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Three Days After – Randomness

I apologize for not being on my normal publishing schedule.

I’m taking things slow this week.

I thought today (3rd day post-surgery) might be the day I woke up with tons of energy …

But the energy?

Is absent!

I don’t know where it went, or when it will be back … but it’s not here.

(My ability to concentrate on any ONE thing seems to have gone missing too!)

So, what’s been happening in my life (other than sleep) the last three days?

•  As I mentioned before, Miss Kay sent me the most beautiful floral arrangement.  I might have “snuck” one photo of it yesterday.  OK, maybe two.  I haven’t even uploaded them yet.

•  My long time reader, Stephen, sent me an awesome care package from his farm/orchard.  It was filled with lots of yummy (healthy!) goodness.  Fresh fruit from his orchard, fresh pomegranate juice, homemade salsas and jellies!  Yum!  It was the highlight of my yesterday to receive such a great, thoughtful, gift.  I think I’ll make a “healing” smoothie today with the pomegranate juice he sent over!

•  The famous Santa Ana winds arrived in Southern California this week.  That means I’ve got near hurricane force winds in the canyon where I live.  It’s probably not even breezy five miles away – the winds haunt the canyons.  I wish they’d calm down a little so I could spend more time outdoors.

•  It took me nearly all day to get clean yesterday.  Seriously.  I washed my face.  It was exhausting to put out so much effort.  After all that effort, I needed a nap.  Next, I washed my hair.  Then I napped again.  Cleaning one body part at a time takes forever …!

•  I admit, I woke up this morning feeling very discouraged.  My spirits have been pretty good, but this morning there was just a feeling of why do I have to go through this again?  

•  Not being able to shower sucks just as badly as all the rest of it combined.  How can a person feel GOOD without a shower?

•  I haven’t watched any TV, other than one movie.  I’m just not much of a TV person.

•  I’ve been reading lots of “health” stuff …. books on nutrients and healthy recipes, and stuff like that.  Maybe just reading about it will heal me in record time?

•  It seems like there are a lot of articles out there lately of people (still) trying to find a magic pill to be instantly thin.  Raspberry ketones, green coffee beans …  Apparently, there’s some new “magic pill” discovered every few months.

•  I’ve also been reading a lot of magazines.  (Thank you Stacy!)

•  My skin looks like lizard skin.  How could I have forgotten anesthesia drugs do terrible things to skin?  Have I mentioned I can’t wait to take a shower?  And then massage lots of moisturizing lotions into my lizard skin?

•  On the positive side, I think the pain is LESS today.  Of course, I won’t be sure until I actually try to move ….

•  Yes, technically I’m still on Weight Watchers.  I didn’t go to a meeting this week, of course.  I know I’ve lost more weight, but I’m not sure exactly how much.  I haven’t had much of an appetite since the surgery.  I’m trying to get lots of healthy nutrients in my body via green smoothies while I’m recovering.  (I’m drinking one green smoothie per day whether I’m hungry or not.)

•  I think I’d be in better spirits if I got out of the house, but let’s be honest – where could I go without a shower??

•  Sigh!

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And Then It Hurt …!

So, um, OUCH!

I woke up late this morning.

I’ve been sleeping a lot.  I’m not sure if it’s from the anesthesia or part of the healing process.


I’ve been trying to go with it …

Which, as most of you know, is not easy for a person like me.

I have trouble being STILL.

But, this time around, I’m really making an effort to give my body a few days of rest.

And today, well –

Today I woke up and things hurt a lot more than they did yesterday.

I wasn’t expecting that.

I let my pain meds wear off overnight.

I was hoping I wouldn’t need them today.

Turns out, that was kind of a foolish thought.

It’s only been 48 hours, after all.

So now I’m sitting very STILL and breathing LIGHTLY while I wait for the pain meds to kick in.


Once they’re working again, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

I’m just a little too eager to get back to normal … with a clear (not drugged up) brain.

