Thursday, April 17, 2014

Everything is awesome and I love life

I can sum up my last 18 or so hours with one gif.

I think most people agree that stomach bugs are the worst, especially if the getting sick part goes on for hours, but I found a new level of suckitude last night: violent vomiting when you can't bend and you still have steri-strips and surgical glue on your back incision.

Faith had been throwing up last week and I had assumed I had lucked out, but I guess I picked up the bug somewhere else instead. Pretty much everything I ate yesterday is going to be dead to me for a while, especially the Starbucks hot chocolate that I had in the afternoon. I'm not suggesting that the Starbucks drink was to blame, but giving it back has quenched my thirst for that beverage for a long time. I don't even want to go into a Starbucks and smell that Starbucks smell for at least a month.

My husband won the Marriage Gold Star Award last night by holding a bucket right up to my face since I couldn't bend. I would have thought I could have held my own bucket but I was not in any state to do that. It happened about every hour from 7:30pm until 3:30am when I broke down and took my kid's medicine. That's right, I stole my baby's Zofran from when she had to go to the ER for pneumonia and vomiting.

The Zofran worked and I was able to finally stop, but I still didn't feel like I could keep anything down, so I couldn't take any pain meds for my back, which felt like I had been swinging 50lb kettlebells around. I had forgotten how much throwing up sucks, but it may be the only real full body work out. Even my ears are sore this morning.

So today my wild plans are trying to avoid tossing my cookies again. Luckily the kids want to help me recover. They were pretty insistent that if we all watched Frozen, then I'd feel better.

I never want to build a freaking snowman

If this post made little to no sense at times (like more than usual) then I apologize. I had to take narcotics and a muscle relaxant this morning once I was able to keep down some applesauce. My back still really hurts, but I care a whole lot less about it.

Have you ever ruined a food for yourself by getting sick? I threw up raw carrots years ago and I still think about it every time I have one. Maybe I just have issues.

Have you ever had Zofran? If there is a petition floating around to make it available over the counter, I will promote the shit out of it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

But it was totally worth it

It's now been a little over 4 weeks since I had back surgery, so I'm far enough away from it to be slightly introspective. Overall, I'm glad I went with the surgical option.

I did a ton of research before having the surgery and I thought I had a good idea of what to expect in the "post surgery" period. As it turns out, doing a lot of googling doesn't mean you won't have some unexpected things pop up in your own individual case.

The most challenging part of surgery recovery has been not being able to pick up the baby. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I didn't really know how much it would suck day to day. I'm not going to list all the reasons that it blows because you all have imaginations but I will say the thing I'm most looking forward to doing again is putting her down for the night. I haven't been able to put her down to sleep for over a month now, but I can read Faith her bedtime book and tuck her in so I'm not completely deprived of kiddie love.

OK, so that was what I expected to suck. Now let's get to the stuff that surprised me.

Walking is hard work. Since I got injured in January, I haven't been able to work out. So it was over two months of doing nothing but limping around before I had surgery, but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to go for a daily walk once my back was fixed. In my mind, I'm still physically fit. My body disagrees and even slow walks take effort and I break a sweat just doing things like trying to get myself dressed.

I get tired so easily. I thought I'd be bouncing off the walls post-surgery and anxiously awaiting permission to workout again, but I'm really more interested in taking a nap after just accompanying my husband for grocery shopping.

I have a toddler's appetite. Part of it is the drugs, part of it is the pain, and other parts are a mystery to me. You know how a kid asks for a specific food and then takes two bites and then just wants dessert? Also, I basically make as much mess as a toddler because I can't lean forward to eat. I never realized how key that is until I couldn't do it.

I'm so easily confused. I'm really hoping this one is due to the drugs I'm taking (I'm looking at you Valium). Yesterday the baby was sick to her stomach and was passing some interesting things in her diaper and my husband asked me if I thought we should call the doctor. I was like "Um, it's Sunday. They're closed."

All of this stuff sucks, but the important thing is that I got a fix for my crippling nerve pain. The majority of my pain now is in the incision area and that's all muscle/skeleton type stuff that will heal more quickly than nerve pain. At least that's what I've been told and no one ever lies, right? Don't tell me otherwise, this is all that I've got to get me through.

Have you ever done something painful but felt that it was worth it in the end? Before this, I was totally considering getting a boob job but now I will never agree to a voluntary surgery, even for a glorious rack.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Life's Little Delights

For a long time, I've been a fan of George R.R. Martin's writing and the usual agony of waiting for the next book to be released has been lessened by having the show on HBO. Because his life is full of suffering, my husband watches it with me, even though he still doesn't like it after the first three seasons. Luckily, HBO adds in enough gratuitous nudity to help me convince him that he should totally waste an hour of his life and watch it with me.

