Monday, December 21, 2009

Baby update

I'm 19 weeks today, and can't believe how fast it's flying by.

I feel like we haven't stopped for a good couple of months, there's always something happening.

So I'm just starting to feel little movements, but nothing too obvious yet. I've had all my screenings done now for down syndrome and other such conditions, and everything looks fine. I get a fetal echo next week where they check the baby's heart - I think this is a bit of a waste of time, because even if the baby has the same condition as me, it won't be obvious until late teens, early 20s most likely. But at least we can make sure the heart looks structurally fine otherwise.

Then early January we have the big anatomy scan where we will hopefully find out the sex of the baby, so that will be good.

Otherwise, things are just pottering along. I'm excited about this pregnancy, and not as nervous as I thought I'd be (yet), but still have that little nagging fear. I know all the bad things that can happen during a pregnancy now - not just cord accident like we had, but so many other things that can cause "fetal demise". While our odds for having a healthy baby are incredibly good, I can't help but be... I'm trying to find the right word... not quite worried, maybe just "less excited". I've lost the naivety we had the first time around, and I know that nothing is certain until you have a screaming baby in your arms.

I never quite know how to answer when people ask if it's my first child. I hate saying yes, because it makes me feel like I'm "forgetting" Joshua, and I hate when people tell me how wonderful pregnancy is, and tell me how I should be feeling, when they have no idea, but if I say no, they ask how old my other children are. I have no problem telling them Joshua was stillborn, but the other person generally gets quite uncomfortable - it's a great way to stop a conversation... So it's just depending on the person and the situation, but it's still proving to be an awkward question.

House update

Everything is coming along!

We signed the loan docs this morning, the money should all go through tomorrow, and the official transfer of the title (or whatever happens...) will happen Wednesday morning with any luck, and we get the keys on Wednesday afternoon! Woo!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Buying a townhouse!

It's been a crazy week or so. We were looking at renting another place with 3 bedrooms and preferably a washer and dryer which would both be useful for when junior comes along.

Then we saw a house on Redfin which was a reasonable price and had a new looking kitchen and decent sized living areas. Turns out it was essentially condemned due to not having any building permits, and no inspections for any of the electrical, sewerage, or building they had done, and it would be a lot more effort than it was worth pursuing the place.

We had been accepted for a townhouse that we'd looked at renting days before that, so were tossing up what to do. I happened to have another look at Redfin last Sunday night and found an even cheaper townhouse (to buy) in a nice area which is close to us that looked really nice. We had the pre-approvals done for finance that day just in case we did decide to buy the previous house, so we knew what we could afford. We looked at the townhouse on Monday, decided we really liked it, signed a heap of paperwork and put in an offer on Tuesday morning, got it accepted as is on Tuesday afternoon, got all the finance stuff in order the next couple of days, and now we're just waiting for the finance to be approved! It's all happened incredibly fast, and we're booked in to sign over the title paperwork next Monday, and we're hoping to take ownership on December 23. We're still waiting for a more comprehensive termite inspection, and a few little things, but so far things are looking good!

The townhouse is 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, has a resonable sized kitchen with a little "breakfast nook" off to the side, nice bay windows, a nice little backyard, washer and dryer, garage, and a fabulous park out the back. It's in great condition, so we're keeping our fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stumpy - August 2005 to 11 November 2009

We brought Stumpy home on 5 June 2006 as a foster after she had been hit by a car. Her pelvis was fractured with a couple of small breaks, and she had a broken tail which had been amputated.

She rested for 2 1/2 weeks at the shelter, then came home with me, and worked her way into my heart. Despite her injuries she was such a sweet girl, and would always run to greet us at the bedroom door, with her back legs swaying all over the place from her injuries. Keeping her quiet was near impossible.

