Day 2 of the Big Journey

This is exciting but difficult. Change is hard whatever it may be, and for me that change is my love for food and making it quick and easy. I know it’s only the second day and it will take time to make my changes a habit. I’m not depriving myself either. I believe in the weight watcher’s approach to a new me. 

If you deprive yourself, you just focus more on what you can not have and that stinks, but having a little bit in moderation at certain times always helps me. Tonight, I was craving Mongolian beef. I had a small portion of beef and smaller portion of rice, but it was enough to satisfy my longing. I had budgeted calories in my day for this dinner, too, so that I had enough in my bank, so to speak, to enjoy my dinner and not have to worry about ruining my diet on the second day.

It’s so difficult to want to trim down my calories each day while wanting to boost calories for my kids who are still growing and in need of them. While they enjoy earing healthy, they also enjoy comfort foods, too. I guess I’ll have to learn how to make those a bit healthier and more calorie friendly since hubs is joining me this time around. It won’t hurt the kids either to have those comfort foods in a healthier version. Granted, most of our homemade food is already fairly healthy, but could use some tweaking. Another experiment for hubs and I. 

Our greatest challenge is always what t of eat first dinner. I see that we will finally be planning out our menus like I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now, but the challenge will be adding the healthy aspect to our recipes. Any ideas? We love our crock pot and I see some ideas meandering around in my brain with ingredients and the like to attempt. I’ll be sure to share my creations if they are tasty. 

Thus endeth day 2 of our journey. So far, so good, but I can tell you, I could really go for some ice cream right about now. Too bad I won’t be having any. ūüė£

Peace and love guys!

Deirdre

A Better Life

What a beautiful morning to be alive. No, the weather isn’t perfecr, although the temperature is lovely. The sky is somewhat overcast, but I began my day early this morning As I seem to do more often As I get older. 

 As I sit here drinking my cup of coffee, I marvel in the small gifts we’ve been given in this life. So many gifts. Even those with much less than me have something to be grateful for and that makes me smile. Just the thought that the less fortunate can be so grateful for what they have in this life. Yet there are so many with more than I have who are always wanting and expecting more. They are never satisfied with what they have simply because they are searching for happiness in materialistic items instead of seeing the true blessings which surround them daily.

I have been richly blessed. I have a truly loving family, a home to live in which always requires some maintenance or another, good on my table and clothes on my back. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t use a little more of this or that, but we have what we need. Truly, in the darkest times, God always provides for us.

Recently, hubs and I went to a Cardinals game and as we were headed home, a panhandler was approaching cars. One look at her and you could see that something was not right with her. Hubs and I talked about her misfortune. How sad for her because she was someone’s child, possibly sister or mother. Now she was there in the streets begging for money. I prayed for her. She did not approach our car, as the light turned, but my heart ached for her. 

Most of the time in our city, we are panhandlers in the same spot. They get in and out of a van and scam people on the same street corners, but my heart told me this was different. U felt that the best thing I could do for her though, was pray. Other cars had given her something. I pray she got some good and didn’t drink it or buy drugs with the money she got. 

The old saying goes, everyone has something. My thought is that this is more true than one realizes. Over the summer, when in was so sick, there were several times in was afraid I would die because I didn’t feel like I was getting any better. I can’t imagine having something worse, but there are many loving with much worse. So today, I choose to cherish my life and make the most of my days, each day. Life is so short and only God knows when he will call us home. I’m a very different person now than I was last year at this time.

Now, go out and make the most of today. Don’t let a day go by without seeing or talking to those you love. Let them know they have impacted your life. They may not know it. Don’t let another day go by without doing that one thing that you’ve been putting off forever. Take the trip, eat the cake, but if nothing else, tell them you love them and don’t end on a sour note.

A Brand New Day!

