Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From the Random Files in my brain

Here's an interesting article about "dystopian fatigue". The author discusses her need for happier slanted movies and TV shows, leaving her looking for a little Glee or a Modern Family to brighten up her viewing habits. I agree with much of what she's saying, and hope that programmers are listening - I am so far behind on the heavier things that are sitting in my DVR, but I watched ABC's Comedy Wednesdays live, every week. (Except for Cougartown, which I refuse to watch because the title makes me want to puke.)

That said, I also just read a fabulous dystopian YA book that I can highly recommend - The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. It's gripping and moving, and I read it in an hour and a half, and am going to read it again, with post it flags and pencil at the ready, as soon as I can get my hands on the sequel. I chose it based on some great reviews, so I know it's not exactly an unknown book, but if you haven't read it, then you are missing out on something special. There were parts of this book that were ridiculously difficult to read, which I know some people shy away from, but, for me, it just shows what an exceptional writer the author truly is. Set in a far distant and horrifically frightening future, it could have been one of those books that was just a good read, but doesn't feel likely or truthful. Exactly the opposite is true - this book is REAL, zombies or no - and makes me want to gobble up anything else Carrie Ryan has written.

Bits and pieces, like I said.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

33 days post op,

and I am starting to finally feel like I might actually be a human-type person again. I'm not springing into cartwheels, or feeling the magical special cure that I had, deep down, obviously, been hoping for, but I no longer feel as if someone decided to whack me in the face with a mallet, while at the same time letting some sort of giant lizard claw its way down my throat. You can imagine that this is a bit of a relief.

I managed to catch, in these 33 days, at least one sinus infection (either inadequately quashed the first time and capable of rebounding, or a party-bug who invited a friend over; impossible to tell) and a case of thrush that made me want to rip my tongue out and use sandpaper on it. Thankfully, the thrush has cleared up, and the infection(s) are on their way out as well. (She says, trying not to jinx herself this time.)

So I'm going to talk a little bit about a couple of things now, and I'm going to warn you that the very first thing I'm going to talk about is exceedingly gross. As in "Are you really about to tell the internet that...?" level gross. But here is where I talk about things that I can't discuss in real life/make my family understand, and so, you lovelies have a bit of forewarning that you might want to skip item #1.

Item #1: Every week since my surgery (and twice the first week immediately following the surgery), I have had to go to the ENT surgeon for a check in. During these check ins, he pokes at my face a little bit, looks up my nose, down my throat and in my ears - in short, all the things you expect the ENT to do. And then things take a dramatic turn for the worse, and I break out in the kind of flop sweat usually only experienced when the dentist turns around with that huge needle in his hand. Luckily, the ENT does not start poking me with needles, but, rather unluckily, he instead decides that now is the time to insert things up my nose.

UP my NOSE, people. My very tender, and much abused nose. First, he sprays a little numbing stuff, which is about as useful as tap water would be, and then he uses a long thin strip of cotton ball, doused in decongestants, and his looooooong metal pliers, and he stuffs the cotton ball up my nostrils. He leaves it there for a minute and disappears behind me, while the medicinal tasting decongestant drips out of my nose and down the back of my throat.

The first time this happened, I was a little bit shocked: I assumed that when he said he was going to use a decongestant, that he meant a nasal spray. And that was going to be bad enough, because my nose was already swollen and sore, and now he was going to spray stuff up there? Bah. So I was sitting there all shocked and drippy, waiting for him to take this gross stuff out of my nose when, all of the sudden, there's an unexpected noise behind me. A mechanical noise, a little hum that is entirely out of place. And then things go way downhill, way too fast.

Because the mechanical humming noise is coming from some sort of vacuum, not unlike an elongated, metal version of the doohickey that the dentist uses to suck spit out of your mouth during a cleaning, and the ENT is telling me that this damn thing is going up my nose to "clean out what's left."

Are you freaking kidding me??? This was not mentioned during the numerous pre-op discussions we had about surgery and aftercare; This was not mentioned in my aftercare instructions; This was not mentioned anytime during the previous 15 minutes I've been sitting here talking to you: NOW you are telling me, as you approach me with that goddamn thing, that you're going to suck stuff out of my sinuses? I am so not on board with this.

