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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

These Twenty Dash years are speeding along rapidly, although I have to admit that I was happy to see 2013 exit the stage.  My ankle surgery in October and the government shutdown were rather disruptive forces, and then in mid November I developed what was inconclusively walking pneumonia or a vicious viral infection.  Either way, by the Friday after Thanksgiving I was in the bed.  Two and a half weeks of antibiotics, a steroid pack, and five sick days later, and it was almost Christmas.  Seriously, I didn’t drink alcohol or coffee for almost three weeks, in December, to give y’all an idea of how ill I truly was. Obviously, ankle surgery and a terrible hacking cold with a racking cough that last a month is not the worst thing that could happen, but it did make me appreciate all the things I take for granted.  Like walking, and breathing.  It made me a little more compassionate towards the subjective complaints of the claimants.  Additionally, in the instance of my ankle and my respiratory difficulties, I was required to see more than one doctor and be my own health advocate to fight for additional treatment options and testing.  Not because my doctors aren’t competent, but because many of them are overworked and jaded and under appreciated, and lacked the time or effort to waste on an otherwise seemingly healthy young person with no real health risk factors.    I’m not going to get into all the nuances involved in health care, suffice it to say, being sick or injured sucks, and if you don’t like the answers you are receiving, keep asking your questions, find additional opinions.

When I woke up from being sick and realized that it was almost Christmas, I had to play catch up on the festivities.  My friends and I threw an oyster roast/skeet shoot, which we’ve decided will be known as the First Annual Christmas Clays.

Here are my friends shooting skeet.

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They were some of the best oysters I’ve ever had the pleasure of destroying.

We had a blue grass band, oysters, skeet, venison chili,ham, Frog Island Punch, koozies, and a lot of fun with all of the frogs.  The party was held at my friend Zan’s family’s property, and Zan and his father are sculptors, and the property is littered with artwork.

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Shannon and me playing in the froggy scrap yard.

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Me and my favorite frog.

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This is Jack, and Briscoe was a really great sport.

Christmas brought the arrival of a new family member at my parents house –

Christmas Day with besties from home.

Christmas Day with besties from home.

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Polar Bear Plunge with some of the greatest friends ever!

Christmas was great, and I got to see a lot of old friends.  New Year’s Eve was Alicia and Bryan’s beautiful wedding.  And New Year’s Day, we all jumped in the ocean to celebrate 2014, and then we ate hoppin’ johns and collards, with mac and cheese, and the best wings in america, washed down with a game changer at Home Team.

Overall, the last two weeks of December more than made up for feeling like I was on restriction from the beginning of October until the middle of December.  And 2013 will always be the year that I really found a home in Charleston, with amazing friendships, a job I love, and an unrivaled picturesque natural setting.

As a side note, I do have to admit that I’m currently freezing to death at my house, whilst wearing an obscene amount of clothing and my uggs, wrapped in a blanket, with my arm warmers.  My power still works, but my house was not designed for the cold, and it’s all my little heater can do to keep up.  This is the coldest weather I’ve experienced since I moved to Charleston in Fall 2010.  The upside is that it’s suppose to be in the 70s this weekend. I’ve started running again, and yesterday I ran two miles, which is the furthest I’ve run since I stopped running in December 2012.  I’m looking forward to my first yoga class since September tonight, and can’t wait to be in the suffocating heat, after this freezing day.

Speaking of freezing, this weather has brought to my attention that I only have the bare minimum of cold weather gear.  I’m going skiing in February, and I think I need some new gear.  You know, like gloves with fingers.  None of my gloves have fingers.  Suggestions?

You kids try to stay warm out there, and if winter ever gets to be too much, come on down to Charleston some weekend, the cold weather never lasts for more than a couple of days.  I promise to take you to Home Team and to an oyster roast.  My new year’s resolutions are obviously to blog more, and to get back into fighting shape.  I’m going to get back on the mat, back on the tennis court, and take some things out on the pavement.

Cheers to 2014 being the best year yet!  Happy New Year!

