Well, crap

April 24, 2009 at 4:41 am (Baby, explaining)

I was intending to write this post last week when I thought I was pretty much done with all of this, leaving it private just for me to remember.  This week has changed that. 

Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 I started having major abdominal pains and cramps, and really, I just thought I had to go to the bathroom.  Once I did, and did not feel better, I started to worry.  I drank some more water, had some crackers, and finally gave up and went home.  Once home I walked around trying to loosen up, and layed on the couch with the heating pad, thinking maybe the pain was just my sciatic nerve and would work out.  Finally at about 5:30 I called Peter and told him I didn’t feel well.  At 6 I called to ask him to come home soon so he could take me to Stoughton Urgent Care.  We got there at 7pm, unsure of what was wrong.  I had to pee in a cup and give 4 vials of blood.  They poked and prodded me.  Thankfully the exam room had a tv, and we got to watch the Cubs win (at one point a cat ran on the field and to get rid of it the groundskeeper eventually picked it up by its tail…)  It was decided to do a couple ultrasounds, but the tech was travelling and on call, so more waiting.  I think she came around 10 and did the ultrasounds.  She said it would take about 20-40 minutes for the radiologist to check them out and wheeled me back to the exam room.  The nurses were about to get yet another pee sample and give me more pain meds (I had a shot in the butt and some Vicodin and Flexoril? earlier to try to help) when the PA came in and said stop, that I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and would have to go via ambulance to Madison.  Then the doctor came in and told me the same, hemorrhaging was mentioned, and I cried. 

So, I did know that I was pregnant, and I did know I was miscarrying, before Tuesday.  I had a positive pregnancy test on April 9, a positive blood test (with a super low hcg) on April 10, spotting on the 11 and 13, and another blood test on the 14, which had only gone up by about 100 (it is supposed to double each day…)  April 15 I had an appointment and an ultrasound to rule out ectopic.  They saw nothing, and said it wasn’t a viable pregnancy, and gave me the sad folder and meeting with the nurse. 

I held it together pretty well until the nurse and I started talking.  But she was so nice I started crying, then she cried, then I cried more, because I can’t look at someone crying without crying.  Then I had to leave the obgyn office with the sad blue folder and walk through the waiting room with all the happy pregnant ladies and go to work.  That was pretty much sucky.  Work sucked that week and I wanted to keep everything a secret.

I didn’t want to tell anyone because I wanted to keep my chances for surprising everyone.  No one knew we were trying – it was my first month off the pill (seriously, who does that? gets pregnant first try?) and I wanted to really shock everyone when we told them.  So I decided not to tell anyone, since I was supposed to just miscarry like a heavy period and move on.  So in interest of preserving the fun of a secret later, we didn’t tell anyone and moved on.

So I had a little spotting, and even clotty blood (too much?  move along then…) on Sunday and Monday, but no bleeding Tuesday, and I was suspicious, but was ordered to do another blood test Wednesday, so I figured I would ask them about the lack of bleeding when I called for the results of the (obviously lower) blood test. 

I obviously didn’t make it that far, because the blood they drew in Stoughton on Tuesday was higher in hormones than the week before, so, well, crap.  They moved me from the urgent care exam room to the emergency room, when they called an ambulance to take me to St. Mary’s in Madison.  While I waited they gave me an IV with more pain meds.  I sent Peter home to take care of the dog and get me a bag of stuff.   The ambulance was Ryan Brothers, and they were great – sassy and funny and that was good.  I didn’t get lights or sirens, but when we got on the beltline they did call the cops to get cleared to speed, so that was good.  Except that ambulances don’t exactly ride smooth, and I was in craploads of pain.  I couldn’t take deep breaths due to the pain, which was stabby in the tube area, and achy all over my right side.  I got a private room in the ER and had to tell the story for the 5th time that night.  Peter got to the ER soon after I arrived (around 12:30 I think).  They changed my IV and tagged me and got me ready for surgery.  Peter took my belongings and gave me a kiss.  I am glad he kind of said goodbye then, because when they went to take me up they put me on the elevator and just kind of left him behind.  I noticed, but was too out of it and in pain to protest.  He told me later that he went back and asked where he was supposed to go, and no one knew.  The girl who took me up to surgery eventually came back to the ER and he caught her, and she took him to my room. 

