Because I’ve typed this out for two or three people in the past 24 hours plus shared it with someone in person, here’s what you need to know about some of the big causes of coughs.

1. Pertussis: ANY cough which goes on for more than 3-4 weeks is suspicious for pertussis. Moreso if it involves sudden horrible bouts of coughing in someone who otherwise feels fine, especially a couple weeks after a “cold”.

What I wrote in 2004 when I had pertussis:

(This was a year where they claimed there were 25,000 cases reported, but we suspect there were between 10 and 150 actual cases for every one that got officially recognized by the health departments/CDRC.)

2. Asthma: Chronic low grade coughs not really related to illness (sometimes illness comes because the lungs are already compromised, instead of the other way around), especially in young people, are often related to asthma. There are lots of medications for asthma, but for non-life-threatening asthma that hangs around making people cough, the place to start is magnesium. Read more about it here:

Magnesium for asthma: is a brief, informal summary. The short of it? Try magnesium if you have asthma, it won’t hurt and might get you off of asthma meds if it works.

3. If you have figured out the underlying issue causing a cough (for example, virus, bacteria, asthma, whatever) you’ll want to find ways of easing it.

My lowest tech approach starts here, with cocoa, honey, and cherry juice. All of which have actual research and scientific rationale, plus they help. They really help.

Antibiotics can help if a cough is caused by a bacteria AND the problem is bacteria actively producing things which irritate the lungs. They cannot help viruses and while they will shorten the contagious period for pertussis, see the above article for why they’re not a cure-all.

Reflux can cause a chronic cough–treatments vary, hubby takes the generic of prilosec.

Robitussin/Mucinex both are supposed to help thin the secretions. Spicy foods, hot liquids and merely drinking a lot of water can do as well for most people. Skip the drug and go for the hot foods (Thai soups are a family favorite) and chicken soup for a similar effect. Take the mucinex if you can’t deal with soup or spice.

Plain ol’ mentholyptus cough drops can be a big help short term. They also help nausea for some people. Essential oil preparations may help.

For children, a barking cough at night is often croup. First step is to take your phone and your child outside into the cool night air, and do your best to cheer them up. If that doesn’t help their breathing quickly, or they start getting pale or turning blue, call 911 immediately. For kids prone to croup, talk to your doctor about keeping a supply of steroids, a nebulizer and if necessary, oxygen and an oximeter on hand. When Shiny was at her worst with croup, we went from going to the ER every month or two, to almost no ER visits at all, because with the steroids on hand I could just treat her when the telltale symptoms appeared. It never got bad enough to use the oxygen at home. The difference between a croup cough and pertussis cough is that croup cough starts with the barky whoopy cough and they don’t get much of a break–it is a short illness, albeit terrifying. With pertussis, the cough gets worse over the course of weeks, and a kid may appear “fine” in between turning blue coughing. The fever tends to be higher with a viral croup as well. Croup hits like a ton of bricks and is done, pertussis sits around throwing bricks at you and mocking you for three solid months. With croup, keeping a child calm and happy and giving them cool air to breath is the fastest way to stop the immediate problem, but it often gets bad again when you go inside, so it is worth treating medically for most parents (vs. sitting in the cold all night.) Steroids work within hours to bring the breathing under control, and a single d0se may work for 3 days, by which time the body has usually fought off the underlying problem.  Epinephrine or albuterol will open the passages immediately, the two together take a bout of croup from potentially deadly to merely annoying within a very short time.

There are many, many causes of cough–I’m only covering the ones that seem to come up all the time for my circle of friends.

Rule of thumb is if the cough is productive and the chest is congested, work harder on thinning the secretions and reducing inflammation than on suppressing the cough. Suppressing the cough at night should be done cautiously, and with the least means possible. Cocoa is good because it does not eliminate the ability to cough, it just gives you more control, which means you can sleep longer.

If the cough is not productive, suppress all you want. Start with cocoa and cherry, consider basic cough drops, I generally skip dextromethorphan (the “DM” of Robitussin DM) but I do like Benzonatate, which has the side effect of actually relieving some of the chest pain. Opiates (codeine and others) can be effective but have a LOT of potential side effects (headache, constipation) that make them particularly not fun.

I can’t believe we’re getting on the roller coaster again

So it’s been a while since we did a round of testing with Shiny. And the school is pushing for it, because they think she has vision and hearing deficits (duh) and want to qualify her for services on that basis. So I agreed to an audiology exam…. which was pretty useless, so they set us up for another one, which was marginally less useless, and now the audiologist is pushing hard to put Shiny under to do a sedated ABR to get better data.

