Monday, October 31, 2011

LSBS Rainbow Challenges

Yellow challenge, using a sketch from Stuck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

LSBS Rainbow Challenges

A couple of layouts (red and orange). Red seems to have gone sideways (stupid bug!), and orange has lots of photos representing the segments of an orange.

I might just get to the other 5 colours as the weeks go by, let's see....

Am slowly recovering from my operation. The bruises are fading, and my tummy cut looks much better, but is being stretched by the baby while it tries to heal, so it's quite tiring. Being a naturally energetic person, it's rather frustrating to be struggling for energy, but each day is better than the one before.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Appendix Drama

It’s an odd thing about life, one day you are happy being busy doing the usual things – work, family, planning for the future. The next day you wake with an indescribable pain in your side and rush off to the doctor. Not knowing that the next week is going to be solely focused on your internal organs and the fight to get back to normal.

Perhaps an experience like this ought to change your perspective on life, and maybe it will when it’s over, but while still in the midst of ‘recovery’ it is hard to see past that next step on the doctor’s list of achievements. Small steps become overwhelmingly important when just getting out of bed makes you feel like you’ve been to the gym for an hour.

It started on a Monday morning. At 4am, I woke with a huge solid pain in the side of my stomach. By breakfast time, I thought I was going to vomit from the strength of the pain and we rushed through the breakfast process to get the boys dropped off and myself to the doctor. When in the doctor’s clinic, the pain made me feel faint. So I took the precaution of lying on the floor to avoid fainting, but this set a giant drama in action. “Oh my, she’s collapsed in my office, call an ambulance”.

The ambulance arrived and took me to RPA Maternity – since I was 28 weeks pregnant and already booked in there it seemed like a sensible thing. The pain eased by now, perhaps I’d been given something? And a long process started at RPA. Ultimately I was sent upstairs to the antenatal ward with all the other pregnant ladies with complications to wait it out. Lots of scans (on baby and on stomach), antibiotics and pain meds and by Wed I thought I was doing better. Rather optimistically, I even said on facebook “antibiotics appear to be working, so signs are positive that i can avoid an operation. Dr says appendix will prob need to come out one day but hopes that can wait till after bub is out to reduce risk.”

Half an hour later, the pain returned much worse than before and had spread across the lower portion of my stomach. The surgical team was called urgently and decided that it was best if I went under a general anaesthetic while they put a camera inside to have a look around and see what the problem was.

I woke from the general a few hours later with a giant gash in my stomach from top down through my belly button to the bottom. Apparently when they put the camera in via a small hole, a bunch of pus flew out, so they split me open to clean everything out properly. There were a few anxious times waiting for the baby people to come and check the baby, but she did appear to have a good heartbeat if a bit sleepy.

After a few hours lying in the recovery centre, the team decided it was better for me to go back to maternity rather than intensive care, and so I was wheeled upstairs to be started on intensive antibiotics and morphine. Amazingly, the pain in my side was completely gone and replaced by new pain in new places. But the intensity was gone, or perhaps that’s just the morphine!

Time starts to blur around now, I vaguely recall a visit from my parents at some point, perhaps it was Wednesday or Thursday? Lots of unhelpful advice about lounging about in bed for a month. And the crazy scheme of flying Jacqui over to do the housework for Brennan. I talked to her on the phone about it and said, “don’t worry he has it under control, so only come if it’s going to suit your family, although of course we’d love to see you”. She said “I was in a total panic, I got a text from mum saying “have you got a current passport” and after reading on facebook that you were in hospital. Of course I thought, oh no Renee is going to die and I’ve got to rush over and say goodbye but it turned out just to be a big scheme. Brennan seemed as confused as me when we skyped about it later!”

All of this whirred around me but somehow seemed mostly irrelevant as I was focused on sitting up, getting out of bed. A physio visited and told me I’d recover faster if I could walk every day, and off we went for a little walk around the ward. The walking itself wasn’t too bad, a little wobbly, but the getting in and out of bed with essentially no stomach muscles was much more difficult. Somewhere in here I came off the morphine and became unhooked from the multiple drips. The kids came to visit and were much less freaked out than the initial visit when I was all hooked up to machines – poor Vincent had a nightmare that first night and ring me early in the morning to hear my voice. I suggested he sleep with my pillow and hopefully it would smell a bit like me which might help.

Saturday was good, lots of walking, even out of the ward once, a long visit from the kids, and most of the day pretty active. Keegan even said “Mum, how come you are walking faster today” “I must be getting better if I’m faster than yesterday” “Ok, now look at me run!” I went to sleep feeling like I’d been doing crunches all day, stomach muscles were pretty sore from the work-out, but sleep seems to have cured that.

Now it is Sunday morning and I’m pretty mobile again. The baby team are happy with the baby who is back to her usual galloping about in there – she has recovered well enough to boot me in the cut on a regular basis! This morning brings the final lot of antibiotics, then home on Monday. Tomorrow, wow, I will have been here a whole week.

It’s a good thing I was fit and healthy when this process started, as it’s given me a great base to recover from. Although apparently with a cut like this, it takes about 6 weeks to feel ‘almost normal’ and 12 weeks to feel ‘completely normal’. I think there is a baby due somewhere in the middle of that, in about 10 weeks!!

The doctors say that about 1 in 1000 pregnant women get appendicitis, but it is very rare for the appendix to burst and require such a large incision. Most are easily dealt with using keyhole surgery.