Archive for Husband

Pants On Fire

Posted in Family Matters with tags , , , on February 2, 2011 by Alison Amok

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

– Every Child Since Forever

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Husband is on my list.  You know the list, the one that makes me look at you all squinty eyed.  The list containing the crazy lady at Wegmans who had to discuss with the cashier the pro’s and con’s of each and EVERY item she was purchasing and then discuss the proper packing of her twelve thousand reusable grocery bags and the idiot driver who decided to use the breakdown lane to pass me on Route 1.

You husband, who I just discovered was STEALING from me.  Stealing from your poor, poor, berry deprived wife.  Stealing my berries from my Kashi cereal.  My favorite Kashi Strawberry Fields cereal.  You, sir, are lucky I like the cereal just the way I thought it was, perfect corn flakes with just the right amount of sweetness.  I have to admit that I do feel a little better knowing that my cereal could theoretically look like the box and much better when I know that Kashi wasn’t trying to scam me out of a few freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries.

I still love my cereal and of course I still love you even if you are a liar-liar-pants-on-fire-stealer of berries and of my heart.

2+1+3+1 = madness

Posted in Animal Farm with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2010 by Alison Amok

“We are all worms.  But I believe that I am a glow-worm.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

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Hello Gorgeous!  I swear I SWEAR I am back back.  And that’ll be the last time I’ll be gone for an extended period of time.  (Hopefully)

So let’s see.  I’ve been in school and it’s nuts but great.  I’ve been annoying Husband talking about everything I’m learning again.  He’s a good sport though and placates me most of the time….

But on to the big news!  We added a new family member to our house! Meet Winston!too damn cute

He is just awesome.  And we love him.  He was born 2 Mar 2010 and that makes him 15 weeks old.  He is another Weimaraner just like Amelia.

For those of you just joining us… let me refresh you on our furry family.

Our first-born is Amelia.  She is 6 years old.  She is Husband’s second best friend and a totally spoiled rotten princess.

princess... spoiled rottenThen there are the cats….all three of them.

Bagherra

nom nom nomLouis (King Louie)

well hello there....and Kitty

sleep

So anyways… We’ve been having fun over at Chez Amok.  Puppy life doesn’t always lend itself real well to studying.  Which is why I’d say I’ve been less than participatory in life in general lately and why this post isn’t as eloquent as usual.  But Amelia and Winston have been getting along like they’ve always been together which helps with any growing pains that could come up.

always togetherIt’s actually kinda funny… we went to PetSmart the other day to buy animal food (which we always seems to be almost out of) and I had Winston over in the collar aisle and Husband had Amelia looking at food….Winston who apparently can’t function without Amelia started baby barking looking for Amelia.  And from all the way across the store I hear one Amelia bark (which was awesome since Amelia hardly ever barks!) as almost to say “I’m here don’t worry” and the Winston stopped.  Craziness huh?

Onto school.Too much homework.  Too little time.  Too much memorization and not enough space.  Husband laughs that I’m even more scatterbrained than usual and I tell him that he can laugh all the way to the bank eventually because despite the fact that I’ll be the oldest med student ever, all the nonsense will be worth it to finally be Dr. Amok.

Right now is pharmacology.  Loving the pharmacology.  Not loving the grueling study schedule but I am always amazed how just a few chemicals can alter your life!  Those who’ve done fertility drugs can attest to that.  Despite the fact it didn’t work for us I remember being awed at how Clomid made me feel like a 13 year old girl with the crazy hormones and acne etc.  Amazing.  Truly.

Anyways…. I really have to go back to studying.

Anxiolytics, Barbiturates, and Analgesics.  Oh My!!

So tell me about your animals…. I’m always curious to see how other people feel about their animals.  Or are we the only weird ones with dogs who take the place of children.

Vacation from Sanity

Posted in Comments from the Peanut Gallery with tags , , on August 19, 2009 by Alison Amok

“Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much … fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our … smiles.”

