Thursday, May 31, 2007

And the best thing is...

...I get to eat at Eat 'n' Park!

So I'm heading back to the north the next to last weekend in June. I'll get to see some old friends, so I'm excited. I also get to stay in a Motel 6. Not quite as excited about that!

Oh, did I ever tell you my new computer came? It did and I love it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Go read this article.

The parochial vicar in the parish I grew up in left the diocese (well, he is still technically attached to the diocese - just on military assignment) to become a military chaplain in the Air Force the summer before I started 3rd grade. He was a great guy. I think about him a lot, and wonder what he is doing now (he isn't near retirement age yet, as he was very young at the time - though I didn't think so when I was 8!).

I'd imagine that would be one of the toughest calls for a clergy person to have, especially in war time. I couldn't imagine having to counsel a person who just had to kill someone in the line of duty, or who saw some of the atrocities that people commit on other people, supposedly in the name of God, in this particualr war (and yes, I know it should more correctly be Allah in this case, but I'm choosing to use the Big Guy's generic name, rather than the one that Islam uses).

I've known a few other military chaplains who have served in the reserves, all of whom have been called to active duty at various times. All of them are Roman Catholic priests, and all are good men. In talking with them, every single one has said that they have been changed by their experiences in ways they just can't describe. At least one had to leave active ministry for a while to recover from PTSD.

I'm not little-miss-flag-waving-patriot-who-thinks-this-country-would-be-better-off-as-a-theocracy-run-by-the-religious-right, but I admire the men and women who take on the mission of a military chaplaincy. To be a confidant, a parental figure, a comforter, and just a human touch to military personnel is a real gift, and a real manifestation of God in the world.

Monday, May 28, 2007

This article was interesting to me only to show how times have changed.
My high school yearbook had  a picture that was taken at a "Calculus Party," a gathering where the students in Calculus (there were only 12 of us) got together to supposedly study for an upcoming test. The picture showed a 2-liter bottle of Peps, a fifth of vodka, a fifth of Whiskey, and a case of Coors Lite. I only went to one of these parties. When I saw the alcohol present, I called my dad to come get me. I wasn't taking any chances on anything screwing up my shot at scholarship money. Yeah, I was a goody-twoshoes.
The year book also had a picture of a cake the drill team made for the football players. In the corner of the cake, it says, "P.S. Where's the keg?"
Now, no parents raised a fuss about that, or about the text in the senior section that talks about running from the police at Sheraden park (or Dunbar, or Crafton - can't remember which now - all three were (and are) heavy teen drinking spots)
No parents raised a fuss about any of that. And if they did, it certainly didn't make even the local news, let alone the AP. (Though if you ask nicely, I'll tell you about something my archnemisis SR did to call attention to herself that did make the local news - witch with a captial B that she was).
Don't know if parents getting up in arms about this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, it shows that they are actually taking an interest in their kids and their lives. On the other hand, it shows that parents are holding on to their kids's hands a lot longer than may be healthy, and not letting them have a little bit of a subversive subculture that teens have always had, and that I think helps them to gain their independence
Meh. Something to think about.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

We have ants in the office. I'm going home. And showering. Like, 50 times, I think. Cause even though they probably aren't, I swear I can feel them crawling on me.

Oh, and I said it before and I'll say it again - my church REALLY needs to move the late service to 11:15. I got there at 11:03 again today, so I didn't go. I have a think about arriving late to church. Yes, I know it is irrational. Yes, I know God doesn't care if I miss the opening announcements. And yes, I know I sit in the back anyway and no one would know if I was late. Doesn't change the fact that I hate walking into a church even a minute late, and will not do it under any circumstances.

So, ah, if anyone wants to call and lobby on my behalf, it's the only Lutheran church in Baton Rouge named after a saint. I'll leave it up to you to do the research.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Three weeks post-op, and I'm in the midst of an all-nighter at work. Probably not a good thing. I may die soon. Just thought all of you nice people should know.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you are wondering, here is what she looked like at 13.

