Thursday, May 28, 2009

This is absurd

I had to call my primary care doctor this afternoon, after my surgeon/ob-gyn who did my hysterectomy took a look at my body and and said, "I have never seen anything like this," and "we may have to readmit you to the hospital if this gets any worse" and "we need to go through your primary care doctor to get you into a dermatologist."

Oh holy hell, I don't even know where to start with this story.

By Tuesday morning, there were red dots all over my feet and hands, which is when the doctor said I was allergic to Augmentin. He switched me to Ciprofloxin, and told me to take Benadryl every four hours.

Yesterday morning, I woke to arms and legs covered with what look like measles, and hands and feet swollen and feeling like there are on fire, and covered with huge round spots that were overlapping each other.

The OB-GYN's office agreed to squeeze me in to see my doctor, even though I had seen him the day before, and that's when he said, "WOW." And all the other stuff at the beginning of this. He gave me a script for a steroid pack and told me to go get it filled right away and to call him and my primary care doctor if there was no improvement by morning.

I filled the steroid script, and then (LIKE AN IDIOT) drove to my office for the first time in two weeks, where I worked for three hours, before I realized my feet were f**king purple. PURPLE.

I called the primary care doctor.

The nurse said my primary care doctor is Central America with some other doctors on a medical relief trip. I tell the nurse what is going on with me and she says, "YOU NEED TO COME HERE. NOW. RIGHT NOW. One of the other doctors needs to see you right now."

I arrived at the office, and the nurse for the new doctor (who might be 30, maybe, but he looks 17) - anyway, the nurse looks at my feet and legs and says, "Wow. What is...? What HAPPENED TO YOU?"

I tell her the story, and she says, "I'll go get him. He's gonna need gloves." (My feet are swollen and covered with round raised blisters that look like bull's eyes. It is horrifying. It also feels like my feet are on fire.)

Then my mom arrived. (Because, yes, evidently, I am 12, and when I feel lousy, I want my mom, so I had called her on my way to the office.) My mom was freaked out by my feet, legs, arms and hands. (Did I mention that this horror is on my hands as well? Not nearly so bad as my feet, though.)

When the Doogie-Howser-doctor came in, to both my mom and my surprise, he sat down next to my foot and picked it up - totally without gloves. "I've seen this before," he said.

I said, "what is it?" and he said, "It's an extremely serious allergic reaction to Augmentin and sulfa drugs. Can you breathe okay?"

CAN I BREATHE OKAY???? CAN I BREATHE OKAY??? Not so much when you are looking at me like it is a real possibility that I MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO BREATHE OKAY SOMETIME SOON."

I think I'm going to hyperventilate," I said.

"Don't," he said.

Then he told me that he hopes the steroids can block more damage, but that some damage has already been done, and it's going to get worse before it gets better, and that probably the skin on my feet is going to start to peel off. And then he numbed part of my leg and cut out a section of one of then newer hives/bumps to send it to be biopsied in case he is wrong about this being an allergic reaction.

I am supposed to take Benadryl every four hours and the steroids and keep my feet elevated and call if the swelling doesn't start to go down.

The irony of this is that the actual part of my anatomy directly affected by my hysterectomy (the lap incisions/my abdomen) - is one of the few places on my body that isn't really, really sick right now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can somebody stick a fork in me, because I am just DONE

I now have HIVES. Big, itchy red hives, that started on my feet, moved to my hands, and have now crawled their way up my limbs. They hurt and they itch and the doctor is seeing me in an hour.

But until then, I just need to vent! Argh!

Can I recap my tale of woe?

So, after my surgery, they gave me narcotics for pain. But the narcotics made me nauseated so they gave me Zofran for the nausea.

Then the took me off the narcotics for pain, since the nausea seemed to outweigh the benefit of pain relief, and put me on Motrin 800.

The withdrawal from the narcotics caused wicked, skull splitting headaches, and more nausea.

THEN, I got a bladder infection, and the first antibiotic didn't work, but the second antibiotic seemed to work, EXCEPT THAT I AM NOW COVERED WITH HIVES.

I feel like I am stuck in a really dull episode of House.

I just want to feel better..added to all this is the stress and worry over Kelsey who is still missing and with each passing day I feel a little piece of hope leave me.

Sorry to be so pathetic...


Monday, May 25, 2009

Some days, the posts just write themselves...

Husband scored some tickets* right behind home plate for this evening's game for our local (but pretty famous, thanks to the enthusiasm of a TV character named Clinger) baseball team.

