Monday, June 4, 2012

It all went okay

Thank you, everyone, who left comments or messaged me directly. It did make me feel better knowing that I have a wonderful group of sympathetic friends. Friday's procedure went just fine. One thing that surprised me the most was the number of people involved; so many that I'm already cringing to see what the bill will look like. I came in contact that day with no less than 10 Sparrow employees.

The anesthesiologist & his assistant were great at calming my fears about not waking up at all or waking up early.

Chuck tried a joke on the nurse that did not go over well at all. After taking my vital signs, the nurse interviewed me to determine whether I had a declared a durable power of attorney and asked me what I thought I was there for that day. I told her, "Well, I like to think of it as 'The Big Scrape'." For the record, she didn't seem to like that answer; so, I quickly replied, "I'm here for a polypectomy, hysteroscopy, and a D & C." After that answer, she said that she was impressed that I was able to tell her the correct terms and that I covered the gamut of what was planned. Chuck then asked whether we should have brought a Sharpie with us to mark me with so that I don't have to worry about waking and finding that my knee had been scoped or arm amputated. The look she gave him was classic. Icy, at best. Oh, Chuck, one would think that he truly enjoys the taste of his own foot!

The last things I remember before the operation was the anesthesiologist putting a shot of something "to calm my nerves" and being wheeled to the operating room. I woke in the recovery room and Chuck joined me there shortly after. Three hours had passed.

I was so out of it and was thankful that the ob/gyn talked with Chuck when she was done with me and gave him my prescriptions, weekend resting instructions, and a nifty picture of my polyp from the hysteroscopy. I'll post it as soon as I can because I do think it's neat.

The only side effects that I've had have been the worst hang-over headache and certain bathroom issues. As for resting up during the weekend: I tried. I really did. I got caught up on a bunch of shows that were on the DVR, went to the movies with Sylvain to see "The Chernobyl Diaries", and watched "Coriolanus" and the US version of "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo." I don't know if it was the medication or what, but I really wasn't into any of these films. "Diaries" went just as expected, and in a way, I felt like it was a ripoff of C.H.U.D.D. "Coriolanus" was one of those movies where you need to really pay attention since the dialog is still in the original Shakespeare. It isn't for everyone and I'm still digesting it. As for "Girl", I never really felt as though the Swedish version needed to be remade. If I hadn't seen the Swedish version, I likely would have enjoyed this one more, but since I have seen both, I came away from the American one thinking that it looked a little too polished. Does anyone know if the other two Millennium movies are in the works?

So Sunday, I taped many hours (5? 7?) of the BBC America coverage of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee. I ended up needing to go in to work -- my study area in Alpena ended up having three days of rain, which was just the sort of condition I've been waiting for. The part that really sucks about it is that the drive is a solid four hours away, so there really isn't a 'quick drive up'. To make the work day go smoothly, I talked my student into coming into the office for an hour on Sunday to help me pack our equipment, then to do all of our driving that evening. Thankfully, my student is easy going and had no plans. (Paying her in additional vacation time also helps.)

Yes, I've been taking it easy and let my student and another of our coworkers do most of the heavy lifting. I'll just move a little slower this week and hope that I don't cause myself more harm than good.

Now, if I could get in to urgent care when I get home to look at my thumb -- I may have dislocated it a couple of weeks ago and it's still acting up...

Friday, June 1, 2012

And then I completely spaz out...

I'm doing a terrible job keeping up with my blog posts.  I have several posts saved as drafts; I seemed to have lost my writing verve.  Anyway, I thought that tonight of all nights, I should check-in and give an update.

On the knitting front:
I'm currently working on Sharon Winsauer's Dragon of Happiness stole.  I made it to row 130-something before realizing that I've committed two disastrous mistakes -- even though I *thought* I was keeping careful track of progress row to row.  By the end of Monday, I was convinced to stop knitting and frog back.  [If you think you're smug enough to mention life-line bullshit to me, consider yourself warned that I won't stand for it.]  I'm not a fan of just plain ripping out and starting over.  Picking up lace stitches sucks. And now that I'm looking at what I've knit so far, I'm quickly becoming critical of what I've knit so far.

I'll be sure to take a picture to post before completely reducing the project back to a ball.

On the work front:
I'm busier than ever and am traveling more than ever, though the vast majority of it is within Michigan and Ohio.  Some of my draft posts have been about my little adventures and I'll hopefully have time to this weekend to publish some of those while I'm recovering from....

On the health front:
...."routine, out-patient" surgery that I'm having done tomorrow.  [Note:  men folk, this is where you might be more comfortable in not reading any further.] [This means you, Mark.]

