Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Extra: The Colonoscopy Update

I had set multiple alarms for 2:00 a.m. to start drinking the 2nd round of prep but when I woke up at 1:15, I got up and started drinking. Let me tell you, it’s much harder to drink that glop in the wee hours on just a few hours of sleep. I sat at the table, watching Netflix, knitting and trying to down all 32 ounces. I was on the last glass when I started gagging and had to stop. I figured that 30 ounces was enough and was worried I’d puke it all up if I tried to drink more. I went back to bed at 3:00 but woke up twice before the alarm went off at 5:15 for obvious reasons. I hopped in the shower and was ready when Helen picked me up before 6:00. I survived the trip to Lincoln and the procedure went just fine. I was completely doped up when the doctor came in but I got that they’ll be cutting out ~6” of my colon. I’m all tattooed on the inside so they’ll know where to cut. Would you have ever thought I’d have a tattoo? The written report said I had severe diverticulitis and that they’d removed a polyp. Donna picked me up at 8:15 and I was home by 9:00 and in bed within minutes. I didn’t stop to take pills or eat. It was all about sleep. I woke up after 1:00 and felt fine. I happily ate a bowl of cheerios, had tea and cookies at 3:00 and ate dinner before heading to knitting. The doctor’s office had called that afternoon and I had an appointment with the surgeon for Wednesday the September 4th. I was just thrilled that it wasn’t bad enough that I was rushed to the hospital. Expecting the worst does have its benefits. And with a colonoscopy to start the week, it can only get better. How’s that for looking on the bright side? : )

Week 34 - Drug Free Week

The week was all about my colonoscopy, which was still a week away. The problem was I had to stop taking my anti-inflammatory a week before the procedure. I cheated (it felt like it anyway) and took one Monday morning, which meant I had no pain on Monday. Just Monday. Good thing there was no swimming this week.

By Tuesday morning, I was stiff stiff stiff. Everything was uncomfortable – from walking to typing. But the good news was after I worked through the pain/stiffness, I limbered up and could keep going without a problem. Tuesday night was our annual water aerobics cookout at Anne’s, which she has during the week we have no classes. It’s always nice to chat with people out of the pool. The food was good, the company better and I left at exactly the right time. Drug free day 1 ended on a high note.

The good news was it wasn’t any worse on Wednesday morning. I had been dreading this week, thinking it’d be worse every day. I was SO happy that wasn’t the case. It was tempered when I stopped at the pharmacy after work to pick up my prep and it was $70 out of pocket, despite the Rx coverage I have. Sheesh! As if the whole process wasn’t bad enough.

I made it through the rest of the week just fine but passed on going to an auction in Iowa with Andrea on Saturday. Between the blazing heat that had set in earlier in the week and most likely having to stand for the duration, I stayed home instead. I did put the time to good use though. I met Darla just after 7:00 for breakfast and then we slogged through an entire room of clothes, filling her truck with bags and taking them to Goodwill. We had grand plans for a movie but were so exhausted that we bailed. Since I'd be fasting Sunday, I went home and made a nice lunch. I spent the rest of the day knitting and watching TV before making a nice supper - my last meal for a couple of days.

I started Sunday getting dressed and heading to the gas station for diet coke in an attempt to ward off a caffeine withdrawal headache. It worked. I got through the day eating just a bit of orange jello, which gave me indigestion so I stopped even that. I started drinking the prep at 5:15, using my fabulous new orange glass, a gift from Darla bought just for the occasion. Unfortunately it didn’t start working until 8:00. This made me worried for the second round I was supposed to start 3 hours before my appointment, which meant 3:30 a.m. But that was clearly not going to be enough time based on round 1 so I went to bed early to grab whatever sleep I could. What a way to end the week. Stay tuned for the colonoscopy update.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 33 - Productive and Cool

It felt like fall this week, with high temps barely making it into the 70’s most days. I LOVED it! I did a lot of mid-week cooking and having the oven on actually felt good. Cool weather is always welcome in my world.

