Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I. Am. Old.

Whoop-dee-doo I'm 40.  Yes, I am absolutely dwelling on the fact that as I enter "old age" I am confined to my recliner and using a walker.  I'm bored and impatient and feeling sorry for myself.  But, I'm feeling better overall.  I'm spending much more time reading and doing a jigsaw puzzle and organizing old photos than I am staring at the TV.  I really believed that my foot would be much better by now, but I have to keep reminding myself that it hasn't been that long.  I still have my sutures, I can't expect to be fully healed!

For my birthday I decided to get out of the house.  I've only been outside twice since surgery and both times were for doctor appointments.  I had to go to a place with wheel chairs or motorized carts so I chose Target.  There was one motorized cart left when we arrived and I climbed aboard while Gene pushed my walker around in a cart.  I have always thought the scooter carts looked really fun.  They are not!  I felt like a complete idiot, conspicuously puttering around the store.  I mean, the maximum speed on those things is snail, but people pretty much ran screaming out of my way.  It was a pretty humiliating experience.  I'm really glad I went on a Monday night when the store wasn't too busy because it was hard to get around.  I stuck to the wide aisles and doubt I could have maneuvered around the clothing areas.  Still, I am VERY glad that I got out for a little while and will do it again.  I reread that and it sounded kind of doom and gloom, but it was amazing to get out of the house and I had a great time.  I also had a great meal with Gene and the kids and the whole outing really lifted my spirits.

Moving on, I will be soooooooooo happy when the presidential election is over!  I've been spending way too much time on facebook and I can't believe the stuff people are posting.  The anti-Obama stuff some people are posting is terrifying.  I mean, I thought George W. Bush was a terrible president but I NEVER, EVER would have posted (or even thought) ANY of the stuff some of my facebook friends are posting multiple times daily.  Probably the worst offender is the wife of a pastor who believes herself to be a very good Christian.  The hate she spews is unbelievable!  Political cartoons and complaining about Obamacare and the economy are one thing, but it seems like a good deal of what some people are posting is ignorant hatred toward other religions and linking Obama with Islamic terrorists often based on nothing more than his middle name.  Get a grip, people!  I can't imagine being that full of hatred! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boo hoo hoo

If you can't take my whining, don't read this.  You have been warned. 

I am insanely bored. I have watched more TV in the past 6 days than I have probably watched cumulatively since my foot injury two years ago.  I have watched both seasons of Game of Thrones, the entire season of Honey Boo Boo, endless hours of Nat Geo Wild and Animal Planet and several movies.  I have spent more time on the phone than I can ever remember.  I had planned to read and write nonstop, but I've been so "fuzzy" from drugs and lack of sleep that I've only read a little and written next to nothing.  I haven't done anything productive such as balancing my checkbook.  I did knit my boss a potholder and let's just say I have no plans to knit anything else for anyone else. Ever.

As long as I am sitting upright in my chair with my foot on a pillow, I don't have much pain.  However, if I drift off to sleep and my foot rolls to one side or another, I jolt awake.  If I'm in bed, I have to lay flat on my back with my foot on a pillow.  Again, if I roll at all, I'm instantly awake from the jolt of pain.  I just don't sleep flat on my back. I think all or most of my pain comes from my incision sites and the pulling sutures on each side of my heel.  I still absolutely need my walker.  It hurts to walk, but if I don't have the support of the walker it's excruciating. 

I had my first post-surgical follow-up appointment yesterday.  The doctor was happy with my "progress" and how healing was going.  He told me to stay off my feet for another week.  I was completely disappointed, but honestly, at this point I would be incredibly uncomfortable driving around "car birding" and can't even imagine trying to walk around Walmart.  I can start to move around a little more to the point I can get up to get my own food and drinks.  I'm frustrated by what I still can't do, though.  I can use my walker and carry a plate at the same time, but moving my gallon-size pitcher of tea from the counter to the refrigerator is impossible.  I was able to gather supplies and make myself a bowl of microwave oatmeal, but I couldn't use the walker and carry the hot bowl to my chair.  It's just annoying.

I have been enjoying watching my feeder birds.  I have tons of chickadees and sparrows and cardinals.  I had my first ever red-breasted nuthatch and my first ever hairy woodpecker in the past few days.  I've seen plenty of both in the area, just never at my feeders.  My favorite feeder visitor has been a blue jay.  He has to be 6 times bigger than the chickadees he's sharing the feeder with. He just looks ridiculous :)  The birds (as usual) are saving my sanity.

