For those that aren’t aware already, I have a condition known as sleep apnea. Before I get into the fun, I’ll give a little info on what that is:
Basically, it means that I stop breathing in my sleep & one of the side effects is gawd awful snoring. Which, for me, was more like gagging & choking in my sleep. Which, was never really “sleep”, because it is a constant battle of just falling asleep & the “snore” wakes you. It’s really your brain telling you OMG WAKE UP, YOU’RE NOT BREATHING! So, yea, you start walking around like a zombie, falling asleep in the middle of a conversation, and driving.. yea, that’s just plain scary. There are many nasty side effects to having sleep apnea.. it can cause your blood pressure to go up, cause you to either.. gain weight, or have a very difficult time losing it, and lead to your risks of diabetes (2), and heart disease. This is just naming a few. The good news is, they can treat this with a device called a C-Pap. That stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is a machine that has a hose attached to a mask you wear when you sleep, that pushes air into your face at a prescribed level to keep your air passage open. There are other treatments as well, including a dental device, and surgery.. all of which would be discussed with you when you have your sleep study & diagnosis follow up! For me, it was the C-Pap, and I have been using one for 4+ years now. My how the time flies. Now, on to the fun!
After a period of time, they like you to come in for additional sleep studies, especially if your condition seems to not improve or worsen with the c-pap, or you gain or lose a significant amount of weight. As I’ve had my machine for 4+ years, and Steve could still hear me snoring lightly through it (although, nothing like I used to), and I’ve been feeling more tired again lately, I contacted my sleep study doctor. They scheduled me for a study this past Friday night. This will be the 4th time I’ve had to go through this in the past decade, give or take a year. At least, now that this is my 4th time, I know what to expect, and I’m used to sleeping with my mask on. It’s still not a comfortable time falling asleep, and if you’re not a “back sleeper” it can be even more difficult to fall asleep. They ask you to stay on your back while you spend the night sleeping in their facility. I’m not so much a “back sleeper” as I am a “tosser turner”, side, back, side, side, back.. and so on. If I stay too long on one side or on my back, it starts to hurt, I wake up, roll over, and fall asleep. Sometimes, I don’t even know I’ve done it. So, staying on my back all night, did not add to my best level of sleep.. and neither did any of this…
So Many WIRES
What you don’t see.. is the belt strapped around me, under my arms, & around my waist.. which has wires pulled thru, from my legs & chest.
And MORE Wires..
And to complete the look.. my very own face mask that I wear every night.. only, I don’t usually include the wires.
So, I slept on & off for the next 6 hours, and they woke me up at 5am, removed the wires, had me fill out my exit interview paperwork, and left me to shower. Yes, thank goodness, they have one. Because.. this..
Red from tape..
In that last photo.. they had taped a small microphone to my neck, to listen to any snoring. The tech ripped off the tape, much like one would rip off a bandaid really fast. My neck is still red.. and sticky.. and I’ve been scrubbing it, and using oil on it to break up the sticky mess. Hopefully I get it all by tomorrow.
In the end, my night’s sleep wasn’t as bad as previous sleep studies that I’ve done.. but I think, again, that part of that is because I’m used to sleeping with a mask already. But, it still wasn’t a “perfect” night’s sleep. Glad I have a 3 day weekend to finish getting “un-sticky”. Thankfully, a friend & coworker, who also is a licensed cosmetologist, was able to tell me some products to use to help me remove the junk from my hair, that seemed to work very well. I recall it taking a LONG time & a couple of days to clear my hair before, and I’m pretty sure I got it all this morning. Thank you so much for that!
I hope you enjoyed seeing me in all my ridiculousness, and maybe learned something too.
P.S. – I could totally do a post on how comical (or maybe it’s not really that funny) it is that the office administrator doesn’t understand how our insurance works. Can you say.. blue in the face? Wow..
