Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please Excuse my Lack of Posting!

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone!



I've been busy and tired.

December 23rd, for example. I got four wisdom teeth pulled out under general anesthesia. My dental surgeon, Dr. Slavkin, said that he might pull all 6 of my wisdom teeth (yup, if you haven't seen previous posts, I have 6 wisdom teeth). He mentioned just before the surgery that if they didn't appear to be bothersome, he wouldn't bother removing them. In the end, he didn't.

Everyone was pretty nice. While waiting for the IV team to put my IV in, it was decided that I'd go down to the OR and get it put in there as time was running out. My antibiotic was hanging from the IV pole, waiting to be attached. At that point, the transport guy came to lead us downstairs. Can you believe that he didn't even help me with my IV pole? There I was, in my blue cloth slipper things and my hospital gown pushing this pole across the hospital. What was the point of him coming anyways? They could have just told us (my mom and I) to go to the second floor and we'd have been just fine without him. Lame!

When I got to the 2nd floor, the nurse and the anesthesiologist spoke to me. I didn't like this setup. It was a regular waiting room and there were two other families in there. There was no privacy at all. Everyone that spoke to me spoke loudly so all of my business was heard by everyone else who happened to be in that room. The same went for the other familes...I knew all of their business too, and I think that wasn't necessary.

Shortly afterwards, a nice lady lead me to the OR. She normally works as an ER nurse. She helped me onto the operating table where she put those sticker things on my so that they could monitor my heart. She also effortlessly slid the IV needle into my right hand. The pain was minimal. Shortly after, the anesthesiologist began to give me some sort of medication to make me relax. I immediately began to feel uncomfortable. I had been tucked under some blankets like a cocoon so I couldn't move too much, but I began to feel itchy. My sideburns on both sides began to itch (yes, I take prednisone, and therefore have sideburns..!). Some other odd places on my body that I couldn't readily reach began to itch as well. I closed my eyes tight and tried to get over the itchiness. The ER nurse then told me that I was being given something else that would relax me even further. My arm would burn, she told me, just as it did begin to burn. Just before she mentioned it, I was going to comment on that as I thought perhaps the IV wasn't in properly. However, since she mentioned that would happen, I kept it to myself.

The ER nurse put a mask over my face and told me to take deep breaths. At first I was breathing normally. I was so woozy now after all the IV drugs. I heard her tell me again to take deep breaths so I did. Less than a minute later, I was fast asleep.

Still half asleep, I remember being rolled over to my side and having an injection in my bottom. If I recall correctly, I think Dr. Slavkin told me that they'd be injecting something into me...perhaps a steroid...I cannot remember.

The next time I opened my eyes, I was hearing a nurse ask me how I was doing and how my pain was. I nodded to let her know I was fine. At this point, opening my mouth to actually say something was out of the question as I had a mouth packed full of gauze. I also had ice packs wrapped around my face.

I drifted in and out of sleep for the next hour or so until I was moved back upstairs. This is where my Mom was waiting for me. I was happy to see her. The first thing that happened when I got up there was a change of gauze. The nurse showed me how she methodically rolled the gauze up so that some of the gauze would be in my mouth and some wouldn't. I couldn't pay much attention at that point as I was still pretty drowsy. After she put the gauze in, all I could think was "wow..with this gauze hanging out of either side of my mouth...I must look like a walrus".

I wasn't in a lot of pain, but Iwas concerned with the saline drip. Did I need this extra fluid flowing into my veins? Did it have any real function? When I asked the nurse, she promptly turned it off and took my iv out. An hour after coming upstairs, it was home time.

Mom and I made a stop at the grocery store. I needed soft things...applesauce and chocolate pudding. I wore my scarf around my face so that my gauzes didn't show. By the time we got back to the car the gauzes were wet, so I told mom to take me home so I could change them instead of the regular plan which was to go to the pharmacy and pick up the pain killers and antibiotics prescribed to me.

I changed my gauze while Mom went to pick up my prescriptions. Sheesh, what a horror movie it was to see those gauzes. They were just saturated. There goes my great hemoglobin!