I said no. What I really should have said is, “Over my dead body will you put this child under general just so you can get a slightly more accurate sense of how mild her hearing loss really is because you aren’t creative enough to get results with her awake. Fuck no, do not ask me again.”

And we went to the eye doctor and the sign language specialist wants Shiny seen at the Casey Eye Institute… which I agreed to right up until I learned it was part of OHSU. The staff was nice and pleasant and listened to me while I sobbed on the phone when they called (even seeing the caller ID was triggering) and talked about what they’d do in order to make it better… and then blithely mentioned the visit would last three hours. THREE HOURS. Three hours. Like they’re going to get anything at all useful after the first 20 minutes.

And it’s OHSU. They made noises about how they were separate from Doernbecher’s children’s hospital, which is where the worst stuff happened, but they are still solidly OHSU. I just don’t think I can. Like, I do not think I can physically make myself get into a car and go up there and walk in the building that I think shares a wall with the children’s hospital and not be losing my shit everywhere all the time. How can this possibly end well, no matter how good they are? And no one has told me how they could possibly improve things over what we’ve already done? Are they magically going to make her keep her glasses on? Wave a magic wand and give her better than 20/200 vision?

She is severely farsighted with astigmatism and she has had strabismus in the past but her eyes don’t seem to wander now. Honestly I think the right answer would be laser surgery but they won’t do it because of her age. And I think they’re wrong. I think if we wait until her vision is “stable” her brain will never adjust and a huge learning window will be lost.

If she’d wear glasses, it would be one thing, but the doc refuses to prescribe glasses that fully correct her vision, because of the distortion level, and I think that absent full correction she’s never going to want to bother.

Websites say, “Do whatever it takes to keep the glasses on”. We tried. It failed. Seriously we could put her in a straitjacket and she would just bang her head on the table until the glasses broke, she hates wearing them that much. I want to grab the doctors by the ear and drag them home and say, “You make it happen. I can’t.”


R-lipoic acid–FTW

Oh my god. I may be saying that for a while.

So those who’ve been following our journey since Shiny was one know how significantly she has been impacted by supplements. And how badly she can be affected when a brand isn’t up to par.

Our R-lipoic acid must have changed suppliers at some point. I switched her from 300 mg of Vitacost’s brand to Geronova’s liquid K-rala… and she had about 5 drops, or 50 mg, in water, and a bit more in her milk. I was going for 100 mg because the liquid stuff tends to be super bioavailable (and expensive!)

And spent the morning…. chattering. And at dinner attempted and succeeded at a new word/phrase.

I’ve dropped EVERY vitacost “house brand” vitamin we have. Every single one, for every family member. Could be why I’ve been getting sicker? Eff you, Vitacost.

The difference was clear in hours. Hours. HOURS.


Feel-better Chai Pudding

An experiment worth repeating….

In a jar:
1/4 cup chia seed
1/8 cup coconut sugar
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon “power tea” (Power Tea is a mixture of organic spices including: Ceylon Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper and Cayenne Pepper., very chai-ish, LOTS of anti-inflammatory action.)
1 tablespoon elderberry syrup
1 cup almond milk or coconut water or raw milk or coconut milk or whatever.  I used a blend of almond milk and coconut water.

I actually tripled this recipe though had to short the milk a tiny bit to fit in a quart jar.
Stir well and let sit in the fridge for a couple hours.

It makes a spicy chocolate pudding that unlike refined-sugar-based desserts, actually leaves one feeling better. I’ve been fighting off the flu for a couple days, and I feel almost 100% after a bowl of this.

The cocoa, spices and elderberry all have good evidence for being medicinal. Also very tasty.

No, really, do NOT fucking touch my children without permission

Several people have said, “Oh, but touching his clothed foot wouldn’t likely spread flu”. Or “You shouldn’t have swatted that man’s hand away.” Or “You could have been more polite about it.”

One person even suggested that not letting people touch my children in public might create problems for my children in being touched as adults.

You know what? I was raised to know that my body was my own, and that if someone I didn’t know tried to touch me without permission, I was absolutely within my rights to yell, “No!” and leave.

That I didn’t have to be polite about it.

It was a good lesson to learn. Would have been even better if it had included that if people I did know tried to touch me without permission, I was STILL within my rights to yell, “No” and leave, but regardless, it served me very well with strangers.

