseum last week, and those tickets were purchased this summer.  All three shows were fantastic.  I’ve seen REK and The Avett Brothers at the Georgia Theater, and it’s hard to compare any show to a Theater show, but the Charleston Music Hall is a really cool venue if you ever get a chance to see it, and the Avett Brothers are a completely different band than they were in the Georgia Theater days.  When I first saw the Avett Brothers in 2007, it was three guys, and the entire show was high energy Bluegrass Ska music.  Now there are seven or eight band members, and it’s a much more professional production.  It’s nice to watch a band grow up.  The show last week was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.  It was well paced, with lots of old music, and lots of new music, and we stood up the entire time.  The only thing I did not understand was the couple with the baby in the Bjorn in front of us.  Or the other couple with the two boys, aged maybe four and six.  The two boys were clearly miserable, with the four year old plugging his ears the whole time.  How is that fun for anyone involved?  And they stayed almost the entire show.  It’s not normal for kids to stay out til 11 on a school night, right?

Speaking of music, I’ve been enjoying the new Katy Perry album.  Hate all you want, she’s fun.  Also, I love Eminem.  I tolerate Rihanna when she is playing with Eminem.  I love that this new song is about seeming crazy.  I realized the other day that a casual observer would think I spend all day talking to myself.  But the reality is that not I’m talking to myself, I’m talking to the inanimate objects around me.  Example, I’m pulling sheets out of the dryer, and they are not dry,  “Dude!  You aren’t dry at all!  Look at this, you’ve gotten all wadded and tangled up, you are never going to dry that way.  Get back in there.”

The weather has been crazy, yesterday it was 83 degrees, 90% humidity.  This morning it was 50 degrees, 60% humidity, with winds 20 mph.  The former is a lot hotter than you’d think, and the latter is a lot colder than you’d expect.  I’ve completed all of the levels of candy crush, and now we wait for an update.  In television news, you should be watching The Blacklist.  That is the only new television show I can definitely vouch for as amazing.  If you watch Homeland and Scandal, you should be reading this weekly blog series The Heroine Watch.  It definitely enhances what otherwise has been a season of extremely depressing and upsetting story lines.

I can’t wait until I can run and go to yoga and play tennis again, I’m hoping to be able to start doing more in the next couple of week.  I’ve been walking a mile in the morning and a mile at night, and standing up at my desk during the day, and I’ve been able to do that with occasional pain.  The range of motion in my ankle is limited in all directions, but I believe that it is getting a little better every day.  I still have some numbness in my big toe and on the outside of my heel, but the scar is healing well.

Until then, Briscoe and her pink gorilla are making sure my yoga mat feels loved.

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Briscoe was initially confused this morning during our walk, she’s never seen the Fort Sumter building closed.

So, the government shut down and I’m one of the 800k non-essential personnel who were sent home yesterday around lunchtime.  Since then, I’ve been completely incapable of making a decision.  First, I decided I was going to wander around downtown Charleston and play tourist.  Then, when I got home, I realized that I had all this nervous energy about being unemployed and the government not working correctly, and I couldn’t calm down about it, so I cleaned out my pantry and my refrigerator.  Then I peer pressured some friends to meet me for happy hour and hamburgers last night.  I’m not entirely sure why I got so strung out – the federal employees who are working aren’t getting paid until this fiasco comes to an end, and those of us who aren’t working could also get paid.  So a ton of people are in the same boat, and I truly believe that the government can’t stay shut down, and that it will all work out. I think I just didn’t anticipate being upset about it, and it made me realize how much I really love my job, and all I want is to do my job and get paid for doing my job, and it’s confusing to get sent home.  That being said, no one should feel sorry for me, I’m not going to starve, I don’t need to apply for bankruptcy, my dog is not concerned.

But once we got home, she decided she didn't care that much and got back in bed.

But once we got home, she decided she didn’t care that much and got back in bed.

I had a lot of big plans today, I was going to clean out my closet, and go out for a wander and maybe make friends with some tourists, and take some stuff back to Target and get supplies.  None of that has happened.  I’ve watched a great deal of CNN.  I never watch the news.  I like to read news.  The people talking on television and arguing grate on me and I generally can’t tolerate it.  But this is a special situation, and I’ve been watching a lot of news.  I flip around, because I do like to hear different sides, and I think most media outlets are spinning me a opinion, but I’ve watched more CNN than anything else.  And I’ve learned a lot through this experience.