I took my pain pills regularly and haven't been in much pain. I've been diligent about icing my face. Ensure, chocolate pudding, tea, and applesauce has been my main diet, but yesterday Mom made me mashed potatoes. Boy did they taste good. The night I came home from the tooth extraction, I could hardly sleep because my stomach physically hurt from lack of food!

Yesterday I dialyzed without heparin. I flushed 200cc every hour, and yet by the time I was ready to take myself off, I still managed to clot off my circuit. Maybe I need to either flush more than 200ccs or I need to flush more often. We'll give it another go and see what happens. I hate these 4 hour runs. I can't wait until I can use heparin again so I can get some real dialysing in. I'll have to wait until I know I'm not bleeding...then I'll do a couple of tight heparin runs...then a real run.

Well I think I've yammered on enough to make up for the missed days!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hooray to Me, Boo-urns to Birds??

I took the plunge earlier this week. I thought long and hard about my position within the bank. After much consideration, after sitting and thinking long and hard, I finally made that decision. I sat at my desk, opened up my email, and started typing. I typed a two paragraph email. I hovered the mouse arrow over the send button for a little while as I considered whether or not this was the right thing to do. But I had already thought it over and the more I sat there and thought about it...the more doubts I would have. So I clicked send, grabbed my jacket and purse, and headed outside into the car of my waiting father. I did it!

A couple of days later, it was time to head back to work. As I did my makeup that morning, I wondered if I had done the right thing. Have to stop second guessing myself...I knew I did the right thing.

I got to my desk. I logged on. Before opening any of the several systems that I need to do my job, I opened my email. There it was...my manager's response, as well as an email address in the "cc" field, as she had copied someone else in the email.

Hello,

Please update Florence's scheduled hours as displayed in Florence's email below. She is ready to return to work for her regular hours.

Thanks,
Sonia.


Yep, that's right. After being on modified hours since mid 2007, I'm finally up to 20 hours a week. I admit, it won't be easy. I'll have to work hard, especially when school starts. In fact, I won't actually know how I'll feel until I actually start school coupled with work. I do have my disability instructions for all of my professors. I'm going to work as hard as I can and try not to fall behind. I can do it. And, while I'll be busy, I'll do my best to continue to chronical my life!


Now, onto boo-urns to birds. Last night, after sitting on the couch and watching tv for a while, I decided I'd start getting things together so that I could set up my dialysis machine. As I reached the top of stairs. I heard fluttering over my head and then onto the window sill near the steps. I immediately thought of Sammy, my sister's bird. "Aw nuts, she left the cage open!" I thought.

At this point I had already opened the door to my room. Before I knew it, the bird flew into my room. As it fluttered around aimlessly, I rushed to close all closet doors and also the door to my washroom. I looked back just in time to hear the *thud* of the poor bird flying right into the mirror closet door. I immediately frowned and my heart rate accelerated as I thought of poor Sammy. I saw the bird go down to the ground. I rushed over to try and get Sammy on my arm so I could walk him back to his cage.

...wait a minute. That's not Sammy...

It was a bird from outside! How did this bird get into the house? I rushed downstairs and looked at Sammy's cage, just in case. He happily rang his little bell as he normally did. I was relieved to see he was safe and hadn't just flown into a mirror dorr, but also shocked that there was now a little bird in my room.

"Dad...there's a bird in my room....and it ain't Sammy!" I calmly told my Dad. The look on his face was priceless. "A Bird???" he asked, just as shocked as I was. "Yup". I replied. I followed him upstairs and pointed out the bird which was now sitting on top of the curtain rod hanging from the wall. Dad told me to leave and close the door behind me.


I went downstairs. I told my mom what was going on. I heard the sound of banging and things falling off of the table. I was mortified. Mortified for my Dad that he might fall and hurt himself, and also mortified that the bird might get injured. I ended up going to another part of the house so that I wouldn't have to hear all of the banging.

It was all over in 1o short minutes. A victorious Daddy walked down the stairs. I saw no bird but he was carrying a bag. My dad headed straight for the door. He opened it and closed it shortly thereafter.

