Thursday, May 28, 2009


I'm having my nose fixed on Tuesday. My pre-op appointment is set for tomorrow.

I'm not terribly upset or nervous.

Though I have to say when I did this surgery thing back in April I only had a few medicated hours to mull it over and I didn't know exactly what was going to be done.

I could have done without the "here's what I'm going to do to you" conversation yesterday in the doctor's office. I know that's policy, but it would have been fine with me if I'd left the room and he'd just told Andy.

Ask me again on Monday night if I feel anxious. I'm willing to bet the answer will be yes and that I'd like to go ahead and throw up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


It's two a.m. and I'm still awake. I've been in bed for a while, but I just lay awake, unable to shut my brain down. I could take something to help me sleep, but I've always hated taking unnecessary medication and I've taken so much necessary medication lately I'm hesitant to add anything to the mix. I feel like I'm slowly killing my liver and kidneys.

I've had a lot of sleepless nights recently. Andy says it's because I eat so much sugar and usually have some ice cream before bedtime. I disagree, but only because I've always had more sugar in my diet than a regular person and I've never felt the effects before. I know my insomnia is because I can't stop wondering what's going to happen next. I worry about everything and there are endless unanswered questions that usually surface when everything is quiet and I give myself time to think. I don't want to bother Andy with them because he has enough to worry about himself and I'm sure some of my own questions have occurred to him too.

Every day is a giant question mark. How will I feel? Will my swelling have gone down or back up again? Is Andy too stressed out? What can I do to make his life easier? When will I be able to work again? Why did this happen? When will I be me again? The questions are endless and largely unanswerable.

My frustration reached a peak tonight and I wished aloud to be whole again. Today was the first day in six weeks that I've been allowed to put any weight on my broken ankle. I guess it's technically not broken anymore, but until it functions as it once did I'm considering it to be broken.

I had this grand vision of myself rising on both of my feet, with my boot on of course, and "toddling" across the room like a one year old taking their first steps; somewhat unstable, but independent nonetheless. It didn't happen that way. Not even close.

I stood, but my boot has a thick sole so it isn't possible to evenly distribute my weight. Then I took a step, and nearly fell down. My leg refused to hold me up. The atrophy I've experienced has come as a complete surprise, and seemed to happen almost overnight. One day my legs were equally yolked, and the next day my right was half the size of my left. I have a real problem with this, not just because my strength is so deteriorated, but also because my legs have always been a great source of pride for me. They have always been the strongest and most able part of my body.

It's kind of ironic that my legs are so strong and my ankles are so week and so prone to injury. They've always twisted easily and growing up I could be seen regularly sporting an ace bandage shoved down into my keds. Now my weakest part has taken my strongest part down with it. While allowing my ankle to heal my leg has suffered. I know I can work towards making them both stronger than they were before, but looking at my shrunken limb makes my heart hurt. Having it look so frail makes me feel weak all over.

It doesn't just loo frail though, it is frail. After that first step I quickly realized that I would not be giving up my crutches entirely. I refuse to still be completely reliant on them so I'm compromising and using one with my right leg. I hope by this time next week I can build my strength up enough to not need it at all. I suppose I'm more like a toddler than I'd hoped.

Along with my leg and ankle there are all the other things that need to heal. As far as I can tell I'm making progress, though it isn't at the pace I'd like.

I go back to the ear, nose and throat doctor tomorrow. I haven't seen him in a month. A lot can happen in a month, but I feel like very little has. My hope is that I'll see him and he'll tell me how wonderful everything is and that I won't need that extra surgery after all.

In reality I know that my sinuses are still swollen and nearly as tender as they were a month ago. I can feel and see the physical difference between my right nostril and my left. I know my breathing isn't what it should be. While my doctor would like to prevent further surgery if possible I know the liklyhood of coming home with a surgical plan is high. I suppose I can live with that. I would prefer that he'd go ahead and do it rather than wait until all the pain goes away and have to relive it. I'm a "rip the band aid off" kind of girl.

I'll let you know what happens. I'm going to go try to conquer my active brain, but before I surge into battle I'm going to say a little prayer that tomorrow holds good news and some answers with which to fight off the insomnia of nights to come.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back to normal

Yesterday I took another trip to the orthodontist. It wasn't bad; not at all like the last time.