I found this story really interesting.

I remember when all this happened in 2002. The girl lived in my neighborhood, and it was the first time that a kid in Pittsburgh was kidnapped and abused by someone they met on the internet. I was teaching at the time, and it prompted all kinds of paranoia at the school about whether or how to restrict internet access at the school, how much involvement the school should have with what a kid posts outside of school, and what parents should be doing at home. That semester, we had no fewer than 5 workshosp on internet saftey for parents, and two for us teachers.

I also remember how everyone thought that both the girl and her parents were behaving really inappropriately after she was brought back. They sought out media attention, and the had the girl dressed like...well, not like a 13 year old. We wondered what kind of parent would let their daughter dress and wear the kinds of makeup she had on in the photos she had posted to the internet (she most definitely did not look 13 - hell, she most definitely did not look 18. VERY provocative). We wondered how a 13 year old could sneak out of the house like that - apparently it wasn't even that late - without her parents (who were home) noticing.

I'm glad this girl seems to have grown up well, even if she does apparently still have a yen for the spotlight. I hope things continue to go well for her.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Carnegie-Mellon University gets Bill Cosby as a commencement speaker.

Who did we have when I commenced from my beloved alma mater? An alum who was the former president of the San Diego Sewer Commission.

When I sell the Great American Novel, I am going to direct 50% of my royalties to my alma mater to put into a fund to get better commencement speakers. We may not be able to get Cosby, but I bet we could get...Pauly Shore. Or maybe Carrot Top (who actually performed on campus before he was someone - if he is someone now).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Politics and Religion

But first, two random things.

1. If you don't have a balance ball, you absolutely must get one. They are only about $25, and they are fun. And the workout DVD from Gaiam kicks your butt. I'm thinking of buying one for my desk at work because my chair is horrible and broken (I smashed my finger in it this weekend).

2. My stomach hurts. I was supposed to go into work today, too, but I didn't because who wants to sit at their desk when they have stomach cramps

3. As a bonus, the new Robin Williams movie looks amazingly stupid.

OK. We talk about politics a lot at work. No surprise, considering what we do and who we do it for. Here in south Louisiana, and I suppose in the South in general, that also necessitates discussing religion. And, needless to say, the media has been discussing politics, religion, and politics and religion a lot over this past week, given the death of You Know Who (I like the idea of casting Jerry Falwell as Voldemort. Sorry, God and J.K. Rowling).

All of my immediate co-workers fall somewhere on the left side of the political spectrum, ranging from right next to center to pretty far left. In terms of religion, though it is a whole 'nother ballgame.

My boss grew up Catholic, went to Catholic school, Catholic university, and even considered becoming a priest. Just one hitch - he's gay. Needless to say, the Catholic church wasn't the most hospitable and supporting environment to come to terms with your sexuality. He no longer practices any religion, but would probably describe himself as a Christian Humanist, with overtones of Buhddism.

Another co-worker was raised Southern Baptist, in a family full of preachers. Yeah, he rebelled. A lot. He no longer practices anything either, but would probably agree that he is culturally Christian.

My final co-worker (we are a very small department, but growing by 2 in the next two weeks) was raised by academics who were not involved in any religion at all. She could be considered, at most, agnostic, but still culturally Christian, thanks to being raised in south Louisiana, where the Catholic church is imbued in every aspect of society.

Then there is me. Raised Catholic by a Catholic father (who, interestingly, also considered the priesthood) and a Lutheran mother. I never rebelled as a child, or really, as an adult. I've taken a couple hiatuses from the active practice of my faith for a variety of reasons, but not actually from belief. And in the past couple of years, I've realized that I am more comfortable in the Lutheran Church than in the Catholic Church for a variety of theological reasons (I've written about them briefly in the past, perhaps I'll go into more detail if someone asks nicely).

