Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pictures

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of Silly Moments, the sketches I received this morning are worth more words than can be contained in any dictionary! I am so excited! AND there will be a coloring book edition of the book, as well as the illustrated version! So much fun! I am so pleased. The sketches display the vitality of the book, along with the homey feeling and the sweetness of the child-cat interaction. This is a baby's picture book, but it is a feel-good book for all ages, too. The child being read aloud to, along with the reader, will both come away from this book feeling like there is joy in the simplicity of life.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Diane



I wasn't going to devote a blog to Diane. I wasn't going to share how I feel with anyone. After all, these are my feelngs, and if I choose to keep them to myself, who's going to stop me? Who's going to care?

She would. She does. She cares. That's her, always caring, for everyone. She is here right now with me, I don't care what anyone says. I can only touch her with my thoughts and emotions, but she is here. And she wants me to not only get this out, but to share it. I don't know why, and I don't know what to say, exactly.

I feel that it has been communicated to her already, all the emotion, and the history and the gratitude and the feelings of inadequacy in reciprocation for all she's done for me and Andrew and then the acceptance of the need for me to RECEIVE and then the thanks for that, as well. I need to absorb her friendship into my life and carry on. Take all those lessons about family and friendship and giving and receiving and use them as I go about my business. Kindness and caring, all of that. Those are heavy lessons to rely on when the going gets tough, and she reinforced all of those for me. So I'm lucky to have them, and to have had her in my life.

I am reminded that it is the time we spent together that was the most special, and that we made that time, even though we were both busy and preoccupied, and that the time you make for others is really time you make for yourself. And if we hadn't made that time for each other, we wouldn't have had the time for ourselves. So it is a gift, the time, to relax, to think, to feel, to share the thoughts and feelings, and to experience the world together. It's so much better than alone. And if you are lucky enough to find someone who clicks with you and streams along on the same wavelength, or at least the one traveling close enough to you to collide happily from time to time, then you need to treasure that time together. And when the tears are more cleansing than sad, you know you can go on.

I could list specifics and try to count endless Cobb salads at Lilly's Place, which no longer exists, and all the nights when I was at Cal State after work and my son was with her, and the weeks when I was at Spalding and my son was with her, and all the family events where I was invited and did attend, and the long phone calls, and the topics of discussion (mainly men, for each of us, but that subject is fodder for many conversations), and the shopping trips and birthdays and Christmases and Thanksgivings where I would normally be sitting alone, but was instead included in this boisterous family atmosphere and embraced as someone worth knowing and wanting to have around.

But if I listed all that, it would take forever, and seriously, I need to get on with my life and stop hiding in the corner, because I am now armed with the knowledge that I don't have to do everything on my own, and I can count on some people, because there are some trustworthy humans in this world. You just have to know how to recognize them, and when you see them, you need to hold onto them, because you never know how long they will be here to spend time with you. And when they call and ask you to lunch, your answer really should be yes, because you are robbing yourself of a lot more than calories if you decline.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fax: Stranger Than Fiction

And the adventures of a reluctant patient continue. When I was last at the orthopaedic surgeon's office, I was told I needed four things: an X-Ray before the next ortho appt., the film or disk of the X-Ray, an appt. to see the ortho again, and then to go to the place where the CAM boot will be fitted and then given to me. In my Norco-induced haze, I attempted to communicate through the pain that I can only return one time. ONCE. I cannot drive, as my right leg is non-weight-bearing. I am an hour and a half away one way. I have to rely on my friend to take me, who also has a life (and three children) of her own. No way could I possibly return three or four times. Please, could this all be handled on one day?

After some argument, which mainly fell on my deaf ears, due to the narcotics and the nausea and the pain, I reiterated that I would only be able to return once. How could this please be accomplished? It was explained to me that the cast cannot be taken off without X-Rays first. The ortho is not allowed to take the X-Rays because I have an HMO, even though I passed a door at the ortho's office that said, "DO NOT ENTER, X-RAY IN PROGRESS."

