February 17, 2011

Field Trip

Posted in Journal tagged , at 11:54 am by Jenn

I’ve lived in and around Washington DC most of my life.  I visited the museums and monuments when I was in school and since then have pretty much ignored the culture of our nation’s capital.  Sad, I know…but true.

With football season over I told Scott that we needed to stop sitting around all weekend long and start taking advantage of all the free entertainment that surrounds us in DC.  Well he didn’t seem too thrilled but my sister is always up for a field trip.  There is a really cool exhibit at the Natural History Museum so we planned to head downtown on Sunday. 

It really has been years since I’ve been in the museum, but as soon as we walked in we were greeted by an old friend

We decided to start at the top floor and went through the Rocks, Gems and Minerals, peeked in on the butterflies and checked out a few insects.  Of course no visit would be complete without seeing the Hope Diamond.

Written in Bone was the name of an exhibit that I wasn’t so sure I wanted to see.  Thankfully we did enter and I was very glad we did.  This exhibit was so interesting.  It discussed how forensics has been used to identify remains of early settlers in Jamestown and St. Mary’s City.  My favorite part was the visit to the Forensic lab at the end of the exhibit.  This was hands on and gave us the opportunity to use our new found knowledge to solve a forensic mystery!

It’s a shame that all of these resources are right in my backyard and I haven’t done more exploring.  Time to change that!

February 8, 2011

Post Op – Tonsillectomy Days 1-7

Posted in Journal tagged , , at 6:00 pm by Jenn

Having my tonsils out at 41 wasn’t something that I’d ever planned on doing but it was time.  I had been dealing with small, pockety tonsils all my life.  It wasn’t bad all the time, but in the recent years as my allergies became worse they became more and more high maintenance and quite frankly I was tired of dealing with them.

If you have pockety tonsils, then you feel my pain.  If you don’t have pocket tonsils then you are VERY lucky.  All the crap that  normally goes down your throat with normal tonsils collects in the tonsil pockets and let’s just say that this isn’t so pleasant.  The smell is horrible.  Discharging the “gunk” from the pockets isn’t pleasant either, especially if you have a gag reflex.  The constant gargling, mouthwash, breathmints, etc. becomes part of the daily routine, but it is a HUGE pain in the ass and quite frankly can be a major embarrassment.

Several months ago I started researching these tonsil pockets and what could be done about them….the answer.  Nothing.  There is no fix.  The only cure is having the tonsils removed.  One visit to the ENT and mentioning the tonsil “crypts” as they are called and that was it.  The doctor agreed that I was a candidate for tonsillectomy.  I asked some questions and then came home to think about it.

The thing that I found hardest to believe was that I would need a 10 day recovery – 10 days off from work.  For tonsils.  What ever happened to ice cream and popsicles?  I guess those days are gone.

Today, as I type this I am 7 days post op.  I am eating soft foods but there is still a lot of major throat discomfort.  It isn’t really pain at this point.  The closest thing I can liken it to is major strep throat….the kind where it hurts to swallow your own spit.  Of course this feels good compared to what it felt like a few days ago.  Here’s a little recap of the previous post op days.

Day 1 – surgery at 8:15, home by 12:30.  Hubby went to get prescriptions filled.  Was drinking ginger ale with crushed iced immediately after surgery while still at the hosptial.   Pain meds round the clock – every 6 hours, with antibiotic at night.   Clear liquids for dinner – jello and chicken broth for dinner.  Hydration is key.  Pains meds on an empty stomach caused nausea, but there was no vomiting.  Waking up every two hours throughout the night to drink something.  Pain well controlled with pain meds but the time between hours 5 and 6 was rough.  Clear liquid nutrition supplements 2 times per day – Resource Fruit Beverage (protein needed for healing).  Surgical site raw with scabs formed at cauterization sites.

Day 2 – I actually felt pretty good.  I was talking with no problem.  The pain was there but tolerable with the pain meds.  Used magic mouthwash (get a prescription for this from your doctor – there are many formulas – mine was lidocaine, benadryl and Maalox) after eating as this was the most painful time.  Clear liquids for most of the day.  Chicken and Stars for lunch.  Pudding and mac/cheese for dinner.  Still drinking LOTS of liquids.  Clear liquid nutrition supplements 2 times per day – Resource Fruit Beverage.  White scab forming and covering surgical site.  epiglottis is inflamed.  This feels strange when I swallow.  Magic mouthwash will hopefully help reduce the swelling.

Day 3 – Feeling a bit worse.  Pain is a little more severe.  Pain meds still helping.  Magic mouthwash still immediately following meals.  Clears and full liquids work best.  Had some mashed potatoes with gravy for lunch.  Tried a scrambled egg for dinner….the small bits got stuck at the back of my throat.  This wasn’t so pleasant.   Sent hubby for ice cream sundae and milkshake.  AHHHH.  Pain in both ears.  This in normal but I think this hurts worse than the throat.

Day 4 – Pain meds round the clock.  Diet pretty much the same.  Soup for dinner.  Made a grilled cheese sandwich too…wishful thinking….gave it to hubby.  The nights are the hardest.  I started sleeping on the couch midway through the night.  Sleeping too long lets the throat get too dry.  It’s best to wake up every 2 hours (by alarm) and drink something.  Any longer than this is uncomfortable and you risk getting dried out and bleeding.  Ear pain is still there.  Uncomfortable.  Doesn’t go away with pain meds.

Day 5 – Feeling a lot better but really tired from getting up every 2 hours for the past several days.  Sister and nephew came over bearing Root beer float fixings!  Good stuff.  I had 3 that day.  Superbowl Sunday – meatballs…ate three of them.  Regretted it later.  Magic mouthwash came in very handy.  Made cabbage rolls.  Nice and soft, served with mashed potatoes.  Still drinking lots of fluids.  Goal 2 liters daily.  Scabs are still there. Epiglottis isn’t as swollen.  Kind of looks normal.  Back of tongue is a little swollen still.

Day 6 – I needed food.  Made savory bread pudding which was AWESOME.  Nice and soft.  Weaning off pain meds.  Tapering down to every 8 hours instead of every 6.   Still drinking but probably not enough.  Feeling kind of dry.  Saliva is thick and hard to swallow.  Drinking more should help to thin this down and make it easier to swallow.

Day 7 – Trying to drink more liquids today.  Bread pudding for lunch.  Plan to have cabbage rolls for dinner.  Walked the dog today.  Pain meds every 12 hours today.  Tolerable pain.  Ear pain is lessening.

So far, it really hasn’t been so bad and I should be on the upswing now.  The ear pain has been the hardest for me.  I don’t do well with pain that can’t be controlled.  This isn’t really PAINFUL either, it’s more annoying because it doesn’t go away.  Heat feels good.  Drinking plenty of liquids is definitely the key to lessen throat pain.  I requested magic mouthwash from my MD.  She usually doesn’t give it but was willing to try it.  I think it helps most if you take it after eating.  The throat is raw and aggravated at that point.  It’s a lifesaver as far as it works immediately and keeps you numb for a while.  In combination with the pain meds I think it helped my recovery.

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