Thursday, May 29, 2008

Home again, home again jiggity jig!

This will be brief. I am home! Surgery appears to be a success! It was one of the worst ruptured discs she had ever seen. It had dropped down and wrapped around the nerve. She said I was extremely lucky that it did not effect my bladder as it was right next to it. That is a real praise. I still have some leg pain which they said in my condition is not surprising. The nerve is normally the color of spaghetti, but mine was a bright red/purple from all the inflammation.

I am told that I will feel much, much better in about 2-3 days. I am in considerable pain - the muscles keep spasming so I am drugged up. Just took some more. Getting up and down, rolling on my side is excruciating- but I am hopeful that tomorrow and each day after will be better.

I am do to NOTHING - except some basic exercises and some walking over the next 2 weeks. Lifting nothing greater than milk, no laundry, dishes, no cooking...nothing.

I have to watch everything for the next 8 weeks. 90% will herniate again during this time period because they do something they shouldn't. Don't want to go through this again.

That's all. Just wanted to give a quick update. Email me - it is nice to hear from everyone. Just babble about your day if you don't have much to talk about. :) Or, better yet, answer my questions of the day on a previous entry. I forgot I am the reason Jennifer can't eat hot dogs anymore!!! Check out her comment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Twas the Night before..

Heading for surgery tomorrow. I have to be there at 6 AM - yikes! Which means that I should be out of surgery around 9:30. Yeehaw! I am so excited - yes, excited - about getting pain relief! So - pray for me, the docs and all! I'll be at HP Regional and the sign that all went well is if I come home on Thursday.

I can't wait to blog about awards night at school tonight. Classic!

Catch you ladies soon!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The best part of waking up...

During my virus/stomach bug/g.i. funk a little over a week ago, I could not stomach my favorite beverage, coffee. It is amazing to me that in just a couple of days, I went from 3 cups, gladly, to not even being able to stomach the smell. There is no doubt I was a coffee addict. One day I accidentally made decaf and by lunchtime felt like my head was in a vice grip and was going to pop off my body at any moment. I am not really a coffee snob. I mean, I know my coffee, but can easily drink McDonald's along with Starbucks. Although, it doesn't get much better than the Pumpkin Spice Latte (just don't look at the color!). So, it was with mixed emotions that I poured my first cup of java this morning. Just a small, regular coffee mug. It doesn't even taste good and I won't drink even half of it. Bummer.

Speaking of changing taste buds, I am reminded of a summer at my grandmother's house. The garden was overflowing with summer tomatoes, which I absolutely went ga-ga over. Because there was no way to sell or eat them all, she canned them for future consumption. That fateful day, I eagerly sat in her kitchen while she stewed the tomatoes for the canning process. A bowl, salt shaker and fork in hand, I sat at their small wooden kitchen table eating deposited tomato after tomato. I ate so many that my favorite food soon became my most hated. For some 9 or 10 years I could not stomach tomatoes. I loathed them. However, sometime 15 years ago, I tried them again and magically, my love of tomatoes returned. How I love a sandwich with juicy, home-grown, summer tomatoes, mayonnaise and a dash of pepper! The only time this has not been the case was when I was pregnant with Ethan - I could not eat or smell anything with tomato sauce (no pasta, pizza, no sandwiches, etc). Interesting.

I have always hoped that this same taste bud change might happen with my dislike of anything originating from bodies of water - lakes, oceans, etc. I abhor seafood - fish, shrimp, mollusks, squid - I'll stop there before I sound like Bubba in Forest Gump. That fishy taste, the rubbery textures - yuck! It is so healthy for you that I feel that I am missing out on one of nature's superfoods. Every year I try something -a little bite here and there in hopes that my mouth has done an about face and aqua food is more palatable. That is one reason (like there aren't a million others) I could never be on Survivor - I would starve to death.

I am curious if others have such issues, leading me to the questions of the week:

1. Is there something that you used to love and now can't stomach?
2. Is there a food you hate which you wish you didn't?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The cost of relief

Prescriptions: $500.00+
MRI: $1700.00
Neurosurgeon: $3,000
Lumbar disketomy: $15,000+

Our insurance: LOUSY! Easily, I have made my $5,000 out of pocket for the year.