Now, what does this have to do with politics? Plenty. With very few exceptions (most of them residing in the two Lutheran congregations in town and the UCC congregation), being Christian in this city means being Republican and conservative. Even most of the Catholics I've encountered are Republican, which is a direct contrast to the Northeast. If it comes out, that you are an active Christian, people assume that you love W, support the Iraq War, oppose legalized abortion and stem cell research, and think the death penalty should be applied more frequently.

So at first, I kind of shocked my coworkers when I agreed with their more liberal viewpoints. But the interesting thing to me is that we arrive at those conclusions for different reasons. I believe in some kind of universal healthcare because I take seriously Christ's instruction to care for the least among us. I believe that we should be out of Iraq because there are innocent lives being lost for no reason - there is no justice in this war. I believe in the importance of stem cell research because I believe that knowledge is a gift from God, and if the researchers are able to use their knowledge and embyros that would otherwise be destroyed to save lives, that must be a gift as well. And I believe the death penalty is wrong because it denies the possibility of true repentance, forgiveness, and redemption. (I'm choosing not to discuss abortion here, because my thoughts on this issue would fill pages themselves, and to summarize them in a sentence would be to be misunderstood).

Today, no fewer than three Sunday political shows I watched and/or listened to discussed whether or not there was anyone from the evangelical movement prepared to fill Jerry Falwell's shoes. They discussed the usual suspects, and added in a few "hot" names - Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, some guy in Florida, etc. They said the interesting thing about these new guys is that they believe that as important as the hot-button issues of the Republican Party are (abortion, immigration, same-sex relationships) are, they are so focused on the moral message of the Gospel, that they are ignoring Christ's compassion. These contemporary messangers of the religious right (though I might argue against putting Wallis in there) support AIDS research and assistance for Africa. They are all about environmental issues. While they are against amnesty for illegal immigrants, they believe in providing humanitarian aid.

What does all this mean? I have no idea. I do know that I still firmly believe that politics and religion should not be bedfellows under any circumstances. I believe that separation of church and state exists to protect both entities. And though I support funding faith-based agencies that provide human services, I believe those agencies should not prosletyse or preach, unless their clients specifically request such action.

I suppose all this is just to say that I have a proposal to work on and I don't want to. It was this, or my rant about the education system in the country, and I don't have what I want to say about that fully formed.

I'm going back to my proposal now. If I get bored, expect my thoughts on stained glass windows. They are many and varied.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Here is a question to ponder:

Why do large, multiple bedroom apartments in desireable areas of Pittsburgh rent for less than small, one bedrooms in undesireable areas of Baton Rouge?

I just saw a 2 bedroom, 1300 sq ft apartment, newly renovated, in Shadyside that is renting for only $90 more than my 450 sq ft craphole in Baton Rouge.

In fact, a one bedroom condo in the monstrosity that is going up next to my building, 1100 square feet, is selling for $260K.

What is wrong with people?

Or maybe, what is wrong with the managment company that owns my building and is putting up the condos next door?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell.

On the one hand, it isn't on to think or speak ill of the dead, especially on who lived his life according to what he thought God was telling him to do (however misguided that may have been).

On the other hand, it is hard not to think ill of someone who said some pretty odius things over the years, like these.

I'm not going to comdemn him, or assume he is in hell like so many of the bloggers I read have done. I don't have that right.

Instead, I am going to say nothing, except to offer prayers of sympathy for his family.

The end.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Did It!

I was braved and clicked the send button. I am the now the new owner of a brand new laptop, the single most expensive thing I have ever bought (if you don't count the transimission for my car - actually, the two are just about tied). I am also the new owner of a digital camera.
Next thing you know, I'll be giving into the evil cable company.
I'm going home. I don't feel good today.  I'm sore, my incision hurts, and my stomach isn't quite right. Plus my throat hurts.
I hope I'm not coming down with something...

If you ever have to take an antacid on a regular basis as a calcium supplement (as I do for the rest of my life), I strongly recommend Tums Smoothies Cocoa and Creme. They taste wonderful, and aren't at all chalky like most antacids. It really is just like drinking hot chocolate or a malt (in the case of the white, "creme" flavored ones).

