Some days are Harder Than Others

Writing my story about the wreck was hard. It took time to process all those feelings. I still lose my breath when I close my eyes and see that truck coming for me. I can feel the spinning of my car and I want to scream.

I am so frustrated at the waiting game. I have 10 weeks of physical therapy that has yet to begin. I can start as soon as it goes through insurance. I miss being me. I miss being a mom. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy to be alive. And if it meant being in that wheelchair the rest of my life, it would be better than being dead.

Looking back people think seeing my car or pictures of me being extricated out of the car would be the most painful. And while yes, it is hard sometimes to look at them and sometimes I shutter and the pain comes rushing back. The most painful picture, the one that I don’t want to see or try not to look at is the picture I took of my boys that morning in their 4th of July outfits. That picture was playing in my head the whole time. It was the last time I was with my boys, the way I would remember them. It could have been my last look at them if I had died and that makes my soul ache.

To know I came so close to death. To know I could have missed out on my boys and being their mom? Well I am so lucky and I can’t get that thought out of my head when I see that picture. Yea I am frustrated. And yeah I have bad attitude days and want to hide in my room and sleep. But more than anything I am thankful. God I love being their mom.

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Semi homemade Chicken Pot Pie Take 2!

Okay so I posted a picture on Instagram last night and had a lot if people inquire about the recipe so this is the one I adapted from Sandra Lee for Food Network. It’s semi homemade and you can control all the amounts and ingredients to be as healthy as you want. Best part is I always have a little filling and sauce leftover to make another meal in the week. Scalloped potatoes are my fave!

2 chicken breast cubed and cooked. 2 med red potatoes peeled and diced
2/3 c frozen peas
2/3 c baby carrots, sliced thin
2 stalks of celery thinly sliced
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp all purpose flour
2 c low sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 c milk ( I used 2%)
Marie callendars deep dish frozen pie crust. Or whatever your favorite brand may be.

Preheat oven to 400. Open pie shells and place one on cookie sheet take the other out of metal tin and let thaw on cookie sheet.

Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil or spray oil if you prefer to a nonstick pan and cook chicken. Take off heat and cool. I prefer to. I’ve mine first but you could always cook whole and cube after. I add salt and pepper and some sort of all purpose seasoning like Mrs Dash. I cook by eyeballing and tasting. So I would start small and add more as needed.

Peel and dice potatoes and sauté in a pan on medium heat and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Next add celery and carrots for a few more. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir.

In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour, whisking after each tablespoon. Next slowly add broth whisking the entire time until all is incorporated. Approximately 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Add dried thyme and stir. Slowly add milk whisking until smooth. Cook another few minutes. During this time add chicken mixture to pie shell. Then fill with sauce. Depending on pie shell depth, you may have extra. No worries use the sauce to make scalloped potaotes later in the week;)

Top with the thawed pie shell and seal edges. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Pull out and wrap the edges in foil so as not to burn. Put back into oven until golden brown about another 15-20 minutes.

Serve this hearty dish while still piping hot. And enjoy!

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Did my kid just say Ray Rice?

I didn’t prepare for this but I it’s not like I needed to plan out what I was going to say. We tell our boys that touching another human being in a harmful, violent manner is never acceptable. So when my 2 oldest boys and I were putting away laundry and picking up I wasn’t surprised when my oldest started shooting toys into the bin naming football players names each time. They are into sports and like to watch with their dad. During basketball season they toss basketballs or toys and yell Kobe. Baseball the talk Dodgers a day everyday. And now that football has started they have started naming off football players they hear a lot and guys they see make big plays.

What I wasn’t expecting was my oldest to shout out Ray Rice when playing around. I said excuse me? And he looks at me totally confused. It dawns on me that while they are tossing around the football kind of paying attention to the game, he probably heard his name a lot but didn’t hear and definitely didn’t see why.

