Saturday Recipe Day!!

 

So Saturday’s I’ve decided are “happy liver-kidney-heart” recipe days.  I follow a super crazy diet…or at least most days I follow it 🙂  So I’m technically on a low-sodium, low-fat,  medium-carb, medium protein diet with nothing raw, cooked outside, generally washed under my supervision thoroughly cooked diet.  And when my kidney’s get to crazy, which is still every other week, I can’t exceed 2g of Potassium a day.  So all that, plus generally no restaurants and NO buffets lol….most of this is because my kidney’s never recovered all the way and won’t.  My GFR hovers around 34 and I’m in Chronic Kidney Disease stage 3.

SO LET’S COOK!  For my first round of these we (Chef Sean…yea he’s a professional chef)  and I are “poaching” off of Pinterest and other avenues.  After this week i’ll have actual photos of me attempting these haha.  I’ll try to let people know when certain ingredients are expensive and provide awesome substitutes.  But ultimately have fun with it, the awesomeness of cooking is that it’s not set in stone.  Also I’ll be posting these on Saturday in case anyone needs a last minute Sunday Brunch dish or to start their week off amazing….So here we go 🙂

Julia Child’s Poached Salmon with Cucumber Sauce                                                                     Prep Time 10 mins      Cook Time 6 mins      Total Time 16 mins

This poached salmon with tzatziki ­style cucumber sauce is a light and healthy
supper perfect for summer.  Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
Poached Salmon:
Salt
Red or white wine vinegar
1¼ pounds salmon filet
Cucumber Sauce:
1 cucumber, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon wine vinegar
1 cup sour cream (I used ½ light sour cream and ½ Greek yogurt)
2­-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Directions
For the poached salmon:
1. Measure 3 inches of water into a wide­ rimmed saucepan.                                                       2. Add 1½ teaspoons salt and 3 tablespoons wine vinegar for every quart of water. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the salmon. Bring to just below a simmer and cook for about 6 minutes until done. According to Julia Child “Fish is done when the flesh has turned from translucent to opaque and, rather than feeling squashy to the touch like raw fish, it feels lightly springy. It should still be juicy. Fish that is resistant and flaky is overdone ­ too bad!”
4. Remove the salmon with a slotted spatula and transfer to a paper towel ­lined plate to absorb the extra water.
5. Transfer to a serving platter or plates and serve with the cucumber sauce.

For the cucumber sauce:
1. Put the cucumber in a bowl and toss with the salt, sugar, and vinegar.
2. Let stand for about 5 minutes, then mix in the sour cream.
3. Season to taste and fold in the dill. (May be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated)

salmon dill

Wild Rice with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

8 ounces long-grain Wisconsin wild rice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
Black pepper, to taste
⅓ cup dry sherry, such as Dry Sack (do not use cream sherry)

Preparation:
1.  Bring 5 cups water to a boil. Stir in rice, then reduce heat so liquid is just simmering. Cover and cook until grains just begin to pop, about 40 minutes. Drain excess liquid from rice and set aside.
2.  Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 3.  3. Add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their liquid and are golden brown, about 8 minutes; remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining butter and mushrooms.
4. Return all the mushrooms to the skillet and season with the salt and pepper, to taste. Very carefully add sherry to deglaze the pan, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated but mushrooms are still moist.
5. Mix mushrooms into prepared rice and season again with salt and pepper.

wild rice

Honey Glazed Carrots with Garlic

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds small multicolored carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
1 small head garlic, halved
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 dried red chile, halved
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions:
1.  In a large skillet, arrange carrots and garlic in a single layer and cover with water. 2.  2. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.
3.  Remove carrots and garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain water and wipe out pan. Heat to medium high.                                                                                                          4. Add oil, honey, chile, rosemary, and 1 tablespoon water and cook until bubbling.      5. Add carrots and garlic and cook, stirring, until coated and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

carrots

 

 

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Storytime! Back to the beginning – Part 2

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So this is continued from my previous blog post: “Storytime! Back to the beginning…” and still stubborn – the end of my time at UTMB hospital and my migration to Methodist…

So to recap where we left off – The first half of my hospitalization I was at UTMB, my current school and hospital.  Still, the stubbornness in me decided I was fine (even though I was yellow and puffy) to continue school work like it was normal. 

