Saturday, 30 April 2011


Happy Samhain (sow-un or sow-en) readers! Tonight and tomorrow anyway. Tomorrow is also Bran and my 1 year anniversary :) i'm gonna make him a special treat (shhhh!) which I will type out tomorrow. I also went to a Pagan meet-up which I will also type about tomorrow as i'm tired after a good time.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Recovery -1

My LEFT foot has gone slightly numb :(. No pain just numb. I took some I ibuprofen and iced it bu if it isn't better by tomorrow I may have to go back to the ER.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Physio part 2

Today was mostly spent resting and waiting to go to the physiotherapist. I haven't been walking as much as I should have, so my back was more sore than it had been in a while. I did call my Father and had a nice chat in between waiting and trying not to move around too much. When I did get to the physio, surprise, she said I need to make sure to be walking. But she didn't seem surprised that I hadn't been over the easter vacation.

Anyway, it turns out my knee is more messed up than previously though. I now have to build on the muscle on my inner thigh by doing squats against a wall. I'm doing this because she thinks the muscles on the outside of my leg are getting too strained and pulling my knee cap out of place o.O.  This of course is more irritated as i'm trying to walk normally (to prevent my hip from tightening up and hurting) but failing because my foot is still dropping. Apparently the muscles in my leg really aren't up to par :( she also said no yoga until I build up more strength. Well, i'm glad to be getting things done at the same time at least! Hopefully i'll be all good come june 10th, when Bob and Keri are coming to visit for 10 days :D.

I also have a mild case of tennis elbow apparently. I'm to stretch my arm a few times a day as well as the leg stretches, foot lifts, wall squats, and exercises I was given at the hospital. I will get better! At least I don't have to worry about going back to work :p.

On another lighter note, Bran and I are back to getting the Foodconnect boxes. Bran brought home a wonderful assortment of colourful fruits and veggies for us to eat this week. I just hope we can get through it all! If not then i'll make some soup from the veggies and maybe a crisp from the fruits :).

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Stupid Mistakes

Ever notice that you've done something stupid? Like, really stupid, not forgot to put soap in the washer stupid. Well I just discovered today that the bridging visa i'm on allows for me to be on medicare. Medicare is the public health system in Australia, as opposed to medicare in America which is for low income families in need. After going through all that crap at the hospital, I was really wishing I was in the medicare system, but I thought I couldn't be until I had my proper visa. Thats what you get for not reading EVERYTHING.

For a while today, I was angry that no one had told me I could be on medicare. All the phone calls I made to immigration, the meetings i've had, everyone I talked to at the hospital...But then it occurred to me that it really was completely my fault. If I had paid just a bit more attention I would have known lat year :(.

Other than that I found out my residency visa could take another year to process as there is a back log. Ugh.

Well, thats been my day. I'm a bit grumpy if you can't tell. But hopefully tomorrow will bring some good news, eh?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Conversing and cookies

Once more, the boys were over to watch football with Bran. What is different this time, is that Bharita came over with Phil and I had someone to talk to :). She is such a lovely person! I also made some yummy butter cookies, which I will post the recipe to tomorrow. As for right now i'm going to get ready for bed. Bran is back to work tomorrow, so i'll post a longer post tomorrow.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Football and really bad hot cross buns

Not too much to update on again. Bran and his buddies have been watching football and playing Bran's newest video game (also football). I've been in our room with the laptop pretty much all day. We had some really awful hot cross buns from Brumby's. They taste like some fake raspberry flavouring was added :/ neither Bran nor I liked them and ended up throwing them out (which made me a little sad, but these aren't things I want anyone else eating either). Other than that we'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter :). Bran and I had another quiet day at home eating junk and watching the Matrix movies. One of these days i'll actually update more.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Not much goin' on

Bran and I stayed home today and got most of the housework done. Other than that, Bran's football team won :) huzzah!