The kids have been extremely helpful, fetching things and feeding pets and doing whatever needs to be done.  Scout the dog seems to be psychic in that EVERY time I struggle to stand up to go to the bathroom, he jumps on my lap.  Usually right when I'm moving my blanket to maximize tangling of said blanket, dog, surgical shoe and walker.  Tiger the cat likes to wait until I've just drifted off to sleep and then he steps his massive paws onto my abdomen and crushes my organs while kneading my flesh.  Then he gets comfortable and as soon as I fall back asleep he bites me (gently, but firmly) because I stopped petting him.  That tends to wake me up again.  LOL, I am not meant to sleep :)

Okay, I'll stop complaining.  The doctor replaced my massive bandage with a normal-sized one and then gave me a bandage cover so I can take a SHOWER.  I'm pretty excited about both of those things.  Today I plan to do something productive.  I will shower and balance my checkbook.  I have a doctor appointment at 11, so I plan to go through the McDonald's drive-thru and get a tea with lots of ice on the way home.  My big plan for once I can walk/sit in funny positions is to clean and declutter the entire house.  I will probably need the other 4-6 weeks I will have off work to accomplish this.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Finally Over

My surgery is finally over and done.  I fasted and survived.  My surgery time was pushed back from 8am to 10am to noon.  I arrived at the OSF Center for Health at 10:45am and was processed pretty quickly.  My nurse was excellent and placed my IV on the first try.  She talked and talked and talked and talked and did everything she needed to do.  I then sat and waited.  And waited some more.  And some more.  Gene left around 12:30 to get some lunch.  The doctor finally showed up right before 2pm.  I was fast asleep because the pre-op room isn't really meant for a 3 hour stay.  I had no tv or even a magazine.  What else was I supposed to do?

The first question out of his mouth was "Do you have a walker in your car?"  I was like "WHAT???"  I'm pretty positive I would have remembered if he had told me I needed a walker!  Seriously!  He sort of freaked out because his office closes early on Fridays and he had to track down one of his "girls" to meet Gene to get him a walker.  It was annoying and sort of typical of this doctor, but at least we didn't have to buy one.  I walked back to the OR and then got IV anesthesia that put me out immediately.  I woke up an hour later, still in the OR, but the surgery was over.  Whatever drugs they gave me were great!  I had a silly laughing fit while in recovery, but had no hangover whatsoever and was able to eat and drink almost immediately.  My foot had some kind of local anesthetic and didn't hurt at all.  I had to stay in recovery longer than I would have liked, but it was quitting time for the nurses and I had several people ahead of me and only one after me.  I finally left around 4:30pm.

It was weird and awkward to use the walker the first time, but the more I use it, the more I like it.  It is so, so much better than crutches!  I don't know if I'll only need it for the first week or if I'll have to use it longer.  My bandage looks like I have a mini basketball under my wrap.  It seems a bit extreme, but I guess it's necessary.  Until Wednesday, I'm only supposed to get up to use the bathroom.  Otherwise, I'm supposed to be either in bed or in my recliner with my foot elevated.  I'm also supposed to ice it regularly and I do, but the bandage is so huge I don't know how the cold is getting through.  The pain has been very manageable.  It only really hurts when I walk, and then it's mostly the incision sites and the pulling sutures.  I spent most of the day today watching movies and reading.  I'm sure I'll be bored half to death by Wednesday.  I have to keep it completely dry so I can't shower.  Otherwise, so far, so good.

Friday, October 19, 2012


This is just a post of whining because it's 4:30am, I'm awake for the day, I'm hungry and thirsty and I have to fast until after my surgery.  My surgery got moved from 10 to noon.  Ugh!  I'm terrible at not eating, but not DRINKING anything???  Gene should probably go hide somewhere this morning!  Not only will I be starving and thirsty AND nervous about surgery, the caffeine withdrawal will probably push me over the edge :)

I made the completely idiotic decision to watch youtube videos of my surgery.  That was quite possibly one of the most stupid things I've done in my entire life.  I'm not squeamish.  I watched and aided in hundreds of animal surgeries in my time at the vet's office.  I've sewn up dozens of dogs and cats following necropsy.  I've had the contents of cysts pop in my face.  I have never had any issue watching any surgery videos online or on television.  I was curious and didn't think it would be a big deal.  Until I saw the "pole" being roughly shoved through the entire width of the patient's heel...  And then later that day when my doctor was gently explaining the surgery and I was able to accurately visualize it? I wanted to throw up! So yeah, I don't care who you are or what you do for a living- wait until AFTER your surgery to watch the video! Seriously. (Not the pole, NOT THE POLE!!!!)

