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100 Things About Me
The Spouse Thingy
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|When You Have That Not So Fresh Feeling...Blog About It!|
Life does go on. I spent most of Wednesday feeling very, very sorry for myself, fighting off crying jags, and indulged in several huge guilt-fests. I keep thinking that no matter how much we spoiled Hank, there were times when I was not a very good pet owner, and he always deserved better than he got.
Before there was Hank, I was not a dog person. I was a cat person. We had a dog before Hank—Chip, who turned out to be part pit bull (we did not know this when we got her; we were told she was part spaniel and part lab), and who went pretty much nuts by the time she was 2 years old… we could not safely keep her, not with a 7 year old—and I loved that dog, but she didn’t turn me into a dog person.
Hank did—but for a long time I lacked the patience necessary to be a really good dog owner. And for that I feel guilty. And rightly so—pets don’t deserve our lack of patience. They deserve to be treated with dignity, and deserve our love.
But, I’m getting off track. Life goes on. Thursday we went to the mall and bought a nice frame and had his name engraved on it, and found a happy picture of Hank to put in it, along with a lock of his fur that the vet’s tech kindly trimmed for us (picture me sobbing my little head off, asking for some of his fur, and her actually understanding what I wanted.) It sits on the entertainment center next to a similar picture of our late cat Dusty, though she was always a little grumpy, so there weren’t really any “happy” pictures of her. We’ll be honest… Dusty could be a bitchy little thing, but that’s allowable when your heart is only working at 15% and you feel like crap all the time. We loved that cat as much as Hank. And I still miss her.
Since Wednesday, we’ve gone to a movie, gone fishing, and gone out to dinner. We’ve rearranged the living room so that the absence of Hank’s bed doesn’t seem so overwhelming. We’ve gone to the gym and worked out. We’ve vacuumed up most of the dog hair that covered our carpets and furniture like a fine mist most of the time—though we’re going to find dog hair on stuff for the next year, I’m sure.
We are okay with him being gone. I know we both miss him like crazy, and we talk about him a lot right now, but I remind myself we got through this with Dusty. And I keep reminding myself that Max, our PsychoKitty, is very young and it’s unlikely we’ll have to face this with him for a long, long time.
So. Today I am going to go get a haircut, hit the Y and swim, and then find other things to do while the Spouse Thingy works. It’s still strange to come home and not have this huge rust colored speed bump waiting by the front door to trip me up, but it’s okay.
June 3, 2003
Sleep. I need sleep.
In the interest of curiosity, I decided to stop taking benedryl at 10 p.m. every night. Since I no longer have to get up to feed and drug a large furball (Max can wait, and if he has to pee, he has a litterbox), it’s not imperative that I get to sleep at what normal people would think of as a normal bedtime. With that in kind, I figured I could stay up as late as my body naturally wants to, and I’d fall asleep.
So, this will only be night 3 without sleep assistance, but the last two nights have been a craptacular failure. The first night I woke at least 15 times, but part of that was because of Max, who decided I was much more comfortable to sleep on than the actual bed itself. Last night it took me a very long time to get to sleep—my brain just would not shut the fuck up—and then I woke up another 4 or 5 times. Not a biggie, but every time I woke up my brain started up again, and I struggled to get back to sleep.
I was so freaking tired all day, I figured I’d be ready for bed around 9 tonight. Phffft. It’s almost midnight, and while I’m tired, I can tell I won’t fall asleep easily.
So I’ll stay up and work a little. And hope that when I do go to bed, I’ll fall asleep and stay asleep. And then that Max doesn’t decide that he’s starving at 7:30. A hungry Max is a loud Max.
I’ll give it a week. If I’m still waking up a bazillion times a night, I’ll go back on the benedryl. Only reason I’m so gung ho to get off it is I’ve read it may hamper weight loss. Well, cripes, I’d like to improve my weight loss, not hamper it.
Oh yeah. Calling my house before 11 a.m. is cause for justifiable homicide.
Or at the very least, worthy of a sever beating with a wet noodle.
June 4, 2003
It’s official, I think. I am now a grownup.
The business is taking it’s first baby steps: our first book, ’Boxer Shorts, is at the printer, and I’m waiting for a proof copy. All the licenses are in order. And now I have this spiffy new Business Checking & Savings Account.
They don’t give you a business checking account unless you’re really a grownup. Right?
