Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Step Function

Well, my throat suddenly feels significantly better. The I can (almost) yawn, eat really warm food, and initiate speaking and swallowing without (significant) pain. I still feel my throat, but it's not as intrusive. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to be sick for way longer than expected, but I'm thinking I've turned the corner.

Planning to go cold turkey on the Tylenol with Codeine today, I took a dose and a half before bed last night only to toss and turn and get awakened by nightmarish things whenever I fell into a decent sleep. I could swear someone moaned and slapped my ass around 6am and I've been having adrenaline jolts ever since.

I woke up today around noon and staggered around, forcing myself to do awake type things. I took only regular guy Tylenol. I've done most of the laundry, had a bowl of cereal and a huge smoothie, actually drove a mile or so to the allergists for my five weekly shots. When I came back, I gave in and went to bed, waking up 3 hours later. Then around 10pm tonight, my throat suddenly felt better. I actually at warmed up soup. I'm still staggeringly tired and am heading back into bed ASAP. But I wanted to time-date stamp the recovery a little.

Also, I want to sum up the problems with Codeine. It does take the ache out of my whole face and keep it focused at the source in my throat. Not having my whole jaw and all of my tooth nerves throbbing was good. The rest, not so much. Codeine + pain makes me:
  • Cranky
  • Patience free
  • Constipated
  • Woozy
  • Tired
  • Unmotivated
  • Did I mention C.R.A.N.K.Y?
I asked about codeine at the allergist today and one nurse gets super energy bursts from codeine, and the other? Her son is a pain in the tuchus the day after he has codeine so she never gives him a full dose. I told them how low on patience I was and everyone there said, "oh, that's totally normal with the pain and codeine can make it worse." The constipation is actually pretty concerning considering I've eaten nothing but fiber for a week. I pooped sunday and again today, both times after going off the sauce to see if the works would unplug. (They did.)

Well, that's what I've got. I've still got white gunk coating the back of my throat and excessive exhaustion so I'm taking tomorrow off too, see if I can make it a whole day without being angry beyond what the situation calls for. And see if my *poof* now I feel better actually improves even more before I add stress and strain to the mix.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hear, Hear

One unexpected side effect of having my tonsils out is that, at least for now, I can hear better. It could just be that loud noises hurt my head more, but I think it's a combination of that and being able to hear at lower thresholds. I had my hearing tested about 10 years ago and it was perfectly normal. Depending on who is setting the frequency, I can still hear that high pitch that most teens can hear and most adults can't. It could be because I wear ear plugs at loud events, or it could be my giant, "nasty, ugly" tonsils were crowding the ear tubes. At any rate, I usually listen to the TV at volume 18-19 with no background noise and 21-22 with the heat or dishwasher on. At 16-17 I'd miss a lot. This week, I max out around 19 and can hear perfectly well at volume setting 14-15. As I said, unexpected. And I don't know if it'll last.

My nose is waffling back and forth between 4X better than Breathe Right enabled and packed full of mucous (and blood). It hasn't hurt at all (as I was led to expect) but bleeds rather a lot. I've been able to flush it out with buffered distilled water with my Sinus Rinse kit for 2 days now and that helps. I've produced a lot of mucous though. And all of it seems to want to sit at the back of my throat where it's hard to swallow and makes me feel like I have to hock a loogie.

I spent a lot of time asleep. And a lot of time when I wasn't asleep at the end of my short patience rope, which from my perspective, my mom tried to tug at every opportunity. For the most part my mom and I sat around trying not to strangle each other. I do think that if you ask someone a question shortly after they have surgery on their throat and tell you 12 times that it hurts to start talking, that you should (a) look at them after you ask this question and (b) make an attempt to interpret their vocalizations and hand gestures before getting exasperated and saying, "What? What was that? I didn't quite catch it." Um, if I'm not repeating it, I felt it wasn't worth the effort for the pain, thank you very much. Stop and think for a second and see if it comes to you. I'm just saying.

