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Forrest Gump

I noticed a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier when I was visiting a couple weeks ago.  

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I've visited this chain of restaurants in the past, but this time I noticed something different right outside the front door.

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The sign in the above photo is permanently fixed to a bench.

But that isn't all ….

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Forrest's shoes, suitcase, and box of candy are also permanent fixtures.

Seeing this?

Made my day.

Sometimes it's the little things ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Appraising the Waves

I'm not doing well.

I hate to be a downer, but since I was rushed to the ER yesterday I've really been struggling. 

I've got high pain from the surgery, my whole body itches unmercifully, my face is red and swollen from the allergic reaction … ugh!  My eyes are swollen nearly shut.  I look like a monster leftover from Halloween.  If you've ever experienced a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction, you understand how horrible it makes you feel.

And why?

Because someone really blew it and ignored my medical chart and the hospital warning bracelet I wore during my surgery.  This process wouldn't have been fun anyway, but now it's just off the charts miserable.  I guess I'm lucky.  I'm so highly allergic to the medication they used, I easily could have died.

Lucky me ….

At this point, it's just a matter of waiting it out.  The allergy symptoms will take days, possibly over a week, to subside.  I'm taking all the meds I can and … I'm waiting.  

The surgical pain will ease with time too.  I'm trying to take it minute by minute and just get through it.  Time seems to be moving incredibly slow.

When I'm not asleep, I'm trying to distract myself by going through some of the many photos I took over the last two weeks.

I took this photo of a group of teen boys appraising the waves last weekend.  I love it.  I also relate to it.  I feel like that's exactly what I've been doing the past few days ….  appraising the waves.

AppraisingW
© Twenty Four At Heart

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Rushed to the ER

Before dawn this morning (Thursday), I was rushed to the hospital emergency room with a severe allergic reaction to some of the medication used on me yesterday, during surgery.

It's been a scary, nerve-wracking, awful day.

I now sit with an epi-pen by my side.

The hospital wanted to admit me because they can't seem to make the reaction go away, although it is slightly (?) better than when I went in.  In time, the doc agreed to let me go home but he was reluctant to put it mildly.

This isn't fun, and it IS scary.

I'll hopefully be back by Monday with regular posts.

In the meantime, expect to see short, little, updates like this.

Although, the doctors are "trying to get to the bottom of what happened," they suspect a nurse used a medication that was clearly marked on my chart as one I'm highly allergic too.  In addition, it was marked on my hospital bracelet in bold letters.

I'm in bad shape and miserable.

Hope to be back to regular posts soon …..

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Surgery #8

How sad is it that I have to refer to my car accident surgeries by number in order to keep them all straight?

I won't lie.

I'm hurting.  

A lot.  

I'm also having an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was given.

Can you say miserable?

I've been told yesterday's surgery to implant the neurostimulator went well.  I now have 24 (twenty four!) electrodes in my shoulder.  Sixteen electrodes are in the front of my shoulder and eight are in the back.  I have wires inside my body traveling the length of my torso.  

The wires end at the generator.

Rechargeable_systems

I borrowed the above photo off the St. Jude Medical website.

The generator, which is sort of like a pacemaker for my arm, is implanted in my abdomen.

It's nice to know my leftover baby pouch (read:  tummy fat!) is being put to good use.  (Kind of like a kangaroo's pouch?)  The generator in my abdomen won't be visible once I'm healed.  I'll be able to walk around naked and no one will know how bionic I am.

There's nothing quite like a naked, bionic, woman – right?

The generator normally goes in the back of a person's hip, but since I can't move my bum arm to reach BACK at all, having it on my hip wouldn't work for me.  Thus, Dr. Painless put it in my abdomen.  The battery is rechargeable, and needs to be recharged regularly, right through my skin.  I have to be able to reach, with my disabled arm, the area where it's located.  

The technology involved in this device is astounding.

In a couple days, I'll be turned on.

(Ha!  Don't you wish you could count on being turned on too?)

Right now the device isn't programmed.  Which means it isn't working yet.

Once the stimulator is programmed, I'll be able to control it with a small remote.

Programmer

The remote is small enough to fit easily in a purse.  It will allow me to control the strength and type of sensations I feel in my shoulder and arm.  Amazing, isn't it?

I have a home nurse coming to the house every afternoon for a few days.  She seems very nice.  I didn't know she was part of the deal, but Dr. Painless ordered her for me.

My shoulder and shoulder blade (and back) hurt quite a bit.  That's to be expected, of course.  That's where the electrodes and wires were put in.  

The more intense pain, however, is coming from the battery pack itself which is in my abdomen.  Every time I sit, or stand, or move – the movement uses my abdominal muscles.  (I didn't even think I had any abdominal muscles, but apparently I do and they're protesting loudly to all this surgery/generator/foreign object in my body stuff.)

