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I'm not very good at it. But I'm trying. Here's what my neck meat looks like today:
My kids think the FrankenMom thing is funny. Me, not so much. But I'm getting lots of well wishes and a bunch of pretty flowers:
These from my sweet husband:
...and these from my wonderful co-workers:
And I'm getting lots of stern lectures from my bosses ("Get off your email!" "Go get some rest!) and from my beloved ("You need to take a Percocet and go relax!") and my friends and family "Shouldn't you be in bed?" as well as all kinds of interesting stories I'm generating while snowed on the aforementioned Percocet and Valium (apparently, Wednesday night I sat up in a panic and asked Scott if he had remembered to put the dinosaurs out... And Thursday night I'm told I rolled/slid/fell out of bed...) so at least I'm good for entertainment value!
But I can feel my left arm - the neck pain is improving a little each day - so I really can't complain!
It's all done - I'm artificially-disced - I'm told the procedure went perfectly. Still pretty sore in the area, but given the general brutality of the procedure I'm neither surprised nor worried. And my throat hurts quite a bit, but i imagine that's a direct result of having been intubated for 2+ hours and having all the important crap shoved out of the way for most of that time. Thanks to the Michael Jackson juice, I missed that part.
Check out the cool gizmo that's in my neck now:
It's pretty amazing, really. Came home to a huge vat of all my favorite flowers...
Got to sleep in my own bed last night (and slept like the dead thanks to the metric shit-ton of medicine in my system). I'm up and walking around today and I can feel my left arm again - and that's good enough for me. Even with the big ol' dressing and clot socks.
Thank you all for your phone calls and texts and prayers and thoughts and fingers-crossing and healing energies and all that jazz. I should be back to fully obnoxious in no time.
... i get my left arm back, at the expense of my pretty little neck meat. Let me explain, for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about.
For most of my 39 years, and especially since I've been a nurse I've done my very best to take care of my back and rmy neck. I've known way too many nurses that are crippled up with injuries they ended up with from taking care of other people and not themselves.
Along about February, I started having excruciating pain in my left shoulder blade and left tricep. At the time, I thought it was probably tension, so I waited for the rest and muscle relaxers and Motrin to do the trick. Not so much. Then I noticed that when I turned my head 45° to the left, a tingling numbness shot down my entire left arm. Cool. A pain in the ass, to be sure, but not intolerable. The neck pain was pretty substantial too, but whatever. I've had two babies with no pain medicine, kidney stones, bikini waxes... so I have a reasonably decent pain tolerance.
And then I noticed the weakness. Started to drop things with my left hand. Started to notice difficulty at work doing simple things like starting IVs and catheters. Not ok, so I decided to do the un-nursey thing and get it checked out.
Herniated disc with nerve impingement at C6-C7, they say, along with a less-serious bulging one at C5-C6. No injury, no known etiology, just an apparent propensity for degenerative discs.
So today, a very gifted neurosurgeon (incidentally, the very same one who did the very same procedure on Peyton Manning) is going to chop into the front of my neck, shove aside the important stuff, pull out the crappy disc, and plug in a fancy new artificial one. No fusion, just hardware. Supposedly, I'll be back to full function in a couple of days (which is good, 'cause I just don't have time to be bedridden) and hopefully that means I'll be able to feel and use my left arm like a normal person again. I'm pretty stoked about that, frankly. Nervous as shit, but excited.
So a few weeks ago I went to Houston on business, and Scott went along with me. Everyone stayed at the hotel our training was at, which turned out to be a newfangled hippie "back to nature" save the earth kind of place. In theory. What we actually found that to mean is...
We're too cheap to spend money on individual bottles of shampoo and conditioner, so we're going to put dispensers on the wall of the super duper water-saving shower stall (no tub, lest you waste precious water) and let you take it on faith that no sick bastard has peed in the dispensers.
We've got a really cool gas fire to help you relax and find your center...
And it's blazing around the clock... Even in triple digit stifling humidity.
We reserve special parking spaces for granola-crunching hybrid drivers.
If you want to save even more water, you can use a half-flush...
...which pretty much just means "dilute the pee."
All in all, it was a decent place to stay - but a really cheesy way to cheap out an older hotel and make guests think you're just trying to go green.
We flushed "full flush" every time. Sometimes twice. Just to make a point.
It's the one place in the world and the one week a year where I don't have to be anybody's boss, anybody's mom, anybody's nurse.... I just have to be somebody's ol' lady. And I love that somebody desperately.
I drink too much coffee and not enough water. I smile a lot and sleep a little. I'm a happily married mom of five great kids, two of whom pack my mitochondrial DNA and the other three of whom were part of the bonus plan that came along with their amazing father. I'm an ER nurse, a writer, an editor, a great cook, and the poster child for ADD. I'm a happy person, mostly - though my shrink says I have anger issues. I don't misspell, but I can't sing to save my soul, and I like big words, junk food, and antiques. And I hate ironing.