Friday, 22 April 2011

little post

I'm very tired right now. It's been a busy day of walking, seeing Sarah and Zoe, and feeling a bit sad. I'll update later.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Starting posts and fake snow

I never really know how to start these post, ever notice that? Usually I either start with "I" or "So". Hm >.>. Ah well. So how are all of you lovely (2?) readers doing? Hopefully well :). As for myself, i'm doing pretty well considering how I was a week ago. It's really been such an improvement since I started on the anti-inflammitories. I still have a bit of pain in my leg, and some numbness. But it seems less numb? Plus my ankle is stronger than it was for sure. I'm sure to make a full recovery :).

A good chunk of my day today was spent shopping. I went through the two supermarkets at Brookside, and then went to the nearest organic store to compare prices. For the most part the supermarket organic things are less expensive, with the exception of the items available in bulk at the organic store. With that they have very good prices. I've recently started using rapadura, which is unprocessed dehydrated sugar cane juice. As opposed to white sugar which is highly processed and bleached or even raw sugar, which is less processed but still goes through most of it. Or brown sugar, which is actually white sugar with molasses added back in o.O (molasses is a by-product of sugar processing). I also got some organic whole wheat flour for $3.90 a kilo, which is about as inexpensive as i've seen it.

I was able to take a look at my little mini-garden today (we have basil, mint, oregano and some cherry tomato plants :) not much but it's a start). Bran helped me get some steaks on the tomato pot so hopefully they will actually work out!  The basil and mint are doing well enough, except for something is eating the mint o.O I though not many pests liked mint? It's hanging in there though. The basil is going pretty crazy. I've been trying to be all trendy and keep it short and bushy. Boy is it taking off! I'd take pictures but it's dark outside right now. The oregano on the other hand isn't doing much of anything. Maybe it's just a slow growing herb? I wouldn't know. It hasn't died though, so i'm happy.

Bran and I also had an adventure of cleaning out the freezer (of frost, not of food). Our fridge is third hand, and really doesn't work so well. The freezer builds up ice like crazy, but we don't really want to defrost it all the time, so Bran scraped out most of the frost into a bowl. Instead of just dumping it down the sink though, Milo and I went outside and had fun playing with the "snow". Though Milo was mostly just confused as he has never seen snow and is in fact a dog. It was cute anyway :).

I also made some yummy curry (i'll take a pic tomorrow) and made breakfast cake from the Heavenly Homemakers. They have such great, wholesome recipes :). I'm afraid I messed up a bit and it ended up more of a muffin texture than a cake texture, but still yummy.

Well, that's my update for today. I'll try and actually post up some pictures tomorrow for ya <3 byebye.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Faith and Physio

I am feeling somewhat better after a trip to the physiotherapist :). She didn't really tell em anything new, but she gave me some more stretches to do and a strengthening exercise for my foot and one for my knee. She also did something called trigger point activation on my hip (where the muscles had gotten painfully tight). Basically she found a really hard spot, and pushed her elbow into it! Gods did it hurt, but it felt so much better afterward. I walked out with a smile and an appointment for next week!

On a completely different note, i've joined another Pagan meet up group. I had been to one Pagan meet up before, but this particular covent were a bit too rambunctious for me. This one seems more like solitaries getting together to practice, which suits me well enough. I've always struggled with what I believe and what kind of path I should take. I was raised very loosely Christian, but found more in nature than I ever did in church. At around 12 or 13 I started reading some books on Wicca that my sister had gotten, and really enjoyed the idea of having a feminine and masculine, of loving nature and being able to put your energy into the universe to seek what you need. Although at the time I had no idea what kind of path this would bring me on.

Since I could really form the thoughts I have always believed in a power in nature, and a universal flow. I believe that if you put forth energy, you are sure to get something in return (in a similar way to people believing that if you seek God, he will provide what you need). I believe that prayer and spellwork are the same, just in different forms. I have a hard time thinking about an actual all knowing being in the sky, whether Pagan, Christian, Jewish or any other sort. I do believe in Otherworlds, where beings that are not human are (angels in Heaven? Similar.)

