bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
I had surgery on my left elbow back on April 8th and then took three weeks off from work to recover. Maybe it was the Vicodin but the week after surgery I was really missing my late kitty, Harry. I mean really missing him. The next morning, April 15th, I checked my email and what do I see but an email from one of the techs at my Vet. She sent me pictures of a tiny Tabby boy and said that she thought I might be interested. All I could do was cry happy tears. Of course I went to see him that afternoon.

Cut for cuteness overload )
bunchofgrapes: (Cirque - Rainbow)
My special kitty boy, Harry, passed away yesterday. I had hoped he would make it to his 12th birthday but as it was, he barely made it to mine. He was ready; I wasn't. But when I finally realized it wasn't about me, I made the decision on March 20th at 2pm. I wrote the following when I first found out that he had cancer. It was a Friday and I was at work. Thankfully, it was a slow day because I cried for a full hour as I typed most this up. I'm adding to it now because I want to remember his last days.

My Baby Boy )
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
Not sure what has gotten into me but I've now finished two fics over the last six months. First there was She Sells Sanctuary in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fandom and just last week I posted to final chapter to a Brass/CSI fic called Shelter from the Storm. This one is a sequel to Forgiveness and features the return of Annie Kramer. I haven't finished two fics this close together since 2007. As painful as it was, changing jobs really was a good thing.

In other news first it was the right elbow, now it's the left. I have a surgery date of April 8th. I guess my left elbow was jealous and wanted a matching scar. I'm just a tad paranoid of getting another frozen shoulder so I'm glad I'm not waiting too terribly long but the freaking elbow hurts so much that I may take a kitchen knife and cut it off between now and April.

And lastly, my kitty-boy, Harry, the oldest of the trio, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in early January. He's on prednisone now and that's helping him eat. My goal is to get him to his 12th birthday on April 28th. He's lost some weight but other than that and the spit ups he does if he eats to fast, he's doing okay at the moment. I was pretty gutted when I found out and I'll be gutted when I lose him - he's been such an awesome cat - but at least I can enjoy the time he has left. And if he's still around after my surgery, I'll have four weeks to spend at home with him.
bunchofgrapes: (Steed - ew)
After four weeks of physical therapy, the impingement in my right shoulder wasn't getting any better. If anything it was getting worse. It hurts almost always and with certain movements, the pain can ramp up very quickly. And it's double over, take your breath away pain. I can't lift my arm above my shoulder or put my hand behind my back. It's mostly miserable. So I went back to my doctor on Thursday and turns out it's not impingement after all. It's something much worse: adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder.

Basically, frozen shoulder has three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawed. I'm in the freezing stage and have been in this stage at various degrees for well over a year. The shoulder issues first started around the same time as the elbow issues, then it would get better, then it would get worse. At one point right before elbow surgery my shoulder was so bad I couldn't reach across and touch my left shoulder with my right hand. My massage therapist worked on it for a couple of visits and it got a lot better. Then I had elbow surgery and it got a lot worse, mostly due to not being able to use my right arm. The limited activity because of my elbow over the last year probably started the whole thing and then age, gender, and a couple of medical issues are also a factor.

The issue will resolve itself eventually but eventually is after 24 months. In the meantime there's the pain and the increasing loss of range of motion. That's the freezing stage. The frozen stage is that the pain mostly goes away but the shoulder is frozen - no range of motion. Then it starts to thaw and pain goes away and range of motion starts to return. However, the problem with that is there's nearly always a loss of some range of motion. The good news is that once you have it in one shoulder, it generally doesn't come back to that shoulder. But it can show up in the other shoulder. The other good news is that the protocol is not to wait for it to thaw and lose range of motion. It can be fixed with arthroscopic surgery. He can go in, clean it out, remove the bursa, manipulate it to "unthaw" it, and then it gets better. Range of motion is supposed to be much, much better too. The bad news is that he can't do the surgery until it gets to the frozen stage because the chances for it to come back if done before then are very high. Doctor thinks I'm about halfway to frozen, which means the pain and loss of motion could get much worse. And that makes me a little depressed because like I said, right now the pain in miserable all the time and incredibly intense at other times. I can't imagine how much worse it could get. To manage the pain I could get another cortisone shot in a different place than the one I had 6 weeks ago but that cortisone shot was not effective at all and I hate doing cortisone shots. There are steroids I could take but they are steroids and apart from the regular side effects with steroids, this can also cause blood flow issues to the shoulder and the hip. Yeah, no. I mentioned to the doctor that I still have Vicodin left from my elbow surgery and I've taken 1/2 of one a few times at night when the pain was really intense and he said to let him know if I needed a refill. That does not bode well.

