Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good-Bye Summer (I did something funny with raft in lower picture)



The above pic is of the liner of our pool. I prefer aqua sides, but I LOVE the tropical fish and coral (especially, the aqua, pink and yellow fish) and the sandy bottom causes the water to look aqua. :)

I love to swim. This post is actually about how wacky I can be about water and how happy I was to finally have our own pool. The first part explains my behavior in the latter part of the post.

If you are pressed for time, you can skip the 1st part and read the aqua part of the post for the humor (says me) and I know... hard to believe I am an adult sometimes. Sigh...
I'll grow up .......... someday. ;)

When I love something... really, really love it... I throw myself into it with such a passion... it is all I want to do and can't get enough. Water causes me to feel that way. I grew up 5 miles from the ocean and so spent many fun summers by the sea.

The ocean is always my first choice. Second to that would be a lake... followed by a swimming pool third choice. Frankly... I simply can not get enough water! The sights, sound and feeling of being immersed in it is heaven on earth for me.

I loved living in a lake community as a teenager. Aside from swimming, I also enjoyed canoeing all around the lake. We still have the canoe out back. It was green, but my uncle painted it blue just for me. I used to love to take it out on the lake with friends and then make it tip over in the water. They usually thought it was fun too, but some would get mad at me sometimes because a. they DIDN'T want to get wet and b. we then had to drag everything in. Caribbean blue knows me best (since I was 4) and could attest to what a tease I am. Ha! I guess some of you know that too.

After we got married, I didn't get to swim much because we didn't live in a lake community and we didn't have a pool. Well, the 1st two years in our apartment there was a built in pool right next door and we could see it from our balcony... but I only used it the 2nd summer. One summer I joined the Crystal Springs Quarry but then they made it private. Sometimes I'd go to the park or shore but just a day here and there. Or I'd go down the shore and stay in the beach house with Caribbean Blue, her father and our kids. And sometimes we stayed at the beach. Also my one uncle had a house right on the Great Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondacks and we stayed with them. And I can hardly believe there were even summers that I didn't swim even once. I hated those summers and would've been perfectly happy to go from spring to fall.

But then Friday night, Memorial Day weekend in 1997 I heard a Pelican Pool commercial on the radio while I was driving up to work. Now every summer I would call local pool stores to see what it would cost for a pool and they were always totally unaffordable. But the following Monday I went down to the store. This terrific manager -Ray helped me with buying a pool. For one thing... the prices were so much better than the little local stores up here. But Ray went the extra mile and even through in a BETTER filter than what was offered and worked out a deal where I got the stairs that drop in for FREE... if I paid for the installation. That was a sweet deal and a win-win for both of us. There is no way anything local could compete with what I paid and got from Pelican Pools. Needless to say...Ray has always been my go-to guy with any pool concerns or purchases... even though they are out of the way.

I was more excited than any kid on Christmas morning when that pool was being installed and up. I was in that pool (so were kids) at every opportunity. Everything was right with the world. I was swimming..whenever I wanted too which was ALL the time.

My older son said "Mom...other people swim because they're hot...but YOU swim just because you can." That sums it up. He was right. I would even come home after working a shift at the hospital, throw the spot lights on and be in there swimming at 11:30 at night by myself when every one was sleeping.
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Do you see that tropical raft above? I fell in love with that the second I saw it in the store and had to have it. So "Miami Vice" colors! ;) Aqua, pink and baby yellow... definitely me. so I bought it with my birthday money. It looked so neat floating around in the pool and funny at the same time.

This is just how much I loved that pool and raft that summer.

One Saturday night, after coming home from the hospital... I got an idea! Not only did I decide I was going swimming... but I decided I would sleep out on the raft..in the pool...all night. Not only would it be fun but I'd be floating around on the water and wake with the birds and a beautiful sunrise! :) Yes... that was my plan.

So I swam a little and then dried off. I went back in the house, changed into a dry bathing suit, got an afghan to cover me as I slept and brought a boom box outside on which I was playing a CD with Pachelbel's Canon in D with ocean sounds that played repetitively. I also had the spotlight on. Now there were bears that traversed through the yards and my husband didn't know I was doing this... no one did unless the closest neighbors happened to look out their windows, but the neighborhood seemed to be asleep. It was just the summer bugs (I love their sounds) and me out there.

So I put the music on, grabbed the afghan and got onto this big raft, which sat pretty high above the water. But as with all rafts, it's inevitable that you take on a little water when you first get on. No big deal. It wasn't THAT bad. So, I covered myself up, closed my eyes and enjoyed the sensation of floating around the pool with my head resting on the pretty pale yellow banana under the palm tree and night stars... with the music, ocean tides and bugs.

The next thing I knew ..I woke up FREEZING (SHIVERING big time) because I had been lying in a little water and unbeknownst to me the afghan had fallen partly over the side on both sides and so had been slowly taking in water as I slept. I guess the combination of lying so still (asleep) and WET over and under along with the cool night air was conducive to putting me toward being borderline .. hypothermic! (o.k. maybe a slight exaggeration but I was COLD!) Not only was I shivering but I also had to PEE! I forgot about that possibility.

And where I wasn't at all afraid to be out there alone at night... now I felt like the spotlight has been on me all this time and ANYONE or ANYTHING could be out there watching me... just.. waiting.. for.. me.. to.. get.. out. The light was on ME but I couldn't see out into the DARK NIGHT!

So not only was I shivering and had to pee... but now I was AFRAID to get out of the pool! I thought about hollering for my husband, but didn't because the A/C was on and I didn't want to wake the neighbors. I tried to ignore everything but my bladder and the cold weren't gonna let me do that.

I knew what I had to do and so I paddled to the stairs with the idea that I would just slip off said tropical raft, step onto the stairs, off the deck and make a run for it. But instead... I off the raft, falling SLIPPED UNDER the water came up sputtering, COLDER, with heavy, soppy afghan that I dropped on deck and ran into the house.

No one ever new what I did until I told them. My husband said "PA-A-A-T!" (men can too wine) and a couple of friends said I could've drowned. I don't think I could've drowned.

Anyway...I never did THAT again. :)

Best laid plans...

And now... I am off to vacuum and swim in the pool! We're having a barbecue tomorrow... the last HURRAH of the summer.

Happy Labor Day!

P.S.
I did something else kind of CRAZY at the end of the season. It was the end of September and the water was really cold..but still..I did not want to close the pool. We were putting the solar cover on but really it wasn't enough... and it was more like ice water. My cousin and husband were going home and he didn't believe I was still going in the pool that night and stayed just to see me do it... which I did. he then laughed saying he wouldn't believe it if he didn't see it.

They left and I stayed in, but I hated admitting it..it was too cold for swimming! I was so COLD that I hovered under the half of the solar cover I left on because the night air was cold too. I couldn't swim... but didn't want to get out.

I think I stayed in too long because both kidneys started to ache. (This was before any urology concerns) I took a l-o-o-o-n-g
HOT shower. My thighs were still cold a couple of hours later. I am guessing that was a dumb thing to do and never did that again either. :)

Playing BY Yourself Can Be Fun ;) Pt II

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One of uro doc's partners came in to see me in the morning and he too seemed amused that I was playing with myself and I explained everything.

So... what was I doing? Jen was right..SCRABBLE! :)


I picked up a traveling Scrabble game in Target back in May. It is permanently affixed to the inside of a zipped case and comes with everything you need and the tiles snap into place which is great because they don't move all over and you can close the game and later pick up where you left off.

I was so bored in the hospital, that I decided to play with myself. It was a great idea and I enjoyed playing, although always more fun playing with other people. I did that on 2 different visits there and both times staff seemed amused. Well they didn't write me up for a psych eval anyway. ;)

Now you're thinking you can't play with yourself or it's not fun..but you're wrong. You can and it is.