Work was busy in a good way. I dug into a big project that kept me engaged and busy for days but with no pressure. Perfect! The days flew by and other than knitting on Monday and swimming on Tuesday, I went straight home every night. I was in use it up mode with all of the produce I’d gotten from my generous friends – cukes, squash and peppers. I still have sweet corn to use, which was left in my car by my friend’s husband while I shopped at The Warehouse. Most people are trying to get rid of zucchini but in Nebraska it’s sweet corn. Such a problem. : )

This was my last weekend taking my anti-inflammatory because I have to go a week without it before my colonoscopy. With that in mind, I got anything done that required physical activity, figuring I’ll be in a world of hurt by mid-week. I started outside on Saturday morning, weeding the parking (that’s what the strip between the sidewalk and street is called here) while Devin from next door mowed. If he hadn’t been available, I was going to do it myself for the first time this year. Then I planted some fall veggies before heading in for a shower and lunch before starting inside chores. I got the kitchen cleaned up and all the pots and pans from my mid-week cooking binge done and even had time to dye some sock yarn before the day was done. I finished with a nice dinner, a chat with Connie and Django Unchained, which was good but bloody and long. So long that didn’t finish it before heading to bed.

I had lots of options for Sunday and considered picking blackberries but decided instead to head downstairs and reclaim the laundry room. But that got delayed by more cooking – brownies, blueberry cake, sausage and peppers and potato salad. That done, I headed downstairs and got everything organized – the Christmas stuff is back under the stairs, the piles are gone and I even discovered some clothes I forgot I had that I could wear yet this summer. I finished the day watching Masterpiece Theatre and finishing a pair of fingerless mitts for a swap gift.

So it was one of those weekends where I never left the house but got lots done, which was my goal so I can go into the meloxicam free week with most things looking good. The frig is full of food for the week and the chores are done. Good thing I have my close parking spot because I may be using my cane by the end of the week. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 32 - Good Bad Ugly

The Good

Anyone who knows me knows of my love of ditch food. I think it comes from when I was little and my mom would send us out to the field, the wooded lot next to our house, to pick blackberries with the promise of pie for dessert. It would keep us busy for hours, which I’m not so sure wasn’t my mom’s ulterior motive, but we would have the reward of pie after supper and the berries were free for the taking. This lead to a lifelong love of ditch food. From peaches from a lone tree by the side of the road (probably from a discarded pit) to blackberries from the entrance ramp of Route 10 in Providence. I was always on the lookout for wild fruit.

When I moved to Nebraska, the ditch food changed to elderberries, chokecherries and wild plums. I’ve picked enough to make an occasional batch of jelly (none of them make good jam, which I found out the hard way) but was missing the blackberries that grow all over Rhode Island. Well, this week I discovered a blackberry patch in a mile long ditch off the highway between work and home. I wasn’t dressed for picking but found a couple to try and they were yummy. I left with scratches on my ankle and plans to pick more soon. I’ll make some jam and a pie. Happy days!

The Bad

Good thing I had something good this week because I did not get good news at the GI doc. I guess I was expecting to get a “Great job. Keep up the fiber.” Instead the doc came into the room with his thumb and finger an inch apart and said, “You were this close to being like your sister.” He said he saw a bubble on the CT scan, which meant I had a micro-perforation and next time it could be bad. I needed surgery to remove a section of my colon. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was absolutely shocked and after calling my sister, who had a major perforation and emergency surgery that she barely survived, I cried in the parking lot. Then I headed to work and cried some more. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for the 26th and after that I’ll meet with the surgeon. While there’s no part of me that wants surgery, I want another bout of diverticulitis even less. And since it won’t be an emergency, I won’t end up with a colostomy. How’s that for looking for the silver lining?