As soon as I have the proof copy, I’ll post a link to purchase info. Even if you don’t want to buy it, you have to peek at the awesome cover done by one extremely talented Monkey.
June 6, 2003
I’m sitting here at my desk, finding all kinds of reasons to not work, with the window shade open so I can watch the kids play outside. The super-nice lady across the street spent the better part of the morning trying to roller blade in the court with her kids (kudos to her for wanting to learn to roller blade with all these kids just zipping around like falling is all part of the fun) and most of the smaller neighborhood kids are outside, either watching or pretending to skate, too. They’ve been having a blast all morning—which is probably why I’m procrastinating. I think I’d rather be outside—it’s beautiful out there today—than inside trying to write.
A little while ago a cop car (specifically, a military security police car) came slowly down the street, and stopped in the court to talk to the kid; he got out, let them look in the car, turned the lights on for them, and showed them all his cop toys. That was pretty cool… all he had to do was turn around at the bottom of the court and go on, but he made those kids’ day. Well, their morning at least.
Even the neighborhood squirrel is out there, perched on the feeder we nailed to the tree outside my window. He’s making quite the pig of himself, tearing into the corn cob, scattering bits and pieces of uneaten dried corn all over the place—and the birds are in the yard, waiting until he leaves so they can swoop in and clean up his mess.
If they didn’t poop all over my car, it’d be an ideal arrangement.
Once the kids were done skating, the neighborhood moms poured out of their houses and are congregating on a lawn; I’m the odd mom out here. Literally, we are the only couple on this street who don’t have a kid living with them. Most of the families on our street have small children, and we don’t really have much in common with them. So, when the moms come out to have a cup of coffee and talk, I stay inside. Aside from being pretty damned shy, I’ve never felt particularly welcome. Don’t get me wrong, these are all very nice people, it’s just hard to include someone who’s not in the same place you are. Everything they’re going through, I’ve already done. And for the most part, people don’t want to hear about it when it’s done; they want to commiserate about what they’re already going through.
So, I sit in here and work (or avoid it) and watch the kids play. And the squirrel and birds. And in a little while, I’ll stop avoiding working altogether, get my stuff together, and go to the Y to swim for an hour or so. Once I come home, I’ll find a few other things to use to avoid working, but sooner or later I’ll sit down and get something done. Cripes, I need to. I’m about 80% done with the manuscript I’m working on, and I really want to finish.
Then when I’m done, I can work hard at avoiding editing it :)
In Yo Face!
June 7, 2003
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Ever find something your really want but don't really need? Something you could totally justify purchasing, even though your life will be perfectly acceptable without it?
This is my want-it-but-don't-really-need-it Item Of The Week:
It's a portable word processor. And a PDA. Totally cool. At $400, I should buy two of them. Heh.
I could justify it. Really I could.
I mean, I do most of my writing away from the house, right? And this would make it so easy and convenient, right?
You're supposed to agree with me, dammit.
:::checks calender, counts days until birthday:::
Oh, Spouse Thingy....
June 8, 2003
Timmy’s Down The Well?
Thanks to a bad decision to drink a soda with caffeine in it at 10pm last night, I was wide awake until about 3 a.m. That’s not really a bad thing; I played online and then watched some TV while I waited to get sleepy. At 2:30 I turned on the fan in the bedroom, crawled into bed, watched a South Park repeat, and then fell asleep.
An hour later Max jumped on the bed and crawled on top of me, plopping down on me, his little paw poking at my cheek. He was very patient, holding fairly still while he jammed that furry little—and thankfully clawless—paw into my face. He sometimes curls up on me at night and has learned to wake me up just enough that I reach out and pet him; this morning I stirred a little, and started to scratch him under his chin.
He bit me.
This wasn’t a “stop it, I hate you” bite. It was a “hey, I’m trying to get your attention” kind of bite. And he kept poking at my face, a little more insistent with each swipe of his paw.
So I forced myself awake, with two thoughts jumping to mind right off the bat. One was “dammit, cat, let me sleep!” and “Good God, Max, you stink!”
Only it wasn’t Max fouling the air—it was the fan. The motor had started to burn, and the whole room smelling like a combination of burning rubber and dust.
Once I sat up, figured out what was wrong, and got up to turn the fan off (with the lights, out, I don’t know if any smoke was filtering out of it, but it sure smelled like it), Max was content to jump down and get himself something to eat.
