Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mom Guilt

I get one off to school and wouldn't you know it I am suddenly aware of how little one-on-one time I've been giving to the other. It's called Mom Guilt, if you don't have it yet, you will, give it 5 minutes.

The first day of school I decided I should take it easy. Figured walking to and from the school, while not far, might just be enough to do me in, so decided to veg while we waited for BigSpeak to get done. I sat on the couch in the playroom & told LittleSpeak to go make me some breakfast in her kitchen. She just about fell over! Pretty soon she was running back & forth bringing me play eggs and toast, coffee ("Hot!") "no milk, Juice! (only she says shews)". The whole time this was going on she was giggling uncontrollablly. She was giddy w/Mommy's sole attention. Seriously, all I was doing was sitting on the couch making sure she wasn't literally climbing the walls (no she did that the next day at the public think I jest,) and it was the most exciting thing ever to her. I realized that I haven't had one-on-one time with her unless I schedule it. When I schedule it we're at a class or something, so it's not just us. Ummm, can you say mom guilt?

Every day this week, we've walked BigSpeak to school, walked to Starbucks and then headed home. We do one chore for house cleaning; dust, vacuum, mop and she helps me. She has her own duster, swifter and Dyson (play one), and I pretty sure LittleSpeak would tell you it has been the best week of her life.

Tonight I laid her in her crib and she said, "BigSpeak in kool morrow?" And I said yes, then she says, "Dada work. Mama & Little ommm." And I said, "Yes, Mama & Little stay home while BigSpeak goes to school and Dada works." "Mama & Little ommm" and she grabs my arm and hugs it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day Of School

Today was BigSpeak's first day of kindergarten. Sigh. She's not a baby anymore. At 6:30 this morning she was in my room mostly dressed and asking me to cut some tags off her new dress. G'ma & Papa came & walked with us. The chaos at the school was crazy, but happy and her day was without a hitch.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

5’s A Charm--And Your Science Lesson For The Week

At least I’m hoping that will be the case. I had my 5th epidural shot today.

The experience was a lot more pleasant than my last one. Pleasant is a relative word here. In fact, this was very much like the first-third shots I had in the past. I was really pleased with the way those went so I’m very, very hopeful that will be the case this time. So far, so good.

A little background on my procedure. (and lots of over use of parentheses & italics)

I think most people think of the type of epidural (an anesthesia epidural) you get when in labor with an infant. The kind I had today is called an epidural steroid injection (ESI) and is given for a herniated disc.

My Condition

I have a lumbar herniation which is pushing on my sciatica. My pain runs down the right side of my lower back, into my hip and down my right leg. At it's worst I have a painful numbness down the back of my leg and foot. I have nerve damage in my right leg and have lost the reflex in my right foot. My doctors have told told me that the nerve damage is still not deep enough to indicate it would be permanent. I've also been told that my foot's reflex should return when the disc is healed. I have had this condition for over 18 months now. I was pain free after quitting my job in April until the beginning of August. Because of that 3 month period they are treating this as if it might be a second injury, (although it's really more likely that it wasn't completely healed and I did something to make it worse again. What I did; fodder for another post.)