Whelp, I got nothin'.  My last few days of work were pretty good.  We did 16 week tiger cub vet physicals and the two biggest cubs each weighed 37 pounds!  They are growing so fast and are quite rambunctious.  I'm sad that I won't get to see them for at least 2 weeks.  They are still ridiculously adorable.  My cousin Patrick is on leave from the Navy and he came to the zoo yesterday!  That lucky dog just got stationed for 3 years at Pearl Harbor.  I may have to figure out a way to go visit.  And yeah, I'm completely ignorant of military terminology so I probably messed up something in those sentences.  Feel free to correct me.

Last night was Taste of Lindbergh at Kaylin's school.  The fundraiser dinners at the schools usually have terrible food, but this one is great!  We had McAllister's baked potato bar, orange chicken from Hy-Vee, meatballs from PV II, steak kabobs from Alexander's, ribs from Famous Dave's and frozen custard from Culver's.  We spent $20 on tickets, all 4 of us were stuffed and we even had three tickets left to grab some cookies to take home.  They also have a mini carnival and huge silent auction.  It was fun!

I suppose I should spend the next 6 hours doing something productive since I will have 5 days I can't move from this chair.  Good times, good times.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Still no carp, but a beaver!

Even though the temperatures this week were higher, the carp were no longer jumping and our carp shooting trip was cancelled until next summer.  Sadness.  Oh well, Saturday was rainy and dreary most of the day anyway.

My foot was hurting all week to the point I was barely sleeping at night because the pain kept waking me up.  Work was tough and I was really wishing I had just had the surgery on September 28th when the doctor originally offered.  Now I just have to hobble through this week and my surgery is supposedly on Friday.  I say "supposedly" because it seems like everything else has been postponed and cancelled so I'm terrified the surgery won't work out for some reason.  For the second week in a row, my "regular" doctor appointment for a pre-surgical physical was cancelled because my doctor was sick.  I now have to go on Monday during work.  Ugh.

Other than whining about my foot, it was actually a pretty good week.  I took Monday off to spend Columbus Day with the kids.  We have a tradition of going to Tanner's Orchard and then to the dink town of Bradford.  Two or three years ago, I was at the stop sign leaving Tanner's and turned right toward Bradford rather than left to go home to spend the rest of the day babysitting the neighbor kids.  We've gone back each year and this was at least our third or fourth year.  This year, both kids realized they are too old for most of what they used to love about Tanner's.  We had a good time tasting different spreads and dips and shopping for food, but they are too big to play in the pumpkins and on the little wooden train.  They enjoyed feeding the goats, but were completely fine with not paying to go on the playground that is really for smaller kids.  They are too big for pony rides and barrel train rides.  We got some good food and moved on to Bradford. 

After playing on the playground in the park for a while, we toured around the town to see what Bradford had to offer.  We found a pool and baseball field, the schools, several churches and the tornado siren.  Both kids were completely amazed by some old man burning leaves in the gutter in front of his house.  "He's starting a fire right on the street!"  They agreed that they'd like to live in Bradford, but wished it was a little closer to Peoria.  We took pictures with many of the Bradford attractions and I posted them in a facebook album.  It was a good day.

Tuesday night was the book fair at Logan's school.  They always have a chili supper, but the food is pretty awful and Logan wanted to skip it.  Gene took the kids and Logan actually found some chapter books.  I can't believe how much he's been reading!  He found a series of books called "American Chillers" that have a scary story about each state and he has been devouring them.  The kid who had us so worried two years ago is now a reader!