Paul Newman called yesterday.

I answered the phone and he said, “Hi!  It’s Paul Newman.”


He called himself Paul Newman.

Ha ha!

He told me not to blog while on pain meds because I’d probably regret it.

I already DO!

(He’s actually very smart.)

(Also?  I think maybe the pain meds are kicking in AS I TYPE!)

Today, I’m going to attempt to bathe in a half inch of water.

And I’m going to nap a lot.

And I’m going to sit outside on my patio because it’s a beautiful day and staying inside is depressing.

Hopefully, by tomorrow I’ll be over the worst of the surgical pain.

I know I’m not quite ready yet, but I can’t wait to be able to go for a nice (slow paced) walk on the beach.

Hopefully, I’ll be doing that again soon.

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Hello, Hello!

I wanted to stop in and let everyone know I’m okay.

Surgery #9 was yesterday morning.

It went fine.

I’m in a bit of a sleepy, drugged-up, haze right now.  Please excuse any errors in my writing.

So far, the incision area in my abdomen is more painful than the one in my arm/shoulder.

I guess that makes sense since the battery/charger was the single largest piece of hardware in my body.

My biggest surgery fear was the thought of another accidental exposure to medication I’m allergic to.

Briefcase had written “Highly Allergic” all over my body with magic markers before the surgery.

(He did this multiple times, in multiple colors, on my arm, my back, and my abdomen!)

Fortunately, everyone involved at the surgery center did a great job of assuring there were no medication mishaps.

Pre-surgery (in my sexy hospital gown, surgical hat, and surgical booties), I was joking around with all the nurses and anesthesiologist(s).

I also hugged Dr. Painless (really hard – might have squashed him a little!), because underneath all my usual joking was a dose of very human fear/anxiety at the thought of yet another surgery.

The last thing I remember was being in the operating room, and someone saying they were about to give me my “Happy Drugs.”

(I had asked earlier if I could please get Happy Drugs.  They make the whole surgery process so much … happier!)

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.

My throat was a little scratchy from the breathing tube, and there was a very nice male nurse by my side asking if I’d like a sip of water.

I might have asked if I could please stay wrapped in the heated blankets he kept bringing me and go back to sleep.

The answer was no.

After awhile, I was moved to a wheelchair.

Before I knew it, I was sleeping the rest of the day away.  I didn’t wake up until nearly 5 p.m.

When I finally opened my eyes, there was one of the most beautiful flower arrangements I’ve ever seen waiting for me from Miss Kay.

(I want to photograph it … but!)

So, what now?

Dr. Painless has informed me I can’t take a shower until Tuesday, January 22nd.


Sheesh!  I hadn’t expected that!

I’ve informed Briefcase we need to immediately hire a hot male nurse to give me thorough sponge baths and wash my hair for me over the next eight days.

Briefcase doesn’t seem nearly as enthused about the idea as I am.

Also …?

I guess I’ll have magic marker all over my body for a lot longer than I expected.

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to begin testing my arm out with my camera.

Dr. Painless said I can try when I “feel ready.”

Then he added something about, “in a few weeks.”

Of course, in my heart, I’m “ready” now.  But, even  * I *  understand I don’t want to rip out stitches trying to do stuff I shouldn’t do yet.

So ….

I’ll take it one day at a time and set baby goals for myself.

The first goal is to mark each day off the calendar until I can take a “real” shower again.

The second goal is to rest as much as I can over the next day or two while Briefcase is in town to help out.

In a few days-ish, I hope I’ll be feeling up to training Miss Kay on some of the non-shooting stuff that needs to happen in the photography world.  She’s going to be such a great help to me.  I feel so fortunate to have her as my assistant.  Having a little forced down time from my camera will actually help me get her trained on administrative/editing/social media stuff faster.

Paul Newman and I will be talking sometime today.  I’m sure he’s eager to know when it will be safe for me to return to PT.

(You know the man has GOT to be missing me already, right?  Ahem …!)

