Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Needing some prayers

I got called to Iowa City on Sunday afternoon - my mom's had a second anuerysm... a bleed in the brain. She had one 23 years ago when she was 50... they went in and did brain surgery and clipped it. Apparantly the clip worked, but another anuerysm formed at the same location. She didn't want to go to the hospital, but my brothers picked her up and drove her there anyway.

They flew her from the Cedar Rapids hospital to the one in Iowa City and she's been here ever since. She had a horrific headache but recognized us and responded a little, but was a little confused and kept thinking she was at home and then she was mad when she realized that she was at the hospital ... more mad I think because she didn't know where she was than that she was there. The doctors felt that she couldn't withstand brain surgery with the clip and the steel plate already in place and being 73 now... so they wanted to go in with a catheter and put coils in to seal the blood vessel that was bleeding from the inside.

My sister and I spent the night in case things went from bad to worse and they needed emergency signature because the pressure inside her brain was building and they wanted someone available in case they needed to put in a drain. I went in when they wanted to pull some blood - as I know sometimes they have trouble finding veins. I made sure to stick up and told the nurse she only gets two tries (and it took the second try)... but that's mom's policy - they only get to stick her twice and if they don't get it on the second try - they have to go get someone better at it. So since I wasn't sure she'd speak up for herself, so I did.

On Monday morning, they rushed us in to do that very thing at around 7:30 am. The pressure had built up and mom didn't recognize either Cindy nor me... and she didn't know what was going on nor responding when you tried to talk to her. They put the drain in around 8:30 and the original plan was to immediately take her over to put the coils in, but they ended up delaying that until almost 3:30 pm. It was 7 pm last night before we could see her. She can move both legs and arms, although they've got her pretty well strapped down as she's not aware of where she is and keeps trying to pull the tubes out. She can't sit up because of the drain - even though she keeps trying. Today, it seems like she recognizes us - but it's hard to tell. She just keeps saying "yah, yah" no matter what you ask her - or she'll try to repeat what you say. But she's not "following orders" so if you ask her to move her thumb or grasp your hands or look at you - she's not doing it on command. They said that the next three weeks will probably be pretty hard as she may have some better days and some worse.

She's in the Surgery ICU department and it's now day three. I was hoping that she'd be moved out of ICU back into the nuerology ward tonight - but it seems like they're worried about her. She's still pretty confused. They took her back in for another CT scan this afternoon.... but haven't given us any news. We're hoping that means that she's not worse at least. While they were in repairing the second anuerysm yesterday, they found a third. This one hasn't burst yet nor bleed... but will need to be repaired soon... so they're thinking now that they'll schedule another catheter procedure next week.

We're all just trying to stay strong for her. She's a tough bird and I'm sure she'll be fine. I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to hear her curse out the nurses for something as she usually will.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A meme from Phil

Can you cook? Yes, have a couple of recipes that are my favorite
What was your dream growing up? to be a teacher (done that) and own my own bookstore
What talent do you wish you had? To speak another language fluently
Favorite place? a hot tub in a sunny room in winter
Favorite vegetable? this is tough - I like a ton of them - I guess green beans
What was the last book you read? a romance novel
What zodiac sign are you? Cancer
Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Both ears are pierced - but grown shut finally... since I'm allergic to solder that's used in making most ear rings, they never quite healed right
Worst Habit? being messy
What is your favorite sport? baseball (but only live and cheap)

Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude? more realistic
What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator? call up some friends/family
Worst thing to ever happen to you? tie between getting stabbed (very small wound) and having a gun pointed at my head because my ex-husband owed his drug dealer money
Tell me one weird fact about you. I sleep with the tv on - drowns out "whispers" and "bumps in the night"
Do you have any pets? yes - just the one cat right now, although I wish I had time & money for a dog, a fish tank and parakeets
Do you know how to do the Macarena? I used to, but don't remember it any more
What time is it where you are now? 8:14 pm - dish washer is running, clothes washer & dryer are running & "a" is watching "Sharkboy & Lavagirl" for the upteempth time this week
Do you think clowns are cute or scary? lame
If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be? the shape of my face
What color eyes do you have? Blue
Ever been arrested? No
Bottle or Draft? neither, prefer shots
If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it? pay bills
What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew? don't bother with bubble gum
What's your favorite bar to hang at? lately? Mickey's in Rochester MN
Do you believe in ghosts? do now
Favorite thing to do in your spare time? watch movies
Do you swear a lot? depends on my stress levels, try not to, and tend to use euphenisms, but then there are times where a curse is required
Biggest pet peeve? idiots

