Looking Back at 2010

I’m answering (In)Courage’s end-of-year questions today because it’s waaaay easier than trying to sum up my year on my own.

I’m lazy like that. 🙂


1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Kevin survived his motorcycle accident.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Helping Kevin recover from his motorcycle accident and help him learn to walk again. By the grace of God, the man not only survived being hit head on, but he conquered his injuries and is now back to normal (save for a slight limp).

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Being able to go ahead and take our family vacation to New York and cruise up to Canada. We weren’t sure we were going to make it because of Kevin’s accident, but he healed faster than anyone thought he would and with the help of a walker, a cane, and his family, we were able to go on our vacation. It was really hard on Kevin, but he endured and it was a sweet victory.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

My intestinal issues. Even though we all knew my problems would eventually catch up with me, we didn’t expect them to require emergency surgery or happen at the worst time of year. (Though I suppose it could have been worse – I could have been stuck in Canada when my problem flared up).

5. Pick three words to describe 2010.


6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2010 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).


7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2010 (again, without asking).


8. What were the best books you read this year?

Based on the “5” rating on my books page:

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Morning Comes Softly by Debbie Macomber
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Never Change by Elizabeth Berg
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My husband, my boys and my parents.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

I think having Kevin home was probably my biggest personal challenge. His job liquidated because they couldn’t obtain funding (banks weren’t lending money, thanks Obama), so he ended up wrapping up the company from home. It was challenging to have him underfoot every day, but we managed.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I grow emotionally nearly every day. I’m constantly challenging aspects of my personality and trying to BE a better person. I’m working on it.

I can honestly say that I believe I’m a much better person than I have ever been. I’m still pretty opinionated, egotistical and judgmental, but I’m learning that life? Is not always black and white, no matter how much I try and tell myself that.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

Kevin’s accident just strengthened my faith. I know, without one smidgen of doubt, that our faith in God is what saved him and saw us through that trying time. It also helped me become more publicly comfortable with my Christian faith and I’m now more free to share my faith with others. I would like to believe that the Truth or Tradition articles I post on this blog also bless some people out there and I can’t help but wonder if the challenges we’ve been through this past year were attacks from the adversary because we are being EFFECTIVE in spreading God’s wonderful truth.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I think I’ve grown more comfortable with my body over this past year. I certainly understand it better now that I’ve learned my intestinal issues were indeed an ISSUE. I’ve also learned to listen a little more carefully and to not put off going to see the doctor in the future.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

Kevin and I have grown even closer since his accident. We bonded on unexpected levels; it’s a much deeper bond than simply being man and wife. He completely relied on me for several weeks while he recovered and we have a much deeper understanding of each other as a result.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

We did a ton of stuff around the house this year:

New kitchen
Completely re-decorated the living room/dining room
Ripped up carpets and replaced with hardwood floors in living room/dining room.
Re-did the front bathroom
New roof
Repainted the front entrance

We still want to replace the carpet with hand-scraped hardwood in the family room sometime this next year.

I’m not a big homemaker, and making all of these changes was a big pain, but it looks really good and we’re really happy with the end results. I can’t imagine living anywhere else – I love our home.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

Getting through the kitchen remodel. That was a mess. I had to wash dishes in the bathroom for a few weeks and the dust alone was enough to drive a sane person crazy. But again, the end result was WELL WORTH the trouble.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Probably Twitter and Facebook, which is probably a pretty universal answer. But you know? I think my love affair with Twitter is about over. I’m finding it increasingly LAME.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

I can’t answer this question – I’m still looking for the best way to use my time. I have a feeling though, this might be the year I find it. (BIG changes on the horizon for our lives for 2011).

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

That God is good, family is everything and I’m much stronger than I originally thought.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2010 for you.

This year was filled with tears, prayers, gratitude and healing.


Back from the Brink – Part Two

I have good days, I also have days where I’m so weak it’s hard to hold my head up.

It’s amazing how much energy your body requires to get over surgery. Just the simple act of taking a shower makes me huff and puff like I’ve just run a 5K and I have to sit down and catch my breath before moving on to putting on my makeup and drying my hair. What used to take me 45 minutes now takes me two hours to accomplish. It’s really frustrating.

In addition, my appetite alternates between RAVENOUS and NAUSEOUS. It’s the most bizarre feeling. I’m at once both hungry and sick at the same time. Though I am eating, it takes effort and I rarely finish anything anymore. I realize that my stomach is most likely the size of a walnut right now, but just eating a bowl of cereal almost seems more than it’s worth at times.

I have pain pills, but I don’t take them very often. The pain that I feel is mainly caused by my staples. Since it’s a vertical cut and my staples are in the folds of my skin, I feel them every time I bend or sit. Sometimes they’re so tight it’s like I caught some of my skin in my zipper and it pinches – hard.

Having a BM or passing gas is also sometimes really painful. I just have to breathe through it because there is no way in hell I’m holding any of that stuff in ever again. I’m assuming this is because my intestine has been pieced back together, but I’ll be sure to ask the doctor about that when I go in to see him on January 6th to have my staples removed.

Though this has been a very difficult week, it’s also getting better. I am getting stronger and my body is slowly adjusting. I’m still glad this happened though as it means I’ve finally gotten my problem fixed and now it’s just a question of finding my new normal.

