Saturday, December 14, 2013

We're Celebrating Our Wood Year!

On this date in 2008, my sister told me I should blog, and I, somehow, agreed. Now, here we are, 368 posts, one hairless cat, and five years later. I sit here in the dark, pretentiously sipping my dark hot chocolate with vegetarian marshmallows, listening to NEW, tapping my bunny-clad foot to the beat, and wondering where to begin.

I think the obvious should be stated right from the off: in 2013, I have been a bad blogger.
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Reginald Kitty approves.

There are reasons, of course. I didn't just abandon writing publicly for no good damn reason, naturally. Considering it isn't really much of a look-at-all-the-stupid-things-we've-talked-about-on-the-blog anniversary post, I think it's time to tell everybody what in hell happened this year. Don't worry, there will be photographs.
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Reginald Kitty does not approve.

I think everyone should be caught up on the earlier part of the year when I tried to explain what was going on, so let's pick up where that left off.

The last time I did a proper blog post was three days before going to see Paul in Tulsa. What I do for that man; he has no idea, and never will, but that's OK, because I lurve him. We planned to be gone May 29-31 to go to both shows, and drive back home. Stupid me decided to take a five week literature course that started, you guessed it, May 28th. I missed nearly four days of a five week course -- I reiterate, a five week course. Who in their right mind takes a five week course? So, naturally, I had to work to catch up (rather reminiscent of the time I completely missed the first six days of an eight week Freshman Comp One class to see Paul in Vegas, but still made 114% in the class, and was asked if my work could be used to instruct future students. Sue me, I'm proud of that). I don't care. I took these photographs, and don't remember a damn thing about the course: which was more important?
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May 29 limo watch.

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May 30 limo watch.

So, about two weeks into a five week class (again, why?) my second Summer session class started; I was half through with a five week course, and was starting an eight week course at the same time. Why, why, why do I do these things to myself? Who sets this up as a possibility, anyway? There must be some kind of flaw in their system to be able to do stupid things like that. As the five week class was wrapping up, we headed down to Dallas for some business we will discuss momentarily, and, most importantly, to see The Maine on the 8123 Tour.
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See that black spot right under Jared, next to the tire? That's me and my umbrella. I was dying, as it was over 100 degrees in Dallas that day. I think I may have passed out for a minute from the heat. Also, thanks to whoever took this picture.

I hope to be able to talk about my concerts from this year separately -- maybe throughout the month of December, maybe into January when the next one comes up (I can't help it, when I heard that The Maine's acoustic "Evening With..." tour was passing through Oklahoma City, I bought two tickets, and I'm takin' my Mama to see something really, really special on January 30th, because I can). So, for the sake of actually being able to talk about some things, we'll save that for another time.

This is where it starts to get a bit heavy, so hang in there. My purpose for going to Dallas was to see The Maine; everyone else in my family wanted me to go to Dallas to see a specialist for a problem I have battled constantly for fifteen years. My scoliosis is something I never talk about, because, once people know about it, they treat you differently. Maybe it stems back from those public school days, but I know better that to let people know about my spine. I am breaking that silence because practically everyone I know, and a lot of people I don't actually know at all (damn small town living) found out about it. It's my story, and it's been a big part of my life, so I may as well dive into it.
This is what my spine looked like on July 23rd.
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45 degree curvature on the top, 35 degree curvature on the bottom.

Now, don't be mistaken, here: I have been under a doctor's care for this since it was discovered when I was seven years old. It's just that, when your doctor tells you that you aren't in pain at age twenty-one when that was the first complaint to him out of your seven year old mouth, and in every visit since then (sometimes five consultations a year to keep check on it), you start to wonder if he's all that great a doctor. I wore a brace for two years, but it did nothing to help. I was at the point where it was the undoing of my life when I was persuaded by my family to seek a second opinion. If it weren't for the 8123 Tour, I would not have gone to see if I could be fixed, and, subsequently, would not have been.

The surgery happened quickly. I saw the doctor on July 23rd, and had the surgery August 9th, with a week's worth of pre-surgery procedures (myelogram, MRI, CAT scans, etc). I stayed in the hospital for seven full days because there were complications with the drugs they had me on; I stopped breathing for a while, my heart rate crept up too high for them to move me, things of that nature. I should only have been in ICU for twenty-four hours, but they kept me three days. Less than a day after the surgery, they had to pull all of my pain medication to try and bring me out of it -- something they had never had to do to a patient before, apparently. So, in essence, I had an enormously invasive spine surgery, and had little to no pain medication afterward. It certainly wasn't their fault, it's just that my body doesn't handle drugs at all. At. All. I found that out when I got home, too. The narcotic pain medication they had me on after the surgery knocked me out so far, I slept through about the first week of recovery. Unfortunately, starting on August 19th -- ten days after the surgery date -- I began at the University of Texas at Arlington with a full course load. I had no choice but to minimize the pain medication, to the point where I stopped taking it so I could do my work. By about the third week after surgery, I was off the narcotic pain meds, and only taking one muscle relaxer a day, per the doctor's order. I was at the minimum amout of medication I could possibly take; the muscle relaxer they gave me isn't even considered a narcotic in this state.

