Friday, July 17, 2009

Retrospect, Monday, November 21, 2005

My blog readership has hit its all time low, and we all know my mind is on other things than blogging at the moment. With what's looming ahead I just can't focus.

So I give you a time when I could. Here's Monday, November 21, 2005

Hurrah! Hurray! Harumph! ?... I don't know exactly why I decided to start that way, but it felt right at the moment. Shouldn't we all begin things with a hurrah & hurray sometimes?
(Actually I had a great first sentence, but it was lost in the typing of Hurrah...)

Steven hooked up my dishwasher yesterday! As I still don't have the rest of my kitchen, the dishwasher is probably what was the most necessary thing at the moment. Dishes were on every surface in my home, piling up in my tub, my sink; the cups stacking and teethering, pots and pans and their friends gaining strength in the army that I foresaw overthrowing my home. We were digging through papers on the tables. Where did all the spoons go?
Ah, but I've loaded them, filled my dishwasher with ammunition, and faught and won the was at last. There is not a dish (in sight) in here no more...unless you count the one in my fridge. You know the one, that one bowl that completes my set, but has been in there covered in aluminum foil since, I'm guessing May? July? I stood in contemplation, staring at the bowl, then closing the door. I'm too scared. I have no idea what it ever was, but likely it will see the can one day.
What else is new?
We went to a Baptist funeral this weekend, which I thought was going to be excruciating. You know how the Baptists are always trying to convert you at the funerals. Naomi cried real tears, but didn't know who they were for. Shanna smacked her gum and wanted to go home.
Afterwards, theres a dinner, and we followed along. Turns out I met this interesting man. An incredible, interesting man. (Yes, I remember I'm married.)
An incredible, interesting, 84 year old man. Happy Lee was the son of sharecroppers, went on to college, then to become one of the most outstanding democrats I've met. He worked under a few presidents (JFK & Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter) worked with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, and in 2004, was the first recipient of the Gandhi Foundation Lifetime Acheivement Award. At the same ceremony, Coretta Scott King won the Gandhi Peace Award.
Now in the early stages of Alzheimers, he looked at my husband in shock when he told him his name. "Steven Lee? Steven Lee?" Walking him to his wife, "Look, this is Steven Lee!" We found he'd had a son that passed away named- Stephen Lee.
"He died at 40 from a brain tumor, but before that he was a veterinarian, and you know, he invented this contraption..." With pride, he told us about this thing that tied (?) to a horses vagina (yes, he used that word...about 6 times, hee hee) and when the horse went into labor, the cord broke, and it automatically called three people and told them which horse was having her baby. They use this all around the world, we learned. If you can find a copy of Happy's book, I recommend it.
Man, I haven't even covered yesterday at church yet. I know I don't have room or time, but it was bread communion. (Everybody brings bread or soup). Steve Bell brought Matza ball soup. The Matza are all different sizes, he said. He went on to tell a story. (Here goes)
There were these two old women who only got one meal a day, and today there was this pot with broth and two matza, a big one and a small one. They stared at the soup and faught over who would go first. Finally, one goes first, and ladles out the big one. The other woman looks on in disbelief. "I can't believe you took the big one! How selfish!" Ranting and raving about the others large ball, the woman with her bowl full said, "Well, which one would you have taken?"
"The small one!"
"And that's what you got!"
And the moral of the story is before you go complaining about getting the short end of the stick, maybe thats what you asked for. (I think. I'm not quite as eloquent as Dr. Bell).

Oh! And the whole thing about him calling Irene! I have to tell you this, then I'm done, promise. Okay, he turns to Irene.
"Good. You got my call you bring soup or bread."
"No, you didn't call me."
"I did. I left a message on your machine."
"I don't have a machine."
"Isn't your number XXX-XXXX?"
"No, that's not my number."
about 20 minutes later...
Woman walks in with a covered dish.
"Where is Steve Bell?"
"I'm Steve."
"Did you call me?"
"Did I call you?" laughing, "Is your number XXX-XXXX?"
"Yeah, I did call you. Who are you?"
"Gracia. I don't know who you were, but I thought maybe I just didn't remember. So I brought the soup." Okay, it doesn't translate to be as incredible as it was, but it was awesome. There are no coincedences. Irene looked over, "But I know her!"
Gary looked over, "Me too! She used to be in my Tai Chi class!"
Gracia was a wonderful addition to our day. So full of life, and did I mention she speaks 6 languages? Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, English, & Turkish! Wow. She is going to come back to our Hannukah, and she's Catholic (On her way to UU?) :)
And little did I know we'd be discussing the items we brought in front of the congregation.