Relief from pain: Priceless

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thieves in the night

I was in bed (like I have been many other places lately) last Saturday night. It was around 11. Jay had just come to bed. We were watching a little tv -can't remember what was on. Bobo was on the back deck and started to bark. He is not a barker and it was a pretty focused barked. It also seemed rather loud and I got up (pain doesn't keep you from being paranoid). I walked to the deck door and realized it had not been shut all the way, so I took the opportunity to tell Bobo to hush. As I was shutting the door, I heard a voice (or so I thought).

I hurried back to bed and told Jay that I thought I heard a voice outside. This coupled with Bobo barking should warrant Jay getting out of the bed. Jay simply said he wasn't getting out of bed and that I didn't hear anything. About 15 minutes later, I got up to go to the bathroom. As I was walking across the bathroom, I turned to look out the large window above our garden tub. I saw headlight and taillights down near the sharp turn and nearly let out a squeal. JAY - SOMEONE IS IN OUR DRIVEWAY! I SEE HEADLIGHTS.!!! He sprang from the bed, grabbed shorts and a baseball hat and loudly announced he was going after them. The bathroom need was urgent so I did my business and headed into the living room. As I rounded the corner, I called out Jay's name. He was sitting in the dark in one of our brown leather chairs and said, "You have been forked." (that is not a typo) I turned and looked at the front door which stood wide open with the front porch light on. There, in my yard were a ton (a hundred, maybe more?) of plastic forks pushed individually in my yard, each with an index card stuck into the tines. I knew immediately what it was and who had done it! Yippee! Not only did we NOT get robbed :) but my great friends had taken the time to write encouraging words, bible verses, prayers funny memories, even some strange pick-up lines on all of these cards. It was to lift me up during this low time. HOW FUN!

The next morning, I let the girls pick all the forks out of the yard, as I obviously couldn't. They loved doing it. One by one, I read the cards - some brought smiles, some brought giggles and some inspiration. It was just want I needed. I had hit a real low with the pain, epidural failure and g.i. bug I battle for 6 days. My friends heard it in my voice and came running with love.

Now - the funniest part of this entire thing is that my great friends were thorough enough to send Jay an email to let him know of their intentions, only the day before. Jay received and read the email...and had FORGOTTEN all about it. Additionally, what in the world was Jay going to do by going after them in my minivan? Lastly, what was the need for the baseball cap - were the robbers going to be scared by his bed head? I got some laughs out of that. Another good result from the forking - Jay and I now have an emergency plan if that does happen for real.

Here is a BIG thank you to Amy (the mastermind), Beth, Lori, Angie, Rebecca and Stacy. You guys are the BEST!

Broken Back Mountain

As time has marched on since her passing, my conversations with my mother center less and less around Ansley. It is a normal progression, I suppose, and a healthy one at that. However, my bed/sofa ridden times as they have been over the past month, have surfaced memories that had been filed away. They are the ones of struggles and challenges and helplessness.

For 3 years she lived largely in the bed. I can see her -fogged out of her mind in attempts to cover her pain. Her mouth slightly parted and eyes a little droopy. She would smile a little half smile. She was very child-like.

Three years...and I have had only 4 weeks. In no way can I comprehend what her months and years felt like. Each day for me has seemed like a year. I won't venture to guess how they felt to her. I am not forced to contemplate the end of my life as she did each day. All of the variables we had with Ansley - the attempt to control pain, not be over medicated, the push to see doctors, the unknown diagnosis, the constant shuffling of schedules, kid pick-ups, household chores, and my own sense of guilt are so uncomfortably just heaps on the emotional pain along with physical. It is a new level of understanding for me and it is very unsettling. This new place of understanding brings new compassion, compassion I wish I could have shown her. The fact that I am at a new level of empathy racks me with guilt - did I shower her with true sympathy and love while she was here?

This has also brought a particularly cruel sadness to my mother. She would never voice that, but I have seen it and felt it. After my failed epidural procedure last Wednesday, the nurse pushed me in a wheelchair to my waiting mother and her car. Wheeled up to the car door, I made the quick move to the front seat which was reclined all the way back. My mom helped get the door closed and then got into the driver's seat. As we pulled away, she said, "Seeing you wheeled out brought back a flood of memories of me picking up Ansley so many times." At that, she burst into tears and sobs. It hurt me.