May God help me when I get ready to buy a car next year, if I can't even bring myself to buy this computer.

Debt scares me. It just does. Even though I ran the numbers last night, and even with making payments on my hospital bill, I can absolutely, easily, afford it, I can't seem to make myself click the "buy" button.

Now, I know that you can't build better credit without incurring debt. That's the way the system works. That is why I finally gave in on getting a credit card again, and it has improved my credit score over 100 points in less than a year. I need to get into the the "good" range so that I will be able to get a new car next year. As much as I love my 1997 Plymouth Breeze, I have to acknowledge that it isn't going to last forever (and with 150K miles on it, it probably isn't going to last much beyond next year). It's getting to the point where the repairs it will inevitably need within the next year or so are more than it's Blue Book value. If I want to get anything close to a manageable interest rate, I need to have that good credit (the most recent rate I was offered for a car loan was 15%. That's an improvement over being laughed out of the finance office, but crazy high).

So I need to buy this computer. I figure that with overtime (and there is always overtime), I can pay it off in a year. By then, I'll be ready to take on the debt of a car.

If I'm so afraid of $1500 of debt for a computer, can you imagine how I'll be with $10000 in debt for a used car? I don't want to think about it!

May God help me when I get ready to buy a car next year, if I can't even bring myself to buy this computer.

Debt scares me. It just does. Even though I ran the numbers last night, and even with making payments on my hospital bill, I can absolutely, easily, afford it, I can't seem to make myself click the "buy" button.

Now, I know that you can't build better credit without incurring debt. That's the way the system works. That is why I finally gave in on getting a credit card again, and it has improved my credit score over 100 points in less than a year. I need to get into the the "good" range so that I will be able to get a new car next year. As much as I love my 1997 Plymouth Breeze, I have to acknowledge that it isn't going to last forever (and with 150K miles on it, it probably isn't going to last much beyond next year). It's getting to the point where the repairs it will inevitably need within the next year or so are more than it's Blue Book value. If I want to get anything close to a manageable interest rate, I need to have that good credit (the most recent rate I was offered for a car loan was 15%. That's an improvement over being laughed out of the finance office, but crazy high).

So I need to buy this computer. I figure that with overtime (and there is always overtime), I can pay it off in a year. By then, I'll be ready to take on the debt of a car.

If I'm so afraid of $1500 of debt for a computer, can you imagine how I'll be with $10000 in debt for a used car? I don't want to think about it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Run Sheryl's Life!

OK, Blogosphere. Time to make decisions for me so I don't have to do so on my own.

I found out today that, thanks to my efforts to improve my credit, I can be approved for financing to buy a new computer (by a real company - the one that rhymes with bell - not some fly-by-night). I can afford a new laptop easily with monthly payments.

So, do I buy one?

Here are the factors to consider:

  • My current computer is a Pentium 3 machine with 128 MB of RAM. The highest upgrade it can handle is an additional 128 MB, which isn't much.
  • I can only have dial-up in my apartment right now. For some reason, I can't get broadband from the phone company, and I think the cable company is evil.
  • I really like the idea of being able to leave my apartment to write (longhand really hurts my wrists, and then I just have to type it again later).
  • Debt scares me, even though I am making good money now, and I have been responsible enough to handle my debt over the past year or so.
  • With the price I have, I can afford a digital camera, too, and I really would like to have a camera.
  • My current computer does not have a USB port (at least not that I can find) which makes transferring files really, really difficult. It also makes it difficult to do anything with a digital camera if you have one.
  • I am afraid of being a conspicuous consumer. In other words, I am afraid that I would be buying this computer just because, not because it is a real need in my life.
  • My current computer, despite being slower than molasses in January, works just fine. I just need to limit the number of windows I have open at any given time. Oh, and I can't upgrade any of my software to newer versions because I don't have enough RAM to run the most updated versions. And sometimes I have to wait for the computer to catch up to me when I am typing, because if I don't, it will skip letters and words.

