Tag Archives: life

World’s Worst Jobs: Part 3

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This is a continuation in a series I began a while back, where I analyze jobs I am thankful I don’t have. Check out part one and part two.

Circus Performer: Who actually does this, in our modern era? Pretty much only those born into it, or who are freakishly flexible and whose prospect for fame was greatly exaggerated, possibly due to being a member of The Abby Lee Dance Company. Please note that, while I romanticize running away with the circus, I realize they make peanuts (a suitable pun), have no job security or retirement plan, and are forced to wear sequins for, like, twelve hours a day. Do you know how itchy and uncomfortable that must be? Circus folk also take a lot of heat for abusing animals, shilling the rubes, and being hairy, more so than is decent for someone wearing such a skimpy v-neck. Truthfully, I thoroughly enjoy going to the circus when it comes to town (but have only attended sans child — now that he’s old enough to go I may rue the day we take him to the big top). However, I have a stable family, a mountain of debt, and no appropriate skill, which all prevent this dream of becoming a showman (showwoman?) a reality. Let’s break this category down a little further, with two especially unattractive options.

Acrobat: Vomit-inducing motion sickness unfortunately prevents me from considering participating in so many potentially life-threatening activities, that I’m assuming that walking the line (slang term for acrobat that I think I just made up) would be no different. How disappointing. Honestly, though, these people are literally one step, sneeze, or strong breeze away from meeting their maker. I cannot fathom the desire to follow in the family’s footsteps (another pun, but accurate, since we all know every acrobat does it as part of the family business — I’m looking at you, Flying Wallendas), when it is a career steeped in danger, as a quick google search will immediately reveal. These performers clearly have a lot of guts.

Clown: In fact, there is no safe circus job other than clown, right? Sad clown, happy clown, clown-car-extra clown, short clown, fat clown, clever clown, clumsy clown, hobo clown — there is no end to the types of clown someone could choose to portray in the circus. And yet, who wants to be a clown? When they aren’t giving the actual kinkers a break, they are probably the grunt workers, cleaning animal dung and kenneling the big cats. They have to wear so much makeup — there is a very good chance they all suffer from enlarged pores. Most distressingly, they make a living by terrifying children and 37-year-old female teachers in rural North Dakota…who live in my house…so me.

More to come.

Peace and love.

Books I Sincerely Regret Reading

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*These are just my opinions. Don’t come for me.*

Being an adult, it is rare that I am mandated reading outside keeping up with what I assign my students, though it happens yearly when I take classes for continuing education credits. Basically, reading is a favorite hobby of mine, and I can — and do — read mainly whatever I choose. I usually read reviews and try to choose books I truly think I will enjoy, because I almost never dnf (did not finish) a book. It hurts my sensibilities to think that I might put one or two hours into a book just to stop reading it and never find out what happens, which might only take another couple hours. (My husband, on the other hand, argues that I shouldn’t bother wasting hours of my life finishing a book I don’t like when I’m supposed to be reading for fun.)

I have finished a lot of clunkers in my life — books I really and truly hated at the time and even still — and the four or five hours it took to read them is time I will be begging for as I lay dying. That seems as good a place as any to begin.

1.As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

I read this novel because I was in a phase where I wanted to work my way through “the classics” that I wasn’t assigned to read in school. I remember thinking, “I really liked ‘A Rose for Emily.’ It’s time I read more Faulkner.” Well, that’s the last I read from Faulkner because, as it turns out, he sucks. The plot goes a little like this: a mom/wife dies so the family has to travel with her casket to bury her somewhere in the deep south, but they are terrible at it. It’s all sort of hazy in my memory, but I think there was a flood scene where they almost lose the coffin. Mom starts to smell as they travel (of course). And I know Dad steals money from his kids to get dentures so he can remarry as soon as his dead wife is in the ground. I just…can’t. I’m sure my college professors would have found some way to make this more memorable, enjoyable, or poignant, but I read it alone and had to bribe myself to finish it by setting intervals on my timer with snack rewards in between. I kept thinking, “This much bad stuff really wouldn’t happen to one family in such a short time,” yet the book just kept going…on…and on…until I thought I would still be reading it when I was riding in my casket in the wagon driven by my untrustworthy husband and delinquent kids.

