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Just trying to behave myself....

Thursday, August 30, 2007
I finally have all but about 5-6 pounds of the 20 pound water weight gain gone, gone, gone!! Except for a little residual swelling on the right side and a little pressure on this one incision I'm just about back to "normal."
I have been hanging around the house today, reading, knitting, watching tv and just being a bum so I am in good shape for our WILD WEEKEND! Rod and I are going to a Josh Groban concert tomorrow night. Chris is flying home from Chicago on Saturday morning. Then Rod, Nick, Chris and I are going down to Lincoln for the first Husker game of the season! After the game, we'll be going to my sister's house to tell my oldest niece Katie, good bye, or as they say in Mandarin, "Zai Jian." (So, are you impressed with that little phrase? I bet you're thinking, "Oh that Annette is so smart! She's bilingual!!" Actually, I Googled "Mandarin for good bye!")Anyway, we are saying, "Zai Jian" to Katie because she's moving to Taiwan to teach English for a year! She's very excited! She's Nick's age (almost 26) so I suppose she's old enough to go off like this.
On Sunday, besides church and breakfast, Chris and I will be going to a wedding! It's a young lady that I taught in first grade! She ended up going to school with Chris and was/is part of his group of friends! It should be a wonderful wedding!
Well, I don't really know anything exciting. I just thought I'd drop in and do a quick blog.
Thanks for reading.

Hello! What a week!

Monday, August 27, 2007
First, I'd like to thank all of you for hanging in here with me. I have not been very good about keeping up with this blog and I'm sorry if I've worried any of you. This last week has proven to be much harder than it was suppose to be, at least according to anyone who has ever had this surgery before.
So, the story goes like this:
Rod and I had been talking to my doctor off and on all day Monday. By late Monday afternoon, it was pretty obvious that this pain (that had started Sunday evening after some DELICIOUS onion rings from Lazlo's!) wasn't going to get better. In fact, it kept getting worse. So, she told me to have Rod take me down to the hospital by around 6:30 and she would have things lined up for admissions. After just a short wait, I was taken up to the 9th floor and started getting settled in a room. But, a nurse came in and told me that I was in the wrong room and I was then ushered to a room at the other end of the hall. About two minutes after I got in there, the tornado siren goes off and all of the patients were ushered into the hall where we stayed for the next hour, without pain medicine and with Rod and Nick prancing around like a couple of bears trying to get me some drugs! I knew it was not going to be a "regular" hospital visit!
I spent Tuesday taking pain meds,getting hooked up to IV fluids, getting my blood drawn and getting bags of "ffp" which is fresh-frozen-plasma. My blood was too thin for surgery due to the fact that I take coumadin for my PH. When I received the third bag, I had an allergic reaction. All of my skin turn red, was burning and then I broke out in hives- everywhere! After a couple of doses of IV Benedryl, I was better. But, my blood was still too thin, so I had to get some injections instead. Yippee!
Wednesday was surgery day. I wasn't on the schedule until 4:00 but I was promised they would do whatever they could to get me in earlier. My blood was still too thin anyway so it gave them time to give me another Lovinox shot. They also needed to give me a large dose of steroids before surgery since my body doesn't make any on it's own. Of course there was quite a bit of discussion about how much to give me since I had "issues" with the large doses I received in May.
Surgery went well. I was told by the anesthesiologist that I was going to be a tricky case because of the PH. But, an hour later I was in recovery feeling great! The hospital was very busy and I had to wait in recovery for about 4-5 hours before I was sent up to the 8th floor where I shared the room with a woman who was in serious need of a c-pap machine!
I spent Thursday blowing up....with fluid. In fact, I kept having increased pressure in my belly and when I went to the bathroom, I'd notice that my face was looking puffy. The IV fluids, surgery and the fact that I was on additional steroids caused me to retain lots of fluid. In fact, when I got home I discovered that I had gained over 20 pounds of fluid!
I was discharged early in the afternoon on Friday.
I’m very frustrated with how slowly I’m bouncing back from this. As of this morning, I’m down about 10 of the 20+ pounds of fluid I gained. So much of it is in my belly. The pressure and pain from all of this fluid in my belly is the biggest problem. Everything I read about having laproscopic gallbladder surgery led me to believe that I’d be feeling great and ready to do my regular routine in just a day or two. In fact, I received an e-mail from a friend who knew someone who had the same surgery on the same day and was at a party on Saturday night! Here it is Tuesday and I’m still uncomfortable! I feel like such a weanie!
OK, enough whining.
Thanks for reading!


