Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I want to be a real adult again

I really appreciated everyone's input on my post yesterday. Several people suggested that I stop being such a little bitch about swimming, so I'll take under consideration.

Right now the winning answers seems to be some combo of biking with archery. I'd probably do them separately, unless I can make up a new sport, like a warm weather biathlon. There are a lot of perks to making up my own sport, especially when I'm crowned winner at all events.

I've been excited all this week for my post-op appointment on Friday. I know there's a good chance that I'm going to need PT (my leg is still a little wonky) but I can't wait to do everything for myself again and be like a real adult. My husband would also appreciate that as well.

I haven't put the baby down to sleep (or gotten her up in the morning or from nap time) for almost six weeks now. She cares about this a lot less than I do, which is good but I'm still looking forward to getting back to it. I'm even looking forward to doing dishes and laundry again.

At least when I return to the world of cooking and cleaning up after myself, this product finally exists.

Finally, the reign of terror is over

My favorite part of this is how the box is very concerned that you might think you're getting cheated out of your full pound of pasta. I guess this is a slightly more reasonable option that trying to find a spaghetti sized pot?

What's the most unnecessary product you've ever seen? This might be the new winner, but I've always thought those 100 calorie bags were the stupidest things ever. Why not just break down a big bag into smaller ziplock baggies instead of paying extra for those tiny bags when you know you'll still be hungry after you have those 8 freaking cookie pieces?

What's your most hated chore? I hate cleaning bathrooms and for these past 6 weeks, I've had a cleaning service come every week and it's been wonderful. I'm going to be so sad to say good bye to them. If anyone in southern MD needs a cleaning service, I really recommend "No BS Cleaning". Bonus: they like dogs, even crazy ones like Peanut.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I need a new brand of weird

For the past few years, I've been really into running. It hasn't been my first obsessive level hobby (I don't "dabble" in things) and it won't be my last. I have all this pent up crazy inside and I need an outlet, and a few spin classes and Body Pump every week isn't going to cut it as a long term solution.

I have another post-op appointment on Friday, but I've already talked to the surgeon and his PA about this, so I'm fairly certain they haven't changed their stance on my return to previous levels of running since the last time I asked. The problem isn't just that I had this surgery, or that I had a disc rupture, it's also that I have structural issues with my spine and high impact activity won't be beneficial for my health. Unless I do it very occasionally, like once or twice a week, which sounds lame and boring. I'll be fine with that amount of running if I have something new to focus on, so I've been brainstorming.

Logically, it makes sense to me to return to one of my previous hobbies and just pick up where I left off. Too bad my past hobbies were also horrible for my back.

Horseback riding. This is the most appealing option for me and I'm going to ask about it on Friday. I'm not even sure if it counts as a high impact activity. There is the little issue about falling too, so I'm betting the answer will be ""

Martial arts. If they had a kung fu school within reasonable driving distance, I wouldn't be writing this post. I live in a martial arts wasteland where my only options are things with titles like "Black Belt Academy."

Everyone gets a black belt, how....elite


I'm not going to waste my time at a tae kwon do school. I already have a black belt in TKD and I didn't learn a damn thing about martial arts until I switched to kung fu. I'm way too snobby to go back and mix with the TKD types again.

The surgeon suggested two hobbies that would be a better option for me, so I need to consider those as well.

Swimming. Well, I'm not really considering this. I hate everything about swimming, especially the getting wet part. Fuck, I don't even like to take a bath.

Cycling. I've been doing some research on this one because it seems to be the most logical choice. I can do it at home with a trainer and we have several cycling groups in the area. The main problem with it is that I'm not excited at all with the idea of doing it.

Also, I'm concerned about the strange tan lines

I also don't know how to ride a bike, as in I've never used a bikes with gears before. Ever. The last issues is how expensive it is to get started, especially since I'd need to get professionally fitted to ensure I wouldn't hurt my back.

My own personal crazy ideas:

Boxing. I don't know why, but I've always wanted to box. I'm used to martial arts sparring, but I'd be ok with just punching and no kicking. Too bad this isn't a low impact activity.

It's just her face, not her back, so it would be totally fine...right?

Bow hunting. Ever since we moved here to farmland, I've been fascinated with the bow hunters. I did archery in summer camp as a kid, but I'm pretty sure that won't help me out much here, so I need to find lessons or something. I really like the idea of creeping around the woods and hunting some innocent doe-eyed Bambi, killing it myself, and then eating it.

My husband already said I could make a target practice area in the backyard so I could hone my skills. He either thinks I'll never go through with this, or he's totally on board with me playing Katniss in the woods and scoring us some free meat.

The last option is to just do nothing and wait for the crazy to leak out in other ways, like crafting or scrapbooking. Or maybe I'll just eat lots of pizza and talk about my glory days with anyone who will listen.

Any hobby suggestions for me? You could be shaping my future here, enjoy the power.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two girls, one cup?

Let's start with the good news: I survived my stomach bug and I don't think I did any permanent damage to my healing back during all that vomiting. I was pretty much worthless for 48 hours, but that's not a big change from my current normal. By lunchtime on Friday, I was feeling more like my usual self, so of course it was time for someone else to have a medical issue.