I look straight at him and tell him I never want to hear that name out of his mouth again. I said he is NOT a nice man and doesn’t deserve to be walking around free. Of course he asked why and I didn’t hesitate to say he beat up his wife. My son looked at me so perplexed. As in why would he do that. He asked why and I said I don’t know but there is never a reason for a man to hurt a woman physically. That it’s never okay to touch someone with the intent to harm them. That women are tough but that doesn’t mean you can punch them. He says okay and then looks up and asks me what happened to her. And BOOM! I was so not prepared with what to say after that.

I said she went to the hospital but is better now. He had more questions but I didn’t know what to say. She apologized for her involvement, she married him, she is a victim and probably scared. I was not prepared to go there. I told him that’s as far as our conversation was going to go and I lucked out because he was over it too.

I haven’t thought a lot about the whole situation myself to be honest. I totally chickened out in that moment. I used my mommy powers to end the convo and while not ashamed I am not proud either. Goodness I need to stay ahead of the game with that kid! What would you say? Mind you I also had a 4 year old in the room and didn’t want to get into details. I also didn’t know how to explain victimization and the psychological ramifications of being abused by a loved one. Again I’m just glad he dropped it.

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Success!

I don’t know what has happened and I sure as heck hope I’m not jinxing myself but I have been feeling much better lately. I finally slept at night. In a bed. On my side!!!

Okay I know y’all are like big freaking woop. Well I haven’t slept on my side since before the accident. And I haven’t slept in a bed since the first night home from the hospital where I woke up with the worst back pain. So bad I haven’t slept on my back since. And I fell asleep around 11:30 pm. Yeah I woke up like usual but I rolled over and fell back asleep!!! Total huge amazing moment.

I mean I have to shove a goat king sized pillow between my legs and lift my gimpy leg on top of said pillow, all while half way twisting my body on it’s side, but success! And it does take me quite a while and a lot of wiggling to find my sweet spot. It isn’t perfect and it hurts a little but I will take it.

Also I ran out of Percocet after my bad week where I was in bad pain again and back to taking a whole pill instead of a half. Now I just take some Advil as needed. It doesn’t take all my pain and twinges away but it helps.

I know I’m way too excited for one nights rest but damn I needed that! Here’s hoping there are many more fantastic nights to come!

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Mistakes Happen

So we get to the hospital and check in. I’m waiting in the hall and notice it is definitely not as busy as last time and so much cleaner. I immediately feel relaxed and like it’s going to be a good day. Then Matt comes out and that brief moment is gone.

He says the receptionist said I got the appointment date wrong because Dr. Eagan isn’t here today. Um no I didn’t. Not only did I receive a text message reminder to confirm, but my reply of “yes” wasn’t accepted so I had to call to confirm my appointment. But none the less she said she would double check and call or name over the loud speaker.

Cut to 30 minutes later and we are still sitting I the waiting room. There are not as many people this time and no one is totally frustrated and irate, yet. Matt decided to go back up and see what’s going on. A few minutes later a lady walks out and calls me. I was so excited and then she walks over and says we made your appointment for the wrong day. Your doctor is not working the clinic today and you have to see your doctor. Ugh. I bite my tongue and say okay what now? She apologizes and says she will get me another appointment and be right back.

Meantime, we are talking to another couple in the waiting room who have asked what I’m in for. I am always uneasy in these situations. As soon as we tell them how my injuries occurred we get the oh wow sympathy looks and then either the awkward pause where they don’t know how to transition or the I hate people who drink and drive rant. Both are fine. I mean I hate people who drink and drive and I feel awkward because do I have to now reciprocate and ask about their injury? See most of these people are older and well their injuries are less tragic and more I fell or years of working in such such business did me in. Today the guy proceeded to tell me how awful it was that I couldn’t walk still and yet his wife had hip replacement surgery and was up and walking the next day!! Just rub it in buddy, just rub it in.

Luckily the nice lady came back and I know have a new appointment next week and my situation starts all over. To make it even better I’m out of pain meds. Now I don’t need much but I do need something. I called my regular doctor and they were going to call in something for me but didn’t get a chance to before closing. Last night Tylenol didn’t last. Tonight I’m taking ibuprofen and it seems to be working fun better but again it’s wearing off and making sleep harder. One more week. I’ve made it this far, one more week is nothing. Also I’m alive. Cannot complain I’m alive.