So, there I was, moments ago, having a typical early morning conversation.. with myself. I don’t know where the voice comes from, or how the thoughts decide to arrive, but there they are, and it’s like I’m truly trying to have a conversation about whatever topic has been planted in my head. It’s a bit awkward, when my family is awake, and they are hearing me thru the bathroom door, mumbling, and wondering who I’m talking to. This morning, it was the reality of how I’m not truly living. I’m merely existing in this world, getting by, day by day. A means to an end. In my heart & in my mind.. I would have been.. an artist. A musician. A writer. I am NONE of the above. I lost imagination & creativity when I hit junior high school. I blame society for this, putting pressure on children to “grow up”. It’s true, as a child, I was never artistically talented, but it didn’t stop me from joining choir, and singing my heart out, even if it was off key and horribly bad. I even took a stab at drawing. Let’s just say, that didn’t last long. I was one of the so called, “smart kids”, put in special classes for advanced thinkers. It ruined me. Or, I should say, it killed my inner child, who was.. really, still.. just a child. Not that I didn’t still enjoy school, but had they not stopped my creativity, who knows where I might have taken my life? Maybe I would have been an artist, or musician, or writer, but now, we’ll probably never know. My saving grace, is reading. I love to read, and it’s an escape into another world. When you can visualize what you read, and sit there laughing, crying, or screaming, and your family wonders what is going on, you get the weirdest looks when you explain, it was just something you read in the book you’re reading. Thankfully, I think my youngest daughter gets this. She shares my love of books, and we share most of the same books.
So, I’m rambling again. I meant to go on about my own children, and how proud I am of what they are becoming, regardless of what expectations are put on them by society. I want them to follow their dreams, and their passion. You like art, I will happily buy you art supplies.. paint, brushes, pencils, paper, canvas, beads, styrofoam, whatever you want to work with, that you can express yourself with. They both love music.. and would both LOVE private music lessons. Sadly, this I cannot afford. They both took a year of piano in high school, and wish they could continue taking lessons, and that is just not something I can do. Marissa has shown interest in many instruments (much as I’d have liked to learn while growing up as well), and for about 6 months, taking guitar lessons in a group setting. While she’d still prefer piano at this point, I’m thrilled that the adult education classes in our town offered this inexpensive intro to guitar class. For only $45.00, she received 12 hours of lessons in a small group setting. She’s done 4 sessions like this, and we plan to do more. Alex took cake decorating classes from Wilton, also offered through our adult & community education classes. That ended up costing a LOT more than we’d have thought, due to the extras you always end up having to buy. But, at least it was spread out over several months.
I don’t understand why the schools push these kids to choose their career path, when they are 13 years old. Before high school, they have to decide a career path, in which they will plan out their 4 years of high school & required core classes in order to graduate. Alex chose “the arts”, and that wasn’t too bad, her electives were one she truly enjoyed, but her other core classes she was required to take, were beyond what she will likely ever need. They did it as though she planned to attend a 4 year or more college, and she doesn’t even know if she will do that yet. She’s basically been miserable most of her 4 years of high school, and it’s just sad. Marissa, having a love of animals, thought she’d like to be a veterinarian some day. So, her classes include electives in the agriculture field. She misses chorus. There’s not enough time to fit it in her schedule, since she is not in the arts. She has so many wide and varied interests, she can’t fit all the classes she’d like to take in her 4 years of high school. But now, her 2nd year in, she’s not sure if she really wants to be a vet, just because she loves animals. But she is stuck taking those courses, or if she changes them, will not have the core credits she needs to graduate, due to the electives she is forced to take by choosing a career at the age of 13. This, is RIDICULOUS. I want my children to be children. I want them to enjoy what they are doing, and have fun. They have time to grow up later. When I got to high school, we were required our core classes of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. We also had health & gym. Anything else was pure elective. Yes, prior to this, I’d been enrolled in extra classes for the so called “smart” students. I decided to ditch that, and try to have fun in high school. I may have lost my creative spark, but I enjoyed high school, because I got to do things that I wanted to do. I had all the credits I needed to graduate, and room for some fun too. Now, there’s no room for fun. And that’s just sad. I’m trying my best to make sure that my girls have some creative outlet, but it’s not always easy. I work much too far from home to have anything but weekends available. And weekends is when I catch up on laundry, shopping, cleaning, and being taxi service to my kids when they need to go to the allergist, guitar lesson, friend’s house, or art supply / book store run (because, of course, we live in a town that has NOTHING, and we have to travel 20 miles this way, or 30 miles that way, to get to anything.) I blink, and I’ve missed the weekend. If I’m lucky, I’ve done something good for my family.. but I’m always left out of that. Back to my sentiment.. I’m merely existing. I just hope that my children are able to find their passion, and do something with it. In my heart, I still dream of being a musician, or a writer. But I can’t read music, and I swear I’m tone deaf.. and to write, well, you see how I ramble. Rambling, does not equal “writing”.
