Thursday, June 30, 2011

Clothing Memories

Does anyone else have vivid memories associated with a particular item of clothing? Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day unpacking the master bedroom. I probably would have completed it but help came for the kitchen, and I had to shift gears.

I've been the same size for a little over two and a half years now. As I was putting away clothes, I started having memories about some of the clothing items. There is a green and white polka dot dress that I wore to a bridal shower. It still fits, but everytime I pull it out to consider wearing it, I ultimately put it back. Here is why: I was horribly sick that day, and ended up needing to spend several hours in the ER. I think somehow mentally my brain associates that dress with bad times.

My favorite is the shirt I wore on the day that HH and I got engaged. I only wear it once or twice a year because I want to keep it looking nice for as long as I can.

I am going to finish the master bath while HH is still sleeping. Then I am unpacking my fun new kitchen appliances. I am tired at the end of the day, but it feels great to see things start to look a little bit more like home.

Last night at church HH decided that he should tell everyone about himself and give his testimony. HH has a natural comedic side. During part of the story he mentions that he would preach weekly at the dementia ward in a local nursing home. He segways from that to saying, "And then I met my wife.". One of the congregation members didn't miss a beat and replied, "In the dementia ward?".

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Journey to SD (Long Post)

Yesterday was hard.  Goodbyes are hard.  My parents, best friend from college Mandi, HH and I got up and left at 7:30 to head to the condo to wrestle the cats.  Ok, HH was going to wrestle the cats.  I wasn't allowed in the condo because I make the job for HH much more stressful worried if they are breathing too fast, too stressed, you get the picture.  I was seriously in tears the last time he did this.  My friend Mandi helped him, and that transition went very smooth.

My dad had asked if we could say our goodbyes at the terminal drop-off, because he would prefer to lose it in his car than inside the airport.  I agreed.  It was HARD saying goodbye to my parents, but especially hard to say bye to my dad.  Don't get me wrong, I have a great mom, but since I went to college I have had an awesome relationship with my dad.  The bond there is different, and deeper by a huge effort on his part to be very involved in my adult life.

We check in, and pay $125 PER CAT (yes, I knew this before the flight) for the privilege to carry them on the plane.  They counted as our carry-on luggage too!  Mandi comes in to spend about forty-five minutes with us before it was time to head through security.  We put the cats (in their carriers) up on the belt to be x-rayed along with the rest of our things.  We are notified by security that the cats MUST come out of their carriers, and the bags scanned.  I ask if the can just go through the x-ray machine....NO.  I am freaking out at this point, because my cats do not like confined spaces.  We had allotted an hour to get them in their carriers earlier this morning, and this was with them being in a confined space of a small bathroom in the condo. 

HH tells me to go on through, and he will deal with it.  He requests the small private screening room.  For the next twenty minutes he chases the cats around the room to get them back into the carriers.  The TSA people said they had never seen such wild cats.  They did offer him a jacket to throw over Lilly to try to catch her (she is the toughest...biting HH last time).  All of this is being done on a deadline, knowing we have a flight in an hour.  He emerges my hero, with both cats in the bag, and no bite marks.  Again folks, this man loves me.

The cat that I thought would be the most trouble on the plane, Lilly, was perfectly silent.  Sprinkles on the other hand meowed the entire time.  Sedatives?  No.  I can't get them to take any pills.  We were doing this naturally.  Fortunately, on the first flight, we were towards the back of the plane, and seated by a family of four pet lovers.  The little boy loved our cats, and told us all about how he wanted one.  The noise of the plane also drowned out much of Sprinkles constant meowing. 

In Minneapolis, we joined HH's mom to fly into our final destination.  I joked with her that she may not want to sit by us to avoid association with the cats!  They were actually very quiet during our layover.  We get on the next flight, and the man in front of us asks HH, "They will settle down once the flight starts, right?"  To which HH responds, "I'm sorry Sir, but no."  The man beside him was much more gracious, and said he had kids, and it just sounded like a baby with colic.  We were both very apologetic to the passengers around us.  Sprinkle did not disappoint, he meowed the whole way. 

I told HH I know it was a lot of trouble, but I am really glad that we brought them with us.

