Monday, July 27, 2009

What I Should Be Doing Today vs. What I Actually Have Done Today

Things to do today:

Contact pharmacy. List stuff on ebay to sell. Bake a cake using the ancient frozen strawberries that are taking up room in the freezer. Apply for more adjunct positions at online colleges. Write out "what each character wants" for one of my WIP's. Do character mapping for same WIP. Return a phone call. Stay awake. Write a blog. Design a t-shirt. Redo my web pages. Redo my son's web pages. Upload photos from this weekend. Make a list of things to ask the doctor. Try not to think about having to go back to the J-O-B. Call to see if the air conditioning is fixed. Pay for said air conditioning to be fixed.

What I actually have done:

Contacted the pharmacy. Thought about t-shirt design. Wrote quasi-blog. Answered e-mail. Poked around on Facebook. Memorized entire Threadless catalog. Stopped by Cakewrecks. Discovered that I discarded the baking powder, so it's either a sponge cake, or a coffee cake or muffins made out of pancake mix, or no cake. Wished for more cream cheese to top with salsa. Sat on couch. Took bath. Got dressed. Brushed teeth. Wondered if son has a jacket because it's overcast. Talked to Angel for a few minutes and filled him in on witty t-shirt slogans at Threadless. Tried to stay awake. Made plans to use zuchini and onion for dinner. Defrosting sausage.

Favorite t-shirt slogan of the day: "Procrastinators: Leaders of Tomorrow."

What I plan to do right now:

Turn on Netflix and close my eyes. Just for a few moments. The day is still half full.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

This boot was made to walk all over you.

It was a mistake to think I could accomplish anything practical during recovery. I am forced to believe, finally, that the body really does need the time off just to rest. My plans for getting some writing done flew out the window. My brain is made of mush. The consistency of the mush changes throughout the day. Right now, it is firm enough to allow me to type. About three or four o'clock this afternoon, it will shut down and become gruel-like in texture. It will dribble into a senseless heap inside my skull. At this point, all I can do is close my eyes and wait for it to form into a gelatinous mass wiggly enough for me to knee walk all the way to the bathroom.

This frightens me, because I am supposedly less than a week from returning to work. All that means is that I will be able to drive again, and sort of walk. I do not know how I will find the energy to get dressed in the morning, let alone drive the 40 minutes to work, and then work 8 hours, then drive another 40 minutes back, then clean the house, take care of the animals, do homework with my son, feed my son, and maybe do some grocery shopping, etc.

Of course, I will still be in a cast, but it will be a different type of cast that will allow me to stomp around like a giant borg. I will have to continue to wear clothes that are no longer than just below the knee. Or maybe long skirts, but that will appear funky. Let me draw you a picture from the top down: nice hair and make up, delicate jewelry, graceful top, long, flowing skirt, BIG, CLUNKY BOOT on one leg, and brace and tennis shoe on the other leg. The boot will look similar to this:

I hope I can take it off to shower and sleep, but I doubt it. I miss showers.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let's Hear it for the Boy!

Since my kid will be with his father on his actual birthday and for a few days afer that, we plan to take him out and force him to have loads of fun TODAY! He will be eleven soon, but some days it seems like he will be 24 much sooner. He has been such a helper since my surgery. He has learned responsibility and cleanliness and many lessons in patience. He now knows how to sweep, clean the toilet, make instant coffee, do the laundry, and watch and listen for the screams of falling women. He can and will fetch ice for the injured, even if he is in the middle of a video game. Most importantly, he has figured out all by himself how to look at a crying woman who cannot walk or sometimes even think, and take her hand and tell her she is the prettiest, nicest, smartest, most wonderful person ever born, and sound like he means it.

For all of these new lessons, he will be rewarded, and not just by being able to take them into his life and learn how to care for himself (he's already awesome in the kitchen). No, not just that. More immediately he will be rewarded with LASER QUEST!!! And PIZZA!!! Starting...NOW!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

A Day at the Fair

Unfortunately, this is the best of the three pictures taken of me at the OC Fair yesterday afternoon. The other 124 pictures are of the boys having a tremendously good time in the carnival section. That is the only section we visited. We didn't get to see Al's Brain, even though we are big Weird Al fans. And yes, I am in a wheelchair in public here for the first time. There is no way I could have lasted all those hours on the knee walker. Katie pushed me around like a saint all day, even though two capable boys were with us.

They were a little busy doing little boy things, like this:

They both won hammers, and Max won a banana, but AJ won a blue monkey and a green frog, too. Basketball and water gun, woohoo! I got to carry those around on my lap, and it was fun. AJ ended up giving Savannah the frog after dinner. But Blile the Monkey, named for his blue smile, was kept for AJ himself, and hasn't left his side since he fell asleep last night.