I can name at least three times in my life where that lesson got me out of a situation that could easily have turned into severe molestation or rape, ONLY having been touched once in a way I didn’t like.

On one occasion, a man reached out and grabbed me–my crotch–when I was nine, and I pulled away and yelled no and then ran. He sounded so surprised I wouldn’t just let him. Makes me wonder how many girls did.

Another occasion, a friend’s makeout buddy reached out WHILE MAKING OUT WITH HER and grabbed my breast while I was trying to sleep. I yelled, “No!” and threw my clothes on and left.

On a third occasion a boy ran his hand up my leg because I had the audacity to wear nylons, and I told him to stop and when he got snippy I got the teacher. Who was an ass but that’s another story. I made it stop.

My child learns about loving, healthy touch and boundaries by being touched in appropriate ways by people who love him and by having his boundaries respected.

So yes, when people violate my son’s personal space and mine (the guy’s hands were inches from my chest, he had to put his hand between me and the cart to grab Miles’ foot, and he was not holding it gently, I had to use some pressure to push his hand away) I will respond reflexively by telling them “No” and pushing them away, and then leaving.

I will NEVER apologize for that reflex.

And that, my friends, is why you should not touch strangers’ children without permission.

Because doing so, you’re violating boundaries.

That, and because you really do not want to trigger a defensive reaction in someone who may be a survivor.

It doesn’t even have to be about the germs. Bodily autonomy is plenty reason enough.

He’s lucky I didn’t slug him.

Don’t touch my children in the grocery store

It’s happened several times now, the latest was this afternoon. I was in Trader Joe’s, and a man came up and started commenting about the fact that Miles was in his jammies. I said, as I often do, “Wouldn’t it be great to be two and be able to get away with wearing footie jammies everywhere?”

He laughed, and then reached out and grabbed one of Miles’ feet. My hand came down and batted his hand away, and I snapped, “Do not touch my child.”

He looked shocked, and said, huffily, “Lots of people like me being around their children.”

“I don’t mind people talking to my children,” I said. “I don’t allow strangers to touch them in the grocery store.”

He then said to Miles, “When you’re 18 you’ll be on your own.”

It was only after I walked away from him that I realized that this exact same man has approached us before and tried to put his hands on Miles and I blocked him then, too. It’s the fourth or fifth time something like that has happened in Trader Joe’s. Close spaces? Friendly atmosphere? Beats me. The others have been middle aged women.

Now, this guy was scruffy. Looked kind of like a bum. But I had ZERO problem with him talking to us… it was when he reached out to grab my kid’s foot that I went from friendly and chatty to snarling mama bear. I’ve snapped the same way at well dressed middle aged women.

Here’s the deal…

People may just be social. However, recent research shows that our behavior can, in some ways be governed by the pathogens we carry. People may be more likely to be spontaneously social when they are contagious but not yet symptomatic with influenza.

There are a number of pathogens that can profoundly change the behavior of the host organism. Toxoplasmosis may have few obvious symptoms in adults…but can actually change behavior and personality in subtle and dangerous ways.

And of course there are those zombie ants, who get infected with a fungus that induces them to climb to exactly the right microclimate, latch on, and die, thus allowing the fungus to propagate.

So when a nice older man or woman approaches my child and reaches out to touch them (why is it always the feet?) they may be a perfectly nice “auntie” being friendly and sociable…

Or they may be a zombie aunt.

(postscript: I did in fact get sick once, possibly this encounter, I don’t remember, but from one very like it. Fun times.)

Trudge trudge trudge

In the morning I go to drop both kids off with a woman far more competent than I at this whole parenting nonsense–she handles Miles and Shiny and her four and five year old and sometimes a couple neighbor kids and she’s SIX MONTHS PREGNANT. At six months pregnant I was lucky if I could get up and down the stairs.

Then physical therapy. Then back to get the kids and back home to talk to the DDS worker. I vacillate between wanting the house to be cleaner and wondering if I shouldn’t have had the person who cleans for me in on Monday, so he could see the full force of what it gets like.

I inhaled a tiny bit of sausage tonight. It is irritating and annoying but not blocking my oxygen, so hopefully it will not kill me before tomorrow afternoon. I have too much shit to do.