I was thinking of several things to write about over the last hour while the house has been blissfully asleep, but none of those subjects seemed to just flow from my mind or fingertips this morning. First, I will tell you, I’m feeling much better and, at long last, I’m on the road to recovery, barring any other small setbacks. For now though, I’m free! Pablo, my trusty drain, was removed Monday. Although it was certainly uncomfortable coming out due to it’s location, it was a heck of a lot better than going in! Now, at long last, nearly 7 weeks after my surgery, I can start to get stronger and get moving without reatrictioms! Hallelujah!

In other news, well, summer is already half over and it is time for us to look forward to the new school year. Can you believe it? Stores have school supplies and school lists out. I, for one, am not ready to think of summer ending and school starting just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I love the routine of the school year, but I love the lazy days of summer just as much. This year, having been robbed of my summer this far, I’m ready to enjoy my summer at long last. Today is my brand new day! It’s the day I say, “carpe diem”! I have to get stronger, which is my new daily endeavor. I’ve discovered some days I’m still very tired, and other days I’m filled with energy. Today is a sleepy day, unfortunately, but I’ve been busy all week so far. I suppose every third day to rest at this point isn’t bad. One day at a time. I will heal and gain my strength back, one day at a time. 

Summer Is…

Summer is my favorite season. It always has been. With the exception of this summer, it means swimming, playing outside, spending warm summer evenings with friends and kids outside. In essence, it’s a time for renewal and reconnection that we aren’t afforded while we are stuck indoors on cold winter days.

Summer is a time to play in my garden and watch things grow. I love watching things grow.This year, due to my health, I didn’t even get my tomatoes in the garden and my entire garden looks like a den of weeds, as I’ve been unable to tend my beautiful pride and joy. I do miss sitting there in the mornings to have my coffee, but I hope to be able to tend it soon.
Summer is a time to spend with family. When I was growing up, I was very fortunate to be able to go on holidays with my family. We went to my family’s home in Ireland. I learned to work on the farm and I loved every moment. I not only got to meet my cousins far away, I got to have wonderful relationships with them. I have to tell you that family truly is everything to me. Growing up in a town where I had no cousins, I loved and appreciated those holidays to make the special bonds with my cousins more than you could imagine. Probably even more so since I had no sister growing up. I have only the one older brother who means the world to me, but I always longed for a sister. I saw the bonds with my cousins as if I had sisters for those weeks we were together. I know they couldn’t understand that since they all had sisters of their own, but I treasured their “sisterhood” in those summers more than anything you could put a price tag on.

One of my favorite Summertime activities is to play with my son in the back by my garden while having my coffee in the mornings. You see, he’s a secret agent and I’m headquarters. I’m base command with the computer. He’s going to save the world and sniper the bad guys with his stick rifles. Ah, his imagination. Sometimes it’s an alien invasion. It’s how boys think. You can not change that. He wants to protect and serve. I miss that this summer very, very much. I don’t miss the silly game, I miss spending the quality time with the boy I love most, my boy. He, like all boys, grows too fast. He’s my baby boy and he’s the only boy I have. He’s my youngest child. Now, he’s been reduced to getting things for me This summer. He’s been caring for me instead of the other way around. He’s wonderful too, just like his father. 

Summertime is generally healthy time. This year? Well, it’s more of a let’s not succumb to these wretched pancreatic surgery post-op complications summer. It technically is a get healthy summer, although I’m unable to swim and unable to even walk very far. I’m finally on the mend, I think, provided there are no more complications. I was even able to stay up past 9:30 PM last night. Not much longer, but I’m beginning to heal I think. 

Summer will remain my favorite season. I long to take a nice dip in the pool. I’d love to get on the tennis court. After all that I’ve been through this summer, I appreciate summer and life even more. 

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “Summer is…” and as usual, our host is the extraordinary, Kristi. Check out everyone else’s posts! It’s always a fun read!


Feeling Better 

At last I have some answers. I’ve been dealing with this for so long but the corner has finally been turned and now I can truly begin to heal, or so I surely hope I can!

