Friday, October 18, 2019

FMM - Starring Mostly You Know Who

Bragging:
This happens so rarely that I had to take a screenshot - 118 points!!! 

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Giving in:
I was doing my morning scroll on my iPad when Paco made it clear he wanted to lay with me.  I wasn't expecting the nose tuck under my hands, but that's what made him happy and of course I made Jeff take a picture of the sweet puppy.

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Stealth paparazzi mode:
Another day, another nap.  But those paws!  So cute.

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Life hack:
When you're laying on the couch and you're not sure if the tippy tappy toes are at the water bowl (hidden by his body) or at the back door, taking a tilted selfie will let you know if you have to get up.  

I discovered this when I didn't want to do any unnecessary movements thanks to my nerve pain, but this little hack is here to stay.  Also, the overused term life hack - is this one, or merely a tip?

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Have a great weekend!  We have something fun to see tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

WWU - Can You Believe I Have One??

I'm still on my "no workouts, no physical therapy" mandate, but I can go for walks as tolerated.  Last week they weren't tolerated very well because of my post-surgery nerve pain, but it has eased up so on Sunday I strapped on my Garmin, put on my brand new running shoes, and went for my first official walk.  I only went .75 miles - not because I was hurting, but because I was testing the waters to make sure I wouldn't be hurting the following day.  I wasn't - well, any more than usual with the lingering nerve pain - so that was good. 

And then I wimped out for the next two days because after a wonderful cold front over the weekend, the heat and humidity returned and I just didn't feel like sweating.  But another cold front came in last night so I'm good to get outside again.  Hey, I didn't not run during all of the hot and humid spring/summer months only to get back outside in that same weather for a little walk!  If I'm going to be a delicate flower when it comes to exercise, I'll do it when it's cool.  Or at the gym, where at least there's air conditioning and fans.  Sure sure, I may toughen up some, but right now I'm easing myself into this thing called sweating, LOL.

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Training has begun for the Renegades who will be running the Houston Half Marathon in January.  Thanks to new babies and my dumb back, there are only five people training.  I'm still creating and/or updating routes for our group and my goal is to name all of them.  Last week was Barney, thanks to the distinct shape.  I need to figure out this coming Saturday's route and name, but the following week will be an easy one because per our tradition, those who are able will be running our newest Renegade's birth weight!  Yes, baby Aiden was born!  He weighed 7 lbs 5 oz, which coincided nicely with the 7 miler on the schedule...what's another half mile at that point?

The pictures we've seen of Aiden show that he's as cute as his big brother:
He looks like such a big boy now!
Logan came to Blue Baker with his dad to pick up breakfast, so we sat him down and gave him a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie that our baker had given us.  
Ate the cookie, had some water, and he was ready to go home to his brother!

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Annnnnnd, that's a wrap on my first official WWU in a hella long time.  Next week I have a PT session scheduled, plus even more walking, woohoo!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Query

Which product that you purchase regularly gives you security?  As well as some angst when you run low?  For me it's Chapstick.  I have a tube stashed everywhere; desk, nightstand, inside closet, bathroom counter, purse, running bag (guess I could remove that one and use it elsewhere), family room by chair, family room round end table, family room coffee table.  I think that's it.  And it seems like they all run low at the same time...probably because I buy multiples of them in three-packs:
This is the unopened pack - I broke open the first one immediately to replace my empties.

Also, still on the Chapstick/lip balm theme, how often do you accidentally wash a tube?  For me, it's usually every couple of months thanks to my pants-pocket-stashing.  I haven't managed to throw one in the dryer, thankfully and knock on wood, and hopefully I will continue with that streak.

Let me know - I'm enjoying the comment conversations!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Herniated Disc Update #7 - Post Surgery

According to my surgeon, the recovery time for a laminectomy and discectomy is six weeks.  Considering I'd been dealing with a herniated disc for six months, six weeks didn't sound all that bad.  Besides, both the PA and my doctor said that after the first two weeks, I could go back to my normal life (whatever that is) with just a few caveats until the six weeks were up.  You'll want to stay tuned for this...

But let's back up to surgery day.  After I got home I parked myself on the couch, had a light dinner, visited with Diane who'd brought me some flowers, and finally felt enough pain in my back to warrant some Tramadol.  Of course I was really wary of taking anything thanks to how barfy I got from most everything I tried in the months leading up to this, but along with the pain meds I was also sent home with a prescription for an anti-nausea medication; I took both and fell asleep. 