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Wishing and Hoping

Tomorrow I go back to the orthopedic clinic and meet with my surgeon. I am hoping I get good news and can start adding weight onto my leg. I am hoping I can start the rest of my recovery. I am hoping for good news and pretty X-rays.

I am hoping for a lot but only know 1 thing is for sure: the wait. Holy crap the last time we went it was almost a 5 hour trip. It took so long and I was freezing sitting in this awful nasty waiting room. Please I so hope it’s not 5 hours again. I know it will be a long wait but I’m hoping not THAT long.

I also ran out of pain meds. I don’t really need any super strong ones but something for the days that are bad would be helpful. I am current hopped up on some killer Tylenol right now. Keeping the tingle of nerves at bay while I lay in bed.

Ahhhh bed. It’s my third night back in bed. I’ve been residing sleeping on an oversized recliner in our bedroom since I came home. I wish I could say my bed is helping but it’s not. It makes my back hurt and since I don’t trust myself staying on my side with pillows between my legs I have to stay on my back with my foam wedge between my legs. One of my precautions is that my legs can’t cross or even really touch. I go back and forth between sitting up and laying down. I will find my sweet spot I’m sure.

So wish me luck and here’s to HOPE.

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Lunch Box Tricks

With the return of school also comes the return of lunch making. This year I’m limited with what I can do since I’m in a wheelchair. I mean I can stand up and hop around but it’s so tiring and it’s a lot for me. Often times I’m frustrated and it is just more trouble than what it’s worth because I have found my kids like simple just as much as complicated.

Aiden is my oldest and often called Mikey because, well, he will eat anything. Remember those old commercials where the kids give the weird food to Mikey to test out because he will eat anything? Yeah that’s my Aiden! I can be fun and daring with him. But Caleb, my middle little, well if he eats half his lunch I’m stoked.

We are halfway through week two and so far Caleb has been eating his entire lunch box almost everyday. I cannot tell you how excited the hubs and I are about this. He must be playing and working hard because he is eating more and more everyday at all meals. He is a tiny little thing. I have always been worried about his weight since he outgrew his chubby baby phase. And no matter how many times the doctor to me he was just fine I would still want to plump him up.

So this years revelations: mini bagels. Caleb will eat anything served on a mini bagel. I will put strawberry cream cheese, salami, turkey, ham, peanut butter and bananas. The boy eats it up and usually everything else. I have also asked the boys what they want and let them help me. I need their help and having caleb decide what goes into his lunchbox is ensuring he will eat it. He may not put all the veggies I would like in there but he is eating his carrots and apples daily and I will take it!

Speaking of apples, getting them to not turn brown has been challenging. For years I’ve googled and read every blog about packing lunches and still couldn’t find one that didn’t include some kind of citrus acid. So I would use the citric acid and water trick but sometimes the apples were too sour, especially Granny Smith, and the boys wouldn’t eat them all up. So I just want to share this gem thanks to google and America’s Test Kitchen YouTube page. Soak apple slices in a mixture of water and honey. So weird but it work! Better than the citric acid and water trick. And since it has honey the sweetness compliments the apples natural flavor instead of overwhelming it. It’s just a mixture of 1 tsp of honey for every 1 cup of water. I have been doing 2 cups of water with 2 tsp of honey and slicing a whole apple. I let mine soak a little longer than they recommend to ensure they stay fresh. I usually do this first and let them soak while I prep the rest of the lunch. The last thing I do is grab a few slices and toss them in their planetbox lunch system. I always have a few leftover that I out in a Baggie and the fridge. We usually give them to the baby the next day for lunch or a snack.
Since I’ve been doing this, the boys have been eating their apples every day.

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Life Changing Moments: the surgery

It’s surgery day and I’m so nervous. I actually slept a little the night before, which totally surprises me. Honestly as I think back to how scared I was I don’t even feel it. Writing this piece, sharing my thought about what happened to me, has helped.

