Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back to work

After getting the OK from the doctor at my visit yesterday, I returned to work today. Well, for a half-day at least.

"Most people don't go back to work for at least six weeks," the doctor said. "I could write you a note if you want to, you know."

I declined.
"I feel ready," I said.

Since there was no pain when he pushed on my abdomen - inside or out - he agreed I might be healing a bit faster than he expected.
"The incision looks very good, very good indeed," he said, admiring the lower part of my belly.

I haven't taken any painkillers since last Wednesday, which was also a good thing, he said. (But yes, I still have some strong ibuprofen that I may need after a few days at the office).

It felt like I got so much accomplished today. I was up early, showered without pain and extreme tiredness, stopped by the post office and then hit the highway to work. The Arts & Entertainment section took me a bit longer than expected - four hours instead of two - but at least an hour was taken up with "how are you? how's your belly? how does it feel? You look so great!" chat.

And now I'll do it again tomorrow. On Thursday, I may even be up to working 6 hours. Imagine that. By next week I'm expecting 8 hours a day, and the week after that I may resume my regular 12-hour schedule.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Feeling like a star

After trying out the "American Idol Encore 2" video game at a friend's house last week, I decided I had to have it. I ordered it on Tuesday and checked the status each day to see when it might be here.

It arrived today.

I spent 2 hours singing and being judged by little versions of Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. It was a real ego boost. No matter how badly I did, even Simon kept telling me I was "meant for Hollywood" and "took a boring song and made it better."

Of course, I had it on the "easy" setting. Maybe tomorrow I'll try something harder.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Toddlers and tiaras...

Now that I'm home a lot - like all day, all the time - I watch a lot of television. And watching it leads to more watching, because there are always promos for new shows.

From "10 Things I Hate About You" (based on one of my favorite movies) to "Ruby & the Rockits," I've been busy this week. But perhaps the show I'd anticipated the most was aired tonight on The Learning Channel, TLC. It's called "Toddlers & Tiaras" and follows a few select parents and their children as they enter super high-class beauty contests.

I don't know what was most shocking and disgusting - the fact that one mother reluctantly admitted she has spent $65,000-$70,000 so far on hear 4-year-old princess or the fact that said princess frequently wears fake eyelashes, mascara, fake hair and a fake tan and claims the fake hand puppets her mom entertains her with are her best friends. Or perhaps it was the moment when she took her child for a photo shoot even though the toddler had a fever and wouldn't stop crying. "I might take her to the doctor when we're done," she said.

Another mother - supposedly a former beauty contestant herself, although I daresay it would be a stretch to call her pretty - was pushing her five daughters into the world of parading in silly dresses to show off their beauty. Two of the daughters were fraternal twins, competing against each other in the same age group.

"It isn't always fun because my sister always wins," said one of the adorable (and less cocky) 6-year-olds when interviewed.

It was clear the mother preferred the other sister, the one who always wins. Of the one I thought was the cutest, she only said, "It looks so forced when she's on stage."

"Well of course!!!" I yelled at her from the couch. "YOU are forcing her to do this!!!"

She didn't hear me. But it got a little better as the favorite twin threw a temper tantrum and was pulled from the competition by her father, who loathes beauty pageants (the mom, of course, was devastated). And the shy girl took home the Director's Choice Award once her sister was out of the picture.

But, wait. Then there was the mom, who seemed OK at first. She entered her 7-year-old son, dressed in a tiny tuxedo, into the competition. Of course, I gave up all hope as she also entered her 2-month-old baby boy - so small he couldn't even hold his own head up when she showed him off to the judges - in an even tinier tuxedo. I can't even imagine how much she spent to have those made.

"It makes me feel good that I can make beautiful babies," she said after they both took home trophies.

The 4-year-old princess, of course, took home the top prize of the entire pageant - a $1,000 award. She smiled and waved, and held up the shiny tiara that was too big to fit on her little head. She added it to her collection of tiaras, which filled a whole wall in her room.

"I love to be perfect," she said. Her mom nodded in agreement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Overdoing it

Over the weekend, I think I overdid it a bit.

By the end of last week, I was really bored and just wanted to get out of the house. Plus, my friends had a really fun day planned for Saturday, involving a visit to a bridal shop in Fairfield so I could see my friend try on her wedding dress and a visit to Middletown, to see another friend's new house.