So I set it up as Patricia vs Patty.

Patty started out strong but Patricia gained momentum with a 41 point "z" word and left Patty in the dust from that point on.

Admittedly it takes longer with yourself, but you do hone your skills. For someone like me who likes to play fast 3 minute games (6min total with 2 players) on line ...this continuous play keeps me from feeling bored because I am overseeing and thinking for both Patricia and Patty.

I can't cheat...because I always see what they are doing. I would never cheat anyway because then you don't really win. I never can understand that. Why play if you don't do it to the best of your ability and win fair and square?

And one of us really does win. All you have to do when playing with yourself is do your best for each player. It doesn't matter if you know what letters the other player has because you base all your moves on playing strategically to the best of your ability.

For example when the urodoc came in and I explained why it works playing with yourself. I also pointed out it was a tight came because Patty and Patricia weren't giving in at all to each other. I showed him the tight plays which was causing the words to pretty much form a square in the middle of the board because neither of them would give in and branch out.

LOL! My urodoc immediately commented on my word "DONG" stating it wasn't a word and I said" Yes it is", to which he replied "It's not what I'm thinking is it" And I said "N-O-O-O! It's not THAT one!" and he, the nurse and I laughed. Geez... only a urologist! :) I should have said that if I had thought of it fast enough... LOL! :)

I didn't think to tell him, but DONG is the sound a bell makes.

While talking on the phone, I told my friend Caribbean Blue (She is one of my real life scrabble playing friends) how tight the game was on the board and that neither Patricia nor Patty was giving in.

She laughed and said "PATTY...you're S-O-O-O COMPETITIVE!" LOL!

I am with games. :)

I love scrabble! At one time... I played so much on line scrabble... when I was first stented ... that as I would drift off to sleep... I would see scrabble boards with words on them. And I got to where I appreciated the uniqueness of all the different shapes a scrabble game becomes on each board. :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interesting Evening Sky

Copy of Copy of Copy of DSCF0582_582_134 by you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Playing BY Yourself Can Be Fun ;)


These beautiful lilies come up every year in our front yard. We have many varieties of Lilies around the yard. Their blooms are prolific and last quite awhile. I call these Peggy's lilies because we gave them to my d-i-l the year they stayed with us and have been blooming ever since. They don't tie into the post...i just like the picture. :)

SeaSpray is experiencing an extreme case of blogger's remorse over this post and she has removed it for now. She hopes she didn't offend anyone but she just couldn't resist the so obvious double entendre. ;)




My Monet :)


Reflections in neighbor's pond out back. I like the clouds and blue sky reflected on the pond, particularly the right foreground. Ahem... not quite Monet's "Water Lilies" but it reminded me of it. :)

I am finally learning how to put personal pictures up and am so Excited at all the possibilities. Still learning but can see it will be a lot of fun and I will be able to personalize the blog if I want to. And I can see myself becoming a total photo junkie and maybe even give Dr WhiteCoat a little competition cause this girl is going to be totin a camera everywhere she goes now too. ;)

I also want to get my scanner working with the computer so I can use some old pictures to. I have a definite SeaSpray pic I want to put up. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Phone Call You Don't Want to Get

Last night at 11:37, I received a phone call from Lifeline informing me that my mother had fallen. Thank God she was wearing her emergency response button this time! She appeared to be alright but was unable to get up. We did have the squad bring her to the hospital to rule out any injuries not readily apparent and just because she is 85. After a head CT and other x-rays, she was treated and released at around 04:10.

The doctor informed us of her test results (labs and radiologic tests good) and inquired about her living status. When he heard she lives alone... he looked concerned and suggested a nursing home..TWICE.

I looked over at her...and my mother the one who is feisty and argumentative with me ...resistant to my helping her straightening her apartment, taking her garbage out, or basically any good thing I try to do or give her...looked like she was going to cry. My mother does not show a soft side except too animals.

She was lying back on the stretcher with 4 blankets nestled up tight around her neck because she was cold and she looked frozen in place... but it wasn't from the cold but rather by abject fear which evidenced across her face and she just looked straight up to the ceiling.

I felt so sorry for her in that instant and reached over placing my hand on her frail, bony shoulder and said "Mom...don't worry...you don't have to go into a nursing home now." (I don't know that yet. I don't know what I think and am still processing it all) And then she forcefully said "I'm NOT going into a nursing home!" I looked at the doctor and saw his quiet concern/disagreement.

She is alert and oriented. Yes... forgetful, mixes up stories and embarrasses the heck out of me when I hear total untruths she has told me she told people about me or my family... but it is absolutely NOT dementia. She does crossword puzzles (good at them), word searches and is an avid reader...mostly the latest Reader's Digest health books, alternative medicine, medical facts type of books. She has stacks of them.

She cooks and does things for herself. She needs help but will not allow me to do things I can plain;y see need to be done. I will vent elsewhere or this would turn into something the length of "War and Peace".

The problem is that she is not steady on her feet and so uses a cane or walker. The times I observe she isn't using them, I remind her (gently) and she goes off like a firecracker on me telling me not to lecture her. She is being better about it now though... but not completely.

The problem is also that she doesn't have good flexibility in her legs, nor strength to rise up from the bed, sofa, chair, etc. and so takes effort on her part. And she has to crawl and then flop into bed because if she sits on the bed 1st...she can't lift her legs up onto the bed. Everything is either too high or too low for her to get out of easily.. if at all.

So last night as she was crawling into bed...she slipped down and landed on her knees on the floor and could not get up. Thank God for Lifeline!

Lifeline is an excellent program and more people should have it. Not everyone can afford it but then they may qualify for a grant that will pay for it. I got my mother on such a program. The last I knew it was around 40 a month and so very worth everyone's peace of mind and safety of the client. It often enables people to live independently longer than they otherwise may have. We got a letter once from an elderly lady thanking us for the program because she was able to stay home and be with her dog longer. :)

But I digress.

The ED docs concern is that because she has begun to fall and she is on coumadin, she could bleed to death if she has a bad fall.

So younger son and I got her home and situated in her apartment and got home at 05:30 this morning. I called the ED doc back to clarify some things. I am thinking that perhaps some PT to strengthen her legs but he thinks that given her age and condition that we should consider a nursing home.

So... my head is spinning with this stuff. I am going to get on the phone tomorrow and call some contacts I have to see what they suggest. I should have done this sooner but admittedly have not wanted to face this. I went on line to get some info on nursing homes in the area. I also assuaged some guilt by reading how difficult it is for most children when it comes to this. In her case even more so for various reasons. I am an only child and so don't have any siblings to help with decisions or care. Unfortunately with her finances, she can't get one of the better ones. What I really want to do is make it possible for her to live in her apartment.

I feel scared and I feel overwhelmed. I don't want to lose my mother. And it breaks my heart to see her scared and vulnerable... and physically weak.

We went back over tonight. I made her a BLT on rye that she loved and printed up some pictures of her cat and also a great family picture that she was in with the boys and Devan. She lit up when she saw that. We did some things around the apartment. I also said that I don't want her going into a nursing home but that she HAS to stop arguing with me when I want to clean and organize. She needs a clearer walking path and some things HAVE to be cleaned out for her safety. She didn't argue with me. Maybe hearing the doctor state she needs a nursing home will cause her to be more cooperative with me.

I hope so.

How do you pick out a nursing home anyway? And aren't they for people who can't do anything for themselves. I think assisted living with medical availability would be best.

And then her cats..she loves them and they are her heart. I think she would die of a broken heart worrying about them. We can't take them because our shepherd would never tolerate them.