To my children, follow your heart, and follow your dreams, no matter what they say. Life shouldn’t be about simply existing, but truly, living.
Ok, so my hubby, who I’ve been married to for 23.5 years, and dated 4 years of high school prior, is not a cat person, at all. I’ve had cats, don’t get me wrong.. I love them. We had adopted 2 kittens right after we got married, before we had our first apartment. I was gutted when they were gone. He is a dog person.. me, not so much. They are ok, I don’t hate them, I just don’t love them like I do the kitties.
We were without cats intermittently, as some places we lived, didn’t allow them, and that was the hardest. And then found out my oldest child was allergic to cats, we kind of tried to not make her allergies worse by having them for awhile..
My youngest daughter was in kindergarten, when I was working for a friend who sold stuff on ebay, and they had a warehouse that they rented & worked out of. We had a feral cat that lived there, she was super friendly, we named her, fed her, and cared for her, my friend & I. She started getting fatter.. and we realized she was pregnant. She had the kittens in the warehouse, and we cared for them from the time they were born. When they had their eyes open, and were moving about, I was worried they would get out, and get hurt from the traffic, or other animals in the area. I brought them home, with momma kitty, 4 in all. I told hubby.. we’re “fostering” them, until we can get them fixed, and find them homes. Momma got fixed first, and when she was able to be removed from the kittens, she was happy to be back at the warehouse, but my friend eventually took her to her home, where she had a farm, and she loved it there. The 3 kittens remained with me, and the kids had named them, and loved them, and yea, we never got rid of them. Hubby reminded me constantly, we were supposed to be finding them homes. (Never happened.) Youngest is in 10th grade now, so my oldest kitties are now about 10 years old. There are only 2 left, the 3rd one became very ill, and had to be euthanized. =( I wasn’t home for this, nor were my children.. hubby had to run her to the vet, he gave me daily reports until the day that he found her in such bad shape, he wasn’t sure he’d be coming home with her. He called to say he held her as they gave her the needle, and she died in his arms, and he actually cried for her. A cat he never wanted, and reminded me constantly that we weren’t supposed to be keeping.
Forward a couple months.. we found a stray that was much too small to be away from it’s mom, but it was outside our house, crying, and we took her in. She ended up dying about a week-two later, and it was very hard on the girls, after having lost the other one. My oldest bawled, and said she never wanted another cat again, she kept losing them. (The one that had to be euthanized just a couple months prior, had been “hers”.) But, this tiny orange kitty that they’d named Sherbert had won hubby’s heart from the moment we introduced them, and she loved all over him. When she died suddenly, he was upset too, but then he said maybe it was fate, and he had something to show me. He took me to his computer and pulled up an email from a day or 2 prior, and there had been a co-worker with 2 orange kitties that they had found and were caring for, but couldn’t keep due to severe allergies. He asked me if I wanted him to bring them home. I was shocked, that he would even consider it. We had 2 cats still that he still never wanted, and the 2 we lost tragically, and he is asking if he should bring home 2 more. So, he did. And they were HIS. He loved them so much. Go figure, it took an orange kitty to break him. Forward a couple of years, he has been looking at videos on youtube of kitties. Fluffy balls of fur that are very chatty- the breed – Maine Coon. He had to have one. He searched and searched, and finally found one, and BOUGHT a kitten. BOUGHT. We have never purchased a cat before, they have all been “rescues”, but he was set on this. So yea, It took me about 20-25 years, but I think I finally can say, he is a “cat person” now. And we currently have 5 of them- the 2 we have left that we rescued from the warehouse, the 2 he took in from the co-worker, and the Maine Coon he bought. Daughter is still allergic, but we keep them mainly in our basement / family room, to keep them away from where she sleeps. She is way more allergic to dogs than cats now though, and they don’t bother her too much, unless she spends a LOT of time with them over a few days. She loves them though, and doesn’t care if they do trigger her allergies some.