There I was, the first from the left, starting with...the Left. I brought Wheat Thins. (I have no kitchen! Who knew. I'll do better next time)

Happy turkey Day! Much Love as always, Kat Lee

this is Steve Bell :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How to Survive Your Cerebral Angiogram!

My doc made the cover!!! Woo hoo!

Also, I lived through the cerebral angiogram, and after my experiences with the damned thing, I'm going to suggest ways it can be better for you if you are needing to have this same procedure done.

Dr. Frank Tong at Emory was the Doctor that performed my C.A., and after we got home, my husband's words-

"I've never met a nicer doctor in my life."

I believe that Tong makes an uncomfortable procedure better because of a kind nature that put me at ease. Palpable integrity, easily put.

Jeff Steinig, Karen Patterson, & Norma Jeans confirmation name is Kathleen... :) hello!

Here are a few steps to make your Cerebral Angiogram a tad easier :).

1. Forget your new panties at home. You will not get to wear them. (I know, I wanted to wear my new panties too. forget it.) They don't call it 'groin' for nothin. However, during your procedure, you are on a heated table, and are covered, um, mostly. When you read other more medically stout sites and they say thing like, "they will shave, scrub, and sanitize the groin area" this does not mean your entire groin area. Actually, you can stick those knees closed tight if indeed it makes you feel less exposed. The ' my ass is in the air' fear is the very least of your worries. (although, I have to tell you that the guy before me that was having the same procedure was pulling the side of his gown trying to cover his exposed ass- but unfortunately, was pulling it the wrong way. I sat horrified watching his naked ass all the way down the hall. Horrified because their were tons of people there, and yikes, that could be me.)

2. Schedule your procedule as early as possible. Things happen. My C.A. got delayed by almost 4 hours, due to a hospital emergency. Scheduled for 2 pm, this means I did not eat since the night before, and the procedure didn't end until nearly 7. Then, you have to lay flat for 4-6 hours, so you have an opportunity to be extremely weak at that point. I could not wait to go home, yet when the nurse had me walk down the hall and back before I could leave, I passed out cold. I had to stay an extra 45 minutes while they got a new bag of IV fluids in me. Personally, I think they should have given the IV bag when I got in the room while I waited the 4 hours. If you are scheduled at an earlier time you may not need this, though. Just in case, bring a big bottle of gatoraid and a bendy straw. In retrospect, I'd get an earlier time, but I'm hoping this won't be something I'll have to go through again. So this is just a suggestion for your sake :).

3. They can put a mild sedative in your IV bag. But not unless you ask for it! I was extremely nervous, but did not actually get the sedative. They forgot. But it was okay, I survived, it really was not so bad. But I say go ahead and ask for it for comforts sake. Also, I closed my eyes almost the entire time- the spaceship technology, hospital atmosphere, and bright lights can be daunting- but you can zone out if you close your eyes. Pretend you are lying in a tanning bed, ha! Chit chat with your Doctor. You'll be fine & it'll be over before you know it.

4. Don't move, don't breathe, don't swallow...This is what they tell you when they shoot the dye in your head. You hold your breath, then they repeat this as they film your arteries. I don't know if explaining the exact feeling of this would be a good or bad thing, because my description will make it sound worse than it is. You'll see some little white lights in your eyes. You'll feel a 'fizzy' feeling in your neck. And you head will feel like it is being filled with hot fluids? It's just strange. I personally feel that all med students should have this done for personal experience sake before they are allowed to perform this procedure on someone else, but that's just me.

5. The worst part of my experience was-A. The fear of the thing. and B. The IV needle. The fear. I'm chicken little, so the idea of it was scary. But the idea of lots of things are scary. My IV needle was poked in my wrist at an angle and I felt it scratching me the entire time, especially with movement. But I have crappy veins for IVs, and you'll do better for sure.

Good luck to ya :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Etsy Find of the Month

My Etsy find of the Month is by artist Treasure Frey...I think she's amazing.

I just ended up running across this and felt it really relates.

cropped balloon popper

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm not really in a letter writing mood so much.
I initially thought I'd quit blogging until fall, then resume my blog when I felt better. But then, probably from googling brain aneurysms and surgery so much, I figured I'd document some of the little events that led up to my lovely summer of brain funk & maybe it will help somebody, or even guide someone through what they may themselves experience when diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.
It started when I got a severe allergic reaction. Which led to all sorts of other things, including severe headaches. My doc decided we should get an MRI. The MRI is not so scarey, just expensive as hell. And the MRI man tells me I have terrible nonexistant veins, so he stuck me twice in the first arm, then when he started sticking the second arm, I was slightly nervous. But it's okay.
Initially, they said they thought I had a congenital AVM, which is a abnormal vein you are born with. Another MRI & MRA later, they called my husband and told him i had an unruptured brain aneurysm. My uncle died at 44 in his sleep from a brain aneurysm. My aunt died from a brain aneurysm as well. Two of my mothers siblings. It makes me worry for my mother a bit.
Our neurosurgeon happens to be Dr. Barrow at Emory, and I feel like he's a good choice. I hope he's a Jew, you know your good and safe with a Jew. But who knows. (I'm just being silly...that's the Kat Lee in me coming out. "Look for a good Jew name!" I tell my husband. "Like what?" "You know, something that ends in Man or Berg or has Stein in it..." Barrow doesn't sound Jewish, but his first name is Daniel. So it's a toss up.)