It was more like a well visit than an actual doctor's appointment. They cleaned up my teeth a little bit and then did some x-rays to see how my jaw is healing. It's right on schedule and we're taking out the stabilization wire in three weeks.

But that's not why I'm writing. I writing because when the doctor came over to look at my teeth and x-rays one of the first things he asked me was, "Feeling like things are getting back to normal?" My response was that while I was not back to normal, I was indeed feeling better.

That's what I verbalized. Internally though I had about one thousand other things going on. Something about the orthodontist's office brings all those negative feelings to the surface for me. Maybe it's because that is my least favorite office to visit. Not because I don't like the staff or the doctor, but because my teeth and my mouth are going to take the longest to heal and I'm very resentful that my perfect teeth are no longer perfect. I know they will be again some day, but at least one, if not two of them, will not be my original teeth and who knows what I'm going to have to endure before I get back to "perfect".

So the flood gates opened and I thought of all the ways things are definitely not normal.

Normal would mean that I didn't have to see the orthodontist or the plethora of other doctors I see on a regular basis. I would have my regular dentist visits and my yearly physical and that would be all.

Normal would mean that my right leg muscles wouldn't have atrophied to the point of looking like it belonged on a ninety year old. My ankle wouldn't hurt or be bruised and predominantly immobile. I would still be running. I would have run in a 5k this past weekend and then stayed at the park to play with my niece and nephew at their joint birthday party. As it was I skipped the 5k and sat on a bench at the park after my niece asked me to come play and I had to tell her I couldn't.

Normal would mean being able to clean my house and do my laundry. Cooking a meal would be a treat; hell, eating a meal would be a treat regardless of who cooked it. I could make beautiful baked goods to give to my friends and family and to eat myself. I could take care of my bunnies and they wouldn't feel neglected or forgotten. Their little world would not be turned upside down and "Mommy" would still get down on the ground and play with them.

Normal would mean that I could plan small day trips for myself and I would hop in my Jeep and we would take off together. I'd crank up the radio and roll down the windows and let my car flex it's big six cylinder muscles. The roar of the engine would make me feel invigorated on these beautiful spring days that I've been watching pass from my couch. I can't take my Jeep for a drive and even once I'm well I still won't be able to.

I don't even know what normal is now. One day, when I look and feel like me again, there will be a new normal. I'll eventually be able to go back to doing a lot of things I haven't been. I realize that and it's a day I look forward to, but "normal" will never really be again.

Because the accident happened. I can't erase it or forget it. Andy and I will find a new routine; one I'm sure I'll settle into and love. New things will take the place of old things, at least physically. I'll be whole again.

For now though, I can't help but lament what was lost. While I didn't lose anything in the traditional sense, I'm still going through a grief process. If nothing else I'm grieving for what could have been. What should have been but isn't.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Have you ever eaten a cheese burger with a fork?

I did. Last night.

Chewing was difficult and could only be accomplished on the left side of my mouth. I also took off the bottom bun because that was too much bread to get stuck in my braces.

But I did it, and it was the best thing I've eaten in a month.


PS. As soon as I get my cast off next week and can stand on my own two feet I'm going to make this from The Pioneer Woman. Oh mercy! I had to stop myself from drooling when I read this post this morning.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To Momma

Thank you for giving me life and for being you.

To Kathryn, we love you too.

To all the other mother's in our lives we wish you a wonderful mother's day an many more to come.

Much love,
Andy and Joanna

Friday, May 8, 2009

Freaky Friday

Andy is not so good at doing the laundry. He can do his just fine, but he seems incapable of reading tags and has messed up one too many of my things. So we've come to an understanding in our marriage that he isn't allowed to do laundry. It's totally my responsibility to make sure we have clean clothes to wear every day. Just like it's his responsibility to rescue me from gigantic bugs.

Doing laundry on crutches is not exactly an ideal situation, so for the past few weeks I haven't been able to hold up my end of the bargain. Andy has cranked out a couple of loads, but the majority of the laundry detail has been picked up by some of our very generous relatives. Most recently the laundry do-er is my mom.

She knows how particular I am since she lived with me for twenty something years and if she's unsure about a garment she asks rather than try to figure it out on her own. It's a good system we have worked out. I appreciate it a lot.

