Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Final Cut

I came up with the title for this post and then realized that it is the name of a Pink Floyd album/song as well as a movie. Not to be interpreted as a sign that I am spiraling into depression, it simply refers to the fact that I am having one (actually two, keep reading) last surgery to close out 2013.
Celebrating the start of 2011 in Vientiane, Laos, before my body started falling apart!
Yes, it's true, I go under the knife once again today, the very last day of the year. Despite my & my various doctors' best efforts, my knees are a constant source of pain & discomfort and are severely limiting my ability to do the things I love (e.g. biking, going for long walks). I became aware of the problem about three months into my hip rehab (I had surgery to repair a torn labrum on 1/15/13) and it steadily grew worse as my level of physical activity progressed. Iontophoresis didn't diminish the pain so my doctor, Andrea Herzka, recommended a series of three Synvisc injections which I started just before my 39th birthday in July. Unfortunately, those didn't help either, and having exhausted the number of physical therapy visits allowed by insurance, I was left with few options. At that point Dr Herzka ordered MRIs of both knees, and when we finally viewed them together in late September, it was very obvious why I was/am in so much pain. The cartilage under both kneecaps has deteriorated significantly which is causing friction in the joints. This is accompanied by a grotesque grinding sound which can be clearly heard when I climb stairs or crouch down. For some people the Synvisc injections provide enough of a "false cartilage" buffer to reduce the pain significantly. Sadly, my knees only felt worse after this treatment! Dr Herzka said I needed surgery and so here we are today.
Greg & I rode our bikes to the top of Mount Tabor on New Years Day 2013. I don't think I'll be doing that tomorrow!
Considering I also had sinus surgery (to correct a deviated septum on 4/23/13), I was quite reluctant to go through another surgery this year. I asked Dr Herzka if there were any other alternatives and she referred me to a chiropractor, Phillip Snell, who specializes in sports medicine (and was still covered by my insurance). I saw him a handful of times over the past two months and he definitely has the knowledge & skills to help me. But we ran into the same obstacle as with physical therapy; the pain in my knees is too intense to make any progress with the other musculoskeletal issues I have.
Recovering from sinus surgery. It was not fun.
Bearing in mind that I reached the out-of-pocket maximum for my health insurance plan mid-way through the year, and all of those numbers will be reset to a higher deductible & out-of-pocket maximum on January 1st, it made the most sense to schedule the surgery in 2013. It was a bit of a challenge to get everything lined up in a fairly short amount of time, but OHSU's Center for Health & Healing was able to squeeze me in on today's surgery rotation even though they're only using one outpatient operating room.
Heading out to catch the bus to physical therapy after my hip surgery.
It was also a tough decision whether or not to have both knees operated on the same day. While the recovery time for this surgery, called bilateral arthroscopic chondroplasty, is relatively short (5+ weeks) compared to my hip (6 months), it will certainly be a bit harder to get around with two banged up knees. I figure I have been in pain for so long it can't feel that much worse and hopefully I'll be in much better shape sooner than later!
I almost passed out from the pain during the first round of Synvisc injections!
Greg jokingly says I should win the "Patient of the Year" award at OHSU (mainly because they've gotten so much money from us & our insurance company). It is a bit disconcerting when so many people in a medical building call you by your first name in passing! But I am certainly thankful that my health issues, albeit when considered cumulatively have been challenging, are nowhere near as serious as so many of my friends & family have gone through this year or are currently battling.
I do enjoy the view from OHSU's Center for Health & Healing!
I'll close out this post by wishing all of you a very Happy New Year! Hopefully I will come up with some meaningful resolutions as I spend the first week post-op recuperating at home. I know what one of them will be: try to get through 2014 without any surgeries!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our New Life at Irvington House

Well, I've had this on my To Do list for over a month. But I've been pretty busy since mid-August, which is when I started working essentially full time. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know that, thanks to a Craigslist post that was shared by Modern Day Nomads, I applied for a job as the caretaker of a vacation rental in NE Portland. It took three in-person interviews to convince the owner that I was the right person for the job. If you know me, then you know that 110% is my minimum operating level and how could anyone else come close to being the perfect fit for this job?! ;)
Where else can you stay where a TV cop is your host???