My mom has picked up the ball with my kids and their activities. As school is winding down there are the usual parties, field trips, etc. Lily's last day was yesterday, Thursday. The parents were to come for the final party which was followed by a little performance of her music class. My pain level would not allow me to handle what would amount to 2.5 hours of sitting and standing, so my mom agreed to be my stand-in. After the event, mom brought Lily home. She sat down in the kitchen to tell me all about it. I could see the entire day had brought back memories of being in that same role for Graylyn. Once when Ansley was still living and then last year at Graylyn's graduation when Ansley was gone.

She is once again thrust into the role of caregiver, provider, limousine driver, launderer, dishwasher, errand runner, etc. I know in my heart that it is one she does willingly and happily, but I know where this has taken her and I am sad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's been a while, my friends

Most of you who frequent my blog received an email telling you about my scheduled surgery on Wednesday. As I wrote in the email, I believe I have been vindicated - there was a real reason for the torturous pain I have been in. Most people are very leery about back surgery, but they have made a lot of improvements. Relief is prayerfully close!!!

On a very, very bizarre note and what can only be described as a miracle - bizarre, but a miracle...the person who I really owe the biggest thanks to for getting me into Dr. Neave (top dog neurosurgeon in HP), the one who ended up going to bat for me, who came through on a promised phone call and had me in the NEXT day instead of June 18th...MY NEW BFF...

MR. BIG BRAINS!!! Yes, can you believe it? The PA who was such a jerk to me came through with compassion, care and yes, honesty! Do I feel guilty about what I wrote about him previously - no. It was a truthful depiction of my time with him. I do believe because I joked with him about that comment, showed honesty and a true desire to get well and work hard, we had a little conncetion. Who knows.

What did I learn from this encounter? We all have bad days. We all get frustrated and worn out. But the effect of how we chose to react can create a very inaccurate portrayal of who we really are. Clearly Mr. Big Brains in his core is not the person I encountered that first appointment. I wonder how many times I have allowed my irritation to be vomited on those around me, particularly strangers who for no fault of their own just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time (or the "right" time in order to teach me a lesson). What an inaccurate portrayal of me they must have. It sorta hurts to think about it.

I actually wrote the above blog on Wednesday, but hadn't proofed it (I use that term loosely). I received the "Link" from church just now and Bill (the new-ish pastor) wrote my intentions above much more succinctly. Here it is:

Whatever this day - or any day, for that matter - brings you, God has designed that the unique set of circumstances that puts you either in a moment of exhilarating success, abysmal failure or somewhere in-between makes you a momentary "expert." Except for the reality that the Holy Spirit is with you, no one will have been exactly where you are in that experience. So, what will you do with the moment and its discoveries?

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I have a lot of thoughts about blog topics this week. Unfortunately, I can't get them down on the computer. I am on my knees (literally) typing this at my computer in the basement, thus limiting the amount of time I can type. So - I had the epidural on Wednesday. Most, most, most disappointingly, I have had no change in my pain level. If it is possible, I think the pain has actually gotten worse. That may be because I stopped taking pain meds for several reasons. One) I felt over medicated and 2) I had either a reaction to coming off Prednisone or caught some sort of virus that basically made me feel very hung-over for the past 5 days and 3) I wanted to see the true effects of the epidural. I was told that I could resume activities the NEXT day so I hoped off in the car on Friday to take the kids to school. I was smart enough to take Jay with me which was good because I wouldn't have made it home. It took at good 45 minutes upon returning home to get the pain under control. I will call the doc on Monday to see about getting another shot. As I think this is standard protocol, but am not sure. I cannot get into therapy until the 29th, but am going to call Monday to see if there isn't another location I can visit.

To add - I haven't been blogging because the laptop died - an abrupt and painful death. Jay thinks he will have it repaired on Wednesday - at least I will have contact with the outside world.

There is a small part of me that is very fearful that I will never get rid of this pain. It is the irrational side, I know, and lack of faith in God. Prayers would be greatly appreciated in this area as well as for Jay. He is hanging on by a thread. He is my hero.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big brains

I got "worked" into the neurosurgeon's office today. For clarification, I saw one of the P.A.s. The following statements/questions made by the P.A. will probably give you an indication of my high opinion of him:

1. So, you are who had to be worked in between my two brain tumor cases?
2. Yeah, after I had my epideral injection, I passed my black belt test in karate later that day.
3. Epiduaral injections come in sets of three - count them - 1, 2, 3
4. Assuming you can maintain the weight you are currently as you get older...
5. How can you watch three kids while taking oxycodone?
6. Yeah, I have had husbands call me up and ask me if I can get their wives on something other than prednisone.