So yep, that's where the worst pain is – not in my arm or shoulder, but in my stomach.  I'm sure it will ease up in a few days.

I hope.

I'm very tired from the anesthesia, etc.  I slept most of yesterday.

In other words, mentally I'm a bit flaky and fading in and out.

I'm swearing a lot whenever I have to move because – sheeeeeet it hurts!  It's also difficult to find any position I can get semi-comfortable in.  Sitting up hurts, laying down hurts, standing hurts … basically I just hurt right now.  I know it will be better soon.

I did want to give you an update though and let you know I'm okay.  After all, I don't think this surgery would have happened without your help.  By the way, everyone on my medical team is quite proud and amazed by your efforts too.  It's all they were talking about during my pre-surgery time yesterday.

You, dear readers, are the very best!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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The Surf & Sand Resort

* Thank you everybody for all the birthday wishes yesterday.  I had a great day and I'll tell you all about it soon.  (Tequila might have been VERY involved!)  *

Today I'm having Car Accident Surgery #8.  While you go about your day, I'll be getting sliced open at 6 a.m. this morning.  (Why do they always schedule surgeries for so damn early in the morning?)  The good thing about an early surgery is that it will also be over early in the day.  I'll put an update out on Twitter later today when I'm able.  If you don't follow me on Twitter but want to hear how I'm doing, you can come here to 24, click on the "Follow Me on Twitter" button in my sidebar and read my tweets without having to sign up for Twitter.

While I'm hanging out on a hospital gurney today, I'll be imagining I'm back at the Surf & Sand Resort.  (If you missed it, you can read about my birthday weekend in Laguna Beach by clicking here.)  I thought I'd share with you a little about this beautiful hotel today.  If you ever have the opportunity to stay there, I think you'll love it.  (No, this isn't a sponsored post.  This is, however, a hotel I love and wanted to share with you!)

I've been to the Surf & Sand in the past, and it's always a joy to return.  Here's what I saw upon first entering my room last weekend:

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Pretty nice, don't ya think?

Looking back at the bed area:

SSroom2w
The little lights on each side of the bed are on dimmers so you can turn them down to make the ambiance instantly romantic.  I didn't take any photos of the bathroom, but it was big, beautifully – and tastefully done with a full tub, separate shower, double sinks, etc.

As you can (hopefully) see in the next photo, the ocean is fully visible from the bed.

SSRoom3w

We slept with the balcony doors open and listened to the waves crashing under our room all night.  By the way, some people find the ocean too loud and can't sleep.  The hotel provides ear plugs in every room just in case.  (For me, the ocean sounds are the most relaxing thing in the world and I can't imagine using ear plugs to avoid hearing it!)  

When we returned to our room in the evening, the hotel had provided turn down service.  There were chocolates waiting for us, the bed was turned down, two robes were laid out for us, the room was lit romantically and soft music was playing.

Can you say heaven?

Here's a look at the resort's pool area:

SSpool1w
I've never used the pool.  I have a pool at home and when I'm at the beach I like to be on the beach, but I'm sure it's as wonderful as everything else at this hotel.

The Surf & Sand also has a spa which I've heard is fabulous.  Again, I've never tried it.  I'm always too busy doing what I love … hitting up the beach and practicing my photography.  I've had friends use the Surf & Sand spa though and they rave about it.

I have, however, spent time here:

SSDeckw
The above photo is the outdoor seating area where you can relax with a cocktail, or enjoy your morning coffee.  There are outdoor heaters, firepits, and an outdoor fireplace also.  I love hanging out here at the beginning or end of the day. 

The Surf & Sand also offers a restaurant and (my favorite) a bar called Splashes Lounge with a full ocean view.  Sometimes Briefcase and I will stop into Splashes for a drink before heading out to one of Laguna's many excellent restaurants.  That's right, you don't have to be a hotel guest to visit the restaurant and/or bar.  Splashes is a very romantic way to begin or end a date night.

Before I close for the day, I wanted to share with you the view from our hotel room.  From our balcony, looking straight out ahead we saw Catalina Island.

Catalina1w

From our balcony, looking towards the right/north up the beach we saw this:

BalcRtw

Looking south, to the left, our view was like this:

BalcLtw

When the tide was out, we saw things like this when we looked straight down from our fourth floor balcony:

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At night, the most wonderful thing imaginable happens at the Surf & Sand.

SSNight1w

The hotel lights up the beach in front of it.  As it gets darker and the tide comes up, the waves crash under your balcony.  The waves are lit up by the moon and the stars and the soft flood lights from the hotel.  It's a beautiful sight to see.  I think I could pretty much live on one of the Surf & Sand's balconies forever.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Whoa! I’m 24 AGAIN!