Well, we added lunch and bridesmaid's dress shopping. Then we had an evening of pizza, Wii karaoke and board games. On Sunday, the weather was beautiful, so I drove up to Canaan to see another friend. There, I bought some yummies that I later made into dinner and dessert.

By Monday, I was exhausted. I really wanted to see the new Harry Potter movie. A friend and I had scheduled a date for Tuesday, but she asked if I didn't want to see it a day early. Of course I would! So I dragged Albie along to the mall in Milford. But before that, we stopped by his parents' house to see a captured kitten and then went out for sushi.

Needless to say... it was a loooong three days. And I paid for it. By Tuesday, I could barely get out of bed. I stayed in my PJs all day, didn't take a shower, and split my time between Facebook farming and HGTV.

Today was a bit better, although I didn't get out of my PJs until about 5 p.m., when Albie's mom came to take me out to dinner. Now I'm pondering if I'm really ready to go back to work on Tuesday... I think not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Remembering Frank McCourt

When I met author Frank McCourt in 2006 at a book signing, I had no idea what to say.

Hundreds were lined up at a VIP reception at the Warner Theatre in Torrington to get autographs from the renowned author and teacher. Many of them had only nice things to say about McCourt, his writing and his most famous books like “Angela’s Ashes,” “’Tis” and “Teacher Man.”

“I’m a great fan,” said a woman named Jeanne from Harwinton. “He’s the best.”

“He has a wonderful story to tell,” said another fan. “He has so much to offer in terms of his stories and his wisdom for life.”

Being that McCourt lived part-time in Roxbury, Conn., he made frequent appearances at area book talks. Our newspaper covered these sporadically.

Since a friend back in Sweden had talked about “Angela’s Ashes” for years as her favorite book, I figured I should go to one of the events and at least get a chance to meet the guy.

I hadn’t read any of his books – I still haven’t – but I brought copies of his first two books and lined up with everyone else to get them signed.

“Are you a teacher?” he asked me when I got up there.
I assumed most people there were teachers. Or else I just happened to look like one.
“No, a journalist,” I said. I vaguely recall handing him my business card.

Then I tried to think of something to ask him, something clever or memorable.
I gestured around at the cheese, crackers and veggie platters and spit out “So, how do you like the food?”

A bit taken back, McCourt looked up from signing my book and replied, “Oh, I don't have time for such trivialities.”

McCourt, 78, died Sunday in a New York City hospital. He had been suffering from meningitis and melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.

According to the Associated Press, McCourt was such a regular at book signings and parties that he considered himself a “dancing clown, available to everybody.” His friend and fellow memoirist Mary Karr said that a rare copy of “Angela’s Ashes” would be one that isn’t signed.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir has been published in 25 languages and 30 countries, according to the AP.

40 years ago

Forty years ago today, a man-made spaceship landed on the moon. Two men, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made history as they took their first bouncing steps in a strange new gravity field, as people on Earth watched in awe.

Since it was nine and a half years before I was born, I did not experience it first-hand. But with the help of new technology and enhanced footage, everyone can now watch that first moonlanding over and over in better quality than anyone back then could have dreamed of.

Outer space has always been fascinating to me. What is even more fascinating is the lack of information being given out to the general public on other space adventures. We hear reports every once in a while of a shuttle launch that was delayed because of thunderstorms in Florida, or repairs made to the International Space Station, but what's been going on at the moon? If I didn't know better, I'd say nobody's been back there since 1969.

But I know that's not true. Twelve people have walked across the terrain of the moon. Looking up the dates, however, I see that the most recent manned landing was in 1972. Perhaps the scientists felt they had enough data to draw a complete picture of the moon from those trips and nobody had to go back there. Or perhaps the trips were so expensive that money is better spent elsewhere.

All recent missions - by the Chinese and Russian governments as well - seem to have been to the moons of other planets and to various space stations launched into the vast emptiness surrounding us. But I still find it strange that we never hear a lot about what's going on. Unless there's a crash or failure of some sort, the various space missions seem to go by unnoticed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yum for fresh food

I drove up to Canaan today, the very Northwest Corner of the state, to visit my friend the photographer. Near her house, I stopped at a family farm to buy fresh bread and newly picked strawberries and blueberries.