Here is a picture from the airport when we landed in Pierre:

Here is a picture of sandbags in front of our hotel from all the flooding:

We stayed downtown, close to the river.  In our hotel room, I could tell that the waters had gotten in by the smell and the slight dampness of the carpet.

We had dinner and went to Wal-Mart.  I forget how expensive it is to set up a household.  We haven't even got groceries yet!  I'm sure there are many things that we forgot, but we have a good bit to get us started.

I am in LOVE with Skype.  HH set it up on my parent's computer before we left, and did a trial call with them.  I got to SEE my parents last night.  It's not the same as being there, but it is better than a normal phone call, email, or text.  Having that, along with the ability to buy whatever I want or need through the internet will make living out here easier.

Surgery Update:  My stamina is really improving each day.  I am still very tired at the end of the day, but I don't feel the need to "have" to take a nap during the day now.  I can stand upright, but I still take great caution in bending, stretching to reach something, and not picking up anything heavier than my purse.  I am only taking a muscle relaxer before bed each night.  I can get in and out of my compression suit by myself.  There is that one wound that HH has to dress, but it is small.  I just can't reach it or see it to do it on my own. 

The most important thing is that my swelling is going down considerably.  At my highest, I was 165 after surgery (talk about being hard mentally when you know they took 5-10 pounds of skin off, but I knew swelling was a part of the game), and when I weighed at my parents the other day I was 148.  I can most feel the reduction of swelling in my thighs.  I joked with HH that when they measured me for my compression garment, they only measured my hips and waist.  They forgot I had not had any work on my thighs yet, and they are much bigger.  For the first two weeks, my garment would ride up on my thighs, and proceed to cut off my circulation.  It was more than just aggravating, it was painful.  HH and my mom would pull them down constantly, and a wave of relief would come over as I could feel blood flow return to that area.  Now, with the swelling going down substantially, it is uncomfortable, but not to the point where I feel like I have no circulation. 

Today's Game Plan:
We are leaving at 7:30 in the morning to drive in and make sure we are there before the movers.  Put the cats in the cellar so we can be set up to move in.  Unpack as much stuff as possible.  I will also be going over to the school to have the movers put my work boxes (over 100 easy) into my classroom.  I was so glad that my classroom was ready to do this.  I hated the thought of having the labor here, and not being able to use it for that.  Also, I didn't have a clue where we would put all the boxes in the meantime!  I won't be unpackng anything at work until I am fully settled in with our house. 

A Gift to Myself:

Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Noise Cancelling Headphones

I like peace and quiet.  I think this has grown over the years of teaching that I really enjoy quiet in the evenings.  I actually got in the habit in college of watching TV with closed captioning on, and oftentimes still prefer to watch it that way.  I frequently ask HH to turn down the TV.  I decided that this is a gift that will help us both enjoy some of our evening time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Family

My sister had the idea last week that we should all take a family photo yesterday before we left.  Unfortunately, her stepchildren were not allowed to come at the last minute, so that was very upsetting to her.  She wanted us to all wear matching clothes, but I told her that wasn't going to happen.  I am still bloated from the surgery, and HH's jeans are packed up.  I am very glad that she had the idea.  I wanted to share pictures with you of my family.

Another thing that made this portrait session so special was that the last time my siblings and I got together to take a picture was when I was 19, and they were 14.  We were well overdue for some family pictures.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Days Go By...

This is my last day at home.  Lots of things to write about that have happened over the past few days.

I got to spend time with a lady I babysat for, and became good friends with.  Her son is a freshman in college this fall.  I feel OLD.

My other drain has been removed, and I feel like a new woman!  I still have one spot that I have to treat and clean, but other than that the doctor said I look great.  I have booked next summer's two procedures for June 4th.

Today we are surprising my grandmother and going to church with her.  She thought the last time she would see me was when my mom took me over about a week ago.  This afternoon, my family is getting a family portrait made together, then we are cooking out.  One of my best friends from college will be coming down to stay the night and see me off tomorrow. 

Last big task: HH must lasso our cats into their carriers....because they are going on the plane with us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


HH and my mom are at the Mayo Clinic right now.  Both are there for separate reasons.  My mom is helping to care for one of her best friends, and HH is having his normal yearly checkup.  Last night, they got together and had dinner and played Phase 10.  It was my mom and two of her friends, all in their late 50's, playing cards with my HH.  My mom kept texting me telling me what a hoot HH was.  He said he was on a "Chocolate Vacation," among many other things.  He asked if we had Phase 10, and if not, he would like to purchase it.  HH is always one of the funniest people to be around.

