I love fall, but this time of year is more than a little irritating when it comes to temperature regulation. Two weeks ago Alyssa and Ryan wore shorts to school. Then we had a cold snap, during which jeans and hoodies and umbrellas were a must. Then it warmed up enough to make it 78° in our living room. And now it’s cold again – cold enough that there was frost on my windshield this morning, and all three of us were freezing at the bus stop since Alyssa and Ryan decided they wanted to walk instead of drive. All of us parents failed spectacularly in terms of outerwear – we all stood around shivering in hoodies, when ideally we should have all been wearing winter coats. Geez.
I swear I blinked and October disappeared. I’ve had many things on my to-do list for several weeks now, but I keep having to push that list aside in order to address more pressing to-do lists. Such is life, I suppose. But I swear, come hell or high water, before this weekend is over I’m going to put up a new layout, or at least a new color scheme, for Jenn.nu. This same theme has been up since February, and I am tired of looking at it.
Speaking of this weekend, Alyssa turns nine. NINE. This time nine years ago I was in early labor. By the time I went to bed on October 24th, 2004, I was having contractions every 5 to 6 minutes, and they were painful enough that despite watching The Punisher with Dan, I didn’t see any of it. On the morning of the 26th Dan took me to the hospital, but because my labor wouldn’t progress beyond contractions every 2 to 4 minutes, 4cm dilation and 30% effacement — which we found out later was due to Alyssa not dropping down against my cervix like she should have, and then coming out sunny-side up instead of face down — they sent me home with Percocet in order to try and get some sleep. That night we went back, and Alyssa was born the next morning at 8:06am. ♥
Ryan is going to be spending the weekend with my mom and Cat (my 15 year old brother), and Puff (my 18 year old brother) is coming to spend the weekend with us. Last week it was the opposite “trade”: Cat spent the weekend with us, and Alyssa spent the weekend with my mom and Puff. We plan on taking Alyssa out to lunch for her birthday, and of course we have some gifts for her, and Dan has plans to make her a Minecraft-themed birthday cake. I also have a Toys ‘r Us gift card I’m going to give to Alyssa on Sunday, so after lunch we’ll probably be hitting up Toys ‘r Us.
Today I had my six week post-op appointment, which was uneventful except for a half-hearted attempt at a lecture from my gynecologist’s assistant hen I asked her to check on the possibility of a suture poking out, as Dan had mentioned getting poked…and how would he have possibly gotten poked by a suture unless we jumped the gun before the six week mark? Heh, if she only knew that we gently jumped back into things when I was just two weeks post-op.
Anyway, she didn’t see a suture, and suggested that perhaps Dan wound up “removing” it himself. Erm, okay? I got the official all-clear, along with an amusing lecture to pass along to Dan that can basically be summarized as: ladies first, and be gentle (done and done).
One moment of suck today was when I left, well tried to leave, the gynecologist’s office. I had been sitting in my car for about ten minutes, charging my phone and making some phone calls while playing the radio. Well, either my battery terminals need cleaning, or my battery is on its way to dying, because when I went to turn the car on, everything died. I knew my battery had crapped out when the power locks didn’t work. I cursed, and cursed-texted both Dan and Amanda (both offered to come and jump my car/pick me up, which was especially awesome since Amanda was maybe 15 minutes away? Dan, meanwhile, was still at work, and about 45 minutes away). On a whim, after getting my jumper cables out of the car and scanning the parking lot for potential nice non-kidnapping/stealing/raping/killing people to ask for a jump, I unplugged my GPS and took my radio’s faceplate off, and tried starting my car… AND IT TURNED ON! YAY! DAY UN-RUINED! (Note to self: renew AAA membership asap!)
Warning: this is a depressing post, and may be triggering (sexual abuse) for some.
Don’t mind me. I’ve been into eye-catching blog entry titles lately, even if the entries themselves are quite boring in comparison to their titles (although me thinking, “Don’t say ball gag, don’t say ball gag, don’t say ball gag” while preparing to be knocked out for an endoscopy goes pretty well with the blog title “Propofol and ball gags“, don’t you think?).
So, laptops. My two year old laptop has been overheating and spontaneously shutting down for almost a year. It’s been annoying, but I’ve dealt mostly by keeping it on an angled mesh stand that provides ventilation for it. Still, it’s been running hot, and having a laptop shut down on you after being on but just sitting there for about an hour in a room with an average temperature of 74° is just ridiculous. I troubleshooted all of the potential software culprits, and then the firmware culprits. That left hardware. I opened it up several weeks ago and cleaned out the minimal amount of dust, but still, the problem persisted. So then I googled, and as it turns out, my laptop, an HP Pavilion G70 (in hot pink, squee), is known for having shitty and insufficient thermal paste on its CPU.