– Clark W. Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation

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va⋅ca⋅tion

[vey-key-shuhn, vuh]

–noun

1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
2. a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
3. freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
4. an act or instance of vacating.
–verb (used without object)

5. to take or have a vacation: to vacation in the Caribbean.

source

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Husband and I have not taken a vacation since before we left for basic training.  Just to clarify this, we have not taken a vacation in almost nine years.  Nine years.  We had no honeymoon because Husband had to go back to work three days after our wedding and then was deployed to Afghanistan two months later.  He was gone for a year.  I was deployed twice during my military career and Husband another two times.  Then Husband began his current profession as a Secret Squirrel.  Because of this he had to move away from me and into our current home in DC.  We were geographically separated for almost two years.

So for nine years serving our country, deployments, illness, surgeries, hospitalizations, protecting national security, the Appalachian Mountains, second jobs, fertility treatments and family obligations prevented us from vacations.  Oh and lets be clear, I do not count traveling to visit family as a vacation.  Because seriously, that is not a vacation.  And yes I do feel sorry for us and so should you.   But all that is about to end.

This December is our five year anniversary.  We are finally going on a vacation.  A honest to goodness vacation. With just the two of us. Our honeymoon anniversary-moon.  No family and minimal phone contact (well you can try but I doubt we’ll answer).  Just.  The.  Two.  Of.  Us.  And where are we going you ask?  Well we’re going to the happiest place on earth.  No, not Denmark.  We’re going to Disney World.  Yes, Disney World.  Because I want to that’s why.  Having grown up in and out of Europe, my family didn’t really do the Disney thing.  And more often than not our family vacations were more National Lampoon’s European Vacation and less Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

So our vacation is going to be insane.  And I am crazy excited.  No expense has been spared, no detail overlooked.  And yes I’m bragging because I am excited.  And really glad that we can finally afford to pay and take the time off for a vacation.  We are going for ten whole days of absolute child-like joy and fun.  And we’re staying in a super posh hotel, uber lush suite with room service.  And I am so going to be ordering room service.  I don’t care if I have to pay 14$ for a bottle of water.  We are ordering room service.

But I’m most excited about being able to just spend ten days in row with Husband.  We’ve been so busy with life that its almost as if we’ve put our life on hold.  But  no longer.  It will be ten days of food, fun, excitement, relaxation and Mickey, Minnie and the gang.  Because seriously, we’re such big kids anyways.  And I’m most excited about it being the Christmas season during our trip.  I’ve watched so many Travel Channel shows on Disney that I am practically an expert.  But my favorites have always been the Disney Christmas programs.  I cannot wait for all the extra special food, the decorations and everything else they do above and beyond special for Christmas.  I’m so completely giddy with excitement because Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to go on a luxury vacation and enjoy a Disney Christmas and then come home and enjoy an actual Christmas at home.

This vacation I think is a huge turning point in our lives.  It’s exciting because we’ve never been able to spend too much time with each other over the years.  Finally living together again helped initially with that issue but taking vacations allows us to become normal adults.  Luckily, this is the first of many adventures we will take together and our life together will finally be, well, be together.

So dear readers, here’s a question for you.  Tell me about the best time you’ve ever had with your significant other alone.  Was it a vacation?  Where did you go?  What made it memorable?  Share your story so the rest of us can live vicariously through your adventures!

That what does not kill me…well then again….

Posted in Pancre-ass with tags , , , , on July 13, 2009 by Alison Amok

“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorry, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

-Anais Nin

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I know, I know.  I’ve been gone for awhile…and its not about to be over but I wanted to keep y’all up to date on the going ons around here.

So lets see… my new doctors here in DC decided that in order to proceed we needed to re-evaluate where I am pancreatic-ly (shut up, I’m taking some liberties here!).  So we did an Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) last week to find out if I’ve developed Chronic Pancreatitis.  The thinking was that I have had five (5!) ERCP‘s.  Each time developing acute pancreatitis.  Each ERCP and each episode of acute pancreatitis put me at risk for developing CHRONIC pancreatitis.  I know it’s confusing. But on my MRI’s they had seen some pancreatic changes and were concerned.  So that’s fine, it was mild sedation and a nice nap.  But they didn’t find any significant changes.  This is good.

