Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The side effects

This past week, a friend of ours died. Steve was a fixture at our church and in BSA. He dearly loved my son. He dearly loved me and my husband.

I will miss him for a very long time.

His visiting hours are tonight, and funeral tomorrow. I have known for a while that I need to go buy new clothes, as nothing fits now that my belly doesn't look like I'm 5 months pregnant or more.

I am the queen of procrastination, so I have not gone shopping. A problem is walking and stamina and not having enough strength to get through a store. And I need to go to a store because I have no idea what size I need for clothing, so trying on in person is important.

Going upstairs this afternoon I went through the clothes and drawers and closets. Everything was too big, falling off me big. Size 22 pants that fit me a few years ago weren't even wearable with a belt, or safety pins, or any way. Size 20, slipping off of my hips too.

I realized I didn't have anything smaller.

There was a bag of clothing that ended up in the back porch when we moved in, all earmarked for donation. I ripped into the bag and found a pair of size 18 pants.

They fit, but literally if I lose 5 pounds they will not.

I could, in theory, very soon be fitting into size 16. I haven't worn a size 16 since BEFORE JESSICA WAS BORN in 1992.

The blouse I'm wearing is huge, where it used to cling to my gut.

Right now I'm simply stunned. I can literally go buy off the regular rack in the non-"women's" size section of a store. No more size "1x" or "2x" for me, which is code for 20-22 and 24-26. Because tiny numbers make you feel so much "better" and "normal" about how humongous you've become after 20 years.

I'm kind of stoked.

Now, I just need to get my legs strong enough to go workout again. Hopefully soon.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What happens when Christine buys a printer

When we moved into the new apartment, I set up the office with the computer and printer and everything. We didn't need to print anything any time soon, and once we got into the academic year, Geoff was submitting papers to his teachers via their online program at school. Printing seemed to be a non-issue.

But then he had to print something in October, and told me the printer didn't work. I thought maybe the ink had gone dry or something since we hadn't printed anything since maybe May. I grabbed some new ink, and headed home... only to find that the ink wasn't the problem (after installing it).

The error on the screen was that the "printer door was open" and it most certainly was NOT open.

I tried to clean out the little hole where the little plastic thing goes in and tells the printer "hey, printer, the door is closed" thinking it got some food or some dust or some other detritus in it from the Boy and the Man who use the office. But that didn't do anything. I stuck a partially re-bent paper clip into the hole to MAKE the sensor feel something. That didn't work.

I read the manual. That didn't work.

I gave up.

Geoff asked us for rides to school so he could go to the library and use the printer there. He would have to be there for 7am in order to get things printed and organized and make it to home room.

This went on all winter.

Thursday, I ordered a new printer online at

Now, I've got an issue with this "delivery" system they have. I chose my printer, put it in the "cart" and the message on the screen said "In Stock" which I said "awesome" to.

I got a $50 rebate for buying it online, which I also said "awesome" to, or maybe "wicked pissah awesome."

I paid for it, I got the confirmation email. I didn't see anywhere in the transaction that the store does not take stock off of their own shelves when you get something online. It says that in the CART section in tiny stupid print (I had to go back through the process to replicate the screens so I could see the message, in tiny stupid print.

Where it should have told me was where it says "In Stock... but ..." or maybe in the body of the confirmation email there should be a message that says "oh, just so you know since you probably didn't read the message in the cart before you clicked purchase..."

I called the store to ask when I could pick it up because not having seen/read/acknowledged that "you have to wait for us to get it from the warehouse so you can't pick it up today" message. The kid on the phone was super nice and helpful and said "we can void the transaction and you can come in and buy the printer now."

"But I'll lose the $50 buy it online discount thing then, won't I?"


"I don't need a printer today THAT badly..." So we went and picked it up today.

There is a giant printer in a box looking at me right now.

And there is a reason for that.

When we moved in, we didn't unpack in any sort of organized or orderly fashion. Stuff ended up thrown in rooms. In the study, Doug grabbed the first thing he could, a small kids' desk that we always kept the guinea pig(s) on in the living room, and set that up for the computer. I told him "NO. Set up the dang computer desk! Don't do that! If you do that it will never get undone!" Because I know our family well.

"It's good enough for now."

Groan, says the wife.