On Tuesday I woke up feeling crummy but not barfy, so I continued with the pain meds.  Really it wasn't that bad but considering I'd spent enough time at 10 on the pain scale in the early months of the herniation, I decided to not go there if I could help it.  The pain was mostly located in my back but I still had a little bit in my leg from the nerve.  The other oddball thing was that I'd be perfectly still, standing or lying down, and I'd get the biggest ZAP of pain - it'd take my breath away for a moment.  This was the nerve reacting to surgery, yay.  When that happened for the first time I was glad I hadn't started tapering off Gabapentin just yet.  I needed as much help as I could get for that nerve.  It wasn't something that warranted taking Tramadol because it was too unpredictable - the zaps would just happen whenever they felt like happening.

Wednesday was my worst day with pain from the surgery - the incision area hurt plus my back ached pretty bad.  That was the day I could also remove the dressing covering the incision, and even though it was covered with steri strips, I could see some deep red bruises forming.  But hey, I got to take a shower, so that was great.  Although it was also a challenge since the post-op instructions said to not let the shower spray hit the incision.  I was paranoid that I'd accidentally turn with my back to the spray out of habit...let's face it, at 56 I've been showering for a lot of years without any thought going into which way I should be facing.  I made it through that OK, feeling both better as well as beat afterward.  I took the pain meds and for the first time since surgery on Monday, took the muscle relaxer that I'd gone home with - and side note, let's hear it for an in-hospital pharmacy who filled everything and sent it up to recovery; one less errand for Jeff to do afterward.

On Thursday I felt so much better that I only ended up taking half the dose of the muscle relaxer before I went to bed; no pain meds.  I thought that was really great - I've had so many pain meds in my system this year that not needing anything was better than good.  The zaps continued.

I spent the rest of the week and weekend feeling sore from the actual back surgery but overall not too bad all things considered.  I was trying very hard to rest and not do the things that were on the forbidden list for the first two weeks.  These consisted of:
  • No bending forward beyond a 45 degree angle
  • No twisting side to side
  • No lifting anything over 15 lbs and if I had to carry something, to hold it close to my abdomen
  • No driving
  • No exercise or physical therapy
  • And the big kicker, no sitting for longer than 20 minutes at a time
I tried to behave myself, I really did.  But similar to subconsciously putting my back to shower spray, it was really hard to not to bend forward beyond 45 degrees - I'd catch myself bending forward to reach a drink from the coffee table as I was lounging on the couch.  Or I reached into our bottom drawer freezer for an ice pack - argh!!  I was very frustrated with myself every time this happened.  I was pretty much perfect with the sitting, lifting, and driving, but bending and twisting really vexed me.

Which leads me to week two.  On Monday I woke up and felt like myself again.  I walked with my normal stride and while my back hurt a little, it mostly only bothered me getting on or off of something, like the couch or bed.  And yes, I was still getting zaps of pain, yay.

But then came Tuesday.  I woke up feeling good again, carefully swung my feet off the bed to start my day, took a step, and pain shot through my leg like fire.  After catching my breath, I realized that this wasn't a zap of pain but rather, it was the same nerve pain in the same area - groin, front of thigh, and top of knee - that I'd been dealing with since this entire thing began back in March. 

As you might imagine, I started going there:  the surgery didn't work, I'd accidentally bent too often, I'd twisted and messed it up...it was not a good place to be.  Not only did this continue, but it started hurting worse than before the surgery.  At the same time, I realized that the zaps were easing up and by Thursday I had my last one.  Which meant that the irritation on the nerve from the surgery had stopped, and the nerve pain in my leg was an indication of a failed discectomy.  It was hard not to think otherwise. 

The pain continued to increase in intensity and duration.  My despair was ramping up because if this didn't work, was I stuck living with nerve pain for the rest of my life?  Jeff was trying to stay positive but even he got a little down as the leg pain happened again and again and again.  There's a bit of a stigma with having back surgery as it's one of the more notorious in terms of failing, or being worse off than before, so you can probably understand why things looked bleaker and bleaker to us as I continued to hurt.

I had my two-week follow up appointment with the PA on Tuesday afternoon.  I was blunt in telling him that not only was I hurting, but that I was hurting worse than before.  He reassured me that I didn't screw it up with random accidental bending or twisting but rather, my nerve was extra irritated thanks to the disc fragment pressing on it, and then with the act of removing the disc fragment.  He said it's not common to have an increase in intensity of nerve pain after a discectomy, but it's also not unheard of, either.  I'm in the 10 - 20% of people who experience this.  Of course I am. 