If you watch the show, then you probably loved Sunday night's episode. I've enjoyed this season a lot more than last because the Red Wedding was awful and heartbreaking and the Purple Wedding was just...satisfying.

Since I have all this free time when I have to sit and ice my back multiple times a day (yes, still), I've been on a lot of the discussion boards for the show and I have to tell you, it's like a civil war in there. I think to maintain peace we should start segregating everything so book readers and show-only people never have contact with each other.

Here's what I don't understand: how can you claim that Game of Thrones is one of your favorite shows and still not read the books? That's like saying the Lord of the Rings trilogy is your absolute favorite movie series, but you've never read a book by Tolkien.

Here's how it usually breaks down:

Non-book reader: "Don't SPOIL things for me!"

Book reader: "Ok."

Non-book reader: "I don't understand what I just saw on the show, can someone PLEASE EXPLAIN it to me?"

Book reader: "Here's a detailed explanation that includes facts that I know because I read thick books with tiny words!"

Non-book reader: "OMG SPOILERS! Ugh, you book readers are such arrogant hipsters!"

I manage to keep things spoiler free for my husband, mostly because he doesn't care enough about the show to ask questions. Sometimes I feel tempted to blog about spoiler type things, but that's because I want to nerd out and talk about theories about what will be in the next book. I won't do that, but I also won't stop laughing at people who think Khaleesi is a character's actual name (and name their baby that!) and are eagerly awaiting a great and glorious end to all the senseless violence and power struggles.

Oh, that isn't a spoiler. I could be wrong and GRRM could totally be writing a Disney-level happy ending for all the "good" characters as we speak and they'll all get justice with a side of pie by the end of the seventh book.

What's your favorite book turned movie/TV show? 

Do you hate spoilers or not really care? I don't really care, especially if the show isn't new. I'm still going through Supernatural (season 6 now) and I know some spoilers just from things I've seen online. It doesn't ruin the show for me. Unless they recast or permanently kill off Dean, then that show is dead to me.

If you want to see a fun explanation of what actually happened at the Purple Wedding, check this out! Obliviously it has spoilers if you haven't seen it yet (duh).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rumors of my importance have not been exaggerated

Last week on Thursday, I did something fairly out of the ordinary in my normal life: I participated in a conference call with White House officials the day before First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced to the media about new initiatives that will boost support to military caregivers. Yeah, I'm just that important. How do you like them apples??

Or I just happened to be available at the right time slot and met a certain profile they wanted. Regardless, it was a cool opportunity and I enjoyed it. It's funny that technically (at least by the RAND study standards) I'm defined as a military caregiver, yet I don't do anything for my husband, besides taking over a few household tasks that I know cause him pain. Actually, for the past month since my back surgery, he's been doing everything so it's even funnier that I'm called a "caregiver". If you're interested in the topic, there is a synopsis of it here and it features a quote from me, so you know it has to be good.

This means for 2014, I've used my master's in political science one time already, which totally blows 2013 out of the water. This wasn't my first time doing this sort of thing, and I was glad for it because there were a couple of hilarious questions asked during the Q&A portion. The only one I remember was a fashion blogger asking "So like, why don't we offer like fashion makeovers for the military caregivers? I bet that would like, totally make them feel better."

And no, it wasn't a Skype call so she probably wasn't suggesting it because she could see what I was wearing.

For those curious, my question dealt with the absence of job training in the initiative. They are getting private industry to commit to hiring more veterans, but a lot of veterans, especially injured ones, need training to find employment. Private charities like the Semper Fi Fund provide that kind of job training and education for injured Marines and I asked if this renewed commitment to injured veterans and their caregivers would result in federal or Dole Foundation support of private charities with these types of programs. I didn't get a straightforward answer about that, but they said they recognized the importance of these kind of philanthropic organizations and we could expect another press release type announcement at the end of April.

OK, enough policy talk, let's have some cute kid pictures instead.

Magical levitating ball!

Put the phone down and PUSH ME HIGHER!

Those pictures are from a birthday party we attended this weekend and the kids (twins) had such a good idea: instead of getting presents, they wanted all the attendees to bring donations for the local humane society!

I provided lots of catnip because drugs are happiness

I'm starting the planning stages for Faith's fourth birthday, meaning all I've done is book a location, and I think I'm going to steal this idea. I'll probably let Faith pick between getting donations for the animals or food for the local food bank. She'll probably just answer "Bologna!" because that's her latest favorite word (which is hilarious if you're three) so I'll have to pick for her.