"I put him outside" said Dad.

*phew*

The only assumption I can make is that the bird got into the house when I had the door open for several minutes earlier in the week. I was having dialysis supplies brought into the house. My parents both mentioned that they had heard suspicious noises, but thought they were coming from outside. I mentioned the fact that for the past few days, Sammy would start chirping/freaking out without any rhyme or reason. An intruder stealing his birdseed, perhaps??

In the end, it all went well. From now on (hopefully), Sammy will be the only bird of this household.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Appt With Dr. Thomas

Today was secret Santa day at work. I brought in my gift for my co-worker as well as the cookies I made. My co-worker wasn't working that day so I left the gift in my desk so I can give it to her later. We also shared a team Christmas lunch. We had chicken, rice, potatoes, and salad. It was all very delicious.

After lunch is when most people started sampling my cookies. They were a big hit! I'm glad everyone liked them and the effort I put into them. One person even asked if I could make her cookies or cupcakes for a cost! :)

The present that I got from my secret santa was a pair of gloves, a lip balm, and a travel mug. The maximum amount to be spent on the gift was $15. I could tell that all 3 of the gifts were from the same place which was a dollar store. I knew this because one of the gifts still had a tag on it while the other had a partial tag. I got a $3 gift? I spent $20 on the gift I gave. I like to give things that I'd like to receive. $3??? Well, I guess it's the thought that counts...?


After work, I headed downtown to see my gynecologist. The last time I saw her, she mentioned thay my hormone levels were low and she wanted to put me on some estrogen and progesterone. First, she wanted to do a blood test to see how my clotting was as I had a clotting problem in my stomach a few years back. Those tests came back normal. So, she gave me prescriptions for progesterone and estrogen. The fact that my hormone levels are out of wack can cause a lot of things. It can contribute to my weak bones. It definitely contributes to my lack of mensies. I'm sure it's what causes me to still sweat even though I wear anti perspirant. I'll get the prescription tomorrow and see how those symptoms change. I was also told that if I had any weird side effects such as pain in my legs I should stop the medications and contact her back.

Yay, more drugs to cause more side effects!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good Shopping, Good Latte

Today was Christmas shopping day. I was determined to most if not all of my shopping today and I pretty much succeeded. I was in the mall for about an hour...maybe a tiny bit more. I won't disclose what I got people in case they are reading this blog, but most of my friends are getting similar gifts. Everyone is taken care of except for my sister, Mom, and Dad (LoL sounds like a lot more gifts to get now that I type it...) but I'll work that out. Mom has a partial gift so far so hers should be easy.

After that, it was off to meet one of my old co-workers for coffee. His name is Mike and we worked together back in 2000. We managed to reconnected via facebook. He was overseas for almost a year and I just recently noticed that he was back in town. I suggested we meet for coffee and we did today.

It was great hearing of his stories/adventures overseas. It was also great being able to just sit down, have a soy vanilla latte, and reconnect with an old friend. We hope to do it again soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quality Testing 4 Cookies from Every Batch is unncessary

At work, we're doing secret santa. I bought my secret santa gift on Saturday after work so that I'd have it for this Tuesday. The limit was $15, and that was ok by me. I bought a cute pair of earrings that was nicely packaged by the store. I hope she likes them.

On Tuesday, we're also doing a 'team lunch'. We all contributed $7 and will be having chicken, salad, rice, etc. I thought I'd be nice to bake cookies and bring them to work so I did that today. The process started on Saturday. I mixed the cookie batter and put it in the fridge in two separate clear bags. The recipe recommended a minimum of 1 hour refridgeration, but it could also be done overnight. After an hour, I took out 1 bag of cookie dough that I had made and rolled some out. I rolled out enough cookies for one large tray and realized that I still had quite a bit of dough left in that one bag. I was quite delighted to see this as I had originally thought that I might have to make another batch of cookies. My plan was to make enough for 20 people with 3 large cookies per bag. This was definitely going to be do-able.

