29 April 2013

How to Survive Surgery

If you've been hanging out here over the past week or so, you know that I underwent a "minor" procedure on my shoulder to repair an injury I sustained a little over a year ago.  I'd never had surgery before, and had NO. IDEA. what I was in for.  It's no small thing to be put under, have half your body numbed by a nerve block, and have some dude a highly skilled surgeon poking around inside your shoulder to repair said damage.  I learned a lot in this process, and hope my experience is helpful to some of you! Feel free to PIN this post to reference later. You might thank me. :)

Going into the procedure, I knew enough about the procedure itself. My surgeon talked me through what he expected to do, and that he expects that it will diminish my pain completely. That is the key to all of this. No. More. Pain.  What I didn't feel prepared for, however, was what to expect after the surgery itself. I'd never been put under general anesthesia before, and have never needed to take strong pain medication, so I really had no idea what to expect. I'm a very let-me-plan-it-out person, so not knowing was tough. I wish my post-surgery expectations had been better managed by my health care team.  

  1. Take a shower immediately pre-procedure.  I didn't know that I wouldn't be allowed to shower for three days after my surgery.  I'm SO glad I showered that morning.
  2. Pay attention to what you wear to the hospital; you'll need to wear the same thing out. I knew going in that I wanted to wear something comfortable, so I chose yoga pants and a zip up top. What I didn't know was that when I was leaving, I'd still be feeling VERY weak and groggy, and that my shoulder would not work.  I was completely unable to dress myself, and it took the help of a nurse and my mom to get my clothes on when it was time to leave. It was also pretty painful. I wish I would have worn something with a MUCH looser fit.
  3. Food + Drink: The combination of the medication I was on and the anesthesia made it so food was wholly unappealing.  In fact - I'm four days out, and it still is.  I'm glad I had a supply of Saltines on hand, and soon requested Gatorade, since I was quickly becoming dehydrated. The Saltines will be helpful, because you'll find you want the medicine to have a "soft place to land" in your stomach.
  4. Tray of necessary items: I spent the first several days in bed, and found it helpful to have a tray of items next to me within easy reach. My bedside table is on the side of me with the injury, so I wasn't able to reach that direction. The tray (situated on my "good" side) kept everything upright, and became home to my water tumbler, gatorade, medicines, phone, saltines, and glasses. 
  5. Bathrobe: When you get home, have your bathrobe ready.  I hung out in my robe for the first few days. It was comfortable, roomy enough for my bandages, and was easy to navigate for using the restroom
  6. Caffeine Pills: Coffee is my love. Today is Sunday. I have not had coffee since Tuesday morning. It's the longest I've gone without coffee since I started drinking coffee.  This is going to sound weird, but I've been taking caffeine pills (doctor prescribed) since the morning of the surgery to prevent the inevitable caffeine headache. I HIGHLY recommend this method, since the idea of coffee is not appealing at all right now.
  7. Old Person Pill Sorter: It seems totally elderly, but I'm glad I put my pill sorter to use post-surgery.  There are lots of medicines that need to be taken on different time schedules.  My mom would fill each slot with my next set of meds, then we'd set my phone alarm, so I knew I just needed to reach into the next pill compartment when my phone alarm sounded.  The medication process would have been very confusing without this solution.
  8. Other thoughts: I brought a TON of stuff with me to the surgery center, including my computer, iPad, a magazine, etc., to keep my occupied before the procedure began.  It turns out I really didn't need any of it.  The only thing I really needed was my phone and phone charger. I even recorded a pre-surgery video on my phone. :)
This post ended up being pretty long, and may seem elementary to you surgery-pros out there, but everyone has a first time, right? I hope you've found some helpful tips.

Update: I forgot to mention that I asked my doctor about the safest way to dispose of the narcotics I was prescribed, once I was finished with them. He instructed me to take them to my local police station, and that they'll take care of them for me. Good to know! I'd always wondered...

Feel free to ask other questions in the comments, and feel free to pin the post for later!

** Side note: I am, of course, not a medical professional. PLEASE consult with your physician for all related information. I just wanted to share what's worked for me!