Anyway, I've been practicing off and on for around 10 years. I tend to go through a few months of heavy meditation/spellwork and then months and months of not being able to do it. I think a big part of that is that I don't have a physical community to exchange ideas with (though hopefully that will be changing) but also that I have such a mash up of ideas, it makes it hard to really try and follow one path. I have questioned my faith numerous times, but it always comes back to my core beliefs in nature, energy and the universal flow of things. There is still so much I don't know, i'm really looking forward to meeting some like-minded people. I don't know if i'm willing to wear the pentagram again, as i'm not sure that really represents me, but I know in my heart that i'm facing in the right direction.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Think i'll go for a walk today

It is my goal to walk for an hour every day. Once I am allowed to start running, my new goal will be to run for a half hour straight. Of course, that wont happen right away, but that is my goal. I was able to walk around for the better part of an hour and a half (I did have to take a few little rests) today, which is really good :). Walking is apparently the best thing to do after a microdiscectomy, not to mention of course it's good for your health. The only bad thing is when you are walking around, you may have some random guy in a car stop and say something mean. Which happened. Which made me feel bad :(. But then I came home to my happy puppy, and watched some Dr. Phil, and that helped.

Poor Bran came home sick today as well :(. I think he might have a bit of a head cold maybe, he was very sneezy this morning and had a massive headache when he got home. I hope he feels better soon. He even took medicine! He hates doing that XD.

Beyond that not much has happened. I have an appointment with the physiotherapist tomorrow, so i'll report on that then.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Tofu hot dogs and fluffy cold dogs

So I was able to sleep without the endone, because the anti-inflammatories are working so well :). I still woke up more than on the endone, but i'm happy not to be taking more medicine than needed. I'm also only taking 4 infamac pills a day (it's about the same as taking 4 ibuprofen a day). So I think that is going very well. I was able to walk around Brookside (a little shopping center nearby) for about two hours. Granted with a few little rests, but just three days ago I could only barely walk to Brookside, let alone around it! I'm very happy with the improvement.

It was really cold and rainy today as well, so it was nice to be our and about for a bit. As soon as I got home I had to put on a sweatshirt and cuddle under a blanket with Milo. He is such a nice cuddle buddy. Speaking of dogs, I also have some yummy tofu dogs. They are really good as they have 9 grams of protein per dog, as about 100 calories. They are good for a quick little thing. I got them to go with the vegetarian chilli, but I ended up running out of chilli! I'll have to make some more. Mind you, it was full of veggies and healthy legumes, so it was a very healthy chilli and hot dog kick. Right? Kinda?

I'm actually planning on making some curry soon. I like that I can make a big pot of something and have lunch or dinner done for the week. It's even better if Bran actually eats it XD. Curry is a good one though. Bran likes potato curry, so I usually make potato and chickpea curry with whatever other veggies I have on hand (much to the dismay of Bran, who would rather have it be just potatoes I think!) We'll see how that goes though. Well, i'm off to bed then. Bye-bye.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday, sunday, SUNDAY!

Not very much happened today. Bran went to his football game, and I had a quiet time at home. I have been feeling pretty homesick lately :(. But on a lighter note my leg felt much better today! Not 100%, but much better. Huzzah for anti-inflammatories! I was able to do some laundry and walk much easier. I also had a really huge craving for something peanut butter-y, so I made these quick little peanut butter balls.

Quick Peanut Butter Balls

Quick peanut butter balls

3 Tb peanut butter
1 Tb butter (softened)
3 heaped Tb powdered sugar (or until desired texture)
powdered chocolate

Mix first two ingredients together. Add powdered sugar until desired texture. Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls, then roll in powdered chocolate. Refrigerate/freeze. Eat.
Makes about 6 balls.