It all started like this:  over the past year, I've been having periods that are reminiscent in misery to when I was a 13 year old. Crampy. Disgustingly heavy. Uncomfortable and irritable for a week (at least).  It got so bad that while I was attending a meeting in Minneapolis in October, I needed head to the restroom to take care of business several times in the morning alone that a coworker asked me if I was okay.  He happened to take notice when a bottle of Imodium tumbled out of my purse (I travel with a whole cache of various remedies); I led him on to think that I was having horrific diarrhea rather than an out of control period.  Not only has this monthly condition been travel-unfriendly, it's particularly uncomfortable when I'm in the office since I work predominantly around men.

My personal physician thought that maybe I had fibroids and she recommended me to have ultrasounds and some blood tests (note the plural) done.  This was all going on during the debate over making transvaginal ultrasounds mandatory prior to abortions, so I got to experience firsthand what some of the hub bub was all about.  I had this done at Sparrow, the local hospital, and found the whole evening incredibly hard to take -- for the blood tests, I couldn't eat for half a day leading up to the blood draw (and watched as one of the lab technicians cut into a delicious looking chocolate cake that was in their breakroom that was directly across from me as another technician was turning me into a walking pin cushion); for the ultrasounds, I needed to drink a liter or so of water in the hour leading up to the imaging.  As you can imagine, I warned the technician that any fast moves on her part was going to result in me peeing all over her.  Thankfully, she did the pelvic ultrasound and allowed me to relieve myself before the transV one.  I was able to see the monitor as the technician was snapping off photos, which was good because I was able to take my mind off of the probe she was jabbing through me.  During one of the takes, a bright circular object came on screen.  "Hmph...Are you using and IUD?," the tech asked me as she saved the image.

"Um, no.  Hey, what is that?," I replied as I craned my neck further to get a better look at the screen, which wasn't easy to do because I was trying to keep everything below my waist planted in place.

"Oh," <*sigh*> "I don't know."  Thanks, lady.  Thanks for a vote of confidence!

I followed up with my doctor once the results were ready a few weeks later and she informed me that I was anemic and that she thought I had fibroids.  During the intervening weeks as I had been waiting for the results, LuAnn had assured me that fibroids weren't all bad.  While she was recovering from having her tonsils removed earlier in the fall, she shared a hospital room with a gal who had a 15 pound (!!!) fibroid removed.  Do you see the silver lining that I see?  Instant weight loss!

Regardless, my doctor referred me to go to an actual ob/gyn for a second opinion, which I did and found that my evaluation at Sparrow was a skip in the park compared to that appointment.  Not only did I have the transV imaging done again, but the ob/gyn also biopsied part of my uterus and conducted a sonohysterogram...twice...and without any anesthetic.  Don't let anyone tell you I'm a wuss.

But, even I was reduced to a sobbing mess after those procedures.

I saw stars.

I stood up from the exam table too fast, felt woozy, and thankfully made it to the private bathroom before vomiting.

"The pain you're feeling is your uterus spasming," the ob/gyn reassured me as she pat my had before leaving the room.  No shit it was spasming.  I had never felt so terrible and completely violated.  Why the fuck wasn't I given any sort of pain killer before hand?!?

I was in such bad shape that a nurse helped me into a hospital gown (I still had not been able to dress myself), guided me to a recovery room, and gave me a shot of something.  At that point, I didn't care what it was.  To me, it seemed like forever; but in reality, I'm sure only 30 minutes passed for me to calm down and recover.  The recovery room had a sink and mirror that I was able to use to bring myself back into a respectable appearance.

In case you were wondering: no, I didn't drive myself to this appointment.  I at least had the wherewithal to have Sarah accompany me.  The great thing about knitters is that there's always a project in their bag, so it really doesn't matter how long an appointment takes; sometimes, the longer the better anyhow.  So, I found Sarah patiently knitting away on a log cabin stole she's been working on.  It didn't take her much arm twisting to get her to go to lunch at Soup Spoon where I followed up my shitty experience with good food and great beer.

My cousin Rose attended the follow-up appointment with me.  Rose is a nurse, so I wanted someone with me that could ask the heavy medical questions should the biopsy come back as malignant.  I knew that if I had received that diagnosis, the rest of the discussion would cease to exist for me.  Thankfully, the biopsy was benign and the shiny circular objects (yes, plural now that the more thorough imaging was performed) were calcified polyps.

Which brings my story to tomorrow:  in the morning, I am undergoing a hysteroscopy (which I've taken to calling a vagiscopy because I keep forgetting the actual term), polypectomy, and a D & C. 

I am petrified. 

One of my first questions to the ob/gyn after she gave me her laundry list of fun was whether I was going to be knocked out during the whole thing.  She assured me that I would be.  I am holding her to it.  I better not be the one hooking my heels into the stirrups.  I hope to be pretty far off in dreamy land.

And while I was driving home after my softball game tonight, I started to feel a complete sense of dread.  What if something goes horribly wrong?  What if I don't wake up?  What if I wake up and find that something went wrong and I've been in medically induced a coma for 10 years? What if, what if, what if...Yes, I started making myself crazy with possibilities. 