My PA told me to continue with the bending and twisting limitations, and that I still should not start physical therapy or exercising, beyond walking as tolerated, for another two weeks.  He also offered to prescribe a round of steroids to help speed this process along, which I jumped at.  Anything to stop this pain.  He thinks the steroids will get enough inflammation reduced that I should begin to feel better over the weekend.  Please let that be the case!

So that's where I'm at as of about two and a half weeks post surgery.  It hasn't been the miracle cure where I woke up with the nerve pain gone, and all I needed to do was recover from having back surgery; nope not at all.  But my hopes are up once again and this time, I hope they stay up. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Goodnight Irene, I Can't Come Up With a Title

Welp, once again I'm on the fail train for a post, although at least I should get this one actually scheduled to publish at the correct time, instead of leaving my Monday post languishing in drafts after I corrected a typo.  OK two typos.  But I forgot to hit publish so my bad, it was late.  And now this is a Seinfeld post - remember, it was a show about nothing? 
A creative blogger would have changed this to "blog" but today, I am not that blogger.

Ooh, I got something:  Seinfeld - do you use any catchphrases from the show in your day-to-day life?  The one Jeff and I use, and whoever starts it will wait for the other to respond correctly, is "Ugh, I hate people." Yeah, they're the worst."  Let's hear your favorite catchphrases from Seinfeld (or another sitcom) that YOU use.  Comment below - that's where the real post will be.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Mom is a Gamer, Part II

When we last left off, I had abandoned Bad Janet and GTA V for a Nintendo Switch and Zelda, Legend of the Wild, thanks to Allie's early Christmas gift.  The Switch is a handheld game system but it can also be docked so you can play with the TV as your screen.

I haven't played a handheld game since my kids had a Gameboy and I sometimes played Frogger on it while they were at school.  The poor frog always got run over.  Hmmm, are we sensing a theme with some of these games?  Maybe vehicles and I don't mix.

I got the Switch, got Zelda loaded, and set out to play.  Similar to GTA V, this is another game where you can have all kinds of adventures.  It opened on a boy named Link, waking up in a shallow pool of water.  Um, Link?  I thought I was playing Zelda.  But OK, I can go along with this.

Almost right away I realized the game was giving really specific instructions with everything - like press A to take something - which was good as I had no idea what I was doing.  I also did not know how to work the controls, which added additional challenges.  I found a treasure chest pretty quick and opened it to find a shirt, which Link put on.  Then suddenly he was transported to a high tower, where an old man pointed out a glowing structure in the distance and gave Link instructions to go there and bring him a treasure, and he'd reward Link with a paraglider.

First things first:  Link had to climb down the tower.  After struggling to jump to several platforms below, he ran out of platforms, and the only controller instructions showing were JUMP or LET GO.  I pressed let go and poor Link fell a long long way to the ground, yelling all the way, before landing in a crumpled heap where he whimpered ow and then he was dead.  You guys, I felt so bad for him!  Apparently I can run over a ton of adults in Grand Theft Auto, but have my young character die at my hands?  That hurt.

Eventually and completely by accident, I figured out that he could climb the rest of the way down the tower.  I got him to the shrine, got bombs, managed to get the treasure, and triumphantly came out of the shrine only to be beaten to death by monsters.  What the what??  I was not expecting monsters!  When he dies, Link is resurrected at the last place the game saved, so I got a chance to fight the monsters several times before finally defeating them.  I got Link back to the tower to give the treasure to the old man, who chuckled and told me I had to get four more.  I was so mad - I did what he said and he changed the rules!
Here's the controllers on the, uh...control thingie that came with the game, and the body of the system ready to be docked.

Jeff wanted to watch me play, so I docked the switch to use the television for the screen.  After asking me how did I manage to get to the first shrine without finding food, eating anything to restore my strength, or why I didn't have pants on Link, I realized that I had missed a lot, so I wiped Link clean and restarted the game. 
Here's the Switch in handheld mode - complete with Link wearing a shirt AND pants, so fancy!