My friend is an avid gardener, so we took a stroll through her backyard so she could show me her recent changes. On the way, we also picked up some fresh lettuce and some string beans. When I got home, it made for a nice-tasting salad with a great berry pie and ice cream for dessert. You've gotta love the summer!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering Walter Cronkite

When I got the alert around 8:30 p.m. that former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite had died, I immediately called my husband to make sure he knew. He was, after all, in a newsroom at Greenwich Time. I was bumming around at home, with no reason to care about such an important event.

"Yeah, I know," was all Albie said. Then he got back to work.

An hour or so later, I got an e-mail from my husband with the subject "That's why you know who he is." It contained parts of an AP story about Cronkite, saying his name is synonymous with the title "anchorman" in many countries. In Sweden, in particular, anchors are known as Kronkiters, the article said.

I've actually never heard that term - at least not as far as I can remember (perhaps I should have paid more attention in Journalism 101). But I do remember the first time I saw Walter Cronkite. It was when I entered the student newspaper office at Westchester Community College.

In the back room of The Bunker, as the office was known, was a conference room taken up by a big rectangular table. Across from the entrance hung a poster-size black-and-white framed-in picture of an old man looking important.

It took a while before I worked up the courage to ask who that man was. It took even longer before I asked what the heck his picture was doing in The Bunker.

To the older students at the paper (at a community college, students of all ages gather), Walter Cronkite was a god. He was a myth and a legend, just as much as he was a credible journalist. His portrait hung on the wall to inspire us, to make us strive to be the best reporters we could be.

Even those of us who didn't know who he was at first knew that we wanted to be like him. Power and authority streamed down at us from that picture. This was an important man. And if we couldn't make a newspaper this man would be proud of, we weren't doing much good hanging around in The Bunker.

Giving up on the tomatoes

Two of my blogger friends have posted beautiful pictures of their respective tomato plants this week. I have nothing to show.

In fact, I gave up on the plants.

A few days ago, I sent out a desperate e-mail for help to a co-worker. "Would you like to have my plants?" I asked him. A few hours later, he was at my house ready to take the pots of non-descript gray-green stuff off my hands. I gave him the almost dead ones from the front porch, but I also gave him the four prosperous looking ones from my kitchen window (after sticking in a painter's stick and tying the plants together with a Christmas ribbon).

Perhaps my friend will have better luck. He has been very successful at growing pumpkins in the past, so I put my faith in his "green hands."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cake time again

Since we have tons of eggs at home right now, and I'm just bumming around not doing anything, I decided to make another cake. Of course, once the cake was out of the oven, I was too tired to do anything more. Plus, a marble cake was already baking too.

Today, I finally had the energy to finish my musical inspired cake: a piano! I actually saw Duff on "Ace of Cakes" make a piano as part of a cake for a child's birthday party at FAO Schwartz, and I thought to myself "that should be nice and simple." Well, it wasn't. But I think it came out OK. What do you think?

(I forgot to mention the worst part! My hands are now a dark shade of burgundy from kneeding the black food coloring into the fondant! I wonder how many days that will last...)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Drove myself to the gym today, where I walked on the treadmill at 1 mile per hour - the slowest speed - for 10 minutes.

While I still look like a pregnant woman, or one that has just given birth, it makes me feel better to do something, even if it is trudging along holding my stomach tight with one hand.

I also visited the farm since the weather is gorgeous. There, I made the mistake of going into a dusty room. I had to flee quickly down some stairs and to my waiting water glass, but was still really near a cough attack. I barely made it home, where I am now resting and not planning on anything else more exciting than to finish my book, grabbing some dinner from the fridge and watching several episodes of "CSI."

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is this flower?

Found this next to a few of the old graves at the cemetery.
It looks planted, though. Does anyone know what it could be?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

First outing since the surgery

(Photos by Albie Yuravich)

After Albie ran off to the store without me today, I got angry. I have been locked up in the house for almost two weeks now, with just one exception - a trip to Walmart on Friday to pick up a prescription. So when he got back from the store, Albie said "would you like to go for a ride?"

Of course, I had tons of questions. Where? ("It's a surprise.") Is it far? ("No.") Will it involve tons of walking? ("No.") Will there be other people there, i.e., should I get changed? ("Probably not.")

