Saturday, January 16, 2016

Beware of Bronchitis

There were two thing that I had planned/hoped to write about before the end of 2015... the adventure of purchasing our second home (hoping to get to this soon!) and my 3-day stay in our local ICU.  Unfortunately, neither of these got written and posted in time to make it into my 2015 blog book (which I ordered today!), but better late than never, right?

On September 13th I headed to the beach for a work related conference.  I was SOO looking forward to three nights of "mommy vacation" in a quiet room and a bed to myself.  Plus, this was my third trip to this conference, one that I have enjoyed every year, so I was pumped.

I arrived at the hotel, checked into my room, headed to the restaurant to grab some dinner and a glass of wine, and started to feel a bit "blah".  Thought for sure that I'd just picked up another daycare cold and that I'd suffer through it.  The next day, Monday, I felt awful.  I made it through the day, but left the last session early to go rest.  I ordered room service for dinner.  A bowl of clam chowder and a roll... which would last me for the next two days of meals.

Sick in my beautiful, coastal hotel room

Tuesday I went down to the conference for breakfast, but had to leave about half an hour into the first keynote session... and spent the rest of the day in bed with what I'm assuming were chills and aches from a fever.  Wednesday morning I didn't even try.  I just got out of bed, packed up my stuff, and drove home... hoping that I could make it back safety.

On Thursday I went to the doctor.  He looked, listened, etc, etc. and told me that I had Bronchitis.  He pretty much told me that I had to suffer through it and that it would go away eventually.  BUT if I got symptom A, B, or C to come back.  I never got any of these additional symptoms, but by Monday I was still feeling AWFUL.  I could barely move, I had an awful cough, I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep all day.  By this point I had been out of work for a week.  My daughter was getting a bit scared (she cried one morning and told my husband how much she missed her mommy).  So, that morning we dropped off the kids at daycare and I had Jacob take me to Urgent Care for a second opinion on this whole Bronchitis thing.

I don't know how long we waited in the waiting room.  As I mentioned, I just wanted to sleep.  I may have very well fallen asleep.  Everything around this stage in the story is a bit foggy.  When we were called back they did the usual scale, blood pressure, check oxygen level thing... but something wasn't right.  They checked my oxygen twice (I think with two different devices) and then called an ambulance.  With in minutes I was hooked up to an oxygen tank, in a hospital gown, on a gurney in the back of an ambulance headed to the ER.

Turns out that I had developed pneumonia and was in "respiratory failure" (this bit was not made clear to me until after I was released from the ICU).  My oxygen levels were in the mid-80% range.  Hospital staff refused to let me move for about 24 hours as every time I did my levels decreased.  I had a nose tub oxygenation device AND a face mask for the first day/night.  The doctor told me that if my levels didn't increase that they would have to intubate.  I took LOTS of deep breaths after that point and thankfully it never came to that.  But that first night was awful.  I couldn't sleep with all of the oxygen being pumped into my nose and mouth.  Plus I still had a horrible cough and "waking up" coughing in the middle of the night with a mask on your face leads to some real claustrophobic type of feelings.

View from the ICU

By the middle of the second day I was off of the face mask and finally walking around a little bit.  My oxygen levels had reached the mid-90% range, but I still had to wear my nose tubing while they slowly decreased the amount of oxygen that was getting pumped into me to make sure that my lungs were fully capable of working on their own.  The second night I only had to "sleep" with the nose tubes.  I was thankful.

Day three, I started walking up and down the halls with my nurse.  The nose tubes were removed and I was steadily breathing on my own again.  My oxygen levels stayed up there and so that doctors agreed that I could be discharged from the ICU and moved to a "regular" hospital room... where I spent my last night and got to take a shower (Hallelujah! I will never again to Urgent Care without taking a shower first!).

