Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where was this book/movie when I was dating?!?

I went and saw the movie "He's Just Not That Into You" last Sunday afternoon with a girlfriend, and I've gotta tell you, I loved it.

It seemed, in fact, that the whole audience at the theater loved it. And we're talking about a boat load of singles and couples from high school age up to mid-lifers. My girlfriend and I have gone to LOTS of movies together on Sunday afternoons and we both noticed that none of them have ever been as packed as this one was.

It was amazing to observe: Someone in the audience would utter a comment after a particularly relatable scene and the whole theater would crack up or reply RIGHT ON and such. My girlfriend and I repeatedly looked at each other and were like OH MY GOD, THAT IS SO TRUE.

As I walked out of the theater, all I could think was WHERE THE HELL WAS THIS MOVIE (or the book it was based on) WHEN I WAS DATING??!?!

I swear, I could identify myself in so many of the scenes from the movie, both from Ginnifer Goodwin's character - who was the quirky singleton desperately searching (or, in some cases, stalking) for love with ALL the wrong guys - and from Jennifer Aniston's character - who was in a live-in seven-year relationship with a wonderful guy who repeatedly said he never wanted to get married because he didn't believe in marriage while she sat there dreaming of a white wedding and watching her life slip away as The Perpetual Girlfriend. SO MANY TIMES I got the itch to slap one or both of them upside the head and say, "WAKE UP! I've been there - and there - and I've made those same mistakes. This path - and that path - will not lead you to happiness!"

Of course, as most Hollywood movies do, this movie ended on a happy note all around. But having lived those scenarios in real-life, like so many other women, I know - and you know - that's not always the case.

I spent six years of my life in a relationship with a man I almost married. I loved him; I know he loved me. But, as time went on, it became clearer that neither of us was really what the other wanted in a partner FOR LIFE.

Three months before our wedding date, and after a LOT of soul searching, I told him I didn't think we should get married. A month later, I moved out of our apartment and into a place of my own.

I had never lived alone before; I'd always had a roommate. It was hard, really hard, at times. But it was good for me.

I had to figure out who I was, what I wanted my life to be like, who I wanted in my life, and what I was looking for in someone with whom I'd eventually share my life. Being alone for awhile was exactly what I needed.

The good news is that my ex and I remain friends to this day, and we're both happily married to people who are much better suited to us. It makes me happy to know that we both found happiness in the end, and to know that we've both always wanted the best for each other.

Of course, there were a few times after we split up when I found myself feeling frustrated - not at him, but at myself - for having spent SIX YEARS of my life with someone I didn't end up marrying. I sometimes wondered whether I had at some point in those six years met someone else who might've been my husband if only I'd been single when I'd met him.

But that kind of thinking gets you nowhere. Furthermore, I'm 99% sure that really wasn't the case - I'm pretty sure I would've known if I'd met The One while I was with the one who wasn't The One.

(Now, for the record, I don't actually believe that there is only ONE person in the world for each of us. I actually think that there are likely several people in the world for each of us and it's really a matter of finding each other in the right place at the right time and feeling that connection.)

The truth is, it was precisely because I spent six years with the the one who wasn't The One that I came to live where I live and got the job that placed me in Washington D.C. at JUST the right time to meet Super Man's best friend, who introduced us to each other.

If I had broken things off with my ex even one year earlier, I never would've left Madison, since my family was there and that was really where I know I would've wanted to stay. And if I'd stayed in Madison, I would have never met The One.

Super Man: My husband, the father of my child. The man who embraces and appreciates all of my good qualities, tolerates all of my bad qualities, does his best to understand my many quirks, and makes me want to be a better person.

That story, however, is for another time. :)

Before I met Super Man, I dated a few other guys who weren't The One. One in particular DEFINITELY wasn't The One, but I remained hopelessly optimistic about his "potential" for far too long.

Now that is a relevant story to tell in light of today's subject!

See, the problem was that he seemed like The Perfect Man from the very first moment. Looks, however, can be deceiving...

The first time we met, through a friend, I actually caught a glimpse of him through the window of the restaurant (not knowing yet that it was him), and I remember thinking, "Who IS that man? He is absolutely gorgeous!"