A few minutes later, we arrived at... a cemetery. Brilliant.
"Just wait until I tell people about this on my blog," I said, while slowly trying to crawl out of the car.

Turns out it's the oldest cemetery in Naugatuck, dating back to the 1790s. We walked around for a bit and looked at all the graves, thinking up stories of the families that lay beneath. All in all, it was pretty fun, and I got myself some of that fresh air everyone is always raving about.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My first real crush

The movie “Never Been Kissed” has always been one of my favorite chick flicks. I watched it again just the other day, as it is the perfect way to take my mind off a healing abdomen.

First off, Michael Vartan is extremely cute. Secondly, watching an undercover reporter (Drew Barrymore) go back to high school and make a fool of herself – resulting in flashbacks to awkward moments of her real high school past – reminds me of my own teenage years.

I, too, had ugly metal braces and unwashed hair. I, too, survived moments that are just too embarrassing to talk about.

Don’t worry – this isn’t going to be a story about my first kiss at 14 – that refugee from Kosovo I kissed one evening barely deserves a mention, that’s how memorable it was. No, this is the story of what got me through personal pronouns, equations and Greek mythology – it’s a story about my first real crush.

I was 13, and my grandfather had just died. I stopped taking violin lessons, since every stroke of the bow reminded me of him. I stopped eating bread, since he was the one who usually made it. I stopped going to school. I pretty much stopped doing anything, for at least a month. Then, with help from family and friends, I picked myself up and started my life over.

In June 1991, I graduated sixth grade – the first graduation I could remember without my grandfather by my side. Later that summer, we took our first family trip without him as well (to Greece to visit my cousin).

When we got back, I spent most the summer at my aunt’s house. She talked to me about gay people and alcoholism. We looked after horses and kittens. I developed a joy of writing.

I started school that August as a different person.

The man who walked into our new classroom that first day of school was both comforting and intimidating. He was handsome and cute. He was young, yet adult-like. He had blonde, curly hair and sparkling blue eyes. When he looked at me and smiled, everyone else in the world disappeared. It was just the two of us, and nothing else mattered.

I could look at him for hours. I loved to listen to him talk. His voice was soft, yet determined, and he was so mature and so smart.

There was just one problem: He was our homeroom teacher.

When I confided in my closest friends, they told me I was insane. But I didn’t care. Nothing could stop me from dreaming.

And boy, did I spend many nights dreaming about him. And days, too. It turned into an obsession. It was a mind game of “what ifs.” What if I were just a few years older? What if something happened on the upcoming school trip? What if he liked me too? What if he was more than just my teacher?

Unlike “Never Been Kissed,” however, I wasn’t actually a 25-year-old posing as a student. I really was a student. And unlike the movie, the teacher never had a thing for me.

This man didn’t give me my first kiss. What he did give me, however, was help and support to get through those very tough years when my grandmother and I were all by ourselves, trying to figure out how to live our lives.

He was a smart guy, and he could hear my cry for help. Over the phone, he spent many evenings mentoring me in math, and whatever subject I was having trouble with. "You call me when you need to, OK?" he would say.

He would always ask “how are things at home?” and I would always say “fine.” They weren’t always fine, of course, but just the fact that he was asking – the fact that he cared that much about me, meant the world to me.

We kept in touch sporadically as I moved away and started going to my media school. I sent him articles I had written – sometimes I’d call for moral support.

Then three years after our ninth-grade class had parted ways, we had a mini-reunion – just the 24 kids from our class and our teacher. I was dreading it – one of my friends was avoiding it altogether. Another friend and I loaded up on booze to get us through the night.

But it wasn’t as bad as we thought. We had dinner, and our former homeroom teacher spoke to us about what it was like to have his first class at age 22. We were his first – and his only class – that he had for three years in a row. He would always remember us, he said.

After everyone had had their share of drinks, the dancing began. I saw the teacher ask for a special song. “Number four on this CD is very good,” he told the DJ and walked away.

A few minutes later, Jon Bon Jovi’s “Always” started playing from the speakers. The dance floor emptied quickly. I was getting a glass of water from the kitchen when he came up to me – me, of all people – took my hand and led me out onto the dance floor.

It was more of a very long hug than an actual dance. We stood there, in the middle of the dance floor, holding each other, as all the former classmates were watching. Some of the “cool” girls – with disgusted looks on their faces – walked outside to smoke, pretending to be indifferent.