I wonder, though, how bad it would have gotten if he hadn’t been so persistent in waking me up. I was dead to the world asleep, and I’ve been known to sleep through the sound of a smoke detector. Spouse Thingy was, because of my late-night crawlings around the house and strange need to watch TV for a while before going to sleep, in the spare bedroom with the door closed.
The worst of it was a fan we had to throw out. No big deal.
But if that cat hadn’t been so pushy… who knows? It might have been nothing; I might have smelled it at some point and woken up. But then again, it might have caught fire. Along with the walls and everything else in that room.
Damned smart PsychoKitty.
He deserves a treat.
June 10, 2003
Ok, truth be told, as neat as I think the Dana by Alphasmart is (and I really, really want one), there’s a bigger, better toy I want even more.
Something I’ve coveted since I was a kid.
If I had extra cash lying around, I’d be sticking it in savings until I accumulated enough for one of these:
Or, lacking the funds for that, I’d settle for Chrysler’s earlier convertible:
Hell, I’d settle for just about any convertible in running condition.
Why do the fun toys always have to cost so much?
And why can’t I not pay my bills for a year and get one?
June 12, 2003
It’s A Bouncing Baby Book!!!
Yesssssss… the very first copy of the very first book to come out of Inkblot Books arrived today. I is in business!
‘Boxer Shorts is the collected efforts of the Monkeys at WWDN’s Soapbox: it’s an anthology of poetry, essays, and fiction, and I have to admit, these are some talented people.
Seriously, the quality of the submissions makes me damn proud that this is the first book to come out of my publishing company. Getting the first copy today was like Christmas … I am totally stoked!
Now that I have it in hand and know I can put a book together and get it printed without too many screwups (I did forget to put the price on the back cover :::slaps self on forehead::: ) I can finalize the website for Inkblot and do an Official Launch.
Now go buy the book. The discount is supposed to be for ‘Boxers only, but I’ll be nice and sell it to anyone who wants it at the discounted price for now.
June 18, 2003
Pee All That You Can Pee
File under TMI: since 3 p.m. today I’ve chewed through at least a 12 pack of diet sodas, and peed all of it out and more. I could have gone ahead and taken my DDAVP early, and then taken it again before going to bed, but that would have required going upstairs. It’s just a heck of a lot easier to walk around downstairs, creating a path between the fridge and the bathroom.
Heck, if I stopped taking the DDAVP altogether, I could use having DI as a weight loss plan. Eventually I drink so much there’s absolutely no room in my stomach for anything other than liquids. I don’t want anything other than liquids. Cold liquids. The colder the better.
If I wait until I got to bed to take the DDAVP, it’ll probably be close to 2 a.m. I’m off the benedryl for sleep completely now, but in following my body’s own natural sleep cycles, I’m up until 2 or 3, and if the cat would let me, I’d sleep until 10. His patience runs out around 9:15, and I spend the next 15-30 minutes being head-butted by the little psycho until I give in and get up.
:::tosses yet another can into the trash:::
Ten minutes sitting here typing and I’ve downed yet another soda. I know, I know, I should drink water instead, but honestly, if I drink water when I’m in the midst of the DI-thirsties, I drink too much too quickly and wind up in a considerable amount of discomfort. Same thing with Kool Aid. I can just suck it down too fast.
There’s only 2 more cold sodas in the fridge. I’ll have to go to bed in half an hour or so, just because I’m going to run out of cold stuff to drink.
Are you riveted to today’s blog entry yet?
I thought so.
[this was supposed to be last night's blog entry, but I couldn't manage to connect to Blogger, so...]
June 19, 2003
And Now, For A Completely Hypocritical Moment…
I’m going to whine.
I haven’t quite figured out what it is about being online that causes people to increase their whining exponentially, but it’s really getting on my nerves. It’s almost as if the simple act of being online is blanket permission to inflict every imagined slight on the rest of the world.
At first, I noticed the tendency towards the “oh my life sucks” attitude on message boards. Venting can be a good thing, and putting it in writing—and getting feedback from virtual strangers—can be quite cathartic. Yet as time went by, the negative life-sucks notes were beginning to far outweigh the positive or even neutral postings.
Lately, I’ve noticed it most predominantly in email. I get a lot of email, most from friends, some from family, a trickle from people who have read either of my blogs and have questions, once in a while from someone who read one of my books, and sometimes from people who have noticed a post I made on a newsgroup, and want to email me rather than talk to me on a public message board.