I’ve learned that the biggest concerns for the people who watch CNN during the day, according to advertising, are 1.  “blood flow” problems of the sexual nature; 2.  picking a nursing home for an aging parent, 3.  life alert systems for old people who aren’t interested in a nursing home; 4, low “T”, and 5.  the best biological drug for rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  And Wolf Blitzer is pretty feisty.  And I like the blond girl who reports from congress.  Clinton and Newt Gingrich are both aging better than Obama and W.  There is something about Ted Cruz’s face that really freaks me out.  I can’t put my finger on it.  Does he look like he’s made of wax?  Is that what it is?  Like you could make a statute of him out of fondant.  I know that doesn’t make much sense, and maybe it’s his mannerisms.  It’s like he moves as though he’s watching himself in the mirror.  Or like he can see himself on a live video feed.  I do have to hand it to the guy, he’s been super effective in accomplishing his goals, in a situation where no one else seems capable of accomplishing anything.  My approval and opinion of John McCain has never been higher than it is right now.  I want to give John McCain a big hug and buy him a drink.  Does he drink?  Did you see the article about how everyone on capital hill smells like booze?

Who do you think the girl is on the Obamacare homepage?  She’s been on the news more than anyone.  I hope she’s happy with the photo.  I thought Obama’s comment about comparing the webpage to the apple website was pretty interesting.   I got on verizon today to see about ordering the new iphone, I have an upgrade.  It’s backordered until November 11th.  I find that sort of unacceptable.  By the time I buy a new iphone, they are going to be talking about the new one.

Due to indecision, Briscoe and I spent a lot of time today sitting on the front porch.  It was a beautiful fall Charleston afternoon.  The strongest impulses possessing me today are the desires to eat and buy thing.s, Denise said that the government’s irresponsibility is triggering desires to be irresponsible.  At high tide, Briscoe and I went and watched the dolphins.  I anticipate my evening plans to including some pasta and wine, and tomorrow is a new day for congress to get it together.  Stay classy, my friends.

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There is a striped mosquito in my house.  I have mosquito bites all over me from walking Briscoe.  This morning, I received three bites in about five minutes from these giant striped mosquitoes.  I caught the tail end of a news report recently talking about a new invasive breed of mosquitoes, and after spending time observing the one in my house and realizing that it did not look like a normal mosquito, I googled striped mosquito.  Yep.  Here are some upsetting headlines –

Asian tiger mosquitoes have blood lust for humans.

Get ready for invading Asian tiger mosquitoes

Asian tiger mosquitoes expected to swarm USA.

Georgia mosquito population set to explode.

Asian tiger mosquito poised to invade.

It is almost more than I can do to even read these articles.  Apparently these blood suckers were happily imported to Texas in tire shipments, because tires are notorious for having standing water.  THANKS, TEXAS!  This where I become a giant proponent of chemical warfare in the war against mosquitoes (and roaches and grasshoppers for that matter).  Let’s fumigate stuff before we unload it next time.  The mosquito is repeatedly described as having a “blood lust” for humans, but it will also bite your cat, dog, or whatever sort of strange creature you love and let live in your house.

This article gives some fact and fiction of mosquitoes.  My favorite is – Mosquitoes are more attracted to women than men: FACT (this is why I always carry Off! and often times an Afterbite pen with me.  And because I’m Polly Prepared according to Sister Natalie.  My personal favorites are either the wipes or this little travel buddy.  I like to keep the wipes in little formal clutches like for weddings, and the little travel buddy in my regular pocketbook. Afterbite is also helpful for a beach bag, great for a jelly fish sting.  And Cutter is excellent and pretty much a necessity before a backyard party. I don’t think it encourages lightening bugs though, fyi. )

These mosquitoes are considered especially fearsome due to their fantastic disease spreading abilities.  The Asian Tiger transmits more than 20 diseases, including West Nile fever, dengue fever, yellow fever and two types of encephalitis. It also can transmit chikungunya virus, an infliction that is rarely fatal, but causes debilitating symptoms, including severe joint pain, fever, achiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash and fatigue. People usually recover in a few weeks, but the virus is not very pleasant.