In one word, how would you describe yourself? smart
what kind of pie do you like the very best? pumpkin
Out of all "real jobs" in the world, what would be your dream job? "rich man's wife"
If you could live in any other city, which one would it be? anywhere but here, preferably somewhere warmer and not as "dirty" as Des Moines

pics from mayo

No names for sake of confidentiallity.

L, me, D & A and "Bridgette" the souped up walker.

L is about my age, from northern MN, mother of two teenagers, awesome friend - she's been suffering from daily migraines for years.

D is 78 and is from Minneapolis - and has severe fibromyalgia - although the true superhero/miracle of the group. She had spent several months before coming practically bed-ridden. Spent her first day half in a wheel-chair, half laying down in pain. Spent the following weekend in bed exhausted. Spent her next day at the clinic using the walker all day long and trying to take "bigger steps" instead of inching along... and then within two more days she was leaving the walker behind and within three more days was taking the stairs! How awesome is she?

A is 23, from Jacksonville, FL, and going back to college to start her masters degree. She's been suffering with back problems, but she's now well enough to start ballroom dancing again.

"a" with his new glasses

and yes, they almost always end up at the end of his nose...

Boredom pics while "A" was in the hospital

This is when he had carbon monoxide poisoning; and we were getting restless and snapped a few pics....

Trip to Cedar Rapids ... only one good pic

Trev & his girls...

Late pics

Lot's of "a" pics to share... these are all from xmas, all at Grandma's house.

Not sure I agree totally - but it's fun anyway.

You Are Super Spicy

You're a little bit crazy, a little bit naughty, and a whole lot of sexy.
You go beyond hot - you set people's senses on fire!

Monday, March 19, 2007

About Jon

OK - so, a little about the guy I've met.

We met at a bar - original, right? I went in, ordered a shot of jack and a pepsi - and he made a joke - so I smiled. Then I went over and played a couple of games of pool by myself (thought I would play with others, but no one else was interested in playing). Then I played a few video games... then I went back to the bar to try to "strike up" a conversation with someone, anyone... as I was sick of being by myself spending way too much time at the hotel bored.

Two guys made a little bit of conversation - not too much - and I was just polite but not overly encouraging. I wanted to talk to someone - but these guys were pretty wasted and seemed to be on their way out the door. Then Jon asked if I was up to a conversation... and scooted over to talk. He said he knew I wasn't local to Rochester because when he cracked the joke earlier I didn't give him the brush-off. He said that all the locals are pretty clique-y and don't talk to someone they don't know.

We talked for probably about three hours at the bar... and he bought me a couple of drinks which I sipped as I usually do. Surfer's on acid, as I didn't want to get too tired and certainly didn't need any more jack as I didn't need to get drunk.

He's the youngest of a pretty big family, lived in small-town Minnesota, raised a lutheran, smart and funny. He's probably not even an inch taller than I am, and a little overweight - but built really solid. There isn't a spot on him that you could "pinch". He's blond with awesome blue eyes - although he's got a bit of a bald spot. Cute, but kind of dorky-cute. Oh, and he has these awesome powerful bisceps and shoulders! Very, very nice. I've always been a sucker for a strong guy. We actually have quite a bit of things in common which I was suprised to find out. He's kind and patient, probably drinks a little too much (but mostly just out of boredom from living alone), but is funny and sweet and we've talked for hours on end.