 The day I entered the ER was right after a meeting with my mentor and one of the heads of student affairs to convince them I was healthy enough to stay in school that semester.  At this point also, work wise, I was facing a deadline for a submission of a manuscript to the Journal of American Geriatrics Society and it was my first time being first author (big deal in PhD student world).  I was determined to meet this and as evidence according to my laptop – my last save date on this manuscript revision was 5 days before my kidneys and liver failed and the night I was transferred to Methodist.  If that’s not stubborn I don’t know what is.  (Manuscript was accepted for publication this summer after my return from leave of absence because they are amazing at that journal) 

I don’t remember much from my stay at UTMB until they transferred me to Methodist in the medical center too well.  Like I said, I really wasn’t taking my illness very seriously despite what the doctors and nurses were saying.  Every day the week at UTMB my body got more and more cumbersome.  I got bigger each day (I gained 12 pounds of fluid in the 7 days I was there), and it became harder and harder for me to move.  I remember trying to go for a walk around the floor one night with Sean and KS a few days in, which ended about 2 minutes into it because I was leaving a trail of blood across the floor behind me.  Not awesome.  I remember watching wrestling of all things on my TV and trying to explain to KS why on earth it was on my tv haha….I remember feeling ok, but I needed help getting my legs up onto the bed after I had walked to the bathroom.  I remember my pee looking like Dr. Pepper.  Kinda awesome.  Like I keep saying, I really didn’t take my health very seriously when I was there because every other time I was in the hospital at UTMB with “vague stomach issues” the year before they always seemed to fix me in a week and then I went home.  Each time with normal levels and functioning.  So no harm, no foul right?  Nope.  I kept thinking, I’m too young for anything this serious, there’s no way.

When they told me I was being transferred I was so swollen I barely fit on the gurney to transport me into the ambulance and I even broke one of the hydraulics on the lift mechanism to get me into the ambulance.  I try to tell myself that the EMS people were just tiny but in reality I was a big yellow dying whale 🙂  At that point I didn’t care….when you feel that sick and are that big, wanting to fit the normal stereotype of beauty and fitness goes out the window.  And let’s be honest….who does look model-cute on a gurney going into an ambulance at night? 

Anyways (side rant on body issues incoming), so the size issue is something you guys know is something I still both struggle with and am passionate about.  So, to beat a dying horse as some might say, I’ve lost about 60 pounds since my final pre-liver weigh in…but I’m still not something the typical person would look twice at because I have a long way to go, which some of you might take issue with me saying – “love your body” “accept who you are, love yourself” – I do somedays, and somedays I frankly don’t.  I’m working on it.  Example, things like this do not help:  Over the summer I had some misguided soul attempt to flirt with me (which I’m so out of touch with how that stuff happens nowadays since I’ve been happily out of practice for a decade) until they talked to me for a bit one on one in person one day – upon which, they were pretty hilariously candid about their feelings and their subsequent repulsion.  I met the candidness with equal return about the confusion of the entire situation…i.e., “omg you thought what…about what…holy crap.  Hard no, you’re a terrible person.”  I guess other people have different issues lol, because none of that was asked for.  But I suppose honesty is honesty, and it did serve as a great reminder of the unconditional love I do have in my life and how precious it is to protect since apparently at my age there are still “those” kind of people out there… 

So moving on, so this is me….my abdomen goes in weird directions because I’m still less than a freaking year out….I have scars everywhere, look like Deadpool, stretch marks from being so swollen (example…my feet have stretch marks…FEET) and one of my anti-rejection meds makes my hair thin and fall out.  And it’s a weird sensation to think about….I have Sean in my life and love it (my life) and him…but if I didn’t would anyone in their right mind society wise give me a second glance?  And again, follow me for a second – it’s an honest question for I’m sure a lot of people that are my age and my health situation.  How do you feel “pretty” as a woman again after this type of ordeal?  I would emphasize “at my age” but I’d like to think it doesn’t get any easier at any age.  I know it’s possible…I’ve seen the ads on tv and the motivational posters online.  But the real story is often much more philosophically, “taking the proverbial mini van driving off-road uphill both ways esque”.  So to answer that question – (and the only answer I have) is sometimes no, sometimes yes, and we all know that’s true.  It’s a cosmic crap shoot that God already saw the end of the roll but we don’t get too yet.  So I guess what I’m trying to say is take what you see on Facebook/the internet  on inner beauty with a grain of salt, because reality is very different, and yes it makes me very sad some days.  But it get’s better, and you know what – we can all use an exercise in honesty, me especially.  (got to love body image rants…I’ll stop when it stops being true for a lot of silent women)

