Monday, October 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Well, after several weeks of not participating, I'm finally back! This week's worth of dinners is made up of meals that I made from the October menu at Dream Dinners. Dream Dinners is a meal assembly store, and I've found the meals to be healthy, DELICIOUS, inexpensive and very, very time-saving.

Monday: Herb Roasted Flank Steak
Tuesday: Peanut-Crusted Fish Fillet (leftover from Sunday)
Wednesday: Chicken with Sweet Ginger and Apples
Thursday: Moroccan Chicken with Pumpkin
Friday: Leftovers!!
For more meal ideas, go to Laura's new and improved blog!

Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway

Hooray!! It's time for Jendeis' first giveaway contest! For Shannon's Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway, I'll be giving away a $25 gift certificate to iTunes. Just think of how many great songs or audiobooks you can download to your iPod!

In order to participate, please post a comment below before Friday, November 2nd at 10 AM EST. I'll select a winner and post your name on a new post as well as on the Bloggy Giveaways page for this carnival.

**Bloggers and non-bloggers can participate in my giveaway. Just make sure that your email address is available to me, so I can contact you if you win!**
Go to Bloggy Giveaways all this week to participate in even more contests!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The World of Infertility

Infertility is a very common problem, but most couples believe that they are alone in their struggles. I've recently found a large community in the blogosphere and feel comforted knowing that they are there.
I've met some wonderful women through their blogs discussing infertility. A few women got together to demonstrate their common bond to each other. That's where the pomegranate thread bracelets come in. You can find out more about Infertility's Common Thread at Melissa's blog. Many thanks to Dmarie at Bella Vida for her offer of free bracelets. I got mine today and will start wearing it as soon as I can tie it on.

I also just finished a good book for those just discovering their infertility. The Infertility Survival Handbook by Elizabeth Swire Falker covers in a conversational but still educational tone all of the tests, procedures and FAQs that couples encounter when they need technology to help them conceive. There is also a website that gives more information.

The Business of Being Born

The weekend before JD went into surgery, we were able to see a sneak preview of The Business of Being Born. This movie was conceived of (no pun intended) and produced by Ricki Lake. The movie discusses the many problems that surround birth in hospitals and advocates for midwives, natural childbirth, and homebirth.

I found the movie incredibly interesting, but was glad that I did not come to the movie completely uninformed. I find that this movie is not for the person who knows nothing about homebirth, because it doesn't cover the negative and positive aspects of homebirth vs. hospital birth adequately (though it does try). If you are interested in homebirth, my advice is to read Henci Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. This book covers (in detail) the pros and cons of many different approaches to birth.

My History
Because my mother used natural childbirth for all three of her children, I come to this table as a believer in natural childbirth. MIL had both babies by C-section (one after many hours of labor, and JD's was scheduled). Also, SIL (JD's sister) had her oldest at a birthing center (not a hospital), but she and her husband chose a homebirth for their second baby. SIL is a great advocate of homebirth.

After speaking many times with my mother, MIL and SIL and doing a lot of research on my part, I am convinced that, if I am able to do so, I would like to give birth at home with a midwife. I was already of that mindset when I saw the movie, and the movie reinforced my thoughts on the subject.

John Dear was very skeptical about the idea of a homebirth, but after lots of discussions with him of my research and after seeing the movie, he is willing to go along with me.

For more information on the movie, please visit The Business of Being Born. Pictures courtesy of the website.

Friday, October 26, 2007

24 - Day 7 Preview

The preview for the newest season (Day 7) of 24 ran during the seventh inning of the World Series game. It is a must-see. Check out who we're fighting this year!

Both JD's family and mine have become 24 fanatics, but my brother and I have been watching right from the beginning. Here's hoping that this season will be better than last year's. One of the problems with the later seasons of 24 is that they really moved away from verisimilitude. In Day 1, I think the writers tried to have a realistic sense of what could happen in only one day. By Day 6 (hell, by Day 2), not so much. Let's see Jack eat or walk into a bathroom in Day 7!!

Also, I'm interested to see how they screw up locations and traffic times in the DC area, since the show will be set in the good ol' District of Columbia. Our traffic is better than LA's, but not by much.

Many thanks to Margalit for posting the link to the preview up on her blog.