I had some notion that I would heal faster than I have. Don't know why, but I guess we all want to be genetic superheroes. By way of escaping the close confines of fight club central the condo, I managed to go out for a ride with mom driving my stick shift down some Mulholland switchbacks on one day. The next day we got out for a 30 minute walk on flat ground, over to the fountains and the civic center. Today, we upgraded to a one hour hike uphill on the trail I'm trying to incorporate into a weekly walk. Interestingly, by the point in the trail where I was gulping for air and hocking up loogies last saturday, I felt totally fine today. Barely had my heart rate up and breathing was free and easy. We spent a lot of time looking at various tracks and scats. Most were from dogs and horses though mom thinks at least one was from a big, wild cat. Ah well, we're living on the edge here.

I'm going to see if I can actually get up and stay up tomorrow. Mostly, I've been wakened by needing to clear the mucous out of the back of my throat. I feel really awake at that point, but wind up crashing back to bed shortly thereafter. Maybe a walk to the allergist will be just the thing.

Until then, I'm still on cold foods. Even warm foods get irritating fast. Although for some reason toasted pumpkin seeds are totally fine, salt and all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burp, Baby, Burp!

This is about surgery. May be TMI if you don't like bodily functions especially when they aren't yours.

When we arrived at the hospital, mom said it looked more like a spa. I had to sign a "confidentiality waiver" whose sole purpose was to allow the doc to go tell my mom I made it through surgery, because that was the only confidentiality break they would do. Kind of makes me wonder who else gets work done there.

Surgery went well. Anesthsia was no trouble. Pain meds for scratchy throat made me throw up. I warned the nurse twice that I was on the verge. Not "I feel nauseous", like when they hit some sympathetic nerve with the IV that stayed tweaked the entire time, but "I think I'm going to throw up." And when you are full of pain meds that make you feel like you've downed one too many shots? (Not that I would ever do that during a process engineering pub crawl.) No impulse control. And because the other reason I was puky was due to swallowing dripping blood, it was a pretty good mess that I didn't have to deal with aside from letting them put a new gown on.

It was kinda interesting. After talking to all the major players - surgeon, anesthesiologist, and head surgical nurse with whom I confirmed for each one which surgery I was expecting, they had me keep on my shoes and socks then put on shoe booties and a hair bouffant, just like pre-gowning at work. Then they walked me into the operating room. I've never done that before. Not bad; less mystery and uncertainty. The crucifix arm placement was actually pretty comfortable. I am apparently the first patient to ask if the forearm bloodpressure cuff was appropriately placed. (Yes, they do that in case the surgeon leans into your upper arm. Refer back to crucifix positioning.) And they had no trouble providing my requested pillow for under my knees to keep my back from straining.

My nose doesn't hurt at all, but I have a super attractive under-nose sling which keeps gauze pads tucked up to my nose because it's still dripping some blood. Even so, I can breathe really easily. My mom has to look to see my shoulders rise in my sleep because I'm not straining or noisy in my breathing. I do wonder if I'll have to learn to breathe slightly differently because I'm also swallowing a lot of air and have done some really impressive burping.

That could also be due to the funky back of throat issues. The tonsils, which I think I remember the doc coming in to describe as "pretty ugly". Good riddance to bad rubbish. But in the meantime, my throat is pretty scratchy and there's a consistent sensation that I have to hock a lougie. I'm taking the pain meds with popsicles. Found a mango soy-creamsicle at trader joes last night, and of course, otter pops.

plastic tube popsicles with cartoon otter decoration

Which I'm feeding to myself because mom has been snoring on the sofa for the last 2 hours, waking up with a start and yelling "don't bend over, I'll get that for you" whenever she hears the freezer open, then immediately passing back out. Between the mom-stress, the time difference, the 5am wrong number, the 7am call from dad, the 7:15 alarm, sitting up all day in the hospital, and me being mite testy before my nap, I'm not at all surprised she needs the sleep. I just wish she'd let herself do it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Up My Nose With a Rubber Hose

Tomorrow's the day. I left the passdown at work, got my process adjusted monday so they can collect data while I'm out but I still had time to make sure it worked before leaving, and think I left everything in reasonable shape, aka needing no attention.