I’ve had both type of epidurals and they’re similar, but not exactly the same. For instance, I don’t have a baby in my belly so I get to lay down while the shot is being administered. I also get to watch the machine measuring my heart rate, Blood Pressure, etc...(my BP was 86/39 when I got there, yes, they took it twice, I'm apparently a zombie.) I also get to watch the machine (X-ray fluoroscopy) that shows where they’re putting the needles; if I want (sorry if that makes you queasy, I think it's kinda cool). I walk into a surgery room and lay down on the table (in labor they come into your room w/a cart & sit you up on the bed). My doctor likes to play music and sing while he’s working, which adds an interesting dynamic (today it was James Taylor which was really relaxing to me, so I liked it. I found Led Zeppelin wasn’t really so relaxing the day he had that going. More like driving music to me.) The doctor first uses the X-ray fluoroscopy to locate where he wants to put the shot, he has metal wand to help him be precise on the machine image and then marks it on my physical self with a pen. (When in labor, they have you hug a pillow and hunch so they can feel each vertebra. I don‘t recall any pen marks, but I could be wrong. I was kinda busy right then.) For an ESI they actually put in two shots (you get one in a labor situation) so you get two marks. In both cases they cover the area (and I do mean cover) in iodine and then give you get a shot of something (zylocain, I think) to numb the area, which stings/burns like crazy. After that they put in the actual epidural needle(s). Epidural needles are actually catheters, if you’re in labor they start the medicine and you feel pressure in your back, hip and leg. Let me make it clear that it’s a very uncomfortable pain type pressure. During labor you notice, but usually your contractions are strong enough that you are quickly over it because you suddenly get some glorious relief! In the case of an ESI, ummm, not so much. First they run some dye in each catheter to see which direction the medicine will spread. (I think this is the most interesting part to watch on the x-ray fluoroscopy screen, but it does hurt too.) Adjustments are made as necessary and then they pump in the medicine. They do this part twice because you have two catheters in you. Double the fun. Once again, huge amount of pressure in you back/hip/leg. This time there are no contractions to distract you so the pressure is a bit more noticeable. Ya think? It feels a lot like it’s coming from both the inside of you and the outside and it sort of feels like that area might implode or explode or something. There’s a part of your brain that will start to freak out because this isn’t good, and ohmygawdgetthosethingsoutnownownow!!! but then it’s done and while it still hurts, it’s better than it was, so your brain calms down. They pull everything out, wipe you down, put on a couple band aids, you change and someone (my dad today) drives you home. (In labor, you’re typically still in labor at this time. You ain't going anywhere soon girl!)

Your body will typically react to the shot (they just put sharp things though your back muscles, so you're probably gonna swell). They tell you to ice it for 20 minutes every hour and to take your pain pills as necessary. My personal experience has found that with this one it’s best to take a vicodin, even if not currently dying from pain. I take one every 4 hours till I go to bed. After that I take them as needed. I did this during the first 3 shots and was ready for my Olympic training the next day. Seriously. All. Three. Times. That’s extremely unusual. My reaction to those was so dramatic they decided a fourth wouldn’t hurt. (Poor choice of words on my part.) Most people do not get more than three in a year as they find the effects to diminish after 3.

Epidural #4 was not this same experience. It hurt like hell. Felt like someone was shooting fire down my muscles and nerves. It was awful. The worst part; it didn’t do anything. I felt like creamed crap from that shot for several days, then I just got back to the same back pain I’d been having, minus the creamed crap part. I was very nervous about my treatment today because of #4. I was scared that I’d have the same experience, all that extra pain for nothing. Both my doctors’ think #4 missed it’s mark, and that’s why it hurt so much and didn’t do anything. I’m starting to become inclined to believe them.

I do believe this many epidural shots and my fibromyalgia may just qualify this as a pain management blog instead of a mommy blog.

Hopefully, this is the last post for pain management and we’ll be back to corralling kiddies all the time again soon.

That being said…….

Tomorrow is orientation for BigSpeak’s starting kindergarten.

On Monday,


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Surfer Grrrls!

The one day we did make it to the beach (and some SUN) on Saturday the girls did have a blast. And as you can see from the pix it didn't really matter to the girls. In fact BigSpeak's new wetsuit ($30!, yeah consignment!) is keeping her so comfortable that she doesn't want to take any breaks. DaddySpeak didn't have his wetsuit so he kept making her take breaks because he was cold and she was not impressed at all. In that vein DaddySpeak explained the "potty protocol" with wetsuits. Like I said, "no breaks". TMI? Sorry. ;-) Cool pix below, huh?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beach Babes

We did make it to the beach (in spite of the dump truck I mentioned). I paid a high price for this little trip. Packing and unpacking the car and sitting in traffic was all I was able to pull off. My back has been in attack mode ever since. Luckily my mom & GodMum were here right away and helped to keep the girls entertained and give me a break. I spent the first two days mostly on my back. I'd go do something and then I'd come back and collapse on the couch.