Our lives changed drastically almost overnight. I found out I got the job on August 9th and started working at Irvington House on August 18th. We moved into our onsite apartment on August 31st, but slept here on an air mattress some nights prior to that depending on my work schedule.
camping on a borrowed air mattress
One minor issue - The apartment we've rented since we moved here in January 2012 was completely furnished, including all kitchen items, linens, etc. Our new, almost 1,000 sq ft apartment, came completely unfurnished! We didn't want to spend a lot of money unnecessarily so I immediately started scouring Craigslist for as much used stuff as possible. As it turned out, there were a lot of moving sales in Portland in late August and we were able to buy about 70% of our furnishings secondhand. The other 30% was too specialized (needed a specific size, color, etc.) so we used most of our remaining wedding gift credit to purchase those items new from Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Fred Meyer, IKEA, and just a couple of things from Walmart. We managed to get everything we could possibly need for under $2,000.
still a work in progress; 50% of what you see in this photo is secondhand
We also had some very welcome last-minute visitors during this crazy time: Mom, Ronnie & Grandmother Smartt flew out from Nashville on August 21st to bring some of our stuff. Greg had new dishes & flatware that his mom gave him many years ago that had never been taken out of the box; I had leftover items from my life in NYC; plus they brought some useful household items they didn't need. In spite of everything going on, we were still able to enjoy some local sightseeing and even grilled out for the first time at our new place.
Grandmother, Mom & Ronnie at Multnomah Falls
Now that you know how we got here, you may be wondering what, exactly, my job is. As the caretaker at Irvington House, a fully licensed bed & breakfast which is operated as a vacation rental, I am responsible for all of the general upkeep of the property as well as taking care of the guests who stay in the other two apartments, which are listed on VRBO, airbnb, HomeAway, etc.). Every time someone checks out, I have to clean that apartment. The 1,350 sq ft upstairs unit sleeps seven; the 550 sq ft garden unit beneath us sleeps four. So essentially, a lot of my work is as a maid, along with a fair amount of maintenance work on this built-in-1908 home. The owner, who lives in Arizona, handles all of the bookings (which I have access to via a shared calendar) and finances. I have a company-issued AMEX card for purchasing supplies and the use of the owner's 2003 Nissan Xterra for running household errands. I get paid a set amount each time I clean the rental units and an hourly wage for anything else I do related to helping guests, working on the house, running errands, etc.
the front entry foyer
This transition period has been really busy. While I wasn't at all stressed about the move (everything we owned fit into a cargo van), I knew it would take awhile to figure out the most efficient way of cleaning the rental units and generally managing the responsibilities of the property overall. I also had to deal with some immediate issues: the 100-year-old front entry door lock quit working properly (and kept locking people out); a guest knocked a big hole in the wall upstairs; we kept finding ants in our apartment and the one downstairs; multiple light fixtures quit working; guests were slipping on the stairs (hardwood floors); and on & on. Our dining room table was my work bench for several weeks! Thankfully, Greg has been willing to pitch in and help with the cleaning, particularly the bathrooms, which are the hardest on my achy knees.
repainting the patched wall in the upstairs rental unit
We are pretty much settled into our new home and routine now, although my cleaning schedule varies every week and I often have to work on the weekend. We love our historic neighborhood which is filled with beautifully restored homes (but it doesn't have nearly as many hipsters and good people-watching as Hawthorne Blvd!). Our apartment is fabulous - big rooms, lots of light, a dishwasher (Greg's favorite amenity) and a large back patio & outdoor grill to enjoy on sunny days. There is space to store our bikes in the detached garage and Greg's commute to work only increased by one mile each way. Although we miss our adopted kitty Rose and wonder how she's doing, there are multiple friendly neighborhood cats who wander through our yard here every day, along with tons of squirrels.
a new friend and regular visitor
The rental units have been booked solid all summer and continue to be through the end of this month. Things start to taper off in November and especially in the winter months but I know the owner is lowering the nightly rates to encourage more bookings (and thus more work/income for me). We are ready to welcome visitors once again, although you'll still be sleeping on an Aerobed as before. But now you also have the option to book one of the rental units, and, if it's not peak season, I can most likely get you a discounted rate. :) Hope to see you soon!