My initial surgery was over a month ago and I’ve been so terribly ill since then. Many trips back and forth to the hospital as well as Pablo, the drain placed 26 days ago. Pablo was initially working well, but started malfunctioning. I began flushing him a bit more frequently. I continued having fevers and feeling terribly lightheaded and detached from the world. I tried my best to eat and not I felt the same.hing had flavor. I had 3 antibiotics. ¬†My labs still looked the same and still showed the abscess was much smaller but remained. From a 7 cm to a 3 cm abscessed area which is an improvement for sure, but finding out that I can help this to go away faster? ¬†What a golden opportunity to be proactive in my healthcare.

I have never in my life felt so sick. ¬†I have never felt like I would never get my energy back or be able to once again go for a walk without passing out. ¬†I have made one walk since my surgery. ¬†It was a the only day I felt good. ¬†I walked 4 houses up the street and back again. ¬†It was to my dad’s house. ¬†He didn’t answer the door either. ¬†Hubs and I didn’t have our mobile phones either to give him a call, so we walked back down. ¬†The next day, I felt just as terrible as I had previously and remained that way until yesterday. ¬†I do listen and I do everything I’m told to do. ¬†I’m a very good patient. ¬†I know what I have to do and I do it.

After being in the nursing field for 29 years, I should know a thing or two about how to get better, but this has been the absolute lowest point of my existence. ¬†Honestly, I was ready to seek healthcare elsewhere if it weren’t for Dr. Burke finally giving me the answers I was seeking on Thursday. ¬†Hubs took me to my sinogram, where dye is placed into the drain and then x-rayed for drain placement and to see how much fluid is still present. ¬†It’s really very cool. ¬†What we were shown is that although my abscess is much smaller, the abscess is made up of pancreatic enzymes which is trying to eat my body instead of processing food because of where it has leaked to. ¬†There is a small pathway which has formed which we need to help seal up. ¬†We can do this by flushing and creating the proper pressure in there, a neutral pressure, allowing the nasty, thick drainage from the pancreas to drain. ¬†If I gavage it with the saline 5 or 6 times a day, it will allow the thick drainage to flow more freely and therefore, it will be released more easily.

Guess what! ¬†It’s been working great! ¬†No more fevers, and I feel much improved. ¬†I sure won’t be running any marathons. ¬†In fact, I’ll have to work up to walking any great length again, but I’m getting there. ¬†And I’m planning on more writing. ¬†I’m able to focus a little more clearly already. ¬†Just think, maybe, just maybe, I might get a little bit of my summer after all! Wouldn’t that just be awesome! ¬†I know the Hubs, the kids and I would be so thrilled. ¬†Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes. ¬†Keep them coming. ¬†You have no idea how much they mean to me. ¬†Your kind thoughts are so wonderful. ¬†They truly mean so much to me. ¬†I can’t thank you enough for caring about little old me!

Just Done with the ER

When you go to the ER and you have 20 years of experience as an RN, wouldn’t you think just perhaps, someone, anyone, might listen to the reason you’ve come in! Logical? Yes. Does it happen? Not precisely. 

So, I have a drain in my belly, I’ve named it Pablo. Pablo has been doing a great job of draining the nasty infection out. You see, after my complex abdominal surgery, I got a fun and exciting 7 cm pocket of infection. Yep! Nothing like a little nastiness and 3 different antibiotics, placement of a drain and another hospitalization to lift your spirits! But that’s been my luck this last month.

Yesterday, I flushed my buddy, Pablo, with 30 ml of saline. The reason? Well, always flush it with 10ml but I noticed it wasn’t flushing easily and guess what? Nothing was coming out! What a pain!

After the usual time given before the next flush, it still hadn’t any output. Not good. So not good because it also was hurting a ton more! Something was wrong. We called the intervetional radiology department who told us to go into the Damn ER! Yuck!

So, my labs are no different. My WBC is still 18.2 which is high after 3 antibiotics. I’m running another low grade temp too. My platelets are 511 which is high. They did another CT scan to check placement but didn’t touch the actual problem!! The actual drain going inside my body which isn’t working! Does anyone listen? Really hear me?