Over the next 3 1/2 years she showed her impish side, chewing on every cable she could - mostly when she was annoyed at not getting enough attention and would chew on the cable closest to where we were sitting. She would tear around the house like a maniac, leap up walls, climb all over our dining chairs scratching them to no end, and go sliding across our wooden dining table, well and truly leaving her mark. She drove the other cats nuts, because she just wanted to play constantly, and her version of play is like WWF wrestling, whereas Smudge and Lily's version of play is more slap and run. She would get everywhere she wasn't supposed to, and make it clear when she wanted to play. She was such a naughty girl

But she was also the sweetest, most intuitive cat I'd ever met. She was not a lap cat, and hated being picked up. She would follow me around all day at home. Wherever I was, Stumpy was sure to be. Whenever I was sick, she would come and sit by me purring away. When I had my open heart surgery, she would lie by my chest and purr, like she was trying to heal me. After we lost Joshua, anytime I would get upset at home, she would come running from wherever she was in the house, and come and curl up next to me and purr. She just KNEW when something was wrong, and would want to try and fix it. I have never met a cat as intuitive as Stumpy, she was my healer. She also protected me. I hate when Andrew is away, but when he was, she would sleep on the bed with me rather than in her bed by our door. If she heard a funny noise during the day outside, she would run to the front door growling.

Whenever we came home, she would run to her Alpine Scratcher by the front door and scratch on it in greeting. If she wanted a pat, she would walk up to us, and roll over, show us her belly and purrrrrrrrrr until she got a belly rub.

I will miss her so much. She was such a good companion, and she did not deserve to be taken so soon.

Apparently she had a major underlying heart problem - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which could not have been picked up in her annual check ups or through her blood work, and she would have never have had a long life, despite the fact she looked so healthy. Putting her in the kennel put just enough stress on her little body, and caused her to go into acute heart failure. 24 hours of oxygen therapy and medication were not helping enough, and caused her to also go into kidney failure. She was depressed, and exhausted and hadn't really eaten for almost 6 days by this stage, and not being able to give her the required medication to help her be able to breathe properly due to her kidney failure were enough for Andrew and I to make the very difficult decision to have her euthanised immediately rather than trying to keep her going for another 3 days before one of us could get back from our trip back to Australia.

It was such a shock for such a young, healthy cat to go into such sudden heart failure and not be able to do anything, or be there for her. We were lucky to have an amazing neighbour who brought her home from the kennel and noticed something wasn't right, and got her to the vet ASAP, and was there for her when she crossed the rainbow bridge. Stumpy knew we loved her, and had a good friend to her by her side.

We will miss her crazy antics, and her absence will be greatly felt and greatly missed.

Rest in peace Stumpy, you were such a good friend.

Yes I am still alive!

I can't believe it's been so long since I blogged... I am a bad blogger! (Edit to add: I haven't done a read through to check for typos, I'll do that later if I can be bothered)

So I'll attempt to summarise the last 9 months, and blog more regularly. I blame Facebook - it's much easier to post a sentence there than to write a story here :-) But I do miss not having a record of what's been happening, so here we go.

Last I blogged in February, I was recovering after another staph infection in my scar post-surgery. I had been doing a Certified Nursing Assistant course at the time, and we had just started our prac at an aged care facility, but doing the course with the PICC line in my arm didn't seem safe, and I was pretty exhausted. So I ended up ditching that course, and doing a Fast-Track CNA that started not long after - it was longer hours during the day, which made it a 6 week rather than a 12 weeks course.

As is always the way, it wasn't without drama. My grandmother had been battling leukemia for a while, and was nearing the end of her battle, so I did a quick trip back in April to spend time with her while I could, which ended up being a wonderful time that I will treasure for a long time.

I got back to the US just in time for the start of the new course, which was also halfway through the middle of a busy university semester, so I was kept busy for a while.

I finished the CNA course though, and got my license, and also did fine at university (not good, but acceptable :) )

Late April, I did my crazy cat lady thing and trapped a feral cat who was heavily pregnant. A couple of days later she had a litter of kittens while in the large-ish cage I had her in! She had 6 kittens, and unfortunately they were about half the weight a newborn kitten should be, and 3 of them died in the first 36 hours. The remaining 3 grew like weeds though, and the mother cat turned out to be very receptive to human touch, so she was pretty easy to take care of. She was scared, but loved being patted, and had no problem with us touching her kittens, rubbing her belly, or cleaning out her crate.