They found my common bile duct is almost completely occluded.  This is bad.  Very bad.  My pancreatic duct has been completely occluded for about four years now.  No one wanted to clear it out because they were unsure of where it came from.  And very afraid that messing with the occlusion could cause other things to go bad.  And luckily I have a secondary pancreatic duct that helps re-route things.  That’s why I’ve needed all these ERCP’s because my secondary duct is significantly smaller because well it was never meant to be the primary pancreatic duct.  That’s why its not called that, duh!  But any who, it will get sludged up and part of my illness causes my ducts to develop strictures (meaning they cramp down) so then things don’t flow great.  So ERCP is done to basically clear out the ducts and place stents to prop them back open.

technical difficulties

Well, the problem is that the common bile duct is the big duct that everything flows through.  This cannot become occluded.  That would be very bad.  Very, very bad.  And this is very, very serious.  Because they have no idea why my ducts are doing this, how to keep it from happening and the concern is that with each ERCP my complications get worse and worse.  So right now, I’m scheduled for my next ERCP on Wednesday the 15th of July.

It was very bizarre after that EUS because the doctors were so alarmed about what they found they called my doctor while I was still under sedation.  So one of his staff doctors was waiting for me when I came out of anesthesia.  He told me what they found and that my Doctor would be calling me the next day to schedule a surgery date.  AND to make it even more nerve wrecking for me, when they called, they had already scheduled my surgery!  They didn’t even give me much chance to procrastinate.  I know it’s in my best interest to get this whole thing over but my anxiety has just shot through the roof!

And I’m driving Husband crazy because when I get anxious, I organize.  I organize and talk too much. I’m not looking forward to this at all.  I’m not looking forward to more IV’s, crazy pain and the pain medications needed to help control them.  I hate the blood draws.  I hate the succession of medical personnel who have to all come in and talk to me about my pain and press on my stomach.  As if my pain wasn’t bad enough, lets all smush my liver and pancreas down to make it worse.  First the medical student, then the intern, then the resident, then the fellow and finally my doctor.  And to be completely honest, I am really freaked out.  And poor Husband.  He is beyond freaked but as usual he pretends it is all fine.  I know he thinks he needs to be strong for me and that is why I love that man.  But he’s so good too me.  He’s been hinting that maybe I should buy some new audio-books, that way he doesn’t have to read to me!  I’m going to do that but it’s always so comforting to have him read to me anyways.

So we are just pressing on.  I’m packing my bag.  Gathering all my hospital clothes.  My tank tops, my comfortable pants, all my colorful socks so I can stay clothed, decent and out of those horrible hospital gowns.  Oh and my beautiful cardigans.  Those are important so I can stay me, stay comfortable and warm but hospital appropriate.  I’ve gone through my millions of movies and picked out the ones I’ve been meaning to watch and added them to my perennial favorites.  I’ve also added a few for Husband to watch because we all know that I really don’t watch anything because I’m so drugged.  And a couple for my mom who will be coming up from North Carolina on Tuesday.

I’ve also dealt with the unpleasant details of all of this.  I’ve updated my advance directives and living will.  Which is something everyone should have no matter their health status.  It really is the only way to ensure your wishes are carried out.  Luckily, my family and Husband all feel the same way about this.  Organ donation always.  And Husband and I both have included in our living wills that we do not want extraordinary measures taken.  Our medical backgrounds I think helped us with this decision.  We both have agreed that while it would be hard to say goodbye, prolonged life-support is only benefiting the family and I believe that when it’s my time, it’s my time.  Obviously, if there is a chance of a good outcome then this wouldn’t be the case.  Death is never easy to deal with but we both know and have come to terms with that my illness most likely will become terminal at one point.  Either from cancer or complications from a surgery.  But I think because of this we appreciate each other a little more.  We embrace the time we have.  I mean seriously, its entirely possible I could live another 50 years!  But if I don’t, I do not want to have any regrets.  I am daily grateful for having such a wonderful husband and family and know that my life is good.  I have to admit, it is a little humbling and more than a little hard thinking about these types of things at our age.  Very against nature.  But we have each other and hopefully one day, children.  And we can’t forget Amelia!  OK, I’m done being Debbie Downer.