And now?

Well, it’s sort of embarrassing, but I’m going to take another nap.

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Feeling Grateful

I’m a big, jumbly, batch of mixed emotions today.

I have a lot of fear about another surgery, even a routine, “uncomplicated,” one.

I’m relieved, in a sense, the time has finally come.

(I’ve known it was looming on the horizon since I was informed of the recall on my bionic arm last summer.)

I’m looking forward to getting it over with.

I’m disappointed, sad, and frustrated I have to go through it at all.

I’m eager to move forward.

Did I mention the fear?

I have so much (unreasonable, illogical) fear.

But I’m also feeling very grateful.

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I have an orthopedic surgeon who has gone way beyond his duty to help me.  These days, most doctors don’t really CARE – or so it seems.  Mine has repeatedly gone out of his way to help me, or to find someone who CAN help me.

I have a pain management specialist who has saved my sanity time and time again by finding ways to help me live my life.  While other medical professionals told me (repeatedly) to give up my dreams, he always has tried to help me achieve them.  Always.

I have a physical therapist who has helped me to progress further (in just the last few months) than I thought was possible.  I used to believe I’d be able to use my arm again.  After six and a half years, I no longer did.  I had resigned myself to my limitations.

I’m now making progress I can FEEL and SEE.  I’m able to do new things.  Things that would be so little and small to a “normal” person, but which are HUGE for me.

No one is saying I’ll have a “normal” arm again, but the progress I’ve made in PT these last few months is my own personal miracle.

(I don’t think Paul Newman even realizes how BIG it is, because he hasn’t walked the last six and a half years with me.)

Still, I saw the look of satisfaction on his face as I was leaving PT yesterday.

I am, clearly, so much better than I was when he began helping me a few months ago.

He knows it.

I know it.

Next week, well … it will be a temporary setback.

And then, I’ve already been warned, I’ll have a few months of pretty intense physical therapy.


I feel hopeful again.

Maybe that’s the scariest thing of all …

I’m starting to believe in miracles.

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One Week, 3+ Pounds Lost

January is off to a very busy start.

Yesterday, I stopped in at Weight Watchers to “weigh-in” for the first time since joining.

The good news?

I lost 3.6 pounds during my first week.

The bad news?

That’s probably what I gained on Christmas Eve.

I haven’t had any problems sticking to the “plan” so far.

It really is, for the most part, just common-sense eating.  (Calories used must be greater than calories inhaled taken in.  Eat lots of fruit and vegetables like your mom always told you.)

I frequently have oatmeal (real oatmeal, not instant oatmeal) for breakfast, but I’m not eating any other grains.

(The no-grain thing is a personal preference on my part.)

I know many people can lose 5 pounds of water weight (or more) their very first week on a diet, but I never do.

I have the metabolism of a snail.

I keep high protein foods on hand since they prevent me from getting too hungry.

I almost always have hard boiled eggs and cooked chicken in the house.  I also stock cans of tuna and salmon in my pantry.

If food is “ready to go,” it’s easy to grab on those chaotic days when I don’t have time to cook.

I also have a lot of pre-washed veggies and fruit on hand.

I find it’s so much easier to prep everything ahead of time.

I use my Vitamix and/or food processor to pre-chop, dice, and slice a few day’s worth of vegetables.

When I’ve been out shooting for hours, it makes it much faster/easier to throw something together if the prep is already done.

My FitBit is making me even more aware of how inconsistent my activity levels are.

My daily “steps taken” varies from 8,000 to 16,000.

I’d like to get a consistent 14 – 15,000 steps every day.

(Surprisingly, my “busiest” days are often my least active.  If I have to be in forty bazillion places throughout the day, I’m most likely spending a lot of time just sitting in my car.)

Of course, next week (surgery #9) will be a huge setback activity-wise.

It’s just a temporary setback, though.

A frustrating, but temporary, setback.