The weather this weekend was perfect for being outside, but it does make it a little mentally harder to be still recuperating from surgery. I'm still limited to just slow walking for at least two more weeks, but maybe after my next appointment I can graduate to using the recumbent bike at the gym or something wild like that. I'm going to be so fit.

And sexy

What is the stupidest question you've ever heard someone ask in a meeting or in a class? 

Have you ever attended a party that asked for donations instead of presents? What were the donations for? Clearly I'm fishing for ideas here, in case you're wondering.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A fine line

In general, the phrase "That's badass!" gets thrown around a lot, especially in the blog world. Sometimes I feel like people say it to someone because it sounds more polite that "Are you stupid or something?" It's like how in the South they'll say "Bless your heart" when they mean "You're a dumbass."

However, there is a difference between being badass and being a dumbass. It's a nuanced difference, but it's there, trust me.

Badass: Training hard for months for a race, getting up early or staying up late to get workouts done, and being as physically ready for an event as possible.

Dumbass: Half-assing your training and spewing out a wide array of weak excuses about why you skip workouts, yet still attending the race and giving yourself a gold star for your mediocre performance.

Badass: Working out or running when you're tired or the weather sucks, just because it's important to you.

Dumbass: Working out or running even when you're injured or sick because you mentally can't handle taking time off to rest and heal.

Badass: Getting back into a reasonable exercise routine after having a baby and pushing through sleep deprivation and other stresses without too much complaint.

Dumbass: Rushing back into running and racing after having a baby because ZOMG I AM SO JIGGLY AND FAT. Remember how everyone always told you were glowing and beautiful when you were pregnant? Now you're just vaguely sweaty and smell like spit up and your stomach resembles jell-o and no one ever tells you that you're glowing with reproductive beauty. It's just temporary (at least the spit up scent anyway) and running 12 miles four weeks after giving birth doesn't make you a badass, it just means you're being stupid and need to fucking relax about things. Oh, I'm sorry. Was that too harsh?

Badass: Training hard and accepting that the race clock is what matters, not your wristwatch.

Dumbass: Going by your Garmin time instead of the official race time. If you want to hit "stop" when you get to mile 3.1 of a 5K, that doesn't make it your official time unless you're at the motherfucking finish line. Honestly, unless you don't have access to your official time yet, no one cares about your Garmin time and no, we don't need to see a picture of it, and no, your Garmin time does NOT count as your PR unless it's also your official time.

Badass: Finishing a long tough race even though your legs are trashed and your feet have blisters and you want to stop more than anything.

Dumbass: Finishing a long tough race when you're fairly certain you're injured or causing yourself serious harm. This isn't the Olympics. It was cute when that little gymnast did the vault on the broken ankle to win the gold for the US, but it's not cute if you run 30 miles with a broken bone in your foot because you don't want to take the DNF.

This one I'm actually a little conflicted on because I get it. I get why you would finish and not take the DNF or DNS. I've done it myself. Back in November, three days before a race I got a funny ache in my leg. I ran that whole race with that ache in my butt/leg area, an ache that I called a pulled muscle even though it didn't feel like any pulled muscle I'd had before.

I don't know if I could have prevented this story from ending in spine surgery, and I know at the time I didn't even consider that my back could have been injured. All I know for sure is that I don't think it's badass that I ran a race with a bulging/herniated disc, I think it's pretty dumbass.

What is something that most people think is badass that you actually think is really stupid? Personally, I think engaging in challenging workouts while pregnant is really stupid, but that must not be the prevailing opinion because I see pictures of it and they always have "You're such a BAMF!!" type comments.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Making Decisions

Yesterday morning, my husband and I had a meeting with Faith's school about the incident(s) where she was suffering from anxiety at school and spent a good chunk of the morning in the bathroom. Since Faith has a specch delay, all of the information about the incident came from a phone conversation I had with the teacher and we found the information disturbing. We pulled her from the school until we could have this meeting because we aren't sending our three year old somewhere until we are sure they can take care of her both physically and mentally.

Upfront, I will admit that I don't like Faith's teacher at the public special education preschool. She has always seemed cold and aloof to me, and Faith has never once mentioned her at home. In contrast, her teachers at the private preschool are wonderful and warm and Faith will often mention them by name at home. It always seemed weird to me that Faith didn't talk about the other preschool, but I figured that kids are strange and it probably meant nothing.

Yeah, I'm lying. I always assumed Faith didn't like that teacher either

Since no one goes into teaching for the money and the glamour, I go with the assumption that teachers are doing their job because they love it. Many (most) teachers out there are great and really become invested in their students and want to help them. Faith has many of these great people in her life through the private preschool and the private therapy and for that, we are grateful.

