Monthly Archives: September 2015

Would you like some coffee to go with your cream?

So this morning I got up made the usual pot of liquid gold… I mean coffee. After the wife headed off to work I decide I am feeling up to making scrambled eggs. The frying pan is in the drainer so I can reach it, this shouldn’t be a problem! Famous last words! hahaha

So I pull out the frying pan, I pull out the oil, eggs, a bowl, fork and I’m thinking I’m good to go. I get the frying pan going. I get the eggs scrambled. I decide to pour myself another cup of coffee last one for the day. THIS WAS MY MISTAKE!! So I drink my coffee with half and half. So if I pour a cup of coffee then the next logical action will be to walk over to the refrigerator to pull out the half and half and return to pour it into the cup of coffee. This morning I return to the counter where my coffee mug is sitting next to the bowl of eggs waiting to be poured into my frying pan and I pour the half and half into the bowl of eggs…..

YIKES! Now there is nothing wrong with adding a SMALL amount of half and half to eggs when you cook them, but I have add the coffee amount to my bowl…I take the fork to see how bad the damage is and decide the only way to possibly salvage the eggs is to add another egg. I laugh at my mistake because why cry over a little half and half, realize the half and half never got into my coffee, so I carefully pour the half and half into the COFFEE MUG this time, and return to the refrigerator to put the half and half safely away and pull out another egg for breakfast.

So I start thinking about my Grampa Wes and his love of milk in his coffee. So back in the day a glass of milk was a dime and a cup of coffee was a nickel and yes this is vital to my story to remember those amounts. So Grampa would order a cup of coffee but would tell whoever was pouring to stop leaving a LOT of room in the cup so he could fill the rest of the cup up with milk/cream. So one time the guy behind the counter looks at him and goes “Wes next time you want coffee flavored milk let me know, and I’ll just leave a little room in the milk for you to add the coffee!” So we like our coffee with more milk/cream than most!

So back to my eggs, I mixed in another egg and they are still not quite right, but I figure better than before and I pour them into my pan. Well now the issue is that my pan is really too small for 3 eggs plus half and half, but I decide I’ll make it work. So I’m scrambling my eggs and I accidentally toss some out of the pan onto the glass top stove…oops! So I get a paper-towel and try to clean that mess up before it dries, in my attempt to clean it I end up spilling some right down the front of the range onto the floor. Earlier in the year we had 2 cats, Nicco would have come running and ate the eggs off the floor for me, Creme will not touch people food. Nicco passed away over the summer he was 16 years old and his time had come. So I’m thinking can I trick Creme into eating these eggs off the floor for me? So I get a couple cat treats and drop them strategically over the eggs. Trust me this is much harder than it sounds when you cannot bend.

So Creme hearing me dropping her cat treats comes rushing over and she takes one look at the eggs and she looks up at me like “Gurl, you crazy!” she takes her paw, pushes the cat treats away from the eggs and eats the cat treats leaving the eggs in place… well you can’t blame me for trying!

So I’ll have to wait for my Mom to come over to help clean the front of the range off and the floor, and my eggs were delicious. Sometimes you just roll with what life gives you and laugh because why cry over misdirected half and half?

Carsick, seasick and a box of peppermint candy

So after last year’s surgery I would get horribly carsick (best way to describe it). I have always dealt with motion sickness since I was a child. So that was nothing new, but I would get in the car and I would go somewhere and then I would be carsick the rest of the day! That was not fun! I mean who wants to go for an 8am appointment and still be carsick at 10pm? NOT I! So after several referrals I met with my neurologist who explained everything to me and got me on a medicine that it took us 6 months (January 2015-June 2015) to get the vertigo, and loss of balance in check. So I then go and have another surgery! YAY ME! I really should get a t-shirt! I mean come on! It should say something witty about I just got my balance back and I went under the knife again!

Of course the neurological symptoms don’t show up right away..haha of course! So on Sunday I start to get carsick, and I did not go anywhere boooo I mean at least I should get the car ride to go with the sick right? So I have my wife call my Mom to come over because I need my dressings changed, but I’m going to have to shower and we know from previous experience that the shower and I don’t get along when I’m carsick. So Mom and her nurse friend come over. Mom helps me in the shower, I take a pretty quick shower. I get out of the shower and Mom is taking off the old dressings, but I can feel myself swaying. I mean I should have at least had a beer in my hand and a sailor’s hat on for all this! Maybe I should have started singing some drinking songs, or sea shanties! Anyhow we move everything into the other room so I can sit and her friend comments on my normally pale coloring is turning green and suggests I close my eyes. I go OOOOOHHHHH NOOOO and my eyes get as big as alien saucers and I explain that if I close my eyes I’m out for the count. So she asks about mint tea and my wife hops up and makes me some mint tea and she asks if we have any peppermint candy and at first we didn’t think we did. So I try to control my breathing which isn’t as easy as you might think.