But enough of the sad stuff.  Husband has the day off on Wednesday but has to go back to work the next day and has to go to Asia for secret squirrel duty later in the week.  He can call off work during the week but because of visa issues he cannot cancel the Asia trip.  Visa’s are a pain in the ass and require the paperwork completed months in advance, so no one else can fill in for him at this point.  Mom (mine) will be here to babysit me while Husband is at work.  She’ll be staying at my Aunt Joni’s and Husband will drop me off each morning before he goes to work, like a daycare for the incredibly grumpy, fussy and non-compliant.  Because Husband is very afraid to leave me home by myself.  Not so much because he is afraid I’ll keel over or anything but more for the simple fact that most likely I will need to go to the ER.  Normally, I get to go home after my procedure.  I’m not in terrible pain afterward, more than normal but they send me home with more pain meds, and I’m not feeling too terrible.  But around day two as my pancreatitis starts to kick in, I get MISERABLE.  I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I don’t want to eat, I can barely stand up, I’m normally beyond nauseous and even sometimes throwing up.  And so I end up back in the ER for my pain and then admitted because of my pancreatitis.  So husband was nervous about leaving me at home by myself just because he didn’t want me to be miserable at home, waiting for him to come home so I can go to the ER.  And also because I’m notorious for trying to avoid the ER like the plague.  I’m always the last one to admit that I need to go and normally am sulky the whole way there.  Its not that the ER isn’t a pleasant experience….well it’s actually not.  But I have horrible veins from years and years of procedures, so it takes multiple IV attempts, normally ending up in some sort of semi-permanent catheter placed like a PICC line or a central line.  Which are no fun at all.  Then the drugs.  All the drugs.  They are a neccessary evil.  And then the IV fluid.  And then because of all my medications, IV fluids, multiple IV sticks, I end up looking puffy, bruised and all around like I’ve been a round or two in the ring.

I explained it

So, another surgery on Wednesday.  I probably won’t be blogging during that time, but I might.  But I probably will be on Twitter @RunAmokAmok.  Those who know and love me can text me.  And emails are always welcome, RunAmokAmok at gmail dot com.  I will have my computer with me and the hospital does have free wi-fi.  I will write y’all back but you’ll have to excuse the typos because let me tell you, talking is difficult on all those drugs, let alone typing.  Husband might log on for me to keep you up to date but most likely it will be Liz, my BFF who logs in to keep y’all up to date. (BTW, y’all should totally check out her kick ass blog, The Wit Factory.  She is just totally effing hilarious)

And while I’m in the hospital, flowers are always welcome!  I love all things purple.  😉  And I love those fruit bouquets by Edible Arrangements, seriously, the more pineapple and strawberries and CHOCOLATE covered strawberries, the better!  I also like Sour Patch Kids.  The sourness helps with the nausea so it does a double duty.  And I love visitors!   And I’m sure Husband would love someone else to show up and read to me so he doesn’t have to read yet another Nora Roberts sex scene.  (Everytime he asks how we ladies can read these romance novels without getting…um….aroused all the time.  I tell him we do, its just easier for us to hide 😉 )  So if you’re so inclined and in the area, send me an email and we’ll let you know where I am.

thorazine

But otherwise I will be busy trying not to throw up, watching movies in between my narcotic induced blackouts, complaining about my 15th IV stick, begging Husband to rub my feet/put lotion on my legs/and or help me please brush my teeth, wash my hair and look less like death warmed over.  Pleasant, no?  Well my dears…. seriously.  I could really use the distractions.  Email me.  Email me frequently.  Text me.  Text me frequently.  Twitter me!   Wish me luck.  Pray for me.  Pray for Husband to maintain his patience while dealing with me.  Because really, we all know I’m a complete pain in the ass on a good day.  He could totally use a break too so like I said, visitors bearing good food for him will never be turned away.

Love y’all.  It will be ok.

drugs on brain

Happy Birthday Baby

Posted in Family Matters with tags , on June 3, 2009 by Alison Amok

“Just so you know, there’s a space that only you can fill.  Just so you know, I loved you then, I guess I always will.”

-Anonymous

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Dear Husband,

I just wanted to begin your birthday with a little sentimentalism.  I love you but I wanted to know, how do you feel old man?  The simple fact is that today, on your birthday, you are now officially old.  As of today and for another one-hundred and twenty-nine days you will be the exact same age as me, therefore just as old as you have been telling me I am.  So ha, how does it feel to be so old?  You know you officially start dying at age 27, that is only three-hundred and sixty-five days from now.  So you’d better make them well worth it.

