Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back to the Land of the Living

It has been almost two weeks since my surgery. I wasn't really supposed to talk again until my two weeks were up, but since sitting in silence when I have something to say is a little preview of my own personal hell, I broke that rule. It's okay, during my follow up visit one week out, my doctor said I was doing fine and that as long as I didn't over do it, I could give talking a whirl. It took me several days after that to speak clearly, as I mostly at that point still sounded like I was talking through water, but I made it. Whew.

Now that I am doing better and am no longer under the influence of pain medication (well, other than Tylenol), I would be glad to share my experience with all of you. Why? Because misery loves company. That's why.

The day of my surgery they were running a little behind schedule at the hospital, so by the time they came to get me to start giving me the anesthesia, I had been nearly 14 hours without food, per their instruction, and I was doing everything in my power to still be a nice person and to talk over the loud noises my stomach was making. It is such a small organ, with such impatience, and quite the temper I might add. I had two people complain that my veins were being difficult. I smiled and oh so innocently pointed out that they are usually much more cooperative when I have been allowed to drink water. Seriously. No food OR DRINK for FOURTEEN HOURS. I was desperate. And trying not to be mean about it, because I really didn't want to upset the people who were going to be in charge of giving me meds.

After the extremely merciful, and wonderful people gave me medicine that made me completely unaware of how hungry I was, I only remember two things. The first was that I got a little motion sick when they wheeled me down the hall (that tends to happen when I don't eat) and the second was that I saw my doctor when they wheeled me in the room. He was being very kind and using his "soothing voice" when he spoke to me. After that I have extremely vague memories of not wanting the mask that someone kept putting on my face (because I don't like to have my mouth and nose covered at the same time - I don't care if that's weird, I don't like it because it makes me think of suffocating) and not having the strength to push them away. If I had not had just enough presence of mind to know that this was supposed to happen, I may have gone ape right then and there because that is one of my worst nightmares.

The next thing I know, I am waking up, it hurts to breathe, I can't speak, I can't swallow, and (true to form) I am nauseous from the anesthesia. When I get nauseous I get really hot and so the only thing I could do when the nurses asked me if I was okay (I was burning up, so I might have been breathing a little shallow) was to make a very weak gesture of me fanning myself. They got me a fan. And then told me to drink some water. YEAH, I'll get right on that. Just as soon as I can breathe without feeling like there are shards of broken glass in my throat.

It got slowly better after that. They kept me overnight for observation. The next day the worst part of my day was trying to actually eat the chicken broth they brought me. It was pretty much a no go. I don't even remember how many hours it had been since I had ingested food, but they had hooked me up to an IV to get liquids in my system and I was not hungry enough to withstand the pain of swallowing for mere chicken broth. Oh, and I almost gagged on the spot when I saw the Jello on the tray, so the wonderful hospital worker took it away.

For those of you who might have missed the memo, I hate Jello. Not the pudding kind, the jiggly, wiggly, gelatin kind. The kind Bill Cosby used to peddle. Jello=gagging. Food shouldn't wiggle all by itself once it's on your plate. But that is whole other crusade I could go on.

Once I got home, I learned very quickly that everything made me tired, and that eating chicken broth still pretty much wasn't worth the pain. I also learned that the old Brady Bunch episode when Cindy and Mrs. Brady got their tonsils out was a huge lie because you can't eat ice cream. Dairy coats your throat and makes it hard to breathe. LIARS. Also, you know who else is a big fat liar? Mary Poppins, that's who. You know how I know? Because I am pretty sure they mixed my antibiotic (which had to be in liquid form) with way more than just a spoonful of sugar and it still wasn't anything near delightful. And not just because it hurt to swallow. No, it was gross. Forget water boarding. You want to torture someone? Feed them that stuff. Quadruple ew with an ew on top.

Anyway, slowly but surely I improved. I can breathe, I can eat, I can talk. I still get tired a lot, but they told me that might happen. I still have to be careful about my level of activity and I'm not allowed to do anything strenuous for a bit, and I have to go back to the doctor in a few weeks. By then, he ought to be able to declare me fully healed and my life can return to normal, well, with better breathing and better quality sleep, but everything else will just be the same.