Friday, August 9, 2013

39 & Holding

I celebrated my 39th birthday on Friday, July 12th in similar fashion as last year, which means I tried to take advantage of all the free meals, beverages, etc. that many chains and even a few locally-owned places offer. Unfortunately, I wasn't moving around very well since I had the first round of Synvisc injections in both knees the day before. Ouch!!!

Once again, I referenced the Portland on the Cheap and Free Birthday Meals websites to get up to date listings of birthday freebies. I also had my notes & photos from last year to use as a guide
working on Grimm on my birthday last year
I actually took advantage of my first free meal on July 11th. Pastini Pastaria offers a free entree at any price valid on the day before, day of, or day after your birthday. You must sign up for email updates and print the birthday offer. No other purchase is required. My seasonal pasta dish, a trottole with lamb sausage & peppers, was $14.95. Since I drank water, I just tipped $2. It was delicious!
On the morning of my birthday, I walked (hobbled) down to my local Starbucks. There I had my choice of a free food or drink item worth up to $5, which is valid only on your birthday and is loaded to your Rewards card. All I had to do was start the app on my iPhone and redeem my offer. I opted for the Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, worth $3+ depending on your location. I also took an empty Starbucks coffee bag to redeem for a free 12oz tall brewed coffee.
Greg was working from home that day, so he gave me my birthday present when I returned from Starbucks. I love the beer socks and we both enjoyed attending our first Thorns match that weekend. I even wore the socks to the match!
I departed the house again by 11am for my next freebie. This time I had to use public transit to get to my destination. Denny's offers a free Grand Slam breakfast worth $6.49 only on your birthday with proof of I.D. No other purchase is required. I enjoyed my meal with the exception of the crazy guy who started shouting about computer code language. It was weird and a little scary but I left unscathed.
Next I hopped on a MAX train and headed downtown to Pioneer Square. I had read about an ice cream churn-a-ment and thought it would be fun to stop by this free event. Of course, there were long lines for free samples, but I was able to get a large scoop of sherbet pretty quickly from the Kink.fm booth along with a free CD of local music.
My favorite stop of my birthday is always Rogue Brewery because I get a free beer and a t-shirt. I decided to go to The Green Dragon which has 50 taps but a much more limited supply of shirts versus the location in NW Portland. I hung out at the bar, drinking Beer Valley Leafer Madness on cask. It was only 2pm and Greg still had to work for a few more hours so I ultimately decided to buy another drink, this time an Elysian Konishiki IPA. Unfortunately my knees were still very sore from the injections so I didn't feel like going anywhere else and decided to head home. But I still had one more place to go before the day was over.

