July 31, 2011

Super Trooper

The day before, enjoying one last swing. None the wiser?And this is before they gave her the happy juice... She just got all silly and noodley.
Dr Elmo having his pre-surgery time out, making sure they've got the right leg...

Recovery room--you can see how far up the cast goes (covers her belly). She didn't look as bad as I had thought she might!
How she looked through most of the night in the hospital...

Doesn't care about the cast, as long as Daddy can hold her on his lap and she has Sesame stickers.

How she rolls. This stroller is her main scene, what she eats in, etc. Don't know why she looks like she has mumps.

She has another check-up this week, and then the cast change is scheduled for Aug 11th (a day after her birthday--how fun!) This week she's been a little more prone to crankiness. Me thinks the novelty has worn off...

Off the Wagon

Sorry, folks. Too tired and brain-dead to write last week. I just felt incredibly behind and incredibly tired all week. Took Friday off and started to get better, could use a month off to really get my act together...

I thought I wanted to dive right back into life and keep moving forward, but there are days and weeks that it's hard to be normal. My life both sped up and screeched to a halt last year, and now I come through it and feel like I'm about 15 years older than I should be. But the flip side is I'm happy to be alive and love so much of my life and my days--I just can't keep up with them.

But to make me feel better, I will finally post a photo essay of Olive's big surgery to-do!

July 25, 2011

Back to reality

Lovely weekend--I won't inventory it, but I'm happy to recommend where we stayed, where we ate, etc., if anyone else is going to Sheboygan. It's a nice town, not too touristy. Enjoyed time at Kohler Andre park walking around yesterday--I was hoping to swim, but forgot how dang cold Lake Michgan is! Still lovely. Only downside? Was not able to enjoy the whirlpool tub really because my arm was still very swollen and getting worse. But oh well.

I'm a little shaken today. One of my big supporters throughout my treatment was just diagnosed with cancer and will have one intensive month of chemo. I wish I felt like some sort of elder stateswoman of cancer, full of wisdom and all the tricks you need to make it through. Sucky.

Happy birthday, bro! Hope you've finally forgiven me for stealing your birthday thunder...

July 23, 2011

Another year...

older? Wiser? Debatable.

This much I know, though there is plenty I don't know. I have made it to this year! There have been many bad things in that year, but I can also feel liberated from a lot of things. I've confronted my own mortality earlier than I should have, and now a lot of other things (fears, worries) pale in comparison. I'm going to try to enjoy that. And the rest of our weekend in Sheboygan--goodnight!

July 17, 2011

Keeping up appearances

Winding down a busy weekend. We missed Ben as he travelled to Ladysmith and back, but got to enjoy the company of Julie, Dad & Carol. It's hard on Olive when it's so hot (and getting hotter)--she gets very stir-crazy. We did have enough of a tolerable window on Saturday to get to the playground and figure out she could ride the see-saw! And this morning we had breakfast where she could watch the airplanes take off, so that was a hit.

She's continuing to adjust well--luckily she's been easygoing enough for a toddler and talks about what's on her mind. The full Friday at daycare went well, too, though sand and casts are never a good combo...

So as for me. Well, I'm a mild mess. Back & shoulder aren't happy, and my arm's swelling nicely again. But it's manageable.

I did choose to cut my hair again (with the clippers). Cut off about 3/4", back to having it about 1/2" short. I've decided that I'm sticking with it for a few reasons. For one, it's very easy, especially while we've got other (immobile) things going on. But the other part of it is a little symbolic. I've gotten a lot of people be very excited for my hair growth, very encouraging because it is a sign that I am recovering. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that! But I think I've talked about it here previously that the nature of the world these days is to want to move on as fast as possible. The haircut is my way of saying to the world that I'm still processing this, still feeling like I haven't mentally caught up to all that's happened in one year...

Back to work today--luckily nothing time-sensitive needed the first day back! Since I didn't set a day this week for Olive Training and it's short notice, how about next Monday evening? Maybe 6:30-7:30? Get in touch with me through here, e-mail, or phone if you'd like to participate in learning her needs (as Kathy said, it's really not that different).

July 12, 2011

How we're doing

(I am stopping the Good day/Bad day thing, because I will obviously not be blogging everyday and it starts to become a little meaningless then. It was much more pertinent when my bad days were very, very bad and good days were a special victory. Now, just assume things are fair-to-middlin' unless I say otherwise.)

Hanging in there, all around. Olive, I would say, is pretty close to full-steam ahead, minus the mobility. She's really not noticeably extra-fussy, and the next couple of days of cooler temps and less humidity should help us all. She would be outside all day and all night if we let her, but boy is she a sweaty little girl! Her one new feature since the surgery is now she says "owie" for any time she's mad, wakes up fussy, etc. Cry wolf, my dear...

She had an ortho appt this morning and all looks well with her x-ray, i.e. the hip is still aligned and doing what it needs to for healing. Cast change between 4-6 weeks (they'll just send the appt time), so that'll be a outpatient procedure with some anesthesia. Otherwise they were pleased with how she was doing, and she got lots of complements on her blue toenails (to match the cast). Then I dragged her and Kathy with me to work to say hi to everyone and she was a good sport!

We're getting close to the daily routine again. The hardest thing is the nights for the rest of us--we have to work in diaper changes at around 11:30pm and 3am to keep up with keeping her cast dry, so we're still negotiating what that looks like. At least we've had Kathy here a lot to help (Ben & I made it through the weekend, though!), and at least we don't have to work in nighttime meds, too. She has been very comfortable and done with the pain meds for a while, and even Tylenol isn't really needed. Tomorrow I'm bringing her in to day care for a re-orientation and logistics session, and I'll have her do a partial day of it Thurs and a full day Friday before I go back to work next week. I think she's bored of me, anyway.