My PCP, through my HMO, must authorize the X-Ray, and would likely prefer to do it at their own facility on a separate day from the ortho appt., and then will take a day or two to process the film and then I would have to return to that facility to pick it up to take with me to the ortho appt. The other option I have is to beg the PCP to please, pretty please, with sugar on top, allow me to go to an imaging place nearby that has the ability to take the X-Ray the same day as the ortho appt. and put the X-Ray immediately online for the ortho to see. I was told by the girl at the ortho office that I need to explain the situation clearly and request earnestly that I be allowed to visit the imaging place on the same day as the ortho appt.

After I returned from the dr.'s appt. and settled in on the sofa, I called the PCP and explained the situation to the nurse, who sighed in frustration and explained to me that I was supposed to bring the piece of paper with the radiology exam request on it straight to their office, which was already an hour and a half away from me when I called. I asked if I could please fax the document to her attention, and she said I could, and that when she received it, she would ask the doctor what the doctor would like to do. I asked if the fax number was on their internet site, and she said it was.

I discovered that the fax number is NOT on their internet site, nor is it available through any google search. The next day, Friday, I called her office again, and asked for the fax number to reach the nurse. I was given a number, and thanked the person who provided it to me. That number woke up some nice lady twice this morning, who yelled through the phone that this was not a fax line. So I called the doctor's exchange today, and was transferred to Urgent Care, who gave me yet another fax number for the nurse. This number rings eternally. The doctor's exchange does not have the fax number. There is no e-mail address available anywhere, not even on the internet. A search for the owner of the medical group's domain was not helpful, as no fax numbers or e-mail addresses were provided there, either. Three subsequent attempts to have the doctor's exchange transfer me to Urgent Care were fruitless, as the single line she is given to transfer people to is constantly busy and she cannot take a message.

So I have this lovely fax that I wrote on official "me" letterhead, explaining the situation, pleading my case, and begging for mercy. And it will never see the light of day or be submitted to the perusal of a doctor or a nurse, because the medical group still functions technologically 100 years behind everyone else.
_______________________

One more phone call to the Urgent Care was successful. They only have the wrong fax number also. BUT they provided their two fax numbers, and then when they receive the fax, they will interoffice mail it to the correct office. They explained that there is no e-mail address for their offices at all.

Huh.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

Yesterday, Katie took me and the boys to the doctor's office for the fateful appointment. Because I predicted painful stitch removal, I took a pill for pain before we left. By the time we arrived, an hour and a half later (because that's how far away it is), I was loopier than a loon, shaking, and trying not to vomit. I also used the knee walker for the first time to get from the car to the lobby and then to the exam room. I don't have great balance to begin with, so the shaking really added that extra element of adventure.

Anyway, so I cried like a baby when they took the stitches out. They did put a cast on my leg. This was best case scenario, so I'm happy. But the entire experience was painful, and each medical professional who came in contact with me commented that the pain meds were much too strong. They took me off those pills so fast it made my head spin. Actually, the room was spinning. And it just wouldn't stop.

So now I have new pain pills, and I was able to practice with the knee walker in the aisles of the pharmacy when we got back in this area. And the cast is much lighter than the splint. Later, Cindi came over and brought dinner, nail polish, Sharpies and my own custom scented lotion. I feel human again, and with sparkly toes!

Today, I was able to move around on my own, and even made it to the living room with relative ease. I need to determine how to carry things, but just being able to go from one room to the other is so huge that I can wait for the rest of it all.

Since AJ was supposed to visit with his father this weekend, he and I made the trek to the meeting place. It took me 12 minutes to knee walk over there, and the heel of my cast was pressing heavily on my foot. I thought I was going to topple over a couple times because of rough terrain. One minute before his father was supposed to pick up AJ, he called and said that he isn't going to pick him up this weekend after all because he has to work Sunday. So we made the trek back to the house. In the heat. Past large stinging insects. Over bumps in the asphalt. All the way back. And then I tried to go up the stairs. I tore up my knee on the threshold, trying to crawl in. Then I raised myself up by using a chair and the crutches and AJ retrieved the knee walker from outside. When I transferred myself back to the knee walker, I slipped and fell into the counter, twisting my ankle inside the cast just enough to evoke a scream that they probably heard in the middle of the ocean. AJ settled me on the couch and brought me ice, and here I am, not crying anymore.