In all seriousness, Husband, I wanted to take this opportunity, this very public forum to tell you happy birthday.  Yet another year has gone by and you’ve grown older, wiser and better looking.  Another year standing by me and taking care of me and tolerating my fussiness. You truly are a great man and while I’m sure your parents are responsible for laying the foundation, you have pushed past all my expectations. You are my best friend and daily I am happy to see you walk through my door.  You are unbelievably brave, understandingly smart and not to mention quite a hottie!  You remain, my favorite person.

So old man, as my present to you, for today only, you can be right.

I lova you!!!!

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“Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.”

-Billie Burke

For Serious?

Posted in Pancre-ass with tags , , , , on June 1, 2009 by Alison Amok

“Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up.”

-George Saunders

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Y’all are never going to believe this…..

So about four seconds after I hit publish on that last damn post (Pancre-Ass Act 1 & Act 2), I swear to you I felt like I got hit by the proverbial Mack truck.  And obviously I forgot to knock on wood because Husband and I ended up spending the better part of Saturday evening and Sunday morning in our home away from home, along with the trailer park best, in the ER.

I’m sure you didn’t notice but my Pancre-Ass posts were published at four in the morning on the 30th.  I was up writing that next great American novel about my pancre-ass because, surprise surprise, I was feeling a little worse than usual and so obviously my broken-ness was taking up a significant amount of gray matter.  And in a less than ladylike manner, kicking the optimistic thoughts of puppies and rainbows out on their buttocks.

All I could think was: You-Have-Absolutely-Got-To-Be-Effing-Kidding-Me.  Now pancre-ass?  You pick NOW to freak out?  Nobody invited you into this conversation and obviously you think you’re such a freakin’ comedian pulling off a stunt like this.  Does anyone want some extra irony?  Because I got a little too much of it going on around here.

(And yes I do often talk to myself in the third person.  And no, we don’t care what you think)

So, already miserable, I spent the day just digging myself a bigger hole.  I had promised Husband I would do laundry on Saturday because I really have been slacking in my Executive Vice President of Domestic Affairs duties.  So despite really really hurting, I was quickly running out of clean underwear so I forced myself to do like 9 loads of laundry.  (Stop judging, I told you I had been slacking)

Fast forward to 8 pm, Husband comes home from work at the Secret Squirrel factory and I am LITERALLY on the floor, in the fetal position, clutching my heating pad, and feeling like I’m dying.  I did have a semi-valid reason for being on the floor and wasn’t like there because I had passed out or anything.  I had just changed the sheets and broke out a new duvet cover and had made up our bed to look like those really nice hotels and refused to mess it up.  I wanted to show Husband that I’m not completely useless as a hausfrau.

So combine my stubbornness to procrastinate seeking medical interventions way past the point of being logical and this weird nesting desire to prove I really am a good wife despite being broken and all but being held together with duct tape.  So there I am and Husband, just sighed.  Because he knows that I really probably should of been seen like days ago but understands my almost pathological need to avoid extraneous hospital visits.  So Husband patiently helped me off the floor, found my purse, all but put my shoes on me and escorted me out the door and on the way to the ER.  All the way there getting a lecture the basically went like this: “Seriously Alison, you’ve got to stop doing this because you know you’re just going to be going anyways.  Basically the only one who doesn’t understand you need to go to the ER is you.  You need to stop putting it off because you know its not healthy and you just make it worse in the long run by avoiding it.”  But I was just more upset that Husband hadn’t commented on how nice I had made our bed look.

So there we are at the ER, I’m walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame because I hurt that bad and because God forbid my veins cooperate just once and I’m stuck a total of five times until the IV is placed, labs drawn and the magic of IV drugs are starting to kick in.  Doctor this time mixed it up a little bit and instead of having the usual abdominal xray or CT, I had an ultrasound to rule out something crazy.  Lab values were as expected, liver enzymes climbing higher, pancreas enzymes just barely in the normal range.  So plan is IV fluids, IV pain meds, IV nausea meds, then discharge with different pain meds for home.

So here I am, feeling much better, I’m telling you it is amazing.  While I’m still having pain, its back to the normal baseline and the crazy, breath-taking pains are few and far between again.  My hands and arms are swollen and bruised from the fluids and the disaster that results from trying to start an IV on me.  My joints are all pretty sore and my hands and feet are just swollen enough to be uncomfortable and achy to move.  All the extra fluid from the IV’s making me puff up like the StayPuff Marshmallow Man.