I'm going home!

Friday, August 24, 2007
I asked Rod to bring my computer up to the hospital, thinking I would lounge around, watching tv and blog and etc. Well, at least I got it turned on before I went home! I'm leaving here in about an hour or so. I'll write more later. But, I did want to let you know that I'm heading home and I wanted to thank you all for prayers and well wishes. I'll "talk" to you soon.
thanks for reading

going into the hospital in about an hour...

Monday, August 20, 2007
"talk" to you in a day or two.

Gallbladder pain!!

I had another "gallbladder attack" last night that actually has continued off and on today. I'm suppose to go to the surgery clinic tomorrow at noon to get some blood drawn and see the surgeon. I just got a call from the nurse who manages my coumadin levels. She told me not to take my coumadin tonight and to take a lovinox shot tomorrow. She's anticipating that my gallbladder is going to be taken out in the next day or two. For as much as it has been hurting, I'd be happy to take it out myself. Gallbladder surgery is suppose to be a pretty easy procedure. But, when you have ph, a central line and adrenal insufficiency, nothing is "easy." I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.

The Three "H" Way to Create a Crabby Annette

Friday, August 17, 2007
1. HEAT-

My lungs hurt, I'm short of breath and I'm darn crabby about the whole thing!

But, on a happier note it is "Date Night" and Rod and I are going to go see the new Nicole Kidman movie, "Invaders!" It's going to be a creepy movie, but, buttered popcorn and Diet Coke makes any movie a great movie!!

Thanks for reading.

and a few more...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The pictures from the trip!