When Gorgeous ended up walking in the restaurant and up to my table, I nearly cried. It simply was not possible that HE was the guy I was being set up with. And it only got better from there.

He was charming, easy-going, funny, had a very successful career and was financially stable, was very big on family (he came from a pretty large, close one himself and said he very much wanted a family of his own). We realized that we lived less than a block apart as we talked about where we lived, and we worked four blocks apart (and both within walking distance of our respective apartments). And - the most important part - he seemed VERY interested in me.

He asked for my number, gave me his phone number. He gave me a very warm hug and a kiss on the cheek when we parted ways. And he left me a message that same night inviting me to go out with him the next day.

For those first few weeks, we saw each other at least two or three times a week, with him almost exclusively initiating all of our dates. And then, without any explanation or identifiable event, it all changed.

Oh, I saw the signs, I know I did. I just completely ignored them. :)

Suddenly, for several weeks, I was lucky if I saw him once a week. He would either call or email me a few times a week, but not always to make plans together. His emails went from normal exchanges to bizarre almost riddle-like messages.

And then, just as suddenly, he'd be back to wanting to see me multiple times a week, and he was his usual self again. I was completely perplexed.

I attributed his erratic tendencies to all sorts of other things, none of which included HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO ME.

I chalked it up to him having to travel for work, him having a rough week at work, him getting together with his many guy friends for ski trips or whatever. Anything except him not wanting to be with me.

I tolerated it for awhile, but when I started noticing that he was being way too vague about how he was spending his time during those bizarre "absences" (for lack of a better word) and started getting the sense that I was being played, I kicked him to the curb.

I might've been a little slow on the uptake, but I was no idiot. I knew I deserved better, and I was done accepting less.

That was all well and good. Until that pesky little issue of us living a block apart and working a handful of blocks apart meant that we kept bumping into each other while out and about, day and night!

At first, I'd barely acknowledge him when I'd see him. Even if he followed me out of a restaurant asking me to talk to him, I'd give him the cold shoulder and blow him off.

Then, one day, he happened to be walking up my street when I was struggling with the wrong kind of screwdriver (the only kind I possessed) trying to put my new license plates on my car. He offered to help me. Reluctantly, I accepted.

As he worked on swapping out my plates, he apologized for having been so wishy-washy, and told me a story about how he was skittish about relationships because he had his heart broken by a girl in years earlier and "never really got over it." He was so sincere in the way he told the story that I couldn't help but quash my immediate skepticism.

My mistake.

He asked me to give him another chance, to let him buy me dinner or take me to a movie. I relented.

And thus the merry-go-round started all over again.

I kid you not, I stupidly went through this routine with Gorgeous probably ten times in nearly 18 months.

I know!

I KNOW!!

Things would be ON for several weeks, and then I'd wake up again one day to find they were back to being weird and I'd tell him I was done, and then several weeks later he'd weasel his way back into my life again.

Sadly, it took me changing jobs and moving away from that neighborhood for the completely dysfunctional circuit that was our "relationship" to be broken. And once I no longer ran into him everywhere I went, I was good. I was free, I was strong, I was able to see the situation for what it really was and know that I didn't want to be in it ever again. And thank God for that!

I've heard that Gorgeous is still single, and still riding the same old merry-go-round with young women who are very much like I was then. I wonder if he's happy; I think, probably, he is. The life he's living is, after all, his choice.

When I think back on that time in my life, I feel so incredibly thankful and grateful to be out of the dating pool. Granted, I learned a LOT about myself and what I wanted as a result of swimming in those shark-infested waters, but man, those were some hard lessons to learn!

What I'm most grateful for is that I was able to recognize someone truly wonderful when at last he came along. Yes, he too is gorgeous - but he's also gentle, smart, loving, tender, strong, responsible, and GENUINE. What you see is what you get when it comes to Super Man. He doesn't play games and he knows who he is.

So. It seems I got my happy ending, too. :)

XOXO
SW

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This boot is made for walking...

Hip, hip, hooray! (I think...?)

At my orthopedic follow-up appointment on Tuesday, I was told that the break in my heel that the doctors at the ER saw in my x-rays the week before was NOT being seen by my new doctor, leading her to conclude that I don't really have a fracture after all. Instead, I have a "very severe sprain."

This is good. And bad.

