Thursday, December 30, 2010


hey all. things have been quiet around here lately...just with the busyness of the season, taking care of my daughter, and now having my other three kids stuck in the house all the time while california is flooded with rain, i haven't had much time for blogging. i just wanted check in and say hi, and let anyone reading know that i have not, in fact, given up the good fight. holiday weight gain? you betcha. am i over it? it took a few days, but yep. because i know it isn't permanent. and it wasn't drastic. i know that when i look in the mirror and see my thighs ballooning out before my eyes, it is a trick of my mind. while i went up a couple pounds, i actually went down a quarter of an inch in said thighs, and my glutes. so i am back on track again - my weight loss journey has been a slow one, while i am still enjoying food and life, and i am okay with that. a slow, gradual downslope for me is better than a quick one that spikes back up every few months.

i will be back with more consistency soon. hope everyone has a wonderful new year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To-day List

Today is the day I take the stuff out of my room that has been waiting to go to storage for three weeks.

Today is the day that I finish unpacking the stuff from the hospital.

Today is the day I fold the baskets of laundry that have been sitting on my floor all week.

Today is the day I put away the bags of stocking stuffers that have been piling up next to my bed.

Today is the day I watch a movie with my daughter while she is home and actually wants to spend time with me.

Today is the day I take a nap to make up for the sleep I have been missing instead of telling myself I don't have time.

Today is the day I make a shopping list for Christmas dinner.

Today is the day I don't pick things up and put them in my mouth without thinking about it first.

Today is the day I make two dozen cookies for my younger daughter's cookie exchange.

Today is the day I finish the good book I've been reading.

Today is the day I will be proud of whatever I accomplish, enjoy the time that my eldest daughter is here with me, and appreciate the things I have in my life.

What is your today like?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Got up at 5 to give my daughter her meds, and forced myself into my workout clothes and to the gym for 36 minutes on the elliptical and a half hour class. And if that is the best thing that I can say about this day when I climb into bed tonight, then I am ok with that. The trainer who does our class made us write down some goals for now to New Year's, and while my whole mind and body screamed "Don't do it!!! You are relying on comfort food right now and are too exhausted to commit to working out!!!" I did it anyway. Maybe it is just what I need to keep me from going over the edge with the eating over the next few stressful weeks. Nothing like accountability to a roomful of semi-strangers and a trainer to make you stick to a healthy eating plan. So my thighs and butt were measured (sorry - glutes - let's be professional here) and I weighed in on the gym scale. Yippee. (That was not a sincere yippee, by the way.)

So in other news, today is Hubby's last double shift and he has tomorrow off, which means I think we just might make it. He actually got to come home early last night - I went into my daughter's room to give her a pillow and he was sitting there - he had snuck in. The joy I felt was indescribable.

Unfortunately it is not all sunshine and lollipops - I got in a big fight with my dad yesterday, completely his fault and I ended up bawling on the phone and telling him that I just couldn't deal with him right now with everything else going on. The thing is - I NEVER fight with my dad. Next to my husband and kids, he is the most important person in my life. And so to have him do this to me, to be a complete jerk towards me when I am going through what I am going through with my child, just wrecked me. So on top of the constant worry and frustration and exhaustion that is coming from my daughter's recovery, now I have this whole other situation weighing on me. Hubby says I don't have the time or capacity to deal with it right now - and that it is my dad's issue not mine - and that I need to let it go. And while I know that is rational, I am having a hard time executing it.

I am just a mess right now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home again home again

Yes, this little piggy is back home once more, and between you and me? The term piggy completely applies to me right now. But first things first.

Anna was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, after a final hellacious encounter with the physical therapist. The car ride home was torture, for her and me, as every bump or jostle brought tears and pain. Since we've been home, it has been a struggle to get her to eat, and she still hasn't pooped. Which makes it 9 days since the last time. Yeah. She resists me in all things right now - drinking water, eating, getting out of bed to walk, and sitting in anything resembling an upright position. And to make her do these things, over and over, causing her pain because the doctor and physical therapist told me to? Is exhausting and painful for me.

She can't get out of bed on her own, walk around on her own, go to the bathroom on her own. She can't be in a car until January. At 12:30 and 4:30 in the morning I get up to give her pills for the pain, plus whatever other times I hear her moaning or crying in pain over the baby monitor. Hubby is working double shifts this week because he is training a new staff for a restaurant which is opening a new location next Thursday (same chain he was working at already, just a new location for him.) The new location is further away as well. So for the past 4 days he has had to leave the house by 6:40 a.m., and isn't coming home until 11 at night. Which pretty much makes this the Morgan show. And when I was in the hospital with Anna, just Anna, with nurses backing me up, that was tolerable (though not always pleasant.) But here at home, with the other 3 kids added back in, and life and home still needing attention and work? I am barely holding it together. And that is probably the understatement of the year.