The best solution is making it possible for her to stay in her apartment.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where I Really Want to Be. :)

I want to go there so MUCH!! It is the perfect little spot..away from the crowds. The beach is practically next to the motel on the right and feels like your own private beach because most people swim in the ocean directly in front. But the sand is real long to the water in front and off to the side the ocean comes up close because it is a small beach. There is also a long wooden open pavilion just across the street that you can sit in and look at the beaches and ocean from all sides, watch the ferries cross from DE and see the lighthouse. I LOVE it!


And let's not forget historic Cape May with it's exquisite Victorian houses and beautiful bed and breakfasts (which we haven't stayed in yet), or the quaint/arty shopping district with cobblestone streets, restaurants and so much more. Wildwood boardwalk is only about 10-15 minutes away, Fishing, the sunken concrete ship, the small arcade along the beach front and movie theatre. There is so much to do... if you want to. Me? ... Point me to the sea. :)

I just thought of something I would love to do when I have quiet time while family and friends are still sleeping, surf fishing or busy with something else. Being there on my favorite beach, with a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning or later in the day with a gin and tonic with a lime twist and blogging (writing and I've written in journals on the beach in the past..pre-blogging days) while being right in front of the ocean with it's negative ions flowing with every crashing wave, with the resulting misty sea spray falling softly on my skin, the seagulls, salt air, all the sounds and the balmy breezes tossing my hair around and carressing my skin. Mmmmmm....

What is one of your favorite wonderful vacation getaways?

Moving Image Stream

Stripercam - Cape May Beach
Hosted By Jetty Motel (click here)




Sarcastic, Role Model and Advice

I really admired my aunt Janet for many reasons. She was a go getter, and achiever, intelligent, witty, competitive in games, and THE-MOST-ORGANIZED person I have ever met... but not the crazy obsessive kind...just good at it. She worked in management in the McGraw Hill Publishing company in NY but retired early before I came to live with them. In her free time she became president of the Stockholm Women's club and took on many volunteer projects.

She once said to me "Patricia... if you ever feel depressed... go help someone else...because when you help someone else... you don't think about yourself anymore and you feel good about helping the other person."

That was good advice and so very true. I have since wondered if she was depressed and is why she threw herself into so many activities. She was a compassionate person (took me in and gave this wayward teenager a real home) practical - you do what you have to do, no nonsense person. I could talk with her for hours and felt like we were friends even though she was an authoritative figure too and I knew she loved me. She even began introducing me as her daughter.

I am glad I have picked up some of Aunt Janet's traits... but glad I didn't pick up her sarcasm. She is the most sarcastic person I have ever met.
She could cut anyone to the quick (ok what does THAT mean?) with words in seconds when she wanted to. And you did not want to cross her.

I am so easy going and people perceive me that way and it is true...but if I wanted too... I could be very sarcastic, but I don't ever let that come out. I don't usually think that way... unless feeling really pushed to the edge... but I still keep it in. But if I wanted to... I know exactly what to say.


When I was 15... one morning I told Aunt Janet I admired her. All flattered..she asked why. I said because she was the most sarcastic person I ever met and she was so good at it. At hearing that she BUSTED out laughing because it was really an insult... but she knew I sincerely meant it as a compliment because she was so good at it. :)

I so very much wish I had her to talk with now. She was a good listener and gave logical, sound advice. I wonder what she would tell me to do about the re-constructive ureteral surgery?

She was a strong, bold and determined woman. There were no flies on her. (she used to say that too) She was a woman of action. However...she put off having hip replacement surgery and after she had it done...she said"It was the best thing I ever did! I can't wait to have the other one done!" So my brave aunt put her surgery off too. I think mine is potentially more serious.

I wonder what she would tell me to do? I do wonder.

Good Morning!

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Sunrise Mountain,NJ (in our area)

The sun is just about to rise up over the mountains, which are mostly covered with early morning fog. I thought our neighbor's grass had frost on it but saw that it was some low lying mist. Their property is lower than ours.

Spike our neighbor's rooster has been crowing since I got up and I am sure before. I get a kick out of that. I didn't know roosters crow during the day too. Spike does. And our neighbors pond looks as smooth as glass and the birds have been singing their songs. The varying sounds and seeming calls the birds make always fascinate me. I think it is going to be another beautiful day. :)

The fire alarm has just gone off and son seems oblivious to it. I hope it is because he smells the toast and knows I am up. I just made a tomato sandwich on wholewheat toast. Thick tomato slices, mayo, salt and pepper. MMM...mmm Gooood!

No one could ever say I don't get enough vitamin C or likopenes (sp) ovr the next couple of months. :) I'm like Bubba in Forest Gump. Remember his litany of shrimp recipes? That's me with tomatoes...sandwiches, regular salads, sauces, stuffed and in other dishes. I haven't tried fried green tomatoes yet. That would certainly stretch them at the end of the season when they aren't going to ripen anymore. Looking up rice recipes today because I discovered a rice cookbook I forgot I had and son likes rice. The good stuff for us though...none of that processed and stripped white stuff. Yuk!

It's been like fall around here..which I LOVE normally but because I didn't get to enjoy the pool with the stent in me...I wish we'd get some hot weather over the next few days. We are using the solar cover to keep the water warm. My husband wants to close it on Labor Day weekend but I always want to extend it if it is warm. I'll be upset if it gets warm after we close it. I know a lot of people routinely open their pools on Memorial Day weekend and close them on Labor day.

I have a major organizing project I hope to FINISH today... and swim in the pool too.

Summer bugs. I love the sounds of the summer bugs too. :)

Wow... I have been up since just before 6, done some things in between typing this and now that low lying fog in my neighbor's yard across the street has risen up and I can't see the mountains and hardly even the woods. I have always enjoyed watching the weather come in across the field. It's been something unique with living here. I wonder if it is going to be humid?

I hope you have a beautiful day!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Even a Minute!

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P. and Devan came over before. It seems our little Devan decided to take off in Walmart unbeknownst to mommy... who was calling for her and had the desk look for her. Fortunately they saw her standing OUTSIDE in the entrance foyer. Poor Mommy! Mommy talked to her, I talked to her and Daddy will be talking to her.


I know what that is like ...only I was 7 months pregnant, sitting on the sand talking with Caribbean Blue on the beach. I was looking down running my fingers through the sand for only a minute. I looked up and didn't see 7 year old Jonathan ANYWHERE...only the big body of ocean water directly in front of us and no one was swimming.

I quickly scanned the water front where he had been playing and he wasn't there. I said "Where's Jonathan?" Iris said "I don't know". I got up on my knees and exclaimed... Oh my God! WHERE"S Jonathan???"

People around us got up and were looking toward the water too. I don't have a description for the fear I felt as I looked at that big body of water and saw nothing.

I was all set to holler for the lifeguard, when off to our left... Jonathan came sauntering back without a care in the world. I hollered "Jonathan!", he looked up and we went running down to him. I hugged him so tight, was so relieved and feeling guilty... and asked where he was. He innocently said he was chasing a seagull. (The boys always loved doing that) And then he got the lecture of why he shouldn't just do that.

Devan did the same thing today, same age as her daddy was... 7. They're so innocent when they are little, clueless of the potential evils and dangers around them. Which is what childhood should be. Innocent and fun. All children should be able to trust all people...but sadly it is just not that way.

I think having a scare like that with your child is probably a right to passage in parent hood and the beginning of gray hairs. :)

It was less than a minute of my not paying attention. Things can happen so quickly.