Good because it's generally less painful in the short term, and it means that I can once again put pressure on my foot.

Bad because sprains generally take longer to completely heal, and may mean that the strength and mobility in that foot is never quite the same.

To allow me to get back to at least some of my regular activities, my new orthopedic doctor removed the splint I'd had on for the prior week and put me into a big black boot. For anyone unfamiliar with "the boot," it looks like a big futuristic cast full of velcro and padding. It also has a funky little inflatable area in the front to further stabilize my calf/ankle, if needed.

I LOVE my new boot. Sure, I wish it was pink and sparkly (what girl wouldn't?), but the most important thing is that it's allowed me to get BACK ON MY FEET.

Of course, there are a few limitations.

I still can't drive, at least not with the boot on. The foot-bed of the boot is completely inflexible, being made of some super sturdy rubber/plastic type material. This sucks.

Also, with it still being winter around these here parts, the open-toed design of the boot means that my foot will be cold when I'm outdoors for any length of time, since all I can wear is a sock or two. It may also potentially get wet if there is snow or slush on the ground. This also sucks.

HOWEVER.

The doctor DID say I'm not required to wear the boot at all times, which could've been the case. I don't have to wear it when I shower or sleep, certainly, but I also don't have to wear it if I'm just hanging out on the couch reading or whatever. At first, I envisioned myself having it off for big chunks of the day, but the reality is that I prefer to feel the stability of it, and it allows me to move around my house a bit more quickly and efficiently than I could without it.

The doctor also said I could start driving again - without the boot - once I feel that I have enough strength in my foot to not only work the gas and brake pedals normally, but also to be able to brake hard if necessary.

Well... hm.

Of course, the part of me that is already suffering from SERIOUS cabin fever was like, "SURE - SURE, I'm ready to do that! C'mon, how hard can it be?"

And then the MOM part of me, the part that knows that the only reason I would drive around EVERY DAY under those circumstances would be to take my son to and from school myself, completely panics and says, "Oh goodness! This means I won't be driving for MONTHS! I can't put my baby's life in jeopardy!" (Not to mention the lives of all the other parents and kids walking to school or also traversing the snow-covered roads in their cars...)

Needless to say, on that point I'm still sitting in the "undecided" category. I would hate to push my luck and cause a major accident, one that could potentially involve the loss of life. I'd also hate to further injure my already injured foot. But, oh... the idea of being able to somewhat resume my normal life is just so, sooooo tempting...

My plan is to wrap my foot up nice and snug in an ACE bandage and try driving around a bit this afternoon or tomorrow, during non-peak driving times and when Super Boy isn't with me, to see how it goes. I figure that an ACE bandage will give me some stability without completely sacrificing flexibility, so it *should* allow me to drive as I normally would. I hope so, anyway.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go kick some ass in my walkin' boot...

Monday, February 9, 2009

I am SOOoooooo smooth...

My last post was all about the hysterosalpingogram (HSG) I was supposed to have last Wednesday, and both my excitement and trepidation about it. I wrote that post just a few hours before I was to go in and have the procedure. I had even taken two of my three 50mg Prednisone tablets in preparation for the iodine contrast. And then.

Ah, yes. And then.

Your delightfully graceful and swift pal Super Woman decided to do some quick, light cleaning ("quick" being the operative word), as my Super Mom was on her way to my house to come to the HSG appointment with me. And, as you'll understand in a moment, THANK GOD she was already on her way!

Now, when I say that I planned to do some "light cleaning," I mean that I was going to vacuum upstairs and downstairs, clean the toilets and sinks, and just pick-up the little bit of clutter that had accumulated since I did BIG cleaning last weekend.

I had finished all the stuff I wanted to do upstairs and had cleaned the half-bath downstairs and vacuumed the kitchen. As I stood near the back door of the kitchen, I peeked out at the back entryway landing and noticed that the mat was dirty with road salt, etc.

For a brief second I thought, "Should I quickly vacuum that? It's just going to get icky again over the next few days - maybe I should save it for the weekend..."

But then I thought, "Stop being such a lazy ass - it'll take 2 seconds. Just do it."

And that, my friends, was my undoing.