That’s when I realized it: I wasn’t the only one who had felt what I did about this man. Some of the other girls had also been in love with him - I could tell from their jealous looks through the window. But he chose to dance with me.

“I will be here for you,” he whispered as we held each other. “Always.”

It was the only time he danced that night. I felt like the only girl in the world.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A bad mom

Sophie spent about half an hour today stuck between our outside door and our screen door. The space is about three inches, but apparently big enough to fit a skinny cat.

When I went to close the outside door, I simply did not see her. It was dark, she is mostly black. And she hadn't even been on the main floor for hours, so I had no reason to look for her. Apparently, she had been sitting right inside the door - in the dark - just hoping it would open so she could go outside.

The small thump didn't even make me realize anything was wrong. I turned on the outside light to see what may have been on our patio - there was nothing.

As I sat back down to watch "Say Yes to the Dress," I heard some distant meowing.

"We're all down here," I yelled. "Just come join us."

Pip, our other watch cat, was sound asleep on his tower. Well, if he's not too worried, I'm not too worried, I thought.

As the show was over and I got up - slowly - t0 get some water, I heard the distant meowing again. It sounded tiny, and very sad. I walked toward the kitchen and heard it again. Strange.

Then I ran over to the back door and pulled it open, and out jumped a small cat - scared but unscathed!

Uh-oh, I thought. PETA will definitely make a visit to our house now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yellow lilies

These are the second to last ones to bloom from the Asian lilies mix. I have one more plant with as many as four buds on it (!!!) that I am eagerly awaiting the flowers from.

Then, of course, I have the stargazing lilies from last year, coming up around the corner (unless they get murdered by the trimmer before then). They should be showing off four white and pink flowers pretty soon!

Kitties outside with mommy

Tomato update

Back patio - too much water (rain).

Front porch - not enough water (covered).

Kitchen window - flourishing.

As you can see, I haven't done much with the tomato plants since I separated them into pots and stuck them in various places around the house. I didn't have much hope that any of them would actually survive. Therefore, I didn't heed the advice I got to separate them further - one plant per pot. What's the point? I thought. They're all gonna die anyway.

The plants in the kitchen are actually the only ones growing. But I don't know how long it will take before they out-grow this tiny window. What will do I with them then?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remembering the King of Pop

My friend Jenny and I were walking to a local lake, a trip through the woods our whole class often took during biology to study live things in nature. We were 13 or 14 at the time. The path was narrow, and Jenny was walking in front of me.

“I don’t get it,” I told her while stepping over some rocks. “Michael Jackson is contradicting himself. He sings that ‘it don’t matter if you’re black or white,’ yet he must have felt that it really mattered since he went through all that trouble to change himself.”

“Well,” Jenny replied. “I think he is just really confused about who he is. Maybe he thought it mattered, but now he’s not so sure. That’s why he sings ‘Who Is It?’ I think he trying to say he doesn't know who he is anymore.”

The follow-up single where Jackson sings about “lying to myself” didn't gain as much popularity as his hit “Black Or White,” but it was still worth discussing.

We were too young to have properly enjoyed “Bad” and “Billy Jean.” But “Black Or White” was playing every day on MTV, and the other soon-to-be hits from Jackson’s “Dangerous” album followed.

Our teenage discussions would continue. Who was Michael Jackson? What was this big star really all about? I’m not sure we ever settled on a good conclusion back then. It was before any of us knew how to use the internet, and it was before any of the sexual abuse allegations came to light. To us, Michael Jackson was just a good guy who wrote cool songs and did some funky dance moves.

Now – with the help of Google – I can tell those who don’t already know that Michael Jackson has been inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame – twice – and he has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. He was given the Living Legend Award at the 35th annual Grammy Awards. His 1982 album “Thriller” remains the best-selling album of all time.

But Michael Jackson was so much more than just a singer and songwriter. Despite constantly changing his appearances with plastic surgery, he broke the color barrier and helped raise awareness for HIV/AIDS on an international scale. Through his music, he also tried to bring awareness to homelessness and drug use. He gave donations to burn centers after an accident on set in the 1980s, and he started the Heal the World Foundation as well as gave money regularly to 38 other charities.