I was discharged the following day (Thursday) and was pretty much on bed rest for another week.  In the end, I was out of work for 3 weeks... and probably should have stayed out longer.  It took much more time than that for my lungs to strengthen up again (I had to skip another 5k that I'd signed up for, and put my workouts on hold for about 2 months while I recovered), plus, I lost about 15 pounds... in a week... and was really, really weak.  I have also been told that now I am more susceptible to developing pneumonia in the future, so that I have to be extra careful and cautious when I get ill.  I may end up buying myself one of those finger tip oxygen reader things... I don't want to ever repeat that experience again!

Goodbye hospital bed!

I was so thankful for Jacob and our child care provider during this whole process.  Jacob worked remotely from the hospital room in the mornings and then went to the office in the afternoons... and then came back in the evenings.  Our daycare provider kept the kids for two overnights so that Jacob could be there with me.  I was so thankful for that.  It gets pretty lonely in the ICU, especially when you don't really know/understand what's happening to you or how bad of a situation you are in.

When the nurse in my "regular" room told her colleague at shift change that I had been "admitted in respiratory failure" I'm sure that my heart skipped a beat.  I hadn't known that things were that bad... seeing an 80% reading on an oxygen monitor doesn't mean anything to a lay-person... at least, not to this one.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Facing My Fears!

This is by far not the most important of blog posts in terms of the catch up that I'm trying to do, but I think it is definitely worth including...

I got a tattoo!

For some, this is no big deal, for me, it is a HUGE accomplishment and milestone of me facing some pretty big fears.

I have been terrified of (some) needles for a very, very long time... almost phobic (my doctor's have actually prescribed me anti-anxiety medications before to assist with the need for blood draws/testing).  Ever since I was a kid, getting a blood draw (or other intrusive needle jabbing)--and sometimes just the THOUGHT of it--was usually accompanied by a fainting spell.  Passing out in doctor's chairs, car passenger seats, my dentists chair, a pre-op hospital bed, health class (yup...), while watching medical shows on TV... it was definitely a "thing".  One of my biggest concerns about ever getting pregnant was the sheer number of pre-natal blood tests and being connected to an IV in the hospital.

Over the years, I have figured out ways to combat my anxiety around this and have discovered different coping mechanisms that help.  But getting in front of a needle is not exactly my idea of a good time (I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 25... AFTER getting my nose pierced as my quarter-century birthday-present-to-me/act of personal rebellion... I figured it was just one hole/needle rather than two! lol).

That being said, I have been thinking about getting a tattoo for YEARS.  In fact, a few months before I made the consultation appointment with the artist I got a Timehop flashback from FOUR YEARS AGO saying something around the lines of "I really want to get a tattoo!" =)  I figured that it was time. 

I'd been thinking about what I wanted for a pretty long time, and had been searching around Yelp/Google/Reviews/etc for artists and shops in the area... but I just hadn't pulled the trigger.  Then, a friend of mine got the name of an artist that she thought would do a good job... and Jacob said that he would finally get "his" tattoo, too!  So, we made it a sort of 5-year wedding anniversary adventure and gave up our tattoo virginities at the same time.  =)

I had a pretty good sense of what I wanted from my tattoo, but needed something designed.  I am very happy with the results!  The image is a floral "timeline".  The first flower, the Morning Glory, is a birth month flower for September (both Jacob and I were born in September), the Sunflower was our wedding flower.  The Sweet Pea ins April's flower (Emily's birth month) and the orange flower, a Cosmos (or could also double as a marigold, is for October, when Sam was born.

Jacob had a friend design his (based on line art that he had already created).  The symbol signifies a childhood nickname.  And also his online gaming persona.  ;)

Overall, I am very happy with the final products.  And am happy to report that I didn't pass out AT ALL!  That is a HUGE win!  It went so well (and didn't hurt nearly as much as I was expecting), that I'm already wondering what my next one will be.  ;)

My (Other) Baby Turns 1!

OK, actually, he just turned 13 months... I'm a bit behind with my life recaps (we've been busy, I swear!) but here is a cute kid photo dump of Sam's first birthday party last month!  His actual birthday double as CLOSING DAY for our new house, and so his birthday party the following week was kind of an open house for family and friends as well.  =)  Much to celebrate!