No, he doesn’t like cats. Not at all.. riiiiight.
He has a very comfy lap made for two.
Newest fur baby, Lacy.
4 of 5 kitties approve.
My Tiger kitty.
For those that already know what I’ve been going thru the past month, feel free to skip over this post.
I lost 25 pounds in 2 weeks! Awesome, right! No.. as much as I need to & want to lose this weight, I truly don’t recommend the way I went about it. It all started about a month ago, almost exactly, and it goes like this…
It was Friday, August 10th. I was at work, and feeling less than wonderful, nauseous, and clutching my side from time to time, yet again. This has been going on for probably 2 weeks, steady. Not to mention, the past 6 months or so of it happening on/off. This particular day, I was really feeling it. One of my sweet co-workers looked at me, and knew, I wasn’t right. She told me.. call the doctor.. I’m not leaving your desk until you do. So, I did. Being it was a late Friday afternoon, of course I couldn’t get in there, but they told me to call in the morning to let them know I was coming. I let my friend at work know what they said, and promised her, I would go in, even though I was meant to take my children back to school shopping that weekend. I figured, get in early, get done, come home, and go shop till we drop for new clothes for my 2 teens that were going on threadbare & ill fitting clothes that needed badly replaced. I’d been preparing for this trip for a while and I was ready.
Saturday morning, August 11th. I get to the dr’s office, and the doc examines me and I burst into tears from the pain when he touches my middle. He said, “you’re going to the ER for imaging, it’s the only way to get quick imaging on the weekend. I’ll call them to let them know you’re coming. Can you drive yourself?” I told him yes, I drove there, and no way was I leaving my car behind. I get to the ER, which, as usual there is a wait. They get me back into an exam area and decide to get me into a breezy gown and hook me to an iv, give me pain meds and run some tests. The tests are not looking good for my gall bladder. So, they want to run a nuclear test.. which, I can not have pain meds in my system, so they stop giving me anything for awhile & I’m stuck in ER for hours waiting it out. Finally, I get to nuclear medicine, and they tell me it’s 90 minutes laying on my back on a table.. the first hour just normal type imaging, the last 30 minutes, a drug will be given that will cause my gall bladder to simulate a fatty meal being digested. I thought I was going to vomit the nothing on my stomach when that 30 minutes took place. It was bad. As it turned out, my gall bladder was only working at 11%, and the docs decided, it had to go. Admitted to the hospital.
Sunday, August 12th. Met with the surgeon, signed the papers, went to surgery around noon. Woke up about 2 hours later, and told that my liver didn’t look normal, so while he was in there, he took a couple of biopsies. “Honestly, your liver looks like cirrhosis of someone who’s been drinking heavily for 40 years”. Ok, take a step back a moment here.. I’m only 42, and I almost NEVER drink. Not that I haven’t ever.. but it’s very rare, even in my younger years.. I don’t like getting sick from getting drunk, and it’s happened about 5 or so times, and that’s more than I care to think about. I can buy a 6 pack of wine coolers and they last me 6-9 months. Suffice it to say, surgeons have NO bedside manner. He also wouldn’t explain what any of this meant, only saying that they were waiting on the biopsy, which would be a few days, and that I’d need to see a GI specialist. He would say no more on the matter of my liver.