Thank God they were both alright because there isn't always a happy ending and I don't think one can be too careful when children are little. As a matter of fact..it's worse when they are older because at least when they are little you have control that you don't have with teenagers... who can get into more compromising and dangerous situations.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Abstinent too long! ;)

No picture necessary...use your own imagination! ;)

(I dedicate this post to Chrysalis Angel and John. ;)

Last week I was admitted post-op after a ureteral stent removal and ended up having an interesting stay overnight. I usually have a difficult time with kidney spasms and being nauseated and it is much easier on my family and me when I am admitted. And there was a question as to whether or not I would be returning to the OR that night... but fortunately I didn't have to and I am now enjoying my new found freedom being stent free!! :)

One thing about a BIG ureteral stent is that it makes an excellent birth control device.

Someone should inform the surgeon General about this.

It works as a birth control device because any activity in Bajingoland will lead to significantly painful bladder spasms. So basically... what you have with said Big stent... is a tool for facilitating ABSTINENCE from any recreational activity in Bajingoland. Suffice it to know...I was stented a l-o-o-o-n-g time. NINE WEEKS!

With that being said... I suppose that is why I was a bit more sensitive to this conversation then I usually may have been. Oh...who am I kidding? I would've been sensitive to it, but now all the more heightened given my circumstances. I was very serious though and I am still confounded by his answers and I still wonder. ??? I was persistent because I kept thinking he didn't understand and therefore was not doing it right and I thought it might be important. If anyone knows which one of us was right...please let me know because I really think my way makes the most sense and would be the most accurate..but then I don't have a license to do this.. so what do I know? :)

Fortunately we weren't making eye contact during this conversation because he was busy entering info into the computer. It was a very matter of fact, naturally flowing conversation in which I quickly became aware of the potential double meaning, was beginning to feel embarrassed ... but I couldn't stop myself. I was wondering if he was picking up on it too and I wanted to say something.. make a joke or something but then I thought better of it because if I said anything and he wasn't thinking what I was thinking (he's a male how could he not?) then what would he think once I said what I was thinking or if he really was thinking what I was thinking and both of us acknowledged said thoughts...then THAT would have been really awkward and so I just continued...but was squirming on the inside.

The following is a conversation I had with the male nurse that just came on at the change of shifts at 7 p.m. : As he was doing what he needed to do, I said said to him "It's not all the way in."

Male nurse "It doesn't have to be all the way in."

"It doesn't have to be all the way in? Oh... I thought it has to be.?"

"No, not all the way."

"I usually guide them to where it really needs to go. With me... you have to go off to the side a bit and then it goes right in. Sometimes they even let me help them push it in. And isn't it warmer the deeper you go??"

"It works just as good there."

"It's really just as good in the OUTER part? Cause I CAN show you where to put it if you wanna do it again.?"

"It works in any part of the ear."

"Oh...I didn't know that."

Maybe he finally inserted "ear" into the conversation because it was sounding weird to him too. The whole conversation was under a minute. As soon as he left I wrote it down because then I was really chuckling over it... but of course I never said a word. And I wondered what my roommate was thinking or if anyone around the corner in the hallway heard us.?

Then at 04:21, this nurse came in to give my roommate, an elderly lady a Motrin. She had never had a Motrin before and so upon seeing the Motrin the patient said: "That's a BIG pill.?? I've never had a pill that BIG."

The male nurse said "It's not the size that counts."

Hearing THAT...I had to IMMEDIATELY bite into the base of my index finger, HARD ...for a few seconds or I would've busted out laughing!

If he knew! :)

I know...bad SeaSpray...BAD! But it was the abstinence I tell ya... so it wasn't SeaSpray's fault!

He was a terrific nurse! Attentive and every bit the professional... and we had a little fun too. :)
He was interested in my playing scrabble with myself (next post), we watched the swimming events and I updated him, had some interesting conversation and even played a joke with the call bell... per my suggestion, with one of the other staff.

Most of the staff I have met at this hospital is stellar and if it wasn't for their upbeat, compassionate and professional attitudes...I'd be feeling more pain and self pity when I am there. Instead..their marvelous attitudes cause me to rise above my problems... unless I am at the 8-9-10 on the pain scale... or extremely scared about prognosis. Then I am more inwardly focused...although I still try to be nice.

*** Medical professionals... your positive attitudes, facial expressions, words and professionalism make a tremendous difference for the better to a sick and emotionally vulnerable patient.

I have been blessed to have the good ones most of the time and I could not imagine going through all that I have without those special health care workers. :)

***
Just in case someone has read this, that later finds out they too may need a ureteral stent, I just want to add that all uereteral stents do not cause the need for abstinence for the purpose of avoiding bladder spasms.. These last two did for me but I had other ones that did not. My last stent was a BIG one and is why it was more difficult this time around.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

SERIOUSLY???

Give me a break!

The Obama campaign and bloggers are suggesting McCain CHEATED in the debate Saturday night.

That was one the best formats I have ever seen.

I wasn't keen on either one of them, although leaning toward McCain because in the end...I believe if you don't have a strong national defense... then nothing else will matter in the end.

But during the debate... I got to see both of them more clearly, without all the usual hoopla and spin. They seemed more real. Now they could be appeasing people too...they are politicians after all.

I was most impressed with Senator McCain, his decisiveness, EXPERIENCE and candor.

And that 5 million dollar and your considered rich is not a big deal at all. he was joking and he gave thoughtful responses before and after that comment. that was his only mistake...if you want to call it that.

I have a much better perspective of his views and what he stands for. As a matter of fact... it is crystal clear for me now.

I do hope they do this again.

But for the Obama people to say McCain cheated and wasn't in the cone of silence (He wasn't for all of it but was with secret service) is absurd, inane, ludicrous, laughable and demonstrates poor sportsmanship.

Give credit where credit IS due. if you don't...it only makes YOU look smaller.

And do they really think he is stupid enough to blow it by cheating...or that he even has to???

No my friends... Senator McCain has EXPERIENCE. He has been a maverick within his own party. A lot of republicans did not want him as the candidate. I want someone in that office who is not swayed by popular vote, is decisive and has EXPERIENCE. I also like that he wants to inspire people to rise above themselves for the betterment of all.

I guess Obama will announce his running mate this week. personally...I think he should put Joe Biden on the ticket to add EXPERIENCE to their team.

I am not sure about McCain's choice. I like Ridge but not sure about some of his views. But with McCain being older...the VP is a most important choice for the republican party and for the country.

And to anyone who thinks McCain cheated in that debate... SERIOUSLY???

P.S. As a result of McCain's answering the questions, directly, decisively, And taking a clear stand on what he believes... whether we agree with him or not... he put himself out there for all to see. He didn't hide behind evasive answers.

Stent Free!


Ureteral Stents

I am happy to say that the big ureteral stent is out and I love the new found freedom I am experiencing!

I don't know the exact status of my ureter yet other than it is open, but narrow... and the damage is longer than a centimeter and that isn't a good thing. When the damaged area is too long, for some reason it wants to close up. Those are my words as I don't recall my urologist's exact words. I was groggy from anesthesia and pain meds. He is away this week and I will be seeing him in September.

It is most frustrating because I feel like I am in limbo because unfortunately it is one of these things where time will tell.

I am praying that this will have worked or still will and that I will NEVER have to have the big surgery.

That is my heart about it. :)

I will never give up hoping for a good outcome and welcome any prayers or good thoughts.

Thank you and have a beautiful day! :)
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It was neat coming home and seeing all the comments on my blog. it definitely made me smile because getting a comment on my blog is like getting a postcard in the mail. They're fun!

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

10 = Completion (Jonathan) Our Story

Life is weird sometimes. It occurred to me while I was a patient in the hospital last Thursday/Friday, that 28 years ago, to the weekend I was in labor and gave birth in the maternity wing there.... and now here I was on another wing, dealing with these urology issues. It doesn't mean anything just intrigues me when these things happen.