The neurosurgeon tells me my syptoms are completely unrelated.
It's just an extra little thing to work out.
They don't actually cut your brain, they go in between the left and right brain somehow.
That is comforting, I think.
Atlanta traffic is a nightmare.
Steven's trying to work his way in, and he's partly in and a suburban rushes past, doesn't let him thru. He yells Cocksucker, rolls the window down, and he spat on the car. I'm looking at him like he's crazy. Who is this man? It's his birthday. :)
He comes to sit down on the sofa when we're home. I'd put my lawn chair under the giant oak, the one with all the moss, and I sat there the other day, half napping. I left my chair under the oak, and his was still on the patio.
"I moved my chair," he tells me. "It looked lonely and I don't like your chair being so far from mine." He'd gone out and dragged his chair across the field. Every day should be his birthday.
He needs my keys to turn the airbag on. I can't find them.
"Look at my purse!"
"What?" he says. The giant orange bottles are taking up too much space.
"It looks terrible! I don't want to be one of those ladies with pill bottles filling their purses..." and I gripe and complain until I'm not anymore.
I try to blog, then give up. I then reread my little letter and wonder where the symmetry went. My flounce. My swagger. (That makes me laugh! I keep hearing that term, & was just waiting for a chance to use it...though I'm not exactly full of literary swagger.) Where was I? I just ran downstairs to hit the timer on dinner, talked to my friend, took a valium, and now I'm back.
No fussing with me about the valium, people. I firmly believe that valium helps me with the whole little 'aneurysm thing'. Though I don't take them everyday, only on days where I have to talk about it. If your doctor calls you and say that you have a brain aneurysm, go on and request your valium then. Preferably the 10's. I have 5's currently, and only take them when I'm forced to talk about it or get too curious and google brain surgery.
(Could be how you got here...Don't Google. It'll only make you feel bad. Look up something completely separate from your issue...Like new tile flooring or Googling will only make you cry.)

Talking about it is much harder than having the damn thing. It's like having a giant freaking mole on your forehead, it doesn't get away from you, but you surely don't want to have to talk about it. And it can start with your mother or sister knowing, or one friend. Then, you're getting calls from your sisters ex-husband and old neighbors, and they want to know how your doing. Which is nice. But mostly, you don't want to talk about it. You want to talk about Michael Jackson and if it'll rain and the stupid but out of the blue status reports on Facebook. You want to talk about stuff other than it.
But today, I guess I thought I'd talk about it. Get it out in the open.
I'm so happy I found it.
I'm so lucky too. I know. Happy & lucky. :). But a wee stressed.

My friend told me on the phone she'd shave her head when they shaved mine.
"What? They don't do that, do they?"
(That was the trigger that led to me taking the above valium...) I am not yet sure about the head shaving thing, but I will keep you informed.
Next Tuesday, I go for the next test, where they run dye into the artery near my groin, into my brain, and it gives them a 3-D scan. One doctor called this a Angiogram, another a Cerebral Arteriogram. While not interesting, I'll probably blog next week about that, because Googling it made me feel slightly ill, and I had hoped I could read someone's simplified version of what it's actually like. I'm hoping it's no big deal. Also, I'm hoping they drug me heavily.
They said my aneurysm surgery could be done as early as the following week after that.
I would kind of like to take the kids to see the new Harry Potter first. I've read about people not remembering things, not being able to spell afterwards...I figure I'll blog and we can see how it turns out.
I'd like to focus on Fun soon. Some sort of vacation maybe. Steven says I can pick where we go, which is cool. He wants water; I'm not so much into water, & prefer Historic things, like the Parthenon, but cheaper. A nice Euro garden, which my kids would not be thrilled with.
Maybe Barbados. I hear there are monkeys there. Who doesn't love monkeys? We save our change in a big water bottle. It won't get us the parthenon, but I'll be happy with a monkey or two!
My Ravi Shankar ringtone is playing but I don't recognise the number. I don't answer.
More later. Kat :)