Overheard after the game:

Lana: APPLE!

Gabriel: CRACKER!

Lana: APPLE!

Gabriel: CRACKER!

Lana: APPLE!

Gabriel: CRACKER! You're wrong!! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Lana (bursting into song) - Buy me some peanuts and APPLE JACKS!!

Gabriel: MOM!! Tell her it's cracker jacks! Cracker jacks!!


Gabriel (disgusted, walks away) - She's still wrong...

* Even though the friend who offered the tickets had a ticket for me, I didn't feel well enough to go. On the bright side, I am wearing pants today, so, that's a bonus.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Learned As A Child Not to Trust In My Body, and That Was Truly The Biggest Heartbreak of All*

In spite of the fact that I have some very serious things to worry about and things that I would like to be doing either to further the efforts to find my missing cousin, or at least distract myself from the fact that she is still body, traitor that it is, is making most efforts impossible.

Still aching from surgery, I had about 48 hours last week wherein I did NOT feel like I was going to die. I started to feel, I don't know, what's the word? Better? Less awful? I called my office. I called some clients. I typed emails to my assistant for her to send to clients. I was thinking that going back to work next Wednesday was actually within the realm of possibility.

And then Thursday came and by bedtime I was beginning to feel extremely ACHY. And TWITCHY. And I kept feeling like I had to pee. (Sorry if this is TMI). Except that I really didn't have to pee. And I couldn't lie down on my stomach because it felt like someone was stabbing me.

At 4:30 in the morning I paged my doctor's office, because I had been (again, TMI) peeing every 3 minutes for four and half hours.

Oh, and ALSO? I had the distinct impression that Freddy Krueger was INSIDE MY PELVIS trying to CLAW HIS WAY OUT.

Anyway, the nice doctor who called me back was not my doctor, but one of his partners whom I have never seen. I explained to him that I was clearly dying. And he said, "I think a more likely scenario is that you have a bladder infection ~ which is pretty common after a hysterectomy. So I will call the pharmacy so that you can have some antibiotics for that? Okay?"

Oh, okay. Probably not dying, then?

He called the 24 hour pharmacy and drugs were obtained, although he warned me it would be about a day before the antibiotic kicked in.

Friday passed in a blur of feverish chills and painful twitching misery and the consumption of cranberry juice and lemonade.

Around 11:00 PM on Friday, I began to feel that I no longer had a fictional serial killer in my pelvis. I slept. I sucked up sleep like a heroin addict sucks up...well, heroin, I guess. I slept for eleven hours, broken up only by two short potty breaks.

Saturday, I felt a bit better. Not great, but not wretched. Fever gone. THEN, Saturday evening, the Freddy Krueger feeling began again. And again with the marathon peeing.

This morning I paged the doctor's office again, explained the situation to another of my doctor's partners (this one a man who looks like he should be on the cover of GQ and therefore far too pretty, in my opinion, for me to have ever actually made an appointment with within this practice. I kind of think that there are some men who are too pretty to be ob-gyns.) (It's possible no one should listen to me right now. I have lots of drugs in my system and it's possible my brain has been fried by fever and boredom.)

Anyway, HE felt that a different antibiotic might be in order. Which Husband has now obtained for me. And six hours later I am feeling someone hopeful that it will be effective at keeping Freddy Krueger at bay.

The worst part is that I am still achy from the surgery and I cannot stand to put any pants on (there I go again with the TMI). Not even my loosest shorts. Not even my pajama pants. I have been living in nightgowns and swimsuit cover-ups for 12 days. I am bit worried about this, as I cannot possibly practice law in a white nightgown covered with lady bugs, or a black thigh length swim just won't do!

Sorry to be a pain and complain and complain.

And if you are the praying sort, please keep praying that Kelsey will be found.


*Bruce Cockburn, The Last Night of the World

Friday, May 22, 2009

Be the Long Awaited Answer, to a Long and Painful Fight*

At the risk of outing my identity, I am posting this news article. If you are in Oregon or Washington, please read it carefully.

Thirteen days ago, my cousin Kelsey walked out the door of her mother's apartment outside of Seattle. She didn't have her backpack, extra clothes, or much money.

She has vanished. It's like she fell off the face of the earth. There are reasons, very, very good reasons, to believe she is not a runaway.

Please take a look at her face, and if you see it, please call 911 or the police officer whose number is listed in the article.