I went up around 1:30 to surgery, and cried for the second time (the first was at “hemorrhaging”) when I had to transfer myself from the gurney to the operating table and had the most hideous pain in the area, as well as deferred pain in my right shoulder.  The nurses and anesthesiologist kept the tears from getting in my ears, and I went to sleep really quickly, for which I am glad. 

I woke up in recovery crying.  It hurt so so so bad and I only had laparoscopic surgery.  The recovery nurse Robin said I get to cry once, but it is a no-cry zone.  She was sassy too, and was picking on the other nurse, Courtney.  (My nurse at Stoughton was Victoria, who switched shifts with a nice girl I can’t remember.  I can’t remember the ambulance staff names either!  ER nurse was James, then Mandi.  My doctor was Dr. Fok and I can’t remember the drug man, but he was nice, like a big teddy bear).  My mouth was extremely dry and I could move my tongue to talk it was so stiff.  I wasn’t allowed to drink anything yet, but she did wipe my lips and tongue with wet gauze to help.  She was giving me pain meds because I was hurting so bad, but I would get so relaxed that I would forget to breathe, and the machine would scream at me.  She had to sit next to me to make me take slower breaths.  I still couldn’t breathe deeply because it hurt so bad, but I had to try to breathe slower so the breaths counted.  Finally the machine stopped beeping (pulse ox 75% is bad?) and she rewarded me with TWO WHOLE ICE CHIPS.  It was the best thing ever, and I told her so.  I stayed for a while longer, listening to them chatting and trying to make jokes too.  I wiped the goobers out of my eyes (they liked that word) and got my glasses back so I could see them.  Then I got two more ice chips, and they were even better than the first ones, if you can believe that!  I felt bad for these nurses, they had been on 14 hours (they apparently only usually work 8 ) and were on call for me, and another surgery had come in, so they got to take a quick nap before the next recovery.  They were so nice to me.

I was driven up to my room at about 4:30 (they use mini drivey type things like Target uses to collect the shopping carts), and they said there was a man in my room – I asked if he was cute, and they assured me he was.  This was in the midst of their apologizing to us that I had to be on the baby floor, because the hospital was over full.  I was worried that I would have to share a room, but thankfully I didn’t, and the ladies on either side of me did not have babies yet either, so I didn’t have to hear any babies. 

Oh, and the tube wasn’t ruptured, and actually wasn’t so bad that he even had to take it out.  He told Peter that it went as well as it could have.  The mass of blood/tissue was 7 cm, and there was blood in the abdominal cavity.  They drained that and did a D&C, but I got to keep the tube.  I had told him that if there was too much damage (even if it wasn’t ruptured) to take it, as I don’t want to have to be so scared later on.  There is still a 50% chance that it could happen on that side again.  I lost blood, but not so much that they had to transfuse, which is good too.  I have 3 laparoscopic sites, and they are PRETTY and bruised. 

We slept until 6, even with vitals checks every half hour.  Peter called the family around 6:15.  My mom first, who cried, then Kelly, who was pretty calm, then his mom, who cried lots.  Peter asked if Kelly knew I was pregnant, because she was so calm.  That is just sister-brain I guess (when she had her two ectopic pregnancies, I had terrible cramps before even knowing what was going on with her, and I never have cramps on my own…)  I sent Peter home to take care of the dog and go to work, as all I wanted to do was sleep, and he didn’t need to be there to watch.  So he went home.

At 8:00 I texted Kelly “Yay! I peed!”  Which, to most of you, is a weird text.  Not to us – when Kelly had her hysterectomy, an entire day in the hospital was spent trying to pee, and being unsuccessful.  It is very hard to pee after a surgery like that, and they measure your output to make sure you are good, and won’t let you leave until you pee properly. 

My favorite thing now are the leg wraps they gave me.  They velcro around your legs, up to the thigh, and are plugged in to a pump, and about every 5 seconds, on alternate legs, they inflate.  It is like having a consistent leg massage for hours.  It was awesome and I wish I had them today.  Peter said I shouldn’t get any ideas about him giving me leg massages at home.  Bummer. 