Anways, back to the story – to wrap this part up.  I’m back at UTMB and they’re about to move me to Methodist.  They loaded me up into the ambulance and at least part of it that was fun was riding super-fast with their lights on down 45 the entire way from Galveston to the Houston med center.  Weirdly enough, I got more questions from people asking about that single drive than the fact I was now in ICU – God bless nervous banter, I’ll admit I’m the worst about doing that.  They brought me into literally one of the nicest hospital rooms I’ve ever been in the first night.  You have no idea, I was so happy.  At the old UTMB hospital, before renovations, the rooms were tiny, stuffy, but here – this room had a walk in shower with a bench built in.  Me and my wobbly legs were so happy looking at that.  So yea, I never got to use it…because by early morning I was down in ICU with one of my doctors on my surgical team screaming at the nurses that I should  not have been brought to this magical room.  I belonged in ICU STAT.  Bye, bye fancy shower and toilet.  Also, might sound cheesy, but at this point when I began to have an inkling of the realization of, “oh crap this is real” it was so comforting to know I was in our medical center here and under some of the best care in the world.  I hope everyone living in Houston and the surrounding area realizes how incredibly blessed we are to be right here when the proverbial health poop hits the ceiling fan. 

Happy weekend everyone ❤  much love for reading this, you guys and your support are amazing.  As I shared with a friend today, every day is still a new struggle and some days are much harder to bear than others.  But seeing the support from ya’ll, even if it’s something silly like seeing 1 extra person read my blog on my stats page helps cheer me up and motivate me to move forward.  Also, hit me up anytime – I’m almost always on my PC for work and always make time for anyone.  

The hilarity of nose tubes and getting stuck in super sticky face tape

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Disclaimer:  I was going to illustrate this post, but I’m fairly sure this picture perfectly sums up how I felt during the story I am about to tell.

     More story time, but this time it’s kinda gross lol so be warned.  So I’ve learned to have a love-hate relationship with nose tubes this year.  When nurses come in with them there’s really little you can do but sit back and take it.  I’ve had 2 different ones.  The shorter one that they shove down your nose and throat while you’re awake and the much, much, much longer, yet thinner one they put in during one of my surgeries.

     After experiencing my first one and accepting the amount of pain it causes as tolerable, my inner 5-year-old became kind of giddy at the amount they gross out even the nurses that have to put them in and eventual the removal process. 

     My first one I got put in when I was in the ICU and the only reason one was put in was because I was throwing up and they found large pockets of air in my stomach or something that they wanted to help get out faster.  To preface this, because of my liver failure and the sores I mentioned in my earlier posts my nose was not immune.  Every time I blew my nose it ripped open the ones inside both my nostrils. You can imagine how awesome it was to have a tube that kept moving around in there 24/7. 

     So the world’s tallest German nurse came in my room with the tube claiming she was an expert at putting them in.  She jammed that puppy in so fast it felt like my nose was breaking and started rubbing the back of my throat raw.  They have to tape the outside/draining part of the tube to your face and it empties behind you in this container thing.  This nurse basically taped my entire face with the world’s stickiest tape.  So there I was, first nose tube, raw throat, sticky face full of tape and they give me lots of sleepy time medicine that night to help me get some rest.  Me being me and not used to said tape or tubes where they shouldn’t be, woke up in the middle of the night with both hands completely stuck and tangled up in my nose tube face tape.  To make matter’s worse I was still groggy and kind of out of it.  I panicked and couldn’t understand why my hands were stuck to my face and I couldn’t press the call button to alert the nurses because…again, my hands were attached to my face. 

     I struggled and struggled flopping around in my bed trying to emancipate my hands from what source of horror was causing them to be in their current state.  I was making progress when a nurse happened by my room and saw my predicament.  She ran in and right when she was saying, “No No No don’t pull!!!”  My hands won their freedom along with the nose tube and out the entire thing came.  And I go about the same time, “Aaaahhhh there we g……Ohhhhhh…woops.”  (Btw the nose tube coming out involves literally pulling the tube up from your stomach and out through the nose…another very, very strange feeling).  The night nurse and I spent the next hour arguing about putting the tube back in.  I was adamant not to get back in that predicament and said she had to wait to talk to my doctor in the morning.  Eventually I was allowed to go back to bed still drugged up in peace and a clear throat and nose.  The next morning, I “came to” – and I say “came to” because my eyes apparently opened before the rest of me woke up and when I “came to” my doctor was in my room at the end of what was apparently lecture on why nose tubes are necessary and to not do what I did that night again.  I just nodded and she smiled and we all went on with our day.  Unfortunately, a few days later when I woke up from surgery number whatever I had both the short nose tube and the long one in down the other nostril along with my trach.  Those stayed there for a good month or so without event.  However, when I was back for surgery in February that same nurse from the sticky tape incident saw me in pre-op and remembered me just because of the nose tube and was still laughing at me about it all. 

