Don't tell anyone, ok?

I can’t keep that sad post at the top of the blog, so in an effort to distract myself, I’m going to jump in on a fun meme that Kiki posted.

Five Songs I’m Embarassed to Admit I Like

(Yeah. SOOO embarassed that I’m posting these on the World Wide Web. Obviously my embarassment factor has greatly subsided since I began blogging…)

First up? Jose Cuervo by Shelly West. This is a cheesy drinking song which I will readily belt out at the Karaoke bar. Yes, I have done it and I will do it again. There isn’t a huge range of notes, so there’s no humiliating off-key adventures for the most part, and when sung confidently enough, will usually elicit a cheer and big round of applause from those already well on their way to feeling goooood. Sung best with a couple beers under one’s belt.

In the category of “I was ALWAYS way too damn old to enjoy this song, but I love it anyway, so sue me,” we have Hansen’s Mmmbop.

A rap/country duet. Of course I would get psyched about this kind of wierdness, but in my defense, Tim McGraw is HAWT so that justifies the whole thing. Nevermind the fact that the song consists of a grand total of four words. Just keep looking at Tim. And try not to even wrap your head around the fact that a tough rap artist wants to be known by the name of Laura Ingalls’ spoiled, bratty playground enemy.

I have no desire to be a cowboy, but I do love this song:

I also don’t feel that I am angry, cynical, bitter or wish to scare young children with creepy tales of the Sandman, yet somehow, this song makes this 40-something suburbanite want to bang her head.

Wanna play along? I’d love to see your embarassing faves!

Since I'm not sleeping anyway…

And a few have asked….

My dad is doing very well for about the third (going on fourth) day in a row. His blood pressure remains good and the kidney function remains good. He hasn’t had to be dialyzed again, which is a VERY good sign. Dad remains in ICU so that his heart can be monitored, but everything continues to look promising. The first three months are a critical time to watch for signs of rejection, so time will tell. We’ll keep praying and hope for nothing but the best. Mom seems to think he’ll stay in the hospital through the weekend and hopefully he can come home early next week.

Personally, I am recovering pretty well. I felt fantastic on Monday, but a little less so on Tuesday, which was disappointing but somewhat normal, I think. I don’t manage to do much during the day other than read, watch movies or blog. I don’t have a huge amount of energy and I tire out quickly, but still, I can’t seem to sleep. I’m lucky to get four hours in at night and can stretch it out a few more hours with the help of Vicodin, which I hate to do if I don’t need it for pain. So here I sit, wide awake at two in the morning!

Our refrigerator is full of food, thanks to our generous and caring friends and neighbors who were worried the family wouldn’t eat well while I recover. (Brad and I joked about how if they only knew how little cooking actually is done by ME!) We were informed last night that Brad’s friend, Justin’s mom is planning to deliver a meal tonight. Everyone is well fed and happy. We are very lucky to be blessed with such wonderful and caring friends.

Being waited on by everyone around me was fun the first couple of days, but in all honesty, it does get old and I’m looking forward to the day that a trip up the stairs is no longer a slow and exerting activity. I still have a bit of pain in the biggest incision, especially when I move too much, but I’m sure it will be just a few more days before I start feeling much closer to normal again.

Parade of Awards

If you know me at all, you know that one of the mottos I live by is Better late than never!

Blame it on the writers’ strike.

Blame it on my job.

Or my daughter’s softball schedule.

Or life.

Whatever the reason, once again, I’ve let myself fall behind on the passing-on-of-the-awards duties. I am embarassed that I’ve let such a backlog build up without acknowledging the fabulous people who have gifted me with such thoughtful and generous awards. Now that I’ve got a little time on my hands, I’ve decided it’s the perfect time to put on an awards ceremony, so I now present to you:

The Share the Love Award:

This award was presented to me by Trainwreck, the sweet and generous writer of Cowboys, Kids and Sunsets who has sent me so many messages of support and prayer as my dad and I were preparing for the transplant surgery. The award was originated by Crystal at Memoirs of a Mommy to raise awareness of the need for organ donation. You see, Crystal’s adorable son, Noah recently celebrated his first birthday thanks to the generosity of a grieving family who were able to see through their own pain and offer hope to another family. Noah received a heart transplant on July 7, 2007.