So the Mack Truck has been diverted from now and this annoying reminder is just a preview of what I will be experience in a month or two after my next ERCP but I’m doing ok for now and that’s all that matters.

Husband did feel bad though because he had to go infiltrate the KGB in Eastern Europe for the next few days but he promised to bring me back some nice new iron curtains.  Sister-in-law is here, although I think she is currently hiding from me because I might secretly be a total bitch while on drugs.  And as always the more than selfish yet entertaining child surrogate, Amelia.  The dog who has no clue she actually is a dog and not really one of the cats or our child.

Because of course if and when you’re on the floor in the fetal position clutching your heating pad like a life line, what comes next is your crazy dog standing over you licking your feet.  Four out of five dentists have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about but they agree.

Because duh lady, that is what makes you feel better.

Amelia said so.

Pancre-Ass Act 2

Posted in Pancre-ass with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by Alison Amok

“Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

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If you’re just getting here please read the first part of this story at Pancre-Ass Act 1.

So here we are, nine months out from my last surgery.  I can normally be found attached to my heating pad on any given day, which has caused a permanent “burn” to my stomach from living with it on my tummy trying to help with the pain.  I’m pretty tethered to my home these days by either my heating pad or my many medications.  I can’t just run out on errands without planning or a designated driver because I need to take narcotics and anti-nausea medication that make it unsafe for me to drive.  So I plan my outings for when my medication is wearing off and I can safely drive.  Every day I take two different pain medications, one a narcotic, the other a “synthetic narcotic” that makes my pain manageable.  I also take two different anti-nausea medications, one that is incredibly sedating and the other, while it does not make me sleepy, its made for cancer patients and the chemotherapy induced nausea.  This second pill is incredibly expensive and costs about $30 a pill.  So needless to say, my insurance only allows me so many of these a month.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I was in the Air Force.  All this began in 2004 about 3 years into my enlistment.  I finally was medically retired in December of 2008.  So I’ve been able to keep my health insurance and get a small retirement check every month.  This is nice because Husband and I don’t have to worry much about the costs of my care and we can afford for me to be sick.  I don’t have to work if I don’t want to and am able to go back to school full time now.

I bet you’re wondering exactly how much patient care I’ve racked up so let me tell you.  I have had 5 ERCP’s, my gallbladder removed, my appendix removed and polyps removed from my uterus.  I have been admitted to the hospital for pancreatitis 6 times and I have lost count the ER visits for when I lose control of my pain and can’t handle it at home any more.  My ER visits normally entail IV fluids, a crazy amount of narcotics, assorted non-narcotic pain medications, multiple doses of anti-nausea medication, blood draws to make sure my liver and pancreatic enzymes are too crazy high warranting an actual hospital admission and an occasional CT scan or abdominal x-ray just to cover the ER doc’s butt and make sure I don’t have some weird tumor or obstruction causing my issues.

I hate ER’s.  HATE HATE HATE them… Well I hate being a patient in them.  I love working in the ER.  Because ER’s deal with all the crayzee who want these drugs and its hard not to be looked at questionably until they read my history.  And then I get absolutely snowed from all the drugs they start pumping through my IV.  And there are good nurses and not-so-great nurses.  The doctors normally are totally understanding and way helpful.  But the nurses can sometimes be real bitches.

Look, I know how it rolls in ERs.  I’ve worked in them my whole professional career until recently.  And some people are just lazy, crazy, bitchy, and/or burnt out and need to move on.  The worst is I’ll occasionally get a nurse who forgets how to push certain drugs and I end up with my arm on fire because they pushed a medication too fast.  Or they don’t listen to me when I tell them my IV has infiltrated again.  And don’t even get me started on telling them I’m a hard stick.  I never tell anyone anymore, I just let them figure it out for themselves.  Because I have learned the HARD WAY that if you tell the person putting in your IV that you are a hard stick they will blow it off and go out of their way to prove your wrong even if that means sticking you 17 times.  YES, once I was so sick I went through 17 sticks before I was able to get an IV.  I do have a rule though.  If you are rude and not nice to me you get two tries, move on let someone else try it because I’m already sick I don’t need you taking your angst out on me.  If you are pleasant about it though, I’ll let you stick me ’til the cows come home because I know its not your fault.  It’s my veins, they suck and pretty much don’t want to participate.  Oh and by the way… Husband is a medic by trade too courtesy of the Air Force and he has a time or two gotten frustrated with the medical staff and started my IV’s for me.