And all of this craziness, exhaustion, and frustration is leading to eating eating eating. I am chasing something that will give me comfort, or stimulation, or energy, and not finding it. Which doesn't stop me. That weight I worked so hard to get off? The tone I worked so hard to build up? Disappearing like an oasis in the desert. I haven't gained more than 3 pounds yet. But that is the key work there. YET. Friday, desperate to get my butt moving again, I forced myself to go tot he gym after Anna's 4:30 meds rather than climbing back into bed. And it was hard to workout. And that sucked. Because a week ago I could totally do it.

So that is where I am - I feel the walls closing in, and I am combating it with food, and obviously that needs to stop. And obviously I am going to have to continue to go to the gym at 4:30 if that is the only time that I have the chance. I say obviously, but saying it and doing it are two different things. I'm definitely going to need some support. Anyone got some to lend?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Everything I Never Wanted to Know

I have been compiling a list of things that I didn't know before this stay in the hospital with my daughter. So here are some things that you might not know in case you should ever find yourself in the hospital with your eleven year old daughter after her spinal surgery.:

You will never be so proud as the first time your daughter is able to pee without a catheter.

Those first steps she takes with the physical therapist will mean even more than her first steps as a baby. The same goes for the first bite of food she takes after surgery, and you won’t even mind having to feed her for the first couple of days.

If you are as fortunate as I have been, you will be barraged with requests to help. While this is absolutely wonderful, you will have no idea what to tell any of them that they can do for/bring you, since all that you really want is a decent night’s sleep/a pain-free child/your sanity back.

You will feel unable to leave your daughter’s side for more than the two minutes it takes to use the bathroom and wash your hands, because you know that anytime she wakes up and you aren’t there, she feels alone and scared and that makes the pain even worse. You may even consider using her bedside commode.

Time will pass without your having any knowledge – sometimes an hour will have gone by, or sometimes several. You will be so wrapped up in what is happening with your child that it won’t even matter. It is kind of like being in a casino in Vegas where you can't tell night from day, only less fun.

Healthy eating will be nearly impossible, as 1) there isn’t a wide variety of foods in the cafeteria, 2) people bring you comfort foods (which is all you really want anyway) and 3) as previously stated, time is so irrelevant that you go for hours and hours without eating, shoveling food in when you get the chance. Just ignore the layer of fat that grows around you.

All of your planned hospital exercise will go right out the window – you will find yourself far too exhausted, both physically and emotionally, to do anything more than move around the hospital room getting your daughter whatever she needs and helping her log roll. Feel free to count walking her down the hallway as exercise.

The ladies in the cafeteria will ask you, about your fourth morning in, if you work at the hospital or are just visiting someone. That is how often they have seen you.

You will know the layout of your floor as well as the nurses do. On your way to the kitchen to get more ice chips/water/sugar-free jello, try not to scoff at the parents of new patients as they try to find the bathroom/elevator/their child's room. It doesn't paint you in a sympathetic light.

Watching your daughter cry quietly in pain, trying to be brave, while there is nothing you can do won’t kill you, but you will wish it would.

And the final thing I have learned in my time in the hospital, which I can't promise will apply to you: my daughter is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. But I already sort of knew that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Letter From JBS

Today, my friend Journey Beyond Survival is so sweetly helping me out as I am still sitting in a hospital room with my 11 year old daughter as she begins recovering from her spinal surgery. JBS has a lot of experience with hospitals, doctors, and watching your child go through some really painful things, as well as having had surgery herself as a teenager. She has such a wonderful voice and reading this post was exactly what I needed.

Dear Morgan,

Morphine makes you do weird things.  If your daughter happens to ask you, "When is that helicopter ever going to land?" please hide your dismay.  She is not hallucinating, nor is she quite as high as a kite.  No, your daughter is probably being tormented by the pump in her IV stand.  It is really cruel and unusual to have to listen to that while in a drugged haze and everyone treating you like the class clown.

Also, laughing should be discouraged.  Unless your daughter starts laughing first.  Then you should make all efforts possible to laugh as long as she does.  Do not be discouraged by her delayed stupor.  She WILL notice if you stop and stare in a horrified way.  The best way to accomplish this is to steal her breathing exerciser.  It will look like this:
Incentive Spirometer 2,500ml Capacity and No One-Way Valve

Make sure she is asleep and the nurses will not be coming in, then float that yellow disc at the top!  Keep it up.  LONGER!  Not only will this give you empathy for when she has to do it, but it will also give you the ability to laugh as long as her disturbed sense of normal laughing time dictates.

Make sure you gargle with iodine first, or something equally disinfecting.  Do not swallow.

When you go home, do both of you a favor and invest in tube socks.  There is nothing worse than having someone else put on your socks.  The heel is never quite right, and the seam always itches in the wrong way all day long.  Tube socks will prevent all such horrible interactions.  Especially since you both want to just be nice.  Remember, it's like having a toddler put your glasses on for you while your hands are tied behind your back.  Terribly difficult to be civil during such challenges.