Today, August 17th is my older son's birthday. I don't know why but I felt so emotional about him today and couldn't hug him enough and was teary eyed. I have never done that like that before. He is a grown man now with a family of his own, a terrific husband and father and yet I can look at his eyes and they still look like when he was little.

I had wanted a baby so much and we were ecstatic when I conceived. :) I very much wanted to deliver him the Lamaze way and practiced all my breathing etc.

The last thing I had to eat before starting labor was a big piece of watermelon at 9pm, Friday night.

At 1 am I had signs that labor was beginning and so I did exactly what the Lamaze instructor said not to do... I woke my husband up. :) By 3am I was taking a shower. My bags had long been packed and ready to go. By 5am my husband was writing a note telling our neighbors what to do with our dogs. We were ready to go... no where fast.

My contractions weren't consistently 5 minutes apart. So We were home all day. We were supposed to go to dinner over at Jack and Pat's with another couple..., but I canceled because of the labor. She called me and said are you sure because we're having... and chocolate zucchini cake for desert. ha! I only remember the desert! I thanked her but declined.

Now I was tired, hungry, anxious and frustrated! And my husband was eating dinner and I was jealous. I really was. :) So I went and laid on our bed and cried... which gave me a headache. I came out eventually. My contractions still weren't consistent. Pat came over after the other dinner guests left. One thing I remember her saying was about this lithograph of Montauk Lighthouse she gave us that I had framed. She was telling me that when you look at that think of Jesus as being the light of the world. I don't remember how she tied it into labor but she did.

Finally, the covering doctor told me to come in and so we were there by 11:30 pm. Right after getting prepped...my labor stopped and so was told to walk the halls. I began getting mild contractions. Anyway, the nurse suggested my husband get some sleep in the father's lounge. I was awake all night because the contractions kept waking me. My husband even left to get breakfast. i was happy for him but wished i was going too.

They began inducing me at 9am. A little while later the nurse came back in to ask if the contractions wee stronger. I as sitting up flipping through a magazine sucking on my little lemon lollipop, stopped looked up at her and lied to her face. I said oh yes they are. I guess I didn't look uncomfortable enough and she came in shortly and then the real fun began.

Not only was I having intense contractions but also the back labor. I think the back labor was worse! And the thing about that is that where you would normally get a breather when the contraction stopped...instead the back labor came on super strong and so there as absolutely no rest.

I kept whimpering, "My back, my back hurts so much." I caved and took pain medication and it still hurt like a son of a gun! When I asked for it a second time the nurse said no that I would be going in soon. I asked her to check me and so she did. But then... with complete surprise/concern on her face she said "You're dilated only 6 centimeters!"

When I saw that look on her face and knowing I was only at a 6... which I had been earlier and the labor was so horrendous... I hyperventilated. I had to breath into a paper bag because my fingers were tingling. The clock stopped moving and they came for blood work.

I never yelled or was mean in anyway to anyone. I just got to where I didn't want my husband to touch me anywhere because the pain was so great. I can still see him in the little tiny bathroom on the other side of the room pacing back and forth.

Finally I was in the OR. The surgeons were scrubbing. Someone said my ketones were high. (I hadn't eaten in 48 hours!) I was having a hard time with the pain and the anesthesiologist said "Can you hurry it up?" And one of the surgeons said "Do YOU want to do it?" I was told to count backwards and my next memory was of being wheeled back to my room where my husband was waiting for me.

The night nurse asked me if I would like to see our son. I will never forget this as long as I live.

She stopped in the doorway and unwrapped the blanket around him and held him up in the air for me to see his entire little body.

Oh my gosh! I experienced such a rush of love! All the love I ever felt in my entire life just rose up and flew out of me, right over to him and completely enveloped him. What a beautiful feeling!

She brought him over to me and laid him on my chest where he immediately began breastfeeding. He latched on like a little vacuum cleaner. I breast fed him for 9 months and the 1st five months he existed solely on my breast milk. What an awesome feeling that was... seeing our baby boy grow from milk he was getting from me. I felt one with the universe when I was nursing our sons. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Jonathan was 10 days late, weighed in at10lbs,10 oz, 23 inches long and was born at 10:04 pm.
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Even though I was thrilled with our new baby boy... I began to get depressed in the hospital because I thought I failed.

I thought I failed because I didn't birth him vaginally the Lamaze way.

I thought...if only I didn't take drugs.
If only I didn't panic and hyperventilate.
If only I wasn't so tired.

*** A couple of weeks prior, I had a pelvimetry to determine if the baby would fit through my pelvic bones and they said yes.

So I thought it was my fault.

Especially when the nurse told me that some little woman delivered a 12 pound bay vaginally!

I told my doctor at I was feeling a little depressed over it and he said "You have a beautiful, healthy baby!" I was very grateful for that... but I missed my goal. But my priorities were mixed up!

Then it was my friend Pat who said... It's a good thing he was a C-section if he was too big for you. Babies are born with cerebral palsy from damage at birth or worse.

I don't know why.. but her saying THAT is what sunk in and I finally understood. And then I was GRATEFUL he was a C-section baby.

Sometimes I am hard on myself over the dumbest things. Sometimes things just are what they are.. no more and no less and we should just be grateful when it's all good.
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Then a funny thing and not!

My doctor had me on a liquid diet post-op. But when they came in with only jello and soup on Wednesday night... I asked the nurse why. She looked at that and said."You nursing! You should be eating food now!" They brought a hot meal.

The next morning...my doctor apologized when he came in. He told me he forgot to change the orders!

So I hadn't eaten a morsel of food in 5 days, specifically 116 hours. O would say that lack of food and nursing... I was overflowing with high ketones.

If you doubt your orders...verify, verify.
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Part II - Gift of the Lord :)

The following is about how I almost miscarried him and the events that were going on at that time. This is long and I am putting it all here for me to refer back to at some point. I had journaled this elsewhere. There is actually more to the beginning of the story and so sometime i will put it all together.

After going through infertility testing, etc., I conceived Jonathan November 13, 1979. I had also been prayed over, anointed with oil and with hands laid on me a few times for me to conceive. The most recent was at 2 gatherings, 11/8/79 and 11/10/79 (There is more to this story but keeping it short for this post- interesting spiritual journey and cool things happened)

I began hemorrhaging badly one Sunday nite and J wasn't home. I was only about 5 weeks pregnant. I was feeling perfectly fine. I was walking through the kitchen and was wearing a nightgown with nothing underneath. All of a sudden I felt this warm gush dripping down my legs and it was blood pouring out of me and onto the floor. I had this sensation of sinking through the floor because I was instantly overcome with fear... and like my legs had turned to rubber..or something like that.

I didn't clean anything and ran right into bed and prayed. We didn't have a phone in the bedroom at the time and so I just laid there alone. When J came in he called the doctor who said for me to stay in bed and he wanted to see me the next night.

I was so scared and my heart was breaking. I only got up to use the bathroom when I absolutely had to and blood filled the bowl. I wasn't cramping though.

The next morning, my husband went to work and I stayed in bed all day. If I used the bathroom... blood filled the bowl, but still no cramping.

The only phone we had was on the kitchen wall and so when it rang, I did not get up to answer it.

Later that afternoon, someone was knocking on the door. I didn't get up to answer it. They kept knocking...insistently. I stayed in bed. They kept knocking! I couldn't stand it and got up muttering "Why doesn't the paperboy just GO AWAY?"

But when I opened the door...it was my dear friend Pat who immediately whisked me back into bed.

When she couldn't get me on the phone earlier in the day, she stopped where my husband works and asked about me. After he told her, she went home...got some books and came over to me. She was with me when we had gone to the unexpected healing service on November 10th. She knew I was prayed over to have a baby.