Each day is a little (or a lot) better, but it's still a long road to recovery.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Untitled Blog Blurb

Yesterday, Diane passed away in her sleep. Amid a flurry of phone calls, I decided not to blog about it. Instead, I chose to talk to her in my mind, and I said everything I needed to say. I'm not going to repeat any of it. Or at least I'm not ready to divulge how I feel about this situation. I may never be. So be it.

On another note, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, early, to which Katie sweetly offered transportation and company, and I am very grateful.

One of three things will happen tomorrow:

1) Best case scenario: I get the splint off, stitches out, and a cast on.

2) Doable scenario: I get resplinted for a little while before the cast goes on and the stitches are removed.

3) Unthinkable scenario: I have to have surgery again.

I have fallen so many times that my splint has shifted under the bandages. This cannot bode well for my appointment tomorrow.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grocery Shopping in the Bedroom

I thought I did the grocery shopping online. I mean, well, I guess I actually did do the grocery shopping online. It took over an hour. I might as well have been at the store, with all the "browsing the aisles" and "shopping from lists" I did at albertsons.com.

I even updated my preferred member card number and provided a correct mailing address (I usually don't bother).

I sat here with my leg propped up and iced evenly on both sides, sucking down water and Vicodin, purchasing bananas, grapes, yogurt, juice, applesauce, anything my heart desired, all a click away.

I threw in corn dogs for the kid, who should arrive sometime tonight, and some taquitos, and even chicken pot pies for Angel just to make him laugh. Well, we would eat them, too. Not the kid, he's too picky. But Angel and I would eat the pot pies. I could easily demonstrate that I can still deliver the pot pies, even from the bedroom. What a woman! I would surely be accomplishing some super feat of virtue by making sure that poor Angel didn't have to wander around the grocery store for an unknown amount of time, scratching his head in pursuit of REAL guacamole. I chose the correct brands, amounts, and ingredients. I had it ALL FIGURED OUT for him.

Proudly, I shouted across the house, "Sweetheart! I just finished the grocery shopping! Where would you like to pick it up?"

"No way!" He was astonished and amazed and awestruck and all the things he should have been, appropriately. I was patting myself on the back so hard that house shook. Or maybe that was...never mind.

Anyway, so I looked up the pickup address for the store, and we were both a little tiny teeny bit disappointed that the closest Albertsons did not participate in this program. However, one only a few miles away was available, so I clicked on that location, and we were both still pleased.

Then I looked at the timetable for pickup. Where was today? I searched and searched. What were all of these confusing Mondays and Tuesdays on my screen? Where was...where was...Sunday?

"Oops. I guess I should have checked that first. Sorry." I apologized profusely. "Well, at least I can print out the list and you can use that when you go shopping." I smiled. Sort of.

"Great." His enthusiasm waned. He picked up the printed list and asked me to keep it all together. "You don't want me to go NOW, do you?"

"No, no. It can wait. Thanks."

He went back to the living room.

And here I am, me and my laptop, visions of applesauce dancing in my head no more. I saved the shopping cart, just in case, but did not complete the order.I thought I had done such a good thing.

Blast you, Albertsons, and your dastardly incomplete advertising. Next time, you will lose, because I will order in advance, before the bananas turn brown!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Just When You Thought it was Safe to Sleep Through the Night

So, you know, the pain has been decreasing gradually. I kind of thought I might not need the pain pills as much anymore. It would be great to be able to control my thought patterns again and see the world through clear eyes. However, I still set the alarm on my son's phone to alert me every time a pill was due. What I didn't remember was that I gave him that particular phone because the battery is wonky. What I didn't count on was for the battery to display that it was 3/4 full and then completely die during the night, causing me to wake up in extreme pain after missing two doses of Vicodin.

Poor Angel. He had to help me through a difficult time about 4:00 to 5:00 a.m. But he got me situated and more importantly, MEDICATED, and he even got the phone working as an alarm clock again--the second time I needed it next.

At 8:00 a.m., he was my alarm clock. He poked me on the shoulder and beeped at me while saying, "Time to take your pill." Of course, I, in my sleep-induced fog, thought he said, "Look, I can propel," and expected him to fly away, so I lay there motionless, waiting to see him fly. Then I realized that I was awake and he was still poking and beeping at me. To my disappointment, he did not fly.

