Merry Christmas

"Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you, to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old? Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world, stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death? Then you can keep Christmas! But you can never keep it alone."
 -Henry Van Dyke

White Christmas Eve

It's snowing like crazy this morning. (This...middle of the night?) Kind of a bummer because I wanted to go to Lubbock tomorrow to catch up on some last minute Christmas shopping. Maybe it will have melted off enough by the time I wake up to make it an easy trip. Even if it doesn't, the hassle is kind of worth it for these pictures:


I love the way dogs react to snow after they haven't really seen it for a year (or ever, in Marlowe's case.) Fun.

Longest Night

Solstice. Tonight is the first official night of winter, and the longest night of the year. It is also the night that is set aside to remember those for whom the holiday season is not the happiest time. In the extra hours of darkness tonight, take some time to think about, say a prayer, light a candle, whatever it is that you do, for those who are struggling with something right now. It's a night to remember those who have lost a loved one, who are living with mental illness, who are without a home, or anyone who is struggling. This has been a difficult year for many people out there, let's not allow them to get lost in the bustle.


Here's the last picture taken of me with all my internal organs:

Justin took me to the surgery center yesterday afternoon. I was super terrified. We were early and so sat around with my dad, siblings and aunt for about an hour before they called me back. You know, just so that I could build up the nerves a bit more. My terror was fully reflected in my blood pressure reading of 163/116, (the previous week in the office it was something like 112/60)  which prompted them to take an EKG. Everything looked fine, and so we moved on. It is possible, that my blood pressure was so high because they took it shortly after starting this, the most painful IV EVER:

That picture was actually taken -after- surgery, so I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, after my blood pressure came down to that of a semi-normal person they let me hang out with a saline drip for awhile so that I 'd be hydrated before surgery. (I hadn't had anything to drink in about 10 hours at this point.) Then they kicked my aunt (who was such a huge support throughout this, I cannot even begin to imagine where I'd be if she hadn't been in there.) out of the room, gave me a dose of Versed (otherwise known as "I don't care serum" and wheeled me into surgery. The last thing I clearly remember is moving from my gurney onto the surgery table, and worrying about how much of my butt the OR tech guy just saw. Then I was out.
This is what everyone else in the room was seeing:

Yes, those are my insides, looking like burnt meat...which is, I guess, what they are. The gallbladder is all white like that because Dr. Howe cut off it's blood supply. Isn't my liver lovely and pink? Please ignore the large mass of yellow fat.

What seemed like about 3 minutes (but was really nearly 2 hours) later, I was waking up back in my recovery room. I don't really remember any pain at that point, except that my bladder felt like it was absolutely going to burst. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I need to pee. (probably more like AHneepee)
Dr. Coleman :You can't stand up yet.
Me: I REALLY need to pee. (REALNEPE)
Dr.Coleman: In a minute!
Me: My back hurts. (beeeheh)
Dr. Try scooting up on the bed.
(Apparently anesthesiologists are fluent in the language of post anesthesia garble.) My mouth was filled with lidocaine jelly from the tube that was down my throat during surgery, which didn't help any in the enunciation department.

They made me scoot up on the bed (very difficult) and I suppose at that point, determined that I could use my legs. Dr. Coleman and someone...a nurse? OR tech? I have no idea, helped me to the bathroom, which is when I realized that I was in a lot of pain. I also realized that I looked like hell:

And that my mouth felt like someone had stuffed it with a stick of deodorant. Which is why in that picture I'm drinking what could possibly be the worst Diet Sprite in the world. A few minutes later my family came back in to see me. I'm a little foggy about everything that happened right around then, but I was glad to see them, and happy that it was over with and extremely happy that I still had morphine running around inside me. Justin helped me get dressed, which is when I saw my incisions for the first time. They look like this:

There's also one just at the bottom of my belly button, but I couldn't see that one until later because of the swelling. There's a little hernia behind it, so they had to go in at a different place than usual, but whatever. Now, the tiny hole on the left up there is bleeding and gross, but no one seems to think it's anything serious.

I also finally got to look at the rocks that I've been growing inside me:

I'm kind of proud that they're so uniform in size and shape. If you're going to have gallstones, they might as well be attractive ones, right? So, that was that. Last night I had a weird reaction to my Vicodin, which not only made quite the chatty Cathy, it made me itch all over. Causing me to scratch open one of my glued together incisions. I've switched to a different pain pill, so hopefully that won't happen again tonight. So far the Darvocet has just made me sleepy. I was in and out of the car frequently today, and I'm having kind of a lot of pain. I also have some mysterious bruises on the back of my left arm the shape of fingerprints, which I can only assume are from them moving me back to my gurney from the OR table. I have no memory of that little switch, which is probably for the best. The number of people who potentially saw my butt right then must have grown dramatically. I'm not sure why I wasn't allowed to wear my panties, nothing was going on below the waist, but whatever. And that's the end of that. I feel lucky that I'm not having any of the pain that's normally associated with being blown up like a balloon for surgery. There doesn't seem to be any leftover gas floating around inside me, and all the pain is right around the incisions and deep inside me, where my barbecued guts are. Apparently it could be much worse. I'll be going back to work on Sunday.


It's only 10 hours until my surgery. (It would have been shorter, but they scheduled it for 1pm, who does that??) I -know- that it's not a big deal. And I -know- it will be over in a hurry and that I'll feel better (in about a week), and I -know- that I'm stressing out over nothing. But I'm still freaking out. I've never had anything invasive done before and while I'm really interested in invasive procedures, it's not as much fun when it's my body they're digging around in.