Even though I was pushed around in a wheelchair, I'm still tired. You wouldn't think this would constitute as exercise, but there was that one time we got stuck trying to go over the bumps on the electrical wires (or was it a ditch? we got stuck a few times) and the wheel fell off, along with the leg holders. Some strong man who just happened to be there at the fair came along and lifted the wheelchair with me in it out of the whatever it was and put the wheel back on the chair. Or maybe Katie put the wheel back on. It was a blur. But we got back on four wheels and enjoyed the rest of the carnival portion of the fair. Holding on to the wheelchair frame over the many ditches offered ample opportunity for arm exercise.

The boys had some shaved ice, and we all split some cinnamon sugar yammies, and then we met the big boys afterward for a nice dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. I've pretty much been sleeping ever since then, but I'm awake now. The crowds and the sunshine and the exuberant children and everything else has taken its toll on me. But if you asked if I would go back again today, the answer would be yes!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are You on Quack?!

We often kid with my kid that he's on crack, meaning sugar, because that is his drug of choice. He gives hyperactivity new meaning. Speedy speech, eyes darting, he becomes the life of the party, even if we are just sitting in the car. It doesn't take much sugar to bring him to this state of supernatural bliss. He craves sugar as strongly as I need coffee in the morning just to unsluggify my brain. So I limit his sugar intake, and monitor his diet carefully. Of course, there's nothing I can do when he is at his father's house. But then it becomes his problem, and if he wants to deal with that behavior, that's on him. Just don't feed him Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew and drop him on my doorstep. Caffeine is not an option for my kid, ever. Sugar does enough damage by itself. At least he sleeps well on the nights he indulges.

I do have a point here. Since my surgery, I have been on a couple different types of pain pills. The first ones were much too strong, and I was assigned a new medication when the cast was put on. After the experiences with the first pain pills, I was hesitant to take anything at all that was stronger than Motrin or Tylenol. I disliked the memory loss, inability to think, nausea, constant shaking, lack of motor skills, and the tendency to pass out without a moment's notice from the first part of recovery. All of that falling off the crutches really left an impression.

But the pain persists. Even almost a month after surgery, there are times when pain shoots up my leg and stops my breath. It comes out of the blue, and it won't go away. Then the throbbing in my heel begins if I use the knee walker too much, and then my knee feels like the bone is exposed from kneeling, and the "good" ankle complains about overuse of the tendon, and then the incisions on the "bad" ankle feel raw and not unlike hamburger meat. This causes tension to radiate out from my neck and shoulders and gives me a nice, big headache to complete the experience. At these times, I break down and take a pain pill.

After about fifteen minutes, it feels like the effects of drinking two glasses of wine. I am a lightweight, so maybe for the more experienced drinkers out there, it would feel like just a pleasant buzz that moves you away from the scene of the pain about a hundred feet. You can kind of watch the pain, and you know it's there, but you are just kind of curious about it. You can ask your body if the pain is still bad, and your body will respond, "Pain? Oh, that. Well. Um. Tomato?" And you sigh and lean back against the pillow and close your eyes.

And then it's three hours later. I hate that part. All the writing I could have been doing!

So my kid is on "crack," meaning sugar. And I am on "crack," meaning pain pills. But we don't like to use that term because someone might take us literally, and no one is REALLY on "crack." So we call it "quack."

"Are you on quack?!!" We will ask each other this when anything nonsequitur pops out of someone's mouth. And the answer, for me, at least, lately, is "Yes." I wish I wasn't, but the pain is in control. Not forever. But for now.

Apparently, I have been acting more and more normal the past couple weeks. I now have the ability to complete sentences. I no longer ask if someone has walked the goldfish, or other quack-induced questions. I can smile and laugh when appropriate. I find more to smile and laugh about. I cook dinner. I can handle an hour, sometimes longer, in the park. I fall less often. I remember conversations most of the time.

However, I am not entirely myself. Not just yet. I need a little more time to recover. There are still times when I may be smiling on the outside and grimacing in pain on the inside. I feel I have been enough of a burden on my friends and my son and do not wish to complain over a certain amount. Although I know I do still complain, I could complain more. But I don't. And if I look at you funny after you ask me a question, I may not comprehend exactly what you just said. If I look puzzled after I have uttered a sentence, I may not be aware of exactly what I, myself, just said. Sometimes I'm afraid that I still do not make sense. That I may have said that the salad is baked and the cereal is frozen and that I need fingernails for my iced tea. I mean, really, the words don't come out right sometimes. So I am a little nervous about speaking at all.