The two most likely suspects for taking Shiny after school are full… and her school program goes from 7:30 am to 2:20 in the afternoon. That’s door to door. It is the shortest school day she has had during the regular year since kindergarten, and I’m going to have to fight them to get her a little earlier so she can have breakfast at school. So after school care is important. The city is the cheap option. Then there’s the daycare down the street, run by one of our co-op members, not terribly more expensive per month, but the co-op mama is gluten free and aware and holds babies and doesn’t hold slavishly to schedules for their own sake and would probably be a better fit, not that it matters, she’s full. Shiny is first on her wait list and 7th on the wait list for the city.

If respite comes through, there’s other options, but I am not holding my breath. I feel like a schmuck for wanting her out of the house from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, but that extra 3 hours in the afternoon (4 on Wednesdays) feels like the difference between surviving and maybe, possibly starting to get my health back. When it’s just me and Miles, we range through the house, go places in the car, do things, take naps, get shit done. When it’s me and Shiny and Miles it is hard to get out of my chair, I can’t leave them alone together for long and I *certainly* can’t take them with me. I can’ t just be upstairs napping with Miles while Shiny is downstairs, she’ll push a table over to the entertainment center, climb up and dismantle my network (which is currently located about 7 feet off the ground). I can’t tell you how many routers I’ve already gone through. It is crazy. If she were a typical 8 year old, she would actually be a force for order rather than chaos, she’d be able to make her own lunch, she wouldn’t be smearing shit on the walls, she’d be helping with her baby brother rather than clobbering him. I don’t often think about that, but today I must because today I need to make the case for services based on her disability, and that means pointing out EVERYTHING that is different because of her disability.

Horrible head space, but it’s for a good cause.

This sausage is annoying the crap out of me–I’m not thrilled that my next step is to go upstairs and lie down and put a c-pap on, I think it will just drive it farther down.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

I find myself going through a lot of stages with grappling with this diagnosis. Most of them involve anger, rage, even… Not at the syndrome, but at how I was treated as a child. I keep flashing to things… like having pronounced leg pain and not wanting to walk, and being told I was “making it up for the attention”. I was four.  Being the slowest runner in any class… and being told I was just lazy and that I needed to “try harder”. I’d try harder…and my ankles would go out, and I would fall, and then I’d be told I had done it to get out of running, and that I was making it up.

“You’re so flexible.” Yeah. Great for party tricks when you’re a kid… as an adult, showing off that flexibility hurts every time. I guard everything, and become paradoxically stiff because I’m putting so much energy into holding myself together. It did not dawn on me, oddly enough, until I was in my 40’s, that this is different from how most people experience the world.

IBS… gut is made of collagen. Mine is wrong. IBS is common in EDS.

Allergies (see gut is made of collagen and mine is wrong…)

The stretch marks that riddle my body. The weird texture at the bottom of them.

My fingers… handwriting always terrible, told I wasn’t trying hard enough, wasn’t concentrating enough.  “You’re holding the pencil wrong”. I fix my grip, my finger stays for a moment and then bends backwards. I adjust to something that sort of works. I’m told my handwriting is terrible and I’m holding the pencil wrong. Typing is a godsend. Typing is easy. When I can type my notes, I can actually take notes because I’m not pouring every single ounce of attention I have into holding the damn pencil.

Fibromyalgia… except that unlike most people with fibro, I don’t have constant pain. But every other symptom. Oh, right, those are all co-located with EDS, which explains more than the fibro.

You know solarcaine? Yeah, that shit never worked on me much. Nor does Lidocaine, or novocaine… The doses they’d use to get something approximating enough numbness to do dental work were terrifying. The epidural would have been funny in its ineffectiveness if I hadn’t been in so much pain. It worked…for about 15 minutes. Then not. Oh look… EDS involves aytpical responses to medications. Huh. Funny, that. It’s not just being a redhead.

Going to physical therapy feels like whack-a-mole… we get everything aligned and something else pops out. Much of my time there is spent with the PT pushing my joints back into the socket properly. They’re not VERY far out of alignment… but enough to cause excruciating pain. And people wonder why I don’t want to move.

“Your cervix is very friable” says one doctor… it bleeds every time they do a pap smear. “It’s very sensitive” says another doctor… every touch causes contractions. I spent most of my periods as a teenager curled up in a miserable ball. “You have PID” says a nurse midwife doing a pelvic exam that causes me pain. No tests come back positive for anything, but I wouldn’t hurt if I wasn’t a “bad girl”. They give me antibiotics and birth control pills. The pills nearly kill me. They help the cramps, though.