Police Looking for Missing Everett Woman

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I am in love...

I am so in love with this Tom Petty song, Down South. I hadn't ever heard it before until a month ago. Now I cannot stop listening to it. (As with all of my musical obsessions, it's hit me hard and fast with no regard for release date. I nearly drove Husband insane a few months ago when I listened to a Refreshments song from 1996 called "Mekong" for three weeks straight.*)

Anyway, this song is a few years old, from the 2006 album Highway Companion.

Here is the best version of it I could find on Youtube. (The video has a weird edit, which removes the BEST line of the whole song, which is, "gonna see my daddy's mistress, gonna buy back her forgiveness, pay off every witness") - but it is still a song that is made of awesome.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Down South

*Do you think this is a sign of some kind of mental illness???

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm gasping for the air to fill my lungs with everything I've lost*

Lana brought home a homework assignment last night and I am just beside myself as to how to deal with it.

Evidently, her kindergarten class is talking about heredity - and Lana is supposed to fill out a chart.

The chart has a list of traits down one side and a list of relatives across the top. The first item says, "I have ____________ hair like my" and she is supposed to write in her hair color and then she is supposed to check off the relatives (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother) who also have the same hair color.

The chart goes through eye color, skin tone, tallness/shortness, "I can/cannot roll my tongue like my" - you get the picture.

It's like an adoptive parent's NIGHTMARE homework assignment. (It's right up there with the "Bring in several photographs of you as an infant" and "have your parents describe the day you were born" assignments which we have also dealt with this year.)

I have NO CLUE what to do...

I mean, the truth is that Lana and my mom have the same color hair, and that Lana and Gabriel have the same color eyes,** but those things are coincidental and not related to heredity.

Any thoughts on how to approach this? Anyone been there/done that?

There are times when it hits me really hard, the weight of the knowledge of all of the things I do not know, can never know, about this child I love so much.


*Snow Patrol, It's Beginning to Get to Me

**Against all odds, Gabriel, the child of two green eyed parents, has dark, dark chocolate brown eyes. While this is statistically unlikely, it is not impossible. And seriously, if Gabe isn't the child of two green eyed parents, he is the child of an alien invasion.***

***After my surgery last week, the doctor came out to speak to my husband, and asked my husband about what previous surgery I had had laproscopically, as there was another scar in my belly button, and he (my doctor) had no record of it. PEOPLE! I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY OTHER SURGERY. AND MY KID HAS BROWN EYES. So I am starting to worry that there may be something to that alien invasion possibility...****

****Yes, I am still hopped up on a lot of drugs

Friday, May 15, 2009

Now I'm A Seasick Sailor on a Ship of Noise*

I wrote a post from my phone last night and tried to send it, and it failed to post, so I will post that below.

I am home from the hospital, snuggled into the soft sheets in our guest bed. (The bed in Husband and my room is too tall for me to climb into at the moment.)

Do you want to know where an unfortunate place to watch a highly emotional medical drama is? Sitting in a hospital bed, that's where. OH, writer's of Grey's Anatomy, WHAT WHERE YOU THINKING to leave us hanging like that?

Oh, Shonda, Shonda, are a wicked woman.

Also, I need to share that as I was wheeled into the OR, hopped up Versed and who knows what else, I said, loudly, to the orderly who was wheeling me around, "this place looks NOTHING like the set from Grey's Anatomy", at which point the anesthesiologist said, "you need to breathe in some more of this, okay?" and that's the last thing I remember until I was waking up in the recovery room and somewhere a child was crying and I said, "I have to get up and get my daughter" and the nurse said, "I don't think so."

After the surgery, I had wicked, wicked nausea, and I was terrified that throwing up would hurt like a b***h, which has basically been the worst thing so far about this entire surgical experience.

Here is the post I wrote last night:

I am typing this on my phone from my hospital bed, so please excuse any typos.

The surgery went well. My broken uterus was successfully evicted, laproscopically, thank goodness.

The morphine pump coupled with a night filled with thunderstorms made for a weird, weird night. I was having some trouble with the oxygen levels in my blood (I think that was the problem), so I had a tube going into my nose delivering O2 and it was hurting me. It made it hard to sleep. (Also the morphine gave me the sensation of falling asleep and that hours and hours had passed, when, in fact, only a few minutes had passed. Anyone else have the experience with morphine?)

This morning, I had nausea, dizziness, and general feelings of wretchedness, coupled with chills and sweats. Big fun.