Not exactly healthy, but oh so yummy <3. Now for a shower and bed.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Of losing weight and being crazy

I must lose weight. Not in that 'oh, I need to lose a few pounds to fit into my swimsuit' sort of way. Now, i'm not horribly overweight, i'm not morbidly obese, but I am overweight enough that my poor messed up back will be angrier than if I were lighter. Thus, in order to save myself from further herniated discs I must do what I can. Most importantly, lose weight. :/ Which isn't helped by my craving for chocolate chip cookies. I don't plan to completely overhaul my life about it, but I need to include more exercise and cut my portion sizes I think. Mostly the exercise, but it hopefully will be easier to do now that I will have less pain :), once i'm recovered anyway.

On a different note, I have some kind of skin issue between the middle and ring finger on my left hand. I've had to take off my wedding ring T.T. I actually went to the pharmacist and talked to them and now in addition to my endone, panadol, and inflamac (some kind of pharmacy-only anti-inflammitory) I have a cortisone cream -.-. It did make the rash go down, but I thought cortisone was a steroid and didn't actually adress the underlying problem? Thats what my vet told me when we moved here and we had been using a cortisone cream for Milo. It makes me wish I knew more about natural ways to deal with all this stuff. I mean, there was no choice but to get the surgery, but surely there is a natural way to deal with a little skin infection? Maybe some kind of tea tree oil ointment? Once I become a naturopath I shall know!

Speaking of medicine, i've been trying not to use the endone. Endone is a synthetic morphine, so really it's meant for pretty bad pain. Since I got home i've only been taking it at bed time to make sure I can sleep. When I saw the neurosurgeon he suggested I try to stop using it as it's pretty hard core (I guess? Didn't seem so to me, but I don''t know) so I haven't used it the past two nights, and guess what? I had trouble sleeping. I wasn't in a lot of pain per-se, it was more irritation from my leg/nerve. It just gets uncomfortable, and feels like I want to get up and move around. But of course i'm strapped into a brace and really should be sleeping. So tonight i'm going to take the endone again and see how much of a difference that makes. I really hope this wont become a problem :(.

On a related note, i've been looking for a good physiotherapist in Brisbane. It was suggested to me to see one to work on my numb foot/ strange way of walking with numb foot/ posture/ core strength. They are expensive though :/ but at the same time this isn't somewhere to try and save money either! You want a get a good, experienced person or you may end up worse off. I think i've found one right in the city, they seem to be a reasonable price and on their website it looks like they have dealt with herniated disc people before. I'll give it a go anyway :).

Also, Bob and Keri are going to visit in june!!! So exciting! Bran and I are are a strict budget to save up money to meet with them in Sydney and have a little vacation for three days, then back up to Brisbane where we will play host. They will be here for about 10 days so we have to be good hosts and figure out fun things to do, beyond the obligatory petting a kangaroo and eating timtams. I should be all recovered (mostly at least) by then, so it will be a lot of fun :).

Friday, 15 April 2011

Short stack

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, so i'll make this post short and sweet. Pain is slightly better with help from anti-inflammatories. I made granola bars with leftover stale granola and frozen christmas chocolate. We took Milo to the dog park. Leftover pizza for dinner. I have a tummy ache :( too many granola bars.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Follow up with the neurosurgeon

I went to the neurosurgeon today to get a follow up on how everything in my back is healing. He seemed a little concerned about the increase of pain, but otherwise was pleased with how my foot is going. He also said I could take ibuprofen and other anti-inflammitories, which after taking made my leg feel a bit better :p. Anyway, I'll type more tomorrow about that adventure.

P.s. Getting staples out HURTS! I sugest stitches rather than staples :(.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Simple things

I think recovery is going alright. I was able to do a bit more today, so other than the pain in my leg i'm pretty happy. I am still concerned that the nerve damage wont heal, but if that is the worst case then I think I can deal :). I did a bit of laundry today (just some sheets) and while I can't carry the actual laundry basket, I was alright walking back and forth to hang them outside in the sun.