Dr. Painless told me yesterday I’ll be back shooting again in “no time.”

I’m sure he’s right.

Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, would you be willing to share how YOU are doing on your New Year’s resolutions?

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My Pre-Surgery Checklist

Nine surgeries later, I’ve become very good at compartmentalizing my surgical anxiety.

For awhile, I was having surgeries so frequently I became vaguely numb at the thought of yet another one.

I’m anything but numb this time around.

At my last visit with Paul Newman, he wanted to talk about Surgery #9.

“NOOOOOOOO!!!” I yelled, startling the hell out of him.  “I don’t want to think about it yet!”

The subject was changed.

Until tomorrow.

Tomorrow we will have to talk about “it.”

(I know it sounds weird, but I can write about IT without really thinking about IT.  However, when I have to actually talk about IT, then IT will become real.)

I have no idea what goes through other people’s minds before a surgery.  We all know my mind isn’t normal, right?

I thought I’d share with you my pre-surgery checklist.

24’s Pre-Surgery Checklist:

•  Make sure I’m lined up with the best doctor possible for the surgery.  DONE  Dr. Painless is the very best at what he does.  I love him.

•  Feel exceedingly confident about my post-surgical therapist.  DONE  Paul Newman has won my trust, completely.  He understands me, my arm, and *most* of my other abnormalities.  Poor guy!  (Also?  Thank God!)

•  Get my hair cut  (that way I don’t have to worry about it for awhile post-surgery).  DONE

•  Find an assistant to help me with work after the surgery (and beyond).  DONE   Miss Kay is going to be a great help.  (Waving to Miss Kay!)

•  Get the car washed.  I won’t be at car washes for awhile post-surgery.  This makes sense, right?  My car is full of sand.  DOING IT TODAY

•  Get my nails done.  One less thing to worry about post-surgery.  DONE

•  Get a pedicure.  If I die during surgery, I’ll look nice for the funeral.  Oh wait, I want my ashes sprinkled in the ocean.  (No one cares about my toes?)  DONE

•  Get cash from the ATM.  I don’t know why.  There’s absolutely no reason for this one, but it’s on my list anyway.  NOT DONE YET

•  Brazilian bikini wax.  Strangers are going to see me naked during the surgery, right?  I wouldn’t want to neglect something as important as this.  DOING IT TODAY

•  Or do I need to buy Granny Panties?  Will I be naked or not?  Part of the surgery will be on my abdomen.  Should I buy granny panties?  UNDECIDED

•  Get my sensor cleaned.  (This is not the same thing as a Brazilian bikini wax.)  My camera needed a complete professional cleaning.  DONE

•  Get my kitchen knives sharpened.  OK, I know this seems like a weird one.  They’re in need of professional sharpening.  The sharper they are, the easier they will be for me to use as I get back to cooking post-surgery.  NOT DONE YET

•  Grocery shop to really stock up the kitchen.  My family members are probably incapable of taking care of themselves so I need to do this for them in advance.  HAPPENING OVER NEXT WEEKEND

•  Cook as many things ahead of time as possible.  (See previous item.)  HAPPENING OVER NEXT WEEKEND

•  Say good-bye to my college-aged son as he returns to college.  HAPPENING THE NIGHT BEFORE MY SURGERY

•  Buy Washable Magic Markers.  During my last surgery, the nurses “forgot” I had a warning medical bracelet on, and “forgot” they had just discussed my (severe) allergy to a particular medication.  I ended up in the emergency room and the entire ordeal was a NIGHTMARE.  This time I plan to write “allergic” all over my body with magic markers prior to surgery.  My biggest surgical fears revolve around this “accident” happening again.  NOT DONE YET

•  Make sure the car is full of gas.  It might be hard to fill it for awhile post-surgery.  Hell, it’s hard for me to do this left-handed NOW.  NOT DONE YET

•  Go to the drugstore.  Have a way-too-long conversation with my pharmacist who thinks he loves me.  Stock up on whatever it is Dr. Painless thinks I’ll need post-surgery.  NOT DONE YET

•  Feed the hummingbirds so they can get by for a few days without me.  NOT DONE YET

•  Make a list of books I want to read and movies I want to watch.  (Related:  buy magazines!)  NOT DONE YET

•  Have my last pre-surgery visit with Paul Newman.  Try really hard not to sob on him.  HAPPENING TOMORROW

That’s it so far.