2.Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

I can seriously not roll my eyes hard enough to portray my dissatisfaction with this piece of trash. Here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Rich man of her dreams marries her and turns into an emotionally abusive psychopath who wants to keep her locked up in a room in the basement. It starts on their honeymoon, I think, when he keeps her trapped in a room in, like, Singapore, or somewhere — he’s rich so I guess the hotel staff got good tips for helping him? She wants to leave him, but he keeps her passport. He says he’s going to kill her disabled sister when they get back to England so she devises a plan (with an alarmingly low chance of success in real life) to kill him first. I hated this book so much, mainly because all of the events seemed contrived and unrealistic. There was little explanation for husband’s behavior. The ending was cringe-worthy. The characters were flat and their actions were predictable. Skip it.

Finally, my memory is telling me this book is written in first-person present perspective, which is my least favorite narrative style.

3.The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

What is this book even about?! Holden Caulfield is a whiny, arrogant jerk who mistreats people and thinks that anyone who doesn’t do or say exactly what he wants is a “phony.” While perhaps a realistic look at the world through the eyes of a mentally ill teenage boy in the 1940’s, I, as a thirty-something woman found the protagonist unbearably irritating and the story uninteresting. Shockingly, this book still sells a million copies a year worldwide (according to Wikipedia), so somebody’s reading it. I’m guessing that it’s college kids forced to buy it for their American Literature course. Trigger warning: this book contains some language and at least one scene that is considered homophobic.

It is narrated mainly in first-person past tense, where Holden tells us what happened leading up to his current time. This is less annoying than first-person present, but still not my favorite.

4.The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

I dislike books for a variety of reasons, but this is an especially bitter case for me. I heard so many great things about this book — excellent reviews, pumped up recommendations from Booktubers — that I unintentionally let my psyche build it up to be “the awesome and terrifying American sadist novel of our time.” In all honesty, that was my bad — a rookie mistake. I should have known better, especially after seeing that Hutchison had never written an adult book before. The story seemed right up my alley — a serial killer captures, tattoos, and keeps teenagers in cages and poses them like butterflies mounted for display when he kills them. I was even on board with the villain recruiting his son to help tend the menagerie, or whatever. What I couldn’t get past was the stilted, forced, unrealistic dialogue: truly, some of the worst I’ve ever read. Each time the main character answered a police officer’s question, she was essentially performing a rehearsed dramatic monologue to a group of speech judges. Rather than an authentic portrayal of a police interview in which a victim is explaining the torment her abductor put her through, Hutchison writes it like a soap opera with our protagonist devising cliffhangers and puzzles and witty wordplay and cryptic foreshadowing, offhand, every time she talks. It’s beyond annoying. I would give this book zero stars if I could.

Is this another first-person perspective book? Is the Pope Catholic?

5.The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (and all other dying-children fiction)

As much as I respect John Green for his history videos, I could not fathom reading another book he has written if The Fault in Our Stars is his most popular. Part of the problem with this novel is the “cleverness” of the characters; it reads like someone spent a lot of time thinking up witty responses. The other part is the concept of this and other novels like it (My Sister’s Keeper, Thirteen Reasons Why, etc.) — fictionalizing children dying or being maimed by disease or losing their loved ones while making other issues the real focus of the book is in bad taste and gratuitous. Even if the story was interesting (it wasn’t), I would still feel the subject matter is nothing more than manipulative shock-value-based drama. To be clear, I am not arguing that writing about sick children is immoral. There are many actual children battling illness who could be interviewed and their story could be told in a powerful and memorable biography. Writing about fake kids who are facing diseases people actually have, while focusing on an improbable (and also boring and age inappropriate) love story trivializes a serious and terrifying subject.

Imagine this novel without childhood cancer. Imagine the characters meet at a church potluck and get together and decide to go to a book signing by an author they love, yet he rejects their questions. Then imagine Gus dies in a car accident instead of slowly withering from cancer. Would the story really be different? I mean, the characters would have to be well-rounded instead of flat (as they are in the book) — and otherwise the storyline wouldn’t change much. That’s how we can tell the cancer portion really is unnecessary to the story Green wanted to tell.

Furthermore, there is a risk of glamorizing dying that I fear negatively affects some of the most vulnerable: young teenagers struggling with finding ways to ‘matter’ or make an impact.

