Not bad for a fat girl


Still in the Hospital

This surgery thing is no joke. Recovery is brutal. At least it is for my sweetheart. It’s amazing how many things have to be in alignment for the human body to function properly. The hospital staff is testament to all those moving parts.

There are the doctors, of course, who diagnose and perform surgery and order medications and monitor recovery, but they’re just a part of the much bigger community that makes up the team of people providing care and services at the hospital.

The nurses are the ones on the front lines. They’re with the patients the most, taking care of everything from pillow position to administering medication to providing support for hallway walks. They take vitals, assist with bathrooming, clean wounds, and keep patients spirits up. They are amazing.

Then there are the nurse’s aides, the phlebotomists, the physical therapists, the nutritionists, the patient transport specialists, the patient care coordinators, the cleaners, the volunteers, and all the other people whom I’m forgetting but who also do a great job. The hospital never closes. It never slows down. It ticks on like a clock, constantly there working for the people who need its care. I’m so grateful to all the people who make it happen.

My guy is still in the hospital. His body has taken a beating, but with this incredible team of people on his side he’s getting stronger day by day. As much as I appreciate and admire the people at the hospital, I hope that soon we can say goodbye to them for good.


And Just Like That, Things Can Change

What a week.

First, my sweet friend and former colleague passed away after three years of dealing with the demon known as cancer (and no, I won’t give it a capital C). My heart aches for her family, and for the many students whose lives she touched, who have experienced a significant loss, many for the first time. Our school family is hurting, especially her fifth grade son and his friends, and her kindergarten teammates, who love her very much.

I would have gone to her celebration of life, but I was dealing with a drama playing out closer to home. You see my sweetheart is in the hospital. Here’s the short version of the tale. You can’t tell him I told you. He’s a very private person.


Him: Feels like I’m sore from doing crunches. Me: You’re doing great exercising.


Him: This is a little annoying, but no big deal. I won’t say anything to anyone. Me: (nothing, because he’s said nothing)


Him: Off to work I go. I’m fine. Home from work I go. I don’t feel well. I’m going to lay down.  Me: You don’t look well. Want to go to Urgent Care?  Him: No.


2 am  Him: Can you stay home with me? I don’t think I can drive myself today.  Me: Of course. Do you want to go to the Emergency Room? Him: No.  Me: Let me call in and do sub plans.

7 am  Him: Let’s go over to the doctor’s office. They’re open but don’t pick up phones until 8.  Me: Ok.   Doctor’s office: You can be seen at 10:10.   Him: ok

10:25 am  Medical professional: Go to the ER. Me: biting tongue. Him: ok.

11:00 am Emergency Room intake begins

fast forward

6:30 pm Him: pain is at 8 of 10.  Surgeon: This should take about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. It depends on what we find.

7:00 pm Him: pain is unbearable. Me: I love you. I’ll see you after surgery.

10:00 pm Surgeon: It was bad. I called in a second surgeon to assist. He’s resting now. Really, it was bad. Me: thank you.hospital,_building.gif

He’s been working to recover since then, but there have been some issues that have cropped up along the way. He’s got a few hurdles to overcome, and it’s going to take time.

I’ve spent most of the past four days in the hospital with him, and I will again today. Gone are the days of restricted visitor’s hours. The health care team that works there is incredible. They are professional, hardworking, and so kind.

I’m going over there after I pay some bills. I worry about the bills, but right now that worry gets pushed to the back of my mind. I’m more concerned about his recovery. I’m also concerned and conflicted about work. Mine, not his.

My wonderful teammates made sure the sub had all she needed to teach on Thursday, then on Friday they wrote my lesson plans for me and gathered all the materials. There’s no school today, but what about tomorrow?

Should I go to school? Should I go to the hospital? Should I work now, while he’s hospitalized, knowing that he’ll need me more when he’s discharged? But what if he needs some other procedure? I want to be there.

I feel guilty about leaving my students, but I know they’ll be fine without me. Ultimately, I know he’ll be fine without me too. I feel needed yet superfluous in both situations. This is a tough one. Maybe I’ll let him make the call. Maybe.

I won’t give you the hug your loved ones thing. You already know that. I just needed to get this all out. If you’ve read it all, well, thank you.




What’s in a Name? Hopefully Not More Surgery

If you happen to google the name “bulging buttons” with a space in between, you will see all sorts of posts related to umbilical hernias. Of course, when I chose the name, I was only thinking about the poor overworked buttons on my blouses and jeans, not medical issues. Still, the umbilical hernia is appropriate to this blog also, I’m sorry to say.

ManCarryingBoxOnBackFirst, what is a hernia? I always thought it was something that only men got and only by lifting gigantic and terribly heavy objects. Not true. It’s what happens when some of your guts spill through a tear in your muscle.  It turns out that there are different types of hernias and different ways to get them.

***Let me pause for a moment and declare, quite plainly, that I am not a doctor. I am not in the medical profession at all. Just in case there was any doubt. I took biology for non-majors in college, and much of that wasn’t clear to me. I’m just repeating what I’ve been told and read, and some, or a lot of it, might not be 100% accurate. Now that the disclaimer has been offered, let’s continue.***

I know that women can have hernias because I’ve had not one, but two of them. The first was of the umbilical variety (you know, the bulging belly button kind). It was weird, because I had an innie, then I got pregnant and it disappeared, then I had my son and the innie reappeared, but misshapen, then, a while later, it disappeared again. Some astute doctor along the way said something to the effect of, “Oh, you have an umbilical hernia. Here, see a surgeon and see what he thinks.” So I did.

I saw the same brilliant surgeon who removed my terribly infected gall bladder (but that’s another fun story for another day). Not surprisingly he suggested surgery. Which he did. It was the beginning of summer break, and I had plenty of time to heal. I took it easy, and in spite of a little infection which required a giant needle to the belly button (yes, I know it’s horrific, I lived it), the outcome was good.

Fast forward a few years, and my ample belly had become misshapen. It also felt weirdly hard in some areas, and typically mushy in others. Almost as though I had swallowed a football. I didn’t get it. Hoping it wasn’t a tumor of some sort I sought medical advice. I was told it’s nothing. I disagreed. It was obviously something, I hadn’t been like that my entire life. A different medical professional told me, “I think you may have a hernia, but let’s do some tests.” Super.

0000010_300Ultrasound, x-ray, and CT scan were completed. Surgeon was consulted. MY surgeon (he really is a genius) now specializes in breast surgery, but another in his group saw me. Fixed me. Coaxed me through recovery. OMG, it took so much longer than the last time. He reminded me that 1. it was a huge hernia (a lot of guts poking through the muscle tear) and 2. I wasn’t  as young as I used to be.

Recovery really was a bitch, and by association so was I. It f’ing hurt. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t lay down, I couldn’t sit up. I wore a huge elastic band around my midsection to keep it all from falling apart. My dog didn’t understand me. She tried. She licked me and wagged her tail hopefully. I patted her and grunted. I was afraid to shower and afraid to look. I developed an allergy to the adhesive holding my bandages in place. My incision opened and required daily cleaning and packing. It was revolting.

It took a good three months before I finally began to feel like myself again, and then I got pneumonia (just for something different, I suppose).

The lesson has not been lost on me. I am too big. I am too heavy. I am stressing my body in ways that it cannot cope with. I need to give it a break. I need to take off some of the weight, improve my muscle tone, and avoid another surgery. If you learn anything from bulgingbuttons, please learn that you are worth the effort. I’m still trying to learn that lesson myself.