In May, we flew up to Vancouver to renew our US visas. It was a really nice trip! We spent the weekend at Vancouver Island where Andrew's cousin lives, and they showed us around Victoria which is a really pretty city. The visa process was very simple which was nice, and we had a nice couple of days pottering around Vancouver, and spent a day driving up to Whistler to have a poke around up there. The drive up itself was gorgeous.

On May 30 my nan passed away, so I flew back to Australia for the funeral. It was a gorgeous service, and I'm glad I could be there for it, so support mum if nothing else.

I got back to the US to one of my feral kittens not walking properly - turns out he had some sort of spinal defect, and his spinal cord was outgrowing the spinal column itself which was causing paralysis :( There was no cure, and it was high enough up for it to at some point stop him from being able to go to the toilet and move his back end, and given how fast he'd gone downhill, that wasn't too far away, so we made the decision to euthanise him which was heartbreaking, we was a really sweet, handsome guy.

The rest of June saw my end of semester exams, continuing the socialisation of my feral kitty Gigi and her two remaining kittens Sun and Kate. The 3 kitties were confined to our spare room to keep them away from our cats, and they were doing great. The kittens were happy, sociable girls, and Gigi was really settling down to life as a house cat.

In July I started a phlebotomy (blood drawing) course. Given my fear of needles, Andrew found this highly amusing - until I needed volunteers to come in and be stuck as well :-) I got poked many times over the class, and now I'm pretty much over my fear of needles. Andrew was impressed with how well I drew his blood too.

The kittens also reached an adoptable age, so they and Gigi were all spayed, vaccinated, microchipped and put up for adoption. Sun and Kate went to an absolutely wonderful home together, and have thrived since. I still get regular updates, and they are happy, sociable, lovable kittens, and have 2 doggy sisters who they adore as well. This litter was hard since we had 4 of the 6 kittens die, but they wouldn't have had any more luck in the wild, and at least two of the kittens got wonderful homes. Gigi went to one of Andrew's co-workers, and seemed to be settling in ok, but unfortunately managed to escape his apartment after a couple of weeks and hasn't been seen since :-( She has lived life outside though, so we hope that she is doing ok.

We also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in July, with a lovely dinner at Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco, followed by seeing Wicked, the musical, which we both loved.

In August we embarked on a crazy roadtrip to Atlanta, Georgia. Our neighbours who are like family to us were moving there, so we drove on of their cars and made a road trip out of it so we could see some of the US countryside. We went through California and Arizona, and onto Roswell, New Mexico to see some aliens, then through to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with a stop in Amarillo, Texas on the way where we had a very tasty dinner. We saw the memorial from the Oklahoma City bombing which was quite moving and had a quick look around the city. From there we drove through Arkansas and through to Memphis, Tennessee. We had high hopes for Memphis, but it was a bit of a shit hole... I'm sure there's nice parts to it, but everything we saw was dingy, run down, abandoned, and we had a horrible time finding somewhere half decent to stay, and finding somewhere half decent to eat. I thought Beale St would be really cool, but it was just filled with divey bars. So rather than spending the next day there, we decided our few hours in the evening was enough, and got out of town in the morning, and kept on driving. We drove through Mississippi, and decided to push through to Atlanta that day, so kept on driving through Alabama, and onto Georgia. We LOVED driving through Alabama in particular. The couple of places we stopped, people were SO lovely, and southern style houses were so beautiful, and everything was just so "quaint"! We'd love to go back and spend more time there.

We made it through to Atlanta, and spent a fun couple of days there checking out Stone Mountain, and the Georgia Aquarium and spending time with our friends. We really liked Atlanta as a city. We're going back there for Christmas, which we're looking forward to. Andrew has a better account of our roadtrip here.

