Friday, April 23, 2010

Random Friday thoughts

Sitting on my tush for the last few weeks, watching daytime television, has taught me a few things...
  • If you watch the same talkshows all week long, you can see the same interview several times.  On Monday you will see Hilary Duff on Regis and Kelly, on Tuesday she will be on the view, on Wednesday she will be on Rachel Ray, on Thursday she will be on Ellen.  I am sure she is on someone else on Friday, but by this point I have changed the channel.
  • Americans must sue people A LOT.  Every 3rd commercial is a law firm.  One lawyer specializes in accident law, three commercials later you can get a lawyer for suing the hospital for giving you the wrong meds when you were in labor, 3 commerials later and there is one specializing in suing your insurance company for denying your disability claims.
  • Americans also spend a lot of money on their homes.  Plumbers, flooring, bathtubs, granite counter tops, and they all have catchy little jingles that get stuck in your head and you find yourself singing while making dinner later that night.
  • I am going to die really soon.  I am either going to get some awful disease from the hospital and die several weeks after surgery because of it, leave my purse on the floor and get a disease from that, have some undiagnosed heart issue, get cancer from plastics, have undiagnosed diabetes, get brain cancer from my cell phone, have my appendix blow up because of my standard american diet (oh wait, I don't have an appendix, phew!) or be allergic to my house and die of mould poisoning.  I really need to stop watching Dr. Oz and the Doctors.  (But the main guy on the Doctor's is sooo cute and he takes his shirt off A LOT, so maybe I can just watch it on mute?)
  • I need to get out more.
I have also learnt:
  • When you are home all day and don't get out much you spend much less money on gas and eating out.
  • You CAN get bored of eating Mr. Noodles
  • It's ok if you forget to take the meat out in the morning.  You have all day to thaw those steaks!
  • I can only watch 5 continuous hours of tv before I am ready to find any reason at all to go out.  We might run out of milk in 3 days?  ON IT!
  • I am actually excited to get a job soon.  I have pretty much been sitting around for 2 months now.  It sounds fun... it's not.
  • The internet isn't as interesting when you have all day every day to surf it.  It's much more interesting when you are sneaking onto your favorite site from work.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WFMW: Allowance

I try really hard to teach my children the value of a dollar.  This is done through many teaching moments such as explaining why they can't have a $60 toy at Walmart "just because", making them earn a slurpee after school, asking if they are going to pay for dinner when they want to go out, that sort of thing!

The one thing I find really works is having an allowance system.  My kids get $5 per week for helping out with chores.  If they don't help out that week, they don't get allowance.  Chores range from empyting the dishwasher, taking the recycling to the curb, wiping down a bathroom, cleaning their rooms, putting away their own laundry, helping with supper, or setting the table. 

Generally I let them decide how to spend their allowance.  At christmas time they had about $30 each saved up and spent a lot of it on me!!!  Sometimes I will save up the allowance and just give them a $20 bill every four weeks.  I find they recognize the value of money this way.  They are only 7 and 8 years old, but if we are shopping and they want something I make them tell me how much it is and then I ask "is that something you want to spend your allowance on?" and they will often say "no, I was hoping you would buy it".  I will tell them that it is not in my budget either, but if they really want it that bad then they can pay for it.  My daughter recently wanted to get a third remote for the wii so that I can play mario with them when they play.  My husband and I agreed to pay for half of it since it will likely be by more than just her, but she handed over her $20 to pay for half of the remote!  Now that she has payed for part of the wii system, I think she appreciates it more and is more careful when she plays it.

Having an allowance system works for us!  It teaches the value of money, the value of hard work, and responsibility!

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips visit here!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meeting People Online

My mother used to think it was crazy.  I remember the first time I started on an online dating site and was going to meet a guy for dinner that I had met online she was all "meet in a public place, have your own ride, call me when you get home!"  And admittedly I was nervous.  You hear horror stories about people meeting psychopath's on internet dating sites (or craig's list) and it's creepy!  That first time around I met 4 or 5 guys, never got past one date, but they were all nice guys, just not for me. 