G-D Bless Everyone

Even though they may never see this post, I want to send my heartfelt thanks to them out to the universe:

John Dear's doctors and nurses at the hospital who, despite bureaucratic screw ups and a cranky patient, tried to make the experience of JD's surgery as painless (for me and for JD) as possible.

The nurses at our local ER who took a screaming-in-pain John Dear at 4:30 AM back to a doctor before a man with a stab wound (the wound had been stabilized).

The orthopedic resident at the ER who cut open JD's bandages and assured the both of us that JD was healing well and that the pain was not from surgery, but instead, from gout.

Each and every member of our families, for sitting with JD, laundry duties, tons of dinners for the fridge and moral support. I would have had a nervous breakdown without you!!

Finally, to all the friends who sent good wishes our way -- we appreciate your thoughts and crossed fingers.

Am I in Guantanamo?

When a loved one has outpatient surgery and you are the primary caregiver, sleep is a precious jewel. Sleep is a precious jewel that you don't have and have only heard about from people who don't have a loved one keeping them up at night like some sort of secret police investigator interrogating a terrorist.

That is one of the things they do to torture people, you know? Sleep deprivation? Learn it, live it, hate it and anyone who prevents you from sleeping.

John Dear's pain has now stabilized and he is much more aware of how often he requests a fluffed pillow, more water, help to the bathroom, etc. But last week? Well, he's lucky he got through last week, because I almost killed him (and everyone else).

It's not that JD was impolite in his requests, more that they came so often that I didn't have a second to sit down. We both questioned how we could possibly raise children when I clearly cannot function without a full night's sleep. Plus, I was an enormous "not-good person" (rhymes with witch).

Now that I've had several full nights of sleep, I am back to my usual polished-halo self.

The Surgery - Part III

Want to read the beginning of this chronicle? Start with Part I.
Want to read about the experience of the un-anesthetized? Read Part II.
Want to read about getting JD out of recovery and into the car? Keep reading.

So, John Dear has come out of surgery and is in Phase I of recovery. As far as I can tell, it means he's still asleep from the anesthesia or from a post-surgery shot of morphine. The family is not allowed to see the patient until Phase II (sitting up, awake, able to eat and drink). Once in Phase II and the patient's pain has stabilized to a manageable level, the patient can go home. The hospital's estimate of recovery was about one hour.

Is that how long my darling spent in recovery? Nope!! Because hospitals are stupid and not willing to listen to anyone but a drugged-up, agreeable-due-to-drugs patient (not the mother and wife who actually know the guy's medical history), John Dear was in recovery for six hours! Recovery comprised of JD's sensitivity to morphine, 2 full courses of morphine given, sats (that is, the amount of oxygen in the blood) dropping, no stabilization of pain because the nerve block had worn off, AND AFTER THEY HAD PROMISED TO DO SO, NO CPAP!!!!! In the words of my 7-year old and present self, "They are all BUMS."

Eventually, we got JD's pain stabilized and were able to get him out to the car (in a wheelchair), although the nurses almost forgot to discharge him. In fact, they would not have given us discharge instructions had his mother not asked for them. And me, his wife, who was going to be staying with him, was told to get the car and was not given instructions!!!! Again, BUMS!!!!

**Please forgive the complete overkill of exclamation points in this post.**

The Surgery - Part II

If you want to know specifics about John Dear's foot surgery, please see Part I. This part will focus on the experiences of the un-anesthetized during the surgery.

Hospitals are stupid. Not the nurses, not the aides and assistants, not the doctors -- no, they are not stupid people. Most of the people you meet who work in a hospital are some of the kindest, most charitable and certainly intelligent people you could hope to meet. But, hospitals? Yeah, they're idiotic, bird-brained, myopic and needlessly rigid. To paraphrase some great campaign managers, "It's the bureaucracy -- stupid."

After checking in with the surgical waiting room prior to surgery, John Dear was wheeled to a back room where the nurses could get him ready for surgery and ask personal questions. (Not for themselves, it's for HIPAA). Once they are done with the questions and taking vitals, about 15 minutes, the family is allowed to go back and see the patient and they all meet with the surgeon and anesthesiologist together to discuss the surgery and answer any questions.

Did that happen in our case? No. Instead, JD was wheeled back there and was back there for 1.5 hours!! With no books, no wife, no mother. And we have no idea what's going on. This was JD's first experience with surgery and general anesthesia -- he was nervous. I was nervous!!! We all wanted to speak with the doctors.