August also saw the start of my short-lived career as a tv extra :-) NBC was filming a new show Trauma, and were looking for extras with medical experience to give the show a better sense of reality, so I signed up. I did 3 episodes - one as "tourist with camera", one as "Halloween partygoer", and one as "patient". It was great fun though being part of it and seeing how they film a biggish budget tv show. The first episode I filmed I got put into a good spot, and so when it was finally on tv, you actually got to see me a bunch of times in the scene, and they were pretty clear shots of me too, so that was exciting. I believe the series has been cancelled though, so no more fame and stardom for me :-)

September was a pretty quiet month. September 4 was the 2 year anniversary since we lost Joshua, so that was a pretty sad day. University was back in full swing, and I was struggling a bit to keep up the motivation.

But on the upside, I had one big piece of good news - I found out I was pregnant :-)

I was pretty nauseous throughout the first trimester and spent the end of September and all October really struggling with nausea and exhaustion, and struggling to function properly. I was supposed to do my phlebotomy externship in late September so I could get my license, but I wasn't up to 4 weeks of 40 hour weeks being on my feet. I lost about 4kg in about a 3 week period from being so sick, and still haven't gained any of it back.

October I just kept struggling with the pregnancy, but we did get an ultrasound showing the baby's heartbeat which was wonderful to see. University was hard because I kept feeling so sick and tired, but I struggled on.

November I finished my end of semester exams, and we flew back to Australia. My family was doing the scattering of my nan's ashes, and my mum wanted to fly me back for it, and Andrew came too since he hadn't been back in a while. We had a lovely time, and the actual ash scattering was a lovely ceremony. The trip was a bit crazy though. First of all I was incredibly nauseous the entire time, and I had thrown up on the plane on the way over. I threw up a couple of times while we were there and was generally pretty nauseous. The flight home, I threw up everything that went into my mouth, and spend pretty much the entire flight nauseous and miserable, and throwing up a bunch of times.

The worst thing about the trip home was that our beautiful kitty Stumpy passed away :( I'll do a new blog post about that though.

So our year has been about as crazy as usual - ups, downs, lots of travel, and weird and wonderful events. I'm now almost 15 weeks pregnant, and just keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well with the pregnancy. I'm feeling pretty good about it, but I'm much more aware of everything that can and does go wrong with pregnancies - between my and my friends experiences, I have learnt nothing is a given, and you need a whole lot of luck, and just to cherish every moment.

My heart is going fine though, and they don't expect any problems to occur throughout the pregnancy, so while I'll be monitored closely by a high risk obstetrician again, it should all be ok, and I should be able to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

Now I promise to update more regularly :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The kitties and their Valentine's Day dates!

The girls had a lovely time for Valentine's Day. They all had very handsome dates, and they dined on caviar, drank the worlds finest milk, and indulged in some catnip to top off the evening ;)

This is Lily, my middle girl, and her date Stoli, a handsome Russian Blue

Smudge, and her date, Luxor who is an Egyptian Mau.

Stoli and Luxor are brothers and best friends, and Smudge and Lily are sisters and best friends, so they double dated :-) Their mum, Renovia, does amazing art work, particularly cat sculptures, so check out her Etsy store if you're looking for a good present.

And last, but not least - Stumpy and her date, Dorian Grey aka Dorky. They make a good pair!

I'm a Golden Retriever!

According to this website, if I was a dog breed, I'd be a Golden Retriever :)

What dog breed are you? I'm a Golden Retriever! Find out at

Yep, sounds like me :)

Golden Retriever

The Charmer

Laid-back, sociable and well-groomed, you've got your own hip little pack of groupies who just love to be around you. You have a brain inside that adorable little head of yours, though you use it mostly to organize your hectic social calendar. You never poop out at parties, and since you're popular with ladies and men, as well as children and adults, you dish out your wit, charm and luck to whomever is close enough to bask in it. The top dog likes you and wants to be your best friend, despite the fact that he doesn't really know what the heck you do. No one does, in fact, but everyone loves you all the same. A true foodie, you’ve got your keen ears fine-tuned to make sure you don't miss out on the opening of a trendy new place to nosh. But your youthful days of being able to wolf down food 24-7 are wagging behind you, meaning you've got to watch what you eat so you don’t pull a Brando and outgrow your coats.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

So much for a more positive year!