Ever the teacher and my mentor... she reminded me of the healing service and that my conceiving was a gift from God. She said that when God does something good...satan will come around and try to steal/destroy the blessing...but that this is when you need to stand strong and activate your faith... hold on to the blessing... no matter what the circumstances seem to be.

She then showed me some books she wanted me to read about faith and healing and a tape to listen to, along with some little tracts. I still have them today. :)

And she took my hand and prayed an amazing prayer for our baby and me.

Then she got a large pot and helped me get washed and dressed because it was almost time to go to the doctor.

Every time I stood upright, blood gushed out... but it didn't this time.

When I got undressed at the OBGYN's office... there wasn't a spot of blood on my pad.

After the exam, the doctor told me that my cervix was closed...but that because this happened...I had a 50-50 chance of keeping the baby. He ordered me to complete bed rest until the next office visit.

So, I couldn't Christmas shop or do anything but it didn't matter... all I wanted was our precious baby. I felt fine the whole time... but I rested like I never have in my entire life.

I went back to the next appointment a month later and after the exam, the doctor told me that my uterus wasn't as large as it should be and he thought I had lost the baby. My heart sank. There are no words to describe the depth of sadness I was feeling.

He sent me for a urine pregnancy test.

I was STILL pregnant... Praise God!!!

Not only was I pregnant... but Jonathan was born 10 days late and weighed in at 10lbs, 10 oz and 23 inches long, born at 10:04 pm.

Pat told me that 10 was the biblical number for completion. So it seemed that God was telling us that the miracle was complete... his gift of a new baby was complete.

I chose the name Jonathan because it means "Gift of the Lord" and what a precious and wonderful blessing he has been. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Breezy Surrender

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I do worry about being too breezy with words in the OR. One of the ED nurses I know, compares conscious sedation to being drunk.

I have a recent example of how people on drugs can say what they DON'T really feel.

That Saturday night back this past June, when I was being wheeled to the OR...I told the transporter that I ADORED his mother!

I do NOT adore his mother. I like her. I don't ADORE her.

That was so totally the MORPHINE speaking!!

How embarrassing!

Well actually I guess it was a compliment to her... just not true.

Now...if they gave me versed before that statement... I wouldn't remember I ever said it.

So... my point is that people do say things they really don't mean while under the influence of narcotics/anesthesia. Staff must know that.

Then again... the PAT nurse was telling me they give that drug that I recognized as a truth serum. LOL!

I surrender!!

What's in a Name

Do you like your name? Have you ever wanted to change it? How do you introduce yourself? I guess you can't tell me because we're in the blogasphere. But ... if you want to whisper it to me now... I promise I won't tell. ;)

I have gone through phases and I wish I spoke up or changed what I wanted to be called when I could. I actually smile, inside and outside when I hear people call me certain things or if they do it with a flair when they are being cute friendly. :)

I am thinking this will seem like a goofy post to some, perhaps a bit narcissistic... but obviously I have thought about this over time. I don't know why. They say we like to hear our name and I guess... then it's better if it is a name you like. I always wanted a different name.. but now Patricia and the nicknames suit me just fine. :)

I actually have four names on my birth certificate (32 letters went on that birth certificate), but I did drop one when I was an adult. My middle name is a family name. My aunt said it would make a good pen name if I ever became a writer. It was my Grandmother's maiden name handed down to my mother and then to me. I hated it and the one my father gave me back then. Now I do like Patricia and the middle name which begins with a C. I love to be called Patricia or Patty, but most people call me Pat because that is how I introduce myself.

When I was little, up until 14...everyone called me Patty. But when I moved up here to live with my aunt and uncle... I informed them that Patty was for little girls, that I was 14 and so wanted to be called Pat from then on. So Pat it was. My aunt, uncle and one cousin called me Pat.I introduced myself as Pat and still do. Most people in my life call me Pat. I don't like Pat. I don't hate it...but I am not fond of it either.

Now the people that know me from when I was younger all still call me Patty... most of my cousins, friends and my mother. Also, the people that know my mother, like at her doctor's office or her friends. I love it! Interestingly, there are people, usually men who will call me Patty...even if they hear my name is Pat. I wonder if they know another Patty and so they do that? ... but I like it. :)

A couple years later, I told my aunt that Pat was boring and I didn't like it anymore and that I'd rather be called Patricia. I never told anyone else that. But from that day until the day she died, she called me Patricia and wrote it in all correspondence. I don't know what it is but I even like seeing it written out and getting her cards always made me smile because it was our little secret and she was trying to please me which I thought was sweet.

Years ago when I worked for a certain company, I worked with Diego and James, who were 2 brothers from Spain. They were my supervisors. Any time one of them saw me they would exclaim..."Pa TRIC ia! They rolled their r's and always said it with such enthusiasm!

My boss at the hospital used to call me Patreesha and I liked that. When my mother was mad at me... like chase me around the yard with a broom mad ...she called me Patreesher! I definitely got the full name when in trouble with her. :)

I have disliked my name Pat so much that 3 times, when I started a new job with SCARC and when I started at the hospital and Lifeline... I almost introduced myself as Trish... but chickened out. Too bad because it would've worked!

And then there are the nicknames. :)

Do you like nick names... the ones people give you and what you have given to others? I love little nicknames for people I care about. And I have appreciated the ones people have given me. I think they're cute, fun, sexy, funny, romantic or endearing. Just depends on who and why the person gives it to you. I also like Patty, but don't ever call me Patsy unless you want me to look at you with utter disdain. I am sure it is well suited to others but I am no one's Patsy..ugh.

I think after a person has gotten to know you and they change what they call you to a more familiar name ...it demonstrates they care. That warms my heart. I have done that too. :)

I get a kick out of someone taking my name and emphasizing the letters in PATRIC-I-A! I love pet names someone gives you because is demonstrates a fondness when done warmly. And my favorite non name nickname in real life would have to be girl. I have been called other names I like... but have to say...girl is one of my all time favorites and that person owns that one with me. I will be smiling about that when I am 90! :)

It's fun being a woman. :)

Oh! And I also really like my name SeaSpray... and my favorite is when some of you call me Sea. It conjures up pretty images of the ocean and I like being connected to it. :)

And bloggers... you also CRACK me up when you call me Spray, Sprayage and Sprout! You're too funny! :)

Now the funny thing about all of this... is that I simply can not introduce myself as anything else but Pat. I just did it again today. But in my head I am thinking everything else. :)

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If I really like someone...I look up their names to see if they behave like their name, etc. Conversely, if I don't like someone...I look them up to see if it matches their personality.

I have a doctor that has the most awesome name when you put all three meanings together. I think it suits him too. I wish I could say it, but I don't identify in here without permission.

It was very important to me that our sons have good meanings with their names and am quite pleased with what we chose. I like to use their full names but find myself going with their nicknames the friends started too.

I do think a person's name is important and parents/guardians should really give important consideration to what they name their child because the child has to live with it and it should also suit them as adults.

My tastes in names have changed over time. I used to only like the trendy names and now I find I appreciate the old fashioned names too.

Then we name our pets, our boats, streets towns and all kinds of things. I have often wondered what a person was thinking when they named a town or street. My aunt used to hate the name of the street they lived on. I love the name of the street we live on.

I think we develop an identity that pleases us with certain names or we label others with how we see them... or want them to be.