The aide running the waiting room did all she could, which was admittedly, little. She's not allowed to escort you back until they are done with the questions. When we talked to her, she said that JD was speaking with the doctors and that we could back after that. "But we want to speak to the doctors!!" No can do.

After speaking to the nursing supervisor, we finally got to see John Dear, who was very mellow. ("I think they had given him Valium, cause I've never seen him so calm," his mother said). Three seconds later, the nurses come to take him to surgery. JD's mother got mad on our behalf, saying that we wanted to be there with him or give him a book or something and this wasn't right. (This is why I wanted his mother to be there; she is a very good medical advocate.)

The chief anesthesiologist showed up and after informing him about JD's sleep apnea, said that they would use JD's CPAP (breathing machine for sleep apnea) during the recovery period. See, JD never told him about that stuff, that's why we needed to be in there!!!!!

The surgery took about 2.5 hours, after which the surgeon came back to speak with JD's mom and me. He stayed with us for about 15 minutes -- telling us about the surgery, how well it went and exactly what they did, answering all of our questions. (Love him.)

So all that was left was for JD to move from Phase I of recovery to Phase II and then getting him home before the nerve block on his foot wore off. Did that happen? Read on in The Surgery - Part III.

The Surgery - Part I

On Wednesday last, John Dear had a triple arthrodesis of his right foot and ankle. This surgery was to correct JD's very, very, very, very flat feet.

Here's what happened to John Dear:
  1. The doctors cut an incision on the right side and left side of his foot, using the incisions to scrape out the cartilage.

  2. They broke JD's right foot and ankle in three places.

  3. They realigned his foot (which points inward as opposed to straight ahead) so that it was in line with his ankle (which does point straight ahead).

  4. They drilled 4 screws into the bones to hold it all together. As opposed to the picture here, the fourth screw in JD's foot was inserted into the bottom of his heel, going straight up.

  5. They removed bone marrow from JD's pelvis and mixed it with artificial bone, then ground it into a paste.

  6. They spread the paste all over the little cracks and holes of the screwed-together bones, so that they can grow together into one Super Bone!

  7. Finally, the doctors sewed up the incisions with dissolving sutures and covered the whole thing with cotton batting and an enormous sticky Ace bandage.
**At some point of the surgery, someone drew a smiley face on the bottom of John Dear's toe. I can only imagine that this was to mark which foot to operate on. People keep asking me if I did it, and I'm like "no, I would've written something obscene." Like my title says, we got crazy here.**

So Much to Say

Musical interlude: "So Much to Say" by Dave Matthews Band

I have lots to say after a week-long hiatus due to John Dear's foot surgery. You should see posts-a-plenty in the coming hours as I completely neglect work and write about everything that's happened in the last few days.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Please take a stroll around the web today to read the wonderful posts about saving our planet and going green.

For Example

  • Margalit writes an extremely interesting essay about sustainable seafood.
  • Amy has a great post about going green without breaking the bank.
  • Tons of helpful information from the authors of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at their website. (Plus, it's a wonderful book -- please read or listen to the audio version).
  • How I go green? Running dishwasher and laundry only when full; refrain from using disposable cups; using cloth bags at the supermarket, just to name a few.
  • For more posts, you can go to the Blog Action Day headquarters.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It All Comes Tumbling Down

The mail -- all I wanted to do was to pick up the mail. JD is always chastising me for not paying his bills on time, so I just wanted to pick up the mail.

But no, John Dear needed to go to the bathroom, so he asked if we could get the mail after coming home from our afternoon outing, not this morning's outing. I said yes, but thought aloud that if he had his keys, he could just go up himself. And I could get the mail.

JD fished his keys out, but let go of the wheelchair and it went wheeling away with him in it while he got his keys. Then, he started lagging behind me. I asked what was wrong, and he said, "you try to walk with keys held between your toes and see how fast you go."

So, I took the keys from him and we went in the building and pushed the button for the elevator. He said, "where are you going?" "Upstairs," I replied. "No, you're not," he said angrily. So I went to get the mail while he went upstairs to our apartment.

After getting the mail (1 plea for donations from the Humane Society, no bills), I got upstairs to find JD halfway down the hall slowly making his way to our apartment. When he got to our front door, I called out, "I'm here." He said, not really sotto voce, "Go away."