Mom arrived last night. We were able to do a test drive to and from the hospital over lunch which was important also because mom hasn't driven a manual car in a while. So far so good. I went back to work and she roamed my walkable neighborhood. When I got home, she had signed us up for some foot massages that wound up being way more extensive than that and definitely overdelivered. All right across the street at the herb shop next to the Indian grocery. It's the store's 4th anniversary and they had asked the massage ladies to come out to discuss needs and setup and things so they could start working tomorrow. They did a trial run and people (like my mom) saw them through the window and started asking, so they rolled with the flow and started offering services before they were ready. I'm sold. And I'm a little worried they're going to raise the $25 price because that was worth waaay more, but for $25 I'd go every week and skip dinner a couple times.

Although I did get to think about food while there because they served us tea and strawberries with the massage. And I got my second major celebrity sighting! The host of Iron Chef America came in to chat or pick something up for his trip to Thailand tomorrow. I didn't place him, but I thought he was hot and familiar looking. (And probably weighs a buck twenty.) The owners mentioned his job after I seemed confused. For the record, hottie. But I almost missed it with my eyes rolling back in my head with bliss.

So anyhow. Surgery thursday, 10am. Turbinate reduction with radiofrequency and tonsil removal. I'm going under due to the tonsils, which will actually be the tricker part of this whole operation and cause the most pain. But I've now heard that removing tonsils can improve breath. And it'll be nice not to have the achy things in my throat all the time. We'll see if I feel like blogging after the anesthesia and pain meds. As of one minute ago, I'm not allowed any more food and water until after I wake up. Later, all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Flake Boy

So... Flake Boy flaked on Valentine's day. Previously he's flaked on stuff, but nothing with actual importance. Based on him doing this before, generally for "we'll do lunch" type plans, I've told him that if he wants to bail, he must call, or text if he's to wussy to call. Yet nothing this time. Ironically, it's not that Valentine's Day is actually important to me. What is important is he made it a point to invite me out 2 weeks in advance, and discussed possible plans in the interim, then ignored a phone call, text, and email on the day of, only calling me with a lame excuse when his mom came home and yelled at him. Not cool. (I'm guessing because he knew he was being a jackass and didn't want to hear it.) And it's the one day a year I can't just meander over to the local joint and drink up without looking like I got ditched.

Because I know he's a bit of a flake, despite showing up when I needed his help on the kitchen, I didn't ask him to pick me up from the hospital this coming thursday, but instead am getting my mom to fly out and drive me home. Ok, and coddle me afterward and make sure I don't die in my sleep or otherwise need to go back to the doc. But still. If he was more reliable, I could have asked him.

So we're in negotiations as to whether or not he's willing to not be a jackass. Could go either way right now. I talked about it with my brother who is on the "dude, that's seriously not cool" side, like me.

I got to thinking about it though and I'm someone who fundamentally runs late. I do try to mitigate this and be on time when it's non-negotiable (like being in a wedding, catching a plane or live theater show, or a job interview). I don't do this to piss people off, and I'm intending no discourtesy, it's just the way I roll, although I do work to minimize lateness when it's possible. (Up to and including getting surgery to help my sleep disorder.) But basically, I don't hang out with or work for people who get seriously jacked by my running late.

One thing though, is if I say I'll show up, I'll show up. (And almost always soon enough to be useful.) It's only in the last couple of years I've given myself permission to change my mind after accepting an invite. But I always, always contact whomever it is that I'm bailing on, and I do it in advance when possible. Because I think it's fundamentally rude to say you're going to show and then not show. However, I don't think it's fundamentally rude to be a little late. Yet I am aware that some people do think there's nothing worse that being late - like I said, I don't hang with them. So my question for the boy is whether or not he's just going to bail without notice on occasion and think nothing of it, in which case I'm not really interested in being stood up and I shake him off. Or if he recognizes it as bad behavior that affects me and is willing to work on it. I'm currently open to that because he is a good egg when he bothers to show up.

What do you all think?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cankles, They're Not Just For Dinner Anymore

My fortune today claimed, "You are a happy man." Aside from being descriptive rather than predictive fortune wise, it was partially right.

  1. I rather suspected that cankles were extra large ankles, where your calf muscles isn't discernable from your ankle, but I was not unconvinced they weren't a kind of seafood. So I googled it and found some great stuff. For the record, cankles aren't seafood.