Do I feel this way about every single book where a kid is killed? No, because the subject matter is handled differently: as an important plot device integral to moving the story forward rather than an “excuse” for actions which set up “the rest of the story.” Books I’ve read that handle it best include Bridge to Terebithia, The Lovely Bones, and If I Stay.

Another flaw: it’s written in first-person present perspective, because of course it is.

6.Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Good heavens, listening to this on an audio book was literally torture. I would not be at all surprised if it was piped into the cells at Guantanamo on a loop. The “I’m so clever” first person present tense/keeping a fake diary to play the long game/husband not knowing how to act like a normal human thus creating added suspicion — nope, I can’t. I just cannot.

Side note: this book utilizes first-person past and present narration — the bane of my existence.

7.The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (and all other Holocaust fiction)

The issue I have with this book is the same as the “dying kids” trope: there are actual survivors of the Holocaust to write about in a poignant way, so why are authors making up fake people to cover a sensitive topic fantastically? Is death as narrator (who literally gives away crucial plot points and ruins any possible foreshadowing or surprise) that inspiring or original? Or could we just write a narrative biography with no fantasy but make it interesting? It would probably take too much effort — why bother to research when authors can just make up stuff they don’t know or use deus ex machina to solve otherwise unsolvable problems, such as how to make a main character survive a neighborhood-leveling bomb. I am just so tired of lazy writing.

Oh, and is there a bunch of first-person and present tense writing in here? Is the Queen British?

Happy reading, friends.

Peace and love.

Light Reading for an Impending Apocalypse

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I sit on my couch, cradling my aching head while trying — all at once — every known homeopathic remedy to fight my way through a sinus infection sans antibiotics, when my thoughts wander to a headline I recall scrolling past: Stephen King Insists the Coronavirus Is Not Like The Stand. 

First, let’s all take a moment to give thanks that Coronavirus is not the nonfiction counterpart of Captain Trips. Now, let’s pretend for a minute that it is. In that case, the people who are well-read will rule whatever is left of the world.

Follow me down this rabbit hole for a moment. Disease strikes. Mankind fights for its survival. With a decrease in available workers, plumbing, electricity, all modern technological advances (luxuries and ‘necessities’) eventually fail, including the internet. Doctors  will try desperately to heal the ailing with inadequate treatments. Farmers will have to shovel the land by hand. Politicians, repudiated for their weak understanding of science and poor preparation for global catastrophe, will be banished. Athletes will be relegated to the physical labor of repairing crumbling buildings and sidewalks (since, apparently, looters will destroy the towns and/or some natural disaster strikes everywhere civilization still exists), for their unmatched strength and nimble limbs will have been honed for just such a task. Who will be left to take control — to organize and plan, to seek answers to new, yet ancient, problems, to lead the populous into an era of peace and compassion, humility and togetherness? 

Nerds, it is us. Unite (even though we are mainly introverts who would come out this weekend but unfortunately we’ve already made plans…)! We’ve prepared for this exact scenario. We’ve read the books — like, all of them — every single one. We’ve studied the rhetorical devices, appreciated the wordplay, memorized the figurative language. We’ve stayed in the bathroom during breaks in hopes that our coworkers won’t try to talk to us. Now is the time we claim our power and use the knowledge of ages and the wisdom of the greats stored in our giant brains to recreate the remaining people into a happier, more loving, and gentler society, already properly envisioned in our overactive imaginations. 

As I consider the question of what to read to adequately prepare for the catastrophe the Doomsday Preppers believe is rapidly approaching, I think about the books I’ve read over my lifetime. If I was truly worried about an apocalypse, I think my final reading list would look a little something like this:

1.The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson

This is a series of ten adult fantasy books, and from the first time I read the books in college to the last series read-through when the final book was released, it has remained one of my all-time favorite stories. The premise is a very ill man finds himself, after an accident, waking up in an unfamiliar environment, which he suspects he is imagining. As it turns out, saving the Land becomes, for our protagonist, intrinsically linked to saving himself — what he believes is good, and worth fighting for, and worth making sacrifices to obtain — whether the Land is real or not. I can’t express how much joy I have derived from these books, nor relate to you how many tears I have shed over this series.

“There’s only one way to hurt a man who’s lost everything. Give him back something broken.”