As soon as we sat down for the meeting, they started off with "You will soon realize that this has all been a big misunderstanding." The teacher recanted many of the details about the incidents that she had told me on the phone and insisted that it was actually a tiny isolated incident that happened early in the day and was resolved almost immediately. Oh, and she also threw in that she had taken Faith to the nurse to get checked out, a detail that was never mentioned in our prior phone conversation and there was no proof presented.

I could get into how fucking pissed I am to have to sit there and have someone lie right to my face, but I'm just going to take this proof that my hatred of the phone is well founded because if our exchange had happened via email, that meeting would have gone much differently.

We've decided to pull Faith from this public special education preschool. There will come a day when one of my kids will have a teacher that I don't like (or my kid may not like) and we will have to deal with it, but today is not that day. Faith is just three and she's already getting the majority of her services privately and she enjoys the private preschool more anyway. We are lucky that we have the means to take her out and I feel sympathy for any family that is forced to rely fully on the special education services provided by the public school system.

This also means we probably aren't going to send her to public preschool next year either. I say "probably" because I really think with a different teacher that Faith could do well but it's a gamble. We already have her registered to do preschool next year at the same private preschool where she's now (but a level up from where she is now) and we'll probably stick with that. She's comfortable there and the staff is great, and also Cordelia will start going there once a week as well. That bully baby could use a little Christian preschool in her life.

If you're not laughing hysterically at that picture, then you'd probably be so offended by me in real life.

Have you ever pulled your kid from an activity (or school)? This is the first time for us, but we did consider it for swim lessons because she was so scared and cried almost the whole morning before the lesson and during the lesson, but then she would insist that she had fun swimming. We stuck it out until the end of the session, but we didn't sign her up again and switched to gymnastics instead (which involves no tears).

Email or phone, what's your preference? If you say phone, you're probably old or hipster.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Race Announcement: All the Cool Kids Walk

Remember back when I was a healthy non-handicapped productive member of society? Yeah, I barely do either, but I do remember that I said that I would run a 100 mile race at the end of April and did a fundraiser for the Semper Fi Fund.

For reference: 

Why I picked this charity

My Husband's Story

I deferred my race entry for that 100 mile race until April 2015, but I'm pretty sure that I won't be at the start line. Shockingly, my back surgeon and other experts seem to think that running for 28 hours is a poor choice of activity for someone with back anatomy like mine.

I know, right?

No one has told me "You'll never run again" but I get a lot of "Yes, eventually you'll be able to run but in very moderate amounts." I do know people who have run successfully up to the half marathon distance after my type of surgery, but I don't know how similar their cases were to mine (how it happened and why, etc). Obviously, this type of news has been very depressing for me to process.

I still don't know what I'm going to do with myself if I can't (or shouldn't, that's the key word here) run ultras, or even marathons, anymore. But I have decided to not be a little melodramatic bitch about it. Well, I'm going to try anyway.

Since I raised all that money for the 100 mile race, I wanted to do an event to commemorate all the support I got for the Semper Fi Fund. A key thing I've learned from having surgery is that I had no idea how much help I'd need and appreciate, and my recovery period is only six weeks long. This reinforces how important the Semper Fi Fund is for injured Marines and their families, so I picked a race that I can do with my new limitations:

This race will take place on July 27th in Annapolis, MD and I will be walking the whole thing (no running). I'll probably be just recently cleared for high impact activity by then and my max for running will be maybe 3 miles, so instead I'm just going to walk it.

In case you forgot what I looked like all sweaty

I picked this race because it's a timed event instead of a distance, so I can walk and still finish at the same time as everyone else and the whole race benefits the Semper Fi Fund. Also, this race is awesome and I loved it last year and I know quite a few people running it, so I'll get to see them often as they lap me. This race is on a 4 mile loop in a beautiful park, so in theory I could stop at any point if my back started bothering me. I think this race will be really fun, and probably really hot. Late July in Annapolis will be miserably humid and warm, but at least I won't be running like the rest of those suckers. Maybe I'll even beat someone in mileage and won't be last, how fun would that be?

I'm thinking of a fun way to raise a little bit more money for the Semper Fi Fund with this race, and I'm thinking of having people bet on my finish distance and donate that amount (like you think I'll complete 18.4 miles, so you donate $18.40) and having three sweet ass prizes to giveaway to the three people who have the closest guesses.

What would be your idea of a "sweet ass prize"? Think around or less than $100, I'm probably not going to get the Ferrari dealership to throw in a car for my charity efforts.

If you want to register for this fun event (or come walk with me, that'd be awesome!) here is the link to the sign up page. It's a great low-key event and a fun way to get a supported long run done, even if you don't go for the full 6 hours. The shirt is pretty cool too!