So what should I do? Should I go ahead and buy the new machine, or should I wait until I move to an apartment where I can finally get high speed internet (keeping in mind that that may be a ways off - at least 2008)? Or should I do something else entirely?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Just Updated My Campaign Blog...

...Go see what you next President has to say.

I was in the middle of writing a touching, gut-wrenching post when my power went out. I don't have it in me to recreate it, so you'll have to wait for that one.

My birthday has been pretty nice, all things considered. Went to church this morning, saw friends who had moved away. They adopted a little girl from China, and she has grown up so beautiful in just a few short months. We sang this hymn, which we also sing at every baptism (Lutherans are a singing bunch - all the mass parts are sung, the psalm is chanted, and there are about 5 hymns throughout the service). Everytime we sing it, I (along with just about every woman in the congregation - and quite a few men) end up crying. Today was no exception, and I think there may even have been a few more tears than usual, given the day.

After chatting with friends for a few minutes after church, I finally went to see Spiderman 3. It wasn't as good as the first two, but it wasn't bad. There were a few, subtle moments that hinted at the deeper themes that have always been present in the Spiderman saga (and I have read the comics, watched the cartoons in all their incarnations, and even loved Spidey on The Electric Company.), that of masks and identity and knowing your darker side and facing it.

But can I just tell you that there were a whole bunch of parents who brought kids to that movie who had no business being there? I'm not talking about 10-year olds (though I even think it was a little old for them) I'm talking kids under six. That's just irresponsible. There was a lot of violence and scary moments. Even if they were too busy kicking the back of my chair and asking their parents what was going on to absorb what was going on, they shouldn't have been there.

After the movie, I got my oil changed. I really only wanted to get the oil changed so I could get the air conditioning charged at the same time, but the place didn't do air conditioning on the weekend. It didn't really matter, though, because as I was driving home, I discovered that my air conditioning hadn't been working because the button wasn't pushed in. Yeah, I felt stupid. I'm pretty sure my compressor needs to be replaced, still, but at least I won't melt, though.

My tolerance for heat this year is worse than it has been. Don't know if that is related to my thyroid or not. We hit 90 for the first time this weekend. That pretty much means 90% of the days between now and November will be in the 90's. Don't know if I can take that for the whole summer.

Speaking of my thyroid, I discovered at church that singing hurts.

I am still a little concerned. I may just be getting a cold, or I may have overdone things, but I seem to have more congestion, and my cough is worse. Can't decide if I need to do anything about it, and which doctor I should contact. Is it a surgical consequence? Is it just a respiratory infection?

Oh, and when it rains a little bit here on a day like today, when it is hot and humid and miserable, you get the feeling you have entered hell. The sidewalks steam, you can actually see the air, and it feels like walking through glue. I like Baton Rouge, but I hate summer here. I have a feeling I'm going to hate it even more this year.


I'm 36 Now

Just thought you should know.

My Saturday didn't go quite as planned. I had planned to see Spiderman 3, but it didn't work out. I woke up feeling really icky this morning, and I just couldn't get going. Guess those two whole days of sitting at my desk instead of sitting on my couch were too much for me. Sigh.

I seem to have some swelling on the right side of mt neck. I'm a little concerned. I see the surgeon again a week from Wednesday, so I guess I'll ask him then.

Speaking of the surgeon, he charged over $12,000 to take out my thyroid. A two hour operation, where he didn't see me before or after. I want a gig where I make $6000 an hour.

Anyhow...Saturday. Instead of the movies, I went to Target. I bought a purse that isn't horrible (it's a little smaller than I would like, but nice), a tote bag that is cute but impractical, a necklace that matches the earrings I bought a couple weeks ago (the necklace was out of stock then) and three headbands. I discovered that I can't wear the wrap-type bands because mt head is too flat in the back and they won't stay on. That makes me sad because the prettiest one was that kind. I also discovered that my head is freakishly short, and the other kind are too long and hurt my ears. Sigh. But they look really cute - and isn't that all that matters?