    In particular, I found this blog called Already Pretty where she gives tips on how to pair boots with clothing so as not to create cankles where there were none. And at the bottom, gives links to her previously posted advice on how to take good photos while standing or sitting and just smiling, among other things. I remember some of the rules from my "How to be a model or just look like one" course from my high school days, but this is particularly well done and more thorough. Go look.

  2. It was my day to bring breakfast into work today. We have about a dozen of us who rotate through on friday mornings. I'm not the most extravagant, but I try not to be too bare bones either. Today I brought the requisite bagels with toppings, a dozen donuts, a dozen donut holes, and juice.

    For the bagels I brought 3 different toppings. Usually I like butter and can't stand cream cheese but everyone else likes the cream chees so I get it. There was also some port wine spreadable cheese in that display and I couldn't stop myself from getting that too. It didn't taste as great as I remember. We've also recently found out that hummus is fantastic on savory or neutral bagels. What's even better? Ham on hummus on bagel. I had this for breakfast along with a half of a coconut sprinkled donut and a glass of pomegranate-blueberry juice (Minute Maid) and it was fantastic. I even got "complaints" that I gave people too many choices and they were too full for lunch. :)

  3. I got most all of my work done this week so I won't be scrambling next week during my short week.

What made you happy today?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Less Boy, More Man..Handles

Piece by piece the kitchen is coming together. I wanted to get a second opinion and a distance view myself before mounting my Soko Manhandles because they aren't at all a standard mount. I do wish it came with a template, but we made do with the H pencil and a nail set. The boy came over to assist in the form of reminding me to do stuff in the right order, holding a block of wood behind the door to prevent chipping, providing moral support and measurement doublechecks. Once you start the drill, there's no turning back. I got all three stickmen up and the two large handles on the big drawers before my nerves gave out. Although with IKEA cabinets, the worst thing that happens is you shell out $15-$60 for a new door and take 2-20 minutes to transfer the hardware. (Two for most of the doors, 20 for the trash pullout.) So far that hasn't been necessary. Wish me luck on the rest - 18 small handles.

Here's what we started with. Manhandles in shiny stainless (texture and colorant dulls it a bit) and Atlas Craftsman in brushed nickel. Sitting on the Wilsonart Milano Quartz countertop whose best and worst feature is you can't see if it's dirty.

climbing manhandles and large and small rectangular handles with square cutouts

I wanted this one for the trash bin.
climbing stickman with right arm up and left leg bent

A little crazy to put something worth real money on the trash you say? Well, not so much. Because I'm not as disciplined about using a trash bowl as Rachel Ray, so I open the thing about 40 times a day. And the way it's mounted with the drawer on the bottom means that a handle placed across the top would torque it a lot. A normal handle placed lower would look stupider than the strapping tape I've been using up 'til now. But a manhandle, a large climbing stickman, is mounted low enough to prevent torquing while I can still comfortably grab the head to pull it open.
climbing stickman on open trash pullout door

The other two make quite the pair. They're on the pantry doors like so.
open pantry door

The upper one is climbing away. The lower one is in a bit of a bind.
pantry doors closed, upper climbing stickman, lower dangling stickman

And because I love the fool things, here's another shot. Along with all the stuff I haven't quite organized yet. But which will be easier to place now that I don't have to pry the pantry and big drawers open with my fingertips and a bit of friction. Cabinet boy particularly likes the way the shadows play on the doors, but I couldn't get a good picture with the flash off. Maybe later. But for now, Oh no, Mr. Bill!
Upper climbing stickman, lower dangling stickman aka Mr. Bill

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Baby Boy Action

So that's two early babies in February so far. My boss was scheduled for the 16th, being slightly before the due date, and he boy came this morning. He was a normal size - must have read the rule book. Most of my friends wind up with 5 or 10 pounders. We're all trailing edge of the bellcurve people that way.