So for the next 8 months I'm back in physical therapy (and possibly another 6 weeks after that) so I don't lose any more range of motion while I wait for my shoulder to freeze. Then I can have surgery. Fun times. On the plus side it's been four months today since elbow surgery, which is the minimum amount of time the elbow needs to heal. It's doing great, except when a weather front moves through, but it's not considered fully healed until the 1 year mark.
bunchofgrapes: (Grey's Anatomy - wuh?)
Just about a year ago I got my first cortisone shot in my right elbow and started physical therapy. Three and a half months later, I got a second cortisone shot, started physical therapy again. A month and a half later I had surgery.

Today I got my first cortisone shot in my right shoulder and I start physical therapy...

ETA: Oh and cortisone shots? They hurt like hell!
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
Especially Troy Brouwer's hockey butt.

His legs are nice too )
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)


Amazing artwork by [livejournal.com profile] inamberclad

Cat Tales

Aug. 12th, 2013 05:46 pm
bunchofgrapes: (kitty - focused)
I have three cats: Harry and Sophie, both 10 years old, and Tucker, who's 6. Tucker has always kind of been the odd cat out only because there's one of me and Harry and Sophie are so clingy. I am never, ever alone and the minute I settle onto the couch or chair for any length of time, I have Sophie curled up next to me and Harry on me like I'm a recliner. Tucker usually lays on the floor by my feet but I've often caught him watching the other two. That's what he does: watches and learns. Tucker is a Maine Coon so he's a big boy. And he's probably the smartest cat I've ever had.

From Harry Tucker learned how to put his paw on my arm while I'm at the computer to get my attention and to pet him. He also learned to fetch, although not as well as Harry, and to head-butt doors to open them. I wish he'd have learned hygiene from Harry because Harry is Mr. Fastidious.

Sophie has always been my snuggle kitty. When I sit in the big chair in the living room, no matter where she is, she knows and is at my side. Lately, I've seen Tucker watching how I interact with her when she snuggles up next to me in the chair so last night, as I was getting ready to watch "Breaking Bad" (holy crap!) and before Sophie could stake her claim, Tucker jumped onto the chair and snuggled up next to me. That's the first time he's ever done it so it really was a surprise to me. Not sure what I'm going to do though when Sophie figures out he's taken her spot in the chair. She tolerates Tucker but he's never been high on her list so if he's up there, she'll keep her distance. I guess this means I need to get a bigger chair.
bunchofgrapes: (Adm Nelson - what now)
Elbow is coming along. I can't believe it's been two weeks since the surgery. Had my first physical therapy a week ago yesterday and got my sutures out a week ago today. Dr. told me he removed the bone spur that was causing a lot of issues, removed damaged tissue (debridement), and then drilled into the bone (microfracture) to increase the blood flow and create new cartilage. Even after two weeks there's still some pain and swelling but the pain is generally random instead of constant. I'm mostly taking Advil now but at night I'm taking 1/2 a Vicodin so I can sleep.

Getting comfortable in bed so I can fall asleep is probably the hardest. I still can't cut things, touch my right hand to my shoulder, the top of my head, or my mouth (have to eat left-handed, which has been a good thing) but I can shave my left armpit - yay! I'm not allowed to type for more than 5 minutes with my right hand, which is probably good because my arm gets tired and achy for anything longer than that so yes, I'm typing this post with my left hand. Lots of corrections to make. The hardest restriction though is that I can't lift anything heavier than a pen/pencil with my right hand. Yesterday's PT consisted of stretching my rotator cuff in my right shoulder because it hurt more than my elbow. I had this shoulder pain before surgery and it probably contributed to my elbow problems. So my fear is that after my elbow gets better, I'll be back at the doctor for my shoulder. It really is better today though. Yesterday I couldn't lift my right arm at all. Today I can but it still feels weak.

Boredom set in last week but luckily my friends and co-workers have helped. My manager and the business management team came by last Thursday for lunch. I really like our team so I was very happy to see them. Friday I had lunch with my former neighbor and that was a lot of fun. Saturday my parents took me to dinner and then we hit the outlet mall for tax-free shopping. Since I still can't cut things, my dad had to cut my meat for me at the German restaurant we went to. I felt like I was five. Yesterday after PT I met my manager for lunch and in between I had a long chat with a good friend and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea marathon, which was a hoot! Yep, I admit that I still have a major thing for Richard Basehart and watching those episodes made me want to write Voyage again. Except that I can't type (or write) at the moment. I feel like Burgess Meredith in the Twilight Zone episode, Time Enough At Last.