Friday morning Logan woke up coughing and sniffing nonstop.  He wasn't "that" sick, but he would have been annoying to have in class and since I was home anyway, I allowed him to stay home from school.  By about 11 we were both bored and itching to go outside.  We went down to Galena Marina to look for birds and other wildlife.  We scored!  We watched a pair of belted kingfishers, several great egrets, a family of mallards and a small flock of yellow-rumped warblers.  We hiked around the boat launch cove to the river when I looked back at the cove and saw a beaver swimming toward the boat launch area.  What in the world?  It was almost noon!  What was a beaver doing out?  We walked back around and the beaver was munching on a twig and half asleep and didn't care at all that we were watching from 10 feet away.  We got a good, close look at its flat tail and big teeth.  Well, that was unexpected!  Hopefully next time it will be an otter :)  We headed back home and set up all of our bird feeders.  It is time anyway, but I wanted them to be ready and the birds to be flocking to them before I spend a week down after my surgery.  I want to watch something other than just the tv.  We've already had at least 10 different types of birds at the feeders.  Logan wants to set up some kind of platform feeder so hawks can pick off the feeder birds.  I think that's the best idea ever- as long as the hawks are only picking off the house sparrows!

Saturday was rainy and dreary.  Kaylin went to a sheep shearing party with her friend Zoe and had a great time.  Gene spent the afternoon at work.  Logan and I ran a couple of errands and let a friend's dogs out while she was out of town for the day.  I then spent the entire afternoon sleeping.  I couldn't believe that I spent the final afternoon of my last day off before surgery sleeping, but I really needed it.  I even went to bed at my usual early hour.  Hopefully that will help me through the next 5 days of work.  I can do it!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

No carp. Boo.

It's been a tough week filled with major and minor disappointments for the entire family.  Wednesday morning I thought it was really odd that Willow the cat didn't show up for breakfast.  Kaylin and I were rushing out the door when I fed the pets so I didn't have much time to think about it, but usually she shows up at feeding time.  I had a busy day at work, followed by a meeting and then putting away animals late following a special event.  I didn't get home until 7:30 and Gene and Logan walked right out to my car to let me know that Willow was dead.  I'm guessing maybe she was hit by a car, but she didn't have any obvious signs of being hit and she already smelled bad enough that I didn't want to mess with her too much.  Willow did have some health issues, so I'm not sure what happened.  I didn't have her necropsied.  She was a great little cat and we all miss her :(

I'm sort of freaking out about everything I need to accomplish before my foot surgery in less than two weeks.  I've got mental (and paper) checklists for everything I need and want to do at work, home, for the kids, for the pets, for the doctor, etc.  Friday was my appointment with my regular doctor for a pre-surgical physical and bloodwork.  I found his new office and found that after being on the phone for at least 15 minutes, my appointment was never entered into the computer.  There was no sign that my ridiculous scheduling call had ever been made.  The lady at the front desk was surprised I even would have been scheduled because my doctor likes to do these appointments a week or less before surgery.  She worked me in for next Friday...  I had been all gung-ho about accomplishing all kinds of things on Friday, but that kind of zapped my spirit.  My foot was really hurting so I just went home for a while.  I get a lot done on Friday, though.  I found a 6 week supply of food for Paul the snake, washed (and put away!) four loads of laundry, got groceries, paid bills and did lots of cleaning.

Saturday morning, everyone was REALLY looking forward to our crossbow carp fishing trip.  Logan and I were so excited we barely slept.  We went to run some errands to kill time before our trip.  We stopped at Big Hollow Animal Hospital to look at kittens.  All were incredibly cute, but none were "the one" we were looking for.  We went to Moser's where I bought the ugliest pair of comfortable $130 walking shoes ever.  We then got a phone call from Kaylin to let us know that the fishing trip had been canceled due to the cool temperatures.  BUMMER!!!  We went birding at Forest Park Nature Center to ease our sorrows.  We did a short hike because my foot was really bothering me, but we saw lots of birds and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I also found the perfect bird feeder I've been looking for at their store, so that was nice.