Just around the corner from our house is a locally-owned restaurant called Vege Thai. They offer a free entree with purchase of an entree only on your birthday. We've been here several times and, while not fancy, the food is always good and portions are large. So after Greg finished working we walked to the restaurant for dinner. My Jungle Noodle Curry with Tofu was delicious and was priced at $10. Greg got Spicy Green Bean with Tofu, also $10, so with my free entree plus the tip we only spent $14.
I didn't take advantage of my other birthday freebies for a few days as we already had plans for the weekend. Thankfully, many places extend their offers for a week or so after your birthday, giving you more time to enjoy them. Thus we didn't venture out to Cascade Station to eat at Famous Dave’s until July 16th. If you sign up for their P.I.G. club, you will receive a coupon via email for a free entree up to $15 with the purchase of a second entree of equal or greater value. All you have to do is print the email; the coupon has an expiration date but is generally valid for the week after your birthday. My Texas Beef Brisket cost $15.99 so was basically free, but Greg ordered "The Big Slab" of St. Louis-style spareribs which cost $23.99. We both drank water, but with the tip the meal still cost $32. Not exactly free, but it was delicious!
On July 18th I used another birthday freebie, this time at Einstein Bros Bagels. Again, all you have to do is sign up for the Club. You'll receive a coupon via email for a free breakfast sandwich when you purchase any drink on your birthday or within seven days thereafter. My everything bagel with veggie cream cheese was worth $2.60. I only had to pay $1.10 for a large cup of decaf coffee (I brought my own cup).
The final food freebie I took advantage of was for IHOP where you can get a free Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity (or menu item of equal or lesser value, worth $7.59) for your birthday when you sign up for Pancake Revolution emails. No other purchase necessary. My coupon didn't expire until July 23rd, a week & a half after my actual birthday. I have not been to IHOP in years and thought it would be fun to compare my meal there to the one I had at Denny's the previous week. As it turned out, there were no screaming crazy guys, but service was pathetically slow. The food was pretty much identical.
I also used my Redbox birthday promo code for a free movie rental worth $1.20. It was valid through July 23rd so I rented No on July 19th. There were plenty of other birthday deals I did not have time to use or just ran out of steam: a free Mud Pie at RAM Brewery, a free drink at Dutch Bros Coffee, a free chocolate fudge cake or ice cream sundae at Buffalo Wild Wings, and a free burrito at Baja Fresh.
view from our seats at our first Portland Thorns match at Jeld-Wen Field
As for the title of this post, I must give credit to my father-in-law, who when he called to wish me a Happy Birthday said, upon verifying that I was now 39 years old, "Oh, then this is your LAST birthday!" As in, we don't mention age after that! I actually think my mid/late 30's have been the best years of my life for a lot of reasons, and I'm optimistic that my 40's will be equally fun, fulfilling and memorable!
"driving" a new hybrid Trimet bus on the day after my birthday