The Ugly

I mentioned last week that my cat had brought in a baby bunny and it was somewhere in the basement. So I took Wednesday off and dug through the entire basement storage room, which is where Tot dropped the bunny, which scooted under a shelf. I moved everything, including the Corelle shelves, which took some doing. My boss made me a fake baby bunny and gave me one of her famous reused cards to celebrate the find but alas, no bunny. For all I knew, the cats had eaten it.

By the weekend, I was sure I could smell something amiss downstairs and I thought it was coming from under the stairs. I moved all of the Christmas stuff out from under the stairs. Nothing. Then I moved everything in the laundry room, including the washer and dryer. My last ditch effort was my friend Lori’s dog, who came over and sniffed around but didn’t find anything. I had been hoping for some drug dog digging action but no. Lori said she couldn’t smell anything but basement mustiness. After all this, I’m still wondering where the bunny is and if I’m really smelling anything.

So I ended the week with an unsuccessful bunny search and worried about surgery but with blackberries in my future. And the countless offers of help from my family and friends have been amazing. While none of this was in my plan for this fall, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends and hopefully be on the mend soon. I live in hope.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 31 - The County Fair

This was my big week at work – the busiest of my year. I was up at Monday morning at 5:30 running reports from home, was at my desk before 8:00 (shocking!) and ran reports all day long. I worked through lunch and only stopped for bathroom breaks, then stopped home just long enough to grab my knitting and was off to the library. Knitting was fun but by the time I got home, I was spent. All I managed to get done was to pull projects for the fair and fill out my entry tickets. I was hoping for a good night’s sleep but Pixel didn’t come in, which was not normal and so a bit worrisome. When I went to check on her at midnight, she was up on the garage roof – her safe place when she’s running from one of the many neighborhood cats she’s afraid of. Of course, I was outside in my nightie trying to coax her down. I succeeded but lost a bit of sleep so was tired the next morning. 

Tuesday was another full day of prepping for meetings. I walked to Panera for a salad to go at lunch and left right after the 3:30 meeting with the Help Desk staff because I was headed to the fair for my annual volunteering at the 4H veggie check in table. I got there at 5:30 and stayed until 8:00 so it was another long day. 

By Wednesday the week’s non-stop pace, compounded by hot flashes, was beginning to take a toll. I was able to take a lunch and met Darla at the dorms for cafeteria food. Time with Darla is always restorative for me but not enough clearly. When I got an email saying that no one would be getting a parking space across the street (with a BS excuse about waiting for another department to relocate), I teared up. It felt like the last straw and that my 15 years meant nothing, never mind that I was having knee problems so needed the spot. I had a meeting at the Parking Office that distracted me so I made it through the day, leaving promptly at 5:00 to head to the fair to see what ribbons I’d won. I had planned to pop in for 5 minutes then go home and enjoy a nice dinner while watching my new Netflix dvd. Well, after checking my stuff (I won best of lot in every lot I entered – yay!), I saw that Lori had won best in county so I called her and waited for her and Michelle to arrive. They convinced me to stay and have dinner at the fair with them. Stupid! By 7:30, dinner was nowhere in sight and I was exhausted, with my knee twinging with every step. I went home and had cheerios. I should have stuck to my original plan.

Thursday started out stressful with me trying to slam together 5 years of data but, of course, I had problems. I didn’t get it done on time for Mary’s meeting and so beat myself up a bit but once I got over that the day got better. I had a nice lunch with Dodie and was even able to take a knitting break mid-afternoon. With no plans after work, I pulled out some yarn and dyed some for a project Carolyn was planning. She’d asked me to check my sock yarn scraps but I didn’t find any the right color so happily dyed the evening away. Then it started pouring and we got 2” of much needed rain. The day was getting better and better. And the next day was Friday. 

It was another nice day. I was in the home stretch on meeting prep, had a nice lunch with Layton and then stopped for groceries on the way home. Other than some fair obligations, the weekend was my own. Couldn’t wait. 