The rules of this award are: SHARE THE LOVE! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. Please include a link to this post and ask the recipient to do the same.

I’d like to encourage everyone who reads this to share this award with your fellow bloggers. But in particular, with this award, I want to recognize Cristy at So What’s With All the Feather Boas? who is donating her kidney to her sister in just a few days, on August 5th. Please pray for Cristy and her sister and send her some good vibes.

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For our next award:

This one was bestowed upon me by Jenny at Jenny’s Happy Life. I recently discovered Jenny and she is a hoot! She always leaves me with a smile and more often than not, has me on the verge of peeing my pants with her humor.

The requested blog award protocol is:

  1. Put the logo on your blog
  2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
  3. Nominate at least seven other blogs and add their links to your post.

With this award, I would like to recognize:

  • Faith, writer of Ramblings of an Average Teen – a busy girl, busy being a teen, doing missionary work and LOTS of traveling this summer.
  • Meleah at Momma Mia Mea Culpa – She writes from the heart!
  • Kate at MissGotWings – always honest, always sincere and not afraid to admit to what’s going on inside her head. Also has the most adorable pets in the world.
  • Meg at Lucchese to Louis Vuitton – fun, fashionable and a genuine person. I love ya, Meg!
  • Kiki at Kikibee – more fashion fun, love of family and a peek into her daily life.
  • Jenelle at Easier Said Than Done – adventures with two little boys, a new house, and more than her fair share of illness and minor disasters recently, but always has a positive attitude.
  • Jeni at Down River Drivel – chronicles of family and adventures with two adorable grandkids.

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The “Just Plain Fun to Read” award:

This bubbly award was presented to me (several weeks ago, I’m hanging my head in shame) by the beautiful, fashionable and ever-thoughtful Meg at Lucchese to Louis Vuitton. The award is self-explanatory and has no rules, which makes me love it even more. I would like to pass this one on to:

  • Kenady at Adventures in Womanhood – adorable kids, beautiful photojournaling and a positive outlook.
  • Kuckie at A Simpler Life – more adorable kids and more energy than I can imagine ever mustering.
  • Chief Rock Chef – a fun and unique peek at life on the other side of “the pond.”
  • Jenny of Jenny’s Happy Life – as mentioned before, a change of undergarments may be necessary after reading. Consider yourself warned.
  • Eric “Speedy” Speedcat of Speedcat Hollydale – antics, goofball stories and fun with photoshopping. There’s never a dull moment in Hollydale.

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The “I Love Your Blog” award:

Ranch Mommy at Ranch Family, who has the most adorable girls in the world, gifted me with this award (a couple of months ago, my head hangs even lower in shame.)  I am honored to have received this and would like to share it with:

  • Trainwreck at Cowboys, Kids and Sunsets – it feels like stepping into the sunshine when I read this blog.
  • Teresa of You Are Here – adventures in parenting, naked cowboys in NY, and a girl who has had the privilege of meeting more blogger buddies in person than anyone else I know!
  • Heather at Life in Jirkaville – A humorous, sometimes sarcastic look at life as a military family. Heather’s been MIA for a while and I miss her.
  • Barb at A Cowboy’s Wife  – a sweet look at a life very far from Suburbia.

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The Arte y Pico Award

Jamie at Bumps in the Road shared this beautiful award with me recently. This statue is called the Arte y Pico and was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and talents, no matter whether it be in the form of writing, artwork, design, interesting material or contributions to the blogger community. When a blogger receives this award it is considered a special honor and once presented to you, is to be passed on to at least five other bloggers who meet the criteria. I want to share this with:

  • Irene at Our Little Piece of the World – stunning photography and more beautiful children!
  • Blessed1 of Daily Blessings – stunning photography and uplifting messages.
  • Sandy at Writing in Faith – stunning photography and a gifted writer.
  • Steve of The Ripple Effect – spreading positivity throughout the business world and beyond. (You thought I was gonna say “stunning photography,” didn’t you?)
  • BobG of Near the Salty City – yes, more stunning photography and always something good to listen to on the playlist.