Friday, June 21, 2013


Greg & I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Alaska. Actually, we got home two weeks ago, but I have been sick with a sinus infection, cough, laryngitis, etc. since the minute we landed in Portland. Thus I haven't felt like doing much lately but finally managed to sort through most of my photos & videos and get them uploaded for sharing this week. Please scroll to the bottom of this post for those links.
departing from Skagway
I wanted to take a few minutes to mention some of details about our trip. I plan to write more blog posts on specific topics like the breweries we visited, the cruise, Denali National Park, etc. But I'm short on time right now. I will be going to the airport later this evening to pick up my Aunt Elaine (my mom's sister). She will be staying with us until July 1st. In addition, my mom, step-dad, sister, and two nephews are arriving on Sunday. They will be here until June 30th. So I will be very busy over the next week playing tour guide for my family, all of whom have never been here except my mom & step-dad!
a beautiful day to fly home - this is the Columbia River & Mt Hood
First, a bit about our itinerary. We ultimately decided to book a 7-night Glacier Discovery cruise on Holland America's ms Zaandam, sailing from Vancouver, BC to Seward, AK. Greg & I still prefer to travel independently and we seriously considered using the Alaska ferry system to travel around the Inside Passage. However the logistics were tedious, it was going to require a fair amount of physical effort on our part, and the cost was not that much cheaper than the cruise when you factored in everything (food, accommodations, transportation, etc.). We both enjoy cruising and feel that HAL represented the best value for our money.
ms Zaandam docked in Skagway
We flew from Portland to Vancouver a full day before our cruise so we would have time to visit a few breweries and stroll around town. We stayed in a hostel in Gastown that was convenient to public transportation and walking distance from Canada Place (the cruise ship terminal). At the end of the cruise, we disembarked in Seward and had plans to do some sightseeing there, then took a motorcoach to Anchorage. We spent two nights at a hostel in downtown Anchorage then rented a car and drove to Denali National Park, stopping along the way in Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour. We stayed in a hostel just outside the park for three nights, which gave us two full days to ride the park shuttle buses as far as the road was open at the time (Eielson Visitor Center). On our final day, we drove back to Anchorage, with sightseeing/beer drinking stops in Wasilla and Palmer, and checked in at the airport for our flight to Portland (via Seattle) which didn't actually depart until 12:30AM the next morning. Thus our trip encompassed a total of 14 nights.
leaving Vancouver under cloudy skies
The trip was everything we hoped it would be even though the weather didn't always cooperate and there were other factors beyond our control. We knew that by traveling early in the season there was a high probability that we would experience cooler temperatures and more rain. As it turned out, it had been a long winter, with snow falling in many parts of the state just one week before we arrived and a visible dusting of fresh snow in the higher elevations during the time we were there.
drinking beer on the patio of an Anchorage brewery in 50F weather
During the cruise, we were lucky not to encounter too much rain during the days we were in port. Glacier Bay was another matter; heavily fogged in, cold & wet, but we still got to see the face of Margerie Glacier up close. Sadly, when we disembarked in Seward we found out that our hiking trip to Exit Glacier was cancelled because there was still too much snow on the trail. Ditto for our flightseeing trip out of Talkeetna a few days later, which was scheduled for 8:30AM and got delayed multiple times. Luckily we had left some extra time in our schedule that day and we were able to wait it out until the clouds finally parted enough for a 3:30PM flight (and it was well worth the wait!). Our first day in Denali was very overcast but we saw some blue skies on the second day, though not enough to see Mt McKinley. Our final day of the trip, which was primarily dedicated to the five hour drive from Denali to Anchorage, was probably the nicest, with temps in the upper 70's and sunny blue skies.
self portrait at Margerie Glacier
I've added a slideshow of some of my favorite pictures to the home page of my blog. You should be able to see them in the top right corner. Click here to open another window and view the Highlights album. Click here to go to my YouTube channel and watch all of my Alaska video clips.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I've reached a couple of milestones in the past two weeks: it has been four months since my hip operation and four weeks since my sinus surgery. If you have been following my Facebook updates (as well as reading my previous blog posts), you already know that I have experienced some ups & downs over the past few weeks & months, but am trying to go about life as usual.
tasters of everything at The Commons Brewery
My hip (the torn labrum that was surgically repaired as well as the osteoplasty) is doing great. I have excellent range of motion and no pain or tenderness. What I continue to struggle with is tendonitis in my right hip flexor, which is caused by overuse of certain muscles. This initially flared up a few weeks after surgery when I started walking without crutches. It has continued to be a problem off & on ever since. The only thing that really helps is rest (ie not walking or biking), which doesn't really mesh with my lifestyle here in Portland.
Dishwasher by Duane Hanson at the Portland Art Museum
In addition to the tendonitis, I have also been dealing with pain in both knees. I was able to alleviate some of the irritation through iontophoresis (transdermal application of dexamethasone) but I continue to experience discomfort along with a nasty grinding noise in both knees whenever I bend or squat. Thus going up/down stairs, bicycling and trying to do any form of exercises that put additional weight on my knees is not pleasant. My doctor says that the cartilage behind my kneecaps is likely worn down. While arthroscopic surgery to "clean up" the damaged cartilage would be an option, we are going to try other non-invasive therapies first, starting with viscosupplementation.
I love spring!
The greatest impediment to resolving both of these issues (the hip flexor tendonitis and the knee pain) in conjunction is that the exercises that might help one tend to irritate the other. Thus I am basically stuck in this predicament for now until we can find a magic reset switch!
Rose-Tu and baby Lily at the Oregon Zoo
As for my sinuses, my ENT (who has seen me a total of three times since the surgery) says I am 95% healed. Thankfully the most recent two office visits have been much less painful or dramatic than the first post-op suctioning nightmare. It's never pleasant to have a 6"+ tube stuck up your nose, but the poking & prodding has lessened each time. Unfortunately, I had severe sinus headaches during my second week post-op followed by a constant pressure between my eyes that has still not abated. I've been adding budesonide to my daily nasal rinse for the past week and am going to start taking fexofenadine (Allegra) to try to alleviate these symptoms.
Greg finished the 5K in 26m32s
While all of this may not sound very positive, I refuse to let these "irritations" slow me down (although my doctors might prefer that I was a lot less active right now). The past few weeks have actually been quite busy: I've been to the zoo, multiple plays, a dance performance, the art museum, a restaurant preview, watched Greg run a 5K, and rode my bike several times when the weather was nice. I've also spent many hours helping my mom plan their trip to Portland & Seattle in late June as well as making the final preparations for our two week Alaska vacation (which starts in a few hours)!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Pain in the... Sinus?