Looks like I am going to be forced to get the epidural injection which may or may not work - not work at all, work for 5 days or like for my illustrious P.A., work for a year. After which I may get another one (at some $1900 a pop with our fabu insurance) or then be required to have surgery. Is that clear for you? It wasn't for me.

I know, I have been quite the crab the past couple of weeks - my posts reflect it and that stinks. Pain, narcotics, steriods and stress will do that to you. My post have not been very fun to read and I am sorry. I need to get a clear head and get back on track - in the God zone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Angela and Jennifer - you disappoint me. Second grade. Mrs. Sheffield's class. I actually saw her getting her mail the other day. She still lives on Chestnut - and she looked exactly the same. How can that be? I mean, it has been 30 years!

Pop, pop, popSays the popcorn in the pan.
Pop, pop, popYou may catch me if you can.
Pop, pop, popAs they scamper across the heat.
Pop, pop, popThey are very good to eat!
Pop, pop, popGoes the popcorn in the pan
Pop pop popTry to catch me if you can
Pop pop popGo my kernels bright and yellow
Pop pop popI'm a happy little fellow
pop pop pop pop pop pop pop

Friday, May 09, 2008

Pop, pop, pop goes the popcorn in the pan...

Anyone care to guess where that line comes from? I know only TWO readers of my blog who can probably name that line and when it was introduced to my brain. Will one of them dare come out of hiding and comment?

This afternoon, I came out of my bedroom to this jumbled up sound:
pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-POP combined with lots of giggles and laughter. I walked into the kitchen to see my three children jumping around on 2x4 sheets of bubble wrap - all courtesy of the shipping department (i.e. Jay in our garage) of RaRa Telecom Supply. How much fun they were having with something so simple. I couldn't resist either and I walked over and did a quick jump. I know, what was I thinking with my back. Oh well, it was fun while the one jump lasted!

Jay decided to load up the kids tonight for a quick trip to Family Video. The kids had already gone to car, Jay said goodbye to me (or rather goodnight because I had just taken my nighttime meds) and I settled in for some rarely heard in our house silence. Just a few seconds later, I heard the front door squeak open and crying quickly filled the house again. Jay came in with Lily and said, "Lily peed in her pants and lied about it to me. She told me it was water. She doesn't get to go with us." Boy, she was really upset. But, it was a just punishment. It wasn't a complete pee - just the, "I waited a little too long and dribbled before I got to the potty" pee. We all know what I am talking about. But the smell was unmistakable. I have to give her some props for coming up with such a creative and yet plausible lie - water. So, Jay helped me get her into a pull-up (she still wears them at night) and I sent her to her bed to "think about it." A multitude of sobs, many pitifully said sorry's and enough crocodile tears to last the rest of the month went by and I told her she could come downstairs, but had to bring a book with her. She walked into my room with the BIGGEST pouty bottom lip. I think I could have used it as my nightstand. Seriously, I had to turn away because I couldn't contain my smile or laughter. It was the most pitiful little pout and one that I recognized in a few of my 3-4 year-old pictures. I got my obligatory "I am sorry Mommy, I will tell the truth, I won't pee-pee in my pants" acknowledgement. She hoped into the bed and we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - her new favorite little story.

This brings me to another point. We have this great book called, "2oth Century Children's American Classics." Actually, I shouldn't put that into quotes as I am not sure that is the correct title. Ordered it from Amazon and it is a fantastic collection of all the greatest children's books. Even Ethan will still pull it from the shelf. It has Amelia Bedelia, Curious George, Madeline, some Golden Books, Francis, even Goodnight Moon - all the great books from our generation as well as new ones like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It is a great gift idea - although now that I think about it, I have never given it as a gift. Probably because I am usually don't plan far enough ahead to order it, or even more accurately leave my house early to run by Target (buying tissue and a bag too) to grab something quick or a gift card on the way to the party. Sound familiar? Even though no one took me up on my last attempt to get comments, I will offer this question - what have been your favorite books to read to your kids, what have been their favorites (read obsession), or what did you love as a child?