The answer is no. All that happened in my long night at the ER IS this. More bills for me, everything is “okay” even though the infection is still there. Oh and the infected goo coming around my tube is also “normal”. And unless my temp which happens every day, gets above 101, no one actually cares. So here I am continuing to know that something is wrong but no one knows or actually gives a cheap until I guess I’m much closer to death’s door! Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but I’m beginning to feel that way! 

I’m tough and I’ll get through this, but honestly, what happened to doctors listening to you? My dad is a retired doctor and he’s had it with these doctors taking care of me. He just may have to get involved in order to get me fixed up! I’m okay with that. We shall see what happens tomorrow. One day at a time and still the stupid Norco for the pain. If I didn’t have my husband I’m telling you, I’d be off my Damn rocker by now!

The Normal Life

If I close my eyes, I think of what a wonderful life I’ve been blessed with. You see, the last few months have been unusually difficult. I keep waiting for the storm clouds to disintegrate and the warm, blue, sunny skies of a normal life to take over. I’m beginning to think that day may never get here, or may never arrive at all.

Six months ago, I lost my beautiful, vibrant and brilliant best friend, my mom. She and I had differences from time to time, but what child doesn’t? We always worked them out.

Just after mom died, dad was misdiagnosed with cancer. Luckily for all of us, he had an abscess that looked like cancer. He healed well with antibiotics. When that was through, dad had a very important eye surgery. He is now able to see where he could not before surgery.

And then there is me. I have been sick since March, Easter week to be precise. I’m still sick, but hoping and praying that the end is near. I’m tired. I’m so tired of the pain. I’m tired of just feeling sort of alright. I am tired of my house and relying on others. I’m tired of new problems cropping up. I’m just so tired.

So when I close my eyes, I imagine myself free from pain, free from my house, usually swimming or running or playing like I did as a kid. I see myself able to focus on life for more than 5 minutes. I want to run outside and play with my kids. I want to take my dogs on a walk. I just want to relish my normal life. The same life I took for granted. I will never take it for granted again. That is a promise after this ordeal.

My home is a sanctuary to me, but now it’s become my prison. It’s become the place I wish I wasn’t. I’m trapped. I can’t enjoy my summer because of how I feel. I couldn’t go swimming, my favorite thing to do, because I have a drain in my belly.

The summer will be over and still won’t be back at the job I love because of this, or so I fear. Will I ever heal? I will, eventually. Right now, though, it’s so difficult. I’ll keep my eyes closed and keep dreaming, perhaps. I’ll dream of ordinary and how in love and miss ordinary.
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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig!

Alas, my own bed, my own towels, my own pillows. No IVs, no uncomfortable bed or chairs. But, no more room service, no more call-if-you-need-anything.

Still, I am Home again, Home again, Jiggety jig!

There truly is no place quite exactly as comforting as home. Last night, I slept soundly because I knew that my Hubs was by my side, I knew where everyone who lives in my home was and they were all safe and secure.

So now I’ve had my major abdominal surgery but discovered that I had an area of infection inside me that needed to be drained. That was hospitalization 2 which was Sunday through yesterday.¬†

I now am home with my things of comfort right at me. There is something better than those things though. I have my family here. My husband has been amazing throughout all of this. Anyone who knows him would probably say that they wouldn’t expect anything less from him though. He even went to the pharmacy at 11 PM last night to pick up the medicine for the thrush I now have, thanks to those killer-strong antibiotics! What an amazing man.

My 2 daughters and my son have been at the ready just like my Hubs. They even brought me a small got fudge sundae last night which was so soothing on my side throat. The girls even decided to clean their room. Duh-duh-Dunn… And it’s looking almost inhabitable
again. 

So, as happy as I am to have hospitals around, I sure don’t want to visit another one for a very long time. I want to say a huge thank you too all of the nurses and techs who gave me excellent care, to the fantastic doctors who have me time and the the meds and tests needed to heal, and to the auxiliary staff for all you do each and everyday. Thank you so very much. You are what teamwork should be. You are the faces of the success of your hospital.