But, what choice did I have, really, since this is part of the after care - I'm going to go through all the pain of the surgery, and then have it be a waste because I didn't do the necessary follow up? I don't think so. How bad can it be, really?

Oh, it can be really, really bad. *I should put a disclaimer here that this was my experience, and the whole sucking out of sinuses might not be a big deal for other people: I can't really say. Except for another guy who was having the same surgery/procedure done on my first post-op visit who yelled really loudly from inside the room while I was waiting for my appointment, so he obviously didn't enjoy it either (if only I had known why he was yelling before I went in...). I can only say, that for me? It was a gigantic deal. Not just because I was already in a lot of pain, although I was, but because, to me, it feels like drowning.

The sensation of not being able to breathe through your noise is bad enough, but you add in the forced pressure of that little vacuum, and the fact that you can feel it not just in your sinuses and nose, but in the back of your throat? And it adds up to a completely overwhelming and painful experience. I cried, the first time, and (Mum told me later) was also, from the waiting room, quite audible in my distress. I cried the second and third times too, and I'm not even the tiniest bit embarrassed by that fact. (It was a little bit less traumatic the last two times, thankfully.)

It hurt, and I am already hurting enough.

But it was the panic that it caused me that was most distressing... the doctor actually told me to "breathe through your mouth" (as if I had any other options) "or you're going to have a panic attack". That is because you are cutting off my air supply, and my body, for some reason thinks this is a bad idea. He also appeared shocked that I would find this so upsetting, only adding to my impression of him as completely out of touch with reality ("7-10 days and you'll be good as new!"; "No patient has ever had a sinus infection so soon, post-op: are you sure that's what it is?"; "You should chew more gum to help stretch those muscles, did I forget to tell you that?").

The only good news is that I now don't have to go back for another month, baring additional issues, and that time, he may not even have to use the vacuum. Fingers crossed! End of totally disgusting and barbaric Item #1.

Item #2 - I have missed out on a lot of things in the course of the 33 days: a cousin's wedding (which apparently included much celebrating), my birthday, a college reunion I wasn't going to go to anyways (but I would've liked to make the my-girls dinner pre-party), Lil Girl's end of school celebration, No Longer Youngest Nephew's school report (which I have never been invited to before :( ), and more than a bit of family drama that I'm still trying to catch up with. Everybody in my family had issues during this period, and I feel like I am a page or two behind on the stories, which is a feeling I truly hate. I also feel like this lag in my understanding of things has caused new drama, which I have to figure out how to fix, but can't till my brain is back at full power, which sucks. This is one of the things I tried to factor into my decision to have the surgery - knowing I would be so far behind/out of the loop, and trying to make it be ok, but I absolutely hate not being there for people when they need me (and we can talk about why I don't expect people to show up for me when I need them some other time, thank you very much). It has been hard, playing catch up, apologizing for the gaps and lapses, the gaffs and digs I've delivered unknowingly. Or trying to, at least.

But at the same time, I'm trying to be realistic about this - I had the right to do something that, hopefully, is going to lead to a real improvement in my health. It wasn't selfish to do this, even if I don't get the outcome I wanted. Or, if it is selfish, only in a good way. This is one of the things I have decided to work on, about myself - that I don't cut myself enough slack about important things. Yes, it is vital to be someone that my family and friends can depend on, and it stinks when my health issues get in the way of that. But that doesn't mean it's not something that people should try to understand, and that doesn't mean it's something I should feel badly for (at least, not excessively so). So, I'm working on that. It is much harder done than said.

Item #3 I would just like to state, for the record, that I am through thinking about my weight. Because I ate nothing but soup broth and mashed potatoes, slush, bananas, and jello for, let's say 27 days, discounting the first two days (when I could only eat slush), and the last four (when I've been expanding into other, actually needs to be chewed types of food). And I think I gained weight, to be honest with you. So if I can't lose weight on three weeks of vegetarian, non-chewable mush, then I'm just not going to lose weight. So I better figure out how to like the size I am right now.