     The other moment my inner 5-year-old loved was when they finally took out the longer tube.  I had no idea actually how long the longer tube was and Sean was in the room visiting.  The nurse told me to just take a deep breath and then when I exhaled he started pulling as Sean looked on.  It went on for what seemed like forever…the nurse was just wrapping the tube around his hand and when it was over I looked over in time to see Sean bolt for my room’s bathroom making vomiting sounds lol.

     When I was in the hospital a few weeks ago for a stomach infection they had to put a nose tube in again so I could take my meds, which is what made me think of this post.  The nurses this time were pretty great about it.  Pro tip I learned…when getting a nose tube have the nurse get you a glass of water and drink it as they are putting the tube in.  Makes everything go much, much smoother.  Also yes, it’s a weird feeling when they shoot medicine down the tube.  It feels cold and your throat automatically thinks it’s swallowing something but it’s not.  And here’s another stuck cat picture.  Cheers 🙂

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I can math…

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         Have you ever broken down events by time before?  Example, this week my friend Wayne and I realized this month we’ve known each other 30 years.  That’s alot of years.  So I started thinking about what I said yesterday about listening to my body and being stubborn.  I’ve been stubborn lately in that I thought I would be more “recovered” or “back to normal” working speed wise…body appearance wise.  I thought I would be completely caught up work wise and be a size 2 by now.  But I’m not.  So I broke down how long I’ve been home.

  • I was discharged from my transplant on Dec 31st so I’m on month 8 from that major discharge.

  • However, I’ve spent a total of 5 weeks during those 7 ish months (Since it’s only August 8th) back in and out of the hospital.

  • So I’ve been “unhospitalized” a total of 6 months

    • Of those 6 months 3 of them I’ve been back to work

So I need to probably lay off myself on my regarding not catching up to everyone else in my PhD cohort faster…or body shaming myself for feeling fat.

       I have a feeling this stubbornness lesson is doomed to always be a re-occurring struggle in my life

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And sidenote:

      So I’m watching an HBO documentary while working called “Tales from the Organ Trade”.  It’s really scary and makes me feel so very blessed and baffled that I got an organ as fast as I did.  The faults in organ allocation are a real issue and needs to be reevaluated in our country.  I highly recommend watching it if you have access to it.

Storytime!…Back to the beginning: I’m Stubborn, don’t be me

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So in prior blog posts, and apologies for telling my story so out of order – I hate it when books even do that – anyways, so in prior blog posts I’ve briefly touched on how I got sick and glazed over my time at UTMB.  Today I’m going to go into more detail at why my stubbornness basically almost killed me.  Also I’m spending the afternoon illustrating my next post on the hilarity of gastric nose tubes so illustration by InkPug!  (whom I adore)  and when I think of stubborn I think of Pugs.  And yes, gastric nose tubes are absolutely hilarious when it comes down to it

 

So here we go….

 

So before I was admitted to the hospital in September my brain was quite elsewhere.  The three months prior I had my Qualification Exams which for anyone that knows about the PhD process are pretty damn important.  The stress over it was incredible.  I passed my written exams and then come early August I had to orally defend my answers.  By this time I already was pretty sick.  My mentor had noticed something was wrong, but I kept trying to push it aside that it wasn’t a big deal.  At this point I wasn’t noticeably jaundice but the ascites (accumulation of fluid from your liver not working properly causes abdominal swelling) was definitely making me noticeably bigger…I had signs of hepatic encephalopathy (when I liver doesn’t remove toxins from the brain your brain gets pissed and starts to forget things, confuses you – even mid speech) and I had sores everywhere that bled.  So I looked pretty great…oh and I also was having major trouble breathing.  So imagine someone like doing an oral exam for their committee in PhD-land and passing. 