I set up the computer, and put a small chair next to the kid's desk to hold the printer, which as you now know didn't ever work.

We were driving home with our new box of printer, and I said to Doug "so, what are the chances of you setting up the computer desk when we get home?" He sighed heavily and said he would do so.

And he did.

But the office has become the convenient dumping ground for everything that comes in the house ... Geoff's camping gear, stuff that really should go straight to the garage but comes inside instead, items from the trunks of cars that get totaled on Rte 9 in Wellesley or Rte 1 in Lynnfield. 

Layer that with the usual Lazy Geoff Syndrome where he drops soda cans and food wrappers behind the desk, and takes his socks off and they pile up under there (oh, so THAT'S where all the socks I bought you this year went!" the room is a complete and utter disaster. Un. Fucking. Mittigated.

So Doug set up the desk in what little space he had and then angrily went upstairs with his phone and a glass of water to play Candy Crush Saga... I called Geoff down and told him that this was our project of the day - and the project for his Family Life Merit Badge.

We cleaned the room and organized it... just so I have a place to set up the printer. Because I wasn't going to set it up on the chair again. I want a right proper office, with bookcases that have books on them, and no camping gear, and no empty guinea pig cage or guinea pig food.

We're not quite done, because I needed a freaking rest from the chaos... but we're almost done.

And this is all just to set up a printer.


With my leg being swollen and uncomfortable, taking a shower is a challenge. I tend to go as quickly as possible, the quick body wash and shampoo only. Conditioner has not touched my hair in a month. I just don't have time to stand there and let it sink into my gorgeous locks.

Doug thought it would be nice for me to take a bath. He went out and bought some "relaxing bath salts" to ease sore muscles. He's deeply thoughtful that way. Jess scrubbed the bathroom and the tub for me yesterday so I could go up and luxuriate in the tub.

This morning I did so.

My conclusion is that baths, or at least every bath in every bathtub I've had in my life, are overrated.

Turning the water on, I lowered myself into the tub. With one bum knee (right) and a swollen thigh and blood clot in the left knee, this was a challenge. I got seated and then kind of realized that getting up might prove to be a huge problem and possible nightmare for getting out.

But I figured ... I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

I started by washing my hair quickly, because it needed it badly. I did not apply conditioner. I wrapped my bath towel around my hair and realized I maybe should have brought two towels into the bathroom with me. Stupid.

Then I turned the water spigot up to the hottest water temperature  possible, which really wasn't that hot - I wanted REALLY hot water. Like hot tub hot water. I sat there as the bath salts dissolved, and the tub began to fill.

Now, if you're like me, your upper body sticks up out of the tub. This is uncomfortable when the room isn't really warm. I lathered up the bath scrunchie with some special dry and sensitive skin body wash that I'd bought for Geoff, and soaped the upper body part of me up nicely. This was temporarily very soothing.

Rinsing off, I then realized I was going to be even colder than before because now ... I'm wet.

The tub was finally filled up, and basically from right below my waist downward I was in the water... head, arms, back and shoulders freezing. The immediate instinct is to maybe scrunch down, bend the knees and get the back part of my body into the water. But my tub isn't really long enough for repose.

I'm miserable at this point. And I feel like such an ingrate because my loving husband was so excited to get relaxing muscle body bath salts for me and treat me to something nice.

I force myself to stay in the tub, putting water which is quickly becoming cold water up over my back and shoulders again. How much longer do I wait? I decide I've waited long enough and hit the drain stopper. The water starts to sing the song of its people as it heads to the septic system, and I realize I have to get up.

The challenge I predicted it would be, it was. Pushing myself up by my arms proved no good, the side of the tub on one side is too small for a hand to palm and push up off of. Trying to push with both arms on one side was no good either. I ended up getting onto my bad knee and uttering blasphemies while rotating the body to the point where I was on both knees and could get the left leg under me to stand.

I considered calling out for some help but once in the right position, even though I was wet and freezing, I was home free and got the towel from around my head (it served its purpose there) and wrapped myself up.

Coming downstairs, Doug asked me with a big smile on his face if I enjoyed my bath.

Yes, honey. I did.

So here's what I want in life. I want a big, huge "two person" bathtub that is close to 4 feet deep, with a seat on either end of it, with jets and the hottest water a body can tolerate. I want a nice shower hose thingie that I can take off of the wall at the end and rinse myself off with (because in general, I always feel like a bath is you sitting in your own dirt in the long run...) And I want more of those bath salts, so I can truly love and appreciate the gesture.