It's such a simple thing to hang sheets in the sun, but I felt so accomplished. I also made a pie crust that is soon to be an apple galette. I think i've mentioned it before, but I use the pie crust from the Angry Chicken cheat sheet, although I do a different filling :). We like our apple pie to be a bit on the spicy side. It's the baking and the basic homemaking skills that I think are hurting me not to do. For instance, there is no way I could knead bread with the way my back is right now, and making bread is one of my favourite things to do. The motion just would not be good. I also can't sweep the floor because that motion isn't good. I am able to do light cooking, as long as i'm not lifting anything heavy. Which leads me to chilli :D, yesterday I made my best chilli to date.

Homemade chilli

I added a bit of cocoa powder and a bit of dark chocolate (though next time i'll probably just use one or the other) and it really added to the flavour. Mostly my chilli is whatever veggies I have in the house along with kidney beans, an onion, garlic, bell pepper, and tomatoes in the form of tomato paste and diced tomatoes. And spices ;) yummy spices. I don't really follow a recipe, just kind of what i'm feeling like. For instance, usually I only add a tablespoon of tomato paste but this time I wanted it more tomato-y to balance the cocoa (which you can't really taste, it's more of a 'hm, I ponder what that is!' sort of thing) so I added the whole little can. I also boil my chilli down for a few hours so it's nice and thick. Perfect over rice or potatoes or just on it's own (or on a tofu dog, mmmm....). I made a whole lot, so I have some in the freezer too :).

I also had a great conversation with my sister Sarah today. I really miss my family right now. I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband, but I miss the support and the humor of my siblings especially. I'm reminded of the summer right before my Mum passed away when we were all living together. The siblings, my niece and I would stay up late in the kitchen laughing and chatting about many different things. It's a precious memory to me, especially because it's a bit difficult to have a good talk with anyone in my family from way over here. Quite often I feel like no one quite understands like my siblings. Maybe because we all came from the same childhood, or because we are all such good friends, or because we are all just a bit crazy :). I kind of wish I could get them all to move down here, but alas! I think the only two things that are calling me back to America are my family and the seasons being the way i'm used to (seasons are revered in the southern hemisphere. Christmas in summer and Halloween in spring don't really work for me :( ).

I'm off to see the neurosurgeon tomorrow for a check up, lets hope everything is healing well. I'll report tomorrow how everything goes. Until then, bye bye <3.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


So I made chilli today, it's yummy. I'll write more about it tomorrow and post a picture. My leg is hurting more today, and i've been a bit fatigued so i'm going to go to bed early. Goodnight <3

Monday, 11 April 2011


So I picked up the scarf I had started knitting over a year ago (maybe two?!). I figure I should at least be useful when i'm not allowed to move much. Beyond that i'm going to make chilli tomorrow! Yummy, perfect now that the weather is getting colder. I can smell the chill in the air, it makes me happy and reminds me of wood stoves and halloween....even though it's the opposite time of year from halloween here...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Milo and the dog park

Today has been very similar to other days for me. I'm still mostly on the couch/bed with my back being crazy. One fun thing we did do was walk to the dog park with Milo :). He's gone through some crazy sicknesses/injuries so it's been a while and it was so nice to see him playing with the other puppies. As for me it was the longest walk i've done since the surgery (it's about a 5 minute walk normally). It went alright. I was kind of afraid that one of the puppies would run into me, but I was fine. I was a bit sore when I got home.

Anyway, Milo was very sweet at the dog park :). He's finally grown out of the puppy phase where he harasses all the small dogs or tries to escape. He actually came when he was called!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Of football and housecleaning

We had company today! Bran's friends came over to watch football and play retro video games. A big part of why they came over was also to drink some home-brewed (sorta) beer that Bran helped make at this micro-brewery place as a team building exercise for work. I wasn't a very good hostess though, as I was laying on the bed being all broken.

I attempted a bit of housework today. I cleaned the sink, and hung up a little (very little) load of laundry (that was already half dry). Bran did all the rest <3 with only a little kibitzing from me. Today was not such a good day pain wise. My leg has felt both more numb and more painful than any other day since the surgery :( part of that might be that I slept on my side a lot last night, another part of that could be that I slept without my brace on. Bad, bad Emma! I'll be sure to be a good little recovering-herniated-disc-surgery-outpatient tonight. I also didn't take panadol right away, which may have also sent things a bit haywire, though i'm not sure how...