On the back front - get it - update on the back? Jay got on the horn yesterday and begged the Neurologist to see me. They worked me in that day - he could sell reading glasses to a blind man. This was an appointment originally scheduled for the 13th. The verdict is that I need to get into the neurosurgeon sooner than the 22nd. They also upped my pain meds - whoo hoo and added in a med for nerve pain. I have lost the reflex in the bottom of my right heel and won't get it back. It is not a big deal, according to this doc as I don't really need it anyway. O - kay. A little strange, but, ok. I saw the MRI - they said it was "acute", "that I really know how to do it right", "a pretty nasty situation." There is disc fragment pressing on the S1 root which will need to be removed.

They called this morning to tell me they were unsuccessful in getting me in the neurosurgeon's any sooner than the 22nd. HOWEVER, the nurse I saw called me a couple of hours later to tell me that a PA from the neurosurgeon's office happened to come by and the doc presented my case. I was told that he also felt that I needed to be seen sooner and was going to try to get me in. I haven't heard anything yet, but hope to on Monday. All in all, I would say that the prayers are working. Thank you!

So, why am I not asleep after taking all my meds tonight? Because I am also taking Prednisone which counters all the sleepy side effects of oxycodone and jazzes me up like I am on crack. (like I know what it is like to be on crack) Basically, it just means I get to take one of my lower level oxycodones in just an hour. Thanks for reading my babble. Night y'all!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No whining - just an update

I promise that I will not let this blog become a spiraling ode to whining, complaining and self-pity. Especially after knowing what is happening in Myanmar (formerly Burma), what do I really have to say in comparison to that.

But, to be informative, that two friends who are physical therapists say that it is highly likely I will have back surgery. I have a large protruding disc fragment that is usually not healed by conservative measures and PT. Bummer. The good side is the surgery is relatively minor and some patients even feel relief in the recovery room. I think I have to lay low 6-8 weeks after.
The earliest appointment for the neurosurgeon is the 13th - and that is not the particular office or doc I wanted. I also have an appointment on the 22nd for the practice I wanted, 3oth to get my doc of choice. I was going to wait it out until the 30th (although I hadn't figured out how), but then was told that I could risk permanently damaging the root nerve if I wait too long.

My prayer requests:
1. Healing and relief from pain.
2. Doctor has a cancellation and I can slip in there sooner
3. Surgery, if needed, would happen before the end of May for two reasons
a. Kids are still in school
b. My mom leaves to visit little John and Alisa until the end of June
4. Jay - because the new company just started and he needs me. I am limited in what I can do.

I am to let pain be my guide - so basically no driving. No lifting, no bending at the waist - walking will be limited because pain increases the longer I stand - I can take about 10-15 minutes and then I have to lay down.

So - call me, come visit me, email me. Predictably, I will be at home.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Musings about Bobo

Some of you are familiar with our faithful companion, Bobo. He came to us through Animal Rescue because Jay thought our other dog, DINKY, needed a friend. Upon arrival at our house, Bobo was already can I say this with love...a dog only his mother could love. Long skinny legs, large round body, short black hair, small head, large ears, purple spots on his tongue indicating some minute amount of chow in him - you know a complete mutt. He was extremely hyper, too. I would come out the garage door with one knee already poised to knock him down before he jumped on me with his dirty paws.

Over the years Bobo has endured multiple injuries, and yet, he continues to thrive. He has outlived two other dogs, two cats, 2 sets of love birds (4 in total), and two hermit crabs - a testimony to his ability to beat the odds. It has been a dismal pet history in our house (good for another post). He fought back heart worms, a car injury that reduced him to one eye and dermatitis which has left him practically bald on his back half.

The one eye is what seems to fascinate most people. We could have forked out $700 for a prosthetic eyeball, but decided that was a little ridiculous for a dog. So, they just sewed it up, leaving a sunken spot where the eye would have been. It only took a couple of days of running into things for him to compensate. And, it wasn't long before he took out a non-rabid raccoon in one swift pounce.

The kids like to announce to complete strangers, loudly, "We have a dog with one eye because my Daddy ran over him with the car." Not all entirely true. Jay was driving his car with a trailer attached and it seems that Bobo just got caught between the two. The eye came out and was just sort of dangling there. Quite sickening. That was 5 years ago.

So when it was "pet week" at school, Ethan a was a little apprehensive. I don't know if it were out of embarrassment of our slightly decrepit dog or what. I showed up with Bobo and he was instantly a hit with the boys. The girls pretty much said Ewwww and stood back. The boys all wanted to examine the eye socket and I had to prevent them from touching the area, intrigued as they were. Kind of put Bobo in a fresh perspective for Ethan.