I went to lift my Dyson to carry it down the three - THREE - stairs leading to the back landing. I put my right foot down on the top step, standing sideways, and my ever-so-graceful foot slid sideways off the edge of the step. I totally lost my balance and tumbled down the remaining two steps, landing squarely on the outside of my right foot. The vacuum cleaner fell with me, but I couldn't tell you if or how or where it hit me during the fall, because my foot and ankle instantly hurt so bad that it was all I could think about.

I knew right away I had broken something, but I didn't know if it was my foot or my ankle, since both hurt like HELL. I sat on the bottom step in stunned breathlessness for a moment, cradling my foot and trying to cope with the white-hot pain.

I burst into tears as the helplessness of my situation sunk in: I was ALONE in my house, with a broken something.

I knew I couldn't stand on my foot, so I didn't even bother. Instead, I dragged myself up the two other stairs and across the kitchen floor, to the wall where the phone sat docked in its station. I pulled myself up to stand on my left foot, grabbed the phone, and sunk back to the floor.

I felt hot and sweaty, like I was going to pass out. I ripped my fleece sweatshirt over my head and flung it aside, and then laid down on the tile floor, pressing my cheek into it's cold smooth surface. When at last I felt like I wasn't going to lose consciousness, I dialed my mom's cell phone number.

She lives an hour and a half away from me, and had called me earlier when she was about an hour away. I knew she was within 45 minutes of my house, and that I was probably going to have to wait for her to arrive to get to the ER.

When she answered her phone, I told her I'd just fallen and that I was pretty sure I'd broken my foot. She panicked. I told her NOT to panic. She needed to get to me safely. Safety was more important than speed at that moment. I could tell she felt almost as helpless as I did at that moment, but there was nothing either of us could do about it.

I assured my mom that I'd try to call one of my Super Friends, who is a nurse, to see if she could come take a look at it and stay with me until my mom could get here. Unfortunately, when I tried to call my Super Friend, I got her answering machine. I left a tear-filled message for her letting her know what had happened and asking her to call me when she got the message. I tried another Super Friend, but she was also out.

And, so, I was utterly and completely alone with my broken foot.

As I lay on the floor trying not to cry, I remembered that they always tell you to ice injuries. So I dragged myself across the kitchen floor to my refrigerator, grabbed a few ice packs out of the freezer, and went back to where I was to ice my foot and ankle.

While there, I remembered I had to call my ob/gyn's office to ask about whether I could still have the HSG. After talking to the nurse through tears, we decided that it was unlikely that I'd be able to hold my injured foot in a stirrup for 45 minutes, so I had to cancel the HSG appointment. I'll have to reschedule it next month, hopefully. It was sad to have prepared myself physically and mentally for this procedure only to have to back out at the last minute.

After awhile, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, my foot felt a bit better (probably because it was numb). I remembered then that the vacuum was laying in front of the back door, which was locked, and that my mom wouldn't be able to get in the house because of that. So I dragged myself back across the floor, scooted down the steps on my butt, and unlocked the door. Then I dragged the vacuum upright, and pulled it up the stairs in front of me as I scooted back up the stairs on my butt.

I rested for a bit and put the ice packs back on, and then when my foot was sufficiently numbed again, I decided to tackle a bigger challenge: the staircase leading to the second floor.

See, I had *planned* to take a shower after my mini-marathon cleaning session, so I'd be clean for my HSG - and freshly shaven, as a courtesy to the person doing the procedure - but obviously a shower wasn't in the cards. I wanted to at least brush my teeth, wash my face and do something with my hair knowing a trip to the ER was imminent.

So, I bucked up and scooted up the stairs backwards using my hands and left foot. The landing was a little tricky to maneuver, but I took it slow. When I got to the top, I hoisted myself up to standing by holding onto the banister, and hopped into the bathroom on my left foot. I managed to be able to get myself semi-presentable by propping the heel of my right foot up on my son's stool to keep my balance while standing on my left foot at the sink. My foot was really throbbing, but I was moving as fast as I could and knew I'd feel a little better once I had myself semi presentable.

My mom arrived while I was in the bathroom and came upstairs to help me into the bedroom so I could change into warmer clothes (it was only about 8 degrees that day). I had to scoot back down the stairs on my butt again, and then my mom helped me get my jacket and shoe on and get out to her car.