Still, it's not the same. Things get folded that are usually hung. Hanging clothes find themselves in drawers. Really the only problem here is that it takes us a couple more minutes to get dressed in the mornings. I'll take that over a pile of dirty clothes any day, and I can't say it hasn't been nice to not do laundry. At this point I'm tired of being useless and I'd love to go throw a load in the wash, but for a while I enjoyed having it done for me. (Thank you all so much. It can't be fun touching other people's underwear.)

Anyway, my mom came up to stay with me today. Normally Andy is on invalid duty, but he had some things he needed to take care of so my wonderful momma came to take care of her little girl. Generally to make sure that I ate and that I didn't stumble into something on my crutches and hurt myself further.

While she was here she did a couple loads of laundry; like she does every time she comes. As per our system she had several questions about our clothes. Can this go in the wash? Does this hang dry? Is this garment yours or Andys? I answered her questions, no problem, but there were several times when she would thrust a shirt on a hanger in front of my face to ask who it belonged to and my answer was, "That's Andy's and he likes it folded instead of hung." You see, I hang about 90% of my wardrobe when Andy folds about 90% of his. The only things he wants on a hanger are his pants and dress shirts. Everything else goes in a drawer.

Momma didn't seem to have a problem with this, she just went back to doing the laundry. But then something changed. She showed me another shirt on a hanger and my answer was the same; that is should be folded because it was Andy's.

There was something different this time. She didn't just jump back into action.

She stopped and looked at the shirt.

And then she looked at me.

And she looked at the shirt.

And she looked back at me and slumped her shoulders and screwed up her face and hopped up and down a little and said, "But I don't want to fold it! I hate folding shirts!" with something of a whine in her voice.

I swear to you I was looking in a mirror. I was looking in a mirror at myself ten years ago.

I stifled a laugh and told my newly adolescent mother to just bring me Andy's t-shirts and I would fold them from my position on the couch.

In the end I guess we were both happy. She was able to help her crippled daughter without folding t-shirts, and I was able to feel useful even though I couldn't do the laundry by myself.

It's too bad we couldn't compromise like that ten years ago.


P.S. How do you like my new background? Festive, no? I've been jonesing for a cupcake lately, and also to get back in the kitchen to crank out something delectable. I decided that since I can't eat them right now I could at least look at them on my blog.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time together

For the last two and a half years that Andy and I have been married we have always had long periods of time where we don't really get to see each other. Usually this is caused by our employment situations. Schedules not matching and whatnot. It isn't something we mind so much. I like my alone time and Andy likes to be busy. So we've been ok with finding a day or two here and there to spend as a married couple.

I guess the majority of our relationship has been this way. We've never clung to tightly to one another and always been happy to give the other person the space that they need. I think it's how we survive. We love one another very much, but even the most solid couples need some time apart once in a while.

Lately though, it seems like our time apart has taken over our marriage. One of us always had something to do that didn't include the other. I didn't realize how much I was missing time with my husband until recently.

Since the accident we've had nothing but time together. I'm not very independent with constant pain medication and crutches. It took me a while to convince Andy that I could do anything by myself. For the first week he was afraid to go anywhere if there wasn't another person here to look after me. That was stressful. There were things he needed to do, but we each knew that he was stuck here at home until some relief came.

As I have healed we have managed to work out a schedule. I'm more steady on my crutches and I even worked out a system so that I can shower without assistance. The main thing I can't do is prepare food for myself. Since the ski shop is just up the road Andy can pop in and get me food and check on me. I know he's been glad to go back to work. It takes his mind off of all the stress that has come from the accident. It also gives me some time to myself, which is something I have always treasured.

But these last couple of weeks, evenings have been reserved for just the two of us. Before the accident if we found ourselves home together too often at night we would get bored really easily and argue about what to watch on television. We've even been known to make up excuses to drive to town and break up the monotony of it all.

Now though, we enjoy each others' company. We always have something to talk about. The other person's television preferences are interesting rather than boring. Last night we sat on the couch for a couple of hours looking at recipes on The Pioneer Woman and laughing at the decorator disasters on Cake Wrecks. It was the most fun we've had in a really long time. Including before the accident.