I ended up remaining in the hospital until Wednesday, August 15th. The whole time I was there, I was in PAIN. If there weren’t drugs in my system, I was miserable. Sometimes, I was miserable even with the drugs. I couldn’t eat much, I started out on liquids, and moved up to soft foods, but could only manage tiny portions before I felt full, or sick. I couldn’t lay down from the pain, so I was sitting in bed to sleep, sitting up. I’d be up out of the bed by 5am, in the chair next to my bed, because it was easier to sit in than the bed. I’d sit there until 10 or 11pm when I thought maybe I could fall asleep, sitting up in the bed. As the days dragged on, they poked & prodded me, left me bruised beyond belief, and told me I had to work my lungs with this damn tube to breath in, because of the swelling near my lungs, I was very near pneumonia. Basically, I was hating life. I finally was allowed to go home on that Wednesday.. my fever had broke for about 24 hours, and my numbers on my labs were going in the right direction for them to feel it was fine to send me home. I was given discharge instructions, to make a follow up in a week, but to call or come in if I had excessive pain (which, I was still in excessive pain, so didn’t see the point in that) or had a fever of 100.6 or more. So, Thursday, 1 day after discharge, I started developing a fever. The only meds I was given on discharge, was for pain, to last about 5 days, then I should be able to manage with OTC pain meds. My fever kept going up & down each day. Friday I called for my follow up on Monday, and told them of my fever which had just reached 100.6. I was told then, if it goes over 101, call back or come in. Ok. It got to 101.5, so I called again Friday night, to the surgeon’s call service, and whoever that yahoo is that answered the phone, better hope I never find out.. or better yet, hope Steve never finds out, or he’s going to need a new asshole. “You called earlier today, right?.. Well, honestly, you don’t sound distressed or in pain, you’re not talking about nausea, vomiting, and you sound pretty ok. And I find that temps at home are notoriously wrong. But if you think you need babysat for your temperature, please let me know and I’ll call the ER to let them know you’re coming in.” I practically hung up on him, and was in tears. Steve was livid and was about to call back, and I begged him not to. I just said, I’d go in on Monday for my follow up, we just had the weekend to deal with, it’d be fine. I was miserable the entire weekend. Although, my oldest child drove us around town to do back to school shopping, and she pushed me in a wheelchair that Khol’s had, while the other child pushed the cart around. We filled up the cart, and rolled all of us into the fitting room, and I was provided a fashion show. Spent $400 that weekend, but got nearly all they need until winter.
Monday, August 20th. Arrive at the wound care center in the hospital for my follow up. In horrible pain, still running a fever. End up in tears when they touch my middle to look at the bruising that is still covering my entire belly from the bellybutton down and solid purple across the whole thing, like a plum. Trust me, I don’t think you’ve ever seen a bruise so big, and so ugly. No, I did not take pictures.. tho I was tempted. They told me, this is not normal for recovery, and you need more tests. Unfortunately, the only way to do it, is to go thru the ER again. UGH! They were even more busy. I had my appt. at 1pm, and was in the ER by 2pm. I wasn’t even called back to a room until around 5pm. I was taken to nuclear medicine again.. only, no gall bladder left, so that nasty last 30 minute part is a non issue. Just the fact that I still can’t lay down post-op, and the need me to lay on the table.. that sucked. I’m finally told I’m being re-admitted for complications.. and they are just waiting for a room for me.. I never got a room until 10pm. I was in ER for 8 hours. Awesome. So, the lovely nurse on my floor comes in to see me around 11pm. She is having computer problems and trying to get help with that so she can help me. She is giving them hell (she is in my room on the phone at the roll out computer cart they have) because she wants to be helping ME, not trying to fix a computer. She decides to just skip the computer mess and just treat me. She offered me a “benadryl cocktail”, which is just benadryl in your iv.. it was even better than the pain meds they gave me.. I felt it as soon as it hit the iv.. my head felt like it was floating & I just could only describe it as feeling all.. disconnected. It also made my mouth go really dry, and I got a bit nauseous from it, but then, I was knocked it. Over the next couple of days, I was given more iv antibiotics, lots of blood work, pain meds, anti nausea meds, instructions to continue my breathing exercises as my lungs are still not fully working and they have to keep putting me on oxygen. They really don’t want another complication of pneumonia, and honestly, neither did I, so I tried my best to keep breathing, even tho it hurt like a sunuvabitch. I was discharged again, on Wednesday, August 22, which also happened to be the first day of school for my girls. They were already out of school by the time I was discharged and home. Well, not exactly home.. at a friend’s house, because it was the first day of school, and they BOTH forgot their house keys. I was discharged with similar instructions as the first time, but provided not only pain meds (because I was obviously still in pain, and would be out that day of any kind of pain meds they’d given me previously), AND an antibiotic. This finally did the trick. No more fevers. I saw the wound care center on Thursday, August 30th, and they said after the holiday weekend & the follow up with my GI, I could go back to work. I finally got to meet with the GI on Sept. 4th, and resumed work, Wednesday, Sept. 5th.