Right, so I read people’s medical records all day and I’m a straight up hypochondriac.  In the highly probably event that I contract one of these debilitating diseases, and waste away in front of my giant television watching bad TNT dramas, this blog might suffer, and for that I apologize.  Please send gifts of gatorade, baked goods, and dvds.

I get itchy just thinking about it.

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Hooray for the Supreme Court making sense and not being idiots! Hooray for marriage for all! Down with extremists who use politics to marginalize people! I truly believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and the right to express that opinion. But I struggle extensively with the use of religion and the idea of morality when the end result is the lose of rights and privileges in a select group of the population. Especially when the group affected is not significantly represented in the legislature passing the law. This feels like oppression to me. Live your own life, YOLO, join a cult, move to equator, live in a tree house, homeschool your eight kids and teach them the world is flat and the center of the universe, really, go for it, we live in a free country. But let’s protect that freedom by respecting each other enough to remember that extending rights to everyone does not diminish the rights enjoyed by you. And that is all I have to say about that.

Can someone please explain to me why the FBI is so intent on finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body? Is there a chance he’s not dead? Does the FBI not have enough other work to do? Will finding his body result in something more than solving a case where all the parties are already dead? Do we just love a good Mob mystery?I’m honestly confused.

Paula Deen – so, why are people shocked that a 66 year old woman who grew up in Savannah used racial slurs at some point in her life? The truth is that our country has an ugly past. Every generation gets better, but we are all products of when and where we grew up. I’m not supporting Paula, I don’t think you get to be where she is by nice to people, I’m just surprised that people seem so surprised. I have no doubt she treated her employees poorly at some point along the way. And maybe I’m missing part of the story. I find it interesting that her remarks, made under oath, about something she said or did a long time ago, that if she had denied would have been clearly unbelievable, are enough to crumble her empire.

Okay, that is probably enough enough politically charged opinions from me for one day.

On a lighter note, a man threatened to jump off the Ravenel Bridge Monday morning. He stood on the ledge from around 7 am till around noon, snarling traffic all over town. As lunchtime approached, the crisis negotiators were able to lure him off the ledge by placing a hot pizza on the hood of his car and talking to him about how hungry he was. I believe pizza is a good enough reason to live. The news said he is at MUSC, so congrats to law enforcement for successfully saving this guy’s life and I hope he gets the help he needs.

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Since I haven’t been able to work out for all of 2013, and I have very limited interests that don’t involve physical activity, I’ve picked up some unfortunate habits. I’ve been watching Homeland, which leaves me with conflicting emotions. First, it makes me feel like I’m not contributing to the real world in any significant manner and second, the fact that terrorists can apparently be lovable is confusing and upsetting. And I want to be friends with Dana and Mike, but no one else. Maybe Virgil and Max. I’m about halfway through with the second season, so don’t ruin it for me (even though television consistently breaks my heart and I’m sure showtime will ruin it for me eventually). My thoughts are crowded by this story, and it could be a while before I can adequately absorb all of it.

Homeland is a socially acceptable obsession, and I’m afraid my next confession is going to be much more damning. I’ve been playing candy crush. It might be slowly deprograming my brain. I can’t ignore the possibility that this game is like one of those Trojan horse email viruses that slowly infiltrates your computer until it has all the right pieces and can take over the whole system. This might be the next mutation of biological warfare. While homeland crowds my thinking, candy crush overrides my thinking to a point where I start seeing orange pear shapes and green squares and red jelly beans over your face when I’m talking to you. Thank god you run out of lives eventually. Luckily, I suck at this game, so I burn through lives fairly quickly. Otherwise I might never shower or have time to feed my dog. What’s my dog’s name again? Jelly bean?

My last bad habit is I’ve been eating a lot of brownies and Easter candy. But I don’t actually feel that guilty about this habit. I think it is just the generalized girl paranoia about not working out and instead eating brownies, but after a couple of glasses of wine, that goes away.