So I took another pill. I also ordered another battery for my son's phone. And I won't be missing anymore doses anytime soon. At all.

Friday, June 19, 2009

another day in the life of a recovering ankle patient

More on the recovery process, for my own notes as well as for anyone out there who is contemplating pttd surgery or anything like it, or has gone through it and can commisserate. There are most likely similarities with many procedures. I did just take a pill, and am trying to use my lucidity to my advantage. While I may be able to type in complete sentences with a minimum of effort, speaking is not so easy. I (pause) talk (pause) like (pause) this. Because my body is busy shaking, crying, and trying not to vomit, while trying also to formulate words in my mouth, things happen slowly. This causes frustration on the part of the listener sometimes. I then feel like I am forced to start a couple other sentences to try and explain the first one I haven't finished yet and then complex reasonings are thrown at me to try and argue the facts that I haven't finished presenting yet and then I just sit there and cry, clutching my stomach, and I pretty much give up until the meds kick in and I can speak coherently again, which timeframe cannot really be predicted.

Verbal communication is one issue. Another contributing factor is a delicate subject: constipation. Try not going to the bathroom for a week and then tell me what sluggish means to you. No matter how much prune juice, coffee, granola, fruit, fiber pills, water, etc., I injest, nothing works. So my body is in slow motion. But my brain still works, so give me a chance, okay? Someday I'll be back to my whole self again. Granted, my foot won't work right for a year, but my ability to speak does re-establish itself throughout the day.

Another issue is keeping away from the work e-mail account. It won't be so difficult to do so now, after yesterday. As a courtesy, I answered some questions, and attempted to help out the person in Admin who is supposed to be handling the details of the tail end of a conference. After arguing with me for a little while, he actually requested, in writing, remember this is e-mail, that I contact two other people to help him resolve a matter. I already provided him with detailed instructions and contact information before the surgery. Finally, I just told him sweetly that I am on disability right now and shouldn't have even opened that e-mail account, and it was all I could do just to lay here and type, and for him to please do his own follow-up research.

Also, I e-mailed with one of the branch offices, and they wanted to send me something, like flowers, but there was no address. And they are right: there is no address. I cannot get up and answer the door for a delivery, period. There is no way to predict when Angel will be home so he can answer the door, so that is not an option. Finally, they persisted so much that I gave them Angel's work address. But now he is not happy about that, because he says there is no room in his house to put anything they might send me anyway, and also after whatever it is waits four or five hours for him to bring it back, it won't look as nice. So I am supposed to tell people to please wait until I return to work to send me any sort of delivery. I am available via e-mail, so I guess I could receive an online gift certificate if people really wanted to do something. But just knowing that they are thinking of me is the real gift. That's all I need. Call me (if you can put up with the half sentences) or e-mail me (that is better because I can answer during lucid moments). It gets really boring and lonely through the day when I am awake. Yesterday, I couldn't even watch Netflix because the quiet fan got unplugged via the crutches and I turned on the loud fan and my laptop couldn't drown it out. I only slept for 21 minutes yesterday. Today may be different. Each day is different. Only taking the pills is the same. Every three hours, I am guaranteed to be popping a pill.

This whole experience of relying on other people to take care of me is difficult. I feel so guilty! Angel takes excellent care of me, predicting my each and every need, and providing me with more than I could ever use, making sure I am as comfortable as possible. But I feel so sorry that I am cutting into his downtime from work. He needs rest, too, you know. He has the hardest job on the planet: putting up with me.

You know, and I told the doctor's office repeatedly, several times, to please help me to prepare in advance because I wouldn't have access to a pharmacy or a grocery store or a post office or anything at all for the entire recovery period. They were vague and unhelpful. For instance, when they say to wear comfortable clothes for the surgery, they really mean to wear pants that do not fasten. I was very comfortable in my multi-pocket, baggy, khaki pants with the two buttons, zipper and string ties. Until I had to go to the bathroom. Then it became the obstacle course from hell. Try undoing all that while shaking uncontrollably and perched precariously with one knee on the toilet seat and trying not to vomit. Just try it. I dare ya.