 

Fast forward a few weeks to the end of August/first of September…Fall courses had begun.  I was enrolled in one that was particularly early and now lived in Houston.  Since it was only a day or two a week I decided to stay in a hotel on the island the night before to prepare for class and to make sure I wasn’t late.  When I left Houston I wasn’t jaundice, but all the other symptoms had gotten worse.  I felt so bad in the hotel, I woke up 4 hours early for class, throwing up every 20 minutes…I got myself showered and dressed and struggled to even drive half a mile to class but I was determined to go and show everyone I wasn’t sick.  I sat through the class at the back of the room and when class was over I ultimately decided to go to the ER on campus.  I walked in and the nurses in triage just looked at me and go, “are you normally that yellow?”  It was at that time I realized I hadn’t even bothered to look in the mirror today.  So I ended up admitted for a week, then they released me (for which reason I still don’t understand).  I had to follow up in a week.  I remember coming home to Houston and telling Sean over the phone before I got there that I didn’t look like I did when I left but the UTMB doctors insisted the symptoms would go away.  I was officially highlighter yellow and my legs were 4 times too big.  He was baffled too why UTMB released me, but at that point I think both of us were in denial. 

 

 

It was during this week that my mentor made an appointment for she and I to meet with Student Affairs because I my absences and hospital stays had become noticeable to everyone so they needed to make sure my absences were covered by sick days etc.  At this meeting I was for some reason terrified I was going to get placed on medical leave of absence and I was adamant about that.  The night before the meeting I stayed on the island at a hotel again so I wasn’t late.  The day before Sean and I went and even bought a new outfit for me to wear because at this point I was so large nothing I had fit.  We were trying anything to make me look “well”.  So long story short, I went to the meeting convinced them not to place me on medical leave and walked straight back over to the ER on campus and was admitted.  I was there for a week before they transferred me to Methodist for a liver transplant because my organs failed, lung had collapsed at this point and they could do nothing else for me.

 

So I’ll save the rest of my story about how things were that week at UTMB where my stubbornness continued and my denial that I wasn’t sick continued.  Moral of the story…when it comes down to it, listen to your body.  It will tell you when things aren’t right.  And if I hadn’t listened to mine finally, and missed my meeting with my mentor and just stayed home I wouldn’t be writing this right now.  My father would have buried his daughter not even a year after his wife.  Also all that to say, I take absolute responsibility for how sick I became.  Had I listened sooner, my liver might have been saved.  Had I made lifestyle changes and different choices most likely this never would have happened.  But I was stubborn.  Don’t be stubborn.  It’s really not that important to think you’re right.  Take it from me – admittedly I’m stubborn to the point of usually getting her way, and almost always what I think I wanted ends up hurting me everytime.

The little things I missed in the hospital

So whilest on my my extended vacation at UTMB and Methodist Hospitals, there are several little things I missed while I was there…

1.    My puppies….to be specific Frank the Pug (11 yrs), Puddles the chocolate lab (12 yrs), and Lucy the wonder-mix (4 ish years). To be specific also, I am a born and bred dog lover 🙂  They are amazing furry wonders that love you no matter what…a perfect trotting around four-legged example of unconditional love.  So going months without seeing them was short of torture.  One of the main arguments towards the end of my stay was the stipulation that I am not supposed to be that close to dogs physically.  My doctors were sympathetic and fellow dog nuts and advised me to love my furry friends with a giant bottle of hand sanitizer near and keep them clean and the yard super clean.  When I was finally released home Sean and Dad let them out one at a time to see me…it was pretty great.  Also, sidenote for any Pug owners…you know how smelly and farty they are ALWAYS…yea, I missed that too…no lie, especially since frank always sleeps on my pillow 🙂

2.     Showering & Going to the restroom alone:  This one kinda speaks for itself haha. From roughly early September to the last week of December I had all kinds of audiences for going to the restroom…after the first week, all shame goes away entirely and it was actually kinda freeing, yet still disgusting.  (You dont know gross until you explain to someone how you poop while in and out of sedation unable to move)  The shower part…well, kinda hard to take a shower when hooked up to wires for the same time frame.  My hair…AWESOME by December.  I really have no idea what people did before the whole shampoo/soap thing was invented because my head was rocking a cement helmet with a hair rubber band in their somewhere.  They do have these weird waterless shower caps which I tried once, but honestly made things worse.