Friday, March 14, 2014

because three or four of you are dying to know...

The increased dosage of the blood thinners seems to be working. My leg is a lot less swollen, the pain has not stopped all together but it is a lot less than a week ago.

I walked up and down the stairs this morning (down and up, technically because I had to go down the stairs to help Jackdog up the stairs after Doug left for the day) without getting winded, hugely painy and borderline cry-ey, and winded.

Still have the appointment scheduled to remove the IVC filter on the 26th. Appointment to see a hematologist on the 25th. My doctor wants me to see a cardiologist but the cardiologist's office doesn't know why he wants me to see one since this is a vascular issue, not a heart issue, per se. So that appointment is on the 27th. I'll be in Salem 3 days in a row that week. Amy, we can have lunch.

Day by day, slowly hoping this gets all better soon. I want my life back.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Old Images

Someone who found my blog from a web search pointed out to me that all my images in old entries are missing. I went and looked and sure enough... I guess when I converted everything to blogger from dreamweaver it didn't copy over the images and upload them. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't.

Part of me now wants to spend all the time going back through time and adding all the images. I have them in a folder (in fact, just looked at some great pictures from 2003 when Geoff broke his arm) and it wouldn't be TOO hard...

But I have other stuff I should be doing.

I am so ADD sometimes. This is now going to bother me, the fact that I have "here is a picture of Aaron and Geoff at this awesome Geocache" in the body of the entry and a no picture next to it thing going on...

Maybe... just a couple entries... yeah. maybe. I can do that maybe?

In other news, my 21 year old daughter finally went and got her ears pierced today. Something she's wanted to do since she was 16 or so... and she had chickened out every time. So for her to do something she's been putting off since she was 16, perhaps there is hope she'll get her driver's license... eventually.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't Blame the IVC filter...

My left leg swelling got to the point this weekend that I decided I had to see the doctor, no more being "patient" that it would clear up.

Turns out, I need to be patient.

My doctor said that if it was a problem with the IVC filter, both of my legs would be swollen like this, and I wouldn't have localized pain in one spot (in my pelvis), it would just be overall swelling.

"You probably have another blood clot, even though you're on blood thinners. Or you have a pinched vein inside your abdomen from the surgery, your IVC is pinched and it has taken a while to rear its ugly head."

Turns out his first hunch was correct, as the ultrasound showed yesterday. I have another blood clot, this time up where my leg meets my pelvis. It is a doozy. And it really shouldn't be there, since I'm "anti-coagulated" with the blood thinners.

So my blood thinners have been increased, and my doctor is worried about removing the IVC filter in 2 weeks. He thinks it may be a good idea to leave it there... but if we do so we leave it for life and I don't know about that.

Pros of keeping it are that no clots will make it to my lungs and I won't die because of a blood clot, ever. I won't have a stroke or horrible brain injury due to the clots, I will live with that and that'll just be part of my life. Something else will have to kill me some day.

Cons are blood thinners for life, the possibilities of the IVC filter getting out of place or harming my vein or awful things happening with it. I keep seeing TV commercials (God forsaken Daytime TV lawyer commercials) about IVC filter death and problems and whatnot and it scares the piss out of me.


So I still have the appointment set up to remove the IVC filter, I have to get this clot cleared in the next 2 weeks in order to have this done. I'm nervous.

We'll see what unfolds based on the timeline of things to come. In the meantime, percoset is a wonderful drug for pain relief (so much better than Tylenol3)...

Saturday, March 08, 2014

In other news...

my husband has the TV tuned to the Bluegrass Music channel on DirecTV. Which is okay by me, I enjoy bluegrass.

But he is getting irritated with songs that take place in places like Oregon or Texas. "THAT ISN'T BLUEGRASS MATERIAL!" the man yells at the TV.

So provincial he is.

Happy Hour

When we moved into our new digs back in August, one of the cool features is that it is directly across the street from friends of ours from church. Beth and Greg and their two boys. Jess house sits for them and baby sits, and when we were offered the place they were the first people I told, because I thought it would make them super happy.

And it did.