The recipe called for the cookies to be removed within about 6-8 minutes. I kept a hawk eye on the cookies and took them out just as they slightly began to brown. When I took them out I felt the urge to eat one immediately, even if it meant scortching my fingers and my tongue. I braced myself and broke the top off of one of the many Christmas tree shaped-sugar cookies. Boy was it ever delicious. I ate the entire cookie. I then ate another one. I looked at the clock and realized that it was 10pm. It wouldn't be practical for me to bake the rest of the cookies tonight so I put the remaining batter back in the fridge to be baked the next day. I went up to bed.

...I came back downstairs after about 20 minutes and grabbed another 2 cookies...

The next day after church, it was bake to baking. I baked another large tray of cookies, but this time I made snowflakes. The large tray took about 24 large snowflake cookies. I baked those off and was on to the next tray. I made a mistake on that tray. I made the mistake of going to the washroom. When I rushed back downstairs the cookies were already dark around the edges. I put those cookies aside and vowed not to screw up the last batch.

The last batch baked perfectly. I brought the kinda, not really, but almost burnt cookies downstairs where my mother was. My plan was to toss them, but I knew that when my mother saw me she wouldn't allow it. She didn't. She pulled out a clear plastic container and told me to put the cookies in it. She proceeded to munch away and the extra crunchy cookies. My dad came downstairs and helped himself to some cookies as well as a glass of milk. Boy, if they liked my burnt cookies this much, how much would they love non-overcooked ones?

After all of my cookies had cooled, I took out some fondant and rolled it out. I used the cookie cutter to cut snowflakes out of the white fondant. I took corn syrup and painted it onto the cookies, then stuck the white cutouts on the cookies. It looked gorgeous! After doing about 24, of course, it was quality check time. I ate one of the fondant covered cookies. Boy was it ever surgary! See, I'm not a super sugary person. I'm sure it would be just fine for others. However I decided that I'd just have one fondant covered cookie in each little baggie that I planned to make and the rest would be just as they are as they were quite sugary already (hence the name 'sugar cookies :)' )

I made up all of the individual cookie gift bags, tied them off with ribbon, then curled the ribbon. The little baggies look gorgeous and I hope my co-workers love them!

Now, time to have a couple cookies, eat dinner, go to bed, have a couple more cookies, go back to bed...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No...you still have to see OUR Doctors

Today I went to the hospital for my pre-admission/pre-assessment tests. As I may have mentioned, I have the pleasure of being scheduled for wisdom teeth extraction just a couple of days before Christmas. It's a drag, yes, but it was either a few days before Christmas or 1 day before school starts. I'll go with a few days before Christmas.

The entire appointment took about 2 hours. I did some blood tests, spoke to a nurse, and spoke to an anesthesiologist.

Everyone was really nice to me. The blood tech really liked my necklace and commented on it. She even called someone else over to come and look at it. She mentioned that she doesn't really pay attention to jewelery nor does she wear it very often, but she just had to comment on my pendant. It being my first meeting of the day, it definitely made me smile.


After getting my blood drawn, I went back to the waiting room. The second appointment would be the nurse. She was also very nice. She took my weight and my height. She also looked over all of my medications which I was required to bring in their original bottles. On November 27 I went to see my rheumatologist. At that time, I had him fill out this form that was given to me by the dental surgeon. It basically outlined the fact that I had Lupus, I'm on dialysis, medications I'm on, etc. I explained to Dr. Fortin that I'd be having this tooth extraction surgery. He reminded me to lay off the heparin prior to and after the extraction.

When the nurse went over my information and entered it into their computer, she asked me if I had seen the doctor here. I told her yes, I saw the doctor who'd be taking my wisdom teeth out, Dr. Slavkin. She said no, did I see any of THESE doctors, and she mentioned a couple of names. I said no. She said that I'd have to see one of these doctors to before the surgery. I asked why, since I was given a document for my own doctor to fill out. She mentioned that it was some sort of policy.