2.The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

In a similar vein to the Thomas Covenant series, I have read and reread these books numerous times. The overarching theme is that even in the darkest, saddest, worst, most fearful times, there is still hope and love and friendship and happiness to be found. We observe the courage and perseverance of our main characters even in what appears to be certain defeat (and, for some of them, unfortunately is). These stories can show us what dedication and loyalty truly are. They demonstrate how to overcome overwhelming odds, crushing temptation, and painful despair. They inspire me to be more optimistic and to recognize that, while I may not “win them all” I may “lose” with pride, and cling to my belief that the good in the world will defeat the bad.

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

3.Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

This lighthearted classic tale is purported to be an allegory, both of drug use and of politics of the time. As a card-carrying conspiracy theorist, I can attest that the allegations are one-hundred percent accurate, but also very probably not real. Even if it is true that the Queen of Hearts represents the Queen of England during Victorian times, that knowledge wouldn’t lessen my appreciation for the work as a silly, amusing story entertaining for both children and adults. It is cautionary in nature: Alice finds herself recklessly tumbling into a world in which she gets pulled deeper and deeper due to her insatiable curiosity and sincere appreciation for free food. The strangers she meets are crazy, unpredictable, treacherous, but, also, occasionally helpful and well-meaning. Basically, it’s life in a college dorm.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

4.The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is a memoir that spent over 440 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and with good reason. Jeannette describes her early life as one with many obstacles she worked to overcome: being homeless, living in poverty, and being neglected and abused. Her writing style is elegant and compelling. Her story is heartbreaking and uplifting. She begins by describing how she set herself on fire. Her tragic early life has propelled her into a successful, strong, college-educated career woman. I haven’t often read a book as moving and inspiring, yet relatable, which simultaneously made me feel guilty about the life I’ve enjoyed. It’s a rare gem.

“Pick out your favorite star,” Dad said.
“I like that one!” I said.
Dad grinned. “That’s Venus,” he said. He explained to me that planets glowed because reflected light was constant and stars twinkled because their light pulsed.
“I like it anyway,” I said.
“What the hell,” Dad said. “It’s Christmas. You can have a planet if you want.”
And he gave me Venus.

5.The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

A unicorn is led to believe she is the last in existence, and thus goes to search out what has happened to all the others. It is a tale of having courage, and forging unlikely friendships, and finding or recognizing purpose and meaning in life, and accepting our innate nature, and defying the greed of our leaders for the betterment of the public. It is also about a unicorn, so….

“What use is wizardry if it cannot save a unicorn?” He gripped the magician’s shoulder hard, to keep from falling.
Schmendrick did not turn his head. With a touch of sad mockery in his voice, he said, “That’s what heroes are for.”

6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the unlikely event of a civilization-altering calamity, it might be worth reading a story set in the midst of the “Roaring 20’s,” when people cared for little else but living in the moment and partying wildly on bootlegged hooch, recklessly squandering wealth in the expectation that their prosperity would continue unchecked indefinitely, in the time just before the stock market crash and Great Depression led many of these same players to suicide. Each time I read this book, I discover more to love. The tale of Gatsby and Daisy is timeless, and tragic, and unforgettable.

“I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”

7.The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I have lost count of the number of times I have read this novel but the story has remained near the top of my favorite books list (which doesn’t actually exist, but if it did I would never forgive myself if I laminated it because I’m too indecisive to make that type of commitment). I have taught it to my students seven years in a row and every time it was genuinely enjoyed by a majority of the class, a feat so rare it only happens as often as a double rainbow after a Blood Rain in Kottayam. Albom’s powerful imagery, simple prose, poignant lessons, and memorable characters combine to create a novel which was on the New York Times Best Seller list for almost two years. As a bonus, this book is short and a fast read — perfect for a snowy afternoon snuggled on the couch with some hot chocolate.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”

8. The Stand by Stephen King.

Because, well, it can’t hurt to prepare.

 

“Whatever lay ahead, he was glad to be alive.”

 

Peace and love.

Fall Reading List

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I am a huge lover of all things fall: corn mazes, changing leaves, apple cider, sweaters, squash soup, plaid, vampy lips, sweatpants, scarves — to put it in the lingo the kids use these days, I’m “basic.” The girl sipping the venti Starbucks pumpkin spice latte in Barnes and Noble while wearing leggings and furry boots who almost ran you over to get to the horror section first? That was me, and I’m not even sorry.  But I will try to make it up to you with a new series I am so excited to bring you: books that are on my to-be-read (tbr) list. I’ve handpicked some novels I’m really interested in and plan on reading this fall (October and November)! I’ve included what I think are accurate representations of their genres, based on some research and also common sense, and also a limited description of what I know about each one.