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3.    Real blankets – like fluffy comforters & real mugs:   For those that know me I am a tea fanatic. There is just something calming and zen about holding a mug and smelling the warm goodness that you’re about to imbibe and instantly your day is a little better.  Or at least that’s my experience with tea.  I’ll admit it’s not always platonic and I’m ok with that level of love and affection for it (kidding…maybe).  Anyways, in the hospital everything is plastic.  Plastic blue mugs for coffee that always smell like coffee…so don’t think about trying to drink water out of it.  Tan mugs for tea and those are ok ish.  Also I may or may not have a stock pile of said mugs in my kitchen.  So I missed those…moving on.  I also missed actually big fluffy comforters.  I think this files under super girly things, but a lot of times in my hospital rooms even though each room had their own thermostat most of the times it was freezing and surprisingly I actually was told a lot that they were out of blankets and waiting for the laundry service which takes hours sometimes.  I could go on about this fact and how it more effected my elder wall-mates in ICU…or the weird group room where 6 ICU patients were all sleeping together in, while everyone else had their private room.  But moral of the story…I missed warmth in general.

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4.   My cell phone:  This might sound shallow at first, but I didn’t have my cell phone to update ya’ll myself as everyone knows by now. The reason for this was part that I was in no way alert enough to use it but also becs for months my hands shook so badly that I couldn’t use or type anything.  Remember when I mentioned I couldn’t speak for a while because I was on a ventilator and trached?  Yea, for a while I couldn’t speak or write legibly to let anyone know what I wanted, felt, etc.  It kinda sucked.  So I missed being able to talk to everyone, shamelessly surf the internet or my secret addiction which is WWF haha.

5.     Walking barefoot – Seeing the colors outside – sky, flowers, clouds, grass etc:   So I’m not a fan of socks or shoes…like long term fan. I used to get in trouble for it all the time at SBS and even know at UTMB I’ll be dressed like a full grown work adult yet sans shoes when I can get away with it.  So I missed walking barefoot specifically outside, seeing the sky and colors.  As a former art student and being deprived of colors for so long that is probably why my new favorite hobby is building a garden in the backyard.  The windows in the back of the house pretty much let me see the flowers anywhere I am in the house.  I love it.

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6.   My UT sweatshirt.…Anndddd lastly my beloved, torn up, beat up old old UT Texas sweatshirt.  I’ve had this sucker for going on 11-12 years I think.  It’s the sweatshirt or piece of clothing all of us have that we wear when we need to feel comforted, hugged, consoled.  It’s the piece of clothing that makes everything better after a long day at work, or when we wake up sick.  It’s the one you consider violent options when your spouse threatens to wash it or throw it out – kidding, kidding….

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Near and Far experiences with death…

So I’ve had inquiries about my near death experiences while in ICU at Methodist.  This is a hard one to write, and one I may not illustrate…. illustrating things make things much more real than we are ready for. (Most illustrations by the talented Lucia Stewart <3)

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So to begin this Sean and my dad were utterly alone during this…they were the ones that got the calls in the middle of the night I may not make it.  Trust me when you call and check on a loved one in ICU and your doctor answers you with either “every time we put her under or keep her asleep (medically induced coma) we have no idea how she’ll wake up” or “she’s…um….ok….she’s not great, but we’re keeping an eye on her constantly.” 

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This happened a few times while I was at Methodist.  I’ve talked a few time about me laying there imagining mom sitting there being there for me like we all know she would have…hallucinated talks we may have had when I needed her.  Yep, didn’t happen.  Unfortunately I have no amazing sparkly stories about a white light or someone comforting me.  I have distinct memories every day whispering, “God please have mercy on me”….a total misinterpretation of the theology behind atonement, but that’s a story for another time.  I saw no white light.  I went to sleep and had no idea what was going on.  Maybe it wasn’t my time?  My trach surgery was a do or die scenario in the middle of the night and I was in a medically induced coma….so yea no memory…I just woke up and couldn’t freaking speak.  And my one time I got an infection from someone in the ICU I remember Sean and his dad were in the room…I think Sean’s dad had brought me a stuffed puppy.  And a nurse came in and said you’re spiking a fever…at this point I had my heart cath well put in so they knew my temperature constantly.  Then several days later I woke up under an ice blanket with multiple people explaining I had 105+ fever 160+ BMP HR wise…and it was days later….all I cared about was how warm the ice blanket felt and went back to sleep. 

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So yea I don’t know how you guys want to judge that….but sadly that was my near death experience.  There was nothing.  I’m not really sure what to say regarding this.  Many people can read into this however they want depending on their belief.  I’ve imagined mom every moment that she was there sitting there when I wake up.  So sorry to let everyone down…at least for me, that’s what happened.  I guess a good point to take away from this – for some reason I never felt alone and i always felt ok/comfortable and safe.  So maybe that’s really what happens, not some amazing blown out of proportions story about white lights and clouds etc….just a warmth that was around me for no reason in particular that I was safe.  I felt that always.