I really like Beth and Greg. Level headed, down to earth, funny, engaging, lovely human beings. I worked for Beth for a while, and it didn't work out in the long run because they ran out of stuff for me to do, and getting me stuff to do would require a lot more training and it just wasn't clicking. But that didn't get in between us.

A month or so ago, Beth and I were chatting and she told me a story about when she lived in New Mexico how her neighbor across the street would show up on her doorstep at 4pm on a Friday afternoon with the makings of Gin & Tonic and ask "so, do you have ice and glasses?"

"So I think maybe we should institute a Friday Happy Hour going forward," says Beth.

Yesterday she texted me and said "what are you doing at 5pm?"

"I've been a crummy friend. You've been out of the hospital for weeks and I haven't come across the street to visit. So let's have some fun." I told her it was okay she hadn't visited, because she texted me every day and that was caring and lovely. But she still felt like she was a jerk and needed to make amends. So  she declared it happy hour but neither of us had the makings of Gin & Tonic handy.

She had two bottles of wine, and we figured that would be good. She brought snacks and the wine (made by her dad, it was pretty good for homemade hooch).

We had a great time. It was a lovely visit. She spent three hours here talking with us, and laughing and joking and we talked about our TV guilty pleasures (so much Law & Order) and she eventually realized how late it was and that she should get home to her husband and boys. Greg had texted her at about 7pm to see where she was, and she ignored her phone while we were visiting so it was kind of funny when she realized how late it got to be.

I think I like Friday Happy Hour and look forward to the next installation. Not sure if we have the bandwidth to do it weekly, but I'll have the Gin & Tonic makings ready in the future.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Trot, trot to Gloucester

Yesterday Geoffrey had a thing to do with Sea Scouts up in Gloucester, so we gave him a ride.

I was itching to get out of the house for something other than a doctor's appointment.

Usually with him being there for 2 hours, we'd take a nice walk... it being March 1 and a sunny, "warm" day (warm being 41 degrees). But I am still using a cane, and my left leg is swollen like a sausage ready to pop in the pan (I would take a picture of my foot but am afraid it would gross everyone on earth out). So any sort of distance walk was out of the question. We opted simply to go to the Cape Ann Brewing Company and watch a hockey game and eat lunch. Fine by me.

It was a very nice time. I got fried scallops, which always made me happy. I had 2 beers, one of which was their summer saison, strawberry rhubarb. It made me happy, longing for the beauties of summer and the fresh fruity tastes that will soon surround us.

I was exhausted after being there for 90 minutes. Who knew sitting on a bar stool could wipe someone out so severely.

When we got home I took a 2 hour nap.

So before anyone asks about the leg swelling, I have been reading about IVC Filters and side effects/complications. Lower extremity swelling is indeed  something that people experience. None of the documentation I'm reading though is helpful in recommending how to relieve the discomfort and pain.  Right now I'm on the schedule to have the IVC filter removed on March 26th and that day can't come fast enough. My doctor told me that once it is removed the swelling will go away and life will get a lot better. I have already called the specialist twice just to see if the date can be moved up. Maybe someone will cancel their appointment. Maybe someone will ... I dunno. Die? I don't want to wish for something like that to happen. It is so selfish of me. But... I'm selfish right now.

So in the meantime... ouch. My doctor told me to be patient, be as mobile as I can. Get up and walk around. It's hard though when your leg weighs as much as the rest of your entire body.

I keep reminding myself that someone out there has it a whole hell of a lot worse than I do and that this is nothing and I can handle it, so handle it. I see commercials for the Wounded Warriors Project of these young men who come home and their parents have to help them move around the house and they're super brain damaged and it breaks my heart into a million pieces. I see men and women with their legs blown off, so ... mine is going to get better where they won't ever get a leg back. Quit whining and crying. Get up and walk around the dining table twice an hour, and do it. 

I hate that I couch my own suffering in comparison with someone else's but often times it is the only thing that helps me get from day to day.

Yesterday the Red Cross called and asked me to sign up for a local blood drive donation. I had to tell her that after receiving a transfusion I'm not eligible for 12 months to the day. I also told her about the blood thinners, and I think I have to be off of those for 7 days before I can donate... the girl on the other end listened to my story and was so sweet and kind. She specified that they should call me next year and updated my file. It broke my heart to refuse but it is what it is.