Just to give a little more information, I read, on average, a little over a book a week, and have read 43 books this year so far (it’s October 2). I typically am reading three to four books at a time, so if I get tired of one I just switch to another. I could probably complete books faster if I just stuck to one at a time, but I don’t. So it goes.

 

Dystopia: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Related imageIf you are looking for a terrifying account of what the future could bring, this is the selection for you. I am currently halfway through this novel, and I just can’t stop myself from reading it (and rereading exceptionally well-written chapters). In an America that has been rebuilt after a civil war, women are no longer seen as equal to men. That’s all I will tell you, besides that it is truly worrying.

 

 

 

Fantasy/Horror: Insomnia by Stephen King

Image result for stock photo insomnia kingbookOn my quest to read each of Stephen King’s novels, I find that this is one I have left. It occurs in Derry, a town he has used as a setting in other books, and the topic is relatable to me: there are nights I only get two or three hours of sleep due to insomnia. I have learned that in this novel are fights over abortion and women being abused by their husbands. The last hint I have is that someone is being driven crazy, I believe. It doesn’t sound like it will be one of my favorites, but it does sound like an interesting book.

 

 

Horror: The Troop by Nick Cutter

Image result for stock photo the deep nick cutter bookThis guy was recommended to me by Stephen King. Ok, so that sounds a lot cooler than I really am. I saw on the cover of the novel that King said this book made him afraid, and I jumped at the chance to read it, too. I don’t know much about it — in fact, I know literally nothing else, other than it’s about some scouts, I think. But if it’s good enough to scare my favorite horror writer, it’s good enough for me!

 

 

 

YA: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Image result for stock photo the graveyard bookI’m about 15 pages into this short novel, and I think it’s clever, original, and just a little bit creepy as well. At this point, I would not hesitate to recommend it to my middle and high schoolers who are interested in a good scary story at this time of year. It starts with a family being killed (but it doesn’t go into detail or anything like that) except for the toddler, who manages to escape into a graveyard by his home. The ghosts of the cemetary take him under their wing and protect him from the murderer. That’s as far as I have gotten.

 

 

Satire/Thriller: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Image result for stock photo fight club bookI watched parts of this movie when I was in college (or maybe high school? could I be that old?), so I know that the first rule of fight club is that there is no fight club, or whatever. I also know the twist ending of the movie. I’m hoping that, despite spoiling it for myself, my memory is bad enough that I will still be able to enjoy reading the novel. If not, I’m sure I’ve read things that are worse and longer — this book clocks in at a light 218 pages.

 

 

Horror/Psychological Thriller: Rage by Stephen King

Image result for stock photo rage stephen king

As a teacher, nothing is more horrifying than an attack on a school. It is, unfortunately, a reality our country faces far too frequently. Potentially, such a tragedy could occur literally anywhere and have devastating results on the community impacted. I would never wish such evil on anyone. Stephen King himself is so disturbed that some school shootings were later linked to his novel that he does not want it to be published any longer. How appropriate for a reading list for scary book/Halloween season.

 

 

Psychological Thriller: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Image result for stock photo the butterfly gardenI purposely have avoided learning too much about what happens in this novel because I want to have suspense and fear come organically. I understand the basic premise: a sadist kidnaps and tortures people. However, whenever I am reading or watching reviews and this novel comes up, I skip it. I am so excited for this book, and truly think it will be one that keeps me up at night. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback about it, so fingers are crossed it’s a good, fast, scary, tormenting, can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head read!

 

 

True Crime: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Image result for stock photo in cold blood

This nonfiction selection has been on my “read it soon” list for literally years — probably close to a decade. I’ve decided this is the year I can finally read it and move on with my life. Writing about an actual murder from multiple perspectives was unique for the time Capote was writing. As true crime is one of my favorite genres, I’m incredibly excited to read the one that started it all (according to Wikipedia).

 

 

I would love to know what you are planning to read this season! Peace and love.