“Your skin is so pretty,” gushes a drunk woman as I stand, age 17, waiting to float down the river for an event. I don’t know what to say. “It’s like velvet she says” and starts to reach towards me, the woman with her pulls her away. I am nonplussed. My “pretty” skin is also highly prone to rashes, scars a little funny, and I’ve had keratosis pilaris since I could remember. All those things are common in people with EDS.

“Your cervix was so fragile,” said the doctor, “That I couldn’t keep a clamp on it. Your uterus was falling apart as I took it out. I’ve never seen anything like it, and neither had my assistant.” Later, she says, “Oh, I see the problem. The stitch was tearing your skin.” I suspect that if she’d known the diagnosis at the time she would have stitched me very differently.

“Are you sure it’s not a psychological problem,” asks a well-meaning family friend who is chronically short on tact.  I stop spending time with him. I stop spending time with a lot of people.

“You should just go to bed earlier.” I wish. My body’s fucked up sleep cycle thinks that if I sleep before 1-2 am, I must be napping, and wakes me up after a couple hours. Interestingly if I lie down for a nap at 10 or 11 in the morning, it is easy to sleep for four to six hours. Sleeping hurts though… if I get enough sleep my body hurts more from lying in bed that long.  My goal is 2 am. But brain fog sets in and it is hard, hard to get up to bed sooner than 3 or 4. If allowed I can easily sleep for 8 solid hours if I start at about 3:30 am and am not disturbed. I have small children. Hah. “But if you just had more self-discipline….” And then I read “sleep disturbances are common in EDS.”

I spend my energy constantly in holding myself together. If I get distracted, I get hurt. If I am happy, I get hurt. If I exercise and am not scrupulously careful not to overdo it, I am toast for days.

The human body is 80% collagen. And mine? My collagen is all a little bit wrong. Welcome to the grand unifying theory of what the hell is wrong with me.

This wouldn’t hurt so much if it didn’t hurt so much

Kailea moved out today. I’m so proud of her–she took the bull by the horns and got herself a decent first job and a place to live.

The part that hurts is that I’m super, duper painfully sick right now–sore throat, fever, chills, ear ache, did too much sick.

Cas is moving out on Tuesday morning, early.

To say that I am overwhelmed is an understatement. Both are making positive steps forward in their lives, figuring out how to be grownups, doing the things you do when you’re 19 and 20 and starting out in the world.

But oh my heart I will miss them. K is 15 minutes away in light traffic, half an hour in heavy. I will likely see her once or twice a week. Cas… I don’t know when we’ll see Cas again, off into the wilds she goes, first Nebraska and then Montana.

This means that starting Tuesday it is my job to get Shiny to school, watch Miles all day, pick Shiny up again, cook dinner with two kids and no buffer. Sounds like less than many of you guys deal with, but on top of that I’m sick, plus there’s also the background of fibro and hypermobility and pretty much always being in pain if I’m up and doing. I’ve been so lucky to have the time I’ve had with backup, but I’m going to be flying solo and that would be a lot less scary if I didn’t feel like ass.

Today I got an award lauding my organizational skills. I had to work hard not to laugh hysterically. I’m good at inspiring people. I’m good at systems. I’m lousy at maintenance and I wonder if they’ll still like me if it all comes crumbling down once I don’t have help.

Miles is also feverish and sick, limp and listless, we were at the park and he just stayed quiet on my back and spent some time nursing–he’s been a ball of energy for months, it was almost scary.

Tomorrow my husband celebrates his “birthday observed”… long story. But I will be primary with the kids. Mothers day they will let me sleep, thank god.

Allie is back at Hyperbole and a half. Every few months I worried about her, wondered how things were going. Sounds like I was right to worry, but I’m glad if she’s found her way out of the morass that depression is. I’m doing my best right now to fight it, but it feels like I”m fighting vampires with marshmallows.

If I wasn’t in such pain right now, I might be able to have a better attitude about things. But my skin burns, I feel every fiber of my clothing, my throat is full of knives and moving is hard.

I know I can do this, mostly because I won’t have any choice. If I come out the other side, it will be as a stronger, more capable human being. Which sounds like a good thing, but also too exhausting.

Little things… our hang tag expired, and I’m not getting a new one. Bye, easy parking. We’ll see how long I can go without–I could get another without trying very hard, but I”d like to see if i can manage without.

Our food budget is going to be cut almost in half. And this makes me so sad.