We went to the ER, which is thankfully only 5 minutes from my house. I was equally grateful that they were able to get me checked in and seen within 10 minutes. (You just never know with the ER of a major medical center like that!)

After taking x-rays of my foot and ankle and having both a radiologist and an orthopedic doctor look at them, the nurse practitioner came back and said that I appeared to have a fracture, in addition to strained tendons and muscles. They didn't feel it was a surgical case at all (amen - that was my worst fear!), but were debating about what to put on my foot.

The complicating factor in that decision was the Prednisone I had taken to prep for the HSG. Prednisone, a steroid, reduces inflammation. And when you break a bone, it's natural to have a LOT of inflammation: it's the body's natural healing response. To look at my foot, you could definitely tell I'd fallen and injured it, but it wasn't as huge as one would've expected it to be in the circumstances, and the Prednisone was likely the reason why. And because they were concerned that the swelling might increase as the Prednisone wore off, they opted to put my foot in a cast-like splint, thereby giving it room to continue swelling while still achieving stabilization.

The splint is like half of a cast. There is plaster on the bottom of my foot and up the back of my calf, with some wrap-around, but the top of my foot and leg have no plaster - just gauze, and then the whole thing is wrapped in an ace bandage. The gist is to keep my foot at a 90-degree angle so that the muscles and tendons heal nice and tight, in addition to the minor fracture. If the tendons don't heal tightly enough, then surgery could enter the picture, and I really don't want that.

I was back home within two hours with a pair of crutches, instructions to keep my foot elevated and to ice it periodically throughout the day, and strict orders to put NO PRESSURE on my foot between last Wednesday and my follow-up appointment with an orthopedist tomorrow (Tuesday 2/10).

My sincere and desperate hope is that things have healed enough that they can put me in a boot, at which time I'll hopefully be able to DO more. Nonetheless, I'm looking at up to six weeks in the boot, so I won't have full mobility until sometime in March no matter what.

Say it with me: "Ugh."

It's been five days now since I fell, and I'm happy to say that I've slept reasonably well every night. I've taken nothing stronger than Tylenol for pain, and I haven't even taken that since the day I broke my foot. In fact, my foot doesn't really hurt that much now - it aches a bit, especially if I've been up and moving around on my crutches a lot, but it isn't painful otherwise.

The worst part of all of this is that I am largely dependent on others for pretty much everything right now. I can't drive Super Boy to or pick him up from school, or drive anywhere else for that matter -- it's my right foot I broke, which is the one I need for driving. I need help carrying things, since I can't carry anything while using my crutches. I need help taping a plastic bag around my leg so I can shower and get cleaned up. I can't cook, clean, do laundry (our laundry room is in the basement), or do dishes.

It's AMAZING how much we do on our feet that we don't even realize we do until we can't do them anymore. (Trust me!)

And to top it all off, Super Man was in France all last week for work, so he missed out on the worst of it! So again, THANK GOD for my Super Mom! I don't know what I would've done without her. And THANK GOD, too, for all my wonderful Super Friends, who have so graciously helped me out with getting Super Boy to and from school, and invited him over for play dates so I can rest. I will owe these women big time when I'm back on my feet, whether they see it that way or not. ;)

Funny little story to wrap things up here...

When Super Man and I were first dating, we somehow ended up in a conversation about quirky things about ourselves. I told him that I'm insanely uncoordinated; he didn't believe me. I chuckled, and then warned him that there would eventually come a time (and probably sooner rather than later) when we'd just be casually walking along, and then for no particular reason whatsoever, I'd suddenly be on the ground.

It didn't take long for my prediction to come true.

About a month after this conversation, we were at a summer festival along Milwaukee's lakefront. I was wearing a skirt with FLAT sandals (not even heels, mind you). We were holding hands and walking along when, all of a sudden, I tripped and nearly fell. Super Man was duly alarmed and managed to catch me before I hit the pavement. When he had me upright again, he looked around, trying to find the object I'd tripped over.

Only... there wasn't one.

He looked at me, perplexed, and said, "What... happened?"

I - blushing 10 different shades of beet red - shook my head, shrugged my shoulders and reminded him that I had warned him of this once. My ankles sometimes roll inexplicably, what can I say?

It's nice to be so graceful and poised.

