medical

Don’t Rain On My Parade

Katy and I are currently sitting on the porch of the casino, which is the gathering place at Nonquitt. We are doing internet stuff. All around us, rain is pelting down. We had to leave the beach when it started to storm, but before that we got in a nice long swim to a rock where one year we  were dive bombed by a seagull a year or two ago. Luckily that did not happen this year.

For my final day with Sarah we went to the Garment District, where one can buy costumes, vintage clothing, and used clothes for a dollar a pound. It was amusing, and we got a terrific romper for Katy that I will take a picture of and post soon.

Meanwhile, here is the rain, and the clothes, and we are relaxing. On sunny days I am going to try not to get on the interwebs much: wish me luck.

P.S. So far, I have read the new Meg Gardiner and am nearly finished with the new Ann Patchett. Life, it is good.

P.P.S. My ankle hurts, which is sad. Here’s hoping it gets better fast.

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Postcards From Milford

I think this is where Bluster Bluth went to school.

I was GOING to stop in Secaucus, NJ, back when I was having some geography troubles and thought it was after the GW bridge. It is not. So I just kept driving. And, I am pleased to say, I drove QUITE CALMLY over the upper level of the bridge. (When I was a kid, I was totally scared of bridges). I did, however, role down the windows, just in case Zoe and I needed to make an escape. I also left our seatbelts on, though, on the theory that we are more likely to get into an accident than to go flying off the George Washington Bridge.

I love driving 95 North. I know! And not ALL of it, and I hate the truckers with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, but it’s kind of reassuring to hit the same landmarks every day. Zoe, I said, here’s the Bronx! Here’s the New Jersey Turnpike! Here’s the Vince Lombardi reststop!

I am a dork, is what I’m saying.

Zoe was a total trooper. For the first bit of the drive, she kept accidently shifting and putting the car in neutral. This was…unnerving at first.

But then we figured it out, and she settled down on her stretched back passenger seat, covered with a sheepskin, wearing her seatbelt. So stinkin’ cute. For realz.

So we went over the bridge and then got stuck in traffic. I had a full tank o’ gas when I left and I kept waiting to find cheap gas to refill…then, in Connecticut, I discovered that I had maybe an 8th of a tank. Do you KNOW how much gas cost? DO YOU KNOW?

Four dollars and thirty three cents a gallon, that’s how much.

I told the guy (it was full service station) that this was a bit pricey, and then we had a little bitch session. He was all, everyone LEFT THE CITY AND NOW WE ARE A SUBURB AND WE USED TO BE A NICE QUIET TOWN. hee.

(I did not fill the tank).

Then I got a little more lost but finally wound up at a hotel. I was very excited to see that it had On Demand, because I LOVE me some On Demand in hotels. But then the TV made this loud buzzing noise that would.not.stop just when I started Cedar Rapids, so I had to call the front desk and ask for a refund. Then I was FURTHER foiled by the lack of good wifi here, and also the lack of Season 1 Veronica Mars streaming on either Netflix OR the WB website, and that made me sad. So now I’m watching Parenthood.

But I had a nice dinner and Zoe is being adorable and tomorrow I will hit my cousin Sarah’s house, and I am excited to see her. And Saturday Then…Sunday I need to find a place to stay, any suggestions near New Bedford, MA? And then Nonquitt. Whoa. Lots and lots of stuff.

Freaky moment of the day: I logged onto facebook and WHO POPS UP BUT MY SHRINK. At a book reading. I happen to be FB fans of the bookstore, and I was all…wait a minute. That’s my shrink. On my facebook page. Because THAT’S not weird or anything.

Also annoying: My Stupid Ankle. Which hurts to drive, and will not let me jump off the diving board, or go for walks on the beach, or basically ANYTHING FUN EVER.

Ho hum.

Oh! Links!

The A.V. Club is reviewing The X-Files, Arrested Development, AND Veronica Mars (“Hi everyone! Say repressed homosexuality!”). This makes me very, very happy. Reasonable discussions FTW!

What Happened That Night in Abbottabad? (New Yorker)

Melissa Summers has an incredibly brave post about her suicide attempt.

“This war on information is a battle. This war on information is injustice. This war on information is a strategically arranged set of operations designed to victimize and control a specific group of people. This war on information is war.”

Obama Turns Fifty Despite Republican Opposition. (GOP Vows to Say No, No, No).

Stephen Colbert Says that Obama is…well just watch. Also watch his Summer’s Eve bit.

Minimalist Posters for Children’s Books! (WANT. ALL OF THEM).