A few years later I found myself lonely and wanting to meet Mr. Right again.  I had just spent a year and a half dating a great guy that was a lot of fun, but just not THE guy.  So I went back to an online dating site.   After going through 7 pages of mini-bio's with about 12 bios on a page I was thinking that the site had been taken over by a bunch of losers with no sense of humor and big egos.  Then I came across one that made me laugh so hard!  I sent him a note telling him I thought he was funny and he sent me a message back.  We started chatting until 3 am every night, and emailing all day long.  This lasted for 3 days.  By this time I thought like I knew him so well that I loved him and didn't care what he looked like in person!  We decided to meet for dinner.  It was pouring rain and we met in front of a movie theatre.  By the time I found parking and walked to the entrance I looked like a drowned rat.  But it was love at first site despite my lack of attractive hair.  That first date lasted until 5 am.  The rest is history.

4 years later we were married. 

But this post isn't about my fantastic Husband!

While planning my dream wedding I came across a bridal site that had talkboards where brides could exchange ideas and offer support about all the wedding stress we were going through.  (Unless you have planned a wedding, you have no idea how hard it is to come up with an guest list that matches your budget, and then making a seating plan where all the guests get to sit with people they like!)

On this site I met a wonderful group of women.  There are 20 of us that regularily chat with each other and are invested in each other's lives.  I have only met 5 or 6 of them in person, but they are the most loving, caring women you will ever know.  They have become my closest friends.  They are supportive and funny and everything you want in a friend!  We have been known to snap pictures of outfits so we can vote on what one should wear out, we talk each other down when one of us is ready to smother our spouse, we blog on another site and challenge each other to be better people, and we are fiercely protective of each other.

As you can tell from my last post, I have not had a good spring so far.  My girls were there for me through it all.  They were texting me, emailing me, sending me messages on facebook, calling me, etc.  I really meant a lot to know they cared so much.  Some of me IRL friend's weren't nearly that attentive!  One of they came to the hospital the night before my surgery and gave me a manicure.  A few other local ones visited.  And the non-local ones were in constant communication with each other and me to find out updates on how I was doing.  Then they did something that really blew me away!  They all chipped in and got me a gift certificate for a housekeeper!  I get two 5 hour sessions with a house keeper to come over and clean my house from top to bottom, because I CAN'T!  It is the most amazing gift.  Much better than flowers!  I am so excited about it!  My husband is very busy and works hard, my kids can only do so much, and I can't do anything!  It will be such a relief to have a clean house.  She will probably even clean the things I skip!  (Like dusting on top of the shelves in the kitchen!)

I am thankful for the internet.  I not only met my wonderful husband, but I have met some wonderful friends along the way too.  :)  Thanks Ladies!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Missing March

I missed March this year.  Let me tell you about it!

On March 1st I went in for a colonoscopy.  It was scheduled and due to me not feeling so well off and on through out January and February.  The appointment was for 8 am, I thought I would be home in time for lunch!  It's a pretty routine procedure, right?  WRONG!  As some of you may recall, last April I was admitted to the hospital with a partial intestinal blockage.  I was treated with drugs and released, and continued drug therapy.  Prednisone for 8 weeks and imuran for as long as my doctor kept me on it.  Well, it caused scar tissue in my intestine and a narrowing as a result.  The doctor was attempting to stretch the narrowed areas with a balloon and one area kind of shredded.  He kept telling me it look like ground beef.  I am not sure I want to know what he means by that.  Anyhow, due to this shredding I had a small perferation and they admitted me to the hospital for observation and pumped me full of antibiotics to ensure I didn't get an infection.  I spent the next 11 days under observation, undergoing a million tests (2 CT scans, numerous x-rays, and an upper GI follow through, as well as constant blood work)  They took me off food at first and just had me on IV's then slowly started reintroducing foods, starting with clear fluids.  I was scheduled for surgery on March 12, but the surgeon decided it would be better to delay it 8 weeks and try more drug therapy.  The drug is called remicade and it is a serious drug for seriously sick people.  It can cause lymphoma, but the risk of that happening was much less than the risk of me getting worse.  I was released from the hospital on March 11th with promises of surgery.  

So I went home on Thursday, March 11.  On Sunday, March 14th I started to have abdominal pain again.  By Monday it was worse and I made my husband take me back to the hospital.  They diagnosed me with constipation caused by the barium from the upper GI follow through, put me on IV fluids, stopped letting me eat, and gave me laxatives.  Once everything was moving I was sent home again.  So, Wednesday, March 17th I was home and hoping it would be the last time I saw the hospital until my surgery, now 7 weeks away.