Overwhemingly, the notes are prosaic pity fests:
“So-and-so just won’t listen to me. I try to tell him/her/it how to fix their problems, but he/she/it won’t do it.”
“You won’t believe it. [insert name] just sits there all day and won’t do anything. Well I think he/she/it needs to get up and find a hobby/date/job/whatever.”
“I hate people. People refuse to do things my way, so they’re wrong.”
“My life is awful. I don’t have friends. I don’t go out much. People don’t ‘get’ me. If they won’t even try, then what’s the point? Other People will never know what it’s like to be me.”
“Oh, I am in so much pain. I can’t move. I can’t blink. My doctor won’t give me narcotics. My spouse won’t listen to my complaints about how much pain I’m in. So what if it’s all I talk about? Oh, and I can’t exercise. Not at all. My doctor said that would be the worst thing I could do. Oh, and I can’t believe how much weight I’ve gained. I don’t eat much. I only drink 12 cans of sugar laden sodas every day. And a box of Ding Dongs.”
It’s gotten to the point where I dread getting my email everyday. I rarely answer email, because doing so only seems to invite further complaining and moaning. I don’t understand the need to dump all that crap onto someone’s e-lap. These are people who, in person, wouldn’t dream of spouting off so much negativity. Give them a keyboard and an active internet account, and they literally have nothing nice to say about anyone other than themselves.
It’s the same on a couple of the message boards I frequent. 90% self indulgent woe-me to the other 10% of reasonable normalcy.
It’s fatiguing. It really is.
And I suspect the people complaining the most are the people who have it the best.
Just call it a hunch.
So yes, this is one long whine about people whining. It may also be a reason why, if you’ve emailed me recently, you haven’t gotten a reply.
Think about it.
June 20, 2003
In the last couple of days I’ve gotten more writing done than I’ve managed in the last couple of months. I’m -->this<-- close to being done with the first draft of the manuscript I’ve been working on for almost a year. Another day or two and it will be done; then I can proof and edit it.
The odd thing is, I think I got so much done because I found a new place to sit and write. The BX Food Court is nice, but I discovered the Barnes & Noble Café… verrrah nice. They don’t mind if people come in there and read, or write, or bring laptops along and sit there playing (quiet) games. The only downside is the size and price of their sodas. Yesterday I ordered a medium Diet Coke ($1.25) and got this thing so small it would piss off a toddler. I’m afraid to order a small…
But, I got tons done. I suppose that’s more important than the side of the soft drink I barely pay attention to while I’m working (yet, if I didn’t have one, that’s all I’d think about. Where’s the freaking drink?!?!)
Oh yeah, while I was busy being productive, I revamped kathompson.com. You don’t have to be impressed; I’m impressed enough for both of us.
June 21, 2003
I was thoroughly enjoying the Official First Day of summer—it was warm and not too humid, the neighborhood kids were outside shrieking in their happy play, and PsychoKitty was content to curl up in my lap and snooze while I read my book (no, not Harry Potter, though I did go out and buy that today. I was reading It’s My F---ing Birthday.) Yes, I was enjoying it until someone reminded me that we’re now heading towards winter, instead of creeping away from it.
Oh man, I don’t even want to think about that. Shivering, snow, wet jeans and soggy shoes, toes that feeling as if they’re burning from the frigid temps. And hell, this isn’t even North Dakota—winter in Ohio was nothing compared to ND, but I don’t want cold anymore.
I want to go where it’s warm. I want to go to Las Vegas.
No kidding. Nellis AFB was one of the places Spouse Thingy had listed on his dream sheet, but there were no CRNA openings there when the Evil CRNA Make-People-Transfer-Dude was telling us we had to move. I could handle the heat of southern Nevada if I had a/c. And I’m pretty sure the humidity is low.
Humidity is one major reason I don’t think I could ever live in Texas again. It wears me out.
Still, in spite of the knowing what’s coming in 6 months, I enjoyed today. I went out, sat in the BX Food Court (I figured Barnes & Noble would be too crowded) and got within 5-8 pages of finishing the first draft of the book I’m working on. After the Spouse Thingy got home we headed to Long John Silver’s for dinner (this is a carb-high pig-out weekend for me, as Monday I start a low-carb torture diet), and then back to the BX where I bought underwear.
Yep. Underwear. All of it black.
None of it lace, you perv.
Anyone live in Las Vegas?