Fabulous Vacation!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
You know you're destined to have a great vacation when you have fun on a 3 hour layover in an airport! While waiting for our flight from Minneapolis to Seattle, Rod and I met a big game hunter named Greg who was on his way to south Africa to kill a rogue elephant that was killing people from the local village! Of course, I didn't believe him! He did have on safari kind of clothes, a circular scar on his calf that looked like a bullet hole and the word "Bwana" on his shirt. But, feeling a little ornery (shock!) I said, "How do we know you're not just making this up? How do we know that you're not just yanking our chains, making this all up just for effect?" So, he then pulled out a catalog showing himself and several dead animals including a giant dead water buffalo in Australia! When he's not a "gun for hire" he runs a safari travel agency. It was very cool! We have his business card, so if any of you are interested or if you have any rogue elephants...
While in Seattle, we checked out the Space Needle that was built for the 1962 World's Fair. Check out this website to get info: http://www.spaceneedle.com. The area around the Space Needle is still set up like it was for the World's Fair with a kid's science center, special art work and some games and rides like a state fair. But, the best part was that they had FOOD like a state fair! Rod was thrilled to have a cherry snow cone!
One of the big draws of Seattle is the Pike Place Market (http://www.pikeplacemarket.org). This is where merchants have their stalls set up so they can sell their fruit, vegetables, flowers and crafts. The biggest difference between this and a farmer's market is that they also have stands where they sell fresh meat and fresh fish. When someone orders something like salmon, the workers pick up a giant one and throw it around to weigh it, cut it up and package it. They also do some kind of yelling when they throw. I’m not sure what they were saying, but it did add to the excitement! Rod and I treated ourselves to some fresh cherries, grapes and newly fried mini powdered-sugar donuts! (Well-balanced vacation diet!)
One place that was high on Rod's lists of "things to do in Seattle" was to visit the Boeing plant. We were able to see giant planes being built! They actually have these giant 767's, 787's on an assembly line! They are able to build a working 787 in about 4 days! Although, the planes are in such high demand, it will take you about 1 1/2 years to get yours after you put in your order!
As a special treat, we decided to take a ferry from Anacortes (just outside Seattle) to Sidney, British Columbia. We drove to Victoria and stayed at this amazing hotel called the Fairmont Empress. To get some info on this amazing place go to: http://www.fairmont.com/empress
While in Victoria, we took a seaplane tour of the area. I have tried to post a couple of pictures of some of the islands in the area. The flight was scheduled to be for an hour, but our pilot took us out for almost 2 hours! It was so much fun!
Downtown Victoria offers such a variety of experiences! Everywhere you turn there are beautiful flowers, gardens (see photos...hopefully!) bookstores, shops and FOOD!! How can a person not have fun when they can go to a bookstore, buy some English Bone China and eat some ice cream without having to walk more than 2 blocks!!!
A very, very special treat was having lunch with a "phriend" (a friend who also has "PH," pulmonary hypertension)! Jas and I "met" through the PHA online discussion board. We met in person last summer at the PHA conference in Minneapolis. I remember talking to her about the fact that she lived in Canada. So, I got in touch with her to see if she lived close to Victoria. Well, she only lives about 30 minutes away! So, on our last full day in Victoria, she drove in and had lunch with Rod and I! She is such a sweetheart and I am so glad that she got to meet Rod and he meet her! Also, she went to the doctor the next day (via ferry! It's such a different world!) and got some excellent news on her PH!! I'm also going to try to post a picture of Jas.
We returned to Seattle by way a ferry again and spent one more day in Seattle before heading back to the world of reality! Fridays are the nights Rod and I try to go to a movie. Well, there just happened to be a couple of movie theaters within a couple of blocks of our hotel. So, after we got settled in our room, we headed off to see Rush Hour 3! It was hilarious, really silly, but hilarious!
People often ask how I can travel when I'm sick and some of you may be wondering if it was difficult getting around to all of our activities while on our fabulous vacation. Well, the first part of the answer is that I couldn't go do the fun things we do if I didn't have such a wonderful husband who acts as my personal entourage! Secondly, every time I start getting tired and feeling sorry for myself, God throws a sign in front of me to remind me how lucky I am and to keep on moving and keep on living. On the way to the movie on Friday, I was dragging my oxygen (which is on wheels) and my backup medicine across cobblestones, cracked concrete and curbs. I started feeling sorry for myself and had just turned my head to Rod so I could let loose with some good "whines," when I noticed a beautiful young woman across the street. She was trying to figure out how to cross the busy street. She was having trouble because she was blind and she was alone. I swallowed my "whine" and gave Rod a kiss and told him how much I loved him. I also closed my eyes and thanked God for keeping my head and heart in check. I was also shown that goodness and kindness is still alive and well in the world when several people stopped to help the young lady get to her destination.
Well, as you can tell, we had a fabulous vacation! We wish you could have been there! (Although I wouldn't have shared my popcorn!)

Thanks for reading!

I'm Back!

Sunday, August 12, 2007
Rod and I returned from our fabulous trip to Seattle. We didn't get back until last night and I am playing some serious "catch-up." I will try hard to post tomorrow, but I wanted everyone to know that we are back safe and sound.
Thanks for reading.