Other than that I spent most of the day on the bed watching anime and looking at facebook. Bran made be breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is such a good guy :). Hopefully tomorrow I can go for a little walk outside of the house and maybe cook something yummy. I need to find something to do for this upcoming week, or i'll be soooo bored.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Feeling not awesome

I'm feeling much more pain today. I guess maybe it's more irritation than pain. The little area are where my staples are is slightly infected :( it shouldn't be an issue, it's just really irritating and bothersome. Also my hip has been hurting more today. I'm hoping it starts to feel better or i'm going to have to call the doctor. I don't want to have to go back into the hospital. That thought makes me anxious. 

I've been trying not to complain too much. I'm very thankful that i'm not in a worse situation, I just wish I could be done with the pain. Even the endone (it's a synthetic morphine) i've been taking hasn't been helping as much. 

On a lighter note, Bran is making me roasted sweet potatoes. They are very yummy :). 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Of staples and recovering

I'm feeling a little bit more down today. The staples in my back are irritating the skin and I somehow managed to get a bruise near them, so that whole area is a bit irritated and painful (not to mention the nerve pain). I miss my family. I don't have any close friends here, so i'm feeling a little bit lonely and home sick. I think what I really want is to talk to my mother, but that is regrettably not possible due to lung cancer taking her away back in 2007. It's times where i'm sick or really wanting advice when I miss her the most.

Beyond the staples and the nerve pain, I think i'm healing up alright. I feel like I have more strength in my right leg and foot, even if it's still partially numb. I have a picture of the risotto I made :)
Butternut pumpkin and cream cheese risotto

I tried to make it look pretty, but it is indeed risotto. Hopefully i'll be feeling a bit more up tomorrow!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Of risotto and girly things *FEMALE WARNING*

I'm going to talk about my menstrual cycle, so if you are squeamish about blood, bodily fluids, or womanly bits you may not want to read on.

So I started my day by quite suddenly realising I had started my period. That happens, oh, in your early teens or pre-teens when you first start and sometimes you get some blood spots on your sheets or pjs. Oh wait, i'm 22 o.O. The worst bit is that I had to get Bran to take the sheets downstairs and wash them -.-. Sorry hun. He is so good about that kind of stuff though, what a great guy <3. I think it was because I have been on pain meds, so I didn't get the cramps, or wake up like I normally would. Anyway, icky.

On a lighter note, I got to try out my menstrual cup! For those who don't know (most people probably) a menstrual cup is a little soft rubber (or silicone, or latex) cup, usually with a little stem, that is inserted into the vagina to catch menstrual blood. It is re-useable, comfortable, and had so much less waste than any other menstrual product that I can think of. You can also wear it easily for 12 hours without having to worry about leakage. Buuut, you have to be able to deal with your own blood and be very comfortable poking around in your vagina. This is my first time using such a product, but i'm pretty happy with it. It hasn't leaked at all, and though I had some initial trouble getting it out, once I got the hang of it, i've found it no more uncomfortable than tampons. I have a lunette which I believe is the only one you can get in Australia.

Anyway, thats my crazy eco-friendly-girly-gross out for the day. Sorry if it was too much information :D.

I also made pumpkin cream cheese risotto today. I wont bother putting up a recipe as I didn't really use one. Just made a basic risotto and added a small roasted butternut pumpkin (squash for the Americans) and about a third of a block of cream cheese. I'm having that along with some sourdough bread Bran brought home for dinner tonight, yum! Maybe i'll pretend i'm healthy and have a salad too >.>. I'll try and get a picture in tomorrow when I can move around a bit more.