As a bonus, I want to alert you and possibility remind a few of you who might remember, that Anne Hathaway’s Oscar dress was my senior prom dress. No lie. I can’t decided if this makes me feel cool, like I was really ahead of the times, or if this makes me feel horribly old, because my senior prom was so long ago the fashion has come back around and is in style again. Maybe I should just pretend like my taste in clothing is timeless and leave it at that. I hope I still have that dress somewhee

Photographic evidence –

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I literally cannot believe that is already 2013.  Life moves shockingly fast these days.  I feel like all I’ve done in the past few weeks is eat and drink.  Let’s think about 2012 for a minute.  I read a lot of books in 2012.  Most recently, I read Liars and Saints, which I highly recommend. Rarely, I come across an author that has a syntax or voice that I can only describe as hitting the right cord, where I don’t actually care what they are writing about, because simply reading the words is enjoyable.  I haven’t figured out exactly what I mean by that, but Maile Meloy writes in a way that I find immensely satisfying.  For example, I don’t particularly like depressing stories, but I love Jack London because of his writing.  There is something chewy and piercing about it.  Obviously, the really great writers make people feel this way, but I think there is something very personal about who hits me like this.  There are lots of fantastically talented writers who I can acknowledge that their work is quality, but who don’t resonate with me.  Steinbeck and Faulkner don’t do it for me.  Robert Louis Stevenson and F. Scott Fitzgerald do.

I read The Tiger’s Wife in early 2012, and that story really stuck with me.  The structure of the book was different, and there was a detached and dry quality to it that made the fantastical side of the book seem more believable.

My favorite book of 2012 was The Night Circus.  This book was highly fantastical, and maybe not for everyone.  But I found the emotion conveyed through the story to be moving and enthralling.

I also read the Silver Lining Playbook (awesome! read it), The Forgotten Garden (didn’t love it), Ready Player One (a fun read for any child of the 80s), The House of Mirth (Edith, you are so beautiful, and your stories could not be more depressing), Wicked (so much love for this book), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (you will cry laughing and feel more normal), The Mists of Avalon (enjoyable, if you are into long drawn out medival sagas, and really, who isn’t?), The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel.  A good read, but certain things seemed forced for the purpose of proving it was NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK), and I started Freedom, but then I got bored with it and never finished it.

I feel like I saw a lot of movies this year too.  It’s amazing how hard it is to remember.  Let’s see, maybe I can go backwards.  Les Miserables (awesome, obviously), Life of Pi (heartbreaking and visually captivating), Anna Karinina (I read this book in high school, and I was impressed at how they were able to pack the whole story into an appropriate length movie, but it’s a depressing story), Skyfall (I love Bond movies, and Daniel Craig is fun),  Beast of the Southern Wild (man, everyone should see this movie.  Unbelievable.  Hush Puppy is fantastic), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson is a proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy), The Hunger Games (people who don’t like Jennifer Lawrence are just jealous), Magic Mike (people who don’t like Channing Tatum are just jealous), Being Flynn (everyone likes Robert De Nero), and finally, The Iron Lady (I felt more educated after this movie).  I feel like I had to have seen more movies at the beginning of the year, but now I can’t remember.  That’s a strong showing, but I still feel like I’ve missed some huge movies.  Argo, The Hobbit, The Silver Lining Playbook, Django Unchained.  I’ve also tried to catch up on some of last year’s movies in the comfort of my own home.  Hugo, Trouble with the Curve, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, How to Train Your Dragon (my new favorite animated film), The Muppets, 21 Jump Street, and Coraline.

Basically, if you were curious about what I’ve been doing in the past year, I’ve been watching movies and reading books.  Sometimes I go outside and interact with something called other people. It definitely explains why I haven’t been blogging, because I’ve been reading and watching.  I am going to try to stop being such a consumer and start producing.

I did go to a few concerts – Blitzen Trapper, Patterson Hood, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Brandi Carlisle, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, and Jerrod Niemann.

2012 was an excellent year. It was a year full of new friendships, important re-connections, thousands of downward dogs and chaturangas, a 10k, a 5k, one of the best tennis teams a girl could ask for, abundant sunshine, oysters, shrimps, boats, coffee, beaches, bowling, late night dancing, handstands, thunderstorms (I had a dream last night I was struck by lightening, but it didn’t hurt, it just left a weird scar on my leg), Vail, Steamboat Springs (TWICE!), Williamsburg, Sea Island, Valdosta, D.C., a job I love more than I ever thought possible, and some damn good football.  And I cut all my hair off.  Everyone should try it.

I have high hopes for 2013.  I think it is going to be the best one yet.