Sam was actually pretty tentative with the cake.  We didn't get the traditional "smash" that we were hoping for.  In fact, Jacob had to put Cheerios on it just to get Sam to put the frosting in his mouth! lol

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hypocrite Much? ;)

As I'm sitting here in a coffee shop eating a chocolate chip-raspberry muffin and drinking a brown sugar chai, I think this may be the appropriate time to talk about my weight loss and fitness progress and goals.  ;)

I have battled with my weight for YEARS.  I like to blame it on my kids/pregnancies, but that is by far not how/when it started.  In all honesty, I think it started when I finally found myself feeling safe, comfortable and happy (ironic, huh?)... when I was in my mid 20s.  (It may have started earlier than that, but thinking back and seeing myself in pictures in high school/college/graduation/etc, I didn't start to balloon until after I graduated from college).  I have discovered that my body is REALLY good at gaining weight.  But it's also pretty good at losing it... thus lots of fluctuation over the years (and lots of piles of pants that are either too big or two small in my closet).

When I got my first job post-grad school I was at my highest weight.  I hated to admit the numbers on the scale and mostly just ignored them (and had been doing so for months--maybe years--I'm sure).  My now-husband had also proposed to me just a few months prior to this point, and I knew that I wanted to drop some inches before my wedding day.  So, I did.  Between a counting calories routine and getting some exercise (though more of the former and less of latter, to be honest), I dropped 30 lbs in 8 months.  My dress had to be altered a lot (and the seamstress even commented on the fact that I bought too big of a dress size... I told her it was my "fault" for dropping the weight).

When I got pregnant roughly a year later, I was only up about 5-10 lbs from wedding weight... but then I gained a TON during pregnancy (too many brownies) and my daughter wasn't nearly chubby enough to take the bulk of it with her.  ;)  About a year after she was born, I was at my NEW highest weight (by about 15 lbs, I think) and felt awful.  So, I started the food diary/calorie counting routine again and started to (attempt to) work out again.  I'll tell you though, working out with an infant/toddler at home after working 40 hours/week is REALLY difficult, both emotionally and physically).  

By February 2014 I was down roughly 25 lbs, had just fit back into my pre-prego jeans, was 5-10 lbs away from pre-prego weight (and about 15-20 lbs away from wedding weight) and was feeling pretty awesome!  And then, I found out that I was pregnant with my son.  FANTASTIC news for my husband and I and our families, but terrible news for my body.  As I mentioned before, my body is REALLY good at gaining weight.

With my son, I stopped paying attention to the scales at the doctor's office.  I tried to be "good" with my eating and only had MAYBE one or two chocolate milkshakes the entire time!  But, I still gained a lot of weight (much more than the "recommended" amount) and, after my son was born, I was right back to the beginning in terms of my post-prego weight loss with my daughter.  Only, this time, I had a goal... by my son's 1st birthday, I wanted to have dropped the weight!  So, I kicked my own ass into gear!

In May I joined a "Biggest Loser" challenge with a group of local moms.  It was great to have the weekly food and exercise challenges, as well as the encouragement from others.  In the 8ish weeks that the challenge occurred, I dropped roughly 13 lbs.

During the last 4 weeks of the challenge, the weather was started to get nicer, earlier so I started (again, for the third time) the Couch To 5k (C25k) running program.  I would go in the mornings before work (hello 5:30 am) and go for runs... something that I was NEVER good at, and always HATED... before now, and before I saw the weight loss results that running could have!  After the end of the Biggest Loser challenge I continued the C25k program and signed up for another 5k (I signed up for one with my sister in law at the beginning of the summer, but don't really count that one as I walked the majority of the course).

I had a new goal... no longer was my goal to "lose weight", but rather to RUN a 5k.  And I was determined to do so by the race in August.