Playing with Jeff watching was a trip.  First of all, he had me look around the cave where Link woke up and guess what?  There were two treasure chests.  So Link not only got his shirt but he got pants as well.  I had him exit the cave and Jeff showed me all the sparkling things on the ground that I'd run right by - I had no idea you were to go to them and press A - mushrooms and apples went into my inventory...which I also hadn't realized existed.  Weirdly, I couldn't find the shrine with the bombs.  I had just been there!  But everything looked the same so I wandered around and finally stumbled onto a different shrine and the game unfolded from there...slowly and with a lot of deaths, mostly Link's.

Occasionally I managed to defeat some monsters but every time danger was near, ominous music would begin along with the flustering - my flustering.  I've been playing this game off and on for a few weeks now and even though I'm a little better at fighting (and have acquired better weapons, too), more than once I've managed to accidentally throw my weapon at a sleeping monster instead of shooting him with my bow and arrow.  But ask me to throw my weapon deliberately?  Haha, not gonna happen.

I still will somehow hit the button that makes Link crouch while fighting, which is not helpful at all...or I'll hit the button that makes him hold a bomb over his head, which is a pretty glow-y blue with trailing tendrils of blue lights as he frantically runs while Jeff is saying drop the bomb, drop the bomb! 
Simulated panic running with bomb for photos - no animals were harmed in the making of this picture.

While there IS quite a lot of panic on my end, I do enjoy getting to a village, where monsters can't enter.  There are people to talk to, places to buy clothing, food, and weapons, and at one village I discovered an empty house that I could purchase for the sum of 3,000 bundles of wood and 3,000 rupees.  I think I had maybe 19 bundles of wood and about 100 rupees at the time, so it took a while to acquire everything.

Here's where the nature-loving person in me had a dilemma:  to get the wood, you chopped down trees.  Trees in the village.  I felt so conflicted - the first time Jeff told me to chop down a tree by a house I said no...I didn't want to destroy the beautiful environment.  He said they would magically grow back, so I reluctantly swung my ax and not only ended up with wood, but also apples, so I basically razed the village and got enough wood.  Sure enough, the trees grew back, whew!
This game has a camera so you can take selfies, LOL.  Anyway, this is the house that Link built - er, bought.

I finally had enough rupees to make the purchase, and I was so proud to call myself a Hatano Homeowner.  Of course then I needed to get it furnished and yes, this made the former Sims player very happy.  Plus you can't accidentally start a fire in this house like you could with the Sims, so I'm pretty sure the house is mine forever.

There have been a lot more adventures and finds in this game mostly thanks to Jeff pushing me to "go look over there" when all I want to do is hide from monsters and get stuff.  I had one long trek where I nearly quit the game thanks to having to fight a stupid stupid electric Wizzrobe monster over and over and over  - this went on for a couple of days and when I finally beat him?  I really have no idea how I managed to do that beyond shooting a couple of arrows and swinging my weapon, hoping he was near enough to be hit.  My hands were sweaty and my fingers and thumbs had imprints of the controller buttons on them; and yes, I took a break after that victory.

One last thing:  you can acquire a horse if you sneak up from behind, jump on it, and hit the L button to soothe it before it bucks you off.  I was successful with my third attempt, so I took her to the stable, got her a custom mane and tail, and named her.  I am happy to present to you my horse:
Bad Janet, in all her edgy glory.  Maybe I'll be better riding her than I was when Bad Janet drove cars in GTA V...maybe??

Friday, October 4, 2019

FMM - 20 MINUTES, EEK!

Let me go on record to say that it is really hard to get much done in 20 minutes at the computer.  I probably shouldn't have wasted precious time taking a picture of my timer, but let's see if I can get this post done in one 20 minute increment.
::cue Mission Impossible music::

I did too much on Tuesday and paid for it on Wednesday, being super sore and hurting a lot.  But hey, I did get my coffee table straightened up - and believe me, it was a mess after surgery:
I'm reading the Magnolia Table cookbook for fun.  And one of these days I'm even going to make some of the recipes - they all look really good!
It took me some time to get the right height of books in the round basket to display this CUTE terrarium that my parents sent - succulents, and I love that they are artificial because I can put it so many more places in the house...all of my real succulents start to die if they are away from the windows.  Side note:  it's hard to put rectangular books into a round basket.

I think Paco was trying to send a message to Jimmy:
Take me wif you Jimmymeow.  I want to see cows.

Poor dog couldn't convince Jimmy to take him, but he did convince Jeff to give him some apple peels:
Pleeze.
PLEEZE.
Tank yu.  Dat's all I wanted.

Annnnnd?
 Success!!

I blame any typos on my speedy post.  Have a great weekend!