26 April 2013

Reporting live from the hospital room

Recovery is a little rough over here, people, so I'm taking it slow. Use of my left arm is tough, too, and typing requires use of said left arm.

That said - I recorded a little pre-operative vlog for your viewing enjoyment. Pre-pain killers. Pre-pain. Pre-operating room.

Enjoy. :)

Reading in a reader? Check out of the video here:

23 April 2013

Going under

I know myself, and if there's one thing I know, it's that I don't gravitate toward the unknown, and I don't like having my independence taken away.  

I'm headed in tomorrow for a minor (well they tell me it's minor but if you ask me, being fully put under and needing an overnight chaperone once they break me loose doesn't seem so minor ahem) procedure, and the unknownness of it all is getting to me.  

I was up for several hours during the middle of the night last night, getting myself all worked into a nice little tizzy, but also had a chance to ponder what's the fuss, and here's what I've come up with.

I'm an independent one, and I am used to taking care of myself. Not my most favorite attribute, necessarily. The thought of being without my faculties I do not like, and have imagined myself left unconscious on the operating table if there were a fire in the surgery center, and all the care staff took on a save yourselves! mentality.  Give me a break. I know. 

Sometimes I think of myself as comfortable with vulnerability, but let's get real.  I'm not. Especially with these strangers who I might run into during my next run to Target.  Who's going to help me out if my little hospital gown slips down while I can't fix it for myself?  I won't even know if they're laughing at my freckles!

Finally - I like my routine.  Starting tonight at midnight, and up until my surgery, I cannot have anything to eat or drink.  BUT WHAT IF I'M THIRSTY? Not to mention the fact that there will be no coffee in the morning. My day is going to be different, and I can't do anything about it. Don't they know I'm more myself with coffee? 

A note to all the medical professionals who read this here blog, because I know it's part of your professional-development regimen.  It is re-assuring to me that you do these procedures multiple times every day. You've done thousands, and I'm one in those thousands. Please keep in mind however, that what is just a couple hours of your millions is a major first for me, and feels like a big deal. Even though it's not. But it feels like it. Even though it's not. But it feels like it.  (excuse me. just pep-talking.)

In all seriousness… 

Let's do this.

I'm so ready for my shoulder to feel better.

*You might recognize the photo above from my instagram awhile back, when I had my first MRI to examine said shoulder. 

22 April 2013


1. Visited my brothers and sister in law (one brother + sister in law and another brother who live in the same city). We saw Chris Tomlin in his #BurningLights tour.  It was such fun and an added bonus was getting to spend time with my nephews and niece.  Love those kiddos, but you already knew that.

2. I don't care what my weather app says. It's Spring, people, and I'm so done with winter wears.  I picked up this lace scalloped top a couple weeks ago at J. Crew outlet.

3. Over the weekend, I did a major overhaul of my bathroom linen closet.  It's clean and organized and I'm a happy camper. It's nearly a carbon copy of this.  I love how many good ideas are out there!

4. Had my life group gals over for a movie night. We had pillows and PJs and laughs and Les Mis. Love those girls, but you already knew that. 

15 April 2013

Goodbye Google Reader Part II

We talked last week about the inevitable demise of Google Reader.  It's a bummer, really, but all change is an opportunity to improve.

Let's look today at some alternatives to Google Reader, so we're ready for the big switch.

In a nutshell, I have several priorities for a new RSS reader. Read about them in depth here.
1. Search capability
2. Show me unread items only
3. Mark as Unread option
4. Clean + Uncluttered interface

I've done a little bit of research (which is totally not my thing; I'd rather wing it), and here are the options I've narrowed my search to:


Features I like:
+ It has a clean and uncluttered interface.
+ There's an app.
+ It connected with my Google Reader in a snap. No really it was totally a snap.

Features I don't love:
+ I had to download something in order to begin
+ Can I search my feeds? Can't find a search function for my feeds, just for new content I might be interested in. 


Features I like:
+ I'm already signed up
+ It has a clean and uncluttered interface.