As many of you reading this are already aware, I had sinus surgery at OHSU on Tuesday, April 23rd. I was diagnosed with a deviated septum more than six years ago when I lived in New York City. I had been suffering from frequent sinus infections and sinus pressure that often caused migraines. I opted not to get it fixed then, partially because I had already observed first-hand what a horrible experience it could be when my boyfriend had the surgery, and also because I didn't want to use valuable vacation days.
a few hours after surgery on my hip (January 15th)
After seeing an ENT here in Portland a few months ago, I was again advised to have surgery. Since I have already reached my out-of-pocket spending limit for my health insurance plan this year (due to the costs associated with surgery on my hip in January), it made sense to go ahead and deal with this issue as well. Thus I was scheduled to have a septoplasty to fix the deviated septum and turbinate reduction to alleviate chronic nasal congestion and nasal obstruction.
Credit: http://www.njsnoringandsinus.com/septoplasty.html
The 1 - 1.5 hour procedure is done on an outpatient basis. After having no food or drink since midnight, I checked into the surgery center at 11:00am and was immediately taken to a prep room where I changed into a very stylish hospital gown. The nurse went over my medical history and ran an IV into my right hand (the first attempt in my left arm wasn't flowing properly). I was given a bottle of Afrin nasal spray and instructed to spray it in both nostrils every 30 minutes. Finally, just before 1pm, my doctor's assistant and an anesthesiologist came into the room and asked a few more questions, then had me sign some paperwork. My doctor dropped in to say hi, and soon I was whisked away to the operating room.

When I had surgery on my hip, once I was wheeled into the OR, a mask was put over my nose & mouth and I was told to start counting (I made it to seven and then blacked out). Since sinus surgery is done internally through the nostrils, the anesthetic was injected directly into my IV. They didn't even tell me they were doing it; one second I was awake, and the next I was out.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in a post-op recovery area. My nurse was the same as I had in January (ditto for several other nurses who attended to me) and, after asking me how I was feeling (groggy but okay), we immediately started talking about beer. Yes, only in Portland! Backstory: My pre-op nurse had asked about my pastimes and, of course, one of mine is patronizing the local breweries. She had relayed this info to my post-op nurse as his wife works for Hair of the Dog brewery in SE Portland.
I only stayed in post-op for about 30 minutes, then was taken back into the pre-op area where Greg was waiting in my room. By then, it was already 3:30pm. It took another 30 minutes for me to feel well enough to get up and change clothes. Meanwhile, Greg went outside to locate a car2go to transport me home.