June 26, 2003
365 Days Ago…
A year ago today I had an incision made under my upper lip, my nose and a good portion of my face lifted off my skull, a hole drilled through my sinuses, and a large tumor removed from my pituitary gland. So today is a birthday of sorts, one year ago today I felt like I was given a whole new shot at everything. And one year ago today I was enjoying some pretty good drugs ;)
My first-ever blog entry was about the whole experience; and even though I know each and every person has not only read through my archives, but memorized them, I decided to repost it.
The Thing Inside My Head
(eh, this is long...)
Okay... so I had this thing growing in my head. Initially I thought I was in menopause (and relished the idea), but in late March or early April I realized I was drinking an awful lot; it sort of crept up on me, varying degrees of thirst day after day, until I realized one morning that I was sucking down at least 64 ounces of anything cold and fluid I could get my hands on first thing every morning, and I kept drinking in massive quantities all day long. The end result of drinking so much is... well, you know.
What I didn't realize is the... well, you know... was causing the incredible thirst. Being so thirsty all the time spurred The Spouse Thingy into making me an appointment with our Primary Care Doc here at Travis AFB; he thought I might be diabetic.
The doc agreed with him; this was something that needed to be looked into. He made note of the fact that I was pretty sure I was in the throes of menopause (oh, come on, do I have to spell it out for you?! Something was missing!) and ordered a shitload of blood work to be done. The vampires at the lab surely loved this - they sucked out at least 5 tubes of blood and made me pee in this tiny, tiny cup (ok, a Big Gulp cup is tiny when you're drinking 3 gallons a day.)
My blood sugar came back at 95. Perfectly normal.
My prolactin level, however, came back at 118. Normal is less than 10.
And then there was this merry go round of drinking and peeing.
(“What did you do today?” “I peed.”)
Something was amiss. My doc, being fairly sharp, caught the implications right off the bat. The likely culprit to my problems was a pituitary tumor. He ordered an MRI - and I complied, as much as I didn't want to - and the evidence was right there. Glaring bright white against the black film of the MRI.
I had a tumor.
A brain tumor.
And it was big.
The MRI immediately went to the base hospital's neurosurgeon; she looked and measured, checked my lab values, looked some more, and decided this was an unusual tumor, unusual enough that she didn't want to handle it. She wanted me to see a civilian pituitary specialist. Someone who could look at the MRI and have a better idea what it might be. Someone who wouldn't just be using me for the value of experience. Between her efforts and the efforts of my primary care doc, and numerous inquiries by The Spouse Thingy, I got an appointment - fairly quickly, too - with a civilian specialist.
He took one look at the MRI and was brutally honest. He couldn't tell exactly what it was, either. It appeared to be cystic in nature, but it was not the ordinary pituitary adenoma. The only way to know for sure was to take it out.
Take it out.
Of my BRAIN.
I did a lot of reading about pituitary tumors while I waited for this appointment; I knew how he would take it out (go in under the upper lip, drill through the sinuses to get to the pituitary gland, yank that sucker out, pack my sinuses, close up, no scar), and I knew that the surgery itself was becoming almost routine. But this was MY brain. My pituitary gland. My tumor.
I was terrified.
In between that visit and the day of surgery, I had every possible ill outcome running through my head. The least of which was the chance that I could come out of this blind - the optic nerve runs far too close to the pituitary for my taste. So do the carotid arteries. More than anything I wanted a feeling of serenity about this, some sign that it would be all right. Some sign that I wasn't seeing things for the last time. Something to tell me I would see my son's face again, see my husband. Something to tell me that my last breath was not going to be drawn on an operating table.
Over the three weeks between seeing the neurosurgeon and the scheduled surgery, people with pituitary tumors seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. They popped up in email, in casual conversations. Invariably, they had the same message. "I have one. I had one. I'm doing fine."
They were comforting, but this was still My Brain Tumor, and inside I was shaking like the proverbial leaf.
Two days before the surgery The Spouse Thingy and I had dinner at the BX Food Court. Normally we don't get the Chinese food there - it's not the greatest - but this night we did. Each dinner came with a fortune cookie; I never eat mine, I always give them to the Spouse Thingy. He shoved it towards me and told me I had to at least open it myself.
He read his; it was typical fortune cookie nonsense. Scratch your palm and blink twice and all life’s richest will come your way.
I read mine: You will live a long and happy life.
I wanted to cry. It felt like the sign I'd been—literally—praying for.