Photo evidence of awesomeness.

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(I should have written this a week ago in half as many words.  I apologize.)

The Saturday before Christmas, it poured down rain and really ruined my Christmas shopping plans.  That night, I went out with some friends, enjoyed some choice libations, and ate some good food.  I did not feel awesome on Sunday, which was unfortunate because I had put off all my Christmas shopping until that day.  I should have sucked it up and gotten off the couch and shopped anyway, but I didn’t feel good, more so than a typical Sunday hangover.  I canceled my brunch plans, and continued to wallow in my uncomfortableness while ordering Christmas presents on amazon.

At one point, Briscoe climbed into my lap and wanted to lie across my stomach on the couch.  It hurt.  A sharp pain, that caught me off guard with its severity.  I figured I could not be that sick, considering I still wanted to eat my Basil leftovers from the night before and the bojangles I had for breakfast had still tasted awesome.  That night, I had a hard time falling asleep because of a sharp pain in my stomach.  It was directly below my belly button, and felt like a hot knot was being tightened and loosened.  I decided that the food I’d eaten and the hangover had left me with some indigestion.

Monday morning, I woke up, went to work, drank coffee, ate breakfast, and went about my day.  I didn’t feel awesome, but I figured I was paying for my indulgent weekend.  At lunch, I wasn’t super hungry, so I ate a pack of toast chee and drank a diet coke (a meal that kept me alive in law school).  About 2 pm, a wave of nausea washed over me, and took me by surprise.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew I had to go home.  I felt silly telling my supervisor the week of Christmas that I had to have the afternoon off because my stomach hurt.  It seemed too convenient.  But I must have been green by that point because she offered to drive me home and made me call her when I got there.

Once home, I wanted very much to barf.  This never happened.  I took some Dramamine and tried to nap, but the pain woke me up, which is not the way Dramamine is supposed to work.  I kept taking my temperature, but I didn’t have a fever.  I never got sick to my stomach or threw up.  I just felt like my stomach was on fire, and I had waves of uncomfortableness that would radiate through my entire system, sometimes feeling like they were coming up my throat.  I’ve never had heartburn or any problem like that, so I thought maybe this is what people complain about all the time and why prilosec is so successful.

At one point, I finally got out of bed to get some water and check on Briscoe.  The exponential increase in pain since I got into the bed was starting to freak me out.  There was something about this pain that was unfamiliar, a pain that did not have a memory of another time.  There was also a bizarre metallic taste in my mouth that I couldn’t seem to shake.  I got back in the bed, and had a conversation with Libby about my pain.  She was with Bryan, who had his appendix out in college, and after five minutes chatting with them, I knew I was in trouble and was going to have to have my appendix taken out.  At the realization that I was going to have to go to the hospital, I burst into tears.  Then I told myself I had to get it together, and got myself composed.

I am a hypochondriac.  I always have been.  I have been convinced no less than ten times in my life that I had appendicitis.  I have always been wrong.  Growing up it is drilled into your head that if you have a pain that starts in your stomach and moves to your right side, that you should seek medical attention.  I did NOT want to seek medical attention.  I wanted to go to sleep and wake up the next day and feel better.  I also knew that tons of people have had their appendix out and it isn’t that big of a deal.  I’d never had surgery before, and I didn’t want to go to the hospital.

But you know what?  No one asked me.  I called my mom, and she asked me if I could stand up straight.  Hmm, no, actually I could not stand up straight.  Or, I almost could, but it hurt like a bitch to try and I didn’t want to stand up straight.  I wanted to double it and not move at all.  My mom told me I needed to call Ashley, my sweet friend who is a pediatric hemotology/oncology fellow at MUSC.  I called Ashley, and told her I thought I had appendicitis.  Dr. Ashley told me I needed to go to the ER.  Ugh.

Jennifer and Peter came over immediately.  While waiting for them to get there, I took a shower, and put on my new lululemon yoga pants because they are the most comfortable things in the world.  I’d always been told you should make sure you take a shower every day because you never know when you might end up in the emergency room or what might happened to you after you get there.  Haha.