The ER, Me, Seriously?

Seriously? I’m back in ER again. This time it’s me. I’m tired of being sick. I want my life back.  I’ve had low grade temps since returning home from the hospital and they just keep getting higher. I’ve had enough.

Last night while feeling absolutely miserable, my temp rose to it’s highest. I can’t tell you how miserable it makes me, but let me tell you, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Chills. Feeling disconnected. Miserable.

I’m thankful for the ER on this Father’s Day and for my love by my side. I’ve had blood cultures drawn, a slew of labs, and a chest XRay done so far. I still have to fill the usual cup of joy. I am getting IV fluids and I’m hooked up to the EKG. Good times abound.

I have the nicest nurse and very attentive doctors so far. My wish is to figure out what is wrong so we can fix this. I know this will pass and that I’m in good hands. Please let it be faster than longer!

A Life Longed For

As the weeks rolled by, Kitty grew tired of just lying around. ¬†She was so sick of this life. ¬†She longed for the healthy days she used to have. ¬†This pain, is this what her life was going to be like from now on? ¬†She knew it wouldn’t be, or so they said, but after 3 longs months, each time she tried to do, or be, anything normal, the pain would come back 10 fold. ¬†So did the low grade temp. ¬†They said to watch out for the temps, but not to worry unless it was over 101.5. It never got that high. ¬†It only got as high as to make her feel miserable. ¬†100.8 degrees. ¬†What the hell was with 100.8?

It had been nearly 2 weeks since the surgery.  She had longed for the surgery because she thought that would take the stupid pain away and she would start to feel better.  She did not anticipate feeling worse for this long.  She knew she would feel worse for a while though.  Whenever there was surgery, and this was a big one, there would be pain, but this pain was pretty much like the pain was before only all the time.  And now she had to contend with the temp and being so tired all the time.  When would she feel better?

Kitty had always been a bundle of energy.  She never slept a whole lot and that was fine.  Now, she slept all the time because being awake and just reading in her bed made her tired. If she was awake for more than 2 or 3 hours, it was nap time again.  When would it ever end?  She wanted desperately to be healthy again and to go back to work.  She longed to feel normal again.

She wasn’t allowed to even lift the 13 pound dog onto the bed. ¬†Poor Pooch was over her weight restriction. ¬†She had to call for help for that. ¬†And Pooch had no clue, he just wanted up to sleep next to her. ¬†The thought of her poor garden being ignored like it was drove her absolutely ballistic. ¬†The thought of sitting outside, her usual favorite place, was out of the question. ¬†It was simply too warm and she would quickly over heat. ¬†So, stuck she was, in her bed or the recliner. ¬†She couldn’t even sit for very long as she always did, “crisscross applesauce” or as she called it, Indian style. ¬†She was miserable.

Where were the people that said they’d be there? ¬†Her friends? ¬†Well, her brother made it home from Europe early. ¬†He was feeling guilty from missing her surgery. ¬†He was so thrilled to see her when he got home. ¬†Her dad came to see her once in the hospital and once since she’d been home. ¬†Her friends next door had been there for her everyday, but now they were gone on vacation. ¬†There were a few visitors in the hospital but since she’d been home, no one except her neighbors and her family.

She felt alone and forgotten. ¬†Didn’t anyone realize how big this was? Didn’t anyone care? It was just a stupid pity party and she realized that too. ¬†She would be fine. ¬†She couldn’t expect more because everyone was busy. ¬†At least her aunts from far away had thought of her. ¬†She loved them so much. ¬†She decided that she just really missed her mom in situations like this. ¬†There was no one like one’s mom when you didn’t feel well and she no longer had her mom here. ¬†She knew her mom was her angel though.

She grew stronger with time.  Each day got a little better.  Each week brought more strength and less tiredness.  By 6 weeks post op, Kitty was ready to face the world and the tears stopped flowing so freely.  Kitty could, at last, return to a normal life.  The life she had not had for so many months now.  The life she had longed for.