What am I forgetting?

I’m sure I’ll be adding to the list every day between now and Monday …!

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Laguna Beach Sunset

I’ve been crazy busy over the last 24 hours.

(Trying to get lots of stuff done before #9 next Monday!)

I didn’t have time to write a “real” post.

I did, however, pull over and make a pit stop at the beach when I saw a spectacular sunset brewing yesterday evening.

How could I resist?

Winter sunsets are sometimes the most beautiful ones we get.

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What’s New for 2013?

January is off to a great start.

I’m hoping a positive first week bodes well for all of 2013.

I thought I’d catch you up on a few things from previous posts today.

•  I’m happy to announce I’m beginning the new year with a fantastic photography assistant.  I’ve decided to “blog-name” her Miss Kay.

•  Miss Kay experienced her first hands-on training with me last Friday.  She’ll be easing in gradually over the next few weeks (since I have Surgery #9 to deal with next week).  As she gets trained, and learns more about what I do and how I do it, she will become a huge help.  I especially like how calm she was when she asked, “And why do we need to actually stand in the ocean?”  Ha ha!!

•  Some of you have inquired about Paul Newman.  He’s fine.  He’s helping me SO much.  I’m amazed, truly AMAZED, at how much progress I’ve already made.  I can move my arm more right now than I ever have since the car accident.  I’m a long way from “normal,” but there’s no doubt he’s The Best Thing To Happen To My Arm Since Forever.  Yay for Paul Newman!

•  Remind me of that entire last statement next week after I have surgery, mkay?

•  Last week, Paul Newman mentioned I’ve already cried on him once.  “I have not,” I replied.  “Yes, you did – out of frustration.” he reminded me.  I flashed back to my first visit with him when my eyes might have welled up just a little bit.  “Oh, that doesn’t count.  I haven’t done The Ugly Cry,” I informed him.  “Oh great,” he sighed.

•  I realized my FitBit gets a bigger smile on its face as the day goes on!  It gets happier as my recorded activity goes up.  Honestly, I have a crush on my FitBit.  Love it!

•  Today is my 6th day on Weight Watchers.  I haven’t gone off the program by even one little-itty-bitty bite.  I’m very focused.  I’m looking forward to recognizing myself in the mirror again someday in the future.  Am I skinny yet?

•  Some of you might remember I received a Vitamix as an early Christmas gift this year.  It has been used every single day.  I’ve been using it to wet-chop vegetables (which is a huge blessing for my arm).  I also make “green” smoothies for myself and/or family members nearly every day.  I’ve made soup in it several times.  In fact, last week I threw some ripe Roma tomatoes, a few basil leaves, a clove of garlic and a pinch of salt in it.  Four minutes later I had delicious tomato basil soup … steaming hot directly from the Vitamix. My post-car accident life would have been much easier if I had one of these wonder machines a few years ago.

•  Surgery #9 will be one week from today.  As a result, I have a lot to do this week.  (I don’t know what the recovery will be like.)  I’m hoping for the best, but I’m trying to get a lot done in case I’m unable to do much post-surgery.  And yes, I’ve already managed to work myself into a pretty bad pain flare-up.  Stuff has to get done this week, regardless.  (Now please pass the pain pills??)

•  I am SO excited!  I hit 150,000 subscribers on Facebook last week!  Woo hoo!  I’d love it if you joined the party too!

•  My entire family is REALLY into watching football this year.  And yes, I do mean my ENTIRE family …!

Watching TV @ SHaggerty 2013 W-1


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