And that, ladies and gentleman, concludes today’s awards presentation. I am honored to “know” all of you and love checking in on your blogs each day. 

(And in case you’re wondering, the answer is “YES. I do think everyone has the most adorable children in the world.”)

Our transplant story

It’s been four days since the surgery took place and I’m finally feeling the haze begin to lift. The word last night was that, after a couple of days of ups and downs for my dad, his blood pressure had settled right where it needed to be and the kidney was producing beautifully! Things were a little scary there for a while, and he’s by no means out of the woods yet, but I’ll take last night’s report as a good sign!

I made it through most of the yesterday without any Vicodin, finally taking a dose at bedtime when fatigue was beginning to settle in and a bit of pain had resumed. I woke up very early this morning, at about 2:30 and felt no desire to fall back asleep. I guess I’ll need to work at getting my body back on schedule eventually, but for now, I’ll take advantage of the quiet and feeling well enough to begin to tell the whole story.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 – Music began to play from my clock radio at 3:30 am. I had set the alarm so that I’d have time to hit the snooze button, but I don’t know what I was thinking. There was no way I could just doze off again on this day. I really didn’t need any “snooze” time. I laid in bed for a few minutes, before shutting off the alarm, getting up and taking a shower.

I gave myself too much time. I had packed a bag the day before with everything I might possibly need during my hospital stay; lounge pants and t-shirts, books and my mp3. I didn’t need to put on any make-up or worry too much about my hair, other than keeping it out of my eyes until the surgery. I found myself wandering around aimlessly before it was time to leave, just waiting for Mark to catch up with me.

At 4:50 am, I snuck into the kids’ rooms and kissed each of them goodbye before we pulled out of our driveway and made the short trip to my parents’ driveway so they could follow us to the hospital. My sister and niece were riding with my parents so that they could be with my mom in the waiting room during the surgeries. By 5:00 they were ready to go and we made our way to downtown Minneapolis and into the surgery center by our 5:30 check-in time.

We actually had to wait a few minutes in the outer lobby before the surgery center opened. We sat together in a row of seats, my sister and I actually joking around and snapping a few pictures. I was not yet feeling nervous, much to my own surprise.

(Well, maybe just a little nervous….)

It didn’t take long before we heard the click of the security lock and we were allowed to enter. My dad and I signed a few forms and soon we were called back to our separate rooms to change into our hospital garb and answer a few more questions. I was given a shot of something, in the stomach. I don’t remember what it was or why I needed it, but remember thinking that it burned. It may have been a blood thinner to prevent clotting in my legs. Not long afterwards, our family was told they could come sit with us until it was time to move us to the operating room, which seemed to be only a few minutes.

We were called, along with another man who was having surgery, and his wife, to follow a nurse to the operating room and surgical waiting room. We took an elevator up to the fourth floor, then walked a few long hallways, finally stopping in front of two big doors where we were told that this is where the patients parted with their families.

I quickly hugged my mom, my sister and my niece, finally getting to Mark. After all the past months of feeling ready, confident and comfortable in my decision, this is where I decided to lose it. Without warning, tears began to fall as Mark hugged me goodbye. He realized I was crying and wanted to know what was wrong. All I could do was whisper that I was finally scared. I was trying not to be obvious. I didn’t want to scare my mom or my dad, so I sat there hurriedly wiping the tears from my eyes, as quickly as I could, feeling like a little girl trying to reclaim my bravery. Mark assured me that everything would be fine. He had confidence in the surgical team and he would be right there waiting as soon as I woke up. I managed to dry my eyes before I totally lost it and walked with my dad through the big doors ahead of us.

Inside were rows of beds on each wall and my dad and I were placed on opposite walls so we could see each other until we were wheeled into our operating rooms. I tried to remain calm as I waited and the nurse, noticing I was shivering, brought me an extra warm blanket to cover up with. The anesthesiologist for my dad came and talked to me about how he would take care of Dad during his surgery, knowing the heart condition was a concern. Next, my dad’s surgical team came and talked with me briefly about his surgery. Then my own anesthesiologist came to talk to me about what I could expect. I honestly don’t remember what he said to me. By this time the surgical team was talking with my dad and I was doing my best to hear what was being said. I didn’t think my dad had his hearing aids in and was afraid they would ask him a question and he would misunderstand, but he seemed to be doing ok. Finally, my surgeon came by and talked with me a bit, marked my left side with a Sharpie marker and told me I’d soon be on my way.