I mean I know that I am sitting in a chair in a still room, but my brain is very much convinced that I just did a 3 hour tour with the professor, Gilligan and Mary Ann. The room is spinning a bit in between sips of tea, I’m trying to remind myself not to close my eyes which of course is everyone’s normal recourse when such things happen. Mom is almost done getting everything changed. Then my wife found some peppermint candy and that seemed to calm the seven seas.

So I’ve upped my morning dose of my neurological medicine (like my physician said I could) and I will see him in a couple weeks to report back how the surgery went and all that fun. But I can say I definitely did not book a three hour tour, nor did I voluntarily go and the professor, Gilligan and Mary Ann can stuff it the next time they try to take me on said tour!

If you hear a buzzing, don’t worry it’s just me ;-)

So lots of people have been asking about spinal cord stimulation because I just had one implanted. Go figure, I get one implanted, so I talk about it, now people want to know more…funny how that works! So the company that I went through is St. Jude Medical because both my surgeon and my pain management doctors like the system they put out, have had a good success with the system, etc. So if you click on the link above it will open a new window and you can learn more.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you when they had initially said to me that I might need one I did not want one. You are probably now scratching your head thinking ummmm she’s been singing it’s praise and is so happy why would she have ever doubted it? This is why they have attached 2 wire leads inside my spinal canal. There are a lot of different things that can go wrong. When they first suggested that I might end up here, the last thing I wanted was some doctor sticking wires into my spinal canal.

When the first discussions/mentions of spinal cord stimulation came up I had a lump about the size of a grapefruit that sat on the base of my spine that no one could explain to me, my legs would spasm something fierce, and I was in high levels of pain all the time.  I felt like sticking wires in my spinal canal held a higher risk than benefit at that point. I also knew that I needed to do proper research and really list the pros and cons and make an informed decision rather than a gut reaction. I also have a close friend who has a spinal cord stimulator, and had had it for years with success and I knew that it could be a possible answer.

So after the last surgery didn’t do everything we had hoped for, I looked into it more, had long discussions with my friend, the benefits, what she likes, what she dislikes, etc. I talked it over with my wife we decided to say yes when the doctor offered to refer me for the trial.

The first step in the trial is to have a psychological evaluation because they will be putting wires in your spinal canal. They need a base line on where you are at mentally, they are looking to see what sort of support network you have, and if there are any red flags. So after the green light was given from that doctor I went to the pain management doctor for the 1 week trial version of the stimulator. They put temporary wires in, and the leads come out of your back (so you have to be very careful with your activities that week), you have a box that you connect the wires to and I had 3 programs to chose from for my trial. Each day I wrote down which programs I used and what I did or did not like. At the end of the week I went back in I talked to the rep from St. Jude Medical, my Pain Management Doctor and then had the leads removed. They wrote the reports for my surgeon.

Then it was back to the surgeon’s office. I gave him the thumbs up to do the surgery and well you know the rest. Now can you hear the system while it is running? No. It does feel like a buzzing from my waist down to my legs. Right now I have 1 basic program. I am going to be meeting with the rep soon to program more specific programs for me. We are giving my body some healing time. I have a rechargeable battery in my hip. I use a wand to turn the program on and off, I can use a very strong magnet to turn the program off quickly. Nothing better than rubbing a magnet on your butt! HAHA

I am still getting used to it. Mine is positional, which means that it gets stronger/weaker depending on which position I am in, so sometimes I move and I am startled because the stimulation is much more intense. I cannot lift anything heavier than 5lbs right now. They have to give my body time to grow scar tissue to cement the leads in place. I also cannot bend, or twist.

Only in the hospital do they high five you for farting

So only in the hospital do they get excited when you fart, poop and other bodily functions. I mean in your normal daily life no one wants to know you pooped today. Although you can buy a shirt! Any time you have surgery the nurses will ask you if you have pooped or you have passed gas, and I actually had a nurse high five me when I said I had farted! It made me laugh. I know how important those functions are especially after surgery, we normally don’t think about them unless we are in a situation where we do NOT want to fart and we are trying to do anything BUT FART.

As kids we come up with all sorts of the sayings about the one that smelt it dealt it, etc. As adults we are horrified if we fart, especially a smelly fart around other people. But after surgery you can really get a nurse excited by telling them you’ve farted, and you might get a balloon if you’ve pooped! Okay, okay now I’m being ridiculous, but it is really important that all those systems get moving after surgery.