I tried to buy a bottle of wine, too, but the checker was under 25 and wasn't allowed to ring alcohol. What a stupid law. The manager was taking forever to come scan the wine, and I finally said to forget about it.

Oh, and an awful lot of mothers in Baton Rouge are going to be getting crappy gifts tomorrow. Cheap jewelery, ugly purses, and stuff you can buy in Walgreen's at 10 p.m. seem to be the order of the day.

So today, in honor of the beginning of my 37th year outside my mother's womb. I shall go to the movies after church, then I shall write about why Mother's Day makes me sad-happy.

Oh, and I shall soon be reviving my presidential campaign in earnest. I want to repeat that I was the first candidate to officially declare, exactly one year ago today (Check my archives if you want the link to my campaign blog - I'm too lazy to link). I shall soon be sharing my radical new tax/budget plan, and my plan to fix public schools. I delayed my campaign intentionally, because I realized that 18 months before the election year is really too early to innundate the public with campaign rhetoric. Even now, 7 months before, is a bit much. I wish someone would share that with my fellow candidates. The voting public is going to end up with campaign fatigue, and that's not a good thing.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I don't feel so good today. Returning to work is not such a good thing so soon, I guess. But the doctor gave me the go-ahead, and we are short staffed (still), so I did. It took a lot of me yesterday, though.

Last night I had issues with my throat feeling...tight. Not closed, but slightly swollen, especially when I laid down. Don't know what that's about.

Oh well. Back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So I realized today just how much better I feel already. I can feel a real difference in my neck (as in I can feel that something is missing in a good way - it is smaller), and I can tell the difference when I swallow. It's even easier to breathe, something I didn't realize was a problem.

Now, I know I'm not 100% yet - my incision still hurts, and I seem to have some congestion in my throat. My wrists are killing me from the failed IV's, and my one hand keeps falling asleep - probably a combination if the bruising and the calcium issues. Still, though, I feel really good.

I've been experimenting a little bit with eating while I've been home. I find that if I eat my major meal of the day around 2, which is my usual lunch time at work, then eat a small breakfast and dinner, and a few tiny snacks in between, I feel much better. I guess it's just a matter of keeping my blood sugar on an even keel. That will be much harder to do at work since I tend to get stuck in 4 hour meetings on a regular basis, but it's worth a try.

I put a whole quilt sandwich together today. Granted, it is only for a wall hanging, but I've never gotten this far before. I'm kind of proud of myself. Now all I have to do is quilt it.

Last night, I watched the Saturday Night Live special about the 90's years, since the results of The Amazing Race allowed me to keep my TV. I determined that no matter when that time was, whenever you personally were in college is when SNL was at it's best. I hear the kids around here talking about how hilarious Horatio Saenz and Jimmy Fallon are, and I just don't get it. They can't deliver a line to save their lives, and the keep cracking up during sketches. They can't hold a candle to Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, and even Victoria Jackson. There is just something about being 18-25 taht makes SNL perfect.

Finally, happy birthday to TG, who entered the world 359 days before me. Enjoy 37, man (well, woman). I wish I could find a brown and cream linen bag at Target. I was looking for a new purse there today, and I couldn't find anything reasonable. It was all way to trendy without simultaneously being cute. I did, however, buy some glasses that match my dishes (fingers crossed - I've ony broken one so far, and it was just a mug. Granted they spend the first 6 months of their time in my presence in the freezer, but that's a story for another time.). And I ran into my pastor and his wife. I felt a little guilty for not telling them about my surgery, but he was in Germany, and I only got to talk to her for a minute on the Sunday before.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

So, here's what is too much to do on day 4 after surgery:

Taking out a really heavy bag of trash (had to be more than 25 pounds), having it break halfway to the car (which is half as far as the dumpster) having to go back to the apartment to get new trash bags, cleaning up the trash, finally getting it thrown away, going to the store, and taking a two-hour drive.