Over the course of the last 2 weeks of being re-admitted, and cleared for work, I’ve had very little appetite.. I fill up fast, or still get nauseous from eating, or what I do eat, just runs right thru me. Hence, the losing of 25 pounds, seemingly effortlessly. On top of all of that, I started having pain in my left leg & hip just days prior to returning to work. I ended up making an appointment with my chiropractor who is just a couple miles from my job, on my first day back to work. From being laid up and the positions I’ve had to be in, my hip and locked up with bursitis. It hurts immensely. I’ve seen the chiro twice now, and she wants to see me at least 2 times in the next week as well. Ice ice ice, and stretch it out as I can. I am almost walking ok again, with some pain still, but not excessive as it was. I can come down the stairs semi-normally, but I can not go up them normally with both feet.. I have to go up on the right, and drag the left up. I just can’t put my full weight on my left leg to push myself up the stairs, or my leg tries to buckle out from under me.
I will say, I’m very glad to be back to work. I missed being there, and around the people there. I HATE the ride to & from work, especially with my hip right now, making the long time in the car or truck unbearable. The first night coming home was almost 2 hours in the car, and at an hour & 15 minutes in, tears were welling up in my eyes from the pain of not being up to move. I hope next week goes better.
I see my general doctor on Monday. Should be an interesting visit.. she hasn’t seen me since before all this mess happened. When I went to my dr’s office the day before I was admitted to the hospital, she wasn’t in, I saw the dr. that was there for that day for walk ins. I know that 1)I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in a short time (and this was absolutely the worst way of it happening), and 2) my blood sugars have continued to go DOWN. Which, is kinda good.. but it’s mostly because I can barely eat. I don’t know about my blood pressure.. it seems to be low whenever anyone else has checked it the past few weeks.. even on days when I haven’t taken my blood pressure meds. Some things may be changing with this visit. One things for sure, I’m making changes for my life. I do not want to have to ever go back in the hospital again. With the diagnosis on my liver, I’ll be eating better, getting more exercise, losing weight, and never drinking again (which was never an issue for me in the first place). This is the new me.
Alex’s photos were so hard to choose from. In the end, I picked the drape for our package. I decided to order 3 other poses to make a collage, and I am just getting 1 5×7 of those and then if I need to get copies later, I can. Oddly, 2 of the 4 pictures I chose, were not in the poll..lol. Here’s the final 4…
As much as she didn’t care for the toothy smiles, I decided to go with 2 of them, because I think they look nice, and it shows off her braces that she’s had for years now, and will be rid of in just a couple of weeks. I haven’t officially placed our order yet, but I have the form filled out, I just need to mail it in.
So, a week ago, Alex had her senior class portrait taken. There’s about 15 poses between 4 outfits. Of those, I’ve widdled it down to the “top 5″. The picture in the burgundy drape is required for the yearbook, burgundy & gold is the school’s colors. I actually like it quite a bit. In any case, I’m having trouble deciding which pose I’d like to buy as our “package”. I don’t have any polling software, so we’re going to fake it here, and you can simply reply with the one you like best (I’ll number them to make it easier!). These are the proofs, and contain the copywrite & watermark from the photography studio. Now, in no particular order: