Weight I have lost

Monday, October 30, 2017

Race for Rest 5K

So where was I?

Well, D and I ran the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5K, hungover. We didn't go to a birthday bottle share because we had this race. Then I saw a bar had my favorite beer on tap. And there was an uber, and sleep, and lots of water, and running in really hot conditions. Both of us finished it (I'm not sure if what we did could be classified as running), and then went home, and thus concluded spring running.

So in the end of August, I was starting to gain back some weight I had lost. I knew I had to start training for the Monday Night 10K, which I'm vastly under-trained for, but I'll kvetch about that another time. I also knew I had Celebrate Po's Life 5K (Romp and Stomp), so race season had begun. And eating properly (read: Drink less beer).  I am supposed to be finished another round of Couch to 5K this coming week, so why not do a 5K the week before? And somehow hurt my knees walking up and down the stairs. I had to cut out 3 runs because of knee pain, but I still did walk the distance. I felt reasonably ready for the Race for Rest 5K.

Friday night, D and I got the standard pizza carb loading. Like I said before, it doesn't matter how long the race is, if running is involved, pizza will be had. We came home and tried to figure out what to wear. I washed socks; he went and bought a pair of headphones. We were both bummed it was going to pour down rain for the whole race, but oh well.

I got up around 6:45. It now said it would rain at 10. It was 55 degrees. Long sleeve shirt (I wear the same style pants regardless of weather, so it doesn't matter). We walked the dogs, I ate a Clif Z Bar (5 points), and drank some water. We waited for running partner A (remember her?!) to come pick us up. In the car, we talked about beer. A talked about a lot of stuff. She is more of a morning person than D and I are. It's good though, because she'll not mind if you are quiet. We found the brewery (Oh yeah, the race was at Monday Night Brewery's Garage, which is fairly new...1 month old). So we stood outside. Our friend W came, and he is even less talkative, so A carried the conversation up until the start. We did move around a lot to stay warm.

Photo by ALB
Photo by D

Finally we lined up right as it started to rain. The whopping 5 drops. And then we were off. To get out of the brewery is a steep hill. I was running up and trying to find a pace. I was sort of following A, and noticing we were on a curb. Then BAM! This guy hit me in my chest, sort of like stopping short except we weren't in the car. I was not happy and ran around him, right as an ambulance was trying to cross the street. My bad. I got across the street, and then was a long downhill followed by some rolling hills. It wasn't that bad but I knew I was going too fast, especially since this race was an out and back. I would have to come back up that hill. So all of a sudden, they put us on the Beltline, or as I call it, the Fancy Sidewalk. The concept of it is good, but the execution? Why did they make it concrete and not asphalt? I typically avoid all races involved with the Fancy Sidewalk, since the doctor said the sidewalk is what caused my bursitis and piriformis. It's why I run all around the Penitentiary at ridiculous times of the morning, or find a street with really wide lanes. Anyway, the irrational thoughts that my hip was going to break right then and there got me to Mile 1 at 12:24.

I ran more of the Beltline. I have actually run it before at the Atlanta Beltline Westside 5K, but I'm pretty sure we ran it in the reverse direction. I got out to the street with the 2 runners that we all hate (if you're slow). You know the ones. They walk next to each other talking. They only run if you pass them. It's annoying mostly because you know they are going to sprint at the end and beat you. Anyway, I was running up a slight hill at a major intersection, and of course, they passed me. Whatever...Mile 2 had dinged, but I forgot to see my time. By 30 minutes, I was at 2.30 miles. I was back on the road to the brewery. My legs were tired, and I didn't feel like going anymore. But I decided to just keep my feet moving. I sang some, I looked around. I watched cars pass. I kept looking at my watch. It was ticking too fast for the mileage. I knew I had that one hill to still go up. I started up it and my watch dinged 3 miles. My legs were shot. I had been walking every 9th minute, so at 39 I started walking. I wasn't up the hill at 40 minues. Finally up it, and a downhill finish. I tried to sprint (guess who passed me?) but my knees said they weren't having that. So I crossed at 42:51.

Photo by W
Photo by ALB
D went to the car to get our wallets and beer and taco passes.  And this is why I run! Where else at 10am can you be with good friends, running, eating tacos and having beer?  And it was for a good cause.

Photo by ALB (Cool Glass)

Having a few beers (photo by ALB)

West End Mural (photo by ALB)

Another Mural (photo by ALB)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


After the Topgolf 5K, I did a few more runs and then got hurt.  First it felt like I pulled my groin or re-cracked my pelvis.  And I had a blister on the other side that I get when I run 12+ miles, except I was barely running 3.  So I took a week or 10 days off.  The blister got really bad, and I realized it wasn't one, but a cyst.  And it was hitting the other leg, thus affecting my gait.  So I got that sort of drained, I got some meds and a little more time off.  D and I ran the Tri-Cities 5K again.
I decided that the goal of that race was to run without pain, because I was still concerned about the groin/pelvis.  Thankfully, albeit slow, I ran it pain free.  I didn't write a race report, because except for being slower than usual, there wasn't anything going on with me, and I've written about the course, here, here, and here.  I ran the next Saturday, and then we had the 3T5K.

When I first heard about the 3T5K, I was like, "Yes!"  It is at 3 Taverns Brewery. I like their beer, it is relatively close, and hello, a 5K followed by beer at 8:30am.  What's not to like?  Oh and then I got sent a $5 discount code.  Woohoo!  So D and I signed up.  Our friend W, did too.

On Friday, D and I went to get our obligatory carb-loading pizza (doesn't matter the size of the race, we always get pizza).  The slices were huge.  We couldn't remember the last time we had a slice from Avondale Pizza.  We always get whole pies.

Slice of Sausage, Tomato, Extra Cheese

So after that, we went and picked up our bibs.  Georgia (for now) has weird beer laws, and you can't buy a pint at a brewery. However they were having a discounted tour (tour the brewery for a fee, and get 4 9oz beers free).  So we did that.  And then came home.

More Friday Night Carb Loading

In the morning we got up, and got ready.  I was feeling a little nervous.  We got to the brewery and W got there right as we did.  We chatted and went to the start.

The race started right at 8am in front of the dogs' daycare (we didn't take them there).  Of course being Atlanta, there was not a chip start (although there was a chip finish).  I still don't get that...it is almost every race, and it is not just one race organization...eh.  It ran to the beginning of New Street and turned right onto College.  Then another right onto Sam's Street.  I didn't even realize there was a street right there (that went anywhere).  It was relatively flat.  Then came a big downhill.  It was nice, and I really liked my pace, although I knew it was slightly too fast.  Right after crossing S Columbia Drive, I walked for 1 minute.  I continued running and was pretty sure I saw W with a group of the really fast runners way out ahead of me (as in, I still had to run 2 streets to get to where he was).  Mile 1: 12:30

So I started running up Heatherdown.  There is no down on that road.  It was all uphill.  I got to 14 minutes and had to walk up part of it.  I noticed a woman who would run past me every time I passed her.  I guess she thought she could take me.  The thing was, she would stop running every time she passed me.  It was very annoying.  Anyway, we turned off Heatherdown, and got onto Missionary Dr/Inman.  It was relatively an slow uphill grade. I walked at 19 minutes.  She continued her passing me, then walking thing.  We passed the Winnona Park Elementary and turned up Avery.  (2 MIles was 13:XX)

Slightly rolling hills (they finally went down).  I tried to stay running every 4 minutes/walk 1.  We turned on Winnona and then did a little offshoot. At the offshoot, I saw if I ran the woman.  I knew I could create distance on the hills.  Somehow I got some momentum to run to each cone.  The rest of Winnona was uphill.  Back onto Avery with a little more hill, and then right onto College.  Yay!  Downhill.  I was feeling decent, albeit tired. I wasn't going to break any records, but I started relaxing and thinking about the beer.  I could see I had one more hill. We ran with traffic which was a little scary because the sun was directly in our faces...so I couldn't see, which made me think drivers couldn't see.  The cops did a great job of keeping the cars in their lane.  I started thinking that I was pretty sure I could beat 41.  I was trying to remember what I ran at Tri-Cities.  I couldn't remember. That beer was going to taste good.  I crossed Columbia and started getting towards the old Ace.  I really wanted to walk.  I started up the hill.  Eh, walking was good.  I could see D and W waiting at the last corner, so I ran again.  Finally got to the corner.  Yay.  I ran down the hill to the finish line.  Then we went and got beer! I don't know where that woman finished, except behind me!


Both D and W had good races.  We ate beer, listened to some awful music (it was not the band that was inside, but Spotify or Sirius outside).  We ran into a friend T, who ended up winning his age group.  We finished our beers and then went home.

The next day, we met back up with W again (we may have had some more beer on Saturday with him), and celebrated another brewery's birthday.  (Wild Heaven 7).

Hanging out at Wild Heaven

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Topgolf 5K

First, I realize there is a big lapse here.  I never did write about the first 5K after breaking my back or the cancelled first 5K of 2017.  But such things happen.

I debated to continue to write because 2016 was full of lows. A month after I broke my back, my mother-in-law passed away.  Then came a depression, after the physical therapist told me I would never run again.  The another doc found a lump in my breast and I had to get that figured out (benign).  And I was going to another doctor, because I was averaging 4 hours of sleep a night.   I worked hard to get out of the depression and to prove the PT wrong.  This kind of bled into getting back to sleeping normally again.  The breast thing took care of it self, thankfully.  Every time I seemed to be going ok, my back would flare up.  I had 2 rounds of pain injections.  Then at my year appointment, the doc said I could have one more round but I really need to think about another surgery to get all my rods out.  Physically, I'm ready, but mentally, I'm not about to go into the hospital again.  So instead I signed up for a 5K.  Since February, I've been doing the Couch to 5K, the best I can.  Week 2 and 3 seemed to last for about 4 weeks.  Then in March, something clicked.

My friend works for Topgolf, and I saw she had a few complimentary passes to run their first 5K, so I asked if I could have one, to which she obliged.  I paid for D's entry fee, and for a month (except that week in Tampa where we drank our asses off), we trained.

Friday the day before the race, D told me he was going to Asheville for the day because Wicked Weed was having a bottle release.  I decided to tag along.

Wicked Weed Funkatorium

While he bought beer, I drank it.

Red Angel

We got dinner and went home.

Even in Asheville, I will eat my pre-race meal of Pizza (this is from Barley's)

Did I mention I had sleep issues last year?  Well now I'm going the opposite direction and sleep about 9-10 hours a night.  So we left Asheville at 8:30 and got home around midnight.  Set the alarm.

Saturday (race) morning: We got up around 6. Well D did.  I played on my phone until 6:30.  Then I rushed to get ready.  I struggled deciding what to eat.  I stopped eating Clif Bars last year, and usually our running takes place at night, or I run on an empty stomach.  However running on an empty stomach when you get up versus when you wait 2 hours before a race is different, because you are actually awake enough to be hungry.  So I ate 1/2 a Clif Bar around 7 and 2 bottles of water.  And we were off.  Traffic was not bad (I-85 had fallen down on Thursday). We got to TG around 7:25, and checked in.  Put our stuff in the car and sat there until 7:45.

Us, in the car

Then we went to the start line, which got us there at 7:46.  I walked around the parking lot, to stretch out my back.  It was nice out...60 degrees.

I was beginning to get nervous.  The Running Director started telling people to line up.  It was now 7:57.  We listened to the National Anthem, and stood around.  We didn't hear, "Go," but it was said, because everyone started moving forward.  Crossed the timing mat (that didn't time you...what is it with Atlanta races and that?), and started.  We ran out of TG and down Ellsworth Industrial to Chattahoochee.  D used to work over here, so I was laughing when about 100 feet off Chattahoochee, they had us turn left.  There's a road there.  For 10+ years, I've never seen that road.  Anyway, it was downhill, which kind of scared me (what goes down, must come up).  I could still see D although he was almost a red dot.  But I must have been going fast.  9 minutes passed and I walked a minute.  Restarted, and most of this road was flat.  Except right around 12 minutes it started going up.  Ding!  What, 1 mile? 12:35?  This is way too fast, yes?

So we turned off that road and onto a small side road that was flat, and then onto Marietta Street.  It was gradually slanting up, but not that bad.  I no longer saw D.  I passed some people and some people passed me.  It was odd to be passing people.  Most people were walking.  I felt I was shuffling.  The incline started getting steeper.  I walked at 19 minutes to 20, and resumed running.  I passed the water station, and declined water...if I stopped I wouldn't re-start.  Plus I wasn't thirsty. Keep going, keep going.  Ding!  Mile 2, oh, I slowed down.  13:35.  But damn that still is pretty good.

Ok, by now I was tired. I was having trouble breathing and my legs hurt.  I was only Week 6 into Couch to 5K so really I just needed to run .25 more miles.  I thought of what my friend V told me earlier...run your own race. You have always run intervals before, it is allowed.  So at the steepest part of the hill, I started walking. I decided I would walk the .25 miles.  Oddly, at the top of the hill, the .25 miles was completed, and I was at 30 minutes.  I turned left on Huff and that was down hill, as was the first part of Ellsworth.  I am not a downhill runner...I don't like the feeling of not being in control, so I went as fast as I was comfortable with.  A few more people passed me. I knew I wasn't passing anyone. I was tired.  I must have been going slightly faster than I thought, because I hit 2.65 miles at 34 minutes.  I can run .5 miles in 6 minutes, right?  Let's see. Damn, the finish is uphill.  Just try.  You were aiming for 43 minutes, so you got that. Try for 40, douchebag!  43 is good enough.  Yes, this is how I was talking to myself.  I saw D around 2.85 miles.  I refused to look at my watch after that.  I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get 40 minutes.  Still I pushed and pushed up this stupid hill.  Got to 3 miles.
D at 3 miles. Photo from Run Social

Me at 3 miles. Photo from Run Social
Only .1 mile more, and still uphill.  The women in front of me were dancing to the finish.  If they can dance, you can run, Al.  C'mon.  Push yourself.  Finish.  I crossed and hit my Garmin.  I pushed D and the security guard out of my way, because I thought I was going to puke.  Finally I gathered myself and looked at my watch.  39:59.  I DID IT!!! (The clock time is 40:09, and with no, chip start time, that's all you'll see). But my watch is correct!!!

D finishing. Photo by Run Social

Me finishing. Photo by Run Social
My time!!!

D and I got some water.  I still didn't feel all that well, so I didn't stick around to look for G to thank her.  We got in the car and went to leave.  I must have been very far in the back of the pack, because there were 1 or 2 more runners, and it was very easy to get out of the lot without affecting them.

After, we went to QT and then to Argosy for a beer.  Then I came home and slept 3 more hours to catch up on the sleep from the night before.  

Cascade Sang Royal at Argosy

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Road to the Book of Mormon

So I got discharged from the hospital on 1/12/16.  D took me home and then went to the pharmacy to fill all of my prescriptions.  My dad and Scuttlebutt took care of me.  D came back, and then he and my dad helped me into bed.  Since my dad was in the "good" guest room, D got to sleep in the second guest room.  They had set up the dog crate so Scuttlebutt was not allowed in the Master Bedroom.  That made me sad.  D and I set up my phone to take my meds.  He wrote them on paper, and I set alarms...as you can see, this is why he was sleeping in the other guest room.

When am I supposed to sleep?
So on Wednesday, D got up and went to work.  Dad started my physical therapy.  D and I had tickets to Book of Mormon on 1/19, and Dad decided I was going to go, since this would be the 3rd time I had tickets and still hadn't seen the play.  On top of it we had Row F Center, so they were a pretty penny.   The problem? We didn't know if I could sit in a chair that long.  That first day of "home PT" was excruciating.  I had to walk down the stairs, sit in a chair for 30 minutes and listen to Dad scream at Fox News in agreement with them.  I'm not sure if the TV or the chair were more exhausting.

The second set wasn't so bad.  No yelling at the TV.  He helped me with my Short-Term Disability papers, figuring out what I had to sign, and what had to be filled out (a lot had been done at the hospital, but nothing by me).  And we made some doctor's appointments.

He also made me an egg with a tortilla.  I remember Scuttlebutt getting the tortilla and half the egg, since I was full.

I sort of remember talking to both of my sisters-in-law about my mother-in-law (she had been in the hospital over Christmas).  I remember my dad's phone ringing a lot, and him talking in a hushed voice.  And wishing I could take a shower as it now was over a week since I had one (I don't call the fall as a shower, since I never actually showered.). One of my SIL's told me my MIL wanted yogurt and the hospital, and that's about all I really remember.  I had a lot of sleep and was in and out of it.  D came home from work and looked really tired.  I could hear him and my dad talk but couldn't figure out words.  They came and talked to me.

D's mom was back in the hospital, and he had to go back to Maryland.  They were worried about what I would think.  Looking at D's face, all I remember thinking was that I was going to have to tell him to take a suit, just in case, and that I was upset I couldn't go to give my MIL a hug.

One of my friends, Devo stopped by.  He brought me my laptop from work.  I'm not sure if hijinx were involved getting it since Devo doesn't work at my company (he works in the building).  But it was good to see him.  He had just lost his mother, and unfortunately I had been in the hospital for the funeral. I had wanted to go.  But you know, it was rather impossible.  So we spoke...I don't think for long...again, look at all the times above for when I had to take a pain pill of some sort.

Anyway, he left, and D helped me get a shower.  Thursday, he left for MD.  Thursday continued my physical therapy courtesy of Dad. 2 things...1) Dad is a 2 time stroke survivor.  So his reflexes are a little slow. 2) He complained about walking SB.  The dog wouldn't poop.  Somehow I knew this was going to become an issue.  D got to MD with no issue...his mom was re-admitted to the hospital.

The dogs' daycare got a picture of McMenamin at this point.  I missed him a lot.  They didn't get one of Lompoc, which is to be expected...she runs no-stop.

McMenamin, courtesy of Rex and Roxy's
Dad and I hung out.  I did laps around the main floor.  I watched him clean out our cheese drawer.  I watched him cut all the bags of vegetables because the bags had too much bag on them.  Scuttlebutt was not allowed in the bedroom.  The way he and D had positioned the dog crate to block the door, SB was miserable because he also couldn't get into the crate.

On Thursday, Dad wanted to check my back, and didn't put close the half door, so there was space for SB to come in the room.  He took his chance.  He ran in and got on the bed.  Dad told him to get off.  He rolled over and stretched.  I got him off, so then the rule became he was allowed in the room, but not on the bed.  (Since my back was open, my dad was afraid of dog hair getting into the wound).  That didn't last long.

No, Grandpa.  I'm not in the bed.
My friend, The Doctor (he has an MD and PhD) came over to bring me soup and bread.  We talked for a little bit.  He gave me the history of Grady hospital when I made a comment of how the middle of the hospital seemed to be "courtyard" and the sides were the rooms.  He said it had to do with the fact that it used to be segregated. Since it was too expensive to have 2 ORs,  they had designated times when whites and blacks could be in there.  So that's why it always felt like I was going into the "middle" of the hospital.  Anyway he picked up my Short Term Disability papers so that my friend J (his neighbor) could fax them to different places.  And then I slept.

I guess it was Saturday. We had so much food, and we kept eating in the dining room since the chairs were proper for sitting in (continuing my therapy).  Besides the soup and bread, my friend V brought us empanadas.  I did eat an empanada in bed, and there was a bone in it.  I accidentally knocked the plate off the dresser, and the bone went under the bed.  I had to get on the floor and get the bone before SB  did.  My dad was coming upstairs at the point to take a nap.  He saw me "praying" at the bed.  I was actually stuck trying to figure out if I could get up.  I did manage.  Then he gave me the vacuum and told me to clean up the rest of the mess.  Man, I felt like I was 16.

 My dad let me take a shower by myself, waiting outside, just in case.  I saw the scars on my back and cried in horror.  I thought there would be 1 incision, not 5 gashes.  It was hard to handle.  I managed to get myself dried off sort of, and got some clothes on.  Then my dad took a nap.  During that time, SB started acting out.  Remember how I said he wouldn't poop?  Yeah, this was a "take me out now" dance.  So I went downstairs, sat down and got a harness on him, and a leash, and we went out.  Not far, but he was able to do his thing.  Then we came back.  Then I got yelled at for not letting my dad know where I went.  Did I say 16?  I meant 5.

So Sunday, I made dinner for the crockpot.  Then because I needed to get out, I made my dad drive me to get a bagel.  We also went to the grocery store to get some more dinner. I was not allowed to use the walker because that's what a cart is. We got back, and my friend M texted me if she could bring over  some Greek Soup and Pizza (and salad).  Of course!  So she came to visit.  It was good to see her, because it had been far too long.  I showed her the scene of the crime, and we talked for awhile.  She laughed that my dad checked on us to see if we needed anything.

She left and I took a nap.  Dad and I also walked SB.  He was watching football.  I was watching hockey.  Our conversations were starting to take a toll.  I had started talking with every sentence ending in an inflection.  He kept saying, "Like Really."

D's mom had stabilized, and was on the mend.  So D came home Sunday Night.  Dad and I talked about when he (dad) should go home.  He left Monday afternoon.  Before he left he checked my back because it was itching uncontrollably.  He washed it out, made sure no signs of infection and put lotion on it.  It made it feel better.   Then he left.

D went to daycare after work, and picked up Lompoc and McMenamin.  I was so excited to see them.  It had been 12 days.  Lompoc ran into the house and just cried in happiness.  Then she passed out.

Lompoc sleeping on Scuttlebutt's butt

So 1/19 rolled around.  D worked and came home.  He helped me shower.  At this point I had lost 12 pounds.  So I put on a pair of pants that I hadn't worn in forever.  They didn't zipper.  WTF?  The only pants that fit that weren't yoga pants were my fat jeans, which prior to the fall were loose.  So they went on.  I felt a little foolish wearing jeans to see a play (a pet peeve of mine), while D looked nice in khakis and a dress shirt.  But such is life. (No doctor could explain how I lost weight but gained 3 inches in my waist and 1 in my hips, losing 12 pounds)

D took me to dinner at Argosy (I wanted a hamburger and a beer).  I hadn't taken a pain pill since the day before, so I could have that beer. I may have been a crazy woman and had 2 beers.  (Buxton's Sky Mountain Sour and Wicked Weed's Cherry Go Lightly).  And I got that burger!  I ate 1/4 of it.

La Plancha Burger from Argosy
We went to the Fox for the play.  Being the cheap ass that I am, I refused to let D park by the Fox. It was $20.  We walked (with my walker) for a really long time (at Cypress Pint and Plate) so we only had to pay $5.  He laughed at the fact I refused to pay $20.  We got to the theater, and got some soda.  I took my pain pills then.  Then we went and watched the show.  3rd time was a charm.


Monday, March 7, 2016

What Could Be Worse than a Fractured Pelvis: Part 3

1/10/16:  I woke up at 3:30am.  Why?  The nurses thought it would be an optimal time to give me a bath with all those anti-bacterial wipes.  I posted that on Facebook, and fell back asleep until 6 when the nurse, Glenn gave me another bath.  I asked her how old she was.  She didn't tell me, but seemed genuinely pleased I thought she was 25.  She said a hat hides the gray.

She and I talked for a little bit and then she realized I had no idea they were prepping me for surgery. I just thought she was a neat freak and was packing all my things into a storage locker.  So she let me call D who didn't answer the phone.  I was able to reach my dad and tell him I was going to surgery  and then I hung up and started to cry.  Glenn told me we weren't having any of that today.  Although she knew I am not religious, she grabbed my hand and prayed for me.  Then I gave her the best hug that I was able to give.  And they wheeled me off to the OR.  Thankfully, I have no recollection of the surgery.

I got out of the surgery and woke up back in my room (or at least that's what I remember).  I was in horrible pain, and I felt like I was sticking to the bed. I told Doug I didn't want any visitors.  He said ok.  For most of the time I was very grumpy.  My roommate sounded like she was having a party on her side of the room, and a ton of people were using the bathroom (only 2 people were allowed, and no one was allowed to use the bathroom except patients). D ended up getting security to kick everyone out.  Most of Sunday was a blur.  Thankfully, the Skins game was a blur too.  Late in the day, I was taken to X-ray.  Again I wasn't really able to move, so when I was moved into this room with a bunch of stretchers and could only hear moaning, I convinced myself I was in some kind of pre-morgue setup.  Then a staff member drove my stretcher into a wall, thus sending shock into my entire body.  I screamed and cried and told her to get away from me.  Another member (not sure if they were nurses) came over.  I sobbed uncontrollably and she just held my hand until it was time for my turn at X-ray. It pretty much calmed me down.  Then I was brought back to the room.

1/11/16: For the most part I tried to just mind my own business.  My roommate went home.  I had some Angry Nurse that seemed ticked off that my bed was raised so high.  She lowered it so basically my hands could touch the floor.  D would raise it, so I could see out the window.  It was also the first day that my bed could be bent so I could sit up.  It felt weird.  The doctor I liked the least came by with a team of medical students. At the same time, the nurses were taking my stats, and the Physical Therapy team came in.  I asked the doctor if he knew anything.  Since he wasn't my surgeon and he didn't have my X-rays, I once again told him he was useless and to get out.  And if he did come back, he was not to bring the entire Medical School with him.  The nurses finished taking my vitals.  I did ask why I was hooked up to oxygen.  They said it was to help me breathe, and in a few minutes I would understand that.  So Lu and Coxe (the nurses) went and did some other things, and the PTs said it was time to walk.  Seriously?  I haven't been out of surgery for 24 hours and you want me to walk?  They got me out of the bed. D tied my gown, and we walked about 20 feet down the hallway and back.  Then they showed me the toilet seat and we got that adjusted to my height. I think all of this took about 5 minutes.  I was completely exhausted.  They helped me get back in bed, and I was having trouble breathing (out of breath, not emergency).  They hooked me back to the oxygen.

My friend J came to visit that night again while D ran to daycare to give the dogs more food.  I learned to get him to help me get up to use the bathroom, and assist me, all the while staying modest (at least I think so).  His wife and daughter brought me flowers (My running buddy A, if you have been reading the blog for awhile).  I also learned how to climb stairs since that was an obstacle of going home.  D came back, and they watched me eat dinner which was half a bowl of mac and cheese. I also finished Todd's cookies, and had a chocolate milkshake.  When D and J left, I was exhausted, but really happy I could use the toilet.

11/12/16:  In the middle of the night, I had to go to the bathroom.  I was suppose to tell a nurse when this happened, but for some reason I forgot.  D and J had moved their chairs close to the bed, and it was back to being really low.  The walker was in between the 2 chairs.  Somehow I figured out how to lift the walker over the chairs and get it to the foot of the bed.  And I managed to get up and out of the bed and go do my business.  Coming back, however, the bed was too low for me to crawl into.  And since I couldn't get the walker back over the chairs, I couldn't get in the bed (I still don't know how I got out with a foot board).  And I couldn't reach a phone.  So I sat in one of the chairs.  2 nurses or techs happened to be walking in the hallway, and I was able to call out to them.  They got me back in bed but I was feeling like I was going to throw up.  Glenn came in and did all my vitals and explained this is why I needed to call her.  She said my lungs had shrunk from the days of just laying flat, and getting sick to my stomach was a side effect.  She put me back on the oxygen, and raised the bed.  And she pushed the chairs back to the wall.

I fell back asleep.  Around 4am, my surgeon came in to look at my wounds.  I had this super big hygiene pad on my back (like an Always but with no wings, and sticky all the way around).  He ripped it off.  I had some choice words, but he seemed to ignore me.  He said the wound was looking good.  He asked about the pain levels, and upped them.  Then he left.

D had to go to work that day, so our other friend J came back to visit me.  We cruised around the hallway.  J took this pic of my view from the end of the hallway.

View from the 5th Floor in Intermediate Care Unit- Photo by Jim

We also found out I was going to be discharged.  For the most part all the nurses and staff came in to say good-bye.  D came back from work.  I got a new roommate.  We never got her story, but something was up. She was being re-admitted, and had 2 huge suitcases.  She was an older woman, and seemed in a lot of pain.  D and I gave her the flowers and balloons I had, because she didn't have the window view.  She liked that a lot.  Jon (new nurse) came in to give me all these papers. He and I went over them. He gave me his phone number in case I had questions. We talked about the toilet seat.  He told me it was going to be thrown out.  Then he left for about 10 minutes.  I blinked my eyes, and the seat magically ended up in my bathroom at home.

He came back.  Then he said when Wheel Chair Services came, I was free to go home.  I asked him if Lu and Glenn were there.  I had already said good-bye to Coxe.  I went and found them (yes, I walked), and gave them big hugs for helping me stay as sane as I could.  Really the West 5th Floor of Grady has some great nurses.

Finally Wheel Chair Services came.  They brought this almost completely plastic WC.  It also pushed you forward.  I told the guy not to hit any bumps.  He laughed at that and the fact I was holding on for dear life.  He sent D to get the car.  We got out to the front of the hospital, and he and D helped me into the car, and D took me home.

And thus my hospital stay was over.

Monday, February 29, 2016

What Could Be Worse than a Fractured Pelvis: Part 2

So on 1/7, I began my hospital stay. It started with me watching hockey on the TV.  With the lights on in my eyes, I didn't sleep a lot.  And the nurses came in every few hours to take my stats. Mostly I watched TV, and played on Facebook.  Around 7:30am, D texted that he was running late.  With the amount of people in my room, going over my chart and my roommate's chart, as well as bedpans, vital checks, getting medicine, etc., I told him there was no rush.  The cafeteria brought me food.  What no one realized was that I couldn't sit up.  With the food tray sitting over my head, I could basically feel my food.  The first morning I had half a biscuit and a slice of bacon. When D arrived, he ate the rest of the bacon. The cafeteria lady came in and took my lunch and dinner order.  She realized I couldn't eat, and automatically ruled out any soup.  The nurses mentioned surgery on Friday.  When D came he brought me a smoothie from McD's.  We talked most of the morning.  At 11, the nurse said I couldn't have any food.  D went to lunch around 12.  Of course that's when the nurses came in and said they were taking me to surgery.  So a quick call to D to get him back to the room.  And stupidly, I threw my contacts on the floor.  So I couldn't see anything.  D got back to the room, and we wheeled down to the OR.  I had just had my 3 hour dose of morphine and Percocet, when they got the call, so I was a little loopy.

So the anesthesiologist started talking to me.  The nurse who had yellow hair (I didn't have my glasses on) put some tabs all over my torso.  They were moving quite rapidly.  Then the anesthesiologist asked, "When did you last eat?"  Because I had barely eaten in the past 2 days, I said,
"I finished my smoothie at 11."  There were some whispers, and then she said, "I'm sorry but you can't have surgery.  I'm afraid you'll aspirate."  And she pulled off her gloves and left.  Now remember I just had those meds, and I have no idea if I got more during that initial time in the OR. I also am blind as a bat.   So  Yellow Lady tells me a man will be by to take me back to my room.  I'm laying there for what seemed like 10 hours.  Finally a man comes in the room, because I can hear his voice.  I see a large black blob.  So I go, "Black Man, are you here to take me to my room?"  He's like, "Excuse me!"  I go, "Yellow Woman said you would take me to my room."  The Yellow Woman came and they talked, with me going, "We have to go to the visitors' center to pick up the Red Man."  They both came over and asked why I was calling them colors, which was duh to me. What I didn't realize was that Black Man was actually black dressed in all black.  Anyway, they finally realized I couldn't see, and Yellow Woman figured out the Red Man in the visitors' center was D in the waiting room (he had on a red sweatshirt). Yellow Woman and Black Man had a good laugh at me.  I apologized for calling them colors.  I told Black Man he'd laugh about my craziness at happy hour, and to have a drink for me.  I'm sure he rolled his eyes.  Anyway, we picked up D and were back in the room.  D said that the total I was down there was 25 minutes.  Like I said it was like 10 hours.

The meds started wearing off when back in the room. I was angry and yelled at the nurse, Lu,  to get out.  Then I started to cry out of sheer frustrating.  She went and got me tissues.  Already knowing this was kind of serious, I was quite shocked when my dad showed up from South Carolina.  That's when I really started to get scared.  I am not one to google medical things anymore, and I still don't know where I got surgery in my back, but seeing my dad scared me a lot.  He is a 2 time stroke survivor and doesn't like to drive in Atlanta, so this was big.  We had a doctor come in.  He talked to D and my dad, since everyone had long figured out, I didn't really care about much, as long as I had my medicine.  D went to the McDonald's next to the hospital and got me another smoothie.

Another Devil Drink
  Mostly my dad and he were as bored as I was.  My friend from A Well Fed Life sent me flowers.  And we waited.  Lu came back and said that I may get surgery on Friday, so they would stop foods at midnight.  Since I wasn't eating much anyway, it was more like 9pm, which is when D and my dad left.

1/8: The next day they came back with another smoothie.  They stayed about 90 minutes, when my dad said he was going to be sick.  So D took my dad home, and took 2 of the dogs to daycare.  A new nurse Glenn said I wasn't going to get surgery today.  I really missed my dogs. Later in the day, D came back.  My friend J texted me asking what I wanted for dinner. I told him a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger. I think he was majorly disappointed.  Of all the restaurants in Atlanta, and I pick McD's.  He obliged and got D a sandwich as well and fries.  They sat with me and watched me eat a burger for about 2 hours.  I really don't know what we talked about, but I do remember that that cheeseburger was the best burger ever.  Wow it was good. Hot, the cheese was gooey and pulled.  Those little onions.  A good amount of ketchup.  Really. McDonalds at the hospital.  I think D and J were amused by this.  So visiting hours were over.

Another awesome view (TV and nurse extensions)

The nurse turned out my lights that night.  He said it was nice to finally see me sleeping.  I knew D would be late on Saturday because it was My Friend's Growler Shop's 2nd Anniversary.  I had asked him to go and get some beer (not for that day) but for the future.

1/9: So I was left to my own devices for awhile.  (again, I might be out of order on things).  Now during all this time, I was on a bedpan.  So I had to call someone whenever I needed to pee (being on that much pain medicine and not eating, I didn't need to do anything else).  The nurses always left their extensions written on my wall, but I really couldn't figure out why.  There was just the "Call" button.  That Saturday seemed to be an "every hour on the hour" type of day.  It was to the point the call would go into the nurse's station, and they'd just ignore it.  So finally about to wet my bed at one point this lady comes in.  I was like "Thank God!" and pointed to the bedpan.  She did it with no objection and cleaned everything. Then she introduced herself as the Director of the Floor.We chatted and she asked how things could be improved and I told her that her nurses could answer my need to pee a little more fast.  That's when she noticed I didn't have a phone in the wall.  The jack had been stolen.  It occurred to me, she probably hadn't changed a bedpan in a few years.  She smiled, and we talked about my lack of appetite, and I showed her pictures of my dogs.  Then she left.  About 20 minutes later, a technician came in and hooked up a jack and a phone.  Nurse Lu and Nurse Glenn both apologized that they hadn't realized I didn't have a phone.  It was ok.  At least I never wet the bed. D texted me pictures.  Scuttlebutt didn't want his Christmas Collar off.

SB waking up

SB at My Friend's Growler Shop 2 Year Anniversary

Scuttlebutt got to go to the Anniversary.  He had a good time.  Surgery was a no go for Saturday, and they were looking at Monday.  I was getting frustrated.  They had explained to my dad and D why it was getting pushed, but it was getting old (and I was too high to understand the reasoning). The offers of food started coming in.  I felt like a complete bitch saying, "No thank you."  It wasn't that I didn't want any, it was I couldn't eat it (and I wasn't hungry). I was flat on my back and not allowed to bend my spine.  So the food tray looked like this from my view.

Doesn't my food look appetizing?

I'm not sure when D came back to stay with me, but he did.  Later in the night, my friend T came.  He brought me cookies and fudge.  So for the day, I ate 2 bites of a Clif bar, a tomato slice, 1/4 of a biscuit, a cookie, a piece of fudge and 6 Chicken Nuggets.  I won't lie that I was beginning to wonder if I was losing weight. 

T makes really good cookies

 I think I had a good conversation with T.  I know we talked about beer and beer releases.  D is amused that I have no idea my conversations, but I remembered the food.  It was a surprise to me to see T, so it made me happy.  He left probably to go to a concert (he really likes music).  D stayed with me until about 9 when they kicked him out.

Then I went to sleep.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Could Be Worse than a Fractured Pelvis: Part 1

So I finished out 2015 with my goal of breaking 40 minutes on a 5K.  We had a family emergency, and D had to leave to be with his parents over Christmas, after being on a business trip.  Due to the last minute nature, we couldn't board the dogs so I stayed home.  But overall we were feeling confident about running short distances, running hills, running long distances, and weight lifting.

D finally got home for 2016.  On January 5th, I planned on going to the gym in the afternoon, so I shaved my legs that morning (it's winter and I'm lazy).  We have a shower room, meaning you step up on a platform, and then down into the shower. There is no door.  I routinely, use the platform to shave my legs.  I'm heavy handed with shaving cream, but you know, I rinse off my legs in the center of the shower and off I go about my day.  (I'm sure you all care about my shaving ritual).  Well, anyway, I couldn't find a parking space at the gym, and while circling the block twice I saw there were no treadmills anyway. So I decided I'd go at 4:45am the next day.

1/6 4:45am: The alarm went off, and I laughed. I laid there until 5:12.  I decided to go to work.  So off to the shower.  I turned on the water and  went to the bathroom, and undressed, weighed myself, etc.  Then I stepped on the platform, and took a tiny step into the shower as I reached the rain spout to see if it was hot.  I must not have rinsed the shaving cream from the day before, and it got re-wet.  My foot went out, the other foot went with it and down I went.  I screamed.  Doug and the dogs ran in.  All I could yell was, "911."  I could feel my legs and I could feel my arms.  Somehow I curled into the fetal position.  I kept screaming.  I could hear Doug try to give the 911 operator directions to the house.  I could hear them not finding the street despite living here for 10 years.  I could hear my screams.  Doug said they would be there in 4 minutes.  I don't know when he turned off the water, and I don't know how I got my head and back up on the platform.  I was laying straight out with my legs in the shower.  Doug got the dogs contained, and then tried to get me dressed.  He got my underwear on partially, but I couldn't lift my butt off the platform without screaming.  He tried to put a shirt on me, and I said a towel was fine.

The EMTs got there and assessed me. They wanted to know if I hit my head and if I was pregnant.  They did some leg/feet tests.  They checked my head, because I didn't know if I had hit it.  They told me they were going to put me in a sitting position.  We tried that and I may have called them a lot of colorful names.  Somehow Doug and one of the EMTs managed to get a T-shirt on me.  They were all concerned about getting pants on me.  I was laying there in complete agony wondering what the hell.  They told me we were going to stand up.  I said, "Fuck" a lot.  Sometimes directed at them, sometimes directed at the air.  We got my underwear up, and they were still talking about pants.  We managed to get into the bedroom, and I saw Scuttlebutt's blanket that he sleeps/rolls on (it is covered in dog hair).  I grabbed it, and wrapped it around my waist and said I was ready.  Doug ran downstairs to get my wallet.  One of the guys saw my phone and charger and grabbed them.  He said I would be thankful later.  I told them I wanted to go to sleep and tried to get in the bed.  They told me no, still talking about pants.  I asked where the stretcher was.  They said I had to walk downstairs.  I called them more names.  We got down the stairs and Doug found my dog walking shoes (New Balance slip-ons) and then outside.  I complained it was hot (it was 33 degrees out).  7 more stairs.  Finally we got to the street, and they put me on a stretcher.  They told Doug to take his time, we would be on the street for a few minutes and then we'd be going.  And he should take his own car.

In the ambulance, one of the EMTs wrote down all my insurance information.  The other took some stats. They asked some questions, and then we were on our way.  The EMT that rode with me gave me my phone.  I voice texted my boss.  "In ambulance can't come to work back something."  I also sent the text to my neighbor who wanted to know what was going on.

We got to the Grady Trauma ER.  I don't know if that is different than the regular ER. In triage, they asked me my medications, put a bracelet on me, took my temperature.  I remember the older EMT (the driver and the one who held me up the most) saying, "No wonder she wasn't cold."  Then the younger one pushed me into the ER.  He made sure the dog blanket was still wrapped, that I had my phone and charger, and he tucked my wallet under me.  He also got a nurse to put a sheet on my bottom half (today it makes sense why they wanted pants on me, back then not so much).  He parked me under a counter where all the nurses and doctors go (no rooms available).

My view at Grady for awhile

6:15am  It seemed like 5 hours had passed.  A doctor redid the test to my feet, rechecked my head, and re-asked if I was pregnant.  I got a pill and a tranquilizer.  I had no idea what they gave me.  I don't know when D showed up but he did.  I was flat on the gurney and staring at the ceiling.  At one point the nurse sitting at the counter saw my hand come around the counter, because the pain was so bad that I was looking for something new to grab, because grabbing the handles of the gurney was no longer working.  They gave me a Percocet. It was 8am.  I had told Doug at 6:15 they had given me Advil.  Apparently, no, they had given me a Percocet.  Somewhere around that time, I was taken to X-ray. At first I was taken to a gurney waiting area.  It was in an older section of the hospital, because it was really cool (temp) in there.  It felt nice.  Except the walls were old.  I decided they were leaving me here and were going to film another episode of Walking Dead.  Eventually, someone came and got me and I was taken to X-ray.  The staff told me to hop on over to the table.  Then they realized I could barely move. They were very patient.  They took 3 or 4 X-rays.  Then back to Doug and the counter.

9:00 am  Now Grady is the main Trauma 1 Center in the area (the other being Atlanta Medical Center).  However it is also the "gunshot" hospital.  So while I'm laying by the counter, I can't see anything (except the ceiling).  However, I can hear.  One guy shot his eye with a bow and arrow.  Something with the recoil, since he shot himself.  Another guy was on his phone, and left someone the message of "When I get out of here, I'm going after you, bitch."  On the way back from X-ray, a prisoner in leg and arm cuffs was being walked by me by a cop.  I was highly entertained.  Until this doctor started talking about surgery on a sebaceous cyst, that was rather large and hefty in someone's stomach.  Because I was now "under" the counter, I guess he couldn't see me.  I yelled, "Enough!"  The nurse laughed.  I also learned if you become a military resident doctor, it is boring because mostly you treat STDs.  I was finally moved into a room.

At this point they realized Percocet was not working and they put me on morphine.  The X-rays came back with something wrong at T12.  A patient advocate told me this. I have no idea what she was talking about except that where T12 was not where it hurt.  I also had to find out where T12 was.  It was rather confusing because I was also in Room T12.  Anyway they said I needed a CT scan.  Who knows when that happened.  But the same thing as the X-ray occurred, needing help.  There was a lot of not breathing (holding my breath, not dying) and not moving and all that.  Then I was back.

Room T12. To be honest, all I could see was the TV.

Our friend Jim came up because D had to go walk the dogs. He hadn't done that.  Jim kept me company.  (Some events may be out of order).  So D came back.  Apparently my T12 fracture was an L1 fracture but it was old.  Everyone wanted to know if I was in a car accident.  I tried to remember a time I hurt my back.  But I had shards of vertabrae in my spine.  And something was wrong with my heart.  So I called my dad.  He was like "What are you talking about?" He also said some stuff about why the hell was I in a teaching hospital.  He talked to D.    Somewhere around 11 they realized morphine wasn't working and they put me on Fentanyl.  That stuff was awesome.

The TV was stuck on Sportcenter. It was the only channel we got.  It runs in a continuous loop. It is almost as painful as breaking your back.  The Patient Advocate said Neurology wanted to look at my stuff but being that everyone was in surgery, it would be awhile.  Around 4pm, I asked how I was supposed to go to the bathroom.  They said a bedpan.  Jim and D left, and the nurse Taylor tried to get me to go.  It just wasn't going to happen.  So Jim and D came back in. After all the issues with my underwear that morning, I told D that I had no idea where Taylor put them.  He started laughing. The nurse eventually showed him where she had put them. but for awhile, it was highly amusing to us, that we had a Panty Thief.

For the most part, D, Jim and I talked. I have no idea about what.  We watched TV (D finally stood on a chair and changed the channel).  The nurses wouldn't let me eat.  I secretly took about 3 sips of water.  We laughed at the lady who came in next to my room. She had super-glued her contact.  She had put in her contact and grabbed nail glue instead of eye drops.  Luckily her eye was saved because the glue was primarily on her contact.  She was very concerned where in the lunchroom she had left her lunch (I guess at work).  Like I said, the people kept me entertained.  There was someone who was watching some show that had kittens.  Half the ER thought there was a kitten in the ER.

Jim and D from my perspective.  I was high and bored.

By 6, it had been 13 hours without going to the bathroom. They hooked me up to an IV.  The nurse came in and asked if I could stand.  I said, "No."  Apparently someone wanted me to do a Standing X-Ray.  Jim left the room (I now had on a hospital gown with no back), and Taylor (the nurse) and Doug stood me up.  It was one of the first times I started to cry.  The pain was unbearable. After, the Patient Advocate said I was being discharged.  With no meds or brace.  I started to cry. I couldn't stand. I couldn't even walk to the bathroom.  WTF?   I asked for a second opinion.  Somehow I remembered Trauma and Neurology were 2 different things (or D or Jim did).  The PA said she would get Neurology to read everything.  Within 30 seconds 2 guys came in and did an ultrasound.  They said it was for surgery.  Now we were all completely confused.  They left and the X-ray tech came in.  He wheeled me away and told me the X-rays he was going to do.  I asked why I wasn't going to stand.  So he went and checked the records.  He came back and said I was correct.  I was scared, because it seemed everything was going fast.  His assistant was not a strong-looking woman.  They decided she would take the X-rays and he would assist me standing.  He was actually in my X-rays holding me up.  I cried some more.

He wheeled me back.  It was packed in the ER.  I was really glad to have a room.  At this point, I'm pretty sure there were bets on when I'd pee.  Finally at 17 hours I did.  Also all the confusion of what was happening seemed to settle.  The ER resident was completely wrong, and they were going to get the Neurology Attending to read my file. I wasn't going to be discharged since I couldn't even stand.  At shift change, I got a new nurse.  She was not as friendly as Taylor, but she was in ER as well (like I said, ER and Trauma ER were different).  It turned out she had lost 2 of 3 patients  in 1 hour (1 was a high-speed chase idiocy, and the other 2 were bad car accidents).  When she came to see me, you could tell she had been crying.  She said I was being admitted to the hospital because I was getting surgery.

I don't remember when, but at some point Jim left.  When Mandy (new nurse) came to give me Fentanyl she said something was wrong.  I was going to get a room, and they had already tranferred my file.  So no more Fentanyl.  And worse the Morphine was less than it had been all those hours before.  Finally around 1AM, they admitted me.  I got rolled up into the hospital.  As we were going, they told D that he couldn't stay the night, nor could he come in my room, because it wasn't a private room.  I slightly freaked but I was more freaked by the pain medicine screw up.  He gave me a kiss and he went home.  My new nurse Bobby got me from the gurney to the bed.  He and another nurse checked me for bed sores.  I asked for Fentanyl.  I was on a non-Fentanyl floor.  I asked him for more morphine. He looked at my chart, and called the doctor on call to get me more meds.  Vitals and all that crap and then they left.  Bobby finally came back and realized I had no way to call an nurse because the nurse remote was on the floor.  He gave me more meds and gave me the remote.  This one worked for the TV, but not the lights. So I had to sleep with lights blaring in my face. They checked on me every 3 hours.