The rest of my morning was consumed in getting the nurse to come help me pee (I am not trying to rub it in, but I am a good pee-er) and trying to get breakfast (orders never went in that allowed me to eat until about 9).  I finally got to order, and figured that applesauce, hash browns, and chocolate milk would be pretty bland and easy to eat, even with my dry mouth.  I had not eaten proper lunch the day before, having only peanuts at my desk, then was so sick at supper time that I didn’t eat then either.  I wasn’t hungry, but needed to eat in order to prove I could keep food, and thus my planned vicodin, down.  I only got halfway through the applesauce and milk, with two bites of rubbery hash browns before I felt sick.  I beeped the nurse to bring me more water, and they also gave me anti-nausea meds. 

They didn’t work, and I spent the next hour and a half feeling like I had to puke, leaning over a bucket.  I hate that feeling, and in my non-abdominal surgery life, I have developed a “puke dance” that makes me dizzier than normal and lets me throw up so I can get rid of that nasty feeling.  I tried shaking my head to imitate the puke dance but it didn’t work.  I finally got so tired that I could sleep it off. 

When I woke up my nurse (I can’t remember any of the day nurses names!) gave me an orange Popsicle to try, and I kept it down.  I got to order lunch around 3 I think, and chose french fries, saltines and a chocolate shake.  The fries were super rubbery (and not crunchy and beer-battered like I prefer!) but I could eat half of them and half the malt, which meant I could get rid of the IV before supper and get some vicodin. 

I was told to go walk around to try to get rid of the “gas-baby” (my term) from the surgery (they inflated my gut pretty good, so I looked chubbier than normal).  Unfortunately for me, there was a lounge right outside my room with a (fortunately for them) happy family of a newborn hanging out.  I didn’t really want to go out and see them (and have them see me – ICK) so I paced my room talking to my moma on the phone.  My room did have a decent view of the trees and lake, so that was nice.  Mom offered to fart for me, which was nice, but didn’t help my pressure situation. 

I ordered pizza and a Mt. Dew for supper and ate around 7:30.  I only had room for about one piece of pizza, but managed to finish the Mt. Dew – go figure.  Peter arrived and we did discharge papers.  We drove home really slowly and got in at about 9.  My puppy was confused and not sure what to do with me.  He did want to smell my belly – apparently the incisions smell different to him. 

I slept on the couch last night and have been hanging out today.  Kelly came over this morning and took me to the grocery store and talked.  I am taking the rest of the week off, and am not supposed to drive for a week, but I think I will go back to work Monday.  It is very hard for me to not try to still do work, and worry about it, but I am doing ok, only checking work email every 15 minutes…

So this is the longest post ever, but I really wanted to write it all out and get it over with.  I am doing fine, and am not sure if more grief will hit me later.  I am not super emotional usually, so it is hard to say.  I think going back to work will suck, with tons of people asking all kinds of questions, and not really wanting to tell the story over and over and over again.  I think I will shut my door.

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FireFireFire

April 1, 2009 at 10:50 am (Outside) ()

When we were kids, one of our favorite things to do at Grandma’s at Easter was burn the grass.  The spring ritual in the country was always fun for all the cousins.  The whole family would pick on Grandma all day about having to call the fire department (it has happened before…) and after our Easter Egg hunt (usually pretty violent) we  would burn off the dead grasses around Grandma’s property (any abandoned Easter treats were therefore melted…) 

In the 4 Springs we have been on our land, we never have had a “good” burn.  Typically it is a little spotty, and takes forever, and we have to help it along quite a bit.  My sister always gets mad at me for not telling her that we are burning so she can come join us. 

This year, about 3 weeks ago, we were working in the yard on one of the first beautiful Sundays.  Peter was pruning trees and raking gravel from the plow.  I was picking up sticks from the stupid Poplar trees, and Buck was guarding for muskrats.  We decided that since it had been so wet out and was such a beautiful day, that we would burn the woody planting and pond edge.  I finished up my sticks and ran up to the clothesline to take down the sheets.  I only got half of them down when I decided I would go close the house windows first to keep it from smelling like smoke. since the wind was blowing that direction.

I was inside a minute, and came out to finish the laundry and call my sister to see if she wanted to take a drive and come burn.  When I exited the garage I realized the wind had shifted when I saw flames on the other side of the fenceline…in the abandonded property next to ours, that hadn’t been mowed in 3 years.  And while the ground was still wet from all the rain, the grasses were dry dry dry and nothing green was yet growing that early in March.  So essentially we were screwed.