Peter took Briscoe home with him to have a spend the night party with Fin and Kate, and Jennifer took me to the ER around 9 pm.  The drive to the ER was TORTURE.  It was amazing how fast my pain was increasing and how painful even the smallest jolt became.  I felt a little stupid walking into the emergency room and saying, “I think I have appendicitis.”  What am I, WebMD?  As I sat in the almost desolate emergency room, I thought I would be in pain for the rest of my life.  Up until that point the pain had been troublesome, but bearable.  Bearable was becoming a distant memory.

Once in the exam room, a very young maybe doctor strolled past the door, and upon seeing two girls, did a little back track and stuck his head in.  He seemed happy to see us, and proceeded to try to figure out what was troubling me.  He asked me lots of personal questions, and mashed all over my tummy, and bent my knees around and popped my heels with his palm.  He must have been a resident because then he ordered me some pain medication and a CT.  As soon as I received the drugs through the IV, I instantly felt much warmer and more pleasant, and everything around me became more agreeable.  In fact, things became rather hilarious.  Jennifer and my young doctor friend were cracking jokes and although the pain medication made everything extremely funny, laughing was still excruciatingly painful, and I was almost in tears before I could get them to stop making me laugh.

When I remarked to the nurse that I could feel the medication, she said I must not take much pain medication because she’d only given me half a milligram.  I was dying of thirst by this point because my mom had told me not to drink anything in case I had to have surgery, which was good because I had to drink four cups of some sort of contrast stuff for the CT.  It had crushed ice in it and tasted sort of like the way water tastes right after you brush your teeth with baking soda toothpaste, and anyway, I didn’t mind because I was sort of floating in space at this point.  Jennifer fell asleep in the chair.  I kept wanting them to bring her a bed in too, but the room was really small.

Luckily, I was reading The Hunger Games, which, if you haven’t read them, you should probably not start reading them until you have a good three or four days to read all three of them, or else the rest of your life might fall apart from neglect.  I sat in the semi dark, hopped up on pain medication, and happily read about Katniss while I sipped on my toothpaste flavored ice water.  When I was wheeled back to have my CT, I was starting to think being in the hospital wasn’t that bad, even if my garbage wheel chair had a wheel that was jacked like a broken grocery cart.  The CT girl said she had a hard time finding it, because all the wheel chairs had mysteriously disappeared.

The CT took about three seconds, and was pretty cool.  I’ve had an MRI of my neck before, and let’s just go ahead and be clear about the fact that CT scans are infinitely more pleasant than MRIs, even if it did freak me out a little bit.  For some reason, the idea of having a CT of your entire abdomen is a little scary.  Like, yeah, I’m pretty sure I have appendicitis, but what if it isn’t appendicitis?  What if, in addition to appendicitis, they find some crazy growth or imperfection in my abdomen that could kill me at any moment and I just didn’t know about it?  What if it is something I have to live with and can’t be fixed?  Thankfully, all of these thoughts were rather fleeting, because it is my mom’s job to worry about such things, and I was more concerned with making sure I got my cell phone charger before the damn thing died.

Not long after the CT, my young doctor friend came back in, patted me on the foot, and told me that the radiologist said I do have appendicitis and that the surgeon would be down to talk to me soon.  He acted like the fact it was appendicitis was excellent news.  I asked if I definitely had to have surgery.  He said, yes, there was no question I would have to have surgery.  After my crazy thoughts of what else the CT could reveal and all the other possibilities, I did experience a great sense of relief at the news I would definitely have to have surgery.  I called my mom, and she said she was on the way, but wanted to make sure I told the doctor about some rare health problem a distant cousin had that could possibly interfere with my being put under anesthesia.  Great.  I discussed with Jennifer whether I wanted my mom to get my laptop from my apartment.  She remarked that worrying about a laptop would not have been top on her list of concerns if she had just found out she would have to have surgery.  We decided I did not need my laptop.

The surgeon came in, introduced himself, and his pager went off and he had to leave the room.  Jennifer and I left the door open to see what was going on, and we were able to learn that a gunshot wound to the stomach had just arrived, which we eventually learned bumped me back in the line for surgery.  When I was told that my surgery might have to wait until 7 am (this was around midnight), I asked if there was a chance my appendix would rupture between now and then.  The answer was pretty much, um, maybe?  Hopefully not.  Ha.