The Big Bridge

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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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Os Trigonum Crush Saga

I’m having surgery in the morning to have an extra bone removed from my ankle.  It’s called os trigonum, and it occurs in about 10% of the population.  It doesn’t bother most people, but a series of unfortunate events can lead to the bone becoming inflamed and it can cause all sorts of problems.  It’s a problem that plagues ballet dancers, and can also be called “the nutcracker syndrome.”  From what I understand, it’s hard to diagnose, and not a common injury unless you happen to be a ballet dancer.  I am not a ballet dancer.  I guess I’m just gifted at being different.  Paul said maybe I’m just an especially evolved individual (the fact that I was born without my lateral incisor teeth supports this hypothesis).

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In fall of 2012, I was going to yoga two or three times a week, playing tennis once or twice a week, and trying to get a few runs in.  I started running a mile and a half before yoga, and I really enjoyed being outside and then getting the awesome stretch of yoga.  I was playing enough tennis to not lose every game, and I had a string of marathon matches.  At some point in October, my foot started to hurt.  Towards the end of November, I had a really long, really cold tennis match, and I could barely walk by time it was over.  Like an idiot, I went on with my plans for the Reindeer Run, and I played one more tennis match in December.  I was convinced that if I stopped running and playing tennis for most of December and a couple weeks in January, that it would get better.  Obviously, I should have curtailed the traipsing around downtown Charleston in high heels.  But Christmas and the New Year just scream high heels to me, and being tall is fun, and I’ve been wearing high heels with no real problems for most of my adult life.  I wore heels every day for four years, and I don’t wear them every day anymore, so who knew it was that big of a deal?

mentioned back in January that I thought I had broken my foot.  In February, I was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendonitis and planter fasciitis, and I wore a big tall boot for a full month, and I tried just about every NSAID imaginable.  I was extremely diligent with my NSAIDs and my boot, and I basically went to work, came home, and iced my ankle for a month.  I played a ton of candy crush.  In March, Briscoe tried to keep my entertained, and I had an MRI, that was basically negative.  I was able to get it together to walk around during the masters, but after the tournament my foot still hurt a lot, so I wore the boot for another three weeks.  The hardest part was that the pain moved around.  Sometimes my toes hurt, and some times the top of my ankle hurt, sometimes the back of my ankle, sometimes my posterior tendon was absolutely killing me.  The bottom of my foot hurt, right in my arch.  The most frustrating part was that I couldn’t figure out what made it worse, and what made it better.

I went to a foot surgeon in Charleston, and I went to a foot surgeon in Augusta.  They both said that I had tendonitis, although the one in Augusta was sure there was something else going on.  Neither doctor had much to offer as far as a game plan.  The one in Augusta said I could try physical therapy, the doctor in Charleston said he was sure physical therapy would exacerbate the problem.  The Charleston doctor diagnosed me with a “subtle cavus foot” and sent me to get orthotics to correct the fact that the arch in my right foot was higher than the one on the left.  The Charleston doctor kept telling me how tight my ankle cords were in my right foot, and that my problem was never going to get better if I couldn’t improve my ankle range of motion.  I promised him I stretched religiously, and he said I should stretch more.  .  Both doctors agreed maybe I shouldn’t worry about it for a while.

I stopped worrying about.  I figured if it was going to hurt when I did absolutely nothing, then I might as well do something and have it hurt.  I started going back to yoga, and I started running a mile once or twice a week.  The orthotics essentially eliminated my planter fasciitis.  With my planter fasciitis improving, I was able to increase my activity level without immediate pain increases.  Strangely, I noticed that going to yoga two days in a row, even for just an easy 45 minute basic class, was something I could not tolerate.  If tendonitis was the main problem, I would have expected the running to be more painful than the yoga.  I also noticed increased pain when it rained.

However, after about three weeks of this new “screw it, I do what I want” attitude, I left my keys at the deli by my house on a monday night, and by the time I walked back to my house, I had about five minutes to sprint back before it closed for the night.  I sprinted back, in my new Brooks glycerin and my orthotic inserts, and I got my keys, but I felt like my ankle was angry about the sprinting.

The next morning, a Tuesday, when I started to walk down my steps, my ankle locked up.  I’ve never had my ankle lock up.  I don’t guess I’ve ever really had a joint lock up at all, because this was a new, excruciatingly upsetting experience.  My ankle was stuck in a pointed position, like when I put my foot on the ground and tried to take a step, I couldn’t put my entire foot on the ground, and the attempt caused me blinding pain.  I hobbled around on my toe for a about five minutes, and then my foot magically corrected itself and I could walk normally.