A Brief Litany of the Woes Experienced By My Family, Fall 2009-Present

Kidney cancer (in an image I won’t forgot anytime soon, I handed the phone to my sister so she could be told while she sat on top of my car at the beach house, fixing the bike rack)

Lumbar puncture

Post lumbar puncture blood patch

Kidney removal

Post kidney removal kidney failure

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer surgery

Broken ankle

Surgery to repair broken ankle (ORIF surgery)

“Yes, this is the minute clinic. You might be having a stroke. Better go the ER”

“Yes, this is the minute clinic. You might have meningitis. Better get to the ER”

Giant hernia requiring major surgery removed

“Yes, this is the minute clinic. Because you just had antibiotics for another sinus infection, I cannot give you anything else. You’re allergic to too much. Better go to urgent care.”

“Yes, this is your university. Yes, we are being assholes about this, and this, and this. Suck it up, where else are you going to get a degree?”

Stage 4 bladder cancer

Strongest chemo drug known to man, given in four cycles, at nearly twice as much the normal amount

Radiation given

Insane side effects that I won’t even get into

Modified Brostrum procedure attempted on ankle, where it turned out there was no ligament: surgery failed

Job loss

Ankle reconstruction, hopefully successful, for the second time in 4 months. Lots of pain.

Turns out this kind of cancer gives one a prognosis of two to three years. That’s fun news to hear on a Thursday!

Also today: air conditioning not working (high today was 102, with a heat index well above that); roof leaking like crazy; pink eye, COBRA not working.

 

Universe. Give us a fucking break, already. I’m thinking swim up bar.

 


Things That Make Me Feel Marginally Better About The World

1. This. I am trying to spin it into a positive. At least someone wrote a GOOD rape prevention list? There you go.

2. The Red Sox are making an It Gets Better video. If I followed sports, which I don’t, the Sox would probably be my favorite team. Also, I hate the Yankees. Anyway, it’s always good to have sports teams making these vids, because at the very least it ought to give some bullies second thoughts.

3. Now you can review the Abortionplex on yelp! YES. and who says feminists can’t be funny?

4. Veronica Mars. See my post yesterday. I feel awful still–really horrible cold–and I cannot focus on anything serious because I feel like I can barely breathe. But I’ve seen VM and on rewatch it just gets better and better. I’m basically starting the first season over: somehow I don’t want to watch the 3rd season and I’ve only watched some of the 2nd. The Lilly Kane mystery really was the best.

5. Oh, and the existence of dry shampoo. I love that stuff.

6. Some of my favorite neighbors are moving tonight, and I will miss them horribly. However,  I did get to spend time with their delightful 3 year old yesterday. We were both, as she says, “a little bit sick” (well, I was/am a lot sick) but we enjoyed making cookies, snuggling and reading books anyway.

 


Ankle Stuff Part Six Thousand Three Hundred and Forty-Two

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So I went to the doctor for my first post op. Here is what I learned:

1. this much pain is normal.

2. there was a tunnel drilled into my fibula to pass a tendon through.

3. said tendon came from some other tendon that had torn that he harvested from.

4. he believes it will provide “excellent stability” which, yay!

5. I don’t have to be on crutches which is excellent.

6. it will be 4 months to running.

7. and then another 2 until I can jump etc.

8. no waterproof cast, boo. if any water gets in I have to get it changed immediately or it will get horridly infected.

9. there were staples. the staples had to removed. my cast is black.

10. here  are graphic and gross pictures!


An Approximate Surgery Timeline

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1230 Arrive at hospital. Get bracelet-ed up.

1240 Arrive at surgery center.

110 Taken back to surgery area. Rather than a stretcher they have a big chair. Give them some urine to confirm my not-knocked-up status. Change into an ugly gown.

130ish Give nurse and then adorable Med Student Chad my medical history. Med Student Chad is only on his second week of ortho and is fascinated by my ankle. Move the ankle around in it’s freaky ways to show him.

2 Tell nurse I’m anxious and am always anxious pre surgery. It’s true, ever since they left me alone for an hour in a surgery center before my tonsils came out many years ago and I had a full blown panic attack. Nurse says that the OR that I am booked in is running late and so my anesthesia doctor is not available.

230 My surgery is scheduled to start in 10 minutes but they are running late. Summon nurse. Tell her that she if she leaves me alone for much longer I am going to start having panic attacks.

240 A totally random anesthesiologist arrives and informs me that he cannot give me anything good because he isn’t working on my case. Would a valium help? It would help SOME, I guess, I tell him.  As he’s arriving my surgeon, Dr. McGuigan, arrives and asks if I have any more questions.  I don’t, really.

300: Med Student Chad reappears. Still waiting? he asks, and I say yes. Mind if I join you, he asks, and I say no, not at all.

3-340: Med Student Chad sits and talks to me for quite awhile. He is funny and interesting and it is very helpful to have someone distract me. We talk about how he is having trouble figuring out his specialty because he doesn’t get to rotate through everything he’s interested in. And other random stuff. I also showed him more ankle tricks and he was fascinated. It was adorable.

335: Another nurse finally comes in and says that they are coming out of the OR. Now they have to clean it. Just get the blood off the floor? I say, and she laughs and says something like that.

