Several of you have been asking for updates on my dad's progress. He's improving steadily, he's on the final fittings for his C-leg (computerized prosthetic), and he'll be done with his rehab at Aspen Ridge within the next few weeks. You can read up on him at his blog with lots more pictures.
The most shocking news in a while came this week, when Assist Utah came to do an assessment on my parents' house. It's 3 stories, with a steep driveway and curved staircases. To renovate the home, add chair lifts, and make it wheelchair accesible...the potential bid was $40-80 thousand! And this estimate would not include renovations to their steep driveway, which he can't get up on his own in the wheelchair. The planning, contracting, bidding, and construction could take upwards of 4 months, and he'll be ready to leave Aspen Ridge by the end of May. With this info, it appears that finding a new house is a better option long term.
It needs to meet quite a bit of criteria. The driveway must be flat or very slightly inclined. There must be an accessible door to build a wheelchair ramp. There must be doorframes at least 30" wide, which is wider than the standard 28". The toilet area and shower must be wide enough to allow wheelchair access. The list goes on and on.
We'll have more info within the next week or two what will happen with their housing situation. It'll be sad to have to give up the Green Oaks home. It's been 15 years of traditions and memories for my family.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
2. Soft foods - Since I had all the dental work done in December, I've been suffering from frequent tooth pain. I have sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet to an extent I'd never experienced. On my left side, I'd totally given up on crispy, crunch, hard, and tough foods. I had three crowns put in on that side, and the angle of the bite doesn't feel quite right. Many of my eating decisions are based on how painful it that food would be to eat. I've been favoring the right side, but in the last three weeks I've been having a lot of jaw pain, and shooting nerve pain up into my eyes. I've got a dentist appointment next week to get it checked out.
3. Not private - I'll admit it, I'm not a private person. I guess that's why I blog. I very loosely hide any secrets about myself, and once the word is out...I blurt everything out without thinking. I also work in the medical field, exposed to all sorts of gross diagnoses and diseases. I think it's all fascinating, and blurt out details that would easily turn your stomach. Sorry...I try to hold back.
4. Necklines - I think I have a weird neckline. Shirts never really seem to fit me right. I usually wear boring crew and scoop neck shirts, because the boat, sweetheart, and square necks show WAY too much. And the V-necks...let's just say that that what shows is better than it used to be. Thank goodness for ModBe, Shades, and Downeast basics for covering the skin that always unintentionally peeks out.
5. Tea Fan - I became a huge fan of herbal tea when I moved to Michigan. It began at a Fairfield Inn in Kearney, Nebraska. It was bitterly cold, I don't drink coffee, and I didn't want to take in all the calories of hot chocolate. I took a few complimentary bags of Tazo's Wild Sweet Orange, and I was hooked. Currently, Stash's Licorice Spice is my favorite.
6. Michigan Drivers - I swear, I'm taking my life into my own hands when I drive in Michigan. There are ridiculously large potholes that never get filled, people try to drive 10 over the speed limit, regardless of the weather. Instead of right turn lanes, they opt for the "swerve" lane. Everyone has their idea of which country route is faster than the freeway, and every one I try disappoints me. Car insurance is more expensive than California here. And American vehicles are king...hands down.
7. Commercial Pilot? - It bugs me like crazy when I tell people that my husband is a pilot, and they follow up with, "Oh, a commercial pilot?" Oh, if they only knew the hellacious training he's endured, and the commercial license was way before the ATP test, type rating, physicals, sim sessions, airline training, etc. We'll be dirt poor for years because he's chosen this "professional" profession. He's worked his way up, and he's an AIRLINE pilot. Sure, it's for a regional with a questionable reputation, but he's got the black suit with the three gold stripes, and his white shirts with the sexy epaulettes. He's more than just a commercial pilot to me.
And who am I tagging? Anyone who hasn't filled out this silly meme since yet. TAG!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Thank you for all of your well wishes this week. I've been in a lot of pain, and generally under the weather, but I'm sooo much better than Sunday. I have another ultrasound in a week to determine the size and changes in the cyst. Hopefully it won't require surgery.