I had seen the Charleston doctor the day before (of course), but I was able to see the Augusta doctor that Friday on my way to Athens for the Georgia South Carolina game.  I explained to the Augusta doctor about how my ankle locked up, and he said he wanted to look at my MRI again.  He came back in the exam room, looked at my ankle, and said, does this hurt? and I yelped, YES!  He looked up at me and said, GOOD NEWS!  I think I know what’s wrong with you!  And I can fix it! (when I had my appendix taken out, after the CT scan came back, the doctors seemed extremely pleased that i did actually have appendicitis, and that I “got” to have surgery.  To be fair, I think that kid was a med student, and I guess I sort of get it because it is better than the alternatives, but I feel like the enthusiasm can feel vaguely awkward).

Augusta doctor explained I have an extra bone in my ankle, and that he’s never taken this bone out of a person’s foot who didn’t see improvement from the surgery.  I found that encouraging and said sign me up! (My ankle has continued to lock up off and on, and I would do most anything to have that stop happening, because it is most unpleasant.

So.  Here we are.  I originally took two weeks of sick leave to have this surgery, but since the government is still shut down*, that leave has been cancelled, and I have plenty of time to convalesce in the comforts of my parents backyard.  I never have to have a real cast, and he said I can walk on my foot as soon as I feel comfortable, but that I should spend a week or two with it elevated and taking it easy.  I will be in a short boot for the next month, but after that I’m allowed to ease back into whatever I want to do, which is exciting.

Wish me luck, I will be here catching up on all my television shows for the next week to ten days.  XOXO

* if I wasn’t having surgery, I would buy a plane ticket somewhere and go on a trip.  Tomorrow.  Too bad.

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This might be extremely difficult to believe, but I think of things I want to blog about every day. But then I get distracted, and the blogging never happens.  I actually have a note on my iphone notepad that has a list of things I meant to blog about.  For example, the most recent three are as follows:

1.  Standing up in airplanes

2.  Dick’s sporting goods is like a disappointing date that had such potential

3.  Low music and television standards

Hopefully I will get to those topics one day.  Today I’m going to tell you about my foot.  In the past week I’ve seen two well respected orthopedic foot surgeons.  Why two?  Partially because I had the opportunity, and partially because I’m a hypochondriac.  I had an MRI, both doctors read my MRI.  Both surgeons agree on three things, my posterior tibial tendon is irritated, nothing is torn or broken, and I’m not going to further aggravate it with stretching.  One thinks it is entirely too early to consider surgery, one thinks it’s been hurting long enough where it won’t heal on it’s own without surgery.  One said I should walk all I want and go to yoga and not think about it for a while.  The other one said I should go out and run and do whatever I want and maybe further aggravate it so he can better pinpoint the problem.

The one thing I’m sure of is that the boot made my foot feel ten times worse than anything else, including walking all week at the tournament.  I’ve decided that I”m going to not think about it anymore.  I’m not going to take the anti-inflammatory anymore, at least for a little while.  I’m going to go to yoga, and I’m going to ease back into that with a lot of modifications.  I’m going to make a couple yoga classes my goal, and walk around everywhere I want to go.  I might wear heels one night if I’m feeling especially crazy, even though that is probably the worst thing I could do.  I’m going to go to New York at the end of next week, and I’m going to walk my little heart out, but I might tape my foot up if I think it helps.  And I’m going to ignore it.

Wish me luck, I’m off to Cara’s yoga class to get a good sweat in and listen to my friend talk over awesome music for an hour.  It’s good for the soul.  We’ll see about the sole.  Gah, STOP.

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I’ve had to hide the gummi hearts in the corner of my office.  I can’t put them in a drawer because they make the entire drawer smell like gummi hearts (which is a sickeningly sweet overpowering aroma), and I can’t keep them on my desk because then I’ll eat them, and I can’t eat them all because then I’ll be sick.  I’m only allowed to eat four at a time.  Life is so hard. 