Anyway, it was such a whirlwind I barely remember anything leading up to surgery. I do remember being in the surgical holding room. It was so nice. There were these other patients I could hear but not see. I watched everyone enter and exit and all the doctors and nurses walk by. Matt was there and my grandparents. I remember still worrying about dying. I remember thinking I’m not going to see my mom before I go back. If I don’t wake up I won’t get to tell my mommy I love her and appreciate everything she has ever done for me. She was there waiting to see me but something happened and the nurse who let’s people back was on break. Seriously.

I have always been super close to my grandparents. But then there was this time where we didn’t exist in each other’s lives anymore. 10 years I lived without them. I was so happy they were by my side through all this. I’m so glad we are rebuilding our relationship.

I talk to the Dr. Eagan. I ask what he will be doing exactly. He describes how they will cut me from way above my hip all the way down to my thigh. If they can’t do everything through that incision they may have to cut up my abdomen too. (Thankfully they didn’t) he told me about all the blood vessels they had to move over, how my sciatica would be moved. Oh great! I have had horrible sciatica pain for years and being pregnant with Callen made it worse. In some cases the sciatica can be damaged and I will lose the ability to lift my foot up to walk! I had already known this thanks to google and my iPhone. I asked how often this happens and he said for him? Never, but it’s always a possibility.

I begin to feel a little better and have confidence in my guy. He is talking to the nurses and says oh I’m just gonna fix this wrist real quick and then I got my acetabular. That’s me! He said no biggie the wrist will take me no time at all and I’ll be right back for you.

Soon the nurse comes over and says it’s time to say goodbye. I still have mostly cried when I was alone and try holding it all in for Matt’s sake. I didn’t want him to know how scared I was. How much I was just trying to make sure the last thing I saw was him. Apparently the nurse told Matt and me, that she was going to give me something on my way back. The last thing I remember is saying goodbye to Matt. I thought I would get the whole count backwards from 10 drill like you see on TV but no. I was out before I even started.

I awoke and my grandma was by my side. I woke up! I woke up!! I was so happy to open my eyes. So happy and groggy. Oh my I was groggy. I thanked my grandma and said goodbye. I still was trying to wake my brain up and figure out what had happened. Surely they didn’t get to perform the surgery. This all seemed too easy. I feel okay and I’m awake. But it wasn’t a dream. Dr. Eagan came by and said it went perfectly. I had the worst type of hip fracture but it broke in the best way. No crushed bones, no jigsaw puzzles for him. A couple of plates and a couple of screws and I should be like new. He did find a fracture in my knee but at the time it didn’t appear to be surgical and not a priority.

After a stint in a rehab hospital, I am home. I am using a wheelchair mostly but can use a walker too. I take it one day at a time and my insomnia is my biggest problem. The moral of the story here is don’t drink and drive. Ever. Just don’t. I was lucky, blessed whatever you believe. I am here, and I have things to do and kids to raise. So let’s get on with it. Thank you for sharing this difficult time with me.

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Life Changing Moments: Part 4

Morphine. Unless you get morphine on a drip at your disposal, it’s the dumbest painkiller ever. Yes it works. It works almost immediately and gloriously, but it wears off so fast. Within 30 minutes I can feel twinges of pain and by 2 hours I’m in full blown pain again.

County hospitals need to exist. And ours is the only level 1 trauma center in our city. I had to go there. I didn’t have a choice. And now I was stuck on a gurney until they could transfer me to the surgical wing. They also were waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to come speak with me. Again it felt like forever and I had to lay and the most uncomfortable thing with a broken hip.

Now family is calling, talking about transferring me. This hospital is not really as great as it sounds. It’s filthy and there are so many people in every corner, it has the worst reputation and I can’t say their treatment of me proved that reputation wrong.

The surgeon comes in and at this point it’s still up in the air as to if I will need surgery or not. I was hoping I wouldn’t. I just wanted this to be simple from here on out. I silently pleaded with God to protect me again, even more. I don’t know why, maybe because I still worried about dying so much, but the idea of surgery scared the hell out of me.