Here's a few pictures from this week:
This is my favorite car in Michigan. It typically sits dormant in the apartment parking lot, around the corner from us. It's rusted beyond belief, the trunk bottom has rotted out and the spare tire is almost touching the ground at this point. The whole car is full of junk...fast food wrappers, magazines, dirty clothes. It just sits there in an auto cocoon. Ah yeah!
This week was Administrative Professionals Day. I was overwhelmed with generosity from my coworkers. The doctors gave me that beautiful lavender plant and a $20 Panera Bread gift card. The thoracic research specialist gave me the other plant. The nurses and PA's gave me some cute serving dishes and prepared a really nice lunch. It's nice to be recognized for all the hard work I put in during the year...and this place really took good care of me.
Michigan is finally in bloom. The popcorn trees are blooming, the tulips and daffodils are bursting into reds and yellows. We've had a solid week of 70 degree plus temperatures. Unfortunately, it's going to cool down again tomorrow, and we might get another snowfall. I'm hoping to drive to Holland, MI next weekend for the tulip festival. Anyone want to carpool?
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday morning I woke up in crazy amounts of pain in my left shoulder, chest, and neck. I couldn't reposition myself in bed where I wasn't in pain. I had light pain in my lower abdomen, but it was the chest pain that was agonizing. Knowing the warning signs of AMI (acute myocardial infaction aka heart attack) Taylor rushed me over to St. Mary's in Livonia.
After two EKG's, an IV, shots of dilaudid and toradol, two chest X-rays, an ultrasound, and five hours...I was diagnosed with an 8-cm hemorrhagic ovarian cyst that had ruptured. Apparently the fluid from the cyst was irritating some nerves that go into my upper body, which is called referred pain. Unfortunately, all of the pressure from the ultrasound made the actual ovary hurt even more, with more fluid leakage. I've been on vicodin and bedrest since I got home. I hope to feel well enough to go to work tomorrow, but for now I'm laying in bed. I've got a follow-up appointment with my primary care doctor this afternoon...hopefully I can muster up the energy to shower before then.
Friday, April 18, 2008
The 40 minute walk I took on my lunch break in sunny, 75 degree weather
The free tickets to the Ann Arbor symphony from one of the doctors I work with
The daffodils and crocuses that are finally in bloom (still haven't seen any tulips though)
Taylor's bonus check that covered this month's car payment
Finding a store that sells Coke Vanilla Zero and diet Vernon's ginger ale consistently
Putting on capris and sandals after work
Rice Krispy Treats made with strawberry flavored marshmallows
Thursday, April 17, 2008
After such a downer post, here are a few good things....
-The Ben Folds Concert- Mike, Erin and I drove out to Adrian to see Ben Folds last night. It was over an hour each way on winding country roads, but the music was great. Even if the music wasn't good...it was worth going to see obese toga girl and the girl who danced like a maniac while everyone else stood still.
-A few tiny buds on trees- We might actually see some green in Michigan soon. I'm so sick of the color gray.
-Payday- We can pay most of our past due bills this month. It still blows my mind that Taylor's student loan payments are over $1500/month.
-Taylor- He gets home from a week of high-speeds to Montreal. I'll get to see him more than an hour a day until Sunday night.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Over the last few days, I've had a zillion things spinning through my head. I've been super stressed and thinking about all the things I could blog about...but tonight is just going to be a ranty, complaining emotion blurt. Usually I blog about the good things in life, but tonight I really need to vent. Reader beware.
So far work is going okay. My surgeon has been fine to work with, my coworkers are helpful and I'm learning a lot about thoracic surgery. My complaints are the yucky parking situation, e-learning courses and the expensive employee cafeteria. The drive to Ann Arbor takes 25-40 minutes, depending on the day. Whether I take M-14, Plymouth Road, or Ford Road...it's all about the same. The only parking lot I have been able to consistently find a spot at 7:30ish is the Glazier lot. It's a 15 minute shuttle ride to the hospital, and the shuttles run pretty frequently. The downside is you have to make sure you always bring everything you could possibly need when you leave in the morning. If you forget your lunch or employee badge...it could take you an hour to shuttle to your car and back. Also, I have to complete this super boring set of 11 modules in order to get access to do financial transactions on behalf of the department. I've done non-P.O. vouchers and purchase requisitions before...so the training just feels tedious, and it's hard to concentrate when I have people at my desk all the time. And the cafeteria...well, the food's okay, but I sure don't want to pay $6 for a food service sandwich. Meals are in the $5-$8 price range, but it's nothing spectacular. I've been eating a lot of Lean Cuisines.