The nurse who had been sitting with me told me she was going to give me something that wouldn’t knock me out, but just take the edge off. I remember her injecting it, then getting wheeled off to the operating room as I could feel myself relax. It tried to wave to my dad as I left, but he was surrounded by his team and I don’t think he saw me. I relaxed so much that I remember watching the walls pass by as my bed was wheeled along and thinking, “It’s a good thing I’M not driving right now. WOOOOOOOOOO!” The walls were spinning around me and I smiled at that point. I found myself so amusing that I actually smiled! Those must have been some good drugs!

I remember reaching the operating room and noticing how full of equipment it was. I know that someone was talking to me, but I can’t remember at all what was said and soon I was completely out.

The next thing I remember was someone saying my name, it seemed, very loudly. “TERRI!” I opened my eyes and felt the oxygen mask on my face and could see a nurse sitting beside me. She was telling me that my surgery had been completed, but I was distracted by the oxygen blowing in my face. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and tried to adjust the mask. The nurse gently placed it back where it belonged and told me I needed to keep it there, but I was sure there was too much blowing in my face and once again, I tried to adjust it, this time managing to disconnect the tube from the mask. Once again, the nurse was calm and gentle, saying, “Let me fix that for you.” But again, I was sure I was suffocating and managed to knock the tube off the mask again. Finally the nurse decided I might be more comfortable with the nasal mask instead and gave me the tubes that sit just under the nose. Ahhh, much better.

I’m not sure how long I laid there before I became aware of my dad in the room. I could hear him moaning in pain, but was relieved to know he made it through his surgery alright. It was right about this time that I began to realize that I, myself was in pain and began to hyperventilate. The nurse asked if I was in pain. I tried to answer her, but found I couldn’t speak. I could only whisper, “YES.” The nurse informed me that she would give me an injection of Delaudid and I remember thinking, “Yeah. Delaudid.” A friend of mine had said to ask for that one! The Delaudid took effect immediately and the pain seemed to ease.

The next thing I knew, Mark was by my side and I was being wheeled off to my room. Things were getting fuzzy again at this point but I remember Mark asked how I was doing as I was being moved and I whispered, “I can’t talk! I have no voice.”

We finally got settled in my room, and the rest of the day is kind of a blur of visits from the surgical team, nurses and HCAs (nurses’ aides.) I was assured several times that my dad did fine through his surgery and my kidney was beginning to function in his body. Mark stayed by my side well into the evening, just sitting while I slept and making sure I was comfortable when I was awake, and trying to get me to eat a bit of chicken broth for lunch and dinner. My mouth was extremely dry and he fed me ice chips and offered me ice water as often as I could take it. He expressed concern about my loss of voice, and we were told that during surgery, the breathing tube sits between the vocal chords and sometimes causes a bit of trauma. One of the nurses told me later, when there were signs of my voice returning, that she had been fairly concerned. She said it’s not often that there’s a complete and total loss and she was worried the damage might be more serious. Thankfully, it appears it’s not.

My incisions were checked several times on Thursday and I was not thrilled to see how bloated my stomach was and that there were four small incisions and one large one where the kidney was removed. I had been told to expect three small ones and one large one, so I’ll need to find out where the extra came from. The large one was really the only painful one, but there was other pain to work through, like learning to fill my lungs with a deep breath again. I couldn’t believe what an effort it was to fill my lungs with air, but I was told to keep working at it to prevent pneumonia from settling in.

I was awakened on Friday by the arrival of “breakfast.” I lifted the cover on the plate, tried one bite of some very bland, pasty scrambled eggs and called it quits. My mouth was still insanely dry from the surgery and all I wanted to do was drink ice water. By Friday, I was encouraged to sit up in a chair, which I did, with some pain, while the HCA changed my bedding for the day. I was slightly more aware of the comings and goings of the staff and was able to ask for my pain meds when I felt I needed more. Again, Mark came to sit with me for most of the day as I drifted in and out of sleep. I managed to eat some lunch and took a few short walks down the hallway with Mark’s assistance. When dinner arrived, Mark tried to get me to eat, but the sight of it made me sick to my stomach. I just could not eat. We tried walking one more time, but I was no sooner out the door when a wave of nausea hit and I hustled back to my bed. The nurse told me I was trying too hard and didn’t need to walk anymore that day. I had been hoping to make it to my dad’s room, but had no such luck yet. Mark assured me my dad was ok. I was given some anti-nausea medication in my IV and soon was falling asleep, so Mark left for the day.