Speaking of Voyage, I have several fics that were hosted on a website that went away. I want to re-post them but I can't decide whether I should create a new pen name or use my CSI fic name. I'm leaning towards a new name so I can keep them separate but at the moment, I can't think of one. I have a website but I think I'd also like something that gets more traffic. Also, fan fic.net or An Archive of our Own? I'm kind of leaning towards AO3 because it's not so restrictive. Thoughts?
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
I've never in my life had a worse dry throat as I had after surgery. People are constantly talking to you in recovery, wanting you to talk to them so they know you're okay, but it's kind of hard to talk when your lips are stuck to your teeth and your tongue is glued to the roof of your mouth. Not even the three cups of water helped. I don't think the dryness went away until Thursday.

Weirdest thing about taking major pain meds is that you do things and seem to be very conscious of doing them and then later you think, "did I do that? If so, when?" because you have just a faint memory of actually doing it. And this is after reducing the dosage from every 6 hours to every 12 hours and taking Advil in between instead. This is why driving would not be a good thing. Well, that and navigating a large automobile seems like way too much effort at the moment.

On the plus side I think the pain in my elbow was definitely worse before the surgery. Now it just hurts in a different way, which either means I'm still jacked up on pain meds or the pain isn't nearly as bad as it was (I'm thinking I'm still jacked up because there has been some decent pain). Sure, there are things I can't do, like lift my hand/arm to my chin or wiggle my fingers, either because my arm doesn't want to do it or it hurts too much but there's a lot I can do that doesn't hurt at all. There's an exercise the doctor wanted me to start yesterday, once the splint came off, that's not so bad. But about that splint coming off. No one told me that taking off all the bandages would make me queasy and light-headed. I mentioned this to my boss today and she apologized for forgetting to tell me. She's had four knee surgeries and she said she felt nauseous when she took the bandages off after each one. After about an hour the queasiness passed and it's been fine ever since.

Off to sit on the sofa and wonder when I fell asleep because there's something different on TV than there was five minutes ago. I'm sure that later tonight or tomorrow I'm going to wonder when I wrote this.
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
Surgery is in the morning. They had me scheduled for 7:30 but I got a call this morning and it's been bumped to 10am. Can't say I'm disappointed because I have to be there an hour and a half before surgery and the thought of getting there at 6am was not pleasant. Now I don't have to be there until 8:30.

More under the cut )
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
I'm having surgery on my right elbow in 10 days. I'm right-handed so I've been practicing doing things with my left hand. The challenges will be getting dressed (stretchy pants, loose t-shirts will be dress code for a while), getting into bed, making the bed, changing the sheets (nearly impossible), using a roll brush with the hair dryer (also nearly impossible), shaving my left armpit, writing, and cutting things with a knife. As it is now many of those things are pretty difficult but not impossible. The good news is that I'll be off work for at least 4 weeks and the pain I have will be a different kind of pain. I hope.

I have lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow - I don't play tennis) that's never gotten better and a pretty significant calcification, most likely the result of playing softball for many, many years. The pain started over a year ago. I went to the doctor in the Fall because it wasn't going away and by then the pain had become nearly unbearable. I should have gone earlier but I've decided that women tend to tough it out longer than men. The first visit I got a cortisone shot, which killed the pain but not before some really, really bad pain, a script for an NSAID, and then a 6 week stint in physical therapy. Shot wore off in January and the pain came back. I even remember the date because the pain was that bad. Went back to the doctor. He wanted to try the same thing as the last time only this time with a different NSAID so it was another cortisone shot and another trip to PT. I got this cortisone shot late in the afternoon and then headed to a Caps game. I remember the pain was so bad after this shot that a couple of times I thought I was going to have to turn around. It did get better but for most of the night, I could barely use my right arm. Thankfully, the pain went away after several hours. PT went well and I actually did feel like it helped this time but over Memorial Day weekend, the second shot wore off and the pain returned.

While the results are good, cortisone shots are bad so I'd already decided (and been told by everyone including the physical therapist) not to have another one. The only option left was surgery. I was trying to put it off until mid July because I knew it has a long recovery and mid-July thru August tends to be the slowish time at work. So here I am, working through a long list of things to get done before I won't be able to do them. I'll be in a splint for two or three days (no driving) and then after a week, when the sutures are out, I'll start physical therapy again. Since my job is spreadsheets, one of the abilities I want to get back sooner rather than later is the ability to use the keyboard and mouse. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he made a point of saying the full recovery time for this surgery is 4 to 6 months. Makes me wonder if I'm being a little optimistic about getting back to work...