Even better than I imagined!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007
My sister Kathleen and I had absolutely, positively THE BEST TIME at the American Idol concert on Friday night!! We had such fabulous seats, main floor, row 18, seats 1 and 2!! I got those tickets on Ebay and only had to pay a bit more than the original cost!! We were so close that it was like we were having a private concert! (except of course for the high-pitched screaming adolescent girls that were sitting behind us!:0 ) All ten of the finalists performed. We were pleasantly surprised that Jordin (the winner) and Blake (the runner-up) sang so many songs! Especially because Jordin had been in a local recording studio all day working on her first album!
During the season, I enjoyed Blake but he always seemed a bit too "hip" for this old lady. But, I have a huge new level of appreciation for him now! He has a fabulous voice and the "bee-bopping" thing he did during the season is so cool to see in person! He is very, very talented. Plus, he had a big fan-base in the audience (the squealers were in fine pitch every time he performed!)!
We were both surprised when Sanjay came on stage with just his regular hair. No mohawk, no ponytail, no color, just his hair. Though there was a young lady in the audience with a very nice Sanjaya look-alike mohawk! We were also surprised that Sanjaya actually had a nice voice! There were a couple of times when he sounded like he did on TV, but all in all he did well.
We were also surprised with Phil's voice! He's the baldheaded guy! He was also very stoked because he had his own fan section of relatives from Nebraska. We never did figure out how they were related and where in Nebraska they're actually from. But, he was having a blast!
Both of the Chris', the shaved headed one and the curly haired one surprised us with their musical skills! "Shaved-headed Chris" is quite a drummer and "Curly-haired Chris" was excellent on the guitar!
Although I enjoyed Gina, the rocker with the shock of red hair and the tongue piercing, she really didn't seem to take the performance very seriously. She forgot words and/or started to laugh in the middle of a song. She was still good, but just not as good as I remembered from the season.
Kathleen and I both agreed that we were not fans of Haley. She actually has a very good voice but, she was really "flaunting" her body. It was very bothersome since there were so many young kids there, many who were in the front row. (OK, that was my official old lady comment!)
We both agreed that the real show stoppers were LaKisha, Melinda and Jordin! No matter what they sang, it was amazing! When LaKisha sang the Whitney Houston song, "I'll Always Love You" you could have heard a pin drop! Melinda stole the stage when she did Tina Turner's "Proud Mary!" Kathleen and I both think that LaKisha and Melinda will be on Broadway in the not too distant future!
My favorite part of the evening came when Jordin sang Martina McBride's "Broken Wing." She dedicated it to her grandfather and her great-grandmother. Her grandfather flew in to watch her sing the song during the competition. What he didn't tell her until after the show, was that her great-grandmother had passed away earlier in the day. It was beyond belief to sit in the audience on Friday night, watching and listening to this 17 year old girl singing like an angel and being in command of the stage like a pro! There were not very many dry eyes in the house that night.
It was an amazing night and I'm so very, very glad that I was able to share it with my beloved sister.

Thanks for reading.

I Can't Wait!!!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2007
Write this next statement down on your calendars....I did NOT go out to lunch yesterday and I am NOT going out to lunch today! (Although, some would say that I am ALWAYS out to lunch!!)
Yesterday, I did go to pulmonary rehab. I didn't make it on Tuesday, since I was so busy getting ready to go to lunch, eating lunch and then relaxing after lunch. (It's sounds like a good excuse, right?) Anyway, since I didn't get there on Tuesday, I decided to push myself a bit yesterday. Also, I won't be going next week because...have I told you???? Rod and I are going to a little vacation! Just the two of us! We are leaving Monday the 6th for Seattle! We'll come home on Saturday the 11th! We are going to have such a great time! Traveling with me though is always a unique experience. I can't go through the metal detector because of the Flolan medicine pump. I can't, of course, take it off since it's attached to me and there is a risk of the metal detector causing havoc with the pump, which is a really bad idea. Plus, I have to take my back-up pump and cassette of mixed Flolan which needs to be kept on ice. Plus, I have to take several days worth of medicine with me on the plane and with all of the new "safety rules" I have to have a prescription label on everything. PLUS, I have my Inogen O2 concentrator. Few of the security guys have seen and Inogen concentrator, so that always gets one or two people excited. So, usually my "entourage" gets quite a workout! But, there is one perk. We always get to board the plane early which means we always have our choice of overhead storage! :)
Anyway, the point of the title "I Can't Wait" doesn't have anything to do with the trip (which of course I also can't wait for!), it has to do with what is happening tonight! My sister and I are going to the AMERICAN IDOL CONCERT TONIGHT AT THE QWEST CENTER!! I got us some great FLOOR SEATS on Ebay!! It is going to be so exciting! Kathleen and I are already taking bets on the style and color of Sanjaya's hair!! I'll be sure to let you know all about it! I'm trying to be lazy today (hence no lunch date) so that I can be all rested and ready to be entertained!!

Thanks for reading.