Before I was taken upstairs to a real hospital room, I was given more pain medication, “for the road”.  The orderly who took me from the basement to the top floor of the hospital told me all about how he’d just had his appendix out, and that it was no big deal and he didn’t even take any of the Percocet they gave him, and he was walking around a few hours later.  He said the worst part about the experience was that they blow your abdomen up with some sort of gas for the procedure, so they have lots of room to move around in there, and then the gas disperses throughout your body and has a tendency to settle in your shoulders, or under your rib cage, or somewhere else where it becomes uncomfortable.  He said it was a weird feeling and that I just needed to move around a lot after the surgery so the gas would work itself out of my system.  This was the first I had heard about my stomach being blown up with gas, and I was little disturbed by this new piece of information.

My mom finally got to the hospital, and after getting lost in the catacombs of the ginormous complex for about half an hour, made it to my room.  She brought me some shampoo, because they wanted me to take a shower with some sort of sterile soap, and I figured I might as well wash my hair while I was at it, since I wasn’t going to surgery for a while.  Jennifer was finally allowed to go home and go to sleep.

As soon as I got out of the shower and figured out how to put on the extremely complicated gown, someone stuck their head in my room and wanted to know if I was ready.  It was about 3 am, and my hair was soaking wet, and I was a little confused.  Apparently, gunshot victim didn’t take too long, and they were ready for me.  Mama dried my hair for a minute (I couldn’t because the IVs in my arm were rather restrictive), and followed me down to the OR.  My cute young ER doctor friend was waiting for me at the OR and announced happily that he KNEW I would be down here later and that he was glad to see me.  He and some other young doctor friends appeared to be playing on facebook, which made me laugh.  The gunshot victim was wheeled out of the OR as I was waiting for the surgeon.

I was given some drugs, and then the surgeon came out and talked to me, and asked me if I had any questions.  I was starting to feel a little woozy, and the only intelligent question I had was, “Um, are you any good?”  Real smooth, insult the man who is about to save your life.  He looked at me as though my remark had taken him off guard and said, “Well, I like to think so!”  This is the last thing I remember before surgery.

The next thing I remember is someone telling me that it is not time to wake up and for me to go back to sleep.  Then I remember waking up back in the recovery room with my throat on absolute fire and a mask on my face that itched like crazy.  The next half hour were the most miserable.  They kept asking me to rate the pain.  What pain?  My throat?  The itchiness of my face?  Once I was back in my room, they gave me some extremely strong pain medication that made the next two hours quite pleasant, even if my nose did continue to itch. They told me how they had stitched me up with dissolving sutures and glued my incisions shut, which I found interesting.

Around 9 am they brought me a breakfast of liquids – broth, jello, juice.  Then around noon I got to order room service from a pretty exciting menu.  They even let me order a chocolate chip cookie and a sugar cookie.  Someone came in my room every ten to fifteen minutes to check on something, and I have to say I have no idea how anyone in the hospital could ever get any rest.  Right before they discharged me, my sweet Doctor Ashley stopped by to check on me and brought me a big plush flower.  I was also instructed that I didn’t have any dietary restrictions and could eat and drink whatever I wanted over Christmas.  Which was good because Travers and Natalie were concerned about how long it would be before I could drink beer, and Libby was concerned about me missing out on Christmas Ham.  Then the nurse gave me two Percocet “for the road.”  I only took one because I was concerned that if I took both of them I wouldn’t make it very far off down the road.

When Mama and I left the hospital, I was all turned around, and took us down the wrong street.  Kate hadn’t slept in two days, and was a little delirious herself.  While turning down a street, a woman on the corner started screaming at us.  Then we realized we had turned down the wrong way on a one way street.  Opps.  Luckily, we were able to pull into a driveway before having a head on collision.  Kate tried to say she was going to go to Harris Teeter after she got me in bed, but I told her she was crazy and that after we both took a long nap we could order Mellow Mushroom.

Since then, I have recovered nicely.  I only had to take the pain meds for a couple of days, and I was at Christmas party by Thursday night.  I’ve had a hard time getting all the glue off my stomach, but at this point most of it is gone.  I can’t pick up more than ten pounds at a time until February, but other than that, I feel good.  The only real disappointment was that the silver bullet didn’t get to go home for Christmas, so she still hasn’t hit 200,000 miles.  Maybe this week?

My new year resolution is to write more, so I promise I will be updating the blog more often.  I’m excited.  I hope you are too!

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