This week, I heard Lily making up a song about Bobo. It was to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel." I thought it was pretty creative, yet also a little gross, when she sang, "Pop! goes the eyeball!"

Overall, Bobo has it made. He has the run of outside. He may venture over to our neighbor to mingle with his three dogs, but normally just hangs around here. He has a dog door to garage which rarely gets below 55 degrees. He has a continuous water and food bucket. Most people are surprised to see that he has learned to pace himself with his food and doesn't gorge himself to death. He doesn't know any tricks. He just runs away with any balls thrown in his direction. I would venture to say he is intelligent because if I linger too long in the garage or mention the word 'bath' he won't come near me.

Up until now, he has been about as low maintenance as a dog can be. However, that has changed a bit with the dermatitis, which has taken its toll. We have tried multiple remedies which have not worked. We have found that weekly baths and a topical spray provides some relief. But, ultimately, his physical appearance condition make him look horribly neglected and paints us as inhumane animal owners.

It is nice to see that his appearance doesn't change the kids' view of him. Sadie brought home a super sweet and rather large picture of Bobo that she had drawn. I noticed that she had drawn spots on him - which in real life he doesn't have. I asked and she replied - those are his bald spots! Oh. She wrote on the picture," I love Bobo. He dus not have a i." I love kindergarten spelling.

I don't think the kids will ever forget him. I know I won't.

So, to open some dialogue in my comments section, I ask the question: What was your most memorable pet and why?

Monday, May 05, 2008

I was right all along

So, I just went to pick the kids up. It was so painful I actually omitted some shrieks. I think I scared the kids and I hate that. I got home, hit the bed and grabbed the phone. I was getting an appointment with the doctor this afternoon and I wasn't leaving until I had an answer.

Well, I broke down on the phone with the nurse. She was kind. She said, well, we got the results from your MRI - has no one called you? No - they haven't. Well, we are trying to get you an appointment as soon as possible with a neurosurgeon. You have a very large protruding disc. A nurse will call you as soon as we have the appointment set.

I think I started crying harder at that point - not because of the diagnosis, but because there was a diagnosis that didn't make me look like a complete hypochondriac. I still would like some more/stronger pain medication at this point.

I have no idea what this means, however. If someone does, will you please let me know?!?!?!

Give a girl a break

WARNING: Complete whining and complaining post ahead. Read with caution.

You know, I figure myself for a pretty easy patient. I don't ask for much. I may come down with some illness that requires one office visit a year. So, when I have something truly ailing me, I expect some service, with a smile, and above all else honesty. I have not received much of that over the past week and a half. I know there are worse things in the world, more time-deserving issues, life-threatening illness, but certainly during the course of 12 days some solution could be found.

Now to preface this blog before I go any further, I am a fairly new patient at HPFP. I had been relying on my OBGYN for most ailments until I couldn't justify it any longer. Jay had the ole snipper-roo done, so who am I kidding here. I threw myself at the mercy of an urgent care place for a few minor issues. I am sure I will step on toes when I suggest it is the work solution for sub-standard doctors who received their degrees from institutions I have never heard of. Not to mention the last doc I saw at this place "fixed" my bra strap for me as he checked my breathing - ewwww! Anyway, to start my relationship off correctly with HPFP I had a complete physical about a month ago. Everything came out perfect.

A few weeks later I began to experience shooting pain from my right rear cheek (the one located in the lower half of my body) down the back of my thigh that was seriously accentuated when sitting or driving. Naturally, I called my new doctor and was ushered in the next afternoon, not that day. I arrived at the practice and was greeted by a part-time doctor wearing flip flops and capri's (professional?). I was given a muscle relaxer and a pain killer of mild form and told to take it easy over the weekend. I was given a follow-up appointment in a week. Over the weekend things went down hill. More numbness, pain more consistently, so I called on Monday and was seen by my normal doctor. She giggled as she tried to code the office visit, because according to her, there was no code for "butt pain." I was not amused. I stated that I thought it might be consistent with sciatic nerve or related to disc issues. She seemed enlightened by this bit of self-diagnosis and coded it as such. She even knew about my previous bulging disc, commenting that I was too young to have had that. She scheduled a pelvic x-ray, gave me hydrocodone and I left. She also mentioned she totally didn't expect the x-ray to show anything. When it didn't show anything, she would schedule an MRI. The x-ray didn't show anything and I had to call them to ask about the MRI. That was on Tuesday. Above all else, there is absolutely no difference in my pain level when I am taking the medication prescribed and when I am not.