A quick word about my roommates:

I had three while I was in the hospital. The first one was a sweet, sassy older woman who had had throat surgery. She had somehow developed some sort of pocket in her throat and it prevented her from swallowing. She was extremely nice and left me alone, but once in a while she would softly call out, “You okay over there, Karen?” Her daughter kept her company most of the time, though her son came in one time. They were both teachers and I learned that the man was actually a teacher at my son’s schools. We compared names and he thought he remembered my youngest son – typical. Jazz is a talker and would most likely be the one teachers remembered. He taught freshmen science so it’s very likely he had taught my boys.

The woman and her daughter got along extremely well and they gave each other a hard time, joking around and whatnot. It was really amusing to listen to them. They reminded me a lot of my mom and her mother – they just had a comfortable and easy going relationship. It made me miss my mom.

(By the way, mom called me a lot while I was in the hospital. I really appreciated talking to her and it made me feel like a little girl whenever I would hear the concern in her voice. Talking to her helped me stay grounded and encouraged me – everything was going to be all right).

The woman was gone by the time I got back from my endoscopy. (Yes. I had a colonoscopy AND an endoscopy. Lucky me, right?)

My second roommate arrived on the day of my surgery. I’m not really sure what she was in for, but she was recovering from surgery and they wanted to observe her over night, her husband was with her and he was very protective of her. She didn’t say much, her husband did most of her communication for her, but the few times she spoke she seemed nice enough. I don’t remember much from the night after my surgery, but I do remember waking up to this woman’s husband yelling. He apologized profusely for his abruptness. He was a Vietnam Veteran and sudden noises would cause him to jerk awake and yell in reaction to his time at war. It only happened a few times that night, but it was enough to disturb me. I didn’t mind, really, it sort of kept my mind off my own troubles, at least temporarily. They left Christmas Eve day.

My third roommate arrived on the day I was due to be released from the hospital. She had had a tumor removed from her bladder and she was expected to be released the next day. She talked, non-stop, from the MOMENT she arrived. And I mean, non-stop. She recanted every bit of her surgery at least a hundred times and she spoke with a slow … southern … drawl. To top it off, she didn’t have her hearing aids in so everyone had to repeat their questions no less than four times.

She drove me absolutely mad within five minutes and I thanked God that I wouldn’t have to deal with her over night. She was a sweet lady, but extremely slow, not only in speech, but overall, though some of that might have been because she was still a bit sedated. In fact, her family popped their head around the curtain to apologize for her. “Sorry about this,” they said. “She likes to talk.”

That was the understatement of the year. In fact, she talked so much, even the nurses gently chided her and reminded her that she was sharing the room and to have a little respect for her roommate. I had to listen to her all morning until my doctor finally came in around 12:30 that day to officially release me. I was never so glad to get out of there in all my life. Another few hours and they would have had to lock me in a looney bin. Seriously.

Christmas Day – 2010

I woke up to silence. Whenever you’ve been in the hospital for a while, you notice when it’s quiet. I had my room to myself and very nearly the entire floor to myself. The place was virtually empty. The only people left were likely emergency cases like myself.

Christmas Day was uneventful for me. I walked around the floor several times (to show the nurses that I was getting around on my own well enough and because I was bored out of my mind in my room all by my lonesome), and a few patients had decorated their rooms with tiny Christmas trees and their families had brought all of their gifts up to celebrate Christmas together. I regretted, more than once, that my family hadn’t decided to go ahead and celebrate Christmas at the hospital and I felt lonely, sad and very sorry for myself.

It was not a very joyous Christmas for me or my family.

It was a quiet day – I watched TV, surfed the ‘net, pooped (no less than SIX times, thank you very much), talked to my mom, my guys, slept and tried not to be bitter about spending Christmas at the hospital. In short, I was a pathetic mess, but I tried hard not to let the nurses see how depressed I was. Remember, it was all about convincing them to let me go home.

The day after Christmas was more of the same. I walked, I forced myself to eat solid food (even though I didn’t eat much, it was enough to show the nurses that I could handle it), I watched TV, slept, pooped, surfed the ‘net and longed to go home. The doctor on call was impressed with my progress. He said that many patients who had the same sort of surgery as me took a minimum of five or six days to recover enough to go home, but considering I was doing so well, he was going to recommend I go home the next day – just four days after my surgery.

Since I was eating and drinking so well on my own, the nurses unhooked my IV and I was a free woman. They left me alone Sunday night save for one time to come in and take my vitals and I was able to get some pretty good sleep that night.

Monday morning, they allowed me to take a shower (which was SOOOOO HARD to get through but I managed) and I got dressed, packed up my stuff and impatiently waited for my doctor to finally show up around lunch time to get the process started on allowing me to go home.

Kevin came and got me and we got home around 3:30 Monday, December 27th. I took a pain pill around 6:00 that evening, had a little dinner and felt okay enough to participate in our Christmas by 8:00 that evening.

But that’s another post.

So, all in all, I was in the hospital for a little over a week. I went in on December 18th, went home on December 20th, went back on December 22nd and was finally released December 27th. Even though I wish the timing had been better on this whole episode, I’m so glad that my intestinal issues are over and we can all get back to normal.