Loneliness will be rampant for both of you.  It is difficult to be cut off, shut out.  Just remember that it doesn't make it any better for her if you are equally imprisoned.  Maybe her friends could come to "help study" while you go out grocery shopping.  Or you could go to yoga.  Or skydiving.  At any rate, it would give you each some space and time away from each other.  Please attend to this matter most attentively.

It could make or break your recovery.

Oh, and hers too.  

Kisses, hugs and brainwaves,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

baby steps

the day went by without crawling slowly. anna is sleeping peacefully for now, which has not always been the case since yesterday, and so this moment is a happy one. she hasn't gotten out of bed yet, and the nurses are still log-rolling her, but she did eat some jello (her first food in over 24 hours) so that is progress.

 i took some time to walk hubby down the stairs on his way out to pick up chinese since we somehow missed dinner (it is now 9:30.) my intention was to turn around upon kissing hubby goodbye and climb my way back up the stairs to our room on the 6th floor, to avoid blood clots from spending so much time sitting and also make up for said chinese food. the flaw in this plan? after 9, the stairway door on the 1st floor is locked. humph. so it was back up in the elevator. and then down the 6 flights again to the bottom, and a quick u-turn and back up the stairs. 104 stairs. it wasn't a lot, but it was all i had the stamina for after the last two days. and here comes hubby with the chinese.

Friday, December 3, 2010

waiting game

today i am sitting in the surgery waiting room at the hospital, trying not to imagine my daughter laying on a table down the hallway with an incision down the length of her back, her spine being disassembled and, eventually, reassembled with some new hardware. we are about halfway done with the surgery itself, and the nurse calls me every hour to let me know that things are still going well. i've been up since 4, at the hospital since 5:45. that siren song of the pepsi is calling to me, a sound that only i can hear and it is up to me to either avoid or succumb to. we are surrounded by family, all of us chatting and joking and just trying to pass the time and not fixate. 

keeping healthy eating in tact in situations like this is, for me, a bit difficult. what i want is comfort and warmth. and what i had for breakfast was a half of a beef brisket sandwich with a barbecue/horseradish sauce, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and jalepenos on the most perfect ciabatta roll imaginable. don't judge me - if you could have smelled the meat, which the local deli we found only makes once a week, you would have ordered it too. in a heartbeat. 

yesterday, before an early morning round of pre-op and xrays, i got myself out of bed and to the gym, cramming in a half hour of cardio rather than missing it altogether, and also left with a to-go bag from my trainer with resistance bands, a ball, and some workout instructions so that i can do something while i am here for the next five days. there are seven flights of stairs here, which i will be climbing intermittently as well. just because my world has gotten a little shaky doesn't mean that i am going to let myself slip away from the habits i have spent so much time forming over the last 10 weeks. plus i am hoping the working out will help me manage the stress.

so things will either be really quiet or really loud here over the weekend, depending on how exhausted/crazy/emotional i am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Know Thyself

I don't have a problem with words. Or using my voice. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk. And talk. And talk and talk and talk. It is one of my favorite things to do, in fact. Once I get over my awkwardness when talking with new people, I can chat all day with them about anything.

But...start asking me questions that need specific, insightful answers about my family and myself, and suddenly I am mute. Or worse, I am a sputtering, uuummming mess. Why is this? I mean, I swear I know my children. We've met. I get them going to school in the morning, keep the youngest all day, am here when they come home in the afternoon, and am stuck with them get to be with them through dinnertime and on into bedtime. We have hundreds of conversations a day, (doesn't "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom," "What??!!!" qualify as a conversation???) and sit at the dinner table together and talk about our days. And Hubby and I have been married for almost 12 years now, have shared hours and hours of time together, are tuned in to each other's moods (you know, someone less familiar with him might not realize that when he doesn't answer my questions or at the very least is monosyllabic and leaves a room anytime I walk in with my mouth open, he just isn't ready to talk - it is subtle, I know.) And then there is me. I should know myself better than anyone, right?

And yet, when, in the course of setting up our family photo shoot for tomorrow, the lovely lady taking the pictures has been emailing me with questions about what we like to do together, what our favorite color is as a family, our favorite ice cream flavor (again, as a family - have you ever tried to get 6 people of varying ages and maturity to agree on one thing???) and then to tell something about each one of us, something fun and quirky that we each love, I draw complete blanks. I have probably made her life more difficult instead of less over the last few days, and she hasn't even met us yet (I imagine there may be some weeping involved when that happens.)

So does all this mean that I don't know my own family? Or maybe it is just that it is hard to truly define what makes us so wonderful and fun? I mean, who wants to be pegged down by labels and favorite colors, right??? We'll just say that we like to be open to liking whatever kind of ice cream we choose at any given moment - it doesn't at all mean that I have no idea.