I know of a gyno doc whos name is Seymour Weiner...I kid you not. Of course he should have been a urologist!! :)

PMS Diner

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"Welcome to the PMS Diner. Our special today is Hershey Bar lasagna. That comes with M&M soup and mashed Snickers with hot fudge gravy.
:)
" ~ author unknown ~

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Surrender in the OR (My experiences and Perspectives)

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I am going back in the OR Thursday and so OR surgery and procedures are on my mind. I will be having this stent removed and he will do a procedure to evaluate the status of my ureter to see of it remaining open, etc. I am expecting it to be uneventful with good results. I am actually more concerned with post-op because I get sick from anesthesia, sometimes chills in post-op, but not always and I am anticipating significant (because big stent) kidney spasms after the stent removal. It always happens.. I guess because the kidney is being disturbed and so it spasms? NOT fun. And you know...I never asked why. ???

I began to think about the differences in my various surgical experiences. And how I feel knowing I have to surrender myself to my doctor and all other OR staff, in the OR and in post-op. I have strong feelings about it and will come back to it at the end of this post.

It's a weird feeling heading off to the OR on a stretcher. And I feel a little embarrassed too. That's silly... I know, but I just don't like not being in control and not able to do for myself.

I also feel shy while being wheeled through the halls, but I am a friendly person and so smile or say hi when really what I want to do...is slink right down and under the sheets with my face totally covered. It is my doctor and other staff that make it bearable.

The worst was the day I was crying the entire ride down to the OR from the 2nd floor and was crying in the pre-op area too. I was so embarrassed but was feeling so bad about the day before, that I may have backed up my doctor's and his partners day and messed up my family's day and hospital staff in various departments... the whole trickle down theory in progress. It was my urodoc who comforted me in pre-op. I never did that before and never will again. But I digress.
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When a baby is involved...it is filled with excitement and eager anticipation, although with our 1st son there was fear that he would be alright and even though disappointed at not being awake for his birth..I was welcoming the relief from pain. My first born son was my first surgery. I was afraid, I prayed silently and believed for the best.

I only remember 4 things. "Her ketones are high" The anesthesiologist saw me wincing in pain and asks the OBGYN if he could hurry up to which the Dr retorted "Do you want to do it?" Then I was told to count backwards...I remember the ceiling to 96 and then I woke up getting wheeled to my room.

With our second son...it was very different. I wasn't afraid like the 1st time because it was planned. I felt more in control because I was awake... even though anything could've gone wrong. I still prayed. I was more nervous about the spinal and felt weird when I couldn't feel myself breathing..but am so glad I was awake for his birth. I will never forget Dr R coming over to me with Christopher crying, flailing his little arms and legs, holding him u, and saying, "Pat, Pat...LOOK!" and smiling. :)

They had a hard time with the spinal (not fun) and I guess my OB doc was afraid I was going to roll off the table because the next thing I know he ran forward, sterile hands in the air and guarded me with his body at my back. And it's funny the things you remember...he was talking about how he had a picture of the NY skyline in his office (it was nice) and every so often how he just has to go in to the city because he enjoys it so much. He died way too young. :(

And I was comfortable with my husband and doctors there and happy that a pediatrician I knew from work was in there too. He was funny because when I first got up to OB and the nurse started asking questions, she asked who my husband was (he was still downstairs signing me in) or something like that but before I could get a word out... B., the gowned peds doc stepped forward front and center and with a big smile said "I am!" Too funny! :)

The 2nd C-Section was my most fun and relaxed surgery. I felt in control because I was awake and it was fun and for a happy reason. My one regret is that they gave me versed after the delivery and I don't remember the rest. The following is an excerpt from a post I did in my 2nd month of blogging in which I discussed my concerns about being to breezy in the OR and other related concerns. It was after this surgery that my OBGYN enlightened me as to the effects of Versed. I was not a happy girl and have been squirrelly about it ever since. Here is the excerpt: "I was expecting to experience the immediate post delivery events along with chatting with the Doc and staff. When I saw him the next day, I asked him why he put me out as I was hoping to talk afterward. My doctor said "You talked the whole time, but we gave you Versed and so you don't remember anything." I am sure my expression was priceless, that of OMG - WHAT did I say? I didn't say that, but he looked somewhat amused, which unnerved me all the more. That was 18 years ago and it STILL bothers me now that I am remembering it again! At the time, and through certain resources I had within the hospital, I was able to find out what happened after the delivery. According to someone in there with me, I kept saying the pressure hurt, etc. and they didn't say that I said anything else. However, knowing me - I probably did say it hurt and I probably DID talk the WHOLE time...sigh."

Then going off for the knee surgeries (two) I prayed..I was nervous but not bad and I expected a good outcome. I honestly don't remember anything about them other then my terrific ortho doc joking and making light talk with me and the transport person on the way into the OR :)

Then the urology issues began with my first kidney stone in May 2004.

I have felt so powerless during ALL the urology treatments. And I have experienced intermittent fear like I never did with any other surgeries. I was afraid for my 1st born son but also trusted everything would be alright. But after working in a hospital for so long...I've heard stories and know that even simple things can go wrong when they shouldn't. Ignorance IS bliss!

It was emergent and extremely painful and I had to go to the OR. I was scared, but couldn't get there fast enough. I apologized for not shaving my legs and I thanked them all for helping me and I was out and woke up feeling much better. Then the same thing happened 2 weeks later. I thought I was done.

But then 16 months later all the urology stuff hit me hard and I was ...to quote one of my urodocs "one sick lady". I didn't understand much of anything. I felt powerless and afraid that entire week. And I was so sick and weak. I knew people were praying for me, but I hardly prayed. I had never been that sick in my entire life. Maybe the drugs I had all week subdued me. I do remember that I was afraid of getting sick from the anesthesia and was speaking to the anesthesiologist about it. I think I remember my urodoc (who was a stranger to me then) behind my head while going in. Powerless is the best description of my feelings going in to the OR that day. I didn't know anyone. I didn't have options. I was just resigned to my fate.
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Then all the other urological surgeries/procedures after that were becoming increasingly more familiar. I was even getting to know the staff in the various areas and actually derived some comfort in that because they were so terrific. And of course... I was getting to know my urologist and my trust in and respect for him grew as time and procedures went on. I knew (still do) that I was in skilled hands.

Yet..even though there was a certain comfort in the familiarity of it all... there still comes that moment when you say good-bye to your loved ones or friends...your leaving them and all that is truly familiar behind... and hoping all goes well and you come back to them healthy and better than when going into the OR. And then you are wheeled into the pre-op area where they gather and verify info. It is always so cold...but I love it. And this is where you get the 1st phase of your happy cocktail.

For some reason though...they don't seem to know your left from your right and these med professionals with degrees and licenses have to ask you to tell them if it is your left or your right. ? ;) I'm KIDDING!

And then you go through the OR doors. That is the point where I feel this is it..and the anxiety starts to creep in. I joke - they joke..I think we're all pretty funny! But I know it is a matter of minutes at this point. It's cold in there too, but again..I do like it. I Know where to go on the table...I can skootch with the best of em. I am aware of everyone there and yet even with the laughs..I am keenly aware it's close. I imagine what it is like when I'm out but I really don't know. I am trying to get a quick prayer in yet again. They strap my arm to something. Sometimes I am told I will be intubated and others I will not be.

Everyone has there role to play. But the two people that stand out the most in the room to me are the anesthesiologist and my doctor. It is my doctor who eases my anxiety the most...and he is pretty quiet..but I don't care..his presence is the anchor..because he is the one that got me through all the other storms. Unfortunately he isn't always able to be there..and I admit I feel the void.. and then I am asleep. But he usually is and I feel more comfortable knowing he is there. I know all the staff takes care of me but he is the one that does all the work, knows me the best and who I trust the most. I have even asked him to limit OR traffic if possible after watching an OR video on the web. I do believe if it is possible he would.