345: Anesthesiologist shows up with her nurse. I don’t especially like the doctor herself—I don’t dislike her either but she just isn’t terrific—but the nurse is very sweet. She inserts a needle into my arm with some numbing stuff in it and then tries to start an IV. It does not work. She tries again and again. Still nothing. She goes for my hand. Nope. There are now bruises everywhere she tried, and may I say, thank goodness for numbing stuff inserted BEFORE she starts messing with a bigger needle. Apparently the fact that I haven’t had water in 30 hours means that my veins are not interested in popping up. There’s no choice, the nurse says, they have to take me back totally awake and put me to sleep with the gas. Somebody checks to make sure that the doctor initialed my right leg. Med Student Chad jokes that otherwise they might amputate it. Drug Nurse says that isn’t funny. I say it was. Drug Nurse tells my mom they’ll take care of me and they start to wheel me back.

355: I am definitely a little freaked out and feel tears gathering at the corner of my eyes. Normally they start the knocking out process BEFORE one gets to the OR. It’s freezing cold and someone brings me a warm blanket. Every descends on me all at once, lifting the sleeve of my gown off, attaching EKGs sensors and pulse monitors, etc. It’s a bit overwhelming.  Drug Nurse puts her hands on my face and tells me to take deep breaths. The gas smells gross and gassy (technical term) and I feel myself drift off slowly.

4-645ish: Surgery. I have the operative report but I have no idea what it means. Apparently I was draped and cleaned and then the leg was exsanguinated and a tourniquet applied, which basically means they sucked all the blood out of it and then cut off blood flow to the leg. Hmm. Also, apparently there was all sorts of gross sublaxation and gross laxity and gross instability. Dense scarring was  found as well as a kind of stitches. Something called a rotary sucker shaver was used to debride areas, which apparently means sucking out the dead parts. Or something. Blah blah blah, basically I gather it was really fucking lose. He took, I gather, a 5 mm graft from another tendon ad did some sort of weave involving a tunnel in a bone. WEIRD RIGHT?

7-8: waking up. Slowly. I kept waking up a little bit and saying I was OK only to have the nurse push me back into bed (gently!) and tell me my blood pressure was still high, etc. I got more drugs. And my blood pressure kept getting checked. I drifted in and out for quite awhile before they finally let me go to the other recovery area, where I met Nicole and got my favorite part of the surgery, the post surgery drink and crackers.

9ish: They took my blood pressure one last time and explained the antibiotic/other drugs to me. I fell asleep so Nicole signed for it instead.

930: When we got home I couldn’t walk even on crutches. I crawled up the hill, up the stairs, into the bathroom and into bed.

Since then I’ve been in a fair amount of pain. The ankle hurts every time I move, especially to stand up. I think it’s partially the blood rushing to it. If it’s still and elevated it’s more tolerable, just a general ache rather than the sharp pain. When I move around though—whoa. I don’t like the way narcotics make me feel but I am not fucking around with this: we’re talking Percocet every 4 hours, an antibiotic every 6, and an anti-nausea every 8. Plus daily aspirin to prevent blood clots.

Overall this was a pretty good experience. The pain is awful and I HATED waiting for an OR but Georgetown exuded competence in a way that Sibley did not, and overall I think they did a  good job. The surgeon was apparently very confident that it would work and also very unhappy at what the previous ortho had done: when I get more details about that at my follow up next week I will post again!


A Very Long Comment I Left On Feministe About Animal Rights

I’m having trouble not getting on my Vegetarian High Horse here, because I believe so strongly that *for me* the only ethical life is one that involves NOT eating animals or using products tested on animals. However, the for me part of that is important. I believe that it is immoral–in fact, I believe it is flat out wrong–to use, for example, make up that’s tested on animals, and I have never understood why people seem to have such problems with that: non-tested products are often just as cheap as tested products. But I do understand why people eat meat, although again, I find the idea of eating factory farmed meat unjustifiable. I just cannot do it. And I would be very, very happy to outlaw hunting for sport (for food is obviously a completely different thing) and factory farming.
However. Vegetarians and vegans have to be very, very careful not to be assholes about this. It’s easy for me to say “well eating meat is immoral” because my level of privilege and the fact that I can live quite healthfully without meat means that it has never been a big deal for me (I haven’t eaten meat since I was eight).

When I was in high school at a very crunchy Quaker school, there were loads of vegans, and the smart ones would say, you do what you can. I think this is important to remember for ALL aspects of progressiveness. They are things–outright sexism, racism, homophobia–that cross the line, but the rest of the time you do what you can. If you believe the ethical and environmental arguments for eating less meat, you try to eat less meat. You give as much of your disposable income as you can to “good” companies, you point out rape culture when you can.  Etc, etc. You do as much as you can at any given time to advance what you believe, to “act as if” and in our day to day lives, that’s all we can do.