Archive for December, 2007

Tonsillectomy day 5: trooper

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Another quick update before I go pick up Steve from the Megabus stop – he’s been traveling forever, the bus was massively delayed by the super windy and snowy weather we’ve been having.

Karen bounced back admirably from last night, although today definitely seemed to clock in as the most painful so far.  It’s hard to pinpoint a cause for some of the pain – sometimes it comes about an hour after she eats, even if it was soft food, and sometimes it seems a bit random.  I’ve read the scabs may be "sloughing off" at about this stage resulting in pain, that could be part of it.

She took her full 10cc of pain meds at 8pm, hoping that will knock her out for some pain-free sleeping tonight, then we can ease up a bit during the day when she seems to feel better.  Her ears have begun hurting like crazy, too, a complication I’d anticipated but hoped to avoid – apparently the nerves are closely intertwined and the pain is more sympathetic than genuine, but just try telling that to the nerves!

Tomorrow she gets to take it pretty easy most of the day – we packed today – while Steve and I get the van and load it up, then we’re off to St. Paul to pick up everyone else.  They declared a Snow Emergency (weird plowing rules) in Mpls, so Sierra has to find a safe place for her car while we’re gone.  Complications….  Grr.

And that’s that!  Keep sending her good thoughts and we’ll see most of you soon!

Tonsillectomy night 4: downturn

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 at 8:09 am

It looks like my fears were off by 12 hours.  Last night was the worst by far – even after kicking her pain meds back up to the full dose, Karen was in some mega pain for her 4am round.  It’s tough watching her try to swallow.  She’s been doing these little leg twitches, but now it’s turned into a full-body tense and cringe.  It looks terrible.

So…  I’m hoping the two full doses she has in her now plus the light of day might make things a little easier, but I suspect we’re in for a rough one.  Shoot.

Tonsillectomy, day 4: bacon!

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Saturday, December 22nd, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Quick update since we’re tired and heading to bed soon, but thought I’d post to keep everyone in the loop.

Sierra came by this morning to walk the dog – what a trooper! – and called on her way over to see if we wanted anything.  I figured we were fine, but I asked Karen just in case, and the answer was immediate: Bacon!  But, it had to be "good" bacon, from happy pigs.  Or, at least antibiotic-free and mostly free-range pigs.  :)

So we fried up that bacon and ate like royalty – yum!  At this point, the mere mention of her thinking about food makes me jump up all excited and offer to cook it for her – and today was good, she ate a bunch.  Good deal.

This morning she was droopy, nauseous, and in pain, and then had a fairly good afternoon as we labeled and wrote notes for our Christmas beer delivery.  Tonight’s been decent – hurting a bunch before her 8:00pm drugs, now finishing up some ice cream and watching an episode of Lost.

Overall, day 4 wasn’t the downturn I expected – fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Tonsillectomy, day 3: side effects

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Friday, December 21st, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Today was kinda bad.  The pain meds make her nauseous and she has some medicine to help with that but thought it was ok today since she’d made it yesterday…  Ended up throwing up around noon which was super bad cause of the stress on the throat plus acid, etc.  Gross.  Anyway, bouncing back a little from that, but overall a low day.  Clearly less of an appetite, but still doing ok, and I think still drinking enough.

So she’s cut back on her pain meds a bit, 7.5cc from 10, we’re hoping that helps the nausea and is still effective for the pain.  We’ll see tomorrow, it seems worse in the morning.  Still no talking, lots of ice water.  Tomorrow’s day 4, which I’ve read may begin a turn for the worse, but I also think every case is different and she’s probably ahead of the curve.  Here’s hoping!

My work has been great during this, letting me work from home, and today I got a good chunk of work done on my biggest project.  Still sort of behind, but this was a good burst of progress.  Probably work a bit more over the weekend to make up for some of the time off.

And that’s the update from Duoteam Headquarters!  Hope everyone is in their extended weekend of holiday fun!