And the "small incision site" on my hip for the bone graft actually needed super extra huge bandages that weren't exactly kept on hand for minor cuts and bruises in the course of a normal day. This black and blue continent on my hip is about the size of New Guinea. I hardly consider that to be small. And I wasn't prepared for the pain pump and the care of that, either. Thankfully, I was wearing a v-neck t-shirt so I could clip the poof of meds to it and still keep the cord that led directly to the incision site in my hip.

I just think that recovery is more than anyone can be prepared for, and you really do need someone who cares there to help you. It's just not possible to do it by yourself sometimes. I am lucky, because I am here at Angel's house. I'm glad I listened to him and agreed to come here and let him help me. He does a fabulous job.

I know I let my grammar slip in places here in this blog entry, but I think it's amazing that I was able to type at all, because I still cannot formulate a single complete sentence verbally.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

trying to document the experience for later

Today is the first day since the surgery on Monday that I feel anywhere near coherent enough to attempt to describe even part of the experience. And this feeling is temporary, as I have a pain med due in four minutes, and I have learned not to wait or delay those pain med deadlines.

Let's just say that the pain was unbearable at first, then the nerve block at the knee down to the ankle wore off, and the pain became undescribable, with me screaming in agony and choking down gulping, snotty sobs until the pain meds did enough to help me to almost sleep and distance myself from the constant pain and nausea.

I fell off the crutches several times, but four of those instances were worse than the others. I now have the knee walker, thanks to Cheryl and Dale, but I still need crutches to get to and from the bathroom. I tried to go to the kitchen twice, but that was not fun.

Angel knows what I need before I do, and he provides me with everything and more, and so his halo glistens even more brightly than ever before. That doesn't mean I am not still stubborn and try to do things for myself. He tells me not to, and sometimes I listen, but it is not his fault when I don't. He has the patience of a grandmother in a candy shop with ten grandkids and no money. I can't think of anyone else who is better equipped to handle me than he is.

So, thanks to him, I have bananas and peanut butter and bread and grapes and strawberries and tiny tomatoes and granola bars, and he even made me coffee for the first time this morning. I have everything I need. I just need to get better.

And the pain wasn't letting me think at all. I am told I didn't make much sense, and my sentences were not complete for a while there.

The alarm just went off to tell me that it is time to take another med. That is priority.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thanks and More Thanks and Then Some More Thanks!

Thank you to everyone. Everyone. Just everyone. For being my friend, for loving me, for putting up with me when I am difficult (I know I can be, sometimes), for reading my blogs even when they don't make sense, and for everything and nothing in particular.

A special thank you goes out to everyone who is wishing me well for the surgery on Monday.

A specific thank you goes out to each and every one of you who is helping me in some tangible way during this time of need. You know who you are and what you are doing. Cheryl and Dale brought me to my knees today--literally! Ha! They are sending me a knee walker to use as long as I need to use it. This will make my life during recovery exponentially better, because I will be able to go from room to room without toppling over like a twig in a storm. I will be able to brush my teeth! And pee! And use the microwave!

Not at the same time.

A note here: usually, I am the one helping others. I do not accept help easily, if at all, and I will never, ever, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS, ask for help. I am surprised at the outpouring of assistance and well wishes, and humbled by the experience. Thank you all so very much.

Okay, I have to cry now.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Surgery Right Around the Corner

I’m as ready as I’m going to be. Petrified, but ready. Almost everything is accumulated and sitting next to the front door. The lizards are on their way to Phil and Lori’s house. Jim will watch the other zoo occupants, and the house, while I'm gone. I don't know when I'm coming back. AJ will be at his dad’s for a little while for his normal visitation. Katie will take me to surgery and back to Angel’s house. Angel will be there evenings and weekends. I hope they don’t kill me with antibiotics because I’m extremely allergic to almost all of them. And I am not looking forward to the intense pain that is predicted.

I was denied the knee walker by the insurance company after being promised that it would be delivered beforehand (to my address from five years ago because no one knows how to change my address in the authorization and referral system). Cheryl offered to help with a rental but I don’t even have time to figure out how much it would cost. The place that rents them was supposed to call me back two days ago, and never did.

My PCP denied the second refill on my heart medication for my recovery. So I guess they want me to die. I told them I will not have access to a pharmacy for eight weeks. They don’t care, obviously.