As soon as I started moving around, my nose began bleeding heavily. The nurse didn't seem too concerned and got me a box of tissues, a large pack of gauze squares, surgical tape and a "Dale Nasal Dressing Holder." She put me in a wheelchair and took me down to the curb where Greg was waiting in the car.
rough ride home
Unfortunately, there was heavy rush hour traffic in all directions from the hospital. We had no choice but to join the masses waiting to cross the river to SE Portland. It ended up taking us more than an hour to drive the four miles from the hospital to our house. My nose continued to bleed heavily the entire time, and I was pretty uncomfortable from the stop & go motion of the car.

The first 12 hours after the operation were awful. I thought I would have to go back to the hospital because my nose would not stop bleeding and I was in unbearable pain. It finally clotted sometime after midnight and we set an alarm to get up every 4 hours so I could take more pain meds.
frozen yogurt & a pet moose makes everything better
The surgery causes your nose to be completely blocked from internal swelling, blood, etc. meaning you have to breathe through your mouth. I tried to sleep in bed with three pillows propped up behind me but still felt like I was gasping for air. Thus, until my follow-up appointment six days later, I had to "sleep" sitting upright on the couch. I ate soup for the first few days because my teeth hurt and it was too difficult to chew & breathe at the same time. Apparently, I also had a reaction to the muscle relaxant they injected during anesthesia. For two full days after the surgery, my entire body felt like it had been beaten. My neck was so stiff I could not lift my head!

I had surgery on Tuesday and did not leave the house until Saturday evening. I didn't feel well enough to do anything other than lie on the couch and it was hard to do anything productive like writing or reading because I had to keep taking pain meds. My post-op orders said to refrain from bending, straining or lifting more than 10lbs for two weeks. I was also not supposed to do anything to raise my heart rate, which could cause more bleeding.
4 days post-op
Thankfully, I was actually feeling somewhat better on Saturday and decided I would go to the Joy of Life fundraiser that I had been invited to months ago by my friend, Cindy. As a sponsor of the event, Cindy, who publishes the Portland Happy Hour Guidebook, had paid for a table and invited nine of her friends to join her for the evening. I had really been looking forward to helping support this wonderful cause and would have been very disappointed if I had to miss out. It was truly a lovely evening and, besides having to constantly pat my nose with a tissue to catch the occasional drips of blood, I managed just fine.

these tools are NOT my friends
I stayed in again to rest on Sunday and then went to my follow-up appointment Monday afternoon. My doctor had not truly prepared me for what was about to occur. Essentially, he suctioned out all the leftover bone, membranes, blood, etc. Not just from my nostrils but from the sinuses under & above my eyes. This is called debridement and it was excruciatingly painful, even with the local anesthetic that is sprayed into the nose. I thought I was going to pass out! Luckily I was carrying my bottle of Vicodin and he told me to take one before he started on the other side.
you got all of that out of my nose?!?!
While the procedure did clear out my sinuses and I could finally breathe through my nose again, I had severe pain to the point that it triggered a migraine that lasted for two days. I did not get out again until Thursday, when I had physical therapy for my hip and then had planned to meet up with Cindy for a special Happy Hour book signing at Trader Vic's. At that point, the pain was more isolated to the nasal ridge, so it felt like I had been punched in the face more than anything (but still with no outward sign that I had recently had surgery). It was a great evening, and we capped it off by scoring free club seats to the Timbers match, care of the owner of the restaurant. So much for taking it easy!!!
enjoying Happy Hour at Trader Vic's (Credit: Charles Henry)
I did rest again Friday, mainly because my sister, Emily, was having surgery to remove cervical cancer and I wanted to be able to stay in touch with my family in Tennessee throughout the day. Thankfully she came through it okay, and was released from the hospital yesterday to continue her recuperation at home. Her pathology report will be available sometime this week and hopefully the news will be positive (meaning no further treatment is required at this time).
I love you, Emily!
I continue to do a little better each day but am still experiencing what I call "broken nose pain." My next follow-up appointment with my doctor is on Monday, May 13th. I'm not looking forward to it because he has already told me there will be more suctioning, but that it shouldn't be as intense as the last time. I think I'll take some Vicodin with me just in case!