Traffic for 2008 December

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[Comments] (4) The Highlights: Arrived at the hospital at 10:30, right on time, like a good patient. Had to take my blood pressure twice, because supposedly my nerves ruined the first reading. I think the nurse did it wrong. Put on the drafty gown and plunked down in a drab, windowless room for two hours just waiting. Apparently my surgery was delayed because the surgery before me went over by 2 hours. I'm not quite sure how that happens. But never fear, because my doctor was notified of the delay so only I had to wait around. I wonder if I can send them a bill for $900, since I bill $450/hour at work. It was cold. And I was starving.

Gave Susie my glasses and got pushed around enough of the hospital to completely disorient me. Waited for the anesthesiologist. He was funny and kind; the highlight of the surgery. Wheeled into the OR. Fell asleep. Woke up too soon. Ached all over. I'd been iodined, bruised, and shaved. The hernia appears to be gone. I didn't even get to see the laproscope. Trying to heal. In a lot of pain. Refusing to take too many meds.

Not only did my neighbor, who is a surgeon, help with the procedure, his wife made us dinner last night! I'm very grateful. She is the only one who offered any help, and it is appreciated. Even minor surgery takes a lot out of a person. Now I know better. No surgery is too routine to be overlooked.

[Comments] (3) A very Maggie Christmas: Maggie has her own nativity set to play with. Her first object was to intersperse the set with her own collection of little people and some farm animals. Her next step was to move the whole scene to her play airport. I suppose we should tell her that Jesus fled to Egypt; he didn't fly to Egypt. Then today she purposefully hid two of the wise men under the couch. I think she more or less has the Christmas story down pat.

[Comments] (2) home for the holidays: Today Susie & I, after seeing an advert in the paper for Christmas tree-shaped butter, decided it was high time to peruse Pirate-O's. At first blush, the place smelled like Frances's home in Bakersfield. Susie concurred that wet dog smell was wafting through the store. The store did not seem to be selling any sort of animal products, however, so the smell is a mystery. Pirate cologne?

They have quite the assortment of bric-a-brac. In particular, they have all the Cadbury chocolates, so Rachel no longer has to bring smashed boxes of the stuff with her from London town. They also have quite the impressive array of marzipan sweets. They also have those candy necklackes in the form of handcuffs, g-strings, bras, and whips.

But most important of all, they carry delicious stroopwaffles and Loacker's Quadratini. I haven't seen quadratini since the Kong, so it was a nostalgic delight to be sure. The store is more expensive than I would have expected, but I did my part to stimulate their economy.

this and that: We've got snow all around us now, so I stayed home from work today. I don't think I'm supposed to shovel snow yet, though the doctor pronounced me healed today.

Yesterday, during office hours, we had our tax practice par-tay. We went to a movie together, which was wierd. In order to see something copasetic for all, "Four Christmases" won out. My two cents: a miserable failed attempt to revive "Meet the Parents." Shame on Reese Witherspoon; I trusted you.

Then back for the White Elephant exchange. I've discovered being nearly last certainly has its benefits. I had only 4 people following my choice. I stole two pairs of holiday socks, because Susie is really into that kind of ticky-tack. Then the person after me got a Haagen-Dazs gift card. The person after him stole my socks (apparently lots of women like tacky socks) so I stole the Haagen-Dazs. Then the next lady stole the Haagen-Dazs from me! So now there were only two people left, two unopened presents left, and a lot of opened garbage I didn't want. I chose wisely and scored a brand new Chutes & Ladders game! Merry Christmas to Maggie!

[Comments] (3) tis the season: Today at church many glorious things happened:

1. They finally got a new printer so I no longer leave the clerk's office with updated rolls and home teaching sheets that leave black cartridge residue all over my fingers.

2. No one showed up for our Sunday School lesson, even though they were all in Sacrament meeting. So I guess Susie & I will have to eat that whole batch of muddy buddies ourselves.

3. We were released from said Sunday School calling!

Things not so glorious on this cold December day:

1. Maggie is sick (and teething, I think).

2. I am in charge of snow-shoveling at the church this week. The prior 3 weeks, no one helped the President or the counselors do their duty, so it looks like I'll be shoveling alone.

3. The weather forecast calls for lots of snow.

The Sunday School thing is bittersweet for me. I really feel like I failed in this calling. I think those kids really hate us. Why else would they not come to class when I constantly see them in Sacrament Meeting? I guess to be fair, they show up to class on days they weren't in Sacrament. But I feel like we never connected with them; we were always the enemy. We tried being their friends, playing games, making Sunday School as fun as possible, bribing them with treats, but it never seemed to be good enough for these kids. I was the Primary champion in Costa Mesa. I just don't get it. I mean, I was a teenager more recently than I was a kindergartener. So why is it I connect with 5 year-olds but am hopelessly lost when it comes to 15 year-olds?