 

 

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 14

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Two weeks in and I seem to have taken a step or two backwards. I’m not sure if it’s part of the healing process, but I seem to have to clear my throat a lot and talking is very difficult due to being hoarse almost to the point of losing my voice. I am also still sore, especially if I try to open my mouth all the way, and I also have been experiencing some uncomfortable itching.

Enough of the negatives — it’s time to focus on positives. My pain level was a manageable 3-4 without having to use medication or stay in my humidified bedroom all day. I didn’t even nap today (though I definitely could have — I was pretty drained). All I took were my last two Hydrocodones today, one this morning at 10-ish and one a few minutes ago, around 8 p.m. I was able to manage pain by drinking water, talking less, eating a bit (seriously — it felt like it was helping gently rub my throat instead of scratching it), and, of course, cold therapy (by which I mean a strawberry malt and some popsicles). I think it’s fantastic that I’m healed to the point that I can choose whether or not I’m going to take meds, and just deal with the more minor consequences of staying off them when possible. This time last week, my pain level would absolutely not have allowed the option of skipping pain pills — even taking one an hour or two late would have resulted in complete misery. So, I know I’m on the mend, even if it’s much slower than I would have hoped.

I hope to be able to have more energy over the next few days, and to eat healthier, too. I was informed by the doctor that I should expect a substantial weight loss — and several people estimated it would be about 10 pounds. While I, fortunately, haven’t gained weight since my surgery, I’ve only (somehow) lost 2 pounds (thanks, PCOS!). I have been eating nothing but junk food, obviously — pudding and ice cream and popsicles, oh my! Mashed potatoes and pancakes and sodium-laden canned soups, oh my! Unfortunately, laying around and eating empty calories is not offsetting the calories my body is burning to heal me up, apparently. I’ve also been incredibly hydrated with the massive amounts of water I’ve been drinking, so I didn’t lose the expected “water weight,” either. (Though, my hair is very shiny and my skin is clearer than it’s been for months — thank you, water!)

But we are what we eat, and my body is letting me know, through cravings and low energy, that it would like some healthy food as soon as possible. Like, I would love a giant chef salad — is that too much to ask? I’m just a little gun-shy about pulling the trigger on the hard, crunchy vegetables. I still get zings of pain now and again from overly-salty food and I can’t open my mouth all the way, so I feel like anything requiring too much effort to chew and swallow will just set my progress back a couple days. So, tomorrow is more noodles and applesauce, I guess, unless I unexpectedly make substantial healing gains overnight.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 13

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Lucky number 13, or so they say. I started weaning off my strong prescription pain pills last night, trying to push myself as long as possible before taking them, and while I haven’t risen above a pain level of 4, I’ve had more discomfort today than yesterday.

I slept later in the morning, and that probably started my day poorly by dehydrating me, and though I spaced my pills about 5 hours apart instead of the recommended 4, it seems like they took much longer to kick in. Additionally, I’ve developed cough — sort of like there may be fluid building up in my lungs — which aggravates the soreness in my throat. It’s harder to talk today — like my throat is not just sore but a little tight and a bit itchy. I’m wondering if I could be starting to suffer a little from allergies. My hubby thinks it may be the last of the scabs falling off.

I did have mac-n-cheese today, and a hamburger (with home-grown lettuce!) on a bun, besides my typical jello/pudding/mashed potatoes menu. I tried a fry, but it was too scratchy, so I gave those up immediately.

I didn’t have much energy today, so I got literally nothing accomplished besides eating, painting my nails, video-chatting with relatives, and watching YouTube videos. That sounds like a perfect lazy day, but I’ve had 13 of those in a row and am getting quite bored. I just keep thinking of all the fun activities I wish I had the stamina to accomplish, and I’m getting a little resentful that this surgery and recovery has taken up so much of my time. But, as I discovered earlier this week, the more I do one day, the more worn out I am the next.

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Time for another pill, and then maybe an early bedtime. Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 12

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Just a quick update here before I head to bed. Today I felt much better, look and sound better, and had more energy and a clearer mind than I have had at any point since my surgery. I believe the scabs are almost completely gone, but I do still have pain — it’s mainly a sharp pain in specific places, as opposed to widespread dull pain spread all over. I completely missed my 7:30 a.m. pill today and didn’t take one until almost noon, when my level was about a 3 out of 10 — a real blessing.