We'll get a photo essay posted soon so you all can see for yourself...

I am also okay. I don't have the endurance of the rest of the folks around me, though sometimes I try to fool myself. The heat really takes it out of me, too, but then it's a good reminder to me of how Olive's feeling. A few days where my back has been really angry about the extra lifting, though I think we're all getting smarter about that, and my shoulder is stiff but not a lot worse. No more appts for me until August.

In the meantime, a busy summer continues. This coming weekend Dad and Carol visit and Ben goes motorcycle camping, next weekend Ben & I are going to Sheboygan for my birthday weekend getaway, then a couple other things on the horizon.

I am mulling over an idea. I'm thinking that I might hold an Olive Training Day (really probably just an hour or 2) for anyone interested in learning her care needs and being a part of the summer babysitting pool... Just to go through the new routine and cast care all at once and see who's really feels like diving in. Maybe next week? I'll say more when I make up my mind.

July 8, 2011

The Long Haul

Good day/Bad day? good

Happy Anniversary (yesterday), my dear! 9 years of wedded bliss. Or of working it out as we go.

(Don't be fooled--we've known each other a lot longer than that. In fact, this year will be the year that I'll have known Ben half my life. We are no longer as young, and I would say we are less dramatic, but this past year has not been consistent with that.)

But, as I said to him during dinner last night (yummy, yummy Sardine!), though neither of us would choose to go through all we've been through this year, there is no one I'd rather have with me through it all...

No matter what, we respect and love each other. We are partners, and though we may take different routes, I know we will end up at the destination together. We find balance, so if one of us is low, the other will raise things up a little, and we see-saw until we get back to the middle. And all this is the stuff of life, what you go through when you care about other people, but I am especially lucky that he has chosen to care about me.

July 6, 2011

Better days

Good day/bad day?: wanted it to be better than it was...

Long story short, I got kind of down today doing a comparison to a younger, pre-cancer me. Ben & I were driving and his power steering went out, and in the course of discussing other things we had to do for the day, I realized I would not be able to drive his truck with my bum shoulder. Then I thought to myself, "I USED TO DIG HOLES FOR A LIVING! This is wrong..." And it is. Seriously. I had my last OT appt yesterday, and during our discussion she reminded me that I would still be making scar tissue for probably another year. Which means I have to be much more vigilant with my shoulder, with my arm swelling, all of it. I also need to rework/remodel my chest scars actively or they will contract me forward more and more.

On the plus side, apparently I still have enough residual something in me that the mosquitoes aren't quite sure what to do...

Olive had a wee bit of extra cranky in her today. It's hard to tell how much is residual pain and how much is frustration. If you ask her if anything is ouchie, she always says her elbows (possibly her favorite body part). Don't get me wrong, she's still many sorts of delightful, but I think we will all be a little relieved when she's back in day care--the kid needs a lot of entertainment in a day!

Tomorrow= special day...

July 4, 2011

Ins & Outs

Good day/Bad day?: not bad

It's a lot like having a newborn at times, this Olive business! I should catch you up to speed--sorry, just been pooping out at night when I go to sit down and write.

So, for starters, Olive is a Good Kid. It's true! She's handled this pretty well so far. Her hospital stay went fine--surgery was longer than expected because the tip of the suturing needle broke off and they had to reopen her hip area to be sure it didn't fall in the joint. They were sure--didn't see it, didn't show up on x-ray. Everything else went fine, and Olive is now the proud model of a light blue fiberglass cast. She didn't look nearly as bad as I expected in recovery, was easily comforted. I spent the night with her, and she did okay but they were monitoring every hour or 2, so that's how long we each slept! She had some pain that came and went quickly usually, likely muscle spasms, and the nurses did great keeping up with her needs. Thanks to Julie and the Dittmars for hospital food deliveries, and thanks to Ben's parents for sticking it out with us. And hooray for the Elmo books and stickers--that's all she needs to be happy most of the time!

She was discharged late afternoon the next day, after we figured out with PT what we could transport her in (they lend out special car seats, and we also found she would fit in her umbrella stroller). Yay for the stroller thing, because then we can use it inside and have our hands free! What else are we figuring out? Bean bag chair, also for hands-free, and got a special infomercial tv tray that tilts and gets very short to use for her to eat and put toys on. Up until then we'd had to sit with her on our laps for meals. She's heavier, but also less wiggly and that helps a little. Diapering has been manageable. It's a 3-layer system with a maxi pad and newborn diaper tucked into the cast hole, and then a big diaper around the cast on the outside. So far, so good with the major blowout risk--just watch what you feed her, people!

The newborn thing comes at night--we've had to keep her on a very regular medication schedule every 4 hrs or she lets us know, and we've been instructed to check her diaper every 2-3 hrs to avoid leaks. During the night it's been 3 hrs, and we might be able to stretch that to 4 soon. Just getting back on schedule. So right now it's a lot of waking up. Thankfully Kathy is staying and helping with a lot of this, and we are taking full advantage of the extra set of hands. Olive does take more entertaining now, but less corralling. She's realizing what she can't do and gets kinda mad--a continuous battle to remind her to "use her words" instead of whining. Also needing constant encouragement to not use her pacifier. But we're getting there.

At our friend's 4th gathering today and talking about the ole cancer journey, and it just dawned on me that I survived f-ing chemo and radiation--I mean really dawned on me how tough that is! In yo' face...