And I DID IT!  Not only did a RUN the entire thing, but I took something like 11 minutes off my time from the first (walked) race... and finished in the middle of my age division.  Did you hear that?  The MIDDLE!  Not the END!  The amount of pride that I felt in myself was unbelievable. And, as an extra bonus, I'd lost another 10 lbs or so.

I decided to sign up for another 5k a couple months later, in early October.  I continued to run with a goal to improve my time and do it for enjoyment (running on the beach is awesome!)

About a month in, something totally came in and ruined my plans... I got pneumonia.  I was hospitalized for several days (more on this later) and it just completed kicked my butt and knocked me out.  It was absolutely awful (more on this later)  That being said... I lost about 15 lbs... in less than a week, and found myself at pre-prego weight before little man's 1st birthday.  Silver lining?

Though I was down pounds-wise, I didn't feel strong anymore.  I felt so, so weak..

It's been almost 2 months since I was discharged from the hospital.  I have gained back about 6 lbs (I am ok with that for now, as I know that my body wasn't ready to lose it), and just started running around last week.  I have signed up for a 5k in March and am looking forward to the cold, wet asphalt and my ability to, once again, see my body in action and feel strong and accomplished.  Also, hoping to get back down to pre-Sam weight, followed by pre-Emily weight, followed by (dare I say?) wedding weight.  ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our New Normal

There is been a bit of radio silence on this blog recently... mostly it's because life's been nuts (in addition to the general nuttiness of having two small children).  The Corey family has decided to change things up a bit... rather drastically.  

The whole thing started this summer when Jacob was offered, accepted and started a new job in Vancouver, on the other side of the river, in another state, with different taxes.  Jacob started talking about wanting to move as it would effect his take-home income, but my job and our (awesome) child care situation was holding us back.  Then, in August, you may remember my post about not getting a promotion that I really thought I had a high chance of getting... and was really the carrot at the end of the stick in terms of my then-current position.  

I had an epiphany at that point... I was, once again, "stuck" in a position that I didn't really want to do, for less than 1/3 of what Jacob was getting paid for a job that he loves (and would bring home more from if we moved to Vancouver due to the lack of income tax).  I was spending about 3 hours per weekday with my kids, 2 hours of which was stressing everyone out by trying to get them out the door in time for Jacob and I to get to work or trying to get them to bed.  I never had any energy on the weekends, was commuting roughly 1.5-2 hours per day (same for Jacob) between work and shuttling kids to daycare.  It just didn't make sense anymore.  I have always enjoyed my work and really cared about it's mission... which I still do.  But I couldn't make the argument anymore that I was continuing to work for my family and for myself... it wasn't true anymore.

So, in August, we found a house that we loved in Vancouver and put in an offer.  We put our house on the market.  We got an offer in September, and moved in October, the week before Sam's birthday and in November I finished working to stay home, raise my children, and manage our household. 

 This post was going to be about the process of the home purchase/move and our stumbling blocks... that's what I intended to write about when I started.  But the post has taken a different course, and I'm going to allow it to do so.  I'll tell you all more about the move later, but for now let me just tell you how amazing it is not to have wake up a sleepy 3-year old when it's still dark outside (when she REALLY doesn't want to open her eyes), skip breakfast EVERY morning because there just isn't enough time to get everything done, not eat dinner until 7:00/7:30 because I can't actually start cooking until 6:00, spend more than an hour a day listening to my children laugh and play, go to the store on a Tuesday afternoon when there are no lines, take my kids to the library and week day play grounds.  Jacob is loving it, too.  He can sleep/leave a little later in the morning (and in a better mood!), can come home on his lunch breaks to hang out with us, and is home about an hour earlier every night than he has been for the last 3 years... it's only day 4 (and, truth be told, today is my "me/errands day" and they are actually with the sitter while I go grocery shopping and run other errands - while still taking a Starbucks break for some peppermint hot chocolate and blog catch ups) but so far I'm not regretting my decision at all, and believe that we made the best choice for our family.  I am very much looking forward to seeing what our new "normal" is going to be like.  =)