4 Days

On Tuesday when I knew that my surgery was 8 days away, that sounded like a long time. On Wednesday "one week" still sounded a long way away. But now it's only FOUR days, and that sounds much too soon. Especially since I'll be working for the next 3 days and work days always -fly- by. Stress level: 5.

Christmas Sweaters & Pap Smears

I made the dogs Christmas sweaters. It's been really cold here, and Maybe, especially, has been shivery since we had to shave part of her hair to treat eczema.. Marlowe is always shivery since he's got such short hair. Anyway, I think they like them.

You can't really tell in the picture, but they're kind of a dark blue-green and shiny! They're also super soft. I feel crafty. -grin-

Moving on, has anyone else seen this stupid  commercial from CBS Cares, suggesting that, as a Christmas gift (there's actually a Hanukkah version too), husbands should schedule pap smears for their wives?

Whose idea was that? I'm pretty sure that if I received a pap smear for Christmas, from anyone besides my OB/Gyn, they would be in a world of hurt. I'm also positive that I'm not the only girl who feels this way, so to all the significant others out there wondering about the perfect gift, go for anything but a cold speculum and an exam room.


I'm not super into babies, but I don't see that there's any possible way to watch this video without laughing.It's my absolute favorite thing right now.

It's Official

I saw the surgeon (Dr. Howe) today, and it's official, my gallbladder will be sucked out next Wednesday, December 16. So that's um...about one week, 7 hours and 20 minutes (give or take) from right now. Yay? I'm nervous, but I know I'll feel better and it will be good for it all to be over with in any case. Plus, I heard a rumor that I'll get a video of the surgery. Sort of like a gift with purchase, who can resist that?

Also, since I might miss my (horrible) gallbladder, I think I'd like one of these cute plush ones. Except that I'm bothered by the fact that it's purple and not green...hmm. (That website has lots of stuffed organs by the way, if, you know, you're just dying to own a cuddly pancreas.)

Taco Saturday

Justin gets the credit for this one. I found the recipe, but he did all the work. He says it was really easy, and so it must be. Please excuse the bite taken out of the taco in this picture. I couldn't resist for long enough to get Justin to bring the camera.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos:

1 bag frozen corn (I used the kind that has both white and yellow kernels, mostly because it's pretty.)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
3-4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on how many people you want to feed and whether you want leftovers.)
About 1 cup of salsa (Whatever brand you prefer, I used medium heat Pace, you can also use more or less depending on your taste.)
Taco shells (obviously)
A palmful of taco seasoning.(Again, however much you like.)

Put the chicken, corn, beans, taco seasoning and salsa in the crock pot on low heat. There's no need to stir anything at this point. Just stack it up and turn it on.

In about an hour, stir everything up.
Leave the mixture in the crock pot on low heat for about 5 hours.
Check the chicken. If it's done, use a fork to shred it up, stir everything around and put it into heated taco shells.

Justin ate his with Mexican blend cheese, but I don't like cheese on my tacos. These were AMAZING. Much better than I even expected. It was nice to wake up to dinner already done. The house smelled amazing, and I think they're generally pretty figure friendly, for tacos.

The Thermostat Wars

It's winter. We can all agree that we're officially into December, there has been snow on the ground and candy canes are readily available on the shelves at the supermarket. WINTER. It being winter, one has to acknowledge that the previous summer levels for the central heat/air are no longer applicable. Especially when there are LARGE windows in the house letting the winter air and SNOW in. It is officially time to turn on the heater.

My dear husband (who is, at this very moment, decreasing his core body temperature even further by eating ICE CREAM)  doesn't see it that way. He thinks that 60 degrees is a perfectly reasonable temperature to keep the thermostat on all the time. Even when it being set that low keeps the heater from kicking on. My toes are blue, people.

So here's the scenario: I come in from work at the coldest possible time, just before dawn. I am freezing. My breasts are ON FIRE from the cold and I'm shivering and tired. I see the thermostat set on something like "Antarctica" and so I turn it to a reasonable temperature (70) before crawling into bed, in layers of clothing and socks. Justin gets up, sees the reasonable temperature on the thermostat and immediately breaks into a sweat. He's melting...MELTING!! He turns the heater back down to freezing. By this time I'm super drugged and sleeping under a gigantic pile of blankets, pillows and pajamas so I don't notice. When I get up, it's FREEZING again, and we have to have a fight about his ridiculous expectations for the temperature in the house. I maintain that if I'm wearing layers and layers of clothing, am wrapped up in a blanket and still have blue fingers that the heat should be on. One shouldn't have to wear gloves in their own home.  He says it should never, under any circumstances be on and I'm a weenie. So yeah, that's been the weekend.

Couldn't Resist

How cute are my nieces and nephews? So sweet it makes my teeth hurt.

Rocky Road

Ok, so apparently everyone thinks my gallbladder could possibly rupture, (bad!) so we're moving more quickly that I really wanted to on this surgery thing. Today I went for my "official" (apparently it's only official if it costs money) ultrasound and this is what we saw:No, that isn't actually my gallbladder, but it looked -exactly- like that. The radiology tech (who was very unpleasant) wouldn't print me off a picture. I'm going to try and get a picture of my actual gallbladder scan from my doctor tomorrow. He's a much nicer person than Veronica or whatever her name was. (It's almost certainly not Veronica. Unless I have some previously undiscovered psychic abilities.) In any case, we're looking at December 9 or the 16. I want to do it on a Wednesday so that I don't have to miss much (if any) work. It'll be nice to have it all over with before Christmas, anyway.

So that's the plan. I'll post more when I know more.