So last week I picked up silver thermal compound paste at Staples ($10 for a tube of the okay stuff, and $16 for a tube of the super-awesome stuff), and today Dan and I took my laptop apart, along with my mother’s eight year old HP laptop (an HP Pavilion DV8000). Lo and behold, both were mostly clean on the inside, but my laptop’s thermal compound was next to gone, and my mom’s laptop had barely a trace of it left. It took Dan and I about two hours, text instructions and video guides on YouTube, and patience, but we managed to completely disassemble both laptops, use rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth to clean off the residual old thermal compound, apply the new thermal compound, and then put the laptops back together. We only had three screws left over, and something with my power supply wasn’t reconnected or was accidentally disconnected, because once the battery ran out my laptop powered off, and it doesn’t recognize any of our three power cords as being plugged in (and they all work with our other laptops). So, while I’m running some errands this evening, Dan gets to take apart my laptop again and fix the lack of power issue. But the replacement thermal compound seems to work – my mother’s laptop has stayed on for almost an hour, and before my laptop croaked it seemed to be running much cooler.
Sex after a hysterectomy is…frustrating. A little apprehension-inducing. And slow going. First and foremost, your surgeon, and possibly his assistant, will lecture you repeatedly before surgery and on the day of surgery to not have penetrative sex or put anything in the vagina for six weeks. Upon going over discharge paperwork the attending physician and nurse will also lecture you, and may even go so far as to put in bold, underlined words on your paperwork, “NO SEX FOR ***6*** WEEKS” (asterisks are not an exaggeration). This is for two reasons: first, you just had your cervix removed and the end of your vagina has been folded over and sewn up, much like the unraveled end of a sock – hence my term sockgina). So, there’s a risk of infection. And secondly, there’s the risk of busting a stitch or even several stitches, which could lead to bleeding, pain, infection, and even sepsis (I read an honest-to-goodness-true-and-not-made-up article about a woman who had sex one week post-op, did things rather vigorously, and indeed broke a stitch and ended up back in the OR for abdominal surgery due to leaked vaginal “contents” entering the abdominal cavity).
When I was eight days post-op, I was feeling better enough to worry about the very minuscule chance of having some type of nerve damage that would affect my ability to have orgasms. So I went solo just to make sure things were still hooked up and working. I kept things external, of course, but halfway through the pleasure was matched by pain. I managed to persevere because I just had to KNOW, and yes things are all in perfect working order, but dear god I thought I was going to die from the pain. Note to self and anyone else who has recently had a hysterectomy: recently operated-upon vaginas and the surrounding muscles do NOT appreciate orgasm-induced contractions. I think I even texted Dan and Amanda something along the lines of, “I THINK I BROKE MY VAGINA OWOWOWOWOW”.
Since then things have gotten a bit better. Erm, I’m five weeks post-op as of yesterday, but we eased into some super-gentle, not-full-on-going-at-it (in terms of both depth and activity – sorry for the TMI and any resulting mental images that will no doubt send you running for some vodka or similar brain bleach) when I was two weeks post-op. It wasn’t bad… but I was nervous, and that increased the discomfort. It’s like being a virgin all over again, except that in addition to the tightness and semi-awkwardness of trying to have sex without REALLY having sex, there’s also super-sensitive healing scar tissue at the end, and for me on the bottom side (you know how the g-spot and more sensitive area of the vagina tends to be along the top? well for me, and maybe other post-hysto women, the discomfort and sensitivity is felt along the bottom). Things feel better in the missionary position, or if I’m on top and tilt my hips wayyyyyy forward to ease the pressure, but it’s going to take some time… and that’s the hardest part, I think: feeling better physically and mentally and wanting to go at it like bunnies without a second thought, but having to actively restrain and hold back and be slow and gentle and careful. I’ve managed to talk Dan into sex once every week now, and each week has been better, heh. But still, as I think I’ve said a few times in this entry: it’s going to take some more time before the sex is discomfort-free. Boo.
And while I’m on the subject of discomfort: I may be a good mom who rode a bad ride (a large kiddie/small adult sized wooden roller coaster, back seat of course) in order for Alyssa to be able to ride it (Dan was at work, so it was just the kids and I at an amusement park last Sunday), but I’m paying for it now. My neck was sore on Monday, stiff on Tuesday, and from Wednesday onward the tightness and soreness has increased in severity and is spreading. As of today it hurts to turn my head right or left, and my shoulders down to below my shoulder blades are stiff and sore. Blah. I’ve also done a lot of driving lately (three 100-mile round trips last week, a 50 mile trip this week, plus a lot of errands in between that were a minimum of 10 to 15 miles each way), and I think that’s added to it.