But since a lot of time has passed since the surgery, and I appear to be doing well, others, even those who see me each day, seem to expect me to be myself already. But I'm not.

Even if I look like a duck, and quack like a duck, I may not actually be a duck. I may just be a goose. On quack.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Silly Soon!

I was granted a glimpse of possibilities for the cover of Silly Moments today, and I am so excited! I can't share with you, but I can just say that the book and the coloring book and the t-shirts will be available soon, so please hold on and don't forget about Silly! It's going to be a baby's picture book, so it's geared for ages 0-7, and I may be a little biased here, but I think anyone of any age just might find themselves liking it a little bit! I love happy anticipation!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tribute to Friendship

Diane's funeral/memorial service is Saturday. Her body was cremated, so there was no rush. She passed on June 23rd. Three weeks is a long time to wait, and a long time to think. I put off my tribute blog for a while, but did write it last week, when she wouldn't stop bugging me to do it. Today, at lunch, she was sitting next to me again, as if to say, "Remember when we used to do this? Remember when this was us?" Yes. I do remember. And so I looked through my old Flickr albums and found some photos. Then I used Picasa to make a collage of some of the them.

The photos begin with her 50th birthday party, which really was a surprise. I took time off from pre-faire build to attend. She hated parties when they were for her, but she took the time to decorate my office for my birthday a couple years ago, even though she didn't work in the same building anymore.

Halloween. Thanksgiving. A bridal shower tea party for one of her daughters. A newborn grandson. A Christmas party for work. She forced me to go to that and even let me wear her black velvet jacket.

And of course, hot tea at lunch. Always hot tea for every meal. I can't even eat without thinking of her.

At lunch today, my friend asked me if I plan to speak at Diane's memorial service. I said that it would depend on how much I would be crying at the time. I really thought I would have it under control, be dry-eyed and glib. But then, I thought that about right now, too.

And I was wrong.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Can Has Pain Pill?

Reasons why I should have stayed in bed today:

1) My laptop is unhappy, and rebelling at every chance. It needs to be restored, but I hate to lose stuff, so I have been putting this chore off. I can't put it off anymore. It will be a clean slate tomorrow morning. No more freezing. And I can't wait to be able to print again, and view pdf's!

2) I burned my arm on the waffle maker this morning, AFTER I made the great waffletastic mess of 2009 all over the kitchen counter, and also down the side of the stove where no sponge may ever reach. Ow.

3) I knocked over my plate of waffles with cream cheese and raspberries all over the living room floor and rug. I had to clean this up with a wet towel provided by my sick son who resents having to do anything at all for me and probably thinks I should be able to walk by now.

4) The kid is hacking all over the place and refusing to listen to reason. Please just blow your nose!!! Take your medicine. Blow your nose. Take your medicine. Blow your nose. AAAAAAGH!!

5) I'm trying to wean myself off the pain pills so that I DON'T spend the entire morning of each day in bed. I have things I need to do. I need to work on Seneca. I need to revamp my CV and apply for online English professor posts. I need to be able to think clearly and stop dropping things on the floor where I can't reach them from the knee walker. I need my brain back and fully funtioning! But it hurts. Ow.

6) It's time for another pain pill. Maybe I'll quit whining for a little bit after it kicks in. Maybe the kid will finally clean the toilet. And blow his nose. And take his medicine. I've given up on the yogurt. That will never happen.

*Note: Title taken from Lolcats. "I can has cheezburger?" Classic.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Doctors and Wheelchairs and Yogurt, Oh My

I hope everyone's Fourth of July was fantastic. My kid acted up, so it was a fizzle-out for us until fireworks time, which was pretty fun. It's still hard to get around, even with the knee walker, and when the cast presses on my heel due to gravity, it causes me to grow weary and sometimes a little bit crabby. So, a couple happy pills later, we made it through to the day after the Fourth of July. The food was good, though. Now that I can move around the kitchen a bit, that means we can enjoy lemon pepper chicken, corn on the cob, and apple pie more often. But life is not all lunch and dinner. (Sometimes there's breakfast, too!)