Saturday morning found me awake at 3:00 am, feeling much, much better. I found I was able to walk to and from the bathroom on my own, rather gingerly, but I was doing it. The nausea was gone and I was better able to sit upright. I dozed off and on throughout the morning until the surgical team paid me another visit. I was informed that I could now take charge of my direction, and was free to leave whenever I felt comfortable going home, even that same day, if I felt up to it. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was ready to go home, but the roommate from Hell had arrived Friday in the early morning hours and I had had enough. I wanted to go home. I told the surgeons that I would love to go home, “TODAY.” The head surgeon smiled and said, “Ok, then. We’ll get you all set to go!”

I called Mark and told him I was being released. He couldn’t believe it and sounded uncertain, but I  reassured him that the surgical team had approved me to go. Besides, it would be a few hours before my release forms would be processed and my prescriptions arrived from the pharmacy. So he came back to the hospital to wait with me for the final ok to go.

While we waited, we walked again, finally making it to my dad’s room. He was SO sleepy. He must have been given something to help him sleep and ease the pain because he kept falling asleep mid sentence while we talked. I felt bad because my dad had been doing SO well on Friday, when I couldn’t get to see him, and then today, he had taken a slight turn for the worse. We finally left him to get his rest and returned to my room to pack up my belongings. Mark carried some flowers and my bag to the car while I waited in the room. My prescriptions arrived before he returned and I was told I was free to go.

I’m telling you, that walk out of the hospital was the longest walk of my life. I hadn’t ventured more than a few hundred feet from my bed in the last couple of days and it was a long walk out of the hospital, but I made it. It was slightly painful, but I did it.  And being at home has made it feel as if I’m improving in leaps and bounds. I worried about my dad most of the day on Sunday, but got the good news Sunday night that he seemed to be doing phenomenally well. I have no doubt that this sudden improvement is due to all the prayers and support of our family, friends, and all of you! Please pray, as I will for my dad’s continued improvement. We’re not sure how much longer he’ll remain in the hospital, and I hope he can be home soon.

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Thank you to all of you for keeping in touch, for caring, and for all the wonderful comments, words of support and prayers that you offered. I have some catching up to do around the blogosphere, and I have lots of time to do it over the next few weeks. For the moment, I’m going back to bed, but I’ll be around later today and over the next few days, hopefully catching up with all of you.

Home again

Hey, everyone. Just a quick note to let everyone know I’m home again. I’m still pretty sore, very tired, and trying to get my voice back because the breathing tube did a number on my vocal chords. The hospital staff were a great group of people, but they make it nearly impossible to get any amount of rest. So as you can imagine, I’m thrilled to be home again and in my own bed.

My dad has to spend a few more days in the hospital. The kidney is functioning, but the doctors want to see a stronger output. (I’m not sure those are the right words, but in my drug induced haze, that’s the best way I know to describe it right now. Thank you vicadin!)

Of course, if you know me at all, you know there’s a much longer, more detailed story to come. I’ll tell you all about it as soon as I can keep my eyes open longer. In the meantime, please know that I can’t thank all of you enough for your care,concern, prayers and support for my dad and me.

Update!

Hey Everybody! This is Kacey & I am writing a post-surgery update for my mom.

The sugery went well, and as far as i know, both my mom and grandpa are doing great! When we visited she was a bit tired and sore but was doing her best to get moving again. She had lost her voice durring the surgery and could hardly talk Thursday afternoon. By this afternoon it was slowly coming back and she was still a bit hoarse.  We stopped by my grandpa’s room & he was sitting up in a chair having lunch and he seemed awesome!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers! Hopefully she will feel well enough soon to give you the update from herself!