I had been planning to take Kaylin on the Spoon River Drive next Saturday.  She loves craft shows and I figure that's the ultimate craft show.  Well, now we'll be carp fishing.  I hope...  I could have taken her yesterday, but my foot was bothering me so much I just couldn't deal.  Well, looking back on the weekend, not much worked out as planned, but I actually got a whole lot of work done and even had some fun.  I have a long work day today because I signed up to work late for a special event, but I have tomorrow off for Columbus Day with the kids.  They want to continue our Columbus Day tradition of Tanner's Orchard followed by a trip to Bradford.  Sounds like an adventure!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Total Bust

I work with more than 200 budgies.  Budgies = parakeets.  The zoo got the budgies to fill the aviary in the new walk-through Australia exhibit.  The zoo visitors loved the budgies, but as the mid-September night temperatures dropped well below 50F, the birds needed to be moved to their warm winter area.  I spent more than a week catching and transporting birds.  It was my life and I had budgies on the brain.  It made me want to go see the wild parakeets living in Chicago.

The problem is, I hate Chicago.  I mean, I love everything Chicago has to offer.  I love the sports teams and the great zoos and aquarium and the museums.  I love the parks and the beaches and to some extent even the shopping.  I hate the crowds and crowds of people and the traffic.  I hate the crazy drivers who repeatedly cut me off.  I really don't like the guy who suddenly slows waaayyyyy down on the highway so his buddy can lean out of the window to puke.  (Are you drunk too, jerkwad?)  I don't like paying $25 every time I park my car or driving for a mile with not one parking place.  When I wanted to see snowy owls last winter and Chicago was a sure thing, I drove about 8 hours farther to Duluth instead.  Chicago.  Ugh.

Anyway, I talked Meghan into going with me.  We decided to go on a Saturday rather than a Friday to beat the traffic.  We researched where to find the parakeets and found a site that pretty much told us EXACTLY where to go.  We went exactly where we were told, walked all over the park and- no parakeets.  I drove all over the neighborhood but there were no signs of the birds.  Oh well.  There is a guy who posts an almost daily entry on the birding website I visit about everything he finds at Montrose beach.  I've been wanting to go there forever.  Maybe we'll at least find something cool there!  Uh...   Surprise!  There was a HUGE cross country meet that was taking up pretty much the entire park.  The areas that weren't affected by cross country were overrun with youth soccer.  Ugh!  Not only was there nowhere to park in that gigantic area, there were sooooooo many people the birds probably all fled.  Seriously?  (I was happy to later find out that my bird guy was also taken by surprise by the huge cross country crowds.)  Well, birding was a bust.  We decided to go to Lincoln Park Zoo instead.  It was a good time as always.  We got to see a month-old baby zebra :)  When we left the zoo, I missed my turn onto Lake Shore Drive and was instead filtered onto Michigan Avenue where I was reminded once again about why I hate Chicago.  We poked along before FINALLY hitting a place I felt was a sure thing to get back onto Lake Shore Drive and I-55.  I-55 was smooth sailing both into and out of town, so I guess our massive fail in the finding birds department was at least somewhat helped by the lack of traffic.  I suppose if we had gone on Friday we would at least have been able to enjoy Montrose Beach, but it probably would have taken us twice as long to get home.

At home, Logan has been talking nonstop about getting a snake for his birthday.  He's been talking about it for a long time and instead of his interest fading, he's just been getting more and more excited.  I have a bit of crazy going because my foot surgery is a couple of weeks before his birthday and I feel like I need to get everything done and accomplished right now just in case I'm unable to do anything then.  Logan picked up on this fear and has been harassing me daily about shopping for a snake.  I work pretty regularly with the zoo's education snakes and while I would never pretend to consider myself a snake expert, I feel like I know and understand enough to have one as a pet.  I finally figured, what's the big deal?  I'll take the kid to get a snake.  I'm not sure how I feel about getting a pet store snake, but I did want a young one that we can condition to be used to being held.  I also wanted a snake that is considered a good "beginner" snake.  I was afraid that if I inquired at the herp meeting, I'd end up with 100 offers of free snakes that were all large and bitey and we'd end up never getting the snake out of its enclosure. 

We went ahead and got a baby corn snake last night.  It is adorable!  It's probably around a foot long, but I've seen fatter nightcrawlers.  It has a nice pattern and cool colors.  Its mouth is so tiny I hope that if it bites Logan it won't hurt much and he'll get over it quickly.  We didn't hold the snake much last night because it was already stressed about being put in a cup for the drive home.  Plus, it pooped all over the cup and then had to crawl through it.  I rinsed the snake, but snake poop smells BAD.  The snake's name is Paul.  LOL, Paul the snake.  Logan named it after his favorite White Sox player, Paul Konerko.  :)