We ended up going out EVERY night from the night we met until my last night in town - he wanted to make sure that I got to see some of Rochester and didn't want me to have to spend another second than I had to at the hotel - how sweet. And he certainly did grow on me, more than I thought he would. I figured that it wasn't worth trying to have a long-term relationship, so I told him right from the start that I was heading home in four days - that I wasn't looking for a relationship at all, let alone a long-term one... so it was going to be whatever it ended up being. He was ok with that - until it was time to end anyway. While he's no Jeremy in bed - he's by far the best I've had in several years. Let's just say that the first time we were together - the clock advanced about five hours and I lost count of climaxes... so, of course, I'm definitely in-lust, but didn't think it would go past my stay.

He's full of b.s., but he spends the whole time he's with me telling me how happy he is that he's with me, how beautiful and sexy he finds me and all the other compliments that I know are full of sh*t, but also make me feel incredibly good. The last night we were together he spent several hours just cuddling with me and not wanting to leave - but we both had to be up and at work/clinic by 8 am... so he finally just left. And amazingly, it bothered me to end things. Who woulda thunk that I could care that much in that short of time? So, I'm figuring that I'm at least in-like as well as in-lust... and that to be perfectly honest, that he's the kind of guy I've been hoping to find this whole time and is someone that I could potentially fall in love with, if I would just let myself.

So, I called him up the day after I got home and I told him what I was thinking. He's already offered to move to Des Moines if things work out - but I won't let him even consider it for another six months so we have a better chance to get to know each other long before we consider something like that. Its not that I'm tied to Des Moines as much as my employer and there may come a time where I could potentially work from home. But, I certainly don't really like living in Iowa as it is, let alone move further north to Minnesota to where the winters are worse. And he's ok with that. He's just insisting that I not plan a long-term future in a place like Florida or Arizona where it's way too hot all the time. I'm good with that compromise - not too hot not too cold and it's the distant "maybe" future anyway.

Then I spent last weekend having doubts about even trying a long-distance relationship. God knows, they haven't ever worked for me in the past. But, he's pretty adamant that he'll do whatever it takes to make things work, and I'm just not ready to say good-bye I guess. So, I'm going to acknowledge my fear - and I've talked to him about it... and now I'm going to dive in head first. So we are now officially boyfriend/girlfriend and mutually exclusive. How's that for diving in head first?

He was planning on coming down this weekend. But, his best friend Michelle (an RN at Mayo) needs emergency babysitting as her husband is in trouble, and she works evenings/weekends. So he's baby sitting for sure tonight and Wednesday night. He's hoping she'll find someone else to cover for the weekend - but since it's short notice and neither she nor her husband have a lot of family in the area, it's not likely. So, he's asked that Alex & I drive up and help him babysit her two boys. So, it should be a pretty fun weekend. Totally sucks that we live three hours apart - but it's not like it's a 1000 miles and it's not like it's going to be like this forever.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm home! - too much to say, too little time

Wow - it's been a really hectic last few weeks - and I've got so many updates, I don't even know where to start. I'll start with what I assume is your first question - how am I?

I am feeling FANTASTIC. I've been exercising, doing yoga, biofeedback, strength training, and pretty much have a totally new attitude about everything. I feel strong and healthy and capable - which is pretty big for me since all of this started.

My pain levels have been at a 0 or 1 - where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst imaginable pain. I'm not taking any pain killers any more - and not nearly as tired, and groggy as I was. My depression level is at a 15 which is 5 points below "clinically depressed" and 30 points below "severely depressed". I started at 45 - so it's a really dramatic improvement.

Although my physical gains are probably not so obvious for friends who work out on a daily basis. Remember that three weeks ago I was spending 12 hours a day sleeping... and only walking for about 10-15 minutes twice a day. And no additional exercise at all. I am now lifting between 9-10 pounds, able to do a complete route with the stretching and strengthening program, and am up to 20 minutes of aerobic walking. It may not seem like much - but the difference between starting at nothing and how far I've gone in only three weeks - it's pretty great.

I got home last night around 7:30 pm - so I got some of the car carried upstairs, and some trash carried out - and some housework completed. I didn't stay up really late trying to "do it all" which is something that I would have done before I went through this program - and then would have really struggled today. Instead, I did "enough" that I could see improvement - and then let myself relax and do some "deep breathing" and "imagery" to really relax before going to bed.