Tonsillectomy: day 2

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Thursday, December 20th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Today was a mix of good and bad – a theme I suspect we’ll see repeated.  Highlights:  Karen had a mid-day "I’m sick of laying around" burst of energy.  pict0008.JPGShe got to take a shower, dye her hair, brush her teeth, and catch up on some email before crashing again.  Sierra came by after work to walk the dog, which was a nice break.  Karen’s also managed to eat a decent amount again today: ramen, jello, some juice, and an energy shake!

Lowlights: she seems to be generally in more pain today.  I blame the cough, which, while currently a bit under control, was much worse last night and this morning.  She brought up a few super-gross phlegm globbers twinged with blood, but many glasses of ice water later that seems better — just phlegm and mucus, no blood.  I still can’t tell if it’s a cold or what, but I guess it doesn’t matter.

Also, while it seemed yesterday that she could whisper and get away with it, she’s not up for vocalizing at all today.  Probably means we should have kept her quiet the first two days, but…  We’ll start now.

Currently watching a great Wild game, we’re up 4-2 with 4 to go in the 2nd period.  Go Wild!

Tonsillectomy: day 1

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

pict0001.JPGHere’s a small selection of the food we got while trying to cover all the bases.  Hard to predict what’s going to sound good when recovering, a lot of that is still sitting in the package – and most of the juices, too.  But she’s been eating!  Some cream of wheat, some yogurt, mac & cheese, and several popsicles – including one I made out of Emergen-C, so she’s getting some vitamins too  Really good news, as far as I’m concerned!

I don’t think either of us slept very well last night, what with adjusting to the new beds (we’re both upstairs), the pain, the humidifier noise, etc.  Not to mentioned getting up every 4 hours for more drugs and a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes to wash them down…  But Karen slept in a bit and napped during the day, so she’s getting plenty of rest.

pict0004.JPGpict0005.JPGOn the left is a post-op Karen holding some ice to her throat.  She got her hair cut the morning before the surgery: looking good!  At right is the inner Karen, post-op.  Uh oh.

pict0006.JPGFinally, here she is in her "sickbay" yesterday.  It looks pretty much the same today, and probably for the foreseeable future!

My only real concern at the moment is she has a bit of a cough.  Not sure if there’s a cold on top of this, or it’s phlegm from her throat, or something else.  If it’s a cold I imagine the antibiotics will help clean it up, and if it’s from the surgery only time will help — either way we’ve just got to wait.  But it’s hard, whenever she coughs it seems to stress her whole system and I’m sure it’s not good for the ex-tonsil area.

She says it hurts more than yesterday, but I think that’s to be expected.  The drugs are doing a fair job controlling the pain, but making her generally woozy and tired.  On the whole, though, doing very well!  Thanks again for all the calls and emails, we appreciate the support!

PS – eating more mashed potatoes as I type!  Woo hoo!  :)

Tonsillectomy: Day 0

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Well, we’re back, and the surgery went fine.  Six hours in the hospital is draining even if you’re not the one being operated on, so I’m trying to mentally multiply my fatigue and stress by 100x and then pretending I’m in pain AND drugged up and achy: that’s gotta be close to what K is feeling.  Actually I’m pretty impressed so far – not because I thought she’d be a wimp about it, but because she’s eating some real food!  A popsicle, of course, first thing, but then she wanted some mashed potatoes!  And now that she’s taken some more meds she’s talking about another round, maybe some jello this time!

So, this is super encouraging to me, since my biggest recovery goals are hydration and nutrition.  (I’m assuming the rest will take care of itself).  So far so good!

Thanks to everyone for their calls and offers of help and support.  Karen would thank you if she could, and I certainly do!


Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 11:14 am

T Minus 2 hours!  …or so.  I actually can’t remember quite when the surgery is since they moved it up.  But it’s soon, we’re taking off in 45 minutes!