I'm not good at being laid up.

Oh, and the end of my digestive system woke up today! I did not have a pleasant morning and early afternoon! My delicate bits are kinda raw. Sorry for the overshare, but it is my blog.

In other news, today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 81, 45 years and 8 days older than yours truly. He wasn't a perfect man, but he was a good man, and I miss him.

There are a lot of important days for my family in early May. I graduated college on May 8th, the first on my mom's side to do so (and still the only, actually). My mom's brother and closest cousin both have bithdays on May 9th. And my birthday is on the 13th. Plus Mother's Day is stuck in there, too.

My arms hurt. The heavy lifting was just too much for my bruises. I was going to write about geese, but alas, that will have to wait until tomorrow.


Friday, May 04, 2007

So just in case you are wondering, three days later is too soon to drive to the store and walk around for awhile after thyroid surgery. But I really wanted waffles for dinner, and I had no better. no syrup. no powdered sugar, waffles. Oh, an I thought a Wildberry Tea Smoothie from CC's would make me feel better, too.

It was fine, but a little too soon. I'm tired now, and a little sore. And it didn't really improve my appetite like I was hoping. The smoothie was good, though.

On the plus side, I can tell a significant difference in how the stuff in my throat is working. My voice doesn't feel like it is straining whenever I talk anymore, I can swallow easier, and I even feel like I'nm breathing easier. Now if I can only get the coughing to stop, and manage to sit up for more than half an hour without my neck and shoulders cramping when they aren't supported...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ok. The Post-Gazette keeps writing about hoew Pittsburghers eat more Ho-Hos per capita than any other city in the country.

No place in Baton Rouge carries Ho-Hos. Sure they have Blue Bunny Swiss Rolls, but not Hostess Ho-Hos.

I want a Ho Ho now. I'm not even craving chocolate yet. I want a real Ho Ho.

Sigh. I wish I could get comfortable to sleep. Even the good drugs don't seem to be helping.

I just took a shower. All the betadine is out of my hair. I feel human again. It looks like someone tried to slit my throat, bu hey! They did slit my throat. I have an incision that is about 6 inches in the middle of my neck right above the collar bone. I also have a lovely rash from the tape the used to cover the drain incision, and they won't let me put anything on it.

I'm bored. I'd go back to work tomorrow if I could keep my neck up unsupported for more than 15 minutes.


So, I survived my first hospital experience. And in honor of that, I figured I'd share all the icky details with you.

Got to the hospital a little after 10. The admissions person was originally from Latrobe. One of my friends from work waited with me unil they took me back to prep. They did blood pressure, temp, all that stuff, then they had me give a urine sample and change into a gown. You'll be glad to know I'm not pregnant.

The prep nurse asked all the standard questions, I told them I was sensitive to all adhesives except tegaderm, a fact they promptly ignored. he nurse tried twice unsuccessfully to start an IV before she gave up and called the anesthesiologist. The resident tried twice before the attending finally got it started. My arms and wrists are a mass of bruises today.

So, I told the CRNA that I was really nervous about the anesthesia and he tried to reassure me that once he injected the first drugs into the IV, I wouldn't care anymore. He was partially right. Itis just r=that it was so quick between them injecting me. moving me to the OR and sticking the mask over my face. The next thing I remember was being in recovery and asking what time it was (4:10). It seems to me that I did that a few times in a row. I remember asking for ice and water a few times, and the next ting I knew it was after 7. That's when I asked for a blanket. They told me sometime after that that I'd be spending the night in recovery because they didn't have any rooms available. A little while after that, my boss came to see me for a few minutes and brought flowers. I have the best boss ever.

A little while after he left, they moved me into a private room in the recovery room. It was very small, but very comfortable. The nurse was concerned that I hadn't had to pee yet, because I had been drinking water like mad. I think I apologized. She said not to be silly, and said that I was probably one of the easiest patients she had to deal with.