Taylor had another incident with his car in the employee parking lot. First his car was sideswiped, now this week the back bumper was brutally scraped and dented. It's frustrating that this is happening in a lot that is "SECURE" and requires SIDA identification to enter. Oh, how I miss the honesty of people on the west coast who leave a note... Neither damage is bad enough that we NEED to repair it, but it's upsetting that his 6 week old car had no body damage when we bought it...and now has two major exterior flaws.
School is driving me nuts. Actually, it's driving me to tears. Going to school online can be useful, because you can study on your own timetable. Unfortunately, you are sometimes bombarded with additional study aids, and not given clear instructions of how to complete your courses. I've been enrolled in a 9-credit algebra and statistics survey since January. I haven't really put major time into it until this month (due to family situation in Utah, moving cross country, being sick, traveling, etc...) and until this last week I found out that I was following the wrong course of study. I tried to submit my first (of 13) assignments, and spent 2 hours on the first two questions! I'm so out of practice in math, and all of the review work that I've been focusing on the last 20 study hours has not prepared me for my homework. I'm almost done with the critical thinking and writing survey though...I should be totally done with that in a week or two. I am contemplating a leave of absence from school after my finals in May. As much as I want to get my degree, my family and sanity is more important at this point.
Our finances are a total wreck, thanks to the airline's 3 day direct deposit delay. Bank of America got Taylor's paycheck funded on a Tuesday, and he was supposed to get it the previous Friday. We didn't realize the error until Taylor's debit card was declined. Over the course of 3 days, we got hit with $455 of overdraft charges (mostly on transactions less than $10). There are no BofA branches in Michigan, so we had to get a family member to bail us out $250 to bring our account out of the hole. Unfortunately, that deposit didn't post till the next day, so we got hit with another $150 of charges, and the account was still below zero. It took several customer dis-service phone calls to BofA to figure out the error. We finally got $220 of the charges written off, but we were still left with only $150 in the account, and no student loan payments have been made yet this month. My first paycheck came, but it was only for a few days work. It was enough to pay my credit card, buy gas, and get groceries. We're going to have creditors hounding us for the first time ever. It's a terrible feeling.
We're also feeling the uncertainty of the airline industry. Just knowing what's been in the news with ATA, Skybus, Aloha, and Champion airlines has been worrisome. Now the word is that Delta and Northwest will announce their merger in the next day or two. It could be shaky ground for us. Hopefully, Taylor's airline won't have any problems keeping their contract, but the pilot contract is really shaky. There will be some picketing at the Memphis headquarters on May Day. Hopefully our pilots will get the raise they so desperately need and deserve. No professional pilot should be making an income that qualifies a family of three for food stamps.
I'm feeling lonely in Michigan. I have very few friends. I have quite a few acquaintances, but still nobody that I can just stop and their house and crash on their couch with no notice. I did finally meet up with Umeka and Brandon last night. It was the first time we actually got together. I found her on Myspace around the time we decided to move to Detroit. We went to Detroit Greektown, ate dinner at Pizza Papalis, walked around Ford Field and Comerica Park, and other downtown treasures. It was a rainy night, but it was a safe and interesting part of town. I wish they lived closer so we could see them more often.
I'm still feeling sick. Most of my physical symptoms are better, but my ear still hurts like crazy, and my teeth are almost always throbbing like crazy. I need to find a dentist and primary care doctor in Ann Arbor. Now that I'm double covered, out of pocket expenses should be minimal; however, my insurance plan is an HMO that requires a referral to see a specialist. I've got an Otolaryngology clinic one floor down from my office. Maybe I can sweet talk my current PCP into a referral without the drive to Westland. As for my teeth...who knows? I'm already paying $180 a month to pay off all the dental work I had done in December. Could I really have more that needs to be done after 3 months? I sure hope not. And we just won't talk about the weight I've gained since being sick....