We have new people moving in. New people. Yay. But they’re not family. Maybe they’ll be family. Maybe they’ll just be tenants.

I hired a housecleaner. She is fast and competent and worth every penny.

I bought new bras. Only to discover that the primary reason the old ones fit was because they were stretched out. I can close them, they’ll have to do (same size and make as the old ones, super cheap price, but right now I feel every thread.)


A step forward

So something good… Was about to take a nap and the phone lit up (I had the ringer off) and it was my doctor’s office… after they TOTALLY blew me off yesterday (backup doctor), MY doctor said she wanted me in there and they had a cancellation at 11:40. No nap… (sob) but I got my cpap mask replaced before the doc visit, went shopping at target and got some cute clothes for my boy for the science fiction convention we’re going to this weekend (always be batman), and then to the doctor’s office… where… she removed FOUR stitches, refilled my pain meds, said my last urine culture was perfectly clear and that I could do 7 days of abx rather than 10 (since it was clear before we started) and that my tissues are healing beautifully.

She also said that my intuition seemed spot on about what was going on with my body, and that after seeing my cervix during the surgery, she’s not surprised it was so sensitive to every little thing.

I ♥ her. She *heard* me. She figured out what the problem was and FIXED it. She listened and did not dismiss what I was saying. It was just good on so many levels.

I did eventually get a nap later.

And I’m a little sore from getting the stitches removed but it feels like normal “Oh, I just got stitches out” sore, not the deep feeling of WRONG that comes when those dang stitches pull.

Bored now.

The UTI is not gone. I did 1 week of macrodantin and 1 week of keflex and the fucker is still there. It is fine while I am actually on the antibiotics and the minute I stop my head swims and I get spacy and 12-20 hours later my pee starts burning.

Fuck this. SO DONE. It is of course a weekend and the gatekeepers will not let me talk to my doctor. Which pisses me off. SO FUCKING DONE.

2012 was too big to sum up in a single post

Or maybe at all. Huge year. Huge. Full of all sorts of completely life altering things.

In other news, going to the doctor=right call, I feel almost “fine” except for the part where I have to sleep 10-14 hours per day and can’t lift things. I’m off of everything but Piroxicam, and have minimal pain. But much tired. Wonder how much better I would have felt this past week if I’d figured the bladder infection out sooner.

Miles, like Shiny and Laura before him, took his first “run” between the arm of the couch and the gate. He’s done 1-2 steps before, this was closer to 4. He’s getting very stable at just standing without holding onto anything. I walked him in to show off to Daddy… at which point he was so excited about walking that he started bouncing up and down and couldn’t stay on his feet. Goofnut.

We saw The Hobbit. Someone could tell me all the stuff I didn’t recognize was from the Silmarillion and I’d have to believe them because I totally fell asleep reading the Silmarillion before Brooke even wrote a song about it, when I had insomnia even. It was ridiculously dull. I’m just going to tell myself they pulled out the interesting bits and glued them into the Hobbit for funsies. And if anyone bitches at me about spoiling the movie, it’s a book that has been out way longer than I’ve been alive, if you haven’t read it already it’s not my fault.

The movie was worth seeing. It was not worth seeing in Imax, and it was not worth how sore my butt was afterwards. Probably worth seeing on the big screen, but oy, 3 movies, really? They really should have made six out of the LotR, it is sort of bizarre to get 3 out of The Hobbit.

Note to self:

If I ever get my uterus out again, take cranberry after. I feel like an idiot, I have a UTI. After the evol catheter from hell during my epidural I totally took cranberry and despite being totally incontinent for a week (wasn’t that fun… not) I had no long term bladder issues. This time, catheter from hell again (how is it that people cannot feel those things in place? Seriously, if I write out a living will at some point it is going to have instructions that catheters never be left in place ever ever ever ever I do not consent ever again) and I did not do cranberry and lo, for I am inflamed.

So after a pee test yesterday they were all “La di da we found the problem you have a UTI no need to be seen.”


At which point I had the single most immediately successful doctor visit ever.

All doctor visits should go like this. “Let me see. Oh! Is this what hurts? Let me fix that. There. Done.”

I had a stitch that was pulling, literally tearing the skin a little. She took the stitch out and my life is so much better instantly. I had no idea how much of my attention for the past 10 days has been focused on not moving wrong, on not wiping wrong, on coping with the niggling ow that was this one, tiny, poky focal point of ouch. Nothing else was more than an ache, not even the heavy burn of the UTI came close in sheer nuisance factor to that one stitch. I had been worried that I had an infection not just in the bladder but in the incision. No. Everything looks “great”.