I have been stoic for the most part, or at least I hope to have seemed that way, and yesterday, when the e-mails came trickling in from friends and coworkers about how they will miss me when I’m gone, I almost broke down and cried at my desk at work. Almost, but not quite.

And now, this morning, I’m angry. I need to let some of this vent. Out of my system. Gone, goodbye. So I admitted to being “not okay” this morning in yet another response to an e-mail about my departure and absence from work.

“No, I'm not okay. I'm terrified. And they are taking bone from my hip to reconstruct my ankle and heel, and inserting a tiny steel plate, and drilling through bone and transferring a tendon. I won't be able to walk or drive for a minimum of eight weeks. And I won't be recovered fully until a year has gone by. And the pain is supposed to be so intense that I will be on Norco for the full amount of time, round the clock. So...wish me luck, I guess? Thanks!”

I don’t know what I need. A sedative?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Five things? Maybe four.

First, a correction: Silly's new illustrator's name is Marina Movshina, and her website is here. More of her artwork is available there than at the other link. I'm so excited!

Second, now my time off work has been extended to eight weeks. I'm kind of bummed, because that means I will go without pay for a portion of the time I am recovering.

Third, my lovely carrot that was dangled in front of my nose in the form of a knee walker has been yanked away in all the cruelty only an HMO may possess. So, Cheryl, maybe I'll be humbly accepting your offer, after all. We shall see.

Fourth, Katie told me to vent on my blog, so that's what I'm doing. Thanks for letting me vent, because I went to see Diane today, and she's just not Diane anymore. Dying of cancer is not something I would wish on anyone. And my recovery might take a while, and I may have to learn how to use crutches (plenty of funny youtube videos to follow if I know Angel at all), but at least I am expected to recover in about a year.

And now it's time to return to cleaning the house because I won't be able to for the next couple months. I hear the laundry calling my name!

Friday, June 5, 2009

And then...

I must have done something right with all that follow-up with the doctor's offices today. I received a phone call with notification of a surgery date. It will officially be Monday, June 15. My pre-op appointment is this coming Monday, June 8. I have to make a list of questions to ask at that appointment. Any suggestions? Something I might not think of, being unfamiliar with the medical process?

This is real.

Dang.

The Surgical Saga Continues

I decided that since it had been a week since I asked about an upcoming surgery date, I should call and ask for a status update. I made three separate phone calls and was placed on hold and transferred a few times. I found out that the ortho was waiting for authorization. The person at the ortho’s office told me, “You know they will call you, right?” And then, when I forced her to look up the information, she informed me that they had not received the authorization yet. “We’re just waiting,” she said.

So I called the PCP and asked about the status of the authorization. They told me it was authorized and sent to the ortho on June 2. They offered to fax it over to the ortho if I could call and get a fax number.

I called the ortho back and the same rude lady said that maybe they do have it, but that doesn’t mean it’s been processed yet. I asked for the fax number to make sure that they do have it, because I don’t have another year to wait for surgery. She reluctantly gave me the fax number.

I called the PCP back and gave them the fax number. They offered to fax it right away.

Ow, my head.

The only good thing is that I do know where the surgery will take place now. That part was authorized already.

http://www.arrowheadortho.com/aasc.htm

I don’t know if it’s a good place to have surgery. Is there any such thing? But I know which place it is now, and don’t have to make further contingency plans accounting for alternative surgical locations.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Perfect Mission

Fourth Grade in California means that you learn about California history. Namely, the missions. Everybody gets to build a mission, see a mission, write a report on a mission, eat, breathe and sleep MISSIONS! And I love the missions. I think they are serene and unspoiled (except by earthquakes), and I love the architecture and the gardens.

So, we went to see Mission San Juan Capistrano, and we did a report and a model on Mission San Juan Bautista. It was definitely a group effort. I pity the child who would be faced with this daunting project alone.

After purchasing a book about how to make a model mission from scratch, I finally gave up and ordered a styrofoam model online. Then I had to buy paint and glue, and even though I tried to learn how to use the glue gun, Angel was much better with that than I was. We all did our part, and in the end, the mission earned A PERFECT GRADE today.