Fortunately her "nesting" phase involved tying up a lot of loose ends at work. Got my review signed off yesterday, the manager who is taking up some of her work is already on board, and ... I got assigned to be the process engineer in charge of the microscopes. Which is kind of weird because none of my processes require a microscope inspection. Apparently someone paid attention when I expressed concern about microscopes last year and suggested that it be someone's first priority to fix them. They did assign an equipment owner but with various comings and goings in the photo group they didn't get a consistent process owner. Maybe someone thought I'd do best because I care that they work and am not already burdened with other metrology stuff - because after sustaining all the non-photo metrology for 10 years I was actively avoiding it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bouncing Baby Boy

One of my best friends from high school had her 3rd boy yesterday. That's 3 boys, all with February birthdays. They were aiming for mid month to separate the birthdays a bit, but once you see the size you'll know why that wasn't a good idea. She claims that since she wants a girl, the next one will be adopted because so far, she's a boy factory. Now she's really outnumbered :)

They're still working on a name - some of you may have participated in the poll for that. The same names are under consideration with one new added. I'm not sure what name they'll slap on this strapping lad, but at 10# 5oz and just under 22", I'm think he'll be up to carrying the name of a Norse god or a popular president. I still think it's awesome that my other best friend from high school named her boy after the same Norse god that this friend is considering.

As soon as I can call up my snapfish account, I'll be able to check out the photos. But I felt like sharing the good news first.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book Recommendations

If you were wondering, I loved Dark of Night by Suz Brockmann. Also available for Kindle download. It's the wrapup of several dangling plot threads that extended over several books, but still ok as a standalone, from the review I read. This is one of her stronger offerings, IMHO. Go get it!

And Dogs and Goddesses is out this week too. I've been following the blog (it's in the sidebar) and I hope for good things. The graphic design is great if nothing else. Dog paw lotus flowers! Genius.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Otter Love, Giraffe Less So

gay, straight or otter?

So I've just now found out that "otter" has been coopted by the gay guys to be a skinny bear. Can I just say, eeewwww! While I do like scrawny guys, I do not like me the hairy ones. But as they are *gay* hairy, scrawny men, I suppose it hardly matters. Gay men are not looking to date me and my girl parts. Dodged a bullet there. I'll just go about my cranky ways, being my non-hairy-man-otter self and let the hairy-man-otters go about being themselves. There's room enough in the world for the both of us. But my eyes, my eyes!

If you want to *really* be surprised by animals, though, check out this video of giraffes whacking each other in the nads. (I think they have nads, I didn't enlarge the video enough to see for sure. But I'm thinking the bigger one fights like a girl angry with a boy, which is to say no holds barred.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hamster Sangria

Time for a fun game! Tell me the real quote I've misheard. I'll give a clue if no one gets it. It's from a commercial:
    My name is ___ ___ and I'm here to make fruit juice!

For the record, I can't remember what I misheard that became "hamster sangria" in my boggled mind. But it had nothing to do with either. Kind of like the quote I just heard. In my defense, I was brushing my teeth at the time.

Flat Stanley

Despite being my 8th day in a row at work, it was a pretty good day at work!

We got the new custom built computer in from Europe for my hard-down tool. Instead of being the familiar desktop tower, it's built to fit in an electronics rack. But our racks for this tool don't have a place for it. It's about 18" by 30" by not quite an inch thick. Sitting on a little frame surrounding some facilities fixturing, it looks like a modern end-table. And the switches on the side that look like circuit breakers are actually the hard drive releases. We've gone from poky average computer with floppy discs and Windows 95 to custom "flat screen" styled computer with DVD writer and a usb port for flash drives. Sweet!

I showed up for the morning meeting to present the data I used to turn the process on this weekend and got a round of applause. That was kind of nice. I did work pretty hard on this. Not just setting stuff up, but making sure there was training and communicating pretty much constantly with production supervisors (who had the brunt of the communication burden). Due to vendor delay, it happened about 24 hours after I expected, but still 36 hours before my other tool (above) was back on board. So we were able to restart the end of the line and bring people back to work. And my boss emailed me a gold star :)

Due to the weather, I ate lunch outside today. And then a colleague stopped by so I put aside my magazine and we chatted while out in the sunshine. It's about 90F hotter here than Alaska. And I'm taking full advantage when I can.