Sure, he owned a $100 million ranch in the middle of nowhere and a couple of million-dollar mansions here and there. He may also have made secret recordings before he died to provide for his three children, recordings that will now make millions after his death. And he was eventually acquitted of all molestation charges made against him over the years.

But there’s no arguing this: Whether you like his music or not, Michael Jackson really was a living legend.

Wordless Wednesday

Random reading. A pile of books on a fire hydrant in New Haven - nobody was around, and nobody knows how they got there.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Trying hard not to cough

I've been trying very hard not to cough this past week. Three times, it slipped out anyway (yeah, that's about every other day). Two of those times were today. Good thing today was a good day.

They say holding a hard pillow against your stomach will help support your scarred area and will reduce pain. I've seen nothing to support that theory. Tried it in the hospital - never worked.

The first time at home I couldn't stop myself from coughing - and believe me, after you cough once you'd do anything to never have to do it again - it felt like knives tearing at my stomach from the inside, slowly ripping up the stitches, one by one. The second time was about as bad, but since I didn't have time to grab a pillow (I was in the bathroom), the knives were tearing from side to side making me almost pass out.

After each time, I'd check the stiches - still there. Everything was fine.

I coughed for the first time just a few minutes ago, resulting in a loud scream and severe pain. This time, I had been pushing my over-expanded belly inward extra hard for super support, but I ended up crouched over as it felt like a giant fist was punching me from the inside of my uterus and made a huge whole on the right side of my belly. Everying got hot - was that blood streaming down my legs? No. Again, nothing was wrong with my scar. It just felt like the fist was grinding away at it from inside for about 10 minutes.

The ice pack Albie came rushing upstairs with helped a bit. I still have to wait another two hours to take another painkiller. By then, it will be time for bed, and time for a new, wonderful day tomorrow.

One thing is for sure. I am never ever going to cough again.

Enjoying the lilies

The day after I got home from the hospital, three white lilies burst out in my garden. They are absolutely perfect! I can see them from my 2nd floor office and from the bathroom, and I am so glad I get to be home to enjoy them.

Today I asked Albie to go outside and photograph them. I've only made it out once so far, and I am trying to stay away from the stairs today to give myself a bit of a break. But they are lovely, aren't they?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The visits begin

"You didn't even throw up? I hate you!" a friend who came for a visit today exclaimed as she heard the whole surgery story. She's had four surgeries - two were similar to mine.

I know she doesn't really hate me, of course, since she came to see me despite her busy schedule - and on a holiday. She even brought me flowers from her mother's farm.

It's actually kind of good to hear now about all the things I should have been doing or should have been feeling. It makes me feel like this was a piece of cake. Of course, had someone asked me a day or two ago, I wouldn't have said that. But every day it gets a bit easier.

I had a lot of help to prepare for the surgery too. Many friends and co-workers who have had similar things done helped me prepare for the process - step by step. They told me it was a good idea to lose some weight and tone up my stomach muscles. They told me to stock up on prune juice, smoothies and pudding.

"Eat when they tell you to, because you'll get to go home sooner," one friend advised about the hospital stay. "You're not gonna feel like it - but just do it."

Another friend, who has had nine surgeries, said the key is to get out of bed and move around as soon as you are able to. "Hang on to the IV if you must, but just take a slow walk down the hallway," she said.

I thank all my friends for helpful advice and suggestions. I think it worked. I am out of bed, I am home, I am walking, eating and sleeping. Life's off to a great start!

A Twitter compilation

It was pretty easy for me to tweet about the whole hospital experience. I kept my cell phone by my side the whole time - except for the actual surgery and the boring three hours in recovery (although I snuck in a tweet when Albie stopped by to visit). Each time I had something to say, I just typed up a quick text message and it popped right up on my account for my "followers" to read.

Of course, I never had a chance to actually GO to the Twitter page to read my own tweets and others' since it was blocked by the hospital (as was Facebook and Victoria's Secret). When I got home I did, however, and I realized how much I had actually written. For those of you who don't tweet, here's a compilation of my detailed accounts from the surgery (with some spelling corrections):

July 1, 5:11 a.m.
ready to head to the hospital.

July 1, 8:19 a.m.
Nurses cant find veins for IV.

July 1, 1:19 p.m.
awake now.