So, part of the reason that I'm really feeling under pressure to update tonight in particular is that I want a few of you that know me personally to give Chuck a call/text/tweet (@starchpoodle) if you don't hear from me on the Twitterverse after 4 pm tomorrow (Friday).  I'm taking the advice of the pre-admissions receptionist that phoned me the other day and am only bringing my picture ID and insurance card.  Afterall, Sparrow is the same hospital where my former boss had his goverment-issued Blackberry stolen while he was being treated for a heart attack. What kind of low-life steals from someone who's having a heart attack?  In short, no smartphone for me after 10 am.

I'm hoping to spend the weekend recovering on the couch:  watching a few movies, watching the 11 episodes of Vampire Diaries that I've yet to see, and restarting my Dragon of Happiness stole.  I do need to rest and recover quickly -- I have a busy week of travel for work next week.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Hi everyone,

WOW. I just read my last post, which was (sadly) from October. One of my 2012 resolutions is to get back on the bandwagon and post more. Besides, I'm sitting in Chuck's parents' kitchen, guzzling my second mamosa of the morning, working on my Estes Vest (second attempt at this after having knit all the pieces and realizing that I really need to get serious about what size I should be knitting), and trying to keep my breakfast down after watching Chuck's sister's dog vomit profusely in front of me (what do these people think this dog is going to do after feeding it garbage people food?!?) -- I need the distraction!

Anyways, 2011 sucked on so many levels, but let's not dwell on that. Let's reflect on the new and the exciting that's been going on with me this year....

This past spring, I played softball for real for the first time in my life. I joined two teams: one a team sponsored by a coworker's husband's employer (they needed more female players) and a team led by friends from college (who also needed more female players). It got me out and more active than I had been in years and I certainly look forward towards playing again this year. (Though I will be joining only one team.)

In May, I bought a spinning wheel and learned how to spin. My yarn isn't spectacular, but it's given me a new appreciation for friends who are spinners and for hand-spun yarns I see in shops. I'm slowly learning about different fibers and if, at the end of this little experiment, I don't end up being a regular spinner, I will emerge more educated on fiber.

This past summer, I started volunteering as a non-skating official (NSO) with the Mitten Mavens, one of Lansing's roller derby teams. I wanted to learn more about the sport and had heard that the team was looking for volunteers to help out, so it was a win-win. For every bout, at least 14 NSOs are needed so there's plenty of opportunity to anyone who is interested (hint, hint, hint). Recently, the team's Head NSO had moved out of state, so with the team's next bout in a couple of weeks, I volunteered to help fill that role in the interim....

Sylvain has started his junior year of high school and I'm learning to let go & he's learning to be let go. Of everything, this terrifies me the most. I think that when he graduates and heads off to college it will be a healthy change for us both. His teenage years have been very tough for me to take in stride and I will be so relieved when his success and failure are based on his own choices. Up to now, I feel that I've done my best to raise him. I really hate that so much of what he's hearing (at school and from friends and relatives) is leading him towards the belief that he should expect to continue to live at home. Expect that it's okay to not be able to find a job. And expect that I will support him throughout.

During a recent argument, he reminded me that he's allowed to be on my health insurance until he's 26. In that statement alone, he had missed the point. Just because he's allowed doesn't mean that I want him to be. Over the past year, I've done some real soul searching about what I was like at his age and how far I've come. There was a point where once I started making adult decisions, I needed to make all of them, not just those that suited me and left the rest to my aunt & uncle. If the hand-holding continues for another decade, what sort of man will he be? I keep reminding him that this is the year of exams and grades that colleges will really look hard at. I don't think he's taking them seriously enough. But, I'm ready for him to sink or swim.

I'm ready for 2012.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Changing things up

Hi everyone. I'm still here. Still watching movies and knitting and knitting while watching movies. Still traveling and taking tons of food photos. Unfortunately, I've spent less and less time on a computer for personal stuff. Don't get me wrong -- on a normal day at the office, I'm doing nothing BUT be on the computer. However at work, not only do I expect everything I do to be tracked, but I don't have much time. I sometimes wish I had a job like some of my friends who once their work was done, they could browse, read, or write to their hearts content. Ah, that life wasn't in the cards for me!

Anyway, I've had my Droid phone for just over a year and it's been able to do just about everything I've wanted to do online *except* blog. So, as you can see, blogging has completely fallen off of the radar.

Now, I'm hoping to change that. I've griped before about the Blogger app being horribly limited in its ability to place photos in each entry's narrative. Sadly, nothing has changed for me on that front. The Blogger app still sucks. My solution for this is to attempt at writing more in a short story format and not rely so much on pictures, fun as they might be. If I have something truly peachy-keen to share, I'll find a way to post it. Can't guarantee that it'll be pretty, but at least it'll be here.