Oh well. I really did try my best, so I don't really have any regrets. But I still feel like I failed. The only thing that makes me feel like I succeeded on a personal level is the fact that my attitude changed from "What's wrong with these kids?" to "I'm really worried about these kids." I guess I'll just move on and try and do well at being EQ Secretary to compensate. That's not an easy calling either. It's the same idea of guilting people into doing the right thing, just with a different age group.

worth the trip: Yesterday we went to visit Grandma. We tried Monday, but a snowstorm thwarted our efforts. Because Tuesday is Brigitta's day, she brought Grandma a loaf of Swedish bread. I adore Swedish bread! So when I inquired of said Swedish bread, Grandma was only too happy to implore me to eat the whole thing! I think Grandma feels bad letting good food like that go to waste, but could not stomach any of it. I ate about 1/3 of it and dutifully took the rest home for breakfast this morning. Yum!

I also went to the store for Grandma. Her list consisted of milk, a huge tub of ice cream, and Christmas cards for next year. I got her a sweet deal on a pack of 18 cards for $1.25. She said she got some cards this year from people she didn't send any to so she is getting a jump start for next year. The poor woman won't commit to a party tonight because she may die, but is set for next year's card exchange.

She also said she isn't giving out money this year on Christmas, though I think she tried that line before. I dutifully told her that no one comes for $10 but to see her. I'm not sure she believed me, however.

[Comments] (2) The Nightmare Before Christmas: Maggie was diagnosed with RSV around 3 pm on Christmas Eve. Because she is under two, she is hospitalized until the virus goes away. She has been poked and had her nose suctioned out too many times, with no end in sight.

The update is that she is now off the IV, having finally decided to eat and drink on her own, and we all slept pretty well last night, all things considered; Susie on the pull out and me in Maggie's bed.

She can go home once her oxygen level is above 90. She's on oxygen at the hospital, but are down to 0.5 liter now, having previously been at 1.0 liters. So we're slowly making progress. She also played with some toys really well today.

I'm at home doing laundry, as we are out of clothes. My brother and his kids were kind enough to snowplow our driveway, as it dumped another foot and a half Christmas day.

She's such a poor little thing; it's breaking my heart.

[Comments] (4) Shout-out: Big thanks to Brook, Ember, and Logan for shoveling a foot of snow out of our driveway while we were otherwise engaged at the hospital. And also for putting dinner in our fridge the night of our return.

Thanks to Les Gilbert for taking over my job as snow shoveler at the church this week, and also for taking care of our trash cans.

Thanks to Jamie, David, mom, Jodi, and Franco for visiting us and livening up an otherwise dreadfully boring, depressing couple of days in a building full of sick people. And for the food. The cafeteria food was ok, but some of the cafeteria workers were unkind so any meal not there was great.

Thanks for all the phone calls, text messages, and prayers from well-wishers all over the world. If I don't text you back, know that I got your message and appreciate it. I hate texting, and our phone plan charges us for each text, hence why you received no reply. I'd call as a reply, but I figure you texted me because you didn't want to talk to me so calling you back as a response to a text seems like a bad idea to me.

Thanks to all the nurses at Primary Children's Medical Center. They were all very professional and helpful.

Thanks to Santa for waking us up at midnight Christmas morning to deliver to Maggie a stuffed moose, blankets, and other junk.

We also appreciated having our own room the first two nights. The third night we had to go in with another RSV patient, a 2-month old baby. So sad. She'd been there 12 days and I'm sure has another month to go. Her family was not there so the room-sharing went well. I felt bad she was all alone, but my guess is that either her parents have other kids to attend to or maybe they live in some godforsaken section of the northwest and this hospital puts them miles from home. I wish that baby well. She reminded me that we didn't have it so bad after all. RSV is hard because we were quarantined to our room. Maggie was so anxious today to leave that I'm glad we got out of there.

Thanks to God for answering our prayers. Christmas Eve I gave Maggie a blessing and I just knew what to pray for: patience. I knew she'd be ok but I also knew this was going to take time and honestly the stay was not that bad. Cabin fever set in just as we left. Between book reading and cuddling, the time really flew. The last day we had to force feed Maggie every two minutes to prove to the doctors that she is no longer dehydrated and fit to go home. There were a lot of conversations with Maggie about eating to avoid another IV, etc. It's so hard to know what's best for her but I can't force her to eat. I wonder if God ever feels that way about me: he knows what's best but won't force it on me. My sister mentioned this experience makes her weary to have kids. I'll admit, it's scary. But there is a whole other side to parenthood that a non-parent can never understand. The human experience, for better and for worse, is amplified in parenthood. Though the last few days were harrowing, I wouldn't forgo the experience for anything.

Get well soon, Maggie!

[Comments] (1) Out with the old: Reasons I'm glad to see 2008 end:

1. I got my first traffic ticket this year.

2. My house was broken into this year, with my computer and Susie's purse stolen.

3. Hernia operation.

4. Spending Christmas Eve and the following three days in Primary Children's Hospital waiting for Maggie to overcome RSV. Can't wait to get THAT bill in the mail.

5. The election year is over. Maybe we can all get back to normal now.

6. My 401(k) can't take it anymore.

7. I just realized, counting that Susie and I went at 6 am this morning, that I only went to the temple 3 times this year. Hoping to do better next year.

8. Sprained foot that incapacitated my summer running season. At least now I have the elliptical for the winter.

9. I worked too much this year and hope to do better this next year.

10. It's time for a change.

Most people post how the year was great and they look forward to many happy returns. Not me this year. I'm glad to get rid of 2008 and sincerely hope 2009 will be better.


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