I ran to look for our metal rakes while Peter assessed the situation with the shovel.  I couldn’t find them, so had to run back and find Peter, who had them in the way back yard from cleaning up the flood damage.  So I fetched the metal rakes and went across the fence with Peter to try to rake some fire lines to stop the rush.  Our main goal was to try to keep it from burning the upper pasture all the way to the shed.  Thankfully it wasn’t a barn…

The wind was strong and the fire moving a LOT faster than we expected.  Peter went and hooked all our hoses together and drug them and two small buckets to the pasture.  Thankfully the hydrant had thawed just in time.  For the next few hours we ran bucket brigade from the hose to the fire line.  As we were dealing with trying to stop the fire from getting the abandoned buildings, we were sure that the waterway at the bottom of the property would keep the fire from spreading too much further the opposite direction. 

Not so much.  Our entire woody planting was burned (quite well) as well as both sides of the pond.  Once we had the fire stopped so the shed was safe, and I was able to keep the lawn basically under control, Peter went to the other side of the pond to try to stop the fire, as we were having visions of the fire going all the way down the waterway to the next road.  I was doing fine, and even getting a little rest, until the fire got to the south line of the abandoned yard.  The grass was too dry and the wind too strong, fire too large, for me to keep it from getting the yard.  Not a huge deal, except for all the dried grass around the house.  Thankfully Peter was on his way back to help me, having gotten his end under control.

Peter was going to try to break in to the house to get water, but some potential buyers had been there earlier and left a patio door open.  My quick thinking husband turned the electricity on, filled the pressure tank, and got us water to stop the fire.  To our advantage, the finished basement was a walkout, and had tile rather than carpet.  20 more bucket trips and we had it pretty much under control.  We cleaned up the basement, locked the doors and went back to check any smoldering piles. 

Our jeans were completely soaked and black, our boots singed.  There were several times I had to stick my rubber wellies in the buckets to cool them off after attempting to stomp out the fire.  I had tons of slivers and thistle pricks in my hands, and the biggest blisters ever on my ankles from the combination of splashing water, wellies, and running.  Amazingly enough, I never had an asthma attack the entire time, even through all the smoke and running.  Hello adrenaline, you are my friend!

As far as we can tell, we will only lose the pussywillow, a black cherry tree and a weigela (all babies).  Otherwise, the property actually looks better than it has since we have lived here.  We should charge for removal of noxious weeds! 

We started the fire at 2:30, and stripped off our wet, smoky, sooty clothes in the garage at 6:30.  We could hardly walk, move, talk or think.  I was sore in areas I didn’t know existed.  On Monday, my boogers were black. 

Burning Brush... by you.

 

Burning Brush... by you.

Skipping Paths

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Pa

April 1, 2009 at 10:19 am (Family) ()

When I was little I would lay on the couch with my dad, head on his belly and listen to his supper digest.  I loved the way it sounded like a cave with the drips, gurgles and bubbling. 

Dad was my 4-H Shooting Sports leader, and always made me feel so special when I could shoot better than the boys. 

I tried really hard to be good at softball, but it never worked.  I even tried to be on the High School team, and didn’t make it.  I sucked it up and was the manager.  I was continually embarrassed by how bad I sucked and felt lame for staying on as the manager. 

When I worked in my home town after graduating college, I had a luxurious hour-long lunch  and could very easily go home every day.  Dad gets home from work around 11:30 and it was always so nice to get to eat leftovers with him and watch Star Trek:The Next Generation with him.  We would both nap and it was lovely.  The biggest bummer is that I still had to go back to work.

A last-minute sculpture proposal of mine was accepted for the Terrace Chairs on the Town project.  Dad spend counteless hours out in their garage with me to accomplish the task.  He taught me how to use aviation snips and how to pop rivet.  He also taught me some wicked new combinations of swear words.  His creativity knows no limits.

When a tree fell in our yard, he didn’t wait for us to get home – he came over and started cutting it up as soon as he could, so we could move forward with fixing.  He came back several other times to help complete remodeling, and even more tree removal.  Even though he has 100 times more experience at these types of things, he lays back and lets Peter make the decisions, and gives great input collaboratively.

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