And on that note, I’m getting ready to head out and do more driving… but just 30 miles each way this time.
Yesterday I had my endoscopy. I was scheduled to check in at the hospital (the gastroenterologist who my bariatric surgeon referred me to prefers the operating room for his endoscopies, just in case he needs to do something a bit more involved) at 9:45am, which was a great time because Alyssa and Ryan’s school bus comes right around 8:30, and it takes an hour, sometimes a bit more, to get to the hospital from our house. Of course the bus ran late and we ran into morning traffic and then construction, so instead of checking in a few minutes early, we speed-walked from the parking lot to the admissions desk and checked in right on the dot.
After a half hour wait in the waiting room, a fifteen minute wait in what I have dubbed the holding room (another waiting room, but just for checked in patients), and then a three hour wait in pre-op (my procedure time was slated for 12:30pm, but my gastro “ran over” with the person who was before me), which then led to frantic texts and phone calls to Amanda, Jason, my brother, and finally a neighbor in order to figure out who would get Alyssa and Ryan after school (if I had gone back on time, I would have been out of the OR by 1:30, awake by 2ish, and discharged and on the road home by 3, so we would have gotten home in time for the sprogs), I finally went back to the OR.
Endoscopies are similar to surgeries in that you go through the whole pre-op procedure, including getting an IV for fluids and medication and such. I don’t know if they slipped something into my IV once I was in the OR and laying on my left side, but I do know this: my gastro, who looks like a slightly older, full-bearded Adam Levine, is easy on the eyes. And apparently he likes to place the mouthguard (an oval-shaped plastic tube is in the middle of the mouth guard; the guard keeps the mouth open during the procedure, and the thing is secured on the patient via an elastic band) on the patient himself. So as he’s fitting this thing around me, all I can think of is, “Oh my god, this thing looks and feels like a ball gag”, but I manage to keep my composure. Then The Hotter Version of Adam Levine says, “Bite down, but don’t bite too hard!”. And then I do this awful unattractive giggle-snort thing around the mouthguard while thanking my lucky stars that the presence of the ball gag, I mean mouth guard, is preventing me from blurting out something horribly inappropriate for a clinical, sterile medical setting… fortunately the anesthesiologist informs me that she is injecting some numbing medicine, which I taste; and then the Propofol, which I both taste, feel, and hear… I taste metallic, I feel like I’m looking out of my eyes from the end of a very long hallway, and I hear a rushing noise in my ears…I remember waving goodbye to one of the nurses, and I was gone.
I woke up to pain. The endoscopy revealed that one ulcer healed, but besides the one remaining ulcer, my candy cane is backwards, and I have a fistula within the candy cane (so the candy cane, which resembles the shape it’s named for, looks more like a P). In addition to poking around my pouch and upper section of my small intestine with two different scopes, they also did a bunch of biopsies, hence why I woke up in pain… Dr. Hottie Levine had thoughtfully ordered a shot of Fentanyl, which was ready and waiting for injection once I woke up and bitched about a pain level of 5 on the 1-10 pain scale.
I see my bariatric surgeon on November 8th, during which time I’m sure we’ll discuss this apparent fistula. For the remaining ulcer, continuing with Carafate (1g four times per day)and Protonix (40mg twice per day) will hopefully continue to help with the healing!
I have been really, really busy since this time last week, hence the pathetic lack of blog entries. I spent most of Thursday with Amanda; I spent most of Friday running errands with Alyssa and Ryan; Amanda spent most of Saturday with me; I took Alyssa and Ryan to a local amusement park on Sunday (free tickets, whee!); and then the kids and I ran errands on Monday morning, spent Monday afternoon with Amanda, and stopped by my mom’s before finally heading home around 8pm that night.
Now it’s Tuesday night, I’ve finally cleared out my cluttered inbox (from 10+ emails at any given time for nearly two months to just one, yippee!) and caught up on some past-their-deadlines tasks, and I’ve done both of those things just in time for my endoscopy tomorrow. Whee.
Oh, and blog title explanation: Ryan developed a sudden fear of the log flume, and Alyssa wasn’t tall enough to ride the large wooden roller coaster by herself, so I sucked it up, two months after a concussion & neck strain (from a roller coaster) and one month out from a hysterectomy, and rode both rides. Oopsies. But I was fine, the kids had fun, and in the end that’s what counts. ♥