I've got an extra ticket to see Ben Folds on Wednesday night, and Taylor's stuck on a high-speed that night. Anyone want to come? Only $15!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Today was my second day in my department. The person training me only sat with me for one day, and today I was on my own. I booked a few surgeries, did some misc scheduling for my surgeon, took some online training modules, got my pager, attended a class, and some of my other job duties too boring to mention. I think I'll like the position. As long as I can handle the parking situation, I'll be sticking around UofM for a while. I purchased a yellow parking pass, which is supposed to be the closest lot to the hospital...almost walking distance if you have enough time. Yesterday I drove around for almost a half hour looking for parking. I ended up down the road at the orange lot, and took the shuttle over to the hospital and was 15 minutes late on my first day. I was worried about being late, but everyone expected it and laughed it off when I walked in totally flustered.
The funniest thing of the day was the gift that my new boss gave me...a pickle. She just got back from Disneyworld and Epcot, and gave me a shiny green pickle Christmas ornament. Apparently, pickles are a German Christmas tradition. A pickle would be hidden somewhere in the boughs of the tree, and the first child to find the pickle would get an extra gift from St. Nick for being so observant. Not sure how that translates to my new position, but my new cubicle is graced with a decorative pickle.
I'm still not better from the illness fiasco I've been dealing with for 3 weeks now. I finished up two rounds of antibiotics, but I think the infections aren't gone yet. My throat still is swollen, my ears and eyes hurt, and my sinuses are tender and stuffy. I've been coming home from work and crashing on the bed to recover from these long workdays. At least I'm not sick like my friend Erin, who at 23 years of age came down with the chicken pox this week. My teeth are also still hurting like mad. I've been having these frightening, recurring dreams that all my teeth fall out while I'm giving a public speaking address. I've been brushing with Sensodyne again, but the nerve pain lingers. I opted for my insurance benefits and dental plan today, and pretty soon I'll have the info to find out what dentist I can see. Until then, it's Motrin every 4 hours for me.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Yesterday I started my orientation with UofM Medical Center. Yesterday was a full day of patient safety, corporate culture, medication error reporting, HIPAA and JCAHO regulations, customer service videos, and all the other junk you're required to review upon hire at a hospital. This morning was a little better...ID badges, benefits, retirement, and parking. They let us leave at 11 am, so I spent the afternoon with Taylor unpacking. Yes, we've lived in our apartment for two months now...but with all the travel, we still had a lot to do. We cleared out about 15 boxes, organized our bedroom, spent 2 hours on Rosie's bedroom hurricane, and put up a few pictures on the wall. I start my job for real tomorrow.
My teeth have been hurting so bad lately. I'm not even sure it's my teeth, more like the nerves to my teeth. I had so much dental work done in November and December (over $3000 out of pocket after insurance) and I've never felt back to "normal." The left side's bite still feels wrong after two adjustments on trips to Cali, and the nerve flare ups have been occasional, but never less frequent than a few times a week. Since I got back from Utah, it's been constant pain on both sides. My new dental plan was in effect as of yesterday...and for the first time ever I have dual coverage. I need to talk to my new supervisor and see how soon I can take time off to see a dentist.
I'm so geeked for the NKOTB reuniting on Friday morning. If only I started work next week, I would SO be there...I'd fly out to Rockefeller Square and hold up my big sign while screaming till my lungs gave out. Yesterday, Taylor found a Russian legal download site where we found the whole NKOTB library for 10 cents per song. I downloaded about 30 songs. Unfortunately, my Ipod is on the fritz. The night before I left for Utah, my iTunes crashed, and I lost EVERYTHING. I had to do some mad file transferring to get it back, but I lost about 8 of my 25 GB of music. It's been syncing for 3 hours now...
Oh, and I got a call from Becky Anderson, the guidance counselor from MHS. I was having terrible luck getting anyone to call me back about renting MHS for the reunion, but she called me back (the day after Robin got the info). We chatted for about 10 minutes...she ended the call with "Glad to hear that you've turned out to be such a success." I smiled.