Yay!

Happy 24th birthday to me once again!

I'm, hopefully, at a spa getting wrapped up in eucalyptus leaves and rubbed with warm oil while you're reading this.  (Or am I doing laundry?  Take your pick!)

I had all these wonderful ideas for a post today, but then I kept dismissing them as not being appropriate for my 24th birthday.

I mean, what if my parents stop in to wish me a happy birthday and I've chosen to do a post about the sex toys random strangers mail me?  And what if I even listed the names I've chosen to give each particular toy ….  

Do you think they'd understand?

Yes, people HAVE sent me sex toys and no, I'm not quite sure why.  I'm not quite sure why I name them either, except there are now so many of them – how else would I keep track of them?

Perhaps readers send me sex toys because I mention them from time to time in my posts so they think I need MORE sex toys.

(Because five dildos is never enough!)

Someone even gave me a vibrating ring.  Yeah, like a ring you wear on your finger.  It's bright orange.  I have a few questions about that particular toy, but let's not get into them right now.

If I die in surgery tomorrow someone is going to find an entire cabinet of sex toys and I don't want to be remembered for them.

I haven't even tried most of them yet!

Now, LOOK what's happened!

This has turned into a post about not writing a post about sex toys.

How did that happen?

I might as well have just written about the damn sex toys in the first place.

In addition, apparently I was politically incorrect yesterday.

(Don't act so surprised.)

There's been drama and scandal in the blogosphere recently.  

Shocking, I know!

A popular, married, male blogger has been surreptitiously sending female bloggers his penis.

* Ahem *

I mean, photos of his penis – via email/text.

Sexual harassment of any sort is not something to laugh about, and yet – way too many funny one liners keep popping into my head.  

I don't think what this blogger did (purportedly to multiple women) is at all funny.  In fact, I think the man involved is in strong need of some serious psychiatric care if the allegations are as they've been presented.

I'm qualifying my statements because I wasn't there and I, personally, haven't received this particular man's penis wrapped up in a bow (or email) in my inbox.

And yet, I still have funny (to me) one liners cursing through my brain.  I can't make them stop, but I have managed to keep myself from saying them out loud.  

So far.

In the midst of all this blogging drama, and the concentrated effort on my part to bite my tongue and not let loose with the one-liners I SO want to let loose with …

I, unthinkingly, and with ill timing – posted a photo on twitter yesterday.  (Yes, right in the middle of all the penis drama.  My timing really was unintentional.)  

The tweet and photo:

I originally took this to be artistic, but instead it just looks phallic. #PhotographyFail 

Tower1

I wasn't trying to make light of The Penis Controversy.  I think all the penis talk just colored my view of the photos I was editing at the time.

Or maybe the photo really does look like one gigantic penis?

What do you think?

(Whoa!  I just wrote a birthday post which had nothing to do with birthdays and at the same time I managed to mention sex toys and penises several times.  I.Am.Amazing!) 

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Birthday Weekend

Tomorrow I turn 100 24, but Briefcase and I celebrated early, over last weekend.

On Saturday, we drove down to Laguna Beach.  

We heard the weather would be cold and there was the possibility of rain.  I dressed in jeans and a bulky sweatshirt.  The weather reports were wrong, it was perfect in Laguna.  I was dressed way too warm.

Here's an unedited photo taken with my Blackberry right when we arrived.

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(My boobs aren't as big as they appear in the above photo and neither is the rest of my body – I hope!)

Laguna is a frequent hangout for us because it's close.  It's also beautiful.  

VT2w

And artsy.  And beautiful.  And fun.  And beautiful.

Briefcase had made a reservation at one of my favorite hotels, the Surf and Sand Resort.

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(I'll tell you more about the resort in an upcoming post.) 

We walked around town for awhile.  We also walked on the beach for a long time.  We saw a lot of dolphins jumping and playing in the ocean.  I never grow tired of watching the dolphins.  They always make me happy.

We were getting pretty hot so we stopped into Hotel Laguna for a drink.  We like Hotel Laguna because they have service on a deck with a great view overlooking the beach.

HL1w

I'm not normally much of a beer drinker, but I joined Briefcase for a Blue Moon.

BMoon1w

After enjoying our drinks we weaved walked back to the Surf and Sand to watch the sunset from our balcony. 

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It was an amazing sunset.  The above photo is the view straight out from our room.  You can see Catalina Island on the horizon.  

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I took around 1,000 photos over the weekend and a lot of them were of the sun setting.  It was like watching a spectacular light show with ever changing colors.  I couldn't stop clicking the shutter.

Once the sun had disappeared we cleaned up and went into town for dinner.  It was a fantastic day.  I'll share more with you in future posts because – oh, it was so much fun!