I am going to start spreading my pills out further than the recommended 3-4 hour dosage. They are, after all, prescribed opioids, and I’m truly scared of them, their addictive potential, and their possible withdrawal side effects. I know that I’ve only been taking them about 2 weeks, but I still feel uncomfortable about the whole situation, particularly since I’ve been on them for five days longer than my doctor originally intended. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to transitioning back to regular old Extra Strength Tylenol until I am totally healed up.

I wound up taking a nap this afternoon, but it was only an hour long, and it did refresh me enough to become more adventurous in my eating. I had hamburger gravy on my mashed potatoes and, just now, had a piece of baked chicken. Hamburgers topped with home-grown lettuce and dill, with sides of mac-n-cheese and green beans are on the menu for tomorrow’s Father’s Day lunch, so hopefully my throat’s up to the challenge! We can do it, me! I believe in us! (I’ll leave off the Sriracha mustard, I suppose. How sad.)

Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 11

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I should have known better. I was forewarned. I thought I could beat the odds. I am a fool.

I pushed myself too hard yesterday, because I was finally able to get up and move around without constant pain. I definitely felt it today. Loved ones told me this exact scenario would happen, but I thought, “Surely that’s earlier on in the recovery than this!” I am an idiot.

All of that aside, I made it through most of this morning pleasantly without incident, even (unintentionally) taking my pain medicine an hour later than scheduled. While I felt it a little bit, my world didn’t completely collapse. That grew my confidence: I must be almost all the way better, if I’m only at a 3 when I’m not on pain meds! I haven’t been coughing — my scabs must be nearly totally gone. I can drink and eat without idolizing the dead. Full steam ahead!

Then I made an epically bad decision, one on par with Oedipus marrying his mother. After my delicious, vitamin-enriched breakfast of a chocolate protein shake, I attempted to eat a lunch consisting of one-half of one piece of Oscar Mayer Ultra Thin Roast Beef. You know the kind: the almost see-through slices people put on sandwiches. The ones that are loaded with salt.

To say it burned like the sand and rain in the inner-most ring of the seventh circle of hell is an only slightly exaggerated descriptor. It was as though the lava from a volcano had formed a hand, like in the cartoons, and was reaching down my throat to tickle my stomach with fingers licking of flames. Tears instantly sprang to my eyes. I cursed myself, time and again, while furiously drinking ice water until the pain receded. I am the jester in my royal court.

After lunch, I decided it was time for a nap. I fell asleep around 1:30 and woke up at 5:30. That’s approximately as much sleep as I typically get in a full night. I evidently needed it, though, because I awoke with a pain level of only a 1-2 and high enough energy to eat two small pancakes for dinner.

Life is looking up. Peace and love.

 

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 9

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Picture it: it’s 2:30 in the morning, you’re in pain, and you just want to be able to take your two Extra Strength Tylenol and fall asleep for a solid 6 hours to heal peacefully. You’re propped up on a plethora of soft pillows and surrounded by cats who are purring softly, creating an ambiance that is almost spa-like. You quietly drift off, to be awoken by the sound of your next alarm gently rousing you from slumber, with only a mild tingle in your throat to remind you to take your next dose of medication. You almost consider skipping a dose — you feel so good — but that would be foolish, so you take half of what is recommended and head into the living room with a cup of coffee to listen to the birds sing gently in the trees. That was exactly my situation this morning, in nearly no way.

Oh, sure, there was the two extra-strength Tylenols and the cats. There were a bunch of pillows, but those were mainly thrown to the ground in the sudden surge of adrenaline brought on by the torturous and terrifying coughing spell that awoke me around 4:00 a.m., arms flailing, consumed by the fear that I would create a throat bleed that would require medical attention. As the coughing abated, the alternating sharp and dull, but ever-constant, pain set in. And I was completely aware of the time (my insomnia has honed my ability to determine the hour from the angles of the shadows on the wall — plus, you know, I had a clock beside me): only an hour and a half into this dose of meds, with four and a half hours to go. As it turns out, I was, from that point on, up for most of the day, with only the equivalent of a long nap to help drag myself along.

There was no spa. There was no singing bird. There was no miraculous healing just because all the internet sources and documentation from the doctor’s office had convinced me there would be by this point. There was no peace.