The next day was dedicated to pre-operative appointments: getting a chest x-ray, more blood drawn, an EKG. As part of that appointment merry-go-round I was also given my scheduled surgery time.
First case of the day.
Be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m.
The hospital, UCD Medical Center, is in Sacramento. We live 50 miles away, at Travis AFB, which meant that we’d have to get up by 4 a.m. and be out on the road before 4:30. In the fricking morning!
Did I mention I am not a morning person?
I took my pillow with me and snoozed the ride up there (as opposed to puking up my toenails the entire ride, which is what I was sure I'd be doing). We checked in at 5:30, whereupon they handed me this tiny gown designed to allow me to moon the entire hospital, stuck us in a room where we waited for at least an hour for an OR escort (not as kinky as it sounds). I expected to be hurling large chunks across the room, but didn't.
By this point I think I was resigned to the idea that there was no escape. They had my clothes; where was I going to go with my backside shining like a bright white beacon off the shores of the California coast? They had me. I was doomed.
The OR escort finally arrived; I was put on a gurney and taken up to the recovery room, where The Spouse Thingy introduced me (a re-introduction, actually) to the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist he had hand-picked to knock me out and keep me knocked through the surgery. Nick (said CRNA) carefully explained what he would be doing to me, including all the things I would never remember, and then stuck an IV in my hand. While I laid there, contemplating the dark, dreary recovery room, the neurosurgeon (Spouse Thingy hand picked him, too) popped in to say hello (and promised, no, I won’t sneeze while I have my fingers in your brain); Nick gave me something through the IV (Versed, I think), and I was off to LaLa Land. I felt all warm and fuzzy... and then nothing.
Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room; someone sitting at my side (recovery room nurse, male, that's all I know) was urging me to breath. Deep breaths. More. That's good. The Spouse Thingy appeared at various points (I should point out that he moonlights at UCDMC and was allowed where family members normally are not); I recall hearing the nurse tell him that I'd been given morphine and my breathing rate was depressed, at 8-10 per minute.
My brain interpreted that as "She stopped breathing."
After about 3 hours (or so I'm told) I was finally taken to my room. I was transferred to a bed (don't ask me how, all I remember is a motor; I don't recall being moved), and while lying there half out of my head (but not in pain), I hear him.
I couldn't tell exactly where he was on the floor, I could only hear his booming voice echoing through the hallways. HELP ME HELP ME! WHERE'S MY DOCTOR? I WANT TO GO! I was thinking "oh shut the phk up," but all I could do was moan. HELP ME! Gawwwddd.... At some point - it felt like minutes later but could have been hours - a nurse placed these THINGS on my legs. White THINGS with Velcro straps. The Spouse Thingy told me they were to massage my legs, and to keep me from developing blood clots.
My intelligent response: "Noooooooooooo."
Later he tells me I'm getting a roommate. "Nooooooooooo."
I whined a lot.
The Spouse Thingy stayed until at least 11:30 that night, making sure that I could reach my water and keeping my pitcher full. He stayed until he was sure that I could get the cup on my own, refill it using the pitcher on the table, and call for a nurse to bring more water when I needed it. The water was critical; the tumor had caused a condition called Diabetes Insipidus (the short of it - my body didn't make the natural anti-diuretic hormone, causing my kidneys to just let water flow through with no stops; I have a medication for it but they weren't giving it to me so they could see what would happen… at some point what happened was a burst collection bag and massive amounts of urine all over the floor) and I needed to be able to input as much as I was outputting (all hail the might catheter!) He had gotten nine pitchers of water for me throughout the day; that night I drank six more.
I was more coherent the next day; so was The Yeller. At some he must have been sedated, but I awoke to the familiar strains of LET ME OUT! HELP! Over and over... The Spouse Thingy appeared, followed shortly by the Physical Therapist Lady. They sat me up at the side of the bed, and then helped me stand; I was on my feet for only about a minute, which garnered me praise worthy of an Oscar Nominee (or at least a Gold Star), but it left me with the Headache From Hell.
The nurse said she would get me morphine; by this point I was half out of it and started crying, telling the Spouse Thingy "Noooooooooo... I don't want to stop breathing!" He tried to assure me it would be fine, my breathing rate might slow a little bit, but I kept whining "I don't want to stop breathing."
I was terrified, really.
They gave me the morphine and I was determined to not fall back asleep; I was going to stay awake and BREATHE. Deep breaths. Numerous breaths. I would inhale as if I were trying to suck up the mother of all lines.