Went out last night for one final solid meal before the popsicle routine kicks in – had some Punch pizza, and it hit the spot!  Then went shopping for everything we could think of that might taste good and go down easy.  I think we’ve covered almost every possibility!  I’ve been running the humidifier upstairs, where we’ve build the "sickbay" around the TV, and have stocked the area with DVDs, books, hard candy, gum, and a notepad for writing.  Chipped up some ice for her to suck on, and… probably more, but that’s all I can remember!

Send some positive thoughts her way, but mostly watch this space for updates – I don’t think she’ll want to do much talking for a day or two or more.  We’ll keep you posted!

Winter biking!

Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting.
Monday, December 10th, 2007 at 10:57 am

Today was the day.  I’d finally had enough with excuses, so even though I still have a bit of a cold I dressed up, pulled out the bike, and hit the snow-packed trail to work.  It was awesome!

  • Temperature: 10F, pretty calm day, sun shining.
  • I wore some nice socks and my hiking boots: feet never started to get cold.
  • Synthetic long underwear, two pairs of boxer briefs, and shorts for my legs: also plenty warm.
  • Synthetic long sleeve undershirt, synthetic light-weight jacket with neck zipper, and a nice rain jacket outer layer to block the wind: waaay too warm by the time I got there.  Started sweating out, which can be dangerous if I ever have to stop.  Need to unzip my neck, open the chest a bit, and unzip the underarm vents as I warm up next time.
  • Lightweight hat and velcro face protector: super warm.  May need to vent my head better.
  • Synthetic liners and my new lobster gloves: freezing freakin’ cold finger tips.  My fingers must have extra bad circulation or something, or maybe I should try without the liners in case things were too tight?  I don’t know, but it was really painful when I arrived…  I had to run them under some lukewarm water for a minute or two to make things feel better, and they’re still (2 hours later) a little sensitive.  Hmm.  I may need to get some pogies to put my hands in.

Overall impressions of the ride: the snow makes me go slower.  The Midtown Greenway’s been plowed pretty well, but there’s about 1/2" to 1" of packed snow on most of the surface.  (that picture’s from last year, when we had much less snow)  Thanks to the plowing there aren’t many tire track ruts, but there’s just enough unevenness and slipping potential to make me slow down and really focus on the terrain.  I have to work at keeping my upper body relaxed: my instinct is to tighten up to keep my front wheel aligned, but it’s actually much easier and safer to stay loose and react gently rather than trying to keep it tight.

(actually, that may be part of my cold finger issue – may have been gripping too tight, combined with a slower ride generating less internal heat.  Hmm.)

The on-street portion of the ride was good; I have to jump out more into the lane where it’s been plowed, but I never really felt unsafe or like I was impeding traffic.

We’ll see how it goes tonight in the dark, but so far it’s a blast!

Tonsillectomy Tuesday!

Posted by Karen in Day to Day.
Saturday, December 8th, 2007 at 11:53 am

Throat with TonsilsOh, you want me to post you say?  Well ok then.  Here’s what I want to talk about.  Tonsils. 

I’m getting mine removed a week from Tuesday.  Wah.  Lots of people get this done when they’re kids, and they’re lucky they did, because for some reason, getting them removed as an adult is much more painful.  When my Ear Nose Throat guy first suggested it to me, I said, "I’ve heard getting your tonsils removed as an adult really, really sucks."  His reply was, "Oh yeah, it really does."  He told me to expect severe pain for at least the first 2 days, to be out of work for 5-10 days, and for it to take 2 weeks until I can eat normal food again. 

I’m collecting DVDs from friends, and I intend to spend next weekend readying my recovery fort.  We’ve got a pull-out bed in front of the TV, I’ll have my laptop, some work stuff in case I feel productive or think pain-killers would add a fun twist to my projects.  I’ll have a dry erase board to communicate with my caretaker (Nate).  And while all you other suckers are packing on those holiday pounds, I will be slimming down into post-tonsillectomy Svelte Karen.  Jealous much?