Features I don't love:
+ Because the blog author has to join Bloglovin' for their blog to show up on it, I fear that some of my favorite blogs won't be available on it

The Old Reader

Features I like:
+ It looks and functions a lot like Google Reader. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - right?
+ You can import your Google Reader feeds

Features I don't love:
+ It's brand-spankin' new, which means there could be bugs
+ They don't have an app yet, but they're working on one (have been since October 2012 yowsa)

After doing a fair amount of browsing, I think I'm going to give The Old Reader a try.  I'll keep my Bloglovin' feed up and running, but since I am so accustomed to the Google Reader's way of doing things, and I don't want to lose any of my feeds, it seems like the best choice for me right now.  

Also, in case your interested in another in-depth discussion of RSS readers post-Google Reader, you can check out this article on LifeHacker, a resource I refer to as often as I have a tech question. They're good peeps.

What are YOU going to do post-Google Reader? Are there great resources I'm missing?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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12 April 2013


breathtaking image via

Currently I'm…

In vacation recovery mode. Does anyone else go into near-hibernation after a great vacation? It takes me a bit to get back into my normal swing of things.  Pretty funny: if you follow me on Twitter, you know that as I was unpacking earlier this week, I found a maraschino cherry stem in my pool-going hat.  Classic.

So excited for spring.  It's taking a veeeeeery long time to get here in the Great Lakes states.  I keep telling myself maybe I'll appreciate the warmth even more when it gets here because of how long its taken to arrive.

Going to enjoy having my life group gals over for a movie night this weekend.  Everyone is bringing their favorite munchie.  I'm making a couple treats…their favorite Chocolate Eclair dessert will be making an appearance (come back on Tuesday for the recipe!), as will some mid-movie fresh-from-the-oven cookies and milk. We are going to watch Les Mis.  I saw it in the theater awhile back, and can't wait to see it again.

Heading to Minneapolis this weekend to enjoy some quality time with my brother and sister in law and their kiddos, as well as see a concert I've been looking forward to for some time.  Should be a blast, and my niece and nephews are about as fun as they come.    I'll be sure to post on Instagram just to prove it. :) Feel free to follow me there. PS. Minneapolis just had a snow storm.  If I see snow on the ground when I get there, I'm staying in the car.  Just kidding. Sort of.

What's happening with you? I'd love to know!

09 April 2013

Goodbye Google Reader Part I

You've probably heard the news.  Google is retiring Google Reader as of July 1, 2013.  

I have been a loyal Google Reader user for several years, and am actually really bummed to see it go.  

I've been ambling about some, researching other reader options that will serve my needs.  Google Reader is where I do nearly ALL my blog reading (except for those nutty family members who have private blogs that I have to sign-in to read), so I won't select an alternative without doing some research.

What I'm looking for in a reader:
  • I use Google Reader's Search function ALL. THE. TIME.  I often will remember just a tidbit from a post I read (maybe in the process of telling my mom about the Nester's beautiful master bedroom monogram or telling my boyfriend that Hollywood Housewife was going to be on an episode of Tanked, and then there was another time that I remembered I'd seen a recipe for dairy-free fruit crisp, and couldn't remember where…), and need to find it in a jiffy.  Search allows me to do this.
  • I like the reader to show me JUST what I haven't read yet. I'm a skippy-reader, meaning I take a peak at post titles, and skip around to what I want to read right now. This doesn't mean I won't go back to the other new items - just that something else popped out at me. 
  • I need a "mark as unread" feature. I also use this all the time.  I read a huge variety of blogs, from fashion to home decor to faith to blogging strategy blogs.  Content is super varied, and I may get into a really meaty post right before I'm heading into a meeting or rehearsal.  If it needs my attention later, I mark it as unread to make sure I see it when I ready for it.
  • The interface needs to look clean and uncluttered.

Come on back tomorrow for how I've narrowed down my options and a final Reader-replacement decision!

And since many of you are already using Bloglovin'….

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08 April 2013

Heading Home

My sister and I are heading home today from a lovely Florida vacation.  

Our last day was spent lounging at the pool. All. Day. GLORY.  I got my money's worth out of the over-priced resort cup I purchased early in the week. Oh those Mai Tais.

Our final evening was spent curled up in the condo with delivery dinner, watching the last Twilight movie (don't judge) and pressing pause to finish up packing.  We are party animals. Look out world.