Right around lunchtime my son and the Spouse Thingy's parents showed up, finding me sitting up, a bowl of Jello in hand - fast asleep. When I did stir, I proclaimed that the Jello sucked, then went back to sleep, periodically waking up with a start, forcing myself to breathe.
Nope, I would not let the morphine do me in. I was going to breathe.
(Yes, all right, hindsight tells me that if I was waking up, I was breathing all along, but dammit, I was being proactive! I was breathing!)
Early evening came and the Spouse Thingy said he needed to get home early because The Boy had to work and couldn't feed the animals. My mature reaction?
"Nooooooo... I don't want to be alone."
So, being the Good Spouse Thingy that he is, he stayed a little longer and talked to my roommate's husband some.
This would be Mumbling Mary. She had disk fusion done, herrington rods inserted to stabilize her spine, and a nerve in her leg worked on. She was in some serious pain. They started her out with a boatload of narcotics, but they were giving her less than what she normally took for the pain. She was four year post-major-car-accident and existed on Percoset and Other Fun Drugs. A pain management team finally stopped by to assess her, doubled what she was getting, and that 2nd day she finally got some rest.
This was a good thing for Mary, but... it totally screwed up her sense of day and night, and left her high as a kite. That third day I was pretty coherent, sitting up, even walked the hall some (and got my nasal packing out - giant tampons they'd shoved into my sinuses), and she slept through most of it, occasionally waking to tell her husband to fix the clock already; she determined that it said 3:30 and she knew it was 8:30 (it was 1 p.m.). Around 9 p.m., just as I was falling asleep, she thought it was daytime. The nurses came in to turn her (an exercise in agony for poor Mumbling Mary) and she wanted to know where her husband was; they tried to explain that it was night time and he'd gone home, but she was sure they were lying. He couldn't have gone home - he didn't fix the clock!
I was *almost* asleep when The Yeller started back up. He was also throwing things, creating a general atmosphere of unpleasantness and construction zone noise - and I was finally able to determine that he was in the next room. He was screaming for the hospital administrator, calling his nurse 'Nurse Ratchet,' begging to leave, wanting to go home. Go anywhere. Mary, in the meantime, couldn't find her call button, so I pulled the curtain back and asked if she needed help. "Oh no, I just need to find this," and she was moving around so much I was afraid she'd hurt herself, so I buzzed the nurse from my bed.
After that Mary decided I was her Bestest Friend and proceeded to talk. And talk. And talk. The thing was, she wasn't really talking to me, she was carrying on conversations with the voices in her head. Around 4am she turned on her TV, and Wimbledon was playing. She muttered things like "Don't hit that tennis ball. You'll break the vase." She talked to everyone she knew, allllll night long.
It was too funny to be annoying.
No, what was annoying was the blood they wanted to draw from me, every six hours around the clock. After the first 2 days the veins in my right arm pretty much shut down and because of the IV they couldn't take blood out of my left. My arms had track marks worthy of a junkie, but they were getting no blood. Needle after needle... the blood just would not flow. I was bruised, sore, and still they wanted more blood.
Saturday morning I woke up, felt great, walked the hall without the aid of a walker, talked to an endocrinologist and a few surgical residents, whom all deemed me fit to go home. The ride home totally wiped me out. I got home and went to bed, and for the most part stayed there for a couple more days. The fatigue clung to me for almost a week. So did the swollen face. Initially I looked like I'd gone a round or two with Mike Tyson; after a few days I only looked like a TeleTubby.
I had survived. The surgeon didn't sneeze with his fingers in my brain. I didn't go blind. He got it all. All we could do from that point was to wait for the pathology report, and hope that I wasn't one of the Very Rare People to get pituitary cancer.
I am one of the Very Rare People to get lymphocytic hypophysitis. Very rare. Extremely rare.
It's a long term that basically means, because I had the tumor removed, I'm cured. It probably won't come back. I won't need further treatments, other than the occasional MRI, just in case.
So, I had this brain thingy.
It's gone now.
But it was proof, after all, that I have a brain.
Life is good.
Spouse Thingy and I moved to Ohio just 5 or 6 weeks after the surgery. I have some complications as a result of the tumor—I’ll have Diabetes Insipidus for the rest of my life, and I don’t produce some key hormones, but all that has been successfully replaced by medications.
Life really is good.
|design by may; Tweaked by Thumper|