So now that all my potty humor is flushed out….hahaha..I couldn’t help myself! I am feeling okay. I have been using the stimulator program. Which has been nice because I am not taking as many pain pills because I have the stimulator (which was the whole POINT of the stimulator). I am sleeping a lot better which is great. I am still getting up in the middle of the night, but hey I’m not a week out yet! I am really thankful to my family who has been helping me out. Last night I was super carsick and my Mom and her friend came over so I could take a quick shower so they could change the dressings over my incisions. Unfortunately for them I got terribly carsick after my shower and a little green. It’s not easy being greeeen……hahaha okay back to the story! After some mint tea and sucking on some peppermint candy we got the dressings changed and PJs on and then I went to BED!

Best medicine right now for me is LOTS OF REST! But I am feeling okay overall. I am really loving having the stimulator implant.

In sickness and in health and a rainbow 2 x 4

I am so incredibly BLESSED, and I do mean BLESSED to have such a supportive spouse. I know not everyone has such an amazing partner to help in their struggles. Nennaface (my nickname for her) and I will be married two years in October, so she has been on this entire ride with me. She has been by my side through both of my spinal surgeries and helped me post op both times as well. She has stayed with me in the hospital and brought me ice chips and helped spot me in the hallways when I was ready to get up and start walking on my own. Having a support network is so important when you suffer any sort of long term condition because you need people to just laugh with. People who you can help create those “inside jokes” which speaking of “inside jokes” here is one my wife created before the surgery.

Jennclamps

The first of my 2 surgeries was to stabilize the spacer placed last September, then the 2nd surgery was to implant the spinal chord stimulator from St. Jude Medical. The spinal chord stimulator is going to help with the pain management aspect of everything.

Nennaface was serious when she took her vows that she was going to stand by me through sickness and in health which is good. I wrote out our wedding vows so they were pretty traditional, until I added that we would also fight the Zombie Apocalypse together as well. I mean what couple wouldn’t right? The other big joke between us is that Nennaface kept missing my initial advancements of flirtation, so I figuratively hit her over the head with a rainbow 2 x 4. Each anniversary has a different present, and 5th is wood, so on our 5th wedding anniversary I am going to paint a 2 x 4 rainbow and give it to her so she will always have it!

I feel like having a good sense of humor is important in recovering. If you have read all my blog posts, you will already see I’m goofy and I am even sillier in real life. I try to be silly and laugh and not sweat the small stuff (which is REALLY HARD!) I try to just enjoy life one day at a time (I’m a work in progress). I try to make the people around me laugh when I can. So today try to make one person laugh, it’s not that hard. Do something unexpected, and see how changing someone’s mood will improve your own.

I’m baaaccck!

Finally got to bounce from the hospital! I had excellent nurses this go round which made a big difference. Got excellent post-op care. I did have a picc line this time which made the IV much easier. I was laughing with the tech because he said I didn’t scream or fuss really, and I go oh I’m sorry if you wanted me to scream you needed to tell me before you were poking me! LOL Can’t tell me after the fact oh yeah you were supposed to scream and make a fuss! Can’t go back, haven’t found a blue police box yet! I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about a picc line, but it did made life a LOT easier.

PT and OT were good. Got to practice going up and down the stairs, walking the halls, I’m not one to stay in bed for a long time, I like to get up and moving soon after surgery. I feel better if I am up and moving. Plus if I am up and moving I get all the junk out of my lungs from surgery and I feel better faster. That’s always a plus too! I am using the spinal chord stimulator a bit, its nice to have that option right now. It really is magical!

I want to keep going on and on about everything that’s happened, but the sleep fairies are making my eyelids heavy.

K- Well, Potassium to you too!

So on August 28th I had blood work done for my upcoming surgery. I get a call from the doctor’s office that my potassium is low. CRAP! I have high blood pressure and like millions of other people I take a diuretic to help control said blood pressure but with this medication you have to watch your potassium. So the doctor puts me on a prescription potassium pill, so I’ve been taking it with a meal ever since. So yesterday I went to get my blood work done with the hopes that my potassium would be back in the normal levels and I could stop taking this HORSE-PILL. Yeah no such luck…..

The nurse says to me well your potassium levels are better, but since you are on the diuretic he wants you do continue taking the potassium pill once a day. *le sigh* Okay, thank you very much. So I guess I’m stuck with this ginormous pill for awhile longer. UGH! Which also means that he is going to be asking me to have my blood work done again soon, which means the lab techs are really going to start hating me. It’s one thing when I’m there every 6 months, its another when they have to start seeing me more often than that!

But I smile and think there are worse things in life, we had already made a more conscious effort to eat more potassium rich foods at every meal, and we will continue to do that. It won’t be long before I can stop taking this huge pill and things will be back to normal.