An early-morning flight meant a 4:00am wake-up, and a night of no sleep because I was sure we were going to over-sleep, but the sun was rising as we awaited take-off, so all is well in this early-morning world.

Home will feel good.  I'm always one for routine, and though I brought gym clothes, I didn't hop on the treadmill once.  Sue me. It's vacation.  

Noteable: I did not get sunburned. 

Also noteable: After sleeping on a couch all week (we tagged along with my uncle and his family on their vacation, so no complaints here!), I can actually hear my bed at home calling my name.

Happy Monday!

05 April 2013

Update from the Pool

This week's posting has been a tad light, mainly because my focus has been - pool. shop. read. - and it's been heavenly.  There's a wonderful outlet near where we're staying in Florida, and - wait for it - there's a lululemon outlet store there.  Ahem.  It's quite nice.  We've also made a couple trips outside the resort for froyo (frozen yogurt of course).  

The weather's been lovely - around 82 each day, expect for yesterday, it rained.  No problem. Just go shopping. 

I grabbed the anchor towel pictured above from One Kings Lane awhile back, and have been loving it this trip.    Speaking of great beach towels, have you seen this silly towel from target? It's only available online (says the website), so if you like it, snatch it up quick.
On the book-reading front, I'm nearly finished with Shauna Niequist's Bread & Wine, and it is killing me with goodness.  I told my sister last night that I wish it could just go on and on. I cannot WAIT to get home and try out the recipes.  

Today we've deemed Cabana Day.  We've got one reserved by the lazy river here at our resort, and I plan to spend a good majority of the day on a little tube floating around aimlessly.  There may also be some Yahtzee (I brought my travel version) involved. Just saying. I've also found myself wondering if cabana boys are real. Guess we'll find out. I'll be sure to keep you informed.

02 April 2013

Vacation Reads

I don't know about you all, but one of the BEST things to me about vacation (besides the very obvious poolside fun and endless hours spent drinking coffee and/or sleeping) is the opportunity to read books I don't normally have take the time to read.  I love knowing what books other people are enjoying, so I thought I'd share with you today the books that are in my travel bag.


I may have shared this before, but I love love Shauna Niequist's work.  The words she writes paint a picture in my mind, such that I want to read more.  Additionally, she has a similar view on entertaining and community as me.  I was so excited when I had an opportunity to get my hands on an advance copy of the book, and can't wait to crack it open this week. Additionally, if you're looking for some new (tried and trusted!) recipes to add to your repertoire, I'd encourage you to check it out.  The hardcover is on sale for only $10.98 now… yowza! Grab one while you can. PS… It's available for Super-Saver shipping on Amazon. Done and done.

I've heard such great things about Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It's been on my "read this soon" list for quite awhile.  Also - recently, my bf Chris discovered how great Francis' live talks are (what an inspiring dude) on YouTube, so I've enjoyed a few of those, and am now even more excited to check it out. This one's also only $10 on Amazon, and is also eligible for FREE shipping.  

Of all the books I've ever read, Henry Cloud's book Changes that Heal has impacted my outlook on life and the world more than any.  I've read it several times, and have enjoyed his other books, as well.  I trust the guy (my buddy Henry, that is), and though I haven't had any direct personal recommendations for his book Safe People, I purchased it anyway, because Henry Cloud is just that good

I also brought along a few months' worth of Real Simple (you know life has kept me pretty nutso when I have several months of that baby that haven't been opened!) and Madison Magazine, as well as the obligatory People, In Style, and other why-do-I-love-this-trash magazines that fit so well with a diet coke and poolside splashes.

I'd love to know… What's on your reading list?

01 April 2013

Leaving on a jet plane

The time has come.  VA. CA. TION. 

My sister and I are meeting up with some of our awesome family later this evening for a week in the sun (and on the porch or at starbucks or wherever my little heart desires).  I'm planning on posting, and may even have a little poolside chat for you all.  I will do my best to capture all the most classic retiree swimwear for your viewing hilarity.

Happy Monday (especially if you're hopping on a plane to somewhere warm!)