Throughout the week my abilities have been severely limited. I am in absolute agony driving after about 5 minutes, making my shuttling the kids a nightmare. I cannot stoop to pick anything up unless I kneel on my knees - no bending, no crouching, no stooping. My house is slowly decaying around me. I can not sit at my desk to help out Jay. Instead I lean back on the bed -a bout the only place to get comfortable. Even going to the bathroom is well, tender.

I have made multiple calls to the doctor's office since. I have gotten surly nurses who seemed totally put out that I am calling. I have gotten unanswered calls. No one has suggested that I come back in, or talk to a doctor. Noth-ing. I have explained that I am not a drug seeker (suggested to me by a friend who is a doctor). I want a solution, therapy, anything.

To be fair, I have been offered one other solution - prednisone (sp) which I told dr. #1 I couldn't take because it turned me into a caged wild cat (seriously) - can't sleep, highly agitated, shortness of breath, etc.

Now, I understand, my MRI was at 4:30 pm on a beautiful NC Friday afternoon - no one with any sense was working, let alone a doctor. However, the technician offered that I would hear something in 2-3 days. I asked for clarification - so probably Monday? She said, oh, no, sometimes they work Saturday and Sunday, so you might hear sooner. We will send these results right over. I am thinking - great - I clarified it, now I know. Saturday and Sunday came and went and no answers. I called this morning and no one has seen the results. In fact, the person who called me back said it might even be tomorrow. WHAT?!??!?!

I spent three years dealing with Ansley's cancer. Never, NEVER, did things take this long. The Imaging Center and my doctor are all part of the medical monopoly in High Point called Cornerstone. There should be some collaboration here, right?

Have I given my doctor's office the wrong impression? Why doesn't anyone in the medical community seem to care that I am disabled and cannot take care of my family? Do I just need to go in there and raise holy heck to get some help? Is the system that broken?

Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Tadpoles - the next generation

Growing up, Ansley and I spent a week or two every summer at my grandmother's house in the almost non-existent town of Coats, NC. This one-stop-light town in Eastern, NC epitomizes all that is good and bad of the rural south - safety, community, faith, farming, poverty and racism.

But for us, it was heaven for those two weeks. Mama Lib's house was full of love and healthy discipline. The weeks were a balance between work in their very large vegetable garden and fun days at the Moose Lodge pool, vacation bible school and drives to larger towns for their bowling alleys and water slides. I learned all about picking peas, shucking corn (and the little nasty worms that sometimes accompany it), shelling pecans, even digging up potatoes. We were allowed to pick whatever cereal we wanted from the grocery store for that week. What a treat this was as we were only non-sugar cereal like Cheerios in my house. I always went for Lucky Charms, while Ansley, the sugar addict that she was, went for Frankenberry or BooBerry with all of its food coloring and cups of sugar.

Our only cousin, Alan, lived with my grandmother for a few years and he is an integral part of my wonderfully fond memories there.

One summer, Mama Lib took us to a fish farm to hear about how they raised the fish. At the end, we were allowed to take a tadpole home with us. They lived in a bucket outside her carport and we named them. We watched in anticipation nearly hourly as they slowly grew legs, tails disappearing. One morning we checked on them and there were only two left. One had jumped the bucket, setting out for his new adult life. Later that day, the other two disappeared. We were sad as it had been a fun adventure and lesson in nature.

This all came to mind to me yesterday. Jay took the cub scouts on a hike around Pilot Mountain. Sadie tagged along as well. They came home happy, but worn out. Sadie found some friends to bring home, too. As you can probably predict, I now have a bucket on my back deck full of little tadpoles. Already this morning, they have been checked on by their Mother Sadie at least four times before leaving for church.

What a lesson for me now, as a mom. I watch my own children so closely with anticipation, love. They are growing faster than I would like, each day bringing new changes and challenges, laughter on new levels and conversations with more depth. Suddenly, I know, they will be adults, ready for the world. And, I am sure, I will be filled with much more sadness when the fun adventure of having them under my roof and under my watchful eyes is over.