For some reason my body does not like the internal stitches they use. A little over 3 weeks ago the docs went in and removed the 8 or so wires that were wrapped around my sternum from my heart surgery. Only one of the wires was causing issues, but they were going to be "revising" my scar (chopping out all the extra tissue from where it kept getting wider), so we figured they might as well just get them all out.

On Friday the bottom of my scar was looking infected. It was red, swollen, and quite hard. I went into the clinic, and they could see a stitch right under the surface of the skin, so figured that's what was causing it, and decided to open the incision enough to remove that stitch and find the knot at the end and remove that too. They did so, and it all looked better the next day, but for some reason I was in excruciating pain, in a band across my chest just under my breasts.

I ended up going to ER where after a bunch of tests, one of the surgeons who removed my wires was called in - he was the guy on call for the weekend luckily, He knew the situation and my history, so poked around in the incision that was made the day before, and saw a bit of fluid, poked a bit harder there, and the cotton tip he was using disappeared a good cm or two under my skin which fluid came out of - a pocket of infection.

I was sure this was the culprit, so was pleased when he opened my incision a bit further using local anesthetic this time (*#^& those lidocaine injections hurt). That night was ok, but the pain started coming back. I had vicodin and a sleeping pill before bed (which would generally knock me out for at least 8 hours), but I woke 2 hours later in possibly the worst pain of my life - worse than anything post-heart surgery. It hurt to breathe, and it hurt to make any sort of movement. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain, but this was the sort of pain that took my breath away, made me nauseous and had me crying.

So back to Stanford we went, where they decided to run some more tests, then admit me. They gave me IV Delaudid which is supposed to be 8 times stronger than morphine, and it didn't do a thing for the pain. (Apparently it's also supposed to be 3 times stronger than heroin on a per mg basis...)

All tests have still been clear still, so they've had me on IV antibiotics which will hopefully sort out any hiding pockets of infection, and regular IV pain medication. They've been giving Zofran for nausea as well as the pain meds as I don't tolerate the drugs very well, and have only had 1 bout of vomiting (6 1/2 hours after the last pain meds!).

I declined pain meds after that 1pm dosage as my pain levels were finally dropping, and I was starting to move around a bit, and I wanted to know if it was due to the pain meds, or if the pain was actually going away. I went to bed around 9pm, and woke up every 2 hours (sleeping in a hospital is not easy), but I still managed to get a good amount of sleep, so that's fine. I was woken at 2am or so to get more IV antibiotics and I was in pain then, so got more pain meds. The pain wasn't as bad as the day before, and it stayed pretty much under control after that.

Given that this has happened twice now, my cardiologist, who popped in on Sunday to say hi (very nice of him, since he has weekends off!), thinks I might have some sort of allergy to the Vicryl stitches they use. They are supposed to be absorbed by the body, but I have another stitch coming out at the top of my scar (possibly another knot). It's poking through the skin, and it's not red or sore, so hopefully it will come out problem free.

So on Monday, they got test results back and confirmed it was staph. Again.

They wanted to do aggressive treatment of it given the graft in my aorta so they inserted a PICC line. It's intravenous access, but it can stay in for weeks so they can do IV fluid without me actually staying in hospital. They're assured me it's just like inserting an IV, but they feed a long tube up to a bigger vein. I was feeling quite faint just thinking of it. The bad thing about having a laptop at the hospital is when they say what they plan to do, you can Google it and flip out.

And for someone who doesn't like needles, looking at this IV thing that goes in the inside part of your upper arm (see any veins there?) and a 50cm long tube that connects to it is enough to make a sleep deprived person throw a hissy fit.

My main freak out was on Tuesday morning. I had almost no sleep thanks to the lady in the bed next to me whose oxygen levels kept dropping which meant her alarms kept going every couple of minutes (BEEP BEEP BEEP!), and it sounded like it was coming from my alarm, so it kept me awake and worrying.