After a breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs with garlic, and bagels, (have I mentioned I can move around in the kitchen again?) the kid's rattling bark of a cough brought us to the doctor's office today for him instead of for me. I thought I was doing so great, scooting around a lot lately. And then I hit the threshold of the doctor's office, and before I could catch myself over the change in terrain, I pitched forward onto my face with a squeal, and landed on all fours, including my cast. Angel was parking the car, and the boys were ahead of me. Two men standing in line rushed to my assistance and uprighted the knee walker, and tried to get me into a wheelchair, but I was too embarrassed. I got back up and didn't cry. I really didn't. Then Angel came in and made me get in the wheelchair anyway. That worked out for the best, until the boys left my knee walker downstairs because they didn't bring it up in the elevator. Angel went back and retrieved it, though. And I got to keep my leg up. I thought about letting a nurse look at it, but it wasn't my doctor's office, and I am not a patient under the same plan as my son is, because his father covers him under his separate insurance plan. So I didn't want any hassles, but I really did mess up my knee a bit during the fall, and my foot wasn't thrilled about the experience, either.

Anyway, the kid has antibiotics now for his delightful, all-night cough, and he has to eat yogurt to keep himself from having side effects. Getting him to eat yogurt was a chore and a half, and he didn't even finish one four-ounce container of it. He says it is purple poison that makes him want to vomit. I offered him some of mine, since it was pink, but he said no to that, as well. Weird kid. He doesn't like spinach, either.

At least the kid is behaving better today than yesterday. I hope that continues, and it will, until the next time I ask him to eat yogurt, I predict.

I almost forgot. I'm setting a goal for myself. Tomorrow, I'm plotting out the plot points of Seneca into an outline so I can rewrite it more easily. And if I don't do something productive toward a writing goal each day, then at the end of this recovery time, I will be very disappointed in myself. That means one goal each day, and I am going to try and track those goals here on my blog so I have some accountability. It's kind of like Weight Watchers, but with writing. Write Watchers. Only I'm the only one doing the watching. Maybe I should copywrite that term. Hm.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Castitude. It's an attitude of gratitude induced by leg-cast-wearing humility. Castitudinations for today include:

1) Taquitos and sludge.
In our search for "real guacamole," we failed. The good news is it's so awful that Angel won't eat it and that leaves it all for me. Wait. That's good news? The real good news is that I am able to knee walk myself to the kitchen and warm up my own taquitos now. Bon appetit!

2) Denim capris that fit over my cast.
When I learned that the cast would go up to my knee, I wondered over the tapered legs of my favorite denim capris. Visually, I didn't think they would work. But this morning, I braved the precarious perch, hovering over my knee walker, tugging and pulling my pants on. It's so great to be free from elastic waste shorts today! I feel almost stylish. AND I found a black v-neck shirt in the recesses of my suitcase that I haven't worn since the surgery. It's a whole new me! I insist on getting out of this house at some time today. I even wore mascara.

3) The absence of free range ants in the living room.
Last night was going to be a good night. It was, it was, it was! Until the ants decided to congregate en masse over whatever AJ spilled on the rug. Since I am stranded on the island of the longer couch near the dining room, I did not notice the great pasta and cereal spill of the love seat archipelago. However, when Angel sat down with dinner after a long day at work, he settled down into a pool of ants. Tonight will be much better because the ants have been vacuumed into oblivion.

4) Being able to explain the webcam in the bathroom so that guests return again, unafraid.
Yeah, there's a webcam in the bathroom. Sorry I didn't tell you before you went in there. Don't worry. It's for the snakes. Sorry, Katie. Glad you're coming back today!

5) Arming my friends with the knowledge that when they IM me, it may be Angel answering them instead of me.
Enough said. Sorry, Cathy. Although, I read the transcript, and that was pretty funny stuff!

6) Time to write, even if I'm in sponge mode presently.
I might just rewrite the first chapters of Seneca tomorrow. Really. For real! No, I mean it. When I asked Angel if there was anything at all, anything, really anything, he needed done today while he was at work, he calmly repeated (because he's said it before) that I could perhaps, oh, I don't know, WRITE SOMETHING???

Oh. Did you mean me?

7) Looking forward to the imminent arrival of the cast cover and back (cast) scratcher.

I am better than last week, which is all that matters, right? My hip and the bone graft site and radiating from it are giving me issues. More so than ever before. I will need to get used to it, because it will last for "several months." Otherwise, I am dreading having to get in and out of the bath with a trash bag on my leg again. That's hard with my big posterior. I freaked out a day ago because I thought a drop of water drizzled into my cast. I am so afraid of itching! I had an itching spell one morning from 3 to 4 a.m., and I used a chopstick because that was all I had, and I hurt so bad later, and the itching just wouldn't stop! It kept getting worse. So I ordered a pink plastic back scratcher from ebay and hopefully it will arrive soon. Otherwise, this is expensive, but I'm thinking about ordering one.

Hey, does this count as writing? I only have four more weeks to go in my butt-on-couch recovery. I'd better get typing! My nails are far too long.