Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another line in the saga........

For those of you who are tired of hearing about my breathing, just stop here. Don't read any further. Its really the same old thing. Only more.

The past week I had been having trouble breathing again. AGAIN! The stent had been in since Dec 17th.... then the whole sedation thing.... yada yada yada....and so I had been doing pretty well. Last weekend got really bad. I just stayed in the house and breathed slowly. I made an appointment for my doctor to see me Monday morning. He was going to do a broncoscopy and see what the heck was going on. Apparently, there was a piece of tissue growing over my airway, right by my vocal chords. If you heard me talking around this time frame, you would understand right away. Sometimes, no sound came out at all!

He finished the broncoscopy and said, "We're headed to surgery!" It wasn't that it was an emergency surgery or anything - it's that his wife was going to have a baby the next day and he was going to be gone for a week and a half and he knew I couldn't/shouldn't wait that long. So, without even getting dressed, they wheeled me to pre-op, got me ready, and in we went. He removed that stinking piece of tissue, and sure enough, the stent was moving up and down. Every time I coughed, it irritated that little area by my vocal chords and as a defense mechanism, it started growing tissue. So what's a doctor to do? Take out the stent. Oh my living word! All this to have the stent removed? He said that the tissue underneath the stent looked really good. We have hopes that we won't have to put another one in (I mean we have HIGH hopes on that one) and maybe, just maybe my treachea will stop growing shut all the stinking time.

I left that early evening, came home and went to work the next day. I feel great - my voice has returned and I'm breathing is terrific. Wow - who knew breathing could be so difficult?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Note to self.....

No matter how good they look in your dark bedroom in the morning, navy socks just are ugly with black pants. Seriously.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

60# and $9.99

This picture actually tells two stories.

First - As of today, I have lost 60#. I am just amazed. I love how I feel. I am going through clothes like crazy. I go to Salvation Army once in awhile to get clothes because it just doesn't make sense to spend too much money on clothes when they aren't going to be around for long. I take my "used" ones to the Salvation Army also. Its pretty cool what you can pick up there.

This brings me to the second reason for the picture. My boss gave me a gift certificate to one of the malls close to me. I was pretty excited because I wanted to get a few nice tops. I went in to Coldwater Creek (my all time fave) and found this great red jacket/top. It was originally $79.99 on sale for $29.99. It was really a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was a treat so I took it. When the clerk scanned it, it rang up at $9.99 and we both just laughed. She said "It was meant to be, wasn't it!" I agreed - wearing this new top to church today was great! What a bargain!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ocean City

Jay and I decided to go to Ocean City, MD. It is about a 3 hour drive from here and it was time for Jay to have a little time off. He has been working so hard and has spent so much time taking care of me these last six months. He just needed to get away from the city and spend some time doing nothing. Ocean City is very much a touristy place in the summertime - but during the winter, it is pretty well deserted and quiet. It was so nice.

I loved how the sand dunes looked. Standing there listening to the ocean and looking at the beauty - well, I could spend all day doing that!

This one area that we went to had wild horses. Do you remember reading the book Chincotee Island when you were little? About the Chincotee horses? Well this was very close to that place and there were horses just wandering around doing their own thing. You were supposed to stay away from them, but they appeared pretty tame.

I love how the sand looks here.

This was the boardwalk (like in Monopoly). There were lots of little stores and vendors along here. About 75% of the places were closed because of the season - but it was a nice walk and it was fun to browse the shops that were open.

This is a picture of our Condo. Now when I think of condo, I have a much different idea. This was more like a motel - but it was nice and clean. One of the men in Jay's small group owns this condo and let us stay there - which made it even nicer.

This was the area that we walked to the beach. I love the boardwalks - it just felt "cool" walking on them.

You can see how deserted the beaches were. We literally were the only ones there. If you look really hard, you can see me WAY down the beach just walking along.