Recovery is going well, I feel like I have a bit more strength in my legs, but the numbness and pain in my hip persists. I have a follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon in a week so we'll see what he says.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

One day into another

So today is very similar to yesterday in that I can't do a heck of a lot. I think my foot is a little better today, but i've had pain in my hip and around where I think the nerve connects into the spinal cord. That is understandable because of inflammation and blah de blah, it's just uncomfortable :(. Bran ended up staying home again and has been taking care of all of the heavy lifting type things. I was wrong about how much weight I should lift btw, it's 1 kilo (2.5 pounds) and not a few. So about how much a liter (or quart for people in America) of milk weighs. Huzzah for reading up on what doctors should have told me :/. Ah well. I'm thankful that i'm not in a worse situation.

On a different note, Bran and I made a cake yesterday :). It was from a mix, but we added some additional spices to make it a spice cake as opposed to a vanilla cake, and made a cream cheese frosting. Bran did all the mixing and clean up (huzzah!) and I did the measuring, so pretty fair deal right? XD. The frosting recipe is one I kinda made up using other frosting recipes as a base, though I don't measure so much as taste as I go.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 packet (225 g) cream cheese
1/4 c butter
2 c powdered sugar
1-2 tb milk
1/2 ts vanilla essence 
pinch salt

Beat room temp cream cheese and butter until well incorporated and soft. Add in salt and vanilla and mix. Add in 1/2 c sugar at a time until sweetened to taste. Mix in milk to desired consistency.

It's metric, but you can easily fiddle with it to use American measurements. 

Monday, 4 April 2011

Of hospitals and recovery *WARNING*

Here is a picture warning. They aren't very graphic but I am putting up pictures of my surgical scar and the tubes in my arm etc. I don't know how to put up a picture blind so if you don't want to see them then please don't read on.

Hospital tag on my wrist

The procedure that had to be done was called a microdiscectomy. Which basically means removing part/all of a disc that is for some reason putting pressure on one's spinal cord or nerves. For me it was a badly herniated disc that was pushing my spinal cord right out of place and putting pressure on the nerve that runs on the outside of my right leg. This caused pain and numbness down my right leg and on my right hip along with some back pain. Usually with a herniated disc they have you try other things first (physiotherapy, anti-inflamitories, hydrotherapy, etc.) but mine was so bad that they wanted to get it right away rather than risk further (or permanent) nerve damage.

It was scary to be told that they need to open up my spine and take out a huge chunk of disc :( especially because at this point they had given me some meds that made me a bit off the wall to begin with. There was the risk that something could go horribly wrong and I could lose the use of my legs, but the surgeon was very good in explaining that he has done this, and many more complicated procedures, often before and had never had a problem like that, and they put me into surgery pretty quickly so I didn't really have much time to think about it (not that there was a choice). I did think about running out of the hospital at one point, but by that time I had been readied for surgery, so I couldn't have even if I wanted to.

After that I was taken up to a little room, and waited about an hour for them to get ready and finish up another emergency situation. Then I was wheeled into the operating theatre, given and injection, told I might be lightheaded and directly passed out. There was no 'ok, now take a deep breath and count to three' I was just out! Fine with me :). I woke up in recovery where they were putting on teds (sort of knee high sock-tights) and these straps on my legs that inflated and help with circulation. I talked to the nurses (I think they were nurses) a bit asking what the teds and the straps were (I was pretty out of it) and took some panadol (it's an over the counter pain med). Then I was out again. I woke up later on when I was in the ward where a very nice nurse had to take my vitals every half hour. It wasn't too bad though since I would fall asleep right after again. I think after that I woke up around 7:30 am on the 31st when they were giving out breakfast.

Later on Bran visited and brought me coffee and cookies :)

yummy cookies

They were yummy, although I didn't eat many as I wasn't very hungry while there. Later on Sarah (MiL) brought me some timtams (Bran stole those), mini-snickers(I'm still snacking on these), and flowers. 

Flowers from Sarah

I was able to walk with a walker when the physiotherapist visited, but the doctor wouldn't send me home yet. Nor would they take out the catheter! Gods, the catheter! Worst feeling ever. That was more painful than my back, or my legs, or anything really. I just wanted it out!

