Where Did the Summer Go?

Each year as August rolls around, I ask myself this question. It always seems that once we celebrate the Fourth of July in all its glory, the summer flies by. This year is no exception as time marches forward in spite of our wish for it to slow down ever so slightly. 

In just a couple short weeks the college kids will be heading off to school, my second daughter among those headed away for the first time. Just after that, school starts anew for the rest of them and summer 2016 will be one more in the memory books. 

I have to say that for my kids, my husband, and myself, this has not been a great summer. Most of June I spent in and out of the hospital and the month of July was spent still recouperating from my surgery and complications. We didn’t do anything fun or exciting. We didn’t go anywhere or explore any new fun adventures. We stayed home. We bonded, at times, a little too much, but usually just The right amount! The best part was that most of us were together and grew out family bond. That is worth it’s weight in gold, however. 

If it weren’t for my family, I certainly don’t know how I could have managed. My dad, God bless him, even made me an Apple pie, from scratch! I taught him how to make it several months ago and he’s perfected it now. My beloved aunts have sent notes, recipes and even a piece of apple pie back with my dad, just for me. My cousins and one of my aunts came to visit me. I truly am blessed to have such a loving, caring and wonderful family near and far. It’s their love, actions and prayers that have helped me recover from this wretched surgery and infection. 

This is not to say my friends haven’t been there because they have been. But this is to remind us all just how important family is. The apple pie from my aunt was made by my 93 year old aunt. She lives 90 miles away and sent it home with my brother and my 85 year old dad. Family and love conquers all of given a chance. Respecting the elders in my family and caring for them means that even though my mom may no longer be with us, my family picks up the pieces and holds me in their hearts to care for me like she would have when I need her most. This summer I needed her like I’ve never needed her before. Having my aunts call and write to me has meant more than they will ever know. Their love has carried me through when I was missing my mom the most.

I’m doing much better and I have no doubt that I’m the next few weeks I’ll be fully recovered, but I’m still weak and I still have pain. I’ll get there though. Now most days are good days. Now, it’s time to put this summer and this chapter behind me and look forward to brighter days. I will never forget those who have been so kind to me throughout this summer though. It is through God’s grace, family and friend’s care and support that I am recovering and doing so well. It has been a journey I hope never to revisit. My mother always said when you have your health, you have it all. She was so right. 

Now it is time to look forward to one daughter pursuing her dream to become a nurse, one daughter going aeaybfir the first time to study pre-med and sociology then my youngest kids will be starting the school year at home. Number 3, my amazing artist and hilarious child will begin driving this fall, Lord help us! The youngest child, my beard devil, will be in 4th grade already. As we all day as adults, “just where did the time go”? Wasn’t my 20 year old just in preschool last year? 

Time is a strange thing. Not only does it stop for no one, but it also will heal wounds. Just look at me! I’m much better than I was 2 months ago. I bet you thought I was going to say it heals wounds of the heart. That’s a subject for another day. For now, I will look forward to what is left of this summer and the beginning of a brand new school year with brand new adventures to be had. There’s still a little bit of summer left for me to enjoy!

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!

Alone on My Island

For the first time in my life, I find writing daunting to me. I feel as though I’ve been placed upon a desserted island and I’ll never be rescued. It isn’t that the thoughts aren’t in my head as much as it is the sheer effort of putting it into writing at the moment that is my problem.

I honestly would not wish my last month on anyone.  I’m so tired and each time I think I’m making progress, I’m somehow shut down yet again. Complications arise. It will end. I know it will. But just for today, I’d like to be normal again. Just now, my island is filled with pain, loneliness and some boredom. I feel very isolated which is to be expected, but it has been so long.

My Hubs has taken me out for a drive, but I am exhausted after returning, unable to do much of anything only to return to my island. The simplest things seem so difficult and take so much time to  recover from.  I took my first walk down the street. I made it 4 houses and back. I felt completely done. I was lightheaded yet so proud of my accomplishment. The next day, I was useless once again.

This makes me champion for all those who live like this everyday. They make no big deal over living peacefully in this alternate universe of pain and ultimate boredom. They try to keep busy and interested in the world around them. I know I try, but it is so hard sometimes. I’ve shed so many years just wondering if there is an end to this hell. Of I can escape this, my own private island of hell. Ever? For each positive step forward, it seems to take me back 2 sometimes 3. I feel like one of the lost souls on Gilligan’s Island. My problem is that I was shipwrecked alone. I’m trying my best to remain positive. Perhaps this week will bring positive things. This weekend, well, it’s not over yet.

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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Still in Hospital

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Yes, I know you feel neglected. I know that feeling all too well..I promise I’ll be back to drive you mad soon enough. For now, you will just have to look at some old posts.

Please don’t forget me though! I’m just a short time from returning. I just had to fight off a bit of an awful infection first. I’ve a drain in which is terribly terrible but I’ve named him Pablo, to keep my spirits up. I’ll have him about 2 -3 weeks. The site, where my stomach surgery had been 2 weeks before was feeling okay but not like it should, before Pablo.  Now, I’m starting to feel better. At last.

Before Pablo, I was having daily fevers. They weren’t very high fevers, but to this well-seasoned nurse, it was a certain sign that something was amiss and it was most certainly, an infection.

Thank God, for such wonderful inventions and all that we have! I had a CT scan and just like that the infection was found. Now, the not so jolly part. The healing…
It just takes time but it is hard to write while mending. I will be back! Try to keep me back! Until then, my love to you my sweet followers, and to new friends.

Still in Hospital

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Yes, I know you feel neglected. I know that feeling all too well..I promise I’ll be back to drive you mad soon enough. For now, you will just have to look at some old posts.

Please don’t forget me though! I’m just a short time from returning. I just had to fight off a bit of an awful infection first. I’ve a drain in which is terribly terrible but I’ve named him Pablo, to keep my spirits up. I’ll have him about 2 -3 weeks. The site, where my stomach surgery had been 2 weeks before was feeling okay but not like it should, before Pablo.  Now, I’m starting to feel better. At last.

Before Pablo, I was having daily fevers. They weren’t very high fevers, but to this well-seasoned nurse, it was a certain sign that something was amiss and it was most certainly, an infection.

Thank God, for such wonderful inventions and all that we have! I had a CT scan and just like that the infection was found. Now, the not so jolly part. The healing…
It just takes time but it is hard to write while mending. I will be back! Try to keep me back! Until then, my love to you my sweet followers, and to new friends.

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!