July 1, 4:02 p.m.
Finally in my room after hours of waiting. No nausea. Just thirst. Want to go home!

July 1, 4:21 p.m.
Stupid hospital has blocked Facebook.

July 1, 7:12 p.m.
Alright. I'm bored. Can I go home yet??? I feel fine. Just don't like hospitals.

July 1, 10:04 p.m.
Just getting 2 sleep... nurse comes to check vitals. fall back asleep... IV starts beeping.

July 2, 12:19 a.m.
I wish the nurses would stop waking me up and just leave me alone!!!

July 2, 3:58 a.m.
How many times can they check my stomach - really?

July 2, 5:45 a.m.
Time for more morphine...

July 2, 7:01 a.m.
"Time for morning prayer"

July 2, 7:32 a.m.
Why do nurses insist on putting everything out of reach? Are they TRYING to be mean?
(A friend responded: "yes. it's in the job description.")

July 2, 7:54 a.m.
I've been given the OK to go home this afternoon. Yay!

July 2, 8:16 a.m.
Just took a wobbly walk in the hallway, hanging on to the IV.

July 2, 12:22 p.m.
I'm showered and ready 2 go home - just waiting 4 official discharge signature.

July 2, 3:35 p.m.
Home sweet home.

July 3, 5 a.m.
OK, time 4 a Percoset and chocolate pudding.

July 3, 12:30 p.m.
V. wishes she had the ipod, but her husband stole it back

July 3, 1:30 p.m.
OK, I'm bored. I can't lie down, cause then I can't get up. I can't sit, because then I'm uncomfortable. I can't walk; it takes forever.

July 4, 2 a.m.
V. took a shower all by herself and feels accomplished.

Feeling accomplished

It's amazing how something so simple as taking a shower can make you feel so accomplished. "I did it, I did it!" I yelled (softly, because I am still pretty weak) to my husband as I was toweling myself off.

Oh, how nice to finally wash my hair properly. Of course, the sticky gray glue still won't come off the millions of places on my body where I find it. Some places are too close to my scar to even try, but others - like my arms - I was able to scrub off.

I can't wait for the next day, and the one after that, to see how much better I will feel. It's all downhill from here!

Friday, July 3, 2009

What I hate the most

Not being able to get comfortable - in any position (sitting, walking, being in bed)

Stomach not able to catch up to things

Trying to sit down/stand up. My back, arms, legs are finally starting to suffer from having to carry all the weight my abdominal muscles cannot bear.

Feeling like crap as soon as I try to move. Painkillers were better at the hospital

Being bored. How many YouTube videos can you possibly watch in one day?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

All well - recovering at home

Prior to the surgery in the pre-op area - the worst part. This is where you wait for hours and the doctors and nurses all come to visit you and make you answer a bunch of questions over and over again. This is also where they try to insert your IV and they draw your blood (again) - that is, of course, if they can find any veins. I don't have any. They had to bruise up my left hand pretty bad before they got it working, because the veins in my arms all went into hiding.

This is what I had for breakfast/lunch today. Mostly, I just sipped the Ginger Ale and ate some ice cream and Italian ice since I was too nauseated from my walk in the hallway to look at any of the other stuff. Plus, I had already had the pudding and the Jell-O twice, and they were both way too sweet.

The IV stand with my pain-reliever pump - they disconnected the pain pump early in the morning, but the IV stayed on until about half an hour before I was leaving, when I forced them to rip the needle out of my hand so it could start to recover.

My IV, beautiful bracelet and a cup of ice - my best friend. Despite me not being nauseated at all, they refused to let me drink water for several hours. Instead, I had to lie in recovery for three hours listening to the mentally challenged woman next to me throw up several times. There had been some mix-up with the rooms. And the people across the hall, who were visiting someone with an infection, kept staring at me. It wasn't pretty.

The worst part was trying to get some sleep. Once I got to my room and drank two pitchers of water, the nurses were running in and out all evening and all night, constantly checking my temperature, my lungs and my blood pressure. As soon as I would be asleep, someone else would come knocking on the door, turn the lights up and come up with a reason to disturb me. Thank god I got to go home today.

The only thing I miss is the handles on the bed - they made it a bit easier to get up. If I lie down at home, I'll be there for hours. Which is where I'm gonna go next.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Grooming time!