My doctor arrived and prescribed something magical, namely Zofran + Vicaden. Things have been looking up since then.

After I wrote that, I had even more nausea, and the doctor ordered even more Zofran for me. And I've been taking Motrin instead of Vicaden, because the narcotics just make me feel worse than the pain from the surgery does...

Oh well - two weeks of forced lying in bed are in front of me. Tell me, oh wise Internets - what should I read and/or watch?


*Beck, Nausea

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Like a Patient Etherized Upon a Table*


I'm having surgery tomorrow.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't freaked out.

Because...I'm freaked out.

Also, I'm kind of scared. Of what, exactly, I cannot put my finger one. But, there you go. I'm scared.

Hopefully it will be a nice, routine, boring surgery that would totally not get the residents on Grey's Anatomy excited. That's what I'm hoping for - boring, routine, and also, LAPROSCOPIC. I am really, really hoping for laproscopic, because otherwise, they have to slice my abdomen open, and that will suck.

If the surgery can be done laproscopically, I can go home after one or two nights and go back to work in two to three weeks.

Otherwise, the recovery is a lot longer.

If you are awake at 7:30 Eastern Time tomorrow morning...and can spare a minute to send good, routine, laproscopic thoughts my way...please do.

*The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot

Friday, May 08, 2009

I Went Down to the Fishing Hole, and I Set Down With My Fishing Pole*

This was taken last night, from Husband's phone, so it's not the best picture there ever was, but I hope you can see the glee on her face. This child loves to fish like no child I have ever known. (This was from her first cast, by the way.) (I mean, her first cast of the evening, not her first cast, ever. Because, as I said, this child LOVES to fish.)

* Woody Guthrie, Talking Fishing Blues

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Careening Through the Universe, You're Axis on a Tilt, You're Guiltless and Free, I Hope You Take a Piece of Me With You*

Driving Lana to the doctor's office** on Tuesday afternoon, we were passed by three men on Harley Davidson's.

I was going 70 in a 65*** on the interstate, so the motorcycles must have been going at least 75.

"Mama?" Lana asked from the back seat.

"Lana?" I answered. (She likes it when I say "Lana" when she says, "Mama". I don't know why. Maybe she just likes the balance of the sounds.)

"Did you see those motorcycles?" she asked.

"I did." I answered.

"Did you know you could take a motorcycle on a big, fast road like this?" she asked.

"Well," I said. "You CAN take a motorcycle on a big, fast road like this, but I'm not sure it's a great idea."

"I don't want to ride a motorcycle on this kind of road," she said.

(Inwardly, I said a little prayer of thanksgiving for small favors.)

Lana recently told my friend Heather than she (Lana) and her mommy had ridden a motorcycle in Vietnam. Heather had gently tried to clarify if Lana meant that she had ridden a motorcycle with ME or with her foster mother, and Lana had insisted that she and *I* had ridden a motorcycle together in Vietnam, which is simply not true.

I decided that it was a good a time as any to explore what Lana had meant by that conversation.

"Lana?" I asked.

"Mama?" she answered. (There we go with the call and answer thing again.)

"Did you ride motorcycles with the mommy you had before I was your mommy?" (Ponder, for a moment, the monumentally small odds of the necessity of this sentence being formed under any normal circumstances. I KNOW. It's weird. It's a weird sentence.)

"Of course," she answered. "All the time."

She said this very matter-of-factly. As if this was not a conversation of extreme importance. As if everyone on the planet, at one time or other, had had another mother who rode motorcycles with them.

"Did you ride on big fast roads like this one?" I asked.

"No, mommy. We rode on bumpy, small roads."

"Oh," I said. (What else COULD I say? Really?)

"There weren't any big, fast roads like this, mom," she said.

"Oh?" I said again. (I'm predictable that way, I guess.)

"Vietnam is a very old place, mom, that's why. A very old place with small bumpy roads."

I tried very hard not to laugh at loud. I suppose I should have taken the opportunity to point out that it was a very old place with delicious food and a complex and fascinating history, or at least that it boasts fabulous beaches. Something she could relate to.

But I was a bit busy being gobsmacked by the idea that my daughter not only remembers the mother she had before me, but that she can also talk about her in the most casual way. That what my daughter remembers, of the time before me, is riding on a motorcycle, on small bumpy roads, in a very old place.


* Third Eye Blind, Motorcycle Drive By
**Because she has a UTI. Again.
***Please do not turn me over to the authorities.

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