Did I mention that it was cold? Yep - it was cold. But so nice to get away and enjoy some time out of the city. The ocean was beautiful!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brain Update

You know what? I think that my brain is still functioning! That's a great sign of progress! I worked four hours on Monday and four hours on Tuesday. When I got to work on Monday morning, the first thing I had to work on was a United Way Application. I downloaded an Adobe file and they of course don't let you make changes unless you have specific software. I was clicking away trying to make changes and got so frustrated that by the time my boss got in to work, I was sitting at my computer crying. Poor guy. He asked what was wrong (He had been brief by Jay ahead of time that I might be a little "slow") and I told him. He reminded me that adobe files can't be changed and that it wasn't my brain but rather the program that I was working with.

I worked too many hours today - but I do feel good about it. I'm pretty much back in the swing of things - I can drive now again and I'm able to do pretty much everything I could do before. I'm finally out of my drug haze!

I did talk to Josh and we compared notes. He remembers very specifically being frustrated trying to carry on a conversation with people who would visit and finally just wanting to fall asleep because it was so hard to stay focused. I reminded him that his attention span was short and in fact, I have re-read a lot of the journal entries that were made in Caring Bridge and that was one fact that was brought up several times. He remembers that and remembers that it was hard to concentrate on much of anything for a long period of time.

We went to Wednesday night services last night at church. He asked if anybody had anything to share. I stood and told everyone that it was the most amazing thing to me how God just cares for us, even when we don't know that we are being cared for. He put the right doctors in front of me when I needed them and had them place me in the right state of "being" to keep me safe. He cared for Jay when he was afraid for me. He kept me peaceful when I could have been shaken. He knitted me back together and healed me from the inside out. Even though its been a long process - I've been cared for by my Maker.

Remember when I said that I missed out on Christmas? I didn't. My Lord and Savior was there for me on Christmas morning - the birth of baby Jesus was for me. I was being loved and healed on Christmas morning. I didn't miss out on one single thing.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Understanding how Josh must have felt

I believe that I might now have a little insight into how Josh must have felt as he was trying to weave his way out of his "drug haze" he was in after his accident. We all noticed changes in his personality and he had a certain glaze in his eyes that we just couldn't see through. I do not remember the exact number of days that they kept him sedated, but I know that he was on pain medication much stronger and much longer than I was.

This past week has been very frustrating, to say the least. Every day I have felt physically stronger, to a degree. But, I have not felt much stronger mentally. I have had trouble putting thought processes together and I have had trouble being logical. I could watch a movie ok - but reading took quite a bit of concentration and it never would last long. I had trouble forming typed sentences. Jay took me out for dinner after my doctor's appointment on Friday and I wasn't able to make a decision whether to cross the street or not. I couldn't tell if it was safe. I just held on 'cause I knew Jay would make the correct decision. It took me time to process thoughts for a conversation. Saturday, we went to the mall to pick up a few things and to get me out of the apartment. Jay ended up handing me a sack, telling me to stand still, don't move and he would return in a few minutes after he went inside a store. He had to almost treat me like a little girl, telling me exactly every detail for me to undetstand. I knew it was happening - I just couldn't do anything about it.

I am also having problems with depth perception. I can't tell if I need to take a step up or down. Stairs are kinda tricky. My eyesight is a little fuzzy too.

My doctor said this is all due to being sedated for four days, for only being out of the hospital for a week and for being on such strong antibiotics. Today was my last antibiotic - so I am hoping to see some progress tomorrow.

Its just an odd feeling. I know my thought processes aren't crisp - I'm not being lulled into a false sense of security or anything - but I can't make things better. He said in time things will clear up.

All this leads me to my topic: I believe I see a little more into how Josh much have felt after he was coming out of his surgeries etc. How frustrating it must have been for him! True - he had a massive head injury that I didn't have but that only compounds the issues for him. He had to deal with strong antibiotics, pain killers, injuries etc. and it must have been very frustrating for him to know that he was fuzzy and not able to do much about it. To top it all off, we were not understanding why he was the way he was.

I'm going to try to go back into work tomorrow for part of a day. I can't imagine what my e-mails must look like. I just need to gradually try to re-focus my brain and try to regain some thought strength.