The weekend was over in a flash. I went to the bag sale on Saturday morning (just one bag but some fun stuff) and then stopped at Andrea’s shop to offload clothes for her before heading home to clean up the kitchen. I got it done and had some dinner before heading back to the fair. I was sitting at the library’s table in the commercial building, which basically means I knitted and talked to people. I sold a few books too. Lorri came at 9:00 and we took down our stuff and loaded it in my car. Just one more fair activity to go. 

With the kitchen all clean, Sunday was going to be a cooking and chores day but other than laundry, I didn’t get much done. I just could not muster the energy so sat and knitted for big chunks of time. At 5:30 I had to go back to the fair for the last time to pick up exhibits – mine, Andrea’s and Lori’s. There was a big line and my arms were loaded down but I got it all and there was no point in us all going. I got $19 in prize money, which will be just enough for a nice dinner out with my fellow knitters. There was more sitting and knitting when I got home but it was all good. Just two more days before fiscal year end is over and I was well rested and ready. That’s something at least.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Week 30 - Storing Up Energy

It was the first week of fiscal year end closing meetings, which is the busiest time of my work year. I did manage to fit some fun in but by the end of the week, the pressure was on.

The week started with Nora working from home with a sick kid. Why would this matter? Because when she’s working from home, the emails and phone calls fly as she slogs through her to do list uninterrupted. This means I spend a lot of time following up on things she’s sent and the day flies by. Not bad for the start of a busy week.

The highlight of the week at work was the 4th Floor Brownie Smackdown on Wednesday, which I coordinated. This was something we’d talked about doing last summer but never got around to and this year it was on. It all started with Layton (my Friday lunch friend from HR) and Beth (SAP security person) boasting that they made the best brownies so the entertainment committee (Lacey and I) decided to put it to the test. We bought a huge tub of vanilla ice cream from The Dairy Store and put out the call for brownies. There were twelve different varieties, which I cut up into 1” squares and everyone got to vote. Beth won but my favorite was my old boss from HR’s – Grandma Fischer’s Firecracker Brownies. They were perfect in my opinion but were not the group’s fave. Oh well. I got the recipe and will be making my own pan soon.

Between lunch with Dodie at Noodles, the brownie smackdown and pedicures with Darla after work, Wednesday was a banner day. The weather had broken too so it was much cooler. I turned off the AC and happily opened up the house. Thursday brought thrift shopping over lunch with Darla and a nice evening at home because I never read the book club book so skipped. Life’s too short to read books you’re not into.

The closing meetings started on Friday so the mad reporting push had begun. After lunch with Layton, I started formatting The Big Spreadsheet, which has every cost center on City Campus and takes hours to prepare. Mary wanted it a week earlier than usual but that worked for me because Friday afternoon flew by.

I didn’t have many plans for the weekend, which worked for me. I was starting the day off Saturday with vet appointments for all five cats. I had 2 shifts – 8:45 and 10:45. I would see who I could catch and bring them whenever. Well, I got Tilde, Tot and Wrennie in the first wave and wisely asked for a sedative for Pie, which I put in some food as soon as I got home and she ate it all. It mellowed her out enough that I was able to get her in the carrier. Pixel was a pill but after a bit of a struggle and a big scratch on my arm, I got her in too. I think this was the first time I’ve ever gotten them all in on the same day, which is great because now their shots are all on the same schedule. After grabbing some lunch, I headed to Dollar General where I had a $5 off $25 and a stack of coupons. I restocked all my cleaning supplies and got them all put away and the house cleaned that afternoon. All in all, it was a good Saturday.

I had big plans for Sunday and the weather was GORGEOUS! Too bad my energy didn’t coincide with the free day and nice weather. I struggled to get anything productive done, only going outside to transplant a single houseplant later in the day and that was only because I felt guilty for wasting the day. But at the end of it, I did do some cooking and figured I could use all the untapped energy for the coming week, which would be a doozie. How’s that for rationalization? : )