I had mentioned to the staff that from the point that I am told that is it and they're giving that last push of the medication...I fight it and try to stay awake as long as possible...but they always win. ;) An x-ray tech told me that isn't good to do because the patient can then wake up restless.

I heard/read something somewhere recently that the mood you go under the anesthesia can affect surgical outcomes. Is that true? Or only in certain cases? I think that is an interesting demonstration of the power of the mind.

The PAT nurse recently told me I shouldn't because I could get an elevated heart rate post-op. I know I have had tachycardia post-op.

So... this Thursday... I am not going to play my little competitive game with the anesthesia, but rather I am going to envision the ocean surf and imagine the light sea mist gently falling on my face from the sea spray created as the waves crash against the shore. :) Maybe I will throw in a few seagulls, seashells and sunshine too. :) It will be interesting to see if I have a normal heart rate post-op. (If I remember to ask or hear them talking in post-op)
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For me... in the OR.. the joking with staff and seeing my surgeon are what calm me and put me in a good frame of mind before going completely out. My urologist is the surgeon who has been with me through thick and thin with these urological concerns and so he is like the anchor in the storm to me. I just feel more secure with the visual of him being there. Kind of like you know you can contentedly close your eyes because you know you are in safe surroundings...as much as you can be anyway. And the humor...well that is ALWAYS appreciated. When you're scared...there is nothing like laughter to break the tension. :)

It is an odd, somewhat insecure feeling when it comes to the point where you know you have to totally surrender your free will and your body into the care of others.

I really appreciated Dr Schwab's post "Taking Trust" (still my favorite and I strongly urge you to read it) where he eloquently describes the profound feelings he experiences while performing surgery on his patients. And I think what he said here is very sweet: "Having held the patient's hand as she goes to sleep, having whispered "We'll take good care of you" as his eyes flutter to stillness, the personal remnant is still very much there as I begin, even as the person is covered in sterile green paper, exposing only the belly." They must go under feeling somewhat safer and more reassured that everything will be alright... because he is in control...looking after them and doing his best to facilitate healing in their bodies.

I have been in the OR for 2 C-sections, 2 meniscal repairs (knee surgery) and multiple urology stent procedures, sometimes involving additional work prior to my urdoc's placing the stent. Or it is to remove or replace certain stents and then sometimes for just a follow-up procedure.

In one of the intros to a Grey's Anatomy show..the prologue opened with "There are inherent risks with all surgeries." and I knew that every time I went into the OR.

I never questioned much until the urology issues began...but that was because it seemed so serious by comparison. Fortunately...I had never been so ill, until the 1st kidney stone which then got the urology ball snowballing me into the OR with one procedure after the other.

I have always prayed before going into the OR. I knew things could go wrong but truly didn't dwell on that. I believed for a good outcome.

But things have been different for me with the urology surgery/procedures. And perhaps with the other cases ...ignorance was bliss.

On Saturday night, June 7th I was very afraid of going in to the OR... even though I trust my urologist implicitly. I understood how sick I really was...that I had a dangerous blood infection. I was concerned the old damaged constricted part of the ureter was blocking which would mean that I would have to have the major ureteral reconstructive surgery that I managed to avoid in 2006/2007. I would be high risk and so I just did not want to do it...and I didn't want to do it now.

My urologist told me that if he couldn't get it open that I would have to go down to a larger hospital that night to have a tube placed in my kidney. I didn't want that or all the things I was imagining would happen after that. Now in my heart...I really did believe he could do it but because he said that...it told me how concerned he was and how serious it was.

My urologist was most reassuring to me that night and it helped tremendously! But even so...for the first time ever in any of my OR experiences...I asked them if I could say a prayer out loud...and so I did. I prayed for my doctor and the other OR staff and I prayed for me. That was me in the OR laying my heart bare fore all to see. I was just that scared...even though I also believed it would be alright. I guess you could say that I was covering all my bases.

I do hope I didn't offend anyone or hold them up too much. I feel a little embarrassed and wonder what they all think of me now. But...I would do it again if I felt the need. And I am not sure why I felt the need to pray out loud this time. I always pray for my doctor, the other staff, people concerned about me and me. That is a given but I do it quietly. But that night...I guess I needed to pray out loud to make it more concrete in my Morphine foggy brain. And I secretly hoped that some people in there might be praying with me because I really do believe in the power of prayer.
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In the end...as I am being wheeled into the OR, getting set up and aware that in just minutes my life and fate is in the hands of others...I don't really have words for it. I KNOW their are risks. I realize that I am powerless to effect the necessary healing for myself and must rely on the skilled expertise of the surgeon and staff. I am just resigned to the fact that it will be what it will be...and I am hoping I wake up on the other side of the surgery with good results.

I do believe it...but there is always that...last glance around the room or up to the ceiling, knowing that I am right then surrendering my mind and body to them. The happy cocktail reduces the anxiety to a point... but right up to the end I am keenly aware that while not likely, something could go wrong or not as important... I may say and do things that I would regret if I knew I got too breezy or cried out in pain or whatever we patients do.

And my PAT nurse I had this time said people do say things. AHA! I KNEW IT... DARN IT!!

I did leave one description out. I also feel hopeful... hopeful that I will be fixed. Admittedly the hopeful is buried under all the other emotions... but if it wasn't for hope... I wouldn't be rolling through the OR doors in the 1st place.

And truly... it is my wonderful doctors and medical staff, with their upbeat attitudes and compassion in all the areas along the way, pre, during and post-op... that make it all bearable. If any doctors, nurses or other medical staff happen to be reading this... I just want to say you are much needed and appreciated and thank God for people like you who have dedicated their lives to facilitating healing in this life or helping a patient transition to the next life. Thank you. :)

The weirdest thing of all about being an OR patient for me is being resigned to whatever outcome and that there is a possibility, even if ever so slight...that I could be looking down at all of them and me on the OR table.

And yet... while the serious thoughts are running through my brain I am simultaneously worried about whether or not my legs are shaved. What can I say? Priorities! ;)

And...by the way... with ALL of these thoughts going on under the surface... the OR staff just sees me laughing and joking with them. I've always been good at multitasking! ;)

You know what else is weird to me...not as weird as the final surrender to doctor and staff..but still weird. There are people who never darken the doorways of an OR with their presence their entire life. Most of my family and my in-laws have not. And yet I have been such a frequent flier that the staff and I are getting to know each other and I am so familiar with the routines that no one really has to tell me anything.

And with all these frequent flier visits, the medical bills keep piling up.Too bad I don't get paid for it... um like .. oh I don't know... for giving staff the opportunities to hone their skills. I'm just sayin. ;)

I am just grateful I haven't had to have big surgeries and God willing... I will be able to avoid the re-constructive urology surgery. Hope springs eternal!

P.S. I am so looking forward to my new found freedom being STENT FREE!!! I've caught myself smiling thinking about the things I plan on doing with my new FEELING GOOD freedom. It's less then 2 days away and I cant wait! :) :) :) :) :)

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O.k. I've never experienced this... but when I was in the OR for an emergency procedure on June 7th, I went under thinking about McDreamy and Grey's Anatomy. A girl can Dream! My last remembered thought on that side of anesthesia is that I actually remember it as some OR person asking me if I watched Grey's Anatomy and I answered that I don't watch much TV, but that is my favorite show. Then my next thought/image was of McDreamy in his scrubs- his face and dark hair with his scrubs cap on... and I was out. I've wondered if there was some kind of conversation that I am remembering a part of. I think so because I never remember being under. DARN VERSED!!

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So CUTE!! :)

Totally Gross and Disgusting!

EEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

This is just plain DISGUSTING and I would never go to that restaurant ever!!! They sanitized the sink twice? UMMM..how about ripping it out and installing a NEW one???

I don't EVEN want to see the video!