I think that's about it for now, before this post turns into a novel. I'll be back pretty soon (certainly more frequently now), and we'll talk about something completely different, won't that be nice? Please also know that I am, slowly but surely, catching up with my Google Reader (yay: The Collective is back in my Google Reader!), but it's taking me a while. If you have clicked through a new comment of mine on an older post of yours, welcome! Sorry to be so late to the party! I'm getting there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some more off-topic, lighthearted linkage to share, since I'm still not feeling awesome. As I was sifting through my Google Reader, I found a link I thought I'd share. These are from a pretty hysterical site called "Dear Girls Above Me", and are a couple of my favorite lines from a downstairs neighbor to the ditzy girls upstairs.

Dear Girls Above Me,

I’m sorry you sprained your ankle and “aren’t hot anymore” but Chanel crutches don’t exist…yet. Thanks for another golden idea. 6/1/10

Last night u held something called a ‘trash mag partaaay’. Is that like a book club for the illiterate? 3/2/10

Our building doesn’t have a ghost “trapped in the walls on Thurs & Fri.” Its just street cleaning. 2/18/10

Just because a guy looked at you funny on the street, doesn’t mean you’re living in The Truman Show" 1/13/10

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Well, so far,

this operation has not been as big a success in the whole "preventing multiple infections" genre as I might have hoped. I'm on my way back from my second infection since the surgeries, all though I will say that (so far, knock wood, cross fingers) the duration of this infection is hopefully of an atypically (for me) short duration. That is the hope anyways.

I've been pissed off because I told Lil Girl's parents to keep her at home last week when she was sick (which I hate to do) and I specifically did not go to my cousin's wedding this weekend because I was trying to take the safe road and keep myself away from germs and rest up and recover. And then, by Monday morning, I was sick as a dog. Again. So it really didn't matter that I didn't do the things I wanted to do; I got sick anyways. Realistically, I know that there wasn't a connection, but still: pissed.

I am recovering, though: my voice was coming back before I coughed it away this week, and my face wasn't as painful as it had been (before it took on it's new infection throbbing). One strangely unanticipated side effect from my septum repair is this odd tingling in my front teeth/roof of my mouth. The doc says this is because the nerve that runs there begins at the base of my nose, and I say it would've been nice if he had mentioned that before the surgery, but since it's supposed to go away, I'll just keep spraying Chloraseptic on it and drooling like I just got "woot canal".

I can't really judge how healed I might be, what with the new issues, but I'm working through a course of antibiotics (and got back from yet another horrid visit with the surgeon), so hopefully, by this time next week I'll be doing better and will be able to say "I'm healing" without all the caveats. Thanks for your support, in the meantime.

I do have a lot of things I want to do this summer, so keep fingers crossed that this is the END of summer infections for me.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Took me a while

but I'm finally posting to let you all know that the surgery went well, and I am recuperating. It is a process, which I hate (I'm much more in the mood for a recovery of the 'flip a switch' variety), but since I'm finally seeing/feeling signs of progress, I suppose it'll do.

I will say that it was a much more painful prospect than I had prepared myself for, the probable cause of which includes me getting an infection, and thrush, and being hideously nauseous to the point of dry heaves, and not realizing that this was not just a normal post-op situation, and trying to 'push through' it like a big dope. But, now it is starting to get better, and today I ate noodles (my first meal other than mashed potatoes, slush, jello or soup broth), so I know it must be improving.

The pain meds are killer, in that I find myself constantly loopy: Today is my first day back on the computer, and I have spent an hour and a half writing the three paragraphs you see here in the hopes that they will be logical and legible. I do not like this sort of high life, and am trying to cut back on the pain meds as much as possible, so that I can function.

Worst of all, probably, is the fatigue. This is not unexpected either, since the CFIDS makes exhaustion my constant companion, but I always forget how much energy recovering from illness/stress/operations takes, and then am shocked when I can barely life my head from the pillow sometimes. We had two weeks without Lil Girl, and I think my incapacity has shocked her too, now, which I hate. I don't like for people to see how weak I can get, and for her to see it (because I see that it worries her) makes me want to cry.

Or punch things. If I had any energy to punch things, but I can't cry because Did you know? That crying? After sinus surgery? Will HURT??? Well it will: Trust me.

So there's the update: Am doing better. Would not make this decision again if I had it to do over (but should probably reserve judgement until I see if it actually helps things). Need a large, large nap. And less woogy drugs. Miss you all, and will try to check in again really soon.

Love, NTE