Oh and I forgot to mention the best part, with all my liver issues I bruise incredibly easily.  And all the blood draws and IV’s needed for my tests often make my arms look like a druggy.  There have been days when Husband refuses to let me leave the house without long sleeves on because he’s afraid people will think he’s beating me.

But we make it through it all some how.  It’s become our life and I know its hard for people to understand it.  My parents are wonderful though albeit a little frustrated sometimes because its hard for them to see me so sick and in the hospital all the time.  My mother worries about all my ER visits and hospital admissions and always tries to convince me to let her rush to my side.  Normally I successfully can convince her I’m fine and Husband is taking good care of me.  But now that we live 4 hours away from her, here in DC, instead of the 10 hours we were when we lived in Ohio… I’m thinking I won’t be able to convince her to stay at home anymore.  But that’s fine.  Being in the hospital is really boring and even with all the crazy drugs its no fun.  So all visitors are welcome and I’ve been told I can be pretty entertaining while attached to the Demerol and/or Morphine drip.

Husband and I have it down to a science though.  Before each of my surgeries, I pack a back of essentials.  Underwear, comfortable bras, socks, yoga pants, tank tops and cardigan sweaters.  I throw in some toiletries, like those nice face wipes, Clinique face lotion, my Johnson’s baby lotion for my skin, a comb, a new toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant.  I normally put in a book that I never read because the drugs make it hard to focus and read.   I put some new DVD movies and my old faves in a travel CD book and pack that too.  I make sure my computer, Nintendo DS, my games, my iPod and all my chargers are packed.  And we put that aside so when I eventually am admitted, Husband can just run home and I have all my creature comforts.

The clothes are the most important part though.  I hate, hate, hate hospital gowns.  They are uncomfortable and completely unflattering.  So I like to bring my own clothes.  The clothes serve a purpose though and that’s why I always bring my own.

Because all the IV contrasts from the ERCP’s and MRI’s and CT’s and all the drugs are so harsh on my veins, my veins are really bad.  I have little veins and they are angry angry after years of medical drama.  And normally I end up with some sort of semi-permanent IV access such as a PICC line or central line.  This is always better in the long run because then I can have a couple different IV fluids running at the same time, have my medication given to me on time, and they have an easy way to draw my blood with out poking and re-poking and re-poking.

The tank tops are important so I don’t have to strip everytime my lines need to be fussed with.  They provide easy access to my chest or arms and I can retain some of my modesty.  And my cardigans provide warmth while being gentle and stretch around any lines coming from my arms.  Plus just because I’m sick, it doesn’t mean I have to be unfashionable.  I normally pack my most colorful sweaters, the bright colors or the fun polka dot ones.  And my socks are always colorful.  I have a million of ankle socks in every color and pattern available.  Because looking down at my feet in my hospital bed, seeing purple polka dots makes my heart happy.

Husband is always great to me during this time and never lets me see his fear.  If anything he takes the opportunity to razz on me a little bit more.  😉  He always sneaks me in an ICEE or two.  He rubs my swollen feet caused by all the IV fluids and puts lotion on my itchy dry legs.  In the ER and right after my procedures, he’ll read to me.  And he such a good sport because he reads whatever I happen to be reading at the time, even if its one of those guilty pleasure romance novels by Nora Roberts.  He is a fabulous husband and I love him dearly, but the fact that he reads to me is what melts my heart.  He hates it, I know, but he does it without complaint and even grudgingly gets into the story and will do voices.

So there it is.  The whole story.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  If I wasn’t clear on something let me know!  Or if you just want to know all the little, juicy details I will share!  I have come to terms with my life and it is kinda cathartic talking about it all.

In another post I’ll talk about my fears for the future.  But I feel I’ve said enough for now and I need to give y’all a chance to digest (pun intended) all the information given to you today.

I have an appointment at Georgetown with my doctor in two weeks and we’ll be scheduling my next ERCP then.  I’m dreading the surgery but looking forward to being off the drugs again for awhile.  Its always fun being healthy again, even temporarily, and I normally go a little wild.  Last time I got a tattoo.  This time, I’m starting school so I’m thinking thats enough adventure for this heathly cycle.