I reached out to hold the front door open and he yelled at me that he was using the door to help pull himself over the threshold. When I replied that I had been afraid that he would squeeze his fingers between the door and the jamb, he said that that was what was happening now that I had interfered. After struggling for a little, he said, "just push me in, OK?" I said that I was sorry, but of course, that makes no difference now.

So I did and he's not talking to me and not looking at me. When I inquired if I could help him with anything or get him anything or if he just wanted to be alone, he said, "just leave me alone."

So now I'm on my laptop in the living room, and he's on his computer in his cave, and we were supposed to meet his parents and nephews for lunch, but who knows when that will be or if he will even go now because he's so mad.

Why didn't I just forget about the mail and just go upstairs?

Friday, October 12, 2007

TTC + U2

For you music lovers out there, here's what going through my head.


Woo hoo!

Woo ooh hoo!

Woo hoo!

Woo ooh hoo!
My BBT was way down today, so I'm definitely ovulating. I'm determined not to stress about this, as we definitely have other options, but it sure would be nice to get pregnant in the natural way.
Photo from Photoshop Nerds.

In Need of Seed - Part II

To read the beginning of this epic, aka Part I, click here.

I started looking at the websites of different fertility clinics in our area. One of them has a kind of Ask-the-Expert widget set up, so you can email questions. I wrote in and asked whether they thought we should wait longer, or come in sooner. The doctor’s advice was that the year time frame was for couples with no known issues, and that since we have a known issue (John Dear's delayed ejaculation) we could get started now if we like.

Aside: Just found the credit card that I thought I had lost. Put it in my desk drawer so I wouldn’t lose it. Yes, if I had a brain, I’d be dangerous.

I should be ovulating in the next few days. So, we’ll keep on keepin’ on on that score. Of course, JD also has to stop his pain meds today so that he’s pain med-free by the time the surgery rolls around. Great idea - cause he's such a pleasure to deal with when he's in agonizing pain. And that should make a romantic interlude really do-able.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In Need of Seed - Part I

Realized that this post is rather long for any tolerant blog reader, so, at John Dear's suggestion, I am breaking it up into parts. Please thank John Dear for his practicality on this issue.

I've spent much of the afternoon not doing work. It seems that I am unable to focus enough to make a summary of the latest financial transaction for my business and I don't care when the next useless report will be due.

Baby issues on the brain. This afternoon has been spent reading blogs by women dealing with infertility. Are John Dear and I dealing with infertility? Not sure. We've been trying since May with no good news. They say that the average couple should try for a year before seeking help. Well, we're not average, I'm fabulous!! (JD is great, but as we saw in the Thunderpollen discussion, he's a complete dork. Yes, I'm a dorkaphile.)

To be serious for a tick, John Dear has ejaculatory inhibition. Meaning that his work very rarely gets done, if you catch my drift. Women not TTC may think it is wonderful because the man can go as long as the woman has stamina. But trust me, after awhile, it's tiring and physically irritating.

So, here I am, trying to exercise and eat right and get plenty of rest, taking my stupid temperature every morning, taking a prescribed prenatal vitamin for Christ's sake! It's not getting us anywhere. The two times that JD was able to pull the trigger when I was ovulating have not resulted in a BFP (big fat positive).

Aside: my footie stocking has slipped under my heel and it makes it extremely difficult to concentrate.

A Play in One-Act

As John Dear's surgery comes ever closer (T minus 6), he has begun to accompany me (in the wheelchair) on my nightly walk with The Boy. These walks give him much needed practice on maneuvering with the wheelchair, and as a positive side effect, will "develop The Guns." I've yet to point out to my dear husband that he has no guns [hulking biceps for you uninitiated] as yet, so it should really be "develop some/any guns".

Last night's walk was wonderful because the temperature in our area has finally gone down. Yes, Mother Nature woke up and realized that it was October, not August. JD mentioned the possibility of opening up the window in our bedroom for the night. What follows is our conversation:

JD: You know, it's so hot in the house, we could just open up the windows in the bedroom tonight and air it out.

Jendeis: Yes, that would be nice, but I'm afraid of pollen..."

JD: Hmm.

Jendeis (interrupting): ...and thunder from the storms that are supposed to come through.

JD: Yes, and thunderpollen. (pause) I think I've just found a new character for my video game.

Jendeis: I think I've found my next blog post!