If anything good has come from this whole debacle it's this. Our relationship seems to be on a totally different level now. I know taking care of me, the apartment, the bunnies, the legal matters and his job have been very stressful for Andy. I'm still trying to figure out a way to thank him when this is all over. In return he's thankful to see me healing; to know for sure that his wife will soon be whole again. I haven't been in Andy's shoes before; not yet anyway. I hope to never be on the receiving end of a situation like this. I can only imagine what was going through his head when he got that phone call three weeks ago. A stranger on the other end calling to say that his wife had been in a head on collision and he needed to come to the scene of the accident. What did he think when he saw me? How alone he must have felt before our families got to the hospital.

He's my love and my best friend. When all this is over and our lives return to normal I'm going to do my best to remember this feeling. To remember how much I appreciate him right now and to never take our time together for granted again.


A small update:
  • I get my cast off on May 18th! That's two weeks before we originally thought. I'll still have to be in a boot, but I can take a shower without the "cast condom" and put my designer crutches away, hopefully forever.
  • Right now I can't breathe out of my right nostril. This could be because there are still some stitches in there that are clogging it up. It could also be because I'm still slightly swollen on that side. Or it could be because of my deviated septum and will need to be corrected with surgery. I won't know until I go to the doctor on the 27th. Until then I'm praying for either of the first two options.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


My good friend Shannon lives in Brooklyn with her fiance Khuong. I've talked about them before. This morning, while I was farting around on facebook, I saw that Shannon had posted some new pictures. Some of them were of their sweet little fire escape garden they planted for the summer. They are growing herbs and tomatoes. They may be growing other things, but she didn't post pictures of the "other things" so I only know about the herbs and tomatoes.

Looking at Shannon's pictures reminded me of a few things.

First it reminded me that I was supposed to be leaving this coming Thursday to go see Shannon and Khuon in the big city. Then I had my accident and had to postpone my departure. This is something I have allowed myself to be a little bitter about. One, because I love New York. Two, because I love Shannon (and Khuong) and I don't get to see her nearly enough, and three because this trip was supposed to be my birthday present from my wonderful husband, and now I don't have a present.

The next thing I thought of was that Andy was planning on making a little garden at the ski shop this summer. There isn't a lot of business at the shop this time of year and there is a perfect little garden spot on the side of the building. This is something else that my accident has put on hold, but now that I'm a little more self sufficient and can be left alone for a while; maybe Andy can plant his little garden. Warm weather comes a little more slowly here so it's probably not too late. I really love tomatoes, especially home grown tomatoes. As soon as Andy gets out of bed I'm going to remind him of his garden plans.

Lastly, I was reminded of the summer we spent at our previous apartment, and like Shannon and Khuon, we attempted to grow a little garden out on our porch. Mostly we just had flowers, all of which died except my hydrangea plant. It went into hybernation mode for the winter and our landlord dumped it out in the trash. He thought it was dead and that he was doing us a favor. I was ready to kill him, but I didn't because I realized he was just trying to help and after all, I could just get another plant in the spring. I did get another plant, but not until we moved into our current apartment where there is a little flower bed outside our door. My hydrangea is in the ground now, where no one will mistake it for a dead potted plant. It needs to be pruned so it will sprout this year.

The only food item we tried to grow in our little potted garden was tomatoes. Have I told you how much I love home grown tomatoes? If I could get my hands on an heirloom tomato plant I'd guard that thing like my life depended on it. Have you ever had an heirloom tomato? YUM!

But I digress.

Our tomato plants didn't do so well. They needed a lot more space and soil than we were able to give them in our meager terracotta pots. We were terribly dissapointed in our bounty, or lack thereof. We only managed to produce one tiny cherry sized tomato. It was the most beautiful shade of red. We let it stay on the vine a little long in hopes that it might grow larger, but it stayed cherry sized. But it didn't, so we picked it and ceremoniously cut it in two equal parts. Then we each ate half of our harvest.

That was the best damn tomato I've ever eatten. Andy agrees. Seriously. When we were done eating our halves we looked at each other and said, "I want some more" simultaneously. I can still remember how it tasted.

We took a picture for posterity's sake.
This is almost fully grown,
but it did turn red, like I said

My hope is that this year we will produce that same wonderful flavor, but in much larger quantities. I'll be sure to update you.

*This totaly random post brought to you today by a highly medicated blogger. Sorry...