I had a wonderful pre-birthday weekend.  It was also a great distraction from my upcoming surgery this Wednesday.   (Aaack!)

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Haunted Graveyard

I took this photo while visiting an old graveyard in Boston last summer.

The strangest thing happened when I got home and took a closer look at the photo.

I count seven ghosts …

How many do you see?

HalloW

 

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Cloudy Skies?

I have a busy and special weekend planned. 

We've had an unusually cool, overcast, and at times – rainy October.

SMStorm1w

Normally, it's quite hot here in the fall.

I haven't really minded.  We need rain and having a cooler month has been a nice change of pace.

I'm hoping for some nice weather for this particular weekend though.

Keep your fingers crossed!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Um, Hello?

So, I was staring at my blank laptop screen thinking to myself, "Do I tell my readers friends about THIS or do I tell them about THAT today?  Or maybe I should come right out and tell them THE STORY ABOUT YOU KNOW WHAT instead?"

The thing is, I'm not good at bluffing my way through anything.

My stomach is in knots.

Knots!

The situation is this:

1)  I've been having a really bad pain flare-up.  Except, I don't know if you call it a "flare-up" when my arm/shoulder/adjoining parts have hurt like hell ever since the removal of my temporary arm implant.  It has NOT been fun.  

I guess my body didn't like that whole implant in/implant out of my arm process.  The positive aspect of all this pain is it makes me feel quite sure I want to go through with Surgery #8.  If my arm was feeling better, I'd probably be having a zillion doubts about the surgery.

2)  I normally, no matter what, only allow myself (at most) one pain pill a day.  If I took them whenever I'm hurting I'd have become addicted a long time ago.  The only exceptions (in my imaginary book of pain med rules) are right after surgeries or when I get to the point where I feel like throwing things because I'm literally "losing it" from pain.  (Like when I got back from Boston last summer – ugh!)  

By the way, these are my personal rules, not my doctor's.  He's quite comfortable with me taking more pain meds than I do, but I'm not comfortable with it.  This last week I've been taking TWO pain pills a day … still not a lot by my doctor's standards but it's enough to mess with my concentration for writing.

3)  Next Tuesday is my 24th birthday, again.  This upcoming birthday is contributing to the knots in my stomach.  I'm not a big fan of my own birthdays.  I usually host a giveaway on my birthday, but this year I have to postpone the giveaway.

Haircut

4)  The above photo is not an intentional cleavage shot.  It's not easy to take your own photo with one working arm.  It's also not easy for me to NOT have cleavage.  I needed a little photoshop help with the eye bags wrinkles in celebration of my almost 24th birthday.  Photoshop is cheaper than plastic surgery, I suppose.

5)  In case Halloween weekend wasn't already busy enough, Briefcase has told me he's whisking me away on Saturday night as an early birthday celebration.  I'll tell you (almost) all about it next week.  *wink*

6)  My birthday is next TUESDAY and my surgery is at 6 a.m. on WEDNESDAY.  (Stomach knots, stomach knots …. aaack!)  And yes, the surgery is the reason why I'm postponing my usual birthday giveaway.  I'll be in no shape to pick a winner or get a prize/gift out.

7)  The holidays are really (!!) important to me and with Surgery #8, and a two month recovery, ahead of me I'm already having some a lot of anxiety about how I'm going to do everything this year.  (stomach knots!)

8)  I'm not looking forward to putting my life on hold again due to another surgery.  I wouldn't be going forward with the whole thing if I didn't believe the outcome will be positive, but still ….  I have to do this again??  Dread!  (stomach knots, stomach knots!!)

9)  I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm scared.  I've been to hell before, and I don't want to go back.  I don't think (??) this surgery will be as bad as what I've gone through in the past, but my doctor has led me to believe it isn't going to be easy.  (So many stomach knots!)

10)  I apologize for whining and sharing all my anxieties with you.  Thank you for letting me vent.  I know, in my brain, everything will be fine.  My doctor is ranked #1 in the world for this procedure.  I couldn't be in better hands.  Unfortunately, knowing he's a great doctor doesn't make the fear and anxiety go away.  (I think a lot of the emotions involved are tied to the not-so-distant memories of the last seven surgeries!)

P.S.  Yesterday I got a pre-surgery pedicure and my toenails are now polished with OPI's William Tell Me About It.  I love it!  Now, I just need to find panties to match so I don't clash on surgery day!  (Do other people think about things like panty/toenail polish clashing for surgeries??)

P.P.S.  Sorry for overdoing the parentheses and exclamation points and blah, blah, blahing in this post!!  (( !! ?? ))

P.P.P.S.  I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween weekend!

© Twenty Four At Heart