Allow me to elaborate upon what there was. There was coffee, when I could force my aching throat to open far enough to allow me to choke it down. There was a snoring husband and a coughing baby and a bunch of cat-games going on throughout the house (occasionally sleeping, often running and jumping). There was more than just a “slight tingle” in my throat; there was a never-ending throb of misery made worse from swollen glands, referred ear pain, and sticky, but loose, wiggly scabs. There was a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a hand towel, laying on my neck and dripping into my hair.

I’m not going to lie. I had known in the previous days the swelling wasn’t quite ready to quit (I mean, I’m old and sickly, so I expected I wouldn’t get better as soon as a child would). I had called my doctor (who is out of the state) and informed his office of the swelling and struggles I was still facing, and asked if they thought it would be best to give me more steroids and prescribed pain medication. Today, they reached my doctor and that prescription was called in. Not all heroes wear capes.

Around 12:45, my hubby got my pills from the pharmacy. Around 1:45, I was feeling well enough to sit up, refreeze the peas, and eat a couple more popsicles. By 2:30, I was having mushroom soup. It was like a miracle.

I don’t mean to imply that Extra Strength Tylenol is worthless. I am stating, outright, that it just isn’t strong enough to help me at this point. What a miserable lesson to have to learn. I’m really appreciative that my doctor gave me a few extra days of the meds that were working. Hopefully when they run out this weekend, it won’t be nearly as bad as it is now. Optimism is how I live my life!

Here’s me, in the competent hands of my nursing staff, with a bag of peas and a mountain of pillows. Note the look of anguish.

Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 8

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“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains.”
If that excerpt sounds familiar, it’s from “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. In what way does it apply to a tonsil and adenoid surgery recovery? Well, it’s simple. I am Ozymandias: prideful, overly-confident, and foolish.
I was so smug yesterday. “Oh,” I said, “I’m feeling better. I have the answer! It’s so simple! Sleep sitting up! I’m a genius to have figured that out. It’s all smooth-sailing from here, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing but blue skies. Listen to the master of healing and take note.”
Nothing beside remains.
Today I awoke, as I should have suspected from the cockiness reflected in yesterday’s blog tone, in what I shall elegantly call a crap ton of pain. I even went so far as to cancel a coffee date I thought I couldn’t make it to, because I lost track of days and was a day ahead of schedule. As it turns out, my friend had to cancel for a totally different reason (in other words, she isn’t a complete moron like I am and is successfully adulting during her recovery, taking care of bills and house upkeep and pet care and talking to the cable company, while here I am eating six-packs of Jello pudding while painting my nails and watching The 40 -Year Old Virgin). But that is neither here nor there. The point is, I was so out of sorts due to the pain I so richly earned through hubris that I lost track of time and cancelled a date I didn’t have.
Nothing beside remains.
It turns out that I have no idea why I have been waking up in the morning miserable and have a lot of swelling until about lunch, after which time I start feeling better and more normal until night. It just comes and goes in waves, I guess. I don’t actually know anything. I don’t even know what day it is.
Meanwhile, I took my final Prednisone and my final prescription pain pill today. I’m about to take an Extra Strength Tylenol and hope for the best. I should be fine, right? I mean, how much longer can this agony truly drag on?
I have not, in actuality, been in agony since this morning. In fact, I’ve been hovering between a pain level of 1 and 4 all afternoon and evening. I ate some soup (with noodles!) and a piece of pumpkin pie filling today, in addition to an ice cream slushie and about ten popsicles. I’ve come to remember, through this experience, how much I love Cup a Soup! Do you remember that? Little packets of broth with a noodle in it that you heat in a mug in the microwave! I haven’t had so much of it since I left college, but now it’s like the best thing I can eat. I’ve also had a can of mushroom soup, which I would have married if he’d asked.
Clearly my diet has been poor this week. I’ve had either too few calories or too many bad calories. I was getting concerned about becoming malnourished — losing vitamins and minerals because I’m not eating the right types of foods. I’m already anemic, and haven’t been taking my iron at all, so there is valid cause for concern. While talking to a friend, she suggested I buy some ready-made protein shakes that have a lot of healthy nutrition in them. Those should be arriving tomorrow. Possibly, my lightheadedness and lack of concentration will be exiting tomorrow, too.
My doctor’s release forms say that the potential for excessive bleeding and also the prevalence of regular pain should be abated by day 11, so just a couple really bad days left, right?
Peace and love.