And she fixed it, right then and there, done. Now I feel like I could actually sit through a movie, if I didn’t, you know, have to get up and pee every hour or two.

So by dint of locking the barn door after the horse has escaped, I am drinking cranberry thises and thatses (and jesus christ straight cranberry juice is sour) and taking macrodantin and that pyrowhatsis that turns pee a brilliant sunset orange and hopefully I will be feeling better and less spacey soon. I can go completely without pain meds for hours on end. If I couldn’t  take them at all, I would still be okay. But I have been instructed to stay on top of things, and so I do.  It is remotely possible I will, for once, actually finish a prescription of oxycodone. Except that I keep playing Zeno’s paradox with the tablets and at some point will go down to a half, then a quarter, then a crumb and done, and will never actually finish the last crumb. Or so is my experience with other bottles of oxycodone. I still have 90% of my last prescription, from a year ago, and won’t likely touch that.

Spellcheck wants to replace oxycodone with oxycontin. Which would be a bad idea, really, because I’m told one should never cut those in half. Zeno would end up stoned off his ass, and really never would get there.

recovery in slow motion

I don’t feel much better or worse than I did the day after surgery. Taking less pain meds overall, conservation of pain I guess? I just took a bolus, as it is late and i am tired of the everpresent ache.


So hard not to lift the baby. But teh most strainful thing I do is simply sit upright. Walking is easier. I want a bath so bad. Verdict is out on whether bathing is acceptable or not following a total  vag hyst. I’ve just got this tension that won’t leave. Some of the swelling has gone down, which means I can feel the stitches more, everything is sort of changing constantly without really progressing.

K is getting very tired. It is  both gratifying and concerning that someone stepping in to take over for me says, “Hey, this is exhausting.” Yeah.

Mostly for Judi

Surgery went well, they managed to do everything vaginally as far as I can tell, so no abdominal incisions at all. I feel “crampy” at this point but I’ve had worse periods. The 6 hours following surgery were awful, brutal, mostly due to the catheter. for some reason I just do not tolerate those things at all. As soon as they took it out I started getting better super fast. On plenty of pain meds, but not loopy at all. Miles spent most of the night with me tucked in next to my side nursing, and it was actually one of the single most effective things for the pain. Crazy. Endorphins, I guess. About time I got some from breastfeeding! I’m on the motherbaby unit here, which is fine, it’s just funny because my baby is so big.

I have zero regrets about doing the surgery, I’m getting better so fast, i think I’m actually moving better now than i was before the surgery, thanks to lots and lots of pain meds (I’ve been off NSAIDS for a while due to prep). They should be releasing me today.

Yesterday was so hard, getting the nursing staff to listen was really difficult. We’ve all figured each other out now so it is much easier. There was an 8 hour period where I was not being adequately medicated because they were not grasping the whole concept of “just because I can’t have a saline lock doesn’t mean you can’t leave the IV in and running at a low rate to keep access.” One nurse decided to blame me for my pain level, and we fired each other. I still don’t get what her issue was. Most of the other nurses have been fantastic. One of them I had to actually beg to not take out the second IV until meds were given, but once I got her to actually pay attention and listen she actually did comprehend and leave it in until they could give me the Toredol.

But basically as soon as they took the cath out and let me out of bed, I was on the mend. They keep expecting me to need more help than I do, so they’re very pleased with my progress. Chances are I’m going home this morning, thank god, where I will be able to sleep and eat and deal with meds on my own schedule.

I’m still blown away by how well I’m doing today.

Cocoa water and cherry juice for coughs

Basic recipe (the TL:DR version!)

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
Honey to taste (preferably raw!)
1 cup tart cherry juice (must be pure cherry, should be tart, use black cherry juice if you can’t find tart)
Water, seltzer or almond/rice/coconut milk to taste. NOT dairy milk (and I don’t ever recommend soy for anyone but that’s another post.)

Mix cocoa and honey into a paste.
Add a tiny bit of hot water and stir
Add a little more and stir.
Once it is thin enough to mix well, add the rest of whatever liquids you want. They can be hot liquids if you prefer. The cherry juice is not just for flavor, it helps pain.
Drink up to half right away. Sip the rest as needed.

For more discussion, look behind the cut.

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