On the plus side, I hope to see some movies and watch a lot of old TV (I recently got Daktari on DVD - loved that show when I was a kid) while I'm out. Maybe I'll even take a trip to the botanical gardens, something I've wanted to do for years.
bunchofgrapes: (Alex O - Caps)
A couple of months ago at work our division VP decided that we were going to a 9/80 work schedule. For those not familiar with this, it means that in our two week pay period (80 hours) we work 8 nine hour days and then one 8 hour Friday and get the first Friday in the pay period off. Today was my first off Friday and I have to say, score one for my division! I also like that my manager stressed that we actually take the day off and not look at the Blackberry. I kind of forgot about the Blackberry until just now.

Read more... )

Birthdays!

Jan. 26th, 2013 12:29 pm
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
Happy Belated Birthday to [livejournal.com profile] vr_trakowski and Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] wintergreen126!

Hope you both have/had a great day of celebration. Or quiet time.
bunchofgrapes: (Brass - loss)
So this morning I woke up to the brief sound of a siren and then the distinct sound of idling big truck engines outside and I get up to look because I know that sound. Sure enough I look outside to see a ladder truck. And three ambulances. And three cop cars. They take a couple of stretchers out of one of the buses and take them to the townhouse kind of in front of mine (the front of my house looks out at their front yard/door). There's lots of activity (emergency people going in and out of the house) but I eventually lose interest because the cats haven't been fed and I haven't had breakfast or coffee and food/coffee is always more important.

Fast forward to about an hour later and I notice the cops are still hanging around. I'm thinking maybe they are giving the family grief about having three families in the house (they are Latino and that's pretty common around here) and go about my business.

Fast forward to a couple of hours later and I notice an EMT come out to meet a black Chevy SUV, which has backed up towards the house. Then it all clicks. Someone died and this is the coroner. Yup. They wheel a bed in and take out a covered body. I knew immediately who had passed away...

As I mentioned, there are three fairly young families living in the townhouse (it's a very large townhouse). They all moved in around August 2011 and are very nice people. One of the men was a chef someplace - used to see him coming and going in his white chef jacket. Unfortunately, I never knew his name so to me he was always "Chef Guy". Whenever I saw Chef Guy, he always smiled and waved. Always.

Well, I didn't see Chef Guy for a while and then the next time I did, he did not look good. Time passed and when I saw him again, it was obvious he was going through chemo. A few months later, when I saw him again, he had what honestly looked like a bowling ball in his belly. It was very distended and grotesquely large and he looked like he was in quite a bit of pain as he shuffled from the car to the house. I was out doing yard work one afternoon while Joe, one of the other guys, was talking to another Latino neighbor in Spanish. I couldn't understand what they were saying but I did understand the word, cancer and I'm guessing they are talking about Chef Guy because it makes sense. Every time I saw him, he looked worse and worse and then I never saw him again. But I always wondered how he was doing. I knew immediately he was the one who passed away because even though they covered the body, the very distended stomach was very obvious.

RIP, Chef Guy. I'll miss your smile and wave.
bunchofgrapes: (Emma - tongue)
Since I wasn’t around LJ much in the second half of 2012, I will give you all a year in review.

2012 – The Year of Home Improvements...and Honey Boo Boo )
bunchofgrapes: (Paul G - teh hawtness)
A friend of mine is trying to raise money to get his play, "The Messenger", to NYC - off Broadway. It's a play about a death rown inmate about to be executed and the prison chaplain who is determined to get a final confession before the condemned is put to death. My friend plays the chaplain. He's also the director. They need to raise $8,000 by Dec. 10 in order to get the play to NYC. If you'd like to make a pledge and become a backer of the play (you can even become an executive producer for $1,000), please go here: Paul Kodiak's "The Messenger"
Pledges can be anything from $1 to $1,000. If they fall short of the $8,000, even by a penny, they get nothing but my understanding is that you get your pledge back. So take a look at the site and see if you'd like to support a small play get it's chance off Broadway. Every little bit helps!

ETA: For anyone in the VttBotS fandom, my friend is Dante Giammarco, the actor who once worked with Richard Basehart in his last Shakespearean role, Macbeth, back in 1979.
bunchofgrapes: (Lights)
Having a bad day? Need a little pick me up? Then give this a look/listen. It will make your day, I promise.



I wish I could have been there to actually see and hear it.

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