Guh, i'm sure none of you want to hear about this, but it really was the worst bit about being in the hospital. For anyone who doesn't know, the type of catheter i'm talking about is the one that goes up your urethra and into your bladder to continuously drain the urine. There isn't a choice in the matter, it drains it. How it works is there is a little tube that they put up there, and a small balloon that they fill with saline so it wont come out. It was extremely irritating to my urethra and all the areas around it, and to my bladder which was not so happy to have a tube and little balloon in there. And since people were poking my legs all the time to check on the numbness it was accidentally tugged. A LOT! I know they were trying to be careful of it, but it was just awful! I was so thankful when they finally took it out on the second day. 

I was also having odd readings on my heart when they were taking vitals. One of the doctors had me hooked up to a heart monitor dealy for a bit, but apparently everything was normal as I never heard back from them. 

hospital picture

Which leads me to day two of the hospital stay. 

The physiotherapists visited me pretty early on, and I was able to get up on my own (log rolling FTW) I used the walker for a little bit, but could walk without it easily. They took me to their gym to make sure I could do stairs and pretty much said I was fine to go home. They gave me a sheet of stretches and exercises to do and said I should visit a physio once or twice after a few weeks just to make sure i'm doing alright. They were so nice and helpful :) I was very happy with them. 

It took a long time for the doctor to come and visit. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal but I was pretty much right to go home, and they couldn't take the catheter out without the doctors permission >.<! I also had to wait to get the tubes out of my arms. I had one in the crook of my arm that was put in place pre-surgery and another that was put in my wrist during. They had to add the second one because I was laying on my stomach for the surgery and needed one they could access. 

tube in my wrist (and breakfast in the back round)

But the doctor did eventually visit (he had like, 116 patients so I understand, but it was still bothersome :( ). He got to me at about 3 pm and said I was basically good to go. Then left. I bet the nurses were so happy he finally came as I had been harassing them all day about seeing him >.> they were thankfully very understanding. Once the catheter came out, I got dressed in my own clothes and waited to get the release papers. Once I got those at about 4:30 pm, Sarah (MiL) came and helped me get meds, and a cab, and I was homeward bound!

I was SO thankful to be home. Bran has been wonderful through all of this <3. I think I had some tofu and pretty much went to bed. I don't remember much after getting home.

On saturday, sunday and today I pretty much did little walks around the house, got Bran to mostly cook and clean up for me, and rested (I've watched a lot of stuff on the laptop). I'm not allowed to lift things that are heavier that a few kilos (so, like nothing heavier than 5 pounds). I can bend over, but need to be careful. Mostly I just have a stiff back and my foot and part of my leg are still numb. And I get tired easily. I also had Bran take a pic of my staples and scar so I could actually see how big it was (and thus stop poking it blindly).

Scar on back, maybe 3" long

So beyond that i'm worried about potentially permanent nerve damage for my foot/leg, but so so thankful that it all went well and that there isn't any more damage. We were able to get it relatively straight away, so i'm hopeful that everything will heal up within a month :).

Saturday, 2 April 2011


So remember how I had back pain he other day? Well it turns out on the the discs in my lower back had herniated horribly. Bran brought me to the emergency room on Wednesday morning after finding my right leg numb from the knee down and we spent the day there going between doctors and getting an xray and an MRI. After the MRI (at about 5 pm) the doctors finally got back to us around 7 telling us about how I would need spinal surgery to remove a huge chunk of the disc ASAP. Scary stuff yeah? Especially taking into account I have never had any surgeries or even been in the ER before!

So they ended up doing the surgery at 1 am (the soonest the neurosurgeon could get to me). It's a funny thing being put under anesthetic, you really go right out. I remember waking up in the recovery room where they were putting on teds and these straps on my legs that inflate and help with circulation. Anyway, after that I was in the hospital for two days. Hopefully I will feel a bit better and type more tomorrow. i'm going to try and relax for right now.