The roof:
From 09 April May


Several little pieces:
From 09 April May


Several more little painted pieces:
From 09 April May


Sorta' almost done, or at least--painted:
From 09 April May


Better view of the bell tower:
From 09 April May


The aerosol paint ate the foam, and it looks JUST LIKE earthquake-damaged adobe that was glued together twice:
From 09 April May


AJ made a fountain and other things out of Play Doh:
From 09 June


He made a pool, with a duck:
From 09 June


The mission courtyard:
From 09 June


The tree is my fault:
From 09 June


Interesting story: Lemonade only had one bell to donate from his bird toy, so we made the bell tower ULTRA REALISTIC because earthquake damage actually did render the tower bell-less for about seventy years, and when AJ's teacher asked him about it, he was quick to explain the historical accuracy of absence of bells. The missionaries used the little bell with the rubber band on it, in the front, to call people to mass instead. AJ knew that without being told. I didn't know what the little horse-tie-looking thing was until he told me.
From 09 June

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Illustrator for Silly Moments

I am very excited to be able to take the last six minutes of my lunch break today to introduce the illustrator for Silly Moments, who I haven't even met, but what the hey, here she is. I believe her name is Maureen Movshin Brodsky, and I think her watercolors are fabulous! I am looking forward to seeing Silly come to life under her expert touch.

The day just got a million times better with this wonderful news. All thoughts of pain and surgery have left the building.

Life is oh, so savory, right now, and I haven't even had a bite of lunch yet. Is two minutes long enough to wolf down peanut butter and jelly?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I know I need the surgery. But I don't think I can manage the recovery. I may have to cancel everything and just learn to live with the constant pain, like I have already been doing for five years. I have tried to come up with several different plans for transportation, lodging, food, animal care and even my child's visitation with his father. I just can't do it. There is no way this can be done. I know that I'm deathly afraid of doctors, but that's not why I'm coming to this conclusion. I just live too far away from the doctor's office. And I cannot impose on people I know only from work to drive me places and take time out of their busy lives to help me. Even more, I can't impose on those who are close to me, because they really do not have the time or money to spare. I

Monday, June 1, 2009

calcaneal osteotomy, et al

Yes, I'm thinking in Latin. What do you expect? I'm surrounded by attorneys all day. But this is more of a medical term, specific to my poor heel, which is near my equally poor ankle. I can't sleep. I don't feel like eating. My surgery will be scheduled soon.

If you wish to see what a calcaneal osteotomy looks like, click here. (Not for the weak of heart, stomach or spleen).

I am also planning to voluntarily experience a tendon transfer. No pictures on this link.

For a detailed explanation of my surgical options, click here. I promise that you will also be thinking in Latin if you do.

Why do I need this? Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD), Stage II. It is also spelled O-U-C-H.

I am the world's biggest baby, however.


Big Baby, 2003
Nina Levy

Credit to the artist, of course. I think that baby just might be male, though. So it's not a statue of me, after all.

I stand accused of being the "nightmare patient." Why? Because I had a few simple questions, such as:

Can I keep my clothes on for surgery, please? No? Please?

Do you really need to use a needle on me, or an IV? Can't I just breathe in some anaesthesia? No? Please?

And, last but not least, what do you mean, I can't walk for six weeks afterward?

No weight on the right foot at all for six weeks. I hope my insurance company will cover the cost of a knee walker. I really want one.

And I find that the best way in my life to stay safe and healthy is to keep a safe and healthy distance from all things medical. So yes, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Needles are terrifying. I don't care about the saw while I'm unconscious. But please let me keep my clothes on. And really, there is absolutely no need for that needle. Put it away. Put it away NOW. Please?

And if they try to kill me via antibiotics again, I swear, I will haunt them. I am allergic to almost every antibiotic out there, and yet, I always seem to be handed a prescription for something that will cause me sudden and painful death. Maybe I AM the "nightmare patient," and they are really trying to kill me.

I just want to be made to feel comfortable and secure. I will never feel safe around doctors. I know that already. But couldn't they treat me like a human instead of a lab rat?

And now that I've seen the pictures of similar surgeries, I may never sleep again.

Even Friday the 13th wasn't THIS scary. (Really, please don't click on that link unless you want to stay awake with me all night. It's pretty graphic.)