I was slightly irritated to say the least. Does that mean that I'll have to be here longer? No. It'd mean that I'd have to trek my butt back up here on another day before the surgery in order to be seen and "cleared for surgery" by one of these doctors. Why why WHY?? MY doctor who knows me, took my blood pressure, checked my eyes, checked my heart, checked my EVERYTHING answered all of the questions on the document and had no objections to me having this surgery. I was confused. Why did I subject my doctor to all of this writing and answering of questions if it meant nothing anyways?

It reminded me of my trip to Florida with my Dad around this time last year. I had to get all of this information and fax it to the dialysis clinic in Florida prior to being allowed to dialyze at the clinic. My nephrologist had to write a summary of my condition, how I was doing, bla bla bla. He said I was fit to travel and fit to dialyze. Fine.

Then, when I got there, I found out that it was mandatory for me to go and see THEIR nephrologist if I was going to be dialyzing in their clinic more than once. To make matters worse, I was only going to be in Florida for 7 days, 3 of those days would be spent dialyzing, and I had to go see this doctor on a day that I wouldn't even be in the clinic. So that's 4 out of 7 days essentially being wasted! When I got to the clinic and waited for about 45 minutes or so, I was called in, had my blood pressure taken by a nurse, then waited some more. The doctor came in, checked my ankles, checked my pulse, and sent me on my way. This meagre visit cost almost $200 bucks!! What a waste! Did they think that my doctor was LYING when he said everything with me was ok and when he wrote down my blood pressures for the past month?

Anyhow, back to this pre admission thing. The nurse called Dr. Slavkin's office and informed them that I hadn't seen one of their own doctors. After they hung up, the nurse told me that Dr. Slavkin's secretary would contact me. I said fine, as there was now no use arguing. Other than that, this nurse was really very sweet, encouraging, and spiritual. I appreicated her and that she was simply following what was a silly protocol.

After that, It was back to the waiting room. I appreciated the fact that all of these people I had to see were in the same place and I didn't have to venture all over the hospital.

The anesthesiologist called me. He asked me how I was and lead me into a room. He told me that this would be quick. I was happy to hear that as I was reaching the 2 hour mark.

When you meet new people in the medical field who know nothing about you, it's kind of funny seeing/hearing their reactions to the things you say. When I mention I have lupus, I'm on dialysis, I had a perforated sigmoid colon...the hums and haws and sighs that come out of them are priceless. He did say that he didn't have any worries about me and that he'd see me on the date of the surgery. Super!

A few hours after I got home, Dr. Slavkin's secretary called my house and informed me that my doctor's assessment was just fine and I didn't need another one. Thank GOODNESS!

I've had many a surgery in my life...why does the removal of my wisdom teeth make me SOO nervous???

Monday, December 1, 2008

Coming down with a cold? :-(

I was fine yesterday!

A few hours after waking up this morning I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold. I've been sneezing all day and my nose is runny. I don't know the logistics of how long it takes for one to actually start exhibiting the symptoms of a cold once they are exposed to it, but if I had to guess, I'd say I got this cold from my Pops.

Dad's been sneezing for the past few days. Now, I'm sure I caught his cold. I've been going into these sneezing fits of 3-4 sneezes in a row. Not ideal for someone who works in an environment where talking to clients is imperative! Crappy.

That being said, today was my day off. I stayed home and in bed for most of the day. I did get up for about 10 minutes to accept a delivery of my acid jugs. My side doorway is so narrow that whenever these deliveries of acid come, the poor delivery guy has to pick up each box of 4 acids jugs and carry them up about 5 stairs and into my living room. Really difficult when its 7 boxes. Dad has to go through the same thing when he somehow takes these boxes upstairs to my dialysis supplies room.

Tomorrow is my appointment with a Urologist. I actually have zero idea why I'm seeing a urologist now, especially when I've been told that I won't likely get a deceased donor for at LEAST 6 years. That definitely stinks because I feel like everyone else seems to get a kidney so quickly, and for me I gotta wait for what seems like forever.

It's 11:29pm and I should really be winding down for my long day tomorrow. It's never easy to drag oneself out of bed, especially when they're coming down with a cold. I'd better get a box of tissue and put it within reach...as well as a... *achoo!!*...excuse me...as well as a bottle of tylenol.
 
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