Other news - I met someone. I thought it was just going to be for the weekend - we met Saturday night. But, we ended up going out Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night - of course, he has to live in Rochester which is a good three hour drive from Des Moines. But, it was really, really hard to say good bye to him when the time came. I think he's really cute in a dorky kind of way, and super, super kind & considerate, and sweet. He wanted me to call him when I got home so he wouldn't worry about me being on the road and having something happen. Then we talked for about three hours. He admitted that he didn't want to say good bye either - and he knew that by walking away from the relationship he thought he was hurting me and he didn't want to do that, but thought it was best... until he did it. I just figured that when it ended, that it would end and that it wouldn't really bother me to say good bye, but it did.

So, we're going to try to have a long distance relationship. He's willing to consider moving to Des Moines - but I'm not going to let him make that decision until we've dated for several months - just to make sure that there really are true feelings here and we're just not getting carried away. Too be honest, other than having an awesome job, I'm not really tied to Des Moines. If I could work from home, I could probably work just about anywhere - however, I really don't want to live in Rochester either... so I figure that we should just take it easy and slow - try to see each other every other weekend or so... and see how things go. If we grow closer, that means one thing, if we grow apart, then neither of us needs to make dramatic changes for something that isn't going to work.

His name is Jon, he's three years younger than I am, he works as a heating & air guy (which means he really probably could work anywhere - or so he says)... and since now is a slow time in Rochester, he's working as a maintenance guy at a company that manages tons of rental properties doing remodeling and service calls. He says he could just sit around and wait for work like a lot of his co-workers, but he'd rather stay busy during the day and enjoys doing the remodeling and getting around and just keeping busy. He grew up in a large family in a small town in Minnesota and has a silly bit of an accent that is close to a Canadian accent. I made him say "oh, yeah, you betcha, eh" a couple of times just so I could crack up.

Last night we talked so long, I almost fell asleep just enjoying the conversation... so I'm kind of tied up with lots of thoughts about him instead of the work I'm supposed to be doing - you know?

I pick up "a" on Saturday and we'll spend Sunday off visiting "A"... I miss them both pretty terribly. "a" has cried each time I've called the last couple of times. He didn't want to talk to me, he just wanted to go home. I figured he was pretty tired and I'm sure that he was doing fine otherwise, but it still broke my heart to hear him begging to go home. "A" has a new job... working for the father of his current girlfriend. She's only 15. I'm begging him for the love of god, please don't have sex with her. All he'd have to do is piss off her father and get into a terrible amount of trouble that he really doesn't need. All I can do is warn him - and I've convinced myself not to worry about it any more. There's nothing else I can do ... as I have no control.

My mom is still struggling terribly with pain and spends her days mostly in bed thanks to the Fibromyalgia. I'd love to tie her up and drag her to the clinic I just came back from - but to be honest, it's not something that's going to help if she doesn't want it to.

My step-dad is doing a bit better - but his heart-rate is still too low, at least it's steady - but really, dangerously low. He's lost 40 pounds in the past five months, but I don't think his cholesterol has dropped enough to qualify for a pace maker. They did run a procedure on Tuesday, and he seems to be doing well.... but he's really struggling with not feeling well, and keeps wanting to "do too much". He and mom are really having a tough time dealing with their emotions and health issues. Part of me really hates the fact that I live too far away to be of great help - but I guess a little bit is relieved so I can focus on my own recovery right now.

Jon is planning on coming out to Des Moines next weekend - he wants to meet the boys and spend some time with me. I told him I'd round up a babysitter for Saturday night so we can go out - and he sounded like he was almost disappointed - like he'd just rather hang around together for a while... we'll see, I'd hate to introduce "a" to someone who might not be a long-term relationship... you know?

I made a ton of new friends at the clinic, it was really hard leaving knowing that I might never see some of the again - although we did talk about trying to visit each other sometime in the future. Easier said than done - but they were all wonderful and supportive friends and spending day after day in close proximity like that does make you closer than you might otherwise be.

Anyway - enough novel... I've got to get some work done.