Monday, after having been enticed by a bribe of sorts by my insurance company, I took a health assessment.  The main problem the health assessment had with me is that I’m only suppose to have one alcoholic beverage a day and that I don’t eat the right kind of food.  Since I’ve been making an effort to eat more colorful foods and less white bread, I decided to step it up a notch and buy some assorted products to assist me in my goal of eating all the food groups in the recommended amounts.  I bought yogurt.  I bought carrots.  I bought uncrustables with wheat bread instead of white bread.  I baked some chicken in this fabulous olive oil Mary Beth gave me for my birthday that probably deserves its own post (it is chipotle flavored, and the flavor comes in as a spicy biting aftertaste that is quite enjoyable)

My main concern, is how do you eat all of the things they want you to eat and not consume bazillions of calories?  I just can’t figure out how to eat the fiber one bar, the banana, orange juice and yogurt for breakfast without feeling a little stuffed.  I recognize the fact that I could get rid of the harris teeter chocolate chip cookies and the gummi hearts, but then I’m not sure life would be worth living.  Maybe I’m being dramatic, but it seems like if you ate all the suggested servings in a day that you might be overeating. 

There is a hawk and a crow who fly around my window at work.  I have been trying to come up with good names for them, but i’m not there yet.  I’ll let y’all know once I can decide on something appropriate.  A while back I also saw a little baby redheaded woodpecker, but he hasn’t returned.  He was probably just a tourist.    The crow was sitting outside my window today puffing up his feathers and CAWing his head off.  I sort of thought he might be flirting with me. 

Saturday morning I went to Crossfit with Brooke.  It was an enjoyable experience and I couldn’t walk for three days, so I would say it was also a successful experience.  I did a bunch of pushups and situps and air squats.  I’m still considering whether or not I want to join, I like the idea, and I enjoyed the atmosphere, but it is expensive, and now that the weather is warming up, it is difficult to imagine being inside a gym on a regular basis.  We’ll see.  I ran the bridge on Sunday, and just being outside with the wind blowing and the sun beating down does something good for my soul that I’m not sure the inside of a gym ever could.  I wish I had more time to work out. 

I played tennis last night, and even though I lost, it was a good match and I felt like I got a good workout in.  It somewhat restored my faith that I do actually enjoy playing tennis in general.  I don’t enjoy playing tennis in the cold, and I dislike that USTA plays a third set here in Charleston instead of a tie breaker.  Third sets make me tired.  Which probably means I’m lazy.  Last night we played on clay courts and the wind was gusting at 30 mph, so you really had no idea what the ball was going to do when it bounced or where it would land.  Clay courts slow the game down significantly.  Also, as a side note of irritation, when you are playing tennis, the term love is only appropriate for zero during a game.  15-Love.  When you are calling out the score of the match, if one player has won two games, and the other player has won zero games – the correct score is 2-0.  Not 2-love.  2-Love is an inappropriate use of the word love and incorrect when calling out the games won or lost so far in the set. 

I think I’ve pretty much decided I’d rather play tennis than go to crossfit.  This feels like a reasonable decision, especially in light of the fact that the weather will only warm up from here! (besides whatever short lived deep freeze we experience in the next month)

I liked this week’s collections of grammar corrections in the New York Times.  Everyone has their own grammar missteps, I have an extremely difficult time with “affect” and “effect”.  I have a sticky on my computer that helps me.  It says – Affect – to influence; Effect – result, to bring about.

I’m reading the book Swamplandia! – which is all about the Everglades and Florida, and alligators and theme parks.  It has inspired me to do a little research on the flora and fauna of the swamp, the indians, and the history of Florida in general, all things of which I assumed I had a working knowledge, but was actually ignorant.  This book also has a great story behind it, that is somewhat fantastical and raw all at the same time.  The beginning is a little depressing, and I’m not convinced anyone who lives in the swamp ever takes a shower or washes clothes, but the story definitely picks up and the characters are round and sympathetic and endearing.

I’m happy today is Friday, and I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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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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Good News

I don’t have mono. 

I’m not sure what I do have, but the mono test came back negative, even though my glands are still quite swollen. 

But I am feeling a little better every day, and I’m very relieved that it isn’t mono (even though it would  be nice to know what the real problem is/was).  All I know is I can’t remember the last time I was so sick. 

Yay! 

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