HH got GREAT news from his doctor!  His EEG was seizure free.  This is the second year in a row.  He said he would go ahead and take him off his seizure medication, but since it is not hurting him, and HH is entering two major life changes, he is going to keep him on his medication this next year as a precaution.  Next year, we will look at going to the generic version, or tapering him off medication entirely.  Your brain has fully grown at the age of thirty, so there is a good chance that HH may have "outgrown" having seizures. 

I am off to see two of my best friends today, then I will pick up HH from the airport.  I'm going to get a pedicure, change our address, and get some new bras that my mom swears by.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How I've Spent My Recovery

I'm been reading my Kindle and nerdy professional books.  My mom turned me onto this series, and I bought and watched all of season 1!  (Newest episode comes on tonight!)  I have also downloaded all the books to the series on my Kindle (all eight of them).  My mom has read the first two books, and she says there is a lot more that the books tell than the show.

I am also in the middle of the final season of 24! 


Compression Legwear....yeah, I'll be sporting it!  I have a pair on right now.  It was oh so expensive at the medical supply store.  (My first $72.01 pair of pantyhose.)  Now that I know my size (I needed to be fitted at the medical supply store), I can order future pairs online.  I have quite a bit of swelling.  This started prior to my surgery, but having the surgery has not helped my swelling.  I had appointments scheduled for a kidney specialist and endocrinologist, but by the time I could see them, we would have moved.  I'm good with staying on top of my health, and will get appointments with new specialists when we are settled in.  My PCP ran bloodwork and a 24 hour urine screen, and I have no alarming problems now.  She just wanted someone else to take a further look. 

I went back to see the plastic surgeon today.  I got stitches removed, and one of my two drains removed.  The other drain will come out on Friday.  I received a binder to wear over my compression garment.  I feel very secure now.  :)  I am released to drive. 

HH is off to his yearly Mayo Clinic appointment.  I wanted to go with him, but considering I am recovering, I think it was best that I didn't.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm Back!!!

I know it has been a while since I have blogged, but it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things. I'll start with my lower body lift. The surgery went very well, and my doctor said that I lost a minimal amount of blood considering the magnitude of the procedure. One of my biggest fears going into the surgery was the IV. The nurse was great, and that went well. The only thing that I remember about my recovery was them telling me to stop scratching my face (a side effect of the medication was itching).

The first week was pretty rough. I really turned a corner at the one week mark. I am able to stand upright, walk without a cane, and do more and more for myself each day. I still have my two drains in, and I am hoping that they come out Tuesday.

The surgeon removed a ton of skin around my middle. I look in the mirror and can't believe how much is gone. I am so ready to not wear my compression garment anymore. I still have at least 2-4 weeks in it. My incisions are healing up very nicely. I do have quite a bit of swelling. I know that this can occur for up to six months.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Showtime!

Today is the day!  We have to be at the plastic surgeon's office at noon, and my surgery goes from 1:00-5:00.  I can't believe it is finally happening!  Let operation flat(ter) stoach begin!  I'm really glad that I've been so busy lately.  I really have not had time to dwell on the gravity of what I am about to undertake.  I'll post more in a few days.

Just in Case You Ever Wondered...

What melting a bag of marshmallows on your glass stovetop, let me save you the trouble...

HH got it off.  Bless his heart!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Our Anniversary

We celebrated our anniversary early this year.  HH will be on his third week of the job, and our anniversary falls on a Sunday, so we won't really be able to do anything.

We stayed at The Castle in Lexington, Kentucky.

We got upgraded to a "magestic suite."  Here are some of the pictures of our room.

Next, we went off to dinner at Bakers 360.  This restaurant is on the fifteenth floor in downtown Lexington.  Yes, I was in foodie heaven.  I was distracted by the cuteness of my date.  :)

View from our seat at the restaurant.

Dessert Meets Art!

A Few More Pictures at the Castle:

Today's lunch was at Giuseppes.

We celebrated our first anniversary with cannoli, so I thought that would be a good tradition.

Tonight we saw Shrek the Musical.  HH and I both liked it.