His name is Dr. Gomez and he was not at all what I was expecting and super friendly. He confirmed surgery was needed, without it I would definitely need a total hip replacement sooner rather than later and arthritis was imminent. So when, was my next question. Apparently the type of fracture I had is the worst kind you can have. Only 2 doctors in my city perform the surgery, him and a Dr. Eagan. I ask if I could get another opinion or ask another doctor. He said of course but I would have to go to Fresno or Los Angeles. Then he looks at Matt and I and said the most honest thing ever. He said ” I know this hospital has a not so great reputation, and it’s probably mostly correct. For instance I won’t perform your surgery. The earliest I will do it is Monday and I won’t be here Dr. Eagan will. It’s a holiday weekend and the surgical staff is the B team. I only perform this surgery with my top staff.” Now I know this comes off as saying exactly what I want to hear but he also said he write up a list of other surgeons I could seek out for their opinion. I can’t explain it we just felt comfortable with what he was saying. My family however still wanted me moved.

When I finally got a room, it was the worst room ever. My roommate was a severely obese YOUNG lady who smelled so bad my mother had to rave gagging. Thankfully I got put in another room. But two things I realized about hospital beds and the nurses I encountered. They won’t help you transfer unless absolutely necessary, I have a broken hip and we didn’t know this but knee as well and my entire right side is so sore, I needed all their help!! Also they are so much more comfortable than a gurney. As soon as I got into position, half of my pain was gone!

As we waited I silently cried. I cried when no one was looking and I prayed and pleaded with God to save me once again. I don’t know why but I had such a fear of this surgery. I kept thinking I’m too calm, I was too calm. When I go under I’m never waking up. I thought about the will I wrote as a class assignment and how it was going to be my kids reality. I wondered if Matt would follow my wishes and stay with my parents so they could help him raise the boys. I wondered how long he would stay by my bedside hoping for me to wake up. How long would he keep me alive and would he give up on me. I told you, I was terrified.

Then I did the one thing I wasn’t supposed to do. The only doctor I spoke to during this time said this was like the “going to the moon” type of surgery for ortho’s and that he didn’t do it but had seen it. He did not ease my worries. So I googled it. Ugh the amount of complications that can arise from this surgery are ridiculous! Like dead foot. They have to move your sciatica nerve out of the way to perform the surgery and sometimes it is damaged and your foot no longer works. Your foot no longer moves up and down in a walking motion. This was not what I needed to read, you know as someone who has issues with her sciatica already. Then the chance of arthritis anyway and then a hip replacement eventually, yeah well that didn’t help.

I had an amazing roommate named Sherry. She talked me off my ledge of fear. She prayed with me and for me and put me at ease. I thanked her many times but I know it wasn’t enough. She was so sweet and kind and funny. I hope she is doing well and I think about her often. I finally fall asleep knowing tomorrow is my big day and I will again have to be strong.

To be continued…

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Back 2 School 2014

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I am so proud of myself and my boys! We had a successful first day of school and no one cried! I thought I would and honestly if I had walked them to class like I normally do I probably would have.

Caleb did great! The night before he was worried about making friends and being around so many new kids. But when he walked in the door after school he immediately said “mom I made 2 friends!” Success! Tonight when he went to bed he said ” goodnight mom, see you on the second day of school. ” I know the newness will wear off but for now I’m riding this wave as long as I can.

Aiden is a talker. He has and probably always will get into trouble for talking. This year he came home from school and said he didn’t get in trouble for talking today! Again, it won’t always be like this but I will take it!

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I’m trying really hard to focus on the fact that I am alive and here to share another school year with my kids. But a little piece of me is mad that I couldn’t go to my sons first day and walk him to and from school. I chose to stay home it’s just too crazy for me in a wheelchair to battle my way through and too much to ask my husband to battle for all 5 of us. When I think about it I can feel the anger rising. I snuff it out though and remember I’m still here.

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