After lunch on Friday, Faith was grabbing at herself and screaming when we tried to get her to go to the bathroom. I got her to successfully use the bathroom, but it didn't end the screaming and grabbing. Fearing that she had some kind of bladder infection, I called the doctor's office and managed to get her an appointment which was a miracle considering that they were closing early for the holiday weekend. The doctor's office is a 45 minute drive away, so I had to pretty much throwing my screaming kid in the back of the car and run for it walk very quickly to make it to the appointment on time. The baby was sleeping in her crib, so my husband stayed home with her and I figured I could handle taking a 3 year old to the doctor. Simple stuff, right?

I gotta tell you, it's amusing to take a toddler into a medical building and mix with all the other adult people there when said toddler will not release her ironclad grip on her own crotch. She loves taking the elevator when we go (even though it's just on the second floor) so I couldn't even discreetly take the stairs. I can't blame her, as she's only been on a few elevators in her life. It's our fault for raising her in the sticks.

Because there is a god and he is merciful and just, they were playing Frozen in the waiting room so it wasn't hard to entertain Faith while we waited. Once they took us back, they weighed her and took her temp and that's when the easy stuff ended. The nurse handed me a sealed cup and pointed me to the bathroom. I don't know what I expected to have happen, but I was at a loss for a second because it hadn't occurred to me that this would required. I don't know what I thought they'd do, like maybe rub a strip on her wet Pull-Up and test it that way?

It gets even better: it had to be a "clean catch" which basically means the rim of the cup can't touch anything, including you can't just hold it up and try to form and seal and pray that it goes in a cup. No, a clean catch is like sitting in the front row at a Shamu show: you're gonna get wet and you're going to feel unclean when it's over.

Attempt 1: Faith is intrigued by this whole "Mommy kneels on the cold hard floor next to me while holding a cup!" part of her potty routine and she does pee a little when I ask. Unfortunately for me, none of it went in the cup, mostly because I can't bend over and see what I'm doing so I was just moving the cup around and trying to catch something and got a golden shower for my arm and hand instead.

The nurse gave Faith a big cup of water (which she chugged because she is the world's most agreeable kid), and we went back in to try again.

Attempt 2: This time I'm kneeling there for a long time (which my back was loving by the way) and trying to reason with a 3 year old about why I needed her to try and pee again even though she had just gone. Eventually, she smiled at me and said "I'm PEEING!" and I heard something happening, so I moved the cup around until I caught what came out.

Not many things can make me speechless, but this did. Then I was faced with a new conundrum: what do I do with a cup of shit? My first impulse was to tap it out in the toilet and flush it. No dice, as it was firmly wedged in there. The trash had a sign that says "NO DIRTY DIAPERS. PLEASE TAKE SOILED DIAPERS WITH YOU" but offered no guidance on how to handle situations involving a sealed cup of shit.

I decided that the trash was the best place for it, but then I had to go ask for a new cup and admit that I needed it because the previous one was now full of defecate. I really brought a lot of joy and mirth to that doctor's office that day, and I wasn't even done.

Attempt 3: Finally got some pee in the cup! Too bad it's just a teeny tiny amount, but it's enough for them to do the strip test. We'd need more to send out to the lab.

During all of this, Faith kept drinking the water the nurse was bringing her and being cooperative, but I was starting to worry that we had been there for over an hour and hadn't even seen the doctor yet because we'd been in the bathroom the whole time. The doctor was busy with other patients, so I kept trying to get a sample.

Attempt 4-6: I got nothing. At this point Faith thinks this is all a really funny game.

Attempt 7: My kid pooped on my hand and arm again.

I can't wait until she's old enough to hold her own freaking pee cup. Bright side: at least she's trying to do something?

We finally saw the doctor and the strip test was negative for any infection and Faith wasn't grabbing at herself or screaming anymore, so the doctor didn't prescribe anything other than diaper rash cream to deal with some minor diaper rash that could have been the root cause of the whole thing. The doctor also wanted to send me home with urine cups so we could try more at home because we still needed a bigger sample. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the prospect of taking my kid's urine for a drive the next morning, but it was nice to have the flexibility to do the collecting at home. Just for giggles, I figured we'd try the cup thing one more time before we left after the doctor was done with us.

Attempt 8: SUCCESS, SWEET SWEET SUCCESS! I admit that I said "Fuck it, I need to bend over a little to see what I'm doing here" and that's what made the difference this time. Oh, and I told her if she peed in the cup, then I'd take her for frozen yogurt.

With sprinkles!

At this point we'd been at the doctor's office for almost 2 hours and Faith was a trooper about everything. That's pretty much standard for her though, which is why I dropped everything and took her to the doctor when she was screaming "It hurts, IT HURTS!" and grabbing herself.

There is no grand conclusion to this story because I don't even know if she actually sick due to the holiday weekend. We still haven't heard back about the lab results and Faith has only complained about pain twice since then, so I guess she's fine. Just another adventure in parenting to be filed under "Shit I didn't expect to ever do."

Two questions answered:

This post title is wildly inappropriate. What is wrong with you? I don't know, but I can't stop laughing about it, so probably a lot of things.

A poop picture? Really?

What's the most unexpectedly gross thing you've had to do for someone? Before kids, it was when Peanut got giardia from drinking dirty puddle water. I had to shoot giant syringes of this thick white medicine down her throat and then hold her muzzle shut so she had to swallow it and then she'd blow it out of her nose all over me in a shower of yuck. That was fun.

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.