Working on the Change, Gang

I know, I know, I have butchered some lyrics in the title, but it aptly applies to my week. Tomorrow is a super big day in the Dumoulin household. It is the realization of a life-long dream of Jay's. It is opening day of our new business, RaRa Telecom Supply.

Jay has been at home as he has ethically waited out his 6-month non-compete agreement from his former employer. It has been 6 months of unexpected blessings. Jay has become a master baker - his authentic Dutch apple pies are to die for along with numerous variations of bread made daily. We haven't bought bread the entire time he has been home! At least I know that if the business fails, we can fall back on baking. Some lady hawks her apple pies on QVC for $35 and I KNOW they can't be as scrumptious!

Another blessing has been in the time he has spent with the children. They will never forget this time of Dad taking them to and from school, Dad taking them to the library, Dad being focused solely on them and not distracted by work. Upon returning home, I would often find Jay upstairs in Ethan's room, with all three kids, making and creating with legos - thousands of pieces scattered all over the floor. Priceless.

Jay is an incredible financial planner. This gift is especially important because I am not. It is only through his dedication that we were able to have 6 months without income and not incur any debt. God showered incredible blessings on us during this time and HE gets the glory for this. We were blessed by income tax returns, market rental money, money from a photo shoot at our house, and two unexpected inheritances. It has been an incredible ride.

Yes, it was a trying time at first. Jay was abruptly inserted into my daily schedule and my self-created world. He questioned processes I had created that worked for me. He checked the grocery bills, he challenged my time-management skills, he even asked about laundry. It was tough.

However, I found myself staying at home more, partially out of financial need and partially because it was fun to hang out together. One night in late November, I realized that we actually, *gasp*, chit-chatted. I reveled in it. Clearly, we had come to a point in our marriage where communication consisted only on doling out information and instruction. Now here we were, chatting like we did on our first date. Suddenly, I found my husband again - the man I married - not the man whose previous job had turned him into a volcano that erupted on a regular schedule. It was a clear revelation that this is where we needed to be - whether the new business succeeded or not.

Jay knows his direction - the compass is crystal clear. I am still a little hazy - my life consists of the usual stay at home duties. But now a new element - the business - has been thrown in. I have been thrust into an industry I know nothing about, working on government contracts - say what? My brain has not crunched numbers, worked a fax machine, maintained databases, worked in a business environment in over 7 years. I am a little shell-shocked. It also doesn't help that my pain issues prevent me from sitting for more than 10 minutes (more on that later). At some point a decision will have to be made. I will have to go forward with the business, giving up some of my household duties OR forgo the business and maintain my position. It is easy to give up cleaning the house, maintaining the yard and errands, BUT I can't give up time with my kids. I am already enrolling Lily in 5-day a week preschool next year, a step I did begrudgingly. They are quietly growing up on me and I am already trying to grasp at the stages they were at yesterday. Ethan will be 8 - yes, 8, at the end of this month. I don't want to miss anything, but yet, my husband needs me now, too. I pray to God for a clarity and balance - that the position I take is what God would want from me and that Jay senses it, too.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I am, once again, sitting in bed typing on the laptop. One of God's greatest gifts to us, I think, is the gift of wireless! Just kidding. But, it does enable me to work and play - all from the comforts of my bed. Unfortunately, pain is still ruling my life these days. MRI was on Friday - results on Monday. Things were definitely worse on Saturday. One thing I have noted: Everyone seems to have a back pain/muscle pain story. That is good on one hand, but confusing. It seems this sort of pain can come from a variety of sources - bulging/herniated discs, muscle inflammation, and even tumors (I won't go there). Given that I have one bulging disc in my medical repertoire, I am inclined to go in that direction. Along with the varying back pain experiences I have been told come that many different remedies - epidurals, surgery, physical therapy, medications, steroid injections, chiropractors, Epsom salt baths, etc. I don't doubt they all work, but trying to sort it all, without a definite diagnosis, has been an exercise in futility.

On Monday, I plan on going "all in" in this poker game of medical diagnosis. If they happen to tell me there is nothing on the MRI - well, I am broke. Right now, I want them to find something want. So, finding out what it is will be like winning the lottery. I want a definitive diagnosis so at least I can focus on getting well.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

RaRa Telecom Supply - Day 1

Today is the day! Our first day in business!
Check out the website:

Jay did it all and I have to say - it is pretty impressive!
Pain still searing in the leg - MRI tomorrow.
First day...lots to do. I'll post more soon!