I was waiting for someone to come and do an echo to make sure this infection wasn't ripping my heart valves apart (lovely thought), and waiting for someone to come and insert this scary long tube into a vein that I was sure would be impossible to find. I had no idea when either was happening, so was losing it. For those who think I'm being brave, trust me, I am not and was not.

Andrew thankfully left work to come spend the rest of the day with me and keep me calm. He went to speak to my cardiologist about all this. As a side note, this is what I like about the cardiac team and being in the hospital where they are. Andrew just goes to their clinic area, walks past reception, goes to find the coordinator who most probably gave him a big hug when she saw him, he asks questions about the PICC line, and she immediately calls the doc's mobile phone who comes straight in to see him (he was looking at my echo at the time that had been done not long before, so could also assure Andrew everything was fine).

My doc said that the risk of infection to my heart was increased due to the nature of the infection, and having an aortic graft, but unlikely, but there is no way anybody wants to risk it, so yes I should get a PICC line, it will be done at my bedside, under local anesthetic, and I will be fine.

I was still worried, but at least by this stage I could nap on and off with Andrew watching over me.

So the echo on my heart was clear (WHEW!), and the nurse came in the afternoon to do the PICC line. She is a PICC nurse - that's all she (and a team of others) do because it's so common in hospitals as it causes less trauma in the long run.

She was also so lovely, and she had a girl there who was interviewing for a nursing job who was just coming to watch. So my nurse was explaining everything to the interviewing nurse which was good - I like to know what's going on.

The lidocaine injection was about as hurty as I expected (I hate those), then it was fine from there on in. The nurse makes it a sterile environment, finds a good vein using ultrasound, then somehow feeds an IV into the vein in my arm (I couldn't see and didn't want to), and then places this cool thing on my chest which tracks the path of the wire inside my chest. It was pretty amazing to watch the screen and just see this little wire snaking through. Once the wire dropped down, she knew it had passed through the vein, and reached the larger superior vena cava. She then uses a "wing" lock, and stitches that to my arm to keep the tubing in place, places another lock a bit further up the tubing so if anything tugs on the tubing, it tugs on that lock rather than the tube coming out of my arm, does some more anti-tug and anti-infection measures, and covers it all up. There is also 2 ports attached to it that I can use. One of them is a bit bigger, so if they want to take blood, they can do it from there rather than poking me.

Once I had that done, I was pretty much able to leave hospital as I could then receive my IV antibiotics from home through my line. So the next day (Wednesday) I finally got released - I just had to wait for a home nurse to be available to bring me all my supplies and show me what to do, and they had to keep giving me antibiotics in the mean time.

The home nurse came, and we were quite impressed with the set up. I have a 2 week supply of IV antibiotics (sitting in the fridge between the OJ and the tortilla wraps), and a heap of saline and heparin solutions in plungers, alcohol wipes, IV tubing, and other exciting bits and pieces. Each bag of fluids is a 24 hour supply and delivers 100ml doses of antibiotics every 4 hours, and it takes 1 hour to deliver the fluid. So there's 3 hours break in between, and in that time it delivers small amounts of the same solution just to keep the line clear and flowing. So I wear this constantly, and don't need to worry about constant care throughout the day, or accidentally missing a dose which is nice. I do have to carry it everywhere for 2 weeks though. Also included is a computerised pump which controls the dosages and pumps the fluid through, so the bag doesn't need to be kept above the level of my arm.

They gave me a bag for the fluids and pump that I could throw over my shoulder and carry everywhere but by last night my back was aching - it's not the most ergonomic design. I had a think about it, and discovered the Camelbak that I used in my triathlon days would be a good size to hold it all though. So the pump and fluids are now in that, and it is easier to carry around and puts less pressure on my back.