I've just been thinking all day today about Josh. I'm going to call him a little later on and see how much of this part of the process he remembers. Its a very interesting set of circumstances to be in the middle of. Lets just say, I"m not ready to discuss anything with much meat to it right now. The time it took me to type this blog is about as long as my attention span goes! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I slept through Christmas

To say that this was a memorble Christmas would be an understatement - in a way. It was certainly memorable - I just don't remember it. Doing this blog today is a kind of therapy I guess. I'm trying to get back a few motor skills as well as putting together a few pieces of the story.

The Saturday evening before Christmas, the 22nd of December, I started having trouble breathing. My new stent had been in a few days and I had really been coughing a lot. I mean - a LOT. I won't go into descriptions, but its the kind of stuff that lab people look and go "OHHHH.....". I told Jay I was having issues so I paged my pulmonologist. He didn't answer his page which really was no surprise because I knew he was taking the week off. So, we loaded up into the car and headed to the hospital where my stent had been placed. I figured I would find somebody there who would know what was going on. After filling out the paperwork and sitting down to wait, somebody must have taken a look at what was going on and they quickly escorted me back to a triage area. Before I knew it, I was back in an emergency room and they were numbing up my throat to do a broncoscopy to see what was going on. I wasn't sure this was a good idea - but I"m just a rookie so what was I to say. The next thing I remember after that, it was the following Wednesday morning, the day after Christmas and I was waking up in ICU with a bunch of tubes down my throat.

Jay helped me fill in the blanks. They started to do the broncoscopy but it wouldn't go down because my throat was too small. Then they started to try to run the tube down through my mouth and I was gagging etc. I'm really glad I don't remember this. They soon realized they were in "over their head" and wisked me away on a gurney to ICU. Jay I made some comment in the elevator about this being just like Grey's Anatomy. Cute.

They finally got in touch with my pulmonologist early Sunday morning. He came in and saw that the stent was indeed still in place but that there was some "gunk" covering it making it hard for me to breathe. Upon further analysis, they found out I had MRSA and pneumonia. They kept me sedated through Sunday, Monday and Tuesday so that it gave my throat a chance to heal and the swelling to go down. They were feeding me through a tube into my stomach and breathing for me through a tube into my lungs. I was apparently out of it. Jay would show up several times a day but they just told him that there wasn't any need for him to hang around 'cause I wasn't going to wake up until they wanted me to. Well, Wednesday afternoon they wanted me to and when I found out that he wasn't there and that I had slept through Christmas, I cried. They called him right away. I couldn't talk because of the tubes going down my throat but they had this handy dandy little thing that you could point to the letters of the alphabet and spell things out. The first thing I spelled? Poop. Yep. Poop. I had to poop. :)

It was really hard to find the correct letters - it wasn't like a keyboard. The letters were in order of the alphabet so I was confused. And Q's looked like O's. My brain was/is very foggy. I had a hard time making sense of things. The other thing was is that they kept checking my blood sugar. Apparently they didn't have much experience with gastric bypass and since they were feeding my carbs directly into my pouch, my body handles things differently. It sends out insulin rapidly so they were getting all sorts of screwey readings and they thought I was diabetic. They kept asking me how long I had been diabetic. I didn't know the answer! I was pretty sure I never had been. At least, I was pretty sure.

Eventually, they transferred me out of ICU onto the floor and finally was released a week later on a Saturday morning. I needed to get home. They said I was the healthiest one there. I needed out.

I"ve needed to do things like try to read and focus and type to get my brain to react properly. I've had to try to unscrew lids off of things because my motor skills are shot. I've had to start pumping in protein instead of carbs and get the water flowing again. I've taken pills and antibiotics and sleep. Finally today, I feel alittle more like normal - closer anyway. This has really been an adventure. I'm not diabetic - I remember now. I take nebulizer treatments four times a day to keep my airway moist - and I just allow myself time to heal.

The one thing I know - is that I really missed Christmas. Jay kept the tree and lights up and he turned on Christmas Carols when I got home. We opened up gifts Saturday evening after Christmas and I'm finally able to feel like I've had enough of Christmas.

Yes - it was a memorable Christmas - one that I slept through.