And since I had a LOT of time to sit and think, and watch really bad TV during my recovery, I came up with a few new blog posts to share with you. So be looking forward to that! Or at least feign interest. Fine, don't care at all, just don't tell me and spoil my fun.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hiatus

My tonsillectomy will be tomorrow afternoon so I wanted to let everyone know that I will be on a temporary hiatus while I am on my pain medications. I will be back in a few days when my world is no longer fuzzy, especially since I won't be allowed/able to speak for a while and I need some sort of outlet if I have any home of retaining my sanity. Until then, feel free to wander through the archives and read through some of my better rants.

Thanks and see you soon!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day!

This week when I taught my ESL class, since many of them are from countries that do not celebrate Veterans Day by that name or any of it's other names (Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or even Poppy Day), I taught them about the origin of the day and explained why we celebrate it today. Well, as the week has gone on, I have noticed that many commercials are airing that involve Veterans Day sales that will last all weekend and it made me think that while lower prices are never unappreciated, maybe some have lost the real meaning of Veterans Day. So I will share the same information here that I shared with my class.

(Side Note: I learned while teaching about this that in Korea, which is where one of my students is originally from, they have a similar holiday known as Soldiers' Day.)

Veterans Day was officially declared a holiday in 1919, one year after the end of World War I. 20 million men died fighting in the first World War, which was originally called by two other names, the first being The Great War, and the second being The War to End All Wars. This holiday was meant to honor the sacrifice of all soldiers who fought for their countries during that war, both the ones who came home with their lives and the ones who did not. The holiday has since become a day to remember all military veterans from all wars, as a way of showing them our appreciation for all that they do.

Again, though, the holiday was officially declared a holiday in 1919, exactly one year after the treaty that ended WWI was signed. The treaty was signed at 11 AM and so it is remembered that WWI ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 (Side Note: Not all fronts got news of the signed treaty so in some areas skirmishes would continue for a while, especially on the Eastern Front).

So that is where it all began. The day is celebrated in most European countries and Canada, but it is celebrated under different names, but all for the same reasons. So if there is someone in your life who is risking everything to fight for your country, today would be a good day to say thank you.

Another Side Note: When I explained all this to my class, I mentioned that on this day I feel especially grateful to the people I know or am related to who serve or have served, including those who are no longer with us, like my grandfather. One of my students looked at me and smiled a kind smile and said "You are proud of them." It wasn't a question, but an observation she made as I told her about them. And she was right. I am proud of them. So very proud and so very thankful.

Thank you, not just to the ones I know, but to all service men and women of the United States Military.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Candy Overload

No, I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about all of us who have candy left over after last night's Halloween festivities.

For instance, last year we had a lot more trick-or-treaters than we did this year. But this year we have a church across the street that hosted a Trunk or Treat event. I applaud them for giving kids a safe place to trick-or-treat and giving them fun activities to do while they are there, I do. But they stole a lot of our trick-or-treaters. Its hard to compete with a bouncy castle and a jumpy slide. So we have a lot of candy left over.

My dilemma is that I don't want all that left over candy just sitting around my house, mocking me. I also don't want to throw away perfectly good candy, because that just seems wasteful. And what about the parents out there who have kids who hit the jackpot, so to speak, and came home with more candy than they can possible devour before it goes bad without giving themselves the stomach ache of the year. Well, I recently heard of a program that is willing to help us solve just this sort of dilemma and to show a little gratitude to soldiers in the process.

Operation Gratitude sends care packages to soldiers as a way to say thank you for the work they do. Well, right now they are collecting Halloween candy to send to the soldiers. What better way to get that candy out of your house than to have them send it to a soldier thousands of miles from home to let him/her know that we are grateful and that we still care.

And just how to get this candy to them? I'm so glad you asked. They have set up a program to make it easy. It's called the candy buy back, and all you have to do is find a dentist in your area that is participating. Kids who are 16 and under can get paid for the candy they give ($1 per pound) and the rest us can donate it. You can find a participating dentist in your area through the Halloween Candy Buy Back Website. All you have to do is type in your zip code to find a participating dentist office near you. And if you happen to own/run/work at dentist office and want to sign up your practice to participate you can do that at the website, too!

So c'mon. Get that extra candy out of your house and away from your waistline. Instead, give it to a soldier who, I'm sure, would love to be reminded that the rest of us still care about him/her and are grateful for the work they do.

You tricked. You were treated. Now do a good deed.