DaddySpeak surprised the hell out of me by showing up late Wednesday night. He got his work done and brought a few things with him to work on, but managed to get here around 9:30 that night. I'm so glad, it means so much to all of us. I can tell the girls are so thrilled to have him back. And it means so much to me when he pulls though like this, I know we're important to him and I know he's got a lot of pressure at work. I get it, I really do, I just get frustrated sometimes. (The back situation doesn't make it easier for me to deal with these things.)

That all being said, we've been fogged in all week. The beach house is in an area known as the Fog Belt. We're the first to get the fog when it comes in and the last to have it burn off. It's typical and we know it, but we've had such incredible weather all this summer that I'd almost forgotten that this is the weather we're more inclined to in the summer months. Even at it's worst it still usually burns off by noon, but not this week. We haven't seen the sun since Wednesday, so today I finally demanded that we go find a beach with some sun. (The irony is that if you go two blocks from the beach it's totally sunny, but we're picky, we want our sun on the beach.) We had to drive to Santa Cruz, and found that the wharf area & Boardwalk were really the only beaches with sun. The fog was hanging right at the edge of the beach so it wasn't exactly "warm", and it's apparently pushing 100 at home so the place was crowded. The girls didn't mind and they had fun, so that was the point right.

Since it's been foggy we've actually been doing some stuff beside just hanging at the beach, but I'll have to post more later as back is telling me it's time for another vicodin!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Straitening Things Out

Yup I'm working on becoming the queen of the pun, cause down here in Silicon Valley, that's how we roll.

Update from today's dr visit:

I still don't have a reflex in my right ankle bad

I have an epidural scheduled for 8/21 good

If the epdural doesn't give me permanent bad
relief, I will be given another MRI & most
likely referred to a specialist surgeon.

I have to say that I will be surprised if the epidural gets rid of it altogether. They've helped my pain a lot, but they've never been permanent. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it happens, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Dr. K also commented that nerve pain typically goes into your lower leg (below the knee) and as of the last two weeks mine has not. All the other tenderpoints and movement (or lack of) I do and don't have imply the nerve is still a big part of the problem. I assured him that I knew it was as I'm getting tingling and numbness this go around still AND after his little exam my pain was defineatly all the way back down into my foot (I'm pretty sure my shoe and the floor were feeling it for a while there). I've been poping half vicodins all day. (You could set a clock by me cause I can tell you exactly when they wear off). They don't eliminate the pain (a full one probably would, but I'm responsible for kids you know) but they do take the edge off.

I could've gotten the shot this week, but I'm really, really trying to get the girls to the beach house for an extended period this summer. We're going Wed. for 5 days, DAMIT!

I'm still here! Back here!

Yeah I got a million of them. I'll be here all zee week, and be sure to tip your bartenders and waitresses folks!

So guess what went out the week DaddySpeak left?

Yup, my disk is back being herniated again. I haven't been posting because I haven't really been doing much of anything to be honest. That's not exactly true. We've actually been doing quite a lot as my preshus baaaabeee starts kindergarten in a few short weeks here and I'm trying to fit it all in still. Where did my summer vacation go I ask you? And when did summer vacation end in August???? The school district at the beach house starts this week!!! I guess we're lucky. But I digress; So I hold myself together as long as I can (or until another adult is present and able to be in charge) and then I generally collapse. It's fun! NOT. Since I'm collapsed not so much on the posting happening here, but I suppose you know that already.

I'm somewhat better this week than last, not popping vicodin every day anymore. I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, so I'll let you know what he thinks after tomorrow.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chomp, Chomp, Chomp!

Can we all just agree now, that the next time DaddySpeak goes on a sailing trip it does NOT coincide with Shark Week?

99% of the shows I let the girls watch on "on demand" so guess what's on the advertising loop this week?

Da, na, da, na....

You got it. Shark Week! So now I'm constantly being bombarded with questions from BigSpeak about where DaddySpeak is sailing and could the sharks jump onto his boat? I totally blame that one on the Air Shark ad. Don't get me wrong, I love the shark week too, I just don't want to love it with my 5 & 2 year olds.