Well, around 2 a.m. they found a room for me, on an oncology unit. I don't want to think about what happened to allow a room to be available at that hour. They got me settled there, and around 3 a.m. I tried to pee and couldn't. I told the nurse that I felt dehydrated (my mouth was soooo dry), so she did a bladder scan, which was inconclusive. So she called the doctor on call, who told her to put in a catheter. She did (not fun at all at 4 a.m.) and they drained about 800 ccs of urine. So yeah, it was my problem. So they told me to keep drinking fluids, and kept the IV going, and told me i wouldn't be able to go home until I peed.

It was right around this time that my oxygen levels dropped a little bit, too, to around 90%. So I got to spend a few hours on oxygen as well.

The also kept moving the PCA thing (the stuff you use to give yourself pain medicine) out of my reach, and then they kept saying how suprised they were at how little pain medicine I was using. I promise that I would have been using more if I could have reached either that or the call button.

Between 8 and 9, everyone on earth was in my room. They brought breakfast, which was eggs and grits. I don't normally eat either, but I ate about half an egg. Just the thought of grits nauseates me. A volunteer brought a paper, another was checking on my satisfaction with the room (which was nicer than my apartment). The chaplain came in, a very nice Baptist minister. I told him I was going home that same day, but that I appreciated his offer to contact my church (even though my pastor is currently in Germany). Then the surgeon's PA came in (I never actually saw the surgeon while I was in the hospital). She asked a bunch of questions, and told me my calcium an potassium levels were a little low, so I would have to take Tums twice a day for a while, and eat bananas and drink orange juice for about a week (no hardship there). After all that, I drifted in and out, and they woke me up twice to take vitals. Then a co-worker came to visit on his lunch around 10:30. He visited for about 15 minutes, then a nursing student and instructor came in to take out a drain. He doesn't do well with icky stuff like that, so he left.

The drain was a whole 'nother adventure. I told her again that I was really sensitive to adhesive, and she ignored me and used big nasty adhesive on the gauze they put over the hole. So now I have a rash on my neck in addition to everything else. The nursing instructor told me it would only have to be there for a few hours, but it is still there. I have to call the surgeon's nurse to see if I can take it off, and she won't be in until 1, so I can't take a shower until then, and I really want to take a shower.

So then they brought lunch, which was a chicken wrap. It was good, but only ate the chicken and lettuce out of half of it. I tried to pee again, but again was unsuccessful.

My boss called a little while later. I told him they wouldn't let me leave until I could pee. Then I apologized for my inhibitions being a little too low. He laughed and said that hospitals have a tendency to do that. He told me to call when I'm able to leave. Not 15 minutes later, I managed to pee. it was a good thing, too, because right after I got back to bed, the nurse came in with another catheter. I just made it over the limit where she would have to cath me. I told my boss that from now on, his name shall be the Pee Whisperer.

So he and another co-worker came to get me and take me to the pharmacy and then home. We got to the pharmacy, dropped off the prescription, and I vomited. Got the door open just in time to not throw up all over his car. Threw up all over my shirt, though. I apologized about 30 times. I hate throwing up.

Instead of taking me to the store then to get juice, bananas and water, they took me home. He went and picked up the stuff last night (he lives less than a mile from me, as do half my coworkers) while I slept, and he called just before he got here. Then I ate some noodle soup (OK, I ate the noodles - the broth was a little too seasoned for me). Then I took a pain killer (I'm not in a lot of pain, but enough that I tend to wake myself up if I move, and I knew I needed to sleep). My bladder is definitesly awake now (I've had to pee a lot). I had a banana for breakfast, and some juice and Cheerios for lunch, and here I am.

So that was my surgery adventure. The staff at Baton Rogue General Bluebonnet is very nice and very professional (even if they forgot to tell me if I can take this dressing off. Even so, I really hope not to repeat this experience any time soon.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm alive!

I feel like crap, but I'm alive and home. Details much, much later.