Also, we can both plan that Auto-correct will screw me over time and again. So, please trust me when I say up-front that 1) English is my first language and 2) no, I probably didn't mean [insert random word here].

Stay tuned, the knitting adventure continues....

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Changing Perspective

I started out this year with the idea that I wanted to learn new knitting techniques, which were reflected in my first projects of the year -- Entrelac and Brioche, but over the past few weeks, I've had a real revolution in thought.

First, it started out with me returning my attention to the drop spindle that I splurged on last August and forcing myself to learn how to properly draft. At the beginning of February, a gaggle of knitters ventured to Bloomfield Hills for Knit Michigan. We drove down the night before the event and hung out that evening -- attended a jazz performance at the DSO's Orchestra Hall and dinner downtown, and wrapped the evening up with a late-night knit-in. It just so happened that several in our group were also spinners. Not wanting to waste the opportunity of being able to have their (albeit captive) advice, I brought out my spindle and my small stash of fiber and started to ask questions. Michelle (who is often confused as being my sister) was more than happy to get me restarted. And away I went! The fiber shown in the photo is from roving that was dyed by my friend Rachel; it is 70% Alpaca, 15% Cormo, and 15% silk and I'm completely happy with the way its turning out. My problem right now is that I really don't know enough about the variety of fiber and blends that are out there to really get a handle on what I'd like. The pictured roving was a gift to me from my brother and his family for Christmas, which was very well chosen.

Knowing that I'm a virtual blank slate, I started out by vying for the February Phat Fiber box -- it had a "Gems & Minerals" theme, so it was totally meant to be! I can't wait to finish with the roving that's on the spindle to work the samples I received because there were some very interesting selections in my box (more on those as I spin it up).

Lastly, I signed up for Rachel's fiber club, where I'll receive 4 oz. of fiber in February, April, and June (plus some of her other farm-made goodies). Here's the February package and I'm sad to report that the chocolates didn't even make it home from the office. It was that kind of day. Anyhow, I was now stuck in a quandary -- I didn't want to wait to dig into my new fiber, but I also didn't want to completely lose what I was doing with the Christmas Day roving I had on my spindle. (Decisions!)

So, I caved. I started talking the crazy talk on Facebook, trying to recall what the wonderful Aussie made spinning wheel the Flock U gals had been talking about. I received some wonderful advice from my knitting friends -- some of whom surprised me b/c I didn't previously know that they spun. (Which just goes to show just how little attention I'm paying between screwing up the latest pattern and drinking my wine at the knit-ins!) The whole discussion thread culminated with Tracy delivering over that evening her loaner wheel. (Thanks for saving the day, Tracy!)

But the fun didn't end there! Friday, I had my second, and probably more important, epiphany (sorry to disappoint, spinners). On Friday, I attended a presentation given by Sally Melville for our Guild. Yes, the Sally Melville. Go ahead and start sending the hate mail, but I'll just come right out and say it, I've never knitted any of her patterns; I've thumbed through her "Knit Stitch" and "Purl Stitch" books, but didn't really see anything that I wanted to knit up. I've seen plenty of knitters working up the "Einstein Jacket", and just didn't catch the bug. However, during her lecture on Friday, something very important clicked -- recall that I wanted 2011 to be the year that I challenge myself. Here I was chasing what I normally consider challenges (new and interesting techniques), while what I really should be seeing as a challenge has been sitting in front of me post after post, project after project.

Why shouldn't I see it as a challenge to knit a sweater that I'll actually wear?

Why shouldn't I see it as a challenge to knit a sweater that fits me well?

I'll tell you this right now -- I have the yarn in my stash to knit five sweaters (and a shitload of yarn for other projects -- socks, toys, baby blankets, etc.). Of the sweaters, one that I had planned was a truly kick-ass Dale. I'm putting all of that on hold. It's time for me to take a step back and reflect on what I should be doing differently and to start that off (whatever it may be) with a few plain, understated sweaters.

I was so inspired by what I heard on Friday night that I immediately signed up to attend Sally's "Knit to Flatter and Fit" class that was taught on Sunday morning at Woven Art. I learned a few things about correctly taking my own measurements and what should be adjusted in the pattern to result in a decent fitting sweater.

In preparation for this weekend's Guild retreat, I pulled out a few of my UFOs; a couple of which are summer sweaters. I'm going to re-evaluate these and determine whether they should be torn out completely or can be salvaged. After a couple of measurements, I know now that the green sweater is about 2.5" too long. As for the pink sweater, I need to reread the directions b/c I have no clue where I'm at. If I'm not at or damn close to a bind-off edge, then it'll be too long also.

My questions to you guys: I'm committing myself to knitting three simple sweaters this year. What should they be? Any suggestions?