In order to go for a remicade infusion (which costs $4000 per shot by the way! Thank god for health insurance!) they needed to make sure I didn't have tuberculosis. This meant more tests! I passed though! If you have never had one, it is very interesting how they test for it. They take a needle and insert it between the layers of skin, then inject you with a serum that bubbles up like a blister. Then 48 hours later you go back to get your test "read" and if you have red spots or a rash around the injection site then you have to go for a chest xray to confirm you have it. I had nothing. Just a small bruise from the injection. I went in on Monday, March 22 nd for the injection. 

On Tuesday, March 23rd, I started to feel like crap again.  Which was just perfect since my husband left that morning to go to Vegas for 4 days for a trade show.  So there I was alone with 2 kids and feeling like absolute crap.  I worked most of the day and hoped I would feel better so I could work again on Wednesday.  I had to cancel on helping out my daughter's brownie group that night and everything.  Wednesday I had to go get my TB test read, then I planned to go in to work but I was just in so much pain I went home and called in sick.  On Thursday I was so sick I kept the kids home from school and popped percocets and went back to bed.  They were such good little nurses!  I thought I just had constipation again, so I had been taking mild laxatives hoping things would pass.  Thursday afternoon I started to feel better for a bit, then around dinner time took a turn for the worse and was in so much pain I was delirious.  I called my husband crying, not sure what to do.  He called around and finally was able to get his boss to come and drive me to the hospital.  My parents met us in emergency and my dad took the kids to their house while my mom stayed with me.  They admitted me, sent me for xrays and blood work, etc.  There were no beds, so I ended up spending the first 7 hours in the OR in the emergency department, then they needed it for some idiot with a knife wound, so they wheeled me out to the hall.  At this point they were shooting me up with morphine so I didn't really care where I was laying! 

The next day they found a bed for me (in maternity of all places) and my GI specialist came to see me and told me that he was sending me for a CT Scan and I would likely be having emergency surgery, as they were pretty sure I had a blockage.  The CT Scan results agreed and I was booked for surgery on Sunday morning at 8 am.  I was scared by this point.  Other than my wisdom teeth I have never had any kind of procedure.

I hardly slept Saturday night and was very relieved to see my aunt and my husband at 6:30 am the next morning.  They took me to the OR prep room and at 8:00 am on Sunday, March 28th I underwent major abdominal surgery.  They ended up taking out 8-10 inches of small bowel, my appendix (I had a fistula going right through it!) and a hernia that seems to have been caused by the blockage.  I remember going to sleep, then I remember them waking me up and me panicking because I couldn't breath.  I kept trying to point at my mouth to tell them I couldn't breath and they kept pulling my hands away.  I know now that I had a breathing tube down my throat, but at the time I was terrified.  I woke up again back in my hospital room with my husband, aunt, and sister looking down on me.  The rest of Sunday is pretty much a blur.  I remember bits and pieces, like blowing my IV, ordering my family around as to who was feeding me ice chips and who was scratching my back, that kind of silly thing.  Oh and my morphine drip button not working.  It was on a 10 minute delay, so I could only push the button every ten minutes, but I kept pushing it and then telling everyone it was broken.

I now have a 6 or so inch long incision down the center of my stomach that I will always carry with me as a reminder of what I have been through.  I got released from the hospital on April 3rd and managed to be able to spend some time with my family for Easter.  When I left the hospital I was on solid food again and everything seems to be working fine.  I go back on Friday to get my staples out.  Time will tell if the surgery was successful.  Crohn's patients fall into three categories after surgery.  1)  Never have a problem ever again.  Basically cured.  2)  End up back in surgery in 10 to 15 years due to a flare up.  3) End up with a flare up in a year.

I would be happy with option 2 at this point.

When things like this happen you realize who cares about you.  I am forever thankful for my husband who was by my side holding my hand through this whole thing.  He came straight from the airport to the hospital on the Friday afternoon.  My sister and my aunt that visited me every day.  My other family that visited me often as well.  My friends that were texting or emailing to see if I was alright, one even stopped in and gave me a mini manicure the night before surgery!  My mom, for taking care of my kids when I couldn't so that my husband could be with me. 

In 4 - 6 weeks I should be as good as new!  For now I am taking it easy and just relaxing and doing things slowly.  It feels like I am going to split in two when I cough or sneeze or laugh, so I cannot wait for that feeling to go away!

And the best part?  My very generous husband took my wedding rings in to get soldered together since I couldn't wear them anyhow, and as a get well soon gift he got them to add my anniversary band to the set!  I will take diamonds over flowers any day!!!  He is so thoughtful!  I am so very lucky to have him.

And that is how I missed March.