Or so I've heard.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

That which doesn't kill me... could help me get pregnant.

Well, folks, today is a big day for your old pal Super Woman: I'm having a "hysterosalpingogram," or HSG, test today in an effort to try to pinpoint the reason or reasons why Super Man and I have failed to conceive a second time.

For those of you who, like me, had no idea what the hell this was the first time I heard it, please, read on. For those of you who've been there and done that before, feel free to skip ahead.

The HSG test is done by injecting a liquid contrast dye into my uterus by way of the cervix (that ought to feel good, much like my endometrial biopsy), and then monitoring the dye by x-ray as it moves through my uterus, into my fallopian tubes, and - hopefully - "spills" out the ends of the tubes. This "spillage," as they call it, will indicate that there are no blockages in either of my tubes, which means that when my eggs are released from my ovaries, they're able to make safe passage down my tubes and into the uterus, thus improving my odds of conceiving. If there is NO spillage on one or both sides, however, that means that something (such as scar tissue) is blocking my tubes, thus making it less likely (if not impossible) that I'd conceive. The dye will also show the radiologist if I have any other abnormalities in my uterus, like fibroids, that might be preventing conception.

Interestingly enough, there have been many cases (some of which I've heard first-hand from family and friends) where after having this test, a woman who had previously struggled to conceive due to blocked tubes is pregnant within a month or two. The theory is that even if there is a minor blockage, the pressure from the contrast dye can actually clear that out enough to allow an egg to pass. Here's hoping I'm in that group!

So, why did I say "that which does not kill me" in the title of this post? Well, despite the fact that this test is generally VERY safe and there's less than a 1% risk of complications (including infections), there's an added little, teensy-tiny catch for me.

I'm allergic to shellfish. Specifically, allergists believe that it's the iodine in shellfish that people such as myself are allergic to. And, unfortunately, the liquid contrast used in the HSG contains a small amount of iodine.

Now when I say I'm allergic, I mean I'm ALLERGIC: My allergist believes based on the strength and quickness of my reaction to shellfish allergen during skin allergy testing that I'd likely have an anaphylactic reaction if I were ever to eat shellfish again. And an anaphylactic reaction can be very BAD: It's when your throat swells and closes up and you can't breathe or get oxygen. And that happens pretty quickly for someone with a severe allergy. That's why they recommend that people with severe allergies carry an Epi-Pen (epinephrine in a portable shot). Which I don't right now, but have in the past when I was traveling out of the country.

So, what are they going to do to keep me safe today? They've been pre-medicating me since midnight, with 50mg of Prednisone (an oral steroid) every six hours up until my appointment at 1pm today, and with my last dose of prednisone at Noon I must also take 50mg of Benadryl.

The theory is that they will suppress my allergic response to iodine before my body is exposed to it so that it's all uneventful and okay during and after the procedure. If they're wrong about this (and, hey, let's hope they're not!), they will also have epinephrine on-hand to inject me with to stop any allergic reaction.

My Super Mom thinks I'm insane for putting myself at risk like this just to have another child.

Who knows? Maybe she's right.

But she also got pregnant not just once but THREE times by merely LOOKING at my dad. Or so she says. I have my doubts.

Being the great Super Mom that she is, she's coming to town to take me to the appointment, and staying an extra day or two just in case. With Super Man having such a crazy week at work, I'm grateful that she can be here!

Cross your fingers that I don't have any issues with the dye today, and that everything looks good! Oh, and let's not forget the prayers for a pregnancy announcement in the next month or two, either. That's what all this is for, after all!

XOXO
SW

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And this is why he owns my heart...

This morning when Super Boy and I were getting into our outerwear to head to school, I pulled my neck gaiter (a tube-like fleece thing that you wear in place of a scarf to keep your neck/lower face warm) out of the tangle of mittens, gloves, hats and scarves in the back entryway. I couldn't remember if I'd washed it recently, so before pulling it over my head, I smelled it (and, yes, it was fresh).

Super Boy saw me do this and said, "Does it smell like you, Mommy?"

I paused for a moment, warmth spreading through my soul. "What does Mommy smell like, baby?"

He scrunched up his nose for a minute, deep in thought, before replying:

"Kisses."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And that, my friends, is why that child will forever own my heart and soul...