So, about thirty-five or so days after the surgery, sometime in early September, I was feeling fantastic. So good, in fact, that we went with my dad on a five day business trip to Galveston. While I was still taking that full twelve hours of upper-division undergrad work. Lunacy.

In October, I began post-op physical therapy. The ass-kicker about it, however, is that it was in Dallas, over four hundred miles from my house. We had to stay in Dallas for five days in October, and three days each in November and December for it. I finished therapy last week, so those whirlwind trips, for which my mother and I had to drive in tandem, are over. We also decided to go with my dad on another business trip, and went to Austin and San Antonio for my twenty-second birthday, which just so happened to coincide with the trip. All while, I will remind you, was during a full time college schedule. Keep that in mind.

Last month, after the physical therapy trip, it was time for our annual Vegas vacation, for which we were gone nine days. Also during November, we had to pack my Grandy up, and move him fifty miles from the big city to our tiny town. After that, we packed up for a couple of days and headed to Wichita, KS, for my birthday present: my mother took me to see Theresa Caputo. You know, this lady. And then, two Thanksgivings (one of which I cooked two pies from scratch, two nut loaves [my specialty], the Tofurky roast, sweet potato dumplings, mashed potatoes, colcannon, and deviled eggs). All while taking a full college schedule.

This month, after the final physical therapy sessions and between getting Grandy's and our house ready for Christmas, I had about a week to finish my courses before I had to go in for another pre-op and surgery ordeal. Yesterday -- which, incidentally, was the last day of classes -- I had sinus surgery to fix all of the wretched sinus infections I have suffered with for years upon years. My pre-surgery nose was shaped similarly to my pre-surgery spine; no wonder I have had so many problems with this since ever. Hell, as you read this, I'm probably still sleeping off the drugs.

In between all of these goings on, I have had some post-surgery issues that have come to light. I have some unusual growths on my thyroid that are being monitored to ensure they aren't cancerous, and they have discovered that I have a very high heart rate (what should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute is 169 for me). Not to mention the two sinus infections I have had since the spine surgery, the post-surgery anemia that everyone gets, and, because of the surgery, an extreme vitamin D deficiency. I don't mind it, though, since this is the after.
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Less than ten degree curvature both top and bottom, fusion on T2-T12.

And, importantly, something I don't know if I have talked about yet is that my pride and joy and reason for living, Lilly, was diagnosed with diabetes in January; throughout this year, she has been gradually losing her eyesight, and, by now, is nearly blind. She also has arthritis in her left hand, and can no longer jump up and down. She is still a puppy at heart, and loves to do all of the things she's always done -- it's just a little harder for her now.
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Look at that beautiful babe. Most beautiful in the whole wide world. But, you know, I'm not biased or anything.

As you can see, I have had so much going on, I simply haven't had time to tell you all about it. Less blogging, more living. That's it. That's the story. This is especially crazy to imagine since I was supposed to, in the words of my doctor's assistant, "be watching daytime TV for three months". In the four months since my surgery, I've been busy, and taken absolutely no breaks -- there wasn't time to. I am looking so forward to my life screeching to a halt after going a thousand miles an hour, even if it's for another recovery period. Buford Christmas is ten days away now, and Christmas Day follows, but that's all I have planned until late January when university starts again, and we go to Oklahoma to see The Maine, and that's how it will stay. I refuse to leave the house, and, most likely, will only change my jammies and socks for different jammies and socks. I will not put on pants or a bra, I will not leave the house, I will not receive visitors, I will not be a visitor, and I will not answer my telephone. If you want to reach me, too bad, I'm out-out-out. I hope that, after my nasal surgery, I will still want to blog through the recovery and talk about some concerts/vacations/experiences that have happened this year; if that isn't the case, it will just have to take a long deserved break, and wait it's turn.

So, at the first of the year, the blog was quiet because life was quiet; in the second half, the blog was quiet because life hijacked me. I have taken the opportunity to try and come up with a short Mr. Gee-esque poem for the posts that were made.

In the five years since this blog was born,
it's never been so damned forlorn;
sitting untouched for months at a time
makes it hard for this poem's bad rhyme.
I wish there was more I had said to you,
but the posts that were posted will just have to do.
We contemplated Elvisces while Pete rocked out,
caused some commotion, saw what publishing's about.
There was heartbreak, which fangirling mended,
a 365 blog that started and ended.
We met Elmo Tinsel, had supersleuthing to do,
quarter-life realizations, and flashbacks, too.
Least we forget the Top Fives and Mixtapes,
which rounds off the content I happened to scrape.
As we dive headlong into blogging year six,
I hope you'll stick with me and my stupid tricks;
I know it's been quiet, but I plan to blog on,
and I'd like to think that you'll come along.

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Really though, I am constantly pleased to think that whatever my tiny fingers are typing on my keyboard, someone somewhere in the world maybe got something out of it; whether it's a chuckle, or what I sometimes do with people -- shout at my screen "how can you be so stupid?!" while shaking my hands in the air -- there is a satisfying exchange of ideas somewhere here. I hope you think the same. Thank you for putting up with this blog for five whole years -- half a decade! My sister's children are younger than this blog, and that's creepy to think about; so much has changed in five years, and I am glad that I have been able to share some of that along the line.

To year six! May it be slower, less taxing, but just as exciting.
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