You have to be very careful because everything comes in sterile packets, and you have to make sure everything is super clean, as the line goes straight to your central bloodstream, and you REALLY don't want to introduce germs/bacteria from touching or even breathing on anything that can be transported through the tube. It's all gone fairly smoothly apart from one small incident today when I forgot to unclamp the tube (the instructions say to clamp the tube, but don't say to unclamp it, so if you just follow the instructions, it's easy to forget), so when the time came to pump the antibiotics in me, pressure built up and exploded the filter that the antibiotics go through. No big deal, it just meant changing the line again. The whole process could definitely be more idiot proof.

So that's where things are at. I still have a hole in my chest from where they drained where they thought the infection was, so those dressings need to be changed 3 times a day (something I can do myself), the IV fluids need changing once a day (can do myself now), and showering is just a bit challenging as my left arm is covered in a plastic cover, since the PICC area can't get wet, so I have just the one arm. I also have my Camelbak sitting on the loo, next to the shower so I can shower without disconnecting everything (the tubing can get wet, just not the insertion site). All this makes showering a slightly more challenging process, which Andrew is still helping me with (washing my hair with one hand, and a line between my arm and the toilet is the most challenging thing so far).

Otherwise I'm feeling fine. I was feeling exhausted at the end of last week, but feel a bit better now. I can't lift things or move my left arm too much or the insertion site of the PICC line hurts. I'm doing a Certified Nursing Assistant course at the moment in the evenings, and we just started clinicals, which are just too hard right now, so I'm going to see if I can do the Fast Track course which they are just starting next month - it's more hours each day, but it's during the day time which is more practical for us, it will give me time to heal, and it will only finish a couple of weeks after the current course. I also have an exam on Wednesday, and I'm well behind on my study, but I should do ok still.

Oh and I should add (I copied most of this from Facebook, and know a little more now), that they think at least some of my pain may be caused by gallstones. Where the majority of the pain was is more like gallbladder pain, and I have a heap of gallstones apparently. They did an ultrasound while I was there which confirmed the gallstones, but didn't show any of the usual signs of the sort of gallbladder problems that require immediate surgery. It may be coincidence that I got them at the same time, or maybe stress from the incision brought on the gallbladder pain? Either way I need to get all my scans and get it checked out by someone who isn't a cardiologist!

Andrew's been wonderful once again - if it wasn't for him I probably would have demanded to be checked out of hospital without getting any of this done, and ended up in much worse shape. Poor thing may end up with a drinking problem by the end of this though - neither of us can take much more! The fact that he helps with dressing changes, IV bag changes, and watches people cut into me so he can hold my hand is really quite amazing.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy 2009!

This time a year ago I was in ICU, regaining consciousness, and they were getting ready to remove my breathing tube.

I had an awesome initial recovery, but since then have had multiple (minor) problems - atrial fibrillation, staph infection in the incision that came back and needed to be reopened to drain (eww), scar continually getting wider, keloid scar, PVCs (fluttering heart beat), and now a wire causing me grief, not to mention the regular worry that something else might go wrong.

But I'd do it all again knowing that at least that it is fixed, and anything that may ever go wrong isn't likely to be life-threatening, and knowing that unlike my dad and aunt who had the same condition, I will reach my 30th birthday.

It feels like forever ago now that I had surgery!

Otherwise, everything else is going great. I passed everything in my last semester at uni which gets me past first year, and am already only a month away from final exams for my summer semester subject.

I have always been interested in being a nurse, but for various reasons have never actually done much about it (started a degree, but it wasn't the right time, and I didn't continue with it). I have done some life reevaluation, and decided that nursing is where I feel like I need to be.

So on Monday I am starting a 3 month Certified Nurse Assistant course in the evenings at a local community college, to become a qualified CNA. This will allow me to change dressings, change bed pans, help with rehab and other less-glamorous tasks. But the upside is that I can get work in one of the big hospitals (preferably Stanford) and get an idea of what life in the health industry is like. If I enjoy it, then I will continue to finish my Bachelor of Business, then when we get back to Australia, I can do a 2 year post-grad Bachelor of Nursing or Masters of Nursing, to become a qualified RN. I'm quite excited about this career change, and hope it works out - if not, I always have business as a good back up!

I'm looking forward to a successful, positive year - better than the last couple anyway!